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The death of a friend

Time passed. The search for Mr Hyde continued. Sir Danvers Carew was an important and popular man and the police tried desperately to arrest the murderer and bring him to trial. But there was no sign of Mr Hyde himself, although the police and the newspapers discovered a lot about his past life. Nobody, it seemed, could say one good word about the wanted man. He was a cruel, violent man, who had lived an evil life full of hate and jealousy. None of this, however, was any help to the police. Mr Hyde had just disappeared.

As time went by, Mr Uttefson became calmer and more at peace with himself. He was truly sorry that his client, Sir Danvers Carew, was dead, but he was also very glad that Mr Hyde had disappeared. As for Doctor Jekyll, he too appeared calmer and happier. He came out into the world again. He invited friends to his house and accepted invitations to theirs. He had always been a good and generous man. Now, however, he became a churchgoer too. He was busy, he spent a lot of time in the fresh air and he looked happy and carefree. For more than two months he was at peace with himself and the world.

On the 8th of January Mr Utterson was invited to dinner at Doctor Jekyll’s house. Doctor Lanyon was there too. ‘This is quite like old times,’ thought the lawyer as he watched Doctor Jekyll smiling at Doctor Lanyon.

On January 12th, however, and again on the 14th, Doctor Jekyll refused to see visitors.

‘The doctor is not well,’ explained Poole. ‘He hopes you will forgive him, but he cannot see anyone.’

Mr Utterson called again next day, and again the day after that. After two months of almost daily meetings with his old friend, the lawyer felt rather lonely. On the sixth evening he invited his clerk, Mr Guest, to dinner with him, and on the seventh night he went to visit Doctor Lanyon.

Doctor Lanyon made him welcome, but Mr Utterson was shocked by the change in the doctor’s appearance. His face, which was usually pink and healthy, was grey and thin, and there was a frightened look in his eyes. He was suddenly an old, sick man.

‘He looks’, said Mr Utterson to himself, ‘like a man who knows he’s dying.’

‘How are you, Lanyon?’ he said. ‘You don’t look well.’

‘I’ve had a shock, Utterson,’ replied Doctor Lanyon. ‘And it will cause my death. I have only a few weeks to live.’’He paused. ‘Well, it comes to us all sooner or later. I’ve had a good life, on the^ whole.’ ‘Jekyll is ill too,’ said the lawyer. ‘Have you seen him?’

At the name of Jekyll the look on Doctor Lanyon’s face changed. ‘Please,’ he said, holding up a trembling hand, ‘don’t speak that name in this house.’

‘Oh dear,’ said Mr Utterson. He hesitated for a moment. ‘The three of us have been friends all our lives, Lanyon. We are too old now to make new friends. Can’t you forgive and forget? Perhaps I can help?’ ‘Nothing can be done,’ replied Doctor Lanyon. ‘Ask him yourself.’

‘He won’t let me into the house.’

‘That doesn’t surprise me. One day, Utterson, after I am dead, you will perhaps learn the full story. Mean¬while, if you can sit and talk to me of other things, please stay. Just don’t mention that person, as it hurts me to think about him.’ As soon as he got home, Mr Utterson wrote to Doctor Jekyll. In his letter he asked why Jekyll refused to let him into his house, and why he and Doctor Lanyon were no longer friendly. The reply was long and not always easy to understand.

‘I’m not angry with our old friend,’ Doctor Jekyll 

wrote, ‘but I agree with him that the two of us must never meet again. Meanwhile, you must forgive me if from now on I live a very quiet-life. If you find my door closed to you, it’s because I must travel this dark, dangerous road alone. I have done wrong and I’m being punished for it, and nobody can help me.’ ‘What is this?’ thought Mr Utterson. ‘Hyde has disappeared. Jekyll is his normal self again - at least, he was until last week. Has he gone mad?’ Then he remembered Doctor Lanyon’s words. ‘There is something more,’ he said to himself, ‘something mysterious, but I have no idea what it is.’ ! A week later Doctor Lanyon was too ill to leave his bed. Two weeks after that he was dead. After his friend’s burial, Mr Utterson went home and into his office. From his locked cupboard he tbok out an envelope, which he had received soon after his friend’s death.

In Doctor Lanyon’s ^handwriting he read ‘G. J. Utterson. Private.’ The lawyer turned the envelope over and over in his hands before he opened it. What terrible news could it contain? With trembling hands Mr Utterson opened the envelope. Inside was another envelope, with the words ‘Not to be; opened until the death or disappearance of Doctor Henry Jekyll.’ The lawyer could not believe his eyes. ‘Death or disappearance’ — the words were the same as in Doctor Jekyll’s will. ‘I understand why Jekyll wrote those words,’ said Mr Utterson to himself. ‘But why did Lanyon write them too?’ For a moment he wanted to open the envelope and uncover the mystery there and then. But Mr Utterson was too honest a man and a lawyer to do that. He knew he must obey his friend’s and client’s last wish. He locked the envelope away in his cupboard beside Doctor Jekyll’s will.

The lawyer was desperately worried about his friend Doctor Jekyll. He was afraid for him too. He called at the house but the doctor always refused to see him.

‘How is he, Poole?’ Mr Utterson asked the old servant one day.

‘Not very well, sir. He spends all his time in the study above his laboratory. He sleeps there as well. He seems very silent and uneasy. Something is worrying him, sir, but he won’t tell anyone.’ For a long time the lawyer called almost every day. Little by little, however, he became tired of his friend’s refusal to see him, and his visits became less frequent.

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