The Count of Monte Cristo – Day 316 of 400

“No, sir,” said Albert, coldly; “there are circumstances in which one cannot, except through cowardice,—I offer you that refuge,—refuse to admit certain persons at least.”

“What is your errand, then, with me, sir?”

“I mean,” said Albert, drawing near, and without apparently noticing Cavalcanti, who stood with his back towards the fireplace—“I mean to propose a meeting in some retired corner where no one will interrupt us for ten minutes; that will be sufficient—where two men having met, one of them will remain on the ground.” Danglars turned pale; Cavalcanti moved a step forward, and Albert turned towards him. “And you, too,” said he, “come, if you like, monsieur; you have a claim, being almost one of the family, and I will give as many rendezvous of that kind as I can find persons willing to accept them.” Cavalcanti looked at Danglars with a stupefied air, and the latter, making an effort, arose and stepped between the two young men. Albert’s attack on Andrea had placed him on a different footing, and he hoped this visit had another cause than that he had at first supposed.

“Indeed, sir,” said he to Albert, “if you are come to quarrel with this gentleman because I have preferred him to you, I shall resign the case to the king’s attorney.”

“You mistake, sir,” said Morcerf with a gloomy smile; “I am not referring in the least to matrimony, and I only addressed myself to M. Cavalcanti because he appeared disposed to interfere between us. In one respect you are right, for I am ready to quarrel with every one to-day; but you have the first claim, M. Danglars.”

“Sir,” replied Danglars, pale with anger and fear, “I warn you, when I have the misfortune to meet with a mad dog, I kill it; and far from thinking myself guilty of a crime, I believe I do society a kindness. Now, if you are mad and try to bite me, I will kill you without pity. Is it my fault that your father has dishonored himself?”

“Yes, miserable wretch!” cried Morcerf, “it is your fault.” Danglars retreated a few steps. “My fault?” said he; “you must be mad! What do I know of the Grecian affair? Have I travelled in that country? Did I advise your father to sell the castle of Yanina—to betray”—

“Silence!” said Albert, with a thundering voice. “No; it is not you who have directly made this exposure and brought this sorrow on us, but you hypocritically provoked it.”


“Yes; you! How came it known?”

“I suppose you read it in the paper in the account from Yanina?”

“Who wrote to Yanina?”

“To Yanina?”

“Yes. Who wrote for particulars concerning my father?”

“I imagine any one may write to Yanina.”

“But one person only wrote!”

“One only?”

“Yes; and that was you!”

“I, doubtless, wrote. It appears to me that when about to marry your daughter to a young man, it is right to make some inquiries respecting his family; it is not only a right, but a duty.”

“You wrote, sir, knowing what answer you would receive.”

“I, indeed? I assure you,” cried Danglars, with a confidence and security proceeding less from fear than from the interest he really felt for the young man, “I solemnly declare to you, that I should never have thought of writing to Yanina, did I know anything of Ali Pasha’s misfortunes.”

“Who, then, urged you to write? Tell me.”

“Pardieu, it was the most simple thing in the world. I was speaking of your father’s past history. I said the origin of his fortune remained obscure. The person to whom I addressed my scruples asked me where your father had acquired his property? I answered, ‘In Greece.’—‘Then,’ said he, ‘write to Yanina.'”

“And who thus advised you?”

“No other than your friend, Monte Cristo.”

“The Count of Monte Cristo told you to write to Yanina?”

“Yes; and I wrote, and will show you my correspondence, if you like.” Albert and Beauchamp looked at each other. “Sir,” said Beauchamp, who had not yet spoken, “you appear to accuse the count, who is absent from Paris at this moment, and cannot justify himself.”

“I accuse no one, sir,” said Danglars; “I relate, and I will repeat before the count what I have said to you.”

“Does the count know what answer you received?”

“Yes; I showed it to him.”

“Did he know my father’s Christian name was Fernand, and his family name Mondego?”

“Yes, I had told him that long since, and I did only what any other would have done in my circumstances, and perhaps less. When, the day after the arrival of this answer, your father came by the advice of Monte Cristo to ask my daughter’s hand for you, I decidedly refused him, but without any explanation or exposure. In short, why should I have any more to do with the affair? How did the honor or disgrace of M. de Morcerf affect me? It neither increased nor decreased my income.”

Albert felt the blood mounting to his brow; there was no doubt upon the subject. Danglars defended himself with the baseness, but at the same time with the assurance, of a man who speaks the truth, at least in part, if not wholly—not for conscience’ sake, but through fear. Besides, what was Morcerf seeking? It was not whether Danglars or Monte Cristo was more or less guilty; it was a man who would answer for the offence, whether trifling or serious; it was a man who would fight, and it was evident Danglars would not fight. And, in addition to this, everything forgotten or unperceived before presented itself now to his recollection. Monte Cristo knew everything, as he had bought the daughter of Ali Pasha; and, knowing everything, he had advised Danglars to write to Yanina. The answer known, he had yielded to Albert’s wish to be introduced to Haidee, and allowed the conversation to turn on the death of Ali, and had not opposed Haidee’s recital (but having, doubtless, warned the young girl, in the few Romaic words he spoke to her, not to implicate Morcerf’s father). Besides, had he not begged of Morcerf not to mention his father’s name before Haidee? Lastly, he had taken Albert to Normandy when he knew the final blow was near. There could be no doubt that all had been calculated and previously arranged; Monte Cristo then was in league with his father’s enemies. Albert took Beauchamp aside, and communicated these ideas to him.

“You are right,” said the latter; “M. Danglars has only been a secondary agent in this sad affair, and it is of M. de Monte Cristo that you must demand an explanation.” Albert turned. “Sir,” said he to Danglars, “understand that I do not take a final leave of you; I must ascertain if your insinuations are just, and am going now to inquire of the Count of Monte Cristo.” He bowed to the banker, and went out with Beauchamp, without appearing to notice Cavalcanti. Danglars accompanied him to the door, where he again assured Albert that no motive of personal hatred had influenced him against the Count of Morcerf.

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