Chapter 27
1 November.--All day long we have travelled, and at a good speed. The horses
seem to know that they are being kindly treated, for they go willingly their full
stage at best speed. We have now had so many changes and find the same
thing so constantly that we are encouraged to think that the journey will be an
easy one. Dr. Van Helsing is laconic, he tells the farmers that he is hurrying to
Bistritz, and pays them well to make the exchange of horses. We get hot soup, or
coffee, or tea, and off we go. It is a lovely country. Full of beauties of all
imaginable kinds, and the people are brave, and strong, and simple, and seem
full of nice qualities. They are very, very superstitious. In the first house where we
stopped, when the woman who served us saw the scar on my forehead, she
crossed herself and put out two fingers towards me, to keep off the evil eye. I
believe they went to the trouble of putting an extra amount of garlic into our food,
and I can't abide garlic. Ever since then I have taken care not to take off my hat
or veil, and so have escaped their suspicions. We are travelling fast, and as we
have no driver with us to carry tales, we go ahead of scandal. But I daresay that
fear of the evil eye will follow hard behind us all the way. The Professor seems
tireless. All day he would not take any rest, though he made me sleep for a long
spell. At sunset time he hypnotized me, and he says I answered as usual,
"darkness, lapping water and creaking wood." So our enemy is still on the river. I
am afraid to think of Jonathan, but somehow I have now no fear for him, or for
myself. I write this whilst we wait in a farmhouse for the horses to be ready. Dr.
Van Helsing is sleeping. Poor dear, he looks very tired and old and grey, but his
mouth is set as firmly as a conqueror's. Even in his sleep he is intense with
resolution. When we have well started I must make him rest whilst I drive. I shall
tell him that we have days before us, and he must not break down when most of
all his strength will be needed. . .All is ready. We are off shortly.
2 November, morning.--I was successful, and we took turns driving all night. Now
the day is on us, bright though cold. There is a strange heaviness in the air. I say
heaviness for want of a better word. I mean that it oppresses us both. It is very
cold, and only our warm furs keep us comfortable. At dawn Van Helsing
hypnotized me. He says I answered "darkness, creaking wood and roaring
water," so the river is changing as they ascend. I do hope that my darling will not
run any chance of danger, more than need be, but we are in God's hands.
2 November, night.--All day long driving. The country gets wilder as we go, and
the great spurs of the Carpathians, which at Veresti seemed so far from us and
so low on the horizon, now seem to gather round us and tower in front. We both
seem in good spirits. I think we make an effort each to cheer the other, in the
doing so we cheer ourselves. Dr. Van Helsing says that by morning we shall
reach the Borgo Pass. The houses are very few here now, and the Professor
says that the last horse we got will have to go on with us, as we may not be able
to change. He got two in addition to the two we changed, so that now we have a
rude four-in-hand. The dear horses are patient and good, and they give us no