Wednesday, May 20, 2009

20 May

Chapter 5 con't.
Letter from Lucy Westenra to Mina Murray

17, Chatham Street


My dearest Mina,

I must say you tax me very unfairly with being a bad correspondent. I wrote you 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-galleries and for walks and rides in the park. As to the tall, curly-haired man, I suppose it was the one who was with me at the last Pop. Someone has evidently been telling tales.

That was Mr. Holmwood. He often comes to see us, and he and Mamma get on very well 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 already engaged to Jonathan. He is an excellent parti, being handsome, well off, and of 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 comes now. I think he is one of the most resolute men I ever saw, and yet the most calm. He seems absolutely imperturbable. I can fancy what a wonderful power he must have over his patients. He has a curious habit of looking one straight in the face, as if trying to read one's thoughts. He tries this on very much with me, but I flatter myself he has got a tough nut to crack. I know that from my glass.

Do you ever try to read your own face? I do, and I can tell you it is not a bad study, and gives you more trouble than you can well fancy if you have never tried it.

He says that I afford him a curious psychological study, and I humbly think I do. I do not, as you know, take sufficient interest in dress to be able to describe the new fashions. Dress is a bore. That is slang again, but never mind. Arthur says that every day.

There, it is all out, Mina, we have told all our secrets to each other since we were children. We have slept together and eaten together, and laughed and cried 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 I think 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 to sit, and I would try to tell you what I feel. I do not know how I am writing this even to you. I am afraid to stop, or I should tear up the letter, and I don't want to stop, for I do so want to tell you all. Let me hear from you at once, and tell me all that you think about it. Mina, pray for my happiness.


P.S.--I need not tell you this is a secret. Goodnight again. L.


Matthew Slepin said...

Oh, Lucy. I wonder if she and Arthur end up happily ever after? :)

Prashant Varma said...

"He is only nine-and twenty" - that's a very German way of saying a number!

Wulf said...

Once upon a time, that was common in English (as were a few other oddities in number representation).

Genesis 11:24a, KJV: “And Nahor lived nine and twenty years…”

On a related note, the opening of the Gettysburg address: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

Also reminds me of Tolkien’s “Eleventy” :P

maurine said...

is arthur the man mr. holmswood introduced to lucy? i'm a little confused about whom she loves, and if arthur is that man, isn't he the one she was saying would be perfect for mina if she weren't already engaged? maybe i'm just not reading carefully enough.

by the way, english and german descend from the same language, despite all the romance borrowings in english, so it's not surprising that they would have similar oddities. :)

Michael said...

Lucy loves Arthur Holmwood. The man Arthur introduced Lucy to was Dr. John ("Jack") Seward. (Who in my opinion is way better for Mina than Jonathan is.)

Steerpike said...

A lot of the English language is of German origin (French coming later).

Interestingly my mum says "five and twenty past" when she is talking about the time (eg 9:25) but "twenty five" on all other occassions.

Really enjoying the feed. Many thanks !