placed his elbow on the table, covering his face with his hands as he spoke: -- 'They were made by Miss Lucy!'


CHAPTER XV
DR SEWARD'S DIARY (continued)

For a while sheer anger mastered me; it was as if he had during her life struck Lucy on the face. I smote the table hard and rose up as I said to him: --

'Dr Van Helsing, are you mad?' He raised his head and looked at me, and somehow the tenderness of his face calmed me at once. 'Would I were!' he said. 'Madness were easy to bear compared with truth like this. Oh, my friend, why, think you, did I go so far round; why take so long to tell you so simple a thing? Was it because I hate you and have hated you all my life? Was it because I wished to give you pain? Was it that I wanted, now so late, revenge for that time when you saved my life, and from a fearful death? Ah no!'

'Forgive me,' said I. He went on: --

'My friend, it was because I wished to be gentle in the breaking to you, for I know that you have loved that so sweet lady. But even yet I do not expect you to believe. It is so hard to accept at once any abstract truth, that we may doubt such to be possible when we have always believed the "no" of it; it is more bard still to accept so sad a concrete truth, and of such a one as Miss Lucy. To-night I go to prove it. Dare you come with me?'

This staggered me. A man does not like to prove such a truth; Byron excepted from the category, jealousy.

'And prove the very truth he most abhorred.'*

He saw my hesitation, and spoke: --

'The logic is simple, no madman's logic this time, jumping from tussock to tussock in a misty fog. If it be not true, then proof will be relief; at worst it will not harm. If it be, true! Ah, there is the dread; yet very dread should help my cause, for in it is some need of belief. Come, I tell you what I propose:

-194-

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