The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas [Pere]
Part 27 out of 31
without real necessity, I should encumber my life with a
perpetual companion. Has not some sage said, `Nothing too
much'? and another, `I carry all my effects with me'? I have
been taught these two aphorisms in Latin and in Greek; one
is, I believe, from Phaedrus, and the other from Bias. Well,
my dear father, in the shipwreck of life -- for life is an
eternal shipwreck of our hopes -- I cast into the sea my
useless encumbrance, that is all, and I remain with my own
will, disposed to live perfectly alone, and consequently
"Unhappy girl, unhappy girl!" murmured Danglars, turning
pale, for he knew from long experience the solidity of the
obstacle he had so suddenly encountered.
"Unhappy girl," replied Eugenie, "unhappy girl, do you say,
sir? No, indeed; the exclamation appears quite theatrical
and affected. Happy, on the contrary, for what am I in want
of! The world calls me beautiful. It is something to be well
received. I like a favorable reception; it expands the
countenance, and those around me do not then appear so ugly.
I possess a share of wit, and a certain relative
sensibility, which enables me to draw from life in general,
for the support of mine, all I meet with that is good, like
the monkey who cracks the nut to get at its contents. I am
rich, for you have one of the first fortunes in France. I am
your only daughter, and you are not so exacting as the
fathers of the Porte Saint-Martin and Gaiete, who disinherit
their daughters for not giving them grandchildren. Besides,
the provident law has deprived you of the power to
disinherit me, at least entirely, as it has also of the
power to compel me to marry Monsieur This or Monsieur That.
And so -- being, beautiful, witty, somewhat talented, as the
comic operas say, and rich -- and that is happiness, sir --
why do you call me unhappy?"
Danglars, seeing his daughter smiling, and proud even to
insolence, could not entirely repress his brutal feelings,
but they betrayed themselves only by an exclamation. Under
the fixed and inquiring gaze levelled at him from under
those beautiful black eyebrows, he prudently turned away,
and calmed himself immediately, daunted by the power of a
resolute mind. "Truly, my daughter," replied he with a
smile, "you are all you boast of being, excepting one thing;
I will not too hastily tell you which, but would rather
leave you to guess it." Eugenie looked at Danglars, much
surprised that one flower of her crown of pride, with which
she had so superbly decked herself, should be disputed. "My
daughter," continued the banker, "you have perfectly
explained to me the sentiments which influence a girl like
you, who is determined she will not marry; now it remains
for me to tell you the motives of a father like me, who has
decided that his daughter shall marry." Eugenie bowed, not
as a submissive daughter, but as an adversary prepared for a
"My daughter," continued Danglars, "when a father asks his
daughter to choose a husband, he has always some reason for
wishing her to marry. Some are affected with the mania of
which you spoke just now, that of living again in their
grandchildren. This is not my weakness, I tell you at once;
family joys have no charm for me. I may acknowledge this to
a daughter whom I know to be philosophical enough to
understand my indifference, and not to impute it to me as a
"This is not to the purpose," said Eugenie; "let us speak
candidly, sir; I admire candor."
"Oh," said Danglars, "I can, when circumstances render it
desirable, adopt your system, although it may not be my
general practice. I will therefore proceed. I have proposed
to you to marry, not for your sake, for indeed I did not
think of you in the least at the moment (you admire candor,
and will now be satisfied, I hope); but because it suited me
to marry you as soon as possible, on account of certain
commercial speculations I am desirous of entering into."
Eugenie became uneasy.
"It is just as I tell you, I assure you, and you must not be
angry with me, for you have sought this disclosure. I do not
willingly enter into arithmetical explanations with an
artist like you, who fears to enter my study lest she should
imbibe disagreeable or anti-poetic impressions and
sensations. But in that same banker's study, where you very
willingly presented yourself yesterday to ask for the
thousand francs I give you monthly for pocket-money, you
must know, my dear young lady, that many things may be
learned, useful even to a girl who will not marry. There one
may learn, for instance, what, out of regard to your nervous
susceptibility, I will inform you of in the drawing-room,
namely, that the credit of a banker is his physical and
moral life; that credit sustains him as breath animates the
body; and M. de Monte Cristo once gave me a lecture on that
subject, which I have never forgotten. There we may learn
that as credit sinks, the body becomes a corpse, and this is
what must happen very soon to the banker who is proud to own
so good a logician as you for his daughter." But Eugenie,
instead of stooping, drew herself up under the blow.
"Ruined?" said she.
"Exactly, my daughter; that is precisely what I mean," said
Danglars, almost digging his nails into his breast, while he
preserved on his harsh features the smile of the heartless
though clever man; "ruined -- yes, that is it."
"Ah!" said Eugenie.
"Yes, ruined! Now it is revealed, this secret so full of
horror, as the tragic poet says. Now, my daughter, learn
from my lips how you may alleviate this misfortune, so far
as it will affect you."
"Oh," cried Eugenie, "you are a bad physiognomist, if you
imagine I deplore on my own account the catastrophe of which
you warn me. I ruined? and what will that signify to me?
Have I not my talent left? Can I not, like Pasta, Malibran,
Grisi, acquire for myself what you would never have given
me, whatever might have been your fortune, a hundred or a
hundred and fifty thousand livres per annum, for which I
shall be indebted to no one but myself; and which, instead
of being given as you gave me those poor twelve thousand
francs, with sour looks and reproaches for my prodigality,
will be accompanied with acclamations, with bravos, and with
flowers? And if I do not possess that talent, which your
smiles prove to me you doubt, should I not still have that
ardent love of independence, which will be a substitute for
wealth, and which in my mind supersedes even the instinct of
self-preservation? No, I grieve not on my own account, I
shall always find a resource; my books, my pencils, my
piano, all the things which cost but little, and which I
shall be able to procure, will remain my own.
"Do you think that I sorrow for Madame Danglars? Undeceive
yourself again; either I am greatly mistaken, or she has
provided against the catastrophe which threatens you, and,
which will pass over without affecting her. She has taken
care for herself, -- at least I hope so, -- for her
attention has not been diverted from her projects by
watching over me. She has fostered my independence by
professedly indulging my love for liberty. Oh, no, sir; from
my childhood I have seen too much, and understood too much,
of what has passed around me, for misfortune to have an
undue power over me. From my earliest recollections, I have
been beloved by no one -- so much the worse; that has
naturally led me to love no one -- so much the better -- now
you have my profession of faith."
"Then," said Danglars, pale with anger, which was not at all
due to offended paternal love, -- "then, mademoiselle, you
persist in your determination to accelerate my ruin?"
"Your ruin? I accelerate your ruin? What do you mean? I do
not understand you."
"So much the better, I have a ray of hope left; listen."
"I am all attention," said Eugenie, looking so earnestly at
her father that it was an effort for the latter to endure
her unrelenting gaze.
"M. Cavalcanti," continued Danglars, "is about to marry you,
and will place in my hands his fortune, amounting to three
"That is admirable!" said Eugenie with sovereign contempt,
smoothing her gloves out one upon the other.
"You think I shall deprive you of those three millions,"
said Danglars; "but do not fear it. They are destined to
produce at least ten. I and a brother banker have obtained a
grant of a railway, the only industrial enterprise which in
these days promises to make good the fabulous prospects that
Law once held out to the eternally deluded Parisians, in the
fantastic Mississippi scheme. As I look at it, a millionth
part of a railway is worth fully as much as an acre of waste
land on the banks of the Ohio. We make in our case a
deposit, on a mortgage, which is an advance, as you see,
since we gain at least ten, fifteen, twenty, or a hundred
livres' worth of iron in exchange for our money. Well,
within a week I am to deposit four millions for my share;
the four millions, I promise you, will produce ten or
"But during my visit to you the day before yesterday, sir,
which you appear to recollect so well," replied Eugenie, "I
saw you arranging a deposit -- is not that the term? -- of
five millions and a half; you even pointed it out to me in
two drafts on the treasury, and you were astonished that so
valuable a paper did not dazzle my eyes like lightning."
"Yes, but those five millions and a half are not mine, and
are only a proof of the great confidence placed in me; my
title of popular banker has gained me the confidence of
charitable institutions, and the five millions and a half
belong to them; at any other time I should not have
hesitated to make use of them, but the great losses I have
recently sustained are well known, and, as I told you, my
credit is rather shaken. That deposit may be at any moment
withdrawn, and if I had employed it for another purpose, I
should bring on me a disgraceful bankruptcy. I do not
despise bankruptcies, believe me, but they must be those
which enrich, not those which ruin. Now, if you marry M.
Cavalcanti, and I get the three millions, or even if it is
thought I am going to get them, my credit will be restored,
and my fortune, which for the last month or two has been
swallowed up in gulfs which have been opened in my path by
an inconceivable fatality, will revive. Do you understand
"Perfectly; you pledge me for three millions, do you not?"
"The greater the amount, the more flattering it is to you;
it gives you an idea of your value."
"Thank you. One word more, sir; do you promise me to make
what use you can of the report of the fortune M. Cavalcanti
will bring without touching the money? This is no act of
selfishness, but of delicacy. I am willing to help rebuild
your fortune, but I will not be an accomplice in the ruin of
"But since I tell you," cried Danglars, "that with these
three million" --
"Do you expect to recover your position, sir, without
touching those three million?"
"I hope so, if the marriage should take place and confirm my
"Shall you be able to pay M. Cavalcanti the five hundred
thousand francs you promise for my dowry?"
"He shall receive them on returning from the mayor's."*
* The performance of the civil marriage.
"What next? what more do you want?"
"I wish to know if, in demanding my signature, you leave me
entirely free in my person?"
"Then, as I said before, sir, -- very well; I am ready to
marry M. Cavalcanti."
"But what are you up to?"
"Ah, that is my affair. What advantage should I have over
you, if knowing your secret I were to tell you mine?"
Danglars bit his lips. "Then," said he, "you are ready to
pay the official visits, which are absolutely
"Yes," replied Eugenie.
"And to sign the contract in three days?"
"Then, in my turn, I also say, very well!" Danglars pressed
his daughter's hand in his. But, extraordinary to relate,
the father did not say, "Thank you, my child," nor did the
daughter smile at her father. "Is the conference ended?"
asked Eugenie, rising. Danglars motioned that he had nothing
more to say. Five minutes afterwards the piano resounded to
the touch of Mademoiselle d'Armilly's fingers, and
Mademoiselle Danglars was singing Brabantio's malediction on
Desdemona. At the end of the piece Etienne entered, and
announced to Eugenie that the horses were in the carriage,
and that the baroness was waiting for her to pay her visits.
We have seen them at Villefort's; they proceeded then on
Three days after the scene we have just described, namely
towards five o'clock in the afternoon of the day fixed for
the signature of the contract between Mademoiselle Eugenie
Danglars and Andrea Cavalcanti, -- whom the banker persisted
in calling prince, -- a fresh breeze was stirring the leaves
in the little garden in front of the Count of Monte Cristo's
house, and the count was preparing to go out. While his
horses were impatiently pawing the ground, -- held in by the
coachman, who had been seated a quarter of an hour on his
box, -- the elegant phaeton with which we are familiar
rapidly turned the angle of the entrance-gate, and cast out
on the doorsteps M. Andrea Cavalcanti, as decked up and gay
as if he were going to marry a princess. He inquired after
the count with his usual familiarity, and ascending lightly
to the second story met him at the top of the stairs. The
count stopped on seeing the young man. As for Andrea, he was
launched, and when he was once launched nothing stopped him.
"Ah, good morning, my dear count," said he. "Ah, M. Andrea,"
said the latter, with his half-jesting tone; "how do you
"Charmingly, as you see. I am come to talk to you about a
thousand things; but, first tell me, were you going out or
"I was going out, sir."
"Then, in order not to hinder you, I will get up with you if
you please in your carriage, and Tom shall follow with my
phaeton in tow."
"No," said the count, with an imperceptible smile of
contempt, for he had no wish to be seen in the young man's
society, -- "no; I prefer listening to you here, my dear M.
Andrea; we can chat better in-doors, and there is no
coachman to overhear our conversation." The count returned
to a small drawing-room on the first floor, sat down, and
crossing his legs motioned to the young man to take a seat
also. Andrea assumed his gayest manner. "You know, my dear
count," said he, "the ceremony is to take place this
evening. At nine o'clock the contract is to be signed at my
"Ah, indeed?" said Monte Cristo.
"What; is it news to you? Has not M. Danglars informed you
of the ceremony?"
"Oh, yes," said the count; "I received a letter from him
yesterday, but I do not think the hour was mentioned."
"Possibly my father-in-law trusted to its general
"Well," said Monte Cristo, "you are fortunate, M.
Cavalcanti; it is a most suitable alliance you are
contracting, and Mademoiselle Danglars is a handsome girl."
"Yes, indeed she is," replied Cavalcanti, in a very modest
"Above all, she is very rich, -- at least, I believe so,"
said Monte Cristo.
"Very rich, do you think?" replied the young man.
"Doubtless; it is said M. Danglars conceals at least half of
"And he acknowledges fifteen or twenty millions," said
Andrea with a look sparkling with joy.
"Without reckoning," added Monte Cristo, "that he is on the
eve of entering into a sort of speculation already in vogue
in the United States and in England, but quite novel in
"Yes, yes, I know what you mean, -- the railway, of which he
has obtained the grant, is it not?"
"Precisely; it is generally believed he will gain ten
millions by that affair."
"Ten millions! Do you think so? It is magnificent!" said
Cavalcanti, who was quite confounded at the metallic sound
of these golden words. "Without reckoning," replied Monte
Cristo, "that all his fortune will come to you, and justly
too, since Mademoiselle Danglars is an only daughter.
Besides, your own fortune, as your father assured me, is
almost equal to that of your betrothed. But enough of money
matters. Do you know, M. Andrea, I think you have managed
this affair rather skilfully?"
"Not badly, by any means," said the young man; "I was born
for a diplomatist."
"Well, you must become a diplomatist; diplomacy, you know,
is something that is not to be acquired; it is instinctive.
Have you lost your heart?"
"Indeed, I fear it," replied Andrea, in the tone in which he
had heard Dorante or Valere reply to Alceste* at the Theatre
"Is your love returned?"
* In Moliere's comedy, Le Misanthrope.
"I suppose so," said Andrea with a triumphant smile, "since
I am accepted. But I must not forget one grand point."
"That I have been singularly assisted."
"I have, indeed."
"No; by you."
"By me? Not at all, prince," said Monte Cristo laying a
marked stress on the title, "what have I done for you? Are
not your name, your social position, and your merit
"No," said Andrea, -- "no; it is useless for you to say so,
count. I maintain that the position of a man like you has
done more than my name, my social position, and my merit."
"You are completely mistaken, sir," said Monte Cristo
coldly, who felt the perfidious manoeuvre of the young man,
and understood the bearing of his words; "you only acquired
my protection after the influence and fortune of your father
had been ascertained; for, after all, who procured for me,
who had never seen either you or your illustrious father,
the pleasure of your acquaintance? -- two of my good
friends, Lord Wilmore and the Abbe Busoni. What encouraged
me not to become your surety, but to patronize you? -- your
father's name, so well known in Italy and so highly honored.
Personally, I do not know you." This calm tone and perfect
ease made Andrea feel that he was, for the moment,
restrained by a more muscular hand than his own, and that
the restraint could not be easily broken through.
"Oh, then my father has really a very large fortune, count?"
"It appears so, sir," replied Monte Cristo.
"Do you know if the marriage settlement he promised me has
"I have been advised of it."
"But the three millions?"
"The three millions are probably on the road."
"Then I shall really have them?"
"Oh, well," said the count, "I do not think you have yet
known the want of money." Andrea was so surprised that he
pondered the matter for a moment. Then, arousing from his
revery, -- "Now, sir, I have one request to make to you,
which you will understand, even if it should be disagreeable
"Proceed," said Monte Cristo.
"I have formed an acquaintance, thanks to my good fortune,
with many noted persons, and have, at least for the moment,
a crowd of friends. But marrying, as I am about to do,
before all Paris, I ought to be supported by an illustrious
name, and in the absence of the paternal hand some powerful
one ought to lead me to the altar; now, my father is not
coming to Paris, is he? He is old, covered with wounds, and
suffers dreadfully, he says, in travelling."
"Well, I am come to ask a favor of you."
"Yes, of you."
"And pray what may it be?"
"Well, to take his part."
"Ah, my dear sir! What? -- after the varied relations I have
had the happiness to sustain towards you, can it be that you
know me so little as to ask such a thing? Ask me to lend you
half a million and, although such a loan is somewhat rare,
on my honor, you would annoy me less! Know, then, what I
thought I had already told you, that in participation in
this world's affairs, more especially in their moral
aspects, the Count of Monte Cristo has never ceased to
entertain the scruples and even the superstitions of the
East. I, who have a seraglio at Cairo, one at Smyrna, and
one at Constantinople, preside at a wedding? -- never!"
"Then you refuse me?"
"Decidedly; and were you my son or my brother I would refuse
you in the same way."
"But what must be done?" said Andrea, disappointed.
"You said just now that you had a hundred friends."
"Very true, but you introduced me at M. Danglars'."
"Not at all! Let us recall the exact facts. You met him at a
dinner party at my house, and you introduced yourself at his
house; that is a totally different affair."
"Yes, but, by my marriage, you have forwarded that."
"I? -- not in the least, I beg you to believe. Recollect
what I told you when you asked me to propose you. `Oh, I
never make matches, my dear prince, it is my settled
principle.'" Andrea bit his lips.
"But, at least, you will be there?"
"Will all Paris be there?"
"Well, like all Paris, I shall be there too," said the
"And will you sign the contract?"
"I see no objection to that; my scruples do not go thus
"Well, since you will grant me no more, I must be content
with what you give me. But one word more, count."
"What is it?"
"Be careful; advice is worse than a service."
"Oh, you can give me this without compromising yourself."
"Tell me what it is."
"Is my wife's fortune five hundred thousand livres?"
"That is the sum M. Danglars himself announced."
"Must I receive it, or leave it in the hands of the notary?"
"This is the way such affairs are generally arranged when it
is wished to do them stylishly: Your two solicitors appoint
a meeting, when the contract is signed, for the next or the
following day; then they exchange the two portions, for
which they each give a receipt; then, when the marriage is
celebrated, they place the amount at your disposal as the
chief member of the alliance."
"Because," said Andrea, with a certain ill-concealed
uneasiness, "I thought I heard my father-in-law say that he
intended embarking our property in that famous railway
affair of which you spoke just now."
"Well," replied Monte Cristo, "it will be the way, everybody
says, of trebling your fortune in twelve months. Baron
Danglars is a good father, and knows how to calculate."
"In that case," said Andrea, "everything is all right,
excepting your refusal, which quite grieves me."
"You must attribute it only to natural scruples under
"Well," said Andrea, "let it be as you wish. This evening,
then, at nine o'clock."
"Adieu till then." Notwithstanding a slight resistance on
the part of Monte Cristo, whose lips turned pale, but who
preserved his ceremonious smile, Andrea seized the count's
hand, pressed it, jumped into his phaeton, and disappeared.
The four or five remaining hours before nine o'clock
arrived, Andrea employed in riding, paying visits, --
designed to induce those of whom he had spoken to appear at
the banker's in their gayest equipages, -- dazzling them by
promises of shares in schemes which have since turned every
brain, and in which Danglars was just taking the initiative.
In fact, at half-past eight in the evening the grand salon,
the gallery adjoining, and the three other drawing-rooms on
the same floor, were filled with a perfumed crowd, who
sympathized but little in the event, but who all
participated in that love of being present wherever there is
anything fresh to be seen. An Academician would say that the
entertainments of the fashionable world are collections of
flowers which attract inconstant butterflies, famished bees,
and buzzing drones.
No one could deny that the rooms were splendidly
illuminated; the light streamed forth on the gilt mouldings
and the silk hangings; and all the bad taste of decorations,
which had only their richness to boast of, shone in its
splendor. Mademoiselle Eugenie was dressed with elegant
simplicity in a figured white silk dress, and a white rose
half concealed in her jet black hair was her only ornament,
unaccompanied by a single jewel. Her eyes, however, betrayed
that perfect confidence which contradicted the girlish
simplicity of this modest attire. Madame Danglars was
chatting at a short distance with Debray, Beauchamp, and
Debray was admitted to the house for this grand ceremony,
but on the same plane with every one else, and without any
particular privilege. M. Danglars, surrounded by deputies
and men connected with the revenue, was explaining a new
theory of taxation which he intended to adopt when the
course of events had compelled the government to call him
into the ministry. Andrea, on whose arm hung one of the most
consummate dandies of the opera, was explaining to him
rather cleverly, since he was obliged to be bold to appear
at ease, his future projects, and the new luxuries he meant
to introduce to Parisian fashions with his hundred and
seventy-five thousand livres per annum.
The crowd moved to and fro in the rooms like an ebb and flow
of turquoises, rubies, emeralds, opals, and diamonds. As
usual, the oldest women were the most decorated, and the
ugliest the most conspicuous. If there was a beautiful lily,
or a sweet rose, you had to search for it, concealed in some
corner behind a mother with a turban, or an aunt with a bird
At each moment, in the midst of the crowd, the buzzing, and
the laughter, the door-keeper's voice was heard announcing
some name well known in the financial department, respected
in the army, or illustrious in the literary world, and which
was acknowledged by a slight movement in the different
groups. But for one whose privilege it was to agitate that
ocean of human waves, how many were received with a look of
indifference or a sneer of disdain! At the moment when the
hand of the massive time-piece, representing Endymion
asleep, pointed to nine on its golden face, and the hammer,
the faithful type of mechanical thought, struck nine times,
the name of the Count of Monte Cristo resounded in its turn,
and as if by an electric shock all the assembly turned
towards the door.
The count was dressed in black and with his habitual
simplicity; his white waistcoat displayed his expansive
noble chest and his black stock was singularly noticeable
because of its contrast with the deadly paleness of his
face. His only jewellery was a chain, so fine that the
slender gold thread was scarcely perceptible on his white
waistcoat. A circle was immediately formed around the door.
The count perceived at one glance Madame Danglars at one end
of the drawing-room, M. Danglars at the other, and Eugenie
in front of him. He first advanced towards the baroness, who
was chatting with Madame de Villefort, who had come alone,
Valentine being still an invalid; and without turning aside,
so clear was the road left for him, he passed from the
baroness to Eugenie, whom he complimented in such rapid and
measured terms, that the proud artist was quite struck. Near
her was Mademoiselle Louise d'Armilly, who thanked the count
for the letters of introduction he had so kindly given her
for Italy, which she intended immediately to make use of. On
leaving these ladies he found himself with Danglars, who had
advanced to meet him.
Having accomplished these three social duties, Monte Cristo
stopped, looking around him with that expression peculiar to
a certain class, which seems to say, "I have done my duty,
now let others do theirs." Andrea, who was in an adjoining
room, had shared in the sensation caused by the arrival of
Monte Cristo, and now came forward to pay his respects to
the count. He found him completely surrounded; all were
eager to speak to him, as is always the case with those
whose words are few and weighty. The solicitors arrived at
this moment and arranged their scrawled papers on the velvet
cloth embroidered with gold which covered the table prepared
for the signature; it was a gilt table supported on lions'
claws. One of the notaries sat down, the other remained
standing. They were about to proceed to the reading of the
contract, which half Paris assembled was to sign. All took
their places, or rather the ladies formed a circle, while
the gentlemen (more indifferent to the restraints of what
Boileau calls the "energetic style") commented on the
feverish agitation of Andrea, on M. Danglars' riveted
attention, Eugenie's composure, and the light and sprightly
manner in which the baroness treated this important affair.
The contract was read during a profound silence. But as soon
as it was finished, the buzz was redoubled through all the
drawing-rooms; the brilliant sums, the rolling millions
which were to be at the command of the two young people, and
which crowned the display of the wedding presents and the
young lady's diamonds, which had been made in a room
entirely appropriated for that purpose, had exercised to the
full their delusions over the envious assembly. Mademoiselle
Danglars' charms were heightened in the opinion of the young
men, and for the moment seemed to outvie the sun in
splendor. As for the ladies, it is needless to say that
while they coveted the millions, they thought they did not
need them for themselves, as they were beautiful enough
without them. Andrea, surrounded by his friends,
complimented, flattered, beginning to believe in the reality
of his dream, was almost bewildered. The notary solemnly
took the pen, flourished it above his head, and said,
"Gentlemen, we are about to sign the contract."
The baron was to sign first, then the representative of M.
Cavalcanti, senior, then the baroness, afterwards the
"future couple," as they are styled in the abominable
phraseology of legal documents. The baron took the pen and
signed, then the representative. The baroness approached,
leaning on Madame de Villefort's arm. "My dear," said she,
as she took the pen, "is it not vexatious? An unexpected
incident, in the affair of murder and theft at the Count of
Monte Cristo's, in which he nearly fell a victim, deprives
us of the pleasure of seeing M. de Villefort."
"Indeed?" said M. Danglars, in the same tone in which he
would have said, "Oh, well, what do I care?"
"As a matter of fact," said Monte Cristo, approaching, "I am
much afraid that I am the involuntary cause of his absence."
"What, you, count?" said Madame Danglars, signing; "if you
are, take care, for I shall never forgive you." Andrea
pricked up his ears.
"But it is not my fault, as I shall endeavor to prove."
Every one listened eagerly; Monte Cristo who so rarely
opened his lips, was about to speak. "You remember," said
the count, during the most profound silence, "that the
unhappy wretch who came to rob me died at my house; the
supposition is that he was stabbed by his accomplice, on
attempting to leave it."
"Yes," said Danglars.
"In order that his wounds might be examined he was
undressed, and his clothes were thrown into a corner, where
the police picked them up, with the exception of the
waistcoat, which they overlooked." Andrea turned pale, and
drew towards the door; he saw a cloud rising in the horizon,
which appeared to forebode a coming storm.
"Well, this waistcoat was discovered to-day, covered with
blood, and with a hole over the heart." The ladies screamed,
and two or three prepared to faint. "It was brought to me.
No one could guess what the dirty rag could be; I alone
suspected that it was the waistcoat of the murdered man. My
valet, in examining this mournful relic, felt a paper in the
pocket and drew it out; it was a letter addressed to you,
"To me?" cried Danglars.
"Yes, indeed, to you; I succeeded in deciphering your name
under the blood with which the letter was stained," replied
Monte Cristo, amid the general outburst of amazement.
"But," asked Madame Danglars, looking at her husband with
uneasiness, "how could that prevent M. de Villefort" --
"In this simple way, madame," replied Monte Cristo; "the
waistcoat and the letter were both what is termed
circumstantial evidence; I therefore sent them to the king's
attorney. You understand, my dear baron, that legal methods
are the safest in criminal cases; it was, perhaps, some plot
against you." Andrea looked steadily at Monte Cristo and
disappeared in the second drawing-room.
"Possibly," said Danglars; "was not this murdered man an old
"Yes," replied the count; "a felon named Caderousse."
Danglars turned slightly pale; Andrea reached the anteroom
beyond the little drawing-room.
"But go on signing," said Monte Cristo; "I perceive that my
story has caused a general emotion, and I beg to apologize
to you, baroness, and to Mademoiselle Danglars." The
baroness, who had signed, returned the pen to the notary.
"Prince Cavalcanti," said the latter; "Prince Cavalcanti,
where are you?"
"Andrea, Andrea," repeated several young people, who were
already on sufficiently intimate terms with him to call him
by his Christian name.
"Call the prince; inform him that it is his turn to sign,"
cried Danglars to one of the floorkeepers.
But at the same instant the crowd of guests rushed in alarm
into the principal salon as if some frightful monster had
entered the apartments, quaerens quem devoret. There was,
indeed, reason to retreat, to be alarmed, and to scream. An
officer was placing two soldiers at the door of each
drawing-room, and was advancing towards Danglars, preceded
by a commissary of police, girded with his scarf. Madame
Danglars uttered a scream and fainted. Danglars, who thought
himself threatened (certain consciences are never calm), --
Danglars even before his guests showed a countenance of
"What is the matter, sir?" asked Monte Cristo, advancing to
meet the commissioner.
"Which of you gentlemen," asked the magistrate, without
replying to the count, "answers to the name of Andrea
Cavalcanti?" A cry of astonishment was heard from all parts
of the room. They searched; they questioned. "But who then
is Andrea Cavalcanti?" asked Danglars in amazement.
"A galley-slave, escaped from confinement at Toulon."
"And what crime has he committed?"
"He is accused," said the commissary with his inflexible
voice, "of having assassinated the man named Caderousse, his
former companion in prison, at the moment he was making his
escape from the house of the Count of Monte Cristo." Monte
Cristo cast a rapid glance around him. Andrea was gone.
The Departure for Belgium.
A few minutes after the scene of confusion produced in the
salons of M. Danglars by the unexpected appearance of the
brigade of soldiers, and by the disclosure which had
followed, the mansion was deserted with as much rapidity as
if a case of plague or of cholera morbus had broken out
among the guests. In a few minutes, through all the doors,
down all the staircases, by every exit, every one hastened
to retire, or rather to fly; for it was a situation where
the ordinary condolences, -- which even the best friends are
so eager to offer in great catastrophes, -- were seen to be
utterly futile. There remained in the banker's house only
Danglars, closeted in his study, and making his statement to
the officer of gendarmes; Madame Danglars, terrified, in the
boudoir with which we are acquainted; and Eugenie, who with
haughty air and disdainful lip had retired to her room with
her inseparable companion, Mademoiselle Louise d'Armilly. As
for the numerous servants (more numerous that evening than
usual, for their number was augmented by cooks and butlers
from the Cafe de Paris), venting on their employers their
anger at what they termed the insult to which they had been
subjected, they collected in groups in the hall, in the
kitchens, or in their rooms, thinking very little of their
duty, which was thus naturally interrupted. Of all this
household, only two persons deserve our notice; these are
Mademoiselle Eugenie Danglars and Mademoiselle Louise
The betrothed had retired, as we said, with haughty air,
disdainful lip, and the demeanor of an outraged queen,
followed by her companion, who was paler and more disturbed
than herself. On reaching her room Eugenie locked her door,
while Louise fell on a chair. "Ah, what a dreadful thing,"
said the young musician; "who would have suspected it? M.
Andrea Cavalcanti a murderer -- a galley-slave escaped -- a
convict!" An ironical smile curled the lip of Eugenie. "In
truth I was fated," said she. "I escaped the Morcerf only to
fall into the Cavalcanti."
"Oh, do not confound the two, Eugenie."
"Hold your tongue! The men are all infamous, and I am happy
to be able now to do more than detest them -- I despise
"What shall we do?" asked Louise.
"What shall we do?"
"Why, the same we had intended doing three days since -- set
"What? -- although you are not now going to be married, you
intend still" --
"Listen, Louise. I hate this life of the fashionable world,
always ordered, measured, ruled, like our music-paper. What
I have always wished for, desired, and coveted, is the life
of an artist, free and independent, relying only on my own
resources, and accountable only to myself. Remain here? What
for? -- that they may try, a month hence, to marry me again;
and to whom? -- M. Debray, perhaps, as it was once proposed.
No, Louise, no! This evening's adventure will serve for my
excuse. I did not seek one, I did not ask for one. God sends
me this, and I hail it joyfully!"
"How strong and courageous you are!" said the fair, frail
girl to her brunette companion.
"Did you not yet know me? Come, Louise, let us talk of our
affairs. The post-chaise" --
"Was happily bought three days since."
"Have you had it sent where we are to go for it?"
"Here it is."
And Eugenie, with her usual precision, opened a printed
paper, and read, --
"M. Leon d'Armilly, twenty years of age; profession, artist;
hair black, eyes black; travelling with his sister."
"Capital! How did you get this passport?"
"When I went to ask M. de Monte Cristo for letters to the
directors of the theatres at Rome and Naples, I expressed my
fears of travelling as a woman; he perfectly understood
them, and undertook to procure for me a man's passport, and
two days after I received this, to which I have added with
my own hand, `travelling with his sister.'"
"Well," said Eugenie cheerfully, "we have then only to pack
up our trunks; we shall start the evening of the signing of
the contract, instead of the evening of the wedding -- that
"But consider the matter seriously, Eugenie!"
"Oh, I am done with considering! I am tired of hearing only
of market reports, of the end of the month, of the rise and
fall of Spanish funds, of Haitian bonds. Instead of that,
Louise -- do you understand? -- air, liberty, melody of
birds, plains of Lombardy, Venetian canals, Roman palaces,
the Bay of Naples. How much have we, Louise?" The young girl
to whom this question was addressed drew from an inlaid
secretary a small portfolio with a lock, in which she
counted twenty-three bank-notes.
"Twenty-three thousand francs," said she.
"And as much, at least, in pearls, diamonds, and jewels,"
said Eugenie. "We are rich. With forty-five thousand francs
we can live like princesses for two years, and comfortably
for four; but before six months -- you with your music, and
I with my voice -- we shall double our capital. Come, you
shall take charge of the money, I of the jewel-box; so that
if one of us had the misfortune to lose her treasure, the
other would still have hers left. Now, the portmanteau --
let us make haste -- the portmanteau!"
"Stop!" said Louise, going to listen at Madame Danglars'
"What do you fear?"
"That we may be discovered."
"The door is locked."
"They may tell us to open it."
"They may if they like, but we will not."
"You are a perfect Amazon, Eugenie!" And the two young girls
began to heap into a trunk all the things they thought they
should require. "There now," said Eugenie, "while I change
my costume do you lock the portmanteau." Louise pressed with
all the strength of her little hands on the top of the
portmanteau. "But I cannot," said she; "I am not strong
enough; do you shut it."
"Ah, you do well to ask," said Eugenie, laughing; "I forgot
that I was Hercules, and you only the pale Omphale!" And the
young girl, kneeling on the top, pressed the two parts of
the portmanteau together, and Mademoiselle d'Armilly passed
the bolt of the padlock through. When this was done, Eugenie
opened a drawer, of which she kept the key, and took from it
a wadded violet silk travelling cloak. "Here," said she,
"you see I have thought of everything; with this cloak you
will not be cold."
"Oh, I am never cold, you know! Besides, with these men's
"Will you dress here?"
"Shall you have time?"
"Do not be uneasy, you little coward! All our servants are
busy, discussing the grand affair. Besides, what is there
astonishing, when you think of the grief I ought to be in,
that I shut myself up? -- tell me!"
"No, truly -- you comfort me."
"Come and help me."
From the same drawer she took a man's complete costume, from
the boots to the coat, and a provision of linen, where there
was nothing superfluous, but every requisite. Then, with a
promptitude which indicated that this was not the first time
she had amused herself by adopting the garb of the opposite
sex, Eugenie drew on the boots and pantaloons, tied her
cravat, buttoned her waistcoat up to the throat, and put on
a coat which admirably fitted her beautiful figure. "Oh,
that is very good -- indeed, it is very good!" said Louise,
looking at her with admiration; "but that beautiful black
hair, those magnificent braids, which made all the ladies
sigh with envy, -- will they go under a man's hat like the
one I see down there?"
"You shall see," said Eugenie. And with her left hand
seizing the thick mass, which her long fingers could
scarcely grasp, she took in her right hand a pair of long
scissors, and soon the steel met through the rich and
splendid hair, which fell in a cluster at her feet as she
leaned back to keep it from her coat. Then she grasped the
front hair, which she also cut off, without expressing the
least regret; on the contrary, her eyes sparkled with
greater pleasure than usual under her ebony eyebrows. "Oh,
the magnificent hair!" said Louise, with regret.
"And am I not a hundred times better thus?" cried Eugenie,
smoothing the scattered curls of her hair, which had now
quite a masculine appearance; "and do you not think me
"Oh, you are beautiful -- always beautiful!" cried Louise.
"Now, where are you going?"
"To Brussels, if you like; it is the nearest frontier. We
can go to Brussels, Liege, Aix-la-Chapelle; then up the
Rhine to Strasburg. We will cross Switzerland, and go down
into Italy by the Saint-Gothard. Will that do?"
"What are you looking at?"
"I am looking at you; indeed you are adorable like that! One
would say you were carrying me off."
"And they would be right, pardieu!"
"Oh, I think you swore, Eugenie." And the two young girls,
whom every one might have thought plunged in grief, the one
on her own account, the other from interest in her friend,
burst out laughing, as they cleared away every visible trace
of the disorder which had naturally accompanied the
preparations for their escape. Then, having blown out the
lights, the two fugitives, looking and listening eagerly,
with outstretched necks, opened the door of a dressing-room
which led by a side staircase down to the yard, -- Eugenie
going first, and holding with one arm the portmanteau, which
by the opposite handle Mademoiselle d'Armilly scarcely
raised with both hands. The yard was empty; the clock was
striking twelve. The porter was not yet gone to bed. Eugenie
approached softly, and saw the old man sleeping soundly in
an arm-chair in his lodge. She returned to Louise, took up
the portmanteau, which she had placed for a moment on the
ground, and they reached the archway under the shadow of the
Eugenie concealed Louise in an angle of the gateway, so that
if the porter chanced to awake he might see but one person.
Then placing herself in the full light of the lamp which lit
the yard, -- "Gate!" cried she, with her finest contralto
voice, and rapping at the window.
The porter got up as Eugenie expected, and even advanced
some steps to recognize the person who was going out, but
seeing a young man striking his boot impatiently with his
riding-whip, he opened it immediately. Louise slid through
the half-open gate like a snake, and bounded lightly
forward. Eugenie, apparently calm, although in all
probability her heart beat somewhat faster than usual, went
out in her turn. A porter was passing and they gave him the
portmanteau; then the two young girls, having told him to
take it to No. 36, Rue de la Victoire, walked behind this
man, whose presence comforted Louise. As for Eugenie, she
was as strong as a Judith or a Delilah. They arrived at the
appointed spot. Eugenie ordered the porter to put down the
portmanteau, gave him some pieces of money, and having
rapped at the shutter sent him away. The shutter where
Eugenie had rapped was that of a little laundress, who had
been previously warned, and was not yet gone to bed. She
opened the door.
"Mademoiselle," said Eugenie, "let the porter get the
post-chaise from the coach-house, and fetch some post-horses
from the hotel. Here are five francs for his trouble."
"Indeed," said Louise, "I admire you, and I could almost say
respect you." The laundress looked on in astonishment, but
as she had been promised twenty louis, she made no remark.
In a quarter of an hour the porter returned with a post-boy
and horses, which were harnessed, and put in the post-chaise
in a minute, while the porter fastened the portmanteau on
with the assistance of a cord and strap. "Here is the
passport," said the postilion, "which way are we going,
"To Fontainebleau," replied Eugenie with an almost masculine
"What do you say?" said Louise.
"I am giving them the slip," said Eugenie; "this woman to
whom we have given twenty louis may betray us for forty; we
will soon alter our direction." And the young girl jumped
into the britzska, which was admirably arranged for sleeping
in, without scarcely touching the step. "You are always
right," said the music teacher, seating herself by the side
of her friend.
A quarter of an hour afterwards the postilion, having been
put in the right road, passed with a crack of his whip
through the gateway of the Barriere Saint-Martin. "Ah," said
Louise, breathing freely, "here we are out of Paris."
"Yes, my dear, the abduction is an accomplished fact,"
replied Eugenie. "Yes, and without violence," said Louise.
"I shall bring that forward as an extenuating circumstance,"
replied Eugenie. These words were lost in the noise which
the carriage made in rolling over the pavement of La
Villette. M. Danglars no longer had a daughter.
The Bell and Bottle Tavern.
And now let us leave Mademoiselle Danglars and her friend
pursuing their way to Brussels, and return to poor Andrea
Cavalcanti, so inopportunely interrupted in his rise to
fortune. Notwithstanding his youth, Master Andrea was a very
skilful and intelligent boy. We have seen that on the first
rumor which reached the salon he had gradually approached
the door, and crossing two or three rooms at last
disappeared. But we have forgotten to mention one
circumstance, which nevertheless ought not to be omitted; in
one of the rooms he crossed, the trousseau of the
bride-elect was on exhibition. There were caskets of
diamonds, cashmere shawls, Valenciennes lace, English
veilings, and in fact all the tempting things, the bare
mention of which makes the hearts of young girls bound with
joy, and which is called the "corbeille."* Now, in passing
through this room, Andrea proved himself not only to be
clever and intelligent, but also provident, for he helped
himself to the most valuable of the ornaments before him.
* Literally, "the basket," because wedding gifts were
originally brought in such a receptacle.
Furnished with this plunder, Andrea leaped with a lighter
heart from the window, intending to slip through the hands
of the gendarmes. Tall and well proportioned as an ancient
gladiator, and muscular as a Spartan, he walked for a
quarter of an hour without knowing where to direct his
steps, actuated by the sole idea of getting away from the
spot where if he lingered he knew that he would surely be
taken. Having passed through the Rue Mont Blanc, guided by
the instinct which leads thieves always to take the safest
path, he found himself at the end of the Rue Lafayette.
There he stopped, breathless and panting. He was quite
alone; on one side was the vast wilderness of the
Saint-Lazare, on the other, Paris enshrouded in darkness.
"Am I to be captured?" he cried; "no, not if I can use more
activity than my enemies. My safety is now a mere question
of speed." At this moment he saw a cab at the top of the
Faubourg Poissonniere. The dull driver, smoking his pipe,
was plodding along toward the limits of the Faubourg
Saint-Denis, where no doubt he ordinarily had his station.
"Ho, friend!" said Benedetto.
"What do you want, sir?" asked the driver.
"Is your horse tired?"
"Tired? oh, yes, tired enough -- he has done nothing the
whole of this blessed day! Four wretched fares, and twenty
sous over, making in all seven francs, are all that I have
earned, and I ought to take ten to the owner."
"Will you add these twenty francs to the seven you have?"
"With pleasure, sir; twenty francs are not to be despised.
Tell me what I am to do for this."
"A very easy thing, if your horse isn't tired."
"I tell you he'll go like the wind, -- only tell me which
way to drive."
"Towards the Louvres."
"Ah, I know the way -- you get good sweetened rum over
"Exactly so; I merely wish to overtake one of my friends,
with whom I am going to hunt to-morrow at
Chapelle-en-Serval. He should have waited for me here with a
cabriolet till half-past eleven; it is twelve, and, tired of
waiting, he must have gone on."
"It is likely."
"Well, will you try and overtake him?"
"Nothing I should like better."
"If you do not overtake him before we reach Bourget you
shall have twenty francs; if not before Louvres, thirty."
"And if we do overtake him?"
"Forty," said Andrea, after a moment's hesitation, at the
end of which he remembered that he might safely promise.
"That's all right," said the man; "hop in, and we're off!
Andrea got into the cab, which passed rapidly through the
Faubourg Saint-Denis, along the Faubourg Saint-Martin,
crossed the barrier, and threaded its way through the
interminable Villette. They never overtook the chimerical
friend, yet Andrea frequently inquired of people on foot
whom he passed and at the inns which were not yet closed,
for a green cabriolet and bay horse; and as there are a
great many cabriolets to be seen on the road to the Low
Countries, and as nine-tenths of them are green, the
inquiries increased at every step. Every one had just seen
it pass; it was only five hundred, two hundred, one hundred
steps in advance; at length they reached it, but it was not
the friend. Once the cab was also passed by a calash rapidly
whirled along by two post-horses. "Ah," said Cavalcanti to
himself, "if I only had that britzska, those two good
post-horses, and above all the passport that carries them
on!" And he sighed deeply. The calash contained Mademoiselle
Danglars and Mademoiselle d'Armilly. "Hurry, hurry!" said
Andrea, "we must overtake him soon." And the poor horse
resumed the desperate gallop it had kept up since leaving
the barrier, and arrived steaming at Louvres.
"Certainly," said Andrea, "I shall not overtake my friend,
but I shall kill your horse, therefore I had better stop.
Here are thirty francs; I will sleep at the Red Horse, and
will secure a place in the first coach. Good-night, friend."
And Andrea, after placing six pieces of five francs each in
the man's hand, leaped lightly on to the pathway. The cabman
joyfully pocketed the sum, and turned back on his road to
Paris. Andrea pretended to go towards the Red Horse inn, but
after leaning an instant against the door, and hearing the
last sound of the cab, which was disappearing from view, he
went on his road, and with a lusty stride soon traversed the
space of two leagues. Then he rested; he must be near
Chapelle-en-Serval, where he pretended to be going. It was
not fatigue that stayed Andrea here; it was that he might
form some resolution, adopt some plan. It would be
impossible to make use of a diligence, equally so to engage
post-horses; to travel either way a passport was necessary.
It was still more impossible to remain in the department of
the Oise, one of the most open and strictly guarded in
France; this was quite out of the question, especially to a
man like Andrea, perfectly conversant with criminal matters.
He sat down by the side of the moat, buried his face in his
hands and reflected. Ten minutes after he raised his head;
his resolution was made. He threw some dust over the
topcoat, which he had found time to unhook from the
ante-chamber and button over his ball costume, and going to
Chapelle-en-Serval he knocked loudly at the door of the only
inn in the place. The host opened. "My friend," said Andrea,
"I was coming from Montefontaine to Senlis, when my horse,
which is a troublesome creature, stumbled and threw me. I
must reach Compiegne to-night, or I shall cause deep anxiety
to my family. Could you let me hire a horse of you?"
An inn-keeper has always a horse to let, whether it be good
or bad. The host called the stable-boy, and ordered him to
saddle "Whitey," then he awoke his son, a child of seven
years, whom he ordered to ride before the gentleman and
bring back the horse. Andrea gave the inn-keeper twenty
francs, and in taking them from his pocket dropped a
visiting card. This belonged to one of his friends at the
Cafe de Paris, so that the innkeeper, picking it up after
Andrea had left, was convinced that he had let his horse to
the Count of Mauleon, 25 Rue Saint-Dominique, that being the
name and address on the card. "Whitey" was not a fast
animal, but he kept up an easy, steady pace; in three hours
and a half Andrea had traversed the nine leagues which
separated him from Compiegne, and four o'clock struck as he
reached the place where the coaches stop. There is an
excellent tavern at Compiegne, well remembered by those who
have ever been there. Andrea, who had often stayed there in
his rides about Paris, recollected the Bell and Bottle inn;
he turned around, saw the sign by the light of a reflected
lamp, and having dismissed the child, giving him all the
small coin he had about him, he began knocking at the door,
very reasonably concluding that having now three or four
hours before him he had best fortify himself against the
fatigues of the morrow by a sound sleep and a good supper. A
waiter opened the door.
"My friend," said Andrea, "I have been dining at
Saint-Jean-au-Bois, and expected to catch the coach which
passes by at midnight, but like a fool I have lost my way,
and have been walking for the last four hours in the forest.
Show me into one of those pretty little rooms which overlook
the court, and bring me a cold fowl and a bottle of
Bordeaux." The waiter had no suspicions; Andrea spoke with
perfect composure, he had a cigar in his mouth, and his
hands in the pocket of his top coat; his clothes were
fashionably made, his chin smooth, his boots irreproachable;
he looked merely as if he had stayed out very late, that was
all. While the waiter was preparing his room, the hostess
arose; Andrea assumed his most charming smile, and asked if
he could have No. 3, which he had occupied on his last stay
at Compiegne. Unfortunately, No. 3 was engaged by a young
man who was travelling with his sister. Andrea appeared in
despair, but consoled himself when the hostess assured him
that No. 7, prepared for him, was situated precisely the
same as No. 3, and while warming his feet and chatting about
the last races at Chantilly, he waited until they announced
his room to be ready.
Andrea had not spoken without cause of the pretty rooms
looking out upon the court of the Bell Tavern, which with
its triple galleries like those of a theatre, with the
jessamine and clematis twining round the light columns,
forms one of the prettiest entrances to an inn that you can
imagine. The fowl was tender, the wine old, the fire clear
and sparkling, and Andrea was surprised to find himself
eating with as good an appetite as though nothing had
happened. Then he went to bed and almost immediately fell
into that deep sleep which is sure to visit men of twenty
years of age, even when they are torn with remorse. Now,
here we are obliged to own that Andrea ought to have felt
remorse, but that he did not. This was the plan which had
appealed to him to afford the best chance of his security.
Before daybreak he would awake, leave the inn after
rigorously paying his bill, and reaching the forest, he
would, under pretence of making studies in painting, test
the hospitality of some peasants, procure himself the dress
of a woodcutter and a hatchet, casting off the lion's skin
to assume that of the woodman; then, with his hands covered
with dirt, his hair darkened by means of a leaden comb, his
complexion embrowned with a preparation for which one of his
old comrades had given him the recipe, he intended, by
following the wooded districts, to reach the nearest
frontier, walking by night and sleeping in the day in the
forests and quarries, and only entering inhabited regions to
buy a loaf from time to time.
Once past the frontier, Andrea proposed making money of his
diamonds; and by uniting the proceeds to ten bank-notes he
always carried about with him in case of accident, he would
then find himself possessor of about 50,000 livres, which he
philosophically considered as no very deplorable condition
after all. Moreover, he reckoned much on the interest of the
Danglars to hush up the rumor of their own misadventures.
These were the reasons which, added to the fatigue, caused
Andrea to sleep so soundly. In order that he might awaken
early he did not close the shutters, but contented himself
with bolting the door and placing on the table an unclasped
and long-pointed knife, whose temper he well knew, and which
was never absent from him. About seven in the morning Andrea
was awakened by a ray of sunlight, which played, warm and
brilliant, upon his face. In all well-organized brains, the
predominating idea -- and there always is one -- is sure to
be the last thought before sleeping, and the first upon
waking in the morning. Andrea had scarcely opened his eyes
when his predominating idea presented itself, and whispered
in his ear that he had slept too long. He jumped out of bed
and ran to the window. A gendarme was crossing the court. A
gendarme is one of the most striking objects in the world,
even to a man void of uneasiness; but for one who has a
timid conscience, and with good cause too, the yellow, blue,
and white uniform is really very alarming.
"Why is that gendarme there?" asked Andrea of himself. Then,
all at once, he replied, with that logic which the reader
has, doubtless, remarked in him, "There is nothing
astonishing in seeing a gendarme at an inn; instead of being
astonished, let me dress myself." And the youth dressed
himself with a facility his valet de chambre had failed to
rob him of during the two months of fashionable life he had
led in Paris. "Now then," said Andrea, while dressing
himself, "I'll wait till he leaves, and then I'll slip
away." And, saying this, Andrea, who had now put on his
boots and cravat, stole gently to the window, and a second
time lifted up the muslin curtain. Not only was the first
gendarme still there, but the young man now perceived a
second yellow, blue, and white uniform at the foot of the
staircase, the only one by which he could descend, while a
third, on horseback, holding a musket in his fist, was
posted as a sentinel at the great street door which alone
afforded the means of egress.
The appearance of the third gendarme settled the matter, for
a crowd of curious loungers was extended before him,
effectually blocking the entrance to the hotel. "They're
after me!" was Andrea's first thought. "The devil!" A pallor
overspread the young man's forehead, and he looked around
him with anxiety. His room, like all those on the same
floor, had but one outlet to the gallery in the sight of
everybody. "I am lost!" was his second thought; and, indeed,
for a man in Andrea's situation, an arrest meant the
assizes, trial, and death, -- death without mercy or delay.
For a moment he convulsively pressed his head within his
hands, and during that brief period he became nearly mad
with terror; but soon a ray of hope glimmered in the
multitude of thoughts which bewildered his mind, and a faint
smile played upon his white lips and pallid cheeks. He
looked around and saw the objects of his search upon the
chimney-piece; they were a pen, ink, and paper. With forced
composure he dipped the pen in the ink, and wrote the
following lines upon a sheet of paper: --
"I have no money to pay my bill, but I am not a dishonest
man; I leave behind me as a pledge this pin, worth ten times
the amount. I shall be excused for leaving at daybreak, for
I was ashamed."
He then drew the pin from his cravat and placed it on the
paper. This done, instead of leaving the door fastened, he
drew back the bolts and even placed the door ajar, as though
he had left the room, forgetting to close it, and slipping
into the chimney like a man accustomed to that kind of
gymnastic exercise, having effaced the marks of his feet
upon the floor, he commenced climbing the only opening which
afforded him the means of escape. At this precise time, the
first gendarme Andrea had noticed walked up-stairs, preceded
by the commissary of police, and supported by the second
gendarme who guarded the staircase and was himself
re-enforced by the one stationed at the door.
Andrea was indebted for this visit to the following
circumstances. At daybreak, the telegraphs were set at work
in all directions, and almost immediately the authorities in
every district had exerted their utmost endeavors to arrest
the murderer of Caderousse. Compiegne, that royal residence
and fortified town, is well furnished with authorities,
gendarmes, and commissaries of police; they therefore began
operations as soon as the telegraphic despatch arrived, and
the Bell and Bottle being the best-known hotel in the town,
they had naturally directed their first inquiries there.
Now, besides the reports of the sentinels guarding the Hotel
de Ville, which is next door to the Bell and Bottle, it had
been stated by others that a number of travellers had
arrived during the night. The sentinel who was relieved at
six o'clock in the morning, remembered perfectly that just
as he was taking his post a few minutes past four a young
man arrived on horseback, with a little boy before him. The
young man, having dismissed the boy and horse, knocked at
the door of the hotel, which was opened, and again closed
after his entrance. This late arrival had attracted much
suspicion, and the young man being no other than Andrea, the
commissary and gendarme, who was a brigadier, directed their
steps towards his room.
They found the door ajar. "Oh, ho," said the brigadier, who
thoroughly understood the trick; "a bad sign to find the
door open! I would rather find it triply bolted." And,
indeed, the little note and pin upon the table confirmed, or
rather corroborated, the sad truth. Andrea had fled. We say
corroborated, because the brigadier was too experienced to
be convinced by a single proof. He glanced around, looked in
the bed, shook the curtains, opened the closets, and finally
stopped at the chimney. Andrea had taken the precaution to
leave no traces of his feet in the ashes, but still it was
an outlet, and in this light was not to be passed over
without serious investigation.
The brigadier sent for some sticks and straw, and having
filled the chimney with them, set a light to it. The fire
crackled, and the smoke ascended like the dull vapor from a
volcano; but still no prisoner fell down, as they expected.
The fact was, that Andrea, at war with society ever since
his youth, was quite as deep as a gendarme, even though he
were advanced to the rank of brigadier, and quite prepared
for the fire, he had climbed out on the roof and was
crouching down against the chimney-pots. At one time he
thought he was saved, for he heard the brigadier exclaim in
a loud voice, to the two gendarmes, "He is not here!" But
venturing to peep, he perceived that the latter, instead of
retiring, as might have been reasonably expected upon this
announcement, were watching with increased attention.
It was now his turn to look about him; the Hotel de Ville, a
massive sixteenth century building, was on his right; any
one could descend from the openings in the tower, and
examine every corner of the roof below, and Andrea expected
momentarily to see the head of a gendarme appear at one of
these openings. If once discovered, he knew he would be
lost, for the roof afforded no chance of escape; he
therefore resolved to descend, not through the same chimney
by which he had come up, but by a similar one conducting to
another room. He looked around for a chimney from which no
smoke issued, and having reached it, he disappeared through
the orifice without being seen by any one. At the same
minute, one of the little windows of the Hotel de Ville was
thrown open, and the head of a gendarme appeared. For an
instant it remained motionless as one of the stone
decorations of the building, then after a long sigh of
disappointment the head disappeared. The brigadier, calm and
dignified as the law he represented, passed through the
crowd, without answering the thousand questions addressed to
him, and re-entered the hotel.
"Well?" asked the two gendarmes.
"Well, my boys," said the brigadier, "the brigand must
really have escaped early this morning; but we will send to
the Villers-Coterets and Noyon roads, and search the forest,
when we shall catch him, no doubt." The honorable
functionary had scarcely expressed himself thus, in that
intonation which is peculiar to brigadiers of the
gendarmerie, when a loud scream, accompanied by the violent
ringing of a bell, resounded through the court of the hotel.
"Ah, what is that?" cried the brigadier.
"Some traveller seems impatient," said the host. "What
number was it that rang?"
"Run, waiter!" At this moment the screams and ringing were
redoubled. "Ah," said the brigadier, stopping the servant,
"the person who is ringing appears to want something more
than a waiter; we will attend upon him with a gendarme. Who
occupies Number 3?"
"The little fellow who arrived last night in a post-chaise
with his sister, and who asked for an apartment with two
beds." The bell here rang for the third time, with another
shriek of anguish.
"Follow me, Mr. Commissary!" said the brigadier; "tread in
"Wait an instant," said the host; "Number 3 has two
staircases, -- inside and outside."
"Good," said the brigadier. "I will take charge of the
inside one. Are the carbines loaded?"
"Well, you guard the exterior, and if he attempts to fly,
fire upon him; he must be a great criminal, from what the
The brigadier, followed by the commissary, disappeared by
the inside staircase, accompanied by the noise which his
assertions respecting Andrea had excited in the crowd. This
is what had happened. Andrea had very cleverly managed to
descend two-thirds of the chimney, but then his foot
slipped, and notwithstanding his endeavors, he came into the
room with more speed and noise than he intended. It would
have signified little had the room been empty, but
unfortunately it was occupied. Two ladies, sleeping in one
bed, were awakened by the noise, and fixing their eyes upon
the spot whence the sound proceeded, they saw a man. One of
these ladies, the fair one, uttered those terrible shrieks
which resounded through the house, while the other, rushing
to the bell-rope, rang with all her strength. Andrea, as we
can see, was surrounded by misfortune.
"For pity's sake," he cried, pale and bewildered, without
seeing whom he was addressing, -- "for pity's sake do not
call assistance! Save me! -- I will not harm you."
"Andrea, the murderer!" cried one of the ladies.
"Eugenie! Mademoiselle Danglars!" exclaimed Andrea,
"Help, help!" cried Mademoiselle d'Armilly, taking the bell
from her companion's hand, and ringing it yet more
violently. "Save me, I am pursued!" said Andrea, clasping
his hands. "For pity, for mercy's sake do not deliver me
"It is too late, they are coming," said Eugenie.
"Well, conceal me somewhere; you can say you were needlessly
alarmed; you can turn their suspicions and save my life!"
The two ladies, pressing closely to one another, and drawing
the bedclothes tightly around them, remained silent to this
supplicating voice, repugnance and fear taking possession of
"Well, be it so," at length said Eugenie; "return by the
same road you came, and we will say nothing about you,
"Here he is, here he is!" cried a voice from the landing;
"here he is! I see him!" The brigadier had put his eye to
the keyhole, and had discovered Andrea in a posture of
entreaty. A violent blow from the butt end of the musket
burst open the lock, two more forced out the bolts, and the
broken door fell in. Andrea ran to the other door, leading
to the gallery, ready to rush out; but he was stopped short,
and he stood with his body a little thrown back, pale, and
with the useless knife in his clinched hand.
"Fly, then!" cried Mademoiselle d'Armilly, whose pity
returned as her fears diminished; "fly!"
"Or kill yourself!" said Eugenie (in a tone which a Vestal
in the amphitheatre would have used, when urging the
victorious gladiator to finish his vanquished adversary).
Andrea shuddered, and looked on the young girl with an
expression which proved how little he understood such
ferocious honor. "Kill myself?" he cried, throwing down his
knife; "why should I do so?"
"Why, you said," answered Mademoiselle Danglars, "that you
would be condemned to die like the worst criminals."
"Bah," said Cavalcanti, crossing his arms, "one has
The brigadier advanced to him, sword in hand. "Come, come,"
said Andrea, "sheathe your sword, my fine fellow; there is
no occasion to make such a fuss, since I give myself up;"
and he held out his hands to be manacled. The girls looked
with horror upon this shameful metamorphosis, the man of the
world shaking off his covering and appearing as a
galley-slave. Andrea turned towards them, and with an
impertinent smile asked, -- "Have you any message for your
father, Mademoiselle Danglars, for in all probability I
shall return to Paris?"
Eugenie covered her face with her hands. "Oh, ho!" said
Andrea, "you need not be ashamed, even though you did post
after me. Was I not nearly your husband?"
And with this raillery Andrea went out, leaving the two
girls a prey to their own feelings of shame, and to the
comments of the crowd. An hour after they stepped into their
calash, both dressed in feminine attire. The gate of the
hotel had been closed to screen them from sight, but they
were forced, when the door was open, to pass through a
throng of curious glances and whispering voices. Eugenie
closed her eyes; but though she could not see, she could
hear, and the sneers of the crowd reached her in the
carriage. "Oh, why is not the world a wilderness?" she
exclaimed, throwing herself into the arms of Mademoiselle
d'Armilly, her eyes sparkling with the same kind of rage
which made Nero wish that the Roman world had but one neck,
that he might sever it at a single blow. The next day they
stopped at the Hotel de Flandre, at Brussels. The same
evening Andrea was incarcerated in the Conciergerie.
We have seen how quietly Mademoiselle Danglars and
Mademoiselle d'Armilly accomplished their transformation and
flight; the fact being that every one was too much occupied
in his or her own affairs to think of theirs. We will leave
the banker contemplating the enormous magnitude of his debt
before the phantom of bankruptcy, and follow the baroness,
who after being momentarily crushed under the weight of the
blow which had struck her, had gone to seek her usual
adviser, Lucien Debray. The baroness had looked forward to
this marriage as a means of ridding her of a guardianship
which, over a girl of Eugenie's character, could not fail to
be rather a troublesome undertaking; for in the tacit
relations which maintain the bond of family union, the
mother, to maintain her ascendancy over her daughter, must
never fail to be a model of wisdom and a type of perfection.
Now, Madame Danglars feared Eugenie's sagacity and the
influence of Mademoiselle d'Armilly; she had frequently
observed the contemptuous expression with which her daughter
looked upon Debray, -- an expression which seemed to imply
that she understood all her mother's amorous and pecuniary
relationships with the intimate secretary; moreover, she saw
that Eugenie detested Debray, -- not only because he was a
source of dissension and scandal under the paternal roof,
but because she had at once classed him in that catalogue of
bipeds whom Plato endeavors to withdraw from the appellation
of men, and whom Diogenes designated as animals upon two
legs without feathers.
Unfortunately, in this world of ours, each person views
things through a certain medium, and so is prevented from
seeing in the same light as others, and Madame Danglars,
therefore, very much regretted that the marriage of Eugenie
had not taken place, not only because the match was good,
and likely to insure the happiness of her child, but because
it would also set her at liberty. She ran therefore to
Debray, who, after having like the rest of Paris witnessed
the contract scene and the scandal attending it, had retired
in haste to his club, where he was chatting with some
friends upon the events which served as a subject of
conversation for three-fourths of that city known as the
capital of the world.
At the precise time when Madame Danglars, dressed in black
and concealed in a long veil, was ascending the stairs
leading to Debray's apartments, -- notwithstanding the
assurances of the concierge that the young man was not at
home, -- Debray was occupied in repelling the insinuations
of a friend, who tried to persuade him that after the
terrible scene which had just taken place he ought, as a
friend of the family, to marry Mademoiselle Danglars and her
two millions. Debray did not defend himself very warmly, for
the idea had sometimes crossed his mind; still, when he
recollected the independent, proud spirit of Eugenie, he
positively rejected it as utterly impossible, though the
same thought again continually recurred and found a
resting-place in his heart. Tea, play, and the conversation,
which had become interesting during the discussion of such
serious affairs, lasted till one o'clock in the morning.
Meanwhile Madame Danglars, veiled and uneasy, awaited the
return of Debray in the little green room, seated between
two baskets of flowers, which she had that morning sent, and
which, it must be confessed, Debray had himself arranged and
watered with so much care that his absence was half excused
in the eyes of the poor woman.
At twenty minutes of twelve, Madame Danglars, tired of
waiting, returned home. Women of a certain grade are like
prosperous grisettes in one respect, they seldom return home
after twelve o'clock. The baroness returned to the hotel
with as much caution as Eugenie used in leaving it; she ran
lightly up-stairs, and with an aching heart entered her
apartment, contiguous, as we know, to that of Eugenie. She
was fearful of exciting any remark, and believed firmly in
her daughter's innocence and fidelity to the paternal roof.
She listened at Eugenie's door, and hearing no sound tried
to enter, but the bolts were in place. Madame Danglars then
concluded that the young girl had been overcome with the
terrible excitement of the evening, and had gone to bed and
to sleep. She called the maid and questioned her.
"Mademoiselle Eugenie," said the maid, "retired to her
apartment with Mademoiselle d'Armilly; they then took tea
together, after which they desired me to leave, saying that
they needed me no longer." Since then the maid had been
below, and like every one else she thought the young ladies
were in their own room; Madame Danglars, therefore, went to
bed without a shadow of suspicion, and began to muse over
the recent events. In proportion as her memory became
clearer, the occurrences of the evening were revealed in
their true light; what she had taken for confusion was a
tumult; what she had regarded as something distressing, was
in reality a disgrace. And then the baroness remembered that
she had felt no pity for poor Mercedes, who had been
afflicted with as severe a blow through her husband and son.
"Eugenie," she said to herself, "is lost, and so are we. The
affair, as it will be reported, will cover us with shame;
for in a society such as ours satire inflicts a painful and
incurable wound. How fortunate that Eugenie is possessed of
that strange character which has so often made me tremble!"
And her glance was turned towards heaven, where a mysterious
providence disposes all things, and out of a fault, nay,
even a vice, sometimes produces a blessing. And then her
thoughts, cleaving through space like a bird in the air,
rested on Cavalcanti. This Andrea was a wretch, a robber, an
assassin, and yet his manners showed the effects of a sort
of education, if not a complete one; he had been presented
to the world with the appearance of an immense fortune,
supported by an honorable name. How could she extricate
herself from this labyrinth? To whom would she apply to help
her out of this painful situation? Debray, to whom she had
run, with the first instinct of a woman towards the man she
loves, and who yet betrays her, -- Debray could but give her
advice, she must apply to some one more powerful than he.
The baroness then thought of M. de Villefort. It was M. de
Villefort who had remorselessly brought misfortune into her
family, as though they had been strangers. But, no; on
reflection, the procureur was not a merciless man; and it
was not the magistrate, slave to his duties, but the friend,
the loyal friend, who roughly but firmly cut into the very
core of the corruption; it was not the executioner, but the
surgeon, who wished to withdraw the honor of Danglars from
ignominious association with the disgraced young man they
had presented to the world as their son-in-law. And since
Villefort, the friend of Danglars, had acted in this way, no
one could suppose that he had been previously acquainted
with, or had lent himself to, any of Andrea's intrigues.
Villefort's conduct, therefore, upon reflection, appeared to
the baroness as if shaped for their mutual advantage. But
the inflexibility of the procureur should stop there; she
would see him the next day, and if she could not make him
fail in his duties as a magistrate, she would, at least,
obtain all the indulgence he could allow. She would invoke
the past, recall old recollections; she would supplicate him
by the remembrance of guilty, yet happy days. M. de
Villefort would stifle the affair; he had only to turn his
eyes on one side, and allow Andrea to fly, and follow up the
crime under that shadow of guilt called contempt of court.
And after this reasoning she slept easily.
At nine o'clock next morning she arose, and without ringing
for her maid or giving the least sign of her activity, she
dressed herself in the same simple style as on the previous
night; then running down-stairs, she left the hotel, walked
to the Rue de Provence, called a cab, and drove to M. de
Villefort's house. For the last month this wretched house
had presented the gloomy appearance of a lazaretto infected
with the plague. Some of the apartments were closed within
and without; the shutters were only opened to admit a
minute's air, showing the scared face of a footman, and
immediately afterwards the window would be closed, like a
gravestone falling on a sepulchre, and the neighbors would
say to each other in a low voice, "Will there be another
funeral to-day at the procureur's house?" Madame Danglars
involuntarily shuddered at the desolate aspect of the
mansion; descending from the cab, she approached the door
with trembling knees, and rang the bell. Three times did the
bell ring with a dull, heavy sound, seeming to participate,
in the general sadness, before the concierge appeared and
peeped through the door, which he opened just wide enough to
allow his words to be heard. He saw a lady, a fashionable,
elegantly dressed lady, and yet the door remained almost
"Do you intend opening the door?" said the baroness.
"First, madame, who are you?"
"Who am I? You know me well enough."
"We no longer know any one, madame."
"You must be mad, my friend," said the baroness.
"Where do you come from?"
"Oh, this is too much!"
"Madame, these are my orders; excuse me. Your name?"
"The baroness Danglars; you have seen me twenty times."
"Possibly, madame. And now, what do you want?"
"Oh, how extraordinary! I shall complain to M. de Villefort
of the impertinence of his servants."
"Madame, this is precaution, not impertinence; no one enters
here without an order from M. d'Avrigny, or without speaking
to the procureur."
"Well, I have business with the procureur."
"Is it pressing business?"
"You can imagine so, since I have not even brought my
carriage out yet. But enough of this -- here is my card,
take it to your master."
"Madame will await my return?"
"Yes; go." The concierge closed the door, leaving Madame
Danglars in the street. She had not long to wait; directly
afterwards the door was opened wide enough to admit her, and
when she had passed through, it was again shut. Without
losing sight of her for an instant, the concierge took a
whistle from his pocket as soon as they entered the court,
and blew it. The valet de chambre appeared on the
door-steps. "You will excuse this poor fellow, madame," he
said, as he preceded the baroness, "but his orders are
precise, and M. de Villefort begged me to tell you that he
could not act otherwise."
In the court showing his merchandise, was a tradesman who
had been admitted with the same precautions. The baroness
ascended the steps; she felt herself strongly infected with
the sadness which seemed to magnify her own, and still
guided by the valet de chambre, who never lost sight of her
for an instant, she was introduced to the magistrate's
study. Preoccupied as Madame Danglars had been with the
object of her visit, the treatment she had received from
these underlings appeared to her so insulting, that she
began by complaining of it. But Villefort, raising his head,
bowed down by grief, looked up at her with so sad a smile
that her complaints died upon her lips. "Forgive my
servants," he said, "for a terror I cannot blame them for;
from being suspected they have become suspicious."
Madame Danglars had often heard of the terror to which the
magistrate alluded, but without the evidence of her own
eyesight she could never have believed that the sentiment
had been carried so far. "You too, then, are unhappy?" she
said. "Yes, madame," replied the magistrate.
"Then you pity me!"
"And you understand what brings me here?"
"You wish to speak to me about the circumstance which has
"Yes, sir, -- a fearful misfortune."
"You mean a mischance."
"A mischance?" repeated the baroness.
"Alas, madame," said the procureur with his imperturbable
calmness of manner, "I consider those alone misfortunes
which are irreparable."
"And do you suppose this will be forgotten?"
"Everything will be forgotten, madame," said Villefort.
"Your daughter will be married to-morrow, if not to-day --
in a week, if not to-morrow; and I do not think you can
regret the intended husband of your daughter."
Madame Danglars gazed on Villefort, stupefied to find him so
almost insultingly calm. "Am I come to a friend?" she asked
in a tone full of mournful dignity. "You know that you are,
madame," said Villefort, whose pale cheeks became slightly
flushed as he gave her the assurance. And truly this
assurance carried him back to different events from those
now occupying the baroness and him. "Well, then, be more
affectionate, my dear Villefort," said the baroness. "Speak
to me not as a magistrate, but as a friend; and when I am in
bitter anguish of spirit, do not tell me that I ought to be
gay." Villefort bowed. "When I hear misfortunes named,
madame," he said, "I have within the last few months
contracted the bad habit of thinking of my own, and then I
cannot help drawing up an egotistical parallel in my mind.
That is the reason that by the side of my misfortunes yours
appear to me mere mischances; that is why my dreadful
position makes yours appear enviable. But this annoys you;
let us change the subject. You were saying, madame" --
"I came to ask you, my friend," said the baroness, "what
will be done with this impostor?"
"Impostor," repeated Villefort; "certainly, madame, you
appear to extenuate some cases, and exaggerate others.
Impostor, indeed! -- M. Andrea Cavalcanti, or rather M.
Benedetto, is nothing more nor less than an assassin!"
"Sir, I do not deny the justice of your correction, but the
more severely you arm yourself against that unfortunate man,
the more deeply will you strike our family. Come, forget him
for a moment, and instead of pursuing him let him go."
"You are too late, madame; the orders are issued."
"Well, should he be arrested -- do they think they will
"I hope so."
"If they should arrest him (I know that sometimes prisoners
afford means of escape), will you leave him in prison?" --
The procureur shook his head. "At least keep him there till
my daughter be married."
"Impossible, madame; justice has its formalities."
"What, even for me?" said the baroness, half jesting, half
in earnest. "For all, even for myself among the rest,"
"Ah," exclaimed the baroness, without expressing the ideas
which the exclamation betrayed. Villefort looked at her with
that piercing glance which reads the secrets of the heart.
"Yes, I know what you mean," he said; "you refer to the
terrible rumors spread abroad in the world, that the deaths
which have kept me in mourning for the last three months,
and from which Valentine has only escaped by a miracle, have
not happened by natural means."
"I was not thinking of that," replied Madame Danglars
quickly. "Yes, you were thinking of it, and with justice.
You could not help thinking of it, and saying to yourself,
`you, who pursue crime so vindictively, answer now, why are
there unpunished crimes in your dwelling?'" The baroness
became pale. "You were saying this, were you not?"
"Well, I own it."
"I will answer you."
Villefort drew his armchair nearer to Madame Danglars; then
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