Stevenson, Robert Louis (18501894). The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. 1886.
III. Dr. Jekyll Was Quite at Ease
A FORTNIGHT later, by excellent good fortune, the doctor gave one of his pleasant dinners to some five or six old cronies, all intelligent, reputable men and all judges of good wine; and Mr. Utterson so contrived that he remained behind after the others had departed. This was no new arrangement, but a thing that had befallen many scores of times. Where Utterson was liked, he was liked well. Hosts loved to detain the dry lawyer, when the light-hearted and the loose-tongued had already their foot on the threshold; they liked to sit a while in his unobtrusive company, practising for solitude, sobering their minds in the mans rich silence after the expense and strain of gaiety. To this rule, Dr. Jekyll was no exception; and as he now sat on the opposite side of the firea large, well-made, smooth-faced man of fifty, with something of a slyish cast perhaps, but every mark of capacity and kindnessyou could see by his looks that he cherished for Mr. Utterson a sincere and warm affection.
A close observer might have gathered that the topic was distasteful; but the doctor carried it off gaily. My poor Utterson, said he, you are unfortunate in such a client. I never saw a man so distressed as you were by my will; unless it were that hide-bound pedant, Lanyon, at what he called my scientific heresies. Oh, I know hes a good fellowyou neednt frownan excellent fellow, and I always mean to see more of him; but a hide-bound pedant for all that; an ignorant, blatant pedant. I was never more disappointed in any man than Lanyon.
It can make no change. You do not understand my position, returned the doctor, with a certain incoherency of manner. I am painfully situated, Utterson; my position is a very strangea very strange one. It is one of those affairs that cannot be mended by talking.
My good Utterson, said the doctor, this is very good of you, this is downright good of you, and I cannot find words to thank you in. I believe you fully; I would trust you before any man alive, ay, before myself, if I could make the choice; but indeed it isnt what you fancy; it is not so bad as that; and just to put your good heart at rest, I will tell you one thing: the moment I choose, I can be rid of Mr. Hyde. I give you my hand upon that; and I thank you again and again; and I will just add one little word, Utterson, that Im sure youll take in good part: this is a private matter, and I beg of you to let it sleep.
Well, but since we have touched upon this business, and for the last time I hope, continued the doctor, there is one point I should like you to understand. I have really a very great interest in poor Hyde. I know you have seen him; he told me so; and I fear he was rude. But, I do sincerely take a great, a very great interest in that young man; and if I am taken away, Utterson, I wish you to promise me that you will bear with him and get his rights for him. I think you would, if you knew all; and it would be a weight off my mind if you would promise.