The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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Title: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Author: Robert Louis Stevenson Posting Date: December 18, 2011 [EBook #42] Release Date: October, 1992 Last Updated: July 1, 2005 Language: English Character set encoding: ASCII STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE BY ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON 1) STORY OF THE DOOR 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
  Title: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. HydeAuthor: Robert Louis StevensonPosting Date: December 18, 2011 [EBook #42]Release Date: October, 1992Last Updated: July 1, 2005Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ASCII STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE BY ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON1) STORY OF THE DOORMR. UTTERSON the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance, that wasnever lighted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed indiscourse; backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary, andyet somehow lovable. At friendly meetings, and when the wine was tohis taste, something eminently human beaconed from his eye;something indeed which never found its way into his talk, but whichspoke not only in these silent symbols of the after-dinner face, butmore often and loudly in the acts of his life. He was austere withhimself; drank gin when he was alone, to mortify a taste forvintages; and though he enjoyed the theatre, had not crossed thedoors of one for twenty years. But he had an approved tolerance forothers; sometimes wondering, almost with envy, at the high pressureof spirits involved in their misdeeds; and in any extremity inclinedto help rather than to reprove.2) I incline to Cain's heresy, he used to say quaintly: I let mybrother go to the devil in his own way. In this character, it wasfrequently his fortune to be the last reputable acquaintance and thelast good influence in the lives of down-going men. And to such asthese, so long as they came about his chambers, he never marked ashade of change in his demeanour.No doubt the feat was easy to Mr. Utterson; for he wasundemonstrative at the best, and even his friendship seemed to befounded in a similar catholicity of good-nature. It is the mark of amodest man to accept his friendly circle ready-made from the handsof opportunity; and that was the lawyer's way. His friends werethose of his own blood or those whom he had known the longest; hisaffections, like ivy, were the growth of time, they implied noaptness in the object. Hence, no doubt, the bond that united him to  Mr. Richard Enfield, his distant kinsman, the well-known man abouttown. It was a nut to crack for many, what these two could see ineach other, or what subject they could find in common. It wasreported by those who encountered them in their Sunday walks, thatthey said nothing, looked singularly dull, and would hail withobvious relief the appearance of a friend. For all that, the two menput the greatest store by these excursions, counted them the chiefjewel of each week, and not only set aside occasions of pleasure,but even resisted the calls3)of business, that they might enjoy them uninterrupted.It chanced on one of these rambles that their way led them down aby-street in a busy quarter of London. The street was small andwhat is called quiet, but it drove a thriving trade on theweek-days. The inhabitants were all doing well, it seemed, and allemulously hoping to do better still, and laying out the surplus oftheir gains in coquetry; so that the shop fronts stood along thatthoroughfare with an air of invitation, like rows of smilingsaleswomen. Even on Sunday, when it veiled its more florid charmsand lay comparatively empty of passage, the street shone out incontrast to its dingy neighbourhood, like a fire in a forest; andwith its freshly painted shutters, well-polished brasses, andgeneral cleanliness and gaiety of note, instantly caught and pleasedthe eye of the passenger.Two doors from one corner, on the left hand going east, the linewas broken by the entry of a court; and just at that point, acertain sinister block of building thrust forward its gable on thestreet. It was two stories high; showed no window, nothing but adoor on the lower story and a blind forehead of discoloured wall onthe upper; and bore in every feature, the marks of prolonged andsordid negligence. The door, which was equipped with neither bellnor knocker, was blistered and distained. Tramps slouched into therecess and struck matches on4)the panels; children kept shop upon the steps; the schoolboy hadtried his knife on the mouldings; and for close on a generation, noone had appeared to drive away these random visitors or to repairtheir 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 hiscane and pointed. Did you ever remark that door? he asked; and when his companionhad replied in the affirmative, It is connected in my mind, addedhe, with a very odd story. Indeed? said Mr. Utterson, with a slight change of voice, andwhat was that? Well, it was this way, returned Mr. Enfield: I was coming homefrom some place at the end of the world, about three o'clock of ablack winter morning, and my way lay through a part of town wherethere was literally nothing to be seen but lamps. Street after  street, and all the folks asleep--street after street, all lightedup as if for a procession and all as empty as a church--till atlast I got into that state of mind when a man listens and listensand begins to long for the sight of a policeman. All at once, I sawtwo figures: one a little man who was stumping along eastward at agood walk, and the other a girl of maybe eight or ten who wasrunning as hard as she was able down a cross street. Well, sir, thetwo ran into one another naturally enough at the5)corner; and then came the horrible part of the thing; for the mantrampled calmly over the child's body and left her screaming onthe 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 aview-halloa, took to my heels, collared my gentleman, and broughthim back to where there was already quite a group about thescreaming child. He was perfectly cool and made no resistance, butgave me one look, so ugly that it brought out the sweat on me likerunning. 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 hisappearance. Well, the child was not much the worse, more frightened,according to the Sawbones; and there you might have supposed wouldbe an end to it. But there was one curious circumstance. I had takena loathing to my gentleman at first sight. So had the child'sfamily, which was only natural. But the doctor's case was whatstruck me. He was the usual cut-and-dry apothecary, of no particularage and colour, with a strong Edinburgh accent, and about asemotional as a bagpipe. Well, sir, he was like the rest of us; everytime he looked at my prisoner, I saw that Sawbones turn sick andwhite with the desire to kill him. I knew what was in his mind, justas he knew what was in mine; and killing being out of the question,we did the next best. We told the man we could6)and would make such a scandal out of this, as should make his namestink from one end of London to the other. If he had any friends orany 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 himas best we could, for they were as wild as harpies. I never saw acircle of such hateful faces; and there was the man in the middle,with a kind of black, sneering coolness--frightened too, I couldsee that--but carrying it off, sir, really like Satan. 'If youchoose to make capital out of this accident,' said he, 'I amnaturally helpless. No gentleman but wishes to avoid a scene,' sayshe. 'Name your figure.' Well, we screwed him up to a hundred poundsfor the child's family; he would have clearly liked to stick out;but there was something about the lot of us that meant mischief, andat last he struck. The next thing was to get the money; and wheredo you think he carried us but to that place with the door?--whipped out a key, went in, and presently came back with the matterof 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 atleast very well known and often printed. The figure was stiff; butthe signature was good for more than that, if it was only genuine. Itook the liberty of pointing out to my gentleman that the whole7)  business looked apocryphal, and that a man does not, in real life,walk into a cellar door at four in the morning and come out of itwith another man's cheque for close upon a hundred pounds. But hewas quite easy and sneering. 'Set your mind at rest,' says he, 'Iwill stay with you till the banks open and cash the cheque myself.'So we all set off, the doctor, and the child's father, and ourfriend 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. Igave in the check myself, and said I had every reason to believe itwas 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 reallydamnable man; and the person that drew the cheque is the very pinkof the proprieties, celebrated too, and (what makes it worse) one ofyour fellows who do what they call good. Black-mail, I suppose; anhonest man paying through the nose for some of the capers of hisyouth. Black-Mail House is what I call that place with the door, inconsequence. Though even that, you know, is far from explainingall, 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? 8) A likely place, isn't it? returned Mr. Enfield. But I happen tohave noticed his address; he lives in some square or other. And you never asked about the--place with the door? said Mr.Utterson. No, sir: I had a delicacy, was the reply. I feel very stronglyabout putting questions; it partakes too much of the style of theday of judgment. You start a question, and it's like starting astone. You sit quietly on the top of a hill; and away the stonegoes, starting others; and presently some bland old bird (the lastyou would have thought of) is knocked on the head in his ownback-garden and the family have to change their name. No, sir, Imake it a rule of mine: the more it looks like Queer Street, theless 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 goesin or out of that one but, once in a great while, the gentleman ofmy adventure. There are three windows looking on the court on thefirst floor; none below; the windows are always shut but they'reclean. And then there is a chimney which is generally smoking; sosomebody must live there. And yet it's not so sure; for thebuildings are so packed together about that court, that it's hard tosay where one ends and another begins. 9)The pair walked on again for a while in silence; and then,
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