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Most Significant

The boxes of earth, we later learn (29 Sept), are invoiced as "common earth, to be used for experimental purposes’." The Count is experimenting with a tricky transplant, and needs the proper soil. Luckily for him, phytosanitary regulation is in its infancy; today, there would be significant hurdles to the importation of dirt which might contain foreign insects, weeds, and plant diseases. https://www.cabi.org/isc/FullTextPDF/2012/20123382941.pdf

Bryan Alexander

Good point about the Count being plant-like here.

One aspect of this is that the vampire is implanting British soil with his own. An invasion narrative.

Also, I knew a couple of artists who made this into a project. They went to Romania and had a coffin built, filled with local soil, then shipped it to the UK. It was incredibly challenging. The paperwork became part of the art.

Most Significant

The art project sounds very interesting! Bureaucracy as art--these are my kind of people.

As for the invasion narrative, Jonathan has already written about the Count creating "a new and ever–widening circle of semi–demons to batten on the helpless".

Bryan Alexander

Yes indeed. Vampires as virus.

Most Significant

"Crew, five hands … two mates, cook, and myself, (captain)."—Making nine crew members in total.

The Demeter is a Russian schooner from Varna (Dailygraph newspaper article, 9 August). According to the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, schooners are sailing ships “rigged with fore and aft sails, properly with two masts, but now often with three, four and sometimes more masts; they are much used in the coasting trade, and require a smaller crew in proportion to their size than square rigged vessels” ( https://en.m.wikisource.org/wiki/1911_Encyclop%C3%A6dia_Britannica/Schooner ). Canadians will be familiar with the Bluenose, the two-masted schooner on the Canadian dime.

Of the nine crew aboard the Demeter, seven are responsible for sailing the ship on a daily basis. The cook and the captain do not normally do regular shifts (watches). The cook's major responsibility is feeding everyone, and the captain’s additional duties, such as navigation, mean that he is not part of the ordinary watch rotation.

With such a small crew, it might seem that the Demeter must be a small ship. However, the rule of thumb for schooner crews was one person to steer the ship, and a crew member for each mast--presumably this was per watch. (It was customary at this time to divide crews into two sets of shifts or “watches”, called the starboard watch and the port / larboard watch.)

If you need three people per watch for a two-masted schooner, then with seven regular crew, the Demeter seems to have been a two-masted ship with one additional crew member in case of illness, injury, or emergency. Demeter was ordinarily sailed with a steersman and one deck hand (“man of watch”), since a “double watch” consisted of a steersman plus two deck hands (29 July). Presumably during fair weather, the second deck hand was working below deck, on call during his watch in case of storm or other need.

The Count has chartered this ship for his exclusive use; his boxes of earth are the only cargo. As previously noted, the boxes weigh three tons in total. Again, a large ship is not needed. The 80-foot two-masted schooner Alma had a a capacity on 39 tons. ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alma_(1891) ) American Spirit, a 65-foot two-masted schooner, is rated at 19 tons. ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Spirit_(schooner) )

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