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Free Study Guide-A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens-Free BookNotes
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Chapter Nineteen: An Opinion

Summary

On the tenth day the doctor regains normality and has no memory of the past nine days. By speaking in the third person, Mr. Lorry informs the Doctor of his nine day relapse and that his daughter has not been told of this. He also tries to find out how this relapse occurred and if it will ever happen again. The Doctor assures him that this is not likely to happen again. He tells Mr. Lorry that the relapse occurs due to a painful recollection, which is alleviated by cobbling. In prison, the Doctor had taken up cobbling as a means of occupying himself and as a means of forgetting his mental anguish.


The Doctor agrees to hand over his bench, cobbling tools, and material. The doctor then leaves for a vacation in Wales, where he will join Darnay and Lucie. During his absence, Mr. Lorry and Miss Pross chop the bench into little bits and use it as firewood. They bury the tools, shoes, and leather in the garden.

Notes

It is significant that Dr. Manette does not remember that he has had a setback and spent nine days at his shoemaker's bench cobbling shoes. If the cobbling is an act of revenge, then Dr. Manette has expiated himself of all vengeful feelings. The Doctor's dual personality makes his character more complex than any other character in the novel. Dickens does not make his resurrection a simple process; there are lapses, but he finally gets over any feeling of revenge. Up until this point in the novel, Dr. Manette has been at the receiving end of love and compassion; in the remainder of the novel, it is he who will plead for compassion towards his son-in-law, a victim who is as innocent as he was.

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