Doctor Manette and His Daughter
approximately 10 cm high by 7.5 cm wide (framed)
Second illustration for Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations in the Ticknor & Fields (Boston), 1867, Diamond Edition.
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Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham.
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A Tale of Two Cities (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1867)., by Sol Eytinge, Jr., in Charles Dickens's
It is entirely possible that Eytinge, working on the illustrations of the Diamond Edition volumes in 1866 and early 1867 had access to the original serial illustrations by Phiz (Hablot Knight Browne), steel engravings why month by month (at least, until the latter part of the serial) Dickens had sanctioned and which therefore reflected his narrative intentions. One of these, "The Shoemaker" resembles Eytinge's Illustration in its locale and subject, but is markedly different in its composition. Aside from the two principal figures, present in Phiz's full-page engraving are the publican, Ernest Defarge, the Doctor's servant formerly (back towards the viewer, left), and facing him a somber Jarvis Lorry, standing beside the shoemaker's bench. Lucie, having left her hat on the floor (right), caresses her father, who as yet has not apprehended who his fair-haired young visitor is. Although the stark garret is dark, light from a window (off-left) illuminates the scene, implying that the light of sanity will gradually return the prisoner of 105, North Tower, in the Bastille, his address having displaced his identity after some eighteen years of incarceration.
Now, contrast the original 1859 illustration with that of Eytinge, which focuses more narrowly on the emotional impact of the reunion of father and daughter. Despite his mental vacuity and white beard, Eytinge's former Bastille prisoner, is better dressed and has the tools of his prison trade immediately about him. Although he is now resident in a room above the Defarges' wine-shop in Saint Antonine as in Phiz's plate, the viewer has little sense of the backdrop, other than the sloping roof of the garret. An interesting aspect of this early illustration is that Eytinge has deliberately made young Lucie resemble the little seamstress of the frontispiece, as if suggesting how Carton could so easily bond with a young woman whom he has only just met — note in particular, her rounded face and her streaming hair, which is both longer and lighter in Eytinge's illustration than in Phiz's original. The 1867 picture reflects the artist's intention to depict the depth of Lucie's attachment to her long-lost father. The juxtaposition and postures of the solid, realistically modelled figures suggests that Eytinge has chosen to realise the moment at which Dr. Manette, recalled to life, is now recalled to the present after an absence of almost two decades by the "golden thread" of his daughter's hair, so like that of his deceased wife:
He stared at her with a fearful look, and after a while his lips began to form some words, though no sound proceeded from them. By degrees, in the pauses of his quick and laboured breathing, he was heard to say:
"What is this?"
With the tears streaming down her face, she put her two hands to her lips, and kissed them to him; then clasped them on her breast, as if she laid his ruined head there.
"You are not the gaoler's daughter?"
She sighed "No."
"Who are you?"
Not yet trusting the tones of her voice, she sat down on the bench beside him. He recoiled, but she laid her hand upon his arm. A strange thrill struck him when she did so, and visibly passed over his frame; he laid the knife down softly, as he sat staring at her.
Her golden hair, which she wore in long curls, had been hurriedly pushed aside, and fell down over her neck. Advancing his hand by little and little, he took it up and looked at it. In the midst of the action he went astray, and, with another deep sigh, fell to work at his shoemaking.
But not for long. Releasing his ann, she laid her hand upon his shoulder. After looking doubtfully at it, two or three times, as if to be sure that it was really there, he laid down his work, put his hand to his neck, and took off a blackened string with a scrap of folded rag attached to it. He opened this, carefully, on his knee, and it contained a very little quantity of hair: not more than one or two long golden hairs, which he had, in some old day, wound off upon his finger.
He took her hair into his hand again, and looked closely at it. "It is the same. How can it be! When was it! How was it!"
As the concentrated expression returned to his forehead, he seemed to become conscious that it was in hers too. He turned her full to the light, and looked at her.
"She had laid her head upon my shoulder, that night when I was summoned out — she had a fear of my going, though I had none — and when I was brought to the North Tower they found these upon my sleeve. 'You will leave me them? They can never help me to escape in the body, though they may in the spirit.' Those were the words I said. I remember them very well."
He formed this speech with his lips many times before he could utter it. But when he did find spoken words for it, they came to him coherently, though slowly.
"How was this? — Was it you?"
Once more, the two spectators started, as he turned upon her with a frightful suddenness. But she sat perfectly still in his grasp, and only said, in a low voice, "I entreat you, good gentlemen, do not come near us, do not speak, do not move!"
"Hark!" he exclaimed. "Whose voice was that?"
His hands released her as he uttered this cry, and went up to his white hair, which they tore in a frenzy. It died out, as everything but his shoemaking did die out of him, and he refolded his little packet and tried to secure it in his breast; but he still looked at her, and gloomily shook his head.
"No, no, no; you are too young, too blooming. It can't be. See what the prisoner is. These are not the hands she knew, this is not the face she knew, this is not a voice she ever heard. No, no. She was — and He was — before the slow years of the North Tower — ages ago. What is your name, my gentle angel?"
Hailing his softened tone and manner, his daughter fell upon her knees before him, with her appealing hands upon his breast. [Book One, "Recalled to Life," Chapter 6, "The Shoe Maker"]
Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1867.
Last modified 10 August 2011