"For dear Lucy's sake," I said as we clasped hands. "Ay, and for yourown sake," he added, "for if a man's esteem and gratitude are ever worththe winning, you have won mine to-day. If ever the future should bringto you a time when you need a man's help, believe me, you will not callin vain. God grant that no such time may ever come to you to break thesunshine of your life; but if it should ever come, promise me that youwill let me know." He was so earnest, and his sorrow was so fresh, thatI felt it would comfort him, so I said:--
As I came along the corridor I saw Mr. Morris looking out of a window.He turned as he heard my footsteps. "How is Art?" he said. Then noticingmy red eyes, he went on: "Ah, I see you have been comforting him. Poorold fellow! he needs it. No one but a woman can help a man when he is introuble of the heart; and he had no one to comfort him."
He bore his own trouble so bravely that my heart bled for him. I saw themanuscript in his hand, and I knew that when he read it he would realisehow much I knew; so I said to him:--
"I wish I could comfort all who suffer from the heart. Will you let mebe your friend, and will you come to me for comfort if you need it? Youwill know, later on, why I speak." He saw that I was in earnest, andstooping, took my hand, and raising it to his lips, kissed it. It seemedbut poor comfort to so brave and unselfish a soul, and impulsively Ibent over and kissed him. The tears rose in his eyes, and there was amomentary choking in his throat; he said quite calmly:--
"Little girl, you will never regret that true-hearted kindness, so longas ever you live!" Then he went into the study to his friend.
"Little girl!"--the very words he had used to Lucy, and oh, but heproved himself a friend!
/Dr. Seward's Diary./
_30 September._--I got home at five o'clock, and found that Godalmingand Morris had not only arrived, but had already studied the transcriptof the various diaries and letters which Harker and his wonderful wifehad made and arranged. Harker had not yet returned from his visit tothe carriers' men, of whom Dr. Hennessey had written to me. Mrs. Harkergave us a cup of tea, and I can honestly say that, for the first timesince I have lived in it, this old house seemed like _home_. When we hadfinished, Mrs. Harker said:--
"Dr. Seward, may I ask a favour? I want to see your patient, Mr.Renfield. Do let me see him. What you have said of him in your diaryinterests me so much!" She looked so appealing and so pretty that Icould not refuse her, and there was no possible reason why I should; soI took her with me. When I went into the room, I told the man that alady would like to see him; to which he simply answered: "Why?"
"She is going through the house, and wants to see every one in it," Ianswered. "Oh, very well," he said: "let her come in, by all means; butjust wait a minute till I tidy up the place." His method of tidying waspeculiar: he simply swallowed all the flies and spiders in the boxesbefore I could stop him. It was quite evident that he feared, or wasjealous of, some interference. When he had got through his disgustingtask, he said cheerfully: "Let the lady come in," and sat down on theedge of his bed with his head down, but with his eyelids raised so thathe could see her as she entered. For a moment I thought that he mighthave some homicidal intent; I remembered how quiet he had been justbefore he attacked me in my own study, and I took care to stand whereI could seize him at once if he attempted to make a spring at her. Shecame into the room with an easy gracefulness which would at once commandthe respect of any lunatic--for easiness is one of the qualities madpeople most respect. She walked over to him, smiling pleasantly, andheld out her hand.
"Good evening, Mr. Renfield," said she. "You see, I know you, for Dr.Seward has told me of you." He made no immediate reply, but eyed her allover intently with a set frown on his face. This look gave way to oneof wonder, which merged in doubt; then, to my intense astonishment, hesaid:--
"You're not the girl the doctor wanted to marry, are you? You can't be,you know, for she's dead." Mrs. Harker smiled sweetly as she replied:--
"Oh no! I have a husband of my own, to whom I was married before I eversaw Dr. Seward, or he me. I am Mrs. Harker."
"Then what are you doing here?"
"My husband and I are staying on a visit with Dr. Seward."
"Then don't stay."
"But why not?" I thought that this style of conversation might not bepleasant to Mrs. Harker, any more than it was to me, so I joined in:--
"How did you know I wanted to marry any one?" His reply was simplycontemptuous, given in a pause in which he turned his eyes from Mrs.Harker to me, instantly turning them back again:--
"What an asinine question!"
"I don't see that at all, Mr. Renfield," said Mrs. Harker, at oncechampioning me. He replied to her with as much courtesy and respect ashe had shown contempt to me:--
"You will, of course, understand, Mrs. Harker, that when a man is lovedand honoured as our host is, everything regarding him is of interest inour little community. Dr. Seward is loved not only by his household andhis friends, but even by his patients, who, being some of them hardlyin mental equilibrium, are apt to distort causes and effects. Since Imyself have been an inmate of a lunatic asylum, I cannot but noticethat the sophistic tendencies of some of its inmates lean towards theerrors of _non causa_ and _ignoratio elenchi_." I positively opened myeyes at this new development. Here was my own pet lunatic--the mostpronounced of his type that I had ever met with--talking elementalphilosophy, and with the manner of a polished gentleman. I wonder if itwas Mrs. Harker's presence which had touched some chord in his memory.If this new phase was spontaneous, or in any way due to her unconsciousinfluence, she must have some rare gift or power.
We continued to talk for some time; and, seeing that he was seeminglyquite reasonable, she ventured, looking at me questioningly as shebegan, to lead him to his favourite topic. I was again astonished,for he addressed himself to the question with the impartiality of thecompletest sanity; he even took himself as an example when he mentionedcertain things.
"Why, I myself am an instance of a man who had a strange belief. Indeed,it was no wonder that my friends were alarmed, and insisted on mybeing put under control. I used to fancy that life was a positive andperpetual entity, and that by consuming a multitude of live things, nomatter how low in the scale of creation, one might indefinitely prolonglife. At times I held the belief so strongly that I actually tried totake human life. The doctor here will bear me out that on one occasionI tried to kill him for the purpose of strengthening my vital powersby the assimilation with my own body of his life through the medium ofhis blood--relying, of course, upon the Scriptural phrase, 'For theblood is the life.' Though, indeed, the vendor of a certain nostrum hasvulgarised the truism to the very point of contempt. Isn't that true,doctor?" I nodded assent, for I was so amazed that I hardly knew what Iought to think or say; it was hard to imagine that I had seen him eatup his spiders and flies not five minutes before. Looking at my watch,I saw that I should go to the station to meet Van Helsing, so I toldMrs. Harker that it was time to leave. She came at once, after sayingpleasantly to Mr. Renfield: "Good-bye, and I hope I may see you often,under auspices pleasanter to yourself," to which, to my astonishment, hereplied:--
"Good-bye, my dear. I pray God I may never see your sweet face again.May He bless and keep you!"
When I went to the station to meet Van Helsing I left the boys behindme. Poor Art seemed more cheerful than he has been since Lucy first tookill, and Quincey is more like his own bright self than he has been formany a long day.
Van Helsing stepped from the carriage with the eager nimbleness of aboy. He saw me at once, and rushed up to me, saying:--
"Ah, friend John, how goes all? Well? So! I have been busy, for I comehere to stay if need be. All affairs are settled with me, and I havemuch to tell. Madam Mina is with you? Yes. And her so fine husband? AndArthur and my friend Quincey, they are with you, too? Good!"
As I drove to the house I told him of what had passed, and of how my owndiary had come to be of some use through Mrs. Harker's suggestion; atwhich the Professor interrupted me:--