MARY REILLY "...Fear from his man Mr. Qwist on the doctor's behalf if I should ever speak about the things that go on in that house. Strange things. The sort that chill the nerves and tingle the spine of late'. -Mary Reilly to Smythe and Fiona.
In "The Continentals" secrets are held like sacraments. Even the most deadly and dangerous. As if somehow knowing and saying nothing in the face of dangerous circumstances can absolve you of saying nothing of what you know to save yourself. A guilty conscience is a prison without bars of your own making. But what of those who don't know...But suspect? What of them?
I've always been fascinated by the notion of "the witness". That person connected to a thing coincidently by family, friend, work, etc, who just can't connect the dots that would have been so obvious to others. That person who notices a change in someone they know, in either self or circumstance, that seems at odds with the person they knew before. The person who could have averted tragedy with a single word of concern. And the guilt of conscience in knowing the tragic outcome of their inaction. In The Continentals chamber maid Mary Reilly is our witness.
In the wake of the Mangler's murderous rampage, and the more recent murder of Lord Ashton, everything about her employer Dr. Daniel Abbeline seemed normal by comparison. Yes he was cold, demanding, and ill tempered at times. But what boss isn't? Particularly posh ones. Yes, his recent experiments seemed odd, even unsettling at times. But who really under stands science but scientists? And yes, his hired man, the brutish Mr. Qwist, was as unnerving a person as she's ever come across in her young life. But what man hired to do someone else's dirty work isn't? So by comparison to the tales of murder in the headlines of the newspapers, Mary Reilly's life seemed more or less "normal" to her.
But normal, like appearances--Can be deceiving.
Next week we begin our first look at "The making of the page". And delve into the making of a page of The Continentals from script to final comic page.