Dracula (Chapter 6, page 1 of 12)


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Chapter 6

24 July. Whitby.--Lucy met me at the station, looking sweeter and
lovelier than ever, and we drove up to the house at the Crescent in
which they have rooms. This is a lovely place. The little river, the
Esk, runs through a deep valley, which broadens out as it comes near
the harbour. A great viaduct runs across, with high piers, through
which the view seems somehow further away than it really is. The
valley is beautifully green, and it is so steep that when you are on
the high land on either side you look right across it, unless you are
near enough to see down. The houses of the old town--the side away
from us, are all red-roofed, and seem piled up one over the other
anyhow, like the pictures we see of Nuremberg. Right over the town is
the ruin of Whitby Abbey, which was sacked by the Danes, and which is
the scene of part of "Marmion," where the girl was built up in the
wall. It is a most noble ruin, of immense size, and full of beautiful
and romantic bits. There is a legend that a white lady is seen in one
of the windows. Between it and the town there is another church, the
parish one, round which is a big graveyard, all full of tombstones.
This is to my mind the nicest spot in Whitby, for it lies right over
the town, and has a full view of the harbour and all up the bay to
where the headland called Kettleness stretches out into the sea. It
descends so steeply over the harbour that part of the bank has fallen
away, and some of the graves have been destroyed.

In one place part of the stonework of the graves stretches out over
the sandy pathway far below. There are walks, with seats beside them,
through the churchyard, and people go and sit there all day long
looking at the beautiful view and enjoying the breeze.

I shall come and sit here often myself and work. Indeed, I am writing
now, with my book on my knee, and listening to the talk of three old
men who are sitting beside me. They seem to do nothing all day but
sit here and talk.

The harbour lies below me, with, on the far side, one long granite
wall stretching out into the sea, with a curve outwards at the end of
it, in the middle of which is a lighthouse. A heavy seawall runs
along outside of it. On the near side, the seawall makes an elbow
crooked inversely, and its end too has a lighthouse. Between the two
piers there is a narrow opening into the harbour, which then suddenly
widens.

It is nice at high water, but when the tide is out it shoals away to
nothing, and there is merely the stream of the Esk, running between
banks of sand, with rocks here and there. Outside the harbour on this
side there rises for about half a mile a great reef, the sharp of
which runs straight out from behind the south lighthouse. At the end
of it is a buoy with a bell, which swings in bad weather, and sends in
a mournful sound on the wind.

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