Sunday, March 19, 2006

A Dracula allusion in Dreams of the Witch House?

"But such naïve reports could mean very little, and Gilman let the cheap metal crucifix hang idly from a knob on his host's dresser."

Compare this to a few paragraphs of Dracula*.

She then rose and dried her eyes, and taking a crucifix from her neck
offered it to me.

I did not know what to do, for, as an English Churchman, I have
been taught to regard such things as in some measure idolatrous,
and yet it seemed so ungracious to refuse an old lady meaning
so well and in such a state of mind.

She saw, I suppose, the doubt in my face, for she put
the rosary round my neck and said, "For your mother's sake,"
and went out of the room.

I am writing up this part of the diary whilst I am waiting for the coach,
which is, of course, late; and the crucifix is still round my neck.

Whether it is the old lady's fear, or the many ghostly
traditions of this place, or the crucifix itself, I do not know,
but I am not feeling nearly as easy in my mind as usual.

And, in chapter 3:

"What meant the giving of the crucifix, of the garlic, of the wild rose, of the mountain ash? Bless that good, good woman who hung the crucifix round my neck! For it is a comfort and a strength to me whenever I touch it. It is odd that a thing which I have been taught to regard with disfavour and as idolatrous should in a time of loneliness and trouble be of help."

* One cannot think of vampires without Stoker. And Stoker's other claim was his homage to J S LeFanu and the Judge (Harbottle) who turned into a rat.

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