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    Chapter 5

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    Chapter 5
    Previous Chapter
    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 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 deathly 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 has 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.

    "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 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

    On his way out, the lawyer stopped and had a word or two with
    Poole. "By the bye," said he, "there was a letter handed in
    to-day: what was the messenger like?" But Poole was positive
    nothing had come except by post; "and only circulars by that," he

    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 newsboys, as he went, were crying themselves hoarse along the
    footways: "Special edition. Shocking murder of an M.P." 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 right? 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 could 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

    "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.
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