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Chapter 13
The funeral was arranged for the next succeeding day, so that Lucy and her
mother might be buried together. I attended to all the ghastly formalities, and the
urbane undertaker proved that his staff was afflicted, or blessed, with something
of his own obsequious suavity. Even the woman who performed the last offices
for the dead remarked to me, in a confidential, brother-professional way, when
she had come out from the death chamber,
"She makes a very beautiful corpse, sir. It's quite a privilege to attend on her. It's
not too much to say that she will do credit to our establishment!"
I noticed that Van Helsing never kept far away. This was possible from the
disordered state of things in the household. There were no relatives at hand, and
as Arthur had to be back the next day to attend at his father's funeral, we were
unable to notify any one who should have been bidden. Under the
circumstances, Van Helsing and I took it upon ourselves to examine papers, etc.
He insisted upon looking over Lucy's papers himself. I asked him why, for I
feared that he, being a foreigner, might not be quite aware of English legal
requirements, and so might in ignorance make some unnecessary trouble.
He answered me, "I know, I know. You forget that I am a lawyer as well as a
doctor. But this is not altogether for the law. You knew that, when you avoided
the coroner. I have more than him to avoid. There may be papers more, such as
As he spoke he took from his pocket book the memorandum which had been in
Lucy's breast, and which she had torn in her sleep.
"When you find anything of the solicitor who is for the late Mrs. Westenra, seal all
her papers, and write him tonight. For me, I watch here in the room and in Miss
Lucy's old room all night, and I myself search for what may be. It is not well that
her very thoughts go into the hands of strangers."
I went on with my part of the work, and in another half hour had found the name
and address of Mrs. Westenra's solicitor and had written to him. All the poor
lady's papers were in order. Explicit directions regarding the place of burial were
given. I had hardly sealed the letter, when, to my surprise, Van Helsing walked
into the room, saying,
"Can I help you friend John? I am free, and if I may, my service is to you."
"Have you got what you looked for?" I asked.
To which he replied, "I did not look for any specific thing. I only hoped to find, and
find I have, all that there was, only some letters and a few memoranda, and a
diary new begun. But I have them here, and we shall for the present say nothing
of them. I shall see that poor lad tomorrow evening, and, with his sanction, I shall
use some."
When we had finished the work in hand, he said to me, "And now, friend John, I
think we may to bed. We want sleep, both you and I, and rest to recuperate.
Tomorrow we shall have much to do, but for the tonight there is no need of us.