The story opens as Jonathan Harker, a young English lawyer, has just arrived in Budapest, Hungary. Harker is on his way to visit a client, Count Dracula, in the mountains of Transylvania. When Harker asks the innkeepers in Budapest about Dracula, they seem frightened and cross themselves. The innkeeper's wife urges Harker not to leave that night because it is St. George's Eve and evil spirits will walk after midnight, but Count Dracula has left detailed instructions for Harker's journey and Harker says he must go. Although he thinks the innkeepers are just superstitious, Harker feels a little uneasy and accepts a silver cross, which the woman urges him to take.
As he boards the coach that is to take him to Borgo Pass, near Castle Dracula, Harker hears the driver and some of the passengers talking about witches and devils. Once the coach starts its journey, Harker relaxes and begins to enjoy the beautiful countryside, which is mountainous and covered with dark forest. The driver races along the rough, steep road in a great hurry, refusing to stop for any reason. As the coach approaches Borgo Pass, where Harker is to meet Dracula's coach, the other passengers become excited, as if they are anticipating something. When they see no coach waiting there, they seem relieved and the driver tells Harker he should continue on to Bukovina with them and come back the next day.
Suddenly a coach pulled by four black horses appears, terrifying the passengers. The driver of the Count's coach chides the other driver for arriving early, then helps Harker into his coach. The new driver's face is shaded by a large hat, but Harker glimpses red eyes and unusually sharp teeth, and notes that the driver is extremely strong. The coach races along the road and Harker notices that they seem to be passing over the same ground again and again. As midnight approaches, Harker hears the howling of wolves, and the horses begin trembling and snorting. Harker sees a blue flame off in the woods and the driver stops and walks toward it, returning a few minutes later. This is repeated several times: each time, the driver disappears for a longer time. As Harker waits at the last stop, the moon suddenly reveals a circle of wolves surrounding the carriage. The driver returns, waves his hand at the wolves, and they back away to let him pass. At the top of a steep peak, the carriage halts and a dark castle looms overhead.
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Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Chapter 5 and 6
Chapter 9 and 10
Chapter 14 and 15
Chapter 19 and 20
Chapter 24 and 25