TWT logo

Together We Teach
Reading Room

Take time to read.
Reading is the
fountain of wisdom.

| Home | Reading Room DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE

by Robert Louis Stevenson

< BACK    NEXT >




Search for Mr. Hyde

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 company.

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 interest."

"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.

"Whose description?"

"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 friend."

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 a key."

"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 him."

"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.



Top of Page

< BACK    NEXT >

| Home | Reading Room DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE




Why not spread the word about Together We Teach?
Simply copy & paste our home page link below into your emails... 

Want the Together We Teach link to place on your website?
Copy & paste either home page link on your webpage...
Together We Teach 





Use these free website tools below for a more powerful experience at Together We Teach!

****Google™ search****

For a more specific search, try using quotation marks around phrases (ex. "You are what you read")


*** Google Translate™ translation service ***

 Translate text:


  Translate a web page:

****What's the Definition?****
(Simply insert the word you want to lookup)

 Search:   for   

S D Glass Enterprises

Privacy Policy

Warner Robins, GA, USA