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.
From Samuel F. Billington & Son, Solictors, Whitby,
To Carter, Paterson & Co., London,
Please receive the goods sent by Great Northern Railway. We ask you to deliver it directly to Carfax Mansion immediately after it is received at King’s Cross. The house at Carfax is presently empty, but we have enclosed the keys, all of which are labeled.
Please deposit the 50 boxes in the partially ruined building that is marked “A” on the enclosed diagram. Your agent will easily recognize the building because it is the ancient chapel of the mansion.
The goods will leave by train at 9:30 tonight, and will be due at King’s Cross at 4:30 tomorrow afternoon. Our client wishes the delivery be made as soon as possible. We trust that you will have a team ready at King’s Cross at the time so it can be taken care of immediately.
In order to avoid any delays, we have enclosed the payment by check. If the charge is less than this amount, you can return the remaining balance. If the charge is greater, we will send another check as soon as we hear from you.
When you have made the deliver, please leave the keys in the main hall of the house, where the owner may get them when he returns with his duplicate key.
I apologize and thank you for the sudden demand of your speedy services.
Samuel F. Billington & Son
From Carter, Paterson & Co., London,
To Billington & Son, Whitby,
Thank you for your advance payment. We have enclosed a check of the extra balance, as shown in the receipt. The goods have been delivered exactly as you requested, and the keys have been left in a parcel in the main hall, as directed.
Carter, Paterson & Co.
Mina Murray’s Journal.
I am happy today, and I am writing while sitting on the seat in the churchyard. Lucy is so much better. Last night, she slept well and did not disturb me once. The roses seem to be coming back to her cheeks, although she is still a little pale and tired looking. If she were anemic, I could understand it, but she is not. She is happy and cheerful.
She has just reminded me (as if I needed any reminding!) of THAT night. She reminded me that it was here, on this very seat, where I found her asleep. As she told me, she playfully tapped the heel of her boot against the stone slab and said:
“My poor little feet didn’t make much noise then! I daresay, poor old Mr. Swales would have joked that I was barefoot because I didn’t want to wake up Geordie.”
She was in such a good mood that I asked her if she had dreamed at all THAT night. Before she answered, a sweet look came over her face. That is the face that her Arthur always says he loves. Then, she went on dreamily, as if trying to remember it:
“I didn’t quite dream, but it all seemed to be real. I only wanted to be here in this spot. I don’t know why. I was afraid of something, but I don’t know what. I remember, even as I was sleep walking, I was passing through the streets and over the bridge. A fish leaped as I crossed the bridge. I leaned over to look at it, and I heard a lot of dogs howling. The whole town seemed to be full of dogs all howling at once. I went up the steps. Then, I had a vague memory of something long and dark with red eyes. And then something very sweet and bitter all around me. And then, I seemed to be sinking into deep green water, and there was a singing in my ears. And then, everything seemed to be passing away from me, like my soul was leaving my body and floating in the air. Suddenly, I remembered where I was and I felt like there was an earthquake. I came back to my body and found you shaking me. I saw you shaking me before I felt you shaking me.”
Then, she began to laugh. It seemed a little strange to me, and I listened to her breathlessly. I didn’t like it. I didn’t want her to think about it, so I changed the subject.
When we got home, a fresh breeze passed and Lucy’s cheeks looked more rosy again. Her mother was happy when she saw her, and we all spent a very happy evening together.
Joy, joy, joy! Although not all joy.
At last, news of Jonathan! My dear Jonathan has been ill. That is why he did not write.
But finally, I’ve gotten a letter from Jonathan! And a letter from dear Mr. Hawkins as well.
From Sister Agatha, Hospital of St. Joseph and Mary, Budapest,
To Miss Mina Murray,
Dear Miss Murray,
I am writing for Mr. Jonathan Harker, who is not strong enough to write on his own. He is progressing well, thanks to God and St. Joseph and Mary. He has been under our care for nearly six weeks, suffering from a terrible brain fever.
He wishes to convey his love to Mina Murray. He also wants to apologize to Mr. Peter Hawkins for his delay and say that all of the work is completed.
He will require a few more weeks of rest in our hospital in the hills, but after that, he will return.
Unfortunately, he does not have sufficient money with him, so we ask that you pay for his stay, so that the hospital can have enough money to take care of other patients who need help.
Yours, with sympathy and blessings,
Now that my patient is asleep, I would like to continue this letter to tell you more. Mr. Jonathan Harker has told me all about you, and that you will soon be his wife. All blessing to you both! He has had some fearful shock and in his delirium, he has said some dreadful things. He told us stories of wolves and poison and blood, of ghosts and demons.
I don’t know what to think of his stories. Be careful with him always. Do not excite him with anything of this kind for a long time. The traces of such illusions do not die away easily. We should have written to you long ago, but we knew nothing of his friends, and no one could understand him. He came by train from Klausenburg. The station master say that he rushed into the station shouting for a ticket home. Seeing his violent demeanor, they gave him a ticket for the furthest station away.
Rest assured that we are taking good care of him. He has won all our hearts by his sweetness and gentleness. His condition is truly improving. I have no doubt that he will be himself in a few weeks. But be careful of him for safety’s sake. There are, I pray, many, many happy years ahead for both of you.
Dr. Seward’s Diary.
There was a strange and sudden change in Renfield last night. At about eight o’clock, he began to get excited and sniff around like a dog. The attendant was disturbed by his manner, but encouraged him to talk.
Renfield is usually respectful to the attendants and mostly obedient. But tonight, the attendant tells me, he was quite arrogant. He refused to talk with him. All he would say was:
“I don’t want to talk to you. You don’t count now. The Master is at hand.”
The attendant thinks it is some sudden form of religious mania which has seized him. If so, we must keep an eye on him. A strong man with both homicidal and religious mania at the same time might become dangerous. The combination is a dreadful one.
At nine o’clock, I visited him myself. His attitude towards me was the same as to the attendant. He treated us the same. It looks like some sort of religious mania and soon he will think of himself as God.
These madmen give themselves away so easily! A real God would show grace towards a fallen sparrow, but these men who think they are God are vain. They can’t even see the difference between a sparrow and an eagle, or an attendant and a doctor!
For half an hour or more, Renfield kept getting more and more excited. I observed him very closely the whole time.
All at once, that shifty look came into his eyes, like when a madman has seized an idea. The shifty movement spread to his head and back. He became quiet, and he sat of the edge of his bed, and looked into space with dull eyes.
I wasn’t sure if it was all an act or not, so I tested him by asking about his pets. That is a subject that never fails to grab his attention. At first, he didn’t reply to me, but after a while, he said:
“Forget them all! I don’t care at all about them.”
“What?” I said. “You don’t mean to tell me that you don’t care about spiders?” (At present, spiders are his hobby and the notebook is filled up with columns of small figures related to the spiders.) To this, he answered:
“The bride maidens rejoice. The eyes are waiting for the coming of the bride. But when the bride comes close, the maidens will be ignored by the eyes.”
He would not explain himself or the meaning of this. He sat still on his bed the whole time that I remained with him.
I am tired tonight and in low spirits. I cannot stop thinking about Lucy. How different things might have been if she had accepted my proposal. If I don’t sleep tonight, I will take some sleeping pills. I must be careful not to let it grow into a habit. No! I won’t take any pills tonight. I have thought of Lucy, and I will not dishonor her by mixing pills with my memory of her. If I cannot fall asleep without the pills, then tonight will be sleepless.
I’m glad that I made the resolution not to take the pills, and I’m even gladder that I kept to the resolution. I had tossed and turned in bed. I heard the clock strike two when the night watchman came to my room to inform me that Renfield had escaped.
I threw on my clothes and ran down at once. My patient is too dangerous to be roaming about in public. Those ideas of his might be dangerous with strangers. The attendant was waiting for me. He said he had seen Renfield only ten minutes before, seemingly asleep in his bed, when he had looked through the observation window in the door.
When the attendant heard the sound of the window being wrenched out, he ran back and saw Renfield’s feet disappearing through the window, and had immediately sent the guard to get me.
The escaped patient is in his pajamas and he cannot be far away yet. The attendant thought it would be more useful to watch where he went rather than to follow him, because we might lose sight of him while trying to get out of the building.
I had a different idea. I followed him out of the window so that I wouldn’t lose sight of him. With the attendant’s help, I got out of the window, and feet first, I jumped down to the ground. The window isn’t high up, so I landed safely. The attendant said that the patient had gone to the left, so I ran in that direction as quickly as I could. As I passed a few trees, I saw a white figure scaling the high wall which separates our asylum from the neighboring house. I was too late!
I ran back at once, told the watchman to get three or four men immediately to follow me to the grounds of the Carfax mansion.
I got a ladder myself. I crossed the wall and dropped down to the other side. I could see Renfield’s figure just disappearing behind the house, so I ran after him. On the far side of the house, I found him pressed up against the old oak door of the chapel. He was talking, apparently, to someone. I was afraid to go near enough to hear what he was saying because I didn’t want him to notice me and run off again.
After a few moments, I could see that he wasn’t paying attention to his surroundings, so I carefully stepped closer to him. I heard him say:
“I am here to do your bidding, Master. I am your slave, and you will reward me, because I will be faithful. I have worshipped you for a long time from far away. Now that you are near, I await your commands. You will not pass me by, will you? Dear Master, please give me good things.”
He is a selfish old beggar, isn’t he. He thinks of rewards even when he believes he is in the presence of a real god. His mania is very odd. When the guards finally closed in on him, he fought like a tiger. He is immensely strong because he acted more like a wild beast than a man. I never saw a lunatic with such rage before. And I hope I will never see such a scene again. It is a mercy that we have found out his strength and his danger when we had four guards on our side.
He is safe now, at any rate. We have him in a strait-jacket that keeps him restrained. He’s also chained to the wall in a padded room. His cries are awful at times, but the silences that follow are even more frightening because his every movement holds an intention of murder.
Just now, he spoke coherent words for the first time:
“I will be patient, Master. It is coming. Coming. Coming!”
I went back to my room. I was too excited to sleep, but this diary has quieted me. I feel like I will finally get some sleep tonight.