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