Chapter Seven

Incident at the Window

IT CHANCED ON SUNDAY, when Mr. Utterson was on his usual walk with Mr. Enfield, that their way lay once again through the by-street; and that when they came in front of the door, both stopped to gaze on it.

“Well,” said Enfield, “that story’s at an end at least. We shall never see more of Mr. Hyde.”

“I hope not,” said Utterson. “Did I ever tell you that I once saw him, and shared your feeling of repulsion?”

“It was impossible to do the one without the other,” returned Enfield. “And by the way, what an ass you must have thought me, not to know that this was a back way to Dr. Jekyll’s! It was partly your own fault that I found it out, even when I did.”

“So you found it, did you?” said Utterson. “But if that be so, we may step into the court and take a look at the windows. To tell you the truth, I am uneasy about poor Jekyll; and even outside, I feel as if the presence of a friend might do him good.”

The court was very cool and a little damp, and full of premature twilight, although the sky high up overhead, was still bright with sunset. The middle one of the three windows was half way open; and sitting close beside it, taking the air with an infinite sadness of mien, like some disconsolate prisoner, Utterson saw Dr. Jekyll.

“What! Jekyll!” he cried. “I trust you are better.”

“I am very low, Utterson,” replied the doctor, drearily, “very low. It will not last long, thank God.”

“You stay too much in-doors,” said the lawyer. “You should be out whipping up the circulation like Mr. Enfield and me. (This is my cousin—Mr. Enfield—Dr. Jekyll.) Come now; get your hat and take a quick turn with us.”

“You are very good,” sighed the other. “I should like to very much; but no, no, no, it is quite impossible; I dare not. But indeed, Utterson, I am very glad to see you: this is really a great pleasure; I would ask you and Mr. Enfield up, but the place is really not fit.”

“Why, then,” said the lawyer, good-naturedly, “the best thing we can do is to stay down here and speak with you from where we are.”

“That is just what I was about to venture to propose,” returned the doctor with a smile. But the words were hardly uttered, before the smile was struck out of his face and succeeded by an expression of such abject terror and despair, as froze the very blood of the two gentlemen below. They saw it but for a glimpse, for the window was instantly thrust down; but that glimpse had been sufficient, and they turned and left the court without a word. In silence, too, they traversed the by-street; and it was not until they had come into a neighboring thoroughfare, where even upon a Sunday there were still some stirrings of life, that Mr. Utterson at last turned and looked at his companion. They were both pale; and there was an answering horror in their eyes.

“God forgive us, God forgive us,” said Mr. Utterson.

But Mr. Enfield only nodded his head very seriously, and walked on once more in silence.


  1. To be a “disconsolate prisoner” is to be an inconsolable and gloomy one. The rich simile relating Jekyll to a prisoner suggests a state of self-imprisonment. The metaphorical jail, then, is not a physical space but rather a psychological one. He is the prisoner, the jail, and the jailer, all at once.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Editor
  2. In a moment of startling transformation, Henry Jekyll’s attempts to put on a façade of conviviality crumble, revealing an expression of pure “terror and despair.” Jekyll’s process of unraveling descent has reached a new low. Utterson and Enfield are left speechless, sure only of the direness of Jekyll’s situation.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Editor
  3. Mien, pronounced “mean” and from the same root as demeanor, describes a person’s expression, mood, and emotional bearing. After coming out of his seclusion, Henry Jekyll has retreated again into a state of despair and “infinite sadness,” the source of which is as yet unclear.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Editor
  4. It is no coincidence that, when Utterson and Enfield arrival at Jekyll’s courtyard, the sky is “full of premature twilight.” This is an example of the pathetic fallacy, a literary device by which a landscape is shaped to reflect some truth about a character’s emotional state. Just as day is prematurely fading into night, Jekyll himself is prematurely fading into death.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Editor