Saturday, 14 April 2012


Dr Manette: famously oppressed by the ancien regime, takes refuge psychologically in making shoes. Honest work, you see. I wonder if Dickens was influenced by Carlyle's account [French Revolution, I:4:4] of the Abbé Maury, shifty churchman and writer, apologist for Louis who escaped the tumbrils and fled the country? He 'vamped' himself a bishop's hat, and 'vamped up' the authority of the regime.
Mark also the Abbé Maury?: his broad bold face; mouth accurately primmed; full eyes, that ray out intelligence, falsehood, — the sort of sophistry which is astonished you should find it sophistical. Skilfulest vamper-up of old rotten leather, to make it look like new; always a rising man; he used to tell Mercier?, "You will see; I shall be in the Academy before you." Likely indeed, thou skilfullest Maury; nay thou shalt have a Cardinal's Hat, and plush and glory; but alas, also, in the longrun — mere oblivion, like the rest of us; and six feet of earth! What boots it, vamping rotten leather on these terms? Glorious in comparison is the livelihood thy good old Father earns, by making shoes, — one may hope, in a sufficient manner.
Maury's Dad was actually a shoemaker, too.

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