Dracula

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 flared.
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."
I handed to him the sealed letter which Mr. Hawkins had entrusted to me. He opened it
and read it gravely. Then, with a charming smile, he handed it to me to read. One
passage of it, at least, gave me a thrill of pleasure.
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