poor, dear, dear Madam Mina – tell us exactly what happened…

“And now, Madam Mina – poor, dear, dear Madam Mina – tell us exactly what happened. God knows that I do not want that you be pained; but it is need that we know all. For now more than ever has all work to be done quick and sharp, and in deadly earnest. The day is close to us that must end all, if it may so be; and now is the chance that we may live and learn.”

The poor dear lady shivered, and I could see the tension of her nerves as she clasped her husband closer to her and bent her dead lower and lower still on his breast. The she raised her head proudly, and held out one hand to Van Helsing, who took it in his, and after stooping and kissing it reverently, held it fast. The other hand was locked in that of her husband, who held his other arm thrown round her protectingly. After a pause in which she was evidently ordering her thoughts, she began: –

“I took the sleeping draught which you had so kindly given me, but for a long time it did not act. I seemed to become more wakeful, and myriads of horrible fancied began to crowd in upon my mind – all of them connnected with death, and vampires; with blood, and pain, and trouble.” Her husband involuntarily groaned as she turned to him and said lovingly: “Do not fret, dear. You must be brave and strong, and help me through the horrible task. If you only knew what an effort it is to me to tell this fearful thing at all, you would understand how much I need your help. Well, I saw I must try to help the medicine to its work with my will, if it was to do me any good, so I resolutely set myself to sleep.  Sure enough sleep must soon have come to me, for I remember no more. Jonathan coming in had not waked me, for he lay by my side when next I remember.  There was in the room the same thin white mist that I had before noticed. But I forget now if you know of this; you will find it in my diary which I shall show you later.  I felt the same vague terror which had come to me before, and the same sense of some presence.  I turned to wake Jonathan, but found that he slept so soundly that it seemed as if it was he who had taken the sleeping draught and not I. I tried, but I could not wake him.  This caused me a great fear, and I looked around terrified.  Then indeed my heart sank within me:  beside the bed, as if he had stepped out of the mist – or rather as if the mist had turned into his figure, for it had entirely disappeared – stood a tall, thin man, all in black.  I knew him at once from the descriptions of the others.  The waxen face; the high aquiline nose, on which the light fell in a thin white line; the parted red lips, with the sharp white teeth showing between; and the red eyes that I had seemed to see in the sunset on the windows of St. Mary’s Church in Whitby.  I knew, too, the red scar on his forehead where Jonathan had struck him. For an instant my heart stood still, and I would have screamed out, only that I was paralysed.  In the pause he spoke in a sort of keen, cutting whisper, pointing as he spoke to Jonathan: –

” ‘Silence!  If you make a sound I shall take him and dash his brains out before your very eyes.’  I was appalled and was too bewildered to do or say anything.  With a mocking smile, he placed one hand upon my shoulder and , holding me tight, bared my throat with the other, saying as he did so: ‘First, a little refreshment to reward my exertions. You may as well be quiet; it is not the first time, or the second, that your veins have appeased my thirst!’  I was bewildered, and, strangely enough, I did not want to hinder him.  I suppose it is a part of the horrible curse that this happens when his touch is on his victim.  And oh, my God, my God, pity me! He placed his reeking lips upon my throat!”  Her husband groaned again. She clasped his hand harder, and looked at him pityingly, as if he were the injured one, and went on: –

“I felt my strength fading away, and I was in a half swoon. How long this horrible thing lasted I know not; but it seemed that a long time must have passed before he took his foul, awful, sneering mouth away. I saw it drip with the fresh blood!”

~from Dracula by Bram Stoker

With all the vampire books out now a days I thought I’d share a piece of the literary original vampire tale, one of the best of all time! Thanks for reading…and do let me know what vampire literature you happen to love…

Image is of Winona Ryder and Gary Oldman for the movie Bran Stoker’s Dracula.

 

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