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In this chapter, Utterson begins his detective work that continues throughout the novel. He seeks out and meets Edward Hyde for the first time, and Utterson describes Hyde as, "pale and dwarfish . . deformity. . .husky. .. murderous." He also notes that Hyde inspires "disgust and loathing and fear," but cannot pinpoint exactly why. The best that he can do is to call Hyde a "troglodyte", a savage un-evolved being lesser than man. Thus, the reader is continually reminded that Hyde is akin to the devil and evil, but it seems impossible to define the exact qualities that place fear in the hearts of those that meet him. Decent people instinctively know that Hyde is morally corrupt and evil. To support this perception, Stevenson often describes Hyde in animalistic terms, including imagery such as the "hissing intake of breath".
Chapter one recounts the monstrous old Hyde running over a small girl. It isn't until Hyde is cornered by men that he makes amends to the little girl.