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    Chapter 2

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    Chapter 2
    Previous Chapter
    Search for Mr. Hyde

    That evening Mr. Utterson came home to his bachelor house in
    sombre spirits and sat down to dinner without relish. It was his
    custom of a Sunday, when this meal was over, to sit close by the
    fire, a volume of some dry divinity on his reading desk, until the
    clock of the neighbouring church rang out the hour of twelve, when
    he would go soberly and gratefully to bed. On this night however,
    as soon as the cloth was taken away, he took up a candle and went
    into his business room. There he opened his safe, took from the
    most private part of it a document endorsed on the envelope as Dr.
    Jekyll's Will and sat down with a clouded brow to study its
    contents. The will was holograph, for Mr. Utterson though he took
    charge of it now that it was made, had refused to lend the least
    assistance in the making of it; it provided not only that, in case
    of the decease of Henry Jekyll, M.D., D.C.L., L.L.D., F.R.S.,
    etc., all his possessions were to pass into the hands of his
    "friend and benefactor Edward Hyde," but that in case of Dr.
    Jekyll's "disappearance or unexplained absence for any period
    exceeding three calendar months," the said Edward Hyde should step
    into the said Henry Jekyll's shoes without further delay and free
    from any burthen or obligation beyond the payment of a few small
    sums to the members of the doctor's household. This document had
    long been the lawyer's eyesore. It offended him both as a lawyer
    and as a lover of the sane and customary sides of life, to whom
    the fanciful was the immodest. And hitherto it was his ignorance
    of Mr. Hyde that had swelled his indignation; now, by a sudden
    turn, it was his knowledge. It was already bad enough when the
    name was but a name of which he could learn no more. It was worse
    when it began to be clothed upon with detestable attributes; and
    out of the shifting, insubstantial mists that had so long baffled
    his eye, there leaped up the sudden, definite presentment of a
    fiend.

    "I thought it was madness," he said, as he replaced the
    obnoxious paper in the safe, "and now I begin to fear it is
    disgrace."

    With that he blew out his candle, put on a greatcoat, and set
    forth in the direction of Cavendish Square, that citadel of
    medicine, where his friend, the great Dr. Lanyon, had his house
    and received his crowding patients. "If anyone knows, it will be
    Lanyon," he had thought.

    The solemn butler knew and welcomed him; he was subjected to
    no stage of delay, but ushered direct from the door to the
    dining-room where Dr. Lanyon sat alone over his wine. This was a
    hearty, healthy, dapper, red-faced gentleman, with a shock of hair
    prematurely white, and a boisterous and decided manner. At sight
    of Mr. Utterson, he sprang up from his chair and welcomed him with
    both hands. The geniality, as was the way of the man, was
    somewhat theatrical to the eye; but it reposed on genuine feeling.
    For these two were old friends, old mates both at school and
    college, both thorough respectors of themselves and of each other,
    and what does not always follow, men who thoroughly enjoyed each
    other's company.

    After a little rambling talk, the lawyer led up to the subject
    which so disagreeably preoccupied his mind.

    "I suppose, Lanyon," said he, "you and I must be the two
    oldest friends that Henry Jekyll has?"

    "I wish the friends were younger," chuckled Dr. Lanyon. "But
    I suppose we are. And what of that? I see little of him now."

    "Indeed?" said Utterson. "I thought you had a bond of common
    interest."

    "We had," was the reply. "But it is more than ten years since
    Henry Jekyll became too fanciful for me. He began to go wrong,
    wrong in mind; and though of course I continue to take an interest
    in him for old sake's sake, as they say, I see and I have seen
    devilish little of the man. Such unscientific balderdash," added
    the doctor, flushing suddenly purple, "would have estranged Damon
    and Pythias."

    This little spirit of temper was somewhat of a relief to
    Mr. Utterson. "They have only differed on some point of science,"
    he thought; and being a man of no scientific passions (except in
    the matter of conveyancing), he even added: "It is nothing worse
    than that!" He gave his friend a few seconds to recover his
    composure, and then approached the question he had come to put.
    Did you ever come across a protege of his--one Hyde?" he asked.

    "Hyde?" repeated Lanyon. "No. Never heard of him. Since my
    time."***

    That was the amount of information that the lawyer carried
    back with him to the great, dark bed on which he tossed to and
    fro, until the small hours of the morning began to grow large. It
    was a night of little ease to his toiling mind, toiling in mere
    darkness and beseiged by questions.

    Six o'clock stuck on the bells of the church that was so
    conveniently near to Mr. Utterson's dwelling, and still he was
    digging at the problem. Hitherto it had touched him on the
    intellectual side alone; but now his imagination also was engaged,
    or rather enslaved; and as he lay and tossed in the gross darkness
    of the night and the curtained room, Mr. Enfield's tale went by
    before his mind in a scroll of lighted pictures. He would be
    aware of the great field of lamps of a nocturnal city; then of the
    figure of a man walking swiftly; then of a child running from the
    doctor's; and then these met, and that human Juggernaut trod the
    child down and passed on regardless of her screams. Or else he
    would see a room in a rich house, where his friend lay asleep,
    dreaming and smiling at his dreams; and then the door of that room
    would be opened, the curtains of the bed plucked apart, the
    sleeper recalled, and lo! there would stand by his side a figure
    to whom power was given, and even at that dead hour, he must rise
    and do its bidding. The figure in these two phases haunted the
    lawyer all night; and if at any time he dozed over, it was but to
    see it glide more stealthily through sleeping houses, or move the
    more swiftly and still the more swiftly, even to dizziness,
    through wider labyrinths of lamplighted city, and at every street
    corner crush a child and leave her screaming. And still the
    figure had no face by which he might know it; even in his dreams,
    it had no face, or one that baffled him and melted before his
    eyes; and thus it was that there sprang up and grew apace in the
    lawyer's mind a singularly strong, almost an inordinate, curiosity
    to behold the features of the real Mr. Hyde. If he could but once
    set eyes on him, he thought the mystery would lighten and perhaps
    roll altogether away, as was the habit of mysterious things when
    well examined. He might see a reason for his friend's strange
    preference or bondage (call it which you please) and even for the
    startling clause of the will. At least it would be a face worth
    seeing: the face of a man who was without bowels of mercy: a face
    which had but to show itself to raise up, in the mind of the
    unimpressionable Enfield, a spirit of enduring hatred.

    From that time forward, Mr. Utterson began to haunt the door
    in the by-street of shops. In the morning before office hours, at
    noon when business was plenty, and time scarce, at night under the
    face of the fogged city moon, by all lights and at all hours of
    solitude or concourse, the lawyer was to be found on his chosen
    post.

    "If he be Mr. Hyde," he had thought, "I shall be Mr. Seek."

    And at last his patience was rewarded. It was a fine dry
    night; frost in the air; the streets as clean as a ballroom floor;
    the lamps, unshaken by any wind, drawing a regular pattern of
    light and shadow. By ten o'clock, when the shops were closed the
    by-street was very solitary and, in spite of the low growl of
    London from all round, very silent. Small sounds carried far;
    domestic sounds out of the houses were clearly audible on either
    side of the roadway; and the rumour of the approach of any
    passenger preceded him by a long time. Mr. Utterson had been some
    minutes at his post, when he was aware of an odd light footstep
    drawing near. In the course of his nightly patrols, he had long
    grown accustomed to the quaint effect with which the footfalls
    of a single person, while he is still a great way off, suddenly
    spring out distinct from the vast hum and clatter of the city.
    Yet his attention had never before been so sharply and decisively
    arrested; and it was with a strong, superstitious prevision of
    success that he withdrew into the entry of the court.

    The steps drew swiftly nearer, and swelled out suddenly louder
    as they turned the end of the street. The lawyer, looking forth
    from the entry, could soon see what manner of man he had to deal
    with. He was small and very plainly dressed and the look of him,
    even at that distance, went somehow strongly against the watcher's
    inclination. But he made straight for the door, crossing the
    roadway to save time; and as he came, he drew a key from his
    pocket like one approaching home.

    Mr. Utterson stepped out and touched him on the shoulder as he
    passed. "Mr. Hyde, I think?"

    Mr. Hyde shrank back with a hissing intake of the breath. But
    his fear was only momentary; and though he did not look the lawyer
    in the face, he answered coolly enough: "That is my name. What do
    you want?"

    "I see you are going in," returned the lawyer. "I am an old
    friend of Dr. Jekyll's--Mr. Utterson of Gaunt Street--you must
    have heard of my name; and meeting you so conveniently, I thought
    you might admit me."

    "You will not find Dr. Jekyll; he is from home," replied Mr.
    Hyde, blowing in the key. And then suddenly, but still without
    looking up, "How did you know me?" he asked.

    "On your side," said Mr. Utterson "will you do me a favour?"

    "With pleasure," replied the other. "What shall it be?"

    "Will you let me see your face?" asked the lawyer.

    Mr. Hyde appeared to hesitate, and then, as if upon some
    sudden reflection, fronted about with an air of defiance; and the
    pair stared at each other pretty fixedly for a few seconds. "Now
    I shall know you again," said Mr. Utterson. "It may be useful."

    "Yes," returned Mr. Hyde, "lt is as well we have met; and
    apropos, you should have my address." And he gave a number of a
    street in Soho.

    "Good God!" thought Mr. Utterson, "can he, too, have been
    thinking of the will?" But he kept his feelings to himself and
    only grunted in acknowledgment of the address.

    "And now," said the other, "how did you know me?"

    "By description," was the reply.

    "Whose description?"

    "We have common friends," said Mr. Utterson.

    "Common friends," echoed Mr. Hyde, a little hoarsely. "Who
    are they?"

    "Jekyll, for instance," said the lawyer.

    "He never told you," cried Mr. Hyde, with a flush of anger.
    "I did not think you would have lied."

    "Come," said Mr. Utterson, "that is not fitting language."

    The other snarled aloud into a savage laugh; and the next
    moment, with extraordinary quickness, he had unlocked the door and
    disappeared into the house.

    The lawyer stood awhile when Mr. Hyde had left him, the
    picture of disquietude. Then he began slowly to mount the street,
    pausing every step or two and putting his hand to his brow like a
    man in mental perplexity. The problem he was thus debating as he
    walked, was one of a class that is rarely solved. Mr. Hyde was
    pale and dwarfish, he gave an impression of deformity without any
    nameable malformation, he had a displeasing smile, he had borne
    himself to the lawyer with a sort of murderous mixture of timidity
    and boldness, and he spoke with a husky, whispering and somewhat
    broken voice; all these were points against him, but not all of
    these together could explain the hitherto unknown disgust,
    loathing and fear with which Mr. Utterson regarded him. "There
    must be something else," said the perplexed gentleman. "There
    is something more, if I could find a name for it. God bless me,
    the man seems hardly human! Something troglodytic, shall we say?
    or can it be the old story of Dr. Fell? or is it the mere radience
    of a foul soul that thus transpires through, and transfigures, its
    clay continent? The last,I think; for, O my poor old Harry
    Jekyll, if ever I read Satan's signature upon a face, it is on
    that of your new friend."

    Round the corner from the by-street, there was a square of
    ancient, handsome houses, now for the most part decayed from their
    high estate and let in flats and chambers to all sorts and
    conditions of men; map-engravers, architects, shady lawyers and
    the agents of obscure enterprises. One house, however, second
    from the corner, was still occupied entire; and at the door of
    this, which wore a great air of wealth and comfort, though it was
    now plunged in darkness except for the fanlight, Mr. Utterson
    stopped and knocked. A well-dressed, elderly servant opened the
    door.

    "Is Dr. Jekyll at home, Poole?" asked the lawyer.

    "I will see, Mr. Utterson," said Poole, admitting the visitor,
    as he spoke, into a large, low-roofed, comfortable hall paved with
    flags, warmed (after the fashion of a country house) by a bright,
    open fire, and furnished with costly cabinets of oak. "Will you
    wait here by the fire, sir? or shall I give you a light in the
    dining-room?"

    "Here, thank you," said the lawyer, and he drew near and
    leaned on the tall fender. This hall, in which he was now left
    alone, was a pet fancy of his friend the doctor's; and Utterson
    himself was wont to speak of it as the pleasantest room in London.
    But tonight there was a shudder in his blood; the face of Hyde sat
    heavy on his memory; he felt (what was rare with him) a nausea
    and distaste of life; and in the gloom of his spirits, he seemed
    to read a menace in the flickering of the firelight on the
    polished cabinets and the uneasy starting of the shadow on the
    roof. He was ashamed of his relief, when Poole presently
    returned to announce that Dr. Jekyll was gone out.

    "I saw Mr. Hyde go in by the old dissecting room, Poole," he
    said. "Is that right, when Dr. Jekyll is from home?"

    "Quite right, Mr. Utterson, sir," replied the servant. "Mr.
    Hyde has a key."

    "Your master seems to repose a great deal of trust in that
    young man, Poole," resumed the other musingly.

    "Yes, sir, he does indeed," said Poole. "We have all orders
    to obey him."

    "I do not think I ever met Mr. Hyde?" asked Utterson.

    "O, dear no, sir. He never dines here," replied the butler.
    Indeed we see very little of him on this side of the house; he
    mostly comes and goes by the laboratory."

    "Well, good-night, Poole."

    "Good-night, Mr. Utterson."

    And the lawyer set out homeward with a very heavy heart.
    "Poor Harry Jekyll," he thought, "my mind misgives me he is in
    deep waters! He was wild when he was young; a long while ago to
    be sure; but in the law of God, there is no statute of
    limitations. Ay, it must be that; the ghost of some old sin, the
    cancer of some concealed disgrace: punishment coming, PEDE CLAUDO,
    years after memory has forgotten and self-love condoned the
    fault." And the lawyer, scared by the thought, brooded awhile on
    his own past, groping in all the corners of memory, least by
    chance some Jack-in-the-Box of an old iniquity should leap to
    light there. His past was fairly blameless; few men could read
    the rolls of their life with less apprehension; yet he was humbled
    to the dust by the many ill things he had done, and raised up
    again into a sober and fearful gratitude by the many he had come
    so near to doing yet avoided. And then by a return on his former
    subject, he conceived a spark of hope. "This Master Hyde, if he
    were studied," thought he, "must have secrets of his own; black
    secrets, by the look of him; secrets compared to which poor
    Jekyll's worst would be like sunshine. Things cannot continue as
    they are. It turns me cold to think of this creature stealing
    like a thief to Harry's bedside; poor Harry, what a wakening! And
    the danger of it; for if this Hyde suspects the existence of the
    will, he may grow impatient to inherit. Ay, I must put my
    shoulders to the wheel--if Jekyll will but let me," he added,
    "if Jekyll will only let me." For once more he saw before his
    mind's eye, as clear as transparency, the strange clauses of the
    will.
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    Chapter 2
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