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punctures. There was no mistaking the similarity to those which had been on Lucy's
throat. They were smaller, and the edges looked fresher, that was all. We asked Vincent
to what he attributed them, and he replied that it must have been a bite of some animal,
perhaps a rat, but for his own part, he was inclined to think it was one of the bats which
are so numerous on the northern heights of London. "Out of so many harmless ones,"
he said, "there may be some wild specimen from the South of a more malignant
species. Some sailor may have brought one home, and it managed to escape, or even
from the Zoological Gardens a young one may have got loose, or one be bred there
from a vampire. These things do occur, you, know. Only ten days ago a wolf got out,
and was, I believe, traced up in this direction. For a week after, the children were
playing nothing but Red Riding Hood on the Heath and in every alley in the place until
this `bloofer lady' scare came along, since then it has been quite a gala time with them.
Even this poor little mite, when he woke up today, asked the nurse if he might go away.
When she asked him why he wanted to go, he said he wanted to play with the `bloofer
"I hope," said Van Helsing, "that when you are sending the child home you will caution
its parents to keep strict watch over it. These fancies to stray are most dangerous, and if
the child were to remain out another night, it would probably be fatal. But in any case I
suppose you will not let it away for some days?" "Certainly not, not for a week at least,
longer if the wound is not healed." Our visit to the hospital took more time than we had
reckoned on, and the sun had dipped before we came out. When Van Helsing saw how
dark it was, he said,
"There is not hurry. It is more late than I thought. Come, let us seek somewhere that we
may eat, and then we shall go on our way."
We dined at `Jack Straw's Castle' along with a little crowd of bicyclists and others who
were genially noisy. About ten o'clock we started from the inn. It was then very dark,
and the scattered lamps made the darkness greater when we were once outside their
individual radius. The Professor had evidently noted the road we were to go, for he went
on unhesitatingly, but, as for me, I was in quite a mixup as to locality. As we went
further, we met fewer and fewer people, till at last we were somewhat surprised when
we met even the patrol of horse police going their usual suburban round. At last we
reached the wall of the churchyard, which we climbed over. With some little difficulty, for
it was very dark, and the whole place seemed so strange to us, we found the Westenra
tomb. The Professor took the key, opened the creaky door, and standing back, politely,
but quite unconsciously, motioned me to precede him. There was a delicious irony in
the offer, in the courtliness of giving preference on such a ghastly occasion. My
companion followed me quickly, and cautiously drew the door to, after carefully
ascertaining that the lock was a falling, and not a spring one. In the latter case we
should have been in a bad plight. Then he fumbled in his bag, and taking out a
matchbox and a piece of candle, proceeded to make a light. The tomb in the daytime,
and when wreathed with fresh flowers, had looked grim and gruesome enough, but
now, some days afterwards, when the flowers hung lank and dead, their whites turning
to rust and their greens to browns, when the spider and the beetle had resumed their
accustomed dominance, when the time-discolored stone, and dust-encrusted mortar,
and rusty, dank iron, and tarnished brass, and clouded silver-plating gave back the