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noticed in the night. Her breathing grew stertorous, the mouth opened, and the pale gums, drawn back, made the teeth look longer and sharper than ever. In a sort of sleep-waking, vague, unconscious way she opened her eyes, which were now dull and hard at once, and said in a soft, voluptuous voice, such as I had never heard from her lips:"Arthur! Oh, my love, I am so glad you have come! Kiss me!" Arthur bent eagerly over to kiss her; but at that instant Van Helsing, who, like me, had been startled by her voice, swooped upon him, and catching him by the neck with both hands, dragged him back with a fury of strength which I never thought he could have possessed, and actually hurled him almost across the room.
"Not for your life!" he said; "not for your living soul and hers!" And he stood between them like a lion at bay.
Arthur was so taken aback that he did not for a moment know what to do or say; and before any impulse of violence, could seize him he realised the place and the occasion, and stood silent, waiting.
I kept my eyes fixed on Lucy, as did Van Helsing, and we saw a spasm as of rage flit like a shadow over her face; the sharp teeth champed together. Then her eyes closed, and she breathed heavily.
Very shortly after she opened her eyes in all their softness, and putting out her poor, pale, thin hand, took Van Helsing’s great brown one; drawing it to her, she
kissed it "My true friend," she said, in a faint voice, but with untellable pathos, "My true friend, and his! Oh, guard him, and give me peace!"
"I swear it!" said he solemnly, kneeling beside her and holding up his hand, as one who registers an oath. Then he turned to Arthur, and said to him: "Come, my child, take her hand in yours, and kiss her on the forehead, and only once."
Their eyes met instead of their lips; and so they parted.
Lucy’s eyes closed; and Van Helsing, who had been watching closely, took Arthur’s arm, and drew him away.
And then Lucy’s breathing became stertorous again, and all at once it ceased.
"It is all over," said Van Helsing. "She is dead!"
I took Arthur by the arm, and led him away to the drawing-room,