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

by Robert Louis Stevenson

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The Carew Murder Case

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 Danvers Carew."

"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 honest.

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 sterling.

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 Yard."

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 his

"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 handbills."

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.



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