Original Gothic Novel
3 October.- As
I must do something or go mad, I write this diary. It is now six o'clock,
and we are to meet in the study in half an hour and take something to eat,
for Dr. Van Helsing and Dr. Seward are agreed that if we do not eat we cannot
work our best. Our best will be, God knows, required today. I must keep writing
at every chance, for I dare not stop to think. All, big and little, must go
down; perhaps at the end the little things may teach us most. The teaching,
big or little, could not have landed Mina or me anywhere worse than we are
to-day. However, we must trust and hope. Poor Mina told me just now, with
the tears running down her dear cheeks, that it is in trouble and trial that
our faith is tested- that we must keep on trusting; and that God will aid
us up to the end. The end! oh my God! what end?... To work! To work!
When Dr. Van Helsing
and Dr. Seward had come back from seeing poor Renfield, we went gravely into
what was to be done. First, Dr. Seward told us that when he and Dr. Van Helsing
had gone down to the room below they had found Renfield lying on the floor,
all in a heap. His face was all bruised and crushed in, and the bones of the
neck were broken.
Dr. Seward asked
the attendant who was on duty in the passage if he had heard anything. He
said that he had been sitting down- he c
onfessed to half dozing-
when he heard loud voices in the room, and then Renfield had called out loudly
several times, "God! God! God!" After that there was a sound of
falling, and when he entered the room he found him lying on the floor, face
down, just as the doctors had seen him. Van Helsing asked if he had heard
"voices" or "a voice," and he said he could not say; that
at first it had seemed to him as if there were two, but as there was no one
in the room it could have been only one. He could swear to it, if required,
that the word "God" was spoken by the patient. Dr. Seward said to
us, when we were alone, that he did not wish to go into the matter; the question
of an inquest had to be considered, and it would never do to put forward the
truth, as no one would believe it. As it was, he thought that on the attendant's
evidence he could give a certificate of death by misadventure in falling from
bed. In case the coroner should demand it, there would be a formal inquest,
necessarily to the same result.
When the question
began to be discussed as to what should be our next step, the very first thing
we decided was that Mina should be in full confidence; that nothing of any
sort- no matter how painful- should be kept from her. She herself agreed as
to its wisdom, and it was pitiful to see her so brave and yet so sorrowful,
and in such a depth of despair. "There must be no concealment,"
she said, "Alas! we have had too much already. And besides there is nothing
in all the world that can give me more pain than I have already endured- than
I suffer now! Whatever may happen, it must be of new hope or of new courage
to me!" Van Helsing was, looking at her fixedly as she spoke, and said,
suddenly but quietly:-
Madam Mina are you not afraid; not for yourself, but for others from yourself,
after what has happened?" Her face grew set in its lines, but her eyes
shone with the devotion of a martyr as she answered:-
"Ah no! for
my mind is made up!"
he asked gently, whilst we were all very still; for each in our own way we
had a sort of vague idea of what she meant. Her answer came with direct simplicity,
as though she were simply stating a fact:-
if I find in myself- and I shall watch keenly for it- a sign of harm to any
that I love, I shall die!"
not kill yourself?" he asked, hoarsely.
if there were no friend who loved me, who would save me such a pain, and so
desperate an effort!" She looked at him meaningly as she spoke. He was
sitting down; but now he rose and came close to her and put his hand on her
head as he said solemnly: "My child, there is such an one if it
were for your good. For myself I could hold it in my account with God to find
such an euthanasia for you, even at this moment if it were best. Nay, were
it safe! But my child-" for a moment he seemed choked, and a great sob
rose in his throat; he gulped it down and went on:-
here some who would stand between you and death. You must not die. You must
not die by any hand; but least of all by your own. Until the other, who has
fouled your sweet life, is true dead you must not die; for if he is still
with the quick Un-Dead, your death would make you even as he is. No, you must
live! You must struggle and strive to live, though death would seem a boon
unspeakable. You must fight Death himself, though he come to you in pain or
in joy; by the day, or the night; in safety or in peril! On your living soul
I charge you that you do not die- nay nor think of death- till this great
evil be past." The poor dear grew white as death, and shook and shivered,
as I have seen a quicksand shake and shiver at the incoming of the tide. We
were all silent; we could do nothing. At length she grew more calm and turning
to him said, sweetly, but oh! so sorrowfully, as she held out her hand.-
you, my dear friend, that if God will let me live, I shall strive to do so;
till, if it may be in His good time, this horror may have passed away from
me." She was so good and brave that we all felt that our hearts were
strengthened to work and endure for her, and we began to discuss what we were
to do. I told her that she was to have all the papers in the safe, and all
the papers or diaries and phonographs we might hereafter use; and was to keep
the record as she had done before. She was pleased with the prospect of anything
to do- if "pleased" could be used in connection with so grim an
As usual Van Helsing
had thought ahead of everyone else, and was prepared with an exact ordering
of our work. "It is perhaps well" he said "that at our
meeting after our visit to Carfax we decided not to do anything with the earthboxes
there. Had we done so, the Count must have guessed our purpose, and would
doubtless have taken measures in advance to frustrate such an effort with
regard to the others; but now he does not know our intentions. Nay more, in
all probability, he does not know that such a power exists to us as can sterilise
his lairs, so that he cannot use them as of old. We are now so much further
advanced in our knowledge as to their disposition, that, when we have examined
the house in Piccadilly, we may track the very last of them. To-day, then,
is ours; and in it rests our hope. The sun that rose on our sorrow this morning
guards us in its course. Until it sets tonight, that monster must retain whatever
form he now has. He is confined within the limitations of his earthly envelope.
He cannot melt into thin air nor disappear through cracks or chinks or crannies.
If he go through a door-way, he must open the door like a mortal. And so we
have this day to hunt out all his lairs and sterilise them. So we shall, if
we have not yet catch him and destroy him, drive him to bay in some place
where the catching and the destroying shall be, in time, sure." Here
I started up for I could not contain myself at the thought that the minutes
and seconds so preciously laden with Mina's life and happiness were flying
from us, since whilst we talked action was impossible. But Van Helsing held
up his hand warningly. "Nay, friend Jonathan," he said, "In
this, the quickest way home is the longest way, so your proverb say. We shall
all act and act with desperate quick, when the time has come. But think, in
all probable the key of the situation is in that house in Piccadilly. The
Count may have many houses which he has bought. Of them he will have deeds
of purchase, keys and other things. He will have paper that he write on; he
will have his book of cheques. There are many belongings that he must have
somewhere; why not in this place so central, so quiet, where he come and go
by the front or the back at all hour, when in the very vast of the traffic
there is none to notice. We shall go there and search that house; and when
we learn what it holds, then we do what our friend Arthur call, in his phrases
of hunt 'stop the earths' and so we run down our old fox- so? is it not?"
us come at once," I cried, "we are wasting the precious, precious
time!" The Professor did not move, but simply said:-
are we to get into that house in Piccadilly?"
I cried. "We shall break in if need be."
police; where will they be, and what will they say?"
I was staggered;
but I knew that if he wished to delay he had a good reason for it. So I said,
as quietly as I could:-
more than need be; you know, I am sure, what torture I am in."
"Ah, my child,
that I do; and indeed there is no wish of me to add to your anguish. But just
think, what can we do, until all the world be at movement. Then will come
our time. I have thought and thought, and it seems to me that the simplest
way is the best of all. Now we wish to get into the house, but we have no
key; is it not so?" I nodded.
that you were, in truth, the owner of that house, and could not still get
it, and think there was to you no conscience of the housebreaker, what would
get a respectable locksmith, and set him to work to pick the lock for me."
police, they would interfere, would they not?"
not if they knew the man was properly employed."
he looked at me keenly as he spoke, "all that is in doubt is the conscience
of the employer, and the belief of your policemen as to whether or no that
employer has a good conscience or a bad one. Your police must indeed be zealous
men and clever- oh so clever!- in reading the heart, that they trouble themselves
in such matter. No, no, my friend Jonathan, you go take the lock off a hundred
empty house in this your London, or of any city in the world; and if you do
it as such things are rightly done, and at the time such things are rightly
done, no one will interfere. I have read of a gentleman who owned a so fine
house in your London, and when he went for months of summer to Switzerland
and lock up his house, some burglar came and broke window at back and got
in. Then he went and made open the shutters in front and walk out and in through
the door, before the very eyes of the police. Then he have an auction in that
house, and advertise it, and put up big notice; and when the day come he sell
off by a great auctioneer all the goods of that other man who own them. Then
he go to a builder, and he sell him that house, making an agreement that he
pull it down and take all away within a certain time. And your police and
other authority help him all they can. And when that owner come back from
his holiday in Switzerland he find only an empty hole where his house had
been. This was all done en regle, and in our work we shall be en regle too.
We shall not go so early that the policemen who have then little to think
of, shall deem it strange; but we shall go after ten o'clock, when there are
many about, and when such things would be done were we indeed owners of the
I could not but
see how right he was and the terrible despair of Mina's face became relaxed
a thought; there was hope in such good counsel. Van Helsing went on:-
within that house we may find more clues; at any rate some of us can remain
there whilst the rest find the other places where there be more earth-boxes-
at Bermondsey and Mile End."
stood up. "I can be of some use here," he said. "I shall wire
to my people to have horses and carriages where they will be most convenient."
old fellow," said Morris, "it is a capital idea to have all ready
in case we want to go horse-backing; but don't you think that one of your
snappy carriages with its heraldic adornments in a byway of Walworth or Mile
End would attract too much attention for our purposes? it seems to me that
we ought to take cabs when we go south or east; and even leave them somewhere
near the neighborhood we are going to."
is right!" said the Professor. "His head is what you call in plane
with the horizon. It is a difficult thing that we go to do, and we do not
want no peoples to watch us if so it may."
Mina took a growing
interest in everything and I was rejoiced to see that the exigency of affairs
was helping her to forget for a time the terrible experience of the night.
She was very, very pale- almost ghastly, and so thin that her lips were drawn
away, showing her teeth in somewhat of prominence. I did not mention this
last, lest it should give her needless pain; but it made my blood run cold
in my veins to think of what had occurred with poor Lucy when the Count had
sucked her blood. As yet there was no sign of the teeth growing sharper, but
the time as yet was short, and there was time for fear.
When we came to
the discussion of the sequence of our efforts and of the disposition of our
forces, there were new sources of doubt. It was finally agreed that before
starting for Piccadilly we should destroy the Count's lair close at hand.
In case he should find it out too soon, we should thus be still ahead of him
in our work of destruction; and his presence in his purely material shape,
and at his weakest, might give us some new clue.
As to the disposal
of forces, it was suggested by the Professor that, after our visit to Carfax,
we should all enter the house in Piccadilly; that the two doctors and I should
remain there, whilst Lord Godalming and Quincey found the lairs at Walworth
and Mile End and destroyed them. It was possible, if not likely, the Professor
urged, that the Count might appear in Piccadilly during the day, and that
if so we might be able to cope with him then and there. At any rate, we might
be able to follow him in force. To this plan I strenuously objected, and so
far as my going was concerned, for I said that I intended to stay and protect
Mina. I thought that my mind was made up on the subject; but Mina would not
listen to my objection. She said that there might be some law matter in which
I could be useful; that amongst the Count's papers might be some clue which
I could understand out of my experience in Transylvania; and that, as it was,
all the strength we could muster was required to cope with the Count's extraordinary
power. I had to give in, for Mina's resolution was fixed; she said that it
was the last hope for her that we should all work together. "As for me,"
she said, "I have no fear. Things have been as bad as they can be; and
whatever may happen must have in it some element of hope or comfort. Go, my
husband! God can, if He wishes it, guard me as well alone as with any one
present." So I started up crying out: "Then in God's name let us
come at once, for we are losing time. The Count may come to Piccadilly earlier
than we think."
said Van Helsing, holding up his hand.
"Do you forget,"
he said, with actually a smile, "that last night he banqueted heavily,
and will sleep late?"
Did I forget!
shall I ever- can I ever! Can any of us ever forget that terrible scene! Mina
struggled hard to keep her brave countenance; but the pain overmastered her
and she put her hands before her face, and shuddered whilst she moaned. Van
Helsing had not intended to recall her frightful experience. He had simply
lost sight of her and her part in the affair in his intellectual effort. When
it struck him what he said, he was horrified at his thoughtlessness and tried
to comfort her. "Oh, Madam Mina," he said, "dear, dear Madam
Mina, alas! that I of all who so reverence you should have said anything so
forgetful. These stupid old lips of mine and this stupid old head do not deserve
so; but you will forget it, will you not?" He bent low beside her as
he spoke; she took his hand, and looking at him through her tears, said hoarsely:-
"No, I shall
not forget, for it is well that I remember; and with it I have so much in
memory of you that is sweet, that I take it all together. Now, you must all
be going soon. Breakfast is ready, and we must all eat that we may be strong."
a strange meal to us all. We tried to be cheerful and encourage each other,
and Mina was the brightest and most cheerful of us. When it was over, Van
Helsing stood up and said:-
dear friends, we go forth to our terrible enterprise. Are we all armed, as
we were on that night when first we visited our enemy's lair; armed against
ghostly as well as carnal attack?" We all assured him. "Then it
is well. Now Madam Mina, you are in any case quite safe here until the sunset;
and before then we shall return- if- We shall return! But before we go let
me see you armed against personal attack. I have myself, since you came down,
prepared your chamber by the placing of things of which we know, so that He
may not enter. Now let me guard yourself. On your forehead I touch this piece
of Sacred Wafer in the name of the Father, the Son, and-"
There was a fearful
scream which almost froze our hearts to hear. As he had placed the Wafer on
Mina's forehead, it had seared it- had burned into the flesh as though it
had been a piece of white-hot metal. My poor darling's brain had told her
the significance of the fact as quickly as her nerves received the pain of
it; and the two so overwhelmed her that her overwrought nature had its voice
in that dreadful scream. But the words to her thought came quickly; the echo
of the scream had not ceased to ring on the air when there came the reaction,
and she sand on her knees on the floor in an agony of abasement. Pulling her
beautiful hair over her face, as the leper of old his mantle, she wailed out:-
Unclean! Even the Almighty shuns my polluted flesh! I must bear this mark
of shame upon my forehead until the Judgement Day." They all paused.
I had thrown myself beside her in an agony of helpless grief, and putting
my arms around held her tight. For a few minutes our sorrowful hearts beat
together, whilst the friends around us turned away their eyes that ran tears
silently. Then Van Helsing turned and said gravely; so gravely that I could
not help feeling that he was in some way inspired, and was stating things
"It may be
that you may have to bear that mark till God himself see fit, as He most surely
shall, on the Judgment Day, to redress all wrongs of the earth and of His
children that He has placed thereon. And oh, Madam Mina, my dear, my dear,
may we who love you be there to see, when that red scar, the sign of God's
knowledge of what has been, shall pass away and leave your forehead as pure
as the heart we know. For so surely as we live, that scar shall pass away
when God sees right to lift the burden that is hard upon us. Till then we
bear our Cross, as His Son did in obedience to His Will. It may be that we
are chosen instruments of His good pleasure, and that we ascend to His bidding
as that other through stripes and shame; through tears and blood; through
doubts and fears, and all that makes the difference between God and man."
There was hope
in his words, and comfort, and they made for resignation. Mina and I both
felt so, and simultaneously we each took one of the old man's hands and bent
over and kissed it. Then without a word we all knelt down together, and, all
holding hands, swore to be true to each other. We men pledged ourselves to
raise the veil of sorrow from the head of her whom, each in his own way, we
loved; and we prayed for help and guidance in the terrible task which lay
It was then time
to start. So I said farewell to Mina, a parting which neither of us shall
forget to our dying day; and we set out.
To one thing I
have made up my mind: if we find out that Mina must be a vampire in the end,
then she shall not go into that unknown and terrible land alone. I suppose
it is thus that in old times one vampire meant many; just as their hideous
bodies could only rest in sacred earth, so the holiest love was the recruiting
sergeant for their ghastly ranks.
We entered Carfax
without trouble and found all things the same as on the first occasion. It
was hard to believe that amongst so prosaic surroundings of neglect and dust
and decay there was any ground for such fear as already we knew. Had not our
minds been made up, and had there not been terrible memories to spur us on,
we could hardly have proceeded with our task. We found no papers, or any sign
of use in the house; and in the old chapel the great boxes looked just as
we had seen them last. Dr. Van Helsing said to us solemnly as we stood before
my friends, we have a duty here to do. We must sterilise this earth, so sacred
of holy memories, that he has brought from a far istant land for such fell
use. He has chosen this earth because it has been holy. Thus we defeat him
with his own weapon, for we make it more holy still. It was sanctified to
such use of man, now we sanctify it to God." As he spoke he took from
his bag a screw-driver and a wrench, and very soon the top of one of the cases
was thrown open. The earth smelled musty and close; but we did not somehow
seem to mind, for our attention was concentrated on the Professor. Taking
from his box a piece of the Sacred Wafer he laid it reverently on the earth,
and then shutting down the lid began to screw it home, we aiding him as he
One by one we
treated in the same way each of the great boxes, and left them as we had found
them to all appearance; but in each was a portion of the Host.
When we closed
the door behind us, the Professor said solemnly:-
is already done. If it may be that with all the others we can be so successful,
then the sunset of this evening may shine on Madam Mina's forehead all white
as ivory and with no stain!"
As we passed across
the lawn on our way to the station to catch our train we could see the front
of the asylum. I looked eagerly, and in the window of my own room saw Mina.
I waved my hand to her, and nodded to tell that our work there was successfully
accomplished. She nodded in reply to show that she understood. The last I
saw, she was waving her hand in farewell. It was with a heavy heart that we
sought the station and just caught the train, which was steaming in as we
reached the platform.
I have written
this in the train.
Piccadilly, 12:30 o'clock.- Just before we reached Fenchurch Street Lord Godalming
said to me:-
and I will find a locksmith. You had better not come with us in case there
should be any difficulty; for under the circumstances it wouldn't seem so
bad for us to break into an empty house. But you are a solicitor and the Incorporated
Law Society might tell you that you should have known better." I demurred
as to my not sharing any danger even of odium, but he went on: "Besides,
it will attract less attention if there are not too many of us. My title will
make it all right with the locksmith, and with any policeman that may come
along. You had better go with Jack and the Professor and stay in the Green
Park, somewhere in sight of the house; and when you see the door opened and
the smith has gone away, do you all come across. We shall be on the look out
for you, and shall let you in."
advice is good!" said Van Helsing, so we said no more. Godalming and
Morris hurried off in a cab, we following in another. At the corner of Arlington
Street our contingent got our and strolled into the Green Park. My heart beat
as I saw the house on which so much of our hope was centered, looming up grim
and silent in its deserted condition amongst its more lively and spruce-looking
neighbours. We sat down on a bench within good view, and began to smoke cigars
so as to attract as little attention as possible. The minutes seemed to pass
with leaden feet as we waited for the coming of the others.
length we saw a four-wheeler drive up. Out of it, in leisurely fashion, got
Lord Godalming and Morris; and down from the box descended a thick-set working
man with his rush-woven basket of tools. Morris paid the cabman, who touched
his hat and drove away. Together the two ascended the steps, and Lord Godalming
pointed out what he wanted done. The workman took off his coat leisurely and
hung it on one of the spikes of the rail, saying something to a policeman
who just then sauntered along. The policeman nodded acquiescence, and the
man kneeling down placed his bag beside him. After searching through it, he
took out a selection of tools which he produced to lay beside him in orderly
fashion. Then he stood up, looked into the keyhole, blew into it, and, turning
to his employers, made some remark. Lord Godalming smiled, and the man lifted
a good sized bunch of keys; selecting one of them, he began to probe the lock,
as if feeling his way with it. After fumbling about for a bit he tried a second,
and then a third. All at once the door opened under a slight push from him,
and he and the two others entered the hall. We sat still; my own cigar burnt
furiously, but Van Helsing's went cold altogether. We waited patiently as
we saw the workman come out and bring in his bag. Then he held the door partly
open, steadying it with his knees, whilst he fitted a key to the lock. This
he finally handed to Lord Godalming, who took out his purse and gave him something.
The man touched his hat, took his bag, put on his coat and departed; not a
soul took the slightest notice of the whole transaction.
the man had fairly gone, we three crossed the street and knocked at the door.
It was immediately opened by Quincey Morris, beside whom stood Lord Godalming
lighting a cigar.
place smells so vilely," said the latter as we came in. It did indeed
smell vilely- like the old chapel at Carfax- and with our previous experience
it was plain to us that the Count had been using the place pretty freely.
We moved to explore the house, all keeping together in case of attack; for
we knew we had a strong and wily enemy to deal with, and as yet we did not
know whether the Count might not be in the house. In the dining-room, which
lay at the back of the hall, we found eight boxes of earth. Eight boxes only
out of the nine which we sought! Our work was not over, and would never be
until we should have found the missing box. First we opened the shutters of
the window which looked out across a narrow stone-flagged yard at the blank
face of a stable, pointed to look like the front of a miniature house. There
were no windows in it, so we were not afraid of being overlooked. We did not
lose any time in examining the chests. With the tools which we had brought
with us we opened them, one by one, and treated them as we had treated those
others in the old chapel. It was evident to us that the Count was not at present
in the house, and we proceeded to search for any of his effects.
a cursory glance at the rest of the rooms, from basement to attic, we came
to the conclusion that the dining room contained any effects which might belong
to the Count; and so we proceeded to minutely examine them. They lay in a
sort of orderly disorder on the great dining-room table. There were title
deeds of the Piccadilly house in a great bundle; deeds of the purchase of
the houses at Mile End and Bermondsey; notepaper, envelopes, and pens and
ink. All were covered up in thin wrapping paper to keep them from the dust.
There were also a clothes brush, a brush and comb, and a jug and basin- the
latter containing dirty water which was reddened as if with blood. Last of
all was a little heap of keys of all sorts and sizes, probably those belonging
to the other houses. When we had examined this last find, Lord Godalming and
Quincey Morris taking accurate notes of the various addresses of the houses
in the East and the South, took with them the keys in a great bunch, and set
out to destroy the boxes in these places. The rest of us are, with what patience
we can, waiting their return- or the coming of the Count.
Original Gothic Novel
to you by