_Mina Harker's Journal--continued._
When I had done reading, Jonathan took me in his arms and kissed me. Theothers kept shaking me by both hands, and Dr. Van Helsing said:--
"Our dear Madam Mina is once more our teacher. Her eyes have seen wherewe were blinded. Now we are on the track once again, and this time wemay succeed. Our enemy is at his most helpless; and if we can come onhim by day, on the water, our task will be over. He has a start, but heis powerless to hasten, as he may not leave his box lest those who carryhim may suspect; for them to suspect would be to prompt them to throwhim in the stream, where he perish. This he knows, and will not. Now,men, to our Council of War; for, here and now, we must plan what eachand all shall do."
"I shall get a steam launch and follow him," said Lord Godalming.
"And I, horses to follow on the bank lest by chance he land," said Mr.Morris.
"Good!" said the Professor, "both good. But neither must go alone. Theremust be force to overcome force if need be; the Slovak is strong andrough, and he carries rude arms." All the men smiled, for amongst themthey carried a small arsenal. Said Mr. Morris:--
"I have brought some Winchesters; they are pretty handy in a crowd,and there may be wolves. The Count, if you remember, took some otherprecautions; he made some requisitions on others that Mrs. Harker couldnot quite hear or understand. We must be ready at all points." Dr.Seward said:--
"I think I had better go with Quincey. We have been accustomed to hunttogether, and we two, well armed, will be a match for whatever may comealong. You must not be alone, Art. It may be necessary to fight theSlovaks, and a chance thrust--for I don't suppose these fellows carryguns--would undo all our plans. There must be no chances, this time;we shall not rest until the Count's head and body have been separated,and we are sure that he cannot re-incarnate." He looked at Jonathan ashe spoke, and Jonathan looked at me. I could see that the poor dear wastorn about in his mind. Of course he wanted to be with me; but then theboat service would, most likely, be the one which would destroy the ...the ... the ... Vampire. (Why did I hesitate to write the word?) He wassilent awhile, and during his silence Dr. Van Helsing spoke:--
"Friend Jonathan, this is to you for twice reasons. First, because youare young and brave and can fight, and all energies may be needed atthe last; and again that it is your right to destroy him--that--whichhas wrought such woe to you and yours. Be not afraid for Madam Mina;she will be my care, if I may. I am old. My legs are not so quick torun as once; and I am not used to ride so long or to pursue as need be,or to fight with lethal weapons. But I can be of other service; I canfight in other way. And I can die, if need be, as well as younger men.Now let me say that what I would is this: while you, my Lord Godalming,and friend Jonathan go in your so swift little steamboat up the river,and whilst John and Quincey guard the bank where perchance he mightbe landed, I will take Madam Mina right into the heart of the enemy'scountry. Whilst the old fox is tied in his box, floating on the runningstream whence he cannot escape to land--where he dares not raise the lidof his coffin-box lest his Slovak carriers should in fear leave him toperish--we shall go in the track where Jonathan went--from Bistritz overthe Borgo--and find our way to the Castle of Dracula. Here, Madam Mina'shypnotic power will surely help, and we shall find our way--all dark andunknown otherwise--after the first sunrise when we near that fatefulplace. There is much to be done, and other places to be made sanctify,so that that nest of vipers be obliterated." Here Jonathan interruptedhim hotly:--
"Do you mean to say, Professor Van Helsing, that you would bring Mina,in her sad case and tainted as she is with that devil's illness, rightinto the jaws of his death-trap? Not for the world! Not for Heaven orHell!" He became almost speechless for a minute, and then went on:--
"Do you know what the place is? Have you seen that awful den of hellishinfamy--with the very moonlight alive with grisly shapes, and ever speckof dust that whirls in the wind a devouring monster in embryo? Have youfelt the Vampire's lips upon your throat?" Here he turned to me, and ashis eyes lit on my forehead, he threw up his arms with a cry: "Oh, myGod, what have we done to have this terror upon us?" and he sank down onthe sofa in a collapse of misery. The Professor's voice, as he spoke inclear, sweet tones, which seemed to vibrate in the air, calmed us all:--
"Oh, my friend, it is because I would save Madam Mina from that awfulplace that I would go. God forbid that I should take her into thatplace. There is work--wild work--to be done there, that her
eyes may notsee. We men here, all save Jonathan, have seen with our own eyes whatis to be done before that place can be purify. Remember that we are interrible straits. If the Count escape us this time--and he is strong andsubtle and cunning--he may choose to sleep him for a century; and thenin time our dear one"--he took my hand--"would come to him to keephim company, and would be as those others that you, Jonathan, saw. Youhave told us of their gloating lips; you heard their ribald laugh asthey clutched the moving bag that the Count threw to them. You shudder;and well may it be. Forgive me that I make you so much pain, but it isnecessary. My friend, is it not a dire need for the which I am giving,if need be, my life? If it were that anyone went into that place tostay, it is I who would have to go, to keep them company."
"Do as you will;" said Jonathan, with a sob that shook him all over, "Weare in the hands of God!"
_Later._--Oh, it did me good to see the way that these brave menworked. How can women help loving men when they are so earnest, and sotrue, and so brave! And, too, it made me think of the wonderful power ofmoney! What can it not do when it is properly applied; and what might itdo when basely used! I felt so thankful that Lord Godalming is rich, andthat both he and Mr. Morris, who also has plenty of money, are willingto spend it so freely. For if they did not, our little expedition couldnot start, either so promptly or so well equipped, as it will withinanother hour. It is not three hours since it was arranged what part eachof us was to do; now Lord Godalming and Jonathan have a lovely steamlaunch, with steam up ready to start at a moment's notice. Dr. Sewardand Mr. Morris have half a dozen beautiful horses, well appointed. Wehave all the maps and appliances of various kinds that can be had.Professor Van Helsing and I are to leave by the 11.40 train to-nightfor Veresti, where we are to get a carriage to drive to the Borgo Pass.We are bringing a good deal of ready money, as we are to buy a carriageand horses. We shall drive ourselves, for we have no one whom we cantrust in this matter. The Professor knows something of a great manylanguages, so we shall get on all right. We have all got arms, even forme a large-bore revolver; Jonathan would not be happy unless I was armedlike the rest. Alas! I cannot carry one arm that the rest do; the scaron my forehead forbids that. Dear Dr. Van Helsing comforts me by tellingme that I am fully armed as there may be wolves; the weather is gettingcolder every hour, and there are snow-flurries which come and go aswarnings.
_Later._--It took all my courage to say good-bye to my darling. We maynever meet again. Courage, Mina! the Professor is looking at you keenly;his look is a warning. There must be no tears now--unless it may be thatGod will let them fall in gladness.
_Jonathan Harker's Journal._
_October 30. Night._--I am writing this in the light from the furnacedoor of the steam launch; Lord Godalming is firing up. He is anexperienced hand at the work, as he has had for years a launch of hisown on the Thames, and another on the Norfolk Broads. Regarding ourplans, we finally decided that Mina's guess was correct, and that ifany waterway was chosen for the Count's escape back to his Castle, theSereth, and then the Bistritza at its junction, would be the one. Wetook it that somewhere about the 47th degree, north latitude, would bethe place chosen for crossing the country between the river and theCarpathians. We have no fear in running at good speed up the river atnight; there is plenty of water, and the banks are wide enough apartto make steaming, even in the dark, easy enough. Lord Godalming tellsme to sleep for a while, as it is enough for the present for one tobe on watch. But I cannot sleep--how can I with the terrible dangerhanging over my darling, and her going out into that awful place.... Myonly comfort is that we are in the hands of God. Only for that faithit would be easier to die than to live, and so be quit of all thetrouble. Mr. Morris and Dr. Seward were off on their long ride beforewe started; they are to keep up the right bank, far enough off to geton higher lands, where they can see a good stretch of river and avoidthe following of its curves. They have, for the first stages, two mento ride and lead their spare horses--four in all, so as not to excitecuriosity. When they dismiss the men, which will be shortly, they willthemselves look after the horses. It may be necessary for us to joinforces; if so they can mount our whole party. One of the saddles has amovable horn, and can be easily adapted for Mina, if required.
It is a wild adventure we are on. Here, as we are rushing along throughthe darkness, with the cold from the river seeming to rise up and strikeus; with all the mysterious voices of the night around us, it all comeshome. We seem to be drifting into unknown places and unknown ways; intoa whole world of dark and dreadful things. Godalming is shutting thefurnace door....
_31 October._--Still hurrying along. The day has come, and Godalming issleeping. I am on watch. The morning is bitterly cold; the furnace heatis grateful, though we have heavy fur coats. As yet we have passed onlya few open boats, but none of them had on board any box or package ofanything like the size of the one we seek. The men were scared everytime we turned our electric lamp on them, and fell on their knees andprayed.
_1 November, evening._--No news all day; we have found nothing of thekind we seek. We have now passed into the Bistritza; and if we arewrong in our surmise our chance is gone. We have overhauled every boat,big and little. Early this morning, one crew took us for a Governmentboat, and treated us accordingly. We saw in this a way of smoothingmatters, so at Fundu, where the Bistritza runs into the Sereth, we got aRoumanian flag which we now fly conspicuously. With every boat which wehave overhauled since then this trick has succeeded; we have had everydeference shown to us, and not once any objection to whatever we choseto ask or do. Some of the Slovaks tell us that a big boat passed them,going at more than usual speed as she had a double crew on board. Thiswas before they came to Fundu, so they could not tell us whether theboat turned into the Bistritza or continued on up the Sereth. At Funduwe could not hear of any such boat, so she must have passed there inthe night. I am feeling very sleepy; the cold is perhaps beginning totell upon me, and nature must have rest some time. Godalming insiststhat he shall keep the first watch. God bless him for all his goodnessto poor dear Mina and me.
_2 November, morning._--It is broad daylight. That good fellow would notwake me. He says it would have been a sin to, for I slept so peacefullyand was forgetting my trouble. It seems brutally selfish of me to haveslept so long, and let him watch all night; but he was quite right. I ama new man this morning; and, as I sit here and watch him sleeping, I cando all that is necessary both as to minding the engine, steering, andkeeping watch. I can feel that my strength and energy are coming backto me. I wonder where Mina is now, and Van Helsing. They should havegot to Veresti about noon on Wednesday. It would take them some time toget the carriage and horses; so if they had started and travelled hard,they would be about now at the Borgo Pass. God guide and help them! Iam afraid to think what may happen. If we could only go faster! butwe cannot; the engines are throbbing and doing their utmost. I wonderhow Dr. Seward and Mr. Morris are getting on. There seem to be endlessstreams running down from the mountains into this river, but as none ofthem are very large--at present, at all events, though they are terribledoubtless in winter and when the snow melts--the horsemen may not havemet much obstruction. I hope that before we get to Strasba we may seethem; for if by that time we have not overtaken the Count, it may benecessary to take counsel together what to do next.
_Dr. Seward's Diary._
_2 November._--Three days on the road. No news, and no time to write itif there had been, for every moment is precious. We have had only therest needful for the horses; but we are both bearing it wonderfully.Those adventurous days of ours are turning up useful. We must push on;we shall never feel happy till we get the launch in sight again.
_3 November._--We heard at Fundu that the launch had gone up theBistritza. I wish it wasn't so cold. There are signs of snow coming;and if it falls heavy it will stop us. In such case we must get a sledgeand go on, Russian fashion.
_4 November._--To-day we heard of the launch having been detained by anaccident when trying to force a way up
the rapid. The Slovak boats getup all right, by aid of a rope, and steering with knowledge. Some wentup only a few hours before. Godalming is an amateur fitter himself, andevidently it was he who put the launch in trim again. Finally, theygot up the Rapids all right, with local help, and are off on the chaseafresh. I fear that the boat is not any better for the accident; thepeasantry tell us that after she got upon the smooth water again, shekept stopping every now and again so long as she was in sight. We mustpush on harder than ever; our help may be wanted soon.
_Mina Harker's Journal._
_31 October._--Arrived at Veresti at noon. The Professor tells me thatthis morning at dawn he could hardly hypnotize me at all, and that allI could say was: "Dark and quiet." He is off now buying a carriage andhorses. He says that he will later on try to buy additional horses, sothat we may be able to change them on the way. We have something morethan 70 miles before us. The country is lovely, and most interesting;if only it were under different conditions, how delightful it would beto see it all. If Jonathan and I were driving through it alone what apleasure it would be. To stop and see people, and learn something oftheir life, and to fill our minds and memories with all the colour andpicturesqueness of the whole wild, beautiful country and the quaintpeople! But, alas!--
_Later._--Dr. Van Helsing has returned. He has got the carriage andhorses; we are to have some dinner, and to start in an hour. Thelandlady is putting us up a huge basket of provisions; it seems enoughfor a company of soldiers. The Professor encourages her, and whispers tome that it may be a week before we can get any good food again. He hasbeen shopping too, and has sent home such a wonderful lot of fur coatsand wraps, and all sorts of warm things. There will not be any chance ofour being cold.