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The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Devoted
WHEN John Jasper recovered from his fit or swoon, he found himself being tended by
Mr. and Mrs. Tope, whom his visitor had summoned for the purpose. His visitor, wooden
of aspect, sat stiffly in a chair, with his hands upon his knees, watching his recovery.
'There! You've come to nicely now, sir,' said the tearful Mrs. Tope; 'you were thoroughly
worn out, and no wonder!'
'A man,' said Mr. Grewgious, with his usual air of repeating a lesson, 'cannot have his rest
broken, and his mind cruelly tormented, and his body overtaxed by fatigue, without being
thoroughly worn out.'
'I fear I have alarmed you?' Jasper apologised faintly, when he was helped into his easy-
chair.
'Not at all, I thank you,' answered Mr. Grewgious.
'You are too considerate.'
'Not at all, I thank you,' answered Mr. Grewgious again.
'You must take some wine, sir,' said Mrs. Tope, 'and the jelly that I had ready for you,
and that you wouldn't put your lips to at noon, though I warned you what would come of
it, you know, and you not breakfasted; and you must have a wing of the roast fowl that
has been put back twenty times if it's been put back once. It shall all be on table in five
minutes, and this good gentleman belike will stop and see you take it.'
This good gentleman replied with a snort, which might mean yes, or no, or anything or
nothing, and which Mrs. Tope would have found highly mystifying, but that her attention
was divided by the service of the table.
'You will take something with me?' said Jasper, as the cloth was laid.
'I couldn't get a morsel down my throat, I thank you,' answered Mr. Grewgious.
Jasper both ate and drank almost voraciously. Combined with the hurry in his mode of
doing it, was an evident indifference to the taste of what he took, suggesting that he ate
and drank to fortify himself against any other failure of the spirits, far more than to
gratify his palate. Mr. Grewgious in the meantime sat upright, with no expression in his
face, and a hard kind of imperturbably polite protest all over him: as though he would
have said, in reply to some invitation to discourse; 'I couldn't originate the faintest
approach to an observation on any subject whatever, I thank you.'
 
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