The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, "The Story of the Door"
Mr. Utterson the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance, that was never lighted by
a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse; backward in sentiment; lean, long,
dusty, dreary, and yet somehow lovable. ... But he had an approved tolerance for others;
sometimes wondering, almost with envy, at the high pressure of spirits involved in their
misdeeds; and ... “I incline to Cain’s heresy,” he used to say. “I let my brother go to the devil
in his quaintly own way.” In this character, it was frequently his fortune to be ... the last
good influence in the lives of down-going men. And to such as these, ...he never marked a
shade of change in his demeanour. No doubt the feat was easy to Mr. Utterson; ...
The door, which was equipped with neither bell nor knocker, was blistered and distained. ...
Mr. Enfield ... pointed. “Did you ever remark that door?” he asked; ... “It is connected in my
mind,” added he, “with a very odd story.” ...
"About three o’ clock of a black winter morning, ... I saw ... a little man ... [and] a girl of
maybe eight or ten ... the man trampled calmly over the child’s body and left her
screaming on the ground. ... like some damned Juggernaut. ... Well, the child was not
much the worse. ... But there was one curious circumstance. ... the doctor’s case was
what struck me. He was the usual cut-and-dry apothecary, ... about as emotional as a
bagpipe. Well, sir, he was like the rest of us; every time he looked at my prisoner, I saw
that Sawbones turn sick and white with the desire to kill him. ... Well, we screwed him
up to a hundred pounds for the child’s family; . . . and where do you think he carried us
but to that place with the door? — whipped out a key, went in, and presently came back
with ... a cheque ... I took the liberty of pointing out to my gentleman that the whole
business looked apocryphal, and that a man does not, in real life, walk into a cellar door
at four in the morning and come out of it with another man’s cheque for close upon a
hundred pounds. ... The cheque was genuine.”
“Tut-tut,” said Mr. Utterson.
“I see you feel as I do,” said Mr. Enfield. “Yes, it’s a bad story. For my man was ... a really
damnable man; and the person that drew the cheque is the very pink of the proprieties,
celebrated too, and (what makes it worse) one of your fellows who do what they call
good. Black-mail, I suppose; an honest man paying through the nose for some of the
capers of his youth. Black-Mail House is what I call that place with the door. ... ,
“And you never asked about the — place with the door?” said Mr. Utterson.
“No, sir . . . ” was the reply. “I feel very strongly about putting questions; it partakes too
much of the style of the day of judgment. You start a question, and it’s like starting a stone.
You sit quietly on the top of a hill; and away the stone goes, starting others; and presently
some bland old bird (the last you would have thought of) is knocked on the head in his own
back-garden and the family have to change their name. No, sir, I make it a rule of mine: the
more it looks like Queer Street, the less I ask.”
“A very good rule, too,” said the lawyer. ... “But for all that, ... I want to ask the name of that
man who walked over the child.”
“Well,” said Mr. Enfield, “I can’t see what harm it would do. It was ...Hyde. ... I never saw a
man I so disliked, and yet I scarce know why. "
Mr. Utterson again walked some way in silence. ... “You are sure he used a key?” he inquired at last.
“My dear sir…” began Enfield, surprised out of himself. ... "The fellow had a key." ...
Mr. Utterson sighed deeply but said never a word; and the young man presently resumed.
“Here is another lesson to say nothing,” said he. “I am ashamed of my long tongue. Let us
make a bargain never to refer to this again.”
“With all my heart,” said the lawyer.
Stevenson, Robert Louis. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Learn Library, 2000-2012. Web. 20 March 2016.
What is the BEST interpretation of "apocryphal" in line 25?