Chapters 13-16 Summary

The Christmas holidays arrive and the girls of Miss Twinkleton’s Seminary depart for home. Rosa and Helena alone are to remain in Cloisterham. Helena avoids saying Edwin’s name since his quarrel with Neville.

Since Grewgious gave him the ring, Edwin has been in a quandary about his relationship with Rosa. Rosa feels the same way and suggests that they just be “brother and sister,” not husband and wife. Edwin agrees, knowing that both have been unhappy about their engagement. Edwin almost shows her the ring but decides against it. He wonders how he will break the news to Jasper. They go home but notice that Jasper has been following them.

Cloisterham prepares itself for Christmas. Neville, knowing that he is still unpopular in the community, decides to go on a walking tour. He will go alone and plans on being gone for two weeks. He dreads going to the Christmas Eve dinner, but Helena assures him that it will soon be over.

Edwin Drood’s mind turns from Rosa to Helena, though he thinks himself unworthy of her. As he walks around town, he encounters a haggard old woman. She begs for money to return to London. In answer to Edwin’s question, she confesses that she uses opium. She asks his name. When he tells her, she says it is a good thing it is not Ned, which is a “threatened” name.

At the cathedral, Jasper tells Mr. Crisparkle that he has vowed to be in better spirits in the coming year. That night, a severe windstorm batters the town. The next morning, as the people survey the damage, they discover that Edwin Drood is missing.

Neville begins his walking tour on Christmas Day. He is soon overtaken by eight men. Four men go past him, but the other four follow behind. They soon surround him, but he puts up a fight. He is taken back to Cloisterham, where he is questioned in the disappearance of Edwin Drood. Mr. Grewgious tells the questioners that Edwin and Rosa had broken off their engagement. At this news, Jasper shrieks and collapses.

Jasper, regaining consciousness, suggests that Edwin might have gone away voluntarily from embarrassment at breaking off his engagement. Mr. Crisparkle agrees that this might be a possibility and relates this to Mr. Grewgious.

Mr. Crisparkle takes a walk and is unaccountably drawn to the Weir, where he finds a shirt pin and a gold watch inscribed with the letters “E.D.” He takes these items to Mayor Sapsea, who orders that Neville be retained as a suspect. Since no body has been found, however, Neville is released. Mr. Crisparkle suggests that he leave Cloisterham. In his diary, Jasper notes that he now devotes himself to the destruction of the murderer of his nephew, Edwin Drood.