Still, the Doctor, with shaded forehead, beat his
foot nervously on the ground

"Still, the Doctor, with shaded forehead, beat his foot nervously on the ground" by Fred Barnard. 1870s. 9.4 x 13.5 cm. The intimate scene between the French emigre, Dr. Manette, and his friend and confidant, the elderly English banker Jarvis Lorry, occurs some ten days after the marriage of Lucie Manette and Charles Darnay. The scene is in sharp contrast to the previous illustration's realisation of Saint Antoine's poverty and discontent in "An Opinion," in Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities, Book 2, chap. xix.

Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite it in a print one.]

Commentary

Barnard deftly realizes the confessional scene in which Dr. Manette confronts obliquely — in the third person — his reversion to insanity immediately after his daughter's marriage. In his book-lined study and apparently having reverted his saner self after nine days of relapsing into the Bastille identity of the shoe-mender, Dr. Manette (left) avoids making eye-contact with Lorry (right, dressed much as he is in the third illustration at the very beginning of the volume) as he attempts to assess the psychological condition of his "friend." The textual moment realised in the nineteenth chapter of the second book, "An Opinion," occurs immediately after Dr. Manette's recovery. The passage illustrated is this:

"The occupation resumed under the influence of this passing affliction so happily recovered from," said Mr. Lorry, clearing his throat, "we will call — Blacksmith's work. Blacksmith's work. We will say, to put a case and for the sake of illustration, that he had been used, in his bad time, to work at a little forge. We will say that he was unexpectedly found at his forge again. Is it not a pity that he should keep it by him?"

The Doctor shaded his forehead with his hand, and beat his foot nervously on the ground. [94]

Rather than the static scene in which Dickens has Dr. Alexandre Manette confront his recent retreat into his Bastille persona, Phiz chose to realise the emotionally charged conclusion of chapter 19 when Miss Pross and Mr. Lorry clandestinely destroy their friend's shoe-making bench and equipment in "The Accomplices", one of two illustrations for the October 1859 monthly part. Compare the romantic headnote illustration for chapter nineteen by John McLenan in Harper's Magazine, 27 August 1859: 557, to the character study offered by Barnard and the suspense offered by Phiz.

References

Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. Illustrated by Phiz. London: Chapman & Hall, 1859.

Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. Illustrated by Fred Barnard. The Household Edition. London: Chapman & Hall, 1870s.

Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. Illustrated by John McLenan. Harper's Weekly. (27 August 1859).


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Last modified 27 February 2011