from Dr. Seward
to Arthur Holmwood
"With regard to Miss Westenra's health I hasten to let
you know at once that in my opinion there is not any functional disturbance or
any malady that I know of. At the same time, I am not by any means satisfied with
her appearance. She is woefully different from what she was when I saw her last.
Of course you must bear in mind that I did not have full opportunity of examination
such as I should wish. Our very friendship makes a little difficulty which not
even medical science or custom can bridge over. I had better tell you exactly
what happened, leaving you to draw, in a measure, your own conclusions. I shall
then say what I have done and propose doing.
"I found Miss Westenra
in seemingly gay spirits. Her mother was present, and in a few seconds I made
up my mind that she was trying all she knew to mislead her mother and prevent
her from being anxious. I have no doubt she guesses, if she does not know, what
need of caution there is.
"We lunched alone, and as we all exerted
ourselves to be cheerful, we got, as some kind of reward for our labours, some
real cheerfulness amongst us. Then Mrs. Westenra went to lie down, and Lucy was
left with me. We went into her boudoir, and till we got there her gaiety remained,
for the servants were coming and going.
"As soon as the door was closed,
however, the mask fell from her face, and she sank down into a chair with a great
sigh, and hid her eyes with her hand. When I saw that her high spirits had failed,
I at once took advantage of her reaction to make a diagnosis.
said to me very sweetly, 'I cannot tell you how I loathe talking about myself.'
I reminded her that a doctor's confidence was sacred, but that you were grievously
anxious about her. She caught on to my meaning at once, and settled that matter
in a word. 'Tell Arthur everything you choose. I do not care for myself, but for
him!' So I am quite free.
"I could easily see that she was somewhat
bloodless, but I could not see the usual anemic signs, and by the chance, I was
able to test the actual quality of her blood, for in opening a window which was
stiff a cord gave way, and she cut her hand slightly with broken glass. It was
a slight matter in itself, but it gave me an evident chance, and I secured a few
drops of the blood and have analysed them.
"The qualitative analysis
give a quite normal condition, and shows, I should infer, in itself a vigorous
state of health. In other physical matters I was quite satisfied that there is
no need for anxiety, but as there must be a cause somewhere, I have come to the
conclusion that it must be something mental.
"She complains of difficulty
breathing satisfactorily at times, and of heavy, lethargic sleep, with dreams
that frighten her, but regarding which she can remember nothing. She says that
as a child, she used to walk in her sleep, and that when in Whitby the habit came
back, and that once she walked out in the night and went to East Cliff, where
Miss Murray found her. But she assures me that of late the habit has not returned.
am in doubt, and so have done the best thing I know of. I have written to my old
friend and master, Professor Van Helsing, of Amsterdam, who knows as much about
obscure diseases as any one in the world. I have asked him to come over, and as
you told me that all things were to be at your charge, I have mentioned to him
who you are and your relations to Miss Westenra. This, my dear fellow, is in obedience
to your wishes, for I am only too proud and happy to do anything I can for her.
Helsing would, I know, do anything for me for a personal reason, so no matter
on what ground he comes, we must accept his wishes. He is a seemingly arbitrary
man, this is because he knows what he is talking about better than any one else.
He is a philosopher and a metaphysician, and one of the most advanced scientists
of his day, and he has, I believe, an absolutely open mind. This, with an iron
nerve, a temper of the ice-brook, and indomitable resolution, self-command, and
toleration exalted from virtues to blessings, and the kindliest and truest heart
that beats, these form his equipment for the noble work that he is doing for mankind,
work both in theory and practice, for his views are as wide as his all-embracing
sympathy. I tell you these facts that you may know why I have such confidence
in him. I have asked him to come at once. I shall see Miss Westenra tomorrow again.
She is to meet me at the Stores, so that I may not alarm her mother by too early
a repetition of my call.