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Chapter 25
11 October, Evening.--Jonathan Harker has asked me to note this, as he says he is
hardly equal to the task, and he wants an exact record kept.
I think that none of us were surprised when we were asked to see Mrs. Harker a little
before the time of sunset. We have of late come to understand that sunrise and sunset
are to her times of peculiar freedom. When her old self can be manifest without any
controlling force subduing or restraining her, or inciting her to action. This mood or
condition begins some half hour or more before actual sunrise or sunset, and lasts till
either the sun is high, or whilst the clouds are still aglow with the rays streaming above
the horizon. At first there is a sort of negative condition, as if some tie were loosened,
and then the absolute freedom quickly follows. When, however, the freedom ceases the
change back or relapse comes quickly, preceeded only by a spell of warning silence.
Tonight, when we met, she was somewhat constrained, and bore all the signs of an
internal struggle. I put it down myself to her making a violent effort at the earliest instant
she could do so.
A very few minutes, however, gave her complete control of herself. Then, motioning her
husband to sit beside her on the sofa where she was half reclining, she made the rest of
us bring chairs up close.
Taking her husband's hand in hers, she began, "We are all here together in freedom,
for perhaps the last time! I know that you will always be with me to the end." This was to
her husband whose hand had, as we could see, tightened upon her. "In the morning we
go out upon our task, and God alone knows what may be in store for any of us. You are
going to be so good to me to take me with you. I know that all that brave earnest men
can do for a poor weak woman, whose soul perhaps is lost, no, no, not yet, but is at any
rate at stake, you will do. But you must remember that I am not as you are. There is a
poison in my blood, in my soul, which may destroy me, which must destroy me, unless
some relief comes to us. Oh, my friends, you know as well as I do, that my soul is at
stake. And though I know there is one way out for me, you must not and I must not take
it!" She looked appealingly to us all in turn, beginning and ending with her husband.
"What is that way?" asked Van Helsing in a hoarse voice. "What is that way, which we
must not, may not, take?"
"That I may die now, either by my own hand or that of another, before the greater evil is
entirely wrought. I know, and you know, that were I once dead you could and would set
free my immortal spirit, even as you did my poor Lucy's. Were death, or the fear of
death, the only thing that stood in the way I would not shrink to die here now, amidst the
friends who love me. But death is not all. I cannot believe that to die in such a case,
when there is hope before us and a bitter task to be done, is God's will. Therefore, I on
my part, give up here the certainty of eternal rest, and go out into the dark where may
be the blackest things that the world or the nether world holds!"