From the journal of Robert M. Renfield
1 May, Transylvania
I see in my journal I failed to make an entry last night, which is really a shame. Sitting here at the breakfast table this morning, with the sun coming in all the old castle windows, all my impressions of last night seem to be melting away, even a little ridiculous. Howling wolves and creeping mists and—oh, I can't even make myself write it down at present. But I have had such queer dreams!
There are scarcely any servants in this entire drafty pile as far as I can tell, just this one old woman who has given me a plate of eggs and sausage, and an undrinkable cup of tea, and doesn't seem inclined to sweep any of the cobwebs away. I can't blame her, the spiders are absolutely enormous. I keep seeing them out of the corner of my eye, and they give me such a shudder.
I don't quite know what to do with myself at the moment. The Count is gone, or still abed, I suppose, although it's very late. I made too-good use of my time on all those long trains, and there's no work left to be done. Just the signatures, and answering any questions the Count may have. How strange he is—nothing what I expected. An antique, the fellows at the office called him, sight-unseen, from his seal on the letters; I rather thought he would be some grandfatherly creature, puttering around in his decaying ancestral home, ready to bore on about the revolution of forty-eight at the drop of a hat.
I don't quite remember his face, at the moment, but his eyes were so very—
I'll see him again today, I'm sure.
1 May, later
I was alone all day. I hope the Count doesn't think me rude for wandering the place. His manners are odd—courtly. I suppose some people would call them old-fashioned; I like them. Like a fine veneer over something harder.
The castle is full of medieval old weapons, and armor, and cold, heavy stone. He found me in the hall a little after dark, trying to pick up one of the enormous swords, and I'm sure making a fool of myself. "Allow me," he said, in that polite way, and took it from my hands. He held it the way I might hold a pen, or a law-book—the way one holds something one lives by.
His hands were very cold. I can't wonder at his wanting to move to a brighter part of the world. I was shivering a little, myself. "Do you fence?" I asked him.
"Not for sport," he answered me, and put the sword back onto its rack. "Come. You should eat."
Dinner was already set out on the table in the dining hall, enormous chargers beneath the plates and a candleabra bristling with flames. It wasn't very good, I am sorry to say, but I was hungry enough not to let that stop me. I imagine it's the cold giving me such an appetite. The Count barely touched his own food, only watched me eat while he sipped from his glass. The wine was wonderful. I drank a little too much of it, I think, for I felt almost lightheaded by the end of the meal.
He caught my wrist when I set down my empty glass a little too hard, and I felt my pulse jump under his pressing fingers. He must be very strong—I don't think he was even trying, and he bruised me a little. I can see the marks of his fingers purpling a little now as I write.
I still feel a little faint. I'm writing by candlelight—the whole room swims when it flickers, jumps a little. It's only the shadows moving, and the spiders scuttling the other way from the light. There's only a little moon tonight, but we're so high up that scraps of clouds go past the windows now and again, like fluttering white silk.
I slept very late today. I would have felt a disgrace, but thankfully the serving-woman told me the Count hasn't risen yet either—that he won't be up before dark. "And I will be long gone," she added, and crossed herself, like the innkeeper and his wife at the post house. I wonder what the Count can have done to shock the local peasantry so. Perhaps it's just a general prejudice against dissolute aristocrats, but it seems more energetic than that.
Although the innkeeper and his wife seemed worried about me, and the serving-woman is only disapproving. She looks at me as warily as if she thought I would spring on her at any moment. And she must be all of sixty! I suppose having dared to stay overnight with the dreadful Count, I must be a fellow degenerate, or at least well on the way.
I nicked myself a little on the cheek while I shaved, I'm afraid—it's wretchedly noticeable. I can't imagine how I came to be so clumsy. My hands were shaking a little. I wouldn't wonder if I were falling sick, with the drafts in this place. Maybe the Count will stare at it again.
— I don't know why I wrote that.
May 2, later
He came down after dark again, as the old woman promised. I was waiting in the salon this time. It's the most pleasant room in the old place. The velvet sofas are threadbare, but at least there's some furnishing.
He gave me another glass of the strong red wine and asked me to tell him some British poetry, so I dredged up some Shakespeare speeches from my school days. I never held myself up much for reciting, but he was almost rapt with it. He paced the room after I was done, saying over softly, "the valiant never taste of death but once," low and intently. The words sounded differently when he said them—real, and not just for show.
He touched my face as we went in to dinner. "You must be more careful, Renfield," he said, drawing his thumb along my cheek, beneath the little cut.
May 2, at night
I don't know what could have come over me, writing that last night. Well, I must have written it, because no one else could have, but I don't remember the faintest thing about it. I suppose I had some sort of dream. My dreams have been so strange—anyone would have strange dreams in this castle, I think. It's so absurd, though. Why would the Count come to my room? What would he want with me?
I'm still very tired, even though it's late in the morning. I must have had a very restless night. It makes me feel quite as decadent as the old woman thinks me, but I will go back to sleep. The Count won't be up until after dark, anyway.
May 3, later
The Count has an old pianoforte in one of the small rooms upstairs. I suppose it must be very valuable—beautifully made, inlaid with gold. It's dreadfully out of tune. I played a little anyway, though.
He came in while I was playing. "It deserves better care," he said, sliding his hand over the surface. His fingers are very long, very white and pale—his nails are pointed. I think they could pierce the skin, if he pressed hard enough, like needles.
He took hold of me by the jaw and tipped my head back a little to face him. My breath came very quickly. I couldn't help but shiver—the cold of his touch went through me—
I don't recall what I said, what he said—there was something, an exchange, but then his hand was on my throat, and all I can remember is the noise of the keys jangling as he pressed me back against them. I can still hear it, ringing in my ears. I don't think I said anything to stop him. I should have. I shouldn't have let him. But I did. I let him, I let him put his mouth—
I can't write any more. I thought it would make it better, but it only makes it more real.
I didn't wake until after noon today. I couldn't look the old woman in the face. I ate without looking up from my plate. I couldn't help wondering if she could tell, if she could see—
I should leave this place. There's no reason for me to still be here. I sent the contracts back to England two days ago. Anyone could tell him about—Covent Garden, or Shakespeare, or Customs rules. He doesn't need me for that. I should, I must—I'll go and find the old woman. She can tell me—I suppose I'll have to hire a carriage? I haven't seen the Count's coachman since I came. I have enough money, I'll send it down to the nearest village with her. A dog-cart would do, anything—anything. As long as they take me somewhere I can catch the stage-coach.
(a little later)
I've spoken to the old woman. She hesitated, oddly, and when she answered me she only whispered. "Tell him nothing," she said. "Go out of the house at first light to-morrow. Come down to the first crossroads. I will get someone to meet you there. At first light! And thank God the days are long."
I agreed. She wouldn't even take money for it, only made me swear not to tell—not to breathe a word.
But now I am writing, I realize I can't simply leave without any explanation. What would he think, if he woke and I had just disappeared? He would think I was mad. I might lose my position over it.
I'll tell him that I've been called back to England. I'll tell him tonight. He'll be rising soon—the sun is almost down.
May 4, later
I'm not going, after all. There's no use.
The old woman hasn't come today. After waiting and waiting, I went down to the kitchens in desperation and managed to fend for myself—there was a basket of food left outside the door, as though the delivery dreaded to come inside. I was very hungry, although you wouldn't have thought it. Life must go on, I suppose, even when it has ended.
I went outside after I ate. I felt the chill of the mountain air bitterly. The sun did not seem able to touch me, although I stood in its full force all the while it descended. The Count found me there, in twilight. He put his hands on my shoulders from behind. "I can feel the sun still lingering on you," he said.
I let him do as he liked—I let him do everything as he liked. I can feel him still lingering on my body now, the force of him, stronger than the sun. I can scarcely breathe for remembering it.
He blots out the world. Maybe I can forget to be ashamed.
I slept until late in the afternoon again. I feel so very tired and sore. I managed a bath for myself. It stung, a little. I wandered the house, but felt so aimless I have come back to bed. There doesn't seem to be much use in staying awake during the day. The day is for others, now. My sun hasn't risen yet.
May 6, later
I was started from my sleep, a little after dark. There was a woman bending over me—not the old woman. A girl, a beautiful girl, except so pale, with dark hair; she looked like him, a little. She stared at me so fixedly. I asked her, "Who are you? Where have you come from?" but she didn't answer, only reached out and put her fingers on my face.
She was so cold. I couldn't move, and she was leaning in towards me still closer, as though she meant to kiss me, and I couldn't move somehow. I felt the strangest heaviness all over me. It wasn't—it wasn't the same at all. Her lips—very red—her lips parted. Her teeth looked almost sharp. I didn't want her to kiss me, I only couldn't move. Her mouth came closer and closer, and then she was springing up and away from me, almost like a bird, darting away startled. He was in the doorway, and oh, so angry—so angry I could feel it, beating across the room at us, at her.
He spoke to her in his own language, I couldn't understand a word, but very harshly from his tone, and she fled the room through the french doors into the garden, even though she was hardly dressed to go outside. Her filmy dress fluttered away long behind her, like scraps of clouds.
He stood in the doorway after she had fled, silently. "I'm sorry," I said. "Is she—your sister?"
"No one you need concern yourself with," he said very flatly.
He came across the room towards me. I was suddenly aware of my deshabille—I even shrank away for a moment, ridiculously; I don't know why. Then all thought of escape fled. I remember sinking back into the pillows, such lassitude spreading through me, and watching as he took his clothing off with great care, laying each piece neatly aside over the chair. Then he flung back the bedclothes with a single smooth motion, and seated himself beside me. He undid the buttons of my nightshirt with one hand, easily, while I trembled. Then he was on me.
He took me for a very long time. I felt speared open. He was so very cold, even in the midst of it, that I was aware of him all the time. He kissed me on the mouth. "You will be wholly mine, soon," he said.
"I am yours," I said. "I'm already yours."
"Not yet," he said. "But soon." He kissed my cheek, and then at last he pressed his lips to my throat. The chill spread through me deliciously, in such shivers.
I wonder what he means. I couldn't help but laugh to myself, that he thought I was anything else.
I rose with him afterwards, and we bathed together—there was hot water from somewhere, I don't know who brought it or how. He felt warmer than he ever has, even flushed with a very little color. Although perhaps it's only that I felt colder, myself, and almost faint. I drowsed in the bathtub leaning back against him. His body is so queerly hard, and smooth, almost like marble. I trailed my fingers over his bare arm—muscles standing out, and roped with tendons. My own arm seemed slim and almost fragile beside his, like two very different creatures.
He watched me compare, heavy-lidded, amused. "You are a scholar, my fair one," he murmured, drawing a line down my cheek with his finger. "I have been a prince—when that meant something more than it does at present."
Afterwards he had me recite for him again. He could already repeat most of the speeches I'd given him, better than I can. He has such a thirst for it, for everything I can tell him of London, of Paris. I don't understand why he's immured himself here so long.
"I was known here, once," he said. "They respected, as they should, and understood the price of protection. But now they require no protection. The Turk does not come, only the tax-collector, and they have grown fat and greedy." He spoke with scorn. "I am glad of it. There is another world to be found in these great cities, among these multitudes." He looked at me with those dark, gleaming eyes. "You will bring me there."
SCRIBBLE: He will take everything. He will drink all the world dry, and me with it.
I slept late again, and woke to find I'd scribbled another mad entry. I must put these odd fancies out of my head. It's from the confusion of my sleep, I suppose.
I should rise, and bathe, and eat something. But somehow all I want is to lie here in bed. I keep reading over my last entries, greedily. Oh; how stupid of me to be ashamed. I am only sorry not to have written more while it was still fresh and urgent and hot, so I could read it over again now, and feel a little bit as though he were here with me.
The sunlight coming in hurts my eyes, weak and thin as it is. I like the candlelight better. It's smaller and friendlier.
I've pulled the curtains now, it's much nicer in the dark. He'll come soon.
Although it is May 8 now, I suppose—it must be after midnight. I am so tired! But I am determined to put everything down while it is still with me and vivid, to sustain me all the long hours of daylight that I must endure tomorrow. I wish I had the energy to stay awake with him, to follow him. But he has told me to stay and sleep. "You are not yet ready to join my revels," he said, only smiling at my pleas. Then he kissed me again and left—I tried to hold on to him, tried to draw him down again, but he slid through my fingers like mist.
He took me today a little roughly. I made him a little impatient, squirming away on purpose—I can't help but like when he leaves marks upon me: that way I can have bruises to look at now, and be certain this is all real and not imagined.
So I confess I resisted him a little, and then, oh, he overmastered me, and pressed me into the divan, a musty smell from the cushions as they crushed beneath our weight. I was panting against the arm of the couch, still pressing back against him, and it was even better.
Out of the corner of my eye I glimpsed a white fluttering at the door of the salon, as though the girl were there again, watching us. It ought to have horrified me, and instead—I don't quite know what I felt. I so wanted her to know she might not have me, I was his, and my struggling ceased. "Ah, there," he murmured, as I went pliant beneath him. His—he had already entered me, now he drew my thighs apart—I have pushed aside the bedclothes, and I can see the marks of his hands on them—and he drove into me with a single tremendous thrust.
I cried out—I begged him—"Please, please," over and over again, while he had me, and then he drew me easily back up and onto his thighs. Oh, it was so lovely, feeling him holding me and my body opened for him, and then I looked up and the girl was there, and two others, there were all three of them and they weren't just peeking in, they were standing full in the doorway watching us, watching him take me.
I did try and stop him, then, but he didn't seem to care, and only hushed my broken protests. "They are mine," he said against my ear, sliding his hand down my body. "As you will be, flesh of my flesh. Let them watch."
After he spoke, they crept in closer, into the room. Their eyes were so hungry, I felt as though they would like to fall upon me, devour me. I shuddered and shrank back against him as they came in towards us. One of them even stretched out a hand towards my thigh, daring, until he gave a low warning hiss; then she jerked it back again.
I found it so inexpressibly reassuring—I was his. I let my head fall back against his shoulder and gave myself over to the sensations again. What did we care if they saw? I could be generous. His lips were on my shoulder, he was sinking into me. I didn't even mind, then, when they did come a little closer, and put their mouths on my thighs.
I can see those marks, too, but they aren't the same as his. I can feel his marks all the way down deep; theirs are only little pin-pricks. They aren't strong, the way he is.
SCRIBBLED: He has gone further tonight, I can feel it. I am in a fog all the time otherwise, but these moments when he has gone far away, only then can I feel everything, then I know myself, then I can see—I can feel where he has drunk from me—where they have all drunk from me. Why has he gone? Why has he left me to see, why, I can't, I can't bear it—he is sure of me now, he has me now, and I can't ever get away, I can't want to get away.
Oh God! He will make me take him to England soon. So many thousands of thousands of lives, all for him to drink up—and he will love them, he will love them and forget me, I will only be a small useless thing. I haven't got enough life left, I would give him all of it, if only he would make me like him—like him, terrible and strong and hungry—
(a page is torn out)
I don't know what comes over me in these fits. It's just dreaming, of course, but it's so wild, it frightens me. I even remembered a little of it, this time—just the vaguest image, hunched over in my bed scribbling, my hand shaking dreadfully, and the wolves outside howling and howling. I don't want to read it again. I've torn out as much as I can without losing any of my lovely entry before.
I have read it over, but it's not enough. I feel so cold. I can't bear it—I can't bear to be alone. He'll forgive me for waking him early, for once.
May 8, later
Oh God. I found him. He was so still, so pale, lying in the earth. It smelled of rot. The stone was cold under my fingers. Why did I lift the lid? What made me think of doing it?
God help me. I can't take him to England. I can't. I can't unleash him on the world.
But I can't refuse him. I know I can't. He'll make me a traitor, the worst sort, a traitor to everyone and everything that breathes—to life, to the world. I have to refuse, and I can't, I can't, I can't.
May 8, later
I told him I knew the truth, when he came to me.
I don't know what I thought would happen. I hoped, maybe, he would—strike me down, or cast me out, anything. That he would end it, when I can't. Instead he looked at me steadily, with his eyes—his burning eyes. "When have I concealed it?" he said. "Lies are for children, and the weak." He gestured at the open doors that stood wide behind me. "Would you fly from me, now? Go, then, if you will. I do not desire fear from you."
I stood in the room, trembling and pinned under his gaze, until at last he took pity and held out his hand to me.
I stumbled to him and wept in his arms. His hand was in my hair, stroking gently as one might soothe a distraught child. I asked him to change me. I asked him to make me like him. "Not yet," he answered. "Do not be so quick to join me. I have not tired of feeling the life in you. And I may yet need you in the long hours of the day."
"Don't make me endure this," I begged him. All the comforting fog has lifted away—there is nothing left, nothing to hide behind.
He only kissed me again, and told me not to fear. He told me all would be well. "Everything is in readiness for our departure," he said. Tomorrow we will be traveling north. There will be a ship to take us to England, and from Whitby we will go to our new home—to Carfax Abbey.
I asked him how he would eat. He only shrugged, eloquently. God help the poor sailors!
The sailors look at me with such loathing. They know, I see it in their eyes; they know I am a traitor. They don't understand what is happening to their fellows, but they can feel it. I am not one of them anymore, I am no sort of a man anymore, but I can't be a monster either. There isn't enough life in me to stop and too much not to care.
I spend the day below, huddled by the boxes. It's as close as I can be to him. I would climb inside with him, but there isn't room.
A little before dark, I creep to my cabin, keeping to myself as much as I can, and wait. He comes to me after he has fed. That makes it better, for a little while—when he is so full of life and hot and eager for me, I can't regret some ordinary sailor. I would spend a hundred of them, a thousand—what do they matter when he is upon me, when I can feel the blood thundering through him; it all seems only his right while I stifle my cries into the thin pillow.
And then he goes, and I am cold and alone and stained, and I huddle in my blankets and hear the sailors whispering and afraid outside my little window as they go on their rounds, men, human beings, in fellowship with one another, and I am outside.
He says I must not care for such things, but how can I not, when he won't give me a taste—he won't even drink from me, anymore; he says he wants me to be stronger. He tells me to eat—how can I go to the mess and look at them, feel their eyes upon me. Oh! I long not to care! He must, he must let me drink; he must take me over, please, please. I'm so hungry.
SCRIBBLED: If he won't let me drink, I will find another way. I will. I must be stronger. I mustn't care.
(in Dr. Seward's hand)
The subject says he cannot drink from other humans yet—the yet is of course most significant. He is not strong enough, he says. I asked him if he felt the rest—the flies, the spiders—would make him so.
He grew very downcast. 'I don't think I will ever be strong enough,' he said. 'He won't help me; he won't ever let me have it.'
'What do you want him to give you?'
'The blood,' he answered.
'Whose blood?' I asked.
'His, of course.'
Of course. I ought to have realized it. I wonder if it would be wise of me to put the Count on his guard? Renfield can be quite extraordinarily strong on occasion, in the way of many lunatics when the fit is upon them, and I doubt the Count thinks of him save as a harmless object of pity.
SCRIBBLED: He's angry with me. He tells me I am making myself ill. But he hasn't any right to shout when he won't let me have any.
(in Dr. Seward's hand)
I spoke to the Count last night. He was polite, but utterly dismissive. "Renfield is no danger to me," he said. "I wonder, Doctor, what he has been saying to frighten you so."
He sounded rather amused, if anything, and turned away. He took Miss Westenra in to dinner; it is small consolation that Arthur and Quincey were cut out as well. I must be cautious not to allow such intimate feelings to affect my medical judgement; I hope the Count does not dismiss my warnings out of a sense that they spring from some form of envy.
I will call on him tomorrow and attempt to remonstrate with him once more. Renfield's resentment is more palpable with every page of this account, even as his lines grow fewer and more scattered: as his mind fragments, he loses the focus and self-restraint required for any sustained bout of writing.
The Count was not receiving visitors at the normal hour—I am reminded of the insistence in Renfield's earlier remarks that the Count never rose before dark; evidently this is not merely some false-imagined detail. I have left my card, and an urgent request that he call upon me, with the rather dull servant.
I confess a temptation to provoke some sort of crisis in my patient—I cannot help but wonder what his reaction might be if confronted by the Count again.
I am alone, all alone, all alone. Only the captain is left, lashed to the wheel. The first mate flung himself off—oh! How dare he! How dare he waste all that life, which might have gone to Him.
He is still angry with me. I really thought he might hurt me, yesterday, when he found me with my spiders. He caught me up and away from them, and I thought for a moment that now, at last, at last—at last he would drink me all up. I wept when he stopped. I begged him and he wouldn't, he wouldn't let me go—he will never let me go.
He held me, instead, and ordered me to leave off the spiders—he crushed so many of them, and swept the rest aside, despite all my protests. He made me eat a little food, and then he locked me in here, in my cabin. My hands hurt. I have been beating on the door for a while, I think. Oh—and I have broken my little window. The glass cut my hands. I thought maybe that would make him come, but it hasn't. I could cut my throat with it, but I can't waste it like that. If only he would make an end of me—if only he would take me in.
(A page, torn out and folded into squares, now carefully smoothed and restored to their places.)
DRACULA: Renfield, you must cease this. You are not well. You must overcome this weakness in your soul before you can join me. Write no more.
(In Dr. Seward's hand)
I have just found this last page concealed in the lining of the cover. The handwriting of the final entry is entirely different. There is nothing more afterwards.
I have previously attempted to leave notebooks and pens in the subject's cell, with no effect. He writes nothing. I have asked him before why he refuses; I will show him the page tonight, instead, and ask him who wrote it. I already suspect—there is a forceful quality to the writing, an energy wholly inconsistent with my poor patient's fragility of mind, even before he had suffered his breakdown.
An extraordinary thing for the Count to have done, if I am correct: endorses the patient's wildest phantasies, almost encourages them, and having read enough of the account to do so, makes no denial, no outcry against featuring in the most obscene acts imaginable.
If my patient confirms it, I cannot keep this in confidence. My duty as a physician cannot be held inconsistent with my duty as a man, in this circumstance; I must consider myself responsible for the welfare of Miss Westenra and Miss Murray. If the Count will not deny or refute either the obscenity, or the only slightly less-vicious crime of jangling for no better cause than his own amusement an already broken mind, I must speak with Mrs. Westenra. The girls must be removed from his society.
My patient is dead.
The attendant was asleep at his post when I came down; his lamp had gone out, and it was difficult to rouse him. He apologized sincerely—he did not remember feeling any uncommon fatigue. We proceeded together to Mr. Renfield's room and found the door somehow barred against us from within—it required all our joined efforts to force it wide.
The patient was stretched upon his cot, pale and supine, unmoving. There was an inexpressible and somehow pathetic look of gratitude upon his face, which nearly shone. The clenched lines of madness had been smoothed from his features, as a lifted burden. His eyes, always before rimmed in white and protruberant, were half-lidded as if to sleep, relaxed; he looked his real age, and not ten years older; little more than a handsome boy.
I crossed the room at once and seized his limp, outstretched arm. There was not the hint of a pulse; the skin had already cooled. I laid a feather upon his lips which did not stir.
The attendant began to protest his innocence, the lack of any sound or distress. I paid little attention as I went over the room. I examined the window-sill, but it is barred with iron, and the lock secured from inside, even if the opening had been large enough to admit any but a child. There was some disturbance in the dust, but only a little scattering, as by the wind. The cause of death must wait until an examination, in the morning. I can find nothing immediately to account for it.
There is an opening in the door—not enough for any escape, but enough to pass something through, with the attendant distracted. A drug, perhaps, or even merely words—words which might act with deadly force upon a mind already disordered.
I have the diary yet, and the torn page, and it is after dark. I will go to Carfax Abbey and demand an answer from the Count. He will tell me where he has been, earlier this night, and what kernels of truth may be found in poor Renfield's wild narrative. Even if entirely false, Renfield's story would be sufficient to wholly undo the Count's ambitions to figure in British society; I will threaten him with exposure if need be.
(no further notes)
From the notes of Dr. Jacob Hunsford, temporarily acting head of Seward Asylum:
Patient: Robert Michaelson Renfield, age twenty-six, nationality American, cause of death total exsanguination; no apparent wounds, exhaustion, malnourishment.
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