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Summary Chapters XXVI–XXVII

Summary: Chapter XXVI

Seward writes a diary entry while on the train from Varna to Galatz. He notes that Mina’s trances reveal less and less, but are still of some value. Mina hears the sound of lapping water, so the band knows that Dracula remains somewhere close to water. The men hope to reach Galatz before the box is unloaded, but they are too late. The captain of the Czarina Catherine informs them that a businessman named Immanuel Hildesheim picked up the box and passed it on to a trader named Petrof Skinsky. Shortly thereafter, Skinsky’s body is found in a graveyard with his throat torn out.

After Mina investigates the possible routes that the count could take to return to his castle, the band splits up and spreads out. Mina and Van Helsing take a train; Holmwood and Harker hire a steamboat; and Seward and Morris travel across the countryside on horseback. Van Helsing hastens toward Dracula’s castle, hoping to purify the place before the count’s arrival.

During their journey up the river, Jonathan and Arthur hear of a large, double-crewed boat ahead of them and decide this vessel must be Dracula’s mode of transport. Seward and Morris rush on with their horses. Meanwhile, Mina records that she and Van Helsing have reached the town of Veresti, where they are forced to take a horse and carriage the rest of the way to the castle. Mina thus travels through the same beautiful country that her husband sees on his journey months before.

Summary: Chapter XXVII

Van Helsing pens a memorandum to Seward, writing that he and Mina have reached the Borgo Pass. As they climb the trail toward the castle, Van Helsing finds that he can no longer hypnotize Mina. That night, fearing for her safety, he encircles her with a ring of crumbled holy Communion wafers. The three female vampires who visit Harker months before reappear. They try to tempt Van Helsing and Mina to come with them and literally frighten the horses to death.

Van Helsing leaves Mina asleep within the circle of holy wafers and proceeds on foot, reaching the castle the next afternoon. He finds the tombs of the three female vampires and is nearly paralyzed by their beauty, but forces himself to perform the rituals necessary to destroy them. Van Helsing then finds a tomb “more lordly than all the rest . . . [and] nobly proportioned.” The tomb is inscribed with Dracula’s name, and the professor cleanses it with the Communion wafers. Finally, he seals the castle doors with wafers to forever deny the count entry.

Mina and Van Helsing leave the castle and travel east, hoping to meet the others. There is a heavy snowfall, and wolves howl all around them. At sunset they see a large cart on the road below them, driven by Gypsies and loaded with a box of earth. From a remote location, Mina and Van Helsing watch Seward, Morris, Harker, and Holmwood close in on the Gypsies. With the sun rapidly sinking, the men intercept the cart, and the Gypsies move to defend their cargo. Harker and Morris muster incredible strength and force their way onto the cart. Harker flings the box to the ground, and Morris is wounded, but together they manage to pry open the lid. Seward and Holmwood aim their rifles at the Gypsies.