Study Guide

Dracula Chapter 4

By Bram Stoker

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Chapter 4

  • Harker woke up in his own bed and immediately started to write it all down in his journal.

Jonathan Harker's Journal, May 19

  • The Count has asked Harker to write three letters home—one saying that he's almost done, one saying that he's about to leave, and another saying that he has arrived at Bistritz.
  • Dracula smoothly explains that since the postal service in Transylvania is unreliable, sending these letters ahead will save worry for his friends at home.
  • Dracula adds that the three letters will be sent on June 12, June 19, and June 29.
  • Harker realizes that Dracula must mean to feed him to the vampire ladies on June 29!

Jonathan Harker's Journal, May 28

  • Harker tries to send some real letters home to Peter Hawkins and to Mina with a group of Szgany, or "gypsies," as he calls them. He sees them from a window, and tosses the letters down, along with a gold piece, and tries to convey to them with sign language that he wants them to mail the letters for him.
  • The letter to Peter Hawkins just tells him to contact Mina.
  • The letter to Mina is written in shorthand, and tells her that he's a prisoner in Castle Dracula, but he leaves out the gory details.
  • Later on, Dracula appears in his room, holding the two letters.
  • He says that the Szgany gave the letters to him and, not knowing what they were, he opened them.
  • He offers to send the letter to Peter Hawkins on, but tears up the one in shorthand because he can't read it—he pretends not to know that it's from Harker.

Jonathan Harker's Journal, May 31

  • Harker decides to try writing letters again and keep them in his pocket, in case the opportunity of mailing them should present itself.
  • But all his paper and envelopes have gone missing.
  • He looks around and notices his traveling clothes are gone, too.

Jonathan Harker's Journal, June 17

  • A group of peasants with some wagons show up outside the castle, and Harker tries to flag them down, but they ignore him completely.
  • He watches them unload some big wooden boxes, which appear to be empty, and then drive away again.

Jonathan Harker's Journal, June 24

  • Harker sees the Count leave the window, dressed in Harker's own traveling clothes!
  • He realizes that the Count must be trying to accumulate witnesses who will think that Harker has left the Castle on time so that no one will miss him.
  • Harker starts to doze off as he waits for the Count to come back, and he notices some specks of dust dancing in the moonlight.
  • The dust specks almost hypnotize him, and he finally forces himself awake—the dust specks had been forming into the shapes of the three vampire ladies, and he shook himself out of his stupor just in time.

Jonathan Harker's Journal, June 25

  • It's morning, and Harker decides it's time for action.
  • He figures the Count must sleep sometime, and guesses it's during the day.
  • So he decides to creep out of his own window and make his way down to the Count's room.
  • He makes it!
  • But he finds the Count's room empty—all the furniture is dusty and there's a pile of ancient gold coins in a corner.
  • There are some stairs leading down, so Harker goes down, despite the terrible smell coming out of the gloom.
  • It's an ancient chapel, full of old coffins and boxes filled with dirt—the same boxes that he'd seen the peasants unload from their wagon.
  • Harker pokes around a little more, and then finds the Count lying in one of the boxes on a pile of freshly-dug earth.
  • His eyes are open, but are glassy: It's not clear whether he's asleep or dead.
  • Harker runs, climbs back through the window, and manages to climb back up the outside of the castle wall to his own room, where he writes it all down in his journal.

Jonathan Harker's Journal, June 29

  • It's the day of the last letter Dracula is sending from Harker—so it's the day Harker expects to die.
  • Dracula meets him in the early morning and says that they must say goodbye the next day.
  • Harker asks to leave immediately: Why wait a day?
  • Dracula smiles and tells Harker to go ahead and leave.
  • As Harker opens the front door, wolves start gathering in the courtyard outside the castle.
  • Harker tells Dracula to shut the door and that he'll wait until the next morning to leave.
  • He goes back to his own room alone and writes it all down in his journal.

Jonathan Harker's Journal, June 30 (early morning)

  • Harker knows he must get the key to the front door at any cost, so he risks climbing into the Count's room again.
  • He finds the Count in the box again, but this time, the Count looks younger: his hair is brown, instead of white, and his cheeks are fuller and have more color. And there's blood on his lips and chin.
  • The idea of helping this monster to immigrate to London, where he could "satiate his lust for blood" for ages to come, drives Harker crazy.
  • He picks up a shovel and swings it down toward Dracula's face, but is only able to make a gash in the forehead.
  • Even though Dracula's unconscious, his head moves slightly to dodge the full brunt of the shovel's blade and then the lid of the coffin swings shut again.
  • Harker climbs back to his own room and from there he hears the boxes and coffins being loaded into wagons in the courtyard at the front of the castle.
  • He realizes that Dracula's own coffin must have been loaded up with the rest—so Harker is alone in the castle with Dracula's brides.
  • He resolves to climb out the castle window and try to find a way down to the ground and make his escape.
  • He writes a farewell note to Mina in his journal, pockets it, and then climbs out.

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