common flowers. See, I place them myself in your room. I make myself the wreath that
you are to wear. But hush! No telling to others that make so inquisitive questions. We
must obey, and silence is a part of obedience, and obedience is to bring you strong and
well into loving arms that wait for you. Now sit still a while. Come with me, friend John,
and you shall help me deck the room with my garlic, which is all the war from Haarlem,
where my friend Vanderpool raise herb in his glass houses all the year. I had to
telegraph yesterday, or they would not have been here."
We went into the room, taking the flowers with us. The Professor's actions were
certainly odd and not to be found in any pharmacopeia that I ever heard of. First he
fastened up the windows and latched them securely. Next, taking a handful of the
flowers, he rubbed them all over the sashes, as though to ensure that every whiff of air
that might get in would be laden with the garlic smell. Then with the wisp he rubbed all
over the jamb of the door, above, below, and at each side, and round the fireplace in the
same way. It all seemed grotesque to me, and presently I said, "Well, Professor, I know
you always have a reason for what you do, but this certainly puzzles me. It is well we
have no sceptic here, or he would say that you were working some spell to keep out an
evil spirit."
"Perhaps I am!" He answered quietly as he began to make the wreath which Lucy was
to wear round her neck.
We then waited whilst Lucy made her toilet for the night, and when she was in bed he
came and himself fixed the wreath of garlic round her neck. The last words he said to
her were, "Take care you do not disturb it, and even if the room feel close, do not
tonight open the window or the door."
"I promise," said Lucy. "And thank you both a thousand times for all your kindness to
me! Oh, what have I done to be blessed with such friends?" As we left the house in my
fly, which was waiting, Van Helsing said, "Tonight I can sleep in peace, and sleep I
want, two nights of travel, much reading in the day between, and much anxiety on the
day to follow, and a night to sit up, without to wink. Tomorrow in the morning early you
call for me, and we come together to see our pretty miss, so much more strong for my
`spell' which I have work. Ho, ho!"
He seemed so confident that I, remembering my own confidence two nights before and
with the baneful result, felt awe and vague terror. It must have been my weakness that
made me hesitate to tell it to my friend, but I felt it all the more, like unshed tears.