Welcome to the final installment of our current Tale for Our Time - written in 1885 by Robert Louis Stevenson, first as a shilling shocker and then, at his wife's suggestion, as a darker allegorical tale. Thank you so much for all your kind comments about this latest radio serialization. Fran Lavery, a first-weekend Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club, offers high praise indeed:
This seventh episode of the reading of "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" may have been the best reading I've ever heard. You outdid your previous performances, Mark. I completely forgot I was listening to a recording of this story being read aloud. Bravo!
Well, we'll try to keep it up all the way to the home stretch, Fran. As the concluding episode of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde begins, the doctor realizes that his Hyde side is gradually consuming what remains of Jekyll:
Ten minutes later, Dr. Jekyll had returned to his own shape and was sitting down, with a darkened brow, to make a feint of breakfasting.
Small indeed was my appetite. This inexplicable incident, this reversal of my previous experience, seemed, like the Babylonian finger on the wall, to be spelling out the letters of my judgment; and I began to reflect more seriously than ever before on the issues and possibilities of my double existence. That part of me which I had the power of projecting, had lately been much exercised and nourished; it had seemed to me of late as though the body of Edward Hyde had grown in stature, as though (when I wore that form) I were conscious of a more generous tide of blood... Whereas, in the beginning, the difficulty had been to throw off the body of Jekyll, it had of late gradually but decidedly transferred itself to the other side. All things therefore seemed to point to this: that I was slowly losing hold of my original and better self, and becoming slowly incorporated with my second and worse.
Between these two, I now felt I had to choose. My two natures had memory in common, but all other faculties were most unequally shared between them. Jekyll (who was composite) now with the most sensitive apprehensions, now with a greedy gusto, projected and shared in the pleasures and adventures of Hyde; but Hyde was indifferent to Jekyll, or but remembered him as the mountain bandit remembers the cavern in which he conceals himself from pursuit.
And now the bandit no longer needs his hiding place...
Tales for Our Time will return in a couple of weeks as part of the countdown to our Steyn Club first birthday observances. Meanwhile, if you've yet to hear any of our Tales, you can do so by joining The Mark Steyn Club. For details on membership, see here - and, if you're seeking the perfect present for a fellow fan of classic fiction, don't forget our limited-time Steyn Club Gift Membership. Alternatively, if you'd like a book in old-fashioned book form, over at the SteynOnline bookstore there are bargains galore among our Steynamite Special offers.