Once again during the night I was wakened by Mina. This time we had all had a good sleep, for the grey of the coming dawn was making the windows into sharp oblongs, and the gas flame was like a speck rather than a disc of light.
She said to me hurriedly, “Go, call the Professor. I want to see him at once.”
“Why?” I asked.
“I have an idea. I suppose it must have come in the night, and matured without my knowing it. He must hypnotize me before the dawn, and then I shall be able to speak. Go quick, dearest, the time is getting close.”
I went to the door. Dr. Seward was resting on the mattress, and seeing me, he sprang to his feet.
“Is anything wrong?” he asked, in alarm.
“No,” I replied. “But Mina wants to see Dr. Van Helsing at once.”
“I will go,” he said, and hurried into the Professor’s room.
Two or three minutes later Van Helsing was in the room in his dressing gown, and Mr. Morris and Lord Godalming were with Dr. Seward at the door asking questions. When the Professor saw Mina a smile, a positive smile ousted the anxiety of his face.
He rubbed his hands as he said, “Oh, my dear Madam Mina, this is indeed a change. See! Friend Jonathan, we have got our dear Madam Mina, as of old, back to us today!” Then turning to her, he said cheerfully, “And what am I to do for you? For at this hour you do not want me for nothing.”
“I want you to hypnotize me!” she said. “Do it before the dawn, for I feel that then I can speak, and speak freely. Be quick, for the time is short!” Without a word he motioned her to sit up in bed.
Looking fixedly at her, he commenced to make passes in front of her, from over the top of her head downward, with each hand in turn. Mina gazed at him fixedly for a few minutes, during which my own heart beat like a trip hammer, for I felt that some crisis was at hand. Gradually her eyes closed, and she sat, stock still. Only by the gentle heaving of her bosom could one know that she was alive. The Professor made a few more passes and then stopped, and I could see that his forehead was covered with great beads of perspiration. Mina opened her eyes, but she did not seem the same woman. There was a far-away look in her eyes, and her voice had a sad dreaminess which was new to me. Raising his hand to impose silence, the Professor motioned to me to bring the others in. They came on tiptoe, closing the door behind them, and stood at the foot of the bed, looking on. Mina appeared not to see them. The stillness was broken by Van Helsing’s voice speaking in a low level tone which would not break the current of her thoughts.
“Where are you?” The answer came in a neutral way.
“I do not know. Sleep has no place it can call its own.” For several minutes there was silence. Mina sat rigid, and the Professor stood staring at her fixedly.
The rest of us hardly dared to breathe. The room was growing lighter. Without taking his eyes from Mina’s face, Dr. Van Helsing motioned me to pull up the blind. I did so, and the day seemed just upon us. A red streak shot up, and a rosy light seemed to diffuse itself through the room. On the instant the Professor spoke again.
“Where are you now?”
The answer came dreamily, but with intention. It were as though she were interpreting something. I have heard her use the same tone when reading her shorthand notes.
“I do not know. It is all strange to me!”
“What do you see?”
“I can see nothing. It is all dark.”
“What do you hear?” I could detect the strain in the Professor’s patient voice.
“The lapping of water. It is gurgling by, and little waves leap. I can hear them on the outside.”
“Then you are on a ship?'”
We all looked at each other, trying to glean something each from the other. We were afraid to think.
The answer came quick, “Oh, yes!”
“What else do you hear?”
“The sound of men stamping overhead as they run about. There is the creaking of a chain, and the loud tinkle as the check of the capstan falls into the ratchet.”
“What are you doing?”
“I am still, oh so still. It is like death!” The voice faded away into a deep breath as of one sleeping, and the open eyes closed again.
By this time the sun had risen, and we were all in the full light of day. Dr. Van Helsing placed his hands on Mina’s shoulders, and laid her head down softly on her pillow. She lay like a sleeping child for a few moments, and then, with a long sigh, awoke and stared in wonder to see us all around her.
“Have I been talking in my sleep?” was all she said. She seemed, however, to know the situation without telling,though she was eager to know what she had told. The Professor repeated the conversation, and she said, “Then there is not a moment to lose. It may not be yet too late!”
Mr. Morris and Lord Godalming started for the door but the Professor’s calm voice called them back.
“Stay, my friends. That ship, wherever it was, was weighing anchor at the moment in your so great Port of London. Which of them is it that you seek? God be thanked that we have once again a clue, though whither it may lead us we know not. We have been blind somewhat. Blind after the manner of men, since we can look back we see what we might have seen looking forward if we had been able to see what we might have seen! Alas, but that sentence is a puddle, is it not? We can know now what was in the Count’s mind, when he seize that money, though Jonathan’s so fierce knife put him in the danger that even he dread. He meant escape. Hear me, ESCAPE! He saw that with but one earth box left, and a pack of men following like dogs after a fox, this London was no place for him. He have take his last earth box on board a ship, and he leave the land. He think to escape, but no! We follow him. Tally Ho! As friend Arthur would say when he put on his red frock! Our old fox is wily. Oh! So wily, and we must follow with wile. I, too, am wily and I think his mind in a little while. In meantime we may rest and in peace, for there are between us which he do not want to pass, and which he could not if he would. Unless the ship were to touch the land, and then only at full or slack tide. See, and the sun is just rose, and all day to sunset is us. Let us take bath, and dress, and have breakfast which we all need, and which we can eat comfortably since he be not in the same land with us.”
Mina looked at him appealingly as she asked, “But why need we seek him further, when he is gone away from us?”
He took her hand and patted it as he replied, “Ask me nothing as yet. When we have breakfast, then I answer all questions.” He would say no more, and we separated to dress.
After breakfast Mina repeated her question. He looked at her gravely for a minute and then said sorrowfully, “Because my dear, dear Madam Mina, now more than ever must we find him even if we have to follow him to the jaws of Hell!”
She grew paler as she asked faintly, “Why?”
“Because,” he answered solemnly, “he can live for centuries, and you are but mortal woman. Time is now to be dreaded, since once he put that mark upon your throat.”
I was just in time to catch her as she fell forward in a faint.