Dr. Lanyon Has a Life-Threatening Shock Fiction Victorian Age Visual Arts

After helping a stranger, as requested by his friend Henry Jekyll, Dr. Hastie Lanyon has the shock of his life. This drawing, by Charles Raymond Macauley, illustrates the scene in a 1904 edition of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, published by Scott-Thaw in New York City.


With Hyde apparently on the run, and perhaps out of London altogether, Dr. Jekyll’s life returns to normal. He sees his acquaintances, including Gabriel Utterson and Dr. Hastie Lanyon, and the three long-time friends have a great time together.

However ... things are really not as normal, for Jekyll, as they seem on the surface.

Dr. Lanyon, who has never approved of Jekyll’s view of science—Jekyll calls his approach “transcendental medicine”—becomes gravely ill after a private encounter with Jekyll.

The killing of Sir Danvers Carew caused a stir not only in London but throughout the land, and large rewards were offered for the capture of Edward Hyde. But Hyde had disappeared from the face of the earth as though he had never existed.

Much about the man’s past was discovered, however. Tales were unearthed about his cruelty, his vile life, his strange companions, his violence. Yet of his present whereabouts there was not a whisper. From the time he had left his house in Soho on the morning of the murder, he was simply blotted-out.

Now that Hyde’s evil influence was gone, a new life began for Dr. Jekyll. His face brightened, he saw his friends again, he entertained and busied himself with charity work. He even revived his friendship with Lanyon, which I was very glad to see. For more than two months, the doctor was at peace.

But it was not to last.

On the 8th of January, Lanyon and I dined at Jekyll’s house. It was a splendid evening, with Jekyll as lively as I had ever seen him, looking from one to the other of us in the old days when we three were inseparable friends. Yet, on the 12th, when I called on him, his door was shut against me.

“I’m sorry, sir,” Poole said to me. “The doctor is unwell and I have orders to admit no one.”

I tried again two days later, and the day after that. Each time, however, I was refused. I became unsettled. It had become my habit to drop in on my friend regularly, and this return to solitude weighed heavily upon my spirits.

I decided to visit Lanyon and discuss it with him. There at least I was not denied admittance, but when I entered his house I was shocked at the change which had taken place in my old friend.

He had his death warrant written upon his face. His rosy cheeks had grown pale, his flesh had fallen away and even his fine head of hair seemed to have thinned. But all of this was nothing compared to the look in his eye and quality of manner, which spoke of some deep-seated terror of the mind.

“I have had a shock, Utterson,” he said, “from which I fear I shall never recover. It is a question of weeks. I sometimes think if we knew all, we should be glad to die.”

“Jekyll is ill, too. Have you seen him?”

But Lanyon’s face had changed. He held up his trembling hand, and he spoke in a loud, unsteady voice.

“I wish to see or hear no more of Doctor Jekyll. I am quite done with that man, and I beg you not to speak of one whom I regard as dead.”

“Can’t I do anything?” I asked quietly. “We are three very old friends, Lanyon; we shall not live long enough to make others.”

“Nothing can be done,” Lanyon answered bitterly. “Ask him.”

“I would, but he will not see me.”

“I’m not surprised at that,” was the reply. “Some day, Utterson, after I’m dead, you may learn the right and wrong of this, but I cannot tell you. Now, let us talk of other things.”

When I got home, I sat down and wrote to Jekyll, complaining of my exclusion from his house, and asking the cause of this unhappy break with Lanyon. The next day brought an answer, sometimes mysterious:

I do not blame our old friend Lanyon for not wanting to hear of me again, but I share his view that we must never meet. From this day on, I mean to lead a life of extreme seclusion. You must not be surprised, nor doubt my friendship, if my door is often shut even to you. You must suffer me to go my own dark way. I have brought on myself a punishment and a danger that I cannot name. Please respect my silence.

I was amazed to read this. The dark influence of Hyde had been withdrawn and, yet, once again, Jekyll seemed to have been brought down by something worse than madness.

And Lanyon, too.  A week after my visit, he took to his bed for the last time. Within a few days, he was dead.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5156stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jul 10, 2015

Updated Last Revision: Jun 02, 2016

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"REMARKABLE INCIDENT of DR. LANYON" AwesomeStories.com. Jul 10, 2015. Apr 25, 2018.
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