Dracula (Chapter 2, page 1 of 19)


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Chapter 2

5 May.--I must have been asleep, for certainly if I had been fully
awake I must have noticed the approach of such a remarkable place. In
the gloom the courtyard looked of considerable size, and as several
dark ways led from it under great round arches, it perhaps seemed
bigger than it really is. I have not yet been able to see it by
daylight.

When the caleche stopped, the driver jumped down and held out his hand
to assist me to alight. Again I could not but notice his prodigious
strength. His hand actually seemed like a steel vice that could have
crushed mine if he had chosen. Then he took my traps, and placed them
on the ground beside me as I stood close to a great door, old and
studded with large iron nails, and set in a projecting doorway of
massive stone. I could see even in the dim light that the stone was
massively carved, but that the carving had been much worn by time and
weather. As I stood, the driver jumped again into his seat and shook
the reins. The horses started forward, and trap and all disappeared
down one of the dark openings.

I stood in silence where I was, for I did not know what to do. Of
bell or knocker there was no sign. Through these frowning walls and
dark window openings it was not likely that my voice could penetrate.
The time I waited seemed endless, and I felt doubts and fears crowding
upon me. What sort of place had I come to, and among what kind of
people? What sort of grim adventure was it on which I had embarked?
Was this a customary incident in the life of a solicitor's clerk sent
out to explain the purchase of a London estate to a foreigner?
Solicitor's clerk! Mina would not like that. Solicitor, for just
before leaving London I got word that my examination was successful,
and I am now a full-blown solicitor! I began to rub my eyes and pinch
myself to see if I were awake. It all seemed like a horrible
nightmare to me, and I expected that I should suddenly awake, and find
myself at home, with the dawn struggling in through the windows, as I
had now and again felt in the morning after a day of overwork. But my
flesh answered the pinching test, and my eyes were not to be
deceived. I was indeed awake and among the Carpathians. All I could
do now was to be patient, and to wait the coming of morning.

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