I’m writing from home again and no longer from my TTRPG workshop in the woods which was weirdly affirming and mind-blowing and I learned a lot about myself. It was kinda crazy. I did not encounter any ghosts, thankfully.
ANYWAY, May has been busy and now the rest of the month will (hopefully) be more relaxed. Instead of reading two Dracula Dailies at a time, I’ve decided to read this one right away since it seems pretty long and I’ve got the time while I recover from where the abyss stared back at me in the woods (there was love in its eyes).
I had to look back to be sure that we’ve gotten two letters from Lucy in a row. If Mina sent a letter in reply to the last one, we aren’t being permitted to read it. Lucy opens by thanking Mina for her sweet letter, which is not for our eyes I guess.
Lucy complains that she will be twenty in December and has never gotten a proposal, and then received three in one day. THREE! Lucy is thrilled by this but warns Mina not to tell “any of the other girls” which I assume are mutual friends, lest they be jealous or have grandiose assumptions about how they might get six proposals “on their first day home” (where are they?).
Some girls are so vain! You and I, Mina dear, who are engaged and are going to settle down soon soberly into old married women, can despise vanity.
I wanna give Lucy a hard time about this “not like other girls” bullshit but also I understand that Lucy and Mina are already kind of in their own little world.
Men like women, certainly their wives, to be quite as fair as they are; and women, I am afraid, are not always quite as fair as they should be.
Never mind, I take it back. She needs to unlearn her misogyny.
Lucy decides to confide in Mina about her three suitors and their proposals. The first is Dr. John Seward, “the lunatic-asylum man” which is a hilarious and sad way to refer to someone. Dr. Seward is cute and anxious and sits on his hat before proposing, but Lucy cries and turns him down. He asks if she has someone else in her heart and she says “maybe.” The lobotomy husband takes her by the hands, wishes her the best, and hopes she’ll count on him as a friend. Lucy, to her credit, feels terrible about turning him down, and stops to take a break in her letter.
Lucy’s second suitor is a kind American from Texas who “looks so young and so fresh” that she can’t believe “he has been so many places and has had such adventures.”
I sympathise with poor Desdemona when she had such a dangerous stream poured in her ear, even by a black man. I suppose that we women are such cowards that we think a man will save us from fears, and we marry him. I know now what I would do if I were a man and wanted to make a girl love me.
Where do I even start with this.
I kind of love that Lucy seems to be the ditzy idiot to Mina’s dedicated stability, but I feel like what Lucy really needs is not a husband but to buy a pair of pants and a deerstalker cap and leave high society for adventure and become the next Calamity Jane.
There are actually a few points in this letter where she writes blah blah and then “No, not that.” Which is pretty endearing I must admit.
So this Texan is Mr. Quincey P. Morris and I’d turn him down for having that name alone. Lucy says that Quincey doesn’t always speak in “American slang” but often does so because it amuses her. Lucy wonders if she’ll ever speak slang, which seems like a weird thing to say.
Quincey is peppy when he proposes in heavy southern twang, so Lucy seems able to shoot him down without hesitation. The proposal happens in metaphor of hitching horses. So to make sure he’s clear Quincey goes all out and confesses all of his feelings directly before stopping himself and asking Lucy if she has eyes for someone else. If so, he’ll walk away and hope to be a friend to her. Lucy regrets not being more gentle with his feelings, no matter how cheerful he might have seemed at first.
My dear Mina, why are men so noble when we women are so little worthy of them?
Have you ever thought Lucy that maybe it’s just you?
Why can’t they let a girl marry three men, or as many as want her, and save all this trouble? But this is heresy, and I must not say it.
You should say it, though. But I doubt you want to marry all of these dudes. One husband will do to fund your life with your platonic life partner, Mina. Besides, she’ll have lawyer money coming in on her end.
I made fun of Quincey’s name but he actually seems like a cool dude. Lucy writes his dialogue verbatim and he’s very empowering and encouraging that she follow her heart, and wishes her luck with the man she’s in love with. Our bro Quincey puts his hat on and walks out with his head held high. Meanwhile, Lucy is bawling writing this letter and says she cannot bear to write a letter about her third happy proposal.
…Except that she does, in a postscript, vaguely. Who can remember what happened except for joy and smooches and whatever?
Lucy needs to unpack her internalized misogyny but I do enjoy her as a character. She’s kind of funny and single-minded in the way that those Victorian maidens in fiction so often are, concerned with romance and marriage more than anything else. Surely nothing could possibly go wrong for her now, right?
I’m curious about what this chapter offers to the story. I believe our lobotomy doctor is due back, and it would make sense if Lucy’s fiance returns as well, but what about the cowboy?
Reading this story in chronological order reveals something interesting in this sequence of events. While Jonathan is narrowly escaping the predatory love of three hot and ghostly ladies, Lucy has her pick of the litter when it comes to respectable gentlemen. The contrast of these two events is not quite symmetrical which makes me wonder if it was intentional (Lucy chooses one of her three suitors while all of Jonathan’s succubi are chased off by his predatory husband) but it seems a bit too similar to be coincidence.
I hope Stoker does more of this kind of thing.
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