The Count of Monte Cristo – Day 155 of 400

“Eugenie Danglars,” said Monte Cristo; “tell me, is not her father Baron Danglars?”

“Yes,” returned Morcerf, “a baron of a new creation.”

“What matter,” said Monte Cristo “if he has rendered the State services which merit this distinction?”

“Enormous ones,” answered Beauchamp. “Although in reality a Liberal, he negotiated a loan of six millions for Charles X., in 1829, who made him a baron and chevalier of the Legion of Honor; so that he wears the ribbon, not, as you would think, in his waistcoat-pocket, but at his button-hole.”

“Ah,” interrupted Morcerf, laughing, “Beauchamp, Beauchamp, keep that for the Corsaire or the Charivari, but spare my future father-in-law before me.” Then, turning to Monte Cristo, “You just now spoke his name as if you knew the baron?”

“I do not know him,” returned Monte Cristo; “but I shall probably soon make his acquaintance, for I have a credit opened with him by the house of Richard & Blount, of London, Arstein & Eskeles of Vienna, and Thomson & French at Rome.” As he pronounced the two last names, the count glanced at Maximilian Morrel. If the stranger expected to produce an effect on Morrel, he was not mistaken—Maximilian started as if he had been electrified. “Thomson & French,” said he; “do you know this house, monsieur?”

“They are my bankers in the capital of the Christian world,” returned the count quietly. “Can my influence with them be of any service to you?”

“Oh, count, you could assist me perhaps in researches which have been, up to the present, fruitless. This house, in past years, did ours a great service, and has, I know not for what reason, always denied having rendered us this service.”

“I shall be at your orders,” said Monte Cristo bowing.

“But,” continued Morcerf, “a propos of Danglars,—we have strangely wandered from the subject. We were speaking of a suitable habitation for the Count of Monte Cristo. Come, gentlemen, let us all propose some place. Where shall we lodge this new guest in our great capital?”

“Faubourg Saint-Germain,” said Chateau-Renaud. “The count will find there a charming hotel, with a court and garden.”

“Bah, Chateau-Renaud,” returned Debray, “you only know your dull and gloomy Faubourg Saint-Germain; do not pay any attention to him, count—live in the Chaussee d’Antin, that’s the real centre of Paris.”

“Boulevard de l’Opera,” said Beauchamp; “the second floor—a house with a balcony. The count will have his cushions of silver cloth brought there, and as he smokes his chibouque, see all Paris pass before him.”

“You have no idea, then, Morrel?” asked Chateau-Renaud; “you do not propose anything.”

“Oh, yes,” returned the young man, smiling; “on the contrary, I have one, but I expected the count would be tempted by one of the brilliant proposals made him, yet as he has not replied to any of them, I will venture to offer him a suite of apartments in a charming hotel, in the Pompadour style, that my sister has inhabited for a year, in the Rue Meslay.”

“You have a sister?” asked the count.

“Yes, monsieur, a most excellent sister.”

“Married?”

“Nearly nine years.”

“Happy?” asked the count again.

“As happy as it is permitted to a human creature to be,” replied Maximilian. “She married the man she loved, who remained faithful to us in our fallen fortunes—Emmanuel Herbaut.” Monte Cristo smiled imperceptibly. “I live there during my leave of absence,” continued Maximilian; “and I shall be, together with my brother-in-law Emmanuel, at the disposition of the Count, whenever he thinks fit to honor us.”

“One minute,” cried Albert, without giving Monte Cristo the time to reply. “Take care, you are going to immure a traveller, Sinbad the Sailor, a man who comes to see Paris; you are going to make a patriarch of him.”

“Oh, no,” said Morrel; “my sister is five and twenty, my brother-in-law is thirty, they are gay, young, and happy. Besides, the count will be in his own house, and only see them when he thinks fit to do so.”

“Thanks, monsieur,” said Monte Cristo; “I shall content myself with being presented to your sister and her husband, if you will do me the honor to introduce me; but I cannot accept the offer of any one of these gentlemen, since my habitation is already prepared.”

“What,” cried Morcerf; “you are, then, going to an hotel—that will be very dull for you.”

“Was I so badly lodged at Rome?” said Monte Cristo smiling.

“Parbleu, at Rome you spent fifty thousand piastres in furnishing your apartments, but I presume that you are not disposed to spend a similar sum every day.”

“It is not that which deterred me,” replied Monte Cristo; “but as I determined to have a house to myself, I sent on my valet de chambre, and he ought by this time to have bought the house and furnished it.”

“But you have, then, a valet de chambre who knows Paris?” said Beauchamp.

“It is the first time he has ever been in Paris. He is black, and cannot speak,” returned Monte Cristo.

“It is Ali!” cried Albert, in the midst of the general surprise.

“Yes, Ali himself, my Nubian mute, whom you saw, I think, at Rome.”

“Certainly,” said Morcerf; “I recollect him perfectly. But how could you charge a Nubian to purchase a house, and a mute to furnish it?—he will do everything wrong.”

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