* * * * *
We shall soon be off. I am afraid to think what may happen to us. Weare truly in the hands of God. He alone knows what may be, and I prayHim, with all the strength of my sad and humble soul, that He willwatch over my beloved husband; that whatever may happen, Jonathan mayknow that I loved him and honoured him more than I can say, and that mylatest and truest thought will be always for him.
/Mina Harker's Journal./
_1 November._--All day long we have travelled, and at a good speed.The horses seem to know that they are being kindly treated, for theygo willingly their full stage at best speed. We have now had so manychanges and find the same thing so constantly that we are encouraged tothink that the journey will be an easy one. Dr. Van Helsing is laconic;he tells the farmers that he is hurrying to Bistritz, and pays themwell to make the exchange of horses. We get hot soup, or coffee, ortea; and off we go. It is a lovely country; full of beauties of allimaginable kinds, and the people are brave, and strong, and simple, andseem full of nice qualities. They are very, very superstitious. In thefirst house where we stopped, when the woman who served us saw the scaron my forehead, she crossed herself and put out two fingers towards me,to keep off the evil eye. I believe they went to the trouble of puttingan extra amount of garlic into our food; and I can't abide garlic.Ever since then I have taken care not to take off my hat or veil, andso have escaped their suspicions. We are travelling fast, and as wehave no driver with us to carry tales, we go ahead of scandal; but Idaresay that fear of the evil eye will follow hard behind us all theway. The Professor seems tireless; all day he would not take any rest,though he made me sleep for a long spell. At sunset time he hypnotizedme, and he says that I answered as usual "darkness, lapping waterand creaking wood;" so our enemy is still on the river. I am afraidto think of Jonathan, but somehow I have now no fear for him, or formyself. I write this whilst we wait in a farmhouse for the horses to begot ready. Dr. Van Helsing is sleeping. Poor dear, he looks very tiredand old and grey, but his mouth is set as firmly as a conqueror's; evenin his sleep he is instinct with resolution. When we have well startedI must make him rest whilst I drive. I shall tell him that we have daysbefore us, and he must not break down when most of all his strengthwill be needed.... All is ready; we are off shortly.
_2 November, morning._--I was successful, and we took turns drivingall night; now the day is on us, bright though cold. There is a strangeheaviness in the air--I say heaviness for want of a better word; I meanthat it oppresses us both. It is very cold, and only our warm furs keepus comfortable. At dawn Van Helsing hypnotised me; he says I answered"darkness, creaking wood and roaring water," so the river is changingas they ascend. I do hope that my darling will not run any chance ofdanger--more than need be; but we are in God's hands.
_2 November, night._--All day long driving. The country gets wilder aswe go, and the great spurs of the Carpathians, which at Veresti seemedso far from us and so low on the horizon, now seem to gather round usand tower in front. We both seem in good spirits; I think we make aneffort each to cheer the other; in the doing so we cheer ourselves.Dr. Van Helsing says that by morning we shall reach the Borgo Pass.The houses are very few here now, and the Professor says that the lasthorses we got will have to go on with us, as we may not be able tochange. He got two in addition to the two we changed, so that now wehave a rude four-in-hand. The dear horses are patient and good, andthey give us no trouble. We are not worried with other travellers, andso even I can drive. We shall get to the Pass in daylight; we do notwant to arrive before. So we take it easy, and have each a long restin turn. Oh, what will to-morrow bring to us? We go to seek the placewhere my poor darling suffered so much. God grant that we may be guidedaright, and that He will deign to watch over my husband and those dearto us both, and who are in such deadly peril. As for me, I am notworthy in His sight. Alas! I am unclean to His eyes, and shall be untilHe may deign to let me stand forth in His sight as one of those whohave not incurred His wrath.
_Memorandum by Abraham Van Helsing._
_4 November._--This to my old and true friend John Seward, M.D.,of Purfleet, London, in case I may not see him. It may explain. Itis morning, and I write by a fire which all the night I have keptalive--Madam Mina aiding me. It is cold, cold; so cold that the greyheavy sky is full of snow, which when it falls will settle for allwinter as the ground is hardening to receive it. It seems to haveaffected Madam Mina; she has been so heavy of head all day that shewas not like herself. She sleeps, and sleeps, and sleeps! She, whois usual so alert, have done literally nothing all the day; she evenhave lost her appetite. She make no entry into her little diary, shewho write so faithful at every pause. Something whisper to me that allis not well. However, to-night she is more _vif_. Her long sleep allday have refresh and restore her, for now she is all sweet and brightas ever. At sunset I try to hypnotise her, but alas! with no effect;the power has grown less and less with each day, and to-night it failme altogether. Well, God's will be done--whatever it may be, andwhithersoever it may lead!
Now to the historical, for as Madam Mina write not in her stenography,I must, in my cumbrous old fashion, that so each day of us may not gounrecorded.
We got to the Borgo Pass just after sunrise yesterday morning. When Isaw the signs of the dawn I got ready for the hypnotism. We stopped ourcarriage, and got down so that there might be no disturbance. I made acouch with furs, and Madam Mina, lying down, yield herself as usual,but more slow and more short time than ever, to the hypnotic sleep. Asbefore, came the answer: "darkness and the swirling of water." Thenshe woke, bright and radiant, and we go on our way and soon reach thePass. At this time and place she become all on fire with zeal; some newguiding power be in her manifested, for she point to a road and say:--
"This is the way."
"How know you it?" I ask.
"Of course I know it," she answer, and with a pause, add: "Have not myJonathan travel it and wrote of his travel?"
At first I think somewhat strange, but soon I see that there be onlyone such by-road. It is used but little, and very different from thecoach road from Bukovina to Bistritz, which is more wide and hard, andmore of use.
So we came down this road; when we meet other ways--not always were wesu
re that they were roads at all, for they be neglect and light snowhave fallen--the horses know and they only. I give rein to them, andthey go on so patient. By-and-by we find all the things which Jonathanhave note in that wonderful diary of him. Then we go on for long, longhours and hours. At the first, I tell Madam Mina to sleep; she try, andshe succeed. She sleep all the time; till at the last, I feel myselfto suspicious grow, and attempt to wake her. But she sleep on, and Imay not wake her though I try. I do not wish to try too hard lest Iharm her; for I know that she have suffer much, and sleep at times beall--in--all to her. I think I drowse myself, for all of sudden I feelguilt, as though I have done something; I find myself bolt up, with thereins in my hand, and the good horses go along jog, jog, just as ever.I look down and find Madam Mina still sleep. It is now not far offsunset time, and over the snow the light of the sun flow in big yellowflood, so that we throw great long shadow on where the mountain rise sosteep. For we are going up, and up; and all is oh! so wild and rocky,as though it were the end of the world.
Then I arouse Madam Mina. This time she wake with not much trouble, andthen I try to put her to hypnotic sleep. But she sleep not, being asthough I were not. Still I try and try, till all at once I find her andmyself in dark; so I look round, and find that the sun have gone down.Madam Mina laugh, and I turn and look at her. She is now quite awake,and look so well as I never saw her since that night at Carfax whenwe first enter the Count's house. I am amaze, and not at ease then;but she is so bright and tender and thoughtful for me that I forgetall fear. I light a fire, for we have brought supply of wood with us,and she prepare food while I undo the horses and set them, tethered inshelter, to feed. Then when I return to the fire she have my supperready. I go to help her; but she smile, and tell me that she have eatalready--that she was so hungry that she would not wait. I like it not,and I have grave doubts; but I fear to affright her, and so I am silentof it. She help me and I eat alone; and then we wrap in fur and liebeside the fire, and I tell her to sleep while I watch. But presentlyI forget all of watching; and when I sudden remember that I watch,I find her lying quiet, but awake, and looking at me with so brighteyes. Once, twice more the same occur, and I get much sleep till beforemorning. When I wake I try to hypnotise her; but alas! though she shuther eyes obedient, she may not sleep. The run rise up, and up, and up;and then sleep come to her too late, but so heavy that she will notwake. I have to lift her up and place her sleeping in the carriage whenI have harnessed the horses and made all ready. Madam still sleep,and sleep; and she look in her sleep more healthy and more redder thanbefore. And I like it not. And I am afraid, afraid, afraid!--I amafraid of all things--even to think; but I must go on my way. The stakewe play for is life and death, or more than these, and we must notflinch.
_5 November, morning._--Let me be accurate in everything, for thoughyou and I have seen some strange things together, you may at the firstthink that I, Van Helsing, am mad--that the many horrors and the solong strain on nerves has at the last turn my brain.
All yesterday we travel, ever getting closer to the mountains, andmoving into a more and more wild and desert land. There are great,frowning precipices and much falling water, and Nature seemed to haveheld sometime her carnival. Madam Mina still sleep and sleep; andthough I did have hunger and appeased it, I could not waken her--evenfor food. I began to fear that the fatal spell of the place was uponher, tainted as she is with that Vampire baptism. "Well," said I tomyself, "if it be that she sleep all the day, it shall also be that Ido not sleep at night." As we travel on the rough road, for a road ofan ancient and imperfect kind there was, I held down my head and slept.Again I waked with a sense of guilt and of time passed, and found MadamMina still sleeping, and the sun low down. But all was indeed changed;the frowning mountains seemed further away, and we were near the topof a steep-rising hill, on summit of which was such as castle asJonathan tell of in his diary. At once I exulted and feared; for now,for good or ill, the end was near. I woke Madam Mina, and again triedto hypnotise her; but alas! unavailing till too late. Then, ere thegreat dark came upon us--for even after down-sun the heavens reflectedthe gone sun on the snow, and all was for a time in a great twilight--Itook out the horses and fed them in what shelter I could. Then I make afire; and near it I made Madam Mina, now awake and more charming thanever, sit comfortable amid her rugs. I got ready food: but she wouldnot eat, simply saying that she had not hunger. I did not press her,knowing her unavailingness. But I myself eat, for I must needs now bestrong for all. Then, with the fear on me of what might be, I drew aring so big for her comfort, round where Madam Mina sat; and over thering I passed some of the wafer, and I broke it fine so that all waswell guarded. She sat still all the time--so still as one dead; and shegrew whiter and ever whiter till the snow was not more pale; and noword she said. But when I drew near, she clung to me, and I could knowthat the poor soul shook her from head to feet with a tremor that waspain to feel. I said to her presently, when she had grown more quiet:--
"Will you not come over to the fire?" for I wished to make a test ofwhat she could. She rose obedient, but when she have made a step shestopped, and stood as one stricken.
"Why not go on?" I asked. She shook her head, and, coming back, satdown in her place. Then, looking at me with open eyes, as of one wakedfrom sleep, she said simply:--
"I cannot!" and remained silent. I rejoiced, for I knew that what shecould not, none of those that we dreaded could. Though there might bedanger to her body, yet her soul was safe!
Presently the horses began to scream, and tore at their tethers tillI came to them and quieted them. When they did feel my hands on them,they whinnied low as in joy, and licked at my hands and were quietfor a time. Many times through the night did I come to them, till itarrive to the cold hour when all nature is at lowest; and every timemy coming was with quiet of them. In the cold hour the fire began todie, and I was about stepping forth to replenish it, for now the snowcame in flying sweeps and with it a chill mist. Even in the dark therewas a light of some kind, as there ever is over snow; and it seemed asthough the snow-flurries and the wreaths of mist took shape as of womenwith trailing garments. All was in dead, grim silence, only that thehorses whinnied and cowered, as if in terror of the worst. I began tofear--horrible fears; but then came to me the sense of safety in thatring wherein I stood. I began, too, to think that my imaginings wereof the night, and the gloom, and the unrest that I have gone through,and all the terrible anxiety. It was as though my memories of allJonathan's horrid experience were befooling me; for the snow flakes andthe mist began to wheel and circle round, till I could get as thougha shadowy glimpse of those women that would have kissed him. And thenthe horses cowered lower and lower, and moaned in terror as men do inpain. Even the madness of fright was not to them, so that they couldbreak away. I feared for my dear Madam Mina when these weird figuresdrew near and circled round. I looked at her, but she sat calm, andsmiled at me; when I would have stepped to the fire to replenish it,she caught me and held me back, and whispered, like a voice that onehears in a dream, so low it was:--
"No! No! Do not go without. Here you are safe!" I turned to her, andlooking in her eyes, said:--
"But you? It is for you that I fear!" whereat she laughed--a laugh lowand unreal, and said:--
"Fear for _me_! Why fear for me? None safer in all the world from themthan I am," and as I wondered at the meaning of her words, a puff ofwind made the flame leap up, and I see the red scar on her forehead.Then, alas! I knew. Did I not, I would soon have learned, for thewheeling figures of mist and snow came closer, but keeping ever withoutthe Holy circle. Then they began to materialise, till--if God have nottake away my reason, for I saw it through my eyes--there were beforeme in actual flesh the same three women that Jonathan saw in the room,when they would have kissed his throat. I knew the swaying round forms,the bright hard eyes, the white teeth, the ruddy colour, the voluptuouslips. They smiled ever at poor dear Madam Mina; and as their laugh camethrough the silence of the night, they twined their arms an
d pointed toher, and said in those so sweet tingling tones that Jonathan said wereof the intolerable sweetness of the water-glasses:--
"Come, sister. Come to us. Come! Come!" In fear I turned to my poorMadam Mina, and my heart with gladness leapt like flame; for oh! theterror in her sweet eyes, the repulsion, the horror, told a story to myheart that was all of hope. God be thanked she was not, yet, of them.I seized some of the firewood which was by me, and holding out some ofthe Wafer, advanced on them towards the fire. They drew back before me,and laughed their low horrid laugh. I fed the fire, and feared themnot; for I knew that we were safe within our protections. They couldnot approach me, whilst so armed, nor Madam Mina whilst she remainedwithin the ring, which she could not leave no more than they couldenter. The horses had ceased to moan, and lay still on the ground; thesnow fell on them softly, and they grew whiter. I knew that there wasfor the poor beasts no more of terror.
And so we remained till the red of the dawn began to fall through thesnow-gloom. I was desolate and afraid, and full of woe and terror;but when that beautiful sun began to climb the horizon life was to meagain. At the first coming of the dawn the horrid figures melted in thewhirling mist and snow; the wreaths of transparent gloom moved awaytowards the castle, and were lost.