DAVID SAUNDERSON continues counting down the days until his Transylvanian holiday by reading Dracula by Bram Stoker. Today, he discusses Chapter 6!
I’ve been listening to Dracula on audio book and at times, it is hysterical.
Librivox.org provides free public domain audio books and while the quality is usually quite high, there have been sections of the Dracula book I’m listening to that aren’t quite up to scratch. (You can listen to Chapter 6 of Dracula here.)
In Chapter 6, quite a lot happens but it is mostly around lazy Whitby we find ourselves as Mina and Lucy take a holiday in the Yorkshire town and meet an old seadog called Mr Swales. Mina asks Swales about the old legends of Whitby, such as its spooky ghosts, but the old grump just tells them its nonsense and goes about telling them why it’s nonsense.
In the book, Swales is quite hard to understand because it’s written in Yorkshire vernacular. Here’s a taster of Swales Talk: “I wouldn’t fash masel’ about them, miss. Them things be all wore out. Mind, I don’t say that they never was, but I do say that they wasn’t in my time. They be all very well for comers and trippers, an’ the like, but not for a nice young lady like you. Them feet-folks from York and Leeds that be always eatin’cured herrin’s and drinkin’ tea an’ lookin’ out to buy cheap jet would creed aught. I wonder masel’ who’d be bothered tellin’ lies to them, even the newspapers, which is full of fool-talk.”
I wouldn’t even try to read that out loud, but unfortunately the guy doing the audio book had to and he sounds like he’s done shock treatment in Dr Seward’s Asylum. But having said that, once the Swales bit is over, the narrator has quite a nice voice and he is pleasant to listen to.
Having been to Whitby, I can actually follow the description of the town. Bram Stoker was a great travel writer and his sojourns from the horror are quite enjoyable. I must say, however, the best part of the chapter was when we return to R.M. Renfield in all his madness and spider, bird and cat eating glory at the Asylum in London!
Seward has decided that Renfield is “zoophagous maniac,” or a “life-eating maniac”. He’s getting more nutty by the day.
At the end of the chapter, we learn that Lucy has started sleepwalking and there’s a storm coming towards Whitby.
Oh yes, there’s a strange ship on the horizon heading towards the harbour too. I wonder what it could be?
In an exciting afterward, I can announce I got my membership card for The Dracula Society this week in the mail. The society has been running from London since the 1970s and I am very excited about going to my first meeting. I will keep you informed.
What I’ve learned from this chapter: Just because i can understand Michael Parkinson and Geoffrey Boycott doesn’t mean I can understand a thick Yorkshire accent – especially when it’s from someone who has clearly never heard a Yorkshire accent in his life.
Favourite Quote: “My homicidal maniac is of a peculiar kind. I shall have to invent a new classification for him, and call him a zoophagous (life-eating) maniac. What he desires is to absorb as many lives as he can, and he has laid himself out to achieve it in a cumulative way. He gave many flies to one spider and many spiders to one bird, and then wanted a cat to eat the many birds. What would have been his later steps?” Dr. Seward’s Diary, July 20