This is my message. If you are a man, you have befriended, wronged me, and I have avenged myself. If you are that other thing you may be, then I know you love me, and that I kissed you once. This, of course, leaves out the equally simple explanation that Dirk could perfectly well be a man, have loved Theirry, and that they might have kissed — a more interesting explanation than the one that seems to loom by the time Theirry writes this message.
Instead, she has Dirk leave this somewhat opaque message in return:. If I be a devil I go whence I came, if a man I lived as one and die as one, if woman I have known Love, conquered it and by it have been vanquished. As it is, it has an odd fascination. Dirk, secure for the moment in his papal palace, receives a message, brought through rampaging Roman mobs, from Theirry: This is my message. Instead, she has Dirk leave this somewhat opaque message in return: If I be a devil I go whence I came, if a man I lived as one and die as one, if woman I have known Love, conquered it and by it have been vanquished.
Well for us, it is as yet, a child-brain. For had he dared, at the first, to attempt certain things he would long ago have been beyond our power. However, he means to succeed, and a man who has centuries before him can afford to wait and to go slow. Festina lente may well be his motto. Perhaps grief and trouble are dulling my brain.
Do you not see how, of late, this monster has been creeping into knowledge experimentally. How he has been making use of the zoophagous patient to effect his entry into friend John's home. For your Vampire, though in all afterwards he can come when and how he will, must at the first make entry only when asked thereto by an inmate. But these are not his most important experiments.
Do we not see how at the first all these so great boxes were moved by others. He knew not then but that must be so. But all the time that so great child-brain of his was growing, and he began to consider whether he might not himself move the box. So he began to help. And then, when he found that this be all right, he try to move them all alone.
And so he progress, and he scatter these graves of him. And none but he know where they are hidden. So that only he use them in the night, or at such time as he can change his form, they do him equal well, and none may know these are his hiding place! But, my child, do not despair, this knowledge came to him just too late! Already all of his lairs but one be sterilize as for him. And before the sunset this shall be so. Then he have no place where he can move and hide.
I delayed this morning that so we might be sure. Is there not more at stake for us than for him? Then why not be more careful than him? By my clock it is one hour and already, if all be well, friend Arthur and Quincey are on their way to us. Today is our day, and we must go sure, if slow, and lose no chance. There are five of us when those absent ones return.
We all moved out to the hall with one impulse, and Van Helsing, holding up his hand to us to keep silence, stepped to the door and opened it. The boy handed in a dispatch. The Professor closed the door again, and after looking at the direction, opened it and read aloud. He has just now, , come from Carfax hurriedly and hastened towards the South.
He seems to be going the round and may want to see you: Mina.
Do not fear, and do not rejoice as yet. For what we wish for at the moment may be our own undoings. I would sell my soul to do it! But God is merciful and just, and knows your pain and your devotion to that dear Madam Mina.
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Think you, how her pain would be doubled, did she but hear your wild words. Do not fear any of us, we are all devoted to this cause, and today shall see the end. The time is coming for action. Today this Vampire is limit to the powers of man, and till sunset he may not change. It will take him time to arrive here, see it is twenty minutes past one, and there are yet some times before he can hither come, be he never so quick. What we must hope for is that my Lord Arthur and Quincey arrive first.
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Harker's telegram, there came a quiet, resolute knock at the hall door. It was just an ordinary knock, such as is given hourly by thousands of gentlemen, but it made the Professor's heart and mine beat loudly.
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We looked at each other, and together moved out into the hall. We each held ready to use our various armaments, the spiritual in the left hand, the mortal in the right. Van Helsing pulled back the latch, and holding the door half open, stood back, having both hands ready for action. The gladness of our hearts must have shown upon our faces when on the step, close to the door, we saw Lord Godalming and Quincey Morris. They came quickly in and closed the door behind them, the former saying, as they moved along the hall. We found both places. Six boxes in each and we destroyed them all. If, however, he doesn't turn up by five o'clock, we must start off.
For it won't do to leave Mrs. Harker alone after sunset. That means he went to cross the river, and he could only do so at slack of tide, which should be something before one o'clock. That he went south has a meaning for us.
He is as yet only suspicious, and he went from Carfax first to the place where he would suspect interference least. You must have been at Bermondsey only a short time before him. That he is not here already shows that he went to Mile End next.
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This took him some time, for he would then have to be carried over the river in some way. Believe me, my friends, we shall not have long to wait now. We should have ready some plan of attack, so that we may throw away no chance.
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Hush, there is no time now. Have all your arms! Be ready! I could not but admire, even at such a moment, the way in which a dominant spirit asserted itself. In all our hunting parties and adventures in different parts of the world, Quincey Morris had always been the one to arrange the plan of action, and Arthur and I had been accustomed to obey him implicitly. Now, the old habit seemed to be renewed instinctively. With a swift glance around the room, he at once laid out our plan of attack, and without speaking a word, with a gesture, placed us each in position.
Van Helsing, Harker, and I were just behind the door, so that when it was opened the Professor could guard it whilst we two stepped between the incomer and the door. Godalming behind and Quincey in front stood just out of sight ready to move in front of the window. We waited in a suspense that made the seconds pass with nightmare slowness. The slow, careful steps came along the hall. The Count was evidently prepared for some surprise, at least he feared it. Suddenly with a single bound he leaped into the room. Winning a way past us before any of us could raise a hand to stay him.
There was something so pantherlike in the movement, something so unhuman, that it seemed to sober us all from the shock of his coming. The first to act was Harker, who with a quick movement, threw himself before the door leading into the room in the front of the house. As the Count saw us, a horrible sort of snarl passed over his face, showing the eyeteeth long and pointed.
But the evil smile as quickly passed into a cold stare of lion-like disdain.
His expression again changed as, with a single impulse, we all advanced upon him. It was a pity that we had not some better organized plan of attack, for even at the moment I wondered what we were to do. I did not myself know whether our lethal weapons would avail us anything. Harker evidently meant to try the matter, for he had ready his great Kukri knife and made a fierce and sudden cut at him.
The blow was a powerful one. Only the diabolical quickness of the Count's leap back saved him.
A second less and the trenchant blade had shorn through his coat, making a wide gap whence a bundle of bank notes and a stream of gold fell out.