The Coming Irish Plague
Add to the prominence of newspapers and journals in disseminating information [about Dracula] the importance of personal letters. People were prolific letter writers at the time.
—Infinite Zombies’ jrlsberro
Letter, Miss Beatrix Honeysuckle Purefoy to Miss Melinda Constance Warwickhamfordshire
October 14, 1897
Forgive my long delay in writing, but as of late I’ve found myself enraptured by a quite singular book, at once appalling and titillating. It is called Dracula, by a Mr. Stoker, an Irishman, if I’m not mistaken. Have you heard of it? It concerns the devious machinations of a Romanian nobleman who feeds on the blood of infants! The horror!
Oh dear Melinda, do forgive me for cutting this off thus quickly. Even the mere thought of the terrible contents of this book is too much. I must to my fainting couch at once for I am all a-swoon.
Letter, Miss Melinda Constance Warwickhamfordshire to Miss Beatrix Honeysuckle Purefoy
October 15, 1897
Unfortunately I know all too well of what you speak — I am reading that self-same book. Considering the infanticide of Mr. Stoker’s novel alongside Mr. Swift’s Modest Proposal of some years ago, I do wonder: What is this strange Irish preoccupation with eating babies?
And no apologies necessary, dear — I have worn out the springs of three fainting couches myself from the constant swooning. And I have only made it as far as Chapter VI! Oh, would that I too were engaged to some worthy man, and soon to be wearing out the springs of a more noble piece of furniture!
That Lucy is such a trollop. I do hate her so.
Letter, Miss B.H.P. to Miss M.C.W.
October 16, 1897
One must consider, too, the unfortunate indecency case of that other son of Erin, Mr. Wilde. It would seem that Ireland is quite overrun with infantophages and homosexuals. No doubt a direct consequence of Popish idolatry.
Yes, Miss Westenra is unquestionably a wicked little tart to be attracting the eye of the male species as she does. However I reserve my ire for the character of Miss Murray, with all her talk of ‘The New Woman’ and other such nonsense. To think that she aspires to operate as barbaric a piece of machinery as a typewriter! How appallingly masculine! Next thing you know she’ll be donning britches and running off to join the tribe of Sappho.
Letter, Miss M.C.W to Miss B.H.P
October 17, 1897
You may be more accurate in your assessment than you know, for it does seem to me that Miss Murray does harbor a rather indelicate fondness for Miss Westenra. Such perversions could only spring from the mind of an Irishman.
In fact, do you recall the pornographic scene early on the book, where poor Mr. Harker is nearly overcome by the three lascivious vampiresses? I’m beginning to suspect that this is the type of disgusting book of which it is said that it is meant to be read with one hand…
Letter, Miss B.H.P. to Miss M.C.W.
October 18, 1897
Oh Melinda! You have planted the seed of a most dreadful thought in my head! My governess, who was Welsh, used always to warn my younger brother Toby that self-abuse would inevitably lead not only to hairy palms and blindness, but that God’s special punishment for self-fornicators was to turn them into Irishmen!
Follow me closely now, Melinda: if Mr. Stoker’s book is indeed a tool to incite an epidemic of masturbation (forgive my bluntness in saying it), and if masturbation (forgive me again) is a sin carrying the punishment of Irish transfiguration, and if Mr. Stoker is himself an Irishman: could not this terrible, terrible book be the instrument of a diabolical plot to turn all of Brittania’s sons Irish?
Letter, Miss M.C.W. to Miss B.H.P.
October 19, 1897
Gracious me and mine! I fear you may be correct, Beatrix. I have just spoken with the family physician, who has informed me that modern science has yet to devise a prophylactic against becoming Irish. He has pledged to begin work on such a device immediately. In the meantime, he says, we should take any and all measures necessary to prepare ourselves for the coming Irish plague. He suggests stocking up on garlic as a first step.