The Count of Monte Cristo – Day 344 of 400

Chapter 97. The Departure for Belgium.

A few minutes after the scene of confusion produced in the salons of M. Danglars by the unexpected appearance of the brigade of soldiers, and by the disclosure which had followed, the mansion was deserted with as much rapidity as if a case of plague or of cholera morbus had broken out among the guests. In a few minutes, through all the doors, down all the staircases, by every exit, every one hastened to retire, or rather to fly; for it was a situation where the ordinary condolences,—which even the best friends are so eager to offer in great catastrophes,—were seen to be utterly futile. There remained in the banker’s house only Danglars, closeted in his study, and making his statement to the officer of gendarmes; Madame Danglars, terrified, in the boudoir with which we are acquainted; and Eugenie, who with haughty air and disdainful lip had retired to her room with her inseparable companion, Mademoiselle Louise d’Armilly. As for the numerous servants (more numerous that evening than usual, for their number was augmented by cooks and butlers from the Cafe de Paris), venting on their employers their anger at what they termed the insult to which they had been subjected, they collected in groups in the hall, in the kitchens, or in their rooms, thinking very little of their duty, which was thus naturally interrupted. Of all this household, only two persons deserve our notice; these are Mademoiselle Eugenie Danglars and Mademoiselle Louise d’Armilly.

The betrothed had retired, as we said, with haughty air, disdainful lip, and the demeanor of an outraged queen, followed by her companion, who was paler and more disturbed than herself. On reaching her room Eugenie locked her door, while Louise fell on a chair. “Ah, what a dreadful thing,” said the young musician; “who would have suspected it? M. Andrea Cavalcanti a murderer—a galley-slave escaped—a convict!” An ironical smile curled the lip of Eugenie. “In truth I was fated,” said she. “I escaped the Morcerf only to fall into the Cavalcanti.”

“Oh, do not confound the two, Eugenie.”

“Hold your tongue! The men are all infamous, and I am happy to be able now to do more than detest them—I despise them.”

“What shall we do?” asked Louise.

“What shall we do?”


“Why, the same we had intended doing three days since—set off.”

“What?—although you are not now going to be married, you intend still”—

“Listen, Louise. I hate this life of the fashionable world, always ordered, measured, ruled, like our music-paper. What I have always wished for, desired, and coveted, is the life of an artist, free and independent, relying only on my own resources, and accountable only to myself. Remain here? What for?—that they may try, a month hence, to marry me again; and to whom?—M. Debray, perhaps, as it was once proposed. No, Louise, no! This evening’s adventure will serve for my excuse. I did not seek one, I did not ask for one. God sends me this, and I hail it joyfully!”

“How strong and courageous you are!” said the fair, frail girl to her brunette companion.

“Did you not yet know me? Come, Louise, let us talk of our affairs. The post-chaise”—

“Was happily bought three days since.”

“Have you had it sent where we are to go for it?”


“Our passport?”

“Here it is.”

And Eugenie, with her usual precision, opened a printed paper, and read,—

“M. Leon d’Armilly, twenty years of age; profession, artist; hair black, eyes black; travelling with his sister.”

“Capital! How did you get this passport?”

“When I went to ask M. de Monte Cristo for letters to the directors of the theatres at Rome and Naples, I expressed my fears of travelling as a woman; he perfectly understood them, and undertook to procure for me a man’s passport, and two days after I received this, to which I have added with my own hand, ‘travelling with his sister.'”

“Well,” said Eugenie cheerfully, “we have then only to pack up our trunks; we shall start the evening of the signing of the contract, instead of the evening of the wedding—that is all.”

“But consider the matter seriously, Eugenie!”

“Oh, I am done with considering! I am tired of hearing only of market reports, of the end of the month, of the rise and fall of Spanish funds, of Haitian bonds. Instead of that, Louise—do you understand?—air, liberty, melody of birds, plains of Lombardy, Venetian canals, Roman palaces, the Bay of Naples. How much have we, Louise?” The young girl to whom this question was addressed drew from an inlaid secretary a small portfolio with a lock, in which she counted twenty-three bank-notes.

“Twenty-three thousand francs,” said she.

“And as much, at least, in pearls, diamonds, and jewels,” said Eugenie. “We are rich. With forty-five thousand francs we can live like princesses for two years, and comfortably for four; but before six months—you with your music, and I with my voice—we shall double our capital. Come, you shall take charge of the money, I of the jewel-box; so that if one of us had the misfortune to lose her treasure, the other would still have hers left. Now, the portmanteau—let us make haste—the portmanteau!”

“Stop!” said Louise, going to listen at Madame Danglars’ door.

“What do you fear?”

“That we may be discovered.”

“The door is locked.”

“They may tell us to open it.”

“They may if they like, but we will not.”

“You are a perfect Amazon, Eugenie!” And the two young girls began to heap into a trunk all the things they thought they should require. “There now,” said Eugenie, “while I change my costume do you lock the portmanteau.” Louise pressed with all the strength of her little hands on the top of the portmanteau. “But I cannot,” said she; “I am not strong enough; do you shut it.”

“Ah, you do well to ask,” said Eugenie, laughing; “I forgot that I was Hercules, and you only the pale Omphale!” And the young girl, kneeling on the top, pressed the two parts of the portmanteau together, and Mademoiselle d’Armilly passed the bolt of the padlock through. When this was done, Eugenie opened a drawer, of which she kept the key, and took from it a wadded violet silk travelling cloak. “Here,” said she, “you see I have thought of everything; with this cloak you will not be cold.”

“But you?”

“Oh, I am never cold, you know! Besides, with these men’s clothes”—

“Will you dress here?”


“Shall you have time?”

“Do not be uneasy, you little coward! All our servants are busy, discussing the grand affair. Besides, what is there astonishing, when you think of the grief I ought to be in, that I shut myself up?—tell me!”

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