Called at the Berkeley and found Van
Helsing, as usual, up to time. The carriage ordered from the hotel was waiting.
The Professor took his bag, which he always brings with him now.
be put down exactly. Van Helsing and I arrived at Hillingham at eight o'clock.
It was a lovely morning. The bright sunshine and all the fresh feeling of early
autumn seemed like the completion of nature's annual work. The leaves were turning
to all kinds of beautiful colours, but had not yet begun to drop from the trees.
When we entered we met Mrs. Westenra coming out of the morning room. She is always
an early riser. She greeted us warmly and said,
"You will be glad to
know that Lucy is better. The dear child is still asleep. I looked into her room
and saw her, but did not go in, lest I should disturb her." The Professor
smiled, and looked quite jubilant. He rubbed his hands together, and said, "Aha!
I thought I had diagnosed the case. My treatment is working."
she replied, "You must not take all the credit to yourself, doctor. Lucy's
state this morning is due in part to me."
"How do you mean, ma'am?"
asked the Professor.
"Well, I was anxious about the dear child in the
night, and went into her room. She was sleeping soundly, so soundly that even
my coming did not wake her. But the room was awfully stuffy. There were a lot
of those horrible, strong-smelling flowers about everywhere, and she had actually
a bunch of them round her neck. I feared that the heavy odour would be too much
for the dear child in her weak state, so I took them all away and opened a bit
of the window to let in a little fresh air. You will be pleased with her, I am
She moved off into her boudoir, where she usually breakfasted
early. As she had spoken, I watched the Professor's face, and saw it turn ashen
gray. He had been able to retain his self-command whilst the poor lady was present,
for he knew her state and how mischievous a shock would be. He actually smiled
on her as he held open the door for her to pass into her room. But the instant
she had disappeared he pulled me, suddenly and forcibly, into the dining room
and closed the door.
Then, for the first time in my life, I saw Van Helsing
break down. He raised his hands over his head in a sort of mute despair, and then
beat his palms together in a helpless way. Finally he sat down on a chair, and
putting his hands before his face, began to sob, with loud, dry sobs that seemed
to come from the very racking of his heart.
Then he raised his arms again,
as though appealing to the whole universe. "God! God! God!" he said.
"What have we done, what has this poor thing done, that we are so sore beset?
Is there fate amongst us still, send down from the pagan world of old, that such
things must be, and in such way? This poor mother, all unknowing, and all for
the best as she think, does such thing as lose her daughter body and soul, and
we must not tell her, we must not even warn her, or she die, then both die. Oh,
how we are beset! How are all the powers of the devils against us!"
he jumped to his feet. "Come," he said, "come, we must see and
act. Devils or no devils, or all the devils at once, it matters not. We must fight
him all the same." He went to the hall door for his bag, and together we
went up to Lucy's room.
Once again I drew up the blind, whilst Van Helsing
went towards the bed. This time he did not start as he looked on the poor face
with the same awful, waxen pallor as before. He wore a look of stern sadness and
"As I expected," he murmured, with that hissing
inspiration of his which meant so much. Without a word he went and locked the
door, and then began to set out on the little table the instruments for yet another
operation of transfusion of blood. I had long ago recognized the necessity, and
begun to take off my coat, but he stopped me with a warning hand. "No!"
he said. "Today you must operate. I shall provide. You are weakened already."
As he spoke he took off his coat and rolled up his shirtsleeve.
operation. Again the narcotic. Again some return of colour to the ashy cheeks,
and the regular breathing of healthy sleep. This time I watched whilst Van Helsing
recruited himself and rested.
Presently he took an opportunity of telling
Mrs. Westenra that she must not remove anything from Lucy's room without consulting
him. That the flowers were of medicinal value, and that the breathing of their
odour was a part of the system of cure. Then he took over the care of the case
himself, saying that he would watch this night and the next, and would send me
word when to come.
After another hour Lucy waked from her sleep, fresh and
bright and seemingly not much the worse for her terrible ordeal.
it all mean? I am beginning to wonder if my long habit of life amongst the insane
is beginning to tell upon my own brain.