Monday, September 3, 2012

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Chapter III
On Dangerous Ground

Shaking from head to foot, Drood whose scattered consciousness had thus fantastically pieced itself together once again—at length rose up and yawned by the fire.

“I feel better now—and more together” Drood said—giving skeptical, scowling Mr. Grewgious a knowing wink. He supported his trembling frame upon his weak, wobbly feet—looking around.

They joined Mr. Coleridge in the study—one of the meanest and closest of small rooms in the mansion. Through the ragged window-curtain—the light of a late moonlit evening stole into Drood’s miserable mansion.

First Drood had lied, stoned and dressed, across his large unseemly bed—then he’d fallen onto the Persian carpeted floor.

Then he’d made his way into the livingroom—only to pass out again by the fire after a couple of tokes. That’s where poor disgusted Mr. Grewgious—had to endure Drood’s long poetic monologue about Kubla Khan for a long prostrated hour.

Now it was time to relax in Drood’s study—where the air of leisurely patronage and indifference made anything possible to be said.

Edwin Drood throws himself back in a chair and clasps his hands at the back of his head—as for Mr. Grewgious, he’s still rather exasperatingly excitable and excited by Drood’s stretched-out body.

Samuel Coleridge looks observantly from one to the other—slightly smiling and enjoying the conversation. 

Here is yet another side of the opium addict—the affable host and mentor of youth, himself not out of his twenties. 

The presence of the wine glasses and decanter would seem to suggest—that Drood has anticipated that he would have more young visitors this evening.

Facilitated by his administering some opium—to some of the local hustlers who patronized certain London wealthy queens.

This interior scene, with fireplace and table, recalls a very different scene with which the narrative-pictorial sequence began—the stoned bedroom scene and passed-out fireplace scene.

Edwin Drood seems taller and more slender—while his costume is much the same as in the first plate. His waistcoat sits higher, his neck seems thinner and longer—his shoulders more bent and less broad. 

Indeed, we can scarcely tell that this is the same man—which seems to surprise Mr. Grewgious to no end.

However, one catches little or nothing of Mr. Grewgious smoldering resentment—of the opium addict Edwin Drood in this illustration. 

Edwin Drood exudes an air of leisurely patronage and indifference"—which is hardly provoking in his self-confidence in this third scene.

We should be alert, however, to the fact that behind the smiling visage and easy pose of Edwin Drood, affable and gracious host—lurks the cunning schemer and depraved drug-addict with highly irregular literary motives. 

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