Dracula

by: Bram Stoker

Van Helsing

No trifling with me! I never jest! There is grim purpose in all I do; and I warn you that you do not thwart me. Take care, for the sake of others if not for your own.

When Van Helsing brings garlic to put in Lucy’s room and around her neck, she feels confused and accuses him of joking with her. He becomes angry at her accusation, and he sternly explains his seriousness, speaking in a manner out of character for how warmly he treats Lucy and Mina at other times. However, he alone knows the grave danger facing Lucy at this point, and he takes the situation very seriously.

The poise of the head strikes one at once as indicative of thought and power; the head is noble, well-sized, broad, and large behind the ears. The face, clean-shaven, shows a hard, square chin, a large, resolute, mobile mouth, a good-sized nose, rather straight, but with quick, sensitive nostrils, that seem to broaden as the big, bushy brows come down and the mouth tightens.

Mina describes Van Helsing after meeting him for the first time. Even before speaking to him, she senses his strength and intelligence just from his appearance, and she notes all of the physical qualities that she believes a brave, trustworthy man should have. She immediately feels safe in his presence, the aspect of security Lucy validated earlier as the point of male companionship.

I have learned not to think little of any one’s belief, no matter how strange it be. I have tried to keep an open mind; and it is not the ordinary things of life that could close it, but the strange things, the extraordinary things, the things that make one doubt if they be mad or sane.

Van Helsing replies to Mina’s warning as she gives him a copy of Jonathan’s journal from his time with Count Dracula. She cautions him that he may find the events described unbelievable or think Jonathan has gone insane. His response to her here shows his openness not only to new technologies but also to what seems like the impossible. His acceptance of dimensions outside the normal allows them to eventually vanquish Count Dracula.

My Lord Godalming, I, too, have a duty to do, a duty to others, a duty to you, a duty to the dead; and, by God, I shall do it!

After Van Helsing asks Lord Godalming if he can cut off the head of Lucy’s corpse, Lord Godalming becomes angry, saying he has a duty to the memory of his dead wife. Here, Van Helsing explains that his duty serves more than just a memory in saving other people who may be Lucy’s next victims. While Van Helsing takes no pleasure in mutilating Lucy’s corpse, he puts this responsibility above all others.

But we are face to face with duty; and in such case must we shrink? For me, I say, no; but then I am old, and life, with his sunshine, his fair places, his song of birds, his music, and his love, lie far behind. You others are young. Some have seen sorrow; but there are fair days yet in store. What say you?

Van Helsing asks the others if they will join him in his mission to destroy Count Dracula. He again appeals to their sense of duty to serve the greater good but acknowledges that he has less to lose than the rest of them. He shows his willingness to sacrifice himself for others as well as his sympathy for those who may not have the courage to do the same.