Chapter 15
For a while sheer anger mastered me. It was as if he had during her life struck Lucy on
the face. I smote the table hard and rose up as I said to him, "Dr. Van Helsing, are you
He raised his head and looked at me, and somehow the tenderness of his face calmed
me at once. "Would I were!" he said. "Madness were easy to bear compared with truth
like this. Oh, my friend, whey, think you, did I go so far round, why take so long to tell so
simple a thing? Was it because I hate you and have hated you all my life? Was it
because I wished to give you pain? Was it that I wanted, no so late, revenge for that
time when you saved my life, and from a fearful death? Ah no!"
"Forgive me," said I.
He went on, "My friend, it was because I wished to be gentle in the breaking to you, for
I know you have loved that so sweet lady. But even yet I do not expect you to believe. It
is so hard to accept at once any abstract truth, that we may doubt such to be possible
when we have always believed the `no' of it. It is more hard still to accept so sad a
concrete truth, and of such a one as Miss Lucy. Tonight I go to prove it. Dare you come
with me?"
This staggered me. A man does not like to prove such a truth, Byron excepted from the
catagory, jealousy.
"And prove the very truth he most abhorred."
He saw my hesitation, and spoke, "The logic is simple, no madman's logic this time,
jumping from tussock to tussock in a misty bog. If it not be true, then proof will be relief.
At worst it will not harm. If it be true! Ah, there is the dread. Yet every dread should help
my cause, for in it is some need of belief. Come, I tell you what I propose. First, that we
go off now and see that child in the hospital. Dr. Vincent, of the North Hospital, where
the papers say the child is, is a friend of mine, and I think of yours since you were in
class at Amsterdam. He will let two scientists see his case, if he will not let two friends.
We shall tell him nothing, but only that we wish to learn. And then. . ."
"And then?"
He took a key from his pocket and held it up. "And then we spend the night, you and I,
in the churchyard where Lucy lies. This is the key that lock the tomb. I had it from the
coffin man to give to Arthur."
My heart sank within me, for I felt that there was some fearful ordeal before us. I could
do nothing, however, so I plucked up what heart I could and said that we had better
hasten, as the afternoon was passing.
We found the child awake. It had had a sleep and taken some food, and altogether was
going on well. Dr, Vincent took the bandage from its throat, and showed us the