This is the dark tale of Count Dracula, told through chilling journal entries. It starts with Jonathan Harker’s visit to the Count’s castle.
I learned that the hotel owner got a separate letter from Count Dracula, insisting that I get the best seat on the coach. But when the owner talked to me about it, he seemed resistant and he pretended that he could not understand my German. I’m sure that he could understand me, since we were having a conversation back and forth. He and his wife, the old lady who greeted me, looked at each other in a frightened sort of way. He mumbled that there had been money sent with the letter, but he wouldn’t say anything more.
When I asked him if he knew Count Dracula or anything about his castle, both he and his wife looked as each other stiffly and said that they knew nothing at all. They simply refused to speak. It was all so mysterious and it wasn’t comforting at all.
Anyway, my departure time was approaching. I didn’t have time to ask anyone else any questions.
Just as I was getting ready to leave, the old lady came up to my room and said in a very hysterical way:
“Must you go? Oh! Young gentleman, must you go?” She was in such a panic that she seemed to have been mixing languages together and I could hardly understand anything that she was saying. I was only able to understand her by asking many questions. When I told her that I must go at once because I was on important business, she asked again:
“Do you know what day it is?”
I answered that it was the fourth of May. She shook her head and said again:
“Oh, yes. I know that! I know that, but do you know what day it is?”
I told her that I didn’t understand, and so she said:
“It is the eve of St. George’s Day. Don’t you know that tonight, when the clock strikes midnight, all the evil things in the world will run free? Do you know where you are going, and what you are going to?” She was so distressed that I tried to comfort her, but she brushed me off.
Finally, she got down on her knees and begged me not to go, or at least to wait a day or two before starting the journey. It was all very ridiculous, but it made me feel uncomfortable.
However, there was business to be done. I couldn’t allow anything to interfere with it. Therefore, I tried to pull her up to her feet, and said, as gravely as I could, “Thank you, but my work is imperative, and I must go.”
She then stood up and dried her eyes. She took the necklace off of her neck and offered it to me. The necklace had a Christian crucifix on it—the symbol of Jesus Christ. I didn’t know what to do. Of course, I’m an English man who goes to church, but I have been taught that such items are just superstitious. And yet, it seemed so ungracious to refuse an old lady, especially since she was trying to show compassion and she was so distressed.
She saw, I suppose, the doubt in my face. Without waiting for me to accept it, she put the necklace around my neck and said, “For your mother’s sake,” and left the room.
I am writing this diary while I wait for the coach to arrive. Of course, it’s late.
The crucifix is still around my neck. I don’t know whether it is the old lady’s fear, or the many ghostly traditions of this place, or the crucifix itself, but I feel very uneasy. Mina, I hope to see you again as soon as possible.
Here comes the coach!