Worn out by anxious watching, Mr. Lorry fell asleep at his post. On the tent_orning of his suspense, he was startled by the shining of the sun into th_oom where a heavy slumber had overtaken him when it was dark night.
He rubbed his eyes and roused himself; but he doubted, when he had done so, whether he was not still asleep. For, going to the door of the Doctor’s roo_nd looking in, he perceived that the shoemaker’s bench and tools were pu_side again, and that the Doctor himself sat reading at the window. He was i_is usual morning dress, and his face (which Mr. Lorry could distinctly see), though still very pale, was calmly studious and attentive.
Even when he had satisfied himself that he was awake, Mr. Lorry felt giddil_ncertain for some few moments whether the late shoemaking might not be _isturbed dream of his own; for, did not his eyes show him his friend befor_im in his accustomed clothing and aspect, and employed as usual; and wa_here any sign within their range, that the change of which he had so stron_n impression had actually happened?
It was but the inquiry of his first confusion and astonishment, the answe_eing obvious. If the impression were not produced by a real corresponding an_ufficient cause, how came he, Jarvis Lorry, there? How came he to have falle_sleep, in his clothes, on the sofa in Doctor Manette’s consulting-room, an_o be debating these points outside the Doctor’s bedroom door in the earl_orning?
Within a few minutes, Miss Pross stood whispering at his side. If he had ha_ny particle of doubt left, her talk would of necessity have resolved it; bu_e was by that time clear-headed, and had none. He advised that they shoul_et the time go by until the regular breakfast-hour, and should then meet th_octor as if nothing unusual had occurred. If he appeared to be in hi_ustomary state of mind, Mr. Lorry would then cautiously proceed to see_irection and guidance from the opinion he had been, in his anxiety, s_nxious to obtain.
Miss Pross, submitting herself to his judgment, the scheme was worked out wit_are. Having abundance of time for his usual methodical toilette, Mr. Lorr_resented himself at the breakfast-hour in his usual white linen, and with hi_sual neat leg. The Doctor was summoned in the usual way, and came t_reakfast.
So far as it was possible to comprehend him without overstepping thos_elicate and gradual approaches which Mr. Lorry felt to be the only saf_dvance, he at first supposed that his daughter’s marriage had taken plac_esterday. An incidental allusion, purposely thrown out, to the day of th_eek, and the day of the month, set him thinking and counting, and evidentl_ade him uneasy. In all other respects, however, he was so composedly himself, that Mr. Lorry determined to have the aid he sought. And that aid was his own.
Therefore, when the breakfast was done and cleared away, and he and the Docto_ere left together, Mr. Lorry said, feelingly:
“My dear Manette, I am anxious to have your opinion, in confidence, on a ver_urious case in which I am deeply interested; that is to say, it is ver_urious to me; perhaps, to your better information it may be less so.”
Glancing at his hands, which were discoloured by his late work, the Docto_ooked troubled, and listened attentively. He had already glanced at his hand_ore than once.
“Doctor Manette,” said Mr. Lorry, touching him affectionately on the arm, “th_ase is the case of a particularly dear friend of mine. Pray give your mind t_t, and advise me well for his sake—and above all, for his daughter’s—hi_aughter’s, my dear Manette.”
“If I understand,” said the Doctor, in a subdued tone, “some mental shock—?”
“Be explicit,” said the Doctor. “Spare no detail.”
Mr. Lorry saw that they understood one another, and proceeded.
“My dear Manette, it is the case of an old and a prolonged shock, of grea_cuteness and severity to the affections, the feelings, the—the—as you expres_t—the mind. The mind. It is the case of a shock under which the sufferer wa_orne down, one cannot say for how long, because I believe he cannot calculat_he time himself, and there are no other means of getting at it. It is th_ase of a shock from which the sufferer recovered, by a process that he canno_race himself—as I once heard him publicly relate in a striking manner. It i_he case of a shock from which he has recovered, so completely, as to be _ighly intelligent man, capable of close application of mind, and grea_xertion of body, and of constantly making fresh additions to his stock o_nowledge, which was already very large. But, unfortunately, there has been,” he paused and took a deep breath—“a slight relapse.”
The Doctor, in a low voice, asked, “Of how long duration?”
“Nine days and nights.”
“How did it show itself? I infer,” glancing at his hands again, “in th_esumption of some old pursuit connected with the shock?”
“That is the fact.”
“Now, did you ever see him,” asked the Doctor, distinctly and collectedly, though in the same low voice, “engaged in that pursuit originally?”
“And when the relapse fell on him, was he in most respects—or in al_espects—as he was then?”
“I think in all respects.”
“You spoke of his daughter. Does his daughter know of the relapse?”
“No. It has been kept from her, and I hope will always be kept from her. It i_nown only to myself, and to one other who may be trusted.”
The Doctor grasped his hand, and murmured, “That was very kind. That was ver_houghtful!” Mr. Lorry grasped his hand in return, and neither of the tw_poke for a little while.
“Now, my dear Manette,” said Mr. Lorry, at length, in his most considerate an_ost affectionate way, “I am a mere man of business, and unfit to cope wit_uch intricate and difficult matters. I do not possess the kind of informatio_ecessary; I do not possess the kind of intelligence; I want guiding. There i_o man in this world on whom I could so rely for right guidance, as on you.
Tell me, how does this relapse come about? Is there danger of another? Could _epetition of it be prevented? How should a repetition of it be treated? Ho_oes it come about at all? What can I do for my friend? No man ever can hav_een more desirous in his heart to serve a friend, than I am to serve mine, i_ knew how.
But I don’t know how to originate, in such a case. If your sagacity, knowledge, and experience, could put me on the right track, I might be able t_o so much; unenlightened and undirected, I can do so little. Pray discuss i_ith me; pray enable me to see it a little more clearly, and teach me how t_e a little more useful.”
Doctor Manette sat meditating after these earnest words were spoken, and Mr.
Lorry did not press him.
“I think it probable,” said the Doctor, breaking silence with an effort, “tha_he relapse you have described, my dear friend, was not quite unforeseen b_ts subject.”
“Was it dreaded by him?” Mr. Lorry ventured to ask.
“Very much.” He said it with an involuntary shudder.
“You have no idea how such an apprehension weighs on the sufferer’s mind, an_ow difficult—how almost impossible—it is, for him to force himself to utter _ord upon the topic that oppresses him.”
“Would he,” asked Mr. Lorry, “be sensibly relieved if he could prevail upo_imself to impart that secret brooding to any one, when it is on him?”
“I think so. But it is, as I have told you, next to impossible. I even believ_t—in some cases—to be quite impossible.”
“Now,” said Mr. Lorry, gently laying his hand on the Doctor’s arm again, afte_ short silence on both sides, “to what would you refer this attack? ”
“I believe,” returned Doctor Manette, “that there had been a strong an_xtraordinary revival of the train of thought and remembrance that was th_irst cause of the malady. Some intense associations of a most distressin_ature were vividly recalled, I think. It is probable that there had long bee_ dread lurking in his mind, that those associations would be recalled—say, under certain circumstances—say, on a particular occasion. He tried to prepar_imself in vain; perhaps the effort to prepare himself made him less able t_ear it.”
“Would he remember what took place in the relapse?” asked Mr. Lorry, wit_atural hesitation.
The Doctor looked desolately round the room, shook his head, and answered, i_ low voice, “Not at all.”
“Now, as to the future,” hinted Mr. Lorry.
“As to the future,” said the Doctor, recovering firmness, “I should have grea_ope. As it pleased Heaven in its mercy to restore him so soon, I should hav_reat hope. He, yielding under the pressure of a complicated something, lon_readed and long vaguely foreseen and contended against, and recovering afte_he cloud had burst and passed, I should hope that the worst was over.”
“Well, well! That’s good comfort. I am thankful!” said Mr. Lorry.
“I am thankful!” repeated the Doctor, bending his head with reverence.
“There are two other points,” said Mr. Lorry, “on which I am anxious to b_nstructed. I may go on?”
“You cannot do your friend a better service.” The Doctor gave him his hand.
“To the first, then. He is of a studious habit, and unusually energetic; h_pplies himself with great ardour to the acquisition of professiona_nowledge, to the conducting of experiments, to many things. Now, does he d_oo much?”
“I think not. It may be the character of his mind, to be always in singula_eed of occupation. That may be, in part, natural to it; in part, the resul_f affliction. The less it was occupied with healthy things, the more it woul_e in danger of turning in the unhealthy direction. He may have observe_imself, and made the discovery.”
“You are sure that he is not under too great a strain?”
“I think I am quite sure of it.”
“My dear Manette, if he were overworked now—”
“My dear Lorry, I doubt if that could easily be. There has been a violen_tress in one direction, and it needs a counterweight.”
“Excuse me, as a persistent man of business. Assuming for a moment, that h_as overworked; it would show itself in some renewal of this disorder?”
“I do not think so. I do not think,” said Doctor Manette with the firmness o_elf-conviction, “that anything but the one train of association would rene_t. I think that, henceforth, nothing but some extraordinary jarring of tha_hord could renew it. After what has happened, and after his recovery, I fin_t difficult to imagine any such violent sounding of that string again. _rust, and I almost believe, that the circumstances likely to renew it ar_xhausted.”
He spoke with the diffidence of a man who knew how slight a thing woul_verset the delicate organisation of the mind, and yet with the confidence o_ man who had slowly won his assurance out of personal endurance and distress.
It was not for his friend to abate that confidence. He professed himself mor_elieved and encouraged than he really was, and approached his second and las_oint. He felt it to be the most difficult of all; but, remembering his ol_unday morning conversation with Miss Pross, and remembering what he had see_n the last nine days, he knew that he must face it.
“The occupation resumed under the influence of this passing affliction s_appily recovered from,” said Mr. Lorry, clearing his throat, “we wil_all—Blacksmith’s work, Blacksmith’s work. We will say, to put a case and fo_he sake of illustration, that he had been used, in his bad time, to work at _ittle forge. We will say that he was unexpectedly found at his forge again.
Is it not a pity that he should keep it by him?”
The Doctor shaded his forehead with his hand, and beat his foot nervously o_he ground.
“He has always kept it by him,” said Mr. Lorry, with an anxious look at hi_riend. “Now, would it not be better that he should let it go?”
Still, the Doctor, with shaded forehead, beat his foot nervously on th_round.
“You do not find it easy to advise me?” said Mr. Lorry. “I quite understand i_o be a nice question. And yet I think—” And there he shook his head, an_topped.
“You see,” said Doctor Manette, turning to him after an uneasy pause, “it i_ery hard to explain, consistently, the innermost workings of this poor man’_ind. He once yearned so frightfully for that occupation, and it was s_elcome when it came; no doubt it relieved his pain so much, by substitutin_he perplexity of the fingers for the perplexity of the brain, and b_ubstituting, as he became more practised, the ingenuity of the hands, for th_ngenuity of the mental torture; that he has never been able to bear th_hought of putting it quite out of his reach. Even now, when I believe he i_ore hopeful of himself than he has ever been, and even speaks of himself wit_ kind of confidence, the idea that he might need that old employment, and no_ind it, gives him a sudden sense of terror, like that which one may fanc_trikes to the heart of a lost child.”
He looked like his illustration, as he raised his eyes to Mr. Lorry’s face.
“But may not—mind! I ask for information, as a plodding man of business wh_nly deals with such material objects as guineas, shillings, and bank- notes—may not the retention of the thing involve the retention of the idea? I_he thing were gone, my dear Manette, might not the fear go with it? In short, is it not a concession to the misgiving, to keep the forge?”
There was another silence.
“You see, too,” said the Doctor, tremulously, “it is such an old companion.”
“I would not keep it,” said Mr. Lorry, shaking his head; for he gained i_irmness as he saw the Doctor disquieted. “I would recommend him to sacrific_t. I only want your authority. I am sure it does no good. Come! Give me you_uthority, like a dear good man. For his daughter’s sake, my dear Manette!”
Very strange to see what a struggle there was within him!
“In her name, then, let it be done; I sanction it. But, I would not take i_way while he was present. Let it be removed when he is not there; let hi_iss his old companion after an absence.”
Mr. Lorry readily engaged for that, and the conference was ended. They passe_he day in the country, and the Doctor was quite restored. On the thre_ollowing days he remained perfectly well, and on the fourteenth day he wen_way to join Lucie and her husband. The precaution that had been taken t_ccount for his silence, Mr. Lorry had previously explained to him, and he ha_ritten to Lucie in accordance with it, and she had no suspicions.
On the night of the day on which he left the house, Mr. Lorry went into hi_oom with a chopper, saw, chisel, and hammer, attended by Miss Pross carryin_ light. There, with closed doors, and in a mysterious and guilty manner, Mr.
Lorry hacked the shoemaker’s bench to pieces, while Miss Pross held the candl_s if she were assisting at a murder—for which, indeed, in her grimness, sh_as no unsuitable figure. The burning of the body (previously reduced t_ieces convenient for the purpose) was commenced without delay in the kitche_ire; and the tools, shoes, and leather, were buried in the garden. So wicke_o destruction and secrecy appear to honest minds, that Mr. Lorry and Mis_ross, while engaged in the commission of their deed and in the removal of it_races, almost felt, and almost looked, like accomplices in a horrible crime.