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Chapter 5 Letter from Miss Mina Murray to Miss Lucy Westenra

  • 9 May.
  • My dearest Lucy,
  • Forgive my long delay in writing, but I have been simply overwhelmed wit_ork. The life of an assistant schoolmistress is sometimes trying. I a_onging to be with you, and by the sea, where we can talk together freely an_uild our castles in the air. I have been working very hard lately, because _ant to keep up with Jonathan's studies, and I have been practicing shorthan_ery assiduously. When we are married I shall be able to be useful t_onathan, and if I can stenograph well enough I can take down what he wants t_ay in this way and write it out for him on the typewriter, at which also I a_racticing very hard.
  • He and I sometimes write letters in shorthand, and he is keeping _tenographic journal of his travels abroad. When I am with you I shall keep _iary in the same way. I don't mean one of those two-pages-to-the-week-with- Sunday-squeezed-in-a-corner diaries, but a sort of journal which I can writ_n whenever I feel inclined.
  • I do not suppose there will be much of interest to other people, but it is no_ntended for them. I may show it to Jonathan some day if there is in i_nything worth sharing, but it is really an exercise book. I shall try to d_hat I see lady journalists do, interviewing and writing descriptions an_rying to remember conversations. I am told that, with a little practice, on_an remember all that goes on or that one hears said during a day.
  • However, we shall see. I will tell you of my little plans when we meet. I hav_ust had a few hurried lines from Jonathan from Transylvania. He is well, an_ill be returning in about a week. I am longing to hear all his news. It mus_e nice to see strange countries. I wonder if we, I mean Jonathan and I, shal_ver see them together. There is the ten o'clock bell ringing. Goodbye. You_oving Mina
  • Tell me all the news when you write. You have not told me anything for a lon_ime. I hear rumours, and especially of a tall, handsome, curly-haired man.???
  • LETTER, LUCY WESTENRA TO MINA MURRAY
  • 17, Chatham Street
  • Wednesday
  • My dearest Mina,
  • I must say you tax me very unfairly with being a bad correspondent. I wrot_ou twice since we parted, and your last letter was only your second. Besides, I have nothing to tell you. There is really nothing to interest you.
  • Town is very pleasant just now, and we go a great deal to picture-gallerie_nd for walks and rides in the park. As to the tall, curly-haired man, _uppose it was the one who was with me at the last Pop. Someone has evidentl_een telling tales.
  • That was Mr. Holmwood. He often comes to see us, and he and Mamma get on ver_ell together, they have so many things to talk about in common.
  • We met some time ago a man that would just do for you, if you were not alread_ngaged to Jonathan. He is an excellant parti, being handsome, well off, an_f good birth. He is a doctor and really clever. Just fancy! He is only nine- and twenty, and he has an immense lunatic asylum all under his own care. Mr.
  • Holmwood introduced him to me, and he called here to see us, and often come_ow. I think he is one of the most resolute men I ever saw, and yet the mos_alm. He seems absolutely imperturbable. I can fancy what a wonderful power h_ust have over his patients. He has a curious habit of looking one straight i_he face, as if trying to read one's thoughts. He tries this on very much wit_e, but I flatter myself he has got a tough nut to crack. I know that from m_lass.
  • Do you ever try to read your own face? I do, and I can tell you it is not _ad study, and gives you more trouble than you can well fancy if you hav_ever tried it.
  • He says that I afford him a curious psychological study, and I humbly think _o. I do not, as you know, take sufficient interest in dress to be able t_escribe the new fashions. Dress is a bore. That is slang again, but neve_ind. Arthur says that every day.
  • There, it is all out, Mina, we have told all our secrets to each other sinc_e were children. We have slept together and eaten together, and laughed an_ried together, and now, though I have spoken, I would like to speak more. Oh, Mina, couldn't you guess? I love him. I am blushing as I write, for although _hink he loves me, he has not told me so in words. But, oh, Mina, I love him.
  • I love him! There, that does me good.
  • I wish I were with you, dear, sitting by the fire undressing, as we used t_it, and I would try to tell you what I feel. I do not know how I am writin_his even to you. I am afraid to stop, or I should tear up the letter, and _on't want to stop, for I do so want to tell you all. Let me hear from you a_nce, and tell me all that you think about it. Mina, pray for my happiness.
  • Lucy
  • P. S.—I need not tell you this is a secret. Goodnight again. L.
  • LETTER, LUCY WESTENRA TO MINA MURRAY
  • 24 May
  • My dearest Mina,
  • Thanks, and thanks, and thanks again for your sweet letter. It was so nice t_e able to tell you and to have your sympathy. My dear, it never rains but i_ours. How true the old proverbs are. Here am I, who shall be twenty i_eptember, and yet I never had a proposal till today, not a real proposal, an_oday I had three. Just fancy! Three proposals in one day! Isn't it awful! _eel sorry, really and truly sorry, for two of the poor fellows. Oh, Mina, _m so happy that I don't know what to do with myself. And three proposals!
  • But, for goodness' sake, don't tell any of the girls, or they would be gettin_ll sorts of extravagant ideas, and imagining themselves injured and slighte_f in their very first day at home they did not get six at least. Some girl_re so vain! You and I, Mina dear, who are engaged and are going to settl_own soon soberly into old married women, can despise vanity. Well, I mus_ell you about the three, but you must keep it a secret, dear, from every on_xcept, of course, Jonathan. You will tell him, because I would, if I were i_our place, certainly tell Arthur. A woman ought to tell her husban_verything. Don't you think so, dear? And I must be fair. Men like women, certainly their wives, to be quite as fair as they are. And women, I a_fraid, are not always quite as fair as they should be.
  • Well, my dear, number One came just before lunch. I told you of him, Dr. Joh_eward, the lunatic asylum man, with the strong jaw and the good forehead. H_as very cool outwardly, but was nervous all the same. He had evidently bee_chooling himself as to all sorts of little things, and remembered them, bu_e almost managed to sit down on his silk hat, which men don't generally d_hen they are cool, and then when he wanted to appear at ease he kept playin_ith a lancet in a way that made me nearly scream. He spoke to me, Mina, ver_traightfordwardly. He told me how dear I was to him, though he had known m_o little, and what his life would be with me to help and cheer him. He wa_oing to tell me how unhappy he would be if I did not care for him, but whe_e saw me cry he said he was a brute and would not add to my present trouble.
  • Then he broke off and asked if I could love him in time, and when I shook m_ead his hands trembled, and then with some hesitation he asked me if I care_lready for any one else. He put it very nicely, saying that he did not wan_o wring my confidence from me, but only to know, because if a woman's hear_as free a man might have hope. And then, Mina, I felt a sort of duty to tel_im that there was some one. I only told him that much, and then he stood up, and he looked very strong and very grave as he took both my hands in his an_aid he hoped I would be happy, and that If I ever wanted a friend I mus_ount him one of my best.
  • Oh, Mina dear, I can't help crying, and you must excuse this letter being al_lotted. Being proposed to is all very nice and all that sort of thing, but i_sn't at all a happy thing when you have to see a poor fellow, whom you kno_oves you honestly, going away and looking all broken hearted, and to kno_hat, no matter what he may say at the moment, you are passing out of hi_ife. My dear, I must stop here at present, I feel so miserable, though I a_o happy.
  • Evening.
  • Arthur has just gone, and I feel in better spirits than when I left off, so _an go on telling you about the day.
  • Well, my dear, number Two came after lunch. He is such a nice fellow, an_merican from Texas, and he looks so young and so fresh that it seems almos_mpossible that he has been to so many places and has such adventures. _ympathize with poor Desdemona when she had such a stream poured in her ear, even by a black man. I suppose that we women are such cowards that we think _an will save us from fears, and we marry him. I know now what I would do if _ere a man and wanted to make a girl love me. No, I don't, for there was Mr.
  • Morris telling us his stories, and Arthur never told any, and yet …
  • My dear, I am somewhat previous. Mr. Quincy P. Morris found me alone. It seem_hat a man always does find a girl alone. No, he doesn't, for Arthur trie_wice to make a chance, and I helping him all I could, I am not ashamed to sa_t now. I must tell you beforehand that Mr. Morris doesn't always speak slang, that is to say, he never does so to strangers or before them, for he is reall_ell educated and has exquisite manners, but he found out that it amused me t_ear him talk American slang, and whenever I was present, and there was no on_o be shocked, he said such funny things. I am afraid, my dear, he has t_nvent it all, for it fits exactly into whatever else he has to say. But thi_s a way slang has. I do not know myself if I shall ever speak slang. I do no_now if Arthur likes it, as I have never heard him use any as yet.
  • Well, Mr. Morris sat down beside me and looked as happy and jolly as he could, but I could see all the same that he was very nervous. He took my hand in his, and said ever so sweetly …
  • "Miss Lucy, I know I ain't good enough to regulate the fixin's of your littl_hoes, but I guess if you wait till you find a man that is you will go joi_hem seven young women with the lamps when you quit. Won't you just hitch u_long-side of me and let us go down the long road together, driving in doubl_arness?"
  • Well, he did look so hood humoured and so jolly that it didn't seem half s_ard to refuse him as it did poor Dr. Seward. So I said, as lightly as _ould, that I did not know anything of hitching, and that I wasn't broken t_arness at all yet. Then he said that he had spoken in a light manner, and h_oped that if he had made a mistake in doing so on so grave, so momentous, an_ccasion for him, I would forgive him. He really did look serious when he wa_aying it, and I couldn't help feeling a sort of exultation that he was numbe_wo in one day. And then, my dear, before I could say a word he began pourin_ut a perfect torrent of lovemaking, laying his very heart and soul at m_eet. He looked so earnest over it that I shall never again think that a ma_ust be playful always, and never earnest, because he is merry at times. _uppose he saw something in my face which checked him, for he suddenl_topped, and said with a sort of manly fervour that I could have loved him fo_f I had been free …
  • "Lucy, you are an honest hearted girl, I know. I should not be here speakin_o you as I am now if I did not believe you clean grit, right through to th_ery depths of your soul. Tell me, like one good fellow to another, is ther_ny one else that you care for? And if there is I'll never trouble you _air's breadth again, but will be, if you will let me, a very faithfu_riend."
  • My dear Mina, why are men so noble when we women are so little worthy of them?
  • Here was I almost making fun of this great hearted, true gentleman. I burs_nto tears, I am afraid, my dear, you will think this a very sloppy letter i_ore ways than one, and I really felt very badly.
  • Why can't they let a girl marry three men, or as many as want her, and sav_ll this trouble? But this is heresy, and I must not say it. I am glad to sa_hat, though I was crying, I was able to look into Mr. Morris' brave eyes, an_ told him out straight …
  • "Yes, there is some one I love, though he has not told me yet that he eve_oves me." I was right to speak to him so frankly, for quite a light came int_is face, and he put out both his hands and took mine, I think I put them int_is, and said in a hearty way …
  • "That's my brave girl. It's better worth being late for a chance of winnin_ou than being in time for any other girl in the world. Don't cry, my dear. I_t's for me, I'm a hard nut to crack, and I take it standing up. If that othe_ellow doesn't know his happiness, well, he'd better look for it soon, o_e'll have to deal with me. Little girl, your honesty and pluck have made me _riend, and that's rarer than a lover, it's more selfish anyhow. My dear, I'_oing to have a pretty lonely walk between this and Kingdom Come. Won't yo_ive me one kiss? It'll be something to keep off the darkness now and then.
  • You can, you know, if you like, for that other good fellow, or you could no_ove him, hasn't spoken yet."
  • That quite won me, Mina, for it was brave and sweet of him, and noble too, t_ rival, wasn't it? And he so sad, so I leant over and kissed him.
  • He stood up with my two hands in his, and as he looked down into my face, I a_fraid I was blushing very much, he said, "Little girl, I hold your hand, an_ou've kissed me, and if these things don't make us friends nothing ever will.
  • Thank you for your sweet honesty to me, and goodbye." He wrung my hand, an_aking up his hat, went straight out of the room without looking back, withou_ tear or a quiver or a pause, and I am crying like a baby.
  • Oh, why must a man like that be made unhappy when there are lots of girl_bout who would worship the very ground he trod on? I know I would if I wer_ree, only I don't want to be free My dear, this quite upset me, and I feel _annot write of happiness just at once, after telling you of it, and I don'_ish to tell of the number Three until it can be all happy. Ever your loving … Lucy
  • P. S.—Oh, about number Three, I needn't tell you of number Three, need I?
  • Besides, it was all so confused. It seemed only a moment from his coming int_he room till both his arms were round me, and he was kissing me. I am very, very happy, and I don't know what I have done to deserve it. I must only tr_n the future to show that I am not ungrateful to God for all His goodness t_e in sending to me such a lover, such a husband, and such a friend.
  • Goodbye.
  • DR. SEWARD'S DIARY (Kept in phonograph)
  • 25 May.—Ebb tide in appetite today. Cannot eat, cannot rest, so diary instead.
  • since my rebuff of yesterday I have a sort of empty feeling. Nothing in th_orld seems of sufficient importance to be worth the doing. As I knew that th_nly cure for this sort of thing was work, I went amongst the patients. _icked out one who has afforded me a study of much interest. He is so quain_hat I am determined to understand him as well as I can. Today I seemed to ge_earer than ever before to the heart of his mystery.
  • I questioned him more fully than I had ever done, with a view to making mysel_aster of the facts of his hallucination. In my manner of doing it there was, I now see, something of cruelty. I seemed to wish to keep him to the point o_is madness, a thing which I avoid with the patients as I would the mouth o_ell.
  • (Mem., Under what circumstances would I not avoid the pit of hell?) Omni_omae venalia sunt. Hell has its price! If there be anything behind thi_nstinct it will be valuable to trace it afterwards accurately, so I ha_etter commence to do so, therefore …
  • R. M, Renfield, age 59. Sanguine temperament, great physical strength, morbidly excitable, periods of gloom, ending in some fixed idea which I canno_ake out. I presume that the sanguine temperament itself and the disturbin_nfluence end in a mentally-accomplished finish, a possibly dangerous man, probably dangerous if unselfish. In selfish men caution is as secure an armou_or their foes as for themselves. What I think of on this point is, when sel_s the fixed point the centripetal force is balanced with the centrifugal.
  • When duty, a cause, etc., is the fixed point, the latter force is paramount, and only accident of a series of accidents can balance it.
  • LETTER, QUINCEY P. MORRIS TO HON. ARTHUR HOLMWOOD
  • 25 May.
  • My dear Art,
  • We've told yarns by the campfire in the prairies, and dressed one another'_ounds after trying a landing at the Marquesas, and drunk healths on the shor_f Titicaca. There are more yarns to be told, and other wounds to be healed, and another health to be drunk. Won't you let this be at my campfire tomorro_ight? I have no hesitation in asking you, as I know a certain lady is engage_o a certain dinner party, and that you are free. There will only be on_ther, our old pal at the Korea, Jack Seward. He's coming, too, and we bot_ant to mingle our weeps over the wine cup, and to drink a health with all ou_earts to the happiest man in all the wide world, who has won the nobles_eart that God has made and best worth winning. We promise you a heart_elcome, and a loving greeting, and a health as true as your own right hand.
  • We shall both swear to leave you at home if you drink too deep to a certai_air of eyes. Come!
  • Yours, as ever and always,
  • Quincey P. Morris
  • TELEGRAM FROM ARTHUR HOLMWOOD TO QUINCEY P. MORRIS
  • 26 May
  • Count me in every time. I bear messages which will make both your ears tingle.
  • Art