I had a sunny week and it was beautiful and we’re now going into a rainy one and I’m already depressed. Rain is necessary but I’d prefer a three-days-on, two-days-off deal for summertime.

I feel like I talk about the weather a lot while keeping this journal, which makes it feel more odd when Dracula doesn’t seem to exist in a world with weather. How does it feel to endure in panic and terror while it’s sweltering hot, with the window to narrow for a good breeze? Does the castle keep an unholy chill year-round? What do the Romani do when it rains? Maybe every day is beautiful and I’d be even more depressed being stuck inside.

Anyway, we have a double today!*

June 25th

After being anxious all night long after encountering those non-con girls last time, Jonathan feels braver when the sun comes up. (He does note that the sun is warm, so that’s almost weather.) This line is really gorgeous:

When the sun grew so high this morning that it struck the top of the great gateway opposite my window, the high spot which it touched seemed to me as if the dove from the ark had lighted there.

Jonathan notes that all the terrible things that happen in the castle always happen at night. He’s never seen Dracula in daylight. What’s up with that? Jonathan considers getting into Dracula’s room, but if the door is always locked, could Jonathan get in through the window Dracula has been seen to climb out of? He decides to go for it and bids farewell to Mina and his boss in his journal, calling Hawkins “my faithful friend and second father.” Aww.

Blonde girl happily puts a hand to her mouth, appearing almost moved to tears

Jonathan’s journal picks up when he returns to his room after his adventure. Jonathan took his shoes off and wiggled sideways along the stones of the building. I admit I’m very impressed with him. Jonathan says it doesn’t take long, because he’s “excited,” which to me reads like “desperate and high on adrenaline.”

He makes it into Dracula’s room and is thrilled to discover Dracula is not there. In fact, the room doesn’t have much of anything in it, except:

The only thing I found was a great heap of gold in one corner—gold of all kinds, Roman, and British, and Austrian, and Hungarian, and Greek and Turkish money, covered with a film of dust, as though it had lain long in the ground. None of it that I noticed was less than three hundred years old. There were also chains and ornaments, some jewelled, but all of them old and stained.

This came up in the bonus chapter where Ken Gelder discussed Dracula as an antisemitic stereotype, in part due to his habit of hoarding wealth. I also realize now that Dracula’s treasure-hunting at the beginning of the book is a demonstration of his efforts to continue collecting and stashing wealth. While this seems like the kind of cheap get-rich-quick scheme that my stepfather would do, it seems to be going well for Dracula, making him the sexiest sugar daddy who ever unalived.

Jonathan can’t find a key to the bedroom door, but finds another door which is open and goes to a descending staircase. At the bottom is a tunnel, with a “deathly, sickly odour, the odour of old earth newly turned.” At the end of the tunnel is a door, ajar, that Jonathan pushes open to find a ruined chapel that “had evidently been used as a graveyard.” The soil had been dug up and put into the boxes that the Slovakians brought to the castle.

There’s no exit, but “in two places stairs leading to vaults.” I had to go look this up because I thought Dracula might have more treasure down there, and maybe you will appreciate this as well: these are essentially tombs. Check out this infographic about putting Queen Elizabeth into the vault under St George’s.

Graphic outlining the process of entombing Queen Elizabeth ii after her funeral in St. George's Chapel.

I stole this from the sun and I’m not putting a reference link because no one should go there on purpose.

Jonathan finds nothing in the first two vaults, but then, in the third, the iconic vampire scene.

There, in one of the great boxes, of which there were fifty in all, on a pile of newly dug earth, lay the Count! He was either dead or asleep, I could not say which—for the eyes were open and stony, but without the glassiness of death—and the cheeks had the warmth of life through all their pallor; the lips were as red as ever.

The note about his lips feels a little unnecessary. Why not give him a little kiss, Jonathan? Why are you always staring at his pretty red mouth?

Jonathan looks for signs of life, and finds none. He considers checking the body for keys but gets creeped out by the sense that Dracula had the look of hate in his dead eyes. Instead, he flees, and crawls back along the castle wall to his room.

That was a fun instalment. The past couple have been elegant and closed and it’s fun to think about the way you can do that in a novel of this format. A scene can be complete or incomplete in an epistolary tale, and both serve a purpose.

I thought we had another letter for today from Mina but I guess it was actually dated July rather than June. I definitely wrote down that there is an entry from Dr. Lobotomy today but pawing through my copy of the book, I can’t find it. Maybe I also misplaced a July entry into my own notes. Oh well!

*I guess this is a single after all.

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