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Drood Summary: Fifth Installment (Chapters XVII-XX)

Prepared by Cindy Kogut

Half a year has passed since the disappearance of Edwin Drood 
when Crisparkle goes to London to visit Mr. Honeythunder, the 
erstwhile guardian of Neville and Helena. The twins are now of 
age and Crisparkle has undertaken to accept their accounts from 
Honeythunder. During this transaction, Honeythunder implies 
that Neville is a murderer and that Crisparkle condones it. 
Crisparkle stands up for Neville's innocence and politely, yet 
firmly, tells Honeythunder that his rhetoric and his assumptions 
are "detestable."

After his round with Mr. Honeythunder, Crisparkle visits Neville, 
who is now living in Staple Inn (on the recommendation of 
Grewgious, who also lives there). Neville is studying law, and 
Crisparkle visits and tutors him when he can. The unresolved 
mystery of Drood has taken its toll on Neville, though. He is 
depressed and cannot bring himself to walk the streets during 
the day, feeling that people are eyeing him with suspicion. 
Crisparkle tries to persuade Neville to follow Helena's example, 
who has won the respect of Cloisterham by her "grand composure" 
and "sustained confidence in [Neville] and in the truth."

Crisparkle visits Grewgious briefly as well. Grewgious tells 
Crisparkle he is glad that Neville approved of the rooms he had 
recommended, because he likes to have Neville under his eye.  
Grewgious goes on to question Crisparkle about Jasper's 
whereabouts and intentions, and points out that Jasper is 
nearby: From his open window, Grewgious can see "a slinking 
individual" in the "second-floor landing window in yonder house."
 Crisparkle speculates that Jasper is there watching Neville. 
Grewgious suggests that Crisparkle go join Neville, who is 
waiting, while he remains to keep an eye on Jasper.

After his dinner and walk with Crisparkle, Neville returns 
home and finds a stranger sitting on the stairway windowsill. 
The stranger introduces himself as Tartar, and explains that 
he lives across the way. His windows face Neville's, and he 
had noticed that Neville lived rather shut up and that he 
seemed to like his neighbor's window boxes. He suggests to 
Neville that they set up some lines and stays between the 
two windows and share the window boxes. Tartar tells 
Neville a little about himself:  He was a First Lieutenant 
in the Royal Navy, but resigned his commission when his 
uncle left him some property on condition that he left 
the navy.  After a brief conversation, Tartar departs 
via the window.

Back in Cloisterham, a white-haired stranger named 
Dick Datchery has appeared. He describes himself as a 
"single buffer" who desires to take lodgings in the town 
or a month or so to see whether he wants to settle down 
there. He also particularly wants to be near the Cathedral. 
He ends up renting rooms from the Topeses, very close 
to Jasper's rooms.  As an added benefit, "he found that if 
he sat with the main door open he would enjoy the passing 
society of all comers to and fro by the gateway." Datchery 
meets several of the town's personalities and engages 
them in conversation concerning the Drood case. 

At the Nuns' House, it is summer recess. Helena has left 
to be with Neville, so Rosa is alone. Jasper takes this 
opportunity to visit Rosa, who meets him in the garden 
since she cannot bear the thought of being shut up with 
him in the house.  "The moment she sees him...the old 
horrible feeling of being compelled by him, asserts its 
hold upon her." Although she wants to leave, she somehow 
cannot, but stays to listen to him. She tries to stop him 
from confessing his love for her, but he declares that 
she must listen to him "or do more harm to others 
than [she] can ever set right."

Jasper then pours out his "mad" love for Rosa. When she 
tries yet again to leave, he threatens that he will do the
 harm he mentioned, but that if she stays, he will tell her 
what harm he is talking about.  He then states that if he 
hadn't been so close to Drood, he "might have swept even 
him from your side when you favoured him." He has heard 
of Neville's feelings toward Rosa and considers them "an 
inexpiable offense." He gloats that he has "worked patiently 
to wind and wind" the net of evidence around Neville so 
that now Neville "stands in deadly peril" whether he is guilty 
or innocence.  But Jasper is willing to renounce his revenge 
against Neville if Rosa will marry him, "were it even 
mortally hating [him]."

Rosa finally is so terrified that she is now able "to break 
the spell that has held her to the spot." She tries to go to 
the house, but Jasper keeps speaking in her ear. He tells her 
that he will wait for a sign of encouragement from Rosa and 
that she cannot say anything of what has occurred "or it will 
bring down the blow" against Neville. His parting words are 
that even if Rosa were to cast him off now, she would never 
be rid of him for he would pursue her to the death. Jasper then 
takes his leave, and Rosa faints.