The Count of Monte Cristo – Day 63 of 400

“That’s better,” cried the abbe; “now we are on the right scent. Did you take anybody with you when you put into the port of Elba?”


“Somebody there received your packet, and gave you a letter in place of it, I think?”

“Yes; the grand marshal did.”

“And what did you do with that letter?”

“Put it into my portfolio.”

“You had your portfolio with you, then? Now, how could a sailor find room in his pocket for a portfolio large enough to contain an official letter?”

“You are right; it was left on board.”

“Then it was not till your return to the ship that you put the letter in the portfolio?”


“And what did you do with this same letter while returning from Porto-Ferrajo to the vessel?”

“I carried it in my hand.”

“So that when you went on board the Pharaon, everybody could see that you held a letter in your hand?”


“Danglars, as well as the rest?”

“Danglars, as well as others.”

“Now, listen to me, and try to recall every circumstance attending your arrest. Do you recollect the words in which the information against you was formulated?”

“Oh yes, I read it over three times, and the words sank deeply into my memory.”

“Repeat it to me.”

Dantes paused a moment, then said, “This is it, word for word: ‘The king’s attorney is informed by a friend to the throne and religion, that one Edmond Dantes, mate on board the Pharaon, this day arrived from Smyrna, after having touched at Naples and Porto-Ferrajo, has been intrusted by Murat with a packet for the usurper; again, by the usurper, with a letter for the Bonapartist Club in Paris. This proof of his guilt may be procured by his immediate arrest, as the letter will be found either about his person, at his father’s residence, or in his cabin on board the Pharaon.'” The abbe shrugged his shoulders. “The thing is clear as day,” said he; “and you must have had a very confiding nature, as well as a good heart, not to have suspected the origin of the whole affair.”

“Do you really think so? Ah, that would indeed be infamous.”

“How did Danglars usually write?”

“In a handsome, running hand.”

“And how was the anonymous letter written?”

“Backhanded.” Again the abbe smiled. “Disguised.”

“It was very boldly written, if disguised.”

“Stop a bit,” said the abbe, taking up what he called his pen, and, after dipping it into the ink, he wrote on a piece of prepared linen, with his left hand, the first two or three words of the accusation. Dantes drew back, and gazed on the abbe with a sensation almost amounting to terror.

“How very astonishing!” cried he at length. “Why your writing exactly resembles that of the accusation.”

“Simply because that accusation had been written with the left hand; and I have noticed that”—


“That while the writing of different persons done with the right hand varies, that performed with the left hand is invariably uniform.”

“You have evidently seen and observed everything.”

“Let us proceed.”

“Oh, yes, yes!”

“Now as regards the second question.”

“I am listening.”

“Was there any person whose interest it was to prevent your marriage with Mercedes?”

“Yes; a young man who loved her.”

“And his name was”—


“That is a Spanish name, I think?”

“He was a Catalan.”

“You imagine him capable of writing the letter?”

“Oh, no; he would more likely have got rid of me by sticking a knife into me.”

“That is in strict accordance with the Spanish character; an assassination they will unhesitatingly commit, but an act of cowardice, never.”

“Besides,” said Dantes, “the various circumstances mentioned in the letter were wholly unknown to him.”

“You had never spoken of them yourself to any one?”

“To no one.”

“Not even to your mistress?”

“No, not even to my betrothed.”

“Then it is Danglars.”

“I feel quite sure of it now.”

“Wait a little. Pray, was Danglars acquainted with Fernand?”

“No—yes, he was. Now I recollect”—


“To have seen them both sitting at table together under an arbor at Pere Pamphile’s the evening before the day fixed for my wedding. They were in earnest conversation. Danglars was joking in a friendly way, but Fernand looked pale and agitated.”

“Were they alone?”

“There was a third person with them whom I knew perfectly well, and who had, in all probability made their acquaintance; he was a tailor named Caderousse, but he was very drunk. Stay!—stay!—How strange that it should not have occurred to me before! Now I remember quite well, that on the table round which they were sitting were pens, ink, and paper. Oh, the heartless, treacherous scoundrels!” exclaimed Dantes, pressing his hand to his throbbing brows.

“Is there anything else I can assist you in discovering, besides the villany of your friends?” inquired the abbe with a laugh.

“Yes, yes,” replied Dantes eagerly; “I would beg of you, who see so completely to the depths of things, and to whom the greatest mystery seems but an easy riddle, to explain to me how it was that I underwent no second examination, was never brought to trial, and, above all, was condemned without ever having had sentence passed on me?”

“That is altogether a different and more serious matter,” responded the abbe. “The ways of justice are frequently too dark and mysterious to be easily penetrated. All we have hitherto done in the matter has been child’s play. If you wish me to enter upon the more difficult part of the business, you must assist me by the most minute information on every point.”

“Pray ask me whatever questions you please; for, in good truth, you see more clearly into my life than I do myself.”

“In the first place, then, who examined you,—the king’s attorney, his deputy, or a magistrate?”

“The deputy.”

“Was he young or old?”

“About six or seven and twenty years of age, I should say.”

“So,” answered the abbe. “Old enough to be ambitions, but too young to be corrupt. And how did he treat you?”

“With more of mildness than severity.”

“Did you tell him your whole story?”

“I did.”

“And did his conduct change at all in the course of your examination?”

“He did appear much disturbed when he read the letter that had brought me into this scrape. He seemed quite overcome by my misfortune.”

“By your misfortune?”


“Then you feel quite sure that it was your misfortune he deplored?”

“He gave me one great proof of his sympathy, at any rate.”

“And that?”

“He burnt the sole evidence that could at all have criminated me.”

“What? the accusation?”

“No; the letter.”

“Are you sure?”

“I saw it done.”

“That alters the case. This man might, after all, be a greater scoundrel than you have thought possible.”

“Upon my word,” said Dantes, “you make me shudder. Is the world filled with tigers and crocodiles?”

“Yes; and remember that two-legged tigers and crocodiles are more dangerous than the others.”

“Never mind; let us go on.”

“With all my heart! You tell me he burned the letter?”

“He did; saying at the same time, ‘You see I thus destroy the only proof existing against you.'”

“This action is somewhat too sublime to be natural.”

“You think so?”

“I am sure of it. To whom was this letter addressed?”

“To M. Noirtier, No. 13 Coq-Heron, Paris.”

“Now can you conceive of any interest that your heroic deputy could possibly have had in the destruction of that letter?”

“Why, it is not altogether impossible he might have had, for he made me promise several times never to speak of that letter to any one, assuring me he so advised me for my own interest; and, more than this, he insisted on my taking a solemn oath never to utter the name mentioned in the address.”

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. (To tell the truth I don't even really care if you give me your email or not.)