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How shall I describe what we saw? On the bed lay two women, Lucy and her
mother. The latter lay farthest in, and she was covered with a white sheet, the
edge of which had been blown back by the drought through the broken window,
showing the drawn, white, face, with a look of terror fixed upon it. By her side lay
Lucy, with face white and still more drawn. The flowers which had been round
her neck we found upon her mother's bosom, and her throat was bare, showing
the two little wounds which we had noticed before, but looking horribly white and
mangled. Without a word the Professor bent over the bed, his head almost
touching poor Lucy's breast. Then he gave a quick turn of his head, as of one
who listens, and leaping to his feet, he cried out to me, "It is not yet too late!
Quick! Quick! Bring the brandy!"
I flew downstairs and returned with it, taking care to smell and taste it, lest it, too,
were drugged like the decanter of sherry which I found on the table. The maids
were still breathing, but more restlessly, and I fancied that the narcotic was
wearing off. I did not stay to make sure, but returned to Van Helsing. He rubbed
the brandy, as on another occasion, on her lips and gums and on her wrists and
the palms of her hands. He said to me, "I can do this, all that can be at the
present. You go wake those maids. Flick them in the face with a wet towel, and
flick them hard. Make them get heat and fire and a warm bath. This poor soul is
nearly as cold as that beside her. She will need be heated before we can do
anything more."
I went at once, and found little difficulty in waking three of the women. The fourth
was only a young girl, and the drug had evidently affected her more strongly so I
lifted her on the sofa and let her sleep.
The others were dazed at first, but as remembrance came back to them they
cried and sobbed in a hysterical manner. I was stern with them, however, and
would not let them talk. I told them that one life was bad enough to lose, and if
they delayed they would sacrifice Miss Lucy. So, sobbing and crying they went
about their way, half clad as they were, and prepared fire and water. Fortunately,
the kitchen and boiler fires were still alive, and there was no lack of hot water.
We got a bath and carried Lucy out as she was and placed her in it. Whilst we
were busy chafing her limbs there was a knock at the hall door. One of the maids
ran off, hurried on some more clothes, and opened it. Then she returned and
whispered to us that there was a gentleman who had come with a message from
Mr. Holmwood. I bade her simply tell him that he must wait, for we could see no
one now. She went away with the message, and, engrossed with our work, I
clean forgot all about him.
I never saw in all my experience the Professor work in such deadly earnest. I
knew, as he knew, that it was a stand-up fight with death, and in a pause told him
so. He answered me in a way that I did not understand, but with the sternest look
that his face could wear.
"If that were all, I would stop here where we are now, and let her fade away into
peace, for I see no light in life over her horizon." He went on with his work with, if
possible, renewed and more frenzied vigour.
Presently we both began to be conscious that the heat was beginning to be of
some effect. Lucy's heart beat a trifle more audibly to the stethoscope, and her