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“… the white hair and moustache were changed to dark iron–grey; the cheeks were fuller, and the white skin seemed ruby–red underneath; the mouth was redder than ever, for on the lips were gouts of fresh blood...”

It seems—as Van Helsing later points out—that the Count was fasting from the time of Jonathan’s arrival, as his appearance was always that of an old man. However, he has just fed heavily, in preparation for his journey to Varna, and has become younger-looking. For the next six or seven days he will travel to Varna, and presumably will have more opportunities to feed before spending a month at sea. Again, the Count is planning ahead and taking no chances.

Most Significant

The Count's hand-kissing here has bothered me, and I tried to find out more about it with little success. The following passage from Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla seems to shed some light on it.

"'In the next room,' said Millarca, 'there is a window that looks upon the hall door. I should like to see the last of mamma, and to kiss my hand to her.'"

Of course, Carmilla was published in 1872, twenty-five years before Jonathan met the Count, so it is possible that this farewell gesture's significance had changed by then, but it is interesting nonetheless.

Given the context, though, it does seem that Millarca was blowing her departing mother a kiss.

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