When we met together, the first thing was to consult as to taking Minaagain into our confidence. Things are getting desperate, and it is atleast a chance, though a hazardous one. As a preliminary step, I wasreleased from my promise to her.
_Mina Harker's Journal._
_30 October, evening._--They were so tired and worn-out and dispiritedthat there was nothing to be done till they had some rest; so I askedthem all to lie down for half an hour whilst I should enter everythingup to the moment. I feel so grateful to the man who invented the"Traveller's" typewriter, and to Mr. Morris for getting this one for me.I should have felt quite astray doing the work if I had to write with apen....
It is all done; poor dear, dear Jonathan, what he must have suffered,what must he be suffering now. He lies on the sofa hardly seeming tobreathe, and his whole body appears in collapse. His brows are knit;his face is drawn with pain. Poor fellow, maybe he is thinking, and Ican see his face all wrinkled up with the concentration of his thoughts.Oh! if I could only help at all.... I shall do what I can....
I have asked Dr. Van Helsing, and he has got me all the papers thatI have not yet seen.... Whilst they are resting, I shall go over allcarefully, and perhaps I may arrive at some conclusion. I shall try tofollow the Professor's example, and think without prejudice on the factsbefore me....
I do believe that under God's Providence I have made a discovery. Ishall get the maps and look over them....
I am more than ever sure that I am right. My new conclusion is ready,so I shall get our party together and read it. They can judge it; it iswell to be accurate, and every minute is precious.
_Mina Harker's Memorandum._
(Entered in her Journal.)
_Ground of inquiry._--Count Dracula's problem is to get back to his ownplace.
(_a_) He must be _brought back_ by some one. This is evident; for, hadhe power to move himself as he wished he could go either as man, orwolf, or bat, or in some other way. He evidently fears discovery orinterference, in the state of helplessness in which he must be--confinedas he is between dawn and sunset in his wooden box.
(_b_) _How is he to be taken?_--Here a process of exclusion may help us.By road, by rail, by water?
1. _By Road._--There are endless difficulties, especially in leaving acity.
(_x_) There are people; and people are curious, and investigate. A hint,a surmise, a doubt as to what might be in the box, would destroy him.
(_y_) There are, or there might be, customs and octroi officers to pass.
(_z_) His pursuers might follow. This is his greatest fear; and in orderto prevent his being betrayed he has repelled, so far as he can, evenhis victim--me!
2. _By Rail._--There is no one in charge of the box. It would have totake its chance of being delayed; and delay would be fatal, with enemieson the track. True, he might escape at night; but where would he be, ifleft in a strange place with no refuge that he could fly to? This is notwhat he intends; and he does not mean to risk it.
3. _By Water._--Here is the safest way, in one respect, but with mostdanger in another. On the water he is powerless except at night; eventhen he can only summon fog and storm and snow and his wolves. But werehe wrecked
, the living water would engulf him, helpless; and he wouldindeed be lost. He could have the vessel drive to land; but if it wereunfriendly land, wherein he was not free to move, his position wouldstill be desperate.
We know from the record that he was on the water; so what we have to dois to ascertain _what_ water.
The first thing is to realise exactly what he has done as yet; we may,then, get a light on what his later task is to be.
_Firstly._--We must differentiate between what he did in London as partof his general plan of action, when he was pressed for moments and hadto arrange as best he could.
_Secondly_ we must see, as well as we can surmise it from the facts weknow of, what he has done here.
As to the first, he evidently intended to arrive at Galatz, and sentinvoice to Varna to deceive us lest we should ascertain his means ofexit from England; his immediate and sole purpose then was to escape.The proof of this is the letter of instructions sent to ImmanuelHildesheim to clear and take away the box _before sunrise_. There isalso the instruction to Petrof Skinsky. This we must only guess at;but there must have been some letter or message, since Skinsky came toHildesheim.
That, so far, his plans were successful we know. The _Czarina Catherine_made a phenomenally quick journey--so much so that Captain Donelson'ssuspicions were aroused; but his superstition united with his canninessplayed the Count's game for him, and he ran with his favouring windthrough fogs and all till he brought up blindfold at Galatz. That theCount's arrangements were well made, has been proved. Hildesheim clearedthe box, took it off, and gave it to Skinsky. Skinsky took it--and herewe lose the trail. We only know that the box is somewhere on the water,moving along. The customs and the octroi, if there be any, have beenavoided.
Now we come to what the Count must have done after his arrival--_onland_, at Galatz.
The box was given to Skinsky before sunrise. At sunrise the Count couldappear in his own form. Here, we ask why Skinsky was chosen at all toaid in the work? In my husband's diary, Skinsky is mentioned as dealingwith the Slovaks who trade down the river to the port; and the man'sremark, that the murder was the work of a Slovak, showed the generalfeeling against his class. The Count wanted isolation.
My surmise is, this: that in London the Count decided to get back to hisCastle by water, as the most safe and secret way. He was brought fromthe Castle by Szgany, and probably they delivered their cargo to Slovakswho took the boxes to Varna, for there they were shipped for London.Thus the Count had knowledge of the persons who could arrange thisservice. When the box was on land, before sunrise or after sunset, hecame out from his box, met Skinsky and instructed him what to do as toarranging the carriage of the box up some river. When this was done, andhe knew that all was in train, he blotted out his traces, as he thought,by murdering his agent.
I have examined the map, and find that the river most suitable for theSlovaks to have ascended is either the Pruth or the Sereth. I read inthe typescript that in my trance I heard cows low and water swirlinglevel with my ears and the creaking of wood. The Count in his box, then,was on a river in an open boat--propelled probably either by oars orpoles, for the banks are near and it is working against stream. Therewould be no such sound if floating down stream.
Of course it may not be either the Sereth or the Pruth, but we maypossibly investigate further. Now of these two, the Pruth is the moreeasily navigated, but the Sereth is, at Fundu, joined by the Bistritza,which runs up round the Borgo Pass. The loop it makes is manifestly asclose to Dracula's Castle as can be got by water.