Infomotions, Inc.The Mystery Of Edwin Drood / Dickens, Charles



Author: Dickens, Charles
Title: The Mystery Of Edwin Drood
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): grewgious; crisparkle; durdles; jasper; rosa; miss twinkleton; sapsea; neville; twinkleton; cloisterham; datchery; edwin; drood; edwin drood; minor canon; helena; canon; miss twinkleton's; neville landless; cathedral; english literature
Contributor(s): Eric Lease Morgan (Infomotions, Inc.)
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 94,756 words (short) Grade range: 8-11 (high school) Readability score: 64 (easy)
Identifier: dickens-mystery-636
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The Mystery of Edwin Drood

by Charles Dickens

June, 1996  [Etext #564]

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The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens
Scanned and proofed by David Price
ccx074@coventry.ac.uk

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

CHAPTER I - THE DAWN

AN ancient English Cathedral Tower?  How can the ancient English 
Cathedral tower be here!  The well-known massive gray square tower 
of its old Cathedral?  How can that be here!  There is no spike of 
rusty iron in the air, between the eye and it, from any point of 
the real prospect.  What is the spike that intervenes, and who has 
set it up?  Maybe it is set up by the Sultan's orders for the 
impaling of a horde of Turkish robbers, one by one.  It is so, for 
cymbals clash, and the Sultan goes by to his palace in long 
procession.  Ten thousand scimitars flash in the sunlight, and 
thrice ten thousand dancing-girls strew flowers.  Then, follow 
white elephants caparisoned in countless gorgeous colours, and 
infinite in number and attendants.  Still the Cathedral Tower rises 
in the background, where it cannot be, and still no writhing figure 
is on the grim spike.  Stay!  Is the spike so low a thing as the 
rusty spike on the top of a post of an old bedstead that has 
tumbled all awry?  Some vague period of drowsy laughter must be 
devoted to the consideration of this possibility.

Shaking from head to foot, the man whose scattered consciousness 
has thus fantastically pieced itself together, at length rises, 
supports his trembling frame upon his arms, and looks around.  He 
is in the meanest and closest of small rooms.  Through the ragged 
window-curtain, the light of early day steals in from a miserable 
court.  He lies, dressed, across a large unseemly bed, upon a 
bedstead that has indeed given way under the weight upon it. Lying, 
also dressed and also across the bed, not longwise, are a Chinaman, 
a Lascar, and a haggard woman.  The two first are in a sleep or 
stupor; the last is blowing at a kind of pipe, to kindle it.  And 
as she blows, and shading it with her lean hand, concentrates its 
red spark of light, it serves in the dim morning as a lamp to show 
him what he sees of her.

'Another?' says this woman, in a querulous, rattling whisper.  
'Have another?'

He looks about him, with his hand to his forehead.

'Ye've smoked as many as five since ye come in at midnight,' the 
woman goes on, as she chronically complains.  'Poor me, poor me, my 
head is so bad.  Them two come in after ye.  Ah, poor me, the 
business is slack, is slack!  Few Chinamen about the Docks, and 
fewer Lascars, and no ships coming in, these say!  Here's another 
ready for ye, deary.  Ye'll remember like a good soul, won't ye, 
that the market price is dreffle high just now?  More nor three 
shillings and sixpence for a thimbleful!  And ye'll remember that 
nobody but me (and Jack Chinaman t'other side the court; but he 
can't do it as well as me) has the true secret of mixing it?  Ye'll 
pay up accordingly, deary, won't ye?'

She blows at the pipe as she speaks, and, occasionally bubbling at 
it, inhales much of its contents.

'O me, O me, my lungs is weak, my lungs is bad!  It's nearly ready 
for ye, deary.  Ah, poor me, poor me, my poor hand shakes like to 
drop off!  I see ye coming-to, and I ses to my poor self, "I'll 
have another ready for him, and he'll bear in mind the market price 
of opium, and pay according."  O my poor head!  I makes my pipes of 
old penny ink-bottles, ye see, deary - this is one - and I fits-in 
a mouthpiece, this way, and I takes my mixter out of this thimble 
with this little horn spoon; and so I fills, deary.  Ah, my poor 
nerves!  I got Heavens-hard drunk for sixteen year afore I took to 
this; but this don't hurt me, not to speak of.  And it takes away 
the hunger as well as wittles, deary.'

She hands him the nearly-emptied pipe, and sinks back, turning over 
on her face.

He rises unsteadily from the bed, lays the pipe upon the hearth-
stone, draws back the ragged curtain, and looks with repugnance at 
his three companions.  He notices that the woman has opium-smoked 
herself into a strange likeness of the Chinaman.  His form of 
cheek, eye, and temple, and his colour, are repeated in her.  Said 
Chinaman convulsively wrestles with one of his many Gods or Devils, 
perhaps, and snarls horribly.  The Lascar laughs and dribbles at 
the mouth.  The hostess is still.

'What visions can SHE have?' the waking man muses, as he turns her 
face towards him, and stands looking down at it.  'Visions of many 
butchers' shops, and public-houses, and much credit?  Of an 
increase of hideous customers, and this horrible bedstead set 
upright again, and this horrible court swept clean?  What can she 
rise to, under any quantity of opium, higher than that! - Eh?'

He bends down his ear, to listen to her mutterings.

'Unintelligible!'

As he watches the spasmodic shoots and darts that break out of her 
face and limbs, like fitful lightning out of a dark sky, some 
contagion in them seizes upon him:  insomuch that he has to 
withdraw himself to a lean arm-chair by the hearth - placed there, 
perhaps, for such emergencies - and to sit in it, holding tight, 
until he has got the better of this unclean spirit of imitation.

Then he comes back, pounces on the Chinaman, and seizing him with 
both hands by the throat, turns him violently on the bed.  The 
Chinaman clutches the aggressive hands, resists, gasps, and 
protests.

'What do you say?'

A watchful pause.

'Unintelligible!'

Slowly loosening his grasp as he listens to the incoherent jargon 
with an attentive frown, he turns to the Lascar and fairly drags 
him forth upon the floor.  As he falls, the Lascar starts into a 
half-risen attitude, glares with his eyes, lashes about him 
fiercely with his arms, and draws a phantom knife.  It then becomes 
apparent that the woman has taken possession of this knife, for 
safety's sake; for, she too starting up, and restraining and 
expostulating with him, the knife is visible in her dress, not in 
his, when they drowsily drop back, side by side.

There has been chattering and clattering enough between them, but 
to no purpose.  When any distinct word has been flung into the air, 
it has had no sense or sequence.  Wherefore 'unintelligible!' is 
again the comment of the watcher, made with some reassured nodding 
of his head, and a gloomy smile.  He then lays certain silver money 
on the table, finds his hat, gropes his way down the broken stairs, 
gives a good morning to some rat-ridden doorkeeper, in bed in a 
black hutch beneath the stairs, and passes out.

That same afternoon, the massive gray square tower of an old 
Cathedral rises before the sight of a jaded traveller.  The bells 
are going for daily vesper service, and he must needs attend it, 
one would say, from his haste to reach the open Cathedral door.  
The choir are getting on their sullied white robes, in a hurry, 
when he arrives among them, gets on his own robe, and falls into 
the procession filing in to service.  Then, the Sacristan locks the 
iron-barred gates that divide the sanctuary from the chancel, and 
all of the procession having scuttled into their places, hide their 
faces; and then the intoned words, 'WHEN THE WICKED MAN - ' rise 
among groins of arches and beams of roof, awakening muttered 
thunder.

CHAPTER II - A DEAN, AND A CHAPTER ALSO

WHOSOEVER has observed that sedate and clerical bird, the rook, may 
perhaps have noticed that when he wings his way homeward towards 
nightfall, in a sedate and clerical company, two rooks will 
suddenly detach themselves from the rest, will retrace their flight 
for some distance, and will there poise and linger; conveying to 
mere men the fancy that it is of some occult importance to the body 
politic, that this artful couple should pretend to have renounced 
connection with it.

Similarly, service being over in the old Cathedral with the square 
tower, and the choir scuffling out again, and divers venerable 
persons of rook-like aspect dispersing, two of these latter retrace 
their steps, and walk together in the echoing Close.

Not only is the day waning, but the year.  The low sun is fiery and 
yet cold behind the monastery ruin, and the Virginia creeper on the 
Cathedral wall has showered half its deep-red leaves down on the 
pavement.  There has been rain this afternoon, and a wintry shudder 
goes among the little pools on the cracked, uneven flag-stones, and 
through the giant elm-trees as they shed a gust of tears.  Their 
fallen leaves lie strewn thickly about.  Some of these leaves, in a 
timid rush, seek sanctuary within the low arched Cathedral door; 
but two men coming out resist them, and cast them forth again with 
their feet; this done, one of the two locks the door with a goodly 
key, and the other flits away with a folio music-book.

'Mr. Jasper was that, Tope?'

'Yes, Mr. Dean.'

'He has stayed late.'

'Yes, Mr. Dean.  I have stayed for him, your Reverence.  He has 
been took a little poorly.'

'Say "taken," Tope - to the Dean,' the younger rook interposes in a 
low tone with this touch of correction, as who should say:  'You 
may offer bad grammar to the laity, or the humbler clergy, not to 
the Dean.'

Mr. Tope, Chief Verger and Showman, and accustomed to be high with 
excursion parties, declines with a silent loftiness to perceive 
that any suggestion has been tendered to him.

'And when and how has Mr. Jasper been taken - for, as Mr. 
Crisparkle has remarked, it is better to say taken - taken - ' 
repeats the Dean; 'when and how has Mr. Jasper been Taken - '

'Taken, sir,' Tope deferentially murmurs.

' - Poorly, Tope?'

'Why, sir, Mr. Jasper was that breathed - '

'I wouldn't say "That breathed," Tope,' Mr. Crisparkle interposes 
with the same touch as before.  'Not English - to the Dean.'

'Breathed to that extent,' the Dean (not unflattered by this 
indirect homage) condescendingly remarks, 'would be preferable.'

'Mr. Jasper's breathing was so remarkably short' - thus discreetly 
does Mr. Tope work his way round the sunken rock - 'when he came 
in, that it distressed him mightily to get his notes out:  which 
was perhaps the cause of his having a kind of fit on him after a 
little.  His memory grew DAZED.'  Mr. Tope, with his eyes on the 
Reverend Mr. Crisparkle, shoots this word out, as defying him to 
improve upon it:  'and a dimness and giddiness crept over him as 
strange as ever I saw:  though he didn't seem to mind it 
particularly, himself.  However, a little time and a little water 
brought him out of his DAZE.'  Mr. Tope repeats the word and its 
emphasis, with the air of saying:  'As I HAVE made a success, I'll 
make it again.'

'And Mr. Jasper has gone home quite himself, has he?' asked the 
Dean.

'Your Reverence, he has gone home quite himself.  And I'm glad to 
see he's having his fire kindled up, for it's chilly after the wet, 
and the Cathedral had both a damp feel and a damp touch this 
afternoon, and he was very shivery.'

They all three look towards an old stone gatehouse crossing the 
Close, with an arched thoroughfare passing beneath it.  Through its 
latticed window, a fire shines out upon the fast-darkening scene, 
involving in shadow the pendent masses of ivy and creeper covering 
the building's front.  As the deep Cathedral-bell strikes the hour, 
a ripple of wind goes through these at their distance, like a 
ripple of the solemn sound that hums through tomb and tower, broken 
niche and defaced statue, in the pile close at hand.

'Is Mr. Jasper's nephew with him?' the Dean asks.

'No, sir,' replied the Verger, 'but expected.  There's his own 
solitary shadow betwixt his two windows - the one looking this way, 
and the one looking down into the High Street - drawing his own 
curtains now.'

'Well, well,' says the Dean, with a sprightly air of breaking up 
the little conference, 'I hope Mr. Jasper's heart may not be too 
much set upon his nephew.  Our affections, however laudable, in 
this transitory world, should never master us; we should guide 
them, guide them.  I find I am not disagreeably reminded of my 
dinner, by hearing my dinner-bell.  Perhaps, Mr. Crisparkle, you 
will, before going home, look in on Jasper?'

'Certainly, Mr. Dean.  And tell him that you had the kindness to 
desire to know how he was?'

'Ay; do so, do so.  Certainly.  Wished to know how he was.  By all 
means.  Wished to know how he was.'

With a pleasant air of patronage, the Dean as nearly cocks his 
quaint hat as a Dean in good spirits may, and directs his comely 
gaiters towards the ruddy dining-room of the snug old red-brick 
house where he is at present, 'in residence' with Mrs. Dean and 
Miss Dean.

Mr. Crisparkle, Minor Canon, fair and rosy, and perpetually 
pitching himself head-foremost into all the deep running water in 
the surrounding country; Mr. Crisparkle, Minor Canon, early riser, 
musical, classical, cheerful, kind, good-natured, social, 
contented, and boy-like; Mr. Crisparkle, Minor Canon and good man, 
lately 'Coach' upon the chief Pagan high roads, but since promoted 
by a patron (grateful for a well-taught son) to his present 
Christian beat; betakes himself to the gatehouse, on his way home 
to his early tea.

'Sorry to hear from Tope that you have not been well, Jasper.'

'O, it was nothing, nothing!'

'You look a little worn.'

'Do I?  O, I don't think so.  What is better, I don't feel so.  
Tope has made too much of it, I suspect.  It's his trade to make 
the most of everything appertaining to the Cathedral, you know.'

'I may tell the Dean - I call expressly from the Dean - that you 
are all right again?'

The reply, with a slight smile, is:  'Certainly; with my respects 
and thanks to the Dean.'

'I'm glad to hear that you expect young Drood.'

'I expect the dear fellow every moment.'

'Ah!  He will do you more good than a doctor, Jasper.'

'More good than a dozen doctors.  For I love him dearly, and I 
don't love doctors, or doctors' stuff.'

Mr. Jasper is a dark man of some six-and-twenty, with thick, 
lustrous, well-arranged black hair and whiskers.  He looks older 
than he is, as dark men often do.  His voice is deep and good, his 
face and figure are good, his manner is a little sombre.  His room 
is a little sombre, and may have had its influence in forming his 
manner.  It is mostly in shadow.  Even when the sun shines 
brilliantly, it seldom touches the grand piano in the recess, or 
the folio music-books on the stand, or the book-shelves on the 
wall, or the unfinished picture of a blooming schoolgirl hanging 
over the chimneypiece; her flowing brown hair tied with a blue 
riband, and her beauty remarkable for a quite childish, almost 
babyish, touch of saucy discontent, comically conscious of itself.  
(There is not the least artistic merit in this picture, which is a 
mere daub; but it is clear that the painter has made it humorously 
- one might almost say, revengefully - like the original.)

'We shall miss you, Jasper, at the "Alternate Musical Wednesdays" 
to-night; but no doubt you are best at home.  Good-night.  God 
bless you!  "Tell me, shep-herds, te-e-ell me; tell me-e-e, have 
you seen (have you seen, have you seen, have you seen) my-y-y Flo-
o-ora-a pass this way!"'  Melodiously good Minor Canon the Reverend 
Septimus Crisparkle thus delivers himself, in musical rhythm, as he 
withdraws his amiable face from the doorway and conveys it down-
stairs.

Sounds of recognition and greeting pass between the Reverend 
Septimus and somebody else, at the stair-foot.  Mr. Jasper listens, 
starts from his chair, and catches a young fellow in his arms, 
exclaiming:

'My dear Edwin!'

'My dear Jack!  So glad to see you!'

'Get off your greatcoat, bright boy, and sit down here in your own 
corner.  Your feet are not wet?  Pull your boots off.  Do pull your 
boots off.'

'My dear Jack, I am as dry as a bone.  Don't moddley-coddley, 
there's a good fellow.  I like anything better than being moddley-
coddleyed.'

With the check upon him of being unsympathetically restrained in a 
genial outburst of enthusiasm, Mr. Jasper stands still, and looks 
on intently at the young fellow, divesting himself of his outward 
coat, hat, gloves, and so forth.  Once for all, a look of 
intentness and intensity - a look of hungry, exacting, watchful, 
and yet devoted affection - is always, now and ever afterwards, on 
the Jasper face whenever the Jasper face is addressed in this 
direction.  And whenever it is so addressed, it is never, on this 
occasion or on any other, dividedly addressed; it is always 
concentrated.

'Now I am right, and now I'll take my corner, Jack.  Any dinner, 
Jack?'

Mr. Jasper opens a door at the upper end of the room, and discloses 
a small inner room pleasantly lighted and prepared, wherein a 
comely dame is in the act of setting dishes on table.

'What a jolly old Jack it is!' cries the young fellow, with a clap 
of his hands.  'Look here, Jack; tell me; whose birthday is it?'

'Not yours, I know,' Mr. Jasper answers, pausing to consider.

'Not mine, you know?  No; not mine, I know!  Pussy's!'

Fixed as the look the young fellow meets, is, there is yet in it 
some strange power of suddenly including the sketch over the 
chimneypiece.

'Pussy's, Jack!  We must drink Many happy returns to her.  Come, 
uncle; take your dutiful and sharp-set nephew in to dinner.'

As the boy (for he is little more) lays a hand on Jasper's 
shoulder, Jasper cordially and gaily lays a hand on HIS shoulder, 
and so Marseillaise-wise they go in to dinner.

'And, Lord! here's Mrs. Tope!' cries the boy.  'Lovelier than 
ever!'

'Never you mind me, Master Edwin,' retorts the Verger's wife; 'I 
can take care of myself.'

'You can't.  You're much too handsome.  Give me a kiss because it's 
Pussy's birthday.'

'I'd Pussy you, young man, if I was Pussy, as you call her,' Mrs. 
Tope blushingly retorts, after being saluted.  'Your uncle's too 
much wrapt up in you, that's where it is.  He makes so much of you, 
that it's my opinion you think you've only to call your Pussys by 
the dozen, to make 'em come.'

'You forget, Mrs. Tope,' Mr. Jasper interposes, taking his place at 
the table with a genial smile, 'and so do you, Ned, that Uncle and 
Nephew are words prohibited here by common consent and express 
agreement.  For what we are going to receive His holy name be 
praised!'

'Done like the Dean!  Witness, Edwin Drood!  Please to carve, Jack, 
for I can't.'

This sally ushers in the dinner.  Little to the present purpose, or 
to any purpose, is said, while it is in course of being disposed 
of.  At length the cloth is drawn, and a dish of walnuts and a 
decanter of rich-coloured sherry are placed upon the table.

'I say!  Tell me, Jack,' the young fellow then flows on:  'do you 
really and truly feel as if the mention of our relationship divided 
us at all?  I don't.'

'Uncles as a rule, Ned, are so much older than their nephews,' is 
the reply, 'that I have that feeling instinctively.'

'As a rule!  Ah, may-be!  But what is a difference in age of half-
a-dozen years or so? And some uncles, in large families, are even 
younger than their nephews.  By George, I wish it was the case with 
us!'

'Why?'

'Because if it was, I'd take the lead with you, Jack, and be as 
wise as Begone, dull Care! that turned a young man gray, and 
Begone, dull Care! that turned an old man to clay. - Halloa, Jack!  
Don't drink.'

'Why not?'

'Asks why not, on Pussy's birthday, and no Happy returns proposed!  
Pussy, Jack, and many of 'em!  Happy returns, I mean.'

Laying an affectionate and laughing touch on the boy's extended 
hand, as if it were at once his giddy head and his light heart, Mr. 
Jasper drinks the toast in silence.

'Hip, hip, hip, and nine times nine, and one to finish with, and 
all that, understood.  Hooray, hooray, hooray! - And now, Jack, 
let's have a little talk about Pussy.  Two pairs of nut-crackers?  
Pass me one, and take the other.'  Crack.  'How's Pussy getting on 
Jack?'

'With her music?  Fairly.'

'What a dreadfully conscientious fellow you are, Jack!  But I know, 
Lord bless you!  Inattentive, isn't she?'

'She can learn anything, if she will.'

'IF she will!  Egad, that's it.  But if she won't?'

Crack! - on Mr. Jasper's part.

'How's she looking, Jack?'

Mr. Jasper's concentrated face again includes the portrait as he 
returns:  'Very like your sketch indeed.'

'I AM a little proud of it,' says the young fellow, glancing up at 
the sketch with complacency, and then shutting one eye, and taking 
a corrected prospect of it over a level bridge of nut-crackers in 
the air:  'Not badly hit off from memory.  But I ought to have 
caught that expression pretty well, for I have seen it often 
enough.'

Crack! - on Edwin Drood's part.

Crack! - on Mr. Jasper's part.

'In point of fact,' the former resumes, after some silent dipping 
among his fragments of walnut with an air of pique, 'I see it 
whenever I go to see Pussy.  If I don't find it on her face, I 
leave it there. - You know I do, Miss Scornful Pert.  Booh!'  With 
a twirl of the nut-crackers at the portrait.

Crack! crack! crack.  Slowly, on Mr. Jasper's part.

Crack.  Sharply on the part of Edwin Drood.

Silence on both sides.

'Have you lost your tongue, Jack?'

'Have you found yours, Ned?'

'No, but really; - isn't it, you know, after all - '

Mr. Jasper lifts his dark eyebrows inquiringly.

'Isn't it unsatisfactory to be cut off from choice in such a 
matter?  There, Jack!  I tell you!  If I could choose, I would 
choose Pussy from all the pretty girls in the world.'

'But you have not got to choose.'

'That's what I complain of.  My dead and gone father and Pussy's 
dead and gone father must needs marry us together by anticipation.  
Why the - Devil, I was going to say, if it had been respectful to 
their memory - couldn't they leave us alone?'

'Tut, tut, dear boy,' Mr. Jasper remonstrates, in a tone of gentle 
deprecation.

'Tut, tut?  Yes, Jack, it's all very well for YOU.  YOU can take it 
easily.  YOUR life is not laid down to scale, and lined and dotted 
out for you, like a surveyor's plan.  YOU have no uncomfortable 
suspicion that you are forced upon anybody, nor has anybody an 
uncomfortable suspicion that she is forced upon you, or that you 
are forced upon her.  YOU can choose for yourself.  Life, for YOU, 
is a plum with the natural bloom on; it hasn't been over-carefully 
wiped off for YOU - '

'Don't stop, dear fellow.  Go on.'

'Can I anyhow have hurt your feelings, Jack?'

'How can you have hurt my feelings?'

'Good Heaven, Jack, you look frightfully ill!  There's a strange 
film come over your eyes.'

Mr. Jasper, with a forced smile, stretches out his right hand, as 
if at once to disarm apprehension and gain time to get better.  
After a while he says faintly:

'I have been taking opium for a pain - an agony - that sometimes 
overcomes me.  The effects of the medicine steal over me like a 
blight or a cloud, and pass.  You see them in the act of passing; 
they will be gone directly.  Look away from me.  They will go all 
the sooner.'

With a scared face the younger man complies by casting his eyes 
downward at the ashes on the hearth.  Not relaxing his own gaze on 
the fire, but rather strengthening it with a fierce, firm grip upon 
his elbow-chair, the elder sits for a few moments rigid, and then, 
with thick drops standing on his forehead, and a sharp catch of his 
breath, becomes as he was before.  On his so subsiding in his 
chair, his nephew gently and assiduously tends him while he quite 
recovers.  When Jasper is restored, he lays a tender hand upon his 
nephew's shoulder, and, in a tone of voice less troubled than the 
purport of his words - indeed with something of raillery or banter 
in  it - thus addresses him:

'There is said to be a hidden skeleton in every house; but you 
thought there was none in mine, dear Ned.'

'Upon my life, Jack, I did think so.  However, when I come to 
consider that even in Pussy's house - if she had one - and in mine 
- if I had one - '

'You were going to say (but that I interrupted you in spite of 
myself) what a quiet life mine is.  No whirl and uproar around me, 
no distracting commerce or calculation, no risk, no change of 
place, myself devoted to the art I pursue, my business my 
pleasure.'

'I really was going to say something of the kind, Jack; but you 
see, you, speaking of yourself, almost necessarily leave out much 
that I should have put in.  For instance:  I should have put in the 
foreground your being so much respected as Lay Precentor, or Lay 
Clerk, or whatever you call it, of this Cathedral; your enjoying 
the reputation of having done such wonders with the choir; your 
choosing your society, and holding such an independent position in 
this queer old place; your gift of teaching (why, even Pussy, who 
don't like being taught, says there never was such a Master as you 
are!), and your connexion.'

'Yes; I saw what you were tending to.  I hate it.'

'Hate it, Jack?'  (Much bewildered.)

'I hate it.  The cramped monotony of my existence grinds me away by 
the grain.  How does our service sound to you?'

'Beautiful!  Quite celestial!'

'It often sounds to me quite devilish.  I am so weary of it.  The 
echoes of my own voice among the arches seem to mock me with my 
daily drudging round.  No wretched monk who droned his life away in 
that gloomy place, before me, can have been more tired of it than I 
am.  He could take for relief (and did take) to carving demons out 
of the stalls and seats and desks.  What shall I do?  Must I take 
to carving them out of my heart?'

'I thought you had so exactly found your niche in life, Jack,' 
Edwin Drood returns, astonished, bending forward in his chair to 
lay a sympathetic hand on Jasper's knee, and looking at him with an 
anxious face.

'I know you thought so.  They all think so.'

'Well, I suppose they do,' says Edwin, meditating aloud.  'Pussy 
thinks so.'

'When did she tell you that?'

'The last time I was here.  You remember when.  Three months ago.'

'How did she phrase it?'

'O, she only said that she had become your pupil, and that you were 
made for your vocation.'

The younger man glances at the portrait.  The elder sees it in him.

'Anyhow, my dear Ned,' Jasper resumes, as he shakes his head with a 
grave cheerfulness, 'I must subdue myself to my vocation:  which is 
much the same thing outwardly.  It's too late to find another now.  
This is a confidence between us.'

'It shall be sacredly preserved, Jack.'

'I have reposed it in you, because - '

'I feel it, I assure you.  Because we are fast friends, and because 
you love and trust me, as I love and trust you.  Both hands, Jack.'

As each stands looking into the other's eyes, and as the uncle 
holds the nephew's hands, the uncle thus proceeds:

'You know now, don't you, that even a poor monotonous chorister and 
grinder of music - in his niche - may be troubled with some stray 
sort of ambition, aspiration, restlessness, dissatisfaction, what 
shall we call it?'

'Yes, dear Jack.'

'And you will remember?'

'My dear Jack, I only ask you, am I likely to forget what you have 
said with so much feeling?'

'Take it as a warning, then.'

In the act of having his hands released, and of moving a step back, 
Edwin pauses for an instant to consider the application of these 
last words.  The instant over, he says, sensibly touched:

'I am afraid I am but a shallow, surface kind of fellow, Jack, and 
that my headpiece is none of the best.  But I needn't say I am 
young; and perhaps I shall not grow worse as I grow older.  At all 
events, I hope I have something impressible within me, which feels 
- deeply feels - the disinterestedness of your painfully laying 
your inner self bare, as a warning to me.'

Mr. Jasper's steadiness of face and figure becomes so marvellous 
that his breathing seems to have stopped.

'I couldn't fail to notice, Jack, that it cost you a great effort, 
and that you were very much moved, and very unlike your usual self.  
Of course I knew that you were extremely fond of me, but I really 
was not prepared for your, as I may say, sacrificing yourself to me 
in that way.'

Mr. Jasper, becoming a breathing man again without the smallest 
stage of transition between the two extreme states, lifts his 
shoulders, laughs, and waves his right arm.

'No; don't put the sentiment away, Jack; please don't; for I am 
very much in earnest.  I have no doubt that that unhealthy state of 
mind which you have so powerfully described is attended with some 
real suffering, and is hard to bear.  But let me reassure you, 
Jack, as to the chances of its overcoming me.  I don't think I am 
in the way of it.  In some few months less than another year, you 
know, I shall carry Pussy off from school as Mrs. Edwin Drood.  I 
shall then go engineering into the East, and Pussy with me.  And 
although we have our little tiffs now, arising out of a certain 
unavoidable flatness that attends our love-making, owing to its end 
being all settled beforehand, still I have no doubt of our getting 
on capitally then, when it's done and can't be helped.  In short, 
Jack, to go back to the old song I was freely quoting at dinner 
(and who knows old songs better than you?), my wife shall dance, 
and I will sing, so merrily pass the day.  Of Pussy's being 
beautiful there cannot be a doubt; - and when you are good besides, 
Little Miss Impudence,' once more apostrophising the portrait, 
'I'll burn your comic likeness, and paint your music-master 
another.'

Mr. Jasper, with his hand to his chin, and with an expression of 
musing benevolence on his face, has attentively watched every 
animated look and gesture attending the delivery of these words.  
He remains in that attitude after they, are spoken, as if in a kind 
of fascination attendant on his strong interest in the youthful 
spirit that he loves so well.  Then he says with a quiet smile:

'You won't be warned, then?'

'No, Jack.'

'You can't be warned, then?'

'No, Jack, not by you.  Besides that I don't really consider myself 
in danger, I don't like your putting yourself in that position.'

'Shall we go and walk in the churchyard?'

'By all means.  You won't mind my slipping out of it for half a 
moment to the Nuns' House, and leaving a parcel there?  Only gloves 
for Pussy; as many pairs of gloves as she is years old to-day.  
Rather poetical, Jack?'

Mr. Jasper, still in the same attitude, murmurs:  '"Nothing half so 
sweet in life," Ned!'

'Here's the parcel in my greatcoat-pocket.  They must be presented 
to-night, or the poetry is gone.  It's against regulations for me 
to call at night, but not to leave a packet.  I am ready, Jack!'

Mr. Jasper dissolves his attitude, and they go out together.

CHAPTER III - THE NUNS' HOUSE

FOR sufficient reasons, which this narrative will itself unfold as 
it advances, a fictitious name must be bestowed upon the old 
Cathedral town.  Let it stand in these pages as Cloisterham.  It 
was once possibly known to the Druids by another name, and 
certainly to the Romans by another, and to the Saxons by another, 
and to the Normans by another; and a name more or less in the 
course of many centuries can be of little moment to its dusty 
chronicles.

An ancient city, Cloisterham, and no meet dwelling-place for any 
one with hankerings after the noisy world.  A monotonous, silent 
city, deriving an earthy flavour throughout from its Cathedral 
crypt, and so abounding in vestiges of monastic graves, that the 
Cloisterham children grow small salad in the dust of abbots and 
abbesses, and make dirt-pies of nuns and friars; while every 
ploughman in its outlying fields renders to once puissant Lord 
Treasurers, Archbishops, Bishops, and such-like, the attention 
which the Ogre in the story-book desired to render to his unbidden 
visitor, and grinds their bones to make his bread.

A drowsy city, Cloisterham, whose inhabitants seem to suppose, with 
an inconsistency more strange than rare, that all its changes lie 
behind it, and that there are no more to come.  A queer moral to 
derive from antiquity, yet older than any traceable antiquity.  So 
silent are the streets of Cloisterham (though prone to echo on the 
smallest provocation), that of a summer-day the sunblinds of its 
shops scarce dare to flap in the south wind; while the sun-browned 
tramps, who pass along and stare, quicken their limp a little, that 
they may the sooner get beyond the confines of its oppressive 
respectability.  This is a feat not difficult of achievement, 
seeing that the streets of Cloisterham city are little more than 
one narrow street by which you get into it and get out of it:  the 
rest being mostly disappointing yards with pumps in them and no 
thoroughfare - exception made of the Cathedral-close, and a paved 
Quaker settlement, in colour and general confirmation very like a 
Quakeress's bonnet, up in a shady corner.

In a word, a city of another and a bygone time is Cloisterham, with 
its hoarse Cathedral-bell, its hoarse rooks hovering about the 
Cathedral tower, its hoarser and less distinct rooks in the stalls 
far beneath.  Fragments of old wall, saint's chapel, chapter-house, 
convent and monastery, have got incongruously or obstructively 
built into many of its houses and gardens, much as kindred jumbled 
notions have become incorporated into many of its citizens' minds.  
All things in it are of the past.  Even its single pawnbroker takes 
in no pledges, nor has he for a long time, but offers vainly an 
unredeemed stock for sale, of which the costlier articles are dim 
and pale old watches apparently in a slow perspiration, tarnished 
sugar-tongs with ineffectual legs, and odd volumes of dismal books.  
The most abundant and the most agreeable evidences of progressing 
life in Cloisterham are the evidences of vegetable life in many 
gardens; even its drooping and despondent little theatre has its 
poor strip of garden, receiving the foul fiend, when he ducks from 
its stage into the infernal regions, among scarlet-beans or oyster-
shells, according to the season of the year.

In the midst of Cloisterham stands the Nuns' House:  a venerable 
brick edifice, whose present appellation is doubtless derived from 
the legend of its conventual uses.  On the trim gate enclosing its 
old courtyard is a resplendent brass plate flashing forth the 
legend:  'Seminary for Young Ladies.  Miss Twinkleton.'  The house-
front is so old and worn, and the brass plate is so shining and 
staring, that the general result has reminded imaginative strangers 
of a battered old beau with a large modern eye-glass stuck in his 
blind eye.

Whether the nuns of yore, being of a submissive rather than a 
stiff-necked generation, habitually bent their contemplative heads 
to avoid collision with the beams in the low ceilings of the many 
chambers of their House; whether they sat in its long low windows 
telling their beads for their mortification, instead of making 
necklaces of them for their adornment; whether they were ever 
walled up alive in odd angles and jutting gables of the building 
for having some ineradicable leaven of busy mother Nature in them 
which has kept the fermenting world alive ever since; these may be 
matters of interest to its haunting ghosts (if any), but constitute 
no item in Miss Twinkleton's half-yearly accounts.  They are 
neither of Miss Twinkleton's inclusive regulars, nor of her extras.  
The lady who undertakes the poetical department of the 
establishment at so much (or so little) a quarter has no pieces in 
her list of recitals bearing on such unprofitable questions.

As, in some cases of drunkenness, and in others of animal 
magnetism, there are two states of consciousness which never clash, 
but each of which pursues its separate course as though it were 
continuous instead of broken (thus, if I hide my watch when I am 
drunk, I must be drunk again before I can remember where), so Miss 
Twinkleton has two distinct and separate phases of being.  Every 
night, the moment the young ladies have retired to rest, does Miss 
Twinkleton smarten up her curls a little, brighten up her eyes a 
little, and become a sprightlier Miss Twinkleton than the young 
ladies have ever seen.  Every night, at the same hour, does Miss 
Twinkleton resume the topics of the previous night, comprehending 
the tenderer scandal of Cloisterham, of which she has no knowledge 
whatever by day, and references to a certain season at Tunbridge 
Wells (airily called by Miss Twinkleton in this state of her 
existence 'The Wells'), notably the season wherein a certain 
finished gentleman (compassionately called by Miss Twinkleton, in 
this stage of her existence, 'Foolish Mr. Porters') revealed a 
homage of the heart, whereof Miss Twinkleton, in her scholastic 
state of existence, is as ignorant as a granite pillar.  Miss 
Twinkleton's companion in both states of existence, and equally 
adaptable to either, is one Mrs. Tisher:  a deferential widow with 
a weak back, a chronic sigh, and a suppressed voice, who looks 
after the young ladies' wardrobes, and leads them to infer that she 
has seen better days.  Perhaps this is the reason why it is an 
article of faith with the servants, handed down from race to race, 
that the departed Tisher was a hairdresser.

The pet pupil of the Nuns' House is Miss Rosa Bud, of course called 
Rosebud; wonderfully pretty, wonderfully childish, wonderfully 
whimsical.  An awkward interest (awkward because romantic) attaches 
to Miss Bud in the minds of the young ladies, on account of its 
being known to them that a husband has been chosen for her by will 
and bequest, and that her guardian is bound down to bestow her on 
that husband when he comes of age.  Miss Twinkleton, in her 
seminarial state of existence, has combated the romantic aspect of 
this destiny by affecting to shake her head over it behind Miss 
Bud's dimpled shoulders, and to brood on the unhappy lot of that 
doomed little victim.  But with no better effect - possibly some 
unfelt touch of foolish Mr. Porters has undermined the endeavour - 
than to evoke from the young ladies an unanimous bedchamber cry of 
'O, what a pretending old thing Miss Twinkleton is, my dear!'

The Nuns' House is never in such a state of flutter as when this 
allotted husband calls to see little Rosebud.  (It is unanimously 
understood by the young ladies that he is lawfully entitled to this 
privilege, and that if Miss Twinkleton disputed it, she would be 
instantly taken up and transported.)  When his ring at the gate-
bell is expected, or takes place, every young lady who can, under 
any pretence, look out of window, looks out of window; while every 
young lady who is 'practising,' practises out of time; and the 
French class becomes so demoralised that the mark goes round as 
briskly as the bottle at a convivial party in the last century.

On the afternoon of the day next after the dinner of two at the 
gatehouse, the bell is rung with the usual fluttering results.

'Mr. Edwin Drood to see Miss Rosa.'

This is the announcement of the parlour-maid in chief.  Miss 
Twinkleton, with an exemplary air of melancholy on her, turns to 
the sacrifice, and says, 'You may go down, my dear.'  Miss Bud goes 
down, followed by all eyes.

Mr. Edwin Drood is waiting in Miss Twinkleton's own parlour:  a 
dainty room, with nothing more directly scholastic in it than a 
terrestrial and a celestial globe.  These expressive machines imply 
(to parents and guardians) that even when Miss Twinkleton retires 
into the bosom of privacy, duty may at any moment compel her to 
become a sort of Wandering Jewess, scouring the earth and soaring 
through the skies in search of knowledge for her pupils.

The last new maid, who has never seen the young gentleman Miss Rosa 
is engaged to, and who is making his acquaintance between the 
hinges of the open door, left open for the purpose, stumbles 
guiltily down the kitchen stairs, as a charming little apparition, 
with its face concealed by a little silk apron thrown over its 
head, glides into the parlour.

'O! IT IS so ridiculous!' says the apparition, stopping and 
shrinking.  'Don't, Eddy!'

'Don't what, Rosa?'

'Don't come any nearer, please.  It IS so absurd.'

'What is absurd, Rosa?'

'The whole thing is.  It IS so absurd to be an engaged orphan and 
it IS so absurd to have the girls and the servants scuttling about 
after one, like mice in the wainscot; and it IS so absurd to be 
called upon!'

The apparition appears to have a thumb in the corner of its mouth 
while making this complaint.

'You give me an affectionate reception, Pussy, I must say.'

'Well, I will in a minute, Eddy, but I can't just yet.  How are 
you?' (very shortly.)

'I am unable to reply that I am much the better for seeing you, 
Pussy, inasmuch as I see nothing of you.'

This second remonstrance brings a dark, bright, pouting eye out 
from a corner of the apron; but it swiftly becomes invisible again, 
as the apparition exclaims:  'O good gracious! you have had half 
your hair cut off!'

'I should have done better to have had my head cut off, I think,' 
says Edwin, rumpling the hair in question, with a fierce glance at 
the looking-glass, and giving an impatient stamp.  'Shall I go?'

'No; you needn't go just yet, Eddy.  The girls would all be asking 
questions why you went.'

'Once for all, Rosa, will you uncover that ridiculous little head 
of yours and give me a welcome?'

The apron is pulled off the childish head, as its wearer replies:  
'You're very welcome, Eddy.  There! I'm sure that's nice.  Shake 
hands.  No, I can't kiss you, because I've got an acidulated drop 
in my mouth.'

'Are you at all glad to see me, Pussy?'

'O, yes, I'm dreadfully glad. - Go and sit down. - Miss 
Twinkleton.'

It is the custom of that excellent lady when these visits occur, to 
appear every three minutes, either in her own person or in that of 
Mrs. Tisher, and lay an offering on the shrine of Propriety by 
affecting to look for some desiderated article.  On the present 
occasion Miss Twinkleton, gracefully gliding in and out, says in 
passing:  'How do you do, Mr. Drood?  Very glad indeed to have the 
pleasure.  Pray excuse me.  Tweezers.  Thank you!'

'I got the gloves last evening, Eddy, and I like them very much.  
They are beauties.'

'Well, that's something,' the affianced replies, half grumbling.  
'The smallest encouragement thankfully received.  And how did you 
pass your birthday, Pussy?'

'Delightfully!  Everybody gave me a present.  And we had a feast.  
And we had a ball at night.'

'A feast and a ball, eh?  These occasions seem to go off tolerably 
well without me, Pussy.'

'De-lightfully!' cries Rosa, in a quite spontaneous manner, and 
without the least pretence of reserve.

'Hah!  And what was the feast?'

'Tarts, oranges, jellies, and shrimps.'

'Any partners at the ball?'

'We danced with one another, of course, sir.  But some of the girls 
made game to be their brothers.  It WAS so droll!'

'Did anybody make game to be - '

'To be you?  O dear yes!' cries Rosa, laughing with great 
enjoyment.  'That was the first thing done.'

'I hope she did it pretty well,' says Edwin rather doubtfully.

'O, it was excellent! - I wouldn't dance with you, you know.'

Edwin scarcely seems to see the force of this; begs to know if he 
may take the liberty to ask why?

'Because I was so tired of you,' returns Rosa.  But she quickly 
adds, and pleadingly too, seeing displeasure in his face:  'Dear 
Eddy, you were just as tired of me, you know.'

'Did I say so, Rosa?'

'Say so!  Do you ever say so?  No, you only showed it.  O, she did 
it so well!' cries Rosa, in a sudden ecstasy with her counterfeit 
betrothed.

'It strikes me that she must be a devilish impudent girl,' says 
Edwin Drood.  'And so, Pussy, you have passed your last birthday in 
this old house.'

'Ah, yes!' Rosa clasps her hands, looks down with a sigh, and 
shakes her head.

'You seem to be sorry, Rosa.'

'I am sorry for the poor old place.  Somehow, I feel as if it would 
miss me, when I am gone so far away, so young.'

'Perhaps we had better stop short, Rosa?'

She looks up at him with a swift bright look; next moment shakes 
her head, sighs, and looks down again.

'That is to say, is it, Pussy, that we are both resigned?'

She nods her head again, and after a short silence, quaintly bursts 
out with:  'You know we must be married, and married from here, 
Eddy, or the poor girls will be so dreadfully disappointed!'

For the moment there is more of compassion, both for her and for 
himself, in her affianced husband's face, than there is of love.  
He checks the look, and asks:  'Shall I take you out for a walk, 
Rosa dear?'

Rosa dear does not seem at all clear on this point, until her face, 
which has been comically reflective, brightens.  'O, yes, Eddy; let 
us go for a walk!  And I tell you what we'll do.  You shall pretend 
that you are engaged to somebody else, and I'll pretend that I am 
not engaged to anybody, and then we shan't quarrel.'

'Do you think that will prevent our falling out, Rosa?'

'I know it will.  Hush!  Pretend to look out of window - Mrs. 
Tisher!'

Through a fortuitous concourse of accidents, the matronly Tisher 
heaves in sight, says, in rustling through the room like the 
legendary ghost of a dowager in silken skirts:  'I hope I see Mr. 
Drood well; though I needn't ask, if I may judge from his 
complexion.  I trust I disturb no one; but there WAS a paper-knife 
- O, thank you, I am sure!' and disappears with her prize.

'One other thing you must do, Eddy, to oblige me,' says Rosebud.  
'The moment we get into the street, you must put me outside, and 
keep close to the house yourself - squeeze and graze yourself 
against it.'

'By all means, Rosa, if you wish it.  Might I ask why?'

'O! because I don't want the girls to see you.'

'It's a fine day; but would you like me to carry an umbrella up?'

'Don't be foolish, sir.  You haven't got polished leather boots 
on,' pouting, with one shoulder raised.

'Perhaps that might escape the notice of the girls, even if they 
did see me,' remarks Edwin, looking down at his boots with a sudden 
distaste for them.

'Nothing escapes their notice, sir.  And then I know what would 
happen.  Some of them would begin reflecting on me by saying (for 
THEY are free) that they never will on any account engage 
themselves to lovers without polished leather boots.  Hark!  Miss 
Twinkleton.  I'll ask for leave.'

That discreet lady being indeed heard without, inquiring of nobody 
in a blandly conversational tone as she advances:  'Eh?  Indeed!  
Are you quite sure you saw my mother-of-pearl button-holder on the 
work-table in my room?' is at once solicited for walking leave, and 
graciously accords it.  And soon the young couple go out of the 
Nuns' House, taking all precautions against the discovery of the so 
vitally defective boots of Mr. Edwin Drood:  precautions, let us 
hope, effective for the peace of Mrs. Edwin Drood that is to be.

'Which way shall we take, Rosa?'

Rosa replies:  'I want to go to the Lumps-of-Delight shop.'

'To the - ?'

'A Turkish sweetmeat, sir.  My gracious me, don't you understand 
anything?  Call yourself an Engineer, and not know THAT?'

'Why, how should I know it, Rosa?'

'Because I am very fond of them.  But O! I forgot what we are to 
pretend.  No, you needn't know anything about them; never mind.'

So he is gloomily borne off to the Lumps-of-Delight shop, where 
Rosa makes her purchase, and, after offering some to him (which he 
rather indignantly declines), begins to partake of it with great 
zest:  previously taking off and rolling up a pair of little pink 
gloves, like rose-leaves, and occasionally putting her little pink 
fingers to her rosy lips, to cleanse them from the Dust of Delight 
that comes off the Lumps.

'Now, be a good-tempered Eddy, and pretend.  And so you are 
engaged?'

'And so I am engaged.'

'Is she nice?'

'Charming.'

'Tall?'

'Immensely tall!'  Rosa being short.

'Must be gawky, I should think,' is Rosa's quiet commentary.

'I beg your pardon; not at all,' contradiction rising in him.

'What is termed a fine woman; a splendid woman.'

'Big nose, no doubt,' is the quiet commentary again.

'Not a little one, certainly,' is the quick reply, (Rosa's being a 
little one.)

'Long pale nose, with a red knob in the middle.  I know the sort of 
nose,' says Rosa, with a satisfied nod, and tranquilly enjoying the 
Lumps.

'You DON'T know the sort of nose, Rosa,' with some warmth; 'because 
it's nothing of the kind.'

'Not a pale nose, Eddy?'

'No.'  Determined not to assent.

'A red nose?  O! I don't like red noses.  However; to be sure she 
can always powder it.'

'She would scorn to powder it,' says Edwin, becoming heated.

'Would she?  What a stupid thing she must be!  Is she stupid in 
everything?'

'No; in nothing.'

After a pause, in which the whimsically wicked face has not been 
unobservant of him, Rosa says:

'And this most sensible of creatures likes the idea of being 
carried off to Egypt; does she, Eddy?'

'Yes.  She takes a sensible interest in triumphs of engineering 
skill:  especially when they are to change the whole condition of 
an undeveloped country.'

'Lor!' says Rosa, shrugging her shoulders, with a little laugh of 
wonder.

'Do you object,' Edwin inquires, with a majestic turn of his eyes 
downward upon the fairy figure:  'do you object, Rosa, to her 
feeling that interest?'

'Object? my dear Eddy!  But really, doesn't she hate boilers and 
things?'

'I can answer for her not being so idiotic as to hate Boilers,' he 
returns with angry emphasis; 'though I cannot answer for her views 
about Things; really not understanding what Things are meant.'

'But don't she hate Arabs, and Turks, and Fellahs, and people?'

'Certainly not.'  Very firmly.

'At least she MUST hate the Pyramids?  Come, Eddy?'

'Why should she be such a little - tall, I mean - goose, as to hate 
the Pyramids, Rosa?'

'Ah! you should hear Miss Twinkleton,' often nodding her head, and 
much enjoying the Lumps, 'bore about them, and then you wouldn't 
ask.  Tiresome old burying-grounds!  Isises, and Ibises, and 
Cheopses, and Pharaohses; who cares about them?  And then there was 
Belzoni, or somebody, dragged out by the legs, half-choked with 
bats and dust.  All the girls say:  Serve him right, and hope it 
hurt him, and wish he had been quite choked.'

The two youthful figures, side by side, but not now arm-in-arm, 
wander discontentedly about the old Close; and each sometimes stops 
and slowly imprints a deeper footstep in the fallen leaves.

'Well!' says Edwin, after a lengthy silence.  'According to custom.  
We can't get on, Rosa.'

Rosa tosses her head, and says she don't want to get on.

'That's a pretty sentiment, Rosa, considering.'

'Considering what?'

'If I say what, you'll go wrong again.'

'YOU'LL go wrong, you mean, Eddy.  Don't be ungenerous.'

'Ungenerous!  I like that!'

'Then I DON'T like that, and so I tell you plainly,' Rosa pouts.

'Now, Rosa, I put it to you.  Who disparaged my profession, my 
destination - '

'You are not going to be buried in the Pyramids, I hope?' she 
interrupts, arching her delicate eyebrows.  'You never said you 
were.  If you are, why haven't you mentioned it to me?  I can't 
find out your plans by instinct.'

'Now, Rosa, you know very well what I mean, my dear.'

'Well then, why did you begin with your detestable red-nosed 
giantesses?  And she would, she would, she would, she would, she 
WOULD powder it!' cries Rosa, in a little burst of comical 
contradictory spleen.

'Somehow or other, I never can come right in these discussions,' 
says Edwin, sighing and becoming resigned.

'How is it possible, sir, that you ever can come right when you're 
always wrong?  And as to Belzoni, I suppose he's dead; - I'm sure I 
hope he is - and how can his legs or his chokes concern you?'

'It is nearly time for your return, Rosa.  We have not had a very 
happy walk, have we?'

'A happy walk?  A detestably unhappy walk, sir.  If I go up-stairs 
the moment I get in and cry till I can't take my dancing lesson, 
you are responsible, mind!'

'Let us be friends, Rosa.'

'Ah!' cries Rosa, shaking her head and bursting into real tears, 'I 
wish we COULD be friends!  It's because we can't be friends, that 
we try one another so.  I am a young little thing, Eddy, to have an 
old heartache; but I really, really have, sometimes.  Don't be 
angry.  I know you have one yourself too often.  We should both of 
us have done better, if What is to be had been left What might have 
been.  I am quite a little serious thing now, and not teasing you.  
Let each of us forbear, this one time, on our own account, and on 
the other's!'

Disarmed by this glimpse of a woman's nature in the spoilt child, 
though for an instant disposed to resent it as seeming to involve 
the enforced infliction of himself upon her, Edwin Drood stands 
watching her as she childishly cries and sobs, with both hands to 
the handkerchief at her eyes, and then - she becoming more 
composed, and indeed beginning in her young inconstancy to laugh at 
herself for having been so moved - leads her to a seat hard by, 
under the elm-trees.

'One clear word of understanding, Pussy dear.  I am not clever out 
of my own line - now I come to think of it, I don't know that I am 
particularly clever in it - but I want to do right.  There is not - 
there may be - I really don't see my way to what I want to say, but 
I must say it before we part - there is not any other young - '

'O no, Eddy!  It's generous of you to ask me; but no, no, no!'

They have come very near to the Cathedral windows, and at this 
moment the organ and the choir sound out sublimely.  As they sit 
listening to the solemn swell, the confidence of last night rises 
in young Edwin Drood's mind, and he thinks how unlike this music is 
to that discordance.

'I fancy I can distinguish Jack's voice,' is his remark in a low 
tone in connection with the train of thought.

'Take me back at once, please,' urges his Affianced, quickly laying 
her light hand upon his wrist.  'They will all be coming out 
directly; let us get away.  O, what a resounding chord!  But don't 
let us stop to listen to it; let us get away!'

Her hurry is over as soon as they have passed out of the Close.  
They go arm-in-arm now, gravely and deliberately enough, along the 
old High-street, to the Nuns' House.  At the gate, the street being 
within sight empty, Edwin bends down his face to Rosebud's.

She remonstrates, laughing, and is a childish schoolgirl again.

'Eddy, no!  I'm too sticky to be kissed.  But give me your hand, 
and I'll blow a kiss into that.'

He does so.  She breathes a light breath into it and asks, 
retaining it and looking into it:-

'Now say, what do you see?'

'See, Rosa?'

'Why, I thought you Egyptian boys could look into a hand and see 
all sorts of phantoms.  Can't you see a happy Future?'

For certain, neither of them sees a happy Present, as the gate 
opens and closes, and one goes in, and the other goes away.

CHAPTER IV - MR. SAPSEA

ACCEPTING the Jackass as the type of self-sufficient stupidity and 
conceit - a custom, perhaps, like some few other customs, more 
conventional than fair - then the purest jackass in Cloisterham is 
Mr. Thomas Sapsea, Auctioneer.

Mr. Sapsea 'dresses at' the Dean; has been bowed to for the Dean, 
in mistake; has even been spoken to in the street as My Lord, under 
the impression that he was the Bishop come down unexpectedly, 
without his chaplain.  Mr. Sapsea is very proud of this, and of his 
voice, and of his style.  He has even (in selling landed property) 
tried the experiment of slightly intoning in his pulpit, to make 
himself more like what he takes to be the genuine ecclesiastical 
article.  So, in ending a Sale by Public Auction, Mr. Sapsea 
finishes off with an air of bestowing a benediction on the 
assembled brokers, which leaves the real Dean - a modest and worthy 
gentleman - far behind.

Mr. Sapsea has many admirers; indeed, the proposition is carried by 
a large local majority, even including non-believers in his wisdom, 
that he is a credit to Cloisterham.  He possesses the great 
qualities of being portentous and dull, and of having a roll in his 
speech, and another roll in his gait; not to mention a certain 
gravely flowing action with his hands, as if he were presently 
going to Confirm the individual with whom he holds discourse.  Much 
nearer sixty years of age than fifty, with a flowing outline of 
stomach, and horizontal creases in his waistcoat; reputed to be 
rich; voting at elections in the strictly respectable interest; 
morally satisfied that nothing but he himself has grown since he 
was a baby; how can dunder-headed Mr. Sapsea be otherwise than a 
credit to Cloisterham, and society?

Mr. Sapsea's premises are in the High-street, over against the 
Nuns' House.  They are of about the period of the Nuns' House, 
irregularly modernised here and there, as steadily deteriorating 
generations found, more and more, that they preferred air and light 
to Fever and the Plague.  Over the doorway is a wooden effigy, 
about half life-size, representing Mr. Sapsea's father, in a curly 
wig and toga, in the act of selling.  The chastity of the idea, and 
the natural appearance of the little finger, hammer, and pulpit, 
have been much admired.

Mr. Sapsea sits in his dull ground-floor sitting-room, giving first 
on his paved back yard; and then on his railed-off garden.  Mr. 
Sapsea has a bottle of port wine on a table before the fire - the 
fire is an early luxury, but pleasant on the cool, chilly autumn 
evening - and is characteristically attended by his portrait, his 
eight-day clock, and his weather-glass.  Characteristically, 
because he would uphold himself against mankind, his weather-glass 
against weather, and his clock against time.

By Mr. Sapsea's side on the table are a writing-desk and writing 
materials.  Glancing at a scrap of manuscript, Mr. Sapsea reads it 
to himself with a lofty air, and then, slowly pacing the room with 
his thumbs in the arm-holes of his waistcoat, repeats it from 
memory:  so internally, though with much dignity, that the word 
'Ethelinda' is alone audible.

There are three clean wineglasses in a tray on the table.  His 
serving-maid entering, and announcing 'Mr. Jasper is come, sir,' 
Mr. Sapsea waves 'Admit him,' and draws two wineglasses from the 
rank, as being claimed.

'Glad to see you, sir.  I congratulate myself on having the honour 
of receiving you here for the first time.'  Mr. Sapsea does the 
honours of his house in this wise.

'You are very good.  The honour is mine and the self-congratulation 
is mine.'

'You are pleased to say so, sir.  But I do assure you that it is a 
satisfaction to me to receive you in my humble home.  And that is 
what I would not say to everybody.'  Ineffable loftiness on Mr. 
Sapsea's part accompanies these words, as leaving the sentence to 
be understood:  'You will not easily believe that your society can 
be a satisfaction to a man like myself; nevertheless, it is.'

'I have for some time desired to know you, Mr. Sapsea.'

'And I, sir, have long known you by reputation as a man of taste.  
Let me fill your glass.  I will give you, sir,' says Mr. Sapsea, 
filling his own:

'When the French come over,
May we meet them at Dover!'

This was a patriotic toast in Mr. Sapsea's infancy, and he is 
therefore fully convinced of its being appropriate to any 
subsequent era.

'You can scarcely be ignorant, Mr. Sapsea,' observes Jasper, 
watching the auctioneer with a smile as the latter stretches out 
his legs before the fire, 'that you know the world.'

'Well, sir,' is the chuckling reply, 'I think I know something of 
it; something of it.'

'Your reputation for that knowledge has always interested and 
surprised me, and made me wish to know you.  For Cloisterham is a 
little place.  Cooped up in it myself, I know nothing beyond it, 
and feel it to be a very little place.'

'If I have not gone to foreign countries, young man,' Mr. Sapsea 
begins, and then stops:- 'You will excuse me calling you young man, 
Mr. Jasper?  You are much my junior.'

'By all means.'

'If I have not gone to foreign countries, young man, foreign 
countries have come to me.  They have come to me in the way of 
business, and I have improved upon my opportunities.  Put it that I 
take an inventory, or make a catalogue.  I see a French clock.  I 
never saw him before, in my life, but I instantly lay my finger on 
him and say "Paris!"  I see some cups and saucers of Chinese make, 
equally strangers to me personally:  I put my finger on them, then 
and there, and I say "Pekin, Nankin, and Canton."  It is the same 
with Japan, with Egypt, and with bamboo and sandalwood from the 
East Indies; I put my finger on them all.  I have put my finger on 
the North Pole before now, and said "Spear of Esquimaux make, for 
half a pint of pale sherry!"'

'Really?  A very remarkable way, Mr. Sapsea, of acquiring a 
knowledge of men and things.'

'I mention it, sir,' Mr. Sapsea rejoins, with unspeakable 
complacency, 'because, as I say, it don't do to boast of what you 
are; but show how you came to be it, and then you prove it.'

'Most interesting.  We were to speak of the late Mrs. Sapsea.'

'We were, sir.'  Mr. Sapsea fills both glasses, and takes the 
decanter into safe keeping again.  'Before I consult your opinion 
as a man of taste on this little trifle' - holding it up - 'which 
is BUT a trifle, and still has required some thought, sir, some 
little fever of the brow, I ought perhaps to describe the character 
of the late Mrs. Sapsea, now dead three quarters of a year.'

Mr. Jasper, in the act of yawning behind his wineglass, puts down 
that screen and calls up a look of interest.  It is a little 
impaired in its expressiveness by his having a shut-up gape still 
to dispose of, with watering eyes.

'Half a dozen years ago, or so,' Mr. Sapsea proceeds, 'when I had 
enlarged my mind up to - I will not say to what it now is, for that 
might seem to aim at too much, but up to the pitch of wanting 
another mind to be absorbed in it - I cast my eye about me for a 
nuptial partner.  Because, as I say, it is not good for man to be 
alone.'

Mr. Jasper appears to commit this original idea to memory.

'Miss Brobity at that time kept, I will not call it the rival 
establishment to the establishment at the Nuns' House opposite, but 
I will call it the other parallel establishment down town.  The 
world did have it that she showed a passion for attending my sales, 
when they took place on half holidays, or in vacation time.  The 
world did put it about, that she admired my style.  The world did 
notice that as time flowed by, my style became traceable in the 
dictation-exercises of Miss Brobity's pupils.  Young man, a whisper 
even sprang up in obscure malignity, that one ignorant and besotted 
Churl (a parent) so committed himself as to object to it by name.  
But I do not believe this.  For is it likely that any human 
creature in his right senses would so lay himself open to be 
pointed at, by what I call the finger of scorn?'

Mr. Jasper shakes his head.  Not in the least likely.  Mr. Sapsea, 
in a grandiloquent state of absence of mind, seems to refill his 
visitor's glass, which is full already; and does really refill his 
own, which is empty.

'Miss Brobity's Being, young man, was deeply imbued with homage to 
Mind.  She revered Mind, when launched, or, as I say, precipitated, 
on an extensive knowledge of the world.  When I made my proposal, 
she did me the honour to be so overshadowed with a species of Awe, 
as to be able to articulate only the two words, "O Thou!" meaning 
myself.  Her limpid blue eyes were fixed upon me, her semi-
transparent hands were clasped together, pallor overspread her 
aquiline features, and, though encouraged to proceed, she never did 
proceed a word further.  I disposed of the parallel establishment 
by private contract, and we became as nearly one as could be 
expected under the circumstances.  But she never could, and she 
never did, find a phrase satisfactory to her perhaps-too-favourable 
estimate of my intellect.  To the very last (feeble action of 
liver), she addressed me in the same unfinished terms.'

Mr. Jasper has closed his eyes as the auctioneer has deepened his 
voice.  He now abruptly opens them, and says, in unison with the 
deepened voice 'Ah!' - rather as if stopping himself on the extreme 
verge of adding - 'men!'

'I have been since,' says Mr. Sapsea, with his legs stretched out, 
and solemnly enjoying himself with the wine and the fire, 'what you 
behold me; I have been since a solitary mourner; I have been since, 
as I say, wasting my evening conversation on the desert air.  I 
will not say that I have reproached myself; but there have been 
times when I have asked myself the question:  What if her husband 
had been nearer on a level with her?  If she had not had to look up 
quite so high, what might the stimulating action have been upon the 
liver?'

Mr. Jasper says, with an appearance of having fallen into 
dreadfully low spirits, that he 'supposes it was to be.'

'We can only suppose so, sir,' Mr. Sapsea coincides.  'As I say, 
Man proposes, Heaven disposes.  It may or may not be putting the 
same thought in another form; but that is the way I put it.'

Mr. Jasper murmurs assent.

'And now, Mr. Jasper,' resumes the auctioneer, producing his scrap 
of manuscript, 'Mrs. Sapsea's monument having had full time to 
settle and dry, let me take your opinion, as a man of taste, on the 
inscription I have (as I before remarked, not without some little 
fever of the brow) drawn out for it.  Take it in your own hand.  
The setting out of the lines requires to be followed with the eye, 
as well as the contents with the mind.'

Mr. Jasper complying, sees and reads as follows:

ETHELINDA,
Reverential Wife of
MR. THOMAS SAPSEA,
AUCTIONEER, VALUER, ESTATE AGENT, &c.,
OF THIS CITY.
Whose Knowledge of the World,
Though somewhat extensive,
Never brought him acquainted with
A SPIRIT
More capable of
LOOKING UP TO HIM.
STRANGER, PAUSE
And ask thyself the Question,
CANST THOU DO LIKEWISE?
If Not,
WITH A BLUSH RETIRE.

Mr. Sapsea having risen and stationed himself with his back to the 
fire, for the purpose of observing the effect of these lines on the 
countenance of a man of taste, consequently has his face towards 
the door, when his serving-maid, again appearing, announces, 
'Durdles is come, sir!'  He promptly draws forth and fills the 
third wineglass, as being now claimed, and replies, 'Show Durdles 
in.'

'Admirable!' quoth Mr. Jasper, handing back the paper.

'You approve, sir?'

'Impossible not to approve.  Striking, characteristic, and 
complete.'

The auctioneer inclines his head, as one accepting his due and 
giving a receipt; and invites the entering Durdles to take off that 
glass of wine (handing the same), for it will warm him.

Durdles is a stonemason; chiefly in the gravestone, tomb, and 
monument way, and wholly of their colour from head to foot.  No man 
is better known in Cloisterham.  He is the chartered libertine of 
the place.  Fame trumpets him a wonderful workman - which, for 
aught that anybody knows, he may be (as he never works); and a 
wonderful sot - which everybody knows he is.  With the Cathedral 
crypt he is better acquainted than any living authority; it may 
even be than any dead one.  It is said that the intimacy of this 
acquaintance began in his habitually resorting to that secret 
place, to lock-out the Cloisterham boy-populace, and sleep off 
fumes of liquor:  he having ready access to the Cathedral, as 
contractor for rough repairs.  Be this as it may, he does know much 
about it, and, in the demolition of impedimental fragments of wall, 
buttress, and pavement, has seen strange sights.  He often speaks 
of himself in the third person; perhaps, being a little misty as to 
his own identity, when he narrates; perhaps impartially adopting 
the Cloisterham nomenclature in reference to a character of 
acknowledged distinction.  Thus he will say, touching his strange 
sights:  'Durdles come upon the old chap,' in reference to a buried 
magnate of ancient time and high degree, 'by striking right into 
the coffin with his pick.  The old chap gave Durdles a look with 
his open eyes, as much as to say, "Is your name Durdles?  Why, my 
man, I've been waiting for you a devil of a time!"  And then he 
turned to powder.'  With a two-foot rule always in his pocket, and 
a mason's hammer all but always in his hand, Durdles goes 
continually sounding and tapping all about and about the Cathedral; 
and whenever he says to Tope:  'Tope, here's another old 'un in 
here!'  Tope announces it to the Dean as an established discovery.

In a suit of coarse flannel with horn buttons, a yellow neckerchief 
with draggled ends, an old hat more russet-coloured than black, and 
laced boots of the hue of his stony calling, Durdles leads a hazy, 
gipsy sort of life, carrying his dinner about with him in a small 
bundle, and sitting on all manner of tombstones to dine.  This 
dinner of Durdles's has become quite a Cloisterham institution:  
not only because of his never appearing in public without it, but 
because of its having been, on certain renowned occasions, taken 
into custody along with Durdles (as drunk and incapable), and 
exhibited before the Bench of justices at the townhall.  These 
occasions, however, have been few and far apart:  Durdles being as 
seldom drunk as sober.  For the rest, he is an old bachelor, and he 
lives in a little antiquated hole of a house that was never 
finished:  supposed to be built, so far, of stones stolen from the 
city wall.  To this abode there is an approach, ankle-deep in stone 
chips, resembling a petrified grove of tombstones, urns, draperies, 
and broken columns, in all stages of sculpture.  Herein two 
journeymen incessantly chip, while other two journeymen, who face 
each other, incessantly saw stone; dipping as regularly in and out 
of their sheltering sentry-boxes, as if they were mechanical 
figures emblematical of Time and Death.

To Durdles, when he had consumed his glass of port, Mr. Sapsea 
intrusts that precious effort of his Muse.  Durdles unfeelingly 
takes out his two-foot rule, and measures the lines calmly, 
alloying them with stone-grit.

'This is for the monument, is it, Mr. Sapsea?'

'The Inscription.  Yes.'  Mr. Sapsea waits for its effect on a 
common mind.

'It'll come in to a eighth of a inch,' says Durdles.  'Your 
servant, Mr. Jasper.  Hope I see you well.'

'How are you Durdles?'

'I've got a touch of the Tombatism on me, Mr. Jasper, but that I 
must expect.'

'You mean the Rheumatism,' says Sapsea, in a sharp tone.  (He is 
nettled by having his composition so mechanically received.)

'No, I don't.  I mean, Mr. Sapsea, the Tombatism.  It's another 
sort from Rheumatism.  Mr. Jasper knows what Durdles means.  You 
get among them Tombs afore it's well light on a winter morning, and 
keep on, as the Catechism says, a-walking in the same all the days 
of your life, and YOU'LL know what Durdles means.'

'It is a bitter cold place,' Mr. Jasper assents, with an 
antipathetic shiver.

'And if it's bitter cold for you, up in the chancel, with a lot of 
live breath smoking out about you, what the bitterness is to 
Durdles, down in the crypt among the earthy damps there, and the 
dead breath of the old 'uns,' returns that individual, 'Durdles 
leaves you to judge. - Is this to be put in hand at once, Mr. 
Sapsea?'

Mr. Sapsea, with an Author's anxiety to rush into publication, 
replies that it cannot be out of hand too soon.

'You had better let me have the key then,' says Durdles.

'Why, man, it is not to be put inside the monument!'

'Durdles knows where it's to be put, Mr. Sapsea; no man better.  
Ask 'ere a man in Cloisterham whether Durdles knows his work.'

Mr. Sapsea rises, takes a key from a drawer, unlocks an iron safe 
let into the wall, and takes from it another key.

'When Durdles puts a touch or a finish upon his work, no matter 
where, inside or outside, Durdles likes to look at his work all 
round, and see that his work is a-doing him credit,' Durdles 
explains, doggedly.

The key proffered him by the bereaved widower being a large one, he 
slips his two-foot rule into a side-pocket of his flannel trousers 
made for it, and deliberately opens his flannel coat, and opens the 
mouth of a large breast-pocket within it before taking the key to 
place it in that repository.

'Why, Durdles!' exclaims Jasper, looking on amused, 'you are 
undermined with pockets!'

'And I carries weight in 'em too, Mr. Jasper.  Feel those!' 
producing two other large keys.

'Hand me Mr. Sapsea's likewise.  Surely this is the heaviest of the 
three.'

'You'll find 'em much of a muchness, I expect,' says Durdles.  
'They all belong to monuments.  They all open Durdles's work.  
Durdles keeps the keys of his work mostly.  Not that they're much 
used.'

'By the bye,' it comes into Jasper's mind to say, as he idly 
examines the keys, 'I have been going to ask you, many a day, and 
have always forgotten.  You know they sometimes call you Stony 
Durdles, don't you?'

'Cloisterham knows me as Durdles, Mr. Jasper.'

'I am aware of that, of course.  But the boys sometimes - '

'O! if you mind them young imps of boys - ' Durdles gruffly 
interrupts.

'I don't mind them any more than you do.  But there was a 
discussion the other day among the Choir, whether Stony stood for 
Tony;' clinking one key against another.

('Take care of the wards, Mr. Jasper.')

'Or whether Stony stood for Stephen;' clinking with a change of 
keys.

('You can't make a pitch pipe of 'em, Mr. Jasper.')

'Or whether the name comes from your trade.  How stands the fact?'

Mr. Jasper weighs the three keys in his hand, lifts his head from 
his idly stooping attitude over the fire, and delivers the keys to 
Durdles with an ingenuous and friendly face.

But the stony one is a gruff one likewise, and that hazy state of 
his is always an uncertain state, highly conscious of its dignity, 
and prone to take offence.  He drops his two keys back into his 
pocket one by one, and buttons them up; he takes his dinner-bundle 
from the chair-back on which he hung it when he came in; he 
distributes the weight he carries, by tying the third key up in it, 
as though he were an Ostrich, and liked to dine off cold iron; and 
he gets out of the room, deigning no word of answer.

Mr. Sapsea then proposes a hit at backgammon, which, seasoned with 
his own improving conversation, and terminating in a supper of cold 
roast beef and salad, beguiles the golden evening until pretty 
late.  Mr. Sapsea's wisdom being, in its delivery to mortals, 
rather of the diffuse than the epigrammatic order, is by no means 
expended even then; but his visitor intimates that he will come 
back for more of the precious commodity on future occasions, and 
Mr. Sapsea lets him off for the present, to ponder on the 
instalment he carries away.

CHAPTER V - MR. DURDLES AND FRIEND

JOHN JASPER, on his way home through the Close, is brought to a 
stand-still by the spectacle of Stony Durdles, dinner-bundle and 
all, leaning his back against the iron railing of the burial-ground 
enclosing it from the old cloister-arches; and a hideous small boy 
in rags flinging stones at him as a well-defined mark in the 
moonlight.  Sometimes the stones hit him, and sometimes they miss 
him, but Durdles seems indifferent to either fortune.  The hideous 
small boy, on the contrary, whenever he hits Durdles, blows a 
whistle of triumph through a jagged gap, convenient for the 
purpose, in the front of his mouth, where half his teeth are 
wanting; and whenever he misses him, yelps out 'Mulled agin!' and 
tries to atone for the failure by taking a more correct and vicious 
aim.

'What are you doing to the man?' demands Jasper, stepping out into 
the moonlight from the shade.

'Making a cock-shy of him,' replies the hideous small boy.

'Give me those stones in your hand.'

'Yes, I'll give 'em you down your throat, if you come a-ketching 
hold of me,' says the small boy, shaking himself loose, and 
backing.  'I'll smash your eye, if you don't look out!'

'Baby-Devil that you are, what has the man done to you?'

'He won't go home.'

'What is that to you?'

'He gives me a 'apenny to pelt him home if I ketches him out too 
late,' says the boy.  And then chants, like a little savage, half 
stumbling and half dancing among the rags and laces of his 
dilapidated boots:-

'Widdy widdy wen!
I - ket - ches - Im - out - ar - ter - ten,
Widdy widdy wy!
Then - E - don't - go - then - I - shy -
Widdy Widdy Wake-cock warning!'

- with a comprehensive sweep on the last word, and one more 
delivery at Durdles.

This would seem to be a poetical note of preparation, agreed upon, 
as a caution to Durdles to stand clear if he can, or to betake 
himself homeward.

John Jasper invites the boy with a beck of his head to follow him 
(feeling it hopeless to drag him, or coax him), and crosses to the 
iron railing where the Stony (and stoned) One is profoundly 
meditating.

'Do you know this thing, this child?' asks Jasper, at a loss for a 
word that will define this thing.

'Deputy,' says Durdles, with a nod.

'Is that its - his - name?'

'Deputy,' assents Durdles.

'I'm man-servant up at the Travellers' Twopenny in Gas Works 
Garding,' this thing explains.  'All us man-servants at Travellers' 
Lodgings is named Deputy.  When we're chock full and the Travellers 
is all a-bed I come out for my 'elth.'  Then withdrawing into the 
road, and taking aim, he resumes:-

'Widdy widdy wen!
I - ket - ches - Im - out - ar - ter - '

'Hold your hand,' cries Jasper, 'and don't throw while I stand so 
near him, or I'll kill you!  Come, Durdles; let me walk home with 
you to-night.  Shall I carry your bundle?'

'Not on any account,' replies Durdles, adjusting it.  'Durdles was 
making his reflections here when you come up, sir, surrounded by 
his works, like a poplar Author. - Your own brother-in-law;' 
introducing a sarcophagus within the railing, white and cold in the 
moonlight.  'Mrs. Sapsea;' introducing the monument of that devoted 
wife.  'Late Incumbent;' introducing the Reverend Gentleman's 
broken column.  'Departed Assessed Taxes;' introducing a vase and 
towel, standing on what might represent the cake of soap.  'Former 
pastrycook and Muffin-maker, much respected;' introducing 
gravestone.  'All safe and sound here, sir, and all Durdles's work.  
Of the common folk, that is merely bundled up in turf and brambles, 
the less said the better.  A poor lot, soon forgot.'

'This creature, Deputy, is behind us,' says Jasper, looking back.  
'Is he to follow us?'

The relations between Durdles and Deputy are of a capricious kind; 
for, on Durdles's turning himself about with the slow gravity of 
beery suddenness, Deputy makes a pretty wide circuit into the road 
and stands on the defensive.

'You never cried Widdy Warning before you begun to-night,' says 
Durdles, unexpectedly reminded of, or imagining, an injury.

'Yer lie, I did,' says Deputy, in his only form of polite 
contradiction.

'Own brother, sir,' observes Durdles, turning himself about again, 
and as unexpectedly forgetting his offence as he had recalled or 
conceived it; 'own brother to Peter the Wild Boy!  But I gave him 
an object in life.'

'At which he takes aim?' Mr. Jasper suggests.

'That's it, sir,' returns Durdles, quite satisfied; 'at which he 
takes aim.  I took him in hand and gave him an object.  What was he 
before?  A destroyer.  What work did he do?  Nothing but 
destruction.  What did he earn by it?  Short terms in Cloisterham 
jail.  Not a person, not a piece of property, not a winder, not a 
horse, nor a dog, nor a cat, nor a bird, nor a fowl, nor a pig, but 
what he stoned, for want of an enlightened object.  I put that 
enlightened object before him, and now he can turn his honest 
halfpenny by the three penn'orth a week.'

'I wonder he has no competitors.'

'He has plenty, Mr. Jasper, but he stones 'em all away.  Now, I 
don't know what this scheme of mine comes to,' pursues Durdles, 
considering about it with the same sodden gravity; 'I don't know 
what you may precisely call it.  It ain't a sort of a - scheme of a 
- National Education?'

'I should say not,' replies Jasper.

'I should say not,' assents Durdles; 'then we won't try to give it 
a name.'

'He still keeps behind us,' repeats Jasper, looking over his 
shoulder; 'is he to follow us?'

'We can't help going round by the Travellers' Twopenny, if we go 
the short way, which is the back way,' Durdles answers, 'and we'll 
drop him there.'

So they go on; Deputy, as a rear rank one, taking open order, and 
invading the silence of the hour and place by stoning every wall, 
post, pillar, and other inanimate object, by the deserted way.

'Is there anything new down in the crypt, Durdles?' asks John 
Jasper.

'Anything old, I think you mean,' growls Durdles.  'It ain't a spot 
for novelty.'

'Any new discovery on your part, I meant.'

'There's a old 'un under the seventh pillar on the left as you go 
down the broken steps of the little underground chapel as formerly 
was; I make him out (so fur as I've made him out yet) to be one of 
them old 'uns with a crook.  To judge from the size of the passages 
in the walls, and of the steps and doors, by which they come and 
went, them crooks must have been a good deal in the way of the old 
'uns!  Two on 'em meeting promiscuous must have hitched one another 
by the mitre pretty often, I should say.'

Without any endeavour to correct the literality of this opinion, 
Jasper surveys his companion - covered from head to foot with old 
mortar, lime, and stone grit - as though he, Jasper, were getting 
imbued with a romantic interest in his weird life.

'Yours is a curious existence.'

Without furnishing the least clue to the question, whether he 
receives this as a compliment or as quite the reverse, Durdles 
gruffly answers:  'Yours is another.'

'Well! inasmuch as my lot is cast in the same old earthy, chilly, 
never-changing place, Yes.  But there is much more mystery and 
interest in your connection with the Cathedral than in mine.  
Indeed, I am beginning to have some idea of asking you to take me 
on as a sort of student, or free 'prentice, under you, and to let 
me go about with you sometimes, and see some of these odd nooks in 
which you pass your days.'

The Stony One replies, in a general way, 'All right.  Everybody 
knows where to find Durdles, when he's wanted.'  Which, if not 
strictly true, is approximately so, if taken to express that 
Durdles may always be found in a state of vagabondage somewhere.

'What I dwell upon most,' says Jasper, pursuing his subject of 
romantic interest, 'is the remarkable accuracy with which you would 
seem to find out where people are buried. - What is the matter?  
That bundle is in your way; let me hold it.'

Durdles has stopped and backed a little (Deputy, attentive to all 
his movements, immediately skirmishing into the road), and was 
looking about for some ledge or corner to place his bundle on, when 
thus relieved of it.

'Just you give me my hammer out of that,' says Durdles, 'and I'll 
show you.'

Clink, clink.  And his hammer is handed him.

'Now, lookee here.  You pitch your note, don't you, Mr. Jasper?'

'Yes.'

'So I sound for mine.  I take my hammer, and I tap.'  (Here he 
strikes the pavement, and the attentive Deputy skirmishes at a 
rather wider range, as supposing that his head may be in 
requisition.)  'I tap, tap, tap.  Solid!  I go on tapping.  Solid 
still!  Tap again.  Holloa!  Hollow!  Tap again, persevering.  
Solid in hollow!  Tap, tap, tap, to try it better.  Solid in 
hollow; and inside solid, hollow again!  There you are!  Old 'un 
crumbled away in stone coffin, in vault!'

'Astonishing!'

'I have even done this,' says Durdles, drawing out his two-foot 
rule (Deputy meanwhile skirmishing nearer, as suspecting that 
Treasure may be about to be discovered, which may somehow lead to 
his own enrichment, and the delicious treat of the discoverers 
being hanged by the neck, on his evidence, until they are dead).  
'Say that hammer of mine's a wall - my work.  Two; four; and two is 
six,' measuring on the pavement.  'Six foot inside that wall is 
Mrs. Sapsea.'

'Not really Mrs. Sapsea?'

'Say Mrs. Sapsea.  Her wall's thicker, but say Mrs. Sapsea.  
Durdles taps, that wall represented by that hammer, and says, after 
good sounding:  "Something betwixt us!"  Sure enough, some rubbish 
has been left in that same six-foot space by Durdles's men!'

Jasper opines that such accuracy 'is a gift.'

'I wouldn't have it at a gift,' returns Durdles, by no means 
receiving the observation in good part.  'I worked it out for 
myself.  Durdles comes by HIS knowledge through grubbing deep for 
it, and having it up by the roots when it don't want to come. - 
Holloa you Deputy!'

'Widdy!' is Deputy's shrill response, standing off again.

'Catch that ha'penny.  And don't let me see any more of you to-
night, after we come to the Travellers' Twopenny.'

'Warning!' returns Deputy, having caught the halfpenny, and 
appearing by this mystic word to express his assent to the 
arrangement.

They have but to cross what was once the vineyard, belonging to 
what was once the Monastery, to come into the narrow back lane 
wherein stands the crazy wooden house of two low stories currently 
known as the Travellers' Twopenny:- a house all warped and 
distorted, like the morals of the travellers, with scant remains of 
a lattice-work porch over the door, and also of a rustic fence 
before its stamped-out garden; by reason of the travellers being so 
bound to the premises by a tender sentiment (or so fond of having a 
fire by the roadside in the course of the day), that they can never 
be persuaded or threatened into departure, without violently 
possessing themselves of some wooden forget-me-not, and bearing it 
off.

The semblance of an inn is attempted to be given to this wretched 
place by fragments of conventional red curtaining in the windows, 
which rags are made muddily transparent in the night-season by 
feeble lights of rush or cotton dip burning dully in the close air 
of the inside.  As Durdles and Jasper come near, they are addressed 
by an inscribed paper lantern over the door, setting forth the 
purport of the house.  They are also addressed by some half-dozen 
other hideous small boys - whether twopenny lodgers or followers or 
hangers-on of such, who knows! - who, as if attracted by some 
carrion-scent of Deputy in the air, start into the moonlight, as 
vultures might gather in the desert, and instantly fall to stoning 
him and one another.

'Stop, you young brutes,' cries Jasper angrily, 'and let us go by!'

This remonstrance being received with yells and flying stones, 
according to a custom of late years comfortably established among 
the police regulations of our English communities, where Christians 
are stoned on all sides, as if the days of Saint Stephen were 
revived, Durdles remarks of the young savages, with some point, 
that 'they haven't got an object,' and leads the way down the lane.

At the corner of the lane, Jasper, hotly enraged, checks his 
companion and looks back.  All is silent.  Next moment, a stone 
coming rattling at his hat, and a distant yell of 'Wake-Cock!  
Warning!' followed by a crow, as from some infernally-hatched 
Chanticleer, apprising him under whose victorious fire he stands, 
he turns the corner into safety, and takes Durdles home:  Durdles 
stumbling among the litter of his stony yard as if he were going to 
turn head foremost into one of the unfinished tombs.

John Jasper returns by another way to his gatehouse, and entering 
softly with his key, finds his fire still burning.  He takes from a 
locked press a peculiar-looking pipe, which he fills - but not with 
tobacco - and, having adjusted the contents of the bowl, very 
carefully, with a little instrument, ascends an inner staircase of 
only a few steps, leading to two rooms.  One of these is his own 
sleeping chamber:  the other is his nephew's.  There is a light in 
each.

His nephew lies asleep, calm and untroubled.  John Jasper stands 
looking down upon him, his unlighted pipe in his hand, for some 
time, with a fixed and deep attention.  Then, hushing his 
footsteps, he passes to his own room, lights his pipe, and delivers 
himself to the Spectres it invokes at midnight.

CHAPTER VI - PHILANTHROPY IN MINOR CANON CORNER

THE Reverend Septimus Crisparkle (Septimus, because six little 
brother Crisparkles before him went out, one by one, as they were 
born, like six weak little rushlights, as they were lighted), 
having broken the thin morning ice near Cloisterham Weir with his 
amiable head, much to the invigoration of his frame, was now 
assisting his circulation by boxing at a looking-glass with great 
science and prowess.  A fresh and healthy portrait the looking-
glass presented of the Reverend Septimus, feinting and dodging with 
the utmost artfulness, and hitting out from the shoulder with the 
utmost straightness, while his radiant features teemed with 
innocence, and soft-hearted benevolence beamed from his boxing-
gloves.

It was scarcely breakfast-time yet, for Mrs. Crisparkle - mother, 
not wife of the Reverend Septimus - was only just down, and waiting 
for the urn.  Indeed, the Reverend Septimus left off at this very 
moment to take the pretty old lady's entering face between his 
boxing-gloves and kiss it.  Having done so with tenderness, the 
Reverend Septimus turned to again, countering with his left, and 
putting in his right, in a tremendous manner.

'I say, every morning of my life, that you'll do it at last, Sept,' 
remarked the old lady, looking on; 'and so you will.'

'Do what, Ma dear?'

'Break the pier-glass, or burst a blood-vessel.'

'Neither, please God, Ma dear.  Here's wind, Ma.  Look at this!'  
In a concluding round of great severity, the Reverend Septimus 
administered and escaped all sorts of punishment, and wound up by 
getting the old lady's cap into Chancery - such is the technical 
term used in scientific circles by the learned in the Noble Art - 
with a lightness of touch that hardly stirred the lightest lavender 
or cherry riband on it.  Magnanimously releasing the defeated, just 
in time to get his gloves into a drawer and feign to be looking out 
of window in a contemplative state of mind when a servant entered, 
the Reverend Septimus then gave place to the urn and other 
preparations for breakfast.  These completed, and the two alone 
again, it was pleasant to see (or would have been, if there had 
been any one to see it, which there never was), the old lady 
standing to say the Lord's Prayer aloud, and her son, Minor Canon 
nevertheless, standing with bent head to hear it, he being within 
five years of forty:  much as he had stood to hear the same words 
from the same lips when he was within five months of four.

What is prettier than an old lady - except a young lady - when her 
eyes are bright, when her figure is trim and compact, when her face 
is cheerful and calm, when her dress is as the dress of a china 
shepherdess:  so dainty in its colours, so individually assorted to 
herself, so neatly moulded on her?  Nothing is prettier, thought 
the good Minor Canon frequently, when taking his seat at table 
opposite his long-widowed mother.  Her thought at such times may be 
condensed into the two words that oftenest did duty together in all 
her conversations:  'My Sept!'

They were a good pair to sit breakfasting together in Minor Canon 
Corner, Cloisterham.  For Minor Canon Corner was a quiet place in 
the shadow of the Cathedral, which the cawing of the rooks, the 
echoing footsteps of rare passers, the sound of the Cathedral bell, 
or the roll of the Cathedral organ, seemed to render more quiet 
than absolute silence.  Swaggering fighting men had had their 
centuries of ramping and raving about Minor Canon Corner, and 
beaten serfs had had their centuries of drudging and dying there, 
and powerful monks had had their centuries of being sometimes 
useful and sometimes harmful there, and behold they were all gone 
out of Minor Canon Corner, and so much the better.  Perhaps one of 
the highest uses of their ever having been there, was, that there 
might be left behind, that blessed air of tranquillity which 
pervaded Minor Canon Corner, and that serenely romantic state of 
the mind - productive for the most part of pity and forbearance - 
which is engendered by a sorrowful story that is all told, or a 
pathetic play that is played out.

Red-brick walls harmoniously toned down in colour by time, strong-
rooted ivy, latticed windows, panelled rooms, big oaken beams in 
little places, and stone-walled gardens where annual fruit yet 
ripened upon monkish trees, were the principal surroundings of 
pretty old Mrs. Crisparkle and the Reverend Septimus as they sat at 
breakfast.

'And what, Ma dear,' inquired the Minor Canon, giving proof of a 
wholesome and vigorous appetite, 'does the letter say?'

The pretty old lady, after reading it, had just laid it down upon 
the breakfast-cloth.  She handed it over to her son.

Now, the old lady was exceedingly proud of her bright eyes being so 
clear that she could read writing without spectacles.  Her son was 
also so proud of the circumstance, and so dutifully bent on her 
deriving the utmost possible gratification from it, that he had 
invented the pretence that he himself could NOT read writing 
without spectacles.  Therefore he now assumed a pair, of grave and 
prodigious proportions, which not only seriously inconvenienced his 
nose and his breakfast, but seriously impeded his perusal of the 
letter.  For, he had the eyes of a microscope and a telescope 
combined, when they were unassisted.

'It's from Mr. Honeythunder, of course,' said the old lady, folding 
her arms.

'Of course,' assented her son.  He then lamely read on:

'"Haven of Philanthropy,
Chief Offices, London, Wednesday.

'"DEAR MADAM,

'"I write in the - ;"  In the what's this?  What does he write in?'

'In the chair,' said the old lady.

The Reverend Septimus took off his spectacles, that he might see 
her face, as he exclaimed:

'Why, what should he write in?'

'Bless me, bless me, Sept,' returned the old lady, 'you don't see 
the context!  Give it back to me, my dear.'

Glad to get his spectacles off (for they always made his eyes 
water), her son obeyed:  murmuring that his sight for reading 
manuscript got worse and worse daily.

'"I write,"' his mother went on, reading very perspicuously and 
precisely, '"from the chair, to which I shall probably be confined 
for some hours."'

Septimus looked at the row of chairs against the wall, with a half-
protesting and half-appealing countenance.

'"We have,"' the old lady read on with a little extra emphasis, '"a 
meeting of our Convened Chief Composite Committee of Central and 
District Philanthropists, at our Head Haven as above; and it is 
their unanimous pleasure that I take the chair."'

Septimus breathed more freely, and muttered:  'O! if he comes to 
THAT, let him,'

'"Not to lose a day's post, I take the opportunity of a long report 
being read, denouncing a public miscreant - "'

'It is a most extraordinary thing,' interposed the gentle Minor 
Canon, laying down his knife and fork to rub his ear in a vexed 
manner, 'that these Philanthropists are always denouncing somebody.  
And it is another most extraordinary thing that they are always so 
violently flush of miscreants!'

'"Denouncing a public miscreant - "' - the old lady resumed, '"to 
get our little affair of business off my mind.  I have spoken with 
my two wards, Neville and Helena Landless, on the subject of their 
defective education, and they give in to the plan proposed; as I 
should have taken good care they did, whether they liked it or 
not."'

'And it is another most extraordinary thing,' remarked the Minor 
Canon in the same tone as before, 'that these philanthropists are 
so given to seizing their fellow-creatures by the scruff of the 
neck, and (as one may say) bumping them into the paths of peace. - 
I beg your pardon, Ma dear, for interrupting.'

'"Therefore, dear Madam, you will please prepare your son, the Rev. 
Mr. Septimus, to expect Neville as an inmate to be read with, on 
Monday next.  On the same day Helena will accompany him to 
Cloisterham, to take up her quarters at the Nuns' House, the 
establishment recommended by yourself and son jointly.  Please 
likewise to prepare for her reception and tuition there.  The terms 
in both cases are understood to be exactly as stated to me in 
writing by yourself, when I opened a correspondence with you on 
this subject, after the honour of being introduced to you at your 
sister's house in town here.  With compliments to the Rev.  Mr. 
Septimus, I am, Dear Madam, Your affectionate brother (In 
Philanthropy), LUKE HONEYTHUNDER."'

'Well, Ma,' said Septimus, after a little more rubbing of his ear, 
'we must try it.  There can be no doubt that we have room for an 
inmate, and that I have time to bestow upon him, and inclination 
too.  I must confess to feeling rather glad that he is not Mr. 
Honeythunder himself.  Though that seems wretchedly prejudiced - 
does it not? - for I never saw him.  Is he a large man, Ma?'

'I should call him a large man, my dear,' the old lady replied 
after some hesitation, 'but that his voice is so much larger.'

'Than himself?'

'Than anybody.'

'Hah!' said Septimus.  And finished his breakfast as if the flavour 
of the Superior Family Souchong, and also of the ham and toast and 
eggs, were a little on the wane.

Mrs. Crisparkle's sister, another piece of Dresden china, and 
matching her so neatly that they would have made a delightful pair 
of ornaments for the two ends of any capacious old-fashioned 
chimneypiece, and by right should never have been seen apart, was 
the childless wife of a clergyman holding Corporation preferment in 
London City.  Mr. Honeythunder in his public character of Professor 
of Philanthropy had come to know Mrs. Crisparkle during the last 
re-matching of the china ornaments (in other words during her last 
annual visit to her sister), after a public occasion of a 
philanthropic nature, when certain devoted orphans of tender years 
had been glutted with plum buns, and plump bumptiousness.  These 
were all the antecedents known in Minor Canon Corner of the coming 
pupils.

'I am sure you will agree with me, Ma,' said Mr. Crisparkle, after 
thinking the matter over, 'that the first thing to be done, is, to 
put these young people as much at their ease as possible.  There is 
nothing disinterested in the notion, because we cannot be at our 
ease with them unless they are at their ease with us.  Now, 
Jasper's nephew is down here at present; and like takes to like, 
and youth takes to youth.  He is a cordial young fellow, and we 
will have him to meet the brother and sister at dinner.  That's 
three.  We can't think of asking him, without asking Jasper.  
That's four.  Add Miss Twinkleton and the fairy bride that is to 
be, and that's six.  Add our two selves, and that's eight.  Would 
eight at a friendly dinner at all put you out, Ma?'

'Nine would, Sept,' returned the old lady, visibly nervous.

'My dear Ma, I particularise eight.'

'The exact size of the table and the room, my dear.'

So it was settled that way:  and when Mr. Crisparkle called with 
his mother upon Miss Twinkleton, to arrange for the reception of 
Miss Helena Landless at the Nuns' House, the two other invitations 
having reference to that establishment were proffered and accepted.  
Miss Twinkleton did, indeed, glance at the globes, as regretting 
that they were not formed to be taken out into society; but became 
reconciled to leaving them behind.  Instructions were then 
despatched to the Philanthropist for the departure and arrival, in 
good time for dinner, of Mr. Neville and Miss Helena; and stock for 
soup became fragrant in the air of Minor Canon Corner.

In those days there was no railway to Cloisterham, and Mr. Sapsea 
said there never would be.  Mr. Sapsea said more; he said there 
never should be.  And yet, marvellous to consider, it has come to 
pass, in these days, that Express Trains don't think Cloisterham 
worth stopping at, but yell and whirl through it on their larger 
errands, casting the dust off their wheels as a testimony against 
its insignificance.  Some remote fragment of Main Line to somewhere 
else, there was, which was going to ruin the Money Market if it 
failed, and Church and State if it succeeded, and (of course), the 
Constitution, whether or no; but even that had already so unsettled 
Cloisterham traffic, that the traffic, deserting the high road, 
came sneaking in from an unprecedented part of the country by a 
back stable-way, for many years labelled at the corner:  'Beware of 
the Dog.'

To this ignominious avenue of approach, Mr. Crisparkle repaired, 
awaiting the arrival of a short, squat omnibus, with a 
disproportionate heap of luggage on the roof - like a little 
Elephant with infinitely too much Castle - which was then the daily 
service between Cloisterham and external mankind.  As this vehicle 
lumbered up, Mr. Crisparkle could hardly see anything else of it 
for a large outside passenger seated on the box, with his elbows 
squared, and his hands on his knees, compressing the driver into a 
most uncomfortably small compass, and glowering about him with a 
strongly-marked face.

'Is this Cloisterham?' demanded the passenger, in a tremendous 
voice.

'It is,' replied the driver, rubbing himself as if he ached, after 
throwing the reins to the ostler.  'And I never was so glad to see 
it.'

'Tell your master to make his box-seat wider, then,' returned the 
passenger.  'Your master is morally bound - and ought to be 
legally, under ruinous penalties - to provide for the comfort of 
his fellow-man.'

The driver instituted, with the palms of his hands, a superficial 
perquisition into the state of his skeleton; which seemed to make 
him anxious.

'Have I sat upon you?' asked the passenger.

'You have,' said the driver, as if he didn't like it at all.

'Take that card, my friend.'

'I think I won't deprive you on it,' returned the driver, casting 
his eyes over it with no great favour, without taking it.  'What's 
the good of it to me?'

'Be a Member of that Society,' said the passenger.

'What shall I get by it?' asked the driver.

'Brotherhood,' returned the passenger, in a ferocious voice.

'Thankee,' said the driver, very deliberately, as he got down; 'my 
mother was contented with myself, and so am I.  I don't want no 
brothers.'

'But you must have them,' replied the passenger, also descending, 
'whether you like it or not.  I am your brother.'

' I say!' expostulated the driver, becoming more chafed in temper, 
'not too fur!  The worm WILL, when - '

But here, Mr. Crisparkle interposed, remonstrating aside, in a 
friendly voice:  'Joe, Joe, Joe! don't forget yourself, Joe, my 
good fellow!' and then, when Joe peaceably touched his hat, 
accosting the passenger with:  'Mr. Honeythunder?'

'That is my name, sir.'

'My name is Crisparkle.'

'Reverend Mr. Septimus?  Glad to see you, sir.  Neville and Helena 
are inside.  Having a little succumbed of late, under the pressure 
of my public labours, I thought I would take a mouthful of fresh 
air, and come down with them, and return at night.  So you are the 
Reverend Mr. Septimus, are you?' surveying him on the whole with 
disappointment, and twisting a double eyeglass by its ribbon, as if 
he were roasting it, but not otherwise using it.  'Hah!  I expected 
to see you older, sir.'

'I hope you will,' was the good-humoured reply.

'Eh?' demanded Mr. Honeythunder.

'Only a poor little joke.  Not worth repeating.'

'Joke?  Ay; I never see a joke,' Mr. Honeythunder frowningly 
retorted.  'A joke is wasted upon me, sir.  Where are they?  Helena 
and Neville, come here!  Mr. Crisparkle has come down to meet you.'

An unusually handsome lithe young fellow, and an unusually handsome 
lithe girl; much alike; both very dark, and very rich in colour; 
she of almost the gipsy type; something untamed about them both; a 
certain air upon them of hunter and huntress; yet withal a certain 
air of being the objects of the chase, rather than the followers.  
Slender, supple, quick of eye and limb; half shy, half defiant; 
fierce of look; an indefinable kind of pause coming and going on 
their whole expression, both of face and form, which might be 
equally likened to the pause before a crouch or a bound.  The rough 
mental notes made in the first five minutes by Mr. Crisparkle would 
have read thus, VERBATIM.

He invited Mr. Honeythunder to dinner, with a troubled mind (for 
the discomfiture of the dear old china shepherdess lay heavy on 
it), and gave his arm to Helena Landless.  Both she and her 
brother, as they walked all together through the ancient streets, 
took great delight in what he pointed out of the Cathedral and the 
Monastery ruin, and wondered - so his notes ran on - much as if 
they were beautiful barbaric captives brought from some wild 
tropical dominion.  Mr. Honeythunder walked in the middle of the 
road, shouldering the natives out of his way, and loudly developing 
a scheme he had, for making a raid on all the unemployed persons in 
the United Kingdom, laying them every one by the heels in jail, and 
forcing them, on pain of prompt extermination, to become 
philanthropists.

Mrs. Crisparkle had need of her own share of philanthropy when she 
beheld this very large and very loud excrescence on the little 
party.  Always something in the nature of a Boil upon the face of 
society, Mr. Honeythunder expanded into an inflammatory Wen in 
Minor Canon Corner.  Though it was not literally true, as was 
facetiously charged against him by public unbelievers, that he 
called aloud to his fellow-creatures:  'Curse your souls and 
bodies, come here and be blessed!' still his philanthropy was of 
that gunpowderous sort that the difference between it and animosity 
was hard to determine.  You were to abolish military force, but you 
were first to bring all commanding officers who had done their 
duty, to trial by court-martial for that offence, and shoot them.  
You were to abolish war, but were to make converts by making war 
upon them, and charging them with loving war as the apple of their 
eye.  You were to have no capital punishment, but were first to 
sweep off the face of the earth all legislators, jurists, and 
judges, who were of the contrary opinion.  You were to have 
universal concord, and were to get it by eliminating all the people 
who wouldn't, or conscientiously couldn't, be concordant.  You were 
to love your brother as yourself, but after an indefinite interval 
of maligning him (very much as if you hated him), and calling him 
all manner of names.  Above all things, you were to do nothing in 
private, or on your own account.  You were to go to the offices of 
the Haven of Philanthropy, and put your name down as a Member and a 
Professing Philanthropist.  Then, you were to pay up your 
subscription, get your card of membership and your riband and 
medal, and were evermore to live upon a platform, and evermore to 
say what Mr. Honeythunder said, and what the Treasurer said, and 
what the sub-Treasurer said, and what the Committee said, and what 
the sub-Committee said, and what the Secretary said, and what the 
Vice-Secretary said.  And this was usually said in the unanimously-
carried resolution under hand and seal, to the effect:  'That this 
assembled Body of Professing Philanthropists views, with indignant 
scorn and contempt, not unmixed with utter detestation and loathing 
abhorrence' - in short, the baseness of all those who do not belong 
to it, and pledges itself to make as many obnoxious statements as 
possible about them, without being at all particular as to facts.

The dinner was a most doleful breakdown.  The philanthropist 
deranged the symmetry of the table, sat himself in the way of the 
waiting, blocked up the thoroughfare, and drove Mr. Tope (who 
assisted the parlour-maid) to the verge of distraction by passing 
plates and dishes on, over his own head.  Nobody could talk to 
anybody, because he held forth to everybody at once, as if the 
company had no individual existence, but were a Meeting.  He 
impounded the Reverend Mr. Septimus, as an official personage to be 
addressed, or kind of human peg to hang his oratorical hat on, and 
fell into the exasperating habit, common among such orators, of 
impersonating him as a wicked and weak opponent.  Thus, he would 
ask:  'And will you, sir, now stultify yourself by telling me' - 
and so forth, when the innocent man had not opened his lips, nor 
meant to open them.  Or he would say:  'Now see, sir, to what a 
position you are reduced.  I will leave you no escape.  After 
exhausting all the resources of fraud and falsehood, during years 
upon years; after exhibiting a combination of dastardly meanness 
with ensanguined daring, such as the world has not often witnessed; 
you have now the hypocrisy to bend the knee before the most 
degraded of mankind, and to sue and whine and howl for mercy!'  
Whereat the unfortunate Minor Canon would look, in part indignant 
and in part perplexed; while his worthy mother sat bridling, with 
tears in her eyes, and the remainder of the party lapsed into a 
sort of gelatinous state, in which there was no flavour or 
solidity, and very little resistance.

But the gush of philanthropy that burst forth when the departure of 
Mr. Honeythunder began to impend, must have been highly gratifying 
to the feelings of that distinguished man.  His coffee was 
produced, by the special activity of Mr. Tope, a full hour before 
he wanted it.  Mr. Crisparkle sat with his watch in his hand for 
about the same period, lest he should overstay his time.  The four 
young people were unanimous in believing that the Cathedral clock 
struck three-quarters, when it actually struck but one.  Miss 
Twinkleton estimated the distance to the omnibus at five-and-twenty 
minutes' walk, when it was really five.  The affectionate kindness 
of the whole circle hustled him into his greatcoat, and shoved him 
out into the moonlight, as if he were a fugitive traitor with whom 
they sympathised, and a troop of horse were at the back door.  Mr. 
Crisparkle and his new charge, who took him to the omnibus, were so 
fervent in their apprehensions of his catching cold, that they shut 
him up in it instantly and left him, with still half-an-hour to 
spare.

CHAPTER VII - MORE CONFIDENCES THAN ONE

'I KNOW very little of that gentleman, sir,' said Neville to the 
Minor Canon as they turned back.

'You know very little of your guardian?' the Minor Canon repeated.

'Almost nothing!'

'How came he - '

'To BE my guardian?  I'll tell you, sir.  I suppose you know that 
we come (my sister and I) from Ceylon?'

'Indeed, no.'

'I wonder at that.  We lived with a stepfather there.  Our mother 
died there, when we were little children.  We have had a wretched 
existence.  She made him our guardian, and he was a miserly wretch 
who grudged us food to eat, and clothes to wear.  At his death, he 
passed us over to this man; for no better reason that I know of, 
than his being a friend or connexion of his, whose name was always 
in print and catching his attention.'

'That was lately, I suppose?'

'Quite lately, sir.  This stepfather of ours was a cruel brute as 
well as a grinding one.  It is well he died when he did, or I might 
have killed him.'

Mr. Crisparkle stopped short in the moonlight and looked at his 
hopeful pupil in consternation.

'I surprise you, sir?' he said, with a quick change to a submissive 
manner.

'You shock me; unspeakably shock me.'

The pupil hung his head for a little while, as they walked on, and 
then said:  'You never saw him beat your sister.  I have seen him 
beat mine, more than once or twice, and I never forgot it.'

'Nothing,' said Mr. Crisparkle, 'not even a beloved and beautiful 
sister's tears under dastardly ill-usage;' he became less severe, 
in spite of himself, as his indignation rose; 'could justify those 
horrible expressions that you used.'

'I am sorry I used them, and especially to you, sir.  I beg to 
recall them.  But permit me to set you right on one point.  You 
spoke of my sister's tears.  My sister would have let him tear her 
to pieces, before she would have let him believe that he could make 
her shed a tear.'

Mr. Crisparkle reviewed those mental notes of his, and was neither 
at all surprised to hear it, nor at all disposed to question it.

'Perhaps you will think it strange, sir,' - this was said in a 
hesitating voice - 'that I should so soon ask you to allow me to 
confide in you, and to have the kindness to hear a word or two from 
me in my defence?'

'Defence?' Mr. Crisparkle repeated.  'You are not on your defence, 
Mr. Neville.'

'I think I am, sir.  At least I know I should be, if you were 
better acquainted with my character.'

'Well, Mr. Neville,' was the rejoinder.  'What if you leave me to 
find it out?'

'Since it is your pleasure, sir,' answered the young man, with a 
quick change in his manner to sullen disappointment:  'since it is 
your pleasure to check me in my impulse, I must submit.'

There was that in the tone of this short speech which made the 
conscientious man to whom it was addressed uneasy.  It hinted to 
him that he might, without meaning it, turn aside a trustfulness 
beneficial to a mis-shapen young mind and perhaps to his own power 
of directing and improving it.  They were within sight of the 
lights in his windows, and he stopped.

'Let us turn back and take a turn or two up and down, Mr. Neville, 
or you may not have time to finish what you wish to say to me.  You 
are hasty in thinking that I mean to check you.  Quite the 
contrary.  I invite your confidence.'

'You have invited it, sir, without knowing it, ever since I came 
here.  I say "ever since," as if I had been here a week.  The truth 
is, we came here (my sister and I) to quarrel with you, and affront 
you, and break away again.'

'Really?' said Mr. Crisparkle, at a dead loss for anything else to 
say.

'You see, we could not know what you were beforehand, sir; could 
we?'

'Clearly not,' said Mr. Crisparkle.

'And having liked no one else with whom we have ever been brought 
into contact, we had made up our minds not to like you.'

'Really?' said Mr. Crisparkle again.

'But we do like you, sir, and we see an unmistakable difference 
between your house and your reception of us, and anything else we 
have ever known.  This - and my happening to be alone with you - 
and everything around us seeming so quiet and peaceful after Mr. 
Honeythunder's departure - and Cloisterham being so old and grave 
and beautiful, with the moon shining on it - these things inclined 
me to open my heart.'

'I quite understand, Mr. Neville.  And it is salutary to listen to 
such influences.'

'In describing my own imperfections, sir, I must ask you not to 
suppose that I am describing my sister's.  She has come out of the 
disadvantages of our miserable life, as much better than I am, as 
that Cathedral tower is higher than those chimneys.'

Mr. Crisparkle in his own breast was not so sure of this.

'I have had, sir, from my earliest remembrance, to suppress a 
deadly and bitter hatred.  This has made me secret and revengeful.  
I have been always tyrannically held down by the strong hand.  This 
has driven me, in my weakness, to the resource of being false and 
mean.  I have been stinted of education, liberty, money, dress, the 
very necessaries of life, the commonest pleasures of childhood, the 
commonest possessions of youth.  This has caused me to be utterly 
wanting in I don't know what emotions, or remembrances, or good 
instincts - I have not even a name for the thing, you see! - that 
you have had to work upon in other young men to whom you have been 
accustomed.'

'This is evidently true.  But this is not encouraging,' thought Mr. 
Crisparkle as they turned again.

'And to finish with, sir:  I have been brought up among abject and 
servile dependents, of an inferior race, and I may easily have 
contracted some affinity with them.  Sometimes, I don't know but 
that it may be a drop of what is tigerish in their blood.'

'As in the case of that remark just now,' thought Mr. Crisparkle.

'In a last word of reference to my sister, sir (we are twin 
children), you ought to know, to her honour, that nothing in our 
misery ever subdued her, though it often cowed me.  When we ran 
away from it (we ran away four times in six years, to be soon 
brought back and cruelly punished), the flight was always of her 
planning and leading.  Each time she dressed as a boy, and showed 
the daring of a man.  I take it we were seven years old when we 
first decamped; but I remember, when I lost the pocket-knife with 
which she was to have cut her hair short, how desperately she tried 
to tear it out, or bite it off.  I have nothing further to say, 
sir, except that I hope you will bear with me and make allowance 
for me.'

'Of that, Mr. Neville, you may be sure,' returned the Minor Canon.  
'I don't preach more than I can help, and I will not repay your 
confidence with a sermon.  But I entreat you to bear in mind, very 
seriously and steadily, that if I am to do you any good, it can 
only be with your own assistance; and that you can only render 
that, efficiently, by seeking aid from Heaven.'

'I will try to do my part, sir.'

'And, Mr. Neville, I will try to do mine.  Here is my hand on it.  
May God bless our endeavours!'

They were now standing at his house-door, and a cheerful sound of 
voices and laughter was heard within.

'We will take one more turn before going in,' said Mr. Crisparkle, 
'for I want to ask you a question.  When you said you were in a 
changed mind concerning me, you spoke, not only for yourself, but 
for your sister too?'

'Undoubtedly I did, sir.'

'Excuse me, Mr. Neville, but I think you have had no opportunity of 
communicating with your sister, since I met you.  Mr. Honeythunder 
was very eloquent; but perhaps I may venture to say, without ill-
nature, that he rather monopolised the occasion.  May you not have 
answered for your sister without sufficient warrant?'

Neville shook his head with a proud smile.

'You don't know, sir, yet, what a complete understanding can exist 
between my sister and me, though no spoken word - perhaps hardly as 
much as a look - may have passed between us.  She not only feels as 
I have described, but she very well knows that I am taking this 
opportunity of speaking to you, both for her and for myself.'

Mr. Crisparkle looked in his face, with some incredulity; but his 
face expressed such absolute and firm conviction of the truth of 
what he said, that Mr. Crisparkle looked at the pavement, and 
mused, until they came to his door again.

'I will ask for one more turn, sir, this time,' said the young man, 
with a rather heightened colour rising in his face.  'But for Mr. 
Honeythunder's - I think you called it eloquence, sir?' (somewhat 
slyly.)

'I - yes, I called it eloquence,' said Mr. Crisparkle.

'But for Mr. Honeythunder's eloquence, I might have had no need to 
ask you what I am going to ask you.  This Mr. Edwin Drood, sir:  I 
think that's the name?'

'Quite correct,' said Mr. Crisparkle.  'D-r-double o-d.'

'Does he - or did he - read with you, sir?'

'Never, Mr. Neville.  He comes here visiting his relation, Mr. 
Jasper.'

'Is Miss Bud his relation too, sir?'

('Now, why should he ask that, with sudden superciliousness?' 
thought Mr. Crisparkle.)  Then he explained, aloud, what he knew of 
the little story of their betrothal.

'O! THAT'S it, is it?' said the young man.  'I understand his air 
of proprietorship now!'

This was said so evidently to himself, or to anybody rather than 
Mr. Crisparkle, that the latter instinctively felt as if to notice 
it would be almost tantamount to noticing a passage in a letter 
which he had read by chance over the writer's shoulder.  A moment 
afterwards they re-entered the house.

Mr. Jasper was seated at the piano as they came into his drawing-
room, and was accompanying Miss Rosebud while she sang.  It was a 
consequence of his playing the accompaniment without notes, and of 
her being a heedless little creature, very apt to go wrong, that he 
followed her lips most attentively, with his eyes as well as hands; 
carefully and softly hinting the key-note from time to time.  
Standing with an arm drawn round her, but with a face far more 
intent on Mr. Jasper than on her singing, stood Helena, between 
whom and her brother an instantaneous recognition passed, in which 
Mr. Crisparkle saw, or thought he saw, the understanding that had 
been spoken of, flash out.  Mr. Neville then took his admiring 
station, leaning against the piano, opposite the singer; Mr. 
Crisparkle sat down by the china shepherdess; Edwin Drood gallantly 
furled and unfurled Miss Twinkleton's fan; and that lady passively 
claimed that sort of exhibitor's proprietorship in the 
accomplishment on view, which Mr. Tope, the Verger, daily claimed 
in the Cathedral service.

The song went on.  It was a sorrowful strain of parting, and the 
fresh young voice was very plaintive and tender.  As Jasper watched 
the pretty lips, and ever and again hinted the one note, as though 
it were a low whisper from himself, the voice became less steady, 
until all at once the singer broke into a burst of tears, and 
shrieked out, with her hands over her eyes:  'I can't bear this!  I 
am frightened!  Take me away!'

With one swift turn of her lithe figures Helena laid the little 
beauty on a sofa, as if she had never caught her up.  Then, on one 
knee beside her, and with one hand upon her rosy mouth, while with 
the other she appealed to all the rest, Helena said to them:  'It's 
nothing; it's all over; don't speak to her for one minute, and she 
is well!'

Jasper's hands had, in the same instant, lifted themselves from the 
keys, and were now poised above them, as though he waited to 
resume.  In that attitude he yet sat quiet:  not even looking 
round, when all the rest had changed their places and were 
reassuring one another.

'Pussy's not used to an audience; that's the fact,' said Edwin 
Drood.  'She got nervous, and couldn't hold out.  Besides, Jack, 
you are such a conscientious master, and require so much, that I 
believe you make her afraid of you.  No wonder.'

'No wonder,' repeated Helena.

'There, Jack, you hear!  You would be afraid of him, under similar 
circumstances, wouldn't you, Miss Landless?'

'Not under any circumstances,' returned Helena.

Jasper brought down his hands, looked over his shoulder, and begged 
to thank Miss Landless for her vindication of his character.  Then 
he fell to dumbly playing, without striking the notes, while his 
little pupil was taken to an open window for air, and was otherwise 
petted and restored.  When she was brought back, his place was 
empty.  'Jack's gone, Pussy,' Edwin told her.  'I am more than half 
afraid he didn't like to be charged with being the Monster who had 
frightened you.'  But she answered never a word, and shivered, as 
if they had made her a little too cold.

Miss Twinkleton now opining that indeed these were late hours, Mrs. 
Crisparkle, for finding ourselves outside the walls of the Nuns' 
House, and that we who undertook the formation of the future wives 
and mothers of England (the last words in a lower voice, as 
requiring to be communicated in confidence) were really bound 
(voice coming up again) to set a better example than one of rakish 
habits, wrappers were put in requisition, and the two young 
cavaliers volunteered to see the ladies home.  It was soon done, 
and the gate of the Nuns' House closed upon them.

The boarders had retired, and only Mrs. Tisher in solitary vigil 
awaited the new pupil.  Her bedroom being within Rosa's, very 
little introduction or explanation was necessary, before she was 
placed in charge of her new friend, and left for the night.

'This is a blessed relief, my dear,' said Helena.  'I have been 
dreading all day, that I should be brought to bay at this time.'

'There are not many of us,' returned Rosa, 'and we are good-natured 
girls; at least the others are; I can answer for them.'

'I can answer for you,' laughed Helena, searching the lovely little 
face with her dark, fiery eyes, and tenderly caressing the small 
figure.  'You will be a friend to me, won't you?'

'I hope so.  But the idea of my being a friend to you seems too 
absurd, though.'

'Why?'

'O, I am such a mite of a thing, and you are so womanly and 
handsome.  You seem to have resolution and power enough to crush 
me.  I shrink into nothing by the side of your presence even.'

'I am a neglected creature, my dear, unacquainted with all 
accomplishments, sensitively conscious that I have everything to 
learn, and deeply ashamed to own my ignorance.'

'And yet you acknowledge everything to me!' said Rosa.

'My pretty one, can I help it?  There is a fascination in you.'

'O! is there though?' pouted Rosa, half in jest and half in 
earnest.  'What a pity Master Eddy doesn't feel it more!'

Of course her relations towards that young gentleman had been 
already imparted in Minor Canon Corner.

'Why, surely he must love you with all his heart!' cried Helena, 
with an earnestness that threatened to blaze into ferocity if he 
didn't.

'Eh?  O, well, I suppose he does,' said Rosa, pouting again; 'I am 
sure I have no right to say he doesn't.  Perhaps it's my fault.  
Perhaps I am not as nice to him as I ought to be.  I don't think I 
am.  But it IS so ridiculous!'

Helena's eyes demanded what was.

'WE are,' said Rosa, answering as if she had spoken.  'We are such 
a ridiculous couple.  And we are always quarrelling.'

'Why?'

'Because we both know we are ridiculous, my dear!'  Rosa gave that 
answer as if it were the most conclusive answer in the world.

Helena's masterful look was intent upon her face for a few moments, 
and then she impulsively put out both her hands and said:

'You will be my friend and help me?'

'Indeed, my dear, I will,' replied Rosa, in a tone of affectionate 
childishness that went straight and true to her heart; 'I will be 
as good a friend as such a mite of a thing can be to such a noble 
creature as you.  And be a friend to me, please; I don't understand 
myself:  and I want a friend who can understand me, very much 
indeed.'

Helena Landless kissed her, and retaining both her hands said:

'Who is Mr. Jasper?'

Rosa turned aside her head in answering:  'Eddy's uncle, and my 
music-master.'

'You do not love him?'

'Ugh!'  She put her hands up to her face, and shook with fear or 
horror.

'You know that he loves you?'

'O, don't, don't, don't!' cried Rosa, dropping on her knees, and 
clinging to her new resource.  'Don't tell me of it!  He terrifies 
me.  He haunts my thoughts, like a dreadful ghost.  I feel that I 
am never safe from him.  I feel as if he could pass in through the 
wall when he is spoken of.'  She actually did look round, as if she 
dreaded to see him standing in the shadow behind her.

'Try to tell me more about it, darling.'

'Yes, I will, I will.  Because you are so strong.  But hold me the 
while, and stay with me afterwards.'

'My child!  You speak as if he had threatened you in some dark 
way.'

'He has never spoken to me about - that.  Never.'

'What has he done?'

'He has made a slave of me with his looks.  He has forced me to 
understand him, without his saying a word; and he has forced me to 
keep silence, without his uttering a threat.  When I play, he never 
moves his eyes from my hands.  When I sing, he never moves his eyes 
from my lips.  When he corrects me, and strikes a note, or a chord, 
or plays a passage, he himself is in the sounds, whispering that he 
pursues me as a lover, and commanding me to keep his secret.  I 
avoid his eyes, but he forces me to see them without looking at 
them.  Even when a glaze comes over them (which is sometimes the 
case), and he seems to wander away into a frightful sort of dream 
in which he threatens most, he obliges me to know it, and to know 
that he is sitting close at my side, more terrible to me than 
ever.'

'What is this imagined threatening, pretty one?  What is 
threatened?'

'I don't know.  I have never even dared to think or wonder what it 
is.'

'And was this all, to-night?'

'This was all; except that to-night when he watched my lips so 
closely as I was singing, besides feeling terrified I felt ashamed 
and passionately hurt.  It was as if he kissed me, and I couldn't 
bear it, but cried out.  You must never breathe this to any one.  
Eddy is devoted to him.  But you said to-night that you would not 
be afraid of him, under any circumstances, and that gives me - who 
am so much afraid of him - courage to tell only you.  Hold me!  
Stay with me!  I am too frightened to be left by myself.'

The lustrous gipsy-face drooped over the clinging arms and bosom, 
and the wild black hair fell down protectingly over the childish 
form.  There was a slumbering gleam of fire in the intense dark 
eyes, though they were then softened with compassion and 
admiration.  Let whomsoever it most concerned look well to it!

CHAPTER VIII - DAGGERS DRAWN

THE two young men, having seen the damsels, their charges, enter 
the courtyard of the Nuns' House, and finding themselves coldly 
stared at by the brazen door-plate, as if the battered old beau 
with the glass in his eye were insolent, look at one another, look 
along the perspective of the moonlit street, and slowly walk away 
together.

'Do you stay here long, Mr. Drood?' says Neville.

'Not this time,' is the careless answer.  'I leave for London 
again, to-morrow.  But I shall be here, off and on, until next 
Midsummer; then I shall take my leave of Cloisterham, and England 
too; for many a long day, I expect.'

'Are you going abroad?'

'Going to wake up Egypt a little,' is the condescending answer.

'Are you reading?'

'Reading?' repeats Edwin Drood, with a touch of contempt.  'No.  
Doing, working, engineering.  My small patrimony was left a part of 
the capital of the Firm I am with, by my father, a former partner; 
and I am a charge upon the Firm until I come of age; and then I 
step into my modest share in the concern.  Jack - you met him at 
dinner - is, until then, my guardian and trustee.'

'I heard from Mr. Crisparkle of your other good fortune.'

'What do you mean by my other good fortune?'

Neville has made his remark in a watchfully advancing, and yet 
furtive and shy manner, very expressive of that peculiar air 
already noticed, of being at once hunter and hunted.  Edwin has 
made his retort with an abruptness not at all polite.  They stop 
and interchange a rather heated look.

'I hope,' says Neville, 'there is no offence, Mr. Drood, in my 
innocently referring to your betrothal?'

'By George!' cries Edwin, leading on again at a somewhat quicker 
pace; 'everybody in this chattering old Cloisterham refers to it I 
wonder no public-house has been set up, with my portrait for the 
sign of The Betrothed's Head.  Or Pussy's portrait.  One or the 
other.'

'I am not accountable for Mr. Crisparkle's mentioning the matter to 
me, quite openly,' Neville begins.

'No; that's true; you are not,' Edwin Drood assents.

'But,' resumes Neville, 'I am accountable for mentioning it to you.  
And I did so, on the supposition that you could not fail to be 
highly proud of it.'

Now, there are these two curious touches of human nature working 
the secret springs of this dialogue.  Neville Landless is already 
enough impressed by Little Rosebud, to feel indignant that Edwin 
Drood (far below her) should hold his prize so lightly.  Edwin 
Drood is already enough impressed by Helena, to feel indignant that 
Helena's brother (far below her) should dispose of him so coolly, 
and put him out of the way so entirely.

However, the last remark had better be answered.  So, says Edwin:

'I don't know, Mr. Neville' (adopting that mode of address from Mr. 
Crisparkle), 'that what people are proudest of, they usually talk 
most about; I don't know either, that what they are proudest of, 
they most like other people to talk about.  But I live a busy life, 
and I speak under correction by you readers, who ought to know 
everything, and I daresay do.'

By this time they had both become savage; Mr. Neville out in the 
open; Edwin Drood under the transparent cover of a popular tune, 
and a stop now and then to pretend to admire picturesque effects in 
the moonlight before him.

'It does not seem to me very civil in you,' remarks Neville, at 
length, 'to reflect upon a stranger who comes here, not having had 
your advantages, to try to make up for lost time.  But, to be sure, 
I was not brought up in "busy life," and my ideas of civility were 
formed among Heathens.'

'Perhaps, the best civility, whatever kind of people we are brought 
up among,' retorts Edwin Drood, 'is to mind our own business.  If 
you will set me that example, I promise to follow it.'

'Do you know that you take a great deal too much upon yourself?' is 
the angry rejoinder, 'and that in the part of the world I come 
from, you would be called to account for it?'

'By whom, for instance?' asks Edwin Drood, coming to a halt, and 
surveying the other with a look of disdain.

But, here a startling right hand is laid on Edwin's shoulder, and 
Jasper stands between them.  For, it would seem that he, too, has 
strolled round by the Nuns' House, and has come up behind them on 
the shadowy side of the road.

'Ned, Ned, Ned!' he says; 'we must have no more of this.  I don't 
like this.  I have overheard high words between you two.  Remember, 
my dear boy, you are almost in the position of host to-night.  You 
belong, as it were, to the place, and in a manner represent it 
towards a stranger.  Mr. Neville is a stranger, and you should 
respect the obligations of hospitality.  And, Mr. Neville,' laying 
his left hand on the inner shoulder of that young gentleman, and 
thus walking on between them, hand to shoulder on either side:  
'you will pardon me; but I appeal to you to govern your temper too.  
Now, what is amiss?  But why ask!  Let there be nothing amiss, and 
the question is superfluous.  We are all three on a good 
understanding, are we not?'

After a silent struggle between the two young men who shall speak 
last, Edwin Drood strikes in with:  'So far as I am concerned, 
Jack, there is no anger in me.'

'Nor in me,' says Neville Landless, though not so freely; or 
perhaps so carelessly.  'But if Mr. Drood knew all that lies behind 
me, far away from here, he might know better how it is that sharp-
edged words have sharp edges to wound me.'

'Perhaps,' says Jasper, in a soothing manner, 'we had better not 
qualify our good understanding.  We had better not say anything 
having the appearance of a remonstrance or condition; it might not 
seem generous.  Frankly and freely, you see there is no anger in 
Ned.  Frankly and freely, there is no anger in you, Mr. Neville?'

'None at all, Mr. Jasper.'  Still, not quite so frankly or so 
freely; or, be it said once again, not quite so carelessly perhaps.

'All over then!  Now, my bachelor gatehouse is a few yards from 
here, and the heater is on the fire, and the wine and glasses are 
on the table, and it is not a stone's throw from Minor Canon 
Corner.  Ned, you are up and away to-morrow.  We will carry Mr. 
Neville in with us, to take a stirrup-cup.'

'With all my heart, Jack.'

'And with all mine, Mr. Jasper.'  Neville feels it impossible to 
say less, but would rather not go.  He has an impression upon him 
that he has lost hold of his temper; feels that Edwin Drood's 
coolness, so far from being infectious, makes him red-hot.

Mr. Jasper, still walking in the centre, hand to shoulder on either 
side, beautifully turns the Refrain of a drinking song, and they 
all go up to his rooms.  There, the first object visible, when he 
adds the light of a lamp to that of the fire, is the portrait over 
the chimneypicce.  It is not an object calculated to improve the 
understanding between the two young men, as rather awkwardly 
reviving the subject of their difference.  Accordingly, they both 
glance at it consciously, but say nothing.  Jasper, however (who 
would appear from his conduct to have gained but an imperfect clue 
to the cause of their late high words), directly calls attention to 
it.

'You recognise that picture, Mr. Neville?' shading the lamp to 
throw the light upon it.

'I recognise it, but it is far from flattering the original.'

'O, you are hard upon it!  It was done by Ned, who made me a 
present of it.'

'I am sorry for that, Mr. Drood.'  Neville apologises, with a real 
intention to apologise; 'if I had known I was in the artist's 
presence - '

'O, a joke, sir, a mere joke,' Edwin cuts in, with a provoking 
yawn.  'A little humouring of Pussy's points!  I'm going to paint 
her gravely, one of these days, if she's good.'

The air of leisurely patronage and indifference with which this is 
said, as the speaker throws himself back in a chair and clasps his 
hands at the back of his head, as a rest for it, is very 
exasperating to the excitable and excited Neville.  Jasper looks 
observantly from the one to the other, slightly smiles, and turns 
his back to mix a jug of mulled wine at the fire.  It seems to 
require much mixing and compounding.

'I suppose, Mr. Neville,' says Edwin, quick to resent the indignant 
protest against himself in the face of young Landless, which is 
fully as visible as the portrait, or the fire, or the lamp:  'I 
suppose that if you painted the picture of your lady love - '

'I can't paint,' is the hasty interruption.

'That's your misfortune, and not your fault.  You would if you 
could.  But if you could, I suppose you would make her (no matter 
what she was in reality), Juno, Minerva, Diana, and Venus, all in 
one.  Eh?'

'I have no lady love, and I can't say.'

'If I were to try my hand,' says Edwin, with a boyish boastfulness 
getting up in him, 'on a portrait of Miss Landless - in earnest, 
mind you; in earnest - you should see what I could do!'

'My sister's consent to sit for it being first got, I suppose?  As 
it never will be got, I am afraid I shall never see what you can 
do.  I must bear the loss.'

Jasper turns round from the fire, fills a large goblet glass for 
Neville, fills a large goblet glass for Edwin, and hands each his 
own; then fills for himself, saying:

'Come, Mr. Neville, we are to drink to my nephew, Ned.  As it is 
his foot that is in the stirrup - metaphorically - our stirrup-cup 
is to be devoted to him.  Ned, my dearest fellow, my love!'

Jasper sets the example of nearly emptying his glass, and Neville 
follows it.  Edwin Drood says, 'Thank you both very much,' and 
follows the double example.

'Look at him,' cries Jasper, stretching out his hand admiringly and 
tenderly, though rallyingly too.  'See where he lounges so easily, 
Mr. Neville!  The world is all before him where to choose.  A life 
of stirring work and interest, a life of change and excitement, a 
life of domestic ease and love!  Look at him!'

Edwin Drood's face has become quickly and remarkably flushed with 
the wine; so has the face of Neville Landless.  Edwin still sits 
thrown back in his chair, making that rest of clasped hands for his 
head.

'See how little he heeds it all!'  Jasper proceeds in a bantering 
vein.  'It is hardly worth his while to pluck the golden fruit that 
hangs ripe on the tree for him.  And yet consider the contrast, Mr. 
Neville.  You and I have no prospect of stirring work and interest, 
or of change and excitement, or of domestic ease and love.  You and 
I have no prospect (unless you are more fortunate than I am, which 
may easily be), but the tedious unchanging round of this dull 
place.'

'Upon my soul, Jack,' says Edwin, complacently, 'I feel quite 
apologetic for having my way smoothed as you describe.  But you 
know what I know, Jack, and it may not be so very easy as it seems, 
after all.  May it, Pussy?'  To the portrait, with a snap of his 
thumb and finger.  'We have got to hit it off yet; haven't we, 
Pussy?  You know what I mean, Jack.'

His speech has become thick and indistinct.  Jasper, quiet and 
self-possessed, looks to Neville, as expecting his answer or 
comment.  When Neville speaks, HIS speech is also thick and 
indistinct.

'It might have been better for Mr. Drood to have known some 
hardships,' he says, defiantly.

'Pray,' retorts Edwin, turning merely his eyes in that direction, 
'pray why might it have been better for Mr. Drood to have known 
some hardships?'

'Ay,' Jasper assents, with an air of interest; 'let us know why?'

'Because they might have made him more sensible,' says Neville, 'of 
good fortune that is not by any means necessarily the result of his 
own merits.'

Mr. Jasper quickly looks to his nephew for his rejoinder.

'Have YOU known hardships, may I ask?' says Edwin Drood, sitting 
upright.

Mr. Jasper quickly looks to the other for his retort.

'I have.'

'And what have they made you sensible of?'

Mr. Jasper's play of eyes between the two holds good throughout the 
dialogue, to the end.

'I have told you once before to-night.'

'You have done nothing of the sort.'

'I tell you I have.  That you take a great deal too much upon 
yourself.'

'You added something else to that, if I remember?'

'Yes, I did say something else.'

'Say it again.'

'I said that in the part of the world I come from, you would be 
called to account for it.'

'Only there?' cries Edwin Drood, with a contemptuous laugh.  'A 
long way off, I believe?  Yes; I see!  That part of the world is at 
a safe distance.'

'Say here, then,' rejoins the other, rising in a fury.  'Say 
anywhere!  Your vanity is intolerable, your conceit is beyond 
endurance; you talk as if you were some rare and precious prize, 
instead of a common boaster.  You are a common fellow, and a common 
boaster.'

'Pooh, pooh,' says Edwin Drood, equally furious, but more 
collected; 'how should you know?  You may know a black common 
fellow, or a black common boaster, when you see him (and no doubt 
you have a large acquaintance that way); but you are no judge of 
white men.'

This insulting allusion to his dark skin infuriates Neville to that 
violent degree, that he flings the dregs of his wine at Edwin 
Drood, and is in the act of flinging the goblet after it, when his 
arm is caught in the nick of time by Jasper.

'Ned, my dear fellow!' he cries in a loud voice; 'I entreat you, I 
command you, to be still!'  There has been a rush of all the three, 
and a clattering of glasses and overturning of chairs.  'Mr. 
Neville, for shame!  Give this glass to me.  Open your hand, sir.  
I WILL have it!'

But Neville throws him off, and pauses for an instant, in a raging 
passion, with the goblet yet in his uplifted hand.  Then, he dashes 
it down under the grate, with such force that the broken splinters 
fly out again in a shower; and he leaves the house.

When he first emerges into the night air, nothing around him is 
still or steady; nothing around him shows like what it is; he only 
knows that he stands with a bare head in the midst of a blood-red 
whirl, waiting to be struggled with, and to struggle to the death.

But, nothing happening, and the moon looking down upon him as if he 
were dead after a fit of wrath, he holds his steam-hammer beating 
head and heart, and staggers away.  Then, he becomes half-conscious 
of having heard himself bolted and barred out, like a dangerous 
animal; and thinks what shall he do?

Some wildly passionate ideas of the river dissolve under the spell 
of the moonlight on the Cathedral and the graves, and the 
remembrance of his sister, and the thought of what he owes to the 
good man who has but that very day won his confidence and given him 
his pledge.  He repairs to Minor Canon Corner, and knocks softly at 
the door.

It is Mr. Crisparkle's custom to sit up last of the early 
household, very softly touching his piano and practising his 
favourite parts in concerted vocal music.  The south wind that goes 
where it lists, by way of Minor Canon Corner on a still night, is 
not more subdued than Mr. Crisparkle at such times, regardful of 
the slumbers of the china shepherdess.

His knock is immediately answered by Mr. Crisparkle himself.  When 
he opens the door, candle in hand, his cheerful face falls, and 
disappointed amazement is in it.

'Mr. Neville!  In this disorder!  Where have you been?'

'I have been to Mr. Jasper's, sir.  With his nephew.'

'Come in.'

The Minor Canon props him by the elbow with a strong hand (in a 
strictly scientific manner, worthy of his morning trainings), and 
turns him into his own little book-room, and shuts the door.'

'I have begun ill, sir.  I have begun dreadfully ill.'

'Too true.  You are not sober, Mr. Neville.'

'I am afraid I am not, sir, though I can satisfy you at another 
time that I have had a very little indeed to drink, and that it 
overcame me in the strangest and most sudden manner.'

'Mr. Neville, Mr. Neville,' says the Minor Canon, shaking his head 
with a sorrowful smile; 'I have heard that said before.'

'I think - my mind is much confused, but I think - it is equally 
true of Mr. Jasper's nephew, sir.'

'Very likely,' is the dry rejoinder.

'We quarrelled, sir.  He insulted me most grossly.  He had heated 
that tigerish blood I told you of to-day, before then.'

'Mr. Neville,' rejoins the Minor Canon, mildly, but firmly:  'I 
request you not to speak to me with that clenched right hand.  
Unclench it, if you please.'

'He goaded me, sir,' pursues the young man, instantly obeying, 
'beyond my power of endurance.  I cannot say whether or no he meant 
it at first, but he did it.  He certainly meant it at last.  In 
short, sir,' with an irrepressible outburst, 'in the passion into 
which he lashed me, I would have cut him down if I could, and I 
tried to do it.'

'You have clenched that hand again,' is Mr. Crisparkle's quiet 
commentary.

'I beg your pardon, sir.'

'You know your room, for I showed it you before dinner; but I will 
accompany you to it once more.  Your arm, if you please.  Softly, 
for the house is all a-bed.'

Scooping his hand into the same scientific elbow-rest as before, 
and backing it up with the inert strength of his arm, as skilfully 
as a Police Expert, and with an apparent repose quite unattainable 
by novices, Mr. Crisparkle conducts his pupil to the pleasant and 
orderly old room prepared for him.  Arrived there, the young man 
throws himself into a chair, and, flinging his arms upon his 
reading-table, rests his head upon them with an air of wretched 
self-reproach.

The gentle Minor Canon has had it in his thoughts to leave the 
room, without a word.  But looking round at the door, and seeing 
this dejected figure, he turns back to it, touches it with a mild 
hand, says 'Good night!'  A sob is his only acknowledgment.  He 
might have had many a worse; perhaps, could have had few better.

Another soft knock at the outer door attracts his attention as he 
goes down-stairs.  He opens it to Mr. Jasper, holding in his hand 
the pupil's hat.

'We have had an awful scene with him,' says Jasper, in a low voice.

'Has it been so bad as that?'

'Murderous!'

Mr. Crisparkle remonstrates:  'No, no, no.  Do not use such strong 
words.'

'He might have laid my dear boy dead at my feet.  It is no fault of 
his, that he did not.  But that I was, through the mercy of God, 
swift and strong with him, he would have cut him down on my 
hearth.'

The phrase smites home.  'Ah!' thinks Mr. Crisparkle, 'his own 
words!'

'Seeing what I have seen to-night, and hearing what I have heard,' 
adds Jasper, with great earnestness, 'I shall never know peace of 
mind when there is danger of those two coming together, with no one 
else to interfere.  It was horrible.  There is something of the 
tiger in his dark blood.'

'Ah!' thinks Mr. Crisparkle, 'so he said!'

'You, my dear sir,' pursues Jasper, taking his hand, 'even you, 
have accepted a dangerous charge.'

'You need have no fear for me, Jasper,' returns Mr. Crisparkle, 
with a quiet smile.  'I have none for myself.'

'I have none for myself,' returns Jasper, with an emphasis on the 
last pronoun, 'because I am not, nor am I in the way of being, the 
object of his hostility.  But you may be, and my dear boy has been.  
Good night!'

Mr. Crisparkle goes in, with the hat that has so easily, so almost 
imperceptibly, acquired the right to be hung up in his hall; hangs 
it up; and goes thoughtfully to bed.

CHAPTER IX - BIRDS IN THE BUSH

ROSA, having no relation that she knew of in the world, had, from 
the seventh year of her age, known no home but the Nuns' House, and 
no mother but Miss Twinkleton.  Her remembrance of her own mother 
was of a pretty little creature like herself (not much older than 
herself it seemed to her), who had been brought home in her 
father's arms, drowned.  The fatal accident had happened at a party 
of pleasure.  Every fold and colour in the pretty summer dress, and 
even the long wet hair, with scattered petals of ruined flowers 
still clinging to it, as the dead young figure, in its sad, sad 
beauty lay upon the bed, were fixed indelibly in Rosa's 
recollection.  So were the wild despair and the subsequent bowed-
down grief of her poor young father, who died broken-hearted on the 
first anniversary of that hard day.

The betrothal of Rosa grew out of the soothing of his year of 
mental distress by his fast friend and old college companion, 
Drood:  who likewise had been left a widower in his youth.  But he, 
too, went the silent road into which all earthly pilgrimages merge, 
some sooner, and some later; and thus the young couple had come to 
be as they were.

The atmosphere of pity surrounding the little orphan girl when she 
first came to Cloisterham, had never cleared away.  It had taken 
brighter hues as she grew older, happier, prettier; now it had been 
golden, now roseate, and now azure; but it had always adorned her 
with some soft light of its own.  The general desire to console and 
caress her, had caused her to be treated in the beginning as a 
child much younger than her years; the same desire had caused her 
to be still petted when she was a child no longer.  Who should be 
her favourite, who should anticipate this or that small present, or 
do her this or that small service; who should take her home for the 
holidays; who should write to her the oftenest when they were 
separated, and whom she would most rejoice to see again when they 
were reunited; even these gentle rivalries were not without their 
slight dashes of bitterness in the Nuns' House.  Well for the poor 
Nuns in their day, if they hid no harder strife under their veils 
and rosaries!

Thus Rosa had grown to be an amiable, giddy, wilful, winning little 
creature; spoilt, in the sense of counting upon kindness from all 
around her; but not in the sense of repaying it with indifference.  
Possessing an exhaustless well of affection in her nature, its 
sparkling waters had freshened and brightened the Nuns' House for 
years, and yet its depths had never yet been moved:  what might 
betide when that came to pass; what developing changes might fall 
upon the heedless head, and light heart, then; remained to be seen.

By what means the news that there had been a quarrel between the 
two young men overnight, involving even some kind of onslaught by 
Mr. Neville upon Edwin Drood, got into Miss Twinkleton's 
establishment before breakfast, it is impossible to say.  Whether 
it was brought in by the birds of the air, or came blowing in with 
the very air itself, when the casement windows were set open; 
whether the baker brought it kneaded into the bread, or the milkman 
delivered it as part of the adulteration of his milk; or the 
housemaids, beating the dust out of their mats against the 
gateposts, received it in exchange deposited on the mats by the 
town atmosphere; certain it is that the news permeated every gable 
of the old building before Miss Twinkleton was down, and that Miss 
Twinkleton herself received it through Mrs. Tisher, while yet in 
the act of dressing; or (as she might have expressed the phrase to 
a parent or guardian of a mythological turn) of sacrificing to the 
Graces.

Miss Landless's brother had thrown a bottle at Mr. Edwin Drood.

Miss Landless's brother had thrown a knife at Mr. Edwin Drood.

A knife became suggestive of a fork; and Miss Landless's brother 
had thrown a fork at Mr. Edwin Drood.

As in the governing precedence of Peter Piper, alleged to have 
picked the peck of pickled pepper, it was held physically desirable 
to have evidence of the existence of the peck of pickled pepper 
which Peter Piper was alleged to have picked; so, in this case, it 
was held psychologically important to know why Miss Landless's 
brother threw a bottle, knife, or fork-or bottle, knife, AND fork - 
for the cook had been given to understand it was all three - at Mr. 
Edwin Drood?

Well, then.  Miss Landless's brother had said he admired Miss Bud.  
Mr. Edwin Drood had said to Miss Landless's brother that he had no 
business to admire Miss Bud.  Miss Landless's brother had then 
'up'd' (this was the cook's exact information) with the bottle, 
knife, fork, and decanter (the decanter now coolly flying at 
everybody's head, without the least introduction), and thrown them 
all at Mr. Edwin Drood.

Poor little Rosa put a forefinger into each of her ears when these 
rumours began to circulate, and retired into a corner, beseeching 
not to be told any more; but Miss Landless, begging permission of 
Miss Twinkleton to go and speak with her brother, and pretty 
plainly showing that she would take it if it were not given, struck 
out the more definite course of going to Mr. Crisparkle's for 
accurate intelligence.

When she came back (being first closeted with Miss Twinkleton, in 
order that anything objectionable in her tidings might be retained 
by that discreet filter), she imparted to Rosa only, what had taken 
place; dwelling with a flushed cheek on the provocation her brother 
had received, but almost limiting it to that last gross affront as 
crowning 'some other words between them,' and, out of consideration 
for her new friend, passing lightly over the fact that the other 
words had originated in her lover's taking things in general so 
very easily.  To Rosa direct, she brought a petition from her 
brother that she would forgive him; and, having delivered it with 
sisterly earnestness, made an end of the subject.

It was reserved for Miss Twinkleton to tone down the public mind of 
the Nuns' House.  That lady, therefore, entering in a stately 
manner what plebeians might have called the school-room, but what, 
in the patrician language of the head of the Nuns' House, was 
euphuistically, not to say round-aboutedly, denominated 'the 
apartment allotted to study,' and saying with a forensic air, 
'Ladies!' all rose.  Mrs. Tisher at the same time grouped herself 
behind her chief, as representing Queen Elizabeth's first 
historical female friend at Tilbury fort.  Miss Twinkleton then 
proceeded to remark that Rumour, Ladies, had been represented by 
the bard of Avon - needless were it to mention the immortal 
SHAKESPEARE, also called the Swan of his native river, not 
improbably with some reference to the ancient superstition that 
that bird of graceful plumage (Miss Jennings will please stand 
upright) sang sweetly on the approach of death, for which we have 
no ornithological authority, - Rumour, Ladies, had been represented 
by that bard - hem! -

'who drew
The celebrated Jew,'

as painted full of tongues.  Rumour in Cloisterham (Miss Ferdinand 
will honour me with her attention) was no exception to the great 
limner's portrait of Rumour elsewhere.  A slight FRACAS between two 
young gentlemen occurring last night within a hundred miles of 
these peaceful walls (Miss Ferdinand, being apparently 
incorrigible, will have the kindness to write out this evening, in 
the original language, the first four fables of our vivacious 
neighbour, Monsieur La Fontaine) had been very grossly exaggerated 
by Rumour's voice.  In the first alarm and anxiety arising from our 
sympathy with a sweet young friend, not wholly to be dissociated 
from one of the gladiators in the bloodless arena in question (the 
impropriety of Miss Reynolds's appearing to stab herself in the 
hand with a pin, is far too obvious, and too glaringly unladylike, 
to be pointed out), we descended from our maiden elevation to 
discuss this uncongenial and this unfit theme.  Responsible 
inquiries having assured us that it was but one of those 'airy 
nothings' pointed at by the Poet (whose name and date of birth Miss 
Giggles will supply within half an hour), we would now discard the 
subject, and concentrate our minds upon the grateful labours of the 
day.

But the subject so survived all day, nevertheless, that Miss 
Ferdinand got into new trouble by surreptitiously clapping on a 
paper moustache at dinner-time, and going through the motions of 
aiming a water-bottle at Miss Giggles, who drew a table-spoon in 
defence.

Now, Rosa thought of this unlucky quarrel a great deal, and thought 
of it with an uncomfortable feeling that she was involved in it, as 
cause, or consequence, or what not, through being in a false 
position altogether as to her marriage engagement.  Never free from 
such uneasiness when she was with her affianced husband, it was not 
likely that she would be free from it when they were apart.  To-
day, too, she was cast in upon herself, and deprived of the relief 
of talking freely with her new friend, because the quarrel had been 
with Helena's brother, and Helena undisguisedly avoided the subject 
as a delicate and difficult one to herself.  At this critical time, 
of all times, Rosa's guardian was announced as having come to see 
her.

Mr. Grewgious had been well selected for his trust, as a man of 
incorruptible integrity, but certainly for no other appropriate 
quality discernible on the surface.  He was an arid, sandy man, 
who, if he had been put into a grinding-mill, looked as if he would 
have ground immediately into high-dried snuff.  He had a scanty 
flat crop of hair, in colour and consistency like some very mangy 
yellow fur tippet; it was so unlike hair, that it must have been a 
wig, but for the stupendous improbability of anybody's voluntarily 
sporting such a head.  The little play of feature that his face 
presented, was cut deep into it, in a few hard curves that made it 
more like work; and he had certain notches in his forehead, which 
looked as though Nature had been about to touch them into 
sensibility or refinement, when she had impatiently thrown away the 
chisel, and said:  'I really cannot be worried to finish off this 
man; let him go as he is.'

With too great length of throat at his upper end, and too much 
ankle-bone and heel at his lower; with an awkward and hesitating 
manner; with a shambling walk; and with what is called a near sight 
- which perhaps prevented his observing how much white cotton 
stocking he displayed to the public eye, in contrast with his black 
suit - Mr. Grewgious still had some strange capacity in him of 
making on the whole an agreeable impression.

Mr. Grewgious was discovered by his ward, much discomfited by being 
in Miss Twinkleton's company in Miss Twinkleton's own sacred room.  
Dim forebodings of being examined in something, and not coming well 
out of it, seemed to oppress the poor gentleman when found in these 
circumstances.

'My dear, how do you do?  I am glad to see you.  My dear, how much 
improved you are.  Permit me to hand you a chair, my dear.'

Miss Twinkleton rose at her little writing-table, saying, with 
general sweetness, as to the polite Universe:  'Will you permit me 
to retire?'

'By no means, madam, on my account.  I beg that you will not move.'

'I must entreat permission to MOVE,' returned Miss Twinkleton, 
repeating the word with a charming grace; 'but I will not withdraw, 
since you are so obliging.  If I wheel my desk to this corner 
window, shall I be in the way?'

'Madam!  In the way!'

'You are very kind. - Rosa, my dear, you will be under no 
restraint, I am sure.'

Here Mr. Grewgious, left by the fire with Rosa, said again:  'My 
dear, how do you do?  I am glad to see you, my dear.'  And having 
waited for her to sit down, sat down himself.

'My visits,' said Mr. Grewgious, 'are, like those of the angels - 
not that I compare myself to an angel.'

'No, sir,' said Rosa.

'Not by any means,' assented Mr. Grewgious.  'I merely refer to my 
visits, which are few and far between.  The angels are, we know 
very well, up-stairs.'

Miss Twinkleton looked round with a kind of stiff stare.

'I refer, my dear,' said Mr. Grewgious, laying his hand on Rosa's, 
as the possibility thrilled through his frame of his otherwise 
seeming to take the awful liberty of calling Miss Twinkleton my 
dear; 'I refer to the other young ladies.'

Miss Twinkleton resumed her writing.

Mr. Grewgious, with a sense of not having managed his opening point 
quite as neatly as he might have desired, smoothed his head from 
back to front as if he had just dived, and were pressing the water 
out - this smoothing action, however superfluous, was habitual with 
him - and took a pocket-book from his coat-pocket, and a stump of 
black-lead pencil from his waistcoat-pocket.

'I made,' he said, turning the leaves:  'I made a guiding 
memorandum or so - as I usually do, for I have no conversational 
powers whatever - to which I will, with your permission, my dear, 
refer.  "Well and happy."  Truly.  You are well and happy, my dear?  
You look so.'

'Yes, indeed, sir,' answered Rosa.

'For which,' said Mr. Grewgious, with a bend of his head towards 
the corner window, 'our warmest acknowledgments are due, and I am 
sure are rendered, to the maternal kindness and the constant care 
and consideration of the lady whom I have now the honour to see 
before me.'

This point, again, made but a lame departure from Mr. Grewgious, 
and never got to its destination; for, Miss Twinkleton, feeling 
that the courtesies required her to be by this time quite outside 
the conversation, was biting the end of her pen, and looking 
upward, as waiting for the descent of an idea from any member of 
the Celestial Nine who might have one to spare.

Mr. Grewgious smoothed his smooth head again, and then made another 
reference to his pocket-book; lining out 'well and happy,' as 
disposed of.

'"Pounds, shillings, and pence," is my next note.  A dry subject 
for a young lady, but an important subject too.  Life is pounds, 
shillings, and pence.  Death is - '  A sudden recollection of the 
death of her two parents seemed to stop him, and he said in a 
softer tone, and evidently inserting the negative as an after-
thought:  'Death is NOT pounds, shillings, and pence.'

His voice was as hard and dry as himself, and Fancy might have 
ground it straight, like himself, into high-dried snuff.  And yet, 
through the very limited means of expression that he possessed, he 
seemed to express kindness.  If Nature had but finished him off, 
kindness might have been recognisable in his face at this moment.  
But if the notches in his forehead wouldn't fuse together, and if 
his face would work and couldn't play, what could he do, poor man!

'"Pounds, shillings, and pence."  You find your allowance always 
sufficient for your wants, my dear?'

Rosa wanted for nothing, and therefore it was ample.

'And you are not in debt?'

Rosa laughed at the idea of being in debt.  It seemed, to her 
inexperience, a comical vagary of the imagination.  Mr. Grewgious 
stretched his near sight to be sure that this was her view of the 
case.  'Ah!' he said, as comment, with a furtive glance towards 
Miss Twinkleton, and lining out pounds, shillings, and pence:  'I 
spoke of having got among the angels!  So I did!'

Rosa felt what his next memorandum would prove to be, and was 
blushing and folding a crease in her dress with one embarrassed 
hand, long before he found it.

'"Marriage."  Hem!'  Mr. Grewgious carried his smoothing hand down 
over his eyes and nose, and even chin, before drawing his chair a 
little nearer, and speaking a little more confidentially:  'I now 
touch, my dear, upon the point that is the direct cause of my 
troubling you with the present visit.  Othenwise, being a 
particularly Angular man, I should not have intruded here.  I am 
the last man to intrude into a sphere for which I am so entirely 
unfitted.  I feel, on these premises, as if I was a bear - with the 
cramp - in a youthful Cotillon.'

His ungainliness gave him enough of the air of his simile to set 
Rosa off laughing heartily.

'It strikes you in the same light,' said Mr. Grewgious, with 
perfect calmness.  'Just so.  To return to my memorandum.  Mr. 
Edwin has been to and fro here, as was arranged.  You have 
mentioned that, in your quarterly letters to me.  And you like him, 
and he likes you.'

'I LIKE him very much, sir,' rejoined Rosa.

'So I said, my dear,' returned her guardian, for whose ear the 
timid emphasis was much too fine.  'Good.  And you correspond.'

'We write to one another,' said Rosa, pouting, as she recalled 
their epistolary differences.

'Such is the meaning that I attach to the word "correspond" in this 
application, my dear,' said Mr. Grewgious.  'Good.  All goes well, 
time works on, and at this next Christmas-time it will become 
necessary, as a matter of form, to give the exemplary lady in the 
corner window, to whom we are so much indebted, business notice of 
your departure in the ensuing half-year.  Your relations with her 
are far more than business relations, no doubt; but a residue of 
business remains in them, and business is business ever.  I am a 
particularly Angular man,' proceeded Mr. Grewgious, as if it 
suddenly occurred to him to mention it, 'and I am not used to give 
anything away.  If, for these two reasons, some competent Proxy 
would give YOU away, I should take it very kindly.'

Rosa intimated, with her eyes on the ground, that she thought a 
substitute might be found, if required.

'Surely, surely,' said Mr. Grewgious.  'For instance, the gentleman 
who teaches Dancing here - he would know how to do it with graceful 
propriety.  He would advance and retire in a manner satisfactory to 
the feelings of the officiating clergyman, and of yourself, and the 
bridegroom, and all parties concerned.  I am - I am a particularly 
Angular man,' said Mr. Grewgious, as if he had made up his mind to 
screw it out at last:  'and should only blunder.'

Rosa sat still and silent.  Perhaps her mind had not got quite so 
far as the ceremony yet, but was lagging on the way there.

'Memorandum, "Will."  Now, my dear,' said Mr. Grewgious, referring 
to his notes, disposing of 'Marriage' with his pencil, and taking a 
paper from his pocket; 'although.  I have before possessed you with 
the contents of your father's will, I think it right at this time 
to leave a certified copy of it in your hands.  And although Mr. 
Edwin is also aware of its contents, I think it right at this time 
likewise to place a certified copy of it in Mr. Jasper's hand - '

'Not in his own!' asked Rosa, looking up quickly.  'Cannot the copy 
go to Eddy himself?'

'Why, yes, my dear, if you particularly wish it; but I spoke of Mr. 
Jasper as being his trustee.'

'I do particularly wish it, if you please,' said Rosa, hurriedly 
and earnestly; 'I don't like Mr. Jasper to come between us, in any 
way.'

'It is natural, I suppose,' said Mr. Grewgious, 'that your young 
husband should be all in all.  Yes.  You observe that I say, I 
suppose.  The fact is, I am a particularly Unnatural man, and I 
don't know from my own knowledge.'

Rosa looked at him with some wonder.

'I mean,' he explained, 'that young ways were never my ways.  I was 
the only offspring of parents far advanced in life, and I half 
believe I was born advanced in life myself.  No personality is 
intended towards the name you will so soon change, when I remark 
that while the general growth of people seem to have come into 
existence, buds, I seem to have come into existence a chip.  I was 
a chip - and a very dry one - when I first became aware of myself.  
Respecting the other certified copy, your wish shall be complied 
with.  Respecting your inheritance, I think you know all.  It is an 
annuity of two hundred and fifty pounds.  The savings upon that 
annuity, and some other items to your credit, all duly carried to 
account, with vouchers, will place you in possession of a lump-sum 
of money, rather exceeding Seventeen Hundred Pounds.  I am 
empowered to advance the cost of your preparations for your 
marriage out of that fund.  All is told.'

'Will you please tell me,' said Rosa, taking the paper with a 
prettily knitted brow, but not opening it:  'whether I am right in 
what I am going to say?  I can understand what you tell me, so very 
much better than what I read in law-writings.  My poor papa and 
Eddy's father made their agreement together, as very dear and firm 
and fast friends, in order that we, too, might be very dear and 
firm and fast friends after them?'

'Just so.'

'For the lasting good of both of us, and the lasting happiness of 
both of us?'

'Just so.'

'That we might be to one another even much more than they had been 
to one another?'

'Just so.'

'It was not bound upon Eddy, and it was not bound upon me, by any 
forfeit, in case - '

'Don't be agitated, my dear.  In the case that it brings tears into 
your affectionate eyes even to picture to yourself - in the case of 
your not marrying one another - no, no forfeiture on either side.  
You would then have been my ward until you were of age.  No worse 
would have befallen you.  Bad enough perhaps!'

'And Eddy?'

'He would have come into his partnership derived from his father, 
and into its arrears to his credit (if any), on attaining his 
majority, just as now.'

Rosa, with her perplexed face and knitted brow, bit the corner of 
her attested copy, as she sat with her head on one side, looking 
abstractedly on the floor, and smoothing it with her foot.

'In short,' said Mr. Grewgious, 'this betrothal is a wish, a 
sentiment, a friendly project, tenderly expressed on both sides.  
That it was strongly felt, and that there was a lively hope that it 
would prosper, there can be no doubt.  When you were both children, 
you began to be accustomed to it, and it HAS prospered.  But 
circumstances alter cases; and I made this visit to-day, partly, 
indeed principally, to discharge myself of the duty of telling you, 
my dear, that two young people can only be betrothed in marriage 
(except as a matter of convenience, and therefore mockery and 
misery) of their own free will, their own attachment, and their own 
assurance (it may or it may not prove a mistaken one, but we must 
take our chance of that), that they are suited to each other, and 
will make each other happy.  Is it to be supposed, for example, 
that if either of your fathers were living now, and had any 
mistrust on that subject, his mind would not be changed by the 
change of circumstances involved in the change of your years?  
Untenable, unreasonable, inconclusive, and preposterous!'

Mr. Grewgious said all this, as if he were reading it aloud; or, 
still more, as if he were repeating a lesson.  So expressionless of 
any approach to spontaneity were his face and manner.

'I have now, my dear,' he added, blurring out 'Will' with his 
pencil, 'discharged myself of what is doubtless a formal duty in 
this case, but still a duty in such a case.  Memorandum, "Wishes."  
My dear, is there any wish of yours that I can further?'

Rosa shook her head, with an almost plaintive air of hesitation in 
want of help.

'Is there any instruction that I can take from you with reference 
to your affairs?'

'I - I should like to settle them with Eddy first, if you please,' 
said Rosa, plaiting the crease in her dress.

'Surely, surely,' returned Mr. Grewgious.  'You two should be of 
one mind in all things.  Is the young gentleman expected shortly?'

'He has gone away only this morning.  He will be back at 
Christmas.'

'Nothing could happen better.  You will, on his return at 
Christmas, arrange all matters of detail with him; you will then 
communicate with me; and I will discharge myself (as a mere 
business acquaintance) of my business responsibilities towards the 
accomplished lady in the corner window.  They will accrue at that 
season.'  Blurring pencil once again.  'Memorandum, "Leave."  Yes.  
I will now, my dear, take my leave.'

'Could I,' said Rosa, rising, as he jerked out of his chair in his 
ungainly way:  'could I ask you, most kindly to come to me at 
Christmas, if I had anything particular to say to you?'

'Why, certainly, certainly,' he rejoined; apparently - if such a 
word can be used of one who had no apparent lights or shadows about 
him - complimented by the question.  'As a particularly Angular 
man, I do not fit smoothly into the social circle, and consequently 
I have no other engagement at Christmas-time than to partake, on 
the twenty-fifth, of a boiled turkey and celery sauce with a - with 
a particularly Angular clerk I have the good fortune to possess, 
whose father, being a Norfolk farmer, sends him up (the turkey up), 
as a present to me, from the neighbourhood of Norwich.  I should be 
quite proud of your wishing to see me, my dear.  As a professional 
Receiver of rents, so very few people DO wish to see me, that the 
novelty would be bracing.'

For his ready acquiescence, the grateful Rosa put her hands upon 
his shoulders, stood on tiptoe, and instantly kissed him.

'Lord bless me!' cried Mr. Grewgious.  'Thank you, my dear!  The 
honour is almost equal to the pleasure.  Miss Twinkleton, madam, I 
have had a most satisfactory conversation with my ward, and I will 
now release you from the incumbrance of my presence.'

'Nay, sir,' rejoined Miss Twinkleton, rising with a gracious 
condescension:  'say not incumbrance.  Not so, by any means.  I 
cannot permit you to say so.'

'Thank you, madam.  I have read in the newspapers,' said Mr. 
Grewgious, stammering a little, 'that when a distinguished visitor 
(not that I am one:  far from it) goes to a school (not that this 
is one:  far from it), he asks for a holiday, or some sort of 
grace.  It being now the afternoon in the - College - of which you 
are the eminent head, the young ladies might gain nothing, except 
in name, by having the rest of the day allowed them.  But if there 
is any young lady at all under a cloud, might I solicit - '

'Ah, Mr. Grewgious, Mr. Grewgious!' cried Miss Twinkleton, with a 
chastely-rallying forefinger.  'O you gentlemen, you gentlemen!  
Fie for shame, that you are so hard upon us poor maligned 
disciplinarians of our sex, for your sakes!  But as Miss Ferdinand 
is at present weighed down by an incubus' - Miss Twinkleton might 
have said a pen-and-ink-ubus of writing out Monsieur La Fontaine - 
'go to her, Rosa my dear, and tell her the penalty is remitted, in 
deference to the intercession of your guardian, Mr. Grewgious.'

Miss Twinkleton here achieved a curtsey, suggestive of marvels 
happening to her respected legs, and which she came out of nobly, 
three yards behind her starting-point.

As he held it incumbent upon him to call on Mr. Jasper before 
leaving Cloisterham, Mr. Grewgious went to the gatehouse, and 
climbed its postern stair.  But Mr. Jasper's door being closed, and 
presenting on a slip of paper the word 'Cathedral,' the fact of its 
being service-time was borne into the mind of Mr. Grewgious.  So he 
descended the stair again, and, crossing the Close, paused at the 
great western folding-door of the Cathedral, which stood open on 
the fine and bright, though short-lived, afternoon, for the airing 
of the place.

'Dear me,' said Mr. Grewgious, peeping in, 'it's like looking down 
the throat of Old Time.'

Old Time heaved a mouldy sigh from tomb and arch and vault; and 
gloomy shadows began to deepen in corners; and damps began to rise 
from green patches of stone; and jewels, cast upon the pavement of 
the nave from stained glass by the declining sun, began to perish.  
Within the grill-gate of the chancel, up the steps surmounted 
loomingly by the fast-darkening organ, white robes could be dimly 
seen, and one feeble voice, rising and falling in a cracked, 
monotonous mutter, could at intervals be faintly heard.  In the 
free outer air, the river, the green pastures, and the brown arable 
lands, the teeming hills and dales, were reddened by the sunset:  
while the distant little windows in windmills and farm homesteads, 
shone, patches of bright beaten gold.  In the Cathedral, all became 
gray, murky, and sepulchral, and the cracked monotonous mutter went 
on like a dying voice, until the organ and the choir burst forth, 
and drowned it in a sea of music.  Then, the sea fell, and the 
dying voice made another feeble effort, and then the sea rose high, 
and beat its life out, and lashed the roof, and surged among the 
arches, and pierced the heights of the great tower; and then the 
sea was dry, and all was still.

Mr. Grewgious had by that time walked to the chancel-steps, where 
he met the living waters coming out.

'Nothing is the matter?'  Thus Jasper accosted him, rather quickly.  
'You have not been sent for?'

'Not at all, not at all.  I came down of my own accord.  I have 
been to my pretty ward's, and am now homeward bound again.'

'You found her thriving?'

'Blooming indeed.  Most blooming.  I merely came to tell her, 
seriously, what a betrothal by deceased parents is.'

'And what is it - according to your judgment?'

Mr. Grewgious noticed the whiteness of the lips that asked the 
question, and put it down to the chilling account of the Cathedral.

'I merely came to tell her that it could not be considered binding, 
against any such reason for its dissolution as a want of affection, 
or want of disposition to carry it into effect, on the side of 
either party.'

'May I ask, had you any especial reason for telling her that?'

Mr. Grewgious answered somewhat sharply:  'The especial reason of 
doing my duty, sir.  Simply that.'  Then he added:  'Come, Mr. 
Jasper; I know your affection for your nephew, and that you are 
quick to feel on his behalf.  I assure you that this implies not 
the least doubt of, or disrespect to, your nephew.'

'You could not,' returned Jasper, with a friendly pressure of his 
arm, as they walked on side by side, 'speak more handsomely.'

Mr. Grewgious pulled off his hat to smooth his head, and, having 
smoothed it, nodded it contentedly, and put his hat on again.

'I will wager,' said Jasper, smiling - his lips were still so white 
that he was conscious of it, and bit and moistened them while 
speaking:  'I will wager that she hinted no wish to be released 
from Ned.'

'And you will win your wager, if you do,' retorted Mr. Grewgious.  
'We should allow some margin for little maidenly delicacies in a 
young motherless creature, under such circumstances, I suppose; it 
is not in my line; what do you think?'

'There can be no doubt of it.'

'I am glad you say so.  Because,' proceeded Mr. Grewgious, who had 
all this time very knowingly felt his way round to action on his 
remembrance of what she had said of Jasper himself:  'because she 
seems to have some little delicate instinct that all preliminary 
arrangements had best be made between Mr. Edwin Drood and herself, 
don't you see?  She don't want us, don't you know?'

Jasper touched himself on the breast, and said, somewhat 
indistinctly:  'You mean me.'

Mr. Grewgious touched himself on the breast, and said:  'I mean us.  
Therefore, let them have their little discussions and councils 
together, when Mr. Edwin Drood comes back here at Christmas; and 
then you and I will step in, and put the final touches to the 
business.'

'So, you settled with her that you would come back at Christmas?' 
observed Jasper.  'I see!  Mr. Grewgious, as you quite fairly said 
just now, there is such an exceptional attachment between my nephew 
and me, that I am more sensitive for the dear, fortunate, happy, 
happy fellow than for myself.  But it is only right that the young 
lady should be considered, as you have pointed out, and that I 
should accept my cue from you.  I accept it.  I understand that at 
Christmas they will complete their preparations for May, and that 
their marriage will be put in final train by themselves, and that 
nothing will remain for us but to put ourselves in train also, and 
have everything ready for our formal release from our trusts, on 
Edwin's birthday.'

'That is my understanding,' assented Mr. Grewgious, as they shook 
hands to part.  'God bless them both!'

'God save them both!' cried Jasper.

'I said, bless them,' remarked the former, looking back over his 
shoulder.

'I said, save them,' returned the latter.  'Is there any 
difference?'

CHAPTER X - SMOOTHING THE WAY

IT has been often enough remarked that women have a curious power 
of divining the characters of men, which would seem to be innate 
and instinctive; seeing that it is arrived at through no patient 
process of reasoning, that it can give no satisfactory or 
sufficient account of itself, and that it pronounces in the most 
confident manner even against accumulated observation on the part 
of the other sex.  But it has not been quite so often remarked that 
this power (fallible, like every other human attribute) is for the 
most part absolutely incapable of self-revision; and that when it 
has delivered an adverse opinion which by all human lights is 
subsequently proved to have failed, it is undistinguishable from 
prejudice, in respect of its determination not to be corrected.  
Nay, the very possibility of contradiction or disproof, however 
remote, communicates to this feminine judgment from the first, in 
nine cases out of ten, the weakness attendant on the testimony of 
an interested witness; so personally and strongly does the fair 
diviner connect herself with her divination.

'Now, don't you think, Ma dear,' said the Minor Canon to his mother 
one day as she sat at her knitting in his little book-room, 'that 
you are rather hard on Mr. Neville?'

'No, I do NOT, Sept,' returned the old lady.

'Let us discuss it, Ma.'

'I have no objection to discuss it, Sept.  I trust, my dear, I am 
always open to discussion.'  There was a vibration in the old 
lady's cap, as though she internally added:  'and I should like to 
see the discussion that would change MY mind!'

'Very good, Ma,' said her conciliatory son.  'There is nothing like 
being open to discussion.'

'I hope not, my dear,' returned the old lady, evidently shut to it.

'Well!  Mr. Neville, on that unfortunate occasion, commits himself 
under provocation.'

'And under mulled wine,' added the old lady.

'I must admit the wine.  Though I believe the two young men were 
much alike in that regard.'

'I don't,' said the old lady.

'Why not, Ma?'

'Because I DON'T,' said the old lady.  'Still, I am quite open to 
discussion.'

'But, my dear Ma, I cannot see how we are to discuss, if you take 
that line.'

'Blame Mr. Neville for it, Sept, and not me,' said the old lady, 
with stately severity.

'My dear Ma! why Mr. Neville?'

'Because,' said Mrs. Crisparkle, retiring on first principles, 'he 
came home intoxicated, and did great discredit to this house, and 
showed great disrespect to this family.'

'That is not to be denied, Ma.  He was then, and he is now, very 
sorry for it.'

'But for Mr. Jasper's well-bred consideration in coming up to me, 
next day, after service, in the Nave itself, with his gown still 
on, and expressing his hope that I had not been greatly alarmed or 
had my rest violently broken, I believe I might never have heard of 
that disgraceful transaction,' said the old lady.

'To be candid, Ma, I think I should have kept it from you if I 
could:  though I had not decidedly made up my mind.  I was 
following Jasper out, to confer with him on the subject, and to 
consider the expediency of his and my jointly hushing the thing up 
on all accounts, when I found him speaking to you.  Then it was too 
late.'

'Too late, indeed, Sept.  He was still as pale as gentlemanly ashes 
at what had taken place in his rooms overnight.'

'If I HAD kept it from you, Ma, you may be sure it would have been 
for your peace and quiet, and for the good of the young men, and in 
my best discharge of my duty according to my lights.'

The old lady immediately walked across the room and kissed him:  
saying, 'Of course, my dear Sept, I am sure of that.'

'However, it became the town-talk,' said Mr. Crisparkle, rubbing 
his ear, as his mother resumed her seat, and her knitting, 'and 
passed out of my power.'

'And I said then, Sept,' returned the old lady, 'that I thought ill 
of Mr. Neville.  And I say now, that I think ill of Mr. Neville.  
And I said then, and I say now, that I hope Mr. Neville may come to 
good, but I don't believe he will.'  Here the cap vibrated again 
considerably.

'I am sorry to hear you say so, Ma - '

'I am sorry to say so, my dear,' interposed the old lady, knitting 
on firmly, 'but I can't help it.'

' - For,' pursued the Minor Canon, 'it is undeniable that Mr. 
Neville is exceedingly industrious and attentive, and that he 
improves apace, and that he has - I hope I may say - an attachment 
to me.'

'There is no merit in the last article, my dear,' said the old 
lady, quickly; 'and if he says there is, I think the worse of him 
for the boast.'

'But, my dear Ma, he never said there was.'

'Perhaps not,' returned the old lady; 'still, I don't see that it 
greatly signifies.'

There was no impatience in the pleasant look with which Mr. 
Crisparkle contemplated the pretty old piece of china as it 
knitted; but there was, certainly, a humorous sense of its not 
being a piece of china to argue with very closely.

'Besides, Sept, ask yourself what he would be without his sister.  
You know what an influence she has over him; you know what a 
capacity she has; you know that whatever he reads with you, he 
reads with her.  Give her her fair share of your praise, and how 
much do you leave for him?'

At these words Mr. Crisparkle fell into a little reverie, in which 
he thought of several things.  He thought of the times he had seen 
the brother and sister together in deep converse over one of his 
own old college books; now, in the rimy mornings, when he made 
those sharpening pilgrimages to Cloisterham Weir; now, in the 
sombre evenings, when he faced the wind at sunset, having climbed 
his favourite outlook, a beetling fragment of monastery ruin; and 
the two studious figures passed below him along the margin of the 
river, in which the town fires and lights already shone, making the 
landscape bleaker.  He thought how the consciousness had stolen 
upon him that in teaching one, he was teaching two; and how he had 
almost insensibly adapted his explanations to both minds - that 
with which his own was daily in contact, and that which he only 
approached through it.  He thought of the gossip that had reached 
him from the Nuns' House, to the effect that Helena, whom he had 
mistrusted as so proud and fierce, submitted herself to the fairy-
bride (as he called her), and learnt from her what she knew.  He 
thought of the picturesque alliance between those two, externally 
so very different.  He thought - perhaps most of all - could it be 
that these things were yet but so many weeks old, and had become an 
integral part of his life?

As, whenever the Reverend Septimus fell a-musing, his good mother 
took it to be an infallible sign that he 'wanted support,' the 
blooming old lady made all haste to the dining-room closet, to 
produce from it the support embodied in a glass of Constantia and a 
home-made biscuit.  It was a most wonderful closet, worthy of 
Cloisterham and of Minor Canon Corner.  Above it, a portrait of 
Handel in a flowing wig beamed down at the spectator, with a 
knowing air of being up to the contents of the closet, and a 
musical air of intending to combine all its harmonies in one 
delicious fugue.  No common closet with a vulgar door on hinges, 
openable all at once, and leaving nothing to be disclosed by 
degrees, this rare closet had a lock in mid-air, where two 
perpendicular slides met; the one falling down, and the other 
pushing up.  The upper slide, on being pulled down (leaving the 
lower a double mystery), revealed deep shelves of pickle-jars, jam-
pots, tin canisters, spice-boxes, and agreeably outlandish vessels 
of blue and white, the luscious lodgings of preserved tamarinds and 
ginger.  Every benevolent inhabitant of this retreat had his name 
inscribed upon his stomach.  The pickles, in a uniform of rich 
brown double-breasted buttoned coat, and yellow or sombre drab 
continuations, announced their portly forms, in printed capitals, 
as Walnut, Gherkin, Onion, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Mixed, and other 
members of that noble family.  The jams, as being of a less 
masculine temperament, and as wearing curlpapers, announced 
themselves in feminine caligraphy, like a soft whisper, to be 
Raspberry, Gooseberry, Apricot, Plum, Damson, Apple, and Peach.  
The scene closing on these charmers, and the lower slide ascending, 
oranges were revealed, attended by a mighty japanned sugar-box, to 
temper their acerbity if unripe.  Home-made biscuits waited at the 
Court of these Powers, accompanied by a goodly fragment of plum-
cake, and various slender ladies' fingers, to be dipped into sweet 
wine and kissed.  Lowest of all, a compact leaden-vault enshrined 
the sweet wine and a stock of cordials:  whence issued whispers of 
Seville Orange, Lemon, Almond, and Caraway-seed.  There was a 
crowning air upon this closet of closets, of having been for ages 
hummed through by the Cathedral bell and organ, until those 
venerable bees had made sublimated honey of everything in store; 
and it was always observed that every dipper among the shelves 
(deep, as has been noticed, and swallowing up head, shoulders, and 
elbows) came forth again mellow-faced, and seeming to have 
undergone a saccharine transfiguration.

The Reverend Septimus yielded himself up quite as willing a victim 
to a nauseous medicinal herb-closet, also presided over by the 
china shepherdess, as to this glorious cupboard.  To what amazing 
infusions of gentian, peppermint, gilliflower, sage, parsley, 
thyme, rue, rosemary, and dandelion, did his courageous stomach 
submit itself!  In what wonderful wrappers, enclosing layers of 
dried leaves, would he swathe his rosy and contented face, if his 
mother suspected him of a toothache!  What botanical blotches would 
he cheerfully stick upon his cheek, or forehead, if the dear old 
lady convicted him of an imperceptible pimple there!  Into this 
herbaceous penitentiary, situated on an upper staircase-landing:  a 
low and narrow whitewashed cell, where bunches of dried leaves hung 
from rusty hooks in the ceiling, and were spread out upon shelves, 
in company with portentous bottles:  would the Reverend Septimus 
submissively be led, like the highly popular lamb who has so long 
and unresistingly been led to the slaughter, and there would he, 
unlike that lamb, bore nobody but himself.  Not even doing that 
much, so that the old lady were busy and pleased, he would quietly 
swallow what was given him, merely taking a corrective dip of hands 
and face into the great bowl of dried rose-leaves, and into the 
other great bowl of dried lavender, and then would go out, as 
confident in the sweetening powers of Cloisterham Weir and a 
wholesome mind, as Lady Macbeth was hopeless of those of all the 
seas that roll.

In the present instance the good Minor Canon took his glass of 
Constantia with an excellent grace, and, so supported to his 
mother's satisfaction, applied himself to the remaining duties of 
the day.  In their orderly and punctual progress they brought round 
Vesper Service and twilight.  The Cathedral being very cold, he set 
off for a brisk trot after service; the trot to end in a charge at 
his favourite fragment of ruin, which was to be carried by storm, 
without a pause for breath.

He carried it in a masterly manner, and, not breathed even then, 
stood looking down upon the river.  The river at Cloisterham is 
sufficiently near the sea to throw up oftentimes a quantity of 
seaweed.  An unusual quantity had come in with the last tide, and 
this, and the confusion of the water, and the restless dipping and 
flapping of the noisy gulls, and an angry light out seaward beyond 
the brown-sailed barges that were turning black, foreshadowed a 
stormy night.  In his mind he was contrasting the wild and noisy 
sea with the quiet harbour of Minor Canon Corner, when Helena and 
Neville Landless passed below him.  He had had the two together in 
his thoughts all day, and at once climbed down to speak to them 
together.  The footing was rough in an uncertain light for any 
tread save that of a good climber; but the Minor Canon was as good 
a climber as most men, and stood beside them before many good 
climbers would have been half-way down.

'A wild evening, Miss Landless!  Do you not find your usual walk 
with your brother too exposed and cold for the time of year?  Or at 
all events, when the sun is down, and the weather is driving in 
from the sea?'

Helena thought not.  It was their favourite walk.  It was very 
retired.

'It is very retired,' assented Mr. Crisparkle, laying hold of his 
opportunity straightway, and walking on with them.  'It is a place 
of all others where one can speak without interruption, as I wish 
to do.  Mr. Neville, I believe you tell your sister everything that 
passes between us?'

'Everything, sir.'

'Consequently,' said Mr. Crisparkle, 'your sister is aware that I 
have repeatedly urged you to make some kind of apology for that 
unfortunate occurrence which befell on the night of your arrival 
here.'  In saying it he looked to her, and not to him; therefore it 
was she, and not he, who replied:

'Yes.'

'I call it unfortunate, Miss Helena,' resumed Mr. Crisparkle, 
'forasmuch as it certainly has engendered a prejudice against 
Neville.  There is a notion about, that he is a dangerously 
passionate fellow, of an uncontrollable and furious temper:  he is 
really avoided as such.'

'I have no doubt he is, poor fellow,' said Helena, with a look of 
proud compassion at her brother, expressing a deep sense of his 
being ungenerously treated.  'I should be quite sure of it, from 
your saying so; but what you tell me is confirmed by suppressed 
hints and references that I meet with every day.'

'Now,' Mr. Crisparkle again resumed, in a tone of mild though firm 
persuasion, 'is not this to be regretted, and ought it not to be 
amended?  These are early days of Neville's in Cloisterham, and I 
have no fear of his outliving such a prejudice, and proving himself 
to have been misunderstood.  But how much wiser to take action at 
once, than to trust to uncertain time!  Besides, apart from its 
being politic, it is right.  For there can be no question that 
Neville was wrong.'

'He was provoked,' Helena submitted.

'He was the assailant,' Mr. Crisparkle submitted.

They walked on in silence, until Helena raised her eyes to the 
Minor Canon's face, and said, almost reproachfully:  'O Mr. 
Crisparkle, would you have Neville throw himself at young Drood's 
feet, or at Mr. Jasper's, who maligns him every day?  In your heart 
you cannot mean it.  From your heart you could not do it, if his 
case were yours.'

'I have represented to Mr. Crisparkle, Helena,' said Neville, with 
a glance of deference towards his tutor, 'that if I could do it 
from my heart, I would.  But I cannot, and I revolt from the 
pretence.  You forget however, that to put the case to Mr. 
Crisparkle as his own, is to  suppose to have done what I did.'

'I ask his pardon,' said Helena.

'You see,' remarked Mr. Crisparkle, again laying hold of his 
opportunity, though with a moderate and delicate touch, 'you both 
instinctively acknowledge that Neville did wrong.  Then why stop 
short, and not otherwise acknowledge it?'

'Is there no difference,' asked Helena, with a little faltering in 
her manner; 'between submission to a generous spirit, and 
submission to a base or trivial one?'

Before the worthy Minor Canon was quite ready with his argument in 
reference to this nice distinction, Neville struck in:

'Help me to clear myself with Mr. Crisparkle, Helena.  Help me to 
convince him that I cannot be the first to make concessions without 
mockery and falsehood.  My nature must be changed before I can do 
so, and it is not changed.  I am sensible of inexpressible affront, 
and deliberate aggravation of inexpressible affront, and I am 
angry.  The plain truth is, I am still as angry when I recall that 
night as I was that night.'

'Neville,' hinted the Minor Canon, with a steady countenance, 'you 
have repeated that former action of your hands, which I so much 
dislike.'

'I am sorry for it, sir, but it was involuntary.  I confessed that 
I was still as angry.'

'And I confess,' said Mr. Crisparkle, 'that I hoped for better 
things.'

'I am sorry to disappoint you, sir, but it would be far worse to 
deceive you, and I should deceive you grossly if I pretended that 
you had softened me in this respect.  The time may come when your 
powerful influence will do even that with the difficult pupil whose 
antecedents you know; but it has not come yet.  Is this so, and in 
spite of my struggles against myself, Helena?'

She, whose dark eyes were watching the effect of what he said on 
Mr. Crisparkle's face, replied - to Mr. Crisparkle, not to him:  
'It is so.'  After a short pause, she answered the slightest look 
of inquiry conceivable, in her brother's eyes, with as slight an 
affirmative bend of her own head; and he went on:

'I have never yet had the courage to say to you, sir, what in full 
openness I ought to have said when you first talked with me on this 
subject.  It is not easy to say, and I have been withheld by a fear 
of its seeming ridiculous, which is very strong upon me down to 
this last moment, and might, but for my sister, prevent my being 
quite open with you even now. - I admire Miss Bud, sir, so very 
much, that I cannot bear her being treated with conceit or 
indifference; and even if I did not feel that I had an injury 
against young Drood on my own account, I should feel that I had an 
injury against him on hers.'

Mr. Crisparkle, in utter amazement, looked at Helena for 
corroboration, and met in her expressive face full corroboration, 
and a plea for advice.

'The young lady of whom you speak is, as you know, Mr. Neville, 
shortly to be married,' said Mr. Crisparkle, gravely; 'therefore 
your admiration, if it be of that special nature which you seem to 
indicate, is outrageously misplaced.  Moreover, it is monstrous 
that you should take upon yourself to be the young lady's champion 
against her chosen husband.  Besides, you have seen them only once.  
The young lady has become your sister's friend; and I wonder that 
your sister, even on her behalf, has not checked you in this 
irrational and culpable fancy.'

'She has tried, sir, but uselessly.  Husband or no husband, that 
fellow is incapable of the feeling with which I am inspired towards 
the beautiful young creature whom he treats like a doll.  I say he 
is as incapable of it, as he is unworthy of her.  I say she is 
sacrificed in being bestowed upon him.  I say that I love her, and 
despise and hate him!'  This with a face so flushed, and a gesture 
so violent, that his sister crossed to his side, and caught his 
arm, remonstrating, 'Neville, Neville!'

Thus recalled to himself, he quickly became sensible of having lost 
the guard he had set upon his passionate tendency, and covered his 
face with his hand, as one repentant and wretched.

Mr. Crisparkle, watching him attentively, and at the same time 
meditating how to proceed, walked on for some paces in silence.  
Then he spoke:

'Mr. Neville, Mr. Neville, I am sorely grieved to see in you more 
traces of a character as sullen, angry, and wild, as the night now 
closing in.  They are of too serious an aspect to leave me the 
resource of treating the infatuation you have disclosed, as 
undeserving serious consideration.  I give it very serious 
consideration, and I speak to you accordingly.  This feud between 
you and young Drood must not go on.  I cannot permit it to go on 
any longer, knowing what I now know from you, and you living under 
my roof.  Whatever prejudiced and unauthorised constructions your 
blind and envious wrath may put upon his character, it is a frank, 
good-natured character.  I know I can trust to it for that.  Now, 
pray observe what I am about to say.  On reflection, and on your 
sister's representation, I am willing to admit that, in making 
peace with young Drood, you have a right to be met half-way.  I 
will engage that you shall be, and even that young Drood shall make 
the first advance.  This condition fulfilled, you will pledge me 
the honour of a Christian gentleman that the quarrel is for ever at 
an end on your side.  What may be in your heart when you give him 
your hand, can only be known to the Searcher of all hearts; but it 
will never go well with you, if there be any treachery there.  So 
far, as to that; next as to what I must again speak of as your 
infatuation.  I understand it to have been confided to me, and to 
be known to no other person save your sister and yourself.  Do I 
understand aright?'

Helena answered in a low voice:  'It is only known to us three who 
are here together.'

'It is not at all known to the young lady, your friend?'

'On my soul, no!'

'I require you, then, to give me your similar and solemn pledge, 
Mr. Neville, that it shall remain the secret it is, and that you 
will take no other action whatsoever upon it than endeavouring (and 
that most earnestly) to erase it from your mind.  I will not tell 
you that it will soon pass; I will not tell you that it is the 
fancy of the moment; I will not tell you that such caprices have 
their rise and fall among the young and ardent every hour; I will 
leave you undisturbed in the belief that it has few parallels or 
none, that it will abide with you a long time, and that it will be 
very difficult to conquer.  So much the more weight shall I attach 
to the pledge I require from you, when it is unreservedly given.'

The young man twice or thrice essayed to speak, but failed.

'Let me leave you with your sister, whom it is time you took home,' 
said Mr. Crisparkle.  'You will find me alone in my room by-and-
by.'

'Pray do not leave us yet,' Helena implored him.  'Another minute.'

'I should not,' said Neville, pressing his hand upon his face, 
'have needed so much as another minute, if you had been less 
patient with me, Mr. Crisparkle, less considerate of me, and less 
unpretendingly good and true.  O, if in my childhood I had known 
such a guide!'

'Follow your guide now, Neville,' murmured Helena, 'and follow him 
to Heaven!'

There was that in her tone which broke the good Minor Canon's 
voice, or it would have repudiated her exaltation of him.  As it 
was, he laid a finger on his lips, and looked towards her brother.

'To say that I give both pledges, Mr. Crisparkle, out of my 
innermost heart, and to say that there is no treachery in it, is to 
say nothing!'  Thus Neville, greatly moved.  'I beg your 
forgiveness for my miserable lapse into a burst of passion.'

'Not mine, Neville, not mine.  You know with whom forgiveness lies, 
as the highest attribute conceivable.  Miss Helena, you and your 
brother are twin children.  You came into this world with the same 
dispositions, and you passed your younger days together surrounded 
by the same adverse circumstances.  What you have overcome in 
yourself, can you not overcome in him?  You see the rock that lies 
in his course.  Who but you can keep him clear of it?'

'Who but you, sir?' replied Helena.  'What is my influence, or my 
weak wisdom, compared with yours!'

'You have the wisdom of Love,' returned the Minor Canon, 'and it 
was the highest wisdom ever known upon this earth, remember.  As to 
mine - but the less said of that commonplace commodity the better.  
Good night!'

She took the hand he offered her, and gratefully and almost 
reverently raised it to her lips.

'Tut!' said the Minor Canon softly, 'I am much overpaid!' and 
turned away.

Retracing his steps towards the Cathedral Close, he tried, as he 
went along in the dark, to think out the best means of bringing to 
pass what he had promised to effect, and what must somehow be done.  
'I shall probably be asked to marry them,' he reflected, 'and I 
would they were married and gone!  But this presses first.'

He debated principally whether he should write to young Drood, or 
whether he should speak to Jasper.  The consciousness of being 
popular with the whole Cathedral establishment inclined him to the 
latter course, and the well-timed sight of the lighted gatehouse 
decided him to take it.  'I will strike while the iron is hot,' he 
said, 'and see him now.'

Jasper was lying asleep on a couch before the fire, when, having 
ascended the postern-stair, and received no answer to his knock at 
the door, Mr. Crisparkle gently turned the handle and looked in.  
Long afterwards he had cause to remember how Jasper sprang from the 
couch in a delirious state between sleeping and waking, and crying 
out:  'What is the matter?  Who did it?'

'It is only I, Jasper.  I am sorry to have disturbed you.'

The glare of his eyes settled down into a look of recognition, and 
he moved a chair or two, to make a way to the fireside.

'I was dreaming at a great rate, and am glad to be disturbed from 
an indigestive after-dinner sleep.  Not to mention that you are 
always welcome.'

'Thank you.  I am not confident,' returned Mr. Crisparkle, as he 
sat himself down in the easy-chair placed for him, 'that my subject 
will at first sight be quite as welcome as myself; but I am a 
minister of peace, and I pursue my subject in the interests of 
peace.  In a word, Jasper, I want to establish peace between these 
two young fellows.'

A very perplexed expression took hold of Mr. Jasper's face; a very 
perplexing expression too, for Mr. Crisparkle could make nothing of 
it.

'How?' was Jasper's inquiry, in a low and slow voice, after a 
silence.

'For the "How" I come to you.  I want to ask you to do me the great 
favour and service of interposing with your nephew (I have already 
interposed with Mr. Neville), and getting him to write you a short 
note, in his lively way, saying that he is willing to shake hands.  
I know what a good-natured fellow he is, and what influence you 
have with him.  And without in the least defending Mr. Neville, we 
must all admit that he was bitterly stung.'

Jasper turned that perplexed face towards the fire.  Mr. Crisparkle 
continuing to observe it, found it even more perplexing than 
before, inasmuch as it seemed to denote (which could hardly be) 
some close internal calculation.

'I know that you are not prepossessed in Mr. Neville's favour,' the 
Minor Canon was going on, when Jasper stopped him:

'You have cause to say so.  I am not, indeed.'

'Undoubtedly; and I admit his lamentable violence of temper, though 
I hope he and I will get the better of it between us.  But I have 
exacted a very solemn promise from him as to his future demeanour 
towards your nephew, if you do kindly interpose; and I am sure he 
will keep it.'

'You are always responsible and trustworthy, Mr. Crisparkle.  Do 
you really feel sure that you can answer for him so confidently?'

'I do.'

The perplexed and perplexing look vanished.

'Then you relieve my mind of a great dread, and a heavy weight,' 
said Jasper; 'I will do it.'

Mr. Crisparkle, delighted by the swiftness and completeness of his 
success, acknowledged it in the handsomest terms.

'I will do it,' repeated Jasper, 'for the comfort of having your 
guarantee against my vague and unfounded fears.  You will laugh - 
but do you keep a Diary?'

'A line for a day; not more.'

'A line for a day would be quite as much as my uneventful life 
would need, Heaven knows,' said Jasper, taking a book from a desk, 
'but that my Diary is, in fact, a Diary of Ned's life too.  You 
will laugh at this entry; you will guess when it was made:

'"Past midnight. - After what I have just now seen, I have a morbid 
dread upon me of some horrible consequences resulting to my dear 
boy, that I cannot reason with or in any way contend against.  All 
my efforts are vain.  The demoniacal passion of this Neville 
Landless, his strength in his fury, and his savage rage for the 
destruction of its object, appal me.  So profound is the 
impression, that twice since I have gone into my dear boy's room, 
to assure myself of his sleeping safely, and not lying dead in his 
blood."

'Here is another entry next morning:

'"Ned up and away.  Light-hearted and unsuspicious as ever.  He 
laughed when I cautioned him, and said he was as good a man as 
Neville Landless any day.  I told him that might be, but he was not 
as bad a man.  He continued to make light of it, but I travelled 
with him as far as I could, and left him most unwillingly.  I am 
unable to shake off these dark intangible presentiments of evil - 
if feelings founded upon staring facts are to be so called."

'Again and again,' said Jasper, in conclusion, twirling the leaves 
of the book before putting it by, 'I have relapsed into these 
moods, as other entries show.  But I have now your assurance at my 
back, and shall put it in my book, and make it an antidote to my 
black humours.'

'Such an antidote, I hope,' returned Mr. Crisparkle, 'as will 
induce you before long to consign the black humours to the flames.  
I ought to be the last to find any fault with you this evening, 
when you have met my wishes so freely; but I must say, Jasper, that 
your devotion to your nephew has made you exaggerative here.'

'You are my witness,' said Jasper, shrugging his shoulders, 'what 
my state of mind honestly was, that night, before I sat down to 
write, and in what words I expressed it.  You remember objecting to 
a word I used, as being too strong?  It was a stronger word than 
any in my Diary.'

'Well, well.  Try the antidote,' rejoined Mr. Crisparkle; 'and may 
it give you a brighter and better view of the case!  We will 
discuss it no more now.  I have to thank you for myself, thank you 
sincerely.'

'You shall find,' said Jasper, as they shook hands, 'that I will 
not do the thing you wish me to do, by halves.  I will take care 
that Ned, giving way at all, shall give way thoroughly.'

On the third day after this conversation, he called on Mr. 
Crisparkle with the following letter:

'MY DEAR JACK,

'I am touched by your account of your interview with Mr. 
Crisparkle, whom I much respect and esteem.  At once I openly say 
that I forgot myself on that occasion quite as much as Mr. Landless 
did, and that I wish that bygone to be a bygone, and all to be 
right again.

'Look here, dear old boy.  Ask Mr. Landless to dinner on Christmas 
Eve (the better the day the better the deed), and let there be only 
we three, and let us shake hands all round there and then, and say 
no more about it.

'My dear Jack,
'Ever your most affectionate,
'EDWIN DROOD.

'P.S.  Love to Miss Pussy at the next music-lesson.'

'You expect Mr. Neville, then?' said Mr. Crisparkle.

'I count upon his coming,' said Mr. Jasper.

CHAPTER XI - A PICTURE AND A RING

BEHIND the most ancient part of Holborn, London, where certain 
gabled houses some centuries of age still stand looking on the 
public way, as if disconsolately looking for the Old Bourne that 
has long run dry, is a little nook composed of two irregular 
quadrangles, called Staple Inn.  It is one of those nooks, the 
turning into which out of the clashing street, imparts to the 
relieved pedestrian the sensation of having put cotton in his ears, 
and velvet soles on his boots.  It is one of those nooks where a 
few smoky sparrows twitter in smoky trees, as though they called to 
one another, 'Let us play at country,' and where a few feet of 
garden-mould and a few yards of gravel enable them to do that 
refreshing violence to their tiny understandings.  Moreover, it is 
one of those nooks which are legal nooks; and it contains a little 
Hall, with a little lantern in its roof:  to what obstructive 
purposes devoted, and at whose expense, this history knoweth not.

In the days when Cloisterham took offence at the existence of a 
railroad afar off, as menacing that sensitive constitution, the 
property of us Britons:  the odd fortune of which sacred 
institution it is to be in exactly equal degrees croaked about, 
trembled for, and boasted of, whatever happens to anything, 
anywhere in the world:  in those days no neighbouring architecture 
of lofty proportions had arisen to overshadow Staple Inn.  The 
westering sun bestowed bright glances on it, and the south-west 
wind blew into it unimpeded.

Neither wind nor sun, however, favoured Staple Inn one December 
afternoon towards six o'clock, when it was filled with fog, and 
candles shed murky and blurred rays through the windows of all its 
then-occupied sets of chambers; notably from a set of chambers in a 
corner house in the little inner quadrangle, presenting in black 
and white over its ugly portal the mysterious inscription:

          P
      J       T
         1747

In which set of chambers, never having troubled his head about the 
inscription, unless to bethink himself at odd times on glancing up 
at it, that haply it might mean Perhaps John Thomas, or Perhaps Joe 
Tyler, sat Mr. Grewgious writing by his fire.

Who could have told, by looking at Mr. Grewgious, whether he had 
ever known ambition or disappointment?  He had been bred to the 
Bar, and had laid himself out for chamber practice; to draw deeds; 
'convey the wise it call,' as Pistol says.  But Conveyancing and he 
had made such a very indifferent marriage of it that they had 
separated by consent - if there can be said to be separation where 
there has never been coming together.

No.  Coy Conveyancing would not come to Mr. Grewgious.  She was 
wooed, not won, and they went their several ways.  But an 
Arbitration being blown towards him by some unaccountable wind, and 
he gaining great credit in it as one indefatigable in seeking out 
right and doing right, a pretty fat Receivership was next blown 
into his pocket by a wind more traceable to its source.  So, by 
chance, he had found his niche.  Receiver and Agent now, to two 
rich estates, and deputing their legal business, in an amount worth 
having, to a firm of solicitors on the floor below, he had snuffed 
out his ambition (supposing him to have ever lighted it), and had 
settled down with his snuffers for the rest of his life under the 
dry vine and fig-tree of P. J. T., who planted in seventeen-forty-
seven.

Many accounts and account-books, many files of correspondence, and 
several strong boxes, garnished Mr. Grewgious's room.  They can 
scarcely be represented as having lumbered it, so conscientious and 
precise was their orderly arrangement.  The apprehension of dying 
suddenly, and leaving one fact or one figure with any 
incompleteness or obscurity attaching to it, would have stretched 
Mr. Grewgious stone-dead any day.  The largest fidelity to a trust 
was the life-blood of the man.  There are sorts of life-blood that 
course more quickly, more gaily, more attractively; but there is no 
better sort in circulation.

There was no luxury in his room.  Even its comforts were limited to 
its being dry and warm, and having a snug though faded fireside.  
What may be called its private life was confined to the hearth, and 
all easy-chair, and an old-fashioned occasional round table that 
was brought out upon the rug after business hours, from a corner 
where it elsewise remained turned up like a shining mahogany 
shield.  Behind it, when standing thus on the defensive, was a 
closet, usually containing something good to drink.  An outer room 
was the clerk's room; Mr. Grewgious's sleeping-room was across the 
common stair; and he held some not empty cellarage at the bottom of 
the common stair.  Three hundred days in the year, at least, he 
crossed over to the hotel in Furnival's Inn for his dinner, and 
after dinner crossed back again, to make the most of these 
simplicities until it should become broad business day once more, 
with P. J. T., date seventeen-forty-seven.

As Mr. Grewgious sat and wrote by his fire that afternoon, so did 
the clerk of Mr. Grewgious sit and write by HIS fire.  A pale, 
puffy-faced, dark-haired person of thirty, with big dark eyes that 
wholly wanted lustre, and a dissatisfied doughy complexion, that 
seemed to ask to be sent to the baker's, this attendant was a 
mysterious being, possessed of some strange power over Mr. 
Grewgious.  As though he had been called into existence, like a 
fabulous Familiar, by a magic spell which had failed when required 
to dismiss him, he stuck tight to Mr. Grewgious's stool, although 
Mr. Grewgious's comfort and convenience would manifestly have been 
advanced by dispossessing him.  A gloomy person with tangled locks, 
and a general air of having been reared under the shadow of that 
baleful tree of Java which has given shelter to more lies than the 
whole botanical kingdom, Mr. Grewgious, nevertheless, treated him 
with unaccountable consideration.

'Now, Bazzard,' said Mr. Grewgious, on the entrance of his clerk:  
looking up from his papers as he arranged them for the night:  
'what is in the wind besides fog?'

'Mr. Drood,' said Bazzard.

'What of him?'

'Has called,' said Bazzard.

'You might have shown him in.'

'I am doing it,' said Bazzard.

The visitor came in accordingly.

'Dear me!' said Mr. Grewgious, looking round his pair of office 
candles.  'I thought you had called and merely left your name and 
gone.  How do you do, Mr. Edwin?  Dear me, you're choking!'

'It's this fog,' returned Edwin; 'and it makes my eyes smart, like 
Cayenne pepper.'

'Is it really so bad as that?  Pray undo your wrappers.  It's 
fortunate I have so good a fire; but Mr. Bazzard has taken care of 
me.'

'No I haven't,' said Mr. Bazzard at the door.

'Ah! then it follows that I must have taken care of myself without 
observing it,' said Mr. Grewgious.  'Pray be seated in my chair.  
No.  I beg!  Coming out of such an atmosphere, in MY chair.'

Edwin took the easy-chair in the corner; and the fog he had brought 
in with him, and the fog he took off with his greatcoat and neck-
shawl, was speedily licked up by the eager fire.

'I look,' said Edwin, smiling, 'as if I had come to stop.'

' - By the by,' cried Mr. Grewgious; 'excuse my interrupting you; 
do stop.  The fog may clear in an hour or two.  We can have dinner 
in from just across Holborn.  You had better take your Cayenne 
pepper here than outside; pray stop and dine.'

'You are very kind,' said Edwin, glancing about him as though 
attracted by the notion of a new and relishing sort of gipsy-party.

'Not at all,' said Mr. Grewgious; 'YOU are very kind to join issue 
with a bachelor in chambers, and take pot-luck.  And I'll ask,' 
said Mr. Grewgious, dropping his voice, and speaking with a 
twinkling eye, as if inspired with a bright thought:  'I'll ask 
Bazzard.  He mightn't like it else. - Bazzard!'

Bazzard reappeared.

'Dine presently with Mr. Drood and me.'

'If I am ordered to dine, of course I will, sir,' was the gloomy 
answer.

'Save the man!' cried Mr. Grewgious.  'You're not ordered; you're 
invited.'

'Thank you, sir,' said Bazzard; 'in that case I don't care if I 
do.'

'That's arranged.  And perhaps you wouldn't mind,' said Mr. 
Grewgious, 'stepping over to the hotel in Furnival's, and asking 
them to send in materials for laying the cloth.  For dinner we'll 
have a tureen of the hottest and strongest soup available, and 
we'll have the best made-dish that can be recommended, and we'll 
have a joint (such as a haunch of mutton), and we'll have a goose, 
or a turkey, or any little stuffed thing of that sort that may 
happen to be in the bill of fare - in short, we'll have whatever 
there is on hand.'

These liberal directions Mr. Grewgious issued with his usual air of 
reading an inventory, or repeating a lesson, or doing anything else 
by rote.  Bazzard, after drawing out the round table, withdrew to 
execute them.

'I was a little delicate, you see,' said Mr. Grewgious, in a lower 
tone, after his clerk's departure, 'about employing him in the 
foraging or commissariat department.  Because he mightn't like it.'

'He seems to have his own way, sir,' remarked Edwin.

'His own way?' returned Mr. Grewgious.  'O dear no!  Poor fellow, 
you quite mistake him.  If he had his own way, he wouldn't be 
here.'

'I wonder where he would be!' Edwin thought.  But he only thought 
it, because Mr. Grewgious came and stood himself with his back to 
the other corner of the fire, and his shoulder-blades against the 
chimneypiece, and collected his skirts for easy conversation.

'I take it, without having the gift of prophecy, that you have done 
me the favour of looking in to mention that you are going down 
yonder - where I can tell you, you are expected - and to offer to 
execute any little commission from me to my charming ward, and 
perhaps to sharpen me up a bit in any proceedings?  Eh, Mr. Edwin?'

'I called, sir, before going down, as an act of attention.'

'Of attention!' said Mr. Grewgious.  'Ah! of course, not of 
impatience?'

'Impatience, sir?'

Mr. Grewgious had meant to be arch - not that he in the remotest 
degree expressed that meaning - and had brought himself into 
scarcely supportable proximity with the fire, as if to burn the 
fullest effect of his archness into himself, as other subtle 
impressions are burnt into hard metals.  But his archness suddenly 
flying before the composed face and manner of his visitor, and only 
the fire remaining, he started and rubbed himself.

'I have lately been down yonder,' said Mr. Grewgious, rearranging 
his skirts; 'and that was what I referred to, when I said I could 
tell you you are expected.'

'Indeed, sir!  Yes; I knew that Pussy was looking out for me.'

'Do you keep a cat down there?' asked Mr. Grewgious.

Edwin coloured a little as he explained:  'I call Rosa Pussy.'

'O, really,' said Mr. Grewgious, smoothing down his head; 'that's 
very affable.'

Edwin glanced at his face, uncertain whether or no he seriously 
objected to the appellation.  But Edwin might as well have glanced 
at the face of a clock.

'A pet name, sir,' he explained again.

'Umps,' said Mr. Grewgious, with a nod.  But with such an 
extraordinary compromise between an unqualified assent and a 
qualified dissent, that his visitor was much disconcerted.

'Did PRosa - ' Edwin began by way of recovering himself.

'PRosa?' repeated Mr. Grewgious.

'I was going to say Pussy, and changed my mind; - did she tell you 
anything about the Landlesses?'

'No,' said Mr. Grewgious.  'What is the Landlesses?  An estate?  A 
villa?  A farm?'

'A brother and sister.  The sister is at the Nuns' House, and has 
become a great friend of P - '

'PRosa's,' Mr. Grewgious struck in, with a fixed face.

'She is a strikingly handsome girl, sir, and I thought she might 
have been described to you, or presented to you perhaps?'

'Neither,' said Mr. Grewgious.  'But here is Bazzard.'

Bazzard returned, accompanied by two waiters - an immovable waiter, 
and a flying waiter; and the three brought in with them as much fog 
as gave a new roar to the fire.  The flying waiter, who had brought 
everything on his shoulders, laid the cloth with amazing rapidity 
and dexterity; while the immovable waiter, who had brought nothing, 
found fault with him.  The flying waiter then highly polished all 
the glasses he had brought, and the immovable waiter looked through 
them.  The flying waiter then flew across Holborn for the soup, and 
flew back again, and then took another flight for the made-dish, 
and flew back again, and then took another flight for the joint and 
poultry, and flew back again, and between whiles took supplementary 
flights for a great variety of articles, as it was discovered from 
time to time that the immovable waiter had forgotten them all.  But 
let the flying waiter cleave the air as he might, he was always 
reproached on his return by the immovable waiter for bringing fog 
with him, and being out of breath.  At the conclusion of the 
repast, by which time the flying waiter was severely blown, the 
immovable waiter gathered up the tablecloth under his arm with a 
grand air, and having sternly (not to say with indignation) looked 
on at the flying waiter while he set the clean glasses round, 
directed a valedictory glance towards Mr. Grewgious, conveying:  
'Let it be clearly understood between us that the reward is mine, 
and that Nil is the claim of this slave,' and pushed the flying 
waiter before him out of the room.

It was like a highly-finished miniature painting representing My 
Lords of the Circumlocution Department, Commandership-in-Chief of 
any sort, Government.  It was quite an edifying little picture to 
be hung on the line in the National Gallery.

As the fog had been the proximate cause of this sumptuous repast, 
so the fog served for its general sauce.  To hear the out-door 
clerks sneezing, wheezing, and beating their feet on the gravel was 
a zest far surpassing Doctor Kitchener's.  To bid, with a shiver, 
the unfortunate flying waiter shut the door before he had opened 
it, was a condiment of a profounder flavour than Harvey.  And here 
let it be noticed, parenthetically, that the leg of this young man, 
in its application to the door, evinced the finest sense of touch:  
always preceding himself and tray (with something of an angling air 
about it), by some seconds:  and always lingering after he and the 
tray had disappeared, like Macbeth's leg when accompanying him off 
the stage with reluctance to the assassination of Duncan.

The host had gone below to the cellar, and had brought up bottles 
of ruby, straw-coloured, and golden drinks, which had ripened long 
ago in lands where no fogs are, and had since lain slumbering in 
the shade.  Sparkling and tingling after so long a nap, they pushed 
at their corks to help the corkscrew (like prisoners helping 
rioters to force their gates), and danced out gaily.  If P. J. T. 
in seventeen-forty-seven, or in any other year of his period, drank 
such wines - then, for a certainty, P. J. T. was Pretty Jolly Too.

Externally, Mr. Grewgious showed no signs of being mellowed by 
these glowing vintages.  Instead of his drinking them, they might 
have been poured over him in his high-dried snuff form, and run to 
waste, for any lights and shades they caused to flicker over his 
face.  Neither was his manner influenced.  But, in his wooden way, 
he had observant eyes for Edwin; and when at the end of dinner, he 
motioned Edwin back to his own easy-chair in the fireside corner, 
and Edwin sank luxuriously into it after very brief remonstrance, 
Mr. Grewgious, as he turned his seat round towards the fire too, 
and smoothed his head and face, might have been seen looking at his 
visitor between his smoothing fingers.

'Bazzard!' said Mr. Grewgious, suddenly turning to him.

'I follow you, sir,' returned Bazzard; who had done his work of 
consuming meat and drink in a workmanlike manner, though mostly in 
speechlessness.

'I drink to you, Bazzard; Mr. Edwin, success to Mr. Bazzard!'

'Success to Mr. Bazzard!' echoed Edwin, with a totally unfounded 
appearance of enthusiasm, and with the unspoken addition:  'What 
in, I wonder!'

'And May!' pursued Mr. Grewgious - 'I am not at liberty to be 
definite - May! - my conversational powers are so very limited that 
I know I shall not come well out of this - May! - it ought to be 
put imaginatively, but I have no imagination - May! - the thorn of 
anxiety is as nearly the mark as I am likely to get - May it come 
out at last!'

Mr. Bazzard, with a frowning smile at the fire, put a hand into his 
tangled locks, as if the thorn of anxiety were there; then into his 
waistcoat, as if it were there; then into his pockets, as if it 
were there.  In all these movements he was closely followed by the 
eyes of Edwin, as if that young gentleman expected to see the thorn 
in action.  It was not produced, however, and Mr. Bazzard merely 
said:  'I follow you, sir, and I thank you.'

'I am going,' said Mr. Grewgious, jingling his glass on the table 
with one hand, and bending aside under cover of the other, to 
whisper to Edwin, 'to drink to my ward.  But I put Bazzard first.  
He mightn't like it else.'

This was said with a mysterious wink; or what would have been a 
wink, if, in Mr. Grewgious's hands, it could have been quick 
enough.  So Edwin winked responsively, without the least idea what 
he meant by doing so.

'And now,' said Mr. Grewgious, 'I devote a bumper to the fair and 
fascinating Miss Rosa.  Bazzard, the fair and fascinating Miss 
Rosa!'

'I follow you, sir,' said Bazzard, 'and I pledge you!'

'And so do I!' said Edwin.

'Lord bless me,' cried Mr. Grewgious, breaking the blank silence 
which of course ensued:  though why these pauses SHOULD come upon 
us when we have performed any small social rite, not directly 
inducive of self-examination or mental despondency, who can tell?  
'I am a particularly Angular man, and yet I fancy (if I may use the 
word, not having a morsel of fancy), that I could draw a picture of 
a true lover's state of mind, to-night.'

'Let us follow you, sir,' said Bazzard, 'and have the picture.'

'Mr. Edwin will correct it where it's wrong,' resumed Mr. 
Grewgious, 'and will throw in a few touches from the life.  I dare 
say it is wrong in many particulars, and wants many touches from 
the life, for I was born a Chip, and have neither soft sympathies 
nor soft experiences.  Well!  I hazard the guess that the true 
lover's mind is completely permeated by the beloved object of his 
affections.  I hazard the guess that her dear name is precious to 
him, cannot be heard or repeated without emotion, and is preserved 
sacred.  If he has any distinguishing appellation of fondness for 
her, it is reserved for her, and is not for common ears.  A name 
that it would be a privilege to call her by, being alone with her 
own bright self, it would be a liberty, a coldness, an 
insensibility, almost a breach of good faith, to flaunt elsewhere.'

It was wonderful to see Mr. Grewgious sitting bolt upright, with 
his hands on his knees, continuously chopping this discourse out of 
himself:  much as a charity boy with a very good memory might get 
his catechism said:  and evincing no correspondent emotion 
whatever, unless in a certain occasional little tingling 
perceptible at the end of his nose.

'My picture,' Mr. Grewgious proceeded, 'goes on to represent (under 
correction from you, Mr. Edwin), the true lover as ever impatient 
to be in the presence or vicinity of the beloved object of his 
affections; as caring very little for his case in any other 
society; and as constantly seeking that.  If I was to say seeking 
that, as a bird seeks its nest, I should make an ass of myself, 
because that would trench upon what I understand to be poetry; and 
I am so far from trenching upon poetry at any time, that I never, 
to my knowledge, got within ten thousand miles of it.  And I am 
besides totally unacquainted with the habits of birds, except the 
birds of Staple Inn, who seek their nests on ledges, and in gutter-
pipes and chimneypots, not constructed for them by the beneficent 
hand of Nature.  I beg, therefore, to be understood as foregoing 
the bird's-nest.  But my picture does represent the true lover as 
having no existence separable from that of the beloved object of 
his affections, and as living at once a doubled life and a halved 
life.  And if I do not clearly express what I mean by that, it is 
either for the reason that having no conversational powers, I 
cannot express what I mean, or that having no meaning, I do not 
mean what I fail to express.  Which, to the best of my belief, is 
not the case.'

Edwin had turned red and turned white, as certain points of this 
picture came into the light.  He now sat looking at the fire, and 
bit his lip.

'The speculations of an Angular man,' resumed Mr. Grewgious, still 
sitting and speaking exactly as before, 'are probably erroneous on 
so globular a topic.  But I figure to myself (subject, as before, 
to Mr. Edwin's correction), that there can be no coolness, no 
lassitude, no doubt, no indifference, no half fire and half smoke 
state of mind, in a real lover.  Pray am I at all near the mark in 
my picture?'

As abrupt in his conclusion as in his commencement and progress, he 
jerked this inquiry at Edwin, and stopped when one might have 
supposed him in the middle of his oration.

'I should say, sir,' stammered Edwin, 'as you refer the question to 
me - '

'Yes,' said Mr. Grewgious, 'I refer it to you, as an authority.'

'I should say, then, sir,' Edwin went on, embarrassed, 'that the 
picture you have drawn is generally correct; but I submit that 
perhaps you may be rather hard upon the unlucky lover.'

'Likely so,' assented Mr. Grewgious, 'likely so.  I am a hard man 
in the grain.'

'He may not show,' said Edwin, 'all he feels; or he may not - '

There he stopped so long, to find the rest of his sentence, that 
Mr. Grewgious rendered his difficulty a thousand times the greater 
by unexpectedly striking in with:

'No to be sure; he MAY not!'

After that, they all sat silent; the silence of Mr. Bazzard being 
occasioned by slumber.

'His responsibility is very great, though,' said Mr. Grewgious at 
length, with his eyes on the fire.

Edwin nodded assent, with HIS eyes on the fire.

'And let him be sure that he trifles with no one,' said Mr. 
Grewgious; 'neither with himself, nor with any other.'

Edwin bit his lip again, and still sat looking at the fire.

'He must not make a plaything of a treasure.  Woe betide him if he 
does!  Let him take that well to heart,' said Mr. Grewgious.

Though he said these things in short sentences, much as the 
supposititious charity boy just now referred to might have repeated 
a verse or two from the Book of Proverbs, there was something 
dreamy (for so literal a man) in the way in which he now shook his 
right forefinger at the live coals in the grate, and again fell 
silent.

But not for long.  As he sat upright and stiff in his chair, he 
suddenly rapped his knees, like the carved image of some queer Joss 
or other coming out of its reverie, and said:  'We must finish this 
bottle, Mr. Edwin.  Let me help you.  I'll help Bazzard too, though 
he IS asleep.  He mightn't like it else.'

He helped them both, and helped himself, and drained his glass, and 
stood it bottom upward on the table, as though he had just caught a 
bluebottle in it.

'And now, Mr. Edwin,' he proceeded, wiping his mouth and hands upon 
his handkerchief:  'to a little piece of business.  You received 
from me, the other day, a certified copy of Miss Rosa's father's 
will.  You knew its contents before, but you received it from me as 
a matter of business.  I should have sent it to Mr. Jasper, but for 
Miss Rosa's wishing it to come straight to you, in preference.  You 
received it?'

'Quite safely, sir.'

'You should have acknowledged its receipt,' said Mr. Grewgious; 
'business being business all the world over.  However, you did 
not.'

'I meant to have acknowledged it when I first came in this evening, 
sir.'

'Not a business-like acknowledgment,' returned Mr. Grewgious; 
'however, let that pass.  Now, in that document you have observed a 
few words of kindly allusion to its being left to me to discharge a 
little trust, confided to me in conversation, at such time as I in 
my discretion may think best.'

'Yes, sir.'

'Mr. Edwin, it came into my mind just now, when I was looking at 
the fire, that I could, in my discretion, acquit myself of that 
trust at no better time than the present.  Favour me with your 
attention, half a minute.'

He took a bunch of keys from his pocket, singled out by the candle-
light the key he wanted, and then, with a candle in his hand, went 
to a bureau or escritoire, unlocked it, touched the spring of a 
little secret drawer, and took from it an ordinary ring-case made 
for a single ring.  With this in his hand, he returned to his 
chair.  As he held it up for the young man to see, his hand 
trembled.

'Mr. Edwin, this rose of diamonds and rubies delicately set in 
gold, was a ring belonging to Miss Rosa's mother.  It was removed 
from her dead hand, in my presence, with such distracted grief as I 
hope it may never be my lot to contemplate again.  Hard man as I 
am, I am not hard enough for that.  See how bright these stones 
shine!' opening the case.  'And yet the eyes that were so much 
brighter, and that so often looked upon them with a light and a 
proud heart, have been ashes among ashes, and dust among dust, some 
years!  If I had any imagination (which it is needless to say I 
have not), I might imagine that the lasting beauty of these stones 
was almost cruel.'

He closed the case again as he spoke.

'This ring was given to the young lady who was drowned so early in 
her beautiful and happy career, by her husband, when they first 
plighted their faith to one another.  It was he who removed it from 
her unconscious hand, and it was he who, when his death drew very 
near, placed it in mine.  The trust in which I received it, was, 
that, you and Miss Rosa growing to manhood and womanhood, and your 
betrothal prospering and coming to maturity, I should give it to 
you to place upon her finger.  Failing those desired results, it 
was to remain in my possession.'

Some trouble was in the young man's face, and some indecision was 
in the action of his hand, as Mr. Grewgious, looking steadfastly at 
him, gave him the ring.

'Your placing it on her finger,' said Mr. Grewgious, 'will be the 
solemn seal upon your strict fidelity to the living and the dead.  
You are going to her, to make the last irrevocable preparations for 
your marriage.  Take it with you.'

The young man took the little case, and placed it in his breast.

'If anything should be amiss, if anything should be even slightly 
wrong, between you; if you should have any secret consciousness 
that you are committing yourself to this step for no higher reason 
than because you have long been accustomed to look forward to it; 
then,' said Mr. Grewgious, 'I charge you once more, by the living 
and by the dead, to bring that ring back to me!'

Here Bazzard awoke himself by his own snoring; and, as is usual in 
such cases, sat apoplectically staring at vacancy, as defying 
vacancy to accuse him of having been asleep.

'Bazzard!' said Mr. Grewgious, harder than ever.

'I follow you, sir,' said Bazzard, 'and I have been following you.'

'In discharge of a trust, I have handed Mr. Edwin Drood a ring of 
diamonds and rubies.  You see?'

Edwin reproduced the little case, and opened it; and Bazzard looked 
into it.

'I follow you both, sir,' returned Bazzard, 'and I witness the 
transaction.'

Evidently anxious to get away and be alone, Edwin Drood now resumed 
his outer clothing, muttering something about time and 
appointments.  The fog was reported no clearer (by the flying 
waiter, who alighted from a speculative flight in the coffee 
interest), but he went out into it; and Bazzard, after his manner, 
'followed' him.

Mr. Grewgious, left alone, walked softly and slowly to and fro, for 
an hour and more.  He was restless to-night, and seemed dispirited.

'I hope I have done right,' he said.  'The appeal to him seemed 
necessary.  It was hard to lose the ring, and yet it must have gone 
from me very soon.'

He closed the empty little drawer with a sigh, and shut and locked 
the escritoire, and came back to the solitary fireside.

'Her ring,' he went on.  'Will it come back to me?  My mind hangs 
about her ring very uneasily to-night.  But that is explainable.  I 
have had it so long, and I have prized it so much!  I wonder - '

He was in a wondering mood as well as a restless; for, though he 
checked himself at that point, and took another walk, he resumed 
his wondering when he sat down again.

'I wonder (for the ten-thousandth time, and what a weak fool I, for 
what can it signify now!) whether he confided the charge of their 
orphan child to me, because he knew - Good God, how like her mother 
she has become!'

'I wonder whether he ever so much as suspected that some one doted 
on her, at a hopeless, speechless distance, when he struck in and 
won her.  I wonder whether it ever crept into his mind who that 
unfortunate some one was!'

'I wonder whether I shall sleep to-night!  At all events, I will 
shut out the world with the bedclothes, and try.'

Mr. Grewgious crossed the staircase to his raw and foggy bedroom, 
and was soon ready for bed.  Dimly catching sight of his face in 
the misty looking-glass, he held his candle to it for a moment.

'A likely some one, YOU, to come into anybody's thoughts in such an 
aspect!' he exclaimed.  'There! there! there!  Get to bed, poor 
man, and cease to jabber!'

With that, he extinguished his light, pulled up the bedclothes 
around him, and with another sigh shut out the world.  And yet 
there are such unexplored romantic nooks in the unlikeliest men, 
that even old tinderous and touchwoody P. J. T. Possibly Jabbered 
Thus, at some odd times, in or about seventeen-forty-seven.

CHAPTER XII - A NIGHT WITH DURDLES

WHEN Mr. Sapsea has nothing better to do, towards evening, and 
finds the contemplation of his own profundity becoming a little 
monotonous in spite of the vastness of the subject, he often takes 
an airing in the Cathedral Close and thereabout.  He likes to pass 
the churchyard with a swelling air of proprietorship, and to 
encourage in his breast a sort of benignant-landlord feeling, in 
that he has been bountiful towards that meritorious tenant, Mrs. 
Sapsea, and has publicly given her a prize.  He likes to see a 
stray face or two looking in through the railings, and perhaps 
reading his inscription.  Should he meet a stranger coming from the 
churchyard with a quick step, he is morally convinced that the 
stranger is 'with a blush retiring,' as monumentally directed.

Mr. Sapsea's importance has received enhancement, for he has become 
Mayor of Cloisterham.  Without mayors, and many of them, it cannot 
be disputed that the whole framework of society - Mr. Sapsea is 
confident that he invented that forcible figure - would fall to 
pieces.  Mayors have been knighted for 'going up' with addresses:  
explosive machines intrepidly discharging shot and shell into the 
English Grammar.  Mr. Sapsea may 'go up' with an address.  Rise, 
Sir Thomas Sapsea!  Of such is the salt of the earth.

Mr. Sapsea has improved the acquaintance of Mr. Jasper, since their 
first meeting to partake of port, epitaph, backgammon, beef, and 
salad.  Mr. Sapsea has been received at the gatehouse with kindred 
hospitality; and on that occasion Mr. Jasper seated himself at the 
piano, and sang to him, tickling his ears - figuratively - long 
enough to present a considerable area for tickling.  What Mr. 
Sapsea likes in that young man is, that he is always ready to 
profit by the wisdom of his elders, and that he is sound, sir, at 
the core.  In proof of which, he sang to Mr. Sapsea that evening, 
no kickshaw ditties, favourites with national enemies, but gave him 
the genuine George the Third home-brewed; exhorting him (as 'my 
brave boys') to reduce to a smashed condition all other islands but 
this island, and all continents, peninsulas, isthmuses, 
promontories, and other geographical forms of land soever, besides 
sweeping the seas in all directions.  In short, he rendered it 
pretty clear that Providence made a distinct mistake in originating 
so small a nation of hearts of oak, and so many other verminous 
peoples.

Mr. Sapsea, walking slowly this moist evening near the churchyard 
with his hands behind him, on the look-out for a blushing and 
retiring stranger, turns a corner, and comes instead into the 
goodly presence of the Dean, conversing with the Verger and Mr. 
Jasper.  Mr. Sapsea makes his obeisance, and is instantly stricken 
far more ecclesiastical than any Archbishop of York or Canterbury.

'You are evidently going to write a book about us, Mr. Jasper,' 
quoth the Dean; 'to write a book about us.  Well!  We are very 
ancient, and we ought to make a good book.  We are not so richly 
endowed in possessions as in age; but perhaps you will put THAT in 
your book, among other things, and call attention to our wrongs.'

Mr. Tope, as in duty bound, is greatly entertained by this.

'I really have no intention at all, sir,' replies Jasper, 'of 
turning author or archaeologist.  It is but a whim of mine.  And 
even for my whim, Mr. Sapsea here is more accountable than I am.'

'How so, Mr. Mayor?' says the Dean, with a nod of good-natured 
recognition of his Fetch.  'How is that, Mr. Mayor?'

'I am not aware,' Mr. Sapsea remarks, looking about him for 
information, 'to what the Very Reverend the Dean does me the honour 
of referring.'  And then falls to studying his original in minute 
points of detail.

'Durdles,' Mr. Tope hints.

'Ay!' the Dean echoes; 'Durdles, Durdles!'

'The truth is, sir,' explains Jasper, 'that my curiosity in the man 
was first really stimulated by Mr. Sapsea.  Mr. Sapsea's knowledge 
of mankind and power of drawing out whatever is recluse or odd 
around him, first led to my bestowing a second thought upon the 
man:  though of course I had met him constantly about.  You would 
not be surprised by this, Mr. Dean, if you had seen Mr. Sapsea deal 
with him in his own parlour, as I did.'

'O!' cries Sapsea, picking up the ball thrown to him with ineffable 
complacency and pomposity; 'yes, yes.  The Very Reverend the Dean 
refers to that?  Yes.  I happened to bring Durdles and Mr. Jasper 
together.  I regard Durdles as a Character.'

'A character, Mr. Sapsea, that with a few skilful touches you turn 
inside out,' says Jasper.

'Nay, not quite that,' returns the lumbering auctioneer.  'I may 
have a little influence over him, perhaps; and a little insight 
into his character, perhaps.  The Very Reverend the Dean will 
please to bear in mind that I have seen the world.'  Here Mr. 
Sapsea gets a little behind the Dean, to inspect his coat-buttons.

'Well!' says the Dean, looking about him to see what has become of 
his copyist:  'I hope, Mr. Mayor, you will use your study and 
knowledge of Durdles to the good purpose of exhorting him not to 
break our worthy and respected Choir-Master's neck; we cannot 
afford it; his head and voice are much too valuable to us.'

Mr. Tope is again highly entertained, and, having fallen into 
respectful convulsions of laughter, subsides into a deferential 
murmur, importing that surely any gentleman would deem it a 
pleasure and an honour to have his neck broken, in return for such 
a compliment from such a source.

'I will take it upon myself, sir,' observes Sapsea loftily, 'to 
answer for Mr. Jasper's neck.  I will tell Durdles to be careful of 
it.  He will mind what I say.  How is it at present endangered?' he 
inquires, looking about him with magnificent patronage.

'Only by my making a moonlight expedition with Durdles among the 
tombs, vaults, towers, and ruins,' returns Jasper.  'You remember 
suggesting, when you brought us together, that, as a lover of the 
picturesque, it might be worth my while?'

'I remember!' replies the auctioneer.  And the solemn idiot really 
believes that he does remember.

'Profiting by your hint,' pursues Jasper, 'I have had some day-
rambles with the extraordinary old fellow, and we are to make a 
moonlight hole-and-corner exploration to-night.'

'And here he is,' says the Dean.

Durdles with his dinner-bundle in his hand, is indeed beheld 
slouching towards them.  Slouching nearer, and perceiving the Dean, 
he pulls off his hat, and is slouching away with it under his arm, 
when Mr. Sapsea stops him.

'Mind you take care of my friend,' is the injunction Mr. Sapsea 
lays upon him.

'What friend o' yourn is dead?' asks Durdles.  'No orders has come 
in for any friend o' yourn.'

'I mean my live friend there.'

'O! him?' says Durdles.  'He can take care of himself, can Mister 
Jarsper.'

'But do you take care of him too,' says Sapsea.

Whom Durdles (there being command in his tone) surlily surveys from 
head to foot.

'With submission to his Reverence the Dean, if you'll mind what 
concerns you, Mr. Sapsea, Durdles he'll mind what concerns him.'

'You're out of temper,' says Mr. Sapsea, winking to the company to 
observe how smoothly he will manage him.  'My friend concerns me, 
and Mr. Jasper is my friend.  And you are my friend.'

'Don't you get into a bad habit of boasting,' retorts Durdles, with 
a grave cautionary nod.  'It'll grow upon you.'

'You are out of temper,' says Sapsea again; reddening, but again 
sinking to the company.

'I own to it,' returns Durdles; 'I don't like liberties.'

Mr. Sapsea winks a third wink to the company, as who should say:  
'I think you will agree with me that I have settled HIS business;' 
and stalks out of the controversy.

Durdles then gives the Dean a good evening, and adding, as he puts 
his hat on, 'You'll find me at home, Mister Jarsper, as agreed, 
when you want me; I'm a-going home to clean myself,' soon slouches 
out of sight.  This going home to clean himself is one of the man's 
incomprehensible compromises with inexorable facts; he, and his 
hat, and his boots, and his clothes, never showing any trace of 
cleaning, but being uniformly in one condition of dust and grit.

The lamplighter now dotting the quiet Close with specks of light, 
and running at a great rate up and down his little ladder with that 
object - his little ladder under the sacred shadow of whose 
inconvenience generations had grown up, and which all Cloisterham 
would have stood aghast at the idea of abolishing - the Dean 
withdraws to his dinner, Mr. Tope to his tea, and Mr. Jasper to his 
piano.  There, with no light but that of the fire, he sits chanting 
choir-music in a low and beautiful voice, for two or three hours; 
in short, until it has been for some time dark, and the moon is 
about to rise.

Then he closes his piano softly, softly changes his coat for a pea-
jacket, with a goodly wicker-cased bottle in its largest pocket, 
and putting on a low-crowned, flap-brimmed hat, goes softly out.  
Why does he move so softly to-night?  No outward reason is apparent 
for it.  Can there be any sympathetic reason crouching darkly 
within him?

Repairing to Durdles's unfinished house, or hole in the city wall, 
and seeing a light within it, he softly picks his course among the 
gravestones, monuments, and stony lumber of the yard, already 
touched here and there, sidewise, by the rising moon.  The two 
journeymen have left their two great saws sticking in their blocks 
of stone; and two skeleton journeymen out of the Dance of Death 
might be grinning in the shadow of their sheltering sentry-boxes, 
about to slash away at cutting out the gravestones of the next two 
people destined to die in Cloisterham.  Likely enough, the two 
think little of that now, being alive, and perhaps merry.  Curious, 
to make a guess at the two; - or say one of the two!

'Ho!  Durdles!'

The light moves, and he appears with it at the door.  He would seem 
to have been 'cleaning himself' with the aid of a bottle, jug, and 
tumbler; for no other cleansing instruments are visible in the bare 
brick room with rafters overhead and no plastered ceiling, into 
which he shows his visitor.

'Are you ready?'

'I am ready, Mister Jarsper.  Let the old uns come out if they 
dare, when we go among their tombs.  My spirit is ready for 'em.'

'Do you mean animal spirits, or ardent?'

'The one's the t'other,' answers Durdles, 'and I mean 'em both.'

He takes a lantern from a hook, puts a match or two in his pocket 
wherewith to light it, should there be need; and they go out 
together, dinner-bundle and all.

Surely an unaccountable sort of expedition!  That Durdles himself, 
who is always prowling among old graves, and ruins, like a Ghoul - 
that he should be stealing forth to climb, and dive, and wander 
without an object, is nothing extraordinary; but that the Choir-
Master or any one else should hold it worth his while to be with 
him, and to study moonlight effects in such company is another 
affair.  Surely an unaccountable sort of expedition, therefore!

''Ware that there mound by the yard-gate, Mister Jarsper.'

'I see it.  What is it?'

'Lime.'

Mr. Jasper stops, and waits for him to come up, for he lags behind.  
'What you call quick-lime?'

'Ay!' says Durdles; 'quick enough to eat your boots.  With a little 
handy stirring, quick enough to eat your bones.'

They go on, presently passing the red windows of the Travellers' 
Twopenny, and emerging into the clear moonlight of the Monks' 
Vineyard.  This crossed, they come to Minor Canon Corner:  of which 
the greater part lies in shadow until the moon shall rise higher in 
the sky.

The sound of a closing house-door strikes their ears, and two men 
come out.  These are Mr. Crisparkle and Neville.  Jasper, with a 
strange and sudden smile upon his face, lays the palm of his hand 
upon the breast of Durdles, stopping him where he stands.

At that end of Minor Canon Corner the shadow is profound in the 
existing state of the light:  at that end, too, there is a piece of 
old dwarf wall, breast high, the only remaining boundary of what 
was once a garden, but is now the thoroughfare.  Jasper and Durdles 
would have turned this wall in another instant; but, stopping so 
short, stand behind it.

'Those two are only sauntering,' Jasper whispers; 'they will go out 
into the moonlight soon.  Let us keep quiet here, or they will 
detain us, or want to join us, or what not.'

Durdles nods assent, and falls to munching some fragments from his 
bundle.  Jasper folds his arms upon the top of the wall, and, with 
his chin resting on them, watches.  He takes no note whatever of 
the Minor Canon, but watches Neville, as though his eye were at the 
trigger of a loaded rifle, and he had covered him, and were going 
to fire.  A sense of destructive power is so expressed in his face, 
that even Durdles pauses in his munching, and looks at him, with an 
unmunched something in his cheek.

Meanwhile Mr. Crisparkle and Neville walk to and fro, quietly 
talking together.  What they say, cannot be heard consecutively; 
but Mr. Jasper has already distinguished his own name more than 
once.

'This is the first day of the week,' Mr. Crisparkle can be 
distinctly heard to observe, as they turn back; 'and the last day 
of the week is Christmas Eve.'

'You may be certain of me, sir.'

The echoes were favourable at those points, but as the two 
approach, the sound of their talking becomes confused again.  The 
word 'confidence,' shattered by the echoes, but still capable of 
being pieced together, is uttered by Mr. Crisparkle.  As they draw 
still nearer, this fragment of a reply is heard:  'Not deserved 
yet, but shall be, sir.'  As they turn away again, Jasper again 
hears his own name, in connection with the words from Mr. 
Crisparkle:  'Remember that I said I answered for you confidently.'  
Then the sound of their talk becomes confused again; they halting 
for a little while, and some earnest action on the part of Neville 
succeeding.  When they move once more, Mr. Crisparkle is seen to 
look up at the sky, and to point before him.  They then slowly 
disappear; passing out into the moonlight at the opposite end of 
the Corner.

It is not until they are gone, that Mr. Jasper moves.  But then he 
turns to Durdles, and bursts into a fit of laughter.  Durdles, who 
still has that suspended something in his cheek, and who sees 
nothing to laugh at, stares at him until Mr. Jasper lays his face 
down on his arms to have his laugh out.  Then Durdles bolts the 
something, as if desperately resigning himself to indigestion.

Among those secluded nooks there is very little stir or movement 
after dark.  There is little enough in the high tide of the day, 
but there is next to none at night.  Besides that the cheerfully 
frequented High Street lies nearly parallel to the spot (the old 
Cathedral rising between the two), and is the natural channel in 
which the Cloisterham traffic flows, a certain awful hush pervades 
the ancient pile, the cloisters, and the churchyard, after dark, 
which not many people care to encounter.  Ask the first hundred 
citizens of Cloisterham, met at random in the streets at noon, if 
they believed in Ghosts, they would tell you no; but put them to 
choose at night between these eerie Precincts and the thoroughfare 
of shops, and you would find that ninety-nine declared for the 
longer round and the more frequented way.  The cause of this is not 
to be found in any local superstition that attaches to the 
Precincts - albeit a mysterious lady, with a child in her arms and 
a rope dangling from her neck, has been seen flitting about there 
by sundry witnesses as intangible as herself - but it is to be 
sought in the innate shrinking of dust with the breath of life in 
it from dust out of which the breath of life has passed; also, in 
the widely diffused, and almost as widely unacknowledged, 
reflection:  'If the dead do, under any circumstances, become 
visible to the living, these are such likely surroundings for the 
purpose that I, the living, will get out of them as soon as I can.'  
Hence, when Mr. Jasper and Durdles pause to glance around them, 
before descending into the crypt by a small side door, of which the 
latter has a key, the whole expanse of moonlight in their view is 
utterly deserted.  One might fancy that the tide of life was 
stemmed by Mr. Jasper's own gatehouse.  The murmur of the tide is 
heard beyond; but no wave passes the archway, over which his lamp 
burns red behind his curtain, as if the building were a Lighthouse.

They enter, locking themselves in, descend the rugged steps, and 
are down in the Crypt.  The lantern is not wanted, for the 
moonlight strikes in at the groined windows, bare of glass, the 
broken frames for which cast patterns on the ground.  The heavy 
pillars which support the roof engender masses of black shade, but 
between them there are lanes of light.  Up and down these lanes 
they walk, Durdles discoursing of the 'old uns' he yet counts on 
disinterring, and slapping a wall, in which he considers 'a whole 
family on 'em' to be stoned and earthed up, just as if he were a 
familiar friend of the family.  The taciturnity of Durdles is for 
the time overcome by Mr. Jasper's wicker bottle, which circulates 
freely; - in the sense, that is to say, that its contents enter 
freely into Mr. Durdles's circulation, while Mr. Jasper only rinses 
his mouth once, and casts forth the rinsing.

They are to ascend the great Tower.  On the steps by which they 
rise to the Cathedral, Durdles pauses for new store of breath.  The 
steps are very dark, but out of the darkness they can see the lanes 
of light they have traversed.  Durdles seats himself upon a step.  
Mr. Jasper seats himself upon another.  The odour from the wicker 
bottle (which has somehow passed into Durdles's keeping) soon 
intimates that the cork has been taken out; but this is not 
ascertainable through the sense of sight, since neither can descry 
the other.  And yet, in talking, they turn to one another, as 
though their faces could commune together.

'This is good stuff, Mister Jarsper!'

'It is very good stuff, I hope. - I bought it on purpose.'

'They don't show, you see, the old uns don't, Mister Jarsper!'

'It would be a more confused world than it is, if they could.'

'Well, it WOULD lead towards a mixing of things,' Durdles 
acquiesces:  pausing on the remark, as if the idea of ghosts had 
not previously presented itself to him in a merely inconvenient 
light, domestically or chronologically.  'But do you think there 
may be Ghosts of other things, though not of men and women?'

'What things?  Flower-beds and watering-pots? horses and harness?'

'No.  Sounds.'

'What sounds?'

'Cries.'

'What cries do you mean?  Chairs to mend?'

'No.  I mean screeches.  Now I'll tell you, Mr. Jarsper.  Wait a 
bit till I put the bottle right.'  Here the cork is evidently taken 
out again, and replaced again.  'There!  NOW it's right!  This time 
last year, only a few days later, I happened to have been doing 
what was correct by the season, in the way of giving it the welcome 
it had a right to expect, when them town-boys set on me at their 
worst.  At length I gave 'em the slip, and turned in here.  And 
here I fell asleep.  And what woke me?  The ghost of a cry.  The 
ghost of one terrific shriek, which shriek was followed by the 
ghost of the howl of a dog:  a long, dismal, woeful howl, such as a 
dog gives when a person's dead.  That was MY last Christmas Eve.'

'What do you mean?' is the very abrupt, and, one might say, fierce 
retort.

'I mean that I made inquiries everywhere about, and, that no living 
ears but mine heard either that cry or that howl.  So I say they 
was both ghosts; though why they came to me, I've never made out.'

'I thought you were another kind of man,' says Jasper, scornfully.

'So I thought myself,' answers Durdles with his usual composure; 
'and yet I was picked out for it.'

Jasper had risen suddenly, when he asked him what he meant, and he 
now says, 'Come; we shall freeze here; lead the way.'

Durdles complies, not over-steadily; opens the door at the top of 
the steps with the key he has already used; and so emerges on the 
Cathedral level, in a passage at the side of the chancel.  Here, 
the moonlight is so very bright again that the colours of the 
nearest stained-glass window are thrown upon their faces.  The 
appearance of the unconscious Durdles, holding the door open for 
his companion to follow, as if from the grave, is ghastly enough, 
with a purple hand across his face, and a yellow splash upon his 
brow; but he bears the close scrutiny of his companion in an 
insensible way, although it is prolonged while the latter fumbles 
among his pockets for a key confided to him that will open an iron 
gate, so to enable them to pass to the staircase of the great 
tower.

'That and the bottle are enough for you to carry,' he says, giving 
it to Durdles; 'hand your bundle to me; I am younger and longer-
winded than you.'  Durdles hesitates for a moment between bundle 
and bottle; but gives the preference to the bottle as being by far 
the better company, and consigns the dry weight to his fellow-
explorer.

Then they go up the winding staircase of the great tower, 
toilsomely, turning and turning, and lowering their heads to avoid 
the stairs above, or the rough stone pivot around which they twist.  
Durdles has lighted his lantern, by drawing from the cold, hard 
wall a spark of that mysterious fire which lurks in everything, 
and, guided by this speck, they clamber up among the cobwebs and 
the dust.  Their way lies through strange places.  Twice or thrice 
they emerge into level, low-arched galleries, whence they can look 
down into the moon-lit nave; and where Durdles, waving his lantern, 
waves the dim angels' heads upon the corbels of the roof, seeming 
to watch their progress.  Anon they turn into narrower and steeper 
staircases, and the night-air begins to blow upon them, and the 
chirp of some startled jackdaw or frightened rook precedes the 
heavy beating of wings in a confined space, and the beating down of 
dust and straws upon their heads.  At last, leaving their light 
behind a stair - for it blows fresh up here - they look down on 
Cloisterham, fair to see in the moonlight:  its ruined habitations 
and sanctuaries of the dead, at the tower's base:  its moss-
softened red-tiled roofs and red-brick houses of the living, 
clustered beyond:  its river winding down from the mist on the 
horizon, as though that were its source, and already heaving with a 
restless knowledge of its approach towards the sea.

Once again, an unaccountable expedition this!  Jasper (always 
moving softly with no visible reason) contemplates the scene, and 
especially that stillest part of it which the Cathedral 
overshadows.  But he contemplates Durdles quite as curiously, and 
Durdles is by times conscious of his watchful eyes.

Only by times, because Durdles is growing drowsy.  As aeronauts 
lighten the load they carry, when they wish to rise, similarly 
Durdles has lightened the wicker bottle in coming up.  Snatches of 
sleep surprise him on his legs, and stop him in his talk.  A mild 
fit of calenture seizes him, in which he deems that the ground so 
far below, is on a level with the tower, and would as lief walk off 
the tower into the air as not.  Such is his state when they begin 
to come down.  And as aeronauts make themselves heavier when they 
wish to descend, similarly Durdles charges himself with more liquid 
from the wicker bottle, that he may come down the better.

The iron gate attained and locked - but not before Durdles has 
tumbled twice, and cut an eyebrow open once - they descend into the 
crypt again, with the intent of issuing forth as they entered.  
But, while returning among those lanes of light, Durdles becomes so 
very uncertain, both of foot and speech, that he half drops, half 
throws himself down, by one of the heavy pillars, scarcely less 
heavy than itself, and indistinctly appeals to his companion for 
forty winks of a second each.

'If you will have it so, or must have it so,' replies Jasper, 'I'll 
not leave you here.  Take them, while I walk to and fro.'

Durdles is asleep at once; and in his sleep he dreams a dream.

It is not much of a dream, considering the vast extent of the 
domains of dreamland, and their wonderful productions; it is only 
remarkable for being unusually restless and unusually real.  He 
dreams of lying there, asleep, and yet counting his companion's 
footsteps as he walks to and fro.  He dreams that the footsteps die 
away into distance of time and of space, and that something touches 
him, and that something falls from his hand.  Then something clinks 
and gropes about, and he dreams that he is alone for so long a 
time, that the lanes of light take new directions as the moon 
advances in her course.  From succeeding unconsciousness he passes 
into a dream of slow uneasiness from cold; and painfully awakes to 
a perception of the lanes of light - really changed, much as he had 
dreamed - and Jasper walking among them, beating his hands and 
feet.

'Holloa!' Durdles cries out, unmeaningly alarmed.

'Awake at last?' says Jasper, coming up to him.  'Do you know that 
your forties have stretched into thousands?'

'No.'

'They have though.'

'What's the time?'

'Hark!  The bells are going in the Tower!'

They strike four quarters, and then the great bell strikes.

'Two!' cries Durdles, scrambling up; 'why didn't you try to wake 
me, Mister Jarsper?'

'I did.  I might as well have tried to wake the dead - your own 
family of dead, up in the corner there.'

'Did you touch me?'

'Touch you!  Yes.  Shook you.'

As Durdles recalls that touching something in his dream, he looks 
down on the pavement, and sees the key of the crypt door lying 
close to where he himself lay.

'I dropped you, did I?' he says, picking it up, and recalling that 
part of his dream.  As he gathers himself up again into an upright 
position, or into a position as nearly upright as he ever 
maintains, he is again conscious of being watched by his companion.

'Well?' says Jasper, smiling, 'are you quite ready?  Pray don't 
hurry.'

'Let me get my bundle right, Mister Jarsper, and I'm with you.'  As 
he ties it afresh, he is once more conscious that he is very 
narrowly observed.

'What do you suspect me of, Mister Jarsper?' he asks, with drunken 
displeasure.  'Let them as has any suspicions of Durdles name 'em.'

'I've no suspicions of you, my good Mr. Durdles; but I have 
suspicions that my bottle was filled with something stiffer than 
either of us supposed.  And I also have suspicions,' Jasper adds, 
taking it from the pavement and turning it bottom upwards, 'that 
it's empty.'

Durdles condescends to laugh at this.  Continuing to chuckle when 
his laugh is over, as though remonstrant with himself on his 
drinking powers, he rolls to the door and unlocks it.  They both 
pass out, and Durdles relocks it, and pockets his key.

'A thousand thanks for a curious and interesting night,' says 
Jasper, giving him his hand; 'you can make your own way home?'

'I should think so!' answers Durdles.  'If you was to offer Durdles 
the affront to show him his way home, he wouldn't go home.

Durdles wouldn't go home till morning;
And THEN Durdles wouldn't go home,

Durdles wouldn't.'  This with the utmost defiance.

'Good-night, then.'

'Good-night, Mister Jarsper.'

Each is turning his own way, when a sharp whistle rends the 
silence, and the jargon is yelped out:

Widdy widdy wen!
I - ket - ches - Im - out - ar - ter - ten.
Widdy widdy wy!
Then - E - don't  - go - then - I - shy -
Widdy Widdy Wake-cock warning!'

Instantly afterwards, a rapid fire of stones rattles at the 
Cathedral wall, and the hideous small boy is beheld opposite, 
dancing in the moonlight.

'What!  Is that baby-devil on the watch there!' cries Jasper in a 
fury:  so quickly roused, and so violent, that he seems an older 
devil himself.  'I shall shed the blood of that impish wretch!  I 
know I shall do it!'  Regardless of the fire, though it hits him 
more than once, he rushes at Deputy, collars him, and tries to 
bring him across.  But Deputy is not to be so easily brought 
across.  With a diabolical insight into the strongest part of his 
position, he is no sooner taken by the throat than he curls up his 
legs, forces his assailant to hang him, as it were, and gurgles in 
his throat, and screws his body, and twists, as already undergoing 
the first agonies of strangulation.  There is nothing for it but to 
drop him.  He instantly gets himself together, backs over to 
Durdles, and cries to his assailant, gnashing the great gap in 
front of his mouth with rage and malice:

'I'll blind yer, s'elp me!  I'll stone yer eyes out, s'elp me!  If 
I don't have yer eyesight, bellows me!'  At the same time dodging 
behind Durdles, and snarling at Jasper, now from this side of him, 
and now from that:  prepared, if pounced upon, to dart away in all 
manner of curvilinear directions, and, if run down after all, to 
grovel in the dust, and cry:  'Now, hit me when I'm down!  Do it!'

'Don't hurt the boy, Mister Jarsper,' urges Durdles, shielding him.  
'Recollect yourself.'

'He followed us to-night, when we first came here!'

'Yer lie, I didn't!' replies Deputy, in his one form of polite 
contradiction.

'He has been prowling near us ever since!'

'Yer lie, I haven't,' returns Deputy.  'I'd only jist come out for 
my 'elth when I see you two a-coming out of the Kin-freederel.  If

I - ket - ches - Im - out - ar - ter - ten!'

(with the usual rhythm and dance, though dodging behind Durdles), 
'it ain't ANY fault, is it?'

'Take him home, then,' retorts Jasper, ferociously, though with a 
strong check upon himself, 'and let my eyes be rid of the sight of 
you!'

Deputy, with another sharp whistle, at once expressing his relief, 
and his commencement of a milder stoning of Mr. Durdles, begins 
stoning that respectable gentleman home, as if he were a reluctant 
ox.  Mr. Jasper goes to his gatehouse, brooding.  And thus, as 
everything comes to an end, the unaccountable expedition comes to 
an end - for the time.

CHAPTER XIII - BOTH AT THEIR BEST

MISS TWINKLETON'S establishment was about to undergo a serene hush.  
The Christmas recess was at hand.  What had once, and at no remote 
period, been called, even by the erudite Miss Twinkleton herself, 
'the half;' but what was now called, as being more elegant, and 
more strictly collegiate, 'the term,' would expire to-morrow.  A 
noticeable relaxation of discipline had for some few days pervaded 
the Nuns' House.  Club suppers had occurred in the bedrooms, and a 
dressed tongue had been carved with a pair of scissors, and handed 
round with the curling tongs.  Portions of marmalade had likewise 
been distributed on a service of plates constructed of curlpaper; 
and cowslip wine had been quaffed from the small squat measuring 
glass in which little Rickitts (a junior of weakly constitution) 
took her steel drops daily.  The housemaids had been bribed with 
various fragments of riband, and sundry pairs of shoes more or less 
down at heel, to make no mention of crumbs in the beds; the airiest 
costumes had been worn on these festive occasions; and the daring 
Miss Ferdinand had even surprised the company with a sprightly solo 
on the comb-and-curlpaper, until suffocated in her own pillow by 
two flowing-haired executioners.

Nor were these the only tokens of dispersal.  Boxes appeared in the 
bedrooms (where they were capital at other times), and a surprising 
amount of packing took place, out of all proportion to the amount 
packed.  Largess, in the form of odds and ends of cold cream and 
pomatum, and also of hairpins, was freely distributed among the 
attendants.  On charges of inviolable secrecy, confidences were 
interchanged respecting golden youth of England expected to call, 
'at home,' on the first opportunity.  Miss Giggles (deficient in 
sentiment) did indeed profess that she, for her part, acknowledged 
such homage by making faces at the golden youth; but this young 
lady was outvoted by an immense majority.

On the last night before a recess, it was always expressly made a 
point of honour that nobody should go to sleep, and that Ghosts 
should be encouraged by all possible means.  This compact 
invariably broke down, and all the young ladies went to sleep very 
soon, and got up very early.

The concluding ceremony came off at twelve o'clock on the day of 
departure; when Miss Twinkleton, supported by Mrs. Tisher, held a 
drawing-room in her own apartment (the globes already covered with 
brown Holland), where glasses of white-wine and plates of cut 
pound-cake were discovered on the table.  Miss Twinkleton then 
said:  Ladies, another revolving year had brought us round to that 
festive period at which the first feelings of our nature bounded in 
our - Miss Twinkleton was annually going to add 'bosoms,' but 
annually stopped on the brink of that expression, and substituted 
'hearts.'  Hearts; our hearts.  Hem!  Again a revolving year, 
ladies, had brought us to a pause in our studies - let us hope our 
greatly advanced studies - and, like the mariner in his bark, the 
warrior in his tent, the captive in his dungeon, and the traveller 
in his various conveyances, we yearned for home.  Did we say, on 
such an occasion, in the opening words of Mr. Addison's impressive 
tragedy:

'The dawn is overcast, the morning lowers,
And heavily in clouds brings on the day,
The great, th' important day - ?'

Not so.  From horizon to zenith all was COULEUR DE ROSE, for all 
was redolent of our relations and friends.  Might WE find THEM 
prospering as WE expected; might THEY find US prospering as THEY 
expected!  Ladies, we would now, with our love to one another, wish 
one another good-bye, and happiness, until we met again.  And when 
the time should come for our resumption of those pursuits which 
(here a general depression set in all round), pursuits which, 
pursuits which; - then let us ever remember what was said by the 
Spartan General, in words too trite for repetition, at the battle 
it were superfluous to specify.

The handmaidens of the establishment, in their best caps, then 
handed the trays, and the young ladies sipped and crumbled, and the 
bespoken coaches began to choke the street.  Then leave-taking was 
not long about; and Miss Twinkleton, in saluting each young lady's 
cheek, confided to her an exceedingly neat letter, addressed to her 
next friend at law, 'with Miss Twinkleton's best compliments' in 
the corner.  This missive she handed with an air as if it had not 
the least connexion with the bill, but were something in the nature 
of a delicate and joyful surprise.

So many times had Rosa seen such dispersals, and so very little did 
she know of any other Home, that she was contented to remain where 
she was, and was even better contented than ever before, having her 
latest friend with her.  And yet her latest friendship had a blank 
place in it of which she could not fail to be sensible.  Helena 
Landless, having been a party to her brother's revelation about 
Rosa, and having entered into that compact of silence with Mr. 
Crisparkle, shrank from any allusion to Edwin Drood's name.  Why 
she so avoided it, was mysterious to Rosa, but she perfectly 
perceived the fact.  But for the fact, she might have relieved her 
own little perplexed heart of some of its doubts and hesitations, 
by taking Helena into her confidence.  As it was, she had no such 
vent:  she could only ponder on her own difficulties, and wonder 
more and more why this avoidance of Edwin's name should last, now 
that she knew - for so much Helena had told her - that a good 
understanding was to be reestablished between the two young men, 
when Edwin came down.

It would have made a pretty picture, so many pretty girls kissing 
Rosa in the cold porch of the Nuns' House, and that sunny little 
creature peeping out of it (unconscious of sly faces carved on 
spout and gable peeping at her), and waving farewells to the 
departing coaches, as if she represented the spirit of rosy youth 
abiding in the place to keep it bright and warm in its desertion.  
The hoarse High Street became musical with the cry, in various 
silvery voices, 'Good-bye, Rosebud darling!' and the effigy of Mr. 
Sapsea's father over the opposite doorway seemed to say to mankind:  
'Gentlemen, favour me with your attention to this charming little 
last lot left behind, and bid with a spirit worthy of the 
occasion!'  Then the staid street, so unwontedly sparkling, 
youthful, and fresh for a few rippling moments, ran dry, and 
Cloisterham was itself again.

If Rosebud in her bower now waited Edwin Drood's coming with an 
uneasy heart, Edwin for his part was uneasy too.  With far less 
force of purpose in his composition than the childish beauty, 
crowned by acclamation fairy queen of Miss Twinkleton's 
establishment, he had a conscience, and Mr. Grewgious had pricked 
it.  That gentleman's steady convictions of what was right and what 
was wrong in such a case as his, were neither to be frowned aside 
nor laughed aside.  They would not be moved.  But for the dinner in 
Staple Inn, and but for the ring he carried in the breast pocket of 
his coat, he would have drifted into their wedding-day without 
another pause for real thought, loosely trusting that all would go 
well, left alone.  But that serious putting him on his truth to the 
living and the dead had brought him to a check.  He must either 
give the ring to Rosa, or he must take it back.  Once put into this 
narrowed way of action, it was curious that he began to consider 
Rosa's claims upon him more unselfishly than he had ever considered 
them before, and began to be less sure of himself than he had ever 
been in all his easy-going days.

'I will be guided by what she says, and by how we get on,' was his 
decision, walking from the gatehouse to the Nuns' House.  'Whatever 
comes of it, I will bear his words in mind, and try to be true to 
the living and the dead.'

Rosa was dressed for walking.  She expected him.  It was a bright, 
frosty day, and Miss Twinkleton had already graciously sanctioned 
fresh air.  Thus they got out together before it became necessary 
for either Miss Twinkleton, or the deputy high-priest Mrs. Tisher, 
to lay even so much as one of those usual offerings on the shrine 
of Propriety.

'My dear Eddy,' said Rosa, when they had turned out of the High 
Street, and had got among the quiet walks in the neighbourhood of 
the Cathedral and the river:  'I want to say something very serious 
to you.  I have been thinking about it for a long, long time.'

'I want to be serious with you too, Rosa dear.  I mean to be 
serious and earnest.'

'Thank you, Eddy.  And you will not think me unkind because I 
begin, will you?  You will not think I speak for myself only, 
because I speak first?  That would not be generous, would it?  And 
I know you are generous!'

He said, 'I hope I am not ungenerous to you, Rosa.'  He called her 
Pussy no more.  Never again.

'And there is no fear,' pursued Rosa, 'of our quarrelling, is 
there?  Because, Eddy,' clasping her hand on his arm, 'we have so 
much reason to be very lenient to each other!'

'We will be, Rosa.'

'That's a dear good boy!  Eddy, let us be courageous.  Let us 
change to brother and sister from this day forth.'

'Never be husband and wife?'

'Never!'

Neither spoke again for a little while.  But after that pause he 
said, with some effort:

'Of course I know that this has been in both our minds, Rosa, and 
of course I am in honour bound to confess freely that it does not 
originate with you.'

'No, nor with you, dear,' she returned, with pathetic earnestness.  
'That sprung up between us.  You are not truly happy in our 
engagement; I am not truly happy in it.  O, I am so sorry, so 
sorry!'  And there she broke into tears.

'I am deeply sorry too, Rosa.  Deeply sorry for you.'

'And I for you, poor boy!  And I for you!'

This pure young feeling, this gentle and forbearing feeling of each 
towards the other, brought with it its reward in a softening light 
that seemed to shine on their position.  The relations between them 
did not look wilful, or capricious, or a failure, in such a light; 
they became elevated into something more self-denying, honourable, 
affectionate, and true.

'If we knew yesterday,' said Rosa, as she dried her eyes, 'and we 
did know yesterday, and on many, many yesterdays, that we were far 
from right together in those relations which were not of our own 
choosing, what better could we do to-day than change them?  It is 
natural that we should be sorry, and you see how sorry we both are; 
but how much better to be sorry now than then!'

'When, Rosa?'

'When it would be too late.  And then we should be angry, besides.'

Another silence fell upon them.

'And you know,' said Rosa innocently, 'you couldn't like me then; 
and you can always like me now, for I shall not be a drag upon you, 
or a worry to you.  And I can always like you now, and your sister 
will not tease or trifle with you.  I often did when I was not your 
sister, and I beg your pardon for it.'

'Don't let us come to that, Rosa; or I shall want more pardoning 
than I like to think of.'

'No, indeed, Eddy; you are too hard, my generous boy, upon 
yourself.  Let us sit down, brother, on these ruins, and let me 
tell you how it was with us.  I think I know, for I have considered 
about it very much since you were here last time.  You liked me, 
didn't you?  You thought I was a nice little thing?'

'Everybody thinks that, Rosa.'

'Do they?'  She knitted her brow musingly for a moment, and then 
flashed out with the bright little induction:  'Well, but say they 
do.  Surely it was not enough that you should think of me only as 
other people did; now, was it?'

The point was not to be got over.  It was not enough.

'And that is just what I mean; that is just how it was with us,' 
said Rosa.  'You liked me very well, and you had grown used to me, 
and had grown used to the idea of our being married.  You accepted 
the situation as an inevitable kind of thing, didn't you?  It was 
to be, you thought, and why discuss or dispute it?'

It was new and strange to him to have himself presented to himself 
so clearly, in a glass of her holding up.  He had always patronised 
her, in his superiority to her share of woman's wit.  Was that but 
another instance of something radically amiss in the terms on which 
they had been gliding towards a life-long bondage?

'All this that I say of you is true of me as well, Eddy.  Unless it 
was, I might not be bold enough to say it.  Only, the difference 
between us was, that by little and little there crept into my mind 
a habit of thinking about it, instead of dismissing it.  My life is 
not so busy as yours, you see, and I have not so many things to 
think of.  So I thought about it very much, and I cried about it 
very much too (though that was not your fault, poor boy); when all 
at once my guardian came down, to prepare for my leaving the Nuns' 
House.  I tried to hint to him that I was not quite settled in my 
mind, but I hesitated and failed, and he didn't understand me. But 
he is a good, good man.  And he put before me so kindly, and yet so 
strongly, how seriously we ought to consider, in our circumstances, 
that I resolved to speak to you the next moment we were alone and 
grave.  And if I seemed to come to it easily just now, because I 
came to it all at once, don't think it was so really, Eddy, for O, 
it was very, very hard, and O, I am very, very sorry!'

Her full heart broke into tears again.  He put his arm about her 
waist, and they walked by the river-side together.

'Your guardian has spoken to me too, Rosa dear.  I saw him before I 
left London.'  His right hand was in his breast, seeking the ring; 
but he checked it, as he thought:  'If I am to take it back, why 
should I tell her of it?'

'And that made you more serious about it, didn't it, Eddy?  And if 
I had not spoken to you, as I have, you would have spoken to me?  I 
hope you can tell me so?  I don't like it to be ALL my doing, 
though it IS so much better for us.'

'Yes, I should have spoken; I should have put everything before 
you; I came intending to do it.  But I never could have spoken to 
you as you have spoken to me, Rosa.'

'Don't say you mean so coldly or unkindly, Eddy, please, if you can 
help it.'

'I mean so sensibly and delicately, so wisely and affectionately.'

'That's my dear brother!'  She kissed his hand in a little rapture.  
'The dear girls will be dreadfully disappointed,' added Rosa, 
laughing, with the dewdrops glistening in her bright eyes.  'They 
have looked forward to it so, poor pets!'

'Ah! but I fear it will be a worse disappointment to Jack,' said 
Edwin Drood, with a start.  'I never thought of Jack!'

Her swift and intent look at him as he said the words could no more 
be recalled than a flash of lightning can.  But it appeared as 
though she would have instantly recalled it, if she could; for she 
looked down, confused, and breathed quickly.

'You don't doubt its being a blow to Jack, Rosa?'

She merely replied, and that evasively and hurriedly:  Why should 
she?  She had not thought about it.  He seemed, to her, to have so 
little to do with it.

'My dear child! can you suppose that any one so wrapped up in 
another - Mrs. Tope's expression:  not mine - as Jack is in me, 
could fail to be struck all of a heap by such a sudden and complete 
change in my life?  I say sudden, because it will be sudden to HIM, 
you know.'

She nodded twice or thrice, and her lips parted as if she would 
have assented.  But she uttered no sound, and her breathing was no 
slower.

'How shall I tell Jack?' said Edwin, ruminating.  If he had been 
less occupied with the thought, he must have seen her singular 
emotion.  'I never thought of Jack.  It must be broken to him, 
before the town-crier knows it.  I dine with the dear fellow to-
morrow and next day - Christmas Eve and Christmas Day - but it 
would never do to spoil his feast-days.  He always worries about 
me, and moddley-coddleys in the merest trifles.  The news is sure 
to overset him.  How on earth shall this be broken to Jack?'

'He must be told, I suppose?' said Rosa.

'My dear Rosa! who ought to be in our confidence, if not Jack?'

'My guardian promised to come down, if I should write and ask him.  
I am going to do so.  Would you like to leave it to him?'

'A bright idea!' cried Edwin.  'The other trustee.  Nothing more 
natural.  He comes down, he goes to Jack, he relates what we have 
agreed upon, and he states our case better than we could.  He has 
already spoken feelingly to you, he has already spoken feelingly to 
me, and he'll put the whole thing feelingly to Jack.  That's it!  I 
am not a coward, Rosa, but to tell you a secret, I am a little 
afraid of Jack.'

'No, no! you are not afraid of him!' cried Rosa, turning white, and 
clasping her hands.

'Why, sister Rosa, sister Rosa, what do you see from the turret?' 
said Edwin, rallying her.  'My dear girl!'

'You frightened me.'

'Most unintentionally, but I am as sorry as if I had meant to do 
it.  Could you possibly suppose for a moment, from any loose way of 
speaking of mine, that I was literally afraid of the dear fond 
fellow?  What I mean is, that he is subject to a kind of paroxysm, 
or fit - I saw him in it once - and I don't know but that so great 
a surprise, coming upon him direct from me whom he is so wrapped up 
in, might bring it on perhaps.  Which - and this is the secret I 
was going to tell you - is another reason for your guardian's 
making the communication.  He is so steady, precise, and exact, 
that he will talk Jack's thoughts into shape, in no time:  whereas 
with me Jack is always impulsive and hurried, and, I may say, 
almost womanish.'

Rosa seemed convinced.  Perhaps from her own very different point 
of view of 'Jack,' she felt comforted and protected by the 
interposition of Mr. Grewgious between herself and him.

And now, Edwin Drood's right hand closed again upon the ring in its 
little case, and again was checked by the consideration:  'It is 
certain, now, that I am to give it back to him; then why should I 
tell her of it?'  That pretty sympathetic nature which could be so 
sorry for him in the blight of their childish hopes of happiness 
together, and could so quietly find itself alone in a new world to 
weave fresh wreaths of such flowers as it might prove to bear, the 
old world's flowers being withered, would be grieved by those 
sorrowful jewels; and to what purpose?  Why should it be?  They 
were but a sign of broken joys and baseless projects; in their very 
beauty they were (as the unlikeliest of men had said) almost a 
cruel satire on the loves, hopes, plans, of humanity, which are 
able to forecast nothing, and are so much brittle dust.  Let them 
be.  He would restore them to her guardian when he came down; he in 
his turn would restore them to the cabinet from which he had 
unwillingly taken them; and there, like old letters or old vows, or 
other records of old aspirations come to nothing, they would be 
disregarded, until, being valuable, they were sold into circulation 
again, to repeat their former round.

Let them be.  Let them lie unspoken of, in his breast.  However 
distinctly or indistinctly he entertained these thoughts, he 
arrived at the conclusion, Let them be.  Among the mighty store of 
wonderful chains that are for ever forging, day and night, in the 
vast iron-works of time and circumstance, there was one chain 
forged in the moment of that small conclusion, riveted to the 
foundations of heaven and earth, and gifted with invincible force 
to hold and drag.

They walked on by the river.  They began to speak of their separate 
plans.  He would quicken his departure from England, and she would 
remain where she was, at least as long as Helena remained.  The 
poor dear girls should have their disappointment broken to them 
gently, and, as the first preliminary, Miss Twinkleton should be 
confided in by Rosa, even in advance of the reappearance of Mr. 
Grewgious.  It should be made clear in all quarters that she and 
Edwin were the best of friends.  There had never been so serene an 
understanding between them since they were first affianced.  And 
yet there was one reservation on each side; on hers, that she 
intended through her guardian to withdraw herself immediately from 
the tuition of her music-master; on his, that he did already 
entertain some wandering speculations whether it might ever come to 
pass that he would know more of Miss Landless.

The bright, frosty day declined as they walked and spoke together.  
The sun dipped in the river far behind them, and the old city lay 
red before them, as their walk drew to a close.  The moaning water 
cast its seaweed duskily at their feet, when they turned to leave 
its margin; and the rooks hovered above them with hoarse cries, 
darker splashes in the darkening air.

'I will prepare Jack for my flitting soon,' said Edwin, in a low 
voice, 'and I will but see your guardian when he comes, and then go 
before they speak together.  It will be better done without my 
being by.  Don't you think so?'

'Yes.'

'We know we have done right, Rosa?'

'Yes.'

'We know we are better so, even now?'

'And shall be far, far better so by-and-by.'

Still there was that lingering tenderness in their hearts towards 
the old positions they were relinquishing, that they prolonged 
their parting.  When they came among the elm-trees by the 
Cathedral, where they had last sat together, they stopped as by 
consent, and Rosa raised her face to his, as she had never raised 
it in the old days; - for they were old already.

'God bless you, dear!  Good-bye!'

'God bless you, dear!  Good-bye!'

They kissed each other fervently.

'Now, please take me home, Eddy, and let me be by myself.'

'Don't look round, Rosa,' he cautioned her, as he drew her arm 
through his, and led her away.  'Didn't you see Jack?'

'No!  Where?'

'Under the trees.  He saw us, as we took leave of each other.  Poor 
fellow! he little thinks we have parted.  This will be a blow to 
him, I am much afraid!'

She hurried on, without resting, and hurried on until they had 
passed under the gatehouse into the street; once there, she asked:

'Has he followed us?  You can look without seeming to.  Is he 
behind?'

'No. Yes, he is!  He has just passed out under the gateway.  The 
dear, sympathetic old fellow likes to keep us in sight.  I am 
afraid he will be bitterly disappointed!'

She pulled hurriedly at the handle of the hoarse old bell, and the 
gate soon opened.  Before going in, she gave him one last, wide, 
wondering look, as if she would have asked him with imploring 
emphasis:  'O! don't you understand?'  And out of that look he 
vanished from her view.

CHAPTER XIV - WHEN SHALL THESE THREE MEET AGAIN?

CHRISTMAS EVE in Cloisterham.  A few strange faces in the streets; 
a few other faces, half strange and half familiar, once the faces 
of Cloisterham children, now the faces of men and women who come 
back from the outer world at long intervals to find the city 
wonderfully shrunken in size, as if it had not washed by any means 
well in the meanwhile.  To these, the striking of the Cathedral 
clock, and the cawing of the rooks from the Cathedral tower, are 
like voices of their nursery time.  To such as these, it has 
happened in their dying hours afar off, that they have imagined 
their chamber-floor to be strewn with the autumnal leaves fallen 
from the elm-trees in the Close:  so have the rustling sounds and 
fresh scents of their earliest impressions revived when the circle 
of their lives was very nearly traced, and the beginning and the 
end were drawing close together.

Seasonable tokens are about.  Red berries shine here and there in 
the lattices of Minor Canon Corner; Mr. and Mrs. Tope are daintily 
sticking sprigs of holly into the carvings and sconces of the 
Cathedral stalls, as if they were sticking them into the coat-
button-holes of the Dean and Chapter.  Lavish profusion is in the 
shops:  particularly in the articles of currants, raisins, spices, 
candied peel, and moist sugar.  An unusual air of gallantry and 
dissipation is abroad; evinced in an immense bunch of mistletoe 
hanging in the greengrocer's shop doorway, and a poor little 
Twelfth Cake, culminating in the figure of a Harlequin - such a 
very poor little Twelfth Cake, that one would rather called it a 
Twenty-fourth Cake or a Forty-eighth Cake - to be raffled for at 
the pastrycook's, terms one shilling per member.  Public amusements 
are not wanting.  The Wax-Work which made so deep an impression on 
the reflective mind of the Emperor of China is to be seen by 
particular desire during Christmas Week only, on the premises of 
the bankrupt livery-stable-keeper up the lane; and a new grand 
comic Christmas pantomime is to be produced at the Theatre:  the 
latter heralded by the portrait of Signor Jacksonini the clown, 
saying 'How do you do to-morrow?' quite as large as life, and 
almost as miserably.  In short, Cloisterham is up and doing:  
though from this description the High School and Miss Twinkleton's 
are to be excluded.  From the former establishment the scholars 
have gone home, every one of them in love with one of Miss 
Twinkleton's young ladies (who knows nothing about it); and only 
the handmaidens flutter occasionally in the windows of the latter.  
It is noticed, by the bye, that these damsels become, within the 
limits of decorum, more skittish when thus intrusted with the 
concrete representation of their sex, than when dividing the 
representation with Miss Twinkleton's young ladies.

Three are to meet at the gatehouse to-night.  How does each one of 
the three get through the day?

Neville Landless, though absolved from his books for the time by 
Mr. Crisparkle - whose fresh nature is by no means insensible to 
the charms of a holiday - reads and writes in his quiet room, with 
a concentrated air, until it is two hours past noon.  He then sets 
himself to clearing his table, to arranging his books, and to 
tearing up and burning his stray papers.  He makes a clean sweep of 
all untidy accumulations, puts all his drawers in order, and leaves 
no note or scrap of paper undestroyed, save such memoranda as bear 
directly on his studies.  This done, he turns to his wardrobe, 
selects a few articles of ordinary wear - among them, change of 
stout shoes and socks for walking - and packs these in a knapsack.  
This knapsack is new, and he bought it in the High Street 
yesterday.  He also purchased, at the same time and at the same 
place, a heavy walking-stick; strong in the handle for the grip of 
the hand, and iron-shod.  He tries this, swings it, poises it, and 
lays it by, with the knapsack, on a window-seat.  By this time his 
arrangements are complete.

He dresses for going out, and is in the act of going - indeed has 
left his room, and has met the Minor Canon on the staircase, coming 
out of his bedroom upon the same story - when he turns back again 
for his walking-stick, thinking he will carry it now.  Mr. 
Crisparkle, who has paused on the staircase, sees it in his hand on 
his immediately reappearing, takes it from him, and asks him with a 
smile how he chooses a stick?

'Really I don't know that I understand the subject,' he answers.  
'I chose it for its weight.'

'Much too heavy, Neville; MUCH too heavy.'

'To rest upon in a long walk, sir?'

'Rest upon?' repeats Mr. Crisparkle, throwing himself into 
pedestrian form.  'You don't rest upon it; you merely balance with 
it.'

'I shall know better, with practice, sir.  I have not lived in a 
walking country, you know.'

'True,' says Mr. Crisparkle.  'Get into a little training, and we 
will have a few score miles together.  I should leave you nowhere 
now.  Do you come back before dinner?'

'I think not, as we dine early.'

Mr. Crisparkle gives him a bright nod and a cheerful good-bye; 
expressing (not without intention) absolute confidence and ease

Neville repairs to the Nuns' House, and requests that Miss Landless 
may be informed that her brother is there, by appointment.  He 
waits at the gate, not even crossing the threshold; for he is on 
his parole not to put himself in Rosa's way.

His sister is at least as mindful of the obligation they have taken 
on themselves as he can be, and loses not a moment in joining him.  
They meet affectionately, avoid lingering there, and walk towards 
the upper inland country.

'I am not going to tread upon forbidden ground, Helena,' says 
Neville, when they have walked some distance and are turning; 'you 
will understand in another moment that I cannot help referring to - 
what shall I say? - my infatuation.'

'Had you not better avoid it, Neville?  You know that I can hear 
nothing.'

'You can hear, my dear, what Mr. Crisparkle has heard, and heard 
with approval.'

'Yes; I can hear so much.'

'Well, it is this.  I am not only unsettled and unhappy myself, but 
I am conscious of unsettling and interfering with other people.  
How do I know that, but for my unfortunate presence, you, and - and 
- the rest of that former party, our engaging guardian excepted, 
might be dining cheerfully in Minor Canon Corner to-morrow?  Indeed 
it probably would be so.  I can see too well that I am not high in 
the old lady's opinion, and it is easy to understand what an 
irksome clog I must be upon the hospitalities of her orderly house 
- especially at this time of year - when I must be kept asunder 
from this person, and there is such a reason for my not being 
brought into contact with that person, and an unfavourable 
reputation has preceded me with such another person; and so on.  I 
have put this very gently to Mr. Crisparkle, for you know his self-
denying ways; but still I have put it.  What I have laid much 
greater stress upon at the same time is, that I am engaged in a 
miserable struggle with myself, and that a little change and 
absence may enable me to come through it the better.  So, the 
weather being bright and hard, I am going on a walking expedition, 
and intend taking myself out of everybody's way (my own included, I 
hope) to-morrow morning.'

'When to come back?'

'In a fortnight.'

'And going quite alone?'

'I am much better without company, even if there were any one but 
you to bear me company, my dear Helena.'

'Mr. Crisparkle entirely agrees, you say?'

'Entirely.  I am not sure but that at first he was inclined to 
think it rather a moody scheme, and one that might do a brooding 
mind harm.  But we took a moonlight walk last Monday night, to talk 
it over at leisure, and I represented the case to him as it really 
is.  I showed him that I do want to conquer myself, and that, this 
evening well got over, it is surely better that I should be away 
from here just now, than here.  I could hardly help meeting certain 
people walking together here, and that could do no good, and is 
certainly not the way to forget.  A fortnight hence, that chance 
will probably be over, for the time; and when it again arises for 
the last time, why, I can again go away.  Farther, I really do feel 
hopeful of bracing exercise and wholesome fatigue.  You know that 
Mr. Crisparkle allows such things their full weight in the 
preservation of his own sound mind in his own sound body, and that 
his just spirit is not likely to maintain one set of natural laws 
for himself and another for me.  He yielded to my view of the 
matter, when convinced that I was honestly in earnest; and so, with 
his full consent, I start to-morrow morning.  Early enough to be 
not only out of the streets, but out of hearing of the bells, when 
the good people go to church.'

Helena thinks it over, and thinks well of it.  Mr. Crisparkle doing 
so, she would do so; but she does originally, out of her own mind, 
think well of it, as a healthy project, denoting a sincere 
endeavour and an active attempt at self-correction.  She is 
inclined to pity him, poor fellow, for going away solitary on the 
great Christmas festival; but she feels it much more to the purpose 
to encourage him.  And she does encourage him.

He will write to her?

He will write to her every alternate day, and tell her all his 
adventures.

Does he send clothes on in advance of him?

'My dear Helena, no.  Travel like a pilgrim, with wallet and staff.  
My wallet - or my knapsack - is packed, and ready for strapping on; 
and here is my staff!'

He hands it to her; she makes the same remark as Mr. Crisparkle, 
that it is very heavy; and gives it back to him, asking what wood 
it is?  Iron-wood.

Up to this point he has been extremely cheerful.  Perhaps, the 
having to carry his case with her, and therefore to present it in 
its brightest aspect, has roused his spirits.  Perhaps, the having 
done so with success, is followed by a revulsion.  As the day 
closes in, and the city-lights begin to spring up before them, he 
grows depressed.

'I wish I were not going to this dinner, Helena.'

'Dear Neville, is it worth while to care much about it?  Think how 
soon it will be over.'

'How soon it will be over!' he repeats gloomily.  'Yes.  But I 
don't like it.'

There may be a moment's awkwardness, she cheeringly represents to 
him, but it can only last a moment.  He is quite sure of himself.

'I wish I felt as sure of everything else, as I feel of myself,' he 
answers her.

'How strangely you speak, dear!  What do you mean?'

'Helena, I don't know.  I only know that I don't like it.  What a 
strange dead weight there is in the air!'

She calls his attention to those copperous clouds beyond the river, 
and says that the wind is rising.  He scarcely speaks again, until 
he takes leave of her, at the gate of the Nuns' House.  She does 
not immediately enter, when they have parted, but remains looking 
after him along the street.  Twice he passes the gatehouse, 
reluctant to enter.  At length, the Cathedral clock chiming one 
quarter, with a rapid turn he hurries in.

And so HE goes up the postern stair.

Edwin Drood passes a solitary day.  Something of deeper moment than 
he had thought, has gone out of his life; and in the silence of his 
own chamber he wept for it last night.  Though the image of Miss 
Landless still hovers in the background of his mind, the pretty 
little affectionate creature, so much firmer and wiser than he had 
supposed, occupies its stronghold.  It is with some misgiving of 
his own unworthiness that he thinks of her, and of what they might 
have been to one another, if he had been more in earnest some time 
ago; if he had set a higher value on her; if, instead of accepting 
his lot in life as an inheritance of course, he had studied the 
right way to its appreciation and enhancement.  And still, for all 
this, and though there is a sharp heartache in all this, the vanity 
and caprice of youth sustain that handsome figure of Miss Landless 
in the background of his mind.

That was a curious look of Rosa's when they parted at the gate.  
Did it mean that she saw below the surface of his thoughts, and 
down into their twilight depths?  Scarcely that, for it was a look 
of astonished and keen inquiry.  He decides that he cannot 
understand it, though it was remarkably expressive.

As he only waits for Mr. Grewgious now, and will depart immediately 
after having seen him, he takes a sauntering leave of the ancient 
city and its neighbourhood.  He recalls the time when Rosa and he 
walked here or there, mere children, full of the dignity of being 
engaged.  Poor children! he thinks, with a pitying sadness.

Finding that his watch has stopped, he turns into the jeweller's 
shop, to have it wound and set.  The jeweller is knowing on the 
subject of a bracelet, which he begs leave to submit, in a general 
and quite aimless way.  It would suit (he considers) a young bride, 
to perfection; especially if of a rather diminutive style of 
beauty.  Finding the bracelet but coldly looked at, the jeweller 
invites attention to a tray of rings for gentlemen; here is a style 
of ring, now, he remarks - a very chaste signet - which gentlemen 
are much given to purchasing, when changing their condition.  A 
ring of a very responsible appearance.  With the date of their 
wedding-day engraved inside, several gentlemen have preferred it to 
any other kind of memento.

The rings are as coldly viewed as the bracelet.  Edwin tells the 
tempter that he wears no jewellery but his watch and chain, which 
were his father's; and his shirt-pin.

'That I was aware of,' is the jeweller's reply, 'for Mr. Jasper 
dropped in for a watch-glass the other day, and, in fact, I showed 
these articles to him, remarking that if he SHOULD wish to make a 
present to a gentleman relative, on any particular occasion - But 
he said with a smile that he had an inventory in his mind of all 
the jewellery his gentleman relative ever wore; namely, his watch 
and chain, and his shirt-pin.'  Still (the jeweller considers) that 
might not apply to all times, though applying to the present time.  
'Twenty minutes past two, Mr. Drood, I set your watch at.  Let me 
recommend you not to let it run down, sir.'

Edwin takes his watch, puts it on, and goes out, thinking:  'Dear 
old Jack!  If I were to make an extra crease in my neckcloth, he 
would think it worth noticing!'

He strolls about and about, to pass the time until the dinner-hour.  
It somehow happens that Cloisterham seems reproachful to him to-
day; has fault to find with him, as if he had not used it well; but 
is far more pensive with him than angry.  His wonted carelessness 
is replaced by a wistful looking at, and dwelling upon, all the old 
landmarks.  He will soon be far away, and may never see them again, 
he thinks.  Poor youth!  Poor youth!

As dusk draws on, he paces the Monks' Vineyard.  He has walked to 
and fro, full half an hour by the Cathedral chimes, and it has 
closed in dark, before he becomes quite aware of a woman crouching 
on the ground near a wicket gate in a corner.  The gate commands a 
cross bye-path, little used in the gloaming; and the figure must 
have been there all the time, though he has but gradually and 
lately made it out.

He strikes into that path, and walks up to the wicket.  By the 
light of a lamp near it, he sees that the woman is of a haggard 
appearance, and that her weazen chin is resting on her hands, and 
that her eyes are staring - with an unwinking, blind sort of 
steadfastness - before her.

Always kindly, but moved to be unusually kind this evening, and 
having bestowed kind words on most of the children and aged people 
he has met, he at once bends down, and speaks to this woman.

'Are you ill?'

'No, deary,' she answers, without looking at him, and with no 
departure from her strange blind stare.

'Are you blind?'

'No, deary.'

'Are you lost, homeless, faint?  What is the matter, that you stay 
here in the cold so long, without moving?'

By slow and stiff efforts, she appears to contract her vision until 
it can rest upon him; and then a curious film passes over her, and 
she begins to shake.

He straightens himself, recoils a step, and looks down at her in a 
dread amazement; for he seems to know her.

'Good Heaven!' he thinks, next moment.  'Like Jack that night!'

As he looks down at her, she looks up at him, and whimpers:  'My 
lungs is weakly; my lungs is dreffle bad.  Poor me, poor me, my 
cough is rattling dry!' and coughs in confirmation horribly.

'Where do you come from?'

'Come from London, deary.'  (Her cough still rending her.)

'Where are you going to?'

'Back to London, deary.  I came here, looking for a needle in a 
haystack, and I ain't found it.  Look'ee, deary; give me three-and-
sixpence, and don't you be afeard for me.  I'll get back to London 
then, and trouble no one.  I'm in a business. - Ah, me!  It's 
slack, it's slack, and times is very bad! - but I can make a shift 
to live by it.'

'Do you eat opium?'

'Smokes it,' she replies with difficulty, still racked by her 
cough.  'Give me three-and-sixpence, and I'll lay it out well, and 
get back.  If you don't give me three-and-sixpence, don't give me a 
brass farden.  And if you do give me three-and-sixpence, deary, 
I'll tell you something.'

He counts the money from his pocket, and puts it in her hand.  She 
instantly clutches it tight, and rises to her feet with a croaking 
laugh of satisfaction.

'Bless ye!  Hark'ee, dear genl'mn.  What's your Chris'en name?'

'Edwin.'

'Edwin, Edwin, Edwin,' she repeats, trailing off into a drowsy 
repetition of the word; and then asks suddenly:  'Is the short of 
that name Eddy?'

'It is sometimes called so,' he replies, with the colour starting 
to his face.

'Don't sweethearts call it so?' she asks, pondering.

'How should I know?'

'Haven't you a sweetheart, upon your soul?'

'None.'

She is moving away, with another 'Bless ye, and thank'ee, deary!' 
when he adds:  'You were to tell me something; you may as well do 
so.'

'So I was, so I was.  Well, then.  Whisper.  You be thankful that 
your name ain't Ned.'

He looks at her quite steadily, as he asks:  'Why?'

'Because it's a bad name to have just now.'

'How a bad name?'

'A threatened name.  A dangerous name.'

'The proverb says that threatened men live long,' he tells her, 
lightly.

'Then Ned - so threatened is he, wherever he may be while I am a-
talking to you, deary - should live to all eternity!' replies the 
woman.

She has leaned forward to say it in his ear, with her forefinger 
shaking before his eyes, and now huddles herself together, and with 
another 'Bless ye, and thank'ee!' goes away in the direction of the 
Travellers' Lodging House.

This is not an inspiriting close to a dull day.  Alone, in a 
sequestered place, surrounded by vestiges of old time and decay, it 
rather has a tendency to call a shudder into being.  He makes for 
the better-lighted streets, and resolves as he walks on to say 
nothing of this to-night, but to mention it to Jack (who alone 
calls him Ned), as an odd coincidence, to-morrow; of course only as 
a coincidence, and not as anything better worth remembering.

Still, it holds to him, as many things much better worth 
remembering never did.  He has another mile or so, to linger out 
before the dinner-hour; and, when he walks over the bridge and by 
the river, the woman's words are in the rising wind, in the angry 
sky, in the troubled water, in the flickering lights.  There is 
some solemn echo of them even in the Cathedral chime, which strikes 
a sudden surprise to his heart as he turns in under the archway of 
the gatehouse.

And so HE goes up the postern stair.

John Jasper passes a more agreeable and cheerful day than either of 
his guests.  Having no music-lessons to give in the holiday season, 
his time is his own, but for the Cathedral services.  He is early 
among the shopkeepers, ordering little table luxuries that his 
nephew likes.  His nephew will not be with him long, he tells his 
provision-dealers, and so must be petted and made much of.  While 
out on his hospitable preparations, he looks in on Mr. Sapsea; and 
mentions that dear Ned, and that inflammable young spark of Mr. 
Crisparkle's, are to dine at the gatehouse to-day, and make up 
their difference.  Mr. Sapsea is by no means friendly towards the 
inflammable young spark.  He says that his complexion is 'Un-
English.'  And when Mr. Sapsea has once declared anything to be Un-
English, he considers that thing everlastingly sunk in the 
bottomless pit.

John Jasper is truly sorry to hear Mr. Sapsea speak thus, for he 
knows right well that Mr. Sapsea never speaks without a meaning, 
and that he has a subtle trick of being right.  Mr. Sapsea (by a 
very remarkable coincidence) is of exactly that opinion.

Mr. Jasper is in beautiful voice this day.  In the pathetic 
supplication to have his heart inclined to keep this law, he quite 
astonishes his fellows by his melodious power.  He has never sung 
difficult music with such skill and harmony, as in this day's 
Anthem.  His nervous temperament is occasionally prone to take 
difficult music a little too quickly; to-day, his time is perfect.

These results are probably attained through a grand composure of 
the spirits.  The mere mechanism of his throat is a little tender, 
for he wears, both with his singing-robe and with his ordinary 
dress, a large black scarf of strong close-woven silk, slung 
loosely round his neck.  But his composure is so noticeable, that 
Mr. Crisparkle speaks of it as they come out from Vespers.

'I must thank you, Jasper, for the pleasure with which I have heard 
you to-day.  Beautiful!  Delightful!  You could not have so outdone 
yourself, I hope, without being wonderfully well.'

'I AM wonderfully well.'

'Nothing unequal,' says the Minor Canon, with a smooth motion of 
his hand:  'nothing unsteady, nothing forced, nothing avoided; all 
thoroughly done in a masterly manner, with perfect self-command.'

'Thank you.  I hope so, if it is not too much to say.'

'One would think, Jasper, you had been trying a new medicine for 
that occasional indisposition of yours.'

'No, really?  That's well observed; for I have.'

'Then stick to it, my good fellow,' says Mr. Crisparkle, clapping 
him on the shoulder with friendly encouragement, 'stick to it.'

'I will.'

'I congratulate you,' Mr. Crisparkle pursues, as they come out of 
the Cathedral, 'on all accounts.'

'Thank you again.  I will walk round to the Corner with you, if you 
don't object; I have plenty of time before my company come; and I 
want to say a word to you, which I think you will not be displeased 
to hear.'

'What is it?'

'Well.  We were speaking, the other evening, of my black humours.'

Mr. Crisparkle's face falls, and he shakes his head deploringly.

'I said, you know, that I should make you an antidote to those 
black humours; and you said you hoped I would consign them to the 
flames.'

'And I still hope so, Jasper.'

'With the best reason in the world!  I mean to burn this year's 
Diary at the year's end.'

'Because you - ?'  Mr. Crisparkle brightens greatly as he thus 
begins.

'You anticipate me.  Because I feel that I have been out of sorts, 
gloomy, bilious, brain-oppressed, whatever it may be.  You said I 
had been exaggerative.  So I have.'

Mr. Crisparkle's brightened face brightens still more.

'I couldn't see it then, because I WAS out of sorts; but I am in a 
healthier state now, and I acknowledge it with genuine pleasure.  I 
made a great deal of a very little; that's the fact.'

'It does me good,' cries Mr. Crisparkle, 'to hear you say it!'

'A man leading a monotonous life,' Jasper proceeds, 'and getting 
his nerves, or his stomach, out of order, dwells upon an idea until 
it loses its proportions.  That was my case with the idea in 
question.  So I shall burn the evidence of my case, when the book 
is full, and begin the next volume with a clearer vision.'

'This is better,' says Mr. Crisparkle, stopping at the steps of his 
own door to shake hands, 'than I could have hoped.'

'Why, naturally,' returns Jasper.  'You had but little reason to 
hope that I should become more like yourself.  You are always 
training yourself to be, mind and body, as clear as crystal, and 
you always are, and never change; whereas I am a muddy, solitary, 
moping weed.  However, I have got over that mope.  Shall I wait, 
while you ask if Mr. Neville has left for my place?  If not, he and 
I may walk round together.'

'I think,' says Mr. Crisparkle, opening the entrance-door with his 
key, 'that he left some time ago; at least I know he left, and I 
think he has not come back.  But I'll inquire.  You won't come in?'

'My company wait,' said Jasper, with a smile.

The Minor Canon disappears, and in a few moments returns.  As he 
thought, Mr. Neville has not come back; indeed, as he remembers 
now, Mr. Neville said he would probably go straight to the 
gatehouse.

'Bad manners in a host!' says Jasper.  'My company will be there 
before me!  What will you bet that I don't find my company 
embracing?'

'I will bet - or I would, if ever I did bet,' returns Mr. 
Crisparkle, 'that your company will have a gay entertainer this 
evening.'

Jasper nods, and laughs good-night!

He retraces his steps to the Cathedral door, and turns down past it 
to the gatehouse.  He sings, in a low voice and with delicate 
expression, as he walks along.  It still seems as if a false note 
were not within his power to-night, and as if nothing could hurry 
or retard him.  Arriving thus under the arched entrance of his 
dwelling, he pauses for an instant in the shelter to pull off that 
great black scarf, and bang it in a loop upon his arm.  For that 
brief time, his face is knitted and stern.  But it immediately 
clears, as he resumes his singing, and his way.

And so HE goes up the postern stair.

The red light burns steadily all the evening in the lighthouse on 
the margin of the tide of busy life.  Softened sounds and hum of 
traffic pass it and flow on irregularly into the lonely Precincts; 
but very little else goes by, save violent rushes of wind.  It 
comes on to blow a boisterous gale.

The Precincts are never particularly well lighted; but the strong 
blasts of wind blowing out many of the lamps (in some instances 
shattering the frames too, and bringing the glass rattling to the 
ground), they are unusually dark to-night.  The darkness is 
augmented and confused, by flying dust from the earth, dry twigs 
from the trees, and great ragged fragments from the rooks' nests up 
in the tower.  The trees themselves so toss and creak, as this 
tangible part of the darkness madly whirls about, that they seem in 
peril of being torn out of the earth:  while ever and again a 
crack, and a rushing fall, denote that some large branch has 
yielded to the storm.

Not such power of wind has blown for many a winter night.  Chimneys 
topple in the streets, and people hold to posts and corners, and to 
one another, to keep themselves upon their feet.  The violent 
rushes abate not, but increase in frequency and fury until at 
midnight, when the streets are empty, the storm goes thundering 
along them, rattling at all the latches, and tearing at all the 
shutters, as if warning the people to get up and fly with it, 
rather than have the roofs brought down upon their brains.

Still, the red light burns steadily.  Nothing is steady but the red 
light.

All through the night the wind blows, and abates not.  But early in 
the morning, when there is barely enough light in the east to dim 
the stars, it begins to lull.  From that time, with occasional wild 
charges, like a wounded monster dying, it drops and sinks; and at 
full daylight it is dead.

It is then seen that the hands of the Cathedral clock are torn off; 
that lead from the roof has been stripped away, rolled up, and 
blown into the Close; and that some stones have been displaced upon 
the summit of the great tower.  Christmas morning though it be, it 
is necessary to send up workmen, to ascertain the extent of the 
damage done.  These, led by Durdles, go aloft; while Mr. Tope and a 
crowd of early idlers gather down in Minor Canon Corner, shading 
their eyes and watching for their appearance up there.

This cluster is suddenly broken and put aside by the hands of Mr. 
Jasper; all the gazing eyes are brought down to the earth by his 
loudly inquiring of Mr. Crisparkle, at an open window:

'Where is my nephew?'

'He has not been here.  Is he not with you?'

'No.  He went down to the river last night, with Mr. Neville, to 
look at the storm, and has not been back.  Call Mr. Neville!'

'He left this morning, early.'

'Left this morning early?  Let me in! let me in!'

There is no more looking up at the tower, now.  All the assembled 
eyes are turned on Mr. Jasper, white, half-dressed, panting, and 
clinging to the rail before the Minor Canon's house.

CHAPTER XV - IMPEACHED

NEVILLE LANDLESS had started so early and walked at so good a pace, 
that when the church-bells began to ring in Cloisterham for morning 
service, he was eight miles away.  As he wanted his breakfast by 
that time, having set forth on a crust of bread, he stopped at the 
next roadside tavern to refresh.

Visitors in want of breakfast - unless they were horses or cattle, 
for which class of guests there was preparation enough in the way 
of water-trough and hay - were so unusual at the sign of The Tilted 
Wagon, that it took a long time to get the wagon into the track of 
tea and toast and bacon.  Neville in the interval, sitting in a 
sanded parlour, wondering in how long a time after he had gone, the 
sneezy fire of damp fagots would begin to make somebody else warm.

Indeed, The Tilted Wagon, as a cool establishment on the top of a 
hill, where the ground before the door was puddled with damp hoofs 
and trodden straw; where a scolding landlady slapped a moist baby 
(with one red sock on and one wanting), in the bar; where the 
cheese was cast aground upon a shelf, in company with a mouldy 
tablecloth and a green-handled knife, in a sort of cast-iron canoe; 
where the pale-faced bread shed tears of crumb over its shipwreck 
in another canoe; where the family linen, half washed and half 
dried, led a public life of lying about; where everything to drink 
was drunk out of mugs, and everything else was suggestive of a 
rhyme to mugs; The Tilted Wagon, all these things considered, 
hardly kept its painted promise of providing good entertainment for 
Man and Beast.  However, Man, in the present case, was not 
critical, but took what entertainment he could get, and went on 
again after a longer rest than he needed.

He stopped at some quarter of a mile from the house, hesitating 
whether to pursue the road, or to follow a cart track between two 
high hedgerows, which led across the slope of a breezy heath, and 
evidently struck into the road again by-and-by.  He decided in 
favour of this latter track, and pursued it with some toil; the 
rise being steep, and the way worn into deep ruts.

He was labouring along, when he became aware of some other 
pedestrians behind him.  As they were coming up at a faster pace 
than his, he stood aside, against one of the high banks, to let 
them pass.  But their manner was very curious.  Only four of them 
passed.  Other four slackened speed, and loitered as intending to 
follow him when he should go on.  The remainder of the party (half-
a-dozen perhaps) turned, and went back at a great rate.

He looked at the four behind him, and he looked at the four before 
him.  They all returned his look.  He resumed his way.  The four in 
advance went on, constantly looking back; the four in the rear came 
closing up.

When they all ranged out from the narrow track upon the open slope 
of the heath, and this order was maintained, let him diverge as he 
would to either side, there was no longer room to doubt that he was 
beset by these fellows.  He stopped, as a last test; and they all 
stopped.

 'Why do you attend upon me in this way?' he asked the whole body.  
'Are you a pack of thieves?'

'Don't answer him,' said one of the number; he did not see which.  
'Better be quiet.'

'Better be quiet?' repeated Neville.  'Who said so?'

Nobody replied.

'It's good advice, whichever of you skulkers gave it,' he went on 
angrily.  'I will not submit to be penned in between four men 
there, and four men there.  I wish to pass, and I mean to pass, 
those four in front.'

They were all standing still; himself included.

'If eight men, or four men, or two men, set upon one,' he 
proceeded, growing more enraged, 'the one has no chance but to set 
his mark upon some of them.  And, by the Lord, I'll do it, if I am 
interrupted any farther!'

Shouldering his heavy stick, and quickening his pace, he shot on to 
pass the four ahead.  The largest and strongest man of the number 
changed swiftly to the side on which he came up, and dexterously 
closed with him and went down with him; but not before the heavy 
stick had descended smartly.

'Let him be!' said this man in a suppressed voice, as they 
struggled together on the grass.  'Fair play!  His is the build of 
a girl to mine, and he's got a weight strapped to his back besides.  
Let him alone.  I'll manage him.'

After a little rolling about, in a close scuffle which caused the 
faces of both to be besmeared with blood, the man took his knee 
from Neville's chest, and rose, saying:  'There!  Now take him arm-
in-arm, any two of you!'

It was immediately done.

'As to our being a pack of thieves, Mr. Landless,' said the man, as 
he spat out some blood, and wiped more from his face; 'you know 
better than that at midday.  We wouldn't have touched you if you 
hadn't forced us.  We're going to take you round to the high road, 
anyhow, and you'll find help enough against thieves there, if you 
want it. - Wipe his face, somebody; see how it's a-trickling down 
him!'

When his face was cleansed, Neville recognised in the speaker, Joe, 
driver of the Cloisterham omnibus, whom he had seen but once, and 
that on the day of his arrival.

'And what I recommend you for the present, is, don't talk, Mr. 
Landless.  You'll find a friend waiting for you, at the high road - 
gone ahead by the other way when we split into two parties - and 
you had much better say nothing till you come up with him.  Bring 
that stick along, somebody else, and let's be moving!'

Utterly bewildered, Neville stared around him and said not a word.  
Walking between his two conductors, who held his arms in theirs, he 
went on, as in a dream, until they came again into the high road, 
and into the midst of a little group of people.  The men who had 
turned back were among the group; and its central figures were Mr. 
Jasper and Mr. Crisparkle.  Neville's conductors took him up to the 
Minor Canon, and there released him, as an act of deference to that 
gentleman.

'What is all this, sir?  What is the matter?  I feel as if I had 
lost my senses!' cried Neville, the group closing in around him.

'Where is my nephew?' asked Mr. Jasper, wildly.

'Where is your nephew?' repeated Neville, 'Why do you ask me?'

'I ask you,' retorted Jasper, 'because you were the last person in 
his company, and he is not to be found.'

'Not to be found!' cried Neville, aghast.

'Stay, stay,' said Mr. Crisparkle.  'Permit me, Jasper.  Mr. 
Neville, you are confounded; collect your thoughts; it is of great 
importance that you should collect your thoughts; attend to me.'

'I will try, sir, but I seem mad.'

'You left Mr. Jasper last night with Edwin Drood?'

'Yes.'

'At what hour?'

'Was it at twelve o'clock?' asked Neville, with his hand to his 
confused head, and appealing to Jasper.

'Quite right,' said Mr. Crisparkle; 'the hour Mr. Jasper has 
already named to me.  You went down to the river together?'

'Undoubtedly.  To see the action of the wind there.'

'What followed?  How long did you stay there?'

'About ten minutes; I should say not more.  We then walked together 
to your house, and he took leave of me at the door.'

'Did he say that he was going down to the river again?'

'No.  He said that he was going straight back.'

The bystanders looked at one another, and at Mr. Crisparkle.  To 
whom Mr. Jasper, who had been intensely watching Neville, said, in 
a low, distinct, suspicious voice:  'What are those stains upon his 
dress?'

All eyes were turned towards the blood upon his clothes.

'And here are the same stains upon this stick!' said Jasper, taking 
it from the hand of the man who held it.  'I know the stick to be 
his, and he carried it last night.  What does this mean?'

'In the name of God, say what it means, Neville!' urged Mr. 
Crisparkle.

'That man and I,' said Neville, pointing out his late adversary, 
'had a struggle for the stick just now, and you may see the same 
marks on him, sir.  What was I to suppose, when I found myself 
molested by eight people?  Could I dream of the true reason when 
they would give me none at all?'

They admitted that they had thought it discreet to be silent, and 
that the struggle had taken place.  And yet the very men who had 
seen it looked darkly at the smears which the bright cold air had 
already dried.

'We must return, Neville,' said Mr. Crisparkle; 'of course you will 
be glad to come back to clear yourself?'

'Of course, sir.'

'Mr. Landless will walk at my side,' the Minor Canon continued, 
looking around him.  'Come, Neville!'

They set forth on the walk back; and the others, with one 
exception, straggled after them at various distances.  Jasper 
walked on the other side of Neville, and never quitted that 
position.  He was silent, while Mr. Crisparkle more than once 
repeated his former questions, and while Neville repeated his 
former answers; also, while they both hazarded some explanatory 
conjectures.  He was obstinately silent, because Mr. Crisparkle's 
manner directly appealed to him to take some part in the 
discussion, and no appeal would move his fixed face.  When they 
drew near to the city, and it was suggested by the Minor Canon that 
they might do well in calling on the Mayor at once, he assented 
with a stern nod; but he spake no word until they stood in Mr. 
Sapsea's parlour.

Mr. Sapsea being informed by Mr. Crisparkle of the circumstances 
under which they desired to make a voluntary statement before him, 
Mr. Jasper broke silence by declaring that he placed his whole 
reliance, humanly speaking, on Mr. Sapsea's penetration.  There was 
no conceivable reason why his nephew should have suddenly 
absconded, unless Mr. Sapsea could suggest one, and then he would 
defer.  There was no intelligible likelihood of his having returned 
to the river, and been accidentally drowned in the dark, unless it 
should appear likely to Mr. Sapsea, and then again he would defer.  
He washed his hands as clean as he could of all horrible 
suspicions, unless it should appear to Mr. Sapsea that some such 
were inseparable from his last companion before his disappearance 
(not on good terms with previously), and then, once more, he would 
defer.  His own state of mind, he being distracted with doubts, and 
labouring under dismal apprehensions, was not to be safely trusted; 
but Mr. Sapsea's was.

Mr. Sapsea expressed his opinion that the case had a dark look; in 
short (and here his eyes rested full on Neville's countenance), an 
Un-English complexion.  Having made this grand point, he wandered 
into a denser haze and maze of nonsense than even a mayor might 
have been expected to disport himself in, and came out of it with 
the brilliant discovery that to take the life of a fellow-creature 
was to take something that didn't belong to you.  He wavered 
whether or no he should at once issue his warrant for the committal 
of Neville Landless to jail, under circumstances of grave 
suspicion; and he might have gone so far as to do it but for the 
indignant protest of the Minor Canon:  who undertook for the young 
man's remaining in his own house, and being produced by his own 
hands, whenever demanded.  Mr. Jasper then understood Mr. Sapsea to 
suggest that the river should be dragged, that its banks should be 
rigidly examined, that particulars of the disappearance should be 
sent to all outlying places and to London, and that placards and 
advertisements should be widely circulated imploring Edwin Drood, 
if for any unknown reason he had withdrawn himself from his uncle's 
home and society, to take pity on that loving kinsman's sore 
bereavement and distress, and somehow inform him that he was yet 
alive.  Mr. Sapsea was perfectly understood, for this was exactly 
his meaning (though he had said nothing about it); and measures 
were taken towards all these ends immediately.

It would be difficult to determine which was the more oppressed 
with horror and amazement:  Neville Landless, or John Jasper.  But 
that Jasper's position forced him to be active, while Neville's 
forced him to be passive, there would have been nothing to choose 
between them.  Each was bowed down and broken.

With the earliest light of the next morning, men were at work upon 
the river, and other men - most of whom volunteered for the service 
- were examining the banks.  All the livelong day the search went 
on; upon the river, with barge and pole, and drag and net; upon the 
muddy and rushy shore, with jack-boots, hatchet, spade, rope, dogs, 
and all imaginable appliances.  Even at night, the river was 
specked with lanterns, and lurid with fires; far-off creeks, into 
which the tide washed as it changed, had their knots of watchers, 
listening to the lapping of the stream, and looking out for any 
burden it might bear; remote shingly causeways near the sea, and 
lonely points off which there was a race of water, had their 
unwonted flaring cressets and rough-coated figures when the next 
day dawned; but no trace of Edwin Drood revisited the light of the 
sun.

All that day, again, the search went on.  Now, in barge and boat; 
and now ashore among the osiers, or tramping amidst mud and stakes 
and jagged stones in low-lying places, where solitary watermarks 
and signals of strange shapes showed like spectres, John Jasper 
worked and toiled.  But to no purpose; for still no trace of Edwin 
Drood revisited the light of the sun.

Setting his watches for that night again, so that vigilant eyes 
should be kept on every change of tide, he went home exhausted.  
Unkempt and disordered, bedaubed with mud that had dried upon him, 
and with much of his clothing torn to rags, he had but just dropped 
into his easy-chair, when Mr. Grewgious stood before him.

'This is strange news,' said Mr. Grewgious.

'Strange and fearful news.'

Jasper had merely lifted up his heavy eyes to say it, and now 
dropped them again as he drooped, worn out, over one side of his 
easy-chair.

Mr. Grewgious smoothed his head and face, and stood looking at the 
fire.

'How is your ward?' asked Jasper, after a time, in a faint, 
fatigued voice.

'Poor little thing!  You may imagine her condition.'

'Have you seen his sister?' inquired Jasper, as before.

'Whose?'

The curtness of the counter-question, and the cool, slow manner in 
which, as he put it, Mr. Grewgious moved his eyes from the fire to 
his companion's face, might at any other time have been 
exasperating.  In his depression and exhaustion, Jasper merely 
opened his eyes to say:  'The suspected young man's.'

'Do you suspect him?' asked Mr. Grewgious.

'I don't know what to think.  I cannot make up my mind.'

'Nor I,' said Mr. Grewgious.  'But as you spoke of him as the 
suspected young man, I thought you HAD made up your mind. - I have 
just left Miss Landless.'

'What is her state?'

'Defiance of all suspicion, and unbounded faith in her brother.'

'Poor thing!'

'However,' pursued Mr. Grewgious, 'it is not of her that I came to 
speak.  It is of my ward.  I have a communication to make that will 
surprise you.  At least, it has surprised me.'

Jasper, with a groaning sigh, turned wearily in his chair.

'Shall I put it off till to-morrow?' said Mr. Grewgious.  'Mind, I 
warn you, that I think it will surprise you!'

More attention and concentration came into John Jasper's eyes as 
they caught sight of Mr. Grewgious smoothing his head again, and 
again looking at the fire; but now, with a compressed and 
determined mouth.

'What is it?' demanded Jasper, becoming upright in his chair.

'To be sure,' said Mr. Grewgious, provokingly slowly and 
internally, as he kept his eyes on the fire:  'I might have known 
it sooner; she gave me the opening; but I am such an exceedingly 
Angular man, that it never occurred to me; I took all for granted.'

'What is it?' demanded Jasper once more.

Mr. Grewgious, alternately opening and shutting the palms of his 
hands as he warmed them at the fire, and looking fixedly at him 
sideways, and never changing either his action or his look in all 
that followed, went on to reply.

'This young couple, the lost youth and Miss Rosa, my ward, though 
so long betrothed, and so long recognising their betrothal, and so 
near being married - '

Mr. Grewgious saw a staring white face, and two quivering white 
lips, in the easy-chair, and saw two muddy hands gripping its 
sides.  But for the hands, he might have thought he had never seen 
the face.

' - This young couple came gradually to the discovery (made on both 
sides pretty equally, I think), that they would be happier and 
better, both in their present and their future lives, as 
affectionate friends, or say rather as brother and sister, than as 
husband and wife.'

Mr. Grewgious saw a lead-coloured face in the easy-chair, and on 
its surface dreadful starting drops or bubbles, as if of steel.

'This young couple formed at length the healthy resolution of 
interchanging their discoveries, openly, sensibly, and tenderly.  
They met for that purpose.  After some innocent and generous talk, 
they agreed to dissolve their existing, and their intended, 
relations, for ever and ever.'

Mr. Grewgious saw a ghastly figure rise, open-mouthed, from the 
easy-chair, and lift its outspread hands towards its head.

'One of this young couple, and that one your nephew, fearful, 
however, that in the tenderness of your affection for him you would 
be bitterly disappointed by so wide a departure from his projected 
life, forbore to tell you the secret, for a few days, and left it 
to be disclosed by me, when I should come down to speak to you, and 
he would be gone.  I speak to you, and he is gone.'

Mr. Grewgious saw the ghastly figure throw back its head, clutch 
its hair with its hands, and turn with a writhing action from him.

'I have now said all I have to say:  except that this young couple 
parted, firmly, though not without tears and sorrow, on the evening 
when you last saw them together.'

Mr. Grewgious heard a terrible shriek, and saw no ghastly figure, 
sitting or standing; saw nothing but a heap of torn and miry 
clothes upon the floor.

Not changing his action even then, he opened and shut the palms of 
his hands as he warmed them, and looked down at it.

CHAPTER XVI - DEVOTED

WHEN John Jasper recovered from his fit or swoon, he found himself 
being tended by Mr. and Mrs. Tope, whom his visitor had summoned 
for the purpose.  His visitor, wooden of aspect, sat stiffly in a 
chair, with his hands upon his knees, watching his recovery.

'There!  You've come to nicely now, sir,' said the tearful Mrs. 
Tope; 'you were thoroughly worn out, and no wonder!'

'A man,' said Mr. Grewgious, with his usual air of repeating a 
lesson, 'cannot have his rest broken, and his mind cruelly 
tormented, and his body overtaxed by fatigue, without being 
thoroughly worn out.'

'I fear I have alarmed you?' Jasper apologised faintly, when he was 
helped into his easy-chair.

'Not at all, I thank you,' answered Mr. Grewgious.

'You are too considerate.'

'Not at all, I thank you,' answered Mr. Grewgious again.

'You must take some wine, sir,' said Mrs. Tope, 'and the jelly that 
I had ready for you, and that you wouldn't put your lips to at 
noon, though I warned you what would come of it, you know, and you 
not breakfasted; and you must have a wing of the roast fowl that 
has been put back twenty times if it's been put back once.  It 
shall all be on table in five minutes, and this good gentleman 
belike will stop and see you take it.'

This good gentleman replied with a snort, which might mean yes, or 
no, or anything or nothing, and which Mrs. Tope would have found 
highly mystifying, but that her attention was divided by the 
service of the table.

'You will take something with me?' said Jasper, as the cloth was 
laid.

'I couldn't get a morsel down my throat, I thank you,' answered Mr. 
Grewgious.

Jasper both ate and drank almost voraciously.  Combined with the 
hurry in his mode of doing it, was an evident indifference to the 
taste of what he took, suggesting that he ate and drank to fortify 
himself against any other failure of the spirits, far more than to 
gratify his palate.  Mr. Grewgious in the meantime sat upright, 
with no expression in his face, and a hard kind of imperturbably 
polite protest all over him:  as though he would have said, in 
reply to some invitation to discourse; 'I couldn't originate the 
faintest approach to an observation on any subject whatever, I 
thank you.'

'Do you know,' said Jasper, when he had pushed away his plate and 
glass, and had sat meditating for a few minutes:  'do you know that 
I find some crumbs of comfort in the communication with which you 
have so much amazed me?'

'DO you?' returned Mr. Grewgious, pretty plainly adding the 
unspoken clause:  'I don't, I thank you!'

'After recovering from the shock of a piece of news of my dear boy, 
so entirely unexpected, and so destructive of all the castles I had 
built for him; and after having had time to think of it; yes.'

'I shall be glad to pick up your crumbs,' said Mr. Grewgious, 
dryly.

'Is there not, or is there - if I deceive myself, tell me so, and 
shorten my pain - is there not, or is there, hope that, finding 
himself in this new position, and becoming sensitively alive to the 
awkward burden of explanation, in this quarter, and that, and the 
other, with which it would load him, he avoided the awkwardness, 
and took to flight?'

'Such a thing might be,' said Mr. Grewgious, pondering.

'Such a thing has been.  I have read of cases in which people, 
rather than face a seven days' wonder, and have to account for 
themselves to the idle and impertinent, have taken themselves away, 
and been long unheard of.'

'I believe such things have happened,' said Mr. Grewgious, 
pondering still.

'When I had, and could have, no suspicion,' pursued Jasper, eagerly 
following the new track, 'that the dear lost boy had withheld 
anything from me - most of all, such a leading matter as this - 
what gleam of light was there for me in the whole black sky?  When 
I supposed that his intended wife was here, and his marriage close 
at hand, how could I entertain the possibility of his voluntarily 
leaving this place, in a manner that would be so unaccountable, 
capricious, and cruel?  But now that I know what you have told me, 
is there no little chink through which day pierces?  Supposing him 
to have disappeared of his own act, is not his disappearance more 
accountable and less cruel?  The fact of his having just parted 
from your ward, is in itself a sort of reason for his going away.  
It does not make his mysterious departure the less cruel to me, it 
is true; but it relieves it of cruelty to her.'

Mr. Grewgious could not but assent to this.

'And even as to me,' continued Jasper, still pursuing the new 
track, with ardour, and, as he did so, brightening with hope:  'he 
knew that you were coming to me; he knew that you were intrusted to 
tell me what you have told me; if your doing so has awakened a new 
train of thought in my perplexed mind, it reasonably follows that, 
from the same premises, he might have foreseen the inferences that 
I should draw.  Grant that he did foresee them; and even the 
cruelty to me - and who am I! - John Jasper, Music Master, 
vanishes!' -

Once more, Mr. Grewgious could not but assent to this.

'I have had my distrusts, and terrible distrusts they have been,' 
said Jasper; 'but your disclosure, overpowering as it was at first 
- showing me that my own dear boy had had a great disappointing 
reservation from me, who so fondly loved him, kindles hope within 
me.  You do not extinguish it when I state it, but admit it to be a 
reasonable hope.  I begin to believe it possible:' here he clasped 
his hands:  'that he may have disappeared from among us of his own 
accord, and that he may yet be alive and well.'

Mr. Crisparkle came in at the moment.  To whom Mr. Jasper repeated:

'I begin to believe it possible that he may have disappeared of his 
own accord, and may yet be alive and well.'

Mr. Crisparkle taking a seat, and inquiring:  'Why so?'  Mr. Jasper 
repeated the arguments he had just set forth.  If they had been 
less plausible than they were, the good Minor Canon's mind would 
have been in a state of preparation to receive them, as exculpatory 
of his unfortunate pupil.  But he, too, did really attach great 
importance to the lost young man's having been, so immediately 
before his disappearance, placed in a new and embarrassing relation 
towards every one acquainted with his projects and affairs; and the 
fact seemed to him to present the question in a new light.

'I stated to Mr. Sapsea, when we waited on him,' said Jasper:  as 
he really had done:  'that there was no quarrel or difference 
between the two young men at their last meeting.  We all know that 
their first meeting was unfortunately very far from amicable; but 
all went smoothly and quietly when they were last together at my 
house.  My dear boy was not in his usual spirits; he was depressed 
- I noticed that - and I am bound henceforth to dwell upon the 
circumstance the more, now that I know there was a special reason 
for his being depressed:  a reason, moreover, which may possibly 
have induced him to absent himself.'

'I pray to Heaven it may turn out so!' exclaimed Mr. Crisparkle.

'I pray to Heaven it may turn out so!' repeated Jasper.  'You know 
- and Mr. Grewgious should now know likewise - that I took a great 
prepossession against Mr. Neville Landless, arising out of his 
furious conduct on that first occasion.  You know that I came to 
you, extremely apprehensive, on my dear boy's behalf, of his mad 
violence.  You know that I even entered in my Diary, and showed the 
entry to you, that I had dark forebodings against him.  Mr. 
Grewgious ought to be possessed of the whole case.  He shall not, 
through any suppression of mine, be informed of a part of it, and 
kept in ignorance of another part of it.  I wish him to be good 
enough to understand that the communication he has made to me has 
hopefully influenced my mind, in spite of its having been, before 
this mysterious occurrence took place, profoundly impressed against 
young Landless.'

This fairness troubled the Minor Canon much.  He felt that he was 
not as open in his own dealing.  He charged against himself 
reproachfully that he had suppressed, so far, the two points of a 
second strong outbreak of temper against Edwin Drood on the part of 
Neville, and of the passion of jealousy having, to his own certain 
knowledge, flamed up in Neville's breast against him.  He was 
convinced of Neville's innocence of any part in the ugly 
disappearance; and yet so many little circumstances combined so 
wofully against him, that he dreaded to add two more to their 
cumulative weight.  He was among the truest of men; but he had been 
balancing in his mind, much to its distress, whether his 
volunteering to tell these two fragments of truth, at this time, 
would not be tantamount to a piecing together of falsehood in the 
place of truth.

However, here was a model before him.  He hesitated no longer.  
Addressing Mr. Grewgious, as one placed in authority by the 
revelation he had brought to bear on the mystery (and surpassingly 
Angular Mr. Grewgious became when he found himself in that 
unexpected position), Mr. Crisparkle bore his testimony to Mr. 
Jasper's strict sense of justice, and, expressing his absolute 
confidence in the complete clearance of his pupil from the least 
taint of suspicion, sooner or later, avowed that his confidence in 
that young gentleman had been formed, in spite of his confidential 
knowledge that his temper was of the hottest and fiercest, and that 
it was directly incensed against Mr. Jasper's nephew, by the 
circumstance of his romantically supposing himself to be enamoured 
of the same young lady.  The sanguine reaction manifest in Mr. 
Jasper was proof even against this unlooked-for declaration.  It 
turned him paler; but he repeated that he would cling to the hope 
he had derived from Mr. Grewgious; and that if no trace of his dear 
boy were found, leading to the dreadful inference that he had been 
made away with, he would cherish unto the last stretch of 
possibility the idea, that he might have absconded of his own wild 
will.

Now, it fell out that Mr. Crisparkle, going away from this 
conference still very uneasy in his mind, and very much troubled on 
behalf of the young man whom he held as a kind of prisoner in his 
own house, took a memorable night walk.

He walked to Cloisterham Weir.

He often did so, and consequently there was nothing remarkable in 
his footsteps tending that way.  But the preoccupation of his mind 
so hindered him from planning any walk, or taking heed of the 
objects he passed, that his first consciousness of being near the 
Weir, was derived from the sound of the falling water close at 
hand.

'How did I come here!' was his first thought, as he stopped.

'Why did I come here!' was his second.

Then, he stood intently listening to the water.  A familiar passage 
in his reading, about airy tongues that syllable men's names, rose 
so unbidden to his ear, that he put it from him with his hand, as 
if it were tangible.

It was starlight.  The Weir was full two miles above the spot to 
which the young men had repaired to watch the storm.  No search had 
been made up here, for the tide had been running strongly down, at 
that time of the night of Christmas Eve, and the likeliest places 
for the discovery of a body, if a fatal accident had happened under 
such circumstances, all lay - both when the tide ebbed, and when it 
flowed again - between that spot and the sea.  The water came over 
the Weir, with its usual sound on a cold starlight night, and 
little could be seen of it; yet Mr. Crisparkle had a strange idea 
that something unusual hung about the place.

He reasoned with himself:  What was it?  Where was it?  Put it to 
the proof.  Which sense did it address?

No sense reported anything unusual there.  He listened again, and 
his sense of hearing again checked the water coming over the Weir, 
with its usual sound on a cold starlight night.

Knowing very well that the mystery with which his mind was 
occupied, might of itself give the place this haunted air, he 
strained those hawk's eyes of his for the correction of his sight.  
He got closer to the Weir, and peered at its well-known posts and 
timbers.  Nothing in the least unusual was remotely shadowed forth.  
But he resolved that he would come back early in the morning.

The Weir ran through his broken sleep, all night, and he was back 
again at sunrise.  It was a bright frosty morning.  The whole 
composition before him, when he stood where he had stood last 
night, was clearly discernible in its minutest details.  He had 
surveyed it closely for some minutes, and was about to withdraw his 
eyes, when they were attracted keenly to one spot.

He turned his back upon the Weir, and looked far away at the sky, 
and at the earth, and then looked again at that one spot.  It 
caught his sight again immediately, and he concentrated his vision 
upon it.  He could not lose it now, though it was but such a speck 
in the landscape.  It fascinated his sight.  His hands began 
plucking off his coat.  For it struck him that at that spot - a 
corner of the Weir - something glistened, which did not move and 
come over with the glistening water-drops, but remained stationary.

He assured himself of this, he threw off his clothes, he plunged 
into the icy water, and swam for the spot.  Climbing the timbers, 
he took from them, caught among their interstices by its chain, a 
gold watch, bearing engraved upon its back E. D.

He brought the watch to the bank, swam to the Weir again, climbed 
it, and dived off.  He knew every hole and corner of all the 
depths, and dived and dived and dived, until he could bear the cold 
no more.  His notion was, that he would find the body; he only 
found a shirt-pin sticking in some mud and ooze.

With these discoveries he returned to Cloisterham, and, taking 
Neville Landless with him, went straight to the Mayor.  Mr. Jasper 
was sent for, the watch and shirt-pin were identified, Neville was 
detained, and the wildest frenzy and fatuity of evil report rose 
against him.  He was of that vindictive and violent nature, that 
but for his poor sister, who alone had influence over him, and out 
of whose sight he was never to be trusted, he would be in the daily 
commission of murder.  Before coming to England he had caused to be 
whipped to death sundry 'Natives' - nomadic persons, encamping now 
in Asia, now in Africa, now in the West Indies, and now at the 
North Pole - vaguely supposed in Cloisterham to be always black, 
always of great virtue, always calling themselves Me, and everybody 
else Massa or Missie (according to sex), and always reading tracts 
of the obscurest meaning, in broken English, but always accurately 
understanding them in the purest mother tongue.  He had nearly 
brought Mrs. Crisparkle's grey hairs with sorrow to the grave.  
(Those original expressions were Mr. Sapsea's.)  He had repeatedly 
said he would have Mr. Crisparkle's life.  He had repeatedly said 
he would have everybody's life, and become in effect the last man.  
He had been brought down to Cloisterham, from London, by an eminent 
Philanthropist, and why?  Because that Philanthropist had expressly 
declared:  'I owe it to my fellow-creatures that he should be, in 
the words of BENTHAM, where he is the cause of the greatest danger 
to the smallest number.'

These dropping shots from the blunderbusses of blunderheadedness 
might not have hit him in a vital place.  But he had to stand 
against a trained and well-directed fire of arms of precision too.  
He had notoriously threatened the lost young man, and had, 
according to the showing of his own faithful friend and tutor who 
strove so hard for him, a cause of bitter animosity (created by 
himself, and stated by himself), against that ill-starred fellow.  
He had armed himself with an offensive weapon for the fatal night, 
and he had gone off early in the morning, after making preparations 
for departure.  He had been found with traces of blood on him; 
truly, they might have been wholly caused as he represented, but 
they might not, also.  On a search-warrant being issued for the 
examination of his room, clothes, and so forth, it was discovered 
that he had destroyed all his papers, and rearranged all his 
possessions, on the very afternoon of the disappearance.  The watch 
found at the Weir was challenged by the jeweller as one he had 
wound and set for Edwin Drood, at twenty minutes past two on that 
same afternoon; and it had run down, before being cast into the 
water; and it was the jeweller's positive opinion that it had never 
been re-wound.  This would justify the hypothesis that the watch 
was taken from him not long after he left Mr. Jasper's house at 
midnight, in company with the last person seen with him, and that 
it had been thrown away after being retained some hours.  Why 
thrown away?  If he had been murdered, and so artfully disfigured, 
or concealed, or both, as that the murderer hoped identification to 
be impossible, except from something that he wore, assuredly the 
murderer would seek to remove from the body the most lasting, the 
best known, and the most easily recognisable, things upon it.  
Those things would be the watch and shirt-pin.  As to his 
opportunities of casting them into the river; if he were the object 
of these suspicions, they were easy.  For, he had been seen by many 
persons, wandering about on that side of the city - indeed on all 
sides of it - in a miserable and seemingly half-distracted manner.  
As to the choice of the spot, obviously such criminating evidence 
had better take its chance of being found anywhere, rather than 
upon himself, or in his possession.  Concerning the reconciliatory 
nature of the appointed meeting between the two young men, very 
little could be made of that in young Landless's favour; for it 
distinctly appeared that the meeting originated, not with him, but 
with Mr. Crisparkle, and that it had been urged on by Mr. 
Crisparkle; and who could say how unwillingly, or in what ill-
conditioned mood, his enforced pupil had gone to it?  The more his 
case was looked into, the weaker it became in every point.  Even 
the broad suggestion that the lost young man had absconded, was 
rendered additionally improbable on the showing of the young lady 
from whom he had so lately parted; for; what did she say, with 
great earnestness and sorrow, when interrogated?  That he had, 
expressly and enthusiastically, planned with her, that he would 
await the arrival of her guardian, Mr. Grewgious.  And yet, be it 
observed, he disappeared before that gentleman appeared.

On the suspicions thus urged and supported, Neville was detained, 
and re-detained, and the search was pressed on every hand, and 
Jasper laboured night and day.  But nothing more was found.  No 
discovery being made, which proved the lost man to be dead, it at 
length became necessary to release the person suspected of having 
made away with him.  Neville was set at large.  Then, a consequence 
ensued which Mr. Crisparkle had too well foreseen.  Neville must 
leave the place, for the place shunned him and cast him out.  Even 
had it not been so, the dear old china shepherdess would have 
worried herself to death with fears for her son, and with general 
trepidation occasioned by their having such an inmate.  Even had 
that not been so, the authority to which the Minor Canon deferred 
officially, would have settled the point.

'Mr. Crisparkle,' quoth the Dean, 'human justice may err, but it 
must act according to its lights.  The days of taking sanctuary are 
past.  This young man must not take sanctuary with us.'

'You mean that he must leave my house, sir?'

'Mr. Crisparkle,' returned the prudent Dean, 'I claim no authority 
in your house.  I merely confer with you, on the painful necessity 
you find yourself under, of depriving this young man of the great 
advantages of your counsel and instruction.'

'It is very lamentable, sir,' Mr. Crisparkle represented.

'Very much so,' the Dean assented.

'And if it be a necessity - ' Mr. Crisparkle faltered.

'As you unfortunately find it to be,' returned the Dean.

Mr. Crisparkle bowed submissively:  'It is hard to prejudge his 
case, sir, but I am sensible that - '

'Just so.  Perfectly.  As you say, Mr. Crisparkle,' interposed the 
Dean, nodding his head smoothly, 'there is nothing else to be done.  
No doubt, no doubt.  There is no alternative, as your good sense 
has discovered.'

'I am entirely satisfied of his perfect innocence, sir, 
nevertheless.'

'We-e-ell!' said the Dean, in a more confidential tone, and 
slightly glancing around him, 'I would not say so, generally.  Not 
generally.  Enough of suspicion attaches to him to - no, I think I 
would not say so, generally.'

Mr. Crisparkle bowed again.

'It does not become us, perhaps,' pursued the Dean, 'to be 
partisans.  Not partisans.  We clergy keep our hearts warm and our 
heads cool, and we hold a judicious middle course.'

'I hope you do not object, sir, to my having stated in public, 
emphatically, that he will reappear here, whenever any new 
suspicion may be awakened, or any new circumstance may come to 
light in this extraordinary matter?'

'Not at all,' returned the Dean.  'And yet, do you know, I don't 
think,' with a very nice and neat emphasis on those two words:  'I 
DON'T THINK I would state it emphatically.  State it?  Ye-e-es!  
But emphatically?  No-o-o.  I THINK not.  In point of fact, Mr. 
Crisparkle, keeping our hearts warm and our heads cool, we clergy 
need do nothing emphatically.'

So Minor Canon Row knew Neville Landless no more; and he went 
whithersoever he would, or could, with a blight upon his name and 
fame.

It was not until then that John Jasper silently resumed his place 
in the choir.  Haggard and red-eyed, his hopes plainly had deserted 
him, his sanguine mood was gone, and all his worst misgivings had 
come back.  A day or two afterwards, while unrobing, he took his 
Diary from a pocket of his coat, turned the leaves, and with an 
impressive look, and without one spoken word, handed this entry to 
Mr. Crisparkle to read:

'My dear boy is murdered.  The discovery of the watch and shirt-pin 
convinces me that he was murdered that night, and that his 
jewellery was taken from him to prevent identification by its 
means.  All the delusive hopes I had founded on his separation from 
his betrothed wife, I give to the winds.  They perish before this 
fatal discovery.  I now swear, and record the oath on this page, 
That I nevermore will discuss this mystery with any human creature 
until I hold the clue to it in my hand.  That I never will relax in 
my secrecy or in my search.  That I will fasten the crime of the 
murder of my dear dead boy upon the murderer.  And, That I devote 
myself to his destruction.'

CHAPTER XVII - PHILANTHROPY, PROFESSIONAL AND UNPROFESSIONAL

FULL half a year had come and gone, and Mr. Crisparkle sat in a 
waiting-room in the London chief offices of the Haven of 
Philanthropy, until he could have audience of Mr. Honeythunder.

In his college days of athletic exercises, Mr. Crisparkle had known 
professors of the Noble Art of fisticuffs, and had attended two or 
three of their gloved gatherings.  He had now an opportunity of 
observing that as to the phrenological formation of the backs of 
their heads, the Professing Philanthropists were uncommonly like 
the Pugilists.  In the development of all those organs which 
constitute, or attend, a propensity to 'pitch into' your fellow-
creatures, the Philanthropists were remarkably favoured.  There 
were several Professors passing in and out, with exactly the 
aggressive air upon them of being ready for a turn-up with any 
Novice who might happen to be on hand, that Mr. Crisparkle well 
remembered in the circles of the Fancy.  Preparations were in 
progress for a moral little Mill somewhere on the rural circuit, 
and other Professors were backing this or that Heavy-Weight as good 
for such or such speech-making hits, so very much after the manner 
of the sporting publicans, that the intended Resolutions might have 
been Rounds.  In an official manager of these displays much 
celebrated for his platform tactics, Mr. Crisparkle recognised (in 
a suit of black) the counterpart of a deceased benefactor of his 
species, an eminent public character, once known to fame as Frosty-
faced Fogo, who in days of yore superintended the formation of the 
magic circle with the ropes and stakes.  There were only three 
conditions of resemblance wanting between these Professors and 
those.  Firstly, the Philanthropists were in very bad training:  
much too fleshy, and presenting, both in face and figure, a 
superabundance of what is known to Pugilistic Experts as Suet 
Pudding.  Secondly, the Philanthropists had not the good temper of 
the Pugilists, and used worse language.  Thirdly, their fighting 
code stood in great need of revision, as empowering them not only 
to bore their man to the ropes, but to bore him to the confines of 
distraction; also to hit him when he was down, hit him anywhere and 
anyhow, kick him, stamp upon him, gouge him, and maul him behind 
his back without mercy.  In these last particulars the Professors 
of the Noble Art were much nobler than the Professors of 
Philanthropy.

Mr. Crisparkle was so completely lost in musing on these 
similarities and dissimilarities, at the same time watching the 
crowd which came and went by, always, as it seemed, on errands of 
antagonistically snatching something from somebody, and never 
giving anything to anybody, that his name was called before he 
heard it.  On his at length responding, he was shown by a miserably 
shabby and underpaid stipendiary Philanthropist (who could hardly 
have done worse if he had taken service with a declared enemy of 
the human race) to Mr. Honeythunder's room.

'Sir,' said Mr. Honeythunder, in his tremendous voice, like a 
schoolmaster issuing orders to a boy of whom he had a bad opinion, 
'sit down.'

Mr. Crisparkle seated himself.

Mr. Honeythunder having signed the remaining few score of a few 
thousand circulars, calling upon a corresponding number of families 
without means to come forward, stump up instantly, and be 
Philanthropists, or go to the Devil, another shabby stipendiary 
Philanthropist (highly disinterested, if in earnest) gathered these 
into a basket and walked off with them.

'Now, Mr. Crisparkle,' said Mr. Honeythunder, turning his chair 
half round towards him when they were alone, and squaring his arms 
with his hands on his knees, and his brows knitted, as if he added, 
I am going to make short work of YOU:  'Now, Mr. Crisparkle, we 
entertain different views, you and I, sir, of the sanctity of human 
life.'

'Do we?' returned the Minor Canon.

'We do, sir?'

'Might I ask you,' said the Minor Canon:  'what are your views on 
that subject?'

'That human life is a thing to be held sacred, sir.'

'Might I ask you,' pursued the Minor Canon as before:  'what you 
suppose to be my views on that subject?'

'By George, sir!' returned the Philanthropist, squaring his arms 
still more, as he frowned on Mr. Crisparkle:  'they are best known 
to yourself.'

'Readily admitted.  But you began by saying that we took different 
views, you know.  Therefore (or you could not say so) you must have 
set up some views as mine.  Pray, what views HAVE you set up as 
mine?'

'Here is a man - and a young man,' said Mr. Honeythunder, as if 
that made the matter infinitely worse, and he could have easily 
borne the loss of an old one, 'swept off the face of the earth by a 
deed of violence.  What do you call that?'

'Murder,' said the Minor Canon.

'What do you call the doer of that deed, sir?

'A murderer,' said the Minor Canon.

'I am glad to hear you admit so much, sir,' retorted Mr. 
Honeythunder, in his most offensive manner; 'and I candidly tell 
you that I didn't expect it.'  Here he lowered heavily at Mr. 
Crisparkle again.

'Be so good as to explain what you mean by those very unjustifiable 
expressions.'

'I don't sit here, sir,' returned the Philanthropist, raising his 
voice to a roar, 'to be browbeaten.'

'As the only other person present, no one can possibly know that 
better than I do,' returned the Minor Canon very quietly.  'But I 
interrupt your explanation.'

'Murder!' proceeded Mr. Honeythunder, in a kind of boisterous 
reverie, with his platform folding of his arms, and his platform 
nod of abhorrent reflection after each short sentiment of a word.  
'Bloodshed!  Abel!  Cain!  I hold no terms with Cain.  I repudiate 
with a shudder the red hand when it is offered me.'

Instead of instantly leaping into his chair and cheering himself 
hoarse, as the Brotherhood in public meeting assembled would 
infallibly have done on this cue, Mr. Crisparkle merely reversed 
the quiet crossing of his legs, and said mildly:  'Don't let me 
interrupt your explanation - when you begin it.'

'The Commandments say, no murder.  NO murder, sir!' proceeded Mr. 
Honeythunder, platformally pausing as if he took Mr. Crisparkle to 
task for having distinctly asserted that they said:  You may do a 
little murder, and then leave off.

'And they also say, you shall bear no false witness,' observed Mr. 
Crisparkle.

'Enough!' bellowed Mr. Honeythunder, with a solemnity and severity 
that would have brought the house down at a meeting, 'E-e-nough!  
My late wards being now of age, and I being released from a trust 
which I cannot contemplate without a thrill of horror, there are 
the accounts which you have undertaken to accept on their behalf, 
and there is a statement of the balance which you have undertaken 
to receive, and which you cannot receive too soon.  And let me tell 
you, sir, I wish that, as a man and a Minor Canon, you were better 
employed,' with a nod.  'Better employed,' with another nod.  'Bet-
ter em-ployed!' with another and the three nods added up.

Mr. Crisparkle rose; a little heated in the face, but with perfect 
command of himself.

'Mr. Honeythunder,' he said, taking up the papers referred to:  'my 
being better or worse employed than I am at present is a matter of 
taste and opinion.  You might think me better employed in enrolling 
myself a member of your Society.'

'Ay, indeed, sir!' retorted Mr. Honeythunder, shaking his head in a 
threatening manner.  'It would have been better for you if you had 
done that long ago!'

'I think otherwise.'

'Or,' said Mr. Honeythunder, shaking his head again, 'I might think 
one of your profession better employed in devoting himself to the 
discovery and punishment of guilt than in leaving that duty to be 
undertaken by a layman.'

'I may regard my profession from a point of view which teaches me 
that its first duty is towards those who are in necessity and 
tribulation, who are desolate and oppressed,' said Mr. Crisparkle.  
'However, as I have quite clearly satisfied myself that it is no 
part of my profession to make professions, I say no more of that.  
But I owe it to Mr. Neville, and to Mr. Neville's sister (and in a 
much lower degree to myself), to say to you that I KNOW I was in 
the full possession and understanding of Mr. Neville's mind and 
heart at the time of this occurrence; and that, without in the 
least colouring or concealing what was to be deplored in him and 
required to be corrected, I feel certain that his tale is true.  
Feeling that certainty, I befriend him.  As long as that certainty 
shall last, I will befriend him.  And if any consideration could 
shake me in this resolve, I should be so ashamed of myself for my 
meanness, that no man's good opinion - no, nor no woman's - so 
gained, could compensate me for the loss of my own.'

Good fellow! manly fellow!  And he was so modest, too.  There was 
no more self-assertion in the Minor Canon than in the schoolboy who 
had stood in the breezy playing-fields keeping a wicket.  He was 
simply and staunchly true to his duty alike in the large case and 
in the small.  So all true souls ever are.  So every true soul ever 
was, ever is, and ever will be.  There is nothing little to the 
really great in spirit.

'Then who do you make out did the deed?' asked Mr. Honeythunder, 
turning on him abruptly.

'Heaven forbid,' said Mr. Crisparkle, 'that in my desire to clear 
one man I should lightly criminate another!  I accuse no one,'

'Tcha!' ejaculated Mr. Honeythunder with great disgust; for this 
was by no means the principle on which the Philanthropic 
Brotherhood usually proceeded.  'And, sir, you are not a 
disinterested witness, we must bear in mind.'

'How am I an interested one?' inquired Mr. Crisparkle, smiling 
innocently, at a loss to imagine.

'There was a certain stipend, sir, paid to you for your pupil, 
which may have warped your judgment a bit,' said Mr. Honeythunder, 
coarsely.

'Perhaps I expect to retain it still?'  Mr. Crisparkle returned, 
enlightened; 'do you mean that too?'

'Well, sir,' returned the professional Philanthropist, getting up 
and thrusting his hands down into his trousers-pockets, 'I don't go 
about measuring people for caps.  If people find I have any about 
me that fit 'em, they can put 'em on and wear 'em, if they like.  
That's their look out:  not mine.'

Mr. Crisparkle eyed him with a just indignation, and took him to 
task thus:

'Mr. Honeythunder, I hoped when I came in here that I might be 
under no necessity of commenting on the introduction of platform 
manners or platform manoeuvres among the decent forbearances of 
private life.  But you have given me such a specimen of both, that 
I should be a fit subject for both if I remained silent respecting 
them.  They are detestable.'

'They don't suit YOU, I dare say, sir.'

'They are,' repeated Mr. Crisparkle, without noticing the 
interruption, 'detestable.  They violate equally the justice that 
should belong to Christians, and the restraints that should belong 
to gentlemen.  You assume a great crime to have been committed by 
one whom I, acquainted with the attendant circumstances, and having 
numerous reasons on my side, devoutly believe to be innocent of it.  
Because I differ from you on that vital point, what is your 
platform resource?  Instantly to turn upon me, charging that I have 
no sense of the enormity of the crime itself, but am its aider and 
abettor!  So, another time - taking me as representing your 
opponent in other cases - you set up a platform credulity; a moved 
and seconded and carried-unanimously profession of faith in some 
ridiculous delusion or mischievous imposition.  I decline to 
believe it, and you fall back upon your platform resource of 
proclaiming that I believe nothing; that because I will not bow 
down to a false God of your making, I deny the true God!  Another 
time you make the platform discovery that War is a calamity, and 
you propose to abolish it by a string of twisted resolutions tossed 
into the air like the tail of a kite.  I do not admit the discovery 
to be yours in the least, and I have not a grain of faith in your 
remedy.  Again, your platform resource of representing me as 
revelling in the horrors of a battle-field like a fiend incarnate!  
Another time, in another of your undiscriminating platform rushes, 
you would punish the sober for the drunken.  I claim consideration 
for the comfort, convenience, and refreshment of the sober; and you 
presently make platform proclamation that I have a depraved desire 
to turn Heaven's creatures into swine and wild beasts!  In all such 
cases your movers, and your seconders, and your supporters  - your 
regular Professors of all degrees, run amuck like so many mad 
Malays; habitually attributing the lowest and basest motives with 
the utmost recklessness (let me call your attention to a recent 
instance in yourself for which you should blush), and quoting 
figures which you know to be as wilfully onesided as a statement of 
any complicated account that should be all Creditor side and no 
Debtor, or all Debtor side and no Creditor.  Therefore it is, Mr. 
Honeythunder, that I consider the platform a sufficiently bad 
example and a sufficiently bad school, even in public life; but 
hold that, carried into private life, it becomes an unendurable 
nuisance.'

'These are strong words, sir!' exclaimed the Philanthropist.

'I hope so,' said Mr. Crisparkle.  'Good morning.'

He walked out of the Haven at a great rate, but soon fell into his 
regular brisk pace, and soon had a smile upon his face as he went 
along, wondering what the china shepherdess would have said if she 
had seen him pounding Mr. Honeythunder in the late little lively 
affair.  For Mr. Crisparkle had just enough of harmless vanity to 
hope that he had hit hard, and to glow with the belief that he had 
trimmed the Philanthropic Jacket pretty handsomely.

He took himself to Staple Inn, but not to P. J. T. and Mr. 
Grewgious.  Full many a creaking stair he climbed before he reached 
some attic rooms in a corner, turned the latch of their unbolted 
door, and stood beside the table of Neville Landless.

An air of retreat and solitude hung about the rooms and about their 
inhabitant.  He was much worn, and so were they.  Their sloping 
ceilings, cumbrous rusty locks and grates, and heavy wooden bins 
and beams, slowly mouldering withal, had a prisonous look, and he 
had the haggard face of a prisoner.  Yet the sunlight shone in at 
the ugly garret-window, which had a penthouse to itself thrust out 
among the tiles; and on the cracked and smoke-blackened parapet 
beyond, some of the deluded sparrows of the place rheumatically 
hopped, like little feathered cripples who had left their crutches 
in their nests; and there was a play of living leaves at hand that 
changed the air, and made an imperfect sort of music in it that 
would have been melody in the country.

The rooms were sparely furnished, but with good store of books.  
Everything expressed the abode of a poor student.  That Mr. 
Crisparkle had been either chooser, lender, or donor of the books, 
or that he combined the three characters, might have been easily 
seen in the friendly beam of his eyes upon them as he entered.

'How goes it, Neville?'

'I am in good heart, Mr. Crisparkle, and working away.'

'I wish your eyes were not quite so large and not quite so bright,' 
said the Minor Canon, slowly releasing the hand he had taken in 
his.

'They brighten at the sight of you,' returned Neville.  'If you 
were to fall away from me, they would soon be dull enough.'

'Rally, rally!' urged the other, in a stimulating tone.  'Fight for 
it, Neville!'

'If I were dying, I feel as if a word from you would rally me; if 
my pulse had stopped, I feel as if your touch would make it beat 
again,' said Neville.  'But I HAVE rallied, and am doing famously.'

Mr. Crisparkle turned him with his face a little more towards the 
light.

'I want to see a ruddier touch here, Neville,' he said, indicating 
his own healthy cheek by way of pattern.  'I want more sun to shine 
upon you.'

Neville drooped suddenly, as he replied in a lowered voice:  'I am 
not hardy enough for that, yet.  I may become so, but I cannot bear 
it yet.  If you had gone through those Cloisterham streets as I 
did; if you had seen, as I did, those averted eyes, and the better 
sort of people silently giving me too much room to pass, that I 
might not touch them or come near them, you wouldn't think it quite 
unreasonable that I cannot go about in the daylight.'

'My poor fellow!' said the Minor Canon, in a tone so purely 
sympathetic that the young man caught his hand, 'I never said it 
was unreasonable; never thought so.  But I should like you to do 
it.'

'And that would give me the strongest motive to do it.  But I 
cannot yet.  I cannot persuade myself that the eyes of even the 
stream of strangers I pass in this vast city look at me without 
suspicion.  I feel marked and tainted, even when I go out - as I do 
only - at night.  But the darkness covers me then, and I take 
courage from it.'

Mr. Crisparkle laid a hand upon his shoulder, and stood looking 
down at him.

'If I could have changed my name,' said Neville, 'I would have done 
so.  But as you wisely pointed out to me, I can't do that, for it 
would look like guilt.  If I could have gone to some distant place, 
I might have found relief in that, but the thing is not to be 
thought of, for the same reason.  Hiding and escaping would be the 
construction in either case.  It seems a little hard to be so tied 
to a stake, and innocent; but I don't complain.'

'And you must expect no miracle to help you, Neville,' said Mr. 
Crisparkle, compassionately.

'No, sir, I know that.  The ordinary fulness of time and 
circumstances is all I have to trust to.'

'It will right you at last, Neville.'

'So I believe, and I hope I may live to know it.'

But perceiving that the despondent mood into which he was falling 
cast a shadow on the Minor Canon, and (it may be) feeling that the 
broad hand upon his shoulder was not then quite as steady as its 
own natural strength had rendered it when it first touched him just 
now, he brightened and said:

'Excellent circumstances for study, anyhow! and you know, Mr. 
Crisparkle, what need I have of study in all ways.  Not to mention 
that you have advised me to study for the difficult profession of 
the law, specially, and that of course I am guiding myself by the 
advice of such a friend and helper.  Such a good friend and 
helper!'

He took the fortifying hand from his shoulder, and kissed it.  Mr. 
Crisparkle beamed at the books, but not so brightly as when he had 
entered.

'I gather from your silence on the subject that my late guardian is 
adverse, Mr. Crisparkle?'

The Minor Canon answered:  'Your late guardian is a - a most 
unreasonable person, and it signifies nothing to any reasonable 
person whether he is ADverse, PERverse, or the REverse.'

'Well for me that I have enough with economy to live upon,' sighed 
Neville, half wearily and half cheerily, 'while I wait to be 
learned, and wait to be righted!  Else I might have proved the 
proverb, that while the grass grows, the steed starves!'

He opened some books as he said it, and was soon immersed in their 
interleaved and annotated passages; while Mr. Crisparkle sat beside 
him, expounding, correcting, and advising.  The Minor Canon's 
Cathedral duties made these visits of his difficult to accomplish, 
and only to be compassed at intervals of many weeks.  But they were 
as serviceable as they were precious to Neville Landless.

When they had got through such studies as they had in hand, they 
stood leaning on the window-sill, and looking down upon the patch 
of garden.  'Next week,' said Mr. Crisparkle, 'you will cease to be 
alone, and will have a devoted companion.'

'And yet,' returned Neville, 'this seems an uncongenial place to 
bring my sister to.'

'I don't think so,' said the Minor Canon.  'There is duty to be 
done here; and there are womanly feeling, sense, and courage wanted 
here.'

'I meant,' explained Neville, 'that the surroundings are so dull 
and unwomanly, and that Helena can have no suitable friend or 
society here.'

'You have only to remember,' said Mr. Crisparkle, 'that you are 
here yourself, and that she has to draw you into the sunlight.'

They were silent for a little while, and then Mr. Crisparkle began 
anew.

'When we first spoke together, Neville, you told me that your 
sister had risen out of the disadvantages of your past lives as 
superior to you as the tower of Cloisterham Cathedral is higher 
than the chimneys of Minor Canon Corner.  Do you remember that?'

'Right well!'

'I was inclined to think it at the time an enthusiastic flight.  No 
matter what I think it now.  What I would emphasise is, that under 
the head of Pride your sister is a great and opportune example to 
you.'

'Under ALL heads that are included in the composition of a fine 
character, she is.'

'Say so; but take this one.  Your sister has learnt how to govern 
what is proud in her nature.  She can dominate it even when it is 
wounded through her sympathy with you.  No doubt she has suffered 
deeply in those same streets where you suffered deeply.  No doubt 
her life is darkened by the cloud that darkens yours.  But bending 
her pride into a grand composure that is not haughty or aggressive, 
but is a sustained confidence in you and in the truth, she has won 
her way through those streets until she passes along them as high 
in the general respect as any one who treads them.  Every day and 
hour of her life since Edwin Drood's disappearance, she has faced 
malignity and folly - for you - as only a brave nature well 
directed can.  So it will be with her to the end.  Another and 
weaker kind of pride might sink broken-hearted, but never such a 
pride as hers:  which knows no shrinking, and can get no mastery 
over her.'

The pale cheek beside him flushed under the comparison, and the 
hint implied in it.

'I will do all I can to imitate her,' said Neville.

'Do so, and be a truly brave man, as she is a truly brave woman,' 
answered Mr. Crisparkle stoutly.  'It is growing dark.  Will you go 
my way with me, when it is quite dark?  Mind! it is not I who wait 
for darkness.'

Neville replied, that he would accompany him directly.  But Mr. 
Crisparkle said he had a moment's call to make on Mr. Grewgious as 
an act of courtesy, and would run across to that gentleman's 
chambers, and rejoin Neville on his own doorstep, if he would come 
down there to meet him.

Mr. Grewgious, bolt upright as usual, sat taking his wine in the 
dusk at his open window; his wineglass and decanter on the round 
table at his elbow; himself and his legs on the window-seat; only 
one hinge in his whole body, like a bootjack.

'How do you do, reverend sir?' said Mr. Grewgious, with abundant 
offers of hospitality, which were as cordially declined as made.  
'And how is your charge getting on over the way in the set that I 
had the pleasure of recommending to you as vacant and eligible?'

Mr. Crisparkle replied suitably.

'I am glad you approve of them,' said Mr. Grewgious, 'because I 
entertain a sort of fancy for having him under my eye.'

As Mr. Grewgious had to turn his eye up considerably before he 
could see the chambers, the phrase was to be taken figuratively and 
not literally.

'And how did you leave Mr. Jasper, reverend sir?' said Mr. 
Grewgious.

Mr. Crisparkle had left him pretty well.

'And where did you leave Mr. Jasper, reverend sir?'  Mr. Crisparkle 
had left him at Cloisterham.

'And when did you leave Mr. Jasper, reverend sir?'  That morning.

'Umps!' said Mr. Grewgious.  'He didn't say he was coming, 
perhaps?'

'Coming where?'

'Anywhere, for instance?' said Mr. Grewgious.

'No.'

'Because here he is,' said Mr. Grewgious, who had asked all these 
questions, with his preoccupied glance directed out at window.  
'And he don't look agreeable, does he?'

Mr. Crisparkle was craning towards the window, when Mr. Grewgious 
added:

'If you will kindly step round here behind me, in the gloom of the 
room, and will cast your eye at the second-floor landing window in 
yonder house, I think you will hardly fail to see a slinking 
individual in whom I recognise our local friend.'

'You are right!' cried Mr. Crisparkle.

'Umps!' said Mr. Grewgious.  Then he added, turning his face so 
abruptly that his head nearly came into collision with Mr. 
Crisparkle's:  'what should you say that our local friend was up 
to?'

The last passage he had been shown in the Diary returned on Mr. 
Crisparkle's mind with the force of a strong recoil, and he asked 
Mr. Grewgious if he thought it possible that Neville was to be 
harassed by the keeping of a watch upon him?

'A watch?' repeated Mr. Grewgious musingly.  'Ay!'

'Which would not only of itself haunt and torture his life,' said 
Mr. Crisparkle warmly, 'but would expose him to the torment of a 
perpetually reviving suspicion, whatever he might do, or wherever 
he might go.'

'Ay!' said Mr. Grewgious musingly still.  'Do I see him waiting for 
you?'

'No doubt you do.'

'Then WOULD you have the goodness to excuse my getting up to see 
you out, and to go out to join him, and to go the way that you were 
going, and to take no notice of our local friend?' said Mr. 
Grewgious.  'I entertain a sort of fancy for having HIM under my 
eye to-night, do you know?'

Mr. Crisparkle, with a significant need complied; and rejoining 
Neville, went away with him.  They dined together, and parted at 
the yet unfinished and undeveloped railway station:  Mr. Crisparkle 
to get home; Neville to walk the streets, cross the bridges, make a 
wide round of the city in the friendly darkness, and tire himself 
out.

It was midnight when he returned from his solitary expedition and 
climbed his staircase.  The night was hot, and the windows of the 
staircase were all wide open.  Coming to the top, it gave him a 
passing chill of surprise (there being no rooms but his up there) 
to find a stranger sitting on the window-sill, more after the 
manner of a venturesome glazier than an amateur ordinarily careful 
of his neck; in fact, so much more outside the window than inside, 
as to suggest the thought that he must have come up by the water-
spout instead of the stairs.

The stranger said nothing until Neville put his key in his door; 
then, seeming to make sure of his identity from the action, he 
spoke:

'I beg your pardon,' he said, coming from the window with a frank 
and smiling air, and a prepossessing address; 'the beans.'

Neville was quite at a loss.

'Runners,' said the visitor.  'Scarlet.  Next door at the back.'

'O,' returned Neville.  'And the mignonette and wall-flower?'

'The same,' said the visitor.

'Pray walk in.'

'Thank you.'

Neville lighted his candles, and the visitor sat down.  A handsome 
gentleman, with a young face, but with an older figure in its 
robustness and its breadth of shoulder; say a man of eight-and-
twenty, or at the utmost thirty; so extremely sunburnt that the 
contrast between his brown visage and the white forehead shaded out 
of doors by his hat, and the glimpses of white throat below the 
neckerchief, would have been almost ludicrous but for his broad 
temples, bright blue eyes, clustering brown hair, and laughing 
teeth.

'I have noticed,' said he; ' - my name is Tartar.'

Neville inclined his head.

'I have noticed (excuse me) that you shut yourself up a good deal, 
and that you seem to like my garden aloft here.  If you would like 
a little more of it, I could throw out a few lines and stays 
between my windows and yours, which the runners would take to 
directly.  And I have some boxes, both of mignonette and wall-
flower, that I could shove on along the gutter (with a boathook I 
have by me) to your windows, and draw back again when they wanted 
watering or gardening, and shove on again when they were ship-
shape; so that they would cause you no trouble.  I couldn't take 
this liberty without asking your permission, so I venture to ask 
it.  Tartar, corresponding set, next door.'

'You are very kind.'

'Not at all.  I ought to apologise for looking in so late.  But 
having noticed (excuse me) that you generally walk out at night, I 
thought I should inconvenience you least by awaiting your return.  
I am always afraid of inconveniencing busy men, being an idle man.'

'I should not have thought so, from your appearance.'

'No?  I take it as a compliment.  In fact, I was bred in the Royal 
Navy, and was First Lieutenant when I quitted it.  But, an uncle 
disappointed in the service leaving me his property on condition 
that I left the Navy, I accepted the fortune, and resigned my 
commission.'

'Lately, I presume?'

'Well, I had had twelve or fifteen years of knocking about first.  
I came here some nine months before you; I had had one crop before 
you came.  I chose this place, because, having served last in a 
little corvette, I knew I should feel more at home where I had a 
constant opportunity of knocking my head against the ceiling.  
Besides, it would never do for a man who had been aboard ship from 
his boyhood to turn luxurious all at once.  Besides, again; having 
been accustomed to a very short allowance of land all my life, I 
thought I'd feel my way to the command of a landed estate, by 
beginning in boxes.'

Whimsically as this was said, there was a touch of merry 
earnestness in it that made it doubly whimsical.

'However,' said the Lieutenant, 'I have talked quite enough about 
myself.  It is not my way, I hope; it has merely been to present 
myself to you naturally.  If you will allow me to take the liberty 
I have described, it will be a charity, for it will give me 
something more to do.  And you are not to suppose that it will 
entail any interruption or intrusion on you, for that is far from 
my intention.'

Neville replied that he was greatly obliged, and that he thankfully 
accepted the kind proposal.

'I am very glad to take your windows in tow,' said the Lieutenant.  
'From what I have seen of you when I have been gardening at mine, 
and you have been looking on, I have thought you (excuse me) rather 
too studious and delicate.  May I ask, is your health at all 
affected?'

'I have undergone some mental distress,' said Neville, confused, 
'which has stood me in the stead of illness.'

'Pardon me,' said Mr. Tartar.

With the greatest delicacy he shifted his ground to the windows 
again, and asked if he could look at one of them.  On Neville's 
opening it, he immediately sprang out, as if he were going aloft 
with a whole watch in an emergency, and were setting a bright 
example.

'For Heaven's sake,' cried Neville, 'don't do that!  Where are you 
going Mr. Tartar?  You'll be dashed to pieces!'

'All well!' said the Lieutenant, coolly looking about him on the 
housetop.  'All taut and trim here.  Those lines and stays shall be 
rigged before you turn out in the morning.  May I take this short 
cut home, and say good-night?'

'Mr. Tartar!' urged Neville.  'Pray!  It makes me giddy to see 
you!'

But Mr. Tartar, with a wave of his hand and the deftness of a cat, 
had already dipped through his scuttle of scarlet runners without 
breaking a leaf, and 'gone below.'

Mr. Grewgious, his bedroom window-blind held aside with his hand, 
happened at the moment to have Neville's chambers under his eye for 
the last time that night.  Fortunately his eye was on the front of 
the house and not the back, or this remarkable appearance and 
disappearance might have broken his rest as a phenomenon.  But Mr. 
Grewgious seeing nothing there, not even a light in the windows, 
his gaze wandered from the windows to the stars, as if he would 
have read in them something that was hidden from him.  Many of us 
would, if we could; but none of us so much as know our letters in 
the stars yet - or seem likely to do it, in this state of existence 
- and few languages can be read until their alphabets are mastered.

CHAPTER XVIII - A SETTLER IN CLOISTERHAM

AT about this time a stranger appeared in Cloisterham; a white-
haired personage, with black eyebrows.  Being buttoned up in a 
tightish blue surtout, with a buff waistcoat and gray trousers, he 
had something of a military air, but he announced himself at the 
Crozier (the orthodox hotel, where he put up with a portmanteau) as 
an idle dog who lived upon his means; and he farther announced that 
he had a mind to take a lodging in the picturesque old city for a 
month or two, with a view of settling down there altogether.  Both 
announcements were made in the coffee-room of the Crozier, to all 
whom it might or might not concern, by the stranger as he stood 
with his back to the empty fireplace, waiting for his fried sole, 
veal cutlet, and pint of sherry.  And the waiter (business being 
chronically slack at the Crozier) represented all whom it might or 
might not concern, and absorbed the whole of the information.

This gentleman's white head was unusually large, and his shock of 
white hair was unusually thick and ample.  'I suppose, waiter,' he 
said, shaking his shock of hair, as a Newfoundland dog might shake 
his before sitting down to dinner, 'that a fair lodging for a 
single buffer might be found in these parts, eh?'

The waiter had no doubt of it.

'Something old,' said the gentleman.  'Take my hat down for a 
moment from that peg, will you?  No, I don't want it; look into it.  
What do you see written there?'

The waiter read:  'Datchery.'

'Now you know my name,' said the gentleman; 'Dick Datchery.  Hang 
it up again.  I was saying something old is what I should prefer, 
something odd and out of the way; something venerable, 
architectural, and inconvenient.'

'We have a good choice of inconvenient lodgings in the town, sir, I 
think,' replied the waiter, with modest confidence in its resources 
that way; 'indeed, I have no doubt that we could suit you that far, 
however particular you might be.  But a architectural lodging!'  
That seemed to trouble the waiter's head, and he shook it.

'Anything Cathedraly, now,' Mr. Datchery suggested.

'Mr. Tope,' said the waiter, brightening, as he rubbed his chin 
with his hand, 'would be the likeliest party to inform in that 
line.'

'Who is Mr. Tope?' inquired Dick Datchery.

The waiter explained that he was the Verger, and that Mrs. Tope had 
indeed once upon a time let lodgings herself or offered to let 
them; but that as nobody had ever taken them, Mrs. Tope's window-
bill, long a Cloisterham Institution, had disappeared; probably had 
tumbled down one day, and never been put up again.

'I'll call on Mrs. Tope,' said Mr. Datchery, 'after dinner.'

So when he had done his dinner, he was duly directed to the spot, 
and sallied out for it.  But the Crozier being an hotel of a most 
retiring disposition, and the waiter's directions being fatally 
precise, he soon became bewildered, and went boggling about and 
about the Cathedral Tower, whenever he could catch a glimpse of it, 
with a general impression on his mind that Mrs. Tope's was 
somewhere very near it, and that, like the children in the game of 
hot boiled beans and very good butter, he was warm in his search 
when he saw the Tower, and cold when he didn't see it.

He was getting very cold indeed when he came upon a fragment of 
burial-ground in which an unhappy sheep was grazing.  Unhappy, 
because a hideous small boy was stoning it through the railings, 
and had already lamed it in one leg, and was much excited by the 
benevolent sportsmanlike purpose of breaking its other three legs, 
and bringing it down.

''It 'im agin!' cried the boy, as the poor creature leaped; 'and 
made a dint in his wool.'

'Let him be!' said Mr. Datchery.  'Don't you see you have lamed 
him?'

'Yer lie,' returned the sportsman.  ''E went and lamed isself.  I 
see 'im do it, and I giv' 'im a shy as a Widdy-warning to 'im not 
to go a-bruisin' 'is master's mutton any more.'

'Come here.'

'I won't; I'll come when yer can ketch me.'

'Stay there then, and show me which is Mr. Tope's.'

'Ow can I stay here and show you which is Topeseses, when Topeseses 
is t'other side the Kinfreederal, and over the crossings, and round 
ever so many comers?  Stoo-pid!  Ya-a-ah!'

'Show me where it is, and I'll give you something.'

'Come on, then.'

This brisk dialogue concluded, the boy led the way, and by-and-by 
stopped at some distance from an arched passage, pointing.

'Lookie yonder.  You see that there winder and door?'

'That's Tope's?'

'Yer lie; it ain't.  That's Jarsper's.'

'Indeed?' said Mr. Datchery, with a second look of some interest.

'Yes, and I ain't a-goin' no nearer 'IM, I tell yer.'

'Why not?'

''Cos I ain't a-goin' to be lifted off my legs and 'ave my braces 
bust and be choked; not if I knows it, and not by 'Im.  Wait till I 
set a jolly good flint a-flyin' at the back o' 'is jolly old 'ed 
some day!  Now look t'other side the harch; not the side where 
Jarsper's door is; t'other side.'

'I see.'

'A little way in, o' that side, there's a low door, down two steps.  
That's Topeseses with 'is name on a hoval plate.'

'Good.  See here,' said Mr. Datchery, producing a shilling.  'You 
owe me half of this.'

'Yer lie  I don't owe yer nothing; I never seen yer.'

'I tell you you owe me half of this, because I have no sixpence in 
my pocket.  So the next time you meet me you shall do something 
else for me, to pay me.'

'All right, give us 'old.'

'What is your name, and where do you live?'

'Deputy.  Travellers' Twopenny, 'cross the green.'

The boy instantly darted off with the shilling, lest Mr. Datchery 
should repent, but stopped at a safe distance, on the happy chance 
of his being uneasy in his mind about it, to goad him with a demon 
dance expressive of its irrevocability.

Mr. Datchery, taking off his hat to give that shock of white hair 
of his another shake, seemed quite resigned, and betook himself 
whither he had been directed.

Mr. Tope's official dwelling, communicating by an upper stair with 
Mr. Jasper's (hence Mrs. Tope's attendance on that gentleman), was 
of very modest proportions, and partook of the character of a cool 
dungeon.  Its ancient walls were massive, and its rooms rather 
seemed to have been dug out of them, than to have been designed 
beforehand with any reference to them.  The main door opened at 
once on a chamber of no describable shape, with a groined roof, 
which in its turn opened on another chamber of no describable 
shape, with another groined roof:  their windows small, and in the 
thickness of the walls.  These two chambers, close as to their 
atmosphere, and swarthy as to their illumination by natural light, 
were the apartments which Mrs. Tope had so long offered to an 
unappreciative city.  Mr. Datchery, however, was more appreciative.  
He found that if he sat with the main door open he would enjoy the 
passing society of all comers to and fro by the gateway, and would 
have light enough.  He found that if Mr. and Mrs. Tope, living 
overhead, used for their own egress and ingress a little side stair 
that came plump into the Precincts by a door opening outward, to 
the surprise and inconvenience of a limited public of pedestrians 
in a narrow way, he would be alone, as in a separate residence.  He 
found the rent moderate, and everything as quaintly inconvenient as 
he could desire.  He agreed, therefore, to take the lodging then 
and there, and money down, possession to be had next evening, on 
condition that reference was permitted him to Mr. Jasper as 
occupying the gatehouse, of which on the other side of the gateway, 
the Verger's hole-in-the-wall was an appanage or subsidiary part.

The poor dear gentleman was very solitary and very sad, Mrs. Tope 
said, but she had no doubt he would 'speak for her.'  Perhaps Mr. 
Datchery had heard something of what had occurred there last 
winter?

Mr. Datchery had as confused a knowledge of the event in question, 
on trying to recall it, as he well could have.  He begged Mrs. 
Tope's pardon when she found it incumbent on her to correct him in 
every detail of his summary of the facts, but pleaded that he was 
merely a single buffer getting through life upon his means as idly 
as he could, and that so many people were so constantly making away 
with so many other people, as to render it difficult for a buffer 
of an easy temper to preserve the circumstances of the several 
cases unmixed in his mind.

Mr. Jasper proving willing to speak for Mrs. Tope, Mr. Datchery, 
who had sent up his card, was invited to ascend the postern 
staircase.  The Mayor was there, Mr. Tope said; but he was not to 
be regarded in the light of company, as he and Mr. Jasper were 
great friends.

'I beg pardon,' said Mr. Datchery, making a leg with his hat under 
his arm, as he addressed himself equally to both gentlemen; 'a 
selfish precaution on my part, and not personally interesting to 
anybody but myself.  But as a buffer living on his means, and 
having an idea of doing it in this lovely place in peace and quiet, 
for remaining span of life, I beg to ask if the Tope family are 
quite respectable?'

Mr. Jasper could answer for that without the slightest hesitation.

'That is enough, sir,' said Mr. Datchery.

'My friend the Mayor,' added Mr. Jasper, presenting Mr. Datchery 
with a courtly motion of his hand towards that potentate; 'whose 
recommendation is actually much more important to a stranger than 
that of an obscure person like myself, will testify in their 
behalf, I am sure.'

'The Worshipful the Mayor,' said Mr. Datchery, with a low bow, 
'places me under an infinite obligation.'

'Very good people, sir, Mr. and Mrs. Tope,' said Mr. Sapsea, with 
condescension.  'Very good opinions.  Very well behaved.  Very 
respectful.  Much approved by the Dean and Chapter.'

'The Worshipful the Mayor gives them a character,' said Mr. 
Datchery, 'of which they may indeed be proud.  I would ask His 
Honour (if I might be permitted) whether there are not many objects 
of great interest in the city which is under his beneficent sway?'

'We are, sir,' returned Mr. Sapsea, 'an ancient city, and an 
ecclesiastical city.  We are a constitutional city, as it becomes 
such a city to be, and we uphold and maintain our glorious 
privileges.'

'His Honour,' said Mr. Datchery, bowing, 'inspires me with a desire 
to know more of the city, and confirms me in my inclination to end 
my days in the city.'

'Retired from the Army, sir?' suggested Mr. Sapsea.

'His Honour the Mayor does me too much credit,' returned Mr. 
Datchery.

'Navy, sir?' suggested Mr. Sapsea.

'Again,' repeated Mr. Datchery, 'His Honour the Mayor does me too 
much credit.'

'Diplomacy is a fine profession,' said Mr. Sapsea, as a general 
remark.

'There, I confess, His Honour the Mayor is too many for me,' said 
Mr. Datchery, with an ingenious smile and bow; 'even a diplomatic 
bird must fall to such a gun.'

Now this was very soothing.  Here was a gentleman of a great, not 
to say a grand, address, accustomed to rank and dignity, really 
setting a fine example how to behave to a Mayor.  There was 
something in that third-person style of being spoken to, that Mr. 
Sapsea found particularly recognisant of his merits and position.

'But I crave pardon,' said Mr. Datchery.  'His Honour the Mayor 
will bear with me, if for a moment I have been deluded into 
occupying his time, and have forgotten the humble claims upon my 
own, of my hotel, the Crozier.'

'Not at all, sir,' said Mr. Sapsea.  'I am returning home, and if 
you would like to take the exterior of our Cathedral in your way, I 
shall be glad to point it out.'

'His Honour the Mayor,' said Mr. Datchery, 'is more than kind and 
gracious.'

As Mr. Datchery, when he had made his acknowledgments to Mr. 
Jasper, could not be induced to go out of the room before the 
Worshipful, the Worshipful led the way down-stairs; Mr. Datchery 
following with his hat under his arm, and his shock of white hair 
streaming in the evening breeze.

'Might I ask His Honour,' said Mr. Datchery, 'whether that 
gentleman we have just left is the gentleman of whom I have heard 
in the neighbourhood as being much afflicted by the loss of a 
nephew, and concentrating his life on avenging the loss?'

'That is the gentleman.  John Jasper, sir.'

'Would His Honour allow me to inquire whether there are strong 
suspicions of any one?'

'More than suspicions, sir,' returned Mr. Sapsea; 'all but 
certainties.'

'Only think now!' cried Mr. Datchery.

'But proof, sir, proof must be built up stone by stone,' said the 
Mayor.  'As I say, the end crowns the work.  It is not enough that 
justice should be morally certain; she must be immorally certain - 
legally, that is.'

'His Honour,' said Mr. Datchery, 'reminds me of the nature of the 
law.  Immoral.  How true!'

'As I say, sir,' pompously went on the Mayor, 'the arm of the law 
is a strong arm, and a long arm.  That is the may I put it.  A 
strong arm and a long arm.'

'How forcible! - And yet, again, how true!' murmured Mr. Datchery.

'And without betraying, what I call the secrets of the prison-
house,' said Mr. Sapsea; 'the secrets of the prison-house is the 
term I used on the bench.'

'And what other term than His Honour's would express it?' said Mr. 
Datchery.

'Without, I say, betraying them, I predict to you, knowing the iron 
will of the gentleman we have just left (I take the bold step of 
calling it iron, on account of its strength), that in this case the 
long arm will reach, and the strong arm will strike. - This is our 
Cathedral, sir.  The best judges are pleased to admire it, and the 
best among our townsmen own to being a little vain of it.'

All this time Mr. Datchery had walked with his hat under his arm, 
and his white hair streaming.  He had an odd momentary appearance 
upon him of having forgotten his hat, when Mr. Sapsea now touched 
it; and he clapped his hand up to his head as if with some vague 
expectation of finding another hat upon it.

'Pray be covered, sir,' entreated Mr. Sapsea; magnificently plying:  
'I shall not mind it, I assure you.'

'His Honour is very good, but I do it for coolness,' said Mr. 
Datchery.

Then Mr. Datchery admired the Cathedral, and Mr. Sapsea pointed it 
out as if he himself had invented and built it:  there were a few 
details indeed of which he did not approve, but those he glossed 
over, as if the workmen had made mistakes in his absence.  The 
Cathedral disposed of, he led the way by the churchyard, and 
stopped to extol the beauty of the evening - by chance - in the 
immediate vicinity of Mrs. Sapsea's epitaph.

'And by the by,' said Mr. Sapsea, appearing to descend from an 
elevation to remember it all of a sudden; like Apollo shooting down 
from Olympus to pick up his forgotten lyre; 'THAT is one of our 
small lions.  The partiality of our people has made it so, and 
strangers have been seen taking a copy of it now and then.  I am 
not a judge of it myself, for it is a little work of my own.  But 
it was troublesome to turn, sir; I may say, difficult to turn with 
elegance.'

Mr. Datchery became so ecstatic over Mr. Sapsea's composition, 
that, in spite of his intention to end his days in Cloisterham, and 
therefore his probably having in reserve many opportunities of 
copying it, he would have transcribed it into his pocket-book on 
the spot, but for the slouching towards them of its material 
producer and perpetuator, Durdles, whom Mr. Sapsea hailed, not 
sorry to show him a bright example of behaviour to superiors.

'Ah, Durdles!  This is the mason, sir; one of our Cloisterham 
worthies; everybody here knows Durdles.  Mr. Datchery, Durdles a 
gentleman who is going to settle here.'

'I wouldn't do it if I was him,' growled Durdles.  'We're a heavy 
lot.'

'You surely don't speak for yourself, Mr. Durdles,' returned Mr. 
Datchery, 'any more than for His Honour.'

'Who's His Honour?' demanded Durdles.

'His Honour the Mayor.'

'I never was brought afore him,' said Durdles, with anything but 
the look of a loyal subject of the mayoralty, 'and it'll be time 
enough for me to Honour him when I am.  Until which, and when, and 
where,

"Mister Sapsea is his name,
England is his nation,
Cloisterham's his dwelling-place,
Aukshneer's his occupation."'

Here, Deputy (preceded by a flying oyster-shell) appeared upon the 
scene, and requested to have the sum of threepence instantly 
'chucked' to him by Mr. Durdles, whom he had been vainly seeking up 
and down, as lawful wages overdue.  While that gentleman, with his 
bundle under his arm, slowly found and counted out the money, Mr. 
Sapsea informed the new settler of Durdles's habits, pursuits, 
abode, and reputation.  'I suppose a curious stranger might come to 
see you, and your works, Mr. Durdles, at any odd time?' said Mr. 
Datchery upon that.

'Any gentleman is welcome to come and see me any evening if he 
brings liquor for two with him,' returned Durdles, with a penny 
between his teeth and certain halfpence in his hands; 'or if he 
likes to make it twice two, he'll be doubly welcome.'

'I shall come.  Master Deputy, what do you owe me?'

'A job.'

'Mind you pay me honestly with the job of showing me Mr. Durdles's 
house when I want to go there.'

Deputy, with a piercing broadside of whistle through the whole gap 
in his mouth, as a receipt in full for all arrears, vanished.

The Worshipful and the Worshipper then passed on together until 
they parted, with many ceremonies, at the Worshipful's door; even 
then the Worshipper carried his hat under his arm, and gave his 
streaming white hair to the breeze.

Said Mr. Datchery to himself that night, as he looked at his white 
hair in the gas-lighted looking-glass over the coffee-room 
chimneypiece at the Crozier, and shook it out:  'For a single 
buffer, of an easy temper, living idly on his means, I have had a 
rather busy afternoon!'

CHAPTER XIX - SHADOW ON THE SUN-DIAL

AGAIN Miss Twinkleton has delivered her valedictory address, with 
the accompaniments of white-wine and pound-cake, and again the 
young ladies have departed to their several homes.  Helena Landless 
has left the Nuns' House to attend her brother's fortunes, and 
pretty Rosa is alone.

Cloisterham is so bright and sunny in these summer days, that the 
Cathedral and the monastery-ruin show as if their strong walls were 
transparent.  A soft glow seems to shine from within them, rather 
than upon them from without, such is their mellowness as they look 
forth on the hot corn-fields and the smoking roads that distantly 
wind among them.  The Cloisterham gardens blush with ripening 
fruit.  Time was when travel-stained pilgrims rode in clattering 
parties through the city's welcome shades; time is when wayfarers, 
leading a gipsy life between haymaking time and harvest, and 
looking as if they were just made of the dust of the earth, so very 
dusty are they, lounge about on cool door-steps, trying to mend 
their unmendable shoes, or giving them to the city kennels as a 
hopeless job, and seeking others in the bundles that they carry, 
along with their yet unused sickles swathed in bands of straw.  At 
all the more public pumps there is much cooling of bare feet, 
together with much bubbling and gurgling of drinking with hand to 
spout on the part of these Bedouins; the Cloisterham police 
meanwhile looking askant from their beats with suspicion, and 
manifest impatience that the intruders should depart from within 
the civic bounds, and once more fry themselves on the simmering 
high-roads.

On the afternoon of such a day, when the last Cathedral service is 
done, and when that side of the High Street on which the Nuns' 
House stands is in grateful shade, save where its quaint old garden 
opens to the west between the boughs of trees, a servant informs 
Rosa, to her terror, that Mr. Jasper desires to see her.

If he had chosen his time for finding her at a disadvantage, he 
could have done no better.  Perhaps he has chosen it.  Helena 
Landless is gone, Mrs. Tisher is absent on leave, Miss Twinkleton 
(in her amateur state of existence) has contributed herself and a 
veal pie to a picnic.

'O why, why, why, did you say I was at home!' cried Rosa, 
helplessly.

The maid replies, that Mr. Jasper never asked the question.

That he said he knew she was at home, and begged she might be told 
that he asked to see her.

'What shall I do! what shall I do!' thinks Rosa, clasping her 
hands.

Possessed by a kind of desperation, she adds in the next breath, 
that she will come to Mr. Jasper in the garden.  She shudders at 
the thought of being shut up with him in the house; but many of its 
windows command the garden, and she can be seen as well as heard 
there, and can shriek in the free air and run away.  Such is the 
wild idea that flutters through her mind.

She has never seen him since the fatal night, except when she was 
questioned before the Mayor, and then he was present in gloomy 
watchfulness, as representing his lost nephew and burning to avenge 
him.  She hangs her garden-hat on her arm, and goes out.  The 
moment she sees him from the porch, leaning on the sun-dial, the 
old horrible feeling of being compelled by him, asserts its hold 
upon her.  She feels that she would even then go back, but that he 
draws her feet towards him.  She cannot resist, and sits down, with 
her head bent, on the garden-seat beside the sun-dial.  She cannot 
look up at him for abhorrence, but she has perceived that he is 
dressed in deep mourning.  So is she.  It was not so at first; but 
the lost has long been given up, and mourned for, as dead.

He would begin by touching her hand.  She feels the intention, and 
draws her hand back.  His eyes are then fixed upon her, she knows, 
though her own see nothing but the grass.

'I have been waiting,' he begins, 'for some time, to be summoned 
back to my duty near you.'

After several times forming her lips, which she knows he is closely 
watching, into the shape of some other hesitating reply, and then 
into none, she answers:  'Duty, sir?'

'The duty of teaching you, serving you as your faithful music-
master.'

'I have left off that study.'

'Not left off, I think.  Discontinued.  I was told by your guardian 
that you discontinued it under the shock that we have all felt so 
acutely.  When will you resume?'

'Never, sir.'

'Never?  You could have done no more if you had loved my dear boy.'

'I did love him!' cried Rosa, with a flash of anger.

'Yes; but not quite - not quite in the right way, shall I say?  Not 
in the intended and expected way.  Much as my dear boy was, 
unhappily, too self-conscious and self-satisfied (I'll draw no 
parallel between him and you in that respect) to love as he should 
have loved, or as any one in his place would have loved - must have 
loved!'

She sits in the same still attitude, but shrinking a little more.

'Then, to be told that you discontinued your study with me, was to 
be politely told that you abandoned it altogether?' he suggested.

'Yes,' says Rosa, with sudden spirit, 'The politeness was my 
guardian's, not mine.  I told him that I was resolved to leave off, 
and that I was determined to stand by my resolution.'

'And you still are?'

'I still am, sir.  And I beg not to be questioned any more about 
it.  At all events, I will not answer any more; I have that in my 
power.'

She is so conscious of his looking at her with a gloating 
admiration of the touch of anger on her, and the fire and animation 
it brings with it, that even as her spirit rises, it falls again, 
and she struggles with a sense of shame, affront, and fear, much as 
she did that night at the piano.

'I will not question you any more, since you object to it so much; 
I will confess - '

'I do not wish to hear you, sir,' cries Rosa, rising.

This time he does touch her with his outstretched hand.  In 
shrinking from it, she shrinks into her seat again.

'We must sometimes act in opposition to our wishes,' he tells her 
in a low voice.  'You must do so now, or do more harm to others 
than you can ever set right.'

'What harm?'

'Presently, presently.  You question ME, you see, and surely that's 
not fair when you forbid me to question you.  Nevertheless, I will 
answer the question presently.  Dearest Rosa! Charming Rosa!'

She starts up again.

This time he does not touch her.  But his face looks so wicked and 
menacing, as he stands leaning against the sun-dial-setting, as it 
were, his black mark upon the very face of day - that her flight is 
arrested by horror as she looks at him.

'I do not forget how many windows command a view of us,' he says, 
glancing towards them.  'I will not touch you again; I will come no 
nearer to you than I am.  Sit down, and there will be no mighty 
wonder in your music-master's leaning idly against a pedestal and 
speaking with you, remembering all that has happened, and our 
shares in it.  Sit down, my beloved.'

She would have gone once more - was all but gone - and once more 
his face, darkly threatening what would follow if she went, has 
stopped her.  Looking at him with the expression of the instant 
frozen on her face, she sits down on the seat again.

'Rosa, even when my dear boy was affianced to you, I loved you 
madly; even when I thought his happiness in having you for his wife 
was certain, I loved you madly; even when I strove to make him more 
ardently devoted to you, I loved you madly; even when he gave me 
the picture of your lovely face so carelessly traduced by him, 
which I feigned to hang always in my sight for his sake, but 
worshipped in torment for years, I loved you madly; in the 
distasteful work of the day, in the wakeful misery of the night, 
girded by sordid realities, or wandering through Paradises and 
Hells of visions into which I rushed, carrying your image in my 
arms, I loved you madly.'

If anything could make his words more hideous to her than they are 
in themselves, it would be the contrast between the violence of his 
look and delivery, and the composure of his assumed attitude.

'I endured it all in silence.  So long as you were his, or so long 
as I supposed you to be his, I hid my secret loyally.  Did I not?'

This lie, so gross, while the mere words in which it is told are so 
true, is more than Rosa can endure.  She answers with kindling 
indignation:  'You were as false throughout, sir, as you are now.  
You were false to him, daily and hourly.  You know that you made my 
life unhappy by your pursuit of me.  You know that you made me 
afraid to open his generous eyes, and that you forced me, for his 
own trusting, good, good sake, to keep the truth from him, that you 
were a bad, bad man!'

His preservation of his easy attitude rendering his working 
features and his convulsive hands absolutely diabolical, he 
returns, with a fierce extreme of admiration:

'How beautiful you are!  You are more beautiful in anger than in 
repose.  I don't ask you for your love; give me yourself and your 
hatred; give me yourself and that pretty rage; give me yourself and 
that enchanting scorn; it will be enough for me.'

Impatient tears rise to the eyes of the trembling little beauty, 
and her face flames; but as she again rises to leave him in 
indignation, and seek protection within the house, he stretches out 
his hand towards the porch, as though he invited her to enter it.

'I told you, you rare charmer, you sweet witch, that you must stay 
and hear me, or do more harm than can ever be undone.  You asked me 
what harm.  Stay, and I will tell you.  Go, and I will do it!'

Again Rosa quails before his threatening face, though innocent of 
its meaning, and she remains.  Her panting breathing comes and goes 
as if it would choke her; but with a repressive hand upon her 
bosom, she remains.

'I have made my confession that my love is mad.  It is so mad, that 
had the ties between me and my dear lost boy been one silken thread 
less strong, I might have swept even him from your side, when you 
favoured him.'

A film come over the eyes she raises for an instant, as though he 
had turned her faint.

'Even him,' he repeats.  'Yes, even him!  Rosa, you see me and you 
hear me.  Judge for yourself whether any other admirer shall love 
you and live, whose life is in my hand.'

'What do you mean, sir?'

'I mean to show you how mad my love is.  It was hawked through the 
late inquiries by Mr. Crisparkle, that young Landless had confessed 
to him that he was a rival of my lost boy.  That is an inexpiable 
offence in my eyes.  The same Mr. Crisparkle knows under my hand 
that I have devoted myself to the murderer's discovery and 
destruction, be he whom he might, and that I determined to discuss 
the mystery with no one until I should hold the clue in which to 
entangle the murderer as in a net.  I have since worked patiently 
to wind and wind it round him; and it is slowly winding as I 
speak.'

'Your belief, if you believe in the criminality of Mr. Landless, is 
not Mr. Crisparkle's belief, and he is a good man,' Rosa retorts.

'My belief is my own; and I reserve it, worshipped of my soul!  
Circumstances may accumulate so strongly EVEN AGAINST AN INNOCENT 
MAN, that directed, sharpened, and pointed, they may slay him.  One 
wanting link discovered by perseverance against a guilty man, 
proves his guilt, however slight its evidence before, and he dies.  
Young Landless stands in deadly peril either way.'

'If you really suppose,' Rosa pleads with him, turning paler, 'that 
I favour Mr. Landless, or that Mr. Landless has ever in any way 
addressed himself to me, you are wrong.'

He puts that from him with a slighting action of his hand and a 
curled lip.

'I was going to show you how madly I love you.  More madly now than 
ever, for I am willing to renounce the second object that has 
arisen in my life to divide it with you; and henceforth to have no 
object in existence but you only.  Miss Landless has become your 
bosom friend.  You care for her peace of mind?'

'I love her dearly.'

'You care for her good name?'

'I have said, sir, I love her dearly.'

'I am unconsciously,' he observes with a smile, as he folds his 
hands upon the sun-dial and leans his chin upon them, so that his 
talk would seem from the windows (faces occasionally come and go 
there) to be of the airiest and playfullest - 'I am unconsciously 
giving offence by questioning again.  I will simply make 
statements, therefore, and not put questions.  You do care for your 
bosom friend's good name, and you do care for her peace of mind.  
Then remove the shadow of the gallows from her, dear one!'

'You dare propose to me to - '

'Darling, I dare propose to you.  Stop there.  If it be bad to 
idolise you, I am the worst of men; if it be good, I am the best.  
My love for you is above all other love, and my truth to you is 
above all other truth.  Let me have hope and favour, and I am a 
forsworn man for your sake.'

Rosa puts her hands to her temples, and, pushing back her hair, 
looks wildly and abhorrently at him, as though she were trying to 
piece together what it is his deep purpose to present to her only 
in fragments.

'Reckon up nothing at this moment, angel, but the sacrifices that I 
lay at those dear feet, which I could fall down among the vilest 
ashes and kiss, and put upon my head as a poor savage might.  There 
is my fidelity to my dear boy after death.  Tread upon it!'

With an action of his hands, as though he cast down something 
precious.

'There is the inexpiable offence against my adoration of you.  
Spurn it!'

With a similar action.

'There are my labours in the cause of a just vengeance for six 
toiling months.  Crush them!'

With another repetition of the action.

'There is my past and my present wasted life.  There is the 
desolation of my heart and my soul.  There is my peace; there is my 
despair.  Stamp them into the dust; so that you take me, were it 
even mortally hating me!'

The frightful vehemence of the man, now reaching its full height, 
so additionally terrifies her as to break the spell that has held 
her to the spot.  She swiftly moves towards the porch; but in an 
instant he is at her side, and speaking in her ear.

'Rosa, I am self-repressed again.  I am walking calmly beside you 
to the house.  I shall wait for some encouragement and hope.  I 
shall not strike too soon.  Give me a sign that you attend to me.'

She slightly and constrainedly moves her hand.

'Not a word of this to any one, or it will bring down the blow, as 
certainly as night follows day.  Another sign that you attend to 
me.'

She moves her hand once more.

'I love you, love you, love you!  If you were to cast me off now - 
but you will not - you would never be rid of me.  No one should 
come between us.  I would pursue you to the death.'

The handmaid coming out to open the gate for him, he quietly pulls 
off his hat as a parting salute, and goes away with no greater show 
of agitation than is visible in the effigy of Mr. Sapsea's father 
opposite.  Rosa faints in going up-stairs, and is carefully carried 
to her room and laid down on her bed.  A thunderstorm is coming on, 
the maids say, and the hot and stifling air has overset the pretty 
dear:  no wonder; they have felt their own knees all of a tremble 
all day long.

CHAPTER XX - A FLIGHT

ROSA no sooner came to herself than the whole of the late interview 
was before her.  It even seemed as if it had pursued her into her 
insensibility, and she had not had a moment's unconsciousness of 
it.  What to do, she was at a frightened loss to know:  the only 
one clear thought in her mind was, that she must fly from this 
terrible man.

But where could she take refuge, and how could she go?  She had 
never breathed her dread of him to any one but Helena.  If she went 
to Helena, and told her what had passed, that very act might bring 
down the irreparable mischief that he threatened he had the power, 
and that she knew he had the will, to do.  The more fearful he 
appeared to her excited memory and imagination, the more alarming 
her responsibility appeared; seeing that a slight mistake on her 
part, either in action or delay, might let his malevolence loose on 
Helena's brother.

Rosa's mind throughout the last six months had been stormily 
confused.  A half-formed, wholly unexpressed suspicion tossed in 
it, now heaving itself up, and now sinking into the deep; now 
gaining palpability, and now losing it.  Jasper's self-absorption 
in his nephew when he was alive, and his unceasing pursuit of the 
inquiry how he came by his death, if he were dead, were themes so 
rife in the place, that no one appeared able to suspect the 
possibility of foul play at his hands.  She had asked herself the 
question, 'Am I so wicked in my thoughts as to conceive a 
wickedness that others cannot imagine?'  Then she had considered, 
Did the suspicion come of her previous recoiling from him before 
the fact?  And if so, was not that a proof of its baselessness?  
Then she had reflected, 'What motive could he have, according to my 
accusation?'  She was ashamed to answer in her mind, 'The motive of 
gaining ME!'  And covered her face, as if the lightest shadow of 
the idea of founding murder on such an idle vanity were a crime 
almost as great.

She ran over in her mind again, all that he had said by the sun-
dial in the garden.  He had persisted in treating the disappearance 
as murder, consistently with his whole public course since the 
finding of the watch and shirt-pin.  If he were afraid of the crime 
being traced out, would he not rather encourage the idea of a 
voluntary disappearance?  He had even declared that if the ties 
between him and his nephew had been less strong, he might have 
swept 'even him' away from her side.  Was that like his having 
really done so?  He had spoken of laying his six months' labours in 
the cause of a just vengeance at her feet.  Would he have done 
that, with that violence of passion, if they were a pretence?  
Would he have ranged them with his desolate heart and soul, his 
wasted life, his peace and his despair?  The very first sacrifice 
that he represented himself as making for her, was his fidelity to 
his dear boy after death.  Surely these facts were strong against a 
fancy that scarcely dared to hint itself.  And yet he was so 
terrible a man!  In short, the poor girl (for what could she know 
of the criminal intellect, which its own professed students 
perpetually misread, because they persist in trying to reconcile it 
with the average intellect of average men, instead of identifying 
it as a horrible wonder apart) could get by no road to any other 
conclusion than that he WAS a terrible man, and must be fled from.

She had been Helena's stay and comfort during the whole time.  She 
had constantly assured her of her full belief in her brother's 
innocence, and of her sympathy with him in his misery.  But she had 
never seen him since the disappearance, nor had Helena ever spoken 
one word of his avowal to Mr. Crisparkle in regard of Rosa, though 
as a part of the interest of the case it was well known far and 
wide.  He was Helena's unfortunate brother, to her, and nothing 
more.  The assurance she had given her odious suitor was strictly 
true, though it would have been better (she considered now) if she 
could have restrained herself from so giving it.  Afraid of him as 
the bright and delicate little creature was, her spirit swelled at 
the thought of his knowing it from her own lips.

But where was she to go?  Anywhere beyond his reach, was no reply 
to the question.  Somewhere must be thought of.  She determined to 
go to her guardian, and to go immediately.  The feeling she had 
imparted to Helena on the night of their first confidence, was so 
strong upon her - the feeling of not being safe from him, and of 
the solid walls of the old convent being powerless to keep out his 
ghostly following of her - that no reasoning of her own could calm 
her terrors.  The fascination of repulsion had been upon her so 
long, and now culminated so darkly, that she felt as if he had 
power to bind her by a spell.  Glancing out at window, even now, as 
she rose to dress, the sight of the sun-dial on which he had leaned 
when he declared himself, turned her cold, and made her shrink from 
it, as though he had invested it with some awful quality from his 
own nature.

She wrote a hurried note to Miss Twinkleton, saying that she had 
sudden reason for wishing to see her guardian promptly, and had 
gone to him; also, entreating the good lady not to be uneasy, for 
all was well with her.  She hurried a few quite useless articles 
into a very little bag, left the note in a conspicuous place, and 
went out, softly closing the gate after her.

It was the first time she had ever been even in Cloisterham High 
Street alone.  But knowing all its ways and windings very well, she 
hurried straight to the corner from which the omnibus departed.  It 
was, at that very moment, going off.

'Stop and take me, if you please, Joe.  I am obliged to go to 
London.'

In less than another minute she was on her road to the railway, 
under Joe's protection. Joe waited on her when she got there, put 
her safely into the railway carriage, and handed in the very little 
bag after her, as though it were some enormous trunk, 
hundredweights heavy, which she must on no account endeavour to 
lift.

'Can you go round when you get back, and tell Miss Twinkleton that 
you saw me safely off, Joe

'It shall be done, Miss.'

'With my love, please, Joe.'

'Yes, Miss - and I wouldn't mind having it myself!'  But Joe did 
not articulate the last clause; only thought it.

Now that she was whirling away for London in real earnest, Rosa was 
at leisure to resume the thoughts which her personal hurry had 
checked.  The indignant thought that his declaration of love soiled 
her; that she could only be cleansed from the stain of its impurity 
by appealing to the honest and true; supported her for a time 
against her fears, and confirmed her in her hasty resolution.  But 
as the evening grew darker and darker, and the great city impended 
nearer and nearer, the doubts usual in such cases began to arise.  
Whether this was not a wild proceeding, after all; how Mr. 
Grewgious might regard it; whether she should find him at the 
journey's end; how she would act if he were absent; what might 
become of her, alone, in a place so strange and crowded; how if she 
had but waited and taken counsel first; whether, if she could now 
go back, she would not do it thankfully; a multitude of such uneasy 
speculations disturbed her, more and more as they accumulated.  At 
length the train came into London over the housetops; and down 
below lay the gritty streets with their yet un-needed lamps a-glow, 
on a hot, light, summer night.

'Hiram Grewgious, Esquire, Staple Inn, London.'  This was all Rosa 
knew of her destination; but it was enough to send her rattling 
away again in a cab, through deserts of gritty streets, where many 
people crowded at the corner of courts and byways to get some air, 
and where many other people walked with a miserably monotonous 
noise of shuffling of feet on hot paving-stones, and where all the 
people and all their surroundings were so gritty and so shabby!

There was music playing here and there, but it did not enliven the 
case.  No barrel-organ mended the matter, and no big drum beat dull 
care away.  Like the chapel bells that were also going here and 
there, they only seemed to evoke echoes from brick surfaces, and 
dust from everything.  As to the flat wind-instruments, they seemed 
to have cracked their hearts and souls in pining for the country.

Her jingling conveyance stopped at last at a fast-closed gateway, 
which appeared to belong to somebody who had gone to bed very 
early, and was much afraid of housebreakers; Rosa, discharging her 
conveyance, timidly knocked at this gateway, and was let in, very 
little bag and all, by a watchman.

'Does Mr. Grewgious live here?'

'Mr. Grewgious lives there, Miss,' said the watchman, pointing 
further in.

So Rosa went further in, and, when the clocks were striking ten, 
stood on P. J. T.'s doorsteps, wondering what P. J. T. had done 
with his street-door.

Guided by the painted name of Mr. Grewgious, she went up-stairs and 
softly tapped and tapped several times.  But no one answering, and 
Mr. Grewgious's door-handle yielding to her touch, she went in, and 
saw her guardian sitting on a window-seat at an open window, with a 
shaded lamp placed far from him on a table in a corner.

Rosa drew nearer to him in the twilight of the room.  He saw her, 
and he said, in an undertone:  'Good Heaven!'

Rosa fell upon his neck, with tears, and then he said, returning 
her embrace:

'My child, my child!  I thought you were your mother! - But what, 
what, what,' he added, soothingly, 'has happened?  My dear, what 
has brought you here?  Who has brought you here?'

'No one.  I came alone.'

'Lord bless me!' ejaculated Mr. Grewgious.  'Came alone!  Why 
didn't you write to me to come and fetch you?'

'I had no time.  I took a sudden resolution.  Poor, poor Eddy!'

'Ah, poor fellow, poor fellow!'

'His uncle has made love to me.  I cannot bear it,' said Rosa, at 
once with a burst of tears, and a stamp of her little foot; 'I 
shudder with horror of him, and I have come to you to protect me 
and all of us from him, if you will?'

'I will,' cried Mr. Grewgious, with a sudden rush of amazing 
energy.  'Damn him!

"Confound his politics! 
Frustrate his knavish tricks! 
On Thee his hopes to fix?
Damn him again!"'

After this most extraordinary outburst, Mr. Grewgious, quite beside 
himself, plunged about the room, to all appearance undecided 
whether he was in a fit of loyal enthusiasm, or combative 
denunciation.

He stopped and said, wiping his face:  'I beg your pardon, my dear, 
but you will be glad to know I feel better.  Tell me no more just 
now, or I might do it again.  You must be refreshed and cheered.  
What did you take last?  Was it breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea, or 
supper?  And what will you take next?  Shall it be breakfast, 
lunch, dinner, tea, or supper?'

The respectful tenderness with which, on one knee before her, he 
helped her to remove her hat, and disentangle her pretty hair from 
it, was quite a chivalrous sight.  Yet who, knowing him only on the 
surface, would have expected chivalry - and of the true sort, too; 
not the spurious - from Mr. Grewgious?

'Your rest too must be provided for,' he went on; 'and you shall 
have the prettiest chamber in Furnival's.  Your toilet must be 
provided for, and you shall have everything that an unlimited head 
chambermaid - by which expression I mean a head chambermaid not 
limited as to outlay - can procure.  Is that a bag?' he looked hard 
at it; sooth to say, it required hard looking at to be seen at all 
in a dimly lighted room:  'and is it your property, my dear?'

'Yes, sir.  I brought it with me.'

'It is not an extensive bag,' said Mr. Grewgious, candidly, 'though 
admirably calculated to contain a day's provision for a canary-
bird.  Perhaps you brought a canary-bird?'

Rosa smiled and shook her head.

'If you had, he should have been made welcome,' said Mr. Grewgious, 
'and I think he would have been pleased to be hung upon a nail 
outside and pit himself against our Staple sparrows; whose 
execution must be admitted to be not quite equal to their 
intention.  Which is the case with so many of us!  You didn't say 
what meal, my dear.  Have a nice jumble of all meals.'

Rosa thanked him, but said she could only take a cup of tea.  Mr. 
Grewgious, after several times running out, and in again, to 
mention such supplementary items as marmalade, eggs, watercresses, 
salted fish, and frizzled ham, ran across to Furnival's without his 
hat, to give his various directions.  And soon afterwards they were 
realised in practice, and the board was spread.

'Lord bless my soul,' cried Mr. Grewgious, putting the lamp upon 
it, and taking his seat opposite Rosa; 'what a new sensation for a 
poor old Angular bachelor, to be sure!'

Rosa's expressive little eyebrows asked him what he meant?

'The sensation of having a sweet young presence in the place, that 
whitewashes it, paints it, papers it, decorates it with gilding, 
and makes it Glorious!' said Mr. Grewgious.  'Ah me!  Ah me!'

As there was something mournful in his sigh, Rosa, in touching him 
with her tea-cup, ventured to touch him with her small hand too.

'Thank you, my dear,' said Mr. Grewgious.  'Ahem!  Let's talk!'

'Do you always live here, sir?' asked Rosa.

'Yes, my dear.'

'And always alone?'

'Always alone; except that I have daily company in a gentleman by 
the name of Bazzard, my clerk.'

'HE doesn't live here?'

'No, he goes his way, after office hours.  In fact, he is off duty 
here, altogether, just at present; and a firm down-stairs, with 
which I have business relations, lend me a substitute.  But it 
would be extremely difficult to replace Mr. Bazzard.'

'He must be very fond of you,' said Rosa.

'He bears up against it with commendable fortitude if he is,' 
returned Mr. Grewgious, after considering the matter.  'But I doubt 
if he is.  Not particularly so.  You see, he is discontented, poor 
fellow.'

'Why isn't he contented?' was the natural inquiry.

'Misplaced,' said Mr. Grewgious, with great mystery.

Rosa's eyebrows resumed their inquisitive and perplexed expression.

'So misplaced,' Mr. Grewgious went on, 'that I feel constantly 
apologetic towards him.  And he feels (though he doesn't mention 
it) that I have reason to be.'

Mr. Grewgious had by this time grown so very mysterious, that Rosa 
did not know how to go on.  While she was thinking about it Mr. 
Grewgious suddenly jerked out of himself for the second time:

'Let's talk.  We were speaking of Mr. Bazzard.  It's a secret, and 
moreover it is Mr. Bazzard's secret; but the sweet presence at my 
table makes me so unusually expansive, that I feel I must impart it 
in inviolable confidence.  What do you think Mr. Bazzard has done?'

'O dear!' cried Rosa, drawing her chair a little nearer, and her 
mind reverting to Jasper, 'nothing dreadful, I hope?'

'He has written a play,' said Mr. Grewgious, in a solemn whisper.  
'A tragedy.'

Rosa seemed much relieved.

'And nobody,' pursued Mr. Grewgious in the same tone, 'will hear, 
on any account whatever, of bringing it out.'

Rosa looked reflective, and nodded her head slowly; as who should 
say, 'Such things are, and why are they!'

'Now, you know,' said Mr. Grewgious, 'I couldn't write a play.'

'Not a bad one, sir?' said Rosa, innocently, with her eyebrows 
again in action.

'No.  If I was under sentence of decapitation, and was about to be 
instantly decapitated, and an express arrived with a pardon for the 
condemned convict Grewgious if he wrote a play, I should be under 
the necessity of resuming the block, and begging the executioner to 
proceed to extremities, - meaning,' said Mr. Grewgious, passing his 
hand under his chin, 'the singular number, and this extremity.'

Rosa appeared to consider what she would do if the awkward 
supposititious case were hers.

'Consequently,' said Mr. Grewgious, 'Mr. Bazzard would have a sense 
of my inferiority to himself under any circumstances; but when I am 
his master, you know, the case is greatly aggravated.'

Mr. Grewgious shook his head seriously, as if he felt the offence 
to be a little too much, though of his own committing.

'How came you to be his master, sir?' asked Rosa.

'A question that naturally follows,' said Mr. Grewgious.  'Let's 
talk.  Mr. Bazzard's father, being a Norfolk farmer, would have 
furiously laid about him with a flail, a pitch-fork, and every 
agricultural implement available for assaulting purposes, on the 
slightest hint of his son's having written a play.  So the son, 
bringing to me the father's rent (which I receive), imparted his 
secret, and pointed out that he was determined to pursue his 
genius, and that it would put him in peril of starvation, and that 
he was not formed for it.'

'For pursuing his genius, sir?'

'No, my dear,' said Mr. Grewgious, 'for starvation.  It was 
impossible to deny the position, that Mr. Bazzard was not formed to 
be starved, and Mr. Bazzard then pointed out that it was desirable 
that I should stand between him and a fate so perfectly unsuited to 
his formation.  In that way Mr. Bazzard became my clerk, and he 
feels it very much.'

'I am glad he is grateful,' said Rosa.

'I didn't quite mean that, my dear.  I mean, that he feels the 
degradation.  There are some other geniuses that Mr. Bazzard has 
become acquainted with, who have also written tragedies, which 
likewise nobody will on any account whatever hear of bringing out, 
and these choice spirits dedicate their plays to one another in a 
highly panegyrical manner.  Mr. Bazzard has been the subject of one 
of these dedications.  Now, you know, I never had a play dedicated 
to ME!'

Rosa looked at him as if she would have liked him to be the 
recipient of a thousand dedications.

'Which again, naturally, rubs against the grain of Mr. Bazzard,' 
said Mr. Grewgious.  'He is very short with me sometimes, and then 
I feel that he is meditating, "This blockhead is my master!  A 
fellow who couldn't write a tragedy on pain of death, and who will 
never have one dedicated to him with the most complimentary 
congratulations on the high position he has taken in the eyes of 
posterity!"  Very trying, very trying.  However, in giving him 
directions, I reflect beforehand:  "Perhaps he may not like this," 
or "He might take it ill if I asked that;" and so we get on very 
well.  Indeed, better than I could have expected.'

'Is the tragedy named, sir?' asked Rosa.

'Strictly between ourselves,' answered Mr. Grewgious, 'it has a 
dreadfully appropriate name.  It is called The Thorn of Anxiety.  
But Mr. Bazzard hopes - and I hope - that it will come out at 
last.'

It was not hard to divine that Mr. Grewgious had related the 
Bazzard history thus fully, at least quite as much for the 
recreation of his ward's mind from the subject that had driven her 
there, as for the gratification of his own tendency to be social 
and communicative.

'And now, my dear,' he said at this point, 'if you are not too 
tired to tell me more of what passed to-day - but only if you feel 
quite able - I should be glad to hear it.  I may digest it the 
better, if I sleep on it to-night.'

Rosa, composed now, gave him a faithful account of the interview.  
Mr. Grewgious often smoothed his head while it was in progress, and 
begged to be told a second time those parts which bore on Helena 
and Neville.  When Rosa had finished, he sat grave, silent, and 
meditative for a while.

'Clearly narrated,' was his only remark at last, 'and, I hope, 
clearly put away here,' smoothing his head again.  'See, my dear,' 
taking her to the open window, 'where they live!  The dark windows 
over yonder.'

'I may go to Helena to-morrow?' asked Rosa.

'I should like to sleep on that question to-night,' he answered 
doubtfully.  'But let me take you to your own rest, for you must 
need it.'

With that Mr. Grewgious helped her to get her hat on again, and 
hung upon his arm the very little bag that was of no earthly use, 
and led her by the hand (with a certain stately awkwardness, as if 
he were going to walk a minuet) across Holborn, and into Furnival's 
Inn.  At the hotel door, he confided her to the Unlimited head 
chambermaid, and said that while she went up to see her room, he 
would remain below, in case she should wish it exchanged for 
another, or should find that there was anything she wanted.

Rosa's room was airy, clean, comfortable, almost gay.  The 
Unlimited had laid in everything omitted from the very little bag 
(that is to say, everything she could possibly need), and Rosa 
tripped down the great many stairs again, to thank her guardian for 
his thoughtful and affectionate care of her.

'Not at all, my dear,' said Mr. Grewgious, infinitely gratified; 
'it is I who thank you for your charming confidence and for your 
charming company.  Your breakfast will be provided for you in a 
neat, compact, and graceful little sitting-room (appropriate to 
your figure), and I will come to you at ten o'clock in the morning.  
I hope you don't feel very strange indeed, in this strange place.'

'O no, I feel so safe!'

'Yes, you may be sure that the stairs are fire-proof,' said Mr. 
Grewgious, 'and that any outbreak of the devouring element would be 
perceived and suppressed by the watchmen.'

'I did not mean that,' Rosa replied.  'I mean, I feel so safe from 
him.'

'There is a stout gate of iron bars to keep him out,' said Mr. 
Grewgious, smiling; 'and Furnival's is fire-proof, and specially 
watched and lighted, and I live over the way!'  In the stoutness of 
his knight-errantry, he seemed to think the last-named protection 
all sufficient.  In the same spirit he said to the gate-porter as 
he went out, 'If some one staying in the hotel should wish to send 
across the road to me in the night, a crown will be ready for the 
messenger.'  In the same spirit, he walked up and down outside the 
iron gate for the best part of an hour, with some solicitude; 
occasionally looking in between the bars, as if he had laid a dove 
in a high roost in a cage of lions, and had it on his mind that she 
might tumble out.

CHAPTER XXI - A RECOGNITION

NOTHING occurred in the night to flutter the tired dove; and the 
dove arose refreshed.  With Mr. Grewgious, when the clock struck 
ten in the morning, came Mr. Crisparkle, who had come at one plunge 
out of the river at Cloisterham.

'Miss Twinkleton was so uneasy, Miss Rosa,' he explained to her, 
'and came round to Ma and me with your note, in such a state of 
wonder, that, to quiet her, I volunteered on this service by the 
very first train to be caught in the morning.  I wished at the time 
that you had come to me; but now I think it best that you did AS 
you did, and came to your guardian.'

'I did think of you,' Rosa told him; 'but Minor Canon Corner was so 
near him - '

'I understand.  It was quite natural.'

'I have told Mr. Crisparkle,' said Mr. Grewgious, 'all that you 
told me last night, my dear.  Of course I should have written it to 
him immediately; but his coming was most opportune.  And it was 
particularly kind of him to come, for he had but just gone.'

'Have you settled,' asked Rosa, appealing to them both, 'what is to 
be done for Helena and her brother?'

'Why really,' said Mr. Crisparkle, 'I am in great perplexity.  If 
even Mr. Grewgious, whose head is much longer than mine, and who is 
a whole night's cogitation in advance of me, is undecided, what 
must I be!'

The Unlimited here put her head in at the door - after having 
rapped, and been authorised to present herself - announcing that a 
gentleman wished for a word with another gentleman named 
Crisparkle, if any such gentleman were there.  If no such gentleman 
were there, he begged pardon for being mistaken.

'Such a gentleman is here,' said Mr. Crisparkle, 'but is engaged 
just now.'

'Is it a dark gentleman?' interposed Rosa, retreating on her 
guardian.

'No, Miss, more of a brown gentleman.'

'You are sure not with black hair?' asked Rosa, taking courage.

'Quite sure of that, Miss.  Brown hair and blue eyes.'

'Perhaps,' hinted Mr. Grewgious, with habitual caution, 'it might 
be well to see him, reverend sir, if you don't object.  When one is 
in a difficulty or at a loss, one never knows in what direction a 
way out may chance to open.  It is a business principle of mine, in 
such a case, not to close up any direction, but to keep an eye on 
every direction that may present itself.  I could relate an 
anecdote in point, but that it would be premature.'

'If Miss Rosa will allow me, then?  Let the gentleman come in,' 
said Mr. Crisparkle.

The gentleman came in; apologised, with a frank but modest grace, 
for not finding Mr. Crisparkle alone; turned to Mr. Crisparkle, and 
smilingly asked the unexpected question:  'Who am I?'

'You are the gentleman I saw smoking under the trees in Staple Inn, 
a few minutes ago.'

'True.  There I saw you.  Who else am I?'

Mr. Crisparkle concentrated his attention on a handsome face, much 
sunburnt; and the ghost of some departed boy seemed to rise, 
gradually and dimly, in the room.

The gentleman saw a struggling recollection lighten up the Minor 
Canon's features, and smiling again, said:  'What will you have for 
breakfast this morning?  You are out of jam.'

'Wait a moment!' cried Mr. Crisparkle, raising his right hand.  
'Give me another instant!  Tartar!'

The two shook hands with the greatest heartiness, and then went the 
wonderful length - for Englishmen - of laying their hands each on 
the other's shoulders, and looking joyfully each into the other's 
face.

'My old fag!' said Mr. Crisparkle.

'My old master!' said Mr. Tartar.

'You saved me from drowning!' said Mr. Crisparkle.

'After which you took to swimming, you know!' said Mr. Tartar.

'God bless my soul!' said Mr. Crisparkle.

'Amen!' said Mr. Tartar.

And then they fell to shaking hands most heartily again.

'Imagine,' exclaimed Mr. Crisparkle, with glistening eyes:  'Miss 
Rosa Bud and Mr. Grewgious, imagine Mr. Tartar, when he was the 
smallest of juniors, diving for me, catching me, a big heavy 
senior, by the hair of the head, and striking out for the shore 
with me like a water-giant!'

'Imagine my not letting him sink, as I was his fag!' said Mr. 
Tartar.  'But the truth being that he was my best protector and 
friend, and did me more good than all the masters put together, an 
irrational impulse seized me to pick him up, or go down with him.'

'Hem!  Permit me, sir, to have the honour,' said Mr. Grewgious, 
advancing with extended hand, 'for an honour I truly esteem it.  I 
am proud to make your acquaintance.  I hope you didn't take cold.  
I hope you were not inconvenienced by swallowing too much water.  
How have you been since?'

It was by no means apparent that Mr. Grewgious knew what he said, 
though it was very apparent that he meant to say something highly 
friendly and appreciative.

If Heaven, Rosa thought, had but sent such courage and skill to her 
poor mother's aid!  And he to have been so slight and young then!

'I don't wish to be complimented upon it, I thank you; but I think 
I have an idea,' Mr. Grewgious announced, after taking a jog-trot 
or two across the room, so unexpected and unaccountable that they 
all stared at him, doubtful whether he was choking or had the cramp 
- 'I THINK I have an idea.  I believe I have had the pleasure of 
seeing Mr. Tartar's name as tenant of the top set in the house next 
the top set in the corner?'

'Yes, sir,' returned Mr. Tartar.  'You are right so far.'

'I am right so far,' said Mr. Grewgious.  'Tick that off;' which he 
did, with his right thumb on his left.  'Might you happen to know 
the name of your neighbour in the top set on the other side of the 
party-wall?' coming very close to Mr. Tartar, to lose nothing of 
his face, in his shortness of sight.

'Landless.'

'Tick that off,' said Mr. Grewgious, taking another trot, and then 
coming back.  'No personal knowledge, I suppose, sir?'

'Slight, but some.'

'Tick that off,' said Mr. Grewgious, taking another trot, and again 
coming back.  'Nature of knowledge, Mr. Tartar?'

'I thought he seemed to be a young fellow in a poor way, and I 
asked his leave - only within a day or so - to share my flowers up 
there with him; that is to say, to extend my flower-garden to his 
windows.'

'Would you have the kindness to take seats?' said Mr. Grewgious.  
'I HAVE an idea!'

They complied; Mr. Tartar none the less readily, for being all 
abroad; and Mr. Grewgious, seated in the centre, with his hands 
upon his knees, thus stated his idea, with his usual manner of 
having got the statement by heart.

'I cannot as yet make up my mind whether it is prudent to hold open 
communication under present circumstances, and on the part of the 
fair member of the present company, with Mr. Neville or Miss 
Helena.  I have reason to know that a local friend of ours (on whom 
I beg to bestow a passing but a hearty malediction, with the kind 
permission of my reverend friend) sneaks to and fro, and dodges up 
and down.  When not doing so himself, he may have some informant 
skulking about, in the person of a watchman, porter, or such-like 
hanger-on of Staple.  On the other hand, Miss Rosa very naturally 
wishes to see her friend Miss Helena, and it would seem important 
that at least Miss Helena (if not her brother too, through her) 
should privately know from Miss Rosa's lips what has occurred, and 
what has been threatened.  Am I agreed with generally in the views 
I take?'

'I entirely coincide with them,' said Mr. Crisparkle, who had been 
very attentive.

'As I have no doubt I should,' added Mr. Tartar, smiling, 'if I 
understood them.'

'Fair and softly, sir,' said Mr. Grewgious; 'we shall fully confide 
in you directly, if you will favour us with your permission.  Now, 
if our local friend should have any informant on the spot, it is 
tolerably clear that such informant can only be set to watch the 
chambers in the occupation of Mr. Neville.  He reporting, to our 
local friend, who comes and goes there, our local friend would 
supply for himself, from his own previous knowledge, the identity 
of the parties.  Nobody can be set to watch all Staple, or to 
concern himself with comers and goers to other sets of chambers:  
unless, indeed, mine.'

'I begin to understand to what you tend,' said Mr. Crisparkle, 'and 
highly approve of your caution.'

'I needn't repeat that I know nothing yet of the why and 
wherefore,' said Mr. Tartar; 'but I also understand to what you 
tend, so let me say at once that my chambers are freely at your 
disposal.'

'There!' cried Mr. Grewgious, smoothing his head triumphantly, 'now 
we have all got the idea.  You have it, my dear?'

'I think I have,' said Rosa, blushing a little as Mr. Tartar looked 
quickly towards her.

'You see, you go over to Staple with Mr. Crisparkle and Mr. 
Tartar,' said Mr. Grewgious; 'I going in and out, and out and in 
alone, in my usual way; you go up with those gentlemen to Mr. 
Tartar's rooms; you look into Mr. Tartar's flower-garden; you wait 
for Miss Helena's appearance there, or you signify to Miss Helena 
that you are close by; and you communicate with her freely, and no 
spy can be the wiser.'

'I am very much afraid I shall be - '

'Be what, my dear?' asked Mr. Grewgious, as she hesitated.  'Not 
frightened?'

'No, not that,' said Rosa, shyly; 'in Mr. Tartar's way.  We seem to 
be appropriating Mr. Tartar's residence so very coolly.'

'I protest to you,' returned that gentleman, 'that I shall think 
the better of it for evermore, if your voice sounds in it only 
once.'

Rosa, not quite knowing what to say about that, cast down her eyes, 
and turning to Mr. Grewgious, dutifully asked if she should put her 
hat on?  Mr. Grewgious being of opinion that she could not do 
better, she withdrew for the purpose.  Mr. Crisparkle took the 
opportunity of giving Mr. Tartar a summary of the distresses of 
Neville and his sister; the opportunity was quite long enough, as 
the hat happened to require a little extra fitting on.

Mr. Tartar gave his arm to Rosa, and Mr. Crisparkle walked, 
detached, in front.

'Poor, poor Eddy!' thought Rosa, as they went along.

Mr. Tartar waved his right hand as he bent his head down over Rosa, 
talking in an animated way.

'It was not so powerful or so sun-browned when it saved Mr. 
Crisparkle,' thought Rosa, glancing at it; 'but it must have been 
very steady and determined even then.'

Mr. Tartar told her he had been a sailor, roving everywhere for 
years and years.

'When are you going to sea again?' asked Rosa.

'Never!'

Rosa wondered what the girls would say if they could see her 
crossing the wide street on the sailor's arm.  And she fancied that 
the passers-by must think her very little and very helpless, 
contrasted with the strong figure that could have caught her up and 
carried her out of any danger, miles and miles without resting.

She was thinking further, that his far-seeing blue eyes looked as 
if they had been used to watch danger afar off, and to watch it 
without flinching, drawing nearer and nearer:  when, happening to 
raise her own eyes, she found that he seemed to be thinking 
something about THEM.

This a little confused Rosebud, and may account for her never 
afterwards quite knowing how she ascended (with his help) to his 
garden in the air, and seemed to get into a marvellous country that 
came into sudden bloom like the country on the summit of the magic 
bean-stalk.  May it flourish for ever!

CHAPTER XXII - A GRITTY STATE OF THINGS COMES ON

MR. TARTAR'S chambers were the neatest, the cleanest, and the best-
ordered chambers ever seen under the sun, moon, and stars.  The 
floors were scrubbed to that extent, that you might have supposed 
the London blacks emancipated for ever, and gone out of the land 
for good.  Every inch of brass-work in Mr. Tartar's possession was 
polished and burnished, till it shone like a brazen mirror.  No 
speck, nor spot, nor spatter soiled the purity of any of Mr. 
Tartar's household gods, large, small, or middle-sized.  His 
sitting-room was like the admiral's cabin, his bath-room was like a 
dairy, his sleeping-chamber, fitted all about with lockers and 
drawers, was like a seedsman's shop; and his nicely-balanced cot 
just stirred in the midst, as if it breathed.  Everything belonging 
to Mr. Tartar had quarters of its own assigned to it:  his maps and 
charts had their quarters; his books had theirs; his brushes had 
theirs; his boots had theirs; his clothes had theirs; his case-
bottles had theirs; his telescopes and other instruments had 
theirs.  Everything was readily accessible.  Shelf, bracket, 
locker, hook, and drawer were equally within reach, and were 
equally contrived with a view to avoiding waste of room, and 
providing some snug inches of stowage for something that would have 
exactly fitted nowhere else.  His gleaming little service of plate 
was so arranged upon his sideboard as that a slack salt-spoon would 
have instantly betrayed itself; his toilet implements were so 
arranged upon his dressing-table as that a toothpick of slovenly 
deportment could have been reported at a glance.  So with the 
curiosities he had brought home from various voyages.  Stuffed, 
dried, repolished, or otherwise preserved, according to their kind; 
birds, fishes, reptiles, arms, articles of dress, shells, seaweeds, 
grasses, or memorials of coral reef; each was displayed in its 
especial place, and each could have been displayed in no better 
place.  Paint and varnish seemed to be kept somewhere out of sight, 
in constant readiness to obliterate stray finger-marks wherever any 
might become perceptible in Mr. Tartar's chambers.  No man-of-war 
was ever kept more spick and span from careless touch.  On this 
bright summer day, a neat awning was rigged over Mr. Tartar's 
flower-garden as only a sailor can rig it, and there was a sea-
going air upon the whole effect, so delightfully complete, that the 
flower-garden might have appertained to stern-windows afloat, and 
the whole concern might have bowled away gallantly with all on 
board, if Mr. Tartar had only clapped to his lips the speaking-
trumpet that was slung in a corner, and given hoarse orders to 
heave the anchor up, look alive there, men, and get all sail upon 
her!

Mr. Tartar doing the honours of this gallant craft was of a piece 
with the rest.  When a man rides an amiable hobby that shies at 
nothing and kicks nobody, it is only agreeable to find him riding 
it with a humorous sense of the droll side of the creature.  When 
the man is a cordial and an earnest man by nature, and withal is 
perfectly fresh and genuine, it may be doubted whether he is ever 
seen to greater advantage than at such a time.  So Rosa would have 
naturally thought (even if she hadn't been conducted over the ship 
with all the homage due to the First Lady of the Admiralty, or 
First Fairy of the Sea), that it was charming to see and hear Mr. 
Tartar half laughing at, and half rejoicing in, his various 
contrivances.  So Rosa would have naturally thought, anyhow, that 
the sunburnt sailor showed to great advantage when, the inspection 
finished, he delicately withdrew out of his admiral's cabin, 
beseeching her to consider herself its Queen, and waving her free 
of his flower-garden with the hand that had had Mr. Crisparkle's 
life in it.

'Helena!  Helena Landless!  Are you there?'

'Who speaks to me?  Not Rosa?'  Then a second handsome face 
appearing.

'Yes, my darling!'

'Why, how did you come here, dearest?'

'I - I don't quite know,' said Rosa with a blush; 'unless I am 
dreaming!'

Why with a blush?  For their two faces were alone with the other 
flowers.  Are blushes among the fruits of the country of the magic 
bean-stalk?

'I am not dreaming,' said Helena, smiling.  'I should take more for 
granted if I were.  How do we come together - or so near together - 
so very unexpectedly?'

Unexpectedly indeed, among the dingy gables and chimney-pots of P. 
J. T.'s connection, and the flowers that had sprung from the salt 
sea.  But Rosa, waking, told in a hurry how they came to be 
together, and all the why and wherefore of that matter.

'And Mr. Crisparkle is here,' said Rosa, in rapid conclusion; 'and, 
could you believe it? long ago he saved his life!'

'I could believe any such thing of Mr. Crisparkle,' returned 
Helena, with a mantling face.

(More blushes in the bean-stalk country!)

'Yes, but it wasn't Crisparkle,' said Rosa, quickly putting in the 
correction.

'I don't understand, love.'

'It was very nice of Mr. Crisparkle to be saved,' said Rosa, 'and 
he couldn't have shown his high opinion of Mr. Tartar more 
expressively.  But it was Mr. Tartar who saved him.'

Helena's dark eyes looked very earnestly at the bright face among 
the leaves, and she asked, in a slower and more thoughtful tone:

'Is Mr. Tartar with you now, dear?'

'No; because he has given up his rooms to me - to us, I mean.  It 
is such a beautiful place!'

'Is it?'

'It is like the inside of the most exquisite ship that ever sailed.  
It is like - it is like - '

'Like a dream?' suggested Helena.

Rosa answered with a little nod, and smelled the flowers.

Helena resumed, after a short pause of silence, during which she 
seemed (or it was Rosa's fancy) to compassionate somebody:  'My 
poor Neville is reading in his own room, the sun being so very 
bright on this side just now.  I think he had better not know that 
you are so near.'

'O, I think so too!' cried Rosa very readily.

'I suppose,' pursued Helena, doubtfully, 'that he must know by-and-
by all you have told me; but I am not sure.  Ask Mr. Crisparkle's 
advice, my darling.  Ask him whether I may tell Neville as much or 
as little of what you have told me as I think best.'

Rosa subsided into her state-cabin, and propounded the question.  
The Minor Canon was for the free exercise of Helena's judgment.

'I thank him very much,' said Helena, when Rosa emerged again with 
her report.  'Ask him whether it would be best to wait until any 
more maligning and pursuing of Neville on the part of this wretch 
shall disclose itself, or to try to anticipate it:  I mean, so far 
as to find out whether any such goes on darkly about us?'

The Minor Canon found this point so difficult to give a confident 
opinion on, that, after two or three attempts and failures, he 
suggested a reference to Mr. Grewgious.  Helena acquiescing, he 
betook himself (with a most unsuccessful assumption of lounging 
indifference) across the quadrangle to P. J. T.'s, and stated it.  
Mr. Grewgious held decidedly to the general principle, that if you 
could steal a march upon a brigand or a wild beast, you had better 
do it; and he also held decidedly to the special case, that John 
Jasper was a brigand and a wild beast in combination.

Thus advised, Mr. Crisparkle came back again and reported to Rosa, 
who in her turn reported to Helena.  She now steadily pursuing her 
train of thought at her window, considered thereupon.

'We may count on Mr. Tartar's readiness to help us, Rosa?' she 
inquired.

O yes!  Rosa shyly thought so.  O yes, Rosa shyly believed she 
could almost answer for it.  But should she ask Mr. Crisparkle?  'I 
think your authority on the point as good as his, my dear,' said 
Helena, sedately, 'and you needn't disappear again for that.'  Odd 
of Helena!

'You see, Neville,' Helena pursued after more reflection, 'knows no 
one else here:  he has not so much as exchanged a word with any one 
else here.  If Mr. Tartar would call to see him openly and often; 
if he would spare a minute for the purpose, frequently; if he would 
even do so, almost daily; something might come of it.'

'Something might come of it, dear?' repeated Rosa, surveying her 
friend's beauty with a highly perplexed face.  'Something might?'

'If Neville's movements are really watched, and if the purpose 
really is to isolate him from all friends and acquaintance and wear 
his daily life out grain by grain (which would seem to be the 
threat to you), does it not appear likely,' said Helena, 'that his 
enemy would in some way communicate with Mr. Tartar to warn him off 
from Neville?  In which case, we might not only know the fact, but 
might know from Mr. Tartar what the terms of the communication 
were.'

'I see!' cried Rosa.  And immediately darted into her state-cabin 
again.

Presently her pretty face reappeared, with a greatly heightened 
colour, and she said that she had told Mr. Crisparkle, and that Mr. 
Crisparkle had fetched in Mr. Tartar, and that Mr. Tartar - 'who is 
waiting now, in case you want him,' added Rosa, with a half look 
back, and in not a little confusion between the inside of the 
state-cabin and out - had declared his readiness to act as she had 
suggested, and to enter on his task that very day.

'I thank him from my heart,' said Helena.  'Pray tell him so.'

Again not a little confused between the Flower-garden and the 
Cabin, Rosa dipped in with her message, and dipped out again with 
more assurances from Mr. Tartar, and stood wavering in a divided 
state between Helena and him, which proved that confusion is not 
always necessarily awkward, but may sometimes present a very 
pleasant appearance.

'And now, darling,' said Helena, 'we will be mindful of the caution 
that has restricted us to this interview for the present, and will 
part.  I hear Neville moving too.  Are you going back?'

'To Miss Twinkleton's?' asked Rosa.

'Yes.'

'O, I could never go there any more.  I couldn't indeed, after that 
dreadful interview!' said Rosa.

'Then where ARE you going, pretty one?'

'Now I come to think of it, I don't know,' said Rosa.  'I have 
settled nothing at all yet, but my guardian will take care of me.  
Don't be uneasy, dear.  I shall be sure to be somewhere.'

(It did seem likely.)

'And I shall hear of my Rosebud from Mr. Tartar?' inquired Helena.

'Yes, I suppose so; from - ' Rosa looked back again in a flutter, 
instead of supplying the name.  'But tell me one thing before we 
part, dearest Helena.  Tell me - that you are sure, sure, sure, I 
couldn't help it.'

'Help it, love?'

'Help making him malicious and revengeful.  I couldn't hold any 
terms with him, could I?'

'You know how I love you, darling,' answered Helena, with 
indignation; 'but I would sooner see you dead at his wicked feet.'

'That's a great comfort to me!  And you will tell your poor brother 
so, won't you?  And you will give him my remembrance and my 
sympathy?  And you will ask him not to hate me?'

With a mournful shake of the head, as if that would be quite a 
superfluous entreaty, Helena lovingly kissed her two hands to her 
friend, and her friend's two hands were kissed to her; and then she 
saw a third hand (a brown one) appear among the flowers and leaves, 
and help her friend out of sight.

The refection that Mr. Tartar produced in the Admiral's Cabin by 
merely touching the spring knob of a locker and the handle of a 
drawer, was a dazzling enchanted repast.  Wonderful macaroons, 
glittering liqueurs, magically-preserved tropical spices, and 
jellies of celestial tropical fruits, displayed themselves 
profusely at an instant's notice.  But Mr. Tartar could not make 
time stand still; and time, with his hard-hearted fleetness, strode 
on so fast, that Rosa was obliged to come down from the bean-stalk 
country to earth and her guardian's chambers.

'And now, my dear,' said Mr. Grewgious, 'what is to be done next?  
To put the same thought in another form; what is to be done with 
you?'

Rosa could only look apologetically sensible of being very much in 
her own way and in everybody else's.  Some passing idea of living, 
fireproof, up a good many stairs in Furnival's Inn for the rest of 
her life, was the only thing in the nature of a plan that occurred 
to her.

'It has come into my thoughts,' said Mr. Grewgious, 'that as the 
respected lady, Miss Twinkleton, occasionally repairs to London in 
the recess, with the view of extending her connection, and being 
available for interviews with metropolitan parents, if any - 
whether, until we have time in which to turn ourselves round, we 
might invite Miss Twinkleton to come and stay with you for a 
month?'

'Stay where, sir?'

'Whether,' explained Mr. Grewgious, 'we might take a furnished 
lodging in town for a month, and invite Miss Twinkleton to assume 
the charge of you in it for that period?'

'And afterwards?' hinted Rosa.

'And afterwards,' said Mr. Grewgious, 'we should be no worse off 
than we are now.'

'I think that might smooth the way,' assented Rosa.

'Then let us,' said Mr. Grewgious, rising, 'go and look for a 
furnished lodging.  Nothing could be more acceptable to me than the 
sweet presence of last evening, for all the remaining evenings of 
my existence; but these are not fit surroundings for a young lady.  
Let us set out in quest of adventures, and look for a furnished 
lodging.  In the meantime, Mr. Crisparkle here, about to return 
home immediately, will no doubt kindly see Miss Twinkleton, and 
invite that lady to co-operate in our plan.'

Mr. Crisparkle, willingly accepting the commission, took his 
departure; Mr. Grewgious and his ward set forth on their 
expedition.

As Mr. Grewgious's idea of looking at a furnished lodging was to 
get on the opposite side of the street to a house with a suitable 
bill in the window, and stare at it; and then work his way 
tortuously to the back of the house, and stare at that; and then 
not go in, but make similar trials of another house, with the same 
result; their progress was but slow.  At length he bethought 
himself of a widowed cousin, divers times removed, of Mr. 
Bazzard's, who had once solicited his influence in the lodger 
world, and who lived in Southampton Street, Bloomsbury Square.  
This lady's name, stated in uncompromising capitals of considerable 
size on a brass door-plate, and yet not lucidly as to sex or 
condition, was BILLICKIN.

Personal faintness, and an overpowering personal candour, were the 
distinguishing features of Mrs. Billickin's organisation.  She came 
languishing out of her own exclusive back parlour, with the air of 
having been expressly brought-to for the purpose, from an 
accumulation of several swoons.

'I hope I see you well, sir,' said Mrs. Billickin, recognising her 
visitor with a bend.

'Thank you, quite well.  And you, ma'am?' returned Mr. Grewgious.

'I am as well,' said Mrs. Billickin, becoming aspirational with 
excess of faintness, 'as I hever ham.'

'My ward and an elderly lady,' said Mr. Grewgious, 'wish to find a 
genteel lodging for a month or so.  Have you any apartments 
available, ma'am?'

'Mr. Grewgious,' returned Mrs. Billickin, 'I will not deceive you; 
far from it.  I HAVE apartments available.'

This with the air of adding:  'Convey me to the stake, if you will; 
but while I live, I will be candid.'

'And now, what apartments, ma'am?' asked Mr. Grewgious, cosily.  To 
tame a certain severity apparent on the part of Mrs. Billickin.

'There is this sitting-room - which, call it what you will, it is 
the front parlour, Miss,' said Mrs. Billickin, impressing Rosa into 
the conversation:  'the back parlour being what I cling to and 
never part with; and there is two bedrooms at the top of the 'ouse 
with gas laid on.  I do not tell you that your bedroom floors is 
firm, for firm they are not.  The gas-fitter himself allowed, that 
to make a firm job, he must go right under your jistes, and it were 
not worth the outlay as a yearly tenant so to do.  The piping is 
carried above your jistes, and it is best that it should be made 
known to you.'

Mr. Grewgious and Rosa exchanged looks of some dismay, though they 
had not the least idea what latent horrors this carriage of the 
piping might involve.  Mrs. Billickin put her hand to her heart, as 
having eased it of a load.

'Well!  The roof is all right, no doubt,' said Mr. Grewgious, 
plucking up a little.

'Mr. Grewgious,' returned Mrs. Billickin, 'if I was to tell you, 
sir, that to have nothink above you is to have a floor above you, I 
should put a deception upon you which I will not do.  No, sir.  
Your slates WILL rattle loose at that elewation in windy weather, 
do your utmost, best or worst!  I defy you, sir, be you what you 
may, to keep your slates tight, try how you can.'  Here Mrs. 
Billickin, having been warm with Mr. Grewgious, cooled a little, 
not to abuse the moral power she held over him.  'Consequent,' 
proceeded Mrs. Billickin, more mildly, but still firmly in her 
incorruptible candour:  'consequent it would be worse than of no 
use for me to trapse and travel up to the top of the 'ouse with 
you, and for you to say, "Mrs. Billickin, what stain do I notice in 
the ceiling, for a stain I do consider it?" and for me to answer, 
"I do not understand you, sir."  No, sir, I will not be so 
underhand.  I DO understand you before you pint it out.  It is the 
wet, sir.  It do come in, and it do not come in.  You may lay dry 
there half your lifetime; but the time will come, and it is best 
that you should know it, when a dripping sop would be no name for 
you.'

Mr. Grewgious looked much disgraced by being prefigured in this 
pickle.

'Have you any other apartments, ma'am?' he asked.

'Mr. Grewgious,' returned Mrs. Billickin, with much solemnity, 'I 
have.  You ask me have I, and my open and my honest answer air, I 
have.  The first and second floors is wacant, and sweet rooms.'

'Come, come!  There's nothing against THEM,' said Mr. Grewgious, 
comforting himself.

'Mr. Grewgious,' replied Mrs. Billickin, 'pardon me, there is the 
stairs.  Unless your mind is prepared for the stairs, it will lead 
to inevitable disappointment.  You cannot, Miss,' said Mrs. 
Billickin, addressing Rosa reproachfully, 'place a first floor, and 
far less a second, on the level footing 'of a parlour.  No, you 
cannot do it, Miss, it is beyond your power, and wherefore try?'

Mrs. Billickin put it very feelingly, as if Rosa had shown a 
headstrong determination to hold the untenable position.

'Can we see these rooms, ma'am?' inquired her guardian.

'Mr. Grewgious,' returned Mrs. Billickin, 'you can.  I will not 
disguise it from you, sir; you can.'

Mrs. Billickin then sent into her back parlour for her shawl (it 
being a state fiction, dating from immemorial antiquity, that she 
could never go anywhere without being wrapped up), and having been 
enrolled by her attendant, led the way.  She made various genteel 
pauses on the stairs for breath, and clutched at her heart in the 
drawing-room as if it had very nearly got loose, and she had caught 
it in the act of taking wing.

'And the second floor?' said Mr. Grewgious, on finding the first 
satisfactory.

'Mr. Grewgious,' replied Mrs. Billickin, turning upon him with 
ceremony, as if the time had now come when a distinct understanding 
on a difficult point must be arrived at, and a solemn confidence 
established, 'the second floor is over this.'

'Can we see that too, ma'am?'

'Yes, sir,' returned Mrs. Billickin, 'it is open as the day.'

That also proving satisfactory, Mr. Grewgious retired into a window 
with Rosa for a few words of consultation, and then asking for pen 
and ink, sketched out a line or two of agreement.  In the meantime 
Mrs. Billickin took a seat, and delivered a kind of Index to, or 
Abstract of, the general question.

'Five-and-forty shillings per week by the month certain at the time 
of year,' said Mrs. Billickin, 'is only reasonable to both parties.  
It is not Bond Street nor yet St. James's Palace; but it is not 
pretended that it is.  Neither is it attempted to be denied - for 
why should it? - that the Arching leads to a mews.  Mewses must 
exist.  Respecting attendance; two is kep', at liberal wages.  
Words HAS arisen as to tradesmen, but dirty shoes on fresh hearth-
stoning was attributable, and no wish for a commission on your 
orders.  Coals is either BY the fire, or PER the scuttle.'  She 
emphasised the prepositions as marking a subtle but immense 
difference.  'Dogs is not viewed with favour.  Besides litter, they 
gets stole, and sharing suspicions is apt to creep in, and 
unpleasantness takes place.'

By this time Mr. Grewgious had his agreement-lines, and his 
earnest-money, ready.  'I have signed it for the ladies, ma'am,' he 
said, 'and you'll have the goodness to sign it for yourself, 
Christian and Surname, there, if you please.'

'Mr. Grewgious,' said Mrs. Billickin in a new burst of candour, 
'no, sir!  You must excuse the Christian name.'

Mr. Grewgious stared at her.

'The door-plate is used as a protection,' said Mrs. Billickin, 'and 
acts as such, and go from it I will not.'

Mr. Grewgious stared at Rosa.

'No, Mr. Grewgious, you must excuse me.  So long as this 'ouse is 
known indefinite as Billickin's, and so long as it is a doubt with 
the riff-raff where Billickin may be hidin', near the street-door 
or down the airy, and what his weight and size, so long I feel 
safe.  But commit myself to a solitary female statement, no, Miss!  
Nor would you for a moment wish,' said Mrs. Billickin, with a 
strong sense of injury, 'to take that advantage of your sex, if you 
were not brought to it by inconsiderate example.'

Rosa reddening as if she had made some most disgraceful attempt to 
overreach the good lady, besought Mr. Grewgious to rest content 
with any signature.  And accordingly, in a baronial way, the sign-
manual BILLICKIN got appended to the document.

Details were then settled for taking possession on the next day but 
one, when Miss Twinkleton might be reasonably expected; and Rosa 
went back to Furnival's Inn on her guardian's arm.

Behold Mr. Tartar walking up and down Furnival's Inn, checking 
himself when he saw them coming, and advancing towards them!

'It occurred to me,' hinted Mr. Tartar, 'that we might go up the 
river, the weather being so delicious and the tide serving.  I have 
a boat of my own at the Temple Stairs.'

'I have not been up the river for this many a day,' said Mr. 
Grewgious, tempted.

'I was never up the river,' added Rosa.

Within half an hour they were setting this matter right by going up 
the river.  The tide was running with them, the afternoon was 
charming.  Mr. Tartar's boat was perfect.  Mr. Tartar and Lobley 
(Mr. Tartar's man) pulled a pair of oars.  Mr. Tartar had a yacht, 
it seemed, lying somewhere down by Greenhithe; and Mr. Tartar's man 
had charge of this yacht, and was detached upon his present 
service.  He was a jolly-favoured man, with tawny hair and 
whiskers, and a big red face.  He was the dead image of the sun in 
old woodcuts, his hair and whiskers answering for rays all around 
him.  Resplendent in the bow of the boat, he was a shining sight, 
with a man-of-war's man's shirt on - or off, according to opinion - 
and his arms and breast tattooed all sorts of patterns.  Lobley 
seemed to take it easily, and so did Mr. Tartar; yet their oars 
bent as they pulled, and the boat bounded under them.  Mr. Tartar 
talked as if he were doing nothing, to Rosa who was really doing 
nothing, and to Mr. Grewgious who was doing this much that he 
steered all wrong; but what did that matter, when a turn of Mr. 
Tartar's skilful wrist, or a mere grin of Mr. Lobley's over the 
bow, put all to rights!  The tide bore them on in the gayest and 
most sparkling manner, until they stopped to dine in some ever-
lastingly-green garden, needing no matter-of-fact identification 
here; and then the tide obligingly turned - being devoted to that 
party alone for that day; and as they floated idly among some 
osier-beds, Rosa tried what she could do in the rowing way, and 
came off splendidly, being much assisted; and Mr. Grewgious tried 
what he could do, and came off on his back, doubled up with an oar 
under his chin, being not assisted at all.  Then there was an 
interval of rest under boughs (such rest!) what time Mr. Lobley 
mopped, and, arranging cushions, stretchers, and the like, danced 
the tight-rope the whole length of the boat like a man to whom 
shoes were a superstition and stockings slavery; and then came the 
sweet return among delicious odours of limes in bloom, and musical 
ripplings; and, all too soon, the great black city cast its shadow 
on the waters, and its dark bridges spanned them as death spans 
life, and the everlastingly-green garden seemed to be left for 
everlasting, unregainable and far away.

'Cannot people get through life without gritty stages, I wonder?' 
Rosa thought next day, when the town was very gritty again, and 
everything had a strange and an uncomfortable appearance of seeming 
to wait for something that wouldn't come.  NO.  She began to think, 
that, now the Cloisterham school-days had glided past and gone, the 
gritty stages would begin to set in at intervals and make 
themselves wearily known!

Yet what did Rosa expect?  Did she expect Miss Twinkleton?  Miss 
Twinkleton duly came.  Forth from her back parlour issued the 
Billickin to receive Miss Twinkleton, and War was in the 
Billickin's eye from that fell moment.

Miss Twinkleton brought a quantity of luggage with her, having all 
Rosa's as well as her own.  The Billickin took it ill that Miss 
Twinkleton's mind, being sorely disturbed by this luggage, failed 
to take in her personal identity with that clearness of perception 
which was due to its demands.  Stateliness mounted her gloomy 
throne upon the Billickin's brow in consequence.  And when Miss 
Twinkleton, in agitation taking stock of her trunks and packages, 
of which she had seventeen, particularly counted in the Billickin 
herself as number eleven, the B. found it necessary to repudiate.

'Things cannot too soon be put upon the footing,' said she, with a 
candour so demonstrative as to be almost obtrusive, 'that the 
person of the 'ouse is not a box nor yet a bundle, nor a carpet-
bag.  No, I am 'ily obleeged to you, Miss Twinkleton, nor yet a 
beggar.'

This last disclaimer had reference to Miss Twinkleton's 
distractedly pressing two-and-sixpence on her, instead of the 
cabman.

Thus cast off, Miss Twinkleton wildly inquired, 'which gentleman' 
was to be paid?  There being two gentlemen in that position (Miss 
Twinkleton having arrived with two cabs), each gentleman on being 
paid held forth his two-and-sixpence on the flat of his open hand, 
and, with a speechless stare and a dropped jaw, displayed his wrong 
to heaven and earth.  Terrified by this alarming spectacle, Miss 
Twinkleton placed another shilling in each hand; at the same time 
appealing to the law in flurried accents, and recounting her 
luggage this time with the two gentlemen in, who caused the total 
to come out complicated.  Meanwhile the two gentlemen, each looking 
very hard at the last shilling grumblingly, as if it might become 
eighteen-pence if he kept his eyes on it, descended the doorsteps, 
ascended their carriages, and drove away, leaving Miss Twinkleton 
on a bonnet-box in tears.

The Billickin beheld this manifestation of weakness without 
sympathy, and gave directions for 'a young man to be got in' to 
wrestle with the luggage.  When that gladiator had disappeared from 
the arena, peace ensued, and the new lodgers dined.

But the Billickin had somehow come to the knowledge that Miss 
Twinkleton kept a school.  The leap from that knowledge to the 
inference that Miss Twinkleton set herself to teach HER something, 
was easy.  'But you don't do it,' soliloquised the Billickin; 'I am 
not your pupil, whatever she,' meaning Rosa, 'may be, poor thing!'

Miss Twinkleton, on the other hand, having changed her dress and 
recovered her spirits, was animated by a bland desire to improve 
the occasion in all ways, and to be as serene a model as possible.  
In a happy compromise between her two states of existence, she had 
already become, with her workbasket before her, the equably 
vivacious companion with a slight judicious flavouring of 
information, when the Billickin announced herself.

'I will not hide from you, ladies,' said the B., enveloped in the 
shawl of state, 'for it is not my character to hide neither my 
motives nor my actions, that I take the liberty to look in upon you 
to express a 'ope that your dinner was to your liking.  Though not 
Professed but Plain, still her wages should be a sufficient object 
to her to stimilate to soar above mere roast and biled.'

'We dined very well indeed,' said Rosa, 'thank you.'

'Accustomed,' said Miss Twinkleton with a gracious air, which to 
the jealous ears of the Billickin seemed to add 'my good woman' - 
'accustomed to a liberal and nutritious, yet plain and salutary 
diet, we have found no reason to bemoan our absence from the 
ancient city, and the methodical household, in which the quiet 
routine of our lot has been hitherto cast.'

'I did think it well to mention to my cook,' observed the Billickin 
with a gush of candour, 'which I 'ope you will agree with, Miss 
Twinkleton, was a right precaution, that the young lady being used 
to what we should consider here but poor diet, had better be 
brought forward by degrees.  For, a rush from scanty feeding to 
generous feeding, and from what you may call messing to what you 
may call method, do require a power of constitution which is not 
often found in youth, particular when undermined by boarding-
school!'

It will be seen that the Billickin now openly pitted herself 
against Miss Twinkleton, as one whom she had fully ascertained to 
be her natural enemy.

'Your remarks,' returned Miss Twinkleton, from a remote moral 
eminence, 'are well meant, I have no doubt; but you will permit me 
to observe that they develop a mistaken view of the subject, which 
can only be imputed to your extreme want of accurate information.'

'My informiation,' retorted the Billickin, throwing in an extra 
syllable for the sake of emphasis at once polite and powerful - 'my 
informiation, Miss Twinkleton, were my own experience, which I 
believe is usually considered to be good guidance.  But whether so 
or not, I was put in youth to a very genteel boarding-school, the 
mistress being no less a lady than yourself, of about your own age 
or it may be some years younger, and a poorness of blood flowed 
from the table which has run through my life.'

'Very likely,' said Miss Twinkleton, still from her distant 
eminence; 'and very much to be deplored. - Rosa, my dear, how are 
you getting on with your work?'

'Miss Twinkleton,' resumed the Billickin, in a courtly manner, 
'before retiring on the 'int, as a lady should, I wish to ask of 
yourself, as a lady, whether I am to consider that my words is 
doubted?'

'I am not aware on what ground you cherish such a supposition,' 
began Miss Twinkleton, when the Billickin neatly stopped her.

'Do not, if you please, put suppositions betwixt my lips where none 
such have been imparted by myself.  Your flow of words is great, 
Miss Twinkleton, and no doubt is expected from you by your pupils, 
and no doubt is considered worth the money.  NO doubt, I am sure.  
But not paying for flows of words, and not asking to be favoured 
with them here, I wish to repeat my question.'

'If you refer to the poverty of your circulation,' began Miss 
Twinkleton, when again the Billickin neatly stopped her.

'I have used no such expressions.'

'If you refer, then, to the poorness of your blood - '

'Brought upon me,' stipulated the Billickin, expressly, 'at a 
boarding-school - '

'Then,' resumed Miss Twinkleton, 'all I can say is, that I am bound 
to believe, on your asseveration, that it is very poor indeed.  I 
cannot forbear adding, that if that unfortunate circumstance 
influences your conversation, it is much to be lamented, and it is 
eminently desirable that your blood were richer. - Rosa, my dear, 
how are you getting on with your work?'

'Hem!  Before retiring, Miss,' proclaimed the Billickin to Rosa, 
loftily cancelling Miss Twinkleton, 'I should wish it to be 
understood between yourself and me that my transactions in future 
is with you alone.  I know no elderly lady here, Miss, none older 
than yourself.'

'A highly desirable arrangement, Rosa my dear,' observed Miss 
Twinkleton.

'It is not, Miss,' said the Billickin, with a sarcastic smile, 
'that I possess the Mill I have heard of, in which old single 
ladies could be ground up young (what a gift it would be to some of 
us), but that I limit myself to you totally.'

'When I have any desire to communicate a request to the person of 
the house, Rosa my dear,' observed Miss Twinkleton with majestic 
cheerfulness, 'I will make it known to you, and you will kindly 
undertake, I am sure, that it is conveyed to the proper quarter.'

'Good-evening, Miss,' said the Billickin, at once affectionately 
and distantly.  'Being alone in my eyes, I wish you good-evening 
with best wishes, and do not find myself drove, I am truly 'appy to 
say, into expressing my contempt for an indiwidual, unfortunately 
for yourself, belonging to you.'

The Billickin gracefully withdrew with this parting speech, and 
from that time Rosa occupied the restless position of shuttlecock 
between these two battledores.  Nothing could be done without a 
smart match being played out.  Thus, on the daily-arising question 
of dinner, Miss Twinkleton would say, the three being present 
together:

'Perhaps, my love, you will consult with the person of the house, 
whether she can procure us a lamb's fry; or, failing that, a roast 
fowl.'

On which the Billickin would retort (Rosa not having spoken a 
word), 'If you was better accustomed to butcher's meat, Miss, you 
would not entertain the idea of a lamb's fry.  Firstly, because 
lambs has long been sheep, and secondly, because there is such 
things as killing-days, and there is not.  As to roast fowls, Miss, 
why you must be quite surfeited with roast fowls, letting alone 
your buying, when you market for yourself, the agedest of poultry 
with the scaliest of legs, quite as if you was accustomed to 
picking 'em out for cheapness.  Try a little inwention, Miss.  Use 
yourself to 'ousekeeping a bit.  Come now, think of somethink 
else.'

To this encouragement, offered with the indulgent toleration of a 
wise and liberal expert, Miss Twinkleton would rejoin, reddening:

'Or, my dear, you might propose to the person of the house a duck.'

'Well, Miss!' the Billickin would exclaim (still no word being 
spoken by Rosa), 'you do surprise me when you speak of ducks!  Not 
to mention that they're getting out of season and very dear, it 
really strikes to my heart to see you have a duck; for the breast, 
which is the only delicate cuts in a duck, always goes in a 
direction which I cannot imagine where, and your own plate comes 
down so miserably skin-and-bony!  Try again, Miss.  Think more of 
yourself, and less of others.  A dish of sweetbreads now, or a bit 
of mutton.  Something at which you can get your equal chance.'

Occasionally the game would wax very brisk indeed, and would be 
kept up with a smartness rendering such an encounter as this quite 
tame.  But the Billickin almost invariably made by far the higher 
score; and would come in with side hits of the most unexpected and 
extraordinary description, when she seemed without a chance.

All this did not improve the gritty state of things in London, or 
the air that London had acquired in Rosa's eyes of waiting for 
something that never came.  Tired of working, and conversing with 
Miss Twinkleton, she suggested working and reading:  to which Miss 
Twinkleton readily assented, as an admirable reader, of tried 
powers.  But Rosa soon made the discovery that Miss Twinkleton 
didn't read fairly.  She cut the love-scenes, interpolated passages 
in praise of female celibacy, and was guilty of other glaring pious 
frauds.  As an instance in point, take the glowing passage:  'Ever 
dearest and best adored, - said Edward, clasping the dear head to 
his breast, and drawing the silken hair through his caressing 
fingers, from which he suffered it to fall like golden rain, - ever 
dearest and best adored, let us fly from the unsympathetic world 
and the sterile coldness of the stony-hearted, to the rich warm 
Paradise of Trust and Love.'  Miss Twinkleton's fraudulent version 
tamely ran thus:  'Ever engaged to me with the consent of our 
parents on both sides, and the approbation of the silver-haired 
rector of the district, - said Edward, respectfully raising to his 
lips the taper fingers so skilful in embroidery, tambour, crochet, 
and other truly feminine arts, - let me call on thy papa ere to-
morrow's dawn has sunk into the west, and propose a suburban 
establishment, lowly it may be, but within our means, where he will 
be always welcome as an evening guest, and where every arrangement 
shall invest economy, and constant interchange of scholastic 
acquirements with the attributes of the ministering angel to 
domestic bliss.'

As the days crept on and nothing happened, the neighbours began to 
say that the pretty girl at Billickin's, who looked so wistfully 
and so much out of the gritty windows of the drawing-room, seemed 
to be losing her spirits.  The pretty girl might have lost them but 
for the accident of lighting on some books of voyages and sea-
adventure.  As a compensation against their romance, Miss 
Twinkleton, reading aloud, made the most of all the latitudes and 
longitudes, bearings, winds, currents, offsets, and other 
statistics (which she felt to be none the less improving because 
they expressed nothing whatever to her); while Rosa, listening 
intently, made the most of what was nearest to her heart.  So they 
both did better than before.

CHAPTER XXIII - THE DAWN AGAIN

ALTHOUGH Mr. Crisparkle and John Jasper met daily under the 
Cathedral roof, nothing at any time passed between them having 
reference to Edwin Drood, after the time, more than half a year 
gone by, when Jasper mutely showed the Minor Canon the conclusion 
and the resolution entered in his Diary.  It is not likely that 
they ever met, though so often, without the thoughts of each 
reverting to the subject.  It is not likely that they ever met, 
though so often, without a sensation on the part of each that the 
other was a perplexing secret to him. Jasper as the denouncer and 
pursuer of Neville Landless, and Mr. Crisparkle as his consistent 
advocate and protector, must at least have stood sufficiently in 
opposition to have speculated with keen interest on the steadiness 
and next direction of the other's designs.  But neither ever 
broached the theme.

False pretence not being in the Minor Canon's nature, he doubtless 
displayed openly that he would at any time have revived the 
subject, and even desired to discuss it.  The determined reticence 
of Jasper, however, was not to be so approached.  Impassive, moody, 
solitary, resolute, so concentrated on one idea, and on its 
attendant fixed purpose, that he would share it with no fellow-
creature, he lived apart from human life.  Constantly exercising an 
Art which brought him into mechanical harmony with others, and 
which could not have been pursued unless he and they had been in 
the nicest mechanical relations and unison, it is curious to 
consider that the spirit of the man was in moral accordance or 
interchange with nothing around him.  This indeed he had confided 
to his lost nephew, before the occasion for his present 
inflexibility arose.

That he must know of Rosa's abrupt departure, and that he must 
divine its cause, was not to be doubted.  Did he suppose that he 
had terrified her into silence? or did he suppose that she had 
imparted to any one - to Mr. Crisparkle himself, for instance - the 
particulars of his last interview with her?  Mr. Crisparkle could 
not determine this in his mind.  He could not but admit, however, 
as a just man, that it was not, of itself, a crime to fall in love 
with Rosa, any more than it was a crime to offer to set love above 
revenge.

The dreadful suspicion of Jasper, which Rosa was so shocked to have 
received into her imagination, appeared to have no harbour in Mr. 
Crisparkle's.  If it ever haunted Helena's thoughts or Neville's, 
neither gave it one spoken word of utterance.  Mr. Grewgious took 
no pains to conceal his implacable dislike of Jasper, yet he never 
referred it, however distantly, to such a source.  But he was a 
reticent as well as an eccentric man; and he made no mention of a 
certain evening when he warmed his hands at the gatehouse fire, and 
looked steadily down upon a certain heap of torn and miry clothes 
upon the floor.

Drowsy Cloisterham, whenever it awoke to a passing reconsideration 
of a story above six months old and dismissed by the bench of 
magistrates, was pretty equally divided in opinion whether John 
Jasper's beloved nephew had been killed by his treacherously 
passionate rival, or in an open struggle; or had, for his own 
purposes, spirited himself away.  It then lifted up its head, to 
notice that the bereaved Jasper was still ever devoted to discovery 
and revenge; and then dozed off again.  This was the condition of 
matters, all round, at the period to which the present history has 
now attained.

The Cathedral doors have closed for the night; and the Choir-
master, on a short leave of absence for two or three services, sets 
his face towards London.  He travels thither by the means by which 
Rosa travelled, and arrives, as Rosa arrived, on a hot, dusty 
evening.

His travelling baggage is easily carried in his hand, and he 
repairs with it on foot, to a hybrid hotel in a little square 
behind Aldersgate Street, near the General Post Office.  It is 
hotel, boarding-house, or lodging-house, at its visitor's option.  
It announces itself, in the new Railway Advertisers, as a novel 
enterprise, timidly beginning to spring up.  It bashfully, almost 
apologetically, gives the traveller to understand that it does not 
expect him, on the good old constitutional hotel plan, to order a 
pint of sweet blacking for his drinking, and throw it away; but 
insinuates that he may have his boots blacked instead of his 
stomach, and maybe also have bed, breakfast, attendance, and a 
porter up all night, for a certain fixed charge.  From these and 
similar premises, many true Britons in the lowest spirits deduce 
that the times are levelling times, except in the article of high 
roads, of which there will shortly be not one in England.

He eats without appetite, and soon goes forth again.  Eastward and 
still eastward through the stale streets he takes his way, until he 
reaches his destination:  a miserable court, specially miserable 
among many such.

He ascends a broken staircase, opens a door, looks into a dark 
stifling room, and says:  'Are you alone here?'

'Alone, deary; worse luck for me, and better for you,' replies a 
croaking voice.  'Come in, come in, whoever you be:  I can't see 
you till I light a match, yet I seem to know the sound of your 
speaking.  I'm acquainted with you, ain't I?'

'Light your match, and try.'

'So I will, deary, so I will; but my hand that shakes, as I can't 
lay it on a match all in a moment.  And I cough so, that, put my 
matches where I may, I never find 'em there.  They jump and start, 
as I cough and cough, like live things.  Are you off a voyage, 
deary?'

'No.'

'Not seafaring?'

'No.'

'Well, there's land customers, and there's water customers.  I'm a 
mother to both.  Different from Jack Chinaman t'other side the 
court.  He ain't a father to neither.  It ain't in him.  And he 
ain't got the true secret of mixing, though he charges as much as 
me that has, and more if he can get it.  Here's a match, and now 
where's the candle?  If my cough takes me, I shall cough out twenty 
matches afore I gets a light.'

But she finds the candle, and lights it, before the cough comes on.  
It seizes her in the moment of success, and she sits down rocking 
herself to and fro, and gasping at intervals:  'O, my lungs is 
awful bad! my lungs is wore away to cabbage-nets!' until the fit is 
over.  During its continuance she has had no power of sight, or any 
other power not absorbed in the struggle; but as it leaves her, she 
begins to strain her eyes, and as soon as she is able to 
articulate, she cries, staring:

'Why, it's you!'

'Are you so surprised to see me?'

'I thought I never should have seen you again, deary.  I thought 
you was dead, and gone to Heaven.'

'Why?'

'I didn't suppose you could have kept away, alive, so long, from 
the poor old soul with the real receipt for mixing it.  And you are 
in mourning too!  Why didn't you come and have a pipe or two of 
comfort?  Did they leave you money, perhaps, and so you didn't want 
comfort?'

' No.'

'Who was they as died, deary?'

'A relative.'

'Died of what, lovey?'

'Probably, Death.'

'We are short to-night!' cries the woman, with a propitiatory 
laugh.  'Short and snappish we are!  But we're out of sorts for 
want of a smoke.  We've got the all-overs, haven't us, deary?  But 
this is the place to cure 'em in; this is the place where the all-
overs is smoked off.'

'You may make ready, then,' replies the visitor, 'as soon as you 
like.'

He divests himself of his shoes, loosens his cravat, and lies 
across the foot of the squalid bed, with his head resting on his 
left hand.

'Now you begin to look like yourself,' says the woman approvingly.  
'Now I begin to know my old customer indeed!  Been trying to mix 
for yourself this long time, poppet?'

'I have been taking it now and then in my own way.'

'Never take it your own way.  It ain't good for trade, and it ain't 
good for you.  Where's my ink-bottle, and where's my thimble, and 
where's my little spoon?  He's going to take it in a artful form 
now, my deary dear!'

Entering on her process, and beginning to bubble and blow at the 
faint spark enclosed in the hollow of her hands, she speaks from 
time to time, in a tone of snuffling satisfaction, without leaving 
off.  When he speaks, he does so without looking at her, and as if 
his thoughts were already roaming away by anticipation.

'I've got a pretty many smokes ready for you, first and last, 
haven't I, chuckey?'

'A good many.'

'When you first come, you was quite new to it; warn't ye?'

'Yes, I was easily disposed of, then.'

'But you got on in the world, and was able by-and-by to take your 
pipe with the best of 'em, warn't ye?'

'Ah; and the worst.'

'It's just ready for you.  What a sweet singer you was when you 
first come!  Used to drop your head, and sing yourself off like a 
bird!  It's ready for you now, deary.'

He takes it from her with great care, and puts the mouthpiece to 
his lips.  She seats herself beside him, ready to refill the pipe.

After inhaling a few whiffs in silence, he doubtingly accosts her 
with:

'Is it as potent as it used to be?'

'What do you speak of, deary?'

'What should I speak of, but what I have in my mouth?'

'It's just the same.  Always the identical same.'

'It doesn't taste so.  And it's slower.'

'You've got more used to it, you see.'

'That may be the cause, certainly.  Look here.'  He stops, becomes 
dreamy, and seems to forget that he has invited her attention.  She 
bends over him, and speaks in his ear.

'I'm attending to you.  Says you just now, Look here.  Says I now, 
I'm attending to ye.  We was talking just before of your being used 
to it.'

'I know all that.  I was only thinking.  Look here.  Suppose you 
had something in your mind; something you were going to do.'

'Yes, deary; something I was going to do?'

'But had not quite determined to do.'

'Yes, deary.'

'Might or might not do, you understand.'

'Yes.'  With the point of a needle she stirs the contents of the 
bowl.

'Should you do it in your fancy, when you were lying here doing 
this?'

She nods her head.  'Over and over again.'

'Just like me!  I did it over and over again.  I have done it 
hundreds of thousands of times in this room.'

'It's to be hoped it was pleasant to do, deary.'

'It WAS pleasant to do!'

He says this with a savage air, and a spring or start at her.  
Quite unmoved she retouches and replenishes the contents of the 
bowl with her little spatula.  Seeing her intent upon the 
occupation, he sinks into his former attitude.

'It was a journey, a difficult and dangerous journey.  That was the 
subject in my mind.  A hazardous and perilous journey, over abysses 
where a slip would be destruction.  Look down, look down!  You see 
what lies at the bottom there?'

He has darted forward to say it, and to point at the ground, as 
though at some imaginary object far beneath.  The woman looks at 
him, as his spasmodic face approaches close to hers, and not at his 
pointing.  She seems to know what the influence of her perfect 
quietude would be; if so, she has not miscalculated it, for he 
subsides again.

'Well; I have told you I did it here hundreds of thousands of 
times.  What do I say?  I did it millions and billions of times.  I 
did it so often, and through such vast expanses of time, that when 
it was really done, it seemed not worth the doing, it was done so 
soon.'

'That's the journey you have been away upon,' she quietly remarks.

He glares at her as he smokes; and then, his eyes becoming filmy, 
answers:  'That's the journey.'

Silence ensues.  His eyes are sometimes closed and sometimes open.  
The woman sits beside him, very attentive to the pipe, which is all 
the while at his lips.

'I'll warrant,' she observes, when he has been looking fixedly at 
her for some consecutive moments, with a singular appearance in his 
eyes of seeming to see her a long way off, instead of so near him:  
'I'll warrant you made the journey in a many ways, when you made it 
so often?'

'No, always in one way.'

'Always in the same way?'

'Ay.'

'In the way in which it was really made at last?'

'Ay.'

'And always took the same pleasure in harping on it?'

'Ay.'

For the time he appears unequal to any other reply than this lazy 
monosyllabic assent.  Probably to assure herself that it is not the 
assent of a mere automaton, she reverses the form of her next 
sentence.

'Did you never get tired of it, deary, and try to call up something 
else for a change?'

He struggles into a sitting posture, and retorts upon her:  'What 
do you mean?  What did I want?  What did I come for?'

She gently lays him back again, and before returning him the 
instrument he has dropped, revives the fire in it with her own 
breath; then says to him, coaxingly:

'Sure, sure, sure!  Yes, yes, yes!  Now I go along with you.  You 
was too quick for me.  I see now.  You come o' purpose to take the 
journey.  Why, I might have known it, through its standing by you 
so.'

He answers first with a laugh, and then with a passionate setting 
of his teeth:  'Yes, I came on purpose.  When I could not bear my 
life, I came to get the relief, and I got it.  It WAS one!  It WAS 
one!'  This repetition with extraordinary vehemence, and the snarl 
of a wolf.

She observes him very cautiously, as though mentally feeling her 
way to her next remark.  It is:  'There was a fellow-traveller, 
deary.'

'Ha, ha, ha!'  He breaks into a ringing laugh, or rather yell.

'To think,' he cries, 'how often fellow-traveller, and yet not know 
it!  To think how many times he went the journey, and never saw the 
road!'

The woman kneels upon the floor, with her arms crossed on the 
coverlet of the bed, close by him, and her chin upon them.  In this 
crouching attitude she watches him.  The pipe is falling from his 
mouth.  She puts it back, and laying her hand upon his chest, moves 
him slightly from side to side.  Upon that he speaks, as if she had 
spoken.

'Yes!  I always made the journey first, before the changes of 
colours and the great landscapes and glittering processions began.  
They couldn't begin till it was off my mind.  I had no room till 
then for anything else.'

Once more he lapses into silence.  Once more she lays her hand upon 
his chest, and moves him slightly to and fro, as a cat might 
stimulate a half-slain mouse.  Once more he speaks, as if she had 
spoken.

'What?  I told you so.  When it comes to be real at last, it is so 
short that it seems unreal for the first time.  Hark!'

'Yes, deary.  I'm listening.'

'Time and place are both at hand.'

He is on his feet, speaking in a whisper, and as if in the dark.

'Time, place, and fellow-traveller,' she suggests, adopting his 
tone, and holding him softly by the arm.

'How could the time be at hand unless the fellow-traveller was?  
Hush!  The journey's made.  It's over.'

'So soon?'

'That's what I said to you.  So soon.  Wait a little.  This is a 
vision.  I shall sleep it off.  It has been too short and easy.  I 
must have a better vision than this; this is the poorest of all.  
No struggle, no consciousness of peril, no entreaty - and yet I 
never saw THAT before.'  With a start.

'Saw what, deary?'

'Look at it!  Look what a poor, mean, miserable thing it is!  THAT 
must be real.  It's over.'

He has accompanied this incoherence with some wild unmeaning 
gestures; but they trail off into the progressive inaction of 
stupor, and he lies a log upon the bed.

The woman, however, is still inquisitive.  With a repetition of her 
cat-like action she slightly stirs his body again, and listens; 
stirs again, and listens; whispers to it, and listens.  Finding it 
past all rousing for the time, she slowly gets upon her feet, with 
an air of disappointment, and flicks the face with the back of her 
hand in turning from it.

But she goes no further away from it than the chair upon the 
hearth.  She sits in it, with an elbow on one of its arms, and her 
chin upon her hand, intent upon him.  'I heard ye say once,' she 
croaks under her breath, 'I heard ye say once, when I was lying 
where you're lying, and you were making your speculations upon me, 
"Unintelligible!"  I heard you say so, of two more than me.  But 
don't ye be too sure always; don't be ye too sure, beauty!'

Unwinking, cat-like, and intent, she presently adds:  'Not so 
potent as it once was?  Ah!  Perhaps not at first.  You may be more 
right there.  Practice makes perfect.  I may have learned the 
secret how to make ye talk, deary.'

He talks no more, whether or no.  Twitching in an ugly way from 
time to time, both as to his face and limbs, he lies heavy and 
silent.  The wretched candle burns down; the woman takes its 
expiring end between her fingers, lights another at it, crams the 
guttering frying morsel deep into the candlestick, and rams it home 
with the new candle, as if she were loading some ill-savoured and 
unseemly weapon of witchcraft; the new candle in its turn burns 
down; and still he lies insensible.  At length what remains of the 
last candle is blown out, and daylight looks into the room.

It has not looked very long, when he sits up, chilled and shaking, 
slowly recovers consciousness of where he is, and makes himself 
ready to depart.  The woman receives what he pays her with a 
grateful, 'Bless ye, bless ye, deary!' and seems, tired out, to 
begin making herself ready for sleep as he leaves the room.

But seeming may be false or true.  It is false in this case; for, 
the moment the stairs have ceased to creak under his tread, she 
glides after him, muttering emphatically:  'I'll not miss ye 
twice!'

There is no egress from the court but by its entrance.  With a 
weird peep from the doorway, she watches for his looking back.  He 
does not look back before disappearing, with a wavering step.  She 
follows him, peeps from the court, sees him still faltering on 
without looking back, and holds him in view.

He repairs to the back of Aldersgate Street, where a door 
immediately opens to his knocking.  She crouches in another 
doorway, watching that one, and easily comprehending that he puts 
up temporarily at that house.  Her patience is unexhausted by 
hours.  For sustenance she can, and does, buy bread within a 
hundred yards, and milk as it is carried past her.

He comes forth again at noon, having changed his dress, but 
carrying nothing in his hand, and having nothing carried for him.  
He is not going back into the country, therefore, just yet.  She 
follows him a little way, hesitates, instantaneously turns 
confidently, and goes straight into the house he has quitted.

'Is the gentleman from Cloisterham indoors?

'Just gone out.'

'Unlucky.  When does the gentleman return to Cloisterham?'

'At six this evening.'

'Bless ye and thank ye.  May the Lord prosper a business where a 
civil question, even from a poor soul, is so civilly answered!'

'I'll not miss ye twice!' repeats the poor soul in the street, and 
not so civilly.  'I lost ye last, where that omnibus you got into 
nigh your journey's end plied betwixt the station and the place.  I 
wasn't so much as certain that you even went right on to the place.  
Now I know ye did.  My gentleman from Cloisterham, I'll be there 
before ye, and bide your coming.  I've swore my oath that I'll not 
miss ye twice!'

Accordingly, that same evening the poor soul stands in Cloisterham 
High Street, looking at the many quaint gables of the Nuns' House, 
and getting through the time as she best can until nine o'clock; at 
which hour she has reason to suppose that the arriving omnibus 
passengers may have some interest for her.  The friendly darkness, 
at that hour, renders it easy for her to ascertain whether this be 
so or not; and it is so, for the passenger not to be missed twice 
arrives among the rest.

'Now let me see what becomes of you.  Go on!'

An observation addressed to the air, and yet it might be addressed 
to the passenger, so compliantly does he go on along the High 
Street until he comes to an arched gateway, at which he 
unexpectedly vanishes.  The poor soul quickens her pace; is swift, 
and close upon him entering under the gateway; but only sees a 
postern staircase on one side of it, and on the other side an 
ancient vaulted room, in which a large-headed, gray-haired 
gentleman is writing, under the odd circumstances of sitting open 
to the thoroughfare and eyeing all who pass, as if he were toll-
taker of the gateway:  though the way is free.

'Halloa!' he cries in a low voice, seeing her brought to a stand-
still:  'who are you looking for?'

'There was a gentleman passed in here this minute, sir.'

'Of course there was.  What do you want with him?'

'Where do he live, deary?'

'Live?  Up that staircase.'

'Bless ye!  Whisper.  What's his name, deary?'

'Surname Jasper, Christian name John.  Mr. John Jasper.'

'Has he a calling, good gentleman?'

'Calling?  Yes.  Sings in the choir.'

'In the spire?'

'Choir.'

'What's that?'

Mr. Datchery rises from his papers, and comes to his doorstep.  'Do 
you know what a cathedral is?' he asks, jocosely.

The woman nods.

'What is it?'

She looks puzzled, casting about in her mind to find a definition, 
when it occurs to her that it is easier to point out the 
substantial object itself, massive against the dark-blue sky and 
the early stars.

'That's the answer.  Go in there at seven to-morrow morning, and 
you may see Mr. John Jasper, and hear him too.'

'Thank ye!  Thank ye!'

The burst of triumph in which she thanks him does not escape the 
notice of the single buffer of an easy temper living idly on his 
means.  He glances at her; clasps his hands behind him, as the wont 
of such buffers is; and lounges along the echoing Precincts at her 
side.

'Or,' he suggests, with a backward hitch of his head, 'you can go 
up at once to Mr. Jasper's rooms there.'

The woman eyes him with a cunning smile, and shakes her head.

'O! you don't want to speak to him?'

She repeats her dumb reply, and forms with her lips a soundless 
'No.'

'You can admire him at a distance three times a day, whenever you 
like.  It's a long way to come for that, though.'

The woman looks up quickly.  If Mr. Datchery thinks she is to be so 
induced to declare where she comes from, he is of a much easier 
temper than she is.  But she acquits him of such an artful thought, 
as he lounges along, like the chartered bore of the city, with his 
uncovered gray hair blowing about, and his purposeless hands 
rattling the loose money in the pockets of his trousers.

The chink of the money has an attraction for her greedy ears.  
'Wouldn't you help me to pay for my traveller's lodging, dear 
gentleman, and to pay my way along?  I am a poor soul, I am indeed, 
and troubled with a grievous cough.'

'You know the travellers' lodging, I perceive, and are making 
directly for it,' is Mr. Datchery's bland comment, still rattling 
his loose money.  'Been here often, my good woman?'

'Once in all my life.'

'Ay, ay?'

They have arrived at the entrance to the Monks' Vineyard.  An 
appropriate remembrance, presenting an exemplary model for 
imitation, is revived in the woman's mind by the sight of the 
place.  She stops at the gate, and says energetically:

'By this token, though you mayn't believe it, That a young 
gentleman gave me three-and-sixpence as I was coughing my breath 
away on this very grass.  I asked him for three-and-sixpence, and 
he gave it me.'

'Wasn't it a little cool to name your sum?' hints Mr. Datchery, 
still rattling.  'Isn't it customary to leave the amount open?  
Mightn't it have had the appearance, to the young gentleman - only 
the appearance - that he was rather dictated to?'

'Look'ee here, deary,' she replies, in a confidential and 
persuasive tone, 'I wanted the money to lay it out on a medicine as 
does me good, and as I deal in.  I told the young gentleman so, and 
he gave it me, and I laid it out honest to the last brass farden.  
I want to lay out the same sum in the same way now; and if you'll 
give it me, I'll lay it out honest to the last brass farden again, 
upon my soul!'

'What's the medicine?'

'I'll be honest with you beforehand, as well as after.  It's 
opium.'

Mr. Datchery, with a sudden change of countenance, gives her a 
sudden look.

'It's opium, deary.  Neither more nor less.  And it's like a human 
creetur so far, that you always hear what can be said against it, 
but seldom what can be said in its praise.'

Mr. Datchery begins very slowly to count out the sum demanded of 
him.  Greedily watching his hands, she continues to hold forth on 
the great example set him.

'It was last Christmas Eve, just arter dark, the once that I was 
here afore, when the young gentleman gave me the three-and-six.'  
Mr. Datchery stops in his counting, finds he has counted wrong, 
shakes his money together, and begins again.

'And the young gentleman's name,' she adds, 'was Edwin.'

Mr. Datchery drops some money, stoops to pick it up, and reddens 
with the exertion as he asks:

'How do you know the young gentleman's name?'

'I asked him for it, and he told it me.  I only asked him the two 
questions, what was his Chris'en name, and whether he'd a 
sweetheart?  And he answered, Edwin, and he hadn't.'

Mr. Datchery pauses with the selected coins in his hand, rather as 
if he were falling into a brown study of their value, and couldn't 
bear to part with them.  The woman looks at him distrustfully, and 
with her anger brewing for the event of his thinking better of the 
gift; but he bestows it on her as if he were abstracting his mind 
from the sacrifice, and with many servile thanks she goes her way.

John Jasper's lamp is kindled, and his lighthouse is shining when 
Mr. Datchery returns alone towards it.  As mariners on a dangerous 
voyage, approaching an iron-bound coast, may look along the beams 
of the warning light to the haven lying beyond it that may never be 
reached, so Mr. Datchery's wistful gaze is directed to this beacon, 
and beyond.

His object in now revisiting his lodging is merely to put on the 
hat which seems so superfluous an article in his wardrobe.  It is 
half-past ten by the Cathedral clock when he walks out into the 
Precincts again; he lingers and looks about him, as though, the 
enchanted hour when Mr. Durdles may be stoned home having struck, 
he had some expectation of seeing the Imp who is appointed to the 
mission of stoning him.

In effect, that Power of Evil is abroad.  Having nothing living to 
stone at the moment, he is discovered by Mr. Datchery in the unholy 
office of stoning the dead, through the railings of the churchyard.  
The Imp finds this a relishing and piquing pursuit; firstly, 
because their resting-place is announced to be sacred; and 
secondly, because the tall headstones are sufficiently like 
themselves, on their beat in the dark, to justify the delicious 
fancy that they are hurt when hit.

Mr. Datchery hails with him:  'Halloa, Winks!'

He acknowledges the hail with:  'Halloa, Dick!'  Their acquaintance 
seemingly having been established on a familiar footing.

'But, I say,' he remonstrates, 'don't yer go a-making my name 
public.  I never means to plead to no name, mind yer.  When they 
says to me in the Lock-up, a-going to put me down in the book, 
"What's your name?" I says to them, "Find out."  Likewise when they 
says, "What's your religion?" I says, "Find out."'

Which, it may be observed in passing, it would be immensely 
difficult for the State, however statistical, to do.

'Asides which,' adds the boy, 'there ain't no family of Winkses.'

'I think there must be.'

'Yer lie, there ain't.  The travellers give me the name on account 
of my getting no settled sleep and being knocked up all night; 
whereby I gets one eye roused open afore I've shut the other.  
That's what Winks means.  Deputy's the nighest name to indict me 
by:  but yer wouldn't catch me pleading to that, neither.'

'Deputy be it always, then.  We two are good friends; eh, Deputy?'

'Jolly good.'

'I forgave you the debt you owed me when we first became 
acquainted, and many of my sixpences have come your way since; eh, 
Deputy?'

'Ah!  And what's more, yer ain't no friend o' Jarsper's.  What did 
he go a-histing me off my legs for?'

'What indeed!  But never mind him now.  A shilling of mine is going 
your way to-night, Deputy.  You have just taken in a lodger I have 
been speaking to; an infirm woman with a cough.'

'Puffer,' assents Deputy, with a shrewd leer of recognition, and 
smoking an imaginary pipe, with his head very much on one side and 
his eyes very much out of their places:  'Hopeum Puffer.'

'What is her name?'

''Er Royal Highness the Princess Puffer.'

'She has some other name than that; where does she live?'

'Up in London.  Among the Jacks.'

'The sailors?'

'I said so; Jacks; and Chayner men:  and hother Knifers.'

'I should like to know, through you, exactly where she lives.'

'All right.  Give us 'old.'

A shilling passes; and, in that spirit of confidence which should 
pervade all business transactions between principals of honour, 
this piece of business is considered done.

'But here's a lark!' cries Deputy.  'Where did yer think 'Er Royal 
Highness is a-goin' to to-morrow morning?  Blest if she ain't a-
goin' to the KIN-FREE-DER-EL!'  He greatly prolongs the word in his 
ecstasy, and smites his leg, and doubles himself up in a fit of 
shrill laughter.

'How do you know that, Deputy?'

'Cos she told me so just now.  She said she must be hup and hout o' 
purpose.  She ses, "Deputy, I must 'ave a early wash, and make 
myself as swell as I can, for I'm a-goin' to take a turn at the 
KIN-FREE-DER-EL!"'  He separates the syllables with his former 
zest, and, not finding his sense of the ludicrous sufficiently 
relieved by stamping about on the pavement, breaks into a slow and 
stately dance, perhaps supposed to be performed by the Dean.

Mr. Datchery receives the communication with a well-satisfied 
though pondering face, and breaks up the conference.  Returning to 
his quaint lodging, and sitting long over the supper of bread-and-
cheese and salad and ale which Mrs. Tope has left prepared for him, 
he still sits when his supper is finished.  At length he rises, 
throws open the door of a corner cupboard, and refers to a few 
uncouth chalked strokes on its inner side.

'I like,' says Mr. Datchery, 'the old tavern way of keeping scores.  
Illegible except to the scorer.  The scorer not committed, the 
scored debited with what is against him.  Hum; ha!  A very small 
score this; a very poor score!'

He sighs over the contemplation of its poverty, takes a bit of 
chalk from one of the cupboard shelves, and pauses with it in his 
hand, uncertain what addition to make to the account.

'I think a moderate stroke,' he concludes, 'is all I am justified 
in scoring up;' so, suits the action to the word, closes the 
cupboard, and goes to bed.

A brilliant morning shines on the old city.  Its antiquities and 
ruins are surpassingly beautiful, with a lusty ivy gleaming in the 
sun, and the rich trees waving in the balmy air.  Changes of 
glorious light from moving boughs, songs of birds, scents from 
gardens, woods, and fields - or, rather, from the one great garden 
of the whole cultivated island in its yielding time - penetrate 
into the Cathedral, subdue its earthy odour, and preach the 
Resurrection and the Life.  The cold stone tombs of centuries ago 
grow warm; and flecks of brightness dart into the sternest marble 
corners of the building, fluttering there like wings.

Comes Mr. Tope with his large keys, and yawningly unlocks and sets 
open.  Come Mrs. Tope and attendant sweeping sprites.  Come, in due 
time, organist and bellows-boy, peeping down from the red curtains 
in the loft, fearlessly flapping dust from books up at that remote 
elevation, and whisking it from stops and pedals.  Come sundry 
rooks, from various quarters of the sky, back to the great tower; 
who may be presumed to enjoy vibration, and to know that bell and 
organ are going to give it them.  Come a very small and straggling 
congregation indeed:  chiefly from Minor Canon Corner and the 
Precincts.  Come Mr. Crisparkle, fresh and bright; and his 
ministering brethren, not quite so fresh and bright.  Come the 
Choir in a hurry (always in a hurry, and struggling into their 
nightgowns at the last moment, like children shirking bed), and 
comes John Jasper leading their line.  Last of all comes Mr. 
Datchery into a stall, one of a choice empty collection very much 
at his service, and glancing about him for Her Royal Highness the 
Princess Puffer.

The service is pretty well advanced before Mr. Datchery can discern 
Her Royal Highness.  But by that time he has made her out, in the 
shade.  She is behind a pillar, carefully withdrawn from the Choir-
master's view, but regards him with the closest attention.  All 
unconscious of her presence, he chants and sings.  She grins when 
he is most musically fervid, and - yes, Mr. Datchery sees her do 
it! - shakes her fist at him behind the pillar's friendly shelter.

Mr. Datchery looks again, to convince himself.  Yes, again!  As 
ugly and withered as one of the fantastic carvings on the under 
brackets of the stall seats, as malignant as the Evil One, as hard 
as the big brass eagle holding the sacred books upon his wings 
(and, according to the sculptor's representation of his ferocious 
attributes, not at all converted by them), she hugs herself in her 
lean arms, and then shakes both fists at the leader of the Choir.

And at that moment, outside the grated door of the Choir, having 
eluded the vigilance of Mr. Tope by shifty resources in which he is 
an adept, Deputy peeps, sharp-eyed, through the bars, and stares 
astounded from the threatener to the threatened.

The service comes to an end, and the servitors disperse to 
breakfast.  Mr. Datchery accosts his last new acquaintance outside, 
when the Choir (as much in a hurry to get their bedgowns off, as 
they were but now to get them on) have scuffled away.

'Well, mistress.  Good morning.  You have seen him?'

'I'VE seen him, deary; I'VE seen him!'

'And you know him?'

'Know him!  Better far than all the Reverend Parsons put together 
know him.'

Mrs. Tope's care has spread a very neat, clean breakfast ready for 
her lodger.  Before sitting down to it, he opens his corner-
cupboard door; takes his bit of chalk from its shelf; adds one 
thick line to the score, extending from the top of the cupboard 
door to the bottom; and then falls to with an appetite.

End of the Project Gutenberg eText The Mystery of Edwin Drood


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