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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 trouble. We are not worried with other travellers,
and so even I can drive. We shall get to the Pass in daylight. We do not want to arrive
before. So we take it easy, and have each a long rest in turn. Oh, what will tomorrow