Page 103. " heard some good music by Spohr and Mackenzie "

 Louis Spohr (1784-1859) and Alexander Campbell Mackenzie (1847-1935) were both popular Victorian composers.



Page 111. " The real God taketh heed lest a sparrow fall "
by hector

A reference to the biblical passage:

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Matthew 10:29-31

Page 112. " If I don’t sleep at once, chloral, the modern Morpheus "

 Chloral hydrate is a hypnotic drug that was used in the 19th and 20th centuries to induce sleep.  It was also used recreationally, despite a variety of adverse effects ranging from rashes to cardiac failure.

In Greek mythology, Morpheus is the god of dreams.


Public DomainMorpheus - Credit: Jean-Bernard Restout

Page 113. " He thinks of the loaves and fishes even when he believes he is in a Real Presence "
Christ feeding the multitude (Coptic icon)
Public DomainChrist feeding the multitude (Coptic icon) - Credit: wikimedia commons

This is a reference to a miracle of the New Testament when Jesus fed a crowd of five thousand with only five loaves of bread and two fish. The entire crowd was fed satisfactorily, with food left over.


By ‘Real Presence’ Dr. Seward means God, thinking that Renfield is having some form of religious experience.

Page 113. " Jack Sheppard himself couldn’t get free "
Jack Sheppard in prison before his fourth escape attempt
Public DomainJack Sheppard in prison before his fourth escape attempt - Credit: wikimedia commons

 Jack Sheppard was a notorious English thief of the early 18th century, famous for his four daring escapes from prison. He was popular with the poorer classes for his clever escapes, mockery of the police, non-violent methods and witty, genial attitude. His story inspired many Victorian artists and writers, and was even adapted for the stage.

Page 116. " and sealed it over the knot with sealing-wax "
Sealed Letter, Seal and Wax
GNU Free Documentation LicenseSealed Letter, Seal and Wax - Credit: Peng/Wikimedia Commons

At this time wax was used to seal letters and important documents, with a personal or identifying symbol or initials (seal) stamped into the wax to signify who had sealed it. This would also provide proof that an important letter was not a forgery.


To open the letter or document the wax would have to be broken, indicating that it had been read. Signet rings were often used to stamp a symbol or person’s initials into the wax seal. Here, Mina uses her wedding ring instead, symbolising the trust she and her husband have built.

Page 117. " I have an appetite like a cormorant "
A cormorant dries its wings
GNU Free Documentation LicenseA cormorant dries its wings - Credit: Sławomir Staszczuk/Wikimedia Commons
 Cormorants are medium to large sea-birds with dark plumage and hooked bills. They are voracious fish-eaters (up to 1 ½ pounds of fish a day!) that dive for their prey. Cormorants are widespread around the coasts and some inland lakes of Britain, and Lucy will have seen many of these birds at Whitby. Today cormorants can even be seen at lakes and rivers in and around London, with a nesting ground at Walthamstow reservoirs.
Page 118. " The unexpected always happens "
Benjamin Disraeli
Public DomainBenjamin Disraeli - Credit: wikimedia commons

This quote comes from Benjamin Disraeli’s romantic novel Endymion (1880), Book II, Chapter 4:

What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expect generally happens.



Page 122. " my old friend and master, Professor Van Helsing, of Amsterdam "

The character of Van Helsing has inspired many other fictional vampire hunters, and he sometimes pops up in person in other stories. When he does appear elsewhere, he is often portrayed much more as an action hero, and considerably younger, fitter and more attractive than in Dracula. Other fictional vampire slayers range from those chosen by fate, possessing their own unnatural strength and reactions, to ordinary humans dedicated to destroying evil.


The 2004 film Van Helsing re-imagines Helsing as a kind of holy-soldier, sent by the Vatican to eradicate monsters and evil forces. In it, Helsing encounters Frankenstein’s monster, werewolves, and Dracula and his brides, combining several staples of gothic horror fiction. Hellsing, a manga series, involves a modern-day descendant of Van Helsing, Integra Hellsing, who leads an organisation dedicated to removing supernatural threats. Demons (2009), a short-lived British series, also follows the adventures of a modern-day descendent of Helsing. The TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) involves a teenage girl fated to be ‘The Slayer’, a group of friends dedicated to helping her destroy evil, and ‘watchers’ who provide training and information related to hunting monsters. Dracula makes a brief appearance in one episode, but no mention is made of Van Helsing.





More information on Van Helsing and his influence on modern monster fiction.


Page 123. " rooms for me at the Great Eastern Hotel "
by hector
Great Eastern Hotel
Creative Commons AttributionGreat Eastern Hotel - Credit: Herry Lawford

Until the mid-19th century, hotels in London were mostly small, modest affairs.  The arrival of the railways led to many more short-term visitors to the capital, and so it is perhaps unsurprising that some of the first big hotels in London were sited beside the new railway stations.  Indeed, they were built by the railway companies themselves, and because they were seen as status symbols reflecting the comparative success of those companies they were generally very grand.

The redbrick Great Eastern Hotel was built at Liverpool Street station in 1884.  It is now the Andaz Liverpool Street, a member of the Hyatt group.


Google Map
Page 124. " remarked that the smuts in London were not quite so bad as they used to be "
by hector

Parliament, Effect of Fog (1904)
Public DomainParliament, Effect of Fog (1904) - Credit: Claude Monet
Air pollution in nineteenth century London, resulting from hundreds of thousands of domestic coal fires, was so bad that health, visibility, buildings and washing lines all suffered.  In Bleak House (1853), Charles Dickens wrote, "Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snow-flakes — gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun."  The word smog (combining smoke and fog) was not coined until the end of the nineteenth century, but the reality of the phenomenon was inescapable for Victorian Londoners.

A really bad nineteenth century fog appeared early in the morning as a thick white mist, like the country fog, only dirtier. With the lighting of the fires it would soon become yellow and pungent, irritating the throat and eyes, till midday the continued outpouring of chimney products would have turned the fog a sooty brownish black causing the darkness of night. -- L.C.W. Bonacina

The problem of "pea soupers" continued into the twentieth century, culminating in the Great Smog of 1952, which may have caused as many as 12,000 fatalities due to respiratory problems.  The Clean Air Act 1956, which banned coal fires in many cities and relocated power stations away from urban areas, finally brought an end to serious smog in London.