| Quote #4
[The servants] lay helpless on the floor, breathing heavily. The decanter of sherry was on the table half full, but there was a queer, acrid smell about. I was suspicious, and examined the decanter. It smelt of laudanum, and looking on the sideboard, I found that the bottle which mother's doctor uses for her – oh! did use – was empty. (11.64)
You know, things like this are bound to happen if you leave laudanum (a mixture of opium and alcohol) lying around the house. Laudanum was as common as aspirin in the nineteenth century. It was used to treat everything from nerves to stomach pain to headaches to insomnia. You could buy it at the corner drug store.
| Quote #5
There was no need to think them dead, for their stertorous breathing and the acrid smell of laudanum in the room left no doubt as to their condition. (12.6)
Dr. Seward and Van Helsing, as doctors, recognize the smell of laudanum immediately.
| Quote #6
[…] I asked Dr Seward to give me a little opiate of some kind, as I had not slept well the night before. He very kindly made me up a sleeping draught, which he gave to me, telling me that it would do me no harm, as it was very mild. (19.40)
Even Mina – virtuous, innocent Mina – asks to take some kind of opiate when she has trouble sleeping.