/Jonathan Harker's Journal./
(_Kept in shorthand._)
_3 May. Bistritz._--Left Munich at 8.35 p.m. on 1st May, arriving atVienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6.46, but train wasan hour late. Buda-Pesth seems a wonderful place, from the glimpsewhich I got of it from the train and the little I could walk throughthe streets. I feared to go very far from the station, as we hadarrived late and would start as near the correct time as possible. Theimpression I had was that we were leaving the West and entering theEast; the most Western of splendid bridges over the Danube, which ishere of noble width and depth, took us among the traditions of Turkishrule.
We left in pretty good time, and came after nightfall to Klausenburgh.Here I stopped for the night at the Hotel Royale. I had for dinner,or rather supper, a chicken done up some way with red pepper, whichwas very good but thirsty. (_Mem._, get recipe for Mina.) I asked thewaiter, and he said it was called "paprika hendl," and that, as itwas a national dish, I should be able to get it anywhere along theCarpathians. I found my smattering of German very useful here; indeed,I don't know how I should be able to get on without it.
Having some time at my disposal when in London, I had visited theBritish Museum, and made search among the books and maps of the libraryregarding Transylvania; it had struck me that some foreknowledge ofthe country could hardly fail to have some importance in dealing witha noble of that country. I find that the district he named is in theextreme east of the country, just on the borders of three states,Transylvania, Moldavia, and Bukovina, in the midst of the Carpathianmountains; one of the wildest and least known portions of Europe. I wasnot able to light on any map or work giving the exact locality of theCastle Dracula, as there are no maps of this country as yet to comparewith our own Ordnance Survey maps; but I found that Bistritz, the posttown named by Count Dracula, is a fairly well-known place. I shallenter here some of my notes, as they may refresh my memory when I talkover my travels with Mina.
In the population of Transylvania there are four distinctnationalities: Saxons in the south, and mixed with them the Wallachs,who are the descendants of the Dacians; Magyars in the west; andSzekelys in the east and north. I am going among the latter, who claimto be descended from Attila and the Huns. This may be so, for when theMagyars conquered the country in the eleventh century they found theHuns settled in it. I read that every known superstition in the worldis gathered into the horseshoe of the Carpathians, as if it were thecentre of some sort of imaginative whirlpool; if so my stay may be veryinteresting. (_Mem._, I must ask the Count all about them.)
I did not sleep well, though my bed was comfortable enough, for I hadall sorts of queer dreams. There was a dog howling all night under mywindow, which may have had something to do with it; or it may havebeen the paprika, for I had to drink up all the water in my carafe,and was still thirsty. Towards morning I slept and was wakened by thecontinuous knocking at my door, so I guess I must have been sleepingsoundly then. I had for breakfast more paprika, and a sort of porridgeof maize flour which they said was "mamaliga," and egg-plant stuffedwith forcemeat, a very excellent dish, which they call "impletata."(_Mem._, get recipe for this also.) I had to hurry breakfast, forthe train started a little before eight, or rather it ought to havedone so, for after rushing to the station at 7.30 I had to sit in thecarriage for more than an hour before we began to move. It seems to methat the further East you go the more unpunctual are the trains. Whatought they to be in China?
All day long we seemed to dawdle through a country which was full ofbeauty of every kind. Sometimes we saw little towns or castles on thetop of steep hills such as we see in old missals; sometimes we ran byrivers and streams which seemed from the wide stony margin on each sideof them to be subject to great floods. It takes a lot of water, andrunning strong, to sweep the outside edge of a river clear. At everystation there were groups of people, sometimes crowds, and in all sortsof attire. Some of them were just like the peasants at home or thoseI saw coming through France and Germany, with short jackets and roundhats and home-made trousers; but others were very picturesque. Thewomen looked pretty, except when you got near them, but they were veryclumsy about the waist. They had all full white sleeves of some kind orother, and most of them had big belts with a lot of strips of somethingfluttering from them like the dresses in a ballet, but of coursepetticoats under them. The strangest figures we saw were the Slovaks,who are more barbarian than the rest, with their big cowboy hats, greatbaggy dirty-white trousers, white linen shirts, and enormous heavyleather belts, nearly a foot wide, all studded over with brass nails.They wore high boots, with their trousers tucked into them, and hadlong black hair and heavy black moustaches. They are very picturesque,but do not look prepossessing. On the stage they would be set down atonce as some old Oriental band of brigands. They are, however, I amtold, very harmless and rather wanting in natural self-assertion.
It was on the dark side of twilight when we got to Bistritz, which isa very interesting old place. Being practically on the frontier--forthe Borgo Pass leads from it into Bukovina--it has had a very stormyexistence, and it certainly shows marks of it. Fifty years ago aseries of great fires took place, which made terrible havoc on fiveseparate occasions. At the very beginning of the seventeenth century itunderwent a siege of three weeks and lost 13,000 people, the casualtiesof war proper being assisted by famine and disease.
Count Dracula had directed me to go to the Golden Krone Hotel, which Ifound, to my delight, to be thoroughly old-fashioned, for of course Iwanted to see all I could of the ways of the country. I was evidentlyexpected, for when I got near the door I faced a cheery-looking elderlywoman in the usual peasant dress--white undergarment with long doubleapron, front and back, of coloured stuff fitting almost too tight formodesty. When I came close she bowed, and said: "The Herr Englishman?""Yes," I said, "Jonathan Harker." She smiled, and gave some messageto an elderly man in white shirt-sleeves, who had followed her to thedoor. He went, but immediately returned with a letter:--
"/My Friend/,--Welcome to the Carpathians. I am anxiously expectingyou. Sleep well to-night. At three to-morrow the diligence will startfor Bukovina; a place on it is kept for you. At the Borgo Pass mycarriage will await you and will bring you to me. I trust that yourjourney from London has been a happy one, and that you will enjoy yourstay in my beautiful land.
"Your friend, "/Dracula./"
_4 May._--I found that my landlord had got a letter from the Count,directing him to secure the best place on the coach for me; but onmaking inquiries as to details he seemed somewhat reticent, andpretended that he could not understand my German. This could not betrue, because up to then he had understood it perfectly; at least, heanswered my questions exactly as if he did. He and his wife, the oldlady who had received me, looked at each other in a frightened sortof way. He mumbled out that the money had been sent in a letter, andthat was all he knew. When I asked him if he knew Count Dracula, andcould tell me anything of his castle, both he and his wife crossedthemselves, and, saying that they knew nothing at all, simply refusedto speak further. It was so near the time of starting that I had notime to ask any one else, for it was all very mysterious and not by anymeans comforting.
Just before I was leaving, the old lady came up to my room and said ina very hysterical way:
"Must you go? Oh! young Herr, must you go?" She was in such an excitedstate that she seemed to have lost her grip of what German she knew,and mixed it all up with some other language which I did not know atall. I was just able to follow her by asking many questions. When Itold her that I must go at once, and that I was engaged on importantbusiness, she asked again:
"Do you know what day it is?" I answered that it was the fourth of May.She shook her head as she said again:
"Oh, yes! I know that, I know that! but do you know what day it is?" Onmy saying that I did not understand, she went on:
"It is the eve of St. George's Day. Do you not know that to-night, whenthe clock strikes mid
night, all the evil things in the world will havefull sway? Do you know where you are going, and what you are goingto?" She was in such evident distress that I tried to comfort her, butwithout effect. Finally she went down on her knees and implored me notto go; at least to wait a day or two before starting. It was all veryridiculous, but I did not feel comfortable. However, there was businessto be done, and I could allow nothing to interfere with it. I thereforetried to raise her up, and said, as gravely as I could, that I thankedher, but my duty was imperative, and that I must go. She then rose anddried her eyes, and taking a crucifix from her neck offered it to me.I did not know what to do, for, as an English Churchman, I have beentaught to regard such things as in some measure idolatrous, and yetit seemed so ungracious to refuse an old lady meaning so well and insuch a state of mind. She saw, I suppose, the doubt in my face, for sheput the rosary round my neck, and said, "For your mother's sake," andwent out of the room. I am writing up this part of the diary whilst Iam waiting for the coach, which is, of course, late; and the crucifixis still round my neck. Whether it is the old lady's fear, or the manyghostly traditions of this place, or the crucifix itself, I do notknow, but I am not feeling nearly as easy in my mind as usual. If thisbook should ever reach Mina before I do, let it bring my good-bye. Herecomes the coach!
_5 May. The Castle._--The grey of the morning has passed, and the sunis high over the distant horizon, which seems jagged, whether withtrees or hills I know not, for it is so far off that big things andlittle are mixed. I am not sleepy, and, as I am not to be called tillI awake, naturally I write till sleep comes. There are many odd thingsto put down, and, lest who reads them may fancy that I dined too wellbefore I left Bistritz, let me put down my dinner exactly. I dined onwhat they call "robber steak"--bits of bacon, onion, and beef, seasonedwith red pepper, and strung on sticks and roasted over the fire, in thesimple style of the London cat's-meat! The wine was Golden Mediasch,which produces a queer sting on the tongue, which is, however, notdisagreeable. I had only a couple of glasses of this, and nothing else.
When I got on the coach the driver had not taken his seat, and Isaw him talking with the landlady. They were evidently talking ofme, for every now and then they looked at me, and some of the peoplewho were sitting on the bench outside the door--which they call by aname meaning "word-bearer"--came and listened, and then they lookedat me, most of them pityingly. I could hear a lot of words oftenrepeated, queer words, for there were many nationalities in thecrowd; so I quietly got my polyglot dictionary from my bag and lookedthem out. I must say they were not cheering to me, for amongst themwere "Ordog"--Satan, "pokol"--hell, "stregoica"--witch, "vrolok" and"vlkoslak"--both of which mean the same thing, one being Slovak andthe other Servian for something that is either were-wolf or vampire.(_Mem._, I must ask the Count about these superstitions.)
When we started, the crowd round the inn door, which had by thistime swelled to a considerable size, all made the sign of the crossand pointed two fingers towards me. With some difficulty I got afellow-passenger to tell me what they meant; he would not answer atfirst, but on learning that I was English, he explained that it was acharm or guard against the evil eye. This was not very pleasant forme, just starting for an unknown place to meet an unknown man; butevery one seemed so kind-hearted, and so sorrowful, and so sympatheticthat I could not but be touched. I shall never forget the last glimpsewhich I had of the inn-yard and its crowd of picturesque figures,all crossing themselves, as they stood round the wide archway, withits background of rich foliage of oleander and orange trees in greentubs clustered in the centre of the yard. Then our driver, whose widelinen drawers covered the whole front of the box-seat--"gotza" theycall them--cracked his big whip over his four small horses, which ranabreast, and we set off on our journey.
I soon lost sight and recollection of ghostly fears in the beauty ofthe scene as we drove along, although had I known the language, orrather languages, which my fellow-passengers were speaking, I mightnot have been able to throw them off so easily. Before us lay a greensloping land full of forests and woods, with here and there steephills, crowned with clumps of trees or with farmhouses, the blank gableend to the road. There was everywhere a bewildering mass of fruitblossom--apple, plum, pear, cherry; and as we drove by I could see thegreen grass under the trees spangled with the fallen petals. In and outamongst these green hills of what they call here the "Mittel Land" ranthe road, losing itself as it swept round the grassy curve, or was shutout by the straggling ends of pine woods, which here and there ran downthe hillsides like tongues of flame. The road was rugged, but still weseemed to fly over it with a feverish haste. I could not understandthen what the haste meant, but the driver was evidently bent on losingno time in reaching Borgo Prund. I was told that this road is insummer-time excellent, but that it had not yet been put in order afterthe winter snows. In this respect it is different from the general runof roads in the Carpathians, for it is an old tradition that they arenot to be kept in too good order. Of old the Hospadars would not repairthem, lest the Turk should think that they were preparing to bringin foreign troops, and so hasten the war which was always really atloading point.
Beyond the green swelling hills of the Mittel Land rose mighty slopesof forest up to the lofty steeps of the Carpathians themselves. Rightand left of us they towered, with the afternoon sun falling upon themand bringing out all the glorious colours of this beautiful range, deepblue and purple in the shadows of the peaks, green and brown wheregrass and rock mingled, and an endless perspective of jagged rock andpointed crags, till these were themselves lost in the distance, wherethe snowy peaks rose grandly. Here and there seemed mighty rifts inthe mountains, through which, as the sun began to sink, we saw now andagain the white gleam of falling water. One of my companions touchedmy arm as we swept round the base of a hill and opened up the lofty,snow-covered peak of a mountain, which seemed, as we wound on ourserpentine way, to be right before us:--
"Look! Isten szek!"--"God's seat!"--and he crossed himself reverently.As we wound on our endless way, and the sun sank lower and lowerbehind us, the shadows of the evening began to creep round us. Thiswas emphasised by the fact that the snowy mountain-top still held thesunset, and seemed to glow out with a delicate cool pink. Here andthere we passed Cszeks and Slovaks, all in picturesque attire, but Inoticed that goitre was painfully prevalent. By the roadside were manycrosses, and as we swept by, my companions all crossed themselves. Hereand there was a peasant man or woman kneeling before a shrine, who didnot even turn round as we approached, but seemed in the self-surrenderof devotion to have neither eyes nor ears for the outer world. Therewere many things new to me: for instance, hay-ricks in the trees andhere and there very beautiful masses of weeping birch, their whitestems shining like silver through the delicate green of the leaves. Nowand again we passed a leiterwagon--the ordinary peasant's cart, withits long, snake-like vertebra, calculated to suit the inequalities ofthe road. On this were sure to be seated quite a group of home-comingpeasants, the Cszeks with their white, and the Slovaks with theircoloured, sheepskins, the latter carrying lance-fashion their longstaves, with axe at end. As the evening fell it began to get very cold,and the growing twilight seemed to merge into one dark mistiness thegloom of the trees, oak, beech, and pine, though in the valleys whichran deep between the spurs of the hills, as we ascended through thePass, the dark firs stood out here and there against the backgroundof late-lying snow. Sometimes, as the road was cut through the pinewoods that seemed in the darkness to be closing down upon us, greatmasses of greyness, which here and there bestrewed the trees, produceda peculiarly weird and solemn effect, which carried on the thoughtsand grim fancies engendered earlier in the evening, when the fallingsunset threw into strange relief the ghost-like clouds which amongstthe Carpathians seem to wind ceaselessly through the valleys. Sometimesthe hills were so steep that, despite our driver's haste, the horsescould only go slowly. I wished to get down and walk up them, as we doat home, but the driver would not hear of it. "No, no," he said; "yo
umust not walk here; the dogs are too fierce!" and then he added, withwhat he evidently meant for grim pleasantry--for he looked round tocatch the approving smile of the rest--"and you may have enough of suchmatters before you go to sleep." The only stop he would make was amoment's pause to light his lamps.
When it grew dark there seemed to be some excitement amongst thepassengers, and they kept speaking to him, one after the other, asthough urging him to further speed. He lashed the horses unmercifullywith his long whip, and with wild cries of encouragement urged them onto further exertions. Then through the darkness I could see a sort ofpatch of grey light ahead of us, as though there were a cleft in thehills. The excitement of the passengers grew greater; the crazy coachrocked on its great leather springs, and swayed like a boat tossed on astormy sea. I had to hold on. The road grew more level, and we appearedto fly along. Then the mountains seemed to come nearer to us on eachside and to frown down upon us; we were entering the Borgo Pass. One byone several of the passengers offered me gifts, which they pressed uponme with earnestness which would take no denial; these were certainly ofan odd and varied kind, but each was given in simple good faith, with akindly word, and a blessing, and that strange mixture of fear-meaningmovements which I had seen outside the hotel at Bistritz--the sign ofthe cross and the guard against the evil eye. Then, as we flew along,the driver leaned forward, and on each side the passengers, craningover the edge of the coach, peered eagerly into the darkness. It wasevident that something very exciting was either happening or expected,but though I asked each passenger, no one would give me the slightestexplanation. This state of excitement kept on for some little time;and at last we saw before us the Pass opening out on the easternside. There were dark, rolling clouds overhead, and in the air theheavy, oppressive sense of thunder. It seemed as though the mountainrange had separated two atmospheres, and that now we had got intothe thunderous one. I was now myself looking out for the conveyancewhich was to take me to the Count. Each moment I expected to see theglare of lamps through the blackness; but all was dark. The only lightwas the flickering rays of our own lamps, in which steam from ourhard-driven horses rose in a white cloud. We could now see the sandyroad lying white before us, but there was on it no sign of a vehicle.The passengers drew back with a sigh of gladness, which seemed to mockmy own disappointment. I was already thinking what I had best do, whenthe driver, looking at his watch, said to the others something whichI could hardly hear, it was spoken so quietly and in so low a tone; Ithought it was, "An hour less than the time." Then, turning to me, hesaid in German worse than my own:--
"There is no carriage here. The Herr is not expected, after all. Hewill now come on to Bukovina, and return to-morrow or the next day;better the next day." Whilst he was speaking the horses began to neighand snort and plunge wildly, so that the driver had to hold them up.Then, amongst a chorus of screams from the peasants and a universalcrossing of themselves, a caleche, with four horses, drove up behindus, overtook us, and drew up beside the coach. I could see from theflash of our lamps, as the rays fell on them, that the horses werecoal-black and splendid animals. They were driven by a tall man, with along brown beard and a great black hat, which seemed to hide his facefrom us. I could only see the gleam of a pair of very bright eyes,which seemed red in the lamplight, as he turned to us. He said to thedriver:--
"You are early to-night, my friend." The man stammered in reply:--
"The English Herr was in a hurry," to which the stranger replied:--
"That is why, I suppose, you wished him to go on to Bukovina. Youcannot deceive me, my friend; I know too much, and my horses areswift." As he spoke he smiled, and the lamplight fell on a hard-lookingmouth, with very red lips and sharp-looking teeth, as white as ivory.One of my companions whispered to another the line from Burger's"Lenore:"--
"Denn die Todten reiten schnell."-- ("For the dead travel fast.")
The strange driver evidently heard the words, for he looked up with agleaming smile. The passenger turned his face away, at the same timeputting out his two fingers and crossing himself. "Give me the Herr'sluggage," said the driver; and with exceeding alacrity my bags werehanded out and put in the caleche. Then I descended from the side ofthe coach, as the caleche was close alongside, the driver helping mewith a hand which caught my arm in a grip of steel; his strength musthave been prodigious. Without a word he shook his reins, the horsesturned, and we swept into the darkness of the Pass. As I looked back Isaw the steam from the horses of the coach by the light of the lamps,and projected against it the figures of my late companions crossingthemselves. Then the driver cracked his whip and called to his horses,and off they swept on their way to Bukovina.
As they sank into the darkness I felt a strange chill, and a lonelyfeeling came over me; but a cloak was thrown over my shoulders, and arug across my knees, and the driver said in excellent German:--
"The night is chill, mein Herr, and my master the Count bade me takeall care of you. There is a flask of slivovitz [the plum brandy of thecountry] underneath the seat, if you should require it." I did not takeany, but it was a comfort to know it was there, all the same. I felt alittle strange, and not a little frightened. I think had there been anyalternative I should have taken it, instead of prosecuting that unknownnight journey. The carriage went at a hard pace straight along, then wemade a complete turn and went along another straight road. It seemedto me that we were simply going over and over the same ground again;and so I took note of some salient point, and found that this was so.I would have liked to have asked the driver what this all meant, butI really feared to do so, for I thought that, placed as I was, anyprotest would have had no effect in case there had been an intentionto delay. By and by, however, as I was curious to know how time waspassing, I struck a match, and by its flame looked at my watch; it waswithin a few minutes of midnight. This gave me a sort of shock, for Isuppose the general superstition about midnight was increased by myrecent experiences. I waited with a sick feeling of suspense.
Then a dog began to howl somewhere in a farmhouse far down the road--along, agonised wailing, as if from fear. The sound was taken up byanother dog, and then another and another, till, borne on the windwhich now sighed softly through the Pass, a wild howling began, whichseemed to come from all over the country, as far as the imaginationcould grasp it through the gloom of the night. At the first howlthe horses began to strain and rear, but the driver spoke to themsoothingly, and they quieted down, but shivered and sweated as thoughafter a runaway from sudden fright. Then, far off in the distance,from the mountains on each side of us began a louder and sharperhowling--that of wolves--which affected both the horses and myself inthe same way--for I was minded to jump from the caleche and run, whilstthey reared again and plunged madly, so that the driver had to useall his great strength to keep them from bolting. In a few minutes,however, my own ears got accustomed to the sound, and the horses so farbecame quiet that the driver was able to descend and to stand beforethem. He petted and soothed them, and whispered something in theirears, as I have heard of horse-tamers doing, and with extraordinaryeffect, for under his caresses they became quite manageable again,though they still trembled. The driver again took his seat, and shakinghis reins, started off at a great pace. This time, after going to thefar side of the Pass, he suddenly turned down a narrow roadway whichran sharply to the right.
Soon we were hemmed in with trees, which in places arched right overthe roadway till we passed as through a tunnel; and again greatfrowning rocks guarded us boldly on either side. Though we were inshelter, we could hear the rising wind, for it moaned and whistledthrough the rocks, and the branches of the trees crashed together aswe swept along. It grew colder and colder still, and fine powdery snowbegan to fall, so that soon we and all around us were covered with awhite blanket. The keen wind still carried the howling of the dogs,though this grew fainter as we went on our way. The baying of thewolves sounded nearer and nearer, as though they were closing round onus from every side. I grew dreadfully afraid, and the
horses shared myfear; but the driver was not in the least disturbed. He kept turninghis head to left and right, but I could not see anything through thedarkness.
Suddenly, away on our left, I saw a faint flickering blue flame. Thedriver saw it at the same moment; he at once checked the horses and,jumping to the ground, disappeared into the darkness. I did not knowwhat to do, the less as the howling of the wolves grew closer; butwhile I wondered the driver suddenly appeared again, and without a wordtook his seat, and we resumed our journey. I think I must have fallenasleep and kept dreaming of the incident, for it seemed to be repeatedendlessly, and now, looking back, it is like a sort of awful nightmare.Once the flame appeared so near the road that even in the darknessaround us I could watch the driver's motions. He went rapidly to wherethe blue flame rose--it must have been very faint, for it did not seemto illumine the place around it at all--and gathering a few stones,formed them into some device. Once there appeared a strange opticaleffect: when he stood between me and the flame he did not obstruct it,for I could see its ghostly flicker all the same. This startled me,but as the effect was only momentary, I took it that my eyes deceivedme straining through the darkness. Then for a time there were no blueflames, and we sped onwards through the gloom, with the howling of thewolves around us, as though they were following in a moving circle.
At last there came a time when the driver went further afield than hehad yet done, and during his absence the horses began to tremble worsethan ever and to snort and scream with fright. I could not see anycause for it, for the howling of the wolves had ceased altogether; butjust then the moon, sailing through the black clouds, appeared behindthe jagged crest of a beetling, pine-clad rock, and by its light I sawaround us a ring of wolves, with white teeth and lolling red tongues,with long, sinewy limbs and shaggy hair. They were a hundred timesmore terrible in the grim silence which held them than even when theyhowled. For myself, I felt a sort of paralysis of fear. It is onlywhen a man feels himself face to face with such horrors that he canunderstand their true import.
All at once the wolves began to howl as though the moonlight had hadsome peculiar effect on them. The horses jumped about and reared, andlooked helplessly round with eyes that rolled in a way painful to see;but the living ring of terror encompassed them on every side, and theyhad perforce to remain within it. I called to the coachman to come, forit seemed to me that our only chance was to try to break out throughthe ring and to aid his approach. I shouted and beat the side of thecaleche, hoping by the noise to scare the wolves from that side, so asto give him a chance of reaching the trap. How he came there, I knownot, but I heard his voice raised in a tone of imperious command, andlooking towards the sound, saw him stand in the roadway. As he swepthis long arms, as though brushing aside some impalpable obstacle, thewolves fell back and back further still. Just then a heavy cloud passedacross the face of the moon, so that we were again in darkness.
When I could see again the driver was climbing into the caleche, andthe wolves had disappeared. This was all so strange and uncanny thata dreadful fear came upon me, and I was afraid to speak or move.The time seemed interminable as we swept on our way, now in almostcomplete darkness, for the rolling clouds obscured the moon. We kept onascending, with occasional periods of quick descent, but in the mainalways ascending. Suddenly I became conscious of the fact that thedriver was in the act of pulling up the horses in the courtyard of avast ruined castle, from whose tall black windows came no ray of light,and whose broken battlements showed a jagged line against the moonlitsky.
/Jonathan Harker's Journal/--_continued._