"Would none of you like a cup of tea? You must all be so tired!" Wecould only make her happy, and so acquiesced. She bustled off to gettea; when she had gone Van Helsing said:--
"You see, my friends. _He_ is close to land; he has left hisearth-chest. But he has yet to get on shore. In the night he may liehidden somewhere; but if he be not carried on shore, or if the ship donot touch it, he cannot achieve the land. In such case he can, if itbe in the night, change his form and can jump or fly on shore, as hedid at Whitby. But if the day come before he get on shore, then, unlesshe be carried he cannot escape. And if he be carried, then the customsmen may discover what the box contains. Thus, in fine, if he escape noton shore to-night, or before dawn, there will be the whole day lost tohim. We may then arrive in time; for if he escape not at night we shallcome on him in daytime, boxed up and at our mercy; for he dare not behis true self, awake and visible, lest he be discovered."
There was no more to be said, so we waited in patience until the dawn;at which time we might learn more from Mrs. Harker.
Early this morning we listened, with breathless anxiety, for herresponse in her trance. The hypnotic stage was even longer in comingthan before; and when it came the time remaining until full sunrisewas so short that we began to despair. Van Helsing seemed to throw hiswhole soul into the effort; at last, in obedience to his will she madereply:--
"All is dark. I hear lapping water, level with me, and some creaking asof wood on wood." She paused, and the red sun shot up. We must wait tillto-night.
And so it is that we are travelling towards Galatz in an agony ofexpectation. We are due to arrive between two and three in the morning;but already, at Bucharest, we are three hours late, so we cannotpossibly get in till well after sun-up. Thus we shall have two morehypnotic messages from Mrs. Harker; either or both may possibly throwmore light on what is happening.
_Later._--Sunset has come and gone. Fortunately it came at a timewhen there was no distraction; for had it occurred whilst we were at astation, we might not have secured the necessary calm and isolation.Mrs. Harker yielded to the hypnotic influence even less readily thanthis morning. I am in fear that her power of reading the Count'ssensations may die away, just when we want it most. It seems to me thather imagination is beginning to work. Whilst she has been in the trancehitherto she has confined herself to the simplest of facts. If this goeson it may ultimately mislead us. If I thought that the Count's powerover her would die away equally with her power of knowledge it would bea happy thought; but I am afraid that it may not be so. When she didspeak, her words were enigmatical:--
"Something is going out; I can feel it pass me like a cold wind. I canhear, far off, confused sounds--as of men talking in strange tongues,fierce-falling water, and the howling of wolves." She stopped, and ashudder ran through her, increasing in intensity for a few seconds,till, at the end, she shook as though in a palsy. She said no more, evenin answer to the Professor's imperative questioning. When she woke fromthe trance, she was cold, and exhausted, and languid; but her mind wasall alert. She could not remember anything, but asked what she had said;when she was told, she pondered over it deeply for a long time and insilence.
_30 October, 7 a.m._--We are near Galatz now, and I may not have time towrite later. Sunrise this morning was anxiously looked for by us all.Knowing of the increasing difficulty of procuring the hypnotic trance,Van Helsing began his passes earlier than usual. They produced noeffect, however, until the regular time, when she yielded with a stillgreater difficulty, only a minute before the sun rose. The Professorlost no time in his questioning; her answer came with equal quickness:--
"All is dark. I hear the water swirling by, level with my ears, and thecreaking of wood on wood. Cattle low far off. There is another sound, aqueer one like--" she stopped and grew white, and whiter still.
"Go on; Go on! Speak, I command you!" said Van Helsing in an agonizedvoice. At the same time there was despair in his eyes, for the risensun was reddening even Mrs. Harker's pale face. She opened her eyes,and we all started as she said, sweetly and seemingly with the utmostconcern:--
"Oh, Professor, why ask me to do what you know I can't? I don't rememberanything." Then, seeing the look of amazement on our faces, she said,turning from one to the other with a troubled look:--
"What have I said? What have I done? I know nothing, only that I waslying here, half asleep, and I heard you say 'go on! speak, I commandyou!' It seemed so funny to hear you order me about, as if I were a badchild!"
"Oh, Madam Mina," he said sadly, "it is proof, if proof be needed,of how I love and honour you, when a word for your good, spoken moreearnest than ever, can seem so strange because it is to order her whom Iam proud to obey!"
The whistles are sounding; we are nearing Galatz. We are on fire withanxiety and eagerness.
_Mina Harker's Journal._
_30 October._--Mr. Morris took me to the hotel where our rooms had beenordered by telegraph, he being the one who could best be spared, sincehe does not speak any foreign language. The forces were distributedmuch as they had been at Varna, except that Lord Godalming went to theVice-Consul as his rank might serve as an immediate guarantee of somesort to the official, we being in extreme hurry. Jonathan and the twodoctors went to the shipping agent to learn particulars of the arrivalof the _Czarina Catherine_.
_Later._--Lord Godalming has returned. The Consul is away, and theVice-Consul sick; so the routine work has been attended to by a clerk.He was very obliging, and offered to do anything in his power.
_Jonathan Harker's Journal._
_30 October._--At nine o'clock Dr. Van Helsing, Dr. Seward, and Icalled on Messrs Mackenzie & Steinkoff, the agents of the London firmof Hapgood. They had received a wire from London, in answer to LordGodalming's telegraphed request, asking them to show us any civilityin their power. They were more than kind and courteous, and took usat once on board the _Czarina Catherine_, which lay at anchor out inthe river harbour. There we saw the captain, Donelson by name, who toldus of his voyage. He said that in all his life he had never had sofavourable a run.
"Man!" he said, "but it made us afeared, for we expeckit that we shouldhave to pay for it wi' some rare piece o' ill luck, so as to keep up theaverage. It's no canny to run frae London to the Black Sea wi' a windahint ye, as though the Deil himself were blawin' on yer sail for hisain purpose. An' a' the time we could no speer a thing. Gin we were ni
gha ship, or a port, or a headland, a fog fell on us and travelled wi' us,till when after it had lifted and we looked out, the deil a thing couldwe see. We ran by Gibraltar wi'oot bein' able to signal; an' till wecame to the Dardanelles and had to wait to get our permit to pass, wenever were within hail o' aught. At first I inclined to slack off sailand beat about till the fog was lifted; but whiles, I thocht that ifthe Deil was minded to get us into the Black Sea quick, he was like todo it whether we would or no. If we had a quick voyage it would be noto our miscredit wi' the owners, or no hurt to our traffic; an' the OldMon who had served his ain purpose wad be decently grateful to us for nohinderin' him." This mixture of simplicity and cunning, of superstitionand commercial reasoning, aroused Van Helsing, who said:--
"Mine friend, that Devil is more clever than he is thought by some; andhe know when he meet his match!" The skipper was not displeased with thecompliment, and went on:--
"When we got past the Bosphorus the men began to grumble; some o' them,the Roumanians, came and asked me to heave overboard a big box which hadbeen put on board by a queer-lookin' old man just before we had startedfrae London. I had seen them speer at the fellow, and put out their twafingers when they saw him, to guard against the evil eye. Man! but thesupersteetion of foreigners is pairfectly rideeculous! I sent them aboottheir business pretty quick; but as just after a fog closed in on us,I felt a wee bit as they did anent something, though I wouldn't say itwas agin the big box. Well, on we went, and as the fog didn't let upfor five days I joost let the wind carry us; for if the Deil wanted toget somewheres--well, he would fetch it up a'reet. An' if he didn't,well, we'd keep a sharp look out anyhow. Sure enuch, we had a fair wayand deep water all the time; and two days ago, when the mornin' suncame through the fog, we found ourselves just in the river oppositeGalatz. The Roumanians were wild, and wanted me right or wrong to takeout the box and fling it in the river. I had to argy wi' them aboot itwi' a handspike; an' when the last o' them rose off the deck, wi' hishead in his hand, I had convinced them that, evil eye or no evil eye,the property and the trust of my owners were better in my hands than inthe river Danube. They had, mind ye, taken the box on the deck ready tofling in, and as it was marked Galatz _via_ Varna, I thocht I'd let itlie till we discharged in the port an' get rid o't athegither. We didn'tdo much clearin' that day, an' had to remain the nicht at anchor; but inthe mornin', braw an' airly, an hour before sun-up, a man came aboordwi' an order, written to him from England, to receive a box marked forone Count Dracula. Sure enuch the matter was one ready to his hand. Hehad his papers a' reet, an' glad I was to be rid o' the dam' thing, forI was beginnin' masel' to feel uneasy at it. If the Deil did have anyluggage aboord the ship, I'm thinkin' it was nane ither than that same!"
"What was the name of the man who took it?" asked Dr. Van Helsing, withrestrained eagerness.
"I'll be tellin' ye quick!" he answered, and, stepping down to hiscabin, produced a receipt signed "Immanuel Hildesheim." Burgen-strasse16 was the address. We found out that this was all the captain knew; sowith thanks we came away.
We found Hildesheim in his office, a Hebrew of rather the Adelphitype, with a nose like a sheep, and a fez. His arguments were pointedwith specie--we doing the punctuation--and with a little bargaininghe told us what he knew. This turned out to be simple but important.He had received a letter from Mr. de Ville of London, telling him toreceive, if possible before sunrise, so as to avoid customs, a boxwhich would arrive at Galatz in the _Czarina Catherine_. This he was togive in charge to a certain Petrof Skinsky, who dealt with Slovaks whotraded down the river to the port. He had been paid for his work by anEnglish bank note, which had been duly cashed for gold at the DanubeInternational Bank. When Skinsky had come to him, he had taken him tothe ship and handed over the box, so as to save porterage. That was allhe knew.
We then sought for Skinsky, but were unable to find him. One of hisneighbours, who did not seem to bear him any affection, said that he hadgone away two days before, no one knew whither. This was corroboratedby his landlord, who had received by messenger the key of the housetogether with the rent due, in English money. This had been between tenand eleven o'clock last night. We were at a standstill again.
Whilst we were talking, one came running and breathlessly gaspedout that the body of Skinsky had been found inside the wall of thechurchyard of St. Peter, and that the throat had been torn open as ifby some wild animal. Those we had been speaking with ran off to see thehorror, the women crying out, "This is the work of a Slovak!" We hurriedaway lest we should have been in some way drawn into the affair, and sodetained.
As we came home we could arrive at no definite conclusion. We were allconvinced that the box was on its way, by water, to somewhere; but wherethat might be we would have to discover. With heavy hearts we came hometo the hotel to Mina.