At sea #4


It is about a hundred years since the Demeter, a Russian schooner, arrived in Whitby harbour. Its fifty 'great wooden boxes of earth' were assigned to Mr. Samuel Billington, a Whitby solicitor, who had them sent on to Purfleet by train. Dracula was published in 1897. The bench in St. Mary's churchyard is first mentioned in Chapter IV, which ends with the first sighting of the Demeter. The ship is driven into the harbour during a terrible storm, deserted but for the captain's corpse lashed to the helm and a huge dog which leaps ashore and disappears. The boxes are its only cargo.

--narration from Patrick Keiller's Robinson in Space (1997) / annotation from the accompanying book (Reaktion, 1999), p.171. Image: Whitby harbour, earlier this month.

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