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Chapter 49 Haidee.

  • It will be recollected that the new, or rather old, acquaintances of the Coun_f Monte Cristo, residing in the Rue Meslay, were no other than Maximilian,
  • Julie, and Emmanuel. The very anticipations of delight to be enjoyed in hi_orthcoming visits — the bright, pure gleam of heavenly happiness it diffuse_ver the almost deadly warfare in which he had voluntarily engaged, illumine_is whole countenance with a look of ineffable joy and calmness, as,
  • immediately after Villefort's departure, his thoughts flew back to th_heering prospect before him, of tasting, at least, a brief respite from th_ierce and stormy passions of his mind. Even Ali, who had hastened to obey th_ount's summons, went forth from his master's presence in charmed amazement a_he unusual animation and pleasure depicted on features ordinarily so ster_nd cold; while, as though dreading to put to flight the agreeable idea_overing over his patron's meditations, whatever they were, the faithfu_ubian walked on tiptoe towards the door, holding his breath, lest it_aintest sound should dissipate his master's happy reverie.
  • It was noon, and Monte Cristo had set apart one hour to be passed in th_partments of Haidee, as though his oppressed spirit could not all at onc_dmit the feeling of pure and unmixed joy, but required a gradual successio_f calm and gentle emotions to prepare his mind to receive full and perfec_appiness, in the same manner as ordinary natures demand to be inured b_egrees to the reception of strong or violent sensations. The young Greek, a_e have already said, occupied apartments wholly unconnected with those of th_ount. The rooms had been fitted up in strict accordance with Oriental ideas;
  • the floors were covered with the richest carpets Turkey could produce; th_alls hung with brocaded silk of the most magnificent designs and texture;
  • while around each chamber luxurious divans were placed, with piles of soft an_ielding cushions, that needed only to be arranged at the pleasure o_onvenience of such as sought repose. Haidee and three French maids, and on_ho was a Greek. The first three remained constantly in a small waiting-room,
  • ready to obey the summons of a small golden bell, or to receive the orders o_he Romaic slave, who knew just enough French to be able to transmit he_istress's wishes to the three other waiting-women; the latter had receive_ost peremptory instructions from Monte Cristo to treat Haidee with all th_eference they would observe to a queen.
  • The young girl herself generally passed her time in the chamber at the farthe_nd of her apartments. This was a sort of boudoir, circular, and lighted onl_rom the roof, which consisted of rose-colored glass. Haidee was reclinin_pon soft downy cushions, covered with blue satin spotted with silver; he_ead, supported by one of her exquisitely moulded arms, rested on the diva_mmediately behind her, while the other was employed in adjusting to her lip_he coral tube of a rich narghile, through whose flexible pipe she drew th_moke fragrant by its passage through perfumed water. Her attitude, thoug_erfectly natural for an Eastern woman would, in a European, have been deeme_oo full of coquettish straining after effect. Her dress, which was that o_he women of Epirus, consisted of a pair of white satin trousers, embroidere_ith pink roses, displaying feet so exquisitely formed and so delicately fair,
  • that they might well have been taken for Parian marble, had not the eye bee_ndeceived by their movements as they constantly shifted in and out of a pai_f little slippers with upturned toes, beautifully ornamented with gold an_earls. She wore a blue and white-striped vest, with long open sleeves,
  • trimmed with silver loops and buttons of pearls, and a sort of bodice, which,
  • closing only from the centre to the waist, exhibited the whole of the ivor_hroat and upper part of the bosom; it was fastened with three magnificen_iamond clasps. The junction of the bodice and drawers was entirely conceale_y one of the many-colored scarfs, whose brilliant hues and rich silken fring_ave rendered them so precious in the eyes of Parisian belles. Tilted on on_ide of her head she had a small cap of gold-colored silk, embroidered wit_earls; while on the other a purple rose mingled its glowing colors with th_uxuriant masses of her hair, of which the blackness was so intense that i_as tinged with blue. The extreme beauty of the countenance, that shone fort_n loveliness that mocked the vain attempts of dress to augment it, wa_eculiarly and purely Grecian; there were the large, dark, melting eyes, th_inely formed nose, the coral lips, and pearly teeth, that belonged to he_ace and country. And, to complete the whole, Haidee was in the ver_pringtide and fulness of youthful charms — she had not yet numbered more tha_wenty summers.
  • Monte Cristo summoned the Greek attendant, and bade her inquire whether i_ould be agreeable to her mistress to receive his visit. Haidee's only repl_as to direct her servant by a sign to withdraw the tapestried curtain tha_ung before the door of her boudoir, the framework of the opening thus mad_erving as a sort of border to the graceful tableau presented by the youn_irl's picturesque attitude and appearance. As Monte Cristo approached, sh_eaned upon the elbow of the arm that held the narghile, and extending to hi_er other hand, said, with a smile of captivating sweetness, in the sonorou_anguage spoken by the women of Athens and Sparta, "Why demand permission er_ou enter? Are you no longer my master, or have I ceased to be your slave?"
  • Monte Cristo returned her smile. "Haidee," said he, "you well know."
  • "Why do you address me so coldly — so distantly?" asked the young Greek. "Hav_ by any means displeased you? Oh, if so, punish me as you will; but do not —
  • do not speak to me in tones and manner so formal and constrained."
  • "Haidee," replied the count, "you know that you are now in France, and ar_ree."
  • "Free to do what?" asked the young girl.
  • "Free to leave me."
  • "Leave you? Why should I leave you?"
  • "That is not for me to say; but we are now about to mix in society — to visi_nd be visited."
  • "I don't wish to see anybody but you."
  • "And should you see one whom you could prefer, I would not be so unjust" —
  • "I have never seen any one I preferred to you, and I have never loved any on_ut you and my father."
  • "My poor child," replied Monte Cristo, "that is merely because your father an_yself are the only men who have ever talked to you."
  • "I don't want anybody else to talk to me. My father said I was his `joy' — yo_tyle me your `love,' — and both of you have called me `my child.'"
  • "Do you remember your father, Haidee?" The young Greek smiled. "He is here,
  • and here," said she, touching her eyes and her heart. "And where am I?"
  • inquired Monte Cristo laughingly.
  • "You?" cried she, with tones of thrilling tenderness, "you are everywhere!"
  • Monte Cristo took the delicate hand of the young girl in his, and was about t_aise it to his lips, when the simple child of nature hastily withdrew it, an_resented her cheek. "You now understand, Haidee," said the count, "that fro_his moment you are absolutely free; that here you exercise unlimited sway,
  • and are at liberty to lay aside or continue the costume of your country, as i_ay suit your inclination. Within this mansion you are absolute mistress o_our actions, and may go abroad or remain in your apartments as may seem mos_greeable to you. A carriage waits your orders, and Ali and Myrtho wil_ccompany you whithersoever you desire to go. There is but one favor I woul_ntreat of you."
  • "Speak."
  • "Guard carefully the secret of your birth. Make no allusion to the past; no_pon any occasion be induced to pronounce the names of your illustrious fathe_r ill-fated mother."
  • "I have already told you, my lord, that I shall see no one."
  • "It is possible, Haidee, that so perfect a seclusion, though conformable wit_he habits and customs of the East, may not be practicable in Paris. Endeavor,
  • then, to accustom yourself to our manner of living in these northern climes a_ou did to those of Rome, Florence, Milan, and Madrid; it may be useful to yo_ne of these days, whether you remain here or return to the East." The youn_irl raised her tearful eyes towards Monte Cristo as she said with touchin_arnestness, "Whether we return to the East, you mean to say, my lord, do yo_ot?"
  • "My child," returned Monte Cristo "you know full well that whenever we part,
  • it will be no fault or wish of mine; the tree forsakes not the flower — th_lower falls from the tree."
  • "My lord," replied Haidee, "I never will leave you, for I am sure I could no_xist without you."
  • "My poor girl, in ten years I shall be old, and you will be still young."
  • "My father had a long white beard, but I loved him; he was sixty years old,
  • but to me he was handsomer than all the fine youths I saw."
  • "Then tell me, Haidee, do you believe you shall be able to accustom yoursel_o our present mode of life?"
  • "Shall I see you?"
  • "Every day."
  • "Then what do you fear, my lord?"
  • "You might find it dull."
  • "No, my lord. In the morning, I shall rejoice in the prospect of your coming,
  • and in the evening dwell with delight on the happiness I have enjoyed in you_resence; then too, when alone, I can call forth mighty pictures of the past,
  • see vast horizons bounded only by the towering mountains of Pindus an_lympus. Oh, believe me, that when three great passions, such as sorrow, love,
  • and gratitude fill the heart, ennui can find no place."
  • "You are a worthy daughter of Epirus, Haidee, and your charming and poetica_deas prove well your descent from that race of goddesses who claim you_ountry as their birthplace. Depend on my care to see that your youth is no_lighted, or suffered to pass away in ungenial solitude; and of this be wel_ssured, that if you love me as a father, I love you as a child."
  • "You are wrong, my lord. The love I have for you is very different from th_ove I had for my father. My father died, but I did not die. If you were t_ie, I should die too." The Count, with a smile of profound tenderness,
  • extended his hand, and she carried it to her lips. Monte Cristo, thus attune_o the interview he proposed to hold with Morrel and his family, departed,
  • murmuring as he went these lines of Pindar, "Youth is a flower of which lov_s the fruit; happy is he who, after having watched its silent growth, i_ermitted to gather and call it his own." The carriage was prepared accordin_o orders, and stepping lightly into it, the count drove off at his usua_apid pace.