Hello my dear friends. It seems forever since we last had a proper chinwag and I have missed them so. We have been quite busy here at Thornfield, entertaining as usual. I am certainly not one to complain about having to arrange tea for all of the various weary travellers Mr. Rochester picks up in spite of himself, but I cannot remember the last time I had a moment’s peace – or Mr. Rochester’s undivided attention. Blanche Ingram can monopolize an entire afternoon with him talking cricket but I can’t get so much as a by or leave about the chintz pillows I had made for the West Salon. It’s as if this manor looking nice doesn’t matter; just because he’s blind doesn’t mean he can’t make more of an effort.

But, we have been quite sound and thank you so much for asking.

A nice young man came round recently; although I dare say, he was a touch nervous. I couldn’t really blame him, he just got back from a long journey and you know how taxing travel can be. Mr. Harker, our visitor, went to Transylvania –  I know, these kids today, all they want are exotic locales. I guess his visit didn’t go quite as planned: he called on some gentleman who only went by “The Count,” if you can believe the pretention. What if I walked around insisting people just called me “The Mistress of Thornfield?” I mean, I suggested it once, of course, but I didn’t mean they had to, just that, perhaps, it would be a little easier for them; we have some confusion as to whom “Mrs. Rochester” is here.

Anyway, the visit with this Count (not my Count, mind you; Mr. Harker’s sounded a bit more standoff-ish) didn’t go too swimmingly. I can’t really say anything – this is Mr. Harker’s business and I don’t want to go about telling tales out of school, but let me just say that the Count could stand for an etiquette lesson or two, if you ask me. For example, the Count must have had some terribly ill bred dogs because every time poor, old Pilot entered the room, Mr. Harker leapt up on the couch with a yelp. I don’t know, maybe he is just allergic.

All right, I will tell you what he said but you may not tell another soul – just between us, all right? Heavens knows I am not one to gossip but this story really gets your blood going.

I guess there was a little domestic trouble; Mr. Harker’s lovely, young wife – Mina – ran off with the Count! Can you believe it?! Well, I can’t say I am too surprised; she seemed to spend her time with some questionable company. Her best girlfriend Lucy was spotted – on her back – with some shady character hovering over her (I think we can all guess what was going on there.) After this Lucy “took ill,” two gentlemen joined the ladies, both older and in positions of mentoring – a doctor and a professor.  The professor – Prof Van Helsing – took a particular interest in the girl; I will just bet he did. You know how young girls respond to learned men; I hear there was plenty of “sleepwalking” going on. Oh! And the men plied the girls with fancy “herbs” to try and “stave off the demons.” Well if that doesn’t beat all – filling a girl’s head with nonsense and her mouth with garlic, it sounds like a den of inequity!

Of course, as these things go, everyone had their way with the girl; sucked her dry until they left her without her head about her, poor dear. And no one took any responsibility for her either – it was the same old excuses: she had changed; she couldn’t decide which world she wanted to be in. I don’t know, she certainly seemed to have chosen her path.

Well, I think we can all see where this was going. Poor Mr. Harker finally got his fiancée back in his clutches, married her despite the company she kept and bam! she’s necking with the Count. I know, it’s shocking how young girls behave these days. *tsk*

And after all of this, Mr. Harker took up with that Van Helsing character! (Oh don’t ask me, I guess it’s the old boys’ code or some such nonsense) The lot of them went back to the Count’s castle in Transylvania and intended to give him a piece of their minds (if they had asked me, I would suggest they aim a little lower – really nail this beast in the heart.) I guess the Count and Mrs. Harker were already gone and the only thing rattling around that drafty old place were some bats and a few scorned girls the Count had already sullied. I just know that Van Helsing chap had his way with them.

Needless to say, Mr. Harker is in quite a state and I am not sure what I can do to make him more comfortable. I offered him some black pudding and coq au vin but he withdrew his hand so quickly, you would think I intended to bite him! I was so desperate to calm the poor dear down that I even had Cook fry up his blood sausage with some extra garlic but that didn’t even help either, just made him more irritable.

Someone said the Count’s family name was Dracula – I wonder if he is related to the Draculas of Swindon?

Oh I don’t know, it just seems like with this lot you are damned if you don’t, damned if you do.

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