Page 69 of Dracula

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Closer and closer they drew. The Professor and I crouched downbehind our rock, and held our weapons ready; I could see that he wasdetermined that they should not pass. One and all were quite unaware ofour presence.

All at once two voices shouted out to: "Halt!" One was my Jonathan's,raised in a high key of passion; the other Mr. Morris's strong resolutetone of quiet command. The gipsies may not have known the language,but there was no mistaking the tone, in whatever tongue the words werespoken. Instinctively they reined in, and at the instant Lord Godalmingand Jonathan dashed up at one side and Dr. Seward and Mr. Morris on theother. The

leader of the gipsies, a splendid looking fellow, who sathis horse like a centaur, waved them back, and in a fierce voice gaveto his companions some word to proceed. They lashed the horses, whichsprang forward; but the four men raised their Winchester rifles, andin an unmistakable way commanded them to stop. At the same moment Dr.Van Helsing and I rose behind the rock and pointed our weapons at them.Seeing that they were surrounded, the men tightened their reins anddrew up. The leader turned to them and gave a word at which every manof the gipsy party drew what weapon he carried, knife or pistol, andheld himself in readiness to attack. Issue was joined in an instant.

The leader, with a quick movement of his rein, threw his horse outin front, and pointing first to the sun--now close down on thehill-tops--and then to the castle, said something which I did notunderstand. For answer, all four men of our party threw themselvesfrom their horses and dashed towards the cart. I should have feltterrible fear at seeing Jonathan in such danger, but that the ardour ofbattle must have been upon me as well as the rest of them; I felt nofear, but only a wild, surging desire to do something. Seeing a quickmovement of our parties, the leader of the gipsies gave a command;his men instantly formed round the cart in a sort of undisciplinedendeavour, each one shouldering and pushing the other in his eagernessto carry out the order.

In the midst of this I could see that Jonathan on one side of the ringof men, and Quincey on the other, were forcing a way to the cart; itwas evident that they were bent on finishing their task before the sunshould set. Nothing seemed to stop or even to hinder them. Neither thelevelled weapons or the flashing knives of the gipsies in front, or thehowling of the wolves behind, appeared to even attract their attention.Jonathan's impetuosity, and the manifest singleness of his purpose,seemed to overawe those in front of him; instinctively they coweredaside and let him pass. In an instant he had jumped upon the cart,and, with a strength which seemed incredible, raised the great box,and flung it over the wheel to the ground. In the meantime, Mr. Morrishad had to use force to pass through his side of the ring of Szgany.All the time I had been breathlessly watching Jonathan I had, with thetail of my eye, seen him pressing desperately forward, and had seenthe knives of the gipsies flash as he won a way through them, and theycut at him. He had parried with his great bowie knife, and at first Ithought that he too had come through in safety; but as he sprang besideJonathan, who had by now jumped from the cart, I could see that withhis left hand he was clutching at his side, and that the blood wasspurting through his fingers. He did not delay notwithstanding this,for as Jonathan, with desperate energy, attacked one end of the chest,attempting to prise off the lid with his great kukri knife, he attackedthe other frantically with his bowie. Under the efforts of both men thelid began to yield; the nails drew with a quick screeching sound, andthe top of the box was thrown back.

By this time the gipsies, seeing themselves covered by the Winchesters,and at the mercy of Lord Godalming and Dr. Seward, had given in andmade no further resistance. The sun was almost down on the mountaintops, and the shadows of the whole group fell long upon the snow. Isaw the Count lying within the box upon the earth, some of which therude falling from the cart had scattered over him. He was deathly pale,just like a waxen image, and the red eyes glared with the horriblevindictive look which I knew too well.

As I looked, the eyes saw the sinking sun, and the look of hate in themturned to triumph.

But, on the instant, came the sweep and flash of Jonathan's greatknife. I shrieked as I saw it shear through the throat; whilst at thesame moment Mr. Morris' bowie knife plunged in the heart.

It was like a miracle; but before our very eyes, and almost in thedrawing of a breath, the whole body crumbled into dust and passed fromour sight.

I shall be glad as long as I live that even in that moment of finaldissolution there was in the face a look of peace, such as I nevercould have imagined might have rested there.

The Castle of Dracula now stood out against the red sky, and everystone of its broken battlements was articulated against the light ofthe setting sun.

The gipsies, taking us as in some way the cause of the extraordinarydisappearance of the dead man, turned, without a word, and rode awayas if for their lives. Those who were unmounted jumped upon theleiter-waggon and shouted to the horsemen not to desert them. Thewolves, which had withdrawn to a safe distance, followed in their wake,leaving us alone.

Mr. Morris, who had sunk to the ground, leaned on his elbow, holdinghis hand pressed to his side; the blood still gushed through hisfingers. I flew to him, for the Holy circle did not now keep me back;so did the two doctors. Jonathan knelt behind him and the wounded manlaid back his head on his shoulder. With a sigh he took, with a feebleeffort, my hand in that of his own which was unstained. He must haveseen the anguish of my heart in my face, for he smiled at me andsaid:--

"I am only too happy to have been of any service! Oh, God!" he criedsuddenly, struggling up to a sitting posture and pointing to me, "Itwas worth this to die! Look! look!"

The sun was now right down upon the mountain top, and the red gleamsfell upon my face, so that it was bathed in rosy light. With oneimpulse the men sank on their knees, and a deep and earnest "Amen"broke from all as their eyes followed the pointing of his finger as thedying man spoke:--

"Now God be thanked that all has not been in vain! See! the snow is notmore stainless than her forehead! The curse has passed away!"

And, to our bitter grief, with a smile and in silence, he died, agallant gentleman.


Seven years ago we all went through the flames; and the happiness ofsome of us since then is, we think, well worth the pain we endured. Itis an added joy to Mina and to me that our boy's birthday is the sameday as that on which Quincey Morris died. His mother holds, I know, thesecret belief that some of our brave friend's spirit has passed intohim. His bundle of names links all our little band of men together; butwe call him Quincey.

In the summer of this year we made a journey to Transylvania, and wentover the old ground which was, and is, to us so full of vivid andterrible memories. It was almost impossible to believe that the thingswhich we had seen with our own eyes and heard with our own ears wereliving truths. Every trace of all that had been was blotted out. Thecastle stood as before, reared high above a waste of desolation.

When we got home we got to talking of the old time--which we could alllook back on without despair, for Godalming and Seward are both happilymarried. I took the papers from the safe where they have been eversince our return so long ago. We were struck with the fact, that in allthe mass of material of which the record is composed, there is hardlyone authentic document; nothing but a mass of type-writing, exceptthe later note-books of Mina and Seward and myself, and Van Helsing'smemorandum. We could hardly ask any one, even did we wish to, to acceptthese as proofs of so wild a story. Van Helsing summed it all up as hesaid, with our boy on his knee:--

"We want no proofs; we ask none to believe us! This boy will some dayknow what a brave and gallant woman his mother is. Already he knows hersweetness and loving care; later on he will understand how some men soloved her, that they did dare much for her sake."

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