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Chapter 22 The Smugglers.

  • 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.