25 September - Later
He has come and gone. Oh, what
a strange meeting, and how it all makes my head whirl round. I feel like one in
a dream. Can it be all possible, or even a part of it? If I had not read Jonathan's
journal first, I should never have accepted even a possibility. Poor, poor, dear
Jonathan! How he must have suffered. Please the good God, all this may not upset
him again. I shall try to save him from it. But it may be even a consolation and
a help to him, terrible though it be and awful in its consequences, to know for
certain that his eyes and ears and brain did not deceive him, and that it is all
true. It may be that it is the doubt which haunts him, that when the doubt is
removed, no matter which, waking or dreaming, may prove the truth, he will be
more satisfied and better able to bear the shock. Dr. Van Helsing must be a good
man as well as a clever one if he is Arthur's friend and Dr. Seward's, and if
they brought him all the way from Holland to look after Lucy. I feel from having
seen him that he is good and kind and of a noble nature. When he comes tomorrow
I shall ask him about Jonathan. And then, please God, all this sorrow and anxiety
may lead to a good end. I used to think I would like to practice interviewing.
Jonathan's friend on "The Exeter News" told him that memory is everything
in such work, that you must be able to put down exactly almost every word spoken,
even if you had to refine some of it afterwards. Here was a rare interview. I
shall try to record it verbatim.
It was half-past two o'clock when the knock
came. I took my courage a deux mains and waited. In a few minutes Mary opened
the door, and announced "Dr. Van Helsing".
I rose and bowed, and
he came towards me, a man of medium weight, strongly built, with his shoulders
set back over a broad, deep chest and a neck well balanced on the trunk as the
head is on the neck. The poise of the head strikes me at once as indicative of
thought and power. The head is noble, well-sized, broad, and large behind the
ears. The face, clean-shaven, shows a hard, square chin, a large resolute, mobile
mouth, a good-sized nose, rather straight, but with quick, sensitive nostrils,
that seem to broaden as the big bushy brows come down and the mouth tightens.
The forehead is broad and fine, rising at first almost straight and then sloping
back above two bumps or ridges wide apart, such a forehead that the reddish hair
cannot possibly tumble over it, but falls naturally back and to the sides. Big,
dark blue eyes are set widely apart, and are quick and tender or stern with the
man's moods. He said to me,
"Mrs. Harker, is it not?" I bowed
"That was Miss Mina Murray?" Again I assented.
is Mina Murray that I came to see that was friend of that poor dear child Lucy
Westenra. Madam Mina, it is on account of the dead that I come."
I said, "you could have no better claim on me than that you were a friend
and helper of Lucy Westenra." And I held out my hand. He took it and said
"Oh, Madam Mina, I know that the friend of that poor little
girl must be good, but I had yet to learn . . ." He finished his speech with
a courtly bow. I asked him what it was that he wanted to see me about, so he at
"I have read your letters to Miss Lucy. Forgive me, but
I had to begin to inquire somewhere, and there was none to ask. I know that you
were with her at Whitby. She sometimes kept a diary, you need not look surprised,
Madam Mina. It was begun after you had left, and was an imitation of you, and
in that diary she traces by inference certain things to a sleep-walking in which
she puts down that you saved her. In great perplexity then I come to you, and
ask you out of your so much kindness to tell me all of it that you can remember."
can tell you, I think, Dr. Van Helsing, all about it."
you have good memory for facts, for details? It is not always so with young ladies."
doctor, but I wrote it all down at the time. I can show it to you if you like."
Madam Mina, I well be grateful. You will do me much favour."
not resist the temptation of mystifying him a bit, I suppose it is some taste
of the original apple that remains still in our mouths, so I handed him the shorthand
diary. He took it with a grateful bow, and said, "May I read it?"
you wish," I answered as demurely as I could. He opened it, and for an instant
his face fell. Then he stood up and bowed.
"Oh, you so clever woman!"
he said. "I knew long that Mr. Jonathan was a man of much thankfulness, but
see, his wife have all the good things. And will you not so much honour me and
so help me as to read it for me? Alas! I know not the shorthand."
this time my little joke was over, and I was almost ashamed. So I took the typewritten
copy from my work basket and handed it to him.
"Forgive me," I
said. "I could not help it, but I had been thinking that it was of dear Lucy
that you wished to ask, and so that you might not have time to wait, not on my
account, but because I know your time must be precious, I have written it out
on the typewriter for you."
He took it and his eyes glistened. "You
are so good," he said. "And may I read it now? I may want to ask you
some things when I have read."
"By all means," I said, "read
it over whilst I order lunch, and then you can ask me questions whilst we eat."
bowed and settled himself in a chair with his back to the light, and became so
absorbed in the papers, whilst I went to see after lunch chiefly in order that
he might not be disturbed. When I came back, I found him walking hurriedly up
and down the room, his face all ablaze with excitement. He rushed up to me and
took me by both hands.
"Oh, Madam Mina," he said, "how can
I say what I owe to you? This paper is as sunshine. It opens the gate to me. I
am dazed, I am dazzled, with so much light, and yet clouds roll in behind the
light every time. But that you do not, cannot comprehend. Oh, but I am grateful
to you, you so clever woman. Madame," he said this very solemnly, "if
ever Abraham Van Helsing can do anything for you or yours, I trust you will let
me know. It will be pleasure and delight if I may serve you as a friend, as a
friend, but all I have ever learned, all I can ever do, shall be for you and those
you love. There are darknesses in life, and there are lights. You are one of the
lights. You will have a happy life and a good life, and your husband will be blessed
"But, doctor, you praise me too much, and you do not
"Not know you, I, who am old, and who have studied all
my life men and women, I who have made my specialty the brain and all that belongs
to him and all that follow from him! And I have read your diary that you have
so goodly written for me, and which breathes out truth in every line. I, who have
read your so sweet letter to poor Lucy of your marriage and your trust, not know
you! Oh, Madam Mina, good women tell all their lives, and by day and by hour and
by minute, such things that angels can read. And we men who wish to know have
in us something of angels' eyes. Your husband is noble nature, and you are noble
too, for you trust, and trust cannot be where there is mean nature. And your husband,
tell me of him. Is he quite well? Is all that fever gone, and is he strong and
I saw here an opening to ask him about Jonathan, so I said,
"He was almost recovered, but he has been greatly upset by Mr. Hawkins death."
interrupted, "Oh, yes. I know. I know. I have read your last two letters."
went on, "I suppose this upset him, for when we were in town on Thursday
last he had a sort of shock."
"A shock, and after brain fever
so soon! That is not good. What kind of shock was it?"
he saw some one who recalled something terrible, something which led to his brain
fever." And here the whole thing seemed to overwhelm me in a rush. The pity
for Jonathan, the horror which he experienced, the whole fearful mystery of his
diary, and the fear that has been brooding over me ever since, all came in a tumult.
I suppose I was hysterical, for I threw myself on my knees and held up my hands
to him, and implored him to make my husband well again. He took my hands and raised
me up, and made me sit on the sofa, and sat by me. He held my hand in his, and
said to me with, oh, such infinite sweetness,
"My life is a barren
and lonely one, and so full of work that I have not had much time for friendships,
but since I have been summoned to here by my friend John Seward I have known so
many good people and seen such nobility that I feel more than ever, and it has
grown with my advancing years, the loneliness of my life. Believe me, then, that
I come here full of respect for you, and you have given me hope, hope, not in
what I am seeking of, but that there are good women still left to make life happy,
good women, whose lives and whose truths may make good lesson for the children
that are to be. I am glad, glad, that I may here be of some use to you. For if
your husband suffer, he suffer within the range of my study and experience. I
promise you that I will gladly do all for him that I can, all to make his life
strong and manly, and your life a happy one. Now you must eat. You are overwrought
and perhaps over-anxious. Husband Jonathan would not like to see you so pale,
and what he like not where he love, is not to his good. Therefore for his sake
you must eat and smile. You have told me about Lucy, and so now we shall not speak
of it, lest it distress. I shall stay in Exeter tonight, for I want to think much
over what you have told me, and when I have thought I will ask you questions,
if I may. And then too, you will tell me of husband Jonathan's trouble so far
as you can, but not yet. You must eat now, afterwards you shall tell me all."
lunch, when we went back to the drawing room, he said to me, "And now tell
me all about him."
When it came to speaking to this great learned man,
I began to fear that he would think me a weak fool, and Jonathan a madman, that
journal is all so strange, and I hesitated to go on. But he was so sweet and kind,
and he had promised to help, and I trusted him, so I said,
Helsing, what I have to tell you is so queer that you must not laugh at me or
at my husband. I have been since yesterday in a sort of fever of doubt. You must
be kind to me, and not think me foolish that I have even half believed some very
He reassured me by his manner as well as his words
when he said, "Oh, my dear, if you only know how strange is the matter regarding
which I am here, it is you who would laugh. I have learned not to think little
of any one's belief, no matter how strange it may be. I have tried to keep an
open mind, and it is not the ordinary things of life that could close it, but
the strange things, the extraordinary things, the things that make one doubt if
they be mad or sane."
"Thank you, thank you a thousand times!
You have taken a weight off my mind. If you will let me, I shall give you a paper
to read. It is long, but I have typewritten it out. It will tell you my trouble
and Jonathan's. It is the copy of his journal when abroad, and all that happened.
I dare not say anything of it. You will read for yourself and judge. And then
when I see you, perhaps, you will be very kind and tell me what you think."
promise," he said as I gave him the papers. "I shall in the morning,
as soon as I can, come to see you and your husband, if I may."
will be here at half-past eleven, and you must come to lunch with us and see him
then. You could catch the quick 3:34 train, which will leave you at Paddington
before eight." He was surprised at my knowledge of the trains offhand, but
he does not know that I have made up all the trains to and from Exeter, so that
I may help Jonathan in case he is in a hurry.
So he took the papers with
him and went away, and I sit here thinking, thinking I don't know what.