George F. Gadd: Notes to "The Mystery Of Edwin Drood"

From "Papers of the Manchester Literary Club", Vol. XXXI, 1905

E

VER since the far-off days when mankind set it­self to solve the rid­dle of the Sphinx, the pur­suit of mys­tery has proved its al­most ir­re­sistible power to al­lure, to ab­sorb. No mat­ter that the path is dark, the labyrinthine pas­sages be­wil­der­ing; no mat­ter that mys­tery begets mys­tery, and that the off­spring, too, must be tracked down lest the final state of the way­far­er be worse than that of his set­ting forth. The black-hood­ed fig­ure glid­ing on­ward like the ghost of Christ­mas yet to come, must be pur­sued at all haz­ards, even though scarce­ly the fringe of that sable man­tle comes with­in the fevered grasp of the fol­low­er.

Among other lit­er­ary enig­mas, the "Mys­tery of Edwin Drood" stands promi­nent as a pe­cu­liar­ly baf­fling ex­am­ple. Mr. Mon­tague Tigg, dis­cours­ing on the rid­dle of life, was of opin­ion that, like the cel­e­brat­ed co­nun­drum, "Why's a man in jail like a man out of jail," there's no an­swer to it. So think many read­ers of "Edwin Drood," with re­gard to the Mys­tery. Dick­ens, they say, care­ful­ly guard­ed the se­cret in his life-time, and it must rest with him in the grave. Other ad­mir­ers of Boz view the mat­ter dif­fer­ent­ly. A con­sid­er­able sec­tion as­sert that the mys­tery bub­ble was pricked by John Forster in the well-known bi­og­ra­phy.

Still an­oth­er class, be­liev­ing that the au­thor changed his plans, aver that the so­lu­tion is only to be found by a dili­gent pe­rusal of the in­com­plete novel it­self, and each stu­dent is firm­ly of opin­ion that the par­tic­u­lar so­lu­tion he favours is fully con­firmed by this in­ter­nal ev­i­dence. That the se­cret is to be dis­cov­ered with­in the pages of the work, is an axiom adopt­ed by all the writ­ers whose ef­forts it will now be our task to pass in re­view; but the di­ver­si­ty of re­sults ar­rived at will at once con­vince the read­er that Dick­ens has hid­den the key most cun­ning­ly.

No soon­er had the pub­lic ral­lied from the first shock of the nov­el­ist's death, than ru­mours were spread abroad that his novel was to be con­clud­ed by some other hand. The names of Wilkie Collins and the younger Charles Dick­ens were freely bandied about in this con­nec­tion, both as sole au­thors and as col­lab­o­ra­tors, and these ap­par­ent­ly un­substantial ru­mours at length grew so per­sis­tent that the pub­lish­ers of the nov­el­ist, Messrs. Chap­man and Hall, felt called upon to make a pub­lic de­nial.

Through the medi­um of The Times they in­formed all and sundry that the three num­bers of "Edwin Drood" still in hand would be pub­lished in due course, and that the frag­ment would so re­main. "No other writ­er," they added, "could be per­mit­ted by us to com­plete the work which Mr. Dick­ens left." The same firm, thir­ty years later, made a sim­i­lar state­ment in a pam­phlet, pub­lished by them­selves, en­ti­tled "Charles Dick­ens, some notes on his life and writ­ings." Where there is smoke we look to find a fire, and that there was some foun­da­tion for these ob­sti­nate re­ports in 1871 will here­after be made clear.

Apart from the novel it­self, Dick­ens left sur­pris­ing­ly lit­tle ma­te­ri­al for the re­main­ing links of the chain he had part­ly con­struct­ed. "Noth­ing," says John Forster, the bi­og­ra­pher, in his ex­haus­tive work, "had been writ­ten 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 stray chap­ters in ad­vance." But for one de­tached MS., dis­cov­ered by ac­ci­dent, all would have been a blank. This cramped, in­ter­lined and blot­ted piece of writ­ing proved to be a scene in which Sapsea, the pompous auc­tion­eer, is in­tro­duced, as founder of a club (the "Eight Club"), amongst a small group of new char­ac­ters. The great man is pic­tured as in­dig­nant­ly re­sent­ing the con­dem­na­tion of a cer­tain ob­se­quious in­di­vid­u­al, newly ar­rived in Clois­ter­ham, who has pre­tend­ed to mis­take the in­flat­ed Sapsea for a dig­ni­tary of the Church. It will be re­mem­bered that Mr. Datch­ery, the mys­te­ri­ous stranger of the novel, also pays ex­ag­ger­at­ed def­er­ence to the auc­tion­eer, and it there­fore bears some­what upon the so­lu­tion of the mys­tery to note what is said in the stray frag­ment con­cern­ing Mr. Poker,' the flat­ter­er, for that char­ac­ter is, very ev­i­dent­ly, a study for Datch­ery him­self.

It is in­struc­tive also to keep in mind the cor­re­spon­dence of Dick­ens con­cern­ing his last work. The first idea of the nov­el­ist in­volved a boy and girl be­trothal, such as took shape in the man­ner well known, but oth­er­wise that idea bears no re­sem­blance to the final de­vel­op­ment placed be­fore the pub­lic.

"I laid aside the fancy I told you of," writes Dick­ens to Fos­ter, in Au­gust, 1869, "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."

Forster tells us that he learnt the story im­me­di­ate­ly af­ter­ward; that it was to deal with the mur­der of a nephew by his uncle, and that an orig­i­nal fea­ture was to be the re­view of the mur­der­er's ca­reer, by him­self, at the close of . the book. Hard upon the crime was to fol­low the dis­cov­ery that the deed was need­less for its ob­ject, and all dis­clo­sure of the mur­der was to be baf­fled till near the end, when, by means of a gold ring, which, had re­sist­ed the ac­tion of the lime into which the body had been thrown, vic­tim, crim­i­nal and the lo­cal­i­ty of the crime were all to be iden­ti­fied.

So far as it goes, this ex­pla­na­tion of Dick­ens's in­ten­tions re­gard­ing the story of Edwin Drood may well be the cor­rect one, though some crit­ics as­sume a change of plan to fit their the­o­ries. Cer­tain­ly this plot con­forms fully to the pub­lished part of the story, where­in due prepa­ra­tion is made for the catas­tro­phe re­ferred to, as wit­ness the dis­appearance, the de­struc­tive lime, and the in­crim­i­nat­ing ring, not to men­tion the rev­e­la­tion made to Jasper by Mr. Grew­gious, that Edwin Drood had never re­al­ly loved Rosa, a rev­e­la­tion which, truly, fol­lowed "hard upon com­mis­sion of the deed."

We need not, how­ev­er, sup­pose that the so-called "un- com­mu­ni­ca­ble idea" was dis­closed at all, for Förster does not at­tempt to dis­pel the mist sur­round­ing Mr. Datch­ery. Dick­ens him­self gives a clue of some im­por­tance which ap­pears to have been over­looked by most of the solvers. "Writ­ing to Mr. J. T. Fields in Jan­uary, of 1870, the nov­el­ist thus refers to his new work: — "There is a cu­ri­ous in­ter­est steadi­ly work­ing up to Num­ber five, which re­quires a great deal of art and self de­nial." Here is a state­ment which di­rect­ly bears out the con­fi­den­tial dis­clo­sure to Forster. A very strong idea "dif­fi­cult to work."

Again in the same let­ter, the au­thor says, "So I hope, at Num­bers five and six, the story will turn upon an in­ter­est sus­pend­ed until the end." Vivid sig­nals these for the alert seek­er; but suf­fi­cient is said con­cern­ing them as mat­ter of his­to­ry.

In ad­di­tion to these in­di­ca­tions we have the very sig­nif­i­cant draw­ings which ap­peared on the cov­ers of the orig­i­nal month­ly parts of "Edwin Drood." It is much to be re­gret­ted that these il­lus­tra­tions, de­signed by Charles Collins, the son-in-law of Dick­ens, were not pub­lished by Chap­man and Hall when the work was is­sued in book form, for they were drawn in ac­cor­dance with the nov­el­ist's in­struc­tions, and some of the scenes are fore­shad­ows of events or sit­u­a­tions be­long­ing to the nev­er-writ­ten. There is a small de­sign show­ing a spade and a key crossed above a work­man's bun­dle, all with­out doubt the ac­com­pa­ni­ments of "Stony Dur­dles." There is a dou­ble sketch of a love scene and of a fe­male fig­ure gaz­ing at a dis­played bill, upon which lat­ter ap­pears the word "lost." This prob­a­bly rep­re­sents, on the one hand, Jasper pay­ing mad court to Rosa, and, on the other, a sug­ges­tion of the miss­ing Drood. There is also a draw­ing de­pict­ing three char­ac­ters — one very prob­a­bly Crisparkle, an­oth­er the shock-head­ed Datch­ery — climb­ing a spi­ral stair­case of stone, no doubt that lead­ing to the top of the Cathe­dral tower. The low­est fig­ure looks down­wards to fur­ther char­ac­ters sup­posed to be below, and points sig­nif­i­cant­ly up­wards, as though in­di­cat­ing some ob­ject of which all are in pur­suit. Fi­nal­ly, we have the most strik­ing scene of all. Jasper — there can be no doubt it is he — has pushed open the door of some small cham­ber or vault, and, hold­ing aloft a pow­er­ful lantern, gazes hor­ror-strick­en at the spec­tral fig­ure of a young man, which, with hand on breast, re­turns his look with one of stem re­proach.

With these draw­ings we reach the end of the lit­tle stock of ma­te­ri­al which is avail­able, out­side the story, for the work­ing up of con­nect­ing links to com­plete the bro­ken chain. A brief glance at the work of the var­i­ous ar­ti­fi­cers who have es­sayed the dif­fi­cult task will form the next and con­clud­ing por­tion of this lit­tle his­to­ry of a mys­tery.

We have spo­ken of ru­mours mys­te­ri­ous­ly afloat immedi­ately after the death of Dick­ens. Whence did they arise? Was there any foun­da­tion for the re­port that "Edwin Drood" was to be com­plet­ed?

In the sense con­veyed by Messrs. Chap­man and Hall, the whis­per­ings were un­re­li­able, but it is none the less true that in 1871 a book en­ti­tled "John Jasper's Se­cret: A Nar­ra­tive of Cer­tain Events fol­low­ing and ex­plain­ing the Mys­tery of Edwin Drood" was ac­tu­al­ly bid­ding for pub­lic favour; and, be it ob­served, this was the third form in which the con­tin­u­a­tion had been pre­sent­ed to the world.

The orig­i­nal ap­pear­ance of the work was made in a pe­ri­od­i­cal called "The Chim­ney Comer," and a sec­ond pub­li­ca­tion, in month­ly parts, was in progress at the time the com­plete vol­ume was brought out. These month­ly parts — of which there were eight — were got up in close im­i­ta­tion of the cor­re­spond­ing issue of Edwin Drood. In size, in colour, and in gen­er­al ap­pear­ance, they were very like their orig­i­nals, the adop­tion of cover il­lus­tra­tions and wood-cut draw­ings serv­ing to com­plete the re­sem­blance.

The vol­ume re­ferred to was is­sued with­out au­thor's name, by Pe­ter­son Broth­ers, of Philadel­phia, and copies are now so rare that they have been sold at the al­most in­cred­i­ble price (con­sid­er­ing the in­trin­sic merit of the work) of thir­ty-five shillings.

An­oth­er edi­tion has more re­cent­ly been pub­lished in New York, with­out il­lus­tra­tions, and under a slight­ly mod­i­fied title, but with the ad­di­tion of an ex­traor­di­nary claim to au­thor­ship which ap­pears to be ei­ther a re­flec­tion or the orig­i­nal light of those flash­ing ru­mours to which we have re­ferred. We quote from the ti­tle-page: —

"John Jasper's Se­cret.
"A se­quel to Charles Dick­ens's 'Mys­tery of Edwin Drood.'
By Charles Dick­ens the younger, and Wilkie Collins."

It has long been known to those who made en­quiry, that nei­ther Wilkie Collins nor the younger Charles ever at­tempt­ed to fin­ish "Edwin Drood." The for­mer writ­er has ex­pressed him­self on the sub­ject most em­phat­i­cal­ly: —

"I was asked to fin­ish' the story soon after Dick­ens's death, and pos­i­tive­ly re­fused. Any as­ser­tion or news­pa­per re­port which as­so­ci­ates me in any way with any at­tempt­ed com­ple­tion of the story is ab­so­lute­ly false."

The true au­thors of "John Jasper's Secret" were a New York jour­nal­ist, Henry Mor­ford, and his wife, who came over to Eng­land in 1871 in order to gath­er ma­te­ri­al for the pro­ject they had de­vised. The cou­ple spent much time at the Lon­don li­braries, where they pur­sued their study of the novel, and pros­e­cut­ed a search after such stray hints as might be ob­tained from news­pa­per re­ports or other pub­lished an­nounce­ments. lu in­ter­vals of rest from this work they de­vot­ed at­ten­tion to the nec­es­sary local colour­ing by re­pair­ing to Sta­ple Inn or by jour­neys to Rochester and neigh­bour­hood to view the Old Gate­house, the Cathe­dral, Minor Canon Cor­ner, East­gate House, and other promi­nent land­marks of the real Clois­ter­ham dis­trict. As the re­sult of so much labour and en­thu­si­asm on the part of two pil­grims from a dis­tant land, " John Jasper's Se­cret," the ear­li­est record­ed at­tempt to con­tin­ue "Edwin Drood," does not bear the stamp of ap­proval which might have been con­fi­dent­ly ex­pect­ed. It has been brand­ed by un­sym­pa­thet­ic crit­ics as "trash" and as "catch­pen­ny lit­er­a­ture," and its de­vot­ed au­thors have been dis­missed con­temp­tu­ous­ly as "hack-writ­ers." Milder ob­jec­tions are taken to the title, which sug­gests a com­mon­place story; to the style, which is re­dun­dant; and to the so­lu­tion, which is un­con­vinc­ing. For our­selves we re­frain from com­ment on the lit­er­ary qual­i­ty of the work, our pur­pose being more di­rect­ly con­cerned with the man­ner in which the writ­ers have fol­lowed up the clues pro­vid­ed for them in the orig­i­nal novel.

A favourite theme with so­lu­tion­ists, and one which prob­a­bly orig­i­nates in the title cho­sen by Dick­ens, is that Edwin Drood was not, after all, done to death by Jasper, his mur­der­ous rel­a­tive. If Drood be killed, as the story open­ly sug­gests, what be­comes of the mys­tery? That his body has en­tire­ly dis­ap­peared is too com­mon an in­ci­dent in crim­i­nal an­nals to con­sti­tute a sit­u­a­tion of an ex­cep­tion­al­ly mys­te­ri­ous na­ture such as Dick­ens led his read­ers to ex­pect. So thought the au­thors of "John Jasper's Se­cret," who wrote be­fore the more en­light­ened days which fol­lowed the pub­li­ca­tion of Forster's bi­og­ra­phy. In this se­quel Edwin re-ap­pears upon the scene in the char­ac­ter of one Phil­pits, and is stat­ed to be act­ing in col­lu­sion with Mr. Datch­ery, who, as most read­ers think on mak­ing their first ac­quain­tance with the un­fin­ished novel, is Mr. Baz­zard, clerk to Grew­gious, and writ­er of a tragedy which never " came out." Drood has been res­cued by Dur­dles from a space be­tween inner and outer walls of the Cathe­dral, where he was thrown by Jasper after being half stran­gled with the cel­e­brat­ed black scarf. He with­draws for a time from Clois­ter­ham, leav­ing Datch­ery to carry out the de­tails of a scheme which can scarce­ly have been con­coct­ed mere­ly for the pur­pose of fright­en­ing Jasper, but which ap­pears to have no other ob­ject, un­less it be the still more ridicu­lous one of arous­ing the vil­lain's sus­pi­cions as to the suc­cess of his crime. Tar­tar, the Navy man, and He­le­na, sis­ter of Neville Land­less, pur­sue an in­de­pen­dent vendet­ta by way of the opium den, Jasper being com­pelled to bab­ble his se­cret through the agen­cy of a pow­er­ful opium mix­ture spe­cial­ly pro­cured from a cer­tain Doc­tor Chip­per­coyne, ex­pert in East­ern drugs.

In the end Jasper per­ish­es from an over­dose of this prepa­ra­tion, and thus es­capes the more ig­no­min­ious doom de­signed for him by his au­thor, ac­cord­ing to the bi­og­ra­phy.

The be­trothal ring, con­cern­ing which so much is dis­closed by both Dick­ens and Forster, scarce­ly en­ters into the cal­cu­la­tions of the writ­ers of "John Jasper's Se­cret."

In the re­cess­es of Mas­sachusetts, there lurked, in the early days fol­low­ing Dick­ens's demise, an as­pir­ing ge­nius of name ob­scure, who was blessed with vi­sions from the Bor­der­land. Spe­cial­ly se­lect­ed by the shade of Boz, for some oc­cult rea­son, he was im­pelled to di­vulge to the world the only true and au­then­tic so­lu­tion of the Mys­tery of Edwin Drood.

Stormy weath­er in­ter­fered strange­ly with the progress of this dis­clo­sure, but, under more favourable meteoro­logical cir­cum­stances, he wrote folio after folio of mat­ter as it was dic­tat­ed by the au­thor, throw­ing his slips to the floor, there to lie until he, awak­en­ing from his sub­conscious con­di­tion, was suf­fi­cient­ly in touch with law and order to sort them out.

In this man­ner was the mys­tery au­then­ti­cal­ly solved; in this man­ner, too, was the world in­formed that the suc­ceed­ing dic­ta­tion should in­au­gu­rate a new work, to be called "The Life and Ad­ven­tures of Bock­ley Nick­el- heep." The world, how­ev­er, is still wait­ing for this fur­ther ef­fort of ge­nius, and for the pre­sent must be con­tent with the so­lu­tion, which has been pub­lished under title as fol­lows:

"The Mys­tery of Edwin Drood. Part the Sec­ond. 
By the Spir­it Pen of Charles Dick­ens, through a medi­um: 
em­brac­ing also that part of the work which was pub­lished prior to the ter­mi­na­tion of the Au­thor's Earth-Life."

The en­ter­pris­ing Amer­i­cans who launched this fan­tas­tic ef­fort upon a con­fid­ing pub­lic call at­ten­tion to the style of the writ­ing, which, they say, is En­glish and not Amer­i­can. If this state­ment be true, speak­ing gen­er­al­ly, we must as­sume that on one or two oc­ca­sions the au­thor mo­men­tar­i­ly lost touch with his amanu­en­sis, for to re­mark that "coals were not plen­ty in that neigh­bour­hood," and that "Mr. Peck­craft spends the in­ter­ven­ing time at his store in Chancery Lane" is to con­vey an im­pres­sion that the vaunt­ed En­glish style has been more or less Amer­i­can­ised in trans­mis­sion.

Hu­mour is a qual­i­ty com­par­a­tive­ly lack­ing in "Edwin Drood," but that does not ap­pear to be the rea­son why Mr. Or­pheus C. Kerr per­pe­trat­ed " The Mys­tery of Mr. E. Drood," an adap­ta­tion of the Dick­ens novel to the sur­round­ings and char­ac­ter­is­tic of Amer­i­can life. The last work — par­tic­u­lar­ly the un­fin­ished work — of a great writ­er must ever be in­vest­ed with a pathos which is rude­ly dis­turbed by the in­tru­sion of the jester; but, this ob­jec­tion over­looked, Or­pheus C. Kerr — or, more cor­rect­ly speak­ing, Mr. R. H. Newell, — has done very well with his comic para­phrase, the bois­ter­ous hu­mour of which can­not be de­nied.

Jasper, the opium slave, is trans­formed into John Bum­stead, the bibu­lous or­gan­ist of St. Cows, in Bum­steadville, and the key-note of the sug­gest­ed so­lu­tion of the Mys­tery (for the book is also a con­tin­u­a­tion of a kind) is to be found in a very sug­ges­tive para­graph of the third chap­ter of " Edwin Drood," where Dick­ens, in ref­er­ence to the dual na­ture of human con­scious­ness, makes use of the fol­low­ing il­lus­tra­tion: —

"Thus, if I hide my watch when I am drunk, I must be drunk again be­fore I can re­mem­ber where."

Sim­i­lar­ly, when in a more than usu­al­ly help­less con­di­tion of ine­bri­ety, Mr. Bum­stead is sup­posed to have hid­den his nephew some­where, along with a still more high­ly val­ued um­brel­la, it be­comes the in­spi­ra­tion of Mr. Tracey Clews — the comic rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Datch­ery — to ob­serve nar­row­ly the vic­tim of ag­gra­vat­ed al­co­holism when the same de­gree of in­tox­i­ca­tion is again reached, and thus to dis­cov­er the re­treat to which the miss­ing rel­a­tive has been re­moved.

Through­out this ex­trav­a­gant work the par­al­lel with the orig­i­nal is main­tained with con­sid­er­able skill, and many of the sit­u­a­tions of Edwin Drood are dis­tort­ed in a man­ner provoca­tive of much harm­less mirth.

The ex­traor­di­nary scene be­tween Mr. Grew­gious and Jasper, after Drood has van­ished, is bur­lesqued like all the rest, and opens thus : —

"This is a strange dis­ap­pear­ance," said Mr. Dib­ble. And it was as good as new," groaned the or­gan­ist, with but one eye open.

"Al­most new! — what was?"

"Th' um­brel­la." ....

"Such an open, spring-like char­ac­ter," apos­trophised the lawyer.

"Al­ways open when it rained, and clos­ing with a spring," said Mr. Bum­stead, in soft ab­strac­tion lost.

The cover il­lus­tra­tion of the spec­tral fig­ure ap­pear­ing to Jasper was no doubt in the adapter's mind when he caused Edwin Drood to star­tle Mr. Bum­stead, as that gen­tle­man groped in a cel­lar for his lost prop­er­ty.

There ad­vanced from a far cor­ner — O woe­ful man! O thrice un­hap­py uncle! — the spec­tral fig­ure of the miss­ing Edwin Drood.

After a mo­ment's in­spec­tion of the ap­pari­tion, which paused ter­ri­bly be­fore him with hand hid­den in breast, Mr. Bum­stead placed his lantern upon a step of the lad­der, drew and pro­found­ly labi­at­ed his an­tique black bot­tle, star­ing stoni­ly the while, and thus ad­dressed the youth­ful shade:

"Where's th' um­brel­la?"

The fore­go­ing at­tempts, on the part of Amer­i­can writ­ers, do not com­plete the list of so-called so­lu­tions of the Mys­tery which has be­come his­tor­i­cal. On this side of the At­lantic the sub­ject has given rise to much wild specula­tion and keen an­a­lyt­i­cal en­quiry.

A lady, not un­known in North of Eng­land lit­er­ary cir­cles, adopt­ing the pseudonym of Gillan Yase, es­sayed a con­tin­u­a­tion under the em­phat­ic title of "A Great Mys­tery Solved," a work com­menced in a small way for very lim­it­ed and pri­vate cir­cu­la­tion, but even­tu­al­ly urged for­ward by grow­ing en­thu­si­asm until it as­sumed consider­able di­men­sions, and was of­fered to the pub­lic at large. This ef­fort met with much mal­treat­ment at the hands of crit­ics, and is now traced with dif­fi­cul­ty, but it re­mains as prob­a­bly the only ex­am­ple of an En­glish so­lu­tion in the fic­tion­al style.

An anony­mous con­trib­u­tor to the " Corn­hill Mag­a­zine " in the year 1884 pre­sent­ed a so­lu­tion, which at least has the merit of sim­plic­i­ty. In adopt­ing the state­ment now fa­mil­iarised to read­ers of Forster's bi­og­ra­phy the writ­er of the ar­ti­cle con­sid­ered that all dif­fi­cul­ty was ob­vi­at­ed. He ad­mit­ted no mys­tery be­yond the dis­ap­pear­ance of Drood, and that is cleared up by the sug­ges­tion of the be­trothal ring whose stones with­stand the ac­tion of the dead­ly lime. Datch­ery did not trou­ble him at all; that strange per­son­age, bur­row­ing about in a pal­pa­ble dis­guise, he dis­miss­es as a de­tec­tive em­ployed by Grew­gious to track down Jasper, a crea­ture quite unim­por­tant in the mat­ter of con­cealed iden­ti­ty, and a fig­ure which, if the as­sump­tion be cred­it­ed, shows Dick­ens as one of the poor­est of artists in a work which is oth­er­wise rich in ev­i­dence of power.

Deep­er in­sight was shown by the writ­er who signed him­self "Thomas Fos­ter" in the pages of the Bel­gravia Mag­a­zine in 1878, and who as­sert­ed not only that Drood was not dead, but that he had ac­tu­al­ly been be­fore the read­er again, and was in fact the same Mr. Datch­ery in­tent upon a scheme of vengeance. This startling sug­ges­tion was sup­port­ed in the ar­ti­cle re­ferred to by a se­ries of very able ar­gu­ments and a keen anal­y­sis of cer­tain parts of Dick­ens's work was pre­sent­ed in fur­ther proof.

Five or six years later, the sub­ject was re­sumed in the pages of the sci­en­tif­ic pe­ri­od­i­cal Knowl­edge^ the same sig­na­ture ap­pear­ing, though it af­ter­wards tran­spired that the au­thor was, in re­al­i­ty, Mr. Richard Proc­tor, the well- known es­say­ist on pop­u­lar as­tron­o­my, and ed­i­tor of the mag­a­zine named. The sub­stance of all these ar­ti­cles, with ad­di­tions, formed, at a still later date, a small vol­ume called "Watched by the Dead," a sen­sa­tion­al in­trud­er among the more se­vere pro­duc­tions of the same pen.

The first point of value to be noted in this work has ref­er­ence to Jasper's ex­am­i­na­tion of the keys shown to him by Dur­dles at Mr. Sapsea's. " Take care o' the wards Mr. Jasper," cries the stone-ma­son, as the keys are clinked to­geth­er; but Jasper is using his mu­si­cal ear in order that he may dis­tin­guish one par­tic­u­lar key in the dark.

Deputy's ap­par­ent­ly mean­ing­less jar­gon " I ketch­es 'im out arter ten," shows that it is Dur­dles' habit to stay out late, and that some­thing im­por­tant will arise out of the habit.

The as­tro­nom­i­cal writ­er is in his el­e­ment when he in­fers, from a moon­light ex­cur­sion and an over­heard re­mark, that Jasper had care­ful­ly laid his plans so that the crime should take place on a night when there was no moon. The tem­pest of that fatal Christ­mas eve favoured the schemer, but could not have been fore­seen by him.

So keen an an­a­lyst does not omit to take note of Jasper's cu­ri­ous re­cep­tion of Dur­dles' story about the strange cries of the pre­vi­ous Christ­mas; nor of the same dark vil­lain's ob­ser­va­tion of his com­pan­ion as the drugged spir­it takes ef­fect, nor of his fury when, as the two emerge from the cathe­dral, they find Deputy in wait­ing, wit­ness of the fact that Jasper's re­cent mys­te­ri­ous move­ments have by no means been con­fined to the in­te­ri­or of the ed­i­fice.

At­ten­tion is called by the the­o­rist to the very sig­nif­i­cant head­ing to the four­teenth chap­ter of the novel: —

"When shall these three meet again?"

This is a point of great im­por­tance and one which lends much force to the case for Drood's re-ap­pear­ance. It does not, of course, fol­low, log­i­cal­ly, that the three are to meet again, but such a method of fore­shad­ow­ing an in­ten­tion would not be far out of Dick­ens's usual man­ner.

The be­lief of the so­lu­tion­ist is sup­port­ed by other ev­i­dence which he does not for­get to ad­duce. The touch of the nov­el­ist on Edwin, he as­serts, is of too light a char­ac­ter to mark him for lost. The plot of the story sug­gests trou­ble for the youth, but he is not to die.

The de­meanour of Grew­gious after the dis­ap­pear­ance, is one of the strongest props of the the­o­ry ad­vanced. Re­mem­ber­ing the an­gu­lar old man's nat­u­ral­ly gen­tle dis­po­si­tion, and the enor­mous value, in his eyes, of the ring given to Drood, it is strange in­deed that the lawyer is not heard of for near­ly three days after the fate­ful din­ner at the gate-house; stranger still that he makes his first ap­pear­ance be­fore Jasper with an abrupt and even cruel man­ner to­wards the strick­en man; strangest of all that he speaks, not of the ring, not of the dis­ap­pear­ance, but of the dis­solved be­trothal, a mat­ter of small mo­ment it would seem in face of the sup­posed catas­tro­phe, but ev­i­dent­ly the most startling news, in the opin­ion of Mr. Grew­gious, which can be im­part­ed to Jasper. Rosa's guardian, it is ar­gued, must be more than sus­pi­cious. He is cer­tain of Jasper's guilt, and can only have heard the truth from Edwin Drood him­self.

The sug­gest­ed iden­ti­ty of Drood and Datch­ery is drawn from a va­ri­ety of sources, no­tably from a com­par­i­son of cer­tain pas­sages in the book re­lat­ing to Drood's last mo­ments on the scene, with the de­scrip­tion of Datch­ery's man­ner in the in­ter­view with the opium woman. The solver also re­lies to a great ex­tent upon Dick­ens's par­tial­i­ty for a cer­tain dra­mat­ic sit­u­a­tion, name­ly, the ex­is­tence of dan­ger in a to­tal­ly un­ex­pect­ed and in most cases de­spised quar­ter, and he cites in­stances from " Barn­a­by Rudge," " Nick­le­by," " Chuz­zle­wit," " Hunt­ed Down," and 'other works. "We are not to won­der, he says, that the cul­mi­nat­ing hor­ror re­ferred to in the last scene of Jonas Chuz­zle­wit — a dead man ris­ing from the tomb to con­front the vil­lain — was to be ac­tu­al­ly wrought into the plot of " Edwin Drood."

So soon as the in­jured young man and Mr. Grew­gious knew that Jasper's ob­ject in re­mov­ing Drood's jew­ellery after the sup­posed mur­der was to avoid leav­ing ev­i­dence in the tomb, their power to in­flict a ter­ri­ble pun­ish­ment was man­i­fest. Mr. Grew­gious would sup­ple­ment his startling dis­clo­sure by con­fid­ing to the wretched crim­i­nal the se­cret of the ring. Hor­ri­fied to find that he had after all his care left a fatal wit­ness in the tomb, Jasper feels his sense of se­cu­ri­ty shak­en. He dreads, but is com­pelled to take the only course. He is forced to the tomb it­self, there to grope in ter­ror for the damn­ing ev­i­dence. Al­most over­come, he opens the door of the tomb and rais­es his lantern on high, re­coil­ing in an agony of hor­ror when he sees what he sup­pos­es to be the wraith of his vic­tim. With a shriek of fear he turns and flies. As he rush­es forth he is faced by two men, and to es­cape them climbs up the wind­ing stair­case of the Cathe­dral tower. Seized by Land­less at the top, he turns and strug­gles fierce­ly with him. Neville re­ceives his death-wound, and Jasper is cast into prison, know­ing that while he sup­posed him­self safe, every move­ment had been watched by the one he had thought dead and en­tire­ly de­stroyed.

This ter­mi­na­tion is, with­out doubt, the most sen­sa­tion­al ever de­vised for the com­ple­tion of the Mys­tery of Edwin Drood. We are, in fact, dis­posed to think it too sen­sa­tion­al to be an ap­prox­i­mate guess at Dick­ens's plan, notwithstand­ing the in­ex­pli­ca­ble cov­er-il­lus­tra­tions, for we can­not ig­nore the fact that this cul­mi­nat­ing hor­ror is the cli­max to a di­a­bol­i­cal scheme of vengeance, apart from re­tri­bu­tion, car­ried out by the sim­ple-mind­ed Edwin, and the chival­rous old lawyer of Sta­ple Inn; and if we could think that such a mo­tive were in­deed the " new idea " spo­ken of by Dick­ens as difficult to work," we should be con­strained to wish that it had never been con­ceived by the au­thor of that story of the sol­dier who "se­cret­ly for­gave his enemy in the name of the Di­vine For­giv­er of In­juries."