"Welcome to my house! Enter freely and of your own free will!" He made no
motion of stepping to meet me, but stood like a statue,as though his gesture of
welcome had fixed him into stone. The instant, however, that I had stepped over
the threshold, he moved impulsively forward, and holding out his hand grasped
mine with a strength which made me wince, an effect which was not lessened by
the fact that it seemed cold as ice, more like the hand of a dead than a living
man. Again he said.
"Welcome to my house! Enter freely. Go safely, and leave something of the
happiness you bring!" The strength of the handshake was so much akin to that
which I had noticed in the driver, whose face I had not seen, that for a moment I
doubted if it were not the same person to whom I was speaking. So to make
sure, I said interrogatively, "Count Dracula?"
He bowed in a courtly was as he replied, "I am Dracula, and I bid you welcome,
Mr. Harker, to my house. Come in, the night air is chill, and you must need to eat
and rest."As he was speaking, he put the lamp on a bracket on the wall, and
stepping out, took my luggage. He had carried it in before I could forestall him. I
protested, but he insisted.
"Nay, sir, you are my guest. It is late, and my people are not available. Let me
see to your comfort myself."He insisted on carrying my traps along the passage,
and then up a great winding stair, and along another great passage, on whose
stone floor our steps rang heavily. At the end of this he threw open a heavy door,
and I rejoiced to see within a well-lit room in which a table was spread for supper,
and on whose mighty hearth a great fire of logs, freshly replenished, flamed and
The Count halted, putting down my bags, closed the door, and crossing the
room, opened another door, which led into a small octagonal room lit by a single
lamp, and seemingly without a window of any sort. Passing through this, he
opened another door, and motioned me to enter. It was a welcome sight. For
here was a great bedroom well lighted and warmed with another log fire, also
added to but lately, for the top logs were fresh, which sent a hollow roar up the
wide chimney. The Count himself left my luggage inside and withdrew, saying,
before he closed the door.
"You will need, after your journey, to refresh yourself by making your toilet. I trust
you will find all you wish. When you are ready, come into the other room, where
you will find your supper prepared."
The light and warmth and the Count's courteous welcome seemed to have
dissipated all my doubts and fears. Having then reached my normal state, I
discovered that I was half famished with hunger. So making a hasty toilet, I went
into the other room.
I found supper already laid out. My host, who stood on one side of the great
fireplace, leaning against the stonework, made a graceful wave of his hand to the
table, and said,
"I pray you, be seated and sup how you please. You will I trust, excuse me that I
do not join you, but I have dined already, and I do not sup."