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; 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 friendships 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 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 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 asleep - street after street, all lighted up as if for a procession, and all as empty as a church - till 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 turned 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 coolness - frightened too, I could see that - but carrying it off, sir, really like Satan. ``If you choose to make capital out of this accident,'' said he, ``I am naturally helpless. No gentle-man 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 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 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. Blackmail, I suppose; an honest man paying through the nose for some of the capers of his youth. Blackmail 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 - the place 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 in a great 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 they're clean. And then there is a chimney, which is generally smoking; so somebody must live there. And yet it's not so sure; for the buildings are so packed together about that court, that it's hard to say where one ends and another begins.'
The pair walked on again for a while in silence; and then - `Enfield,' said Mr Utterson, `that's a good rule of yours.
`Yes, I think it is,' returned Enfield.
`But for all that,' continued the lawyer, `there's one point I want to ask: I want to ask the name of that man who walked over the child.'
`Well,' said Mr Enfield, `I can't see what harm it would do. It was a man of the name of Hyde.'
`Hm,' said Mr Utterson. `What sort of a man is he to see?'
`He is not easy to describe. There is something wrong with his appearance; something displeasing, something downright detestable. I never saw a man I so disliked, and yet I scarce know why. He must be deformed somewhere; he gives a strong feeling of deformity, although I couldn't specify the point. He's an extraordinary- looking man, and yet I really can name nothing out of the way. No, sir; I can make no hand of it; I can't describe him. And it's not want of memory; for I declare I can see him this moment.'
Mr Utterson again walked some way in silence, and obviously under a weight of consideration. `You are sure he used a key?' he inquired at last.
`My dear sir... ' began Enfield, surprised out of himself.
`Yes, I know,' said Utterson; `I know it must seem strange. The fact is, if I do not ask you the name of the other party, it is because I know it already. You see, Richard, your tale has gone home. If you have been inexact in any point, you had better correct it.'
`I think you might have warned me,' returned the other, with a touch of sullenness. `But I have been pedantically exact, as you call it. The fellow had a key; and, what's more, he has it still. I saw him use it, not a week ago.
Mr Utterson sighed deeply, but said never a word; and the young man presently resumed. `Here is another lesson to say nothing,' said he. `I am ashamed of my long tongue. Let us make a bargain never to refer to this again.'
`With all my heart,' said the lawyer. `I shake hands on that, Richard.'
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., LL.D., F.R.S., & c., 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 burden 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 great coat, 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 any one 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 respecters of themselves and of each other, and, what does not always follow, men who thoroughly enjoyed each other's company.
Alter a little rambling talk, the lawyer led up to the subject which so disagreeably preoccupied his mind.
`I suppose, Lanyon,' he said, `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 his 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 spirt 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 protégé 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 besieged by questions.
Six o'clock struck 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 lamp-lighted 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 clauses of the will. And at least it would be a face worth seeing: the face of a man who was without bowels of merry: 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 ball-room 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 around, 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 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, `it is as well we have met; and à propos, 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 acknowledgement of the address.
`And now,' said the other, `how did you know me?'
`By description,' was the reply.
`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 namable 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 radiance 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 of 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 fan-light, 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 to-night there was a shudder in his blood; the face of Hyde sat heavy on his memory; he felt (what was rare in 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 door, 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 do 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; along while ago, to be sure; but in the law of God there is no statute of limitations. Ah' 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, lest 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 that he had come so near to doing, yet avoided. And then by a return of 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 quite 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 shoulder 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 a transparency, the strange clauses of the will.
Dr Jekyll was Quite at Ease
A fortnight later, by excellent good fortune, the doctor gave one of his pleasant dinners to some five or six old cronies, all intelligent reputable men, and all judges of good wine; and Mr Utterson so contrived that he remained behind after the others had departed. This was no new arrangement, but a thing that had befallen many scores of times. Where Utterson was liked, he was liked well. Hosts loved to detain the dry lawyer, when the lighthearted and the loose-tongued had already their foot on the threshold; they liked to sit awhile in his unobtrusive company, practising for solitude, sobering their minds in the man's rich silence, after the expense and strain of gaiety. To this rule Dr Jekyll was no exception; and as he now sat on the opposite side of the fire - a large, well-made, smooth-faced man of fifty, with something of a slyish cast perhaps, but every mark of capacity and kindness - you could see by his looks that he cherished for Mr Utterson a sincere and warm affection.
`I have been wanting to speak to you, Jekyll,' began the latter. `You know that will of yours?'
A close observer might have gathered that the topic was distasteful; but the doctor carried it off gaily. `My poor Utterson,' said he, `you are unfortunate in such a client. I never saw a man so distressed as you were by my will; unless it were that hide-bound pedant, Lanyon, at what he called my scientific heresies. O, I know he's a good fellow - you needn't frown - an excellent fellow, and I always mean to see more of him; but a hide-bound pedant for all that; an ignorant, blatant pedant. I was never more disappointed in any man than Lanyon.'
`You know I never approved of it,' pursued Utterson, ruthlessly disregarding the fresh topic.
`My will? Yes, certainly, I know that,' said the doctor, a trifle sharply. `You have told me so.'
`Well, I tell you so again,' continued the lawyer. `I have been learning something of young Hyde.'
The large handsome face of Dr Jekyll grew pale to the very lips, and there came a blackness about his eyes. `I do not care to hear more,' said he. `This is a matter I thought we had agreed to drop.'
`What I heard was abominable,' said Utterson.
`It can make no change. You do not understand my position,' returned the doctor, with a certain incoherency of manner. `I am painfully situated, Utterson; my position is a very strange - a very strange one. It is one of those affairs that cannot be mended by talking.'
`I can't pretend that I shall ever like him,' said the lawyer.
`I don't ask that,' pleaded Jekyll, laying his hand upon the other's arm; `I only ask for justice; I only ask you to help him for my sake, when I am no longer here.'
Utterson heaved an irrepressible sigh. `Well,' said he, `I promise.'
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 and 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 sometimes 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 recognize 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 honor 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 a 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 recognize 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 other.
`Jekyll,' said Utterson, `you know me: I am a man to be trusted. Make a clean breast of this in confidence; and I make no doubt I can get you out of it.'
`My good Utterson,' said the doctor, `this is very good of you, this is downright good of you, and I cannot find words to thank you in. I believe you fully; I would trust you before any man alive, ay, before myself, if I could make the choice; but indeed it isn't what you fancy; it is not so bad as that; and just to put your good heart at rest, I will tell you one thing: the moment I choose, I can be rid of Mr Hyde. I give you my hand upon that; and I thank you again and again; and I will just add one little word, Utterson, that I'm sure you'll take in good part: this is a private matter, and I beg of you to let it sleep.'
Utterson reflected a little, looking in the fire.
`I have no doubt you are perfectly right,' he said at last, getting to his feet.
`Well, but since we have touched upon this business, and for the last time, I hope,' continued the doctor, `there is one point I should like you to understand. I have really a very great interest in poor Hyde. I know you have seen him; he told me so; and I fear he was rude. But I do sincerely take a great, a very great interest in that young man; and if I am taken away, Utterson, I wish you to promise me that you will bear with him and get his rights for him. I think you would, if you knew all; and it would be a weight off my mind if you would promise.'
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 marvellous 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 two-penny 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 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.'
Incident of the Letter
It was late in the afternoon when Mr Utterson found his way to Dr Jekyll's door, where he was at once admitted by Poole, and carried down by the kitchen offices and across a yard which had once been a garden, to the building which was indifferently known as the laboratory or the dissecting-rooms. The doctor had bought the house from the heirs of a celebrated surgeon; and his own tastes being rather chemical than anatomical, had changed the destination of the block at the bottom of the garden. It was the first time that the lawyer had been received in that part of his friend's quarters; and he eyed the dingy windowless structure with curiosity, and gazed round with a distasteful sense of strangeness as he crossed the theatre, once crowded with eager students and now lying gaunt and silent, the tables laden with chemical apparatus, the floor strewn with crates and littered with packing straw, and the light falling dimly through the foggy cupola. At the further end, a flight of stairs mounted to a door covered with red baize; and through this Mr Utterson was at last received into the doctor's cabinet. It was a large room, fitted round with glass presses, furnished, among other things, with a cheval-glass and a business table, and looking out upon the court by three dusty windows barred with iron. The fire burned in the grate; a lamp was set lighted on the chimney-shelf, for even in the houses the fog began to lie thickly; and there, close up to the warmth, sat Dr Jekyll, looking deadly sick. He did not rise to meet his visitor, but held out a cold hand and bade him welcome in a changed voice.
`And now,' said Mr Utterson, as soon as Poole had left them, `you have heard the news?'
The doctor shuddered. `They were crying it in the square,' he said. `I heard them in my dining-room.'
`One word,' said the lawyer. `Carew was my client, but so are you; and I want to know what I am doing. You have not been mad enough to hide this fellow?'
`Utterson, I swear to God,' cried the doctor, `I swear to God I will never set eyes on him again. I bind my honour to you that I am done with him in this world. It is all at an end. And indeed he does not want my help; you do not know him as I do; he is safe, he is quite safe; mark my words, he will never more be heard of.'
The lawyer listened gloomily; he did not like his friend's feverish manner. `You seem pretty sure of him,' said he; `and for your sake, I hope you may be right. If it came to a trial, your name might appear.
`I am quite sure of him,' replied Jekyll; `I have grounds for certainty that I cannot share with any one. But there is one thing on which you may advise me. I have I have received a letter; and I am at a loss whether I should show it to the police. I should like to leave it in your hands,
Utterson; you would judge wisely, I am sure; I have so great a trust in you.
`You fear, I suppose, that it might lead to his detection?' asked the lawyer.
`No,' said the other. `I cannot say that I care what becomes of Hyde; I am quite done with him. I was thinking of my own character, which this hateful business had rather exposed.'
Utterson ruminated awhile; he was surprised at his friend's selfishness, and yet relieved by it. `Well,' said he, at last, `let me see the letter.'
The letter was written in an odd, upright hand, and signed `Edward Hyde': and it signified, briefly enough, that the writer's benefactor, Dr Jekyll, whom he had long so unworthily repaid for a thousand generosities, need labour under no alarm for his safety as he had means of escape on which he placed a sure dependence. The lawyer liked this letter well enough; it put a better colour on the intimacy than he had looked for, and he blamed himself for some of his past suspicions.
`Have you the envelope?' he asked.
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 gratification.
`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, moneys 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.
`I burned it,' replied Jekyll, `before I thought what I was about. But it bore no postmark. The note was handed in.
`Shall I keep this and sleep upon it?' asked Utterson.
`I wish you to judge for me entirely,' was the reply. `I have lost confidence in myself.'
`Well, I shall consider,' returned the lawyer. `And now one word more: it was Hyde who dictated the terms in your will about that disappearance?'
The doctor seemed seized with a qualm of faintness; he shut his mouth tight and nodded.
`I knew it,' said Utterson. `He meant to murder you. You have had a fine escape.
`I have had what is far more to the purpose,' returned the doctor solemnly: `I have had a lesson - O God, Utterson, what a lesson I have had!' And he covered his face for a moment with his hands.
On his way out, the lawyer stopped and had a word or two with Poole. `By the by,' said he, `there was a letter handed in today: what was the messenger like?' But Poole was positive nothing had come except by post; `and only circulars by that,' he added.
This news sent off the visitor with his fears renewed. Plainly the letter had come by the laboratory door; possibly, indeed, it had been written in the cabinet; and, if that were so, it must be differently judged, and handled with the more caution. The news boys, as he went, were crying themselves hoarse along the footways: `Special edition. Shocking murder of an MP.' That was the funeral oration of one friend and client; and he could not help a certain apprehension lest the good name of another should be sucked down in the eddy of the scandal. It was, at least, a ticklish decision that he had to make; and, self-reliant as he was by habit, he began to cherish a longing for advice. It was not to be had directly; but perhaps, he thought, it might be fished for.
Presently after, he sat on one side of his own hearth, with Mr Guest, his head clerk, upon the other, and midway between, at a nicely calculated distance from the fire, a bottle of a particular old wine that had long dwelt unsunned in the foundations of his house. The fog still slept on the wing above the drowned city, where the lamps glimmered like carbuncles; and through the muffle and smother of these fallen clouds, the procession of the town's life was still rolling in through the great arteries with a sound as of a mighty wind. But the room was gay with firelight. In the bottle the acids were long ago resolved; the imperial dye had softened with time, as the colour grows richer in stained windows; and the glow of hot autumn afternoons on hillside vineyards was ready to be set free and to disperse the fogs of London. Insensibly the lawyer melted. There was no man from whom he kept fewer secrets than Mr Guest; and he was not always sure that he kept as many as he meant. Guest had often been on business to the doctor's; he knew Poole; he could scarce have failed to hear of Mr Hyde's familiarity about the house; he might draw conclusions: was it not as well, then, that he should see a letter which put that mystery to rights? and above all, since Guest, being a great student and critic of handwriting, would consider the step natural and obliging? The clerk, besides, was a man of counsel; he would scarce read so strange a document without dropping a remark; and by that remark Mr Utterson might shape his future course.
`This is a sad business about Sir Danvers,' he said.
`Yes, sir, indeed. It has elicited a great deal of public feeling,' returned Guest. `The man, of course, was mad.'
`I should like to hear your views on that,' replied Utterson. `I have a document here in his handwriting; it is between ourselves, for I scarce know what to do about it; it is an ugly business at the best. But there it is; quite in your way: a murderer's autograph.
Guest's eyes brightened, and he sat down at once and studied it with passion. `No, sir,' he said; `not mad; but it is an odd hand.'
`And by all accounts a very odd writer,' added the lawyer.
Just then the servant entered with a note.
`Is that from Dr Jekyll, sir?' inquired the clerk. `I thought I knew the writing. Anything private, Mr Utterson?'
`Only an invitation to dinner. Why? Do you want to see it?'
`One moment. I thank you, sir', and the clerk laid the two sheets of paper alongside and sedulously compared their contents. `Thank you, sir,' he said at last, returning both; `it's a very interesting autograph.'
There was a pause, during which Mr Utterson struggled with himself. `Why did you compare them, Guest?' he inquired suddenly.
`Well, sir,' returned the clerk, `there's a rather singular resemblance; the two hands are in many points identical; only differently sloped.'
`Rather quaint,' said Utterson.
`It is, as you say, rather quaint,' returned Guest.
`I wouldn't speak of this note, you know,' said the master.
`No, sir,' said the clerk. `I understand.'
But no sooner was Mr Utterson alone that night than he locked the note into his safe, where it reposed from that time forward. `What!' he thought. `Henry Jekyll forge for a murderer!' And his blood ran cold in his veins.
Remarkable Incident of Dr Lanyon
Time ran on; thousands of pounds were offered in reward, for the death of Sir Danvers was resented as a public injury; but Mr Hyde had disappeared out of the ken of the police as though he had never existed. Much of his past was unearthed, indeed, and all disreputable: tales came out of the man's cruelty, at once so callous and violent, of his vile life, of his strange associates, of the hatred that seemed to have surrounded his career; but of his present whereabouts, not a whisper. From the time he had left the house in Soho on the morning of the murder, he was simply blotted out; and gradually, as time drew on, Mr Utterson began to recover from the hotness of his alarm, and to grow more at quiet with himself. The death of Sir Danvers was, to his way of thinking, more than paid for by the disappearance of Mr Hyde. Now that that evil influence had been withdrawn, a new life began for Dr Jekyll. He came out of his seclusion, renewed relations with his friends, became once more their familiar guest and entertainer; and whilst he had always been known for charities, he was now no less distinguished for religion. He was busy, he was much in the open air, he did good; his face seemed to open and brighten, as if with an inward consciousness of service; and for more than two months the doctor was at peace.
On the 8th of January Utterson had dined at the doctor's with a small party; Lanyon had been there; and the face of the host had looked from one to the other as in the old days when the trio were inseparable friends. On the 12th, and again on the 14th, the door was shut against the lawyer. `The doctor was confined to the house,' Poole said, `and saw no one.' On the 14th he tried again, and was again refused; and having now been used for the last two months to see his friend almost daily, he found this return of solitude to weigh upon his spirits. The fifth night he had in Guest to dine with him; and the sixth he betook himself to Dr Lanyon's.
There at least he was not denied admittance; but when he came in, he was shocked at the change which had taken place in the doctor's appearance. He had his death-warrant written legibly upon his face. The rosy man had grown pale; his flesh had fallen away; he was visibly balder and older; and yet it was not so much these tokens of a swift physical decay that arrested the lawyer's notice, as a look in the eye and quality of manner that seemed to testify to some deep-seated terror of the mind. It was unlikely that the doctor should fear death; and yet that was what Utterson was tempted to suspect. `Yes,' he thought; `he is a doctor, he must know his own state and that his days are counted; and the knowledge is more than he can bear.' And yet when Utterson remarked on his ill looks, it was with an air of great firmness that Lanyon declared himself a doomed man.
`I have had a shock,' he said, `and I shall never recover. It is a question of weeks. Well, life has been pleasant; I liked it; yes, sir, I used to like it. I sometimes think if we knew all, we should be more glad to get away.
`Jekyll is ill, too,' observed Utterson. `Have you seen him?'
But Lanyon's face changed, and he held up a trembling hand. `I wish to see or hear no more of Dr Jekyll,' he said, in a loud, unsteady voice. `I am quite done with the person; and I beg that you will spare me any allusion to one whom I regard as dead.'
`Tut, tut,' said Mr Utterson; and then, after a considerable pause, `Can't I do anything?' he inquired. `We are three very old friends, Lanyon; we shall not live to make others.'
`Nothing can be done,' returned Lanyon; `ask himself. `He will not see me,' said the lawyer.
`I am not surprised at that,' was the reply. `Some day Utterson, after I am dead, you may perhaps come to learn the right and wrong of this. I cannot tell you. And in the meantime, if you can sit and talk with me of other things for God's sake, stay and do so; but if you cannot keep clear of this accursed topic, then, in God's name, go, for cannot bear it.'
As soon as he got home, Utterson sat down and wrote to Jekyll, complaining of his exclusion from the house and asking the cause of this unhappy break with Lanyon and the next day brought him a long answer, often yen pathetically worded, and sometimes darkly mysterious' in drift. The quarrel with Lanyon
was incurable. `I do no blame our old friend,' Jekyll wrote, `but I share his view that we must never meet. I mean from henceforth to lead a life of extreme seclusion; you must not be surprised, no must you doubt my friendship, if my door is often shut even to you. You must suffer me to go my own dark way I have brought on myself a punishment and a danger that I cannot name. If I am the chief of sinners, I am the chief of sufferers also. I could not think that this earth contained a place for sufferings and terrors so unmanning and you can do but one thing, Utterson, to lighten this destiny, and that is to respect my silence.' Utterson was amazed; the dark influence of Hyde had been withdrawn, the doctor had returned to his old tasks and amities; a week ago, the prospect had smiled with every promise of a cheerful and an honoured age; and now in a moment, friendship and peace of mind and the whole tenor of his life were wrecked. So great and unprepared a change pointed to madness; but in view of Lanyon's manner and words, there must lie for it some deeper ground.
A week afterwards Dr Lanyon took to his bed, and in something less than a fortnight he was dead. The night after the funeral, at which he had been sadly affected, Utterson locked the door of his business room, and sitting there by the light of a melancholy candle, drew out and set before him an envelope addressed by the hand and sealed with the seal of his dead friend. `PRIVATE: for the hands of J. G. Utterson ALONE, and in case of his predecease to be destroyed unread,' so it was emphatically superscribed; and the lawyer dreaded to behold the contents. `I have buried one friend to-day,' he thought: `what if this should cost me another?' And then he condemned the fear as a disloyalty, and broke the seal. Within there was another enclosure, likewise sealed, and marked upon the cover as `not to be opened till the death or disappearance of Dr Henry Jekyll'. Utterson could not trust his eyes. Yes, it was disappearance; here again, as in the mad will, which he had long ago restored to its author, here again were the idea of a disappearance and the name of Henry Jekyll bracketed. But in the will, that idea had sprung from the sinister suggestion of the man Hyde; it was set there with a purpose all too plain and horrible. Written by the hand of Lanyon, what should it mean? A great curiosity came to the trustee, to disregard the prohibition and dive at once to the bottom of these mysteries; but professional honour and faith to his dead friend were stringent obligations; and the packet slept in the inmost corner of his private safe.
It is one thing to mortify curiosity, another to conquer it; and it may be doubted if, from that day forth, Utterson desired the society of his surviving friend with the same eagerness. He thought of him kindly; but his thoughts were disquieted and fearful. He went to call indeed; but he was perhaps relieved to be denied admittance; perhaps, in his heart, he preferred to speak with Poole upon the doorstep, and surrounded by the air and sounds of the open city, rather than to be admitted into that house of voluntary bondage, and to sit and speak with its inscrutable recluse. Poole had, indeed, no very pleasant news to communicate. The doctor, it appeared, now more than ever confined himself to the cabinet over the laboratory, where he would sometimes even sleep; he was out of spirits, he had grown very silent, he did not read; it seemed as if he had something on his mind. Utterson became so used to the unvarying character of these reports, that he fell off little by little in the frequency of his visits.
Incident at the Window
It chanced on Sunday, when Mr Utterson was on his usual walk with Mr Enfield, that their way lay once again through the by street; and that when they came in front of the door, both stopped to gaze on it.
`Well,' said Enfield, `that story's at an end, at least. We shall never see more of Mr Hyde.'
`I hope not,' said Utterson. `Did I ever tell you that I once saw him, and shared your feeling of repulsion?'
`It was impossible to do the one without the other,' returned Enfield. `And, by the way, what an ass you must have thought me, not to know that this was a back way to Dr Jekyll's! It was partly your own fault that I found it out, even when I did.'
`So you found it out, did you?' said Utterson. `But if that be so, we may step into the court and take a look at the windows. To tell you the truth, I am uneasy about poor Jekyll; and even outside, I feel as if the presence of a friend might do him good.'
The court was very cool and a little damp, and full of premature twilight, although the sky, high up overhead, was still bright with sunset. The middle one of the three windows was half way open; and sitting close beside it, taking the air with an infinite sadness of mien, like some disconsolate prisoner, Utterson saw Dr Jekyll.
`What! Jekyll!' he cried. `I trust you are better.'
`I am very low, Utterson,' replied the doctor drearily; `very low. It will not last long, thank God.'
`You stay too much indoors,' said the lawyer. `You should be out, whipping up the circulation like Mr Enfield and me. (This is my cousin - Mr Enfield - Dr Jekyll.) Come, now; get your hat and take a quick turn with us.'
`You are very good,' sighed the other. `I should like to very much; but no, no, no, it is quite impossible; I dare not. But indeed, Utterson, I am very glad to see you; this is really a great pleasure. I would ask you and Mr Enfield up, but the place is really not fit.'
`Why then,' said the lawyer, good-naturedly, `the best thing we can do is to stay down here, and speak with you from where we are.'
`That is just what I was about to venture to propose,' returned the doctor, with a smile. But the words were hardly uttered, before the smile was struck out of his face and succeeded by an expression of such abje