Dracula (Chapter 6, page 2 of 12)


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Chapter 6

They have a legend here that when a ship is lost bells are heard out at
sea. I must ask the old man about this. He is coming this way . . .

He is a funny old man. He must be awfully old, for his face is
gnarled and twisted like the bark of a tree. He tells me that he is
nearly a hundred, and that he was a sailor in the Greenland fishing
fleet when Waterloo was fought. He is, I am afraid, a very sceptical
person, for when I asked him about the bells at sea and the White Lady
at the abbey he said very brusquely, "I wouldn't fash masel' about them, miss. Them things be all wore
out. Mind, I don't say that they never was, but I do say that they
wasn't in my time. They be all very well for comers and trippers, an'
the like, but not for a nice young lady like you. Them feet-folks
from York and Leeds that be always eatin' cured herrin's and drinkin'
tea an' lookin' out to buy cheap jet would creed aught. I wonder
masel' who'd be bothered tellin' lies to them, even the newspapers,
which is full of fool-talk."

I thought he would be a good person to learn interesting things from,
so I asked him if he would mind telling me something about the whale
fishing in the old days. He was just settling himself to begin when
the clock struck six, whereupon he laboured to get up, and said, "I must gang ageeanwards home now, miss. My grand-daughter doesn't
like to be kept waitin' when the tea is ready, for it takes me time to
crammle aboon the grees, for there be a many of 'em, and miss, I lack
belly-timber sairly by the clock."

He hobbled away, and I could see him hurrying, as well as he could,
down the steps. The steps are a great feature on the place. They
lead from the town to the church, there are hundreds of them, I do not
know how many, and they wind up in a delicate curve. The slope is so
gentle that a horse could easily walk up and down them.

I think they must originally have had something to do with the abbey.
I shall go home too. Lucy went out, visiting with her mother, and as
they were only duty calls, I did not go.

1 August.--I came up here an hour ago with Lucy, and we had a most
interesting talk with my old friend and the two others who always come
and join him. He is evidently the Sir Oracle of them, and I should
think must have been in his time a most dictatorial person.

He will not admit anything, and down faces everybody. If he can't
out-argue them he bullies them, and then takes their silence for
agreement with his views.

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