I will tell you a terrible story, which happened to me about seven years ago. I was a lawyer and lived in London, I was going to get married. I had a client from Transylvania his named Count Dracula. I helped him to buy a house in London. When I found a house he asked me to come to him for sign the papers. I didn’t want to go, but he was a rich man and would be useful for me. This journey had to be too weeks long. When I came to the inn, where a stayed, an innkeeper warned me about a castle of Count. I was surprised, but I read something in the book about Transylvania which gave me my future wife Mina. In spite of it warnings I went in carriage to the castle of my client Dracula. It was long journey because it was in high up in the Carpathian Mountains and only wolves lived there. I arrived in the castle to deep night and saw the master of this house. He was thin, pale man with red eyes and big white fangs. I felt horror.
The Road to Castle Dracula
My name is Jonathan Harker. I am a lawyer and I live in London. About seven years ago, some strange and terrible things happened to me. Many of my dear friends were in danger too. At last we have decided to tell the story of that terrible time.
Part of my work is to find houses in England for rich people who live in foreign countries. At the beginning of 1875, I received a letter from Transylvania, a country in Eastern Europe. The letter was from a rich man called Count Dracula. He wanted to buy a house near London.
The Count asked me to find him an old house with a large garden. The price of the house was not important. I found him a large, old house to the east of London. I wrote to the Count and he agreed to buy it. There were many papers which he had to sign. To my surprise, Count Dracula invited me to visit him in his castle in Transylvania. 'Bring the papers with you,' he wrote in his letter. 'I can sign them here.'
I was very busy and did not want to go. Transylvania was far away and few English people had been there. There was another reason too. I was going to get married in the autumn to my darling Mina. I did not want to leave England until we were married.
But Mina said that I should go.
'The Count is a rich man,' she said. 'You may be able to do more business with him. You can travel most of the way by train. In two weeks, you will be home again.'
So I accepted Count Dracula's invitation. I left England at the end of April. Mina gave me a book about Transylvania to read on the train.
On the morning of 4th May, I reached Bistritz, a small town in Transylvania. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining on the great Carpathian Mountains. Somewhere, high up in those mountains, was Castle Dracula where the Count lived. The coach from Bistritz would take me to the Borgo Pass. There, the Count's carriage would meet me. The coach left from the inn in Bistritz at three o'clock.
I had six hours to wait. I decided to have a meal. Nobody in the inn spoke English, but the innkeeper spoke some German. He welcomed me and I was soon eating a good meal.
The inn was very crowded. I watched all the people in their brightly-coloured clothes. They were speaking in languages I could not understand. I drank some more wine and called to the innkeeper.
'What can you tell me about Count Dracula?' I asked him. 'Have you ever seen his castle?'
The innkeeper walked away without answering my questions. All the people in the inn stopped talking. They looked at me in fear and surprise. Then they all began to talk at the same time. I heard the name 'Dracula' and another word, repeated several times.
I looked at my dictionary. They were saying the word 'vampire'. Where had I read the word before? I opened the book that Mina had given me.
There are many old stories about the vampires of Transylvania, I read. Vampires are men and women who never die. Vampires have long, sharp teeth. They bite the throats of living people. Then they drink their blood. Everyone in Transylvania fears vampires. People often wear a cross to keep themselves safe...
I shut the book quickly. Did people believe these stories?
It was time for me to leave. I paid for my meal. Then I walked outside and got into the coach. There was a crowd of people outside the inn. Suddenly the innkeeper ran forward and spoke to me through the coach window.
'Must you go to Castle Dracula?' he said. 'Do not go to that terrible place!'
'I have important business with the Count,' I answered.
'Then take this,' the innkeeper said, 'and may God help you!' And he put a gold cross on a chain into my hand.
As the coach began to move, strange thoughts went through my mind. Who was this man I was going to meet? Did Count Dracula have strange powers? I could not believe it.
The coach began to move more quickly. The sun shone on the trees and the water of little rivers. There was snow on the tops of the highest mountains. What a beautiful country Transylvania was!
The mountains were closer to us now, and the road went higher and higher. Shadows grew longer as the sun began to go down behind the mountains. Then suddenly, the light had gone. The mountains and sky were dark. The coach went faster and faster. I could hear a terrible sound. It was the howling of wolves.
The moon was shining now. I could see dark shapes near the road. The coach went higher and higher. And now I could see a narrow road to the right. The coach stopped. We were at the Borgo Pass.
Down the narrow road came a small carriage, pulled by four black horses. As the carriage stopped, its driver shouted, 'I have come from Castle Dracula! Where is the Englishman?'
'Here!' I replied. The driver jumped down from the carriage. He took my bag and held me by the arm. In a moment, I was sitting beside him and the black horses were galloping up the narrow road.
The driver wore a black cloak and his hat was pulled down over his face. The mountains were high black walls on both sides of us. We were going so fast that I had to hold onto the carriage with both hands. Black clouds covered the moon. The carriage had no lights and I could see nothing. Wolves howled all around us. The driver laughed. As the horses went faster, I closed my eyes in fear.
Then suddenly, the journey was over. The driver pulled me down from the carriage. He threw my bag beside me. In a moment, the carriage and the driver had disappeared. I had arrived at Castle Dracula!
A Prisoner in the Castle
I looked up at the high castle walls. There were no lights in any of the windows. In front of me was a great wooden door.
As I stood there, I heard the door being unlocked. It opened slowly. A very tall old man was standing there. He held a lamp in his hand. His hair and face were white and he was dressed in black. He held his lamp up high and said, 'Welcome to my home. Enter Castle Dracula, Mr Harker.'
As I stepped inside, Count Dracula took hold of my arm. He was terribly strong and his hand was as cold as ice. The Count locked the door carefully and put the keys into his pocket.
I followed him down long passages and up winding stairs. I walked like a man in a dream. At last, the Count opened a door and led me into a room without windows. I could see two open doors. Through one door, I could see a bedroom. Through the other door, I could see food and drink on a table.
'When you are ready, my dear friend,' the Count said, 'I shall be waiting for you.'
In a few minutes, I was sitting at the table. I was very hungry. The Count told me he had already eaten.
Later, we sat together near the fire. The Count spoke good English and he asked me many questions. I was tired and I began to feel very ill. The castle was completely silent. But outside the wolves were howling.
'Can you hear the children of the night?' the Count said quietly. 'Listen to their music!'
Count Dracula's face was very close to mine. The fire made his eyes shine with a red light. There was an unpleasant smell in the room. I wondered what it was. The Count smiled. He had very red lips and his teeth were long and sharp.
'You are tired,' he said. 'It is time for you to sleep.'
That night, I had strange and terrible dreams. In my dreams, I heard the sound of wolves and strange laughter.
When I woke up, it was late in the morning. There was fresh food in the other room and a note from the Count on the table.
I have to leave you alone today, I read. You can go anywhere in the Castle. But some doors are locked. Do not try to open them. D.
I saw no one all day. But I found the Count's library. It was full of books about England and I spent the day reading them. I was still reading when Count Dracula returned in the evening.
'These books are my good friends,' he said. 'They have taught me a lot about your country. And now I have you, Mr Harker, to talk to.'
'You speak English well, Count,' I said. The Count smiled and showed his sharp, white teeth.
'You must tell me about my new house,' he said. 'And you have papers for me to sign.'
I showed Count Dracula the maps and photographs I had brought with me.
'The house is about 22 kilometres to the east of London,' I told him. 'It is large and parts of it are very old.'
'Good,' said the Count. 'I have always lived in an old house. I could not live in a new one.'
'The gardens have a high wall around them,' I went on. 'This is a photograph of the chapel. It is the oldest part of the house.'
'So I shall be near the tombs of the dead,' said Count
Dracula quietly. He held the photograph in his hand. For the first time, I noticed his long, pointed nails.
The Count went on talking all night long. Once, I must have fallen asleep. I sat up suddenly. Count Dracula was leaning over me. His breath had a terrible smell. What did it remind me of? As I opened my eyes he turned away.
'Well, my friend,' said Dracula, 'We have been talking all night. You are tired. Go to bed and sleep.'
But I did not sleep well. My mind was troubled. Once more, I had terrible dreams.
It was very early when I woke up. I decided to dress and shave.
I looked round my bedroom. To my surprise, there was no mirror. Fortunately, I had brought a small shaving mirror with me. I hung it by the window and began to shave.
'Good morning, my friend,' said a voice behind me. I was so surprised that my razor slipped and I cut myself. I turned. There stood Count Dracula! He had come up behind me. Why had I not seen his face in my mirror?
The Count saw the blood on my face. He made a strange sound and his hands moved towards my throat. His eyes shone with red fire. Then his hands touched the cross around my neck and the fire in his eyes disappeared.
'Take care,' he said. 'It is dangerous to cut yourself in Castle Dracula. And this mirror is not needed here.'
As he spoke, he threw my mirror out of the open window. It broke on the stones far below. The Count turned and left the room. When I went to have my breakfast, he had gone. I was by myself once again.
I was very restless. I spent the day looking round the castle. Wherever I went, I found locked doors. Some windows opened but they were high up in the castle walls. The ground was hundreds of metres below.
There was no way out of the castle. Except for Count Dracula, I was completely alone. Was I a prisoner in this strange and terrible place?
Time passed slowly. I always saw the Count at night. During the day, I sat in the library, reading a book. Sometimes I walked slowly through the long passages of the castle.
The papers were signed and I was ready to leave. But Count Dracula would not let me go. Every evening, he asked me more questions about England. Every evening, I asked to leave. But he always smiled and would not answer.
I was full of fear. The Count had a strange power over me which grew stronger every day. I could not think clearly. Would I ever escape from Castle Dracula?
Then one day, I found a room with an unlocked door. As soon as I went into the room, I felt very tired. I lay down on a couch opposite the window.
When I opened my eyes, it was getting dark. But the air was full of golden dust. It slowly changed into the shapes of three young women. They were very beautiful. I felt afraid of them and yet I wanted them to touch me. I wanted them to kiss me with their soft, red lips. My body felt heavy. I could not move.
'Go on,' one woman said to another, 'you are the first. But he is young and strong. There will be kisses for us all!'
One of the women moved towards me. She smiled. Her teeth were sharp and white. I closed my eyes as she leant over me. I felt her long hair on my face. She made a strange sound and licked her red lips. Her sharp teeth touched my throat. Now, I thought, now, now! Kiss me, kiss me!
There was a sudden shout. Count Dracula had come into the room and pulled the woman away from me.
'Get back, he is mine. How dare you touch him!' he cried.
'Oh, you are cruel,' said the woman, with a terrible laugh. 'Have you never been in love?'
'You know I have,' the Count replied. 'That is why you are here. Wait a little longer, you will have your chance!'
I must have fainted. When I woke again, I was in my own room. It was daylight. The sun was shining brightly. I could see the gold cross on the table, where I had left it.
It was now 19th of May. I stayed near my room all day. When I saw the Count in the evening, it was difficult to hide my fear. But he smiled as usual and said, 'My dear Mr Harker, I am happy to have you as my guest. But I know you want to see your Mina again.'
The Count put some paper and three envelopes on the table.
'The post in Transylvania is not good,' he said. 'But write what I tell you and Mina will get your letters.'
He told me what to write. He made me put dates on the letters. The last letter was dated 29th June. What could I do? I was terribly afraid. I wrote down the Count's words. In the last letter, I told Mina that I had left the castle and was on my way home.
I knew then that Count Dracula meant to kill me. But not yet. It was six weeks until 29th June. I had six more weeks to live!
The days went by. I was Dracula's prisoner and he... what was he? Would I ever know the truth about him?
Then it was 29th June. That night, Count Dracula spoke to me.
'My dear friend, you and I must part. Tomorrow I must go to England. Perhaps one day we shall meet again.'
What did he mean? I had to find out the truth. I decided to follow Dracula to his room. He went in and locked the door behind him. I heard a window open.
I looked out of a window in the passage. I could see the window of the Count's room. As I watched, Dracula came out of the window and moved down the wall - head first! His black cloak looked like the wings of a huge bird. In the bright moonlight, I watched him move down the wall and out of sight!
I had to think. I had to make a plan. I went back to my room and looked again at my book about Transylvania. Vampires always hunted and killed at night. Sometimes they became animals. But during the day, vampires lost their strange powers.
I had never seen Count Dracula during the day. If I went to his room in daylight, perhaps he could not harm me. Perhaps I could take his keys and escape at last.
All night, I waited by the window in the passage. At dawn, Count Dracula returned. When the sun was high in the sky, I climbed out of the window. I moved carefully down the wall and across to the Count's open window.
There was nothing in the room except a great heap of golden coins. One door was locked. But the second one opened and I went through it. A stone stairway went down and down to a long passage. I was in an old chapel. The stones in the floor had been taken away. There were great holes where the earth had been.
The chapel was full of wooden boxes - fifty of them. Their lids had not been fixed on. Each box was full of earth.
One box was covered and I lifted the lid. There, on a heap of earth, lay Count Dracula!
His white hair was now dark grey. His thin, white face was fat and red. Fresh blood ran from his lips and there was a terrible smell, the smell of blood! The Vampire was resting after his meal. His eyes were open, but he did not move. I could see his long, white teeth.
At that moment, I heard shouts and the sound of many feet. I ran back through the door and into the passage. The door closed behind me. I stood there, listening.
The chapel was full of men. They were hammering down the lids of the boxes. Then I heard them pulling the boxes along the ground. A door was shut and locked. Count Dracula was on his way to England and I was locked inside his castle! I ran down the passage, up the stone stairs and back to the Count's room. I put some of the gold coins in my pockets and ran to the open window. The ground was many metres below. With a prayer to God, I climbed out of the window and moved slowly down the wall...
A Visit to Hythe
In England, Mina was waiting for Jonathan Harker to return.
His letters to her from Castle Dracula had been short and strange. Mina was worried. Was Jonathan ill? Why did he not return to England.
In the middle of July, Mina was invited to stay with her friend, Lucy West. Lucy and her husband, Arthur, lived in the little town of Hythe, by the sea. Arthur West was a doctor.
'Arthur is in Amsterdam,' Lucy wrote. 'He is staying with Professor Van Helsing, his old teacher. Come and stay with me until your Jonathan returns. Hythe is not far from London. The sea air will be good for you.'
Mina travelled down to Hythe the following day. The weather was good and the two young women went out walking every day. Sometimes, they walked by the sea. But most of all Lucy liked to walk to the old church on the hill. She enjoyed sitting in the quiet old churchyard.
Mina and Lucy slept in the same bedroom. One night, near the end of July, Mina woke up suddenly. Lucy was walking out of the bedroom door, but she was fast asleep. Mina took her friend back to bed. Lucy did not wake up and, in the morning, she remembered nothing.
On 8th August, the weather changed. Black clouds covered the sky. The air felt heavy and there was a thick mist over the sea. The storm came soon after midnight. Lucy was very excited by the thunder and lightning. She sat by the window all night, looking at the sea.
By morning, everything was quiet. But there was a mist over the sea. Lucy's, servant told the two friends that a ship had been wrecked on the shore.
'Was it an English ship? Are the poor sailors safe?' Lucy asked her.
'It was a Russian ship,' the woman replied. 'It had come from a place called Varna. There was something very strange about the ship. There was no one on it, living or dead!
'But as soon as the ship touched the shore,' the woman went on, 'a huge dog jumped down. It ran away up the hill. There was another strange thing, too. The ship was full of big wooden boxes. Some men came from London and took them away. When the boxes were taken off the ship one of them broke open. It was full of earth! Who would bring earth all that way? I cannot understand it.'
Lucy's face had gone white, but her eyes were shining.
'Let's walk up to the church, Mina,' she said. 'Perhaps we shall find the dog.' But the churchyard was empty and no one had seen the animal.
That night, Mina heard a noise and woke up. Lucy's bed was empty and the bedroom door was wide open! Lucy was nowhere in the house. Mina put on her clothes and her shoes. Then, taking shoes and a shawl for Lucy, Mina ran out into the silent street.
Where had Lucy gone? Mina looked up and down the empty street. Was Lucy in the churchyard? Mina ran up the hill and stopped for a moment at the churchyard gate.
Yes, there was Lucy! Was there something moving behind her? Mina thought she saw a white face and two red eyes. But when she reached Lucy, her friend was alone.
Lucy was half asleep. Mina put the shawl round her friend and took her back to the house. When Mina was putting her to bed she saw two red marks on Lucy's throat. Mina wondered what had made the marks. But she said nothing to Lucy.
From that time, Lucy became paler and paler. Her pretty face grew thin and white. Mina knew her friend was ill. She wanted to send Arthur a telegram, but Lucy would not let her.
'Arthur is doing some important work in Professor Van Helsing's hospital,' Lucy said. 'I do not want to worry him.'
But every night, Lucy left her bed while she was asleep. Mina had to lock the bedroom door to keep her friend safe.
One night, Mina found Lucy leaning out of the open window. A huge, black bird was sitting beside her. When Mina moved near, the bird flew slowly away. Lucy was fast asleep but she was holding her throat. The two marks were still there. They looked very red and painful.
Then on 19th August, Mina received a letter from a hospital in Budapest.
'Oh, Lucy! Jonathan is safe!' Mina cried. 'He has been very ill. But now he is asking for me. I do not want to leave you. You are not well. But I must go to Budapest.'
'Of course, my dear,' Lucy said. 'You must go to Budapest.'
Mina travelled by train to Budapest. It was a long journey. At last, she was able to hold her dear Jonathan in her arms. How thin and pale he was! 'Why didn't you tell me you were ill?' Mina asked. 'What happened at Castle Dracula?'
'I cannot talk about Castle Dracula now,' Jonathan whispered. 'Terrible things happened there. Was I ill - or mad? I don't know. I can't tell you about it now. I will tell you all about it later.'
'Jonathan,' Mina said, 'forget what has happened. You must get well. Then we will begin our new life - together.'
'Yes,' Jonathan whispered. 'But we will get married at once. I will never leave you again!'
Mina and Jonathan were married on 1st September in Budapest. They did not reach England until 18th September. The weather in London was fine and warm. Mina and Jonathan drove slowly through the city in the early evening. The streets were full of happy people.
Suddenly Jonathan gave a terrible cry.
'My God, look!' he said. 'It is the Count!'
Jonathan pointed at a tall man who was talking to a beautiful young woman. The man had a cruel, white face. As he smiled, Mina saw his red lips and sharp, white teeth.
'Count Dracula is here in London!' Jonathan cried. 'I was not mad. Those things did happen in Castle Dracula!'
'Please, Jonathan, you will be ill again,' Mina said. 'The Count has a house near London. Why shouldn't he be here?
'There is terrible danger,' Jonathan told her. 'I will tell you all about it when we get home.'
As they drove up to their home, a servant opened the door. She held out a telegram.
'This has just arrived, madam,' she said.
The telegram was from Doctor Arthur West, Lucy's husband. As Mina read it, her eyes filled with tears. The message was very short.
My dear wife is dead. She was buried yesterday. Arthur.
'Lucy dead? I can't believe it,' Jonathan said quietly. 'How did it happen?'
'Arthur must come and stay with us,' Mina said. 'I'll send him a telegram at once.'
That night, Jonathan told Mina all about Castle Dracula. He told her the terrible things that had happened there. And now Count Dracula was in England. What was he planning to do?
- THE END -