He rubbed his eyes and roused himself; but he doubted, when he haddone so, whether he was not still asleep. For, going to the door ofthe Doctor's room and looking in, he perceived that the shoemaker'sbench and tools were put aside again, and that the Doctor himselfsat reading at the window. He was in his usual morning dress, andhis face (which Mr. Lorry could distinctly see), though still verypale, was calmly studious and attentive.
Even when he had satisfied himself that he was awake, Mr. Lorry feltgiddily uncertain for some few moments whether the late shoemakingmight not be a disturbed dream of his own; for, did not his eyesshow him his friend before him in his accustomed clothing andaspect, and employed as usual; and was there any sign within theirrange, that the change of which he had so strong an impression hadactually happened?
It was but the inquiry of his first confusion and astonishment,the answer being obvious. If the impression were not produced by areal corresponding and sufficient cause, how came he, Jarvis Lorry,there? How came he to have fallen asleep, in his clothes, on thesofa in Doctor Manette's consulting-room, and to be debating thesepoints outside the Doctor's bedroom door in the early morning?
Within a few minutes, Miss Pross stood whispering at his side. If hehad had any particle of doubt left, her talk would of necessity haveresolved it; but he was by that time clear-headed, and had none. Headvised that they should let the time go by until the regularbreakfast-hour, and should then meet the Doctor as if nothingunusual had occurred. If he appeared to be in his customary state ofmind, Mr. Lorry would then cautiously proceed to seek direction andguidance from the opinion he had been, in his anxiety, so anxious toobtain.
Miss Pross, submitting herself to his judgment, the scheme wasworked out with care. Having abundance of time for his usualmethodical toilette, Mr. Lorry presented himself at the breakfast-hourin his usual white linen, and with his usual neat leg. The Doctorwas summoned in the usual way, and came to breakfast.
So far as it was possible to comprehend him without over steppingthose delicate and gradual approaches which Mr. Lorry felt to be theonly safe advance, he at first supposed that his daughter's marriagehad taken place yesterday. An incidental allusion, purposely thrownout, to the day of the week, and the day of the month, set himthinking and counting, and evidently made him uneasy. In all otherrespects, however, he was so composedly himself, that Mr. Lorrydetermined to have the aid he sought. And that aid was his own.
Therefore, when the breakfast was done and cleared away, and heand the Doctor were left together, Mr. Lorry said, feelingly:
"My dear Manette, I am anxious to have your opinion, inconfidence, on a very curious case in which I am deeply interested;that is to say, it is very curious to me; perhaps, to your betterinformation it may be less so."
Glancing at his hands, which were discoloured by his late work,the Doctor looked troubled, and listened attentively. He had alreadyglanced at his hands more than once.
"Doctor Manette," said Mr. Lorry, touching him affectionately on thearm, "the case is the case of a particularly dear friend of mine. Praygive your mind to it, and advise me well for his sake- and aboveall, for his daughter's- his daughter's, my dear Manette."
"If I understand," said the Doctor, in a subdued tone, "somemental 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, ofgreat acuteness and severity to the affections, the feelings, the-the- as you express it- the mind. The mind. It is the case of ashock under which the sufferer was borne down, one cannot say forhow long, because I believe he cannot calculate the time himself,and there are no other means of getting at it. It is the case of ashock from which the sufferer recovered, by a process that he cannottrace himself- as I once heard him publicly relate in a strikingmanner. It is the case of a shock from which he has recovered, socompletely, as to be a highly intelligent man, capable of closeapplication of mind, and great exertion of body, and of constantlymaking fresh additions to his stock of knowledge, which was alreadyvery large. But, unfortunately, there has been," he paused and tooka 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 the resumption of some old pursuit connected with the shock?"
"That is the fact."
"Now, did you ever see him," asked the Doctor, distinctly andcollectedly, though in the same low voice, "engaged in that pursuitoriginally?"
"And when the relapse fell on him, was he in most respects -or inall respects- 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 keptfrom her. It is known only to myself, and to one other who may betrusted."
The Doctor grasped his hand, and murmured, "That was very kind. Thatwas very thoughtful!" Mr. Lorry grasped his hand in return, andneither of the two spoke for a little while.
"Now, my dear Manette," said Mr. Lorry, at length, in his mostconsiderate and most affectionate way, "I am a mere man of business,and unfit to cope with such intricate and difficult matters. I donot possess the kind of information necessary; I do not possess thekind of intelligence; I want guiding. There is no man in this world onwhom I could so rely for right guidance, as on you. Tell me, howdoes this relapse come about? Is there danger of another? Could arepetition of it be prevented? How should a repetition of it betreated? How does it come about at all? What can I do for my friend?No man ever can have been more desirous in his heart to serve afriend, than I am to serve mine, if I knew how. But I don't know howto originate, in such a case. If your sagacity, knowledge, andexperience, could put me on the right track, I might be able to doso much; unenlightened and undirected, I can do so little. Praydiscuss it with me; pray enable me to see it a little more clearly,and teach me how to be 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 aneffort, "that the relapse you have described, my dear friend, wasnot quite unforeseen by its 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 thesufferer's mind, and how difficult- how almost impossible- it is,for him to force himself to utter a word upon the topic that oppresseshim."
"Would he," asked Mr. Lorry, "be sensibly relieved if he couldprevail upon himself to impart that secret brooding to any one, whenit is on him?"
"I think so. But it is, as I have told you, next to impossible. Ieven believe it- in some cases- to be quite impossible."
"Now," said Mr. Lorry, gently laying his hand on the Doctor's armagain, after a short silence on both sides, "to what would you referthis attack?"
"I believe," returned Doctor Manette, "that there had been astrong and extraordinary revival of the train of thought andremembrance that was the first cause of the malady. Some intenseassociations of a most distressing nature were vividly recalled, Ithink. It is probable that there had long been a dread lurking inhis mind, that those associations would be recalled- say, undercertain circumstances- say, on a particular occasion. He tried toprepare himself in vain; perhaps the effort to prepare himself madehim less able to bear it."
"Would he remember what took place in the relapse?" asked Mr. Lorry,with natural hesitation.
The Doctor looked desolately round the room, shook his head, andanswered, in a low voice, "Not at all."
"Now, as to the future," hinted Mr. Lorry.
"As to the future," said the Doctor, recovering firmness, "Ishould have great hope. As it pleased Heaven in its mercy to restorehim so soon, I should have great hope. He, yielding under the pressureof a complicated something, long dreaded and long vaguely foreseen andcontended against, and recovering after the cloud had burst andpassed, 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 withreverence.
"There are two other points," said Mr. Lorry, "on which I am anxiousto be instructed. I may go on?"
"You cannot do your friend a better service." The Doctor gave himhis hand.
"To the first, then. He is of a studious habit, and unusuallyenergetic; he applies himself with great ardour to the acquisitionof professional knowledge, to the conducting of experiments, to manythings. Now, does he do too much?"
"I think not. It may be the character of his mind, to be always insingular need of occupation. That may be, in part, natural to it; inpart, the result of affliction. The less it was occupied withhealthy things, the more it would be in danger of turning in theunhealthy direction. He may have observed himself, and made thediscovery."
"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 aviolent stress in one direction, and it needs a counterweight."
"Excuse me, as a persistent man of business. Assuming for amoment, that he was overworked; it would show itself in some renewalof this disorder?"
"I do not think so. I do not think," said Doctor Manette with thefirmness of self-conviction, "that anything but the one train ofassociation would renew it. I think that, henceforth, nothing but someextraordinary jarring of that chord could renew it. After what hashappened, and after his recovery, I find it difficult to imagine anysuch violent sounding of that string again. I trust, and I almostbelieve, that the circumstances likely to renew it are exhausted."
He spoke with the diffidence of a man who knew how slight a thingwould overset the delicate organisation of the mind, and yet withthe confidence of a man who had slowly won his assurance out ofpersonal endurance and distress. It was not for his friend to abatethat confidence. He professed himself more relieved and encouragedthan he really was, and approached his second and last point. Hefelt it to be the most difficult of all; but, remembering his oldSunday morning conversation with Miss Pross, and remembering what hehad seen in the last nine days, he knew that he must face it.
"The occupation resumed under the influence of this passingaffection so happily recovered from," said Mr. Lorry, clearing histhroat, "we will call- Blacksmith's work, Blacksmith's work. We willsay, to put a case and for the sake of illustration, that he hadbeen used, in his bad time, to work at a little forge. We will saythat he was unexpectedly found at his forge again. Is it not a pitythat he should keep it by him?"
The Doctor shaded his forehead with his hand, and beat his footnervously on the ground.
"He has always kept it by him," said Mr. Lorry, with an anxious lookat his friend. "Now, would it not be better that he should let it go?"
Still, the Doctor, with shaded forehead, beat his foot nervouslyon the ground.
"You do not find it easy to advise me?" said Mr. Lorry. "I quiteunderstand it to be a nice question. And yet I think--" And there heshook his head, and stopped.
"You see," said Doctor Manette, turning to him after an uneasypause, "it is very hard to explain, consistently, the innermostworkings of this poor man's mind. He once yearned so frightfully forthat occupation, and it was so welcome when it came; no doubt itrelieved his pain so much, by substituting the perplexity of thefingers for the perplexity of the brain, and by substituting, as hebecame more practised, the ingenuity of the hands, for the ingenuityof the mental torture; that he has never been able to bear the thoughtof putting it quite out of his reach. Even now, when I believe he ismore hopeful of himself than he has ever been, and even speaks ofhimself with a kind of confidence, the idea that he might need thatold employment, and not find it, gives him a sudden sense of terror,like that which one may fancy strikes 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, a plodding man ofbusiness who only deals with such material objects guineas, shillings,and bank-notes- may not the retention of the thing involve theretention of the idea? If the thing were gone, my dear Manette,might not the fear go with it? In short, is it not a concession to themisgiving, to keep the forge?"
There was another silence.
"You see, too," said the Doctor, tremulously, "it is such an oldcompanion."
"I would not keep it," said Mr. Lorry, shaking his head; for hegained in firmness as he saw the Doctor disquieted. "I would recommendhim to sacrifice it. I only want your authority. I am sure it doesno good. Come! Give me your authority, like a dear good man. For hisdaughter'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 wouldnot take it away while he was present. Let it be removed when he isnot there; let him miss his old companion after an absence."
Mr. Lorry readily engaged for that, and the conference was ended.They passed the day in the country, and the Doctor was quite restored.On the three following days he remained perfectly well, and on thefourteenth day he went away to join Lucie and her husband. Theprecaution that had been taken to account for his silence, Mr. Lorryhad previously explained to him, and he had written to Lucie inaccordance with it, and she had no suspicions.
On the night of the day on which he left the house, Mr. Lorry wentinto his room with a chopper, saw, chisel, and hammer, attended byMiss Pross carrying a light. There, with closed doors, and in amysterious and guilty manner, Mr. Lorry hacked the shoemaker's benchto pieces, while Miss Pross held the candle as if she were assistingat a murder for which, indeed, in her grimness, she was nounsuitable figure. The burning of the body (previously reduced topieces convenient for the purpose) was commenced without delay inthe kitchen fire; and the tools, shoes, and leather, were buried inthe garden. So wicked do destruction and secrecy appear to honestminds, that Mr. Lorry and Miss Pross, while engaged in thecommission of their deed and in the removal of its traces, almostfelt, and almost looked, like accomplices in a horrible crime.