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Seward: "[Mina] continued, ‘This is what I can give into the hotchpot.’ I could not but note the quaint legal phrase which she used in such a place, and with all seriousness.”

Seward seems to be a little amused by a woman using this old legal term.

Months earlier, Mina wrote, “I have been working very hard lately, because I want to keep up with Jonathan's studies, and I have been practicing shorthand very assiduously” (May 8). Was she helping Jonathan with his legal studies, as well as studying shorthand?

At this time, there were no female lawyers anywhere in the British Empire. The first woman in the British Empire to become a lawyer was Clara Brett Martin, who was admitted as a barrister and solicitor in Canada on 2 Feb 1897. [1]

In England, it was not until after the _Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919_ became law that women were eligible to become solicitors there. The first female solicitor in England was Carrie Morrison, who was admitted to the legal profession on 18 December 1922; she was one of four women to pass the law exams that year [2]

Of course, long before hotchpot was a legal term, it was a kind of stew. [3]

[1] http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/martin_clara_brett_15E.html
[2] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/40448.stm
[3] 1669 hotchpot recipe, British Food in America: https://www.britishfoodinamerica.com/Our-Recipes/Veal-Recipes/Hotchpot/#.YWPpynrF2hA

Most Significant

Mina: “‘Were death, or the fear of death, the only thing that stood in the way I would not shrink to die here, now, amidst the friends who love me. But death is not all. I cannot believe that to die in such a case, when there is hope before us and a bitter task to be done, is God's will. Therefore, I, on my part, give up here the certainty of eternal rest…’”

This is part of the Dracula story that I have not seen picked up by other writers. The modern trope that fits this scenario is that of the person who has been bitten by a zombie (or believes that they have been), and so may pose a future threat to their companions. (Or has been exposed / may have been exposed to a dangerous, contagious virus…)

Some have claimed that Mina is using reverse psychology: by openly advocating for her own prophylactic murder, she is trying to make it harder for the men to act. She seems entirely sincere to me.

On the other hand, asking the men to read the Burial Service with her can certainly be interpreted as an act of emotional manipulation, raising the stakes (she used the word first!) significantly.

If her goal was to keep the men from getting stake-happy, it seems to have worked: even though Van Helsing had his doubts when just the two of them were encamped together below Castle Dracula, nobody ever admitted to thinking that she needed to be preemptively executed.

Burial service from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, 1762 printing: http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/1662/burial.pdf

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