The Count of Monte Cristo – Day 304 of 400

This mournful appeal pierced the darkness. The door of the back-staircase opened, then the side-gate of the garden, and Ali and his master were on the spot with lights.

Chapter 83. The Hand of God.

Caderousse continued to call piteously, “Help, reverend sir, help!”

“What is the matter?” asked Monte Cristo.

“Help,” cried Caderousse; “I am murdered!”

“We are here;—take courage.”

“Ah, it’s all over! You are come too late—you are come to see me die. What blows, what blood!” He fainted. Ali and his master conveyed the wounded man into a room. Monte Cristo motioned to Ali to undress him, and he then examined his dreadful wounds. “My God!” he exclaimed, “thy vengeance is sometimes delayed, but only that it may fall the more effectually.” Ali looked at his master for further instructions. “Bring here immediately the king’s attorney, M. de Villefort, who lives in the Faubourg St. Honore. As you pass the lodge, wake the porter, and send him for a surgeon.” Ali obeyed, leaving the abbe alone with Caderousse, who had not yet revived.

When the wretched man again opened his eyes, the count looked at him with a mournful expression of pity, and his lips moved as if in prayer. “A surgeon, reverend sir—a surgeon!” said Caderousse.

“I have sent for one,” replied the abbe.

“I know he cannot save my life, but he may strengthen me to give my evidence.”

“Against whom?”

“Against my murderer.”

“Did you recognize him?”

“Yes; it was Benedetto.”

“The young Corsican?”


“Your comrade?”

“Yes. After giving me the plan of this house, doubtless hoping I should kill the count and he thus become his heir, or that the count would kill me and I should be out of his way, he waylaid me, and has murdered me.”

“I have also sent for the procureur.”

“He will not come in time; I feel my life fast ebbing.”

“Wait a moment,” said Monte Cristo. He left the room, and returned in five minutes with a phial. The dying man’s eyes were all the time riveted on the door, through which he hoped succor would arrive. “Hasten, reverend sir, hasten! I shall faint again!” Monte Cristo approached, and dropped on his purple lips three or four drops of the contents of the phial. Caderousse drew a deep breath. “Oh,” said he, “that is life to me; more, more!”

“Two drops more would kill you,” replied the abbe.

“Oh, send for some one to whom I can denounce the wretch!”

“Shall I write your deposition? You can sign it.”

“Yes, yes,” said Caderousse; and his eyes glistened at the thought of this posthumous revenge. Monte Cristo wrote:—

“I die, murdered by the Corsican Benedetto, my comrade in the galleys at Toulouse, No. 59.”

“Quick, quick!” said Caderousse, “or I shall be unable to sign it.”

Monte Cristo gave the pen to Caderousse, who collected all his strength, signed it, and fell back on his bed, saying: “You will relate all the rest, reverend sir; you will say he calls himself Andrea Cavalcanti. He lodges at the Hotel des Princes. Oh, I am dying!” He again fainted. The abbe made him smell the contents of the phial, and he again opened his eyes. His desire for revenge had not forsaken him.

“Ah, you will tell all I have said, will you not, reverend sir?”

“Yes, and much more.”

“What more will you say?”

“I will say he had doubtless given you the plan of this house, in the hope the count would kill you. I will say, likewise, he had apprised the count, by a note, of your intention, and, the count being absent, I read the note and sat up to await you.”

“And he will be guillotined, will be not?” said Caderousse. “Promise me that, and I will die with that hope.”

“I will say,” continued the count, “that he followed and watched you the whole time, and when he saw you leave the house, ran to the angle of the wall to conceal himself.”

“Did you see all that?”

“Remember my words: ‘If you return home safely, I shall believe God has forgiven you, and I will forgive you also.'”

“And you did not warn me!” cried Caderousse, raising himself on his elbows. “You knew I should be killed on leaving this house, and did not warn me!”

“No; for I saw God’s justice placed in the hands of Benedetto, and should have thought it sacrilege to oppose the designs of providence.”

“God’s justice! Speak not of it, reverend sir. If God were just, you know how many would be punished who now escape.”

“Patience,” said the abbe, in a tone which made the dying man shudder; “have patience!” Caderousse looked at him with amazement. “Besides,” said the abbe, “God is merciful to all, as he has been to you; he is first a father, then a judge.”

“Do you then believe in God?” said Caderousse.

“Had I been so unhappy as not to believe in him until now,” said Monte Cristo, “I must believe on seeing you.” Caderousse raised his clinched hands towards heaven.

“Listen,” said the abbe, extending his hand over the wounded man, as if to command him to believe; “this is what the God in whom, on your death-bed, you refuse to believe, has done for you—he gave you health, strength, regular employment, even friends—a life, in fact, which a man might enjoy with a calm conscience. Instead of improving these gifts, rarely granted so abundantly, this has been your course—you have given yourself up to sloth and drunkenness, and in a fit of intoxication have ruined your best friend.”

“Help!” cried Caderousse; “I require a surgeon, not a priest; perhaps I am not mortally wounded—I may not die; perhaps they can yet save my life.”

“Your wounds are so far mortal that, without the three drops I gave you, you would now be dead. Listen, then.”

“Ah,” murmured Caderousse, “what a strange priest you are; you drive the dying to despair, instead of consoling them.”

“Listen,” continued the abbe. “When you had betrayed your friend God began not to strike, but to warn you. Poverty overtook you. You had already passed half your life in coveting that which you might have honorably acquired; and already you contemplated crime under the excuse of want, when God worked a miracle in your behalf, sending you, by my hands, a fortune—brilliant, indeed, for you, who had never possessed any. But this unexpected, unhoped-for, unheard-of fortune sufficed you no longer when you once possessed it; you wished to double it, and how?—by a murder! You succeeded, and then God snatched it from you, and brought you to justice.”

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