Chapters 21-22 Summary
Mr. Crisparkle arrives in London to check on Rosa since Miss Twinkleton was upset by Rosa’s note. The maid (called “the Unlimited”) interrupts them to announce a visitor who wishes to see Mr. Crisparkle. It is Mr. Tartar, who knew Mr. Crisparkle at school and had saved him from drowning. Suspecting that Jasper is keeping a watch on Neville and Rosa, Mr. Grewgious arranges for Rosa to be reunited with Helena in Mr. Tartar’s lodgings.
Mr. Tartar’s chambers are exceptionally clean, polished, and organized, in line with his past life in the navy. He leads Rosa in to meet Helena. Although Neville is in his room, Helena thinks it is better not to let him know that Rosa is near.
Rosa tells Helena that she is not going back to Miss Twinkleton’s because of the incident with Jasper. She asks for Helena’s reassurance that she in no way caused the situation with Jasper. Mr. Grewgious suggests that Miss Twinkleton might come to town for a month to stay with Rosa. They find lodgings in the home of Mrs. Billickin, who offers them unsatisfactory rooms at first but soon gives them adequate lodgings that please both Rosa and Mr. Grewgious.
When he prepares the lease, Mr. Grewgious asks Mrs. Billickin to sign both her first and last names, but she refuses lest someone learn that she is a lone, vulnerable woman. She signs her name simply “Billickin.” As they leave, Rosa and Mr. Grewgious meet Mr. Tartar, who suggests a ride up the river on his boat; they eagerly accept.
Miss Twinkleton arrives in a couple of days, loaded down with several trunks and packages. The Billickin, as she is known, sets herself up as a rival of Miss Twinkleton in the care of Rosa. Miss Twinkleton and Rosa settle in over the next few days, finding excitement in books of adventure and sea voyages.
Although Mr. Crisparkle and Jasper meet daily in the cathedral, neither one mentions Edwin Drood. No one but Rosa suspects Jasper in Edwin’s disappearance. Jasper goes to London to an opium den, where he finds the old woman he had known in Cloisterham. She gives him some opium to smoke. Jasper hallucinates as the old woman guides him on a mental journey.
When he awakens, Jasper leaves, but the old woman follows him back to Cloisterham. She sees him go up a staircase and questions a man, who is Dick Datchery, sitting below. She does not go up to see Jasper, however, but is content to watch below. She tells Datchery that on the previous Christmas Eve, she had asked a young gentleman named Edwin for money to buy opium. Datchery watches the old woman the next morning in the cathedral.