Page 4 of Dracula

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But I am not in heart to describe beauty, for when I had seen the viewI explored further; doors, doors, doors everywhere, and all locked andbolted. In no place save from the windows in the castle walls is therean available exit.

The castle is a veritable prison, and I am a prisoner!


/Jonathan Harker's Journal/ (_continued_).

When I found that I was a prisoner a sort of wild feeling came overme. I rushed up and down the stairs, trying every door and peering outof every window I could find; but after a little the conviction of myhelplessness overpowered all other things. When I look back after afew hours I think I must have been mad for the time, for I behaved muchas a rat does in a trap. When, however, the conviction had come to methat I was helpless I sat down quietly--as quietly as I have ever doneanything in my life--and began to think over what was best to be done.I am thinking still, and as yet have come to no definite conclusion. Ofone thing only am I certain: that it is no use making my ideas knownto the Count. He knows well that I am imprisoned; and as he has doneit himself, and has doubtless his own motives for it, he would onlydeceive me if I trusted him fully with the facts. So far as I can see,my only plan will be to keep my knowledge and my fears to myself, andmy eyes open. I am, I know, either being deceived, like a baby, by myown fears, or else I am in desperate straits; and if the latter be so,I need, and shall need, all my brains to get through. I had hardly cometo this conclusion when I heard the great door below shut, and knewthat the Count had returned. He did not come at once into the library,so I went cautiously to my own room and found him making the bed.This was odd, but only confirmed what I had all along thought--thatthere were no servants in the house. When later I saw him through thechink of the hinges of the door laying the table in the dining-room,I was assured of it; for if he does himself all these menial offices,surely it is proof that there is no one else to do them. This gave mea fright, for if there is no one else in the castle, it must have beenthe Count himself who was the driver of the coach that brought me here.This is a terrible thought; for if so, what does it mean that he couldcontrol the wolves, as he did, by only holding up his hand in silence.How was it that all the people at Bistritz and on the coach had someterrible fear for me? What meant the giving of the crucifix, of thegarlic, of the wild rose, of the mountain ash? Bless that good, goodwoman who hung the crucifix round my neck! for it is a comfort and astrength to me whenever I touch it. It is odd that a thing which I havebeen taught to regard with disfavour and as idolatrous should in a timeof loneliness and trouble be of help. Is it that there is something inthe essence of the thing itself, or that it is a medium, a tangiblehelp, in conveying memories of sympathy and comfort? Some time, if itmay be, I must examine this matter and try to make up my mind aboutit. In the meantime I must find out all I can about Count Dracula, asit may help me to understand. To-night he may talk of himself, if Iturn the conversation that way. I must be very careful, however, not toawake his suspicion.

_Midnight._--I have had a long talk with the Count. I asked him a fewquestions on Transylvanian history, and he warmed up to the subjectwonderfully. In his speaking of things and people, and especiallyof battles, he spoke as if he had been present at them all. This heafterwards explained by saying that to a _boyar_ the pride of his houseand name is his own pride, that their glory is his glory, that theirfate is his fate. Whenever he spoke of his house he always said "we,"and spoke almost in the plural, like a king speaking. I wish I couldput down all he said exactly as he said it, for to me it was mostfascinating. It seemed to have in it a whole history of the country. Hegrew excited as he spoke, and walked about the room pulling his greatwhite moustache and grasping anything on which he laid his hands asthough he would crush it by main strength. One thing he said which Ishall put down as nearly as I can; for it tells in its way the story ofhis race:--

"We Szekelys have a right to be proud, for in our veins flows the bloodof many brave races who fought as the lion fights, for lordship. Here,in the whirlpool of European races, the Ugric tribe bore down fromIceland the fighting spirit which Thor and Wodin gave them, which theirBerserkers displayed to such fell intent on the seaboards of Europe,ay, and of Asia and Africa, too, till the peoples thought that thewere-wolves themselves had come. Here, too, when they came, they foundthe Huns, whose warlike fury had swept the earth like a living flame,till the dying peoples held that in their veins ran the blood of thoseold witches, who, expelled from Scythia, had mated with the devils inthe desert. Fools, fools! What devil or what witch was ever so greatas Attila, whose blood is in these veins?" He held up his arms. "Isit a wonder that we were a conquering race; that we were proud; thatwhen the Magyar, the Lombard, the Avar, the Bulgar, or the Turk pouredhis thousands on our frontiers, we drove them back? Is it strange thatwhen Arpad and his legions swept through the Hungarian fatherland hefound us here when he reached the frontier; that the Honfoglalas wascompleted there? And when the Hungarian flood swept eastward, theSzekelys were claimed as kindred by the victorious Magyars, and to usfor centuries was trusted the guarding of the frontier of Turkey-land;ay, and more than that, endless duty of the frontier guard, for, asthe Turks say, 'water sleeps, and enemy is sleepless.' Who more gladlythan we throughout the Four Nations received the 'bloody sword,' or atits warlike call flocked quicker to the standard of the King? When wasredeemed that great shame of my nation, the shame of Cassova, when theflags of the Wallach and the Magyar went down beneath the Crescent;who was it but one of my own race who as Voivode crossed the Danubeand beat the Turk on his own ground? This was a Dracula indeed! Woewas it that his own unworthy brother, when he had fallen, sold hispeople to the Turk and brought the shame of slavery on them! Was itnot this Dracula, indeed, who inspired that other of his race who ina later age again and again brought his forces over the great riverinto Turkey-land; who, when he was beaten back, came again, and again,and again, though he had to come alone from the bloody field wherehis troops were being slaughtered, since he knew that he alone couldultimately triumph? They said that he thought only of himself. Bah!what good are peasants without a leader? Where ends the war withouta brain and heart to conduct it? Again, when, after the battle ofMohacs, we threw off the Hungarian yoke, we of the Dracula blood wereamongst their leaders, for our spirit would not brook that we were notfree. Ah, young sir, the Szekelys--and the Dracula as their heart'sblood, their brains, and their swords--can boast a record that mushroomgrowths like the Hapsburgs and the Romanoffs can never reach. Thewarlike days are over. Blood is too precious a thing in these days ofdishonourable peace; and the glories of the great races are as a talethat is told."

It was by this time close on morning, and we went to bed. (_Mem._ thisdiary seems horribly like the beginning of the "Arabian Nights," foreverything has to break off at cock-crow--or like the ghost of Hamlet'sfather.)

_12 May._--Let me begin with facts--bare, meagre facts, verifiedby books and figures, and of which there can be no doubt. I mustnot confuse them with experiences which will have to rest on my ownobservation or my memory of them. Last evening when the Count came fromhis room he began by asking me questions on legal matters and on thedoing of certain kinds of business. I had spent the day wearily overbooks, and, simply to keep my mind occupied, went over some of thematters I had been examined in at Lincoln's Inn. There was a certainmethod in the Count's inquires, so I shall try to put them down insequence; the knowledge may somehow or some time be useful to me.

First, he asked if a man in England might have two solicitors, or more.I told him he might have a dozen if he wished, but that it would notbe wise to have more than one solicitor engaged in one transaction, asonly one could act at a time, and that to change would be certain tomilitate against his interest. He seemed thoroughly to understand, andwent on to ask if there would be any practical difficulty in having oneman to attend, say, to banking, and another to look after shipping, incase local help were needed in a place far from the home of the bankingsolicitor. I asked him to explain more fully, so that I might not byany chance mislead him, so he said:--

"I shall illustrate. Your friend and mine, Mr. Peter Hawkins, fromunder the shadow of your beautiful cathedral at Exeter, which is farfrom London, buys for me through your good self my place at London.Good! Now here let me say frankly, lest you should

think it strangethat I have sought the services of one so far off from London insteadof some one resident there, that my motive was that no local interestmight be served save my wish only; and as one of London resident might,perhaps, have some purpose of himself or friend to serve I went thusafield to seek my agent, whose labours should be only to my interest.Now, suppose I, who have much of affairs, wish to ship goods, say, toNewcastle, or Durham, or Harwich, or Dover, might it not be that itcould with more ease be done by consigning to one in these ports?" Ianswered that certainly it would be most easy, but that we solicitorshad a system of agency one for the other, so that local work could bedone locally on instruction from any solicitor, so that the client,simply placing himself in the hands of one man, could have his wishescarried out by him without further trouble.

"But," said he, "I could be at liberty to direct myself. Is it not so?"

"Of course," I replied; "and such is often done by men of business, whodo not like the whole of their affairs to be known by any one person."

"Good!" he said, and then went on to ask about the means of makingconsignments and the forms to be gone through, and of all sorts ofdifficulties which might arise, but by forethought could be guardedagainst. I explained all these things to him to the best of my ability,and he certainly left me under the impression that he would have madea wonderful solicitor, for there was nothing that he did not think ofor foresee. For a man who was never in the country, and who did notevidently do much in the way of business, his knowledge and acumenwere wonderful. When he had satisfied himself on these points of whichhe had spoken, and I had verified all as well as I could by the booksavailable, he suddenly stood up and said:--

"Have you written since your first letter to our friend Mr. PeterHawkins, or to any other?" It was with some bitterness in my heart thatI answered that I had not, that as yet I had not seen any opportunityof sending letters to anybody.

"Then write now, my young friend," he said, laying a heavy hand on myshoulder; "write to our friend and to any other; and say, if it willplease you, that you shall stay with me until a month from now."

"Do you wish me to stay so long?" I asked, for my heart grew cold atthe thought.

"I desire it much; nay, I will take no refusal. When your master,employer, what you will, engaged that some one should come on hisbehalf, it was understood that my needs only were to be consulted. Ihave not stinted. Is it not so?"

What could I do but bow acceptance? It was Mr. Hawkins's interest, notmine, and I had to think of him, not myself; and besides, while CountDracula was speaking, there was that in his eyes and in his bearingwhich made me remember that I was a prisoner, and that if I wished itI could have no choice. The Count saw his victory in my bow, and hismastery in the trouble of my face, for he began at once to use them,but in his own smooth, resistless way:--

"I pray you, my good young friend, that you will not discourse ofthings other than business in your letters. It will doubtless pleaseyour friends to know that you are well, and that you look forward togetting home to them. Is it not so?" As he spoke he handed me threesheets of notepaper and three envelopes. They were all of the thinnestforeign post, and looking at them, then at him, and noticing his quietsmile, with the sharp, canine teeth lying over the red under-lip, Iunderstood as well as if he had spoken that I should be careful what Iwrote, for he would be able to read it. So I determined to write onlyformal notes now, but to write fully to Mr. Hawkins in secret, and alsoto Mina, for to her I could write in shorthand, which would puzzlethe Count, if he did see it. When I had written my two letters I satquiet, reading a book whilst the Count wrote several notes, referringas he wrote them to some books on his table. Then he took up my twoand placed them with his own, and put by his writing materials, afterwhich, the instant the door had closed behind him, I leaned over andlooked at the letters, which were face down on the table. I felt nocompunction in doing so, for under the circumstances I felt that Ishould protect myself in every way I could.

One of the letters was directed to Samuel F. Billington, No. 7, TheCrescent, Whitby; another to Herr Leutner, Varna; the third was toCoutts & Co., London, and the fourth to Herren Klopstock & Billreuth,bankers, Buda-Pesth. The second and fourth were unsealed. I was justabout to look at them when I saw the door-handle move. I sank back inmy seat, having just had time to replace the letters as they had beenand to resume my book before the Count, holding still another letterin his hand, entered the room. He took up the letters on the table andstamped them carefully, and then, turning to me, said:--

"I trust you will forgive me, but I have much work to do in privatethis evening. You will, I hope, find all things as you wish." At thedoor he turned, and after a moment's pause said:--

"Let me advise you, my dear young friend--nay, let me warn you withall seriousness, that should you leave these rooms you will not by anychance go to sleep in any other part of the castle. It is old, and hasmany memories, and there are bad dreams for those who sleep unwisely.Be warned! Should sleep now or ever overcome you, or be like to do,then haste to your own chamber or to these rooms, for your rest willthen be safe. But if you be not careful in this respect, then"----Hefinished his speech in a gruesome way, for he motioned with his handsas if he were washing them. I quite understood; my only doubt was as towhether any dream could be more terrible than the unnatural, horriblenet of gloom and mystery which seemed closing round me.

_Later._--I endorse the last words written, but this time there is nodoubt in question. I shall not fear to sleep in any place where he isnot. I have placed the crucifix over the head of my bed--I imagine thatmy rest is thus freer from dreams; and there it shall remain.

When he left me I went to my room. After a little while, not hearingany sound, I came out and went up the stone stair to where I could lookout towards the south. There was some sense of freedom in the vastexpanse, inaccessible though it was to me, as compared with the narrowdarkness of the courtyard. Looking out on this, I felt that I wasindeed in prison, and I seemed to want a breath of fresh air, thoughit were of the night. I am beginning to feel this nocturnal existencetell on me. It is destroying my nerve. I start at my own shadow, andam full of all sorts of horrible imaginings. God knows that there isground for any terrible fear in this accursed place! I looked out overthe beautiful expanse, bathed in soft yellow moonlight till it wasalmost as light as day. In the soft light the distant hills becamemelted, and the shadows in the valleys and gorges of velvety blackness.The mere beauty seemed to cheer me; there was peace and comfort inevery breath I drew. As I leaned from the window my eye was caught bysomething moving a storey below me, and somewhat to my left, where Iimagined, from the lie of the rooms, that the windows of the Count'sown room would look out. The window at which I stood was tall and deep,stone-mullioned, and though weather-worn, was still complete; but itwas evidently many a day since the case had been there. I drew backbehind the stonework, and looked carefully out.

What I saw was the Count's head coming out from the window. I did notsee the face, but I knew the man by the neck and the movement of hisback and arms. In any case, I could not mistake the hands which I hadhad so many opportunities of studying. I was at first interested andsomewhat amused, for it is wonderful how small a matter will interestand amuse a man when he is a prisoner. But my very feelings changedto repulsion and terror when I saw the whole man slowly emerge fromthe window and begin to crawl down the castle wall over that dreadfulabyss, _face down_, with his cloak spreading out around him likegreat wings. At first I could not believe my eyes. I thought it wassome trick of the moonlight, some weird effect of shadow; but I keptlooking, and it could be no delusion. I saw the fingers and toes graspthe corners of the stones, worn clear of the mortar by the stress ofyears, and by thus using every projection and inequality move downwardswith considerable speed, just as a lizard moves along a wall.

What manner of man is this, or what manner of creature is it in thesemblance of man? I feel the dread of this horrible place overpoweringme; I am in fear--in awful fear--an

d there is no escape for me; I amencompassed about with terrors that I dare not think of....

_15 May._--Once more have I seen the Count go out in his lizardfashion. He moved downwards in a sidelong way, some hundred feet down,and a good deal to the left. He vanished into some hole or window. Whenhis head had disappeared I leaned out to try and see more, but withoutavail--the distance was too great to allow a proper angle of sight. Iknew he had left the castle now, and thought to use the opportunityto explore more than I had dared to do as yet. I went back to theroom, and taking a lamp, tried all the doors. They were all lockedas I had expected, and the locks were comparatively new; but I wentdown the stone stairs to the hall where I had entered originally. Ifound I could pull back the bolts easily enough and unhook the greatchains; but the door was locked, and the key was gone! That key mustbe in the Count's room; I must watch should his door be unlocked, sothat I may get it and escape. I went on to make a thorough examinationof the various stairs and passages, and to try the doors that openedfrom them. One or two small rooms near the hall were open, but therewas nothing to see in them except old furniture, dusty with age andmoth-eaten. At last, however, I found one door at the top of a stairwaywhich, though it seemed to be locked, gave a little under pressure.I tried it harder, and found that it was not really locked, but thatthe resistance came from the fact that the hinges had fallen somewhat,and the heavy door rested on the floor. Here was an opportunity whichI might not have again, so I exerted myself, and with many effortsforced it back so that I could enter. I was now in a wing of the castlefurther to the right than the rooms I knew and a story lower down. Fromthe windows I could see that the suite of rooms lay along to the southof the castle, the windows of the end room looking out both west andsouth. On the latter side, as well as to the former, there was a greatprecipice. The castle was built on the corner of a great rock, so thaton three sides it was quite impregnable, and great windows were placedhere where sling, or bow, or culverin could not reach, and consequentlylight and comfort, impossible to a position which had to be guarded,were secured. To the west was a great valley, and then, rising faraway, great jagged mountain fastnesses, rising peak on peak, the sheerrock studded with mountain ash and thorn, whose roots clung in cracksand crevices and crannies of the stone. This was evidently the portionof the castle occupied in bygone days, for the furniture had more airof comfort than any I had seen. The windows were curtainless, and theyellow moonlight, flooding in through the diamond panes, enabled one tosee even colours, whilst it softened the wealth of dust which lay overall and disguised in some measure the ravages of time and the moth. Mylamp seemed to be of little effect in the brilliant moonlight, but Iwas glad to have it with me, for there was a dread loneliness in theplace which chilled my heart and made my nerves tremble. Still, it wasbetter than living alone in the rooms which I had come to hate from thepresence of the Count, and after trying a little to school my nerves, Ifound a soft quietude come over me. Here I am, sitting at a little oaktable where in old times possibly some fair lady sat to pen, with muchthought and many blushes, her ill-spelt love-letter, and writing in mydiary in shorthand all that has happened since I closed it last. Itis nineteenth century up-to-date with a vengeance. And yet, unless mysenses deceive me, the old centuries had, and have powers of their ownwhich mere "modernity" cannot kill.

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