Because Some Lifes Are Different


An Ezine made by The People for The People

Back to Castle Blood Dragons Temple Members Casket Blood Dragons Forum Blood Dragons Email Login Wine And Roses Email Login Wine And Roses Forum

Ezine Messagesboard

The Blood Dragons Coffin

Dracula's Guest by Bram Stoker

When we started for our drive the sun was shining brightly on Munich, and the 
air was full of the joyousness of early summer. Just as we were about to depart, 
Herr Delbruck (the maitre d'hotel of the Quatre Saisons, where I was staying) 
came down bareheaded to the carriage and, after wishing me a pleasant drive, 
said to the coachman, still holding his hand on the handle of the carriage door, 
"Remember you are back by nightfall. The sky looks bright but there is a shiver 
in the north wind that says there may be a sudden storm. But I am sure you will 
not be late." Here he smiled and added, "for you know what night it is." 
     Johann answered with an emphatic, "Ja, mein Herr," and, touching his hat, 
drove off quickly. When we had cleared the town, I said, after signalling to him 
to stop: 
     "Tell me, Johann, what is tonight?" 
     He crossed himself, as he answered laconically: "Walpurgis nacht." Then he 
took out his watch, a great, old-fashioned German silver thing as big as a turnip 
and looked at it, with his eyebrows gathered together and a little impatient shrug 
of his shoulders. I realized that this was his way of respectfully protesting against 
the unnecessary delay and sank back in the carriage, merely motioning him to 
proceed. He started off rapidly, as if to make up for lost time. Every now and 
then the horses seemed to throw up their heads and sniff the air suspiciously. On 
such occasions I often looked round in alarm. The road was pretty bleak, for we 
were traversing a sort of high windswept plateau. As we drove, I saw a road that 
looked but little used and which seemed to dip through a little winding valley. It 
looked so inviting that, even at the risk of offending him, I called Johann to stop - 
and when he had pulled up, I told him I would like to drive down that road. He 
made all sorts of excuses and frequently crossed himself as he spoke. This 
somewhat piqued my curiosity, so I asked him various questions. He answered 
fencingly and repeatedly looked at his watch in protest. 
     Finally I said, "Well, Johann, I want to go down this road. I shall not ask you 
to come unless you like; but tell me why you do not like to go, that is all I ask." 
For answer he seemed to throw himself off the box, so quickly did he reach the 
ground. Then he stretched out his hands appealingly to me and implored me not 
to go. There was just enough of English mixed with the German for me to 
understand the drift of his talk. He seemed always just about to tell me something 
- the very idea of which evidently frightened him; but each time he pulled 
himself up saying, "Walpurgis nacht!" 
     I tried to argue with him, but it was difficult to argue with a man when I did 
not know his language. The advantage certainly rested with him, for although he 
began to speak in English, of a very crude and broken kind, he always got excited 
and broke into his native tongue - and every time he did so, he looked at his 
watch. Then the horses became restless and sniffed the air. At this he grew very 
pale, and, looking around in a frightened way, he suddenly jumped forward, took 
them by the bridles, and led them on some twenty feet. I followed and asked why 
he had done this. For an answer he crossed himself, pointed to the spot we had 
left, and drew his carriage in the direction of the other road, indicating a cross, 
and said, first in German, then in English, "Buried him - him what killed 
themselves." 
     I remembered the old custom of burying suicides at cross roads: "Ah! I see, a 
suicide. How interesting!" But for the life of me I could not make out why the 
horses were frightened. 
     Whilst we were talking, we heard a sort of sound between a yelp and a bark. It 
was far away; but the horses got very restless, and it took Johann all his time to 
quiet them. He was pale and said, "It sounds like a wolf - but yet there are no 
wolves here now." 
     "No?" I said, questioning him. "Isn't it long since the wolves were so near the 
city?" 
     "Long, long," he answered, "in the spring and summer; but with the snow the 
wolves have been here not so long." 
     Whilst he was petting the horses and trying to quiet them, dark clouds drifted 
rapidly across the sky. The sunshine passed away, and a breath of cold wind 
seemed to drift over us. It was only a breath, however, and more of a warning 
than a fact, for the sun came out brightly again. 
     Johann looked under his lifted hand at the horizon and said, "The storm of 
snow, he comes before long time." Then he looked at his watch again, and, 
straightway holding his reins firmly - for the horses were still pawing the ground 
restlessly and shaking their heads - he climbed to his box as though the time had 
come for proceeding on our journey. 
     I felt a little obstinate and did not at once get into the carriage. 
     "Tell me," I said, "about this place where the road leads," and I pointed down. 
     Again he crossed himself and mumbled a prayer before he answered, "It is 
unholy." 
     "What is unholy?" I enquired. 
     "The village." 
     "Then there is a village?" 
     "No, no. No one lives there hundreds of years." 
     My curiosity was piqued, "But you said there was a village." 
     "There was." 
     "Where is it now?" 
     Whereupon he burst out into a long story in German and English, so mixed up 
that I could not quite understand exactly what he said. Roughly I gathered that 
long ago, hundreds of years, men had died there and been buried in their graves; 
but sounds were heard under the clay, and when the graves were opened, men 
and women were found rosy with life and their mouths red with blood. And so, in 
haste to save their lives (aye, and their souls! - and here he crossed himself) those 
who were left fled away to other places, where the living lived and the dead were 
dead and not - not something. He was evidently afraid to speak the last words. As 
he proceeded with his narration, he grew more and more excited. It seemed as if 
his imagination had got hold of him, and he ended in a perfect paroxysm of fear - 
white-faced, perspiring, trembling, and looking round him as if expecting that 
some dreadful presence would manifest itself there in the bright sunshine on the 
open plain. 
     Finally, in an agony of desperation, he cried, "Walpurgis nacht!" and pointed 
to the carriage for me to get in. 
     All my English blood rose at this, and standing back I said, "You are afraid, 
Johann - you are afraid. Go home, I shall return alone, the walk will do me 
good." The carriage door was open. I took from the seat my oak walking stick - 
which I al ways carry on my holiday excursions - and closed the door, pointing 
back to Munich, and said, "Go home, Johann - Walpurgis nacht doesn't concern 
Englishmen." 
     The horses were now more restive than ever, and Johann was trying to hold 
them in, while excitedly imploring me not to do anything so foolish. I pitied the 
poor fellow, he was so deeply in earnest; but all the same I could not help 
laughing. His English was quite gone now. In his anxiety he had forgot ten that 
his only means of making me understand was to talk my language, so he jabbered 
away in his native German. It began to be a little tedious. After giving the 
direction, "Home!" I turned to go down the cross road into the valley. 
     With a despairing gesture, Johann turned his horses towards Munich. I leaned 
on my stick and looked after him. He went slowly along the road for a while, 
then there came over the crest of the hill a man tall and thin. I could see so much 
in the distance. When he drew near the horses, they began to jump and kick 
about, then to scream with terror. Johann could not hold them in; they bolted 
down the road, running away madly. I watched them out of sight, then looked for 
the stranger; but I found that he, too, was gone. 
     With a light heart I turned down the side road through the deepening valley to 
which Johann had objected. There was not the slightest reason, that I could see, 
for his objection; and I daresay I tramped for a couple of hours without thinking 
of time or distance and certainly without seeing a person or a house. So far as the 
place was concerned, it was desolation itself. But I did not notice this particularly 
till, on turning a bend in the road, I came upon a scattered fringe of wood; then I 
recognized that I had been impressed unconsciously by the desolation of the 
region through which I had passed. 
     I sat down to rest myself and began to look around. It struck me that it was 
considerably colder than it had been at the commencement of my walk - a sort of 
sighing sound seemed to be around me with, now and then, high overhead, a sort 
of muffled roar. Looking upwards I noticed that great thick clouds were drafting 
rapidly across the sky from north to south at a great height. There were signs of a 
coming storm in some lofty stratum of the air. I was a little chilly, and, thinking 
that it was the sitting still after the exercise of walking, I resumed my journey. 
     The ground I passed over was now much more picturesque. There were no 
striking objects that the eye might single out, but in all there was a charm of 
beauty. I took little heed of time, and it was only when the deepening twilight 
forced it self upon me that I began to think of how I should find my way home. 
The air was cold, and the drifting of clouds high overhead was more marked. 
They were accompanied by a sort of far away rushing sound, through which 
seemed to come at intervals that mysterious cry which the driver had said came 
from a wolf. For a while I hesitated. I had said I would see the deserted village, 
so on I went and presently came on a wide stretch of open country, shut in by 
hills all around. Their sides were covered with trees which spread down to the 
plain, dotting in clumps the gentler slopes and hollows which showed here and 
there. I followed with my eye the winding of the road and saw that it curved 
close to one of the densest of these clumps and was lost behind it. 
     As I looked there came a cold shiver in the air, and the snow began to fall. I 
thought of the miles and miles of bleak country I had passed, and then hurried on 
to seek shelter of the wood in front. Darker and darker grew the sky, and faster 
and heavier fell the snow, till the earth before and around me was a glistening 
white carpet the further edge of which was lost in misty vagueness. The road was 
here but crude, and when on the level its boundaries were not so marked as when 
it passed through the cuttings; and in a little while I found that I must have 
strayed from it, for I missed underfoot the hard surface, and my feet sank deeper 
in the grass and moss. Then the wind grew stronger and blew with ever 
increasing force, till I was fain to run before it. The air became icy- cold, and in 
spite of my exercise I began to suffer. The snow was now falling so thickly and 
whirling around me in such rap id eddies that I could hardly keep my eyes open. 
Every now and then the heavens were torn asunder by vivid lightning, and in the 
flashes I could see ahead of me a great mass of trees, chiefly yew and cypress all 
heavily coated with snow. 
     I was soon amongst the shelter of the trees, and there in comparative silence I 
could hear the rush of the wind high overhead. Presently the blackness of the 
storm had become merged in the darkness of the night. By-and-by the storm 
seemed to be passing away, it now only came in fierce puffs or blasts. At such 
moments the weird sound of the wolf appeared to be echoed by many similar 
sounds around me. 
     Now and again, through the black mass of drifting cloud, came a straggling 
ray of moonlight which lit up the expanse and showed me that I was at the edge 
of a dense mass of cypress and yew trees. As the snow had ceased to fall, I 
walked out from the shelter and began to investigate more closely. It appeared to 
me that, amongst so many old foundations as I had passed, there might be still 
standing a house in which, though in ruins, I could find some sort of shelter for a 
while. As I skirted the edge of the copse, I found that a low wall encircled it, and 
following this I presently found an opening. Here the cypresses formed an alley 
leading up to a square mass of some kind of building. Just as I caught sight of 
this, however, the drifting clouds obscured the moon, and I passed up the path in 
darkness. The wind must have grown colder, for I felt myself shiver as I walked; 
but there was hope of shelter, and I groped my way blindly on. 
     I stopped, for there was a sudden stillness. The storm had passed; and, perhaps 
in sympathy with nature's silence, my heart seemed to cease to beat. But this was 
only momentarily; for suddenly the moonlight broke through the clouds showing 
me that I was in a graveyard and that the square object before me was a great 
massive tomb of marble, as white as the snow that lay on and all around it. With 
the moonlight there came a fierce sigh of the storm which appeared to resume its 
course with a long, low howl, as of many dogs or wolves. I was awed and 
shocked, and I felt the cold perceptibly grow upon me till it seemed to grip me by 
the heart. Then while the flood of moonlight still fell on the marble tomb, the 
storm gave further evidence of renewing, as though it were returning on its track. 
Impelled by some sort of fascination, I approached the sepulchre to see what it 
was and why such a thing stood alone in such a place. I walked around it and 
read, over the Doric door, in German - 

COUNTESS DOLINGEN OF GRATZ 
IN STYRIA 
SOUGHT AND FOUND DEATH, 
1801

On the top of the tomb, seemingly driven through the solid marble - for the 
structure was composed of a few vast blocks of stone - was a great iron spike or 
stake. On going to the back I saw, graven in great Russian letters: 

THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST

There was something so weird and uncanny about the whole thing that it gave me 
a turn and made me feel quite faint. I began to wish, for the first time, that I had 
taken Johann's advice. Here a thought struck me, which came under almost 
mysterious circumstances and with a terrible shock. This was Walpurgis Night! 
     Walpurgis Night was when, according to the belief of mill ions of people, the 
devil was abroad - when the graves were opened and the dead came forth and 
walked. When all evil things of earth and air and water held revel. This very 
place the driver had specially shunned. This was the depopulated village of 
centuries ago. This was where the suicide lay; and this was the place where I was 
alone - unmanned, shivering with cold in a shroud of snow with a wild storm 
gathering again up on me! It took all my philosophy, all the religion I had been 
taught, all my courage, not to collapse in a paroxysm of fright. 
     And now a perfect tornado burst upon me. The ground shook as though 
thousands of horses thundered across it; and this time the storm bore on its icy 
wings, not snow, but great hailstones which drove with such violence that they 
might have come from the thongs of Balearic slingers - hailstones that beat down 
leaf and branch and made the shelter of the cypresses of no more avail than 
though their stems were standing corn. At the first I had rushed to the nearest 
tree; but I was soon fain to leave it and seek the only spot that seemed to afford 
refuge, the deep Doric doorway of the marble tomb. There, crouching against the 
massive bronze door, I gained a certain amount of protection from the beating of 
the hail stones, for now they only drove against me as they ricochetted from the 
ground and the side of the marble. 
     As I leaned against the door, it moved slightly and opened inwards. The 
shelter of even a tomb was welcome in that pitiless tempest and I was about to 
enter it when there came a flash of forked lightning that lit up the whole expanse 
of the heavens. In the instant, as I am a living man, I saw, as my eyes turned into 
the darkness of the tomb, a beautiful woman with rounded cheeks and red lips, 
seemingly sleeping on a bier. As the thunder broke overhead, I was grasped as by 
the hand of a giant and hurled out into the storm. The whole thing was so sudden 
that, before I could realize the shock, moral as well as physical, I found the 
hailstones beating me down. At the same time I had a strange, dominating feeling 
that I was not alone. I looked towards the tomb. Just then there came another 
blinding flash which seemed to strike the iron stake that surmounted the tomb 
and to pour through to the earth, blasting and crumbling the marble, as in a burst 
of flame. The dead woman rose for a moment of agony while she was lapped in 
the flame, and her bitter scream of pain was drowned in the thundercrash. The 
last thing I heard was this mingling of dreadful sound, as again I was seized in 
the giant grasp and dragged away, while the hailstones beat on me and the air 
around seemed reverberant with the howling of wolves. The last sight that I 
remembered was a vague, white, moving mass, as if all the graves around me had 
sent out the phantoms of their sheeted dead, and that they were closing in on me 
through the white cloudiness of the driving hail. 

     Gradually there came a sort of vague beginning of consciousness, then a sense 
of weariness that was dreadful. For a time I remembered nothing, but slowly my 
senses returned. My feet seemed positively racked with pain, yet I could not 
move them. They seemed to be numbed. There was an icy feeling at the back of 
my neck and all down my spine, and my ears, like my feet, were dead yet in 
torment; but there was in my breast a sense of warmth which was by comparison 
delicious. It was as a nightmare - a physical nightmare, if one may use such an 
expression; for some heavy weight on my chest made it difficult for me to 
breathe. 
     This period of semi-lethargy seemed to remain a long time, and as it faded 
away I must have slept or swooned. Then came a sort of loathing, like the first 
stage of seasickness, and a wild desire to be free of something - I knew not what. 
A vast stillness enveloped me, as though all the world were asleep or dead - only 
broken by the low panting as of some animal close to me. I felt a warm rasping at 
my throat, then came a consciousness of the awful truth which chilled me to the 
heart and sent the blood surging up through my brain. Some great animal was 
lying on me and now licking my throat. I feared to stir, for some instinct of 
prudence bade me lie still; but the brute seemed to realize that there was now 
some change in me, for it raised its head. Through my eyelashes I saw above me 
the two great flaming eyes of a gigantic wolf. Its sharp white teeth gleamed in the 
gaping red mouth, and I could feel its hot breath fierce and acrid upon me. 
     For another spell of time I remembered no more. Then I be came conscious of 
a low growl, followed by a yelp, renewed again and again. Then seemingly very 
far away, I heard a "Hol loa! holloa!" as of many voices calling in unison. 
Cautiously I raised my head and looked in the direction whence the sound came, 
but the cemetery blocked my view. The wolf still continued to yelp in a strange 
way, and a red glare began to move round the grove of cypresses, as though 
following the sound. As the voices drew closer, the wolf yelped faster and louder. 
I feared to make either sound or motion. Nearer came the red glow over the white 
pall which stretched into the darkness a round me. Then all at once from beyond 
the trees there came at a trot a troop of horsemen bearing torches. The wolf rose 
from my breast and made for the cemetery. I saw one of the horsemen (soldiers 
by their caps and their long military cloaks) raise his carbine and take aim. A 
companion knocked up his arm, and I heard the ball whiz over my head. He had 
evidently taken my body for that of the wolf. Another sighted the animal as it 
slunk away, and a shot followed. Then, at a gallop, the troop rode forward - some 
towards me, others following the wolf as it disappeared amongst the snow-clad 
cypresses. 
     As they drew nearer I tried to move but was powerless, al though I could see 
and hear all that went on around me. Two or three of the soldiers jumped from 
their horses and knelt beside me. One of them raised my head and placed his 
hand over my heart. 
     "Good news, comrades!" he cried. "His heart still beats!" 
     Then some brandy was poured down my throat; it put vigor into me, and I was 
able to open my eyes fully and look around. Lights and shadows were moving 
among the trees, and I heard men call to one another. They drew together, 
uttering frightened exclamations; and the lights flashed as the others came 
pouring out of the cemetery pell-mell, like men possessed. When the further ones 
came close to us, those who were around me asked them eagerly, "Well, have 
you found him?" 
     The reply rang out hurriedly, "No! no! Come away quick - quick! This is no 
place to stay, and on this of all nights!" 
     "What was it?" was the question, asked in all manner of keys. The answer 
came variously and all indefinitely as though the men were moved by some 
common impulse to speak yet were restrained by some common fear from giving 
their thoughts. 
     "It - it - indeed!" gibbered one, whose wits had plainly given out for the 
moment. 
     "A wolf - and yet not a wolf!" another put in shudderingly. 
     "No use trying for him without the sacred bullet," a third remarked in a more 
ordinary manner. 
     "Serve us right for coming out on this night! Truly we have earned our 
thousand marks!" were the ejaculations of a fourth. 
     "There was blood on the broken marble," another said after a pause, "the 
lightning never brought that there. And for him- -is he safe? Look at his throat! 
See comrades, the wolf has been lying on him and keeping his blood warm." 
     The officer looked at my throat and replied, "He is all right, the skin is not 
pierced. What does it all mean? We should never have found him but for the 
yelping of the wolf." 
     "What became of it?" asked the man who was holding up my head and who 
seemed the least panic-stricken of the party, for his hands were steady and 
without tremor. On his sleeve was the chevron of a petty officer. 
     "It went home," answered the man, whose long face was pall id and who 
actually shook with terror as he glanced around him fearfully. "There are graves 
enough there in which it may lie. Come, comrades - come quickly! Let us leave 
this cursed spot." 
     The officer raised me to a sitting posture, as he uttered a word of command; 
then several men placed me upon a horse. He sprang to the saddle behind me, 
took me in his arms, gave the word to advance; and, turning our faces away from 
the cypresses, we rode away in swift military order. 
     As yet my tongue refused its office, and I was perforce silent. I must have 
fallen asleep; for the next thing I remembered was finding myself standing up, 
supported by a soldier on each side of me. It was almost broad daylight, and to 
the north a red streak of sunlight was reflected like a path of blood over the waste 
of snow. The officer was telling the men to say nothing of what they had seen, 
except that they found an English stranger, guarded by a large dog. 
     "Dog! that was no dog," cut in the man who had exhibited such fear. "I think I 
know a wolf when I see one." 
     The young officer answered calmly, "I said a dog." 
     "Dog!" reiterated the other ironically. It was evident that his courage was 
rising with the sun; and, pointing to me, he said, "Look at his throat. Is that the 
work of a dog, master?" 
     Instinctively I raised my hand to my throat, and as I touched it I cried out in 
pain. The men crowded round to look, some stooping down from their saddles; 
and again there came the calm voice of the young officer, "A dog, as I said. If 
aught else were said we should only be laughed at." 
     I was then mounted behind a trooper, and we rode on into the suburbs of 
Munich. Here we came across a stray carriage into which I was lifted, and it was 
driven off to the Quatre Saisons - the young officer accompanying me, whilst a 
trooper followed with his horse, and the others rode off to their barracks. 
     When we arrived, Herr Delbruck rushed so quickly down the steps to meet 
me, that it was apparent he had been watching within. Taking me by both hands 
he solicitously led me in. The officer saluted me and was turning to withdraw, 
when I recognized his purpose and insisted that he should come to my rooms. 
Over a glass of wine I warmly thanked him and his brave comrades for saving 
me. He replied simply that he was more than glad, and that Herr Delbruck had at 
the first taken steps to make all the searching party pleased; at which ambiguous 
utterance the maitre d'hotel smiled, while the officer plead- duty and withdrew. 

     "But Herr Delbruck," I enquired, "how and why was it that the soldiers 
searched for me?" 
     He shrugged his shoulders, as if in depreciation of his own deed, as he replied, 
"I was so fortunate as to obtain leave from the commander of the regiment in 
which I serve, to ask for volunteers." 
     "But how did you know I was lost?" I asked. 
     "The driver came hither with the remains of his carriage, which had been 
upset when the horses ran away." 
     "But surely you would not send a search party of soldiers merely on this 
account?" 
     "Oh, no!" he answered, "but even before the coachman arrived, I had this 
telegram from the Boyar whose guest you are," and he took from his pocket a 
telegram which he handed to me, and I read: 

BISTRITZ 
Be careful of my guest - his safety is most precious to me. Should aught happen 
to him, or if he be missed, spare nothing to find him and ensure his safety. He is 
English and therefore adventurous. There are often dangers from snow and 
wolves and night. Lose not a moment if you suspect harm to him. I answer your 
zeal with my fortune. DRACULA

     As I held the telegram in my hand, the room seemed to whirl around me, and 
if the attentive maitre d'hotel had not caught me, I think I should have fallen. 
There was something so strange in all this, something so weird and impossible to 
imagine, that there grew on me a sense of my being in some way the sport of 
opposite forces - the mere vague idea of which seemed in a way to paralyze me. I 
was certainly under some form of mysterious protection. From a distant country 
had come, in the very nick of time, a message that took me out of the danger of 
the snow sleep and the jaws of the wolf.
(1914)





Add comment to this page:
Your Name:
Your Email address:
Your message:


Copyright ©2007-2008 The Order Of The Blood Dragon.All rights reserved

=> Do you also want a homepage for free? Then click here! <=