Part 5 out of 31
left hand; and I have noticed that" --
"That while the writing of different persons done with the
right hand varies, that performed with the left hand is
"You have evidently seen and observed everything."
"Let us proceed."
"Oh, yes, yes!"
"Now as regards the second question."
"I am listening."
"Was there any person whose interest it was to prevent your
marriage with Mercedes?"
"Yes; a young man who loved her."
"And his name was" --
"That is a Spanish name, I think?"
"He was a Catalan."
"You imagine him capable of writing the letter?"
"Oh, no; he would more likely have got rid of me by sticking
a knife into me."
"That is in strict accordance with the Spanish character; an
assassination they will unhesitatingly commit, but an act of
"Besides," said Dantes, "the various circumstances mentioned
in the letter were wholly unknown to him."
"You had never spoken of them yourself to any one?"
"To no one."
"Not even to your mistress?"
"No, not even to my betrothed."
"Then it is Danglars."
"I feel quite sure of it now."
"Wait a little. Pray, was Danglars acquainted with Fernand?"
"No -- yes, he was. Now I recollect" --
"To have seen them both sitting at table together under an
arbor at Pere Pamphile's the evening before the day fixed
for my wedding. They were in earnest conversation. Danglars
was joking in a friendly way, but Fernand looked pale and
"Were they alone?"
"There was a third person with them whom I knew perfectly
well, and who had, in all probability made their
acquaintance; he was a tailor named Caderousse, but he was
very drunk. Stay! -- stay! -- How strange that it should not
have occurred to me before! Now I remember quite well, that
on the table round which they were sitting were pens, ink,
and paper. Oh, the heartless, treacherous scoundrels!"
exclaimed Dantes, pressing his hand to his throbbing brows.
"Is there anything else I can assist you in discovering,
besides the villany of your friends?" inquired the abbe with
"Yes, yes," replied Dantes eagerly; "I would beg of you, who
see so completely to the depths of things, and to whom the
greatest mystery seems but an easy riddle, to explain to me
how it was that I underwent no second examination, was never
brought to trial, and, above all, was condemned without ever
having had sentence passed on me?"
"That is altogether a different and more serious matter,"
responded the abbe. "The ways of justice are frequently too
dark and mysterious to be easily penetrated. All we have
hitherto done in the matter has been child's play. If you
wish me to enter upon the more difficult part of the
business, you must assist me by the most minute information
on every point."
"Pray ask me whatever questions you please; for, in good
truth, you see more clearly into my life than I do myself."
"In the first place, then, who examined you, -- the king's
attorney, his deputy, or a magistrate?"
"Was he young or old?"
"About six or seven and twenty years of age, I should say."
"So," answered the abbe. "Old enough to be ambitions, but
too young to be corrupt. And how did he treat you?"
"With more of mildness than severity."
"Did you tell him your whole story?"
"And did his conduct change at all in the course of your
"He did appear much disturbed when he read the letter that
had brought me into this scrape. He seemed quite overcome by
"By your misfortune?"
"Then you feel quite sure that it was your misfortune he
"He gave me one great proof of his sympathy, at any rate."
"He burnt the sole evidence that could at all have
"What? the accusation?"
"No; the letter."
"Are you sure?"
"I saw it done."
"That alters the case. This man might, after all, be a
greater scoundrel than you have thought possible."
"Upon my word," said Dantes, "you make me shudder. Is the
world filled with tigers and crocodiles?"
"Yes; and remember that two-legged tigers and crocodiles are
more dangerous than the others."
"Never mind; let us go on."
"With all my heart! You tell me he burned the letter?"
"He did; saying at the same time, `You see I thus destroy
the only proof existing against you.'"
"This action is somewhat too sublime to be natural."
"You think so?"
"I am sure of it. To whom was this letter addressed?"
"To M. Noirtier, No. 13 Coq-Heron, Paris."
"Now can you conceive of any interest that your heroic
deputy could possibly have had in the destruction of that
"Why, it is not altogether impossible he might have had, for
he made me promise several times never to speak of that
letter to any one, assuring me he so advised me for my own
interest; and, more than this, he insisted on my taking a
solemn oath never to utter the name mentioned in the
"Noirtier!" repeated the abbe; "Noirtier! -- I knew a person
of that name at the court of the Queen of Etruria, -- a
Noirtier, who had been a Girondin during the Revolution!
What was your deputy called?"
"De Villefort!" The abbe burst into a fit of laughter, while
Dantes gazed on him in utter astonishment.
"What ails you?" said he at length.
"Do you see that ray of sunlight?"
"Well, the whole thing is more clear to me than that sunbeam
is to you. Poor fellow! poor young man! And you tell me this
magistrate expressed great sympathy and commiseration for
"And the worthy man destroyed your compromising letter?"
"And then made you swear never to utter the name of
"Why, you poor short-sighted simpleton, can you not guess
who this Noirtier was, whose very name he was so careful to
keep concealed? Noirtier was his father."
Had a thunderbolt fallen at the feet of Dantes, or hell
opened its yawning gulf before him, he could not have been
more completely transfixed with horror than he was at the
sound of these unexpected words. Starting up, he clasped his
hands around his head as though to prevent his very brain
from bursting, and exclaimed, "His father! his father!"
"Yes, his father," replied the abbe; "his right name was
Noirtier de Villefort." At this instant a bright light shot
through the mind of Dantes, and cleared up all that had been
dark and obscure before. The change that had come over
Villefort during the examination, the destruction of the
letter, the exacted promise, the almost supplicating tones
of the magistrate, who seemed rather to implore mercy than
to pronounce punishment, -- all returned with a stunning
force to his memory. He cried out, and staggered against the
wall like a drunken man, then he hurried to the opening that
led from the abbe's cell to his own, and said, "I must be
alone, to think over all this."
When he regained his dungeon, he threw himself on his bed,
where the turnkey found him in the evening visit, sitting
with fixed gaze and contracted features, dumb and motionless
as a statue. During these hours of profound meditation,
which to him had seemed only minutes, he had formed a
fearful resolution, and bound himself to its fulfilment by a
Dantes was at length roused from his revery by the voice of
Faria, who, having also been visited by his jailer, had come
to invite his fellow-sufferer to share his supper. The
reputation of being out of his mind, though harmlessly and
even amusingly so, had procured for the abbe unusual
privileges. He was supplied with bread of a finer, whiter
quality than the usual prison fare, and even regaled each
Sunday with a small quantity of wine. Now this was a Sunday,
and the abbe had come to ask his young companion to share
the luxuries with him. Dantes followed; his features were no
longer contracted, and now wore their usual expression, but
there was that in his whole appearance that bespoke one who
had come to a fixed and desperate resolve. Faria bent on him
his penetrating eye: "I regret now," said he, "having helped
you in your late inquiries, or having given you the
information I did."
"Why so?" inquired Dantes.
"Because it has instilled a new passion in your heart --
that of vengeance."
Dantes smiled. "Let us talk of something else," said he.
Again the abbe looked at him, then mournfully shook his
head; but in accordance with Dantes' request, he began to
speak of other matters. The elder prisoner was one of those
persons whose conversation, like that of all who have
experienced many trials, contained many useful and important
hints as well as sound information; but it was never
egotistical, for the unfortunate man never alluded to his
own sorrows. Dantes listened with admiring attention to all
he said; some of his remarks corresponded with what he
already knew, or applied to the sort of knowledge his
nautical life had enabled him to acquire. A part of the good
abbe's words, however, were wholly incomprehensible to him;
but, like the aurora which guides the navigator in northern
latitudes, opened new vistas to the inquiring mind of the
listener, and gave fantastic glimpses of new horizons,
enabling him justly to estimate the delight an intellectual
mind would have in following one so richly gifted as Faria
along the heights of truth, where he was so much at home.
"You must teach me a small part of what you know," said
Dantes, "if only to prevent your growing weary of me. I can
well believe that so learned a person as yourself would
prefer absolute solitude to being tormented with the company
of one as ignorant and uninformed as myself. If you will
only agree to my request, I promise you never to mention
another word about escaping." The abbe smiled. "Alas, my
boy," said he, "human knowledge is confined within very
narrow limits; and when I have taught you mathematics,
physics, history, and the three or four modern languages
with which I am acquainted, you will know as much as I do
myself. Now, it will scarcely require two years for me to
communicate to you the stock of learning I possess."
"Two years!" exclaimed Dantes; "do you really believe I can
acquire all these things in so short a time?"
"Not their application, certainly, but their principles you
may; to learn is not to know; there are the learners and the
learned. Memory makes the one, philosophy the other."
"But cannot one learn philosophy?"
"Philosophy cannot be taught; it is the application of the
sciences to truth; it is like the golden cloud in which the
Messiah went up into heaven."
"Well, then," said Dantes, "What shall you teach me first? I
am in a hurry to begin. I want to learn."
"Everything," said the abbe. And that very evening the
prisoners sketched a plan of education, to be entered upon
the following day. Dantes possessed a prodigious memory,
combined with an astonishing quickness and readiness of
conception; the mathematical turn of his mind rendered him
apt at all kinds of calculation, while his naturally
poetical feelings threw a light and pleasing veil over the
dry reality of arithmetical computation, or the rigid
severity of geometry. He already knew Italian, and had also
picked up a little of the Romaic dialect during voyages to
the East; and by the aid of these two languages he easily
comprehended the construction of all the others, so that at
the end of six months he began to speak Spanish, English,
and German. In strict accordance with the promise made to
the abbe, Dantes spoke no more of escape. Perhaps the
delight his studies afforded him left no room for such
thoughts; perhaps the recollection that he had pledged his
word (on which his sense of honor was keen) kept him from
referring in any way to the possibilities of flight. Days,
even months, passed by unheeded in one rapid and instructive
course. At the end of a year Dantes was a new man. Dantes
observed, however, that Faria, in spite of the relief his
society afforded, daily grew sadder; one thought seemed
incessantly to harass and distract his mind. Sometimes he
would fall into long reveries, sigh heavily and
involuntarily, then suddenly rise, and, with folded arms,
begin pacing the confined space of his dungeon. One day he
stopped all at once, and exclaimed, "Ah, if there were no
"There shall not be one a minute longer than you please,"
said Dantes, who had followed the working of his thoughts as
accurately as though his brain were enclosed in crystal so
clear as to display its minutest operations.
"I have already told you," answered the abbe, "that I loathe
the idea of shedding blood."
"And yet the murder, if you choose to call it so, would be
simply a measure of self-preservation."
"No matter! I could never agree to it."
"Still, you have thought of it?"
"Incessantly, alas!" cried the abbe.
"And you have discovered a means of regaining our freedom,
have you not?" asked Dantes eagerly.
"I have; if it were only possible to place a deaf and blind
sentinel in the gallery beyond us."
"He shall be both blind and deaf," replied the young man,
with an air of determination that made his companion
"No, no," cried the abbe; "impossible!" Dantes endeavored to
renew the subject; the abbe shook his head in token of
disapproval, and refused to make any further response. Three
months passed away.
"Are you strong?" the abbe asked one day of Dantes. The
young man, in reply, took up the chisel, bent it into the
form of a horseshoe, and then as readily straightened it.
"And will you engage not to do any harm to the sentry,
except as a last resort?"
"I promise on my honor."
"Then," said the abbe, "we may hope to put our design into
"And how long shall we be in accomplishing the necessary
"At least a year."
"And shall we begin at once?"
"We have lost a year to no purpose!" cried Dantes.
"Do you consider the last twelve months to have been
wasted?" asked the abbe.
"Forgive me!" cried Edmond, blushing deeply.
"Tut, tut!" answered the abbe, "man is but man after all,
and you are about the best specimen of the genus I have ever
known. Come, let me show you my plan." The abbe then showed
Dantes the sketch he had made for their escape. It consisted
of a plan of his own cell and that of Dantes, with the
passage which united them. In this passage he proposed to
drive a level as they do in mines; this level would bring
the two prisoners immediately beneath the gallery where the
sentry kept watch; once there, a large excavation would be
made, and one of the flag-stones with which the gallery was
paved be so completely loosened that at the desired moment
it would give way beneath the feet of the soldier, who,
stunned by his fall, would be immediately bound and gagged
by Dantes before he had power to offer any resistance. The
prisoners were then to make their way through one of the
gallery windows, and to let themselves down from the outer
walls by means of the abbe's ladder of cords. Dantes' eyes
sparkled with joy, and he rubbed his hands with delight at
the idea of a plan so simple, yet apparently so certain to
That very day the miners began their labors, with a vigor
and alacrity proportionate to their long rest from fatigue
and their hopes of ultimate success. Nothing interrupted the
progress of the work except the necessity that each was
under of returning to his cell in anticipation of the
turnkey's visits. They had learned to distinguish the almost
imperceptible sound of his footsteps as he descended towards
their dungeons, and happily, never failed of being prepared
for his coming. The fresh earth excavated during their
present work, and which would have entirely blocked up the
old passage, was thrown, by degrees and with the utmost
precaution, out of the window in either Faria's or Dantes'
cell, the rubbish being first pulverized so finely that the
night wind carried it far away without permitting the
smallest trace to remain. More than a year had been consumed
in this undertaking, the only tools for which had been a
chisel, a knife, and a wooden lever; Faria still continuing
to instruct Dantes by conversing with him, sometimes in one
language, sometimes in another; at others, relating to him
the history of nations and great men who from time to time
have risen to fame and trodden the path of glory.
The abbe was a man of the world, and had, moreover, mixed in
the first society of the day; he wore an air of melancholy
dignity which Dantes, thanks to the imitative powers
bestowed on him by nature, easily acquired, as well as that
outward polish and politeness he had before been wanting in,
and which is seldom possessed except by those who have been
placed in constant intercourse with persons of high birth
and breeding. At the end of fifteen months the level was
finished, and the excavation completed beneath the gallery,
and the two workmen could distinctly hear the measured tread
of the sentinel as he paced to and fro over their heads.
Compelled, as they were, to await a night sufficiently dark
to favor their flight, they were obliged to defer their
final attempt till that auspicious moment should arrive;
their greatest dread now was lest the stone through which
the sentry was doomed to fall should give way before its
right time, and this they had in some measure provided
against by propping it up with a small beam which they had
discovered in the walls through which they had worked their
way. Dantes was occupied in arranging this piece of wood
when he heard Faria, who had remained in Edmond's cell for
the purpose of cutting a peg to secure their rope-ladder,
call to him in a tone indicative of great suffering. Dantes
hastened to his dungeon, where he found him standing in the
middle of the room, pale as death, his forehead streaming
with perspiration, and his hands clinched tightly together.
"Gracious heavens!" exclaimed Dantes, "what is the matter?
what has happened?"
"Quick! quick!" returned the abbe, "listen to what I have to
say." Dantes looked in fear and wonder at the livid
countenance of Faria, whose eyes, already dull and sunken,
were surrounded by purple circles, while his lips were white
as those of a corpse, and his very hair seemed to stand on
"Tell me, I beseech you, what ails you?" cried Dantes,
letting his chisel fall to the floor.
"Alas," faltered out the abbe, "all is over with me. I am
seized with a terrible, perhaps mortal illness; I can feel
that the paroxysm is fast approaching. I had a similar
attack the year previous to my imprisonment. This malady
admits but of one remedy; I will tell you what that is. Go
into my cell as quickly as you can; draw out one of the feet
that support the bed; you will find it has been hollowed out
for the purpose of containing a small phial you will see
there half-filled with a red-looking fluid. Bring it to me
-- or rather -- no, no! -- I may be found here, therefore
help me back to my room while I have the strength to drag
myself along. Who knows what may happen, or how long the
attack may last?"
In spite of the magnitude of the misfortune which thus
suddenly frustrated his hopes, Dantes did not lose his
presence of mind, but descended into the passage, dragging
his unfortunate companion with him; then, half-carrying,
half-supporting him, he managed to reach the abbe's chamber,
when he immediately laid the sufferer on his bed.
"Thanks," said the poor abbe, shivering as though his veins
were filled with ice. "I am about to be seized with a fit of
catalepsy; when it comes to its height I shall probably lie
still and motionless as though dead, uttering neither sigh
nor groan. On the other hand, the symptoms may be much more
violent, and cause me to fall into fearful convulsions, foam
at the mouth, and cry out loudly. Take care my cries are not
heard, for if they are it is more than probable I should be
removed to another part of the prison, and we be separated
forever. When I become quite motionless, cold, and rigid as
a corpse, then, and not before, -- be careful about this, --
force open my teeth with the knife, pour from eight to ten
drops of the liquor contained in the phial down my throat,
and I may perhaps revive."
"Perhaps!" exclaimed Dantes in grief-stricken tones.
"Help! help!" cried the abbe, "I -- I -- die -- I" --
So sudden and violent was the fit that the unfortunate
prisoner was unable to complete the sentence; a violent
convulsion shook his whole frame, his eyes started from
their sockets, his mouth was drawn on one side, his cheeks
became purple, he struggled, foamed, dashed himself about,
and uttered the most dreadful cries, which, however, Dantes
prevented from being heard by covering his head with the
blanket. The fit lasted two hours; then, more helpless than
an infant, and colder and paler than marble, more crushed
and broken than a reed trampled under foot, he fell back,
doubled up in one last convulsion, and became as rigid as a
Edmond waited till life seemed extinct in the body of his
friend, then, taking up the knife, he with difficulty forced
open the closely fixed jaws, carefully administered the
appointed number of drops, and anxiously awaited the result.
An hour passed away and the old man gave no sign of
returning animation. Dantes began to fear he had delayed too
long ere he administered the remedy, and, thrusting his
hands into his hair, continued gazing on the lifeless
features of his friend. At length a slight color tinged the
livid cheeks, consciousness returned to the dull, open
eyeballs, a faint sigh issued from the lips, and the
sufferer made a feeble effort to move.
"He is saved! he is saved!" cried Dantes in a paroxysm of
The sick man was not yet able to speak, but he pointed with
evident anxiety towards the door. Dantes listened, and
plainly distinguished the approaching steps of the jailer.
It was therefore near seven o'clock; but Edmond's anxiety
had put all thoughts of time out of his head. The young man
sprang to the entrance, darted through it, carefully drawing
the stone over the opening, and hurried to his cell. He had
scarcely done so before the door opened, and the jailer saw
the prisoner seated as usual on the side of his bed. Almost
before the key had turned in the lock, and before the
departing steps of the jailer had died away in the long
corridor he had to traverse, Dantes, whose restless anxiety
concerning his friend left him no desire to touch the food
brought him, hurried back to the abbe's chamber, and raising
the stone by pressing his head against it, was soon beside
the sick man's couch. Faria had now fully regained his
consciousness, but he still lay helpless and exhausted.
"I did not expect to see you again," said he feebly, to
"And why not?" asked the young man. "Did you fancy yourself
"No, I had no such idea; but, knowing that all was ready for
flight, I thought you might have made your escape." The deep
glow of indignation suffused the cheeks of Dantes.
"Without you? Did you really think me capable of that?"
"At least," said the abbe, "I now see how wrong such an
opinion would have been. Alas, alas! I am fearfully
exhausted and debilitated by this attack."
"Be of good cheer," replied Dantes; "your strength will
return." And as he spoke he seated himself near the bed
beside Faria, and took his hands. The abbe shook his head.
"The last attack I had," said he, "lasted but half an hour,
and after it I was hungry, and got up without help; now I
can move neither my right arm nor leg, and my head seems
uncomfortable, which shows that there has been a suffusion
of blood on the brain. The third attack will either carry me
off, or leave me paralyzed for life."
"No, no," cried Dantes; "you are mistaken -- you will not
die! And your third attack (if, indeed, you should have
another) will find you at liberty. We shall save you another
time, as we have done this, only with a better chance of
success, because we shall be able to command every requisite
"My good Edmond," answered the abbe, "be not deceived. The
attack which has just passed away, condemns me forever to
the walls of a prison. None can fly from a dungeon who
"Well, we will wait, -- a week, a month, two months, if need
be, -- and meanwhile your strength will return. Everything
is in readiness for our flight, and we can select any time
we choose. As soon as you feel able to swim we will go."
"I shall never swim again," replied Faria. "This arm is
paralyzed; not for a time, but forever. Lift it, and judge
if I am mistaken." The young man raised the arm, which fell
back by its own weight, perfectly inanimate and helpless. A
sigh escaped him.
"You are convinced now, Edmond, are you not?" asked the
abbe. "Depend upon it, I know what I say. Since the first
attack I experienced of this malady, I have continually
reflected on it. Indeed, I expected it, for it is a family
inheritance; both my father and grandfather died of it in a
third attack. The physician who prepared for me the remedy I
have twice successfully taken, was no other than the
celebrated Cabanis, and he predicted a similar end for me."
"The physician may be mistaken!" exclaimed Dantes. "And as
for your poor arm, what difference will that make? I can
take you on my shoulders, and swim for both of us."
"My son," said the abbe, "you, who are a sailor and a
swimmer, must know as well as I do that a man so loaded
would sink before he had done fifty strokes. Cease, then, to
allow yourself to be duped by vain hopes, that even your own
excellent heart refuses to believe in. Here I shall remain
till the hour of my deliverance arrives, and that, in all
human probability, will be the hour of my death. As for you,
who are young and active, delay not on my account, but fly
-- go-I give you back your promise."
"It is well," said Dantes. "Then I shall also remain." Then,
rising and extending his hand with an air of solemnity over
the old man's head, he slowly added, "By the blood of Christ
I swear never to leave you while you live."
Faria gazed fondly on his noble-minded, single-hearted,
high-principled young friend, and read in his countenance
ample confirmation of the sincerity of his devotion and the
loyalty of his purpose.
"Thanks," murmured the invalid, extending one hand. "I
accept. You may one of these days reap the reward of your
disinterested devotion. But as I cannot, and you will not,
quit this place, it becomes necessary to fill up the
excavation beneath the soldier's gallery; he might, by
chance, hear the hollow sound of his footsteps, and call the
attention of his officer to the circumstance. That would
bring about a discovery which would inevitably lead to our
being separated. Go, then, and set about this work, in
which, unhappily, I can offer you no assistance; keep at it
all night, if necessary, and do not return here to-morrow
till after the jailer his visited me. I shall have something
of the greatest importance to communicate to you."
Dantes took the hand of the abbe in his, and affectionately
pressed it. Faria smiled encouragingly on him, and the young
man retired to his task, in the spirit of obedience and
respect which he had sworn to show towards his aged friend.
When Dantes returned next morning to the chamber of his
companion in captivity, he found Faria seated and looking
composed. In the ray of light which entered by the narrow
window of his cell, he held open in his left hand, of which
alone, it will be recollected, he retained the use, a sheet
of paper, which, from being constantly rolled into a small
compass, had the form of a cylinder, and was not easily kept
open. He did not speak, but showed the paper to Dantes.
"What is that?" he inquired.
"Look at it," said the abbe with a smile.
"I have looked at it with all possible attention," said
Dantes, "and I only see a half-burnt paper, on which are
traces of Gothic characters inscribed with a peculiar kind
"This paper, my friend," said Faria, "I may now avow to you,
since I have the proof of your fidelity -- this paper is my
treasure, of which, from this day forth, one-half belongs to
The sweat started forth on Dantes brow. Until this day and
for how long a time! -- he had refrained from talking of the
treasure, which had brought upon the abbe the accusation of
madness. With his instinctive delicacy Edmond had preferred
avoiding any touch on this painful chord, and Faria had been
equally silent. He had taken the silence of the old man for
a return to reason; and now these few words uttered by
Faria, after so painful a crisis, seemed to indicate a
serious relapse into mental alienation.
"Your treasure?" stammered Dantes. Faria smiled.
"Yes," said he. "You have, indeed, a noble nature, Edmond,
and I see by your paleness and agitation what is passing in
your heart at this moment. No, be assured, I am not mad.
This treasure exists, Dantes, and if I have not been allowed
to possess it, you will. Yes -- you. No one would listen or
believe me, because everyone thought me mad; but you, who
must know that I am not, listen to me, and believe me so
afterwards if you will."
"Alas," murmured Edmond to himself, "this is a terrible
relapse! There was only this blow wanting." Then he said
aloud, "My dear friend, your attack has, perhaps, fatigued
you; had you not better repose awhile? To-morrow, if you
will, I will hear your narrative; but to-day I wish to nurse
you carefully. Besides," he said, "a treasure is not a thing
we need hurry about."
"On the contrary, it is a matter of the utmost importance,
Edmond!" replied the old man. "Who knows if to-morrow, or
the next day after, the third attack may not come on? and
then must not all be over? Yes, indeed, I have often thought
with a bitter joy that these riches, which would make the
wealth of a dozen families, will be forever lost to those
men who persecute me. This idea was one of vengeance to me,
and I tasted it slowly in the night of my dungeon and the
despair of my captivity. But now I have forgiven the world
for the love of you; now that I see you, young and with a
promising future, -- now that I think of all that may result
to you in the good fortune of such a disclosure, I shudder
at any delay, and tremble lest I should not assure to one as
worthy as yourself the possession of so vast an amount of
hidden wealth." Edmond turned away his head with a sigh.
"You persist in your incredulity, Edmond," continued Faria.
"My words have not convinced you. I see you require proofs.
Well, then, read this paper, which I have never shown to any
"To-morrow, my dear friend," said Edmond, desirous of not
yielding to the old man's madness. "I thought it was
understood that we should not talk of that until to-morrow."
"Then we will not talk of it until to-morrow; but read this
"I will not irritate him," thought Edmond, and taking the
paper, of which half was wanting, -- having been burnt, no
doubt, by some accident, -- he read: --
"This treasure, which may amount to two...
of Roman crowns in the most distant a...
of the second opening wh...
declare to belong to him alo...
"25th April, 149-"
"Well!" said Faria, when the young man had finished reading
"Why," replied Dantes, "I see nothing but broken lines and
unconnected words, which are rendered illegible by fire."
"Yes, to you, my friend, who read them for the first time;
but not for me, who have grown pale over them by many
nights' study, and have reconstructed every phrase,
completed every thought."
"And do you believe you have discovered the hidden meaning?"
"I am sure I have, and you shall judge for yourself; but
first listen to the history of this paper."
"Silence!" exclaimed Dantes. "Steps approach -- I go --
And Dantes, happy to escape the history and explanation
which would be sure to confirm his belief in his friend's
mental instability, glided like a snake along the narrow
passage; while Faria, restored by his alarm to a certain
amount of activity, pushed the stone into place with his
foot, and covered it with a mat in order the more
effectually to avoid discovery.
It was the governor, who, hearing of Faria's illness from
the jailer, had come in person to see him.
Faria sat up to receive him, avoiding all gestures in order
that he might conceal from the governor the paralysis that
had already half stricken him with death. His fear was lest
the governor, touched with pity, might order him to be
removed to better quarters, and thus separate him from his
young companion. But fortunately this was not the case, and
the governor left him, convinced that the poor madman, for
whom in his heart he felt a kind of affection, was only
troubled with a slight indisposition.
During this time, Edmond, seated on his bed with his head in
his hands, tried to collect his scattered thoughts. Faria,
since their first acquaintance, had been on all points so
rational and logical, so wonderfully sagacious, in fact,
that he could not understand how so much wisdom on all
points could be allied with madness. Was Faria deceived as
to his treasure, or was all the world deceived as to Faria?
Dantes remained in his cell all day, not daring to return to
his friend, thinking thus to defer the moment when he should
be convinced, once for all, that the abbe was mad -- such a
conviction would be so terrible!
But, towards the evening after the hour for the customary
visit had gone by, Faria, not seeing the young man appear,
tried to move and get over the distance which separated
them. Edmond shuddered when he heard the painful efforts
which the old man made to drag himself along; his leg was
inert, and he could no longer make use of one arm. Edmond
was obliged to assist him, for otherwise he would not have
been able to enter by the small aperture which led to
"Here I am, pursuing you remorselessly," he said with a
benignant smile. "You thought to escape my munificence, but
it is in vain. Listen to me."
Edmond saw there was no escape, and placing the old man on
his bed, he seated himself on the stool beside him.
"You know," said the abbe, "that I was the secretary and
intimate friend of Cardinal Spada, the last of the princes
of that name. I owe to this worthy lord all the happiness I
ever knew. He was not rich, although the wealth of his
family had passed into a proverb, and I heard the phrase
very often, `As rich as a Spada.' But he, like public rumor,
lived on this reputation for wealth; his palace was my
paradise. I was tutor to his nephews, who are dead; and when
he was alone in the world, I tried by absolute devotion to
his will, to make up to him all he had done for me during
ten years of unremitting kindness. The cardinal's house had
no secrets for me. I had often seen my noble patron
annotating ancient volumes, and eagerly searching amongst
dusty family manuscripts. One day when I was reproaching him
for his unavailing searches, and deploring the prostration
of mind that followed them, he looked at me, and, smiling
bitterly, opened a volume relating to the History of the
City of Rome. There, in the twentieth chapter of the Life of
Pope Alexander VI., were the following lines, which I can
never forget: --
"`The great wars of Romagna had ended; Caesar Borgia, who
had completed his conquest, had need of money to purchase
all Italy. The pope had also need of money to bring matters
to an end with Louis XII. King of France, who was formidable
still in spite of his recent reverses; and it was necessary,
therefore, to have recourse to some profitable scheme, which
was a matter of great difficulty in the impoverished
condition of exhausted Italy. His holiness had an idea. He
determined to make two cardinals.'
"By choosing two of the greatest personages of Rome,
especially rich men -- this was the return the holy father
looked for. In the first place, he could sell the great
appointments and splendid offices which the cardinals
already held; and then he had the two hats to sell besides.
There was a third point in view, which will appear
hereafter. The pope and Caesar Borgia first found the two
future cardinals; they were Giovanni Rospigliosi, who held
four of the highest dignities of the Holy See, and Caesar
Spada, one of the noblest and richest of the Roman nobility;
both felt the high honor of such a favor from the pope. They
were ambitious, and Caesar Borgia soon found purchasers for
their appointments. The result was, that Rospigliosi and
Spada paid for being cardinals, and eight other persons paid
for the offices the cardinals held before their elevation,
and thus eight hundred thousand crowns entered into the
coffers of the speculators.
"It is time now to proceed to the last part of the
speculation. The pope heaped attentions upon Rospigliosi and
Spada, conferred upon them the insignia of the cardinalate,
and induced them to arrange their affairs and take up their
residence at Rome. Then the pope and Caesar Borgia invited
the two cardinals to dinner. This was a matter of dispute
between the holy father and his son. Caesar thought they
could make use of one of the means which he always had ready
for his friends, that is to say, in the first place, the
famous key which was given to certain persons with the
request that they go and open a designated cupboard. This
key was furnished with a small iron point, -- a negligence
on the part of the locksmith. When this was pressed to
effect the opening of the cupboard, of which the lock was
difficult, the person was pricked by this small point, and
died next day. Then there was the ring with the lion's head,
which Caesar wore when he wanted to greet his friends with a
clasp of the hand. The lion bit the hand thus favored, and
at the end of twenty-four hours, the bite was mortal. Caesar
proposed to his father, that they should either ask the
cardinals to open the cupboard, or shake hands with them;
but Alexander VI., replied: `Now as to the worthy cardinals,
Spada and Rospigliosi, let us ask both of them to dinner,
something tells me that we shall get that money back.
Besides, you forget, Caesar, an indigestion declares itself
immediately, while a prick or a bite occasions a delay of a
day or two.' Caesar gave way before such cogent reasoning,
and the cardinals were consequently invited to dinner.
"The table was laid in a vineyard belonging to the pope,
near San Pierdarena, a charming retreat which the cardinals
knew very well by report. Rospigliosi, quite set up with his
new dignities, went with a good appetite and his most
ingratiating manner. Spada, a prudent man, and greatly
attached to his only nephew, a young captain of the highest
promise, took paper and pen, and made his will. He then sent
word to his nephew to wait for him near the vineyard; but it
appeared the servant did not find him.
"Spada knew what these invitations meant; since
Christianity, so eminently civilizing, had made progress in
Rome, it was no longer a centurion who came from the tyrant
with a message, `Caesar wills that you die.' but it was a
legate a latere, who came with a smile on his lips to say
from the pope, `His holiness requests you to dine with him.'
"Spada set out about two o'clock to San Pierdarena. The pope
awaited him. The first sight that attracted the eyes of
Spada was that of his nephew, in full costume, and Caesar
Borgia paying him most marked attentions. Spada turned pale,
as Caesar looked at him with an ironical air, which proved
that he had anticipated all, and that the snare was well
spread. They began dinner and Spada was only able to inquire
of his nephew if he had received his message. The nephew
replied no; perfectly comprehending the meaning of the
question. It was too late, for he had already drunk a glass
of excellent wine, placed for him expressly by the pope's
butler. Spada at the same moment saw another bottle approach
him, which he was pressed to taste. An hour afterwards a
physician declared they were both poisoned through eating
mushrooms. Spada died on the threshold of the vineyard; the
nephew expired at his own door, making signs which his wife
could not comprehend.
"Then Caesar and the pope hastened to lay hands on the
heritage, under presence of seeking for the papers of the
dead man. But the inheritance consisted in this only, a
scrap of paper on which Spada had written: -- `I bequeath to
my beloved nephew my coffers, my books, and, amongst others,
my breviary with the gold corners, which I beg he will
preserve in remembrance of his affectionate uncle.'
"The heirs sought everywhere, admired the breviary, laid
hands on the furniture, and were greatly astonished that
Spada, the rich man, was really the most miserable of uncles
-- no treasures -- unless they were those of science,
contained in the library and laboratories. That was all.
Caesar and his father searched, examined, scrutinized, but
found nothing, or at least very little; not exceeding a few
thousand crowns in plate, and about the same in ready money;
but the nephew had time to say to his wife before he
expired: `Look well among my uncle's papers; there is a
"They sought even more thoroughly than the august heirs had
done, but it was fruitless. There were two palaces and a
vineyard behind the Palatine Hill; but in these days landed
property had not much value, and the two palaces and the
vineyard remained to the family since they were beneath the
rapacity of the pope and his son. Months and years rolled
on. Alexander VI. died, poisoned, -- you know by what
mistake. Caesar, poisoned at the same time, escaped by
shedding his skin like a snake; but the new skin was spotted
by the poison till it looked like a tiger's. Then, compelled
to quit Rome, he went and got himself obscurely killed in a
night skirmish, scarcely noticed in history. After the
pope's death and his son's exile, it was supposed that the
Spada family would resume the splendid position they had
held before the cardinal's time; but this was not the case.
The Spadas remained in doubtful ease, a mystery hung over
this dark affair, and the public rumor was, that Caesar, a
better politician than his father, had carried off from the
pope the fortune of the two cardinals. I say the two,
because Cardinal Rospigliosi, who had not taken any
precaution, was completely despoiled.
"Up to this point," said Faria, interrupting the thread of
his narrative, "this seems to you very meaningless, no
"Oh, my friend," cried Dantes, "on the contrary, it seems as
if I were reading a most interesting narrative; go on, I beg
"The family began to get accustomed to their obscurity.
Years rolled on, and amongst the descendants some were
soldiers, others diplomatists; some churchmen, some bankers;
some grew rich, and some were ruined. I come now to the last
of the family, whose secretary I was -- the Count of Spada.
I had often heard him complain of the disproportion of his
rank with his fortune; and I advised him to invest all he
had in an annuity. He did so, and thus doubled his income.
The celebrated breviary remained in the family, and was in
the count's possession. It had been handed down from father
to son; for the singular clause of the only will that had
been found, had caused it to be regarded as a genuine relic,
preserved in the family with superstitious veneration. It
was an illuminated book, with beautiful Gothic characters,
and so weighty with gold, that a servant always carried it
before the cardinal on days of great solemnity.
"At the sight of papers of all sorts, -- titles, contracts,
parchments, which were kept in the archives of the family,
all descending from the poisoned cardinal, I in my turn
examined the immense bundles of documents, like twenty
servitors, stewards, secretaries before me; but in spite of
the most exhaustive researches, I found -- nothing. Yet I
had read, I had even written a precise history of the Borgia
family, for the sole purpose of assuring myself whether any
increase of fortune had occurred to them on the death of the
Cardinal Caesar Spada; but could only trace the acquisition
of the property of the Cardinal Rospigliosi, his companion
"I was then almost assured that the inheritance had neither
profited the Borgias nor the family, but had remained
unpossessed like the treasures of the Arabian Nights, which
slept in the bosom of the earth under the eyes of the genie.
I searched, ransacked, counted, calculated a thousand and a
thousand times the income and expenditure of the family for
three hundred years. It was useless. I remained in my
ignorance, and the Count of Spada in his poverty. My patron
died. He had reserved from his annuity his family papers,
his library, composed of five thousand volumes, and his
famous breviary. All these he bequeathed to me, with a
thousand Roman crowns, which he had in ready money, on
condition that I would have anniversary masses said for the
repose of his soul, and that I would draw up a genealogical
tree and history of his house. All this I did scrupulously.
Be easy, my dear Edmond, we are near the conclusion.
"In 1807, a month before I was arrested, and a fortnight
after the death of the Count of Spada, on the 25th of
December (you will see presently how the date became fixed
in my memory), I was reading, for the thousandth time, the
papers I was arranging, for the palace was sold to a
stranger, and I was going to leave Rome and settle at
Florence, intending to take with me twelve thousand francs I
possessed, my library, and the famous breviary, when, tired
with my constant labor at the same thing, and overcome by a
heavy dinner I had eaten, my head dropped on my hands, and I
fell asleep about three o'clock in the afternoon. I awoke as
the clock was striking six. I raised my head; I was in utter
darkness. I rang for a light, but as no one came, I
determined to find one for myself. It was indeed but
anticipating the simple manners which I should soon be under
the necessity of adopting. I took a wax-candle in one hand,
and with the other groped about for a piece of paper (my
match-box being empty), with which I proposed to get a light
from the small flame still playing on the embers. Fearing,
however, to make use of any valuable piece of paper, I
hesitated for a moment, then recollected that I had seen in
the famous breviary, which was on the table beside me, an
old paper quite yellow with age, and which had served as a
marker for centuries, kept there by the request of the
heirs. I felt for it, found it, twisted it up together, and
putting it into the expiring flame, set light to it.
"But beneath my fingers, as if by magic, in proportion as
the fire ascended, I saw yellowish characters appear on the
paper. I grasped it in my hand, put out the flame as quickly
as I could, lighted my taper in the fire itself, and opened
the crumpled paper with inexpressible emotion, recognizing,
when I had done so, that these characters had been traced in
mysterious and sympathetic ink, only appearing when exposed
to the fire; nearly one-third of the paper had been consumed
by the flame. It was that paper you read this morning; read
it again, Dantes, and then I will complete for you the
incomplete words and unconnected sense."
Faria, with an air of triumph, offered the paper to Dantes,
who this time read the following words, traced with an ink
of a reddish color resembling rust: --
"This 25th day of April, 1498, be...
Alexander VI., and fearing that not...
he may desire to become my heir, and re...
and Bentivoglio, who were poisoned,...
my sole heir, that I have bu...
and has visited with me, that is, in...
Island of Monte Cristo, all I poss...
jewels, diamonds, gems; that I alone...
may amount to nearly two mil...
will find on raising the twentieth ro...
creek to the east in a right line. Two open...
in these caves; the treasure is in the furthest a...
which treasure I bequeath and leave en...
as my sole heir.
"25th April, 1498.
"And now," said the abbe, "read this other paper;" and he
presented to Dantes a second leaf with fragments of lines
written on it, which Edmond read as follows: --
"...ing invited to dine by his Holiness
...content with making me pay for my hat,
...serves for me the fate of Cardinals Caprara
...I declare to my nephew, Guido Spada
...ried in a place he knows
...the caves of the small
...essed of ingots, gold, money,
...know of the existence of this treasure, which
...lions of Roman crowns, and which he
...ck from the small
...ings have been made
...ngle in the second;
...tire to him
Faria followed him with an excited look. "and now," he said,
when he saw that Dantes had read the last line, "put the two
fragments together, and judge for yourself." Dantes obeyed,
and the conjointed pieces gave the following: --
"This 25th day of April, 1498, be...ing invited to dine by
his Holiness Alexander VI., and fearing that not...content
with making me pay for my hat, he may desire to become my
heir, and re...serves for me the fate of Cardinals Caprara
and Bentivoglio, who were poisoned...I declare to my nephew,
Guido Spada, my sole heir, that I have bu...ried in a place
he knows and has visited with me, that is, in...the caves of
the small Island of Monte Cristo all I poss...ssed of
ingots, gold, money, jewels, diamonds, gems; that I
alone...know of the existence of this treasure, which may
amount to nearly two mil...lions of Roman crowns, and which
he will find on raising the twentieth ro...ck from the small
creek to the east in a right line. Two open...ings have been
made in these caves; the treasure is in the furthest
a...ngle in the second; which treasure I bequeath and leave
en...tire to him as my sole heir.
"25th April, 1498.
"Well, do you comprehend now?" inquired Faria.
"It is the declaration of Cardinal Spada, and the will so
long sought for," replied Edmond, still incredulous.
"Yes; a thousand times, yes!"
"And who completed it as it now is?"
"I did. Aided by the remaining fragment, I guessed the rest;
measuring the length of the lines by those of the paper, and
divining the hidden meaning by means of what was in part
revealed, as we are guided in a cavern by the small ray of
light above us."
"And what did you do when you arrived at this conclusion?"
"I resolved to set out, and did set out at that very
instant, carrying with me the beginning of my great work,
the unity of the Italian kingdom; but for some time the
imperial police (who at this period, quite contrary to what
Napoleon desired so soon as he had a son born to him, wished
for a partition of provinces) had their eyes on me; and my
hasty departure, the cause of which they were unable to
guess, having aroused their suspicions, I was arrested at
the very moment I was leaving Piombino.
"Now," continued Faria, addressing Dantes with an almost
paternal expression, "now, my dear fellow, you know as much
as I do myself. If we ever escape together, half this
treasure is yours; if I die here, and you escape alone, the
whole belongs to you."
"But," inquired Dantes hesitating, "has this treasure no
more legitimate possessor in the world than ourselves?"
"No, no, be easy on that score; the family is extinct. The
last Count of Spada, moreover, made me his heir, bequeathing
to me this symbolic breviary, he bequeathed to me all it
contained; no, no, make your mind satisfied on that point.
If we lay hands on this fortune, we may enjoy it without
"And you say this treasure amounts to" --
"Two millions of Roman crowns; nearly thirteen millions of
* $2,600,000 in 1894.
"Impossible!" said Dantes, staggered at the enormous amount.
"Impossible? and why?" asked the old man. "The Spada family
was one of the oldest and most powerful families of the
fifteenth century; and in those times, when other
opportunities for investment were wanting, such
accumulations of gold and jewels were by no means rare;
there are at this day Roman families perishing of hunger,
though possessed of nearly a million in diamonds and jewels,
handed down by entail, and which they cannot touch." Edmond
thought he was in a dream -- he wavered between incredulity
"I have only kept this secret so long from you," continued
Faria, "that I might test your character, and then surprise
you. Had we escaped before my attack of catalepsy, I should
have conducted you to Monte Cristo; now," he added, with a
sigh, "it is you who will conduct me thither. Well, Dantes,
you do not thank me?"
"This treasure belongs to you, my dear friend," replied
Dantes, "and to you only. I have no right to it. I am no
relation of yours."
"You are my son, Dantes," exclaimed the old man. "You are
the child of my captivity. My profession condemns me to
celibacy. God has sent you to me to console, at one and the
same time, the man who could not be a father, and the
prisoner who could not get free." And Faria extended the arm
of which alone the use remained to him to the young man who
threw himself upon his neck and wept.
The Third Attack.
Now that this treasure, which had so long been the object of
the abbe's meditations, could insure the future happiness of
him whom Faria really loved as a son, it had doubled its
value in his eyes, and every day he expatiated on the
amount, explaining to Dantes all the good which, with
thirteen or fourteen millions of francs, a man could do in
these days to his friends; and then Dantes' countenance
became gloomy, for the oath of vengeance he had taken
recurred to his memory, and he reflected how much ill, in
these times, a man with thirteen or fourteen millions could
do to his enemies.
The abbe did not know the Island of Monte Cristo; but Dantes
knew it, and had often passed it, situated twenty-five miles
from Pianosa, between Corsica and the Island of Elba, and
had once touched there. This island was, always had been,
and still is, completely deserted. It is a rock of almost
conical form, which looks as though it had been thrust up by
volcanic force from the depth to the surface of the ocean.
Dantes drew a plan of the island for Faria, and Faria gave
Dantes advice as to the means he should employ to recover
the treasure. But Dantes was far from being as enthusiastic
and confident as the old man. It was past a question now
that Faria was not a lunatic, and the way in which he had
achieved the discovery, which had given rise to the
suspicion of his madness, increased Edmond's admiration of
him; but at the same time Dantes could not believe that the
deposit, supposing it had ever existed, still existed; and
though he considered the treasure as by no means chimerical,
he yet believed it was no longer there.
However, as if fate resolved on depriving the prisoners of
their last chance, and making them understand that they were
condemned to perpetual imprisonment, a new misfortune befell
them; the gallery on the sea side, which had long been in
ruins, was rebuilt. They had repaired it completely, and
stopped up with vast masses of stone the hole Dantes had
partly filled in. But for this precaution, which, it will be
remembered, the abbe had made to Edmond, the misfortune
would have been still greater, for their attempt to escape
would have been detected, and they would undoubtedly have
been separated. Thus a new, a stronger, and more inexorable
barrier was interposed to cut off the realization of their
"You see," said the young man, with an air of sorrowful
resignation, to Faria, "that God deems it right to take from
me any claim to merit for what you call my devotion to you.
I have promised to remain forever with you, and now I could
not break my promise if I would. The treasure will be no
more mine than yours, and neither of us will quit this
prison. But my real treasure is not that, my dear friend,
which awaits me beneath the sombre rocks of Monte Cristo, it
is your presence, our living together five or six hours a
day, in spite of our jailers; it is the rays of intelligence
you have elicited from my brain, the languages you have
implanted in my memory, and which have taken root there with
all their philological ramifications. These different
sciences that you have made so easy to me by the depth of
the knowledge you possess of them, and the clearness of the
principles to which you have reduced them -- this is my
treasure, my beloved friend, and with this you have made me
rich and happy. Believe me, and take comfort, this is better
for me than tons of gold and cases of diamonds, even were
they not as problematical as the clouds we see in the
morning floating over the sea, which we take for terra
firma, and which evaporate and vanish as we draw near to
them. To have you as long as possible near me, to hear your
eloquent speech, -- which embellishes my mind, strengthens
my soul, and makes my whole frame capable of great and
terrible things, if I should ever be free, -- so fills my
whole existence, that the despair to which I was just on the
point of yielding when I knew you, has no longer any hold
over me; and this -- this is my fortune -- not chimerical,
but actual. I owe you my real good, my present happiness;
and all the sovereigns of the earth, even Caesar Borgia
himself, could not deprive me of this."
Thus, if not actually happy, yet the days these two
unfortunates passed together went quickly. Faria, who for so
long a time had kept silence as to the treasure, now
perpetually talked of it. As he had prophesied would be the
case, he remained paralyzed in the right arm and the left
leg, and had given up all hope of ever enjoying it himself.
But he was continually thinking over some means of escape
for his young companion, and anticipating the pleasure he
would enjoy. For fear the letter might be some day lost or
stolen, he compelled Dantes to learn it by heart; and Dantes
knew it from the first to the last word. Then he destroyed
the second portion, assured that if the first were seized,
no one would be able to discover its real meaning. Whole
hours sometimes passed while Faria was giving instructions
to Dantes, -- instructions which were to serve him when he
was at liberty. Then, once free, from the day and hour and
moment when he was so, he could have but one only thought,
which was, to gain Monte Cristo by some means, and remain
there alone under some pretext which would arouse no
suspicions; and once there, to endeavor to find the
wonderful caverns, and search in the appointed spot, -- the
appointed spot, be it remembered, being the farthest angle
in the second opening.
In the meanwhile the hours passed, if not rapidly, at least
tolerably. Faria, as we have said, without having recovered
the use of his hand and foot, had regained all the clearness
of his understanding, and had gradually, besides the moral
instructions we have detailed, taught his youthful companion
the patient and sublime duty of a prisoner, who learns to
make something from nothing. They were thus perpetually
employed, -- Faria, that he might not see himself grow old;
Dantes, for fear of recalling the almost extinct past which
now only floated in his memory like a distant light
wandering in the night. So life went on for them as it does
for those who are not victims of misfortune and whose
activities glide along mechanically and tranquilly beneath
the eye of providence.
But beneath this superficial calm there were in the heart of
the young man, and perhaps in that of the old man, many
repressed desires, many stifled sighs, which found vent when
Faria was left alone, and when Edmond returned to his cell.
One night Edmond awoke suddenly, believing that he heard
some one calling him. He opened his eyes upon utter
darkness. His name, or rather a plaintive voice which
essayed to pronounce his name, reached him. He sat up in bed
and a cold sweat broke out upon his brow. Undoubtedly the
call came from Faria's dungeon. "Alas," murmured Edmond;
"can it be?"
He moved his bed, drew up the stone, rushed into the
passage, and reached the opposite extremity; the secret
entrance was open. By the light of the wretched and wavering
lamp, of which we have spoken, Dantes saw the old man, pale,
but yet erect, clinging to the bedstead. His features were
writhing with those horrible symptoms which he already knew,
and which had so seriously alarmed him when he saw them for
the first time.
"Alas, my dear friend," said Faria in a resigned tone, "you
understand, do you not, and I need not attempt to explain to
Edmond uttered a cry of agony, and, quite out of his senses,
rushed towards the door, exclaiming, "Help, help!" Faria had
just sufficient strength to restrain him.
"Silence," he said, "or you are lost. We must now only think
of you, my dear friend, and so act as to render your
captivity supportable or your flight possible. It would
require years to do again what I have done here, and the
results would be instantly destroyed if our jailers knew we
had communicated with each other. Besides, be assured, my
dear Edmond, the dungeon I am about to leave will not long
remain empty; some other unfortunate being will soon take my
place, and to him you will appear like an angel of
salvation. Perhaps he will be young, strong, and enduring,
like yourself, and will aid you in your escape, while I have
been but a hindrance. You will no longer have half a dead
body tied to you as a drag to all your movements. At length
providence has done something for you; he restores to you
more than he takes away, and it was time I should die."
Edmond could only clasp his hands and exclaim, "Oh, my
friend, my friend, speak not thus!" and then resuming all
his presence of mind, which had for a moment staggered under
this blow, and his strength, which had failed at the words
of the old man, he said, "Oh, I have saved you once, and I
will save you a second time!" And raising the foot of the
bed, he drew out the phial, still a third filled with the
"See," he exclaimed, "there remains still some of the magic
draught. Quick, quick! tell me what I must do this time; are
there any fresh instructions? Speak, my friend; I listen."
"There is not a hope," replied Faria, shaking his head, "but
no matter; God wills it that man whom he has created, and in
whose heart he has so profoundly rooted the love of life,
should do all in his power to preserve that existence,
which, however painful it may be, is yet always so dear."
"Oh, yes, yes!" exclaimed Dantes; "and I tell you that I
will save you yet."
"Well, then, try. The cold gains upon me. I feel the blood
flowing towards my brain. These horrible chills, which make
my teeth chatter and seem to dislocate my bones, begin to
pervade my whole frame; in five minutes the malady will
reach its height, and in a quarter of an hour there will be
nothing left of me but a corpse."
"Oh!" exclaimed Dantes, his heart wrung with anguish.
"Do as you did before, only do not wait so long, all the
springs of life are now exhausted in me, and death," he
continued, looking at his paralyzed arm and leg, "has but
half its work to do. If, after having made me swallow twelve
drops instead of ten, you see that I do not recover, then
pour the rest down my throat. Now lift me on my bed, for I
can no longer support myself."
Edmond took the old man in his arms, and laid him on the
"And now, my dear friend," said Faria, "sole consolation of
my wretched existence, -- you whom heaven gave me somewhat
late, but still gave me, a priceless gift, and for which I
am most grateful, -- at the moment of separating from you
forever, I wish you all the happiness and all the prosperity
you so well deserve. My son, I bless thee!" The young man
cast himself on his knees, leaning his head against the old
"Listen, now, to what I say in this my dying moment. The
treasure of the Spadas exists. God grants me the boon of
vision unrestricted by time or space. I see it in the depths
of the inner cavern. My eyes pierce the inmost recesses of
the earth, and are dazzled at the sight of so much riches.
If you do escape, remember that the poor abbe, whom all the
world called mad, was not so. Hasten to Monte Cristo --
avail yourself of the fortune -- for you have indeed
suffered long enough." A violent convulsion attacked the old
man. Dantes raised his head and saw Faria's eyes injected
with blood. It seemed as if a flow of blood had ascended
from the chest to the head.
"Adieu, adieu!" murmured the old man, clasping Edmond's hand
convulsively -- "adieu!"
"Oh, no, -- no, not yet," he cried; "do not forsake me! Oh,
succor him! Help -- help -- help!"
"Hush -- hush!" murmured the dying man, "that they may not
separate us if you save me!"
"You are right. Oh, yes, yes; be assured I shall save you!
Besides, although you suffer much, you do not seem to be in
such agony as you were before."
"Do not mistake. I suffer less because there is in me less
strength to endure. At your age we have faith in life; it is
the privilege of youth to believe and hope, but old men see
death more clearly. Oh, 'tis here -- 'tis here -- 'tis over
-- my sight is gone -- my senses fail! Your hand, Dantes!
Adieu -- adieu!" And raising himself by a final effort, in
which he summoned all his faculties, he said, -- "Monte
Cristo, forget not Monte Cristo!" And he fell back on the
bed. The crisis was terrible, and a rigid form with twisted
limbs, swollen eyelids, and lips flecked with bloody foam,
lay on the bed of torture, in place of the intellectual
being who so lately rested there.
Dantes took the lamp, placed it on a projecting stone above
the bed, whence its tremulous light fell with strange and
fantastic ray on the distorted countenance and motionless,
stiffened body. With steady gaze he awaited confidently the
moment for administering the restorative.
When he believed that the right moment had arrived, he took
the knife, pried open the teeth, which offered less
resistance than before, counted one after the other twelve
drops, and watched; the phial contained, perhaps, twice as
much more. He waited ten minutes, a quarter of an hour, half
an hour, -- no change took place. Trembling, his hair erect,
his brow bathed with perspiration, he counted the seconds by
the beating of his heart. Then he thought it was time to
make the last trial, and he put the phial to the purple lips
of Faria, and without having occasion to force open his
jaws, which had remained extended, he poured the whole of
the liquid down his throat.
The draught produced a galvanic effect, a violent trembling
pervaded the old man's limbs, his eyes opened until it was
fearful to gaze upon them, he heaved a sigh which resembled
a shriek, and then his convulsed body returned gradually to
its former immobility, the eyes remaining open.
Half an hour, an hour, an hour and a half elapsed, and
during this period of anguish, Edmond leaned over his
friend, his hand applied to his heart, and felt the body
gradually grow cold, and the heart's pulsation become more
and more deep and dull, until at length it stopped; the last
movement of the heart ceased, the face became livid, the
eyes remained open, but the eyeballs were glazed. It was six
o'clock in the morning, the dawn was just breaking, and its
feeble ray came into the dungeon, and paled the ineffectual
light of the lamp. Strange shadows passed over the
countenance of the dead man, and at times gave it the
appearance of life. While the struggle between day and night
lasted, Dantes still doubted; but as soon as the daylight
gained the pre-eminence, he saw that he was alone with a
corpse. Then an invincible and extreme terror seized upon
him, and he dared not again press the hand that hung out of
bed, he dared no longer to gaze on those fixed and vacant
eyes, which he tried many times to close, but in vain --
they opened again as soon as shut. He extinguished the lamp,
carefully concealed it, and then went away, closing as well
as he could the entrance to the secret passage by the large
stone as he descended.
It was time, for the jailer was coming. On this occasion he
began his rounds at Dantes' cell, and on leaving him he went
on to Faria's dungeon, taking thither breakfast and some
linen. Nothing betokened that the man know anything of what
had occurred. He went on his way.
Dantes was then seized with an indescribable desire to know
what was going on in the dungeon of his unfortunate friend.
He therefore returned by the subterraneous gallery, and
arrived in time to hear the exclamations of the turnkey, who
called out for help. Other turnkeys came, and then was heard
the regular tramp of soldiers. Last of all came the
Edmond heard the creaking of the bed as they moved the
corpse, heard the voice of the governor, who asked them to
throw water on the dead man's face; and seeing that, in
spite of this application, the prisoner did not recover,
they sent for the doctor. The governor then went out, and
words of pity fell on Dantes' listening ears, mingled with
"Well, well," said one, "the madman has gone to look after
his treasure. Good journey to him!"
"With all his millions, he will not have enough to pay for
his shroud!" said another.
"Oh," added a third voice, "the shrouds of the Chateau d'If
are not dear!"
"Perhaps," said one of the previous speakers, "as he was a
churchman, they may go to some expense in his behalf."
"They may give him the honors of the sack."
Edmond did not lose a word, but comprehended very little of
what was said. The voices soon ceased, and it seemed to him
as if every one had left the cell. Still he dared not to
enter, as they might have left some turnkey to watch the
dead. He remained, therefore, mute and motionless, hardly
venturing to breathe. At the end of an hour, he heard a
faint noise, which increased. It was the governor who
returned, followed by the doctor and other attendants. There
was a moment's silence, -- it was evident that the doctor
was examining the dead body. The inquiries soon commenced.
The doctor analyzed the symptoms of the malady to which the
prisoner had succumbed, and declared that he was dead.
Questions and answers followed in a nonchalant manner that
made Dantes indignant, for he felt that all the world should
have for the poor abbe a love and respect equal to his own.
"I am very sorry for what you tell me," said the governor,
replying to the assurance of the doctor, "that the old man
is really dead; for he was a quiet, inoffensive prisoner,
happy in his folly, and required no watching."
"Ah," added the turnkey, "there was no occasion for watching
him: he would have stayed here fifty years, I'll answer for
it, without any attempt to escape."
"Still," said the governor, "I believe it will be requisite,
notwithstanding your certainty, and not that I doubt your
science, but in discharge of my official duty, that we
should be perfectly assured that the prisoner is dead."
There was a moment of complete silence, during which Dantes,
still listening, knew that the doctor was examining the
corpse a second time.
"You may make your mind easy," said the doctor; "he is dead.
I will answer for that."
"You know, sir," said the governor, persisting, "that we are
not content in such cases as this with such a simple
examination. In spite of all appearances, be so kind,
therefore, as to finish your duty by fulfilling the
formalities described by law."
"Let the irons be heated," said the doctor; "but really it
is a useless precaution." This order to heat the irons made
Dantes shudder. He heard hasty steps, the creaking of a
door, people going and coming, and some minutes afterwards a
turnkey entered, saying, --
"Here is the brazier, lighted." There was a moment's
silence, and then was heard the crackling of burning flesh,
of which the peculiar and nauseous smell penetrated even
behind the wall where Dantes was listening in horror. The
perspiration poured forth upon the young man's brow, and he
felt as if he should faint.
"You see, sir, he is really dead," said the doctor; "this
burn in the heel is decisive. The poor fool is cured of his
folly, and delivered from his captivity."
"Wasn't his name Faria?" inquired one of the officers who
accompanied the governor.
"Yes, sir; and, as he said, it was an ancient name. He was,
too, very learned, and rational enough on all points which
did not relate to his treasure; but on that, indeed, he was
"It is the sort of malady which we call monomania," said the
"You had never anything to complain of?" said the governor
to the jailer who had charge of the abbe.
"Never, sir," replied the jailer, "never; on the contrary,
he sometimes amused me very much by telling me stories. One
day, too, when my wife was ill, he gave me a prescription
which cured her."
"Ah, ah!" said the doctor, "I did not know that I had a
rival; but I hope, governor, that you will show him all
"Yes, yes, make your mind easy, he shall be decently
interred in the newest sack we can find. Will that satisfy
"Must this last formality take place in your presence, sir?"
inquired a turnkey.
"Certainly. But make haste -- I cannot stay here all day."
Other footsteps, going and coming, were now heard, and a
moment afterwards the noise of rustling canvas reached
Dantes' ears, the bed creaked, and the heavy footfall of a
man who lifts a weight sounded on the floor; then the bed
again creaked under the weight deposited upon it.
"This evening," said the governor.
"Will there be any mass?" asked one of the attendants.
"That is impossible," replied the governor. "The chaplain of
the chateau came to me yesterday to beg for leave of
absence, in order to take a trip to Hyeres for a week. I
told him I would attend to the prisoners in his absence. If
the poor abbe had not been in such a hurry, he might have
had his requiem."
"Pooh, pooh;" said the doctor, with the impiety usual in
persons of his profession; "he is a churchman. God will
respect his profession, and not give the devil the wicked
delight of sending him a priest." A shout of laughter
followed this brutal jest. Meanwhile the operation of
putting the body in the sack was going on.
"This evening," said the governor, when the task was ended.
"At what hour?" inquired a turnkey.
"Why, about ten or eleven o'clock."
"Shall we watch by the corpse?"
"Of what use would it be? Shut the dungeon as if he were
alive -- that is all." Then the steps retreated, and the
voices died away in the distance; the noise of the door,
with its creaking hinges and bolts ceased, and a silence
more sombre than that of solitude ensued, -- the silence of
death, which was all-pervasive, and struck its icy chill to
the very soul of Dantes. Then he raised the flag-stone
cautiously with his head, and looked carefully around the
chamber. It was empty, and Dantes emerged from the tunnel.
The Cemetery of the Chateau D'If.
On the bed, at full length, and faintly illuminated by the
pale light that came from the window, lay a sack of canvas,
and under its rude folds was stretched a long and stiffened
form; it was Faria's last winding-sheet, -- a winding-sheet
which, as the turnkey said, cost so little. Everything was
in readiness. A barrier had been placed between Dantes and
his old friend. No longer could Edmond look into those
wide-open eyes which had seemed to be penetrating the
mysteries of death; no longer could he clasp the hand which
had done so much to make his existence blessed. Faria, the
beneficent and cheerful companion, with whom he was
accustomed to live so intimately, no longer breathed. He
seated himself on the edge of that terrible bed, and fell
into melancholy and gloomy revery.
Alone -- he was alone again -- again condemned to silence --
again face to face with nothingness! Alone! -- never again
to see the face, never again to hear the voice of the only
human being who united him to earth! Was not Faria's fate
the better, after all -- to solve the problem of life at its
source, even at the risk of horrible suffering? The idea of
suicide, which his friend had driven away and kept away by
his cheerful presence, now hovered like a phantom over the
abbe's dead body.
"If I could die," he said, "I should go where he goes, and
should assuredly find him again. But how to die? It is very
easy," he went on with a smile; "I will remain here, rush on
the first person that opens the door, strangle him, and then
they will guillotine me." But excessive grief is like a
storm at sea, where the frail bark is tossed from the depths
to the top of the wave. Dantes recoiled from the idea of so
infamous a death, and passed suddenly from despair to an
ardent desire for life and liberty.
"Die? oh, no," he exclaimed -- "not die now, after having
lived and suffered so long and so much! Die? yes, had I died
years ago; but now to die would be, indeed, to give way to
the sarcasm of destiny. No, I want to live; I shall struggle
to the very last; I will yet win back the happiness of which
I have been deprived. Before I die I must not forget that I
have my executioners to punish, and perhaps, too, who knows,
some friends to reward. Yet they will forget me here, and I
shall die in my dungeon like Faria." As he said this, he
became silent and gazed straight before him like one
overwhelmed with a strange and amazing thought. Suddenly he
arose, lifted his hand to his brow as if his brain wore
giddy, paced twice or thrice round the dungeon, and then
paused abruptly by the bed.
"Just God!" he muttered, "whence comes this thought? Is it
from thee? Since none but the dead pass freely from this
dungeon, let me take the place of the dead!" Without giving
himself time to reconsider his decision, and, indeed, that
he might not allow his thoughts to be distracted from his
desperate resolution, he bent over the appalling shroud,
opened it with the knife which Faria had made, drew the
corpse from the sack, and bore it along the tunnel to his
own chamber, laid it on his couch, tied around its head the
rag he wore at night around his own, covered it with his
counterpane, once again kissed the ice-cold brow, and tried
vainly to close the resisting eyes, which glared horribly,
turned the head towards the wall, so that the jailer might,
when he brought the evening meal, believe that he was
asleep, as was his frequent custom; entered the tunnel
again, drew the bed against the wall, returned to the other
cell, took from the hiding-place the needle and thread,
flung off his rags, that they might feel only naked flesh
beneath the coarse canvas, and getting inside the sack,
placed himself in the posture in which the dead body had
been laid, and sewed up the mouth of the sack from the
He would have been discovered by the beating of his heart,
if by any mischance the jailers had entered at that moment.
Dantes might have waited until the evening visit was over,
but he was afraid that the governor would change his mind,
and order the dead body to be removed earlier. In that case
his last hope would have been destroyed. Now his plans were
fully made, and this is what he intended to do. If while he
was being carried out the grave-diggers should discover that
they were bearing a live instead of a dead body, Dantes did
not intend to give them time to recognize him, but with a
sudden cut of the knife, he meant to open the sack from top
to bottom, and, profiting by their alarm, escape; if they
tried to catch him, he would use his knife to better
If they took him to the cemetery and laid him in a grave, he
would allow himself to be covered with earth, and then, as
it was night, the grave-diggers could scarcely have turned
their backs before he would have worked his way through the
yielding soil and escaped. He hoped that the weight of earth
would not be so great that he could not overcome it. If he
was detected in this and the earth proved too heavy, he
would be stifled, and then -- so much the better, all would
be over. Dantes had not eaten since the preceding evening,
but he had not thought of hunger, nor did he think of it
now. His situation was too precarious to allow him even time
to reflect on any thought but one.
The first risk that Dantes ran was, that the jailer, when he
brought him his supper at seven o'clock, might perceive the
change that had been made; fortunately, twenty times at
least, from misanthropy or fatigue, Dantes had received his
jailer in bed, and then the man placed his bread and soup on
the table, and went away without saying a word. This time
the jailer might not be as silent as usual, but speak to
Dantes, and seeing that he received no reply, go to the bed,
and thus discover all.
When seven o'clock came, Dantes' agony really began. His
hand placed upon his heart was unable to redress its
throbbings, while, with the other he wiped the perspiration
from his temples. From time to time chills ran through his
whole body, and clutched his heart in a grasp of ice. Then
he thought he was going to die. Yet the hours passed on
without any unusual disturbance, and Dantes knew that he had
escaped the first peril. It was a good augury. At length,
about the hour the governor had appointed, footsteps were
heard on the stairs. Edmond felt that the moment had
arrived, summoned up all his courage, held his breath, and
would have been happy if at the same time he could have
repressed the throbbing of his veins. The footsteps -- they
were double -- paused at the door -- and Dantes guessed that
the two grave-diggers had come to seek him -- this idea was
soon converted into certainty, when he heard the noise they
made in putting down the hand-bier. The door opened, and a
dim light reached Dantes' eyes through the coarse sack that
covered him; he saw two shadows approach his bed, a third
remaining at the door with a torch in its hand. The two men,
approaching the ends of the bed, took the sack by its
"He's heavy though for an old and thin man," said one, as he
raised the head.
"They say every year adds half a pound to the weight of the
bones," said another, lifting the feet.
"Have you tied the knot?" inquired the first speaker.
"What would be the use of carrying so much more weight?" was
the reply, "I can do that when we get there."
"Yes, you're right," replied the companion.
"What's the knot for?" thought Dantes.
They deposited the supposed corpse on the bier. Edmond
stiffened himself in order to play the part of a dead man,
and then the party, lighted by the man with the torch, who
went first, ascended the stairs. Suddenly he felt the fresh
and sharp night air, and Dantes knew that the mistral was
blowing. It was a sensation in which pleasure and pain were
strangely mingled. The bearers went on for twenty paces,
then stopped, putting the bier down on the ground. One of
them went away, and Dantes heard his shoes striking on the
"Where am I?" he asked himself.
"Really, he is by no means a light load!" said the other
bearer, sitting on the edge of the hand-barrow. Dantes'
first impulse was to escape, but fortunately he did not
"Give us a light," said the other bearer, "or I shall never
find what I am looking for." The man with the torch
complied, although not asked in the most polite terms.
"What can he be looking for?" thought Edmond. "The spade,
perhaps." An exclamation of satisfaction indicated that the
grave-digger had found the object of his search. "Here it is
at last," he said, "not without some trouble though."
"Yes," was the answer, "but it has lost nothing by waiting."
As he said this, the man came towards Edmond, who heard a
heavy metallic substance laid down beside him, and at the
same moment a cord was fastened round his feet with sudden
and painful violence.
"Well, have you tied the knot?" inquired the grave-digger,
who was looking on.
"Yes, and pretty tight too, I can tell you," was the answer.
"Move on, then." And the bier was lifted once more, and they
They advanced fifty paces farther, and then stopped to open
a door, then went forward again. The noise of the waves
dashing against the rocks on which the chateau is built,
reached Dantes' ear distinctly as they went forward.
"Bad weather!" observed one of the bearers; "not a pleasant
night for a dip in the sea."
"Why, yes, the abbe runs a chance of being wet," said the
other; and then there was a burst of brutal laughter. Dantes
did not comprehend the jest, but his hair stood erect on his
"Well, here we are at last," said one of them. "A little
farther -- a little farther," said the other. "You know very
well that the last was stopped on his way, dashed on the
rocks, and the governor told us next day that we were
They ascended five or six more steps, and then Dantes felt
that they took him, one by the head and the other by the
heels, and swung him to and fro. "One!" said the
grave-diggers, "two! three!" And at the same instant Dantes
felt himself flung into the air like a wounded bird,
falling, falling, with a rapidity that made his blood
curdle. Although drawn downwards by the heavy weight which
hastened his rapid descent, it seemed to him as if the fall
lasted for a century.
At last, with a horrible splash, he darted like an arrow
into the ice-cold water, and as he did so he uttered a
shrill cry, stifled in a moment by his immersion beneath the
Dantes had been flung into the sea, and was dragged into its
depths by a thirty-six pound shot tied to his feet. The sea
is the cemetery of the Chateau d'If.
The Island of Tiboulen.
Dantes, although stunned and almost suffocated, had
sufficient presence of mind to hold his breath, and as his
right hand (prepared as he was for every chance) held his
knife open, he rapidly ripped up the sack, extricated his
arm, and then his body; but in spite of all his efforts to
free himself from the shot, he felt it dragging him down
still lower. He then bent his body, and by a desperate
effort severed the cord that bound his legs, at the moment
when it seemed as if he were actually strangled. With a
mighty leap he rose to the surface of the sea, while the
shot dragged down to the depths the sack that had so nearly
become his shroud.
Dantes waited only to get breath, and then dived, in order
to avoid being seen. When he arose a second time, he was
fifty paces from where he had first sunk. He saw overhead a
black and tempestuous sky, across which the wind was driving
clouds that occasionally suffered a twinkling star to
appear; before him was the vast expanse of waters, sombre
and terrible, whose waves foamed and roared as if before the
approach of a storm. Behind him, blacker than the sea,
blacker than the sky, rose phantom-like the vast stone
structure, whose projecting crags seemed like arms extended
to seize their prey, and on the highest rock was a torch
lighting two figures. He fancied that these two forms were
looking at the sea; doubtless these strange grave-diggers
had heard his cry. Dantes dived again, and remained a long
time beneath the water. This was an easy feat to him, for he
usually attracted a crowd of spectators in the bay before
the lighthouse at Marseilles when he swam there, and was
unanimously declared to be the best swimmer in the port.
When he came up again the light had disappeared.
He must now get his bearings. Ratonneau and Pomegue are the
nearest islands of all those that surround the Chateau d'If,
but Ratonneau and Pomegue are inhabited, as is also the
islet of Daume. Tiboulen and Lemaire were therefore the
safest for Dantes' venture. The islands of Tiboulen and
Lemaire are a league from the Chateau d'If; Dantes,
nevertheless, determined to make for them. But how could he
find his way in the darkness of the night? At this moment he
saw the light of Planier, gleaming in front of him like a
star. By leaving this light on the right, he kept the Island
of Tiboulen a little on the left; by turning to the left,