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Charles Dickens > The Mystery of Edwin Drood > Chapter XXIII

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Chapter XXIII


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

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 discovery
and revenge; and then dozed off again. This was the condition of
matters, all round, at the period to which the present history has
now attained.

The Cathedral doors have closed for the night; and the Choir-
master, on a short leave of absence for two or three services, sets
his face towards London. He travels thither by the means by which
Rosa travelled, and arrives, as Rosa arrived, on a hot, dusty

His travelling baggage is easily carried in his hand, and he
repairs with it on foot, to a hybrid hotel in a little square
behind Aldersgate Street, near the General Post Office. It is
hotel, boarding-house, or lodging-house, at its visitor's option.
It announces itself, in the new Railway Advertisers, as a novel
enterprise, timidly beginning to spring up. It bashfully, almost
apologetically, gives the traveller to understand that it does not
expect him, on the good old constitutional hotel plan, to order a
pint of sweet blacking for his drinking, and throw it away; but
insinuates that he may have his boots blacked instead of his
stomach, and maybe also have bed, breakfast, attendance, and a
porter up all night, for a certain fixed charge. From these and
similar premises, many true Britons in the lowest spirits deduce
that the times are levelling times, except in the article of high
roads, of which there will shortly be not one in England.

He eats without appetite, and soon goes forth again. Eastward and
still eastward through the stale streets he takes his way, until he
reaches his destination: a miserable court, specially miserable
among many such.

He ascends a broken staircase, opens a door, looks into a dark
stifling room, and says: 'Are you alone here?'

'Alone, deary; worse luck for me, and better for you,' replies a
croaking voice. 'Come in, come in, whoever you be: I can't see
you till I light a match, yet I seem to know the sound of your
speaking. I'm acquainted with you, ain't I?'

'Light your match, and try.'

'So I will, deary, so I will; but my hand that shakes, as I can't
lay it on a match all in a moment. And I cough so, that, put my
matches where I may, I never find 'em there. They jump and start,
as I cough and cough, like live things. Are you off a voyage,


'Not seafaring?'


'Well, there's land customers, and there's water customers. I'm a
mother to both. Different from Jack Chinaman t'other side the
court. He ain't a father to neither. It ain't in him. And he
ain't got the true secret of mixing, though he charges as much as
me that has, and more if he can get it. Here's a match, and now
where's the candle? If my cough takes me, I shall cough out twenty
matches afore I gets a light.'

But she finds the candle, and lights it, before the cough comes on.
It seizes her in the moment of success, and she sits down rocking
herself to and fro, and gasping at intervals: 'O, my lungs is
awful bad! my lungs is wore away to cabbage-nets!' until the fit is
over. During its continuance she has had no power of sight, or any
other power not absorbed in the struggle; but as it leaves her, she
begins to strain her eyes, and as soon as she is able to
articulate, she cries, staring:

'Why, it's you!'

'Are you so surprised to see me?'

'I thought I never should have seen you again, deary. I thought
you was dead, and gone to Heaven.'


'I didn't suppose you could have kept away, alive, so long, from
the poor old soul with the real receipt for mixing it. And you are
in mourning too! Why didn't you come and have a pipe or two of
comfort? Did they leave you money, perhaps, and so you didn't want

' No.'

'Who was they as died, deary?'

'A relative.'

'Died of what, lovey?'

'Probably, Death.'

'We are short to-night!' cries the woman, with a propitiatory
laugh. 'Short and snappish we are! But we're out of sorts for
want of a smoke. We've got the all-overs, haven't us, deary? But
this is the place to cure 'em in; this is the place where the all-
overs is smoked off.'

'You may make ready, then,' replies the visitor, 'as soon as you

He divests himself of his shoes, loosens his cravat, and lies
across the foot of the squalid bed, with his head resting on his
left hand.

'Now you begin to look like yourself,' says the woman approvingly.
'Now I begin to know my old customer indeed! Been trying to mix
for yourself this long time, poppet?'

'I have been taking it now and then in my own way.'

'Never take it your own way. It ain't good for trade, and it ain't
good for you. Where's my ink-bottle, and where's my thimble, and
where's my little spoon? He's going to take it in a artful form
now, my deary dear!'

Entering on her process, and beginning to bubble and blow at the
faint spark enclosed in the hollow of her hands, she speaks from
time to time, in a tone of snuffling satisfaction, without leaving
off. When he speaks, he does so without looking at her, and as if
his thoughts were already roaming away by anticipation.

'I've got a pretty many smokes ready for you, first and last,
haven't I, chuckey?'

'A good many.'

'When you first come, you was quite new to it; warn't ye?'

'Yes, I was easily disposed of, then.'

'But you got on in the world, and was able by-and-by to take your
pipe with the best of 'em, warn't ye?'

'Ah; and the worst.'

'It's just ready for you. What a sweet singer you was when you
first come! Used to drop your head, and sing yourself off like a
bird! It's ready for you now, deary.'

He takes it from her with great care, and puts the mouthpiece to
his lips. She seats herself beside him, ready to refill the pipe.

After inhaling a few whiffs in silence, he doubtingly accosts her

'Is it as potent as it used to be?'

'What do you speak of, deary?'

'What should I speak of, but what I have in my mouth?'

'It's just the same. Always the identical same.'

'It doesn't taste so. And it's slower.'

'You've got more used to it, you see.'

'That may be the cause, certainly. Look here.' He stops, becomes
dreamy, and seems to forget that he has invited her attention. She
bends over him, and speaks in his ear.

'I'm attending to you. Says you just now, Look here. Says I now,
I'm attending to ye. We was talking just before of your being used
to it.'

'I know all that. I was only thinking. Look here. Suppose you
had something in your mind; something you were going to do.'

'Yes, deary; something I was going to do?'

'But had not quite determined to do.'

'Yes, deary.'

'Might or might not do, you understand.'

'Yes.' With the point of a needle she stirs the contents of the

'Should you do it in your fancy, when you were lying here doing

She nods her head. 'Over and over again.'

'Just like me! I did it over and over again. I have done it
hundreds of thousands of times in this room.'

'It's to be hoped it was pleasant to do, deary.'

'It WAS pleasant to do!'

He says this with a savage air, and a spring or start at her.
Quite unmoved she retouches and replenishes the contents of the
bowl with her little spatula. Seeing her intent upon the
occupation, he sinks into his former attitude.

'It was a journey, a difficult and dangerous journey. That was the
subject in my mind. A hazardous and perilous journey, over abysses
where a slip would be destruction. Look down, look down! You see
what lies at the bottom there?'

He has darted forward to say it, and to point at the ground, as
though at some imaginary object far beneath. The woman looks at
him, as his spasmodic face approaches close to hers, and not at his
pointing. She seems to know what the influence of her perfect
quietude would be; if so, she has not miscalculated it, for he
subsides again.

'Well; I have told you I did it here hundreds of thousands of
times. What do I say? I did it millions and billions of times. I
did it so often, and through such vast expanses of time, that when
it was really done, it seemed not worth the doing, it was done so

'That's the journey you have been away upon,' she quietly remarks.

He glares at her as he smokes; and then, his eyes becoming filmy,
answers: 'That's the journey.'

Silence ensues. His eyes are sometimes closed and sometimes open.
The woman sits beside him, very attentive to the pipe, which is all
the while at his lips.

'I'll warrant,' she observes, when he has been looking fixedly at
her for some consecutive moments, with a singular appearance in his
eyes of seeming to see her a long way off, instead of so near him:
'I'll warrant you made the journey in a many ways, when you made it
so often?'

'No, always in one way.'

'Always in the same way?'


'In the way in which it was really made at last?'


'And always took the same pleasure in harping on it?'


For the time he appears unequal to any other reply than this lazy
monosyllabic assent. Probably to assure herself that it is not the
assent of a mere automaton, she reverses the form of her next

'Did you never get tired of it, deary, and try to call up something
else for a change?'

He struggles into a sitting posture, and retorts upon her: 'What
do you mean? What did I want? What did I come for?'

She gently lays him back again, and before returning him the
instrument he has dropped, revives the fire in it with her own
breath; then says to him, coaxingly:

'Sure, sure, sure! Yes, yes, yes! Now I go along with you. You
was too quick for me. I see now. You come o' purpose to take the
journey. Why, I might have known it, through its standing by you

He answers first with a laugh, and then with a passionate setting
of his teeth: 'Yes, I came on purpose. When I could not bear my
life, I came to get the relief, and I got it. It WAS one! It WAS
one!' This repetition with extraordinary vehemence, and the snarl
of a wolf.

She observes him very cautiously, as though mentally feeling her
way to her next remark. It is: 'There was a fellow-traveller,

'Ha, ha, ha!' He breaks into a ringing laugh, or rather yell.

'To think,' he cries, 'how often fellow-traveller, and yet not know
it! To think how many times he went the journey, and never saw the

The woman kneels upon the floor, with her arms crossed on the
coverlet of the bed, close by him, and her chin upon them. In this
crouching attitude she watches him. The pipe is falling from his
mouth. She puts it back, and laying her hand upon his chest, moves
him slightly from side to side. Upon that he speaks, as if she had

'Yes! I always made the journey first, before the changes of
colours and the great landscapes and glittering processions began.
They couldn't begin till it was off my mind. I had no room till
then for anything else.'

Once more he lapses into silence. Once more she lays her hand upon
his chest, and moves him slightly to and fro, as a cat might
stimulate a half-slain mouse. Once more he speaks, as if she had

'What? I told you so. When it comes to be real at last, it is so
short that it seems unreal for the first time. Hark!'

'Yes, deary. I'm listening.'

'Time and place are both at hand.'

He is on his feet, speaking in a whisper, and as if in the dark.

'Time, place, and fellow-traveller,' she suggests, adopting his
tone, and holding him softly by the arm.

'How could the time be at hand unless the fellow-traveller was?
Hush! The journey's made. It's over.'

'So soon?'

'That's what I said to you. So soon. Wait a little. This is a
vision. I shall sleep it off. It has been too short and easy. I
must have a better vision than this; this is the poorest of all.
No struggle, no consciousness of peril, no entreaty--and yet I
never saw THAT before.' With a start.

'Saw what, deary?'

'Look at it! Look what a poor, mean, miserable thing it is! THAT
must be real. It's over.'

He has accompanied this incoherence with some wild unmeaning
gestures; but they trail off into the progressive inaction of
stupor, and he lies a log upon the bed.

The woman, however, is still inquisitive. With a repetition of her
cat-like action she slightly stirs his body again, and listens;
stirs again, and listens; whispers to it, and listens. Finding it
past all rousing for the time, she slowly gets upon her feet, with
an air of disappointment, and flicks the face with the back of her
hand in turning from it.

But she goes no further away from it than the chair upon the
hearth. She sits in it, with an elbow on one of its arms, and her
chin upon her hand, intent upon him. 'I heard ye say once,' she
croaks under her breath, 'I heard ye say once, when I was lying
where you're lying, and you were making your speculations upon me,
"Unintelligible!" I heard you say so, of two more than me. But
don't ye be too sure always; don't be ye too sure, beauty!'

Unwinking, cat-like, and intent, she presently adds: 'Not so
potent as it once was? Ah! Perhaps not at first. You may be more
right there. Practice makes perfect. I may have learned the
secret how to make ye talk, deary.'

He talks no more, whether or no. Twitching in an ugly way from
time to time, both as to his face and limbs, he lies heavy and
silent. The wretched candle burns down; the woman takes its
expiring end between her fingers, lights another at it, crams the
guttering frying morsel deep into the candlestick, and rams it home
with the new candle, as if she were loading some ill-savoured and
unseemly weapon of witchcraft; the new candle in its turn burns
down; and still he lies insensible. At length what remains of the
last candle is blown out, and daylight looks into the room.

It has not looked very long, when he sits up, chilled and shaking,
slowly recovers consciousness of where he is, and makes himself
ready to depart. The woman receives what he pays her with a
grateful, 'Bless ye, bless ye, deary!' and seems, tired out, to
begin making herself ready for sleep as he leaves the room.

But seeming may be false or true. It is false in this case; for,
the moment the stairs have ceased to creak under his tread, she
glides after him, muttering emphatically: 'I'll not miss ye

There is no egress from the court but by its entrance. With a
weird peep from the doorway, she watches for his looking back. He
does not look back before disappearing, with a wavering step. She
follows him, peeps from the court, sees him still faltering on
without looking back, and holds him in view.

He repairs to the back of Aldersgate Street, where a door
immediately opens to his knocking. She crouches in another
doorway, watching that one, and easily comprehending that he puts
up temporarily at that house. Her patience is unexhausted by
hours. For sustenance she can, and does, buy bread within a
hundred yards, and milk as it is carried past her.

He comes forth again at noon, having changed his dress, but
carrying nothing in his hand, and having nothing carried for him.
He is not going back into the country, therefore, just yet. She
follows him a little way, hesitates, instantaneously turns
confidently, and goes straight into the house he has quitted.

'Is the gentleman from Cloisterham indoors?

'Just gone out.'

'Unlucky. When does the gentleman return to Cloisterham?'

'At six this evening.'

'Bless ye and thank ye. May the Lord prosper a business where a
civil question, even from a poor soul, is so civilly answered!'

'I'll not miss ye twice!' repeats the poor soul in the street, and
not so civilly. 'I lost ye last, where that omnibus you got into
nigh your journey's end plied betwixt the station and the place. I
wasn't so much as certain that you even went right on to the place.
Now I know ye did. My gentleman from Cloisterham, I'll be there
before ye, and bide your coming. I've swore my oath that I'll not
miss ye twice!'

Accordingly, that same evening the poor soul stands in Cloisterham
High Street, looking at the many quaint gables of the Nuns' House,
and getting through the time as she best can until nine o'clock; at
which hour she has reason to suppose that the arriving omnibus
passengers may have some interest for her. The friendly darkness,
at that hour, renders it easy for her to ascertain whether this be
so or not; and it is so, for the passenger not to be missed twice
arrives among the rest.

'Now let me see what becomes of you. Go on!'

An observation addressed to the air, and yet it might be addressed
to the passenger, so compliantly does he go on along the High
Street until he comes to an arched gateway, at which he
unexpectedly vanishes. The poor soul quickens her pace; is swift,
and close upon him entering under the gateway; but only sees a
postern staircase on one side of it, and on the other side an
ancient vaulted room, in which a large-headed, gray-haired
gentleman is writing, under the odd circumstances of sitting open
to the thoroughfare and eyeing all who pass, as if he were toll-
taker of the gateway: though the way is free.

'Halloa!' he cries in a low voice, seeing her brought to a stand-
still: 'who are you looking for?'

'There was a gentleman passed in here this minute, sir.'

'Of course there was. What do you want with him?'

'Where do he live, deary?'

'Live? Up that staircase.'

'Bless ye! Whisper. What's his name, deary?'

'Surname Jasper, Christian name John. Mr. John Jasper.'

'Has he a calling, good gentleman?'

'Calling? Yes. Sings in the choir.'

'In the spire?'


'What's that?'

Mr. Datchery rises from his papers, and comes to his doorstep. 'Do
you know what a cathedral is?' he asks, jocosely.

The woman nods.

'What is it?'

She looks puzzled, casting about in her mind to find a definition,
when it occurs to her that it is easier to point out the
substantial object itself, massive against the dark-blue sky and
the early stars.

'That's the answer. Go in there at seven to-morrow morning, and
you may see Mr. John Jasper, and hear him too.'

'Thank ye! Thank ye!'

The burst of triumph in which she thanks him does not escape the
notice of the single buffer of an easy temper living idly on his
means. He glances at her; clasps his hands behind him, as the wont
of such buffers is; and lounges along the echoing Precincts at her

'Or,' he suggests, with a backward hitch of his head, 'you can go
up at once to Mr. Jasper's rooms there.'

The woman eyes him with a cunning smile, and shakes her head.

'O! you don't want to speak to him?'

She repeats her dumb reply, and forms with her lips a soundless

'You can admire him at a distance three times a day, whenever you
like. It's a long way to come for that, though.'

The woman looks up quickly. If Mr. Datchery thinks she is to be so
induced to declare where she comes from, he is of a much easier
temper than she is. But she acquits him of such an artful thought,
as he lounges along, like the chartered bore of the city, with his
uncovered gray hair blowing about, and his purposeless hands
rattling the loose money in the pockets of his trousers.

The chink of the money has an attraction for her greedy ears.
'Wouldn't you help me to pay for my traveller's lodging, dear
gentleman, and to pay my way along? I am a poor soul, I am indeed,
and troubled with a grievous cough.'

'You know the travellers' lodging, I perceive, and are making
directly for it,' is Mr. Datchery's bland comment, still rattling
his loose money. 'Been here often, my good woman?'

'Once in all my life.'

'Ay, ay?'

They have arrived at the entrance to the Monks' Vineyard. An
appropriate remembrance, presenting an exemplary model for
imitation, is revived in the woman's mind by the sight of the
place. She stops at the gate, and says energetically:

'By this token, though you mayn't believe it, That a young
gentleman gave me three-and-sixpence as I was coughing my breath
away on this very grass. I asked him for three-and-sixpence, and
he gave it me.'

'Wasn't it a little cool to name your sum?' hints Mr. Datchery,
still rattling. 'Isn't it customary to leave the amount open?
Mightn't it have had the appearance, to the young gentleman--only
the appearance--that he was rather dictated to?'

'Look'ee here, deary,' she replies, in a confidential and
persuasive tone, 'I wanted the money to lay it out on a medicine as
does me good, and as I deal in. I told the young gentleman so, and
he gave it me, and I laid it out honest to the last brass farden.
I want to lay out the same sum in the same way now; and if you'll
give it me, I'll lay it out honest to the last brass farden again,
upon my soul!'

'What's the medicine?'

'I'll be honest with you beforehand, as well as after. It's

Mr. Datchery, with a sudden change of countenance, gives her a
sudden look.

'It's opium, deary. Neither more nor less. And it's like a human
creetur so far, that you always hear what can be said against it,
but seldom what can be said in its praise.'

Mr. Datchery begins very slowly to count out the sum demanded of
him. Greedily watching his hands, she continues to hold forth on
the great example set him.

'It was last Christmas Eve, just arter dark, the once that I was
here afore, when the young gentleman gave me the three-and-six.'
Mr. Datchery stops in his counting, finds he has counted wrong,
shakes his money together, and begins again.

'And the young gentleman's name,' she adds, 'was Edwin.'

Mr. Datchery drops some money, stoops to pick it up, and reddens
with the exertion as he asks:

'How do you know the young gentleman's name?'

'I asked him for it, and he told it me. I only asked him the two
questions, what was his Chris'en name, and whether he'd a
sweetheart? And he answered, Edwin, and he hadn't.'

Mr. Datchery pauses with the selected coins in his hand, rather as
if he were falling into a brown study of their value, and couldn't
bear to part with them. The woman looks at him distrustfully, and
with her anger brewing for the event of his thinking better of the
gift; but he bestows it on her as if he were abstracting his mind
from the sacrifice, and with many servile thanks she goes her way.

John Jasper's lamp is kindled, and his lighthouse is shining when
Mr. Datchery returns alone towards it. As mariners on a dangerous
voyage, approaching an iron-bound coast, may look along the beams
of the warning light to the haven lying beyond it that may never be
reached, so Mr. Datchery's wistful gaze is directed to this beacon,
and beyond.

His object in now revisiting his lodging is merely to put on the
hat which seems so superfluous an article in his wardrobe. It is
half-past ten by the Cathedral clock when he walks out into the
Precincts again; he lingers and looks about him, as though, the
enchanted hour when Mr. Durdles may be stoned home having struck,
he had some expectation of seeing the Imp who is appointed to the
mission of stoning him.

In effect, that Power of Evil is abroad. Having nothing living to
stone at the moment, he is discovered by Mr. Datchery in the unholy
office of stoning the dead, through the railings of the churchyard.
The Imp finds this a relishing and piquing pursuit; firstly,
because their resting-place is announced to be sacred; and
secondly, because the tall headstones are sufficiently like
themselves, on their beat in the dark, to justify the delicious
fancy that they are hurt when hit.

Mr. Datchery hails with him: 'Halloa, Winks!'

He acknowledges the hail with: 'Halloa, Dick!' Their acquaintance
seemingly having been established on a familiar footing.

'But, I say,' he remonstrates, 'don't yer go a-making my name
public. I never means to plead to no name, mind yer. When they
says to me in the Lock-up, a-going to put me down in the book,
"What's your name?" I says to them, "Find out." Likewise when they
says, "What's your religion?" I says, "Find out."'

Which, it may be observed in passing, it would be immensely
difficult for the State, however statistical, to do.

'Asides which,' adds the boy, 'there ain't no family of Winkses.'

'I think there must be.'

'Yer lie, there ain't. The travellers give me the name on account
of my getting no settled sleep and being knocked up all night;
whereby I gets one eye roused open afore I've shut the other.
That's what Winks means. Deputy's the nighest name to indict me
by: but yer wouldn't catch me pleading to that, neither.'

'Deputy be it always, then. We two are good friends; eh, Deputy?'

'Jolly good.'

'I forgave you the debt you owed me when we first became
acquainted, and many of my sixpences have come your way since; eh,

'Ah! And what's more, yer ain't no friend o' Jarsper's. What did
he go a-histing me off my legs for?'

'What indeed! But never mind him now. A shilling of mine is going
your way to-night, Deputy. You have just taken in a lodger I have
been speaking to; an infirm woman with a cough.'

'Puffer,' assents Deputy, with a shrewd leer of recognition, and
smoking an imaginary pipe, with his head very much on one side and
his eyes very much out of their places: 'Hopeum Puffer.'

'What is her name?'

''Er Royal Highness the Princess Puffer.'

'She has some other name than that; where does she live?'

'Up in London. Among the Jacks.'

'The sailors?'

'I said so; Jacks; and Chayner men: and hother Knifers.'

'I should like to know, through you, exactly where she lives.'

'All right. Give us 'old.'

A shilling passes; and, in that spirit of confidence which should
pervade all business transactions between principals of honour,
this piece of business is considered done.

'But here's a lark!' cries Deputy. 'Where did yer think 'Er Royal
Highness is a-goin' to to-morrow morning? Blest if she ain't a-
goin' to the KIN-FREE-DER-EL!' He greatly prolongs the word in his
ecstasy, and smites his leg, and doubles himself up in a fit of
shrill laughter.

'How do you know that, Deputy?'

'Cos she told me so just now. She said she must be hup and hout o'
purpose. She ses, "Deputy, I must 'ave a early wash, and make
myself as swell as I can, for I'm a-goin' to take a turn at the
KIN-FREE-DER-EL!"' He separates the syllables with his former
zest, and, not finding his sense of the ludicrous sufficiently
relieved by stamping about on the pavement, breaks into a slow and
stately dance, perhaps supposed to be performed by the Dean.

Mr. Datchery receives the communication with a well-satisfied
though pondering face, and breaks up the conference. Returning to
his quaint lodging, and sitting long over the supper of bread-and-
cheese and salad and ale which Mrs. Tope has left prepared for him,
he still sits when his supper is finished. At length he rises,
throws open the door of a corner cupboard, and refers to a few
uncouth chalked strokes on its inner side.

'I like,' says Mr. Datchery, 'the old tavern way of keeping scores.
Illegible except to the scorer. The scorer not committed, the
scored debited with what is against him. Hum; ha! A very small
score this; a very poor score!'

He sighs over the contemplation of its poverty, takes a bit of
chalk from one of the cupboard shelves, and pauses with it in his
hand, uncertain what addition to make to the account.

'I think a moderate stroke,' he concludes, 'is all I am justified
in scoring up;' so, suits the action to the word, closes the
cupboard, and goes to bed.

A brilliant morning shines on the old city. Its antiquities and
ruins are surpassingly beautiful, with a lusty ivy gleaming in the
sun, and the rich trees waving in the balmy air. Changes of
glorious light from moving boughs, songs of birds, scents from
gardens, woods, and fields--or, rather, from the one great garden
of the whole cultivated island in its yielding time--penetrate into
the Cathedral, subdue its earthy odour, and preach the Resurrection
and the Life. The cold stone tombs of centuries ago grow warm; and
flecks of brightness dart into the sternest marble corners of the
building, fluttering there like wings.

Comes Mr. Tope with his large keys, and yawningly unlocks and sets
open. Come Mrs. Tope and attendant sweeping sprites. Come, in due
time, organist and bellows-boy, peeping down from the red curtains
in the loft, fearlessly flapping dust from books up at that remote
elevation, and whisking it from stops and pedals. Come sundry
rooks, from various quarters of the sky, back to the great tower;
who may be presumed to enjoy vibration, and to know that bell and
organ are going to give it them. Come a very small and straggling
congregation indeed: chiefly from Minor Canon Corner and the
Precincts. Come Mr. Crisparkle, fresh and bright; and his
ministering brethren, not quite so fresh and bright. Come the
Choir in a hurry (always in a hurry, and struggling into their
nightgowns at the last moment, like children shirking bed), and
comes John Jasper leading their line. Last of all comes Mr.
Datchery into a stall, one of a choice empty collection very much
at his service, and glancing about him for Her Royal Highness the
Princess Puffer.

The service is pretty well advanced before Mr. Datchery can discern
Her Royal Highness. But by that time he has made her out, in the
shade. She is behind a pillar, carefully withdrawn from the Choir-
master's view, but regards him with the closest attention. All
unconscious of her presence, he chants and sings. She grins when
he is most musically fervid, and--yes, Mr. Datchery sees her do
it!--shakes her fist at him behind the pillar's friendly shelter.

Mr. Datchery looks again, to convince himself. Yes, again! As
ugly and withered as one of the fantastic carvings on the under
brackets of the stall seats, as malignant as the Evil One, as hard
as the big brass eagle holding the sacred books upon his wings
(and, according to the sculptor's representation of his ferocious
attributes, not at all converted by them), she hugs herself in her
lean arms, and then shakes both fists at the leader of the Choir.

And at that moment, outside the grated door of the Choir, having
eluded the vigilance of Mr. Tope by shifty resources in which he is
an adept, Deputy peeps, sharp-eyed, through the bars, and stares
astounded from the threatener to the threatened.

The service comes to an end, and the servitors disperse to
breakfast. Mr. Datchery accosts his last new acquaintance outside,
when the Choir (as much in a hurry to get their bedgowns off, as
they were but now to get them on) have scuffled away.

'Well, mistress. Good morning. You have seen him?'

'I'VE seen him, deary; I'VE seen him!'

'And you know him?'

'Know him! Better far than all the Reverend Parsons put together
know him.'

Mrs. Tope's care has spread a very neat, clean breakfast ready for
her lodger. Before sitting down to it, he opens his corner-
cupboard door; takes his bit of chalk from its shelf; adds one
thick line to the score, extending from the top of the cupboard
door to the bottom; and then falls to with an appetite.

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