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Chapter 19
The Third Attack.

Now that this treasure, which had so long been the object of
the abbe's meditations, could insure the future happiness of
him whom Faria really loved as a son, it had doubled its
value in his eyes, and every day he expatiated on the
amount, explaining to Dantes all the good which, with
thirteen or fourteen millions of francs, a man could do in
these days to his friends; and then Dantes' countenance
became gloomy, for the oath of vengeance he had taken
recurred to his memory, and he reflected how much ill, in
these times, a man with thirteen or fourteen millions could
do to his enemies.

The abbe did not know the Island of Monte Cristo; but Dantes
knew it, and had often passed it, situated twenty-five miles
from Pianosa, between Corsica and the Island of Elba, and
had once touched there. This island was, always had been,
and still is, completely deserted. It is a rock of almost
conical form, which looks as though it had been thrust up by
volcanic force from the depth to the surface of the ocean.
Dantes drew a plan of the island for Faria, and Faria gave
Dantes advice as to the means he should employ to recover
the treasure. But Dantes was far from being as enthusiastic
and confident as the old man. It was past a question now
that Faria was not a lunatic, and the way in which he had
achieved the discovery, which had given rise to the
suspicion of his madness, increased Edmond's admiration of
him; but at the same time Dantes could not believe that the
deposit, supposing it had ever existed, still existed; and
though he considered the treasure as by no means chimerical,
he yet believed it was no longer there.

However, as if fate resolved on depriving the prisoners of
their last chance, and making them understand that they were
condemned to perpetual imprisonment, a new misfortune befell
them; the gallery on the sea side, which had long been in
ruins, was rebuilt. They had repaired it completely, and
stopped up with vast masses of stone the hole Dantes had
partly filled in. But for this precaution, which, it will be
remembered, the abbe had made to Edmond, the misfortune
would have been still greater, for their attempt to escape
would have been detected, and they would undoubtedly have
been separated. Thus a new, a stronger, and more inexorable
barrier was interposed to cut off the realization of their

"You see," said the young man, with an air of sorrowful
resignation, to Faria, "that God deems it right to take from
me any claim to merit for what you call my devotion to you.
I have promised to remain forever with you, and now I could
not break my promise if I would. The treasure will be no
more mine than yours, and neither of us will quit this
prison. But my real treasure is not that, my dear friend,
which awaits me beneath the sombre rocks of Monte Cristo, it
is your presence, our living together five or six hours a
day, in spite of our jailers; it is the rays of intelligence
you have elicited from my brain, the languages you have
implanted in my memory, and which have taken root there with
all their philological ramifications. These different
sciences that you have made so easy to me by the depth of
the knowledge you possess of them, and the clearness of the
principles to which you have reduced them -- this is my
treasure, my beloved friend, and with this you have made me
rich and happy. Believe me, and take comfort, this is better
for me than tons of gold and cases of diamonds, even were
they not as problematical as the clouds we see in the
morning floating over the sea, which we take for terra
firma, and which evaporate and vanish as we draw near to
them. To have you as long as possible near me, to hear your
eloquent speech, -- which embellishes my mind, strengthens
my soul, and makes my whole frame capable of great and
terrible things, if I should ever be free, -- so fills my
whole existence, that the despair to which I was just on the
point of yielding when I knew you, has no longer any hold
over me; and this -- this is my fortune -- not chimerical,
but actual. I owe you my real good, my present happiness;
and all the sovereigns of the earth, even Caesar Borgia
himself, could not deprive me of this."

Thus, if not actually happy, yet the days these two
unfortunates passed together went quickly. Faria, who for so
long a time had kept silence as to the treasure, now
perpetually talked of it. As he had prophesied would be the
case, he remained paralyzed in the right arm and the left
leg, and had given up all hope of ever enjoying it himself.
But he was continually thinking over some means of escape
for his young companion, and anticipating the pleasure he
would enjoy. For fear the letter might be some day lost or
stolen, he compelled Dantes to learn it by heart; and Dantes
knew it from the first to the last word. Then he destroyed
the second portion, assured that if the first were seized,
no one would be able to discover its real meaning. Whole
hours sometimes passed while Faria was giving instructions
to Dantes, -- instructions which were to serve him when he
was at liberty. Then, once free, from the day and hour and
moment when he was so, he could have but one only thought,
which was, to gain Monte Cristo by some means, and remain
there alone under some pretext which would arouse no
suspicions; and once there, to endeavor to find the
wonderful caverns, and search in the appointed spot, -- the
appointed spot, be it remembered, being the farthest angle
in the second opening.

In the meanwhile the hours passed, if not rapidly, at least
tolerably. Faria, as we have said, without having recovered
the use of his hand and foot, had regained all the clearness
of his understanding, and had gradually, besides the moral
instructions we have detailed, taught his youthful companion
the patient and sublime duty of a prisoner, who learns to
make something from nothing. They were thus perpetually
employed, -- Faria, that he might not see himself grow old;
Dantes, for fear of recalling the almost extinct past which
now only floated in his memory like a distant light
wandering in the night. So life went on for them as it does
for those who are not victims of misfortune and whose
activities glide along mechanically and tranquilly beneath
the eye of providence.

But beneath this superficial calm there were in the heart of
the young man, and perhaps in that of the old man, many
repressed desires, many stifled sighs, which found vent when
Faria was left alone, and when Edmond returned to his cell.
One night Edmond awoke suddenly, believing that he heard
some one calling him. He opened his eyes upon utter
darkness. His name, or rather a plaintive voice which
essayed to pronounce his name, reached him. He sat up in bed
and a cold sweat broke out upon his brow. Undoubtedly the
call came from Faria's dungeon. "Alas," murmured Edmond;
"can it be?"

He moved his bed, drew up the stone, rushed into the
passage, and reached the opposite extremity; the secret
entrance was open. By the light of the wretched and wavering
lamp, of which we have spoken, Dantes saw the old man, pale,
but yet erect, clinging to the bedstead. His features were
writhing with those horrible symptoms which he already knew,
and which had so seriously alarmed him when he saw them for
the first time.

"Alas, my dear friend," said Faria in a resigned tone, "you
understand, do you not, and I need not attempt to explain to

Edmond uttered a cry of agony, and, quite out of his senses,
rushed towards the door, exclaiming, "Help, help!" Faria had
just sufficient strength to restrain him.

"Silence," he said, "or you are lost. We must now only think
of you, my dear friend, and so act as to render your
captivity supportable or your flight possible. It would
require years to do again what I have done here, and the
results would be instantly destroyed if our jailers knew we
had communicated with each other. Besides, be assured, my
dear Edmond, the dungeon I am about to leave will not long
remain empty; some other unfortunate being will soon take my
place, and to him you will appear like an angel of
salvation. Perhaps he will be young, strong, and enduring,
like yourself, and will aid you in your escape, while I have
been but a hindrance. You will no longer have half a dead
body tied to you as a drag to all your movements. At length
providence has done something for you; he restores to you
more than he takes away, and it was time I should die."

Edmond could only clasp his hands and exclaim, "Oh, my
friend, my friend, speak not thus!" and then resuming all
his presence of mind, which had for a moment staggered under
this blow, and his strength, which had failed at the words
of the old man, he said, "Oh, I have saved you once, and I
will save you a second time!" And raising the foot of the
bed, he drew out the phial, still a third filled with the
red liquor.

"See," he exclaimed, "there remains still some of the magic
draught. Quick, quick! tell me what I must do this time; are
there any fresh instructions? Speak, my friend; I listen."

"There is not a hope," replied Faria, shaking his head, "but
no matter; God wills it that man whom he has created, and in
whose heart he has so profoundly rooted the love of life,
should do all in his power to preserve that existence,
which, however painful it may be, is yet always so dear."

"Oh, yes, yes!" exclaimed Dantes; "and I tell you that I
will save you yet."

"Well, then, try. The cold gains upon me. I feel the blood
flowing towards my brain. These horrible chills, which make
my teeth chatter and seem to dislocate my bones, begin to
pervade my whole frame; in five minutes the malady will
reach its height, and in a quarter of an hour there will be
nothing left of me but a corpse."

"Oh!" exclaimed Dantes, his heart wrung with anguish.

"Do as you did before, only do not wait so long, all the
springs of life are now exhausted in me, and death," he
continued, looking at his paralyzed arm and leg, "has but
half its work to do. If, after having made me swallow twelve
drops instead of ten, you see that I do not recover, then
pour the rest down my throat. Now lift me on my bed, for I
can no longer support myself."

Edmond took the old man in his arms, and laid him on the

"And now, my dear friend," said Faria, "sole consolation of
my wretched existence, -- you whom heaven gave me somewhat
late, but still gave me, a priceless gift, and for which I
am most grateful, -- at the moment of separating from you
forever, I wish you all the happiness and all the prosperity
you so well deserve. My son, I bless thee!" The young man
cast himself on his knees, leaning his head against the old
man's bed.

"Listen, now, to what I say in this my dying moment. The
treasure of the Spadas exists. God grants me the boon of
vision unrestricted by time or space. I see it in the depths
of the inner cavern. My eyes pierce the inmost recesses of
the earth, and are dazzled at the sight of so much riches.
If you do escape, remember that the poor abbe, whom all the
world called mad, was not so. Hasten to Monte Cristo --
avail yourself of the fortune -- for you have indeed
suffered long enough." A violent convulsion attacked the old
man. Dantes raised his head and saw Faria's eyes injected
with blood. It seemed as if a flow of blood had ascended
from the chest to the head.

"Adieu, adieu!" murmured the old man, clasping Edmond's hand
convulsively -- "adieu!"

"Oh, no, -- no, not yet," he cried; "do not forsake me! Oh,
succor him! Help -- help -- help!"

"Hush -- hush!" murmured the dying man, "that they may not
separate us if you save me!"

"You are right. Oh, yes, yes; be assured I shall save you!
Besides, although you suffer much, you do not seem to be in
such agony as you were before."

"Do not mistake. I suffer less because there is in me less
strength to endure. At your age we have faith in life; it is
the privilege of youth to believe and hope, but old men see
death more clearly. Oh, 'tis here -- 'tis here -- 'tis over
-- my sight is gone -- my senses fail! Your hand, Dantes!
Adieu -- adieu!" And raising himself by a final effort, in
which he summoned all his faculties, he said, -- "Monte
Cristo, forget not Monte Cristo!" And he fell back on the
bed. The crisis was terrible, and a rigid form with twisted
limbs, swollen eyelids, and lips flecked with bloody foam,
lay on the bed of torture, in place of the intellectual
being who so lately rested there.

Dantes took the lamp, placed it on a projecting stone above
the bed, whence its tremulous light fell with strange and
fantastic ray on the distorted countenance and motionless,
stiffened body. With steady gaze he awaited confidently the
moment for administering the restorative.

When he believed that the right moment had arrived, he took
the knife, pried open the teeth, which offered less
resistance than before, counted one after the other twelve
drops, and watched; the phial contained, perhaps, twice as
much more. He waited ten minutes, a quarter of an hour, half
an hour, -- no change took place. Trembling, his hair erect,
his brow bathed with perspiration, he counted the seconds by
the beating of his heart. Then he thought it was time to
make the last trial, and he put the phial to the purple lips
of Faria, and without having occasion to force open his
jaws, which had remained extended, he poured the whole of
the liquid down his throat.

The draught produced a galvanic effect, a violent trembling
pervaded the old man's limbs, his eyes opened until it was
fearful to gaze upon them, he heaved a sigh which resembled
a shriek, and then his convulsed body returned gradually to
its former immobility, the eyes remaining open.

Half an hour, an hour, an hour and a half elapsed, and
during this period of anguish, Edmond leaned over his
friend, his hand applied to his heart, and felt the body
gradually grow cold, and the heart's pulsation become more
and more deep and dull, until at length it stopped; the last
movement of the heart ceased, the face became livid, the
eyes remained open, but the eyeballs were glazed. It was six
o'clock in the morning, the dawn was just breaking, and its
feeble ray came into the dungeon, and paled the ineffectual
light of the lamp. Strange shadows passed over the
countenance of the dead man, and at times gave it the
appearance of life. While the struggle between day and night
lasted, Dantes still doubted; but as soon as the daylight
gained the pre-eminence, he saw that he was alone with a
corpse. Then an invincible and extreme terror seized upon
him, and he dared not again press the hand that hung out of
bed, he dared no longer to gaze on those fixed and vacant
eyes, which he tried many times to close, but in vain --
they opened again as soon as shut. He extinguished the lamp,
carefully concealed it, and then went away, closing as well
as he could the entrance to the secret passage by the large
stone as he descended.

It was time, for the jailer was coming. On this occasion he
began his rounds at Dantes' cell, and on leaving him he went
on to Faria's dungeon, taking thither breakfast and some
linen. Nothing betokened that the man know anything of what
had occurred. He went on his way.

Dantes was then seized with an indescribable desire to know
what was going on in the dungeon of his unfortunate friend.
He therefore returned by the subterraneous gallery, and
arrived in time to hear the exclamations of the turnkey, who
called out for help. Other turnkeys came, and then was heard
the regular tramp of soldiers. Last of all came the

Edmond heard the creaking of the bed as they moved the
corpse, heard the voice of the governor, who asked them to
throw water on the dead man's face; and seeing that, in
spite of this application, the prisoner did not recover,
they sent for the doctor. The governor then went out, and
words of pity fell on Dantes' listening ears, mingled with
brutal laughter.

"Well, well," said one, "the madman has gone to look after
his treasure. Good journey to him!"

"With all his millions, he will not have enough to pay for
his shroud!" said another.

"Oh," added a third voice, "the shrouds of the Chateau d'If
are not dear!"

"Perhaps," said one of the previous speakers, "as he was a
churchman, they may go to some expense in his behalf."

"They may give him the honors of the sack."

Edmond did not lose a word, but comprehended very little of
what was said. The voices soon ceased, and it seemed to him
as if every one had left the cell. Still he dared not to
enter, as they might have left some turnkey to watch the
dead. He remained, therefore, mute and motionless, hardly
venturing to breathe. At the end of an hour, he heard a
faint noise, which increased. It was the governor who
returned, followed by the doctor and other attendants. There
was a moment's silence, -- it was evident that the doctor
was examining the dead body. The inquiries soon commenced.

The doctor analyzed the symptoms of the malady to which the
prisoner had succumbed, and declared that he was dead.
Questions and answers followed in a nonchalant manner that
made Dantes indignant, for he felt that all the world should
have for the poor abbe a love and respect equal to his own.

"I am very sorry for what you tell me," said the governor,
replying to the assurance of the doctor, "that the old man
is really dead; for he was a quiet, inoffensive prisoner,
happy in his folly, and required no watching."

"Ah," added the turnkey, "there was no occasion for watching
him: he would have stayed here fifty years, I'll answer for
it, without any attempt to escape."

"Still," said the governor, "I believe it will be requisite,
notwithstanding your certainty, and not that I doubt your
science, but in discharge of my official duty, that we
should be perfectly assured that the prisoner is dead."
There was a moment of complete silence, during which Dantes,
still listening, knew that the doctor was examining the
corpse a second time.

"You may make your mind easy," said the doctor; "he is dead.
I will answer for that."

"You know, sir," said the governor, persisting, "that we are
not content in such cases as this with such a simple
examination. In spite of all appearances, be so kind,
therefore, as to finish your duty by fulfilling the
formalities described by law."

"Let the irons be heated," said the doctor; "but really it
is a useless precaution." This order to heat the irons made
Dantes shudder. He heard hasty steps, the creaking of a
door, people going and coming, and some minutes afterwards a
turnkey entered, saying, --

"Here is the brazier, lighted." There was a moment's
silence, and then was heard the crackling of burning flesh,
of which the peculiar and nauseous smell penetrated even
behind the wall where Dantes was listening in horror. The
perspiration poured forth upon the young man's brow, and he
felt as if he should faint.

"You see, sir, he is really dead," said the doctor; "this
burn in the heel is decisive. The poor fool is cured of his
folly, and delivered from his captivity."

"Wasn't his name Faria?" inquired one of the officers who
accompanied the governor.

"Yes, sir; and, as he said, it was an ancient name. He was,
too, very learned, and rational enough on all points which
did not relate to his treasure; but on that, indeed, he was

"It is the sort of malady which we call monomania," said the

"You had never anything to complain of?" said the governor
to the jailer who had charge of the abbe.

"Never, sir," replied the jailer, "never; on the contrary,
he sometimes amused me very much by telling me stories. One
day, too, when my wife was ill, he gave me a prescription
which cured her."

"Ah, ah!" said the doctor, "I did not know that I had a
rival; but I hope, governor, that you will show him all
proper respect."

"Yes, yes, make your mind easy, he shall be decently
interred in the newest sack we can find. Will that satisfy

"Must this last formality take place in your presence, sir?"
inquired a turnkey.

"Certainly. But make haste -- I cannot stay here all day."
Other footsteps, going and coming, were now heard, and a
moment afterwards the noise of rustling canvas reached
Dantes' ears, the bed creaked, and the heavy footfall of a
man who lifts a weight sounded on the floor; then the bed
again creaked under the weight deposited upon it.

"This evening," said the governor.

"Will there be any mass?" asked one of the attendants.

"That is impossible," replied the governor. "The chaplain of
the chateau came to me yesterday to beg for leave of
absence, in order to take a trip to Hyeres for a week. I
told him I would attend to the prisoners in his absence. If
the poor abbe had not been in such a hurry, he might have
had his requiem."

"Pooh, pooh;" said the doctor, with the impiety usual in
persons of his profession; "he is a churchman. God will
respect his profession, and not give the devil the wicked
delight of sending him a priest." A shout of laughter
followed this brutal jest. Meanwhile the operation of
putting the body in the sack was going on.

"This evening," said the governor, when the task was ended.

"At what hour?" inquired a turnkey.

"Why, about ten or eleven o'clock."

"Shall we watch by the corpse?"

"Of what use would it be? Shut the dungeon as if he were
alive -- that is all." Then the steps retreated, and the
voices died away in the distance; the noise of the door,
with its creaking hinges and bolts ceased, and a silence
more sombre than that of solitude ensued, -- the silence of
death, which was all-pervasive, and struck its icy chill to
the very soul of Dantes. Then he raised the flag-stone
cautiously with his head, and looked carefully around the
chamber. It was empty, and Dantes emerged from the tunnel.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
General Fiction
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