Monday, October 25, 2010

A Wild Howling

Jonathan Harker's Journal, May 3rd.

"As the evening fell it began to get very cold, and the growing twilight seemed to merge into one dark mistiness the gloom of the trees, oak, beech and pine, though in the valleys which ran deep between the spurs of the hills, as we ascended through the Pass, the dark firs stood out here and there against the background of late-lying snow.

"Sometimes, as the road was cut through the pine woods that seemed in the darkness to be closing down upon us, great masses of greyness which here and there bestrewed the trees, produced a peculiarly weird and solemn effect, which carried on the thoughts and grim fancies engendered easlier in the evening, when the ailing sunset threw into strange relief the ghost-like clouds which amongst the Carpathians seem to wind endlessly through the valleys.

"Sometimes the hills were so steep that, despite our driver's haste, the horses could only go slowly. I wished to get down and walk up them, as we do at home, but the driver would not
hear of it. "No, no," he said. "You must not walk here. the dogs are too fierce." And then he added, with what he evidently meant for grim pleasantry - for he looked round to catch the approving smile of the rest - "And you may have enough of such matters before you go to sleep."

"Then amongst a chorus of screams from the peasants and a universal crossing of themselves, a caleche, with four horses, drove up behind us, overtook us, and drew up beside the coach. I could see from the flash of our lamps as the rays fell on them, that the horses were coal-black and splendid animals. They were driven by a tall man, with a long brown beard and a great black hat, which seemed to hide his face from us. I could only see the gleam of a pair of very bright eyes, which seemed red in the lamplight, as he turned to us.

"As I looked back I saw the steam from the horses of the coach by the light of the lamps...Then the driver cracked his whip and called to his horses, and off they swept...As they sank into the darkness I felt a strange chill, and a lonely feeling came over me...Then a dog began to howl somewhere in a farmhouse far down the road, a long agonized wailing,as if from fear....the sound was taken up by another dog, and then another and another till borne on the wind...a wild howling began, which seemed to come from all over the country, as far as the imagination could grasp it through the gloom of the night."

Dracula, Bram Stoker (1897)

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