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.
Mina Murray’s Journal
I am anxious, and it soothes me to express myself here. Writing in a journal is like whispering to oneself and listening at the same time. And when I write in shorthand symbols, it feels different from regular writing.
I am unhappy about Lucy and about Jonathan.
I had not heard from Jonathan for some time, and was very concerned. But yesterday, dear Mr. Hawkins, who is always so kind, sent me a letter from him. I had written to Mr. Hawkins asking if he had heard anything, and he sent me a note with a letter that he had just received from Jonathan. It is simply dated and addressed from Castle Dracula, and one line of writing that says he is just setting off towards home. That is not like Jonathan. I do not understand it, and it makes me uneasy.
Then, too, Lucy, although she is so well, has lately fallen back into her old habit of walking in her sleep. Her mother has spoken to me about it, and we have decided that I will lock the door of our room every night. Mrs. Westenra seems to believe that sleepwalkers will always try to go out on roofs of houses or walk along the edges of cliffs, and then suddenly wake up before falling over with a cry of despair that echoes all over the place. Poor dear. She is naturally anxious about Lucy, and she tells me that her husband, Lucy’s father, had the same habit. If nobody stopped him, he would get up in the night, dress himself, and go out.
Lucy is getting married in the autumn, and she is already planning out her dresses and how her house will be decorated. I sympathize with her because I daydream about the same things. The only difference is that Jonathan and I will start in a very simple way, and we will both work hard to make a living.
Mr. Arthur Holmwood, the only son of Lord Godalming, is coming here. He will be here as soon as he can—his father is not very well, so it’s hard for him to leave—and I think dear Lucy is counting down the minutes until he comes. She wants to take him up to the seat on the churchyard cliff and show him the beauty of Whitby. I daresay that it is the waiting that is driving her crazy. Her sleep walking should be cured when he arrives.
No news from Jonathan. I am getting quite uneasy about him. I’m not sure exactly why I feel so uneasy, but I really wish that he would write, even if were only a single line.
Lucy is sleep walking more than ever, and each night I wake up to her moving around the room. Fortunately, the weather is so hot that she won’t catch a cold, but even so, I feel anxious about her sleep walking and it’s beginning to stress me out. It’s making me restless.
Thank God that Lucy’s health is fine. Mr. Holmwood was supposed to come, but his father’s condition suddenly worsened. Lucy is upset about the postponement of seeing him, but the stress doesn’t show on her beautiful face. She used to be quite pale, but recently her skin glows, and her cheeks are a lovely rose color.
Another week gone, and no news from Jonathan, not even to Mr. Hawkins. Oh, I hope he is not ill. He surely would have written. I look at that last letter of his, but somehow it just makes me worry more. It doesn’t seem like something he would write, and yet, it is his writing. There is no mistake of that.
Lucy has not walked much in her sleep in the last week, but there is an odd concentration about her which I do not understand. Even in her sleep, she seems to be watching me. She tries to open the door, and seeing that it’s locked, walks around the room searching for the key.
Another three days, and no news. This suspense is getting dreadful. If I only knew where to write to or where to go to, but I don’t know where he is. No one has heard a word from Jonathan since that last letter. I must only pray to God for patience.
Lucy is more excitable than ever, but is otherwise well.
Last night’s weather was very threatening, and the fishermen say that a storm is headed towards us. I must try to watch it and learn the weather signs. Today is a gray day, and the sun is hidden in thick clouds. Everything is grey, except for the green grass, which seems to shine like emeralds in contrast to the sky and water. The sea is tumbling in over the sand with a roar. The horizon is lost in a gray mist. All is vastness. The clouds are piled up like giant rocks. Dark figures are walking on the beach here and there, halfway shrouded in the mist. The fishing boats are racing home, rising and dipping over the waves.
Here comes old Mr. Swales. He is walking straight for me, and I can see, by the way he lifts his hat, that he wants to talk…
I have been quite moved by the change in the poor old man. When he sat down beside me, he said in a very gentle way:
“I want to say something to you, miss.” I could see that he was not at ease, so I took his poor old wrinkled hand in mine and asked him to speak. So leaving his hand in mine, he said:
“I’m afraid, my dear, that I must have shocked you with all the wicked things I’ve been saying about the dead, and everything, for the past few weeks. But I didn’t mean it. And I want you to remember that when I’m gone. We old folks are so close to death that we already have one foot in the grave, and we don’t like to think about it. We don’t want to be scared of it. That’s why I make fun of death and such. It cheers up my heart a bit. But God bless you, miss. I am not afraid of dying. Not a bit. I only don’t want to die if it can be avoided. My time is close to the end. A hundred years is too much for any man to expect. I’m so near death that the grim reaper is already sharpening his scythe. You see! There I go again, making fun of it! Some day soon the Angel of Death will sound his trumpet for me. But don’t feel bad for me, my dear!”—he noticed that I was crying—“if he came for me this very night, I wouldn’t try to run away. There is no purpose in life except waiting for the next step. And death is the only thing that we can be sure of. But I’m content. It’s coming for me, my dear, and coming quick. Look! Look!” he cried suddenly. “There’s something in that wind! It looks, and tastes, and smells like death. It’s in the air. I feel it coming. Lord, make me cheerful when my time comes!”
He held up his arms devoutly, and raised his hat. His mouth moved as though he were giving a silent prayer. After a few minutes of silence, he got up, shook my hands, and blessed me. Then he said goodbye and hobbled away.
It all moved me, and upset me very much.
I was glad when the coastguard came along. He stopped to talk with me, as he always does, but he never stopped looking at a strange ship in the distance.
“I can’t make out that ship,” he said. “She’s a Russian ship, by the look of her, but she’s rocking around in a strange way. Doesn’t she see that storm coming? She seems like she can’t decide whether to go north to the open sea or to dock here. Look there! She is being steered very strangely! It’s like there isn’t anyone at the steering wheel at all. Like she’s just blowing in the wind. Well, I guess we will have to wait and see what happens to her.”