but I am not my own master in the matter. I can only ask you to trust me. If I am
refused, the responsibility does not rest with me."
I thought it was now time to end the scene, which was becoming too comically
grave, so I went towards the door, simply saying, "Come, my friends, we have
work to do. Goodnight."
As, however, I got near the door, a new change came over the patient. He
moved towards me so quickly that for the moment I feared that he was about to
make another homicidal attack. My fears, however, were groundless, for he held
up his two hands imploringly, and made his petition in a moving manner. As he
saw that the very excess of his emotion was militating against him, by restoring
us more to our old relations, he became still more demonstrative. I glanced at
Van Helsing, and saw my conviction reflected in his eyes, so I became a little
more fixed in my manner, if not more stern, and motioned to him that his efforts
were unavailing. I had previously seen something of the same constantly growing
excitement in him when he had to make some request of which at the time he
had thought much, such for instance, as when he wanted a cat, and I was
prepared to see the collapse into the same sullen acquiescence on this occasion.
My expectation was not realized, for when he found that his appeal would not be
successful, he got into quite a frantic condition. He threw himself on his knees,
and held up his hands, wringing them in plaintive supplication, and poured forth a
torrent of entreaty, with the tears rolling down his cheeks, and his whole face and
form expressive of the deepest emotion.
"Let me entreat you, Dr. Seward, oh, let me implore you, to let me out of this
house at once. Send me away how you will and where you will, send keepers
with me with whips and chains, let them take me in a strait waistcoat, manacled
and leg-ironed, even to gaol, but let me go out of this. You don't know what you
do by keeping me here. I am speaking from the depths of my heart, of my very
soul. You don't know whom you wrong, or how, and I may not tell. Woe is me! I
may not tell. By all you hold sacred, by all you hold dear, by your love that is lost,
by your hope that lives, for the sake of the Almighty, take me out of this and save
my soul from guilt! Can't you hear me, man? Can't you understand? Will you
never learn? Don't you know that I am sane and earnest now, that I am no lunatic
in a mad fit, but a sane man fighting for his soul? Oh, hear me! Hear me! Let me
go, let me go, let me go!"
I thought that the longer this went on the wilder he would get, and so would bring
on a fit, so I took him by the hand and raised him up.
"Come," I said sternly, "no more of this, we have had quite enough already. Get
to your bed and try to behave more discreetly."
He suddenly stopped and looked at me intently for several moments. Then,
without a word, he rose and moving over, sat down on the side of the bed. The
collapse had come, as on former occasions, just as I had expected.
When I was leaving the room, last of our party, he said to me in a quiet, well-bred
voice, "You will, I trust, Dr. Seward, do me the justice to bear in mind, later on,
that I did what I could to convince you tonight."