Part 31 out of 31
eyes upon the gloomy prison. "Woe," he cried, "to those who
confined me in that wretched prison; and woe to those who
forgot that I was there!" As he repassed the Catalans, the
count turned around and burying his head in his cloak
murmured the name of a woman. The victory was complete;
twice he had overcome his doubts. The name he pronounced, in
a voice of tenderness, amounting almost to love, was that of
On landing, the count turned towards the cemetery, where he
felt sure of finding Morrel. He, too, ten years ago, had
piously sought out a tomb, and sought it vainly. He, who
returned to France with millions, had been unable to find
the grave of his father, who had perished from hunger.
Morrel had indeed placed a cross over the spot, but it had
fallen down and the grave-digger had burnt it, as he did all
the old wood in the churchyard. The worthy merchant had been
more fortunate. Dying in the arms of his children, he had
been by them laid by the side of his wife, who had preceded
him in eternity by two years. Two large slabs of marble, on
which were inscribed their names, were placed on either side
of a little enclosure, railed in, and shaded by four
cypress-trees. Morrel was leaning against one of these,
mechanically fixing his eyes on the graves. His grief was so
profound that he was nearly unconscious. "Maximilian," said
the count, "you should not look on the graves, but there;"
and he pointed upwards.
"The dead are everywhere," said Morrel; "did you not
yourself tell me so as we left Paris?"
"Maximilian," said the count, "you asked me during the
journey to allow you to remain some days at Marseilles. Do
you still wish to do so?"
"I have no wishes, count; only I fancy I could pass the time
less painfully here than anywhere else."
"So much the better, for I must leave you; but I carry your
word with me, do I not?"
"Ah, count, I shall forget it."
"No, you will not forget it, because you are a man of honor,
Morrel, because you have taken an oath, and are about to do
"Oh, count, have pity upon me. I am so unhappy."
"I have known a man much more unfortunate than you, Morrel."
"Alas," said Monte Cristo, "it is the infirmity of our
nature always to believe ourselves much more unhappy than
those who groan by our sides!"
"What can be more wretched than the man who has lost all he
loved and desired in the world?"
"Listen, Morrel, and pay attention to what I am about to
tell you. I knew a man who like you had fixed all his hopes
of happiness upon a woman. He was young, he had an old
father whom he loved, a betrothed bride whom he adored. He
was about to marry her, when one of the caprices of fate, --
which would almost make us doubt the goodness of providence,
if that providence did not afterwards reveal itself by
proving that all is but a means of conducting to an end, --
one of those caprices deprived him of his mistress, of the
future of which he had dreamed (for in his blindness he
forgot he could only read the present), and cast him into a
"Ah," said Morrel, "one quits a dungeon in a week, a month,
or a year."
"He remained there fourteen years, Morrel," said the count,
placing his hand on the young man's shoulder. Maximilian
"Fourteen years!" he muttered -- "Fourteen years!" repeated
the count. "During that time he had many moments of despair.
He also, Morrel, like you, considered himself the unhappiest
"Well?" asked Morrel.
"Well, at the height of his despair God assisted him through
human means. At first, perhaps, he did not recognize the
infinite mercy of the Lord, but at last he took patience and
waited. One day he miraculously left the prison,
transformed, rich, powerful. His first cry was for his
father; but that father was dead."
"My father, too, is dead," said Morrel.
"Yes; but your father died in your arms, happy, respected,
rich, and full of years; his father died poor, despairing,
almost doubtful of providence; and when his son sought his
grave ten years afterwards, his tomb had disappeared, and no
one could say, `There sleeps the father you so well loved.'"
"Oh!" exclaimed Morrel.
"He was, then, a more unhappy son than you, Morrel, for he
could not even find his father's grave."
"But then he had the woman he loved still remaining?"
"You are deceived, Morrel, that woman" --
"She was dead?"
"Worse than that, she was faithless, and had married one of
the persecutors of her betrothed. You see, then, Morrel,
that he was a more unhappy lover than you."
"And has he found consolation?"
"He has at least found peace."
"And does he ever expect to be happy?"
"He hopes so, Maximilian." The young man's head fell on his
"You have my promise," he said, after a minute's pause,
extending his hand to Monte Cristo. "Only remember" --
"On the 5th of October, Morrel, I shall expect you at the
Island of Monte Cristo. On the 4th a yacht will wait for you
in the port of Bastia, it will be called the Eurus. You will
give your name to the captain, who will bring you to me. It
is understood -- is it not?"
"But, count, do you remember that the 5th of October" --
"Child," replied the count, "not to know the value of a
man's word! I have told you twenty times that if you wish to
die on that day, I will assist you. Morrel, farewell!"
"Do you leave me?"
"Yes; I have business in Italy. I leave you alone with your
misfortunes, and with hope, Maximilian."
"When do you leave?"
"Immediately; the steamer waits, and in an hour I shall be
far from you. Will you accompany me to the harbor,
"I am entirely yours, count." Morrel accompanied the count
to the harbor. The white steam was ascending like a plume of
feathers from the black chimney. The steamer soon
disappeared, and in an hour afterwards, as the count had
said, was scarcely distinguishable in the horizon amidst the
fogs of the night.
At the same time that the steamer disappeared behind Cape
Morgion, a man travelling post on the road from Florence to
Rome had just passed the little town of Aquapendente. He was
travelling fast enough to cover a great deal of ground
without exciting suspicion. This man was dressed in a
greatcoat, or rather a surtout, a little worse for the
journey, but which exhibited the ribbon of the Legion of
Honor still fresh and brilliant, a decoration which also
ornamented the under coat. He might be recognized, not only
by these signs, but also from the accent with which he spoke
to the postilion, as a Frenchman. Another proof that he was
a native of the universal country was apparent in the fact
of his knowing no other Italian words than the terms used in
music, and which like the "goddam" of Figaro, served all
possible linguistic requirements. "Allegro!" he called out
to the postilions at every ascent. "Moderato!" he cried as
they descended. And heaven knows there are hills enough
between Rome and Florence by the way of Aquapendente! These
two words greatly amused the men to whom they were
addressed. On reaching La Storta, the point from whence Rome
is first visible, the traveller evinced none of the
enthusiastic curiosity which usually leads strangers to
stand up and endeavor to catch sight of the dome of St.
Peter's, which may be seen long before any other object is
distinguishable. No, he merely drew a pocketbook from his
pocket, and took from it a paper folded in four, and after
having examined it in a manner almost reverential, he said
-- "Good! I have it still!"
The carriage entered by the Porto del Popolo, turned to the
left, and stopped at the Hotel d'Espagne. Old Pastrini, our
former acquaintance, received the traveller at the door, hat
in hand. The traveller alighted, ordered a good dinner, and
inquired the address of the house of Thomson & French, which
was immediately given to him, as it was one of the most
celebrated in Rome. It was situated in the Via dei Banchi,
near St. Peter's. In Rome, as everywhere else, the arrival
of a post-chaise is an event. Ten young descendants of
Marius and the Gracchi, barefooted and out at elbows, with
one hand resting on the hip and the other gracefully curved
above the head, stared at the traveller, the post-chaise,
and the horses; to these were added about fifty little
vagabonds from the Papal States, who earned a pittance by
diving into the Tiber at high water from the bridge of St.
Angelo. Now, as these street Arabs of Rome, more fortunate
than those of Paris, understand every language, more
especially the French, they heard the traveller order an
apartment, a dinner, and finally inquire the way to the
house of Thomson & French. The result was that when the
new-comer left the hotel with the cicerone, a man detached
himself from the rest of the idlers, and without having been
seen by the traveller, and appearing to excite no attention
from the guide, followed the stranger with as much skill as
a Parisian police agent would have used.
The Frenchman had been so impatient to reach the house of
Thomson & French that he would not wait for the horses to be
harnessed, but left word for the carriage to overtake him on
the road, or to wait for him at the bankers' door. He
reached it before the carriage arrived. The Frenchman
entered, leaving in the anteroom his guide, who immediately
entered into conversation with two or three of the
industrious idlers who are always to be found in Rome at the
doors of banking-houses, churches, museums, or theatres.
With the Frenchman, the man who had followed him entered
too; the Frenchman knocked at the inner door, and entered
the first room; his shadow did the same.
"Messrs. Thomson & French?" inquired the stranger.
An attendant arose at a sign from a confidential clerk at
the first desk. "Whom shall I announce?" said the attendant.
"Follow me," said the man. A door opened, through which the
attendant and the baron disappeared. The man who had
followed Danglars sat down on a bench. The clerk continued
to write for the next five minutes; the man preserved
profound silence, and remained perfectly motionless. Then
the pen of the clerk ceased to move over the paper; he
raised his head, and appearing to be perfectly sure of
privacy, -- "Ah, ha," he said, "here you are, Peppino!"
"Yes," was the laconic reply. "You have found out that there
is something worth having about this large gentleman?"
"There is no great merit due to me, for we were informed of
"You know his business here, then."
"Pardieu, he has come to draw, but I don't know how much!"
"You will know presently, my friend."
"Very well, only do not give me false information as you did
the other day."
"What do you mean? -- of whom do you speak? Was it the
Englishman who carried off 3,000 crowns from here the other
"No; he really had 3,000 crowns, and we found them. I mean
the Russian prince, who you said had 30,000 livres, and we
only found 22,000."
"You must have searched badly."
"Luigi Vampa himself searched."
"Indeed? But you must let me make my observations, or the
Frenchman will transact his business without my knowing the
sum." Peppino nodded, and taking a rosary from his pocket
began to mutter a few prayers while the clerk disappeared
through the same door by which Danglars and the attendant
had gone out. At the expiration of ten minutes the clerk
returned with a beaming countenance. "Well?" asked Peppino
of his friend.
"Joy, joy -- the sum is large!"
"Five or six millions, is it not?"
"Yes, you know the amount."
"On the receipt of the Count of Monte Cristo?"
"Why, how came you to be so well acquainted with all this?"
"I told you we were informed beforehand."
"Then why do you apply to me?"
"That I may be sure I have the right man."
"Yes, it is indeed he. Five millions -- a pretty sum, eh,
"Hush -- here is our man!" The clerk seized his pen, and
Peppino his beads; one was writing and the other praying
when the door opened. Danglars looked radiant with joy; the
banker accompanied him to the door. Peppino followed
According to the arrangements, the carriage was waiting at
the door. The guide held the door open. Guides are useful
people, who will turn their hands to anything. Danglars
leaped into the carriage like a young man of twenty. The
cicerone reclosed the door, and sprang up by the side of the
coachman. Peppino mounted the seat behind.
"Will your excellency visit St. Peter's?" asked the
"I did not come to Rome to see," said Danglars aloud; then
he added softly, with an avaricious smile, "I came to
touch!" and he rapped his pocket-book, in which he had just
placed a letter.
"Then your excellency is going" --
"To the hotel."
"Casa Pastrini!" said the cicerone to the coachman, and the
carriage drove rapidly on. Ten minutes afterwards the baron
entered his apartment, and Peppino stationed himself on the
bench outside the door of the hotel, after having whispered
something in the ear of one of the descendants of Marius and
the Gracchi whom we noticed at the beginning of the chapter,
who immediately ran down the road leading to the Capitol at
his fullest speed. Danglars was tired and sleepy; he
therefore went to bed, placing his pocketbook under his
pillow. Peppino had a little spare time, so he had a game of
mora with the facchini, lost three crowns, and then to
console himself drank a bottle of Orvieto.
The next morning Danglars awoke late, though he went to bed
so early; he had not slept well for five or six nights, even
if he had slept at all. He breakfasted heartily, and caring
little, as he said, for the beauties of the Eternal City,
ordered post-horses at noon. But Danglars had not reckoned
upon the formalities of the police and the idleness of the
posting-master. The horses only arrived at two o'clock, and
the cicerone did not bring the passport till three. All
these preparations had collected a number of idlers round
the door of Signor Pastrini's; the descendants of Marius and
the Gracchi were also not wanting. The baron walked
triumphantly through the crowd, who for the sake of gain
styled him "your excellency." As Danglars had hitherto
contented himself with being called a baron, he felt rather
flattered at the title of excellency, and distributed a
dozen silver coins among the beggars, who were ready, for
twelve more, to call him "your highness."
"Which road?" asked the postilion in Italian. "The Ancona
road," replied the baron. Signor Pastrini interpreted the
question and answer, and the horses galloped off. Danglars
intended travelling to Venice, where he would receive one
part of his fortune, and then proceeding to Vienna, where he
would find the rest, he meant to take up his residence in
the latter town, which he had been told was a city of
He had scarcely advanced three leagues out of Rome when
daylight began to disappear. Danglars had not intended
starting so late, or he would have remained; he put his head
out and asked the postilion how long it would be before they
reached the next town. "Non capisco" (do not understand),
was the reply. Danglars bent his head, which he meant to
imply, "Very well." The carriage again moved on. "I will
stop at the first posting-house," said Danglars to himself.
He still felt the same self-satisfaction which he had
experienced the previous evening, and which had procured him
so good a night's rest. He was luxuriously stretched in a
good English calash, with double springs; he was drawn by
four good horses, at full gallop; he knew the relay to be at
a distance of seven leagues. What subject of meditation
could present itself to the banker, so fortunately become
Danglars thought for ten minutes about his wife in Paris;
another ten minutes about his daughter travelling with
Mademoiselle d'Armilly; the same period was given to his
creditors, and the manner in which he intended spending
their money; and then, having no subject left for
contemplation, he shut his eyes, and fell asleep. Now and
then a jolt more violent than the rest caused him to open
his eyes; then he felt that he was still being carried with
great rapidity over the same country, thickly strewn with
broken aqueducts, which looked like granite giants petrified
while running a race. But the night was cold, dull, and
rainy, and it was much more pleasant for a traveller to
remain in the warm carriage than to put his head out of the
window to make inquiries of a postilion whose only answer
was "Non capisco."
Danglars therefore continued to sleep, saying to himself
that he would be sure to awake at the posting-house. The
carriage stopped. Danglars fancied that they had reached the
long-desired point; he opened his eyes and looked through
the window, expecting to find himself in the midst of some
town, or at least village; but he saw nothing except what
seemed like a ruin, where three or four men went and came
like shadows. Danglars waited a moment, expecting the
postilion to come and demand payment with the termination of
his stage. He intended taking advantage of the opportunity
to make fresh inquiries of the new conductor; but the horses
were unharnessed, and others put in their places, without
any one claiming money from the traveller. Danglars,
astonished, opened the door; but a strong hand pushed him
back, and the carriage rolled on. The baron was completely
roused. "Eh?" he said to the postilion, "eh, mio caro?"
This was another little piece of Italian the baron had
learned from hearing his daughter sing Italian duets with
Cavalcanti. But mio caro did not reply. Danglars then opened
"Come, my friend," he said, thrusting his hand through the
opening, "where are we going?"
"Dentro la testa!" answered a solemn and imperious voice,
accompanied by a menacing gesture. Danglars thought dentro
la testa meant, "Put in your head!" He was making rapid
progress in Italian. He obeyed, not without some uneasiness,
which, momentarily increasing, caused his mind, instead of
being as unoccupied as it was when he began his journey, to
fill with ideas which were very likely to keep a traveller
awake, more especially one in such a situation as Danglars.
His eyes acquired that quality which in the first moment of
strong emotion enables them to see distinctly, and which
afterwards fails from being too much taxed. Before we are
alarmed, we see correctly; when we are alarmed, we see
double; and when we have been alarmed, we see nothing but
trouble. Danglars observed a man in a cloak galloping at the
right hand of the carriage.
"Some gendarme!" he exclaimed. "Can I have been intercepted
by French telegrams to the pontifical authorities?" He
resolved to end his anxiety. "Where are you taking me?" he
asked. "Dentro la testa," replied the same voice, with the
same menacing accent.
Danglars turned to the left; another man on horseback was
galloping on that side. "Decidedly," said Danglars, with the
perspiration on his forehead, "I must be under arrest." And
he threw himself back in the calash, not this time to sleep,
but to think. Directly afterwards the moon rose. He then saw
the great aqueducts, those stone phantoms which he had
before remarked, only then they were on the right hand, now
they were on the left. He understood that they had described
a circle, and were bringing him back to Rome. "Oh,
unfortunate!" he cried, "they must have obtained my arrest."
The carriage continued to roll on with frightful speed. An
hour of terror elapsed, for every spot they passed showed
that they were on the road back. At length he saw a dark
mass, against which it seemed as if the carriage was about
to dash; but the vehicle turned to one side, leaving the
barrier behind and Danglars saw that it was one of the
ramparts encircling Rome.
"Mon dieu!" cried Danglars, "we are not returning to Rome;
then it is not justice which is pursuing me! Gracious
heavens; another idea presents itself -- what if they should
His hair stood on end. He remembered those interesting
stories, so little believed in Paris, respecting Roman
bandits; he remembered the adventures that Albert de Morcerf
had related when it was intended that he should marry
Mademoiselle Eugenie. "They are robbers, perhaps," he
muttered. Just then the carriage rolled on something harder
than gravel road. Danglars hazarded a look on both sides of
the road, and perceived monuments of a singular form, and
his mind now recalled all the details Morcerf had related,
and comparing them with his own situation, he felt sure that
he must be on the Appian Way. On the left, in a sort of
valley, he perceived a circular excavation. It was
Caracalla's circus. On a word from the man who rode at the
side of the carriage, it stopped. At the same time the door
was opened. "Scendi!" exclaimed a commanding voice. Danglars
instantly descended; although he did not yet speak Italian,
he understood it very well. More dead than alive, he looked
around him. Four men surrounded him, besides the postilion.
"Di qua," said one of the men, descending a little path
leading out of the Appian Way. Danglars followed his guide
without opposition, and had no occasion to turn around to
see whether the three others were following him. Still it
appeared as though they were stationed at equal distances
from one another, like sentinels. After walking for about
ten minutes, during which Danglars did not exchange a single
word with his guide, he found himself between a hillock and
a clump of high weeds; three men, standing silent, formed a
triangle, of which he was the centre. He wished to speak,
but his tongue refused to move. "Avanti!" said the same
sharp and imperative voice.
This time Danglars had double reason to understand, for if
the word and gesture had not explained the speaker's
meaning, it was clearly expressed by the man walking behind
him, who pushed him so rudely that he struck against the
guide. This guide was our friend Peppino, who dashed into
the thicket of high weeds, through a path which none but
lizards or polecats could have imagined to be an open road.
Peppino stopped before a pit overhung by thick hedges; the
pit, half open, afforded a passage to the young man, who
disappeared like the evil spirits in the fairy tales. The
voice and gesture of the man who followed Danglars ordered
him to do the same. There was no longer any doubt, the
bankrupt was in the hands of Roman banditti. Danglars
acquitted himself like a man placed between two dangerous
positions, and who is rendered brave by fear.
Notwithstanding his large stomach, certainly not intended to
penetrate the fissures of the Campagna, he slid down like
Peppino, and closing his eyes fell upon his feet. As he
touched the ground, he opened his eyes. The path was wide,
but dark. Peppino, who cared little for being recognized now
that he was in his own territories, struck a light and lit a
torch. Two other men descended after Danglars forming the
rearguard, and pushing Danglars whenever he happened to
stop, they came by a gentle declivity to the intersection of
two corridors. The walls were hollowed out in sepulchres,
one above the other, and which seemed in contrast with the
white stones to open their large dark eyes, like those which
we see on the faces of the dead. A sentinel struck the rings
of his carbine against his left hand. "Who comes there?" he
"A friend, a friend!" said Peppino; "but where is the
"There," said the sentinel, pointing over his shoulder to a
spacious crypt, hollowed out of the rock, the lights from
which shone into the passage through the large arched
openings. "Fine spoil, captain, fine spoil!" said Peppino in
Italian, and taking Danglars by the collar of his coat he
dragged him to an opening resembling a door, through which
they entered the apartment which the captain appeared to
have made his dwelling-place.
"Is this the man?" asked the captain, who was attentively
reading Plutarch's "Life of Alexander."
"Himself, captain -- himself."
"Very well, show him to me." At this rather impertinent
order, Peppino raised his torch to the face of Danglars, who
hastily withdrew that he might not have his eyelashes burnt.
His agitated features presented the appearance of pale and
hideous terror. "The man is tired," said the captain,
"conduct him to his bed."
"Oh," murmured Danglars," that bed is probably one of the
coffins hollowed in the wall, and the sleep I shall enjoy
will be death from one of the poniards I see glistening in
From their beds of dried leaves or wolf-skins at the back of
the chamber now arose the companions of the man who had been
found by Albert de Morcerf reading "Caesar's Commentaries,"
and by Danglars studying the "Life of Alexander." The banker
uttered a groan and followed his guide; he neither
supplicated nor exclaimed. He no longer possessed strength,
will, power, or feeling; he followed where they led him. At
length he found himself at the foot of a staircase, and he
mechanically lifted his foot five or six times. Then a low
door was opened before him, and bending his head to avoid
striking his forehead he entered a small room cut out of the
rock. The cell was clean, though empty, and dry, though
situated at an immeasurable distance under the earth. A bed
of dried grass covered with goat-skins was placed in one
corner. Danglars brightened up on beholding it, fancying
that it gave some promise of safety. "Oh, God be praised,"
he said; "it is a real bed!"
"Ecco!" said the guide, and pushing Danglars into the cell,
he closed the door upon him. A bolt grated and Danglars was
a prisoner. If there had been no bolt, it would have been
impossible for him to pass through the midst of the garrison
who held the catacombs of St. Sebastian, encamped round a
master whom our readers must have recognized as the famous
Luigi Vampa. Danglars, too, had recognized the bandit, whose
existence he would not believe when Albert de Morcerf
mentioned him in Paris; and not only did he recognize him,
but the cell in which Albert had been confined, and which
was probably kept for the accommodation of strangers. These
recollections were dwelt upon with some pleasure by
Danglars, and restored him to some degree of tranquillity.
Since the bandits had not despatched him at once, he felt
that they would not kill him at all. They had arrested him
for the purpose of robbery, and as he had only a few louis
about him, he doubted not he would be ransomed. He
remembered that Morcerf had been taxed at 4,000 crowns, and
as he considered himself of much greater importance than
Morcerf he fixed his own price at 8,000 crowns. Eight
thousand crowns amounted to 48,000 livres; he would then
have about 5,050,000 francs left. With this sum he could
manage to keep out of difficulties. Therefore, tolerably
secure in being able to extricate himself from his position,
provided he were not rated at the unreasonable sum of
5,050,000 francs, he stretched himself on his bed, and after
turning over two or three times, fell asleep with the
tranquillity of the hero whose life Luigi Vampa was
Luigi Vampa's Bill of Fare.
We awake from every sleep except the one dreaded by
Danglars. He awoke. To a Parisian accustomed to silken
curtains, walls hung with velvet drapery, and the soft
perfume of burning wood, the white smoke of which diffuses
itself in graceful curves around the room, the appearance of
the whitewashed cell which greeted his eyes on awakening
seemed like the continuation of some disagreeable dream. But
in such a situation a single moment suffices to change the
strongest doubt into certainty. "Yes, yes," he murmured, "I
am in the hands of the brigands of whom Albert de Morcerf
spoke." His first idea was to breathe, that he might know
whether he was wounded. He borrowed this from "Don Quixote,"
the only book he had ever read, but which he still slightly
"No," he cried, "they have not wounded, but perhaps they
have robbed me!" and he thrust his hands into his pockets.
They were untouched; the hundred louis he had reserved for
his journey from Rome to Venice were in his trousers pocket,
and in that of his great-coat he found the little note-case
containing his letter of credit for 5,050,000 francs.
"Singular bandits!" he exclaimed; "they have left me my
purse and pocket-book. As I was saying last night, they
intend me to be ransomed. Hallo, here is my watch! Let me
see what time it is." Danglars' watch, one of Breguet's
repeaters, which he had carefully wound up on the previous
night, struck half past five. Without this, Danglars would
have been quite ignorant of the time, for daylight did not
reach his cell. Should he demand an explanation from the
bandits, or should he wait patiently for them to propose it?
The last alternative seemed the most prudent, so he waited
until twelve o'clock. During all this time a sentinel, who
had been relieved at eight o'clock, had been watching his
door. Danglars suddenly felt a strong inclination to see the
person who kept watch over him. He had noticed that a few
rays, not of daylight, but from a lamp, penetrated through
the ill-joined planks of the door; he approached just as the
brigand was refreshing himself with a mouthful of brandy,
which, owing to the leathern bottle containing it, sent
forth an odor which was extremely unpleasant to Danglars.
"Faugh!" he exclaimed, retreating to the farther corner of
At twelve this man was replaced by another functionary, and
Danglars, wishing to catch sight of his new guardian,
approached the door again. He was an athletic, gigantic
bandit, with large eyes, thick lips, and a flat nose; his
red hair fell in dishevelled masses like snakes around his
shoulders. "Ah, ha," cried Danglars, "this fellow is more
like an ogre than anything else; however, I am rather too
old and tough to be very good eating!" We see that Danglars
was collected enough to jest; at the same time, as though to
disprove the ogreish propensities, the man took some black
bread, cheese, and onions from his wallet, which he began
devouring voraciously. "May I be hanged," said Danglars,
glancing at the bandit's dinner through the crevices of the
door, -- "may I be hanged if I can understand how people can
eat such filth!" and he withdrew to seat himself upon his
goat-skin, which reminded him of the smell of the brandy.
But the mysteries of nature are incomprehensible, and there
are certain invitations contained in even the coarsest food
which appeal very irresistibly to a fasting stomach.
Danglars felt his own not to be very well supplied just
then, and gradually the man appeared less ugly, the bread
less black, and the cheese more fresh, while those dreadful
vulgar onions recalled to his mind certain sauces and
side-dishes, which his cook prepared in a very superior
manner whenever he said, "Monsieur Deniseau, let me have a
nice little fricassee to-day." He got up and knocked on the
door; the bandit raised his head. Danglars knew that he was
heard, so he redoubled his blows. "Che cosa?" asked the
bandit. "Come, come," said Danglars, tapping his fingers
against the door, "I think it is quite time to think of
giving me something to eat!" But whether he did not
understand him, or whether he had received no orders
respecting the nourishment of Danglars, the giant, without
answering, went on with his dinner. Danglars' feelings were
hurt, and not wishing to put himself under obligations to
the brute, the banker threw himself down again on his
goat-skin and did not breathe another word.
Four hours passed by and the giant was replaced by another
bandit. Danglars, who really began to experience sundry
gnawings at the stomach, arose softly, again applied his eye
to the crack of the door, and recognized the intelligent
countenance of his guide. It was, indeed, Peppino who was
preparing to mount guard as comfortably as possible by
seating himself opposite to the door, and placing between
his legs an earthen pan, containing chick-pease stewed with
bacon. Near the pan he also placed a pretty little basket of
Villetri grapes and a flask of Orvieto. Peppino was
decidedly an epicure. Danglars watched these preparations
and his mouth watered. "Come," he said to himself, "let me
try if he will be more tractable than the other;" and he
tapped gently at the door. "On y va," (coming) exclaimed
Peppino, who from frequenting the house of Signor Pastrini
understood French perfectly in all its idioms.
Danglars immediately recognized him as the man who had
called out in such a furious manner, "Put in your head!" But
this was not the time for recrimination, so he assumed his
most agreeable manner and said with a gracious smile, --
"Excuse me, sir, but are they not going to give me any
"Does your excellency happen to be hungry?"
"Happen to be hungry, -- that's pretty good, when I haven't
eaten for twenty-four hours!" muttered Danglars. Then he
added aloud, "Yes, sir, I am hungry -- very hungry."
"What would your excellency like?" and Peppino placed his
pan on the ground, so that the steam rose directly under the
nostrils of Danglars. "Give your orders."
"Have you kitchens here?"
"Kitchens? -- of course -- complete ones."
"Well, a fowl, fish, game, -- it signifies little, so that I
"As your excellency pleases. You mentioned a fowl, I think?"
"Yes, a fowl." Peppino, turning around, shouted, "A fowl for
his excellency!" His voice yet echoed in the archway when a
handsome, graceful, and half-naked young man appeared,
bearing a fowl in a silver dish on his head, without the
assistance of his hands. "I could almost believe myself at
the Cafe de Paris," murmured Danglars.
"Here, your excellency," said Peppino, taking the fowl from
the young bandit and placing it on the worm-eaten table,
which with the stool and the goat-skin bed formed the entire
furniture of the cell. Danglars asked for a knife and fork.
"Here, excellency," said Peppino, offering him a little
blunt knife and a boxwood fork. Danglars took the knife in
one hand and the fork in the other, and was about to cut up
the fowl. "Pardon me, excellency," said Peppino, placing his
hand on the banker's shoulder; "people pay here before they
eat. They might not be satisfied, and" --
"Ah, ha," thought Danglars, "this is not so much like Paris,
except that I shall probably be skinned! Never mind, I'll
fix that all right. I have always heard how cheap poultry is
in Italy; I should think a fowl is worth about twelve sous
at Rome. -- There," he said, throwing a louis down. Peppino
picked up the louis, and Danglars again prepared to carve
the fowl. "Stay a moment, your excellency," said Peppino,
rising; "you still owe me something."
"I said they would skin me," thought Danglars; but resolving
to resist the extortion, he said, "Come, how much do I owe
you for this fowl?"
"Your excellency has given me a louis on account."
"A louis on account for a fowl?"
"Certainly; and your excellency now owes me 4,999 louis."
Danglars opened his enormous eyes on hearing this gigantic
joke. "Come, come, this is very droll -- very amusing -- I
allow; but, as I am very hungry, pray allow me to eat. Stay,
here is another louis for you."
"Then that will make only 4,998 louis more," said Peppino
with the same indifference. "I shall get them all in time."
"Oh, as for that," said Danglars, angry at this prolongation
of the jest, -- "as for that you won't get them at all. Go
to the devil! You do not know with whom you have to deal!"
Peppino made a sign, and the youth hastily removed the fowl.
Danglars threw himself upon his goat-skin, and Peppino,
reclosing the door, again began eating his pease and bacon.
Though Danglars could not see Peppino, the noise of his
teeth allowed no doubt as to his occupation. He was
certainly eating, and noisily too, like an ill-bred man.
"Brute!" said Danglars. Peppino pretended not to hear him,
and without even turning his head continued to eat slowly.
Danglars' stomach felt so empty, that it seemed as if it
would be impossible ever to fill it again; still he had
patience for another half-hour, which appeared to him like a
century. He again arose and went to the door. "Come, sir, do
not keep me starving here any longer, but tell me what they
"Nay, your excellency, it is you who should tell us what you
want. Give your orders, and we will execute them."
"Then open the door directly." Peppino obeyed. "Now look
here, I want something to eat! To eat -- do you hear?"
"Are you hungry?"
"Come, you understand me."
"What would your excellency like to eat?"
"A piece of dry bread, since the fowls are beyond all price
in this accursed place."
"Bread? Very well. Hallo, there, some bread!" he called. The
youth brought a small loaf. "How much?" asked Danglars.
"Four thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight louis," said
Peppino; "You have paid two louis in advance."
"What? One hundred thousand francs for a loaf?"
"One hundred thousand francs," repeated Peppino.
"But you only asked 100,000 francs for a fowl!"
"We have a fixed price for all our provisions. It signifies
nothing whether you eat much or little -- whether you have
ten dishes or one -- it is always the same price."
"What, still keeping up this silly jest? My dear fellow, it
is perfectly ridiculous -- stupid! You had better tell me at
once that you intend starving me to death."
"Oh, dear, no, your excellency, unless you intend to commit
suicide. Pay and eat."
"And what am I to pay with, brute?" said Danglars, enraged.
"Do you suppose I carry 100,000 francs in my pocket?"
"Your excellency has 5,050,000 francs in your pocket; that
will be fifty fowls at 100,000 francs apiece, and half a
fowl for the 50,000."
Danglars shuddered. The bandage fell from his eyes, and he
understood the joke, which he did not think quite so stupid
as he had done just before. "Come," he said, "if I pay you
the 100,000 francs, will you be satisfied, and allow me to
eat at my ease?"
"Certainly," said Peppino.
"But how can I pay them?"
"Oh, nothing easier; you have an account open with Messrs.
Thomson & French, Via dei Banchi, Rome; give me a draft for
4,998 louis on these gentlemen, and our banker shall take
it." Danglars thought it as well to comply with a good
grace, so he took the pen, ink, and paper Peppino offered
him, wrote the draft, and signed it. "Here," he said, "here
is a draft at sight."
"And here is your fowl." Danglars sighed while he carved the
fowl; it appeared very thin for the price it had cost. As
for Peppino, he examined the paper attentively, put it into
his pocket, and continued eating his pease.
The next day Danglars was again hungry; certainly the air of
that dungeon was very provocative of appetite. The prisoner
expected that he would be at no expense that day, for like
an economical man he had concealed half of his fowl and a
piece of the bread in the corner of his cell. But he had no
sooner eaten than he felt thirsty; he had forgotten that. He
struggled against his thirst till his tongue clave to the
roof of his mouth; then, no longer able to resist, he called
out. The sentinel opened the door; it was a new face. He
thought it would be better to transact business with his old
acquaintance, so he sent for Peppino. "Here I am, your
excellency," said Peppino, with an eagerness which Danglars
thought favorable to him. "What do you want?"
"Something to drink."
"Your excellency knows that wine is beyond all price near
"Then give me water," cried Danglars, endeavoring to parry
"Oh, water is even more scarce than wine, your excellency,
-- there has been such a drought."
"Come," thought Danglars, "it is the same old story." And
while he smiled as he attempted to regard the affair as a
joke, he felt his temples get moist with perspiration.
"Come, my friend," said Danglars, seeing that he made no
impression on Peppino, "you will not refuse me a glass of
"I have already told you that we do not sell at retail."
"Well, then, let me have a bottle of the least expensive."
"They are all the same price."
"And what is that?"
"Twenty-five thousand francs a bottle."
"Tell me," cried Danglars, in a tone whose bitterness
Harpagon* alone has been capable of revealing -- "tell me
that you wish to despoil me of all; it will be sooner over
than devouring me piecemeal."
* The miser in Moliere's comedy of "L'Avare." -- Ed.
"It is possible such may be the master's intention."
"The master? -- who is he?"
"The person to whom you were conducted yesterday."
"Where is he?"
"Let me see him."
"Certainly." And the next moment Luigi Vampa appeared before
"You sent for me?" he said to the prisoner.
"Are you, sir, the chief of the people who brought me here?"
"Yes, your excellency. What then?"
"How much do you require for my ransom?"
"Merely the 5,000,000 you have about you." Danglars felt a
dreadful spasm dart through his heart. "But this is all I
have left in the world," he said, "out of an immense
fortune. If you deprive me of that, take away my life also."
"We are forbidden to shed your blood."
"And by whom are you forbidden?"
"By him we obey."
"You do, then, obey some one?"
"Yes, a chief."
"I thought you said you were the chief?"
"So I am of these men; but there is another over me."
"And did your superior order you to treat me in this way?"
"But my purse will be exhausted."
"Come," said Danglars, "will you take a million?"
"Two millions? -- three? -- four? Come, four? I will give
them to you on condition that you let me go."
"Why do you offer me 4,000,000 for what is worth 5,000,000?
This is a kind of usury, banker, that I do not understand."
"Take all, then -- take all, I tell you, and kill me!"
"Come, come, calm yourself. You will excite your blood, and
that would produce an appetite it would require a million a
day to satisfy. Be more economical."
"But when I have no more money left to pay you?" asked the
"Then you must suffer hunger."
"Suffer hunger?" said Danglars, becoming pale.
"Most likely," replied Vampa coolly.
"But you say you do not wish to kill me?"
"And yet you will let me perish with hunger?"
"Ah, that is a different thing."
"Well, then, wretches," cried Danglars, "I will defy your
infamous calculations -- I would rather die at once! You may
torture, torment, kill me, but you shall not have my
"As your excellency pleases," said Vampa, as he left the
cell. Danglars, raving, threw himself on the goat-skin. Who
could these men be? Who was the invisible chief? What could
be his intentions towards him? And why, when every one else
was allowed to be ransomed, might he not also be? Oh, yes;
certainly a speedy, violent death would be a fine means of
deceiving these remorseless enemies, who appeared to pursue
him with such incomprehensible vengeance. But to die? For
the first time in his life, Danglars contemplated death with
a mixture of dread and desire; the time had come when the
implacable spectre, which exists in the mind of every human
creature, arrested his attention and called out with every
pulsation of his heart, "Thou shalt die!"
Danglars resembled a timid animal excited in the chase;
first it flies, then despairs, and at last, by the very
force of desperation, sometimes succeeds in eluding its
pursuers. Danglars meditated an escape; but the walls were
solid rock, a man was sitting reading at the only outlet to
the cell, and behind that man shapes armed with guns
continually passed. His resolution not to sign lasted two
days, after which he offered a million for some food. They
sent him a magnificent supper, and took his million.
From this time the prisoner resolved to suffer no longer,
but to have everything he wanted. At the end of twelve days,
after having made a splendid dinner, he reckoned his
accounts, and found that he had only 50,000 francs left.
Then a strange reaction took place; he who had just
abandoned 5,000,000 endeavored to save the 50,000 francs he
had left, and sooner than give them up he resolved to enter
again upon a life of privation -- he was deluded by the
hopefulness that is a premonition of madness. He who for so
long a time had forgotten God, began to think that miracles
were possible -- that the accursed cavern might be
discovered by the officers of the Papal States, who would
release him; that then he would have 50,000 remaining, which
would be sufficient to save him from starvation; and finally
he prayed that this sum might be preserved to him, and as he
prayed he wept. Three days passed thus, during which his
prayers were frequent, if not heartfelt. Sometimes he was
delirious, and fancied he saw an old man stretched on a
pallet; he, also, was dying of hunger.
On the fourth, he was no longer a man, but a living corpse.
He had picked up every crumb that had been left from his
former meals, and was beginning to eat the matting which
covered the floor of his cell. Then he entreated Peppino, as
he would a guardian angel, to give him food; he offered him
1,000 francs for a mouthful of bread. But Peppino did not
answer. On the fifth day he dragged himself to the door of
"Are you not a Christian?" he said, falling on his knees.
"Do you wish to assassinate a man who, in the eyes of
heaven, is a brother? Oh, my former friends, my former
friends!" he murmured, and fell with his face to the ground.
Then rising in despair, he exclaimed, "The chief, the
"Here I am," said Vampa, instantly appearing; "what do you
"Take my last gold," muttered Danglars, holding out his
pocket-book, "and let me live here; I ask no more for
liberty -- I only ask to live!"
"Then you suffer a great deal?"
"Oh, yes, yes, cruelly!"
"Still, there have been men who suffered more than you."
"I do not think so."
"Yes; those who have died of hunger."
Danglars thought of the old man whom, in his hours of
delirium, he had seen groaning on his bed. He struck his
forehead on the ground and groaned. "Yes," he said, "there
have been some who have suffered more than I have, but then
they must have been martyrs at least."
"Do you repent?" asked a deep, solemn voice, which caused
Danglars' hair to stand on end. His feeble eyes endeavored
to distinguish objects, and behind the bandit he saw a man
enveloped in a cloak, half lost in the shadow of a stone
"Of what must I repent?" stammered Danglars.
"Of the evil you have done," said the voice.
"Oh, yes; oh, yes, I do indeed repent." And he struck his
breast with his emaciated fist.
"Then I forgive you," said the man, dropping his cloak, and
advancing to the light.
"The Count of Monte Cristo!" said Danglars, more pale from
terror than he had been just before from hunger and misery.
"You are mistaken -- I am not the Count of Monte Cristo."
"Then who are you?"
"I am he whom you sold and dishonored -- I am he whose
betrothed you prostituted -- I am he upon whom you trampled
that you might raise yourself to fortune -- I am he whose
father you condemned to die of hunger -- I am he whom you
also condemned to starvation, and who yet forgives you,
because he hopes to be forgiven -- I am Edmond Dantes!"
Danglars uttered a cry, and fell prostrate. "Rise," said the
count, "your life is safe; the same good fortune has not
happened to your accomplices -- one is mad, the other dead.
Keep the 50,000 francs you have left -- I give them to you.
The 5,000,000 you stole from the hospitals has been restored
to them by an unknown hand. And now eat and drink; I will
entertain you to-night. Vampa, when this man is satisfied,
let him be free." Danglars remained prostrate while the
count withdrew; when he raised his head he saw disappearing
down the passage nothing but a shadow, before which the
bandits bowed. According to the count's directions, Danglars
was waited on by Vampa, who brought him the best wine and
fruits of Italy; then, having conducted him to the road, and
pointed to the post-chaise, left him leaning against a tree.
He remained there all night, not knowing where he was. When
daylight dawned he saw that he was near a stream; he was
thirsty, and dragged himself towards it. As he stooped down
to drink, he saw that his hair had become entirely white.
The Fifth of October.
It was about six o'clock in the evening; an opal-colored
light, through which an autumnal sun shed its golden rays,
descended on the blue ocean. The heat of the day had
gradually decreased, and a light breeze arose, seeming like
the respiration of nature on awakening from the burning
siesta of the south. A delicious zephyr played along the
coasts of the Mediterranean, and wafted from shore to shore
the sweet perfume of plants, mingled with the fresh smell of
A light yacht, chaste and elegant in its form, was gliding
amidst the first dews of night over the immense lake,
extending from Gibraltar to the Dardanelles, and from Tunis
to Venice. The vessel resembled a swan with its wings opened
towards the wind, gliding on the water. It advanced swiftly
and gracefully, leaving behind it a glittering stretch of
foam. By degrees the sun disappeared behind the western
horizon; but as though to prove the truth of the fanciful
ideas in heathen mythology, its indiscreet rays reappeared
on the summit of every wave, as if the god of fire had just
sunk upon the bosom of Amphitrite, who in vain endeavored to
hide her lover beneath her azure mantle. The yacht moved
rapidly on, though there did not appear to be sufficient
wind to ruffle the curls on the head of a young girl.
Standing on the prow was a tall man, of a dark complexion,
who saw with dilating eyes that they were approaching a dark
mass of land in the shape of a cone, which rose from the
midst of the waves like the hat of a Catalan. "Is that Monte
Cristo?" asked the traveller, to whose orders the yacht was
for the time submitted, in a melancholy voice.
"Yes, your excellency," said the captain, "we have reached
"We have reached it!" repeated the traveller in an accent of
indescribable sadness. Then he added, in a low tone, "Yes;
that is the haven." And then he again plunged into a train
of thought, the character of which was better revealed by a
sad smile, than it would have been by tears. A few minutes
afterwards a flash of light, which was extinguished
instantly, was seen on the land, and the sound of firearms
reached the yacht.
"Your excellency," said the captain, "that was the land
signal, will you answer yourself?"
"What signal?" The captain pointed towards the island, up
the side of which ascended a volume of smoke, increasing as
it rose. "Ah, yes," he said, as if awaking from a dream.
"Give it to me."
The captain gave him a loaded carbine; the traveller slowly
raised it, and fired in the air. Ten minutes afterwards, the
sails were furled, and they cast anchor about a hundred
fathoms from the little harbor. The gig was already lowered,
and in it were four oarsmen and a coxswain. The traveller
descended, and instead of sitting down at the stern of the
boat, which had been decorated with a blue carpet for his
accommodation, stood up with his arms crossed. The rowers
waited, their oars half lifted out of the water, like birds
drying their wings.
"Give way," said the traveller. The eight oars fell into the
sea simultaneously without splashing a drop of water, and
the boat, yielding to the impulsion, glided forward. In an
instant they found themselves in a little harbor, formed in
a natural creek; the boat grounded on the fine sand.
"Will your excellency be so good as to mount the shoulders
of two of our men, they will carry you ashore?" The young
man answered this invitation with a gesture of indifference,
and stepped out of the boat; the sea immediately rose to his
waist. "Ah, your excellency," murmured the pilot, "you
should not have done so; our master will scold us for it."
The young man continued to advance, following the sailors,
who chose a firm footing. Thirty strides brought them to dry
land; the young man stamped on the ground to shake off the
wet, and looked around for some one to show him his road,
for it was quite dark. Just as he turned, a hand rested on
his shoulder, and a voice which made him shudder exclaimed,
-- "Good-evening, Maximilian; you are punctual, thank you!"
"Ah, is it you, count?" said the young man, in an almost
joyful accent, pressing Monte Cristo's hand with both his
"Yes; you see I am as exact as you are. But you are
dripping, my dear fellow; you must change your clothes, as
Calypso said to Telemachus. Come, I have a habitation
prepared for you in which you will soon forget fatigue and
cold." Monte Cristo perceived that the young man had turned
around; indeed, Morrel saw with surprise that the men who
had brought him had left without being paid, or uttering a
word. Already the sound of their oars might be heard as they
returned to the yacht.
"Oh, yes," said the count, "you are looking for the
"Yes, I paid them nothing, and yet they are gone."
"Never mind that, Maximilian," said Monte Cristo, smiling.
"I have made an agreement with the navy, that the access to
my island shall be free of all charge. I have made a
bargain." Morrel looked at the count with surprise. "Count,"
he said, "you are not the same here as in Paris."
"Here you laugh." The count's brow became clouded. "You are
right to recall me to myself, Maximilian," he said; "I was
delighted to see you again, and forgot for the moment that
all happiness is fleeting."
"Oh, no, no, count," cried Maximilian, seizing the count's
hands, "pray laugh; be happy, and prove to me, by your
indifference, that life is endurable to sufferers. Oh, how
charitable, kind, and good you are; you affect this gayety
to inspire me with courage."
"You are wrong, Morrel; I was really happy."
"Then you forget me, so much the better."
"Yes; for as the gladiator said to the emperor, when he
entered the arena, `He who is about to die salutes you.'"
"Then you are not consoled?" asked the count, surprised.
"Oh," exclaimed Morrel, with a glance full of bitter
reproach, "do you think it possible that I could be?"
"Listen," said the count. "Do you understand the meaning of
my words? You cannot take me for a commonplace man, a mere
rattle, emitting a vague and senseless noise. When I ask you
if you are consoled, I speak to you as a man for whom the
human heart has no secrets. Well, Morrel, let us both
examine the depths of your heart. Do you still feel the same
feverish impatience of grief which made you start like a
wounded lion? Have you still that devouring thirst which can
only be appeased in the grave? Are you still actuated by the
regret which drags the living to the pursuit of death; or
are you only suffering from the prostration of fatigue and
the weariness of hope deferred? Has the loss of memory
rendered it impossible for you to weep? Oh, my dear friend,
if this be the case, -- if you can no longer weep, if your
frozen heart be dead, if you put all your trust in God,
then, Maximilian, you are consoled -- do not complain."
"Count," said Morrel, in a firm and at the same time soft
voice, "listen to me, as to a man whose thoughts are raised
to heaven, though he remains on earth; I come to die in the
arms of a friend. Certainly, there are people whom I love. I
love my sister Julie, -- I love her husband Emmanuel; but I
require a strong mind to smile on my last moments. My sister
would be bathed in tears and fainting; I could not bear to
see her suffer. Emmanuel would tear the weapon from my hand,
and alarm the house with his cries. You, count, who are more
than mortal, will, I am sure, lead me to death by a pleasant
path, will you not?"
"My friend," said the count, "I have still one doubt, -- are
you weak enough to pride yourself upon your sufferings?"
"No, indeed, -- I am calm," said Morrel, giving his hand to
the count; "my pulse does not beat slower or faster than
usual. No, I feel that I have reached the goal, and I will
go no farther. You told me to wait and hope; do you know
what you did, unfortunate adviser? I waited a month, or
rather I suffered for a month! I did hope (man is a poor
wretched creature), I did hope. What I cannot tell, --
something wonderful, an absurdity, a miracle, -- of what
nature he alone can tell who has mingled with our reason
that folly we call hope. Yes, I did wait -- yes, I did hope,
count, and during this quarter of an hour we have been
talking together, you have unconsciously wounded, tortured
my heart, for every word you have uttered proved that there
was no hope for me. Oh, count, I shall sleep calmly,
deliciously in the arms of death." Morrel uttered these
words with an energy which made the count shudder. "My
friend," continued Morrel, "you named the fifth of October
as the end of the period of waiting, -- to-day is the fifth
of October," he took out his watch, "it is now nine o'clock,
-- I have yet three hours to live."
"Be it so," said the count, "come." Morrel mechanically
followed the count, and they had entered the grotto before
he perceived it. He felt a carpet under his feet, a door
opened, perfumes surrounded him, and a brilliant light
dazzled his eyes. Morrel hesitated to advance; he dreaded
the enervating effect of all that he saw. Monte Cristo drew
him in gently. "Why should we not spend the last three hours
remaining to us of life, like those ancient Romans, who when
condemned by Nero, their emperor and heir, sat down at a
table covered with flowers, and gently glided into death,
amid the perfume of heliotropes and roses?" Morrel smiled.
"As you please," he said; "death is always death, -- that is
forgetfulness, repose, exclusion from life, and therefore
from grief." He sat down, and Monte Cristo placed himself
opposite to him. They were in the marvellous dining-room
before described, where the statues had baskets on their
heads always filled with fruits and flowers. Morrel had
looked carelessly around, and had probably noticed nothing.
"Let us talk like men," he said, looking at the count.
"Count," said Morrel, "you are the epitome of all human
knowledge, and you seem like a being descended from a wiser
and more advanced world than ours."
"There is something true in what you say," said the count,
with that smile which made him so handsome; "I have
descended from a planet called grief."
"I believe all you tell me without questioning its meaning;
for instance, you told me to live, and I did live; you told
me to hope, and I almost did so. I am almost inclined to ask
you, as though you had experienced death, `is it painful to
Monte Cristo looked upon Morrel with indescribable
tenderness. "Yes," he said, "yes, doubtless it is painful,
if you violently break the outer covering which obstinately
begs for life. If you plunge a dagger into your flesh, if
you insinuate a bullet into your brain, which the least
shock disorders, -- then certainly, you will suffer pain,
and you will repent quitting a life for a repose you have
bought at so dear a price."
"Yes; I know that there is a secret of luxury and pain in
death, as well as in life; the only thing is to understand
"You have spoken truly, Maximilian; according to the care we
bestow upon it, death is either a friend who rocks us gently
as a nurse, or an enemy who violently drags the soul from
the body. Some day, when the world is much older, and when
mankind will be masters of all the destructive powers in
nature, to serve for the general good of humanity; when
mankind, as you were just saying, have discovered the
secrets of death, then that death will become as sweet and
voluptuous as a slumber in the arms of your beloved."
"And if you wished to die, you would choose this death,
Morrel extended his hand. "Now I understand," he said, "why
you had me brought here to this desolate spot, in the midst
of the ocean, to this subterranean palace; it was because
you loved me, was it not, count? It was because you loved me
well enough to give me one of those sweet means of death of
which we were speaking; a death without agony, a death which
allows me to fade away while pronouncing Valentine's name
and pressing your hand."
"Yes, you have guessed rightly, Morrel," said the count,
"that is what I intended."
"Thanks; the idea that tomorrow I shall no longer suffer, is
sweet to my heart."
"Do you then regret nothing?"
"No," replied Morrel.
"Not even me?" asked the count with deep emotion. Morrel's
clear eye was for the moment clouded, then it shone with
unusual lustre, and a large tear rolled down his cheek.
"What," said the count, "do you still regret anything in the
world, and yet die?"
"Oh, I entreat you," exclaimed Morrel in a low voice, "do
not speak another word, count; do not prolong my
punishment." The count fancied that he was yielding, and
this belief revived the horrible doubt that had overwhelmed
him at the Chateau d'If. "I am endeavoring," he thought, "to
make this man happy; I look upon this restitution as a
weight thrown into the scale to balance the evil I have
wrought. Now, supposing I am deceived, supposing this man
has not been unhappy enough to merit happiness. Alas, what
would become of me who can only atone for evil by doing
good?" Then he said aloud: "Listen, Morrel, I see your grief
is great, but still you do not like to risk your soul."
Morrel smiled sadly. "Count," he said, "I swear to you my
soul is no longer my own."
"Maximilian, you know I have no relation in the world. I
have accustomed myself to regard you as my son: well, then,
to save my son, I will sacrifice my life, nay, even my
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, that you wish to quit life because you do not
understand all the enjoyments which are the fruits of a
large fortune. Morrel, I possess nearly a hundred millions
and I give them to you; with such a fortune you can attain
every wish. Are you ambitious? Every career is open to you.
Overturn the world, change its character, yield to mad
ideas, be even criminal -- but live."
"Count, I have your word," said Morrel coldly; then taking
out his watch, he added, "It is half-past eleven."
"Morrel, can you intend it in my house, under my very eyes?"
"Then let me go," said Maximilian, "or I shall think you did
not love me for my own sake, but for yours;" and he arose.
"It is well," said Monte Cristo whose countenance brightened
at these words; "you wish -- you are inflexible. Yes, as you
said, you are indeed wretched and a miracle alone can cure
you. Sit down, Morrel, and wait."
Morrel obeyed; the count arose, and unlocking a closet with
a key suspended from his gold chain, took from it a little
silver casket, beautifully carved and chased, the corners of
which represented four bending figures, similar to the
Caryatides, the forms of women, symbols of the angels
aspiring to heaven. He placed the casket on the table; then
opening it took out a little golden box, the top of which
flew open when touched by a secret spring. This box
contained an unctuous substance partly solid, of which it
was impossible to discover the color, owing to the
reflection of the polished gold, sapphires, rubies,
emeralds, which ornamented the box. It was a mixed mass of
blue, red, and gold. The count took out a small quantity of
this with a gilt spoon, and offered it to Morrel, fixing a
long steadfast glance upon him. It was then observable that
the substance was greenish.
"This is what you asked for," he said, "and what I promised
to give you."
"I thank you from the depths of my heart," said the young
man, taking the spoon from the hands of Monte Cristo. The
count took another spoon, and again dipped it into the
golden box. "What are you going to do, my friend?" asked
Morrel, arresting his hand.
"Well, the fact is, Morrel, I was thinking that I too am
weary of life, and since an opportunity presents itself" --
"Stay!" said the young man. "You who love, and are beloved;
you, who have faith and hope, -- oh, do not follow my
example. In your case it would be a crime. Adieu, my noble
and generous friend, adieu; I will go and tell Valentine
what you have done for me." And slowly, though without any
hesitation, only waiting to press the count's hand
fervently, he swallowed the mysterious substance offered by
Monte Cristo. Then they were both silent. Ali, mute and
attentive, brought the pipes and coffee, and disappeared. By
degrees, the light of the lamps gradually faded in the hands
of the marble statues which held them, and the perfumes
appeared less powerful to Morrel. Seated opposite to him,
Monte Cristo watched him in the shadow, and Morrel saw
nothing but the bright eyes of the count. An overpowering
sadness took possession of the young man, his hands relaxed
their hold, the objects in the room gradually lost their
form and color, and his disturbed vision seemed to perceive
doors and curtains open in the walls.
"Friend," he cried, "I feel that I am dying; thanks!" He
made a last effort to extend his hand, but it fell powerless
beside him. Then it appeared to him that Monte Cristo
smiled, not with the strange and fearful expression which
had sometimes revealed to him the secrets of his heart, but
with the benevolent kindness of a father for a child. At the
same time the count appeared to increase in stature, his
form, nearly double its usual height, stood out in relief
against the red tapestry, his black hair was thrown back,
and he stood in the attitude of an avenging angel. Morrel,
overpowered, turned around in the arm-chair; a delicious
torpor permeated every vein. A change of ideas presented
themselves to his brain, like a new design on the
kaleidoscope. Enervated, prostrate, and breathless, he
became unconscious of outward objects; he seemed to be
entering that vague delirium preceding death. He wished once
again to press the count's hand, but his own was immovable.
He wished to articulate a last farewell, but his tongue lay
motionless and heavy in his throat, like a stone at the
mouth of a sepulchre. Involuntarily his languid eyes closed,
and still through his eyelashes a well-known form seemed to
move amid the obscurity with which he thought himself
The count had just opened a door. Immediately a brilliant
light from the next room, or rather from the palace
adjoining, shone upon the room in which he was gently
gliding into his last sleep. Then he saw a woman of
marvellous beauty appear on the threshold of the door
separating the two rooms. Pale, and sweetly smiling, she
looked like an angel of mercy conjuring the angel of
vengeance. "Is it heaven that opens before me?" thought the
dying man; "that angel resembles the one I have lost." Monte
Cristo pointed out Morrel to the young woman, who advanced
towards him with clasped hands and a smile upon her lips.
"Valentine, Valentine!" he mentally ejaculated; but his lips
uttered no sound, and as though all his strength were
centred in that internal emotion, he sighed and closed his
eyes. Valentine rushed towards him; his lips again moved.
"He is calling you," said the count; "he to whom you have
confided your destiny -- he from whom death would have
separated you, calls you to him. Happily, I vanquished
death. Henceforth, Valentine, you will never again be
separated on earth, since he has rushed into death to find
you. Without me, you would both have died. May God accept my
atonement in the preservation of these two existences!"
Valentine seized the count's hand, and in her irresistible
impulse of joy carried it to her lips.
"Oh, thank me again!" said the count; "tell me till you are
weary, that I have restored you to happiness; you do not
know how much I require this assurance."
"Oh, yes, yes, I thank you with all my heart," said
Valentine; "and if you doubt the sincerity of my gratitude,
oh, then, ask Haidee! ask my beloved sister Haidee, who ever
since our departure from France, has caused me to wait
patiently for this happy day, while talking to me of you."
"You then love Haidee?" asked Monte Cristo with an emotion
he in vain endeavored to dissimulate.
"Oh, yes, with all my soul."
"Well, then, listen, Valentine," said the count; "I have a
favor to ask of you."
"Of me? Oh, am I happy enough for that?"
"Yes; you have called Haidee your sister, -- let her become
so indeed, Valentine; render her all the gratitude you fancy
that you owe to me; protect her, for" (the count's voice was
thick with emotion) "henceforth she will be alone in the
"Alone in the world!" repeated a voice behind the count,
Monte Cristo turned around; Haidee was standing pale,
motionless, looking at the count with an expression of
"Because to-morrow, Haidee, you will be free; you will then
assume your proper position in society, for I will not allow
my destiny to overshadow yours. Daughter of a prince, I
restore to you the riches and name of your father."
Haidee became pale, and lifting her transparent hands to
heaven, exclaimed in a voice stifled with tears, "Then you
leave me, my lord?"
"Haidee, Haidee, you are young and beautiful; forget even my
name, and be happy."
"It is well," said Haidee; "your order shall be executed, my
lord; I will forget even your name, and be happy." And she
stepped back to retire.
"Oh, heavens," exclaimed Valentine, who was supporting the
head of Morrel on her shoulder, "do you not see how pale she
is? Do you not see how she suffers?"
Haidee answered with a heartrending expression, "Why should
he understand this, my sister? He is my master, and I am his
slave; he has the right to notice nothing."
The count shuddered at the tones of a voice which penetrated
the inmost recesses of his heart; his eyes met those of the
young girl and he could not bear their brilliancy. "Oh,
heavens," exclaimed Monte Cristo, "can my suspicions be
correct? Haidee, would it please you not to leave me?"
"I am young," gently replied Haidee; "I love the life you
have made so sweet to me, and I should be sorry to die."
"You mean, then, that if I leave you, Haidee" --
"I should die; yes, my lord."
"Do you then love me?"
"Oh, Valentine, he asks if I love him. Valentine, tell him
if you love Maximilian." The count felt his heart dilate and
throb; he opened his arms, and Haidee, uttering a cry,
sprang into them. "Oh, yes," she cried, "I do love you! I
love you as one loves a father, brother, husband! I love you
as my life, for you are the best, the noblest of created
"Let it be, then, as you wish, sweet angel; God has
sustained me in my struggle with my enemies, and has given
me this reward; he will not let me end my triumph in
suffering; I wished to punish myself, but he has pardoned
me. Love me then, Haidee! Who knows? perhaps your love will
make me forget all that I do not wish to remember."
"What do you mean, my lord?"
"I mean that one word from you has enlightened me more than
twenty years of slow experience; I have but you in the
world, Haidee; through you I again take hold on life,
through you I shall suffer, through you rejoice."
"Do you hear him, Valentine?" exclaimed Haidee; "he says
that through me he will suffer -- through me, who would
yield my life for his." The count withdrew for a moment.
"Have I discovered the truth?" he said; "but whether it be
for recompense or punishment, I accept my fate. Come,
Haidee, come!" and throwing his arm around the young girl's
waist, he pressed the hand of Valentine, and disappeared.
An hour had nearly passed, during which Valentine,
breathless and motionless, watched steadfastly over Morrel.
At length she felt his heart beat, a faint breath played
upon his lips, a slight shudder, announcing the return of
life, passed through the young man's frame. At length his
eyes opened, but they were at first fixed and
expressionless; then sight returned, and with it feeling and
grief. "Oh," he cried, in an accent of despair, "the count
has deceived me; I am yet living;" and extending his hand
towards the table, he seized a knife.
"Dearest," exclaimed Valentine, with her adorable smile,
"awake, and look at me!" Morrel uttered a loud exclamation,
and frantic, doubtful, dazzled, as though by a celestial
vision, he fell upon his knees.
The next morning at daybreak, Valentine and Morrel were
walking arm-in-arm on the sea-shore, Valentine relating how
Monte Cristo had appeared in her room, explained everything,
revealed the crime, and, finally, how he had saved her life
by enabling her to simulate death. They had found the door
of the grotto opened, and gone forth; on the azure dome of
heaven still glittered a few remaining stars. Morrel soon
perceived a man standing among the rocks, apparently
awaiting a sign from them to advance, and pointed him out to
Valentine. "Ah, it is Jacopo," she said, "the captain of the
yacht;" and she beckoned him towards them.
"Do you wish to speak to us?" asked Morrel.
"I have a letter to give you from the count."
"From the count!" murmured the two young people.
"Yes; read it." Morrel opened the letter, and read: --
"My Dear Maximilian, --
"There is a felucca for you at anchor. Jacopo will carry you
to Leghorn, where Monsieur Noirtier awaits his
granddaughter, whom he wishes to bless before you lead her
to the altar. All that is in this grotto, my friend, my
house in the Champs Elysees, and my chateau at Treport, are
the marriage gifts bestowed by Edmond Dantes upon the son of
his old master, Morrel. Mademoiselle de Villefort will share
them with you; for I entreat her to give to the poor the
immense fortune reverting to her from her father, now a
madman, and her brother who died last September with his
mother. Tell the angel who will watch over your future
destiny, Morrel, to pray sometimes for a man, who like Satan
thought himself for an instant equal to God, but who now
acknowledges with Christian humility that God alone
possesses supreme power and infinite wisdom. Perhaps those
prayers may soften the remorse he feels in his heart. As for
you, Morrel, this is the secret of my conduct towards you.
There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is
only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more.
He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience
supreme happiness. We must have felt what it is to die,
Morrel, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of living.
"Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and
never forget that until the day when God shall deign to
reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is summed up in
these two words, -- `Wait and hope.' Your friend,
"Edmond Dantes, Count of Monte Cristo."
During the perusal of this letter, which informed Valentine
for the first time of the madness of her father and the
death of her brother, she became pale, a heavy sigh escaped
from her bosom, and tears, not the less painful because they
were silent, ran down her cheeks; her happiness cost her
very dear. Morrel looked around uneasily. "But," he said,
"the count's generosity is too overwhelming; Valentine will
be satisfied with my humble fortune. Where is the count,
friend? Lead me to him." Jacopo pointed towards the horizon.
"What do you mean?" asked Valentine. "Where is the count? --
where is Haidee?"
"Look!" said Jacopo.
The eyes of both were fixed upon the spot indicated by the
sailor, and on the blue line separating the sky from the
Mediterranean Sea, they perceived a large white sail.
"Gone," said Morrel; "gone! -- adieu, my friend -- adieu, my
"Gone," murmured Valentine; "adieu, my sweet Haidee --
adieu, my sister!"
"Who can say whether we shall ever see them again?" said
Morrel with tearful eyes.
"Darling," replied Valentine, "has not the count just told
us that all human wisdom is summed up in two words? -- `Wait