Chapter 16
It was just a quarter before twelve o'clock when we got into the churchyard over
the low wall. The night was dark with occasional gleams of moonlight between
the dents of the heavy clouds that scudded across the sky. We all kept somehow
close together, with Van Helsing slightly in front as he led the way. When we had
come close to the tomb I looked well at Arthur, for I feared the proximity to a
place laden with so sorrowful a memory would upset him, but he bore himself
well. I took it that the very mystery of the proceeding was in some way a
counteractant to his grief. The Professor unlocked the door, and seeing a natural
hesitation amongst us for various reasons, solved the difficulty by entering first
himself. The rest of us followed, and he closed the door. He then lit a dark lantern
and pointed to a coffin. Arthur stepped forward hesitatingly. Van Helsing said to
me, "You were with me here yesterday. Was the body of Miss Lucy in that
"It was."
The Professor turned to the rest saying, "You hear, and yet there is no one who
does not believe with me.'
He took his screwdriver and again took off the lid of the coffin. Arthur looked on,
very pale but silent. When the lid was removed he stepped forward. He evidently
did not know that there was a leaden coffin, or at any rate, had not thought of it.
When he saw the rent in the lead, the blood rushed to his face for an instant, but
as quickly fell away again, so that he remained of a ghastly whiteness. He was
still silent. Van Helsing forced back the leaden flange, and we all looked in and
The coffin was empty!
For several minutes no one spoke a word. The silence was broken by Quincey
Morris, "Professor, I answered for you. Your word is all I want. I wouldn't ask
such a thing ordinarily, I wouldn't so dishonor you as to imply a doubt, but this is
a mystery that goes beyond any honor or dishonor. Is this your doing?"
"I swear to you by all that I hold sacred that I have not removed or touched her.
What happened was this. Two nights ago my friend Seward and I came here,
with good purpose, believe me. I opened that coffin, which was then sealed up,
and we found it as now, empty. We then waited, and saw something white come
through the trees. The next day we came here in daytime and she lay there. Did
she not, friend John?
"That night we were just in time. One more so small child was missing, and we
find it, thank God, unharmed amongst the graves. Yesterday I came here before
sundown, for at sundown the UnDead can move. I waited here all night till the
sun rose, but I saw nothing. It was most probable that it was because I had laid
over the clamps of those doors garlic, which the UnDead cannot bear, and other
things which they shun. Last night there was no exodus, so tonight before the
sundown I took away my garlic and other things. And so it is we find this coffin