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Chapter 40 The Breakfast.

  • "And what sort of persons do you expect to breakfast?" said Beauchamp.
  • "A gentleman, and a diplomatist."
  • "Then we shall have to wait two hours for the gentleman, and three for th_iplomatist. I shall come back to dessert; keep me some strawberries, coffee, and cigars. I shall take a cutlet on my way to the Chamber."
  • "Do not do anything of the sort; for were the gentleman a Montmorency, and th_iplomatist a Metternich, we will breakfast at eleven; in the meantime, follo_ebray's example, and take a glass of sherry and a biscuit."
  • "Be it so; I will stay; I must do something to distract my thoughts."
  • "You are like Debray, and yet it seems to me that when the minister is out o_pirits, the opposition ought to be joyous."
  • "Ah, you do not know with what I am threatened. I shall hear this morning tha_. Danglars make a speech at the Chamber of Deputies, and at his wife's thi_vening I shall hear the tragedy of a peer of France. The devil take th_onstitutional government, and since we had our choice, as they say, at least, how could we choose that?"
  • "I understand; you must lay in a stock of hilarity."
  • "Do not run down M. Danglars' speeches," said Debray; "he votes for you, fo_e belongs to the opposition."
  • "Pardieu, that is exactly the worst of all. I am waiting until you send him t_peak at the Luxembourg, to laugh at my ease."
  • "My dear friend," said Albert to Beauchamp, "it is plain that the affairs o_pain are settled, for you are most desperately out of humor this morning.
  • Recollect that Parisian gossip has spoken of a marriage between myself an_lle. Eugenie Danglars; I cannot in conscience, therefore, let you run dow_he speeches of a man who will one day say to me, `Vicomte, you know I give m_aughter two millions.'"
  • "Ah, this marriage will never take place," said Beauchamp. "The king has mad_im a baron, and can make him a peer, but he cannot make him a gentleman, an_he Count of Morcerf is too aristocratic to consent, for the paltry sum of tw_illion francs, to a mesalliance. The Viscount of Morcerf can only wed _archioness."
  • "But two million francs make a nice little sum," replied Morcerf.
  • "It is the social capital of a theatre on the boulevard, or a railroad fro_he Jardin des Plantes to La Rapee."
  • "Never mind what he says, Morcerf," said Debray, "do you marry her. You marr_ money-bag label, it is true; well, but what does that matter? It is bette_o have a blazon less and a figure more on it. You have seven martlets on you_rms; give three to your wife, and you will still have four; that is one mor_han M. de Guise had, who so nearly became King of France, and whose cousi_as Emperor of Germany."
  • "On my word, I think you are right, Lucien," said Albert absently.
  • "To be sure; besides, every millionaire is as noble as a bastard — that is, h_an be."
  • "Do not say that, Debray," returned Beauchamp, laughing, "for here is Chateau- Renaud, who, to cure you of your mania for paradoxes, will pass the sword o_enaud de Montauban, his ancestor, through your body."
  • "He will sully it then," returned Lucien; "for I am low — very low."
  • "Oh, heavens," cried Beauchamp, "the minister quotes Beranger, what shall w_ome to next?"
  • "M. de Chateau-Renaud — M. Maximilian Morrel," said the servant, announcin_wo fresh guests.
  • "Now, then, to breakfast," said Beauchamp; "for, if I remember, you told m_ou only expected two persons, Albert."
  • "Morrel," muttered Albert — "Morrel — who is he?" But before he had finished, M. de Chateau-Renaud, a handsome young man of thirty, gentleman all over, — that is, with the figure of a Guiche and the wit of a Mortemart, — too_lbert's hand. "My dear Albert," said he, "let me introduce to you M.
  • Maximilian Morrel, captain of Spahis, my friend; and what is more — howeve_he man speaks for himself —-my preserver. Salute my hero, viscount." And h_tepped on one side to give place to a young man of refined and dignifie_earing, with large and open brow, piercing eyes, and black mustache, whom ou_eaders have already seen at Marseilles, under circumstances sufficientl_ramatic not to be forgotten. A rich uniform, half French, half Oriental, se_ff his graceful and stalwart figure, and his broad chest was decorated wit_he order of the Legion of Honor. The young officer bowed with easy an_legant politeness. "Monsieur," said Albert with affectionate courtesy, "th_ount of Chateau-Renaud knew how much pleasure this introduction would giv_e; you are his friend, be ours also."
  • "Well said," interrupted Chateau-Renaud; "and pray that, if you should ever b_n a similar predicament, he may do as much for you as he did for me."
  • "What has he done?" asked Albert.
  • "Oh, nothing worth speaking of," said Morrel; "M. de Chateau-Renau_xaggerates."
  • "Not worth speaking of?" cried Chateau-Renaud; "life is not worth speaking of!
  • — that is rather too philosophical, on my word, Morrel. It is very well fo_ou, who risk your life every day, but for me, who only did so once" —
  • "We gather from all this, baron, that Captain Morrel saved your life."
  • "Exactly so."
  • "On what occasion?" asked Beauchamp.
  • "Beauchamp, my good fellow, you know I am starving," said Debray: "do not se_im off on some long story."
  • "Well, I do not prevent your sitting down to table," replied Beauchamp,
  • "Chateau-Renaud can tell us while we eat our breakfast."
  • "Gentlemen," said Morcerf, "it is only a quarter past ten, and I expect som_ne else."
  • "Ah, true, a diplomatist!" observed Debray.
  • "Diplomat or not, I don't know; I only know that he charged himself on m_ccount with a mission, which he terminated so entirely to my satisfaction, that had I been king, I should have instantly created him knight of all m_rders, even had I been able to offer him the Golden Fleece and the Garter."
  • "Well, since we are not to sit down to table," said Debray, "take a glass o_herry, and tell us all about it."
  • "You all know that I had the fancy of going to Africa."
  • "It is a road your ancestors have traced for you," said Albert gallantly.
  • "Yes? but I doubt that your object was like theirs — to rescue the Hol_epulchre."
  • "You are quite right, Beauchamp," observed the young aristocrat. "It was onl_o fight as an amateur. I cannot bear duelling since two seconds, whom I ha_hosen to arrange an affair, forced me to break the arm of one of my bes_riends, one whom you all know — poor Franz d'Epinay."
  • "Ah, true," said Debray, "you did fight some time ago; about what?"
  • "The devil take me, if I remember," returned Chateau-Renaud. "But I recollec_erfectly one thing, that, being unwilling to let such talents as mine sleep, I wished to try upon the Arabs the new pistols that had been given to me. I_onsequence I embarked for Oran, and went from thence to Constantine, where _rrived just in time to witness the raising of the siege. I retreated with th_est, for eight and forty hours. I endured the rain during the day, and th_old during the night tolerably well, but the third morning my horse died o_old. Poor brute — accustomed to be covered up and to have a stove in th_table, the Arabian finds himself unable to bear ten degrees of cold i_rabia."
  • "That's why you want to purchase my English horse," said Debray, "you think h_ill bear the cold better."
  • "You are mistaken, for I have made a vow never to return to Africa."
  • "You were very much frightened, then?" asked Beauchamp.
  • "Well, yes, and I had good reason to be so," replied Chateau-Renaud. "I wa_etreating on foot, for my horse was dead. Six Arabs came up, full gallop, t_ut off my head. I shot two with my double-barrelled gun, and two more with m_istols, but I was then disarmed, and two were still left; one seized me b_he hair (that is why I now wear it so short, for no one knows what ma_appen), the other swung a yataghan, and I already felt the cold steel on m_eck, when this gentleman whom you see here charged them, shot the one wh_eld me by the hair, and cleft the skull of the other with his sabre. He ha_ssigned himself the task of saving a man's life that day; chance caused tha_an to be myself. When I am rich I will order a statue of Chance from Klagman_r Marochetti."
  • "Yes," said Morrel, smiling, "it was the 5th of September, the anniversary o_he day on which my father was miraculously preserved; therefore, as far as i_ies in my power, I endeavor to celebrate it by some" —
  • "Heroic action," interrupted Chateau-Renaud. "I was chosen. But that is no_ll — after rescuing me from the sword, he rescued me from the cold, not b_haring his cloak with me, like St. Martin, but by giving me the whole; the_rom hunger by sharing with me — guess what?"
  • "A Strasbourg pie?" asked Beauchamp.
  • "No, his horse; of which we each of us ate a slice with a hearty appetite. I_as very hard."
  • "The horse?" said Morcerf, laughing.
  • "No, the sacrifice," returned Chateau-Renaud; "ask Debray if he woul_acrifice his English steed for a stranger?"
  • "Not for a stranger," said Debray, "but for a friend I might, perhaps."
  • "I divined that you would become mine, count," replied Morrel; "besides, as _ad the honor to tell you, heroism or not, sacrifice or not, that day I owe_n offering to bad fortune in recompense for the favors good fortune had o_ther days granted to us."
  • "The history to which M. Morrel alludes," continued Chateau-Renaud, "is a_dmirable one, which he will tell you some day when you are better acquainte_ith him; to-day let us fill our stomachs, and not our memories. What time d_ou breakfast, Albert?"
  • "At half-past ten."
  • "Precisely?" asked Debray, taking out his watch.
  • "Oh, you will give me five minutes' grace," replied Morcerf, "for I als_xpect a preserver."
  • "Of whom?"
  • "Of myself," cried Morcerf; "parbleu, do you think I cannot be saved as wel_s any one else, and that there are only Arabs who cut off heads? Ou_reakfast is a philanthropic one, and we shall have at table — at least, _ope so — two benefactors of humanity."
  • "What shall we do?" said Debray; "we have only one Monthyon prize."
  • "Well, it will be given to some one who has done nothing to deserve it," sai_eauchamp; "that is the way the Academy mostly escapes from the dilemma."
  • "And where does he come from?" asked Debray. "You have already answered th_uestion once, but so vaguely that I venture to put it a second time."
  • "Really," said Albert, "I do not know; when I invited him three months ago, h_as then at Rome, but since that time who knows where he may have gone?"
  • "And you think him capable of being exact?" demanded Debray.
  • "I think him capable of everything."
  • "Well, with the five minutes' grace, we have only ten left."
  • "I will profit by them to tell you something about my guest."
  • "I beg pardon," interrupted Beauchamp; "are there any materials for an articl_n what you are going to tell us?"
  • "Yes, and for a most curious one."
  • "Go on, then, for I see I shall not get to the Chamber this morning, and _ust make up for it."
  • "I was at Rome during the last Carnival."
  • "We know that," said Beauchamp.
  • "Yes, but what you do not know is that I was carried off by bandits."
  • "There are no bandits," cried Debray.
  • "Yes there are, and most hideous, or rather most admirable ones, for I foun_hem ugly enough to frighten me."
  • "Come, my dear Albert," said Debray, "confess that your cook is behindhand, that the oysters have not arrived from Ostend or Marennes, and that, lik_adame de Maintenon, you are going to replace the dish by a story. Say so a_nce; we are sufficiently well-bred to excuse you, and to listen to you_istory, fabulous as it promises to be."
  • "And I say to you, fabulous as it may seem, I tell it as a true one fro_eginning to end. The brigands had carried me off, and conducted me to _loomy spot, called the Catacombs of Saint Sebastian."
  • "I know it," said Chateau-Renaud; "I narrowly escaped catching a fever there."
  • "And I did more than that," replied Morcerf, "for I caught one. I was informe_hat I was prisoner until I paid the sum of 4,000 Roman crowns — about 24,00_rancs. Unfortunately, I had not above 1,500. I was at the end of my journe_nd of my credit. I wrote to Franz — and were he here he would confirm ever_ord — I wrote then to Franz that if he did not come with the four thousan_rowns before six, at ten minutes past I should have gone to join the blesse_aints and glorious martyrs in whose company I had the honor of being; an_ignor Luigi Vampa, such was the name of the chief of these bandits, woul_ave scrupulously kept his word."
  • "But Franz did come with the four thousand crowns," said Chateau-Renaud. "_an whose name is Franz d'Epinay or Albert de Morcerf has not much difficult_n procuring them."
  • "No, he arrived accompanied simply by the guest I am going to present to you."
  • "Ah, this gentleman is a Hercules killing Cacus, a Perseus freeing Andromeda."
  • "No, he is a man about my own size."
  • "Armed to the teeth?"
  • "He had not even a knitting-needle."
  • "But he paid your ransom?"
  • "He said two words to the chief and I was free."
  • "And they apologized to him for having carried you off?" said Beauchamp.
  • "Just so."
  • "Why, he is a second Ariosto."
  • "No, his name is the Count of Monte Cristo."
  • "There is no Count of Monte Cristo" said Debray.
  • "I do not think so," added Chateau-Renaud, with the air of a man who knows th_hole of the European nobility perfectly.
  • "Does any one know anything of a Count of Monte Cristo?"
  • "He comes possibly from the Holy Land, and one of his ancestors possesse_alvary, as the Mortemarts did the Dead Sea."
  • "I think I can assist your researches," said Maximilian. "Monte Cristo is _ittle island I have often heard spoken of by the old sailors my fathe_mployed — a grain of sand in the centre of the Mediterranean, an atom in th_nfinite."
  • "Precisely!" cried Albert. "Well, he of whom I speak is the lord and master o_his grain of sand, of this atom; he has purchased the title of coun_omewhere in Tuscany."
  • "He is rich, then?"
  • "I believe so."
  • "But that ought to be visible."
  • "That is what deceives you, Debray."
  • "I do not understand you."
  • "Have you read the `Arabian Nights'?"
  • "What a question!"
  • "Well, do you know if the persons you see there are rich or poor, if thei_acks of wheat are not rubies or diamonds? They seem like poor fishermen, an_uddenly they open some mysterious cavern filled with the wealth of th_ndies."
  • "Which means?"
  • "Which means that my Count of Monte Cristo is one of those fishermen. He ha_ven a name taken from the book, since he calls himself Sinbad the Sailor, an_as a cave filled with gold."
  • "And you have seen this cavern, Morcerf?" asked Beauchamp.
  • "No, but Franz has; for heaven's sake, not a word of this before him. Fran_ent in with his eyes blindfolded, and was waited on by mutes and by women t_hom Cleopatra was a painted strumpet. Only he is not quite sure about th_omen, for they did not come in until after he had taken hashish, so that wha_e took for women might have been simply a row of statues."
  • The two young men looked at Morcerf as if to say, — "Are you mad, or are yo_aughing at us?"
  • "And I also," said Morrel thoughtfully, "have heard something like this fro_n old sailor named Penelon."
  • "Ah," cried Albert, "it is very lucky that M. Morrel comes to aid me; you ar_exed, are you not, that he thus gives a clew to the labyrinth?"
  • "My dear Albert," said Debray, "what you tell us is so extraordinary."
  • "Ah, because your ambassadors and your consuls do not tell you of them — the_ave no time. They are too much taken up with interfering in the affairs o_heir countrymen who travel."
  • "Now you get angry, and attack our poor agents. How will you have them protec_ou? The Chamber cuts down their salaries every day, so that now they hav_carcely any. Will you be ambassador, Albert? I will send you t_onstantinople."
  • "No, lest on the first demonstration I make in favor of Mehemet Ali, th_ultan send me the bowstring, and make my secretaries strangle me."
  • "You say very true," responded Debray.
  • "Yes," said Albert, "but this has nothing to do with the existence of th_ount of Monte Cristo."
  • "Pardieu, every one exists."
  • "Doubtless, but not in the same way; every one has not black slaves, _rincely retinue, an arsenal of weapons that would do credit to an Arabia_ortress, horses that cost six thousand francs apiece, and Greek mistresses."
  • "Have you seen the Greek mistress?"
  • "I have both seen and heard her. I saw her at the theatre, and heard her on_orning when I breakfasted with the count."
  • "He eats, then?"
  • "Yes; but so little, it can hardly be called eating."
  • "He must be a vampire."
  • "Laugh, if you will; the Countess G—— , who knew Lord Ruthven, declared tha_he count was a vampire."
  • "Ah, capital," said Beauchamp. "For a man not connected with newspapers, her_s the pendant to the famous sea-serpent of the Constitutionnel."
  • "Wild eyes, the iris of which contracts or dilates at pleasure," said Debray;
  • "facial angle strongly developed, magnificent forehead, livid complexion, black beard, sharp and white teeth, politeness unexceptionable."
  • "Just so, Lucien," returned Morcerf; "you have described him feature fo_eature. Yes, keen and cutting politeness. This man has often made me shudder; and one day that we were viewing an execution, I thought I should faint, mor_rom hearing the cold and calm manner in which he spoke of every descriptio_f torture, than from the sight of the executioner and the culprit."
  • "Did he not conduct you to the ruins of the Colosseum and suck your blood?"
  • asked Beauchamp.
  • "Or, having delivered you, make you sign a flaming parchment, surrenderin_our soul to him as Esau did his birth-right?"
  • "Rail on, rail on at your ease, gentlemen," said Morcerf, somewhat piqued.
  • "When I look at you Parisians, idlers on the Boulevard de Gand or the Bois d_oulogne, and think of this man, it seems to me we are not of the same race."
  • "I am highly flattered," returned Beauchamp. "At the same time," adde_hateau-Renaud, "your Count of Monte Cristo is a very fine fellow, alway_xcepting his little arrangements with the Italian banditti."
  • "There are no Italian banditti," said Debray.
  • "No vampire," cried Beauchamp. "No Count of Monte Cristo" added Debray. "Ther_s half-past ten striking, Albert."
  • "Confess you have dreamed this, and let us sit down to breakfast," continue_eauchamp. But the sound of the clock had not died away when Germai_nnounced, "His excellency the Count of Monte Cristo." The involuntary star_very one gave proved how much Morcerf's narrative had impressed them, an_lbert himself could not wholly refrain from manifesting sudden emotion. H_ad not heard a carriage stop in the street, or steps in the ante-chamber; th_oor had itself opened noiselessly. The count appeared, dressed with th_reatest simplicity, but the most fastidious dandy could have found nothing t_avil at in his toilet. Every article of dress — hat, coat, gloves, and boots — was from the first makers. He seemed scarcely five and thirty. But wha_truck everybody was his extreme resemblance to the portrait Debray had drawn.
  • The count advanced, smiling, into the centre of the room, and approache_lbert, who hastened towards him holding out his hand in a ceremonial manner.
  • "Punctuality," said Monte Cristo, "is the politeness of kings, according t_ne of your sovereigns, I think; but it is not the same with travellers.
  • However, I hope you will excuse the two or three seconds I am behindhand; fiv_undred leagues are not to be accomplished without some trouble, an_specially in France, where, it seems, it is forbidden to beat th_ostilions."
  • "My dear count," replied Albert, "I was announcing your visit to some of m_riends, whom I had invited in consequence of the promise you did me the hono_o make, and whom I now present to you. They are the Count of Chateau-Renaud, whose nobility goes back to the twelve peers, and whose ancestors had a plac_t the Round Table; M. Lucien Debray, private secretary to the minister of th_nterior; M. Beauchamp, an editor of a paper, and the terror of the Frenc_overnment, but of whom, in spite of his national celebrity, you perhaps hav_ot heard in Italy, since his paper is prohibited there; and M. Maximilia_orrel, captain of Spahis."
  • At this name the count, who had hitherto saluted every one with courtesy, bu_t the same time with coldness and formality, stepped a pace forward, and _light tinge of red colored his pale cheeks. "You wear the uniform of the ne_rench conquerors, monsieur," said he; "it is a handsome uniform." No on_ould have said what caused the count's voice to vibrate so deeply, and wha_ade his eye flash, which was in general so clear, lustrous, and limpid whe_e pleased. "You have never seen our Africans, count?" said Albert. "Never,"
  • replied the count, who was by this time perfectly master of himself again.
  • "Well, beneath this uniform beats one of the bravest and noblest hearts in th_hole army."
  • "Oh, M. de Morcerf," interrupted Morrel.
  • "Let me go on, captain. And we have just heard," continued Albert, "of a ne_eed of his, and so heroic a one, that, although I have seen him to-day fo_he first time, I request you to allow me to introduce him as my friend." A_hese words it was still possible to observe in Monte Cristo the concentrate_ook, changing color, and slight trembling of the eyelid that show emotion.
  • "Ah, you have a noble heart," said the count; "so much the better." Thi_xclamation, which corresponded to the count's own thought rather than to wha_lbert was saying, surprised everybody, and especially Morrel, who looked a_onte Cristo with wonder. But, at the same time, the intonation was so sof_hat, however strange the speech might seem, it was impossible to be offende_t it. "Why should he doubt it?" said Beauchamp to Chateau-Renaud.
  • "In reality," replied the latter, who, with his aristocratic glance and hi_nowledge of the world, had penetrated at once all that was penetrable i_onte Cristo, "Albert has not deceived us, for the count is a most singula_eing. What say you, Morrel!"
  • "Ma foi, he has an open look about him that pleases me, in spite of th_ingular remark he has made about me."
  • "Gentlemen," said Albert, "Germain informs me that breakfast is ready. My dea_ount, allow me to show you the way." They passed silently into the breakfast- room, and every one took his place. "Gentlemen," said the count, seatin_imself, "permit me to make a confession which must form my excuse for an_mproprieties I may commit. I am a stranger, and a stranger to such a degree, that this is the first time I have ever been at Paris. The French way o_iving is utterly unknown to me, and up to the present time I have followe_he Eastern customs, which are entirely in contrast to the Parisian. I be_ou, therefore, to excuse if you find anything in me too Turkish, too Italian, or too Arabian. Now, then, let us breakfast."
  • "With what an air he says all this," muttered Beauchamp; "decidedly he is _reat man."
  • "A great man in his own country," added Debray.
  • "A great man in every country, M. Debray," said Chateau-Renaud. The count was, it may be remembered, a most temperate guest. Albert remarked this, expressin_is fears lest, at the outset, the Parisian mode of life should displease th_raveller in the most essential point. "My dear count," said he, "I fear on_hing, and that is, that the fare of the Rue du Helder is not so much to you_aste as that of the Piazza di Spagni. I ought to have consulted you on th_oint, and have had some dishes prepared expressly."
  • "Did you know me better," returned the count, smiling, "you would not give on_hought of such a thing for a traveller like myself, who has successivel_ived on maccaroni at Naples, polenta at Milan, olla podrida at Valencia, pilau at Constantinople, karrick in India, and swallows' nests in China. I ea_verywhere, and of everything, only I eat but little; and to-day, that yo_eproach me with my want of appetite, is my day of appetite, for I have no_aten since yesterday morning."
  • "What," cried all the guests, "you have not eaten for four and twenty hours?"
  • "No," replied the count; "I was forced to go out of my road to obtain som_nformation near Nimes, so that I was somewhat late, and therefore I did no_hoose to stop."
  • "And you ate in your carriage?" asked Morcerf.
  • "No, I slept, as I generally do when I am weary without having the courage t_muse myself, or when I am hungry without feeling inclined to eat."
  • "But you can sleep when you please, monsieur?" said Morrel.
  • "Yes."
  • "You have a recipe for it?"
  • "An infallible one."
  • "That would be invaluable to us in Africa, who have not always any food t_at, and rarely anything to drink."
  • "Yes," said Monte Cristo; "but, unfortunately, a recipe excellent for a ma_ike myself would be very dangerous applied to an army, which might not awak_hen it was needed."
  • "May we inquire what is this recipe?" asked Debray.
  • "Oh, yes," returned Monte Cristo; "I make no secret of it. It is a mixture o_xcellent opium, which I fetched myself from Canton in order to have it pure, and the best hashish which grows in the East — that is, between the Tigris an_he Euphrates. These two ingredients are mixed in equal proportions, an_ormed into pills. Ten minutes after one is taken, the effect is produced. As_aron Franz d'Epinay; I think he tasted them one day."
  • "Yes," replied Morcerf, "he said something about it to me."
  • "But," said Beauchamp, who, as became a journalist, was very incredulous, "yo_lways carry this drug about you?"
  • "Always."
  • "Would it be an indiscretion to ask to see those precious pills?" continue_eauchamp, hoping to take him at a disadvantage.
  • "No, monsieur," returned the count; and he drew from his pocket a marvellou_asket, formed out of a single emerald and closed by a golden lid whic_nscrewed and gave passage to a small greenish colored pellet about the siz_f a pea. This ball had an acrid and penetrating odor. There were four or fiv_ore in the emerald, which would contain about a dozen. The casket passe_round the table, but it was more to examine the admirable emerald than to se_he pills that it passed from hand to hand. "And is it your cook who prepare_hese pills?" asked Beauchamp.
  • "Oh, no, monsieur," replied Monte Cristo; "I do not thus betray my enjoyment_o the vulgar. I am a tolerable chemist, and prepare my pills myself."
  • "This is a magnificent emerald, and the largest I have ever seen," sai_hateau-Renaud, "although my mother has some remarkable family jewels."
  • "I had three similar ones," returned Monte Cristo. "I gave one to the Sultan, who mounted it in his sabre; another to our holy father the Pope, who had i_et in his tiara, opposite to one nearly as large, though not so fine, give_y the Emperor Napoleon to his predecessor, Pius VII. I kept the third fo_yself, and I had it hollowed out, which reduced its value, but rendered i_ore commodious for the purpose I intended." Every one looked at Monte Crist_ith astonishment; he spoke with so much simplicity that it was evident h_poke the truth, or that he was mad. However, the sight of the emerald mad_hem naturally incline to the former belief. "And what did these tw_overeigns give you in exchange for these magnificent presents?" asked Debray.
  • "The Sultan, the liberty of a woman," replied the Count; "the Pope, the lif_f a man; so that once in my life I have been as powerful as if heaven ha_rought me into the world on the steps of a throne."
  • "And it was Peppino you saved, was it not?" cried Morcerf; "it was for hi_hat you obtained pardon?"
  • "Perhaps," returned the count, smiling.
  • "My dear count, you have no idea what pleasure it gives me to hear you spea_hus," said Morcerf. "I had announced you beforehand to my friends as a_nchanter of the `Arabian Nights,' a wizard of the Middle Ages; but th_arisians are so subtle in paradoxes that they mistake for caprices of th_magination the most incontestable truths, when these truths do not form _art of their daily existence. For example, here is Debray who reads, an_eauchamp who prints, every day, `A member of the Jockey Club has been stoppe_nd robbed on the Boulevard;' `four persons have been assassinated in the Ru_t. Denis' or `the Faubourg St. Germain;' `ten, fifteen, or twenty thieves, have been arrested in a cafe on the Boulevard du Temple, or in the Thermes d_ulien,' — and yet these same men deny the existence of the bandits in th_aremma, the Campagna di Romana, or the Pontine Marshes. Tell them yoursel_hat I was taken by bandits, and that without your generous intercession _hould now have been sleeping in the Catacombs of St. Sebastian, instead o_eceiving them in my humble abode in the Rue du Helder."
  • "Ah," said Monte Cristo "you promised me never to mention that circumstance."
  • "It was not I who made that promise," cried Morcerf; "it must have been som_ne else whom you have rescued in the same manner, and whom you hav_orgotten. Pray speak of it, for I shall not only, I trust, relate the littl_ do know, but also a great deal I do not know."
  • "It seems to me," returned the count, smiling, "that you played a sufficientl_mportant part to know as well as myself what happened."
  • "Well, you promise me, if I tell all I know, to relate, in your turn, all tha_ do not know?"
  • "That is but fair," replied Monte Cristo.
  • "Well," said Morcerf, "for three days I believed myself the object of th_ttentions of a masque, whom I took for a descendant of Tullia or Poppoea, while I was simply the object of the attentions of a contadina, and I sa_ontadina to avoid saying peasant girl. What I know is, that, like a fool, _reater fool than he of whom I spoke just now, I mistook for this peasant gir_ young bandit of fifteen or sixteen, with a beardless chin and slim waist, and who, just as I was about to imprint a chaste salute on his lips, placed _istol to my head, and, aided by seven or eight others, led, or rather dragge_e, to the Catacombs of St. Sebastian, where I found a highly educated brigan_hief perusing Caesar's `Commentaries,' and who deigned to leave off readin_o inform me, that unless the next morning, before six o'clock, four thousan_iastres were paid into his account at his banker's, at a quarter past six _hould have ceased to exist. The letter is still to be seen, for it is i_ranz d'Epinay's possession, signed by me, and with a postscript of M. Luig_ampa. This is all I know, but I know not, count, how you contrived to inspir_o much respect in the bandits of Rome who ordinarily have so little respec_or anything. I assure you, Franz and I were lost in admiration."
  • "Nothing more simple," returned the count. "I had known the famous Vampa fo_ore than ten years. When he was quite a child, and only a shepherd, I gav_im a few gold pieces for showing me my way, and he, in order to repay me, gave me a poniard, the hilt of which he had carved with his own hand, an_hich you may have seen in my collection of arms. In after years, whether h_ad forgotten this interchange of presents, which ought to have cemented ou_riendship, or whether he did not recollect me, he sought to take me, but, o_he contrary, it was I who captured him and a dozen of his band. I might hav_anded him over to Roman justice, which is somewhat expeditious, and whic_ould have been particularly so with him; but I did nothing of the sort — _uffered him and his band to depart."
  • "With the condition that they should sin no more," said Beauchamp, laughing.
  • "I see they kept their promise."
  • "No, monsieur," returned Monte Cristo "upon the simple condition that the_hould respect myself and my friends. Perhaps what I am about to say may see_trange to you, who are socialists, and vaunt humanity and your duty to you_eighbor, but I never seek to protect a society which does not protect me, an_hich I will even say, generally occupies itself about me only to injure me; and thus by giving them a low place in my esteem, and preserving a neutralit_owards them, it is society and my neighbor who are indebted to me."
  • "Bravo," cried Chateau-Renaud; "you are the first man I ever met sufficientl_ourageous to preach egotism. Bravo, count, bravo!"
  • "It is frank, at least," said Morrel. "But I am sure that the count does no_egret having once deviated from the principles he has so boldly avowed."
  • "How have I deviated from those principles, monsieur?" asked Monte Cristo, wh_ould not help looking at Morrel with so much intensity, that two or thre_imes the young man had been unable to sustain that clear and piercing glance.
  • "Why, it seems to me," replied Morrel, "that in delivering M. de Morcerf, who_ou did not know, you did good to your neighbor and to society."
  • "Of which he is the brightest ornament," said Beauchamp, drinking off a glas_f champagne.
  • "My dear count," cried Morcerf, "you are at fault — you, one of the mos_ormidable logicians I know — and you must see it clearly proved that instea_f being an egotist, you are a philanthropist. Ah, you call yourself Oriental, a Levantine, Maltese, Indian, Chinese; your family name is Monte Cristo; Sinbad the Sailor is your baptismal appellation, and yet the first day you se_oot in Paris you instinctively display the greatest virtue, or rather th_hief defect, of us eccentric Parisians, — that is, you assume the vices yo_ave not, and conceal the virtues you possess."
  • "My dear vicomte," returned Monte Cristo, "I do not see, in all I have done, anything that merits, either from you or these gentlemen, the pretende_ulogies I have received. You were no stranger to me, for I knew you from th_ime I gave up two rooms to you, invited you to breakfast with me, lent yo_ne of my carriages, witnessed the Carnival in your company, and saw with yo_rom a window in the Piazza del Popolo the execution that affected you so muc_hat you nearly fainted. I will appeal to any of these gentlemen, could _eave my guest in the hands of a hideous bandit, as you term him? Besides, yo_now, I had the idea that you could introduce me into some of the Paris salon_hen I came to France. You might some time ago have looked upon thi_esolution as a vague project, but to-day you see it was a reality, and yo_ust submit to it under penalty of breaking your word."
  • "I will keep it," returned Morcerf; "but I fear that you will be muc_isappointed, accustomed as you are to picturesque events and fantasti_orizons. Amongst us you will not meet with any of those episodes with whic_our adventurous existence has so familiarized you; our Chimborazo i_ortmartre, our Himalaya is Mount Valerien, our Great Desert is the plain o_renelle, where they are now boring an artesian well to water the caravans. W_ave plenty of thieves, though not so many as is said; but these thieves stan_n far more dread of a policeman than a lord. France is so prosaic, and Pari_o civilized a city, that you will not find in its eighty-five departments — _ay eighty-five, because I do not include Corsica — you will not find, then, in these eighty-five departments a single hill on which there is not _elegraph, or a grotto in which the commissary of police has not put up _aslamp. There is but one service I can render you, and for that I plac_yself entirely at your orders, that is, to present, or make my friend_resent, you everywhere; besides, you have no need of any one to introduce you — with your name, and your fortune, and your talent" (Monte Cristo bowed wit_ somewhat ironical smile) "you can present yourself everywhere, and be wel_eceived. I can be useful in one way only — if knowledge of Parisian habits, of the means of rendering yourself comfortable, or of the bazaars, can assist, you may depend upon me to find you a fitting dwelling here. I do not dar_ffer to share my apartments with you, as I shared yours at Rome — I, who d_ot profess egotism, but am yet egotist par excellence; for, except myself, these rooms would not hold a shadow more, unless that shadow were feminine."
  • "Ah," said the count, "that is a most conjugal reservation; I recollect tha_t Rome you said something of a projected marriage. May I congratulate you?"
  • "The affair is still in projection."
  • "And he who says in `projection,' means already decided," said Debray.
  • "No," replied Morcerf, "my father is most anxious about it; and I hope, er_ong, to introduce you, if not to my wife, at least to my betrothed — Mademoiselle Eugenie Danglars."
  • "Eugenie Danglars," said Monte Cristo; "tell me, is not her father Baro_anglars?"
  • "Yes," returned Morcerf, "a baron of a new creation."
  • "What matter," said Monte Cristo "if he has rendered the State services whic_erit this distinction?"
  • "Enormous ones," answered Beauchamp. "Although in reality a Liberal, h_egotiated a loan of six millions for Charles X., in 1829, who made him _aron and chevalier of the Legion of Honor; so that he wears the ribbon, not, as you would think, in his waistcoat-pocket, but at his button-hole."
  • "Ah," interrupted Morcerf, laughing, "Beauchamp, Beauchamp, keep that for th_orsaire or the Charivari, but spare my future father-in-law before me." Then, turning to Monte Cristo, "You just now spoke his name as if you knew th_aron?"
  • "I do not know him," returned Monte Cristo; "but I shall probably soon mak_is acquaintance, for I have a credit opened with him by the house of Richard & Blount, of London, Arstein & Eskeles of Vienna, and Thomson & French a_ome." As he pronounced the two last names, the count glanced at Maximilia_orrel. If the stranger expected to produce an effect on Morrel, he was no_istaken — Maximilian started as if he had been electrified. "Thomson & French," said he; "do you know this house, monsieur?"
  • "They are my bankers in the capital of the Christian world," returned th_ount quietly. "Can my influence with them be of any service to you?"
  • "Oh, count, you could assist me perhaps in researches which have been, up t_he present, fruitless. This house, in past years, did ours a great service, and has, I know not for what reason, always denied having rendered us thi_ervice."
  • "I shall be at your orders," said Monte Cristo bowing.
  • "But," continued Morcerf, "a propos of Danglars, — we have strangely wandere_rom the subject. We were speaking of a suitable habitation for the Count o_onte Cristo. Come, gentlemen, let us all propose some place. Where shall w_odge this new guest in our great capital?"
  • "Faubourg Saint-Germain," said Chateau-Renaud. "The count will find there _harming hotel, with a court and garden."
  • "Bah, Chateau-Renaud," returned Debray, "you only know your dull and gloom_aubourg Saint-Germain; do not pay any attention to him, count — live in th_haussee d'Antin, that's the real centre of Paris."
  • "Boulevard de l'Opera," said Beauchamp; "the second floor — a house with _alcony. The count will have his cushions of silver cloth brought there, an_s he smokes his chibouque, see all Paris pass before him."
  • "You have no idea, then, Morrel?" asked Chateau-Renaud; "you do not propos_nything."
  • "Oh, yes," returned the young man, smiling; "on the contrary, I have one, bu_ expected the count would be tempted by one of the brilliant proposals mad_im, yet as he has not replied to any of them, I will venture to offer him _uite of apartments in a charming hotel, in the Pompadour style, that m_ister has inhabited for a year, in the Rue Meslay."
  • "You have a sister?" asked the count.
  • "Yes, monsieur, a most excellent sister."
  • "Married?"
  • "Nearly nine years."
  • "Happy?" asked the count again.
  • "As happy as it is permitted to a human creature to be," replied Maximilian.
  • "She married the man she loved, who remained faithful to us in our falle_ortunes — Emmanuel Herbaut." Monte Cristo smiled imperceptibly. "I live ther_uring my leave of absence," continued Maximilian; "and I shall be, togethe_ith my brother-in-law Emmanuel, at the disposition of the Count, whenever h_hinks fit to honor us."
  • "One minute," cried Albert, without giving Monte Cristo the time to reply.
  • "Take care, you are going to immure a traveller, Sinbad the Sailor, a man wh_omes to see Paris; you are going to make a patriarch of him."
  • "Oh, no," said Morrel; "my sister is five and twenty, my brother-in-law i_hirty, they are gay, young, and happy. Besides, the count will be in his ow_ouse, and only see them when he thinks fit to do so."
  • "Thanks, monsieur," said Monte Cristo; "I shall content myself with bein_resented to your sister and her husband, if you will do me the honor t_ntroduce me; but I cannot accept the offer of any one of these gentlemen, since my habitation is already prepared."
  • "What," cried Morcerf; "you are, then, going to an hotel — that will be ver_ull for you."
  • "Was I so badly lodged at Rome?" said Monte Cristo smiling.
  • "Parbleu, at Rome you spent fifty thousand piastres in furnishing you_partments, but I presume that you are not disposed to spend a similar su_very day."
  • "It is not that which deterred me," replied Monte Cristo; "but as I determine_o have a house to myself, I sent on my valet de chambre, and he ought by thi_ime to have bought the house and furnished it."
  • "But you have, then, a valet de chambre who knows Paris?" said Beauchamp.
  • "It is the first time he has ever been in Paris. He is black, and canno_peak," returned Monte Cristo.
  • "It is Ali!" cried Albert, in the midst of the general surprise.
  • "Yes, Ali himself, my Nubian mute, whom you saw, I think, at Rome."
  • "Certainly," said Morcerf; "I recollect him perfectly. But how could yo_harge a Nubian to purchase a house, and a mute to furnish it? — he will d_verything wrong."
  • "Undeceive yourself, monsieur," replied Monte Cristo; "I am quite sure, that, on the contrary, he will choose everything as I wish. He knows my tastes, m_aprices, my wants. He has been here a week, with the instinct of a hound, hunting by himself. He will arrange everything for me. He knew, that I shoul_rrive to-day at ten o'clock; he was waiting for me at nine at the Barriere d_ontainebleau. He gave me this paper; it contains the number of my new abode; read it yourself," and Monte Cristo passed a paper to Albert. "Ah, that i_eally original," said Beauchamp.
  • "And very princely," added Chateau-Renaud.
  • "What, do you not know your house?" asked Debray.
  • "No," said Monte Cristo; "I told you I did not wish to be behind my time; _ressed myself in the carriage, and descended at the viscount's door." Th_oung men looked at each other; they did not know if it was a comedy Mont_risto was playing, but every word he uttered had such an air of simplicity, that it was impossible to suppose what he said was false — besides, why shoul_e tell a falsehood? "We must content ourselves, then," said Beauchamp, "wit_endering the count all the little services in our power. I, in my quality o_ournalist, open all the theatres to him."
  • "Thanks, monsieur," returned Monte Cristo, "my steward has orders to take _ox at each theatre."
  • "Is your steward also a Nubian?" asked Debray.
  • "No, he is a countryman of yours, if a Corsican is a countryman of any one's.
  • But you know him, M. de Morcerf."
  • "Is it that excellent M. Bertuccio, who understands hiring windows so well?"
  • "Yes, you saw him the day I had the honor of receiving you; he has been _oldier, a smuggler — in fact, everything. I would not be quite sure that h_as not been mixed up with the police for some trifle — a stab with a knife, for instance."
  • "And you have chosen this honest citizen for your steward," said Debray. "O_ow much does he rob you every year?"
  • "On my word," replied the count, "not more than another. I am sure he answer_y purpose, knows no impossibility, and so I keep him."
  • "Then," continued Chateau-Renaud, "since you have an establishment, a steward, and a hotel in the Champs Elysees, you only want a mistress." Albert smiled.
  • He thought of the fair Greek he had seen in the count's box at the Argentin_nd Valle theatres. "I have something better than that," said Monte Cristo; "_ave a slave. You procure your mistresses from the opera, the Vaudeville, o_he Varietes; I purchased mine at Constantinople; it cost me more, but I hav_othing to fear."
  • "But you forget," replied Debray, laughing, "that we are Franks by name an_ranks by nature, as King Charles said, and that the moment she puts her foo_n France your slave becomes free."
  • "Who will tell her?"
  • "The first person who sees her."
  • "She only speaks Romaic."
  • "That is different."
  • "But at least we shall see her," said Beauchamp, "or do you keep eunuchs a_ell as mutes?"
  • "Oh, no," replied Monte Cristo; "I do not carry brutalism so far. Every on_ho surrounds me is free to quit me, and when they leave me will no longe_ave any need of me or any one else; it is for that reason, perhaps, that the_o not quit me." They had long since passed to dessert and cigars.
  • "My dear Albert," said Debray, rising, "it is half-past two. Your guest i_harming, but you leave the best company to go into the worst sometimes. _ust return to the minister's. I will tell him of the count, and we shall soo_now who he is."
  • "Take care," returned Albert; "no one has been able to accomplish that."
  • "Oh, we have three millions for our police; it is true they are almost alway_pent beforehand, but, no matter, we shall still have fifty thousand francs t_pend for this purpose."
  • "And when you know, will you tell me?"
  • "I promise you. Au revoir, Albert. Gentlemen, good morning."
  • As he left the room, Debray called out loudly, "My carriage."
  • "Bravo," said Beauchamp to Albert; "I shall not go to the Chamber, but I hav_omething better to offer my readers than a speech of M. Danglars."
  • "For heaven's sake, Beauchamp," returned Morcerf, "do not deprive me of th_erit of introducing him everywhere. Is he not peculiar?"
  • "He is more than that," replied Chateau-Renaud; "he is one of the mos_xtraordinary men I ever saw in my life. Are you coming, Morrel?"
  • "Directly I have given my card to the count, who has promised to pay us _isit at Rue Meslay, No. 14."
  • "Be sure I shall not fail to do so," returned the count, bowing. An_aximilian Morrel left the room with the Baron de Chateau-Renaud, leavin_onte Cristo alone with Morcerf.