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Summary

Dracula Chapter 6 Summary Page 1

Mina's Journal, July 24

  • The chapter opens with Mina's journal, dated July 24, at Whitby (a seaside town on the Yorkshire coast of England).
  • Mina has arrived in Whitby and describes the beautiful scenery of the Yorkshire region.
  • She especially likes to walk up above the harbor to an old church where there's a great view and lots of benches and paths in the churchyard among the old graves.
  • She's sitting up there and writing in her journal when an old man approaches her. She asks him about the old superstitions and folktales of the area – especially one about a ghostly "White Lady."
  • He answers with a Yorkshire accent – it might be difficult to decipher the accent as it's written in the novel, because of the dialect. Most editions of the novel have editor's notes that will explain the unfamiliar words – otherwise, here's a quick summary: the old man tells her that all those old folk tales are just foolish talk, but he seems happy enough to tell her stories about his own life.

Mina's Journal, July 25

  • Lucy and Mina walk up to the churchyard above the harbor together, and the old man comes over to chat again.
  • They discuss old legends, and again the old man contradicts all of them and says they're all bologna.
  • He even says that the words on the tombstones around them in the churchyard are lies – they say things like "beloved son" when really the son in question wasn't at all beloved.
  • Some of them, he said, don't even mark the real resting place of the person who died – some of the dead people died at sea, and so the gravestones are marking empty tombs.
  • After a while the old man leaves them, and Lucy and Mina talk about Lucy's upcoming marriage.
  • The conversation makes Mina sad – she hasn't heard from Jonathan in a month, and she's getting very worried.

Dr. Seward's Diary, June 5

  • The chapter switches to Dr. Seward's Diary, dated June 5.
  • Dr. Seward notes that his patient, Renfield, has been capturing flies with the sugar from his tea, and keeping the flies in his cell.
  • There are so flies many in there that he tells Renfield he'll have to get rid of them.
  • Renfield asks for three days to clear the rest of them away, and Dr. Seward agrees.

Dr. Seward's Diary, June 18

  • Renfield has now switched to spiders.
  • He captures them and feeds them his flies.

Dr. Seward's Diary, July 1

  • Now there are so many spiders that Seward tells Renfield to get rid of those, too.
  • Again, Renfield agrees – but not before he swallows a huge fly, which grosses Dr. Seward out.
  • He gives Renfield a sleeping drug and looks at the journal Renfield has been keeping while he's snoozing.
  • The notebook has a list of numbers and tables of addition – Renfield has been counting the flies he feeds to the spiders.

Dr. Seward's Diary, July 8

  • Now Renfield has a tame sparrow that he lured in through the bars of his window.
  • He's been feeding it the spiders.

Dr. Seward's Diary, July 19

  • Renfield now has a bunch of sparrows and is almost out of spiders and flies.
  • He asks Seward for a kitten to play with – and feed.
  • Seward says he'll think about it, and Renfield is disappointed.

Dr. Seward's Diary, July 20

  • Seward finds Renfield spreading out sugar on the windowsill to catch more flies.
  • The sparrows are gone, and only a few feathers are left. Seward assumes that Renfield ate them all whole.
  • That night, Seward gives Renfield another sleeping pill and looks at his notebook again – Renfield has, indeed, been keeping track of the numbers of flies eaten by the spiders, and the number of spiders eaten by sparrows.
  • Seward realizes that Renfield's insanity is of a strange kind: he classifies Renfield as a "zoophagous maniac," or a "life-eating maniac."
  • Seward focuses on his work to avoid thinking about his disappointment over Lucy.

Mina's Journal, July 26

  • Mina is still worried about Jonathan, and now she's worried about Lucy, too, because Lucy has started walking in her sleep.
  • She used to do it when she was a kid, but it's more dangerous now.

Mina's Journal, July 27

  • Mina still hasn't heard from Jonathan, but at least Lucy seems healthy.

Mina's Journal, August 3

  • Mina's worried about Lucy again: Lucy isn't walking in her sleep, but Mina describes a kind of "concentration" about her that seems weird.

Mina's Journal, August 6

  • Lucy is excitable; Mina still hasn't heard from Jonathan.
  • A big storm is brewing out at sea.
  • The old man, Mr. Swales, is approaching Mina, who is sitting at her usual seat up above the town on the cliff.
  • He says that he feels that he's going to die soon, and says he's sorry if he offended either Mina or Lucy with his light talk about the dead people in the cemetery before.
  • As he talks to Mina, he keeps looking at a strange ship approaching the harbor.
  • He remarks that the strange ship is being steered in a weird way.

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