Chapter 15 Notes from Dracula

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Dracula Chapter 15

The chapter begins as a continuation of Seward's last diary entry. He is in such doubt of Van Helsing's suggestion that he is angry, and accuses Van Helsing of madness. Van Helsing understands his young friend's doubt, but persists. He convinces Seward to accompany him to North Hospital, where the latest child victim is, and then to spend the night in Lucy's tomb.

They know the doctor attending the boy, and so may examine him. They find marks on his neck similar to those on Lucy. When the sun fully sets, they make the long walk to Lucy's final resting place, far from downtown. They jump the wall, and, using a key that Van Helsing was to give to Arthur, they enter the tomb.

Once inside, Van Helsing opens the coffin and cuts open the lead casing, to Seward's horror. Once the lead is bent back, the empty bed is revealed.

Seward is not yet willing to concede supernatural forces, so Van Helsing suggests a vigil, in which the two of them watch opposite sides of the churchyard. After a long, cold two hours, the miserable Seward sees a white streak run among the yew trees. Both men run, with Seward stumbling over headstones; by the time he reaches the site, Van Helsing is there holding a baby. They inspect it, and find no wounds. Van Helsing says they were just in time.

They leave the child near a policeman and plan on another outing the next day.

After a noontime funeral, they sneak back into Lucy's tomb. Seward is painfully aware of the law and their act of sacrilege. This time, upon opening the coffin, Lucy is there, looking "more radiantly beautiful than ever..." Her teeth have gotten even sharper.

Van Helsing explains that Lucy is 'Un-Dead', having been bitten by a vampire while sleepwalking. "In trance she died, and in trance she is Un-Dead, too... There is no malign there, see, and so it makes it hard that I must kill her in her sleep." Chapter 15, pg. 220 Seward can no longer find a reason for not believing, so Van Helsing explains further, "I shall cut off her head and fill her mouth with garlic, and I shall drive a stake through her body." Chapter 15, pg. 221

After a moment of thinking, Van Helsing presents a dilemma. After killing the Un-Dead Lucy, he explains, there will be more work to do, work that may involve the help of Arthur. However, only Seward is convinced of the supernatural forces at work. He must involve Arthur before Lucy is killed. They send for both Arthur and Quincey.

Seward's diary is interrupted here with an undelivered letter to Seward from Van Helsing. It is meant to be delivered in the case of an emergency. He explains that he is going to Lucy's tomb to cover it with garlic and a crucifix, trapping her inside, so she cannot leave tonight and will therefore be hungrier tomorrow. He is afraid that he might meet 'the other', who has the strength of twenty men and the power to control wolves. If he is injured, Van Helsing instructs, Seward is to take the papers and diaries and find this "great Un-Dead", cut off his head, and burn his heart or drive a stake through it.

In his diary, Seward writes that, after sleeping on it, he no longer accepts the explanation. When the four men meet, Van Helsing realizes this immediately, and so addresses the other two, in order to elicit a quick promise from them. He asks for their trust to do whatever he wants tonight, regardless of how awful it seems. Quincey pledges right away, Lord Godalming pledges agrees with the exception of anything that violates his "honour as a gentleman or... faith as a Christian..."

Van Helsing suggests that the four men enter the tomb, open the coffin, and cut off the head of the Un-Dead Miss Lucy. Arthur, confused and shocked, initially refuses. Van Helsing explains that he has a duty to do for himself, his friends, and God. He also admits that he, too, gave Lucy his blood. Arthur consents.

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