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Chapter 19 An Opinion

  • 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—?”
  • “Yes!”
  • “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?”
  • “Once.”
  • “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.