In Book the Third, chapter 2 in A Tale of Two Cities, why does Mr. Lorry warn Dr. Manette against opening the blind?"Don't look!" cried Mr. Lorry, "Don't look out! Manette, for your life, don't...

In Book the Third, chapter 2 in A Tale of Two Cities, why does Mr. Lorry warn Dr. Manette against opening the blind?

"Don't look!" cried Mr. Lorry, "Don't look out! Manette, for your life, don't touch the blind."

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Book the Third, Chapter 2, Mr. Lorry is lodged in Tellson's Bank in France; this new location is the former house of "Monseigneur."  As Mr. Lorry sits in his rooms, he peers out of his window and sees,

...two great flambeaux, and, in the light of these, standing out in the open air, was a large grindstone:  a roughly mounted thing which appeared to have hurriedly been brought there from some neighboring smith, or other workshop.

From the streets Mr. Lorry hears the usual sounds, but there is also

an indescribable ring in it, weird and unearthly, as if some unwonted sounds of a terrible nature were going up to Heaven.

Having realized what the sights and sounds outside the lattice blind are, Mr. Lorry cautions Dr. Manette not to open the blinds and look out.  For, he does not want the prisoner of the North Tower to relive any of his dreadful memories, nor does he wish for the doctor to be aware that the guillotine is severing the heads of the aristocracy.  Blades and knives and such are being sharpened on the bloodied grindstone, as well--a horrific sight.

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A Tale of Two Cities

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