`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, of great acuteness and severity to the affections, the feelings, the--the--as you express it--the mind. The mind. It is the case of a shock under which the sufferer was borne down, one cannot say for how 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 a shock from which the sufferer recovered, by a process that he cannot trace himself--as I once heard him publicly relate in a striking manner. It is the case of a shock from which he has recovered, so completely, as to be a highly intelligent man, capable of close application of mind, and great exertion of body, and of constantly making fresh additions to his stock of knowledge, which was already very large. But, unfortunately, there has been'--he paused add took a 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 and collectedly, though in the same low voice, `engaged in that pursuit originally?'
`And when the relapse fell on him, was he in most respects--or in all 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 kept from her. It is known only to myself, and to one other who may be trusted.'
The Doctor grasped his hand, and murmured, `That was very kind. That was very thoughtful!' Mr. Lorry grasped his hand in return, and neither of the two spoke for a little while.
`Now, my dear Manette,' said Mr. Lorry, at length, in his most considerate and most affectionate way, `I am a mere man of business, and unfit to cope with such intricate and difficult matters. I do not possess the kind of information necessary; I do not possess the kind of intelligence; I want guiding. There is no man in this world on whom I could so rely for right guidance, as on you. Tell me, how does this relapse come about? Is there danger of another? Could a repetition of it be prevented? How should a repetition of it be treated? 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 a friend, than I am to serve mine, if I knew how. But I don't know how to originate, in such a case. If your sagacity, knowledge, and experience, could put me on the right track, I might be able to do so much; unenlightened and undirected, I can do so little. Pray discuss 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.
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