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Chapter 92 The Suicide.

  • Meanwhile Monte Cristo had also returned to town with Emmanuel and Maximilian.
  • Their return was cheerful. Emmanuel did not conceal his joy at the peacefu_ermination of the affair, and was loud in his expressions of delight. Morrel, in a corner of the carriage, allowed his brother-in-law's gayety to expen_tself in words, while he felt equal inward joy, which, however, betraye_tself only in his countenance. At the Barriere du Trone they met Bertuccio, who was waiting there, motionless as a sentinel at his post. Monte Cristo pu_is head out of the window, exchanged a few words with him in a low tone, an_he steward disappeared. "Count," said Emmanuel, when they were at the end o_he Place Royale, "put me down at my door, that my wife may not have a singl_oment of needless anxiety on my account or yours."
  • "If it were not ridiculous to make a display of our triumph, I would invit_he count to our house; besides that, he doubtless has some trembling heart t_omfort. So we will take leave of our friend, and let him hasten home."
  • "Stop a moment," said Monte Cristo; "do not let me lose both my companions.
  • Return, Emmanuel, to your charming wife, and present my best compliments t_er; and do you, Morrel, accompany me to the Champs Elysees."
  • "Willingly," said Maximilian; "particularly as I have business in tha_uarter."
  • "Shall we wait breakfast for you?" asked Emmanuel.
  • "No," replied the young man. The door was closed, and the carriage proceeded.
  • "See what good fortune I brought you!" said Morrel, when he was alone with th_ount. "Have you not thought so?"
  • "Yes," said Monte Cristo; "for that reason I wished to keep you near me."
  • "It is miraculous!" continued Morrel, answering his own thoughts.
  • "What?" said Monte Cristo.
  • "What has just happened."
  • "Yes," said the Count, "you are right — it is miraculous."
  • "For Albert is brave," resumed Morrel.
  • "Very brave," said Monte Cristo; "I have seen him sleep with a sword suspende_ver his head."
  • "And I know he has fought two duels," said Morrel. "How can you reconcile tha_ith his conduct this morning?"
  • "All owing to your influence," replied Monte Cristo, smiling.
  • "It is well for Albert he is not in the army," said Morrel.
  • "Why?"
  • "An apology on the ground!" said the young captain, shaking his head.
  • "Come," said the count mildly, "do not entertain the prejudices of ordinar_en, Morrel! Acknowledge, that if Albert is brave, he cannot be a coward; h_ust then have had some reason for acting as he did this morning, and confes_hat his conduct is more heroic than otherwise."
  • "Doubtless, doubtless," said Morrel; "but I shall say, like the Spaniard, `H_as not been so brave to-day as he was yesterday.'"
  • "You will breakfast with me, will you not, Morrel?" said the count, to tur_he conversation.
  • "No; I must leave you at ten o'clock."
  • "Your engagement was for breakfast, then?" said the count.
  • Morrel smiled, and shook his head. "Still you must breakfast somewhere."
  • "But if I am not hungry?" said the young man.
  • "Oh," said the count, "I only know two things which destroy the appetite, — grief — and as I am happy to see you very cheerful, it is not that — and love.
  • Now after what you told me this morning of your heart, I may believe" —
  • "Well, count," replied Morrel gayly, "I will not dispute it."
  • "But you will not make me your confidant, Maximilian?" said the count, in _one which showed how gladly he would have been admitted to the secret.
  • "I showed you this morning that I had a heart, did I not, count?" Monte Crist_nly answered by extending his hand to the young man. "Well," continued th_atter, "since that heart is no longer with you in the Bois de Vincennes, i_s elsewhere, and I must go and find it."
  • "Go," said the count deliberately; "go, dear friend, but promise me if yo_eet with any obstacle to remember that I have some power in this world, tha_ am happy to use that power in the behalf of those I love, and that I lov_ou, Morrel."
  • "I will remember it," said the young man, "as selfish children recollect thei_arents when they want their aid. When I need your assistance, and the momen_rrives, I will come to you, count."
  • "Well, I rely upon your promise. Good-by, then."
  • "Good-by, till we meet again." They had arrived in the Champs Elysees. Mont_risto opened the carriage-door, Morrel sprang out on the pavement, Bertucci_as waiting on the steps. Morrel disappeared down the Avenue de Marigny, an_onte Cristo hastened to join Bertuccio.
  • "Well?" asked he.
  • "She is going to leave her house," said the steward.
  • "And her son?"
  • "Florentin, his valet, thinks he is going to do the same."
  • "Come this way." Monte Cristo took Bertuccio into his study, wrote the lette_e have seen, and gave it to the steward. "Go," said he quickly. "But first, let Haidee be informed that I have returned."
  • "Here I am," said the young girl, who at the sound of the carriage had ru_own-stairs and whose face was radiant with joy at seeing the count retur_afely. Bertuccio left. Every transport of a daughter finding a father, al_he delight of a mistress seeing an adored lover, were felt by Haidee durin_he first moments of this meeting, which she had so eagerly expected.
  • Doubtless, although less evident, Monte Cristo's joy was not less intense. Jo_o hearts which have suffered long is like the dew on the ground after a lon_rought; both the heart and the ground absorb that beneficent moisture fallin_n them, and nothing is outwardly apparent.
  • Monte Cristo was beginning to think, what he had not for a long time dared t_elieve, that there were two Mercedes in the world, and he might yet be happy.
  • His eye, elate with happiness, was reading eagerly the tearful gaze of Haidee, when suddenly the door opened. The count knit his brow. "M. de Morcerf!" sai_aptistin, as if that name sufficed for his excuse. In fact, the count's fac_rightened.
  • "Which," asked he, "the viscount or the count?"
  • "The count."
  • "Oh," exclaimed Haidee, "is it not yet over?"
  • "I know not if it is finished, my beloved child," said Monte Cristo, takin_he young girl's hands; "but I do know you have nothing more to fear."
  • "But it is the wretched" —
  • "That man cannot injure me, Haidee," said Monte Cristo; "it was his son alon_hat there was cause to fear."
  • "And what I have suffered," said the young girl, "you shall never know, m_ord." Monte Cristo smiled. "By my father's tomb," said he, extending his han_ver the head of the young girl, "I swear to you, Haidee, that if an_isfortune happens, it will not be to me."
  • "I believe you, my lord, as implicitly as if God had spoken to me," said th_oung girl, presenting her forehead to him. Monte Cristo pressed on that pur_eautiful forehead a kiss which made two hearts throb at once, the on_iolently, the other heavily. "Oh," murmured the count, "shall I then b_ermitted to love again? Ask M. de Morcerf into the drawing-room," said he t_aptistin, while he led the beautiful Greek girl to a private staircase.
  • We must explain this visit, which although expected by Monte Cristo, i_nexpected to our readers. While Mercedes, as we have said, was making _imilar inventory of her property to Albert's, while she was arranging he_ewels, shutting her drawers, collecting her keys, to leave everything i_erfect order, she did not perceive a pale and sinister face at a glass doo_hich threw light into the passage, from which everything could be both see_nd heard. He who was thus looking, without being heard or seen, probabl_eard and saw all that passed in Madame de Morcerf's apartments. From tha_lass door the pale-faced man went to the count's bedroom and raised with _onstricted hand the curtain of a window overlooking the court-yard. H_emained there ten minutes, motionless and dumb, listening to the beating o_is own heart. For him those ten minutes were very long. It was then Albert, returning from his meeting with the count, perceived his father watching fo_is arrival behind a curtain, and turned aside. The count's eye expanded; h_new Albert had insulted the count dreadfully, and that in every country i_he world such an insult would lead to a deadly duel. Albert returned safely — then the count was revenged.
  • An indescribable ray of joy illumined that wretched countenance like the las_ay of the sun before it disappears behind the clouds which bear the aspect, not of a downy couch, but of a tomb. But as we have said, he waited in vai_or his son to come to his apartment with the account of his triumph. H_asily understood why his son did not come to see him before he went to aveng_is father's honor; but when that was done, why did not his son come and thro_imself into his arms?
  • It was then, when the count could not see Albert, that he sent for hi_ervant, who he knew was authorized not to conceal anything from him. Te_inutes afterwards, General Morcerf was seen on the steps in a black coat wit_ military collar, black pantaloons, and black gloves. He had apparently give_revious orders, for as he reached the bottom step his carriage came from th_oach-house ready for him. The valet threw into the carriage his militar_loak, in which two swords were wrapped, and, shutting the door, he took hi_eat by the side of the coachman. The coachman stooped down for his orders.
  • "To the Champs Elysees," said the general; "the Count of Monte Cristo's.
  • Hurry!" The horses bounded beneath the whip; and in five minutes they stoppe_efore the count's door. M. de Morcerf opened the door himself, and as th_arriage rolled away he passed up the walk, rang, and entered the open doo_ith his servant.
  • A moment afterwards, Baptistin announced the Count of Morcerf to Monte Cristo, and the latter, leading Haidee aside, ordered that Morcerf be asked into th_rawing-room. The general was pacing the room the third time when, in turning, he perceived Monte Cristo at the door. "Ah, it is M. de Morcerf," said Mont_risto quietly; "I thought I had not heard aright."
  • "Yes, it is I," said the count, whom a frightful contraction of the lip_revented from articulating freely.
  • "May I know the cause which procures me the pleasure of seeing M. de Morcer_o early?"
  • "Had you not a meeting with my son this morning?" asked the general.
  • "I had," replied the count.
  • "And I know my son had good reasons to wish to fight with you, and to endeavo_o kill you."
  • "Yes, sir, he had very good ones; but you see that in spite of them he has no_illed me, and did not even fight."
  • "Yet he considered you the cause of his father's dishonor, the cause of th_earful ruin which has fallen on my house."
  • "It is true, sir," said Monte Cristo with his dreadful calmness; "a secondar_ause, but not the principal."
  • "Doubtless you made, then, some apology or explanation?"
  • "I explained nothing, and it is he who apologized to me."
  • "But to what do you attribute this conduct?"
  • "To the conviction, probably, that there was one more guilty than I."
  • "And who was that?"
  • "His father."
  • "That may be," said the count, turning pale; "but you know the guilty do no_ike to find themselves convicted."
  • "I know it, and I expected this result."
  • "You expected my son would be a coward?" cried the count.
  • "M. Albert de Morcerf is no coward!" said Monte Cristo.
  • "A man who holds a sword in his hand, and sees a mortal enemy within reach o_hat sword, and does not fight, is a coward! Why is he not here that I ma_ell him so?"
  • "Sir." replied Monte Cristo coldly, "I did not expect that you had come her_o relate to me your little family affairs. Go and tell M. Albert that, and h_ay know what to answer you."
  • "Oh, no, no," said the general, smiling faintly, "I did not come for tha_urpose; you are right. I came to tell you that I also look upon you as m_nemy. I came to tell you that I hate you instinctively; that it seems as if _ad always known you, and always hated you; and, in short, since the youn_eople of the present day will not fight, it remains for us to do so. Do yo_hink so, sir?"
  • "Certainly. And when I told you I had foreseen the result, it is the honor o_our visit I alluded to."
  • "So much the better. Are you prepared?"
  • "Yes, sir."
  • "You know that we shall fight till one of us is dead," said the general, whos_eeth were clinched with rage. "Until one of us dies," repeated Monte Cristo, moving his head slightly up and down.
  • "Let us start, then; we need no witnesses."
  • "Very true," said Monte Cristo; "it is unnecessary, we know each other s_ell!"
  • "On the contrary," said the count, "we know so little of each other."
  • "Indeed?" said Monte Cristo, with the same indomitable coolness; "let us see.
  • Are you not the soldier Fernand who deserted on the eve of the battle o_aterloo? Are you not the Lieutenant Fernand who served as guide and spy t_he French army in Spain? Are you not the Captain Fernand who betrayed, sold, and murdered his benefactor, Ali? And have not all these Fernands, united, made Lieutenant-General, the Count of Morcerf, peer of France?"
  • "Oh," cried the general, as it branded with a hot iron, "wretch, — to reproac_e with my shame when about, perhaps, to kill me! No, I did not say I was _tranger to you. I know well, demon, that you have penetrated into th_arkness of the past, and that you have read, by the light of what torch _now not, every page of my life; but perhaps I may be more honorable in m_hame than you under your pompous coverings. No — no, I am aware you know me; but I know you only as an adventurer sewn up in gold and jewellery. You cal_ourself in Paris the Count of Monte Cristo; in Italy, Sinbad the Sailor; i_alta, I forget what. But it is your real name I want to know, in the midst o_our hundred names, that I may pronounce it when we meet to fight, at th_oment when I plunge my sword through your heart."
  • The Count of Monte Cristo turned dreadfully pale; his eye seemed to burn wit_ devouring fire. He leaped towards a dressing-room near his bedroom, and i_ess than a moment, tearing off his cravat, his coat and waistcoat, he put o_ sailor's jacket and hat, from beneath which rolled his long black hair. H_eturned thus, formidable and implacable, advancing with his arms crossed o_is breast, towards the general, who could not understand why he ha_isappeared, but who on seeing him again, and feeling his teeth chatter an_is legs sink under him, drew back, and only stopped when he found a table t_upport his clinched hand. "Fernand," cried he, "of my hundred names I nee_nly tell you one, to overwhelm you! But you guess it now, do you not? — or, rather, you remember it? For, notwithstanding all my sorrows and my tortures, I show you to-day a face which the happiness of revenge makes young again — _ace you must often have seen in your dreams since your marriage wit_ercedes, my betrothed!"
  • The general, with his head thrown back, hands extended, gaze fixed, looke_ilently at this dreadful apparition; then seeking the wall to support him, h_lided along close to it until he reached the door, through which he went ou_ackwards, uttering this single mournful, lamentable, distressing cry, —
  • "Edmond Dantes!" Then, with sighs which were unlike any human sound, h_ragged himself to the door, reeled across the court-yard, and falling int_he arms of his valet, he said in a voice scarcely intelligible, — "Home, home." The fresh air and the shame he felt at having exposed himself befor_is servants, partly recalled his senses, but the ride was short, and as h_rew near his house all his wretchedness revived. He stopped at a shor_istance from the house and alighted.
  • The door was wide open, a hackney-coach was standing in the middle of the yard — a strange sight before so noble a mansion; the count looked at it wit_error, but without daring to inquire its meaning, he rushed towards hi_partment. Two persons were coming down the stairs; he had only time to cree_nto an alcove to avoid them. It was Mercedes leaning on her son's arm an_eaving the house. They passed close by the unhappy being, who, conceale_ehind the damask curtain, almost felt Mercedes dress brush past him, and hi_on's warm breath, pronouncing these words, — "Courage, mother! Come, this i_o longer our home!" The words died away, the steps were lost in the distance.
  • The general drew himself up, clinging to the curtain; he uttered the mos_readful sob which ever escaped from the bosom of a father abandoned at th_ame time by his wife and son. He soon heard the clatter of the iron step o_he hackney-coach, then the coachman's voice, and then the rolling of th_eavy vehicle shook the windows. He darted to his bedroom to see once more al_e had loved in the world; but the hackney-coach drove on and the head o_either Mercedes nor her son appeared at the window to take a last look at th_ouse or the deserted father and husband. And at the very moment when th_heels of that coach crossed the gateway a report was heard, and a thick smok_scaped through one of the panes of the window, which was broken by th_xplosion.