The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde HTML version

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 theater, 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 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 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 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