A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens
No Fear Book 3 Chapter 4
No Fear Book 3 Chapter 4: Calm in Storm: Page 2

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As Mr. Lorry received these confidences, and as he watched the face of his friend now sixty-two years of age, a misgiving arose within him that such dread experiences would revive the old danger. As Mr. Lorry listened, and as he watched the face of his friend who was now sixty-two years old, he started to worry that these terrible experiences might cause a relapse of his old dangerous condition.
But, he had never seen his friend in his present aspect: he had never at all known him in his present character. For the first time the Doctor felt, now, that his suffering was strength and power. For the first time he felt that in that sharp fire, he had slowly forged the iron which could break the prison door of his daughter’s husband, and deliver him. “It all tended to a good end, my friend; it was not mere waste and ruin. As my beloved child was helpful in restoring me to myself, I will be helpful now in restoring the dearest part of herself to her; by the aid of Heaven I will do it!” Thus, Doctor Manette. And when Jarvis Lorry saw the kindled eyes, the resolute face, the calm strong look and bearing of the man whose life always seemed to him to have been stopped, like a clock, for so many years, and then set going again with an energy which had lain dormant during the cessation of its usefulness, he believed. But he had never seen Dr. Manette as he currently was. He had never known him the way he was now. For the first time, Dr. Manette felt that his suffering in the Bastille had given him strength and power. For the first time, he felt that in prison he had slowly gained the strength and skills that would free his daughter’s husband and bring him to safety. “It will all pay off in the end, my friend,” said Dr. Manette. “It wasn’t a terrible waste. As my daughter, Lucie, helped me recover, I will help bring her husband back to her. With the help of Heaven, I will do it!” Jarvis Lorry saw the fire in his eyes and the determined look on his face. He had the calm, strong appearance of a man whose life seemed to have been put on hold for so many years, then started up again with an energy that had been hidden until it was now useful. Mr. Lorry believed him.
Greater things than the Doctor had at that time to contend with, would have yielded before his persevering purpose. While he kept himself in his place, as a physician, whose business was with all degrees of mankind, bond and free, rich and poor, bad and good, he used his personal influence so wisely, that he was soon the inspecting physician of three prisons, and among them of La Force. He could now assure Lucie that her husband was no longer confined alone, but was mixed with the general body of prisoners; he saw her husband weekly, and brought sweet messages to her, straight from his lips; sometimes her husband himself sent a letter to her (though never by the Doctor’s hand), but she was not permitted to write to him: for, among the many wild suspicions of plots in the prisons, the wildest of all pointed at emigrants who were known to have made friends or permanent connections abroad. The doctor felt determined to such a degree that he could have conquered greater obstacles than the ones he now faced. He kept working as a doctor, whose business was with all types of people—prisoners and free people, rich and poor, bad and good. He used his influence so well that he was soon the official doctor for three prisons, including La Force. He could now tell Lucie that her husband was no longer imprisoned alone, but was mixed in with the main prison population. He saw her husband once a week, and he brought messages to her that Charles spoke to him directly. Sometimes Charles himself wrote a letter to her, though the doctor was never the one who delivered it. Lucie wasn’t allowed to write to him, though, because many suspected that there were plots being developed in the prisons, especially involving emigrants who had made friends or met important people abroad.
This new life of the Doctor’s was an anxious life, no doubt; still, the sagacious Mr. Lorry saw that there was a new sustaining pride in it. Nothing unbecoming tinged the pride; it was a natural and worthy one; but he observed it as a curiosity. The Doctor knew, that up to that time, his imprisonment had been associated in the minds of his daughter and his friend, with his personal affliction, deprivation, and weakness. Now that this was changed, and he knew himself to be invested through that old trial with forces to which they both looked for Charles’s ultimate safety and deliverance, he became so far exalted by the change, that he took the lead and direction, and required them as the weak, to trust to him as the strong. The preceding relative positions of himself and Lucie were reversed, yet only as the liveliest gratitude and affection could reverse them, for he could have had no pride but in rendering some service to her who had rendered so much to him. “All curious to see,” thought Mr. Lorry, in his amiably shrewd way, “but all natural and right; so, take the lead, my dear friend, and keep it; it couldn’t be in better hands.” The new life of Dr. Manette was very stressful. Still, the wise Mr. Lorry saw that he took pride in it. Nothing unappealing tainted this pride. It was natural for him to be proud, and he deserved it. But Mr. Lorry thought it was strange. Dr, Manette knew that until then, his daughter and Mr. Lorry had associated his imprisonment with his personal suffering and weakness. Now this had changed. He knew that his suffering in the Bastille had given him the power to save Charles and get him back to safety. He was in high spirits about the change. He was a leader now, and his daughter and Mr. Lorry were the weak ones trusting in his strength. The relationship between Lucie and him had been reversed. But only the way the most intense gratitude and affection could reverse them. He couldn’t have taken any pride in anything but helping her in some way after she had helped him so much. “It’s strange to see,” thought Mr. Lorry in his friendly and smart way, “but it is right. So, take the lead, my dear friend, and stay in charge. We couldn’t be in better hands.”