Jonathan Harker's Journal - The Castle - May 7th

It is again early morning, but I have rested and enjoyed the last twenty-four hours. I slept till late in the day, and awoke of my own accord. When I had dressed myself I went into the room where we had supped, and found a cold breakfast laid out, with coffee kept hot by the pot being placed on the hearth. There was a card on the table, on which was written:—

“I have to be absent for a while. Do not wait for me.—D.” I set to and enjoyed a hearty meal. When I had done, I looked for a bell, so that I might let the servants know I had finished; but I could not find one.

There has been a loss of a day between Jonathan's last entry and now.  It seems that he slept through most of May 6th.  But didn't note this as something strange.  In fact, his refusal to see ANYTHING strange about Dracula and his home is really disturbing.  I wonder if Dracula has had him under some kind of hypnosis/spell.  So he makes no fuss over the fact that there are no mirrors anywhere to be seen in the castle, no servants running the large household or that there are plenty of locked doors.  And again, he doesn't question that Dracula never eats food.

On this day, Jonathan tells us of his first long meeting with night, of course.  They at first discuss the events that Jonathan experienced on the way to the castle.  Dracula tells him that the strange lights he saw in the dark were indications of secret, buried treasure.  Dracula states that they only appear on one night a year (apparently St. George's Day), and the local Peasantry refuse to venture out to search for this treasure.  Dracula's nasty, sharp toothed smile over the cowardly peasants is a little frightening.  They also discuss the large property that Dracula has purchased in Purfleet, Carfax Abbey, a suburb near London.  Jonathan admits that the house his firm purchased for Dracula is very old.  And by the sound of it, not in the best of shape.  Not only is situated quite close to the local Asylum.  But this does nothing to dampen Dracula's rather morbid and predatory excitement about his new home.

“I am glad that it is old and big. I myself am of an old family, and to live in a new house would kill me. A house cannot be made habitable in a day; and, after all, how few days go to make up a century. I rejoice also that there is a chapel of old times. We Transylvanian nobles love not to think that our bones may lie amongst the common dead. I seek not gaiety nor mirth, not the bright voluptuousness of much sunshine and sparkling waters which please the young and gay. I am no longer young; and my heart, through weary years of mourning over the dead, is not attuned to mirth. Moreover, the walls of my castle are broken; the shadows are many, and the wind breathes cold through the broken battlements and casements. I love the shade and the shadow, and would be alone with my thoughts when I may.” Somehow his words and his look did not seem to accord, or else it was that his cast of face made his smile look malignant and saturnine.

Dracula leaves Jonathan with some excuse that Jonathan does not explain.  In the meantime Jonathan, reads some of the many English books that Dracula has in his library.  He also notices that Dracula has a map of the area of his new home with Purfleet, Exeter, Whitby and London all circled.  Dracula returns to Jonathan later and joins him for dinner (which he does not eat).  He keeps his guest up all night urging him to discuss England, its culture and its history.  They both retire at dawn.

Extra Fun:

The lights that Jonathan mentions are known as St. Elmo's Fire.  According to this website, How Stuff works, St. Elmo's fire is a common enough weather related phenomenon.  It was first noted by Sailors who were disturbed by it because it messed up their compass readings.  The weather event is related to lightening.  It can be seen anywhere from water, to man made light posts, and to open fields.

Purfleet:  Apparently the area Stoker described as Dracula's new home had some basis in fact.  Read all about it at this UK Website, Thurrock.

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