It seems as though most everyone (at least those commenting) has been annoyed with Van Helsing to some degree. Indeed, some have admitting to wanting to pitch the book across the room at times (see the discussion in the comments over at Infinite Detox).
Then we came to a short passage in Chapter 22 that made my jaw drop.
It may be that you may have to bear that mark till God himself see fit, as He most surely shall on the Judgment Day to redress all wrongs of the earth and of His children that He has placed thereon. An oh, Madam Mina, my dear, my dear, may we who love you be there to see, when that red scar, the sign of God’s knowledge of what has been, shall pass away and leave your forehead as pure as the heart we know. For so surely as we live, that scar shall pass away when God sees right to lift the burden that is hard upon us. Till then we bear our Cross, as His Son did in obedience to His will. It may be that we are chosen instruments of His good pleasure, and that we ascend to His bidding as that other through stripes and shame; through tears and blood; through doubts and fears, and all that makes the difference between God and man.
Is this the same Van Helsing who has been torturing us with his syntax? One of the problems with him that I’m having is that it’s so varied. We have him nearly incomprehensible and then when he’s being Biblical he is spot on; with a pretty good range in between. At times he reminds me of Marathe in Infinite Jest and at other times all I can picture is David Suchet as Hercule Poirot. Sometimes it makes me laugh and I understand what he’s saying and at others it’s just ridiculous. Add to that the fact, that some others have pointed out, that if he’s Dutch, why does he exclaim in German?
Then we have the priceless moment very near to the end of Chapter 23 when Jonathan Harker is relating what Van Helsing thinks of their rushing off to find the ship that Dracula is on
We have been blind somewhat; blind after the manner of men, since when we can look back we see what we might have seen looking forward if we had been able to see what we might have seen! Alas! but that sentence is a puddle; is it not?
It’s a puddle (puzzle) alright. Is this a silly aside? One of Van Helsing’s little jests? Or is it a sneaky comment by Stoker about Van Helsing.
So here’s a crazy thought – he’s faking it. It could serve as a form of personal defense – the bumbling foreigner who has trouble with English and seems able to laugh about it. It disarms and charms. That would fit with what we know of him so far, which is pretty much nil – why exactly does he have all this vampire knowledge; why has he been so secretive; etc.
Now, what do you think?