When I found that I was a prisoner a sort of wild feeling came over me. _ushed up and down the stairs, trying every door and peering out of ever_indow I could find, but after a little the conviction of my helplessnes_verpowered all other feelings. When I look back after a few hours I think _ust have been mad for the time, for I behaved much as a rat does in a trap.
When, however, the conviction had come to me that I was helpless I sat dow_uietly, as quietly as I have ever done anything in my life, and began t_hink over what was best to be done. I am thinking still, and as yet have com_o no definite conclusion. Of one thing only am I certain. That it is no us_aking my ideas known to the Count. He knows well that I am imprisoned, and a_e has done it himself, and has doubtless his own motives for it, he woul_nly deceive me if I trusted him fully with the facts. So far as I can see, m_nly plan will be to keep my knowledge and my fears to myself, and my eye_pen. I am, I know, either being deceived, like a baby, by my own fears, o_lse I am in desperate straits, and if the latter be so, I need, and shal_eed, all my brains to get through.
I had hardly come to this conclusion when I heard the great door below shut, and knew that the Count had returned. He did not come at once into th_ibrary, so I went cautiously to my own room and found him making the bed.
This was odd, but only confirmed what I had all along thought, that there ar_o servants in the house. When later I saw him through the chink of the hinge_f the door laying the table in the dining room, I was assured of it. For i_e does himself all these menial offices, surely it is proof that there is n_ne else in the castle, it must have been the Count himself who was the drive_f the coach that brought me here. This is a terrible thought, for if so, wha_oes it mean that he could control the wolves, as he did, by only holding u_is hand for silence? How was it that all the people at Bistritz and on th_oach had some terrible fear for me? What meant the giving of the crucifix, o_he garlic, of the wild rose, of the mountain ash?
Bless that good, good woman who hung the crucifix round my neck! For it is _omfort and a strength to me whenever I touch it. It is odd that a thing whic_ have been taught to regard with disfavour and as idolatrous should in a tim_f loneliness and trouble be of help. Is it that there is something in th_ssence of the thing itself, or that it is a medium, a tangible help, i_onveying memories of sympathy and comfort? Some time, if it may be, I mus_xamine this matter and try to make up my mind about it. In the meantime _ust find out all I can about Count Dracula, as it may help me to understand.
Tonight he may talk of himself, if I turn the conversation that way. I must b_ery careful, however, not to awake his suspicion.
Midnight.—I have had a long talk with the Count. I asked him a few question_n Transylvania history, and he warmed up to the subject wonderfully. In hi_peaking of things and people, and especially of battles, he spoke as if h_ad been present at them all. This he afterwards explained by saying that to _oyar the pride of his house and name is his own pride, that their glory i_is glory, that their fate is his fate. Whenever he spoke of his house h_lways said "we", and spoke almost in the plural, like a king speaking. I wis_ could put down all he said exactly as he said it, for to me it was mos_ascinating. It seemed to have in it a whole history of the country. He gre_xcited as he spoke, and walked about the room pulling his great whit_oustache and grasping anything on which he laid his hands as though he woul_rush it by main strength. One thing he said which I shall put down as nearl_s I can, for it tells in its way the story of his race.
"We Szekelys have a right to be proud, for in our veins flows the blood o_any brave races who fought as the lion fights, for lordship. Here, in th_hirlpool of European races, the Ugric tribe bore down from Iceland th_ighting spirit which Thor and Wodin game them, which their Berserker_isplayed to such fell intent on the seaboards of Europe, aye, and of Asia an_frica too, till the peoples thought that the werewolves themselves had come.
Here, too, when they came, they found the Huns, whose warlike fury had swep_he earth like a living flame, till the dying peoples held that in their vein_an the blood of those old witches, who, expelled from Scythia had mated wit_he devils in the desert. Fools, fools! What devil or what witch was ever s_reat as Attila, whose blood is in these veins?" He held up his arms. "Is it _onder that we were a conquering race, that we were proud, that when th_agyar, the Lombard, the Avar, the Bulgar, or the Turk poured his thousands o_ur frontiers, we drove them back? Is it strange that when Arpad and hi_egions swept through the Hungarian fatherland he found us here when h_eached the frontier, that the Honfoglalas was completed there?And when th_ungarian flood swept eastward, the Szekelys were claimed as kindred by th_ictorious Magyars, and to us for centuries was trusted the guarding of th_rontier of Turkeyland. Aye, and more than that, endless duty of the frontie_uard, for as the Turks say, `water sleeps, and the enemy is sleepless.' Wh_ore gladly than we throughout the Four Nations received the `bloody sword,'
or at its warlike call flocked quicker to the standard of the King? When wa_edeemed that great shame of my nation, the shame of Cassova, when the flag_f the Wallach and the Magyar went down beneath the Crescent?Who was it bu_ne of my own race who as Voivode crossed the Danube and beat the Turk on hi_wn ground? This was a Dracula indeed! Woe was it that his own unworth_rother, when he had fallen, sold his people to the Turk and brought the sham_f slavery on them! Was it not this Dracula, indeed, who inspired that othe_f his race who in a later age again and again brought his forces over th_reat river into Turkeyland, who, when he was beaten back, came again, an_gain, though he had to come alone from the bloody field where his troops wer_eing slaughtered, since he knew that he alone could ultimately triumph! The_aid that he thought only of himself. Bah! What good are peasants without _eader? Where ends the war without a brain and heart to conduct it? Again, when, after the battle of Mohacs, we threw off the Hungarian yoke, we of th_racula blood were amongst their leaders, for our spirit would not brook tha_e were not free. Ah, young sir, the Szekelys, and the Dracula as thei_eart's blood, their brains, and their swords, can boast a record tha_ushroom growths like the Hapsburgs and the Romanoffs can never reach. Th_arlike days are over. Blood is too precious a thing in these days o_ishonourable peace, and the glories of the great races are as a tale that i_old."
It was by this time close on morning, and we went to bed. (Mem., this diar_eems horribly like the beginning of the "Arabian Nights," for everything ha_o break off at cockcrow, or like the ghost of Hamlet's father.)
12 May.—Let me begin with facts, bare, meager facts, verified by books an_igures, and of which there can be no doubt. I must not confuse them wit_xperiences which will have to rest on my own observation, or my memory o_hem. Last evening when the Count came from his room he began by asking m_uestions on legal matters and on the doing of certain kinds of business. _ad spent the day wearily over books, and, simply to keep my mind occupied, went over some of the matters I had been examined in at Lincoln's Inn. Ther_as a certain method in the Count's inquiries, so I shall try to put them dow_n sequence. The knowledge may somehow or some time be useful to me.
First, he asked if a man in England might have two solicitors or more. I tol_im he might have a dozen if he wished, but that it would not be wise to hav_ore than one solicitor engaged in one transaction, as only one could act at _ime, and that to change would be certain to militate against his interest. H_eemed thoroughly to understand, and went on to ask if there would be an_ractical difficulty in having one man to attend, say, to banking, and anothe_o look after shipping, in case local help were needed in a place far from th_ome of the banking solicitor. I asked to explain more fully, so that I migh_ot by any chance mislead him, so he said,
"I shall illustrate. Your friend and mine, Mr. Peter Hawkins, from under th_hadow of your beautiful cathedral at Exeter, which is far from London, buy_or me through your good self my place at London. Good! Now here let me sa_rankly, lest you should think it strange that I have sought the services o_ne so far off from London instead of some one resident there, that my motiv_as that no local interest might be served save my wish only, and as one o_ondon residence might, perhaps, have some purpose of himself or friend t_erve, I went thus afield to seek my agent, whose labours should be only to m_nterest. Now, suppose I, who have much of affairs, wish to ship goods, say, to Newcastle, or Durham, or Harwich, or Dover, might it not be that it coul_ith more ease be done by consigning to one in these ports?"
I answered that certainly it would be most easy, but that we solicitors had _ystem of agency one for the other, so that local work could be done locall_n instruction from any solicitor, so that the client, simply placing himsel_n the hands of one man, could have his wishes carried out by him withou_urther trouble.
"But," said he,"I could be at liberty to direct myself. Is it not so?"
"Of course, " I replied, and "Such is often done by men of business, who d_ot like the whole of their affairs to be known by any one person."
"Good!" he said, and then went on to ask about the means of makin_onsignments and the forms to be gone through, and of all sorts o_ifficulties which might arise, but by forethought could be guarded against. _xplained all these things to him to the best of my ability, and he certainl_eft me under the impression that he would have made a wonderful solicitor, for there was nothing that he did not think of or foresee. For a man who wa_ever in the country, and who did not evidently do much in the way o_usiness, his knowledge and acumen were wonderful. When he had satisfie_imself on these points of which he had spoken, and I had verified all as wel_s I could by the books available, he suddenly stood up and said, "Have yo_ritten since your first letter to our friend Mr. Peter Hawkins, or to an_ther?"
It was with some bitterness in my heart that I answered that I had not, tha_s yet I had not seen any opportunity of sending letters to anybody.
"Then write now, my young friend," he said, laying a heavy hand on m_houlder, "write to our friend and to any other, and say, if it will pleas_ou, that you shall stay with me until a month from now."
"Do you wish me to stay so long?" I asked, for my heart grew cold at th_hought.
"I desire it much, nay I will take no refusal. When your master, employer, what you will, engaged that someone should come on his behalf, it wa_nderstood that my needs only were to be consulted. I have not stinted. Is i_ot so?"
What could I do but bow acceptance? It was Mr. Hawkins' interest, not mine, and I had to think of him, not myself, and besides, while Count Dracula wa_peaking, there was that in his eyes and in his bearing which made me remembe_hat I was a prisoner, and that if I wished it I could have no choice. Th_ount saw his victory in my bow, and his mastery in the trouble of my face, for he began at once to use them, but in his own smooth, resistless way.
"I pray you, my good young friend, that you will not discourse of things othe_han business in your letters. It will doubtless please your friends to kno_hat you are well, and that you look forward to getting home to them. Is i_ot so?" As he spoke he handed me three sheets of note paper and thre_nvelopes. They were all of the thinnest foreign post, and looking at them, then at him, and noticing his quiet smile, with the sharp, canine teeth lyin_ver the red underlip, I understood as well as if he had spoken that I shoul_e more careful what I wrote, for he would be able to read it. So I determine_o write only formal notes now, but to write fully to Mr. Hawkins in secret, and also to Mina, for to her I could write shorthand, which would puzzle th_ount, if he did see it. When I had written my two letters I sat quiet, reading a book whilst the Count wrote several notes, referring as he wrot_hem to some books on his table. Then he took up my two and placed them wit_is own, and put by his writing materials, after which, the instant the doo_ad closed behind him, I leaned over and looked at the letters, which wer_ace down on the table. I felt no compunction in doing so for under th_ircumstances I felt that I should protect myself in every way I could.
One of the letters was directed to Samuel F. Billington, No. 7, The Crescent, Whitby, another to Herr Leutner, Varna. The third was to Coutts & Co., London, and the fourth to Herren Klopstock & Billreuth, bankers, Buda Pesth. Th_econd and fourth were unsealed. I was just about to look at them when I sa_he door handle move. I sank back in my seat, having just had time to resum_y book before the Count, holding still another letter in his hand, entere_he room. He took up the letters on the table and stamped them carefully, an_hen turning to me, said,
"I trust you will forgive me, but I have much work to do in private thi_vening. You will, I hope, find all things as you wish." At the door h_urned, and after a moment's pause said, "Let me advise you, my dear youn_riend. Nay, let me warn you with all seriousness, that should you leave thes_ooms you will not by any chance go to sleep in any other part of the castle.
It is old, and has many memories, and there are bad dreams for those who slee_nwisely. Be warned! Should sleep now or ever overcome you, or be like to do, then haste to your own chamber or to these rooms, for your rest will then b_afe. But if you be not careful in this respect, then," He finished his speec_n a gruesome way, for he motioned with his hands as if he were washing them.
I quite understood. My only doubt was as to whether any dream could be mor_errible than the unnatural, horrible net of gloom and mystery which seeme_losing around me.
Later.—I endorse the last words written, but this time there is no doubt i_uestion. I shall not fear to sleep in any place where he is not. I hav_laced the crucifix over the head of my bed, I imagine that my rest is thu_reer from dreams, and there it shall remain.
When he left me I went to my room. After a little while, not hearing an_ound, I came out and went up the stone stair to where I could look ou_owards the South. There was some sense of freedom in the vast expanse, inaccessible though it was to me, as compared with the narrow darkness of th_ourtyard. Looking out on this, I felt that I was indeed in prison, and _eemed to want a breath of fresh air, though it were of the night. I a_eginning to feel this nocturnal existence tell on me. It is destroying m_erve. I start at my own shadow, and am full of all sorts of horribl_maginings. God knows that there is ground for my terrible fear in thi_ccursed place!I looked out over the beautiful expanse, bathed in soft yello_oonlight till it was almost as light as day. In the soft light the distan_ills became melted, and the shadows in the valleys and gorges of velvet_lackness. The mere beauty seemed to cheer me. There was peace and comfort i_very breath I drew. As I leaned from the window my eye was caught b_omething moving a storey below me, and somewhat to my left, where I imagined, from the order of the rooms, that the windows of the Count's own room woul_ook out. The window at which I stood was tall and deep, stone-mullioned, an_hough weatherworn, was still complete. But it was evidently many a day sinc_he case had been there. I drew back behind the stonework, and looke_arefully out.
What I saw was the Count's head coming out from the window. I did not see th_ace, but I knew the man by the neck and the movement of his back and arms. I_ny case I could not mistake the hands which I had had some many opportunitie_f studying. I was at first interested and somewhat amused, for it i_onderful how small a matter will interest and amuse a man when he is _risoner. But my very feelings changed to repulsion and terror when I saw th_hole man slowly emerge from the window and begin to crawl down the castl_all over the dreadful abyss, face down with his cloak spreading out aroun_im like great wings. At first I could not believe my eyes. I thought it wa_ome trick of the moonlight, some weird effect of shadow, but I kept looking, and it could be no delusion. I saw the fingers and toes grasp the corners o_he stones, worn clear of the mortar by the stress of years, and by thus usin_very projection and inequality move downwards with considerable speed, jus_s a lizard moves along a wall.
What manner of man is this, or what manner of creature, is it in the semblanc_f man? I feel the dread of this horrible place overpowering me. I am in fear, in awful fear, and there is no escape for me. I am encompassed about wit_errors that I dare not think of.
15 May.—Once more I have seen the count go out in his lizard fashion. He move_ownwards in a sidelong way, some hundred feet down, and a good deal to th_eft. He vanished into some hole or window. When his head had disappeared, _eaned out to try and see more, but without avail. The distance was too grea_o allow a proper angle of sight. I knew he had left the castle now, an_hought to use the opportunity to explore more than I had dared to do as yet.
I went back to the room, and taking a lamp, tried all the doors. They were al_ocked, as I had expected, and the locks were comparatively new. But I wen_own the stone stairs to the hall where I had entered originally. I found _ould pull back the bolts easily enough and unhook the great chains. But th_oor was locked, and the key was gone! That key must be in the Count's room. _ust watch should his door be unlocked, so that I may get it and escape. _ent on to make a thorough examination of the various stairs and passages, an_o try the doors that opened from them. One or two small rooms near the hal_ere open, but there was nothing to see in them except old furniture, dust_ith age and moth-eaten. At last, however, I found one door at the top of th_tairway which, though it seemed locked, gave a little under pressure. I trie_t harder, and found that it was not really locked, but that the resistanc_ame from the fact that the hinges had fallen somewhat, and the heavy doo_ested on the floor. Here was an opportunity which I might not have again, s_ exerted myself, and with many efforts forced it back so that I could enter.
I was now in a wing of the castle further to the right than the rooms I kne_nd a storey lower down. From the windows I could see that the suite of room_ay along to the south of the castle, the windows of the end room looking ou_oth west and south. On the latter side, as well as to the former, there was _reat precipice. The castle was built on the corner of a great rock, so tha_n three sides it was quite impregnable, and great windows were placed her_here sling, or bow, or culverin could not reach, and consequently light an_omfort, impossible to a position which had to be guarded, were secured. T_he west was a great valley, and then, rising far away, great jagged mountai_astnesses, rising peak on peak, the sheer rock studded with mountain ash an_horn, whose roots clung in cracks and crevices and crannies of the stone.
This was evidently the portion of the castle occupied by the ladies in bygon_ays, for the furniture had more an air of comfort than any I had seen.
The windows were curtainless, and the yellow moonlight, flooding in throug_he diamond panes, enabled one to see even colours, whilst it softened th_ealth of dust which lay over all and disguised in some measure the ravages o_ime and moth. My lamp seemed to be of little effect in the brillian_oonlight, but I was glad to have it with me, for there was a dread lonelines_n the place which chilled my heart and made my nerves tremble. Still, it wa_etter than living alone in the rooms which I had come to hate from th_resence of the Count, and after trying a little to school my nerves, I foun_ soft quietude come over me. Here I am, sitting at a little oak table wher_n old times possibly some fair lady sat to pen, with much thought and man_lushes, her ill-spelt love letter, and writing in my diary in shorthand al_hat has happened since I closed it last. It is the nineteenth century up-to- date with a vengeance. And yet, unless my senses deceive me, the old centurie_ad, and have, powers of their own which mere "modernity" cannot kill.
Later: The morning of 16 May.—God preserve my sanity, for to this I a_educed. Safety and the assurance of safety are things of the past. Whilst _ive on here there is but one thing to hope for, that I may not go mad, if, indeed, I be not mad already. If I be sane, then surely it is maddening t_hink that of all the foul things that lurk in this hateful place the Count i_he least dreadful to me, that to him alone I can look for safety, even thoug_his be only whilst I can serve his purpose. Great God! Merciful God, let m_e calm, for out of that way lies madness indeed. I begin to get new lights o_ertain things which have puzzled me. Up to now I never quite knew wha_hakespeare meant when he made Hamlet say, "My tablets! Quick, my tablets!
`tis meet that I put it down," etc., For now, feeling as though my own brai_ere unhinged or as if the shock had come which must end in its undoing, _urn to my diary for repose. The habit of entering accurately must help t_oothe me.
The Count's mysterious warning frightened me at the time. It frightens me mor_ot when I think of it, for in the future he has a fearful hold upon me. _hall fear to doubt what he may say!
When I had written in my diary and had fortunately replaced the book and pe_n my pocket I felt sleepy. The Count's warning came into my mind, but I too_leasure in disobeying it. The sense of sleep was upon me, and with it th_bstinacy which sleep brings as outrider. The soft moonlight soothed, and th_ide expanse without gave a sense of freedom which refreshed me. I determine_ot to return tonight to the gloom-haunted rooms, but to sleep here, where, o_ld, ladies had sat and sung and lived sweet lives whilst their gentle breast_ere sad for their menfolk away in the midst of remorseless wars. I drew _reat couch out of its place near the corner, so that as I lay, I could loo_t the lovely view to east and south, and unthinking of and uncaring for th_ust, composed myself for sleep. I suppose I must have fallen asleep. I hop_o, but I fear, for all that followed was startlingly real, so real that no_itting here in the broad, full sunlight of the morning, I cannot in the leas_elieve that it was all sleep.
I was not alone. The room was the same, unchanged in any way since I came int_t. I could see along the floor, in the brilliant moonlight, my own footstep_arked where I had disturbed the long accumulation of dust. In the moonligh_pposite me were three young women, ladies by their dress and manner. _hought at the time that I must be dreaming when I saw them, they threw n_hadow on the floor. They came close to me, and looked at me for some time, and then whispered together. Two were dark, and had high aquiline noses, lik_he Count, and great dark, piercing eyes, that seemed to be almost red whe_ontrasted with the pale yellow moon. The other was fair, as fair as can be, with great masses of golden hair and eyes like pale sapphires. I seeme_omehow to know her face, and to know it in connection with some dreamy fear, but I could not recollect at the moment how or where. All three had brillian_hite teeth that shone like pearls against the ruby of their voluptuous lips.
There was something about them that made me uneasy, some longing and at th_ame time some deadly fear. I felt in my heart a wicked, burning desire tha_hey would kiss me with those red lips.It is not good to note this down, les_ome day it should meet Mina's eyes and cause her pain, but it is the truth.
They whispered together, and then they all three laughed, such a silvery, musical laugh, but as hard as though the sound never could have come throug_he softness of human lips. It was like the intolerable, tingling sweetness o_aterglasses when played on by a cunning hand. The fair girl shook her hea_oquettishly, and the other two urged her on.
One said, "Go on! You are first, and we shall follow. Yours' is the right t_egin."
The other added, "He is young and strong. There are kisses for us all."
I lay quiet, looking out from under my eyelashes in an agony of delightfu_nticipation. The fair girl advanced and bent over me till I could feel th_ovement of her breath upon me. Sweet it was in one sense, honey-sweet, an_ent the same tingling through the nerves as her voice, but with a bitte_nderlying the sweet, a bitter offensiveness, as one smells in blood.
I was afraid to raise my eyelids, but looked out and saw perfectly under th_ashes. The girl went on her knees, and bent over me, simply gloating. Ther_as a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive, and a_he arched her neck she actually licked her lips like an animal, till I coul_ee in the moonlight the moisture shining on the scarlet lips and on the re_ongue as it lapped the white sharp teeth. Lower and lower went her head a_he lips went below the range of my mouth and chin and seemed to fasten on m_hroat. Then she paused, and I could hear the churning sound of her tongue a_t licked her teeth and lips, and I could feel the hot breath on my neck. The_he skin of my throat began to tingle as one's flesh does when the hand tha_s to tickle it approaches nearer, nearer. I could feel the soft, shiverin_ouch of the lips on the super sensitive skin of my throat, and the hard dent_f two sharp teeth, just touching and pausing there. I closed my eyes i_anguorous ecstasy and waited, waited with beating heart.
But at that instant, another sensation swept through me as quick as lightning.
I was conscious of the presence of the Count, and of his being as if lapped i_ storm of fury. As my eyes opened involuntarily I saw his strong hand gras_he slender neck of the fair woman and with giant's power draw it back, th_lue eyes transformed with fury, the white teeth champing with rage, and th_air cheeks blazing red with passion. But the Count! Never did I imagine suc_rath and fury, even to the demons of the pit. His eyes were positivel_lazing. The red light in them was lurid, as if the flames of hell fire blaze_ehind them. His face was deathly pale, and the lines of it were hard lik_rawn wires. The thick eyebrows that met over the nose now seemed like _eaving bar of white-hot metal. With a fierce sweep of his arm, he hurled th_oman from him, and then motioned to the others, as though he were beatin_hem back. It was the same imperious gesture that I had seen used to th_olves. In a voice which, though low and almost in a whisper seemed to cu_hrough the air and then ring in the room he said,
"How dare you touch him, any of you? How dare you cast eyes on him when I ha_orbidden it? Back, I tell you all! This man belongs to me! Beware how yo_eddle with him, or you'll have to deal with me."
The fair girl, with a laugh of ribald coquetry, turned to answer him. "Yo_ourself never loved. You never love!" On this the other women joined, an_uch a mirthless,hard, soulless laughter rang through the room that it almos_ade me faint to hear. It seemed like the pleasure of fiends.
Then the Count turned, after looking at my face attentively, and said in _oft whisper, "Yes, I too can love. You yourselves can tell it from the past.
Is it not so? Well, now I promise you that when I am done with him you shal_iss him at your will. Now go! Go! I must awaken him, for there is work to b_one."
"Are we to have nothing tonight?"said one of them, with a low laugh, as sh_ointed to the bag which he had thrown upon the floor, and which moved a_hough there were some living thing within it. For answer he nodded his head.
One of the women jumped forward and opened it. If my ears did not deceive m_here was a gasp and a low wail, as of a half smothered child. The wome_losed round, whilst I was aghast with horror. But as I looked, the_isappeared, and with them the dreadful bag. There was no door near them, an_hey could not have passed me without my noticing. They simply seemed to fad_nto the rays of the moonlight and pass out through the window, for I coul_ee outside the dim, shadowy forms for a moment before they entirely fade_way.
Then the horror overcame me, and I sank down unconscious.