Jonathan starts off today talking about food which sounds like kebab and he compares to “London cat meat.” I don’t think this man can get any worse. He’s racist, sexist, and eats cats.
Also I wanted to stop and note how last time the landlady gave John a crucifix and he, an adherent of the Church of London, balked. She insisted and he took it anyway but truly what a horror to be in Catholic/Orthodox country.
He overhears some people talking about him and checks his dictionary to discover they’re saying spooky stuff about witches and vampires. By the sounds of it all of town comes to make the sign of the cross at John, which he does not understand. Finally the driver hops in the coach and they get a move on. John gawks at the scenery like he’s writing a travel log, which he is. He remarks that the coach is speeding along and as the night comes in even the other travellers are urging him to go faster. In an awkward and ill-fitting aside, they all give John presents and cross themselves.
They seem to arrive early at their destination and are eager to take off asap when someone (our hero I assume) pulls up behind the coach in what I can only assume is the Mercedes-Benz of carriages, as John seems impressed.
They were driven by a tall man, with a long brown beard and a great black hat, which seemed to hide his face from us. I could only see the gleam of a pair of very bright eyes, which seemed red in the lamplight, as he turned to us.
Dracula(?) calls the coachman out on being too early.
As he spoke he smiled, and the lamplight fell on a hard-looking mouth, with very red lips and sharp-looking teeth, as white as ivory.
The coach takes off in a hurry and the new guy I described above says he’s here to fetch John for his master, the count, so I guess this sexy dude is not Dracula at all, but I am suspicious now. Why such cool descriptions?
He gives John a coat, a blanket, booze, and speaks in good German. John is weirdly uncomfortable but he doesn’t know why. He suspects he’s being taken in circles, checks his watch and is spooked that it’s almost midnight. There’s a noisy ruckus of dogs and wolves howling which also spooks the horses, but ignoring the howls the driver takes John on a fresh path.
Along the way John spots a blue flame in the woods and the driver leaves the carriage to see to it and do…something with rocks. This happens over and over, leaving John disoriented and confused. At one point he leaves for some time and the wolves stop howling only to show up and eyeball John and the horses. It gets so tense that John calls the driver and he scares off the wolves.
At this point John I doubt the dick is going to be worth it.
But finally we approach the spooky castle and there’s a wise chapter break. When I was skimming this book before starting this LR I noticed a lot of these perspectives cut up, and I suspect this was where the serialized chapters ended in magazines. Serialized magazines rule. I’d say we should bring them back but that’s why we have newsletters.
For not the first time John suspects that he is asleep to have missed the cool castle approach.
When the calèche stopped, the driver jumped down and held out his hand to assist me to alight. Again I could not but notice his prodigious strength. His hand actually seemed like a steel vice that could have crushed mine if he had chosen.
This has got to be the man himself, right? Then we have this suspicious line:
Then he took out my traps, and placed them on the ground beside me[…]
What in the world does he mean by “traps” here? Googling “Dracula trap” gets me lots of music suggestions and a Venus fly trap named after the man himself. If you have an answer to this question, leave a comment. Wrong answers also welcome. Later in the paragraph the driver takes off “trap and all,” so keep that in mind for your wrong answers.
John is abandoned outside this spooky house in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night and has a minor crisis because he can’t figure out how to get in or even knock and be heard.
Was this a customary incident in the life of a solicitor’s clerk sent out to explain the purchase of a London estate to a foreigner? Solicitor’s clerk! Mina would not like that. Solicitor—for just before leaving London I got word that my examination was successful; and I am now a full-blown solicitor!
And now we know what John is really doing here. Of course in the name of the evolution of language I still choose to believe that John is here for a different kind of “solicitation.”
John decides to wait until morning to figure out the rest and I hope this dick (or paycheck) is huge for such a resolution. But before he can sleep on the step, the door opens.
Within, stood a tall old man, clean shaven save for a long white moustache, and clad in black from head to foot, without a single speck of colour about him anywhere.
So he really is a sugar daddy! And he speaks in English to welcome John inside and to make himself at home. I like this image here:
He made no motion of stepping to meet me, but stood like a statue, as though his gesture of welcome had fixed him into stone.
Reminds me of an automated thing. I love it.
John, like me, wonders if this guy is also the driver and asks to be sure if he is Dracula, and our man confesses that he is. Dracula carries in John’s luggage and “traps” because he says his people are asleep. He guides John deep into the castle to a dining room ready for dinner and shows John into his room. John is thrilled and Dracula leaves him be to take a break before dinner. The hospitality and room have John feeling much better.
In the dining room Dracula says he won’t eat. John gives him a letter from his boss and Dracula reads it and shows it to him after, revealing a flattering picture of John himself. Seems he’s very popular with the boys as his boss, Hawkins, offers him on a silver platter.
He is a young man, full of energy and talent in his own way, and of a very faithful disposition. He is discreet and silent, and has grown into manhood in my service. He shall be ready to attend on you when you will during his stay, and shall take your instructions in all matters.
John eats, they talk about the trip, and sit by a fire and Dracula gives John a cigar as John eyeballs his new keeper. Dracula seems to have a very interesting but “cruel-looking” face, but then John looks at his hands which seem to be disappointing and squat compared to the fine thin rest of him.
The nails were long and fine, and cut to a sharp point. As the Count leaned over me and his hands touched me, I could not repress a shudder. It may have been that his breath was rank, but a horrible feeling of nausea came over me, which, do what I would, I could not conceal. The Count, evidently noticing it, drew back; and with a grim sort of smile, which showed more than he had yet done his protuberant teeth, sat himself down again on his own side of the fireplace.
Not a great first impression for a hookup but that’s how it is sometimes when you actually meet them in person. Regardless, I find the pointy nails thing really cool! What I don’t find cool is capitalizing “Count” all the time (it should only be done for a title when the title is said in full according to Chicago Manual of Style).
The sun starts to rise and Dracula puts John to bed and John prays for his life in terror because he’s a racist little bastard.
This was a long long entry because the log crosses a chapter break. There will be others that go this long but the big and the short ones are spaced out pretty well until the end. October-November is a busy time in Dracula.
Next time: they fuck?