Bobby Derie and Bram Stoker
So intent were all on the cliff that they did not notice her coming; as the roar of the wind came from them to her, they could not hear her voice when she spoke from a distance. So threatening did these overhanging masses look, that for a few seconds I feared to stir lest some of them should topple over on me. These—whatever they were—were of massive grey stone, probably limestone rudely cut—if indeed they were not shaped naturally. These form part of the rocky system of the Skares, which spread out fan-like from the point of Whinnyfold. The place itself was, as a natural wonder, superb; but to me as a treasure hunter it was a disappointment.
Within all was dark; but she entered as freely and with as little misgiving or restraint as if it had been broad daylight. She stood with downcast eyes idly picking at the sleeve of her dress, seeming to have tacitly acquiesced in the proposal. As well as personal experience and the lessons of eyes and ears and intelligence, there were other things to classify and adjust; things which were entirely from the outside of her own life.
"I won't feel so heavy-headed when I get out of this mummy smell." broke in Miss Trelawny in a sort of passion of anxiety, her face drawn with pain. "And so you, like the others, would play your brains against mine." Before we parted she gave me a kiss and a hug that made my blood tingle.
It was nearly an hour when he looked up from his book, disturbed by the sudden stillness. Each of us had done his work as well as he could; so far as thought, and endeavour, and opportunity go, we are prepared for the whole of our journey, and for our work when we get to Galatz. When I looked back over the letters translated from the cipher thus depleted, I found to my inexpressible joy that the sequence and sense were almost complete.
“I shall read it myself if you think it best!” I said instinctively!
"This document”—holding it up—“is as follows:
"Perhaps you can tell me what that figure of Ptah-Seker-Ausar holding the Tet wrapped in the Sceptre of Papyrus means?
I was so surprised that I said without thinking:
I was so surprised that I said without thinking:
"As I looked there came a cold shiver in the air, and the snow began to fall. Though I did not realise it at the time, the dead man’s weight was beginning to tell sorely upon me. He had been born in the Castle, and had served its succession of masters—present or absent—ever since. Such loyalty was a power and a help in the land, for it knew danger in every form; and anything which aided the cohesion of its integers was a natural asset. He was of that courageous, fixed trueness to his undertaking, that if he should deem it his duty to guard a secret he would do it to the last. His face was strong and merciless, evil, crafty, and vindictive, with a sensual mouth, hooked nose of ruddy colour, and shaped like the beak of a bird of prey. He study new tongues. They learned his secrets in the Scholomance, amongst the mountains over Lake Hermanstadt, where the devil claims the tenth scholar as his due."
Here she interrupted me. “Still, as an old servant . . . ”
She laid her hand on mine and said reassuringly: "The old devil, perhaps."
“How do you mean?” I queried. It never even occurred to him that a lady could so far step from the confines of convention as to take the initiative in a matter of affection. It is not as if they were strangers. It was not possible to doubt that the phantom figure which had been so close to me during the dark hours of the night was actual flesh and blood. Whenever she would try to recollect there would become a buzzing in her ears and a dimness in her eyes, and all would pass away. She never forgot the words he had said to her:
"He doubted me when I took him from her kiss when she was dying. A man does not like to prove such a truth; Byron excepted from the category, jealousy. He became a user of Voodoo, which seems to be a service of the utmost baseness and cruelty. Besides, he can summon his wolf and I know not what. But don’t you go building up superstitious horrors or fears on it. I shall not ever allude to it again unless you wish. I will hold your secret sacred."
Here he was interrupted by another scream from Mrs. Witham, and steps had to be taken for her recovery. I didn’t feel sleepy, and I did feel full of devouring anxiety. When the Professor had done speaking my husband looked in my eyes, and I in his; there was no need for speaking between us. My heart began to beat wildly. This done, and it had all been done in a couple of seconds, he worked the electric switch of the syren, which screamed out quickly once, twice, thrice. She ignored, however, all his little private signalling, and presently ordered tea to be brought. I looked at her in wonder and in some secret concern.
"Van Helsing went about his work systematically. The Doctor mentioned two names; and within a few minutes a mounted messenger was galloping to Norcester, the nearest telegraph centre. This done, and it had all been done in a couple of seconds, he worked the electric switch of the syren, which screamed out quickly once, twice, thrice. All this time Doctor Winchester was attending to his patient; now dressing the wounds in the wrist or making minute examination all over the head and throat, and over the heart. It was a hideous mockery, for the broken features and seamed scars took strange shapes and strange colours, and queer lines of white showed out as the straining muscles pressed on the old cicatrices. The sight made her almost faint. The Professor made a few more passes and then stopped, and I could see that his forehead was covered with great beads of perspiration. Still there was a wild, uneasy light of triumph in his eyes, and he kept murmuring to himself over and over again. In his delight and excitement he breathed so hard that it seemed almost like a cat purring. He was deathly pale, just like a waxen image, and the red eyes glared with the horrible vindictive look which I knew too well."
As she was telling her terrible story, the eastern sky began to quicken, and everything became more and more clear. The sun was now right down upon the mountain top, and the red gleams fell upon my face, so that it was bathed in rosy light. One and all we felt that the holy calm that lay like sunshine over the wasted face and form was only an earthly token and symbol of the calm that was to reign for ever. And so in the East the passing of the two years of silence and gloom seemed to be the winning of something brighter to follow. Little by little the fierce chattering of her teeth began to abate as the warmth of her surroundings stole through her. As he was going out of the room a thought struck her. Back flooded the old memory of her independence and her theory of sexual equality.
"Sleep well to-night. My work is finished, and I am free." There was a premeditated self-suppression, a gravity of restraint, which implied some falsity; some intention other than the words conveyed.
I did not sleep well, though my bed was comfortable enough, for I had all sorts of queer dreams. There was little sleep in the Castle that night till late. What I dreamt of—if I dreamt at all—I know not. “I must not deceive myself; it was no dream, but all a grim reality. We want no proofs; we ask none to believe us!”