The Count of Monte Cristo – Day 296 of 400

“Bring me a million such as that,” said Danglars, “I shall be well pleased,” putting the draft in his pocket. “Fix your own hour for to-morrow, and my cashier shall call on you with a check for eighty thousand francs.”

“At ten o’clock then, if you please; I should like it early, as I am going into the country to-morrow.”

“Very well, at ten o’clock; you are still at the Hotel des Princes?”


The following morning, with the banker’s usual punctuality, the eighty thousand francs were placed in the young man’s hands as he was on the point of starting, after having left two hundred francs for Caderousse. He went out chiefly to avoid this dangerous enemy, and returned as late as possible in the evening. But scarcely had he stepped out of his carriage when the porter met him with a parcel in his hand. “Sir,” said he, “that man has been here.”

“What man?” said Andrea carelessly, apparently forgetting him whom he but too well recollected.

“Him to whom your excellency pays that little annuity.”

“Oh,” said Andrea, “my father’s old servant. Well, you gave him the two hundred francs I had left for him?”

“Yes, your excellency.” Andrea had expressed a wish to be thus addressed. “But,” continued the porter, “he would not take them.” Andrea turned pale, but as it was dark his pallor was not perceptible. “What? he would not take them?” said he with slight emotion.

“No, he wished to speak to your excellency; I told him you were gone out, and after some dispute he believed me and gave me this letter, which he had brought with him already sealed.”

“Give it me,” said Andrea, and he read by the light of his carriage-lamp,—“You know where I live; I expect you tomorrow morning at nine o’clock.”

Andrea examined it carefully, to ascertain if the letter had been opened, or if any indiscreet eyes had seen its contents; but it was so carefully folded, that no one could have read it, and the seal was perfect. “Very well,” said he. “Poor man, he is a worthy creature.” He left the porter to ponder on these words, not knowing which most to admire, the master or the servant. “Take out the horses quickly, and come up to me,” said Andrea to his groom. In two seconds the young man had reached his room and burnt Caderousse’s letter. The servant entered just as he had finished. “You are about my height, Pierre,” said he.

“I have that honor, your excellency.”

“You had a new livery yesterday?”

“Yes, sir.”

“I have an engagement with a pretty little girl for this evening, and do not wish to be known; lend me your livery till to-morrow. I may sleep, perhaps, at an inn.” Pierre obeyed. Five minutes after, Andrea left the hotel, completely disguised, took a cabriolet, and ordered the driver to take him to the Cheval Rouge, at Picpus. The next morning he left that inn as he had left the Hotel des Princes, without being noticed, walked down the Faubourg St. Antoine, along the boulevard to Rue Menilmontant, and stopping at the door of the third house on the left looked for some one of whom to make inquiry in the porter’s absence. “For whom are you looking, my fine fellow?” asked the fruiteress on the opposite side.

“Monsieur Pailletin, if you please, my good woman,” replied Andrea.

“A retired baker?” asked the fruiteress.


“He lives at the end of the yard, on the left, on the third story.” Andrea went as she directed him, and on the third floor he found a hare’s paw, which, by the hasty ringing of the bell, it was evident he pulled with considerable ill-temper. A moment after Caderousse’s face appeared at the grating in the door. “Ah, you are punctual,” said he, as he drew back the door.

“Confound you and your punctuality!” said Andrea, throwing himself into a chair in a manner which implied that he would rather have flung it at the head of his host.

“Come, come, my little fellow, don’t be angry. See, I have thought about you—look at the good breakfast we are going to have; nothing but what you are fond of.” Andrea, indeed, inhaled the scent of something cooking which was not unwelcome to him, hungry as he was; it was that mixture of fat and garlic peculiar to provincial kitchens of an inferior order, added to that of dried fish, and above all, the pungent smell of musk and cloves. These odors escaped from two deep dishes which were covered and placed on a stove, and from a copper pan placed in an old iron pot. In an adjoining room Andrea saw also a tolerably clean table prepared for two, two bottles of wine sealed, the one with green, the other with yellow, a supply of brandy in a decanter, and a measure of fruit in a cabbage-leaf, cleverly arranged on an earthenware plate.

“What do you think of it, my little fellow?” said Caderousse. “Ay, that smells good! You know I used to be a famous cook; do you recollect how you used to lick your fingers? You were among the first who tasted any of my dishes, and I think you relished them tolerably.” While speaking, Caderousse went on peeling a fresh supply of onions.

“But,” said Andrea, ill-temperedly, “by my faith, if it was only to breakfast with you, that you disturbed me, I wish the devil had taken you!”

“My boy,” said Caderousse sententiously, “one can talk while eating. And then, you ungrateful being, you are not pleased to see an old friend? I am weeping with joy.” He was truly crying, but it would have been difficult to say whether joy or the onions produced the greatest effect on the lachrymal glands of the old inn-keeper of the Pont-du-Gard. “Hold your tongue, hypocrite,” said Andrea; “you love me!”

“Yes, I do, or may the devil take me. I know it is a weakness,” said Caderousse, “but it overpowers me.”

“And yet it has not prevented your sending for me to play me some trick.”

“Come,” said Caderousse, wiping his large knife on his apron, “if I did not like you, do you think I should endure the wretched life you lead me? Think for a moment. You have your servant’s clothes on—you therefore keep a servant; I have none, and am obliged to prepare my own meals. You abuse my cookery because you dine at the table d’hote of the Hotel des Princes, or the Cafe de Paris. Well, I too could keep a servant; I too could have a tilbury; I too could dine where I like; but why do I not? Because I would not annoy my little Benedetto. Come, just acknowledge that I could, eh?” This address was accompanied by a look which was by no means difficult to understand. “Well,” said Andrea, “admitting your love, why do you want me to breakfast with you?”

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