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Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Robert Louis Stevenson

Update: 2020-04-22

Chapter 1 Story of the Door

  • Mr. Utterson the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance that was neve_ighted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse; backward i_entiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary and yet somehow lovable. At friendl_eetings, and when the wine was to his taste, something eminently huma_eaconed from his eye; something indeed which never found its way into hi_alk, but which spoke not only in these silent symbols of the after-dinne_ace, but more often and loudly in the acts of his life. He was austere wit_imself; drank gin when he was alone, to mortify a taste for vintages; an_hough he enjoyed the theater, had not crossed the doors of one for twent_ears. 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 t_ain's heresy," he used to say quaintly: "I let my brother go to the devil i_is own way." In this character, it was frequently his fortune to be the las_eputable acquaintance and the last good influence in the lives of downgoin_en. And to such as these, so long as they came about his chambers, he neve_arked a shade of change in his demeanour.
  • No doubt the feat was easy to Mr. Utterson; for he was undemonstrative at th_est, and even his friendship seemed to be founded in a similar catholicity o_ood-nature. It is the mark of a modest man to accept his friendly circl_eady-made from the hands of opportunity; and that was the lawyer's way. Hi_riends 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 i_he 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 fo_any, what these two could see in each other, or what subject they could fin_n common. It was reported by those who encountered them in their Sunda_alks, that they said nothing, looked singularly dull and would hail wit_bvious relief the appearance of a friend. For all that, the two men put th_reatest 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 o_usiness, that they might enjoy them uninterrupted.
  • It chanced on one of these rambles that their way led them down a by-street i_ busy quarter of London. The street was small and what is called quiet, bu_t drove a thriving trade on the weekdays. The inhabitants were all doin_ell, it seemed and all emulously hoping to do better still, and laying ou_he surplus of their grains in coquetry; so that the shop fronts stood alon_hat thoroughfare with an air of invitation, like rows of smiling saleswomen.
  • Even on Sunday, when it veiled its more florid charms and lay comparativel_mpty 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-polishe_rasses, and general cleanliness and gaiety of note, instantly caught an_leased the eye of the passenger.
  • Two doors from one corner, on the left hand going east the line was broken b_he entry of a court; and just at that point a certain sinister block o_uilding thrust forward its gable on the street. It was two storeys high;
  • showed no window, nothing but a door on the lower storey and a blind forehea_f discoloured wall on the upper; and bore in every feature, the marks o_rolonged and sordid negligence. The door, which was equipped with neithe_ell nor knocker, was blistered and distained. Tramps slouched into the reces_nd struck matches on the panels; children kept shop upon the steps; th_choolboy 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 thei_avages.
  • Mr. Enfield and the lawyer were on the other side of the by-street; but whe_hey 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 replie_n the affirmative. "It is connected in my mind," added he, "with a very od_tory."
  • "Indeed?" said Mr. Utterson, with a slight change of voice, "and what wa_hat?"
  • "Well, it was this way," returned Mr. Enfield: "I was coming home from som_lace 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 b_een but lamps. Street after street and all the folks asleep—street afte_treet, 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 an_egins 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 othe_ girl of maybe eight or ten who was running as hard as she was able down _ross street. Well, sir, the two ran into one another naturally enough at th_orner; and then came the horrible part of the thing; for the man trample_almly over the child's body and left her screaming on the ground. It sound_othing to hear, but it was hellish to see. It wasn't like a man; it was lik_ome damned Juggernaut. I gave a few halloa, took to my heels, collared m_entleman, and brought him back to where there was already quite a group abou_he screaming child. He was perfectly cool and made no resistance, but gave m_ne look, so ugly that it brought out the sweat on me like running. The peopl_ho 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 muc_he worse, more frightened, according to the Sawbones; and there you migh_ave supposed would be an end to it. But there was one curious circumstance. _ad taken a loathing to my gentleman at first sight. So had the child'_amily, which was only natural. But the doctor's case was what struck me. H_as the usual cut and dry apothecary, of no particular age and colour, with _trong Edinburgh accent and about as emotional as a bagpipe. Well, sir, he wa_ike the rest of us; every time he looked at my prisoner, I saw that Sawbone_urn sick and white with desire to kill him. I knew what was in his mind, jus_s he knew what was in mine; and killing being out of the question, we did th_ext best. We told the man we could and would make such a scandal out of thi_s should make his name stink from one end of London to the other. If he ha_ny friends or any credit, we undertook that he should lose them. And all th_ime, as we were pitching it in red hot, we were keeping the women off him a_est we could for they were as wild as harpies. I never saw a circle of suc_ateful faces; and there was the man in the middle, with a kind of blac_neering 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,' sai_e, `I am naturally helpless. No gentleman but wishes to avoid a scene,' say_e. `Name your figure.' Well, we screwed him up to a hundred pounds for th_hild's family; he would have clearly liked to stick out; but there wa_omething about the lot of us that meant mischief, and at last he struck. Th_ext thing was to get the money; and where do you think he carried us but t_hat place with the door?—whipped out a key, went in, and presently came bac_ith the matter of ten pounds in gold and a cheque for the balance o_outts'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 ver_ell known and often printed. The figure was stiff; but the signature was goo_or more than that if it was only genuine. I took the liberty of pointing ou_o my gentleman that the whole business looked apocryphal, and that a man doe_ot, in real life, walk into a cellar door at four in the morning and come ou_ith another man's cheque for close upon a hundred pounds. But he was quit_asy and sneering. `Set your mind at rest,' says he, `I will stay with yo_ill the banks open and cash the cheque myself.' So we all set of, the doctor,
  • and the child's father, and our friend and myself, and passed the rest of th_ight in my chambers; and next day, when we had breakfasted, went in a body t_he bank. I gave in the cheque myself, and said I had every reason to believ_t 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 ma_as a fellow that nobody could have to do with, a really damnable man; and th_erson that drew the cheque is the very pink of the proprieties, celebrate_oo, 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 th_apers of his youth. Black Mail House is what I call the place with the door,
  • in consequence. Though even that, you know, is far from explaining all," h_dded, and with the words fell into a vein of musing.
  • From this he was recalled by Mr. Utterson asking rather suddenly: "And yo_on't know if the drawer of the cheque lives there?"
  • "A likely place, isn't it?" returned Mr. Enfield. "But I happen to hav_oticed his address; he lives in some square or other."
  • "And you never asked about the—place with the door?" said Mr. Utterson.
  • "No, sir: I had a delicacy," was the reply. "I feel very strongly abou_utting 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 th_op of a hill; and away the stone goes, starting others; and presently som_land old bird (the last you would have thought of) is knocked on the head i_is own back garden and the family have to change their name. No sir, I mak_t 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 seem_carcely a house. There is no other door, and nobody goes in or out of tha_ne but, once in a great while, the gentleman of my adventure. There are thre_indows looking on the court on the first floor; none below; the windows ar_lways shut but they're clean. And then there is a chimney which is generall_moking; so somebody must live there. And yet it's not so sure; for th_uildings are so packed together about the court, that it's hard to say wher_ne 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: _ant to ask the name of that man who walked over the child."
  • "Well," said Mr. Enfield, "I can't see what harm it would do. It was a man o_he name of Hyde."
  • "Hm," 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 down-right detestable. I never saw a man I s_isliked, and yet I scarce know why. He must be deformed somewhere; he gives _trong feeling of deformity, although I couldn't specify the point. He's a_xtraordinary 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 o_emory; for I declare I can see him this moment."
  • Mr. Utterson again walked some way in silence and obviously under a weight o_onsideration. "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 _o 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 an_oint you had better correct it."
  • "I think you might have warned me," returned the other with a touch o_ullenness. "But I have been pedantically exact, as you call it. The fello_ad 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 presentl_esumed. "Here is another lesson to say nothing," said he. "I am ashamed of m_ong tongue. Let us make a bargain never to refer to this again."
  • "With all my heart," said the lawyer. I shake hands on that, Richard."