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  • The

  • Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson.

  • It's ill to loose the bands that God decreed to bind;

  • Still will we be the children of the heather and the wind.

  • Far away from home, O it's still for you and me,

  • That the broom is blowing bonnie in the north countrie.

  • 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

  • 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

  • theatre, 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 down-going 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 week-days. The

  • inhabitants were all doing well, it seemed, and all emulously hoping to

  • do better still, and laying out the surplus of their gains 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 stories high; showed no window, nothing but a door on the lower

  • story 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

  • pointed.

  • 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

  • was that?”

  • 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 asleepstreet 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 view-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 the 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 coolnessfrightened too, I could see thatbut 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 of it 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 off, 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 check 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 that 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 theplace with the door?” said Mr. Utterson.

  • 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