Monday, January 08, 2007

Quincey P. Morris, an American from Texas

In the course of my reading of Bram Stoker's Dracula, I couldn't go without commenting on a character whom I feel is one of the most interesting in all literature: Mr. Quincey P. Morris, the great world traveler, loyal friend, suitor to Miss Lucy Westenra, and homegrown Texan. Okay, I'm sure many of you will immediately think of more interesting literary characters, but it's fascinating to me to find such a well polished, distinguished, and uniquely Texan gentleman in late 19th century England, whose sole pleasure was to seek the heart of the wildly flirtatious Lucy, only to find himself bound by loyalty to her and to his friends to battle the infamous vampire Count (with the aide of his trusty bowie knife); and, in so doing, ultimately to give his life.

In the novel, Lucy describes one of the more memorable scenes involving Quincey in a letter to Mina Murray. In particular, Lucy is describing how she received Quincey's marriage proposal, the 2nd marriage proposal received that day, which she of course refused in anticipation of the 3rd marriage proposal later that day, which was offered by Quincey's good friend, Arthur Holmwood.
He is such a nice fellow, an American from Texas, and he looks so young and so fresh that it seems almost impossible that he has been to so many places and has had such adventures... Mr. Quincey P. Morris found me alone... I must tell you beforehand that Mr. Morris doesn't always speak slang -- that is to say, he never does so to strangers or before them, for he is really well educated and has exquisite manners -- but he found out that it amused me to hear him talk American slang, and whenever I was present, and there was no one to be shocked, he said such funny things... Well, Mr. Morris sat down beside me and looked as happy and jolly as he could, but I could see all the same that he was very nervous. He took my hand in his, and said ever so sweetly:
Miss Lucy, I know I ain't good enough to regulate the fixin's of your little shoes, but I guess if you wait till you find a man that is you will go join them seven young women with the lamps when you quit. Won't you just hitch up alongside of me and let us go down the long road together, driving in double harness?
Well, he did look so good-humoured and so jolly that it didn't seem half so hard to refuse him as it did poor Dr. Seward, so I said, as lightly as I could, that I did not know anything of hitching, and that I wasn't broken to harness at all yet.
Poor Quincey, how could someone refuse such a marriage proposal as that? Well, in my opinion, he was better off without Lucy! I'm sure I'll write more about Quincey another time.

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