The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson
Title: (The strange case of) Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Place 1st publication: UK
Date 1st publication: 5 January 1886
Read version: 1995, Wolters-Noordhoff, Blackbirds literaire reeks Nr. 4
Summary: Mr Utterson, a lawyer, and his cousin, Mr Richard Enfield, were taking their Sunday morning walk in London when they passed a dark, empty house in a narrow street. Mr Enfield told Mr Utterson that one morning he had witnessed a horrible accident at the doorway of the old building. An ugly-looking man, short and a little bit deformed, had collided with a little girl and trampled over her body. Enfield and some bystanders had forced the man, who gave his name as Hyde, to pay damages to the child's family. Hide entered the house with a key and came back with a cheque. The next day they went to the bank and to Enfield's surprise, the cheque was legal. Enfield and Utterson don't understand how Hyde got the key.
Utterson knew a little about Hyde and Hyde's strange connection with the respectable Dr Jekyll. Returning to his house he re-read Jekyll's will, which provided that all Dr Jekyll's possessions were to pass to Edward Hyde. There was also a note that Hyde should take possession immediately in case of Henry Jekyll's "disappearance or unexplained absence for any period exceeding three calendar months". Utterson decided to make investigations. He first called on Dr Jekyll's lifelong friend, Dr Lanyon. It appeared that the relations between the two doctors were severely strained. Dr Lanyon, who looked very ill and exhausted, said that Dr Jekyll was no longer the man he used to be.
Next Utterson looked for Mr Hyde. He found him in front of the deserted house. Hyde stared at him angrily, but before he disappeared into the house he gave Utterson his address in Soho. He then went to Jekyll's house, but Dr Jekyll wasn’t there. Jekyll's butler, Poole, told Utterson that Hyde had a key to the laboratory and that he himself had orders to obey Mr Hyde. Utterson began to believe that Hyde was blackmailing Jekyll and might ultimately kill him.
Utterson spoke to Jekyll when they had dinner together. Utterson offers Jekyll to help him with Mr Hyde, but Jekyll says that that is impossible and makes Utterson promise to be fair with Mr Hyde. About a year later the old, respected Sir Danvers Carew, a MP and a client of Utterson's, was found murdered. The maid had seen a man who she recognised as Mr Hyde, who had once visited her master, and whom she did not like. Utterson brought the police to Hyde's home in Soho, where they found out that Hyde had disappeared. Dr Jekyll showed Utterson and the police a letter signed by Hyde in which he wrote that he was going away forever. He had left the stick with which Sir Danvers had been beaten to death at the scene of the murder. Utterson recognised it as one he had given to Jekyll. Besides, a handwriting expert told him that Hyde's letter was written in a hand identical with that of Jekyll. Utterson shuddered at the thought that Jekyll might be protecting a murderer. Jekyll was like a few years before, but after Utterson had talked to Lanyon, who already knew he wouldn't live much longer, Utterson heard that Jekyll didn't want to see him too often. Jekyll told him that it was his punishment. Dr Lanyon died. Among the papers he left was an envelope addressed to Utterson and containing another envelope marked "Not to be opened till the death or disappearance of Henry Jekyll".
One Sunday morning Utterson and Enfield were again walking past the deserted house. Now they saw that it was an additional wing to Dr Jekyll's house used as a laboratory. This explains why Hyde had a key! Looking up they saw Dr Jekyll sitting at a window with a very sad expression on his face. Suddenly some great horror or pain seemed to come upon him and he closed the window abruptly. Greatly agitated, Dr Jekyll's butler called on Utterson one night. He reported that his master had shut himself up in his laboratory for a week, refusing to show himself and writing curious notes in which he asked the butler to go to all the chemical houses in London and get him certain drugs.
Utterson went to Jekyll's house. He and Poole thought that Jekyll was murdered, and that the murderer was still inside (they heard Hyde's voice). They broke into Jekyll's laboratory with an axe. Inside they found Edward Hyde, dead, with a bottle of poison beside him. There was not a trace of Dr Jekyll, dead or alive. But they did find some papers left by Jekyll: a confession addressed to Utterson, a will drawn up in his favour, and a note telling him to open Dr Lanyon's envelope. Utterson returned home and went through all the documents. Dr Lanyon's letter solved the mystery. He wrote that one-night Hyde had appeared at his office, dressed in clothes that were far too large for him and looking desperate. He claimed some drugs which Dr Jekyll had left there for him some time ago. Jekyll had sent Lanyon a letter in which he asked him to go to his house and get a drawer and return with it and wait till Hyde would appear. On swallowing the drugs Hyde had suddenly been transformed into Dr Jekyll, while Dr Lanyon looked on overcome by horror. The shock had caused Dr Lanyon's death.
Het boekverslag gaat verder na deze boodschap.Verder lezen