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DR. SEWARD'S DIARY--CONT.
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 this."
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. Alas!"