The Puzzle of Dickens’s Last Plot

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Author: Andrew Lang

Dickens’s Unused Draft of a Chapter

Forster found, and published, a very illegible sketch of a chapter of the tale: "How Mr. Sapsea ceased to be a Member of the Eight Club, Told by Himself." This was "a cramped, interlined, and blotted" draft, on paper of only half the size commonly used by Dickens. Mr. Sapsea tells how his Club mocked him about a stranger, who had mistaken him for the Dean. The jackass, Sapsea, left the Club, and met the stranger, A YOUNG MAN, who fooled him to the top of his bent, saying, "If I was to deny that I came to this town to see and hear you, Sir, what would it avail me?" Apparently this paper was a rough draft of an idea for introducing a detective, as a YOUNG man, who mocks Sapsea just as Datchery does in the novel. But to make the spy A YOUNG man, whether the spy was Drood or Helena Landless, was too difficult; and therefore Dickens makes Datchery "an elderly buffer" in a white wig. If I am right, it was easier for Helena, a girl, to pose as a young man, than for Drood to reappear as a young man, not himself. Helena MAY be Datchery, and yet Drood may be alive and biding his time; but I have disproved my old objection that there was no reason why Drood, if alive, should go spying about in disguise. There were good Dickensian reasons.

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Chicago: Andrew Lang, "Dickens’s Unused Draft of a Chapter," The Puzzle of Dickens’s Last Plot, ed. Macaulay, G. C. (George Campbell), 1852-1915 and trans. Evans, Sebastian in The Puzzle of Dickens’s Last Plot Original Sources, accessed August 18, 2019, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=PBBLSPYA997EGVS.

MLA: Lang, Andrew. "Dickens’s Unused Draft of a Chapter." The Puzzle of Dickens’s Last Plot, edited by Macaulay, G. C. (George Campbell), 1852-1915, and translated by Evans, Sebastian, in The Puzzle of Dickens’s Last Plot, Original Sources. 18 Aug. 2019. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=PBBLSPYA997EGVS.

Harvard: Lang, A, 'Dickens’s Unused Draft of a Chapter' in The Puzzle of Dickens’s Last Plot, ed. and trans. . cited in , The Puzzle of Dickens’s Last Plot. Original Sources, retrieved 18 August 2019, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=PBBLSPYA997EGVS.