Monday, May 4, 2009

4 May

Chapter 1 con't.
Jonathan Harker's Journal

4 May — I found that my landlord had got a letter from the Count, directing him to secure the best place on the coach for me; but on making inquiries as to details he seemed somewhat reticent, and pretended that he could not understand my German. This could not be true, because up to then he had understood it perfectly; at least, he answered my questions exactly as if he did. He and his wife, the old lady who had received me, looked at each other in a frightened sort of way. He mumbled out that the money had been sent in a letter, and that was all he knew. When I asked him if he knew Count Dracula, and could tell me anything of his castle, both he and his wife crossed themselves, and, saying that they knew nothing at all, simply refused to speak further. It was so near the time of starting that I had no time to ask any one else, for it was all very mysterious and not by any means comforting.

Just before I was leaving, the old lady came up to my room and said in a very hysterical way:
"Must you go? Oh! Young Herr, must you go?" She was in such an excited state that she seemed to have lost her grip of what German she knew, and mixed it all up with some other language which I did not know at all. I was just able to follow her by asking many questions. When I told her that I must go at once, and that I was engaged 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?" On my saying that I did not understand, she went on:
"It is the eve of St. George's Day. Do you not know that to-night, when the clock strikes midnight, all the evil things in the world will have full sway? Do you know where you are going, and what you are going to?" She was in such evident distress that I tried to comfort her, but without effect. Finally she went down on her knees and implored me not to go; at least to wait a day or two before starting. It was all very ridiculous but I did not feel comfortable. However, there was business to be done, and I could allow nothing to interfere with it. I therefore tried to raise her up, and said, as gravely as I could, that I thanked her, but my duty was imperative, and that I must go. She then rose and dried her eyes, and taking a crucifix from her neck offered it to me. I did not know what to do, for, as an English Churchman, I have been taught to regard such things as in some measure idolatrous, and yet it seemed so ungracious to refuse an old lady meaning so well and in such a state of mind. She saw, I suppose, the doubt in my face, for she put the rosary round my neck, and said, "For your mother's sake," and went out of the room. I am writing up this part of the diary whilst I am waiting for the coach, which, is, of course, late; and the crucifix is still round my neck. Whether it is the old lady's fear, or the many ghostly traditions of this place, or the crucifix itself, I do not know, but I am not feeling nearly as easy in my mind as usual. If this book should ever reach Mina before I do, let it bring my good-bye. Here comes the coach!

17 comments:

Lisa Miller said...

I read Chapter 1 of Dracula yesterday and was bothered by the white text on black background. Thanks for changing to black on light bg, much easier to read.

I'm enjoying rereading a wonderful old novel. Thank you for implementing the concept of "reading in realtime".

Whitney Sorrow said...

Yeah, a few people had commented, so I changed it. Hope this is better for everyone.

The Wednesday Weekly said...

This is a fantastic Idea. Great way to use the blogspot to highlight literature.

Ian said...

Thanks for doing this. I've never actually read Dracula...this is a great way to read it.

Sorta said...

Thank you for this!

Jennifer said...

What a fun idea! I loved this book in high school and now it's cool to read it again blog-style. ;)

17 beats. said...

the first time i read this i was far too young. thank you for reminding me how much i love this piece.

Kukla said...

Great idea. So Whitty. Is it a coincidence that the eve of St.George's Day and Cinco de Mayo are one in the same? It's in the BloOg.

Gatton said...

I really like this idea. I assume you will be posting right up to November 6th? I suppose it will be a bit like reading Dickens or Fitzgerald when their works were being serialized. Thanks and I look forward to reading along with everyone else.

Krig the Viking said...

This is a brilliant idea. Dracula is one of those books I've always wanted to read, but never got around to. I'm excited to have found this early on, to get the full real-time effect!

K. D. Cline said...

This is a great project. I have subscribed to the RSS and will enjoy every installment.

Thanks!

Nicola said...

Hi Whitney

I'm a school librarian and I'm going to get a class reading this. Trouble is our school system doesn't like RSS feeds. Is there anyway of putting up a subscribe by email?

thanks Nicola, Bath UK

Whitney Sorrow said...

@Nicola,
I looked into it and found that feedburner offers a 'subscribe by email' service. I have added it to my page — you will find it on the right side of the page by the other subscription options. Your students will have to visit the page and individually sign up to receive email updates.
Hope this helps.

Oliver said...

very cool, thank you!

CrazyCris said...

Hmmm... isn't St George's Day on April 25th? I didn't notice this inconsistency the first time I read it.

Michel Daw said...

Jonathan would have taken about 3 minutes to jot this down in his journal while waiting for the coach to arrive. (See my comment of May 3 for the rationale)

rduht said...
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