Page 44 of Dracula

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"Ah, that wonderful Madam Mina! She has man's brain--a brain that aman should have were he much gifted--and woman's heart. The good Godfashioned her for a purpose, believe me, when He made that so goodcombination. Friend John, up to now fortune has made that woman of helpto us; after to-night she must not have to do with this so terribleaffair. It is not good that she run a risk so great. We men aredetermined--nay, are we not pledged?--to destroy this monster; but it isno part for a woman. Even if she be not harmed, her heart may fail herin so much and so many horrors; and hereafter she may suffer--both inwaking, from her nerves, and in sleep, from her dreams. And, besides,she is young woman and not so long married; there may be other thingsto think of some time, if not now. You tell me she has wrote all, thenshe must consult with us; but to-morrow she say good-bye to this work,and we go alone." I agreed heartily with him, and then I told him whatwe had found in his absence: that the house which Dracula had bought wasthe very next one to my own. He was amazed, and a great concern seemedto come on him. "Oh that we had known it before!" he said, "for then wemight have reached him in time to save poor Lucy. However, 'the milkthat is spilt cries not out afterwards,' as you say. We shall not thinkof that, but go on our way to the end." Then he fell into a silence thatlasted till we entered my own gateway. Before we went to prepare fordinner he said to Mrs. Harker:--

"I am told, Madam Mina, by my friend John that you and your husband haveput up in exact order all things that have been, up to this moment."

"Not up to this moment, Professor," she said impulsively, "but up tothis morning."

"But why not up to now? We have seen hitherto

how good light all thelittle things have made. We have told our secrets, and yet no one whohas told is the worse for it."

Mrs. Harker began to blush, and taking a paper from her pocket, shesaid:--

"Dr. Van Helsing, will you read this, and tell me if it must go in? Itis my record of to-day. I too have seen the need of putting down atpresent everything, however trivial; but there is little in this exceptwhat is personal. Must it go in?" The Professor read it over gravely,and handed it back, saying:--

"It need not go in if you do not wish it; but pray that it may. It canbut make your husband love you the more, and all us, your friends, morehonour you--as well as more esteem and love." She took it back withanother blush and a bright smile.

And so now, up to this very hour, all the records we have are completeand in order. The Professor took away one copy to study after dinner,and before our meeting, which is fixed for nine o'clock. The rest of ushave already read everything; so when we meet in the study we shall allbe informed as to facts, and can arrange our plan of battle with thisterrible and mysterious enemy.

_Mina Harker's Journal._

_30 September._--When we met in Dr. Seward's study two hours afterdinner, which had been at six o'clock, we unconsciously formed a sortof board or committee. Professor Van Helsing took the head of thetable, to which Dr. Seward motioned him as he came into the room. Hemade me sit next to him on his right, and asked me to act as secretary;Jonathan sat next to me. Opposite us were Lord Godalming, Dr. Seward,and Mr. Morris--Lord Godalming being next to the Professor, and Dr.Seward in the centre. The Professor said:--

"I may, I suppose, take it that we are all acquainted with the factsthat are in these papers." We all expressed assent, and he went on:--

"Then it were, I think good that I tell you something of the kindof enemy with which we have to deal. I shall then make known to yousomething of the history of this man, which has been ascertained forme. So we then can discuss how we shall act, and can take our measureaccording.

"There are such beings as vampires; some of us have evidence thatthey exist. Even had we not the proof of our own unhappy experience,the teachings and the records of the past give proof enough for sanepeoples. I admit that at the first I was sceptic. Were it not thatthrough long years I have trained myself to keep an open mind, I couldnot have believe until such time as that fact thunder on my ear. 'See!see! I prove; I prove.' Alas! Had I known at the first what now Iknow--nay, had I even guess at him--one so precious life had been sparedto many of us who did love her. But that is gone; and we must so work,that other poor souls perish not, whilst we can save. The _nosferatu_do not die like the bee when he sting once. He is only stronger; andbeing stronger, have yet more power to work evil. This vampire whichis amongst us is of himself so strong in person as twenty men; he isof cunning more than mortal, for his cunning be the growth of ages; hehave still the aids of necromancy, which is, as his etymology imply,the divination by the dead, and all the dead that he can come nigh toare for him at command; he is brute, and more than brute; he is devilin callous, and the heart of him is not; he can, within limitations,appear at will when, and where, and in any of the forms that are tohim; he can, within his range, direct the elements: the storm, the fog,the thunder; he can command all the meaner things: the rat, and theowl, and the bat--the moth, and the fox, and the wolf; he can grow andbecome small; and he can at times vanish and come unknown. How then arewe to begin our strife to destroy him? How shall we find his where; andhaving found it, how can we destroy? My friends, this is much; it is aterrible task that we undertake, and there may be consequence to makethe brave shudder. For if we fail in this our fight he must surely win;and then where end we? Life is nothings; I heed him not. But to failhere, is not mere life or death. It is that we become as him; that wehenceforward become foul things of the night like him--without heart orconscience, preying on the bodies and the souls of those we love best.To us for ever are the gates of heaven shut; for who shall open them tous again? We go on for all time abhorred by all; a blot on the face ofGod's sunshine; an arrow in the side of Him who died for man. But we areface to face with duty; and in such case must we shrink? For me, I say,no; but then I am old, and life, with his sunshine, his fair places, hissong of birds, his music, and his love, lie far behind. You others areyoung. Some have seen sorrow; but there are fair days yet in store. Whatsay you?"

Whilst he was speaking Jonathan had taken my hand. I feared, oh somuch, that the appalling nature of our danger was overcoming him when Isaw his hand stretch out; but it was life to me to feel its touch--sostrong, so self-reliant, so resolute. A brave man's hand can speak foritself; it does not even need a woman's love to hear its music.

When the Professor had done speaking my husband looked in my eyes, and Iin his; there was no need for speaking between us.

"I answer for Mina and myself," he said.

"Count me in, Professor," said Mr. Quincey Morris, laconically as usual.

"I am with you," said Lord Godalming, "for Lucy's sake, if for no otherreason."

Dr. Seward simply nodded. The Professor stood up, and, after laying hisgolden crucifix on the table, held out his hand on either side. I tookhis right hand, and Lord Godalming his left; Jonathan held my right withhis left and stretched across to Mr. Morris. So as we all took hands oursolemn compact was made. I felt my heart icy cold, but it did not evenoccur to me to draw back. We resumed our places, and Dr. Van Helsingwent on with a sort of cheerfulness which showed that the serious workhad begun. It was to be taken as gravely, and in as businesslike a way,as any other transaction of life:--

"Well, you know what we have to contend against; but we, too, are notwithout strength. We have on our side power of combination--a powerdenied to the vampire kind; we have resources of science; we are freeto act and think; and the hours of the day and the night are oursequally. In fact, so far as our powers extend, they are unfettered, andwe are free to use them. We have self-devotion in a cause, and an end toachieve which is not a selfish one. These things are much.

"Now let us see how far the general powers arrayed against us arerestrict, and how the individual cannot. In fine, let us consider thelimitations of the vampire in general, and of this one in particular.

"All we have to go upon are traditions and superstitions. These donot at the first appear much, when the matter is one of life anddeath--nay of more than either life or death. Yet must we be satisfied;in the first place because we have to be--no other means is at ourcontrol--and secondly, because, after all, these things--tradition andsuperstition--are everything. Does not the belief in vampires restfor others--though not, alas! for us--on them? A year ago which of uswould have received such a possibility, in the midst of our scientific,sceptical, matter-of-fact nineteenth century? We even scouted a beliefthat we saw justified under our very eyes. Take it, then, that thevampire, and the belief in his limitations and his cure, rest for themoment on the same base. For, let me tell you, he is known everywherethat men have been. In old Greece, in old Rome; he flourish in Germanyall over, in France, in India, even in the Chersonese; and in China,so far from us in all ways, there even is he, and the peoples fear himat this day. He have follow the wake of the berserker Icelander, thedevil-begotten Hun, the Slav, the Saxon, the Magyar. So far, then,we have all we may act upon; and let me tell you that very much ofthe beliefs are justified by what we have seen in our own so unhappyexperience. The vampire live on, and cannot die by mere passing ofthe time; he can flourish when that he can fatten on the blood ofthe living. Even more, we have seen amongst us that he can even growyounger; that his vital faculties grow strenuous, and seem as thoughthey refresh themselves when his special pabulum is plenty. But hecannot flourish without this diet; he eat not as others. Even friendJonathan, who lived with him for weeks, did never see him to eat, never!He throws no shadow; he make in the mirror no reflect, as again Jonathanobserve. He has the strength of many in his hand--witness againJonathan when he shut the door against the wolfs, and when he help himfrom the diligence t

oo. He can transform himself to wolf, as we gatherfrom the ship arrival in Whitby, when he tear open the dog; he can be asbat, as Madam Mina saw him on the window at Whitby, and as friend Johnsaw him fly from this so near house, and as my friend Quincey saw him atthe window of Miss Lucy. He can come in mist which he create--that nobleship's captain proved him of this; but, from what we know, the distancehe can make this mist is limited, and it can only be round himself. Hecome on moonlight rays as elemental dust--as again Jonathan saw thosesisters in the castle of Dracula. He become so small--we ourselves sawMiss Lucy, ere she was at peace, slip through a hair-breadth space atthe tomb door. He can, when once he find his way, come out from anythingor into anything, no matter how close it be bound or even fused upwith fire--solder you call it. He can see in the dark--no small powerthis, in a world which is one half shut from the light. Ah, but hearme through. He can do all these things, yet he is not free. Nay; he iseven more prisoner than the slave of the galley, than the madman in hiscell. He cannot go where he lists; he who is not of nature has yet toobey some of nature's laws--why we know not. He may not enter anywhereat the first, unless there be some one of the household who bid him tocome; though afterwards he can come as he please. His power ceases, asdoes that of all evil things, at the coming of the day. Only at certaintimes can he have limited freedom. If he be not at the place whitherhe is bound, he can only change himself at noon or at exact sunriseor sunset. These things are we told, and in this record of ours wehave proof by inference. Thus, whereas he can do as he will within hislimit, when he have his earth-home, his coffin-home, his hell-home, theplace unhallowed, as we saw when he went to the grave of the suicide atWhitby; still at other time he can only change when the time come. It issaid, too, that he can only pass running water at the slack or the floodof the tide. Then there are things which so afflict him that he has nopower, as the garlic that we know of; and as for things sacred, as thissymbol, my crucifix, that was amongst us even now when we resolve, tothem he is nothing, but in their presence he take his place far off andsilent with respect. There are others, too, which I shall tell you of,lest in our seeking we may need them. The branch of wild rose on hiscoffin keep him that he move not from it; a sacred bullet fired into thecoffin kill him so that he be true dead; and as for the stake throughhim, we know already of its peace; or the cut-off head that giveth rest.We have seen it with our eyes.

"Thus when we find the habitation of this man-that-was, we can confinehim to his coffin and destroy him, if we obey what we know. But he isclever. I have asked my friend Arminius, of Buda-Pesth University, tomake his record; and, from all the means that are, he tell me of whathe has been. He must, indeed, have been that Voivode Dracula who wonhis name against the Turk, over the great river on the very frontier ofTurkey-land. If it be so, then was he no common man; for in that time,and for centuries after, he was spoken of as the cleverest and themost cunning, as well as the bravest of the sons of the 'land beyondthe forest.' That mighty brain and that iron resolution went with himto his grave, and are even now arrayed against us. The Draculas were,says Arminius, a great and noble race, though now and again were scionswho were held by their coevals to have had dealings with the Evil One.They learned his secrets in the Scholomance, amongst the mountainsover Lake Hermanstadt, where the devil claims the tenth scholar as hisdue. In the records are such words as 'stregoica'--witch, 'ordog,' and'pokol'--Satan and hell; and in one manuscript this very Dracula isspoken of as 'wampyr,' which we all understand too well. There have beenfrom the loins of this very one great men and good women, and theirgraves make sacred the earth where alone this foulness can dwell. For itis not the least of its terrors that this evil thing is rooted deep inall good; in soil barren of holy memories it cannot rest."

Whilst they were talking Mr. Morris was looking steadily at the window,and he now got up quietly, and went out of the room. There was a littlepause, and then the Professor went on:--

"And now we must settle what we do. We have here much data, and we mustproceed to lay out our campaign. We know from the inquiry of Jonathanthat from the castle to Whitby came fifty boxes of earth, all of whichwere delivered at Carfax; we also know that at least some of theseboxes have been removed. It seems to me, that our first step should beto ascertain whether all the rest remain in the house beyond that wallwhere we look to-day; or whether any more have been removed. If thelatter, we must trace----"

Here we were interrupted in a very startling way. Outside the house camethe sound of a pistol-shot; the glass of the window was shattered witha bullet, which, ricocheting from the top of the embrasure, struck thefar wall of the room. I am afraid I am at heart a coward, for I shriekedout. The men all jumped to their feet; Lord Godalming flew over to thewindow and threw up the sash. As he did so we heard Mr. Morris's voicewithout:--

"Sorry! I fear I have alarmed you. I shall come in and tell you aboutit." A minute later he came in and said:--

"It was an idiotic thing of me to do, and I ask your pardon, Mrs.Harker, most sincerely; I fear I must have frightened you terribly.But the fact is that while the Professor was talking there came a bigbat and sat on the window-sill. I have got such a horror of the damnedbrutes from recent events that I cannot stand them, and I went out tohave a shot, as I have been doing of late of evenings whenever I haveseen one. You used to laugh at me for it then, Art."

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