The Mystery of Edwin Drood HTML version
The Dawn Again
ALTHOUGH Mr. Crisparkle and John Jasper met daily under the Cathedral roof, nothing
at any time passed between them having reference to Edwin Drood, after the time, more
than half a year gone by, when Jasper mutely showed the Minor Canon the conclusion
and the resolution entered in his Diary. It is not likely that they ever met, though so often,
without the thoughts of each reverting to the subject. It is not likely that they ever met,
though so often, without a sensation on the part of each that the other was a perplexing
secret to him. Jasper as the denouncer and pursuer of Neville Landless, and Mr.
Crisparkle as his consistent advocate and protector, must at least have stood sufficiently
in opposition to have speculated with keen interest on the steadiness and next direction of
the other's designs. But neither ever broached the theme.
False pretence not being in the Minor Canon's nature, he doubtless displayed openly that
he would at any time have revived the subject, and even desired to discuss it. The
determined reticence of Jasper, however, was not to be so approached. Impassive,
moody, solitary, resolute, so concentrated on one idea, and on its attendant fixed purpose,
that he would share it with no fellow- creature, he lived apart from human life.
Constantly exercising an Art which brought him into mechanical harmony with others,
and which could not have been pursued unless he and they had been in the nicest
mechanical relations and unison, it is curious to consider that the spirit of the man was in
moral accordance or interchange with nothing around him. This indeed he had confided
to his lost nephew, before the occasion for his present inflexibility arose.
That he must know of Rosa's abrupt departure, and that he must divine its cause, was not
to be doubted. Did he suppose that he had terrified her into silence? or did he suppose
that she had imparted to any one - to Mr. Crisparkle himself, for instance - the particulars
of his last interview with her? Mr. Crisparkle could not determine this in his mind. He
could not but admit, however, as a just man, that it was not, of itself, a crime to fall in
love with Rosa, any more than it was a crime to offer to set love above revenge.
The dreadful suspicion of Jasper, which Rosa was so shocked to have received into her
imagination, appeared to have no harbour in Mr. Crisparkle's. If it ever haunted Helena's
thoughts or Neville's, neither gave it one spoken word of utterance. Mr. Grewgious took
no pains to conceal his implacable dislike of Jasper, yet he never referred it, however
distantly, to such a source. But he was a reticent as well as an eccentric man; and he made
no mention of a certain evening when he warmed his hands at the gatehouse fire, and
looked steadily down upon a certain heap of torn and miry clothes upon the floor.
Drowsy Cloisterham, whenever it awoke to a passing reconsideration of a story above six
months old and dismissed by the bench of magistrates, was pretty equally divided in
opinion whether John Jasper's beloved nephew had been killed by his treacherously
passionate rival, or in an open struggle; or had, for his own purposes, spirited himself
away. It then lifted up its head, to notice that the bereaved Jasper was still ever devoted to