Dracula by Bram Stoker: Thoughts on Chapter 10

Reading Time: 2 minutes

DAVID SAUNDERSON continues counting down the days until his Transylvanian holiday by reading Dracula by Bram Stoker. Today, he discusses Chapter 10! 

Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) gives Lucy (Carol Marsh) a blood transfusion with the help of Arthur (Michael Gough) in Hammer's Dracula (1958)
Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) gives Lucy (Carol Marsh) a blood transfusion with the help of Arthur (Michael Gough) in Hammer’s Dracula (1958)

Chapter 10 of Dracula is pretty simple: Van Helsing arrives and gives Lucy a blood transfusion. It works, then it doesn’t – so he does the blood transfusion again.

It is a little more complicated than that – but that’s the crux of Chapter 10 -Van Helsing treats Lucy for her blood loss and it is through this he realises there’s probably something dodgy going on. (I wondered how the blood transfusions didn’t kill Lucy as I thought you had to have the same blood type to share blood. However, I’ve read that in a pinch they will do a transfusion with anyone because the patient are going to die anyway and it’s worth a shot. Maybe Lucy was just lucky or Bram Stoker didn’t know.)

Van Helsing notes a red mark on Lucy’s neck after one of the transfusions. He doesn’t say it, but he has a fair idea of what the mark is. So he puts garlic all over the room and tells everyone to leave it alone. It’s medicinal, he says, but we know the truth.

Van Helsing seems to ramble a lot in this chapter but with the bite marks and the garlic being introduced, it is starting to feel familiar as a vampire story.

What I’ve learned from this chapter:  Apparently, blood transfusions were high tech back in 1897 and were nothing like what we know today. These days giving blood means you sit back in a chair and get a glass of juice and a biscuit afterwards. When Bram Stoker was writing Dracula, it was very bloody and messy. They used a huge needle and it would have been horrific, meaning this chapter when original read in Victorian times woul have been quite traumatic, much so than now.

Favourite Quote: Arthur offers his help to Lucy and says to Van Helsing: “Tell me, and I shall do it. My life is hers’ and I would give the last drop of blood in my body for her.” Van Helsing replies: “My young sir, I do not ask so much as that, not the last!”


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