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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 coffin?"
"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 recoiled.
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