From Dracula Chapter 3
By Bram Stoker
When I had written in my diary and had fortunately replaced the book and pen in my pocket I felt sleepy. The Count's warning came into my mind, but I took pleasure in disobeying it. The sense of sleep was upon me, and with it the obstinacy which sleep brings as outrider. The soft moonlight soothed, and the wide expanse without gave a sense of freedom which refreshed me. I determined not to return tonight to the gloom-haunted rooms, but to sleep here, where, of old, ladies had sat and sung and lived sweet lives whilst their gentle breasts were sad for their menfolk away in the midst of remorseless wars. I drew a great couch out of its place near the corner, so that as I lay, I could look at the lovely view to east and south, and unthinking of and uncaring for the dust, composed myself for sleep. I suppose I must have fallen asleep. I hope so, but I fear, for all that followed was startlingly real, so real that now sitting here in the broad, full sunlight of the morning, I cannot in the least believe that it was all sleep.
I was not alone. The room was the same, unchanged in any way since I came into it. I could see along the floor, in the brilliant moonlight, my own footsteps marked where I had disturbed the long accumulation of dust. In the moonlight opposite me were three young women, ladies by their dress and manner. I thought at the time that I must be dreaming when I saw them, they threw no shadow on the floor. They came close to me, and looked at me for some time, and then whispered together. Two were dark, and had high aquiline noses, like the Count, and great dark, piercing eyes, that seemed to be almost red when contrasted with the pale yellow moon. The other was fair, as fair as can be, with great masses of golden hair and eyes like pale sapphires. I seemed somehow to know her face, and to know it in connection with some dreamy fear, but I could not recollect at the moment how or where. All three had brilliant white teeth that shone like pearls against the ruby of their voluptuous lips. There was something about them that made me uneasy, some longing and at the same time some deadly fear. I felt in my heart a wicked, burning desire that they would kiss me with those red lips. It is not good to note this down, lest some day it should meet Mina's eyes and cause her pain, but it is the truth. They whispered together, and then they all three laughed, such a silvery, musical laugh, but as hard as though the sound never could have come through the softness of human lips. It was like the intolerable, tingling sweetness of waterglasses when played on by a cunning hand. The fair girl shook her head coquettishly, and the other two urged her on.
One said, "Go on! You are first, and we shall follow. Yours' is the right to begin."
The other added, "He is young and strong. There are kisses for us all."
I lay quiet, looking out from under my eyelashes in an agony of delightful anticipation. The fair girl advanced and bent over me till I could feel the movement of her breath upon me. Sweet it was in one sense, honey-sweet, and sent the same tingling through the nerves as her voice, but with a bitter underlying the sweet, a bitter offensiveness, as one smells in blood.
I was afraid to raise my eyelids, but looked out and saw perfectly under the lashes. The girl went on her knees, and bent over me, simply gloating. There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive, and as she arched her neck she actually licked her lips like an animal, till I could see in the moonlight the moisture shining on the scarlet lips and on the red tongue as it lapped the white sharp teeth. Lower and lower went her head as the lips went below the range of my mouth and chin and seemed to fasten on my throat. Then she paused, and I could hear the churning sound of her tongue as it licked her teeth and lips, and I could feel the hot breath on my neck. Then the skin of my throat began to tingle as one's flesh does when the hand that is to tickle it approaches nearer, nearer. I could feel the soft, shivering touch of the lips on the super sensitive skin of my throat, and the hard dents of two sharp teeth, just touching and pausing there. I closed my eyes in languorous ecstasy and waited, waited with beating heart.
But at that instant, another sensation swept through me as quick as lightning. I was conscious of the presence of the Count, and of his being as if lapped in a storm of fury. As my eyes opened involuntarily I saw his strong hand grasp the slender neck of the fair woman and with giant's power draw it back, the blue eyes transformed with fury, the white teeth champing with rage, and the fair cheeks blazing red with passion. But the Count! Never did I imagine such wrath and fury, even to the demons of the pit. His eyes were positively blazing. The red light in them was lurid, as if the flames of hell fire blazed behind them. His face was deathly pale, and the lines of it were hard like drawn wires. The thick eyebrows that met over the nose now seemed like a heaving bar of white-hot metal. With a fierce sweep of his arm, he hurled the woman from him, and then motioned to the others, as though he were beating them back. It was the same imperious gesture that I had seen used to the wolves. In a voice which, though low and almost in a whisper seemed to cut through the air and then ring in the room he said,
"How dare you touch him, any of you? How dare you cast eyes on him when I had forbidden it? Back, I tell you all! This man belongs to me! Beware how you meddle with him, or you'll have to deal with me."
The fair girl, with a laugh of ribald coquetry, turned to answer him. "You yourself never loved. You never love!" On this the other women joined, and such a mirthless,hard, soulless laughter rang through the room that it almost made me faint to hear. It seemed like the pleasure of fiends.
Then the Count turned, after looking at my face attentively, and said in a soft whisper, "Yes, I too can love. You yourselves can tell it from the past. Is it not so? Well, now I promise you that when I am done with him you shall kiss him at your will. Now go! Go! I must awaken him, for there is work to be done."
I know, it's not poetry. But I was in a Dracula mood and a Whitby mood, and it's a nice mood-setter excuse to post the following photos. I would link to previous photos of Whitby if LiveJournal's memories were ever working -- they say they're off at peak periods but mine haven't worked for two days. (ETA: here, here and here.)
At lunchtime today I picked up apaulled from the office and we went to Noon Tunes at the Gaithersburg City Hall Pavilion to see Peter Mealy & Laurie Rose Griffith -- she who featured at least by name in my stupid Harry Potter dream of the other night. (Note: she does vaguely resemble my neighbor Alyson.) They played many favorites, including some Dylan, some Paul Simon and some Dave Matthews in addition to their own songs, and they were very friendly when I walked up to them during the break and requested one of their songs. I think they were happy someone had actually come to see them rather than simply turning up to eat outside the City Hall building on an afternoon that turned gorgeous despite the threat of rain -- we got that later -- and there are always many day care groups that traipse through on the way to the enormous nearby playground, not really listening and doing lots of running around, as today the girls were practicing cartwheels while the boys were doing armpit farts.
Peter and Laurie have traveled extensively since their last album all over Asia and Africa, and their new album has some wonderful material on it including their recording of Guardabarranco's "El Salvador" and the entertaining marriage song "Hard Times in the Middle" -- it's entertaining to hear a married couple sing wittily about marital discord. But I must recommend that Master and Commander fans go look in paricular at the lyrics to "All Around the World" (the song I requested), "Vaya Con Dios" and especially "Anchor", because they all struck me in different ways as Jack/Stephen songs -- the latter is particularly lovely and poignant and sent me straight to Mahon in the HMS Surprise era.
Afterwards I picked up the kids from camp, wrote up the Emmy nominations as they pertained to Star Trek and watched "Miri" for reviewing tomorrow -- it holds up pretty well but I am not really sure what I want to say about it in the context of the series overall. I will have to do a rush job anyway, as I am meeting beeej for lunch, then picking up my kids and going straight to a local Borders where Jennifer Cutting and Grace Griffith are performing...I love summer so much, with all the free folk music! We figure it will be mobbed with people getting in line early to pick up their copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and I find it ironic that I will be in a bookstore tomorrow but will not be waiting around until midnight for that but cannot give up the opportunity to hear Grace sing "The Sands of Time" live. The kids just wanted assurances that we would stay for the beginning of the party, free food and possible prizes.
There's one more thing I wanted to say about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince before reading it which perhaps explains my trepidation both about the book and about talking about it with other fans. I know that a lot of people passionately want Sirius to come back from where he is now -- as a vision, as an Obi-Wan-Kenobi type ghost-talking-to-Luke, or as himself incarnate. I just as passionately do NOT want that. I am sure I've explained this before. Star Trek has brought people back from the dead so many times that death has become meaningless in that franchise. I cried when Spock died, but I was only a little sad when Tasha Yar died; I hardly blinked when Jadzia Dax died; finally I laughed when Data blew up considering they already had his successor waiting on the ship.
But forgetting the loss of impact from an entertainment perspective in HP (we have, after all, already seen Dead James and Lily in Goblet of Fire on top of a whole host of ghosts etc.), I don't like the idea of reversing death from a moral or spiritual perspective. There are very rare people who say they have the same relationships with people who have passed on as they had before they died, but for most people, death is a final and extremely unhappy transition. Even when we've been praying for someone to be released from suffering, most of us never expect to see that person again in the form to which we've become accustomed. Mourning is something that we relearn with each loss.
To take a book about a child, aimed at children, and reverse the impact of the most sigificant death in the main character's life via whatever deus ex machina the magical word can provide...to me it cheapens everything that Harry Potter is, and everything that Harry Potter is. Yes, the Veil was tragic and senseless and I wish that it hadn't happened, but it did. (For the record, I don't want Sirius to stay gone so I can 'ship Lupin and Snape; it never occurred to me to 'ship Lupin and Snape until Sirius was gone, and then it arose partly from a sense that Lupin was truly alone, not just waiting for Sirius to pop back into his life, and I couldn't stand the thought of him either pining away or living in denial of Sirius' absence even if he had some magical means to cross the realms that isn't open to the rest of us.) I think horror stories have the right idea by making a return from the dead inevitably much worse than the death itself. If Sirius comes back as anything other than a memory or a momentary vision like the one that brought back Harry's parents from Voldemort's wand, I am going to be one pissed off reader.
And hey, did you read about the 'Tatooine planet' astronomers discovered? To think everyone laughed at Lucas for the humanoids with the double suns! Hey, vegetarians and vegans in L.A.: Madeleine Bistro is my brother-in-law's restaurant that just opened, go read the reviews and check it out -- he did all the cooking for his wedding and the food was beyond phenomenal. And now I must go watch the end of Restoration and finish getting my David Thewlis fix, even though a cast this good and cinematography this pretty really deserved a better screenplay.