The Count of Monte Cristo – Day 276 of 400

“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.

“Oh no, it is as simple as possible,” replied Monte Cristo. “Ali knows I generally smoke while I am taking my tea or coffee; he has heard that I ordered tea, and he also knows that I brought you home with me; when I summoned him he naturally guessed the reason of my doing so, and as he comes from a country where hospitality is especially manifested through the medium of smoking, he naturally concludes that we shall smoke in company, and therefore brings two chibouques instead of one—and now the mystery is solved.”

“Certainly you give a most commonplace air to your explanation, but it is not the less true that you—Ah, but what do I hear?” and Morcerf inclined his head towards the door, through which sounds seemed to issue resembling those of a guitar.

“Ma foi, my dear viscount, you are fated to hear music this evening; you have only escaped from Mademoiselle Danglars’ piano, to be attacked by Haidee’s guzla.”

“Haidee—what an adorable name! Are there, then, really women who bear the name of Haidee anywhere but in Byron’s poems?”

“Certainly there are. Haidee is a very uncommon name in France, but is common enough in Albania and Epirus; it is as if you said, for example, Chastity, Modesty, Innocence,—it is a kind of baptismal name, as you Parisians call it.”

“Oh, that is charming,” said Albert, “how I should like to hear my countrywomen called Mademoiselle Goodness, Mademoiselle Silence, Mademoiselle Christian Charity! Only think, then, if Mademoiselle Danglars, instead of being called Claire-Marie-Eugenie, had been named Mademoiselle Chastity-Modesty-Innocence Danglars; what a fine effect that would have produced on the announcement of her marriage!”

“Hush,” said the count, “do not joke in so loud a tone; Haidee may hear you, perhaps.”

“And you think she would be angry?”

“No, certainly not,” said the count with a haughty expression.

“She is very amiable, then, is she not?” said Albert.

“It is not to be called amiability, it is her duty; a slave does not dictate to a master.”

“Come; you are joking yourself now. Are there any more slaves to be had who bear this beautiful name?”


“Really, count, you do nothing, and have nothing like other people. The slave of the Count of Monte Cristo! Why, it is a rank of itself in France, and from the way in which you lavish money, it is a place that must be worth a hundred thousand francs a year.”

“A hundred thousand francs! The poor girl originally possessed much more than that; she was born to treasures in comparison with which those recorded in the ‘Thousand and One Nights’ would seem but poverty.”

“She must be a princess then.”

“You are right; and she is one of the greatest in her country too.”

“I thought so. But how did it happen that such a great princess became a slave?”

“How was it that Dionysius the Tyrant became a schoolmaster? The fortune of war, my dear viscount,—the caprice of fortune; that is the way in which these things are to be accounted for.”

“And is her name a secret?”

“As regards the generality of mankind it is; but not for you, my dear viscount, who are one of my most intimate friends, and on whose silence I feel I may rely, if I consider it necessary to enjoin it—may I not do so?”

“Certainly; on my word of honor.”

“You know the history of the Pasha of Yanina, do you not?”

* Ali Pasha, “The Lion,” was born at Tepelini, an Albanian village at the foot of the Klissoura Mountains, in 1741. By diplomacy and success in arms he became almost supreme ruler of Albania, Epirus, and adjacent territory. Having aroused the enmity of the Sultan, he was proscribed and put to death by treachery in 1822, at the age of eighty.—Ed.

“Of Ali Tepelini? * Oh, yes; it was in his service that my father made his fortune.”

“True, I had forgotten that.”

“Well, what is Haidee to Ali Tepelini?”

“Merely his daughter.”

“What? the daughter of Ali Pasha?”

“Of Ali Pasha and the beautiful Vasiliki.”

“And your slave?”

“Ma foi, yes.”

“But how did she become so?”

“Why, simply from the circumstance of my having bought her one day, as I was passing through the market at Constantinople.”

“Wonderful! Really, my dear count, you seem to throw a sort of magic influence over all in which you are concerned; when I listen to you, existence no longer seems reality, but a waking dream. Now, I am perhaps going to make an imprudent and thoughtless request, but”—

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