Dantes had not been a day on board before he had a very clear idea of the me_ith whom his lot had been cast. Without having been in the school of the Abb_aria, the worthy master of The Young Amelia (the name of the Genoese tartan)
knew a smattering of all the tongues spoken on the shores of that large lak_alled the Mediterranean, from the Arabic to the Provencal, and this, while i_pared him interpreters, persons always troublesome and frequently indiscreet,
gave him great facilities of communication, either with the vessels he met a_ea, with the small boats sailing along the coast, or with the people withou_ame, country, or occupation, who are always seen on the quays of seaports,
and who live by hidden and mysterious means which we must suppose to be _irect gift of providence, as they have no visible means of support. It i_air to assume that Dantes was on board a smuggler.
At first the captain had received Dantes on board with a certain degree o_istrust. He was very well known to the customs officers of the coast; and a_here was between these worthies and himself a perpetual battle of wits, h_ad at first thought that Dantes might be an emissary of these industriou_uardians of rights and duties, who perhaps employed this ingenious means o_earning some of the secrets of his trade. But the skilful manner in whic_antes had handled the lugger had entirely reassured him; and then, when h_aw the light plume of smoke floating above the bastion of the Chateau d'If,
and heard the distant report, he was instantly struck with the idea that h_ad on board his vessel one whose coming and going, like that of kings, wa_ccompanied with salutes of artillery. This made him less uneasy, it must b_wned, than if the new-comer had proved to be a customs officer; but thi_upposition also disappeared like the first, when he beheld the perfec_ranquillity of his recruit.
Edmond thus had the advantage of knowing what the owner was, without the owne_nowing who he was; and however the old sailor and his crew tried to "pump"
him, they extracted nothing more from him; he gave accurate descriptions o_aples and Malta, which he knew as well as Marseilles, and held stoutly to hi_irst story. Thus the Genoese, subtle as he was, was duped by Edmond, in whos_avor his mild demeanor, his nautical skill, and his admirable dissimulation,
pleaded. Moreover, it is possible that the Genoese was one of those shrew_ersons who know nothing but what they should know, and believe nothing bu_hat they should believe.
In this state of mutual understanding, they reached Leghorn. Here Edmond wa_o undergo another trial; he was to find out whether he could recogniz_imself, as he had not seen his own face for fourteen years. He had preserve_ tolerably good remembrance of what the youth had been, and was now to fin_ut what the man had become. His comrades believed that his vow was fulfilled.
As he had twenty times touched at Leghorn, he remembered a barber in St.
Ferdinand Street; he went there to have his beard and hair cut. The barbe_azed in amazement at this man with the long, thick and black hair and beard,
which gave his head the appearance of one of Titian's portraits. At thi_eriod it was not the fashion to wear so large a beard and hair so long; now _arber would only be surprised if a man gifted with such advantages shoul_onsent voluntarily to deprive himself of them. The Leghorn barber sai_othing and went to work.
When the operation was concluded, and Edmond felt that his chin was completel_mooth, and his hair reduced to its usual length, he asked for a hand-glass.
He was now, as we have said, three-and-thirty years of age, and his fourtee_ears' imprisonment had produced a great transformation in his appearance.
Dantes had entered the Chateau d'If with the round, open, smiling face of _oung and happy man, with whom the early paths of life have been smooth, an_ho anticipates a future corresponding with his past. This was now al_hanged. The oval face was lengthened, his smiling mouth had assumed the fir_nd marked lines which betoken resolution; his eyebrows were arched beneath _row furrowed with thought; his eyes were full of melancholy, and from thei_epths occasionally sparkled gloomy fires of misanthropy and hatred; hi_omplexion, so long kept from the sun, had now that pale color which produces,
when the features are encircled with black hair, the aristocratic beauty o_he man of the north; the profound learning he had acquired had beside_iffused over his features a refined intellectual expression; and he had als_cquired, being naturally of a goodly stature, that vigor which a fram_ossesses which has so long concentrated all its force within itself.
To the elegance of a nervous and slight form had succeeded the solidity of _ounded and muscular figure. As to his voice, prayers, sobs, and imprecation_ad changed it so that at times it was of a singularly penetrating sweetness,
and at others rough and almost hoarse. Moreover, from being so long i_wilight or darkness, his eyes had acquired the faculty of distinguishin_bjects in the night, common to the hyena and the wolf. Edmond smiled when h_eheld himself: it was impossible that his best friend — if, indeed, he ha_ny friend left — could recognize him; he could not recognize himself.
The master of The Young Amelia, who was very desirous of retaining amongst hi_rew a man of Edmond's value, had offered to advance him funds out of hi_uture profits, which Edmond had accepted. His next care on leaving th_arber's who had achieved his first metamorphosis was to enter a shop and bu_ complete sailor's suit — a garb, as we all know, very simple, and consistin_f white trousers, a striped shirt, and a cap. It was in this costume, an_ringing back to Jacopo the shirt and trousers he had lent him, that Edmon_eappeared before the captain of the lugger, who had made him tell his stor_ver and over again before he could believe him, or recognize in the neat an_rim sailor the man with thick and matted beard, hair tangled with seaweed,
and body soaking in seabrine, whom he had picked up naked and nearly drowned.
Attracted by his prepossessing appearance, he renewed his offers of a_ngagement to Dantes; but Dantes, who had his own projects, would not agre_or a longer time than three months.
The Young Amelia had a very active crew, very obedient to their captain, wh_ost as little time as possible. He had scarcely been a week at Leghorn befor_he hold of his vessel was filled with printed muslins, contraband cottons,
English powder, and tobacco on which the excise had forgotten to put its mark.
The master was to get all this out of Leghorn free of duties, and land it o_he shores of Corsica, where certain speculators undertook to forward th_argo to France. They sailed; Edmond was again cleaving the azure sea whic_ad been the first horizon of his youth, and which he had so often dreamed o_n prison. He left Gorgone on his right and La Pianosa on his left, and wen_owards the country of Paoli and Napoleon. The next morning going on deck, a_e always did at an early hour, the patron found Dantes leaning against th_ulwarks gazing with intense earnestness at a pile of granite rocks, which th_ising sun tinged with rosy light. It was the Island of Monte Cristo. Th_oung Amelia left it three-quarters of a league to the larboard, and kept o_or Corsica.
Dantes thought, as they passed so closely to the island whose name was s_nteresting to him, that he had only to leap into the sea and in half an hou_e at the promised land. But then what could he do without instruments t_iscover his treasure, without arms to defend himself? Besides, what would th_ailors say? What would the patron think? He must wait.
Fortunately, Dantes had learned how to wait; he had waited fourteen years fo_is liberty, and now he was free he could wait at least six months or a yea_or wealth. Would he not have accepted liberty without riches if it had bee_ffered to him? Besides, were not those riches chimerical? — offspring of th_rain of the poor Abbe Faria, had they not died with him? It is true, th_etter of the Cardinal Spada was singularly circumstantial, and Dante_epeated it to himself, from one end to the other, for he had not forgotten _ord.
Evening came, and Edmond saw the island tinged with the shades of twilight,
and then disappear in the darkness from all eyes but his own, for he, wit_ision accustomed to the gloom of a prison, continued to behold it last o_ll, for he remained alone upon deck. The next morn broke off the coast o_leria; all day they coasted, and in the evening saw fires lighted on land;
the position of these was no doubt a signal for landing, for a ship's lanter_as hung up at the mast-head instead of the streamer, and they came to withi_ gunshot of the shore. Dantes noticed that the captain of The Young Ameli_ad, as he neared the land, mounted two small culverins, which, without makin_uch noise, can throw a four ounce ball a thousand paces or so.
But on this occasion the precaution was superfluous, and everything proceede_ith the utmost smoothness and politeness. Four shallops came off with ver_ittle noise alongside the lugger, which, no doubt, in acknowledgement of th_ompliment, lowered her own shallop into the sea, and the five boats worked s_ell that by two o'clock in the morning all the cargo was out of The Youn_melia and on terra firma. The same night, such a man of regularity was th_atron of The Young Amelia, the profits were divided, and each man had _undred Tuscan livres, or about eighty francs. But the voyage was not ended.
They turned the bowsprit towards Sardinia, where they intended to take in _argo, which was to replace what had been discharged. The second operation wa_s successful as the first, The Young Amelia was in luck. This new cargo wa_estined for the coast of the Duchy of Lucca, and consisted almost entirely o_avana cigars, sherry, and Malaga wines.
There they had a bit of a skirmish in getting rid of the duties; the excis_as, in truth, the everlasting enemy of the patron of The Young Amelia. _ustoms officer was laid low, and two sailors wounded; Dantes was one of th_atter, a ball having touched him in the left shoulder. Dantes was almost gla_f this affray, and almost pleased at being wounded, for they were rud_essons which taught him with what eye he could view danger, and with wha_ndurance he could bear suffering. He had contemplated danger with a smile,
and when wounded had exclaimed with the great philosopher, "Pain, thou art no_n evil." He had, moreover, looked upon the customs officer wounded to death,
and, whether from heat of blood produced by the encounter, or the chill o_uman sentiment, this sight had made but slight impression upon him. Dante_as on the way he desired to follow, and was moving towards the end he wishe_o achieve; his heart was in a fair way of petrifying in his bosom. Jacopo,
seeing him fall, had believed him killed, and rushing towards him raised hi_p, and then attended to him with all the kindness of a devoted comrade.
This world was not then so good as Doctor Pangloss believed it, neither was i_o wicked as Dantes thought it, since this man, who had nothing to expect fro_is comrade but the inheritance of his share of the prize-money, manifested s_uch sorrow when he saw him fall. Fortunately, as we have said, Edmond wa_nly wounded, and with certain herbs gathered at certain seasons, and sold t_he smugglers by the old Sardinian women, the wound soon closed. Edmond the_esolved to try Jacopo, and offered him in return for his attention a share o_is prize-money, but Jacopo refused it indignantly.
As a result of the sympathetic devotion which Jacopo had from the firs_estowed on Edmond, the latter was moved to a certain degree of affection. Bu_his sufficed for Jacopo, who instinctively felt that Edmond had a right t_uperiority of position — a superiority which Edmond had concealed from al_thers. And from this time the kindness which Edmond showed him was enough fo_he brave seaman.
Then in the long days on board ship, when the vessel, gliding on with securit_ver the azure sea, required no care but the hand of the helmsman, thanks t_he favorable winds that swelled her sails, Edmond, with a chart in his hand,
became the instructor of Jacopo, as the poor Abbe Faria had been his tutor. H_ointed out to him the bearings of the coast, explained to him the variation_f the compass, and taught him to read in that vast book opened over our head_hich they call heaven, and where God writes in azure with letters o_iamonds. And when Jacopo inquired of him, "What is the use of teaching al_hese things to a poor sailor like me?" Edmond replied, "Who knows? You ma_ne day be the captain of a vessel. Your fellow-countryman, Bonaparte, becam_mperor." We had forgotten to say that Jacopo was a Corsican.
Two months and a half elapsed in these trips, and Edmond had become as skilfu_ coaster as he had been a hardy seaman; he had formed an acquaintance wit_ll the smugglers on the coast, and learned all the Masonic signs by whic_hese half pirates recognize each other. He had passed and re-passed hi_sland of Monte Cristo twenty times, but not once had he found an opportunit_f landing there. He then formed a resolution. As soon as his engagement wit_he patron of The Young Amelia ended, he would hire a small vessel on his ow_ccount — for in his several voyages he had amassed a hundred piastres — an_nder some pretext land at the Island of Monte Cristo. Then he would be fre_o make his researches, not perhaps entirely at liberty, for he would b_oubtless watched by those who accompanied him. But in this world we must ris_omething. Prison had made Edmond prudent, and he was desirous of running n_isk whatever. But in vain did he rack his imagination; fertile as it was, h_ould not devise any plan for reaching the island without companionship.
Dantes was tossed about on these doubts and wishes, when the patron, who ha_reat confidence in him, and was very desirous of retaining him in hi_ervice, took him by the arm one evening and led him to a tavern on the Vi_el' Oglio, where the leading smugglers of Leghorn used to congregate an_iscuss affairs connected with their trade. Already Dantes had visited thi_aritime Bourse two or three times, and seeing all these hardy free-traders,
who supplied the whole coast for nearly two hundred leagues in extent, he ha_sked himself what power might not that man attain who should give the impuls_f his will to all these contrary and diverging minds. This time it was _reat matter that was under discussion, connected with a vessel laden wit_urkey carpets, stuffs of the Levant, and cashmeres. It was necessary to fin_ome neutral ground on which an exchange could be made, and then to try an_and these goods on the coast of France. If the venture was successful th_rofit would be enormous, there would be a gain of fifty or sixty piastre_ach for the crew.
The patron of The Young Amelia proposed as a place of landing the Island o_onte Cristo, which being completely deserted, and having neither soldiers no_evenue officers, seemed to have been placed in the midst of the ocean sinc_he time of the heathen Olympus by Mercury, the god of merchants and robbers,
classes of mankind which we in modern times have separated if not mad_istinct, but which antiquity appears to have included in the same category.
At the mention of Monte Cristo Dantes started with joy; he rose to conceal hi_motion, and took a turn around the smoky tavern, where all the languages o_he known world were jumbled in a lingua franca. When he again joined the tw_ersons who had been discussing the matter, it had been decided that the_hould touch at Monte Cristo and set out on the following night. Edmond, bein_onsulted, was of opinion that the island afforded every possible security,
and that great enterprises to be well done should be done quickly. Nothin_hen was altered in the plan, and orders were given to get under weigh nex_ight, and, wind and weather permitting, to make the neutral island by th_ollowing day.