Скачать 78.51 Kb.
There, on a bed of earth, was Count Dracula. At first Jonathan thought he was dead. His eyes were open, and his face was pale. No breath came from his mouth or nose, and there was no sign of a heart in his chest. But there was something about his eyes that frightened Jonathan. They did not have the glassy look of death. They looked up into the air above him, but they were filled with a terrible hate.
Count Dracula lives in a large castle in Transylvania, but he wants to buy a house in England. A London law company sends Jonathan Harker to Castle Dracula to help the count with his business. Dracula is friendly and polite to his guest, but something is wrong. Why are the doors to the rooms in the castle all locked ? Why aren't there any mirrors ? Why does the count only wake up at night, and why does he seem so strangely interested in pictures of Jonathan's girlfriend, Mina? When Jonathan discovers a terrible secret about Count Dracula, he wants to escape. But how? He is a prisoner in the castle. Will he ever see England and Mina again ?
When does a man stop being a man? When does he start to become something different? Towards the end of the 1800s, many writers became interested in questions like these. Two of the most successful stories on this subject were Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), and Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray (1891). Then, in June 1897, came Bram Stoker's Dracula.
Stoker's mother, writing to him in London from Ireland, said: 'No book since Mrs Shelley's Frankenstein has been better or more frightening than yours. Dracula will make you a lot of money, and you will be famous.' Dracula became a bestseller and Stoker made some money. But he did not become famous until after his death. Dracula is now one of the most famous names in fiction.You can find the book in more than forty languages, and there have been more films about Count Dracula than about any other fictional person except Sherlock Holmes. Visitors to Romania are now shown ' Dracula's Castle' (but Bram Stoker never visited the country).
Dracula was not the first story about vampires. Byron wrote about them (The Giaour 1813) and John Polidori wrote The Vampyre in 1818 (one year before Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein). Heinrich Marschner's Der Vampyr was popular in Germany a long time before Stoker wrote Dracula.
Vampire stories are very old. People in Slavonic countries have believed for hundreds of years that vampires exist. In these stories, bad people became vampires after they died. They returned as large bats and drank the blood of sleeping people. These people then became vampires, too. If vampires were able to find blood, they never died. People believed that they could protect themselves from vampires with plants, like garlic, and with fire.
When religion came to the Slavs, stories about vampires did not stop. But people believed that some religious things, like holy bread and the cross, could also protect them from vampires. There was only one way to kill a vampire — and to save the soul of the dead person. That, they believed, was with a thick, sharp piece of wood through the heart.
Abraham Stoker was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1847. He was an excellent student at university (Trinity College), and he was also a very good runner and footballer. While he was a student, Stoker went to a Dublin theatre and saw the great English actor, Henry Irving. Stoker fell in love with the theatre, and he never forgot Henry Irving.
After university, he worked in Irish government offices. It was a boring life for him, but he made it more interesting; he gave talks at the university about English writers and votes for women. He also wrote about the theatre for Dublin newspapers, and his first story, The Chain of Destiny, was printed in the Shamrock magazine in 1875.
In 1878 he got married, left his job in Ireland and moved to London. There, he found work with the actor that he first saw in Dublin eleven years before. He became the personal secretary to Sir Henry Irving. Irving was the most famous actor and producer in the English theatre at that time. His favourite plays were by Shakespeare, but he also enjoyed producing and acting in a different kind of play. These stories were more exciting and frightening than real life, and perhaps Stoker first became interested in vampires from these plays. Perhaps, too, Stoker was thinking of Henry Irving when he wrote about Count Dracula. Many people believe that.
Stoker travelled around Britain and to the USA many times with Irving and his theatre company. During this time, he started writing seriously. His first book, in 1879, was about the law courts in Ireland. After that, he wrote fifteen fictional books. A book of children's stories, Under the Sunset (1881), was his first. Dracula (1897) is his most famous.
In 1905 Henry Irving died and Stoker wrote two books about him — ^ the following year.
Bram Stoker died in London in 1912.
Chapter 1 Castle Dracula
As the carriage moved quickly along the rough, dry road, Jonathan Harker looked out at the changing view. Behind him was a land of small, green hills and colourful fields of fruit trees. Now he was driving into the Transylvanian mountains through a thick forest. It was getting dark, and the other people in the carriage were quiet and afraid. A woman opposite him reached towards him and put something in his hand. It was a small, silver cross. ' Wear it around your neck,' she said.' You'll be safe.'
Suddenly the driver stopped the carriage. 'You get out here,' he called to Jonathan.
Nervously, Jonathan got out. He watched as the carriage drove away. Then another big black carriage came out of the trees. The driver helped Jonathan in and drove up into the forest. Jonathan looked out into the night. He saw dark shapes with bright red eyes following the carriage through the trees.They were wolves.
The hours passed and it began to snow. Suddenly Jonathan looked up through the trees. There was a large, black castle on top of a mountain.
' Castle Dracula, at last,' he thought.
Soon he was standing in front of a big, old wooden door. The carriage drove away. Jonathan stood in the cold and waited, listening nervously to the wolves outside the castle walls. Then he heard a noise from the other side of the door. It opened. A tall man dressed in black stood there.
' My house is your house,' he smiled. ' Come freely and go safely. Leave here a little of the happiness that you bring.'
' Count* Dracula ?' asked Jonathan.
' I am Dracula. I am glad, Mr Harker, to have you in my house. I will carry your bags — it is late, and my servants are asleep.'
Jonathan followed him up the stairs into a large, well-lit dining room. The room was warmed by a big wood fire. A hot meal was waiting for him on the table.
'Forgive me if I do not eat with you,' the count said, as Jonathan sat down.' I have already eaten.'
After dinner Jonathan sat opposite the count by the fire.
' Your boss at the law company, Mr Hawkins, says many good things about you,' the count said.' I am very pleased that you are here as my guest. I am not often able to practise my English.'
The count talked about his plans to move to England. Jonathan studied his face. It was an unusual face: very pale and mysterious with a long, well-shaped nose, cold, red eyes and a thin mouth filled with pointed, white teeth. Looking
*Count: An old European title that was given by the king to men from important families.
down, Jonathan noticed his long, sharp fingernails. There was hair on both sides of his hands.
Silence fell at last, but Jonathan could still hear the frightening sound of wolves outside the castle. The count moved his face towards Jonathan's.
' My children are excited tonight,' he smiled.' We have so few visitors.'
Jonathan smiled politely, but he felt sick at the smell of Dracula's breath.' The smell of death,' he thought.
'Come,' Dracula said, standing up. 'It is getting light.You are tired after your long journey, and I have talked too much. Forgive me. I will show you to your room.'
Jonathan slept late the next morning. He found breakfast ready for him in the dining room. There was no sign of the count, so Jonathan then decided to look around the castle. Many doors were locked, but one was open. Inside there was a large library. Jonathan was surprised that there were English books on the shelves and English newspapers on the desks. He spent the rest of the day there, reading happily.
In the late afternoon the count walked in.
' I am glad that you have found your way here,' he said.' Since I decided to buy a house in England, I have tried to learn something about English life. I am sorry that I only know the language from books. I hope to talk to you, Mr Harker, and to learn it better. And now, our business.'
Dracula sat down opposite Jonathan and continued:' Tell me about the house that your company has bought for me in England. There will be some papers that I must put my name to. Of course, I would like to know everything.'
'The house is called Carfax,'Jonathan began to explain.'It's to the north of London. It has a lot of land. Most of the land is covered with trees, so it's quite dark. The house is large and old, with few windows. Next to it, there's an old, empty church. That also belongs to the house. I'm afraid that you will find Carfax a lonely house. Your only neighbour is a doctor who looks after a hospital for mad people.'
' I am glad that the house is old,' replied the count.' I come from an old family and I do not like to live in a house without history. And the darkness does not worry me. I am an old man, and I often think about death. I do not fear darkness.'
He wrote his name on the papers and walked out of the room. Jonathan followed him into the dining room. Dinner was waiting, but again the count did not eat.' I went out to eat today/ he told Jonathan.' I am not hungry.'
That evening and the following ones passed in the same way as the first. Then one day, about a week after he arrived, a strange thing happened. Jonathan was standing by his window. He was
shaving in front of a little mirror from his travelling bag.
Suddenly he heard a quiet voice in his ear say: 'Good morning.' Jonathan jumped with fear and cut himself on the neck. The count was standing next to him. Jonathan looked in the mirror again, but he could only see himself.
' Why can't I see him in the mirror ?' he thought.
He turned again, and saw a strange, hungry look in Dracula's eyes. The count was watching the small stream of blood coming out of the cut on Jonathan's neck.
Without thinking, Jonathan lifted his hand to the blood. As he did that, he touched the little silver cross around his neck. The count's face changed. His eyes
shone red and he began to shake. Then, without a word, he picked up the mirror and threw it out of the window. There was a long silence, then Jonathan heard the crash of broken glass on the rocks far below. The count turned angrily:
'I will not have mirrors in my house,' he shouted. Then, seconds later, he said more softly:' Try not to cut yourself. It is more dangerous in this country than you think.'
When the count left the room, Jonathan looked out of the window at his broken mirror. The ground was a long way down. For the first time he realized that he wanted to leave. He wanted to go home. 'But will he give me permission to leave?' he thought. 'Am I really his guest? Or am I, perhaps, his prisoner?'
The days and nights passed in the same way. Jonathan got up late, had breakfast and read in the library. At night he sat by the fireside. He listened with interest as the count talked with great feeling about the history of his family and of his country. This was almost the same thing, because the Dracula family seemed to be at the centre of all Transylvania's history.
Sometimes the count talked about more ordinary things: about England, law, ships and trains. Jonathan was surprised that Dracula knew so much. He wanted to send things to England, to a town by the sea. But which town?
' Why not Whitby ?' Jonathan suggested.' My girlfriend Mina, and her best friend Lucy, are going on holiday there. It's a fine old fishing town in the north of England.'
The count was interested.'Whitby seemed a good idea. He also wanted to hear more about Mina.' She's the girl that I'm going to marry,' Jonathan said, showing the count a photograph. 'And this,' he said, pointing to the other girl in the picture,' is Lucy, her best friend.' The count studied the photograph and smiled.
'They are pretty girls,' he said. 'Your Miss Mina — she will want to know how you are. Have you written to her since you arrived ?'
' I have not had much time to send any letters,' Jonathan replied.
'Then write now, my good friend. But first I want you to write to Mr Hawkins. Tell him that you will stay with me for another month.'
Jonathan's blood ran suddenly cold.' Do you want me to stay for so long?' he asked weakly.
'Yes, I do. Your job here is to look after my business, and my business makes a longer visit necessary. Now,' he said, handing Jonathan envelopes and paper,' please write only about business in your letters. And you can say that you are well, of course.'
Jonathan went to the desk and wrote two short letters. The count took them. Before he went, he said: 'I must tell you something, my young friend. If you go into any other part of the castle, do not fall asleep there. The castle is old. Strange things have happened here, and bad dreams will come to you. In these rooms, and in your bedroom, you are safe.'
Later that night, Jonathan went down to the great door at the front of the castle. It was locked, as usual.' The key's probably in the count's room,' he thought. He walked round the castle and found one or two open rooms, but they went nowhere.Then he noticed a door at the end of a short passage. At first he thought it was locked. But he lifted and pushed it, and he was then able to open it. Feeling his way up some dark stairs, he found himself in a pleasant moonlit room. It seemed to be next to his own bedroom.
Jonathan put his head out of the window and enjoyed the night air. Then he noticed a movement at a window below, and he could not believe his eyes. 'This is impossible,' he thought. ' I'm dreaming.' He watched, frozen with fear. Dracula climbed out of the window, and moved down the wall like some terrible animal of the night. His fingers and toes used every little space between the stones, and his black clothes flew up around him in the wind. Then he disappeared into the shadows at the bottom of the castle wall.
Jonathan could not think or act. He felt weak and afraid. There was a bed on the other side of the room opposite the window. 'I'll lie down here for a short time,' he thought,' until I feel stronger.'
He closed his eyes and began to feel sleepy. But, after a short time, he had a strange feeling that he was not alone.
Three young women were watching him from the shadows, and they were talking in low voices. They moved out into the moonlight. He saw then, through half-open eyes, that they were very beautiful. When they laughed, the moonlight shone on long, white teeth.
As they came nearer, their eyes shone red. They filled the air with their excited laughing. Jonathan felt in his heart that they were evil. But for some reason he did not feel afraid. There was something about them that excited him. He wanted them to come to him, to touch him ...
The fairest girl went down on her knees next to the bed and
put her face close to his. Jonathan felt her soft breath on the side of his neck. Two sharp teeth were resting lightly on his skin. He closed his eyes and waited. He was unable to move ...
Suddenly there was a loud noise. He opened his eyes and saw, by the side of his bed, a tall, black shape. It was the count. His face was as white as death but his eyes burned like two small fires.
' I told you not to touch him!' the count said angrily. He took the woman by her neck and threw her across the room. ' This man is mine! I will use him first. Then, and only then ...'
' So, what fun can we have tonight ?' one of the women asked.
There was a bag at Dracula's feet. Something was moving inside it. Dracula kicked it across the floor towards the women, and Jonathan felt sick. The sound inside the bag was the frightened cry of a baby. The women pulled at the bag like hungry animals. The baby's cries grew louder, then suddenly stopped. The room filled with a strange, green mist, and Jonathan fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.
That evening the count said nothing about the night before. He just brought out more writing paper and asked Jonathan to write Mina three letters. 'In the first one, say that you have almost finished your work. Say that you are going to leave in a few days,' the count ordered him. ' In the second letter, say that you are leaving the next morning. In the third, say that you have left the castle.You have arrived in Bistritz.'
When Jonathan gave him a worried look, he explained: ' The post is slow in this part of the country. I do not want your friends to think that something has happened to you. I will post these letters at the right time. Then they will know when you are going to arrive home.'
Jonathan wrote the three letters. 'I cannot refuse,' he told himself.' I have to follow his orders. I'm his prisoner here, and my life is in danger.'
The next morning, Jonathan woke to the sound of voices —, ordinary voices. Running to the dining-room window, he looked down. Some men were taking long wooden boxes off a cart.
' Free men! 'Jonathan thought excitedly.' If I can write a letter quickly, they can take it to the outside world.'
He ran to his room for the paper that he kept in his bag. But where was his bag with his ticket and his money ? Where was the suit that he travelled in, and his coat ? They were not there!
When he returned to the window, he could not see the men or the cart. For the rest of the day, Jonathan could hear them at work somewhere below in the castle. Something was happening.
That evening he sat by his window and waited. Soon after dark, he saw movement at Dracula's window.
Dracula climbed out and moved down the wall in the same way as the night before. But this time he was wearing Jonathan's clothes.
Everything now became clear.' He's going to show himself in Bistritz and post the letters,' Jonathan thought.' The people will believe that he is me. They'll think that I'm already on my way home. Nobody will know that I'm still in the castle. Dracula will be able to do what he likes with me. I must escape. I have to get the key of the door. I have to get into the count's room. But how ? His room is always locked.'
Then Jonathan thought of a plan. ' I know his window,' he thought.' I've seen him climb out of it. It's lower than mine, to the left. The stones in the castle wall are big and rough. The spaces between them are big. If I take off my boots, perhaps I can climb down the wall into his room. It's dangerous, I know, but what can I do ?'
Jonathan waited until the morning. The night was too dangerous. He knew that Dracula slept during the day. He took off his boots, climbed out of his window and moved slowly and carefully down and across the castle wall. He did not look down. Finally he arrived at the count's window, and climbed into his room.
' Is this really the count's room ?' he asked himself. It was empty except for some old money on the dirty floor. And there weren't any keys. But behind a door in the corner of the room, Jonathan found something interesting: some stone steps.
He nervously started to go down them, and he noticed a strange, earthy smell. It was the smell of Dracula's breath. The smell became stronger and more unpleasant as he went down. Finally, at the bottom, there was a dark passage. He followed it, and came into a room with an earth floor. At the far end, Jonathan could see the boxes that were brought by the men with the cart. There were about fifty of them, and they were all now filled with earth. Near them was another, older box. Jonathan walked across and looked inside. He stepped back with a cry.
There, on a bed of earth, was Count Dracula. At first Jonathan thought he was dead. His eyes were open, and his face was pale. No breath came from his mouth or nose, and there was no sign of a heart in his chest. But there was something about his eyes that frightened Jonathan. They did not have the glassy look of death. They looked up into the air above him, but they were filled with a terrible hate. Jonathan wanted to find the key, but he could not touch the count. He was too afraid. He left as quickly as he could. Then he returned to his own room.
That night the count came to Jonathan's room at his usual time.
' Tonight, my friend, we must say goodbye. Tomorrow you return to your own country, and I, too, have to make a journey. In the morning my carriage will take you to the Bistritz road, and you will be in Bistritz by tomorrow evening. I hope I shall see you again at Castle Dracula.'
' Why can't I go tonight ?' asked Jonathan.
'Because, my dear sir, my carriage is busy.'
' But I can -walk. I want to go now.'
'And your bags ?'
' They're not important. I can send for them later.'
The count smiled. 'All right! You do not have to stay if you are ready to leave. But I am sad that you want to go so quickly.'
Jonathan followed the count down the stairs to the great door. The count stopped, lifted his hand and said:' Listen!'
From the other side of the door came the sound of wolves in the forest. Dracula unlocked the door and opened it. The sound of wolves immediately became louder. Jonathan looked through the door and saw wolves jumping up and down. Their hungry red mouths were wide open.
' Shut the door! I'll wait until morning,' cried Jonathan at last. He turned away because he did not want Dracula to see his tears. The door closed with a crash, and the sound of the wolves became quieter.
The next day, in the early morning, Jonathan decided to go back to the count's room. He felt braver now.' The count's going to kill me tonight if I stay,' he told himself.' If I fall off the wall this morning, that's a better way to die.'
He ran to the window. Then he climbed down and across the wall and into the count's room. He went through the door in the corner of the room, down the steps and along the dark passage to the room with the earth floor.
He walked straight to Dracula's box and lifted the top. When he looked inside, his heart almost stopped. Dracula was there, inside the box, but he looked different. His face was fatter than usual, and his skin was not white — it was the colour of red wine. Blood ran from the corners of his mouth, down his neck and on to his clothes. He smelled of blood. And on his face was the look of a wild animal that has killed. Then it has fed until it cannot feed again.
Jonathan could not leave now. He had to try to find the key. He searched in Dracula's pockets, but they were empty. For the first time in his life, Jonathan wanted to kill. He wanted to destroy this hateful bag of blood lying in its box. He picked up a heavy stone, lifted it above Dracula's head and dropped it. But, as the stone left Jonathan's hands, Dracula opened his eyes. For a second, the stone seemed to hang in the air. Then it fell slowly. It touched the side of Dracula's face softly, without hurting him. Jonathan could not move. Dracula's eyes were turning towards him and he was slowly beginning to smile ...
Seconds later, Jonathan turned and ran. Filled with an animal fear, he wanted to leave the boxes, the evil smell and the count's terrible bloodthirsty smile behind him. He wanted to be as far away from them as possible. He hurried up the stairs, out of the window and up the castle wall as quickly as he could. Back in his room, he threw himself on to his bed and waited.' He's going to kill me now,' he thought. He couldn't shake the picture of Dracula's terrible smile out of his mind.' I know it. I have no hope. In a short time I'll be dead. He'll drink my blood, and then he'll go to England for fresh blood. What can I do ?'
He lay on his bed, shaking with fear. He waited. But, to his surprise, nothing happened. A few hours later he heard the sound of horses and of men singing. He left his bed, crossed the room and looked down from his window. There was a cart filled with wooden boxes. Inside one of them, Jonathan knew, was Dracula He was on his way to England.
For a minute Jonathan stopped feeling afraid. But then he remembered that there was still one problem. 'Tomorrow morning I can leave,' he thought. 'But what will happen tonight? Dracula's away, so who will protect me from, those three terrible women? They want my blood ..." He remembered Dracula's words to them: 'I will use him first. Then, and only then ...'
Jonathan went to his door and listened. At first there was silence. But then he heard something in the passage just outside his door. The sound of dresses, the sound of women laughing ... Jonathans fear returned. He went down on his knees, held his hands together and lifted his eyes to the sky. 'Please help me, someone,' he cried.' Will I ever see England and Mina again ?'