One August afternoon, Carton resolves to reveal his feelings to Lucie. He tells her that although he is a hopeless case and can never reform, she revived his old dreams of leading a good life. Lucie suggests that he may still be able to redeem his life, but Carton states that it is too late; he knows his nature, and he will only sink lower. However, he wants her to know how deeply he loves her and that he would freely give his life for her and anyone she loved.
Many characters have secrets in A Tale of Two Cities, but none reveals itself as painfully as Sydney Carton's does. He loves without hope, and his love for Lucie has made him aware of how much potential happiness he has squandered through his dissolute lifestyle. He tells her, "I am like one who died young. All my life might have been."Carton's situation somewhat parallels Doctor Alexandre Manette's imprisonment: As a young man, Carton has buried himself alive with a long, empty life stretching before him. The strength of his love for a woman gives him the dream of freedom, but it also torments him because he cannot have her. Unlike Doctor Manette, however, Carton inflicted his own imprisonment, and he lacks the strength to recall himself to life.