I want to open this one by saying that I’ve discovered that by cat meat, Jonathan wasn’t saying he eats cats. He was talking about a dude who sells leftover butcher meat for cats. A cat meat man. Probably stinky but wow, what a job. The meat is sold on skewers so the kebab comparison is valid. Animal cruelty aside, Jonathan is still pretty racist.
I’ve also been informed that his name is Jonathan and another character shows up later named John so I don’t even know what to do about that but I’ll leave the errors of my ways permanent on my former chapters. (Thank you to thebibi on tumblr.)
I’m a freelance writer/editor for the most part and right now I have a pile of manuscripts that need reading. I imagine I’ll be through it all before the month is out (only to have more show up in my email after. Oh god every day I get emails) but it makes it hard to read anything at the moment without mentally editing everything. Actually “at the moment” is modest. In a way, editing has ruined my life. I can’t read anything without mentally adding suggested changes. For example:
“I have to be absent for a while. Do not wait for me.—D.”
Why format this as a quote and keep the quotation marks as well???
I looked in my own copy of the book and discovered that this is just formatted with quotation marks in the prose, so the quote formatting is from Dracula Daily alone. I realize nobody cares but me, but this is my life now.
Anyway, Jonathan wakes up and finds a cold breakfast and hot coffee waiting for him with the note above. He looks for a bell to call for servants and discovers that there isn’t one. How strange! He notes that everything is super expensive-looking and well cared for but that there’s not a mirror in the place. Jonathan is shy about snooping through the castle but he’s also bored, so he finds a library and is thrilled to see stuff there in English.
The books were of the most varied kind—history, geography, politics, political economy, botany, geology, law—all relating to England and English life and customs and manners. There were even such books of reference as the London Directory, the “Red” and “Blue” books, Whitaker’s Almanac, the Army and Navy Lists, and—it somehow gladdened my heart to see it—the Law List.
We’ve got a proper Anglophile here friends.
Dracula arrives and is happy to talk about the books. He claims to have learned English purely by reading about London. This is insane and Jonathan is also disbelieving considering how good Dracula’s English is, but the count is modest. He says that if he went to London, “none there are who would not know me for a stranger.” In other words, anyone would know he wasn’t a local. Dracula wants to be socially unremarkable.
Here I am noble; I am boyar; the common people know me, and I am master. But a stranger in a strange land, he is no one; men know him not—and to know not is to care not for. I am content if I am like the rest, so that no man stops if he see me, or pause in his speaking if he hear my words, ‘Ha, ha! a stranger!’ I have been so long master that I would be master still—or at least that none other should be master of me.
Reading the Vampire talks about this theme quite a lot; how Dracula is a threat because he wants to belong to no country, no nation. I find this interesting because it’s bizarre to imagine such a thing being an issue in our globalized society now. There’s certainly value in being able to speak without an accent so people don’t feel the need to hesitate in conversing with you, so people don’t ask where you’re from, but the “master” stuff is what boggles me more. I’m a lifelong poor person who currently spends about 75% of my income on rent and utilities. People come and go from my circles all the time. The idea that he could be wealthy and join society in London without a ripple seems far-fetched. I don’t know what it’s like to have money, but Dracula is a boyar, the next rank down from a prince. He’s old money, and old money is an institution, especially in England. He wants to slip into society like he always belonged there, unremarkable, and yet also be known for his nobility. It seems like a contradiction to me.
Dracula asks Jonathan to coach him in English. Jonathan is like “sure, can I swing by later,” and Dracula says “ok” and says Jonathan can go anywhere in the castle where the door is not locked. He adds that Transylvania is not England and that Jonathan might have already seen some–and I paraphrase here–bonkers-ass shit. Jonathan asks about some of the bonkers shit from May 5th and notes that Dracula sometimes dodges the subject by “pretending” not to understand.
Dracula says that the blue lights he saw on the road before are a matter of superstition that says treasure is hidden nearby. The lights appear on that night only–St. George’s Day. Since so many people had fought over those lands in the past, it was likely that many bodies were around with potentially valuable possessions. Jonathan asks how such things might still be there after all these years and Dracula calls the local peasants cowards and idiots for not taking advantage of the lovely spirits of St. George’s Day. And where would they even know to look for them after dawn? This then explains why he was marking those spots with stone rings, and where he was all morning. Is he new money after all?
Dracula asks Jonathan about the property he has apparently already bought in London, specifically in Purfleet. Jonathan notes that Dracula seems to know the area better than he does as a born and raised (I assume) Londoner. Jonathan describes the place as a spooky rundown mansion.
The estate is called Carfax, no doubt a corruption of the old Quatre Face, as the house is four-sided, agreeing with the cardinal points of the compass.
The city I live in is called Halifax, after a town in the UK. I’ve always wondered what that “fax” could mean. Now googling it it seems like Carfax is from French and Halifax is from Old English for “holy hair,” But I don’t know if anyone reading this cares about that so let’s move on.
Anyway so this house is huge, on 20 acres, super spooky, in disrepair, and near to a chapel as well as an insane asylum. Dracula loves it. He eventually wanders off to do something and Johnathan goes back to the library and finds and atlas showing London with some locations marked, Dracula’s new home among them.
Dracula summons him for dinner, again refusing to eat himself saying he did so while he was out. He keeps Jonathan up late talking about whatever the fuck. When the sun rises and the rooster crows, Dracula leaps to his feet and skedaddles, leaving Jonathan to write in his diary and not get laid. Too bad vampires can’t bang into the morning I suppose.
I forgot until now that vampires can’t be out during the day so I suppose Dracula was sleeping and not out digging up buried treasure. I’m not very good at this “knowing long-established folklore that everyone knows” stuff, I guess. God, can I even call myself a pervert?
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