The Last Night
Mr. Utterson was sitting by his fireside one evening after dinner,
when he was surprised to receive a visit from Poole.
"Bless me, Poole, what brings you here?" he cried; and then
taking a second look at him, "What ails you?" he added; is the
"Mr. Utterson," said the man, "there is something wrong."
"Take a seat, and here is a glass of wine for you," said the
lawyer. "Now, take your time, and tell me plainly what you want."
"You know the doctor's ways, sir," replied Poole, "and how he
shuts himself up. Well, he's shut up again in the cabinet; and I
don't like it, sir--I wish I may die if I like it. Mr.
Utterson, sir, I'm afraid."
"Now, my good man," said the lawyer, "be explicit. What are
you afraid of?"
"I've been afraid for about a week," returned Poole, doggedly
disregarding the question, "and I can bear it no more."
The man's appearance amply bore out his words; his manner was
altered for the worse; and except for the moment when he had first
announced his terror, he had not once looked the lawyer in the
face. Even now, he sat with the glass of wine untasted on his
knee, and his eyes directed to a corner of the floor. "I can bear
it no more,"he repeated.
"Come," said the lawyer, "I see you have some good reason,
Poole; I see there is something seriously amiss. Try to tell me
what it is."
"I think there's been foul play," said Poole, hoarsely.
"Foul play!" cried the lawyer, a good deal frightened and
rather inclined to be irritated in consequence. "What foul play!
What does the man mean?"
"I daren't say, sir," was the answer; but will you come along
with me and see for yourself?"
Mr. Utterson's only answer was to rise and get his hat and
greatcoat; but he observed with wonder the greatness of the relief
that appeared upon the butler's face, and perhaps with no less,
that the wine was still untasted when he set it down to follow.
It was a wild, cold, seasonable night of March, with a pale
moon, lying on her back as though the wind had tilted her, and
flying wrack of the most diaphanous and lawny texture. The wind
made talking difficult, and flecked the blood into the face. It
seemed to have swept the streets unusually bare of passengers,
besides; for Mr. Utterson thought he had never seen that part of
London so deserted. He could have wished it otherwise; never in
his life had he been conscious of so sharp a wish to see and touch
his fellow-creatures; for struggle as he might, there was borne in
upon his mind a crushing anticipation of calamity. The square,
when they got there, was full of wind and dust, and the thin trees
in the garden were lashing themselves along the railing. Poole,
who had kept all the way a pace or two ahead, now pulled up in the
middle of the pavement, and in spite of the biting weather, took
off his hat and mopped his brow with a red pocket-handkerchief.
But for all the hurry of his coming, these were not the dews of
exertion that he wiped away, but the moisture of some strangling
anguish; for his face was white and his voice, when he spoke,
harsh and broken.
"Well, sir," he said, "here we are, and God grant there be
"Amen, Poole," said the lawyer.
Thereupon the servant knocked in a very guarded manner; the
door was opened on the chain; and a voice asked from within, "Is
that you, Poole?"
"It's all right," said Poole. "Open the door."
The hall, when they entered it, was brightly lighted up; the
fire was built high; and about the hearth the whole of the
servants, men and women, stood huddled together like a flock of
sheep. At the sight of Mr. Utterson, the housemaid broke into
hysterical whimpering; and the cook, crying out "Bless God! it's
Mr. Utterson," ran forward as if to take him in her arms.
"What, what? Are you all here?" said the lawyer peevishly.
"Very irregular, very unseemly; your master would be far from
"They're all afraid," said Poole.
Blank silence followed, no one protesting; only the maid
lifted her voice and now wept loudly.
"Hold your tongue!" Poole said to her, with a ferocity of
accent that testified to his own jangled nerves; and indeed, when
the girl had so suddenly raised the note of her lamentation, they
had all started and turned towards the inner door with faces of
dreadful expectation. "And now," continued the butler, addressing
the knife-boy, "reach me a candle, and we'll get this through
hands at once." And then he begged Mr. Utterson to follow him,
and led the way to the back garden.
"Now, sir," said he, "you come as gently as you can. I want
you to hear, and I don't want you to be heard. And see here, sir,
if by any chance he was to ask you in, don't go."
Mr. Utterson's nerves, at this unlooked-for termination, gave
a jerk that nearly threw him from his balance; but he recollected
his courage and followed the butler into the laboratory building
through the surgical theatre, with its lumber of crates and
bottles, to the foot of the stair. Here Poole motioned him to
stand on one side and listen; while he himself, setting down the
candle and making a great and obvious call on his resolution,
mounted the steps and knocked with a somewhat uncertain hand on
the red baize of the cabinet door.
"Mr. Utterson, sir, asking to see you," he called; and even as
he did so, once more violently signed to the lawyer to give ear.
A voice answered from within: "Tell him I cannot see anyone,"
it said complainingly.
"Thank you, sir," said Poole, with a note of something like
triumph in his voice; and taking up his candle, he led Mr.
Utterson back across the yard and into the great kitchen, where
the fire was out and the beetles were leaping on the floor.
"Sir," he said, looking Mr. Utterson in the eyes, "Was that my
"It seems much changed," replied the lawyer, very pale, but
giving look for look.
"Changed? Well, yes, I think so," said the butler. "Have I
been twenty years in this man's house, to be deceived about his
voice? No, sir; master's made away with; he was made away with
eight days ago, when we heard him cry out upon the name of God;
and who's in there instead of him, and why it stays there, is a
thing that cries to Heaven, Mr. Utterson!"
"This is a very strange tale, Poole; this is rather a wild
tale my man," said Mr. Utterson, biting his finger. "Suppose it
were as you suppose, supposing Dr. Jekyll to have been--well,
murdered what could induce the murderer to stay? That won't hold
water; it doesn't commend itself to reason."
"Well, Mr. Utterson, you are a hard man to satisfy, but I'll
do it yet," said Poole. "All this last week (you must know) him,
or it, whatever it is that lives in that cabinet, has been crying
night and day for some sort of medicine and cannot get it to his
mind. It was sometimes his way--the master's, that is--to
write his orders on a sheet of paper and throw it on the stair.
We've had nothing else this week back; nothing but papers, and a
closed door, and the very meals left there to be smuggled in when
nobody was looking. Well, sir, every day, ay, and twice and
thrice in the same day, there have been orders and complaints, and
I have been sent flying to all the wholesale chemists in town.
Every time I brought the stuff back, there would be another paper
telling me to return it, because it was not pure, and another
order to a different firm. This drug is wanted bitter bad, sir,
"Have you any of these papers?" asked Mr. Utterson.
Poole felt in his pocket and handed out a crumpled note, which
the lawyer, bending nearer to the candle, carefully examined. Its
contents ran thus: "Dr. Jekyll presents his compliments to Messrs.
Maw. He assures them that their last sample is impure and quite
useless for his present purpose. In the year 18--, Dr. J.
purchased a somewhat large quantity from Messrs. M. He now begs
them to search with most sedulous care,and should any of the same
quality be left, forward it to him at once. Expense is no
consideration. The importance of this to Dr. J. can hardly be
exaggerated." So far the letter had run composedly enough, but
here with a sudden splutter of the pen, the writer's emotion had
broken loose. "For God's sake," he added, "find me some of the
"This is a strange note," said Mr. Utterson; and then sharply,
"How do you come to have it open?"
"The man at Maw's was main angry, sir, and he threw it back to
me like so much dirt," returned Poole.
"This is unquestionably the doctor's hand, do you know?"
resumed the lawyer.
"I thought it looked like it," said the servant rather
sulkily; and then, with another voice, "But what matters hand of
write?" he said. "I've seen him!"
"Seen him?" repeated Mr. Utterson. "Well?"
"That's it!" said Poole. "It was this way. I came suddenly
into the theater from the garden. It seems he had slipped out to
look for this drug or whatever it is; for the cabinet door was
open, and there he was at the far end of the room digging among
the crates. He looked up when I came in, gave a kind of cry, and
whipped upstairs into the cabinet. It was but for one minute that
I saw him, but the hair stood upon my head like quills. Sir, if
that was my master, why had he a mask upon his face? If it was my
master, why did he cry out like a rat, and run from me? I have
served him long enough. And then..." The man paused and passed
his hand over his face.
"These are all very strange circumstances," said Mr.
Utterson, "but I think I begin to see daylight. Your master,
Poole, is plainly seized with one of those maladies that both
torture and deform the sufferer; hence, for aught I know, the
alteration of his voice; hence the mask and the avoidance of his
friends; hence his eagerness to find this drug, by means of which
the poor soul retains some hope of ultimate recovery--God grant
that he be not deceived! There is my explanation; it is sad
enough, Poole, ay, and appalling to consider; but it is plain and
natural, hangs well together, and delivers us from all exorbitant
"Sir," said the butler, turning to a sort of mottled pallor,
"that thing was not my master, and there's the truth. My
master"--here he looked round him and began to whisper--"is a
tall, fine build of a man, and this was more of a dwarf."
Utterson attempted to protest. "O, sir," cried Poole, "do you
think I do not know my master after twenty years? Do you think I
do not know where his head comes to in the cabinet door, where I
saw him every morning of my life? No, sir, that thing in the mask
was never Dr. Jekyll--God knows what it was, but it was never
Dr. Jekyll; and it is the belief of my heart that there was murder
"Poole," replied the lawyer, "if you say that, it will become
my duty to make certain. Much as I desire to spare your master's
feelings, much as I am puzzled by this note which seems to prove
him to be still alive, I shall consider it my duty to break in
"Ah, Mr. Utterson, that's talking!" cried the butler.
"And now comes the second question," resumed Utterson: "Who
is going to do it?"
"Why, you and me, sir," was the undaunted reply.
"That's very well said," returned the lawyer; "and whatever
comes of it, I shall make it my business to see you are no loser."
"There is an axe in the theatre," continued Poole; "and you
might take the kitchen poker for yourself."
The lawyer took that rude but weighty instrument into his
hand, and balanced it. "Do you know, Poole," he said, looking up,
"that you and I are about to place ourselves in a position of
"You may say so, sir, indeed," returned the butler.
"It is well, then that we should be frank," said the other.
"We both think more than we have said; let us make a clean breast.
This masked figure that you saw, did you recognise it?"
"Well, sir, it went so quick, and the creature was so doubled
up, that I could hardly swear to that," was the answer. "But if
you mean, was it Mr. Hyde?--why, yes, I think it was!" You see,
it was much of the same bigness; and it had the same quick, light
way with it; and then who else could have got in by the laboratory
door? You have not forgot, sir, that at the time of the murder he
had still the key with him? But that's not all. I don't know,
Mr. Utterson, if you ever met this Mr. Hyde?"
"Yes," said the lawyer, "I once spoke with him."
"Then you must know as well as the rest of us that there was
something queer about that gentleman--something that gave a man
a turn--I don't know rightly how to say it, sir, beyond this:
that you felt in your marrow kind of cold and thin."
"I own I felt something of what you describe," said Mr.
"Quite so, sir," returned Poole. "Well, when that masked
thing like a monkey jumped from among the chemicals and whipped
into the cabinet, it went down my spine like ice. O, I know it's
not evidence, Mr. Utterson; I'm book-learned enough for that; but
a man has his feelings, and I give you my bible-word it was Mr.
"Ay, ay," said the lawyer. "My fears incline to the same
point. Evil, I fear, founded--evil was sure to come--of that
connection. Ay truly, I believe you; I believe poor Harry is
killed; and I believe his murderer (for what purpose, God alone
can tell) is still lurking in his victim's room. Well, let our
name be vengeance. Call Bradshaw."
The footman came at the summons, very white and nervous.
"Put yourself together, Bradshaw," said the lawyer. "This
suspense, I know, is telling upon all of you; but it is now our
intention to make an end of it. Poole, here, and I are going to
force our way into the cabinet. If all is well, my shoulders are
broad enough to bear the blame. Meanwhile, lest anything should
really be amiss, or any malefactor seek to escape by the back, you
and the boy must go round the corner with a pair of good sticks
and take your post at the laboratory door. We give you ten
minutes, to get to your stations."
As Bradshaw left, the lawyer looked at his watch. "And now,
Poole, let us get to ours," he said; and taking the poker under
his arm, led the way into the yard. The scud had banked over the
moon, and it was now quite dark. The wind, which only broke in
puffs and draughts into that deep well of building, tossed the
light of the candle to and fro about their steps, until they came
into the shelter of the theatre, where they sat down silently to
wait. London hummed solemnly all around; but nearer at hand, the
stillness was only broken by the sounds of a footfall moving to
and fro along the cabinet floor.
"So it will walk all day, sir," whispered Poole; "ay, and the
better part of the night. Only when a new sample comes from the
chemist, there's a bit of a break. Ah, it's an ill conscience
that's such an enemy to rest! Ah, sir, there's blood foully shed
in every step of it! But hark again, a little closer--put your
heart in your ears, Mr. Utterson, and tell me, is that the
The steps fell lightly and oddly, with a certain swing, for
all they went so slowly; it was different indeed from the heavy
creaking tread of Henry Jekyll. Utterson sighed. "Is there never
anything else?" he asked.
Poole nodded. "Once," he said. "Once I heard it weeping!"
"Weeping? how that?" said the lawyer, conscious of a sudden
chill of horror.
"Weeping like a woman or a lost soul," said the butler. "I
came away with that upon my heart, that I could have wept too."
But now the ten minutes drew to an end. Poole disinterred the
axe from under a stack of packing straw; the candle was set upon
the nearest table to light them to the attack; and they drew near
with bated breath to where that patient foot was still going up
and down, up and down, in the quiet of the night. "Jekyll," cried
Utterson, with a loud voice, "I demand to see you." He paused a
moment, but there came no reply. "I give you fair warning, our
suspicions are aroused, and I must and shall see you," he resumed;
"if not by fair means, then by foul--if not of your consent,
then by brute force!"
"Utterson," said the voice, "for God's sake, have mercy!"
"Ah, that's not Jekyll's voice--it's Hyde's!" cried
Utterson. "Down with the door, Poole!"
Poole swung the axe over his shoulder; the blow shook the
building, and the red baize door leaped against the lock and
hinges. A dismal screech, as of mere animal terror, rang from the
cabinet. Up went the axe again, and again the panels crashed and
the frame bounded; four times the blow fell; but the wood was
tough and the fittings were of excellent workmanship; and it was
not until the fifth, that the lock burst and the wreck of the door
fell inwards on the carpet.
The besiegers, appalled by their own riot and the stillness
that had succeeded, stood back a little and peered in. There lay
the cabinet before their eyes in the quiet lamplight, a good fire
glowing and chattering on the hearth, the kettle singing its thin
strain, a drawer or two open, papers neatly set forth on the
business table, and nearer the fire, the things laid out for tea;
the quietest room, you would have said, and, but for the glazed
presses full of chemicals, the most commonplace that night in
Right in the middle there lay the body of a man sorely
contorted and still twitching. They drew near on tiptoe, turned
it on its back and beheld the face of Edward Hyde. He was dressed
in clothes far to large for him, clothes of the doctor's bigness;
the cords of his face still moved with a semblance of life, but
life was quite gone: and by the crushed phial in the hand and the
strong smell of kernels that hung upon the air, Utterson knew that
he was looking on the body of a self-destroyer.
"We have come too late," he said sternly, "whether to save or
punish. Hyde is gone to his account; and it only remains for us
to find the body of your master."
The far greater proportion of the building was occupied by
the theatre, which filled almost the whole ground storey and was
lighted from above, and by the cabinet, which formed an upper
story at one end and looked upon the court. A corridor joined the
theatre to the door on the by-street; and with this the cabinet
communicated separately by a second flight of stairs. There were
besides a few dark closets and a spacious cellar. All these they
now thorougly examined. Each closet needed but a glance, for all
were empty, and all, by the dust that fell from their doors, had
stood long unopened. The cellar, indeed, was filled with crazy
lumber, mostly dating from the times of the surgeon who was
Jekyll's predecessor; but even as they opened the door they were
advertised of the uselessness of further search, by the fall of a
perfect mat of cobweb which had for years sealed up the entrance.
No where was there any trace of Henry Jekyll dead or alive.
Poole stamped on the flags of the corridor. "He must be
buried here," he said, hearkening to the sound.
"Or he may have fled," said Utterson, and he turned to examine
the door in the by-street. It was locked; and lying near by on
the flags, they found the key, already stained with rust.
"This does not look like use," observed the lawyer.
"Use!" echoed Poole. "Do you not see, sir, it is broken?
much as if a man had stamped on it."
"Ay," continued Utterson, "and the fractures, too, are rusty."
The two men looked at each other with a scare. "This is beyond
me, Poole," said the lawyer. "Let us go back to the cabinet."
They mounted the stair in silence, and still with an
occasional awestruck glance at the dead body, proceeded more
thoroughly to examine the contents of the cabinet. At one table,
there were traces of chemical work, various measured heaps of some
white salt being laid on glass saucers, as though for an
experiment in which the unhappy man had been prevented.
"That is the same drug that I was always bringing him," said
Poole; and even as he spoke, the kettle with a startling noise
This brought them to the fireside, where the easy-chair was
drawn cosily up, and the tea things stood ready to the sitter's
elbow, the very sugar in the cup. There were several books on a
shelf; one lay beside the tea things open, and Utterson was amazed
to find it a copy of a pious work, for which Jekyll had several
times expressed a great esteem, annotated, in his own hand with
Next, in the course of their review of the chamber, the
searchers came to the cheval-glass, into whose depths they looked
with an involuntary horror. But it was so turned as to show them
nothing but the rosy glow playing on the roof, the fire sparkling
in a hundred repetitions along the glazed front of the presses,
and their own pale and fearful countenances stooping to look in.
"This glass has seen some strange things, sir," whispered
"And surely none stranger than itself," echoed the lawyer in
the same tones. "For what did Jekyll"--he caught himself up at
the word with a start, and then conquering the weakness--"what
could Jekyll want with it?" he said.
"You may say that!" said Poole.
Next they turned to the business table. On the desk, among
the neat array of papers, a large envelope was uppermost, and
bore, in the doctor's hand, the name of Mr. Utterson. The lawyer
unsealed it, and several enclosures fell to the floor. The first
was a will, drawn in the same eccentric terms as the one which he
had returned six months before, to serve as a testament in case of
death and as a deed of gift in case of disappearance; but in place
of the name of Edward Hyde, the lawyer, with indescribable
amazement read the name of Gabriel John Utterson. He looked at
Poole, and then back at the paper, and last of all at the dead
malefactor stretched upon the carpet.
"My head goes round," he said. "He has been all these days in
possession; he had no cause to like me; he must have raged to see
himself displaced; and he has not destroyed this document."
He caught up the next paper; it was a brief note in the
doctor's hand and dated at the top. "O Poole!" the lawyer cried,
"he was alive and here this day. He cannot have been disposed of
in so short a space; he must be still alive, he must have fled!
And then, why fled? and how? and in that case, can we venture to
declare this suicide? O, we must be careful. I foresee that we
may yet involve your master in some dire catastrophe."
"Why don't you read it, sir?" asked Poole.
"Because I fear," replied the lawyer solemnly. "God grant I
have no cause for it!" And with that he brought the paper to his
eyes and read as follows:
"My dear Utterson,--When this shall fall into your hands, I
shall have disappeared, under what circumstances I have not the
penetration to foresee, but my instinct and all the circumstances
of my nameless situation tell me that the end is sure and must be
early. Go then, and first read the narrative which Lanyon warned
me he was to place in your hands; and if you care to hear more,
turn to the confession of
"Your unworthy and unhappy friend,
"There was a third enclosure?" asked Utterson.
"Here, sir," said Poole, and gave into his hands a
considerable packet sealed in several places.
The lawyer put it in his pocket. "I would say nothing of this
paper. If your master has fled or is dead, we may at least save
his credit. It is now ten; I must go home and read these
documents in quiet; but I shall be back before midnight, when we
shall send for the police."
They went out, locking the door of the theatre behind them; and Utterson, once more leaving the servants gathered about the fire in the hall, trudged back to his office to read the two narratives in which this mystery was now to be explained.