Dracula

by: Bram Stoker

Chapters XIX–XXI

Summary: Chapter XIX

The men make the journey to Carfax, arming themselves with holy objects for protection. There is no sign of Dracula in the chapel, but there is a terrible stench, and the men find twenty-nine of the original fifty boxes of earth. To the men’s horror, rats begin to fill the chapel. The men use a whistle to summon dogs that chase away the rats. Van Helsing’s spirits are high despite the fact that twenty-one boxes are missing. Upon returning to the asylum, Van Helsing asks to see Renfield again. Hoping to use the lunatic as a source of information, Van Helsing attempts an interview. Renfield curses Van Helsing and refuses to cooperate.

Mina records her mounting anxieties in her diary. One night in the asylum, she wakes up after hearing strange sounds from Renfield’s room and finds that her window is open even though she is certain she closed it. Mina stares out the window at a thin streak of white mist that slowly creeps across the yard toward the asylum, seeming to have a “sentience and a vitality of its own.” Mina sleeps fitfully and wakes to find a “pillar of cloud” in her room. She sees a “livid white face” bending over her, but assumes this figure is merely part of her dream.

Summary: Chapter XX

Harker’s investigations reveal that twelve of the remaining boxes of earth were deposited in two houses in London. He traces the remaining nine boxes to a house in Piccadilly, a London suburb. Harker’s companions worry over how they will manage to break into a house in such a highly populated area.

Seward chronicles rapid changes in Renfield’s behavior. The patient seems to have given up his interest in zoöphagy, but -reiterates his earlier desire, saying, “Life is all I want.” Seward questions Renfield, asking him how he accounts for the souls of the lives he plans to collect. Renfield becomes agitated at the inquiry, claiming that he has enough to worry about without thinking of souls. Seward concludes that his patient dreads the consequences of his life-gathering hobbies, which burden his soul. The following evening, the asylum attendants hear a scream and find Renfield lying in his cell, covered in blood.

Summary: Chapter XXI

Dying, Renfield admits to the other men that Dracula often visited him, promising him flies, spiders, and other living creatures from which to gain strength in return for Renfield’s obedience. Later, when Mina visited him, Renfield noted her paleness and realized that Dracula had been “taking the life out of her.” He grew angry, and when the count slipped into his room that night, Renfield attempted to seize him. The vampire’s eyes “burned” him, and he was flung violently across the room as Dracula slipped away into the asylum.

The four men rush upstairs to the Harkers’ room. Finding it locked, they break down the door on a terrible scene: Jonathan lies unconscious, Mina kneels on the edge of the bed, and the count stands over her as she drinks from a wound on his breast. Dracula turns on the intruders, his eyes flaming with “devilish passion,” but Van Helsing holds up a sacred Communion wafer and the count retreats. The moonlight fades, and the men light a gas lamp. All that is left of the count is a faint vapor escaping under the door. Morris chases it and sees a bat flying away from Carfax. Meanwhile, the men discover that the count has torn apart their study in an attempt to destroy their papers and diaries. Fortunately, they have kept duplicate copies in a safe.


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