Young Rosa Bud is “wonderfully pretty, wonderfully childish, wonderfully whimsical”, of short height, with brown hair, little nose and “a dark bright pouting eye”. An orphan, until recently she lived at the Nun’s House in Miss Twinkleton’s boarding school where she was a favourite among the girls. Rosa’s seemingly blissful life has been darkened by the recent tragic disappearance of her fiancé Edwin Drood. The pair had been engaged as per their parent’s dying wishes, yet it has now emerged that Edwin and Rosa had broken off the engagement shortly before he disappeared, though knowledge of this has only been made public after Drood’s mysterious disappearance.
Rosa has received a great deal of interest from the opposite sex of late. Prior to these tragic events, Rosa had been taking music tuition from Edwin’s uncle, John Jasper, in which she was proceeding “fairly”. Yet when she and Edwin heard Jack’s singing, her instinct was not to “stop to listen to it” but rather to escape from the “resounding chord”, and when she later performed with Jasper at the Crisparkle house she broke off with fear under his attentive gaze, later confessing to Helena her concern that her fiancé’s uncle may be in love with her – concerns ultimately proved correct by Jasper’s shocking outpouring of emotions to Rosa in the garden of the Nun’s House, the consequence of which has been Rosa’s desperate flight away from Cloisterham to the sanctuary of her guardian Mr Grewgious’s lodgings in London.
She now resides with Miss Twinkleton in the establishment of Mrs Billickin in London, where she has been receiving attentive visits from Mr Tartar, neighbour of Neville who still pines for her, while back in Cloisterham the coachman Joe, who assisted her in her flight, has also expressed an admiration for this rosebud of the city.