Page 59 of Dracula

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_5 October, 5 p.m._--Our meeting for report. Present: Professor VanHelsing, Lord Godalming, Dr. Seward, Mr. Quincey Morris, JonathanHarker, Mina Harker.

Dr. Van Helsing described what steps were taken during the day todiscover on what boat and whither bound Count Dracula made his escape:--

"As I knew that he wanted to get back to Transylvania, I felt sure thathe must go by the Danube mouth; or by somewhere in the Black Sea, sinceby that way he come. It was a dreary blank that was before us. _Omneignotum pro magnifico_; and so with heavy hearts we start to find whatships leave for the Black Sea last night. He was in sailing ship, sinceMadam Mina tell of sails being set. These not so important as to go inyour list of the shipping in the _Times_, and so we go, by suggestionof my Lord Godalming, to your Lloyd's, where are note of all ships thatsail, however so small. There we find that only one Black-Sea-boundship go out with the tide. She is the _Czarina Catherine_, and she sailfrom Doolittle's Wharf for Varna, and thence on to other parts and upthe Danube. 'Soh!' said I, 'this is the ship whereon is the Count.' Sooff we go to Doolittle's Wharf, and there we find a man in an officeof wood so small that the man look bigger than the office. From him weinquire of the goings of the _Czarina Catherine_. He swear much, and hered face and loud of voice, but he good fellow all the same; and whenQuincey give him something from his pocket which crackle as he roll itup, and put it in a so small bag which he have hid deep in his clothing,he still better fellow and humble servant to us. He come with us, andask many men who are rough and hot; these be better fellows too whenthey have been no more thirsty. They say much of blood and bloom andof others which I comprehend not, though I guess what they mean; butnevertheless they tell us all things which we want to know.

"They make known to us among them, how last afternoon at about fiveo'clock comes a man so hurry. A tall man, thin and pale, with highnose and teeth so white, and eyes that seem to be burning. That he beall in black, except that he have a hat of straw which suit not him orthe time. That he scatter his money in making quick inquiry as to whatship sails for the Black Sea and for where. Some took him to the officeand then to the ship, where he will not go aboard but halt at shoreend of gang-plank, and ask that the captain come to him. The captaincome, when told that he will be pay well; and though he swear much atthe first he agree to term. Then the thin man go and some one tell himwhere horse and cart can be hired. He go there, and soon he come again,himself driving cart on which is a great box; this he himself liftdown, though it take several to put it on truck for the ship. He givemuch talk to captain as to how and where his box is to be place; butthe captain like it not and swear at him in many tongues, and tell himthat if he like he can come and see where it shall be. But he say 'no;'that he come not yet, for that he have much to do. Whereupon the captaintell him that he had better be quick--with blood--for that his ship willleave the place--of blood--before the turn of the tide--with blood. Thenthe thin man smile, and say that of course he must go when he thinkfit; but he will be surprise if he go quite so soon. The captain swearagain, polyglot, and the thin man make him bow, and thank him, and saythat he will so far intrude on his kindness as to come aboard before thesailing. Final the captain, more red than ever, and in more tongues,tell him that he doesn't want no Frenchmen--with bloom upon them andalso with blood--in his ship--with blood on her also. And so, afterasking where there might be close at hand a ship where he might purchaseships forms, he departed.

"No one knew where he went 'or bloomin' well cared,' as they said, forthey had something else to think of--well with blood again; for it soonbecame apparent to all that the _Czarina Catherine_ would not sail aswas expected. A thin mist began to creep up from the river, and itgrew, and grew; till soon a dense fog enveloped the ship and all aroundher. The captain swore polyglot--very polyglot--polyglot with bloom andblood; but he could do nothing. The water rose and rose; and he beganto fear that he would lose the tide altogether. He was in no friendlymood, when just at full tide, the thin man came up the gang-plankagain and asked to see where his box had been stowed. Then the captainreplied that he wished that he and his box--old and with much bloom andblood--were in hell. But the thin man did not be offend, and went downwith the mate and saw where it was place, and came up and stood awhileon deck in fog. He must have come off by himself, for none notice him.Indeed they thought not of him; for soon the fog begin to melt away,and all was clear again. My friends of the thirst and the languagethat was of bloom and blood laughed, as they told how the captain'sswears exceeded even his usual polyglot, and was more than ever full ofpicturesque, when on questioning other mariners who were in movement upand down the river that hour, he found that few of them had seen any offog at all, except where it lay round the wharf. However the ship wentout on the ebb tide; and was doubtless by morning far down the rivermouth. She was by then, when they

told us, well out to sea.

"And so, my dear Madam Mina, it is that we have to rest for a time,for our enemy is on the sea, with the fog at his command, on his wayto the Danube mouth. To sail a ship takes time, go she never so quick;and when we start we go on land more quick, and we meet him there.Our best hope is to come on him when in the box between sunrise andsunset; for then he can make no struggle, and we may deal with him aswe should. There are days for us in which we can make ready our plan.We know all about where he go; for we have seen the owner of the ship,who have shown us invoices and all papers that can be. The box we seekis to be landed in Varna, and to be given to an agent, one Ristics whowill there present his credentials; and so our merchant friend willhave done his part. When he ask if there be any wrong, for that so, hecan telegraph and have inquiry made at Varna, we say 'no;' for what isto be done is not for police or of the customs. It must be done by usalone and in our own way."

When Dr. Van Helsing had done speaking, I asked him if it were certainthat the Count had remained on board the ship. He replied: "We havethe best proof of that: your own evidence, when in the hypnotic trancethis morning." I asked him again if it were really necessary that theyshould pursue the Count, for oh! I dread Jonathan leaving me, and Iknow that he would surely go if the others went. He answered in growingpassion, at first quietly. As he went on, however, he grew more angryand more forceful, till in the end we could not but see wherein was atleast some of that personal dominance which made him so long a masteramongst men:--

"Yes, it is necessary--necessary--necessary! For your sake in the first,and then for the sake of humanity. This monster has done much harmalready, in the narrow scope where he find himself, and in the shorttime when as yet he was only as a body groping his so small measure indarkness and not knowing. All this have I told these others; you, mydear Madam Mina, will learn it in the phonograph of my friend John, orin that of your husband. I have told them how the measure of leaving hisown barren land--barren of peoples--and coming to a new land where lifeof man teems till they are like the multitude of standing corn, was thework of centuries. Were another of the Un-Dead, like him, to try to dowhat he has done, perhaps not all the centuries of the world that havebeen, or that will be, could aid him. With this one, all the forces ofnature that are occult and deep and strong must have worked together insome wondrous way. The very place where he have been alive, Un-Dead forall these centuries, is full of strangeness of the geologic and chemicalworld. There are deep caverns and fissures that reach none know whither.There have been volcanoes, some of whose openings still send out watersof strange properties, and gases that kill or make to vivify. Doubtless,there is something magnetic or electric in some of these combinationsof occult forces which work for physical life in strange way; and inhimself were from the first some great qualities. In a hard and warliketime he was celebrate that he have more iron nerve, more subtle brain,more braver heart, than any man. In him some vital principle have instrange way found their utmost; and as his body keep strong and grow andthrive, so his brain grow too. All this without that diabolic aid whichis surely to him; for it have to yield to the powers that come from, andare, symbolic of good. And now this is what he is to us. He have infectyou--oh, forgive me, my dear, that I must say such; but it is for goodof you that I speak. He infect you in such wise, that even if he do nomore, you have only to live--to live in your own old, sweet way; and soin time, death, which is of man's common lot and with God's sanction,shall make you like to him. This must not be! We have sworn togetherthat it must not. Thus are we ministers of God's own wish: that theworld, and men for whom His Son die, will not be given over to monsters,whose very existence would defame Him. He have allowed us to redeem onesoul already, and we go out as the old knights of the Cross to redeemmore. Like them we shall travel towards the sunrise; and like them, ifwe fall, we fall in good cause." He paused and I said:--

"But will not the Count take his rebuff wisely? Since he has been drivenfrom England, will he not avoid it, as a tiger does the village fromwhich he has been hunted?"

"Aha!" he said, "your simile of the tiger good, for me, and I shalladopt him. Your man-eater, as they of India call the tiger who hasonce taste blood of the human, care no more for other prey, but prowlunceasing till he get him. This that we hunt from our village is atiger, too, a man-eater, and he never cease to prowl. Nay, in himself heis not one to retire and stay afar. In his life, his living life, he goover the Turkey frontier and attack his enemy on his own ground; he bebeaten back, but did he stay? No! He come again, and again, and again.Look at his persistence and endurance. With the child-brain that wasto him he have long since conceive the idea of coming to a great city.What does he do? He find out the place of all the world most of promisefor him. Then he deliberately set himself down to prepare for the task.He find in patience just how is his strength, and what are his powers.He study new tongues. He learn new social life; new environment of oldways, the politic, the law, the finance, the science, the habit of anew land and a new people who have come to be since he was. His glimpsethat he have had, whet his appetite only and enkeen his desire. Nay, ithelp him to grow as to his brain; for it all prove to him how right hewas at the first in his surmises. He have done this alone; all alone!from a ruin tomb in a forgotten land. What more may he not do when thegreater world of thought is open to him? He that can smile at death, aswe know him; who can flourish in the midst of diseases that kill offwhole peoples. Oh! if such an one was to come from God, and not theDevil, what a force for good might he not be in this old world of ours.But we are pledged to set the world free. Our toil must be in silence,and our efforts all in secret; for this enlightened age, when menbelieve not even what they see, the doubting of wise men would be hisgreatest strength. It would be at once his sheath and his armour, andhis weapons to destroy us, his enemies, who are willing to peril evenour own souls for the safety of one we love--for the good of mankind,and for the honour and glory of God."

After a general discussion it was determined that for to-night nothingbe definitely settled; that we should all sleep on the facts, and try tothink out the proper conclusions. To-morrow at breakfast we are to meetagain, and, after making our conclusions known to one another, we shalldecide on some definite course of action.

* * * * *

I feel a wonderful peace and rest to-night. It is as if some hauntingpresence were removed from me. Perhaps....

My surmise was not finished, could not be; for I caught sight in themirror of the red mark upon my forehead; and I knew that I was stillunclean.

_Dr. Seward's Diary._

_5 October._--We all rose early, and I think that sleep did much foreach and all of us. When we met at early breakfast there was moregeneral cheerfulness than any of us had ever expected to experienceagain.

It is really wonderful how much resilience there is in human nature.Let any obstructing cause, no matter what, be removed in any way--evenby death--and we fly back to first principles of hope and enjoyment.More than once as we sat around the table, my eyes opened in wonderwhether the whole of the past days had not been a dream. It was onlywhen I caught sight of the red blotch on Mrs. Harker's forehead thatI was brought back to reality. Even now, when I am gravely resolvingthe matter, it is almost impossible to realise that the cause of allour trouble is still existent. Even Mrs. Harker seems to lose sight ofher trouble for whole spells; it is only now and again, when somethingrecalls it to her mind, that she thinks of her terrible scar. We areto meet here in my study in half an hour and decide on our course ofaction. I see only one immediate difficulty, I know it by instinctrather than reason: we shall all have to speak frankly; and yet I fearthat in some mysterious way poor Mrs. Harker's tongue is tied. I _know_that she forms conclusions of her own, and from all that has been I canguess how brilliant and how true they must be; but she will not, orcannot, give them utterance. I have mentioned this to Van Helsing, andhe and I are to talk it over when we are alone. I suppose it is some ofthat horrid poison whic

h has got into her veins beginning to work. TheCount had his own purposes when he gave her what Van Helsing called "theVampire's baptism of blood." Well, there may be a poison that distilsitself out of good things; in an age when the existence of ptomaines isa mystery we should not wonder at anything! One thing I know: that if myinstinct be true regarding poor Mrs. Harker's silences, then there is aterrible difficulty--an unknown danger--in the work before us. The samepower that compels her silence may compel her speech. I dare not thinkfurther; for so I should in my thoughts dishonour a noble woman!

Van Helsing is coming to my study a little before the others. I shalltry to open the subject with him.

_Later._--When the Professor came in, we talked over the state ofthings. I could see that he had something on his mind which he wantedto say, but felt some hesitancy about broaching the subject. Afterbeating about the bush a little, he said suddenly:--

"Friend John, there is something that you and I must talk of alone,just at the first at any rate. Later, we may have to take the othersinto our confidence;" then he stopped, so I waited; he went on:--

"Madam Mina, our poor, dear Madam Mina, is changing." A cold shiverran through me to find my worst fears thus endorsed. Van Helsingcontinued:--

"With the sad experience of Miss Lucy, we must this time be warnedbefore things go too far. Our task is now in reality more difficult thanever, and this new trouble makes every hour of the direst importance. Ican see the characteristics of the vampire coming in her face. It is nowbut very, very slight; but it is to be seen if we have eyes to noticewithout to prejudge. Her teeth are some sharper, and at times her eyesare more hard. But these are not all, there is to her the silence nowoften; as so it was with Miss Lucy. She did not speak, even when shewrote that which she wished to be known later. Now my fear is this. Ifit be that she can, by our hypnotic trance, tell what the Count see andhear, is it not more true that he who have hypnotise her first, and whohave drink of her very blood and make her drink of his, should, if hewill, compel her mind to disclose to him that which she know?" I noddedacquiescence; he went on:--

"Then what we must do is to prevent this; we must keep her ignorant ofour intent, and so she cannot tell what she know not. This is a painfultask! Oh! so painful that it heartbreak me to think of; but it must be.When to-day we meet, I must tell her that for reason which we will notto speak she must not more be of our council, but be simply guarded byus." He wiped his forehead, which had broken out in profuse perspirationat the thought of the pain which he might have to inflict upon the poorsoul already so tortured. I knew that it would be some sort of comfortto him if I told him that I also had come to the same conclusion; forat any rate it would take away the pain of doubt. I told him, and theeffect was as I expected.

It is now close to the time of our general gathering. Van Helsing hasgone away to prepare for the meeting, and his painful part of it. Ireally believe his purpose is to be able to pray alone.

_Later._--At the very outset of our meeting a great personal reliefwas experienced by both Van Helsing and myself. Mrs. Harker had sent amessage by her husband to say that she would not join us at present, asshe thought it better that we should be free to discuss our movementswithout her presence to embarrass us. The Professor and I looked ateach other for an instant, and somehow we both seemed relieved. For myown part, I thought that if Mrs. Harker realised the danger herself, itwas much pain as well as much danger averted. Under the circumstanceswe agreed, by a questioning look and answer, with finger on lip, topreserve silence of our suspicions, until we should have been able toconfer alone again. We went at once into our Plan of Campaign. VanHelsing roughly put the facts before us first:--

"The _Czarina Catherine_ left the Thames yesterday morning. It willtake her at the quickest speed she has ever made at least three weeksto reach Varna; but we can travel overland to the same place in threedays. Now, if we allow for two days less for the ship's voyage, owingto such weather influences as we know that the Count can bring to bear;and if we allow a whole day and night for any delays which may occurto us, then we have a margin of nearly two weeks. Thus, in order to bequite safe, we must leave here on 17th at latest. Then we shall at anyrate be in Varna a day before the ship arrives, and able to make suchpreparations as may be necessary. Of course we shall all go armed--armedagainst evil things, spiritual as well as physical." Here Quincey Morrisadded:--

"I understand that the Count comes from a wolf country, and it may bethat he will get there before us. I propose that we add Winchesters toour armament. I have a kind of belief in a Winchester when there is anytrouble of that sort around. Do you remember, Art, when we had the packafter us at Tobolsk? What wouldn't we have given then for a repeaterapiece!"

"Good!" said Van Helsing. "Winchesters it shall be. Quincey's headis level at all times, but most so when there is to hunt, though mymetaphor be more dishonour to science than wolves be of danger to man.In the meantime we can do nothing here; and as I think that Varna is notfamiliar to any of us, why not go there more soon? It is as long to waithere as there. To-night and to-morrow we can get ready, and then, if allbe well, we four can set out on our journey."

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