Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde

  • by Robert Louis Stevenson

  • STORY OF THE DOOR

  • Mr. Utterson the lawyer was a man  of a rugged countenance that was 

  • never lighted by a smile; coldscanty and embarrassed in discourse

  • backward in sentiment; lean, longdusty, 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 talkbut 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 otherssometimes 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 longesthis affections, like ivy, were the 

  • growth of time, they implied no  aptness in the object.Hence, no doubt 

  • the bond that united him to MrRichard 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 otheror what subject they could find in 

  • common.It was reported by those who  encountered them in their Sunday 

  • walks, that they said nothinglooked 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

  • by street in a busy quarter of  London.The street was small and what is 

  • called quiet, but it drovethriving 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 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. Uttersonwith 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 worldabout 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 streetall 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

  • 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 hearbut 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 resistancebut 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 familyand pretty soon, the doctor, for 

  • whom she had been sent put in his  appearance.Well, the child was not 

  • much the worse, more frightenedaccording to the sawbones; and there 

  • you might have supposed would be  an end to it.But there was one 

  • curious circumstance.I had takenloathing to my gentleman at first 

  • sight.So had the child’s familywhich 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 asbagpipe.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 andcheque 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

  • 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 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 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 MrEnfield. “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.Blackmail, 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 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 goes in or 

  • out of that one but, once ingreat 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 theyre clean.And 

  • then there is a chimney which is  generally smoking; so somebody must 

  • live there.And yet it’s not so surefor the buildings are so packed