So next day, at seven o’clock, I came to the shop in a cab. There were not very many people in the road, because it was early in the morning. In November it is dark at seven o’clock in the morning, and I could not see the shop very well. I waited five minutes. A postman walked past. Then the door of the shop opened, and the creature, Merrick , came out.
I could not see his face or his body. He had an enormous black hat on his head, like a big box. A grey cloth came down from the hat, in front of his face. There was a hole in the cloth in front of his eyes. He could see out of the hole but I could not see in. He wore a long black coat, too. The coat began at his neck, and ended at his feet, so I could not see his arms, his body, or his legs. On his feet he wore big shoes, like old bags.
He had a stick in his left hand, and he walked very slowly. I opened the door of the cab, and got out.
‘Good morning, Mr Merrick, ’I said. ‘Can you get in？’
‘Elpmyupasteps, ’he said.
‘I'm sorry, ’I said. ‘I don't understand. ’
For a minute he stood by the door of the cab and said nothing. Then he hit the cab with his stick.
‘STEPS! ’he said loudly. ‘Help me up the steps! ’
Then I understood. There were three steps up into the cab, and he could not get up them.
‘Yes, I see. I'm sorry, ’I said. ‘Let me help you. ’
I took his left hand and began to help him. My right hand was behind his back. I felt very strange. His left hand was like a young woman's, but his back under the coat, was horrible. I could feel the bags of old skin on his back under the coat.
He put one enormous foot on the first step, and then he stopped. After a minute, he moved his second foot slowly. Then he stopped and waited again.
‘Hello, sir. Can I help you？’
I looked behind me. It was the postman. And behind him, I could see three young boys. One of the boys laughed.
The postman smiled. ‘Is the gentleman ill？’he asked.
I thought quickly. ‘Yes. But this is a lady, not a gentle-man. I'm a doctor, and she's ill. Take her hand, so I can help her better. ’
The postman took Merrick's left hand, and I helped him with two hands from behind. Slowly, very slowly, Merrick went up the steps and into the cab.
One boy was very near the cab. He called to his friends.
‘Come and see this, boys! A fat lady in a black coat! And look at that enormous hat! ’
The boys laughed. They were very near the cab too, now. I closed the door quickly.
‘Thank you, ’I said to the postman.
‘That's all right, sir, ’he said. ‘She's a strange lady, sir, isn't she？’
‘She's ill, that's all, ’I said quickly. ‘We're going to the hospital. Goodbye, and thank you. ’
The cab drove down the road to the hospital. I locked at Merrick. ‘That was difficult, wasn't it？’I said.
At first he said nothing, but then he spoke. His voice was very strange, but I listened to him carefully, and I could understand him.
‘The steps were very difficult, ’he said. ‘But most things are difficult for me. ’
‘Yes, ’I said. ‘ Nothing is easy for you, is it？’
‘No, ’he said. He was very quiet for a minute. Then he said, ‘Who are you, sir？’
‘Who am I？Oh, I'm sorry, My name is Dr Treves. Here, this is my card. ’
I gave him a card with my name on. Then I thought, ‘That was no good. This man can't read. ’But Merrick took the card and looked at it very carefully. Then he put it in his trousers pocket.
I did not talk to him very much at the hospital. I looked at his head and arms and legs and body very carefully. Then I wrote the important things about him in a little book. A nurse helped me. Merrick looked at her sometimes, but she did not smile at him or talk to him. I think she was afraid of him. I think Merrick was afraid too, because he was very quiet.
At four o’clock I took him back to the shop in a cab. The next day I looked in the shop window again, but the picture was not there.