Mr Grewgious is “an angular man” who was born old; he is “arid, sandy” with a “scanty flat crop of hair, like straw”. A lawyer by trade, he is rather awkward in appearance and manner, and more at home with facts and figures than with people and emotions. His base of operations is in Staples Inn, in a quiet office where his sole companion is his clerk Bazzard , a melancholy man who Grewgious mysteriously holds in high esteem, and yet who has recently left his employ for an undefined period of time.
Despite Grewgious’s awkward nature with other people, he has nonetheless found himself in a very personal position as Rosa Bud’s guardian, a role he fulfils with a combination of honour and awkwardness due to his unrequited feelings for Rosa’s mother, and the daughter’s striking likeness to her. This professional duty has recently evolved into a more personal relationship as Grewgious has taken Rosa under his protection following her flight from Cloisterham and John Jasper’s unwanted affections.
With his trusty notepad serving both as an aid to memory and a structure for polite conversation, he has dutifully fulfilled his obligations as guardian with an overburdening sense of his own shortcomings in affairs of the heart. Perhaps it is this realisation of a love lost that prompted Grewgious to stress the sanctity of the planned marriage to Edwin Drood when he visited Grewgious’s office and took possession of Rosa’s mother’s ring.
It was Grewgious who informed John Jasper of the broken engagement between Rosa and Edwin after the mysterious disappearance of the young man. Yet when Jasper fell unconscious under the shock of this news, Grewgious, ever the angular man, remained curiously aloof and unconcerned of his condition. Having since taken Neville under his protection, Grewgious admits to Crisparkle his suspicion that Jasper is likely to be pursuing the young man and keeping him under watch, and together they have enlisted the aid of Tartar in foiling the watchful eye of Edwin’s uncle.