Chapter 6: The Shoemaker
The man making the shoes in the garret of the wine shop is Dr. Manette who
is preoccupied with his labor.
He has aged and is weakened by his long incarceration and perhaps does not even know that he has been released. When asked his name he responds ‘One hundred and five North Tower’. However, when Lucie approaches him there seems to be a spark of recognition, especially when he compares her hair to the two gold hairs he has kept tied in a cloth round his neck, this belonging to Lucie’s mother, and when she speaks the voice is familiar and it makes him weep when she embraces him.
M. Defarge and Mr. Lorry help Lucie and Dr. Manette leave the city for their
return back to England. Mr. Lorry wonders if the Doctor will be able to recall his former life.
Dickens hints that the life of prisoners in the Bastille was very harsh with
beatings and torture as standard practice.
After eighteen years of this torment the Doctor has suffered greatly and appears to have lost all sense of reality. Even though he is released from prison he is still in darkness and it is Lucie that brings light to his life through her golden hair and familiar voice. As they embrace, Dickens provides a descriptive passage of the white and gold hair together.
We also meet the Defarges who will be important characters of the
tale. M. Defarge is clearly a man of authority reprimanding Gaspard for writing ‘blood’ on the wall.
At this stage, he is described as good-humored showing kindness and loyalty
to Dr. Manette. We will note his development as the story evolves.
His presence is only surpassed by that of Mme. DeFarge who says little, but communicates her intent through coughs and facial expressions. She is a much more hardened character and seems disinterested in the plight of the Manettes which angers M. Defarge. She seems content to occupy herself with her dexterous knitting. There is an eerie calm about her and she gives the impression of being a very determined person, dangerous to cross.