The Count of Monte Cristo – Day 275 of 400

Chapter 77. Haidee.

Scarcely had the count’s horses cleared the angle of the boulevard, than Albert, turning towards the count, burst into a loud fit of laughter—much too loud in fact not to give the idea of its being rather forced and unnatural. “Well,” said he, “I will ask you the same question which Charles IX. put to Catherine de Medicis, after the massacre of Saint Bartholomew, ‘How have I played my little part?'”

“To what do you allude?” asked Monte Cristo.

“To the installation of my rival at M. Danglars’.”

“What rival?”

“Ma foi, what rival? Why, your protege, M. Andrea Cavalcanti!”

“Ah, no joking, viscount, if you please; I do not patronize M. Andrea—at least, not as concerns M. Danglars.”

“And you would be to blame for not assisting him, if the young man really needed your help in that quarter, but, happily for me, he can dispense with it.”

“What, do you think he is paying his addresses?”

“I am certain of it; his languishing looks and modulated tones when addressing Mademoiselle Danglars fully proclaim his intentions. He aspires to the hand of the proud Eugenie.”

“What does that signify, so long as they favor your suit?”

“But it is not the case, my dear count: on the contrary. I am repulsed on all sides.”


“It is so indeed; Mademoiselle Eugenie scarcely answers me, and Mademoiselle d’Armilly, her confidant, does not speak to me at all.”

“But the father has the greatest regard possible for you,” said Monte Cristo.

“He? Oh, no, he has plunged a thousand daggers into my heart, tragedy-weapons, I own, which instead of wounding sheathe their points in their own handles, but daggers which he nevertheless believed to be real and deadly.”

“Jealousy indicates affection.”

“True; but I am not jealous.”

“He is.”

“Of whom?—of Debray?”

“No, of you.”

“Of me? I will engage to say that before a week is past the door will be closed against me.”

“You are mistaken, my dear viscount.”

“Prove it to me.”

“Do you wish me to do so?”


“Well, I am charged with the commission of endeavoring to induce the Comte de Morcerf to make some definite arrangement with the baron.”

“By whom are you charged?”

“By the baron himself.”

“Oh,” said Albert with all the cajolery of which he was capable. “You surely will not do that, my dear count?”

“Certainly I shall, Albert, as I have promised to do it.”

“Well,” said Albert, with a sigh, “it seems you are determined to marry me.”

“I am determined to try and be on good terms with everybody, at all events,” said Monte Cristo. “But apropos of Debray, how is it that I have not seen him lately at the baron’s house?”

“There has been a misunderstanding.”

“What, with the baroness?”

“No, with the baron.”

“Has he perceived anything?”

“Ah, that is a good joke!”

“Do you think he suspects?” said Monte Cristo with charming artlessness.

“Where have you come from, my dear count?” said Albert.

“From Congo, if you will.”

“It must be farther off than even that.”

“But what do I know of your Parisian husbands?”

“Oh, my dear count, husbands are pretty much the same everywhere; an individual husband of any country is a pretty fair specimen of the whole race.”

“But then, what can have led to the quarrel between Danglars and Debray? They seemed to understand each other so well,” said Monte Cristo with renewed energy.

“Ah, now you are trying to penetrate into the mysteries of Isis, in which I am not initiated. When M. Andrea Cavalcanti has become one of the family, you can ask him that question.” The carriage stopped. “Here we are,” said Monte Cristo; “it is only half-past ten o’clock, come in.”

“Certainly I will.”

“My carriage shall take you back.”

“No, thank you; I gave orders for my coupe to follow me.”

“There it is, then,” said Monte Cristo, as he stepped out of the carriage. They both went into the house; the drawing-room was lighted up—they went in there. “You will make tea for us, Baptistin,” said the count. Baptistin left the room without waiting to answer, and in two seconds reappeared, bringing on a waiter all that his master had ordered, ready prepared, and appearing to have sprung from the ground, like the repasts which we read of in fairy tales. “Really, my dear count,” said Morcerf, “what I admire in you is, not so much your riches, for perhaps there are people even wealthier than yourself, nor is it only your wit, for Beaumarchais might have possessed as much,—but it is your manner of being served, without any questions, in a moment, in a second; it is as if they guessed what you wanted by your manner of ringing, and made a point of keeping everything you can possibly desire in constant readiness.”

“What you say is perhaps true; they know my habits. For instance, you shall see; how do you wish to occupy yourself during tea-time?”

“Ma foi, I should like to smoke.”

Monte Cristo took the gong and struck it once. In about the space of a second a private door opened, and Ali appeared, bringing two chibouques filled with excellent latakia. “It is quite wonderful,” said Albert.

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