Not a member?     Existing members login below:
Holidays Offer
 

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Dr. Lanyon's Narrative
On the ninth of January, now four days ago, I received by the evening delivery a
registered envelope, addressed in the hand of my colleague and old school companion,
Henry Jekyll. I was a good deal surprised by this; for we were by no means in the habit of
correspondence; I had seen the man, dined with him, indeed, the night before; and I could
imagine nothing in our intercourse that should justify formality of registration. The
contents increased my wonder; for this is how the letter ran:
"10th December, 18--.
"Dear Lanyon,--You are one of my oldest friends; and although we may have differed
at times on scientific questions, I cannot remember, at least on my side, any break in our
affection. There was never a day when, if you had said to me, `Jekyll, my life, my
honour, my reason, depend upon you,' I would not have sacrificed my left hand to help
you. Lanyon my life, my honour, my reason, are all at your mercy; if you fail me to-
night, I am lost. You might suppose, after this preface, that I am going to ask you for
something dishonourable to grant. Judge for yourself.
"I want you to postpone all other engagements for to-night-- ay, even if you were
summoned to the bedside of an emperor; to take a cab, unless your carriage should be
actually at the door; and with this letter in your hand for consultation, to drive straight to
my house. Poole, my butler, has his orders; you will find him waiting your arrival with a
locksmith. The door of my cabinet is then to be forced: and you are to go in alone; to
open the glazed press (letter E) on the left hand, breaking the lock if it be shut; and to
draw out, with all its contents as they stand, the fourth drawer from the top or (which is
the same thing) the third from the bottom. In my extreme distress of mind, I have a
morbid fear of misdirecting you; but even if I am in error, you may know the right drawer
by its contents: some powders, a phial and a paper book. This drawer I beg of you to
carry back with you to Cavendish Square exactly as it stands.
"That is the first part of the service: now for the second. You should be back, if you set
out at once on the receipt of this, long before midnight; but I will leave you that amount
of margin, not only in the fear of one of those obstacles that can neither be prevented nor
foreseen, but because an hour when your servants are in bed is to be preferred for what
will then remain to do. At midnight, then, I have to ask you to be alone in your consulting
room, to admit with your own hand into the house a man who will present himself in my
name, and to place in his hands the drawer that you will have brought with you from my
cabinet. Then you will have played your part and earned my gratitude completely. Five
minutes afterwards, if you insist upon an explanation, you will have understood that these
arrangements are of capital importance; and that by the neglect of one of them, fantastic
as they must appear, you might have charged your conscience with my death or the
shipwreck of my reason.
"Confident as I am that you will not trifle with this appeal, my heart sinks and my hand
trembles at the bare thought of such a possibility. Think of me at this hour, in a strange
 
Remove