The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas [Pere]
Part 24 out of 31
"How can I? On what plea?"
"You are right; but you have made my mouth water. I must
absolutely see it; I shall find a way."
"No nonsense, Caderousse!"
"I will offer myself as floor-polisher."
"The rooms are all carpeted."
"Well, then, I must be contented to imagine it."
"That is the best plan, believe me."
"Try, at least, to give me an idea of what it is."
"How can I?"
"Nothing is easier. Is it large?"
"How is it arranged?"
"Faith, I should require pen, ink, and paper to make a
"They are all here," said Caderousse, briskly. He fetched
from an old secretary a sheet of white paper and pen and
ink. "Here," said Caderousse, "draw me all that on the
paper, my boy." Andrea took the pen with an imperceptible
smile and began. "The house, as I said, is between the court
and the garden; in this way, do you see?" Andrea drew the
garden, the court and the house.
"Not more than eight or ten feet."
"That is not prudent," said Caderousse.
"In the court are orange-trees in pots, turf, and clumps of
"And no steel-traps?"
"Are on either side of the gate, which you see there." And
Andrea continued his plan.
"Let us see the ground floor," said Caderousse.
"On the ground-floor, dining-room, two drawing-rooms,
billiard-room, staircase in the hall, and a little back
"Magnificent windows, so beautiful, so large, that I believe
a man of your size should pass through each frame."
"Why the devil have they any stairs with such windows?"
"Luxury has everything."
"Yes, but they are never used. That Count of Monte Cristo is
an original, who loves to look at the sky even at night."
"And where do the servants sleep?"
"Oh, they have a house to themselves. Picture to yourself a
pretty coach-house at the right-hand side where the ladders
are kept. Well, over that coach-house are the servants'
rooms, with bells corresponding with the different
"Ah, diable -- bells did you say?"
"What do you mean?"
"Oh. nothing! I only say they cost a load of money to hang,
and what is the use of them, I should like to know?"
"There used to be a dog let loose in the yard at night, but
it has been taken to the house at Auteuil, to that you went
to, you know."
"I was saying to him only yesterday, `You are imprudent,
Monsieur Count; for when you go to Auteuil and take your
servants the house is left unprotected.' Well,' said he,
`what next?' `Well, next, some day you will be robbed.'"
"What did he answer?"
"He quietly said, `What do I care if I am?'"
"Andrea, he has some secretary with a spring."
"How do you know?"
"Yes, which catches the thief in a trap and plays a tune. I
was told there were such at the last exhibition."
"He has simply a mahogany secretary, in which the key is
"And he is not robbed?"
"No; his servants are all devoted to him."
"There ought to be some money in that secretary?"
"There may be. No one knows what there is."
"And where is it?"
"On the first floor."
"Sketch me the plan of that floor, as you have done of the
ground floor, my boy."
"That is very simple." Andrea took the pen. "On the first
story, do you see, there is the anteroom and the
drawing-room; to the right of the drawing-room, a library
and a study; to the left, a bedroom and a dressing-room. The
famous secretary is in the dressing-room."
"Is there a window in the dressing-room?"
"Two, -- one here and one there." Andrea sketched two
windows in the room, which formed an angle on the plan, and
appeared as a small square added to the rectangle of the
bedroom. Caderousse became thoughtful. "Does he often go to
Auteuil?" added he.
"Two or three times a week. To-morrow, for instance, he is
going to spend the day and night there."
"Are you sure of it?"
"He has invited me to dine there."
"There's a life for you," said Caderousse; "a town house and
a country house."
"That is what it is to be rich."
"And shall you dine there?"
"When you dine there, do you sleep there?"
"If I like; I am at home there." Caderousse looked at the
young man, as if to get at the truth from the bottom of his
heart. But Andrea drew a cigar-case from his pocket, took a
havana, quietly lit it, and began smoking. "When do you want
your twelve hundred francs?" said he to Caderousse.
"Now, if you have them." Andrea took five and twenty louis
from his pocket.
"Yellow boys?" said Caderousse; "no, I thank you."
"Oh, you despise them."
"On the contrary, I esteem them, but will not have them."
"You can change them, idiot; gold is worth five sous."
"Exactly; and he who changes them will follow friend
Caderousse, lay hands on him, and demand what farmers pay
him their rent in gold. No nonsense, my good fellow; silver
simply, round coins with the head of some monarch or other
on them. Anybody may possess a five-franc piece."
"But do you suppose I carry five hundred francs about with
me? I should want a porter."
"Well, leave them with your porter; he is to be trusted. I
will call for them."
"No, to-morrow; I shall not have time to day."
"Well, to-morrow I will leave them when I go to Auteuil."
"May I depend on it?"
"Because I shall secure my housekeeper on the strength of
"Now see here, will that be all? Eh? And will you not
torment me any more?"
"Never." Caderousse had become so gloomy that Andrea feared
he should be obliged to notice the change. He redoubled his
gayety and carelessness. "How sprightly you are," said
Caderousse; "One would say you were already in possession of
"No, unfortunately; but when I do obtain it" --
"I shall remember old friends, I can tell you that."
"Yes, since you have such a good memory."
"What do you want? It looks as if you were trying to fleece
"I? What an idea! I, who am going to give you another piece
of good advice."
"What is it?"
"To leave behind you the diamond you have on your finger. We
shall both get into trouble. You will ruin both yourself and
me by your folly."
"How so?" said Andrea.
"How? You put on a livery, you disguise yourself as a
servant, and yet keep a diamond on your finger worth four or
five thousand francs."
"You guess well."
"I know something of diamonds; I have had some."
"You do well to boast of it," said Andrea, who, without
becoming angry, as Caderousse feared, at this new extortion,
quietly resigned the ring. Caderousse looked so closely at
it that Andrea well knew that he was examining to see if all
the edges were perfect.
"It is a false diamond," said Caderousse.
"You are joking now," replied Andrea.
"Do not be angry, we can try it." Caderousse went to the
window, touched the glass with it, and found it would cut.
"Confiteor," said Caderousse, putting the diamond on his
little finger; "I was mistaken; but those thieves of
jewellers imitate so well that it is no longer worth while
to rob a jeweller's shop -- it is another branch of industry
"Have you finished?" said Andrea, -- "do you want anything
more? -- will you have my waistcoat or my hat? Make free,
now you have begun."
"No; you are, after all, a good companion; I will not detain
you, and will try to cure myself of my ambition."
"But take care the same thing does not happen to you in
selling the diamond you feared with the gold."
"I shall not sell it -- do not fear."
"Not at least till the day after to-morrow," thought the
"Happy rogue," said Caderousse; "you are going to find your
servants, your horses, your carriage, and your betrothed!"
"Yes," said Andrea.
"Well, I hope you will make a handsome wedding-present the
day you marry Mademoiselle Danglars."
"I have already told you it is a fancy you have taken in
"What fortune has she?"
"But I tell you" --
"A million?" Andrea shrugged his shoulders.
"Let it be a million," said Caderousse; "you can never have
so much as I wish you."
"Thank you," said the young man.
"Oh, I wish it you with all my heart!" added Caderousse with
his hoarse laugh. "Stop, let me show you the way."
"It is not worth while."
"Yes, it is."
"Because there is a little secret, a precaution I thought it
desirable to take, one of Huret & Fitchet's locks, revised
and improved by Gaspard Caderousse; I will manufacture you a
similar one when you are a capitalist."
"Thank you," said Andrea; "I will let you know a week
beforehand." They parted. Caderousse remained on the landing
until he had not only seen Andrea go down the three stories,
but also cross the court. Then he returned hastily, shut his
door carefully, and began to study, like a clever architect,
the plan Andrea had left him.
"Dear Benedetto," said he, "I think he will not be sorry to
inherit his fortune, and he who hastens the day when he can
touch his five hundred thousand will not be his worst
The day following that on which the conversation we have
related took place, the Count of Monte Cristo set out for
Auteuil, accompanied by Ali and several attendants, and also
taking with him some horses whose qualities he was desirous
of ascertaining. He was induced to undertake this journey,
of which the day before he had not even thought and which
had not occurred to Andrea either, by the arrival of
Bertuccio from Normandy with intelligence respecting the
house and sloop. The house was ready, and the sloop which
had arrived a week before lay at anchor in a small creek
with her crew of six men, who had observed all the requisite
formalities and were ready again to put to sea.
The count praised Bertuccio's zeal, and ordered him to
prepare for a speedy departure, as his stay in France would
not be prolonged more than a month. "Now," said he, "I may
require to go in one night from Paris to Treport; let eight
fresh horses be in readiness on the road, which will enable
me to go fifty leagues in ten hours."
"Your highness had already expressed that wish," said
Bertuccio, "and the horses are ready. I have bought them,
and stationed them myself at the most desirable posts, that
is, in villages, where no one generally stops."
"That's well," said Monte Cristo; "I remain here a day or
two -- arrange accordingly." As Bertuccio was leaving the
room to give the requisite orders, Baptistin opened the
door: he held a letter on a silver waiter.
"What are you doing here?" asked the count, seeing him
covered with dust; "I did not send for you, I think?"
Baptistin, without answering, approached the count, and
presented the letter. "Important and urgent," said he. The
count opened the letter, and read: --
"M. de Monte Cristo is apprised that this night a man will
enter his house in the Champs-Elysees with the intention of
carrying off some papers supposed to be in the secretary in
the dressing-room. The count's well-known courage will
render unnecessary the aid of the police, whose interference
might seriously affect him who sends this advice. The count,
by any opening from the bedroom, or by concealing himself in
the dressing-room, would be able to defend his property
himself. Many attendants or apparent precautions would
prevent the villain from the attempt, and M. de Monte Cristo
would lose the opportunity of discovering an enemy whom
chance has revealed to him who now sends this warning to the
count, -- a warning he might not be able to send another
time, if this first attempt should fail and another be
The count's first idea was that this was an artifice -- a
gross deception, to draw his attention from a minor danger
in order to expose him to a greater. He was on the point of
sending the letter to the commissary of police,
notwithstanding the advice of his anonymous friend, or
perhaps because of that advice, when suddenly the idea
occurred to him that it might be some personal enemy, whom
he alone should recognize and over whom, if such were the
case, he alone would gain any advantage, as Fiesco* had done
over the Moor who would have killed him. We know the Count's
vigorous and daring mind, denying anything to be impossible,
with that energy which marks the great man. From his past
life, from his resolution to shrink from nothing, the count
had acquired an inconceivable relish for the contests in
which he had engaged, sometimes against nature, that is to
say, against God, and sometimes against the world, that is,
against the devil.
* The Genoese conspirator.
"They do not want my papers," said Monte Cristo, "they want
to kill me; they are no robbers, but assassins. I will not
allow the prefect of police to interfere with my private
affairs. I am rich enough, forsooth, to distribute his
authority on this occasion." The count recalled Baptistin,
who had left the room after delivering the letter. "Return
to Paris," said he; "assemble the servants who remain there.
I want all my household at Auteuil."
"But will no one remain in the house, my lord?" asked
"Yes, the porter."
"My lord will remember that the lodge is at a distance from
"The house might be stripped without his hearing the least
"You are a fool, M. Baptistin. Thieves might strip the house
-- it would annoy me less than to be disobeyed." Baptistin
"You understand me?" said the count. "Bring your comrades
here, one and all; but let everything remain as usual, only
close the shutters of the ground floor."
"And those of the second floor?"
"You know they are never closed. Go!"
The count signified his intention of dining alone, and that
no one but Ali should attend him. Having dined with his
usual tranquillity and moderation, the count, making a
signal to Ali to follow him, went out by the side-gate and
on reaching the Bois de Boulogne turned, apparently without
design towards Paris and at twilight; found himself opposite
his house in the Champs-Elysees. All was dark; one solitary,
feeble light was burning in the porter's lodge, about forty
paces distant from the house, as Baptistin had said. Monte
Cristo leaned against a tree, and with that scrutinizing
glance which was so rarely deceived, looked up and down the
avenue, examined the passers-by, and carefully looked down
the neighboring streets, to see that no one was concealed.
Ten minutes passed thus, and he was convinced that no one
was watching him. He hastened to the side-door with Ali,
entered hurriedly, and by the servants' staircase, of which
he had the key, gained his bedroom without opening or
disarranging a single curtain, without even the porter
having the slightest suspicion that the house, which he
supposed empty, contained its chief occupant.
Arrived in his bedroom, the count motioned to Ali to stop;
then he passed into the dressing-room, which he examined.
Everything appeared as usual -- the precious secretary in
its place, and the key in the secretary. He double locked
it, took the key, returned to the bedroom door, removed the
double staple of the bolt, and went in. Meanwhile Ali had
procured the arms the count required -- namely, a short
carbine and a pair of double-barrelled pistols, with which
as sure an aim might be taken as with a single-barrelled
one. Thus armed, the count held the lives of five men in his
hands. It was about half-past nine. The count and Ali ate in
haste a crust of bread and drank a glass of Spanish wine;
then Monte Cristo slipped aside one of the movable panels,
which enabled him to see into the adjoining room. He had
within his reach his pistols and carbine, and Ali, standing
near him, held one of the small Arabian hatchets, whose form
has not varied since the Crusades. Through one of the
windows of the bedroom, on a line with that in the
dressing-room, the count could see into the street.
Two hours passed thus. It was intensely dark; still Ali,
thanks to his wild nature, and the count, thanks doubtless
to his long confinement, could distinguish in the darkness
the slightest movement of the trees. The little light in the
lodge had long been extinct. It might be expected that the
attack, if indeed an attack was projected, would be made
from the staircase of the ground floor, and not from a
window; in Monte Cristo's opinion, the villains sought his
life, not his money. It would be his bedroom they would
attack, and they must reach it by the back staircase, or by
the window in the dressing-room. The clock of the Invalides
struck a quarter to twelve; the west wind bore on its
moistened gusts the doleful vibration of the three strokes.
As the last stroke died away, the count thought he heard a
slight noise in the dressing-room; this first sound, or
rather this first grinding, was followed by a second, then a
third; at the fourth, the count knew what to expect. A firm
and well-practised hand was engaged in cutting the four
sides of a pane of glass with a diamond. The count felt his
heart beat more rapidly. Inured as men may be to danger,
forewarned as they may be of peril, they understand, by the
fluttering of the heart and the shuddering of the frame, the
enormous difference between a dream and a reality, between
the project and the execution. However, Monte Cristo only
made a sign to apprise Ali, who, understanding that danger
was approaching from the other side, drew nearer to his
master. Monte Cristo was eager to ascertain the strength and
number of his enemies.
The window whence the noise proceeded was opposite the
opening by which the count could see into the dressing-room.
He fixed his eyes on that window -- he distinguished a
shadow in the darkness; then one of the panes became quite
opaque, as if a sheet of paper were stuck on the outside,
then the square cracked without falling. Through the opening
an arm was passed to find the fastening, then a second; the
window turned on its hinges, and a man entered. He was
"That's a daring rascal," whispered the count.
At that moment Ali touched him slightly on the shoulder. He
turned; Ali pointed to the window of the room in which they
were, facing the street. "I see!" said he, "there are two of
them; one does the work while the other stands guard." He
made a sign to Ali not to lose sight of the man in the
street, and turned to the one in the dressing-room.
The glass-cutter had entered, and was feeling his way, his
arms stretched out before him. At last he appeared to have
made himself familiar with his surroundings. There were two
doors; he bolted them both.
When he drew near to the bedroom door, Monte Cristo expected
that he was coming in, and raised one of his pistols; but he
simply heard the sound of the bolts sliding in their copper
rings. It was only a precaution. The nocturnal visitor,
ignorant of the fact that the count had removed the staples,
might now think himself at home, and pursue his purpose with
full security. Alone and free to act as he wished, the man
then drew from his pocket something which the count could
not discern, placed it on a stand, then went straight to the
secretary, felt the lock, and contrary to his expectation
found that the key was missing. But the glass-cutter was a
prudent man who had provided for all emergencies. The count
soon heard the rattling of a bunch of skeleton keys, such as
the locksmith brings when called to force a lock, and which
thieves call nightingales, doubtless from the music of their
nightly song when they grind against the bolt. "Ah, ha,"
whispered Monte Cristo with a smile of disappointment, "he
is only a thief."
But the man in the dark could not find the right key. He
reached the instrument he had placed on the stand, touched a
spring, and immediately a pale light, just bright enough to
render objects distinct, was reflected on his hands and
countenance. "By heavens," exclaimed Monte Cristo, starting
back, "it is" --
Ali raised his hatchet. "Don't stir," whispered Monte
Cristo, "and put down your hatchet; we shall require no
arms." Then he added some words in a low tone, for the
exclamation which surprise had drawn from the count, faint
as it had been, had startled the man who remained in the
pose of the old knife-grinder. It was an order the count had
just given, for immediately Ali went noiselessly, and
returned, bearing a black dress and a three-cornered hat.
Meanwhile Monte Cristo had rapidly taken off his great-coat,
waistcoat, and shirt, and one might distinguish by the
glimmering through the open panel that he wore a pliant
tunic of steel mail, of which the last in France, where
daggers are no longer dreaded, was worn by King Louis XVI.,
who feared the dagger at his breast, and whose head was
cleft with a hatchet. The tunic soon disappeared under a
long cassock, as did his hair under a priest's wig; the
three-cornered hat over this effectually transformed the
count into an abbe.
The man, hearing nothing more, stood erect, and while Monte
Cristo was completing his disguise had advanced straight to
the secretary, whose lock was beginning to crack under his
"Try again," whispered the count, who depended on the secret
spring, which was unknown to the picklock, clever as he
might be -- "try again, you have a few minutes' work there."
And he advanced to the window. The man whom he had seen
seated on a fence had got down, and was still pacing the
street; but, strange as it appeared, he cared not for those
who might pass from the avenue of the Champs-Elysees or by
the Faubourg St. Honore; his attention was engrossed with
what was passing at the count's, and his only aim appeared
to be to discern every movement in the dressing-room.
Monte Cristo suddenly struck his finger on his forehead and
a smile passed over his lips; then drawing near to Ali, he
"Remain here, concealed in the dark, and whatever noise you
hear, whatever passes, only come in or show yourself if I
call you." Ali bowed in token of strict obedience. Monte
Cristo then drew a lighted taper from a closet, and when the
thief was deeply engaged with his lock, silently opened the
door, taking care that the light should shine directly on
his face. The door opened so quietly that the thief heard no
sound; but, to his astonishment, the room was suddenly
illuminated. He turned.
"Ah, good-evening, my dear M. Caderousse," said Monte
Cristo; "what are you doing here, at such an hour?"
"The Abbe Busoni!" exclaimed Caderousse; and, not knowing
how this strange apparition could have entered when he had
bolted the doors, he let fall his bunch of keys, and
remained motionless and stupefied. The count placed himself
between Caderousse and the window, thus cutting off from the
thief his only chance of retreat. "The Abbe Busoni!"
repeated Caderousse, fixing his haggard gaze on the count.
"Yes, undoubtedly, the Abbe Busoni himself," replied Monte
Cristo. "And I am very glad you recognize me, dear M.
Caderousse; it proves you have a good memory, for it must be
about ten years since we last met." This calmness of Busoni,
combined with his irony and boldness, staggered Caderousse.
"The abbe, the abbe!" murmured he, clinching his fists, and
his teeth chattering.
"So you would rob the Count of Monte Cristo?" continued the
"Reverend sir," murmured Caderousse, seeking to regain the
window, which the count pitilessly blocked -- "reverend sir,
I don't know -- believe me -- I take my oath" --
"A pane of glass out," continued the count, "a dark lantern,
a bunch of false keys, a secretary half forced -- it is
tolerably evident" --
Caderousse was choking; he looked around for some corner to
hide in, some way of escape.
"Come, come," continued the count, "I see you are still the
same, -- an assassin."
"Reverend sir, since you know everything, you know it was
not I -- it was La Carconte; that was proved at the trial,
since I was only condemned to the galleys."
"Is your time, then, expired, since I find you in a fair way
to return there?"
"No, reverend sir; I have been liberated by some one."
"That some one has done society a great kindness."
"Ah," said Caderousse, "I had promised" --
"And you are breaking your promise!" interrupted Monte
"Alas, yes!" said Caderousse very uneasily.
"A bad relapse, that will lead you, if I mistake not, to the
Place de Greve. So much the worse, so much the worse --
diavolo, as they say in my country."
"Reverend sir, I am impelled" --
"Every criminal says the same thing."
"Pshaw!" said Busoni disdainfully; "poverty may make a man
beg, steal a loaf of bread at a baker's door, but not cause
him to open a secretary in a house supposed to be inhabited.
And when the jeweller Johannes had just paid you 40,000
francs for the diamond I had given you, and you killed him
to get the diamond and the money both, was that also
"Pardon, reverend sir," said Caderousse; "you have saved my
life once, save me again!"
"That is but poor encouragement."
"Are you alone, reverend sir, or have you there soldiers
ready to seize me?"
"I am alone," said the abbe, "and I will again have pity on
you, and will let you escape, at the risk of the fresh
miseries my weakness may lead to, if you tell me the truth."
"Ah, reverend sir," cried Caderousse, clasping his hands,
and drawing nearer to Monte Cristo, "I may indeed say you
are my deliverer!"
"You mean to say you have been freed from confinement?"
"Yes, that is true, reverend sir."
"Who was your liberator?"
"What was his name?"
"I know him; I shall know if you lie."
"Ah, reverend sir, I tell you the simple truth."
"Was this Englishman protecting you?"
"No, not me, but a young Corsican, my companion."
"What was this young Corsican's name?"
"Is that his Christian name?"
"He had no other; he was a foundling."
"Then this young man escaped with you?"
"In what way?"
"We were working at St. Mandrier, near Toulon. Do you know
"In the hour of rest, between noon and one o'clock" --
"Galley-slaves having a nap after dinner! We may well pity
the poor fellows!" said the abbe.
"Nay," said Caderousse, "one can't always work -- one is not
"So much the better for the dogs," said Monte Cristo.
"While the rest slept, then, we went away a short distance;
we severed our fetters with a file the Englishman had given
us, and swam away."
"And what is become of this Benedetto?"
"I don't know."
"You ought to know."
"No, in truth; we parted at Hyeres." And, to give more
weight to his protestation, Caderousse advanced another step
towards the abbe, who remained motionless in his place, as
calm as ever, and pursuing his interrogation. "You lie,"
said the Abbe Busoni, with a tone of irresistible authority.
"You lie! This man is still your friend, and you, perhaps,
make use of him as your accomplice."
"Oh, reverend sir!"
"Since you left Toulon what have you lived on? Answer me!"
"On what I could get."
"You lie," repeated the abbe a third time, with a still more
imperative tone. Caderousse, terrified, looked at the count.
"You have lived on the money he has given you."
"True," said Caderousse; "Benedetto has become the son of a
"How can he be the son of a great lord?"
"A natural son."
"And what is that great lord's name?"
"The Count of Monte Cristo, the very same in whose house we
"Benedetto the count's son?" replied Monte Cristo,
astonished in his turn.
"Well, I should think so, since the count has found him a
false father -- since the count gives him four thousand
francs a month, and leaves him 500,000 francs in his will."
"Ah, yes," said the factitious abbe, who began to
understand; "and what name does the young man bear
"Is it, then, that young man whom my friend the Count of
Monte Cristo has received into his house, and who is going
to marry Mademoiselle Danglars?"
"And you suffer that, you wretch -- you, who know his life
and his crime?"
"Why should I stand in a comrade's way?" said Caderousse.
"You are right; it is not you who should apprise M.
Danglars, it is I."
"Do not do so, reverend sir."
"Because you would bring us to ruin."
"And you think that to save such villains as you I will
become an abettor of their plot, an accomplice in their
"Reverend sir," said Caderousse, drawing still nearer.
"I will expose all."
"To M. Danglars."
"By heaven!" cried Caderousse, drawing from his waistcoat an
open knife, and striking the count in the breast, "you shall
disclose nothing, reverend sir!" To Caderousse's great
astonishment, the knife, instead of piercing the count's
breast, flew back blunted. At the same moment the count
seized with his left hand the assassin's wrist, and wrung it
with such strength that the knife fell from his stiffened
fingers, and Caderousse uttered a cry of pain. But the
count, disregarding his cry, continued to wring the bandit's
wrist, until, his arm being dislocated, he fell first on his
knees, then flat on the floor. The count then placed his
foot on his head, saying, "I know not what restrains me from
crushing thy skull, rascal."
"Ah, mercy -- mercy!" cried Caderousse. The count withdrew
his foot. "Rise!" said he. Caderousse rose.
"What a wrist you have, reverend sir!" said Caderousse.
stroking his arm, all bruised by the fleshy pincers which
had held it; "what a wrist!"
"Silence! God gives me strength to overcome a wild beast
like you; in the name of that God I act, -- remember that,
wretch, -- and to spare thee at this moment is still serving
"Oh!" said Caderousse, groaning with pain.
"Take this pen and paper, and write what I dictate."
"I don't know how to write, reverend sir."
"You lie! Take this pen, and write!" Caderousse, awed by the
superior power of the abbe, sat down and wrote: --
Sir, -- The man whom you are receiving at your house, and to
whom you intend to marry your daughter, is a felon who
escaped with me from confinement at Toulon. He was No. 59,
and I No. 58. He was called Benedetto, but he is ignorant of
his real name, having never known his parents.
"Sign it!" continued the count.
"But would you ruin me?"
"If I sought your ruin, fool, I should drag you to the first
guard-house; besides, when that note is delivered, in all
probability you will have no more to fear. Sign it, then!"
Caderousse signed it. "The address, `To monsieur the Baron
Danglars, banker, Rue de la Chaussee d'Antin.'" Caderousse
wrote the address. The abbe took the note. "Now," said he,
"that suffices -- begone!"
"The way you came."
"You wish me to get out at that window?"
"You got in very well."
"Oh, you have some design against me, reverend sir."
"Idiot! what design can I have?"
"Why, then, not let me out by the door?"
"What would be the advantage of waking the porter?" --
"Ah, reverend sir, tell me, do you wish me dead?"
"I wish what God wills."
"But swear that you will not strike me as I go down."
"What do you intend doing with me?"
"I ask you what can I do? I have tried to make you a happy
man, and you have turned out a murderer."
"Oh, monsieur," said Caderousse, "make one more attempt --
try me once more!"
"I will," said the count. "Listen -- you know if I may be
"Yes," said Caderousse.
"If you arrive safely at home" --
"What have I to fear, except from you?"
"If you reach your home safely, leave Paris, leave France,
and wherever you may be, so long as you conduct yourself
well, I will send you a small annuity; for, if you return
home safely, then" --
"Then?" asked Caderousse, shuddering.
"Then I shall believe God has forgiven you, and I will
forgive you too."
"As true as I am a Christian," stammered Caderousse, "you
will make me die of fright!"
"Now begone," said the count, pointing to the window.
Caderousse, scarcely yet relying on this promise, put his
legs out of the window and stood on the ladder. "Now go
down," said the abbe, folding his arms. Understanding he had
nothing more to fear from him, Caderousse began to go down.
Then the count brought the taper to the window, that it
might be seen in the Champs-Elysees that a man was getting
out of the window while another held a light.
"What are you doing, reverend sir? Suppose a watchman should
pass?" And he blew out the light. He then descended, but it
was only when he felt his foot touch the ground that he was
satisfied of his safety.
Monte Cristo returned to his bedroom, and, glancing rapidly
from the garden to the street, he saw first Caderousse, who
after walking to the end of the garden, fixed his ladder
against the wall at a different part from where he came in.
The count then looking over into the street, saw the man who
appeared to be waiting run in the same direction, and place
himself against the angle of the wall where Caderousse would
come over. Caderousse climbed the ladder slowly, and looked
over the coping to see if the street was quiet. No one could
be seen or heard. The clock of the Invalides struck one.
Then Caderousse sat astride the coping, and drawing up his
ladder passed it over the wall; then he began to descend, or
rather to slide down by the two stanchions, which he did
with an ease which proved how accustomed he was to the
exercise. But, once started, he could not stop. In vain did
he see a man start from the shadow when he was halfway down
-- in vain did he see an arm raised as he touched the
ground. Before he could defend himself that arm struck him
so violently in the back that he let go the ladder, crying,
"Help!" A second blow struck him almost immediately in the
side, and he fell, calling, "Help, murder!" Then, as he
rolled on the ground, his adversary seized him by the hair,
and struck him a third blow in the chest. This time
Caderousse endeavored to call again, but he could only utter
a groan, and he shuddered as the blood flowed from his three
wounds. The assassin, finding that he no longer cried out,
lifted his head up by the hair; his eyes were closed, and
the mouth was distorted. The murderer, supposing him dead,
let fall his head and disappeared. Then Caderousse, feeling
that he was leaving him, raised himself on his elbow, and
with a dying voice cried with great effort, "Murder! I am
dying! Help, reverend sir, -- help!"
This mournful appeal pierced the darkness. The door of the
back-staircase opened, then the side-gate of the garden, and
Ali and his master were on the spot with lights.
The Hand of God.
Caderousse continued to call piteously, "Help, reverend sir,
"What is the matter?" asked Monte Cristo.
"Help," cried Caderousse; "I am murdered!"
"We are here; -- take courage."
"Ah, it's all over! You are come too late -- you are come to
see me die. What blows, what blood!" He fainted. Ali and his
master conveyed the wounded man into a room. Monte Cristo
motioned to Ali to undress him, and he then examined his
dreadful wounds. "My God!" he exclaimed, "thy vengeance is
sometimes delayed, but only that it may fall the more
effectually." Ali looked at his master for further
instructions. "Bring here immediately the king's attorney,
M. de Villefort, who lives in the Faubourg St. Honore. As
you pass the lodge, wake the porter, and send him for a
surgeon." Ali obeyed, leaving the abbe alone with
Caderousse, who had not yet revived.
When the wretched man again opened his eyes, the count
looked at him with a mournful expression of pity, and his
lips moved as if in prayer. "A surgeon, reverend sir -- a
surgeon!" said Caderousse.
"I have sent for one," replied the abbe.
"I know he cannot save my life, but he may strengthen me to
give my evidence."
"Against my murderer."
"Did you recognize him?"
"Yes; it was Benedetto."
"The young Corsican?"
"Yes. After giving me the plan of this house, doubtless
hoping I should kill the count and he thus become his heir,
or that the count would kill me and I should be out of his
way, he waylaid me, and has murdered me."
"I have also sent for the procureur."
"He will not come in time; I feel my life fast ebbing."
"Wait a moment," said Monte Cristo. He left the room, and
returned in five minutes with a phial. The dying man's eyes
were all the time riveted on the door, through which he
hoped succor would arrive. "Hasten, reverend sir, hasten! I
shall faint again!" Monte Cristo approached, and dropped on
his purple lips three or four drops of the contents of the
phial. Caderousse drew a deep breath. "Oh," said he, "that
is life to me; more, more!"
"Two drops more would kill you," replied the abbe.
"Oh, send for some one to whom I can denounce the wretch!"
"Shall I write your deposition? You can sign it."
"Yes yes," said Caderousse; and his eyes glistened at the
thought of this posthumous revenge. Monte Cristo wrote: --
"I die, murdered by the Corsican Benedetto, my comrade in
the galleys at Toulouse, No. 59."
"Quick, quick!" said Caderousse, "or I shall be unable to
Monte Cristo gave the pen to Caderousse, who collected all
his strength, signed it, and fell back on his bed, saying:
"You will relate all the rest, reverend sir; you will say he
calls himself Andrea Cavalcanti. He lodges at the Hotel des
Princes. Oh, I am dying!" He again fainted. The abbe made
him smell the contents of the phial, and he again opened his
eyes. His desire for revenge had not forsaken him.
"Ah, you will tell all I have said, will you not, reverend
"Yes, and much more."
"What more will you say?"
"I will say he had doubtless given you the plan of this
house, in the hope the count would kill you. I will say,
likewise, he had apprised the count, by a note, of your
intention, and, the count being absent, I read the note and
sat up to await you."
"And he will be guillotined, will be not?" said Caderousse.
"Promise me that, and I will die with that hope."
"I will say," continued the count, "that he followed and
watched you the whole time, and when he saw you leave the
house, ran to the angle of the wall to conceal himself."
"Did you see all that?"
"Remember my words: `If you return home safely, I shall
believe God has forgiven you, and I will forgive you also.'"
"And you did not warn me!" cried Caderousse, raising himself
on his elbows. "You knew I should be killed on leaving this
house, and did not warn me!"
"No; for I saw God's justice placed in the hands of
Benedetto, and should have thought it sacrilege to oppose
the designs of providence."
"God's justice! Speak not of it, reverend sir. If God were
just, you know how many would be punished who now escape."
"Patience," said the abbe, in a tone which made the dying
man shudder; "have patience!" Caderousse looked at him with
amazement. "Besides," said the abbe, "God is merciful to
all, as he has been to you; he is first a father, then a
"Do you then believe in God?" said Caderousse.
"Had I been so unhappy as not to believe in him until now,"
said Monte Cristo, "I must believe on seeing you."
Caderousse raised his clinched hands towards heaven.
"Listen," said the abbe, extending his hand over the wounded
man, as if to command him to believe; "this is what the God
in whom, on your death-bed, you refuse to believe, has done
for you -- he gave you health, strength, regular employment,
even friends -- a life, in fact, which a man might enjoy
with a calm conscience. Instead of improving these gifts,
rarely granted so abundantly, this has been your course --
you have given yourself up to sloth and drunkenness, and in
a fit of intoxication have ruined your best friend."
"Help!" cried Caderousse; "I require a surgeon, not a
priest; perhaps I am not mortally wounded -- I may not die;
perhaps they can yet save my life."
"Your wounds are so far mortal that, without the three drops
I gave you, you would now be dead. Listen, then."
"Ah," murmured Caderousse, "what a strange priest you are;
you drive the dying to despair, instead of consoling them."
"Listen," continued the abbe. "When you had betrayed your
friend God began not to strike, but to warn you. Poverty
overtook you. You had already passed half your life in
coveting that which you might have honorably acquired; and
already you contemplated crime under the excuse of want,
when God worked a miracle in your behalf, sending you, by my
hands, a fortune -- brilliant, indeed, for you, who had
never possessed any. But this unexpected, unhoped-for,
unheard-of fortune sufficed you no longer when you once
possessed it; you wished to double it, and how? -- by a
murder! You succeeded, and then God snatched it from you,
and brought you to justice."
"It was not I who wished to kill the Jew," said Caderousse;
"it was La Carconte."
"Yes," said Monte Cristo, "and God, -- I cannot say in
justice, for his justice would have slain you, -- but God,
in his mercy, spared your life."
"Pardieu, to transport me for life, how merciful!"
"You thought it a mercy then, miserable wretch! The coward
who feared death rejoiced at perpetual disgrace; for like
all galley-slaves, you said, `I may escape from prison, I
cannot from the grave.' And you said truly; the way was
opened for you unexpectedly. An Englishman visited Toulon,
who had vowed to rescue two men from infamy, and his choice
fell on you and your companion. You received a second
fortune, money and tranquillity were restored to you, and
you, who had been condemned to a felon's life, might live as
other men. Then, wretched creature, then you tempted God a
third time. `I have not enough,' you said, when you had more
than you before possessed, and you committed a third crime,
without reason, without excuse. God is wearied; he has
punished you." Caderousse was fast sinking. "Give me drink,"
said he: "I thirst -- I burn!" Monte Cristo gave him a glass
of water. "And yet that villain, Benedetto, will escape!"
"No one, I tell you, will escape; Benedetto will be
"Then, you, too, will be punished, for you did not do your
duty as a priest -- you should have prevented Benedetto from
"I?" said the count, with a smile which petrified the dying
man, "when you had just broken your knife against the coat
of mail which protected my breast! Yet perhaps if I had
found you humble and penitent, I might have prevented
Benedetto from killing you; but I found you proud and
blood-thirsty, and I left you in the hands of God."
"I do not believe there is a God," howled Caderousse; "you
do not believe it; you lie -- you lie!"
"Silence," said the abbe; "you will force the last drop of
blood from your veins. What! you do not believe in God when
he is striking you dead? you will not believe in him, who
requires but a prayer, a word, a tear, and he will forgive?
God, who might have directed the assassin's dagger so as to
end your career in a moment, has given you this quarter of
an hour for repentance. Reflect, then, wretched man, and
"No," said Caderousse, "no; I will not repent. There is no
God; there is no providence -- all comes by chance." --
"There is a providence; there is a God," said Monte Cristo,
"of whom you are a striking proof, as you lie in utter
despair, denying him, while I stand before you, rich, happy,
safe and entreating that God in whom you endeavor not to
believe, while in your heart you still believe in him."
"But who are you, then?" asked Caderousse, fixing his dying
eyes on the count. "Look well at me!" said Monte Cristo,
putting the light near his face. "Well, the abbe -- the Abbe
Busoni." Monte Cristo took off the wig which disfigured him,
and let fall his black hair, which added so much to the
beauty of his pallid features. "Oh?" said Caderousse,
thunderstruck, "but for that black hair, I should say you
were the Englishman, Lord Wilmore."
"I am neither the Abbe Busoni nor Lord Wilmore," said Monte
Cristo; "think again, -- do you not recollect me?" Those was
a magic effect in the count's words, which once more revived
the exhausted powers of the miserable man. "Yes, indeed,"
said he; "I think I have seen you and known you formerly."
"Yes, Caderousse, you have seen me; you knew me once."
"Who, then, are you? and why, if you knew me, do you let me
"Because nothing can save you; your wounds are mortal. Had
it been possible to save you, I should have considered it
another proof of God's mercy, and I would again have
endeavored to restore you, I swear by my father's tomb."
"By your father's tomb!" said Caderousse, supported by a
supernatural power, and half-raising himself to see more
distinctly the man who had just taken the oath which all men
hold sacred; "who, then, are you?" The count had watched the
approach of death. He knew this was the last struggle. He
approached the dying man, and, leaning over him with a calm
and melancholy look, he whispered, "I am -- I am" -- And his
almost closed lips uttered a name so low that the count
himself appeared afraid to hear it. Caderousse, who had
raised himself on his knees, and stretched out his arm,
tried to draw back, then clasping his hands, and raising
them with a desperate effort, "O my God, my God!" said he,
"pardon me for having denied thee; thou dost exist, thou art
indeed man's father in heaven, and his judge on earth. My
God, my Lord, I have long despised thee! Pardon me, my God;
receive me, O my Lord!" Caderousse sighed deeply, and fell
back with a groan. The blood no longer flowed from his
wounds. He was dead.
"One!" said the count mysteriously, his eyes fixed on the
corpse, disfigured by so awful a death. Ten minutes
afterwards the surgeon and the procureur arrived, the one
accompanied by the porter, the other by Ali, and were
received by the Abbe Busoni, who was praying by the side of
The daring attempt to rob the count was the topic of
conversation throughout Paris for the next fortnight. The
dying man had signed a deposition declaring Benedetto to be
the assassin. The police had orders to make the strictest
search for the murderer. Caderousse's knife, dark lantern,
bunch of keys, and clothing, excepting the waistcoat, which
could not be found, were deposited at the registry; the
corpse was conveyed to the morgue. The count told every one
that this adventure had happened during his absence at
Auteuil, and that he only knew what was related by the Abbe
Busoni, who that evening, by mere chance, had requested to
pass the night in his house, to examine some valuable books
in his library. Bertuccio alone turned pale whenever
Benedetto's name was mentioned in his presence, but there
was no reason why any one should notice his doing so.
Villefort, being called on to prove the crime, was preparing
his brief with the same ardor that he was accustomed to
exercise when required to speak in criminal cases.
But three weeks had already passed, and the most diligent
search had been unsuccessful; the attempted robbery and the
murder of the robber by his comrade were almost forgotten in
anticipation of the approaching marriage of Mademoiselle
Danglars to the Count Andrea Cavalcanti. It was expected
that this wedding would shortly take place, as the young man
was received at the banker's as the betrothed. Letters had
been despatched to M. Cavalcanti, as the count's father, who
highly approved of the union, regretted his inability to
leave Parma at that time, and promised a wedding gift of a
hundred and fifty thousand livres. It was agreed that the
three millions should be intrusted to Danglars to invest;
some persons had warned the young man of the circumstances
of his future father-in-law, who had of late sustained
repeated losses; but with sublime disinterestedness and
confidence the young man refused to listen, or to express a
single doubt to the baron. The baron adored Count Andrea
Cavalcanti: not so Mademoiselle Eugenie Danglars. With an
instinctive hatred of matrimony, she suffered Andrea's
attentions in order to get rid of Morcerf; but when Andrea
urged his suit, she betrayed an entire dislike to him. The
baron might possibly have perceived it, but, attributing it
to a caprice, feigned ignorance.
The delay demanded by Beauchamp had nearly expired. Morcerf
appreciated the advice of Monte Cristo to let things die
away of their own accord. No one had taken up the remark
about the general, and no one had recognized in the officer
who betrayed the castle of Yanina the noble count in the
House of Peers. Albert, however felt no less insulted; the
few lines which had irritated him were certainly intended as
an insult. Besides, the manner in which Beauchamp had closed
the conference left a bitter recollection in his heart. He
cherished the thought of the duel, hoping to conceal its
true cause even from his seconds. Beauchamp had not been
seen since the day he visited Albert, and those of whom the
latter inquired always told him he was out on a journey
which would detain him some days. Where he was no one knew.
One morning Albert was awakened by his valet de chambre, who
announced Beauchamp. Albert rubbed his eyes, ordered his
servant to introduce him into the small smoking-room on the
ground-floor, dressed himself quickly, and went down. He
found Beauchamp pacing the room; on perceiving him Beauchamp
stopped. "Your arrival here, without waiting my visit at
your house to-day, looks well, sir," said Albert. "Tell me,
may I shake hands with you, saying, `Beauchamp, acknowledge
you have injured me, and retain my friendship,' or must I
simply propose to you a choice of arms?"
"Albert," said Beauchamp, with a look of sorrow which
stupefied the young man, "let us first sit down and talk."
"Rather, sir, before we sit down, I must demand your
"Albert," said the journalist, "these are questions which it
is difficult to answer."
"I will facilitate it by repeating the question, `Will you,
or will you not, retract?'"
"Morcerf, it is not enough to answer `yes' or `no' to
questions which concern the honor, the social interest, and
the life of such a man as Lieutenant-general the Count of
Morcerf, peer of France."
"What must then be done?"
"What I have done, Albert. I reasoned thus -- money, time,
and fatigue are nothing compared with the reputation and
interests of a whole family; probabilities will not suffice,
only facts will justify a deadly combat with a friend. If I
strike with the sword, or discharge the contents of a pistol
at man with whom, for three years, I have been on terms of
intimacy, I must, at least, know why I do so; I must meet
him with a heart at ease, and that quiet conscience which a
man needs when his own arm must save his life."
"Well," said Morcerf, impatiently, "what does all this
"It means that I have just returned from Yanina."
"Here is my passport; examine the visa -- Geneva, Milan,
Venice, Trieste, Delvino, Yanina. Will you believe the
government of a republic, a kingdom, and an empire?" Albert
cast his eyes on the passport, then raised them in
astonishment to Beauchamp. "You have been to Yanina?" said
"Albert, had you been a stranger, a foreigner, a simple
lord, like that Englishman who came to demand satisfaction
three or four months since, and whom I killed to get rid of,
I should not have taken this trouble; but I thought this
mark of consideration due to you. I took a week to go,
another to return, four days of quarantine, and forty-eight
hours to stay there; that makes three weeks. I returned last
night, and here I am."
"What circumlocution! How long you are before you tell me
what I most wish to know?"
"Because, in truth, Albert" --
"Yes, -- I fear."
"You fear to acknowledge that your correspondent his
deceived you? Oh, no self-love, Beauchamp. Acknowledge it,
Beauchamp; your courage cannot be doubted."
"Not so," murmured the journalist; "on the contrary" --
Albert turned frightfully pale; he endeavored to speak, but
the words died on his lips. "My friend," said Beauchamp, in
the most affectionate tone, "I should gladly make an
apology; but, alas," --
"The paragraph was correct, my friend."
"What? That French officer" --
"The traitor who surrendered the castle of the man in whose
service he was" --
"Pardon me, my friend, that man was your father!" Albert
advanced furiously towards Beauchamp, but the latter
restrained him more by a mild look than by his extended
"My friend," said he, "here is a proof of it."
Albert opened the paper, it was an attestation of four
notable inhabitants of Yanina, proving that Colonel Fernand
Mondego, in the service of Ali Tepelini, had surrendered the
castle for two million crowns. The signatures were perfectly
legal. Albert tottered and fell overpowered in a chair. It
could no longer be doubted; the family name was fully given.
After a moment's mournful silence, his heart overflowed, and
he gave way to a flood of tears. Beauchamp, who had watched
with sincere pity the young man's paroxysm of grief,
approached him. "Now, Albert," said he, "you understand me
-- do you not? I wished to see all, and to judge of
everything for myself, hoping the explanation would be in
your father's favor, and that I might do him justice. But,
on the contrary, the particulars which are given prove that
Fernand Mondego, raised by Ali Pasha to the rank of
governor-general, is no other than Count Fernand of Morcerf;
then, recollecting the honor you had done me, in admitting
me to your friendship, I hastened to you."
Albert, still extended on the chair, covered his face with
both hands, as if to prevent the light from reaching him. "I
hastened to you," continued Beauchamp, "to tell you, Albert,
that in this changing age, the faults of a father cannot
revert upon his children. Few have passed through this
revolutionary period, in the midst of which we were born,
without some stain of infamy or blood to soil the uniform of
the soldier, or the gown of the magistrate. Now I have these
proofs, Albert, and I am in your confidence, no human power
can force me to a duel which your own conscience would
reproach you with as criminal, but I come to offer you what
you can no longer demand of me. Do you wish these proofs,
these attestations, which I alone possess, to be destroyed?
Do you wish this frightful secret to remain with us?
Confided to me, it shall never escape my lips; say, Albert,
my friend, do you wish it?"
Albert threw himself on Beauchamp's neck. "Ah, noble
fellow!" cried he.
"Take these," said Beauchamp, presenting the papers to
Albert seized them with a convulsive hand, tore them in
pieces, and trembling lest the least vestige should escape
and one day appear to confront him, he approached the
wax-light, always kept burning for cigars, and burned every
fragment. "Dear, excellent friend," murmured Albert, still
burning the papers.
"Let all be forgotten as a sorrowful dream," said Beauchamp;
"let it vanish as the last sparks from the blackened paper,
and disappear as the smoke from those silent ashes."
"Yes, yes," said Albert, "and may there remain only the
eternal friendship which I promised to my deliverer, which
shall be transmitted to our children's children, and shall
always remind me that I owe my life and the honor of my name
to you, -- for had this been known, oh, Beauchamp, I should
have destroyed myself; or, -- no, my poor mother! I could
not have killed her by the same blow, -- I should have fled
from my country."
"Dear Albert," said Beauchamp. But this sudden and
factitious joy soon forsook the young man, and was succeeded
by a still greater grief.
"Well," said Beauchamp, "what still oppresses you, my
"I am broken-hearted," said Albert. "Listen, Beauchamp! I
cannot thus, in a moment relinquish the respect, the
confidence, and pride with which a father's untarnished name
inspires a son. Oh, Beauchamp, Beauchamp, how shall I now
approach mine? Shall I draw back my forehead from his
embrace, or withhold my hand from his? I am the most
wretched of men. Ah, my mother, my poor mother!" said
Albert, gazing through his tears at his mother's portrait;
"if you know this, how much must you suffer!"
"Come," said Beauchamp, taking both his hands, "take
courage, my friend."
"But how came that first note to be inserted in your
journal? Some unknown enemy -- an invisible foe -- has done
"The more must you fortify yourself, Albert. Let no trace of
emotion be visible on your countenance, bear your grief as
the cloud bears within it ruin and death -- a fatal secret,
known only when the storm bursts. Go, my friend, reserve
your strength for the moment when the crash shall come."
"You think, then, all is not over yet?" said Albert,
"I think nothing, my friend; but all things are possible. By
the way" --
"What?" said Albert, seeing that Beauchamp hesitated.
"Are you going to marry Mademoiselle Danglars?"
"Why do you ask me now?"
"Because the rupture or fulfilment of this engagement is
connected with the person of whom we were speaking."
"How?" said Albert, whose brow reddened; "you think M.
"I ask you only how your engagement stands? Pray put no
construction on my words I do not mean they should convey,
and give them no undue weight."
"No." said Albert, "the engagement is broken off."
"Well," said Beauchamp. Then, seeing the young man was about
to relapse into melancholy, "Let us go out, Albert," said
he; "a ride in the wood in the phaeton, or on horseback,
will refresh you; we will then return to breakfast, and you
shall attend to your affairs, and I to mine."
"Willingly," said Albert; "but let us walk. I think a little
exertion would do me good." The two friends walked out on
the fortress. When arrived at the Madeleine, -- "Since we
are out," said Beauchamp, "let us call on M. de Monte
Cristo; he is admirably adapted to revive one's spirits,
because he never interrogates, and in my opinion those who
ask no questions are the best comforters."
"Gladly," said Albert; "I love him -- let us call."
Monte Cristo uttered a joyful exclamation on seeing the
young men together. "Ah, ha!" said he, "I hope all is over,
explained and settled."
"Yes," said Beauchamp; "the absurd reports have died away,
and should they be renewed, I would be the first to oppose
them; so let us speak no more of it."
"Albert will tell you," replied the count "that I gave him
the same advice. Look," added he. "I am finishing the most
execrable morning's work."
"What is it?" said Albert; "arranging your papers,
"My papers, thank God, no, -- my papers are all in capital
order, because I have none; but M. Cavalcanti's."
"M. Cavalcanti's?" asked Beauchamp.
"Yes; do you not know that this is a young man whom the
count is introducing?" said Morcerf.
"Let us not misunderstand each other," replied Monte Cristo;
"I introduce no one, and certainly not M. Cavalcanti."
"And who," said Albert with a forced smile, "is to marry
Mademoiselle Danglars instead of me, which grieves me
"What? Cavalcanti is going to marry Mademoiselle Danglars?"
"Certainly; do you come from the end of the world?" said
Monte Cristo; "you, a journalist, the husband of renown? It
is the talk of all Paris."
"And you, count, have made this match?" asked Beauchamp.
"I? Silence, purveyor of gossip, do not spread that report.
I make a match? No, you do not know me; I have done all in
my power to oppose it."
"Ah, I understand," said Beauchamp, "on our friend Albert's
"On my account?" said the young man; "oh, no, indeed, the
count will do me the justice to assert that I have, on the
contrary, always entreated him to break off my engagement,
and happily it is ended. The count pretends I have not him
to thank; -- so be it -- I will erect an altar Deo ignoto."
"Listen," said Monte Cristo; "I have had little to do with
it, for I am at variance both with the father-in-law and the
young man; there is only Mademoiselle Eugenie, who appears
but little charmed with the thoughts of matrimony, and who,
seeing how little I was disposed to persuade her to renounce
her dear liberty, retains any affection for me."
"And do you say this wedding is at hand?"
"Oh, yes, in spite of all I could say. I do not know the
young man; he is said to be of good family and rich, but I
never trust to vague assertions. I have warned M. Danglars
of it till I am tired, but he is fascinated with his
Luccanese. I have even informed him of a circumstance I
consider very serious; the young man was either charmed by
his nurse, stolen by gypsies, or lost by his tutor, I
scarcely know which. But I do know his father lost sight of
him for more than ten years; what he did during these ten
years, God only knows. Well, all that was useless. They have
commissioned me to write to the major to demand papers, and
here they are. I send them, but like Pilate -- washing my
"And what does Mademoiselle d'Armilly say to you for robbing
her of her pupil?"
"Oh, well, I don't know; but I understand that she is going
to Italy. Madame Danglars asked me for letters of
recommendation for the impresari; I gave her a few lines for
the director of the Valle Theatre, who is under some
obligation to me. But what is the matter, Albert? you look
dull; are you, after all, unconsciously in love with
"I am not aware of it," said Albert, smiling sorrowfully.
Beauchamp turned to look at some paintings. "But," continued
Monte Cristo, "you are not in your usual spirits?"
"I have a dreadful headache," said Albert.
"Well, my dear viscount," said Monte Cristo, "I have an
infallible remedy to propose to you."
"What is that?" asked the young man.
"Indeed?" said Albert.
"Yes; and as I am just now excessively annoyed, I shall go
from home. Shall we go together?"
"You annoyed, count?" said Beauchamp; "and by what?"
"Ah, you think very lightly of it; I should like to see you
with a brief preparing in your house."
"The one M. de Villefort is preparing against my amiable
assassin -- some brigand escaped from the gallows
"True," said Beauchamp; "I saw it in the paper. Who is this
"Some provincial, it appears. M. de Villefort heard of him
at Marseilles, and M. Danglars recollects having seen him.
Consequently, the procureur is very active in the affair,
and the prefect of police very much interested; and, thanks
to that interest, for which I am very grateful, they send me
all the robbers of Paris and the neighborhood, under
pretence of their being Caderousse's murderers, so that in
three months, if this continue, every robber and assassin in
France will have the plan of my house at his fingers' end. I
am resolved to desert them and go to some remote corner of
the earth, and shall be happy if you will accompany me,
"Then it is settled?"
"Yes, but where?"
"I have told you, where the air is pure, where every sound
soothes, where one is sure to be humbled, however proud may
be his nature. I love that humiliation, I, who am master of
the universe, as was Augustus."
"But where are you really going?"
"To sea, viscount; you know I am a sailor. I was rocked when
an infant in the arms of old ocean, and on the bosom of the
beautiful Amphitrite; I have sported with the green mantle
of the one and the azure robe of the other; I love the sea
as a mistress, and pine if I do not often see her."
"Let us go, count."
"You accept my proposal?"
"Well, Viscount, there will be in my court-yard this evening
a good travelling britzka, with four post-horses, in which
one may rest as in a bed. M. Beauchamp, it holds four very
well, will you accompany us?"
"Thank you, I have just returned from sea."
"What? you have been to sea?"
"Yes; I have just made a little excursion to the Borromean
* Lake Maggiore.
"What of that? come with us," said Albert.
"No, dear Morcerf; you know I only refuse when the thing is
impossible. Besides, it is important," added he in a low
tone, "that I should remain in Paris just now to watch the
"Ah, you are a good and an excellent friend," said Albert;
"yes, you are right; watch, watch, Beauchamp, and try to
discover the enemy who made this disclosure." Albert and
Beauchamp parted, the last pressure of their hands
expressing what their tongues could not before a stranger.
"Beauchamp is a worthy fellow," said Monte Cristo, when the
journalist was gone; "is he not, Albert?"
"Yes, and a sincere friend; I love him devotedly. But now we
are alone, -- although it is immaterial to me, -- where are
"Into Normandy, if you like."
"Delightful; shall we be quite retired? have no society, no
"Our companions will be riding-horses, dogs to hunt with,
and a fishing-boat."
"Exactly what I wish for; I will apprise my mother of my
intention, and return to you."
"But shall you be allowed to go into Normandy?"
"I may go where I please."
"Yes, I am aware you may go alone, since I once met you in
Italy -- but to accompany the mysterious Monte Cristo?"
"You forget, count, that I have often told you of the deep
interest my mother takes in you."
"`Woman is fickle.' said Francis I.; `woman is like a wave
of the sea,' said Shakespeare; both the great king and the
great poet ought to have known woman's nature well."
"Woman's, yes; my mother is not woman, but a woman."
"As I am only a humble foreigner, you must pardon me if I do
not understand all the subtle refinements of your language."
"What I mean to say is, that my mother is not quick to give
her confidence, but when she does she never changes."
"Ah, yes, indeed," said Monte Cristo with a sigh; "and do
you think she is in the least interested in me?"
"I repeat it, you must really be a very strange and superior
man, for my mother is so absorbed by the interest you have
excited, that when I am with her she speaks of no one else."
"And does she try to make you dislike me?"
"On the contrary, she often says, `Morcerf, I believe the
count has a noble nature; try to gain his esteem.'"
"Indeed?" said Monte Cristo, sighing.
"You see, then," said Albert, "that instead of opposing, she
will encourage me."
"Adieu, then, until five o'clock; be punctual, and we shall
arrive at twelve or one."
"Yes; or in the neighborhood."
"But can we travel forty-eight leagues in eight hours?"
"Easily," said Monte Cristo.
"You are certainly a prodigy; you will soon not only surpass
the railway, which would not be very difficult in France,
but even the telegraph."
"But, viscount, since we cannot perform the journey in less
than seven or eight hours, do not keep me waiting."
"Do not fear, I have little to prepare." Monte Cristo smiled
as he nodded to Albert, then remained a moment absorbed in
deep meditation. But passing his hand across his forehead as
if to dispel his revery, he rang the bell twice and
Bertuccio entered. "Bertuccio," said he, "I intend going
this evening to Normandy, instead of to-morrow or the next
day. You will have sufficient time before five o'clock;
despatch a messenger to apprise the grooms at the first
station. M. de Morcerf will accompany me." Bertuccio obeyed
and despatched a courier to Pontoise to say the
travelling-carriage would arrive at six o'clock. From
Pontoise another express was sent to the next stage, and in
six hours all the horses stationed on the road were ready.
Before his departure, the count went to Haidee's apartments,
told her his intention, and resigned everything to her care.
Albert was punctual. The journey soon became interesting
from its rapidity, of which Morcerf had formed no previous
idea. "Truly," said Monte Cristo, "with your posthorses
going at the rate of two leagues an hour, and that absurd
law that one traveller shall not pass another without
permission, so that an invalid or ill-tempered traveller may
detain those who are well and active, it is impossible to
move; I escape this annoyance by travelling with my own
postilion and horses; do I not, Ali?"
The count put his head out of the window and whistled, and
the horses appeared to fly. The carriage rolled with a
thundering noise over the pavement, and every one turned to
notice the dazzling meteor. Ali, smiling, repeated the
sound, grasped the reins with a firm hand, and spurred his
horses, whose beautiful manes floated in the breeze. This
child of the desert was in his element, and with his black
face and sparkling eyes appeared, in the cloud of dust he
raised, like the genius of the simoom and the god of the
hurricane. "I never knew till now the delight of speed,"
said Morcerf, and the last cloud disappeared from his brow;
"but where the devil do you get such horses? Are they made
"Precisely," said the count; "six years since I bought a
horse in Hungary remarkable for its swiftness. The
thirty-two that we shall use to-night are its progeny; they
are all entirely black, with the exception of a star upon
"That is perfectly admirable; but what do you do, count,
with all these horses?"
"You see, I travel with them."
"But you are not always travelling."
"When I no longer require them, Bertuccio will sell them,
and he expects to realize thirty or forty thousand francs by
"But no monarch in Europe will be wealthy enough to purchase
"Then he will sell them to some Eastern vizier, who will
empty his coffers to purchase them, and refill them by
applying the bastinado to his subjects."
"Count, may I suggest one idea to you?"
"It is that, next to you, Bertuccio must be the richest
gentleman in Europe."
"You are mistaken, viscount; I believe he has not a franc in
"Then he must be a wonder. My dear count, if you tell me
many more marvellous things, I warn you I shall not believe
"I countenance nothing that is marvellous, M. Albert. Tell
me, why does a steward rob his master?"
"Because, I suppose, it is his nature to do so, for the love
"You are mistaken; it is because he has a wife and family,
and ambitious desires for himself and them. Also because he
is not sure of always retaining his situation, and wishes to
provide for the future. Now, M. Bertuccio is alone in the
world; he uses my property without accounting for the use he
makes of it; he is sure never to leave my service."
"Because I should never get a better."
"Probabilities are deceptive."
"But I deal in certainties; he is the best servant over whom
one has the power of life and death."
"Do you possess that right over Bertuccio?"
There are words which close a conversation with an iron
door; such was the count's "yes." The whole journey was
performed with equal rapidity; the thirty-two horses,
dispersed over seven stages, brought them to their
destination in eight hours. At midnight they arrived at the
gate of a beautiful park. The porter was in attendance; he
had been apprised by the groom of the last stage of the
count's approach. At half past two in the morning Morcerf
was conducted to his apartments, where a bath and supper
were prepared. The servant who had travelled at the back of
the carriage waited on him; Baptistin, who rode in front,
attended the count. Albert bathed, took his supper, and went
to bed. All night he was lulled by the melancholy noise of
the surf. On rising, he went to his window, which opened on
a terrace, having the sea in front, and at the back a pretty
park bounded by a small forest. In a creek lay a little
sloop, with a narrow keel and high masts, bearing on its
flag the Monte Cristo arms which were a mountain on a sea
azure, with a cross gules on the shield. Around the schooner
lay a number of small fishing-boats belonging to the
fishermen of the neighboring village, like humble subjects
awaiting orders from their queen. There, as in every spot
where Monte Cristo stopped, if but for two days, luxury
abounded and life went on with the utmost ease.
Albert found in his anteroom two guns, with all the
accoutrements for hunting; a lofty room on the ground-floor
containing all the ingenious instruments the English --
eminent in piscatory pursuits, since they are patient and
sluggish -- have invented for fishing. The day passed in
pursuing those exercises in which Monte Cristo excelled.
They killed a dozen pheasants in the park, as many trout in
the stream, dined in a summer-house overlooking the ocean,
and took tea in the library.
Towards the evening of the third day. Albert, completely
exhausted with the exercise which invigorated Monte Cristo,
was sleeping in an arm-chair near the window, while the
count was designing with his architect the plan of a
conservatory in his house, when the sound of a horse at full
speed on the high road made Albert look up. He was
disagreeably surprised to see his own valet de chambre, whom
he had not brought, that he might not inconvenience Monte
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