page 1 of 3
Jonathan Harker stands outside Dracula’s remarkable castle, wondering what sort of adventure he has gotten himself into. After a long wait, the count appears and welcomes Harker. Clad in black, he is a tall old man, who is clean-shaven aside from a long, white moustache. When the two shake hands, Harker is impressed by the strength of Dracula’s grip, but notes that the ice-cold hand is more like that of a dead man than a living one. Still, the count’s greeting is so warm that the Englishman’s fears vanish. Harker enters and takes his dinner before a roaring fire. As the two converse, Harker notices what calls Dracula’s “marked physiognomy”: the count has pointed ears, exceptionally pale skin, and extremely sharp teeth. Harker’s nervousness and fears return.
The next day, Harker wakes to find a note from Dracula, excusing himself for the day. Left to himself, Harker enjoys a hearty meal and, encountering no servants in the castle, explores his bedroom and the unlocked room adjacent to it. He sees expensive furniture, rich tapestries and fabrics, and a library filled with reading material in English—but notes that there are no mirrors to be found anywhere.
That evening, Dracula joins Harker for conversation in the library, as he is eager to learn inflections of English speech before moving to his new estate. The men discuss the pervasiveness of evil spirits in Transylvania. Harker describes the house that the count has purchased: it is an old mansion called Carfax, quite isolated, with only a lunatic asylum and an old chapel nearby. Dracula draws out the conversation long into the night, but abruptly leaves his guest at daybreak. The count’s strange behavior increases Harker’s sense of uneasiness.
The next day, Dracula interrupts Harker shaving. Harker is startled and accidentally cuts himself. Glancing at his shaving mirror, he notices that the count has no reflection. Harker is also startled by Dracula’s reaction to the sight of his blood: the count lunges for his guest’s throat, drawing back only after touching the string of beads that holds Harker’s crucifix. After warning Harker against cutting himself in this country, Dracula throws the shaving mirror out a window. Left alone, Harker eats breakfast, noting that he has never seen his host eat or drink. His suspicions aroused, he once again goes exploring, only to discover one locked door after another. Harker realizes he is a prisoner in the count’s castle.
That night, Harker questions his host about the history of Transylvania. Dracula speaks enthusiastically of the country’s people and battles, and he boasts of the glories of his family name. Over the course of the next several days, the count, in turn, grills Harker about matters of English life and law. He tells Harker to write letters to his fiancée and employer, telling them that he will extend his stay in Transylvania by a month. Feeling obliged to his firm and overpowered by the count, Harker agrees. Preparing to take his leave for the evening, Dracula warns his guest never to fall asleep anywhere in the castle other than his own room. Harker hangs his crucifix above his bed and, satisfied that the count has departed, sets out to explore the castle. Peering out a window, Harker observes Dracula crawling down the sheer face of the castle. He wonders what kind of creature the count is and fears that there will be no escape.
One evening soon thereafter, Harker forces a locked room open and falls asleep, not heeding the count’s warning. Harker is visited—whether in a dream or not, he cannot say—by three beautiful women with inhumanly red lips and sharp teeth. The women approach him, filling him with a “wicked, burning desire.” Just as one of the voluptuous women bends and places her lips against his neck, Dracula sweeps in, ordering the women to leave Harker alone. “When I am done with him you shall kiss him at your will,” the count tells them. To appease the disappointed trio, Dracula offers them a bag containing a small, “half-smothered” child. The terrible women seem to fade out of the room as Harker drifts into unconsciousness.
Take a Study Break!