"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.
"I think it probable,"said the Doctor, breaking silence with an effort, "that the relapse you have described, my dear friend, was not quite unforeseen by its subject."
"Was it dreaded by him?"Mr. Lorry ventured to ask.
"Very much."He said it with an involuntary shudder.
"You have no idea how such an apprehension weighs on the sufferer's mind, and how difficult — how almost impossible — it is, for him to force himself to utter a word upon the topic that oppresses him."
"Would he,"asked Mr. Lorry, "be sensibly relieved if he could prevail upon himself to impart that secret brooding to any one, when it is on him?"
"I think so. But it is, as I have told you, next to impossible. I even believe it — in some cases — to be quite impossible."
"Now,"said Mr. Lorry, gently laying his hand on the Doctor's arm again, after a short silence on both sides, "to what would you refer this attack?"
"I believe,"returned Doctor Manette, "that there had been a strong and extraordinary revival of the train of thought and remembrance that was the first cause of the malady. Some intense associations of a most distressing nature were vividly recalled, I think. It is probable that there had long been a dread lurking in his mind, that those associations would be recalled — say, under certain circumstances — say, on a particular occasion. He tried to prepare himself in vain; perhaps the effort to prepare himself made him less able to bear it."
"Would he remember what took place in the relapse?"asked Mr. Lorry, with natural hesitation.
The Doctor looked desolately round the room, shook his head, and answered, in a low voice, "Not at all."
"Now, as to the future,"hinted Mr. Lorry.
"As to the future,"said the Doctor, recovering firmness, "I should have great hope. As it pleased Heaven in its mercy to restore him so soon, I should have great hope. He, yielding under the pressure of a complicated something, long dreaded and long vaguely foreseen and contended against, and recovering after the cloud had burst and passed, I should hope that the worst was over."
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