Look, I know it's only 588 words, but they took so much time and research that I am already sick of staring at them. Just tell me what you think, OK? That will make it easier for me to continue.
In the spring of 1795 a man named Johannes Chrysostomus Engelhardt left his native city of Berlin, the capital of Prussia, in a rented carriage occupied by himself, a man named Kimmel, and a large traveling trunk. The trunk contained a few personal effects, but for the most part it held books. We know this because one of the books was his journal, and because he was obliging enough to include, on the very first page of that journal, an inventory. In addition to a Bible, Books Seven through Eleven of Pliny’s Natural History, various saints’ lives, a Latin dictionary, and a volume of Plato, his inventory lists about forty books with names like Dissertations sur les Apparitions des Anges, des Démons et des Esprits and Relation de ce qui s’est passé a Sant-Erini Isle de l’Archipel. These were books about vampires -- which is to say, about dead people who, like Peter Plogojowitz, didn’t stay dead. Engelhardt was very interested in this topic. Even his Bible, if you picked it up, would fall open to the page where the Witch of Endor raises Samuel’s ghost.
The books were packed in waxed bags, and the trunk fastened shut with leather straps, but even so Engelhardt would not suffer it to ride on top of the carriage. He had to have it where he could see it, which might explain the first line after the inventory: “Kimmel thinks I am being foolish; possibly he thinks I am mad.” We do not know who Kimmel is, or what his relation to Engelhardt might have been; he is mentioned only twice, and the second time is to note his departure from the carriage on the outskirts of Berlin. Engelhardt and the books went on to Silesia.
We don’t know much about Engelhardt either, beyond a few things that he mentions in passing in the journal. We know, for example, that he was in Paris in 1779, and that he disapproved of many of the things he found there, particularly the romantic vagaries of Sir John Threshpool, an Englishman staying at the same hotel. (Sir John was in love with a fickle French opera singer. Why he chose to tell Engelhardt about it is a mystery, but one night he cried out that she was une vampire, draining his life, and it happened that Engelhardt had never heard the term before.) We know that his dental plate had been made for him by a highly esteemed craftsman named Klapproth, who assured him that the teeth therein had all been taken from hearty young men felled in battle. We know that he soon became weary of eating mutton, and that he considered the Balkans to be populated almost entirely by buffoons and Mohammedans, and that in his estimation Mohammedans were even worse than Jews. Furthermore, he must have had some practical experience with corpses, though the exact nature of that experience is unclear.
Trexler says that he was about fifty years old, that he rarely either smiled or frowned, and that he generally walked with his arms held close to his body. He was too old for a journey into distant, heathenish lands, and knew it. He wore that dental plate, and chewed mutton with it, and spoke German to uncomprehending peasants with it, down through Prussia and across the Habsburg Monarchy, headed for the Ottoman Empire. Every so often, when the roads were particularly bad, he would have to get out of the carriage and vomit.