Part 16 out of 31
"Who is this young person, M. de Morcerf?" inquired Eugenie;
"does anybody know?"
"Mademoiselle," said Albert, replying to this direct appeal,
"I can give you very exact information on that subject, as
well as on most points relative to the mysterious person of
whom we are now conversing -- the young woman is a Greek."
"So I should suppose by her dress; if you know no more than
that, every one here is as well-informed as yourself."
"I am extremely sorry you find me so ignorant a cicerone,"
replied Morcerf, "but I am reluctantly obliged to confess, I
have nothing further to communicate -- yes, stay, I do know
one thing more, namely, that she is a musician, for one day
when I chanced to be breakfasting with the count, I heard
the sound of a guzla -- it is impossible that it could have
been touched by any other finger than her own."
"Then your count entertains visitors, does he?" asked Madame
"Indeed he does, and in a most lavish manner, I can assure
"I must try and persuade M. Danglars to invite him to a ball
or dinner, or something of the sort, that he may be
compelled to ask us in return."
"What," said Debray, laughing; "do you really mean you would
go to his house?"
"Why not? my husband could accompany me."
"But do you know this mysterious count is a bachelor?"
"You have ample proof to the contrary, if you look
opposite," said the baroness, as she laughingly pointed to
the beautiful Greek.
"No, no!" exclaimed Debray; "that girl is not his wife: he
told us himself she was his slave. Do you not recollect,
Morcerf, his telling us so at your breakfast?"
"Well, then," said the baroness, "if slave she be, she has
all the air and manner of a princess."
"Of the `Arabian Nights'?"
"If you like; but tell me, my dear Lucien, what it is that
constitutes a princess. Why, diamonds -- and she is covered
"To me she seems overloaded," observed Eugenie; "she would
look far better if she wore fewer, and we should then be
able to see her finely formed throat and wrists."
"See how the artist peeps out!" exclaimed Madame Danglars.
"My poor Eugenie, you must conceal your passion for the fine
"I admire all that is beautiful," returned the young lady.
"What do you think of the count?" inquired Debray; "he is
not much amiss, according to my ideas of good looks."
"The count," repeated Eugenie, as though it had not occurred
to her to observe him sooner; "the count? -- oh, he is so
"I quite agree with you," said Morcerf; "and the secret of
that very pallor is what we want to find out. The Countess
G---- insists upon it that he is a vampire."
"Then the Countess G---- has returned to Paris, has she?"
inquired the baroness.
"Is that she, mamma?" asked Eugenie; "almost opposite to us,
with that profusion of beautiful light hair?"
"Yes," said Madame Danglars, "that is she. Shall I tell you
what you ought to do, Morcerf?"
"Command me, madame."
"Well, then, you should go and bring your Count of Monte
Cristo to us."
"What for?" asked Eugenie.
"What for? Why, to converse with him, of course. Have you
really no desire to meet him?"
"None whatever," replied Eugenie.
"Strange child," murmured the baroness.
"He will very probably come of his own accord," said
Morcerf. "There; do you see, madame, he recognizes you, and
bows." The baroness returned the salute in the most smiling
and graceful manner.
"Well," said Morcerf, "I may as well be magnanimous, and
tear myself away to forward your wishes. Adieu; I will go
and try if there are any means of speaking to him."
"Go straight to his box; that will be the simplest plan."
"But I have never been presented."
"Presented to whom?"
"To the beautiful Greek."
"You say she is only a slave?"
"While you assert that she is a queen, or at least a
princess. No; I hope that when he sees me leave you, he will
"That is possible -- go."
"I am going," said Albert, as he made his parting bow. Just
as he was passing the count's box, the door opened, and
Monte Cristo came forth. After giving some directions to
Ali, who stood in the lobby, the count took Albert's arm.
Carefully closing the box door, Ali placed himself before
it, while a crowd of spectators assembled round the Nubian.
"Upon my word," said Monte Cristo, "Paris is a strange city,
and the Parisians a very singular people. See that cluster
of persons collected around poor Ali, who is as much
astonished as themselves; really one might suppose he was
the only Nubian they had ever beheld. Now I can promise you,
that a Frenchman might show himself in public, either in
Tunis, Constantinople, Bagdad, or Cairo, without being
treated in that way."
"That shows that the Eastern nations have too much good
sense to waste their time and attention on objects
undeserving of either. However, as far as Ali is concerned,
I can assure you, the interest he excites is merely from the
circumstance of his being your attendant -- you, who are at
this moment the most celebrated and fashionable person in
"Really? and what has procured me so fluttering a
"What? why, yourself, to be sure! You give away horses worth
a thousand louis; you save the lives of ladies of high rank
and beauty; under the name of Major Brack you run
thoroughbreds ridden by tiny urchins not larger than
marmots; then, when you have carried off the golden trophy
of victory, instead of setting any value on it, you give it
to the first handsome woman you think of!"
"And who has filled your head with all this nonsense?"
"Why, in the first place, I heard it from Madame Danglars,
who, by the by, is dying to see you in her box, or to have
you seen there by others; secondly, I learned it from
Beauchamp's journal; and thirdly, from my own imagination.
Why, if you sought concealment, did you call your horse
"That was an oversight, certainly," replied the count; "but
tell me, does the Count of Morcerf never visit the Opera? I
have been looking for him, but without success."
"He will be here to-night."
"In what part of the house?"
"In the baroness's box, I believe."
"That charming young woman with her is her daughter?"
"I congratulate you." Morcerf smiled. "We will discuss that
subject at length some future time," said he. "But what do
you think of the music?"
"Why, the music you have been listening to."
"Oh, it is well enough as the production of a human
composer, sung by featherless bipeds, to quote the late
"From which it would seem, my dear count, that you can at
pleasure enjoy the seraphic strains that proceed from the
seven choirs of paradise?"
"You are right, in some degree; when I wish to listen to
sounds more exquisitely attuned to melody than mortal ear
ever yet listened to, I go to sleep."
"Then sleep here, my dear count. The conditions are
favorable; what else was opera invented for?"
"No, thank you. Your orchestra is too noisy. To sleep after
the manner I speak of, absolute calm and silence are
necessary, and then a certain preparation" --
"I know -- the famous hashish!"
"Precisely. So, my dear viscount, whenever you wish to be
regaled with music come and sup with me."
"I have already enjoyed that treat when breakfasting with
you," said Morcerf.
"Do you mean at Rome?"
"Ah, then, I suppose you heard Haidee's guzla; the poor
exile frequently beguiles a weary hour in playing over to me
the airs of her native land." Morcerf did not pursue the
subject, and Monte Cristo himself fell into a silent
reverie. The bell rang at this moment for the rising of the
curtain. "You will excuse my leaving you," said the count,
turning in the direction of his box.
"What? Are you going?"
"Pray, say everything that is kind to Countess G---- on the
part of her friend the Vampire."
"And what message shall I convey to the baroness!"
"That, with her permission, I shall do myself the honor of
paying my respects in the course of the evening."
The third act had begun; and during its progress the Count
of Morcerf, according to his promise, made his appearance in
the box of Madame Danglars. The Count of Morcerf was not a
person to excite either interest or curiosity in a place of
public amusement; his presence, therefore, was wholly
unnoticed, save by the occupants of the box in which he had
just seated himself. The quick eye of Monte Cristo however,
marked his coming; and a slight though meaning smile passed
over his lips. Haidee, whose soul seemed centred in the
business of the stage, like all unsophisticated natures,
delighted in whatever addressed itself to the eye or ear.
The third act passed off as usual. Mesdemoiselles Noblet,
Julie, and Leroux executed the customary pirouettes; Robert
duly challenged the Prince of Granada; and the royal father
of the princess Isabella, taking his daughter by the hand,
swept round the stage with majestic strides, the better to
display the rich folds of his velvet robe and mantle. After
which the curtain again fell, and the spectators poured
forth from the theatre into the lobbies and salon. The count
left his box, and a moment later was saluting the Baronne
Danglars, who could not restrain a cry of mingled pleasure
and surprise. "You are welcome, count!" she exclaimed, as he
entered. "I have been most anxious to see you, that I might
repeat orally the thanks writing can so ill express."
"Surely so trifling a circumstance cannot deserve a place in
your remembrance. Believe me, madame, I had entirely
"But it is not so easy to forget, monsieur, that the very
next day after your princely gift you saved the life of my
dear friend, Madame de Villefort, which was endangered by
the very animals your generosity restored to me."
"This time, at least, I do not deserve your thanks. It was
Ali, my Nubian slave, who rendered this service to Madame de
"Was it Ali," asked the Count of Morcerf, "who rescued my
son from the hands of bandits?"
"No, count," replied Monte Cristo taking the hand held out
to him by the general; "in this instance I may fairly and
freely accept your thanks; but you have already tendered
them, and fully discharged your debt -- if indeed there
existed one -- and I feel almost mortified to find you still
reverting to the subject. May I beg of you, baroness, to
honor me with an introduction to your daughter?"
"Oh, you are no stranger -- at least not by name," replied
Madame Danglars, "and the last two or three days we have
really talked of nothing but you. Eugenie," continued the
baroness, turning towards her daughter, "this is the Count
of Monte Cristo." The Count bowed, while Mademoiselle
Danglars bent her head slightly. "You have a charming young
person with you to-night, count," said Eugenie. "Is she your
"No, mademoiselle," said Monte Cristo, astonished at the
coolness and freedom of the question. "She is a poor
unfortunate Greek left under my care."
"And what is her name?"
"Haidee," replied Monte Cristo.
"A Greek?" murmured the Count of Morcerf.
"Yes, indeed, count," said Madame Danglars; "and tell me,
did you ever see at the court of Ali Tepelini, whom you so
gloriously and valiantly served, a more exquisite beauty or
"Did I hear rightly, monsieur," said Monte Cristo "that you
served at Yanina?"
"I was inspector-general of the pasha's troops," replied
Morcerf; "and it is no secret that I owe my fortune, such as
it is, to the liberality of the illustrious Albanese chief."
"But look!" exclaimed Madame Danglars.
"Where?" stammered Morcerf.
"There," said Monte Cristo placing his arms around the
count, and leaning with him over the front of the box, just
as Haidee, whose eyes were occupied in examining the theatre
in search of her guardian, perceived his pale features close
to Morcerf's face. It was as if the young girl beheld the
head of Medusa. She bent forwards as though to assure
herself of the reality of what she saw, then, uttering a
faint cry, threw herself back in her seat. The sound was
heard by the people about Ali, who instantly opened the
box-door. "Why, count," exclaimed Eugenie, "what has
happened to your ward? she seems to have been taken suddenly
"Very probably," answered the count. "But do not be alarmed
on her account. Haidee's nervous system is delicately
organized, and she is peculiarly susceptible to the odors
even of flowers -- nay, there are some which cause her to
faint if brought into her presence. However," continued
Monte Cristo, drawing a small phial from his pocket, "I have
an infallible remedy." So saying, he bowed to the baroness
and her daughter, exchanged a parting shake of the hand with
Debray and the count, and left Madame Danglars' box. Upon
his return to Haidee he found her still very pale. As soon
as she saw him she seized his hand; her own hands were moist
and icy cold. "Who was it you were talking with over there?"
"With the Count of Morcerf," answered Monte Cristo. "He
tells me he served your illustrious father, and that he owes
his fortune to him."
"Wretch!" exclaimed Haidee, her eyes flashing with rage; "he
sold my father to the Turks, and the fortune he boasts of
was the price of his treachery! Did not you know that, my
"Something of this I heard in Epirus," said Monte Cristo;
"but the particulars are still unknown to me. You shall
relate them to me, my child. They are, no doubt, both
curious and interesting."
"Yes, yes; but let us go. I feel as though it would kill me
to remain long near that dreadful man." So saying, Haidee
arose, and wrapping herself in her burnoose of white
cashmire embroidered with pearls and coral, she hastily
quitted the box at the moment when the curtain was rising
upon the fourth act.
"Do you observe," said the Countess G---- to Albert, who
had returned to her side, "that man does nothing like other
people; he listens most devoutly to the third act of `Robert
le Diable,' and when the fourth begins, takes his
A Flurry in Stocks.
Some days after this meeting, Albert de Morcerf visited the
Count of Monte Cristo at his house in the Champs Elysees,
which had already assumed that palace-like appearance which
the count's princely fortune enabled him to give even to his
most temporary residences. He came to renew the thanks of
Madame Danglars which had been already conveyed to the count
through the medium of a letter, signed "Baronne Danglars,
nee Hermine de Servieux." Albert was accompanied by Lucien
Debray, who, joining in his friend's conversation, added
some passing compliments, the source of which the count's
talent for finesse easily enabled him to guess. He was
convinced that Lucien's visit was due to a double feeling of
curiosity, the larger half of which sentiment emanated from
the Rue de la Chaussee d'Antin. In short, Madame Danglars,
not being able personally to examine in detail the domestic
economy and household arrangements of a man who gave away
horses worth 30,000 francs and who went to the opera with a
Greek slave wearing diamonds to the amount of a million of
money, had deputed those eyes, by which she was accustomed
to see, to give her a faithful account of the mode of life
of this incomprehensible person. But the count did not
appear to suspect that there could be the slightest
connection between Lucien's visit and the curiosity of the
"You are in constant communication with the Baron Danglars?"
the count inquired of Albert de Morcerf.
"Yes, count, you know what I told you?"
"All remains the same, then, in that quarter?"
"It is more than ever a settled thing," said Lucien, -- and,
considering that this remark was all that he was at that
time called upon to make, he adjusted the glass to his eye,
and biting the top of his gold headed cane, began to make
the tour of the apartment, examining the arms and the
"Ah," said Monte Cristo "I did not expect that the affair
would be so promptly concluded."
"Oh, things take their course without our assistance. While
we are forgetting them, they are falling into their
appointed order; and when, again, our attention is directed
to them, we are surprised at the progress they have made
towards the proposed end. My father and M. Danglars served
together in Spain, my father in the army and M. Danglars in
the commissariat department. It was there that my father,
ruined by the revolution, and M. Danglars, who never had
possessed any patrimony, both laid the foundations of their
"Yes," said Monte Cristo "I think M. Danglars mentioned that
in a visit which I paid him; and," continued he, casting a
side-glance at Lucien, who was turning over the leaves of an
album, "Mademoiselle Eugenie is pretty -- I think I remember
that to be her name."
"Very pretty, or rather, very beautiful," replied Albert,
"but of that style of beauty which I do not appreciate; I am
an ungrateful fellow."
"You speak as if you were already her husband."
"Ah," returned Albert, in his turn looking around to see
what Lucien was doing.
"Really," said Monte Cristo, lowering his voice, "you do not
appear to me to be very enthusiastic on the subject of this
"Mademoiselle Danglars is too rich for me," replied Morcerf,
"and that frightens me."
"Bah," exclaimed Monte Cristo, "that's a fine reason to
give. Are you not rich yourself?"
"My father's income is about 50,000 francs per annum; and he
will give me, perhaps, ten or twelve thousand when I marry."
"That, perhaps, might not be considered a large sum, in
Paris especially," said the count; "but everything does not
depend on wealth, and it is a fine thing to have a good
name, and to occupy a high station in society. Your name is
celebrated, your position magnificent; and then the Comte de
Morcerf is a soldier, and it is pleasing to see the
integrity of a Bayard united to the poverty of a Duguesclin;
disinterestedness is the brightest ray in which a noble
sword can shine. As for me, I consider the union with
Mademoiselle Danglars a most suitable one; she will enrich
you, and you will ennoble her." Albert shook his head, and
looked thoughtful. "There is still something else," said he.
"I confess," observed Monte Cristo, "that I have some
difficulty in comprehending your objection to a young lady
who is both rich and beautiful."
"Oh," said Morcerf, "this repugnance, if repugnance it may
be called, is not all on my side."
"Whence can it arise, then? for you told me your father
desired the marriage."
"It is my mother who dissents; she has a clear and
penetrating judgment, and does not smile on the proposed
union. I cannot account for it, but she seems to entertain
some prejudice against the Danglars."
"Ah," said the count, in a somewhat forced tone, "that may
be easily explained; the Comtesse de Morcerf, who is
aristocracy and refinement itself, does not relish the idea
of being allied by your marriage with one of ignoble birth;
that is natural enough."
"I do not know if that is her reason," said Albert, "but one
thing I do know, that if this marriage be consummated, it
will render her quite miserable. There was to have been a
meeting six weeks ago in order to talk over and settle the
affair; but I had such a sudden attack of indisposition" --
"Real?" interrupted the count, smiling.
"Oh, real enough, from anxiety doubtless, -- at any rate
they postponed the matter for two months. There is no hurry,
you know. I am not yet twenty-one, and Eugenie is only
seventeen; but the two months expire next week. It must be
done. My dear count, you cannot imagine how my mind is
harassed. How happy you are in being exempt from all this!"
"Well, and why should not you be free, too? What prevents
you from being so?"
"Oh, it will be too great a disappointment to my father if I
do not marry Mademoiselle Danglars."
"Marry her then," said the count, with a significant shrug
of the shoulders.
"Yes," replied Morcerf, "but that will plunge my mother into
"Then do not marry her," said the count.
"Well, I shall see. I will try and think over what is the
best thing to be done; you will give me your advice, will
you not, and if possible extricate me from my unpleasant
position? I think, rather than give pain to my dear mother,
I would run the risk of offending the count." Monte Cristo
turned away; he seemed moved by this last remark. "Ah," said
he to Debray, who had thrown himself into an easy-chair at
the farthest extremity of the salon, and who held a pencil
in his right hand and an account book in his left, "what are
you doing there? Are you making a sketch after Poussin?"
"Oh, no," was the tranquil response; "I am too fond of art
to attempt anything of that sort. I am doing a little sum in
"Yes; I am calculating -- by the way, Morcerf, that
indirectly concerns you -- I am calculating what the house
of Danglars must have gained by the last rise in Haiti
bonds; from 206 they have risen to 409 in three days, and
the prudent banker had purchased at 206; therefore he must
have made 300,000 livres."
"That is not his biggest scoop," said Morcerf; "did he not
make a million in Spaniards this last year?"
"My dear fellow," said Lucien, "here is the Count of Monte
Cristo, who will say to you, as the Italians do, --
"`Danaro e santita,
Meta della meta.'*
* "Money and sanctity,
Each in a moiety.
"When they tell me such things, I only shrug my shoulders
and say nothing."
"But you were speaking of Haitians?" said Monte Cristo.
"Ah, Haitians, -- that is quite another thing! Haitians are
the ecarte of French stock-jobbing. We may like bouillotte,
delight in whist, be enraptured with boston, and yet grow
tired of them all; but we always come back to ecarte -- it
is not only a game, it is a hors-d'oeuvre! M. Danglars sold
yesterday at 405, and pockets 300,000 francs. Had he but
waited till to-day, the price would have fallen to 205, and
instead of gaining 300,000 francs, he would have lost 20 or
"And what has caused the sudden fall from 409 to 206?" asked
Monte Cristo. "I am profoundly ignorant of all these
"Because," said Albert, laughing, "one piece of news follows
another, and there is often great dissimilarity between
"Ah," said the count, "I see that M. Danglars is accustomed
to play at gaining or losing 300,000 francs in a day; he
must be enormously rich."
"It is not he who plays!" exclaimed Lucien; "it is Madame
Danglars: she is indeed daring."
"But you who are a reasonable being, Lucien, and who know
how little dependence is to be placed on the news, since you
are at the fountain-head, surely you ought to prevent it,"
said Morcerf, with a smile.
"How can I, if her husband fails in controlling her?" asked
Lucien; "you know the character of the baroness -- no one
has any influence with her, and she does precisely what she
"Ah, if I were in your place" -- said Albert.
"I would reform her; it would be rendering a service to her
"How would you set about it?"
"Ah, that would be easy enough -- I would give her a
"Yes. Your position as secretary to the minister renders
your authority great on the subject of political news; you
never open your mouth but the stockbrokers immediately
stenograph your words. Cause her to lose a hundred thousand
francs, and that would teach her prudence."
"I do not understand," stammered Lucien.
"It is very clear, notwithstanding," replied the young man,
with an artlessness wholly free from affectation; "tell her
some fine morning an unheard-of piece of intelligence --
some telegraphic despatch, of which you alone are in
possession; for instance, that Henri IV. was seen yesterday
at Gabrielle's. That would boom the market; she will buy
heavily, and she will certainly lose when Beauchamp
announces the following day, in his gazette, `The report
circulated by some usually well-informed persons that the
king was seen yesterday at Gabrielle's house, is totally
without foundation. We can positively assert that his
majesty did not quit the Pont-Neuf.'" Lucien half smiled.
Monte Cristo, although apparently indifferent, had not lost
one word of this conversation, and his penetrating eye had
even read a hidden secret in the embarrassed manner of the
secretary. This embarrassment had completely escaped Albert,
but it caused Lucien to shorten his visit; he was evidently
ill at ease. The count, in taking leave of him, said
something in a low voice, to which he answered, "Willingly,
count; I accept." The count returned to young Morcerf.
"Do you not think, on reflection," said he to him, "that you
have done wrong in thus speaking of your mother-in-law in
the presence of M. Debray?"
"My dear count," said Morcerf, "I beg of you not to apply
that title so prematurely."
"Now, speaking without any exaggeration, is your mother
really so very much averse to this marriage?"
"So much so that the baroness very rarely comes to the
house, and my mother, has not, I think, visited Madame
Danglars twice in her whole life."
"Then," said the count, "I am emboldened to speak openly to
you. M. Danglars is my banker; M. de Villefort has
overwhelmed me with politeness in return for a service which
a casual piece of good fortune enabled me to render him. I
predict from all this an avalanche of dinners and routs.
Now, in order not to presume on this, and also to be
beforehand with them, I have, if agreeable to you, thought
of inviting M. and Madame Danglars, and M. and Madame de
Villefort, to my country-house at Auteuil. If I were to
invite you and the Count and Countess of Morcerf to this
dinner, I should give it the appearance of being a
matrimonial meeting, or at least Madame de Morcerf would
look upon the affair in that light, especially if Baron
Danglars did me the honor to bring his daughter. In that
case your mother would hold me in aversion, and I do not at
all wish that; on the contrary, I desire to stand high in
"Indeed, count," said Morcerf, "I thank you sincerely for
having used so much candor towards me, and I gratefully
accept the exclusion which you propose. You say you desire
my mother's good opinion; I assure you it is already yours
to a very unusual extent."
"Do you think so?" said Monte Cristo, with interest.
"Oh, I am sure of it; we talked of you an hour after you
left us the other day. But to return to what we were saying.
If my mother could know of this attention on your part --
and I will venture to tell her -- I am sure that she will be
most grateful to you; it is true that my father will be
equally angry." The count laughed. "Well," said he to
Morcerf, "but I think your father will not be the only angry
one; M. and Madame Danglars will think me a very
ill-mannered person. They know that I am intimate with you
-- that you are, in fact; one of the oldest of my Parisian
acquaintances -- and they will not find you at my house;
they will certainly ask me why I did not invite you. Be sure
to provide yourself with some previous engagement which
shall have a semblance of probability, and communicate the
fact to me by a line in writing. You know that with bankers
nothing but a written document will be valid."
"I will do better than that," said Albert; "my mother is
wishing to go to the sea-side -- what day is fixed for your
"This is Tuesday -- well, to-morrow evening we leave, and
the day after we shall be at Treport. Really, count, you
have a delightful way of setting people at their ease."
"Indeed, you give me more credit than I deserve; I only wish
to do what will be agreeable to you, that is all."
"When shall you send your invitations?"
"This very day."
"Well, I will immediately call on M. Danglars, and tell him
that my mother and myself must leave Paris to-morrow. I have
not seen you, consequently I know nothing of your dinner."
"How foolish you are! Have you forgotten that M. Debray has
just seen you at my house?"
"Fix it this way. I have seen you, and invited you without
any ceremony, when you instantly answered that it would be
impossible for you to accept, as you were going to Treport."
"Well, then, that is settled; but you will come and call on
my mother before to-morrow?"
"Before to-morrow? -- that will be a difficult matter to
arrange, besides, I shall just be in the way of all the
preparations for departure."
"Well, you can do better. You were only a charming man
before, but, if you accede to my proposal, you will be
"What must I do to attain such sublimity?"
"You are to-day free as air -- come and dine with me; we
shall be a small party -- only yourself, my mother, and I.
You have scarcely seen my mother; you shall have an
opportunity of observing her more closely. She is a
remarkable woman, and I only regret that there does not
exist another like her, about twenty years younger; in that
case, I assure you, there would very soon be a Countess and
Viscountess of Morcerf. As to my father, you will not see
him; he is officially engaged, and dines with the chief
referendary. We will talk over our travels; and you, who
have seen the whole world, will relate your adventures --
you shall tell us the history of the beautiful Greek who was
with you the other night at the Opera, and whom you call
your slave, and yet treat like a princess. We will talk
Italian and Spanish. Come, accept my invitation, and my
mother will thank you."
"A thousand thanks," said the count, "your invitation is
most gracious, and I regret exceedingly that it is not in my
power to accept it. I am not so much at liberty as you
suppose; on the contrary, I have a most important
"Ah, take care, you were teaching me just now how, in case
of an invitation to dinner, one might creditably make an
excuse. I require the proof of a pre-engagement. I am not a
banker, like M. Danglars, but I am quite as incredulous as
"I am going to give you a proof," replied the count, and he
rang the bell.
"Humph," said Morcerf, "this is the second time you have
refused to dine with my mother; it is evident that you wish
to avoid her." Monte Cristo started. "Oh, you do not mean
that," said he; "besides, here comes the confirmation of my
assertion." Baptistin entered, and remained standing at the
door. "I had no previous knowledge of your visit, had I?"
"Indeed, you are such an extraordinary person, that I would
not answer for it."
"At all events, I could not guess that you would invite me
"Well, listen, Baptistin, what did I tell you this morning
when I called you into my laboratory?"
"To close the door against visitors as soon as the clock
struck five," replied the valet.
"Ah, my dear count," said Albert.
"No, no, I wish to do away with that mysterious reputation
that you have given me, my dear viscount; it is tiresome to
be always acting Manfred. I wish my life to be free and
open. Go on, Baptistin."
"Then to admit no one except Major Bartolomeo Cavalcanti and
"You hear -- Major Bartolomeo Cavalcanti -- a man who ranks
amongst the most ancient nobility of Italy, whose name Dante
has celebrated in the tenth canto of `The Inferno,' you
remember it, do you not? Then there is his son, Andrea, a
charming young man, about your own age, viscount, bearing
the same title as yourself, and who is making his entry into
the Parisian world, aided by his father's millions. The
major will bring his son with him this evening, the contino,
as we say in Italy; he confides him to my care. If he proves
himself worthy of it, I will do what I can to advance his
interests. You will assist me in the work, will you not?"
"Most undoubtedly. This Major Cavalcanti is an old friend of
"By no means. He is a perfect nobleman, very polite, modest,
and agreeable, such as may be found constantly in Italy,
descendants of very ancient families. I have met him several
times at Florence, Bologna and Lucca, and he has now
communicated to me the fact of his arrival in Paris. The
acquaintances one makes in travelling have a sort of claim
on one; they everywhere expect to receive the same attention
which you once paid them by chance, as though the civilities
of a passing hour were likely to awaken any lasting interest
in favor of the man in whose society you may happen to be
thrown in the course of your journey. This good Major
Cavalcanti is come to take a second view of Paris, which he
only saw in passing through in the time of the Empire, when
he was on his way to Moscow. I shall give him a good dinner,
he will confide his son to my care, I will promise to watch
over him, I shall let him follow in whatever path his folly
may lead him, and then I shall have done my part."
"Certainly; I see you are a model Mentor," said Albert
"Good-by, we shall return on Sunday. By the way, I have
received news of Franz."
"Have you? Is he still amusing himself in Italy?"
"I believe so; however, he regrets your absence extremely.
He says you were the sun of Rome, and that without you all
appears dark and cloudy; I do not know if he does not even
go so far as to say that it rains."
"His opinion of me is altered for the better, then?"
"No, he still persists in looking upon you as the most
incomprehensible and mysterious of beings."
"He is a charming young man," said Monte Cristo "and I felt
a lively interest in him the very first evening of my
introduction, when I met him in search of a supper, and
prevailed upon him to accept a portion of mine. He is, I
think, the son of General d'Epinay?"
"The same who was so shamefully assassinated in 1815?"
"By the Bonapartists."
"Yes. Really I like him extremely; is there not also a
matrimonial engagement contemplated for him?"
"Yes, he is to marry Mademoiselle de Villefort."
"And you know I am to marry Mademoiselle Danglars," said
"Why do you do so?"
"I smile because there appears to me to be about as much
inclination for the consummation of the engagement in
question as there is for my own. But really, my dear count,
we are talking as much of women as they do of us; it is
unpardonable." Albert rose.
"Are you going?"
"Really, that is a good idea! -- two hours have I been
boring you to death with my company, and then you, with the
greatest politeness, ask me if I am going. Indeed, count,
you are the most polished man in the world. And your
servants, too, how very well behaved they are; there is
quite a style about them. Monsieur Baptistin especially; I
could never get such a man as that. My servants seem to
imitate those you sometimes see in a play, who, because they
have only a word or two to say, aquit themselves in the most
awkward manner possible. Therefore, if you part with M.
Baptistin, give me the refusal of him."
"By all means."
"That is not all; give my compliments to your illustrious
Luccanese, Cavalcante of the Cavalcanti; and if by any
chance he should be wishing to establish his son, find him a
wife very rich, very noble on her mother's side at least,
and a baroness in right of her father, I will help you in
"Ah, ha; you will do as much as that, will you?"
"Well, really, nothing is certain in this world."
"Oh, count, what a service you might render me! I should
like you a hundred times better if, by your intervention, I
could manage to remain a bachelor, even were it only for ten
"Nothing is impossible," gravely replied Monte Cristo; and
taking leave of Albert, he returned into the house, and
struck the gong three times. Bertuccio appeared. "Monsieur
Bertuccio, you understand that I intend entertaining company
on Saturday at Auteuil." Bertuccio slightly started. "I
shall require your services to see that all be properly
arranged. It is a beautiful house, or at all events may be
"There must be a good deal done before it can deserve that
title, your excellency, for the tapestried hangings are very
"Let them all be taken away and changed, then, with the
exception of the sleeping-chamber which is hung with red
damask; you will leave that exactly as it is." Bertuccio
bowed. "You will not touch the garden either; as to the
yard, you may do what you please with it; I should prefer
that being altered beyond all recognition."
"I will do everything in my power to carry out your wishes,
your excellency. I should be glad, however, to receive your
excellency's commands concerning the dinner."
"Really, my dear M. Bertuccio," said the count, "since you
have been in Paris, you have become quite nervous, and
apparently out of your element; you no longer seem to
"But surely your excellency will be so good as to inform me
whom you are expecting to receive?"
"I do not yet know myself, neither is it necessary that you
should do so. `Lucullus dines with Lucullus,' that is quite
sufficient." Bertuccio bowed, and left the room.
Both the count and Baptistin had told the truth when they
announced to Morcerf the proposed visit of the major, which
had served Monte Cristo as a pretext for declining Albert's
invitation. Seven o'clock had just struck, and M. Bertuccio,
according to the command which had been given him, had two
hours before left for Auteuil, when a cab stopped at the
door, and after depositing its occupant at the gate,
immediately hurried away, as if ashamed of its employment.
The visitor was about fifty-two years of age, dressed in one
of the green surtouts, ornamented with black frogs, which
have so long maintained their popularity all over Europe. He
wore trousers of blue cloth, boots tolerably clean, but not
of the brightest polish, and a little too thick in the
soles, buckskin gloves, a hat somewhat resembling in shape
those usually worn by the gendarmes, and a black cravat
striped with white, which, if the proprietor had not worn it
of his own free will, might have passed for a halter, so
much did it resemble one. Such was the picturesque costume
of the person who rang at the gate, and demanded if it was
not at No. 30 in the Avenue des Champs-Elysees that the
Count of Monte Cristo lived, and who, being answered by the
porter in the affirmative, entered, closed the gate after
him, and began to ascend the steps.
The small and angular head of this man, his white hair and
thick gray mustaches, caused him to be easily recognized by
Baptistin, who had received an exact description of the
expected visitor, and who was awaiting him in the hall.
Therefore, scarcely had the stranger time to pronounce his
name before the count was apprised of his arrival. He was
ushered into a simple and elegant drawing-room, and the
count rose to meet him with a smiling air. "Ah, my dear sir,
you are most welcome; I was expecting you."
"Indeed," said the Italian, "was your excellency then aware
of my visit?"
"Yes; I had been told that I should see you to-day at seven
"Then you have received full information concerning my
"Ah, so much the better, I feared this little precaution
might have been forgotten."
"That of informing you beforehand of my coming."
"Oh, no, it has not."
"But you are sure you are not mistaken."
"It really was I whom your excellency expected at seven
o'clock this evening?"
"I will prove it to you beyond a doubt."
"Oh, no, never mind that," said the Italian; "it is not
worth the trouble."
"Yes, yes," said Monte Cristo. His visitor appeared slightly
uneasy. "Let me see," said the count; "are you not the
Marquis Bartolomeo Cavalcanti?"
"Bartolomeo Cavalcanti," joyfully replied the Italian; "yes,
I am really he."
"Ex-major in the Austrian service?"
"Was I a major?" timidly asked the old soldier.
"Yes," said Monte Cristo "you were a major; that is the
title the French give to the post which you filled in
"Very good," said the major, "I do not demand more, you
"Your visit here to-day is not of your own suggestion, is
it?" said Monte Cristo.
"No, certainly not."
"You were sent by some other person?"
"By the excellent Abbe Busoni?"
"Exactly so," said the delighted major.
"And you have a letter?"
"Yes, there it is."
"Give it me, then;" and Monte Cristo took the letter, which
he opened and read. The major looked at the count with his
large staring eyes, and then took a survey of the apartment,
but his gaze almost immediately reverted to the proprietor
of the room. "Yes, yes, I see. `Major Cavalcanti, a worthy
patrician of Lucca, a descendant of the Cavalcanti of
Florence,'" continued Monte Cristo, reading aloud,
"`possessing an income of half a million.'" Monte Cristo
raised his eyes from the paper, and bowed. "Half a million,"
said he, "magnificent!"
"Half a million, is it?" said the major.
"Yes, in so many words; and it must be so, for the abbe
knows correctly the amount of all the largest fortunes in
"Be it half a million, then; but on my word of honor, I had
no idea that it was so much."
"Because you are robbed by your steward. You must make some
reformation in that quarter."
"You have opened my eyes," said the Italian gravely; "I will
show the gentlemen the door." Monte Cristo resumed the
perusal of the letter: --
"`And who only needs one thing more to make him happy.'"
"Yes, indeed but one!" said the major with a sigh.
"`Which is to recover a lost and adored son.'"
"A lost and adored son!"
"`Stolen away in his infancy, either by an enemy of his
noble family or by the gypsies.'"
"At the age of five years!" said the major with a deep sigh,
and raising his eye to heaven.
"Unhappy father," said Monte Cristo. The count continued: --
"`I have given him renewed life and hope, in the assurance
that you have the power of restoring the son whom he has
vainly sought for fifteen years.'" The major looked at the
count with an indescribable expression of anxiety. "I have
the power of so doing," said Monte Cristo. The major
recovered his self-possession. "So, then," said he, "the
letter was true to the end?"
"Did you doubt it, my dear Monsieur Bartolomeo?"
"No, indeed; certainly not; a good man, a man holding
religious office, as does the Abbe Busoni, could not
condescend to deceive or play off a joke; but your
excellency has not read all."
"Ah, true," said Monte Cristo "there is a postscript."
"Yes, yes," repeated the major, "yes -- there -- is -- a --
"`In order to save Major Cavalcanti the trouble of drawing
on his banker, I send him a draft for 2,000 francs to defray
his travelling expenses, and credit on you for the further
sum of 48,000 francs, which you still owe me.'" The major
awaited the conclusion of the postscript, apparently with
great anxiety. "Very good," said the count.
"He said `very good,'" muttered the major, "then -- sir" --
"Then what?" asked Monte Cristo.
"Then the postscript" --
"Well; what of the postscript?"
"Then the postscript is as favorably received by you as the
rest of the letter?"
"Certainly; the Abbe Busoni and myself have a small account
open between us. I do not remember if it is exactly 48,000
francs, which I am still owing him, but I dare say we shall
not dispute the difference. You attached great importance,
then, to this postscript, my dear Monsieur Cavalcanti?"
"I must explain to you," said the major, "that, fully
confiding in the signature of the Abbe Busoni, I had not
provided myself with any other funds; so that if this
resource had failed me, I should have found myself very
unpleasantly situated in Paris."
"Is it possible that a man of your standing should be
embarrassed anywhere?" said Monte Cristo.
"Why, really I know no one," said the major.
"But then you yourself are known to others?"
"Yes, I am known, so that" --
"Proceed, my dear Monsieur Cavalcanti."
"So that you will remit to me these 48,000 francs?"
"Certainly, at your first request." The major's eyes dilated
with pleasing astonishment. "But sit down," said Monte
Cristo; "really I do not know what I have been thinking of
-- I have positively kept you standing for the last quarter
of an hour."
"Don't mention it." The major drew an arm-chair towards him,
and proceeded to seat himself.
"Now," said the count, "what will you take -- a glass of
port, sherry, or Alicante?"
"Alicante, if you please; it is my favorite wine."
"I have some that is very good. You will take a biscuit with
it, will you not?"
"Yes, I will take a biscuit, as you are so obliging."
Monte Cristo rang; Baptistin appeared. The count advanced to
meet him. "Well?" said he in a low voice. "The young man is
here," said the valet de chambre in the same tone.
"Into what room did you take him?"
"Into the blue drawing-room, according to your excellency's
"That's right; now bring the Alicante and some biscuits."
Baptistin left the room. "Really," said the major, "I am
quite ashamed of the trouble I am giving you."
"Pray don't mention such a thing," said the count. Baptistin
re-entered with glasses, wine, and biscuits. The count
filled one glass, but in the other he only poured a few
drops of the ruby-colored liquid. The bottle was covered
with spiders' webs, and all the other signs which indicate
the age of wine more truly than do wrinkles on a man's face.
The major made a wise choice; he took the full glass and a
biscuit. The count told Baptistin to leave the plate within
reach of his guest, who began by sipping the Alicante with
an expression of great satisfaction, and then delicately
steeped his biscuit in the wine.
"So, sir, you lived at Lucca, did you? You were rich, noble,
held in great esteem -- had all that could render a man
"All," said the major, hastily swallowing his biscuit,
"And yet there was one thing wanting in order to complete
"Only one thing," said the Italian.
"And that one thing, your lost child."
"Ah," said the major, taking a second biscuit, "that
consummation of my happiness was indeed wanting." The worthy
major raised his eyes to heaven and sighed.
"Let me hear, then," said the count, "who this deeply
regretted son was; for I always understood you were a
"That was the general opinion, sir," said the major, "and I"
"Yes," replied the count, "and you confirmed the report. A
youthful indiscretion, I suppose, which you were anxious to
conceal from the world at large?" The major recovered
himself, and resumed his usual calm manner, at the same time
casting his eyes down, either to give himself time to
compose his countenance, or to assist his imagination, all
the while giving an under-look at the count, the protracted
smile on whose lips still announced the same polite
curiosity. "Yes," said the major, "I did wish this fault to
be hidden from every eye."
"Not on your own account, surely," replied Monte Cristo;
"for a man is above that sort of thing?"
"Oh, no, certainly not on my own account," said the major
with a smile and a shake of the head.
"But for the sake of the mother?" said the count.
"Yes, for the mother's sake -- his poor mother!" cried the
major, taking a third biscuit.
"Take some more wine, my dear Cavalcanti," said the count,
pouring out for him a second glass of Alicante; "your
emotion has quite overcome you."
"His poor mother," murmured the major, trying to get the
lachrymal gland in operation, so as to moisten the corner of
his eye with a false tear.
"She belonged to one of the first families in Italy, I
think, did she not?"
"She was of a noble family of Fiesole, count."
"And her name was" --
"Do you desire to know her name?" --
"Oh," said Monte Cristo "it would be quite superfluous for
you to tell me, for I already know it."
"The count knows everything," said the Italian, bowing.
"Oliva Corsinari, was it not?"
"And you married her at last, notwithstanding the opposition
of her family?"
"Yes, that was the way it ended."
"And you have doubtless brought all your papers with you?"
said Monte Cristo.
"The certificate of your marriage with Oliva Corsinari, and
the register of your child's birth."
"The register of my child's birth?"
"The register of the birth of Andrea Cavalcanti -- of your
son; is not his name Andrea?"
"I believe so," said the major.
"What? You believe so?"
"I dare not positively assert it, as he has been lost for so
long a time."
"Well, then," said Monte Cristo "you have all the documents
"Your excellency, I regret to say that, not knowing it was
necessary to come provided with these papers, I neglected to
"That is unfortunate," returned Monte Cristo.
"Were they, then, so necessary?"
"They were indispensable."
The major passed his hand across his brow. "Ah, per Bacco,
indispensable, were they?"
"Certainly they were; supposing there were to be doubts
raised as to the validity of your marriage or the legitimacy
of your child?"
"True," said the major, "there might be doubts raised."
"In that case your son would be very unpleasantly situated."
"It would be fatal to his interests."
"It might cause him to fail in some desirable matrimonial
"You must know that in France they are very particular on
these points; it is not sufficient, as in Italy, to go to
the priest and say, `We love each other, and want you to
marry us.' Marriage is a civil affair in France, and in
order to marry in an orthodox manner you must have papers
which undeniably establish your identity."
"That is the misfortune! You see I have not these necessary
"Fortunately, I have them, though," said Monte Cristo.
"You have them?"
"I have them."
"Ah, indeed?" said the major, who, seeing the object of his
journey frustrated by the absence of the papers, feared also
that his forgetfulness might give rise to some difficulty
concerning the 48,000 francs -- "ah, indeed, that is a
fortunate circumstance; yes, that really is lucky, for it
never occurred to me to bring them."
"I do not at all wonder at it -- one cannot think of
everything; but, happily, the Abbe Busoni thought for you."
"He is an excellent person."
"He is extremely prudent and thoughtful"
"He is an admirable man," said the major; "and he sent them
"Here they are."
The major clasped his hands in token of admiration. "You
married Oliva Corsinari in the church of San Paolo del
Monte-Cattini; here is the priest's certificate."
"Yes indeed, there it is truly," said the Italian, looking
on with astonishment.
"And here is Andrea Cavalcanti's baptismal register, given
by the curate of Saravezza."
"All quite correct."
"Take these documents, then; they do not concern me. You
will give them to your son, who will, of course, take great
care of them."
"I should think so, indeed! If he were to lose them" --
"Well, and if he were to lose them?" said Monte Cristo.
"In that case," replied the major, "it would be necessary to
write to the curate for duplicates, and it would be some
time before they could be obtained."
"It would be a difficult matter to arrange," said Monte
"Almost an impossibility," replied the major.
"I am very glad to see that you understand the value of
"I regard them as invaluable."
"Now," said Monte Cristo "as to the mother of the young man"
"As to the mother of the young man" -- repeated the Italian,
"As regards the Marchesa Corsinari" --
"Really," said the major, "difficulties seem to thicken upon
us; will she be wanted in any way?"
"No, sir," replied Monte Cristo; "besides, has she not" --
"Yes, sir," said the major, "she has" --
"Paid the last debt of nature?"
"Alas, yes," returned the Italian.
"I knew that," said Monte Cristo; "she has been dead these
"And I am still mourning her loss," exclaimed the major,
drawing from his pocket a checked handkerchief, and
alternately wiping first the left and then the right eye.
"What would you have?" said Monte Cristo; "we are all
mortal. Now, you understand, my dear Monsieur Cavalcanti,
that it is useless for you to tell people in France that you
have been separated from your son for fifteen years. Stories
of gypsies, who steal children, are not at all in vogue in
this part of the world, and would not be believed. You sent
him for his education to a college in one of the provinces,
and now you wish him to complete his education in the
Parisian world. That is the reason which has induced you to
leave Via Reggio, where you have lived since the death of
your wife. That will be sufficient."
"You think so?"
"Very well, then."
"If they should hear of the separation" --
"Ah, yes; what could I say?"
"That an unfaithful tutor, bought over by the enemies of
your family" --
"By the Corsinari?"
"Precisely. Had stolen away this child, in order that your
name might become extinct."
"That is reasonable, since he is an only son."
"Well, now that all is arranged, do not let these newly
awakened remembrances be forgotten. You have, doubtless,
already guessed that I was preparing a surprise for you?"
"An agreeable one?" asked the Italian.
"Ah, I see the eye of a father is no more to be deceived
than his heart."
"Hum!" said the major.
"Some one has told you the secret; or, perhaps, you guessed
that he was here."
"That who was here?"
"Your child -- your son -- your Andrea!"
"I did guess it," replied the major with the greatest
possible coolness. "Then he is here?"
"He is," said Monte Cristo; "when the valet de chambre came
in just now, he told me of his arrival."
"Ah, very well, very well," said the major, clutching the
buttons of his coat at each exclamation.
"My dear sir," said Monte Cristo, "I understand your
emotion; you must have time to recover yourself. I will, in
the meantime, go and prepare the young man for this
much-desired interview, for I presume that he is not less
impatient for it than yourself."
"I should quite imagine that to be the case," said
"Well, in a quarter of an hour he shall be with you."
"You will bring him, then? You carry your goodness so far as
even to present him to me yourself?"
"No; I do not wish to come between a father and son. Your
interview will be private. But do not be uneasy; even if the
powerful voice of nature should be silent, you cannot well
mistake him; he will enter by this door. He is a fine young
man, of fair complexion -- a little too fair, perhaps --
pleasing in manners; but you will see and judge for
"By the way," said the major, "you know I have only the
2,000 francs which the Abbe Busoni sent me; this sum I have
expended upon travelling expenses, and" --
"And you want money; that is a matter of course, my dear M.
Cavalcanti. Well, here are 8,000 francs on account."
The major's eyes sparkled brilliantly.
"It is 40,000 francs which I now owe you," said Monte
"Does your excellency wish for a receipt?" said the major,
at the same time slipping the money into the inner pocket of
"For what?" said the count.
"I thought you might want it to show the Abbe Busoni."
"Well, when you receive the remaining 40,000, you shall give
me a receipt in full. Between honest men such excessive
precaution is, I think, quite unnecessary."
"Yes, so it is, between perfectly upright people."
"One word more," said Monte Cristo.
"You will permit me to make one remark?"
"Certainly; pray do so."
"Then I should advise you to leave off wearing that style of
"Indeed," said the major, regarding himself with an air of
"Yes. It may be worn at Via Reggio; but that costume,
however elegant in itself, has long been out of fashion in
"Oh, if you really are attached to your old mode of dress;
you can easily resume it when you leave Paris."
"But what shall I wear?"
"What you find in your trunks."
"In my trunks? I have but one portmanteau."
"I dare say you have nothing else with you. What is the use
of boring one's self with so many things? Besides an old
soldier always likes to march with as little baggage as
"That is just the case -- precisely so."
"But you are a man of foresight and prudence, therefore you
sent your luggage on before you. It has arrived at the Hotel
des Princes, Rue de Richelieu. It is there you are to take
up your quarters."
"Then, in these trunks" --
"I presume you have given orders to your valet de chambre to
put in all you are likely to need, -- your plain clothes and
your uniform. On grand occasions you must wear your uniform;
that will look very well. Do not forget your crosses. They
still laugh at them in France, and yet always wear them, for
"Very well, very well," said the major, who was in ecstasy
at the attention paid him by the count.
"Now," said Monte Cristo, "that you have fortified yourself
against all painful excitement, prepare yourself, my dear M.
Cavalcanti, to meet your lost Andrea." Saying which Monte
Cristo bowed, and disappeared behind the tapestry, leaving
the major fascinated beyond expression with the delightful
reception which he had received at the hands of the count.
The Count of Monte Cristo entered the adjoining room, which
Baptistin had designated as the drawing-room, and found
there a young man, of graceful demeanor and elegant
appearance, who had arrived in a cab about half an hour
previously. Baptistin had not found any difficulty in
recognizing the person who presented himself at the door for
admittance. He was certainly the tall young man with light
hair, red beard, black eyes, and brilliant complexion, whom
his master had so particularly described to him. When the
count entered the room the young man was carelessly
stretched on a sofa, tapping his boot with the gold-headed
cane which he held in his hand. On perceiving the count he
rose quickly. "The Count of Monte Cristo, I believe?" said
"Yes, sir, and I think I have the honor of addressing Count
"Count Andrea Cavalcanti," repeated the young man,
accompanying his words with a bow.
"You are charged with a letter of introduction addressed to
me, are you not?" said the count.
"I did not mention that, because the signature seemed to me
"The letter signed `Sinbad the Sailor,' is it not?"
"Exactly so. Now, as I have never known any Sinbad, with the
exception of the one celebrated in the `Thousand and One
"Well, it is one of his descendants, and a great friend of
mine; he is a very rich Englishman, eccentric almost to
insanity, and his real name is Lord Wilmore."
"Ah, indeed? Then that explains everything that is
extraordinary," said Andrea. "He is, then, the same
Englishman whom I met -- at -- ah -- yes, indeed. Well,
monsieur, I am at your service."
"If what you say be true," replied the count, smiling,
"perhaps you will be kind enough to give me some account of
yourself and your family?"
"Certainly, I will do so," said the young man, with a
quickness which gave proof of his ready invention. "I am (as
you have said) the Count Andrea Cavalcanti, son of Major
Bartolomeo Cavalcanti, a descendant of the Cavalcanti whose
names are inscribed in the golden book at Florence. Our
family, although still rich (for my father's income amounts
to half a million), has experienced many misfortunes, and I
myself was, at the age of five years, taken away by the
treachery of my tutor, so that for fifteen years I have not
seen the author of my existence. Since I have arrived at
years of discretion and become my own master, I have been
constantly seeking him, but all in vain. At length I
received this letter from your friend, which states that my
father is in Paris, and authorizes me to address myself to
you for information respecting him."
"Really, all you have related to me is exceedingly
interesting," said Monte Cristo, observing the young man
with a gloomy satisfaction; "and you have done well to
conform in everything to the wishes of my friend Sinbad; for
your father is indeed here, and is seeking you."
The count from the moment of first entering the
drawing-room, had not once lost sight of the expression of
the young man's countenance; he had admired the assurance of
his look and the firmness of his voice; but at these words,
so natural in themselves, "Your father is indeed here, and
is seeking you," young Andrea started, and exclaimed, "My
father? Is my father here?"
"Most undoubtedly," replied Monte Cristo; "your father,
Major Bartolomeo Cavalcanti." The expression of terror
which, for the moment, had overspread the features of the
young man, had now disappeared. "Ah, yes, that is the name,
certainly. Major Bartolomeo Cavalcanti. And you really mean
to say; monsieur, that my dear father is here?"
"Yes, sir; and I can even add that I have only just left his
company. The history which he related to me of his lost son
touched me to the quick; indeed, his griefs, hopes, and
fears on that subject might furnish material for a most
touching and pathetic poem. At length, he one day received a
letter, stating that the abductors of his son now offered to
restore him, or at least to give notice where he might be
found, on condition of receiving a large sum of money, by
way of ransom. Your father did not hesitate an instant, and
the sum was sent to the frontier of Piedmont, with a
passport signed for Italy. You were in the south of France,
"Yes," replied Andrea, with an embarrassed air, "I was in
the south of France."
"A carriage was to await you at Nice?"
"Precisely so; and it conveyed me from Nice to Genoa, from
Genoa to Turin, from Turin to Chambery, from Chambery to
Pont-de-Beauvoisin, and from Pont-de-Beauvoisin to Paris."
"Indeed? Then your father ought to have met with you on the
road, for it is exactly the same route which he himself
took, and that is how we have been able to trace your
journey to this place."
"But," said Andrea, "if my father had met me, I doubt if he
would have recognized me; I must be somewhat altered since
he last saw me."
"Oh, the voice of nature," said Monte Cristo.
"True," interrupted the young man, "I had not looked upon it
in that light."
"Now," replied Monte Cristo "there is only one source of
uneasiness left in your father's mind, which is this -- he
is anxious to know how you have been employed during your
long absence from him, how you have been treated by your
persecutors, and if they have conducted themselves towards
you with all the deference due to your rank. Finally, he is
anxious to see if you have been fortunate enough to escape
the bad moral influence to which you have been exposed, and
which is infinitely more to be dreaded than any physical
suffering; he wishes to discover if the fine abilities with
which nature had endowed you have been weakened by want of
culture; and, in short, whether you consider yourself
capable of resuming and retaining in the world the high
position to which your rank entitles you."
"Sir!" exclaimed the young man, quite astounded, "I hope no
false report" --
"As for myself, I first heard you spoken of by my friend
Wilmore, the philanthropist. I believe he found you in some
unpleasant position, but do not know of what nature, for I
did not ask, not being inquisitive. Your misfortunes engaged
his sympathies, so you see you must have been interesting.
He told me that he was anxious to restore you to the
position which you had lost, and that he would seek your
father until he found him. He did seek, and has found him,
apparently, since he is here now; and, finally, my friend
apprised me of your coming, and gave me a few other
instructions relative to your future fortune. I am quite
aware that my friend Wilmore is peculiar, but he is sincere,
and as rich as a gold-mine, consequently, he may indulge his
eccentricities without any fear of their ruining him, and I
have promised to adhere to his instructions. Now, sir, pray
do not be offended at the question I am about to put to you,
as it comes in the way of my duty as your patron. I would
wish to know if the misfortunes which have happened to you
-- misfortunes entirely beyond your control, and which in no
degree diminish my regard for you -- I would wish to know if
they have not, in some measure, contributed to render you a
stranger to the world in which your fortune and your name
entitle you to make a conspicuous figure?"
"Sir," returned the young man, with a reassurance of manner,
"make your mind easy on this score. Those who took me from
my father, and who always intended, sooner or later, to sell
me again to my original proprietor, as they have now done,
calculated that, in order to make the most of their bargain,
it would be politic to leave me in possession of all my
personal and hereditary worth, and even to increase the
value, if possible. I have, therefore, received a very good
education, and have been treated by these kidnappers very
much as the slaves were treated in Asia Minor, whose masters
made them grammarians, doctors, and philosophers, in order
that they might fetch a higher price in the Roman market."
Monte Cristo smiled with satisfaction; it appeared as if he
had not expected so much from M. Andrea Cavalcanti.
"Besides," continued the young man, "if there did appear
some defect in education, or offence against the established
forms of etiquette, I suppose it would be excused, in
consideration of the misfortunes which accompanied my birth,
and followed me through my youth."
"Well," said Monte Cristo in an indifferent tone, "you will
do as you please, count, for you are the master of your own
actions, and are the person most concerned in the matter,
but if I were you, I would not divulge a word of these
adventures. Your history is quite a romance, and the world,
which delights in romances in yellow covers, strangely
mistrusts those which are bound in living parchment, even
though they be gilded like yourself. This is the kind of
difficulty which I wished to represent to you, my dear
count. You would hardly have recited your touching history
before it would go forth to the world, and be deemed
unlikely and unnatural. You would be no longer a lost child
found, but you would be looked upon as an upstart, who had
sprung up like a mushroom in the night. You might excite a
little curiosity, but it is not every one who likes to be
made the centre of observation and the subject of unpleasant
"I agree with you, monsieur," said the young man, turning
pale, and, in spite of himself, trembling beneath the
scrutinizing look of his companion, "such consequences would
be extremely unpleasant."
"Nevertheless, you must not exaggerate the evil," said Monte
Cristo, "for by endeavoring to avoid one fault you will fall
into another. You must resolve upon one simple and single
line of conduct, and for a man of your intelligence, this
plan is as easy as it is necessary; you must form honorable
friendships, and by that means counteract the prejudice
which may attach to the obscurity of your former life."
Andrea visibly changed countenance. "I would offer myself as
your surety and friendly adviser," said Monte Cristo, "did I
not possess a moral distrust of my best friends, and a sort
of inclination to lead others to doubt them too; therefore,
in departing from this rule, I should (as the actors say) be
playing a part quite out of my line, and should, therefore,
run the risk of being hissed, which would be an act of
"However, your excellency," said Andrea, "in consideration
of Lord Wilmore, by whom I was recommended to you -- "
"Yes, certainly," interrupted Monte Cristo; "but Lord
Wilmore did not omit to inform me, my dear M. Andrea, that
the season of your youth was rather a stormy one. Ah," said
the count, watching Andrea's countenance, "I do not demand
any confession from you; it is precisely to avoid that
necessity that your father was sent for from Lucca. You
shall soon see him. He is a little stiff and pompous in his
manner, and he is disfigured by his uniform; but when it
becomes known that he has been for eighteen years in the
Austrian service, all that will be pardoned. We are not
generally very severe with the Austrians. In short, you will
find your father a very presentable person, I assure you."
"Ah, sir, you have given me confidence; it is so long since
we were separated, that I have not the least remembrance of
him, and, besides, you know that in the eyes of the world a
large fortune covers all defects."
"He is a millionaire -- his income is 500,000 francs."
"Then," said the young man, with anxiety, "I shall be sure
to be placed in an agreeable position."
"One of the most agreeable possible, my dear sir; he will
allow you an income of 50,000 livres per annum during the
whole time of your stay in Paris."
"Then in that case I shall always choose to remain there."
"You cannot control circumstances, my dear sir; `man
proposes, and God disposes.'" Andrea sighed. "But," said he,
"so long as I do remain in Paris, and nothing forces me to
quit it, do you mean to tell me that I may rely on receiving
the sum you just now mentioned to me?"
"Shall I receive it from my father?" asked Andrea, with some
"Yes, you will receive it from your father personally, but
Lord Wilmore will be the security for the money. He has, at
the request of your father, opened an account of 6,000
francs a month at M. Danglars', which is one of the safest
banks in Paris."
"And does my father mean to remain long in Paris?" asked
"Only a few days," replied Monte Cristo. "His service does
not allow him to absent himself more than two or three weeks
"Ah, my dear father!" exclaimed Andrea, evidently charmed
with the idea of his speedy departure.
"Therefore," said Monte Cristo feigning to mistake his
meaning -- "therefore I will not, for another instant,
retard the pleasure of your meeting. Are you prepared to
embrace your worthy father?"
"I hope you do not doubt it."
"Go, then, into the drawing-room, my young friend, where you
will find your father awaiting you." Andrea made a low bow
to the count, and entered the adjoining room. Monte Cristo
watched him till he disappeared, and then touched a spring
in a panel made to look like a picture, which, in sliding
partly from the frame, discovered to view a small opening,
so cleverly contrived that it revealed all that was passing
in the drawing-room now occupied by Cavalcanti and Andrea.
The young man closed the door behind him, and advanced
towards the major, who had risen when he heard steps
approaching him. "Ah, my dear father!" said Andrea in a loud
voice, in order that the count might hear him in the next
room, "is it really you?"
"How do you do, my dear son?" said the major gravely.
"After so many years of painful separation," said Andrea, in
the same tone of voice, and glancing towards the door, "what
a happiness it is to meet again!"
"Indeed it is, after so long a separation."
"Will you not embrace me, sir?" said Andrea.
"If you wish it, my son," said the major; and the two men
embraced each other after the fashion of actors on the
stage; that is to say, each rested his head on the other's
"Then we are once more reunited?" said Andrea.
"Once more," replied the major.
"Never more to be separated?"
"Why, as to that -- I think, my dear son, you must be by
this time so accustomed to France as to look upon it almost
as a second country."
"The fact is," said the young man, "that I should be
exceedingly grieved to leave it."
"As for me, you must know I cannot possibly live out of
Lucca; therefore I shall return to Italy as soon as I can."
"But before you leave France, my dear father, I hope you
will put me in possession of the documents which will be
necessary to prove my descent."
"Certainly; I am come expressly on that account; it has cost
me much trouble to find you, but I had resolved on giving
them into your hands, and if I had to recommence my search,
it would occupy all the few remaining years of my life."
"Where are these papers, then?"
"Here they are."
Andrea seized the certificate of his father's marriage and
his own baptismal register, and after having opened them
with all the eagerness which might be expected under the
circumstances, he read them with a facility which proved
that he was accustomed to similar documents, and with an
expression which plainly denoted an unusual interest in the
contents. When he had perused the documents, an indefinable
expression of pleasure lighted up his countenance, and
looking at the major with a most peculiar smile, he said, in
very excellent Tuscan, -- "Then there is no longer any such
thing, in Italy as being condemned to the galleys?" The
major drew himself up to his full height.
"Why? -- what do you mean by that question?"
"I mean that if there were, it would be impossible to draw
up with impunity two such deeds as these. In France, my dear
sir, half such a piece of effrontery as that would cause you
to be quickly despatched to Toulon for five years, for
change of air."
"Will you be good enough to explain your meaning?" said the
major, endeavoring as much as possible to assume an air of
the greatest majesty.
"My dear M. Cavalcanti," said Andrea, taking the major by
the arm in a confidential manner, "how much are you paid for
being my father?" The major was about to speak, when Andrea
continued, in a low voice.
"Nonsense, I am going to set you an example of confidence,
they give me 50,000 francs a year to be your son;