Part 2 out of 9
your beautiful England, I to some work which may have such an end that
we may never meet. Your letter home has been despatched. Tomorrow I
shall not be here, but all shall be ready for your journey. In the
morning come the Szgany, who have some labours of their own here, and
also come some Slovaks. When they have gone, my carriage shall come
for you, and shall bear you to the Borgo Pass to meet the diligence
from Bukovina to Bistritz. But I am in hopes that I shall see more of
you at Castle Dracula."
I suspected him, and determined to test his sincerity. Sincerity! It
seems like a profanation of the word to write it in connection with
such a monster, so I asked him point-blank, "Why may I not go
"Because, dear sir, my coachman and horses are away on a mission."
"But I would walk with pleasure. I want to get away at once."
He smiled, such a soft, smooth, diabolical smile that I knew there was
some trick behind his smoothness. He said, "And your baggage?"
"I do not care about it. I can send for it some other time."
The Count stood up, and said, with a sweet courtesy which made me rub
my eyes, it seemed so real, "You English have a saying which is close
to my heart, for its spirit is that which rules our boyars, 'Welcome
the coming, speed the parting guest.' Come with me, my dear young
friend. Not an hour shall you wait in my house against your will,
though sad am I at your going, and that you so suddenly desire it.
Come!" With a stately gravity, he, with the lamp, preceded me down
the stairs and along the hall. Suddenly he stopped. "Hark!"
Close at hand came the howling of many wolves. It was almost as if
the sound sprang up at the rising of his hand, just as the music of a
great orchestra seems to leap under the baton of the conductor. After
a pause of a moment, he proceeded, in his stately way, to the door,
drew back the ponderous bolts, unhooked the heavy chains, and began to
draw it open.
To my intense astonishment I saw that it was unlocked. Suspiciously,
I looked all round, but could see no key of any kind.
As the door began to open, the howling of the wolves without grew
louder and angrier. Their red jaws, with champing teeth, and their
blunt-clawed feet as they leaped, came in through the opening door. I
knew than that to struggle at the moment against the Count was
useless. With such allies as these at his command, I could do
But still the door continued slowly to open, and only the Count's body
stood in the gap. Suddenly it struck me that this might be the moment
and means of my doom. I was to be given to the wolves, and at my own
instigation. There was a diabolical wickedness in the idea great
enough for the Count, and as the last chance I cried out, "Shut the
door! I shall wait till morning." And I covered my face with my
hands to hide my tears of bitter disappointment.
With one sweep of his powerful arm, the Count threw the door shut, and
the great bolts clanged and echoed through the hall as they shot back
into their places.
In silence we returned to the library, and after a minute or two I went
to my own room. The last I saw of Count Dracula was his kissing his
hand to me, with a red light of triumph in his eyes, and with a smile
that Judas in hell might be proud of.
When I was in my room and about to lie down, I thought I heard a
whispering at my door. I went to it softly and listened. Unless my
ears deceived me, I heard the voice of the Count.
"Back! Back to your own place! Your time is not yet come. Wait!
Have patience! Tonight is mine. Tomorrow night is yours!"
There was a low, sweet ripple of laughter, and in a rage I threw open
the door, and saw without the three terrible women licking their lips.
As I appeared, they all joined in a horrible laugh, and ran away.
I came back to my room and threw myself on my knees. It is then so
near the end? Tomorrow! Tomorrow! Lord, help me, and those to whom
I am dear!
30 June.--These may be the last words I ever write in this diary. I
slept till just before the dawn, and when I woke threw myself on my
knees, for I determined that if Death came he should find me ready.
At last I felt that subtle change in the air, and knew that the
morning had come. Then came the welcome cockcrow, and I felt that I
was safe. With a glad heart, I opened the door and ran down the hall.
I had seen that the door was unlocked, and now escape was before me.
With hands that trembled with eagerness, I unhooked the chains and
threw back the massive bolts.
But the door would not move. Despair seized me. I pulled and pulled
at the door, and shook it till, massive as it was, it rattled in its
casement. I could see the bolt shot. It had been locked after I left
Then a wild desire took me to obtain the key at any risk, and I
determined then and there to scale the wall again, and gain the
Count's room. He might kill me, but death now seemed the happier
choice of evils. Without a pause I rushed up to the east window, and
scrambled down the wall, as before, into the Count's room. It was
empty, but that was as I expected. I could not see a key anywhere,
but the heap of gold remained. I went through the door in the corner
and down the winding stair and along the dark passage to the old
chapel. I knew now well enough where to find the monster I sought.
The great box was in the same place, close against the wall, but the
lid was laid on it, not fastened down, but with the nails ready in
their places to be hammered home.
I knew I must reach the body for the key, so I raised the lid, and
laid it back against the wall. And then I saw something which filled
my very soul with horror. There lay the Count, but looking as if his
youth had been half restored. For the white hair and moustache were
changed to dark iron-grey. The cheeks were fuller, and the white skin
seemed ruby-red underneath. The mouth was redder than ever, for on
the lips were gouts of fresh blood, which trickled from the corners of
the mouth and ran down over the chin and neck. Even the deep, burning
eyes seemed set amongst swollen flesh, for the lids and pouches
underneath were bloated. It seemed as if the whole awful creature
were simply gorged with blood. He lay like a filthy leech, exhausted
with his repletion.
I shuddered as I bent over to touch him, and every sense in me
revolted at the contact, but I had to search, or I was lost. The
coming night might see my own body a banquet in a similar war to those
horrid three. I felt all over the body, but no sign could I find of
the key. Then I stopped and looked at the Count. There was a mocking
smile on the bloated face which seemed to drive me mad. This was the
being I was helping to transfer to London, where, perhaps, for
centuries to come he might, amongst its teeming millions, satiate his
lust for blood, and create a new and ever-widening circle of
semi-demons to batten on the helpless.
The very thought drove me mad. A terrible desire came upon me to rid
the world of such a monster. There was no lethal weapon at hand, but
I seized a shovel which the workmen had been using to fill the cases,
and lifting it high, struck, with the edge downward, at the hateful
face. But as I did so the head turned, and the eyes fell upon me,
with all their blaze of basilisk horror. The sight seemed to paralyze
me, and the shovel turned in my hand and glanced from the face, merely
making a deep gash above the forehead. The shovel fell from my hand
across the box, and as I pulled it away the flange of the blade caught
the edge of the lid which fell over again, and hid the horrid thing
from my sight. The last glimpse I had was of the bloated face,
blood-stained and fixed with a grin of malice which would have held
its own in the nethermost hell.
I thought and thought what should be my next move, but my brain seemed
on fire, and I waited with a despairing feeling growing over me. As I
waited I heard in the distance a gipsy song sung by merry voices
coming closer, and through their song the rolling of heavy wheels and
the cracking of whips. The Szgany and the Slovaks of whom the Count
had spoken were coming. With a last look around and at the box which
contained the vile body, I ran from the place and gained the Count's
room, determined to rush out at the moment the door should be opened.
With strained ears, I listened, and heard downstairs the grinding of
the key in the great lock and the falling back of the heavy door.
There must have been some other means of entry, or some one had a key
for one of the locked doors.
Then there came the sound of many feet tramping and dying away in some
passage which sent up a clanging echo. I turned to run down again
towards the vault, where I might find the new entrance, but at the
moment there seemed to come a violent puff of wind, and the door to
the winding stair blew to with a shock that set the dust from the
lintels flying. When I ran to push it open, I found that it was
hopelessly fast. I was again a prisoner, and the net of doom was
closing round me more closely.
As I write there is in the passage below a sound of many tramping feet
and the crash of weights being set down heavily, doubtless the boxes,
with their freight of earth. There was a sound of hammering. It is
the box being nailed down. Now I can hear the heavy feet tramping
again along the hall, with with many other idle feet coming behind
The door is shut, the chains rattle. There is a grinding of the key
in the lock. I can hear the key withdrawn, then another door opens
and shuts. I hear the creaking of lock and bolt.
Hark! In the courtyard and down the rocky way the roll of heavy
wheels, the crack of whips, and the chorus of the Szgany as they pass
into the distance.
I am alone in the castle with those horrible women. Faugh! Mina is a
woman, and there is nought in common. They are devils of the Pit!
I shall not remain alone with them. I shall try to scale the castle
wall farther than I have yet attempted. I shall take some of the gold
with me, lest I want it later. I may find a way from this dreadful
And then away for home! Away to the quickest and nearest train! Away
from the cursed spot, from this cursed land, where the devil and his
children still walk with earthly feet!
At least God's mercy is better than that of those monsters, and the
precipice is steep and high. At its foot a man may sleep, as a man.
Goodbye, all. Mina!
LETTER FROM MISS MINA MURRAY TO MISS LUCY WESTENRA
My dearest Lucy,
Forgive my long delay in writing, but I have been simply overwhelmed
with work. The life of an assistant schoolmistress is sometimes
trying. I am longing to be with you, and by the sea, where we can
talk together freely and build our castles in the air. I have been
working very hard lately, because I want to keep up with Jonathan's
studies, and I have been practicing shorthand very assiduously.
When we are married I shall be able to be useful to Jonathan, and if
I can stenograph well enough I can take down what he wants to say in
this way and write it out for him on the typewriter, at which also I
am practicing very hard.
He and I sometimes write letters in shorthand, and he is
keeping a stenographic journal of his travels abroad. When
I am with you I shall keep a diary in the same way. I don't
mean one of those two-pages-to-the-week-with-Sunday-squeezed-
in-a-corner diaries, but a sort of journal which I can write
in whenever I feel inclined.
I do not suppose there will be much of interest to other people, but
it is not intended for them. I may show it to Jonathan some day if
there is in it anything worth sharing, but it is really an exercise
book. I shall try to do what I see lady journalists do,
interviewing and writing descriptions and trying to remember
conversations. I am told that, with a little practice, one can
remember all that goes on or that one hears said during a day.
However, we shall see. I will tell you of my little plans when we
meet. I have just had a few hurried lines from Jonathan from
Transylvania. He is well, and will be returning in about a week. I
am longing to hear all his news. It must be nice to see strange
countries. I wonder if we, I mean Jonathan and I, shall ever see
them together. There is the ten o'clock bell ringing. Goodbye.
Tell me all the news when you write. You have not told me
anything for a long time. I hear rumours, and especially
of a tall, handsome, curly-haired man???
LETTER, LUCY WESTENRA TO MINA MURRAY
17, Chatham Street
My dearest Mina,
I must say you tax me very unfairly with being a bad correspondent.
I wrote you twice since we parted, and your last letter was only
your second. Besides, I have nothing to tell you. There is really
nothing to interest you.
Town is very pleasant just now, and we go a great deal to
picture-galleries and for walks and rides in the park. As
to the tall, curly-haired man, I suppose it was the one who
was with me at the last Pop. Someone has evidently been
That was Mr. Holmwood. He often comes to see us, and he and
Mamma get on very well together, they have so many things
to talk about in common.
We met some time ago a man that would just do for you, if you were
not already engaged to Jonathan. He is an excellent parti, being
handsome, well off, and of good birth. He is a doctor and really
clever. Just fancy! He is only nine-and twenty, and he has an
immense lunatic asylum all under his own care. Mr. Holmwood
introduced him to me, and he called here to see us, and often comes
now. I think he is one of the most resolute men I ever saw, and yet
the most calm. He seems absolutely imperturbable. I can fancy what
a wonderful power he must have over his patients. He has a curious
habit of looking one straight in the face, as if trying to read
one's thoughts. He tries this on very much with me, but I flatter
myself he has got a tough nut to crack. I know that from my glass.
Do you ever try to read your own face? I do, and I can
tell you it is not a bad study, and gives you more trouble
than you can well fancy if you have never tried it.
He says that I afford him a curious psychological study, and
I humbly think I do. I do not, as you know, take sufficient
interest in dress to be able to describe the new fashions.
Dress is a bore. That is slang again, but never mind. Arthur
says that every day.
There, it is all out, Mina, we have told all our secrets to
each other since we were children. We have slept together
and eaten together, and laughed and cried together, and
now, though I have spoken, I would like to speak more. Oh,
Mina, couldn't you guess? I love him. I am blushing as I
write, for although I think he loves me, he has not told me
so in words. But, oh, Mina, I love him. I love him! There,
that does me good.
I wish I were with you, dear, sitting by the fire undressing, as we
used to sit, and I would try to tell you what I feel. I do not know
how I am writing this even to you. I am afraid to stop, or I should
tear up the letter, and I don't want to stop, for I do so want to
tell you all. Let me hear from you at once, and tell me all that you
think about it. Mina, pray for my happiness.
P.S.--I need not tell you this is a secret.
Goodnight again. L.
LETTER, LUCY WESTENRA TO MINA MURRAY
My dearest Mina,
Thanks, and thanks, and thanks again for your sweet letter. It
was so nice to be able to tell you and to have your sympathy.
My dear, it never rains but it pours. How true the old proverbs
are. Here am I, who shall be twenty in September, and yet I never
had a proposal till today, not a real proposal, and today I had
three. Just fancy! Three proposals in one day! Isn't it awful! I
feel sorry, really and truly sorry, for two of the poor fellows.
Oh, Mina, I am so happy that I don't know what to do with myself.
And three proposals! But, for goodness' sake, don't tell any of the
girls, or they would be getting all sorts of extravagant ideas, and
imagining themselves injured and slighted if in their very first day
at home they did not get six at least. 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. Well, I must
tell you about the three, but you must keep it a secret, dear, from
every one except, of course, Jonathan. You will tell him, because I
would, if I were in your place, certainly tell Arthur. A woman
ought to tell her husband everything. Don't you think so, dear? And
I must be fair. 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.
Well, my dear, number One came just before lunch. I told you of
him, Dr. John Seward, the lunatic asylum man, with the strong jaw
and the good forehead. He was very cool outwardly, but was nervous
all the same. He had evidently been schooling himself as to all
sorts of little things, and remembered them, but he almost managed
to sit down on his silk hat, which men don't generally do when they
are cool, and then when he wanted to appear at ease he kept playing
with a lancet in a way that made me nearly scream. He spoke to me,
Mina, very straightforwardly. He told me how dear I was to him,
though he had known me so little, and what his life would be with me
to help and cheer him. He was going to tell me how unhappy he would
be if I did not care for him, but when he saw me cry he said he was
a brute and would not add to my present trouble. Then he broke off
and asked if I could love him in time, and when I shook my head his
hands trembled, and then with some hesitation he asked me if I cared
already for any one else. He put it very nicely, saying that he did
not want to wring my confidence from me, but only to know, because
if a woman's heart was free a man might have hope. And then, Mina,
I felt a sort of duty to tell him that there was some one. I only
told him that much, and then he stood up, and he looked very strong
and very grave as he took both my hands in his and said he hoped I
would be happy, and that If I ever wanted a friend I must count him
one of my best.
Oh, Mina dear, I can't help crying, and you must excuse this letter
being all blotted. Being proposed to is all very nice and all that
sort of thing, but it isn't at all a happy thing when you have to
see a poor fellow, whom you know loves you honestly, going away and
looking all broken hearted, and to know that, no matter what he may
say at the moment, you are passing out of his life. My dear, I must
stop here at present, I feel so miserable, though I am so happy.
Arthur has just gone, and I feel in better spirits than when I
left off, so I can go on telling you about the day.
Well, my dear, number Two came after lunch. He is such a nice
fellow, an American from Texas, and he looks so young and so fresh
that it seems almost impossible that he has been to so many places
and has such adventures. I sympathize with poor Desdemona when she
had such a 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. No, I don't, for there was Mr.
Morris telling us his stories, and Arthur never told any, and
yet . . .
My dear, I am somewhat previous. Mr. Quincy P. Morris found me
alone. It seems that a man always does find a girl alone. No, he
doesn't, for Arthur tried twice to make a chance, and I helping him
all I could, I am not ashamed to say it now. I must tell you
beforehand that Mr. Morris doesn't always speak slang, that is to
say, he never does so to strangers or before them, for he is really
well educated and has exquisite manners, but he found out that it
amused me to hear him talk American slang, and whenever I was
present, and there was no one to be shocked, he said such funny
things. I am afraid, my dear, he has to invent it all, for it fits
exactly into whatever else he has to say. But this is a way slang
has. I do not know myself if I shall ever speak slang. I do not
know if Arthur likes it, as I have never heard him use any as yet.
Well, Mr. Morris sat down beside me and looked as happy and jolly as
he could, but I could see all the same that he was very nervous. He
took my hand in his, and said ever so sweetly . . .
"Miss Lucy, I know I ain't good enough to regulate the fixin's of
your little shoes, but I guess if you wait till you find a man that
is you will go join them seven young women with the lamps when you
quit. Won't you just hitch up alongside of me and let us go down
the long road together, driving in double harness?"
Well, he did look so good humoured and so jolly that it didn't seem
half so hard to refuse him as it did poor Dr. Seward. So I said, as
lightly as I could, that I did not know anything of hitching, and
that I wasn't broken to harness at all yet. Then he said that he
had spoken in a light manner, and he hoped that if he had made a
mistake in doing so on so grave, so momentous, and occasion for him,
I would forgive him. He really did look serious when he was saying
it, and I couldn't help feeling a sort of exultation that he was
number Two in one day. And then, my dear, before I could say a word
he began pouring out a perfect torrent of love-making, laying his
very heart and soul at my feet. He looked so earnest over it that I
shall never again think that a man must be playful always, and never
earnest, because he is merry at times. I suppose he saw something
in my face which checked him, for he suddenly stopped, and said with
a sort of manly fervour that I could have loved him for if I had
been free . . .
"Lucy, you are an honest hearted girl, I know. I should not be here
speaking to you as I am now if I did not believe you clean grit,
right through to the very depths of your soul. Tell me, like one
good fellow to another, is there any one else that you care for?
And if there is I'll never trouble you a hair's breadth again, but
will be, if you will let me, a very faithful friend."
My dear Mina, why are men so noble when we women are so little
worthy of them? Here was I almost making fun of this great hearted,
true gentleman. I burst into tears, I am afraid, my dear, you will
think this a very sloppy letter in more ways than one, and I really
felt very badly.
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. I am glad to say that, though I was
crying, I was able to look into Mr. Morris' brave eyes, and
I told him out straight . . .
"Yes, there is some one I love, though he has not told me
yet that he even loves me." I was right to speak to him so
frankly, for quite a light came into his face, and he put
out both his hands and took mine, I think I put them into
his, and said in a hearty way . . .
"That's my brave girl. It's better worth being late for a chance of
winning you than being in time for any other girl in the world.
Don't cry, my dear. If it's for me, I'm a hard nut to crack, and I
take it standing up. If that other fellow doesn't know his
happiness, well, he'd better look for it soon, or he'll have to deal
with me. Little girl, your honesty and pluck have made me a friend,
and that's rarer than a lover, it's more selfish anyhow. My dear,
I'm going to have a pretty lonely walk between this and Kingdom
Come. Won't you give me one kiss? It'll be something to keep off
the darkness now and then. You can, you know, if you like, for that
other good fellow, or you could not love him, hasn't spoken yet."
That quite won me, Mina, for it was brave and sweet of him,
and noble too, to a rival, wasn't it? And he so sad, so I
leant over and kissed him.
He stood up with my two hands in his, and as he looked down into my
face, I am afraid I was blushing very much, he said, "Little girl, I
hold your hand, and you've kissed me, and if these things don't make
us friends nothing ever will. Thank you for your sweet honesty to
me, and goodbye."
He wrung my hand, and taking up his hat, went straight out of the
room without looking back, without a tear or a quiver or a pause,
and I am crying like a baby.
Oh, why must a man like that be made unhappy when there are lots of
girls about who would worship the very ground he trod on? I know I
would if I were free, only I don't want to be free. My dear, this
quite upset me, and I feel I cannot write of happiness just at once,
after telling you of it, and I don't wish to tell of the number
Three until it can be all happy. Ever your loving . . .
P.S.--Oh, about number Three, I needn't tell you of number
Three, need I? Besides, it was all so confused. It seemed
only a moment from his coming into the room till both his
arms were round me, and he was kissing me. I am very, very
happy, and I don't know what I have done to deserve it. I
must only try in the future to show that I am not ungrateful
to God for all His goodness to me in sending to me such a
lover, such a husband, and such a friend.
DR. SEWARD'S DIARY (Kept in phonograph)
25 May.--Ebb tide in appetite today. Cannot eat, cannot rest, so
diary instead. Since my rebuff of yesterday I have a sort of empty
feeling. Nothing in the world seems of sufficient importance to be
worth the doing. As I knew that the only cure for this sort of thing
was work, I went amongst the patients. I picked out one who has
afforded me a study of much interest. He is so quaint that I am
determined to understand him as well as I can. Today I seemed to get
nearer than ever before to the heart of his mystery.
I questioned him more fully than I had ever done, with a view to
making myself master of the facts of his hallucination. In my manner
of doing it there was, I now see, something of cruelty. I seemed to
wish to keep him to the point of his madness, a thing which I avoid
with the patients as I would the mouth of hell.
(Mem., Under what circumstances would I not avoid the pit of hell?)
Omnia Romae venalia sunt. Hell has its price! If there be anything
behind this instinct it will be valuable to trace it afterwards
accurately, so I had better commence to do so, therefore . . .
R. M, Renfield, age 59. Sanguine temperament, great physical
strength, morbidly excitable, periods of gloom, ending in some fixed
idea which I cannot make out. I presume that the sanguine temperament
itself and the disturbing influence end in a mentally-accomplished
finish, a possibly dangerous man, probably dangerous if unselfish. In
selfish men caution is as secure an armour for their foes as for
themselves. What I think of on this point is, when self is the fixed
point the centripetal force is balanced with the centrifugal. When
duty, a cause, etc., is the fixed point, the latter force is
paramount, and only accident or a series of accidents can balance it.
LETTER, QUINCEY P. MORRIS TO HON. ARTHUR HOLMOOD
My dear Art,
We've told yarns by the campfire in the prairies, and dressed one
another's wounds after trying a landing at the Marquesas, and drunk
healths on the shore of Titicaca. There are more yarns to be told,
and other wounds to be healed, and another health to be drunk.
Won't you let this be at my campfire tomorrow night? I have no
hesitation in asking you, as I know a certain lady is engaged to a
certain dinner party, and that you are free. There will only be one
other, our old pal at the Korea, Jack Seward. He's coming, too, and
we both want to mingle our weeps over the wine cup, and to drink a
health with all our hearts to the happiest man in all the wide
world, who has won the noblest heart that God has made and best
worth winning. We promise you a hearty welcome, and a loving
greeting, and a health as true as your own right hand. We shall
both swear to leave you at home if you drink too deep to a certain
pair of eyes. Come!
Yours, as ever and always,
Quincey P. Morris
TELEGRAM FROM ARTHUR HOLMWOOD TO QUINCEY P. MORRIS
Count me in every time. I bear messages which will make both
your ears tingle.
MINA MURRAY'S JOURNAL
24 July. Whitby.--Lucy met me at the station, looking sweeter and
lovelier than ever, and we drove up to the house at the Crescent in
which they have rooms. This is a lovely place. The little river, the
Esk, runs through a deep valley, which broadens out as it comes near
the harbour. A great viaduct runs across, with high piers, through
which the view seems somehow further away than it really is. The
valley is beautifully green, and it is so steep that when you are on
the high land on either side you look right across it, unless you are
near enough to see down. The houses of the old town--the side away
from us, are all red-roofed, and seem piled up one over the other
anyhow, like the pictures we see of Nuremberg. Right over the town is
the ruin of Whitby Abbey, which was sacked by the Danes, and which is
the scene of part of "Marmion," where the girl was built up in the
wall. It is a most noble ruin, of immense size, and full of beautiful
and romantic bits. There is a legend that a white lady is seen in one
of the windows. Between it and the town there is another church, the
parish one, round which is a big graveyard, all full of tombstones.
This is to my mind the nicest spot in Whitby, for it lies right over
the town, and has a full view of the harbour and all up the bay to
where the headland called Kettleness stretches out into the sea. It
descends so steeply over the harbour that part of the bank has fallen
away, and some of the graves have been destroyed.
In one place part of the stonework of the graves stretches out over
the sandy pathway far below. There are walks, with seats beside them,
through the churchyard, and people go and sit there all day long
looking at the beautiful view and enjoying the breeze.
I shall come and sit here often myself and work. Indeed, I am writing
now, with my book on my knee, and listening to the talk of three old
men who are sitting beside me. They seem to do nothing all day but
sit here and talk.
The harbour lies below me, with, on the far side, one long granite
wall stretching out into the sea, with a curve outwards at the end of
it, in the middle of which is a lighthouse. A heavy seawall runs
along outside of it. On the near side, the seawall makes an elbow
crooked inversely, and its end too has a lighthouse. Between the two
piers there is a narrow opening into the harbour, which then suddenly
It is nice at high water, but when the tide is out it shoals away to
nothing, and there is merely the stream of the Esk, running between
banks of sand, with rocks here and there. Outside the harbour on this
side there rises for about half a mile a great reef, the sharp of
which runs straight out from behind the south lighthouse. At the end
of it is a buoy with a bell, which swings in bad weather, and sends in
a mournful sound on the wind.
They have a legend here that when a ship is lost bells are heard out at
sea. I must ask the old man about this. He is coming this way . . .
He is a funny old man. He must be awfully old, for his face is
gnarled and twisted like the bark of a tree. He tells me that he is
nearly a hundred, and that he was a sailor in the Greenland fishing
fleet when Waterloo was fought. He is, I am afraid, a very sceptical
person, for when I asked him about the bells at sea and the White Lady
at the abbey he said very brusquely,
"I wouldn't fash masel' about them, miss. Them things be all wore
out. Mind, I don't say that they never was, but I do say that they
wasn't in my time. They be all very well for comers and trippers, an'
the like, but not for a nice young lady like you. Them feet-folks
from York and Leeds that be always eatin' cured herrin's and drinkin'
tea an' lookin' out to buy cheap jet would creed aught. I wonder
masel' who'd be bothered tellin' lies to them, even the newspapers,
which is full of fool-talk."
I thought he would be a good person to learn interesting things from,
so I asked him if he would mind telling me something about the whale
fishing in the old days. He was just settling himself to begin when
the clock struck six, whereupon he laboured to get up, and said,
"I must gang ageeanwards home now, miss. My grand-daughter doesn't
like to be kept waitin' when the tea is ready, for it takes me time to
crammle aboon the grees, for there be a many of 'em, and miss, I lack
belly-timber sairly by the clock."
He hobbled away, and I could see him hurrying, as well as he could,
down the steps. The steps are a great feature on the place. They
lead from the town to the church, there are hundreds of them, I do not
know how many, and they wind up in a delicate curve. The slope is so
gentle that a horse could easily walk up and down them.
I think they must originally have had something to do with the abbey.
I shall go home too. Lucy went out, visiting with her mother, and as
they were only duty calls, I did not go.
1 August.--I came up here an hour ago with Lucy, and we had a most
interesting talk with my old friend and the two others who always come
and join him. He is evidently the Sir Oracle of them, and I should
think must have been in his time a most dictatorial person.
He will not admit anything, and down faces everybody. If he can't
out-argue them he bullies them, and then takes their silence for
agreement with his views.
Lucy was looking sweetly pretty in her white lawn frock. She has got
a beautiful colour since she has been here.
I noticed that the old men did not lose any time in coming and sitting
near her when we sat down. She is so sweet with old people, I think
they all fell in love with her on the spot. Even my old man succumbed
and did not contradict her, but gave me double share instead. I got
him on the subject of the legends, and he went off at once into a sort
of sermon. I must try to remember it and put it down.
"It be all fool-talk, lock, stock, and barrel, that's what it be and
nowt else. These bans an' wafts an' boh-ghosts an' bar-guests an'
bogles an' all anent them is only fit to set bairns an' dizzy women
a'belderin'. They be nowt but air-blebs. They, an' all grims an' signs
an' warnin's, be all invented by parsons an' illsome berk-bodies an'
railway touters to skeer an' scunner hafflin's, an' to get folks to do
somethin' that they don't other incline to. It makes me ireful to
think o' them. Why, it's them that, not content with printin' lies on
paper an' preachin' them out of pulpits, does want to be cuttin' them
on the tombstones. Look here all around you in what airt ye will. All
them steans, holdin' up their heads as well as they can out of their
pride, is acant, simply tumblin' down with the weight o' the lies
wrote on them, 'Here lies the body' or 'Sacred to the memory' wrote on
all of them, an' yet in nigh half of them there bean't no bodies at
all, an' the memories of them bean't cared a pinch of snuff about,
much less sacred. Lies all of them, nothin' but lies of one kind or
another! My gog, but it'll be a quare scowderment at the Day of
Judgment when they come tumblin' up in their death-sarks, all jouped
together an' trying' to drag their tombsteans with them to prove how
good they was, some of them trimmlin' an' dithering, with their hands
that dozzened an' slippery from lyin' in the sea that they can't even
keep their gurp o' them."
I could see from the old fellow's self-satisfied air and the way in
which he looked round for the approval of his cronies that he was
"showing off," so I put in a word to keep him going.
"Oh, Mr. Swales, you can't be serious. Surely these tombstones are
not all wrong?"
"Yabblins! There may be a poorish few not wrong, savin' where they
make out the people too good, for there be folk that do think a
balm-bowl be like the sea, if only it be their own. The whole thing
be only lies. Now look you here. You come here a stranger, an' you
see this kirkgarth."
I nodded, for I thought it better to assent, though I did not quite
understand his dialect. I knew it had something to do with the
He went on, "And you consate that all these steans be aboon folk that
be haped here, snod an' snog?" I assented again. "Then that be just
where the lie comes in. Why, there be scores of these laybeds that be
toom as old Dun's 'baccabox on Friday night."
He nudged one of his companions, and they all laughed. "And, my gog!
How could they be otherwise? Look at that one, the aftest abaft the
bier-bank, read it!"
I went over and read, "Edward Spencelagh, master mariner, murdered by
pirates off the coast of Andres, April, 1854, age 30." When I came
back Mr. Swales went on,
"Who brought him home, I wonder, to hap him here? Murdered off the
coast of Andres! An' you consated his body lay under! Why, I could
name ye a dozen whose bones lie in the Greenland seas above," he
pointed northwards, "or where the currants may have drifted them.
There be the steans around ye. Ye can, with your young eyes, read the
small print of the lies from here. This Braithwaite Lowery, I knew
his father, lost in the Lively off Greenland in '20, or Andrew
Woodhouse, drowned in the same seas in 1777, or John Paxton, drowned
off Cape Farewell a year later, or old John Rawlings, whose
grandfather sailed with me, drowned in the Gulf of Finland in '50. Do
ye think that all these men will have to make a rush to Whitby when
the trumpet sounds? I have me antherums aboot it! I tell ye that
when they got here they'd be jommlin' and jostlin' one another that
way that it 'ud be like a fight up on the ice in the old days, when
we'd be at one another from daylight to dark, an' tryin' to tie up our
cuts by the aurora borealis." This was evidently local pleasantry, for
the old man cackled over it, and his cronies joined in with gusto.
"But," I said, "surely you are not quite correct, for you start on the
assumption that all the poor people, or their spirits, will have to
take their tombstones with them on the Day of Judgment. Do you think
that will be really necessary?"
"Well, what else be they tombstones for? Answer me that, miss!"
"To please their relatives, I suppose."
"To please their relatives, you suppose!" This he said with intense
scorn. "How will it pleasure their relatives to know that lies is
wrote over them, and that everybody in the place knows that they be
He pointed to a stone at our feet which had been laid down as a slab,
on which the seat was rested, close to the edge of the cliff. "Read
the lies on that thruff-stone," he said.
The letters were upside down to me from where I sat, but Lucy was more
opposite to them, so she leant over and read, "Sacred to the memory of
George Canon, who died, in the hope of a glorious resurrection, on
July 29,1873, falling from the rocks at Kettleness. This tomb was
erected by his sorrowing mother to her dearly beloved son. 'He was the
only son of his mother, and she was a widow.' Really, Mr. Swales, I
don't see anything very funny in that!" She spoke her comment very
gravely and somewhat severely.
"Ye don't see aught funny! Ha-ha! But that's because ye don't gawm
the sorrowin' mother was a hell-cat that hated him because he was
acrewk'd, a regular lamiter he was, an' he hated her so that he
committed suicide in order that she mightn't get an insurance she put
on his life. He blew nigh the top of his head off with an old musket
that they had for scarin' crows with. 'Twarn't for crows then, for it
brought the clegs and the dowps to him. That's the way he fell off
the rocks. And, as to hopes of a glorious resurrection, I've often
heard him say masel' that he hoped he'd go to hell, for his mother was
so pious that she'd be sure to go to heaven, an' he didn't want to
addle where she was. Now isn't that stean at any rate," he hammered
it with his stick as he spoke, "a pack of lies? And won't it make
Gabriel keckle when Geordie comes pantin' ut the grees with the
tompstean balanced on his hump, and asks to be took as evidence!"
I did not know what to say, but Lucy turned the conversation as she
said, rising up, "Oh, why did you tell us of this? It is my favourite
seat, and I cannot leave it, and now I find I must go on sitting over
the grave of a suicide."
"That won't harm ye, my pretty, an' it may make poor Geordie gladsome
to have so trim a lass sittin' on his lap. That won't hurt ye. Why,
I've sat here off an' on for nigh twenty years past, an' it hasn't
done me no harm. Don't ye fash about them as lies under ye, or that
doesn' lie there either! It'll be time for ye to be getting scart
when ye see the tombsteans all run away with, and the place as bare as
a stubble-field. There's the clock, and I must gang. My service to
ye, ladies!" And off he hobbled.
Lucy and I sat awhile, and it was all so beautiful before us that we
took hands as we sat, and she told me all over again about Arthur and
their coming marriage. That made me just a little heart-sick, for I
haven't heard from Jonathan for a whole month.
The same day. I came up here alone, for I am very sad. There was no
letter for me. I hope there cannot be anything the matter with
Jonathan. The clock has just struck nine. I see the lights scattered
all over the town, sometimes in rows where the streets are, and
sometimes singly. They run right up the Esk and die away in the curve
of the valley. To my left the view is cut off by a black line of roof
of the old house next to the abbey. The sheep and lambs are bleating
in the fields away behind me, and there is a clatter of donkeys' hoofs
up the paved road below. The band on the pier is playing a harsh
waltz in good time, and further along the quay there is a Salvation
Army meeting in a back street. Neither of the bands hears the other,
but up here I hear and see them both. I wonder where Jonathan is and
if he is thinking of me! I wish he were here.
DR. SEWARD'S DIARY
5 June.--The case of Renfield grows more interesting the more I get to
understand the man. He has certain qualities very largely developed,
selfishness, secrecy, and purpose.
I wish I could get at what is the object of the latter. He seems to
have some settled scheme of his own, but what it is I do not know.
His redeeming quality is a love of animals, though, indeed, he has
such curious turns in it that I sometimes imagine he is only
abnormally cruel. His pets are of odd sorts.
Just now his hobby is catching flies. He has at present such a
quantity that I have had myself to expostulate. To my astonishment,
he did not break out into a fury, as I expected, but took the matter
in simple seriousness. He thought for a moment, and then said, "May I
have three days? I shall clear them away." Of course, I said that
would do. I must watch him.
18 June.--He has turned his mind now to spiders, and has got several
very big fellows in a box. He keeps feeding them his flies, and the
number of the latter is becoming sensibly diminished, although he has
used half his food in attracting more flies from outside to his room.
1 July.--His spiders are now becoming as great a nuisance as his
flies, and today I told him that he must get rid of them.
He looked very sad at this, so I said that he must some of them, at
all events. He cheerfully acquiesced in this, and I gave him the same
time as before for reduction.
He disgusted me much while with him, for when a horrid blowfly,
bloated with some carrion food, buzzed into the room, he caught it,
held it exultantly for a few moments between his finger and thumb, and
before I knew what he was going to do, put it in his mouth and ate it.
I scolded him for it, but he argued quietly that it was very good and
very wholesome, that it was life, strong life, and gave life to him.
This gave me an idea, or the rudiment of one. I must watch how he
gets rid of his spiders.
He has evidently some deep problem in his mind, for he keeps a little
notebook in which he is always jotting down something. Whole pages of
it are filled with masses of figures, generally single numbers added
up in batches, and then the totals added in batches again, as though
he were focussing some account, as the auditors put it.
8 July.--There is a method in his madness, and the rudimentary idea in
my mind is growing. It will be a whole idea soon, and then, oh,
unconscious cerebration, you will have to give the wall to your
I kept away from my friend for a few days, so that I might notice if
there were any change. Things remain as they were except that he has
parted with some of his pets and got a new one.
He has managed to get a sparrow, and has already partially tamed it.
His means of taming is simple, for already the spiders have
diminished. Those that do remain, however, are well fed, for he still
brings in the flies by tempting them with his food.
19 July--We are progressing. My friend has now a whole colony of
sparrows, and his flies and spiders are almost obliterated. When I
came in he ran to me and said he wanted to ask me a great favour, a
very, very great favour. And as he spoke, he fawned on me like a dog.
I asked him what it was, and he said, with a sort of rapture in his
voice and bearing, "A kitten, a nice, little, sleek playful kitten,
that I can play with, and teach, and feed, and feed, and feed!"
I was not unprepared for this request, for I had noticed how his pets
went on increasing in size and vivacity, but I did not care that his
pretty family of tame sparrows should be wiped out in the same manner
as the flies and spiders. So I said I would see about it, and asked
him if he would not rather have a cat than a kitten.
His eagerness betrayed him as he answered, "Oh, yes, I would like a
cat! I only asked for a kitten lest you should refuse me a cat. No
one would refuse me a kitten, would they?"
I shook my head, and said that at present I feared it would not be
possible, but that I would see about it. His face fell, and I could
see a warning of danger in it, for there was a sudden fierce, sidelong
look which meant killing. The man is an undeveloped homicidal
maniac. I shall test him with his present craving and see how it will
work out, then I shall know more.
10 pm.--I have visited him again and found him sitting in a corner
brooding. When I came in he threw himself on his knees before me and
implored me to let him have a cat, that his salvation depended upon
I was firm, however, and told him that he could not have it, whereupon
he went without a word, and sat down, gnawing his fingers, in the
corner where I had found him. I shall see him in the morning early.
20 July.--Visited Renfield very early, before attendant went his
rounds. Found him up and humming a tune. He was spreading out his
sugar, which he had saved, in the window, and was manifestly beginning
his fly catching again, and beginning it cheerfully and with a good
I looked around for his birds, and not seeing them, asked him where
they were. He replied, without turning round, that they had all flown
away. There were a few feathers about the room and on his pillow a
drop of blood. I said nothing, but went and told the keeper to report
to me if there were anything odd about him during the day.
11 am.--The attendant has just been to see me to say that Renfield has
been very sick and has disgorged a whole lot of feathers. "My belief
is, doctor," he said, "that he has eaten his birds, and that he just
took and ate them raw!"
11 pm.--I gave Renfield a strong opiate tonight, enough to make even
him sleep, and took away his pocketbook to look at it. The thought
that has been buzzing about my brain lately is complete, and the
My homicidal maniac is of a peculiar kind. I shall have to invent a
new classification for him, and call him a zoophagous (life-eating)
maniac. What he desires is to absorb as many lives as he can, and he
has laid himself out to achieve it in a cumulative way. He gave many
flies to one spider and many spiders to one bird, and then wanted a
cat to eat the many birds. What would have been his later steps?
It would almost be worth while to complete the experiment. It might
be done if there were only a sufficient cause. Men sneered at
vivisection, and yet look at its results today! Why not advance
science in its most difficult and vital aspect, the knowledge of the
Had I even the secret of one such mind, did I hold the key to the
fancy of even one lunatic, I might advance my own branch of science to
a pitch compared with which Burdon-Sanderson's physiology or Ferrier's
brain knowledge would be as nothing. If only there were a sufficient
cause! I must not think too much of this, or I may be tempted. A
good cause might turn the scale with me, for may not I too be of an
exceptional brain, congenitally?
How well the man reasoned. Lunatics always do within their own scope.
I wonder at how many lives he values a man, or if at only one. He has
closed the account most accurately, and today begun a new record. How
many of us begin a new record with each day of our lives?
To me it seems only yesterday that my whole life ended with my new
hope, and that truly I began a new record. So it shall be until the
Great Recorder sums me up and closes my ledger account with a balance
to profit or loss.
Oh, Lucy, Lucy, I cannot be angry with you, nor can I be angry with my
friend whose happiness is yours, but I must only wait on hopeless and
work. Work! Work!
If I could have as strong a cause as my poor mad friend there, a good,
unselfish cause to make me work, that would be indeed happiness.
MINA MURRAY'S JOURNAL
26 July.--I am anxious, and it soothes me to express myself here. It
is like whispering to one's self and listening at the same time. And
there is also something about the shorthand symbols that makes it
different from writing. I am unhappy about Lucy and about Jonathan.
I had not heard from Jonathan for some time, and was very concerned,
but yesterday dear Mr. Hawkins, who is always so kind, sent me a
letter from him. I had written asking him if he had heard, and he
said the enclosed had just been received. It is only a line dated
from Castle Dracula, and says that he is just starting for home. That
is not like Jonathan. I do not understand it, and it makes me uneasy.
Then, too, Lucy, although she is so well, has lately taken to her old
habit of walking in her sleep. Her mother has spoken to me about it,
and we have decided that I am to lock the door of our room every
Mrs. Westenra has got an idea that sleep-walkers always go out on
roofs of houses and along the edges of cliffs and then get suddenly
wakened and fall over with a despairing cry that echoes all over the
Poor dear, she is naturally anxious about Lucy, and she tells me that
her husband, Lucy's father, had the same habit, that he would get up
in the night and dress himself and go out, if he were not stopped.
Lucy is to be married in the autumn, and she is already planning out
her dresses and how her house is to be arranged. I sympathise with
her, for I do the same, only Jonathan and I will start in life in a
very simple way, and shall have to try to make both ends meet.
Mr. Holmwood, he is the Hon. Arthur Holmwood, only son of Lord
Godalming, is coming up here very shortly, as soon as he can leave
town, for his father is not very well, and I think dear Lucy is
counting the moments till he comes.
She wants to take him up in the seat on the churchyard cliff and show
him the beauty of Whitby. I daresay it is the waiting which disturbs
her. She will be all right when he arrives.
27 July.--No news from Jonathan. I am getting quite uneasy about him,
though why I should I do not know, but I do wish that he would write,
if it were only a single line.
Lucy walks more than ever, and each night I am awakened by her moving
about the room. Fortunately, the weather is so hot that she cannot
get cold. But still, the anxiety and the perpetually being awakened
is beginning to tell on me, and I am getting nervous and wakeful
myself. Thank God, Lucy's health keeps up. Mr. Holmwood has been
suddenly called to Ring to see his father, who has been taken
seriously ill. Lucy frets at the postponement of seeing him, but it
does not touch her looks. She is a trifle stouter, and her cheeks are
a lovely rose-pink. She has lost the anemic look which she had. I
pray it will all last.
3 August.--Another week gone by, and no news from Jonathan, not even
to Mr. Hawkins, from whom I have heard. Oh, I do hope he is not ill.
He surely would have written. I look at that last letter of his, but
somehow it does not satisfy me. It does not read like him, and yet it
is his writing. There is no mistake of that.
Lucy has not walked much in her sleep the last week, but there is an
odd concentration about her which I do not understand, even in her
sleep she seems to be watching me. She tries the door, and finding it
locked, goes about the room searching for the key.
6 August.--Another three days, and no news. This suspense is getting
dreadful. If I only knew where to write to or where to go to, I
should feel easier. But no one has heard a word of Jonathan since
that last letter. I must only pray to God for patience.
Lucy is more excitable than ever, but is otherwise well. Last night
was very threatening, and the fishermen say that we are in for a
storm. I must try to watch it and learn the weather signs.
Today is a gray day, and the sun as I write is hidden in thick clouds,
high over Kettleness. Everything is gray except the green grass,
which seems like emerald amongst it, gray earthy rock, gray clouds,
tinged with the sunburst at the far edge, hang over the gray sea, into
which the sandpoints stretch like gray figures. The sea is tumbling
in over the shallows and the sandy flats with a roar, muffled in the
sea-mists drifting inland. The horizon is lost in a gray mist. All
vastness, the clouds are piled up like giant rocks, and there is a
'brool' over the sea that sounds like some passage of doom. Dark
figures are on the beach here and there, sometimes half shrouded in
the mist, and seem 'men like trees walking'. The fishing boats are
racing for home, and rise and dip in the ground swell as they sweep
into the harbour, bending to the scuppers. Here comes old Mr. Swales.
He is making straight for me, and I can see, by the way he lifts his
hat, that he wants to talk.
I have been quite touched by the change in the poor old man. When he
sat down beside me, he said in a very gentle way, "I want to say
something to you, miss."
I could see he was not at ease, so I took his poor old wrinkled hand in
mine and asked him to speak fully.
So he said, leaving his hand in mine, "I'm afraid, my deary, that I
must have shocked you by all the wicked things I've been sayin' about
the dead, and such like, for weeks past, but I didn't mean them, and I
want ye to remember that when I'm gone. We aud folks that be daffled,
and with one foot abaft the krok-hooal, don't altogether like to think
of it, and we don't want to feel scart of it, and that's why I've took
to makin' light of it, so that I'd cheer up my own heart a bit. But,
Lord love ye, miss, I ain't afraid of dyin', not a bit, only I don't
want to die if I can help it. My time must be nigh at hand now, for I
be aud, and a hundred years is too much for any man to expect. And
I'm so nigh it that the Aud Man is already whettin' his scythe. Ye
see, I can't get out o' the habit of caffin' about it all at once.
The chafts will wag as they be used to. Some day soon the Angel of
Death will sound his trumpet for me. But don't ye dooal an' greet, my
deary!"--for he saw that I was crying--"if he should come this very
night I'd not refuse to answer his call. For life be, after all, only
a waitin' for somethin' else than what we're doin', and death be all
that we can rightly depend on. But I'm content, for it's comin' to
me, my deary, and comin' quick. It may be comin' while we be lookin'
and wonderin'. Maybe it's in that wind out over the sea that's
bringin' with it loss and wreck, and sore distress, and sad hearts.
Look! Look!" he cried suddenly. "There's something in that wind and
in the hoast beyont that sounds, and looks, and tastes, and smells
like death. It's in the air. I feel it comin'. Lord, make me answer
cheerful, when my call comes!" He held up his arms devoutly, and
raised his hat. His mouth moved as though he were praying. After a
few minutes' silence, he got up, shook hands with me, and blessed me,
and said goodbye, and hobbled off. It all touched me, and upset me
I was glad when the coastguard came along, with his spyglass under his
arm. He stopped to talk with me, as he always does, but all the time
kept looking at a strange ship.
"I can't make her out," he said. "She's a Russian, by the look of
her. But she's knocking about in the queerest way. She doesn't know
her mind a bit. She seems to see the storm coming, but can't decide
whether to run up north in the open, or to put in here. Look there
again! She is steered mighty strangely, for she doesn't mind the hand
on the wheel, changes about with every puff of wind. We'll hear more
of her before this time tomorrow."
CUTTING FROM "THE DAILYGRAPH", 8 AUGUST
(PASTED IN MINA MURRAY'S JOURNAL)
From a correspondent.
One of the greatest and suddenest storms on record has just been
experienced here, with results both strange and unique. The weather
had been somewhat sultry, but not to any degree uncommon in the
month of August. Saturday evening was as fine as was ever known,
and the great body of holiday-makers laid out yesterday for visits
to Mulgrave Woods, Robin Hood's Bay, Rig Mill, Runswick, Staithes,
and the various trips in the neighborhood of Whitby. The steamers
Emma and Scarborough made trips up and down the coast, and there was
an unusual amount of 'tripping' both to and from Whitby. The day
was unusually fine till the afternoon, when some of the gossips who
frequent the East Cliff churchyard, and from the commanding eminence
watch the wide sweep of sea visible to the north and east, called
attention to a sudden show of 'mares tails' high in the sky to the
northwest. The wind was then blowing from the south-west in the
mild degree which in barometrical language is ranked 'No. 2, light
The coastguard on duty at once made report, and one old fisherman,
who for more than half a century has kept watch on weather signs
from the East Cliff, foretold in an emphatic manner the coming of a
sudden storm. The approach of sunset was so very beautiful, so
grand in its masses of splendidly coloured clouds, that there was
quite an assemblage on the walk along the cliff in the old
churchyard to enjoy the beauty. Before the sun dipped below the
black mass of Kettleness, standing boldly athwart the western sky,
its downward way was marked by myriad clouds of every sunset colour,
flame, purple, pink, green, violet, and all the tints of gold, with
here and there masses not large, but of seemingly absolute
blackness, in all sorts of shapes, as well outlined as colossal
silhouettes. The experience was not lost on the painters, and
doubtless some of the sketches of the 'Prelude to the Great Storm'
will grace the R. A and R. I. walls in May next.
More than one captain made up his mind then and there that his
'cobble' or his 'mule', as they term the different classes of boats,
would remain in the harbour till the storm had passed. The wind
fell away entirely during the evening, and at midnight there was a
dead calm, a sultry heat, and that prevailing intensity which, on
the approach of thunder, affects persons of a sensitive nature.
There were but few lights in sight at sea, for even the coasting
steamers, which usually hug the shore so closely, kept well to
seaward, and but few fishing boats were in sight. The only sail
noticeable was a foreign schooner with all sails set, which was
seemingly going westwards. The foolhardiness or ignorance of her
officers was a prolific theme for comment whilst she remained in
sight, and efforts were made to signal her to reduce sail in the
face of her danger. Before the night shut down she was seen with
sails idly flapping as she gently rolled on the undulating swell of
"As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean."
Shortly before ten o'clock the stillness of the air grew quite
oppressive, and the silence was so marked that the bleating of a
sheep inland or the barking of a dog in the town was distinctly
heard, and the band on the pier, with its lively French air, was
like a dischord in the great harmony of nature's silence. A little
after midnight came a strange sound from over the sea, and high
overhead the air began to carry a strange, faint, hollow booming.
Then without warning the tempest broke. With a rapidity which, at
the time, seemed incredible, and even afterwards is impossible to
realize, the whole aspect of nature at once became convulsed. The
waves rose in growing fury, each over-topping its fellow, till in a
very few minutes the lately glassy sea was like a roaring and
devouring monster. White-crested waves beat madly on the level
sands and rushed up the shelving cliffs. Others broke over the
piers, and with their spume swept the lanthorns of the lighthouses
which rise from the end of either pier of Whitby Harbour.
The wind roared like thunder, and blew with such force that it was
with difficulty that even strong men kept their feet, or clung with
grim clasp to the iron stanchions. It was found necessary to clear
the entire pier from the mass of onlookers, or else the fatalities
of the night would have increased manifold. To add to the
difficulties and dangers of the time, masses of sea-fog came
drifting inland. White, wet clouds, which swept by in ghostly
fashion, so dank and damp and cold that it needed but little effort
of imagination to think that the spirits of those lost at sea were
touching their living brethren with the clammy hands of death, and
many a one shuddered as the wreaths of sea-mist swept by.
At times the mist cleared, and the sea for some distance could be
seen in the glare of the lightning, which came thick and fast,
followed by such peals of thunder that the whole sky overhead seemed
trembling under the shock of the footsteps of the storm.
Some of the scenes thus revealed were of immeasurable grandeur and
of absorbing interest. The sea, running mountains high, threw
skywards with each wave mighty masses of white foam, which the
tempest seemed to snatch at and whirl away into space. Here and
there a fishing boat, with a rag of sail, running madly for shelter
before the blast, now and again the white wings of a storm-tossed
seabird. On the summit of the East Cliff the new searchlight was
ready for experiment, but had not yet been tried. The officers in
charge of it got it into working order, and in the pauses of
onrushing mist swept with it the surface of the sea. Once or twice
its service was most effective, as when a fishing boat, with gunwale
under water, rushed into the harbour, able, by the guidance of the
sheltering light, to avoid the danger of dashing against the piers.
As each boat achieved the safety of the port there was a shout of
joy from the mass of people on the shore, a shout which for a moment
seemed to cleave the gale and was then swept away in its rush.
Before long the searchlight discovered some distance away a schooner
with all sails set, apparently the same vessel which had been
noticed earlier in the evening. The wind had by this time backed to
the east, and there was a shudder amongst the watchers on the cliff
as they realized the terrible danger in which she now was.
Between her and the port lay the great flat reef on which so many
good ships have from time to time suffered, and, with the wind
blowing from its present quarter, it would be quite impossible that
she should fetch the entrance of the harbour.
It was now nearly the hour of high tide, but the waves were so great
that in their troughs the shallows of the shore were almost visible,
and the schooner, with all sails set, was rushing with such speed
that, in the words of one old salt, "she must fetch up somewhere, if
it was only in hell". Then came another rush of sea-fog, greater
than any hitherto, a mass of dank mist, which seemed to close on all
things like a gray pall, and left available to men only the organ of
hearing, for the roar of the tempest, and the crash of the thunder,
and the booming of the mighty billows came through the damp oblivion
even louder than before. The rays of the searchlight were kept fixed
on the harbour mouth across the East Pier, where the shock was
expected, and men waited breathless.
The wind suddenly shifted to the northeast, and the remnant of the
sea fog melted in the blast. And then, mirabile dictu, between the
piers, leaping from wave to wave as it rushed at headlong speed,
swept the strange schooner before the blast, with all sail set, and
gained the safety of the harbour. The searchlight followed her, and
a shudder ran through all who saw her, for lashed to the helm was a
corpse, with drooping head, which swung horribly to and fro at each
motion of the ship. No other form could be seen on the deck at all.
A great awe came on all as they realised that the ship, as if by a
miracle, had found the harbour, unsteered save by the hand of a dead
man! However, all took place more quickly than it takes to write
these words. The schooner paused not, but rushing across the
harbour, pitched herself on that accumulation of sand and gravel
washed by many tides and many storms into the southeast corner of
the pier jutting under the East Cliff, known locally as Tate Hill
There was of course a considerable concussion as the vessel drove up
on the sand heap. Every spar, rope, and stay was strained, and some
of the 'top-hammer' came crashing down. But, strangest of all, the
very instant the shore was touched, an immense dog sprang up on deck
from below, as if shot up by the concussion, and running forward,
jumped from the bow on the sand.
Making straight for the steep cliff, where the churchyard hangs over
the laneway to the East Pier so steeply that some of the flat
tombstones, thruffsteans or through-stones, as they call them in
Whitby vernacular, actually project over where the sustaining cliff
has fallen away, it disappeared in the darkness, which seemed
intensified just beyond the focus of the searchlight.
It so happened that there was no one at the moment on Tate Hill
Pier, as all those whose houses are in close proximity were either
in bed or were out on the heights above. Thus the coastguard on
duty on the eastern side of the harbour, who at once ran down to the
little pier, was the first to climb aboard. The men working the
searchlight, after scouring the entrance of the harbour without
seeing anything, then turned the light on the derelict and kept it
there. The coastguard ran aft, and when he came beside the wheel,
bent over to examine it, and recoiled at once as though under some
sudden emotion. This seemed to pique general curiosity, and quite a
number of people began to run.
It is a good way round from the West Cliff by the Draw-bridge to
Tate Hill Pier, but your correspondent is a fairly good runner, and
came well ahead of the crowd. When I arrived, however, I found
already assembled on the pier a crowd, whom the coastguard and
police refused to allow to come on board. By the courtesy of the
chief boatman, I was, as your correspondent, permitted to climb on
deck, and was one of a small group who saw the dead seaman whilst
actually lashed to the wheel.
It was no wonder that the coastguard was surprised, or even awed,
for not often can such a sight have been seen. The man was simply
fastened by his hands, tied one over the other, to a spoke of the
wheel. Between the inner hand and the wood was a crucifix, the set
of beads on which it was fastened being around both wrists and
wheel, and all kept fast by the binding cords. The poor fellow may
have been seated at one time, but the flapping and buffeting of the
sails had worked through the rudder of the wheel and had dragged him
to and fro, so that the cords with which he was tied had cut the
flesh to the bone.
Accurate note was made of the state of things, and a doctor, Surgeon
J. M. Caffyn, of 33, East Elliot Place, who came immediately after
me, declared, after making examination, that the man must have been
dead for quite two days.
In his pocket was a bottle, carefully corked, empty save for
a little roll of paper, which proved to be the addendum to
The coastguard said the man must have tied up his own hands,
fastening the knots with his teeth. The fact that a coastguard was
the first on board may save some complications later on, in the
Admiralty Court, for coastguards cannot claim the salvage which is
the right of the first civilian entering on a derelict. Already,
however, the legal tongues are wagging, and one young law student is
loudly asserting that the rights of the owner are already completely
sacrificed, his property being held in contravention of the statues
of mortmain, since the tiller, as emblemship, if not proof, of
delegated possession, is held in a dead hand.
It is needless to say that the dead steersman has been reverently
removed from the place where he held his honourable watch and ward
till death, a steadfastness as noble as that of the young
Casabianca, and placed in the mortuary to await inquest.
Already the sudden storm is passing, and its fierceness is
abating. Crowds are scattering backward, and the sky is
beginning to redden over the Yorkshire wolds.
I shall send, in time for your next issue, further details
of the derelict ship which found her way so miraculously
into harbour in the storm.
9 August.--The sequel to the strange arrival of the derelict in the
storm last night is almost more startling than the thing itself. It
turns out that the schooner is Russian from Varna, and is called the
Demeter. She is almost entirely in ballast of silver sand, with
only a small amount of cargo, a number of great wooden boxes filled
This cargo was consigned to a Whitby solicitor, Mr. S.F. Billington,
of 7, The Crescent, who this morning went aboard and took formal
possession of the goods consigned to him.
The Russian consul, too, acting for the charter-party, took formal
possession of the ship, and paid all harbour dues, etc.
Nothing is talked about here today except the strange coincidence.
The officials of the Board of Trade have been most exacting in
seeing that every compliance has been made with existing
regulations. As the matter is to be a 'nine days wonder', they are
evidently determined that there shall be no cause of other
A good deal of interest was abroad concerning the dog which landed
when the ship struck, and more than a few of the members of the
S.P.C.A., which is very strong in Whitby, have tried to befriend the
animal. To the general disappointment, however, it was not to be
found. It seems to have disappeared entirely from the town. It may
be that it was frightened and made its way on to the moors, where it
is still hiding in terror.
There are some who look with dread on such a possibility, lest later
on it should in itself become a danger, for it is evidently a fierce
brute. Early this morning a large dog, a half-bred mastiff
belonging to a coal merchant close to Tate Hill Pier, was found dead
in the roadway opposite its master's yard. It had been fighting,
and manifestly had had a savage opponent, for its throat was torn
away, and its belly was slit open as if with a savage claw.
Later.--By the kindness of the Board of Trade inspector, I have been
permitted to look over the log book of the Demeter, which was in
order up to within three days, but contained nothing of special
interest except as to facts of missing men. The greatest interest,
however, is with regard to the paper found in the bottle, which was
today produced at the inquest. And a more strange narrative than
the two between them unfold it has not been my lot to come across.
As there is no motive for concealment, I am permitted to use them,
and accordingly send you a transcript, simply omitting technical
details of seamanship and supercargo. It almost seems as though the
captain had been seized with some kind of mania before he had got
well into blue water, and that this had developed persistently
throughout the voyage. Of course my statement must be taken cum
grano, since I am writing from the dictation of a clerk of the
Russian consul, who kindly translated for me, time being short.
LOG OF THE "DEMETER" Varna to Whitby
Written 18 July, things so strange happening, that I shall
keep accurate note henceforth till we land.
On 6 July we finished taking in cargo, silver sand and boxes
of earth. At noon set sail. East wind, fresh. Crew, five
hands . . . two mates, cook, and myself, (captain).
On 11 July at dawn entered Bosphorus. Boarded by Turkish
Customs officers. Backsheesh. All correct. Under way at
On 12 July through Dardanelles. More Customs officers and
flagboat of guarding squadron. Backsheesh again. Work of
officers thorough, but quick. Want us off soon. At dark
passed into Archipelago.
On 13 July passed Cape Matapan. Crew dissatisfied about
something. Seemed scared, but would not speak out.
On 14 July was somewhat anxious about crew. Men all steady
fellows, who sailed with me before. Mate could not make out what
was wrong. They only told him there was SOMETHING, and crossed
themselves. Mate lost temper with one of them that day and struck
him. Expected fierce quarrel, but all was quiet.
On 16 July mate reported in the morning that one of the
crew, Petrofsky, was missing. Could not account for it.
Took larboard watch eight bells last night, was relieved by
Amramoff, but did not go to bunk. Men more downcast than
ever. All said they expected something of the kind, but
would not say more than there was SOMETHING aboard. Mate
getting very impatient with them. Feared some trouble
On 17 July, yesterday, one of the men, Olgaren, came to my cabin,
and in an awestruck way confided to me that he thought there was a
strange man aboard the ship. He said that in his watch he had
been sheltering behind the deckhouse, as there was a rain storm,
when he saw a tall, thin man, who was not like any of the crew,
come up the companionway, and go along the deck forward and
disappear. He followed cautiously, but when he got to bows found
no one, and the hatchways were all closed. He was in a panic of
superstitious fear, and I am afraid the panic may spread. To
allay it, I shall today search the entire ship carefully from stem
Later in the day I got together the whole crew, and told them, as
they evidently thought there was some one in the ship, we would
search from stem to stern. First mate angry, said it was folly,
and to yield to such foolish ideas would demoralise the men, said
he would engage to keep them out of trouble with the handspike. I
let him take the helm, while the rest began a thorough search, all
keeping abreast, with lanterns. We left no corner unsearched. As
there were only the big wooden boxes, there were no odd corners
where a man could hide. Men much relieved when search over, and
went back to work cheerfully. First mate scowled, but said
22 July.--Rough weather last three days, and all hands busy
with sails, no time to be frightened. Men seem to have
forgotten their dread. Mate cheerful again, and all on
good terms. Praised men for work in bad weather. Passed
Gibraltar and out through Straits. All well.
24 July.--There seems some doom over this ship. Already a hand
short, and entering the Bay of Biscay with wild weather ahead, and
yet last night another man lost, disappeared. Like the first, he
came off his watch and was not seen again. Men all in a panic of
fear, sent a round robin, asking to have double watch, as they
fear to be alone. Mate angry. Fear there will be some trouble,
as either he or the men will do some violence.
28 July.--Four days in hell, knocking about in a sort of
maelstrom, and the wind a tempest. No sleep for any one.
Men all worn out. Hardly know how to set a watch, since no
one fit to go on. Second mate volunteered to steer and
watch, and let men snatch a few hours sleep. Wind abating,
seas still terrific, but feel them less, as ship is
29 July.--Another tragedy. Had single watch tonight, as crew too
tired to double. When morning watch came on deck could find no
one except steersman. Raised outcry, and all came on deck.
Thorough search, but no one found. Are now without second mate,
and crew in a panic. Mate and I agreed to go armed henceforth and
wait for any sign of cause.
30 July.--Last night. Rejoiced we are nearing England. Weather
fine, all sails set. Retired worn out, slept soundly, awakened by
mate telling me that both man of watch and steersman missing.
Only self and mate and two hands left to work ship.
1 August.--Two days of fog, and not a sail sighted. Had hoped
when in the English Channel to be able to signal for help or get
in somewhere. Not having power to work sails, have to run before
wind. Dare not lower, as could not raise them again. We seem to
be drifting to some terrible doom. Mate now more demoralised than
either of men. His stronger nature seems to have worked inwardly
against himself. Men are beyond fear, working stolidly and
patiently, with minds made up to worst. They are Russian, he
2 August, midnight.--Woke up from few minutes sleep by hearing a
cry, seemingly outside my port. Could see nothing in fog. Rushed
on deck, and ran against mate. Tells me he heard cry and ran, but
no sign of man on watch. One more gone. Lord, help us! Mate
says we must be past Straits of Dover, as in a moment of fog
lifting he saw North Foreland, just as he heard the man cry out.
If so we are now off in the North Sea, and only God can guide us
in the fog, which seems to move with us, and God seems to have
3 August.--At midnight I went to relieve the man at the
wheel and when I got to it found no one there. The wind
was steady, and as we ran before it there was no yawing. I
dared not leave it, so shouted for the mate. After a few
seconds, he rushed up on deck in his flannels. He looked
wild-eyed and haggard, and I greatly fear his reason has
given way. He came close to me and whispered hoarsely,
with his mouth to my ear, as though fearing the very air
might hear. "It is here. I know it now. On the watch
last night I saw It, like a man, tall and thin, and ghastly
pale. It was in the bows, and looking out. I crept behind
It, and gave it my knife, but the knife went through It,
empty as the air." And as he spoke he took the knife and
drove it savagely into space. Then he went on, "But It is
here, and I'll find It. It is in the hold, perhaps in one
of those boxes. I'll unscrew them one by one and see. You
work the helm." And with a warning look and his finger on
his lip, he went below. There was springing up a choppy
wind, and I could not leave the helm. I saw him come out
on deck again with a tool chest and lantern, and go down
the forward hatchway. He is mad, stark, raving mad, and
it's no use my trying to stop him. He can't hurt those big
boxes, they are invoiced as clay, and to pull them about is
as harmless a thing as he can do. So here I stay and mind
the helm, and write these notes. I can only trust in God
and wait till the fog clears. Then, if I can't steer to
any harbour with the wind that is, I shall cut down sails,
and lie by, and signal for help . . .
It is nearly all over now. Just as I was beginning to hope
that the mate would come out calmer, for I heard him
knocking away at something in the hold, and work is good
for him, there came up the hatchway a sudden, startled
scream, which made my blood run cold, and up on the deck he
came as if shot from a gun, a raging madman, with his eyes
rolling and his face convulsed with fear. "Save me! Save
me!" he cried, and then looked round on the blanket of fog.
His horror turned to despair, and in a steady voice he
said, "You had better come too, captain, before it is too
late. He is there! I know the secret now. The sea will
save me from Him, and it is all that is left!" Before I
could say a word, or move forward to seize him, he sprang
on the bulwark and deliberately threw himself into the sea.
I suppose I know the secret too, now. It was this madman
who had got rid of the men one by one, and now he has
followed them himself. God help me! How am I to account
for all these horrors when I get to port? When I get to
port! Will that ever be?
4 August.--Still fog, which the sunrise cannot pierce, I
know there is sunrise because I am a sailor, why else I
know not. I dared not go below, I dared not leave the
helm, so here all night I stayed, and in the dimness of the
night I saw it, Him! God, forgive me, but the mate was
right to jump overboard. It was better to die like a man.
To die like a sailor in blue water, no man can object. But
I am captain, and I must not leave my ship. But I shall
baffle this fiend or monster, for I shall tie my hands to
the wheel when my strength begins to fail, and along with
them I shall tie that which He, It, dare not touch. And
then, come good wind or foul, I shall save my soul, and my
honour as a captain. I am growing weaker, and the night is
coming on. If He can look me in the face again, I may not
have time to act. . . If we are wrecked, mayhap this bottle
may be found, and those who find it may understand. If
not . . . well, then all men shall know that I have been
true to my trust. God and the Blessed Virgin and the
Saints help a poor ignorant soul trying to do his duty . . .
Of course the verdict was an open one. There is no evidence
to adduce, and whether or not the man himself committed the
murders there is now none to say. The folk here hold almost
universally that the captain is simply a hero, and he is to be
given a public funeral. Already it is arranged that his body
is to be taken with a train of boats up the Esk for a piece
and then brought back to Tate Hill Pier and up the abbey steps,
for he is to be buried in the churchyard on the cliff. The
owners of more than a hundred boats have already given in their
names as wishing to follow him to the grave.
No trace has ever been found of the great dog, at which there is
much mourning, for, with public opinion in its present state, he
would, I believe, be adopted by the town. Tomorrow will see the
funeral, and so will end this one more 'mystery of the sea'.
MINA MURRAY'S JOURNAL
8 August.--Lucy was very restless all night, and I too, could not
sleep. The storm was fearful, and as it boomed loudly among the
chimney pots, it made me shudder. When a sharp puff came it seemed to
be like a distant gun. Strangely enough, Lucy did not wake, but she
got up twice and dressed herself. Fortunately, each time I awoke in
time and managed to undress her without waking her, and got her back to
bed. It is a very strange thing, this sleep-walking, for as soon as
her will is thwarted in any physical way, her intention, if there be
any, disappears, and she yields herself almost exactly to the routine
of her life.
Early in the morning we both got up and went down to the harbour to see
if anything had happened in the night. There were very few people
about, and though the sun was bright, and the air clear and fresh, the
big, grim-looking waves, that seemed dark themselves because the foam
that topped them was like snow, forced themselves in through the mouth
of the harbour, like a bullying man going through a crowd. Somehow I
felt glad that Jonathan was not on the sea last night, but on land.
But, oh, is he on land or sea? Where is he, and how? I am getting
fearfully anxious about him. If I only knew what to do, and could do
10 August.--The funeral of the poor sea captain today was most
touching. Every boat in the harbour seemed to be there, and the coffin
was carried by captains all the way from Tate Hill Pier up to the
churchyard. Lucy came with me, and we went early to our old seat,
whilst the cortege of boats went up the river to the Viaduct and came
down again. We had a lovely view, and saw the procession nearly all
the way. The poor fellow was laid to rest near our seat so that we
stood on it, when the time came and saw everything.
Poor Lucy seemed much upset. She was restless and uneasy all the time,
and I cannot but think that her dreaming at night is telling on her.
She is quite odd in one thing. She will not admit to me that there is
any cause for restlessness, or if there be, she does not understand it
There is an additional cause in that poor Mr. Swales was found dead
this morning on our seat, his neck being broken. He had evidently, as
the doctor said, fallen back in the seat in some sort of fright, for
there was a look of fear and horror on his face that the men said made
them shudder. Poor dear old man!
Lucy is so sweet and sensitive that she feels influences more acutely
than other people do. Just now she was quite upset by a little thing
which I did not much heed, though I am myself very fond of animals.
One of the men who came up here often to look for the boats was
followed by his dog. The dog is always with him. They are both quiet
persons, and I never saw the man angry, nor heard the dog bark. During
the service the dog would not come to its master, who was on the seat
with us, but kept a few yards off, barking and howling. Its master
spoke to it gently, and then harshly, and then angrily. But it would
neither come nor cease to make a noise. It was in a fury, with its
eyes savage, and all its hair bristling out like a cat's tail when puss
is on the war path.
Finally the man too got angry, and jumped down and kicked the dog, and
then took it by the scruff of the neck and half dragged and half threw
it on the tombstone on which the seat is fixed. The moment it touched
the stone the poor thing began to tremble. It did not try to get away,
but crouched down, quivering and cowering, and was in such a pitiable
state of terror that I tried, though without effect, to comfort it.
Lucy was full of pity, too, but she did not attempt to touch the dog,
but looked at it in an agonised sort of way. I greatly fear that she
is of too super sensitive a nature to go through the world without
trouble. She will be dreaming of this tonight, I am sure. The whole
agglomeration of things, the ship steered into port by a dead man, his
attitude, tied to the wheel with a crucifix and beads, the touching
funeral, the dog, now furious and now in terror, will all afford
material for her dreams.
I think it will be best for her to go to bed tired out physically, so I
shall take her for a long walk by the cliffs to Robin Hood's Bay and
back. She ought not to have much inclination for sleep-walking then.
MINA MURRAY'S JOURNAL
Same day, 11 o'clock P.M.--Oh, but I am tired! If it were not that I
had made my diary a duty I should not open it tonight. We had a lovely
walk. Lucy, after a while, was in gay spirits, owing, I think, to some
dear cows who came nosing towards us in a field close to the
lighthouse, and frightened the wits out of us. I believe we forgot
everything, except of course, personal fear, and it seemed to wipe the
slate clean and give us a fresh start. We had a capital 'severe tea'
at Robin Hood's Bay in a sweet little old-fashioned inn, with a bow
window right over the seaweed-covered rocks of the strand. I believe
we should have shocked the 'New Woman' with our appetites. Men are
more tolerant, bless them! Then we walked home with some, or rather
many, stoppages to rest, and with our hearts full of a constant dread
of wild bulls.
Lucy was really tired, and we intended to creep off to bed as soon as
we could. The young curate came in, however, and Mrs. Westenra asked
him to stay for supper. Lucy and I had both a fight for it with the
dusty miller. I know it was a hard fight on my part, and I am quite
heroic. I think that some day the bishops must get together and see
about breeding up a new class of curates, who don't take supper, no
matter how hard they may be pressed to, and who will know when girls
Lucy is asleep and breathing softly. She has more colour in her cheeks
than usual, and looks, oh so sweet. If Mr. Holmwood fell in love with
her seeing her only in the drawing room, I wonder what he would say if
he saw her now. Some of the 'New Women' writers will some day start an
idea that men and women should be allowed to see each other asleep
before proposing or accepting. But I suppose the 'New Woman' won't
condescend in future to accept. She will do the proposing herself. And
a nice job she will make of it too! There's some consolation in that.
I am so happy tonight, because dear Lucy seems better. I really
believe she has turned the corner, and that we are over her troubles
with dreaming. I should be quite happy if I only knew if Jonathan . . .
God bless and keep him.
11 August.--Diary again. No sleep now, so I may as well write. I am
too agitated to sleep. We have had such an adventure, such an
agonizing experience. I fell asleep as soon as I had closed my diary.
. . . Suddenly I became broad awake, and sat up, with a horrible sense
of fear upon me, and of some feeling of emptiness around me. The room
was dark, so I could not see Lucy's bed. I stole across and felt for
her. The bed was empty. I lit a match and found that she was not in
the room. The door was shut, but not locked, as I had left it. I feared
to wake her mother, who has been more than usually ill lately, so threw
on some clothes and got ready to look for her. As I was leaving the
room it struck me that the clothes she wore might give me some clue to
her dreaming intention. Dressing-gown would mean house, dress outside.
Dressing-gown and dress were both in their places. "Thank God," I said
to myself, "she cannot be far, as she is only in her nightdress."
I ran downstairs and looked in the sitting room. Not there! Then I
looked in all the other rooms of the house, with an ever-growing fear
chilling my heart. Finally, I came to the hall door and found it open.
It was not wide open, but the catch of the lock had not caught. The
people of the house are careful to lock the door every night, so I
feared that Lucy must have gone out as she was. There was no time to
think of what might happen. A vague over-mastering fear obscured all
I took a big, heavy shawl and ran out. The clock was striking one as I
was in the Crescent, and there was not a soul in sight. I ran along
the North Terrace, but could see no sign of the white figure which I
expected. At the edge of the West Cliff above the pier I looked across
the harbour to the East Cliff, in the hope or fear, I don't know which,
of seeing Lucy in our favourite seat.
There was a bright full moon, with heavy black, driving clouds, which
threw the whole scene into a fleeting diorama of light and shade as
they sailed across. For a moment or two I could see nothing, as the
shadow of a cloud obscured St. Mary's Church and all around it. Then
as the cloud passed I could see the ruins of the abbey coming into
view, and as the edge of a narrow band of light as sharp as a sword-cut
moved along, the church and churchyard became gradually visible.
Whatever my expectation was, it was not disappointed, for there, on our
favourite seat, the silver light of the moon struck a half-reclining
figure, snowy white. The coming of the cloud was too quick for me to
see much, for shadow shut down on light almost immediately, but it
seemed to me as though something dark stood behind the seat where the
white figure shone, and bent over it. What it was, whether man or
beast, I could not tell.
I did not wait to catch another glance, but flew down the steep steps
to the pier and along by the fish-market to the bridge, which was the
only way to reach the East Cliff. The town seemed as dead, for not a
soul did I see. I rejoiced that it was so, for I wanted no witness of
poor Lucy's condition. The time and distance seemed endless, and my
knees trembled and my breath came laboured as I toiled up the endless
steps to the abbey. I must have gone fast, and yet it seemed to me as
if my feet were weighted with lead, and as though every joint in my
body were rusty.
When I got almost to the top I could see the seat and the white figure,
for I was now close enough to distinguish it even through the spells of
shadow. There was undoubtedly something, long and black, bending over
the half-reclining white figure. I called in fright, "Lucy! Lucy!"
and something raised a head, and from where I was I could see a white
face and red, gleaming eyes.
Lucy did not answer, and I ran on to the entrance of the churchyard.
As I entered, the church was between me and the seat, and for a minute
or so I lost sight of her. When I came in view again the cloud had
passed, and the moonlight struck so brilliantly that I could see Lucy
half reclining with her head lying over the back of the seat. She was
quite alone, and there was not a sign of any living thing about.
When I bent over her I could see that she was still asleep. Her lips
were parted, and she was breathing, not softly as usual with her, but
in long, heavy gasps, as though striving to get her lungs full at every
breath. As I came close, she put up her hand in her sleep and pulled
the collar of her nightdress close around her, as though she felt the
cold. I flung the warm shawl over her, and drew the edges tight around
her neck, for I dreaded lest she should get some deadly chill from the
night air, unclad as she was. I feared to wake her all at once, so, in
order to have my hands free to help her, I fastened the shawl at her
throat with a big safety pin. But I must have been clumsy in my
anxiety and pinched or pricked her with it, for by-and-by, when her
breathing became quieter, she put her hand to her throat again and
moaned. When I had her carefully wrapped up I put my shoes on her
feet, and then began very gently to wake her.
At first she did not respond, but gradually she became more and more
uneasy in her sleep, moaning and sighing occasionally. At last, as
time was passing fast, and for many other reasons, I wished to get her
home at once, I shook her forcibly, till finally she opened her eyes
and awoke. She did not seem surprised to see me, as, of course, she
did not realize all at once where she was.
Lucy always wakes prettily, and even at such a time, when her body must
have been chilled with cold, and her mind somewhat appalled at waking
unclad in a churchyard at night, she did not lose her grace. She
trembled a little, and clung to me. When I told her to come at once
with me home, she rose without a word, with the obedience of a child.
As we passed along, the gravel hurt my feet, and Lucy noticed me wince.
She stopped and wanted to insist upon my taking my shoes, but I would
not. However, when we got to the pathway outside the chruchyard, where
there was a puddle of water, remaining from the storm, I daubed my feet
with mud, using each foot in turn on the other, so that as we went
home, no one, in case we should meet any one, should notice my bare
Fortune favoured us, and we got home without meeting a soul. Once we
saw a man, who seemed not quite sober, passing along a street in front
of us. But we hid in a door till he had disappeared up an opening such
as there are here, steep little closes, or 'wynds', as they call them
in Scotland. My heart beat so loud all the time sometimes I thought I
should faint. I was filled with anxiety about Lucy, not only for her
health, lest she should suffer from the exposure, but for her
reputation in case the story should get wind. When we got in, and had
washed our feet, and had said a prayer of thankfulness together, I
tucked her into bed. Before falling asleep she asked, even implored,
me not to say a word to any one, even her mother, about her
I hesitated at first, to promise, but on thinking of the state of her
mother's health, and how the knowledge of such a thing would fret her,
and think too, of how such a story might become distorted, nay,
infallibly would, in case it should leak out, I thought it wiser to do
so. I hope I did right. I have locked the door, and the key is tied
to my wrist, so perhaps I shall not be again disturbed. Lucy is
sleeping soundly. The reflex of the dawn is high and far over the
sea . . .
Same day, noon.--All goes well. Lucy slept till I woke her and seemed
not to have even changed her side. The adventure of the night does not
seem to have harmed her, on the contrary, it has benefited her, for she
looks better this morning than she has done for weeks. I was sorry to
notice that my clumsiness with the safety-pin hurt her. Indeed, it
might have been serious, for the skin of her throat was pierced. I
must have pinched up a piece of loose skin and have transfixed it, for
there are two little red points like pin-pricks, and on the band of her
nightdress was a drop of blood. When I apologised and was concerned
about it, she laughed and petted me, and said she did not even feel it.
Fortunately it cannot leave a scar, as it is so tiny.
Same day, night.--We passed a happy day. The air was clear, and the
sun bright, and there was a cool breeze. We took our lunch to Mulgrave
Woods, Mrs. Westenra driving by the road and Lucy and I walking by the
cliff-path and joining her at the gate. I felt a little sad myself,
for I could not but feel how absolutely happy it would have been had
Jonathan been with me. But there! I must only be patient. In the
evening we strolled in the Casino Terrace, and heard some good music by
Spohr and Mackenzie, and went to bed early. Lucy seems more restful
than she has been for some time, and fell asleep at once. I shall lock
the door and secure the key the same as before, though I do not expect
any trouble tonight.
12 August.--My expectations were wrong, for twice during the night I
was wakened by Lucy trying to get out. She seemed, even in her sleep,
to be a little impatient at finding the door shut, and went back to bed
under a sort of protest. I woke with the dawn, and heard the birds
chirping outside of the window. Lucy woke, too, and I was glad to see,
was even better than on the previous morning. All her old gaiety of
manner seemed to have come back, and she came and snuggled in beside me
and told me all about Arthur. I told her how anxious I was about
Jonathan, and then she tried to comfort me. Well, she succeeded
somewhat, for, though sympathy can't alter facts, it can make them more
13 August.--Another quiet day, and to bed with the key on my wrist as
before. Again I awoke in the night, and found Lucy sitting up in bed,
still asleep, pointing to the window. I got up quietly, and pulling
aside the blind, looked out. It was brilliant moonlight, and the soft
effect of the light over the sea and sky, merged together in one great
silent mystery, was beautiful beyond words. Between me and the
moonlight flitted a great bat, coming and going in great whirling
circles. Once or twice it came quite close, but was, I suppose,
frightened at seeing me, and flitted away across the harbour towards
the abbey. When I came back from the window Lucy had lain down again,
and was sleeping peacefully. She did not stir again all night.
14 August.--On the East Cliff, reading and writing all day. Lucy seems
to have become as much in love with the spot as I am, and it is hard to
get her away from it when it is time to come home for lunch or tea or
dinner. This afternoon she made a funny remark. We were coming home
for dinner, and had come to the top of the steps up from the West Pier