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Chapter 64 The Beggar.

  • The evening passed on; Madame de Villefort expressed a desire to return t_aris, which Madame Danglars had not dared to do, notwithstanding th_neasiness she experienced. On his wife's request, M. de Villefort was th_irst to give the signal of departure. He offered a seat in his landau t_adame Danglars, that she might be under the care of his wife. As for M.
  • Danglars, absorbed in an interesting conversation with M. Cavalcanti, he pai_o attention to anything that was passing. While Monte Cristo had begged th_melling-bottle of Madame de Villefort, he had noticed the approach o_illefort to Madame Danglars, and he soon guessed all that had passed betwee_hem, though the words had been uttered in so low a voice as hardly to b_eard by Madame Danglars. Without opposing their arrangements, he allowe_orrel, Chateau-Renaud, and Debray to leave on horseback, and the ladies in M.
  • de Villefort's carriage. Danglars, more and more delighted with Majo_avalcanti, had offered him a seat in his carriage. Andrea Cavalcanti foun_is tilbury waiting at the door; the groom, in every respect a caricature o_he English fashion, was standing on tiptoe to hold a large iron-gray horse.
  • Andrea had spoken very little during dinner; he was an intelligent lad, and h_eared to utter some absurdity before so many grand people, amongst whom, wit_ilating eyes, he saw the king's attorney. Then he had been seized upon b_anglars, who, with a rapid glance at the stiff-necked old major and hi_odest son, and taking into consideration the hospitality of the count, mad_p his mind that he was in the society of some nabob come to Paris to finis_he worldly education of his heir. He contemplated with unspeakable deligh_he large diamond which shone on the major's little finger; for the major, like a prudent man, in case of any accident happening to his bank-notes, ha_mmediately converted them into an available asset. Then, after dinner, on th_retext of business, he questioned the father and son upon their mode o_iving; and the father and son, previously informed that it was throug_anglars the one was to receive his 48,000 francs and the other 50,000 livre_nnually, were so full of affability that they would have shaken hands eve_ith the banker's servants, so much did their gratitude need an object t_xpend itself upon. One thing above all the rest heightened the respect, na_lmost the veneration, of Danglars for Cavalcanti. The latter, faithful to th_rinciple of Horace, nil admirari, had contented himself with showing hi_nowledge by declaring in what lake the best lampreys were caught. Then he ha_aten some without saying a word more; Danglars, therefore, concluded tha_uch luxuries were common at the table of the illustrious descendant of th_avalcanti, who most likely in Lucca fed upon trout brought from Switzerland, and lobsters sent from England, by the same means used by the count to brin_he lampreys from Lake Fusaro, and the sterlet from the Volga. Thus it wa_ith much politeness of manner that he heard Cavalcanti pronounce these words,
  • "To-morrow, sir, I shall have the honor of waiting upon you on business."
  • "And I, sir," said Danglars, "shall be most happy to receive you." Upon whic_e offered to take Cavalcanti in his carriage to the Hotel des Princes, if i_ould not be depriving him of the company of his son. To this Cavalcant_eplied by saying that for some time past his son had lived independently o_im, that he had his own horses and carriages, and that not having com_ogether, it would not be difficult for them to leave separately. The majo_eated himself, therefore, by the side of Danglars, who was more and mor_harmed with the ideas of order and economy which ruled this man, and yet who, being able to allow his son 60,000 francs a year, might be supposed to posses_ fortune of 500,000 or 600,000 livres.
  • As for Andrea, he began, by way of showing off, to scold his groom, who, instead of bringing the tilbury to the steps of the house, had taken it to th_uter door, thus giving him the trouble of walking thirty steps to reach it.
  • The groom heard him with humility, took the bit of the impatient animal wit_is left hand, and with the right held out the reins to Andrea, who, takin_hem from him, rested his polished boot lightly on the step. At that moment _and touched his shoulder. The young man turned round, thinking that Danglar_r Monte Cristo had forgotten something they wished to tell him, and ha_eturned just as they were starting. But instead of either of these, he sa_othing but a strange face, sunburnt, and encircled by a beard, with eye_rilliant as carbuncles, and a smile upon the mouth which displayed a perfec_et of white teeth, pointed and sharp as the wolf's or jackal's. A re_andkerchief encircled his gray head; torn and filthy garments covered hi_arge bony limbs, which seemed as though, like those of a skeleton, they woul_attle as he walked; and the hand with which he leaned upon the young man'_houlder, and which was the first thing Andrea saw, seemed of gigantic size.
  • Did the young man recognize that face by the light of the lantern in hi_ilbury, or was he merely struck with the horrible appearance of hi_nterrogator? We cannot say; but only relate the fact that he shuddered an_tepped back suddenly. "What do you want of me?" he asked.
  • "Pardon me, my friend, if I disturb you," said the man with the re_andkerchief, "but I want to speak to you."
  • "You have no right to beg at night," said the groom, endeavoring to rid hi_aster of the troublesome intruder.
  • "I am not begging, my fine fellow," said the unknown to the servant, with s_ronical an expression of the eye, and so frightful a smile, that he withdrew;
  • "I only wish to say two or three words to your master, who gave me _ommission to execute about a fortnight ago."
  • "Come," said Andrea, with sufficient nerve for his servant not to perceive hi_gitation, "what do you want? Speak quickly, friend."
  • The man said, in a low voice: "I wish — I wish you to spare me the walk bac_o Paris. I am very tired, and as I have not eaten so good a dinner as you, _an scarcely stand." The young man shuddered at this strange familiarity.
  • "Tell me," he said — "tell me what you want?"
  • "Well, then, I want you to take me up in your fine carriage, and carry m_ack." Andrea turned pale, but said nothing.
  • "Yes," said the man, thrusting his hands into his pockets, and lookin_mpudently at the youth; "I have taken the whim into my head; do yo_nderstand, Master Benedetto?"
  • At this name, no doubt, the young man reflected a little, for he went toward_is groom, saying, "This man is right; I did indeed charge him with _ommission, the result of which he must tell me; walk to the barrier, ther_ake a cab, that you may not be too late." The surprised groom retired. "Le_e at least reach a shady spot," said Andrea.
  • "Oh, as for that, I'll take you to a splendid place," said the man with th_andkerchief; and taking the horse's bit he led the tilbury where it wa_ertainly impossible for any one to witness the honor that Andrea conferre_pon him.
  • "Don't think I want the glory of riding in your fine carriage," said he; "oh, no, it's only because I am tired, and also because I have a little business t_alk over with you."
  • "Come, step in," said the young man. It was a pity this scene had not occurre_n daylight, for it was curious to see this rascal throwing himself heavil_own on the cushion beside the young and elegant driver of the tilbury. Andre_rove past the last house in the village without saying a word to hi_ompanion, who smiled complacently, as though well-pleased to find himsel_ravelling in so comfortable a vehicle. Once out of Auteuil, Andrea looke_round, in order to assure himself that he could neither be seen nor heard, and then, stopping the horse and crossing his arms before the man, he asked, —
  • "Now, tell me why you come to disturb my tranquillity?"
  • "Let me ask you why you deceived me?"
  • "How have I deceived you?"
  • "`How,' do you ask? When we parted at the Pont du Var, you told me you wer_oing to travel through Piedmont and Tuscany; but instead of that, you come t_aris."
  • "How does that annoy you?"
  • "It does not; on the contrary, I think it will answer my purpose."
  • "So," said Andrea, "you are speculating upon me?"
  • "What fine words he uses!"
  • "I warn you, Master Caderousse, that you are mistaken."
  • "Well, well, don't be angry, my boy; you know well enough what it is to b_nfortunate; and misfortunes make us jealous. I thought you were earning _iving in Tuscany or Piedmont by acting as facchino or cicerone, and I pitie_ou sincerely, as I would a child of my own. You know I always did call you m_hild."
  • "Come, come, what then?"
  • "Patience — patience!"
  • "I am patient, but go on."
  • "All at once I see you pass through the barrier with a groom, a tilbury, an_ine new clothes. You must have discovered a mine, or else become _tockbroker."
  • "So that, as you confess, you are jealous?"
  • "No, I am pleased — so pleased that I wished to congratulate you; but as I a_ot quite properly dressed, I chose my opportunity, that I might no_ompromise you."
  • "Yes, and a fine opportunity you have chosen!" exclaimed Andrea; "you speak t_e before my servant."
  • "How can I help that, my boy? I speak to you when I can catch you. You have _uick horse, a light tilbury, you are naturally as slippery as an eel; if _ad missed you to-night, I might not have had another chance."
  • "You see, I do not conceal myself."
  • "You are lucky; I wish I could say as much, for I do conceal myself; and the_ was afraid you would not recognize me, but you did," added Caderousse wit_is unpleasant smile. "It was very polite of you."
  • "Come," said Andrea, "what do want?"
  • "You do not speak affectionately to me, Benedetto, my old friend, that is no_ight — take care, or I may become troublesome." This menace smothered th_oung man's passion. He urged the horse again into a trot. "You should no_peak so to an old friend like me, Caderousse, as you said just now; you are _ative of Marseilles, I am" —
  • "Do you know then now what you are?"
  • "No, but I was brought up in Corsica; you are old and obstinate, I am youn_nd wilful. Between people like us threats are out of place, everything shoul_e amicably arranged. Is it my fault if fortune, which has frowned on you, ha_een kind to me?"
  • "Fortune has been kind to you, then? Your tilbury, your groom, your clothes, are not then hired? Good, so much the better," said Caderousse, his eye_parkling with avarice.
  • "Oh, you knew that well enough before speaking to me," said Andrea, becomin_ore and more excited. "If I had been wearing a handkerchief like yours on m_ead, rags on my back, and worn-out shoes on my feet, you would not have know_e."
  • "You wrong me, my boy; now I have found you, nothing prevents my being a_ell-dressed as any one, knowing, as I do, the goodness of your heart. If yo_ave two coats you will give me one of them. I used to divide my soup an_eans with you when you were hungry."
  • "True," said Andrea.
  • "What an appetite you used to have! Is it as good now?"
  • "Oh, yes," replied Andrea, laughing.
  • "How did you come to be dining with that prince whose house you have jus_eft?"
  • "He is not a prince; simply a count."
  • "A count, and a rich one too, eh?"
  • "Yes; but you had better not have anything to say to him, for he is not a ver_ood-tempered gentleman."
  • "Oh, be easy! I have no design upon your count, and you shall have him all t_ourself. But," said Caderousse, again smiling with the disagreeabl_xpression he had before assumed, "you must pay for it — you understand?"
  • "Well, what do you want?"
  • "I think that with a hundred francs a month" —
  • "Well?"
  • "I could live" —
  • "Upon a hundred francs!"
  • "Come — you understand me; but that with" —
  • "With?"
  • "With a hundred and fifty francs I should be quite happy."
  • "Here are two hundred," said Andrea; and he placed ten gold louis in the han_f Caderousse.
  • "Good!" said Caderousse.
  • "Apply to the steward on the first day of every mouth, and you will receiv_he same sum."
  • "There now, again you degrade me."
  • "How so?"
  • "By making me apply to the servants, when I want to transact business with yo_lone."
  • "Well, be it so, then. Take it from me then, and so long at least as I receiv_y income, you shall be paid yours."
  • "Come, come; I always said you were a fine fellow, and it is a blessing whe_ood fortune happens to such as you. But tell me all about it?"
  • "Why do you wish to know?" asked Cavalcanti.
  • "What? do you again defy me?"
  • "No; the fact is, I have found my father."
  • "What? a real father?"
  • "Yes, so long as he pays me" —
  • "You'll honor and believe him — that's right. What is his name?"
  • "Major Cavalcanti."
  • "Is he pleased with you?"
  • "So far I have appeared to answer his purpose."
  • "And who found this father for you?"
  • "The Count of Monte Cristo."
  • "The man whose house you have just left?"
  • "Yes."
  • "I wish you would try and find me a situation with him as grandfather, sinc_e holds the money-chest!"
  • "Well, I will mention you to him. Meanwhile, what are you going to do?"
  • "I?"
  • "Yes, you."
  • "It is very kind of you to trouble yourself about me."
  • "Since you interest yourself in my affairs, I think it is now my turn to as_ou some questions."
  • "Ah, true. Well; I shall rent a room in some respectable house, wear a decen_oat, shave every day, and go and read the papers in a cafe. Then, in th_vening, I shall go to the theatre; I shall look like some retired baker. Tha_s what I want."
  • "Come, if you will only put this scheme into execution, and be steady, nothin_ould be better."
  • "Do you think so, M. Bossuet? And you — what will you become? A peer o_rance?"
  • "Ah," said Andrea, "who knows?"
  • "Major Cavalcanti is already one, perhaps; but then, hereditary rank i_bolished."
  • "No politics, Caderousse. And now that you have all you want, and that w_nderstand each other, jump down from the tilbury and disappear."
  • "Not at all, my good friend."
  • "How? Not at all?"
  • "Why, just think for a moment; with this red handkerchief on my head, wit_carcely any shoes, no papers, and ten gold napoleons in my pocket, withou_eckoning what was there before — making in all about two hundred francs, — why, I should certainly be arrested at the barriers. Then, to justify myself, I should say that you gave me the money; this would cause inquiries, it woul_e found that I left Toulon without giving due notice, and I should then b_scorted back to the shores of the Mediterranean. Then I should become simpl_o. 106, and good-by to my dream of resembling the retired baker! No, no, m_oy; I prefer remaining honorably in the capital." Andrea scowled. Certainly, as he had himself owned, the reputed son of Major Cavalcanti was a wilfu_ellow. He drew up for a minute, threw a rapid glance around him, and then hi_and fell instantly into his pocket, where it began playing with a pistol.
  • But, meanwhile, Caderousse, who had never taken his eyes off his companion, passed his hand behind his back, and opened a long Spanish knife, which h_lways carried with him, to be ready in case of need. The two friends, as w_ee, were worthy of and understood one another. Andrea's hand left his pocke_noffensively, and was carried up to the red mustache, which it played wit_or some time. "Good Caderousse," he said, "how happy you will be."
  • "I will do my best," said the inn-keeper of the Pont du Gard, shutting up hi_nife.
  • "Well, then, we will go into Paris. But how will you pass through the barrie_ithout exciting suspicion? It seems to me that you are in more danger ridin_han on foot."
  • "Wait," said Caderousse, "we shall see." He then took the great-coat with th_arge collar, which the groom had left behind in the tilbury, and put it o_is back; then he took off Cavalcanti's hat, which he placed upon his ow_ead, and finally he assumed the careless attitude of a servant whose maste_rives himself.
  • "But, tell me," said Andrea, "am I to remain bareheaded?"
  • "Pooh," said Caderousse; "it is so windy that your hat can easily appear t_ave blown off."
  • "Come, come; enough of this," said Cavalcanti.
  • "What are you waiting for?" said Caderousse. "I hope I am not the cause."
  • "Hush," said Andrea. They passed the barrier without accident. At the firs_ross street Andrea stopped his horse, and Caderousse leaped out.
  • "Well!" said Andrea, — "my servant's coat and my hat?"
  • "Ah," said Caderousse, "you would not like me to risk taking cold?"
  • "But what am I to do?"
  • "You? Oh, you are young while I am beginning to get old. Au revoir, Benedetto;" and running into a court, he disappeared. "Alas," said Andrea, sighing, "one cannot be completely happy in this world!"