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“We must sterilise all the imported earth between sunrise and sunset; we shall thus catch the Count at his weakest, and without a refuge to fly to.”

A sound strategy, at last. Quincey Morris, the acknowledged planner amongst the three experienced hunters (Seward, 3 Oct 3) may have been the one to come up with it, rather than Van Helsing. It rests on a very important assumption: Van Helsing is confident that his method of “sterilizing” the boxes of earth with the Host is effective. Unlike his tomb-sealing method, though, he hasn’t actually tested it. He may have become overconfident after his sacred wafer-putty mixture worked for the tomb, or he allowed his Catholic faith to override his scientific training.

Also, belief in transubstantiation (and thus the efficacy of the Host) is a Catholic doctrine. The Church of England rejected it in the Thirty-nine Articles of 1563 (Article 28). Jonathan described himself as an “English churchman” (4 May), and of course Holmwood would be C of E as well, since he belongs to a titled family. Yet they follow Van Helsing’s lead here.

* “The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.” https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/mod/1571-39articles.asp

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