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 theater, 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 downgoing 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 weekdays. The
inhabitants were all doing well, it seemed and all emulously hoping to do
better still, and laying out the surplus of their grains 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
storeys high; showed no window, nothing but a door on the lower storey 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
"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
"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 churchtill 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 few 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 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
to, 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 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 of, 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 cheque 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 the 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 the
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 child."
"Well," said Mr. Enfield, "I can't see what harm it would do. It was
a man of the 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 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
"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 it."
"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
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
"With all my heart," said the lawyer. I shake hands on that, Richard."
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 greatcoat, 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 anyone 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 respectors of themselves and of each other, and
what does not always follow, men who thoroughly enjoyed each other's
After a little rambling talk, the lawyer led up to the subject which
so disagreeably preoccupied 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 beseiged by questions.
Six o'clock stuck 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 mysterious 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 want?"
"I see you are going in," returned the lawyer. "I am an old friend of
Dr. Jekyll's-Mr. Utterson of Gaunt Street-you must have heard of 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, "lt is as well we have met; and apropos,
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.
"We have common friends," said Mr. Utterson.
"Common friends," echoed Mr. Hyde, a little hoarsely. "Who are they?"
"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 boldness, and he spoke with a husky, whispering and somewhat
broken voice; all these were points against him, but not all of these
together could explain the hitherto unknown disgust, loathing and fear
with which Mr. Utterson regarded him. "There must be something else," said
the perplexed gentleman. "There is something more, if I could find a name
for it. God bless me, the man seems hardly human! Something troglodytic,
shall we say? or can it be the old story of Dr. Fell? or is it the mere
radience of a foul soul that thus transpires through, and transfigures,
its clay continent? The last,I think; for, O my poor old Harry Jekyll, if
ever I read Satan's signature upon a face, it is on that of your new
Round the corner from the by-street, there was a square of ancient,
handsome houses, now for the most part decayed from their high estate and
let in flats and chambers to all sorts and conditions of men;
map-engravers, architects, shady lawyers and the agents of obscure
enterprises. One house, however, second from the corner, was still
occupied entire; and at the door of this, which wore a great air of wealth
and comfort, though it was now plunged in darkness except for the
fanlight, Mr. Utterson stopped and knocked. A well-dressed, elderly
servant opened the door.
"Is Dr. Jekyll at home, Poole?" asked the lawyer.
"I will see, Mr. Utterson," said Poole, admitting the visitor, as he
spoke, into a large, low-roofed, comfortable hall paved with flags, warmed
(after the fashion of a country house) by a bright, open fire, and
furnished with costly cabinets of oak. "Will you wait here by the fire,
sir? or shall I give you a light in the dining-room?"
"Here, thank you," said the lawyer, and he drew near and leaned on
the tall fender. This hall, in which he was now left alone, was a pet
fancy of his friend the doctor's; and Utterson himself was wont to speak
of it as the pleasantest room in London. But tonight there was a shudder
in his blood; the face of Hyde sat heavy on his memory; he felt (what was
rare with him) a nausea and distaste of life; and in the gloom of his
spirits, he seemed to read a menace in the flickering of the firelight on
the polished cabinets and the uneasy starting of the shadow on the roof.
He was ashamed of his relief, when Poole presently returned to announce
that Dr. Jekyll was gone out.
"I saw Mr. Hyde go in by the old dissecting room, Poole," he said.
"Is that right, when Dr. Jekyll is from home?"
"Quite right, Mr. Utterson, sir," replied the servant. "Mr. Hyde has
"Your master seems to repose a great deal of trust in that young man,
Poole," resumed the other musingly.
"Yes, sir, he does indeed," said Poole. "We have all orders to obey
"I do not think I ever met Mr. Hyde?" asked Utterson.
"O, dear no, sir. He never dines here," replied the butler. Indeed we
see very little of him on this side of the house; he mostly comes and goes
by the laboratory."
"Well, good-night, Poole."
"Good-night, Mr. Utterson."
And the lawyer set out homeward with a very heavy heart. "Poor Harry
Jekyll," he thought, "my mind misgives me he is in deep waters! He was
wild when he was young; a long while ago to be sure; but in the law of
God, there is no statute of limitations. Ay, it must be that; the ghost of
some old sin, the cancer of some concealed disgrace: punishment coming,
PEDE CLAUDO, years after memory has forgotten and self-love condoned the
fault." And the lawyer, scared by the thought, brooded awhile on his own
past, groping in all the corners of memory, least by chance some
Jack-in-the-Box of an old iniquity should leap to light there. His past
was fairly blameless; few men could read the rolls of their life with less
apprehension; yet he was humbled to the dust by the many ill things he had
done, and raised up again into a sober and fearful gratitude by the many
he had come so near to doing yet avoided. And then by a return on his
former subject, he conceived a spark of hope. "This Master Hyde, if he
were studied," thought he, "must have secrets of his own; black secrets,
by the look of him; secrets compared to which poor Jekyll's worst would be
like sunshine. Things cannot continue as they are. It turns me cold to
think of this creature stealing like a thief to Harry's bedside; poor
Harry, what a wakening! And the danger of it; for if this Hyde suspects
the existence of the will, he may grow impatient to inherit. Ay, I must
put my shoulders to the wheel-if Jekyll will but let me," he added, "if
Jekyll will only let me." For once more he saw before his mind's eye, as
clear as transparency, the strange clauses of the will.
Robert Louis Stevenson. The strange case of dr. Jekyll and mr. Hyde
A fortnight later, by excellent good fortune, the doctor gave one of
his pleasant dinners to some five or six old cronies, all intelligent,
reputable men and all judges of good wine; and Mr. Utterson so contrived
that he remained behind after the others had departed. This was no new
arrangement, but a thing that had befallen many scores of times. Where
Utterson was liked, he was liked well. Hosts loved to detain the dry
lawyer, when the light-hearted and loose-tongued had already their foot on
the threshold; they liked to sit a while in his unobtrusive company,
practising for solitude, sobering their minds in the man's rich silence
after the expense and strain of gaiety. To this rule, Dr. Jekyll was no
exception; and as he now sat on the opposite side of the fire-a large,
well-made, smooth-faced man of fifty, with something of a stylish cast
perhaps, but every mark of capacity and kindness-you could see by his
looks that he cherished for Mr. Utterson a sincere and warm affection.
"I have been wanting to speak to you, Jekyll," began the latter. "You
know that will of yours?"
A close observer might have gathered that the topic was distasteful;
but the doctor carried it off gaily. "My poor Utterson," said he, "you are
unfortunate in such a client. I never saw a man so distressed as you were
by my will; unless it were that hide-bound pedant, Lanyon, at what he
called my scientific heresies. O, I know he's a good fellow-you needn't
frown-an excellent fellow, and I always mean to see more of him; but a
hide-bound pedant for all that; an ignorant, blatant pedant. I was never
more disappointed in any man than Lanyon."
"You know I never approved of it," pursued Utterson, ruthlessly
disregarding the fresh topic.
"My will? Yes, certainly, I know that," said the doctor, a trifle
sharply. "You have told me so."
"Well, I tell you so again," continued the lawyer. "I have been
learning something of young Hyde."
The large handsome face of Dr. Jekyll grew pale to the very lips, and
there came a blackness about his eyes. "I do not care to hear more," said
he. "This is a matter I thought we had agreed to drop."
"What I heard was abominable," said Utterson.
"It can make no change. You do not understand my position," returned
the doctor, with a certain incoherency of manner. "I am painfully
situated, Utterson; my position is a very strange-a very strange one. It
is one of those affairs that cannot be mended by talking."
"Jekyll," said Utterson, "you know me: I am a man to be trusted. Make
a clean breast of this in confidence; and I make no doubt I can get you
out of it."
"My good Utterson," said the doctor, "this is very good of you, this
is downright good of you, and I cannot find words to thank you in. I
believe you fully; I would trust you before any man alive, ay, before
myself, if I could make the choice; but indeed it isn't what you fancy; it
is not as bad as that; and just to put your good heart at rest, I will
tell you one thing: the moment I choose, I can be rid of Mr. Hyde. I give
you my hand upon that; and I thank you again and again; and I will just
add one little word, Utterson, that I'm sure you'll take in good part:
this is a private matter, and I beg of you to let it sleep."
Utterson reflected a little, looking in the fire.
"I have no doubt you are perfectly right," he said at last, getting
to his feet.
"Well, but since we have touched upon this business, and for the last
time I hope," continued the doctor, "there is one point I should like you
to understand. I have really a very great interest in poor Hyde. I know
you have seen him; he told me so; and I fear he was rude. But I do
sincerely take a great, a very great interest in that young man; and if I
am taken away, Utterson, I wish you to promise me that you will bear with
him and get his rights for him. I think you would, if you knew all; and it
would be a weight off my mind if you would promise."
"I can't pretend that I shall ever like him," said the lawyer.
"I don't ask that," pleaded Jekyll, laying his hand upon the other's
arm; "I only ask for justice; I only ask you to help him for my sake, when
I am no longer here."
Utterson heaved an irrepressible sigh. "Well," said he, "I promise."
Nearly a year later, in the month of October, 18-, London was
startled by a crime of singular ferocity and rendered all the more notable
by the high position of the victim. The details were few and startling. A
maid servant living alone in a house not far from the river, had gone
upstairs to bed about eleven. Although a fog rolled over the city in the
small hours, the early part of the night was cloudless, and the lane,
which the maid's window overlooked, was brilliantly lit by the full moon.
It seems she was romantically given, for she sat down upon her box, which
stood immediately under the window, and fell into a dream of musing. Never
(she used to say, with streaming tears, when she narrated that
experience), never had she felt more at peace with all men or thought more
kindly of the world. And as she so sat she became aware of an aged
beautiful gentleman with white hair, drawing near along the lane; and
advancing to meet him, another and very small gentleman, to whom at first
she paid less attention. When they had come within speech (which was just
under the maid's eyes) the older man bowed and accosted the other with a
very pretty manner of politeness. It did not seem as if the subject of his
address were of great importance; indeed, from his pointing, it some times
appeared as if he were only inquiring his way; but the moon shone on his
face as he spoke, and the girl was pleased to watch it, it seemed to
breathe such an innocent and old-world kindness of disposition, yet with
something high too, as of a well-founded self-content. Presently her eye
wandered to the other, and she was surprised to recognise in him a certain
Mr. Hyde, who had once visited her master and for whom she had conceived a
dislike. He had in his hand a heavy cane, with which he was trifling; but
he answered never a word, and seemed to listen with an ill-contained
impatience. And then all of a sudden he broke out in a great flame of
anger, stamping with his foot, brandishing the cane, and carrying on (as
the maid described it) like a madman. The old gentleman took a step back,
with the air of one very much surprised and a trifle hurt; and at that Mr.
Hyde broke out of all bounds and clubbed him to the earth. And next
moment, with ape-like fury, he was trampling his victim under foot and
hailing down a storm of blows, under which the bones were audibly
shattered and the body jumped upon the roadway. At the horror of these
sights and sounds, the maid fainted.
It was two o'clock when she came to herself and called for the
police. The murderer was gone long ago; but there lay his victim in the
middle of the lane, incredibly mangled. The stick with which the deed had
been done, although it was of some rare and very tough and heavy wood, had
broken in the middle under the stress of this insensate cruelty; and one
splintered half had rolled in the neighbouring gutter-the other, without
doubt, had been carried away by the murderer. A purse and gold watch were
found upon the victim: but no cards or papers, except a sealed and stamped
envelope, which he had been probably carrying to the post, and which bore
the name and address of Mr. Utterson.
This was brought to the lawyer the next morning, before he was out of
bed; and he had no sooner seen it and been told the circumstances, than he
shot out a solemn lip. "I shall say nothing till I have seen the body,"
said he; "this may be very serious. Have the kindness to wait while I
dress." And with the same grave countenance he hurried through his
breakfast and drove to the police station, whither the body had been
carried. As soon as he came into the cell, he nodded.
"Yes," said he, "I recognise him. I am sorry to say that this is Sir
"Good God, sir," exclaimed the officer, "is it possible?" And the
next moment his eye lighted up with professional ambition. "This will make
a deal of noise," he said. "And perhaps you can help us to the man." And
he briefly narrated what the maid had seen, and showed the broken stick.
Mr. Utterson had already quailed at the name of Hyde; but when the
stick was laid before him, he could doubt no longer; broken and battered
as it was, he recognized it for one that he had himself presented many
years before to Henry Jekyll.
"Is this Mr. Hyde a person of small stature?" he inquired.
"Particularly small and particularly wicked-looking, is what the maid
calls him," said the officer.
Mr. Utterson reflected; and then, raising his head, "If you will come
with me in my cab," he said, "I think I can take you to his house."
It was by this time about nine in the morning, and the first fog of
the season. A great chocolate-coloured pall lowered over heaven, but the
wind was continually charging and routing these embattled vapours; so that
as the cab crawled from street to street, Mr. Utterson beheld a marvelous
number of degrees and hues of twilight; for here it would be dark like the
back-end of evening; and there would be a glow of a rich, lurid brown,
like the light of some strange conflagration; and here, for a moment, the
fog would be quite broken up, and a haggard shaft of daylight would glance
in between the swirling wreaths. The dismal quarter of Soho seen under
these changing glimpses, with its muddy ways, and slatternly passengers,
and its lamps, which had never been extinguished or had been kindled
afresh to combat this mournful reinvasion of darkness, seemed, in the
lawyer's eyes, like a district of some city in a nightmare. The thoughts
of his mind, besides, were of the gloomiest dye; and when he glanced at
the companion of his drive, he was conscious of some touch of that terror
of the law and the law's officers, which may at times assail the most
As the cab drew up before the address indicated, the fog lifted a
little and showed him a dingy street, a gin palace, a low French eating
house, a shop for the retail of penny numbers and twopenny salads, many
ragged children huddled in the doorways, and many women of many different
nationalities passing out, key in hand, to have a morning glass; and the
next moment the fog settled down again upon that part, as brown as umber,
and cut him off from his blackguardly surroundings. This was the home of
Henry Jekyll's favourite; of a man who was heir to a quarter of a million
An ivory-faced and silvery-haired old woman opened the door. She had
an evil face, smoothed by hypocrisy: but her manners were excellent. Yes,
she said, this was Mr. Hyde's, but he was not at home; he had been in that
night very late, but he had gone away again in less than an hour; there
was nothing strange in that; his habits were very irregular, and he was
often absent; for instance, it was nearly two months since she had seen
him till yesterday.
"Very well, then, we wish to see his rooms," said the lawyer; and
when the woman began to declare it was impossible, "I had better tell you
who this person is," he added. "This is Inspector Newcomen of Scotland
A flash of odious joy appeared upon the woman's face. "Ah!" said she,
"he is in trouble! What has he done?"
Mr. Utterson and the inspector exchanged glances. "He don't seem a
very popular character," observed the latter. "And now, my good woman,
just let me and this gentleman have a look about us."
In the whole extent of the house, which but for the old woman
remained otherwise empty, Mr. Hyde had only used a couple of rooms; but
these were furnished with luxury and good taste. A closet was filled with
wine; the plate was of silver, the napery elegant; a good picture hung
upon the walls, a gift (as Utterson supposed) from Henry Jekyll, who was
much of a connoisseur; and the carpets were of many plies and agreeable in
colour. At this moment, however, the rooms bore every mark of having been
recently and hurriedly ransacked; clothes lay about the floor, with their
pockets inside out; lock-fast drawers stood open; and on the hearth there
lay a pile of grey ashes, as though many papers had been burned. From
these embers the inspector disinterred the butt end of a green cheque
book, which had resisted the action of the fire; the other half of the
stick was found behind the door; and as this clinched his suspicions, the
officer declared himself delighted. A visit to the bank, where several
thousand pounds were found to be lying to the murderer's credit, completed
"You may depend upon it, sir," he told Mr. Utterson: "I have him in
my hand. He must have lost his head, or he never would have left the stick
or, above all, burned the cheque book. Why, money's life to the man. We
have nothing to do but wait for him at the bank, and get out the
This last, however, was not so easy of accomplishment; for Mr. Hyde
had numbered few familiars-even the master of the servant maid had only
seen him twice; his family could nowhere be traced; he had never been
photographed; and the few who could describe him differed widely, as
common observers will. Only on one point were they agreed; and that was
the haunting sense of unexpressed deformity with which the fugitive
impressed his beholders.
It was late in the afternoon, when Mr. Utterson found his way to Dr.
Jekyll's door, where he was at once admitted by Poole, and carried down by
the kitchen offices and across a yard which had once been a garden, to the
building which was indifferently known as the laboratory or dissecting
rooms. The doctor had bought the house from the heirs of a celebrated
surgeon; and his own tastes being rather chemical than anatomical, had
changed the destination of the block at the bottom of the garden. It was
the first time that the lawyer had been received in that part of his
friend's quarters; and he eyed the dingy, windowless structure with
curiosity, and gazed round with a distasteful sense of strangeness as he
crossed the theatre, once crowded with eager students and now lying gaunt
and silent, the tables laden with chemical apparatus, the floor strewn
with crates and littered with packing straw, and the light falling dimly
through the foggy cupola. At the further end, a flight of stairs mounted
to a door covered with red baize; and through this, Mr. Utterson was at
last received into the doctor's cabinet. It was a large room fitted round
with glass presses, furnished, among other things, with a cheval-glass and
a business table, and looking out upon the court by three dusty windows
barred with iron. The fire burned in the grate; a lamp was set lighted on
the chimney shelf, for even in the houses the fog began to lie thickly;
and there, close up to the warmth, sat Dr. Jekyll, looking deathly sick.
He did not rise to meet his visitor, but held out a cold hand and bade him
welcome in a changed voice.
"And now," said Mr. Utterson, as soon as Poole had left them, "you
have heard the news?"
The doctor shuddered. "They were crying it in the square," he said.
"I heard them in my dining-room."
"One word," said the lawyer. "Carew was my client, but so are you,
and I want to know what I am doing. You have not been mad enough to hide
"Utterson, I swear to God," cried the doctor, "I swear to God I will
never set eyes on him again. I bind my honour to you that I am done with
him in this world. It is all at an end. And indeed he does not want my
help; you do not know him as I do; he is safe, he is quite safe; mark my
words, he will never more be heard of."
The lawyer listened gloomily; he did not like his friend's feverish
manner. "You seem pretty sure of him," said he; "and for your sake, I hope
you may be right. If it came to a trial, your name might appear."
"I am quite sure of him," replied Jekyll; "I have grounds for
certainty that I cannot share with any one. But there is one thing on
which you may advise me. I have-I have received a letter; and I am at a
loss whether I should show it to the police. I should like to leave it in
your hands, Utterson; you would judge wisely, I am sure; I have so great a
trust in you."
"You fear, I suppose, that it might lead to his detection?" asked the
"No," said the other. "I cannot say that I care what becomes of Hyde;
I am quite done with him. I was thinking of my own character, which this
hateful business has rather exposed."
Utterson ruminated awhile; he was surprised at his friend's
selfishness, and yet relieved by it. "Well," said he, at last, let me see
The letter was written in an odd, upright hand and signed "Edward
Hyde": and it signified, briefly enough, that the writer's benefactor, Dr.
Jekyll, whom he had long so unworthily repaid for a thousand generosities,
need labour under no alarm for his safety, as he had means of escape on
which he placed a sure dependence. The lawyer liked this letter well
enough; it put a better colour on the intimacy than he had looked for; and
he blamed himself for some of his past suspicions.
"Have you the envelope?" he asked.
"I burned it," replied Jekyll, "before I thought what I was about.
But it bore no postmark. The note was handed in."
"Shall I keep this and sleep upon it?" asked Utterson.
"I wish you to judge for me entirely," was the reply. "I have lost
confidence in myself."
"Well, I shall consider," returned the lawyer. "And now one word
more: it was Hyde who dictated the terms in your will about that
The doctor seemed seized with a qualm of faintness; he shut his mouth
tight and nodded.
"I knew it," said Utterson. "He meant to murder you. You had a fine
"I have had what is far more to the purpose," returned the doctor
solemnly: "I have had a lesson-O God, Utterson, what a lesson I have had!"
And he covered his face for a moment with his hands.
On his way out, the lawyer stopped and had a word or two with Poole.
"By the bye," said he, "there was a letter handed in to-day: what was the
messenger like?" But Poole was positive nothing had come except by post;
"and only circulars by that," he added.
This news sent off the visitor with his fears renewed. Plainly the
letter had come by the laboratory door; possibly, indeed, it had been
written in the cabinet; and if that were so, it must be differently
judged, and handled with the more caution. The newsboys, as he went, were
crying themselves hoarse along the footways: "Special edition. Shocking
murder of an M.P." That was the funeral oration of one friend and client;
and he could not help a certain apprehension lest the good name of another
should be sucked down in the eddy of the scandal. It was, at least, a
ticklish decision that he had to make; and self-reliant as he was by
habit, he began to cherish a longing for advice. It was not to be had
directly; but perhaps, he thought, it might be fished for.
Presently after, he sat on one side of his own hearth, with Mr.
Guest, his head clerk, upon the other, and midway between, at a nicely
calculated distance from the fire, a bottle of a particular old wine that
had long dwelt unsunned in the foundations of his house. The fog still
slept on the wing above the drowned city, where the lamps glimmered like
carbuncles; and through the muffle and smother of these fallen clouds, the
procession of the town's life was still rolling in through the great
arteries with a sound as of a mighty wind. But the room was gay with
firelight. In the bottle the acids were long ago resolved; the imperial
dye had softened with time, as the colour grows richer in stained windows;
and the glow of hot autumn afternoons on hillside vineyards, was ready to
be set free and to disperse the fogs of London. Insensibly the lawyer
melted. There was no man from whom he kept fewer secrets than Mr. Guest;
and he was not always sure that he kept as many as he meant. Guest had
often been on business to the doctor's; he knew Poole; he could scarce
have failed to hear of Mr. Hyde's familiarity about the house; he might
draw conclusions: was it not as well, then, that he should see a letter
which put that mystery to right? and above all since Guest, being a great
student and critic of handwriting, would consider the step natural and
obliging? The clerk, besides, was a man of counsel; he could scarce read
so strange a document without dropping a remark; and by that remark Mr.
Utterson might shape his future course.
"This is a sad business about Sir Danvers," he said.
"Yes, sir, indeed. It has elicited a great deal of public feeling,"
returned Guest. "The man, of course, was mad."
"I should like to hear your views on that," replied Utterson. "I have
a document here in his handwriting; it is between ourselves, for I scarce
know what to do about it; it is an ugly business at the best. But there it
is; quite in your way: a murderer's autograph."
Guest's eyes brightened, and he sat down at once and studied it with
passion. "No sir," he said: "not mad; but it is an odd hand."
"And by all accounts a very odd writer," added the lawyer.
Just then the servant entered with a note.
"Is that from Dr. Jekyll, sir?" inquired the clerk. "I thought I knew
the writing. Anything private, Mr. Utterson?
"Only an invitation to dinner. Why? Do you want to see it?"
"One moment. I thank you, sir;" and the clerk laid the two sheets of
paper alongside and sedulously compared their contents. "Thank you, sir,"
he said at last, returning both; "it's a very interesting autograph."
There was a pause, during which Mr. Utterson struggled with himself.
"Why did you compare them, Guest?" he inquired suddenly.
"Well, sir," returned the clerk, "there's a rather singular
resemblance; the two hands are in many points identical: only differently
"Rather quaint," said Utterson.
"It is, as you say, rather quaint," returned Guest.
"I wouldn't speak of this note, you know," said the master.
"No, sir," said the clerk. "I understand."
But no sooner was Mr. Utterson alone that night, than he locked the
note into his safe, where it reposed from that time forward. "What!" he
thought. "Henry Jekyll forge for a murderer!" And his blood ran cold in
Time ran on; thousands of pounds were offered in reward, for the
death of Sir Danvers was resented as a public injury; but Mr. Hyde had
disappeared out of the ken of the police as though he had never existed.
Much of his past was unearthed, indeed, and all disreputable: tales came
out of the man's cruelty, at once so callous and violent; of his vile
life, of his strange associates, of the hatred that seemed to have
surrounded his career; but of his present whereabouts, not a whisper. From
the time he had left the house in Soho on the morning of the murder, he
was simply blotted out; and gradually, as time drew on, Mr. Utterson began
to recover from the hotness of his alarm, and to grow more at quiet with
himself. The death of Sir Danvers was, to his way of thinking, more than
paid for by the disappearance of Mr. Hyde. Now that that evil influence
had been withdrawn, a new life began for Dr. Jekyll. He came out of his
seclusion, renewed relations with his friends, became once more their
familiar guest and entertainer; and whilst he had always been known for
charities, he was now no less distinguished for religion. He was busy, he
was much in the open air, he did good; his face seemed to open and
brighten, as if with an inward consciousness of service; and for more than
two months, the doctor was at peace.
On the 8th of January Utterson had dined at the doctor's with a small
party; Lanyon had been there; and the face of the host had looked from one
to the other as in the old days when the trio were inseparable friends. On
the 12th, and again on the 14th, the door was shut against the lawyer.
"The doctor was confined to the house," Poole said, "and saw no one." On
the 15th, he tried again, and was again refused; and having now been used
for the last two months to see his friend almost daily, he found this
return of solitude to weigh upon his spirits. The fifth night he had in
Guest to dine with him; and the sixth he betook himself to Dr. Lanyon's.
There at least he was not denied admittance; but when he came in, he
was shocked at the change which had taken place in the doctor's
appearance. He had his death-warrant written legibly upon his face. The
rosy man had grown pale; his flesh had fallen away; he was visibly balder
and older; and yet it was not so much these tokens of a swift physical
decay that arrested the lawyer's notice, as a look in the eye and quality
of manner that seemed to testify to some deep-seated terror of the mind.
It was unlikely that the doctor should fear death; and yet that was what
Utterson was tempted to suspect. "Yes," he thought; he is a doctor, he
must know his own state and that his days are counted; and the knowledge
is more than he can bear." And yet when Utterson remarked on his
ill-looks, it was with an air of great firmness that Lanyon declared
himself a doomed man.
"I have had a shock," he said, "and I shall never recover. It is a
question of weeks. Well, life has been pleasant; I liked it; yes, sir, I
used to like it. I sometimes think if we knew all, we should be more glad
to get away."
"Jekyll is ill, too," observed Utterson. "Have you seen him?"
But Lanyon's face changed, and he held up a trembling hand. "I wish
to see or hear no more of Dr. Jekyll," he said in a loud, unsteady voice.
"I am quite done with that person; and I beg that you will spare me any
allusion to one whom I regard as dead."
"Tut-tut," said Mr. Utterson; and then after a considerable pause,
"Can't I do anything?" he inquired. "We are three very old friends,
Lanyon; we shall not live to make others."
"Nothing can be done," returned Lanyon; "ask himself."
"He will not see me," said the lawyer.
"I am not surprised at that," was the reply. "Some day, Utterson,
after I am dead, you may perhaps come to learn the right and wrong of
this. I cannot tell you. And in the meantime, if you can sit and talk with
me of other things, for God's sake, stay and do so; but if you cannot keep
clear of this accursed topic, then in God's name, go, for I cannot bear
As soon as he got home, Utterson sat down and wrote to Jekyll,
complaining of his exclusion from the house, and asking the cause of this
unhappy break with Lanyon; and the next day brought him a long answer,
often very pathetically worded, and sometimes darkly mysterious in drift.
The quarrel with Lanyon was incurable. "I do not blame our old friend,"
Jekyll wrote, but I share his view that we must never meet. I mean from
henceforth to lead a life of extreme seclusion; you must not be surprised,
nor must you doubt my friendship, if my door is often shut even to you.
You must suffer me to go my own dark way. I have brought on myself a
punishment and a danger that I cannot name. If I am the chief of sinners,
I am the chief of sufferers also. I could not think that this earth
contained a place for sufferings and terrors so unmanning; and you can do
but one thing, Utterson, to lighten this destiny, and that is to respect
my silence." Utterson was amazed; the dark influence of Hyde had been
withdrawn, the doctor had returned to his old tasks and amities; a week
ago, the prospect had smiled with every promise of a cheerful and an
honoured age; and now in a moment, friendship, and peace of mind, and the
whole tenor of his life were wrecked. So great and unprepared a change
pointed to madness; but in view of Lanyon's manner and words, there must
lie for it some deeper ground.
A week afterwards Dr. Lanyon took to his bed, and in something less
than a fortnight he was dead. The night after the funeral, at which he had
been sadly affected, Utterson locked the door of his business room, and
sitting there by the light of a melancholy candle, drew out and set before
him an envelope addressed by the hand and sealed with the seal of his dead
friend. "PRIVATE: for the hands of G. J. Utterson ALONE, and in case of
his predecease to be destroyed unread," so it was emphatically
superscribed; and the lawyer dreaded to behold the contents. "I have
buried one friend to-day," he thought: "what if this should cost me
another?" And then he condemned the fear as a disloyalty, and broke the
seal. Within there was another enclosure, likewise sealed, and marked upon
the cover as "not to be opened till the death or disappearance of Dr.
Henry Jekyll." Utterson could not trust his eyes. Yes, it was
disappearance; here again, as in the mad will which he had long ago
restored to its author, here again were the idea of a disappearance and
the name of Henry Jekyll bracketted. But in the will, that idea had sprung
from the sinister suggestion of the man Hyde; it was set there with a
purpose all too plain and horrible. Written by the hand of Lanyon, what
should it mean? A great curiosity came on the trustee, to disregard the
prohibition and dive at once to the bottom of these mysteries; but
professional honour and faith to his dead friend were stringent
obligations; and the packet slept in the inmost corner of his private
It is one thing to mortify curiosity, another to conquer it; and it
may be doubted if, from that day forth, Utterson desired the society of
his surviving friend with the same eagerness. He thought of him kindly;
but his thoughts were disquieted and fearful. He went to call indeed; but
he was perhaps relieved to be denied admittance; perhaps, in his heart, he
preferred to speak with Poole upon the doorstep and surrounded by the air
and sounds of the open city, rather than to be admitted into that house of
voluntary bondage, and to sit and speak with its inscrutable recluse.
Poole had, indeed, no very pleasant news to communicate. The doctor, it
appeared, now more than ever confined himself to the cabinet over the
laboratory, where he would sometimes even sleep; he was out of spirits, he
had grown very silent, he did not read; it seemed as if he had something
on his mind. Utterson became so used to the unvarying character of these
reports, that he fell off little by little in the frequency of his visits.
It chanced on Sunday, when Mr. Utterson was on his usual walk with
Mr. Enfield, that their way lay once again through the by-street; and that
when they came in front of the door, both stopped to gaze on it.
"Well," said Enfield, "that story's at an end at least. We shall
never see more of Mr. Hyde."
"I hope not," said Utterson. "Did I ever tell you that I once saw
him, and shared your feeling of repulsion?"
"It was impossible to do the one without the other," returned
Enfield. "And by the way, what an ass you must have thought me, not to
know that this was a back way to Dr. Jekyll's! It was partly your own
fault that I found it out, even when I did."
"So you found it out, did you?" said Utterson. "But if that be so, we
may step into the court and take a look at the windows. To tell you the
truth, I am uneasy about poor Jekyll; and even outside, I feel as if the
presence of a friend might do him good."
The court was very cool and a little damp, and full of premature
twilight, although the sky, high up overhead, was still bright with
sunset. The middle one of the three windows was half-way open; and sitting
close beside it, taking the air with an infinite sadness of mien, like
some disconsolate prisoner, Utterson saw Dr. Jekyll.
"What! Jekyll!" he cried. "I trust you are better."
"I am very low, Utterson," replied the doctor drearily, "very low. It
will not last long, thank God."
"You stay too much indoors," said the lawyer. "You should be out,
whipping up the circulation like Mr. Enfield and me. (This is my
cousin-Mr. Enfield-Dr. Jekyll.) Come now; get your hat and take a quick
turn with us."
"You are very good," sighed the other. "I should like to very much;
but no, no, no, it is quite impossible; I dare not. But indeed, Utterson,
I am very glad to see you; this is really a great pleasure; I would ask
you and Mr. Enfield up, but the place is really not fit."
"Why, then," said the lawyer, good-naturedly, "the best thing we can
do is to stay down here and speak with you from where we are."
"That is just what I was about to venture to propose," returned the
doctor with a smile. But the words were hardly uttered, before the smile
was struck out of his face and succeeded by an expression of such abject
terror and despair, as froze the very blood of the two gentlemen below.
They saw it but for a glimpse for the window was instantly thrust down;
but that glimpse had been sufficient, and they turned and left the court
without a word. In silence, too, they traversed the by-street; and it was
not until they had come into a neighbouring thoroughfare, where even upon
a Sunday there were still some stirrings of life, that Mr. Utterson at
last turned and looked at his companion. They were both pale; and there
was an answering horror in their eyes.
"God forgive us, God forgive us," said Mr. Utterson.
But Mr. Enfield only nodded his head very seriously, and walked on
once more in silence.
Mr. Utterson was sitting by his fireside one evening after dinner,
when he was surprised to receive a visit from Poole.
"Bless me, Poole, what brings you here?" he cried; and then taking a
second look at him, "What ails you?" he added; is the doctor ill?"
"Mr. Utterson," said the man, "there is something wrong."
"Take a seat, and here is a glass of wine for you," said the lawyer.
"Now, take your time, and tell me plainly what you want."
"You know the doctor's ways, sir," replied Poole, "and how he shuts
himself up. Well, he's shut up again in the cabinet; and I don't like it,
sir-I wish I may die if I like it. Mr. Utterson, sir, I'm afraid."
"Now, my good man," said the lawyer, "be explicit. What are you
"I've been afraid for about a week," returned Poole, doggedly
disregarding the question, "and I can bear it no more."
The man's appearance amply bore out his words; his manner was altered
for the worse; and except for the moment when he had first announced his
terror, he had not once looked the lawyer in the face. Even now, he sat
with the glass of wine untasted on his knee, and his eyes directed to a
corner of the floor. "I can bear it no more,"he repeated.
"Come," said the lawyer, "I see you have some good reason, Poole; I
see there is something seriously amiss. Try to tell me what it is."
"I think there's been foul play," said Poole, hoarsely.
"Foul play!" cried the lawyer, a good deal frightened and rather
inclined to be irritated in consequence. "What foul play! What does the
"I daren't say, sir," was the answer; but will you come along with me
and see for yourself?"
Mr. Utterson's only answer was to rise and get his hat and greatcoat;
but he observed with wonder the greatness of the relief that appeared upon
the butler's face, and perhaps with no less, that the wine was still
untasted when he set it down to follow.
It was a wild, cold, seasonable night of March, with a pale moon,
lying on her back as though the wind had tilted her, and flying wrack of
the most diaphanous and lawny texture. The wind made talking difficult,
and flecked the blood into the face. It seemed to have swept the streets
unusually bare of passengers, besides; for Mr. Utterson thought he had
never seen that part of London so deserted. He could have wished it
otherwise; never in his life had he been conscious of so sharp a wish to
see and touch his fellow-creatures; for struggle as he might, there was
borne in upon his mind a crushing anticipation of calamity. The square,
when they got there, was full of wind and dust, and the thin trees in the
garden were lashing themselves along the railing. Poole, who had kept all
the way a pace or two ahead, now pulled up in the middle of the pavement,
and in spite of the biting weather, took off his hat and mopped his brow
with a red pocket-handkerchief. But for all the hurry of his coming, these
were not the dews of exertion that he wiped away, but the moisture of some
strangling anguish; for his face was white and his voice, when he spoke,
harsh and broken.
"Well, sir," he said, "here we are, and God grant there be nothing
"Amen, Poole," said the lawyer.
Thereupon the servant knocked in a very guarded manner; the door was
opened on the chain; and a voice asked from within, "Is that you, Poole?"
"It's all right," said Poole. "Open the door."
The hall, when they entered it, was brightly lighted up; the fire was
built high; and about the hearth the whole of the servants, men and women,
stood huddled together like a flock of sheep. At the sight of Mr.
Utterson, the housemaid broke into hysterical whimpering; and the cook,
crying out "Bless God! it's Mr. Utterson," ran forward as if to take him
in her arms.
"What, what? Are you all here?" said the lawyer peevishly. "Very
irregular, very unseemly; your master would be far from pleased."
"They're all afraid," said Poole.
Blank silence followed, no one protesting; only the maid lifted her
voice and now wept loudly.
"Hold your tongue!" Poole said to her, with a ferocity of accent that
testified to his own jangled nerves; and indeed, when the girl had so
suddenly raised the note of her lamentation, they had all started and
turned towards the inner door with faces of dreadful expectation. "And
now," continued the butler, addressing the knife-boy, "reach me a candle,
and we'll get this through hands at once." And then he begged Mr. Utterson
to follow him, and led the way to the back garden.
"Now, sir," said he, "you come as gently as you can. I want you to
hear, and I don't want you to be heard. And see here, sir, if by any
chance he was to ask you in, don't go."
Mr. Utterson's nerves, at this unlooked-for termination, gave a jerk
that nearly threw him from his balance; but he recollected his courage and
followed the butler into the laboratory building through the surgical
theatre, with its lumber of crates and bottles, to the foot of the stair.
Here Poole motioned him to stand on one side and listen; while he himself,
setting down the candle and making a great and obvious call on his
resolution, mounted the steps and knocked with a somewhat uncertain hand
on the red baize of the cabinet door.
"Mr. Utterson, sir, asking to see you," he called; and even as he did
so, once more violently signed to the lawyer to give ear.
A voice answered from within: "Tell him I cannot see anyone," it said
"Thank you, sir," said Poole, with a note of something like triumph
in his voice; and taking up his candle, he led Mr. Utterson back across
the yard and into the great kitchen, where the fire was out and the
beetles were leaping on the floor.
"Sir," he said, looking Mr. Utterson in the eyes, "Was that my
"It seems much changed," replied the lawyer, very pale, but giving
look for look.
"Changed? Well, yes, I think so," said the butler. "Have I been
twenty years in this man's house, to be deceived about his voice? No, sir;
master's made away with; he was made away with eight days ago, when we
heard him cry out upon the name of God; and who's in there instead of him,
and why it stays there, is a thing that cries to Heaven, Mr. Utterson!"
"This is a very strange tale, Poole; this is rather a wild tale my
man," said Mr. Utterson, biting his finger. "Suppose it were as you
suppose, supposing Dr. Jekyll to have been-well, murdered what could
induce the murderer to stay? That won't hold water; it doesn't commend
itself to reason."
"Well, Mr. Utterson, you are a hard man to satisfy, but I'll do it
yet," said Poole. "All this last week (you must know) him, or it, whatever
it is that lives in that cabinet, has been crying night and day for some
sort of medicine and cannot get it to his mind. It was sometimes his
way-the master's, that is-to write his orders on a sheet of paper and
throw it on the stair. We've had nothing else this week back; nothing but
papers, and a closed door, and the very meals left there to be smuggled in
when nobody was looking. Well, sir, every day, ay, and twice and thrice in
the same day, there have been orders and complaints, and I have been sent
flying to all the wholesale chemists in town. Every time I brought the
stuff back, there would be another paper telling me to return it, because
it was not pure, and another order to a different firm. This drug is
wanted bitter bad, sir, whatever for."
"Have you any of these papers?" asked Mr. Utterson.
Poole felt in his pocket and handed out a crumpled note, which the
lawyer, bending nearer to the candle, carefully examined. Its contents ran
thus: "Dr. Jekyll presents his compliments to Messrs. Maw. He assures them
that their last sample is impure and quite useless for his present
purpose. In the year 18-, Dr. J. purchased a somewhat large quantity from
Messrs. M. He now begs them to search with most sedulous care,and should
any of the same quality be left, forward it to him at once. Expense is no
consideration. The importance of this to Dr. J. can hardly be exaggerated."
So far the letter had run composedly enough, but here with a sudden
splutter of the pen, the writer's emotion had broken loose. "For God's
sake," he added, "find me some of the old."
"This is a strange note," said Mr. Utterson; and then sharply, "How
do you come to have it open?"
"The man at Maw's was main angry, sir, and he threw it back to me
like so much dirt," returned Poole.
"This is unquestionably the doctor's hand, do you know?" resumed the
"I thought it looked like it," said the servant rather sulkily; and
then, with another voice, "But what matters hand of write?" he said. "I've
"Seen him?" repeated Mr. Utterson. "Well?"
"That's it!" said Poole. "It was this way. I came suddenly into the
theater from the garden. It seems he had slipped out to look for this drug
or whatever it is; for the cabinet door was open, and there he was at the
far end of the room digging among the crates. He looked up when I came in,
gave a kind of cry, and whipped upstairs into the cabinet. It was but for
one minute that I saw him, but the hair stood upon my head like quills.
Sir, if that was my master, why had he a mask upon his face? If it was my
master, why did he cry out like a rat, and run from me? I have served him
long enough. And then..." The man paused and passed his hand over his
"These are all very strange circumstances," said Mr. Utterson, "but I
think I begin to see daylight. Your master, Poole, is plainly seized with
one of those maladies that both torture and deform the sufferer; hence,
for aught I know, the alteration of his voice; hence the mask and the
avoidance of his friends; hence his eagerness to find this drug, by means
of which the poor soul retains some hope of ultimate recovery-God grant
that he be not deceived! There is my explanation; it is sad enough, Poole,
ay, and appalling to consider; but it is plain and natural, hangs well
together, and delivers us from all exorbitant alarms."
"Sir," said the butler, turning to a sort of mottled pallor, "that
thing was not my master, and there's the truth. My master"-here he looked
round him and began to whisper-"is a tall, fine build of a man, and this
was more of a dwarf." Utterson attempted to protest. "O, sir," cried
Poole, "do you think I do not know my master after twenty years? Do you
think I do not know where his head comes to in the cabinet door, where I
saw him every morning of my life? No, sir, that thing in the mask was
never Dr. Jekyll-God knows what it was, but it was never Dr. Jekyll; and
it is the belief of my heart that there was murder done."
"Poole," replied the lawyer, "if you say that, it will become my duty
to make certain. Much as I desire to spare your master's feelings, much as
I am puzzled by this note which seems to prove him to be still alive, I
shall consider it my duty to break in that door."
"Ah, Mr. Utterson, that's talking!" cried the butler.
"And now comes the second question," resumed Utterson: "Who is going
to do it?"
"Why, you and me, sir," was the undaunted reply.
"That's very well said," returned the lawyer; "and whatever comes of
it, I shall make it my business to see you are no loser."
"There is an axe in the theatre," continued Poole; "and you might
take the kitchen poker for yourself."
The lawyer took that rude but weighty instrument into his hand, and
balanced it. "Do you know, Poole," he said, looking up, "that you and I
are about to place ourselves in a position of some peril?"
"You may say so, sir, indeed," returned the butler.
"It is well, then that we should be frank," said the other. "We both
think more than we have said; let us make a clean breast. This masked
figure that you saw, did you recognise it?"
"Well, sir, it went so quick, and the creature was so doubled up,
that I could hardly swear to that," was the answer. "But if you mean, was
it Mr. Hyde?-why, yes, I think it was!" You see, it was much of the same
bigness; and it had the same quick, light way with it; and then who else
could have got in by the laboratory door? You have not forgot, sir, that
at the time of the murder he had still the key with him? But that's not
all. I don't know, Mr. Utterson, if you ever met this Mr. Hyde?"
"Yes," said the lawyer, "I once spoke with him."
"Then you must know as well as the rest of us that there was
something queer about that gentleman-something that gave a man a turn-I
don't know rightly how to say it, sir, beyond this: that you felt in your
marrow kind of cold and thin."
"I own I felt something of what you describe," said Mr. Utterson.
"Quite so, sir," returned Poole. "Well, when that masked thing like a
monkey jumped from among the chemicals and whipped into the cabinet, it
went down my spine like ice. O, I know it's not evidence, Mr. Utterson;
I'm book-learned enough for that; but a man has his feelings, and I give
you my bible-word it was Mr. Hyde!"
"Ay, ay," said the lawyer. "My fears incline to the same point. Evil,
I fear, founded-evil was sure to come-of that connection. Ay truly, I
believe you; I believe poor Harry is killed; and I believe his murderer
(for what purpose, God alone can tell) is still lurking in his victim's
room. Well, let our name be vengeance. Call Bradshaw."
The footman came at the summons, very white and nervous.
"Put yourself together, Bradshaw," said the lawyer. "This suspense, I
know, is telling upon all of you; but it is now our intention to make an
end of it. Poole, here, and I are going to force our way into the cabinet.
If all is well, my shoulders are broad enough to bear the blame.
Meanwhile, lest anything should really be amiss, or any malefactor seek to
escape by the back, you and the boy must go round the corner with a pair
of good sticks and take your post at the laboratory door. We give you ten
minutes, to get to your stations."
As Bradshaw left, the lawyer looked at his watch. "And now, Poole,
let us get to ours," he said; and taking the poker under his arm, led the
way into the yard. The scud had banked over the moon, and it was now quite
dark. The wind, which only broke in puffs and draughts into that deep well
of building, tossed the light of the candle to and fro about their steps,
until they came into the shelter of the theatre, where they sat down
silently to wait. London hummed solemnly all around; but nearer at hand,
the stillness was only broken by the sounds of a footfall moving to and
fro along the cabinet floor.
"So it will walk all day, sir," whispered Poole; "ay, and the better
part of the night. Only when a new sample comes from the chemist, there's
a bit of a break. Ah, it's an ill conscience that's such an enemy to rest!
Ah, sir, there's blood foully shed in every step of it! But hark again, a
little closer-put your heart in your ears, Mr. Utterson, and tell me, is
that the doctor's foot?"
The steps fell lightly and oddly, with a certain swing, for all they
went so slowly; it was different indeed from the heavy creaking tread of
Henry Jekyll. Utterson sighed. "Is there never anything else?" he asked.
Poole nodded. "Once," he said. "Once I heard it weeping!"
"Weeping? how that?" said the lawyer, conscious of a sudden chill of
"Weeping like a woman or a lost soul," said the butler. "I came away
with that upon my heart, that I could have wept too."
But now the ten minutes drew to an end. Poole disinterred the axe
from under a stack of packing straw; the candle was set upon the nearest
table to light them to the attack; and they drew near with bated breath to
where that patient foot was still going up and down, up and down, in the
quiet of the night. "Jekyll," cried Utterson, with a loud voice, "I demand
to see you." He paused a moment, but there came no reply. "I give you fair
warning, our suspicions are aroused, and I must and shall see you," he
resumed; "if not by fair means, then by foul-if not of your consent, then
by brute force!"
"Utterson," said the voice, "for God's sake, have mercy!"
"Ah, that's not Jekyll's voice-it's Hyde's!" cried Utterson. "Down
with the door, Poole!"
Poole swung the axe over his shoulder; the blow shook the building,
and the red baize door leaped against the lock and hinges. A dismal
screech, as of mere animal terror, rang from the cabinet. Up went the axe
again, and again the panels crashed and the frame bounded; four times the
blow fell; but the wood was tough and the fittings were of excellent
workmanship; and it was not until the fifth, that the lock burst and the
wreck of the door fell inwards on the carpet.
The besiegers, appalled by their own riot and the stillness that had
succeeded, stood back a little and peered in. There lay the cabinet before
their eyes in the quiet lamplight, a good fire glowing and chattering on
the hearth, the kettle singing its thin strain, a drawer or two open,
papers neatly set forth on the business table, and nearer the fire, the
things laid out for tea; the quietest room, you would have said, and, but
for the glazed presses full of chemicals, the most commonplace that night
Right in the middle there lay the body of a man sorely contorted and
still twitching. They drew near on tiptoe, turned it on its back and
beheld the face of Edward Hyde. He was dressed in clothes far to large for
him, clothes of the doctor's bigness; the cords of his face still moved
with a semblance of life, but life was quite gone: and by the crushed
phial in the hand and the strong smell of kernels that hung upon the air,
Utterson knew that he was looking on the body of a self-destroyer.
"We have come too late," he said sternly, "whether to save or punish.
Hyde is gone to his account; and it only remains for us to find the body
of your master."
The far greater proportion of the building was occupied by the
theatre, which filled almost the whole ground storey and was lighted from
above, and by the cabinet, which formed an upper story at one end and
looked upon the court. A corridor joined the theatre to the door on the
by-street; and with this the cabinet communicated separately by a second
flight of stairs. There were besides a few dark closets and a spacious
cellar. All these they now thorougly examined. Each closet needed but a
glance, for all were empty, and all, by the dust that fell from their
doors, had stood long unopened. The cellar, indeed, was filled with crazy
lumber, mostly dating from the times of the surgeon who was Jekyll's
predecessor; but even as they opened the door they were advertised of the
uselessness of further search, by the fall of a perfect mat of cobweb
which had for years sealed up the entrance. No where was there any trace
of Henry Jekyll dead or alive.
Poole stamped on the flags of the corridor. "He must be buried here,"
he said, hearkening to the sound.
"Or he may have fled," said Utterson, and he turned to examine the
door in the by-street. It was locked; and lying near by on the flags, they
found the key, already stained with rust.
"This does not look like use," observed the lawyer.
"Use!" echoed Poole. "Do you not see, sir, it is broken? much as if a
man had stamped on it."
"Ay," continued Utterson, "and the fractures, too, are rusty." The
two men looked at each other with a scare. "This is beyond me, Poole,"
said the lawyer. "Let us go back to the cabinet."
They mounted the stair in silence, and still with an occasional
awestruck glance at the dead body, proceeded more thoroughly to examine
the contents of the cabinet. At one table, there were traces of chemical
work, various measured heaps of some white salt being laid on glass
saucers, as though for an experiment in which the unhappy man had been
"That is the same drug that I was always bringing him," said Poole;
and even as he spoke, the kettle with a startling noise boiled over.
This brought them to the fireside, where the easy-chair was drawn
cosily up, and the tea things stood ready to the sitter's elbow, the very
sugar in the cup. There were several books on a shelf; one lay beside the
tea things open, and Utterson was amazed to find it a copy of a pious
work, for which Jekyll had several times expressed a great esteem,
annotated, in his own hand with startling blasphemies.
Next, in the course of their review of the chamber, the searchers
came to the cheval-glass, into whose depths they looked with an
involuntary horror. But it was so turned as to show them nothing but the
rosy glow playing on the roof, the fire sparkling in a hundred repetitions
along the glazed front of the presses, and their own pale and fearful
countenances stooping to look in.
"This glass has seen some strange things, sir," whispered Poole.
"And surely none stranger than itself," echoed the lawyer in the same
tones. "For what did Jekyll"-he caught himself up at the word with a
start, and then conquering the weakness-"what could Jekyll want with it?"
"You may say that!" said Poole.
Next they turned to the business table. On the desk, among the neat
array of papers, a large envelope was uppermost, and bore, in the doctor's
hand, the name of Mr. Utterson. The lawyer unsealed it, and several
enclosures fell to the floor. The first was a will, drawn in the same
eccentric terms as the one which he had returned six months before, to
serve as a testament in case of death and as a deed of gift in case of
disappearance; but in place of the name of Edward Hyde, the lawyer, with
indescribable amazement read the name of Gabriel John Utterson. He looked
at Poole, and then back at the paper, and last of all at the dead
malefactor stretched upon the carpet.
"My head goes round," he said. "He has been all these days in
possession; he had no cause to like me; he must have raged to see himself
displaced; and he has not destroyed this document."
He caught up the next paper; it was a brief note in the doctor's hand
and dated at the top. "O Poole!" the lawyer cried, "he was alive and here
this day. He cannot have been disposed of in so short a space; he must be
still alive, he must have fled! And then, why fled? and how? and in that
case, can we venture to declare this suicide? O, we must be careful. I
foresee that we may yet involve your master in some dire catastrophe."
"Why don't you read it, sir?" asked Poole.
"Because I fear," replied the lawyer solemnly. "God grant I have no
cause for it!" And with that he brought the paper to his eyes and read as
"My dear Utterson,-When this shall fall into your hands, I shall have
disappeared, under what circumstances I have not the penetration to
foresee, but my instinct and all the circumstances of my nameless
situation tell me that the end is sure and must be early. Go then, and
first read the narrative which Lanyon warned me he was to place in your
hands; and if you care to hear more, turn to the confession of
"Your unworthy and unhappy friend, "HENRY JEKYLL."
"There was a third enclosure?" asked Utterson.
"Here, sir," said Poole, and gave into his hands a considerable
packet sealed in several places.
The lawyer put it in his pocket. "I would say nothing of this paper.
If your master has fled or is dead, we may at least save his credit. It is
now ten; I must go home and read these documents in quiet; but I shall be
back before midnight, when we shall send for the police."
They went out, locking the door of the theatre behind them; and
Utterson, once more leaving the servants gathered about the fire in the
hall, trudged back to his office to read the two narratives in which this
mystery was now to be explained.
On the ninth of January, now four days ago, I received by the evening
delivery a registered envelope, addressed in the hand of my colleague and
old school companion, Henry Jekyll. I was a good deal surprised by this;
for we were by no means in the habit of correspondence; I had seen the
man, dined with him, indeed, the night before; and I could imagine nothing
in our intercourse that should justify formality of registration. The
contents increased my wonder; for this is how the letter ran:
"10th December, 18-.
"Dear Lanyon,-You are one of my oldest friends; and although we may
have differed at times on scientific questions, I cannot remember, at
least on my side, any break in our affection. There was never a day when,
if you had said to me, `Jekyll, my life, my honour, my reason, depend upon
you,' I would not have sacrificed my left hand to help you. Lanyon my
life, my honour, my reason, are all at your mercy; if you fail me
to-night, I am lost. You might suppose, after this preface, that I am
going to ask you for something dishonourable to grant. Judge for yourself.
"I want you to postpone all other engagements for to-nightay, even if
you were summoned to the bedside of an emperor; to take a cab, unless your
carriage should be actually at the door; and with this letter in your hand
for consultation, to drive straight to my house. Poole, my butler, has his
orders; you will find him waiting your arrival with a locksmith. The door
of my cabinet is then to be forced: and you are to go in alone; to open
the glazed press (letter E) on the left hand, breaking the lock if it be
shut; and to draw out, with all its contents as they stand, the fourth
drawer from the top or (which is the same thing) the third from the
bottom. In my extreme distress of mind, I have a morbid fear of
misdirecting you; but even if I am in error, you may know the right drawer
by its contents: some powders, a phial and a paper book. This drawer I beg
of you to carry back with you to Cavendish Square exactly as it stands.
"That is the first part of the service: now for the second. You
should be back, if you set out at once on the receipt of this, long before
midnight; but I will leave you that amount of margin, not only in the fear
of one of those obstacles that can neither be prevented nor foreseen, but
because an hour when your servants are in bed is to be preferred for what
will then remain to do. At midnight, then, I have to ask you to be alone
in your consulting room, to admit with your own hand into the house a man
who will present himself in my name, and to place in his hands the drawer
that you will have brought with you from my cabinet. Then you will have
played your part and earned my gratitude completely. Five minutes
afterwards, if you insist upon an explanation, you will have understood
that these arrangements are of capital importance; and that by the neglect
of one of them, fantastic as they must appear, you might have charged your
conscience with my death or the shipwreck of my reason.
"Confident as I am that you will not trifle with this appeal, my
heart sinks and my hand trembles at the bare thought of such a
possibility. Think of me at this hour, in a strange place, labouring under
a blackness of distress that no fancy can exaggerate, and yet well aware
that, if you will but punctually serve me, my troubles will roll away like
a story that is told. Serve me, my dear Lanyon and save
"P.S.-I had already sealed this up when a fresh terror struck upon my
soul. It is possible that the post-office may fail me, and this letter not
come into your hands until to-morrow morning. In that case, dear Lanyon,
do my errand when it shall be most convenient for you in the course of the
day; and once more expect my messenger at midnight. It may then already be
too late; and if that night passes without event, you will know that you
have seen the last of Henry Jekyll."
Upon the reading of this letter, I made sure my colleague was insane;
but till that was proved beyond the possibility of doubt, I felt bound to
do as he requested. The less I understood of this farrago, the less I was
in a position to judge of its importance; and an appeal so worded could
not be set aside without a grave responsibility. I rose accordingly from
table, got into a hansom, and drove straight to Jekyll's house. The butler
was awaiting my arrival; he had received by the same post as mine a
registered letter of instruction, and had sent at once for a locksmith and
a carpenter. The tradesmen came while we were yet speaking; and we moved
in a body to old Dr. Denman's surgical theatre, from which (as you are
doubtless aware) Jekyll's private cabinet is most conveniently entered.
The door was very strong, the lock excellent; the carpenter avowed he
would have great trouble and have to do much damage, if force were to be
used; and the locksmith was near despair. But this last was a handy
fellow, and after two hour's work, the door stood open. The press marked E
was unlocked; and I took out the drawer, had it filled up with straw and
tied in a sheet, and returned with it to Cavendish Square.
Here I proceeded to examine its contents. The powders were neatly
enough made up, but not with the nicety of the dispensing chemist; so that
it was plain they were of Jekyll's private manufacture: and when I opened
one of the wrappers I found what seemed to me a simple crystalline salt of
a white colour. The phial, to which I next turned my attention, might have
been about half full of a blood-red liquor, which was highly pungent to
the sense of smell and seemed to me to contain phosphorus and some
volatile ether. At the other ingredients I could make no guess. The book
was an ordinary version book and contained little but a series of dates.
These covered a period of many years, but I observed that the entries
ceased nearly a year ago and quite abruptly. Here and there a brief remark
was appended to a date, usually no more than a single word: "double"
occurring perhaps six times in a total of several hundred entries; and
once very early in the list and followed by several marks of exclamation,
"total failure!!!" All this, though it whetted my curiosity, told me
little that was definite. Here were a phial of some salt, and the record
of a series of experiments that had led (like too many of Jekyll's
investigations) to no end of practical usefulness. How could the presence
of these articles in my house affect either the honour, the sanity, or the
life of my flighty colleague? If his messenger could go to one place, why
could he not go to another? And even granting some impediment, why was
this gentleman to be received by me in secret? The more I reflected the
more convinced I grew that I was dealing with a case of cerebral disease;
and though I dismissed my servants to bed, I loaded an old revolver, that
I might be found in some posture of self-defence.
Twelve o'clock had scarce rung out over London, ere the knocker
sounded very gently on the door. I went myself at the summons, and found a
small man crouching against the pillars of the portico.
"Are you come from Dr. Jekyll?" I asked.
He told me "yes" by a constrained gesture; and when I had bidden him
enter, he did not obey me without a searching backward glance into the
darkness of the square. There was a policeman not far off, advancing with
his bull's eye open; and at the sight, I thought my visitor started and
made greater haste.
These particulars struck me, I confess, disagreeably; and as I
followed him into the bright light of the consulting room, I kept my hand
ready on my weapon. Here, at last, I had a chance of clearly seeing him. I
had never set eyes on him before, so much was certain. He was small, as I
have said; I was struck besides with the shocking expression of his face,
with his remarkable combination of great muscular activity and great
apparent debility of constitution, and-last but not least-with the odd,
subjective disturbance caused by his neighbourhood. This bore some
resemblance to incipient rigour, and was accompanied by a marked sinking
of the pulse. At the time, I set it down to some idiosyncratic, personal
distaste, and merely wondered at the acuteness of the symptoms; but I have
since had reason to believe the cause to lie much deeper in the nature of
man, and to turn on some nobler hinge than the principle of hatred.
This person (who had thus, from the first moment of his entrance,
struck in me what I can only, describe as a disgustful curiosity) was
dressed in a fashion that would have made an ordinary person laughable;
his clothes, that is to say, although they were of rich and sober fabric,
were enormously too large for him in every measurement-the trousers
hanging on his legs and rolled up to keep them from the ground, the waist
of the coat below his haunches, and the collar sprawling wide upon his
shoulders. Strange to relate, this ludicrous accoutrement was far from
moving me to laughter. Rather, as there was something abnormal and
misbegotten in the very essence of the creature that now faced
me-something seizing, surprising and revoltingthis fresh disparity seemed
but to fit in with and to reinforce it; so that to my interest in the
man's nature and character, there was added a curiosity as to his origin,
his life, his fortune and status in the world.
These observations, though they have taken so great a space to be set
down in, were yet the work of a few seconds. My visitor was, indeed, on
fire with sombre excitement.
"Have you got it?" he cried. "Have you got it?" And so lively was his
impatience that he even laid his hand upon my arm and sought to shake me.
I put him back, conscious at his touch of a certain icy pang along my
blood. "Come, sir," said I. "You forget that I have not yet the pleasure
of your acquaintance. Be seated, if you please." And I showed him an
example, and sat down myself in my customary seat and with as fair an
imitation of my ordinary manner to a patient, as the lateness of the hour,
the nature of my preoccupations, and the horror I had of my visitor, would
suffer me to muster.
"I beg your pardon, Dr. Lanyon," he replied civilly enough. "What you
say is very well founded; and my impatience has shown its heels to my
politeness. I come here at the instance of your colleague, Dr. Henry
Jekyll, on a piece of business of some moment; and I understood ..." He
paused and put his hand to his throat, and I could see, in spite of his
collected manner, that he was wrestling against the approaches of the
hysteria-"I understood, a drawer ..."
But here I took pity on my visitor's suspense, and some perhaps on my
own growing curiosity.
"There it is, sir," said I, pointing to the drawer, where it lay on
the floor behind a table and still covered with the sheet.
He sprang to it, and then paused, and laid his hand upon his heart: I
could hear his teeth grate with the convulsive action of his jaws; and his
face was so ghastly to see that I grew alarmed both for his life and
"Compose yourself," said I.
He turned a dreadful smile to me, and as if with the decision of
despair, plucked away the sheet. At sight of the contents, he uttered one
loud sob of such immense relief that I sat petrified. And the next moment,
in a voice that was already fairly well under control, "Have you a
graduated glass?" he asked.
I rose from my place with something of an effort and gave him what he
He thanked me with a smiling nod, measured out a few minims of the
red tincture and added one of the powders. The mixture, which was at first
of a reddish hue, began, in proportion as the crystals melted, to brighten
in colour, to effervesce audibly, and to throw off small fumes of vapour.
Suddenly and at the same moment, the ebullition ceased and the compound
changed to a dark purple, which faded again more slowly to a watery green.
My visitor, who had watched these metamorphoses with a keen eye, smiled,
set down the glass upon the table, and then turned and looked upon me with
an air of scrutiny.
"And now," said he, "to settle what remains. Will you be wise? will
you be guided? will you suffer me to take this glass in my hand and to go
forth from your house without further parley? or has the greed of
curiosity too much command of you? Think before you answer, for it shall
be done as you decide. As you decide, you shall be left as you were
before, and neither richer nor wiser, unless the sense of service rendered
to a man in mortal distress may be counted as a kind of riches of the
soul. Or, if you shall so prefer to choose, a new province of knowledge
and new avenues to fame and power shall be laid open to you, here, in this
room, upon the instant; and your sight shall be blasted by a prodigy to
stagger the unbelief of Satan."
"Sir," said I, affecting a coolness that I was far from truly
possessing, "you speak enigmas, and you will perhaps not wonder that I
hear you with no very strong impression of belief. But I have gone too far
in the way of inexplicable services to pause before I see the end."
"It is well," replied my visitor. "Lanyon, you remember your vows:
what follows is under the seal of our profession. And now, you who have so
long been bound to the most narrow and material views, you who have denied
the virtue of transcendental medicine, you who have derided your
He put the glass to his lips and drank at one gulp. A cry followed;
he reeled, staggered, clutched at the table and held on, staring with
injected eyes, gasping with open mouth; and as I looked there came, I
thought, a change-he seemed to swellhis face became suddenly black and the
features seemed to melt and alter-and the next moment, I had sprung to my
feet and leaped back against the wall, my arms raised to shield me from
that prodigy, my mind submerged in terror.
"O God!" I screamed, and "O God!" again and again; for there before
my eyes-pale and shaken, and half fainting, and groping before him with
his hands, like a man restored from death-there stood Henry Jekyll!
What he told me in the next hour, I cannot bring my mind to set on
paper. I saw what I saw, I heard what I heard, and my soul sickened at it;
and yet now when that sight has faded from my eyes, I ask myself if I
believe it, and I cannot answer. My life is shaken to its roots; sleep has
left me; the deadliest terror sits by me at all hours of the day and
night; and I feel that my days are numbered, and that I must die; and yet
I shall die incredulous. As for the moral turpitude that man unveiled to
me, even with tears of penitence, I can not, even in memory, dwell on it
without a start of horror. I will say but one thing, Utterson, and that
(if you can bring your mind to credit it) will be more than enough. The
creature who crept into my house that night was, on Jekyll's own
confession, known by the name of Hyde and hunted for in every corner of
the land as the murderer of Carew.
Dr. Jekyll Was Quite at Ease
I was born in the year 18- to a large fortune, endowed besides with
excellent parts, inclined by nature to industry, fond of the respect of
the wise and good among my fellowmen, and thus, as might have been
supposed, with every guarantee of an honorurable and distinguished future.
And indeed the worst of my faults was a certain impatient gaiety of
disposition, such as has made the happiness of many, but such as I found
it hard to reconcile with my imperious desire to carry my head high, and
wear a more than commonly grave countenance before the public. Hence it
came about that I concealed my pleasures; and that when I reached years of
reflection, and began to look round me and take stock of my progress and
position in the world, I stood already committed to a profound duplicity
of me. Many a man would have even blazoned such irregularities as I was
guilty of; but from the high views that I had set before me, I regarded
and hid them with an almost morbid sense of shame. It was thus rather the
exacting nature of my aspirations than any particular degradation in my
faults, that made me what I was, and, with even a deeper trench than in
the majority of men, severed in me those provinces of good and ill which
divide and compound man's dual nature. In this case, I was driven to
reflect deeply and inveterately on that hard law of life, which lies at
the root of religion and is one of the most plentiful springs of distress.
Though so profound a double-dealer, I was in no sense a hypocrite; both
sides of me were in dead earnest; I was no more myself when I laid aside
restraint and plunged in shame, than when I laboured, in the eye of day,
at the futherance of knowledge or the relief of sorrow and suffering. And
it chanced that the direction of my scientific studies, which led wholly
towards the mystic and the transcendental, reacted and shed a strong light
on this consciousness of the perennial war among my members. With every
day, and from both sides of my intelligence, the moral and the
intellectual, I thus drew steadily nearer to that truth, by whose partial
discovery I have been doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck: that man is not
truly one, but truly two. I say two, because the state of my own knowledge
does not pass beyond that point. Others will follow, others will outstrip
me on the same lines; and I hazard the guess that man will be ultimately
known for a mere polity of multifarious, incongruous and independent
denizens. I, for my part, from the nature of my life, advanced infallibly
in one direction and in one direction only. It was on the moral side, and
in my own person, that I learned to recognise the thorough and primitive
duality of man; I saw that, of the two natures that contended in the field
of my consciousness, even if I could rightly be said to be either, it was
only because I was radically both; and from an early date, even before the
course of my scientific discoveries had begun to suggest the most naked
possibility of such a miracle, I had learned to dwell with pleasure, as a
beloved daydream, on the thought of the separation of these elements. If
each, I told myself, could be housed in separate identities, life would be
relieved of all that was unbearable; the unjust might go his way,
delivered from the aspirations and remorse of his more upright twin; and
the just could walk steadfastly and securely on his upward path, doing the
good things in which he found his pleasure, and no longer exposed to
disgrace and penitence by the hands of this extraneous evil. It was the
curse of mankind that these incongruous faggots were thus bound
together-that in the agonised womb of consciousness, these polar twins
should be continuously struggling. How, then were they dissociated?
I was so far in my reflections when, as I have said, a side light
began to shine upon the subject from the laboratory table. I began to
perceive more deeply than it has ever yet been stated, the trembling
immateriality, the mistlike transience, of this seemingly so solid body in
which we walk attired. Certain agents I found to have the power to shake
and pluck back that fleshly vestment, even as a wind might toss the
curtains of a pavilion. For two good reasons, I will not enter deeply into
this scientific branch of my confession. First, because I have been made
to learn that the doom and burthen of our life is bound for ever on man's
shoulders, and when the attempt is made to cast it off, it but returns
upon us with more unfamiliar and more awful pressure. Second, because, as
my narrative will make, alas! too evident, my discoveries were incomplete.
Enough then, that I not only recognised my natural body from the mere aura
and effulgence of certain of the powers that made up my spirit, but
managed to compound a drug by which these powers should be dethroned from
their supremacy, and a second form and countenance substituted, none the
less natural to me because they were the expression, and bore the stamp of
lower elements in my soul.
I hesitated long before I put this theory to the test of practice. I
knew well that I risked death; for any drug that so potently controlled
and shook the very fortress of identity, might, by the least scruple of an
overdose or at the least inopportunity in the moment of exhibition,
utterly blot out that immaterial tabernacle which I looked to it to
change. But the temptation of a discovery so singular and profound at last
overcame the suggestions of alarm. I had long since prepared my tincture;
I purchased at once, from a firm of wholesale chemists, a large quantity
of a particular salt which I knew, from my experiments, to be the last
ingredient required; and late one accursed night, I compounded the
elements, watched them boil and smoke together in the glass, and when the
ebullition had subsided, with a strong glow of courage, drank off the
The most racking pangs succeeded: a grinding in the bones, deadly
nausea, and a horror of the spirit that cannot be exceeded at the hour of
birth or death. Then these agonies began swiftly to subside, and I came to
myself as if out of a great sickness. There was something strange in my
sensations, something indescribably new and, from its very novelty,
incredibly sweet. I felt younger, lighter, happier in body; within I was
conscious of a heady recklessness, a current of disordered sensual images
running like a millrace in my fancy, a solution of the bonds of
obligation, an unknown but not an innocent freedom of the soul. I knew
myself, at the first breath of this new life, to be more wicked, tenfold
more wicked, sold a slave to my original evil; and the thought, in that
moment, braced and delighted me like wine. I stretched out my hands,
exulting in the freshness of these sensations; and in the act, I was
suddenly aware that I had lost in stature.
There was no mirror, at that date, in my room; that which stands
beside me as I write, was brought there later on and for the very purpose
of these transformations. The night however, was far gone into the
morning-the morning, black as it was, was nearly ripe for the conception
of the day-the inmates of my house were locked in the most rigorous hours
of slumber; and I determined, flushed as I was with hope and triumph, to
venture in my new shape as far as to my bedroom. I crossed the yard,
wherein the constellations looked down upon me, I could have thought, with
wonder, the first creature of that sort that their unsleeping vigilance
had yet disclosed to them; I stole through the corridors, a stranger in my
own house; and coming to my room, I saw for the first time the appearance
of Edward Hyde.
I must here speak by theory alone, saying not that which I know, but
that which I suppose to be most probable. The evil side of my nature, to
which I had now transferred the stamping efficacy, was less robust and
less developed than the good which I had just deposed. Again, in the
course of my life, which had been, after all, nine tenths a life of
effort, virtue and control, it had been much less exercised and much less
exhausted. And hence, as I think, it came about that Edward Hyde was so
much smaller, slighter and younger than Henry Jekyll. Even as good shone
upon the countenance of the one, evil was written broadly and plainly on
the face of the other. Evil besides (which I must still believe to be the
lethal side of man) had left on that body an imprint of deformity and
decay. And yet when I looked upon that ugly idol in the glass, I was
conscious of no repugnance, rather of a leap of welcome. This, too, was
myself. It seemed natural and human. In my eyes it bore a livelier image
of the spirit, it seemed more express and single, than the imperfect and
divided countenance I had been hitherto accustomed to call mine. And in so
far I was doubtless right. I have observed that when I wore the semblance
of Edward Hyde, none could come near to me at first without a visible
misgiving of the flesh. This, as I take it, was because all human beings,
as we meet them, are commingled out of good and evil: and Edward Hyde,
alone in the ranks of mankind, was pure evil.
I lingered but a moment at the mirror: the second and conclusive
experiment had yet to be attempted; it yet remained to be seen if I had
lost my identity beyond redemption and must flee before daylight from a
house that was no longer mine; and hurrying back to my cabinet, I once
more prepared and drank the cup, once more suffered the pangs of
dissolution, and came to myself once more with the character, the stature
and the face of Henry Jekyll.
That night I had come to the fatal cross-roads. Had I approached my
discovery in a more noble spirit, had I risked the experiment while under
the empire of generous or pious aspirations, all must have been otherwise,
and from these agonies of death and birth, I had come forth an angel
instead of a fiend. The drug had no discriminating action; it was neither
diabolical nor divine; it but shook the doors of the prisonhouse of my
disposition; and like the captives of Philippi, that which stood within
ran forth. At that time my virtue slumbered; my evil, kept awake by
ambition, was alert and swift to seize the occasion; and the thing that
was projected was Edward Hyde. Hence, although I had now two characters as
well as two appearances, one was wholly evil, and the other was still the
old Henry Jekyll, that incongruous compound of whose reformation and
improvement I had already learned to despair. The movement was thus wholly
toward the worse.
Even at that time, I had not conquered my aversions to the dryness of
a life of study. I would still be merrily disposed at times; and as my
pleasures were (to say the least) undignified, and I was not only well
known and highly considered, but growing towards the elderly man, this
incoherency of my life was daily growing more unwelcome. It was on this
side that my new power tempted me until I fell in slavery. I had but to
drink the cup, to doff at once the body of the noted professor, and to
assume, like a thick cloak, that of Edward Hyde. I smiled at the notion;
it seemed to me at the time to be humourous; and I made my preparations
with the most studious care. I took and furnished that house in Soho, to
which Hyde was tracked by the police; and engaged as a housekeeper a
creature whom I knew well to be silent and unscrupulous. On the other
side, I announced to my servants that a Mr. Hyde (whom I described) was to
have full liberty and power about my house in the square; and to parry
mishaps, I even called and made myself a familiar object, in my second
character. I next drew up that will to which you so much objected; so that
if anything befell me in the person of Dr. Jekyll, I could enter on that
of Edward Hyde without pecuniary loss. And thus fortified, as I supposed,
on every side, I began to profit by the strange immunities of my position.
Men have before hired bravos to transact their crimes, while their
own person and reputation sat under shelter. I was the first that ever did
so for his pleasures. I was the first that could plod in the public eye
with a load of genial respectability, and in a moment, like a schoolboy,
strip off these lendings and spring headlong into the sea of liberty. But
for me, in my impenetrable mantle, the safely was complete. Think of it-I
did not even exist! Let me but escape into my laboratory door, give me but
a second or two to mix and swallow the draught that I had always standing
ready; and whatever he had done, Edward Hyde would pass away like the
stain of breath upon a mirror; and there in his stead, quietly at home,
trimming the midnight lamp in his study, a man who could afford to laugh
at suspicion, would be Henry Jekyll.
The pleasures which I made haste to seek in my disguise were, as I
have said, undignified; I would scarce use a harder term. But in the hands
of Edward Hyde, they soon began to turn toward the monstrous. When I would
come back from these excursions, I was often plunged into a kind of wonder
at my vicarious depravity. This familiar that I called out of my own soul,
and sent forth alone to do his good pleasure, was a being inherently
malign and villainous; his every act and thought centered on self;
drinking pleasure with bestial avidity from any degree of torture to
another; relentless like a man of stone. Henry Jekyll stood at times
aghast before the acts of Edward Hyde; but the situation was apart from
ordinary laws, and insidiously relaxed the grasp of conscience. It was
Hyde, after all, and Hyde alone, that was guilty. Jekyll was no worse; he
woke again to his good qualities seemingly unimpaired; he would even make
haste, where it was possible, to undo the evil done by Hyde. And thus his
Into the details of the infamy at which I thus connived (for even now
I can scarce grant that I committed it) I have no design of entering; I
mean but to point out the warnings and the successive steps with which my
chastisement approached. I met with one accident which, as it brought on
no consequence, I shall no more than mention. An act of cruelty to a child
aroused against me the anger of a passer-by, whom I recognised the other
day in the person of your kinsman; the doctor and the child's family
joined him; there were moments when I feared for my life; and at last, in
order to pacify their too just resentment, Edward Hyde had to bring them
to the door, and pay them in a cheque drawn in the name of Henry Jekyll.
But this danger was easily eliminated from the future, by opening an
account at another bank in the name of Edward Hyde himself; and when, by
sloping my own hand backward, I had supplied my double with a signature, I
thought I sat beyond the reach of fate.
Some two months before the, murder of Sir Danvers, I had been out for
one of my adventures, had returned at a late hour, and woke the next day
in bed with somewhat odd sensations. It was in vain I looked about me; in
vain I saw the decent furniture and tall proportions of my room in the
square; in vain that I recognised the pattern of the bed curtains and the
design of the mahogany frame; something still kept insisting that I was
not where I was, that I had not wakened where I seemed to be, but in the
little room in Soho where I was accustomed to sleep in the body of Edward
Hyde. I smiled to myself, and in my psychological way, began lazily to
inquire into the elements of this illusion, occasionally, even as I did
so, dropping back into a comfortable morning doze. I was still so engaged
when, in one of my more wakeful moments, my eyes fell upon my hand. Now
the hand of Henry Jekyll (as you have often remarked) was professional in
shape and size: it was large, firm, white and comely. But the hand which I
now saw, clearly enough, in the yellow light of a mid-London morning,
lying half shut on the bedclothes, was lean, corder, knuckly, of a dusky
pallor and thickly shaded with a swart growth of hair. It was the hand of
I must have stared upon it for near half a minute, sunk as I was in
the mere stupidity of wonder, before terror woke up in my breast as sudden
and startling as the crash of cymbals; and bounding from my bed I rushed
to the mirror. At the sight that met my eyes, my blood was changed into
something exquisitely thin and icy. Yes, I had gone to bed Henry Jekyll, I
had awakened Edward Hyde. How was this to be explained? I asked myself;
and then, with another bound of terror-how was it to be remedied? It was
well on in the morning; the servants were up; all my drugs were in the
cabinet-a long journey down two pairs of stairs, through the back passage,
across the open court and through the anatomical theatre, from where I was
then standing horror-struck. It might indeed be possible to cover my face;
but of what use was that, when I was unable to conceal the alteration in
my stature? And then with an overpowering sweetness of relief, it came
back upon my mind that the servants were already used to the coming and
going of my second self. I had soon dressed, as well as I was able, in
clothes of my own size: had soon passed through the house, where Bradshaw
stared and drew back at seeing Mr. Hyde at such an hour and in such a
strange array; and ten minutes later, Dr. Jekyll had returned to his own
shape and was sitting down, with a darkened brow, to make a feint of
Small indeed was my appetite. This inexplicable incident, this
reversal of my previous experience, seemed, like the Babylonian finger on
the wall, to be spelling out the letters of my judgment; and I began to
reflect more seriously than ever before on the issues and possibilities of
my double existence. That part of me which I had the power of projecting,
had lately been much exercised and nourished; it had seemed to me of late
as though the body of Edward Hyde had grown in stature, as though (when I
wore that form) I were conscious of a more generous tide of blood; and I
began to spy a danger that, if this were much prolonged, the balance of my
nature might be permanently overthrown, the power of voluntary change be
forfeited, and the character of Edward Hyde become irrevocably mine. The
power of the drug had not been always equally displayed. Once, very early
in my career, it had totally failed me; since then I had been obliged on
more than one occasion to double, and once, with infinite risk of death,
to treble the amount; and these rare uncertainties had cast hitherto the
sole shadow on my contentment. Now, however, and in the light of that
morning's accident, I was led to remark that whereas, in the beginning,
the difficulty had been to throw off the body of Jekyll, it had of late
gradually but decidedly transferred itself to the other side. All things
therefore seemed to point to this; that I was slowly losing hold of my
original and better self, and becoming slowly incorporated with my second
Between these two, I now felt I had to choose. My two natures had
memory in common, but all other faculties were most unequally shared
between them. Jekyll (who was composite) now with the most sensitive
apprehensions, now with a greedy gusto, projected and shared in the
pleasures and adventures of Hyde; but Hyde was indifferent to Jekyll, or
but remembered him as the mountain bandit remembers the cavern in which he
conceals himself from pursuit. Jekyll had more than a father's interest;
Hyde had more than a son's indifference. To cast in my lot with Jekyll,
was to die to those appetites which I had long secretly indulged and had
of late begun to pamper. To cast it in with Hyde, was to die to a thousand
interests and aspirations, and to become, at a blow and forever, despised
and friendless. The bargain might appear unequal; but there was still
another consideration in the scales; for while Jekyll would suffer
smartingly in the fires of abstinence, Hyde would be not even conscious of
all that he had lost. Strange as my circumstances were, the terms of this
debate are as old and commonplace as man; much the same inducements and
alarms cast the die for any tempted and trembling sinner; and it fell out
with me, as it falls with so vast a majority of my fellows, that I chose
the better part and was found wanting in the strength to keep to it.
Yes, I preferred the elderly and discontented doctor, surrounded by
friends and cherishing honest hopes; and bade a resolute farewell to the
liberty, the comparative youth, the light step, leaping impulses and
secret pleasures, that I had enjoyed in the disguise of Hyde. I made this
choice perhaps with some unconscious reservation, for I neither gave up
the house in Soho, nor destroyed the clothes of Edward Hyde, which still
lay ready in my cabinet. For two months, however, I was true to my
determination; for two months, I led a life of such severity as I had
never before attained to, and enjoyed the compensations of an approving
conscience. But time began at last to obliterate the freshness of my
alarm; the praises of conscience began to grow into a thing of course; I
began to be tortured with throes and longings, as of Hyde struggling after
freedom; and at last, in an hour of moral weakness, I once again
compounded and swallowed the transforming draught.
I do not suppose that, when a drunkard reasons with himself upon his
vice, he is once out of five hundred times affected by the dangers that he
runs through his brutish, physical insensibility; neither had I, long as I
had considered my position, made enough allowance for the complete moral
insensibility and insensate readiness to evil, which were the leading
characters of Edward Hyde. Yet it was by these that I was punished. My
devil had been long caged, he came out roaring. I was conscious, even when
I took the draught, of a more unbridled, a more furious propensity to ill.
It must have been this, I suppose, that stirred in my soul that tempest of
impatience with which I listened to the civilities of my unhappy victim; I
declare, at least, before God, no man morally sane could have been guilty
of that crime upon so pitiful a provocation; and that I struck in no more
reasonable spirit than that in which a sick child may break a plaything.
But I had voluntarily stripped myself of all those balancing instincts by
which even the worst of us continues to walk with some degree of
steadiness among temptations; and in my case, to be tempted, however
slightly, was to fall.
Instantly the spirit of hell awoke in me and raged. With a transport
of glee, I mauled the unresisting body, tasting delight from every blow;
and it was not till weariness had begun to succeed, that I was suddenly,
in the top fit of my delirium, struck through the heart by a cold thrill
of terror. A mist dispersed; I saw my life to be forfeit; and fled from
the scene of these excesses, at once glorying and trembling, my lust of
evil gratified and stimulated, my love of life screwed to the topmost peg.
I ran to the house in Soho, and (to make assurance doubly sure) destroyed
my papers; thence I set out through the lamplit streets, in the same
divided ecstasy of mind, gloating on my crime, light-headedly devising
others in the future, and yet still hastening and still hearkening in my
wake for the steps of the avenger. Hyde had a song upon his lips as he
compounded the draught, and as he drank it, pledged the dead man. The
pangs of transformation had not done tearing him, before Henry Jekyll,
with streaming tears of gratitude and remorse, had fallen upon his knees
and lifted his clasped hands to God. The veil of self-indulgence was rent
from head to foot. I saw my life as a whole: I followed it up from the
days of childhood, when I had walked with my father's hand, and through
the self-denying toils of my professional life, to arrive again and again,
with the same sense of unreality, at the damned horrors of the evening. I
could have screamed aloud; I sought with tears and prayers to smother down
the crowd of hideous images and sounds with which my memory swarmed
against me; and still, between the petitions, the ugly face of my iniquity
stared into my soul. As the acuteness of this remorse began to die away,
it was succeeded by a sense of joy. The problem of my conduct was solved.
Hyde was thenceforth impossible; whether I would or not, I was now
confined to the better part of my existence; and O, how I rejoiced to
think of it! with what willing humility I embraced anew the restrictions
of natural life! with what sincere renunciation I locked the door by which
I had so often gone and come, and ground the key under my heel!
The next day, came the news that the murder had been overlooked, that
the guilt of Hyde was patent to the world, and that the victim was a man
high in public estimation. It was not only a crime, it had been a tragic
folly. I think I was glad to know it; I think I was glad to have my better
impulses thus buttressed and guarded by the terrors of the scaffold.
Jekyll was now my city of refuge; let but Hyde peep out an instant, and
the hands of all men would be raised to take and slay him.
I resolved in my future conduct to redeem the past; and I can say
with honesty that my resolve was fruitful of some good. You know yourself
how earnestly, in the last months of the last year, I laboured to relieve
suffering; you know that much was done for others, and that the days
passed quietly, almost happily for myself. Nor can I truly say that I
wearied of this beneficent and innocent life; I think instead that I daily
enjoyed it more completely; but I was still cursed with my duality of
purpose; and as the first edge of my penitence wore off, the lower side of
me, so long indulged, so recently chained down, began to growl for
licence. Not that I dreamed of resuscitating Hyde; the bare idea of that
would startle me to frenzy: no, it was in my own person that I was once
more tempted to trifle with my conscience; and it was as an ordinary
secret sinner that I at last fell before the assaults of temptation.
There comes an end to all things; the most capacious measure is
filled at last; and this brief condescension to my evil finally destroyed
the balance of my soul. And yet I was not alarmed; the fall seemed
natural, like a return to the old days before I had made my discovery. It
was a fine, clear, January day, wet under foot where the frost had melted,
but cloudless overhead; and the Regent's Park was full of winter
chirrupings and sweet with spring odours. I sat in the sun on a bench; the
animal within me licking the chops of memory; the spiritual side a little
drowsed, promising subsequent penitence, but not yet moved to begin. After
all, I reflected, I was like my neighbours; and then I smiled, comparing
myself with other men, comparing my active good-will with the lazy cruelty
of their neglect. And at the very moment of that vainglorious thought, a
qualm came over me, a horrid nausea and the most deadly shuddering. These
passed away, and left me faint; and then as in its turn faintness
subsided, I began to be aware of a change in the temper of my thoughts, a
greater boldness, a contempt of danger, a solution of the bonds of
obligation. I looked down; my clothes hung formlessly on my shrunken
limbs; the hand that lay on my knee was corded and hairy. I was once more
Edward Hyde. A moment before I had been safe of all men's respect,
wealthy, beloved-the cloth laying for me in the dining-room at home; and
now I was the common quarry of mankind, hunted, houseless, a known
murderer, thrall to the gallows.
My reason wavered, but it did not fail me utterly. I have more than
once observed that in my second character, my faculties seemed sharpened
to a point and my spirits more tensely elastic; thus it came about that,
where Jekyll perhaps might have succumbed, Hyde rose to the importance of
the moment. My drugs were in one of the presses of my cabinet; how was I
to reach them? That was the problem that (crushing my temples in my hands)
I set myself to solve. The laboratory door I had closed. If I sought to
enter by the house, my own servants would consign me to the gallows. I saw
I must employ another hand, and thought of Lanyon. How was he to be
reached? how persuaded? Supposing that I escaped capture in the streets,
how was I to make my way into his presence? and how should I, an unknown
and displeasing visitor, prevail on the famous physician to rifle the
study of his colleague, Dr. Jekyll? Then I remembered that of my original
character, one part remained to me: I could write my own hand; and once I
had conceived that kindling spark, the way that I must follow became
lighted up from end to end.
Thereupon, I arranged my clothes as best I could, and summoning a
passing hansom, drove to an hotel in Portland Street, the name of which I
chanced to remember. At my appearance (which was indeed comical enough,
however tragic a fate these garments covered) the driver could not conceal
his mirth. I gnashed my teeth upon him with a gust of devilish fury; and
the smile withered from his face-happily for him-yet more happily for
myself, for in another instant I had certainly dragged him from his perch.
At the inn, as I entered, I looked about me with so black a countenance as
made the attendants tremble; not a look did they exchange in my presence;
but obsequiously took my orders, led me to a private room, and brought me
wherewithal to write. Hyde in danger of his life was a creature new to me;
shaken with inordinate anger, strung to the pitch of murder, lusting to
inflict pain. Yet the creature was astute; mastered his fury with a great
effort of the will; composed his two important letters, one to Lanyon and
one to Poole; and that he might receive actual evidence of their being
posted, sent them out with directions that they should be registered.
Thenceforward, he sat all day over the fire in the private room, gnawing
his nails; there he dined, sitting alone with his fears, the waiter
visibly quailing before his eye; and thence, when the night was fully
come, he set forth in the corner of a closed cab, and was driven to and
fro about the streets of the city. He, I say-I cannot say, I. That child
of Hell had nothing human; nothing lived in him but fear and hatred. And
when at last, thinking the driver had begun to grow suspicious, he
discharged the cab and ventured on foot, attired in his misfitting
clothes, an object marked out for observation, into the midst of the
nocturnal passengers, these two base passions raged within him like a
tempest. He walked fast, hunted by his fears, chattering to himself,
skulking through the less frequented thoroughfares, counting the minutes
that still divided him from midnight. Once a woman spoke to him, offering,
I think, a box of lights. He smote her in the face, and she fled.
When I came to myself at Lanyon's, the horror of my old friend
perhaps affected me somewhat: I do not know; it was at least but a drop in
the sea to the abhorrence with which I looked back upon these hours. A
change had come over me. It was no longer the fear of the gallows, it was
the horror of being Hyde that racked me. I received Lanyon's condemnation
partly in a dream; it was partly in a dream that I came home to my own
house and got into bed. I slept after the prostration of the day, with a
stringent and profound slumber which not even the nightmares that wrung me
could avail to break. I awoke in the morning shaken, weakened, but
refreshed. I still hated and feared the thought of the brute that slept
within me, and I had not of course forgotten the appalling dangers of the
day before; but I was once more at home, in my own house and close to my
drugs; and gratitude for my escape shone so strong in my soul that it
almost rivalled the brightness of hope.
I was stepping leisurely across the court after breakfast, drinking
the chill of the air with pleasure, when I was seized again with those
indescribable sensations that heralded the change; and I had but the time
to gain the shelter of my cabinet, before I was once again raging and
freezing with the passions of Hyde. It took on this occasion a double dose
to recall me to myself; and alas! six hours after, as I sat looking sadly
in the fire, the pangs returned, and the drug had to be re-administered.
In short, from that day forth it seemed only by a great effort as of
gymnastics, and only under the immediate stimulation of the drug, that I
was able to wear the countenance of Jekyll. At all hours of the day and
night, I would be taken with the premonitory shudder; above all, if I
slept, or even dozed for a moment in my chair, it was always as Hyde that
I awakened. Under the strain of this continually impending doom and by the
sleeplessness to which I now condemned myself, ay, even beyond what I had
thought possible to man, I became, in my own person, a creature eaten up
and emptied by fever, languidly weak both in body and mind, and solely
occupied by one thought: the horror of my other self. But when I slept, or
when the virtue of the medicine wore off, I would leap almost without
transition (for the pangs of transformation grew daily less marked) into
the possession of a fancy brimming with images of terror, a soul boiling
with causeless hatreds, and a body that seemed not strong enough to
contain the raging energies of life. The powers of Hyde seemed to have
grown with the sickliness of Jekyll. And certainly the hate that now
divided them was equal on each side. With Jekyll, it was a thing of vital
instinct. He had now seen the full deformity of that creature that shared
with him some of the phenomena of consciousness, and was co-heir with him
to death: and beyond these links of community, which in themselves made
the most poignant part of his distress, he thought of Hyde, for all his
energy of life, as of something not only hellish but inorganic. This was
the shocking thing; that the slime of the pit seemed to utter cries and
voices; that the amorphous dust gesticulated and sinned; that what was
dead, and had no shape, should usurp the offices of life. And this again,
that that insurgent horror was knit to him closer than a wife, closer than
an eye; lay caged in his flesh, where he heard it mutter and felt it
struggle to be born; and at every hour of weakness, and in the confidence
of slumber, prevailed against him, and deposed him out of life. The hatred
of Hyde for Jekyll was of a different order. His terror of the gallows
drove him continually to commit temporary suicide, and return to his
subordinate station of a part instead of a person; but he loathed the
necessity, he loathed the despondency into which Jekyll was now fallen,
and he resented the dislike with which he was himself regarded. Hence the
ape-like tricks that he would play me, scrawling in my own hand
blasphemies on the pages of my books, burning the letters and destroying
the portrait of my father; and indeed, had it not been for his fear of
death, he would long ago have ruined himself in order to involve me in the
ruin. But his love of me is wonderful; I go further: I, who sicken and
freeze at the mere thought of him, when I recall the abjection and passion
of this attachment, and when I know how he fears my power to cut him off
by suicide, I find it in my heart to pity him.
It is useless, and the time awfully fails me, to prolong this
description; no one has ever suffered such torments, let that suffice; and
yet even to these, habit brought-no, not alleviation-but a certain
callousness of soul, a certain acquiescence of despair; and my punishment
might have gone on for years, but for the last calamity which has now
fallen, and which has finally severed me from my own face and nature. My
provision of the salt, which had never been renewed since the date of the
first experiment, began to run low. I sent out for a fresh supply and
mixed the draught; the ebullition followed, and the first change of
colour, not the second; I drank it and it was without efficiency. You will
learn from Poole how I have had London ransacked; it was in vain; and I am
now persuaded that my first supply was impure, and that it was that
unknown impurity which lent efficacy to the draught.
About a week has passed, and I am now finishing this statement under
the influence of the last of the old powders. This, then, is the last
time, short of a miracle, that Henry Jekyll can think his own thoughts or
see his own face (now how sadly altered!) in the glass. Nor must I delay
too long to bring my writing to an end; for if my narrative has hitherto
escaped destruction, it has been by a combination of great prudence and
great good luck. Should the throes of change take me in the act of writing
it, Hyde will tear it in pieces; but if some time shall have elapsed after
I have laid it by, his wonderful selfishness and circumscription to the
moment will probably save it once again from the action of his ape-like
spite. And indeed the doom that is closing on us both has already changed
and crushed him. Half an hour from now, when I shall again and forever
reindue that hated personality, I know how I shall sit shuddering and
weeping in my chair, or continue, with the most strained and fearstruck
ecstasy of listening, to pace up and down this room (my last earthly
refuge) and give ear to every sound of menace. Will Hyde die upon the
scaffold? or will he find courage to release himself at the last moment?
God knows; I am careless; this is my true hour of death, and what is to
follow concerns another than myself. Here then, as I lay down the pen and
proceed to seal up my confession, I bring the life of that unhappy Henry
Jekyll to an end.
Henry Jekyll's Full Statement of the Case
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