The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas [Pere]
Part 23 out of 31
"With whom are you going to fight?"
"One of your friends!"
"Of course; it is always with friends that one fights."
"I suppose you have some cause of quarrel?"
"What has he done to you?"
"There appeared in his journal last night -- but wait, and
read for yourself." And Albert handed over the paper to the
count, who read as follows: --
"A correspondent at Yanina informs us of a fact of which
until now we had remained in ignorance. The castle which
formed the protection of the town was given up to the Turks
by a French officer named Fernand, in whom the grand vizier,
Ali Tepelini, had reposed the greatest confidence."
"Well," said Monte Cristo, "what do you see in that to annoy
"What do I see in it?"
"Yes; what does it signify to you if the castle of Yanina
was given up by a French officer?"
"It signifies to my father, the Count of Morcerf, whose
Christian name is Fernand!"
"Did your father serve under Ali Pasha?"
"Yes; that is to say, he fought for the independence of the
Greeks, and hence arises the calumny."
"Oh, my dear viscount, do talk reason!"
"I do not desire to do otherwise."
"Now, just tell me who the devil should know in France that
the officer Fernand and the Count of Morcerf are one and the
same person? and who cares now about Yanina, which was taken
as long ago as the year 1822 or 1823?"
"That just shows the meanness of this slander. They have
allowed all this time to elapse, and then all of a sudden
rake up events which have been forgotten to furnish
materials for scandal, in order to tarnish the lustre of our
high position. I inherit my father's name, and I do not
choose that the shadow of disgrace should darken it. I am
going to Beauchamp, in whose journal this paragraph appears,
and I shall insist on his retracting the assertion before
"Beauchamp will never retract."
"Then he must fight."
"No he will not, for he will tell you, what is very true,
that perhaps there were fifty officers in the Greek army
bearing the same name."
"We will fight, nevertheless. I will efface that blot on my
father's character. My father, who was such a brave soldier,
whose career was so brilliant" --
"Oh, well, he will add, `We are warranted in believing that
this Fernand is not the illustrious Count of Morcerf, who
also bears the same Christian name.'"
"I am determined not to be content with anything short of an
"And you intend to make him do it in the presence of two
witnesses, do you?"
"You do wrong."
"Which means, I suppose, that you refuse the service which I
asked of you?"
"You know my theory regarding duels; I told you my opinion
on that subject, if you remember, when we were at Rome."
"Nevertheless, my dear count, I found you this morning
engaged in an occupation but little consistent with the
notions you profess to entertain."
"Because, my dear fellow, you understand one must never be
eccentric. If one's lot is cast among fools, it is necessary
to study folly. I shall perhaps find myself one day called
out by some harebrained scamp, who has no more real cause of
quarrel with me than you have with Beauchamp; he may take me
to task for some foolish trifle or other, he will bring his
witnesses, or will insult me in some public place, and I am
expected to kill him for all that."
"You admit that you would fight, then? Well, if so, why do
you object to my doing so?"
"I do not say that you ought not to fight, I only say that a
duel is a serious thing, and ought not to be undertaken
without due reflection."
"Did he reflect before he insulted my father?"
"If he spoke hastily, and owns that he did so, you ought to
"Ah, my dear count, you are far too indulgent."
"And you are far too exacting. Supposing, for instance, and
do not be angry at what I am going to say" --
"Supposing the assertion to be really true?"
"A son ought not to submit to such a stain on his father's
"Ma foi, we live in times when there is much to which we
"That is precisely the fault of the age."
"And do you undertake to reform it?"
"Yes, as far as I am personally concerned."
"Well, you the?? indeed exacting, my dear fellow!"
"Yes, I own it."
"Are you quite impervious to good advice?"
"Not when it comes from a friend."
"And do you account me that title?"
"Certainly I do."
"Well, then, before going to Beauchamp with your witnesses,
seek further information on the subject."
"Why, what can be the use of mixing a woman up in the
affair? -- what can she do in it?"
"She can declare to you, for example, that your father had
no hand whatever in the defeat and death of the vizier; or
if by chance he had, indeed, the misfortune to" --
"I have told you, my dear count, that I would not for one
moment admit of such a proposition."
"You reject this means of information, then?"
"I do -- most decidedly."
"Then let me offer one more word of advice."
"Do so, then, but let it be the last."
"You do not wish to hear it, perhaps?"
"On the contrary, I request it."
"Do not take any witnesses with you when you go to Beauchamp
-- visit him alone."
"That would be contrary to all custom."
"Your case is not an ordinary one."
"And what is your reason for advising me to go alone?"
"Because then the affair will rest between you and
"I will do so. If Beauchamp be disposed to retract, you
ought at least to give him the opportunity of doing it of
his own free will, -- the satisfaction to you will be the
same. If, on the contrary, he refuses to do so, it will then
be quite time enough to admit two strangers into your
"They will not be strangers, they will be friends."
"Ah, but the friends of to-day are the enemies of to-morrow;
Beauchamp, for instance."
"So you recommend" --
"I recommend you to be prudent."
"Then you advise me to go alone to Beauchamp?"
"I do, and I will tell you why. When you wish to obtain some
concession from a man's self-love, you must avoid even the
appearance of wishing to wound it."
"I believe you are right."
"I am glad of it."
"Then I will go alone."
"Go; but you would do better still by not going at all."
"That is impossible."
"Do so, then; it will be a wiser plan than the first which
"But if, in spite of all my precautions, I am at last
obliged to fight, will you not be my second?"
"My dear viscount," said Monte Cristo gravely, "you must
have seen before to-day that at all times and in all places
I have been at your disposal, but the service which you have
just demanded of me is one which it is out of my power to
"Perhaps you may know at some future period, and in the mean
time I request you to excuse my declining to put you in
possession of my reasons."
"Well, I will have Franz and Chateau-Renaud; they will be
the very men for it."
"Do so, then."
"But if I do fight, you will surely not object to giving me
a lesson or two in shooting and fencing?"
"That, too, is impossible."
"What a singular being you are! -- you will not interfere in
"You are right -- that is the principle on which I wish to
"We will say no more about it, then. Good-by, count."
Morcerf took his hat, and left the room. He found his
carriage at the door, and doing his utmost to restrain his
anger he went at once to find Beauchamp, who was in his
office. It was a gloomy, dusty-looking apartment, such as
journalists' offices have always been from time immemorial.
The servant announced M. Albert de Morcerf. Beauchamp
repeated the name to himself, as though he could scarcely
believe that he had heard aright, and then gave orders for
him to be admitted. Albert entered. Beauchamp uttered an
exclamation of surprise on seeing his friend leap over and
trample under foot all the newspapers which were strewed
about the room. "This way, this way, my dear Albert!" said
he, holding out his hand to the young man. "Are you out of
your senses, or do you come peaceably to take breakfast with
me? Try and find a seat -- there is one by that geranium,
which is the only thing in the room to remind me that there
are other leaves in the world besides leaves of paper."
"Beauchamp," said Albert, "it is of your journal that I come
"Indeed? What do you wish to say about it?"
"I desire that a statement contained in it should be
"To what do you refer? But pray sit down."
"Thank you," said Albert, with a cold and formal bow.
"Will you now have the kindness to explain the nature of the
statement which has displeased you?"
"An announcement has been made which implicates the honor of
a member of my family."
"What is it?" said Beauchamp, much surprised; "surely you
must be mistaken."
"The story sent you from Yanina."
"Yes; really you appear to be totally ignorant of the cause
which brings me here."
"Such is really the case, I assure you, upon my honor!
Baptiste, give me yesterday's paper," cried Beauchamp.
"Here, I have brought mine with me," replied Albert.
Beauchamp took the paper, and read the article to which
Albert pointed in an undertone. "You see it is a serious
annoyance," said Morcerf, when Beauchamp had finished the
perusal of the paragraph. "Is the officer referred to a
relation of yours, then?" demanded the journalist.
"Yes," said Albert, blushing.
"Well, what do you wish me to do for you?" said Beauchamp
"My dear Beauchamp, I wish you to contradict this
statement." Beauchamp looked at Albert with a benevolent
"Come," said he, "this matter will want a good deal of
talking over; a retractation is always a serious thing, you
know. Sit down, and I will read it again." Albert resumed
his seat, and Beauchamp read, with more attention than at
first, the lines denounced by his friend. "Well," said
Albert in a determined tone, "you see that your paper his
insulted a member of my family, and I insist on a
retractation being made."
"Yes, I insist."
"Permit me to remind you that you are not in the Chamber, my
"Nor do I wish to be there," replied the young man, rising.
"I repeat that I am determined to have the announcement of
yesterday contradicted. You have known me long enough,"
continued Albert, biting his lips convulsively, for he saw
that Beauchamp's anger was beginning to rise, -- "you have
been my friend, and therefore sufficiently intimate with me
to be aware that I am likely to maintain my resolution on
"If I have been your friend, Morcerf, your present manner of
speaking would almost lead me to forget that I ever bore
that title. But wait a moment, do not let us get angry, or
at least not yet. You are irritated and vexed -- tell me how
this Fernand is related to you?"
"He is merely my father," said Albert -- "M. Fernand
Mondego, Count of Morcerf, an old soldier who has fought in
twenty battles and whose honorable scars they would denounce
as badges of disgrace."
"Is it your father?" said Beauchamp; "that is quite another
thing. Then can well understand your indignation, my dear
Albert. I will look at it again;" and he read the paragraph
for the third time, laying a stress on each word as he
proceeded. "But the paper nowhere identifies this Fernand
with your father."
"No; but the connection will be seen by others, and
therefore I will have the article contradicted." At the
words "I will," Beauchamp steadily raised his eyes to
Albert's countenance, and then as gradually lowering them,
he remained thoughtful for a few moments. "You will retract
this assertion, will you not, Beauchamp?" said Albert with
increased though stifled anger.
"Yes," replied Beauchamp.
"Immediately?" said Albert.
"When I am convinced that the statement is false."
"The thing is worth looking into, and I will take pains to
investigate the matter thoroughly."
"But what is there to investigate, sir?" said Albert,
enraged beyond measure at Beauchamp's last remark. "If you
do not believe that it is my father, say so immediately; and
if, on the contrary, you believe it to be him, state your
reasons for doing so." Beauchamp looked at Albert with the
smile which was so peculiar to him, and which in its
numerous modifications served to express every varied
emotion of his mind. "Sir," replied he, "if you came to me
with the idea of demanding satisfaction, you should have
gone at once to the point, and not have entertained me with
the idle conversation to which I have been patiently
listening for the last half hour. Am I to put this
construction on your visit?"
"Yes, if you will not consent to retract that infamous
"Wait a moment -- no threats, if you please, M. Fernand
Mondego, Vicomte de Morcerf; I never allow them from my
enemies, and therefore shall not put up with them from my
friends. You insist on my contradicting the article relating
to General Fernand, an article with which, I assure you on
my word of honor, I had nothing whatever to do?"
"Yes, I insist on it," said Albert, whose mind was beginning
to get bewildered with the excitement of his feelings.
"And if I refuse to retract, you wish to fight, do you?"
said Beauchamp in a calm tone.
"Yes," replied Albert, raising his voice.
"Well," said Beauchamp, "here is my answer, my dear sir. The
article was not inserted by me -- I was not even aware of
it; but you have, by the step you have taken, called my
attention to the paragraph in question, and it will remain
until it shall be either contradicted or confirmed by some
one who has a right to do so."
"Sir," said Albert, rising, "I will do myself the honor of
sending my seconds to you, and you will be kind enough to
arrange with them the place of meeting and the weapons."
"Certainly, my dear sir."
"And this evening, if you please, or to-morrow at the
latest, we will meet."
"No, no, I will be on the ground at the proper time; but in
my opinion (and I have a right to dictate the preliminaries,
as it is I who have received the provocation) -- in my
opinion the time ought not to be yet. I know you to be well
skilled in the management of the sword, while I am only
moderately so; I know, too, that you are a good marksman --
there we are about equal. I know that a duel between us two
would be a serious affair, because you are brave, and I am
brave also. I do not therefore wish either to kill you, or
to be killed myself without a cause. Now, I am going to put
a question to you, and one very much to the purpose too. Do
you insist on this retractation so far as to kill me if I do
not make it, although I have repeated more than once, and
affirmed on my honor, that I was ignorant of the thing with
which you charge me, and although I still declare that it is
impossible for any one but you to recognize the Count of
Morcerf under the name of Fernand?"
"I maintain my original resolution."
"Very well, my dear sir; then I consent to cut throats with
you. But I require three weeks' preparation; at the end of
that time I shall come and say to you, `The assertion is
false, and I retract it,' or `The assertion is true,' when I
shall immediately draw the sword from its sheath, or the
pistols from the case, whichever you please."
"Three weeks!" cried Albert; "they will pass as slowly as
three centuries when I am all the time suffering dishonor."
"Had you continued to remain on amicable terms with me, I
should have said, `Patience, my friend;' but you have
constituted yourself my enemy, therefore I say, `What does
that signify to me, sir?'"
"Well, let it be three weeks then," said Morcerf; "but
remember, at the expiration of that time no delay or
subterfuge will justify you in" --
"M. Albert de Morcerf," said Beauchamp, rising in his turn,
"I cannot throw you out of window for three weeks -- that is
to say, for twenty-four days to come -- nor have you any
right to split my skull open till that time has elapsed.
To-day is the 29th of August; the 21st of September will,
therefore, be the conclusion of the term agreed on, and till
that time arrives -- and it is the advice of a gentleman
which I am about to give you -- till then we will refrain
from growling and barking like two dogs chained within sight
of each other." When he had concluded his speech, Beauchamp
bowed coldly to Albert, turned his back upon him, and went
to the press-room.
Albert vented his anger on a pile of newspapers, which he
sent flying all over the office by switching them violently
with his stick; after which ebullition he departed -- not,
however, without walking several times to the door of the
press-room, as if he had half a mind to enter. While Albert
was lashing the front of his carriage in the same manner
that he had the newspapers which were the innocent agents of
his discomfiture, as he was crossing the barrier he
perceived Morrel, who was walking with a quick step and a
bright eye. He was passing the Chinese Baths, and appeared
to have come from the direction of the Porte Saint-Martin,
and to be going towards the Madeleine. "Ah," said Morcerf,
"there goes a happy man!" And it so happened Albert was not
mistaken in his opinion.
Morrel was, in fact, very happy. M. Noirtier had just sent
for him, and he was in such haste to know the reason of his
doing so that he had not stopped to take a cab, placing
infinitely more dependence on his own two legs than on the
four legs of a cab-horse. He had therefore set off at a
furious rate from the Rue Meslay, and was hastening with
rapid strides in the direction of the Faubourg Saint-Honore.
Morrel advanced with a firm, manly tread, and poor Barrois
followed him as he best might. Morrel was only thirty-one,
Barrois was sixty years of age; Morrel was deeply in love,
and Barrois was dying with heat and exertion. These two men,
thus opposed in age and interests, resembled two parts of a
triangle, presenting the extremes of separation, yet
nevertheless possessing their point of union. This point of
union was Noirtier, and it was he who had just sent for
Morrel, with the request that the latter would lose no time
in coming to him -- a command which Morrel obeyed to the
letter, to the great discomfiture of Barrois. On arriving at
the house, Morrel was not even out of breath, for love lends
wings to our desires; but Barrois, who had long forgotten
what it was to love, was sorely fatigued by the expedition
he had been constrained to use.
The old servant introduced Morrel by a private entrance,
closed the door of the study, and soon the rustling of a
dress announced the arrival of Valentine. She looked
marvellously beautiful in her deep mourning dress, and
Morrel experienced such intense delight in gazing upon her
that he felt as if he could almost have dispensed with the
conversation of her grandfather. But the easy-chair of the
old man was heard rolling along the floor, and he soon made
his appearance in the room. Noirtier acknowledged by a look
of extreme kindness and benevolence the thanks which Morrel
lavished on him for his timely intervention on behalf of
Valentine and himself -- an intervention which had saved
them from despair. Morrel then cast on the invalid an
interrogative look as to the new favor which he designed to
bestow on him. Valentine was sitting at a little distance
from them, timidly awaiting the moment when she should be
obliged to speak. Noirtier fixed his eyes on her. "Am I to
say what you told me?" asked Valentine. Noirtier made a sign
that she was to do so.
"Monsieur Morrel," said Valentine to the young man, who was
regarding her with the most intense interest, "my
grandfather, M. Noirtier, had a thousand things to say,
which he told me three days ago; and now, he has sent for
you, that I may repeat them to you. I will repeat them,
then; and since he has chosen me as his interpreter, I will
be faithful to the trust, and will not alter a word of his
"Oh, I am listening with the greatest impatience," replied
the young man; "speak, I beg of you." Valentine cast down
her eyes; this was a good omen for Morrel, for he knew that
nothing but happiness could have the power of thus
overcoming Valentine. "My grandfather intends leaving this
house," said she, "and Barrois is looking out suitable
apartments for him in another."
"But you, Mademoiselle de Villefort, -- you, who are
necessary to M. Noirtier's happiness" --
"I?" interrupted Valentine; "I shall not leave my
grandfather, -- that is an understood thing between us. My
apartment will be close to his. Now, M. de Villefort must
either give his consent to this plan or his refusal; in the
first case, I shall leave directly, and in the second, I
shall wait till I am of age, which will be in about ten
months. Then I shall be free, I shall have an independent
fortune, and" --
"And what?" demanded Morrel.
"And with my grandfather's consent I shall fulfil the
promise which I have made you." Valentine pronounced these
last few words in such a low tone, that nothing but Morrel's
intense interest in what she was saying could have enabled
him to hear them. "Have I not explained your wishes,
grandpapa?" said Valentine, addressing Noirtier. "Yes,"
looked the old man. -- "Once under my grandfather's roof, M.
Morrel can visit me in the presence of my good and worthy
protector, if we still feel that the union we contemplated
will be likely to insure our future comfort and happiness;
in that case I shall expect M. Morrel to come and claim me
at my own hands. But, alas, I have heard it said that hearts
inflamed by obstacles to their desire grew cold in time of
security; I trust we shall never find it so in our
"Oh," cried Morrel, almost tempted to throw himself on his
knees before Noirtier and Valentine, and to adore them as
two superior beings, "what have I ever done in my life to
merit such unbounded happiness?"
"Until that time," continued the young girl in a calm and
self-possessed tone of voice, "we will conform to
circumstances, and be guided by the wishes of our friends,
so long as those wishes do not tend finally to separate us;
in a word, and I repeat it, because it expresses all I wish
to convey, -- we will wait."
"And I swear to make all the sacrifices which this word
imposes, sir," said Morrel, "not only with resignation, but
"Therefore," continued Valentine, looking playfully at
Maximilian, "no more inconsiderate actions -- no more rash
projects; for you surely would not wish to compromise one
who from this day regards herself as destined, honorably and
happily, to bear your name?"
Morrel looked obedience to her commands. Noirtier regarded
the lovers with a look of ineffable tenderness, while
Barrois, who had remained in the room in the character of a
man privileged to know everything that passed, smiled on the
youthful couple as he wiped the perspiration from his bald
forehead. "How hot you look, my good Barrois," said
"Ah, I have been running very fast, mademoiselle, but I must
do M. Morrel the justice to say that he ran still faster."
Noirtier directed their attention to a waiter, on which was
placed a decanter containing lemonade and a glass. The
decanter was nearly full, with the exception of a little,
which had been already drunk by M. Noirtier.
"Come, Barrois," said the young girl, "take some of this
lemonade; I see you are coveting a good draught of it."
"The fact is, mademoiselle," said Barrois, "I am dying with
thirst, and since you are so kind as to offer it me, I
cannot say I should at all object to drinking your health in
a glass of it."
"Take some, then, and come back immediately." Barrois took
away the waiter, and hardly was he outside the door, which
in his haste he forgot to shut, than they saw him throw back
his head and empty to the very dregs the glass which
Valentine had filled. Valentine and Morrel were exchanging
their adieux in the presence of Noirtier when a ring was
heard at the door-bell. It was the signal of a visit.
Valentine looked at her watch.
"It is past noon," said she, "and to-day is Saturday; I dare
say it is the doctor, grandpapa." Noirtier looked his
conviction that she was right in her supposition. "He will
come in here, and M. Morrel had better go, -- do you not
think so, grandpapa?"
"Yes," signed the old man.
"Barrois," cried Valentine, "Barrois!"
"I am coming, mademoiselle," replied he. "Barrois will open
the door for you," said Valentine, addressing Morrel. "And
now remember one thing, Monsieur Officer, that my
grandfather commands you not to take any rash or ill-advised
step which would be likely to compromise our happiness."
"I promised him to wait," replied Morrel; "and I will wait."
At this moment Barrois entered. "Who rang?" asked Valentine.
"Doctor d'Avrigny," said Barrois, staggering as if he would
"What is the matter, Barrois?" said Valentine. The old man
did not answer, but looked at his master with wild staring
eyes, while with his cramped hand he grasped a piece of
furniture to enable him to stand upright. "He is going to
fall!" cried Morrel. The rigors which had attacked Barrois
gradually increased, the features of the face became quite
altered, and the convulsive movement of the muscles appeared
to indicate the approach of a most serious nervous disorder.
Noirtier, seeing Barrois in this pitiable condition, showed
by his looks all the various emotions of sorrow and sympathy
which can animate the heart of man. Barrois made some steps
towards his master.
"Ah, sir," said he, "tell me what is the matter with me. I
am suffering -- I cannot see. A thousand fiery darts are
piercing my brain. Ah, don't touch me, pray don't." By this
time his haggard eyes had the appearance of being ready to
start from their sockets; his head fell back, and the lower
extremities of the body began to stiffen. Valentine uttered
a cry of horror; Morrel took her in his arms, as if to
defend her from some unknown danger. "M. d'Avrigny, M.
d'Avrigny," cried she, in a stifled voice. "Help, help!"
Barrois turned round and with a great effort stumbled a few
steps, then fell at the feet of Noirtier, and resting his
hand on the knee of the invalid, exclaimed, "My master, my
good master!" At this moment M. de Villefort, attracted by
the noise, appeared on the threshold. Morrel relaxed his
hold of Valentine, and retreating to a distant corner of the
room remained half hidden behind a curtain. Pale as if he
had been gazing on a serpent, he fixed his terrified eye on
the agonized sufferer.
Noirtier, burning with impatience and terror, was in despair
at his utter inability to help his old domestic, whom he
regarded more in the light of a friend than a servant. One
might by the fearful swelling of the veins of his forehead
and the contraction of the muscles round the eye, trace the
terrible conflict which was going on between the living
energetic mind and the inanimate and helpless body. Barrois,
his features convulsed, his eyes suffused with blood, and
his head thrown back, was lying at full length, beating the
floor with his hands, while his legs had become so stiff,
that they looked as if they would break rather than bend. A
slight appearance of foam was visible around the mouth, and
he breathed painfully, and with extreme difficulty.
Villefort seemed stupefied with astonishment, and remained
gazing intently on the scene before him without uttering a
word. He had not seen Morrel. After a moment of dumb
contemplation, during which his face became pale and his
hair seemed to stand on end, he sprang towards the door,
crying out, "Doctor, doctor! come instantly, pray come!"
"Madame, madame!" cried Valentine, calling her step-mother,
and running up-stairs to meet her; "come quick, quick! --
and bring your bottle of smelling-salts with you."
"What is the matter?" said Madame de Villefort in a harsh
and constrained tone.
"Oh, come, come!"
"But where is the doctor?" exclaimed Villefort; "where is
he?" Madame de Villefort now deliberately descended the
staircase. In one hand she held her handkerchief, with which
she appeared to be wiping her face, and in the other a
bottle of English smelling-salts. Her first look on entering
the room was at Noirtier, whose face, independent of the
emotion which such a scene could not fail of producing,
proclaimed him to be in possession of his usual health; her
second glance was at the dying man. She turned pale, and her
eye passed quickly from the servant and rested on the
"In the name of heaven, madame," said Villefort, "where is
the doctor? He was with you just now. You see this is a fit
of apoplexy, and he might be saved if he could but be bled!"
"Has he eaten anything lately?" asked Madame de Villefort,
eluding her husband's question. "Madame," replied Valentine,
"he has not even breakfasted. He has been running very fast
on an errand with which my grandfather charged him, and when
he returned, took nothing but a glass of lemonade."
"Ah," said Madame de Villefort, "why did he not take wine?
Lemonade was a very bad thing for him."
"Grandpapa's bottle of lemonade was standing just by his
side; poor Barrois was very thirsty, and was thankful to
drink anything he could find." Madame de Villefort started.
Noirtier looked at her with a glance of the most profound
scrutiny. "He has such a short neck," said she. "Madame,"
said Villefort, "I ask where is M. d'Avrigny? In God's name
"He is with Edward, who is not quite well," replied Madame
de Villefort, no longer being able to avoid answering.
Villefort rushed up-stairs to fetch him. "Take this," said
Madame de Villefort, giving her smelling-bottle to
Valentine. "They will, no doubt, bleed him; therefore I will
retire, for I cannot endure the sight of blood;" and she
followed her husband up-stairs. Morrel now emerged from his
hiding-place, where he had remained quite unperceived, so
great had been the general confusion. "Go away as quick as
you can, Maximilian," said Valentine, "and stay till I send
for you. Go."
Morrel looked towards Noirtier for permission to retire. The
old man, who had preserved all his usual coolness, made a
sign to him to do so. The young man pressed Valentine's hand
to his lips, and then left the house by a back staircase. At
the same moment that he quitted the room, Villefort and the
doctor entered by an opposite door. Barrois was now showing
signs of returning consciousness. The crisis seemed past, a
low moaning was heard, and he raised himself on one knee.
D'Avrigny and Villefort laid him on a couch. "What do you
prescribe, doctor?" demanded Villefort. "Give me some water
and ether. You have some in the house, have you not?"
"Send for some oil of turpentine and tartar emetic."
Villefort immediately despatched a messenger. "And now let
every one retire."
"Must I go too?" asked Valentine timidly.
"Yes, mademoiselle, you especially," replied the doctor
Valentine looked at M. d'Avrigny with astonishment, kissed
her grandfather on the forehead, and left the room. The
doctor closed the door after her with a gloomy air. "Look,
look, doctor," said Villefort, "he is quite coming round
again; I really do not think, after all, it is anything of
consequence." M. d'Avrigny answered by a melancholy smile.
"How do you feel, Barrois?" asked he. "A little better,
"Will you drink some of this ether and water?"
"I will try; but don't touch me."
"Because I feel that if you were only to touch me with the
tip of your finger the fit would return."
Barrois took the glass, and, raising it to his purple lips,
took about half of the liquid offered him. "Where do you
suffer?" asked the doctor.
"Everywhere. I feel cramps over my whole body."
"Do you find any dazzling sensation before the eyes?"
"Any noise in the ears?"
"When did you first feel that?"
"Yes, like a clap of thunder."
"Did you feel nothing of it yesterday or the day before?"
"What have you eaten to-day?"
"I have eaten nothing; I only drank a glass of my master's
lemonade -- that's all;" and Barrois turned towards
Noirtier, who, immovably fixed in his arm-chair, was
contemplating this terrible scene without allowing a word or
a movement to escape him.
"Where is this lemonade?" asked the doctor eagerly.
"Down-stairs in the decanter."
"In the kitchen."
"Shall I go and fetch it, doctor?" inquired Villefort.
"No, stay here and try to make Barrois drink the rest of
this glass of ether and water. I will go myself and fetch
the lemonade." D'Avrigny bounded towards the door, flew down
the back staircase, and almost knocked down Madame de
Villefort, in his haste, who was herself going down to the
kitchen. She cried out, but d'Avrigny paid no attention to
her; possessed with but one idea, he cleared the last four
steps with a bound, and rushed into the kitchen, where he
saw the decanter about three parts empty still standing on
the waiter, where it had been left. He darted upon it as an
eagle would seize upon its prey. Panting with loss of
breath, he returned to the room he had just left. Madame de
Villefort was slowly ascending the steps which led to her
room. "Is this the decanter you spoke of?" asked d'Avrigny.
"Is this the same lemonade of which you partook?"
"I believe so."
"What did it taste like?"
"It had a bitter taste."
The doctor poured some drops of the lemonade into the palm
of his hand, put his lips to it, and after having rinsed his
mouth as a man does when he is tasting wine, he spat the
liquor into the fireplace.
"It is no doubt the same," said he. "Did you drink some too,
"And did you also discover a bitter taste?"
"Oh, doctor," cried Barrois, "the fit is coming on again.
Oh, do something for me." The doctor flew to his patient.
"That emetic, Villefort -- see if it is coming." Villefort
sprang into the passage, exclaiming, "The emetic! the
emetic! -- is it come yet?" No one answered. The most
profound terror reigned throughout the house. "If I had
anything by means of which I could inflate the lungs," said
d'Avrigny, looking around him, "perhaps I might prevent
suffocation. But there is nothing which would do --
nothing!" "Oh, sir," cried Barrois, "are you going to let me
die without help? Oh, I am dying! Oh, save me!"
"A pen, a pen!" said the doctor. There was one lying on the
table; he endeavored to introduce it into the mouth of the
patient, who, in the midst of his convulsions, was making
vain attempts to vomit; but the jaws were so clinched that
the pen could not pass them. This second attack was much
more violent than the first, and he had slipped from the
couch to the ground, where he was writhing in agony. The
doctor left him in this paroxysm, knowing that he could do
nothing to alleviate it, and, going up to Noirtier, said
abruptly, "How do you find yourself? -- well?"
"Have you any weight on the chest; or does your stomach feel
light and comfortable -- eh?"
"Then you feel pretty much as you generally do after you
have had the dose which I am accustomed to give you every
"Did Barrois make your lemonade?"
"Was it you who asked him to drink some of it?"
"Was it M. de Villefort?"
"It was your granddaughter, then, was it not?"
"Yes." A groan from Barrois, accompanied by a yawn which
seemed to crack the very jawbones, attracted the attention
of M. d'Avrigny; he left M. Noirtier, and returned to the
sick man. "Barrois," said the doctor, "can you speak?"
Barrois muttered a few unintelligible words. "Try and make
an effort to do so, my good man." said d'Avrigny. Barrois
reopened his bloodshot eyes. "Who made the lemonade?"
"Did you bring it to your master directly it was made?"
"You left it somewhere, then, in the meantime?"
"Yes; I left it in the pantry, because I was called away."
"Who brought it into this room, then?"
"Mademoiselle Valentine." D'Avrigny struck his forehead with
his hand. "Gracious heaven," exclaimed he. "Doctor, doctor!"
cried Barrois, who felt another fit coming.
"Will they never bring that emetic?" asked the doctor.
"Here is a glass with one already prepared," said Villefort,
entering the room.
"Who prepared it?"
"The chemist who came here with me."
"Drink it," said the doctor to Barrois. "Impossible, doctor;
it is too late; my throat is closing up. I am choking! Oh,
my heart! Ah, my head! -- Oh, what agony! -- Shall I suffer
like this long?"
"No, no, friend," replied the doctor, "you will soon cease
"Ah, I understand you," said the unhappy man. "My God, have
mercy upon me!" and, uttering a fearful cry, Barrois fell
back as if he had been struck by lightning. D'Avrigny put
his hand to his heart, and placed a glass before his lips.
"Well?" said Villefort. "Go to the kitchen and get me some
syrup of violets." Villefort went immediately. "Do not be
alarmed, M. Noirtier," said d'Avrigny; "I am going to take
my patient into the next room to bleed him; this sort of
attack is very frightful to witness."
And taking Barrois under the arms, he dragged him into an
adjoining room; but almost immediately he returned to fetch
the lemonade. Noirtier closed lids right eye. "You want
Valentine, do you not? I will tell them to send her to you."
Villefort returned, and d'Avrigny met him in the passage.
"Well, how is he now?" asked he. "Come in here," said
d'Avrigny, and he took him into the chamber where the sick
man lay. "Is he still in a fit?" said the procureur.
"He is dead."
Villefort drew back a few steps, and, clasping his hands,
exclaimed, with real amazement and sympathy, "Dead? -- and
so soon too!"
"Yes, it is very soon," said the doctor, looking at the
corpse before him; "but that ought not to astonish you;
Monsieur and Madame de Saint-Meran died as soon. People die
very suddenly in your house, M. de Villefort."
"What?" cried the magistrate, with an accent of horror and
consternation, "are you still harping on that terrible
"Still, sir; and I shall always do so," replied d'Avrigny,
"for it has never for one instant ceased to retain
possession of my mind; and that you may be quite sure I am
not mistaken this time, listen well to what I am going to
say, M. de Villefort." The magistrate trembled convulsively.
"There is a poison which destroys life almost without
leaving any perceptible traces. I know it well; I have
studied it in all its forms and in the effects which it
produces. I recognized the presence of this poison in the
case of poor Barrois as well as in that of Madame de
Saint-Meran. There is a way of detecting its presence. It
restores the blue color of litmus-paper reddened by an acid,
and it turns syrup of violets green. We have no
litmus-paper, but, see, here they come with the syrup of
The doctor was right; steps were heard in the passage. M.
d'Avrigny opened the door, and took from the hands of the
chambermaid a cup which contained two or three spoonfuls of
the syrup, he then carefully closed the door. "Look," said
he to the procureur, whose heart beat so loudly that it
might almost be heard, "here is in this cup some syrup of
violets, and this decanter contains the remainder of the
lemonade of which M. Noirtier and Barrois partook. If the
lemonade be pure and inoffensive, the syrup will retain its
color; if, on the contrary, the lemonade be drugged with
poison, the syrup will become green. Look closely!"
The doctor then slowly poured some drops of the lemonade
from the decanter into the cup, and in an instant a light
cloudy sediment began to form at the bottom of the cup; this
sediment first took a blue shade, then from the color of
sapphire it passed to that of opal, and from opal to
emerald. Arrived at this last hue, it changed no more. The
result of the experiment left no doubt whatever on the mind.
"The unfortunate Barrois has been poisoned," said d'Avrigny,
"and I will maintain this assertion before God and man."
Villefort said nothing, but he clasped his hands, opened his
haggard eyes, and, overcome with his emotion, sank into a
M. D'Avrigny soon restored the magistrate to consciousness,
who had looked like a second corpse in that chamber of
death. "Oh, death is in my house!" cried Villefort.
"Say, rather, crime!" replied the doctor.
"M. d'Avrigny," cried Villefort, "I cannot tell you all I
feel at this moment, -- terror, grief, madness."
"Yes," said M. d'Avrigny, with an imposing calmness, "but I
think it is now time to act. I think it is time to stop this
torrent of mortality. I can no longer bear to be in
possession of these secrets without the hope of seeing the
victims and society generally revenged." Villefort cast a
gloomy look around him. "In my house," murmured he, "in my
"Come, magistrate," said M. d'Avrigny, "show yourself a man;
as an interpreter of the law, do honor to your profession by
sacrificing your selfish interests to it."
"You make me shudder, doctor. Do you talk of a sacrifice?"
"Do you then suspect any one?"
"I suspect no one; death raps at your door -- it enters --
it goes, not blindfolded, but circumspectly, from room to
room. Well, I follow its course, I track its passage; I
adopt the wisdom of the ancients, and feel my way, for my
friendship for your family and my respect for you are as a
twofold bandage over my eyes; well" --
"Oh, speak, speak, doctor; I shall have courage."
"Well, sir, you have in your establishment, or in your
family, perhaps, one of the frightful monstrosities of which
each century produces only one. Locusta and Agrippina,
living at the same time, were an exception, and proved the
determination of providence to effect the entire ruin of the
Roman empire, sullied by so many crimes. Brunehilde and
Fredegonde were the results of the painful struggle of
civilization in its infancy, when man was learning to
control mind, were it even by an emissary from the realms of
darkness. All these women had been, or were, beautiful. The
same flower of innocence had flourished, or was still
flourishing, on their brow, that is seen on the brow of the
culprit in your house." Villefort shrieked, clasped his
hands, and looked at the doctor with a supplicating air. But
the latter went on without pity: --
"`Seek whom the crime will profit,' says an axiom of
"Doctor," cried Villefort, "alas, doctor, how often has
man's justice been deceived by those fatal words. I know not
why, but I feel that this crime" --
"You acknowledge, then, the existence of the crime?"
"Yes, I see too plainly that it does exist. But it seems
that it is intended to affect me personally. I fear an
attack myself, after all these disasters."
"Oh, man," murmured d'Avrigny, "the most selfish of all
animals, the most personal of all creatures, who believes
the earth turns, the sun shines, and death strikes for him
alone, -- an ant cursing God from the top of a blade of
grass! And have those who have lost their lives lost
nothing? -- M. de Saint-Meran, Madame de Saint-Meran, M.
"How? M. Noirtier?"
"Yes; think you it was the poor servant's life was coveted?
No, no; like Shakespeare's `Polonius,' he died for another.
It was Noirtier the lemonade was intended for -- it is
Noirtier, logically speaking, who drank it. The other drank
it only by accident, and, although Barrois is dead, it was
Noirtier whose death was wished for."
"But why did it not kill my father?"
"I told you one evening in the garden after Madame de
Saint-Meran's death -- because his system is accustomed to
that very poison, and the dose was trifling to him, which
would be fatal to another; because no one knows, not even
the assassin, that, for the last twelve months, I have given
M. Noirtier brucine for his paralytic affection, while the
assassin is not ignorant, for he has proved that brucine is
a violent poison."
"Oh, have pity -- have pity!" murmured Villefort, wringing
"Follow the culprit's steps; he first kills M. de
"I would swear to it; what I heard of his symptoms agrees
too well with what I have seen in the other cases."
Villefort ceased to contend; he only groaned. "He first
kills M. de Saint-Meran," repeated the doctor, "then Madame
de Saint-Meran, -- a double fortune to inherit." Villefort
wiped the perspiration from his forehead. "Listen
"Alas," stammered Villefort, "I do not lose a single word."
"M. Noirtier," resumed M. d'Avrigny in the same pitiless
tone, -- "M. Noirtier had once made a will against you --
against your family -- in favor of the poor, in fact; M.
Noirtier is spared, because nothing is expected from him.
But he has no sooner destroyed his first will and made a
second, than, for fear he should make a third, he is struck
down. The will was made the day before yesterday, I believe;
you see there has been no time lost."
"Oh, mercy, M. d'Avrigny!"
"No mercy, sir! The physician has a sacred mission on earth;
and to fulfil it he begins at the source of life, and goes
down to the mysterious darkness of the tomb. When crime has
been committed, and God, doubtless in anger, turns away his
face, it is for the physician to bring the culprit to
"Have mercy on my child, sir," murmured Villefort.
"You see it is yourself who have first named her -- you, her
"Have pity on Valentine! Listen -- it is impossible! I would
as willingly accuse myself! Valentine, whose heart is pure
as a diamond or a lily."
"No pity, procureur; the crime is fragrant. Mademoiselle
herself packed all the medicines which were sent to M. de
Saint-Meran; and M. de Saint-Meran is dead. Mademoiselle de
Villefort prepared all the cooling draughts which Madame de
Saint-Meran took, and Madame de Saint-Meran is dead.
Mademoiselle de Villefort took from the hands of Barrois,
who was sent out, the lemonade which M. Noirtier had every
morning, and he has escaped by a miracle. Mademoiselle de
Villefort is the culprit -- she is the poisoner! To you, as
the king's attorney, I denounce Mademoiselle de Villefort,
do your duty."
"Doctor, I resist no longer -- I can no longer defend myself
-- I believe you; but, for pity's sake, spare my life, my
"M. de Villefort," replied the doctor, with increased
vehemence, "there are occasions when I dispense with all
foolish human circumspection. If your daughter had committed
only one crime, and I saw her meditating another, I would
say `Warn her, punish her, let her pass the remainder of her
life in a convent, weeping and praying.' If she had
committed two crimes, I would say, `Here, M. de Villefort,
is a poison that the prisoner is not acquainted with, -- one
that has no known antidote, quick as thought, rapid as
lightning, mortal as the thunderbolt; give her that poison,
recommending her soul to God, and save your honor and your
life, for it is yours she aims at; and I can picture her
approaching your pillow with her hypocritical smiles and her
sweet exhortations. Woe to you, M. de Villefort, if you do
not strike first!' This is what I would say had she only
killed two persons but she has seen three deaths, -- has
contemplated three murdered persons, -- has knelt by three
corpses! To the scaffold with the poisoner -- to the
scaffold! Do you talk of your honor? Do what I tell you, and
immortality awaits you!"
Villefort fell on his knees. "Listen," said he; "I have not
the strength of mind you have, or rather that which you
would not have, if instead of my daughter Valentine your
daughter Madeleine were concerned." The doctor turned pale.
"Doctor, every son of woman is born to suffer and to die; I
am content to suffer and to await death."
"Beware," said M. d'Avrigny, "it may come slowly; you will
see it approach after having struck your father, your wife,
perhaps your son."
Villefort, suffocating, pressed the doctor's arm. "Listen,"
cried he; "pity me -- help me! No, my daughter is not
guilty. If you drag us both before a tribunal I will still
say, `No, my daughter is not guilty; -- there is no crime in
my house. I will not acknowledge a crime in my house; for
when crime enters a dwelling, it is like death -- it does
not come alone.' Listen. What does it signify to you if I am
murdered? Are you my friend? Are you a man? Have you a
heart? No, you are a physician! Well, I tell you I will not
drag my daughter before a tribunal, and give her up to the
executioner! The bare idea would kill me -- would drive me
like a madman to dig my heart out with my finger-nails! And
if you were mistaken, doctor -- if it were not my daughter
-- if I should come one day, pale as a spectre, and say to
you, `Assassin, you have killed my child!' -- hold -- if
that should happen, although I am a Christian, M. d'Avrigny,
I should kill myself."
"Well," said the doctor, after a moment's silence, "I will
wait." Villefort looked at him as if he had doubted his
words. "Only," continued M. d'Avrigny, with a slow and
solemn tone, "if any one falls ill in your house, if you
feel yourself attacked, do not send for me, for I will come
no more. I will consent to share this dreadful secret with
you, but I will not allow shame and remorse to grow and
increase in my conscience, as crime and misery will in your
"Then you abandon me, doctor?"
"Yes, for I can follow you no farther, and I only stop at
the foot of the scaffold. Some further discovery will be
made, which will bring this dreadful tragedy to a close.
"I entreat you, doctor!"
"All the horrors that disturb my thoughts make your house
odious and fatal. Adieu, sir."
"One word -- one single word more, doctor! You go, leaving
me in all the horror of my situation, after increasing it by
what you have revealed to me. But what will be reported of
the sudden death of the poor old servant?"
"True," said M. d'Avrigny; "we will return." The doctor went
out first, followed by M. de Villefort. The terrified
servants were on the stairs and in the passage where the
doctor would pass. "Sir," said d'Avrigny to Villefort, so
loud that all might hear, "poor Barrois has led too
sedentary a life of late; accustomed formerly to ride on
horseback, or in the carriage, to the four corners of
Europe, the monotonous walk around that arm-chair has killed
him -- his blood has thickened. He was stout, had a short,
thick neck; he was attacked with apoplexy, and I was called
in too late. By the way," added he in a low tone, "take care
to throw away that cup of syrup of violets in the ashes."
The doctor, without shaking hands with Villefort, without
adding a word to what he had said, went out, amid the tears
and lamentations of the whole household. The same evening
all Villefort's servants, who had assembled in the kitchen,
and had a long consultation, came to tell Madame de
Villefort that they wished to leave. No entreaty, no
proposition of increased wages, could induce them to remain;
to every argument they replied, "We must go, for death is in
this house." They all left, in spite of prayers and
entreaties, testifying their regret at leaving so good a
master and mistress, and especially Mademoiselle Valentine,
so good, so kind, and so gentle. Villefort looked at
Valentine as they said this. She was in tears, and, strange
as it was, in spite of the emotions he felt at the sight of
these tears, he looked also at Madame de Villefort, and it
appeared to him as if a slight gloomy smile had passed over
her thin lips, like a meteor seen passing inauspiciously
between two clouds in a stormy sky.
The Room of the Retired Baker.
The evening of the day on which the Count of Morcerf had
left Danglars' house with feelings of shame and anger at the
rejection of the projected alliance, M. Andrea Cavalcanti,
with curled hair, mustaches in perfect order, and white
gloves which fitted admirably, had entered the courtyard of
the banker's house in La Chaussee d'Antin. He had not been
more than ten minutes in the drawing-room before he drew
Danglars aside into the recess of a bow-window, and, after
an ingenious preamble, related to him all his anxieties and
cares since his noble father's departure. He acknowledged
the extreme kindness which had been shown him by the
banker's family, in which he had been received as a son, and
where, besides, his warmest affections had found an object
on which to centre in Mademoiselle Danglars. Danglars
listened with the most profound attention; he had expected
this declaration for the last two or three days, and when at
last it came his eyes glistened as much as they had lowered
on listening to Morcerf. He would not, however, yield
immediately to the young man's request, but made a few
conscientious objections. "Are you not rather young, M.
Andrea, to think of marrying?"
"I think not, sir," replied M. Cavalcanti; "in Italy the
nobility generally marry young. Life is so uncertain, that
we ought to secure happiness while it is within our reach."
"Well, sir," said Danglars, "in case your proposals, which
do me honor, are accepted by my wife and daughter, by whom
shall the preliminary arrangements be settled? So important
a negotiation should, I think, be conducted by the
respective fathers of the young people."
"Sir, my father is a man of great foresight and prudence.
Thinking that I might wish to settle in France, he left me
at his departure, together with the papers establishing my
identity, a letter promising, if he approved of my choice,
150,000 livres per annum from the day I was married. So far
as I can judge, I suppose this to be a quarter of my
"I," said Danglars, "have always intended giving my daughter
500,000 francs as her dowry; she is, besides, my sole
"All would then be easily arranged if the baroness and her
daughter are willing. We should command an annuity of
175,000 livres. Supposing, also, I should persuade the
marquis to give me my capital, which is not likely, but
still is possible, we would place these two or three
millions in your hands, whose talent might make it realize
ten per cent."
"I never give more than four per cent, and generally only
three and a half; but to my son-in-law I would give five,
and we would share the profit."
"Very good, father-in-law," said Cavalcanti, yielding to his
low-born nature, which would escape sometimes through the
aristocratic gloss with which he sought to conceal it.
Correcting himself immediately, he said, "Excuse me, sir;
hope alone makes me almost mad, -- what will not reality
"But," said Danglars, -- who, on his part, did not perceive
how soon the conversation, which was at first disinterested,
was turning to a business transaction, -- "there is,
doubtless, a part of your fortune your father could not
"Which?" asked the young man.
"That you inherit from your mother."
"Truly, from my mother, Leonora Corsinari."
"How much may it amount to?"
"Indeed, sir," said Andrea, "I assure you I have never given
the subject a thought, but I suppose it must have been at
least two millions." Danglars felt as much overcome with joy
as the miser who finds a lost treasure, or as the
shipwrecked mariner who feels himself on solid ground
instead of in the abyss which he expected would swallow him
"Well, sir," said Andrea, bowing to the banker respectfully,
"may I hope?"
"You may not only hope," said Danglars, "but consider it a
settled thing, if no obstacle arises on your part."
"I am, indeed, rejoiced," said Andrea.
"But," said Danglars thoughtfully, "how is it that your
patron, M. de Monte Cristo, did not make his proposal for
you?" Andrea blushed imperceptibly. "I have just left the
count, sir," said he; "he is, doubtless, a delightful man
but inconceivably peculiar in his ideas. He esteems me
highly. He even told me he had not the slightest doubt that
my father would give me the capital instead of the interest
of my property. He has promised to use his influence to
obtain it for me; but he also declared that he never had
taken on himself the responsibility of making proposals for
another, and he never would. I must, however, do him the
justice to add that he assured me if ever he had regretted
the repugnance he felt to such a step it was on this
occasion, because he thought the projected union would be a
happy and suitable one. Besides, if he will do nothing
officially, he will answer any questions you propose to him.
And now," continued he, with one of his most charming
smiles, "having finished talking to the father-in-law, I
must address myself to the banker."
"And what may you have to say to him?" said Danglars,
laughing in his turn.
"That the day after to-morrow I shall have to draw upon you
for about four thousand francs; but the count, expecting my
bachelor's revenue could not suffice for the coming month's
outlay, has offered me a draft for twenty thousand francs.
It bears his signature, as you see, which is
"Bring me a million such as that," said Danglars, "I shall
be well pleased," putting the draft in his pocket. "Fix your
own hour for to-morrow, and my cashier shall call on you
with a check for eighty thousand francs."
"At ten o'clock then, if you please; I should like it early,
as I am going into the country to-morrow."
"Very well, at ten o'clock; you are still at the Hotel des
The following morning, with the banker's usual punctuality,
the eighty thousand francs were placed in the young man's
hands as he was on the point of starting, after having left
two hundred francs for Caderousse. He went out chiefly to
avoid this dangerous enemy, and returned as late as possible
in the evening. But scarcely had be stepped out of his
carriage when the porter met him with a parcel in his hand.
"Sir," said he, "that man has been here."
"What man?" said Andrea carelessly, apparently forgetting
him whom he but too well recollected.
"Him to whom your excellency pays that little annuity."
"Oh," said Andrea, "my father's old servant. Well, you gave
him the two hundred francs I had left for him?"
"Yes, your excellency." Andrea had expressed a wish to be
thus addressed. "But," continued the porter, "he would not
take them." Andrea turned pale, but as it was dark his
pallor was not perceptible. "What? he would not take them?"
said he with slight emotion.
"No, he wished to speak to your excellency; I told him you
were gone out, and after some dispute he believed me and
gave me this letter, which he had brought with him already
"Give it me," said Andrea, and he read by the light of his
carriage-lamp, -- "You know where I live; I expect you
tomorrow morning at nine o'clock."
Andrea examined it carefully, to ascertain if the letter had
been opened, or if any indiscreet eyes had seen its
contents; but it was so carefully folded, that no one could
have read it, and the seal was perfect. "Very well," said
he. "Poor man, he is a worthy creature." He left the porter
to ponder on these words, not knowing which most to admire,
the master or the servant. "Take out the horses quickly, and
come up to me," said Andrea to his groom. In two seconds the
young man had reached his room and burnt Caderousse's
letter. The servant entered just as he had finished. "You
are about my height, Pierre," said he.
"I have that honor, your excellency."
"You had a new livery yesterday?"
"I have an engagement with a pretty little girl for this
evening, and do not wish to be known; lend me your livery
till to-morrow. I may sleep, perhaps, at an inn." Pierre
obeyed. Five minutes after, Andrea left the hotel,
completely disguised, took a cabriolet, and ordered the
driver to take him to the Cheval Rouge, at Picpus. The next
morning he left that inn as he had left the Hotel des
Princes, without being noticed, walked down the Faubourg St.
Antoine, along the boulevard to Rue Menilmontant, and
stopping at the door of the third house on the left looked
for some one of whom to make inquiry in the porter's
absence. "For whom are you looking, my fine fellow?" asked
the fruiteress on the opposite side.
"Monsieur Pailletin, if you please, my good woman," replied
"A retired baker?" asked the fruiteress.
"He lives at the end of the yard, on the left, on the third
story." Andrea went as she directed him, and on the third
floor he found a hare's paw, which, by the hasty ringing of
the bell, it was evident he pulled with considerable
ill-temper. A moment after Caderousse's face appeared at the
grating in the door. "Ah, you are punctual," said he, as he
drew back the door.
"Confound you and your punctuality!" said Andrea, throwing
himself into a chair in a manner which implied that he would
rather have flung it at the head of his host.
"Come, come, my little fellow, don't be angry. See, I have
thought about you -- look at the good breakfast we are going
to have; nothing but what you are fond of." Andrea, indeed,
inhaled the scent of something cooking which was not
unwelcome to him, hungry as he was; it was that mixture of
fat and garlic peculiar to provincial kitchens of an
inferior order, added to that of dried fish, and above all,
the pungent smell of musk and cloves. These odors escaped
from two deep dishes which were covered and placed on a
stove, and from a copper pan placed in an old iron pot. In
an adjoining room Andrea saw also a tolerably clean table
prepared for two, two bottles of wine sealed, the one with
green, the other with yellow, a supply of brandy in a
decanter, and a measure of fruit in a cabbage-leaf, cleverly
arranged on an earthenware plate.
"What do you think of it, my little fellow?" said
Caderousse. "Ay, that smells good! You know I used to be a
famous cook; do you recollect how you used to lick your
fingers? You were among the first who tasted any of my
dishes, and I think you relished them tolerably." While
speaking, Caderousse went on peeling a fresh supply of
"But," said Andrea, ill-temperedly, "by my faith, if it was
only to breakfast with you, that you disturbed me, I wish
the devil had taken you!"
"My boy," said Caderousse sententiously, "one can talk while
eating. And then, you ungrateful being, you are not pleased
to see an old friend? I am weeping with joy." He was truly
crying, but it would have been difficult to say whether joy
or the onions produced the greatest effect on the lachrymal
glands of the old inn-keeper of the Pont-du-Gard. "Hold your
tongue, hypocrite," said Andrea; "you love me!"
"Yes, I do, or may the devil take me. I know it is a
weakness," said Caderousse, "but it overpowers me."
"And yet it has not prevented your sending for me to play me
"Come," said Caderousse, wiping his large knife on his
apron, "if I did not like you, do you think I should endure
the wretched life you lead me? Think for a moment. You have
your servant's clothes on -- you therefore keep a servant; I
have none, and am obliged to prepare my own meals. You abuse
my cookery because you dine at the table d'hote of the Hotel
des Princes, or the Cafe de Paris. Well, I too could keep a
servant; I too could have a tilbury; I too could dine where
I like; but why do I not? Because I would not annoy my
little Benedetto. Come, just acknowledge that I could, eh?"
This address was accompanied by a look which was by no means
difficult to understand. "Well," said Andrea, "admitting
your love, why do you want me to breakfast with you?"
"That I may have the pleasure of seeing you, my little
"What is the use of seeing me after we have made all our
"Eh, dear friend," said Caderousse, "are wills ever made
without codicils? But you first came to breakfast, did you
not? Well, sit down, and let us begin with these pilchards,
and this fresh butter; which I have put on some vine-leaves
to please you, wicked one. Ah, yes; you look at my room, my
four straw chairs, my images, three francs each. But what do
you expect? This is not the Hotel des Princes."
"Come, you are growing discontented, you are no longer
happy; you, who only wish to live like a retired baker."
Caderousse sighed. "Well, what have you to say? you have
seen your dream realized."
"I can still say it is a dream; a retired baker, my poor
Benedetto, is rich -- he has an annuity."
"Well, you have an annuity."
"Yes, since I bring you your two hundred francs." Caderousse
shrugged his shoulders. "It is humiliating," said he, "thus
to receive money given grudgingly, ---an uncertain supply
which may soon fail. You see I am obliged to economize, in
case your prosperity should cease. Well, my friend, fortune
is inconstant, as the chaplain of the regiment said. I know
your prosperity is great, you rascal; you are to marry the
daughter of Danglars."
"What? of Danglars?"
"Yes, to be sure; must I say Baron Danglars? I might as well
say Count Benedetto. He was an old friend of mine and if he
had not so bad a memory he ought to invite me to your
wedding, seeing he came to mine. Yes, yes, to mine; gad, he
was not so proud then, -- he was an under-clerk to the good
M. Morrel. I have dined many times with him and the Count of
Morcerf, so you see I have some high connections and were I
to cultivate them a little, we might meet in the same
"Come, your jealousy represents everything to you in the
"That is all very fine, Benedetto mio, but I know what I am
saying. Perhaps I may one day put on my best coat, and
presenting myself at the great gate, introduce myself.
Meanwhile let us sit down and eat." Caderousse set the
example and attacked the breakfast with good appetite,
praising each dish he set before his visitor. The latter
seemed to have resigned himself; he drew the corks, and
partook largely of the fish with the garlic and fat. "Ah,
mate," said Caderousse, "you are getting on better terms
with your old landlord!"
"Faith, yes," replied Andrea, whose hunger prevailed over
every other feeling.
"So you like it, you rogue?"
"So much that I wonder how a man who can cook thus can
complain of hard living."
"Do you see," said Caderousse, "all my happiness is marred
by one thought?"
"What is that?"
"That I am dependent on another, I who have always gained my
own livelihood honestly."
"Do not let that disturb you, I have enough for two."
"No, truly; you may believe me if you will; at the end of
every month I am tormented by remorse."
"So much so, that yesterday I would not take the two hundred
"Yes, you wished to speak to me; but was it indeed remorse,
"True remorse; and, besides, an idea had struck me." Andrea
shuddered; he always did so at Caderousse's ideas. "It is
miserable -- do you see? -- always to wait till the end of
the month. -- "Oh," said Andrea philosophically, determined
to watch his companion narrowly, "does not life pass in
waiting? Do I, for instance, fare better? Well, I wait
patiently, do I not?"
"Yes; because instead of expecting two hundred wretched
francs, you expect five or six thousand, perhaps ten,
perhaps even twelve, for you take care not to let any one
know the utmost. Down there, you always had little presents
and Christmas-boxes which you tried to hide from your poor
friend Caderousse. Fortunately he is a cunning fellow, that
"There you are beginning again to ramble, to talk again and
again of the past! But what is the use of teasing me with
going all over that again?"
"Ah, you are only one and twenty, and can forget the past; I
am fifty, and am obliged to recollect it. But let us return
"I was going to say, if I were in your place" --
"I would realize" --
"How would you realize?"
"I would ask for six months' in advance, under pretence of
being able to purchase a farm, then with my six months I
"Well, well," said Andrea, "that isn't a bad idea."
"My dear friend," said Caderousse, "eat of my bread, and
take my advice; you will be none the worse off, physically
"But," said Andrea, "why do you not act on the advice you
gave me? Why do you not realize a six months', a year's
advance even, and retire to Brussels? Instead of living the
retired baker, you might live as a bankrupt, using his
privileges; that would be very good."
"But how the devil would you have me retire on twelve
"Ah, Caderousse," said Andrea, "how covetous you are! Two
months ago you were dying with hunger."
"The appetite grows by what it feeds on," said Caderousse,
grinning and showing his teeth, like a monkey laughing or a
tiger growling. "And," added he, biting off with his large
white teeth an enormous mouthful of bread, "I have formed a
plan." Caderousse's plans alarmed Andrea still more than his
ideas; ideas were but the germ, the plan was reality. "Let
me see your plan; I dare say it is a pretty one."
"Why not? Who formed the plan by which we left the
establishment of M ---- ! eh? was it not I? and it was no
bad one I believe, since here we are!"
"I do not say," replied Andrea, "that you never make a good
one; but let us see your plan."
"Well," pursued Caderousse, "can you without expending one
sou, put me in the way of getting fifteen thousand francs?
No, fifteen thousand are not enough, -- I cannot again
become an honest man with less than thirty thousand francs."
"No," replied Andrea, dryly, "no, I cannot."
"I do not think you understand me," replied Caderousse,
calmly; "I said without your laying out a sou."
"Do you want me to commit a robbery, to spoil all my good
fortune -- and yours with mine -- and both of us to be
dragged down there again?"
"It would make very little difference to me," said
Caderousse, "if I were retaken, I am a poor creature to live
alone, and sometimes pine for my old comrades; not like you,
heartless creature, who would be glad never to see them
again." Andrea did more than tremble this time, he turned
"Come, Caderousse, no nonsense!" said he.
"Don't alarm yourself, my little Benedetto, but just point
out to me some means of gaining those thirty thousand francs
without your assistance, and I will contrive it."
"Well, I'll see -- I'll try to contrive some way," said
"Meanwhile you will raise my monthly allowance to five
hundred francs, my little fellow? I have a fancy, and mean
to get a housekeeper."
"Well, you shall have your five hundred francs," said
Andrea; "but it is very hard for me, my poor Caderousse --
you take advantage" --
"Bah," said Caderousse, "when you have access to countless
stores." One would have said Andrea anticipated his
companion's words, so did his eye flash like lightning, but
it was but for a moment. "True," he replied, "and my
protector is very kind."
"That dear protector," said Caderousse; "and how much does
he give you monthly?"
"Five thousand francs."
"As many thousands as you give me hundreds! Truly, it is
only bastards who are thus fortunate. Five thousand francs
per month! What the devil can you do with all that?"
"Oh, it is no trouble to spend that; and I am like you, I
"Capital? -- yes -- I understand -- every one would like
"Well, and I shall get it."
"Who will give it to you -- your prince?"
"Yes, my prince. But unfortunately I must wait."
"You must wait for what?" asked Caderousse.
"For his death."
"The death of your prince?"
"Because he has made his will in my favor."
"On my honor."
"For how much?"
"For five hundred thousand."
"Only that? It's little enough."
"But so it is."
"No it cannot be!"
"Are you my friend, Caderousse?"
"Yes, in life or death."
"Well, I will tell you a secret."
"What is it?"
"But remember" --
"Ah, pardieu, mute as a carp."
"Well, I think" -- Andrea stopped and looked around.
"You think? Do not fear; pardieu, we are alone."
"I think I have discovered my father."
"Your true father?"
"Not old Cavalcanti?"
"No, for he has gone again; the true one, as you say."
"And that father is" --
"Well, Caderousse, it is Monte Cristo."
"Yes, you understand, that explains all. He cannot
acknowledge me openly, it appears, but he does it through M.
Cavalcanti, and gives him fifty thousand francs for it."
"Fifty thousand francs for being your father? I would have
done it for half that, for twenty thousand, for fifteen
thousand; why did you not think of me, ungrateful man?"
"Did I know anything about it, when it was all done when I
was down there?"
"Ah, truly? And you say that by his will" --
"He leaves me five hundred thousand livres."
"Are you sure of it?"
"He showed it me; but that is not all -- there is a codicil,
as I said just now."
"And in that codicil he acknowledges me."
"Oh, the good father, the brave father, the very honest
father!" said Caderousse, twirling a plate in the air
between his two hands.
"Now say if I conceal anything from you?"
"No, and your confidence makes you honorable in my opinion;
and your princely father, is he rich, very rich?"
"Yes, he is that; he does not himself know the amount of his
"Is it possible?"
"It is evident enough to me, who am always at his house. The
other day a banker's clerk brought him fifty thousand francs
in a portfolio about the size of your plate; yesterday his
banker brought him a hundred thousand francs in gold."
Caderousse was filled with wonder; the young man's words
sounded to him like metal, and he thought he could hear the
rushing of cascades of louis. "And you go into that house?"
cried he briskly.
"When I like."
Caderousse was thoughtful for a moment. It was easy to
perceive he was revolving some unfortunate idea in his mind.
Then suddenly, -- "How I should like to see all that," cried
he; "how beautiful it must be!"
"It is, in fact, magnificent," said Andrea.
"And does he not live in the Champs-Elysees?"
"Yes, No. 30."
"Ah," said Caderousse, "No. 30."
"Yes, a fine house standing alone, between a court-yard and
a garden, -- you must know it."
"Possibly; but it is not the exterior I care for, it is the
interior. What beautiful furniture there must be in it!"
"Have you ever seen the Tuileries?"
"Well, it surpasses that."
"It must be worth one's while to stoop, Andrea, when that
good M. Monte Cristo lets fall his purse."
"It is not worth while to wait for that," said Andrea;
"money is as plentiful in that house as fruit in an
"But you should take me there one day with you."
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