R. FENNELL has been employing his enforced leisure (due, we regret to know, to indisposition) in contributing "a mite towards the clearer appreciation of the 'masterpiece' (H. J.) of fiction" 'Edwin Drood,' the initials "H. J.," as our readers know, standing for Prof. Henry Jackson. In his pamphlet "The Opium-Woman" and "Datchery" in 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood', published by Mr. E.Johnson of Cambridge, Dr. Fennell first deals with the question of the identity of the Opium-Woman, and suggests that one of Miss Rosa Bud's four grandparents, after Rosa's mother was engaged to Mr. Bud, became a hard drinker and then an opium-smoker, so that she figures in 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood' as the "haggard woman," hostess of the opium-den frequented by Jasper." As to Datchery, Dr. Fennell agrees with Mr. Edwin Charles and others that he is Bazzard, and he infers that "Bazzard has been employed for some time, as well as when Datchery visits Cloisterham, as a private defective ... Rosa's guardian seems a likely person for her father to select for the business of trying to trace her grandmother, if an inebriate, and 'lost to her relations, with a view to relieving her if necessary, and reclaiming her if possible, and to prevent her annoying Rosa." But though Dr. Fennell "cannot allow that Helena is Datchery," he "believes that as a huntress of her brother's foe she may have gone through one very trying ordeal, disguised as Edwin Drood, in the crypt, namely, the scene depicted in the central lowest sketch on the cover, and that she scared Jasper into betraying his guilt ... Bazzard is Datchery. Eventually the plotters against Jasper's peace invite him to get a key and go with them, nominally to see if any traces of Edwin can be found, but really to be tricked into betraying his secret by seeing what he takes for his victim alive again or for his phantom. So he reveals his secret to the men behind him and to Helena and her escort, or else to Bazzard, before he becomes violent, or tries to escape from the Cathedral or elsewhere."
It will be seen that the writer agrees with Sir Robertson Nicoll that Edwin Drood was dead.
We cordially welcome this valuable contribution to the studies on the mystery Charles Dickens has left us.