2 October, evening
A long and trying and exciting
day. By the first post I got my directed envelope with a dirty scrap of paper
enclosed, on which was written with a carpenter's pencil in a sprawling hand,
"Sam Bloxam, Korkrans, 4 Poters Cort, Bartel Street, Walworth. Arsk for the
I got the letter in bed, and rose without waking Mina. She
looked heavy and sleepy and pale, and far from well. I determined not to wake
her, but that when I should return from this new search, I would arrange for her
going back to Exeter. I think she would be happier in our own home, with her daily
tasks to interest her, than in being here amongst us and in ignorance. I only
saw Dr. Seward for a moment, and told him where I was off to, promising to come
back and tell the rest so soon as I should have found out anything. I drove to
Walworth and found, with some difficulty, Potter's Court. Mr. Smollet's spelling
misled me, as I asked for Poter's Court instead of Potter's Court. However, when
I had found the court, I had no difficulty in discovering Corcoran's lodging house.
I asked the man who came to the door for the "depite," he shook his
head, and said, "I dunno 'im. There ain't no such a person 'ere. I never
'eard of 'im in all my bloomin' days. Don't believe there ain't nobody of that
kind livin' 'ere or anywheres."
I took out Smollet's letter, and as
I read it it seemed to me that the lesson of the spelling of the name of the court
might guide me. "What are you?" I asked.
"I'm the depity,"
I saw at once that I was on the right track. Phonetic spelling
had again misled me. A half crown tip put the deputy's knowledge at my disposal,
and I learned that Mr. Bloxam, who had slept off the remains of his beer on the
previous night at Corcoran's, had left for his work at Poplar at five o'clock
that morning. He could not tell me where the place of work was situated, but he
had a vague idea that it was some kind of a "new-fangled ware'us," and
with this slender clue I had to start for Poplar. It was twelve o'clock before
I got any satisfactory hint of such a building, and this I got at a coffee shop,
where some workmen were having their dinner. One of them suggested that there
was being erected at Cross Angel Street a new "cold storage" building,
and as this suited the condition of a "new-fangled ware'us," I at once
drove to it. An interview with a surly gatekeeper and a surlier foreman, both
of whom were appeased with the coin of the realm, put me on the track of Bloxam.
He was sent for on my suggestion that I was willing to pay his days wages to his
foreman for the privilege of asking him a few questions on a private matter. He
was a smart enough fellow, though rough of speech and bearing. When I had promised
to pay for his information and given him an earnest, he told me that he had made
two journeys between Carfax and a house in Piccadilly, and had taken from this
house to the latter nine great boxes, "main heavy ones," with a horse
and cart hired by him for this purpose.
I asked him if he could tell me
the number of the house in Piccadilly, to which he replied, "Well, guv'nor,
I forgits the number, but it was only a few door from a big white church, or somethink
of the kind, not long built. It was a dusty old 'ouse, too, though nothin' to
the dustiness of the 'ouse we tooked the bloomin' boxes from."
did you get in if both houses were empty?"
"There was the old
party what engaged me a waitin' in the 'ouse at Purfleet. He 'elped me to lift
the boxes and put them in the dray. Curse me, but he was the strongest chap I
ever struck, an' him a old feller, with a white moustache, one that thin you would
think he couldn't throw a shadder."
How this phrase thrilled through
"Why, 'e took up 'is end o' the boxes like they was pounds of tea,
and me a puffin' an' a blowin' afore I could upend mine anyhow, an' I'm no chicken,
"How did you get into the house in Piccadilly?"
"He was there too. He must 'a started off and got there afore
me, for when I rung of the bell he kem an' opened the door 'isself an' 'elped
me carry the boxes into the 'all."
"The whole nine?" I asked.
there was five in the first load an' four in the second. It was main dry work,
an' I don't so well remember 'ow I got 'ome."
I interrupted him, "Were
the boxes left in the hall?"
"Yus, it was a big 'all, an' there
was nothin' else in it."
I made one more attempt to further matters.
"You didn't have any key?"
"Never used no key nor nothink.
The old gent, he opened the door 'isself an' shut it again when I druv off. I
don't remember the last time, but that was the beer."
can't remember the number of the house?"
"No, sir. But ye needn't
have no difficulty about that. It's a 'igh 'un with a stone front with a bow on
it, an' 'igh steps up to the door. I know them steps, 'avin' 'ad to carry the
boxes up with three loafers what come round to earn a copper. The old gent give
them shillin's, an' they seein' they got so much, they wanted more. But 'e took
one of them by the shoulder and was like to throw 'im down the steps, till the
lot of them went away cussin'."
I thought that with this description
I could find the house, so having paid my friend for his information, I started
off for Piccadilly. I had gained a new painful experience. The Count could, it
was evident, handle the earth boxes himself. If so, time was precious, for now
that he had achieved a certain amount of distribution, he could, by choosing his
own time, complete the task unobserved. At Piccadilly Circus I discharged my cab,
and walked westward. Beyond the Junior Constitutional I came across the house
described and was satisfied that this was the next of the lairs arranged by Dracula.
The house looked as though it had been long untenanted. The windows were encrusted
with dust, and the shutters were up. All the framework was black with time, and
from the iron the paint had mostly scaled away. It was evident that up to lately
there had been a large notice board in front of the balcony. It had, however,
been roughly torn away, the uprights which had supported it still remaining. Behind
the rails of the balcony I saw there were some loose boards, whose raw edges looked
white. I would have given a good deal to have been able to see the notice board
intact, as it would, perhaps, have given some clue to the ownership of the house.
I remembered my experience of the investigation and purchase of Carfax, and I
could not but feel that if I could find the former owner there might be some means
discovered of gaining access to the house.
There was at present nothing
to be learned from the Piccadilly side, and nothing could be done, so I went around
to the back to see if anything could be gathered from this quarter. The mews were
active, the Piccadilly houses being mostly in occupation. I asked one or two of
the grooms and helpers whom I saw around if they could tell me anything about
the empty house. One of them said that he heard it had lately been taken, but
he couldn't say from whom. He told me, however, that up to very lately there had
been a notice board of "For Sale" up, and that perhaps Mitchell, Sons,
& Candy the house agents could tell me something, as he thought he remembered
seeing the name of that firm on the board. I did not wish to seem too eager, or
to let my informant know or guess too much, so thanking him in the usual manner,
I strolled away. It was now growing dusk, and the autumn night was closing in,
so I did not lose any time. Having learned the address of Mitchell, Sons, &
Candy from a directory at the Berkeley, I was soon at their office in Sackville
The gentleman who saw me was particularly suave in manner, but uncommunicative
in equal proportion. Having once told me that the Piccadilly house, which throughout
our interview he called a "mansion," was sold, he considered my business
as concluded. When I asked who had purchased it, he opened his eyes a thought
wider, and paused a few seconds before replying, "It is sold, sir."
me," I said, with equal politeness, "but I have a special reason for
wishing to know who purchased it."
Again he paused longer, and raised
his eyebrows still more. "It is sold, sir," was again his laconic reply.
I said, "you do not mind letting me know so much."
do mind," he answered. "The affairs of their clients are absolutely
safe in the hands of Mitchell, Sons, & Candy."
This was manifestly
a prig of the first water, and there was no use arguing with him. I thought I
had best meet him on his own ground, so I said, "Your clients, sir, are happy
in having so resolute a guardian of their confidence. I am myself a professional
Here I handed him my card. "In this instance I am not prompted
by curiosity, I act on the part of Lord Godalming, who wishes to know something
of the property which was, he understood, lately for sale."
put a different complexion on affairs. He said, "I would like to oblige you
if I could, Mr. Harker, and especially would I like to oblige his lordship. We
once carried out a small matter of renting some chambers for him when he was the
honourable Arthur Holmwood. If you will let me have his lordship's address I will
consult the House on the subject, and will, in any case, communicate with his
lordship by tonight's post. It will be a pleasure if we can so far deviate from
our rules as to give the required information to his lordship."
to secure a friend, and not to make an enemy, so I thanked him, gave the address
at Dr. Seward's and came away. It was now dark, and I was tired and hungry. I
got a cup of tea at the Aerated Bread Company and came down to Purfleet by the
I found all the others at home. Mina was looking tired and pale,
but she made a gallant effort to be bright and cheerful. It wrung my heart to
think that I had had to keep anything from her and so caused her inquietude. Thank
God, this will be the last night of her looking on at our conferences, and feeling
the sting of our not showing our confidence. It took all my courage to hold to
the wise resolution of keeping her out of our grim task. She seems somehow more
reconciled, or else the very subject seems to have become repugnant to her, for
when any accidental allusion is made she actually shudders. I am glad we made
our resolution in time, as with such a feeling as this, our growing knowledge
would be torture to her.
I could not tell the others of the day's discovery
till we were alone, so after dinner, followed by a little music to save appearances
even amongst ourselves, I took Mina to her room and left her to go to bed. The
dear girl was more affectionate with me than ever, and clung to me as though she
would detain me, but there was much to be talked of and I came away. Thank God,
the ceasing of telling things has made no difference between us.
came down again I found the others all gathered round the fire in the study. In
the train I had written my diary so far, and simply read it off to them as the
best means of letting them get abreast of my own information.
When I had
finished Van Helsing said, "This has been a great day's work, friend Jonathan.
Doubtless we are on the track of the missing boxes. If we find them all in that
house, then our work is near the end. But if there be some missing, we must search
until we find them. Then shall we make our final coup, and hunt the wretch to
his real death."
We all sat silent awhile and all at once Mr. Morris
spoke, "Say! How are we going to get into that house?"
got into the other," answered Lord Godalming quickly.
this is different. We broke house at Carfax, but we had night and a walled park
to protect us. It will be a mighty different thing to commit burglary in Piccadilly,
either by day or night. I confess I don't see how we are going to get in unless
that agency duck can find us a key of some sort."
brows contracted, and he stood up and walked about the room. By-and-by he stopped
and said, turning from one to another of us, "Quincey's head is level. This
burglary business is getting serious. We got off once all right, but we have now
a rare job on hand. Unless we can find the Count's key basket."
nothing could well be done before morning, and as it would be at least advisable
to wait till Lord Godalming should hear from Mitchell's, we decided not to take
any active step before breakfast time. For a good while we sat and smoked, discussing
the matter in its various lights and bearings. I took the opportunity of bringing
this diary right up to the moment. I am very sleepy and shall go to bed . . .
a line. Mina sleeps soundly and her breathing is regular. Her forehead is puckered
up into little wrinkles, as though she thinks even in her sleep. She is still
too pale, but does not look so haggard as she did this morning. Tomorrow will,
I hope, mend all this. She will be herself at home in Exeter. Oh, but I am sleepy!