during his last moments. I know what is become of Vasiliki
and Haidee. I am at the command of the committee, and
even claim the honor of being heard. I shall be in the lobby
when this note is delivered to you.'
"`And who is this witness, or rather this enemy?' asked the
count, in a tone in which there was a visible alteration. `We
shall know, sir,' replied the president. `Is the committee
willing to hear this witness?' -- `Yes, yes,' they all said at
once. The door-keeper was called. `Is there any one in the
lobby?' said the president.
"`Yes, sir.' -- `Who is it?' -- `A woman, accompanied by a
servant.' Every one looked at his neighbor. `Bring her in,'
said the president. Five minutes after the door-keeper again
appeared; all eyes were fixed on the door, and I," said
Beauchamp, "shared the general expectation and anxiety.
Behind the door-keeper walked a woman enveloped in a
large veil, which completely concealed her. It was evident,
from her figure and the perfumes she had about her, that she
was young and fastidious in her tastes, but that was all. The
president requested her to throw aside her veil, and it was
then seen that she was dressed in the Grecian costume, and
was remarkably beautiful."
"Ah," said Albert, "it was she."
"Who told you that?"
"Alas, I guess it. But go on, Beauchamp. You see I am calm
and strong. And yet we must be drawing near the
"M. de Morcerf," continued Beauchamp, "looked at this
woman with surprise and terror. Her lips were about to pass
his sentence of life or death. To the committee the adventure
was so extraordinary and curious, that the interest they had
felt for the count's safety became now quite a secondary
matter. The president himself advanced to place a seat for
the young lady; but she declined availing herself of it. As for
the count, he had fallen on his chair; it was evident that his
legs refused to support him.
"`Madame,' said the president, `you have engaged to furnish
the committee with some important particulars respecting
the affair at Yanina, and you have stated that you were an
eyewitness of the event.' -- `I was, indeed,' said the stranger,
with a tone of sweet melancholy, and with the sonorous
voice peculiar to the East.
"`But allow me to say that you must have been very young
then.' -- `I was four years old; but as those events deeply
concerned me, not a single detail has escaped my memory.'
-- `In what manner could these events concern you? and who
are you, that they should have made so deep an impression
on you?' -- `On them depended my father's life,' replied she.
`I am Haidee, the daughter of Ali Tepelini, pasha of Yanina,
and of Vasiliki, his beloved wife.'
"The blush of mingled pride and modesty which suddenly
suffused the cheeks of the young woman, the brilliancy of
her eye, and her highly important communication, produced
an indescribable effect on the assembly. As for the count, he
could not have been more overwhelmed if a thunderbolt had
fallen at his feet and opened an immense gulf before him.
`Madame,' replied the president, bowing with profound
respect, `allow me to ask one question; it shall be the last:
Can you prove the authenticity of what you have now
stated?' -- `I can, sir,' said Haidee, drawing from under her
veil a satin satchel highly perfumed; `for here is the register
of my birth, signed by my father and his principal officers,
and that of my baptism, my father having consented to my
being brought up in my mother's faith, -- this latter has been
sealed by the grand primate of Macedonia and Epirus; and
lastly (and perhaps the most important), the record of the
sale of my person and that of my mother to the Armenian
merchant El-Kobbir, by the French officer, who, in his
infamous bargain with the Porte, had reserved as his part of
the booty the wife and daughter of his benefactor, whom he
sold for the sum of four hundred thousand francs.' A
greenish pallor spread over the count's cheeks, and his eyes
became bloodshot at these terrible imputations, which were
listened to by the assembly with ominous silence.
"Haidee, still calm, but with a calmness more dreadful than
the anger of another would have been, handed to the
president the record of her sale, written in Arabic. It had
been supposed some of the papers might be in the Arabian,
Romaic, or Turkish language, and the interpreter of the
House was in attendance. One of the noble peers, who was
familiar with the Arabic language, having studied it during
the famous Egyptian campaign, followed with his eye as the
translator read aloud: --
"`I, El-Kobbir, a slave-merchant, and purveyor of the harem
of his highness, acknowledge having received for
transmission to the sublime emperor, from the French lord,
the Count of Monte Cristo, an emerald valued at eight
hundred thousand francs; as the ransom of a young
Christian slave of eleven years of age, named Haidee, the
acknowledged daughter of the late lord Ali Tepelini, pasha
of Yanina, and of Vasiliki, his favorite; she having been sold
to me seven years previously, with her mother, who had
died on arriving at Constantinople, by a French colonel in
the service of the Vizier Ali Tepelini, named Fernand
Mondego. The above-mentioned purchase was made on his
highness's account, whose mandate I had, for the sum of
four hundred thousand francs.
"`Given at Constantinople, by authority of his highness, in
the year 1247 of the Hegira.
"`That this record should have all due authority, it shall bear
the imperial seal, which the vendor is bound to have affixed
"Near the merchant's signature there was, indeed, the seal of
the sublime emperor. A dreadful silence followed the
reading of this document; the count could only stare, and his
gaze, fixed as if unconsciously on Haidee, seemed one of fire
and blood. `Madame,' said the president, `may reference be
made to the Count of Monte Cristo, who is now, I believe, in
Paris?' -- `Sir,' replied Haidee, `the Count of Monte Cristo,
my foster-father, has been in Normandy the last three days.'
"`Who, then, has counselled you to take this step, one for
which the court is deeply indebted to you, and which is
perfectly natural, considering your birth and your
misfortunes?' -- `Sir,' replied Haidee, `I have been led to take
this step from a feeling of respect and grief. Although a
Christian, may God forgive me, I have always sought to
revenge my illustrious father. Since I set my foot in France,
and knew the traitor lived in Paris, I have watched carefully.
I live retired in the house of my noble protector, but I do it
from choice. I love retirement and silence, because I can live
with my thoughts and recollections of past days. But the
Count of Monte Cristo surrounds me with every paternal
care, and I am ignorant of nothing which passes in the world.
I learn all in the silence of my apartments, -- for instance, I
see all the newspapers, every periodical, as well as every
new piece of music; and by thus watching the course of the
life of others, I learned what had transpired this morning in
the House of Peers, and what was to take place this evening;
THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO
then I wrote.'
"`Then,' remarked the president, `the Count of Monte Cristo
knows nothing of your present proceedings?' -- `He is quite
unaware of them, and I have but one fear, which is that he
should disapprove of what I have done. But it is a glorious
day for me,' continued the young girl, raising her ardent
gaze to heaven, `that on which I find at last an opportunity
of avenging my father!'
"The count had not uttered one word the whole of this time.
His colleagues looked at him, and doubtless pitied his
prospects, blighted under the perfumed breath of a woman.
His misery was depicted in sinister lines on his countenance.
`M. de Morcerf,' said the president, `do you recognize this
lady as the daughter of Ali Tepelini, pasha of Yanina?' --
`No,' said Morcerf, attempting to rise, `it is a base plot,
contrived by my enemies.' Haidee, whose eyes had been
fixed on the door, as if expecting some one, turned hastily,
and, seeing the count standing, shrieked, `You do not know
me?' said she. `Well, I fortunately recognize you! You are
Fernand Mondego, the French officer who led the troops of
my noble father! It is you who surrendered the castle of
Yanina! It is you who, sent by him to Constantinople, to treat
with the emperor for the life or death of your benefactor,
brought back a false mandate granting full pardon! It is you
who, with that mandate, obtained the pasha's ring, which
gave you authority over Selim, the fire-keeper! It is you who
stabbed Selim. It is you who sold us, my mother and me, to
the merchant, El-Kobbir! Assassin, assassin, assassin, you
have still on your brow your master's blood! Look,
"These words had been pronounced with such enthusiasm
and evident truth, that every eye was fixed on the count's
forehead, and he himself passed his hand across it, as if he
felt Ali's blood still lingering there. `You positively recognize
M. de Morcerf as the officer, Fernand Mondego?' -- `Indeed I
do!' cried Haidee. `Oh, my mother, it was you who said,
"You were free, you had a beloved father, you were destined
to be almost a queen. Look well at that man; it is he who
raised your father's head on the point of a spear; it is he who
sold us; it is he who forsook us! Look well at his right hand,
on which he has a large wound; if you forgot his features,
you would know him by that hand, into which fell, one by
one, the gold pieces of the merchant El-Kobbir!" I know him!
Ah, let him say now if he does not recognize me!' Each word
fell like a dagger on Morcerf, and deprived him of a portion
of his energy; as she uttered the last, he hid his mutilated
hand hastily in his bosom, and fell back on his seat,
overwhelmed by wretchedness and despair. This scene
completely changed the opinion of the assembly respecting
the accused count.
"`Count of Morcerf,' said the president, `do not allow
yourself to be cast down; answer. The justice of the court is
supreme and impartial as that of God; it will not suffer you
to be trampled on by your enemies without giving you an
opportunity of defending yourself. Shall further inquiries be
made? Shall two members of the House be sent to Yanina?
Speak!' Morcerf did not reply. Then all the members looked
at each other with terror. They knew the count's energetic
and violent temper; it must be, indeed, a dreadful blow
which would deprive him of courage to defend himself.
They expected that his stupefied silence would be followed
by a fiery outburst. `Well,' asked the president, `what is your
"`I have no reply to make,' said the count in a low tone.
"`Has the daughter of Ali Tepelini spoken the truth?' said the
president. `Is she, then, the terrible witness to whose charge
you dare not plead "Not guilty"? Have you really committed
the crimes of which you are accused?' The count looked
around him with an expression which might have softened
tigers, but which could not disarm his judges. Then he raised
his eyes towards the ceiling, but withdrew then,
immediately, as if he feared the roof would open and reveal
to his distressed view that second tribunal called heaven,
and that other judge named God. Then, with a hasty
movement, he tore open his coat, which seemed to stifle him,
and flew from the room like a madman; his footstep was
heard one moment in the corridor, then the rattling of his
carriage-wheels as he was driven rapidly away. `Gentlemen,'
said the president, when silence was restored, `is the Count
of Morcerf convicted of felony, treason, and conduct
unbecoming a member of this House?' -- `Yes,' replied all the
members of the committee of inquiry with a unanimous
"Haidee had remained until the close of the meeting. She
heard the count's sentence pronounced without betraying an
expression of joy or pity; then drawing her veil over her face
she bowed majestically to the councillors, and left with that
dignified step which Virgil attributes to his goddesses."
Chapter 87 The Challenge
hen," continued Beauchamp, "I took advantage of the
silence and the darkness to leave the house without
being seen. The usher who had introduced me was waiting
for me at the door, and he conducted me through the
corridors to a private entrance opening into the Rue de
Vaugirard. I left with mingled feelings of sorrow and delight.
Excuse me, Albert, -- sorrow on your account, and delight
with that noble girl, thus pursuing paternal vengeance. Yes,
Albert, from whatever source the blow may have proceeded
-- it may be from an enemy, but that enemy is only the agent
of providence." Albert held his head between his hands; he
raised his face, red with shame and bathed in tears, and
seizing Beauchamp's arm, "My friend," said he, "my life is
ended. I cannot calmly say with you, `Providence has struck
the blow;' but I must discover who pursues me with this
hatred, and when I have found him I shall kill him, or he will
kill me. I rely on your friendship to assist me, Beauchamp, if
contempt has not banished it from your heart."
"Contempt, my friend? How does this misfortune affect you?
No, happily that unjust prejudice is forgotten which made
the son responsible for the father's actions. Review your life,
Albert; although it is only just beginning, did a lovely
summer's day ever dawn with greater purity than has
marked the commencement of your career? No, Albert, take
my advice. You are young and rich -- leave Paris -- all is soon
forgotten in this great Babylon of excitement and changing
tastes. You will return after three or four years with a
Russian princess for a bride, and no one will think more of
what occurred yesterday than if it had happened sixteen
"Thank you, my dear Beauchamp, thank you for the
excellent feeling which prompts your advice; but it cannot be.
I have told you my wish, or rather my determination. You
understand that, interested as I am in this affair, I cannot see
it in the same light as you do. What appears to you to
emanate from a celestial source, seems to me to proceed
from one far less pure. Providence appears to me to have no
share in this affair; and happily so, for instead of the
invisible, impalpable agent of celestial rewards and
punishments, I shall find one both palpable and visible, on
whom I shall revenge myself, I assure you, for all I have
suffered during the last month. Now, I repeat, Beauchamp, I
wish to return to human and material existence, and if you
are still the friend you profess to be, help me to discover the
hand that struck the blow."
"Be it so," said Beauchamp; "if you must have me descend to
earth, I submit; and if you will seek your enemy, I will assist
you, and I will engage to find him, my honor being almost as
deeply interested as yours."
"Well, then, you understand, Beauchamp, that we begin our
search immediately. Each moment's delay is an eternity for
me. The calumniator is not yet punished, and he may hope
that he will not be; but, on my honor, it he thinks so, he
"Well, listen, Morcerf."
"Ah, Beauchamp, I see you know something already; you
will restore me to life."
"I do not say there is any truth in what I am going to tell you,
but it is, at least, a ray of light in a dark night; by following it
we may, perhaps, discover something more certain."
"Tell me; satisfy my impatience."
"Well, I will tell you what I did not like to mention on my
return from Yanina."
"I went, of course, to the chief banker of the town to make
inquiries. At the first word, before I had even mentioned
your father's name" --
"`Ah,' said he. `I guess what brings you here.'
"`How, and why?'
"`Because a fortnight since I was questioned on the same
"`By whom?' -- `By a Paris banker, my correspondent.'
"`Whose name is' --
"He!" cried Albert; "yes, it is indeed he who has so long
pursued my father with jealous hatred. He, the man who
would be popular, cannot forgive the Count of Morcerf for
being created a peer; and this marriage broken off without a
reason being assigned -- yes, it is all from the same cause."
"Make inquiries, Albert, but do not be angry without reason;
make inquiries, and if it be true" --
"Oh, yes, if it be true," cried the young man, "he shall pay me
all I have suffered."
"Beware, Morcerf, he is already an old man."
"I will respect his age as he has respected the honor of my
family; if my father had offended him, why did he not attack
him personally? Oh, no, he was afraid to encounter him face
"I do not condemn you, Albert; I only restrain you. Act
"Oh, do not fear; besides, you will accompany me.
Beauchamp, solemn transactions should be sanctioned by a
witness. Before this day closes, if M. Danglars is guilty, he
shall cease to live, or I shall die. Pardieu, Beauchamp, mine
shall be a splendid funeral!"
"When such resolutions are made, Albert, they should be
promptly executed. Do you wish to go to M. Danglars? Let
us go immediately." They sent for a cabriolet. On entering
the banker's mansion, they perceived the phaeton and
servant of M. Andrea Cavalcanti. "Ah, parbleu, that's good,"
said Albert, with a gloomy tone. "If M. Danglars will not
fight with me, I will kill his son-in-law; Cavalcanti will
certainly fight." The servant announced the young man; but
the banker, recollecting what had transpired the day before,
did not wish him admitted. It was, however, too late; Albert
had followed the footman, and, hearing the order given,
forced the door open, and followed by Beauchamp found
himself in the banker's study. "Sir," cried the latter, "am I no
longer at liberty to receive whom I choose in my house? You
appear to forget yourself sadly."
"No, sir," said Albert, coldly; "there are circumstances in
which one cannot, except through cowardice, -- I offer you
that refuge, -- refuse to admit certain persons at least."
"What is your errand, then, with me, sir?"
"I mean," said Albert, drawing near, and without apparently
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THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO
noticing Cavalcanti, who stood with his back towards the
fireplace -- "I mean to propose a meeting in some retired
corner where no one will interrupt us for ten minutes; that
will be sufficient -- where two men having met, one of them
will remain on the ground." Danglars turned pale;
Cavalcanti moved a step forward, and Albert turned
towards him. "And you, too," said he, "come, if you like,
monsieur; you have a claim, being almost one of the family,
and I will give as many rendezvous of that kind as I can find
persons willing to accept them." Cavalcanti looked at
Danglars with a stupefied air, and the latter, making an
effort, arose and stepped between the two young men.
Albert's attack on Andrea had placed him on a different
footing, and he hoped this visit had another cause than that
he had at first supposed.
"Indeed, sir," said he to Albert, "if you are come to quarrel
with this gentleman because I have preferred him to you, I
shall resign the case to the king's attorney."
"You mistake, sir," said Morcerf with a gloomy smile; "I am
not referring in the least to matrimony, and I only addressed
myself to M. Cavalcanti because he appeared disposed to
interfere between us. In one respect you are right, for I am
ready to quarrel with every one to-day; but you have the
first claim, M. Danglars."
"Sir," replied Danglars, pale with anger and fear, "I warn you,
when I have the misfortune to meet with a mad dog, I kill it;
and far from thinking myself guilty of a crime, I believe I do
society a kindness. Now, if you are mad and try to bite me, I
will kill you without pity. Is it my fault that your father has
"Yes, miserable wretch!" cried Morcerf, "it is your fault."
Danglars retreated a few steps. "My fault?" said he; "you
must be mad! What do I know of the Grecian affair? Have I
travelled in that country? Did I advise your father to sell the
castle of Yanina -- to betray" --
"Silence!" said Albert, with a thundering voice. "No; it is not
you who have directly made this exposure and brought this
sorrow on us, but you hypocritically provoked it."
"Yes; you! How came it known?"
"I suppose you read it in the paper in the account from
"Who wrote to Yanina?"
"Yes. Who wrote for particulars concerning my father?"
"I imagine any one may write to Yanina."
"But one person only wrote!"
"Yes; and that was you!"
"I, doubtless, wrote. It appears to me that when about to
marry your daughter to a young man, it is right to make
some inquiries respecting his family; it is not only a right,
but a duty."
"You wrote, sir, knowing what answer you would receive."
"I, indeed? I assure you," cried Danglars, with a confidence
and security proceeding less from fear than from the interest
he really felt for the young man, "I solemnly declare to you,
that I should never have thought of writing to Yanina, did I
know anything of Ali Pasha's misfortunes."
"Who, then, urged you to write? Tell me."
"Pardieu, it was the most simple thing in the world. I was
speaking of your father's past history. I said the origin of his
fortune remained obscure. The person to whom I addressed
my scruples asked me where your father had acquired his
property? I answered, `In Greece.' -- `Then,' said he, `write to
"And who thus advised you?"
"No other than your friend, Monte Cristo."
"The Count of Monte Cristo told you to write to Yanina?"
"Yes; and I wrote, and will show you my correspondence, if
you like." Albert and Beauchamp looked at each other. "Sir,"
said Beauchamp, who had not yet spoken, "you appear to
accuse the count, who is absent from Paris at this moment,
and cannot justify himself."
"I accuse no one, sir," said Danglars; "I relate, and I will
repeat before the count what I have said to you."
"Does the count know what answer you received?"
"Yes; I showed it to him."
"Did he know my father's Christian name was Fernand, and
his family name Mondego?"
"Yes, I had told him that long since, and I did only what any
other would have done in my circumstances, and perhaps
less. When, the day after the arrival of this answer, your
father came by the advice of Monte Cristo to ask my
daughter's hand for you, I decidedly refused him, but
without any explanation or exposure. In short, why should I
have any more to do with the affair? How did the honor or
disgrace of M. de Morcerf affect me? It neither increased nor
decreased my income."
Albert felt the blood mounting to his brow; there was no
doubt upon the subject. Danglars defended himself with the
baseness, but at the same time with the assurance, of a man
who speaks the truth, at least in part, if not wholly -- not for
conscience' sake, but through fear. Besides, what was
Morcerf seeking? It was not whether Danglars or Monte
Cristo was more or less guilty; it was a man who would
answer for the offence, whether trifling or serious; it was a
man who would fight, and it was evident Danglars's would
not fight. And, in addition to this, everything forgotten or
unperceived before presented itself now to his recollection.
Monte Cristo knew everything, as he had bought the
daughter of Ali Pasha; and, knowing everything, he had
advised Danglars to write to Yanina. The answer known, he
had yielded to Albert's wish to be introduced to Haidee, and
allowed the conversation to turn on the death of Ali, and had
not opposed Haidee's recital (but having, doubtless, warned
the young girl, in the few Romaic words he spoke to her, not
to implicate Morcerf's father). Besides, had he not begged of
Morcerf not to mention his father's name before Haidee?
Lastly, he had taken Albert to Normandy when he knew the
final blow was near. There could be no doubt that all had
been calculated and previously arranged; Monte Cristo then
was in league with his father's enemies. Albert took
Beauchamp aside, and communicated these ideas to him.
"You are right," said the latter; "M. Danglars has only been a
secondary agent in this sad affair, and it is of M. de Monte
Cristo that you must demand an explanation." Albert turned.
"Sir," said he to Danglars, "understand that I do not take a
final leave of you; I must ascertain if your insinuations are
just, and am going now to inquire of the Count of Monte
Cristo." He bowed to the banker, and went out with
Beauchamp, without appearing to notice Cavalcanti.
Danglars accompanied him to the door, where he again
assured Albert that no motive of personal hatred had
influenced him against the Count of Morcerf.T
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Chapter 88 The Insult
t the banker's door Beauchamp stopped Morcerf.
"Listen," said he; "just now I told you it was of M. de
Monte Cristo you must demand an explanation."
"Yes; and we are going to his house."
"Reflect, Morcerf, one moment before you go."
"On what shall I reflect?"
"On the importance of the step you are taking."
"Is it more serious than going to M. Danglars?"
"Yes; M. Danglars is a money-lover, and those who love
money, you know, think too much of what they risk to be
easily induced to fight a duel. The other is, on the contrary,
to all appearance a true nobleman; but do you not fear to
find him a bully?"
"I only fear one thing; namely, to find a man who will not
"Do not be alarmed," said Beauchamp; "he will meet you. My
only fear is that he will be too strong for you."
"My friend," said Morcerf, with a sweet smile, "that is what I
wish. The happiest thing that could occur to me, would be to
die in my father's stead; that would save us all."
"Your mother would die of grief."
"My poor mother!" said Albert, passing his hand across his
eyes, "I know she would; but better so than die of shame."
"Are you quite decided, Albert?"
"Yes; let us go."
"But do you think we shall find the count at home?"
"He intended returning some hours after me, and doubtless
he is now at home." They ordered the driver to take them to
No. 30 Champs-Elysees. Beauchamp wished to go in alone,
but Albert observed that as this was an unusual
circumstance he might be allowed to deviate from the usual
etiquette in affairs of honor. The cause which the young man
espoused was one so sacred that Beauchamp had only to
comply with all his wishes; he yielded and contented himself
with following Morcerf. Albert sprang from the porter's
lodge to the steps. He was received by Baptistin. The count
had, indeed, just arrived, but he was in his bath, and had
forbidden that any one should be admitted. "But after his
bath?" asked Morcerf.
"My master will go to dinner."
"And after dinner?"
"He will sleep an hour."
"He is going to the opera."
"Are you sure of it?" asked Albert.
"Quite, sir; my master has ordered his horses at eight o'clock
"Very good," replied Albert; "that is all I wished to know."
Then, turning towards Beauchamp, "If you have anything to
attend to, Beauchamp, do it directly; if you have any
appointment for this evening, defer it till tomorrow. I
depend on you to accompany me to the opera; and if you
can, bring Chateau-Renaud with you."
Beauchamp availed himself of Albert's permission, and left
him, promising to call for him at a quarter before eight. On
his return home, Albert expressed his wish to Franz Debray,
and Morrel, to see them at the opera that evening. Then he
went to see his mother, who since the events of the day
before had refused to see any one, and had kept her room.
He found her in bed, overwhelmed with grief at this public
humiliation. The sight of Albert produced the effect which
might naturally be expected on Mercedes; she pressed her
son's hand and sobbed aloud, but her tears relieved her.
Albert stood one moment speechless by the side of his
mother's bed. It was evident from his pale face and knit
brows that his resolution to revenge himself was growing
weaker. "My dear mother," said he, "do you know if M. de
Morcerf has any enemy?" Mercedes started; she noticed that
the young man did not say "my father." "My son," she said,
"persons in the count's situation have many secret enemies.
Those who are known are not the most dangerous."
"I know it, and appeal to your penetration. You are of so
superior a mind, nothing escapes you."
"Why do you say so?"
"Because, for instance, you noticed on the evening of the ball
we gave, that M. de Monte Cristo would eat nothing in our
house." Mercedes raised herself on her feverish arm. "M. de
Monte Cristo!" she exclaimed; "and how is he connected with
the question you asked me?"
"You know, mother, M. de Monte Cristo is almost an
Oriental, and it is customary with the Orientals to secure full
liberty for revenge by not eating or drinking in the houses of
"Do you say M. de Monte Cristo is our enemy?" replied
Mercedes, becoming paler than the sheet which covered her.
"Who told you so? Why, you are mad, Albert! M. de Monte
Cristo has only shown us kindness. M. de Monte Cristo
saved your life; you yourself presented him to us. Oh, I
entreat you, my son, if you had entertained such an idea,
dispel it; and my counsel to you -- nay, my prayer -- is to
retain his friendship."
"Mother," replied the young man, "you have especial reasons
for telling me to conciliate that man."
"I?" said Mercedes, blushing as rapidly as she had turned
pale, and again becoming paler than ever.
"Yes, doubtless; and is it not that he may never do us any
harm?" Mercedes shuddered, and, fixing on her son a
scrutinizing gaze, "You speak strangely," said she to Albert,
"and you appear to have some singular prejudices. What has
the count done? Three days since you were with him in
Normandy; only three days since we looked on him as our
An ironical smile passed over Albert's lips. Mercedes saw it
and with the double instinct of woman and mother guessed
all; but as she was prudent and strong-minded she concealed
both her sorrows and her fears. Albert was silent; an instant
after, the countess resumed: "You came to inquire after my
health; I will candidly acknowledge that I am not well. You
should install yourself here, and cheer my solitude. I do not
wish to be left alone."
"Mother," said the young man, "you know how gladly I
would obey your wish, but an urgent and important affair
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THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO
obliges me to leave you for the whole evening."
"Well," replied Mercedes, sighing, "go, Albert; I will not
make you a slave to your filial piety." Albert pretended he
did not hear, bowed to his mother, and quitted her. Scarcely
had he shut her door, when Mercedes called a confidential
servant, and ordered him to follow Albert wherever he
should go that evening, and to come and tell her
immediately what he observed. Then she rang for her lady's
maid, and, weak as she was, she dressed, in order to be
ready for whatever might happen. The footman's mission
was an easy one. Albert went to his room, and dressed with
unusual care. At ten minutes to eight Beauchamp arrived; he
had seen Chateau-Renaud, who had promised to be in the
orchestra before the curtain was raised. Both got into Albert's
coupe; and, as the young man had no reason to conceal
where he was going, he called aloud, "To the opera." In his
impatience he arrived before the beginning of the
Chateau-Renaud was at his post; apprised by Beauchamp of
the circumstances, he required no explanation from Albert.
The conduct of the son in seeking to avenge his father was so
natural that Chateau-Renaud did not seek to dissuade him,
and was content with renewing his assurances of devotion.
Debray was not yet come, but Albert knew that he seldom
lost a scene at the opera. Albert wandered about the theatre
until the curtain was drawn up. He hoped to meet with M.
de Monte Cristo either in the lobby or on the stairs. The bell
summoned him to his seat, and he entered the orchestra with
Chateau-Renaud and Beauchamp. But his eyes scarcely
quitted the box between the columns, which remained
obstinately closed during the whole of the first act. At last, as
Albert was looking at his watch for about the hundredth
time, at the beginning of the second act the door opened, and
Monte Cristo entered, dressed in black, and, leaning over the
front of the box, looked around the pit. Morrel followed him,
and looked also for his sister and brother in-law; he soon
discovered them in another box, and kissed his hand to
The count, in his survey of the pit, encountered a pale face
and threatening eyes, which evidently sought to gain his
attention. He recognized Albert, but thought it better not to
notice him, as he looked so angry and discomposed. Without
communicating his thoughts to his companion, he sat down,
drew out his opera-glass, and looked another way. Although
apparently not noticing Albert, he did not, however, lose
sight of him, and when the curtain fell at the end of the
second act, he saw him leave the orchestra with his two
friends. Then his head was seen passing at the back of the
boxes, and the count knew that the approaching storm was
intended to fall on him. He was at the moment conversing
cheerfully with Morrel, but he was well prepared for what
might happen. The door opened, and Monte Cristo, turning
round, saw Albert, pale and trembling, followed by
Beauchamp and Chateau-Renaud.
"Well," cried he, with that benevolent politeness which
distinguished his salutation from the common civilities of
the world, "my cavalier has attained his object.
Good-evening, M. de Morcerf." The countenance of this man,
who possessed such extraordinary control over his feelings,
expressed the most perfect cordiality. Morrel only then
recollected the letter he had received from the viscount, in
which, without assigning any reason, he begged him to go to
the opera, but he understood that something terrible was
"We are not come here, sir, to exchange hypocritical
expressions of politeness, or false professions of friendship,"
said Albert, "but to demand an explanation." The young
man's trembling voice was scarcely audible. "An explanation
at the opera?" said the count, with that calm tone and
penetrating eye which characterize the man who knows his
cause is good. "Little acquainted as I am with the habits of
Parisians, I should not have thought this the place for such a
"Still, if people will shut themselves up," said Albert, "and
cannot be seen because they are bathing, dining, or asleep,
we must avail ourselves of the opportunity whenever they
are to be seen."
"I am not difficult of access, sir; for yesterday, if my memory
does not deceive me, you were at my house."
"Yesterday I was at your house, sir," said the young man;
"because then I knew not who you were." In pronouncing
these words Albert had raised his voice so as to be heard by
those in the adjoining boxes and in the lobby. Thus the
attention of many was attracted by this altercation. "Where
are you come from, sir? You do not appear to be in the
possession of your senses."
"Provided I understand your perfidy, sir, and succeed in
making you understand that I will be revenged, I shall be
reasonable enough," said Albert furiously.
"I do not understand you, sir," replied Monte Cristo; "and if I
did, your tone is too high. I am at home here, and I alone
have a right to raise my voice above another's. Leave the box,
sir!" Monte Cristo pointed towards the door with the most
commanding dignity. "Ah, I shall know how to make you
leave your home!" replied Albert, clasping in his convulsed
grasp the glove, which Monte Cristo did not lose sight of.
"Well, well," said Monte Cristo quietly, "I see you wish to
quarrel with me; but I would give you one piece of advice,
which you will do well to keep in mind. It is in poor taste to
make a display of a challenge. Display is not becoming to
every one, M. de Morcerf."
At this name a murmur of astonishment passed around the
group of spectators of this scene. They had talked of no one
but Morcerf the whole day. Albert understood the allusion in
a moment, and was about to throw his glove at the count,
when Morrel seized his hand, while Beauchamp and
Chateau-Renaud, fearing the scene would surpass the limits
of a challenge, held him back. But Monte Cristo, without
rising, and leaning forward in his chair, merely stretched out
his arm and, taking the damp, crushed glove from the
clinched hand of the young man, "Sir," said he in a solemn
tone, "I consider your glove thrown, and will return it to you
wrapped around a bullet. Now leave me or I will summon
my servants to throw you out at the door."
Wild, almost unconscious, and with eyes inflamed, Albert
stepped back, and Morrel closed the door. Monte Cristo took
up his glass again as if nothing had happened; his face was
like marble, and his heart was like bronze. Morrel whispered,
"What have you done to him?"
"I? Nothing -- at least personally," said Monte Cristo.
"But there must be some cause for this strange scene."
"The Count of Morcerf's adventure exasperates the young
"Have you anything to do with it?"
"It was through Haidee that the Chamber was informed of
his father's treason."
"Indeed?" said Morrel. "I had been told, but would not credit
it, that the Grecian slave I have seen with you here in this
very box was the daughter of Ali Pasha."
"It is true, nevertheless."
"Then," said Morrel, "I understand it all, and this scene was
"Yes. Albert wrote to request me to come to the opera,
doubtless that I might be a witness to the insult he meant to
"Probably," said Monte Cristo with his imperturbable
"But what shall you do with him?"
"What shall I do with Albert? As certainly, Maximilian, as I
now press your hand, I shall kill him before ten o'clock
to-morrow morning." Morrel, in his turn, took Monte
Cristo's hand in both of his, and he shuddered to feel how
cold and steady it was.
"Ah, Count," said he, "his father loves him so much!"
"Do not speak to me of that," said Monte Cristo, with the first
movement of anger he had betrayed; "I will make him
suffer." Morrel, amazed, let fall Monte Cristo's hand. "Count,
count!" said he.
"Dear Maximilian," interrupted the count, "listen how
adorably Duprez is singing that line, --
`O Mathilde! idole de mon ame!'
"I was the first to discover Duprez at Naples, and the first to
applaud him. Bravo, bravo!" Morrel saw it was useless to say
more, and refrained. The curtain, which had risen at the
close of the scene with Albert, again fell, and a rap was heard
at the door.
"Come in," said Monte Cristo with a voice that betrayed not
the least emotion; and immediately Beauchamp appeared.
"Good-evening, M. Beauchamp," said Monte Cristo, as if this
was the first time he had seen the journalist that evening; "be
Beauchamp bowed, and, sitting down, "Sir," said he, "I just
now accompanied M. de Morcerf, as you saw."
"And that means," replied Monte Cristo, laughing, "that you
had, probably, just dined together. I am happy to see, M.
Beauchamp, that you are more sober than he was."
"Sir," said M. Beauchamp, "Albert was wrong, I acknowledge,
to betray so much anger, and I come, on my own account, to
apologize for him. And having done so, entirely on my own
account, be it understood, I would add that I believe you too
gentlemanly to refuse giving him some explanation
concerning your connection with Yanina. Then I will add
two words about the young Greek girl." Monte Cristo
motioned him to be silent. "Come," said he, laughing, "there
are all my hopes about to be destroyed."
"How so?" asked Beauchamp.
"Doubtless you wish to make me appear a very eccentric
character. I am, in your opinion, a Lara, a Manfred, a Lord
Ruthven; then, just as I am arriving at the climax, you defeat
your own end, and seek to make an ordinary man of me.
You bring me down to your own level, and demand
explanations! Indeed, M. Beauchamp, it is quite laughable."
"Yet," replied Beauchamp haughtily, "there are occasions
when probity commands" --
"M. Beauchamp," interposed this strange man, "the Count of
Monte Cristo bows to none but the Count of Monte Cristo
himself. Say no more, I entreat you. I do what I please, M.
Beauchamp, and it is always well done."
"Sir," replied the young man, "honest men are not to be paid
with such coin. I require honorable guaranties."
"I am, sir, a living guaranty," replied Monte Cristo,
motionless, but with a threatening look; "we have both blood
in our veins which we wish to shed -- that is our mutual
guaranty. Tell the viscount so, and that to-morrow, before
ten o'clock, I shall see what color his is."
"Then I have only to make arrangements for the duel," said
"It is quite immaterial to me," said Monte Cristo, "and it was
very unnecessary to disturb me at the opera for such a trifle.
In France people fight with the sword or pistol, in the
colonies with the carbine, in Arabia with the dagger. Tell
your client that, although I am the insulted party, in order to
carry out my eccentricity, I leave him the choice of arms, and
will accept without discussion, without dispute, anything,
even combat by drawing lots, which is always stupid, but
with me different from other people, as I am sure to gain."
"Sure to gain!" repeated Beauchamp, looking with
amazement at the count.
"Certainly," said Monte Cristo, slightly shrugging his
shoulders; "otherwise I would not fight with M. de Morcerf. I
shall kill him -- I cannot help it. Only by a single line this
evening at my house let me know the arms and the hour; I
do not like to be kept waiting."
"Pistols, then, at eight o'clock, in the Bois de Vincennes," said
Beauchamp, quite disconcerted, not knowing if he was
dealing with an arrogant braggadocio or a supernatural
"Very well, sir," said Monte Cristo. "Now all that is settled,
do let me see the performance, and tell your friend Albert
not to come any more this evening; he will hurt himself with
all his ill-chosen barbarisms: let him go home and go to
sleep." Beauchamp left the box, perfectly amazed. "Now,"
said Monte Cristo, turning towards Morrel, "I may depend
upon you, may I not?"
"Certainly," said Morrel, "I am at your service, count; still" --
"It is desirable I should know the real cause."
"That is to say, you would rather not?"
"The young man himself is acting blindfolded, and knows
not the true cause, which is known only to God and to me;
but I give you my word, Morrel, that God, who does know it,
will be on our side."
"Enough," said Morrel; "who is your second witness?"
"I know no one in Paris, Morrel, on whom I could confer that
honor besides you and your brother Emmanuel. Do you
think Emmanuel would oblige me?"
"I will answer for him, count."
"Well? that is all I require. To-morrow morning, at seven
o'clock, you will be with me, will you not?"
"Hush, the curtain is rising. Listen! I never lose a note of this
opera if I can avoid it; the music of William Tell is so sweet."
THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO
Chapter 89 A Nocturnal Interview
onte Cristo waited, according to his usual custom,
until Duprez had sung his famous "Suivez-moi;" then
he rose and went out. Morrel took leave of him at the door,
renewing his promise to be with him the next morning at
seven o'clock, and to bring Emmanuel. Then he stepped into
his coupe, calm and smiling, and was at home in five
minutes. No one who knew the count could mistake his
expression when, on entering, he said, "Ali, bring me my
pistols with the ivory cross."
Ali brought the box to his master, who examined the
weapons with a solicitude very natural to a man who is
about to intrust his life to a little powder and shot. These
were pistols of an especial pattern, which Monte Cristo had
had made for target practice in his own room. A cap was
sufficient to drive out the bullet, and from the adjoining
room no one would have suspected that the count was, as
sportsmen would say, keeping his hand in. He was just
taking one up and looking for the point to aim at on a little
iron plate which served him as a target, when his study door
opened, and Baptistin entered. Before he had spoken a word,
the count saw in the next room a veiled woman, who had
followed closely after Baptistin, and now, seeing the count
with a pistol in his hand and swords on the table, rushed in.
Baptistin looked at his master, who made a sign to him, and
he went out, closing the door after him. "Who are you,
madame?" said the count to the veiled woman.
The stranger cast one look around her, to be certain that they
were quite alone; then bending as if she would have knelt,
and joining her hands, she said with an accent of despair,
"Edmond, you will not kill my son?" The count retreated a
step, uttered a slight exclamation, and let fall the pistol he
held. "What name did you pronounce then, Madame de
Morcerf?" said he. "Yours!" cried she, throwing back her veil,
-- "yours, which I alone, perhaps, have not forgotten.
Edmond, it is not Madame de Morcerf who is come to you, it
"Mercedes is dead, madame," said Monte Cristo; "I know no
one now of that name."
"Mercedes lives, sir, and she remembers, for she alone
recognized you when she saw you, and even before she saw
you, by your voice, Edmond, -- by the simple sound of your
voice; and from that moment she has followed your steps,
watched you, feared you, and she needs not to inquire what
hand has dealt the blow which now strikes M. de Morcerf."
"Fernand, do you mean?" replied Monte Cristo, with bitter
irony; "since we are recalling names, let us remember them
all." Monte Cristo had pronounced the name of Fernand with
such an expression of hatred that Mercedes felt a thrill of
horror run through every vein. "You see, Edmond, I am not
mistaken, and have cause to say, `Spare my son!'"
"And who told you, madame, that I have any hostile
intentions against your son?"
"No one, in truth; but a mother has twofold sight. I guessed
all; I followed him this evening to the opera, and, concealed
in a parquet box, have seen all."
"If you have seen all, madame, you know that the son of
Fernand has publicly insulted me," said Monte Cristo with
"Oh, for pity's sake!"
"You have seen that he would have thrown his glove in my
face if Morrel, one of my friends, had not stopped him."
"Listen to me, my son has also guessed who you are, -- he
attributes his father's misfortunes to you."
"Madame, you are mistaken, they are not misfortunes, -- it is
a punishment. It is not I who strike M. de Morcerf; it is
providence which punishes him."
"And why do you represent providence?" cried Mercedes.
"Why do you remember when it forgets? What are Yanina
and its vizier to you, Edmond? What injury his Fernand
Mondego done you in betraying Ali Tepelini?"
"Ah, madame," replied Monte Cristo, "all this is an affair
between the French captain and the daughter of Vasiliki. It
does not concern me, you are right; and if I have sworn to
revenge myself, it is not on the French captain, or the Count
of Morcerf, but on the fisherman Fernand, the husband of
Mercedes the Catalane."
"Ah, sir!" cried the countess, "how terrible a vengeance for a
fault which fatality made me commit! -- for I am the only
culprit, Edmond, and if you owe revenge to any one, it is to
me, who had not fortitude to bear your absence and my
"But," exclaimed Monte Cristo, "why was I absent? And why
were you alone?"
"Because you had been arrested, Edmond, and were a
"And why was I arrested? Why was I a prisoner?"
"I do not know," said Mercedes. "You do not, madame; at
least, I hope not. But I will tell you. I was arrested and
became a prisoner because, under the arbor of La Reserve,
the day before I was to marry you, a man named Danglars
wrote this letter, which the fisherman Fernand himself
posted." Monte Cristo went to a secretary, opened a drawer
by a spring, from which he took a paper which had lost its
original color, and the ink of which had become of a rusty
hue -- this he placed in the hands of Mercedes. It was
Danglars' letter to the king's attorney, which the Count of
Monte Cristo, disguised as a clerk from the house of
Thomson & French, had taken from the file against Edmond
Dantes, on the day he had paid the two hundred thousand
francs to M. de Boville. Mercedes read with terror the
following lines: --
"The king's attorney is informed by a friend to the throne
and religion that one Edmond Dantes, second in command
on board the Pharaon, this day arrived from Smyrna, after
having touched at Naples and Porto-Ferrajo, is the bearer of
a letter from Murat to the usurper, and of another letter from
the usurper to the Bonapartist club in Paris. Ample
corroboration of this statement may be obtained by arresting
the above-mentioned Edmond Dantes, who either carries the
letter for Paris about with him, or has it at his father's abode.
Should it not be found in possession of either father or son,
then it will assuredly be discovered in the cabin belonging to
the said Dantes on board the Pharaon."
"How dreadful!" said Mercedes, passing her hand across her
brow, moist with perspiration; "and that letter" --
"I bought it for two hundred thousand francs, madame," said
Monte Cristo; "but that is a trifle, since it enables me to
CHAPTER89 A NOCTURNALINTERVIEW
justify myself to you."
"And the result of that letter" --
"You well know, madame, was my arrest; but you do not
know how long that arrest lasted. You do not know that I
remained for fourteen years within a quarter of a league of
you, in a dungeon in the Chateau d'If. You do not know that
every day of those fourteen years I renewed the vow of
vengeance which I had made the first day; and yet I was not
aware that you had married Fernand, my calumniator, and
that my father had died of hunger!"
"Can it be?" cried Mercedes, shuddering.
"That is what I heard on leaving my prison fourteen years
after I had entered it; and that is why, on account of the
living Mercedes and my deceased father, I have sworn to
revenge myself on Fernand, and -- I have revenged myself."
"And you are sure the unhappy Fernand did that?"
"I am satisfied, madame, that he did what I have told you;
besides, that is not much more odious than that a Frenchman
by adoption should pass over to the English; that a Spaniard
by birth should have fought against the Spaniards; that a
stipendiary of Ali should have betrayed and murdered Ali.
Compared with such things, what is the letter you have just
read? -- a lover's deception, which the woman who has
married that man ought certainly to forgive; but not so the
lover who was to have married her. Well, the French did not
avenge themselves on the traitor, the Spaniards did not
shoot the traitor, Ali in his tomb left the traitor unpunished;
but I, betrayed, sacrificed, buried, have risen from my tomb,
by the grace of God, to punish that man. He sends me for
that purpose, and here I am." The poor woman's head and
arms fell; her legs bent under her, and she fell on her knees.
"Forgive, Edmond, forgive for my sake, who love you still!"
The dignity of the wife checked the fervor of the lover and
the mother. Her forehead almost touched the carpet, when
the count sprang forward and raised her. Then seated on a
chair, she looked at the manly countenance of Monte Cristo,
on which grief and hatred still impressed a threatening
expression. "Not crush that accursed race?" murmured he;
"abandon my purpose at the moment of its accomplishment?
Impossible, madame, impossible!"
"Edmond," said the poor mother, who tried every means,
"when I call you Edmond, why do you not call me
"Mercedes!" repeated Monte Cristo; "Mercedes! Well yes,
you are right; that name has still its charms, and this is the
first time for a long period that I have pronounced it so
distinctly. Oh, Mercedes, I have uttered your name with the
sigh of melancholy, with the groan of sorrow, with the last
effort of despair; I have uttered it when frozen with cold,
crouched on the straw in my dungeon; I have uttered it,
consumed with heat, rolling on the stone floor of my prison.
Mercedes, I must revenge myself, for I suffered fourteen
years, -- fourteen years I wept, I cursed; now I tell you,
Mercedes, I must revenge myself."
The count, fearing to yield to the entreaties of her he had so
ardently loved, called his sufferings to the assistance of his
hatred. "Revenge yourself, then, Edmond," cried the poor
mother; "but let your vengeance fall on the culprits, -- on him,
on me, but not on my son!"
"It is written in the good book," said Monte Cristo, "that the
sins of the fathers shall fall upon their children to the third
and fourth generation. Since God himself dictated those
words to his prophet, why should I seek to make myself
better than God?"
"Edmond," continued Mercedes, with her arms extended
towards the count, "since I first knew you, I have adored
your name, have respected your memory. Edmond, my
friend, do not compel me to tarnish that noble and pure
image reflected incessantly on the mirror of my heart.
Edmond, if you knew all the prayers I have addressed to
God for you while I thought you were living and since I
have thought you must be dead! Yes, dead, alas! I imagined
your dead body buried at the foot of some gloomy tower, or
cast to the bottom of a pit by hateful jailers, and I wept! What
could I do for you, Edmond, besides pray and weep? Listen;
for ten years I dreamed each night the same dream. I had
been told that you had endeavored to escape; that you had
taken the place of another prisoner; that you had slipped
into the winding sheet of a dead body; that you had been
thrown alive from the top of the Chateau d'If, and that the
cry you uttered as you dashed upon the rocks first revealed
to your jailers that they were your murderers. Well, Edmond,
I swear to you, by the head of that son for whom I entreat
your pity, -- Edmond, for ten years I saw every night every
detail of that frightful tragedy, and for ten years I heard
every night the cry which awoke me, shuddering and cold.
And I, too, Edmond -- oh! believe me -- guilty as I was -- oh,
yes, I, too, have suffered much!"
"Have you known what it is to have your father starve to
death in your absence?" cried Monte Cristo, thrusting his
hands into his hair; "have you seen the woman you loved
giving her hand to your rival, while you were perishing at
the bottom of a dungeon?"
"No," interrupted Mercedes, "but I have seen him whom I
loved on the point of murdering my son." Mercedes uttered
these words with such deep anguish, with an accent of such
intense despair, that Monte Cristo could not restrain a sob.
The lion was daunted; the avenger was conquered. "What do
you ask of me?" said he, -- "your son's life? Well, he shall
live!" Mercedes uttered a cry which made the tears start from
Monte Cristo's eyes; but these tears disappeared almost
instantaneously, for, doubtless, God had sent some angel to
collect them -- far more precious were they in his eyes than
the richest pearls of Guzerat and Ophir.
"Oh," said she, seizing the count's hand and raising it to her
lips; "oh, thank you, thank you, Edmond! Now you are
exactly what I dreamt you were, -- the man I always loved.
Oh, now I may say so!"
"So much the better," replied Monte Cristo; "as that poor
Edmond will not have long to be loved by you. Death is
about to return to the tomb, the phantom to retire in
"What do you say, Edmond?"
"I say, since you command me, Mercedes, I must die."
"Die? and why so? Who talks of dying? Whence have you
these ideas of death?"
"You do not suppose that, publicly outraged in the face of a
whole theatre, in the presence of your friends and those of
your son -- challenged by a boy who will glory in my
forgiveness as if it were a victory -- you do not suppose that I
can for one moment wish to live. What I most loved after
you, Mercedes, was myself, my dignity, and that strength
which rendered me superior to other men; that strength was
my life. With one word you have crushed it, and I die."
"But the duel will not take place, Edmond, since you
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