The Count of Monte Cristo – Day 187 of 400

“And God has poured balm into your wounds, as he does into those of all who are in affliction?” said Monte Cristo inquiringly.

“Yes, count,” returned Julie, “we may indeed say he has, for he has done for us what he grants only to his chosen; he sent us one of his angels.” The count’s cheeks became scarlet, and he coughed, in order to have an excuse for putting his handkerchief to his mouth. “Those born to wealth, and who have the means of gratifying every wish,” said Emmanuel, “know not what is the real happiness of life, just as those who have been tossed on the stormy waters of the ocean on a few frail planks can alone realize the blessings of fair weather.”

Monte Cristo rose, and without making any answer (for the tremulousness of his voice would have betrayed his emotion) walked up and down the apartment with a slow step.

“Our magnificence makes you smile, count,” said Maximilian, who had followed him with his eyes. “No, no,” returned Monte Cristo, pale as death, pressing one hand on his heart to still its throbbings, while with the other he pointed to a crystal cover, beneath which a silken purse lay on a black velvet cushion. “I was wondering what could be the significance of this purse, with the paper at one end and the large diamond at the other.”

“Count,” replied Maximilian, with an air of gravity, “those are our most precious family treasures.”

“The stone seems very brilliant,” answered the count.

“Oh, my brother does not allude to its value, although it has been estimated at 100,000 francs; he means, that the articles contained in this purse are the relics of the angel I spoke of just now.”

“This I do not comprehend; and yet I may not ask for an explanation, madame,” replied Monte Cristo bowing. “Pardon me, I had no intention of committing an indiscretion.”

“Indiscretion,—oh, you make us happy by giving us an excuse for expatiating on this subject. If we wanted to conceal the noble action this purse commemorates, we should not expose it thus to view. Oh, would we could relate it everywhere, and to every one, so that the emotion of our unknown benefactor might reveal his presence.”

“Ah, really,” said Monte Cristo in a half-stifled voice.

“Monsieur,” returned Maximilian, raising the glass cover, and respectfully kissing the silken purse, “this has touched the hand of a man who saved my father from suicide, us from ruin, and our name from shame and disgrace,—a man by whose matchless benevolence we poor children, doomed to want and wretchedness, can at present hear every one envying our happy lot. This letter” (as he spoke, Maximilian drew a letter from the purse and gave it to the count)—“this letter was written by him the day that my father had taken a desperate resolution, and this diamond was given by the generous unknown to my sister as her dowry.” Monte Cristo opened the letter, and read it with an indescribable feeling of delight. It was the letter written (as our readers know) to Julie, and signed “Sinbad the Sailor.” “Unknown you say, is the man who rendered you this service—unknown to you?”

“Yes; we have never had the happiness of pressing his hand,” continued Maximilian. “We have supplicated heaven in vain to grant us this favor, but the whole affair has had a mysterious meaning that we cannot comprehend—we have been guided by an invisible hand,—a hand as powerful as that of an enchanter.”

“Oh,” cried Julie, “I have not lost all hope of some day kissing that hand, as I now kiss the purse which he has touched. Four years ago, Penelon was at Trieste—Penelon, count, is the old sailor you saw in the garden, and who, from quartermaster, has become gardener—Penelon, when he was at Trieste, saw on the quay an Englishman, who was on the point of embarking on board a yacht, and he recognized him as the person who called on my father the fifth of June, 1829, and who wrote me this letter on the fifth of September. He felt convinced of his identity, but he did not venture to address him.”

“An Englishman,” said Monte Cristo, who grew uneasy at the attention with which Julie looked at him. “An Englishman you say?”

“Yes,” replied Maximilian, “an Englishman, who represented himself as the confidential clerk of the house of Thomson & French, at Rome. It was this that made me start when you said the other day, at M. de Morcerf’s, that Messrs. Thomson & French were your bankers. That happened, as I told you, in 1829. For God’s sake, tell me, did you know this Englishman?”

“But you tell me, also, that the house of Thomson & French have constantly denied having rendered you this service?”


“Then is it not probable that this Englishman may be some one who, grateful for a kindness your father had shown him, and which he himself had forgotten, has taken this method of requiting the obligation?”

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