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THE SUBSTANCE OF THE SHADOW
“I, ALEXANDRE MANETTE, Unfortunate physician, native of
Beauvais, and afterwards resident in Paris, write this melancholy
paper in my doleful cell in the Bastille, during the last month of the
year, 1767. I write it at stolen intervals, under every difficulty. I
design to secrete it in the wall of the chimney, where I have slowly
and laboriously made a place of concealment for it. Some pitying
hand may find it there, when I and my sorrows are dust.
“These words are formed by the rusty iron point with which I
write with difficulty in scrapings of soot and charcoal from the
chimney, mixed with blood, in the last month of the tenth year of
my captivity. Hope has quite departed from my breast. I know
from terrible warnings I have noted in myself that my reason will
not long remain unimpaired, but I solemnly declare that I am at
this time in the possession of my right mind-that my memory is
exact and circumstantial-and that I write the truth as I shall answer
for these my last recorded words, whether they be ever read by
men or not, at the Eternal Judgment-seat.
“One cloudy moonlight night, in the third week of December (I
think the twenty-second of the month) in the year 1757, I was
walking on a retired part of the quay by the Seine for the
refreshment of the frosty air, at an hour’s distance from my place of
residence in the Street of the School of Medicine, when a car-riage
came along behind me, driven very fast. As I stood aside to let that
carriage pass, apprehensive that it might otherwise run me down, a
head was put out at the window, and a voice called to the driver to
“The carriage stopped as soon as the driver could rein in his
horses, and the same voice called to me by my name. I answered.
The carriage was then so far in advance of me that two gentlemen
had time to open the door and alight before I came up with it. I
observed that they were both wrapped in cloaks, and appeared to
conceal themselves. As they stood side by side near the carriage
door, I also observed that they both looked of about my own age,
or rather younger, and that they were greatly alike, in stature,
manner, voice, and (as far as I could see) face too.
“’You are Doctor Manette?’ said one.
“’I am.’ “’Doctor Manette, formerly of Beauvais,’ said the other;
‘the young physician, originally an expert surgeon, who within the
last year or two has made a rising reputation in Paris?’
“’Gentlemen,’ I returned, ‘I am that Doctor Manette of whom you