9th May — 25th May
Letter from Miss Mina Murray to Miss Lucy Westenra
My dearest Lucy,
Forgive my long delay in writing, but I have been simply overwhelmed
with work. The life of an assistant schoolmistress is sometimes
trying. I am longing to be with you, and by the sea, where we can
talk together freely and build our castles in the air. I have been
working very hard lately, because I want to keep up with Jonathan's
studies, and I have been practicing shorthand very assiduously.
When we are married I shall be able to be useful to Jonathan, and if
I can stenograph well enough I can take down what he wants to say in
this way and write it out for him on the typewriter, at which also I
am practicing very hard.
He and I sometimes write letters in shorthand, and he is
keeping a stenographic journal of his travels abroad. When
I am with you I shall keep a diary in the same way. I don't
mean one of those
diaries, but a sort of journal which I can write
in whenever I feel inclined.
I do not suppose there will be much of interest to other people, but
it is not intended for them. I may show it to Jonathan some day if
there is in it anything worth sharing, but it is really an exercise
book. I shall try to do what I see lady journalists do,
interviewing and writing descriptions and trying to remember
conversations. I am told that, with a little practice, one can
remember all that goes on or that one hears said during a day.
However, we shall see. I will tell you of my little plans when we
meet. I have just had a few hurried lines from Jonathan from
Transylvania. He is well, and will be returning in about a week. I
am longing to hear all his news. It must be nice to see strange
countries. I wonder if we, I mean Jonathan and I, shall ever see
them together. There is the ten o'clock bell ringing. Goodbye.
Tell me all the news when you write. You have not told me
anything for a long time. I hear rumours, and especially
of a tall, handsome, curly-haired man???
Letter from Lucy Westenra to Mina Murray
17, Chatham Street
My dearest Mina,
I must say you tax me very unfairly with being a bad correspondent.
I wrote you twice since we parted, and your last letter was only
your second. Besides, I have nothing to tell you. There is really
nothing to interest you.
Town is very pleasant just now, and we go a great deal to
picture-galleries and for walks and rides in the park. As
to the tall, curly-haired man, I suppose it was the one who
was with me at the last Pop. Someone has evidently been
That was Mr. Holmwood. He often comes to see us, and he and
Mamma get on very well together, they have so many things
to talk about in common.
We met some time ago a man that would just do for you, if you were
not already engaged to Jonathan. He is an excellent parti, being
handsome, well off, and of good birth. He is a doctor and really
clever. Just fancy! He is only nine-and twenty, and he has an
immense lunatic asylum all under his own care. Mr. Holmwood
introduced him to me, and he called here to see us, and often comes
now. I think he is one of the most resolute men I ever saw, and yet
the most calm. He seems absolutely imperturbable. I can fancy what
a wonderful power he must have over his patients. He has a curious
habit of looking one straight in the face, as if trying to read
one's thoughts. He tries this on very much with me, but I flatter
myself he has got a tough nut to crack. I know that from my glass.
Do you ever try to read your own face? I do, and I can
tell you it is not a bad study, and gives you more trouble
than you can well fancy if you have never tried it.
He says that I afford him a curious psychological study, and
I humbly think I do. I do not, as you know, take sufficient
interest in dress to be able to describe the new fashions.
Dress is a bore. That is slang again, but never mind. Arthur
says that every day.
There, it is all out, Mina, we have told all our secrets to
each other since we were children. We have slept together
and eaten together, and laughed and cried together, and
now, though I have spoken, I would like to speak more. Oh,
Mina, couldn't you guess? I love him. I am blushing as I
write, for although I think he loves me, he has not told me
so in words. But, oh, Mina, I love him. I love him! There,
that does me good.
I wish I were with you, dear, sitting by the fire undressing, as we
used to sit, and I would try to tell you what I feel. I do not know
how I am writing this even to you. I am afraid to stop, or I should
tear up the letter, and I don't want to stop, for I do so want to
tell you all. Let me hear from you at once, and tell me all that you
think about it. Mina, pray for my happiness.
P.S. — I need not tell you this is a secret.
Goodnight again. L.
Letter from Lucy Westenra to Mina Murray
My dearest Mina,
Thanks, and thanks, and thanks again for your sweet letter. It
was so nice to be able to tell you and to have your sympathy.
My dear, it never rains but it pours. How true the old proverbs
are. Here am I, who shall be twenty in September, and yet I never
had a proposal till today, not a real proposal, and today I had
three. Just fancy! Three proposals in one day! Isn't it awful! I
feel sorry, really and truly sorry, for two of the poor fellows.
Oh, Mina, I am so happy that I don't know what to do with myself.
And three proposals! But, for goodness' sake, don't tell any of the
girls, or they would be getting all sorts of extravagant ideas, and
imagining themselves injured and slighted if in their very first day
at home they did not get six at least.
Some girls are so vain! You
and I, Mina dear, who are engaged and are going to settle down soon
soberly into old married women, can despise vanity. Well, I must
tell you about the three, but you must keep it a secret, dear, from
everyone except, of course, Jonathan. You will tell him, because I
would, if I were in your place, certainly tell Arthur. A woman
ought to tell her husband everything. Don't you think so, dear? And
I must be fair. Men like women, certainly their wives, to be quite
as fair as they are. And women, I am afraid, are not always quite
as fair as they should be.
Well, my dear, number One came just before lunch. I told you of
him, Dr. John Seward, the lunatic asylum man, with the strong jaw
and the good forehead. He was very cool outwardly, but was nervous
all the same. He had evidently been schooling himself as to all
sorts of little things, and remembered them, but he almost managed
to sit down on his silk hat, which men don't generally do when they
are cool, and then when he wanted to appear at ease he kept playing
with a lancet in a way that made me nearly scream.
He spoke to me,
Mina, very straightforwardly. He told me how dear I was to him,
though he had known me so little, and what his life would be with me
to help and cheer him. He was going to tell me how unhappy he would
be if I did not care for him, but when he saw me cry he said he was
a brute and would not add to my present trouble. Then he broke off
and asked if I could love him in time, and when I shook my head his
hands trembled, and then with some hesitation he asked me if I cared
already for any one else.
He put it very nicely, saying that he did
not want to wring my confidence from me, but only to know, because
if a woman's heart was free a man might have hope. And then, Mina,
I felt a sort of duty to tell him that there was some one. I only
told him that much, and then he stood up, and he looked very strong
and very grave as he took both my hands in his and said he hoped I
would be happy, and that If I ever wanted a friend I must count him
one of my best.
Oh, Mina dear, I can't help crying, and you must excuse this letter
being all blotted. Being proposed to is all very nice and all that
sort of thing, but it isn't at all a happy thing when you have to
see a poor fellow, whom you know loves you honestly, going away and
looking all broken hearted, and to know that, no matter what he may
say at the moment, you are passing out of his life. My dear, I must
stop here at present, I feel so miserable, though I am so happy.
Arthur has just gone, and I feel in better spirits than when I
left off, so I can go on telling you about the day.
Well, my dear, number Two came after lunch. He is such a nice
fellow, an American from Texas, and he looks so young and so fresh
that it seems almost impossible that he has been to so many places
and has such adventures. I sympathize with poor Desdemona when she
had such a stream poured in her ear, even by a black man. I suppose
that we women are such cowards that we think a man will save us from
fears, and we marry him. I know now what I would do if I were a man
and wanted to make a girl love me. No, I don't, for there was Mr.
Morris telling us his stories, and Arthur never told any, and
yet . . .
My dear, I am somewhat previous. Mr. Quincy P. Morris found me
alone. It seems that a man always does find a girl alone. No, he
doesn't, for Arthur tried twice to make a chance, and I helping him
all I could, I am not ashamed to say it now. I must tell you
beforehand that Mr. Morris doesn't always speak slang, that is to
say, he never does so to strangers or before them, for he is really
well educated and has exquisite manners, but he found out that it
amused me to hear him talk American slang, and whenever I was
present, and there was no one to be shocked, he said such funny
things. I am afraid, my dear, he has to invent it all, for it fits
exactly into whatever else he has to say. But this is a way slang
has. I do not know myself if I shall ever speak slang. I do not
know if Arthur likes it, as I have never heard him use any as yet.
Well, Mr. Morris sat down beside me and looked as happy and jolly as
he could, but I could see all the same that he was very nervous. He
took my hand in his, and said ever so sweetly . . .
"Miss Lucy, I know I ain't good enough to regulate the fixin's of
your little shoes, but I guess if you wait till you find a man that
is you will go join them seven young women with the lamps when you
quit. Won't you just hitch up alongside of me and let us go down
the long road together, driving in double harness?"
Well, he did look so good humoured and so jolly that it didn't seem
half so hard to refuse him as it did poor Dr. Seward. So I said, as
lightly as I could, that I did not know anything of hitching, and
that I wasn't broken to harness at all yet. Then he said that he
had spoken in a light manner, and he hoped that if he had made a
mistake in doing so on so grave, so momentous, and occasion for him,
I would forgive him. He really did look serious when he was saying
it, and I couldn't help feeling a sort of exultation that he was
number Two in one day.
And then, my dear, before I could say a word
he began pouring out a perfect torrent of love-making, laying his
very heart and soul at my feet. He looked so earnest over it that I
shall never again think that a man must be playful always, and never
earnest, because he is merry at times. I suppose he saw something
in my face which checked him, for he suddenly stopped, and said with
a sort of manly fervour that I could have loved him for if I had
been free . . .
"Lucy, you are an honest hearted girl, I know. I should not be here
speaking to you as I am now if I did not believe you clean grit,
right through to the very depths of your soul. Tell me, like one
good fellow to another, is there any one else that you care for?
And if there is I'll never trouble you a hair's breadth again, but
will be, if you will let me, a very faithful friend."
My dear Mina, why are men so noble when we women are so little
worthy of them? Here was I almost making fun of this great hearted,
true gentleman. I burst into tears, I am afraid, my dear, you will
think this a very sloppy letter in more ways than one, and I really
felt very badly.
Why can't they let a girl marry three men, or as many as
want her, and save all this trouble? But this is heresy,
and I must not say it. I am glad to say that, though I was
crying, I was able to look into Mr. Morris' brave eyes, and
I told him out straight . . .
"Yes, there is some one I love, though he has not told me
yet that he even loves me." I was right to speak to him so
frankly, for quite a light came into his face, and he put
out both his hands and took mine, I think I put them into
his, and said in a hearty way . . .
"That's my brave girl. It's better worth being late for a chance of
winning you than being in time for any other girl in the world.
Don't cry, my dear. If it's for me, I'm a hard nut to crack, and I
take it standing up. If that other fellow doesn't know his
happiness, well, he'd better look for it soon, or he'll have to deal
with me. Little girl, your honesty and pluck have made me a friend,
and that's rarer than a lover, it's more selfish anyhow. My dear,
I'm going to have a pretty lonely walk between this and Kingdom
Come. Won't you give me one kiss? It'll be something to keep off
the darkness now and then. You can, you know, if you like, for that
other good fellow, or you could not love him, hasn't spoken yet."
That quite won me, Mina, for it was brave and sweet of him,
and noble too, to a rival, wasn't it? And he so sad, so I
leant over and kissed him.
He stood up with my two hands in his, and as he looked down into my
face, I am afraid I was blushing very much, he said, "Little girl, I
hold your hand, and you've kissed me, and if these things don't make
us friends nothing ever will. Thank you for your sweet honesty to
me, and goodbye."
He wrung my hand, and taking up his hat, went straight out of the
room without looking back, without a tear or a quiver or a pause,
and I am crying like a baby.
Oh, why must a man like that be made unhappy when there are lots of
girls about who would worship the very ground he trod on? I know I
would if I were free, only I don't want to be free. My dear, this
quite upset me, and I feel I cannot write of happiness just at once,
after telling you of it, and I don't wish to tell of the number
Three until it can be all happy. Ever your loving . . .
P.S. — Oh, about number Three, I needn't tell you of number
Three, need I? Besides, it was all so confused. It seemed
only a moment from his coming into the room till both his
arms were round me, and he was kissing me. I am very, very
happy, and I don't know what I have done to deserve it. I
must only try in the future to show that I am not ungrateful
to God for all His goodness to me in sending to me such a
lover, such a husband, and such a friend.
Dr. Seward's Diary (Kept in phonograph)
Ebb tide in appetite today. Cannot eat, cannot rest, so
diary instead. Since my rebuff of yesterday I have a sort of empty
feeling. Nothing in the world seems of sufficient importance to be
worth the doing. As I knew that the only cure for this sort of thing
was work, I went amongst the patients. I picked out one who has
afforded me a study of much interest. He is so quaint that I am
determined to understand him as well as I can. Today I seemed to get
nearer than ever before to the heart of his mystery.
I questioned him more fully than I had ever done, with a view to
making myself master of the facts of his hallucination. In my manner
of doing it there was, I now see, something of cruelty. I seemed to
wish to keep him to the point of his madness, a thing which I avoid
with the patients as I would the mouth of hell.
(Mem. Under what circumstances would I not avoid the pit of hell?)
Omnia Romae venalia sunt. Hell has its price! verb. sap. If there be anything
behind this instinct it will be valuable to trace it afterwards
accurately, so I had better commence to do so, therefore . . .
R. M, Renfield, aetat. 59. Sanguine temperament, great physical
strength, morbidly excitable, periods of gloom, ending in some fixed
idea which I cannot make out. I presume that the sanguine temperament
itself and the disturbing influence end in a mentally-accomplished
finish, a possibly dangerous man, probably dangerous if unselfish. In
selfish men caution is as secure an armour for their foes as for
themselves. What I think of on this point is, when self is the fixed
point the centripetal force is balanced with the centrifugal. When
duty, a cause, etc., is the fixed point, the latter force is
paramount, and only accident or a series of accidents can balance it.
Letter from Quincey P. Morris to Hon. Arthur Holmood
My dear Art,
We've told yarns by the campfire in the prairies, and dressed one
another's wounds after trying a landing at the Marquesas, and drunk
healths on the shore of Titicaca. There are more yarns to be told,
and other wounds to be healed, and another health to be drunk.
Won't you let this be at my campfire tomorrow night? I have no
hesitation in asking you, as I know a certain lady is engaged to a
certain dinner party, and that you are free.
There will only be one
other, our old pal at the Korea, Jack Seward. He's coming, too, and
we both want to mingle our weeps over the wine cup, and to drink a
health with all our hearts to the happiest man in all the wide
world, who has won the noblest heart that God has made and best
worth winning. We promise you a hearty welcome, and a loving
greeting, and a health as true as your own right hand. We shall
both swear to leave you at home if you drink too deep to a certain
pair of eyes. Come!
Yours, as ever and always,
Quincey P. Morris
Telegram from Arthur Holmwood to Quincey P. Morris
Count me in every time. I bear messages which will make both
your ears tingle.
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