A Tale of Two Cities


Book 2, Chapter 19

Fortunately, Dr. Manette’s breakdown is only temporary in duration.  On what would have been the tenth morning of his illness, Dr. Manette wakes up completely restored to health.  However, he has no memory of having had a relapse.  Dr. Lorry informs him about the breakdown, not to be cruel, but so that the two men can figure out a way to prevent future relapses.  Dr. Manette is a smart man who has long been engaged in the medical practice, and he reveals to Mr. Lorry that he had anticipated the relapse because of unpleasant memories.  He does not share with Lorry what those memories are, but this statement certainly reinforces the notion that something about his past history with the Evrémondes is going to play a role in the future of the story.  However, Dr. Manette is not concerned about having another relapse; he feels as if the worst has already happened.  Mr. Lorry is not so easily reassured.  Though Dr. Manette has not done anything harmful during his period of relapse, Mr. Lorry tells him that he feels that keeping his shoemaking tools and bench may be triggers for another relapse.  Dr. Manette is clearly uncomfortable with the idea of disposing of these tools, which served as a coping mechanism for such a significant period of his life.  However, he seems eager to reassure his friend that he is not vulnerable to another breakdown.  Therefore, he allows Mr. Lorry to take the tools.  Mr. Lorry and Miss Pross take the bench and tools.  After recovering, Dr. Manette joins Darnay and Lucie on their honeymoon.  After his departure, Miss Pross and Mr. Lorry burn the shoemaking bench and bury the tools.

The conversation between Mr. Lorry and Dr. Manette is important because it helps reveal important information about Dr. Manette.  Obviously, much of Dr. Manette’s history is a puzzle to the reader; at this point, the reader still does not know why Dr. Manette was ever imprisoned.  Moreover, the reader has no reason to believe that Dr. Manette is ignorant about why he was...

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