Original Gothic Novel
29 October.- This
is written in the train from Varna to Galatz. Last night we all assembled
a little before the time of sunset. Each of us had done his work as well as
he could; so far as thought, and endeavour, and opportunity go, we are prepared
for the whole of our journey, and for our work when we get to Galatz. When
the usual time came round Mrs. Harker prepared herself for her hypnotic effort;
and after a longer and more serious effort on the part of Van Helsing than
has been usually necessary, she sank into the trance. Usually she speaks on
a hint; but this time the Professor had to ask her questions, and to ask them
pretty resolutely, before we could learn anything; at last her answer came:-
"I can see
nothing; we are still; there are no waves lapping, but only a steady swirl
of water softly running against the hawser. I can hear men's voices calling,
near and far, and the roll and creak of oars in the rowlocks. A gun is fired
somewhere; the echo of it seems far away. There is tramping of feet overhead,
and ropes and chains are dragged along. What is this? There is a gleam of
light; I can feel the air blowing upon me."
Here she stopped.
She had risen, as if impulsively, from where she lay on the sofa, and raised
both her hands, palms upwards, as if lifting a weight. Van Helsing and I looked
at each other with understanding. Quincey raised her eyebrows slightly and
looked at her intently, whilst Harker's hand instinctively closed round the
hilt of his Kukri. There was a long pause. We all knew that the time when
she could speak was passing; but we felt that it was useless to say anything.
Suddenly she sat up, and, as she opened her eyes, said sweetly:-
of you like a cup of tea? You must all be so tired!" We could only make
her happy, and so acquiesced. She bustled off to get tea; when she had gone
Van Helsing said:-
my friends. He is close to land: he has left his earth-chest. But he has yet
to get on shore. In the night he may lie hidden somewhere; but if he be not
carried on shore, or if the ship do not touch it, he cannot achieve the land.
In such case he can, if it be in the night, change his form and can jump or
fly on shore, as he did at Whitby. But if the day come before he get on shore,
then, unless he be carried he cannot escape. And if he be carried, then the
customs men may discover what the box contains. Thus, in fine, if he escape
not on shore to-night, or before dawn, there will be the whole day lost to
him. We may then arrive in time; for if he escape not at night we shall come
on him in daytime, boxed up and at our mercy; for he dare not be his 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 her response in her trance. The
hypnotic stage was even longer in coming than before; and when it came the
time remaining until full sunrise was so short that we began to despair. Van
Helsing seemed to throw his whole soul into the effort; at last, in obedience
to his will she made reply:-
"All is dark.
I hear lapping water, level with me, and some creaking as of wood on wood."
She paused, and the red sun shot up. We must wait till to-night.
And so it is that
we are travelling towards Galatz in an agony of expectation. We are due to
arrive between two and three in the morning; but already, at Bucharest, we
are three hours late, so we cannot possibly get in till well after sunup.
Thus we shall have two more hypnotic messages from Mrs. Harker, either or
both may possibly throw more light on what is happening.
has come and gone. Fortunately it came at a time when there was no distraction;
for had it occurred whilst we were at a station, we might not have secured
the necessary calm and isolation. Mrs. Harker yielded to the hypnotic influence
even less readily than this morning. I am in fear that her power of reading
the Count's sensations may die away just when we want it most. It seems to
me that her imagination is beginning to work. Whilst she has been in the trance
hitherto she has confined herself to the simplest of facts. If this goes on
it may ultimately mislead us. If I thought that the Count's power over her
would die away equally with her power of knowledge it would be a happy thought;
but I am afraid that it may not be so. When she did speak, her words were
is going out; I can feel it pass me like a cold wind. I can hear, far off,
confused sounds- as of men talking in strange tongues, fierce- falling water,
and the howling of wolves." She stopped and a shudder 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, even in answer to the Professor's imperative
questioning. When she woke from the trance, she was cold, and exhausted, and
languid; but her mind was all 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 in silence.
30 October, 7
a.m.- We are near Galatz now, and I may not have time to write 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 no effect, however, until the regular time,
when she yielded with a still greater difficulty, only a minute before the
sun rose. The Professor lost no time in his questioning; her answer came with
"All is dark.
I hear water swirling by, level with my ears, and the creaking of wood on
wood. Cattle low far off. There is another sound, a queer one like-"
she stopped and grew white, and whiter still.
"Go on; go
on! Speak, I command you!" said Van Helsing in an agonised voice. At
the same time there was despair in his eyes, for the risen sun was reddening
even Mrs. Harker's pale face. She opened her eyes, and we all started as she
said, sweetly and seemingly with the utmost unconcern:-
why ask me to do what you know I can't? I don't remember anything." Then,
seeing the look of amazement on our faces, she said, turning from one to the
other with a troubled look:-
I said? What have I done? I know nothing, only that I was lying here, half
asleep, and heard you say 'go on! speak, I command you!' it seemed so funny
to hear you order me about, as if I were a bad child!"
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 more earnest than
ever, can seem so strange because it is to order her whom I am proud to obey!"
The whistles are
sounding; we are nearing Galatz. We are on fire with anxiety and eagerness.
30 October.- Mr.
Morris took me to the hotel where our rooms had been ordered by telegraph,
he being the one who could best be spared, since he does not speak any foreign
language. The forces were distributed much as they had been at Varna, except
that Lord Godalming went to the Vice-Consul, as his rank might serve as an
immediate guarantee of some sort to the official, we being in extreme hurry.
Jonathan and the two doctors went to the shipping agent to learn particulars
of the arrival of the Czarina Catherine.
Later.- Lord Godalming
has returned. The Consul is away, and the Vice-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.
30 October.- At
nine o'clock Dr. Van Helsing, Dr. Seward, and I called on Messrs. Mackenzie
& Steinkoff, the agents of the London firm of Hapgood. They had received
a wire from London, in answer to Lord Godalming's telegraphed request, asking
us to show them any civility in their power. They were more than kind and
courteous, and took us at once on board the Czarina Catherine, which lay at
anchor out in the river harbour. There we saw the Captain, Donelson by name,
who told us of his voyage. He said that in all his life he had never had so
favourable a run.
he said, "but it made us afeard, for we expeckit that we should have
to pay for it wi' some rare piece o' ill luck, so as to keep up the average.
It's no canny to run frae London to the Black Sea wi' a wind ahint ye, as
though the Deil himself were blawin' on yer sail for his ain purpose An' a'
the time we could no speer a thing. Gin we were nigh a 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 could we see. We ran by Gibraltar
wi'oot bein' able to signal; an'till we came to the Dardanelles and had to
wait to get our permit to pass, we never were within hail o' aught. At first
I inclined to slack off sail and beat about till the fog was lifted; but whiles,
I thocht that if the Deil was minded to get us into the Black Sea quick, he
was like to do it whether we would or no. If we had a quick voyage it would
be no to our miscredit wi' the owners, or no hurt to our traffic; an' the
Old Mon who had served his ain purpose wad be decently grateful to us for
no hinderin' him." This mixture of simplicity and cunning, of superstition
and commercial reasoning, aroused Van Helsing, who said:-
that Devil is more clever than he is thought by some; and he know when he
meet his match!" The skipper was not displeased with the compliment,
and went on:- \
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 had been put on board
by a queer lookin' old man just before we had started frae London. I had seen
them speer at the fellow, and put out their twa fingers when they saw him,
to guard against the evil eye. Man! but the supersteetion of foreigners is
pairfectly rideeculous! I sent them aboot their 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 it was agin the bit box. Well, on we went, and as the
fog didn't let up for five days I joost let the wind carry us; for if the
Deil wanted to get somewheres- well, he would fetch it up a'reet. An' if he
didn't, well, we'd keep a sharp look out anyhow. Sure eneuch, we had a fair
way and deep water all the time; and two days ago, when the mornin' sun came
through the fog, we found ourselves just in the river opposite Galatz. The
Roumanians were wild, and wanted me right or wrong to take out the box and
fling it in the river. I had to argy wi' them aboot it wi' a handspike; an'
when the last o' them rose off the deck, wi' his head 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 in the river Danube. They had, mind ye, taken
the box on the deck ready to fling in, and as it was marked Galatz via Varna,
I thocht I'd let it lie till we discharged in the port an' get rid o't athegither.
We didn't do much clearin' that day, an' had to remain the nicht at anchor,
but in the mornin', braw an' airly, an hour before sun-up, a man came aboard
wi' an order, written to him from England, to receive a box marked for one
Count Dracula. Sure eneuch the matter was one ready to his hand. He had his
papers a' reet, an' glad I was to be rid o' the dam thing, for I was beginnin'
masel' to feel uneasy at it. If the Deil did have any luggage aboord the ship,
I'm thinkin' it was nane ither than that same!"
the name of the man who took it?" asked Dr. Van Helsing with restrained
tellin' ye quick!" he answered, and, stepping down to his cabin, produced
a receipt signed "Immanuel Hildesheim." Burgen-strasse 16 was the
address. We found out that this was all the Captain knew; so with thanks we
We found Hildesheim
in his office, a Hebrew of rather the Adelphi, Theatre type, with a nose like
a sheep, and a fez. His arguments were pointed with specie- we doing the punctuation-
and with a little bargaining he 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 to receive, if possible before sunrise so as to avoid customs,
a box which would arrive at Galatz in the Czarina Catherine. This he was to
give in charge to a certain Petrof Skinsky, who dealth with the Slovaks who
traded down the river to the port. He had been paid for his work by an English
bank note, which had been duly cashed for gold at the Danube international
Bank. When Skinsky had come to him, he had taken him to the ship and handed
over the box, so as to save porterage. That was all he knew.
We then sought
for Skinsky, but were unable to find him. One of his neighbours, who did not
seem to bear him any affection, said that he had gone away two days before,
no one knew whither. This was corroborated by his landlord, who had received
by messenger the key of the house together with the rent due, in English money.
This had been between ten and eleven o'clock last night. We were at a standstill
Whilst we were
talking one came running and breathlessly gasped out that the body of Skinsky
had been found inside the wall of the churchyard of St. Peter, and that the
throat had been torn open as if by some wild animal. Those we had been speaking
with ran off to see the horror, the women crying out "This is the work
of a Slovak!" We hurried away lest we should have been in some way drawn
into the affair, and so detained.
As we came home
we could arrive at no definite conclusion. We were all convinced that the
box was on its way, by water, to somewhere; but where that might be we would
have to discover. With heavy hearts we came home to the hotel to Mina.
When we met together,
the first thing was to consult as to taking Mina again into our confidence.
Things are getting desperate, and it is at least a chance, though a hazardous
one. As a preliminary step, I was released from my promise to her.
30 October, evening.-
They were so tired and worn out and dispirited that there was nothing to be
done till they had some rest; so I asked them all to lie down for half an
hour whilst I should enter everything up 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 a pen...
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 to breathe, and his whole body appears
in collapse. His brows are knit; his face is drawn with pain. Poor fellow,
maybe he is thinking, and I can 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 that I have not yet seen...
Whilst they are resting, I shall go over all carefully, and perhaps I may
arrive at some conclusion. I shall try to follow the Professor's example,
and think without prejudice on the facts before me...
I do believe that
under God's providence I have made a discovery. I shall get the maps and look
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 is well to be accurate,
and every minute is precious.
in her Journal.)
of inquiry.- Count Dracula's problem is to get back to his own place.
He must be brought back by some one. This is evident; for had he power to
move himself as he wished he could go either as man, or wolf, or bat, or in
some other way. He evidently fears discovery or interference, in the state
of helplessness in which he must be confined as he is between dawn and sunset
in his wooden box.
How is he to be taken?- Here a process of exclusions may help us. By road,
by rail, by water?
By Road.- There are endless difficulties, especially in leaving the city.
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.
There are, or there may be, customs and octroi officers to pass.
His pursuers might follow. This is his highest fear; and in order to prevent
his being betrayed he has repelled, so far as he can, even his victim- me!
By Rail.- There is no one in charge of the box. It would have to take its
chance of being delayed; and delay would be fatal, with enemies on the track.
True, he might escape at night, but what would he be, if left in a strange
place with no refuge that he could fly to. This is not what he intends; and
he does not mean to risk it.
By Water.- Here is the safest way, in one respect, but with most danger in
another. On the water he is powerless except at night; even then he can only
summon fog and storm and snow and his wolves. But were he wrecked, the living
water would engulf him, helpless; and he would indeed be lost. He could have
the vessel drive to land; but if it were unfriendly land, wherein he was not
free to move, his position would still be desperate.
know from the record that he was on the water, so what we have to do is to
ascertain what water.
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.
We must differentiate between what he did in London as part of his general
plan of action, when he was pressed for moments and had to arrange as best
we must see, as well as we can surmise it from the facts we know of, what
he has done here.
to the first, he evidently intended to arrive at Galatz, and sent invoice
to Varna to deceive us lest we should ascertain his means of exit from England;
his immediate and sole purpose then was to escape. The proof of this, is the
letter of instructions sent to immanuel Hildesheim to clear and take away
the box before sunrise. There is also the instruction to Petrof Skinsky. These
we must only guess at; but there must have been some letter or message, since
Skinsky came to Hildesheim.
so far, his plans were successful we know. The Czarina Catherine made a phenomenally
quick journey- so much so that Captain Donelson's suspicions were aroused;
but his superstition united with his canniness played the Count's game for
him, and he ran with his favouring wind through fogs and all till he brought
up blindfold at Galatz. That the Count's arrangements were well made, has
been proved. Hildesheim cleared the box, took it off, and gave it to Skinsky.
Skinsky took it- and here we 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 been avoided.
we come to what the Count must have done after his arrival- on land, at Galatz.
box was given to Skinsky before sunrise. At sunrise the Count could appear
in his own form. Here, we ask why Skinsky was chosen at all to aid in the
work? In my husband's diary, Skinsky is mentioned as dealing with the Slovaks
who trade down the river to the port; and the man's remark, that the murder
was the work of a Slovak, showed the general feeling against his class. The
Count wanted isolation.
surmise is, this: that in London the Count decided to get back to his castle
by water, as the most safe and secret way. He was brought from the castle
by Szgany, and probably they delivered their cargo to Slovaks who took the
boxes to Varna, for there they were shipped for London. Thus the Count had
knowledge of the persons who could arrange this service. When the box was
on land, before sunrise or after sunset, he came out from his box, met Skinsky
and instructed him what to do as to arranging the carriage of the box up some
river. When this was done, and he knew that all was in train, he blotted out
his traces, as he thought, by murdering his agent.
have examined the map and find that the river most suitable for the Slovaks
to have ascended is either the Pruth or the Sereth. I read in the typescript
that in my trance I heard cows low and water swirling level 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 or poles, for the banks are near and
it is working against stream. There would be no such sound if floating down
course it may not be either the Sereth or the Pruth, but we may possibly investigate
further. Now of these two, the Pruth is the more easily navigated, but the
Sereth is, at Fundu, joined by the Bistritza which runs up round the Borgo
pass. The loop it makes is manifestly as close to Dracula's castle as can
be got by water.
When I had done
reading, Jonathan took me in his arms and kissed me. The others kept shaking
me by both hands, and Dr. Van Helsing said:-
Madam Mina is once more our teacher. Her eyes have been where we were blinded.
Now we are on the track once again, and this time we may succeed. Our enemy
is at his most helpless; and if we can come on him by day, on the water, our
task will be over. He has a start, but he is powerless to hasten, as he may
not leave his box lest those who carry him may suspect; for them to suspect
would be to prompt them to throw him 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 each and all shall do."
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.
said the Professor, "both good. But neither must go alone. There must
be force to overcome force if need be; the Slovak is strong and rough, and
he carries rude arms." All the men smiled, for amongst them they 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 other precautions; he made some requisitions
on others that Mrs. Harker could not quite hear or understand. We must be
ready at all points." Dr. Seward said:-
I had better go with Quincey. We have been accustomed to hunt together, and
we two, well armed, will be a match for whatever may come along. You must
not be alone Art. It may be necessary to fight the Slovaks, and a chance thrust-
for I don't suppose these fellows carry guns- 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 as he spoke, and Jonathan looked at me. I could see
that the poor dear was torn about in his mind. Of course he wanted to be with
me; but then the boat service would, most likely, be the one which would destroy
the... the... the... Vampire. (Why did I hesitate to write the word?) He was
silent awhile, and during his silence Dr. Van Helsing spoke:-
this is to you for twice reasons. First, because you are young and brave and
can fight, and all energies may be needed at the last; and again that it is
your right to destroy him- that- which has 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 to run 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 can fight 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 might be landed,
I will take Madam Mina right into the heart of the enemy's country. Whilst
the old fox is tied in his box, floating on the running stream whence he cannot
escape to land-where he dares not raise the lid of his coffin-box lest his
Slovak carriers should in fear leave him to perish- we shall go in the track
where Jonathan went,- from Bistritz over the Borgo, and find our way to the
Castle of Dracula. Here, Madam Mina's hypnotic power will surely help, and
we shall And our way- all dark and unknown otherwise- after the first sunrise
when we are near that fateful place. There is much to be done, and other places
to be made sanctify, so that that nest of vipers be obliterated." Here
Jonathan interrupted him 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, right into the jaws of his
death-trap? Not for the world! Not for Heaven or Hell!" 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 hellish infamy- with the
very moonlight alive with grisly shapes, and every speck of dust that whirls
in the wind a devouring monster in embryo? Have you felt the Vampire's lips
upon your throat?" Here he turned to me, and as his eyes lit on my forehead,
he threw up his arms with a cry: "Oh, my God, what have we done to have
this terror upon us!" and he sank down on the sofa in a collapse of misery.
The Professor's voice, as he spoke in clear, 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 awful place that I would go.
God forbid that I should take her into that place. There is work- wild work-
to be done there, that her eyes may not see. We men here, all save Jonathan,
have seen with their own eyes what is to be done before that place can be
purify. Remember that we are in terrible straits. If the Count escape us this
time- and he is strong and subtle and cunning- he may choose to sleep him
for a century, and then in time our dear one"- he took my hand- "would
come to him to keep him company, and would be as those others that you, Jonathan,
saw. You have told us of their gloating lips; you heard their ribald laugh
as they 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 is necessary.
My friend, is it not a dire need for the which I am giving, possibly my life?
If it were that anyone went into that place to stay, 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, "we are
in the hands of God!"
it did me good to see the way that these brave men worked. How can women help
loving men when they are so earnest, and so true, and so brave! And, too,
it made me think of the wonderful power of money What can it not do when it
is properly applied; and what might it do when basely used. I felt so thankful
that Lord Godalming is rich, and that both he and Mr. Morris, who also has
plenty of money, are willing to spend it so freely. For if they did not, our
little expedition could not start, either so promptly or so well equipped,
as it will within another hour. It is not three hours since it was arranged
what part each of us was to do; and now Lord Godalming and Jonathan have a
lovely steam launch, with steam up ready to start at a moment's notice. Dr.
Seward and Mr. Morris have half a dozen good horses, well appointed. We have
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-night for 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 carriage and horses. We shall drive
ourselves, for we have no one whom we can trust in the matter. The Professor
knows something of a great many languages, so we shall get on all right. We
have all got arms, even for me a large-bore revolver, Jonathan would not be
happy unless I was armed like the rest. Alas! I cannot carry one arm that
the rest do; the scar on my forehead forbids that. Dear Dr. Van Helsing comforts
me by telling me that I am fully armed as there may be wolves; the weather
is getting colder every hour, and there are snow-flurries which come and go
Later.- It took
all my courage to say good-bye to my darling. We may never 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 that God will let them fall in gladness.
October 30. Night.-
I am writing this in the light from the furnace door of the steam launch;
Lord Godalming is firing up. He is an experienced hand at the work, as he
has had for years a launch of his own on the Thames, and an other on the Norfolk
Broads. Regarding our plans, we finally decided that Mina's guess was correct,
and that if any waterway was chosen for the Count's escape back to his Castle,
the Sereth and then the Bistritza at its junction, would be the one. We took
it, that somewhere about the 47th degree, north latitude, would be the place
chosen for the crossing the country between the river and the Carpathians.
We have no fear in running at good speed up the river at night; there is plenty
of water, and the banks are wide enough apart to make steaming, even in the
dark, easy enough. Lord Godalming tells me to sleep for a while, as it is
enough for the present for one to be on watch. But I cannot sleep- how an
I with the terrible danger hanging over my darling, and her going out into
that awful place... My only comfort is that we are in the hands of God. Only
for that faith it would be easier to die than to live, and so be quit of all
the trouble. Mr. Morris and Dr. Seward were off on their long ride before
we started; they are to keep up the right bank, far enough off to get on higher
lands where they can see a good stretch of river and avoid the following of
its curves. They have, for the first stages, two men to ride and lead their
spare horses- four in all, so as not to excite curiosity. When they dismiss
the men, which shall be shortly, they shall themselves look after the horses.
It may be necessary for us to join forces; if so they can mount our whole
party. One of the saddles has a movable horn, and can be easily adapted for
Mina, if required.
It is a wild adventure
we are on. Here, as we are rushing along through the darkness, with the cold
from the river seeming to rise up and strike us; with all the mysterious voices
of the night around us, it all comes home. We seem to be drifting into unknown
places and unknown ways; into a whole world of dark and dreadful things. Godalming
is shutting the furnace door...
31 October.- Still
hurrying along. The day has come, and Godalming is sleeping. I am on watch.
The morning is bitterly cold; the furnace heat is grateful, though we have
heavy fur coats. As yet we have passed only a few open boats, but none of
them had on board any box or package of anything like the size of the one
we seek. The men were scared every time we turned our electric lamp on them,
and fell on their knees and prayed.
1 November, evening.-
No news all day; we have found nothing of the kind we seek. We have now passed
into the Bistritza; and if we are wrong in our surmise our chance is gone.
We have overhauled every boat, big and little. Early this morning, one crew
took us for a Government boat, and treated us accordingly. We saw in this
a way of smoothing matters, so at Fundu, where the Bistritza runs into the
Sereth, we got a Roumanian flag which we now fly conspicuously. With every
boat which we have overhauled since then this trick has succeeded; we have
had every deference shown to us, and not once any objection to whatever we
chose to 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. This was
before they came to Fundu, so they could not tell us whether the boat turned
into the Bistritza or continued on up the Sereth. At Fundu we could not hear
of any such boat, so she must have passed there in the night. I am feeling
very sleepy; the cold is perhaps beginning to tell upon me, and nature must
have rest some time. Godalming insists that he shall keep the first watch.
God bless him for all his goodness to poor dear Mina and me.
2 November, morning.-
It is broad daylight. That good fellow would not wake me. He says it would
have been a sin to, for I slept so peacefully and was forgetting my trouble.
It seems brutally selfish to me to have slept so long, and let him watch all
night; but he was quite right. I am a new man this morning; and, as I sit
here and watch him sleeping, I can do all that is necessary both as to minding
the engine, steering, and keeping watch. I can feel that my strength and energy
are coming back to me. I wonder where Mina is now, and Van Helsing. They should
have got to Veresti about noon on Wednesday. It would take them some time
to get 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! I am afraid
to think what may happen. If we could only go faster! but we cannot; the engines
are throbbing and doing their utmost. I wonder how Dr. Seward and Mr. Morris
are getting on. There seem to be endless streams running down from the mountains
into this river, but as none of them are very large- at present, at all events,
though they are terrible doubtless in winter and when the snow melts- the
horsemen may not have met much obstruction. I hope that before we get to Strasba
we may see them; for if by that time we have not overtaken the Count, it may
be necessary to take counsel together what to do next.
2 November.- Three
days on the road. No news, and no time to write it if there had been, for
every moment is precious. We have had only the rest 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 the Bistritza. 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 sledge and go on, Russian fashion.
4 November.- To-day
we heard of the launch having been detained by an accident when trying to
force a way up the rapid. The Slovak boats get up all right, by aid of a rope,
and steering with knowledge. Some went up only a few hours before. Godalming
is an amateur fitter himself, and evidently it was he who put the launch in
trim again. Finally, they got up the Rapids all right, with local help, and
are off on the chase afresh. I fear that the boat is not any better for the
accident; the peasantry tell us that after she got upon the smooth water again,
she kept stopping every now and again so long as she was in sight. We must
push on harder than ever; our help may be wanted soon.
31 October.- Arrived
at Veresti at noon. The Professor tells me that this morning at dawn he could
hardly hypnotise me at all, and that all I could say was: "dark and quiet."
He is off now buying a carriage and horses. He says that he will later on
try to buy additional horses, so that we may be able to change them on the
way. We have something more than 70 miles before us. The country is lovely,
and most interesting; if only we were under different conditions, how delightful
it would be to see it all. If Jonathan and I were driving through it alone
what a pleasure it would be. To stop and see people, and learn something of
their life, and to fill our minds and memories with all the colour and picturesqueness
of the whole wild, beautiful country and the quaint people! But, alas!
Dr. Van Helsing has returned. He has got the carriage and horses; we are to
have some dinner, and to start in an hour. The landlady is putting us up a
huge basket of provisions; it seems enough for a company of soldiers. The
Professor encourages her, and whispers to me that it may be a week before
we can get any good food gain. He has been shopping too, and has sent home
such a wonderful lot of fur coats and wraps, and all sorts of warm things.
There will not be any chance of our being cold.
shall soon be off. I am afraid to think what may happen to us. We are truly
in the hands of God. He alone knows what may be, and I pray Him, with all
the strength of my sad and humble soul, that He will watch over my beloved
husband; that whatever may happen, Jonathan may know that I loved him and
honoured him more than I can say, and that my latest and truest thought will
be always for him.
Original Gothic Novel
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