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Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

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The Mystery of Edwin Drood


The mystery begins with the disappearance of the young architect Edwin Drood after a night of festivity, which was supposed to celebrate his reconciliation with a temporary enemy, Neville Landless. The celebration was held at the house of his uncle John Jasper and I find that the origin of doubt on the subject of the abrupt disappearance or murder of Edwin Drood to be indeed that of murder. After the examination of the vast array of characters in the story, the elimination of suspects dwindled down to two. The characters in alphabetical order are 1) Mr. Bazzard, Grewgious’s clerk (Dickens Ch11, Page115) can be ruled out as a suspect. ) Mrs. Billickin, Landlady resident in Southampton Street, Bloombury Square; she rents rooms to Rosa Bud (Dickens Ch. , page4) also ruled out as a suspect; ) Miss Rosa Bud, orphan and pupil at Miss Twinkleton’s boarding school, engaged to Edwin Drood from childhood. They break off their engagement (Dickens Ch.1, page 146), and she can be ruled out as a suspect; 4) Rev. Septimus Crisparkle, One of the minor cannons at Cloisterham Cathedral, a bachelor who lives with his mother at Minor Cannon Corner, and a tutor to Neville Landless (Dickens Ch. 6. page 58), can also be ruled out as a suspect; 5) Mr. Dick Datchery, a mysterious man with an unusually thick mane of white hair and black eyebrows, who suddenly appears in Cloisterham. (Dickens Ch.18, page 0) can be ruled out as a suspect. Could be Mr. Bazzard in disguise gathering information for Mr.Grewgious? 6) Deputy known as “Winks” a street urchin employed by Mr. Durdles to throw stones at him if he is out late (Dickens Ch. 5, page46) can be ruled out as a suspect. 7) Mr. Edwin Drood, the orphan nephew of John Jasper, engaged from childhood to Rosa Budd quarrels with Neville Landless at his uncles house, and disappears (Dickens Ch.1, page158) creating the victim.8) Mr. Durdles, a stonemason, who likes to drink and is often seemingly drunk. He is familiar with the cathedral crypt and also possess’ the keys. (Dickens Ch.5, page 46) Evidence points to the fact that he is to be used by John Jasper in disposing of Edwin Drood’s body without him having any knowledge of this exploit. This would rule him out as a suspect, or unknowing accomplice.) Mr. Hiram Grewgious, ‘Receiver and Agent to two wealthy estates’ (Dickens Ch. 1, page117), guardian to Miss Rosa Budd, can be ruled out as a suspect 10) Mr. Luke Honeythunder, guardian to Helena and Neville Landless can also be ruled out as a suspect. 11) Mr. John Jasper, A music teacher, chorister and in charge of the cathedral music. He is the uncle of Edwin Drood, who calls him Jack. ‘ ‘ Mr. Jasper is a dark man of some six-and twenty; with thick, lustrous, well-arranged black hair and whisker. He looks older than he is, as dark men often do. His voice is deep and good, his face and figure are good, his manner is a little sombre. His room is a little sombre, and may have had its influence in forming his manner. It is mostly in shadow.’ ’(Dickens Ch. page 14) the person who has murdered Edwin Drood. 1) Miss Helena Landless, orphan, ward of Mr. Honeythunder. Raised in Ceylon by her stepfather, twin to Neville. ‘ ‘ An unusually handsome lithe young fellow, and an unusually handsome lithe girl; much alike; both very dark, and very rich in color; 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’ ’ (Dickens Ch.6 page 58) can be ruled out as a suspect. 1) ‘Puffer an old woman who keeps an opium den in London Dickens Ch 1 page 8); she appears in Cloisterham (Dickens Ch. 14 page 160-16) John Jasper see her again when he visits the opium den in London. (Dickens Ch. page 56-64) also ruled out as a suspect by suspects John Jasper of committing a heinous act.14) Mr. Thomas Sapsea ‘ ‘Accepting the jackass as the type of self-sufficient stupidity and conceit �a custom, perhaps, like some few others customs, more conventional than fair- then the purest of Jackass in Cloisterham is Mt. Thomas Sapsea, Auctioneer.’’ (Dickens Ch. 4 page 5) Becomes mayor of Cloisterham (Dickens Ch. 1 page 16). Also ruled out as a suspect. 15) Mr. Tartar. Who appears in (Dickens Ch.17, page 1) introduces himself to Neville Landless as a neighbor and in (Dickens Ch.1 page) meets up with his “My old master!” said Mr. Tartar ruled out as a suspect.


The mystery is not the disappearance of Edwin Drood, but lies with in the reasons as to whom and how this was accomplished. John Jaspers’ dual consciousness make it possible for him to thrive as a respectable choirmaster in Cloisterham by day and yet indulge in his illicit passions among the opium dens of London by night. His expressions of an inordinate affection for his nephew “Get off your greatcoat, bright boy, and sit down here in your own corner. Your feet are not wet? Pull your boots off. Do pull your boots off.” (Dickens Ch, page15). The trail of evidence that leads to the proof that Jasper is guilty can be found from the first chapter where impressions are formed and woven through out the remaining chapters. In “The Dawn” (Dickens Ch 1) John Jasper if found in an opium den. “Shaking from head to foot, the man whose scattered consciousness has thus fantastically pieced itself together, at length rises, supports his trembling frame upon his arms, and looks around.” (Dickens Ch. 1 page 7) Jasper listens attentively to the mutterings of the Chinaman, Lasar and the woman. “ He bends down his ear, to listen to her mutterings. ‘Unintelligible’ “ Then he comes back, pounces on the Chinaman, and, seizing him with both hands by the throat, turns him violently on the bed. The Chinaman clutched the aggressive hands, resists, grasps, and protests. ‘ What do you say?’ A watchful pause. ‘Unintelligible!’ (Dickens Ch1 page10) When his turns his attention to the last occupant in the opium den Lasar this man “draws a phantom knife” the woman restrains him and the both wind up side by side on the bed. “ There has been chattering and clattering enough between them, but to no purpose. When any distinct word has been flung into the air, it has had no sense or sequence. Wherefore ‘unintelligible!’ is again the comment of the watcher, made with some reassured nodding of his head, and a gloomy smile.” (Dickens Ch.1 page 10). John Jasper interest in the mutterings was self-serving seen from his reassured nodding and that gloomy smile as he leaves. The reader can see Japers’ obsession with Rosa from his reactions towards his nephew when the conversation is focused on Rosa. The strange way in which he concentrates on the portrait of Rosa sketched by Edwin and is hung over the fireplace. When Edwin comments “ once more apostrophizing the portrait, ‘I’ll burn your comic likeness and paint your music-master another.” Mr. Jasper, with his hand to his chin, and with an expression of musing benevolence on his face, has attentively watched every animated look and gesture attending the delivery of these words. He remains in that attitude after they are spoken, as if in asking if fascination attendant on his strong interest in the youthful spirit that he loves so well. Then, he says with a quiet smile ‘You won’t be warned, then? ‘No Jack.” “You can’t be warned, then?’ ‘No Jack, not by you. Besides that I don’t really consider myself in danger, I don’t like your putting yourself in that position. ‘ Shall we go and walk in the churchyard?”(Dickens Ch. pages 1-.) Why does Jasper feel that he has to warn Edwin of danger without stating what the danger is? It was Jaspers’ dual conscious warning Edwin that he was the danger he was the threat. Another piece of evidence is the eccentric acquaintance between Durdles and Jasper bizarre allure of Durdles keys. There is also his fascination with Mr. Sapea the underlying reason that has Jasper so interested in these men. “Mrs. Sapeas’s monument having had full time to settle and dry, let me take your opinion, as a man of taste, on the inscription I have (as before remarked, not without some little fever of the brow) drawn out for it.” It is here that Jasper acquires the knowledge of where there is empty tomb. (Dickens Ch.4 page40) “ Why, Durdles! Exclaims Jasper, looking on amused. ‘You are undermined with pockets!” ‘And I carries weight in’ em too, Mr. Jasper. Feel those;’ producing two other large keys. ‘ Hand me Mr. Sapea’s likewise. Surely this is the heaviest of the three.” (Dickens Ch.4 page 4).


In the conversation between Rosa and Helena yet another reason towards motives that Japer posses is jealousy. “ You know that he loves you? My child! You speak as if he had threatened you in some dark way. What has he done? He has made a slave of me with his looks. He has forced me to understand him, without his saying a word; and he has forced me to keep silence, without his uttering a threat. When I sing, he never moves his eyes from my lips. When he corrects me, and strikes a note, or a chord, or plays a passage, he himself is in the sounds, whispering that he pursues me as a lover, and commanding me to keep his secret. I avoid his eyes, but he forces me to see them without looking at them. Even when a glaze comes over them (which is sometimes the case), and he seems to wander awa7 into a frightful sort of dream in which he threatens most, he obliges me to know it, and to know that he is sitting close at my side, more terrible to me then than ever. What is this imagined threatening, pretty one? What is threatened? I don’t know. I have never even dared to think or wonder what it is?” (Dickens Ch.7 pages 70-71) Jasper who has evidently overheard the quarrel between Neville and Edwin pretends to play the part of diplomat inviting both men to his gatehouse. This is not a sign of altruism for this sinister man skillful directs the conversation to the reason it had ensued. This is not enough for Jasper; he stirs the embers of this fiery conversation by drugging the wine and looking back and forth between Neville and Edwin. “His speech has become thick and indistinct. Jasper, quiet and self-possessed, looks to Neville, as expecting his answer or comment. When Neville speaks, his speech is also thick and indistinct. Mr. Jasper’s play of eyes between the two holds good throughout the dialogue, to the end.” (Dickens Ch.8 page 78).


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Jasper thinking ahead, what advantages can be gained from the ill will felt between Edwin and Neville wastes no time and informs Mr. Crispsparkle of what had taken place that very night. Just in case Mr. Crispsparkle did not tell anyone about the animosity Neville had towards Edwin the next day he informs Mr. Crispsparkle’s mother. Realizing that the news would soon spread throughout the small town. Jasper’s realized that the marriage of Rosa and Edwin was inevitable when Mr.Grewgeious spoke to Jasper saying that Rosa hinted not to be released from her betrothal to Edwin. What he notices was the whiteness in Jasper’s lips when he asked about Rosa. Although he thought the weather the reason Jasper became conscious of it. “and bit and moistened them while speaking” (Dickens Ch. page 5). The strange remark by Jasper when they depart is another hints of the inner most thoughts of Jasper. “ God bless them both! God save the both! Cried Jasper. I said bless them, remarked the former, looking back over his shoulder. I said, save them, returned the latter. Is there any difference?” (Dickens Ch. page6).


When Mr. Crisparkle went to visit Jasper and received no answer to his knock on the door, he went upstairs and found Jasper asleep on the couch. Later he would remember “how Jasper sprang from the couch in a delirious state between sleeping and waking cry out ‘What is the matter? ‘Who did it?’” (Dickens Ch.10 page 10). Mr. Crisparkle explained that he was there to ask Jasper a favor in truing to help him establish peace between Edwin and Neville. “ Jasper turned that perplexed face towards the fire. Mr. Crisparkle continuing to observe it, found it even more perplexing than before, inasmuch as it seems to denote (which could hardly be) some close internal calculation.” (Dickens Ch. 10 page 110).


Rosa’s engagement ring is given to Edwin by Mr.Grewgious with the understanding that if they decide not to go forward with their engagement it will be returned. Edwin places the ring in his breast pocket. The only people that know this ring is in his possession are Mr.Grewgious and Edwin. This is an important clue, for only the watch, chain and shirt pin are found at the weir. Jasper was not aware that Edwin had this ring on him when he was murdered so therefore did not remove it.


When Jasper spends “A night with Durdles” (Dickens Ch.1) the first thing of importance we notice is when they pass a mound by the yard gate and Durdles warns him to be careful of it. Jasper inquires, “ I see it. What is it? Lime! What you call quick lime? Aye say Durdles quick enough to eat your boots with a little handy stirring, quick enough to eat your bones”(Dickens Ch.1 page 1). It is here where they here the sound of a closing house door and see Mr. Crisparkle with Neville. “Jasper, with a strange and sudden smile upon his face, lays the palm of his hand upon the breast of Durdles, stopping him where he stands.” (Dickens Ch.1 page 1). Jasper did not want any witnesses seeing him and Durdles together. How rewarding for the sinister Jasper to see the man whom he plans to entrap for the murder of his nephew when he is in the midst of setting up how to dispose of the body of his nephew. After they go down into the crypt Durdles feels the effects of the wine that Jasper has brought, he sits down and falls asleep instantly. The fact that Durdles sleeps for such along time leaves no doubt that Jasper has tampered with the wine in order to make a copy of the key that he needs . “As Durdles recalls that touching something in his dream, he looks down on the pavement, and see the key of the crypt door lying close to where he himself lay. I dropped you, did I? He says, picking it up, and recalling that part of his dream. As he gathers himself again into an upright position, or into a position as nearly upright as he ever maintains, he is again conscious of being watched by his companion.” (Dickens Ch.1 page 1).


When Jasper sees the kiss exchanged by Edwin and Rosa he has no way of knowing that they had mutually ended their engagement and this was a good-bye kiss. The train that Jasper had been ridding on, destination the death of Edwin Drood now accelerated to full speed.


Edwin and Neville had no idea of the impact of what each had done during the day that lead up to the eventful Christmas Eve. Neville puts his room in order burning stray papers, prepares for his planned walking excursion and purchases a heavy walking stick. Edwin goes to the jeweler to have his watch set and the jeweler informs him that his uncle was in remarking that he knew all the jewelry worn by his nephew. Edwin also has a conversation with the old opium woman who ironically has been searching for his uncle. She asks for money and says she will tell him something in exchange. After asking him his name she says “ You be thankful that your name ain’t Ned. He looks at her, quite steadily, as he asks ‘Why?’ Because it’s a bad name to have just now. How a bad name? A threatened name. A dangerous name. The proverb says that threatened men live long, he tells her, lightly. Then Ned- so threatened is he, wherever he may be while I am a talking to you, deary- should live to all eternity! Replies the woman,” And he goes up the postern stair.” (Dickens Ch.14 pages 161-16) Jasper has a definite purpose to how his day is spent. Calls on Mr.Sapsea to inform him of his dinner party including the three who will be there. This lays the foundation to further prejudice him against Neville. With each shopkeeper that he has dealt with he makes a point of his abounding love and affection for his nephew. What I feel to be the instrument used to murder Edwin is the large black scarf of strong close woven silk that he pull off and hangs it in a loop on his arm. “For that brief time, his face is knitted and stern. But it immediately clears, as he resumes his singing, and his way. And he goes up the postern stair.”(Dickens Ch.14 page165) It seems that both Edwin and Jasper go up the postern stair! One can view this as another reason or another clue!


The next day Edwin has disappeared. Neville who had left on his walking excursion is unaware till his is brought back as a suspect. Neville explains that both he and Edwin went down to the river to watch the storm after about 10 minutes they walked back to town. Edwin said good-bye at Mr.Crisparkle’s door and said that he was going straight back to his uncles gatehouse. It is here where Jasper reaps the rewards gained from his friendship with Mr.Sapsea. Mr.Sapsea is easily manipulated by Jasper and unconsciously assists him.


When Mr. Grewgious informs Mr. Jasper that Rosa and Edwin decided that they would be happier as brother and sister rather than husband and wife Jasper breaks down. “Mr. Grewgious saw the ghastly figure throw back its head, clutch its hair with its hands, and turn with a writhing action from him. Mr. Grewgious heard a terrible shriek, and saw no ghastly figure, sitting or standing; saw nothing but a heap of torn and miry clothes upon the floor.” (Dickens Ch.15 page 176) After hearing this news Jasper starts a new theory that he share with Mr. Grewgious and Mr. Crisparkle that no quarrel took place between Edwin and Neville in his house on Christmas Eve and Edwin may have gone away so he would be spared of the pain of awkward questions and explanations. This theory holds until, as Jasper knew that Edwin watch, chain and shirt pin would be found at the weir. Everything now points to the fact that Edwin has been murdered.


I found an overwhelming amount of evidence that substantiate the guilt of John Jasper as the person who killed Edwin Drood. This is a crime of voluntarism John Jasper was an evil man who used his own free will to commit this crime. He possessed both actus reus the taking of Edwin Drood’s life and the mens rea the state of mind when he did this. Even when he was under the influence of opium he still exhibited the capability to know the difference between right and wrong. This is seen in the first chapter were he listens to the mutterings of the Chinaman,Lascar and the woman in the London opium den. He wants to make sure that no one understands what he might be saying while under the influence of opium. Jasper is aware that he has killed his nephew over and over while under the influence of opium. This is why he when he returns to the opium den in the last chapter of the book he makes the statement to the woman that it was pleasant to do! He is disappointed that doing it so many times in his head that when he really did it, it seemed not worth doing for it was over so soon. John Jasper committed pre-mediated murder. The clues that are found throughout the book prove that this man was a cold calculated killer who would not be satisfied until his nephew was dead. He intimidated those who he could and use those who allowed him to.





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