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“Van Helsing had a way of going on his own road, no matter who remonstrated…” Seward knows him pretty well after all, and the others will soon learn this about him too!
“This is the key that lock the tomb. I had it from the coffin man to give to Arthur.” Van Helsing has planned ahead. He is sneaky, too - how did he persuade the sexton to give the key to him, especially as he is clearly a foreigner?
Toggle Commented yesterday on Chapter 15 at Dracula Blogged
“That fearful Count was coming to London […] with its teeming millions. . .” Fresh from reading Jonathan’s journal, Mina echoes his idea that “amongst [London’s] teeming millions, [the Count might] satiate his lust for blood, and create a new and ever–widening circle of semi–demons to batten on the helpless”.
Yeah, I’d say gloating is most likely. He got her to remove the flowers just because he could.
“ “[Van Helsing] goes to Amsterdam tonight, but says he returns tomorrow night, that he only wants to make some arrangements which can only be made personally.” He has to see a man about a Host…
“There were only ourselves and the servants there [at the burial service]…” These servants may have been Hawkins’ domestic servants, but it is quite possible that the term also applies to anyone working for Hawkins’ law practice. The word “employee” was slow to gain ground in the UK, and “servant” was often used instead. Today, a fragment of this former usage remains in “civil servant” and “public servant” used for government employees.
“Van Helsing ordered the former arrangement [Lucy’s body in a separate room from her mother’s] to be adhered to, explaining that, as Lord Godalming was coming very soon, it would be less harrowing to his feelings to see all that was left of his fiancée quite alone.” Mrs. Westenra’s death was no secret; surely Holmwood would also pay his respects to the body of his intended mother-in-law before leaving Hillingham. It might be harder on him to make two separate visitations than to see both at once. Van Helsing’s opinion overrides the judgement of the professional undertaker, although the undertaker has probably dealt with this situation before. And so Mrs. Westenra’s corpse must be trundled about one more time.
Toggle Commented 7 days ago on Chapter 13 at Dracula Blogged
“…there came a sort of dull flapping or buffeting at the window…I could see that the noise was made by a great bat, which wheeled round…and every now and again struck the window with its wings. When I came back to my seat, I found that Lucy had moved slightly, and had torn away the garlic flowers from her throat.” So apparently the Count was using his hypnotic influence to get Lucy to remove the garlic flowers. But why? She was close to death, so he couldn’t be planning on getting a final blood meal from her. To judge from Van Helsing’s actions with his golden crucifix, the presence of garlic flowers around her corpse would not be sufficient to keep her from becoming a vampire.
“I never knew either father or mother, so that the dear old man's death is a real blow to me.” A days earlier (September 17), we learned that Hawkins knew both Mina and Jonathan “from children, and have, with love and pride, seen you grow up.” If Mina was orphaned at an early age, what was her connection with Hawkins?
Just a silly bit of fun, really, but thank you!
“‘I was makin’ up a litter in the monkey-house for a young puma which is ill…’” A litter in this context would probably be “a bed of straw or other suitable substance for animals”. (1911 Encyclopedia Britannica - )
“I am busy, I need not tell you, arranging things and housekeeping.” Either Mina is taking massive liberties due to Jonathan’s new status as partner and heir, or this isn’t the first time that she has done this for Mr. Hawkins.
“Somewhere near, a passing bell was tolling.” “The ‘passing bell,’ to be heard in certain districts of rural England, within living memory, and possibly not yet wholly extinct, was interpreted by the people as a reminder to pray for the soul of the neighbor who was passing away.” - From _An Aid for Churchmen Episcopal and Orthodox Toward a Mutual Understanding, by Means of a Brief Comparison of the Rites and Ceremonies of the Orthodox Church with those of the Episcopal (Anglican Church)_, by Rev. H. Henry Spoer, 1930. (
Toggle Commented Sep 18, 2022 on MEMORANDUM LEFT BY LUCY WESTENRA at Dracula Blogged
“Sent to Carfax, Sussex, as no county given.” Unfortunately for Lucy et. al., the London-based postal code system did not extend to Purfleet at this time. However, if he had had a postal code, Van Helsing probably would have omitted it anyway; it really seems that details were not his strong suit. Postal code addresses: a little bit of history and a lot of photos -
“My wrist bled freely, and quite a little pool trickled on to the carpet….When the attendants rushed in…[Renfield] was lying on his belly on the floor licking up, like a dog, the blood which had fallen from my wounded wrist.” The Count’s influence has made Renfield view human blood as the nourishment that will give him the vitality and ascendancy he craves. He may feel again the Count has abandoned him (4 September) and so imitates the Count in his own fashion.
“…then long spells of oblivion, and the rising back to life as a diver coming up through a great press of water…” Interesting similarity to Lucy’s experience on the night of 18 August, just before Mina found her unconscious on the cemetery seat: “…then I seemed sinking into deep green water, and there was a singing in my ears, as I have heard there is to drowning men; and then everything seemed passing away from me; my soul seemed to go out from my body and float about the air.”
Toggle Commented Sep 18, 2022 on Four days and nights of peace. at Dracula Blogged
I have to admit that I actually quoted Van Helsing a few days ago, whenI needed to double check something: “Knowledge is stronger than memory, and we should not trust the weaker.” (7 Sept)
“Then, for the first time in my life, I saw Van Helsing break down.” Van Helsing’s first instinct is not to check on Lucy as soon as he can do so without alarming Mrs. Westenra. Instead, he is so overwrought by the possible harm caused by the garlic’s removal that he gives in to tears and lamentations. However, he gets a grip on himself fairly quickly.
“[Mrs Westenra] moved off into her boudoir, where she usually breakfasted early.” I will take this as a pretext to post a link to the 66-second film, made in the UK in 1896, of a Victorian lady undressing in her boudoir. As someone interested in historic costume, I find this *very* exciting. However, the film runs out before she takes off her shift. British Film Institute:
“I shall not mind any flapping outside the window.” Lucy mentioned “flapping or scratching” outside her Hillingham window back on 25 August, but hasn’t mentioned it since then. She does seem to connect it to her illness, though without any obvious reason, just as she feels the garlic flowers are helpful, even though she doesn’t know why they should be. It is tempting to suggest that, as a 19-year-old woman, Lucy is being infantilized by Van Helsing— but Seward is equally shut out of the professor’s confidence. I think Van Helsing is rightly fearful of being labelled a quack and a crank, even by his former pupil. Perhaps he has already had a taste of that from his colleagues or patients in the Netherlands.
Toggle Commented Sep 12, 2022 on Chapter 11 at Dracula Blogged
“…my garlic, which is all the way from Haarlem, where my friend Vanderpool raise herb in his glass-houses all the year.” Vanderpool may have had a fondness for garlic scapes (flower stalks), as gardeners don’t usually allow garlic to flower. How to grow and harvest garlic scapes:
“I was conscious of the Professor's hand on my head…” “‘Bring the brandy.’ I flew to the dining room, and returned with the decanter. He wetted the poor white lips with it, and together we rubbed palm and wrist and heart.” I had assumed that brandy was being used topically as well as being applied to the lips, but it seems that I was mistaken. Van Helsing’s colleague, Dr. John Watson, frequently used brandy in similar situations but always internally. A Doctor Enjoys Sherlock Holmes-
Toggle Commented Sep 10, 2022 on I was conscious of the Professor at Dracula Blogged
“I sat up all night with Lucy.” “When [Lucy’s] maid had prepared her for the night I came in…” “In the early morning her maid came, and I left [Lucy] in her care…” Earlier, Van Helsing asked Lucy’s maid some questions about her health (Sep 3). Although she is clearly a trusted servant, Seward learns nothing about her— not even her name.
Toggle Commented Sep 9, 2022 on I sat up all night with Lucy. at Dracula Blogged
“Just over the external jugular vein there were two punctures, not large, but not wholesome looking.” ICD-10 is the tenth edition of the International Classification of Diseases, a system which can trace its roots back to medical statistician Florence Nightingale and French statistician Jacques Bertillon.* It contains codes for diseases, symptoms, social circumstances, and external causes of injury or diseases. In short, after nearly 130 years of development and refinement, there are few medical situations which do not have an applicable code. For Lucy, Seward and Van Helsing could use ICD-10 code S10.87XA: “Other superficial bite of other specified part of neck, initial encounter” *Jacques Bertillon was the brother of Alphonse Bertillon. Alphonse now is mostly remembered for his unqualified handwriting analysis in the Dreyfus affair, and his system of anthropometry which was used by some police departments until replaced by fingerprinting.
On 24 August, Renfield escapes the asylum and then watches a bat fly away from Carfax. On 4 September, Renfield complains, “He has deserted me. No hope for me now unless I do it for myself.” Then at sunset that same day, Renfield “took his fly-box, and emptied it outside, and threw away the box”, suggesting the Count has returned after a worrying absence. This all seems to match up with Lucy’s sickness and recovery. Could the Count have spent one or more days away from Carfax and closer to Hillingham? If so, then earth fromone of the Carfax boxes must have been removed to create a second nest in that area— a nest that completely escaped detection later.
Toggle Commented Sep 6, 2022 on Patient greatly improved. at Dracula Blogged