Dell’s Blog

Posted by Dell on 04-11-2019 @ 1:03 A. M.

I thought about entitling this what the Hell is wrong with me but I don’t like to get too dramatic. Even so, there is something wrong with me. I just don’t seem to see things the same way as other people do. For instance, just before I sat down to write this I turned the channel to a movie channel to listen to movies while I work. Pathetic, I know, but I do it every night. The T.V. Is behind me so I have to turn to see it. So, I don’t. I just listen. But, sometimes it’s so good that I do turn to watch for a second and I’m usually disappointed. Well, tonight I turned the channel and there was a sports show just ending, and one of the commentators turned to the screen and Said “We want to thank you for tuning in.”

“Really,” I asked?

He didn’t say anything. I guess we would all be surprised if he did. But, I continued… “I didn’t tune in. I hate your show! I wouldn’t watch it if you paid me.” He did seem to flinch a little at that but the T.V. Went to commercial with no further incident… Not that there could have been one. I’m just saying…

Anyway, my point is, I do not like sports the way other men do. Several times in my life other men have stopped and looked at me like…. “Whoaaa, what’s up with this dude.” or “Did you play with dolls when you were a kid?” I learned early in my life that it is unmanly to say you do not like sports, or hint it, or not know the answer to a sports question. It’s just not allowed. Since I was young I had to go along with it, even so I couldn’t always keep up the facade. Occasionally someone would trip me up…

“So, what did you think of Babe Ruth?”

“Oh… Babe Ruth… It’s a damn good candy bar,” I answered.

He looked at me funny and I knew I screwed something up, but, eventually he laughed, I went home and asked my little Brother who Babe Ruth was, a hockey player? (My brother is a Hockey fanatic) “Sure… Sure… A hockey player,” my little brother tells me. That was payback for all the mean things I had done to him.

As I got older I’d pick a little and ask guys why they didn’t just give both teams a ball and send them home, I mean, wasn’t the point to get the ball? And didn’t they seem to take an awful long time to get it? And wouldn’t it be easier to just give them a frigging ball of their own? Wouldn’t it. That didn’t win me any points, and then, in ninth grade, I decided to not major in smoking behind the school that year and I took Home Economics instead.

My life as a social outcast was short lived though. I got kicked out of Home economics and went back to majoring in smoking behind the school. Then, voila, it hit me. Maybe not liking sports was… was… I couldn’t make the connection though. I had probably burned out too many brain cells smoking joints behind the school instead of cigarettes. Too bad, if I could have only made the connection I may have been able to see that real men need sports in their lives as much as they need to fart and burp… (Some men, not all men.). And sports lends a well rounded social adaptation you just can’t get any other way. I remember so many times at work some guy would say… “So, what do you think about those Dodgers?” And I would say, “Oh… Well they ought to go to jail…(Then, because it’s manly to swear and cuss), Frigging A! They ought to, those bastards!” Another potential social connection missed. Another opportunity to be a success in society missed.

At an early age I did decide to make a concession. I decided that I would watch Stock Car Racing. That was a sport. That would be my sport! It would solve everything. But no. Footballers, Baseballers, All those other ballers (It’s all games where you play with balls, right? … I’m just saying…) they don’t all believe that stock car racing is a real sport… What? So, I had managed to like the one sport that wasn’t really a sport. What was wrong with me? I just didn’t know.

As I grew up and went to prison I realized that I had to be honest with myself about my shortcomings when it came to sports if I ever hoped to break the cycle and stop going back to prison. My whole life was in ruin. Virtual ruin. So I sat down and examined it and realized that I was uncomfortable with the games. I paid attention, I took notes, and I realized that I had some prejudices and hangups concerning the way the game was played. And, I plain didn’t understand the rules. So I took a closer look at them. And wrote down the ones that really confused me:

#1. Did you pat the other guy on the Ass after he made a basket/home run/touchdown or before?

#2. Did you grab your junk whenever you wanted to or only when people were watching?

#3. Did you cry only in a strong emotional circumstance like your coach retiring, or could you cry if you just had a bad day, or the dog crapped on your new carpet?

#4. If you patted a guy on the Ass more than once did it mean you had to buy him dinner?

I learned these are not questions you ask other men in prison.

After I got out of the infirmary, I tried to figure these questions out on my own after watching my sport for awhile, but I only became more confused.

In NASCAR, nobody pats anyone on the Ass. At least not in public (Tony Stewart excepted but he’s nuts anyway). I’ve seen dozens of finishes and never once have I seen the other drivers run up and pat the winner on the Ass. Not Once. There are no balls to play with. None. The drivers never grab their junk in front of the cameras, and if anyone cries, why one of the other drivers will just beat him up! Even the women drivers don’t cry, and, I’m pretty sure they don’t play with dolls either.

After much thought I decided these things:

#1. I’m not patting any guy on the Ass whether it’s a game or not, and if one pats me on the Ass there’s going to be trouble.

#2. I will only grab my junk when no one’s watching.

#3. If I feel an urge to cry I will remind myself that it could be worse. I could be a footballer and some sweaty, three hundred pound guy could be patting me on the Ass all of the time…


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Dell’s Blog

Posted by Dell on 03/27/2019

It has been a long week for me. Oh, wait, it just started. Well, I guess it is going to be a very long week then. What is nice is that even though at times it may not seem it the end of the week does come.

This week we are working on David’s book. That’s what we do. We all work on whatever needs work at the time. His book is new, we’re helping. I also know that Geo and Melody are working on The Caves. From what O have seen it is a 200.000 k novel. Huge. And, it is an excellent read. They are completely into it.

Joseph is getting his books ready to sell on Amazon. He has not been a strong seller there, has not taken the time to develop a following but he is concentrating on that now.

I have done editing work all week, updating the websites so If you noticed one of my screw ups at 2:00 AM yes, that really was me making a mistake. For the most part I have done alright. I am integrating several websites into one. Rather than go here or there to pull books, you will, some day, be able to pull them from one place. Wow. Right now everyone sort of has their own system. But we all realize that if you can find them easier you will be able to actually read them. We are not total idiots. Notice I said total. I think we’re maybe 86%. We just get stuck in that tech mode on occasion.

What was this past week like? We’ll we gave away 600 plus US copies of the First Dreamer’s Book. Geo and I were pleased about that. No it is back to business as usual for awhile. The Caves will probably be the next book up.

What do I have for you tonight. I have a short story that I wrote several years ago. I never published it. It contains two of my three favorite people, Bobby and Moon and you will have to meet Lois some other time, in my favorite town that exists only in my head, Glennville. This will, maybe, someday, be part of a larger story. But it won’t be published as a short story. So, it’s here for you…

The Great Go-Cart Race

Copyright (C) Wendell Sweet 1984 1994 1995 1996 – 2019


The Great Go-Cart Race

~1~

The summer of 1969 in Glennville New York had settled in full tilt. The July morning was cool and peaceful, but the afternoon promised nothing but sticky heat. Bobby Weston and Moon Calloway worked furiously on the go-cart they had been planning to race down Sinton Park hill, in the old garage behind Bobby’s house. Both boys had grown up in Glennville. Bobby on upper Fig, Moon on lower Fig. And even though they had gone to the same schools and grown up just a block apart, they had only recently become friends. The Go-cart was a project they had devoted the last two weeks to, and it looked as though today would finally see it finished.

By eleven thirty that morning they had the wheels on the go cart, and had dragged it up Sinton Park hill. An old piece of clothesline tied to each side of the two by four the wheels were nailed to served as the steering. One nail pounded through the center board and into the two by four allowed it to turn. It was the best go cart either of them had ever built, and it rolled just fine. The plan was for bobby to give Moon a ten minute head start down the hill. That way he should be at the intersection by the time Bobby got there, they figured, and able to make sure that Bobby got through it in one piece. Just exactly what Moon was supposed to do to stop a car, or Bobby-the go cart had no brakes, except Bobby’s Keds-he didn’t know. They hadn’t figured that part of it out.

“So, how am I supposed to stop a car?” Moon asked. He didn’t want to sound stupid. Most probably Bobby had it all figured out, but Moon couldn’t see it.

“Easy,” Bobby told him, “you don’t. You’d get freakin’ killed.”

“Well, I knew that,” Moon lied.

“See, you’ll be on your bike. You’ll be sittin’ up higher. You’ll see if there’s a car coming, I won’t, on account of how low to the ground I’ll be.”

“I knew that too.” Well, and then what? Moon asked himself.

“So easy. You just yell to me before I get to the intersection, and I cut off to the left and go into the sledding hill instead. You see that way I’ll be going up, instead of down, see?”

“Oh yeah!” Moon said, as it dawned on him. The sledding hill was there. Of course it wasn’t a sledding hill in the summer, but it was a hill, and he could see exactly how it would work. “I knew that too. I just wasn’t sure if that was what you were goin’ to do, or not,” Moon finished.

“Of course you did,” Bobby agreed.

Moon was just getting ready to bike back down to the bottom of the hill, when John Belcher showed up. John Belcher lived on West avenue, and his dad raced stock car out in Lafargville.

As a consequence, John Belcher had the coolest go-cart around. His dad had helped build it. Real tires-they even had air in them-with a real metal axle running from side to side to hold them. That was the best way to do it, Moon had said, when he’d first seen John’s go-cart. That way you didn’t have to worry about the tires falling off when the spikes pulled out, and the spikes always pulled out. It also had a real steering wheel, a real one. Moon had exclaimed over that. His dad, John had told him, had gotten it out of an old boat out at the junk yard.

“Hey,” John said, as he walked up, dragging his go-cart behind him. “Goin’ down?”

“Bobby is,” Moon said respectfully. You had to show a lot of respect to someone who owned a go-cart that cool. “I’m watchin’… At the bottom. So he don’t get killed, or nothin’,” Moon finished.

“Watch for me too?” John asked.

“Sure, man, a course I will. Bobby don’t care, do ya?”

“Uh uh,” Bobby said. “You gonna try for the whole thing?”

“Why, are you?”

“Yeah… Right through the intersection, and if I can all the way downtown. Probably won’t roll enough on the flat part to do that though, but at least through the intersection and as far past it as I can get.”

Sinton Park Hill began at the extreme western end of Glennville, and continued-though somewhat reduced-as State Street Hill all the way to the Public Square three miles from its start.

“Cool!” John said. Now it was his turn to sound respectful. “I dunno, man. If I do it and my dad finds out, he’ll kill me.”

“Well, who’s gonna tell him?” Moon asked. “I won’t, and neither will Bobby.”

“Yeah, but if someone see’s me…”

“Yeah… I’m gonna though,” Bobby said. He could see John was aching to do it.

“Okay… I’m gonna,” John said decidedly.

“Cool!” Moon exclaimed. “Really frickin’ cool!”

John grinned, as did Bobby. “Well,” Bobby said, “guess you better head down, Moony. Moon didn’t need to be told twice. He stood on the pedals, and fairly flew down the hill.

~2~

“Think he’s down the bottom yet?” Bobby asked John quietly. They were both sitting at the side of Sinton Park hill. Their sneakers wedged firmly against the black top to hold them. John had allowed ten minutes to tick off, keeping faithful track of the time with his Timex.

“Ought a be,” John said in a whisper, licking his lips.

“Scared?”

“Uh uh… Well, a little.”

“Me too… Ready?”

“For real?”

“For real,” Bobby said solemnly.

John didn’t answer, he simply pulled his feet from the pavement, turned and grinned at Bobby, and began to roll away. Bobby followed, both of them hugging the side of the road, as close to the curbing as possible.

It was a slow build up for the first few hundred feet. Sinton park hill didn’t begin to get really steep until you were better than half way down, it was gradual up until that point. Even so, within that first few hundred feet, Bobby realized that everything had changed. John was already a good fifty feet ahead of him, and pulling away fast enough that it was noticeable. They were not going to hit the bottom of the hill at even close to the same time. Moon would have to watch for both of them separately.

John made a sharp curve up ahead, and disappeared from view. Everything, Bobby knew, was sharp curves from here on out, and that would not change until they were well past the halfway point. And, this was much faster than he had thought it would be. Much faster.

He fought with the rope through the curve, but he could no longer keep to the side. He was going to need the entire road.

And if a car came? he asked himself.

He had thought of that, but he had thought he would be able to stay to the side. No time to think. Another curve just ahead, and he had only barely glimpsed John as he had flown around the curve. Just the back tires really. He probably wouldn’t see any more of him at all until they were down at the bottom.

The second curve was not as bad as the first had been. He didn’t try to fight this time, he simply let the go-cart drift as far as it wanted too. He came off the curve and dropped both sneakers to the pavement. Instant heat, and the left one flipped backwards nearly under the two by four that held the rear tires, before he was able to drag it back in.

“Jesus,” he moaned. It was lost in the fast rush of wind that surrounded him. Torn from his throat and flung backwards. He hadn’t even heard it. Another curve, and the Indian trail flashed by on his right.

The Indian trail was just that. An old Indian trail that cut down through the thick trees that surrounded Sinton park. He and Moon had carefully negotiated it several times. The Indian trail was just before the halfway point, he knew. There was a really sharp curve coming up, just before Lookout Point. You could see nearly all of Glennville from there.

He fought the curve. Harder this time. It felt as if he were going at least a million miles an hour. Two million maybe, he corrected himself. And the go-cart was beginning to do a lot more than drift. It was beginning to shake. And, his mind told him, you ain’t even at the fast part yet! Lookout Point flashed by, and he fought his way around the sharp curve, going nearly completely to the other side in order to do it…. Yes I am, he told himself.

The road opened up. A full quarter mile of steep hill lay before him, before the next curve. It would be a sharp one too, but not as bad as the one he’d just come around. John was nowhere to be seen ahead of him. Presumably at and around the next curve already. No cars yet, and hopefully there wouldn’t be any at all. It was Monday, Sinton Park saw most of its business on the weekends, if they’d tried this then…

The quarter mile was gone that quick. This curve, and one more, and the rest was all straight-away. He gritted his teeth, and flashed into the curve.

Halfway through, nearly at the extreme edge of the opposite side of the road, the first raindrop hit him. A small splat, or it would have been. The speed with which he was moving had made it sting. Splat, splat. The tires were nearly rubbing the curbing when he finally came out the other side of the curve and hit a small straight-away. And now fat drops were hitting the pavement.

He sped into the last curve, and this time the wheels didn’t skim the curbing, they seemed glued to it. Screaming in protest as he tore through the wide curve and made the other side. The rain came in a rush. Turning the hot pavement glossy black as it pelted down. He used the rope carefully to guide himself back towards the side of the road. Slipping as he went, but making it. His hands were clinched tightly, absolutely white from the force with which he held the rope.

Straight-away, slightly less than a mile, and far ahead, where the stone pillars marked the entrance to Sinton Park, he watched John fly through the intersection. Nothing… No car. Nothing. He made it. He could make out Moon sitting on his bike at the side of the road. Leaned up against one of the pillars. Moon turned towards him, and then quickly looked away. The hill was flashing by fast. Too fast. He’d never be able to cut into the sledding hill. Not in a million years, and especially not with the road wet like it was.

Halfway. Moon was turning back, waving his arms frantically. Bobby slammed his Keds into the slick surface of the road. Useless, and he dragged them back inside after only a split second. Nothing for it, nothing at all. The intersection was still empty, however, so maybe…

Moon scrambled away from his bike letting it fall, and sprinted for the middle of the road, but he was far too late. And even if he hadn’t been, Bobby told himself as he flashed by him, the go-cart probably would’ve run him over.

“Truck!” Moon screamed as Bobby flew past him. He stumbled, fell, picked himself up, and ran back towards the stone entrance post, watching the intersection as he went.

The truck, one of the lumber trucks from Jackson’s Lumber on Fig street, made the intersection in a gear grinding, agonizingly, slow shuffle, before Bobby did. Bobby laid flat, and skimmed under the front tires.

Moon stopped dead, the handlebars in one rain slicked hand, and his mouth flew open as he watched. The undercarriage was just above his head, and if he hadn’t laid down…

Moon watched, frozen, as Bobby shot out the other side as neatly as if he had planned it, the back tires missing him by mere inches, and suddenly Bobby was well on his way towards State street hill, and…

Moon grabbed the handle bars tighter, flipped the bike sideways and around, and pedaled off after him as fast as he could.

Bobby raised his head quickly. He had truly believed it was over. He’d been praying, in fact. He hadn’t expected to make it all. He fought his way to the side of the road, and watched as far ahead, John slipped over the top of State Street Hill, and headed towards Public Square.

There were cars here, and more than a few blew their horns as he slipped slowly by on the side of them. He dragged his feet. Pushing as hard as he could, but managing to slow down very little. The top of the hill came and went, and reluctantly he pulled his feet back once more, and hugged the curbing. The only problem would be from cars cutting off the side streets.

The rain began to slack off, as he started down the hill-a brief summer down pour, they had them all the time, but the road was still wet-at least he could see better. The rear of the go-cart suddenly began to shimmy. He risked a quick backwards glance. Very quick, but it was enough to show him that the rubber was shredding from the tire on the outside, and it was also beginning to wobble. The spikes were coming out, and if that happened…

He pushed it away, and began to concentrate on the side streets that seemed to be flashing by every couple of seconds. Oak, Elm, Sutter, Hamilton. Nothing and nothing, and thank God. The rubber went a few seconds later. He could hear the metal rim ringing as it bit the wet pavement. The hill began to flatten. State Street Hill was nowhere near as long as Sinton Park Hill, and thank God for that too. Finally, he slipped past Mechanic street, and the hill flattened out. He could see John ahead, coasting slowly to a stop nearly in front of the First Baptist Church that held a commanding presence of the Public Square. He watched as John finally stopped, got out, and looked back. Moon whizzed past, standing on the pedals, screaming as he went.

“We did it! We freakin’ did it!”

Bobby smiled, a small smile, but it spread to a wide grin. So wide that it felt as though his whole lower jaw was going to fall off. His stuck out his much abused Keds for the last time, and coasted to a stop behind John’s go-cart.

“Man, did’ya see it? When ya went under th’ truck, Holy cow, for real, did ya see it? I thought you were, like, dead, man, for real!” Moon said as he ran up, John along with him.

John looked pale, really pale, Bobby saw. He supposed he looked the same.

“Under a truck?” John asked. “A freaking truck? A real one?”

“For real. Scout’s honor,” Moon told him. “It almost ripped his head off. I saw it! For real! Next time I do it,” Moon declared as he finished.

“Next time?” John asked. He looked at Bobby.

“Uh uh,” Bobby said. “There ain’t ever gonna be a next time, Moony, right, John?”

“For real. Uh uh. No way. Not ever.”

Moon smiled. “Well, too bad, cause I woulda… For real.”

Bobby looked at John. “Did you know it would go so fast? How fast were we going, Moony?”

“No way,” John said softly.

“Probably… Forty, at least forty.” Moon said confidently.

“You think so?”

“Could be,” John agreed, “cause like the speed limit is thirty five, and we were passing cars, and that was on State Street Hill, not Sinton,” he opened his eyes wide as he finished.

“Hey, maybe fifty,” Moon assured them.

“Did it look scary to you?” Bobby asked.

“Scary? Uh… Yeah, it did. I thought you guys were dead, for real. I was pedalin’ as fast as I could, but it took a long time to catch you. Was it?”

Bobby looked at John. “Yeah,” they said, nearly at the same time.

“Really scary,” John added.

They all fell silent. John, Bobby noticed, seemed to be getting some color back in his face.

“Wanna go buy some Cokes?” Moon asked at last.

“Can’t,” John said, “no money.

“We’ll buy,” Moon said, smiling once more. He helped drag both go-carts up over the curbing, and turn them around. Moon rode his bike, as Bobby and John pulled the go-carts behind them.

They rehashed the entire ride as they walked towards Jacob’s Superette. Laughing, the terror already behind them.

Later that day when Bobby and Moon finally made it back to Fig street. They stuck the go-cart in the old garage behind Bobby’s house. They talked about it from time to time, even went in the garage and looked at it occasionally, but they never rode down Sinton Park Hill, or any other hill, with it again. It sat there until the fall of 1982 when Bobby himself dragged it out to the curb and left it with the weekly garbage.

…………………………………………..

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Dracula by Bram Stoker

DRACULA

A Mystery Story

by Bram Stoker – 1897 edition

Edited by Dell Sweet © Copyright 2018.

This book is in the public domain


How these papers have been placed in sequence will be made manifest in the

reading of them. All needless matters have been eliminated, so that a history

almost at variance with the possibilities of latter-day belief may stand forth

as simple fact. There is throughout no statement of past things wherein

memory may err, for all the records chosen are exactly contemporary, given

from the standpoints and within the range of knowledge of those who made them.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER

1  Jonathan Harker’s Journal

2  Jonathan Harker’s Journal

3  Jonathan Harker’s Journal

4  Jonathan Harker’s Journal

5  Letter From Miss Mina Murray To Miss Lucy Westenra

6  Mina Murray’s Journal

7  Cutting From “The Dailygraph”, 8 August

8  Mina Murray’s Journal

9  Letter, Mina Harker To Lucy Westenra

10  Letter, Dr. Seward To Hon. Arthur Holmwood

11  Lucy Westenra’s Diary

12  Dr. Seward’s Diary

13  Dr. Seward’s Diary

14  Mina Harker’s Journal

15  Dr. Seward’s Diary

16  Dr. Seward’s Diary

17  Dr. Seward’s Diary

18  Dr. Seward’s Diary

19  Jonathan Harker’s Journal

20  Jonathan Harker’s Journal

21  Dr. Seward’s Diary

22  Jonathan Harker’s Journal

23  Dr. Seward’s Diary

24  Dr. Seward’s Phonograph Diary

25  Dr. Seward’s Diary

26  Dr. Seward’s Diary

27  Mina Harker’s Journal


CHAPTER 1

Jonathan Harker’s Journal

(Kept in shorthand)

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 Ordnance 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.

The women looked pretty, except when you got near them, but they were

very clumsy about the waist.  They had all full white sleeves of some

kind or other, and most of them had big belts with a lot of strips of

something fluttering from them like the dresses in a ballet, but of

course there were petticoats under them.

The strangest figures we saw were the Slovaks, who were more barbarian

than the rest, with their big cow-boy hats, great baggy dirty-white

trousers, white linen shirts, and enormous heavy leather belts, nearly

a foot wide, all studded over with brass nails.  They wore high boots,

with their trousers tucked into them, and had long black hair and

heavy black moustaches.  They are very picturesque, but do not look

prepossessing.  On the stage they would be set down at once as some

old Oriental band of brigands.  They are, however, I am told, very

harmless and rather wanting in natural self-assertion.

It was on the dark side of twilight when we got to Bistritz, which is

a very interesting old place.  Being practically on the frontier–for

the Borgo Pass leads from it into Bukovina–it has had a very stormy

existence, and it certainly shows marks of it.  Fifty years ago a

series of great fires took place, which made terrible havoc on five

separate occasions.  At the very beginning of the seventeenth century

it underwent a siege of three weeks and lost 13,000 people, the

casualties of war proper being assisted by famine and disease.

Count Dracula had directed me to go to the Golden Krone Hotel, which I

found, to my great delight, to be thoroughly old-fashioned, for of

course I wanted to see all I could of the ways of the country.

I was evidently expected, for when I got near the door I faced a

cheery-looking elderly woman in the usual peasant dress–white

undergarment with a long double apron, front, and back, of coloured

stuff fitting almost too tight for modesty.  When I came close she

bowed and said, “The Herr Englishman?”

“Yes,” I said, “Jonathan Harker.”

She smiled, and gave some message to an elderly man in white

shirtsleeves, who had followed her to the door.

He went, but immediately returned with a letter:

“My friend.–Welcome to the Carpathians.  I am anxiously expecting

you.  Sleep well tonight.  At three tomorrow the diligence will

start for Bukovina; a place on it is kept for you.  At the Borgo

Pass my carriage will await you and will bring you to me.  I trust

that your journey from London has been a happy one, and that you

will enjoy your stay in my beautiful land.–Your friend, Dracula.”

4 May–I found that my landlord had got a letter from the Count,

directing him to secure the best place on the coach for me; but on

making inquiries as to details he seemed somewhat reticent, and

pretended that he could not understand my German.

This could not be true, because up to then he had understood it

perfectly; at least, he answered my questions exactly as if he did.

He and his wife, the old lady who had received me, looked at each

other in a frightened sort of way.  He mumbled out that the money had

been sent in a letter, and that was all he knew.  When I asked him if

he knew Count Dracula, and could tell me anything of his castle, both

he and his wife crossed themselves, and, saying that they knew nothing

at all, simply refused to speak further.  It was so near the time of

starting that I had no time to ask anyone else, for it was all very

mysterious and not by any means comforting.

Just before I was leaving, the old lady came up to my room and said in

a hysterical way:  “Must you go?  Oh!  Young Herr, must you go?”  She

was in such an excited state that she seemed to have lost her grip of

what German she knew, and mixed it all up with some other language

which I did not know at all.  I was just able to follow her by asking

many questions.  When I told her that I must go at once, and that I

was engaged on important business, she asked again:

“Do you know what day it is?”  I answered that it was the fourth of

May.  She shook her head as she said again:

“Oh, yes!  I know that!  I know that, but do you know what day it is?”

On my saying that I did not understand, she went on:

“It is the eve of St. George’s Day.  Do you not know that tonight,

when the clock strikes midnight, all the evil things in the world will

have full sway?  Do you know where you are going, and what you are

going to?”  She was in such evident distress that I tried to comfort

her, but without effect.  Finally, she went down on her knees and

implored me not to go; at least to wait a day or two before starting.

It was all very ridiculous but I did not feel comfortable.  However,

there was business to be done, and I could allow nothing to interfere

with it.

I tried to raise her up, and said, as gravely as I could, that I

thanked her, but my duty was imperative, and that I must go.

She then rose and dried her eyes, and taking a crucifix from her neck

offered it to me.

I did not know what to do, for, as an English Churchman, I have been

taught to regard such things as in some measure idolatrous, and yet it

seemed so ungracious to refuse an old lady meaning so well and in such

a state of mind.

She saw, I suppose, the doubt in my face, for she put the rosary round

my neck and said, “For your mother’s sake,” and went out of the room.

I am writing up this part of the diary whilst I am waiting for the

coach, which is, of course, late; and the crucifix is still round my

neck.

Whether it is the old lady’s fear, or the many ghostly traditions of

this place, or the crucifix itself, I do not know, but I am not

feeling nearly as easy in my mind as usual.

If this book should ever reach Mina before I do, let it bring my

goodbye.  Here comes the coach! …




Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein By Mary Shelley

This eBook of “Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus” by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley belongs to the public domain.

Edited by Dell Sweet 2018

Cover design and artwork © 2018 Dell Sweet


Letter 1

TO Mrs. Saville, England

St. Petersburgh, Dec. 11th, 17-

You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings. I arrived here yesterday, and my first task is to assure my dear sister of my welfare and increasing confidence in the success of my undertaking.

I am already far north of London, and as I walk in the streets of Petersburgh, I feel a cold northern breeze play upon my cheeks, which braces my nerves and fills me with delight. Do you understand this feeling? This breeze, which has travelled from the regions towards which I am advancing, gives me a foretaste of those icy climes. Inspirited by this wind of promise, my daydreams become more fervent and vivid. I try in vain to be persuaded that the pole is the seat of frost and desolation; it ever presents itself to my imagination as the region of beauty and delight. There, Margaret, the sun is forever visible, its broad disk just skirting the horizon and diffusing a perpetual splendour. There–for with your leave, my sister, I will put some trust in preceding navigators–there snow and frost are banished; and, sailing over a calm sea, we may be wafted to a land surpassing in wonders and in beauty every region hitherto discovered on the habitable globe. Its productions and features may be without example, as the phenomena of the heavenly bodies undoubtedly are in those undiscovered solitudes. What may not be expected in a country of eternal light? I may there discover the wondrous power which attracts the needle and may regulate a thousand celestial observations that require only this voyage to render their seeming eccentricities consistent forever. I shall satiate my ardent curiosity with the sight of a part of the world never before visited, and may tread a land never before imprinted by the foot of man. These are my enticements, and they are sufficient to conquer all fear of danger or death and to induce me to commence this laborious voyage with the joy a child feels when he embarks in a little boat, with his holiday mates, on an expedition of discovery up his native river. But supposing all these conjectures to be false, you cannot contest the inestimable benefit which I shall confer on all mankind, to the last generation, by discovering a passage near the pole to those countries, to reach which at present so many months are requisite; or by ascertaining the secret of the magnet, which, if at all possible, can only be effected by an undertaking such as mine.

These reflections have dispelled the agitation with which I began my letter, and I feel my heart glow with an enthusiasm which elevates me to heaven, for nothing contributes so much to tranquillize the mind as a steady purpose–a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye. This expedition has been the favourite dream of my early years. I have read with ardour the accounts of the various voyages which have been made in the prospect of arriving at the North Pacific Ocean through the seas which surround the pole. You may remember that a history of all the voyages made for purposes of discovery composed the whole of our good Uncle Thomas’ library. My education was neglected, yet I was passionately fond of reading. These volumes were my study day and night, and my familiarity with them increased that regret which I had felt, as a child, on learning that my father’s dying injunction had forbidden my uncle to allow me to embark in a seafaring life.

These visions faded when I perused, for the first time, those poets whose effusions entranced my soul and lifted it to heaven. I also became a poet and for one year lived in a paradise of my own creation; I imagined that I also might obtain a niche in the temple where the names of Homer and Shakespeare are consecrated. You are well acquainted with my failure and how heavily I bore the disappointment. But just at that time I inherited the fortune of my cousin, and my thoughts were turned into the channel of their earlier bent.

Six years have passed since I resolved on my present undertaking. I can, even now, remember the hour from which I dedicated myself to this great enterprise. I commenced by inuring my body to hardship. I accompanied the whale-fishers on several expeditions to the North Sea; I voluntarily endured cold, famine, thirst, and want of sleep; I often worked harder than the common sailors during the day and devoted my nights to the study of mathematics, the theory of medicine, and those branches of physical science from which a naval adventurer might derive the greatest practical advantage. Twice I actually hired myself as an under-mate in a Greenland whaler, and acquitted myself to admiration. I must own I felt a little proud when my captain offered me the second dignity in the vessel and entreated me to remain with the greatest earnestness, so valuable did he consider my services. And now, dear Margaret, do I not deserve to accomplish some great purpose? My life might have been passed in ease and luxury, but I preferred glory to every enticement that wealth placed in my path. Oh, that some encouraging voice would answer in the affirmative! My courage and my resolution is firm; but my hopes fluctuate, and my spirits are often depressed. I am about to proceed on a long and difficult voyage, the emergencies of which will demand all my fortitude: I am required not only to raise the spirits of others, but sometimes to sustain my own, when theirs are failing.

This is the most favourable period for travelling in Russia. They fly quickly over the snow in their sledges; the motion is pleasant, and, in my opinion, far more agreeable than that of an English stagecoach. The cold is not excessive, if you are wrapped in furs–a dress which I have already adopted, for there is a great difference between walking the deck and remaining seated motionless for hours, when no exercise prevents the blood from actually freezing in your veins. I have no ambition to lose my life on the post-road between St. Petersburgh and Archangel. I shall depart for the latter town in a fortnight or three weeks; and my intention is to hire a ship there, which can easily be done by paying the insurance for the owner, and to engage as many sailors as I think necessary among those who are accustomed to the whale-fishing. I do not intend to sail until the month of June; and when shall I return? Ah, dear sister, how can I answer this question? If I succeed, many, many months, perhaps years, will pass before you and I may meet. If I fail, you will see me again soon, or never. Farewell, my dear, excellent Margaret. Heaven shower down blessings on you, and save me, that I may again and again testify my gratitude for all your love and kindness.

Your affectionate brother, R. Walton …