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Chapter 5
The Marriage-Feast.

The morning's sun rose clear and resplendent, touching the
foamy waves into a network of ruby-tinted light.

The feast had been made ready on the second floor at La
Reserve, with whose arbor the reader is already familiar.
The apartment destined for the purpose was spacious and
lighted by a number of windows, over each of which was
written in golden letters for some inexplicable reason the
name of one of the principal cities of France; beneath these
windows a wooden balcony extended the entire length of the
house. And although the entertainment was fixed for twelve
o'clock, an hour previous to that time the balcony was
filled with impatient and expectant guests, consisting of
the favored part of the crew of the Pharaon, and other
personal friends of the bride-groom, the whole of whom had
arrayed themselves in their choicest costumes, in order to
do greater honor to the occasion.

Various rumors were afloat to the effect that the owners of
the Pharaon had promised to attend the nuptial feast; but
all seemed unanimous in doubting that an act of such rare
and exceeding condescension could possibly be intended.

Danglars, however, who now made his appearance, accompanied
by Caderousse, effectually confirmed the report, stating
that he had recently conversed with M. Morrel, who had
himself assured him of his intention to dine at La Reserve.

In fact, a moment later M. Morrel appeared and was saluted
with an enthusiastic burst of applause from the crew of the
Pharaon, who hailed the visit of the shipowner as a sure
indication that the man whose wedding feast he thus
delighted to honor would ere long be first in command of the
ship; and as Dantes was universally beloved on board his
vessel, the sailors put no restraint on their tumultuous joy
at finding that the opinion and choice of their superiors so
exactly coincided with their own.

With the entrance of M. Morrel, Danglars and Caderousse were
despatched in search of the bride-groom to convey to him the
intelligence of the arrival of the important personage whose
coming had created such a lively sensation, and to beseech
him to make haste.

Danglars and Caderousse set off upon their errand at full
speed; but ere they had gone many steps they perceived a
group advancing towards them, composed of the betrothed
pair, a party of young girls in attendance on the bride, by
whose side walked Dantes' father; the whole brought up by
Fernand, whose lips wore their usual sinister smile.

Neither Mercedes nor Edmond observed the strange expression
of his countenance; they were so happy that they were
conscious only of the sunshine and the presence of each

Having acquitted themselves of their errand, and exchanged a
hearty shake of the hand with Edmond, Danglars and
Caderousse took their places beside Fernand and old Dantes,
-- the latter of whom attracted universal notice. The old
man was attired in a suit of glistening watered silk,
trimmed with steel buttons, beautifully cut and polished.
His thin but wiry legs were arrayed in a pair of richly
embroidered clocked stockings, evidently of English
manufacture, while from his three-cornered hat depended a
long streaming knot of white and blue ribbons. Thus he came
along, supporting himself on a curiously carved stick, his
aged countenance lit up with happiness, looking for all the
world like one of the aged dandies of 1796, parading the
newly opened gardens of the Tuileries and Luxembourg. Beside
him glided Caderousse, whose desire to partake of the good
things provided for the wedding-party had induced him to
become reconciled to the Dantes, father and son, although
there still lingered in his mind a faint and unperfect
recollection of the events of the preceding night; just as
the brain retains on waking in the morning the dim and misty
outline of a dream.

As Danglars approached the disappointed lover, he cast on
him a look of deep meaning, while Fernand, as he slowly
paced behind the happy pair, who seemed, in their own
unmixed content, to have entirely forgotten that such a
being as himself existed, was pale and abstracted;
occasionally, however, a deep flush would overspread his
countenance, and a nervous contraction distort his features,
while, with an agitated and restless gaze, he would glance
in the direction of Marseilles, like one who either
anticipated or foresaw some great and important event.

Dantes himself was simply, but becomingly, clad in the dress
peculiar to the merchant service -- a costume somewhat
between a military and a civil garb; and with his fine
countenance, radiant with joy and happiness, a more perfect
specimen of manly beauty could scarcely be imagined.

Lovely as the Greek girls of Cyprus or Chios, Mercedes
boasted the same bright flashing eyes of jet, and ripe,
round, coral lips. She moved with the light, free step of an
Arlesienne or an Andalusian. One more practiced in the arts
of great cities would have hid her blushes beneath a veil,
or, at least, have cast down her thickly fringed lashes, so
as to have concealed the liquid lustre of her animated eyes;
but, on the contrary, the delighted girl looked around her
with a smile that seemed to say: "If you are my friends,
rejoice with me, for I am very happy."

As soon as the bridal party came in sight of La Reserve, M.
Morrel descended and came forth to meet it, followed by the
soldiers and sailors there assembled, to whom he had
repeated the promise already given, that Dantes should be
the successor to the late Captain Leclere. Edmond, at the
approach of his patron, respectfully placed the arm of his
affianced bride within that of M. Morrel, who, forthwith
conducting her up the flight of wooden steps leading to the
chamber in which the feast was prepared, was gayly followed
by the guests, beneath whose heavy tread the slight
structure creaked and groaned for the space of several

"Father," said Mercedes, stopping when she had reached the
centre of the table, "sit, I pray you, on my right hand; on
my left I will place him who has ever been as a brother to
me," pointing with a soft and gentle smile to Fernand; but
her words and look seemed to inflict the direst torture on
him, for his lips became ghastly pale, and even beneath the
dark hue of his complexion the blood might be seen
retreating as though some sudden pang drove it back to the

During this time, Dantes, at the opposite side of the table,
had been occupied in similarly placing his most honored
guests. M. Morrel was seated at his right hand, Danglars at
his left; while, at a sign from Edmond, the rest of the
company ranged themselves as they found it most agreeable.

Then they began to pass around the dusky, piquant, Arlesian
sausages, and lobsters in their dazzling red cuirasses,
prawns of large size and brilliant color, the echinus with
its prickly outside and dainty morsel within, the clovis,
esteemed by the epicures of the South as more than rivalling
the exquisite flavor of the oyster, -- all the delicacies,
in fact, that are cast up by the wash of waters on the sandy
beach, and styled by the grateful fishermen "fruits of the

"A pretty silence truly!" said the old father of the
bride-groom, as he carried to his lips a glass of wine of
the hue and brightness of the topaz, and which had just been
placed before Mercedes herself. "Now, would anybody think
that this room contained a happy, merry party, who desire
nothing better than to laugh and dance the hours away?"

"Ah," sighed Caderousse, "a man cannot always feel happy
because he is about to be married."

"The truth is," replied Dantes, "that I am too happy for
noisy mirth; if that is what you meant by your observation,
my worthy friend, you are right; joy takes a strange effect
at times, it seems to oppress us almost the same as sorrow."

Danglars looked towards Fernand, whose excitable nature
received and betrayed each fresh impression.

"Why, what ails you?" asked he of Edmond. "Do you fear any
approaching evil? I should say that you were the happiest
man alive at this instant."

"And that is the very thing that alarms me," returned
Dantes. "Man does not appear to me to be intended to enjoy
felicity so unmixed; happiness is like the enchanted palaces
we read of in our childhood, where fierce, fiery dragons
defend the entrance and approach; and monsters of all shapes
and kinds, requiring to be overcome ere victory is ours. I
own that I am lost in wonder to find myself promoted to an
honor of which I feel myself unworthy -- that of being the
husband of Mercedes."

"Nay, nay!" cried Caderousse, smiling, "you have not
attained that honor yet. Mercedes is not yet your wife. Just
assume the tone and manner of a husband, and see how she
will remind you that your hour is not yet come!"

The bride blushed, while Fernand, restless and uneasy,
seemed to start at every fresh sound, and from time to time
wiped away the large drops of perspiration that gathered on
his brow.

"Well, never mind that, neighbor Caderousse; it is not worth
while to contradict me for such a trifle as that. 'Tis true
that Mercedes is not actually my wife; but," added he,
drawing out his watch, "in an hour and a half she will be."

A general exclamation of surprise ran round the table, with
the exception of the elder Dantes, whose laugh displayed the
still perfect beauty of his large white teeth. Mercedes
looked pleased and gratified, while Fernand grasped the
handle of his knife with a convulsive clutch.

"In an hour?" inquired Danglars, turning pale. "How is that,
my friend?"

"Why, thus it is," replied Dantes. "Thanks to the influence
of M. Morrel, to whom, next to my father, I owe every
blessing I enjoy, every difficulty his been removed. We have
purchased permission to waive the usual delay; and at
half-past two o'clock the mayor of Marseilles will be
waiting for us at the city hall. Now, as a quarter-past one
has already struck, I do not consider I have asserted too
much in saying, that, in another hour and thirty minutes
Mercedes will have become Madame Dantes."

Fernand closed his eyes, a burning sensation passed across
his brow, and he was compelled to support himself by the
table to prevent his falling from his chair; but in spite of
all his efforts, he could not refrain from uttering a deep
groan, which, however, was lost amid the noisy felicitations
of the company.

"Upon my word," cried the old man, "you make short work of
this kind of affair. Arrived here only yesterday morning,
and married to-day at three o'clock! Commend me to a sailor
for going the quick way to work!"

"But," asked Danglars, in a timid tone, "how did you manage
about the other formalities -- the contract -- the

"The contract," answered Dantes, laughingly, "it didn't take
long to fix that. Mercedes has no fortune; I have none to
settle on her. So, you see, our papers were quickly written
out, and certainly do not come very expensive." This joke
elicited a fresh burst of applause.

"So that what we presumed to be merely the betrothal feast
turns out to be the actual wedding dinner!" said Danglars.

"No, no," answered Dantes; "don't imagine I am going to put
you off in that shabby manner. To-morrow morning I start for
Paris; four days to go, and the same to return, with one day
to discharge the commission intrusted to me, is all the time
I shall be absent. I shall be back here by the first of
March, and on the second I give my real marriage feast."

This prospect of fresh festivity redoubled the hilarity of
the guests to such a degree, that the elder Dantes, who, at
the commencement of the repast, had commented upon the
silence that prevailed, now found it difficult, amid the
general din of voices, to obtain a moment's tranquillity in
which to drink to the health and prosperity of the bride and

Dantes, perceiving the affectionate eagerness of his father,
responded by a look of grateful pleasure; while Mercedes
glanced at the clock and made an expressive gesture to

Around the table reigned that noisy hilarity which usually
prevails at such a time among people sufficiently free from
the demands of social position not to feel the trammels of
etiquette. Such as at the commencement of the repast had not
been able to seat themselves according to their inclination
rose unceremoniously, and sought out more agreeable
companions. Everybody talked at once, without waiting for a
reply and each one seemed to be contented with expressing
his or her own thoughts.

Fernand's paleness appeared to have communicated itself to
Danglars. As for Fernand himself, he seemed to be enduring
the tortures of the damned; unable to rest, he was among the
first to quit the table, and, as though seeking to avoid the
hilarious mirth that rose in such deafening sounds, he
continued, in utter silence, to pace the farther end of the

Caderousse approached him just as Danglars, whom Fernand
seemed most anxious to avoid, had joined him in a corner of
the room.

"Upon my word," said Caderousse, from whose mind the
friendly treatment of Dantes, united with the effect of the
excellent wine he had partaken of, had effaced every feeling
of envy or jealousy at Dantes' good fortune, -- "upon my
word, Dantes is a downright good fellow, and when I see him
sitting there beside his pretty wife that is so soon to be.
I cannot help thinking it would have been a great pity to
have served him that trick you were planning yesterday."

"Oh, there was no harm meant," answered Danglars; "at first
I certainly did feel somewhat uneasy as to what Fernand
might be tempted to do; but when I saw how completely he had
mastered his feelings, even so far as to become one of his
rival's attendants, I knew there was no further cause for
apprehension." Caderousse looked full at Fernand -- he was
ghastly pale.

"Certainly," continued Danglars, "the sacrifice was no
trifling one, when the beauty of the bride is concerned.
Upon my soul, that future captain of mine is a lucky dog!
Gad, I only wish he would let me take his place."

"Shall we not set forth?" asked the sweet, silvery voice of
Mercedes; "two o'clock has just struck, and you know we are
expected in a quarter of an hour."

"To be sure! -- to be sure!" cried Dantes, eagerly quitting
the table; "let us go directly!"

His words were re-echoed by the whole party, with vociferous

At this moment Danglars, who had been incessantly observing
every change in Fernand's look and manner, saw him stagger
and fall back, with an almost convulsive spasm, against a
seat placed near one of the open windows. At the same
instant his ear caught a sort of indistinct sound on the
stairs, followed by the measured tread of soldiery, with the
clanking of swords and military accoutrements; then came a
hum and buzz as of many voices, so as to deaden even the
noisy mirth of the bridal party, among whom a vague feeling
of curiosity and apprehension quelled every disposition to
talk, and almost instantaneously the most deathlike
stillness prevailed.

The sounds drew nearer. Three blows were struck upon the
panel of the door. The company looked at each other in

"I demand admittance," said a loud voice outside the room,
"in the name of the law!" As no attempt was made to prevent
it, the door was opened, and a magistrate, wearing his
official scarf, presented himself, followed by four soldiers
and a corporal. Uneasiness now yielded to the most extreme
dread on the part of those present.

"May I venture to inquire the reason of this unexpected
visit?" said M. Morrel, addressing the magistrate, whom he
evidently knew; "there is doubtless some mistake easily

"If it be so," replied the magistrate, "rely upon every
reparation being made; meanwhile, I am the bearer of an
order of arrest, and although I most reluctantly perform the
task assigned me, it must, nevertheless, be fulfilled. Who
among the persons here assembled answers to the name of
Edmond Dantes?" Every eye was turned towards the young man
who, spite of the agitation he could not but feel, advanced
with dignity, and said, in a firm voice, "I am he; what is
your pleasure with me?"

"Edmond Dantes," replied the magistrate, "I arrest you in
the name of the law!"

"Me!" repeated Edmond, slightly changing color, "and
wherefore, I pray?"

"I cannot inform you, but you will be duly acquainted with
the reasons that have rendered such a step necessary at the
preliminary examination."

M. Morrel felt that further resistance or remonstrance was
useless. He saw before him an officer delegated to enforce
the law, and perfectly well knew that it would be as
unavailing to seek pity from a magistrate decked with his
official scarf, as to address a petition to some cold marble
effigy. Old Dantes, however, sprang forward. There are
situations which the heart of a father or a mother cannot be
made to understand. He prayed and supplicated in terms so
moving, that even the officer was touched, and, although
firm in his duty, he kindly said, "My worthy friend, let me
beg of you to calm your apprehensions. Your son has probably
neglected some prescribed form or attention in registering
his cargo, and it is more than probable he will be set at
liberty directly he has given the information required,
whether touching the health of his crew, or the value of his

"What is the meaning of all this?" inquired Caderousse,
frowningly, of Danglars, who had assumed an air of utter

"How can I tell you?" replied he; "I am, like yourself,
utterly bewildered at all that is going on, and cannot in
the least make out what it is about." Caderousse then looked
around for Fernand, but he had disappeared.

The scene of the previous night now came back to his mind
with startling clearness. The painful catastrophe he had
just witnessed appeared effectually to have rent away the
veil which the intoxication of the evening before had raised
between himself and his memory.

"So, so," said he, in a hoarse and choking voice, to
Danglars, "this, then, I suppose, is a part of the trick you
were concerting yesterday? All I can say is, that if it be
so, 'tis an ill turn, and well deserves to bring double evil
on those who have projected it."

"Nonsense," returned Danglars, "I tell you again I have
nothing whatever to do with it; besides, you know very well
that I tore the paper to pieces."

"No, you did not!" answered Caderousse, "you merely threw it
by -- I saw it lying in a corner."

"Hold your tongue, you fool! -- what should you know about
it? -- why, you were drunk!"

"Where is Fernand?" inquired Caderousse.

"How do I know?" replied Danglars; "gone, as every prudent
man ought to be, to look after his own affairs, most likely.
Never mind where he is, let you and I go and see what is to
be done for our poor friends."

During this conversation, Dantes, after having exchanged a
cheerful shake of the hand with all his sympathizing
friends, had surrendered himself to the officer sent to
arrest him, merely saying, "Make yourselves quite easy, my
good fellows, there is some little mistake to clear up,
that's all, depend upon it; and very likely I may not have
to go so far as the prison to effect that."

"Oh, to be sure!" responded Danglars, who had now approached
the group, "nothing more than a mistake, I feel quite

Dantes descended the staircase, preceded by the magistrate,
and followed by the soldiers. A carriage awaited him at the
door; he got in, followed by two soldiers and the
magistrate, and the vehicle drove off towards Marseilles.

"Adieu, adieu, dearest Edmond!" cried Mercedes, stretching
out her arms to him from the balcony.

The prisoner heard the cry, which sounded like the sob of a
broken heart, and leaning from the coach he called out,
"Good-by, Mercedes -- we shall soon meet again!" Then the
vehicle disappeared round one of the turnings of Fort Saint

"Wait for me here, all of you!" cried M. Morrel; "I will
take the first conveyance I find, and hurry to Marseilles,
whence I will bring you word how all is going on."

"That's right!" exclaimed a multitude of voices, "go, and
return as quickly as you can!"

This second departure was followed by a long and fearful
state of terrified silence on the part of those who were
left behind. The old father and Mercedes remained for some
time apart, each absorbed in grief; but at length the two
poor victims of the same blow raised their eyes, and with a
simultaneous burst of feeling rushed into each other's arms.

Meanwhile Fernand made his appearance, poured out for
himself a glass of water with a trembling hand; then hastily
swallowing it, went to sit down at the first vacant place,
and this was, by mere chance, placed next to the seat on
which poor Mercedes had fallen half fainting, when released
from the warm and affectionate embrace of old Dantes.
Instinctively Fernand drew back his chair.

"He is the cause of all this misery -- I am quite sure of
it," whispered Caderousse, who had never taken his eyes off
Fernand, to Danglars.

"I don't think so," answered the other; he's too stupid to
imagine such a scheme. I only hope the mischief will fall
upon the head of whoever wrought it."

"You don't mention those who aided and abetted the deed,"
said Caderousse.

"Surely," answered Danglars, "one cannot be held responsible
for every chance arrow shot into the air."

"You can, indeed, when the arrow lights point downward on
somebody's head."

Meantime the subject of the arrest was being canvassed in
every different form.

"What think you, Danglars," said one of the party, turning
towards him, "of this event?"

"Why," replied he, "I think it just possible Dantes may have
been detected with some trifling article on board ship
considered here as contraband."

"But how could he have done so without your knowledge,
Danglars, since you are the ship's supercargo?"

"Why, as for that, I could only know what I was told
respecting the merchandise with which the vessel was laden.
I know she was loaded with cotton, and that she took in her
freight at Alexandria from Pastret's warehouse, and at
Smyrna from Pascal's; that is all I was obliged to know, and
I beg I may not be asked for any further particulars."

"Now I recollect," said the afflicted old father; "my poor
boy told me yesterday he had got a small case of coffee, and
another of tobacco for me!"

"There, you see," exclaimed Danglars. "Now the mischief is
out; depend upon it the custom-house people went rummaging
about the ship in our absence, and discovered poor Dantes'
hidden treasures."

Mercedes, however, paid no heed to this explanation of her
lover's arrest. Her grief, which she had hitherto tried to
restrain, now burst out in a violent fit of hysterical

"Come, come," said the old man, "be comforted, my poor
child; there is still hope!"

"Hope!" repeated Danglars.

"Hope!" faintly murmured Fernand, but the word seemed to die
away on his pale agitated lips, and a convulsive spasm
passed over his countenance.

"Good news! good news!" shouted forth one of the party
stationed in the balcony on the lookout. "Here comes M.
Morrel back. No doubt, now, we shall hear that our friend is

Mercedes and the old man rushed to meet the shipowner and
greeted him at the door. He was very pale.

"What news?" exclaimed a general burst of voices.

"Alas, my friends," replied M. Morrel, with a mournful shake
of his head, "the thing has assumed a more serious aspect
than I expected."

"Oh, indeed -- indeed, sir, he is innocent!" sobbed forth

"That I believe!" answered M. Morrel; "but still he is
charged" --

"With what?" inquired the elder Dantes.

"With being an agent of the Bonapartist faction!" Many of
our readers may be able to recollect how formidable such an
accusation became in the period at which our story is dated.

A despairing cry escaped the pale lips of Mercedes; the old
man sank into a chair.

"Ah, Danglars!" whispered Caderousse, "you have deceived me
-- the trick you spoke of last night has been played; but I
cannot suffer a poor old man or an innocent girl to die of
grief through your fault. I am determined to tell them all
about it."

"Be silent, you simpleton!" cried Danglars, grasping him by
the arm, "or I will not answer even for your own safety. Who
can tell whether Dantes be innocent or guilty? The vessel
did touch at Elba, where he quitted it, and passed a whole
day in the island. Now, should any letters or other
documents of a compromising character be found upon him,
will it not be taken for granted that all who uphold him are
his accomplices?"

With the rapid instinct of selfishness, Caderousse readily
perceived the solidity of this mode of reasoning; he gazed,
doubtfully, wistfully, on Danglars, and then caution
supplanted generosity.

"Suppose we wait a while, and see what comes of it," said
he, casting a bewildered look on his companion.

"To be sure!" answered Danglars. "Let us wait, by all means.
If he be innocent, of course he will be set at liberty; if
guilty, why, it is no use involving ourselves in a

"Let us go, then. I cannot stay here any longer."

"With all my heart!" replied Danglars, pleased to find the
other so tractable. "Let us take ourselves out of the way,
and leave things for the present to take their course."

After their departure, Fernand, who had now again become the
friend and protector of Mercedes, led the girl to her home,
while the friends of Dantes conducted the now half-fainting
man back to his abode.

The rumor of Edmond arrest as a Bonapartist agent was not
slow in circulating throughout the city.

"Could you ever have credited such a thing, my dear
Danglars?" asked M. Morrel, as, on his return to the port
for the purpose of gleaning fresh tidings of Dantes, from M.
de Villefort, the assistant procureur, he overtook his
supercargo and Caderousse. "Could you have believed such a
thing possible?"

"Why, you know I told you," replied Danglars, "that I
considered the circumstance of his having anchored at the
Island of Elba as a very suspicious circumstance."

"And did you mention these suspicions to any person beside

"Certainly not!" returned Danglars. Then added in a low
whisper, "You understand that, on account of your uncle, M.
Policar Morrel, who served under the other government, and
who does not altogether conceal what he thinks on the
subject, you are strongly suspected of regretting the
abdication of Napoleon. I should have feared to injure both
Edmond and yourself, had I divulged my own apprehensions to
a soul. I am too well aware that though a subordinate, like
myself, is bound to acquaint the shipowner with everything
that occurs, there are many things he ought most carefully
to conceal from all else."

"'Tis well, Danglars -- 'tis well!" replied M. Morrel. "You
are a worthy fellow; and I had already thought of your
interests in the event of poor Edmond having become captain
of the Pharaon."

"Is it possible you were so kind?"

"Yes, indeed; I had previously inquired of Dantes what was
his opinion of you, and if he should have any reluctance to
continue you in your post, for somehow I have perceived a
sort of coolness between you."

"And what was his reply?"

"That he certainly did think he had given you offence in an
affair which he merely referred to without entering into
particulars, but that whoever possessed the good opinion and
confidence of the ship's owner would have his preference

"The hypocrite!" murmured Danglars.

"Poor Dantes!" said Caderousse. "No one can deny his being a
noble-hearted young fellow."

"But meanwhile," continued M. Morrel, "here is the Pharaon
without a captain."

"Oh," replied Danglars, "since we cannot leave this port for
the next three months, let us hope that ere the expiration
of that period Dantes will be set at liberty."

"No doubt; but in the meantime?"

"I am entirely at your service, M. Morrel," answered
Danglars. "You know that I am as capable of managing a ship
as the most experienced captain in the service; and it will
be so far advantageous to you to accept my services, that
upon Edmond's release from prison no further change will be
requisite on board the Pharaon than for Dantes and myself
each to resume our respective posts."

"Thanks, Danglars -- that will smooth over all difficulties.
I fully authorize you at once to assume the command of the
Pharaon, and look carefully to the unloading of her freight.
Private misfortunes must never be allowed to interfere with

"Be easy on that score, M. Morrel; but do you think we shall
be permitted to see our poor Edmond?"

"I will let you know that directly I have seen M. de
Villefort, whom I shall endeavor to interest in Edmond's
favor. I am aware he is a furious royalist; but, in spite of
that, and of his being king's attorney, he is a man like
ourselves, and I fancy not a bad sort of one."

"Perhaps not," replied Danglars; "but I hear that he is
ambitions, and that's rather against him."

"Well, well," returned M. Morrel, "we shall see. But now
hasten on board, I will join you there ere long." So saying,
the worthy shipowner quitted the two allies, and proceeded
in the direction of the Palais de Justice.

"You see," said Danglars, addressing Caderousse, "the turn
things have taken. Do you still feel any desire to stand up
in his defence?"

"Not the slightest, but yet it seems to me a shocking thing
that a mere joke should lead to such consequences."

"But who perpetrated that joke, let me ask? neither you nor
myself, but Fernand; you knew very well that I threw the
paper into a corner of the room -- indeed, I fancied I had
destroyed it."

"Oh, no," replied Caderousse, "that I can answer for, you
did not. I only wish I could see it now as plainly as I saw
it lying all crushed and crumpled in a corner of the arbor."

"Well, then, if you did, depend upon it, Fernand picked it
up, and either copied it or caused it to be copied; perhaps,
even, he did not take the trouble of recopying it. And now I
think of it, by Heavens, he may have sent the letter itself!
Fortunately, for me, the handwriting was disguised."

"Then you were aware of Dantes being engaged in a

"Not I. As I before said, I thought the whole thing was a
joke, nothing more. It seems, however, that I have
unconsciously stumbled upon the truth."

"Still," argued Caderousse, "I would give a great deal if
nothing of the kind had happened; or, at least, that I had
had no hand in it. You will see, Danglars, that it will turn
out an unlucky job for both of us."

"Nonsense! If any harm come of it, it should fall on the
guilty person; and that, you know, is Fernand. How can we be
implicated in any way? All we have got to do is, to keep our
own counsel, and remain perfectly quiet, not breathing a
word to any living soul; and you will see that the storm
will pass away without in the least affecting us."

"Amen!" responded Caderousse, waving his hand in token of
adieu to Danglars, and bending his steps towards the Allees
de Meillan, moving his head to and fro, and muttering as he
went, after the manner of one whose mind was overcharged
with one absorbing idea.

"So far, then," said Danglars, mentally, "all has gone as I
would have it. I am, temporarily, commander of the Pharaon,
with the certainty of being permanently so, if that fool of
a Caderousse can be persuaded to hold his tongue. My only
fear is the chance of Dantes being released. But, there, he
is in the hands of Justice; and," added he with a smile,
"she will take her own." So saying, he leaped into a boat,
desiring to be rowed on board the Pharaon, where M. Morrel
had agreed to meet him.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
General Fiction
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