THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO
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 red liquor.
"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 man's bed.
"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
"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
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
CHAPTER19 THETHIRD ATTACK
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 brutal laughter.
"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
"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
"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
"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 proper
"Yes, yes, make your mind easy, he shall be decently interred
in the newest sack we can find. Will that satisfy you?"
"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
THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO
would attend to the prisoners in his absence. If the poor abbe
had not been in such a hurry, he might have had his
"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.
CHAPTER20 THECEMETERYOFTHECHATEAU D'IF
Chapter 20 The Cemetery Of The Chateau D'if
n 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 inside.
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 purpose.
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
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,
THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO
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 attempt it.
"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 careless fellows."
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
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 waves.
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.
Chapter 21 The Island Of Tiboulen
antes, 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
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, therefore, he would find it.
But, as we have said, it was at least a league from the
Chateau d'If to this island. Often in prison Faria had said to
him, when he saw him idle and inactive, "Dantes, you must
not give way to this listlessness; you will be drowned if you
seek to escape, and your strength has not been properly
exercised and prepared for exertion." These words rang in
Dantes' ears, even beneath the waves; he hastened to cleave
his way through them to see if he had not lost his strength.
He found with pleasure that his captivity had taken away
nothing of his power, and that he was still master of that
element on whose bosom he had so often sported as a boy.
Fear, that relentless pursuer, clogged Dantes' efforts. He
listened for any sound that might be audible, and every time
that he rose to the top of a wave he scanned the horizon, and
strove to penetrate the darkness. He fancied that every wave
behind him was a pursuing boat, and he redoubled his
exertions, increasing rapidly his distance from the chateau,
but exhausting his strength. He swam on still, and already
the terrible chateau had disappeared in the darkness. He
could not see it, but he felt its presence. An hour passed,
during which Dantes, excited by the feeling of freedom,
continued to cleave the waves. "Let us see," said he, "I have
swum above an hour, but as the wind is against me, that has
retarded my speed; however, if I am not mistaken, I must be
close to Tiboulen. But what if I were mistaken?" A shudder
passed over him. He sought to tread water, in order to rest
himself; but the sea was too violent, and he felt that he could
not make use of this means of recuperation.
"Well," said he, "I will swim on until I am worn out, or the
cramp seizes me, and then I shall sink;" and he struck out
with the energy of despair.
Suddenly the sky seemed to him to become still darker and
more dense, and heavy clouds seemed to sweep down
towards him; at the same time he felt a sharp pain in his
knee. He fancied for a moment that he had been shot, and
listened for the report; but he heard nothing. Then he put out
his hand, and encountered an obstacle and with another
stroke knew that he had gained the shore.
Before him rose a grotesque mass of rocks, that resembled
nothing so much as a vast fire petrified at the moment of its
most fervent combustion. It was the Island of Tiboulen.
Dantes rose, advanced a few steps, and, with a fervent
prayer of gratitude, stretched himself on the granite. which
seemed to him softer than down. Then, in spite of the wind
and rain, he fell into the deep, sweet sleep of utter
exhaustion. At the expiration of an hour Edmond was
awakened by the roar of thunder. The tempest was let loose
and beating the atmosphere with its mighty wings; from
time to time a flash of lightning stretched across the heavens
like a fiery serpent, lighting up the clouds that rolled on in
vast chaotic waves.
Dantes had not been deceived -- he had reached the first of
the two islands, which was, in fact, Tiboulen. He knew that it
was barren and without shelter; but when the sea became
more calm, he resolved to plunge into its waves again, and
swim to Lemaire, equally arid, but larger, and consequently
better adapted for concealment.
An overhanging rock offered him a temporary shelter, and
scarcely had he availed himself of it when the tempest burst
forth in all its fury. Edmond felt the trembling of the rock
beneath which he lay; the waves, dashing themselves against
it, wetted him with their spray. He was safely sheltered, and
yet he felt dizzy in the midst of the warring of the elements
and the dazzling brightness of the lightning. It seemed to
him that the island trembled to its base, and that it would,
like a vessel at anchor, break moorings, and bear him off into
the centre of the storm. He then recollected that he had not
eaten or drunk for four-and-twenty hours. He extended his
hands, and drank greedily of the rainwater that had lodged
in a hollow of the rock.
As he rose, a flash of lightning, that seemed to rive the
remotest heights of heaven, illumined the darkness. By its
light, between the Island of Lemaire and Cape Croiselle, a
quarter of a league distant, Dantes saw a fishing-boat driven
rapidly like a spectre before the power of winds and waves.
A second after, he saw it again, approaching with frightful
rapidity. Dantes cried at the top of his voice to warn them of
their danger, but they saw it themselves. Another flash
showed him four men clinging to the shattered mast and the
rigging, while a fifth clung to the broken rudder.
THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO
The men he beheld saw him undoubtedly, for their cries
were carried to his ears by the wind. Above the splintered
mast a sail rent to tatters was waving; suddenly the ropes
that still held it gave way, and it disappeared in the darkness
of the night like a vast sea-bird. At the same moment a
violent crash was heard, and cries of distress. Dantes from
his rocky perch saw the shattered vessel, and among the
fragments the floating forms of the hapless sailors. Then all
was dark again.
Dantes ran down the rocks at the risk of being himself
dashed to pieces; he listened, he groped about, but he heard
and saw nothing -- the cries had ceased, and the tempest
continued to rage. By degrees the wind abated, vast gray
clouds rolled towards the west, and the blue firmament
appeared studded with bright stars. Soon a red streak
became visible in the horizon, the waves whitened, a light
played over them, and gilded their foaming crests with gold.
It was day.
Dantes stood mute and motionless before this majestic
spectacle, as if he now beheld it for the first time; and indeed
since his captivity in the Chateau d'If he had forgotten that
such scenes were ever to be witnessed. He turned towards
the fortress, and looked at both sea and land. The gloomy
building rose from the bosom of the ocean with imposing
majesty and seemed to dominate the scene. It was about five
o'clock. The sea continued to get calmer.
"In two or three hours," thought Dantes, "the turnkey will
enter my chamber, find the body of my poor friend,
recognize it, seek for me in vain, and give the alarm. Then
the tunnel will be discovered; the men who cast me into the
sea and who must have heard the cry I uttered, will be
questioned. Then boats filled with armed soldiers will
pursue the wretched fugitive. The cannon will warn every
one to refuse shelter to a man wandering about naked and
famished. The police of Marseilles will be on the alert by
land, whilst the governor pursues me by sea. I am cold, I am
hungry. I have lost even the knife that saved me. O my God,
I have suffered enough surely! Have pity on me, and do for
me what I am unable to do for myself."
As Dantes (his eyes turned in the direction of the Chateau
d'If) uttered this prayer, he saw off the farther point of the
Island of Pomegue a small vessel with lateen sail skimming
the sea like a gull in search of prey; and with his sailor's eye
he knew it to be a Genoese tartan. She was coming out of
Marseilles harbor, and was standing out to sea rapidly, her
sharp prow cleaving through the waves. "Oh," cried Edmond,
"to think that in half an hour I could join her, did I not fear
being questioned, detected, and conveyed back to Marseilles!
What can I do? What story can I invent? under pretext of
trading along the coast, these men, who are in reality
smugglers, will prefer selling me to doing a good action. I
must wait. But I cannot -- I am starving. In a few hours my
strength will be utterly exhausted; besides, perhaps I have
not been missed at the fortress. I can pass as one of the
sailors wrecked last night. My story will be accepted, for
there is no one left to contradict me."
As he spoke, Dantes looked toward the spot where the
fishing-vessel had been wrecked, and started. The red cap of
one of the sailors hung to a point of the rock and some
timbers that had formed part of the vessel's keel, floated at
the foot of the crag. It an instant Dantes' plan was formed. he
swam to the cap, placed it on his head, seized one of the
timbers, and struck out so as to cut across the course the
vessel was taking.
"I am saved!" murmured he. And this conviction restored his
He soon saw that the vessel, with the wind dead ahead, was
tacking between the Chateau d'If and the tower of Planier.
For an instant he feared lest, instead of keeping in shore, she
should stand out to sea; but he soon saw that she would pass,
like most vessels bound for Italy, between the islands of
Jaros and Calaseraigne. However, the vessel and the
swimmer insensibly neared one another, and in one of its
tacks the tartan bore down within a quarter of a mile of him.
He rose on the waves, making signs of distress; but no one
on board saw him, and the vessel stood on another tack.
Dantes would have shouted, but he knew that the wind
would drown his voice.
It was then he rejoiced at his precaution in taking the timber,
for without it he would have been unable, perhaps, to reach
the vessel -- certainly to return to shore, should he be
unsuccessful in attracting attention.
Dantes, though almost sure as to what course the vessel
would take, had yet watched it anxiously until it tacked and
stood towards him. Then he advanced; but before they could
meet, the vessel again changed her course. By a violent effort
he rose half out of the water, waving his cap, and uttering a
loud shout peculiar to sailers. This time he was both seen
and heard, and the tartan instantly steered towards him. At
the same time, he saw they were about to lower the boat.
An instant after, the boat, rowed by two men, advanced
rapidly towards him. Dantes let go of the timber, which he
now thought to be useless, and swam vigorously to meet
them. But he had reckoned too much upon his strength, and
then he realized how serviceable the timber had been to him.
His arms became stiff, his legs lost their flexibility, and he
was almost breathless.
He shouted again. The two sailors redoubled their efforts,
and one of them cried in Italian, "Courage!"
The word reached his ear as a wave which he no longer had
the strength to surmount passed over his head. He rose
again to the surface, struggled with the last desperate effort
of a drowning man, uttered a third cry, and felt himself
sinking, as if the fatal cannon shot were again tied to his feet.
The water passed over his head, and the sky turned gray. A
convulsive movement again brought him to the surface. He
felt himself seized by the hair, then he saw and heard
nothing. He had fainted.
When he opened his eyes Dantes found himself on the deck
of the tartan. His first care was to see what course they were
taking. They were rapidly leaving the Chateau d'If behind.
Dantes was so exhausted that the exclamation of joy he
uttered was mistaken for a sigh.
As we have said, he was lying on the deck. A sailor was
rubbing his limbs with a woollen cloth; another, whom he
recognized as the one who had cried out "Courage!" held a
gourd full of rum to his mouth; while the third, an old sailer,
at once the pilot and captain, looked on with that egotistical
pity men feel for a misfortune that they have escaped
yesterday, and which may overtake them to-morrow.
A few drops of the rum restored suspended animation,
while the friction of his limbs restored their elasticity.
"Who are you?" said the pilot in bad French.
"I am," replied Dantes, in bad Italian, "a Maltese sailor. We
were coming from Syracuse laden with grain. The storm of
last night overtook us at Cape Morgion, and we were
wrecked on these rocks."
"Where do you come from?"
"From these rocks that I had the good luck to cling to while
our captain and the rest of the crew were all lost. I saw your
vessel, and fearful of being left to perish on the desolate
island, I swam off on a piece of wreckage to try and intercept
your course. You have saved my life, and I thank you,"
continued Dantes. "I was lost when one of your sailors
caught hold of my hair."
"It was I," said a sailor of a frank and manly appearance;
"and it was time, for you were sinking."
"Yes," returned Dantes, holding out his hand, "I thank you
"I almost hesitated, though," replied the sailor; "you looked
more like a brigand than an honest man, with your beard six
inches, and your hair a foot long." Dantes recollected that his
hair and beard had not been cut all the time he was at the
"Yes," said he, "I made a vow, to our Lady of the Grotto not
to cut my hair or beard for ten years if I were saved in a
moment of danger; but to-day the vow expires."
"Now what are we to do with you?" said the captain.
"Alas, anything you please. My captain is dead; I have barely
escaped; but I am a good sailor. Leave me at the first port
you make; I shall be sure to find employment."
"Do you know the Mediterranean?"
"I have sailed over it since my childhood."
"You know the best harbors?"
"There are few ports that I could not enter or leave with a
bandage over my eyes."
"I say, captain," said the sailor who had cried "Courage!" to
Dantes, "if what he says is true, what hinders his staying
"If he says true," said the captain doubtingly. "But in his
present condition he will promise anything, and take his
chance of keeping it afterwards."
"I will do more than I promise," said Dantes.
"We shall see," returned the other, smiling.
"Where are you going?" asked Dantes.
"Then why, instead of tacking so frequently, do you not sail
nearer the wind?"
"Because we should run straight on to the Island of Rion."
"You shall pass it by twenty fathoms."
"Take the helm, and let us see what you know." The young
man took the helm, felt to see if the vessel answered the
rudder promptly and seeing that, without being a first-rate
sailer, she yet was tolerably obedient, --
"To the sheets," said he. The four seamen, who composed the
crew, obeyed, while the pilot looked on. "Haul taut." -- They
"Belay." This order was also executed; and the vessel passed,
as Dantes had predicted, twenty fathoms to windward.
"Bravo!" said the captain.
"Bravo!" repeated the sailors. And they all looked with
astonishment at this man whose eye now disclosed an
intelligence and his body a vigor they had not thought him
capable of showing.
"You see," said Dantes, quitting the helm, "I shall be of some
use to you, at least during the voyage. If you do not want me
at Leghorn, you can leave me there, and I will pay you out of
the first wages I get, for my food and the clothes you lend
"Ah," said the captain, "we can agree very well, if you are
"Give me what you give the others, and it will be all right,"
"That's not fair," said the seaman who had saved Dantes; "for
you know more than we do."
"What is that to you, Jacopo?" returned the Captain. "Every
one is free to ask what he pleases."
"That's true," replied Jacopo; "I only make a remark."
"Well, you would do much better to find him a jacket and a
pair of trousers, if you have them."
"No," said Jacopo; "but I have a shirt and a pair of trousers."
"That is all I want," interrupted Dantes. Jacopo dived into the
hold and soon returned with what Edmond wanted.
"Now, then, do you wish for anything else?" said the patron.
"A piece of bread and another glass of the capital rum I
tasted, for I have not eaten or drunk for a long time." He had
not tasted food for forty hours. A piece of bread was brought,
and Jacopo offered him the gourd.
"Larboard your helm," cried the captain to the steersman.
Dantes glanced that way as he lifted the gourd to his mouth;
then paused with hand in mid-air.
"Hollo! what's the matter at the Chateau d'If?" said the
A small white cloud, which had attracted Dantes' attention,
crowned the summit of the bastion of the Chateau d'If. At
the same moment the faint report of a gun was heard. The
sailors looked at one another.
"What is this?" asked the captain.
"A prisoner has escaped from the Chateau d'If, and they are
firing the alarm gun," replied Dantes. The captain glanced at
him, but he had lifted the rum to his lips and was drinking it
with so much composure, that suspicions, if the captain had
any, died away.
"At any rate," murmured he, "if it be, so much the better, for I
have made a rare acquisition." Under pretence of being
fatigued, Dantes asked to take the helm; the steersman, glad
to be relieved, looked at the captain, and the latter by a sign
indicated that he might abandon it to his new comrade.
Dantes could thus keep his eyes on Marseilles.
"What is the day of the month?" asked he of Jacopo, who sat
down beside him.
"The 28th of February."
"In what year?"
"In what year -- you ask me in what year?"
"Yes," replied the young man, "I ask you in what year!"
"You have forgotten then?"
"I got such a fright last night," replied Dantes, smiling, "that I
have almost lost my memory. I ask you what year is it?"
"The year 1829," returned Jacopo. It was fourteen years day
for day since Dantes' arrest. He was nineteen when he
entered the Chateau d'If; he was thirty-three when he
escaped. A sorrowful smile passed over his face; he asked
himself what had become of Mercedes, who must believe
him dead. Then his eyes lighted up with hatred as he
thought of the three men who had caused him so long and
wretched a captivity. He renewed against Danglars, Fernand,
and Villefort the oath of implacable vengeance he had made
in his dungeon. This oath was no longer a vain menace; for
the fastest sailer in the Mediterranean would have been
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