Dracula

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DRACULA by Bram Stoker

1897 edition



CHAPTER 1


Jonathan Harker's Journal

3 May. Bistritz.--Left Munich at 8:35 P.M., on 1st May, arriving at
Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6:46, but train was
an hour late.  Buda-Pesth seems a wonderful place, from the glimpse
which I got of it from the train and the little I could walk through
the streets.  I feared to go very far from the station, as we had
arrived late and would start as near the correct time as possible.

The impression I had was that we were leaving the West and entering the
East; the most western of splendid bridges over the Danube, which is
here of noble width and depth, took us among the traditions of Turkish
rule.

We left in pretty good time, and came after nightfall to Klausenburgh.
Here I stopped for the night at the Hotel Royale.  I had for dinner,
or rather supper, a chicken done up some way with red pepper, which
was very good but thirsty.  (Mem. get recipe for Mina.) I asked the
waiter, and he said it was called "paprika hendl," and that, as it was
a national dish, I should be able to get it anywhere along the
Carpathians.

I found my smattering of German very useful here, indeed, I don't know
how I should be able to get on without it.

Having had some time at my disposal when in London, I had visited the
British Museum, and made search among the books and maps in the
library regarding Transylvania; it had struck me that some
foreknowledge of the country could hardly fail to have some importance
in dealing with a nobleman of that country.


I find that the district he named is in the extreme east of the
country, just on the borders of three states, Transylvania, Moldavia,
and Bukovina, in the midst of the Carpathian mountains; one of the
wildest and least known portions of Europe.

I was not able to light on any map or work giving the exact locality
of the Castle Dracula, as there are no maps of this country as yet to
compare with our own Ordance Survey Maps; but I found that Bistritz,
the post town named by Count Dracula, is a fairly well-known place.  I
shall enter here some of my notes, as they may refresh my memory when
I talk over my travels with Mina.

In the population of Transylvania there are four distinct
nationalities:  Saxons in the South, and mixed with them the Wallachs,
who are the descendants of the Dacians; Magyars in the West, and
Szekelys in the East and North.  I am going among the latter, who
claim to be descended from Attila and the Huns.  This may be so, for
when the Magyars conquered the country in the eleventh century they
found the Huns settled in it.

I read that every known superstition in the world is gathered into the
horseshoe of the Carpathians, as if it were the centre of some sort of
imaginative whirlpool; if so my stay may be very interesting.  (Mem.,
I must ask the Count all about them.)

I did not sleep well, though my bed was comfortable enough, for I had
all sorts of queer dreams.  There was a dog howling all night under my
window, which may have had something to do with it; or it may have
been the paprika, for I had to drink up all the water in my carafe,
and was still thirsty.  Towards morning I slept and was wakened by the
continuous knocking at my door, so I guess I must have been sleeping
soundly then.

I had for breakfast more paprika, and a sort of porridge of maize
flour which they said was "mamaliga", and egg-plant stuffed with
forcemeat, a very excellent dish, which they call "impletata". (Mem.,
get recipe for this also.)

I had to hurry breakfast, for the train started a little before eight,
or rather it ought to have done so, for after rushing to the station
at 7:30 I had to sit in the carriage for more than an hour before we
began to move.

It seems to me that the further east you go the more unpunctual are
the trains.  What ought they to be in China?

All day long we seemed to dawdle through a country which was full of
beauty of every kind.  Sometimes we saw little towns or castles on the
top of steep hills such as we see in old missals; sometimes we ran by
rivers and streams which seemed from the wide stony margin on each
side of them to be subject to great floods.  It takes a lot of water,
and running strong, to sweep the outside edge of a river clear.

At every station there were groups of people, sometimes crowds, and in
all sorts of attire.  Some of them were just like the peasants at home
or those I saw coming through France and Germany, with short jackets,
and round hats, and home-made trousers; but others were very
picturesque.