Robert Louis Stevenson.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde online

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MR. UTTERSON the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance, that was
never lighted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in
discourse; backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary, and
yet somehow lovable. At friendly meetings, and when the wine was to
his taste, something eminently human beaconed from his eye;
something indeed which never found its way into his talk, but which
spoke not only in these silent symbols of the after-dinner face, but
more often and loudly in the acts of his life. He was austere with
himself; drank gin when he was alone, to mortify a taste for
vintages; and though he enjoyed the theatre, had not crossed the
doors of one for twenty years. But he had an approved tolerance for
others; sometimes wondering, almost with envy, at the high pressure
of spirits involved in their misdeeds; and in any extremity inclined
to help rather than to reprove.


"I incline to Cain's heresy," he used to say quaintly: "I let my
brother go to the devil in his own way." In this character, it was
frequently his fortune to be the last reputable acquaintance and the
last good influence in the lives of down-going men. And to such as
these, so long as they came about his chambers, he never marked a
shade of change in his demeanour.

No doubt the feat was easy to Mr. Utterson; for he was
undemonstrative at the best, and even his friendship seemed to be
founded in a similar catholicity of good-nature. It is the mark of a
modest man to accept his friendly circle ready-made from the hands
of opportunity; and that was the lawyer's way. His friends were
those of his own blood or those whom he had known the longest; his
affections, like ivy, were the growth of time, they implied no
aptness in the object. Hence, no doubt, the bond that united him to
Mr. Richard Enfield, his distant kinsman, the well-known man about
town. It was a nut to crack for many, what these two could see in
each other, or what subject they could find in common. It was
reported by those who encountered them in their Sunday walks, that
they said nothing, looked singularly dull, and would hail with
obvious relief the appearance of a friend. For all that, the two men
put the greatest store by these excursions, counted them the chief
jewel of each week, and not only set aside occasions of pleasure,
but even resisted the calls


of business, that they might enjoy them uninterrupted.

It chanced on one of these rambles that their way led them down a
by-street in a busy quarter of London. The street was small and
what is called quiet, but it drove a thriving trade on the
week-days. The inhabitants were all doing well, it seemed, and all
emulously hoping to do better still, and laying out the surplus of
their gains in coquetry; so that the shop fronts stood along that
thoroughfare with an air of invitation, like rows of smiling
saleswomen. Even on Sunday, when it veiled its more florid charms
and lay comparatively empty of passage, the street shone out in
contrast to its dingy neighbourhood, like a fire in a forest; and
with its freshly painted shutters, well-polished brasses, and
general cleanliness and gaiety of note, instantly caught and pleased
the eye of the passenger.

Two doors from one corner, on the left hand going east, the line
was broken by the entry of a court; and just at that point, a
certain sinister block of building thrust forward its gable on the
street. It was two stories high; showed no window, nothing but a
door on the lower story and a blind forehead of discoloured wall on
the upper; and bore in every feature, the marks of prolonged and
sordid negligence. The door, which was equipped with neither bell
nor knocker, was blistered and distained. Tramps slouched into the
recess and struck matches on


the panels; children kept shop upon the steps; the schoolboy had
tried his knife on the mouldings; and for close on a generation, no
one had appeared to drive away these random visitors or to repair
their ravages.

Mr. Enfield and the lawyer were on the other side of the by-street;
but when they came abreast of the entry, the former lifted up his
cane and pointed.

"Did you ever remark that door?" he asked; and when his companion
had replied in the affirmative, "It is connected in my mind," added
he, "with a very odd story."

"Indeed?" said Mr. Utterson, with a slight change of voice, "and
what was that?"

"Well, it was this way," returned Mr. Enfield: "I was coming home
from some place at the end of the world, about three o'clock of a
black winter morning, and my way lay through a part of town where
there was literally nothing to be seen but lamps. Street after
street, and all the folks asleep - street after street, all lighted
up as if for a procession and all as empty as a church - till at
last I got into that state of mind when a man listens and listens
and begins to long for the sight of a policeman. All at once, I saw
two figures: one a little man who was stumping along eastward at a
good walk, and the other a girl of maybe eight or ten who was
running as hard as she was able down a cross street. Well, sir, the
two ran into one another naturally enough at the


corner; and then came the horrible part of the thing; for the man
trampled calmly over the child's body and left her screaming on
the ground. It sounds nothing to hear, but it was hellish to see.
It wasn't like a man; it was like some damned Juggernaut. I gave a
view-halloa, took to my heels, collared my gentleman, and brought
him back to where there was already quite a group about the
screaming child. He was perfectly cool and made no resistance, but
gave me one look, so ugly that it brought out the sweat on me like
running. The people who had turned out were the girl's own family;
and pretty soon, the doctor, for whom she had been sent, put in his
appearance. Well, the child was not much the worse, more frightened,
according to the Sawbones; and there you might have supposed would
be an end to it. But there was one curious circumstance. I had taken
a loathing to my gentleman at first sight. So had the child's
family, which was only natural. But the doctor's case was what
struck me. He was the usual cut-and-dry apothecary, of no particular
age and colour, with a strong Edinburgh accent, and about as
emotional as a bagpipe. Well, sir, he was like the rest of us; every
time he looked at my prisoner, I saw that Sawbones turn sick and
white with the desire to kill him. I knew what was in his mind, just
as he knew what was in mine; and killing being out of the question,
we did the next best. We told the man we could


and would make such a scandal out of this, as should make his name
stink from one end of London to the other. If he had any friends or
any credit, we undertook that he should lose them. And all the time,
as we were pitching it in red hot, we were keeping the women off him
as best we could, for they were as wild as harpies. I never saw a
circle of such hateful faces; and there was the man in the middle,
with a kind of black, sneering coolness - frightened too, I could
see that - but carrying it off, sir, really like Satan. 'If you
choose to make capital out of this accident,' said he, 'I am
naturally helpless. No gentleman but wishes to avoid a scene,' says
he. 'Name your figure.' Well, we screwed him up to a hundred pounds
for the child's family; he would have clearly liked to stick out;
but there was something about the lot of us that meant mischief, and
at last he struck. The next thing was to get the money; and where
do you think he carried us but to that place with the door? -
whipped out a key, went in, and presently came back with the matter
of ten pounds in gold and a cheque for the balance on Coutts's,
drawn payable to bearer and signed with a name that I can't mention,
though it's one of the points of my story, but it was a name at
least very well known and often printed. The figure was stiff; but
the signature was good for more than that, if it was only genuine. I
took the liberty of pointing out to my gentleman that the whole


business looked apocryphal, and that a man does not, in real life,
walk into a cellar door at four in the morning and come out of it
with another man's cheque for close upon a hundred pounds. But he
was quite easy and sneering. 'Set your mind at rest,' says he, 'I
will stay with you till the banks open and cash the cheque myself.'
So we all set off, the doctor, and the child's father, and our
friend and myself, and passed the rest of the night in my chambers;
and next day, when we had breakfasted, went in a body to the bank. I
gave in the check myself, and said I had every reason to believe it
was a forgery. Not a bit of it. The cheque was genuine."

"Tut-tut," said Mr. Utterson.

"I see you feel as I do," said Mr. Enfield. "Yes, it's a bad story.
For my man was a fellow that nobody could have to do with, a really
damnable man; and the person that drew the cheque is the very pink
of the proprieties, celebrated too, and (what makes it worse) one of
your fellows who do what they call good. Black-mail, I suppose; an
honest man paying through the nose for some of the capers of his
youth. Black-Mail House is what I call that place with the door, in
consequence. Though even that, you know, is far from explaining
all," he added, and with the words fell into a vein of musing.

From this he was recalled by Mr. Utterson asking rather suddenly:
"And you don't know if the drawer of the cheque lives there?"


"A likely place, isn't it?" returned Mr. Enfield. "But I happen to
have noticed his address; he lives in some square or other."

"And you never asked about the - place with the door?" said Mr.

"No, sir: I had a delicacy," was the reply. "I feel very strongly
about putting questions; it partakes too much of the style of the
day of judgment. You start a question, and it's like starting a
stone. You sit quietly on the top of a hill; and away the stone
goes, starting others; and presently some bland old bird (the last
you would have thought of) is knocked on the head in his own
back-garden and the family have to change their name. No, sir, I
make it a rule of mine: the more it looks like Queer Street, the
less I ask."

"A very good rule, too," said the lawyer.

"But I have studied the place for myself," continued Mr. Enfield.
"It seems scarcely a house. There is no other door, and nobody goes
in or out of that one but, once in a great while, the gentleman of
my adventure. There are three windows looking on the court on the
first floor; none below; the windows are always shut but they're
clean. And then there is a chimney which is generally smoking; so
somebody must live there. And yet it's not so sure; for the
buildings are so packed together about that court, that it's hard to
say where one ends and another begins."


The pair walked on again for a while in silence; and then,
"Enfield," said Mr. Utterson, "that's a good rule of yours."

"Yes, I think it is," returned Enfield.

"But for all that," continued the lawyer, "there's one point I want
to ask: I want to ask the name of that man who walked over the

"Well," said Mr. Enfield, "I can't see what harm it would do. It
was a man of the name of Hyde."

"H'm," said Mr. Utterson. "What sort of a man is he to see?"

"He is not easy to describe. There is something wrong with his
appearance; something displeasing, something downright detestable. I
never saw a man I so disliked, and yet I scarce know why. He must be
deformed somewhere; he gives a strong feeling of deformity, although
I couldn't specify the point. He's an extraordinary-looking man, and
yet I really can name nothing out of the way. No, sir; I can make no
hand of it; I can't describe him. And it's not want of memory; for I
declare I can see him this moment."

Mr. Utterson again walked some way in silence and obviously under a
weight of consideration.

"You are sure he used a key?" he inquired at last.

"My dear sir..." began Enfield, surprised out of himself.


"Yes, I know," said Utterson; "I know it must seem strange. The
fact is, if I do not ask you the name of the other party, it is
because I know it already. You see, Richard, your tale has gone
home. If you have been inexact in any point, you had better correct

"I think you might have warned me," returned the other, with a
touch of sullenness. "But I have been pedantically exact, as you
call it. The fellow had a key; and what's more, he has it still. I
saw him use it, not a week ago."

Mr. Utterson sighed deeply but said never a word; and the young man
presently resumed. "Here is another lesson to say nothing," said he.
"I am ashamed of my long tongue. Let us make a bargain never to
refer to this again."

"With all my heart," said the lawyer. "I shake hands on that,



THAT evening Mr. Utterson came home to his bachelor house in sombre
spirits and sat down to dinner without relish. It was his custom of
a Sunday, when this meal was over, to sit close by the fire, a
volume of some dry divinity on his reading-desk, until the clock of
the neighbouring church rang out the hour of twelve, when he would
go soberly and gratefully to bed. On this night, however, as soon as
the cloth was taken away, he took up a candle and went into his
business-room. There he opened his safe, took from the most private
part of it a document endorsed on the envelope as Dr. Jekyll's Will,
and sat down with a clouded brow to study its contents. The will was
holograph, for Mr. Utterson, though he took charge of it now that it
was made, had refused to lend the least assistance in the making of
it; it provided not only that, in case of the decease of Henry
Jekyll, M.D., D.C.L., L.L.D., F.R.S., etc., all his possessions were
to pass into the hands of his "friend and benefactor Edward Hyde,"
but that in case of


Dr. Jekyll's "disappearance or unexplained absence for any period
exceeding three calendar months," the said Edward Hyde should step
into the said Henry Jekyll's shoes without further delay and free
from any burthen or obligation, beyond the payment of a few small
sums to the members of the doctor's household. This document had
long been the lawyer's eyesore. It offended him both as a lawyer and
as a lover of the sane and customary sides of life, to whom the
fanciful was the immodest. And hitherto it was his ignorance of Mr.
Hyde that had swelled his indignation; now, by a sudden turn, it was
his knowledge. It was already bad enough when the name was but a
name of which he could learn no more. It was worse when it began to
be clothed upon with detestable attributes; and out of the shifting,
insubstantial mists that had so long baffled his eye, there leaped
up the sudden, definite presentment of a fiend.

"I thought it was madness," he said, as he replaced the obnoxious
paper in the safe, "and now I begin to fear it is disgrace."

With that he blew out his candle, put on a great-coat, and set
forth in the direction of Cavendish Square, that citadel of
medicine, where his friend, the great Dr. Lanyon, had his house and
received his crowding patients. "If any one knows, it will be
Lanyon," he had thought.

The solemn butler knew and welcomed him;


he was subjected to no stage of delay, but ushered direct from the
door to the dining-room where Dr. Lanyon sat alone over his wine.
This was a hearty, healthy, dapper, red-faced gentleman, with a
shock of hair prematurely white, and a boisterous and decided
manner. At sight of Mr. Utterson, he sprang up from his chair and
welcomed him with both hands. The geniality, as was the way of the
man, was somewhat theatrical to the eye; but it reposed on genuine
feeling. For these two were old friends, old mates both at school
and college, both thorough respecters of themselves and of each
other, and, what does not always follow, men who thoroughly enjoyed
each other's company.

After a little rambling talk, the lawyer led up to the subject
which so disagreeably pre-occupied his mind.

"I suppose, Lanyon," said he "you and I must be the two oldest
friends that Henry Jekyll has?"

"I wish the friends were younger," chuckled Dr. Lanyon. "But I
suppose we are. And what of that? I see little of him now."

"Indeed?" said Utterson. "I thought you had a bond of common

"We had," was the reply. "But it is more than ten years since Henry
Jekyll became too fanciful for me. He began to go wrong, wrong in
mind; and though of course I continue to take an interest in him for
old sake's sake, as they say,


I see and I have seen devilish little of the man. Such unscientific
balderdash," added the doctor, flushing suddenly purple, "would have
estranged Damon and Pythias."

This little spirit of temper was somewhat of a relief to Mr.
Utterson. "They have only differed on some point of science," he
thought; and being a man of no scientific passions (except in the
matter of conveyancing), he even added: "It is nothing worse than
that!" He gave his friend a few seconds to recover his composure,
and then approached the question he had come to put. "Did you ever
come across a protege of his - one Hyde?" he asked.

"Hyde?" repeated Lanyon. "No. Never heard of him. Since my time."

That was the amount of information that the lawyer carried back
with him to the great, dark bed on which he tossed to and fro,
until the small hours of the morning began to grow large. It was a
night of little ease to his toiling mind, toiling in mere darkness
and besieged by questions.

Six o'clock struck on the bells of the church that was so
conveniently near to Mr. Utterson's dwelling, and still he was
digging at the problem. Hitherto it had touched him on the
intellectual side alone; but now his imagination also was engaged,
or rather enslaved; and as he lay and tossed in the gross darkness
of the night and the curtained room, Mr. Enfield's tale went by


before his mind in a scroll of lighted pictures. He would be aware
of the great field of lamps of a nocturnal city; then of the figure
of a man walking swiftly; then of a child running from the doctor's;
and then these met, and that human Juggernaut trod the child down
and passed on regardless of her screams. Or else he would see a room
in a rich house, where his friend lay asleep, dreaming and smiling
at his dreams; and then the door of that room would be opened, the
curtains of the bed plucked apart, the sleeper recalled, and lo!
there would stand by his side a figure to whom power was given, and
even at that dead hour, he must rise and do its bidding. The figure
in these two phases haunted the lawyer all night; and if at any time
he dozed over, it was but to see it glide more stealthily through
sleeping houses, or move the more swiftly and still the more
swiftly, even to dizziness, through wider labyrinths of lamplighted
city, and at every street-corner crush a child and leave her
screaming. And still the figure had no face by which he might know
it; even in his dreams, it had no face, or one that baffled him and
melted before his eyes; and thus it was that there sprang up and
grew apace in the lawyer's mind a singularly strong, almost an
inordinate, curiosity to behold the features of the real Mr. Hyde.
If he could but once set eyes on him, he thought the mystery would
lighten and perhaps roll altogether away, as was the habit of


things when well examined. He might see a reason for his friend's
strange preference or bondage (call it which you please) and even
for the startling clause of the will. At least it would be a face
worth seeing: the face of a man who was without bowels of mercy: a
face which had but to show itself to raise up, in the mind of the
unimpressionable Enfield, a spirit of enduring hatred.

From that time forward, Mr. Utterson began to haunt the door in the
by-street of shops. In the morning before office hours, at noon when
business was plenty, and time scarce, at night under the face of the
fogged city moon, by all lights and at all hours of solitude or
concourse, the lawyer was to be found on his chosen post.

"If he be Mr. Hyde," he had thought, "I shall be Mr. Seek."

And at last his patience was rewarded. It was a fine dry night;
frost in the air; the streets as clean as a ballroom floor; the
lamps, unshaken, by any wind, drawing a regular pattern of light
and shadow. By ten o'clock, when the shops were closed, the
by-street was very solitary and, in spite of the low growl of
London from all round, very silent. Small sounds carried far;
domestic sounds out of the houses were clearly audible on either
side of the roadway; and the rumour of the approach of any
passenger preceded him by a long time. Mr. Utterson had been some
minutes at his post, when he was


aware of an odd, light footstep drawing near. In the course of his
nightly patrols, he had long grown accustomed to the quaint effect
with which the footfalls of a single person, while he is still a
great way off, suddenly spring out distinct from the vast hum and
clatter of the city. Yet his attention had never before been so
sharply and decisively arrested; and it was with a strong,
superstitious prevision of success that he withdrew into the entry
of the court.

The steps drew swiftly nearer, and swelled out suddenly louder as
they turned the end of the street. The lawyer, looking forth from
the entry, could soon see what manner of man he had to deal with.
He was small and very plainly dressed, and the look of him, even at
that distance, went somehow strongly against the watcher's
inclination. But he made straight for the door, crossing the
roadway to save time; and as he came, he drew a key from his pocket
like one approaching home.

Mr. Utterson stepped out and touched him on the shoulder as he
passed. "Mr. Hyde, I think?"

Mr. Hyde shrank back with a hissing intake of the breath. But his
fear was only momentary; and though he did not look the lawyer in
the face, he answered coolly enough: "That is my name. What do you

"I see you are going in," returned the lawyer. "I am an old friend
of Dr. Jekyll's - Mr. Utter-


son of Gaunt Street - you must have heard my name; and meeting you
so conveniently, I thought you might admit me."

"You will not find Dr. Jekyll; he is from home," replied Mr. Hyde,
blowing in the key. And then suddenly, but still without looking up,
"How did you know me?" he asked.

"On your side," said Mr. Utterson, "will you do me a favour?"

"With pleasure," replied the other. "What shall it be?"

"Will you let me see your face?" asked the lawyer.

Mr. Hyde appeared to hesitate, and then, as if upon some sudden
reflection, fronted about with an air of defiance; and the pair
stared at each other pretty fixedly for a few seconds. "Now I shall
know you again," said Mr. Utterson. "It may be useful."

"Yes," returned Mr. Hyde, "it is as well we have, met; and a
propos, you should have my address." And he gave a number of a
street in Soho.

"Good God!" thought Mr. Utterson, "can he, too, have been thinking
of the will?" But he kept his feelings to himself and only grunted
in acknowledgment of the address.

"And now," said the other, "how did you know me?"

"By description," was the reply.

"Whose description?"


"We have common friends," said Mr. Utterson.

"Common friends?" echoed Mr. Hyde, a little hoarsely. "Who are

"Jekyll, for instance," said the lawyer.

"He never told you," cried Mr. Hyde, with a flush of anger. "I did
not think you would have lied."

"Come," said Mr. Utterson, "that is not fitting language."

The other snarled aloud into a savage laugh; and the next moment,
with extraordinary quickness, he had unlocked the door and
disappeared into the house.

The lawyer stood awhile when Mr. Hyde had left him, the picture of
disquietude. Then he began slowly to mount the street, pausing
every step or two and putting his hand to his brow like a man in
mental perplexity. The problem he was thus debating as he walked,
was one of a class that is rarely solved. Mr. Hyde was pale and
dwarfish, he gave an impression of deformity without any nameable
malformation, he had a displeasing smile, he had borne himself to
the lawyer with a sort of murderous mixture of timidity and

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Online LibraryRobert Louis StevensonThe Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde → online text (page 1 of 6)