The other day it was 20 Celsius and today it’s cold as hell. I told myself I’d go do something and get some exercise but instead I stayed inside with my heat on. Probably the wrong choice but I’m a real weenie about the cold.
I ordered a gorgeous copy of Carmilla that arrived in the mail today, so look forward to me adding that to the blog in our Dracula Daily afterparty. I need some fiction to sprinkle in between all the academic papers I need to read in the interests of completionism.
Dr. Lobotomy writes on the train to Galați that hypnotizing Mina took longer than usual the night before. She appears to still put Dracula in the belly of a ship, but the people onboard are busy shooting guns and yelling stuff. In my favorite part she says “What is this?” and holds her hands out as if she’s lifting something. Van Helsing says Dracula hasn’t made it to shore yet, but he might fly over as a bat overnight. Either way, it might buy them some time to catch up. Hopeful they check in and find he hasn’t gone anywhere in the morning, but the sun comes up before she can say much.
Later, the sun sets while the train is parked at a station, but hypnotizing Mina is even harder than before. Dr. Lobotomy wonders if losing her connection with Dracula means she might be making guesses to connect the dots, thereby misleading them. When hypnotized she talks about the sound of falling water, wind, and the howling of wolves, so Dracula’s probably left the boat, right?
Dr. Lobotomy writes on at 7 a.m. Apparently hypnotizing Mina got them more boat-like evidence so now I’m wondering about my previous confident assertion that Dracula is off the boat. She says she can hear cows and something else.
There’s a cute exchange where Van Helsing insists Mina go on explaining the other sound she heard in time for her to wake. She says it’s funny to hear him order her around like a bad child, but Van Helsing says he would rather be ordered around by her.
We jump to a journal by Mina where she talks about how she was brought to a hotel by Quincey because he doesn’t speak anything but English, which also made me laugh. So true, Quincey. The others run off to check on the docks and Arthur to pull diplomatic strings.
Next we get Jonathan who writes about going to the docks with Van Helsing and Dr. Lobotomy and talking to another folksy sailor who goes on and on. In summary the captain—Donelson—was creeped out by how well the trip went.
Apparently his Romanian deckhands wanted to throw Dracula’s coffin overboard. It had been brought on board by “a queer lookin’ old man.”
I had seen them speer at the fellow, and put out their twa fingers when they saw him, to guard against the evil eye. Man! but the supersteetion of foreigners is pairfectly rideeculous!
He’s just queer, boys. He’s not going to hurt you. That’s homophobic.
The Roumanians were wild, and wanted me right or wrong to take out the box and fling it in the river. I had to argy wi’ them aboot it wi’ a handspike
Is this guy Canadian?
They sailed super fast from England to Galați. As soon as they arrived the captain says that someone took the box, and he produces a receipt signed by Immanuel Hildesheim, and his address. The squad asks Hildesheim what’s up and get little information except that he was hired to sign for the box by a “Mr. de Ville” from London, which is still funny to me, and that someone named Petrof Skinsky took it and left. Both Hildesheim and Skinsky are paid with “English money,” which Skinsky uses to pay his rent before running off somewhere.
Our heroes, out of leads, put their heads together when someone runs up and tells them that Skinsky was discovered, dead, “inside the wall of the churchyard of St. Peter.” I put that in quotes because I don’t really understand how you can be in the wall of a churchyard, but maybe I’m missing something fundamental here. Anyway, Skinsky had his throat ripped out and we get this fun bit.
Those we had been speaking with ran off to see the horror, the women crying out “This is the work of a Slovak!”
European racism is something really special. It’s like I’m living in Helsinki again.
They go back to the hotel and consider letting Mina in on things again, which infuriates me. They agree that Dracula is probably in his box on another boat, going somewhere.
We go back to Mina’s journal. She collects everyone’s notes on her typewriter while insisting the boys take a nap. She comes upon some revelation and goes to the maps to validate her conclusion.
The next part is a memorandum by Mina, which is interesting. She reasons out why Dracula is traveling by water which amounts mostly to that, by land, he’s more likely to encounter human interference, even though he’s powerless except at night. So if he’s on water again now, on what water?
Putting a pin in that thought she goes back. Dracula sent an invoice to Varna to mislead our heroes while he seems to have been on the way to Galați all along. He also specifically set up Hildesheim to get him out of the boat before sunrise to funnel him away and off out of the hands of our heroes as fast as possible, and through customs without incident.
But what about Skinsky? Mina suspects that the person who accused the Slovaks of being responsible for his death reveals that he was probably known to deal with Slovaks, and part of his logistics chain out of Transylvania as well as back to it, so Dracula probably knew him, or at least of him.
When the box was on land, before sunrise or after sunset, he came out from his box, met Skinsky and instructed him what to do as to arranging the carriage of the box up some river. When this was done, and he knew that all was in train, he blotted out his traces, as he thought, by murdering his agent.
After consulting a map, Mina suspects that he’s probably going homeward via the Prut or Siret River. (Again I’m updating to their modern names.) In her hypnotized state, she spoke of the sound of cows and water, so it seems to validate the hypothesis.
Mina goes back to her journal after having read this memorandum to the class, and they all praise her and tell her how great she is, which she is. Mina is the true hero of this book.
The boys plan their next move. Arthur wants to commission a boat to go upriver, and Quincey wants to get horses to block off a land retreat. The party agrees to split up in proper JRPG fashion. Apparently Quincey also brought some guns to take out wolves. Dr. Lobotomy agrees to go with Quincey. Jonathan hesitates.
Of course he wanted to be with me; but then the boat service would, most likely, be the one which would destroy the … the … the … Vampire. (Why did I hesitate to write the word?)
Van Helsing agrees to stay with Mina to let Jonathan go if he pleases. Van Helsing and Mina will take the route that Jonathan took the first time to Dracula’s castle where they can get to work sanctifying it to really fuck shit up. Jonathan is horrified.
“Do you know what the place is? Have you seen that awful den of hellish infamy—with the very moonlight alive with grisly shapes, and every speck of dust that whirls in the wind a devouring monster in embryo? Have you felt the Vampire’s lips upon your throat?”
Have you felt Dracula’s lips upon your throat, Jonathan? You just conveniently left that part out in your version of events. When the brides bit him they didn’t even break skin so that doesn’t count.
Van Helsing conveniently reminds the reader that Jonathan wasn’t there to see what had to be done to purify Lucy’s tomb, so he doesn’t get what good it will do. Van Helsing reassures Jonathan that he’ll look after Lucy, but there’s too much work to do to stay behind and do nothing. Jonathan agrees but not until he cries about it.
How can women help loving men when they are so earnest, and so true, and so brave! And, too, it made me think of the wonderful power of money!
If you’d only gotten to be wives with Lucy while having your money men on the side. You would have been soooo rich.
Arthur has a steamboat ready to go and Quincey has half a dozen horses and dudes to go with. Van Helsing and Mina will get the train to Verești and then rent a carriage that they will drive the rest of the way themselves. They give Mina a revolver—hell yeah! She notes that she can’t carry a crucifix thanks to her curse, so now she has to carry a gun.
the weather is getting colder every hour, and there are snow-flurries which come and go as warnings.
Look at that! Weather in Romania!
Mina and Jonathan part, and Minda is terrified she’ll never see him again, but she does not cry! I bet Jonathan cried though.
We move to Jonathan writing in his journal. Apparently Arthur has driven steamboats before. They go with Mina’s suggestion that Dracula will be taking the Siret River, as it gets closer to his castle. Quincey and Dr. Lobotomy are going up beside it, with another pair of dudes to help with all the horses for half a day so it’s not obvious they are just bringing horses to get six people back with.
It is a wild adventure we are on.
Yeah, FINALLY. This is exciting after sitting around in Varna picking our noses for a week.
And so we enter the final act of our story. I only know a couple of details of how it goes. In my fujoshi heart I wouldn’t mind a second act of the sex prison shenanigans but I’m sure as most horror goes they’ll defeat the baddie and reestablish the status quo.
I am looking forward to splitting the perspectives and getting new different views on events again. Having all our writers in the same place isn’t as much fun.