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Title: The Problem of 'Edwin Drood' - A Study in the Methods of Dickens
Author: Nicoll, W. Robertson
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Problem of 'Edwin Drood' - A Study in the Methods of Dickens" ***

    [Picture: An Original Wrapper of “Edwin Drood” Designed by Charles
       Allston Collins.  (By permission of Messrs. Chapman & Hall)]

                              THE PROBLEM OF
                              ‘EDWIN DROOD’

                           W. ROBERTSON NICOLL

                                * * * * *

                           HODDER AND STOUGHTON
                       LONDON   NEW YORK   TORONTO

                                * * * * *

                             PRINTED IN 1912

                                * * * * *

                         TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
                           THE EARL OF ROSEBERY


PREFACE                                     ix
INTRODUCTION                         xvii
             CHAPTER I
THE TEXT OF ‘EDWIN DROOD’                    3
                  CHAPTER II
EXTERNAL TESTIMONIES                        20
NOTES FOR THE NOVEL                         56
                 CHAPTER III
                  CHAPTER IV
THE METHODS OF DICKENS                      82
                  CHAPTER V
WAS EDWIN DROOD MURDERED?                  109
                  CHAPTER VI
WHO WAS DATCHERY?                          141
                 CHAPTER VII
OTHER THEORIES                             177
                 CHAPTER VIII
HOW WAS ‘EDWIN DROOD’ TO END?              184
BIBLIOGRAPHY                               203


The first serious discussion of _The Mystery of Edwin Drood_ came from
the pen of the astronomer, Mr. R. A. Proctor.  Mr. Proctor wrote various
essays on the subject.  One appears in his _Leisure Readings_, included
in Messrs. Longmans’ ‘Silver Library.’  A second was published in 1887,
and entitled _Watched by the Dead_.  There were, I believe, in addition
some periodical articles by Mr. Proctor; these I have not seen.  Mr.
Proctor modified certain positions in his earlier essay included in
_Leisure Readings_, so that the paper must not be taken as representative
of his final views.  Whatever may be thought of Mr. Proctor’s theory, all
will admit that he devoted much care and ingenuity to the study, and that
he had an exceptional knowledge of Dickens’s books.

In 1905 Mr. Cuming Walters published his _Clues to Dickens’s Mystery of
Edwin Drood_.  The _Athenæum_ expressed its conviction ‘that in these
hundred pages or so he has found the clue, the main secret which had
baffled all previous investigators, and so has secured permanent
association with one of the immortals.’  Mr. Cuming Walters’s book was
immediately followed by Mr. Andrew Lang’s _The Puzzle of Dickens’s Last
Plot_.  In this Mr. Lang adopted with modifications the theory of Mr.
Proctor.  The subject continued to interest this lamented author to the
end of his life.  He wrote many letters and articles on the theme, coming
ultimately to the conclusion that Dickens did not know himself how his
story was to be ended.

In 1910 Professor Henry Jackson of Cambridge published a volume, _About
Edwin Drood_.  It is a work of sterling merit, and particularly valuable
for its study of the chronology of the story.  Dr. Jackson was the first
to examine the manuscript in a scholarly way, and to give some of the
chief results.  His conclusions are in the main those of Mr. Cuming
Walters, but they are supported by fresh arguments and criticisms.

There have been many articles on the subject, particularly in that
excellent periodical, the _Dickensian_, edited by Mr. B. W. Matz.  Of
this magazine it may be said that every number adds something to our
knowledge of the great author.

By far the most successful attempt to finish the book is that of Gillan
Vase, which was published in 1878.  It is the only continuation worth
looking at.

Among the best of the periodical contributions are those by Dr. M. R.
James of Cambridge, published in the _Academy_, and in the _Cambridge
Review_.  The papers of Mr. G. F. Gadd in the _Dickensian_ deserve
special praise.  In the _Bookman_ Mr. B. W. Matz, whose knowledge of
Dickens is unsurpassed, has declared for the view that Edwin Drood was
murdered, but has not committed himself to any theory of Datchery.

I should not have been justified in publishing this volume if I had been
able to add no new material.  But I venture to think it will be found
that while I have freely used the arguments and the discoveries of
previous investigators, I have made a considerable addition to the
stores.  In particular, I have brought out the fact that Forster declined
to accept Dickens’s erasures in the later proofs, and I have printed the
passages which Dickens meant to have omitted.  The effect of the
omissions is also traced to a certain extent, though not fully.  The more
one studies them, the more significant they appear.

I have printed completely for the first time the Notes and Plans for the
novel.  I have also published some notes on the manuscript based on a
careful examination.  These notes are not by any means complete, but they
include perhaps the more important facts.  Through the kindness of Miss
Bessie Hatton and Mr. B. W. Matz I have been able to give an account of
the unacted play by Charles Dickens the younger and Joseph Hatton on
_Edwin Drood_.

I have also put together for the first time the external evidence on the
subject.  It is particularly important that this evidence should be read
in full, and much of it is now inaccessible to the general reader.  In
the discussion of the main problems it will, I believe, be found that
certain new arguments have been brought forward.  In particular I ask
attention to the quotations from the Bancroft _Memoirs_ and from _No
Name_.  I have also given certain studies of the methods of Dickens which
may be useful.

I have to acknowledge with warm thanks the kindness of Mr. Hugh Thomson
in sending me his reading of the Wrapper.

It will thus, I hope, be found that the study is a contribution to the
subject, and not a mere repetition or paraphrase of what has been

I have made no attempt at summarising the novel.  No one can possibly
attack the problem with any hope of success who has not read the book
over and over again.  A hasty perusal will serve no purpose.  The
fragment deserves and repays the very closest study.

There are questions that have been raised and arguments that have been
stated which are not mentioned here.  This is not because of ignorance.
I have read, I believe, practically all that has been published on the
theme.  What I have omitted is matter that seems to me trivial or

While fully believing in the accuracy of the conclusions I have reached,
I desire to avoid dogmatism.  There is always the possibility that a
writer may be diverted from his purpose.  He may come to difficulties he
cannot surmount.  The fact that scholarly students of Dickens have come
to different conclusions is a fact to be taken into account.

My thanks are due to Lord Rosebery for kindly accepting the dedication of
the volume.  Lord Rosebery is, however, in no way responsible for my
arguments or my conclusions.

In preparing this study I have had the constant assistance and counsel of
my accomplished colleague, Miss Jane T. Stoddart.  Miss Stoddart’s
accuracy and learning and acuteness have been of the greatest use to me,
and there is scarcely a chapter in the volume which does not owe much to

Mr. J. H. Ingram has most kindly furnished me with information about Poe.

Mr. Clement Shorter has allowed me to use his very valuable collection of
newspaper articles.

Mr. B. W. Matz has very courteously answered some inquiries, and he has
permitted me to use his valuable bibliography.

Messrs. Chapman & Hall have kindly given me permission to use the
Wrapper, etc.

Mr. Cuming Walters has been so kind as to read the proofs.

If there are those who think that the problem does not deserve
consideration, I am not careful to answer them.  It is a problem which
will be discussed as long as Dickens is read.  Those who believe that
Dickens is the greatest humorist and one of the greatest novelists in
English literature, are proud to make any contribution, however
insignificant, to the understanding of his works.  Mr. Gladstone, in his
‘Essay on the Place of Homer in Education,’ mentions the tradition of
Dorotheus, who spent the whole of his life in endeavouring to elucidate
the meaning of a single word in Homer.  Without fully justifying this use
of time, we may agree in Mr. Gladstone’s general conclusion ‘that no
exertion spent upon any of the classics of the world, and attended with
any amount of real result, is thrown away.’

             _Sept._ 1912.


The three mysteries of _Edwin Drood_ are thus stated by Mr. Cuming

‘The first mystery, partly solved by Dickens himself, is the fate of
Edwin Drood.  Was he murdered?—if so, how and by whom, and where was his
body hidden?  If not, how did he escape, and what became of him, and did
he reappear?

‘The second mystery is—Who was Mr. Datchery, the “stranger who appeared
in Cloisterham” after Drood’s disappearance?

‘The third mystery is—Who was the old opium woman, called the Princess
Puffer, and why did she pursue John Jasper?’

It is with the first two of these mysteries that this book is concerned.
In the concluding chapter some hints are offered as to the third, but in
my opinion there are no sufficient materials for any definite answer.

The problem before us is to decide with one half of Dickens’s book in our
possession what the course of the other half was likely to be.

It is important to lay stress upon this.  An able reviewer in the
_Athenæum_, 1st April 1911, says: ‘The book is still in its infancy.  Its
predecessor, _Our Mutual Friend_, attained to some sixty-seven chapters,
_Great Expectations_ to fifty-nine, _Bleak House_ to sixty-six.  There is
no strain on probability in supposing that _Edwin Drood_ might, in
happier circumstances, have reached something like these proportions.’
The fact is that the book was to be completed in twelve numbers, and we
have six.

In the first part of this volume I have dealt with the materials for a

In the second part, I have used the materials and the internal evidence
of the book, and attempted an answer to the questions.



The materials for the solution of the ‘Edwin Drood’ problems must first
of all be found in the text of the unfinished volume.  Hitherto it has
not been observed that the book we have is not precisely what it was when
Dickens left it.  Three parts had been issued by Dickens himself.  After
his death the remaining three parts were issued by John Forster.  Dickens
had corrected his proofs up to and including chapter xxi.  The succeeding
chapters xxii. and xxiii. are untouched.  I discovered to my great
surprise on examining the proofs in the Forster Collection that Forster
had in every case ignored Dickens’s erasures, and had replaced all the
omitted passages in the text.  Thus it happens that we do not read the
book as Dickens intended us to read it.  We have passages which on
consideration he decided not to print.  It is unnecessary to criticise
the action of Forster, but it seems clear that he should at least have
given warning to the reader.  I now print the passages erased by Dickens
and restored by Forster.

                                * * * * *


In Chapter XVII.:—

    _an eminent public character_, _once known to fame as Frosty faced

                                * * * * *

    _by_, _always_, _as it seemed_, _on errands of antagonistically
    snatching something from somebody_, _and never giving anything to

                                * * * * *

    ‘_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_.

                                * * * * *

    _when they were alone_,

                                * * * * *

    _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_.’

                                * * * * *

    ‘_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_.’

                                * * * * *

    _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_.

                                * * * * *

    _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_.

                                * * * * *

    _But they were as serviceable as they were precious to Neville

                                * * * * *

    ‘_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

    _They were silent for a little while_, _and then Mr. Crisparkle began

    ‘_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_.’

                                * * * * *

    _She can dominate it even when it is wounded through her sympathy
    with you_.

                                * * * * *

    _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_.

                                * * * * *

    _which knows no shrinking_, _and can get no mastery over her_.’

                                * * * * *

    _as she is a truly brave woman_,’

                                * * * * *

    _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

                                * * * * *

    ‘_A watch_?’ _repeated Mr. Grewgious musingly_.

                                * * * * *

    ‘_I entertain a sort of fancy for having him under my eye to-night_,
    _do you know_?’

                                * * * * *

In Chapter XVIII.

                                * * * * *

    ‘_indeed_, _I have no doubt that we could suit you that far_,
    _however particular you might be_.

                                * * * * *

    _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_.  ‘_Until_’ _is put in here_.

                                * * * * *

    ‘_Indeed_?’ _said Mr. Datchery_, _with a second look of some

                                * * * * *

    _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_.

                                * * * * *

    _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_.

                                * * * * *

    ‘_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

    ‘_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 way I put it_.
    _A strong arm and a long arm_.’

    ‘_How forcible_!—_And yet_, _again_, _how true_!’ _murmured Mr.

    ‘_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.

    ‘_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_.

                                * * * * *

In the next sentence the word _now_ is struck out.

                                * * * * *

    ‘He had an odd momentary appearance upon him of having forgotten his
    hat, when Mr. Sapsea _now_ touched it.’

                                * * * * *

    ‘_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_.’

                                * * * * *

In Chapter XX.:—

                                * * * * *

    ‘_Yes_, _you may be sure that the stairs are fireproof_,’ _said Mr.
    Grewgious_, ‘_and that any outbreak of the devouring element would be
    perceived and suppressed by the watchmen_.’

                                * * * * *

In Chapter XXI.:—

    _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_.’

                                * * * * *

    ‘_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_!’

                                * * * * *

    _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

                                * * * * *

    _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


I make also a few notes based on a careful examination of the manuscript.
Certain passages are rewritten, and the result pasted over the original
page.  These passages have been noted.  Also certain sentences have been
altered in form, sometimes by the substitution of one word for another,
and sometimes by the addition of words.  It is not necessary to give
every example, but a few may be noted.

Towards the end of the second chapter the passage beginning ‘I have been
taking opium for a pain,’ including the long paragraph which follows, has
been entirely rewritten and pasted on.

In the description of the Landlesses in chapter vi. Dickens made certain
changes.  As the sentence stands now it reads as follows:  ‘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.’

As originally written it read thus: ‘A handsome young fellow, and a
handsome girl; both dark and rich in colour; she quite gipsy like;
something untamed about them both; a certain air upon them of hunter and
huntress; yet a certain air of being the objects of the chase, rather
than the followers.’

In chapter vii., where Neville is speaking of his sister, as we have the
passage it reads: ‘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.’

The original version ran thus: ‘In reference to my sister, sir (we are
twin children), you ought to know, to her honour, that nothing in our
misery ever cowed her, though it often cowed me.  When we ran away from
it (we ran away four times in five years, to be very soon brought back
and punished), the flight was always of her planning.  Each time she
dressed as a boy, and showed the daring of a man.  I take it we were
eight 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, that she
tried to tear it out, or bite it off.’

At the beginning of chapter xviii. we read of the stranger in
Cloisterham: ‘Being buttoned up in a tightish blue surtout.’  This was
originally: ‘Being dressed in a tightish blue surtout.’  A little further
on in the same paragraph we have: ‘He stood with his back to the empty
fireplace.’  Dickens originally wrote: ‘He stood with his back to the
fireplace.’  In the next paragraph ‘His shock of white hair’ was
originally ‘His shock of long white hair.’

In the same chapter, when Datchery and the boy are standing looking at
Jasper’s rooms we have the following sentence: ‘“Indeed?” said Mr.
Datchery, with a second look of some interest.’  This was originally
written: ‘“Indeed?” said Mr. Datchery, with an appearance of interest.’
In the final proofs this passage was entirely struck out.  On the next
page we have this sentence: ‘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.’  The original version ran
thus: ‘Mr. Datchery, taking off his hat and giving his shock of white
hair another shake, was quite resigned, and betook himself whither he had
been directed.’

A little further on in the same chapter, when Datchery first goes into
Jasper’s room we have: ‘“I beg pardon,” said Mr. Datchery, making a leg
with his hat under his arm.’  This was originally written, “I beg
pardon,” said Mr. Datchery, hat in hand.’

In the last paragraph of this chapter we have: ‘Said Mr. Datchery to
himself that night, as he looked at his white hair in the gas-lighted
looking-glass over the coffee-room chimney-piece 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!”’  This was originally
written: ‘Said Mr. Datchery to himself that night as he looked at his
white hair in the gas-lighted looking-glass over the coffee-room
chimney-piece at the Crozier: “Well, for a single buffer of an easy
temper, living idly on his means, I have had rather a busy afternoon!”’

In chapter xx., when Grewgious is talking about Bazzard we have the
following: ‘“No, he goes his way, after office hours.  In fact, he is off
duty here, altogether, just at present; and a firm downstairs, with which
I have business relations, lend me a substitute.  But it would be
extremely difficult to replace Mr. Bazzard.”’  Originally Dickens wrote:
‘“No, he goes his ways after office hours.  In fact, he is off duty at
present; and a firm downstairs with which I have business relations, lend
me a substitute.  But it would be difficult to replace Mr. Bazzard.”’

Chapter xxii. is much corrected, and the whole of the second paragraph is
rewritten and pasted on.  Chapter xxiii. is also a good deal corrected.
Near the beginning we have the following: ‘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.’  This was
originally written: ‘The Cathedral doors have closed for the night; and
the Choir-master, on leave of absence for a few days, sets his face
towards London.’

The passage beginning: ‘But she goes no further away from it than the
chair upon the hearth,’ and the next two paragraphs are entirely
rewritten and pasted on, and the following sentences are cancelled: ‘“So
far I might a’most as well have never found out how to set you talking,”
is her commentary.  “You are too sleepy to talk too plain.  You hold your
secrets right you do!”’  A little further on we have: ‘“Halloa!” he cries
in a low voice, seeing her brought to a standstill: “who are you looking
for?”’  This was originally ‘“Halloa!” cries this gentleman, “who are you
looking for?”’

On the next page we have: ‘With his uncovered gray hair blowing about.’
Dickens originally wrote: ‘With his gray hair blowing about.’

On the same page, when Datchery and the opium woman are talking together
Dickens puts in the following sentence about opium as an afterthought:
‘“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.”’

A little further on we have: ‘Mr. Datchery stops in his counting, finds
he has counted wrong, shakes his money together, and begins again.’
Originally we had: ‘Mr. Datchery stops in his counting, finds he has
counted wrong, and begins again.’  Very near the end of this chapter we
have: ‘At length he rises, throws open the door of a corner cupboard, and
refers to a few uncouth chalked strokes on its inner side.’  Dickens
first wrote: ‘At length he rises, throws open the door of a corner
cupboard, and refers to a few chalked strokes on its inner side.’


We now proceed to give such external testimony as exists of the plans and
intentions of Dickens.  The chief authority is, of course, the _Life_ by
Forster.  We have in addition the testimony of Madame Perugini, whose
first husband, Charles Allston Collins, designed the wrapper.  To this we
add the testimony of Charles Dickens the younger as conveyed to his
sister.  Through the kindness of Miss Bessie Hatton I have been able to
read the text of the unacted play written by Joseph Hatton and Charles
Dickens the younger on _The Mystery of Edwin Drood_.  We have also the
important letter of Sir Luke Fildes, who was chosen by Dickens to
illustrate the story.  It seems essential to any complete consideration
of the subject that these testimonies should be given in full, and this
is the more necessary because some of them are now not readily at hand.


Dickens in 1868 had been alarming his friends and exhausting himself by
his public Readings.  When he was in America on his last Reading tour he
had made a profit of about £20,000.  He entered into an agreement with
Messrs. Chappell to give a final course of Readings in this country, from
which he expected to receive an additional £13,000.  The strain of his
work in America had manifestly told upon him.  ‘There was manifest
abatement of his natural force, the elasticity of bearing was impaired,
and the wonderful brightness of eye was dimmed at times.’  Unfavourable
and alarming symptoms of nerve mischief were also noted, but he drew
lavishly on his reserve strength, and thinking that a new excitement was
needed he chose the _Oliver Twist_ murder, one of the most trying of his
public recitals.  He suffered ‘thirty thousand shocks to the nerves’
going to Edinburgh.  His Readings and his journeyings exacted from him
the most terrible physical exertion, but no warnings could arrest his
course till his physicians peremptorily ordered him to desist.  Even
then, however, he resumed his Readings at a later date.

In this condition of mental and bodily fatigue Dickens began his last
book.  I print almost in full the relative passages from Forster.

    The last book undertaken by Dickens was to be published in
    illustrated monthly numbers, of the old form, but to close with the
    twelfth.  It closed, unfinished, with the sixth number, which was
    itself underwritten by two pages.

    His first fancy for the tale was expressed in a letter in the middle
    of July.  ‘What should you think of the idea of a story beginning in
    this way?—Two people, boy and girl, or very young, going apart from
    one another, pledged to be married after many years—at the end of the
    book.  The interest to arise out of the tracing of their separate
    ways, and the impossibility of telling what will be done with that
    impending fate.’  This was laid aside; but it left a marked trace on
    the story as afterwards designed, in the position of Edwin Drood and
    his betrothed.

    I first heard of the later design in a letter dated ‘Friday, the 6th
    of August 1869,’ in which, after speaking, with the usual unstinted
    praise he bestowed always on what moved him in others, of a little
    tale he had received for his journal, he spoke of the change that had
    occurred to him for the new tale by himself.  ‘I laid aside the fancy
    I told you of, and have a very curious and new idea for my new story.
    Not a communicable idea (or the interest of the book would be gone),
    but a very strong one, though difficult to work.’  The story, I
    learnt immediately afterward, was to be that of the murder of a
    nephew by his uncle; the originality of which was to consist in the
    review of the murderer’s career by himself at the close, when its
    temptations were to be dwelt upon as if, not he, the culprit, but
    some other man, were the tempted.  The last chapters were to be
    written in the condemned cell, to which his wickedness, all
    elaborately elicited from him as if told of another, had brought him.
    Discovery by the murderer of the utter needlessness of the murder for
    its object, was to follow hard upon commission of the deed; but all
    discovery of the murderer was to be baffled till towards the close,
    when, by means of a gold ring which had resisted the corrosive
    effects of the lime into which he had thrown the body, not only the
    person murdered was to be identified, but the locality of the crime
    and the man who committed it.  So much was told to me before any of
    the book was written; and it will be recollected that the ring, taken
    by Drood to be given to his betrothed only if their engagement went
    on, was brought away with him from their last interview.  Rosa was to
    marry Tartar, and Crisparkle the sister of Landless, who was himself,
    I think, to have perished in assisting Tartar finally to unmask and
    seize the murderer.

    Nothing had been written, however, of the main parts of the design
    excepting what is found in the published numbers; there was no hint
    or preparation for the sequel in any notes of chapters in advance;
    and there remained not even what he had himself so sadly written of
    the book by Thackeray also interrupted by death.  The evidence of
    matured designs never to be accomplished, intentions planned never to
    be executed, roads of thought marked out never to be traversed, goals
    shining in the distance never to be reached, was wanting here.  It
    was all a blank.  Enough had been completed nevertheless to give
    promise of a much greater book than its immediate predecessor.  ‘I
    hope his book is finished,’ wrote Longfellow, when the news of his
    death was flashed to America.  ‘It is certainly one of his most
    beautiful works, if not the most beautiful of all.  It would be too
    sad to think the pen had fallen from his hand, and left it
    incomplete.’  Some of its characters are touched with subtlety, and
    in its descriptions his imaginative power was at its best.  Not a
    line was wanting to the reality, in the most minute local detail, of
    places the most widely contrasted; and we saw with equal vividness
    the lazy cathedral town and the lurid opium-eater’s den.  Something
    like the old lightness and buoyancy of animal spirits gave a new
    freshness to the humour; the scenes of the child-heroine and her
    luckless betrothed had both novelty and nicety of character in them;
    and Mr. Grewgious in chambers with his clerk and the two waiters, the
    conceited fool Sapsea, and the blustering philanthropist
    Honeythunder, were first-rate comedy.  Miss Twinkleton was of the
    family of Miss La Creevy; and the lodging-house keeper, Miss
    Billickin, though she gave Miss Twinkleton but a sorry account of her
    blood, had that of Mrs. Todgers in her veins.  ‘I was put in early
    life 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.’  Was ever anything better said of a school-fare of
    starved gentility?

    The last page of _Edwin Drood_ was written in the châlet in the
    afternoon of his last day of consciousness; and I have thought there
    might be some interest in a facsimile of the greater part of this
    final page of manuscript that ever came from his hand, at which he
    had worked unusually late in order to finish the chapter.  It has
    very much the character, in its excessive care of correction and
    interlineation, of all his later manuscripts; and in order that
    comparison may be made with his earlier and easier method, I place
    beside it a portion of a page of the original of _Oliver Twist_.  His
    greater pains and elaboration of writing, it may be mentioned, become
    first very obvious in the later parts of _Martin Chuzzlewit_; but not
    the least remarkable feature in all his manuscripts is the accuracy
    with which the portions of each representing the several numbers are
    exactly adjusted to the space the printer has to fill.  Whether
    without erasure or so interlined as to be illegible, nothing is
    wanting, and there is nothing in excess.  So assured had the habit
    become, that we have seen him remarking upon an instance the other
    way, in _Our Mutual Friend_, as not having happened to him for thirty
    years.  Certainly the exceptions had been few and unimportant; but
    _Edwin Drood_ more startlingly showed him how unsettled the habit he
    most prized had become, in the clashing of old and new pursuits.
    ‘When I had written’ (22nd of December 1869), ‘and, as I thought,
    disposed of the first two numbers of my story, Clowes informed me to
    my horror that they were, together, _twelve printed __pages too
    short_!  Consequently I had to transpose a chapter from number two to
    number one, and remodel number two altogether.  This was the more
    unlucky, that it came upon me at the time when I was obliged to leave
    the book, in order to get up the Readings’ (the additional twelve for
    which Sir Thomas Watson’s consent had been obtained); ‘quite gone out
    of my mind since I left them off.  However, I turned to it and got it
    done, and both numbers are now in type.  Charles Collins has designed
    an excellent cover.’  It was his wish that his son-in-law should have
    illustrated the story; but this not being practicable, upon an
    opinion expressed by Mr. Millais which the result thoroughly
    justified, choice was made of Mr. S. L. Fildes.

Forster goes on to explain as follows the discovery of the manuscript
containing the passage ‘How Mr. Sapsea Ceased to be a Member of the Eight
Club.’  This is to be found in every edition of _Edwin Drood_, but
Forster’s remarks are important and must be reproduced:

    This reference to the last effort of Dickens’s genius had been
    written as it thus stands, when a discovery of some interest was made
    by the writer.  Within the leaves of one of Dickens’s other
    manuscripts were found some detached slips of his writing, on paper
    only half the size of that used for the tale, so cramped, interlined,
    and blotted as to be nearly illegible, which on close inspection
    proved to be a scene in which Sapsea the auctioneer is introduced as
    the principal figure, among a group of characters new to the story.
    The explanation of it perhaps is, that, having become a little
    nervous about the course of the tale, from a fear that he might have
    plunged too soon into the incidents leading on to the catastrophe,
    such as the Datchery assumption in the fifth number (a misgiving he
    had certainly expressed to his sister-in-law), it had occurred to him
    to open some fresh veins of character incidental to the interest,
    though not directly part of it, and so to handle them in connection
    with Sapsea as a little to suspend the final development even while
    assisting to strengthen it.  Before beginning any number of a serial,
    he used, as we have seen in former instances, to plan briefly what he
    intended to put into it chapter by chapter; and his first number-plan
    of _Drood_ had the following: ‘Mr. Sapsea.  Old Tory jackass.
    Connect Jasper with him.  (He will want a solemn donkey by and by)’;
    which was effected by bringing together both Durdles and Jasper, for
    connection with Sapsea, in the matter of the epitaph for Mrs.
    Sapsea’s tomb.  The scene now discovered might in this view have been
    designed to strengthen and carry forward that element in the tale;
    and otherwise it very sufficiently expresses itself.  It would supply
    an answer, if such were needed, to those who have asserted that the
    hopeless decadence of Dickens as a writer had set in before his
    death.  Among the lines last written by him, these are the very last
    we can ever hope to receive; and they seem to me a delightful
    specimen of the power possessed by him in his prime, and the rarest
    which any novelist can have, of revealing a character by a touch.
    Here are a couple of people, Kimber and Peartree, not known to us
    before, whom we read off thoroughly in a dozen words; and as to
    Sapsea himself, auctioneer and mayor of Cloisterham, we are face to
    face with what before we only dimly realised, and we see the solemn
    jackass, in his business pulpit, playing off the airs of Mr. Dean in
    his Cathedral pulpit, with Cloisterham laughing at the impostor.’


Madame Perugini’s article appeared in the _Pall Mall Magazine_ for June
1906.  The title is ‘Edwin Drood and the Last Days of Charles Dickens, by
his younger daughter Kate Perugini.’  Madame Perugini begins by
summarising the evidence of Forster as already given.  She proceeds to
make the following instructive comments.  It will be observed also that
she makes no additions to the external evidence, particularly on the
vexed question of the wrapper:

    _The Mystery of Edwin Drood_ is a story, or, to speak more correctly,
    the half of a story, that has excited so much general interest and so
    many speculations as to its ultimate disclosures, that it has given
    rise to various imaginary theories on the part of several clever
    writers; and to much discussion among those who are not writers, but
    merely fervent admirers and thoughtful readers of my father’s
    writings.  All these attach different meanings to the extraordinary
    number of clues my father has offered them to follow, and they are
    even more keen at the present day than they were when the book made
    its first appearance to find their way through the tangled maze and
    arrive at the very heart of the mystery.  Among the numerous books,
    pamphlets, and articles that have been written upon _Edwin Drood_,
    there are some that are extremely interesting and well worth
    attention, for they contain many clever and possible suggestions, and
    although they do not entirely convince us, yet they add still more to
    the almost painful anxiety we all feel in wandering through the
    lonely precincts of Cloisterham Cathedral, or along the banks of the
    river that runs through Cloisterham town and leads to the Weir of
    which we are told in the story.

    In following these writers to the end of their subtle imaginings as
    to how the mystery might be solved, we may sometimes be inclined to
    pause for an instant and ask ourselves whether my father did not
    perhaps intend his story to have an ending less complicated, although
    quite as interesting, as any that are suggested.  We find ourselves
    turning to John Forster’s _Life of Charles Dickens_ to help us in our
    perplexity, and this is what we read in his chapter headed ‘Last
    Book.’  Mr. Forster begins by telling us that _Edwin Drood_ was to be
    published in twelve illustrated monthly parts, and that it closed
    prematurely with the sixth number, which was itself underwritten by
    two pages; therefore my father had exactly six numbers and two pages
    to write when he left his little châlet in the shrubbery of Gad’s
    Hill Place on 8th June 1870, to which he never returned.  Mr. Forster
    goes on to say: ‘His first fancy for the tale was expressed in July
    (meaning the July of 1869), in a letter which runs thus:

    ‘“What should you think of the idea of a story beginning in this
    way?—Two people, boy and girl, or very young, going apart from one
    another, pledged to be married after many years—at the end of the
    book.  The interest to arise out of the tracing of their separate
    ways and the impossibility of telling what will be done with that
    impending fate.”’

    This idea my father relinquished, although he left distinct traces of
    it in his tale; and in a letter to Mr. Forster, dated 6th August
    1869, tells him:

    ‘I laid aside the fancy I told you of, and have a very curious and
    new idea for my new story.  Not a communicable idea (or the interest
    of the book would be gone), but a very strong one, though difficult
    to work.’

    Mr. Forster then says that he immediately afterwards learnt that the
    story was to be ‘the murder of a nephew by his uncle’; the
    originality of which was to consist in the review of the murderer’s
    career by himself at the close, when its temptations were to be dwelt
    upon as if not he, the culprit, but some other man, were the tempted.
    The last chapters were to be written in the condemned cell, to which
    his wickedness, all elaborately elicited from him as if told of
    another, had brought him.  Discovery by the murderer of the utter
    needlessness of the murder for its object, was to follow hard upon
    commission of the deed; but all discovery of the murderer was to be
    baffled till towards the close, when, by means of a gold ring which
    had resisted the corrosive effects of the lime into which he had
    thrown the body, not only the person murdered was to be identified,
    but the locality of the crime and the man who committed it.’

    Mr. Forster adds a little information as to the marriages at the
    close of the book, and makes use of the expression ‘I think’ in
    speaking of Neville Landless, as though he were not quite certain of
    what he remembered concerning him.  This ‘I think’ has been seized
    upon by some of Mr. Forster’s critics, who appear to argue that
    because he did not clearly recollect one detail of the story he may
    therefore have been mistaken in the whole.  But we see for ourselves
    that Mr. Forster is perfectly well informed as to the nature of the
    plot, and the fate of the two principal characters concerned, the
    murdered and the murderer; and the only thing upon which he is not
    positive is the ending of Neville Landless, to which he confesses in
    the words ‘I think,’ thus making his testimony to the more important
    facts the more impressive.  If we have any doubts as to whether Mr.
    Forster correctly stated what he was told, we have only to turn to
    the story of _Edwin Drood_, and we find, as far as it goes, that his
    statement is entirely corroborated by what we read in the book.

    If those who are interested in the subject will carefully read what I
    have quoted, they will not be able to detect any word or hint from my
    father that it was upon the Mystery alone that he relied for the
    interest and originality of his idea.  The originality was to be
    shown, as he tells us, in what we may call the psychological
    description the murderer gives us of his temptations, temperament,
    and character, as if told by another; and my father speaks openly of
    the ring to Mr. Forster.  Moreover, he refers to it often in his
    story, and we all recognise it, whatever our other convictions may
    be, as the instrument by which Jasper’s wickedness and guilt are to
    be established in the end.  I do not mean to imply that the mystery
    itself had no strong hold on my father’s imagination; but, greatly as
    he was interested in the intricacies of that tangled skein, the
    information he voluntarily gave to Mr. Forster, from whom he had
    withheld nothing for thirty-three years, certainly points to the fact
    that he was quite as deeply fascinated and absorbed in the study of
    the criminal Jasper, as in the dark and sinister crime that has given
    the book its title.  And he also speaks to Mr. Forster of the murder
    of a nephew by an uncle.  He does not say that he is uncertain
    whether he shall save the nephew, but has evidently made up his mind
    that the crime is to be committed.  And so he told his plot to Mr.
    Forster, as he had been accustomed to tell his plots for years past;
    and those who knew him must feel it impossible to believe that in
    this, the last year of his life, he should suddenly become underhand,
    and we might say treacherous, to his old friend, by inventing for his
    private edification a plot that he had no intention of carrying into
    execution.  This is incredible, and the nature of the friendship that
    existed between Mr. Forster and himself makes the idea unworthy of

    Mr. Forster was devotedly attached to my father, but as years passed
    by this engrossing friendship made him a little jealous of his
    confidence, and more than a little exacting in his demands upon it.
    My father was perfectly aware of this weakness in his friend, and
    although the knowledge of it made him smile at times, and even joke
    about it when we were at home and alone, he was always singularly
    tenderhearted where Mr. Forster was concerned, and was particularly
    careful never to wound the very sensitive nature of one who, from the
    first moment of their acquaintance, had devoted his time and energy
    to making my father’s path in life as smooth as so intricate a path
    could be made.  In all business transactions Mr. Forster acted for
    him, and generally brought him through these troubles triumphantly,
    whereas, if left to himself, his impetuosity and impatience might
    have spoilt all chances of success; while in all his private troubles
    my father instinctively turned to his friend, and even when not
    invariably following his advice, had yet so much confidence in his
    judgment as to be rendered not only uneasy but unhappy if Mr. Forster
    did not approve of the decision at which he ultimately arrived.  From
    the beginning of their friendship to the end of my father’s life the
    relations between the two friends remained unchanged; and the notion
    that has been spread abroad that my father wilfully misled Mr.
    Forster in what he told him of the plot of _Edwin Drood_ should be
    abandoned, as it does not correspond with the knowledge of those who
    understood the dignity of my father’s character, and were also aware
    of the perfectly frank terms upon which he lived with Mr. Forster.

    If my father again changed his plan for the story of _Edwin Drood_
    the first thing he would naturally do would be to write to Mr.
    Forster and inform him of the alteration.  We might imagine for an
    instant that he would perhaps desire to keep the change as a surprise
    for his friend, but what I have just stated with regard to Mr.
    Forster’s character renders this supposition out of the question, as
    my father knew for a certainty that his jealousy would debar him from
    appreciating such a surprise, and that he would in all probability
    strongly resent what he might with justice be allowed to consider as
    a piece of unnecessary caution on my father’s part.  That he did not
    write to Mr. Forster to tell him of any divergence from his second
    plan for the book we all know, and we know also that my eldest
    brother, Charles, positively declared that he had heard from his
    father’s lips that Edwin Drood was dead.  Here, therefore, are two
    very important witnesses to a fact that is still doubted by those who
    never met my father, and were never impressed by the grave sincerity
    with which he would have given this assurance.

    It is very often those who most doubt Mr. Forster’s accuracy on this
    point who are in the habit of turning to his book when they are in
    the search of facts to establish some theory of their own; and they
    do not hesitate to do this, because they know that whatever views
    they may hold upon the work itself, or the manner in which it is
    written, absolute truth is to be found in its pages.  Why should they
    refuse, therefore, to believe a statement made upon one page of his
    three volumes, when they willingly and gratefully accept the rest if
    it is to their interest to do so?  This is a difficult question to
    answer, but it is not without importance when we are discussing the
    subject of _Edwin Drood_.  On pages 425 and 426 of the third volume
    of Mr. Forster’s _Life_ is to be found the simple explanation of my
    father’s plot for his story, as given to him by my father himself.
    It is true that Mr. Forster speaks from remembrance, but how often
    does he not speak from remembrance, and yet how seldom are we
    inclined to doubt his word?  Only here, because what he tells us does
    not exactly fit in with our preconceived views as to how the tale
    shall be finished, are we disposed to quarrel with him, for the
    simple reason that we flatter ourselves we have discovered a better
    ending to the book than the one originally intended for it by the
    author.  And so we put his statement aside and ignore it, while we
    grope in the dark for a thing we shall never find; and we obstinately
    refuse to allow even the little glimmer of light my father has
    himself thrown upon the obscurity to help us in our search.  It was
    not, I imagine, for the intricate working out of his plot alone that
    my father cared to write this story; but it was through his wonderful
    observation of character, and his strange insight into the tragic
    secrets of the human heart, that he desired his greatest triumph to
    be achieved.

    I do not write upon these things because I have any fresh or
    startling theories to offer upon the subject of _Edwin Drood_.  I
    cannot say that I am without my own opinions, but I am fully
    conscious that after what has been already so ably said, they would
    have but little interest for the general public; so I shrink from
    venturing upon any suggestions respecting the solution of my father’s
    last book.  My chief object in writing is to remind the readers of
    this paper that there are certain facts connected with this story
    that cannot lightly be put aside, and these facts are to be found in
    John Forster’s _Life of Charles Dickens_, and in the declaration made
    by my brother Charles.  Having known both Mr. Forster and my brother
    intimately, I cannot for a moment believe that either of them would
    speak or write that which he did not know to be strictly true; and it
    is on these grounds alone that I think I have a right to be heard
    when I insist upon the assertion that Edwin Drood was undoubtedly
    murdered by his uncle Jasper.  As to the unravelling of the mystery,
    and the way in which the murder was perpetrated, we are all at
    liberty to have our own views, seeing that no explanations were as
    yet arrived at in the story; but we should remember that only vague
    speculations can be indulged in when we try to imagine them for

    It has been pointed out, and very justly, that although Jasper
    removed the watch, chain, and scarf-pin from Edwin’s body, there
    would possibly remain on it money of some kind, keys, and the metal
    buttons on his clothes, which the action of the quicklime could not
    destroy, and by which his identity would be made known.  This has
    been looked upon as an oversight, a mere piece of forgetfulness on my
    father’s part.  But remembering, as I do very well, what he often
    said, that the most clever criminals were constantly detected through
    some small defect in their calculations, I cannot but think it most
    probable that this was not an oversight, but was intended to lead up
    to the pet theory that he so frequently mentioned whenever a murder
    case was brought to trial.  After reading _Edwin Drood_ many times,
    as most of us have read it, we must, I think, come to the conclusion
    that not a word of this tale was written without full consideration;
    that in this story at least my father left nothing to chance, and
    that therefore the money, and the buttons, were destined to take
    their proper place in the book, and might turn out to be a weak spot
    in Jasper’s well-arranged and complicated plot, _the_ weak spot my
    father insisted upon, as being inseparable from the commission of a
    great crime, however skilfully planned.  The keys spoken of need not
    be taken seriously into account, for Edwin was a careless young
    fellow, and it is not unreasonable to suppose that he did not always
    carry them upon his person; he was staying with his uncle, and he may
    have left them in the portmanteau, which was most likely at the time
    of the murder lying unfastened in his room, with the key belonging to
    it in the lock.  It would be unfair to suggest that my father wrote
    unadvisedly of this or that, for he had still the half of his story
    to finish, and plenty of time, as he thought, in which to gather up
    the broken threads and weave them into a symmetrical and harmonious
    whole, which he was so eminently capable of completing.

    That my father’s brain was more than usually clear and bright during
    the writing of _Edwin Drood_, no one who lived with him could
    possibly doubt; and the extraordinary interest he took in the
    development of this story was apparent in all that he said or did,
    and was often the subject of conversation between those who anxiously
    watched him as he wrote, and feared that he was trying his strength
    too far.  For although my father’s death was sudden and unexpected,
    the knowledge that his bodily health was failing had been for some
    time too forcibly brought to the notice of those who loved him, for
    them to be blind to the fact that the book he was now engaged in, and
    the concentration of his devotion and energy upon it, were a tax too
    great for his fast-ebbing strength.  Any attempt to stay him,
    however, in work that he had undertaken was as idle as stretching
    one’s hands to a river and bidding it cease to flow; and beyond a few
    remonstrances now and again urged, no such attempt was made, knowing
    as we did that it would be entirely useless.  And so the work sped
    on, carrying with it my father’s few remaining days of life, and the
    end came all too soon, as it was bound to come, to one who never
    ceased to labour for those who were dear to him, in the hope of
    gaining for them that which he was destined never to enjoy.  And in
    my father’s grave lies buried the secret of his story.

    The scene of the Eight Club, which Mr. Forster discovered after his
    death, in which there figure two new characters, Mr. Peartree and Mr.
    Kimber, bears no relation as we read it to the unfolding of the plot;
    and although the young man Poker, who is also introduced in this
    fragment for the first time, seems to be of more significance, we see
    too little of him to be certain that we may not already have made his
    acquaintance.  In Mr. Sapsea my father evidently took much pleasure,
    and we are here reminded of the note made for him in the first
    number-plan of _Edwin Drood_: ‘Mr. Sapsea.  Old Tory jackass.
    Connect Jasper with him.  (He will want a solemn donkey by and by.)’
    My father also wanted the solemn donkey, and not only brought him in
    for the purposes of his story, but because, as in the case of ‘the
    Billickin,’ he took delight in dwelling upon the absurdities of the

    As to the cover of _Edwin Drood_, that has been the subject of so
    much discussion there is very little to tell.  It was designed and
    drawn by Mr. Charles A. Collins, my first husband.  The same reasons
    that prevented me from teasing my father with questions respecting
    his story made me refrain from asking any of Mr. Collins; but from
    what he said I certainly gathered that he was not in possession of my
    father’s secret, although he had made his designs from my father’s
    directions.  There are a few things in this cover that I fancy have
    been a little misunderstood.  In the book only Jasper and Neville
    Landless are described as dark young men.  Edwin Drood is fair, and
    so is Crisparkle.  Tartar is burnt by the sun; but when Rosa asks
    ‘the Unlimited head chambermaid’ at the hotel in Furnival’s Inn if
    the gentleman who has just called is dark, she replies:

    ‘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.’

    Now in a drawing it would be difficult to make a distinction between
    the fair hair of Edwin and the slightly darker hair of Tartar; and in
    the picture, where we see a girl—Rosa we imagine her to be—seated in
    a garden, the young man at her feet is, I feel pretty sure, intended
    for Tartar.  Edwin it cannot be, nor Neville, as has been supposed,
    for he was decidedly dark.  Besides this, Neville would not have told
    his affection to Rosa, for Helena was far too quick-witted not to
    understand from Rosa’s first mention of Tartar that she is already in
    love with him, and she would have warned and saved the brother to
    whom she was so ardently attached from making any such confession.
    The figure is not intended for Jasper, because we know that Jasper
    did not move from the sun-dial in the scene where he declares his mad
    passion for Rosa, and Jasper had black hair and whiskers.  And,
    again, the drawing cannot be meant to represent Helena and
    Crisparkle, for the young man is not in clerical dress.  The figures
    going up the stairs are still more difficult to make out; but there
    can be little doubt that the active higher one is the same young man
    we see at Rosa’s feet, and must therefore be Tartar.  Of the
    remaining two, one may be Crisparkle, although there is still no
    clerical attire, and the other either Grewgious or Neville, though
    the drawing certainly bears but little resemblance to either of those

    The lower and middle picture is, of course, the great scene of the
    book; but whether the young man standing calm, and inexorable as
    Fate, is intended to be the ghost of Edwin as seen by Jasper in his
    half-dazed and drugged condition, or whether it is Helena dressed as
    Datchery, as one writer has ingeniously suggested (although there are
    reasons in the story against the supposition that Helena is Datchery,
    and many to support the theory that the ‘old buffer’ is
    Bazzard),—these are puzzles that will never be cleared up, except to
    the minds of those who have positively determined that they hold the
    clue to the mystery, and can only see its interpretation from one
    point of view.  The girl’s figure with streaming hair, in the picture
    where the word ‘Lost’ is written, has been supposed to represent Rosa
    after her parting from Edwin; but it may more likely, I think,
    indicate some scene in the book which has yet to be described in the
    story.  This is another enigma; but my father, it may be presumed,
    intended to puzzle his readers by the cover, and he had every
    legitimate right to do so, for had his meaning been made perfectly
    clear ‘the interest of the book would be gone.’  Some surprise has
    been expressed because Mr. Forster did not ask Mr. Collins for the
    meaning of his designs; but if he already knew the plot, why should
    he seek information from Mr. Collins? particularly as my father may
    have told him that he had not disclosed the secret of his story to
    his illustrators, for I believe I am right in affirming that Mr. Luke
    Fildes was no better informed as to the plan of the book than was Mr.

                                * * * * *

    I am unfortunately not acquainted with much that has been written
    about _Edwin Drood_, for the story was so painfully associated with
    my father’s death and the sorrow of that time that after first
    reading it I could never bear to look into the book again till about
    two months ago, when I found myself obliged to do so; and then my
    thoughts flew back to the last occasion when my father mentioned it
    in my hearing.

                          .     .     .     .     .

    There is one other fact connected with my father and _Edwin Drood_
    that I think my readers would like to know, and I must be forgiven if
    I again speak from my own experience in order to relate it.  Upon
    reading the book once more, as I have already told, after an interval
    of a great number of years, the story took such entire possession of
    me that for a long time I could think of nothing else; and one day,
    my aunt, Miss Hogarth, being with me, I asked her if she knew
    anything more definite than I did as to how the ending was to be
    brought about.  For I should explain that when my father was
    unusually reticent we seldom, if ever, attempted to break his silence
    by remarks or hints that might lead him to suppose that we were
    anxious to learn what he had no doubt good reasons for desiring to
    keep from us.  And we made it a point of honour among ourselves
    never, in talking to him on the subject of _Edwin Drood_, to show the
    impatience we naturally felt to arrive at the end of so engrossing a

    My aunt said that she knew absolutely nothing, but she told me that
    shortly before my father’s death, and after he had been speaking of
    some difficulty he was in with his work, without explaining what it
    was, she found it impossible to refrain from asking him, ‘I hope you
    haven’t really killed poor Edwin Drood?’  To which he gravely
    replied, ‘I call my book the Mystery, not the History, of Edwin
    Drood.’  And that was all he would answer.  My aunt could not make
    out from the reply, or from his manner of giving it, whether he
    wished to convey that the Mystery was to remain a mystery for ever,
    or if he desired gently to remind her that he would not disclose his
    secret until the proper time arrived for telling it.  But I think his
    words are so suggestive, and may carry with them so much meaning,
    that I offer them now, with my aunt’s permission, to those who take a
    delight in trying to unravel the impenetrable secrets of a story that
    has within its sadly shortened pages a most curious fascination, and
    is ‘gifted with invincible force to hold and drag.’


I have quoted from Madame Perugini’s statement the words: ‘We know also
that my elder brother Charles positively declared that he had heard from
his father’s lips that Edwin Drood was dead.’  I proceed to corroborate
the statement by giving here a brief account of the play by Joseph Hatton
and Charles Dickens.

The importance of this play as a witness to Dickens’s intentions is shown
in an article by Joseph Hatton which appeared in the _People_ on 19th
November 1905.  Mr. Hatton explains that about the year 1880, in a
conversation, he sketched out his idea of the play up to the crucial
point.  Dickens had a play in his mind when he wrote the story, and it
was said that he had thought of Dion Boucicault as his collaborator in
his work for the stage.  After the death of Dickens, Boucicault had a
mind to write the play and invent his own conclusion to the story, but
afterwards gave it up.  Mr. Hatton, in a conversation with Mr. Luke
Fildes, saw Dickens’s possible conclusion, but did not attempt to gather
up the broken threads.  ‘Consulting his son, Charles, to whom I offered
my sketch, I found that his father had revealed to him sufficient of the
plot to clearly indicate how the story was to end.  We agreed to write
the play.  Much of the son’s version of the finale was proved by the
instructions which the author had given to the illustrator in regard to
certain of the unpublished and unwritten chapters.  And so Dickens the
younger and I fell to work and wrote the play of _Edwin Drood_ for the
Princess’s Theatre.’  He goes on to explain that the piece was cast, and
a great point made of the authoritative conclusion of the story, thus
clearing up something of the mystery which was part of its title.  But
Mr. Harry Jackson, the stage manager, did not like the play, and it was
left unacted.  Years after, Dickens had a hope that Mr. Willard would
undertake the play, but this expectation was not fulfilled.  Dickens
consoled himself by saying that next to the pleasure of having a good
play acted was the pleasure of writing it, and for the rest he took the
incident as one of the ‘little ironies’ of his life.

The play as it lies before me is in four Acts.  The first is made up of
conversations between the Landlesses, Mrs. Crisparkle, Septimus
Crisparkle, Rosa and Edwin.  These are practically repeated from the
book.  Grewgious and Jasper then come on the scene, the novel being
closely followed in their conversation.  The second Act is made up of
conversations also mainly reproduced from the book between Helena and
Rosa, Jasper and Crisparkle.  Grewgious comes on in the second Scene
where Edwin and Rosa decide to be brother and sister.  There follow in
the third Scene the talks between Jasper and Durdles.  Edwin talks to the
opium woman, and Jasper appears with the scarf on his arm.  So far there
is practically nothing that is not taken directly from Dickens.  The
third Act opens with a conversation between Septimus and Mrs. Crisparkle
as to the guilt of Landless.  Helena and Neville appear protesting
innocence.  Grewgious tells Jasper about the breaking of the engagement
between Edwin and Rosa.  Jasper makes love to Rosa.  In the concluding
Act the scene is laid in the opium den in London: ‘Dark,
poverty-stricken.  Fourpost bedstead, chair, table, candlestick, set well
down so as to allow good space for vision later on, light up a little,
when Opium Sal lights candle shortly after Jasper’s entrance.  For
details see Fildes’s picture in book.  Opium Sal discovered moving about
in a witch-like kind of way.’  Jasper enters and tells Sal that a man
followed him to the door.  She lights the opium pipe for him, and then
questions him.

He says at last: ‘Hush! the journey’s made!  It’s over!’

    SAL.  Is it over so soon?

    JASPER.  I must sleep that vision off.  It is the poorest of all.  No
    struggle, no consciousness of peril, no entreaty, and yet I never saw
    _that_ before!

    SAL.  See what, deary?

    JASPER.  Look at it!  Look what a poor 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 like a log upon the bed_.  _The_ WOMAN
    _attempts to rouse him as before_, _but finding him past rousing
    __for the time_, _she slowly gets upon her feet with an air of
    disappointment_, _flicks his face with her hand savagely_, _and then
    flings a rug over_ JASPER.)

    (_Both_ SAL _and_ JASPER _now being perfectly quiet_, _the back of
    scene is illuminated_, _showing the scene exactly as at end of Act
    II_.  _The candle is out in the Opium Den_, _leaving front part of
    stage dark_.  _The brightest light in vision is from_ JASPER’S
    _window_, _leaving other parts of scene slightly in shadow but
    sufficiently light for action to be seen_.  _It is to be carefully
    noted that all the persons on in the Vision Scene should wear list
    shoes_, _so that they make no noise in moving about_, _and that the
    Stage Manager should insist upon perfect quiet behind the stage and
    at the wings_.  _The actors_, _too_, _speak in rather a measured_,
    _monotonous tone_.  _Crowd later on in Vision to be grouped and
    drilled from this point of view_.)

    (_The Scene being well open_, _there is a flash of lightning_, _and a
    peal of thunder_, _followed after a short pause by a burst of merry
    laughter from_ JASPER’S _room_, _the voices of_ DROOD _and_ NEVILLE
    _being audible_.  _They come down to door_, JASPER _with them_,
    _without his hat_.)

Edwin, Jasper, and Neville are talking.  Edwin says he will walk with
Neville as far as the river and have a look at the storm.  Neville and
Jasper exchange good-nights, and Edwin says: ‘Don’t go to bed, Jack, I
won’t be long.’

    (JASPER _in response waves hand_.  _Pause_.  _Then re-enters house_,
    _closes door_.  _Goes upstairs_.  _Puts light out_, _and is seen for
    a moment at window_.  _Flash of lightning_, _peal of thunder_.
    _Pause_.  JASPER _comes out with hat on head_, _the black silk scarf
    on arm_.  _Comes out cautiously_, _closing door after him and looks
    round_, _and warily goes to crypt_; _finds door locked and takes key
    from his pocket with which he opens it_, _and pushes door wide open_.
    _Creeps off in the direction_ NEVILLE _and_ EDWIN _have gone_.
    _Pause_.  _Weak flash of lightning and peal of thunder_.  JASPER
    _returns crouching_, _and hides within shadow of wall_.  _Re-enter_
    EDWIN DROOD _from where exit was made_.  _He looks up at_ JASPER’S

    Ah, too bad; he has gone to bed and has put his light out.

    (JASPER _rushes upon_ EDWIN _from behind_, _seizes him_, _whips
    scarf_, _which he has previously been twisting into rope-like shape_,
    _round his head and neck_, _and proceeds to strangle him_.  _There is
    a fierce struggle for a few seconds_.  _Nearly on the point of
    death_, EDWIN _gets free of_ JASPER, _sees his assailant_, _and
    thinks_ JASPER _is there to help him_.)

    EDWIN.  Jack!  Jack!  Save me!  They are killing me!  (Flings himself
    into JASPER’S arms.)

    JASPER.  Save you, yes!

    (_Deliberately tightens scarf_, _strikes_ EDWIN, _and kills him_.
    _Flash of lightning and peal of thunder_, _as_ EDWIN _falls lifeless
    at_ JASPER’S _feet_.  _Pause_.)

    JASPER (_a little overcome physically_, _and jerking out his
    sentences gasping_, _but with intense ferocity_).  You poor fool.
    You’ll boast no more.  (_Spurning body with his foot_.)  Ah! ah! ah!
    (_Laughs wildly_.)  He’s gone.  The fellow-traveller has gone for
    ever, gone down, into the everlasting abyss!  Hush!  (_Listens_.)
    Durdles?  No, opium mixed with his liquor keeps that other fool
    quiet.  (_Listens again_, _and looks cautiously round—distant
    low-moaning peal of thunder_.)  Only the storm wearing itself out!
    Ah! ah! ah!  (_Looking at body_.)  You’ve seen the last of the storm,
    weak, self-satisfied fool!  Come (wildly seizing the body, and
    dragging it towards crypt), come—to your marriage bed (_drags body_).
    Come—to sleep with Death!

                                            (_Exit with body into crypt_.)

    (_Slow music_.  _Short pause_.  _Re-enter_ JASPER _from crypt_, _and
    as he does so gauze clouds begin to darken scene_.  JASPER _locks
    crypt_, _puts key in his pocket_, _crosses_, _crouching and
    creeping_, _looking behind him fearfully_, _and enters his own
    house_, _with flash of lightning_, _peal of thunder_, _the very last
    of the storm_.  _By this time gauze clouds nearly darken the scene_.
    _Double on bed moves_.  OPIUM SAL _rises restlessly_, _once more
    leans over bed_, _and begins to talk while the actor representing_
    JASPER_ returns to his place on bed_.)

    SAL.  Troubled dreams, deary!  Troubled dreams.  Have you been taking
    the journey again?  Was it pleasant, and what did you do to
    fellow-traveller, eh?

    JASPER (_speaking in a dreamy way_).  That’s how the journey was
    made—that’s how I like to make it.  But there’s something more.  I
    never saw that before; what is it?  (_Fearfully_, _falls asleep

    (SAL _wearily resumes her attitude of rest with her arms on bed_,
    _and the Vision Scene goes on_.  DURDLES _appears beckoning off_,
    _unlocks crypt and enters_.  _As he does so_ GREWGIOUS _and_ ROSA
    _come on from direction indicated by_ DURDLES’S _beckoning_, _all the
    others in scene coming from the same place_.  ROSA _clings to her
    guardian’s arm_.  _They stop in centre of stage opposite crypt_,
    _looking towards door_.  NEVILLE _and_ HELENA _follow_.  _They join_
    GREWGIOUS _and_ ROSA.  CRISPARKLE _and_ OPIUM SAL’S _Double come on_.
    OPIUM SAL’S _Double is pointing towards_ ROSA _and others_, _and_
    CRISPARKLE _joins the group_.  _The Double now stands near wing and
    beckons off_.  _Townspeople come on and make group_, _Double at their
    head_, _she pointing towards crypt_; _they all look in that
    direction_.  DURDLES _comes to door_, _beckons_ GREWGIOUS, _who goes
    in after_ DURDLES _to crypt_.  _Groups now move a step or two nearer
    to entrance of crypt_.  _Slight pause_.  ROSA _clings to_ HELENA;
    NEVILLE _in dumb show whispers anxiously to_ HELENA _and_ ROSA, _as
    if to reassure and comfort them_.  HELENA _stands proudly but
    anxious_; ROSA _droopingly_.)

    GREW. (_standing just outside crypt door_, _and addressing himself
    to_ CRISPARKLE).  Keep the women back; this is no place for them.
    Edwin Drood has been foully murdered!

    (_Sensation in crowd_, _not indicated by noise_, _but dumb show_.
    ROSA _staggers_.  NEVILLE _catches her in his arms_.  JASPER _moves
    and groans in his sleep_.  DURDLES _comes out of crypt_, _plucks_
    GREWGIOUS _by the sleeve_, _and holds up_ JASPER’S _long black

    CRIS.  Jasper’s scarf!

                        (JASPER again groans on bed.)

       Where is Jasper?

    (_Goes to door of_ JASPER’S _house and knocks_.  _This knocking must
    be made right at back of stage_.)

    GREW.  It is no good knocking there.  The murderer of Edwin Drood
    will be found in London!

    (_Sensation as before in crowd_.  CRISPARKLE _still knocks_, _and
    between knocks faint rapping is heard at door of opium den_, _and_
    JASPER _tosses about on bed_, _then starts up with a cry_, _the
    Vision disappearing the moment he stands on the floor_.)

    JASPER (_starting as if at what he has seen_).  No, no.  It’s a lie!

                (_Knocking at opium den door becomes louder_.)

    (_Turning to_ SAL, _who is now at other end of room_.)  What’s that?

    SAL.  They wants to come in.

    JASPER.  Who wants to come in?

                      (_Knocking is louder and louder_.)

    SAL.  Why, the perlice.

    JASPER.  The police!  Damnation!  The man who followed me here
    to-night!  Then it’s all true.  Durdles has found the body in spite
    of all my precautions, and I am lost.  (Rushes wildly about room.)
    Is there no escape?  Where’s the window?

    SAL.  There ain’t no winder, deary.

    JASPER.  Then I’m trapped like a wolf in a cage.  You filthy hag,
    this is your doing.

    (_Seizes candlestick on stool to strike her_; _she crouches down_.
    _Knocking at door now so fierce as to arrest his attention_, _and he
    turns towards it_, _weapon in his hand_.)

    (_Voice at door_.  Open in the Queen’s name!)

    (JASPER _drops stool or whatever he has seized upon to attack_ SAL
    _with_, _staggers back_, _tears open his shirt-sleeve_, _where a
    small phial is seen fastened to left wrist_, _drags it from his wrist
    and holds it convulsively in right hand_, _as door is violently burst

    (_Enter_ Inspector of Police, _handcuffs in hand_, DURDLES, NEVILLE,

    GREW. (_to_ Officer, _pointing to_ JASPER).  There is your prisoner.

    JASPER.  Never!  Do you think I was not prepared for this always!
    (_Takes poison_, _and flings phial down_.)  Now I defy you!  Hush!  I
    did kill him!  Ha! ha!  The fellow-traveller!  Yes.  For love.  For a
    mad wild passion.  Killed him as I would have killed you and you—as I
    would have swept you all from the path that led to her.  Ha! ha! what
    fools you were not to see it, not to see my love, how it burned, how
    it consumed me.  She knew it!  Rosa knew it.  (_Then speaking as
    though none but he and_ ROSA _were present_.)  Rosa!  Rosa!  My Rosa!
    Come!  You must!  You shall!  (_Wildly_.)  Back!  Back!  She’s mine I
    tell you!  (_Passes hand over eyes_, _and staggers_, _then once more
    half realises the situation_.)  What’s that?  (_Looks round_, _and
    sees_ NEVILLE.)  You here!  You who think to reap the harvest for
    which I have sold my soul to hell!  Vile wretch!  I’ll kill you!

    (_Rushes to_ NEVILLE, _who stands forward_.  _In act of raising arm
    to strike him_, JASPER _is seized with death spasm_, _trembles_,
    _shudders_, _and_, _flinging up arms_, _falls dead_.  _Picture_:
    OPIUM SAL _crouching still in fear_, _Officer_, GREWGIOUS, DURDLES,
    NEVILLE, _and_ CRISPARKLE _near the body_.)

                                 END OF DRAMA


A reviewer in the _Times_ Literary Supplement, 27th October 1905, wrote:
‘Nor do we attach much importance to any of the hints Dickens dropped,
whether to John Forster, to any member of his family, or to either of his
illustrators.  He was very anxious that his secret should not be guessed,
and the hints which he dropped may very well have been intentionally
misleading.’  This called forth the following letter from Sir Luke

                          TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES

    Sir,—In an article entitled ‘The Mysteries of Edwin Drood’ in your
    issue of to-day, the writer, speculating on the various theories
    advanced as solutions of the mystery, ventures to say:—

    ‘Nor do we attach much importance to any of the hints Dickens
    dropped, whether to John Forster, to any member of his family, or to
    either of his illustrators.  He was very anxious that his secret
    should not be guessed, and the hints which he dropped may very well
    have been intentionally misleading.’

    I know that Charles Dickens was very anxious that his secret should
    not be guessed, but it surprises me to read that he could be thought
    capable of the deceit so lightly attributed to him.

    The ‘hints he dropped’ to me, his sole illustrator—for Charles
    Collins, his son-in-law, only designed the green cover for the
    monthly parts, and Collins told me he did not in the least know the
    significance of the various groups in the design; that they were
    drawn from instructions personally given by Charles Dickens, and not
    from any text—these ‘hints’ to me were the outcome of a request of
    mine that he would explain some matters, the meaning of which I could
    not comprehend, and which were for me, his illustrator,
    embarrassingly hidden.

    I instanced in the printers’ rough proof of the monthly part sent to
    me to illustrate where he particularly described John Jasper as
    wearing a neckerchief of such dimensions as to go twice round his
    neck; I called his attention to the circumstance that I had
    previously dressed Jasper as wearing a little black tie once round
    the neck, and I asked him if he had any special reasons for the
    alteration of Jasper’s attire, and, if so, I submitted I ought to
    know.  He, Dickens, appeared for the moment to be disconcerted by my
    remark, and said something meaning he was afraid he was ‘getting on
    too fast’ and revealing more than he meant at that early stage, and
    after a short silence, cogitating, he suddenly said, ‘Can you keep a
    secret?’  I assured him he could rely on me.  He then said, ‘I must
    have the double necktie!  It is necessary, for Jasper strangles Edwin
    Drood with it.’

    I was impressed by his earnestness, as indeed, I was at all my
    interviews with him—also by the confidence which he said he reposed
    in me, trusting that I would not in any way refer to it, as he feared
    even a chance remark might find its way into the papers ‘and thus
    anticipate his “mystery”’; and it is a little startling, after more
    than thirty-five years of profound belief in the nobility of
    character and sincerity of Charles Dickens, to be told now that he
    probably was more or less of a humbug on such occasions.—I am, Sir,
    yours obediently,

                                                              LUKE FILDES.

    HARROGATE, _October_ 27.


    I give here the notes which Dickens made for his novel.  These are
    partly quoted by Professor Jackson in his book, _About Edwin Drood_,
    but are now for the first time printed complete.

_Friday_, _Twentieth August_ 1869

                                   Gilbert Alfred.


                                   Jasper Edwyn.

                                   Michael Oswald.
The Loss of James Wakefield.       Arthur.
             Edwyn.                Selwyn.
                                   Mr. Honeythunder.
                                   Mr. Honeyblast.
James’s Disappearance.             The Dean.
                                   Mrs. Dean.
FLIGHT AND PURSUIT.                Miss Dean.




                             THE TWO KINSMEN.

The Loss of Edwyn Brood.

   The Loss of Edwin Brude.

   The Mystery in the Drood Family.

The Loss of Edwyn Drood.

   The Flight of Edwyn Drood.  Edwin Drood in hiding.

   The Loss of Edwin Drude.

The Disappearance of Edwin Drood.

   The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

                             Dead? or Alive?


   Touch the key-note.

      ‘When the wicked man—’

The Uncle & Nephew.

      ‘Pussy’s’ Portrait.

   _You won’t take warning then_?

Dean.                               Mr. Jasper.
   Minor Canon, Mr. Crisparkle.
   Uncle & Nephew.                  Verger.
Gloves for the Nuns’ House.         Peptune.
      Churchyard.                   _Change to Tope_.


Inside the Nuns’ House.

   Miss Twinkleton and her double existence.

                               Mrs. Tisher.


The affianced young people.  _Every love scene after is a quarrel more or

Mr. Sapsea.        Old Tory Jackass.

                        His Wife’s Epitaph.

Jasper and the Keys.

   Durdles down in the crypt and among the graves.  His dinner bundle.

                   (_MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD_.—_NO. I_.)

                                CHAPTER I

                                 THE DAWN

                                 change title to THE DAWN.

                                    opium smoking and Jasper.

                                       Lead up to Cathedral.

                                CHAPTER II

                        A DEAN AND A CHAPTER ALSO

Cathedral & Cathedral Town       Mr. Crisparkle.

   and the Dean.

         Uncle & Nephew.

         Murder very far off.

Edwin’s Story & Pussy.

                               CHAPTER III

                             THE NUNS’ HOUSE

Still picturesque suggestions of Cathedral Town.

The Nuns’ House and the young couple’s first love scene.

                                CHAPTER IV

                                MR. SAPSEA

Connect Jasper with him.  (He will want a solemn donkey by & by.)

      Epitaph brings them together, and brings Durdles with them.

   The Keys.       Story Durdles.

Bring in the other young couple.  YES

      Neville and Olympia Heyridge or Heyfort?

Neville & Helena Landless.

   Mixture of Oriental blood—or imperfectly acquired mixture in them.


                  (_MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD_.—_NO. II_.)

                                CHAPTER V


     The Blustrous Philanthropist.  Old Mrs. Crisparkle.

                 Mr. Honeythunder.  China Shepherdess.

                                    Minor Canon Corner.

                                CHAPTER VI

                        MORE CONFIDENCES THAN ONE

Neville’s to Mr. Crisparkle.

Rosa’s to Helena.       Piano scene with Jasper.  She singing; he
                        following her lips.

                               CHAPTER VII

                              DAGGERS DRAWN


      (Fomented by Jasper).  Goblet.  And then confession to Mr.

                                                 _Jasper lays his ground_.

                               CHAPTER VIII

                          MR. DURDLES AND FRIEND

Deputy engaged to stone Durdles nightly.

   Carry through the woman of the 1st chapter.

   Carry through Durdles calling—and the bundle & the keys.

      John Jasper looks at Edwin asleep.

Pursue Edwin Drood and Rosa?

   Lead on to final scene then in No. V?  IV?


   How many more scenes between them?

   Way to be paved for their marriage and parting instead.  _Yes_.

Miss Twinkleton’s?      No.      Next No.

Rosa’s Guardian?        DONE IN No. II.

   Mr. Sapsea?         In last chapter.

   Neville Landless at Mr. Crisparkle’s

         and Helena?  YES.

      Neville admires Rosa.  That comes out from himself.

                 (_MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD_.  _NO. III_.)

                              CHAPTER X {63}

                            SMOOTHING THE WAY

That is, for Jasper’s plan, through Mr. Crisparkle who takes new ground
on Nevill’s new confidence.

         Minor Canon Corner.  The closet?

remember there is a child.

         Edwin’s appointment for Xmas Eve.

                                CHAPTER XI

                           A PICTURE AND A RING


                                 J.   T.


Drood in chambers.       [The two waiters]

      Bazzard the clerk.

   Mr. Grewgious’s past story:

‘A ring of diamonds and rubies delicately set in gold.’

                                                           Edwin takes it.

                               CHAPTER XII

                           A NIGHT WITH DURDLES

Lay the ground for the manner of the murder to come out at last.

               Keep the boy suspended.

            Night picture of the Cathedral.

Once more carry through Edwin and Rosa?

         or Last time?  LAST TIME.


Last meeting of Rosa & Edwin outside the Cathedral?  YES.

               Kiss at parting.


Edwin goes to the dinner.

   The Windy night.

      The Surprise and Alarm.

         Jasper’s failure in the one great

   object made known by Mr. Grewgious.

         Jasper’s Diary?  YES.

                  (_MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD_.—_NO. IV_.)

                               CHAPTER XIII

                            BOTH AT THEIR BEST

The Last Interview

            And Parting.

                               CHAPTER XIV


How each passes the day.

[Watch & shirt pin]            Neville.                  [Watch to the
[all Edwin’s                    Edwin.

‘And so _he_ goes up the Postern Stair.’

                                                           Storms of wind.

                                CHAPTER XV


Neville away cart.  Pursued & brought back.

Mr. Grewgious’s communication:

                                              _And his scene with Jasper_.

                               CHAPTER XVI


Jasper’s artful use of the communication on his recovery.

Cloisterham Weir, Mr. Crisparkle, and the watch and pin.

Jasper’s artful turn.

   The DEAN.  Neville cast out.

      Jasper’s Diary ‘I devote myself to his destruction.’

Edwin and Rosa for the last time?  DONE ALREADY.


Edwin Disappears.


                   (_MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD_.—_NO. V_.)

                               CHAPTER XVII


                              CHAPTER XVIII

                       SHADOW ON THE SUN DIAL {67a}

                         A SETTLER IN CLOISTERHAM

                               CHAPTER XIX

                      A SETTLER IN CLOISTERHAM {67b}

                          SHADOW ON THE SUN DIAL

                                CHAPTER XX

                             LET’S TALK {67c}

                   VARIOUS FLIGHTS {67d} DIVERS FLIGHTS

                  (_MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD_.—_NO. VI_.)

                               CHAPTER XXI


                               CHAPTER XXII

                              THE DAWN AGAIN

                              CHAPTER XXIII

                                * * * * *


Much attention has been given to the illustrations on the wrapper and
their significance.  So far as I can find, the question was first raised
in the _Spectator_.  On 1st October 1870, in a review of the first
edition of _Edwin Drood_, the _Spectator_ complained that the publishers
had not given a facsimile of the vignetted cover.  The critic proceeds:
‘By whom was the lamplight discovery of a standing figure, apparently
meant for Edwin Drood, in the vignette at the bottom of the page,
intended to be made?’  He inquired also whether the man entering with the
lanthorn was John Jasper, and what were the directions given by Mr.
Dickens as to the ascent of the winding staircase represented on the
right hand of the cover.  The _Spectator_ asked for any authentic
indications which might exist of the turn which Dickens intended to give
to the story.  ‘Nor can we see how it can be possible that no such
indications exist, with this prefiguring cover to prove that he had not
only anticipated, but disclosed to some one or other, many of the
situations he intended to paint.’  Since then others, and in particular
Mr. Andrew Lang, have with much insistency declared that the bottom
picture represents a meeting of the risen Edwin Drood with his
horror-stricken uncle, John Jasper.

In reply to these questions certain considerations may be adduced:

1.  We have already shown from the testimony of Charles Allston Collins,
as reported by his widow, and by Sir Luke Fildes, that he, at least, was
not aware of any such intention in the mind of Dickens.  On the contrary,
Madame Perugini and Sir Luke Fildes are convinced that Edwin Drood was
murdered.  More than this, Charles Dickens the younger, who was more or
less in his father’s confidence, agreed with them.  As we have noted, he
affirmed that his father had told him that Edwin Drood was murdered, and
he constructed his play on that basis.

2.  I attach much weight to Madame Perugini’s suggestion that whatever
her father meant or did not mean, he was certainly not the man to give
away on the cover the answer to the mystery.  He may have meant—he very
probably did—before he began the story to mystify his readers a little.
This is shown, I think, by the various suggested titles printed on page
57.  But as he rejected those titles, it is plain that he thought them
unsatisfactory, and that he refrained from raising in the title at least
the question whether the murder of Edwin Drood was accomplished.

3.  I had prepared materials for a chapter on the wrappers of Dickens’s
novels as used in the monthly parts, but it is not necessary to go into
particulars.  I am glad to find myself in full agreement with the eminent
Dickens scholar, Mr. B W. Matz, who attaches no importance to the covers.
I put no trust in the wrapper of _Edwin Drood_ any more than I should in
that of _Pickwick_, _Martin Chuzzlewit_, _Little Dorrit_, _Dombey and
Son_, and many others, for a suggestion of any intricate points in any of
their plots.  The only covers which may be reliable in this respect are
_A Tale of Two Cities_, _Oliver Twist_, and _Sketches by Boz_.  Each of
these works was issued in parts after their respective stories had
appeared complete in other forms.  All the others must have been designed
before the first parts were published, and knowing the freedom which
Dickens allowed himself we can attach little importance to the evidence
of a particular cover as an index to the story.

When Mr. Marcus Stone, R.A., completed his seventy-second year, on 4th
July 1912, he was interviewed by a representative of the _Morning Post_,
and said:

    The cover of _Our Mutual Friend_, with the representation of
    different incidents in the story, I drew after seeing an amount of
    matter equivalent to no more than the first two one-shilling monthly
    parts.  Here it is: you will see that I depicted among other
    characters, Mr. Silas Wegg.  Well, I was aware that Wegg had a wooden
    leg, but I wanted to know whether this was his right or his left leg,
    as there was nothing in the material before me that threw light on
    this point.  To my surprise, Dickens said: ‘I do not know.  I do not
    think I had identified the leg.’  That was the only time I ever knew
    him to be at fault on a point of this kind, for as a rule he was
    ready to describe down to the minutest details the personal
    characteristics, and, I might almost add, the life-history of the
    creations of his fancy.

4.  But the final proof of the impossibility of making trustworthy
deductions from the cover is to be found in the fact that no readers read
it in the same way.  In proof of this I give the readings of Professor
Henry Jackson, Mr. Andrew Lang, Dr. M. R. James, and Mr. Cuming Walters.
Through the great kindness of Mr. Hugh Thomson the artist, who has made a
study of this subject and has given me his results, I am able to add
another interpretation certainly of no lower authority than those which
accompany it.


    We may fairly presume that the figures in the four corners represent
    comedy, tragedy, the opium-woman, and the Chinaman.  In the nave of
    the Cathedral, Edwin and Rosa pair off against Jasper and Crisparkle.
    Despite the discrepancy which Mr. Lang points out, I think that the
    lower of the two pictures on our left shows Jasper and Rosa in the
    garden of the Nuns’ House.  In the upper side-piece, the girl is, I
    am sure, Rosa flying from Jasper’s pursuit, in full view of a placard
    announcing Edwin’s disappearance.  It is true that the hatless girl
    with her hair streaming down her back does not answer very well to
    Dickens’s description of Rosa, and has no resemblance to Sir L.
    Fildes’s pictures of her: but if Dickens, when he had not yet thought
    out his conception of her personality, told Collins to draw a
    frightened girl of seventeen running away from school, no more than
    this could be expected.  For the scheme of the sketch, compare the
    picture in _Bleak House_, which shows Lady Dedlock, as she mounts the
    staircase, turning to look at a bill announcing a reward for the
    discovery of the murderer of Tulkinghorn.  That placards and
    advertisements, imploring Edwin to communicate with his uncle, had
    been widely circulated, we have been told at p. 182.  On the right,
    the two men in the lower picture are, I suppose, Jasper and Durdles
    ascending the tower on the night of ‘the unaccountable expedition’;
    while the man above is Jasper on Christmas Eve looking down at
    ‘_that_,’ p. 276: ‘Look down, look down!  You see what lies at the
    bottom there?’ p. 274.  I demur to Mr. Lang’s statements that the
    young man whom I venture to identify with Jasper is represented as
    ‘whiskerless,’ and that the figure which I take to be Durdles is

Professor Jackson then mentions the views of Mr. Proctor and Mr. Lang on
the important vignette at the bottom of the page:

    For my own part, I suspect that the upright figure represents Drood,
    but that the Drood which it represents is a phantom of Jasper’s
    imagination.  Let us suppose that an advertisement for a ring known
    to have been in the possession of the late Edwin Drood appears in the
    local newspaper, and that Jasper, now for the first time aware of the
    ring’s existence, goes to the crypt to look for it.  Dickens might
    well suppose him at such a moment to see a vision of the murdered
    man, and might instruct Collins to represent what Jasper imagined
    himself to see.  Indeed, I fancy that I recognise an intentional
    contrast between the two figures: the one in the foreground, full of
    movement, solidly drawn; the other, in the background, statuesque,
    and a little shadowy.  Doubtless Dickens was anxious that the reader
    should not know too much; and if he made Collins give visible form to
    a hallucination of Jasper’s brain, I for one do not think the
    procedure illegitimate.  It is sad that Dickens did not live to
    explain the innocent deception which, as I imagine, he meant for a
    few months to practise upon his readers.


    The cover lies before the reader.  In the left-hand top corner
    appears an allegorical female figure of joy, with flowers.  The
    central top space contains the front of Cloisterham Cathedral, or
    rather, the nave.  To the left walks Edwin, with hyacinthine locks,
    and a thoroughly classical type of face, and Grecian nose.  _Like
    Datchery_, _he does not wear_, _but carries his hat_; this means
    nothing, if they are in the nave.  He seems bored.  On his arm is
    Rosa; _she_ seems bored; she trails her parasol, and looks away from
    Edwin, looks down, to her right.  On the spectator’s right march the
    surpliced men and boys of the choir.  Behind them is Jasper, black
    whiskers and all; he stares after Edwin and Rosa; his right hand
    hides his mouth.  In the corner above him is an allegorical female,
    clasping a stiletto.

    Beneath Edwin and Rosa is, first, an allegorical female figure,
    looking at a placard, headed ‘LOST,’ on a door.  Under that again, is
    a girl in a garden-chair; a young man, whiskerless, with wavy hair,
    kneels and kisses her hand.  She looks rather unimpassioned.  I
    conceive the man to be Landless, taking leave of Rosa after urging
    his hopeless suit for which Helena, we learn, ‘seems to compassionate
    him.’  He has avowed his passion, early in the story, to Crisparkle.
    Below, the opium hag is smoking.  On the other side, under the
    figures of Jasper and the choir, the young man who kneels to the girl
    is seen bounding up a spiral staircase.  His left hand is on the iron
    railing; he stoops over it, looking down at others who follow him.
    His right hand, the index finger protruded, points upward, and, by
    chance or design, points straight at Jasper in the vignette above.
    Beneath this man (clearly Landless) follows a tall man in a ‘bowler’
    hat, a ‘cut-away’ coat, and trousers which show an inch of white
    stocking above the low shoes.  His profile is hid by the wall of the
    spiral staircase: he might be Grewgious of the shoes, white
    stockings, and short trousers, but he may be Tartar: he takes two
    steps at a stride.  Beneath him a youngish man, in a low, soft,
    clerical hat and a black pea-coat, ascends, looking downwards and
    backwards.  This is clearly Crisparkle.  A Chinaman is smoking opium

    In the central lowest space, a dark and whiskered man enters a dark
    chamber; his left hand is on the lock of the door; in his right he
    holds up a lantern.  The light of the lantern reveals a young man in
    a soft hat of Tyrolese shape.  His features are purely classical, his
    nose is Grecian, his locks are long (at least, according to the taste
    of to-day); he wears a light paletot, buttoned to the throat; his
    right arm hangs by his side; his left hand is thrust into the breast
    of his coat.  He calmly regards the dark man with the lantern.  That
    man, of course, is Jasper.  The young man is EDWIN DROOD, of the
    Grecian nose, hyacinthine locks, and classic features, as in Sir L.
    Fildes’s third illustration.

    Mr. Proctor correctly understood the unmistakable meaning of this
    last design, Jasper entering the vault:

    ‘To-day the dead are living,
    The lost is found to-day.’


In the _Cambridge Review_ for 9th March 1911 Dr. James says:

    Now, as to the figures at the angles and the scene at the top there
    is general agreement.  As to those on the left, H. J. is, I think,
    right in calling the upper one Rosa’s flight; but the lower one
    _cannot_ be Jasper and Rosa.  The young man has a moustache.  Jasper
    had none, and has none in the two pictures of him on this same cover.
    Also, the artist has carefully emphasised the fact that the girl is
    indifferent to her suitor.  The figures, I believe, represent Rosa
    and Neville Landless.

    On the right, H. J. assumes that there are two scenes.  I am clear
    that there is but one: for, whereas, on the left side the two scenes
    are separated by a sprig of the rose-wreath which surrounds the
    centre, and a similar sprig parts them from the top scene, there is
    on the right only the division from the top scene, managed in the
    same way as on the left.  And yet, had the scene been two, there was
    great necessity to separate them, inasmuch as they are taking place
    in the same surroundings, namely, the winding staircase.  As to the
    identity of the three men, the lowest one is a cleric, Crisparkle,
    the next above him I will not identify; the uppermost is either
    Jasper or just possibly (since he is pointing pretty directly at the
    figure of Jasper in the top scene, and seems to be acting as a guide
    to those below him) Datchery.

Dr. James dissents from Dr. Jackson as to the central vignette at the
bottom.  No phantom of the imagination is there.  We have a real person,
as is shown by the fact that he casts a shadow on the wall behind him.


Mr. Hugh Thomson wrote the following notes on 3rd April 1912, and they
are now printed for the first time:

    But to get to the cover to which you particularly directed my
    attention.  It was designed, I take it, primarily as a decoration,
    and not as a series of representations of the characters to appear in
    the book.  Consequently, there is but little definite
    character-drawing in any of the groups with the exception of the one
    at the bottom of the page, where Jasper is depicted exactly as I
    should wish him depicted, dark and saturnine ‘with thick, lustrous
    black hair and whiskers.’  If the other figure is merely a wraith
    conjured up by Jasper’s evil opium-soaked conscience, it is as
    substantial as one of the ghosts of Hamlet’s father given to us on
    the stage time after time without protest.  But in a black and white
    design for a popular serial it is scarcely possible to be subtle, and
    at the same time plainly intelligible.  So it may be a ghost, or it
    may be Edwin in the flesh, or Neville Landless got up to represent
    Edwin.  It is a very effective little cut.  In the other groups,
    Jasper is not so unmistakable, but, of course, in the upper drawings
    the sleek, clerical-looking personage with his hand at his mouth is
    meant to represent Jasper.  The staircase groups, I can’t identify.
    The young men in both may be meant to represent Jasper.  They are not
    in the least like that sombre personage, but just colourless young
    men.  In the garden scene one cannot think that the kneeling figure
    pressing the girl’s fingers to his lips is meant for Jasper at all.
    It has a mop of fair hair and boasts a moustache, and in the scene in
    the garden of the Nuns’ House Rosa did not permit Jasper to approach
    her so nearly.  In the picture there is no suggestion of the
    repugnance and fear with which she regarded Jasper.  Don’t you think
    it reasonable to suggest that this little picture illustrates a scene
    to take place much later in the book, a scene Dickens did not live to
    write?  It might be Edwin Drood returned from abroad or from
    disguise.  Edwin Drood making love to Helena Landless.  In chapter
    viii. he was ‘already enough impressed by Helena to feel indignant
    that Helena’s brother should dispose of him (Edwin) so coolly’ to

    Or could it be Tartar proposing to Rosebud?  But Tartar had no
    moustache either as himself or as Datchery, and the girl’s figure has
    a suggestion of lithe dignity which I don’t associate with the
    ‘little beauty’ Rosebud.

    I agree with the author of _About Edwin Drood_ that Edwin was not
    worth while bringing back, but it is possible that he was to return,
    and that this is he in the garden scene.  In the space above this the
    female figure scanning a placard ‘LOST’ is, I think, merely
    allegorical, and not meant to represent Rosebud fleeing from Jasper.
    In the book she leaves Cloisterham so neat and pretty that Joe, the
    omnibus man, would have liked to keep for himself the love she sent
    to Miss Twinkleton.


There is another view to which I strongly incline, first stated by Mr.
Cuming Walters.  I take the erect figure in the bottom vignette to be
Datchery.  It is not Edwin.  The large hat and the tightish surtout are
the articles of clothing on which Dickens lays stress in his description
of Datchery.  Mr. Lang says that the figure is that of a young man in a
longish loose greatcoat, not a tightish surtout such as Datchery wore,
but I agree with Mr. Cuming Walters that the figure corresponds with the
description of Datchery.  Edwin as seen above with Rosa in the cathedral
is not wearing a coat of this sort.  His hat also is different.  On
examining the figure Mr. H. B. Irving said to me: ‘That looks uncommonly
like a woman in disguise.’

None of us has a right to dogmatise, but the variety of opinions among
those who have studied the cover shows that no certain conclusion can be
drawn from the illustrations.  The arguments advanced previously tend to
make this practically certain.  In the discussion of the problem a wholly
disproportionate weight has been laid on the illustrated cover.  It would
hardly bear that weight even if every one were agreed as to the reading
of the pictures, and there is no such agreement.



Dickens has left us one-half of his last story.  It was to be completed
in twelve parts, and six parts were published.  We can only infer and
guess at the way in which the author would have completed it.  Would he
have brought many new characters on the stage, or are we to believe that
the main characters are already there, and that it is through the
revealing of their secrets that the end is to be reached?  To give a
positive reply is impossible, and yet we may learn something of Dickens’s
methods by studying his complete books.  Supposing we had only one-half
of each book in our possession, might we expect that the complete story
would introduce us to many fresh characters?  I give the results of some
investigations from the later novels.


_Edwin Drood_, as we have it, runs in round numbers to about 100,000
words.  When completed it would have been 200,000 words.  This would have
made it slightly longer than _Great Expectations_, which may be estimated
at 160,000 words.  _A Tale of Two Cities_ runs to 143,000 words.  _Edwin
Drood_, while slightly longer than this, would have been very much
shorter than the larger works of Dickens.  _David Copperfield_ has about
306,000 words; _Bleak House_, 308,000, and _Our Mutual Friend_, 297,000.
All these are practically the same length.  _Barnaby Rudge_ has about
264,000 words.


I begin with _Bleak House_, which is one of the latest and most elaborate
of Dickens’s stories.  In the first half the characters arrive in crowds.
I make out in the first chapter ten or eleven.  The second chapter brings
My Lady Dedlock, Sir Leicester Dedlock, Mr. Tulkinghorn, and others.  The
third brings Esther Summerson and John Jarndyce, besides half a dozen
more.  The fourth brings us the Jellybys, with Mr. Guppy, and others.
Krook and Nemo are the fresh arrivals in chapter v.; Mr. Harold Skim-pole
arrives in chapter vi., with the Coavinses.  In chapter vii. I make out
six arrivals at least.  Chapter viii. gives us the Pardiggles, Mr.
Gusher, the brickmaker, and family, and Jenny, his wife.  In chapter ix.
Mr. Lawrence Boythorn arrives alone; chapter x. gives us the Snagsbys,
their predecessor, Peffer, the two prentices, and Guster, the servant.
Miss Flite comes with chapter xi., and along with her appear the young
surgeon, the beadle, Mrs. Perkins, Mrs. Anastasia Piper, and a few more.
Chapter xii. brings Mlle. Hortense, maid to Lady Dedlock, Lord Boodle and
his retinue, the Right Hon. William Buffy, M.P., and his retinue.  In
Chapter xiii. we have Mr. Bayham Badger, Mrs. Badger, and the former
husbands of Mrs. Badger are recalled.  Chapter xiv. brings Mr. Turveydrop
and his son, also Allan Woodcourt, the young surgeon, and we have
mentioned the ‘old lady with a censorious countenance,’ and the late Mrs.
Turveydrop.  In chapter xv. we have Mrs. Blinder and the Neckett family;
chapter xvii., Mrs. Woodcourt, mother of Allan; chapter xix., Mr. and
Mrs. Chadband; chapter xx., Young Smallweed and Jobling, _alias_ Weevle;
in chapter xxi., the Grandfather and Grandmother Smallweed, Judith
Smallweed, Mr. George, trooper (Uncle George, chapter vii.), and Phil
Squod of the Shooting Gallery.  The great Mr. Bucket appears in chapter
xxii.  Captain Hawdon is in chapter xxvi.  In chapter xxvii. we have the
Bagnet family of five.  In chapter xxviii. there comes Volumnia Dedlock;
Miss Wisk in chapter xxx., and Liz in chapter XXXI.

We have now reached the end of the first half, and the arrivals after
that are few and unimportant.  In chapter xxxii. no new character is
brought on the stage, though there is talk about the noted siren, who
assists at the Harmonic Meetings, and is announced as Miss M.
Melvilleson, though she has been married a year and a half.  In chapter
xxxiii. it is mentioned that the ‘Sols Arms,’ a well-conducted tavern, is
licensed to a highly respectable landlord, Mr. J. G. Bogsby.  After that
we have no new character till chapter xxxvii., where we are introduced to
Mr. W. Grubble, the landlord of that very clean little tavern, ‘The
Dedlock Arms.’  Vholes is introduced by Skimpole as the man who gives him
something and called it commission.  Mr. Vholes has the privilege of
supporting an aged father in the Vale of Taunton, and has a red eruption
here and there upon his face.  He has three daughters—Emma, Jane, and
Caroline—and cannot afford to be selfish.  In chapter xxxviii. we meet
Mrs. Guppy, ‘an old lady in a large cap, with rather a red nose, and
rather an unsteady eye, but smiling all over.’  Then in chapter xl. there
are the cousins of Sir Leicester Dedlock.  In chapter xliii. Mrs.
Skimpole and the Skimpole family are introduced, and in chapter liii.
Mrs. Bucket.  It will be observed that some of these can scarcely be
called new characters, and that not one is of any real importance, that
is, so far as _Bleak House_ is concerned.  Dickens in the middle of his
story had practically put every actor upon the stage.  The story was to
be developed by the characters to whom the reader had been introduced.  I
have calculated that in the first half there are about one hundred and
six characters of greater or less importance.  In the second half there
are, on the most generous computation, only sixteen, and not one of them
plays a vital part in the development of the tale.


I take next _Our Mutual Friend_, and with this I must deal more briefly.
_Our Mutual Friend_ is remarkable for the profusion of characters in the
first half.  In the second chapter there are sixteen at least, including
Mr. and Mrs. Veneering, Mr. and Mrs. Podsnap, Mortimer Lightfoot, Eugene
Wrayburn, and John Harmon.  The Wilfers come in chapter iv.; in chapter
v. Silas Wegg and the Boffins, and almost every chapter adds to the
company till we get to the middle.  After that there is an abrupt
cessation.  There are not more than half a dozen new characters named in
the second part, and all of them are wholly insignificant, the Deputy
Lock, Gruff and Glum, the Greenwich pensioner, the Archbishop of
Greenwich, a waiter, Mrs. Sprodgkin, the exacting member of the fold, and
the contractor of 500,000 power.  In _Our Mutual Friend_ every character
of any significance has been introduced when the first half ends.  The
few stragglers who come later have practically no effect on the story.


In _Little Dorrit_ we have the old profuseness of characters; in the
first half nearly one hundred, and in the second half there are
practically no new characters at all.  Mr. Tinkler, the valet to Mr.
Dorrit, and Mr. Eustace, the classical tourist, can hardly be counted.
In chapter xxi., ‘The History of a Self-Tormentor,’ we have Charlotte
Dawes, the false friend, who vanishes instantly, and counts for nothing.
Thus, I think, we may say, taking the three long books of Dickens’s later
period, that in each it was his manner to introduce no new characters of
the least import in the second half of his books.  But it may be worth
while to glance at his practice in the shorter tales, _A Tale of Two
Cities_ and _Great Expectations_.


In the second half of this fine book there are practically no new
characters that I can trace.  The epithet can hardly be applied to the
President of the trial at the Conciergerie.


It is now agreed that one of Dickens’s most perfect books is _Great
Expectations_.  It is known also that Dickens complied with a suggestion
of Lord Lytton’s, which modified the plot—not seriously nor disagreeably.
Here again in the second part we have very few fresh characters.  We have
the Colonel in Newgate introduced to Mr. Wemmick, but he is ‘sure to be
assassinated on Monday.’  Let us not forget Miss Skiffins, a good sort of
fellow, with a high regard both for Wemmick and the Aged.  There is the
retrospective Provis, but the characters introduced belong to the past.
Finally, in chapter xlvi., we have a pleasant glimpse of the Barley
family and of Mrs. Whymple, the best of housewives, and the motherly
friend of Clara and Herbert.  It is she who fosters and regulates with
equal kindness and discretion their mutual love.  ‘It was understood that
nothing of a tender nature could possibly be confided to Old Barley, by
reason of his being totally unequal to the consideration of any subject
more psychological than Gout, Rum, and Purser’s Stores.’

These are all the books of which I have made a close personal
examination.  I believe that the general result will be the same in all
save two or three exceptional works, such as _Barnaby Rudge_.  Whether he
consciously acted on the principle that no new characters should be
introduced after half the story was told, it is impossible to say.  It
seems certain, however, that he acted upon it.


Dickens was no great reader, and it is plain by what he did not say, as
well as by what he did say, that he did not on the whole admire ardently
the work of his contemporaries.  But he made a special exception in the
case of Wilkie Collins, with whom he collaborated on more than one
occasion, as in the story _No Thoroughfare_.  He published in his own
magazine some of Collins’s best detective stories, including _The Woman
in White_, _No Name_, and _The Moonstone_.  Of these stories Dickens put
first _No Name_.  _The Moonstone_ he criticised in one of his letters to
Wills.  At first he thought it in many respects ‘much better than
anything he has done,’ but afterwards he wrote, 26th July 1868: ‘I quite
agree with you about _The Moonstone_.  The construction is wearisome
beyond endurance, and there is a vein of obstinate conceit in it that
makes enemies of readers.’ {90}

In September 1862 he wrote in enthusiastic terms of admiration about _No
Name_.  This I take to be a very weighty and significant letter, as will
appear in the sequel:

    I have gone through the second volume [_No Name_] at a sitting, and I
    find it _wonderfully fine_.  It goes on with an ever-rising power and
    force in it that fills me with admiration.  It is as far before and
    beyond _The Woman in White_ as that was beyond the wretched common
    level of fiction-writing.  There are some touches in the Captain
    which no one but a born (and cultivated) writer could get near—could
    draw within hail of.  And the originality of Mrs. Wragge, without
    compromise of her probability, involves a really great achievement.
    But they are all admirable; Mr. Noel Vanstone and the housekeeper,
    both in their way as meritorious as the rest; Magdalen wrought out
    with truth, energy, sentiment, and passion, of the very first water.

    I cannot tell you with what a strange dash of pride as well as
    pleasure I read the great results of your hard work.  Because, as you
    know, I was certain from the Basil days that you were the Writer who
    would come ahead of all the Field—being the only one who combined
    invention and power, both humorous and pathetic, with that invincible
    determination to work, and that profound conviction that nothing of
    worth is to be done without work, of which triflers and feigners have
    no conception. {91}

Mr. Swinburne in his study of Wilkie Collins writes:

    It is apparently the general opinion—an opinion which seems to me
    incontestable—that no third book of their author’s can be ranked as
    equal with _The __Woman in White_ and _The Moonstone_: two works of
    not more indisputable than incomparable ability.  _No Name_ is an
    only less excellent example of as curious and original a talent.

This was not the opinion of Dickens.


On 6th October 1859 Dickens replied to a suggestion by Collins on the
working out of _A Tale of Two Cities_.  The italics are mine:

    I do not positively say that the point you put might not have been
    done in your manner; but I have a very strong conviction that it
    would have been overdone in that manner—too elaborately trapped,
    baited, and prepared—in the main anticipated, and its interest
    wasted.  This is quite apart from the peculiarity of the Doctor’s
    [Dr. Manette—_A Tale of Two Cities_] character, as affected by his
    imprisonment; which of itself would, to my thinking, render it quite
    out of the question to put the reader inside of him before the proper
    time, in respect of matters that were dim to himself through being,
    in a diseased way, morbidly shunned by him.  _I think the business of
    art is to lay all that ground carefully_, _not with the care that
    conceals itself—to show_, _by a backward light_, _what everything has
    been working to_,—_but only to suggest_, _until the fulfilment
    comes_.  _These are the ways of Providence_, _of which ways all art
    is but a little imitation_. {92b}


Could Dickens keep his secrets well?  In other words, could he prevent
his readers from fathoming a mystery till the proper moment of the
_dénouement_?  An important help to the answering of this question will
be found in the essay on Charles Dickens by Edgar Allan Poe, who was a
critic of extraordinary penetration.  If any one could detect a secret it
was he.  But he was also much given to mystification, and it is not wise
to accept anything he says without verifying it.  The essay on Dickens
turns largely on _Barnaby Rudge_, and, to the best of my belief, it has
not been strictly examined.


Poe says:

    We are not prepared to say, so positively as we could wish, whether
    by the public at large, the whole _mystery_ of the murder committed
    by Rudge, with the identity of the Maypole ruffian with Rudge
    himself, was fathomed at any period previous to the period intended,
    or, if so, whether at a period so early as materially to interfere
    with the interest designed; but we are forced, through sheer modesty,
    to suppose this the case; since, by ourselves individually, the
    secret was distinctly understood immediately upon the perusal of the
    story of Solomon Daisy, which occurs at the seventh page of this
    volume of three hundred and twenty-three.  In the number of the
    Philadelphia _Saturday Evening Post_ for 1st May 1841 (the tale
    having then only begun), will be found a prospective notice of some
    length, in which we make use of the following words:

    ‘That Barnaby is the son of the murderer may not appear evident to
    our readers—but we will explain.  The person murdered is Mr. Reuben
    Haredale.  He was found assassinated in his bed-chamber.  His steward
    (Mr. Rudge, senior) and his gardener (name not mentioned) are
    missing.  At first both are suspected.  “Some months afterward”—here
    we use the words of the story—“the steward’s body, scarcely to be
    recognised but by his clothes and the watch and ring he wore, was
    found at the bottom of a piece of water in the grounds, with a deep
    gash in the breast, where he had been stabbed by a knife.  He was
    only partly dressed; and all the people agreed that he had been
    sitting up reading in his own room, where there were many traces of
    blood, and was suddenly fallen upon and killed, before his master.”

    ‘Now, be it observed, it is not the author himself who asserts that
    the steward’s body was found; he has put the words in the mouth of
    one of his characters.  His design is to make it appear, in the
    _dénouement_, that the steward, Rudge, first murdered the gardener,
    then went to his master’s chamber, murdered _him_, was interrupted by
    his (Rudge’s) wife, whom he seized and held _by the wrist_, to
    prevent her giving the alarm—that he then, after possessing himself
    of the booty desired, returned to the gardener’s room, exchanged
    clothes with him, put upon the corpse his own watch and ring, and
    secreted it where it was afterwards discovered at so late a period
    that the features could not be identified.’

This is the prediction we have to examine.  In the first place, was such
an article published in the Philadelphia _Saturday Evening Post_ for 1st
May 1841?  Mr. J. H. Ingram, the chief authority on Poe in this country,
very kindly informs me that this review has never been reprinted in any
edition of Poe’s works.  Should it not be searched out and reprinted in
full?  I should like to see the context of Poe’s extract, and I should
like still more to be sure that the article appeared as he says it did.
Mr. Ingram has no doubt that the article appeared as stated by Poe.  Mr.
J. H. Whitty of Richmond, Va., kindly informs me that all the early files
of the _Post_ are inaccessible.

In the second place, Poe affirms that the article appeared in the
Philadelphia paper for 1st May 1841, and that the tale was only then
begun.  As for that, _Barnaby Rudge_ was first published as a volume in
1841, after having run as a serial in the pages of _Master Humphrey’s
Clock_ from 13th February 1841 to 27th November 1841.  I have failed to
find the precise date of its first appearance in America.  No doubt it
appeared in serial form, and the first instalments on which Poe bases his
assertions should have been printed in America considerably earlier than
1st May.  But the assertion which chiefly demands scrutiny is very
definitely made by Poe.  He says: The secret was _distinctly_ understood
_immediately_ upon the perusal of the story of Solomon Daisy.’  The
italics are mine.


We turn to the story of Solomon Daisy ‘as told in the _Maypole_ at any
time for four and twenty years.’  It is very simple and matter-of-fact.
It tells how Mr. Reuben Haredale, of The Warren, a widower with one
child, left the place when his lady died.  He went up to London, where he
stopped some months, but, finding that place as lonely as The Warren, he
suddenly came back with his little girl, bringing with him besides, that
day, only two women servants, and his steward and a gardener.  The rest
stayed behind in London, and were to follow next day.  That night, an old
gentleman who lived at Chigwell Row, and had long been poorly, died, and
an order came to Solomon at half after twelve o’clock at night to go and
toll the passing bell.  Solomon relates to a thrilled audience how he
went out in a windy, rainy, very dark night; how he entered the church,
trimmed the candle, thought of old tales about dead people rising and
sitting at the head of their own graves, fancying that he saw the old
gentleman who was just dead, wrapping his shroud round him, and shivering
as if he felt it cold.  At length he started up and took the bell rope in
his hands.  At that minute there rang—not that bell, for he had scarcely
touched the rope—but another!  It was only for an instant, and even then
the wind carried the sound away, but he heard it.  He listened for a long
time, but it rang no more.  He then tolled his own bell and ran home to
bed as fast as he could touch the ground.  Next morning came the news
that Mr. Reuben Haredale was found murdered in his bed-chamber, and in
his hand was a piece of the cord attached to an alarm bell outside, which
hung in his room, and had been cut asunder, no doubt by the murderer when
he seized it.  ‘That was the bell I heard.’  He further relates how the
steward and the gardener were both missing, both suspected, but never
found.  The body of Mr. Rudge, the steward—scarcely to be recognised by
his clothes and the watch and the ring he wore—was found months
afterwards at the bottom of a piece of water in the grounds with a deep
gash in the breast where he had been stabbed by a knife.  Every one knew
now that the gardener must be the murderer, and Solomon Daisy predicted
that he would be heard of.  That is the whole story as told by Solomon
Daisy, and Poe affirms that he perceived from this story: (1) That the
steward Rudge first murdered the gardener; (2) that he then went to his
master’s chamber and murdered him; (3) that he was interrupted by Rudge’s
wife, whom he seized and held by the wrist to prevent her giving the
alarm; (4) that he possessed himself of the booty, returned to the
gardener’s room, exchanged clothes with him, put upon the corpse his own
watch and ring, and secreted it where it was afterwards discovered at so
late a period that the features could not be identified.


Poe admits that his preconceived ideas were not entirely correct:

    The gardener was murdered, not before, but after his master; and that
    Rudge’s wife seized _him_ by the wrist, instead of his seizing _her_,
    has so much the air of a mistake on the part of Mr. Dickens that we
    can scarcely speak of our own version as erroneous.  The grasp of a
    murderer’s bloody hand on the wrist of a woman _enceinte_ would have
    been more likely to produce the effect described (and this every one
    will allow) than the grasp of the hand of the woman upon the wrist of
    the assassin.  We may, therefore, say of our supposition, as
    Talleyrand said of some cockney’s bad French—_que s’il ne soit pas
    Français assurément donc il le doit être_—that if we did not rightly
    prophesy, yet, at least, our prophecy should have been right.

I have no hesitation in saying that this is largely a piece of pure
mystification, another _Tale of the Grotesque and Arabesque_.  It is
conceivable that Poe guesses from Solomon Daisy’s story that the steward
Rudge murdered the gardener and his master.  It follows that the steward
changed clothes with the murdered gardener, put upon the corpse his own
watch and ring, and secreted it where it was afterwards discovered at so
late a period that the features could not be identified.  But that Poe
should have guessed immediately after reading Solomon Daisy’s story that
he seized and held by the wrist his wife to prevent her giving the alarm
is beyond belief.  ‘By the wrist’ are the three significant words, and
they prove that Poe must have had before him when writing the parts of
the novel up to and including chapter V.  For it is in the fifth chapter
that the first mention is made of the smear of blood on Barnaby’s wrist.
We read there:

    They who knew the Maypole story, and could remember what the widow
    was, before her husband’s and his master’s murder, understood it
    well.  They recollected how the change had come, and could call to
    mind that when her son was born, upon the very day the deed was
    known, he bore upon his wrist what seemed a smear of blood but half
    washed out.

Near the beginning of chapter lxii., where Rudge is making his confession
in prison, he says of his wife:

    Did I see her fall upon the ground; and, when I stooped to raise her,
    did she thrust me back with a force that cast me off as if I had been
    a child, staining the hand with which she clasped my wrist?  Is
    _that_ fancy?

To claim that the seizing of the wrist could have been deduced from
Solomon Daisy’s story by itself is to affirm an impossibility.

And so vanishes the main value of the prediction.  If Poe wrote that
article in the _Saturday Evening Post_, he wrote it after having read the
fifth chapter of Dickens’s novel.


It may be asked whether Poe discovered anything from his reading of the
first pages.  The only thing which he may have guessed is the thing which
it was comparatively easy to guess.  He may have conjectured that the
mysterious stranger at the Maypole was Rudge Redux.  When this surmise
had been lodged in his mind the other deductions follow as a matter of
course from later chapters, as the tale unfolds itself.  Even if Poe
identified the stranger at the Maypole with the murderer it was no great
feat, for the murderer is closely disguised, from which any intelligent
reader would infer that he has a motive for fearing detection in an old
haunt.  He is shabbily dressed; he is very curious about the people and
events at The Warren; he is suspected as a criminal of some kind by the
cronies; he strikes Joe as he leaves.  On the road he threatens Varden
with murder.  This shows us that we have before us a fugitive criminal.
He is presented to us with all the marks of a villain in hiding.  It may
be noted that from Solomon Daisy’s story the inference is that only one
of two men committed the murder of Reuben Haredale, the gardener or
Rudge.  There has also been a difficulty in identifying the remains.
This leaves Poe no special credit.  There is considerable keenness in his
conjecture that the treatment of the Gordon Riots was an afterthought of
Dickens.  Poe says:

    The title of the book, the elaborate and pointed manner of the
    commencement, the impressive description of The Warren, and
    especially of Mrs. Rudge, go far to show that Mr. Dickens has really
    deceived himself—that the soul of the plot, as originally conceived,
    was the murder of Haredale, with the subsequent discovery of the
    murderer in Rudge—but that this idea was afterwards abandoned, or,
    rather, suffered to be merged in that of the Popish riots.  The
    result has been most unfavourable.  That which, of itself, would have
    proved highly effective, has been rendered nearly null by its
    situation.  In the multitudinous outrage and horror of the Rebellion,
    the _one_ atrocity is utterly whelmed and extinguished.

But facts, as Poe admits, are against this supposition.  Dickens says in
his Preface:

    If the object an author has had, in writing a book, cannot be
    discovered from its perusal, the probability is that it is either
    very deep or very shallow.  Hoping that mine may lie somewhere
    between these two extremes, I shall say very little about it, and
    that only in reference to one point.  No account of the Gordon Riots
    having been to my knowledge introduced into any work of fiction, and
    the subject presenting very extraordinary and remarkable features, I
    was led to project this tale.

This is final.  It appears from Forster’s biography that Dickens desired
to expose the brutalising character of laws which led to the incessant
execution of men and women comparatively innocent.  It is clear also that
Dickens made a special study of the contemporary newspapers and annual
registers.  But Forster admits that the form ultimately taken by _Barnaby
Rudge_ had been comprised only partially within its first design, and he
admits also that the interest with which the tale begins has ceased to be
its interest before the close.  ‘What has chiefly taken the reader’s
fancy at the outset almost wholly disappears in the power and passion
with which, in the later chapters, great riots are described.  So
admirable is this description, however, that it would be hard to have to
surrender it even for a more perfect structure of fable.’  To this I may
add that the letters to the artist Cattermole on the illustrations to
_Barnaby Rudge_ are very valuable for the fullness and precision of their


That it is legitimate to draw inferences from the hints given by Dickens
I should be the last to deny.  His purpose was to provide hints which,
when contemplated with what he called a backward glance, should appear
luminous at the end of the story.  Their meaning at the time might be
more or less obscure, but when from the end of the book one could look
back upon its course even to the beginning, he would see that the artist
had a purpose all through, and that he was steadily preparing his reader
for the _dénouement_.  Of this I give a striking proof, on which, so far
as I am aware, little stress has been laid. {104}  The _Edinburgh Review_
of July 1857 contains an article, ‘The License of Modern Novelists,’ in
which the critic deals with _Little Dorrit_, and denounces his charges
against the administrative system of England.  Among other things, the
reviewer says: ‘Even the catastrophe in _Little Dorrit_ is evidently
borrowed from the recent fall of houses in Tottenham Court Road, which
happens to have appeared in the newspapers at a convenient period.’
Dickens, for the first and only time in his life, so far as I know,
publicly replied to a reviewer.  He wrote an article in _Household Words_
of 1st August 1857, entitled ‘Curious Misprint in the _Edinburgh
Review_,’ in which he turned upon his critic fiercely and sharply.  He
quotes the sentence about the catastrophe in _Little Dorrit_, and goes on
to say:

    Thus, the Reviewer.  The Novelist begs to ask him whether there is no
    License in his writing those words, and stating that assumption as a
    truth, when any man accustomed to the critical examination of a book
    cannot fail, attentively turning over the pages of _Little Dorrit_,
    to observe that that catastrophe is carefully prepared for from the
    very first presentation of the old house in the story; that when
    Rigaud, the man who is crushed by the fall of the house, first enters
    it (hundreds of pages before the end) he is beset by a mysterious
    fear and shuddering; that the rotten and crazy state of the house is
    laboriously kept before the reader, whenever the house is shown; that
    the way to the demolition of the man and the house together is paved
    all through the book with a painful minuteness and reiterated care of
    preparation, the necessity of which (in order that the thread may be
    kept in the reader’s mind through nearly two years) is one of the
    adverse incidents of the serial form of publication?  It may be
    nothing to the question that Mr. Dickens now publicly declares, on
    his word of honour, that that catastrophe was written, was engraved
    on steel, was printed, had passed through the hands of compositors,
    readers for the press, and pressmen, and was in type and in proof in
    the Printing House of Messrs. Bradbury and Evans before the accident
    in Tottenham Court Road occurred.  But, it is much to the question
    that an honourable reviewer might have easily traced this out in the
    internal evidence of the book itself, before he stated, for a fact,
    what is utterly and entirely, in every particular and respect,

The blows are dealt with a will, and it should be noted that Dickens is
more irritated at the stupidity of the reviewer in failing to see the way
in which he contrived the catastrophe than at his mistake in the fact.
It is to be noted also that Dickens considered that his serial form of
publication compelled him to be almost too minute, copious, and constant
in keeping the thread in the mind of a reader whose attention had to be
maintained for nearly two years.



I reply in the affirmative, and for the following reasons:


1.  The external testimonies as given in a previous chapter are all
explicit as far as they go in their testimony that in the intention of
Dickens Edwin Drood was murdered.  There is first the testimony of John
Forster.  To him Dickens plainly declared that a nephew was to be
murdered by his uncle.  The murderer was to discover that his crime was
useless for its purpose, but he was not to be convicted in the ordinary
way.  It was by means of a gold ring, which had resisted the corrosive
effects of the lime into which the body had been cast, that the murderer
and the person murdered were to be identified.

2.  Madame Perugini corroborates Forster’s testimony, and points out that
the only thing on which he is not positive is the ending of Neville
Landless.  He guards himself by saying, ‘I think,’ and this makes his
testimony to the more important facts the more impressive.  Madame
Perugini, who thoroughly understood the relations between Forster and
Dickens, finds it impossible to believe that Dickens should have altered
his plan without communicating with Forster.  Forster’s strong character,
and the peculiar friendship that existed between him and Dickens, make it
impossible to believe that Dickens should suddenly become ‘underhand,’
and we might say treacherous, by inventing a plot which he did not intend
to carry into execution.  Forster became a little jealous of Dickens’s
confidence, and more than a little exacting in his demands on it.  This
Dickens knew, and smiled at occasionally.  But he was very careful not to
wound his friend’s very sensitive nature, and he so trusted Forster’s
judgment as to be uneasy and unhappy if he did not obtain its sanction
for his decisions and his actions.  If there had been any change of plan
Forster would certainly have been told.  He never was told.

3.  Again, we know that Charles Dickens the younger positively declared
that he heard from his father’s lips that Edwin Drood was dead.  I have
been able to print part of a play written by Charles Dickens the younger
and Joseph Hatton.  This shows beyond contradiction that the authors
believed Drood to be dead.  Mr. Hatton says: ‘Consulting his son,
Charles, to whom I offered my sketch, I found that his father had
revealed to him sufficient of the plot to clearly indicate how the story
was to end.’  How far this may apply to details we cannot be sure, but
most certainly it certifies the death.

4.  To this I may add that Madame Perugini’s own firm belief that Drood
was dead is of no small importance, considering that she was the wife of
Charles Allston Collins, who drew the much discussed wrapper.  It did not
occur either to Madame Perugini or her husband that there was any doubt
as to the fate of Edwin Drood.

5.  The weighty letter of Sir Luke Fildes printed on pages 54–5 confirms
unmistakably and strongly the witness already adduced.  Fildes was the
sole illustrator of _The Mystery of Edwin Drood_, and he testifies that
Collins did not in the least know the significance of the various groups
on the wrapper.  Further, when Sir Luke was puzzled by the statement that
John Jasper was described as wearing a neckerchief that would go twice
round his neck he drew Dickens’s attention to the circumstance that he
had previously dressed Jasper as wearing a little black tie once round
the neck, and asked why the alteration was made.  Dickens, a little
disconcerted, suddenly asked, ‘Can you keep a secret?’  He then said: ‘I
must have the double necktie!  It is necessary, for Jasper strangles
Edwin Drood with it.’  Fildes was impressed by Dickens’s earnestness, and
resented the suggestion often made that Dickens’s hints dropped to
members of his family or friends may have been intentionally misleading.
‘It is a little startling,’ says Sir Luke, ‘after more than thirty-five
years of profound belief in the nobility of character and sincerity of
Charles Dickens, to be told now that he probably was more or less of a
humbug on such occasions.’

I cannot but feel that the external testimony is too strong to be
explained away, and it ought to be read and pondered in its entirety.


In the Memoranda made by Dickens for chapter xii., and printed on page
63, we read that Jasper ‘lays the ground for the manner of the murder, to
come out at last.  Night picture of the Cathedral.’  Mr. Lang himself
admits, ‘It seems almost undeniable that, when Dickens wrote this note,
he meant Jasper to succeed in murdering Edwin.’ {113}


The proof that Edwin Drood was murdered is to my mind mainly to be found
in the pages of the story.  One would have to print a large part of it in
order to convey the impressive and unmistakable force of the whole, but
perhaps it is better to read it as Dickens wrote it.  For he himself
advances nothing to modify or mitigate the conclusion that, as the result
of a carefully designed plot, Edwin Drood was foully murdered by his
uncle.  Happily it is not necessary to spend much space on this.  I
believe that Dr. Jackson is fully justified in his statement that all who
have written on the subject acknowledge that Jasper tried to murder his
nephew, and believed himself to have succeeded.  We all see that Jasper
had either strangled Edwin with a black scarf and committed his body to a
heap of quicklime that lay about convenient, or thought that he had done
so.  ‘We all see that the crime is to be proved by a gold ring of rubies
and diamonds which Edwin has concealed about his person, though Jasper
does not know it.’  Mr. Proctor writes:

    It is clear that Dickens has intended to convey the impression that
    Edwin Drood is murdered, his body and clothes consumed, Jasper having
    first taken his watch and chain and shirt-pin, which cannot have been
    thrown into the river till the night of Christmas Day, since the
    watch, wound up at twenty minutes past two on Christmas Eve, had run
    down when found in the river.

Having arrived at this point we may proceed.

Is it conceivable that Jasper, believing himself to have succeeded in
murdering his nephew, could have failed?  Jasper is meant by Dickens to
be a man wholly without conscience and heart.  Such characters are not
numerous in Dickens’s books, but we have evidence that he knew them and
had pondered over them.  I may quote his words in _Hunted Down_:

    There is no greater mistake than to suppose that a man who is a
    calculating criminal, is, in any phase of his guilt otherwise than
    true to himself, and perfectly consistent with his whole character.
    Such a man commits murder, and murder is the natural culmination of
    his course; such a man has to outface murder, and will do it with
    hardihood and effrontery.  It is a sort of fashion to express
    surprise that any notorious criminal, having such crime upon his
    conscience, can so brave it out.  Do you think that if he had it on
    his conscience at all, or had a conscience to have it upon, he would
    ever have committed the crime?  Perfectly consistent with himself, as
    I believe all such monsters to be, this Slinkton recovered himself,
    and showed a defiance that was sufficiently cold and quiet.  He was
    white, he was haggard, he was changed; but only as a sharper who had
    played for a great stake and had been outwitted and had lost the

In _Household Words_ for 14th June 1856, Dickens has an article on ‘The
Demeanour of Murderers.’  He is referring to William Bousfield, ‘the
greatest villain that ever stood in the Old Bailey dock.’  Bousfield’s
demeanour was considered exceedingly remarkable because of his composure
under trial.  On this Dickens says:

    Can any one, reflecting on the matter for five minutes, suppose it
    possible—we do not say probable, but possible—that in the breast of
    this poisoner there were surviving, in the days of his trial, any
    lingering traces of sensibility, or any wrecked fragment of the
    quality which we call sentiment.  Can the profoundest or the simplest
    man alive believe that in such a heart there could have been left, by
    that time, any touch of pity?

The murder of Edwin Drood had been so long premeditated that Jasper had
done it hundreds and thousands of times in the opium den.  The motive was
his fierce and wolfish passion for Rosa.  He loathed his poor nephew as
the chief obstacle to his wishes, and planned out in every detail a
murder which would utterly remove him from the sight of men.

Jasper, then, was an unredeemed villain, but he was anything than a fool.
He drugged Drood; he strangled him; he put his body in quicklime; he had
time to rob the victim of his jewellery; he maintained a threatening and
defiant attitude.  He was not afraid that Drood would return to convict
him of an attempt to murder.  He had done his business.  I think it worth
while to point out that in Dickens’s view Jasper’s malevolence must have
been raised to the highest point of fury on the night of the murder.  For
the murder was committed on a night of the wildest tempest.  Trees were
almost torn out of the earth, chimneys toppled into the streets, the
hands of the cathedral clock were torn off, the lead from the roof was
stripped away and blown into the close, and stones were displaced on the
summit of the great tower.  In _Barnaby Rudge_ (chapter ii.) Dickens

    There are times when the elements being in unusual commotion, those
    who are bent on daring enterprises, or agitated by great thoughts,
    whether of good or evil, feel a mysterious sympathy with the tumult
    of nature, and are roused into corresponding violence.  In the midst
    of thunder, lightning, and storm, many tremendous deeds have been
    committed; men, self-possessed before, have given a sudden loose to
    passions they could no longer control.  The demons of wrath and
    despair have striven to emulate those who ride the whirlwind and
    direct the storm; and man, lashed into madness with the roaring winds
    and boiling waters, has become for the time as wild and merciless as
    the elements themselves.


As we have seen, Dickens’s method is to make every hint significant, and,
as a rule, not too significant.  The reader at the time may fail to
perceive why a particular point is mentioned, but it is not mentioned
carelessly or without design.  The backward glance from the end is to
interpret all.  Besides this there are hints in the novels to which he
calls special attention, and which he thereby binds himself to redeem.
Conspicuous among these in _Edwin Drood_ is the sentence about the
jewelled ring and betrothal over which Edwin Drood’s right hand closed as
it rested in its little case.  He would not let Rosa’s heart be grieved
by those sorrowful jewels.  He would restore them to the cabinet from
which he had unwillingly taken them, and keep silence.  He would let them
be.  He would let them lie unspoken of in his breast.  But Dickens says:
‘Among the mighty store of wonderful chains that are for ever forging,
day and night, in the vast ironworks 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.’  No answer to our question, no solution of the problem can be
satisfactory which fails to assign its due weight to this sentence.  In
Proctor’s first attempt at the solution of _The Mystery of Edwin Drood_
contained in _Leisure Readings_, we find the following amazingly inept
words: ‘From the stress laid on this point, and the clear words in which
its association with the mystery is spoken of, we may safely infer, I
think, that it is intended partly to mislead the reader.’

Later on, Proctor, seeing the insufficiency of this, propounded another
theory.  This was that the attempt on Drood and his rescue were known
almost immediately to Mr. Grewgious, who took possession of the ring;
that when the fact that such a ring had been in Drood’s pocket came to
Jasper’s knowledge he at once in a state of panic rushed to the vault to
recover it from among the quicklime; that Drood, divining this intention,
concealed himself in the vault and confronted Jasper the moment he opened
the door.  This theory is partly approved of by Mr. William Archer. {119}
But Dickens’s point is plainly that the ring was the only jewellery
possessed by Drood about which Jasper knew nothing.  It is the finding of
the ring in the tomb that is to bring the guilt of the murder home.

As for the numerous assumptions made by Proctor, it can only be said that
they have no foundation in the facts.  There is no reason to believe that
the attempt on Drood and his rescue were known almost immediately to Mr.
Grewgious.  There is no evidence that Grewgious took possession of the
ring.  There is no evidence that Jasper came to know that such had been
in Drood’s pocket.  All these theories are not only without foundation,
but, I think, also in plain contradiction to the whole tenor of the

If Drood was half dead how did he get away?  According to Mr. Proctor’s
ingenious theory he was rescued from the bed of quicklime by Durdles.  He
was rescued with the skin burnt off his face, and his eyebrows gone, so
that he could afterwards disguise himself as Datchery.  If this is so,
the quicklime must have behaved itself in a singularly obliging and
accommodating manner.  But, as a matter of fact, there is no evidence
whatever for the theory, and the whole drift of the story makes against
it.  The difficulties are admitted even by those who incline to support
Proctor’s view and to maintain that Edwin is not dead.

Mr. Lang admits that Proctor’s theory of the murder is thin, and that
‘all this set of conjectures is crude to the last degree.’  I am content
to leave it at that.  Mr. Lang has conjectures of his own.  He
conjectures that Mr. Grewgious visited the tomb of his lost love, Rosa’s
mother, and consecrated to her ‘a night of memories and sighs.’  He says:
‘Mrs. Bud, his lost love, we have been told, was buried hard by the
Sapsea monument.’  This is not told by Dickens.  It is better to stick by
the narrative.

Supposing that Edwin was not dead, what was the meaning of the long
silence?  Why did he allow Neville to rest under a cloud of suspicion,
and exposed to great peril?  Why did he allow Jasper’s persecution of
Rosa?  Why did he allow Helena Landless, whom he had begun more or less
to love, to suffer with the rest?  Are we to suppose that he came back
disguised to fix the guilt on his uncle?  Can we believe that he did not
know that his uncle had tried to murder him?  If not, are we to believe
that he suspected his uncle and was not sure, and came down to try to
surprise his uncle’s secret and to punish him?  He could only have
punished him at most for an attempt at murder.  Even that might have been
hard to bring home, supposing he himself was not clear as to the facts.
‘Fancy can suggest no reason,’ writes Mr. Lang, ‘why Edwin Drood, if he
escaped from his wicked uncle, should go spying about instead of coming
openly forward.  No plausible, unfantastic reason could be invented.’

Dr. M. R. James, one of the few who still think that Edwin might not have
been murdered, says in his last writing on the subject: ‘I freely confess
that the view that Edwin is dead solves many difficulties.  A wholly
satisfactory theory of the manner of his escape has never been devised;
his failure to clear Neville from suspicion is hard to explain.’  Mr.
Lang, in what has unhappily proved his last article on the subject, in
_Blackwood_ for May 1911, explains that while he believed in 1905 that
Jasper failed in his attempt to murder, ‘now I have no theory as to how
the novel would have been built up.’


Those who more or less strongly still believe that Dickens meant to spare
Edwin rest their case mainly on a subjective impression.  Says Dr. James:
‘On the other hand, whether the result would be a piece of “bad art” or
not, I do think it is more in Dickens’s manner to spare Edwin than to
kill him.  The subjective impression that he is not doomed is too strong
for me to dismiss.’ {122}  It is difficult to argue against a subjective
impression.  The fact remains that Edwin Drood becomes superfluous.  He
has effected no lodgment in any human heart.  Mr. Walters says that Drood
is little more than a name-label attached to a body, a man who never
excites sympathy, and whose fate causes no emotion.  Proctor, who
believes that Edwin Drood survived, admits that he lived unpaired.  ‘Rosa
was to give her hand to Tartar, Helena Landless to Crisparkle, while
Edwin and Mr. Grewgious were to look on approvingly, though Edwin a
little sadly.’

Mr. Lang in the Gadshill edition of Dickens wrote: ‘Edwin and Neville are
quarrelsome cubs, not come to discretion, and the fatuity of Edwin,
though not exaggerated much, makes him extremely unsympathetic.’  But in
his book on the subject Mr. Lang changes his view and writes: ‘On
re-reading the novel I find that Dickens makes Drood as sympathetic as he
can.’  Thus impressions alter.  Gillan Vase, in her continuation of the
story would make us believe that on Edwin’s reappearance Rosa transferred
her heart from Tartar to her old lover!  But taking the story as it
stands, we see that the sorrow for his death is not deep, and that no
heart is broken by his disappearance.  Rosa is consoled, and more than
consoled.  Helena grieves for her brother, and flings a shield over Rosa.
Neville and Edwin have never been good friends.  Grewgious has cheerfully
acquiesced in, if he has not instigated, the breaking of the engagement
between Rosa and Edwin.  The appropriate explanation is: ‘Poor youth!
Poor youth!’  That is all.

It has been suggested that there is a parallel between _No Thoroughfare_
and _Edwin Drood_.  According to Proctor it is suggested clearly in _No
Thoroughfare_ that Vendale has been murdered beyond all seeming hope.
Proctor’s real argument seems to be that Vendale is not marked for death,
and does not die, and that Edwin Drood belongs to the same class.  He
says that Nell and Paul, Richard Carson and the other characters who die
in Dickens’s stories are marked for death from the beginning, but that
there is not one note of death in all that Edwin does or says.  I believe
that this is entirely contrary to the facts.  There are some who like
Edwin, but none who love him.  He is hated by his uncle, and hated
perhaps by Neville.

In _No Thoroughfare_, a story written by Wilkie Collins and Dickens in
1867 as a Christmas Number, we have the story of a man supposed dead
coming to life again.  It may be noted that the only portions of this
story furnished exclusively by Dickens were the overture and the third
act.  Collins contributed to the first and fourth act, and wrote the
whole of the second.  Vendale, a wine-merchant, is in love with a Swiss
girl, Marguerite.  She returns his affection, but her guardian Obenreizer
is bitterly opposed.  He consents, however, to the marriage if Vendale
can double his income and make it £3000 a year.  Vendale discovers that a
forgery has been committed, through which £500 are missing.  He is asked
by the Swiss firm with which he deals to send a trustworthy messenger to
investigate the fraud and discover its perpetrator.  Vendale resolves to
go himself, and tells Obenreizer.  Obenreizer is the culprit, though
Vendale does not suspect it, and the two go to Switzerland together.
Obenreizer keeps planning a murder, and contrives to give Vendale an
opium draught.  He drugs him again, and in the course of a perilous
mountain journey Vendale is roused to the knowledge that Obenreizer had
set upon him, and that they were struggling desperately in the snow.
Vendale rolls himself over into a gulf.  But help is near.  Marguerite’s
fears have been excited, and she has followed her lover on the journey.
She engages a rescue expedition, and they find the lost man insensible.
He is delirious and quite unconscious where he is.  Then he seems to sink
in the deadly cold, and his heart no longer beats.  ‘She broke from them
all, and sank over him on his litter with both her living hands upon the
heart that stood still.’  But by and by, when the crisis of the exposure
comes, ‘supported on Marguerite’s arm—his sunburnt colour gone, his right
arm bandaged and slung over his breast—Vendale stood before the murderer
a man risen from the dead.’  I cannot see that this is a great surprise.
Vendale was not marked for death.  I think the unsophisticated reader,
knowing how he is loved and how he is waited for, and how unconsciousness
may pass into consciousness, would fully expect him to live.  When he
comes to life, he is supported on Marguerite’s arm.  There was no arm on
which Edwin Drood could lean.  Dickens can provide for his old bachelors
like Newman Noggs, but he had no provision for Edwin.


_From the Wrapper_.—I am convinced after a careful perusal of nearly all
that has been written on the subject that the real strength of the
disappearance theory is to be found in the bottom picture of the wrapper.
When Madame Perugini published the article from which I have quoted, Mr.
Lang in a letter to the _Times_ {127} rested his whole case on the cover
design.  He said:

    The chief difficulty in accepting the fact has always been that, in
    designs on the covers, by Mr. C. A. Collins, first husband of Mrs.
    Perugini, we see a young man, who is undeniably Edwin Drood,
    confronting Jasper in a dark vault, in the full light of a lantern
    held up by Jasper.  Mrs. Perugini says that this figure may be
    regarded as ‘the ghost of Edwin as seen by Jasper in his half-dazed
    and drugged condition,’ or Helena Landless ‘dressed as Datchery.’
    The figure is not dressed as Datchery, nor was Miss Landless fair
    like Drood, but very dark.  As for the ghost, he is as substantial as
    Jasper, and it is most improbable that Dickens would have a mere
    hallucination designed in such a substantial fashion, ‘massive and
    concrete,’ as Pip said of Mr. Wopsle’s rendering of the part of

Mr. Lang in his final _Blackwood_ paper repeats the assertion with
unhesitating confidence.  He goes so far as to say:

    Last, Dickens had instructed his son-in-law, Charles Collins (brother
    of Wilkie Collins), to design a pictorial cover of the numbers, in
    which Jasper, entering a dark vault with a lantern, finds a
    substantial shadow-casting Drood ‘in his habit as he lived,’—soft
    conical hat and all,—confronting him.

As to this we note:

1.  That Collins received no such instructions.

2.  That neither Collins nor Luke Fildes nor any of the Dickens family
read the illustration in that sense.  They all supposed Edwin to be dead.

3.  We also note that, in spite of Mr. Lang’s confident assertions, there
is no unanimity as to the meaning of the design.  It may be Drood; it may
be, as I think it is, Datchery; it may be Neville Landless, as Mr. Hugh
Thomson has suggested.  But no one is entitled to dogmatise on the

4.  As I have already pointed out, in the great majority of the wrappers
the designs are vague and general, and cannot be verified in the

5.  But to my mind the most conclusive proof that the wrapper is not to
be rigidly and pedantically interpreted is that Dickens himself was the
very last man in the world to give away his secrets on the cover.  On
this Madame Perugini has said all that needs to be said.  I am glad to
find that in his last review of the controversy Dr. M. R. James makes no
mention of the wrapper evidence.


It appears that certain readers have taken the heading of chapter xiv.,
‘When shall these three meet again?’ as an argument for the theory that
Drood reappears.  If the use of the quotation has any special interest a
very good interpretation has been supplied by Mr. Edwin Charles.  Mr.
Charles points out that the words are used in _Macbeth_ before the three
witches meet again to plant in Macbeth’s mind the tragical lust of
ambition.  He slays Duncan, who is at once his guest, his kinsman, and
his king.  And Duncan’s sons, also guests of Macbeth, fly respectively to
England and Ireland, and Macbeth uses the flight to spread suspicion
against them.  ‘We hear our bloody cousins are bestow’d in England and in
Ireland: not confessing their cruel parricide.’  Jasper is Edwin Drood’s
kinsman and guardian and host.  Jasper slays his nephew, and contrives
that the suspicion of his murder shall fall on his other guest, Neville
Landless, who has to leave Cloisterham.  Is this a chance parallel?  Does
the use of the words in the heading of the chapter prove that Dickens had
the tragedy of _Macbeth_ in his mind?  Mr. Charles not only thinks so,
but he holds that the quotation positively destroys any shadow of doubt
as to what was intended to be the fate of Edwin.  Mr. Charles also notes
that Dickens makes another reference to Macbeth in the story when he
records the dinner which Grewgious gave to Edwin and Bazzard at Staple
Inn.  Speaking of the leg of the flying waiter Dickens says that ‘it
always preceded him and the tray by some seconds, and always lingered
after he disappeared,’ adding, ‘like Macbeth’s leg when accompanying him
off the stage with reluctance to the assassination of Duncan.’

There is not much to reply to in the argument, but the reply is, to say
the least, sufficient.


Another argument has been drawn from the tentative titles written by
Dickens here first printed in full.  Two of them are ‘The Flight of Edwin
Drood,’ and ‘Edwin Drood in Hiding.’  On this Mr. Lang writes in the
_Morning Post_ {130} that, though the titles do not go with the idea that
Edwin was to be slain early, Dickens may have intended the titles to
mislead his readers, and may have rejected them because he felt them to
be too misleading.  This I believe to be the exact truth.  Dickens was
willing to have as much mystery as possible, but he soon perceived that
it would not suit his purpose to raise the question whether Edwin was
dead or alive.


In Dr. Jackson’s book on the subject there is a very able discussion on
the manner in which the murder was accomplished.  Dr. Jackson inquires:
(1) Where and how did Jasper murder Drood, or attempt to murder him?  (2)
Where and how did Jasper dispose of Drood’s body, or attempt to dispose
of it?  For myself, I believe that the manner of the murder is part of
the mystery to be solved as the book proceeds.  In this I am in general
agreement with Proctor.  It would be vain to guess what happened on that
stormy night.  To give the details definitely would have been to give
them prematurely, for much of the interest of the novel is to depend on
their unfolding.  But certain suggestions may be offered.  Dr. Jackson
holds that significance is to be attached to Jasper’s babblings in the
presence of the opium woman.  He tells her that he has in his mind the
tower of the cathedral, a perilous journey over abysses with an
indispensable fellow-traveller.  Also that when the journey was really
made there was ‘no struggle, no consciousness of peril, no entreaty,’ but
that ‘a poor, mean, miserable thing,’ which was nevertheless real, lay
‘down below at the bottom.’  Dr. Jackson thinks that we have here
Jasper’s confession of the place and the manner of the crime.  ‘He had
ascended the tower with Edwin, and he had seen Edwin’s body lying down
below, presumably at the foot of the staircase by which they had

Mr. Walters thinks that Drood was to be encountered near the cathedral,
drugged and then strangled with the black silk scarf that Jasper wore
round his own neck.  Mr. Proctor and Mr. Lang suppose that Jasper
partially strangled Drood near the cathedral, and then deposited his body
in the Sapsea monument.  They do not explain ‘the perilous journey over
abysses.’  The babblings of the opium den become intelligible if Jasper
flung or pushed Drood down the staircase of the tower.  But if Drood was
attacked outside the cathedral on level ground they are ‘unjustifiable

Dr. Jackson further argues that in chapter xii., ‘A Night with Durdles,’
is a rehearsal of the coming tragedy.  He thinks that when Durdles sleeps
Jasper makes a wax impression of a key with which Durdles had opened the
outside door of the crypt and the door between the crypt and the
cathedral.  He finds quicklime in the crypt.  Then he flings or pushes
Drood, who is drugged, down the staircase, and deposits his body in the
quicklime in the crypt.  Else why did Jasper make a careful study of the
tower with Durdles?

My friend and colleague, Miss Jane T. Stoddart, kindly sends me the

   Some critics have failed to realise the extreme importance of the
   Sapsea monument in connection with the murder.  It has been suggested
   by Professor Jackson that Jasper buried the body in a heap of lime in
   the crypt of the cathedral.  But crypts are semi-public places, and if
   heaps of lime were about workmen would be coming and going.  In no
   case could a corpse lie unnoticed on the open floor of a crypt for
   more than a few hours.  All the evidence points rather to the Sapsea
   monument in the graveyard as the murderer’s chosen hiding-place.
   Observe how Dickens distinguishes between tombs and monuments, clearly
   meaning by the latter those massive vault-like erections of stone
   which are often seen in old churchyards, and which have the dimensions
   of small chambers with a corridor.  Durdles says in chapter V.: ‘“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.

    ‘“Not really Mrs. Sapsea?” asks Jasper.

    ‘“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!”’

    There is therefore a ‘six-foot’ vacant space at least in the Sapsea
    monument, left, no doubt, for the reception at some far distant date
    of the Mayor’s body.  Within this place Jasper decides to deposit the
    remains of his victim.  I do not agree with the critics who fancy
    there was a Sapsea vault in the crypt.  The monument is in the full
    light of day, for in chapter xii. the Mayor is walking near the
    churchyard ‘on the look-out for a blushing and retiring stranger.’
    And in chapter xviii. he calls Datchery’s attention to this ‘small
    lion’ in the churchyard.  Mrs. Sapsea, we are distinctly told, is
    buried within the monument, not in any subterranean vault in the

                           THE ‘NIGHT WITH DURDLES’

    We come now to the night of the mysterious expedition of Jasper and
    Durdles, when they climb the Cathedral Tower in the moonlight, and
    when Durdles lies in a drugged sleep on the floor of the crypt.
    Jasper has been very active during this interval.  How has his time
    been spent?  His first business, after possessing himself of the key
    of the crypt, must have been to search in the bundle carried by
    Durdles for the key of the Sapsea monument.  We have repeatedly been
    told of his interest in the bundle, into which (see chapter iv.) he
    had seen Durdles drop this particular key.  The inscription had been
    placed on the monument, but we are to understand that the key had not
    yet been returned to the Mayor.  Having secured this key, Jasper
    leaves the building, and by some means which can only be conjectured
    conveys quicklime to the monument, and places it in readiness in the
    empty space.  He may have gone back to the yard-gate where Durdles
    had showed him the mound of lime, but this would have been a very
    risky proceeding, as the ‘hole in the city wall’ occupied by Durdles
    was beyond Minor Canon Corner, the Monks’ Vineyard, and the
    Travellers’ Twopenny.  Even in the dead of night, sharp eyes in the
    lodging-house (Deputy’s, for instance) might have seen a man go by
    wheeling lime in a barrow or carrying it in a sack.  It is far more
    probable that the lime was found nearer to the cathedral.

    It has been suggested, further, that Jasper, while away from Durdles,
    took a wax model of the key of the crypt, which also opens the door
    at the top of the steps leading from the crypt to the cathedral.  The
    Dean (it is presumed by Professor Jackson) has already entrusted him
    with another key, that of the iron gate which gives access to the
    Tower.  We are told that Durdles ‘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 him to pass to the staircase of the
    great Tower.’

    Visitors to cathedrals to-day usually find that the key of the tower
    staircase is in charge of the chief verger, and Jasper would have no
    difficulty in obtaining a loan of it from this functionary for one
    night, though hardly for a longer period, as visitors would be coming
    and going.

    Dr. Jackson supposes that the Dean lent his key to the choirmaster,
    and assumes that, before the expedition with Durdles, Jasper has
    already taken a wax model of it.  If he did so, it must have been in
    the interval between locking-up time, when we find him (see chapter
    xii.) conversing with the Dean and the verger, and the time of his
    changing his coat to go out on the expedition.  But Dickens tells us
    that Mr. Jasper withdrew to his piano, and sat 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.’  I
    take it, then (1) that the iron key was lent to Jasper by the verger
    for use in this nocturnal expedition; (2) that no wax model of it has
    been made up to the time of starting; (3) that the verger will look
    for the return of the key next day.

    It seems to me most unlikely that Jasper took a wax model of the
    crypt key or the key to the iron gate, either on the night of his
    wandering with Durdles, or at any other time.  If he took any wax
    model, it was that of the key to the Sapsea monument.  He used the
    crypt key merely to let himself out of the building and in again.
    May not the simplest explanation be that he unlocked the door of the
    monument, leaving it merely closed, so that a turn of the iron handle
    would admit him on the night of the murder?  According to the picture
    at the foot of the cover the door seems to have a handle.

    I find it difficult to believe that Jasper would order duplicates of
    two large and unusual-looking keys to be made from wax models by a
    locksmith in Cloisterham.  Such an order would have excited curiosity
    and perhaps unfavourable surmises in a town where Jasper was so well
    known.  I should expect a curious stare if I carried wax models of
    church keys even to a locksmith in a London suburb; and Jasper had no
    time during the week before Christmas to make a journey to London.
    He was not himself a worker in iron like Roland Graeme in _The
    Abbot_, who at the cost of much time and labour forged a bunch of
    keys almost exactly resembling those carried by the lady of

    On the night of the murder—that wild and stormy Christmas Eve—Jasper
    brought Edwin into the churchyard on some pretext, after partially
    stupefying him with the ‘good stuff’ which affects the brain so
    speedily.  He may have persuaded him to drink to the dawn of
    Christmas, as Faust proposed to quaff the cup of poison to the rising
    Easter dawn:

          Der letzte Trunk sei nun, mit ganzer Seele,
          Als festlich hoher Gruss, dem Morgen zugebracht.

    It is after midnight when the murderer and his victim are abroad
    together.  At that hour the ‘streets are empty,’ and only the storm
    goes thundering along them.  The precincts ‘are unusually dark
    to-night.’  No need, then, for Jasper to fear detection as he slips
    the great silk scarf over Edwin’s head and pulls it tightly round his
    throat.  ‘No struggle, no consciousness of peril, no entreaty—and yet
    I never saw that before.’

    The maundering talk of Jasper in the opium woman’s den need not be
    taken literally.  The difficult and dangerous journey ‘over abysses
    where a slip would be destruction’ may have no reference to the
    actual tower, but to the perils of the scheme and the risk of
    detection.  Among other modes of killing, however, the idea of
    flinging Edwin from the tower may have occurred to Jasper, and been
    abandoned.  Hence his outcry, ‘Look down! look down!  You see what
    lies at the bottom there!’

    Dr. Jackson thinks Jasper departed so far from his original plan that
    he chose the crypt instead of the Sapsea monument as a hiding-place.
    I think it far more likely that, if ever he intended to hurl Edwin
    from the tower, he set aside this plan when he found that it meant
    the making of two duplicate keys.  Suppose that in the days following
    the crime, when the names of Edwin Drood and Jasper were in every
    mouth in Cloisterham, a small tradesman in some obscure lane were to
    ask his neighbours why the choirmaster needed these two large keys.
    The conjecture might be sufficient to destroy him.

I venture to think that Miss Stoddart is right in assigning the place of
the body to the Sapsea monument, but I incline to agree with Dr. Jackson
that, in order to do justice to the ‘Night with Durdles,’ and the
confessions to the opium woman, we must give some place to the tower as
connected with the murder.  But I do not understand how Jasper should
have seen Drood lying beneath him dead if he had merely pushed him down
the tower stairs.  Would it not have been more likely that Jasper should
have pushed Drood from the galleries, and seen him fall into the space
beneath?  We cannot lay great stress on the topography of Cloisterham.
The Sapsea monument is a pure invention, having no counterpart in
Rochester, and Dickens manifestly used the utmost freedom in dealing with
his materials.  Mr. Lang, by the way, makes a strange mistake in saying,
‘As he walks with Durdles that worthy explains (in reply to a question by
Jasper) that, by tapping a wall, even if over six feet thick, with his
hammer, he can detect the nature of the contents of the vault.’ {139}
The wall is not six feet thick.  The words are: ‘six foot inside that
wall is Mrs. Sapsea.’

It was for Dickens to explain in the remaining part of the novel how the
murder was achieved, and no one has a right to say that he would have
failed in doing so.  His object is to leave upon us the impression of a
murder which was in a singular degree premeditated, ferocious, and
complete.  If Dr. Jackson is right in supposing that Drood was thrown
from the tower, in addition to his being drugged, strangled, and laid in
quicklime, Dickens gives us a fresh thrill of horror.


In discussing this problem we have no aid from external evidence.  It
seems that the question was not raised by the critics of the time.  We
are thrown upon internal evidence, and not only the internal evidence of
the book, but the evidence given by a study of Dickens’s methods.  We
have also, as I hope to show, some help given indirectly from Dickens’s
own biography, and in particular from a book by Wilkie Collins.

It will be convenient at this stage that we should discuss the exact
position of affairs after Edwin vanished from the scene.

To us who read the book, Jasper’s guilt is so plain and his character so
atrocious that we wonder why those who knew him did not at once suspect
his guilt.  To us Jasper is a self-confessed criminal with his doom
already written, but to his neighbours at Cloisterham he presented
himself in a wholly different aspect.  The Dean himself is not more
obviously a pattern of virtuous living.  Jasper occupies a conspicuous
set of rooms.  His fire burns, his red light glimmers, his curtains are
drawn, in sight of all the town.  He is young, good-looking, socially
attractive, and occupied in an almost sacred profession.  His duties as
choirmaster raise him far above the position of a provincial teacher of
music.  On Sundays and weekdays the people hear his voice in Psalms and
Canticles and Anthems.  Edwin expresses the truth about his uncle’s
standing when he says: ‘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.’  Mrs. Crisparkle remarks
on his ‘well-bred consideration,’ and his pallor as of ‘gentlemanly
ashes.’  When the story opens there is not a soul in Cloisterham who
breathes a word of scandal against him, and his real nature is suspected
by only two living persons known to us.  One is Rosa Bud, whom he has
terrified by his secret love-making; the other the opium woman in London,
who has heard strange mutterings in his drugged sleep which to her were
not wholly ‘unintelligible.’  The Dean’s fear is that ‘Mr. Jasper’s heart
may be too much set on his nephew.’  Nocturnal ramblings with the
disreputable Durdles suggest nothing more surprising to the Dean than
that Jasper means to write a book about the place.  His visits to London
are so carefully timed that he is rarely absent from the daily services.
He is a favourite with his landlady, Mrs. Tope, and to mothers with
marriageable daughters he must appear a very eligible young bachelor.
Who could dream that a man of twenty-six, refined, highly educated, and
agreeable, should seek his private recreation in an opium den?

Eight or nine months pass away, and at the point where the story closes
Jasper is to all appearance still safe and prosperous.  But already the
avengers are upon his track, and we shall find it possible from the
indications given in the book to show that there were at least six
persons designed to have a share in the final capture.

The first mind in which suspicion lodges is clearly that of Mr.
Grewgious, and he has taken his impressions of Jasper from Rosa and from
Helena Landless.  From his interview with Rosa in chapter ix. he learned
that the young bride-elect wished to have nothing to do with Jasper.  ‘I
don’t like Mr. Jasper to come between us,’ she said, ‘in any way.’  After
the murder, when Grewgious comes to Jasper’s rooms he has already seen
Rosa and Helena Landless, and the latter must have told him of the
persecution to which Rosa has been subjected.  When Jasper utters a
terrible shriek and falls to the ground in a swoon, his companion stands
by the fire, warming his hands, and looking curiously at the prostrate
figure.  He refuses to eat with Jasper, and treats him from that time
onwards as ‘a brigand and wild beast in combination.’  He keeps a
personal watch on his movements in Staple Inn, and it is doubtless with
his connivance and support that Datchery goes to Cloisterham.  Are not
these significant words of Grewgious in chapter xxi. to Rosa and
Crisparkle: ‘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.’  In that last
sentence may not Grewgious refer to the plan for sending Datchery to

When the novel breaks off, Grewgious is working against Jasper, but only
on strong suspicion.  If Rosa had reported to him Jasper’s exact words in
her final interview with him, that suspicion may have been heightened to
certainty.  The part allotted to him in the ultimate crisis is that of
identifying the remains of Edwin, now hardly distinguishable otherwise,
owing to the action of quicklime in the Sapsea tomb, by means of the ring
which was on the young man’s person at the time of his murder, and which
possessed invincible powers to hold and drag.  After giving the ring to
Edwin Mr. Grewgious had said ‘Her ring.  Will it come back to me?  My
mind hangs about her ring very uneasily to-night.  But this is
explainable.  I have had it so long, and I have prized it so much.  I

The ring will come back to him from the dust of death.


It is universally admitted that Datchery was disguised.

Before seeking to identify him with a character already known to us I
shall give a short note on the principles and limitations of disguise.
Suppose one wishes to disguise himself, how far is it possible for him to
succeed?  What are the limits within which success is possible?

The question was very carefully discussed in the _Berliner Tageblatt_ for
15th May 1912, under the title ‘On the Psychology of Dissimulation.’  The
author, Dr. Hugo Eick, uses the word _Verstellung_ entirely in the sense
of mental disguise or purposeful deception.  In the closing paragraph he
limits the possibilities.  His remarks on this question are not without
value for the students of certain literary problems.

According to Dr. Eick, the really fundamental things which can never be
imitated are all manifestations of positive life.  For example, we cannot
simulate courage, enthusiasm, humility.  It is true that we can reproduce
certain distinctive marks of courage and enthusiasm which may deceive the
inexperienced; but the essence of these qualities can be expressed only
by a person who has experienced them, and who possesses them.  A brave
man may simulate timidity and cowardice, the man who is capable of
enthusiasm may wear the mask of apathetic indolence; all depressive and
negative conditions may be imitated.  But fulness of life and the sap
which quickens it cannot be replaced by any dissimulation.  The stupid
person may persuade another stupid person to believe in his cleverness.
But it is impossible to counterfeit cleverness before a clever person
unless we possess a minimum of cleverness, because a certain amount of
cleverness is needed for the deception itself.  The real tone of truth’s
voice can no more be copied than the fiery gleam of enthusiasm.  At this
point all the arts of deception fail; the voice contradicts the words.
The man who possesses something of these qualities of soul can indeed
simulate higher degrees of the same qualities, and can exploit them in
unlimited measure.  But the elemental things of life are inimitable, and
lie beyond the reach of falsehood.  He who imitates an elemental thing is
immediately discovered—supposing, of course, that the discoverer has
himself some share in the element.


The idea that Datchery is a new character may safely be dismissed.  It is
in one of the characters already on the stage that we must find Datchery.
I might proceed by taking the characters one by one, and by a process of
exhaustion arrive at Datchery.  But a simpler way may be to enumerate the
qualifications required in Datchery, and to show that one character of
the story possesses them all.  The claims of the other characters may be
then discussed.

Datchery is assigned the task of collecting and co-ordinating all the
evidence of diverting suspicion from the innocent Neville Landless, and
fixing it on the true criminal.  In order to do this satisfactorily he
required a combination of qualities.

1.  We need mental alertness and ability.  Stupidity would be fatal.

2.  We need high courage and firm resolution.

3.  We need an individual who is at once fearless and skilful, one who
knows the art of disguise, one who can assume a new character and carry
through the assumption to a triumphant end.

4.  We need supremely a character whose whole heart goes with the effort
at detection.  There must be behind all his actions a passionate,
personal, intimate concern.  These requirements, I believe, are satisfied
in Helena Landless, and in Helena Landless alone.  The identification is
naturally received at first with a certain measure of incredulity and
surprise, but a careful and patient study of the story will confirm it.

The theory was put forth by Mr. Cuming Walters in 1905 in his book _Clues
to Dickens’s_ ‘_Mystery of Edwin Drood_.’  It is one of the most
brilliant conjectures or identifications in literary history.  In arguing
for its truth I must follow largely on the lines of Mr. Cuming Walters,
but I hope to supply some fresh and fortifying considerations.


No one will ever understand this problem unless he studies the method of
Dickens as explained by Dickens himself in his letter to Wilkie Collins
(page 92), and in his reply to the _Edinburgh_, (page 105).  Dickens is
supremely an artist, and he tries to insert nothing without a purpose.
Sometimes his hints are intended to help at the time, sometimes to
mislead temporarily.  Sometimes they are intended to be plain when the
end is reached, and the reader peruses the story in the light of the

1.  Helena has the mental alertness and ability which qualified her for
the task.  It is interesting to see from the original manuscript and the
proofs how Dickens kept raising and lowering the lights which fell upon
the Landlesses.  We have seen from the original manuscript in chapter vi.
how Dickens heightened his description of the pair.  He changed ‘A
handsome young fellow, and a handsome girl; both dark and rich in
colour,’ into ‘An unusually handsome, lithe young fellow, and an
unusually handsome, lithe girl; much alike; both very dark, and very rich
in colour.’  He emphasises Helena’s personal characteristics: ‘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.’  She fought her way through her tragical childhood,
was beaten by a cruel stepfather, and would have allowed him to ‘tear her
to pieces before she would have let him believe that he could make her
shed a tear.’  ‘She had a masterful look.’  Rosa said to her: ‘You seem
to have resolution and power enough to crush me.  I shrink into nothing
by the side of your presence.’  But it is soon manifest that Helena has a
tender heart.  She and her brother came to the Crisparkles ‘to quarrel
with you, and affront you, and break away again.’  But they are touched
by Mr. Crisparkle’s kindness, and Helena is more than touched.  Neville
tells Crisparkle that in describing his own imperfections he is not
describing his 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 these chimneys.’  Describing the misery of their childhood to
Crisparkle, Neville says: ‘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.’  He says again
to Crisparkle: ‘You don’t know, sir, 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.’

2.  She has been from the beginning a born planner and leader.  She has
shown the daring of a man.  When her brother lost the pocket-knife with
which she was to have cut her hair short, she tried desperately to tear
it out or to bite it off.  Yet this strong and fiercely passionate girl
had herself under the strictest control.

She had no fear of Jasper.  Rosa, Helena, Neville, Jasper, and Edwin meet
in Crisparkle’s drawing-room.  Rosa is singing under the control of
Jasper.  She bursts into tears and shrieks out: ‘I can’t bear this!  I am
frightened!  Take me away!’  Helena immediately comes to the rescue, and
with one swift turn of her lithe figure lays the little beauty on a sofa.
Edwin says to Jasper:

    ‘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.

This to my mind is the first unmistakable suggestion of what was to be
developed.  Here we have Jasper and Helena falling into enmity almost at
the first moment of their meeting, challenging one another to battle.
Helena accepts the challenge.  Not under any circumstances would she be
afraid of Jasper.  She lives to redeem that word.

3.  Dickens expressly tells us that Helena from her childhood was
accustomed to disguise herself as a boy.  ‘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.’  This is the
strongest reason for the identification of Helena with Datchery.  I find
it difficult to suppose that any careful student of Dickens will believe
that these facts about Helena’s disguise were put in without intent.  It
was one of those facts which Dickens intended his readers to interpret by
the backward look.  Those who were amazed when Datchery appeared as
Helena would be referred back to the significant words which they had

Helena protects her unhappy brother in London, and plans against his
enemies.  She surmises that ‘Neville’s movements are watched, and that
the purpose of his foes is to isolate him from all friends and
acquaintances, and wear out his daily life grain by grain.’  She secures
the help of Mr. Tartar.

In her conference with Grewgious, Helena plans for checkmating Jasper,
and inquires 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.’

4.  Helena’s whole heart went with the effort at detection.  We have seen
her hatred of Jasper.  In the conversation between Helena and Rosa about
Drood and Jasper, Rosa betrays her horror of Jasper and his mesmeric
power over her, which makes her ashamed and passionately hurt.  They
resume on the same strain.

    Says Rosa:

    ‘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!

This last sentence is another of the unmistakably prophetic sentences in
Dickens.  Helena was the sworn champion thenceforth of Rosa against
Jasper.  Helena submits herself to the fairy bride and learns from her
what she knows.  When Jasper is mentioned and Rosa says, ‘I could not
hold any terms with him, could I?’ Helena answers with indignation, ‘You
know how I love you, darling.  But I would sooner see you dead at his
wicked feet.’

As to the close and tender affection between Helena and Neville, and her
vehement sympathy with his trial, there is no question.  I quote one
passage because it seems to me a most striking fact that in the proofs of
Dickens the whole of it is struck out:

    ‘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

    ‘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

    ‘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

    ‘Under _all_ heads that are included in the composition of a fine
    character, she is.’

    ‘Say so; but take this one. . . .  She can dominate it even when it
    is wounded through her sympathy with you. . . .  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 . . . [pride] which knows no shrinking,
    and can get no mastery over her.’

Immediately after, Neville says: ‘I will do all I can to imitate her.’

‘Do so, and be a truly brave man, as she is a truly brave woman,’
answered Mr. Crisparkle stoutly.  In his proof Dickens struck out the
words, ‘as she is a truly brave woman.’

It is impossible, I think, to read this and not to see that Dickens is
afraid that we may too soon suspect Helena Landless of being Datchery.

Neville’s sufferings under the suspicion are unmistakable and cruel.
When Crisparkle saw him he wished that his eyes were not quite so large
and quite so bright.  ‘I want more sun to shine upon you.’  Neville tells
him that he feels marked and tainted even when he goes out at night, and
he never goes out in the day.  He says, though Dickens did not mean us to
read the sentence: ‘It seems a little hard to be so tied to a stake, and
innocent; but I don’t complain.’

Such are the main reasons that induce me to believe that Helena is
Datchery.  It is admitted on all hands that she was meant to play an
important part in the story.  What part does she play if she is not


But the proof that impresses me as much as any other is to be found in
the passage: ‘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.’  The
detective of whom this is written cannot possibly be a mere detective.
His heart is engaged in the search.  This fits Helena, and Helena only,
of all the characters that have been brought forward.  A professional
detective paid by Grewgious could never have behaved in that way.
Helena’s whole heart was in the business.  She had to relieve her
fondly-loved brother from a cruel weight of anxiety and suspicion.  She
had to bring a villain whose baseness she thoroughly knew to justice.
She had to liberate the girl friend she loved from persecution, and she
looked to a beyond, to the haven—the haven of Crisparkle’s love.


Datchery wears a wig, and it is unusually large, as though a woman’s hair
were concealed under it.  As Mr. Cuming Walters also points out, Helena
undoubtedly had a strong motive for not sacrificing her hair to the
disguise, for she was unmistakably in love with Crisparkle.


There is no doubt that if Datchery was Helena, one of her chief
difficulties must have been with her hands.

Miss Stirling Graeme, the author of _Mystifications_, had a marvellous
power of disguising herself.  ‘There was nothing extraordinary about
her,’ says Dr. John Brown, ‘but let her put on the old lady; it was as if
a warlock spell had passed over her; not merely her look, but her nature
was changed: her spirit had passed into the character she represented;
and jest, quick retort, whimsical fancy, the wildest nonsense flowed from
her lips, with a freedom and truth to nature which appeared to be
impossible in her own personality.’

Sir Walter Scott in his _Journal_ for 7th March 1828 tells us that when
she returned to her party in the character of an old Scottish lady she
deceived every one.  ‘The prosing account she gave of her son, the
antiquary, who found an auld wig in a slate quarry, was extremely
ludicrous, and she puzzled the Professor of Agriculture with a merciless
account of the succession of crops in the parks around her old
mansion-house.  No person to whom the secret was not entrusted had the
least guess of an impostor, _except one shrewd young lady present_, _who
observed the hand narrowly_, _and saw it was plumper than the age of the
lady seemed to warrant_.’

In the _Daily Mail_ of 4th April 1912 there is an account of two girls
who lived together, passing as husband and wife.  The man with whom they
lodged said: ‘The husband’s hands were so small and soft that both my
wife and myself were suspicious.’

I ask the attention of readers to the manner in which Dickens refers to
Datchery’s hands.  I do not lay too much stress on these indications, but
they deserve consideration.

1.  We read in chapter xviii. about Datchery in the coffee-room of the
Crozier, ‘as he stood with his back to the empty fireplace waiting for
his fried sole, veal cutlet, and pint of sherry.’  (‘Empty’ was an
afterthought on Dickens’s part.)  Here we have Datchery keeping his hands
out of view.

2.  A little after, Datchery asks the waiter to take his hat down for a
moment from the peg.  If he had stretched out his own hand it might have
been noticed.

3.  Later in the same chapter, when Datchery meets Jasper and the Mayor,
he does not shake hands with them.  ‘“I beg pardon,” said Mr. Datchery,
making a leg with his hat under his arm.’  Originally this was written
‘hat in hand.’  If he carried his hat under his arm, one hand would be
buried in the hat.

4.  Afterwards we read of Datchery following Jasper and the Mayor, ‘with
his hat under his arm, and his shock of white hair streaming in the
evening breeze.’

5.  When Datchery is talking to the opium woman, ‘he lounges along, like
the chartered bore of the city, with his uncovered grey hair blowing
about, and his purposeless hands rattling the loose money in the pockets
of his trousers.’  His hands are thus out of sight.  Immediately after we
find him ‘still rattling his loose money,’ and again, ‘still rattling.’

6.  At last he begins to count out the sum demanded of him by the opium
woman.  ‘Greedily watching his hands, she continues to hold forth on the
great example set him.’  Of course, she may merely be watching for the
money in his hands, but there may be something more in it than this.  Let
it be noted that Dickens originally wrote, ‘Greedily watching him,’ and
inserted ‘his hands’ later.

7.  Immediately after ‘Mr. Datchery drops some money, stoops to pick it
up.’  In all the scene with the opium woman he keeps his hands out of
sight as much as possible, and when he does show them they strike the old

I may add, though much has been said about the possibility of detecting
by means of the voice, this does not appear by any means to be
impossible, or even very difficult.  Only one meeting between Jasper and
Helena is recorded.  Her voice is described as low and rich.  Even if he
had talked with Datchery, it is more than doubtful whether he would have
known the voice again, music-master though he was.  Datchery, if our
supposition is right, was an expert in disguise, and could have carried
it off.  I find in the pleasant _Recollections and Impressions_ of Mrs.
Sellar that she had no difficulty in deceiving her nearest friends.  She
tells us how one day, when Sir David and Lady Brewster were dining with
the Sellars at St. Andrews, after dinner Lady Brewster begged her to
dress up and take in Sir David:

‘“But what will account for my absence?”

‘“Oh, you have been obliged to go to bed with one of your headaches; and
I’ll introduce the stranger.”

‘So I went upstairs, put on a false front, and was announced as Miss
Craig.  On the gentlemen coming in I was specially introduced to Sir
David, but not being at all attractive-looking, he soon left me for
younger and fairer friends!  Determined he should take some notice of me,
I said I would not play the piano unless Sir David asked me; and on this
being told him he muttered: “God bless the woman! what does she mean!  I
don’t know her.”’ {163}

Mr. Lang says: ‘A young lady of my acquaintance successfully passed
herself off on her betrothed as her own cousin—also a young lady—and
Dickens had not to imagine anything so unlikely as that.’

To this I may add that Scott tells a story of Garrick and his wife.  Mrs.
Garrick was an accomplished actress, but once she witnessed an
entertainment in which was introduced a farmer giving his neighbours an
account of the wonders seen on a visit to London.  The character was
received with such peals of applause that Mrs. Garrick began to think it
rivalled those which had been so lately lavished on Richard the Third.
At last she observed her little spaniel dog was making efforts to get
towards the balcony which separated him from the facetious farmer.  Then
she became aware of the truth.  ‘How strange,’ she said, ‘that a dog
should know his master, and a woman, in the same circumstances, should
not recognise her husband!’ {164a}


So strong is the evidence for Helena Landless being Datchery that even
the chief advocates of the Proctor theory have fully admitted its force.
Dr. M. R. James says: ‘I will go as far as this: if Edwin is dead, then
Datchery is Helena.’ {164b}  Mr. Andrew Lang over and over again admitted
that Datchery might be Helena.  But he contended that, if so, the idea of
Dickens is improbable with the worst sort of improbability, is terribly
far-fetched, and fails to interest.  ‘It is the idea of a bad sixpenny
novel.  We are asked to credit Dickens with the highest scientific skill,
and this egregious invention is the result of his science.  The idea
would have been rejected by Mr. Guy Boothby.  But it does not follow that
Mr. Walters has not hit on Dickens’s idea.  If he has, _Edwin Drood_ is
far below _Count Robert of Paris_ in its first uncorrected state, as the
public will never know it.’

There is something in this argument, and it has never yet been fairly
met, but I believe that I can show that the idea was probably suggested
to Dickens by one figure in real life, and another figure in fiction.  So
far as I am aware these suggestions are made for the first time.

In the _Bancroft Recollections_, Lady Bancroft writes on page 31:

    My first part at the Strand Theatre was Pippo, in his burlesque _The
    Maid and the Magpie_, which proved an immense success, and I
    established myself as a leading favourite.  It was not until the
    _Life of Charles Dickens_ was published that I knew his opinion of
    this performance.  Dickens had written years before, in a letter to
    John Forster, these words:

    ‘I went to the Strand Theatre, having taken a stall beforehand, for
    it is always crammed.  I really wish you would go to see _The Maid
    and the Magpie_ burlesque there.  There is the strangest thing in it
    that ever I have seen on the stage—the boy Pippo, by Miss Wilton.
    While it is astonishingly impudent (must be, or it couldn’t be done
    at all), it is so stupendously like a boy, and unlike a woman, that
    it is perfectly free from offence.  I never have seen such a thing.
    She does an imitation of the dancing of the Christy
    Minstrels—wonderfully clever—which, in the audacity of its
    thorough-going, is surprising.  A thing that you _cannot_ imagine a
    woman’s doing at all; and yet the manner, the appearance, the levity,
    impulse, and spirits of it are so exactly like a boy, that you cannot
    think of anything like her sex in association with it.  I never have
    seen such a curious thing, and the girl’s talent is unchallengeable.
    I call her the cleverest girl I have ever seen on the stage in my
    time, and the most singularly original.’

Lady Bancroft adds: ‘Charles Dickens’s being impressed with my likeness
to a boy reminds me that on the first night I acted in _The Middy
Ashore_, one of the staff came up to me at the wings and said: “Beg
pardon, young sir, you must go back to your seat; no strangers are
allowed behind the scenes.”’  From this it must be inferred that Dickens
had there that evening a new idea as to the possibilities of disguise.
Dickens’s letter was written in 1859.

I believe that Dickens in this Datchery assumption was mainly influenced
by Wilkie Collins.  Most writers on Dickens have observed his admiration
for Collins, the way in which he co-operated with him, and the high value
he placed on his work.  _The Moonstone_ has been referred to in this
connection, but I venture to think that the novel which led Dickens to
his idea was _No Name_.  I have already printed (page 91) Dickens’s
wildly enthusiastic testimony to its merits.  He placed it far above _The
Woman in White_, and far above _The Moonstone_.  In particular, he
admired the character of Magdalen Vanstone.

In _No Name_ we are introduced to a charming family—husband, wife, and
two daughters—the Vanstones.  Then it turns out that the parents are
unmarried.  The husband made a great mistake in marrying a bad woman in
his early youth, and is nearly ruined in consequence.  He induces a good
woman to live with him as his wife, and he has a fortune of £80,000.  By
a singular mischance both he and the mother die suddenly about the same
time.  Vanstone had made a will leaving his property to the daughters,
but just before the death of his wife he discovers that his real wife is
dead, and so they go out and get married.  The law is that marriage
abolishes all past wills.  The consequence is that the will is not
effective, and the two daughters are left without a penny, and without a
name.  What are the girls to do?  The younger, Magdalen, has great force
of character, and shows a talent for the stage.  She resolves to revenge
herself on her father’s brother who has taken all the money.  Instead of
going to work as an ordinary actress, she gives performances of her own.
She is very clever at acting different parts.  She disguises herself as
an old woman, and in all sorts of disguises.  She is nineteen, almost the
age of Helena Landless.  Here is a description of the way in which she
disguises herself:

    I found all the dresses in the box complete—with one remarkable
    exception.  That exception was the dress of the old north-country
    lady; the character which I have already mentioned as the best of all
    my pupil’s disguises, and as modelled in voice and manner on her old
    governess, Miss Garth.  The wig; the eyebrows; the bonnet and veil;
    the cloak, padded inside to disfigure her back and shoulders; the
    paints and cosmetics used to age her face and alter her
    complexion—were all gone.  Nothing but the gown remained; a gaudily
    flowered silk, useful enough for dramatic purposes, but too
    extravagant in colour and pattern to bear inspection by daylight.
    The other parts of the dress are sufficiently quiet to pass muster;
    the bonnet and veil are only old-fashioned, and the cloak is of a
    sober grey colour.  But one plain inference can be drawn from such a
    discovery as this.  As certainly as I sit here, she is going to open
    the campaign against Noel Vanstone and Mrs. Lecount, in a character
    which neither of those two persons can have any possible reason for
    suspecting at the outset—the character of Miss Garth.

    What course am I to take under these circumstances?  Having got her
    secret, what am I to do with it?  These are awkward considerations; I
    am rather puzzled how to deal with them.

    It is something more than the mere fact of her choosing to disguise
    herself to forward her own private ends that causes my present
    perplexity.  Hundreds of girls take fancies for disguising
    themselves; and hundreds of instances of it are related year after
    year, in the public journals.  But my ex-pupil is not to be
    confounded, for one moment, with the average adventuress of the
    newspapers.  She is capable of going a long way beyond the limit of
    _dressing herself like a man_, _and imitating a man’s voice and
    manner_.  She has a natural gift for assuming characters, which I
    have never seen equalled by a woman; and she has performed in public
    until she has felt her own power, and trained her talent for
    disguising herself to the highest pitch.  A girl who takes the
    sharpest people unawares by using such a capacity as this to help her
    own objects in private life; and who sharpens that capacity by a
    determination to fight her way to her own purpose which has beaten
    down everything before it, up to this time—is a girl who tries an
    experiment in deception, new enough and dangerous enough to lead one
    way or the other, to very serious results.  This is my conviction
    founded on a large experience in the art of imposing on my
    fellow-creatures.  I say of my fair relative’s enterprise what I
    never said or thought of it till I introduced myself to the inside of
    her box.  The chances for and against her winning the fight for her
    lost fortune are now so evenly balanced that I cannot for the life of
    me see on which side the scale inclines.  All I can discern is, that
    it will, to a dead certainty, turn one way or the other on the day
    when she passes Noel Vanstone’s doors in disguise.

I am not prepared to criticise Dickens’s plot as Mr. Lang has done.  If
Wilkie Collins made an admirable heroine of Magdalen Vanstone disguising
herself variously, why should not Dickens succeed in making a character
as wonderful and more attractive of Helena Landless?  There is nothing to
be condemned in the idea itself.  It has been used by masters, and used
successfully.  There would have been nothing to condemn, I believe, in
Dickens’s way of working it out if he had lived to complete his book.
The comparison with Guy Boothby is singularly inept.


The objections that have been made to the Datchery-Helena theory turn
mainly on the supposed disgracefulness of Dickens deceiving his readers
as he did, and working out a melodramatic idea.  These objections might
have been, and, I believe, would have been, scattered to the winds by the
complete story.

The most serious objection to the identification of Datchery as Helena is
the confusion in the chronology.  This is admirably stated by Dr.
Jackson, who examines in a masterly way the arrangement of the chapters.
He comes to the conclusion that chapter xviii. has been introduced
prematurely.  It ought to have followed chapter xxii. If Dickens had
lived to issue the fifth and sixth monthly instalments, he would have
placed our chapter xviii. without the alteration of a single word after
chapter xxii., next before chapter xxiii.  We know that Dickens told his
sister-in-law that he was afraid the Datchery assumption in the fifth
number was premature.  Dr. Jackson gives us a full and valuable
examination of the manuscript so far as its arrangement is concerned.  I
have tested his statements in every point, and can only confirm them.  To
Dr. Jackson’s chapter ix., ‘The Manuscript,’ I refer the reader.

There are other objections.  In particular, some are troubled by
Datchery’s masculine ways.  They ask how Helena, fresh from Ceylon,
should have known the old tavern way of keeping scores.  There is not
much in this.  In fact, these scores, which could have served no purpose,
seem to me the natural expression of a buoyant girl rejoicing in her
achievements.  A cool-headed, middle-aged detective would never have
expressed himself in such a way.  Why should not Helena have known about
tavern scoring?  She was accustomed to walk with her brother Neville, and
in the course of their walks they may very likely have visited a tavern
now and then.  We read of Neville finding his way to a tavern when he
walked away that dark night.  In _Phineas Finn_, at the end of chapter
lxxi., Trollope, reporting the conversation of two high-born ladies, Lady
Laura Kennedy and Miss Violet Effingham, has this:

    ‘Was I not to forgive him—I who had turned myself away from him with
    a fixed purpose the moment that I found that he had made a mark upon
    my heart?  I could not wipe off that mark, and yet I married.  Was he
    not to try to wipe off his mark?’

    ‘It seems that he wiped it off very quickly; and since that he has
    wiped off another mark.  One doesn’t know how many marks he has wiped
    off.  They are like the innkeeper’s score which he makes in chalk.  A
    damp cloth brings them all away, and leaves nothing behind.’

This shows, at least, that chalk-marking is not a matter of esoteric
knowledge in England, but is known to high and low.  I may note that
Dickens inserted the adjective ‘uncouth’—‘a few uncouth, chalked
strokes’—over his original manuscript, to make it clear no doubt that the
scorer was an amateur at the business.

Then there are objections to Datchery’s masculine fare—fried sole, veal
cutlet, and pint of sherry; bread and cheese, and salad and ale.  It must
be remembered that Helena was in disguise.  This was not a mere disguise
of dress, but it was a disguise of everything.  She was assuming a
character and carrying it out.  She had all the ability and all the will
for accomplishing this.  In doing masculine things she was simply
carrying out her disguise.  A woman passing for a man must do what a man
would do or she will fail, and be found out.

It has been suggested that if Datchery is Helena, and therefore knows the
Gatehouse, why does she give it ‘a second look of some interest’?  Dr.
Jackson replies very well that the house for her has now a new
importance, and is the object upon which her thoughts are to be
concentrated for weeks, and perhaps for months.  But Dickens did not mean
this passage to be printed, for good reasons of his own.


This leads us to note that certain passages which have been much
discussed were not meant for publication by Dickens.  That is, he struck
them out in proof.  Dr. Jackson points out that in chapter xviii., when
Datchery consults the waiter at the Crozier about ‘a fair lodging for a
single buffer,’ he is obviously asking to be recommended to Tope’s.  The
waiter is puzzled at first.  When Mr. Datchery asks for ‘something
venerable, architectural, and inconvenient,’ the waiter shakes his head.
‘Anything cathedraly, now?’ Mr. Datchery suggested.  Then comes the
mention of Tope.  Datchery boggles about the cathedral tower seeking for
lodgings, but Dickens did not mean us to read the words: ‘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.’

When the Deputy pointed out Jasper’s, first Dickens wrote ‘“Indeed?” said
Mr. Datchery, with an appearance of interest.’  Then he wrote:
‘“Indeed?” said Mr. Datchery, with a second look of some interest.’  Then
he struck out the sentence entirely.

Dickens also struck out the sentence which describes Datchery after the
Deputy left him: ‘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.’  He also struck out the passage in
which Mrs. Tope and Datchery talk of what occurred last winter:

    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.

Nearly all the conversation between the Mayor and Datchery is deleted.
See page 9.

Also Dickens erases the little talk between the Deputy and Datchery
beginning: ‘Master Deputy, what do you owe me?’  See page 11.

It may not be possible to deduce any assured inference from these
omissions, but they are worth pondering, and may be referred to again.



One opposing theory is that Datchery was Drood.  With all respect for the
scholars who have propounded it, this appears to me a purely comic
notion.  It is the most fantastical of all fancies as to who was
Datchery.  As Dr. Blake Odgers points out, every one at Cloisterham knew
the murdered man: a mere white wig would be no disguise at all.  I may
add that if Jasper had discovered him he would almost be justified in
finishing the murder this time.  For what would be Drood’s object?  The
theory is that, in spite of his being drugged, throttled, perhaps thrown
from a tower, at all events buried in quicklime, and in all probability
locked up in the tomb, Drood got away when his uncle was triumphantly
flinging his watch and scarf-pin into the river.  Supposing it were so,
what was Drood doing while he watched his uncle?  Is it said that he was
so bemused by the opium that he did not know who had handled him in such
a murderous fashion?  This is very hard to believe.  Mr. Andrew Lang
himself says: ‘Fancy can suggest no reason why Edwin Drood, if he escaped
from his wicked uncle, should go spying about instead of coming openly
forward.’  Mr. Archer says the flaw is that the theory provides no motive
whatever for Drood’s disguising himself as Datchery.  Why should Drood
devote himself to an elaborate scheme of revenge upon his near kinsman
and friend?  He would want to hush the matter up, and save Jasper from
himself.  Why did Drood let Neville lie under the suspicion of murder,
and why was not Rosa let into the secret?  It is hardly worth while to
point out that there is nothing in Drood’s character as given us which
could have enabled him to show the ability, the composure, and the
self-control of Datchery.  Who could have supplied him with money to live
idly at Cloisterham?  His money was all locked up till he came of age,
and Jasper was his guardian and trustee.  If Grewgious supplied the
money, why did not Grewgious make an end of Neville’s misery?


A far more plausible theory is that Datchery was Bazzard.  Dickens almost
invites readers to connect Bazzard with Datchery when he makes Grewgious
say to Rosa when she came up to London that Bazzard ‘was off duty here
altogether just at present, and a firm downstairs with whom I have
business relations lend me a substitute.’  (The words ‘here altogether’
were added by Dickens.)

I have no doubt that Dickens in some way meant to explain Bazzard’s
business.  But that Bazzard should have been Datchery will appear a sheer
impossibility to careful students of Dickens.  Proctor, whose side
remarks are often excellent, puts the point briefly as follows: ‘No one
at all familiar with Dickens’s method would for a moment imagine that
Datchery is Bazzard, Mr. Grewgious’s clerk.  Bazzard was as certainly
intended to come to grief, and be exposed in the sequel as was Silas Wegg
in _Our Mutual Friend_.’

Mr. Cuming Walters says: ‘Literary art rebels against the idea.  Bazzard
was one of Dickens’s favourite low comedy characters.’

Dr. James dismisses the Bazzard theory ‘because Buzzard in his first and
principal appearance has too much both of the fool and of the knave about
him to develop into the Datchery whom we are intended to admire.’

Dr. Jackson says: ‘Capacity can ape incapacity, but incapacity cannot ape
capacity.  This being so, I am sure that Bazzard, who is not only
“particularly angular, but also somnolent, dull, incompetent,
egotistical, is wholly incapable of playing the part of the supple,
quick-witted, resolute, dignified Datchery.”’  In these judgments I
agree.  Bazzard has no ethical quality.  He has not the smallest personal
interest in the discovery.  How could it be said of Bazzard that his
‘wistful gaze is directed to this beacon, and beyond?’

As the theory is obvious and popular, it may be worth while to say
something more, and Dr. Hugo Eick’s words, as previously quoted, may help
us.  Helena Landless had the elemental qualities needed for the Datchery
role.  Note that among Shakespeare’s heroines who masquerade as men,
Rosalind, in _As you Like It_, and Julia, in _Two Gentlemen of Verona_,
have not these elemental qualities and are suspected.  Portia has them,
and even her own husband does not know her in her doctor’s robes.  She is
recognised by all as a young doctor, but not one person in court thinks
‘There is a woman!’  Bazzard might have imitated depressive and negative
conditions, but he could not have imitated the qualities of positive
life.  ‘Fulness of life and the sap which quickens it cannot be replaced
by any dissimulation.’

It should also be noted that if Bazzard was Datchery, he had no occasion
to disguise himself in a huge white wig, for he was not known in


The theory that Datchery was Grewgious may be dismissed in a sentence.
Grewgious with his ‘awkward and hesitating manner,’ his ‘shambling walk,’
his ‘scanty flat crop of hair,’ his ‘smooth head,’ his ‘short sight,’ his
general angularity fits in no way the watchful, courtly, adroit, fluent,
and versatile Datchery.


Mr. Lang has a wild conjecture somewhere that Neville was Datchery, and
that Helena was disguised as Neville.  It is difficult to treat this
seriously.  Neville would inevitably have been found out.  His cause was
undertaken by his friends, and his business was to study and wait.  Why
on earth should Helena disguise herself as Neville?


There is something more attractive about this theory, and it has been
very well argued by Mr. G. F. Gadd in the _Dickensian_, vol. ii. p. 13.
Mr. Gadd uses the argument ‘with a second look of some interest,’ as
showing Datchery’s ignorance of Cloisterham.  He quotes Tartar’s phrase
‘being an idle man,’ as corresponding with the ‘idle buffer living on his
means.’  He suggests that Dickens at this point of his story avails
himself of the licence not unfrequent in fiction of temporarily
abandoning the strictly chronological order.  He suggests that Tartar as
a seafaring man might know something of opium smoking, and compares the
wistful gaze directed to this beacon and beyond, to what is said about
Tartar as he and Rosa entered his chambers at Staple Inn.  ‘Rosa thought
. . . that his far-seeing eyes looked as if they had been used to watch
danger afar off, and to watch it without flinching, drawing nearer and

But, as Dr. Jackson points out, Tartar has his duties assigned to him.
He has to watch over Neville and see him almost daily.  Again, Tartar
does not know about Cloisterham and the Drood mystery what Datchery knows
and needs to know.  ‘Thirdly, I doubt whether the cheery,
straightforward, simple-minded Tartar is capable of Datchery’s
versatility, subtlety, and address.’  To this I add that Tartar’s heart
is not engaged in the business as Helena’s is.  Also what need is there
for his disguise?  He has never been in Cloisterham, and nobody there
knows him.

                                * * * * *

For these reasons we conclude that Helena and no other is Datchery.  I
have taken no account of the theory that Datchery is an unknown person.
An unknown person could not possess the necessary qualities of heart.


How _Edwin Drood_ was to end is a problem which can only be solved to a
certain extent.  We find we are left in the middle, and as much mystery
remains as fully justifies the title.  We do not know the precise manner
in which the murder was accomplished.  In particular, we are left
ignorant as to the way in which the crime is to be brought home to the
victim.  We cannot define the relations of the opium woman to Drood and
Jasper and the Landlesses.  We do not know the history of Jasper’s early
years.  We can do no more than speculate, and the speculations must be
confined within strict limits.  The first question is, whether Dickens
himself knew how he was going to extricate and complete his narrative.

Scott has left us the astonishing statement {184} that ‘I have generally
written to the middle of one of these novels without having the least
idea how it was to end.’  Mr. Skene, a true friend of Sir Walter Scott,
tells us {185} that when Scott described to him the scheme which he had
formed for _Anne of Geierstein_, he suggested to him that he might with
advantage connect the history of René, king of Provence, in which subject
Skene had special means of helping him.  Scott accepted the suggestion,
‘and the whole _dénouement_ of the story of _Anne of Geierstein_ was
changed, and the Provence part woven into it, in the form in which it
ultimately came forth.’

Was Dickens in the same case when death interrupted him in his work?

Was this an ‘apoplectic’ novel?

Scott speaks frankly of _Count Robert of Paris_ and _Castle Dangerous_
being his ‘apoplectic books.’  Does _Edwin Drood_ bear the same relation
to the body of Dickens’s work as _Count Robert of Paris_ and _Castle
Dangerous_ bear to the Waverley Novels?  Mr. Lang, whose views on this
subject varied much, in one of his later writings takes the view that
Dickens was deeply embarrassed.  He says: ‘It is melancholy to think of
this great and terribly overtasked genius tormented by fears that were
only too real.’  He finds the story wandering on, living from hand to
mouth, full of absurdities.  He thinks that Dickens was very capable of
changing his original purpose, and saving the life of Edwin.

There is no doubt that Dickens was puzzled about the order of his
chapters.  Forster tells us that Dickens ‘became a little nervous about
the course of the tale from a fear that he might have plunged too soon
into the incidents leading on to the catastrophe such as the Datchery
assumption (a misgiving he had certainly expressed to his
sister-in-law).’  I have already expressed agreement with Dr. Jackson in
his plan for renumbering the chapters.  Unless this plan is adopted there
is chronological confusion.  Also there is no doubt that Dickens had been
working under terrific strain.  But the testimony of those who knew him
best is that his faculties were never brighter and stronger than they
were in his last months.

The same impression is left upon me by his unfinished novel.  Those who
dislike Dickens’s later manner may easily find faults.  They may say that
Honeythunder is grotesque rather than amusing.  They may say that
Jasper’s courtship of Rosa is melodramatic and wolfish.  I confess to
being perpetually puzzled by the account of Neville’s capture on the
morning after the murder.  Why was he pursued in that manner?  All that
was known against him was that he had been with Edwin on the previous
night.  He is only eight miles away from Cloisterham, and stopping at a
roadside tavern to refresh.  He starts again on his journey, and becomes
aware of other pedestrians behind him coming up at a faster pace than
his.  He stands aside to let them pass, but only four pass.  Other four
slackened speed, and loitered as if intending to follow him when he
should go on.  The remainder of the party (half a dozen, perhaps) turn
and go back at a great rate.  Among those who go back is Mr. Crisparkle.
Nobody speaks, but they all look at him.  Four walk in advance and four
in the rear.  Thus he is beset, and stops as a last test, and they all
stop.  He asks:

    ‘Why do you attend upon me in this way? . . .  Are you a pack of

    ‘Don’t answer him,’ said one of the number. . . .  ‘Better be quiet.
    . . .’

    ‘I will not submit to be penned in,’ says Neville; ‘I mean to pass
    those four in front.’

They all stand still, and he shoulders his heavy stick and quickens his
pace.  The largest and strongest man of the number dexterously closes
with him and goes down with him, but not before the heavy stick has
descended smartly.  Naturally Neville is utterly bewildered.  Two of them
hold his arms and lead him back into a group whose central figures are
Jasper and Crisparkle.  Why on earth did not Crisparkle speak to him at
the beginning, and tell him what had happened?  All this is

There seems to be a slight slip in chapter ii.

Jasper’s room at the Gatehouse is described.  It has an unfinished
picture of a blooming schoolgirl hanging over the chimneypiece.  At the
upper end of the room Mr. Jasper opens a door and discloses a small inner
room pleasantly lighted and prepared for supper.

‘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.’
They dine in the inner room.  The cloth is drawn, and a dish of walnuts
and a decanter of rich coloured sherry are placed upon the table.

‘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.

Dickens seems to have forgotten that the sketch is in the other room.

It seems to me that these are slips, but I do not find any other readers
have taken the same view.  With these exceptions, the story seems to be
one of Dickens’s best books.  Its grasp of local colour and detail is as
strong as ever it was.  There is much of his old humour in the Mayor, in
Miss Twinkleton’s Girls’ School, in Billickin, in Durdles and his
attendant imp.  Also the story is constructed with the greatest care and
ingenuity.  Any one who carefully goes over the manuscript and the proofs
will see that Dickens had a plan in his mind that he half revealed and
half concealed, that his phrases and details are chosen with the nicest
care, and that he meant to reward those who at the end could take a
‘backward look’ by the delight they would experience in seeing how
everything had been scrupulously planned and artistically conducted to a
climax.  We cannot do justice to the book in its present state.  But
Dickens’s royal genius was at its full, and would have vindicated itself.
He had set himself deliberately to carrying out a plot far more exact
than he had ever attempted, and the end was in view from the beginning.

This is not to say that the reason of every incident and every
description was disclosed from the first.  I have previously discussed
Edgar Allan Poe’s reading of _Barnaby Rudge_, and shown that his
perception, keen as it was, yielded him less than he thought.  I have
shown how Dickens prepared the plan for _Little Dorrit_ from the start of
his book.  It may be traced now, but without the ‘backward glance’ it
would not have been easy to trace it.

We may also say with some confidence that no new characters of importance
would have been introduced to us in the second half.  In the chapter
‘Half Way with Dickens’ I have shown that this is the case with five of
his principal books.  The conclusion is not stringent, for Dickens was
free to change his method.  But it may be said to be highly probable; if
it is true we are left to conjecture the part that the various characters
would have played in the winding up of the tale.

The book was to end with the capture and conviction of Jasper.  I have
already written of the part played and to be played by Grewgious.
Another hunter of Jasper was Durdles.  The task assigned to Durdles among
the hunters is fairly clear.  Sooner or later, by tapping round the
Sapsea monument he is to discover the presence of ‘a wheen banes,’ or at
least of some unsuspected ‘rubbish.’  He had put the inscription on the
monument before Christmas, and had no doubt satisfied himself then that
all was safe.  ‘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.’

Having made his inspection when the epitaph was put on, Durdles would
have no further curiosity about the tomb until, in the following summer,
he took Mr. Datchery on a rambling expedition as he had taken Jasper.
His peculiar gift, like that of the bloodhound, is to aid in tracking
down the quarry.

Deputy has also his part to play.  From the first Jasper hates and fears
Deputy, and there are signs near the close of _Edwin Drood_ that this
strange boy, who has some characteristics in common with Dickie Sludge,
of _Kenilworth_, is to form a close alliance with Datchery.  The ugliest
side of Jasper’s character displays itself in his treatment of the ‘young
imp employed by Durdles.’  The chanting of the line, ‘Widdy Widdy
Wake-cock warning,’ has for him a note of menace.  With the fury of a
devil he leaps upon the boy when he emerges from the crypt with Durdles,
and hears a sharp whistle rending the silence.  ‘I will shed the blood of
that impish wretch!’ he cries; ‘I know I shall do it.’  Durdles has to
appeal to him not to hurt the boy.  ‘He followed us to-night, when we
first came here,’ says Jasper.  ‘He has been prowling near us ever

Deputy denies both accusations.  ‘I’d only just come out for my ’elth
when I see you two a-coming out of the Kinfreederal.’

What has Deputy actually seen?  He may have testimony to give of the most
vital consequence, but even if he has seen nothing of Jasper’s movements
while Durdles lies asleep, or of his approach to the Sapsea monument, he
will tell Mr. Datchery of that furious onslaught when Jasper clutched his
throat and threatened to kill him.  He will prove a very useful ally of
the hunters.

It seems quite inconceivable that either Durdles or Deputy could have
known the whole secret and kept it.  Neither of them was capable of
keeping a secret long.  But they might have suspicions, and they might
and would know circumstances which when rightly interpreted led to the
inevitable conclusion.

I cannot but think that the chief part in the coming narrative was to be
played by the opium woman.  The novel from the very first page has a
touch of the East.  In Wilkie Collins’s _The Moonstone_ the Indians did
their part, and then vanished from the scene.  But in _Edwin Drood_ we
have the Landlesses from Ceylon with a touch of dark blood, or at least
of the Eastern spirit.  Mr. Lang is in excess of the facts when he calls
them Eurasians, and Dickens hesitates in ascribing black blood to them.
They are more probably gypsies.  We have also the connection of Edwin
Drood with the East.  There is more than a suggestion of dark blood in
John Jasper.  Above all, we have the opium woman.  What was the
connection between John Jasper and the opium woman?  What was John
Jasper’s history before he came to Cloisterham?

We do not know, but conjectures have been hazarded.  Mr. Cuming Walters
thinks that the opium woman’s hatred of Jasper may be due to the fact
that Jasper has wronged a child of the woman’s.  He also conjectures that
Jasper may be the son of the opium woman.  Dr. Jackson conjectures that
Jasper seduces a young girl who had treated the old woman kindly, that he
neglected this girl for Rosa, that the girl committed suicide, and that
the old woman devoted herself to the pursuit of the betrayer.  All this
is mere speculation.  We have really no means of judging whether the
speculation is true or not.  It does seem that the woman’s peculiar
hatred of Jasper must have an origin and a grave cause.  Miss Stoddart
suggests that the opium woman was not wholly degraded, and that she is
horrified by Jasper’s continually repeated threatenings while under the
influence of opium; that her sympathies have been wakened for that
hapless Ned who bears a threatened name, and she resolves to do her best
to serve him.  With an honest purpose she makes her way before Christmas
to Cloisterham.  She loses sight of Jasper, but actually meets Edwin
Drood.  The kind act of that young stranger causes her to unload her
conscience, and she bids him be thankful that his name is not Ned.  At
her second visit in the summer she knows from Jasper’s confessions under
her own roof that the long premeditated crime has actually taken place,
and her object in visiting Cloisterham is to gather evidence that may
serve the ends of justice.  This sunken creature has a task assigned to
her, and she fulfils it.

I am not sure that Dickens means to throw any redeeming light on the
character of the opium woman.  She has been wronged; she is seeking
vengeance, and at last, she finds it.  How this comes to pass Dickens
meant to tell us, but he meant, no doubt, to surprise us in the telling.

My own belief is that Dickens intended to surprise his readers by telling
them of some unsuspected blood relationship between his characters.
Surprises of this kind are given in his novels.  No reader of _Oliver
Twist_ could have guessed from the first part Oliver’s relationship to
Monks and the Maylies.  Who would have supposed from the first half of
_Nicholas Nickleby_ that Smike was the son of Ralph?

    ‘That, boy,’ repeated Ralph, looking vacantly at him.

    ‘Whom I saw stretched dead and cold upon his bed, and who is now in
    his grave—’

    ‘Who is now in his grave,’ echoed Ralph, like one who talks in his

    The man raised his eyes, and clasped his hands solemnly together:

    ‘—Was your only son, so help me God in heaven!’

    In the midst of a dead silence Ralph sat down, pressing his two hands
    upon his temples.  He removed them after a minute, and never was
    there seen, part of a living man undisfigured by any wound, such a
    ghastly face as he then disclosed.

Again, who would have supposed from the early part of _Great
Expectations_ that Estella was the daughter of Abel Magwitch? {196}

In _Barnaby Rudge_, Maypole Hugh turns out to be an illegitimate son of
Sir John Chester.  In _The Old Curiosity Shop_, ‘The Stranger’ is found
to be the brother of the Grandfather.  In _Bleak House_, Esther Summerson
is revealed as a daughter of Lady Dedlock.  In _Our Mutual Friend_, John
Rokesmith turns out to be John Harmon.

That the action of opium had a part to play in the revelation can hardly
be doubted.  The whole book is drenched in opium.  In _The Moonstone_ the
problem is who stole the jewels.  It is solved by opium.  The jewels are
stolen by a man under the influence of opium surreptitiously
administered.  He is quite unconscious of what he has done, and remains
unconscious.  Afterwards he is discovered by a fresh administration of
opium.  When the opium has completely done its work the man repeats his
deed, and the experiment is conclusive.

I do not think that any one reading right on would name the perpetrator
of the theft, and yet when we take a backward glance we find an account
of a dinner-party about the seventieth page which gives the clue.  I
doubt whether any one on first reading it would see in it anything that
mattered, and yet it contains everything that matters.  The height of art
in work like this is to conceal art.  You may be able at an early stage
to introduce facts which contain the ultimate solution of your problem,
and yet appear important enough to be stated for their own sake.  The
solution of the problem, or rather the materials of the solution, should
be given, and yet the reader should be unable to detect the full
significance of the preliminary statement till the complete clearing
arrives.  At the same time the book will not be satisfactory if details
are superfluous, if they do nothing to carry one on to the dissipation of
the mystery.

It is not to be denied that this fitting of everything into its place is
at times a little wearisome.  ‘The construction is most minute and most
wonderful,’ wrote Anthony Trollope of Wilkie Collins.  ‘I can never lose
the taste of the construction.  The author seems always warning me to
remember that something happened at exactly half-past two on Tuesday
morning, or that a woman disappeared from the road just fifteen yards
beyond the fourth milestone.’  There is truth in this, but if Anthony
Trollope had written a novel of mystery, which perhaps he could never
have done, he would have had to take the same path.

Another doctor in _The Moonstone_ tells us that the ignorant distrust of
opium in England spreads through all classes, so much so, that every
doctor in large practice finds himself every now and then obliged to
deceive his patients by giving them opium under a disguise.  He himself
claims that opium saved his life.  He suffered from an incurable internal
complaint, but he was determined to live in order to provide for a person
very dear to him.  ‘To that all-potent and all-merciful drug I am
indebted for a respite of many years from my sentence of death.’

Like Collins, Dickens was keenly interested in the possibilities of
opium.  Collins himself was a lavish consumer of the drug, but I do not
think it has been suggested that Dickens himself ever touched it.  Nor is
it likely, for Dickens with all his tenseness of nerve was an eminently
self-controlled and temperate man.  But in _Edwin Drood_ he has inserted
a sentence in praise of opium.  The opium woman says to Datchery: ‘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.’  The last sentence was an afterthought on the
part of Dickens.  It has been written in.

As to whether Jasper was made ultimately to repeat his crime in any
fashion under the influence of opium, it is impossible to say.  He was
unquestionably more or less under the influence of the drug when he
committed it.

The literary men of Dickens’s period were much interested in the action
of drugs, in mesmerism, and the like.  Elliotson, to whom _Pendennis_ is
dedicated, was on intimate terms with Dickens.  Dickens plainly implies
that Crisparkle went to the weir because Jasper willed him to do so.
Collins and Dickens were both addicted to calling witnesses to their
accuracy.  At the close of _Armadale_, Collins says: ‘Wherever the story
touches on questions connected with law, medicine, or chemistry, it has
been submitted before publication to the experience of professional men.
The kindness of a friend supplied me with a plan of the doctor’s
apparatus—I saw the chemical ingredients at work before I ventured on
describing the action of them in the closing scenes of this book.’  Every
one remembers the ‘spontaneous combustion’ preface to Bleak House.  I do
not know whether any medical man can be found to confirm the science of
_Armadale_, or of _Bleak House_, or of _The Moonstone_.  But that is not
the question before us.  We have only to do with what the novelist
himself believed to be a scientific possibility.  In _Kenilworth_ {200}
Wayland compounds ‘the true Orvietan, that noble medicine which is so
seldom found genuine and effective within these realms of Europe.’  Scott
adds a note: ‘Orvietan, or Venice treacle, as it is sometimes called, was
understood to be a sovereign remedy against poison; and the reader must
be contented, for the time he peruses these pages, to hold the same
opinion, which was once universally received by the learned as well as
the vulgar.’  Dickens’s science must be received in the same manner.

Mr. Crisparkle has one piece of evidence in his memory.  ‘Long afterwards
he had cause to remember’ how, when he entered Jasper’s rooms and found
him asleep by the fire, the choirmaster ‘sprang from the couch in a
delirious state between sleeping and waking, and crying out, “What is the
matter?  Who did it?”’

As we have already seen, the gathering of the threads is in the strong
hands of Datchery.

As we know, Forster adds that Neville Landless was to have perished in
assisting Tartar finally to unmask and seize the murderer.  It will be
seen that this part of his testimony is more doubtful than the rest, and
cannot, therefore, be so implicitly accepted, but it may well be true.
Melancholy seems to mark Neville Landless for its own, and his passion
for Rosa is hopeless.  If he dies, it is a heavy blow for his devoted
sister, who finds her triumph marred by the death of her brother.
Singularly enough, some writers who have hesitated to accept Forster’s
more expressed testimony make much of the death of Neville Landless and
its circumstances.  It need only be pointed out that all this is pure
conjecture, however ingenious it may be.

I find no difficulty in believing that Dickens carried out his plan of
making Jasper give in prison a review of his own career.  This has been
called a poor and conventional idea, but as worked out by Dickens it
would neither have been poor nor conventional.  What remains to be told
is, I repeat, largely the story of John Jasper’s earlier life.


THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD.  By Charles Dickens.  Parts 1–6.  With 12
illustrations by Sir Luke Fildes, R.A.  1870.

by John Forster.  See his _Life_ of the Novelist.  Added to the
‘Biographical,’ ‘National,’ and ‘Centenary’ editions of the novel.

THE CLOVEN FOOT: An Adaptation of the English Novel to American Scenes,
Characters, Customs and Nomenclature.  By Orpheus C. Kerr (R. H. Newell).
New York: Carleton.  1870.

THE MYSTERY OF MR. E. DROOD.  By Orpheus C. Kerr.  An English edition of
foregoing, with several minor alterations.  London: _The Piccadilly
Annual_.  1870.

JOHN JASPER’S SECRET: A Sequel to Charles Dickens’s Unfinished Novel,
_The Mystery of Edwin Drood_.  By Henry Morford, of New York, and his
wife.  Issued in parts in America by T. B. Peterson and Bros.,
Philadelphia, from October 1871 to March 1872; and in England
anonymously.  An edition of the same work was published in 1901 with the
astoundingly false announcement on the title-page that the book is by
Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens the Younger.  New York: R. F. Fenno
and Co.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD.  A Play by Walter Stephens.  Performed at the
Surrey Theatre, 4th November 1871.  Chapman and Hall.  1871.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD.  A drama by G. H. Macdermott.  Performed at
the Britannia Theatre, 22nd July 1872.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD COMPLETE.  Part the Second.  ‘By the Spirit
Pen of Charles Dickens, through a Medium.’  Published at Brattleborough,
Vermont, U.S.A.  1873.

THE GREAT MYSTERY SOLVED: Being a Sequel to _The Mystery of Edwin Drood_.
By Gillan Vase.  3 vols.  London: Remington and Co. 1878.

LE CRIME DE JASPER.  Traduit de l’Anglais.  Dentu.  Paris: 1879.

ALIVE OR DEAD: A Drama.  By Robert Hall.  Performed at the Park Theatre,
Camden Town, 3rd May 1880.

WATCHED BY THE DEAD: A Loving Study of Dickens’s Half-Told Tale.  By
Richard A. Proctor.  London: W. H. Allen and Co. 1887.  (The genesis of
this ‘loving study’ appeared as articles in the _Belgravia Magazine_,
June 1878; _Leisure Readings_, 1882; and _Knowledge_, 1884; over the
pseudonym of ‘Thomas Foster.’)

HOW ‘EDWIN DROOD’ WAS ILLUSTRATED.  By Alice Meynell.  _Century
Magazine_, February 1884.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD: Suggestions for a Conclusion.  _Cornhill
Magazine_, March 1884.

THE WELFLEET MYSTERY (An Outgrowth of Dickens’s Last Work).  By Mrs. C.
A. Read.  _The Weekly Budget_, 1885.

A NOVELIST’S FAVOURITE THEME.  _Cornhill Magazine_, January 1886.

MYSTERY ON MYSTERY.  By Edward Salmon.  _Belgravia_, September 1887.

THE DROOD MYSTERY AGAIN.  By Robert Allbut.  _Daily Union_, U.S.A.
(letter dated 21st August 1893).

CLUES TO THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD.  By J. Cuming Walters.  London:
Chapman and Hall, Ltd.  2s. 6d.  1905.

SOLVING ‘THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD.’  By B. W. Matz.  _Dickensian_, July

THE MYSTERY OF DATCHERY.  By William Archer.  _Morning Leader_, 15th,
22nd and 29th July.  Replies by J. Cuming Walters, 17th and 26th July

THE DROOD CASE.  By Andrew Lang.  _Morning Post_, 28th July 1905.

THE PLOT OF EDWIN DROOD.  By Andrew Lang.  _Academy_, 29th July 1905.
Reply by J. Cuming Walters, 12th August 1905.

THE CLEARING OF A MYSTERY.  By Harry Beswick.  _Clarion_, 28th July 1905.

THE DROOD CASE.  By J. Cuming Walters.  _Morning Post_, 8th August 1905.

THE HISTORY OF A MYSTERY: A Review of the Solutions to ‘Edwin Drood.’  By
George F. Gadd.  _Dickensian_, September to December 1905.

By Andrew Lang.  _Longman’s Magazine_ (At the Sign of the Ship),
September 1905.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD.  By Hammond Hall.  _Dickensian_, September

MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD.  By H. H. F.  _Academy_, 26th August.  By J.
Cuming Walters and Andrew Lang, 9th September 1905.

BAZZARD AND HELENA.  By H. H. F.  _Academy_, 9th September 1905.

Percy Fitzgerald.  _Daily Chronicle_, 20th September 1905.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD: More Opinions Regarding the Identity of
Datchery.  By Dr. Blake Odgers, J. Cuming Walters, Willoughby Matchett
and A. Bawtree.  _Daily Chronicle_, 23rd September 1905.

EDWIN DROOD MYSTERY.  By J. Cuming Walters.  _Daily Chronicle_, 27th
September 1905.

THE PUZZLE OF DICKENS’S LAST PLOT.  By Andrew Lang.  London: Chapman and
Hall, Ltd.  2s. 6d. net.  1905.

A DICKENS MYSTERY: Mr. Andrew Lang’s Adventures with Edwin Drood.  By J.
Cuming Walters.  _Daily Chronicle_, 14th October 1905.

THE MYSTERIES OF EDWIN DROOD.  _Times_, 27th October.  Letters on the
same by Sir Luke Fildes, R.A., 3rd November (reprinted in _Dickensian_,
December 1905); Andrew Lang, 10th November 1905; and J. W. T. Ley, 21st
November 1905.

EDWIN DROOD AGAIN.  By J. Cuming Walters.  _Academy_, 28th October 1905.

MR. LANG THE DISENTANGLER.  By Walter Herries Pollock.  _Evening
Standard_, 30th October 1905.

MR. LANG DETECTING AGAIN.  By G. K. Chesterton.  _Daily News_, 2nd
November 1905.

EDWIN DROOD: Solutions to the Mystery.  By Henry Smetham.  _Rochester and
Chatham Journal_, 18th November 1905.  (Reprinted in pamphlet form for
private circulation.)

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD.  By E. J. S.  _The Star_, 25th November 1905.

DROOD.  _The Scottish Review_, 30th November 1905.

Walters.  _Dickensian_, December 1905.

EDWIN DROOD, DEAD OR ALIVE.  By J. Cuming Walters.  _Westminster
Gazette_, 23rd December 1905.

DATCHERY THE ENIGMA: The Case for Tartar.  By George F. Gadd.
_Dickensian_, January 1906.

EDWIN DROOD.  By Andrew Lang.  _Westminster Gazette_, 15th January 1906.

THE EDWIN DROOD SYNDICATE.  _The Cambridge Review_, Nos. 668–673, 1906.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD.  By the Rev. Wilfrid Lescher, O.P.  _Catholic
Times_, 9th February 1906.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD.  By A. M. P.  _The L.C.C. Staff Gazette_,
April 1906.

LYTTON’S ‘JOHN ACLAND.’  By J. Cuming Walters.  _Athenæum_, 14th April

daughter).  (Illus.)  _Pall Mall Magazine_, June 1906.

MRS. PERUGINI AND EDWIN DROOD.  By Andrew Lang.  _Times_, 1st June 1906.

THE DISSECTION OF DROOD.  By J. Meredith Bird.  _Pall Mall Gazette_, 11th
June 1906.

MR. DATCHERY.  By Willoughby Matchett.  _Dickensian_, January 1907.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD.  Interview with Mr. H. Beerbohm Tree and Mr.
J. Comyns Carr.  By Raymond Blathwayt.  _Cardiff_, _South Wales Daily
News_, 14th November 1907.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD: A Drama in Four Acts.  By J. Comyns Carr.
Performed at His Majesty’s Theatre, 4th January 1908.  (First played at
Cardiff, November 1907.)

EDWIN DROOD.  Criticism of Mr. Comyn Carr’s play by J. Cuming Walters.
_Daily Chronicle_, 1st January 1908.

KEYS TO THE DROOD MYSTERY.  By Edwin Charles.  (Illus.)  London: Collier
and Co.  1s. net.  1908.

A CHAT WITH MR. TREE.  _Daily Telegraph_, 2nd January 1908.

THE REAL EDWIN DROOD.  By Haldane Macfall.  _Daily Chronicle_, 8th
January 1908.

THE SECRET OF EDWIN DROOD.  Interview with Mr. Comyns Carr.  _Daily
Chronicle_, 9th January 1908.

THE DROOD MYSTERY.  Mr. Hall Caine’s reply to Mr. Tree.  _Daily
Chronicle_, 14th January 1908.

THE GREAT DROOD CASE.  By Andrew Lang.  _Morning Post_, 24th January

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD.  By T. P.  _P.T.O._, 25th January 1908.

February 1908.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD: Its ‘Completions’ and ‘Solutions.’  By B. W.
Matz.  _The Bookshelf_, February 1908.

EDWIN DROOD: A Theory.  By Albert F. Fessenden.  Boston (U.S.A.)
_Evening Transcript_, 7th and 29th February, 7th, 14th, and 21st March

DESULTORY THOUGHTS ON DROOD.  By J. Cuming Walters.  _Dickensian_, March

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD.  By B. W. Matz.  (Illus.)  _Bookman_, March

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD: A Drama.  By C. A. Clarke and S. B. Rogerson.
Osborne Theatre, Manchester, March 1908.  See _Stage_, 5th March 1908.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD.  With Illustrations.  By W.  _Manchester City
News_, 10th March 1908.

LAST WORDS ON THE DROOD MYSTERY.  By various writers.  _Dickensian_,
April 1908.

ARE THE DROODISTS ALL AT SEA?  By W. Teignmouth Shore.  _T. P.’s Weekly_,
21st August 1908.

THOUGHTS ON THE DROOD MYSTERY.  By Henry Leffmann, A.M., M.D.  _About
Dickens_ (a privately printed volume).  Philadelphia.  1908.

DICKENS AND THE DRAMA (chapter devoted to Plays on Edwin Drood).  By S.
J. Adair FitzGerald.  London: Chapman and Hall, Ltd.  5s. net.  1910.

ABOUT ‘EDWIN DROOD.’  By H. J.  Cambridge University Press.  4s. net.

DROOD AND DATCHERY.  By J. Cuming Walters.  _Dickensian_, March 1911.

ABOUT ‘EDWIN DROOD.’  Reviews by Andrew Lang, _Morning Post_, 24th
February, and _Illustrated London News_, 4th March; by B. W. Matz in
_Daily Chronicle_, 24th February; by ‘M. R. J.’ in _Cambridge Review_,
9th March; by C. K. S. in _The Sphere_, 11th March; _Athenæum_, 1st April
1911; _The Author_, April 1911.

THE DROOD MYSTERY SOLVED.  By J. Cuming Walters.  _T. P.’s Weekly_, 3rd
and 24th March 1911.

MR. CUMING WALTERS ON ‘EDWIN DROOD.’  By Andrew Lang.  _T. P.’s Weekly_,
17th and 31st March 1911.

THE CLAIMS OF BAZZARD.  _Birmingham Daily Post_, 11th March 1911.

MYSTERY À LA AMERICO-PARISIENNE.  By Andrew Lang.  _Morning Post_, 10th
March 1911.

Chesterton.  London: J. M. Dent and Co. 7s. 6d. net.  1911.

ABOUT EDWIN DROOD.  By Andrew Lang.  _Dickensian_, April 1911.

DROOD AND DATCHERY.  By Wilkins Micawber, Junr.  _Dickensian_, April

DROP IT.  By J. Cuming Walters.  _Dickensian_, May 1911.

EDWIN DROOD AND SOME QUERIES. By A. B. Stedman.  _Dickensian_, May 1911.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD.  By Andrew Lang.  _Blackwood’s Magazine_, May

PHASES OF DICKENS (chapter on His Last Mystery).  By J. Cuming Walters.
London: Chapman and Hall, Ltd.  5s. net.  1911.

DICKENS AND HIS LAST BOOK: A New Theory.  By S. Y. E.  _Nottingham
Guardian_, 9th January 1912.

EDWIN DROOD RE-EXAMINED.  By ‘K.’  _The Eye-Witness_, 18th and 25th
January, 1st and 8th February 1912.

THE DROOD MYSTERY.  By J. Cuming Walters.  _The Eye-Witness_, 22nd
February, 7th and 14th March 1912.

DROOD AND DATCHERY.  By ‘K.’  _The Eye-Witness_, 29th February 1912.

IN DICKENS STREET (chapter entitled A Dickens Mystery).  By W. R.
Thomson.  London: Chapman and Hall, Ltd.  3s. 6d. net.  1912.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD.  By Dr. J. B. Hellier.  _British Weekly_, 4th
April 1912.

THE DROOD DEBATE IN BIRMINGHAM.  By J. Cuming Walters and Willoughby
Matchett.  _Dickensian_, June 1912.

ANDREW LANG AND DICKENS’S PUZZLE.  By J. Cuming Walters.  _Dickensian_,
September 1912.

THE DROOD MYSTERY: Extracts from an Unpublished Article by Andrew Lang.
By Arthur Eckersley.  _Book Monthly_, September 1912.


_A Tale of Two Cities_, 71, 83, 88, 92.

_Abbot_, _The_, 137.

_About Edwin Drood_, x, 56, 80.

_Academy_, _The_, xi.

_Anne of Geierstein_, 185.

Archer, William, 119, 178.

_Armadale_, 200.

_As You like It_, 180.

_Athenæum_, ix, xviii.

                                * * * * *


Bancroft Recollections, xii, 165.

_Barnaby Rudge_, 83, 89, 93, 95, 103, 117, 190, 196.

_Berliner Tageblatt_, 146.

_Blackwood_, 113, 122, 127.

_Bleak House_, xviii, 73, 83, 196, 200.

_Bookman_, xi.

Boothby, Guy, 165, 170.

Boucicault, Dion, 44.

Brewster, Sir David, 162.

                                * * * * *

_Cambridge Review_, xi, 77, 122, 164.

_Castle Dangerous_, 185.

Cattermole, Mr., 103.

Chapman and Hall, xiv.

Chappell, Messrs., 21.

Charles, Edwin, 129–30.

_Clues to Dickens’s Mystery of Edwin Drood_, ix, 149.

Collins, Charles Allston, 20, 27, 39, 41, 54, 70, 73, 75, 90, 111, 127–8.

Collins, Wilkie, 141, 149, 170, 193; collaboration with Dickens, 90;
Dickens praises _No Name_, 91; letter from Dickens, 92; collaborates in
_No Thoroughfare_, 124; influence on Dickens, 166; _The Moonstone_, 193;
criticised by Anthony Trollope, 198; interested in effects of opium,

_Count Robert of Paris_, 165, 185.

                                * * * * *

_Daily Mail_, 160.

_David Copperfield_, 83.

_Dickens_, _Life of Charles_, 20, 36, 165.

Dickens, the younger, Charles, xii, 20, 35, 43, 70, 110–11.

_Dombey and Son_, 71.

                                * * * * *

_Edinburgh Review_, 104–5, 151.

_Edwin Drood_, ix, xii, xvii-xviii, 3, 20, 83, 117, 165; Forster on how
it was written, 22–8; Madame Perugini’s testimony, 28–41; the cover, 40,
54, 69, 71–81, 111; the play, 44; plans for novel, 57–68; compared with
_No Thoroughfare_, 124.

Eick, Dr. Hugo, 146, 180.

Elliotson, 199.

                                * * * * *

FILDES, SIR LUKE, 20, 26, 41, 44, 46, 53–4, 70, 73, 77, 111–12, 128.

Forster, John, 3, 4, 20, 28–42, 53, 103, 202; on _Edwin __Drood_, 22–8;
on Drood being murdered, 109–10.

                                * * * * *

GADD, MR. G. F. xi, 182.

Garrick, David, 163.

Garrick, Mrs., 164.

Gladstone, xv.

Graeme, Miss Stirling, 159.

_Great Expectations_, xviii, 83, 88, 196.

                                * * * * *


Hatton, Joseph, xii, 20, 43–4, 111.

Hogarth, Miss, 42.

Homer, xv.

_Household Words_, 105, 115.

_Hunted Down_, 114.

                                * * * * *

INGRAM, MR. J. H., xiv, 95.

Irving, Mr. H. B., 80.

                                * * * * *


Jackson, Professor Henry, x, 56, 78, 113, 173–4, 186, 194; his reading of
the cover of _Edwin Drood_, 72–5; how Edwin was murdered, 131–40;
chronology of the chapters, 171; on Bazzard, 180; the Tartar-Datchery
theory, 182.

James, Dr. M. R., xi, 73, 129; his interpretation of the cover of _Edwin
Drood_, 77–8; was Edwin murdered?, 121–2; on Datchery, 164; the
Bazzard-Datchery theory, 179.

Journal of Sir Walter Scott, The, 164, 184–5.

                                * * * * *

_Kenilworth_, 191, 200.

                                * * * * *

LANG, MR. ANDREW, x, 73, 113, 130, 139, 163–4, 170, 178, 185, 193; on the
cover of _Edwin Drood_, 70, 75–7, 80, 127–8; his theory of the murder of
Edwin, 120–3, 132; the Datchery-Neville theory, 181.

_Leisure Readings_, ix, 118.

_Little Dorrit_, 71, 87, 104–5, 190.

                                * * * * *

_Macbeth_, 129–30.

_Martin Chuzzlewit_, 25, 71.

_Master Humphrey’s Clock_, 95.

Matz, Mr. B. W., xii, xiv, 71.

Millais, Sir John, 26.

_Moonstone_, _The_, 90, 92, 167, 193, 197–8, 200.

_Morning Leader_, 119.

_Morning Post_, 72, 130.

_Mystifications_, 159.

                                * * * * *

_Nickleby_, _Nicholas_, 195.

_No Name_, xii, 90, 92, 167.

_No Thoroughfare_, 90, 124.

                                * * * * *


_Old Curiosity Shop_, _The_, 196.

_Oliver Twist_, 21, 25, 71, 195.

_Our Mutual Friend_, xviii, 25, 72, 83, 86, 179, 196.

                                * * * * *

_Pall Mall Magazine_, 28.

_Pendennis_, 199.

_People_, _The_, 43.

Perugini, Madame, 20, 28, 43, 70, 109–11, 127–8.

Philadelphia _Saturday Evening Post_, 94, 100.

_Phineas Finn_, 172.

_Pickwick_, 71.

Poe, Edgar Allan, xiv, 93–103, 190.

Proctor, Mr. R. A., ix, x, 118, 164; on the cover of Edwin Drood, 74, 77;
was Drood murdered?, 114, 120, 131–2; the Bazzard-Datchery theory, 179.

_Puzzle of Dickens’s Last Plot_, _The_, x, 75, 139.

                                * * * * *

_Recollections and Impressions_, 162.

Rosebery, Lord, xiii.

                                * * * * *

SCOTT, SIR WALTER, 159, 163, 184, 200.

Sellar, Mrs., 162.

Shakespeare, 180.

Shorter, Mr. Clement, xiv.

Skene, Mr., 185.

_Sketches by Boz_, 71.

_Spectator_, _The_, 69.

Stoddart, Miss J. T., xiv, 133, 139, 194.

Stone, R.A., Mr. Marcus, 72.

_Studies in Prose and Poetry_, 92, 104.

Swinburne, Mr., 91, 104.

                                * * * * *


Thomson, Mr. Hugh, xii, 73, 78, 128.

_Times_, _The_, 53, 127.

Trollope, Anthony, 198.

_Two Gentlemen of Verona_, _The_, 180.

                                * * * * *

VASE, GILLAN, xi, 123.

                                * * * * *

WALTERS, MR. CUMING, ix, x, xvii, 73, 123, 193; on the cover of _Edwin
Drood_, 80; how Edwin was murdered, 132; Helena as Datchery, 149, 158;
the Bazzard-Datchery theory, 179.

_Watched by the Dead_, ix.

Whitty, Mr. J. H., 95.

Willard, Mr., 45.

_Woman in White_, _The_, 90, 92, 167.


{63}  This was originally marked IX.

{67a}  Scored out in Dickens’s MS.

{67b}  Scored out in Dickens’s MS.

{67c}  Scored out in Dickens’s MS.

{67d}  Scored out in Dickens’s MS.

{90}  Charles Dickens as Editor, p. 386.

{91}  Letters of Charles Dickens to Wilkie Collins, p. 123.

{92a}  _Studies in Prose and Poetry_.

{92b}  _Letters of Charles Dickens to Wilkie Collins_, p. 103.

{104}  It was known to that thorough scholar, Mr. Swinburne.  See
_Studies in Prose and Poetry_, p. 114.

{113}  _Blackwood_, May 1911, p. 672.

{119}  _Morning Leader_, 15th July 1905.

{122}  _Cambridge Review_, 9th March 1911.

{127}  1st June 1906.

{130}  24th February 1911.

{139}  _The Puzzle of Dickens’s Last Plot_, p. 10.

{163}  _Recollections and Impressions_, by E. M. Sellar, p. 64.

{164a}  _Journal of Sir Walter Scott_, vol. ii. p. 422.

{164b}  _Cambridge Review_, 9th March 1911.

{184}  _Sir Walter Scott’s Journal_, vol. ii. p. 131.

{185}  _Sir Walter Scott’s Journal_, vol. ii. p. 236.

{196}  The following may be quoted from _Pickwick_:

    ‘“Dismal Jenny?” inquired Jingle.


    ‘Jingle shook his head.

    ‘“Clever rascal—queer fellow, hoaxing genius—Job’s brother.”

    ‘“Job’s brother!” exclaimed Mr. Pickwick.  “Well, now I look at him
    closely, there is a likeness.”’

{200}  Chapter xiii.

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