Dracula, Bram Stoker
When it grew dark there seemed to be some excitement amongst the passengers, and they
kept speaking to him, one after the other, as though urging him to further speed. He lashed
the horses unmercifully with his long whip, and with wild cries of encouragement urged
them on to further exertions. Then through the darkness I could see a sort of patch of
grey light ahead of us, as though there were a cleft in the hills.
The excitement of the passengers grew greater; the crazy coach rocked on its great
leather springs, and swayed like a boat tossed on a stormy sea. I had to hold on. The road
grew more level, and we appeared to fly along. Then the mountains seemed to come nearer
to us on each side and to frown down upon us; we were entering on the Borgo Pass. One
by one several of the passengers offered me gifts, which they pressed upon me with an
earnestness which would take no denial; these were certainly of an odd and varied kind,
but each was given in simple good faith, with a kindly word, and a blessing, and that
strange mixture of fear-meaning movements which I had seen outside the hotel at
Bistritz—the sign of the cross and the guard against the evil eye. Then, as we flew along,
the driver leaned forward, and on each side the passengers, craning over the edge of the
coach, peered eagerly into the darkness. It was evident that something very exciting
was either happening or expected, but though I asked each passenger, no one would
give me the slightest explanation.
This state of excitement kept on for some little time; and at last we saw before us the
Pass opening out on the eastern side. There were dark, rolling clouds overhead, and in
the air the heavy, oppressive sense of thunder. It seemed as though the mountain range
had separated two atmospheres, and that now we had got into the thunderous one. I was
now myself looking out for the conveyance which was to take me to the Count. Each
moment I expected to see the glare of lamps through the blackness; but all was dark.
The only light was the flickering rays of our own lamps, in which the steam from our hard-
driven horses rose in a white cloud. We could see now the sandy road lying white before
us, but there was on it no sign of a vehicle. The passengers drew back with a sigh of
gladness, which seemed to mock my own disappointment. I was already thinking what
I had best do, when the driver, looking at his watch, said to the others something which
I could hardly hear, it was spoken so quietly and in so low a tone; I thought it was “An
hour less than the time.” Then turning to me, he said in German worse than my own:—
“There is no carriage here. The Herr is not expected after all. He will now come on to
Bukovina, and return to-morrow or the next day; better the next day.” Whilst he was
speaking the horses began to neigh and snort and plunge wildly, so that the driver had
to hold them up. Then, amongst a chorus of screams from the peasants and a universal
crossing of themselves, a calèche, with four horses, drove up behind us, overtook us,
and drew up beside the coach.
I could see from the flash of our lamps, as the rays fell on them, that the horses were coal-
black and splendid animals. They were driven by a tall man, with a long brown beard and
a great black hat, which seemed to hide his face from us. I could only see the gleam of a
pair of very bright eyes, which seemed red in the lamplight, as he turned to us. He said to
“You are early to-night, my friend.” The man stammered in reply:--
“The English Herr was in a hurry,” to which the stranger replied:—
“That is why, I suppose, you wished him to go on to Bukovina. You cannot deceive me, my
friend; I know too much, and my horses are swift.” As he spoke he smiled, and the lamplight
fell on a hard-looking mouth, with very red lips and sharp-looking teeth, as white as ivory.
One of my companions whispered to another the line from Burger’s “Lenore”:—
“Denn die Todten reiten schnell”—
(“For the dead travel fast.”)
The strange driver evidently heard the words, for he looked up with a gleaming smile. The
passenger turned his face away, at the same time putting out his two fingers and crossing
himself. “Give me the Herr’s luggage,” said the driver; and with exceeding alacrity my bags
were handed out and put in the calèche. Then I descended from the side of the coach, as
the calèche was close alongside, the driver helping me with a hand which caught my arm in
a grip of steel; his strength must have been prodigious. Without a word he shook his reins,
the horses turned, and we swept into the darkness of the Pass. As I looked back I saw the
steam from the horses of the coach by the light of the lamps, and projected against it the
figures of my late companions crossing themselves...
…The carriage went at a hard pace straight along, then we made a complete turn and went
along another straight road. It seemed to me that we were simply going over and over the
same ground again; and so I took note of some salient point, and found that this was so. I
would have liked to have asked the driver what this all meant, but I really feared to do so,
for I thought that, placed as I was, any protest would have had no effect in case there had
been an intention to delay.
By-and-by, however, as I was curious to know how time was passing, I struck a match, and
by its flame looked at my watch; it was within a few minutes of midnight. This gave me a
sort of shock, for I suppose the general superstition about midnight was increased by my
recent experiences. I waited with a sick feeling of suspense.
Stoker, Bram. "Chapter 1, Jonathan Harker’s Journal." Dracula. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1897. 1-13. Gutenberg.org. 16 Aug. 2013. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
The reticence of the narrator's fellow passengers in lines 10-14 BEST implies that they are