"Dr. Manette Appeals for Justice"
13.7 x 9.5 cm vignetted
Twenty-ninth illustration for A Tale of Two Cities in A Tale of Two Cities, American Notes, Pictures from Italy, Charles Dickens Library Edition (1910), vol. 13, facing p. 289.
Whereas Dickens's original illustrator, Hablot Knight Browne, perhaps in conjunction with the author, elected to realise the moment when Miss Pross and Jerry Cruncher discover the true identity of the "Sheep of the Prisons," John Barsad, in The Double Recognition (December 1859 instalment), Furniss has opted for yet another scene in a courtroom. However, since this is the crucial moment in the second trial, when Doctor Manette himself is revealed to be Darnay's third accuser, his choice is both understandable and effective. [Click on image to enlarge it.]
Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham.
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Charles Evrémonde, called Darnay. Released yesterday. Reaccused and retaken yesterday. Indictment delivered to him last night. Suspected and Denounced enemy of the Republic, Aristocrat, one of a family of tyrants, one of a race proscribed, for that they had used their abolished privileges to the infamous oppression of the people. Charles Evrémonde, called Darnay, in right of such proscription, absolutely Dead in Law.
To this effect, in as few or fewer words, the Public Prosecutor.
The President asked, was the Accused openly denounced or secretly?
"Three voices. Ernest Defarge, wine-vendor of St. Antoine."
"Good. "Therese Defarge, his wife."
"Alexandre Manette, physician."
A great uproar took place in the court, and in the midst of it, Doctor Manette was seen, pale and trembling, standing where he had been seated.
"President, I indignantly protest to you that this is a forgery and a fraud. You know the accused to be the husband of my daughter. My daughter, and those dear to her, are far dearer to me than my life. Who and where is the false conspirator who says that I denounce the husband of my child!"
"Citizen Manette, be tranquil. To fail in submission to the authority of the Tribunal would be to put yourself out of Law. As to what is dearer to you than life, nothing can be so dear to a good citizen as the Republic."
Loud acclamations hailed this rebuke. The President rang his bell, and with warmth resumed. [Book Three, "The Track of a Storm," Chapter Nine, "The Game Made," p. 301]
Relevant Illustrations from earlier editions: 1859, 1867, 1874, and 1905
Left: John McLenan's 29 October 1859 depiction of the revelation of the hidden letter of denunciation, "This is that written paper!". Centre: "After the Sentence" by Hablot Knight Browne in the seventh monthly number (December 1859). Right: Sol Eytinge, Junior's "Doctor Manette and His Daughter" (Diamond Edition, 1867).
Left: Fred Barnard's Household Edition illustration depicting Darnay's being led away after being found guilty at his second trial in Book Three, Chapter Nine, ""As he was drawn away, his wife released him, and stood looking after him with her hands touching one another in the attitude of prayer" (1874). Centre: A. A. Dixon's version of Darnay's re-arrest following the Defarges' denunciation, "I know you, Evrémonde!" (1905). Right: Furniss's earlier study of Doctor Manette and his daughter, shortly after his release from the Bastille, "The Shoemaker of the Bastille" (1910). [Click on images to enlarge them.]
With a program of thirty-two illustrations to complete and apparently no concern about repeating himself, Furniss offers his third study of Lucie and her father, the other two being The Shoemaker of the Bastille and Lucie and her Father under the Plane-tree. Furthermore, he has run the risk of failing to provide sufficient variety by offering yet another courtroom scene involving Charles Darnay, the others being The Likeness in Court, Darnay Arrested, and Darnay Arraigned before the Judges. In each case, we have a repetition — but with some significant differences. Whereas Furniss's initial study of Lucie and her father emphasizes her caring demeanour and his utter helplessness, as in Phiz's The Shoemaker and Eytinge's Doctor Manette and His Daughter, this latter study shows Manette as a man of action, an animated advocate for natural justice and the release of his son-in-law, whereas Lucie is clearly in a supporting role here, concerned as always about her father's mental and physical well-being, but hardly a dynamic participant in the action.
With a panel of animalistic jurors behind him, the Doctor rises in shock, surprise, and indignation, while his daughter clings to him, concerned for his health, and perhaps feeling that his intervention may do more harm than good at this point. The reader absorbs the illustration proleptically, and must wait a dozen pages to resolve the issue it raises: is the denunciation, as Manette asserts, a "fraud" executed by the Defarges?
Whereas in the scene of his son-in-law's rearrest, A Knock at the Door, Furniss's Doctor Manette is barely visible, as if powerless to prevent his son-in-law's being found guilty of an (as yet) unspecified charge, here Doctor Manette dominates the scene by his active, alert mind, eloquent demeanour, and vigorous gesture, all features which Furniss contrasts with the Darwinian throwbacks in the jury-box behind the elderly physician. The most obvious difference between this and previous courtroom scenes is that Charles Darnay, typically the victim of institutionalised injustice, is nowhere to be seen, a deliberate omission through which Furniss creates the impression that it is now Darnay who is marginalised and powerless to affect the course of historical events in which he has been caught up. In this courtroom scene, moreover, even though Dickens has again provide a possible saviour and a possible solution (Doctor Manette here enacting the role previously taken by Sydney Carton in the Old Bailey trial, and the resolution involving the Doctor's accusation being an ingenious forgery), the posture of court, as epitomised by the ten savage, dull-witted, jurors and the curious but by no means sympathetic guard (left), is not tending towards acquittal. Thus, these subtleties in the illustration support the passage some twelve pages later in which the President of the court pronounces the accused "absolutely Dead in Law" at the very outset of the trial.
As foreshadowing Manette's crucial testimony against the Evrémondes in the letter hidden all those years in cell 105, North Tower, the Bastille, the illustration rightly shifts attention from the accused to the victims of his family's oppression. Written in the eleventh year of Manette's imprison, the letter found by Defarge is exhibited in court, as in John MacLenan's serial illustration in Harper's Weekly, 29 October 1859, This is that written paper!" as documentary evidence of the sins of the fathers. The contents of the manuscript, read before the court, unleash a tidal wave of antipathy against Darnay that the Doctor, despite his status as a survivor of nearly two decades in the Bastille, is powerless to stem. Although his intervention and eloquence at the previous trial had been sufficient to secure Darnay's acquittal, as the "heretofore" Marquis St. Evrémonde Charles is by birth a marked enemy of the Revolution. Thus, although the illustration seems to offer the reader hope that Darnay will again escape the clutches of the Defarges, the slightly crazed expression of the Doctor's face reminds the reader of his ordeal as a victim of the injustice of the ancien régime and its lettres de cachet, an injustice that prompted him to curse all members of the family who had oppressed him, murdered, and raped — and through their position of privilege had never been called to account for their vicious crimes. Furniss thereby introduces a secondary source of suspense as the reader, studying the illustration before encountering the trial scene in the text, wonders whether Doctor Manette will be able to endure the emotional strain of a second trial in as many days.
Whereas Fred Barnard in his frontispiece, The Trial of Evremonde,had rightly pointed towards this scene as crucial to the final action of the novel, the Household Edition illustrator in 1874 had in fact not telegraphed the outcome of the trial, let alone (as in Eytinge's frontispiece Sydney Carton and the Seamstress) that Carton would somehow substitute himself for Darnay at the eleventh hour — a deus-ex-machina known throughout the English-speaking world within months of the novel's final serial instalments on both sides of the Atlantic.
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Last modified 30 December 2013