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解密文本:     《基督山伯爵》   [法] 大仲马  著         


Le comte de Monte-Cristo
Alexandre Dumas

 

  The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas
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第一部(Book 1) ||    第二部(Book 2) ||    第三部(Book 3) ||    第四部(Book 4) ||    第五部(Book 5)

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Book 1 (1845-1846)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Marseilles—The Arrival.

Chapter 2. Father and Son.

Chapter 3. The Catalans.

Chapter 4. Conspiracy.

Chapter 5. The Marriage-Feast.

Chapter 6. The Deputy Procureur du Roi.

Chapter 7. The Examination.

Chapter 8. The Chateau D'If.

Chapter 9. The Evening of the Betrothal.

Chapter 10. The King's Closet at the Tuileries.

Chapter 11. The Corsican Ogre.

Chapter 12. Father and Son.

Chapter 13. The Hundred Days.

Chapter 14. The Two Prisoners.

Chapter 15. Number 34 and Number 27.

Chapter 16. A Learned Italian.

Chapter 17. The Abbe's Chamber.

Chapter 18. The Treasure.

Chapter 19. The Third Attack.

Chapter 20. The Cemetery of the Chateau D'If.

Chapter 21. The Island of Tiboulen.

Chapter 22. The Smugglers.

Chapter 23. The Island of Monte Cristo.

Chapter 24. The Secret Cave.

Chapter 25. The Unknown.

Chapter 26. The Pont du Gard Inn.

Chapter 27. The Story.

Chapter 28. The Prison Register.

Chapter 29. The House of Morrel & Son.

Chapter 30. The Fifth of September.

Chapter 31. Italy: Sinbad the Sailor.

 

 

第一部(1845-1846)

目录

第一章 船到马赛
第二章 父与子
第三章 迦太罗尼亚人的村庄
第四章 阴谋
第五章 婚宴
第六章 代理检察官
第七章 审问
第八章 伊夫堡
第九章 订婚之夜
第十章 杜伊勒里宫的小书房
第十一章 科西嘉岛的魔王
第十二章 父与子
第十三章 百日
第十四章 两犯人
第十五章 三十四号和二十七号
第十六章 一位意大利学者
第十七章 神甫的房间
第十八章 宝藏
第十九章 第三次发病
第二十章 伊夫堡的坟场
第二十一章 狄布伦岛
第二十二章 走私贩子
第二十三章 基督山小岛
第二十四章 秘密洞窟
第二十五章 陌生人
第二十六章 杜加桥客栈
第二十七章 回忆往事
第二十八章 监狱档案
第二十九章 摩莱尔父子公司
第三十章 九月五日
第三十一章 意大利:水手辛巴德




Chapter 1. Marseilles—The Arrival.

On the 24th of February, 1815, the look-out at Notre-Dame de la Garde signalled the three-master, the Pharaon from Smyrna, Trieste, and Naples.

As usual, a pilot put off immediately, and rounding the Chateau d'If, got on board the vessel between Cape Morgion and Rion island.

Immediately, and according to custom, the ramparts of Fort Saint-Jean were covered with spectators; it is always an event at Marseilles for a ship to come into port, especially when this ship, like the Pharaon, has been built, rigged, and laden at the old Phocee docks, and belongs to an owner of the city.

The ship drew on and had safely passed the strait, which some volcanic shock has made between the Calasareigne and Jaros islands; had doubled Pomegue, and approached the harbor under topsails, jib, and spanker, but so slowly and sedately that the idlers, with that instinct which is the forerunner of evil, asked one another what misfortune could have happened on board. However, those experienced in navigation saw plainly that if any accident had occurred, it was not to the vessel herself, for she bore down with all the evidence of being skilfully handled, the anchor a-cockbill, the jib-boom guys already eased off, and standing by the side of the pilot, who was steering the Pharaon towards the narrow entrance of the inner port, was a young man, who, with activity and vigilant eye, watched every motion of the ship, and repeated each direction of the pilot.

The vague disquietude which prevailed among the spectators had so much affected one of the crowd that he did not await the arrival of the vessel in harbor, but jumping into a small skiff, desired to be pulled alongside the Pharaon, which he reached as she rounded into La Reserve basin.

When the young man on board saw this person approach, he left his station by the pilot, and, hat in hand, leaned over the ship's bulwarks.

He was a fine, tall, slim young fellow of eighteen or twenty, with black eyes, and hair as dark as a raven's wing; and his whole appearance bespoke that calmness and resolution peculiar to men accustomed from their cradle to contend with danger.

"Ah, is it you, Dantes?" cried the man in the skiff. "What's the matter? and why have you such an air of sadness aboard?"

"A great misfortune, M. Morrel," replied the young man,—"a great misfortune, for me especially! Off Civita Vecchia we lost our brave Captain Leclere."

"And the cargo?" inquired the owner, eagerly.

"Is all safe, M. Morrel; and I think you will be satisfied on that head. But poor Captain Leclere—"

"What happened to him?" asked the owner, with an air of considerable resignation. "What happened to the worthy captain?"

"He died."

"Fell into the sea?"

"No, sir, he died of brain-fever in dreadful agony." Then turning to the crew, he said, "Bear a hand there, to take in sail!"

All hands obeyed, and at once the eight or ten seamen who composed the crew, sprang to their respective stations at the spanker brails and outhaul, topsail sheets and halyards, the jib downhaul, and the topsail clewlines and buntlines. The young sailor gave a look to see that his orders were promptly and accurately obeyed, and then turned again to the owner.

"And how did this misfortune occur?" inquired the latter, resuming the interrupted conversation.

"Alas, sir, in the most unexpected manner. After a long talk with the harbor-master, Captain Leclere left Naples greatly disturbed in mind. In twenty-four hours he was attacked by a fever, and died three days afterwards. We performed the usual burial service, and he is at his rest, sewn up in his hammock with a thirty-six pound shot at his head and his heels, off El Giglio island. We bring to his widow his sword and cross of honor. It was worth while, truly," added the young man with a melancholy smile, "to make war against the English for ten years, and to die in his bed at last, like everybody else."

"Why, you see, Edmond," replied the owner, who appeared more comforted at every moment, "we are all mortal, and the old must make way for the young. If not, why, there would be no promotion; and since you assure me that the cargo—"

"Is all safe and sound, M. Morrel, take my word for it; and I advise you not to take 25,000 francs for the profits of the voyage."

Then, as they were just passing the Round Tower, the young man shouted: "Stand by there to lower the topsails and jib; brail up the spanker!"

The order was executed as promptly as it would have been on board a man-of-war.

"Let go—and clue up!" At this last command all the sails were lowered, and the vessel moved almost imperceptibly onwards.

"Now, if you will come on board, M. Morrel," said Dantes, observing the owner's impatience, "here is your supercargo, M. Danglars, coming out of his cabin, who will furnish you with every particular. As for me, I must look after the anchoring, and dress the ship in mourning."

The owner did not wait for a second invitation. He seized a rope which Dantes flung to him, and with an activity that would have done credit to a sailor, climbed up the side of the ship, while the young man, going to his task, left the conversation to Danglars, who now came towards the owner. He was a man of twenty-five or twenty-six years of age, of unprepossessing countenance, obsequious to his superiors, insolent to his subordinates; and this, in addition to his position as responsible agent on board, which is always obnoxious to the sailors, made him as much disliked by the crew as Edmond Dantes was beloved by them.

"Well, M. Morrel," said Danglars, "you have heard of the misfortune that has befallen us?"

"Yes—yes: poor Captain Leclere! He was a brave and an honest man."

"And a first-rate seaman, one who had seen long and honorable service, as became a man charged with the interests of a house so important as that of Morrel & Son," replied Danglars.

"But," replied the owner, glancing after Dantes, who was watching the anchoring of his vessel, "it seems to me that a sailor needs not be so old as you say, Danglars, to understand his business, for our friend Edmond seems to understand it thoroughly, and not to require instruction from any one."

"Yes," said Danglars, darting at Edmond a look gleaming with hate. "Yes, he is young, and youth is invariably self-confident. Scarcely was the captain's breath out of his body when he assumed the command without consulting any one, and he caused us to lose a day and a half at the Island of Elba, instead of making for Marseilles direct."

"As to taking command of the vessel," replied Morrel, "that was his duty as captain's mate; as to losing a day and a half off the Island of Elba, he was wrong, unless the vessel needed repairs."

"The vessel was in as good condition as I am, and as, I hope you are, M. Morrel, and this day and a half was lost from pure whim, for the pleasure of going ashore, and nothing else."

"Dantes," said the shipowner, turning towards the young man, "come this way!"

"In a moment, sir," answered Dantes, "and I'm with you." Then calling to the crew, he said—"Let go!"

The anchor was instantly dropped, and the chain ran rattling through the port-hole. Dantes continued at his post in spite of the presence of the pilot, until this manoeuvre was completed, and then he added, "Half-mast the colors, and square the yards!"

"You see," said Danglars, "he fancies himself captain already, upon my word."

"And so, in fact, he is," said the owner.

"Except your signature and your partner's, M. Morrel."

"And why should he not have this?" asked the owner; "he is young, it is true, but he seems to me a thorough seaman, and of full experience."

A cloud passed over Danglars' brow. "Your pardon, M. Morrel," said Dantes, approaching, "the vessel now rides at anchor, and I am at your service. You hailed me, I think?"

Danglars retreated a step or two. "I wished to inquire why you stopped at the Island of Elba?"

"I do not know, sir; it was to fulfil the last instructions of Captain Leclere, who, when dying, gave me a packet for Marshal Bertrand."

"Then did you see him, Edmond?"

"Who?"

"The marshal."

"Yes."

Morrel looked around him, and then, drawing Dantes on one side, he said suddenly—"And how is the emperor?"

"Very well, as far as I could judge from the sight of him."

"You saw the emperor, then?"

"He entered the marshal's apartment while I was there."

"And you spoke to him?"

"Why, it was he who spoke to me, sir," said Dantes, with a smile.

"And what did he say to you?"

"Asked me questions about the vessel, the time she left Marseilles, the course she had taken, and what was her cargo. I believe, if she had not been laden, and I had been her master, he would have bought her. But I told him I was only mate, and that she belonged to the firm of Morrel & Son. 'Ah, yes,' he said, 'I know them. The Morrels have been shipowners from father to son; and there was a Morrel who served in the same regiment with me when I was in garrison at Valence.'"

"Pardieu, and that is true!" cried the owner, greatly delighted. "And that was Policar Morrel, my uncle, who was afterwards a captain. Dantes, you must tell my uncle that the emperor remembered him, and you will see it will bring tears into the old soldier's eyes. Come, come," continued he, patting Edmond's shoulder kindly, "you did very right, Dantes, to follow Captain Leclere's instructions, and touch at Elba, although if it were known that you had conveyed a packet to the marshal, and had conversed with the emperor, it might bring you into trouble."

"How could that bring me into trouble, sir?" asked Dantes; "for I did not even know of what I was the bearer; and the emperor merely made such inquiries as he would of the first comer. But, pardon me, here are the health officers and the customs inspectors coming alongside." And the young man went to the gangway. As he departed, Danglars approached, and said,—

"Well, it appears that he has given you satisfactory reasons for his landing at Porto-Ferrajo?"

"Yes, most satisfactory, my dear Danglars."

"Well, so much the better," said the supercargo; "for it is not pleasant to think that a comrade has not done his duty."

"Dantes has done his," replied the owner, "and that is not saying much. It was Captain Leclere who gave orders for this delay."

"Talking of Captain Leclere, has not Dantes given you a letter from him?"

"To me?—no—was there one?"

"I believe that, besides the packet, Captain Leclere confided a letter to his care."

"Of what packet are you speaking, Danglars?"

"Why, that which Dantes left at Porto-Ferrajo."

"How do you know he had a packet to leave at Porto-Ferrajo?"

Danglars turned very red.

"I was passing close to the door of the captain's cabin, which was half open, and I saw him give the packet and letter to Dantes."

"He did not speak to me of it," replied the shipowner; "but if there be any letter he will give it to me."

Danglars reflected for a moment. "Then, M. Morrel, I beg of you," said he, "not to say a word to Dantes on the subject. I may have been mistaken."

At this moment the young man returned; Danglars withdrew.

"Well, my dear Dantes, are you now free?" inquired the owner.

"Yes, sir."

"You have not been long detained."

"No. I gave the custom-house officers a copy of our bill of lading; and as to the other papers, they sent a man off with the pilot, to whom I gave them."

"Then you have nothing more to do here?"

"No—everything is all right now."

"Then you can come and dine with me?"

"I really must ask you to excuse me, M. Morrel. My first visit is due to my father, though I am not the less grateful for the honor you have done me."

"Right, Dantes, quite right. I always knew you were a good son."

"And," inquired Dantes, with some hesitation, "do you know how my father is?"

"Well, I believe, my dear Edmond, though I have not seen him lately."

"Yes, he likes to keep himself shut up in his little room."

"That proves, at least, that he has wanted for nothing during your absence."

Dantes smiled. "My father is proud, sir, and if he had not a meal left, I doubt if he would have asked anything from anyone, except from Heaven."

"Well, then, after this first visit has been made we shall count on you."

"I must again excuse myself, M. Morrel, for after this first visit has been paid I have another which I am most anxious to pay."

"True, Dantes, I forgot that there was at the Catalans some one who expects you no less impatiently than your father—the lovely Mercedes."

Dantes blushed.

"Ah, ha," said the shipowner, "I am not in the least surprised, for she has been to me three times, inquiring if there were any news of the Pharaon. Peste, Edmond, you have a very handsome mistress!"

"She is not my mistress," replied the young sailor, gravely; "she is my betrothed."

"Sometimes one and the same thing," said Morrel, with a smile.

"Not with us, sir," replied Dantes.

"Well, well, my dear Edmond," continued the owner, "don't let me detain you. You have managed my affairs so well that I ought to allow you all the time you require for your own. Do you want any money?"

"No, sir; I have all my pay to take—nearly three months' wages."

"You are a careful fellow, Edmond."

"Say I have a poor father, sir."

"Yes, yes, I know how good a son you are, so now hasten away to see your father. I have a son too, and I should be very wroth with those who detained him from me after a three months' voyage."

"Then I have your leave, sir?"

"Yes, if you have nothing more to say to me."

"Nothing."

"Captain Leclere did not, before he died, give you a letter for me?"

"He was unable to write, sir. But that reminds me that I must ask your leave of absence for some days."

"To get married?"

"Yes, first, and then to go to Paris."

"Very good; have what time you require, Dantes. It will take quite six weeks to unload the cargo, and we cannot get you ready for sea until three months after that; only be back again in three months, for the Pharaon," added the owner, patting the young sailor on the back, "cannot sail without her captain."

"Without her captain!" cried Dantes, his eyes sparkling with animation; "pray mind what you say, for you are touching on the most secret wishes of my heart. Is it really your intention to make me captain of the Pharaon?"

"If I were sole owner we'd shake hands on it now, my dear Dantes, and call it settled; but I have a partner, and you know the Italian proverb—Chi ha compagno ha padrone—'He who has a partner has a master.' But the thing is at least half done, as you have one out of two votes. Rely on me to procure you the other; I will do my best."

"Ah, M. Morrel," exclaimed the young seaman, with tears in his eyes, and grasping the owner's hand, "M. Morrel, I thank you in the name of my father and of Mercedes."

"That's all right, Edmond. There's a providence that watches over the deserving. Go to your father: go and see Mercedes, and afterwards come to me."

"Shall I row you ashore?"

"No, thank you; I shall remain and look over the accounts with Danglars. Have you been satisfied with him this voyage?"

"That is according to the sense you attach to the question, sir. Do you mean is he a good comrade? No, for I think he never liked me since the day when I was silly enough, after a little quarrel we had, to propose to him to stop for ten minutes at the island of Monte Cristo to settle the dispute—a proposition which I was wrong to suggest, and he quite right to refuse. If you mean as responsible agent when you ask me the question, I believe there is nothing to say against him, and that you will be content with the way in which he has performed his duty."

"But tell me, Dantes, if you had command of the Pharaon should you be glad to see Danglars remain?"

"Captain or mate, M. Morrel, I shall always have the greatest respect for those who possess the owners' confidence."

"That's right, that's right, Dantes! I see you are a thoroughly good fellow, and will detain you no longer. Go, for I see how impatient you are."

"Then I have leave?"

"Go, I tell you."

"May I have the use of your skiff?"

"Certainly."

"Then, for the present, M. Morrel, farewell, and a thousand thanks!"

"I hope soon to see you again, my dear Edmond. Good luck to you."

The young sailor jumped into the skiff, and sat down in the stern sheets, with the order that he be put ashore at La Canebiere. The two oarsmen bent to their work, and the little boat glided away as rapidly as possible in the midst of the thousand vessels which choke up the narrow way which leads between the two rows of ships from the mouth of the harbor to the Quai d'Orleans.

The shipowner, smiling, followed him with his eyes until he saw him spring out on the quay and disappear in the midst of the throng, which from five o'clock in the morning until nine o'clock at night, swarms in the famous street of La Canebiere,—a street of which the modern Phocaeans are so proud that they say with all the gravity in the world, and with that accent which gives so much character to what is said, "If Paris had La Canebiere, Paris would be a second Marseilles." On turning round the owner saw Danglars behind him, apparently awaiting orders, but in reality also watching the young sailor,—but there was a great difference in the expression of the two men who thus followed the movements of Edmond Dantes.

 

第一章 船到马赛

一八一五年二月二十四日,在避风堰了望塔上的了望员向人们发出了信号,告之三桅帆船法老号到了。它是从士麦拿出发经过的里雅斯特和那不勒斯来的。立刻一位领港员被派出去,绕过伊夫堡,在摩琴海岬和里翁岛之间登上了船。

圣•琪安海岛的平台上即刻挤满了看热闹的人。在马赛,一艘大船的进港终究是一件大事,尤其是象法老号这样的大船,船主是本地人,船又是在佛喜造船厂里建造装配的,因而就特别引人注目。

法老号渐渐驶近了,它已顺利通过了卡拉沙林岛和杰罗斯岛之间由几次火山爆发所造成的海峡,绕过波米琪岛,驶近了港口。尽管船上扯起了三张主桅帆,一张大三角帆和一张后桅帆,但它驶得非常缓慢,一副无精打采的样子,以致岸上那些看热闹的人本能地预感到有什么不幸的事发生了,于是互相探问船上究竟发生了什么不幸的事。不过那些航海行家们一眼就看出,假如的确发生了什么意外事情的话,那一定与船的本身无关。因为从各方面来看,它并无丝毫失去操纵的迹象。领港员正在驾驶着动作敏捷的法老号通过马赛港狭窄的甬道进口。在领港员的旁边,有一青年正在动作敏捷地打着手势,他那敏锐的眼光注视着船的每一个动作,并重复领港员的每一个命令。

岸上看热闹的人中弥漫着一种焦躁不安的情绪。其中有一位忍耐不住了,他等不及帆船入港就跳进了一只小艇迎着大船驶去,那只小艇在大船到里瑟夫湾对面的地方时便靠拢了法老号。

大船上的那个青年看见了来人,就摘下帽子,从领港员身旁离开并来到了船边。他是一个身材瘦长的青年,年龄约莫有十九岁左右的样子,有着一双黑色的眼睛和一头乌黑的头发;他的外表给人一种极其镇定和坚毅的感觉,那种镇定和坚毅的气质是只有从小就经过大风大浪,艰难险阻的人才具有的。

“啊!是你呀,唐太斯?”小艇的人喊道。“出了什么事?为什么你们船上显得这样丧气?”

“太不幸了,莫雷尔先生!”那个青年回答说,“太不幸了,尤其是对我!在契维塔韦基亚附近,我们失去了我们勇敢的莱克勒船长。”

“货呢?”船主焦急地问。

“货都安全,莫雷尔先生,那方面我想你是可以满意的。但可怜的莱克勒船长——”

“货物怎么样”?船主问道。

“货物未受任何损失,平安到达。不过,可怜的莱克勒船长他……”“他怎么了?出了什么事?”船主带着稍微放松一点的口气问。“那位可敬的船长怎么了?”

“他死了。”

“掉在海里了吗?”

“不,先生,他是得脑膜炎死的,临终时痛苦极了。”说完他便转身对船员喊到:“全体注意!准备抛锚!”

全体船员立刻按命令行动起来。船上一共有八个到十个海员,他们有的奔到大帆的索子那里,有的奔到三角帆和主帆的索子那里,有的则去控制转帆索和卷帆索。那青年水手四下环视了一下,看到他的命令已被迅速准确地执行,便又转过脸去对着船主。

“这件不幸的事是怎么发生的?”船主先等了一会儿便又重新拾起话题。

“唉,先生!完全是始料不到的事。在离开那不勒斯以前,莱克勒船长曾和那不勒斯港督交谈了很久。开船的时候,他就觉得头极不舒服。二十四个小时后,他就开始发烧,三天后就死了。我们按惯例海葬了他,想来他也可以安心长眠了。我们把他端端正正地缝裹在吊床里,头脚处放了两块各三十六磅重的铅块,就在艾尔及里奥岛外把他海葬了。我们把他的佩剑和十字荣誉勋章带了回来准备交给他的太太做纪念。船长这一生总算没虚度了。青年的脸上露出一个忧郁的微笑,又说,“他和英国人打仗打了十年,到头来仍能象常人那样死在床上。”

“爱德蒙,你知道,”船主说道,他显得越来越放心了,“我们都是凡人,都免不了一死,老年人终究要让位给青年人。不然,你看,青年人就无法得到升迁的机会,而且你已向我保证货物——”

“货物是完好无损的,莫雷尔先生,请相信我好了。我想这次航行你至少赚二万五千法郎呢。”

这时,船正在驶过圆塔,青年就喊道:“注意,准备收主帆,后帆和三角帆!”

他的命令立刻被执行了,犹如在一艘大战舰上一样。

“收帆!卷帆!”最后那个命令刚下达完,所有的帆就都收了下来,船在凭借惯性向前滑行,几乎觉不到是在向前移动了。

“现在请您上船来吧,莫雷尔先生,”唐太斯说,他看到船主已经有点着急便说道,“你的押运员腾格拉尔先生已走出船舱了,他会把详细情形告诉您的。我还得去照顾抛锚和给这只船挂丧的事。”

船主没再说什么便立即抓住了唐太斯抛给他的一条绳子,以水手般敏捷的动作爬上船边的弦梯,那青年去执行他的任务了,把船王和那个他称为腾格拉尔的人留在了一起。腾格拉尔现在正向船主走来。他约莫有二十五六岁,天生一副对上谄媚对下轻视无礼,不讨人喜欢的面孔。他在船上担任押运员,本来就惹水手们讨厌,他个人的一些作派也是惹人讨厌的一个因素,船员都憎恶他,却很爱戴爱德蒙•唐太斯。

“莫雷尔先生,”腾格拉尔说,“你听说我们所遭到的不幸了吧?”

“唉,是的!可怜的莱克勒船长!他的确是一个勇敢而又诚实的人!”

“而且也是一名一流的海员,是在大海与蓝天之间度过一生的——是负责莫雷尔父子公司这种重要的公司的最合适的人才。”腾格拉尔回答。

“可是,”船主一边说,一边把眼光盯在了正在指挥抛锚的唐太斯身上,“在我看来,腾格拉尔,一个水手要干得很内行,实在也不必象你所说的那样的老海员才行,因为你看,我们这位朋友爱德蒙,不需任何人的指示,似乎也干得很不错,完全可以称职了。”

“是的,”腾格拉尔向爱德蒙扫了一眼,露出仇恨的目光说,“是的,他很年轻,而年轻人总是自视甚高的,船长刚去世,他就跟谁也不商量一下,竟自作主张地独揽指挥权,对下面发号施令起来,而且还在厄尔巴岛耽搁了一天半,没有直航返回马赛。”

“说到他执掌这只船的指挥权,”莫雷尔说道,“他既然是船上大副,这就应该是他的职责。至于在厄尔巴岛耽搁了一天半的事儿,是他的错,除非这只船有什么故障。”

“这只船是象你我的身体一样,毫无毛病,莫雷尔先生,那一天半的时间完全是浪费——只是因为他要到岸上玩玩,别无他事。”

“唐太斯!”船主转过身去喊青年,“到这儿来!”

“等一下,先生,”唐太斯回答,“我就来。”然后他对船员喊道,“抛锚!”

锚立刻抛下去了,铁链哗啦啦一阵响声过去。虽有领港员在场,唐太斯仍然克尽职守,直到这项工作完成,才喊“降旗,把旗降在旗杆半中央。把公司的旗也降一半致哀,“看,”腾格拉尔说,“他简直已自命为船长啦。”

“嗯,事实上,他已经的确是了。”船主说。

“不错,就缺你和你的和伙人签字批准了,摩斯尔先生。”

“那倒不难。”船主说,“不错,他很年轻,但依我看,他似乎可以说已是一个经验丰富的海员了。”

腾格拉尔的眉际掠过一片阴云。

“对不起,莫雷尔先生,”唐太斯走过来说,“船现在已经停妥,我可以听的您吩咐了。刚才是您在叫我吗?”

腾格拉尔向后退了一两步。

“我想问问你为什么要在厄尔巴岛停泊耽搁了一天半时间。”

“究竟为什么我也不十分清楚,我只是在执行莱克勒船长最后的一个命令而已。他在临终的时候,要我送一包东西给贝特朗元帅。”

“你见到他了吗,爱德蒙?”

“谁?”

“元帅。”

“见到了。”

莫雷尔向四周张望了一下,把唐太斯拖到一边,急忙问道:“陛下他好吗?”

“看上去还不错。”

“这么说,你见到陛下了,是吗?”

“我在元帅房间里的时候,他进来了。”

“你和他讲了话吗?”

“是他先跟我讲话的,先生。”唐太斯微笑着说。

“他跟你都说了些什么?”

“问了我一些关于船的事——什么时候启航开回马赛,从哪儿来,船装了些什么货。我敢说,假如船上没有装货,而我又是船主的话,他会把船买下来的。但我告诉他,我只是大副,船是莫雷尔父子公司的。‘哦,哦!’他说,‘我了解他们!莫雷尔这个家族的人世世代代都当船主。当我驻守在瓦朗斯的时候,我那个团里面也有一个姓莫雷尔的人。”

“太对了!一点不错!”船主非常高兴地喊道。“那是我的叔叔波立卡•莫雷尔,他后来被提升到上尉。唐太斯,你一定要去告诉我叔叔,说陛下还记得他,你将看到那个老兵,被感动得掉眼泪的。好了,好了!”他慈爱地拍拍爱德蒙的肩膀继续说,“你做得很对,唐太斯,你是应该执行莱克勒船长的命令在厄尔巴岛靠一下岸的——但是如果你曾带一包东西给元帅,并还同陛下讲过话的事被人知道的话,那你就会受连累的。”

“我怎么会受连累呢?”唐太斯问。“我连带去的是什么东西根本都不知道,而陛下所问及的,又是一般的人所常问的那些普通问题。哦,对不起,海关关员和卫生部的检查员来了1”说完那青年人就向舷门那儿迎过去了。

他刚离开,腾格拉尔就凑了过来说道:

“哦,看来他已拿出充分的理由来向您解释他为什么在费拉约港靠岸的原因了,是吧?”

“是的,理由很充分,我亲爱的腾格拉尔。”

“哦,那就好,”押运员说,“看到一个同伴工作上不能尽责,心里总是很难受的。”

“唐太斯是尽了责的,”船主说道,“这件事不必多说了,这次耽搁是按莱克勒船长的吩咐做的。”

“说到莱克勒船长,唐太斯没有把一封他的信转给你吗?”

“给我的信?没有呀。有一封信吗?”

“我相信除了那包东西外,莱克勒船长还另有一封信托他转交的。”

“你说的是一包什么东西,腾格拉尔?”

“咦,就是唐太斯在费拉约港留下的那包东西呀。”

“你怎么知道他曾留了一包东西在费拉约港呢?”

经船主这样一问,腾格拉尔的脸顿时涨红了。“那天我经过船长室门口时,那门是半开着的,我便看见船长把那包东西和一封信交给了唐太斯。”

“他没有对我提到这件事,”船主说,“但是如果有信,他一定会交给我的。”

腾格拉尔想了一会儿。“这样的话,莫雷尔先生,请你,”他说,“有关这事,请你别再去问唐太斯了,或许是我弄错了。”

这时,那青年人回来了,腾格拉尔便乘机溜走了。

“喂,我亲爱的唐太斯,你现在没事了吗?”船主问。

“没事了,先生。”

“你回来的挺快呀。”

“是的。我拿了一份我们的进港证给了海关关员,其余的证件,我已交给了领港员,他们已派人和他同去了。”

“那么你在这儿的事都做完了是吗?”

唐太斯向四周看了一眼。

“没事了现在一切都安排妥了。”

“那么你愿意和我一起去共进晚餐吗?”

“请你原谅,莫雷尔先生。我得先去看看我父亲。但对你的盛情我还是非常感激的。”

“没错,唐太斯,真是这样,我早就知道你是一个好儿子。”

“嗯”唐太斯犹豫了一下问道:“你知道我父亲的近况吗?”

“我相信他很好,我亲爱的爱德蒙,不过最近我没见到他。”

“是啊,他老爱把自己关在他那个小屋里。”

“但那至少可以说明,当你不在的时候,他的日子还过得去。”

唐太斯微笑了一下。“我父亲是很要强的,很要面子,先生。即便是他饿肚子没饭吃了,恐怕除了上帝以外,他不会向任何人去乞讨的。”

“那么好吧,你先去看你的父亲吧,我们等着你。”

“我恐怕还得再请你原谅,莫雷尔先生,——因为我看过父亲以后,我还有另外一个地方要去一下。”

“真是的,唐太斯,我怎么给忘记了,在迦泰罗尼亚人那里,还有一个人也象你父亲一样在焦急地期待着你呢,——那可爱的美塞苔丝。”

唐太斯的脸红了。

“哈哈!”船主说,“难怪她到我这儿来了三次,打听法老号有什么消息没有呢。嘻嘻!爱德蒙,你的这位小情妇可真漂亮啊!”

“她不是我的情妇,”青年水手神色庄重严肃地说,“她是我的未婚妻。”

“有时两者是一回事。”莫雷尔微笑着说。

“我们俩可不是这样的,先生。”唐太斯回答。

“得了,得了,我亲爱的爱德蒙,”船主又说,“我不耽搁你了。我的事你办得很出色,我也应该让你有充分的时间去痛快地办一下自己的事了。你要钱用吗?”

“不,先生,我的报酬还都在这儿,——差不多有三个月的薪水呢。”

“你真是一个守规矩的小伙子,爱德蒙。”

“我还有一位可怜的父亲呢,先生。”

“不错,不错,我知道你是一个好儿子。那么去吧,去看你的父亲去吧。我自己也有个儿子,要是他航海三个月回来后,竟还有人阻扰他来看我,我会大大地发火的。”

“那么我可以走了吗,先生?”

“走吧,假如你再没有什么事要跟我说的话。”

“没有了。”

“莱克勒船长临终前,没有托你交一封信给我吗?”

“他当时已经根本不能动笔了,先生。不过,我倒想起了一件事,我还得向你请两星期的假。”

“是去结婚吗?”

“是的,先是去结婚,然后还得到巴黎去一次。”

“好,好。你就离开两个星期吧,唐太斯。反正船上卸货得花六个星期,卸完货以后,还得要过三个月以后才能再出海,你只要在三个月以内回来就行,——因为法老号,”船主拍拍青年水手的背,又说,“没有船长是不能出海的呀。”

“没有船长!”唐太斯眼睛里闪烁着兴奋的光芒,不禁说道,“你说什么呀,你好象窥视到了我心底最秘密的一线希望。你真要任命我做法老号的船长吗?”

“我亲爱的唐太斯,假如我是一人说了就算数的老板,我现在就可任命你,事情也就一言为定了,但你也知道,意大利有一句俗话——谁有了一个合伙人,谁就有了一个主人。但这事至少已成功一半了,因为在两张投票之中,你已经得到了一标。让我去把另外那一票也为你争取过来吧,我尽力办到。”

“啊,莫雷尔先生,”青年水手的眼睛里含着泪水,紧握住船主的手喊道——“莫雷尔先生,我代表我父亲和美塞苔丝谢谢你了。”

“好了,好了,爱德蒙,别提了,上天保佑好心人!快到你父亲那儿去吧,快去看看美塞苔丝吧,然后再到我这儿来。”

“我把您送上岸好吗?”

“不用了,谢谢你。我还得留下来和腾格拉尔核对一下帐目。你在这次航行里对他还满意吗?”

“那得看您这个问题是指哪一方面了,先生。假如您的意思是问,他是不是一个好伙计?那么我要说不是,因为自从那次我傻里傻气地和他吵了一次架以后,我曾向他提议在基督山岛上停留十分钟以消除不愉快,我想他从那以后开始讨厌我了——那次的事我本来就不该提那个建议,而他拒绝我也是很对的。假如你的问题是指他做押运员是否称职,那我就说他是无可挑剔的,对他的工作你会满意的。”

“但你要告诉我,唐太斯,假如由你来负责法老号,你愿意把腾格拉尔留在船上吗?”

“莫雷尔先生,”唐太斯回答道,“无论我做船长也好,做大副也好,凡是那些能获得我们船主信任的人,我对他们总是极尊重的。”

“好,好,唐太斯!我看你在各个方面都是好样的。别让我再耽误你了,快去吧,我看你已有些急不可耐啦。”

“那么我可以走了吗?”

“快走吧。我已经说过了。”

“我可以借用一下您的小艇吗?”

“当然可以。”

“那么,莫雷尔先生,再会吧。再一次多谢啦!”

“我希望不久能再看到你,我亲爱的爱德蒙。祝你好运!”

青年水手跳上了小艇,坐在船尾,吩咐朝卡纳比埃尔街划去。两个水手即刻划动起来,小船就飞快地在那从港口直到奥尔兰码头的千百只帆船中间穿梭过去。

船主微笑着目送着他,直到他上了岸,消失在卡纳比埃尔街上的人流里。这条街从清晨五点钟直到晚上九点钟都拥挤着川流不息的人群。卡纳比埃尔街是马赛最有名的街道,马赛的居民很以它为自豪,他们甚至煞有其事地庄重地宣称:“假如巴黎也有一条卡纳比埃尔街,那巴黎就可称为小马赛了。”

船主转过身来时,看见腾格拉尔正站在他背后。腾格拉尔表面上看似在等候他的吩咐,实际上却象他一样,在用目光遥送那青年水手。这两个人虽然都在注视着爱德蒙•唐太斯,但两个人目光里的神情和含义却大不相同。




Chapter 2. Father and Son.

We will leave Danglars struggling with the demon of hatred, and endeavoring to insinuate in the ear of the shipowner some evil suspicions against his comrade, and follow Dantes, who, after having traversed La Canebiere, took the Rue de Noailles, and entering a small house, on the left of the Allees de Meillan, rapidly ascended four flights of a dark staircase, holding the baluster with one hand, while with the other he repressed the beatings of his heart, and paused before a half-open door, from which he could see the whole of a small room.

This room was occupied by Dantes' father. The news of the arrival of the Pharaon had not yet reached the old man, who, mounted on a chair, was amusing himself by training with trembling hand the nasturtiums and sprays of clematis that clambered over the trellis at his window. Suddenly, he felt an arm thrown around his body, and a well-known voice behind him exclaimed, "Father—dear father!"

The old man uttered a cry, and turned round; then, seeing his son, he fell into his arms, pale and trembling.

"What ails you, my dearest father? Are you ill?" inquired the young man, much alarmed.

"No, no, my dear Edmond—my boy—my son!—no; but I did not expect you; and joy, the surprise of seeing you so suddenly—Ah, I feel as if I were going to die."

"Come, come, cheer up, my dear father! 'Tis I—really I! They say joy never hurts, and so I came to you without any warning. Come now, do smile, instead of looking at me so solemnly. Here I am back again, and we are going to be happy."

"Yes, yes, my boy, so we will—so we will," replied the old man; "but how shall we be happy? Shall you never leave me again? Come, tell me all the good fortune that has befallen you."

"God forgive me," said the young man, "for rejoicing at happiness derived from the misery of others, but, Heaven knows, I did not seek this good fortune; it has happened, and I really cannot pretend to lament it. The good Captain Leclere is dead, father, and it is probable that, with the aid of M. Morrel, I shall have his place. Do you understand, father? Only imagine me a captain at twenty, with a hundred louis pay, and a share in the profits! Is this not more than a poor sailor like me could have hoped for?"

"Yes, my dear boy," replied the old man, "it is very fortunate."

"Well, then, with the first money I touch, I mean you to have a small house, with a garden in which to plant clematis, nasturtiums, and honeysuckle. But what ails you, father? Are you not well?"

"'Tis nothing, nothing; it will soon pass away"—and as he said so the old man's strength failed him, and he fell backwards.

"Come, come," said the young man, "a glass of wine, father, will revive you. Where do you keep your wine?"

"No, no; thanks. You need not look for it; I do not want it," said the old man.

"Yes, yes, father, tell me where it is," and he opened two or three cupboards.

"It is no use," said the old man, "there is no wine."

"What, no wine?" said Dantes, turning pale, and looking alternately at the hollow cheeks of the old man and the empty cupboards. "What, no wine? Have you wanted money, father?"

"I want nothing now that I have you," said the old man.

"Yet," stammered Dantes, wiping the perspiration from his brow,—"yet I gave you two hundred francs when I left, three months ago."

"Yes, yes, Edmond, that is true, but you forgot at that time a little debt to our neighbor, Caderousse. He reminded me of it, telling me if I did not pay for you, he would be paid by M. Morrel; and so, you see, lest he might do you an injury"—

"Well?"

"Why, I paid him."

"But," cried Dantes, "it was a hundred and forty francs I owed Caderousse."

"Yes," stammered the old man.

"And you paid him out of the two hundred francs I left you?"

The old man nodded.

"So that you have lived for three months on sixty francs," muttered Edmond.

"You know how little I require," said the old man.

"Heaven pardon me," cried Edmond, falling on his knees before his father.

"What are you doing?"

"You have wounded me to the heart."

"Never mind it, for I see you once more," said the old man; "and now it's all over—everything is all right again."

"Yes, here I am," said the young man, "with a promising future and a little money. Here, father, here!" he said, "take this—take it, and send for something immediately." And he emptied his pockets on the table, the contents consisting of a dozen gold pieces, five or six five-franc pieces, and some smaller coin. The countenance of old Dantes brightened.

"Whom does this belong to?" he inquired.

"To me, to you, to us! Take it; buy some provisions; be happy, and to-morrow we shall have more."

"Gently, gently," said the old man, with a smile; "and by your leave I will use your purse moderately, for they would say, if they saw me buy too many things at a time, that I had been obliged to await your return, in order to be able to purchase them."

"Do as you please; but, first of all, pray have a servant, father. I will not have you left alone so long. I have some smuggled coffee and most capital tobacco, in a small chest in the hold, which you shall have to-morrow. But, hush, here comes somebody."

"'Tis Caderousse, who has heard of your arrival, and no doubt comes to congratulate you on your fortunate return."

"Ah, lips that say one thing, while the heart thinks another," murmured Edmond. "But, never mind, he is a neighbor who has done us a service on a time, so he's welcome."

As Edmond paused, the black and bearded head of Caderousse appeared at the door. He was a man of twenty-five or six, and held a piece of cloth, which, being a tailor, he was about to make into a coat-lining.

"What, is it you, Edmond, back again?" said he, with a broad Marseillaise accent, and a grin that displayed his ivory-white teeth.

"Yes, as you see, neighbor Caderousse; and ready to be agreeable to you in any and every way," replied Dantes, but ill-concealing his coldness under this cloak of civility.

"Thanks—thanks; but, fortunately, I do not want for anything; and it chances that at times there are others who have need of me." Dantes made a gesture. "I do not allude to you, my boy. No!—no! I lent you money, and you returned it; that's like good neighbors, and we are quits."

"We are never quits with those who oblige us," was Dantes' reply; "for when we do not owe them money, we owe them gratitude."

"What's the use of mentioning that? What is done is done. Let us talk of your happy return, my boy. I had gone on the quay to match a piece of mulberry cloth, when I met friend Danglars. 'You at Marseilles?'—'Yes,' says he.

"'I thought you were at Smyrna.'—'I was; but am now back again.'

"'And where is the dear boy, our little Edmond?'

"'Why, with his father, no doubt,' replied Danglars. And so I came," added Caderousse, "as fast as I could to have the pleasure of shaking hands with a friend."

"Worthy Caderousse!" said the old man, "he is so much attached to us."

"Yes, to be sure I am. I love and esteem you, because honest folks are so rare. But it seems you have come back rich, my boy," continued the tailor, looking askance at the handful of gold and silver which Dantes had thrown on the table.

The young man remarked the greedy glance which shone in the dark eyes of his neighbor. "Eh," he said, negligently, "this money is not mine. I was expressing to my father my fears that he had wanted many things in my absence, and to convince me he emptied his purse on the table. Come, father" added Dantes, "put this money back in your box—unless neighbor Caderousse wants anything, and in that case it is at his service."

"No, my boy, no," said Caderousse. "I am not in any want, thank God, my living is suited to my means. Keep your money—keep it, I say;—one never has too much;—but, at the same time, my boy, I am as much obliged by your offer as if I took advantage of it."

"It was offered with good will," said Dantes.

"No doubt, my boy; no doubt. Well, you stand well with M. Morrel I hear,—you insinuating dog, you!"

"M. Morrel has always been exceedingly kind to me," replied Dantes.

"Then you were wrong to refuse to dine with him."

"What, did you refuse to dine with him?" said old Dantes; "and did he invite you to dine?"

"Yes, my dear father," replied Edmond, smiling at his father's astonishment at the excessive honor paid to his son.

"And why did you refuse, my son?" inquired the old man.

"That I might the sooner see you again, my dear father," replied the young man. "I was most anxious to see you."

"But it must have vexed M. Morrel, good, worthy man," said Caderousse. "And when you are looking forward to be captain, it was wrong to annoy the owner."

"But I explained to him the cause of my refusal," replied Dantes, "and I hope he fully understood it."

"Yes, but to be captain one must do a little flattery to one's patrons."

"I hope to be captain without that," said Dantes.

"So much the better—so much the better! Nothing will give greater pleasure to all your old friends; and I know one down there behind the Saint Nicolas citadel who will not be sorry to hear it."

"Mercedes?" said the old man.

"Yes, my dear father, and with your permission, now I have seen you, and know you are well and have all you require, I will ask your consent to go and pay a visit to the Catalans."

"Go, my dear boy," said old Dantes: "and heaven bless you in your wife, as it has blessed me in my son!"

"His wife!" said Caderousse; "why, how fast you go on, father Dantes; she is not his wife yet, as it seems to me."

"So, but according to all probability she soon will be," replied Edmond.

"Yes—yes," said Caderousse; "but you were right to return as soon as possible, my boy."

"And why?"

"Because Mercedes is a very fine girl, and fine girls never lack followers; she particularly has them by dozens."

"Really?" answered Edmond, with a smile which had in it traces of slight uneasiness.

"Ah, yes," continued Caderousse, "and capital offers, too; but you know, you will be captain, and who could refuse you then?"

"Meaning to say," replied Dantes, with a smile which but ill-concealed his trouble, "that if I were not a captain"—

"Eh—eh!" said Caderousse, shaking his head.

"Come, come," said the sailor, "I have a better opinion than you of women in general, and of Mercedes in particular; and I am certain that, captain or not, she will remain ever faithful to me."

"So much the better—so much the better," said Caderousse. "When one is going to be married, there is nothing like implicit confidence; but never mind that, my boy,—go and announce your arrival, and let her know all your hopes and prospects."

"I will go directly," was Edmond's reply; and, embracing his father, and nodding to Caderousse, he left the apartment.

Caderousse lingered for a moment, then taking leave of old Dantes, he went downstairs to rejoin Danglars, who awaited him at the corner of the Rue Senac.

"Well," said Danglars, "did you see him?"

"I have just left him," answered Caderousse.

"Did he allude to his hope of being captain?"

"He spoke of it as a thing already decided."

"Indeed!" said Danglars, "he is in too much hurry, it appears to me."

"Why, it seems M. Morrel has promised him the thing."

"So that he is quite elated about it?"

"Why, yes, he is actually insolent over the matter—has already offered me his patronage, as if he were a grand personage, and proffered me a loan of money, as though he were a banker."

"Which you refused?"

"Most assuredly; although I might easily have accepted it, for it was I who put into his hands the first silver he ever earned; but now M. Dantes has no longer any occasion for assistance—he is about to become a captain."

"Pooh!" said Danglars, "he is not one yet."

"Ma foi, it will be as well if he is not," answered Caderousse; "for if he should be, there will be really no speaking to him."

"If we choose," replied Danglars, "he will remain what he is; and perhaps become even less than he is."

"What do you mean?"

"Nothing—I was speaking to myself. And is he still in love with the Catalane?"

"Over head and ears; but, unless I am much mistaken, there will be a storm in that quarter."

"Explain yourself."

"Why should I?"

"It is more important than you think, perhaps. You do not like Dantes?"

"I never like upstarts."

"Then tell me all you know about the Catalane."

"I know nothing for certain; only I have seen things which induce me to believe, as I told you, that the future captain will find some annoyance in the vicinity of the Vieilles Infirmeries."

"What have you seen?—come, tell me!"

"Well, every time I have seen Mercedes come into the city she has been accompanied by a tall, strapping, black-eyed Catalan, with a red complexion, brown skin, and fierce air, whom she calls cousin."

"Really; and you think this cousin pays her attentions?"

"I only suppose so. What else can a strapping chap of twenty-one mean with a fine wench of seventeen?"

"And you say that Dantes has gone to the Catalans?"

"He went before I came down."

"Let us go the same way; we will stop at La Reserve, and we can drink a glass of La Malgue, whilst we wait for news."

"Come along," said Caderousse; "but you pay the score."

"Of course," replied Danglars; and going quickly to the designated place, they called for a bottle of wine, and two glasses.

Pere Pamphile had seen Dantes pass not ten minutes before; and assured that he was at the Catalans, they sat down under the budding foliage of the planes and sycamores, in the branches of which the birds were singing their welcome to one of the first days of spring.

 

第二章 父与子

我们暂且先放下不谈腾格拉尔如何怀着仇恨,竭力在船主莫雷尔的耳边讲他的同伴的坏话的。且说唐太斯横过了卡纳比埃尔街,顺着诺埃尹街转入梅兰巷,走进了靠左边的一家小房子里。他在黑暗的楼梯上一手扶着栏杆,一手按在他那狂跳的心上,急急地奔上了四层楼梯。他在一扇半开半掩的门前停了下来,那半开的门里是一个小房间。

唐太斯的父亲就住在这个房间里。法老号到港的消息老人还不知道。这时他正踩在一张椅子上,用颤抖的手指在窗口绑扎牵牛花和萎草花,想编成一个花棚。突然他觉得一只手臂拦腰抱住了他,随即一个熟悉的声音在耳边喊起来,“父亲!亲爱的父亲!”

老人惊叫了一声,转过身来,一看是自己的儿子,就颤巍巍地脸色惨白地倒在了他的怀抱中。

“你怎么啦,我最亲爱的父亲!你病了吗?”青年吃惊地问。

“不,不,我亲爱的爱德蒙——我的孩子——我的宝贝!不,我没想到你回来了。我真太高兴了,这样突然的看见你太让我激动了——天哪,我觉得我都快要死了。”

“高兴点,亲爱的父亲!是我——真的是我!人们都说高兴绝不会有伤身体的,所以我就偷偷的溜了进来。嗨!对我笑笑,不要拿这种疑惑的眼光看我呀。是我回来啦,我们现在要过快活的日子了。”

“孩子,我们要过快活的日子,——我们要过快活的日子,”老人说道。“但我们怎么才能快活呢?难道你会永远不再离开我了吗?来,快告诉我你交了什么好运了?”

“愿上帝宽恕我:我的幸福是建立在另一家人丧亲的痛苦上的,但上帝知道我并不是自己要这样的。事情既然已经发生了,我实在无法装出那种悲哀的样子。父亲,我们那位好心的船长莱克勒先生他死了,承蒙莫雷尔先生的推荐,我极有可能接替他的位置。你懂吗,父亲?想想看,我二十岁就能当上船长,薪水是一百金路易 【法国金币名。——译注】,还可以分红利!这可是象我这样的穷水手以前连想都不敢想的呀。”

“是的,我亲爱的孩子,”老人回答说,——“是的,这真是一桩大喜事的。”

“嗯,等我拿到第一笔钱时,我就为你买一所房子,要带花园的,你可以在里面种种牵牛花,萎草花和皂荚花什么的。你怎么了,父亲,你不舒服吗?”

“没什么,没什么,就会好的。”老人说着,终因年老体衰,力不从心,倒在了椅子里。

“来,来,”青年说,“喝点酒吧,父亲,你就会好的。你把酒放在哪儿了?”

“不,不用了,谢谢。你不用找了,我不喝。”老人说。

“喝,一定要喝父亲,告诉我酒在什么地方?”唐太斯一面说着,一面打开了两三个碗柜。

“你找不到的,”老人说,“没有酒了。”

“什么!没有酒了?”唐太斯说,他的脸色渐渐变白了,看着老人那深陷的双颊,又看看那空空的碗柜——“什么!没有酒了?父亲,你缺钱用吗?”

“我只要见到了你,就什么都不缺了。”老人说。

“可是,”唐太斯擦了一把额头上的冷汗,嗫嚅地说,——“可是三个月前我临走的时候给你留下过两百法郎呀。”

“是的,是的,爱德蒙,一点儿不错。但你当时忘了你还欠我们邻居卡德鲁斯一笔小债。他跟我提起了这件事,对我说,假如我不代你还债,他就会去找莫雷尔先生,去向他讨还,所以,为了免得你受影响……”

“那么?”

“哪,我就把钱还给他了。”

“可是,”唐太斯叫了起来,“我欠了卡德鲁斯一百四十法朗埃!”

“不错。”老人呐呐地说。

“那就是说你就从我留给你的两百法朗里抽出来还了他了?”

老人做了一个肯定的表示。

“这么说,三个月来你就只靠六十个法朗来维持生活!”青年自言自语地说。

“你知道我花销不大。”老人说。

“噢,上帝饶恕我吧!”爱德蒙哭着跪到了老人的面前。

“你这是怎么了?”

“你使我感到太伤心了!”

“这没什么,孩子。”老人说,“我一看到你,就什么都忘了,现在一切都好了。”

“是啊,我回来了,”青年说,“带着一个幸福远大的前程和一点钱回来了。看,父亲,看!”他说,“拿着吧——拿着,赶快叫人去买点东西。”说着他翻开口袋,把钱全倒在桌子上,一共有十几块金洋,五六块艾居 【法国银币名。——译注】和一些小零币。老唐太斯的脸上顿时展开了笑容。

“这些钱是谁的?”他问。

“是我的!你的!我们的!拿着吧,去买些吃的东西。快活些,明天我们还会有更多的。”

“小声点,轻点声,”老人微笑着说。”我还是把你的钱节省点用吧——因为大家要是看见我一次买了那么多的东西,就会说我非得等着你回来才能买得起那些东西。”

“随你便吧,但最重要的,父亲,该先雇一个佣人。我决不再让你独自一个人长期孤零零地生活了。我私下带了一些咖啡和上等烟草,现在都放在船上的小箱子里,明天早晨我就可以拿来给你了。嘘,别出声!有人来了。”

“是卡德鲁斯,他一定是听到了你回来的消息,知道你交了好运了,来向你道贺的。”

“哼!口是心非的家伙,”爱德蒙轻声说道。“不过,他毕竟是我们的邻居,而且还帮过我们的忙,所以我们还是应该表示欢迎的。”

爱德蒙的这句话刚轻声讲完,卡德鲁斯那个黑发蓬松的头便出现在门口。他看上去约莫二十五六岁,手里拿着一块布料,他原是一个裁缝,这块布料是他预备拿来做衣服的衬里用的。

“怎么!真是你回来了吗,爱德蒙?”他带着很重的马赛口音开口说道,露出满口白得如象牙一样的牙齿笑着。

“是的,我回来了,卡德鲁斯邻居,我正准备着想使你高兴一下呢。”唐太斯回答道,答话虽彬彬有礼,却仍掩饰不住他内心的冷淡。

“谢谢,谢谢,不过幸亏我还不需要什么。倒是有时人家需要我的帮忙呢。”唐太斯不觉动了一下。“我不是指你,我的孩子。不,不!我借钱给你,你还了我。好邻居之间这种事是常有的,我们已经两清了。”

“我们对那些帮助过我们的人是永远忘不了的。”唐太斯说,“因为我们虽还清了他们的钱,却还不清负他们的情的。”

“还提它干什么?过去的都过去了。让我们来谈谈你这次幸运的归来的事儿吧,孩子。我刚才到码头上去配一块细花布,碰到了我们的朋友腾格拉尔。‘怎么!你也在马赛呀!’我当时就喊了出来。他说:‘是呀。’‘我还以为你在士麦拿呢。’‘不错,我去过那儿,但现在又回来了。’‘我那亲爱的小家伙爱德蒙他在哪儿,’我问他。腾格拉尔就回答说:‘一定在他父亲那儿。’所以我就急忙跑来了,”卡德鲁斯接着说,“来高高兴兴地和老朋友握手。”

“好心的卡德鲁斯!”老人说,“他待我们多好啊!”

“是呀,我当然要这样的,我爱你们,并且敬重你们,天底下好人可不多啊!我的孩子,你好象是发了财回来啦。”裁缝一面说,一面斜眼看着唐太斯抛在桌子上的那一把金币和银币。

青年看出了从他邻居那黑眼睛里流露出的贪婪的目光。

他漫不经心地说,“这些钱不是我的,父亲看出我担心,他当我不在的时候缺钱用,为了让我放心,就把他钱包里的钱都倒在桌子上给我看。来吧,父亲。”唐太斯接着说,“快把这些钱收回到你的箱子里去吧,——除非我们的邻居卡德鲁斯要用,我们倒是乐意帮这个忙的。”

“不,孩子,不,”卡德鲁斯说,“我根本不需要,干我这行够吃的了。把你的钱收起来吧,——我说。一个人的钱不一定非得很多,我虽用不上你的钱,但对你的好意我还是很感激的。”

“我可是真心的呀。”唐太斯说。

“那当然,那当然。唔,我听说你和莫雷尔先生的关系不错,你这只得宠的小狗!”

“莫雷尔先生待我一直特别友善。”唐太斯回答。

“那么他请你吃饭你不该拒绝他呀。”

“什么!你竟然回绝他请你吃饭?”老唐太斯说。“他邀请过你吃饭吗?”

“是的,我亲爱的父亲。”爱德蒙回答。看到父亲因自己的儿子得到别人的器重而显出惊异的神情,便笑了笑。

“孩子呀,你为什么拒绝呢?”老人问。

“为了快点回来看你呀,我亲爱的父亲,”青年答道,“我太想你了。”

“但你这样做一定会使可敬的莫雷尔先生不高兴的,”卡德鲁斯说。“尤其是当你快要升为船长的时候,是不该在这时得罪船主的。”

“但我已把谢绝的理由向他解释过了,”唐太斯回答,“我想他会谅解的。”

“但是要想当船长,就该对船主恭敬一点才好。”

“我希望不恭顺也能当船长。”唐太斯说。

“那更好,——那更好!你这个消息会让那些老朋友听了都高兴的,我还知道圣•尼古拉堡那边有一个人,听到这个好消息也会高兴的。”

“你是说美塞苔丝吗?”老人说。

“是的,我亲爱的父亲,现在我已经见过了你,知道你很好,并不缺什么,我就放心了。请允许我到迦太罗尼亚人的村里,好吗?”

“去吧,我亲爱的孩子,”老唐太斯说,“望上帝保佑你的妻子,就如同保佑我的儿子一样!”

“他的妻子!”卡德鲁斯说,“你说得太早了点吧,唐太斯老爹。她还没正式成为他的妻子呢。”

“是这样的,但从各方面看,她肯定会成为我妻子的。”爱德蒙回答。

“不错,不错,”卡德鲁斯说,“但你这次回来得很快,做得是对的,我的孩子。”

“你这是什么意思?”

“因为美塞苔丝是一位非常漂亮的姑娘,而漂亮姑娘总是不乏有人追求的。尤其是她,身后有上打的追求者呢。”

“真的吗?”爱德蒙虽微笑着回答,但微笑里却流露出一点的不安。

“啊,是的,“卡德鲁斯又说,“而且都是些条件不错的人呢,但你知道,你就要做船长了,她怎么会拒绝你呢?”

“你是说,“唐太斯问道,他微笑着并没有掩饰住他的焦急,“假如我不是一个船长——”

“唉,唉。”卡德鲁斯说。

“得了,得了,”年轻的唐太斯说:“一般说来,对女人,我可比你了解的得多,尤其是美塞苔丝。我相信,不论我当不当船长,她都是忠诚于我的。”

“那再好也没有了,卡德鲁斯说。“一个人快要结婚的时候,信心十足总是好事。别管这些了,我的孩子,快去报到吧,并把你的希望告诉她。”

“我就去。”爱德蒙回答他,拥抱了一下他的父亲,挥挥手和卡德鲁斯告辞,就走出房间去了。

卡德鲁斯又呆了一会,便离开老唐太斯,下楼去见腾格拉尔,后者正在西纳克街的拐角上等他。

“怎么样,”腾格拉尔说,“你见到他了吗?”

“我刚从他那儿来。”

“他提到他希望做船长的事了吗?”

“他说的若有其事,那口气就好象事情已经决定了似的。”

“别忙!”腾格拉尔说,“依我看,他未免太心急了”。

“怎么,这件事莫雷尔先生好象已经答应他了啦。”

“这么说他已经在那儿自鸣得意了吗?”

“他简直骄傲得很,已经要来关照我了。好象他是个什么大人物似的,而且还要借钱给我,好象是一个银行家。”

“你拒绝了吗?”

“当然,虽然我即便是接受了也问心无愧,因为他第一次摸到发亮的银币,还是我放到他手里的。但现在唐太斯先生已不再要人帮忙了,他就要做船长了。”

“呸!”腾格拉尔说,“他现在还没有做成呢。”

“他还是做不成的好,”卡德鲁斯回答,“不然我们就别想再跟他说上话了。”

“假如我们愿意可以还让他爬上去,”腾格拉尔答道,“他爬不上去,或许不如现在呢。”

“你这话是什么意思?”

“没什么,我不过自己这么说着玩儿罢了。他还爱着那个漂亮的迦太尼亚小妞吗?”

“简直爱得发疯了,但除非是我弄错了,在这方面他可能要遇到点麻烦了。”

“你说清楚点。”

“我干吗要说清楚呢?”

“这件事或许比你想象得还要重要,你不喜欢唐太斯对吧?”

“我一向不喜欢目空一切的人。”

“那么关于迦太罗尼亚人的事,把你所知道的都告诉我吧。”

“我所知道的可都不怎么确切,只是就我亲眼见的来说,我猜想那位未来的船长会在老医务所路附近。”

“你知道些什么事,告诉我!”

“是这样的,我每次看见美塞苔丝进城时,总有一个身材魁梧高大的迦太罗尼亚小伙子陪着她,那个人有一对黑色的眼睛,肤色褐中透红,很神气很威武,她叫他表哥。”

“真的!那么你认为这位表兄在追求她吗?”

“我只是这么想。一个身材魁梧的二十几岁的小伙子,对一个漂亮的十七岁的少女还能有什么别的想法呢?”

“你说唐太斯已到迦太罗尼亚人那儿去了吗”?

“我没有下楼他就去了。”

“那我们就到这条路上去吧,我们可以在瑞瑟夫酒家那儿等着,一面喝拉玛尔格酒,一面听听消息。”

“谁向我们通消息呢?”

“我们在半路上等着他呀,看一下他的神色怎么样,就知道了。”

“走吧,”卡德鲁斯说,“但话说在前面,你来付酒钱。”

“那当然,”腾格拉尔说道。他们快步走向约定的地点,要了瓶酒。

邦非尔老爹看见唐太斯在十分钟以前刚刚过去。他们既确知了他还在迦太罗尼亚人的村里。便在长着嫩叶的梧桐树下和大枫树底下坐下来。头上的树枝间,小鸟们正在动人地合唱着,歌唱春天的好时光。




Chapter 3. The Catalans.

Beyond a bare, weather-worn wall, about a hundred paces from the spot where the two friends sat looking and listening as they drank their wine, was the village of the Catalans. Long ago this mysterious colony quitted Spain, and settled on the tongue of land on which it is to this day. Whence it came no one knew, and it spoke an unknown tongue. One of its chiefs, who understood Provencal, begged the commune of Marseilles to give them this bare and barren promontory, where, like the sailors of old, they had run their boats ashore. The request was granted; and three months afterwards, around the twelve or fifteen small vessels which had brought these gypsies of the sea, a small village sprang up. This village, constructed in a singular and picturesque manner, half Moorish, half Spanish, still remains, and is inhabited by descendants of the first comers, who speak the language of their fathers. For three or four centuries they have remained upon this small promontory, on which they had settled like a flight of seabirds, without mixing with the Marseillaise population, intermarrying, and preserving their original customs and the costume of their mother-country as they have preserved its language.

Our readers will follow us along the only street of this little village, and enter with us one of the houses, which is sunburned to the beautiful dead-leaf color peculiar to the buildings of the country, and within coated with whitewash, like a Spanish posada. A young and beautiful girl, with hair as black as jet, her eyes as velvety as the gazelle's, was leaning with her back against the wainscot, rubbing in her slender delicately moulded fingers a bunch of heath blossoms, the flowers of which she was picking off and strewing on the floor; her arms, bare to the elbow, brown, and modelled after those of the Arlesian Venus, moved with a kind of restless impatience, and she tapped the earth with her arched and supple foot, so as to display the pure and full shape of her well-turned leg, in its red cotton, gray and blue clocked, stocking. At three paces from her, seated in a chair which he balanced on two legs, leaning his elbow on an old worm-eaten table, was a tall young man of twenty, or two-and-twenty, who was looking at her with an air in which vexation and uneasiness were mingled. He questioned her with his eyes, but the firm and steady gaze of the young girl controlled his look.

"You see, Mercedes," said the young man, "here is Easter come round again; tell me, is this the moment for a wedding?"

"I have answered you a hundred times, Fernand, and really you must be very stupid to ask me again."

"Well, repeat it,—repeat it, I beg of you, that I may at last believe it! Tell me for the hundredth time that you refuse my love, which had your mother's sanction. Make me understand once for all that you are trifling with my happiness, that my life or death are nothing to you. Ah, to have dreamed for ten years of being your husband, Mercedes, and to lose that hope, which was the only stay of my existence!"

"At least it was not I who ever encouraged you in that hope, Fernand," replied Mercedes; "you cannot reproach me with the slightest coquetry. I have always said to you, 'I love you as a brother; but do not ask from me more than sisterly affection, for my heart is another's.' Is not this true, Fernand?"

"Yes, that is very true, Mercedes," replied the young man, "Yes, you have been cruelly frank with me; but do you forget that it is among the Catalans a sacred law to intermarry?"

"You mistake, Fernand; it is not a law, but merely a custom, and, I pray of you, do not cite this custom in your favor. You are included in the conscription, Fernand, and are only at liberty on sufferance, liable at any moment to be called upon to take up arms. Once a soldier, what would you do with me, a poor orphan, forlorn, without fortune, with nothing but a half-ruined hut and a few ragged nets, the miserable inheritance left by my father to my mother, and by my mother to me? She has been dead a year, and you know, Fernand, I have subsisted almost entirely on public charity. Sometimes you pretend I am useful to you, and that is an excuse to share with me the produce of your fishing, and I accept it, Fernand, because you are the son of my father's brother, because we were brought up together, and still more because it would give you so much pain if I refuse. But I feel very deeply that this fish which I go and sell, and with the produce of which I buy the flax I spin,—I feel very keenly, Fernand, that this is charity."

"And if it were, Mercedes, poor and lone as you are, you suit me as well as the daughter of the first shipowner or the richest banker of Marseilles! What do such as we desire but a good wife and careful housekeeper, and where can I look for these better than in you?"

"Fernand," answered Mercedes, shaking her head, "a woman becomes a bad manager, and who shall say she will remain an honest woman, when she loves another man better than her husband? Rest content with my friendship, for I say once more that is all I can promise, and I will promise no more than I can bestow."

"I understand," replied Fernand, "you can endure your own wretchedness patiently, but you are afraid to share mine. Well, Mercedes, beloved by you, I would tempt fortune; you would bring me good luck, and I should become rich. I could extend my occupation as a fisherman, might get a place as clerk in a warehouse, and become in time a dealer myself."

"You could do no such thing, Fernand; you are a soldier, and if you remain at the Catalans it is because there is no war; so remain a fisherman, and contented with my friendship, as I cannot give you more."

"Well, I will do better, Mercedes. I will be a sailor; instead of the costume of our fathers, which you despise, I will wear a varnished hat, a striped shirt, and a blue jacket, with an anchor on the buttons. Would not that dress please you?"

"What do you mean?" asked Mercedes, with an angry glance,—"what do you mean? I do not understand you?"

"I mean, Mercedes, that you are thus harsh and cruel with me, because you are expecting some one who is thus attired; but perhaps he whom you await is inconstant, or if he is not, the sea is so to him."

"Fernand," cried Mercedes, "I believed you were good-hearted, and I was mistaken! Fernand, you are wicked to call to your aid jealousy and the anger of God! Yes, I will not deny it, I do await, and I do love him of whom you speak; and, if he does not return, instead of accusing him of the inconstancy which you insinuate, I will tell you that he died loving me and me only." The young girl made a gesture of rage. "I understand you, Fernand; you would be revenged on him because I do not love you; you would cross your Catalan knife with his dirk. What end would that answer? To lose you my friendship if he were conquered, and see that friendship changed into hate if you were victor. Believe me, to seek a quarrel with a man is a bad method of pleasing the woman who loves that man. No, Fernand, you will not thus give way to evil thoughts. Unable to have me for your wife, you will content yourself with having me for your friend and sister; and besides," she added, her eyes troubled and moistened with tears, "wait, wait, Fernand; you said just now that the sea was treacherous, and he has been gone four months, and during these four months there have been some terrible storms."

Fernand made no reply, nor did he attempt to check the tears which flowed down the cheeks of Mercedes, although for each of these tears he would have shed his heart's blood; but these tears flowed for another. He arose, paced a while up and down the hut, and then, suddenly stopping before Mercedes, with his eyes glowing and his hands clinched,—"Say, Mercedes," he said, "once for all, is this your final determination?"

"I love Edmond Dantes," the young girl calmly replied, "and none but Edmond shall ever be my husband."

"And you will always love him?"

"As long as I live."

Fernand let fall his head like a defeated man, heaved a sigh that was like a groan, and then suddenly looking her full in the face, with clinched teeth and expanded nostrils, said,—"But if he is dead"—

"If he is dead, I shall die too."

"If he has forgotten you"—

"Mercedes!" called a joyous voice from without,—"Mercedes!"

"Ah," exclaimed the young girl, blushing with delight, and fairly leaping in excess of love, "you see he has not forgotten me, for here he is!" And rushing towards the door, she opened it, saying, "Here, Edmond, here I am!"

Fernand, pale and trembling, drew back, like a traveller at the sight of a serpent, and fell into a chair beside him. Edmond and Mercedes were clasped in each other's arms. The burning Marseilles sun, which shot into the room through the open door, covered them with a flood of light. At first they saw nothing around them. Their intense happiness isolated them from all the rest of the world, and they only spoke in broken words, which are the tokens of a joy so extreme that they seem rather the expression of sorrow. Suddenly Edmond saw the gloomy, pale, and threatening countenance of Fernand, as it was defined in the shadow. By a movement for which he could scarcely account to himself, the young Catalan placed his hand on the knife at his belt.

"Ah, your pardon," said Dantes, frowning in his turn; "I did not perceive that there were three of us." Then, turning to Mercedes, he inquired, "Who is this gentleman?"

"One who will be your best friend, Dantes, for he is my friend, my cousin, my brother; it is Fernand—the man whom, after you, Edmond, I love the best in the world. Do you not remember him?"

"Yes!" said Dantes, and without relinquishing Mercedes hand clasped in one of his own, he extended the other to the Catalan with a cordial air. But Fernand, instead of responding to this amiable gesture, remained mute and trembling. Edmond then cast his eyes scrutinizingly at the agitated and embarrassed Mercedes, and then again on the gloomy and menacing Fernand. This look told him all, and his anger waxed hot.

"I did not know, when I came with such haste to you, that I was to meet an enemy here."

"An enemy!" cried Mercedes, with an angry look at her cousin. "An enemy in my house, do you say, Edmond! If I believed that, I would place my arm under yours and go with you to Marseilles, leaving the house to return to it no more."

Fernand's eye darted lightning. "And should any misfortune occur to you, dear Edmond," she continued with the same calmness which proved to Fernand that the young girl had read the very innermost depths of his sinister thought, "if misfortune should occur to you, I would ascend the highest point of the Cape de Morgion and cast myself headlong from it."

Fernand became deadly pale. "But you are deceived, Edmond," she continued. "You have no enemy here—there is no one but Fernand, my brother, who will grasp your hand as a devoted friend."

And at these words the young girl fixed her imperious look on the Catalan, who, as if fascinated by it, came slowly towards Edmond, and offered him his hand. His hatred, like a powerless though furious wave, was broken against the strong ascendancy which Mercedes exercised over him. Scarcely, however, had he touched Edmond's hand than he felt he had done all he could do, and rushed hastily out of the house.

"Oh," he exclaimed, running furiously and tearing his hair—"Oh, who will deliver me from this man? Wretched—wretched that I am!"

"Hallo, Catalan! Hallo, Fernand! where are you running to?" exclaimed a voice.

The young man stopped suddenly, looked around him, and perceived Caderousse sitting at table with Danglars, under an arbor.

"Well", said Caderousse, "why don't you come? Are you really in such a hurry that you have no time to pass the time of day with your friends?"

"Particularly when they have still a full bottle before them," added Danglars. Fernand looked at them both with a stupefied air, but did not say a word.

"He seems besotted," said Danglars, pushing Caderousse with his knee. "Are we mistaken, and is Dantes triumphant in spite of all we have believed?"

"Why, we must inquire into that," was Caderousse's reply; and turning towards the young man, said, "Well, Catalan, can't you make up your mind?"

Fernand wiped away the perspiration steaming from his brow, and slowly entered the arbor, whose shade seemed to restore somewhat of calmness to his senses, and whose coolness somewhat of refreshment to his exhausted body.

"Good-day," said he. "You called me, didn't you?" And he fell, rather than sat down, on one of the seats which surrounded the table.

"I called you because you were running like a madman, and I was afraid you would throw yourself into the sea," said Caderousse, laughing. "Why, when a man has friends, they are not only to offer him a glass of wine, but, moreover, to prevent his swallowing three or four pints of water unnecessarily!"

Fernand gave a groan, which resembled a sob, and dropped his head into his hands, his elbows leaning on the table.

"Well, Fernand, I must say," said Caderousse, beginning the conversation, with that brutality of the common people in which curiosity destroys all diplomacy, "you look uncommonly like a rejected lover;" and he burst into a hoarse laugh.

"Bah!" said Danglars, "a lad of his make was not born to be unhappy in love. You are laughing at him, Caderousse."

"No," he replied, "only hark how he sighs! Come, come, Fernand," said Caderousse, "hold up your head, and answer us. It's not polite not to reply to friends who ask news of your health."

"My health is well enough," said Fernand, clinching his hands without raising his head.

"Ah, you see, Danglars," said Caderousse, winking at his friend, "this is how it is; Fernand, whom you see here, is a good and brave Catalan, one of the best fishermen in Marseilles, and he is in love with a very fine girl, named Mercedes; but it appears, unfortunately, that the fine girl is in love with the mate of the Pharaon; and as the Pharaon arrived to-day—why, you understand!"

"No; I do not understand," said Danglars.

"Poor Fernand has been dismissed," continued Caderousse.

"Well, and what then?" said Fernand, lifting up his head, and looking at Caderousse like a man who looks for some one on whom to vent his anger; "Mercedes is not accountable to any person, is she? Is she not free to love whomsoever she will?"

"Oh, if you take it in that sense," said Caderousse, "it is another thing. But I thought you were a Catalan, and they told me the Catalans were not men to allow themselves to be supplanted by a rival. It was even told me that Fernand, especially, was terrible in his vengeance."

Fernand smiled piteously. "A lover is never terrible," he said.

"Poor fellow!" remarked Danglars, affecting to pity the young man from the bottom of his heart. "Why, you see, he did not expect to see Dantes return so suddenly—he thought he was dead, perhaps; or perchance faithless! These things always come on us more severely when they come suddenly."

"Ah, ma foi, under any circumstances," said Caderousse, who drank as he spoke, and on whom the fumes of the wine began to take effect,—"under any circumstances Fernand is not the only person put out by the fortunate arrival of Dantes; is he, Danglars?"

"No, you are right—and I should say that would bring him ill-luck."

"Well, never mind," answered Caderousse, pouring out a glass of wine for Fernand, and filling his own for the eighth or ninth time, while Danglars had merely sipped his. "Never mind—in the meantime he marries Mercedes—the lovely Mercedes—at least he returns to do that."

During this time Danglars fixed his piercing glance on the young man, on whose heart Caderousse's words fell like molten lead.

"And when is the wedding to be?" he asked.

"Oh, it is not yet fixed!" murmured Fernand.

"No, but it will be," said Caderousse, "as surely as Dantes will be captain of the Pharaon—eh, Danglars?"

Danglars shuddered at this unexpected attack, and turned to Caderousse, whose countenance he scrutinized, to try and detect whether the blow was premeditated; but he read nothing but envy in a countenance already rendered brutal and stupid by drunkenness.

"Well," said he, filling the glasses, "let us drink to Captain Edmond Dantes, husband of the beautiful Catalane!"

Caderousse raised his glass to his mouth with unsteady hand, and swallowed the contents at a gulp. Fernand dashed his on the ground.

"Eh, eh, eh!" stammered Caderousse. "What do I see down there by the wall, in the direction of the Catalans? Look, Fernand, your eyes are better than mine. I believe I see double. You know wine is a deceiver; but I should say it was two lovers walking side by side, and hand in hand. Heaven forgive me, they do not know that we can see them, and they are actually embracing!"

Danglars did not lose one pang that Fernand endured.

"Do you know them, Fernand?" he said.

"Yes," was the reply, in a low voice. "It is Edmond and Mercedes!"

"Ah, see there, now!" said Caderousse; "and I did not recognize them! Hallo, Dantes! hello, lovely damsel! Come this way, and let us know when the wedding is to be, for Fernand here is so obstinate he will not tell us."

"Hold your tongue, will you?" said Danglars, pretending to restrain Caderousse, who, with the tenacity of drunkards, leaned out of the arbor. "Try to stand upright, and let the lovers make love without interruption. See, look at Fernand, and follow his example; he is well-behaved!"

Fernand, probably excited beyond bearing, pricked by Danglars, as the bull is by the bandilleros, was about to rush out; for he had risen from his seat, and seemed to be collecting himself to dash headlong upon his rival, when Mercedes, smiling and graceful, lifted up her lovely head, and looked at them with her clear and bright eyes. At this Fernand recollected her threat of dying if Edmond died, and dropped again heavily on his seat. Danglars looked at the two men, one after the other, the one brutalized by liquor, the other overwhelmed with love.

"I shall get nothing from these fools," he muttered; "and I am very much afraid of being here between a drunkard and a coward. Here's an envious fellow making himself boozy on wine when he ought to be nursing his wrath, and here is a fool who sees the woman he loves stolen from under his nose and takes on like a big baby. Yet this Catalan has eyes that glisten like those of the vengeful Spaniards, Sicilians, and Calabrians, and the other has fists big enough to crush an ox at one blow. Unquestionably, Edmond's star is in the ascendant, and he will marry the splendid girl—he will be captain, too, and laugh at us all, unless"—a sinister smile passed over Danglars' lips—"unless I take a hand in the affair," he added.

"Hallo!" continued Caderousse, half-rising, and with his fist on the table, "hallo, Edmond! do you not see your friends, or are you too proud to speak to them?"

"No, my dear fellow!" replied Dantes, "I am not proud, but I am happy, and happiness blinds, I think, more than pride."

"Ah, very well, that's an explanation!" said Caderousse. "How do you do, Madame Dantes?"

Mercedes courtesied gravely, and said—"That is not my name, and in my country it bodes ill fortune, they say, to call a young girl by the name of her betrothed before he becomes her husband. So call me Mercedes, if you please."

"We must excuse our worthy neighbor, Caderousse," said Dantes, "he is so easily mistaken."

"So, then, the wedding is to take place immediately, M. Dantes," said Danglars, bowing to the young couple.

"As soon as possible, M. Danglars; to-day all preliminaries will be arranged at my father's, and to-morrow, or next day at latest, the wedding festival here at La Reserve. My friends will be there, I hope; that is to say, you are invited, M. Danglars, and you, Caderousse."

"And Fernand," said Caderousse with a chuckle; "Fernand, too, is invited!"

"My wife's brother is my brother," said Edmond; "and we, Mercedes and I, should be very sorry if he were absent at such a time."

Fernand opened his mouth to reply, but his voice died on his lips, and he could not utter a word.

"To-day the preliminaries, to-morrow or next day the ceremony! You are in a hurry, captain!"

"Danglars," said Edmond, smiling, "I will say to you as Mercedes said just now to Caderousse, 'Do not give me a title which does not belong to me'; that may bring me bad luck."

"Your pardon," replied Danglars, "I merely said you seemed in a hurry, and we have lots of time; the Pharaon cannot be under weigh again in less than three months."

"We are always in a hurry to be happy, M. Danglars; for when we have suffered a long time, we have great difficulty in believing in good fortune. But it is not selfishness alone that makes me thus in haste; I must go to Paris."

"Ah, really?—to Paris! and will it be the first time you have ever been there, Dantes?"

"Yes."

"Have you business there?"

"Not of my own; the last commission of poor Captain Leclere; you know to what I allude, Danglars—it is sacred. Besides, I shall only take the time to go and return."

"Yes, yes, I understand," said Danglars, and then in a low tone, he added, "To Paris, no doubt to deliver the letter which the grand marshal gave him. Ah, this letter gives me an idea—a capital idea! Ah; Dantes, my friend, you are not yet registered number one on board the good ship Pharaon;" then turning towards Edmond, who was walking away, "A pleasant journey," he cried.

"Thank you," said Edmond with a friendly nod, and the two lovers continued on their way, as calm and joyous as if they were the very elect of heaven.

 

第三章 迦太罗尼亚人的村庄

那二位朋友一面喝着泛着泡沫的拉玛尔格酒,一面竖着耳朵,留神着百步开外的一个地方。那儿,在一座光秃秃的被风雨无情的侵蚀了的小山的后面,有一个小村庄,便是罗尼亚人居住的地方。很久以前有一群神秘的移民离开西班牙,来到了这块突出在海湾里的地带安居下来了,一直生活到现在,当时没有人知道他们从什么地方来。也没有人能够听懂他们所说的话。移民中的一位首领懂普罗旺斯语,就恳求马赛市政当局把这块荒芜贫瘠的海岬赐给他们,以便他们可以象古代的航海者那样把他们的小船拖到岸上安居下来。当局同意了他们的这个要求。三个月后,在那十四五艘当初运载这些移民渡海而来的小帆船周围,就兴建了一个小小的村庄。这个村庄的建筑风格独树一帜,一半似西班牙风格,一半似摩尔风格,别有情趣,现在的居民就是当初那些人的后代,他们还是说着他们祖先的语言。三四百年来,他们象一群海鸟似的一心一意地依恋在这块小海岬上,与马赛人界限分明,他们族内通婚,保持着他们原有的风俗习惯,犹如保持他们的语言一样。

读者仍请随我穿过这小村子里惟一的一条街,走进其中的一所房子里,这所房子的墙外爬满了颇具乡村风味的藤类植物,阳光普照着那些枯死的叶子,上面涂上了一层美丽的色彩,房子里面是用象西班牙旅馆里那样千篇一律的石灰粉刷的。一个年轻美貌的姑娘正斜靠在壁板上,她的头发黑得象乌玉一般,眼睛象羚羊的眼睛一般温柔,她那富有古希腊雕刻之美的纤细的手指,正在抚弄一束石南花,那花瓣被撕碎了散播在地板上。她的手臂一直裸到肘部,露出了被日光晒成褐色的那部分,美得象维纳斯女神的手一样。她那双柔软好看的脚上穿着纱袜,踝处绣着灰蓝色的小花,由于内心焦燥不安,一只脚正在轻轻地拍打着地面,好象故意要展露出她那丰满匀称小腿似的。离她不远处,坐着一个年约二十二岁的高大青年,他跷起椅子的两条后腿不住地摇晃着,手臂支撑在一张被蛀虫蚀的旧桌子上,他在注视着她,脸上一副烦恼不安的神色。

他在用眼睛询问她,但年轻姑娘以坚决而镇定的目光控制住了他。

“你看,美塞苔丝,”那青年说道,“复活节快要到了,你说,这不正是结婚的好时候吗?”

“我已经对你说过一百次啦,弗尔南多。你再问下去是自寻烦恼了。”

“唉,再说一遍吧,我求求你,再说一遍吧,这样我才会相信!就算说一百遍也好。说你拒绝我的爱。那可是你母亲曾经许诺过,让我进一步了解你不关心我的幸福,对我的死活一点不放在心上,唉!十年来我一直梦想着成为你的丈夫,美塞苔丝,而现在你却使我的希望破灭了,那可是我活在世上惟一的希望啊!”

“可这毕竟不是我让你抱那种希望的,弗尔南多,”美塞苔丝回答说,“你怪不得我,我从未诱惑过你。我一直都对你说,‘我只把你看作我的哥哥,别向我要求超出兄妹之爱的感情,因为我的心早已属于另外一个人了。’我不是一直都对你这样说的吗,弗尔南多?”

“是的,我知道得很清楚,美塞苔丝,”青年回答道。“是的,你对我坦白,这固然很好,但毕竟残酷。你忘记了同族通婚是我们迦太罗尼亚人的一条神圣的法律了吗?”

“你错了,弗尔南多,那不是一条什么法律,只不过是一种风俗罢了。我求你不要靠这种风俗来帮你的忙啦,你已到了服兵役的年龄,目前只是暂时缓征,你随时都可能应征入伍的。旦当了兵,你怎么来安置我呢?我——一个无依无靠的孤儿,没有财产,只有一间快塌了的小屋和一些破烂的渔网,这点可怜的遗产还是我父亲传给我母亲,我母亲又传给我的呢。弗尔南多,你也知道我母亲去世已一年多了,我几乎完全靠着大伙儿救济才得以维持生计,你有时装着要我帮你的忙,好借此让我分享你捕鱼得来的收获,我接受了,弗尔南多,因为你是我的表兄,我们从小一起长大的,更因为,假如我拒绝,会伤了你的心。但我心里很明白,我拿这些鱼去卖,换亚麻纺线——弗尔南多,这和施舍有什么两样呢!”

“那又有什么关系呢?美塞苔丝,尽管你这样孤单穷苦,但你仍然象最骄傲的船主女儿或马赛最有钱的银行家的小姐,完全配得上我的!对我来说,我只要一个忠心的女人和好主妇,可我现在到哪儿才能找到一个在这两方面比你更好的人呢?”

“弗尔南多,”美塞苔丝摇摇头说道,“一个女人能否成为一个好主妇倒很难说,但假如她爱着另外一个人甚于爱她的丈夫,谁还能说她是一个忠心的女人呢?请你满足于我们之间的友谊吧,我对你再说一遍,只能对你许诺这些,我无法许诺我不能给你的东西。”

“我懂了,”弗尔南多回答说,“你可以忍受自己的穷困,却怕我受穷,那么,美塞苔丝,只要有了你的爱,我就会去努力奋斗。你会给我带来好运的,我会发财的,我可以扩大我的渔业,或许还可以找到一个货仓管理员的职位,到时候我就可以成为一个商人了。”

“你是不能去做这种事的,你是个士兵,你之所以还能留在村里,那是因为现在没有战争。所以,你还是做一个渔夫吧。

别胡思乱想了,因为梦想会使你觉得现实更令人难以忍受。就以我的友谊为满足吧,因为我实在不能给你超出这点以外的情感。”

“那么,你说得对,美塞苔丝。既然你鄙视我们祖先传下来的这身衣服,我就脱掉它。去当一名水手,戴一顶闪光的帽子,穿一件水手衫,外加一件蓝色的短外套,纽扣上镶有铁锚。这样一身打扮该讨你喜欢了吧?”

“你这是什么意思?”美塞苔丝忿忿的瞟了他一眼。“——你在胡说些什么?我不懂。”

“我的意思是,美塞苔丝,你之所以对我如此冷酷无情,都是因为你在等一个人,他就是这样一身打扮。不过也许你所等待的这个人是靠不住的,即使他自己可靠,大海对他是否可靠可就难说了。”

“弗尔南多!”美塞苔丝高声喊了起来,“我原以为你是个心地善良的人,现在我才知道我错了!弗尔南多,你祈求上帝降怒来帮助你泄私愤真是太卑鄙了!是的,我不否认,我是在等待着,我是爱你所指的那个人,即使他不回来,我也不相信他会象你所说的那样靠不住,我相信他至死都只会爱我一个人。”

迦太罗尼亚青年显出忿忿的样子。

“我知道你心里怎么想的,弗尔南多,因为我不爱你,所以你对他怀恨在心,你会用你的迦太罗尼亚短刀去同他的匕首决斗的。可那终究又能得到什么结果呢?假如你失败了,你就会失去我的友谊,假如你打败了他,你就会看到我对你的友谊变成了仇恨。相信我,想靠和一个男人去打架来赢得爱那个男人的女人的心,这种方法简直太笨了。不,弗尔南多,你决不能有这种坏念头。无法使我做你的妻子,你还可以把我看作你的朋友和妹妹的。”她的眼睛里已含着泪水,茫然地说,“等着吧,等着吧,弗尔南多!你刚才说海是变幻莫测的,他已经去了四个月了,这四个月中曾有过几次险恶的风暴。”

弗尔南多没有回答,他也不想去擦掉美塞苔丝脸上的泪水,虽然那每一滴眼泪都好象在他的心上在每一滴血一样,但这些眼泪并非是为他恰恰相反是为另一个人流的,他站起身来,在小屋里踱来踱去,然后他突然脸色阴沉地捏紧了拳头在美塞苔丝面前停了下来,对她说,“美塞苔丝,求你再说一遍,这是不是你最后的决定?”

“我爱爱德蒙•唐太斯,”姑娘平静地说,“除了爱德蒙,谁也不能做我的丈夫。”

“你永远爱他吗?”

“我活一天,就爱他一天。”

弗尔南多象一个战败了的战士垂下了头,长长地出了一口气,突然他又抬起头来望着她,咬牙切齿地说:“假如他死——”

“假如他死了,我也跟着死。”

“美塞苔丝!”这时一个声音突然在屋外兴冲冲地叫了起来,“美塞苔丝!”

“啊!”青年女子的脸因兴奋而涨的通红,兴奋地一跃而起,“你看,他没有忘记我,他来了!”她冲到门口,打开门,说,“爱德蒙,我在这儿呢!”

弗尔南多脸色苍白,全身颤抖,象看见了一条赤练蛇的游人一般,他向后缩去,踉踉跄跄地靠在椅子上,一下子坐了下去。爱德蒙和美塞苔丝互相紧紧地拥抱着,马赛耀眼的阳光从开着门的房间走来,把他们照射在光波里面。他们瞬时忘掉了一切。极度地快活仿佛把他们与世隔绝,他们只能断断续续地讲话,这是因为他们高兴地到了极点,当人们极端高兴时,表面看来反象悲伤,突然爱德蒙发现了弗尔南多那张阴沉的脸,这张埋在阴影里的脸带着威胁的神气。那迦太罗尼亚青年不自觉动了一下,下意识地按了按在腰部皮带上的短刀。

“啊,对不起!”唐太斯皱着眉头转过身来说,“我不知道这儿有三个人。”然后他转过身去问美塞苔丝,“这位先生是谁?”

“这位先生将要成为你最好的朋友,唐太斯,因为他是我的朋友,我的堂兄,我的哥哥,他叫弗尔南多——除了你以外,爱德蒙,他就是世界上我最喜爱的人了。你不记得他了吗?”

“是的,记得,”爱德蒙说道,他并没有放开美塞苔丝的手,用一只手握着美塞苔丝,另一只手亲热地伸给了那个迦太罗尼亚人。但弗尔南多对这个友好的表示毫无反映,依旧象一尊石像似的一动也不动。爱德蒙于是拿回手,仔细看了看这边正在焦急为难的美塞苔丝,又看了看那边怀着阴郁敌意的弗尔南多。这一看他全明白了,他脸色立刻变了,有点发怒了。

“我如此匆忙地赶来,想不到在这儿会遇到一个对头。”

“一个对头!”美塞苔丝愤怒地扫了她堂兄一眼,喊道,“你说什么,爱德蒙,我家里有一个对头?假如果真如此,我就要挽起你的胳膊,我们一同到马赛去,离开这个家,永远不回来了。”

弗尔南多的眼里几乎射出火来。

“要是你遭到什么不幸,亲爱的爱德蒙,”姑娘继续镇静地说下去,使弗尔南多觉得她已洞悉他心底深处的坏念头,“要是你真的遭到不幸,我就爬到莫尔吉翁海角的岩石上去,从那儿跳下去,永远葬身海底。”

弗尔南多脸色惨白,象死人一样。

“你弄错啦,爱德蒙,”她又说,“这儿没有你的对头——这儿只有我的哥哥弗尔南多,他会象一个老朋友那样跟你握手的。”

年轻姑娘说完最后这句话,便把她那威严的眼光盯住迦太罗尼亚人弗尔南多,后者则象被那睛光催眠了一样,慢慢地向爱德蒙走来,伸出了他的手。他的仇恨象一个来势汹猛却又无力的浪头,被美塞苔丝所说的一番话击得粉碎。刚一触到爱德蒙的手,他就觉得再也无法忍受了,于是便一下子冲出屋子去了。

“噢!噢!”他喊着,象个疯子似的狂奔着,双手狠狠地猛抓自己的头发,——“噢!谁能帮我除掉这个人?我真是太不幸了!”

“喂,迦太罗尼亚人!喂弗尔南多!你到哪儿去?”一个声音传来。

那青年突然停了下来,环顾四周,看见卡德鲁斯和腾格拉尔在一个凉棚里对桌而坐。

“喂,”卡德鲁斯说,“你怎么不过来呀?难道你就这么连向你的老朋友打声招呼的时间都没有了吗?”

“尤其是当他们面前还放着满满一瓶洒的时候。”腾格拉尔接上一句。

弗尔南多带着一种恍恍惚惚的眼神望着他们,什么也没说。

“他看上去不大对头,”腾格拉尔碰碰卡德鲁斯的膝盖说。

“别是我们弄错了,唐太斯得胜了吧?”

“唔,我们来问个明白吧,”卡德鲁斯说着,就转过身去对那青年说道,“喂,迦太罗尼亚人,你拿定主意了吗?”

弗尔南多擦了擦额头上的冷汗,慢慢地走入凉棚,在那凉棚中,荫凉似乎使他平静了些,清爽的空气使他那精疲力尽的身体重新振作了一些。

“你们好!”他说道,“是你们叫我吗?”说着他便重重地在桌子旁边的椅子上坐了下来,象瘫下来似的。

“我看你象个疯子似的乱跑,就叫了你一声,怕你去跳海,”卡德鲁斯大笑着说。“见鬼!一个人有了朋友,不但得请他喝酒,还得劝阻他不要没事找事地去喝三四品顺水!”

(法国旧时一种液体容量单位,“一品顺”等于零点九三升。)

弗尔南多象是在呻吟似的叹了一口气,一下子伏在了桌子上,把脸埋在两只手掌里。

“咦,我说,弗尔南多,”卡德鲁斯一开头就戳到了对方痛处,这种小市民气的人由于好奇心竟忘记了说话的技巧,“你的脸色看上去很不对劲,象是失恋了似的。”说完便爆发出一阵粗鲁的大笑。

“得了罢!”腾格拉尔说,“象他那样棒的青年小伙子怎么会在情场上吃败仗呢。卡德鲁斯,你别开他的玩笑了!”

“不,”卡德鲁斯答道,“你只要听听他叹息的声音就知道了!得了,得了,弗尔南多把头抬起来,跟我们说说看。朋友们可是最关心你的健康,你不回答我们可不太好呀。”

“我很好,没生什么玻”弗尔南多紧握双拳,头依然没抬起来说。“啊!你看,腾格拉尔,”卡德鲁斯对他的朋友使了个眼色,说道,“是这么回事,现在在你眼前的弗尔南多,他是一个勇敢的迦太罗尼亚人,是马赛首屈一指的渔夫。他爱上了一位非常漂亮的姑娘,芳名叫美塞苔丝,不幸得很,那位漂亮姑娘却偏偏爱着法老号上的大副,今天法老号到了——你该明白这其中的奥妙了吧!”

“不,我不明白。”腾格拉尔说。

“可怜的弗尔南多,竟然被人家姑娘给拒绝了。”卡德鲁斯补充说。

“是的,可这又怎么样?”弗尔南多猛地抬起头来,眼睛直盯着卡德鲁斯,象要找谁来出气似的。“谁管得着美塞苔丝?她要爱谁就爱谁,不是吗?”

“哦!如果你偏要这么说,可就是另一回事了!”卡德鲁斯说。“我以为你是个真正的迦太罗尼亚人呢,人家告诉我说,凡是迦太罗尼亚人是绝不会让对手夺去一样东西的。人家甚至还对我说,尤其是弗尔南多,他的报复心可重了。”

弗尔南多凄然微笑了一下,“一个情人是永远不会使人害怕的!”他说。

“可怜的人!”腾格拉尔说,他假装感动得同情起这个青年来。“唉,你看,他没料到唐太斯会这样突然地回来。他正以为他已经在海上死了,或碰巧移情别恋了!突然发生了这种事,的确是很令人难受的。”

“唉,真的,但无论如何,”卡德鲁斯一面说话,一面喝酒,这时拉马尔格酒的酒劲已开始在发作了,——“不管怎么说,这次唐太斯回来可是交了好运了,受打击的不只是弗尔南多一个人,腾格拉尔?”

“哦,你的话没错,不过要我说他自己也快要倒霉了!”

“嗯,别提了,”卡德鲁斯说,他给弗尔南多倒了一杯酒,也给自己倒了一杯,这已是他喝的也不知是第八杯还是第九杯了,而腾格拉尔始终只是抿一下酒杯而已。没关系你就等着看他是怎样娶那位可爱的美塞苔丝吧,——他这次回来就是来办这件事的。”

腾格拉尔这时以锐利的目光盯着那青年,卡德鲁斯的话字字句句都融进了那青年的心里。

“他们什么结婚时候?”他问。

“还没决定!”弗尔南多低声地说。

“不过,快了,”卡德鲁斯说,“这是肯定的,就象唐太斯肯定就要当法老号的船长一样。呃,对不对。腾格拉尔?”

腾格拉尔被这个意外的攻击吃了一惊,他转身向卡德鲁斯,细察他的脸部的表情,看看他是不是故意的,但他在那张醉醉醺醺的脸上看到了嫉妒。

“来吧,”他倒满三只酒杯说:“我们来为爱德蒙•唐太斯船长,为美丽的迦太罗尼亚女人的丈夫干一杯!”

卡德鲁斯哆嗦着的手把杯子送到嘴边,咕咚一声一饮而进。弗尔南多则把酒杯掉在了地上,杯子碎了。

“呃,呃,呃,”卡德鲁斯舌头发硬的说。“迦太罗尼亚人村那边,小山岗上那是什么东西呀?看弗尔南多!你的眼睛比我好使。我一点也看不清楚。你知道酒是骗人的家伙,但我敢说那是一对情人,正手挽手地在那儿并肩散步。老天爷!他们不知道我们能看见他们,这会儿他们正在拥抱呢!”

腾格拉尔当然不会放过让弗尔南多更加痛苦的机会。

“你认识他们吗,弗尔南多先生?”他说。

“认识,”那青年低声回答。“那是爱德蒙先生和美塞苔丝小姐!”

“啊!看那儿,喏!”卡德鲁斯说,“人怎么竟认不出他们呢!喂,唐太斯,喂,美丽的姑娘!到这边来,告诉我们,你们什么时候举行婚礼,因为弗尔南多先生就是不告诉我们!”

“你别嚷好吗?”腾格拉尔故意阻止卡德鲁斯,后者却要说下去的样子带着醉鬼的拗性,已把头探出了凉棚。“为人要公道一点,让那对情人安安静静地去谈情说爱吧。看咱们的弗尔南多先生,向人家学习一下吧,人家这才叫通情达理!”

弗尔南多已被腾格拉尔挑逗得忍无可忍了,他象一头被激怒的公牛,忽地一下站了起来,好象憋足了一股劲要向他的敌人冲去似的。正在这时,美塞苔丝带着微笑优雅地抬起她那张可爱的脸,闪动着她那对明亮的眸子。一看到这对眼睛,弗尔南多就想起她曾发出的威胁,便又沉重地跌回了他的座位上了。腾格拉尔对这两个人,看看这个又看看那个,一个在发酒疯,另一个却完全被爱征服了。

“我跟这个傻瓜打交道是搞不出什么名堂来的,”他默默地自语道,“我竟在这儿夹在了一个是醉鬼,一个是懦夫中间,这真让我不安,可这个迦太罗尼亚人那闪光的眼睛却象西班牙人、西西里人和卡拉布兰人,而他不仅将要娶到一位漂亮的姑娘,而且又要做船长,他可以嘲笑我们这些人,除非——”腾格拉尔的嘴边浮起一个阴险的微笑——“除非我来做点什么干涉一下。”他加上了一句。

“喂!”卡德鲁斯继续喊道,并用拳头撑住桌子,抬起了半个身子——“喂,爱德蒙!你竟究是没看见你的朋友呢,还是春风得意不愿和他们讲话?”

“不是的,我的亲爱的朋友,”唐太斯回答,“我不是什么骄傲,只是我太快活了,而想快活是比骄傲更容易使人盲目的。”

“呀,这倒是一种说法!”卡德鲁斯说。“噢,您好唐太斯夫人!”

美塞苔丝庄重地点头示意说:“现在请先别这么称呼我,在我的家乡,人们说,对一个未结婚的姑娘,就拿她未婚夫的姓名称呼她,是会给她带来恶运的。所以,请你还是叫我美塞苔丝吧。”

“我们得原谅这位好心的卡德鲁斯邻居,”唐太斯说,“他不小心说错话了。”

“那么,就赶快举行婚礼呀,唐太斯先生。”腾格拉尔向那对年青人致意说。

“我也是想越快越好,腾格拉尔先生。今天先到我父亲那儿把一切准备好,明天就在这儿的瑞瑟夫酒家举行婚礼。我希望我的好朋友都能来,也就是说,请您也来,腾格拉尔先生,还有你,卡德鲁斯。”

“弗尔南多呢,”卡德鲁斯说完便格格地笑了几声,“也请他去吗?”

“我妻子的兄长也是我的兄长,”爱德蒙说,“假如这种场合他不在,美塞苔丝和我就会感到很遗憾。”

弗尔南多张开嘴想说话,但话到嘴边又止住了。

“今天准备,明天举行婚礼!你也太急了点吧,船长!”

“腾格拉尔,”爱德蒙微笑着说,“我也要像美塞苔丝刚才对卡德鲁斯所说的那样对你说一遍,请不要把还不属于我的头衔戴到我的头上,那样或许会使我倒霉的。”

“对不起,”腾格拉尔回答,“我只不过是说你太匆忙了点。我们的时间还很多——法老号在三个月内是不会再出海的。”

“人总是急于得到幸福的,腾格拉尔先生,因为我们受苦的时间太长了,实在不敢相信天下会有好运这种东西。我之所以这么着急,倒也并非完全为了我自己,我还得去巴黎去一趟。”

“去巴黎?真的!你是第一次去那儿吧?”

“是的。”

“你去那儿有事吗”?

“不是我的私事,是可怜的莱克勒船长最后一次差遣。你知道我指的是什么,腾格拉尔,这是我应尽的义务,而且,我去只要不长的时间就够了。”

“是,是,我知道,”腾格拉尔说,然后他又低声对自己说,“到巴黎去,一定是去送大元帅给他的信。嗯!这封信倒使我有了一个主意!一个好主意唉,唐太斯,我的朋友,你还没有正式任命为法老号上的第一号人物呢。”于是他又转向那正要离去的爱德蒙大声喊到。“一路顺风!”

“谢谢。”爱德蒙友好地点一下头说。于是这对情人便又平静而又欢喜地继续走他们的路去了。




Chapter 4. Conspiracy.

Danglars followed Edmond and Mercedes with his eyes until the two lovers disappeared behind one of the angles of Fort Saint Nicolas, then turning round, he perceived Fernand, who had fallen, pale and trembling, into his chair, while Caderousse stammered out the words of a drinking-song.

"Well, my dear sir," said Danglars to Fernand, "here is a marriage which does not appear to make everybody happy."

"It drives me to despair," said Fernand.

"Do you, then, love Mercedes?"

"I adore her!"

"For long?"

"As long as I have known her—always."

"And you sit there, tearing your hair, instead of seeking to remedy your condition; I did not think that was the way of your people."

"What would you have me do?" said Fernand.

"How do I know? Is it my affair? I am not in love with Mademoiselle Mercedes; but for you—in the words of the gospel, seek, and you shall find."

"I have found already."

"What?"

"I would stab the man, but the woman told me that if any misfortune happened to her betrothed, she would kill herself."

"Pooh! Women say those things, but never do them."

"You do not know Mercedes; what she threatens she will do."

"Idiot!" muttered Danglars; "whether she kill herself or not, what matter, provided Dantes is not captain?"

"Before Mercedes should die," replied Fernand, with the accents of unshaken resolution, "I would die myself!"

"That's what I call love!" said Caderousse with a voice more tipsy than ever. "That's love, or I don't know what love is."

"Come," said Danglars, "you appear to me a good sort of fellow, and hang me, I should like to help you, but"—

"Yes," said Caderousse, "but how?"

"My dear fellow," replied Danglars, "you are three parts drunk; finish the bottle, and you will be completely so. Drink then, and do not meddle with what we are discussing, for that requires all one's wit and cool judgment."

"I—drunk!" said Caderousse; "well that's a good one! I could drink four more such bottles; they are no bigger than cologne flasks. Pere Pamphile, more wine!" and Caderousse rattled his glass upon the table.

"You were saying, sir"—said Fernand, awaiting with great anxiety the end of this interrupted remark.

"What was I saying? I forget. This drunken Caderousse has made me lose the thread of my sentence."

"Drunk, if you like; so much the worse for those who fear wine, for it is because they have bad thoughts which they are afraid the liquor will extract from their hearts;" and Caderousse began to sing the two last lines of a song very popular at the time,—

'Tous les mechants sont beuveurs d'eau; C'est bien prouve par le deluge.' [*]

     * "The wicked are great drinkers of water; As the flood proved once for all."

"You said, sir, you would like to help me, but"—

"Yes; but I added, to help you it would be sufficient that Dantes did not marry her you love; and the marriage may easily be thwarted, methinks, and yet Dantes need not die."

"Death alone can separate them," remarked Fernand.

"You talk like a noodle, my friend," said Caderousse; "and here is Danglars, who is a wide-awake, clever, deep fellow, who will prove to you that you are wrong. Prove it, Danglars. I have answered for you. Say there is no need why Dantes should die; it would, indeed, be a pity he should. Dantes is a good fellow; I like Dantes. Dantes, your health."

Fernand rose impatiently. "Let him run on," said Danglars, restraining the young man; "drunk as he is, he is not much out in what he says. Absence severs as well as death, and if the walls of a prison were between Edmond and Mercedes they would be as effectually separated as if he lay under a tombstone."

"Yes; but one gets out of prison," said Caderousse, who, with what sense was left him, listened eagerly to the conversation, "and when one gets out and one's name is Edmond Dantes, one seeks revenge"—

"What matters that?" muttered Fernand.

"And why, I should like to know," persisted Caderousse, "should they put Dantes in prison? he has not robbed or killed or murdered."

"Hold your tongue!" said Danglars.

"I won't hold my tongue!" replied Caderousse; "I say I want to know why they should put Dantes in prison; I like Dantes; Dantes, your health!" and he swallowed another glass of wine.

Danglars saw in the muddled look of the tailor the progress of his intoxication, and turning towards Fernand, said, "Well, you understand there is no need to kill him."

"Certainly not, if, as you said just now, you have the means of having Dantes arrested. Have you that means?"

"It is to be found for the searching. But why should I meddle in the matter? it is no affair of mine."

"I know not why you meddle," said Fernand, seizing his arm; "but this I know, you have some motive of personal hatred against Dantes, for he who himself hates is never mistaken in the sentiments of others."

"I!—motives of hatred against Dantes? None, on my word! I saw you were unhappy, and your unhappiness interested me; that's all; but since you believe I act for my own account, adieu, my dear friend, get out of the affair as best you may;" and Danglars rose as if he meant to depart.

"No, no," said Fernand, restraining him, "stay! It is of very little consequence to me at the end of the matter whether you have any angry feeling or not against Dantes. I hate him! I confess it openly. Do you find the means, I will execute it, provided it is not to kill the man, for Mercedes has declared she will kill herself if Dantes is killed."

Caderousse, who had let his head drop on the table, now raised it, and looking at Fernand with his dull and fishy eyes, he said,—"Kill Dantes! who talks of killing Dantes? I won't have him killed—I won't! He's my friend, and this morning offered to share his money with me, as I shared mine with him. I won't have Dantes killed—I won't!"

"And who has said a word about killing him, muddlehead?" replied Danglars. "We were merely joking; drink to his health," he added, filling Caderousse's glass, "and do not interfere with us."

"Yes, yes, Dantes' good health!" said Caderousse, emptying his glass, "here's to his health! his health—hurrah!"

"But the means—the means?" said Fernand.

"Have you not hit upon any?" asked Danglars.

"No!—you undertook to do so."

"True," replied Danglars; "the French have the superiority over the Spaniards, that the Spaniards ruminate, while the French invent."

"Do you invent, then," said Fernand impatiently.

"Waiter," said Danglars, "pen, ink, and paper."

"Pen, ink, and paper," muttered Fernand.

"Yes; I am a supercargo; pen, ink, and paper are my tools, and without my tools I am fit for nothing."

"Pen, ink, and paper, then," called Fernand loudly.

"There's what you want on that table," said the waiter.

"Bring them here." The waiter did as he was desired.

"When one thinks," said Caderousse, letting his hand drop on the paper, "there is here wherewithal to kill a man more sure than if we waited at the corner of a wood to assassinate him! I have always had more dread of a pen, a bottle of ink, and a sheet of paper, than of a sword or pistol."

"The fellow is not so drunk as he appears to be," said Danglars. "Give him some more wine, Fernand." Fernand filled Caderousse's glass, who, like the confirmed toper he was, lifted his hand from the paper and seized the glass.

The Catalan watched him until Caderousse, almost overcome by this fresh assault on his senses, rested, or rather dropped, his glass upon the table.

"Well!" resumed the Catalan, as he saw the final glimmer of Caderousse's reason vanishing before the last glass of wine.

"Well, then, I should say, for instance," resumed Danglars, "that if after a voyage such as Dantes has just made, in which he touched at the Island of Elba, some one were to denounce him to the king's procureur as a Bonapartist agent"—

"I will denounce him!" exclaimed the young man hastily.

"Yes, but they will make you then sign your declaration, and confront you with him you have denounced; I will supply you with the means of supporting your accusation, for I know the fact well. But Dantes cannot remain forever in prison, and one day or other he will leave it, and the day when he comes out, woe betide him who was the cause of his incarceration!"

"Oh, I should wish nothing better than that he would come and seek a quarrel with me."

"Yes, and Mercedes! Mercedes, who will detest you if you have only the misfortune to scratch the skin of her dearly beloved Edmond!"

"True!" said Fernand.

"No, no," continued Danglars; "if we resolve on such a step, it would be much better to take, as I now do, this pen, dip it into this ink, and write with the left hand (that the writing may not be recognized) the denunciation we propose." And Danglars, uniting practice with theory, wrote with his left hand, and in a writing reversed from his usual style, and totally unlike it, the following lines, which he handed to Fernand, and which Fernand read in an undertone:—

"The honorable, the king's attorney, is informed by a friend of the throne and religion, that one Edmond Dantes, mate of the ship Pharaon, arrived this morning from Smyrna, after having touched at Naples and Porto-Ferrajo, has been intrusted by Murat with a letter for the usurper, and by the usurper with a letter for the Bonapartist committee in Paris. Proof of this crime will be found on arresting him, for the letter will be found upon him, or at his father's, or in his cabin on board the Pharaon."

"Very good," resumed Danglars; "now your revenge looks like common-sense, for in no way can it revert to yourself, and the matter will thus work its own way; there is nothing to do now but fold the letter as I am doing, and write upon it, 'To the king's attorney,' and that's all settled." And Danglars wrote the address as he spoke.

"Yes, and that's all settled!" exclaimed Caderousse, who, by a last effort of intellect, had followed the reading of the letter, and instinctively comprehended all the misery which such a denunciation must entail. "Yes, and that's all settled; only it will be an infamous shame;" and he stretched out his hand to reach the letter.

"Yes," said Danglars, taking it from beyond his reach; "and as what I say and do is merely in jest, and I, amongst the first and foremost, should be sorry if anything happened to Dantes—the worthy Dantes—look here!" And taking the letter, he squeezed it up in his hands and threw it into a corner of the arbor.

"All right!" said Caderousse. "Dantes is my friend, and I won't have him ill-used."

"And who thinks of using him ill? Certainly neither I nor Fernand," said Danglars, rising and looking at the young man, who still remained seated, but whose eye was fixed on the denunciatory sheet of paper flung into the corner.

"In this case," replied Caderousse, "let's have some more wine. I wish to drink to the health of Edmond and the lovely Mercedes."

"You have had too much already, drunkard," said Danglars; "and if you continue, you will be compelled to sleep here, because unable to stand on your legs."

"I?" said Caderousse, rising with all the offended dignity of a drunken man, "I can't keep on my legs? Why, I'll wager I can go up into the belfry of the Accoules, and without staggering, too!"

"Done!" said Danglars, "I'll take your bet; but to-morrow—to-day it is time to return. Give me your arm, and let us go."

"Very well, let us go," said Caderousse; "but I don't want your arm at all. Come, Fernand, won't you return to Marseilles with us?"

"No," said Fernand; "I shall return to the Catalans."

"You're wrong. Come with us to Marseilles—come along."

"I will not."

"What do you mean? you will not? Well, just as you like, my prince; there's liberty for all the world. Come along, Danglars, and let the young gentleman return to the Catalans if he chooses."

Danglars took advantage of Caderousse's temper at the moment, to take him off towards Marseilles by the Porte Saint-Victor, staggering as he went.

When they had advanced about twenty yards, Danglars looked back and saw Fernand stoop, pick up the crumpled paper, and putting it into his pocket then rush out of the arbor towards Pillon.

"Well," said Caderousse, "why, what a lie he told! He said he was going to the Catalans, and he is going to the city. Hallo, Fernand!"

"Oh, you don't see straight," said Danglars; "he's gone right enough."

"Well," said Caderousse, "I should have said not—how treacherous wine is!"

"Come, come," said Danglars to himself, "now the thing is at work and it will effect its purpose unassisted."

 

第四章 阴谋

腾格拉尔的眼睛一直随着爱德蒙和美塞苔丝,直到他们消失在圣•尼古拉堡的一个拐角处才回过头来仔细地观察弗尔南多,弗尔南多已经倒在椅子里,脸色苍白,浑身发抖,卡德鲁斯正在一边含糊地唱歌一边喝酒。

“我亲爱的先生,”腾格拉尔对弗尔南多说,“这桩婚事,并不能使人人快活。”

“它使人失望。”弗尔南多说。

“那么,你也爱美塞苔丝吗?”

“我崇拜她!”

“你爱上她很久了吗?”

“从第一次见她,我就爱上她了。”

“既然这样,那么你为什么不去想个补救的办法。见鬼,我想不到你们迦太人会这样窝囊。”

“你叫我怎么办”弗尔南多说。

“我怎么知道?这是我的事吗?又不是我爱上了美塞苔丝小姐——是你。‘找吧,’福音书上说,‘你总会找到的。’”

“我已经找到了。”

“什么?”

“我要杀了那个男的,那个女人曾经对我说,如果她的未婚夫遭到什么不幸,她就会自杀的。”

“得了吧,人都会这么说的,但决不会真的去做的。”

“你不了解美塞苔丝,她是说得出来,就做得到的。”

“傻瓜!”腾格拉尔自言自语地说,“只要唐太斯当不上船长就行,她自杀不自杀跟我有什么关系?”

“如果美塞苔丝死了,”弗尔南多语气坚决地说,“那我也情愿死。”

“这就是我所说的爱情!”卡德鲁斯说,他的口齿比刚才更加含糊不清了,“这是爱情!,否则我就不知道爱情究竟是什么了。”

“喂,”腾格拉尔说,“我看你倒是个老实人,活该我倒霉,我倒愿意帮你的忙,可是——”

“喂,”卡德鲁斯说,“可是什么?”

“亲爱的人,”腾格拉尔回答说,“你现在已经醉得差不多了,喝光这一瓶,你就会烂醉了,去喝吧,别来打扰我们的事情,因为这事得动一下脑筋才能冷静地下判断。”

“我喝酒!”卡德鲁斯说,“好,那倒不错!这种酒瓶还没有香水瓶子大,我能喝上四瓶,邦费勒老爹,再拿点酒来!”卡德鲁斯用他的酒杯敲着桌子嚷道。

“先生,你刚才说——?”弗尔南多等这一段插话一说完就着急的问道。

“我刚才说什么来着?我怎么想不起来。卡德鲁斯这个酒鬼把我的思路给打断了。”

“爱喝就喝,那些怕酒的人就不敢喝,因为他们心里怀着鬼胎,怕给酒勾出来。”卡德鲁斯此时又哼起了当时一首极流行的歌曲的最后两句来:

坏蛋个个都喝水,

洪水可以做证人

“先生,你刚才说你很愿意帮我的忙,就是——”

“对了,就是我附带说一句,我帮你的忙,只要唐太斯娶不到你所爱的那个人就算了,我看,那件事是不难办到的,只是不必非把唐太斯置于死地。”

“只有死才能拆开他们。”弗尔南多说。“看你讲话的这个样子,真象一个呆子,朋友,”卡德鲁斯说,“这位是腾格拉尔,他是一个诡计多端的智多星,他马上就能证明你错了,证明给他看,腾格拉尔。我来代你回答吧。唐太斯不一定非死不可,假如他死了,也实在太可惜了,唐太斯是个好人。我喜欢唐太斯。唐太斯,祝你健康!”

弗尔南多不耐烦地站起来。“让他去说吧。”腾格拉尔按住那青年说,“他虽喝醉了,但讲的话倒也不失道理。分离和死亡会产生同样的结果,假如爱德蒙和美塞苔丝之间隔着一道监狱的墙,那么他们不得不分手,其结果与让他躺的坟墓里一样的。”

“不错,但关在牢里的人是会出来的,”卡德鲁斯说,他凭着尚存的一些理智仍在努力倾听着谈话,“而他一旦出来,象爱德蒙•唐太斯这样的人,他报起仇来——”

“那有什么可怕?”弗尔南多轻声地说。

“噢,我倒知道,”卡德鲁斯说,“凭什么把唐太斯关到牢里去?他又没有抢劫,杀人,害人。”

“闭嘴。”腾格拉尔说。

“我就不闭嘴!”卡德鲁斯继续说,“凭什么关系把唐太斯关到牢里去。我喜欢唐太斯。唐太斯我祝你健康!”他又喝了一杯酒。

腾格拉尔看到那裁缝的神色已经恍恍惚惚了,知道酒性已经发作了,便转过去,对弗尔南多说:“喂,你知道没人非要让他死不可。”

“那当然了,假如象你刚才所说的那样,你有办法可以使唐太斯被捕,那当然就没有这个必要了。你有办法吗?”

“只要去找,总是有办法的?”

“我不知道这事究竟是否与你有关,”弗尔南多抓住他的手臂说,“但我知道,你对唐太斯也一定怀有某种私怨,因为心怀怨恨的人是决不会看错别人的情绪的。”

“我?我怀有恨唐太斯的动机?不!我发誓!我是看到你很不快活,而我又很关心你,仅此而已,既然你认为我怀有什么私心,那就再见吧,我亲爱的朋友,你自己想办法解决这事吧。”腾格拉尔站起来装作要走的样子。

“不,不,”弗尔南多拉住他的手说,“请别走!你究竟恨不恨唐太斯与我没有关系。我是恨他!我可以公开宣布恨他。只要你能有办法,我就来干,——只要不杀了他就行,因为美塞苔斯曾说过,假如唐太斯死了,她也要去自杀。”

卡德鲁斯本来已把头伏在桌子上,现在忽然抬起头来,用他那迟钝无光的眼睛望着弗尔南多说:“杀唐太斯!谁说要杀唐太斯?我不愿意他死——我不愿意!他是我的朋友,今天早上还说要借钱给我,象我借给他一样。我不许人杀唐太斯——我不许!”

“谁说过要杀他了,你这傻瓜!”腾格拉尔答道。“我们只是开开玩笑而已,喝杯酒,祝他身体健康吧,”他给卡德鲁斯倒满了酒,又说,“别来打扰我们。”

“对,对,为唐太斯身体健康干杯!”卡德鲁斯把酒一饮而尽说,“这杯祝他身体健康祝他健康!嗨!”

“可是办法,——办法呢?”弗尔南多说。

“你还一点也想不起来吗?”

“没有,办法得由你想。”

“真的,”腾格拉尔说道,“法国人比西班牙人强,西班牙人还在苦苦思考之时,法国人则一拍脑袋主意就来了。”

“那么你有主意了吗?”弗尔南多不耐烦地说。

“伙计,”腾格拉尔说。“把笔墨纸张拿过来。”

“笔墨纸张?”弗尔南多咕哝的说。

“是的,我是一个押运员。笔墨和纸张是我的工具,没有工具我是什么事都做不了的。”

“把笔墨纸张拿来!”弗尔南多大声喊道。

“都在那张桌子上。”侍者指指文具说。

“拿到这儿来。”

侍者听命给他拿了过来。

卡德鲁斯手按着纸说:“想到用这东西杀人比候在树林旁边暗杀还要牢靠,也太令人寒心了!我一向就害怕笔、墨水和纸,比害怕刀剑或手枪还要厉害。”

“这家伙看来并不象他外表那样醉的厉害,”腾格拉尔说,“再灌他几杯,弗尔南多。”

弗尔南多又给卡德鲁斯斟满酒,后者原是一个酒徒,一看见酒,便放开了纸,抓起了酒杯。那迦太兰人一直看着卡德鲁斯,直看到他在这次进攻之下毫无招架之力,把酒杯象掉下来似的放到桌上为止。

“好了!”那迦太兰人看到卡德鲁斯最后的一点理智也消失在这杯酒里了,才又继续说道。

“好了,那么,譬如说,”腾格拉尔重又继续说道,“唐太斯现在刚刚航海回来,途中又在厄尔巴岛靠过,这次航海以后,假如有人向检察官告发,说他是一个拿破仑党的眼线的话——”

“我去告发他!”青年连忙喊道。

“好的,但这样他们就会叫你在告发书上签名的,还叫你和被告对质,我可以给你提供告发他的资料,因为我对于事实知道得很清楚。但唐太斯不会在牢里给关一辈子的,总有一天他会出来的。他一出来,必定要找那个使他入狱的人报仇的。”

“嘿,我就盼着他来找我打架呢。”

“是的,可是美塞苔丝,——美塞苔丝呢,只要你碰破她心爱的爱德蒙一层皮,她就会痛恨你的呀!”

“一点不错!”弗尔南多说。

“不行,不能这样做!”腾格拉尔继续说,“但是假如我们决定采取我现在所说的这个办法,那就好得多了,只要这支笔,蘸着这瓶墨水,用左手(那样笔迹就不会被人认出来)写一封告密信就得了。”腾格拉尔一面说着一面写了起来,他用左手写下了几行歪歪斜斜的根本看不出是他自己的笔迹的文字,然后他把那篇文字交给弗尔南多,弗尔南多低声读道:“检察官先生台鉴,敝人拥护王室及教会之人士,兹向您报告有爱德蒙•唐太斯其人,系法老号之大副,今晨自士麦拿经那不勒斯抵埠,中途曾停靠费拉约港。此人受缪拉之命送信与逆贼,并受逆贼命送信与巴黎拿破仑党委员会。犯罪证据在将其逮捕时即可获得,信件不是在其身上,就是在其父家中,或者在法老号上他的船舱里。”

“好极了,”腾格拉尔说,“这样你的报仇就不会被人知道了,这封信自可生效,而且肯定追究不到你的头上来的。没什么别的事了,只要象我这样把信折叠起来,写上‘呈交皇家检察官阁下’,一切就都解决了。”腾格拉尔一面说着,一面把收信人的姓名地址都写在了上面。

“不错,一切都解决了!”卡德鲁斯喊道,他凭着最后一点清醒已听到了那封信的内容,知道如果这样一去告密,会出现什么样的后果,“不错,一切都解决了,只是这样做太可耻了,太不名誉了!”他伸手想拿那封信。

“是的,”腾格拉尔说,一面把信移开了,使他拿不到,“我刚才所说所做的不过是开开玩笑而已,假如唐太斯,这位可敬的唐太斯遭到了什么不幸,我会第一个感到难过的,你看,”他拿起了那封信,把它揉成一团,抛向凉棚的一个角落里。

“这就对了!”卡德鲁斯说。“唐太斯是我的朋友,我可不能让他被人陷害。”

“哪个鬼家伙想陷害他?肯定不是我,弗尔南多也不会!”

腾格拉尔说着便站了起来望了一眼那个青年,青年依旧坐着,但眼睛却盯在了那被抛在角落里的告密信上。

“既然这样,”卡德鲁斯说道,“我们再来喝点酒吧。我想再喝几杯来祝德爱德蒙和那可爱的美塞苔丝健康。”

“你已经喝得不少了啦,酒鬼,”腾格拉尔说,“你要是再喝,就得睡在这儿了,因为你连站都站不起来了。”

“我喝多了。”卡德鲁斯一面说,一面带着一个醉鬼被冒犯时的那副样子站了起来,“我站不起来了?我跟你打赌,我能一口气跑上阿歌兰史教堂的钟楼,连脚步都不会乱!”

“好吧!”腾格拉尔说,“我跟你打赌,不过等明天吧,——今天该回去了。我们走吧,我来扶你。”

“很好,我们这就走,”卡德鲁斯说,“但我可用不着你来扶。走,弗尔南多,你不和我们一块儿回马赛吗?”

“不,”弗尔南多回答,“我回迦太兰村。”

“你错啦。跟我们一起到马赛去吧,走吧。”

“我不去。”

“你这是什么意思?你不去?好,随你的便吧,我的小伙子,在这个世界上人人都是自由的。走吧,腾格拉尔,随那位先生的便罢,他高兴就让他回迦太兰村去好了。”

腾格拉尔这时是很愿意顺着卡德鲁斯的脾气行事的,他扶着他踉踉跄跄地沿着胜利港向马赛走去。

他们大约向前走了二十码左右,腾格拉尔回过头来,看见弗尔南多正在弯腰捡起那张揉皱的纸,并塞进他的口袋里,然后冲出凉棚,向皮隆方面奔去。

“咦,”卡德鲁斯说,“看,他多会撒谎!他说要回迦太兰村去,可却朝城里那个方向走去了。喂,弗尔南多!”

“唔,是你弄错了,”腾格拉尔说,“他一点没错。”

“噢,”卡德鲁斯说,“我还以为他走错了呢,酒这东西真会骗人!”

“哼,”腾格拉尔心里想,“这件事我看开端还不错,现在只待静观它的发展了。”




Chapter 5. The Marriage-Feast.

The morning's sun rose clear and resplendent, touching the foamy waves into a network of ruby-tinted light.

The feast had been made ready on the second floor at La Reserve, with whose arbor the reader is already familiar. The apartment destined for the purpose was spacious and lighted by a number of windows, over each of which was written in golden letters for some inexplicable reason the name of one of the principal cities of France; beneath these windows a wooden balcony extended the entire length of the house. And although the entertainment was fixed for twelve o'clock, an hour previous to that time the balcony was filled with impatient and expectant guests, consisting of the favored part of the crew of the Pharaon, and other personal friends of the bride-groom, the whole of whom had arrayed themselves in their choicest costumes, in order to do greater honor to the occasion.

Various rumors were afloat to the effect that the owners of the Pharaon had promised to attend the nuptial feast; but all seemed unanimous in doubting that an act of such rare and exceeding condescension could possibly be intended.

Danglars, however, who now made his appearance, accompanied by Caderousse, effectually confirmed the report, stating that he had recently conversed with M. Morrel, who had himself assured him of his intention to dine at La Reserve.

In fact, a moment later M. Morrel appeared and was saluted with an enthusiastic burst of applause from the crew of the Pharaon, who hailed the visit of the shipowner as a sure indication that the man whose wedding feast he thus delighted to honor would ere long be first in command of the ship; and as Dantes was universally beloved on board his vessel, the sailors put no restraint on their tumultuous joy at finding that the opinion and choice of their superiors so exactly coincided with their own.

With the entrance of M. Morrel, Danglars and Caderousse were despatched in search of the bride-groom to convey to him the intelligence of the arrival of the important personage whose coming had created such a lively sensation, and to beseech him to make haste.

Danglars and Caderousse set off upon their errand at full speed; but ere they had gone many steps they perceived a group advancing towards them, composed of the betrothed pair, a party of young girls in attendance on the bride, by whose side walked Dantes' father; the whole brought up by Fernand, whose lips wore their usual sinister smile.

Neither Mercedes nor Edmond observed the strange expression of his countenance; they were so happy that they were conscious only of the sunshine and the presence of each other.

Having acquitted themselves of their errand, and exchanged a hearty shake of the hand with Edmond, Danglars and Caderousse took their places beside Fernand and old Dantes,—the latter of whom attracted universal notice. The old man was attired in a suit of glistening watered silk, trimmed with steel buttons, beautifully cut and polished. His thin but wiry legs were arrayed in a pair of richly embroidered clocked stockings, evidently of English manufacture, while from his three-cornered hat depended a long streaming knot of white and blue ribbons. Thus he came along, supporting himself on a curiously carved stick, his aged countenance lit up with happiness, looking for all the world like one of the aged dandies of 1796, parading the newly opened gardens of the Tuileries and Luxembourg. Beside him glided Caderousse, whose desire to partake of the good things provided for the wedding-party had induced him to become reconciled to the Dantes, father and son, although there still lingered in his mind a faint and unperfect recollection of the events of the preceding night; just as the brain retains on waking in the morning the dim and misty outline of a dream.

As Danglars approached the disappointed lover, he cast on him a look of deep meaning, while Fernand, as he slowly paced behind the happy pair, who seemed, in their own unmixed content, to have entirely forgotten that such a being as himself existed, was pale and abstracted; occasionally, however, a deep flush would overspread his countenance, and a nervous contraction distort his features, while, with an agitated and restless gaze, he would glance in the direction of Marseilles, like one who either anticipated or foresaw some great and important event.

Dantes himself was simply, but becomingly, clad in the dress peculiar to the merchant service—a costume somewhat between a military and a civil garb; and with his fine countenance, radiant with joy and happiness, a more perfect specimen of manly beauty could scarcely be imagined.

Lovely as the Greek girls of Cyprus or Chios, Mercedes boasted the same bright flashing eyes of jet, and ripe, round, coral lips. She moved with the light, free step of an Arlesienne or an Andalusian. One more practiced in the arts of great cities would have hid her blushes beneath a veil, or, at least, have cast down her thickly fringed lashes, so as to have concealed the liquid lustre of her animated eyes; but, on the contrary, the delighted girl looked around her with a smile that seemed to say: "If you are my friends, rejoice with me, for I am very happy."

As soon as the bridal party came in sight of La Reserve, M. Morrel descended and came forth to meet it, followed by the soldiers and sailors there assembled, to whom he had repeated the promise already given, that Dantes should be the successor to the late Captain Leclere. Edmond, at the approach of his patron, respectfully placed the arm of his affianced bride within that of M. Morrel, who, forthwith conducting her up the flight of wooden steps leading to the chamber in which the feast was prepared, was gayly followed by the guests, beneath whose heavy tread the slight structure creaked and groaned for the space of several minutes.

"Father," said Mercedes, stopping when she had reached the centre of the table, "sit, I pray you, on my right hand; on my left I will place him who has ever been as a brother to me," pointing with a soft and gentle smile to Fernand; but her words and look seemed to inflict the direst torture on him, for his lips became ghastly pale, and even beneath the dark hue of his complexion the blood might be seen retreating as though some sudden pang drove it back to the heart.

During this time, Dantes, at the opposite side of the table, had been occupied in similarly placing his most honored guests. M. Morrel was seated at his right hand, Danglars at his left; while, at a sign from Edmond, the rest of the company ranged themselves as they found it most agreeable.

Then they began to pass around the dusky, piquant, Arlesian sausages, and lobsters in their dazzling red cuirasses, prawns of large size and brilliant color, the echinus with its prickly outside and dainty morsel within, the clovis, esteemed by the epicures of the South as more than rivalling the exquisite flavor of the oyster,—all the delicacies, in fact, that are cast up by the wash of waters on the sandy beach, and styled by the grateful fishermen "fruits of the sea."

"A pretty silence truly!" said the old father of the bride-groom, as he carried to his lips a glass of wine of the hue and brightness of the topaz, and which had just been placed before Mercedes herself. "Now, would anybody think that this room contained a happy, merry party, who desire nothing better than to laugh and dance the hours away?"

"Ah," sighed Caderousse, "a man cannot always feel happy because he is about to be married."

"The truth is," replied Dantes, "that I am too happy for noisy mirth; if that is what you meant by your observation, my worthy friend, you are right; joy takes a strange effect at times, it seems to oppress us almost the same as sorrow."

Danglars looked towards Fernand, whose excitable nature received and betrayed each fresh impression.

"Why, what ails you?" asked he of Edmond. "Do you fear any approaching evil? I should say that you were the happiest man alive at this instant."

"And that is the very thing that alarms me," returned Dantes. "Man does not appear to me to be intended to enjoy felicity so unmixed; happiness is like the enchanted palaces we read of in our childhood, where fierce, fiery dragons defend the entrance and approach; and monsters of all shapes and kinds, requiring to be overcome ere victory is ours. I own that I am lost in wonder to find myself promoted to an honor of which I feel myself unworthy—that of being the husband of Mercedes."

"Nay, nay!" cried Caderousse, smiling, "you have not attained that honor yet. Mercedes is not yet your wife. Just assume the tone and manner of a husband, and see how she will remind you that your hour is not yet come!"

The bride blushed, while Fernand, restless and uneasy, seemed to start at every fresh sound, and from time to time wiped away the large drops of perspiration that gathered on his brow.

"Well, never mind that, neighbor Caderousse; it is not worth while to contradict me for such a trifle as that. 'Tis true that Mercedes is not actually my wife; but," added he, drawing out his watch, "in an hour and a half she will be."

A general exclamation of surprise ran round the table, with the exception of the elder Dantes, whose laugh displayed the still perfect beauty of his large white teeth. Mercedes looked pleased and gratified, while Fernand grasped the handle of his knife with a convulsive clutch.

"In an hour?" inquired Danglars, turning pale. "How is that, my friend?"

"Why, thus it is," replied Dantes. "Thanks to the influence of M. Morrel, to whom, next to my father, I owe every blessing I enjoy, every difficulty his been removed. We have purchased permission to waive the usual delay; and at half-past two o'clock the mayor of Marseilles will be waiting for us at the city hall. Now, as a quarter-past one has already struck, I do not consider I have asserted too much in saying, that, in another hour and thirty minutes Mercedes will have become Madame Dantes."

Fernand closed his eyes, a burning sensation passed across his brow, and he was compelled to support himself by the table to prevent his falling from his chair; but in spite of all his efforts, he could not refrain from uttering a deep groan, which, however, was lost amid the noisy felicitations of the company.

"Upon my word," cried the old man, "you make short work of this kind of affair. Arrived here only yesterday morning, and married to-day at three o'clock! Commend me to a sailor for going the quick way to work!"

"But," asked Danglars, in a timid tone, "how did you manage about the other formalities—the contract—the settlement?"

"The contract," answered Dantes, laughingly, "it didn't take long to fix that. Mercedes has no fortune; I have none to settle on her. So, you see, our papers were quickly written out, and certainly do not come very expensive." This joke elicited a fresh burst of applause.

"So that what we presumed to be merely the betrothal feast turns out to be the actual wedding dinner!" said Danglars.

"No, no," answered Dantes; "don't imagine I am going to put you off in that shabby manner. To-morrow morning I start for Paris; four days to go, and the same to return, with one day to discharge the commission intrusted to me, is all the time I shall be absent. I shall be back here by the first of March, and on the second I give my real marriage feast."

This prospect of fresh festivity redoubled the hilarity of the guests to such a degree, that the elder Dantes, who, at the commencement of the repast, had commented upon the silence that prevailed, now found it difficult, amid the general din of voices, to obtain a moment's tranquillity in which to drink to the health and prosperity of the bride and bride-groom.

Dantes, perceiving the affectionate eagerness of his father, responded by a look of grateful pleasure; while Mercedes glanced at the clock and made an expressive gesture to Edmond.

Around the table reigned that noisy hilarity which usually prevails at such a time among people sufficiently free from the demands of social position not to feel the trammels of etiquette. Such as at the commencement of the repast had not been able to seat themselves according to their inclination rose unceremoniously, and sought out more agreeable companions. Everybody talked at once, without waiting for a reply and each one seemed to be contented with expressing his or her own thoughts.

Fernand's paleness appeared to have communicated itself to Danglars. As for Fernand himself, he seemed to be enduring the tortures of the damned; unable to rest, he was among the first to quit the table, and, as though seeking to avoid the hilarious mirth that rose in such deafening sounds, he continued, in utter silence, to pace the farther end of the salon.

Caderousse approached him just as Danglars, whom Fernand seemed most anxious to avoid, had joined him in a corner of the room.

"Upon my word," said Caderousse, from whose mind the friendly treatment of Dantes, united with the effect of the excellent wine he had partaken of, had effaced every feeling of envy or jealousy at Dantes' good fortune,—"upon my word, Dantes is a downright good fellow, and when I see him sitting there beside his pretty wife that is so soon to be. I cannot help thinking it would have been a great pity to have served him that trick you were planning yesterday."

"Oh, there was no harm meant," answered Danglars; "at first I certainly did feel somewhat uneasy as to what Fernand might be tempted to do; but when I saw how completely he had mastered his feelings, even so far as to become one of his rival's attendants, I knew there was no further cause for apprehension." Caderousse looked full at Fernand—he was ghastly pale.

"Certainly," continued Danglars, "the sacrifice was no trifling one, when the beauty of the bride is concerned. Upon my soul, that future captain of mine is a lucky dog! Gad, I only wish he would let me take his place."

"Shall we not set forth?" asked the sweet, silvery voice of Mercedes; "two o'clock has just struck, and you know we are expected in a quarter of an hour."

"To be sure!—to be sure!" cried Dantes, eagerly quitting the table; "let us go directly!"

His words were re-echoed by the whole party, with vociferous cheers.

At this moment Danglars, who had been incessantly observing every change in Fernand's look and manner, saw him stagger and fall back, with an almost convulsive spasm, against a seat placed near one of the open windows. At the same instant his ear caught a sort of indistinct sound on the stairs, followed by the measured tread of soldiery, with the clanking of swords and military accoutrements; then came a hum and buzz as of many voices, so as to deaden even the noisy mirth of the bridal party, among whom a vague feeling of curiosity and apprehension quelled every disposition to talk, and almost instantaneously the most deathlike stillness prevailed.

The sounds drew nearer. Three blows were struck upon the panel of the door. The company looked at each other in consternation.

"I demand admittance," said a loud voice outside the room, "in the name of the law!" As no attempt was made to prevent it, the door was opened, and a magistrate, wearing his official scarf, presented himself, followed by four soldiers and a corporal. Uneasiness now yielded to the most extreme dread on the part of those present.

"May I venture to inquire the reason of this unexpected visit?" said M. Morrel, addressing the magistrate, whom he evidently knew; "there is doubtless some mistake easily explained."

"If it be so," replied the magistrate, "rely upon every reparation being made; meanwhile, I am the bearer of an order of arrest, and although I most reluctantly perform the task assigned me, it must, nevertheless, be fulfilled. Who among the persons here assembled answers to the name of Edmond Dantes?" Every eye was turned towards the young man who, spite of the agitation he could not but feel, advanced with dignity, and said, in a firm voice, "I am he; what is your pleasure with me?"

"Edmond Dantes," replied the magistrate, "I arrest you in the name of the law!"

"Me!" repeated Edmond, slightly changing color, "and wherefore, I pray?"

"I cannot inform you, but you will be duly acquainted with the reasons that have rendered such a step necessary at the preliminary examination."

M. Morrel felt that further resistance or remonstrance was useless. He saw before him an officer delegated to enforce the law, and perfectly well knew that it would be as unavailing to seek pity from a magistrate decked with his official scarf, as to address a petition to some cold marble effigy. Old Dantes, however, sprang forward. There are situations which the heart of a father or a mother cannot be made to understand. He prayed and supplicated in terms so moving, that even the officer was touched, and, although firm in his duty, he kindly said, "My worthy friend, let me beg of you to calm your apprehensions. Your son has probably neglected some prescribed form or attention in registering his cargo, and it is more than probable he will be set at liberty directly he has given the information required, whether touching the health of his crew, or the value of his freight."

"What is the meaning of all this?" inquired Caderousse, frowningly, of Danglars, who had assumed an air of utter surprise.

"How can I tell you?" replied he; "I am, like yourself, utterly bewildered at all that is going on, and cannot in the least make out what it is about." Caderousse then looked around for Fernand, but he had disappeared.

The scene of the previous night now came back to his mind with startling clearness. The painful catastrophe he had just witnessed appeared effectually to have rent away the veil which the intoxication of the evening before had raised between himself and his memory.

"So, so," said he, in a hoarse and choking voice, to Danglars, "this, then, I suppose, is a part of the trick you were concerting yesterday? All I can say is, that if it be so, 'tis an ill turn, and well deserves to bring double evil on those who have projected it."

"Nonsense," returned Danglars, "I tell you again I have nothing whatever to do with it; besides, you know very well that I tore the paper to pieces."

"No, you did not!" answered Caderousse, "you merely threw it by—I saw it lying in a corner."

"Hold your tongue, you fool!—what should you know about it?—why, you were drunk!"

"Where is Fernand?" inquired Caderousse.

"How do I know?" replied Danglars; "gone, as every prudent man ought to be, to look after his own affairs, most likely. Never mind where he is, let you and I go and see what is to be done for our poor friends."

During this conversation, Dantes, after having exchanged a cheerful shake of the hand with all his sympathizing friends, had surrendered himself to the officer sent to arrest him, merely saying, "Make yourselves quite easy, my good fellows, there is some little mistake to clear up, that's all, depend upon it; and very likely I may not have to go so far as the prison to effect that."

"Oh, to be sure!" responded Danglars, who had now approached the group, "nothing more than a mistake, I feel quite certain."

Dantes descended the staircase, preceded by the magistrate, and followed by the soldiers. A carriage awaited him at the door; he got in, followed by two soldiers and the magistrate, and the vehicle drove off towards Marseilles.

"Adieu, adieu, dearest Edmond!" cried Mercedes, stretching out her arms to him from the balcony.

The prisoner heard the cry, which sounded like the sob of a broken heart, and leaning from the coach he called out, "Good-by, Mercedes—we shall soon meet again!" Then the vehicle disappeared round one of the turnings of Fort Saint Nicholas.

"Wait for me here, all of you!" cried M. Morrel; "I will take the first conveyance I find, and hurry to Marseilles, whence I will bring you word how all is going on."

"That's right!" exclaimed a multitude of voices, "go, and return as quickly as you can!"

This second departure was followed by a long and fearful state of terrified silence on the part of those who were left behind. The old father and Mercedes remained for some time apart, each absorbed in grief; but at length the two poor victims of the same blow raised their eyes, and with a simultaneous burst of feeling rushed into each other's arms.

Meanwhile Fernand made his appearance, poured out for himself a glass of water with a trembling hand; then hastily swallowing it, went to sit down at the first vacant place, and this was, by mere chance, placed next to the seat on which poor Mercedes had fallen half fainting, when released from the warm and affectionate embrace of old Dantes. Instinctively Fernand drew back his chair.

"He is the cause of all this misery—I am quite sure of it," whispered Caderousse, who had never taken his eyes off Fernand, to Danglars.

"I don't think so," answered the other; "he's too stupid to imagine such a scheme. I only hope the mischief will fall upon the head of whoever wrought it."

"You don't mention those who aided and abetted the deed," said Caderousse.

"Surely," answered Danglars, "one cannot be held responsible for every chance arrow shot into the air."

"You can, indeed, when the arrow lights point downward on somebody's head."

Meantime the subject of the arrest was being canvassed in every different form.

"What think you, Danglars," said one of the party, turning towards him, "of this event?"

"Why," replied he, "I think it just possible Dantes may have been detected with some trifling article on board ship considered here as contraband."

"But how could he have done so without your knowledge, Danglars, since you are the ship's supercargo?"

"Why, as for that, I could only know what I was told respecting the merchandise with which the vessel was laden. I know she was loaded with cotton, and that she took in her freight at Alexandria from Pastret's warehouse, and at Smyrna from Pascal's; that is all I was obliged to know, and I beg I may not be asked for any further particulars."

"Now I recollect," said the afflicted old father; "my poor boy told me yesterday he had got a small case of coffee, and another of tobacco for me!"

"There, you see," exclaimed Danglars. "Now the mischief is out; depend upon it the custom-house people went rummaging about the ship in our absence, and discovered poor Dantes' hidden treasures."

Mercedes, however, paid no heed to this explanation of her lover's arrest. Her grief, which she had hitherto tried to restrain, now burst out in a violent fit of hysterical sobbing.

"Come, come," said the old man, "be comforted, my poor child; there is still hope!"

"Hope!" repeated Danglars.

"Hope!" faintly murmured Fernand, but the word seemed to die away on his pale agitated lips, and a convulsive spasm passed over his countenance.

"Good news! good news!" shouted forth one of the party stationed in the balcony on the lookout. "Here comes M. Morrel back. No doubt, now, we shall hear that our friend is released!"

Mercedes and the old man rushed to meet the shipowner and greeted him at the door. He was very pale.

"What news?" exclaimed a general burst of voices.

"Alas, my friends," replied M. Morrel, with a mournful shake of his head, "the thing has assumed a more serious aspect than I expected."

"Oh, indeed—indeed, sir, he is innocent!" sobbed forth Mercedes.

"That I believe!" answered M. Morrel; "but still he is charged"—

"With what?" inquired the elder Dantes.

"With being an agent of the Bonapartist faction!" Many of our readers may be able to recollect how formidable such an accusation became in the period at which our story is dated.

A despairing cry escaped the pale lips of Mercedes; the old man sank into a chair.

"Ah, Danglars!" whispered Caderousse, "you have deceived me—the trick you spoke of last night has been played; but I cannot suffer a poor old man or an innocent girl to die of grief through your fault. I am determined to tell them all about it."

"Be silent, you simpleton!" cried Danglars, grasping him by the arm, "or I will not answer even for your own safety. Who can tell whether Dantes be innocent or guilty? The vessel did touch at Elba, where he quitted it, and passed a whole day in the island. Now, should any letters or other documents of a compromising character be found upon him, will it not be taken for granted that all who uphold him are his accomplices?"

With the rapid instinct of selfishness, Caderousse readily perceived the solidity of this mode of reasoning; he gazed, doubtfully, wistfully, on Danglars, and then caution supplanted generosity.

"Suppose we wait a while, and see what comes of it," said he, casting a bewildered look on his companion.

"To be sure!" answered Danglars. "Let us wait, by all means. If he be innocent, of course he will be set at liberty; if guilty, why, it is no use involving ourselves in a conspiracy."

"Let us go, then. I cannot stay here any longer."

"With all my heart!" replied Danglars, pleased to find the other so tractable. "Let us take ourselves out of the way, and leave things for the present to take their course."

After their departure, Fernand, who had now again become the friend and protector of Mercedes, led the girl to her home, while the friends of Dantes conducted the now half-fainting man back to his abode.

The rumor of Edmond's arrest as a Bonapartist agent was not slow in circulating throughout the city.

"Could you ever have credited such a thing, my dear Danglars?" asked M. Morrel, as, on his return to the port for the purpose of gleaning fresh tidings of Dantes, from M. de Villefort, the assistant procureur, he overtook his supercargo and Caderousse. "Could you have believed such a thing possible?"

"Why, you know I told you," replied Danglars, "that I considered the circumstance of his having anchored at the Island of Elba as a very suspicious circumstance."

"And did you mention these suspicions to any person beside myself?"

"Certainly not!" returned Danglars. Then added in a low whisper, "You understand that, on account of your uncle, M. Policar Morrel, who served under the other government, and who does not altogether conceal what he thinks on the subject, you are strongly suspected of regretting the abdication of Napoleon. I should have feared to injure both Edmond and yourself, had I divulged my own apprehensions to a soul. I am too well aware that though a subordinate, like myself, is bound to acquaint the shipowner with everything that occurs, there are many things he ought most carefully to conceal from all else."

"'Tis well, Danglars—'tis well!" replied M. Morrel. "You are a worthy fellow; and I had already thought of your interests in the event of poor Edmond having become captain of the Pharaon."

"Is it possible you were so kind?"

"Yes, indeed; I had previously inquired of Dantes what was his opinion of you, and if he should have any reluctance to continue you in your post, for somehow I have perceived a sort of coolness between you."

"And what was his reply?"

"That he certainly did think he had given you offence in an affair which he merely referred to without entering into particulars, but that whoever possessed the good opinion and confidence of the ship's owner would have his preference also."

"The hypocrite!" murmured Danglars.

"Poor Dantes!" said Caderousse. "No one can deny his being a noble-hearted young fellow."

"But meanwhile," continued M. Morrel, "here is the Pharaon without a captain."

"Oh," replied Danglars, "since we cannot leave this port for the next three months, let us hope that ere the expiration of that period Dantes will be set at liberty."

"No doubt; but in the meantime?"

"I am entirely at your service, M. Morrel," answered Danglars. "You know that I am as capable of managing a ship as the most experienced captain in the service; and it will be so far advantageous to you to accept my services, that upon Edmond's release from prison no further change will be requisite on board the Pharaon than for Dantes and myself each to resume our respective posts."

"Thanks, Danglars—that will smooth over all difficulties. I fully authorize you at once to assume the command of the Pharaon, and look carefully to the unloading of her freight. Private misfortunes must never be allowed to interfere with business."

"Be easy on that score, M. Morrel; but do you think we shall be permitted to see our poor Edmond?"

"I will let you know that directly I have seen M. de Villefort, whom I shall endeavor to interest in Edmond's favor. I am aware he is a furious royalist; but, in spite of that, and of his being king's attorney, he is a man like ourselves, and I fancy not a bad sort of one."

"Perhaps not," replied Danglars; "but I hear that he is ambitious, and that's rather against him."

"Well, well," returned M. Morrel, "we shall see. But now hasten on board, I will join you there ere long." So saying, the worthy shipowner quitted the two allies, and proceeded in the direction of the Palais de Justice.

"You see," said Danglars, addressing Caderousse, "the turn things have taken. Do you still feel any desire to stand up in his defence?"

"Not the slightest, but yet it seems to me a shocking thing that a mere joke should lead to such consequences."

"But who perpetrated that joke, let me ask? neither you nor myself, but Fernand; you knew very well that I threw the paper into a corner of the room—indeed, I fancied I had destroyed it."

"Oh, no," replied Caderousse, "that I can answer for, you did not. I only wish I could see it now as plainly as I saw it lying all crushed and crumpled in a corner of the arbor."

"Well, then, if you did, depend upon it, Fernand picked it up, and either copied it or caused it to be copied; perhaps, even, he did not take the trouble of recopying it. And now I think of it, by Heavens, he may have sent the letter itself! Fortunately, for me, the handwriting was disguised."

"Then you were aware of Dantes being engaged in a conspiracy?"

"Not I. As I before said, I thought the whole thing was a joke, nothing more. It seems, however, that I have unconsciously stumbled upon the truth."

"Still," argued Caderousse, "I would give a great deal if nothing of the kind had happened; or, at least, that I had had no hand in it. You will see, Danglars, that it will turn out an unlucky job for both of us."

"Nonsense! If any harm come of it, it should fall on the guilty person; and that, you know, is Fernand. How can we be implicated in any way? All we have got to do is, to keep our own counsel, and remain perfectly quiet, not breathing a word to any living soul; and you will see that the storm will pass away without in the least affecting us."

"Amen!" responded Caderousse, waving his hand in token of adieu to Danglars, and bending his steps towards the Allees de Meillan, moving his head to and fro, and muttering as he went, after the manner of one whose mind was overcharged with one absorbing idea.

"So far, then," said Danglars, mentally, "all has gone as I would have it. I am, temporarily, commander of the Pharaon, with the certainty of being permanently so, if that fool of a Caderousse can be persuaded to hold his tongue. My only fear is the chance of Dantes being released. But, there, he is in the hands of Justice; and," added he with a smile, "she will take her own." So saying, he leaped into a boat, desiring to be rowed on board the Pharaon, where M. Morrel had agreed to meet him.

 

第五章 婚宴

清晨,明媚的朝阳染红了天空,抚慰着那吐着白沫的浪潮。

瑞瑟夫酒家此时已备好了丰富的酒筵,(酒家的那座凉棚是读者们已熟悉了的)。摆席的那个大厅非常宽敞,并排开着几扇大窗子,每个窗子上都有用金字写着的法国各大城市的名字。在这排窗子底下,是一条跟屋子一样长的木板走廊。筵席虽预定在十二点钟开始。但在这之前的一小时,走廊上便早已挤满了性急的前来贺喜的客人,他们有些是法老号上同唐太斯要好的船员,有些是他的私人朋友,全都穿着最漂亮的衣服,给这个愉快的日子增光不少,大家都在纷纷议论,法老号的船主要来参加婚宴,但大家又似乎都不相信唐太斯能有这么大的面子。

还是与卡德鲁斯同来的腾格拉尔证实了这个消息,说他刚才遇到了莫雷尔先生,莫雷尔先生亲口说要来赴宴。

果然,不一会儿,莫雷尔先生便走了进来。法老号的水手们纷纷向他致意、欢呼。在他们看来船主的光临证实了一个传闻,唐太斯不久就要做法老号船长了,由于唐太斯是船员们都一致爱戴的人物,所以当船员们发现他们上司的意见和选择正好符合了他们的愿望时,也就禁不住欢喜起来。

这一阵嘈杂而亲热的欢迎过去以后,腾格拉尔和卡德鲁斯便被派去到新郎家中去报告重要人物已经到了的消息,希望新郎赶快来迎接他的贵宾。

二人便火速前往,但他们还没走出百步远,就有一群人向他们走来,前面走着的那对新人和一群伴随新娘的青年人,新娘的旁边是唐太斯的父亲,他们的后面则跟着弗尔南多。他的脸上仍旧挂着一种阴险的微笑。

美塞苔丝和爱德蒙都没有注意到他脸上那种异样的表情。他们实在是太幸福了,所以他们的眼睛除了互相深情地注视着以外,就只看到他们头上那明朗而美丽的天空。

腾格拉尔他们完成了自己的使命,并向爱德蒙亲热地道贺以后,腾格拉尔就走到了弗尔南多的身边,卡德鲁斯则和唐太斯老爹留在了一起。老唐太斯现在已成了众人注目的焦点。

他穿着一套剪裁合体、熨得笔挺、钉着铁钮扣的黑衣服。他那瘦小但依旧相当有力的小腿上套着一双脚踝处绣满了花的长统袜子,一看便知是英国货;他的三角帽上垂下一长条蓝白色丝带结成的穗子;拄着一根雕刻得很奇特的手杖。卡德鲁斯一副卑谄的样子跟在他身旁,希望美餐一顿的渴望使他又与唐太斯父子重归于好了,昨晚上的事,他脑子里留有模糊不清的印象,——就象人从梦中醒来时脑子里留下的模糊印象一样。

腾格拉尔走近那个失恋的情人的时候,意味深长的看了他一眼。只见弗尔南多脸色苍白,神情茫然地慢慢跟在那对幸福的人后面,而面前那对满心欢喜的人却似乎已完全忘记了还有他这个人存在着。他的脸偶尔会突然涨得通红,神经质的抽搐一下,——焦急不安的朝马赛那个方向望一眼,好象在期待某种惊人的大事发生似的。

唐太斯的衣着不仅很合式,而且也很简单,他穿着一套半似军服,半似便服的商船船员制服。他那张英俊的脸上闪着喜悦和幸福的光芒,显得更加英气勃发。

美塞苔丝可爱得象塞浦路斯或凯奥斯的希腊美女一样,她的眼睛乌黑明亮,嘴唇鲜红娇嫩,她的步伐就象阿尔妇女和安达卢西亚妇女那样轻盈和婀娜多姿。假如她是一个城里姑娘,她一定会把她的喜悦掩饰起来,或至少垂下她那浓密的睫毛,以掩饰她那一对水汪汪的热情的眼睛,但美塞苔丝却是一个劲地微笑着左右顾盼,好象在说:“假如你们是我的朋友,那么就和我一起欢乐吧,因为我实在是太幸福了。”

当这队伴着新郎新娘的行列进入瑟夫酒家的时候,莫雷尔先生就迎上前来,他身后跟着早已聚集在那儿的士兵和水手,他们已经从莫雷尔先生那儿知道他已经许过的诺言,知道唐太斯就要接替已故的莱克勒船长了,爱德蒙一走到雇主的前面,便把他的未婚妻的手臂递给莫雷尔先生,后者就带着她踏上了木头楼梯,向摆好了酒席的大厅走去,宾客们嘻嘻哈哈地跟在后面,楼梯在拥挤的人群脚下吱吱地响着。

“爸爸,”美塞苔丝走到桌子前面停下来说。“请您坐到我的右边,左边这个置人要让一位始终象亲兄弟那样照顾我的人坐,”她这句温柔而甜密的话象一把匕首直刺入弗尔南多的心。他的嘴唇苍白,棕黑的皮肤下,可以看见血液突然退去,象是受到了某种意外的压缩,流回到了心脏里去了一样。

这时,坐在桌子对面的唐太斯,也同样正在安排他最尊贵的来宾莫雷尔先生坐在他在右边,腾格拉尔坐在他的左边,其余的人也都各自找到了他们认为最适当的位子坐下。

现在便开始尽情地享受那些放满在桌子上的美味佳肴了。新鲜香美的阿尔腊肠,鲜红耀目的带壳龙虾,色彩鲜明的大虾,外面有刺而里面细腻上口的海胆,还有为南方食客所极力赞美、认为比牡蛎还香美可口的蛤蜊——这一切,再加上无数从沙滩上捕来的,被那些该感谢的渔夫称为“海果”的各种珍馔美肴,都呈在了这次婚筵席上。

“真安静啊!”新郎的父亲说,他正拿起一杯黄玉色的酒举到嘴边,这杯酒是美塞苔丝献上的,谁会想到这儿有三十个又说又笑的人呢?

“唉!”卡德鲁斯叹息到,“做丈夫的并非永远是开心的,”事实是,”唐太斯答,“我是太幸福了,所以反而乐不起来了,假如你是这样认为的话,我可敬的朋友,我想你是说对了,有的时候,快乐会产生一种奇特的效果,它会压住我们,就象悲哀一样。”

腾格拉尔向弗尔南多看了看,只见他易于激动的天性把每一个新的感受都明显地表露在脸上。

“咦,你有什么不快乐?”他问爱德蒙。“你难道怕有什么样的灾难降临吗?我敢说今天在众人眼里你最称心如意啦。”

“使我感到不安的也正是这一点,”唐太斯答道“在我看来幸福似乎不该这样轻易到手的,幸福应该是我们小时候书上所读到的神奇的魔宫,有凶猛的毒龙守在入口,有各种各样大大小小的的妖魔鬼怪挡主去路,要征服这一切,就非去战斗不可。我现在真得觉得有点奇怪,凭什么获得这份荣耀——做美塞苔丝的丈夫。”

“丈夫,丈夫?”卡德鲁斯大声笑着说,“还没有做成呢,我的船长,你就试试去做个丈夫吧,瞧瞧会怎么样。”

美塞苔丝不禁脸上泛起了红晕。焦躁不安的弗尔南多每当听到一点响声就会显得很吃惊的样子,他不时抹一下额头上沁出汗,那汗珠就象暴风雨即将来时落下的雨蹼那样粗大。

“哦,那倒没什么,卡德鲁斯邻居,这种小事是不值得一提的,不错,美塞苔丝此刻还不能真正算我的妻子,但是,”他掏出表来看了看,就说,“再过一个半小时,她就是我的妻子了。”

所有的人都惊叫了一声,只有老唐太斯除外,他开怀大笑,露出一排很整齐的牙齿。美塞苔丝微笑了一下,不再羞涩了。弗尔南多则神经质地紧握着他的刀柄。

“一个小时?”腾格拉尔问,他的脸色也变白了,“怎么回事,我的朋友?

“是的,,”唐太斯回答道,“在这儿我特别感谢莫雷尔先生在这世界上,除了我父亲以外,我的幸福完全归功于他,由于他的帮忙,一切困难都已经解决了。我们已经付了结婚预告费,两点半的时候,马赛市长就会在维丽大酒家等候我们。现在已经是一点一刻了,所以我说再过一个半小时美塞苔丝会变成唐太斯夫人并非言之过早。”

弗尔南多闭上了双眼,一种火一样的感觉掠过了他的眉头,他不得不将身子伏在桌子上以免跌倒。他虽然努力克制着自己,但仍禁不住发出一声长叹,但是他的叹息声被嘈杂的祝贺声淹没了。

“凭良心,”老人大声说,“这事你办得真迅速。昨天早晨才到这儿的,今天三点钟就结婚!我终于相信了水手是办事的快手!”

“可是”腾格拉尔胆怯地说。“其它手续怎么办呢,——婚书,文契?”

“噢,你真是!”唐太斯笑着回答说,“我们的婚书早已写好子。美塞苔丝没有什么财产,我也一样。所以,你看,我们的婚书根本没费多少时间就写好了,而且也没花几个钱。”这个笑话引起众人一阵哄笑和掌声。

“那么,我们认为只不过是订婚的喜酒变成结婚的喜酒了。”腾格拉尔说。

“不,不!”唐太斯回答,“可别把人看成是那么小器,明天得动身到巴黎去。四天来回,再加一天的时间办事就够了。三月初我就能回来,回来后,第二天我就请大家喝喜酒。”

想到又一次有美餐的机会,宾客们更加欢乐无比,老唐太斯还在宴席一开始的时候就曾嫌太静,现在人们是如此嘈杂喧哗,他竟很想找一个机会来向新娘新郎表示祝贺了。

唐太斯觉察到父亲那种亲热的焦急之情,便愉快地报以感激的一笑。美塞苔丝的眼睛不时地去瞟一眼摆在房子里的钟,她向爱德蒙做了一个手势,示意。

席间的气氛是愉快的,无拘无束的,这是在社交集会时司空见惯的现象,大家太快乐了以致摆脱了一切拘谨礼仪的束缚。那些在席间觉得座位不称心的人已经换了位置,并找到了称心如意的邻座。有的人都在乱哄哄地说,不住嘴地说着话,谁也不关心谁,大家都在各说各的话。

弗尔南多苍白的脸色似乎已传染给腾格拉尔的脸上,弗尔南多自己却似乎正在忍受着死囚一般的痛苦,他再也坐不住了,站起来首先离开席,象要躲开这一片震耳欲聋的声音里所洋溢的喜气似的,一言不发地在大厅另一端走来走去。

弗尔南多似乎要躲开腾格拉尔,而腾格拉尔却偏偏又来找他,卡德鲁斯一见这种情形,也向别房间的那一角走过去。

“凭良心讲,”卡德鲁斯说,由于唐太斯友善的款待和他喝下的那些美酒的满足劲也起了作用,他脑子里对唐太斯交了好运的妒嫉之意反而一扫而光了,“——凭良心讲,唐太斯实在是一个顶好的人,当我看到他坐在他那漂亮的未婚妻旁边时候,一想到你们昨天的计划用的那有套把戏,真觉得太不应该了。”

“哦,那事反正又不是真的,”腾格拉尔回答说,“最初我是出于同情弗尔南多受到的打击,但当我看到他甚至做着他的情敌的伴郎仍完全克制住他自己的情感时,我知道这事就不必再多说了。”卡德鲁斯凝视着弗尔南多,弗尔南多的脸色白的象一张纸。“说实在的,”腾格拉尔又说,“姑娘长得可真美,这个牺牲可不算校说真的,我那位未来的船长真是个交好运的家伙!老天爷!我真希望,我如果是他就好了。”

“我们可以走了吗?美塞苔丝那银铃般的声音问道,“两点钟已经过了,你知道我们说好的在一刻钟之内到维丽大酒家的。”

“是的,没错!”唐太斯一面大声说,一面急忙站了起来说:“我们马上就走吧!”

于上全体宾客随声咐和着,也都一起欢呼着站了起来,并开始组成一个行列。

就在这时,正在密切注意着弗尔南多的腾格拉尔突然看见他象痉挛似的抽搐了一下,踉踉跄跄退到了一扇开着的窗子前面,靠在身边的一把椅子上。此时,只听楼梯上响起了一片嘈杂声并夹杂着士兵整齐的步伐,刀剑的铿锵声以及佩挂物的撞击声,接着又传来了一片由众多声音所组成的嗡嗡声,这片嗡嗡声窒息了喜宴的喧哗声,房间里立刻罩上了一种不安的气氛。

那嘈声愈来愈近了。房门上响起了三下叩击声。人们神色惊奇面面相觑。

“我们是来执行法院命令的,”一个响亮的声音喊道,但房间里谁也没有应声,门开了,一个佩挂绶带的警长走了进来,后面跟着四个士兵和一个伍长。在场的人们现在由不安变成了极端的恐惧。

“请问警长突然驾到,有何贵干?”莫雷尔先生走上前去对那警长说道,他们显然是彼此认识的。“我想一定是发生了什么误会吧。”

“莫雷尔先生。”警长回答道,“如果是误会,很快就可以澄清的。现在,我只是奉命来把人带走,虽然我自己也很不愿意执行交给我的这项任务,但我又必须完成它。在这些人当中哪位是爱德蒙•唐太斯?”人们的眼睛唰得一下都转了那青年身上,那青年虽也很不安,却依旧很庄严地挺身而出,用坚定的口吻说:“我就是,请问有什么事?”

“爱德蒙•唐太斯,”警长回答说,“我以法律的名义逮捕你!”

“逮捕我!”爱德蒙应了一声,脸上微微有点变色,“请问这是为什么?”

“我不清楚,不过你在第一次被审问的时候就会知道的。”

莫雷尔先生觉得此事辩也是没用的。一个绶带军官在外执行命令已不再是一个人,而变成了冷酷无情的法律的化身。

老唐太斯急忙向警长走去,——因为有些事情是做父母的心所无法了解的。他拼命的求情,他的恳求和眼泪虽毫无用处,但他那极度失望的样子却打动了警长的同情心。“先生,”他说,“请你冷静一点。您的儿子大概是触犯了海关或卫生公署的某些条例,很可能在回答几个问题以后就会被释放的。”

“这到底是怎么回事?”卡德鲁斯横眉怒目地问腾格拉尔,而后者却装出一副莫名其妙的的神情。

“我怎么知道?”他答道,“我和你一样,对眼前的事根本一无所知,他们说的话我一点儿都不懂。”卡德鲁斯于是用目光四下里寻找弗尔南多,但他已经不见了。

前一天的情景极其清晰地浮现在他脑子里了。他现在目击的这场突如其来的横祸已揭去了他昨天醉酒时蒙在记忆上的那层薄纱。

“哼!”他声音嘶哑地对腾格拉尔说,“这个,难道就是你昨天那套鬼把戏里的一部分吧?果真如此的话,玩把戏的那个家伙真该死!这种做法太可耻了。”

“别胡说了。”腾格拉尔反驳道,“你明明看见我把那张纸撕碎了扔了的。

“不,你没有!”卡德鲁斯答道,“你只是把它扔在了一边。我看见你把它扔在一个角落里了。”

“闭嘴!你根本什么也没看见。你当时喝醉了!”

“弗尔南多去哪儿了?”卡德鲁斯问。

“我怎么知道?”腾格拉尔回答,“大概是处理他自己的事情去了吧,先别管他在哪儿了,我们赶紧去看看有没有什么办法可以帮一下我们那位可怜的朋友。”

在他们谈话的时候,唐太斯正和他的朋友们一一握手告别,然后他走到那位官员身边,说:“请诸位放心,我只不过去解释一些小误会而已,我想我又没犯什么法,不会坐牢的。”

“唔,肯定是这样!”腾格拉尔接着话茬说,他现在已走到大家的前面,“我相信只不过是一点误会而已。”

唐太斯夹在警长和士兵中间走下楼去。门口已有一辆马车在等候着他了。他钻进了车里,两个兵和那警长也接着进去了,马车就向马赛驶去了。

“再见了,再见了,我亲爱的爱德蒙!”美塞苔丝扑到栏杆上向他伸出手臂大声喊着。

这样被带走的人听到那最后的一声呼喊,象感到了他未婚妻的心被撕碎了一般,他从车厢里探出头来喊道:“再见了,美塞苔丝。”于是马车就转过圣尼古位堡的一个拐角不见了。

“你们大家都在这儿等我!”莫雷尔先生喊道,“我马上找一辆马车赶到马赛去,等打听着消息回来告诉你们。”

“对呀!”许多声音异口同声的喊道,“去吧,快去快回!”

莫雷尔先生走了以后,留下来的那些人都有些不知所措。

老爹和美塞苔丝各自怀着满腹的忧愁木然呆立着,最后,这两个遭受同一打击下的不幸的人的目光终于碰到了一起,悲伤地拥抱在了一起。这时弗尔南多又出现了,他用一只颤抖的手给自己倒了一杯水,一饮而尽,然后在一张椅子上坐了下来。

美塞苔丝已离开了老人的怀抱,正虚弱地倒在一张椅子上,碰巧弗尔南多的座位就在她的旁边,他本能地把他的椅子拖后了一点。

“是他!”卡德鲁斯低声对腾格拉尔说,他的眼睛始终没离开过弗尔南多。

“我倒不这样认为,”那一个回答说,“他太蠢了,绝想不出这种计谋的。我希望那个做孽的人会受惩罚。”

“你怎么不说那个给他出谋划策的人该受罚呢!”卡德鲁斯说。

“当然罗,”腾格拉尔说,“不过,并不是每个人都要对他随口说的负责的!”

“哼,如果随便讲话的真的兑现了就该他负责。”

这时,对被捕这件事大家都在议论纷纷。

“腾格拉尔,”有人问,“你对这事怎么看?”

“我想,”腾格拉尔说,“可能是唐太斯在船上被搜出了什么被认为是违禁品的小东西吧。”

“但假如他真这样做了,你怎么会不知道呢?腾格拉尔,你不是船上的押运员吗?”

“我只知道我要对船上装的货物负责。我知道船上装着棉花,是从亚历山大港潘斯德里先生的货仓和士麦拿潘斯考先生的货仓里装上船的。我所知道仅此而已,至于别的什么,我是没必要去过问的。”

“噢,现在我想起来了!”那可怜的老爹说,“我的儿子昨天告诉我,说他有一小盒咖啡和一点烟草在船上带给我!”

“你看,这就对了!”腾格拉尔宣称说。“现在祸根找着了,一定是海关关员当我不在的时候上船去搜查,发现了可怜的唐太斯藏着宝贝了。”

美塞苔丝根本不相信她的爱人被捕的这种说法。她一直努力克制着悲哀,现在突然地放声大哭起来。

“别哭,别哭,”老人说,“我可怜的孩子,事情会有希望!”

“会有希望的!腾格拉尔也说。

“会有希望的!”弗尔南多也想这么说,但他的话却哽住了,他的嘴唇蠕动了一下,但始终没发出声音来。

“这下好了!好消息!”站在走廊上的一个人忽然喊道。

“莫雷尔先生回来了。他一定会带好消息给我们的。”

美塞苔丝和老人急忙奔向前去迎接船主,在门口碰到了他。莫雷尔先生的脸色非常惨白。

“有什么消息?”大家异口同声地问。

“唉,诸位,”莫雷尔先生无奈地摇摇头说,“事情比我们预料的要严重得多。”

“呵,先生,他是无罪的呀!”美塞苔丝抽搭着说。

“这我相信!”莫雷尔先生回答说,“可是他仍然被指控为——”

“什么罪名?”老唐太斯问。

“控他是一个拿破仑党的眼线!”

读者们一定还记得,在我们这个故事发生的那个年代,这是多么可怕的一个罪名。美塞苔丝绝望地惨叫了一声,而心碎的老人则气息奄奄地倒在了一张椅子上。

“腾格拉尔!”卡德鲁斯低声说,“你骗了我,——昨天晚上你说的那套鬼把戏已成现实了。现在我明白了。但我不忍心看到一个可怜的老头子和一个无辜的姑娘这样痛苦不堪。我要去把一切都告诉他们。”

“闭嘴,你这傻瓜!”腾格拉尔急忙抓住他的胳膊恶狠狠地说,“不然我可不负责你自己的人身安全。谁能说清楚唐太斯究竟是有罪还是无罪?船的确停靠过厄尔巴岛,他的确曾离船在岛上呆了一整天。现在,假如从他身上找到什么有关的信件或其他文件,到那时凡是帮他说话的人都会被看作是他的同谋的。”

出于自私心的本能,卡德鲁斯立刻感觉出了这番话的份量。他满脸恐惧和忧虑地望着腾格拉尔,然后连忙采取了进一步退两步的态度。

“那么,我们等等再说吧。”他嗫嚅着说道。

“是啊!”腾格拉尔回答。“我们等等再说吧。假如他的确是无辜的,那自然会被释放,假如的确有罪,那我们可犯不上为他而受连累。”

“那么我们走吧。我们不能再呆在这儿了。”

“好,我们走吧!”腾格拉尔为能找到一个一同退场的同伴而感到很高兴。“我们不管这事了,别人爱走不走,随他们的便。”

他们走了以后,弗尔南多又成了美塞苔丝的保护人了,领她回迦太兰村去了。而唐太斯的一些朋友则护送着那位心碎的老人回家去了。

爱德蒙被控为拿破仑党的眼线从而被捕的消息很快就在城里流传开了。

“你能相信有这种事情吗,我亲爱的腾格拉尔?”莫雷尔先生问,他因急于回城去打听唐太斯的新消息,途中赶上了他的押运员和卡德鲁斯。“你认为这种事可能吗?”

“噢,您知道,我已经对您说过,”腾格拉尔回答说“我觉得他在厄尔巴岛停靠这件事是非常可疑的。”

“你的这种怀疑除了对我以外还对别人提起过吗?”

“当然没有!”腾格拉尔回答说。然后又低声耳语道,“您知道,您的叔叔波立卡•莫雷尔先生曾在先朝当过官,而且关于这件事又不怎么隐讳,所以说不定您也会有很大的嫌疑的,人家会说您也不满于拿破仑的垮台。假如我对别人讲了我心中的疑虑那我不是就伤害到了爱德蒙和您么。我很清楚,象我这样做下属的人,不论发生了什么事情,都应该先通知船主,而且必须小心谨慎,不能让其他的人知道才行。”

“很好,腾格拉尔,很好!”莫雷尔先生说道。“你是一个好小伙子,本来,我在安排那可怜的爱德蒙当法老号的船长的时候,也打算过如何安排你的。”

“你说什么,先生!”

“我事先曾问过唐太斯,问他对你有何看法,对你继续在船任职什么意见——因为我已看出你们之间的关系相当冷淡。”

“他是怎么回答的?”

“他说他的确因某件事得罪过你,但记不清是为什么了。他说不论是谁,只要船主信任他,他也应该尊敬他。”

“伪君子!”腾格拉尔低声地骂了一句。

“可怜的唐太斯!”卡德鲁斯说。“谁都无法否认他是一个心地高尚的好小伙子!”

“可就目前这种状况来看,”莫雷尔先生继续说,“我们可别忘了法老号现在是处在没有船长管理的状态之中。”

“噢!”腾格拉尔回答说,“反正我们三个月之内还不会离开这个港口,但愿到那时,唐太斯能被释放出来。”

“这点我毫不怀疑,只是这期间我们怎么办呢?”

“哦,这期间反正我在这儿,莫雷尔先生,”腾格拉尔答道,“您也知道,我管理船上一切的本领,并不亚于经验最丰富的现任船长。假如您愿意让我为您效劳,这对您也是很有利的,因为唐太斯一旦获释回来,法老号上的人事就不必再变动了,只要唐太斯和我各干各的本职工作就行了。”

“谢谢,我的好朋友,谢谢你的这个好主意——这下可把所有问题都解决了。我立刻任命你来指挥法老号,并监督卸货。不论个人出了什么事,业务总不能受影响。”

“请放心好了,莫雷尔先生,但您想我们什么时候才去探望可怜的爱德蒙呢?”

“我见到维尔福先生以后,就可以马上让你知道的,我要尽力要求他为爱德蒙说说情。我知道他是个激烈的保王党。但是,除了这点和他那检察官的地位以外,他也是个人,而且我不认为他是个坏人!”

“也许不是坏人,”腾格拉尔答道,“但我听说,他野心勃勃,而野心又最会使人的心肠变硬的!”

“唉,也只能这样了!”莫雷尔先生说,“我们走一步看一步吧!你现在赶快到船上去吧,我等会儿到船上来找你。”说着那可敬的船主离开了那两位朋友,向法院的方向走去了。

“你看,”腾格拉尔对卡德鲁斯说,“事情变复杂了吧。你现在还想去为爱德蒙辩护吗?”

“不,当然不,但我觉得开玩笑竟开出这样可怕的后果也实在太可怕了。”

“我倒要问问,这种后果是谁造成的?不是你,也不是我,而是弗尔南多。你当然知道得很清楚,我把那张纸丢在房间的角落里了,——真的,我还以为我当时把它撕了呢。”

“噢,没有!”卡德鲁斯答道,“这一点我记得很清楚,你没有撕。我清清楚楚地看见你把它揉皱了丢在凉棚角落里,我倒真希望那纸条现在还在那儿。”

“嗯,如果你的确看到过,那又有什么办法,一定是弗尔南多把它拾了起来,另外抄了一遍,或改写了一遍,或许,他甚至根本就没重抄。现在我想起来了,天哪!他也许就是把那张纸条给送去了1谢天谢地,幸亏我那笔迹是伪装过的。”

“那么,你是否早就知道唐太斯参与了谋反的呢?”

“不,我早就说过,我还以为只不过是一个玩笑罢了。但似乎是,象阿尔勒甘一样,我在玩笑中道出了实情。”

“可是,”卡德鲁斯又说道,“我真不愿意看到发生这样的事,或至少应该与我无关。你就等着瞧吧,腾格拉尔,这件事会使我们两个都倒霉的。”

“胡说!如果这件事真会带来什么灾难,那也应该落到那个罪人的头上,而那个人,你也知道,是弗尔南多。我们怎么会牵扯在里面呢?只要我们自己保守秘密,不声不响的,对这件事不去对别人泄露一个字就得了。这样你就会看到那风波过去,而我们丝毫不受任何影响。”

“那好吧!”卡德鲁斯答应了一声,就挥手告别了腾格拉尔,朝梅朗港方向走去了,他一边走,一面晃动着脑袋嘴里还念念有词的,像在自己苦思冥想似的。

“好了,现在,”腾格拉尔自言自语地说,“一切都已随了我的心愿。我已暂时当上了法老号船长,而且还可能永远地当下去,只要卡德鲁斯那个傻瓜不多嘴多舌的。我只怕唐太斯会重新放出来的。不过,他已落到了法院的手里,”他又带着微笑说,“而法院是公正的,”说着,他便跳进了一只小艇,叫人摇到法老号上去,因为莫雷尔先生说过要在那儿见他的。




Chapter 6. The Deputy Procureur du Roi.

In one of the aristocratic mansions built by Puget in the Rue du Grand Cours opposite the Medusa fountain, a second marriage feast was being celebrated, almost at the same hour with the nuptial repast given by Dantes. In this case, however, although the occasion of the entertainment was similar, the company was strikingly dissimilar. Instead of a rude mixture of sailors, soldiers, and those belonging to the humblest grade of life, the present assembly was composed of the very flower of Marseilles society,—magistrates who had resigned their office during the usurper's reign; officers who had deserted from the imperial army and joined forces with Conde; and younger members of families, brought up to hate and execrate the man whom five years of exile would convert into a martyr, and fifteen of restoration elevate to the rank of a god.

The guests were still at table, and the heated and energetic conversation that prevailed betrayed the violent and vindictive passions that then agitated each dweller of the South, where unhappily, for five centuries religious strife had long given increased bitterness to the violence of party feeling.

The emperor, now king of the petty Island of Elba, after having held sovereign sway over one-half of the world, counting as his subjects a small population of five or six thousand souls,—after having been accustomed to hear the "Vive Napoleons" of a hundred and twenty millions of human beings, uttered in ten different languages,—was looked upon here as a ruined man, separated forever from any fresh connection with France or claim to her throne.

The magistrates freely discussed their political views; the military part of the company talked unreservedly of Moscow and Leipsic, while the women commented on the divorce of Josephine. It was not over the downfall of the man, but over the defeat of the Napoleonic idea, that they rejoiced, and in this they foresaw for themselves the bright and cheering prospect of a revivified political existence.

An old man, decorated with the cross of Saint Louis, now rose and proposed the health of King Louis XVIII. It was the Marquis de Saint-Meran. This toast, recalling at once the patient exile of Hartwell and the peace-loving King of France, excited universal enthusiasm; glasses were elevated in the air a l'Anglais, and the ladies, snatching their bouquets from their fair bosoms, strewed the table with their floral treasures. In a word, an almost poetical fervor prevailed.

"Ah," said the Marquise de Saint-Meran, a woman with a stern, forbidding eye, though still noble and distinguished in appearance, despite her fifty years—"ah, these revolutionists, who have driven us from those very possessions they afterwards purchased for a mere trifle during the Reign of Terror, would be compelled to own, were they here, that all true devotion was on our side, since we were content to follow the fortunes of a falling monarch, while they, on the contrary, made their fortune by worshipping the rising sun; yes, yes, they could not help admitting that the king, for whom we sacrificed rank, wealth, and station was truly our 'Louis the well-beloved,' while their wretched usurper his been, and ever will be, to them their evil genius, their 'Napoleon the accursed.' Am I not right, Villefort?"

"I beg your pardon, madame. I really must pray you to excuse me, but—in truth—I was not attending to the conversation."

"Marquise, marquise!" interposed the old nobleman who had proposed the toast, "let the young people alone; let me tell you, on one's wedding day there are more agreeable subjects of conversation than dry politics."

"Never mind, dearest mother," said a young and lovely girl, with a profusion of light brown hair, and eyes that seemed to float in liquid crystal, "'tis all my fault for seizing upon M. de Villefort, so as to prevent his listening to what you said. But there—now take him—he is your own for as long as you like. M. Villefort, I beg to remind you my mother speaks to you."

"If the marquise will deign to repeat the words I but imperfectly caught, I shall be delighted to answer," said M. de Villefort.

"Never mind, Renee," replied the marquise, with a look of tenderness that seemed out of keeping with her harsh dry features; but, however all other feelings may be withered in a woman's nature, there is always one bright smiling spot in the desert of her heart, and that is the shrine of maternal love. "I forgive you. What I was saying, Villefort, was, that the Bonapartists had not our sincerity, enthusiasm, or devotion."

"They had, however, what supplied the place of those fine qualities," replied the young man, "and that was fanaticism. Napoleon is the Mahomet of the West, and is worshipped by his commonplace but ambitions followers, not only as a leader and lawgiver, but also as the personification of equality."

"He!" cried the marquise: "Napoleon the type of equality! For mercy's sake, then, what would you call Robespierre? Come, come, do not strip the latter of his just rights to bestow them on the Corsican, who, to my mind, has usurped quite enough."

"Nay, madame; I would place each of these heroes on his right pedestal—that of Robespierre on his scaffold in the Place Louis Quinze; that of Napoleon on the column of the Place Vendome. The only difference consists in the opposite character of the equality advocated by these two men; one is the equality that elevates, the other is the equality that degrades; one brings a king within reach of the guillotine, the other elevates the people to a level with the throne. Observe," said Villefort, smiling, "I do not mean to deny that both these men were revolutionary scoundrels, and that the 9th Thermidor and the 4th of April, in the year 1814, were lucky days for France, worthy of being gratefully remembered by every friend to monarchy and civil order; and that explains how it comes to pass that, fallen, as I trust he is forever, Napoleon has still retained a train of parasitical satellites. Still, marquise, it has been so with other usurpers—Cromwell, for instance, who was not half so bad as Napoleon, had his partisans and advocates."

"Do you know, Villefort, that you are talking in a most dreadfully revolutionary strain? But I excuse it, it is impossible to expect the son of a Girondin to be free from a small spice of the old leaven." A deep crimson suffused the countenance of Villefort.

"'Tis true, madame," answered he, "that my father was a Girondin, but he was not among the number of those who voted for the king's death; he was an equal sufferer with yourself during the Reign of Terror, and had well-nigh lost his head on the same scaffold on which your father perished."

"True," replied the marquise, without wincing in the slightest degree at the tragic remembrance thus called up; "but bear in mind, if you please, that our respective parents underwent persecution and proscription from diametrically opposite principles; in proof of which I may remark, that while my family remained among the stanchest adherents of the exiled princes, your father lost no time in joining the new government; and that while the Citizen Noirtier was a Girondin, the Count Noirtier became a senator."

"Dear mother," interposed Renee, "you know very well it was agreed that all these disagreeable reminiscences should forever be laid aside."

"Suffer me, also, madame," replied Villefort, "to add my earnest request to Mademoiselle de Saint-Meran's, that you will kindly allow the veil of oblivion to cover and conceal the past. What avails recrimination over matters wholly past recall? For my own part, I have laid aside even the name of my father, and altogether disown his political principles. He was—nay, probably may still be—a Bonapartist, and is called Noirtier; I, on the contrary, am a stanch royalist, and style myself de Villefort. Let what may remain of revolutionary sap exhaust itself and die away with the old trunk, and condescend only to regard the young shoot which has started up at a distance from the parent tree, without having the power, any more than the wish, to separate entirely from the stock from which it sprung."

"Bravo, Villefort!" cried the marquis; "excellently well said! Come, now, I have hopes of obtaining what I have been for years endeavoring to persuade the marquise to promise; namely, a perfect amnesty and forgetfulness of the past."

"With all my heart," replied the marquise; "let the past be forever forgotten. I promise you it affords me as little pleasure to revive it as it does you. All I ask is, that Villefort will be firm and inflexible for the future in his political principles. Remember, also, Villefort, that we have pledged ourselves to his majesty for your fealty and strict loyalty, and that at our recommendation the king consented to forget the past, as I do" (and here she extended to him her hand)—"as I now do at your entreaty. But bear in mind, that should there fall in your way any one guilty of conspiring against the government, you will be so much the more bound to visit the offence with rigorous punishment, as it is known you belong to a suspected family."

"Alas, madame," returned Villefort, "my profession, as well as the times in which we live, compels me to be severe. I have already successfully conducted several public prosecutions, and brought the offenders to merited punishment. But we have not done with the thing yet."

"Do you, indeed, think so?" inquired the marquise.

"I am, at least, fearful of it. Napoleon, in the Island of Elba, is too near France, and his proximity keeps up the hopes of his partisans. Marseilles is filled with half-pay officers, who are daily, under one frivolous pretext or other, getting up quarrels with the royalists; from hence arise continual and fatal duels among the higher classes of persons, and assassinations in the lower."

"You have heard, perhaps," said the Comte de Salvieux, one of M. de Saint-Meran's oldest friends, and chamberlain to the Comte d'Artois, "that the Holy Alliance purpose removing him from thence?"

"Yes; they were talking about it when we left Paris," said M. de Saint-Meran; "and where is it decided to transfer him?"

"To Saint Helena."

"For heaven's sake, where is that?" asked the marquise.

"An island situated on the other side of the equator, at least two thousand leagues from here," replied the count.

"So much the better. As Villefort observes, it is a great act of folly to have left such a man between Corsica, where he was born, and Naples, of which his brother-in-law is king, and face to face with Italy, the sovereignty of which he coveted for his son."

"Unfortunately," said Villefort, "there are the treaties of 1814, and we cannot molest Napoleon without breaking those compacts."

"Oh, well, we shall find some way out of it," responded M. de Salvieux. "There wasn't any trouble over treaties when it was a question of shooting the poor Duc d'Enghien."

"Well," said the marquise, "it seems probable that, by the aid of the Holy Alliance, we shall be rid of Napoleon; and we must trust to the vigilance of M. de Villefort to purify Marseilles of his partisans. The king is either a king or no king; if he be acknowledged as sovereign of France, he should be upheld in peace and tranquillity; and this can best be effected by employing the most inflexible agents to put down every attempt at conspiracy—'tis the best and surest means of preventing mischief."

"Unfortunately, madame," answered Villefort, "the strong arm of the law is not called upon to interfere until the evil has taken place."

"Then all he has got to do is to endeavor to repair it."

"Nay, madame, the law is frequently powerless to effect this; all it can do is to avenge the wrong done."

"Oh, M. de Villefort," cried a beautiful young creature, daughter to the Comte de Salvieux, and the cherished friend of Mademoiselle de Saint-Meran, "do try and get up some famous trial while we are at Marseilles. I never was in a law-court; I am told it is so very amusing!"

"Amusing, certainly," replied the young man, "inasmuch as, instead of shedding tears as at the fictitious tale of woe produced at a theatre, you behold in a law-court a case of real and genuine distress—a drama of life. The prisoner whom you there see pale, agitated, and alarmed, instead of—as is the case when a curtain falls on a tragedy—going home to sup peacefully with his family, and then retiring to rest, that he may recommence his mimic woes on the morrow,—is removed from your sight merely to be reconducted to his prison and delivered up to the executioner. I leave you to judge how far your nerves are calculated to bear you through such a scene. Of this, however, be assured, that should any favorable opportunity present itself, I will not fail to offer you the choice of being present."

"For shame, M. de Villefort!" said Renee, becoming quite pale; "don't you see how you are frightening us?—and yet you laugh."

"What would you have? 'Tis like a duel. I have already recorded sentence of death, five or six times, against the movers of political conspiracies, and who can say how many daggers may be ready sharpened, and only waiting a favorable opportunity to be buried in my heart?"

"Gracious heavens, M. de Villefort," said Renee, becoming more and more terrified; "you surely are not in earnest."

"Indeed I am," replied the young magistrate with a smile; "and in the interesting trial that young lady is anxious to witness, the case would only be still more aggravated. Suppose, for instance, the prisoner, as is more than probable, to have served under Napoleon—well, can you expect for an instant, that one accustomed, at the word of his commander, to rush fearlessly on the very bayonets of his foe, will scruple more to drive a stiletto into the heart of one he knows to be his personal enemy, than to slaughter his fellow-creatures, merely because bidden to do so by one he is bound to obey? Besides, one requires the excitement of being hateful in the eyes of the accused, in order to lash one's self into a state of sufficient vehemence and power. I would not choose to see the man against whom I pleaded smile, as though in mockery of my words. No; my pride is to see the accused pale, agitated, and as though beaten out of all composure by the fire of my eloquence." Renee uttered a smothered exclamation.

"Bravo!" cried one of the guests; "that is what I call talking to some purpose."

"Just the person we require at a time like the present," said a second.

"What a splendid business that last case of yours was, my dear Villefort!" remarked a third; "I mean the trial of the man for murdering his father. Upon my word, you killed him ere the executioner had laid his hand upon him."

"Oh, as for parricides, and such dreadful people as that," interposed Renee, "it matters very little what is done to them; but as regards poor unfortunate creatures whose only crime consists in having mixed themselves up in political intrigues"—

"Why, that is the very worst offence they could possibly commit; for, don't you see, Renee, the king is the father of his people, and he who shall plot or contrive aught against the life and safety of the parent of thirty-two millions of souls, is a parricide upon a fearfully great scale?"

"I don't know anything about that," replied Renee; "but, M. de Villefort, you have promised me—have you not?—always to show mercy to those I plead for."

"Make yourself quite easy on that point," answered Villefort, with one of his sweetest smiles; "you and I will always consult upon our verdicts."

"My love," said the marquise, "attend to your doves, your lap-dogs, and embroidery, but do not meddle with what you do not understand. Nowadays the military profession is in abeyance and the magisterial robe is the badge of honor. There is a wise Latin proverb that is very much in point."

"Cedant arma togae," said Villefort with a bow.

"I cannot speak Latin," responded the marquise.

"Well," said Renee, "I cannot help regretting you had not chosen some other profession than your own—a physician, for instance. Do you know I always felt a shudder at the idea of even a destroying angel?"

"Dear, good Renee," whispered Villefort, as he gazed with unutterable tenderness on the lovely speaker.

"Let us hope, my child," cried the marquis, "that M. de Villefort may prove the moral and political physician of this province; if so, he will have achieved a noble work."

"And one which will go far to efface the recollection of his father's conduct," added the incorrigible marquise.

"Madame," replied Villefort, with a mournful smile, "I have already had the honor to observe that my father has—at least, I hope so—abjured his past errors, and that he is, at the present moment, a firm and zealous friend to religion and order—a better royalist, possibly, than his son; for he has to atone for past dereliction, while I have no other impulse than warm, decided preference and conviction." Having made this well-turned speech, Villefort looked carefully around to mark the effect of his oratory, much as he would have done had he been addressing the bench in open court.

"Do you know, my dear Villefort," cried the Comte de Salvieux, "that is exactly what I myself said the other day at the Tuileries, when questioned by his majesty's principal chamberlain touching the singularity of an alliance between the son of a Girondin and the daughter of an officer of the Duc de Conde; and I assure you he seemed fully to comprehend that this mode of reconciling political differences was based upon sound and excellent principles. Then the king, who, without our suspecting it, had overheard our conversation, interrupted us by saying, 'Villefort'—observe that the king did not pronounce the word Noirtier, but, on the contrary, placed considerable emphasis on that of Villefort—'Villefort,' said his majesty, 'is a young man of great judgment and discretion, who will be sure to make a figure in his profession; I like him much, and it gave me great pleasure to hear that he was about to become the son-in-law of the Marquis and Marquise de Saint-Meran. I should myself have recommended the match, had not the noble marquis anticipated my wishes by requesting my consent to it.'"

"Is it possible the king could have condescended so far as to express himself so favorably of me?" asked the enraptured Villefort.

"I give you his very words; and if the marquis chooses to be candid, he will confess that they perfectly agree with what his majesty said to him, when he went six months ago to consult him upon the subject of your espousing his daughter."

"That is true," answered the marquis.

"How much do I owe this gracious prince! What is there I would not do to evince my earnest gratitude!"

"That is right," cried the marquise. "I love to see you thus. Now, then, were a conspirator to fall into your hands, he would be most welcome."

"For my part, dear mother." interposed Renee, "I trust your wishes will not prosper, and that Providence will only permit petty offenders, poor debtors, and miserable cheats to fall into M. de Villefort's hands,—then I shall be contented."

"Just the same as though you prayed that a physician might only be called upon to prescribe for headaches, measles, and the stings of wasps, or any other slight affection of the epidermis. If you wish to see me the king's attorney, you must desire for me some of those violent and dangerous diseases from the cure of which so much honor redounds to the physician."

At this moment, and as though the utterance of Villefort's wish had sufficed to effect its accomplishment, a servant entered the room, and whispered a few words in his ear. Villefort immediately rose from table and quitted the room upon the plea of urgent business; he soon, however, returned, his whole face beaming with delight. Renee regarded him with fond affection; and certainly his handsome features, lit up as they then were with more than usual fire and animation, seemed formed to excite the innocent admiration with which she gazed on her graceful and intelligent lover.

"You were wishing just now," said Villefort, addressing her, "that I were a doctor instead of a lawyer. Well, I at least resemble the disciples of Esculapius in one thing—that of not being able to call a day my own, not even that of my betrothal."

"And wherefore were you called away just now?" asked Mademoiselle de Saint-Meran, with an air of deep interest.

"For a very serious matter, which bids fair to make work for the executioner."

"How dreadful!" exclaimed Renee, turning pale.

"Is it possible?" burst simultaneously from all who were near enough to the magistrate to hear his words.

"Why, if my information prove correct, a sort of Bonaparte conspiracy has just been discovered."

"Can I believe my ears?" cried the marquise.

"I will read you the letter containing the accusation, at least," said Villefort:—

"'The king's attorney is informed by a friend to the throne and the religions institutions of his country, that one named Edmond Dantes, mate of the ship Pharaon, this day arrived from Smyrna, after having touched at Naples and Porto-Ferrajo, has been the bearer of a letter from Murat to the usurper, and again taken charge of another letter from the usurper to the Bonapartist club in Paris. Ample corroboration of this statement may be obtained by arresting the above-mentioned Edmond Dantes, who either carries the letter for Paris about with him, or has it at his father's abode. Should it not be found in the possession of father or son, then it will assuredly be discovered in the cabin belonging to the said Dantes on board the Pharaon.'"

"But," said Renee, "this letter, which, after all, is but an anonymous scrawl, is not even addressed to you, but to the king's attorney."

"True; but that gentleman being absent, his secretary, by his orders, opened his letters; thinking this one of importance, he sent for me, but not finding me, took upon himself to give the necessary orders for arresting the accused party."

"Then the guilty person is absolutely in custody?" said the marquise.

"Nay, dear mother, say the accused person. You know we cannot yet pronounce him guilty."

"He is in safe custody," answered Villefort; "and rely upon it, if the letter is found, he will not be likely to be trusted abroad again, unless he goes forth under the especial protection of the headsman."

"And where is the unfortunate being?" asked Renee.

"He is at my house."

"Come, come, my friend," interrupted the marquise, "do not neglect your duty to linger with us. You are the king's servant, and must go wherever that service calls you."

"O Villefort!" cried Renee, clasping her hands, and looking towards her lover with piteous earnestness, "be merciful on this the day of our betrothal."

The young man passed round to the side of the table where the fair pleader sat, and leaning over her chair said tenderly,—

"To give you pleasure, my sweet Renee, I promise to show all the lenity in my power; but if the charges brought against this Bonapartist hero prove correct, why, then, you really must give me leave to order his head to be cut off." Renee shuddered.

"Never mind that foolish girl, Villefort," said the marquise. "She will soon get over these things." So saying, Madame de Saint-Meran extended her dry bony hand to Villefort, who, while imprinting a son-in-law's respectful salute on it, looked at Renee, as much as to say, "I must try and fancy 'tis your dear hand I kiss, as it should have been."

"These are mournful auspices to accompany a betrothal," sighed poor Renee.

"Upon my word, child!" exclaimed the angry marquise, "your folly exceeds all bounds. I should be glad to know what connection there can possibly be between your sickly sentimentality and the affairs of the state!"

"O mother!" murmured Renee.

"Nay, madame, I pray you pardon this little traitor. I promise you that to make up for her want of loyalty, I will be most inflexibly severe;" then casting an expressive glance at his betrothed, which seemed to say, "Fear not, for your dear sake my justice shall be tempered with mercy," and receiving a sweet and approving smile in return, Villefort quitted the room.

 

第六章 代理检察官

差不多就在唐太斯举行婚宴的同一个时间里,大法院路上墨杜萨喷泉对面的一座宏大的贵族式的巨宅里,也正有人在设宴请吃订婚酒。但这儿的宾客可不是水手,士兵和那些头面人物下层平民百姓;团聚在这儿的都是马赛上流社会的头面人物,——文官曾在拿破仑统治的时期辞职退休;武官则从法军里开小差并投身于外国列强的军队里,而那些青年人则都在咒骂那个逆贼的环境中长大的,五年的流放的生活本该把这个人变成一个殉道者,而十五年的复辟生涯却使他被尊为半神的人。

宾客们围坐在餐桌前,席间的谈话热烈而紧张,谈话里充满了当时使南方居民们激昂复仇的情绪,法国南部曾经过五百年的宗教斗争,所以党派之间的对立的情绪极其激烈。

那个皇帝,曾一度统治过半个世界,并听惯了一亿二千万臣民用十种不同的语言高呼“拿破仑万岁!”现在却被贬为爱尔巴岛的国王,仅仅统治着五六千人;在餐桌边上这些人看来,他已经永远失去了法国,永远失去了他在法国的皇位了。

那些文官们滔滔不绝地讨论着他们的政治观点;武官们则在谈论莫斯科和来比锡战役,女人们则正在议论着约瑟芬皇后离婚的事。这一群保皇党人不但在庆祝一个人的垮台,而且还在庆祝一种主义的灭亡,他们相信政治上的繁荣已重新在他们眼前展现开来,他们已从痛苦的恶梦中醒来了。

一个佩戴着圣路易十字勋章的老人站了起来,他提议为国王路易十八的健康干杯。这位老人是圣梅朗侯爵。这一杯酒立刻使人联想到了在哈威尔的放逐生活和那爱好和平的法国国王,大家群情激昂,纷纷学英国人举杯祝贺的样子把酒杯举到了空中,太太小姐们则把挂在她们胸前的花束解开来散花女神般地把花撒了一桌。一时间,席上气氛热烈充满了诗意。

圣•梅朗侯爵夫人有着一对严厉而令人憎恶的眼睛,虽然是已有五十岁了但看上去仍有贵族气派,她说:“那些革命党人,他们不仅赶走我们,还抢走我们的财产,到后来在恐怖时期却只卖了一点点钱。他们如果在这儿,就不得不承认,真正的信仰还是站在我们这一边的,因为我们自愿追随一个没落的王朝的命运,而他们却恰恰相反,他们只知道对一个初升的朝阳顶礼膜拜,是的,是的,我们不得不承认:我们为之牺牲了官位财富的这位国王,才真正是我们‘万民爱戴的路易’,而他们那个篡权夺位者却永远只是个被人诅咒的‘该死的拿破仑’。我说的对不对,维尔福?”

“您说什么,请您原谅,夫人。真的请您原谅,我刚才没留心听您在说什么。”

“夫人,夫人!”刚才那个提议祝酒的老人插进来说,“别去打扰那些年青人吧,他们快要结婚了,当然他们要谈什么就去谈好了,只是自然不会去谈政治了。”

“算了吧,我亲爱的妈妈,”一个年轻的美人说道,她长着浓密褐色头发,眼睛水灵灵顾盼如珍珠般闪亮,“这都怪我不好,是我刚才缠住了维尔福先生,以致使他没有听到您说的话。好了现在您跟他说吧,而且您爱谈多久就谈多久。维尔福先生,我请您注意,我母亲在跟您说话呢。”

“如果侯爵夫人愿意把刚才的话再说一遍,我是非常乐于答复。”福尔维先生说。

“算了,蕾妮,我饶了你。”侯爵夫人说道,她那严厉死板的脸上露出一点温柔慈爱的神色。

女人总是这样的,其他的一切感情或许都会萎谢,但在母性的胸怀里,总有宽厚善良的一面,这是上帝特地给母爱留下的一席之地——“福尔维,我刚才说:拿破仑党分子丝毫没有我们那种真诚,热情和忠心。”

“啊,夫人,他们倒也有代替这些品德的东西,”青年回答说,“那就是狂热。拿破仑是西方的穆罕默德,他的那些庸庸碌碌却又野心勃勃的信徒们很崇拜他,他们不仅把他看作一个领袖和立法者,还把他看作平民的化身。”

“他!”侯爵夫人喊道,“拿破仑,平等的象征!天哪!那么,你把罗伯斯庇尔 【罗伯斯庇尔(1758—1794)法国资产阶级革命时期时代雅各宾党的领袖,革命政府的首脑,在热月九日政变后,被处死。——译注】又比做什么?算了,不要把后者头衔拿来去赐给那个科西嘉人 【指拿破仑——译注】了。我看,篡位的事已经够多的了。”

“不,夫人,如果给这些英雄们树上纪念像的话,我要给他们每个人一个正确的地位——罗伯庇尔的应该树在他建立的断头台那个地方;拿破仑的则应该刻在旺多姆广场上的廊柱上。这两个人所代表的平等,其性质上是相反的,差别就在于——前一个是降低了平等,而后一个则是抬高了平等的地位。一个要把国王送上断头台,而另一个则要把人民抬高到王位上。请注意,”维尔福微着笑说,“我并不是在否认我刚才说的这两个人都是闹革命的混蛋,我承认热月九日 【热月九日是罗伯斯庇尔等人被捕的日子。——译注】和四月四日 【这里指的是1814年4月初拿破仑退位被囚的日子——译注】是法国并不幸运的两个日子,是值得王朝和文明社会的朋友们庆祝的日子,我想说的是,虽然我想信拿破仑已永远一蹶不振,但他却仍然拥有一批狂热的信徒。还有,侯爵夫人,其他那些大逆不道的人也都是这样的,——譬如说,克伦威尔吧 【克伦威尔(1599—1658),英国政治家,资产阶级革命的领导人。——译注】他虽然还不及拿破仑的一半,但他也有他的信徒。”

“你知道不知道,维尔福,你满口都是革命党那种可怕的强辩,这一点我倒可以原谅,一个吉伦党徒 【18世纪法国资产阶级革命时期,代表大工商业资产阶级的政党,1792年后转向反对革命。——译注】的儿子,难道会对恐怖保留一点兴趣。”

维尔福的脸涨的通红,“不错,夫人,”他回答道,“我的父亲是一个吉伦特党党员,但他并没有去投票赞成处死国王。在恐怖时期,他也和您一样是一个受难者,也几乎和您的父亲一样在同一个断头台上被杀。”

“不错,”侯爵夫人回答,这个被唤醒的悲惨的记忆丝毫没使她动容,“但我要请您记住,我们两家的父亲虽然同时被害,但他们各自的原因却是大相径庭的。为了证明这一点,我来把旧事重新提一遍:亲王 【指路易十八——译注】被流放的时候,我的家庭成员依旧是他忠诚的臣仆,而你的父亲却迫不及待的去投奔了新政府,公民瓦蒂成为吉伦特党以后,就摇身一变成了瓦蒂埃伯爵,并以上议员和政治家的姿态出现了。”

“亲爱的妈妈,”蕾妮插进来说:“您是知道的,大家早已讲好了的,别再提这些讨厌的往事了。”

“夫人,”维尔福说道,“我同意圣•梅明小姐的话,垦求您把过去忘了吧,这些陈年老账还翻它做什么?我本人不仅放弃了我父亲的政治主张,而且还抛弃了他的姓。他以前是——不,或许现在还是——一个拿破仑党人,他叫他的诺瓦蒂埃。我呢,相反,是一个忠诚的保皇党人,我姓我的维尔福。在一棵老树上还残余着点革命的液汁,就让它随着枯萎的老树干一起去干枯吧,至于那些新生的丫枝,它生长的地方离主干已隔开了一段距离,它很想和主干完全脱离关系,只是心有余而力不足罢了。”

“好,维尔福!”侯爵叫道,“说得妙极了!这几年来,我总在劝侯爵夫人,忘掉过去的事情,但从未成功过,但愿你能替我说服她。”

“好了,”侯爵夫人说道;“让我们永远忘记过去的事吧!这样再好不过了。至少,维尔福将来一定不会再动摇了。记住,维尔福,我们已用我们的身家性命向皇上为你作了担保,正因为如此,皇上才答应不追究过去(说到这里,她把她的手伸给他吻了一下),象我现在答应你的请求一样。你也要牢牢记祝要是有谁犯了颠覆政府罪而落到了你的手里,你可一定得严惩罪犯,因为大家都知道,你出身于一个可疑的家庭。”

“嗨,夫人!”维尔福回答说,“我的职业,正象我们现在所处的这个时代一样,要求我不得不严厉的,我已经很顺利的处理了几次公诉,都使罪犯受了应得的惩罚。不幸的是,我们现在还没到万事大吉的时候。”

“你真这样认为吗?”侯爵夫人问。

“恐怕是这样的。那在厄尔巴岛上的拿破仑,离法国仍然太近了,由于他近在咫尺,他的信徒们就会仍然抱有希望。马赛到处是些领了半饷休养的军官,他们每天尽为些鸡毛蒜皮的小事而借口和保皇党人吵架,所以上流社会中常常闹决斗,而下层社会中则时常闹暗杀。”

“你或许也听说过吧?”萨尔维欧伯爵说。萨尔维欧伯爵是圣•梅朗侯爵老朋友之一,又是亚托士伯爵的侍从官。“听说神圣同盟想要移居他地呢。”

“是的,我们离开巴黎的时候,他们正在研究这件事,”圣•梅朗侯爵说,“他们要把他移居到什么地方云呢?”

“到圣赫勒拿岛。”

“到圣•爱仑?那是个什么地方?”侯爵夫人问。

“是赤道那边的一个岛,离这儿有六千哩。”伯爵回答。

“那好极了!正如维尔福所说的,把这样一个人留在现在那个地方真是太蠢了,那儿一边靠近科西嘉——他出生的地方,一边靠近那勒斯——他妹夫在那儿做国王的地方,而对面就是意大利,他曾垂涎过那儿的主权,还想使他儿子做那儿的国王呢。”

“不幸的是,”维尔福说,“我们被一八一四年的条约束缚着,除非破坏那些条约,否则我们是无法动一动拿破仑的。”

“哼,那些条约迟早要被破坏,”萨尔维欧伯爵说,“不幸是德•昂甘公爵就是被他枪毙的,难道我们还要为他这样严守条约吗?”

“嗯,”侯爵夫人说,“有神圣同盟的帮助,我们有可能除掉拿破仑,至于他在马赛的那些信徒,我们必须让维尔福先生来予以肃清。要做国王就得象一个国王,那样来统治不然就干脆不做国王,如果我们承认他是法国的最高统治者,就必须为他这个王国保持和平与安宁。而最好的办法就是任命一批忠贞不渝的大臣来平定每一次可能的暴乱,——这是防止出乱子的最好方法。”

“夫人,”维尔福回答说,“不幸的是法律之手段虽强硬却无法做到防患于未然。”

“那么,法律的工作只是来弥补祸患了。”

“不,夫人,这一步法律也常常无力办到,它所能做的,只是惩戒既成的祸患而已。”

“噢,维尔福先生!”一个美丽的年轻姑娘喊道,她是萨尔维欧伯爵的女儿,圣•梅朗小姐的密友,“您想想办法,我们还在马赛的时候办几件轰动的案子吧,我从来没到过法庭看审讯案子,我听说那儿非常有趣!”

“有趣,当然罗,”青年答道,“比起在剧院里看杜撰的悲剧当然要有趣得多,在法院里,您所看到的案子是活生生的悲剧,——真正人生悲剧。您在那儿所看到的犯人,脸色苍白,焦急,惊恐,而当那场悲剧降下幕以后,他却无法回家平静地和他的家人共进晚餐,然后休息,准备明天再来重演一遍那悲哀的样子,他离开了您的视线以后,就被押回到了牢房里,被交给了刽子手。您自己来决定吧,看看您的神经能否受得了这样的场面。对这种事,请您放心,一旦有什么好机会,我一定不会忘了通知您,至于到场不到场,自然由您自己来决定。”

蕾妮脸色苍白地说:“您难道没看见您把我们都吓成什么样了吗?您还笑呢。”

“那你们想看到些什么?这是一种生死决斗。算起来,我已经判处过五六个政治犯和其他罪犯的死刑了,而谁能断定此刻又有多少正磨刀霍霍?伺机来对付我呢?”

“我的天!维尔福先生,”蕾妮说,她已愈来愈害怕了,“您不是在开玩笑吧?”

“我说的是真话,”年轻的法官面带微笑地回答说,“碰到有趣的审问,年轻的姑娘希望满足她的好奇心,而我是希望满足我的进取心,所以这种案件只会越审越严重。举个例子来说,在拿破仑手下的那些士兵——您能相信吗,他们习惯于听到命令就盲目地前冲去杀他从没见过的俄国人,奥地利人或匈牙利人,但当他们一旦知道了自己的私人仇敌以后,竟会畏畏缩缩地不敢用小刀刺进他的心脏?而且,这种事主要的是敌意在起作用,假如不是因为敌意,我们的职业就毫无意义了。

对我来说,当我看到被告眼中冒着怒火的时候,我就会觉得勇气倍增,精神亢奋。这已不再是一场诉讼,而是一场战斗。我攻击他,他反击我,我加倍地进攻,于是战斗就结束了,象所有的战斗一样,其结果不是胜就是败。整个诉讼过程就是这么一回事,其间的在于言辞争辩是否有利,如果被告嘲笑我说的话,我便想到,我一定是哪儿说的不好,我说的话一定苍白无力而不得当的。那么,您想,当一个检察官证实被告是有罪的,并看到被告在他的雄辩之下脸色苍白,低头认罪的时候,他会感到多么得意啊!那个低下的头不久就要被砍掉了——”蕾妮轻轻地叫了一声。

“好!”有一个来宾喊道,“这正是我所谓有意义的谈话。”

“他正是目前我们所需要的人材。”第二个说。

“上次那件案子您办得漂亮极了,我亲爱的维尔福!”第三个说,“我是指那个谋杀生父的案子。说真的,他还没被交给刽子手之前,就已被您置于死地了。”

“噢!说到那个东式父的逆子,对这种罪犯,什么惩罚都不过分的,”蕾妮插进来说道,“但对那些不幸的政治犯,他们惟一的罪名不就是参与政治阴谋——”

“什么,那可是最大逆不道的罪名。难道您不明白吗,蕾妮,君为民父,凡是任何阴谋或计划想推翻或谋杀三千二百万人民之父的生命和安全的人,不就是一个更坏的弑父逆子吗?”

“那种事我一点都不懂,”蕾妮回答,“可是,不管怎样维尔福先生,您已经答应过我——不是吗?——对那些我为他们求情的人,一定要从宽处理的。”

“这一点您放心好了,”维尔福带着他甜蜜的微笑回答。

“对于最终的判决,我们一定来商量着办好了。”

“宝贝,”侯爵夫人说,“你不要去照顾一下鸽子,你的小狗和刺绣吧,别来干预那些你根本不懂的事。这种年头,真是武事不修,文官得道,关于这一点,有一句拉丁话说得非常深刻。”

“‘Cedantarmatog,’ 【拉丁文:不要武器,要长袍(即:偃武修文)——译注】”维尔福微微欠身道。

“我不敢说拉丁语。”侯爵夫人说。

“嗯,”蕾妮说,“我真觉的有点儿遗憾,您为什么不选择另外一种职业——譬如说,做一个医生,杀人天使,虽然有天使之称,但在我看来似乎总是可怕的。”

“亲爱的,好心的蕾妮!”维尔福低声说道温柔地看了一眼那可爱的姑娘。

“我的孩子,“侯爵大声说,“维尔福先生将成为本省道德上和政治上的医生,这是一种高尚的职业。”

“而且可以洗刷掉他父亲的行为给人们种下的印象。”本性难移的侯爵夫人又接上一句。

“夫人,”维尔福苦笑着说道,“我很幸运地看到我父亲已经——至少我希望——公开承认了他过去的错误,他目前已是宗教和秩序的忠诚的朋友——一个或许比他的儿子还要好的保皇党,因为他是带着忏悔之情,而我只不过是凭着一腔热血罢了。”说完这篇斟字酌句演讲以后,维尔福环顾了一下四周,以观察他演说词的效果好象他此刻是在法庭上对旁听席讲话似的。

“好啊,我亲爱的维尔福,”萨尔维欧伯爵大声说道“您的话简直就象那次我在伊勒里宫讲的一样,那次御前大臣问我,他说一个吉伦特党徒的儿子同一个保皇党的女儿的联姻是否有点奇特,他很理解这种政治上化敌为友的主张,而且这正是国王的主张。想不到国王听到了我们的谈话,他插话说‘维尔福’——请注意。国王在这儿并没有叫‘诺瓦蒂埃’这个名字,相反的却很郑重地使用了‘维尔福’这个姓。国王说“‘维尔福’是一个极有判断能力,极小心细致的青年,他在他那一行一定会成为一个出人头地的人物,我很喜欢他,我很高兴听到他将要成为圣•梅朗侯爵夫妇的女婿。倘若不是他们先来求我同意这桩婚事的话,我自己本来也是这么想把这一对撮合起来的。”

“陛下是那样说的吗,伯爵?”维尔福喜不自禁地问。

“我是照他的话说的,一个字也没改。如果侯爵愿意直言相告的话,他一定会承认,我所讲的这些和他六个月前去见陛下求他恩准和他女儿的婚事时陛下对他讲的话完全一致。”

“是这样的,”侯爵回答说,“他说的是实情。”

我对这位宽宏慈悲的国王是感恩载德!我将竭尽全力为国王效劳”。

“那太好了,”侯爵夫人大声说道,“我就喜欢你这个样子,现在,好了,如果现在一个谋反分子落在你的手里,我们可正等着他呢。”

“我,啊,亲爱的妈妈”,蕾妮说。“我祈祷上帝请他不要听您的话,请他只让一些无足轻重的小犯人,穷苦的债务人,可怜的骗子落到维尔福先生的手里,那样我们晚上睡觉才能安稳。

“那还不是一回事”维尔福大笑着说,“您就等于祈求只许一个医生治头痛,麻疹,蜂蜇,或一些轻微病症一样,您希望我当检察官的话,您就应该给我来一些疑难病症的病人,这样才能显出我这个医生医术高明呀。”

正在这时,象是维尔福的愿望一说出口就能达到似的,一个仆人走了进来,在他的耳边低声说了些什么,维尔福立刻站起来离开了席位,说有要事待办,就走了出去,但一会他又回来了,满脸洋溢着喜悦的神色。蕾妮含情脉脉地望着他,她钦慕凝视着她那温雅聪明的爱人,当然了,他有漂亮的仪容,眼睛里闪耀着非凡的热情奋发的光芒,这些正是她爱慕的。

您刚才希望我去做一个医生”维尔福对她说道“好吧,同希腊神医埃斯科拉庇的教条相比我致少有一点是大同小异的,就是没有哪一天可以说是属于我自己的,即使是在我订婚的这一天。”

“刚才又要叫你到哪儿去?”圣•梅朗小姐微微带着不安的神色问。

“唉!假如我听到的话是真的,哪么现在就有一个病人,已危在旦夕了,这种病很严重,已经病得行将就木了。”

“多可怕呀!”蕾妮惊叫了起来,她本来因激动而变得发红的面颊变得煞白。

“真有这么一会事?”在座的宾客们异口同声地惊喊了起来。

“噢,如果我得到的消息确凿的话,刚才我们又发现一次拿破仑党的阴谋活动。”

“这次可能是真的吗?”侯爵夫人喊到。

“请让我来把这封密信念给你们听吧。”维尔福说“‘敝人系拥护王室及教会之人士,兹向您报告,有爱德蒙•唐太斯其人,系法老号之大副,今晨自士麦拿经那不勒斯抵埠,中途曾停靠费拉约港。此人受缪拉之命送信与逆贼,并受逆贼之命送信与巴黎拿破仑党委员会。犯罪证据在将其逮捕时即可获得,该信件不是在其身上,就是在其父家中,或者在法老号上他的船舱里。’”

“可是,”蕾妮说,“这必竟只是一封乱写的匿名信,况且又不是写给你的,这是写给检察官的。”

“不错,检察官不在,他的秘书便受命拆开看了这封信。他认为这事很重要,遂派人来找我,又因找不到我。他就自己下了逮捕令,把那人抓了起来。”

“这么说那个罪犯已被逮捕了,是吗?”侯爵夫人说。

“这应该说是被告。”蕾妮说。

“已经被捕了,”维尔福回答说,“正如我们刚才有幸向蕾妮小姐说过的那样,假如那封关键的信找到了,那个病人可就没救了。”

“那个不幸的人在哪儿?”蕾妮问。

“他在我们家里。”

“快去吧,我的朋友,”侯爵夫人插进来说,“别因为和我们呆在一起而疏忽了你的职责。你是国王的臣仆,职务所在,不论哪儿都得去。”

“噢,维尔福先生!”蕾妮紧握着他的双手喊道,“今天是我们订婚的日子,你可要对那人宽大一点啊!”那青年绕过桌子,走到那美丽的姑娘身边,靠在她的椅子上,温柔地说:“为了让您高兴,我亲爱的蕾妮,在我力所能及的范围内,我答应您尽量宽大些。但假如证据确凿的话,您就必须同意,我下命令把他杀头。”

蕾妮一听到最后两个字便痉挛似的震颤了一下,把头转向了一边,好象她那温柔的天性受不了如此冷酷,说要把一个活生生的人杀掉似的。

“别听那傻姑娘唠叨了,维尔福,”侯爵夫人说,“她不久就会听惯这些事情的。”说着,圣•梅朗夫人就把她那瘦骨嶙嶙的手伸给了维尔福,他一边吻,一边望着蕾妮,他的眼睛似乎在对她说,“我亲爱的此刻我吻的是您的手;或至少我希望如此。”

“这些都是不祥之兆!”可怜的蕾妮叹息道。

“说真的,孩子!”侯爵夫人愤愤地说,“你真是太傻,太孩子气了。我倒想知道,你这种讨厌的怪脾气和国家大事究竟有什么关系!”

“啊,妈妈!”蕾妮低声埋怨地说。

“夫人,我求您饶恕她这一次小小的错误吧,”维尔福说,“我答应您,我一定尽我的职责,对罪犯严惩不贷。”但当法官的维尔福在向侯爵夫人说这番话的时候,做情人的维尔福却向未婚妻丢了个眼色,他的目光说:“放心吧,蕾妮,为了您的爱,我会从宽处理的。” 蕾妮以她最甜蜜的温柔的微笑回报了他那一眼,于是维尔福就满怀着无比幸福走了出去。




Chapter 7. The Examination.

No sooner had Villefort left the salon, than he assumed the grave air of a man who holds the balance of life and death in his hands. Now, in spite of the nobility of his countenance, the command of which, like a finished actor, he had carefully studied before the glass, it was by no means easy for him to assume an air of judicial severity. Except the recollection of the line of politics his father had adopted, and which might interfere, unless he acted with the greatest prudence, with his own career, Gerard de Villefort was as happy as a man could be. Already rich, he held a high official situation, though only twenty-seven. He was about to marry a young and charming woman, whom he loved, not passionately, but reasonably, as became a deputy attorney of the king; and besides her personal attractions, which were very great, Mademoiselle de Saint-Meran's family possessed considerable political influence, which they would, of course, exert in his favor. The dowry of his wife amounted to fifty thousand crowns, and he had, besides, the prospect of seeing her fortune increased to half a million at her father's death. These considerations naturally gave Villefort a feeling of such complete felicity that his mind was fairly dazzled in its contemplation.

At the door he met the commissary of police, who was waiting for him. The sight of this officer recalled Villefort from the third heaven to earth; he composed his face, as we have before described, and said, "I have read the letter, sir, and you have acted rightly in arresting this man; now inform me what you have discovered concerning him and the conspiracy."

"We know nothing as yet of the conspiracy, monsieur; all the papers found have been sealed up and placed on your desk. The prisoner himself is named Edmond Dantes, mate on board the three-master the Pharaon, trading in cotton with Alexandria and Smyrna, and belonging to Morrel & Son, of Marseilles."

"Before he entered the merchant service, had he ever served in the marines?"

"Oh, no, monsieur, he is very young."

"How old?"

"Nineteen or twenty at the most."

At this moment, and as Villefort had arrived at the corner of the Rue des Conseils, a man, who seemed to have been waiting for him, approached; it was M. Morrel.

"Ah, M. de Villefort," cried he, "I am delighted to see you. Some of your people have committed the strangest mistake—they have just arrested Edmond Dantes, mate of my vessel."

"I know it, monsieur," replied Villefort, "and I am now going to examine him."

"Oh," said Morrel, carried away by his friendship, "you do not know him, and I do. He is the most estimable, the most trustworthy creature in the world, and I will venture to say, there is not a better seaman in all the merchant service. Oh, M. de Villefort, I beseech your indulgence for him."

Villefort, as we have seen, belonged to the aristocratic party at Marseilles, Morrel to the plebeian; the first was a royalist, the other suspected of Bonapartism. Villefort looked disdainfully at Morrel, and replied,—

"You are aware, monsieur, that a man may be estimable and trustworthy in private life, and the best seaman in the merchant service, and yet be, politically speaking, a great criminal. Is it not true?"

The magistrate laid emphasis on these words, as if he wished to apply them to the owner himself, while his eyes seemed to plunge into the heart of one who, interceding for another, had himself need of indulgence. Morrel reddened, for his own conscience was not quite clear on politics; besides, what Dantes had told him of his interview with the grand-marshal, and what the emperor had said to him, embarrassed him. He replied, however,—

"I entreat you, M. de Villefort, be, as you always are, kind and equitable, and give him back to us soon." This give us sounded revolutionary in the deputy's ears.

"Ah, ah," murmured he, "is Dantes then a member of some Carbonari society, that his protector thus employs the collective form? He was, if I recollect, arrested in a tavern, in company with a great many others." Then he added, "Monsieur, you may rest assured I shall perform my duty impartially, and that if he be innocent you shall not have appealed to me in vain; should he, however, be guilty, in this present epoch, impunity would furnish a dangerous example, and I must do my duty."

As he had now arrived at the door of his own house, which adjoined the Palais de Justice, he entered, after having, coldly saluted the shipowner, who stood, as if petrified, on the spot where Villefort had left him. The ante-chamber was full of police agents and gendarmes, in the midst of whom, carefully watched, but calm and smiling, stood the prisoner. Villefort traversed the ante-chamber, cast a side glance at Dantes, and taking a packet which a gendarme offered him, disappeared, saying, "Bring in the prisoner."

Rapid as had been Villefort's glance, it had served to give him an idea of the man he was about to interrogate. He had recognized intelligence in the high forehead, courage in the dark eye and bent brow, and frankness in the thick lips that showed a set of pearly teeth. Villefort's first impression was favorable; but he had been so often warned to mistrust first impulses, that he applied the maxim to the impression, forgetting the difference between the two words. He stifled, therefore, the feelings of compassion that were rising, composed his features, and sat down, grim and sombre, at his desk. An instant after Dantes entered. He was pale, but calm and collected, and saluting his judge with easy politeness, looked round for a seat, as if he had been in M. Morrel's salon. It was then that he encountered for the first time Villefort's look,—that look peculiar to the magistrate, who, while seeming to read the thoughts of others, betrays nothing of his own.

"Who and what are you?" demanded Villefort, turning over a pile of papers, containing information relative to the prisoner, that a police agent had given to him on his entry, and that, already, in an hour's time, had swelled to voluminous proportions, thanks to the corrupt espionage of which "the accused" is always made the victim.

"My name is Edmond Dantes," replied the young man calmly; "I am mate of the Pharaon, belonging to Messrs. Morrel & Son."

"Your age?" continued Villefort.

"Nineteen," returned Dantes.

"What were you doing at the moment you were arrested?"

"I was at the festival of my marriage, monsieur," said the young man, his voice slightly tremulous, so great was the contrast between that happy moment and the painful ceremony he was now undergoing; so great was the contrast between the sombre aspect of M. de Villefort and the radiant face of Mercedes.

"You were at the festival of your marriage?" said the deputy, shuddering in spite of himself.

"Yes, monsieur; I am on the point of marrying a young girl I have been attached to for three years." Villefort, impassive as he was, was struck with this coincidence; and the tremulous voice of Dantes, surprised in the midst of his happiness, struck a sympathetic chord in his own bosom—he also was on the point of being married, and he was summoned from his own happiness to destroy that of another. "This philosophic reflection," thought he, "will make a great sensation at M. de Saint-Meran's;" and he arranged mentally, while Dantes awaited further questions, the antithesis by which orators often create a reputation for eloquence. When this speech was arranged, Villefort turned to Dantes.

"Go on, sir," said he.

"What would you have me say?"

"Give all the information in your power."

"Tell me on which point you desire information, and I will tell all I know; only," added he, with a smile, "I warn you I know very little."

"Have you served under the usurper?"

"I was about to be mustered into the Royal Marines when he fell."

"It is reported your political opinions are extreme," said Villefort, who had never heard anything of the kind, but was not sorry to make this inquiry, as if it were an accusation.

"My political opinions!" replied Dantes. "Alas, sir, I never had any opinions. I am hardly nineteen; I know nothing; I have no part to play. If I obtain the situation I desire, I shall owe it to M. Morrel. Thus all my opinions—I will not say public, but private—are confined to these three sentiments,—I love my father, I respect M. Morrel, and I adore Mercedes. This, sir, is all I can tell you, and you see how uninteresting it is." As Dantes spoke, Villefort gazed at his ingenuous and open countenance, and recollected the words of Renee, who, without knowing who the culprit was, had besought his indulgence for him. With the deputy's knowledge of crime and criminals, every word the young man uttered convinced him more and more of his innocence. This lad, for he was scarcely a man,—simple, natural, eloquent with that eloquence of the heart never found when sought for; full of affection for everybody, because he was happy, and because happiness renders even the wicked good—extended his affection even to his judge, spite of Villefort's severe look and stern accent. Dantes seemed full of kindness.

"Pardieu," said Villefort, "he is a noble fellow. I hope I shall gain Renee's favor easily by obeying the first command she ever imposed on me. I shall have at least a pressure of the hand in public, and a sweet kiss in private." Full of this idea, Villefort's face became so joyous, that when he turned to Dantes, the latter, who had watched the change on his physiognomy, was smiling also.

"Sir," said Villefort, "have you any enemies, at least, that you know."

"I have enemies?" replied Dantes; "my position is not sufficiently elevated for that. As for my disposition, that is, perhaps, somewhat too hasty; but I have striven to repress it. I have had ten or twelve sailors under me, and if you question them, they will tell you that they love and respect me, not as a father, for I am too young, but as an elder brother."

"But you may have excited jealousy. You are about to become captain at nineteen—an elevated post; you are about to marry a pretty girl, who loves you; and these two pieces of good fortune may have excited the envy of some one."

"You are right; you know men better than I do, and what you say may possibly be the case, I confess; but if such persons are among my acquaintances I prefer not to know it, because then I should be forced to hate them."

"You are wrong; you should always strive to see clearly around you. You seem a worthy young man; I will depart from the strict line of my duty to aid you in discovering the author of this accusation. Here is the paper; do you know the writing?" As he spoke, Villefort drew the letter from his pocket, and presented it to Dantes. Dantes read it. A cloud passed over his brow as he said,—

"No, monsieur, I do not know the writing, and yet it is tolerably plain. Whoever did it writes well. I am very fortunate," added he, looking gratefully at Villefort, "to be examined by such a man as you; for this envious person is a real enemy." And by the rapid glance that the young man's eyes shot forth, Villefort saw how much energy lay hid beneath this mildness.

"Now," said the deputy, "answer me frankly, not as a prisoner to a judge, but as one man to another who takes an interest in him, what truth is there in the accusation contained in this anonymous letter?" And Villefort threw disdainfully on his desk the letter Dantes had just given back to him.

"None at all. I will tell you the real facts. I swear by my honor as a sailor, by my love for Mercedes, by the life of my father"—

"Speak, monsieur," said Villefort. Then, internally, "If Renee could see me, I hope she would be satisfied, and would no longer call me a decapitator."

"Well, when we quitted Naples, Captain Leclere was attacked with a brain fever. As we had no doctor on board, and he was so anxious to arrive at Elba, that he would not touch at any other port, his disorder rose to such a height, that at the end of the third day, feeling he was dying, he called me to him. 'My dear Dantes,' said he, 'swear to perform what I am going to tell you, for it is a matter of the deepest importance.'

"'I swear, captain,' replied I.

"'Well, as after my death the command devolves on you as mate, assume the command, and bear up for the Island of Elba, disembark at Porto-Ferrajo, ask for the grand-marshal, give him this letter—perhaps they will give you another letter, and charge you with a commission. You will accomplish what I was to have done, and derive all the honor and profit from it.'

"'I will do it, captain; but perhaps I shall not be admitted to the grand marshal's presence as easily as you expect?'

"'Here is a ring that will obtain audience of him, and remove every difficulty,' said the captain. At these words he gave me a ring. It was time—two hours after he was delirious; the next day he died."

"And what did you do then?"

"What I ought to have done, and what every one would have done in my place. Everywhere the last requests of a dying man are sacred; but with a sailor the last requests of his superior are commands. I sailed for the Island of Elba, where I arrived the next day; I ordered everybody to remain on board, and went on shore alone. As I had expected, I found some difficulty in obtaining access to the grand-marshal; but I sent the ring I had received from the captain to him, and was instantly admitted. He questioned me concerning Captain Leclere's death; and, as the latter had told me, gave me a letter to carry on to a person in Paris. I undertook it because it was what my captain had bade me do. I landed here, regulated the affairs of the vessel, and hastened to visit my affianced bride, whom I found more lovely than ever. Thanks to M. Morrel, all the forms were got over; in a word I was, as I told you, at my marriage-feast; and I should have been married in an hour, and to-morrow I intended to start for Paris, had I not been arrested on this charge which you as well as I now see to be unjust."

"Ah," said Villefort, "this seems to me the truth. If you have been culpable, it was imprudence, and this imprudence was in obedience to the orders of your captain. Give up this letter you have brought from Elba, and pass your word you will appear should you be required, and go and rejoin your friends.

"I am free, then, sir?" cried Dantes joyfully.

"Yes; but first give me this letter."

"You have it already, for it was taken from me with some others which I see in that packet."

"Stop a moment," said the deputy, as Dantes took his hat and gloves. "To whom is it addressed?"

"To Monsieur Noirtier, Rue Coq-Heron, Paris." Had a thunderbolt fallen into the room, Villefort could not have been more stupefied. He sank into his seat, and hastily turning over the packet, drew forth the fatal letter, at which he glanced with an expression of terror.

"M. Noirtier, Rue Coq-Heron, No. 13," murmured he, growing still paler.

"Yes," said Dantes; "do you know him?"

"No," replied Villefort; "a faithful servant of the king does not know conspirators."

"It is a conspiracy, then?" asked Dantes, who after believing himself free, now began to feel a tenfold alarm. "I have, however, already told you, sir, I was entirely ignorant of the contents of the letter."

"Yes; but you knew the name of the person to whom it was addressed," said Villefort.

"I was forced to read the address to know to whom to give it."

"Have you shown this letter to any one?" asked Villefort, becoming still more pale.

"To no one, on my honor."

"Everybody is ignorant that you are the bearer of a letter from the Island of Elba, and addressed to M. Noirtier?"

"Everybody, except the person who gave it to me."

"And that was too much, far too much," murmured Villefort. Villefort's brow darkened more and more, his white lips and clinched teeth filled Dantes with apprehension. After reading the letter, Villefort covered his face with his hands.

"Oh," said Dantes timidly, "what is the matter?" Villefort made no answer, but raised his head at the expiration of a few seconds, and again perused the letter.

"And you say that you are ignorant of the contents of this letter?"

"I give you my word of honor, sir," said Dantes; "but what is the matter? You are ill—shall I ring for assistance?—shall I call?"

"No," said Villefort, rising hastily; "stay where you are. It is for me to give orders here, and not you."

"Monsieur," replied Dantes proudly, "it was only to summon assistance for you."

"I want none; it was a temporary indisposition. Attend to yourself; answer me." Dantes waited, expecting a question, but in vain. Villefort fell back on his chair, passed his hand over his brow, moist with perspiration, and, for the third time, read the letter.

"Oh, if he knows the contents of this!" murmured he, "and that Noirtier is the father of Villefort, I am lost!" And he fixed his eyes upon Edmond as if he would have penetrated his thoughts.

"Oh, it is impossible to doubt it," cried he, suddenly.

"In heaven's name!" cried the unhappy young man, "if you doubt me, question me; I will answer you." Villefort made a violent effort, and in a tone he strove to render firm,—

"Sir," said he, "I am no longer able, as I had hoped, to restore you immediately to liberty; before doing so, I must consult the trial justice; what my own feeling is you already know."

"Oh, monsieur," cried Dantes, "you have been rather a friend than a judge."

"Well, I must detain you some time longer, but I will strive to make it as short as possible. The principal charge against you is this letter, and you see"—Villefort approached the fire, cast it in, and waited until it was entirely consumed.

"You see, I destroy it?"

"Oh," exclaimed Dantes, "you are goodness itself."

"Listen," continued Villefort; "you can now have confidence in me after what I have done."

"Oh, command, and I will obey."

"Listen; this is not a command, but advice I give you."

"Speak, and I will follow your advice."

"I shall detain you until this evening in the Palais de Justice. Should any one else interrogate you, say to him what you have said to me, but do not breathe a word of this letter."

"I promise." It was Villefort who seemed to entreat, and the prisoner who reassured him.

"You see," continued he, glancing toward the grate, where fragments of burnt paper fluttered in the flames, "the letter is destroyed; you and I alone know of its existence; should you, therefore, be questioned, deny all knowledge of it—deny it boldly, and you are saved."

"Be satisfied; I will deny it."

"It was the only letter you had?"

"It was."

"Swear it."

"I swear it."

Villefort rang. A police agent entered. Villefort whispered some words in his ear, to which the officer replied by a motion of his head.

"Follow him," said Villefort to Dantes. Dantes saluted Villefort and retired. Hardly had the door closed when Villefort threw himself half-fainting into a chair.

"Alas, alas," murmured he, "if the procureur himself had been at Marseilles I should have been ruined. This accursed letter would have destroyed all my hopes. Oh, my father, must your past career always interfere with my successes?" Suddenly a light passed over his face, a smile played round his set mouth, and his haggard eyes were fixed in thought.

"This will do," said he, "and from this letter, which might have ruined me, I will make my fortune. Now to the work I have in hand." And after having assured himself that the prisoner was gone, the deputy procureur hastened to the house of his betrothed.

 

第七章 审问

维尔福刚一进客厅,便收起了笑容,作出了一副手握生死大权者的庄严气派。他脸部的表情极富于变化,——这是他常常对着镜子训练出来的,因为一个职业演说家就应该是这样的表情,现在他得费点劲才能皱起他的眉头,装出一副庄严沉着的气派。维尔福唯一感到遗憾的就是他父亲的政治路线,如果不是他自己处事极端审慎,那过去的事情就会影响到他现在的事业,但除此之外,他可以说是享尽人间的幸福了。他很富有,虽然他仅仅只有27岁,但已居高位,他快要和一个年青美丽的姑娘结婚,他爱她。并非出于热情,而是出于理智,是以一个代理检察官的态度爱她,他的未婚妻,不仅美丽而且还出身于最显赫的名门望族,她的父母膝下只有一个女儿,所以他们的政治势力可以全部用来培植他们的女婿。此外,她还可以给他带来一笔五万艾居的嫁奁,将来有一天大概还可以增加五十万遗产。这一切因素综合起来,使维尔福得到了无限的幸福,所以,当维尔福略一回省,静心默察自己内心世界的时候,他就好象自己眼花缭乱了起来。

维尔福在门口遇了正在等候他的警官。一见到这位警长,他便从九天之外回到地面上来了,于是他的脸上马上摆出了一副道貌岸然的样子,说道,那“信我看过了,先生,您办得很对,应该把那个人逮起来。现在请你告诉我,你有没有搜有到有关他造反的材料?”

“关于他造反的材料,先生,我们现在还无从知道,我得到的材料已经放到您的办公桌上了。犯人名子叫爱德蒙•唐太斯,是三桅大帆船法老号上的大副,那条船是从亚历山大和士麦拿装棉花来的,是马摩父子公司所有。”

“他在从事航海这个工作以前,有没有在海军服过役呢?”

“哦,没有,先生,他还很年轻。”

“多大年纪?”

“顶多还不过十九、二十岁。”

这时,维尔福已经走到民康尼尔大街的拐角边处,有一个人似乎在那儿等他,那人走向前来,是莫雷尔先生。

“哦,维尔福先生,”他喊道,“很高兴见到您!刚才发生了一个很令人不可思意的事情——您手下的人把我船上的大副,爱德蒙•唐太斯抓走了。”

“这事我知道,先生,”维尔福回答,“我现在就是去审问的。”

“噢,”莫雷尔说道,由于他对那个朋友友情甚笃,便急切地求起情来,“您不知道他,但我很了解他。他是世界上最善良、最正直的人了,我敢说,在整个商船界,再没有一个比他更好的船员了,维尔福先生,我真心诚意地向您担保!”

正如我们已经知道维尔福是马赛上流社会中的人物,而莫雷尔只是一个平民,前者是一个保守党,而后者是一个拿破仑党的嫌疑犯。维尔福轻蔑地看着莫雷尔,冷冷地回答道。

“你知道,阁下,一个人的私生活上也可能是可敬可靠的,可以是商船界里最好的船员,但从政治上讲,可能是一个罪大恶极的人,是不是?”

代理法官这番话的语气很重,仿佛是冲着船主说的,而他那审视的眼光似乎直穿对方的心内,象是说,你竟敢为别人说人情,你应该知道你本人还需要宽大处理。莫雷尔的脸刷地红了,因为在政治方面,他的见解并不十分明朗;此外,唐太斯告诉过他的有关他谒见大元帅的事,以及皇上对他说的那番话更增加了他内心的不安,但他仍用深为关怀的语气说;“维尔福先生,我求您,您一向所做的事都是那样公正仁慈,早些把他送还给我们吧。”

这“给我们”三个字在代理检察官听来很有些革命的味道。“哦,哦!”他思忖道“难道唐太斯是烧炭党 【十九世纪初意大利的一个秘密政治组织,因经常装扮成烧炭人集会于树林,故称烧炭党。——译注】分子,不然的话他的保护人要用这种态度来求情呢?我记得他是在一个酒店里被捕的,当时有许多人同他在一起,假如他是冤枉的,那你的求情一定不会落空的,但是如果他有罪,那也只能施以惩罚。否则在目前这个时期,有罪不惩可太危险了,我不得不行使我的职权。”

这时,他已走到了自己的家门口,他的家就在法院隔壁,他态度冷淡地向船长行了个礼便进去了。那船主呆呆地立在维尔福离开他的地方,客厅里挤满了警察和宪兵,在他们中间,站着那个罪犯,他虽然被严加看管,却很镇定,而且还带着微笑。维尔福穿过客厅,瞥了唐太斯一眼,从一个宪兵手里接过一包东西,一边向里走,一边说:“把犯人带进来。”

维尔福刚才那一瞥虽然急促,但对那个即将要审问的犯人却已经有了一个初步的看法,他已从他那饱满的前额上看出了他的聪慧,从那黑眼睛里和弯弯的眉毛看出了勇敢,从那半张着的,露出一排洁白的牙齿的厚嘴唇上看出了他的直率。

维尔福的第一个印象很不错,但他也常常听人讲。切勿信任第一次的冲动,他把这句格言也用到印象上了,而且不顾这两者间的差别了,所以他抑住心头的怜悯感,板起脸来,在他的办公桌前座了下来,过了一会,唐太斯进来了,他的脸色也很苍白,但是很镇定,还是带着微笑,他从容有礼的向法官行了个礼,四下里看了看,象找个座位,好象他是在莫雷尔先生的客厅里似的,就在这时,当他的目光接触到维尔福的目光——那种法官所特有的目光,似乎象要看透嫌疑犯脑子里的罪恶思想似的。

“你是干什么的?”维尔福一边问,一边翻阅着一堆文件,那里边有关于这个犯人的材料,就是他进来时那个宪兵给他的。

“我叫爱德蒙•唐太斯,”青年镇定地回答说,“我是法老号船上的大副,那条船属于摩来尔父子公司所有。”

“你的年龄”维尔福又问。“十九岁”唐太斯回答。

“你被捕的时候在干什么?”

“我是在请人吃喜酒,先生。”青年人说着,他的声音有点儿微微颤抖,刚才那个快乐的时刻与现在这种痛苦的经历对照起来,差别实在是太大了,而维尔福先生阴沉的脸色和唐太斯满脸红光对照起来,也实在是反差太大了。“你在请人吃喜酒?”代理检察官问道,不由自主地打了个寒噤。

“是的,先生,我正要娶一位我爱了三年的姑娘。”维尔福虽然仍面不改色,但却为这个巧合吃了一惊。唐太斯颤抖的声音告诉他在他的胸膛里引起了一阵同情的共鸣。唐太斯是在他的幸福时刻被人召来的,而他自己也快要结婚了,他也是在自己的幸福时刻被人召来的,而他又是来破坏另一个人的幸福的。这种哲学上的相似之处,,在圣•梅朗侯爵家里倒是一个极好的话题,大谈而特谈一通。他这样想着,当唐太斯等待他往下问的时候,他起码在整理着他的思绪,他越想越觉得这是很好的对称话题,而演说家们往往用对称话题来获得雄辨之誉,当这篇演讲整理好之后,维尔福想到他可能产生的效果,不禁微笑了一下,然后他,转过来向唐太斯说“往下说,先生。”

“您让我继续说些什么?”

“把你知道的一切都讲出来。”

“告诉我您要知道哪一方面的事情,这样我才可以把我所知道的一切都讲出来。”只是,他苦笑了一下,又说,“我得事先告诉您,我知道的很少。”

“你有没有在逆贼手下服务过?”

“我刚编入皇家海军的时候,他就倒台了。”

“有人报告说,你政见很极端。”维尔福说,其实他根本没听说过这类事,但他偏要这么一提,就如同提出一项指控一样。

“我的政见!我!”唐太斯问道,“唉,先生,我从来没有什么政见,我还没满19岁,我什么都不知道,我起不了什么作用,假如我得到了我所希望的那个职位,应该归功莫雷尔先生,所以,我的全部见解——我不说政见,而只是私人见解——不出这三个范围:我亲爱的父亲,我尊敬的莫雷尔先生,我喜欢的美茜蒂丝。先生,这就是我所能告诉您的一切,您瞧,对这些事您不会感兴趣的。”

唐太斯说话时,维尔福一直注视着他那温和而开朗的脸,耳边也似乎响起了蕾妮的话,蕾妮虽不认识这个嫌疑犯,但却替他求过情,请求他宽大处理,代理检察官根据案例和对犯人的审理来看,这个青年所说的每一字都愈来愈使他相信他是无辜的。这个孩子,——因为他还说不上是个成年人——单纯,自然说话时理直气壮充分显示出了他内心的坦然,他对每一个人都抱着好感,因为他很幸福。而即使在幸福产生了恶果的时候,他甚至还这般和蔼可亲,尽管维尔福装出一副可畏的目光和严厉的口吻。

“没错,”维尔福心想,“他是一个可爱的小伙子!看来我不难讨好蕾妮了,完成她第一次请求我做的事,这样我可以在公开场合吻她的手,还可以私下里讨一个甜蜜的吻”脑子里充满了这种想法,维尔福的脸也变得开朗起来了,所以当他转向唐太斯的时候,后者也注意到他脸色的改变,也微笑起来。

“先生”维尔福说,“你知不知道你有什么仇人吗?”

“我有仇人?”唐太斯答道,“我的地位还不够那种资格。至于我自己的脾气,或许是有点急躁了,但我一直在努力地改正。我手下有十二三个水手,如果你问他们,他们会告诉您的,他们喜欢我尊敬我,把我看成是长兄一般,我不敢说敬我如父,因为我太年轻了。”

“即使没有仇人,或许有人嫉妒你,你才19岁就要做船长了——这对你来说算是一个很好的职位。你又要和一个爱你的姑娘结婚了,这两桩运气的事或许已引起另外一个人的嫉妒哩。”

“您说的对。您对人们的了解比我深刻的多,我承认,您所说的这种事可能是存在的,但假如这些嫉妒的人是我的朋友,那我宁愿不知道他们,免得对他们产生仇恨。”

“你错了,你应该随时尽可能地看清你周围的环境。你看来倒象是一个可敬的青年,我愿意破例帮你查出那个写这封信的发信人。信就在这儿,你认识这笔迹吗?”维尔福一边说一边从他的口袋里拿出了那封信,递给了唐太斯,唐太斯看完信。一片疑云浮上了他的眉头,他说;“不,先生,我不认识这笔迹,这是伪装过的,可是写的很流利。不管是谁写的,写这信的人很灵巧。”他感激地望着维尔福说:“我很幸运,能遇到象您这样的人来审问我。至于这个嫉妒我的人,倒真是个仇人。”从那青年人眼里射出来的急速的一瞥,维尔福看出来在温和的表面下蕴含着惊人的力量。

“现在,”代理检察官说:“坦白的告诉我——不是一个犯人面对法官,而是一个受委屈的孩子面对关心他的人。——这封匿名的告发信里究竟有多少是实情?”于是,维尔福把唐太斯刚才还给他的那封信轻蔑地扔在了他的办公桌上。

“没有一点儿是真的。我可以把实情告诉您。我以水手的名誉,以我对美塞苔丝的爱,以我父亲的生命向你发誓——”

“说吧,先生,”维尔福说。然后,心想假如蕾妮看到我这个样子和场合,她一定很满意,一定不会再叫我刽子手了。

“唔,我们离开那不勒斯以后,莱克勒船长就突然得到了脑膜炎。我们船上没有医生,而他又急于要到爱尔巴去,所以沿途没有停靠任何港口。他的脑子愈来愈不清楚了,在第三天,快要过去的时候,他知道自己快不行了,就叫我到他那儿去。‘我亲爱的唐太斯,’他说,‘我要你发誓完成我将要你做的这件事,因为这是一件非常重要的大事。’“‘我发誓,船长,’我回答说。

“‘好,你是大副,我死后,这条船由你来指挥,把船驶向厄尔巴岛去,在费拉约岛靠岸,然后去找大元帅。把这封信交给他。也许他们会另外给你一封信,叫你当次信差。你一定要完成这本来应该是我去做的事,并享受它所带来的一切荣誉和利益。

“‘我一定照办,船长,但也许我去见大元帅时不象您预期的那样顺利,万一不让我见到他呢?’“‘这儿有一只戒指拿着他求见,就不会有问题了,船长说完就给了我这只戒指,他交给我的正是时候,两个小时后,他就昏迷不醒,第二天,他就去世了。’”

“你当时怎么办了?”

“我做了我应该做的事,不论谁处在我的位置上,他都会那样做的,不论在那里,一个人快要死的时候,他的最后请求,都是神圣的,对一个水手来说,他的上司最后的请求就是命令。我向厄尔巴岛驶去,第二天就到了。我命令所有的人都留在船上,而我自己一个人上岸去了,不出我所料,我想见大元帅却遇到了一些麻烦,我把船长交给我的那个戒指拿了出来,元帅看过之后,马上就获准了。他问了一些关于莱克勒船长去世的事。而且,正如船长所说的的那样,大元帅给了我一封信,要我带去给一个住在巴黎的人。我接过了那封信,因为这是船长命令我这样做的事。我在此地靠岸,安排了船上的事,就赶快去看我的未婚妻了,我发现她更可爱,比以前更爱我了。但得谢谢莫雷尔先生,一切手续都在以前办好了,一句话,很顺利再就是我请人吃喜酒了。再过一个小时,我就已经结婚了,我本来是预备明天动身到巴黎去的,由于这次告密,我就被捕了,我看您现在和我一样,是很鄙视这次告密的。”

“是的,”维尔福说,“看来这象是实事,既使你有错,也只能算是疏忽罪,而且即然是奉了你船长的命令,这种疏忽罪就不算什么了,你把从厄尔巴岛带来的这封信交给我们,记下你的话,然后回到你的朋友那里去吧,需要你的时候,你再来。”

“那么,我是自由的了,先生?”唐太斯高兴地喊到。

“是的,你得先把那封信给我。”

“已经在您这儿了,他们已早从我身上把它搜去了,还有其它的信,我看到都在那包东西里面。

“等一等,”正当唐太斯去拿他的帽子和手套时,代理法官叫住了他,那封信是写给谁的。”

“是给诺瓦蒂埃先生的,地址是巴黎高海隆路。”

即使是一个霹雷炸响,也未必能使他维尔福如此震惊,如此的意外,悴不及防,他倒在椅子里,匆忙地翻着他的口袋,带着恐怖的神色盯着它。

“高海隆路13号诺瓦蒂埃先生收。”他轻声地念着,脸色变的十分苍白。

“是的,”唐太斯说,他也吃了一惊,,“难道您认识他吗?”

“不,”维尔福急忙回答,‘国王忠实的奴仆是不认识叛匪的。’“那么说,这是个谋反案了吧?”唐太斯问,他本以为自己获得了自由,但现在比以前更加惊惶了,“但是,我已经对您说过,先生,我对信的内容,是一点也不知道的。”

“不错,但你知道收信人的名子。”维尔福说。

“我要去送信,就不得不知道那个人的地址。”

“这封信你有没有给别人看过?”维尔福问,脸色变得越来越苍白了。

“没有,我可以发誓。”

“没有人知道你从厄尔巴岛带一封信给诺瓦蒂埃先生吗?”

“除了给我这封信的人外,没有人知道!”

“这就够了,”维尔福轻声地说,他的脸色越来越沉着,他这种神态使唐太斯满心疑惧。

维尔福读完这封信,低下了头,并用双手遮住了他的脸。

“噢,怎么回事?”唐太斯胆怯地问。维尔福没有回答,只是抬起头来嘘了一口气,又继续读那封信。

“你能向我发誓,说绝对不知道这封信的内容吗?”

“我向您发誓,先生,到底是怎么一回事?您是病了吧,我拉铃叫人来帮忙好吧?”唐太斯说。

“不,你不要动,这儿发命令的是我,而不是你!”维尔福站起来说。

“先生,我是叫人来照顾您,您好像是病了。”

“不,我不需要,只是一时的不舒服罢了,还是当心儿你自己吧,别管我,回答我提出的问题!”

但他什么也没有提,只是回到了椅子上,用手抹了一下他那大汗淋淋的额头,第三次读了那封信。“噢,如果他知道了内容,”他轻声地说,“那他就完了,而且知道诺瓦蒂埃就是维尔福的父亲,那我也就完了!”他用眼睛盯着爱德蒙,唐太斯好象要看穿他的心思似的。

“哦,用不着再怀疑了,他肯定已经知道了一切。”他突然大声喊。

“天哪,”那不幸的青年说,“假如您怀疑我,问我吧,我可以答应您的。”

维尔福费了好大的劲,极力想使自己镇定下来,他说,“先生,这次审问的结果是你的罪名严重,我无法象刚才希望的那样立刻给你自由了。在做出这样的规定前,我必须先去同预审官商量一下,但我对你的态度如何,你是知道的。”

“噢,先生,”唐太斯说,“您刚才待我象兄弟,是一个朋友,而不象是一个法官。”

“那好,我要再耽搁你一会的时间,但我会尽可能使时间缩短,你主要的罪状是这封信,你看——”维尔福走近壁炉,把信投进了火里,直等到它完全烧荆“你看,我销毁了它。”

“噢,您太公正了,简直是太好了。”唐太斯说道。

“听着,你刚才看见我所做的事了吧,现在可以相信我了吧,信任我了吧!”维尔福对他说。

“是的,请您吩咐我吧,我一定遵命。”

“今晚之前,我得把你扣留在法院里,假如有谁来审问你,对于这封信你一定不要提。”

“我答应。”

现在看来倒好象是维尔福在求情,而犯人在安慰他了。你看,他说,“信是销毁了,只有你和我知道有这么一封信。所以,要是有人问到你,你就根本否认有这么一回事。”

“放心,我一定否认的。”

“你只有这一封信?”

“是的。”

“你发誓,”

“我发誓!”

维尔福拉响了铃,警长走进来,维尔福在他的耳边低声说了几句话,警长点点头会意。

“跟他去吧。”维尔福对唐太斯说。唐太斯向维尔福感激地行了个礼,就走出去了。他身后的门还没有完全关上,维尔福已经精疲力尽了,他再也支持不住了,昏昏沉沉地躺在了一张椅子上。

过了一会他喃喃地说:“啊,我的上帝,假如检察官此时在马赛,假如刚才不是叫我,而是找到了预审法官,那可就全完了,这封告发信,差点把我打入十八层地狱。噢,我的父亲,难道你过去的行为,将永远阻碍我的成功吗?”突然他的脸上掠过了一丝微笑,他那犹豫的眼光变得坚定了起来,他似乎全神贯注地在盘算着一个想法。

“这个办法很好,”他说,“这封信本来就是使我完蛋的,它也许会使我飞黄腾达起来的。”他四周看了看,确信犯人已经离开以后,代理检察官就赶快向他新娘的家里走去了。




Chapter 8. The Chateau D'If.

The commissary of police, as he traversed the ante-chamber, made a sign to two gendarmes, who placed themselves one on Dantes' right and the other on his left. A door that communicated with the Palais de Justice was opened, and they went through a long range of gloomy corridors, whose appearance might have made even the boldest shudder. The Palais de Justice communicated with the prison,—a sombre edifice, that from its grated windows looks on the clock-tower of the Accoules. After numberless windings, Dantes saw a door with an iron wicket. The commissary took up an iron mallet and knocked thrice, every blow seeming to Dantes as if struck on his heart. The door opened, the two gendarmes gently pushed him forward, and the door closed with a loud sound behind him. The air he inhaled was no longer pure, but thick and mephitic,—he was in prison. He was conducted to a tolerably neat chamber, but grated and barred, and its appearance, therefore, did not greatly alarm him; besides, the words of Villefort, who seemed to interest himself so much, resounded still in his ears like a promise of freedom. It was four o'clock when Dantes was placed in this chamber. It was, as we have said, the 1st of March, and the prisoner was soon buried in darkness. The obscurity augmented the acuteness of his hearing; at the slightest sound he rose and hastened to the door, convinced they were about to liberate him, but the sound died away, and Dantes sank again into his seat. At last, about ten o'clock, and just as Dantes began to despair, steps were heard in the corridor, a key turned in the lock, the bolts creaked, the massy oaken door flew open, and a flood of light from two torches pervaded the apartment. By the torchlight Dantes saw the glittering sabres and carbines of four gendarmes. He had advanced at first, but stopped at the sight of this display of force.

"Are you come to fetch me?" asked he.

"Yes," replied a gendarme.

"By the orders of the deputy procureur?"

"I believe so." The conviction that they came from M. de Villefort relieved all Dantes' apprehensions; he advanced calmly, and placed himself in the centre of the escort. A carriage waited at the door, the coachman was on the box, and a police officer sat beside him.

"Is this carriage for me?" said Dantes.

"It is for you," replied a gendarme.

Dantes was about to speak; but feeling himself urged forward, and having neither the power nor the intention to resist, he mounted the steps, and was in an instant seated inside between two gendarmes; the two others took their places opposite, and the carriage rolled heavily over the stones.

The prisoner glanced at the windows—they were grated; he had changed his prison for another that was conveying him he knew not whither. Through the grating, however, Dantes saw they were passing through the Rue Caisserie, and by the Rue Saint-Laurent and the Rue Taramis, to the port. Soon he saw the lights of La Consigne.

The carriage stopped, the officer descended, approached the guardhouse, a dozen soldiers came out and formed themselves in order; Dantes saw the reflection of their muskets by the light of the lamps on the quay.

"Can all this force be summoned on my account?" thought he.

The officer opened the door, which was locked, and, without speaking a word, answered Dantes' question; for he saw between the ranks of the soldiers a passage formed from the carriage to the port. The two gendarmes who were opposite to him descended first, then he was ordered to alight and the gendarmes on each side of him followed his example. They advanced towards a boat, which a custom-house officer held by a chain, near the quay.

The soldiers looked at Dantes with an air of stupid curiosity. In an instant he was placed in the stern-sheets of the boat, between the gendarmes, while the officer stationed himself at the bow; a shove sent the boat adrift, and four sturdy oarsmen impelled it rapidly towards the Pilon. At a shout from the boat, the chain that closes the mouth of the port was lowered and in a second they were, as Dantes knew, in the Frioul and outside the inner harbor.

The prisoner's first feeling was of joy at again breathing the pure air—for air is freedom; but he soon sighed, for he passed before La Reserve, where he had that morning been so happy, and now through the open windows came the laughter and revelry of a ball. Dantes folded his hands, raised his eyes to heaven, and prayed fervently.

The boat continued her voyage. They had passed the Tete de Morte, were now off the Anse du Pharo, and about to double the battery. This manoeuvre was incomprehensible to Dantes.

"Whither are you taking me?" asked he.

"You will soon know."

"But still"—

"We are forbidden to give you any explanation." Dantes, trained in discipline, knew that nothing would be more absurd than to question subordinates, who were forbidden to reply; and so he remained silent.

The most vague and wild thoughts passed through his mind. The boat they were in could not make a long voyage; there was no vessel at anchor outside the harbor; he thought, perhaps, they were going to leave him on some distant point. He was not bound, nor had they made any attempt to handcuff him; this seemed a good augury. Besides, had not the deputy, who had been so kind to him, told him that provided he did not pronounce the dreaded name of Noirtier, he had nothing to apprehend? Had not Villefort in his presence destroyed the fatal letter, the only proof against him?

He waited silently, striving to pierce through the darkness.

They had left the Ile Ratonneau, where the lighthouse stood, on the right, and were now opposite the Point des Catalans. It seemed to the prisoner that he could distinguish a feminine form on the beach, for it was there Mercedes dwelt. How was it that a presentiment did not warn Mercedes that her lover was within three hundred yards of her?

One light alone was visible; and Dantes saw that it came from Mercedes' chamber. Mercedes was the only one awake in the whole settlement. A loud cry could be heard by her. But pride restrained him and he did not utter it. What would his guards think if they heard him shout like a madman?

He remained silent, his eyes fixed upon the light; the boat went on, but the prisoner thought only of Mercedes. An intervening elevation of land hid the light. Dantes turned and perceived that they had got out to sea. While he had been absorbed in thought, they had shipped their oars and hoisted sail; the boat was now moving with the wind.

In spite of his repugnance to address the guards, Dantes turned to the nearest gendarme, and taking his hand,—

"Comrade," said he, "I adjure you, as a Christian and a soldier, to tell me where we are going. I am Captain Dantes, a loyal Frenchman, thought accused of treason; tell me where you are conducting me, and I promise you on my honor I will submit to my fate."

The gendarme looked irresolutely at his companion, who returned for answer a sign that said, "I see no great harm in telling him now," and the gendarme replied,—

"You are a native of Marseilles, and a sailor, and yet you do not know where you are going?"

"On my honor, I have no idea."

"Have you no idea whatever?"

"None at all."

"That is impossible."

"I swear to you it is true. Tell me, I entreat."

"But my orders."

"Your orders do not forbid your telling me what I must know in ten minutes, in half an hour, or an hour. You see I cannot escape, even if I intended."

"Unless you are blind, or have never been outside the harbor, you must know."

"I do not."

"Look round you then." Dantes rose and looked forward, when he saw rise within a hundred yards of him the black and frowning rock on which stands the Chateau d'If. This gloomy fortress, which has for more than three hundred years furnished food for so many wild legends, seemed to Dantes like a scaffold to a malefactor.

"The Chateau d'If?" cried he, "what are we going there for?" The gendarme smiled.

"I am not going there to be imprisoned," said Dantes; "it is only used for political prisoners. I have committed no crime. Are there any magistrates or judges at the Chateau d'If?"

"There are only," said the gendarme, "a governor, a garrison, turnkeys, and good thick walls. Come, come, do not look so astonished, or you will make me think you are laughing at me in return for my good nature." Dantes pressed the gendarme's hand as though he would crush it.

"You think, then," said he, "that I am taken to the Chateau d'If to be imprisoned there?"

"It is probable; but there is no occasion to squeeze so hard."

"Without any inquiry, without any formality?"

"All the formalities have been gone through; the inquiry is already made."

"And so, in spite of M. de Villefort's promises?"

"I do not know what M. de Villefort promised you," said the gendarme, "but I know we are taking you to the Chateau d'If. But what are you doing? Help, comrades, help!"

By a rapid movement, which the gendarme's practiced eye had perceived, Dantes sprang forward to precipitate himself into the sea; but four vigorous arms seized him as his feet quitted the bottom of the boat. He fell back cursing with rage.

"Good!" said the gendarme, placing his knee on his chest; "believe soft-spoken gentlemen again! Harkye, my friend, I have disobeyed my first order, but I will not disobey the second; and if you move, I will blow your brains out." And he levelled his carbine at Dantes, who felt the muzzle against his temple.

For a moment the idea of struggling crossed his mind, and of so ending the unexpected evil that had overtaken him. But he bethought him of M. de Villefort's promise; and, besides, death in a boat from the hand of a gendarme seemed too terrible. He remained motionless, but gnashing his teeth and wringing his hands with fury.

At this moment the boat came to a landing with a violent shock. One of the sailors leaped on shore, a cord creaked as it ran through a pulley, and Dantes guessed they were at the end of the voyage, and that they were mooring the boat.

His guards, taking him by the arms and coat-collar, forced him to rise, and dragged him towards the steps that lead to the gate of the fortress, while the police officer carrying a musket with fixed bayonet followed behind.

Dantes made no resistance; he was like a man in a dream: he saw soldiers drawn up on the embankment; he knew vaguely that he was ascending a flight of steps; he was conscious that he passed through a door, and that the door closed behind him; but all this indistinctly as through a mist. He did not even see the ocean, that terrible barrier against freedom, which the prisoners look upon with utter despair.

They halted for a minute, during which he strove to collect his thoughts. He looked around; he was in a court surrounded by high walls; he heard the measured tread of sentinels, and as they passed before the light he saw the barrels of their muskets shine.

They waited upwards of ten minutes. Certain Dantes could not escape, the gendarmes released him. They seemed awaiting orders. The orders came.

"Where is the prisoner?" said a voice.

"Here," replied the gendarmes.

"Let him follow me; I will take him to his cell."

"Go!" said the gendarmes, thrusting Dantes forward.

The prisoner followed his guide, who led him into a room almost under ground, whose bare and reeking walls seemed as though impregnated with tears; a lamp placed on a stool illumined the apartment faintly, and showed Dantes the features of his conductor, an under-jailer, ill-clothed, and of sullen appearance.

"Here is your chamber for to-night," said he. "It is late, and the governor is asleep. To-morrow, perhaps, he may change you. In the meantime there is bread, water, and fresh straw; and that is all a prisoner can wish for. Goodnight." And before Dantes could open his mouth—before he had noticed where the jailer placed his bread or the water—before he had glanced towards the corner where the straw was, the jailer disappeared, taking with him the lamp and closing the door, leaving stamped upon the prisoner's mind the dim reflection of the dripping walls of his dungeon.

Dantes was alone in darkness and in silence—cold as the shadows that he felt breathe on his burning forehead. With the first dawn of day the jailer returned, with orders to leave Dantes where he was. He found the prisoner in the same position, as if fixed there, his eyes swollen with weeping. He had passed the night standing, and without sleep. The jailer advanced; Dantes appeared not to perceive him. He touched him on the shoulder. Edmond started.

"Have you not slept?" said the jailer.

"I do not know," replied Dantes. The jailer stared.

"Are you hungry?" continued he.

"I do not know."

"Do you wish for anything?"

"I wish to see the governor." The jailer shrugged his shoulders and left the chamber.

Dantes followed him with his eyes, and stretched forth his hands towards the open door; but the door closed. All his emotion then burst forth; he cast himself on the ground, weeping bitterly, and asking himself what crime he had committed that he was thus punished.

The day passed thus; he scarcely tasted food, but walked round and round the cell like a wild beast in its cage. One thought in particular tormented him: namely, that during his journey hither he had sat so still, whereas he might, a dozen times, have plunged into the sea, and, thanks to his powers of swimming, for which he was famous, have gained the shore, concealed himself until the arrival of a Genoese or Spanish vessel, escaped to Spain or Italy, where Mercedes and his father could have joined him. He had no fears as to how he should live—good seamen are welcome everywhere. He spoke Italian like a Tuscan, and Spanish like a Castilian; he would have been free, and happy with Mercedes and his father, whereas he was now confined in the Chateau d'If, that impregnable fortress, ignorant of the future destiny of his father and Mercedes; and all this because he had trusted to Villefort's promise. The thought was maddening, and Dantes threw himself furiously down on his straw. The next morning at the same hour, the jailer came again.

"Well," said the jailer, "are you more reasonable to-day?" Dantes made no reply.

"Come, cheer up; is there anything that I can do for you?"

"I wish to see the governor."

"I have already told you it was impossible."

"Why so?"

"Because it is against prison rules, and prisoners must not even ask for it."

"What is allowed, then?"

"Better fare, if you pay for it, books, and leave to walk about."

"I do not want books, I am satisfied with my food, and do not care to walk about; but I wish to see the governor."

"If you worry me by repeating the same thing, I will not bring you any more to eat."

"Well, then," said Edmond, "if you do not, I shall die of hunger—that is all."

The jailer saw by his tone he would be happy to die; and as every prisoner is worth ten sous a day to his jailer, he replied in a more subdued tone.

"What you ask is impossible; but if you are very well behaved you will be allowed to walk about, and some day you will meet the governor, and if he chooses to reply, that is his affair."

"But," asked Dantes, "how long shall I have to wait?"

"Ah, a month—six months—a year."

"It is too long a time. I wish to see him at once."

"Ah," said the jailer, "do not always brood over what is impossible, or you will be mad in a fortnight."

"You think so?"

"Yes; we have an instance here; it was by always offering a million of francs to the governor for his liberty that an abbe became mad, who was in this chamber before you."

"How long has he left it?"

"Two years."

"Was he liberated, then?"

"No; he was put in a dungeon."

"Listen!" said Dantes. "I am not an abbe, I am not mad; perhaps I shall be, but at present, unfortunately, I am not. I will make you another offer."

"What is that?"

"I do not offer you a million, because I have it not; but I will give you a hundred crowns if, the first time you go to Marseilles, you will seek out a young girl named Mercedes, at the Catalans, and give her two lines from me."

"If I took them, and were detected, I should lose my place, which is worth two thousand francs a year; so that I should be a great fool to run such a risk for three hundred."

"Well," said Dantes, "mark this; if you refuse at least to tell Mercedes I am here, I will some day hide myself behind the door, and when you enter I will dash out your brains with this stool."

"Threats!" cried the jailer, retreating and putting himself on the defensive; "you are certainly going mad. The abbe began like you, and in three days you will be like him, mad enough to tie up; but, fortunately, there are dungeons here." Dantes whirled the stool round his head.

"All right, all right," said the jailer; "all right, since you will have it so. I will send word to the governor."

"Very well," returned Dantes, dropping the stool and sitting on it as if he were in reality mad. The jailer went out, and returned in an instant with a corporal and four soldiers.

"By the governor's orders," said he, "conduct the prisoner to the tier beneath."

"To the dungeon, then," said the corporal.

"Yes; we must put the madman with the madmen." The soldiers seized Dantes, who followed passively.

He descended fifteen steps, and the door of a dungeon was opened, and he was thrust in. The door closed, and Dantes advanced with outstretched hands until he touched the wall; he then sat down in the corner until his eyes became accustomed to the darkness. The jailer was right; Dantes wanted but little of being utterly mad.

 

第八章 伊夫堡

警长穿过外客厅的时候对两个宪兵做了一个手势,他们就跟上来了,一个站在唐太斯的右边,一个站在他的左边。一扇通向院子的门已经打开了,他们穿过了条长长的、阴森森的走廊,这条走廊的外貌,即使最大胆的人看了也会不寒而栗的,法院和监狱是相通的,监狱是一座幽暗的大建筑,从它铁格子的窗口望出去可以看见阿库尔教堂钟楼的尖顶。拐了无数的弯,唐太斯终于看见了一扇铁门,警长在门上敲了三下,唐太斯觉得每一个都敲在他的心里似的,门开了,两个宪兵把他轻轻地往前一推,他便迟疑地迈了进去,那门猛地在他的身后关上了。他呼吸到了一种空气,那是一种混浊的略带臭味的空气,他被带到了一个房间里,虽然门窗都装着铁栏杆,但还算是干净些,所以它的外观倒还不使他怎么害怕,再说代理检察官刚才似乎对他充满了关切,他的话还在他的耳边,象是在允诺给他自由似的,唐太斯被关进这个牢房的时候是下午四点钟,我们已经说过,这天是三月一日,所以没呆多久就进入了黑夜。幽暗使他的听觉变得敏锐了起来,每有一个微弱声音传进这个房间,他就赶快站起来到门边,都认为是来释放他的,但声音又渐渐沉寂了,唐太斯只好颓然地坐在了他的木凳子上,最后,大约到了十点左右,唐太斯开始绝望的时候,一把钥匙插入了锁,并转动了一下,门闩嘎嘎地响了几声,那笨重的大铁门便突然打开了,两只火把上的光照亮了整个房间,借着火把的灯光,唐太斯看清了四个宪兵身佩闪光的佩刀和马枪,他迎上前去,但一看到这些新增的士兵便又停下步来。

“你们是来接我的吗?”他问。

“是的。”一个士兵回答。

“是奉了代理检察官的命令吗?”

“我想是吧。”

“那好。”

即然相信他们是代理检察官派来的,不幸的唐太斯便打消了一切疑虑开了门。他镇定地迈步向前走去,自动地走在了宪兵的中间。门口有一辆马车车夫坐在车座上,他的身后有一位下级检察官。

“这辆马车是给我坐的吗?”唐太斯问。

“是给你坐的。”一个宪兵回答。

唐太斯想说什么,但觉得后边有人推了他一下,他既无力也无心作出什么拒绝,就登上了踏板,立刻被夹在了两个宪兵之间,其余两个在对面的位置上坐了下来,于是马车轮子开始在石路上笨重地滚动起来。

犯人看了看车窗,车窗也是钉着栏杆的。他虽然已从牢里出来,但现在正在被送到一个他所不知道的地方去。通过车窗和栏杆,唐太斯看到他们正经过凯塞立街。沿着劳伦码头和塔拉密司街向港口方向驶去,不久,他又觉得灯塔上的光穿过窗上的栏杆,照到了他的身上。

马车停了下来,那个警官下了车向卫兵室走去,不久,里面出来了十几个卫兵,排起队来,借着码头的灯光,唐太斯看到了他们的毛瑟枪在闪光。

“难道他们是为了我吗?”他想。

警官打开车门,他虽然什么也没说,但唐太斯的疑问已经得到了答复——因为他看见了两排士兵夹道排成了一条甬道,从马车直排到码头。坐在他对面的两个宪兵先下来然后命令他下了车,左右两边的宪兵跟在他的后面。他们向一艘小船走去,那条小船是一个海关关员的,用一条铁链拴在码头旁边。

士兵们都带着一种惊奇的神色看着唐太斯。刹那间,他已经被士兵们夹持着坐在船尾,警官刚坐在船头,船只一篙就被撑离了岸,四个健壮的桨手划着它迅速地向皮隆方向驶去。船上喊了一声,封锁港口的铁链就垂了下来。转眼,他们已经到了港口外面。

犯人一到大海上最初是很高兴,他深深地吸了一口新鲜空气,——空气是自由的,他感到了一种舒畅,但不久他就叹了一口气,因为他正在从瑞瑟夫酒家经过,这天早上他还在那儿,还是那样地快乐,而现在,从那敞开的窗子里,传来了他人在跳舞,在欢笑,在喧哗的声音。唐太斯双手合在胸前,仰面朝天祈祷起来。

小船继续前进着,他们已经过了穆德峡,现在已经到了灯塔前面,正要绕过炮台。唐太斯对这一条航线感到有些不理解。

“你们要把我带到那里去?”他问。

“待一会你就知道了。”

“但是——”

“我们是奉命,不得向你做任何解释。”

唐太斯知道去向奉命不得作答的下属提出问题是毫无意义的举动,也就沉没了。

这时,他的脑子里冒出了一些奇怪的念头,他们所乘的这只小船是不能做长途航行的,港口外面又没有大帆船停泊在那里;他想,他们或许要在某个很偏僻的地方放他走,他没有被绑起来,他们也丝毫没有给他上手铐的意图,这似乎是个好兆头,而且,那位很仁慈地对待他的代理法官不是告诉过他,说是要他不提到诺瓦蒂埃这个可怕的名子,他就什么也不说了,也不必害怕,代理法官不是还当着他的面把那封致命的信毁了吗,那攻击他的唯一证据也没有了,于是,他就一言不发地等着,努力在黑暗中看清航向。

他们已经过了兰顿纽岛,那儿也有一座灯塔,立在他们右边,现在已正对着迦太罗尼亚人村的海面上,犯人更加睁大了眼睛,他好象在沙滩上隐隐约约地辨认女人的身影,因为美塞苔丝就在那儿。她怎么会不预感到她的爱人就在她的身边呢?

有一处灯光还隐隐约约可辨,唐太斯认出那是美塞苔丝房间,在那个小小的村落里,只有美塞苔丝没睡,他真想大声喊出来让她听到自己的声音,但他没有喊,因为如果宪兵们听到他象一个疯子似的大声喊叫起来,他们会怎么想呢。

他依旧一言不发,但眼睛盯在那灯光上,小船继续前进着,他在思念着美塞苔丝。一片隆起的高地挡住了那灯光。唐太斯转过头来,发现他们已经划到了海上,在他沉思的时,他们早已经扯起了风帆。

唐太斯虽然极不愿意再提出疑问,但他还是禁不住转向靠近他的那个宪兵,抓住了他的一只手。

“朋友,我以一个基督教徒和水手的身份请求您,请您告诉我,我们究竟到那里去?我是唐太斯船长,一个忠实的法国人,有人诬告我是叛徒,请你告诉我你们究竟要押我到什么地方去,我以我的人格向你保证,我一定听天由命。”

那宪兵迟疑不决地看着他的同伴,他的同伴长叹一声,象是说告诉他也无妨。于是那宪兵回答说:“你是马赛本地人,又是个水手,怎么会不知道你在往什么地方去?”

“凭良心说,我一点也不知道。”

“那是不可能的。”

“我向你们发誓,的确如此。告诉我吧,我求您们了。”

“但那命令怎么办呢?”

“那命令并没有阻止你告诉我在十分钟前,半小时,或一小时后我一定会知道的事呀。别让我闷在葫芦里了吧,你看,我把你当成了朋友,我又不想反抗逃走,而且,我也做不出那样的事,我们究竟是到什么地方?”

“除非你是瞎子或是从来没出过马赛港,不然你一定会知道的。”

“那么你四周看看吧!”

唐太斯站起来向前望去,他看到了一百码远处,在黑森森地岩石上,竖着的是伊夫堡。三百多年来,这座阴森森的监狱曾有过许多可怕的传说,所以当他出现在唐太斯的眼前的时候,他就象一个死囚看见了断头台一样。

“伊夫堡?”他喊到,“我们到那儿去干什么?”

宪兵们只是笑了笑。

“我该不是被扣留到那儿吧?”唐太斯说,“那可是关重要的政治犯的地方。我没有犯罪。伊夫堡有法官吗?”

“那儿,只有一个典狱长,一个卫队,一些囚卒和厚厚的墙。好,好别装出一副吃惊的样子了,不然我真要觉得你在用嘲笑来报答我的好意了。”

“那么,这么说,我也要被关在这里面?”

“或许是吧。不过,你这样紧紧地捏着我的手也无济于事呀。”

“不经过任何手续了吧?”

“一切手继已经办齐啦。”

“这么说,也不用考虑维尔福先生所许的愿了吗?”

“我们不知道维尔福先生曾许过你什么愿。”宪兵说,我知道我们是押你到伊夫监狱去,咦,你想干什么,朋友,抓住他!

宪兵那训练有素的眼睛只看见了急速一动,那是唐太斯正跃身准备投入海里的一瞬间,但是,四条强有力的手臂已经抓住了他,以致他的脚好象给钉在了地板上一样,他疯狂地叫着跌进了船舱里。

好几个宪兵用膝头顶着他的胸膛说“你们水手的信用原来是这样的!别在相信这些甜言蜜语了!听着先生,我的朋友,我已经违背了我的第一个命令,但我不会违背第二个命令,你要是动一动,我马上就叫你的脑袋开花,”他的枪对着了唐太斯,后者觉得枪已顶住了他的头。

这时,他很想故意就此了结那些忽然降临到他头上的恶运,但正因为那恶运是不期而致,唐太斯认为它不会坚持太久的。他记起了维尔福先生的许诺,于是希望又复活了,而且他想,如果这样在船上死在一个宪兵的手里,似乎他觉得太平庸,太丢人的脸了。所以他索性倒在船舱里,怒吼了一声,恨恨地咬着自己的手。

这当儿,一个剧烈的震动使小船全身摇晃了一下,他们已经到达目的地,一个水手跳上岸去,一条铁索拖过滑轮,水手们已经在用缆绳系住小船。

宪兵们抓住他的手臂,硬拉他起身,拖他踏上石级,向城堡走去,那个警长跟在后面,拿着一把上了刺刀的火枪。

唐太斯没做什么反抗,他象是一个梦游的人,看见士兵排在两旁,他也知道在有石级的地方不得不抬脚迈上去,他觉得他过了一道门,那道门在他走过以后就关上了,他看到的所有的东西都象是在雾里似的,一切都是模模糊糊的,他甚至连海都看不见了,——海景在犯人的眼里是这样的令人沮丧。他只能带着痛苦的回忆望着犯人眼前那一片浩瀚的海洋了,知道他再也不能纵横驰骋了。

他们停了一下,乘这个时候也竭力使自己集中一下思想。

他向四周看了看,才发现他正站在一个高墙环绕的的正方形天井里。他听到哨兵们均匀的脚步,当他在灯光前走过时,他看见了他们的毛瑟枪在闪光。

他们等候了有十分钟,。宪兵确信唐太斯不会再逃走了,便松手放开他。他们象在等命令,而命令终于来了。

“犯人在什么地方?”一个声音在问。

“在这儿。”一个宪兵在回答。

“叫他到我这里来,我带他到他自己房间里去。”

“走!”宪兵推着唐太斯说。

犯人跟在他的引路人后面走,后者领他走进了一个几乎埋在地下的房间,光秃秃的墙壁发出难闻的臭味,象是挂满了泪珠;长凳上放着一盏灯,灯光昏暗地照着房间,唐太斯看清了他引路人的面貌,他是一个下级狱卒,衣着十分不整齐,脸色阴沉沉的。

“这是你今天晚上的房间,”他说“时间已经晚了,典狱长先生已经睡了。明天,当他醒来看到关于处置你的命令的时候,他或许给你换地方。现在,这儿有面包,水和稻草。一个犯人所希望的也就是这些了,晚安。”唐太斯还没来得及看到狱卒把面包和水放在什么地方,还不曾向屋角看一看稻草究竟在什么地方,那狱卒已经拿起他的灯走了。

唐太斯,独自站在黑暗和寂静里,他头上的圆形拱顶发出冰冷的寒气,直逼进他火一样燃烧的额头,而他象那拱顶似的一言不发,一动也不动地站着。天一亮,狱卒就带着唐太斯不必调换房间的命令回来了。他发现犯人还站在那个地方,一动也没动,好象钉在那儿似的,他的两眼都哭肿了。他就是这样站了整整一夜的,不曾睡过一会儿。狱卒走向前去,唐太斯象没看见似的,他碰一碰他的肩头,唐太斯吃了一惊。

“你没有睡吗?”狱卒说。

“我不知道。”唐太斯回答。狱卒呆呆地瞪了他一会儿。

“你饿不饿?”他又问。

“我不知道。”

“你想干什么?”

“我想见一见典狱长。”

狱卒耸耸他的肩膀,便离开了房间走了。

唐太斯目送着他向那半开着的门伸出手去,但门又关上了,他的情绪一下子爆发了出来,他跌倒在地上,眼泪夺眶而出,他扪心自问,究竟犯了什么罪,要受到这样的惩罚。

这一天就这样过去了,他没吃一点食物,只是在斗室里走来走去,象一只被困在笼子里的野兽似的,最使他苦恼的是,在这次被押送的途中,他竟这样的平静和呆笨,他本来这次跳海也是成功的,他的游泳技术是素来有名的,他可以游到岸边躲起来,等到热那亚船或西班牙船来的时候,逃到西班牙或意大利去,美塞苔丝和他的父亲可以到那儿去找我团聚,他跟本用不着担心以后的生活,因为他是一个好海员是到处都受人欢迎的,他讲起意大利语来就象托斯卡人一样 【意大利的一种民族。——译注】,而讲起西班牙语来就象卡斯蒂利亚人 【西班牙的一种民族。——译注】,那时他就会很幸福的。但是现在他却被囚禁到了伊夫堡这个地方,再也无法知道他父亲和美塞苔丝的命运如何了。而这一切都是因为他轻信了维尔福的许诺,他愈想愈气得发疯,痛恨得在稻草上打滚。第二天早上,狱卒又来了。

“喂,你今天想了通吗,”狱卒说,唐太斯没有回答。

“好了,振作一点,在我力所能及的范围内,你有什么要求没有?”

“我想见典狱长。”

“唉,我已经告你,这是不可能的,”狱卒不耐烦地说。

“为什么不可能?”

“因为这是这里的规定所不允许的。”

“假如你付得起钱,伙食可以好一点,还有书可读,还可以让你散散步。”

“我不要书,我对伙食已经很满意,我也不想什么散步,我只希望见见典狱长。”

“假如你老拿这个问题来麻烦我,我就不给你饭吃啦。”

“嗯,那么,假如你不拿来,我就饿死了,——那也成。”

唐太斯讲这些话的口吻使狱卒相信他的囚犯的确很愿意死,但由于狱卒每天从每一个犯人身上可以赚到十个左右的生活费,他说话时语气又软了下来,“你提的要求是不可能的,但你要是驯驯服服的在这儿,你就可以去散散步,你也许会有一天碰到典狱长,至于他是否能回答你的话,那就看他的了。”

“可是,我要等多久呢?”唐太斯问。

“哦,一个月,——六个月——一年。”

“这太久了,我希望能立刻见到他。”

“噢,别老去想那些不可能的事,否则你不到二个星期就会发疯的!”狱卒说。

“你这样认为吗?”

“是的,就会发疯的,疯子一开始的时候,就是这样的,我们这里就有这样一个例子。有一个神甫先前就在这个牢房里,他也是总跟典狱长说,要求得到自由,他就是这样开始发疯的。”

“他离开这儿多久了?”

“两年了。”

“那么他被释放了吗?”

“没有,他给关到地牢里了。”

“听着,我不是那个神甫,我也没有疯,或许将来,我会疯,但目前还没有,我想跟你另外商量一件事。”

“什么事?”

“我给你一百万法郎,因为我没有那么多钱,假如你为我到马赛去一趟,到迦太罗尼亚人村找一个名叫美塞苔丝的姑娘,替我带两行字,我就给你一百个艾居。”

“要是我听了你的话,信被人搜出来,我这个饭碗就保不住了,我在这里一年可挣一千里弗,为了三百里弗去冒这个险,我不成了个大傻瓜了。”

“好吧,”唐太斯说,“那么你要记住,假如你不肯替我带个口信给美塞苔丝,又不肯告诉她我在这儿,总有一天,我会躲在门背后,当你进来的时候,我就用这张长凳把你的脑壳打碎。”

“你威胁我,!狱卒一面喊,一面退后几步做出防备的样子,“你一定要发疯了,那个也象你这样开头的,三天之内,你就要象他那样穿上一件保险衣 【专门用来束缚疯子的一种衣服。——译注】但幸亏这里还有地牢。”

唐太斯抓起长凳子,在他的头上挥舞着。

“好!”狱卒说,“好极了,即然你这样坚持如此,我就去告诉典狱长。”

“这就对了,”唐太斯说完,放下长凳,坐在上面,垂下头,瞪着眼,象是真疯了似的。狱卒出去了,一会儿以后,带着一个伍长和四个兵回来了。

“奉典狱长之命,把犯人带到下面去。”他说。

“是的,我们必须疯子同疯子关在一起。”士兵们过来抓住了唐太斯的胳膊,唐太斯已经陷入一种虚弱的状态,毫不反抗地随着他们去了。

他向下走了十五级楼梯,一间地牢的门已经打开了,他走了进去,嘴里喃喃地说:“他说的不错,疯子应该和疯子在一起。”门关上了,唐太斯伸出双手向前走去,直到他碰到了墙壁,他于是在角落里座了下来,等他的眼睛渐渐习惯于黑暗,那狱卒说的不错,唐太斯离完全发疯已经不远了。




Chapter 9. The Evening of the Betrothal.

Villefort had, as we have said, hastened back to Madame de Saint-Meran's in the Place du Grand Cours, and on entering the house found that the guests whom he had left at table were taking coffee in the salon. Renee was, with all the rest of the company, anxiously awaiting him, and his entrance was followed by a general exclamation.

"Well, Decapitator, Guardian of the State, Royalist, Brutus, what is the matter?" said one. "Speak out."

"Are we threatened with a fresh Reign of Terror?" asked another.

"Has the Corsican ogre broken loose?" cried a third.

"Marquise," said Villefort, approaching his future mother-in-law, "I request your pardon for thus leaving you. Will the marquis honor me by a few moments' private conversation?"

"Ah, it is really a serious matter, then?" asked the marquis, remarking the cloud on Villefort's brow.

"So serious that I must take leave of you for a few days; so," added he, turning to Renee, "judge for yourself if it be not important."

"You are going to leave us?" cried Renee, unable to hide her emotion at this unexpected announcement.

"Alas," returned Villefort, "I must!"

"Where, then, are you going?" asked the marquise.

"That, madame, is an official secret; but if you have any commissions for Paris, a friend of mine is going there to-night, and will with pleasure undertake them." The guests looked at each other.

"You wish to speak to me alone?" said the marquis.

"Yes, let us go to the library, please." The marquis took his arm, and they left the salon.

"Well," asked he, as soon as they were by themselves, "tell me what it is?"

"An affair of the greatest importance, that demands my immediate presence in Paris. Now, excuse the indiscretion, marquis, but have you any landed property?"

"All my fortune is in the funds; seven or eight hundred thousand francs."

"Then sell out—sell out, marquis, or you will lose it all."

"But how can I sell out here?"

"You have a broker, have you not?"

"Yes."

"Then give me a letter to him, and tell him to sell out without an instant's delay, perhaps even now I shall arrive too late."

"The deuce you say!" replied the marquis, "let us lose no time, then!"

And, sitting down, he wrote a letter to his broker, ordering him to sell out at the market price.

"Now, then," said Villefort, placing the letter in his pocketbook, "I must have another!"

"To whom?"

"To the king."

"To the king?"

"Yes."

"I dare not write to his majesty."

"I do not ask you to write to his majesty, but ask M. de Salvieux to do so. I want a letter that will enable me to reach the king's presence without all the formalities of demanding an audience; that would occasion a loss of precious time."

"But address yourself to the keeper of the seals; he has the right of entry at the Tuileries, and can procure you audience at any hour of the day or night."

"Doubtless; but there is no occasion to divide the honors of my discovery with him. The keeper would leave me in the background, and take all the glory to himself. I tell you, marquis, my fortune is made if I only reach the Tuileries the first, for the king will not forget the service I do him."

"In that case go and get ready. I will call Salvieux and make him write the letter."

"Be as quick as possible, I must be on the road in a quarter of an hour."

"Tell your coachman to stop at the door."

"You will present my excuses to the marquise and Mademoiselle Renee, whom I leave on such a day with great regret."

"You will find them both here, and can make your farewells in person."

"A thousand thanks—and now for the letter."

The marquis rang, a servant entered.

"Say to the Comte de Salvieux that I would like to see him."

"Now, then, go," said the marquis.

"I shall be gone only a few moments."

Villefort hastily quitted the apartment, but reflecting that the sight of the deputy procureur running through the streets would be enough to throw the whole city into confusion, he resumed his ordinary pace. At his door he perceived a figure in the shadow that seemed to wait for him. It was Mercedes, who, hearing no news of her lover, had come unobserved to inquire after him.

As Villefort drew near, she advanced and stood before him. Dantes had spoken of Mercedes, and Villefort instantly recognized her. Her beauty and high bearing surprised him, and when she inquired what had become of her lover, it seemed to him that she was the judge, and he the accused.

"The young man you speak of," said Villefort abruptly, "is a great criminal, and I can do nothing for him, mademoiselle." Mercedes burst into tears, and, as Villefort strove to pass her, again addressed him.

"But, at least, tell me where he is, that I may know whether he is alive or dead," said she.

"I do not know; he is no longer in my hands," replied Villefort.

And desirous of putting an end to the interview, he pushed by her, and closed the door, as if to exclude the pain he felt. But remorse is not thus banished; like Virgil's wounded hero, he carried the arrow in his wound, and, arrived at the salon, Villefort uttered a sigh that was almost a sob, and sank into a chair.

Then the first pangs of an unending torture seized upon his heart. The man he sacrificed to his ambition, that innocent victim immolated on the altar of his father's faults, appeared to him pale and threatening, leading his affianced bride by the hand, and bringing with him remorse, not such as the ancients figured, furious and terrible, but that slow and consuming agony whose pangs are intensified from hour to hour up to the very moment of death. Then he had a moment's hesitation. He had frequently called for capital punishment on criminals, and owing to his irresistible eloquence they had been condemned, and yet the slightest shadow of remorse had never clouded Villefort's brow, because they were guilty; at least, he believed so; but here was an innocent man whose happiness he had destroyed: in this case he was not the judge, but the executioner.

As he thus reflected, he felt the sensation we have described, and which had hitherto been unknown to him, arise in his bosom, and fill him with vague apprehensions. It is thus that a wounded man trembles instinctively at the approach of the finger to his wound until it be healed, but Villefort's was one of those that never close, or if they do, only close to reopen more agonizing than ever. If at this moment the sweet voice of Renee had sounded in his ears pleading for mercy, or the fair Mercedes had entered and said, "In the name of God, I conjure you to restore me my affianced husband," his cold and trembling hands would have signed his release; but no voice broke the stillness of the chamber, and the door was opened only by Villefort's valet, who came to tell him that the travelling carriage was in readiness.

Villefort rose, or rather sprang, from his chair, hastily opened one of the drawers of his desk, emptied all the gold it contained into his pocket, stood motionless an instant, his hand pressed to his head, muttered a few inarticulate sounds, and then, perceiving that his servant had placed his cloak on his shoulders, he sprang into the carriage, ordering the postilions to drive to M. de Saint-Meran's. The hapless Dantes was doomed.

As the marquis had promised, Villefort found the marquise and Renee in waiting. He started when he saw Renee, for he fancied she was again about to plead for Dantes. Alas, her emotions were wholly personal: she was thinking only of Villefort's departure.

She loved Villefort, and he left her at the moment he was about to become her husband. Villefort knew not when he should return, and Renee, far from pleading for Dantes, hated the man whose crime separated her from her lover.

Meanwhile what of Mercedes? She had met Fernand at the corner of the Rue de la Loge; she had returned to the Catalans, and had despairingly cast herself on her couch. Fernand, kneeling by her side, took her hand, and covered it with kisses that Mercedes did not even feel. She passed the night thus. The lamp went out for want of oil, but she paid no heed to the darkness, and dawn came, but she knew not that it was day. Grief had made her blind to all but one object—that was Edmond.

"Ah, you are there," said she, at length, turning towards Fernand.

"I have not quitted you since yesterday," returned Fernand sorrowfully.

M. Morrel had not readily given up the fight. He had learned that Dantes had been taken to prison, and he had gone to all his friends, and the influential persons of the city; but the report was already in circulation that Dantes was arrested as a Bonapartist agent; and as the most sanguine looked upon any attempt of Napoleon to remount the throne as impossible, he met with nothing but refusal, and had returned home in despair, declaring that the matter was serious and that nothing more could be done.

Caderousse was equally restless and uneasy, but instead of seeking, like M. Morrel, to aid Dantes, he had shut himself up with two bottles of black currant brandy, in the hope of drowning reflection. But he did not succeed, and became too intoxicated to fetch any more drink, and yet not so intoxicated as to forget what had happened. With his elbows on the table he sat between the two empty bottles, while spectres danced in the light of the unsnuffed candle—spectres such as Hoffmann strews over his punch-drenched pages, like black, fantastic dust.

Danglars alone was content and joyous—he had got rid of an enemy and made his own situation on the Pharaon secure. Danglars was one of those men born with a pen behind the ear, and an inkstand in place of a heart. Everything with him was multiplication or subtraction. The life of a man was to him of far less value than a numeral, especially when, by taking it away, he could increase the sum total of his own desires. He went to bed at his usual hour, and slept in peace.

Villefort, after having received M. de Salvieux' letter, embraced Renee, kissed the marquise's hand, and shaken that of the marquis, started for Paris along the Aix road.

Old Dantes was dying with anxiety to know what had become of Edmond. But we know very well what had become of Edmond.

 

第九章 订婚之夜

维尔福急匆匆赶回大高碌路,当他走进屋里的时候,发现他离开时的那些宾客已经移坐到客厅里了,蕾妮和那些人都在着急地等待他,他一进来,立刻受到大家的欢呼。

“喂,专砍脑袋的人,国家的支柱,布鲁特斯 【(公元前85—42)古罗马政治家——译注】究竟是发生了什么事?”一个人问。

“是不是新的恐怖时期又到了?”又一个人问。

“是那个科西嘉魔鬼逃了出来?”第三个人问。”

“侯爵夫人,”维尔福走到他未来的岳母跟前说,“我请您原谅我在这个时候离开您。侯爵阁下,请允许我私下里同您说几句话,好吗?”

“呀,这事情十分重要吗?”侯爵问,他已经注意到维尔福满脸愁云。

“严重到我不得不离开你们几天,所以,”他又转过身去向蕾妮说“是的,事情是否严重,您自己是可想而知的。”

“您要离开我们了吗?”蕾妮掩饰不住她的情感,不禁地喊到。

“唉,我也是身不由己。”维尔福答道。

“那么,你要到那里去?”侯爵夫人问。

“夫人,这是法院的秘密,但假如您在巴黎有什么事要办,我的一位朋友今晚上就上那儿去。”宾客们都不禁面面相觑。

“你要同我单独谈话吗?”侯爵说。

“是的,我们到您的书房里去吧。”侯爵挽起了他的手臂,同他一起走出客厅。

“好啦。”他们一进书房,他就问,“告诉我吧,出了什么事?”

“一件非常重要的事,所以,我不得不立刻到巴黎去一趟。

现在,请原谅我不能泄露机密,侯爵,我大胆唐突问您一句,您的手里有没有国家证券?”

“我的财产都买成公债了,——有六七十万法朗吧。”

“那么,卖掉,赶快卖它们。”

“呃,我在这儿怎么卖呢?”

“您总有个代理人吧?”

“有的。”

“那么写一封信给我带去,告诉他赶快卖掉,一分一秒都不要耽误,或者我到那儿时已经晚了!”

“见鬼。”侯爵说,“那么我们不要浪费时间了。”

“于是他坐了下来,写了一封信给他的代理人,命令他不论什么价钱都要赶快卖掉他的证券。

“唔,”现在,维尔福把信封夹进他的笔记本里,一面说,“再写一封信!’“写给谁?”

“写给国王。”

“我可不敢随便写信给国王。”

“我不是要求您写信给国王,您叫萨欧伯爵写好了。我要一封能使我能尽快见到国王的信,无需经过那些繁杂的拜见手续,不然会丧失很多宝贵时间的。”

“你自己去问掌玺大臣好了,他有进奏权,会设法让你朝见的。”

“当然可以,不过,何必要把我发现的功劳让别人来分享呢。掌玺大臣会把我甩向一边。而他一个人独亨其功的,我告诉您,侯爵,假如我能第一个进入杜伊勒宫,我的前程就有保障了,因为,我这一次为国王所作的事,他永远也不会忘掉的。”

“即然如此,那你就快准备吧,我会叫萨尔维欧给您写你所需要的那封信的。”

“最好能赶快写,再过一刻钟我就要上路了。”

“你叫马车在门口停一下吧。”

“您代我向夫人和蕾妮小姐表示歉意吧,我今天就这样离开她们,的确是非常抱歉的。”

“她们都会到我这里来,这些话,留着你自己去说吧。”

“多谢,多谢。请赶快写信吧。“

侯爵拉了铃,一个仆人应声走进。

“去,告诉萨尔维伯爵,就说我在这儿等着他。”

“现在好了,你可以走了。”侯爵说。

“好,我马上就回来!”

维尔福匆匆地走出了侯爵府,忽然他又想到,假如有看见代理法官走路这样慌张,全城准会骚动起来,所以,他又恢复了他正常的恣态,官气十足地走去,在他的家门口,他看到了有一个人站在阴影里,看来好象是等候他的,那是美塞苔丝,她因为得不到爱人的消息,所以,跑来打听他了。

当维尔福走过去的时候,她就迎上前来,唐太斯曾经提到过他的这位新娘,所以维尔福立刻就认出了她,她美丽和端庄的仪恣使他吃了一惊,当她问道她的情人的情形的时候,他觉的她象是法官,而他倒成了犯人了。

“你所说的那个青年是一个罪人,”维尔福急忙说,“我没法帮助他的忙,小姐。”美茜塞苔再也忍不住她的眼泪了,当维尔福大步要走过她的时候,她又问道:“请您告诉我,他在什么地方,我想知道他究竟是死是活。”

“我不知道,他已经不由我管了。”维尔福回答。

他急于想结束这样的会面,所以就推开她,把门重重关上了,象是要把他的痛苦关到门外似的,但他内心的痛苦是无法这样被驱逐的,象维吉尔 【(公元前71—19)古罗马人——译注】所说的致命箭一样,受伤的人永远带着它。他走进去,关上门,一走到客厅,他就支持不住了,象呜咽似的,他长叹一声,倒进了一张椅子上。

然后,在那颗受伤的心灵深处,又出现一个致命疮伤的最初征兆。那个由于他的野心而被他牺牲的人,那个代他父亲受过的无辜的牺牲者,又在他的眼前出现了,他脸色苍白,带着威胁的神气,一只手牵着未婚妻,她的脸色也是一样的苍白,这种形象使他深感内疚——不是古人所说的那种猛烈可怕的内疚,而是一种缓慢的,折磨人的,与日俱增直到死亡的痛苦。

他犹豫了一会。他常常主张对犯人处以极刑,是靠了他那不可抗拒的雄辨把他们定罪的,他的眉头从来没有留下一点儿阴影,因为他们是有罪的——至少,他相信是如此,但现在这件事却完全不一样,他给一个清白无辜的判了无期徒刑——那是一个站在幸福之门无辜的人。这一次,他不是法官而是刽子手了。

他以前从没有过的这种感觉,现在,当他怀着茫然的恐惧,犹如一个受伤的人用一只手指去接触到他的伤口时,会本能地颤抖起来一样。这一种感觉只有当伤口愈合以后,往往还会再次裂开,并且这一次裂开的伤口更加疼痛。他的耳边响起了蕾妮请求他从宽办理的甜蜜声音或是那美塞苔丝似乎又进来对他说,“看在上帝的份上,我求您把我的未婚夫还给我吧!”如果是这一种情形,那他就会不顾一切,用他那冰冷的手签署他的释放令。但没有声音来打破房间的沉寂,只有维尔福的仆人进来告诉他长途旅行的马车已经准备好了。

维尔福站起来,或者更确切地说,象是一个战胜了一次内心斗争的人那样,从椅子上一跃而起,急忙打开他写字台的一个抽屉,把里面所有的金子都倒进他的口袋里,用手摸着头,一动也不动地站了一会,最后,他的仆人已把他的大氅披在了他的肩上,他这才出了门口,上了马车。吩咐车夫赶快到大高碌路侯爵府。

不幸的唐太斯就这样被定了罪。

正如侯爵所说的,维尔福看见侯爵夫人和蕾妮都在书房里。他看见蕾妮的时候,不由得吃了一惊,因为在他的想象中,她又要来为唐太斯求情了。唉,实际上她只想着维尔福即将离开她了。

她爱维尔福,而他却要在成为她的丈夫的这一刻离开她而去了,也不知道他何时才能回来,所以蕾妮非但不为唐太斯求情,反而恨起这个人来了,就因为他的犯罪,她和他的爱人就得分离了。

那么,美塞苔丝又怎么样了呢,?她在碌琪路的拐角上遇到了弗尔南多。她回到了迦太罗尼亚人村后,便绝望地躺在了床上。弗尔南多跪在了她的身边,拿起了她的手,吻遍了它。但美塞苔丝已毫无了感觉,那一夜她就是这样过来的,灯油燃尽了,但她并没觉得黑暗,她也没有注意到它的光明,悲哀蒙住了她的双眼,她只能看到一样东西,那就是唐太斯。

“啊,你在这儿,”她终于意识到了他的存在。

“从昨天起我就在这儿,就没有离开过您。”弗尔南多痛苦地说。

莫雷尔先生,就没有放弃过努力。他打听到唐太斯已经被投入了监狱,就去找他认识的所有的朋友和城里那些有钱有势的朋友,但城里的风声已经传开,说唐太斯是被当做拿破仑党的密使而被捕的,而且当时再大胆量的人也认为拿破仑东山再起是狂妄之举,因此,莫雷尔先生也四处遭到拒绝,只能是失望的回家。

卡德鲁斯也感到了不安,但是他没有想办法去救唐太斯,只是带了一瓶酒把自己关在房子里,想用酒来忘掉他的回忆。

可是他没有做到这一点,他已醉的腿都抬不动了,但他却忘不掉那可怕的往事。

只有腾格拉尔一个人一点都不觉得烦恼或不安,他甚至还很高兴——他认为自己已除掉了一块绊脚石,并保全了他在法老号上的地位。腾格拉尔是一个一心只为自己打算的人,这种人生下来耳朵上就夹了一支笔,心眼里头放着一瓶墨水,在他看来,一切都是加减乘除而已,在他看来,一个人的生命还不如一个数字宝贵,因为数字使他有所增加,而生命却只会渐渐消亡。

维尔福接过了萨尔维欧先生写的信以后,就拥抱了一下蕾妮,吻了吻侯爵夫人的手,和侯爵握手告别,起程前往巴黎去了。

唐太斯的老父亲正在被悲哀和焦急煎熬着。




Chapter 10. The King's Closet at the Tuileries.

We will leave Villefort on the road to Paris, travelling—thanks to trebled fees—with all speed, and passing through two or three apartments, enter at the Tuileries the little room with the arched window, so well known as having been the favorite closet of Napoleon and Louis XVIII., and now of Louis Philippe.

There, seated before a walnut table he had brought with him from Hartwell, and to which, from one of those fancies not uncommon to great people, he was particularly attached, the king, Louis XVIII., was carelessly listening to a man of fifty or fifty-two years of age, with gray hair, aristocratic bearing, and exceedingly gentlemanly attire, and meanwhile making a marginal note in a volume of Gryphius's rather inaccurate, but much sought-after, edition of Horace—a work which was much indebted to the sagacious observations of the philosophical monarch.

"You say, sir"—said the king.

"That I am exceedingly disquieted, sire."

"Really, have you had a vision of the seven fat kine and the seven lean kine?"

"No, sire, for that would only betoken for us seven years of plenty and seven years of scarcity; and with a king as full of foresight as your majesty, scarcity is not a thing to be feared."

"Then of what other scourge are you afraid, my dear Blacas?"

"Sire, I have every reason to believe that a storm is brewing in the south."

"Well, my dear duke," replied Louis XVIII., "I think you are wrongly informed, and know positively that, on the contrary, it is very fine weather in that direction." Man of ability as he was, Louis XVIII. liked a pleasant jest.

"Sire," continued M. de Blacas, "if it only be to reassure a faithful servant, will your majesty send into Languedoc, Provence, and Dauphine, trusty men, who will bring you back a faithful report as to the feeling in these three provinces?"

"Caninus surdis," replied the king, continuing the annotations in his Horace.

"Sire," replied the courtier, laughing, in order that he might seem to comprehend the quotation, "your majesty may be perfectly right in relying on the good feeling of France, but I fear I am not altogether wrong in dreading some desperate attempt."

"By whom?"

"By Bonaparte, or, at least, by his adherents."

"My dear Blacas," said the king, "you with your alarms prevent me from working."

"And you, sire, prevent me from sleeping with your security."

"Wait, my dear sir, wait a moment; for I have such a delightful note on the Pastor quum traheret—wait, and I will listen to you afterwards."

There was a brief pause, during which Louis XVIII. wrote, in a hand as small as possible, another note on the margin of his Horace, and then looking at the duke with the air of a man who thinks he has an idea of his own, while he is only commenting upon the idea of another, said,—

"Go on, my dear duke, go on—I listen."

"Sire," said Blacas, who had for a moment the hope of sacrificing Villefort to his own profit, "I am compelled to tell you that these are not mere rumors destitute of foundation which thus disquiet me; but a serious-minded man, deserving all my confidence, and charged by me to watch over the south" (the duke hesitated as he pronounced these words), "has arrived by post to tell me that a great peril threatens the king, and so I hastened to you, sire."

"Mala ducis avi domum," continued Louis XVIII., still annotating.

"Does your majesty wish me to drop the subject?"

"By no means, my dear duke; but just stretch out your hand."

"Which?"

"Whichever you please—there to the left."

"Here, sire?"

"I tell you to the left, and you are looking to the right; I mean on my left—yes, there. You will find yesterday's report of the minister of police. But here is M. Dandre himself;" and M. Dandre, announced by the chamberlain-in-waiting, entered.

"Come in," said Louis XVIII., with repressed smile, "come in, Baron, and tell the duke all you know—the latest news of M. de Bonaparte; do not conceal anything, however serious,—let us see, the Island of Elba is a volcano, and we may expect to have issuing thence flaming and bristling war—bella, horrida bella." M. Dandre leaned very respectfully on the back of a chair with his two hands, and said,—

"Has your majesty perused yesterday's report?"

"Yes, yes; but tell the duke himself, who cannot find anything, what the report contains—give him the particulars of what the usurper is doing in his islet."

"Monsieur," said the baron to the duke, "all the servants of his majesty must approve of the latest intelligence which we have from the Island of Elba. Bonaparte"—M. Dandre looked at Louis XVIII., who, employed in writing a note, did not even raise his head. "Bonaparte," continued the baron, "is mortally wearied, and passes whole days in watching his miners at work at Porto-Longone."

"And scratches himself for amusement," added the king.

"Scratches himself?" inquired the duke, "what does your majesty mean?"

"Yes, indeed, my dear duke. Did you forget that this great man, this hero, this demigod, is attacked with a malady of the skin which worries him to death, prurigo?"

"And, moreover, my dear duke," continued the minister of police, "we are almost assured that, in a very short time, the usurper will be insane."

"Insane?"

"Raving mad; his head becomes weaker. Sometimes he weeps bitterly, sometimes laughs boisterously, at other time he passes hours on the seashore, flinging stones in the water and when the flint makes 'duck-and-drake' five or six times, he appears as delighted as if he had gained another Marengo or Austerlitz. Now, you must agree that these are indubitable symptoms of insanity."

"Or of wisdom, my dear baron—or of wisdom," said Louis XVIII., laughing; "the greatest captains of antiquity amused themselves by casting pebbles into the ocean—see Plutarch's life of Scipio Africanus."

M. de Blacas pondered deeply between the confident monarch and the truthful minister. Villefort, who did not choose to reveal the whole secret, lest another should reap all the benefit of the disclosure, had yet communicated enough to cause him the greatest uneasiness.

"Well, well, Dandre," said Louis XVIII., "Blacas is not yet convinced; let us proceed, therefore, to the usurper's conversion." The minister of police bowed.

"The usurper's conversion!" murmured the duke, looking at the king and Dandre, who spoke alternately, like Virgil's shepherds. "The usurper converted!"

"Decidedly, my dear duke."

"In what way converted?"

"To good principles. Tell him all about it, baron."

"Why, this is the way of it," said the minister, with the gravest air in the world: "Napoleon lately had a review, and as two or three of his old veterans expressed a desire to return to France, he gave them their dismissal, and exhorted them to 'serve the good king.' These were his own words, of that I am certain."

"Well, Blacas, what think you of this?" inquired the king triumphantly, and pausing for a moment from the voluminous scholiast before him.

"I say, sire, that the minister of police is greatly deceived or I am; and as it is impossible it can be the minister of police as he has the guardianship of the safety and honor of your majesty, it is probable that I am in error. However, sire, if I might advise, your majesty will interrogate the person of whom I spoke to you, and I will urge your majesty to do him this honor."

"Most willingly, duke; under your auspices I will receive any person you please, but you must not expect me to be too confiding. Baron, have you any report more recent than this dated the 20th February.—this is the 4th of March?"

"No, sire, but I am hourly expecting one; it may have arrived since I left my office."

"Go thither, and if there be none—well, well," continued Louis XVIII., "make one; that is the usual way, is it not?" and the king laughed facetiously.

"Oh, sire," replied the minister, "we have no occasion to invent any; every day our desks are loaded with most circumstantial denunciations, coming from hosts of people who hope for some return for services which they seek to render, but cannot; they trust to fortune, and rely upon some unexpected event in some way to justify their predictions."

"Well, sir, go"; said Louis XVIII., "and remember that I am waiting for you."

"I will but go and return, sire; I shall be back in ten minutes."

"And I, sire," said M. de Blacas, "will go and find my messenger."

"Wait, sir, wait," said Louis XVIII. "Really, M. de Blacas, I must change your armorial bearings; I will give you an eagle with outstretched wings, holding in its claws a prey which tries in vain to escape, and bearing this device—Tenax."

"Sire, I listen," said De Blacas, biting his nails with impatience.

"I wish to consult you on this passage, 'Molli fugiens anhelitu,' you know it refers to a stag flying from a wolf. Are you not a sportsman and a great wolf-hunter? Well, then, what do you think of the molli anhelitu?"

"Admirable, sire; but my messenger is like the stag you refer to, for he has posted two hundred and twenty leagues in scarcely three days."

"Which is undergoing great fatigue and anxiety, my dear duke, when we have a telegraph which transmits messages in three or four hours, and that without getting in the least out of breath."

"Ah, sire, you recompense but badly this poor young man, who has come so far, and with so much ardor, to give your majesty useful information. If only for the sake of M. de Salvieux, who recommends him to me, I entreat your majesty to receive him graciously."

"M. de Salvieux, my brother's chamberlain?"

"Yes, sire."

"He is at Marseilles."

"And writes me thence."

"Does he speak to you of this conspiracy?"

"No; but strongly recommends M. de Villefort, and begs me to present him to your majesty."

"M. de Villefort!" cried the king, "is the messenger's name M. de Villefort?"

"Yes, sire."

"And he comes from Marseilles?"

"In person."

"Why did you not mention his name at once?" replied the king, betraying some uneasiness.

"Sire, I thought his name was unknown to your majesty."

"No, no, Blacas; he is a man of strong and elevated understanding, ambitious, too, and, pardieu, you know his father's name!"

"His father?"

"Yes, Noirtier."

"Noirtier the Girondin?—Noirtier the senator?"

"He himself."

"And your majesty has employed the son of such a man?"

"Blacas, my friend, you have but limited comprehension. I told you Villefort was ambitious, and to attain this ambition Villefort would sacrifice everything, even his father."

"Then, sire, may I present him?"

"This instant, duke! Where is he?"

"Waiting below, in my carriage."

"Seek him at once."

"I hasten to do so." The duke left the royal presence with the speed of a young man; his really sincere royalism made him youthful again. Louis XVIII. remained alone, and turning his eyes on his half-opened Horace, muttered,—

"Justum et tenacem propositi virum."

M. de Blacas returned as speedily as he had departed, but in the ante-chamber he was forced to appeal to the king's authority. Villefort's dusty garb, his costume, which was not of courtly cut, excited the susceptibility of M. de Breze, who was all astonishment at finding that this young man had the audacity to enter before the king in such attire. The duke, however, overcame all difficulties with a word—his majesty's order; and, in spite of the protestations which the master of ceremonies made for the honor of his office and principles, Villefort was introduced.

The king was seated in the same place where the duke had left him. On opening the door, Villefort found himself facing him, and the young magistrate's first impulse was to pause.

"Come in, M. de Villefort," said the king, "come in." Villefort bowed, and advancing a few steps, waited until the king should interrogate him.

"M. de Villefort," said Louis XVIII., "the Duc de Blacas assures me you have some interesting information to communicate."

"Sire, the duke is right, and I believe your majesty will think it equally important."

"In the first place, and before everything else, sir, is the news as bad in your opinion as I am asked to believe?"

"Sire, I believe it to be most urgent, but I hope, by the speed I have used, that it is not irreparable."

"Speak as fully as you please, sir," said the king, who began to give way to the emotion which had showed itself in Blacas's face and affected Villefort's voice. "Speak, sir, and pray begin at the beginning; I like order in everything."

"Sire," said Villefort, "I will render a faithful report to your majesty, but I must entreat your forgiveness if my anxiety leads to some obscurity in my language." A glance at the king after this discreet and subtle exordium, assured Villefort of the benignity of his august auditor, and he went on:—

"Sire, I have come as rapidly to Paris as possible, to inform your majesty that I have discovered, in the exercise of my duties, not a commonplace and insignificant plot, such as is every day got up in the lower ranks of the people and in the army, but an actual conspiracy—a storm which menaces no less than your majesty's throne. Sire, the usurper is arming three ships, he meditates some project, which, however mad, is yet, perhaps, terrible. At this moment he will have left Elba, to go whither I know not, but assuredly to attempt a landing either at Naples, or on the coast of Tuscany, or perhaps on the shores of France. Your majesty is well aware that the sovereign of the Island of Elba has maintained his relations with Italy and France?"

"I am, sir," said the king, much agitated; "and recently we have had information that the Bonapartist clubs have had meetings in the Rue Saint-Jacques. But proceed, I beg of you. How did you obtain these details?"

"Sire, they are the results of an examination which I have made of a man of Marseilles, whom I have watched for some time, and arrested on the day of my departure. This person, a sailor, of turbulent character, and whom I suspected of Bonapartism, has been secretly to the Island of Elba. There he saw the grand-marshal, who charged him with an oral message to a Bonapartist in Paris, whose name I could not extract from him; but this mission was to prepare men's minds for a return (it is the man who says this, sire)—a return which will soon occur."

"And where is this man?"

"In prison, sire."

"And the matter seems serious to you?"

"So serious, sire, that when the circumstance surprised me in the midst of a family festival, on the very day of my betrothal, I left my bride and friends, postponing everything, that I might hasten to lay at your majesty's feet the fears which impressed me, and the assurance of my devotion."

"True," said Louis XVIII., "was there not a marriage engagement between you and Mademoiselle de Saint-Meran?"

"Daughter of one of your majesty's most faithful servants."

"Yes, yes; but let us talk of this plot, M. de Villefort."

"Sire, I fear it is more than a plot; I fear it is a conspiracy."

"A conspiracy in these times," said Louis XVIII., smiling, "is a thing very easy to meditate, but more difficult to conduct to an end, inasmuch as, re-established so recently on the throne of our ancestors, we have our eyes open at once upon the past, the present, and the future. For the last ten months my ministers have redoubled their vigilance, in order to watch the shore of the Mediterranean. If Bonaparte landed at Naples, the whole coalition would be on foot before he could even reach Piomoino; if he land in Tuscany, he will be in an unfriendly territory; if he land in France, it must be with a handful of men, and the result of that is easily foretold, execrated as he is by the population. Take courage, sir; but at the same time rely on our royal gratitude."

"Ah, here is M. Dandre!" cried de Blacas. At this instant the minister of police appeared at the door, pale, trembling, and as if ready to faint. Villefort was about to retire, but M. de Blacas, taking his hand, restrained him.

 

第十章 杜伊勒里宫的小书房

这里先不说维尔福是如何星夜兼程赶往巴黎,并经过两三座宫殿最后进入了杜伊勒宫的小书房,先说杜伊勒宫这间有拱形窗门的小书房,它是非常闻名的,因为拿破仑和路易十八都喜欢在这儿办公,而当今的路易•菲力浦又成了这里的主人。

在这部书房里,国王路易十八正坐在一张胡桃木制成的桌子上办公,这张桌子是他从哈德维尔带回来的,他特别喜欢它,这原本也没有什么,因为大人物都有些癖好,而这就是他的癖好之一。此刻,他正在漫不经心地听一个约五十多岁,头发灰白,一副贵族仪表,风度极为高雅的人在讲话,他的手边放着一本格里夫斯版的贺拉斯 【(公元前65—8),古罗马人。——译注】他正在上面作注释,国王那种聪慧博学的见解大多是从这本书上得来的。

“你在说什么,先生?”国王问。

“我感到非常不安,陛下。”

“真得吗,难道你做了一个梦,梦见七只肥牛和七只瘦牛了吗?” 【见《圣经旧约•创世纪》。书中讲埃及法老梦见七头肥牛和七头瘦牛在河边吃青草。约瑟解释说,这是预示着七个半年后时有七个荒年。后来果然应效。——译注】 “不,陛下,因为那个梦不过是预示着我们将有七个丰年和七个荒年,而象陛下这样明察万里的国王的治理,荒年倒不是一件可怕的事。”

“那么,您还有什么可以担心的,我亲爱的勃拉卡斯?”

“陛下,我有充分担心的理由相信南方正在酝酿着一次大的风暴。”

“唉,亲爱的公爵,我想你是听错了。我所知道的正好相反,我确实知道那个地方风和日丽。”象路易十八这样一个人也喜欢开这样一个愉快的玩笑。

“陛下,就算只是为了让一个忠心的臣仆安心,陛下可否派可靠的人员去视察一下郎格多克,普罗旺斯和陀菲内,把这三省的民情带回来向您报告一下?”

“Conimussurdis。 【拉丁文:我们低声唱——译注】”国王依旧在他的贺拉斯诗集上做注释。

“陛下,”朝臣回答,并笑了笑,做出他懂得这句话意思的样子,“陛下可以完全相信法兰西人民的忠心,但我所担心的某种亡命企图不见得是没有道理的。

“拿破仑或至少是他的党羽。”

“我亲爱的勃拉卡斯,”国王说,“您这样惊慌都使我无法工作了。”

“而您陛下,您这样高枕无忧地叫我不能安眠。”

“等等,我亲爱的先生,请等一会儿,我在Pastorquumtraheret 【拉丁文:当牧童跟着走的时候——译注】这一句上找到了一条非常有趣的注释——再等一会,我写好了以后就听您讲。”

谈话暂时中断了一会,路易十八用极小的字体在那本诗集上的空白处写下了一个注释,然后,他带着一种自满的神色抬起头来看着公爵,好象说他已经有了一个独到的见解,而对方只能复述他人的见解似的,他说:“说吧,我亲爱的公爵,请接着说下去,我听着。”

“陛下,”勃拉卡斯说,此时他很想把维尔福的功劳占为己有,“我不得不告诉你,使我如此担忧不安的并不仅仅是谣言。

我派了我手下一个很有头脑的人去南方视察了一下动态。”公爵说这些话的时候有点儿犹豫,“他刚才急匆匆赶来告诉我,说陛下的安全受到了威胁,就急忙赶来了。”

“Maaducisavidomum,”路易十八依旧边写注解边说道。

“陛下不想叫我把这件事说下去了吗?”

“没有那个意思,亲爱的公爵,但您且伸手找一找。”

“找什么?”

“随便你找,就在左边。”

“我告诉是在左边,您却在右边找,我说是在左边,——对了,就在那儿,你可以找警长大臣昨天的报告。哟,唐德雷本人来了。”在侍从官进来报告以后,唐德雷先生走了进来。

“进来,”路易十八微微一笑说,“进来,男爵,把你所知道的一切,关于拿破仑他最近的消息都告诉公爵,什么也不要隐瞒,不管它有多么严重。厄尔巴岛是不是个火山,那儿会不会爆发火焰和可怕的战争——Bella!Horridabella!”唐德雷把双手背在身后,非常庄重地靠在一张椅子上说:“陛下有没有看过昨天的报告?”

“看过了,看过了,你把内容讲给公爵听吧,他找不到那份报告,尤其是关于逆贼在他的小岛上一切的所做所为,要讲得详细点。”

“阁下,”男爵对公爵说,“陛下所有的臣仆都应该以我们从厄尔巴岛得来的最新消息而感到欣慰,波拿巴,”唐德雷说到这里,望望路易十八,后者正在写一条注释,甚至连头都没有抬起来,——“波拿巴,”男爵继续说,“快要闷死了,他整天在澳特龙哥看矿工们干活。

“而且以搔痒来消遣。”国王加上一句。

“搔痒?”公爵问,“陛下这句话是什么意思?”

“一点不错,我亲爱的公爵。您忘了这位伟人,这位英雄,这位半仙得了一种使他痒得要命的皮肤病吗?”

“而且,公爵阁下,”警务大臣又说,“我们几乎可以肯定地说,逆贼就会发疯的。”

“发疯?”

“某种程度的发疯,他的神志已经不清了。他时而痛哭,时而狂笑,时而一连几小时在海边上拿石子来打水漂当那石子在水面上连跳五六下的时候,他就高兴得好象又取得了一次马伦戈 【在捷克,一八○五年,拿破仑在此打败奥俄联军。——译注】或奥斯特利茨 【在意大利,一八○○年,拿破仑在此打败奥军。——译注】之役一样。我想您也得承认,这些无可争辩的事实都是脑力衰弱的象征。”

“或是智慧的象征,男爵阁下,——或许是智慧的象征,”路易十八笑着说。“古代最伟大的船长们也都是在大海上打水漂儿取乐的,不信可看普鲁塔克 【(公元46—126),古希腊历史家。——译注】著的《施底奥•阿菲力加弩传》。”

勃拉卡斯公爵对国王和大臣这种盲目的泰然处之的态度深感不解。只可惜维尔福不肯泄露全部秘密,深恐他的功劳被人抢去,但所透露给他那点信息已经够使他感到不安的了。

“喂,唐德雷,”路易十八说,“勃拉卡斯还是不相信,再讲一点逆贼的转变给他听听。”

警务大臣躬身致意。

“逆贼的转变?”公爵喃喃地说,看着眼前象维吉尔诗里的牧童那样一唱一答的国王和唐德雷。“逆贼转变了?”

“一点不错,我亲爱的公爵。”

“转变成什么样了?”

“变得循规蹈矩了。男爵,你说给他听听。”

“哦,是这样的,公爵阁下,”大臣以极其庄重的语气说,“拿破仑最近作了一次侦查,他的两三个旧臣表示想重回法国,他便给他们准了假并告诫他们要‘为他们的好国王效劳’。这些都是他亲口说的,公爵阁下,我确信无疑。”

“喂,勃拉卡斯,你对这事怎么看?”国王得意地问,停了一会儿他的注解工作。

“我说,陛下,如果不是警务大臣部下被人骗了,就是我受骗了,但警务大臣是不可能受骗的,因为他是陛下安全和荣誉的保障,所以大概出错的是我。可是,陛下,假如您能允许我再进一谏言的话,陛下不妨问一下我刚才对您提起过的那个人,而且我请求陛下赐给他这种荣幸。”

“我非常愿意,公爵,只要您赞成,您高兴要我接见谁,我就接见谁,只要他手里不拿枪就行。大臣先生,您有没有比这更新的报告?这是二月二十日的,而我们现在已经是三月三日了。”

“还没有,陛下,但我时刻都在等待着,说不定今天早晨我离开办公室的这段时间里,新的报告又到了。”

“那么去走一趟吧,假如那儿还没有?——哦,哦,”路易十八又说,“就造一份好了,你们不是经常这样做吗?”国王笑着说。

“噢,陛下,”部长回答,“我们根本无需来捏造报告。每天,我们的办公桌上都堆满了最为详尽的告密书,都是那些被革职的人员送来的,虽然他们现在尚未官复原职,但却都很乐意回来为陛下效劳。他们相信命运,希望有朝一日会发生意外的大事以使他们的期望变成现实。”

“好吧,先生,去吧。”路易十八说,“别忘了我在等着你。”

“我只要来去的时间就够了,陛下。我十分钟内就回来。”

“我呢,陛下,”勃拉卡斯公爵说,“我去找一下我的信使。”

“等一下,先生,等一下,”路易十八说。“真的,勃拉卡斯,我看您这种雄赳赳气昂昂的样子。我让你猜一谜,有一只展开双翅的老鹰,它的脚爪抓住了一只猎物,这个猎物想逃跑,但又逃不了,它的名字就叫做——Tenax 【拉丁文:固执——译注】。”

“陛下,我知道了。”勃拉卡斯公爵说,不耐烦地咬着他的指甲。

“我想同您商讨一下这句话,‘Mollifugiensanhelitu 【拉丁文:气喘吁吁地逃跑的胆小鬼。——译注】,’您知道,这是指一只逃避狼的牡鹿。您不是一个狩猎行家和猎狼人吗?那么,您觉得那只Mollianhelitu如何?”

“妙极了,陛下,不过我那个信使正象您所说的那只牡鹿一样,因为他只花三天多一点的时间,就跑了六百六十哩路来到这里。”

“那一定够疲倦,够焦急的罗,我亲爱的公爵,而现在我们已经有了快报,要不了三四个钟头就可送到了,根本用不着大喘气。”

“啊,陛下,恐怕您对这个可怜的青年太不领情了,他从那么远的地方跑来,满怀极大的热情,来给陛下送一份有用的情报,是萨尔维欧先生介绍给我的,看在萨尔欧维先生的面子上,我也求陛下就接见他一次吧。”

“萨尔欧维先生?是我弟弟那个侍从官吗?”

“是的陛下。”

“他在罗赛。”

“是从那儿写信给我的。”

“不,但是他极力向我推荐了维尔福先生,要求我带他来见陛下。”

“维尔福先生!”国王喊道,“那个信使的名子叫维尔福吗?”

“是的,陛下”

“他从马赛赶来的吗?”

“是的他亲自赶来的。”

“您为什么不早提起他的名字呢?”国王问道,“而且还很有野心,真的!您知道他的父亲叫什么名字吗?”

“他的父亲?”

“是的,叫诺瓦蒂埃。”

“是那个吉伦特党徒诺瓦蒂埃吗?是那个做上议员的诺瓦蒂埃。”

“就是他。”

“陛下怎么用了这么一个人的儿子。”

“勃拉卡斯,我的朋友,你知道的真是太少了。我告诉过您,维尔福是很有野心的,只要自己能成功,他什么都可以牺牲掉,甚至于他的父亲。”

“那,陛下,人可以带他进来吗?”

“马上带他进来,公爵。他在那儿?”

“就在下面,在我的马车里。”

“立刻去叫他。”

公爵就象个年青人那样敏捷地走了出去,他尽忠国王的热忱使他年青了许多,房间里只剩下了路易十八。他又把目光投向了那半开的贺拉斯诗集上,嘴里喃喃说到“Justumettenacempropositivirum 【拉丁文:一个正直而坚定的人。——译注】”勃拉卡斯公爵以他下楼时的同样速度回来了,但一到了候见厅里,他又不得不停下来等待通告。维尔福穿的不是进见时的服装,再加上那种风尘扑扑的外貌,引起了司仪大臣勃黎齐的怀疑,他对这个青年竟敢穿这样的衣服来谒见国王陛下感到非常惊讶,但公爵终于用“奉国王之命”几个字排除了一切困难,所以不管这位司仪大臣的意见如何,不管他如何尊重他的戒律,维尔福还是被通报了。

国王仍是坐在公爵离开他的那个老地方,门一开,维尔福发现他正面对着国王,那青年法官的第一个动作便是停了脚步。

“进来,维尔福先生,”国王说,维尔福鞠了一躬,向前走了几步,等候国王垂询。

“维尔福先生,”路易十八说,“勃拉卡斯公爵告诉我说你有很重要的消息要报告。”

“陛下,公爵说得不错,我相信陛下一定会意识到它的重要性的。”

“在还没有谈正事以前,你先告诉我,先生,依你看,这件事情真的象他们对我说的那么严重吗?”

“陛下,这个事情的确很严重,我希望由于我来的正是时候,事情不至于无法挽救。”

“你尽量说吧,先生,”国王说,他开始被勃拉卡斯脸上的神色和维尔福激动的语气打动了,“说吧,先生,请从头说起,我喜欢一切都有条有理。”

“陛下,”维尔福说,“我向您保证献上一份可靠的情报,假如由于我很焦急而出现有些地方语无伦次,请陛下恕罪。”讲完了这一段谨慎而又巧妙的开场白之后,维尔福向国王瞥了一眼,看到了他那威严的听者面露慈祥,这才放下心来。于是,继续说:“陛下,我尽可能快点到巴黎来,是向陛下报告一件我在执行任务时发现的事情,这不是象每天在下层阶级或军队里所发生的那种无足轻重的、平凡的暴乱,它的确是一次谋反——是一次威胁到陛下王位的的谋反。陛下,逆贼武装了三条船,并定下了阴谋计划,那计划既狂妄,又可怕,此时此刻,他已经离开了厄尔巴岛,去哪儿我不知道,但是肯定是要在某一个地方登陆,不是在那不勒斯,就是在托斯卡纳海岸,甚至可能到法国海岸,陛下不会不知道,这个厄尔巴岛之主与意大利和法国都保持着联系。”

“我知道,先生,”国王说,并显得十分激动,“最近我还获得情报,知道那拿破仑分子在圣•杰克司街集会妄图死灰获复燃。但请你说下去,你是怎么知道这个消息的?”

“陛下,我是在审问一个马赛人时知道的,我对他已经注意到了好长时间,他是在我离开的那一天被抓起来的。他是一个不安分守己的水手,我一向就怀疑他是一个拿破仑党分子,最近他秘密到爱巴尔岛去了一趟,在那儿见了大元帅,大元帅叫他带一个口信到巴黎,给一个在巴黎的拿破仑分子,只是巴黎的那个拿破仑分子叫什么名字,我没能盘审出来,但口信内容我已经知道了,就是这个人要招集人马——不久就要卷土重来了。”

“这个人现在在那里?”国王问。

“在狱监里。”

“你觉得这事很严重吗?”

“严重极了,陛下,这件事发生的时候我正在家里请客,那天是我订婚的日子,当时我大吃一惊,马上离开了我的未婚妻和朋友们,以便赶快地赶到陛下的脚下,向陛下陈述谋反的事件,以表示我对陛下的忠心。”

“对了,你是和圣•梅朗小姐订婚吗?”路易十八问。

“是的,是陛下一个忠诚的臣仆的女儿。”

“是的,是的。还是让我们接着谈这次阴谋造反的事吧,维尔福先生。”

“陛下,我担心这不仅是一次谋反的阴谋,而是一次真正的谋反。”

“在目前这个时间谋反,”路易十八笑一笑说。“想想到很容易,但成功很难,因为我们祖先刚刚恢复王位,我们对于过去,现在和未来都看得很清楚。过去十个月来,我们的各个大臣都加倍地警惕着地中海,以确保平安无事,如波拿巴在那不勒斯登陆,那么在他到达皮昂比诺以前,是整个联军就会行动起来,如果他在托斯卡纳登陆,就踏上了一块与他为敌的国土,如果他在法国登陆,那他只有带点少数的人马,象他这样被人民深恶痛绝的人,其结果是可以想得到的,放心吧,好了先生,不过,王室仍然很感谢您。”

“啊,唐德雷阁下来了!”勃拉卡卡斯大声喊到。这时,警务大臣在门口出现了,他脸色苍白,全身颤抖,象就要昏死过去的样子,维尔福正想告退,勃拉斯公爵却拉住了他的手,留住了他。




Chapter 11. The Corsican Ogre.

At the sight of this agitation Louis XVIII. pushed from him violently the table at which he was sitting.

"What ails you, baron?" he exclaimed. "You appear quite aghast. Has your uneasiness anything to do with what M. de Blacas has told me, and M. de Villefort has just confirmed?" M. de Blacas moved suddenly towards the baron, but the fright of the courtier pleaded for the forbearance of the statesman; and besides, as matters were, it was much more to his advantage that the prefect of police should triumph over him than that he should humiliate the prefect.

"Sire"—stammered the baron.

"Well, what is it?" asked Louis XVIII. The minister of police, giving way to an impulse of despair, was about to throw himself at the feet of Louis XVIII., who retreated a step and frowned.

"Will you speak?" he said.

"Oh, sire, what a dreadful misfortune! I am, indeed, to be pitied. I can never forgive myself!"

"Monsieur," said Louis XVIII., "I command you to speak."

"Well, sire, the usurper left Elba on the 26th February, and landed on the 1st of March."

"And where? In Italy?" asked the king eagerly.

"In France, sire,—at a small port, near Antibes, in the Gulf of Juan."

"The usurper landed in France, near Antibes, in the Gulf of Juan, two hundred and fifty leagues from Paris, on the 1st of March, and you only acquired this information to-day, the 4th of March! Well, sir, what you tell me is impossible. You must have received a false report, or you have gone mad."

"Alas, sire, it is but too true!" Louis made a gesture of indescribable anger and alarm, and then drew himself up as if this sudden blow had struck him at the same moment in heart and countenance.

"In France!" he cried, "the usurper in France! Then they did not watch over this man. Who knows? they were, perhaps, in league with him."

"Oh, sire," exclaimed the Duc de Blacas, "M. Dandre is not a man to be accused of treason! Sire, we have all been blind, and the minister of police has shared the general blindness, that is all."

"But"—said Villefort, and then suddenly checking himself, he was silent; then he continued, "Your pardon, sire," he said, bowing, "my zeal carried me away. Will your majesty deign to excuse me?"

"Speak, sir, speak boldly," replied Louis. "You alone forewarned us of the evil; now try and aid us with the remedy."

"Sire," said Villefort, "the usurper is detested in the south; and it seems to me that if he ventured into the south, it would be easy to raise Languedoc and Provence against him."

"Yes, assuredly," replied the minister; "but he is advancing by Gap and Sisteron."

"Advancing—he is advancing!" said Louis XVIII. "Is he then advancing on Paris?" The minister of police maintained a silence which was equivalent to a complete avowal.

"And Dauphine, sir?" inquired the king, of Villefort. "Do you think it possible to rouse that as well as Provence?"

"Sire, I am sorry to tell your majesty a cruel fact; but the feeling in Dauphine is quite the reverse of that in Provence or Languedoc. The mountaineers are Bonapartists, sire."

"Then," murmured Louis, "he was well informed. And how many men had he with him?"

"I do not know, sire," answered the minister of police.

"What, you do not know! Have you neglected to obtain information on that point? Of course it is of no consequence," he added, with a withering smile.

"Sire, it was impossible to learn; the despatch simply stated the fact of the landing and the route taken by the usurper."

"And how did this despatch reach you?" inquired the king. The minister bowed his head, and while a deep color overspread his cheeks, he stammered out,—

"By the telegraph, sire."—Louis XVIII. advanced a step, and folded his arms over his chest as Napoleon would have done.

"So then," he exclaimed, turning pale with anger, "seven conjoined and allied armies overthrew that man. A miracle of heaven replaced me on the throne of my fathers after five-and-twenty years of exile. I have, during those five-and-twenty years, spared no pains to understand the people of France and the interests which were confided to me; and now, when I see the fruition of my wishes almost within reach, the power I hold in my hands bursts, and shatters me to atoms!"

"Sire, it is fatality!" murmured the minister, feeling that the pressure of circumstances, however light a thing to destiny, was too much for any human strength to endure.

"What our enemies say of us is then true. We have learnt nothing, forgotten nothing! If I were betrayed as he was, I would console myself; but to be in the midst of persons elevated by myself to places of honor, who ought to watch over me more carefully than over themselves,—for my fortune is theirs—before me they were nothing—after me they will be nothing, and perish miserably from incapacity—ineptitude! Oh, yes, sir, you are right—it is fatality!"

The minister quailed before this outburst of sarcasm. M. de Blacas wiped the moisture from his brow. Villefort smiled within himself, for he felt his increased importance.

"To fall," continued King Louis, who at the first glance had sounded the abyss on which the monarchy hung suspended,—"to fall, and learn of that fall by telegraph! Oh, I would rather mount the scaffold of my brother, Louis XVI., than thus descend the staircase at the Tuileries driven away by ridicule. Ridicule, sir—why, you know not its power in France, and yet you ought to know it!"

"Sire, sire," murmured the minister, "for pity's"—

"Approach, M. de Villefort," resumed the king, addressing the young man, who, motionless and breathless, was listening to a conversation on which depended the destiny of a kingdom. "Approach, and tell monsieur that it is possible to know beforehand all that he has not known."

"Sire, it was really impossible to learn secrets which that man concealed from all the world."

"Really impossible! Yes—that is a great word, sir. Unfortunately, there are great words, as there are great men; I have measured them. Really impossible for a minister who has an office, agents, spies, and fifteen hundred thousand francs for secret service money, to know what is going on at sixty leagues from the coast of France! Well, then, see, here is a gentleman who had none of these resources at his disposal—a gentleman, only a simple magistrate, who learned more than you with all your police, and who would have saved my crown, if, like you, he had the power of directing a telegraph." The look of the minister of police was turned with concentrated spite on Villefort, who bent his head in modest triumph.

"I do not mean that for you, Blacas," continued Louis XVIII.; "for if you have discovered nothing, at least you have had the good sense to persevere in your suspicions. Any other than yourself would have considered the disclosure of M. de Villefort insignificant, or else dictated by venal ambition," These words were an allusion to the sentiments which the minister of police had uttered with so much confidence an hour before.

Villefort understood the king's intent. Any other person would, perhaps, have been overcome by such an intoxicating draught of praise; but he feared to make for himself a mortal enemy of the police minister, although he saw that Dandre was irrevocably lost. In fact, the minister, who, in the plenitude of his power, had been unable to unearth Napoleon's secret, might in despair at his own downfall interrogate Dantes and so lay bare the motives of Villefort's plot. Realizing this, Villefort came to the rescue of the crest-fallen minister, instead of aiding to crush him.

"Sire," said Villefort, "the suddenness of this event must prove to your majesty that the issue is in the hands of Providence; what your majesty is pleased to attribute to me as profound perspicacity is simply owing to chance, and I have profited by that chance, like a good and devoted servant—that's all. Do not attribute to me more than I deserve, sire, that your majesty may never have occasion to recall the first opinion you have been pleased to form of me." The minister of police thanked the young man by an eloquent look, and Villefort understood that he had succeeded in his design; that is to say, that without forfeiting the gratitude of the king, he had made a friend of one on whom, in case of necessity, he might rely.

"'Tis well," resumed the king. "And now, gentlemen," he continued, turning towards M. de Blacas and the minister of police, "I have no further occasion for you, and you may retire; what now remains to do is in the department of the minister of war."

"Fortunately, sire," said M. de Blacas, "we can rely on the army; your majesty knows how every report confirms their loyalty and attachment."

"Do not mention reports, duke, to me, for I know now what confidence to place in them. Yet, speaking of reports, baron, what have you learned with regard to the affair in the Rue Saint-Jacques?"

"The affair in the Rue Saint-Jacques!" exclaimed Villefort, unable to repress an exclamation. Then, suddenly pausing, he added, "Your pardon, sire, but my devotion to your majesty has made me forget, not the respect I have, for that is too deeply engraved in my heart, but the rules of etiquette."

"Go on, go on, sir," replied the king; "you have to-day earned the right to make inquiries here."

"Sire," interposed the minister of police, "I came a moment ago to give your majesty fresh information which I had obtained on this head, when your majesty's attention was attracted by the terrible event that has occurred in the gulf, and now these facts will cease to interest your majesty."

"On the contrary, sir,—on the contrary," said Louis XVIII., "this affair seems to me to have a decided connection with that which occupies our attention, and the death of General Quesnel will, perhaps, put us on the direct track of a great internal conspiracy." At the name of General Quesnel, Villefort trembled.

"Everything points to the conclusion, sire," said the minister of police, "that death was not the result of suicide, as we first believed, but of assassination. General Quesnel, it appears, had just left a Bonapartist club when he disappeared. An unknown person had been with him that morning, and made an appointment with him in the Rue Saint-Jacques; unfortunately, the general's valet, who was dressing his hair at the moment when the stranger entered, heard the street mentioned, but did not catch the number." As the police minister related this to the king, Villefort, who looked as if his very life hung on the speaker's lips, turned alternately red and pale. The king looked towards him.

"Do you not think with me, M. de Villefort, that General Quesnel, whom they believed attached to the usurper, but who was really entirely devoted to me, has perished the victim of a Bonapartist ambush?"

"It is probable, sire," replied Villefort. "But is this all that is known?"

"They are on the track of the man who appointed the meeting with him."

"On his track?" said Villefort.

"Yes, the servant has given his description. He is a man of from fifty to fifty-two years of age, dark, with black eyes covered with shaggy eyebrows, and a thick mustache. He was dressed in a blue frock-coat, buttoned up to the chin, and wore at his button-hole the rosette of an officer of the Legion of Honor. Yesterday a person exactly corresponding with this description was followed, but he was lost sight of at the corner of the Rue de la Jussienne and the Rue Coq-Heron." Villefort leaned on the back of an arm-chair, for as the minister of police went on speaking he felt his legs bend under him; but when he learned that the unknown had escaped the vigilance of the agent who followed him, he breathed again.

"Continue to seek for this man, sir," said the king to the minister of police; "for if, as I am all but convinced, General Quesnel, who would have been so useful to us at this moment, has been murdered, his assassins, Bonapartists or not, shall be cruelly punished." It required all Villefort's coolness not to betray the terror with which this declaration of the king inspired him.

"How strange," continued the king, with some asperity; "the police think that they have disposed of the whole matter when they say, 'A murder has been committed,' and especially so when they can add, 'And we are on the track of the guilty persons.'"

"Sire, your majesty will, I trust, be amply satisfied on this point at least."

"We shall see. I will no longer detain you, M. de Villefort, for you must be fatigued after so long a journey; go and rest. Of course you stopped at your father's?" A feeling of faintness came over Villefort.

"No, sire," he replied, "I alighted at the Hotel de Madrid, in the Rue de Tournon."

"But you have seen him?"

"Sire, I went straight to the Duc de Blacas."

"But you will see him, then?"

"I think not, sire."

"Ah, I forgot," said Louis, smiling in a manner which proved that all these questions were not made without a motive; "I forgot you and M. Noirtier are not on the best terms possible, and that is another sacrifice made to the royal cause, and for which you should be recompensed."

"Sire, the kindness your majesty deigns to evince towards me is a recompense which so far surpasses my utmost ambition that I have nothing more to ask for."

"Never mind, sir, we will not forget you; make your mind easy. In the meanwhile" (the king here detached the cross of the Legion of Honor which he usually wore over his blue coat, near the cross of St. Louis, above the order of Notre-Dame-du-Mont-Carmel and St. Lazare, and gave it to Villefort)—"in the meanwhile take this cross."

"Sire," said Villefort, "your majesty mistakes; this is an officer's cross."

"Ma foi," said Louis XVIII., "take it, such as it is, for I have not the time to procure you another. Blacas, let it be your care to see that the brevet is made out and sent to M. de Villefort." Villefort's eyes were filled with tears of joy and pride; he took the cross and kissed it.

"And now," he said, "may I inquire what are the orders with which your majesty deigns to honor me?"

"Take what rest you require, and remember that if you are not able to serve me here in Paris, you may be of the greatest service to me at Marseilles."

"Sire," replied Villefort, bowing, "in an hour I shall have quitted Paris."

"Go, sir," said the king; "and should I forget you (kings' memories are short), do not be afraid to bring yourself to my recollection. Baron, send for the minister of war. Blacas, remain."

"Ah, sir," said the minister of police to Villefort, as they left the Tuileries, "you entered by luck's door—your fortune is made."

"Will it be long first?" muttered Villefort, saluting the minister, whose career was ended, and looking about him for a hackney-coach. One passed at the moment, which he hailed; he gave his address to the driver, and springing in, threw himself on the seat, and gave loose to dreams of ambition.

Ten minutes afterwards Villefort reached his hotel, ordered horses to be ready in two hours, and asked to have his breakfast brought to him. He was about to begin his repast when the sound of the bell rang sharp and loud. The valet opened the door, and Villefort heard some one speak his name.

"Who could know that I was here already?" said the young man. The valet entered.

"Well," said Villefort, "what is it?—Who rang?—Who asked for me?"

"A stranger who will not send in his name."

"A stranger who will not send in his name! What can he want with me?"

"He wishes to speak to you."

"To me?"

"Yes."

"Did he mention my name?"

"Yes."

"What sort of person is he?"

"Why, sir, a man of about fifty."

"Short or tall?"

"About your own height, sir."

"Dark or fair?"

"Dark,—very dark; with black eyes, black hair, black eyebrows."

"And how dressed?" asked Villefort quickly.

"In a blue frock-coat, buttoned up close, decorated with the Legion of Honor."

"It is he!" said Villefort, turning pale.

"Eh, pardieu," said the individual whose description we have twice given, entering the door, "what a great deal of ceremony! Is it the custom in Marseilles for sons to keep their fathers waiting in their anterooms?"

"Father!" cried Villefort, "then I was not deceived; I felt sure it must be you."

"Well, then, if you felt so sure," replied the new-comer, putting his cane in a corner and his hat on a chair, "allow me to say, my dear Gerard, that it was not very filial of you to keep me waiting at the door."

"Leave us, Germain," said Villefort. The servant quitted the apartment with evident signs of astonishment.

 

第十一章 科西嘉岛的魔王

看到这种神色慌张的样子,路易十八就猛地推开了那张他正在写字的桌子。

“出什么事了,男爵先生?”他惊讶地问,“看来你好象是一副大难临头的样子,你这惊慌犹豫的样子,是否与刚才勃拉卡斯先生又加以证实的事有关?”

勃拉卡斯公爵赶紧向男爵走去,那大臣的惊慌的神色完全吓退了这位元老的得意心情,说实在的,在这种情况下,如果是警务大臣战胜了他,实在是比使大臣受到羞辱对他有利得多。

“陛下,”——男爵嚅嚅地说。

“什么事?”路易十八问。那绝望几乎压倒了警务大臣,几乎是扑到了国王的脚下,后者不由得倒退了几步,并皱起了眉头。

“请您快说呀。”他说。

“噢,陛下,灾难降临了,我真该死,我永远也不能饶恕我自己!”

“先生我命令你快说。”路易十八说道。

“陛下,逆贼已在二月十八日离开了厄尔巴岛,三月一日登陆了。”

“在那儿?——在意大利吗?”国王问。

“在法国,陛下,昂蒂布附近一个小巷口的琪恩湾那儿。”

“那逆贼于三月一日在离巴黎七百五十哩的琪恩湾昂布附近登陆,而今天都三月四日了你才得到消息!哦,先生,你告诉我的事是难以叫人想象的,如果不是你得到了一份假情报,那么你就是发疯了。”

“唉,陛下,这事千真万确!”

国王做了一个难以形容的,愤怒和惊惶的动作,然后猛地一下子挺直并站了起来,象是这个突然的打击同时击中了他的脸和心一样。“在法国,”他喊到,“这个逆贼已经到了法国了!这么说,他们没有看住这个人,谁知道?或许他们是和他串通的!”

“噢,陛下!”勃拉卡斯公爵惊喊到,这事决不该怪罪唐德雷说他不忠。陛下,我们都瞎了眼,警务大臣也同大家一样仅此而已。”

“但是,”——维尔福刚刚说了两个字,便又突然停住了。

“请您原谅,陛下,”他一面说一面欠了一下身子,我的忠诚已使我无法自制了。望陛下宽恕。”

“说吧,先生,大胆地说吧,”国王说道。“看来只有你一个人把这个坏消息及早告诉了我们,现在请你帮助我们找到什么补救的办法!”

“陛下,”维尔福说:“逆贼在南方是遭人憎恨的,假如他想在那儿冒险,我们就很容易发动郎格多克和普罗旺斯两省的民众起来反对他。”

“那是当然”,大臣说道,只不过是顺着加普和锡斯特龙挺进。

“挺进,他在挺进!”路易十八说。“这么说他是在向巴黎挺进了吗?”

警务大臣一声不响了,这无疑是一种默认。

“陀菲内省呢,先生?”国王问维尔福,“你觉得我们也可能象在普罗旺斯省那样去做吗?”

“陛下,我很抱歉不得不禀告陛下一个严酷的事实,陀菲内的民情远不如普罗旺斯或朗格多克。那些山民都是拿破仑党分子,陛下。”

“那么,路易十八喃喃地说,“他的情报倒很正确了,他带了多少人?”

“我不知道。陛下。警务大臣说。

“什么!你不知道,你没去打听打听这方面的消息?是啊,这件事没什么了不起,”他说着苦笑了一下。

“陛下,这是没法知道的,快报上只提到了登陆和逆贼所走的路线。”

“你这个快报是怎么来的?”

大臣低下了头,涨红了脸,他喃喃地说,“快报是投递站接力送来的,陛下。”

路易十八向前跨了一步,象拿破仑那样交叉起双臂。“哦,这么说七国联军推翻了那个人,在我经过了二十五年的流亡以后,上天显出奇迹,又把我送到了我父亲的宝座上。在这二十五年中,我研究,探索,分析我的国家和人民和事物,而今正当我全部心愿就要实现的时候,我手里的权力却爆炸了,把我炸得粉碎!”

“陛下这是劫数!”大臣轻声地说,他觉得这样的一种压力,在命运之神看来不论多么微不足道,却已经能够压跨一个人了。

“那么,我们的敌人抨击我们说的话没错了,什么都没有学到,什么都不会忘记!假如我也象他那样为国家所共弃,那我倒可以自慰,既然是大家推荐我为尊,他们大家就应该爱护我胜过爱护他们自己才是。因为我的荣辱也就是他们的荣辱,在我继位之前,他们是一无所有的,在我逊位之后,他们也将一无所有,我竟会因他们的愚昧和无能而自取灭亡!噢,是的,先生,你说的不错——这是劫数!”

在这一番冷嘲热讽之下,大臣一直躬着腰,不敢抬头。勃拉卡斯德公爵一个劲地擦着他头上的冷汗。只有维尔福暗自得意,因为他觉得他越发显得重要了。

“亡国!”国王路易又说,他一眼就看出了国王将要坠入的深渊——。“亡国,从快报上才知道亡国的消息!噢,我情愿踏上我哥哥路易十六的断头台而不愿意这样丑态百出地被人赶下杜伊勒宫的楼梯。笑话呀,你为什么不知道他在法国的力量,而这原是你应该知道的!”

“陛下,陛下,”大臣咕哝地说,“陛下开恩——”

“请您过来,维尔福先生,”国王又对那青年说道,后者一动也不动,屏住了呼吸,倾听一场关系到一个国王的命运的谈话,——“来来,告诉大臣先生,他所不知道的一切,别人却能事先知道。”

“陛下,那个人一手遮盖住了天下人的耳目,谁也无法事先知道这个计划。”

“无法知道,这是多么伟大的字眼,不幸的是我已经都知道了,天下确实有伟大的字眼,先生,一位大臣他手里有庞大的机关,有警察,有秘探,有一百五十万法朗的秘密活动经费,竟无法说出离法国一百八十里以外的情况。难道真的无法知道,那么,看看吧,这儿有一位先生,他的手下并没有这些条件,只是一个法官,可他却比你和所有警务都知道的多。假如,他象你那样有权指挥快报机构的话,他早就可以帮我保住这顶皇冠啦。”

警务大臣的眼光都转到维尔福身上,神色中带着仇恨,后者却带着胜利的谦逊低下了头。

“我并没有在说您,勃拉卡斯,”路易十八继续说道,“因为算是您没有发现什么,但至少您很明达,曾坚持您的怀疑,要是换了个人,就会认为维尔福先生的发现是无足轻重的,或他只是想贪功邀赏罢了。”

这些话是射向警务大臣一小时前带着极为自信的口气所发的那番议论的,维尔福很明白国王讲话的意图。要是换了别人,也许被这一番赞誉所陶醉,而忘乎所以了,但他怕自己会成为警务大臣的死敌,他已看出大臣的失败是无可挽回的了。

事情也确实如此,这位大臣的权力在握的时候虽不能揭穿拿破仑的秘密,但在他垂死挣扎之际,却可能揭穿他的秘密,因为他只要问一问唐太斯便一切都明白了,所以维尔福不得不落井下石,反而来帮他一把了。

“陛下,”维尔福说,事态变化之迅速足以向陛下证明:只有上帝掀起一阵风暴才能把它止祝陛下誉臣有先见之明,实际上我纯粹是出于偶然,我只不过象一个忠心的臣仆那样抓住了这个偶然的机会而已。陛下,请不要对我过奖了,否则,我将来恐怕再无机会来附和您的好意了。”

警务大臣向这位青年人投去了感激的一瞥,维尔福明白他的计划已经成功了,也就是说他既没有损害了国王的感激之情,又新交上了一个朋友,必要时,也许可以依靠他呢。

“那也好,”国王又开始说道,“先生们,”他转过向勃拉卡斯公爵和警务大臣说道,“我对你们没有什么可以谈的了,你们可以退下了。剩下的事必须由陆军部来办理了。”

“幸亏,陛下,”勃拉卡斯说,“我们可以信赖陆军,陛下知道。所有的报告都证实他们是忠心耿耿的。”

“先生,别再向我提起报告了!我现在已经知道可以信赖他们的程度了,可是,说到报告,男爵阁下,你知道有关圣•杰克司事件的消息吗?”

“圣•杰克司街的事件!”维尔福禁不住惊叫了一声。然后,又急忙换了口气说,“请您原谅,陛下,我对陛下的忠诚使我忘记了——倒不是忘记了对您的尊敬,而是一时忘记了礼仪。”

“请随意一些,先生!”国王答道,“今天你有提出问题的权利。”

“陛下,”警务大臣回答道,“我刚才就是来向陛下报告有关这方面的最新消息的,碰巧陛下的注意力都集中到那件可怕的大事上去了,现在陛下恐怕不会再感兴趣了吧。”

“恰恰相反,先生,恰恰相反,”路易十八说,“依我看和刚才我们所关心的事一定有关系,奎斯奈尔将军之死或许会引起一次内部的大叛乱。”

维尔福听到奎斯奈尔将军的名字不禁颤粟了一下。

“陛下,”警务大臣说,“事实上,一切证据都说明这他的死,并不象我们以前所相信的那样是自杀,而是一次谋杀。好象是奎斯奈尔将军在离开一个拿破仑党俱乐部的时候失踪的。那天早晨,曾有人和他在一起,并约他在圣•杰克司街相会,不幸的是当那个陌生人进来的时候,将军的贴身保镖正在梳头,他只听到了街名,没听清门牌号码。”

当警务大臣向国王讲述这件事的时候,维尔福全神贯注地听着,脸上一阵红一阵白,好象他的整个生命都维系于这番话上似的。国王把目光转到了他的身上。

“维尔福先生,人们都以为这位奎斯奈尔将军是追随逆贼的,但实际上他却是完全忠心于我的,我觉得他是拿破仑党所设的一次圈套的牺牲品,你是否与我有同感?”

“这是可能的,陛下,”维尔福回答。“但现在只知道这些吗?”

“他们已经在跟踪那个和他约会的人了。”

“已经跟踪他了吗?”维尔福说。

“是的,仆人已把他的外貌描绘了出来。他是一个年约五十一二岁的人,棕褐色皮肤,蓬松的眉毛底下有一双黑色的眼睛,胡子又长又密。他身穿蓝色披风,钮孔上挂着荣誉团军官的玫瑰花形徽章。昨天跟踪到一个人,他的外貌和以上所描过的完全相符,但那人到裘森尼街和高海隆路的拐角上便突然不见了。”

维尔福将身子靠在了椅背上,因为警务大臣在讲述的时候,他直觉得两腿发软,当他听到那人摆脱了跟踪他的密探的时候,他才松了一口气。

“继续追踪这个人,先生,”国王对警务大臣说,“奎斯尔将军目前对我们非常有用,从各方面看来,我相信他是被谋杀的,假如果真如此,那么暗杀他的凶手,不论是否是拿破仑党,都该从严惩处。”

国王讲这些话的,维尔福在极力使自己镇定下来,以免露出恐怖的神色。

“多妙呀!”国王用很尖酸的语气继续说道。“当警务部说‘又发生了一起谋杀案’的时候,尤其是,当他们又加上一句‘我们已经在追踪凶手’的时候,他们就以为一切就都已了结。”

“陛下,我相信陛下对此已经满意了。”

“等着瞧吧。我不再耽搁你了,男爵。维尔福先生,你经过这次长途旅程,一定很疲乏了,回去休息吧。你大概是下塌在你父亲那儿吧?”

维尔福感到微微有点昏眩。“不,陛下,”他答道,“我下塌在导农街的马德里饭店里。”

“你去见过他了吗?”

“陛下,我刚到就去找勃拉卡斯公爵先生了。”

“但你总得去见他吧?”

“我不想去见他,陛下。”

“呀,我忘啦,”路易十八说道,随即微笑了一下,借以表示这一切问题是没有任何意图的,“我忘记了你和诺瓦莱埃先生的关系并不太好,这又是效忠王室而作出的一次牺牲,为了两次牺牲你该得到报偿。”

“陛下,陛下对我的仁慈已超过了我所希望的最高报偿,我已别无所求了。”

“那算什么,先生,我们是不会忘记你的,你放心好了。现在(说到这里,国王将他佩戴在蓝色上衣上的荣誉勋章摘了下来,递给了维尔福,这枚勋章原先戴在他的圣•路易十字勋章的旁边。圣•拉柴勋章之上的)——现在暂时先接受这个勋章吧。”

“陛下,”维尔福说,“陛下搞错了,这种勋章是军人佩戴的。”

“是啊!”路易十八说,“拿着吧,就算这样吧,因为我来不及给你弄个别的了。勃拉卡斯,您记得把荣誉勋位证书发给维尔福先生。”

维尔福的眼睛里充满了喜悦和得意的泪水。他接过勋章在上面吻了一下。“现在,”他说,“我能问一下:陛下还有什么命令赐我去执行吗?”

“你需要休息,先休息去吧,要记住,你虽然不能在巴黎这儿为我服务,但你在马赛对我也是很有用处呢。”

“陛下,”维尔福一面鞠躬,一面回答,“我在一个钟头之内就要离开巴黎了。”

“去吧,先生,”国王说,“假如我忘了你(国王记忆力都不强),就设法使我想起你来,不用怕。男爵先生,去叫军政大臣来。勃拉卡斯,你留在这儿。”

“啊,先生,”在他们离开杜伊勒里宫的时候,警务部长对维尔福说,“您走的门路不错,您的前程远大!”“谁知道能否真的前程远大?”维尔福心里这样思忖着,一面向大臣致敬告别,他的任务已经完成了,他环顾四周寻找出租的马车。这时正巧有一辆从眼前经过,他便喊住了它,告诉了地址,然后跳到车里,躺在座位上,做起野心梦来了。

十分钟之后,维尔福到了他的旅馆,他吩咐马车两小时后来接他,并吩咐把早餐给他拿来。他正要进餐时,门铃有了,听那铃声,便知道这人果断有力。仆人打开了门,维尔福听到来客提到了他的名字。

“谁会知道我在这儿呢?”青年自问道。

仆人走进来。

“咦,”维尔福说,“什么事?谁拉铃?谁要见我?”

“一个陌生人,他不愿意说出他的姓名。”

“一个不愿意说出姓名的陌生人,他想干什么?”

“他想同您说话。”

“同我。”

“是的。”

“他有没有说出我的名字?”

“说了。”

“他是个什么样的人。”

“唔,先生,是一个五十岁左右的人。”

“个头是高是矮?”

“跟您差不多,先生。”

“头发是黑的还是黄的?”

“黑,——黑极了,黑眼睛,黑头发,黑眉毛。”

“穿什么衣服?”维尔福急忙问。

“穿一件蓝色的披风,排胸扣的,还挂着荣誉勋章。”

“是他!”维尔福说道,脸色变得苍白。

“呃,一点不错!”我们已描绘过两次外貌的那个人走进门来说,“规矩还不少哪!儿子叫他父亲候在外客厅里,这可是马赛的规矩吗?”

“父亲!”维尔福喊道,“我没弄错,我觉得这一定是您。”

“哦,那么,假如你觉得这样肯定,”来客一面说着,一面把他的手杖靠在了一个角落里,把帽子放在了一张椅子上,“让我告诉你,我亲爱的杰拉尔,你要我这样等在门外可太不客气了。”

“你去吧,茄曼。”维尔福说。于是那仆人带着一脸的惊异神色退出了房间。




Chapter 12. Father and Son.

M. Noirtier—for it was, indeed, he who entered—looked after the servant until the door was closed, and then, fearing, no doubt, that he might be overheard in the ante-chamber, he opened the door again, nor was the precaution useless, as appeared from the rapid retreat of Germain, who proved that he was not exempt from the sin which ruined our first parents. M. Noirtier then took the trouble to close and bolt the ante-chamber door, then that of the bed-chamber, and then extended his hand to Villefort, who had followed all his motions with surprise which he could not conceal.

"Well, now, my dear Gerard," said he to the young man, with a very significant look, "do you know, you seem as if you were not very glad to see me?"

"My dear father," said Villefort, "I am, on the contrary, delighted; but I so little expected your visit, that it has somewhat overcome me."

"But, my dear fellow," replied M. Noirtier, seating himself, "I might say the same thing to you, when you announce to me your wedding for the 28th of February, and on the 3rd of March you turn up here in Paris."

"And if I have come, my dear father," said Gerard, drawing closer to M. Noirtier, "do not complain, for it is for you that I came, and my journey will be your salvation."

"Ah, indeed!" said M. Noirtier, stretching himself out at his ease in the chair. "Really, pray tell me all about it, for it must be interesting."

"Father, you have heard speak of a certain Bonapartist club in the Rue Saint-Jacques?"

"No. 53; yes, I am vice-president."

"Father, your coolness makes me shudder."

"Why, my dear boy, when a man has been proscribed by the mountaineers, has escaped from Paris in a hay-cart, been hunted over the plains of Bordeaux by Robespierre's bloodhounds, he becomes accustomed to most things. But go on, what about the club in the Rue Saint-Jacques?"

"Why, they induced General Quesnel to go there, and General Quesnel, who quitted his own house at nine o'clock in the evening, was found the next day in the Seine."

"And who told you this fine story?"

"The king himself."

"Well, then, in return for your story," continued Noirtier, "I will tell you another."

"My dear father, I think I already know what you are about to tell me."

"Ah, you have heard of the landing of the emperor?"

"Not so loud, father, I entreat of you—for your own sake as well as mine. Yes, I heard this news, and knew it even before you could; for three days ago I posted from Marseilles to Paris with all possible speed, half-desperate at the enforced delay."

"Three days ago? You are crazy. Why, three days ago the emperor had not landed."

"No matter, I was aware of his intention."

"How did you know about it?"

"By a letter addressed to you from the Island of Elba."

"To me?"

"To you; and which I discovered in the pocket-book of the messenger. Had that letter fallen into the hands of another, you, my dear father, would probably ere this have been shot." Villefort's father laughed.

"Come, come," said he, "will the Restoration adopt imperial methods so promptly? Shot, my dear boy? What an idea! Where is the letter you speak of? I know you too well to suppose you would allow such a thing to pass you."

"I burnt it, for fear that even a fragment should remain; for that letter must have led to your condemnation."

"And the destruction of your future prospects," replied Noirtier; "yes, I can easily comprehend that. But I have nothing to fear while I have you to protect me."

"I do better than that, sir—I save you."

"You do? Why, really, the thing becomes more and more dramatic—explain yourself."

"I must refer again to the club in the Rue Saint-Jacques."

"It appears that this club is rather a bore to the police. Why didn't they search more vigilantly? they would have found"—

"They have not found; but they are on the track."

"Yes, that the usual phrase; I am quite familiar with it. When the police is at fault, it declares that it is on the track; and the government patiently awaits the day when it comes to say, with a sneaking air, that the track is lost."

"Yes, but they have found a corpse; the general has been killed, and in all countries they call that a murder."

"A murder do you call it? why, there is nothing to prove that the general was murdered. People are found every day in the Seine, having thrown themselves in, or having been drowned from not knowing how to swim."

"Father, you know very well that the general was not a man to drown himself in despair, and people do not bathe in the Seine in the month of January. No, no, do not be deceived; this was murder in every sense of the word."

"And who thus designated it?"

"The king himself."

"The king! I thought he was philosopher enough to allow that there was no murder in politics. In politics, my dear fellow, you know, as well as I do, there are no men, but ideas—no feelings, but interests; in politics we do not kill a man, we only remove an obstacle, that is all. Would you like to know how matters have progressed? Well, I will tell you. It was thought reliance might be placed in General Quesnel; he was recommended to us from the Island of Elba; one of us went to him, and invited him to the Rue Saint-Jacques, where he would find some friends. He came there, and the plan was unfolded to him for leaving Elba, the projected landing, etc. When he had heard and comprehended all to the fullest extent, he replied that he was a royalist. Then all looked at each other,—he was made to take an oath, and did so, but with such an ill grace that it was really tempting Providence to swear him, and yet, in spite of that, the general was allowed to depart free—perfectly free. Yet he did not return home. What could that mean? why, my dear fellow, that on leaving us he lost his way, that's all. A murder? really, Villefort, you surprise me. You, a deputy procureur, to found an accusation on such bad premises! Did I ever say to you, when you were fulfilling your character as a royalist, and cut off the head of one of my party, 'My son, you have committed a murder?' No, I said, 'Very well, sir, you have gained the victory; to-morrow, perchance, it will be our turn.'"

"But, father, take care; when our turn comes, our revenge will be sweeping."

"I do not understand you."

"You rely on the usurper's return?"

"We do."

"You are mistaken; he will not advance two leagues into the interior of France without being followed, tracked, and caught like a wild beast."

"My dear fellow, the emperor is at this moment on the way to Grenoble; on the 10th or 12th he will be at Lyons, and on the 20th or 25th at Paris."

"The people will rise."

"Yes, to go and meet him."

"He has but a handful of men with him, and armies will be despatched against him."

"Yes, to escort him into the capital. Really, my dear Gerard, you are but a child; you think yourself well informed because the telegraph has told you, three days after the landing, 'The usurper has landed at Cannes with several men. He is pursued.' But where is he? what is he doing? You do not know at all, and in this way they will chase him to Paris, without drawing a trigger."

"Grenoble and Lyons are faithful cities, and will oppose to him an impassable barrier."

"Grenoble will open her gates to him with enthusiasm—all Lyons will hasten to welcome him. Believe me, we are as well informed as you, and our police are as good as your own. Would you like a proof of it? well, you wished to conceal your journey from me, and yet I knew of your arrival half an hour after you had passed the barrier. You gave your direction to no one but your postilion, yet I have your address, and in proof I am here the very instant you are going to sit at table. Ring, then, if you please, for a second knife, fork, and plate, and we will dine together."

"Indeed!" replied Villefort, looking at his father with astonishment, "you really do seem very well informed."

"Eh? the thing is simple enough. You who are in power have only the means that money produces—we who are in expectation, have those which devotion prompts."

"Devotion!" said Villefort, with a sneer.

"Yes, devotion; for that is, I believe, the phrase for hopeful ambition."

And Villefort's father extended his hand to the bell-rope, to summon the servant whom his son had not called. Villefort caught his arm.

"Wait, my dear father," said the young man, "one word more."

"Say on."

"However stupid the royalist police may be, they do know one terrible thing."

"What is that?"

"The description of the man who, on the morning of the day when General Quesnel disappeared, presented himself at his house."

"Oh, the admirable police have found that out, have they? And what may be that description?"

"Dark complexion; hair, eyebrows, and whiskers, black; blue frock-coat, buttoned up to the chin; rosette of an officer of the Legion of Honor in his button-hole; a hat with wide brim, and a cane."

"Ah, ha, that's it, is it?" said Noirtier; "and why, then, have they not laid hands on him?"

"Because yesterday, or the day before, they lost sight of him at the corner of the Rue Coq-Heron."

"Didn't I say that your police were good for nothing?"

"Yes; but they may catch him yet."

"True," said Noirtier, looking carelessly around him, "true, if this person were not on his guard, as he is;" and he added with a smile, "He will consequently make a few changes in his personal appearance." At these words he rose, and put off his frock-coat and cravat, went towards a table on which lay his son's toilet articles, lathered his face, took a razor, and, with a firm hand, cut off the compromising whiskers. Villefort watched him with alarm not devoid of admiration.

His whiskers cut off, Noirtier gave another turn to his hair; took, instead of his black cravat, a colored neckerchief which lay at the top of an open portmanteau; put on, in lieu of his blue and high-buttoned frock-coat, a coat of Villefort's of dark brown, and cut away in front; tried on before the glass a narrow-brimmed hat of his son's, which appeared to fit him perfectly, and, leaving his cane in the corner where he had deposited it, he took up a small bamboo switch, cut the air with it once or twice, and walked about with that easy swagger which was one of his principal characteristics.

"Well," he said, turning towards his wondering son, when this disguise was completed, "well, do you think your police will recognize me now."

"No, father," stammered Villefort; "at least, I hope not."

"And now, my dear boy," continued Noirtier, "I rely on your prudence to remove all the things which I leave in your care."

"Oh, rely on me," said Villefort.

"Yes, yes; and now I believe you are right, and that you have really saved my life; be assured I will return the favor hereafter." Villefort shook his head.

"You are not convinced yet?"

"I hope at least, that you may be mistaken."

"Shall you see the king again?"

"Perhaps."

"Would you pass in his eyes for a prophet?"

"Prophets of evil are not in favor at the court, father."

"True, but some day they do them justice; and supposing a second restoration, you would then pass for a great man."

"Well, what should I say to the king?"

"Say this to him: 'Sire, you are deceived as to the feeling in France, as to the opinions of the towns, and the prejudices of the army; he whom in Paris you call the Corsican ogre, who at Nevers is styled the usurper, is already saluted as Bonaparte at Lyons, and emperor at Grenoble. You think he is tracked, pursued, captured; he is advancing as rapidly as his own eagles. The soldiers you believe to be dying with hunger, worn out with fatigue, ready to desert, gather like atoms of snow about the rolling ball as it hastens onward. Sire, go, leave France to its real master, to him who acquired it, not by purchase, but by right of conquest; go, sire, not that you incur any risk, for your adversary is powerful enough to show you mercy, but because it would be humiliating for a grandson of Saint Louis to owe his life to the man of Arcola, Marengo, Austerlitz.' Tell him this, Gerard; or, rather, tell him nothing. Keep your journey a secret; do not boast of what you have come to Paris to do, or have done; return with all speed; enter Marseilles at night, and your house by the back-door, and there remain, quiet, submissive, secret, and, above all, inoffensive; for this time, I swear to you, we shall act like powerful men who know their enemies. Go, my son—go, my dear Gerard, and by your obedience to my paternal orders, or, if you prefer it, friendly counsels, we will keep you in your place. This will be," added Noirtier, with a smile, "one means by which you may a second time save me, if the political balance should some day take another turn, and cast you aloft while hurling me down. Adieu, my dear Gerard, and at your next journey alight at my door." Noirtier left the room when he had finished, with the same calmness that had characterized him during the whole of this remarkable and trying conversation. Villefort, pale and agitated, ran to the window, put aside the curtain, and saw him pass, cool and collected, by two or three ill-looking men at the corner of the street, who were there, perhaps, to arrest a man with black whiskers, and a blue frock-coat, and hat with broad brim.

Villefort stood watching, breathless, until his father had disappeared at the Rue Bussy. Then he turned to the various articles he had left behind him, put the black cravat and blue frock-coat at the bottom of the portmanteau, threw the hat into a dark closet, broke the cane into small bits and flung it in the fire, put on his travelling-cap, and calling his valet, checked with a look the thousand questions he was ready to ask, paid his bill, sprang into his carriage, which was ready, learned at Lyons that Bonaparte had entered Grenoble, and in the midst of the tumult which prevailed along the road, at length reached Marseilles, a prey to all the hopes and fears which enter into the heart of man with ambition and its first successes.

 

第十二章 父与子

诺瓦蒂埃先生因为进来的人的确就是他,用他的眼睛一直跟随着那仆人,一直看到他把门关上,然后,他又走过去把门打开了,无疑他是怕外客厅里有人偷听,这个预防倒并非没用,因为,从茄曼的突然退下这个行动上来看,他显然也犯了我们的始祖因之而堕落的原罪。诺瓦蒂埃先生不怕麻烦地小心地去关上了外客厅的门,又关上了卧室的门,然后才把他的手伸给了维尔福,而后者正带着惊魂未定的神色在呆呆地注视着他的一举一动。

“啊,我亲爱的杰拉尔,”来客对青年说道,并深情地望了他一眼,“你知道么,看样子你似乎并不十分高兴看到我?”

“我亲爱的父亲,”维尔福说,“我,恰恰相反,我是很高兴的,只是我没想到您会来,父亲,所以吃了一惊。”

“可是,我亲爱的朋友,”诺瓦蒂埃先生一边说,一边找了一个地方坐了下来,“我倒正想对你说这句话,因为你告诉我说你是在二月二十八日订婚,而三月三日却已到了巴黎这儿了。”

“我亲爱的父亲,”杰拉尔说着,一面把椅子拉近了诺瓦蒂埃先生,“就算我来了,您也不必抱怨,因为我是为您而来的,我这次来也许能救您的命呢。”

“啊,真的吗!”诺瓦蒂埃先生已舒舒服服地躺在椅子里了。“真的,请讲给我听听,法官先生,这一定很有趣。”

“父亲,您听说过圣杰克司街有一个拿破仑党俱乐部吗?”

“不错,在五十三号,我就是该俱乐部的副主席。”

“父亲,您的镇定简直使我有点儿害怕了。”

“噢,我的好孩子,一个曾被山岳党所放逐,曾躲在干草车里逃出了巴黎,被罗伯斯庇尔的暗探在波尔多的旷野里追逐过的人,他对很多事情都早已习惯了。请往下说吧,圣杰克司街的俱乐部怎么了?”

“哦,他们引诱奎斯尔将军去那里,奎斯奈尔将军是在晚上九点钟离家的,次日在赛纳河里被人发现的。”

“这个故事是谁告诉你的?”

“国王亲自告诉我的。”

“那么好吧,作为对你的故事的回报,”诺瓦蒂埃又说,“我也讲个故事给你听听。”

“我亲爱的父亲,我想,我已经知道您要告诉我的是什么了。”

“哦,你已听到皇帝陛下登陆的消息了?”

“别这么大声,父亲,我求求您,——为了您自己也为了我。是的,我听说这个消息了,甚至比您还早就听说了。三天以前,我以最快的速度,几乎拼命似的从马赛赶到巴黎来,因为我恨不得把我脑子里的所苦恼着的一个念头一下子就送到六百里以外去。”

“三天以前!你疯啦?三天以前圣上还没有登陆呢。”

“那没有关系,我早已知道他的计划了。”

“你是怎么知道的””

“从一封由厄尔巴岛发出的送给您的信上知道的。”

“给我的信?”

“是给您的,我是在那送信人的笔记本里发现的。要是那封信落到了别人的手里,您我亲爱的父亲呀,您这个时候大概早已被枪毙啦。”

维尔福的父亲大笑起来。“嗯,嗯,”他说,“看来昏君倒也从圣上那儿学到了速断速决的方法了。枪毙!我的好孩子!你这个刑罚执行得太快了吧。你所说的这封信在哪儿?我非常了解你的为人,我想你是不会让这样的一件东西随便乱扔的吧。”

“我把它给烧了,就怕留下只字片言,因为那封信简直就是您的判决书。”

“而且还会断送你的前程,”诺瓦蒂埃说道,“是的,这一点我倒不难理解。既然有你来保护我我就什么都不必怕了。”

“我不仅仅是保护了您,先生,我救了您的命!”

“是吗?咦,事情真是愈来愈戏剧化了,请你再说说看!”

“我得再回到圣杰克司街那个俱乐部的话题上去。”

“看来这俱乐部倒颇使警务部头痛。那他们为什么不再仔细地搜一搜呢?他们会找到——”

“他们没有找到,但他们已经有线索了。”

“不过那是老生常谈,这句话的意思我知道得很清楚。当警务部没有办法的时候,他们就宣称已经有线索了,于是政府就耐心地等着,直等到有一天,他们说象一溜青烟一样,那个线索失踪了。”

“不错,但他们找到了一具尸体,奎斯奈尔将军被害了,而在世界各国,他们都称那是一次谋杀。”

“谋杀!你是这样认为吗?咦,根本没有任何证据可以证明将军是被谋杀的呀。赛纳河里每天都可能捞到死人,或是自己跳下去的,或是因为不会游泳而淹死的。”

“父亲,您知道得很清楚,将军并不是一个会因绝望而跳水自杀的人,大正月里也不会有人在赛纳河里洗澡。不,不!不要弄错了,这次的死明明是一次谋杀。”

“这是谁定性的?”

“国王亲自说的。”

“国王!我还当他是一个哲学家,能懂得政治上并无谋杀这件事呢。亲爱的,你我都知道得很清楚,在政治上,是没有人的存在的,只有主义,没有感情可言,只有利害。在政治上,我们不是杀了一个人,而是除去了一个障碍。你想不想知道实情?好吧,我来告诉你。最初大家都很信赖奎斯奈尔将军,他是厄尔巴岛方面介绍来的。我们中有人到他那儿去邀请他到圣杰克司街去,请他去见几个朋友。他去了,大家就把计划告诉了他,如何离开厄尔巴岛,在什么时间登陆等等。当他知道了详情以后,他回答说,他是一个保皇党。当时大家都面面相觑,我们叫他发誓保守秘密,他发了个誓,但口是心非,以致真的激怒了上天来显灵报应!尽管如此,大家还是让将军自由地离开了,完全让他自由了。可是他却没回家。让我怎么说呢?

唉,亲爱的,很可能他在离开我们之后,他迷了路。你说谋杀!

真的,维尔福,你太令我吃惊了!你,一个代理检察官,竟如此捕风捉影地给人定罪!当你为王宅尽忠,把我党的一个成员杀头的时候,我是否对你说过,‘我的儿子,你犯了谋杀罪啦?’没有,我只是说,‘好极了,先生,你得胜了,明天,说不定,胜利又是我们的了。”

“但是,父亲,要注意,当我们胜利了的时候,我们的报复可是铁面无情的。”

“我不懂你的意思。”

“您是在指望逆贼复位吗?”

“我们是这样想的。”

“您错啦,他在法国境内还走不出五里路,就会被跟踪,追逐的,象一只野兽那样被抓住的。”

“我亲爱的朋友,圣上这个时候已在格勒诺布尔的路上了。十一、二日他就会到达里昂,而在二十日或二十五日到达巴黎。”

“人民会起来——”

“是的,起来迎接他的。”

“他只带了几个人来,而我们会派军队去剿灭他的。”

“是的,他们会护送他进首都的。真的,我亲爱的杰拉尔,你只是个小孩子,你自以为消息很灵通,因为有一份急报在皇上登陆后对你说,‘逆贼携随从数人于戛纳登陆,已在追逐中。’那么他现在在哪儿?在干些什么?恐怕你一点都不知道吧。他在被追逐中,你所知道的仅此而已。妙极了,象这样,他们可以不费一枪一弹就把他直追到巴黎来。”

“格勒诺布尔和里昂都是效忠王室的城市,人民会起来反对他,使那儿变成一道插翅难飞的关卡。”

“格勒诺布尔会热情地为他大开城门的,全里昂的人也都会赶快出来欢迎的。相信我,我们同你们一样消息灵通;我们的警务部也象你们的一样效率高。要给你举一个例子来证明吗?就拿你这次到巴黎来说吧。你想瞒过我,尽管你的行踪只告诉了你的马车夫,可是我却得到了你的住址,证据是,你刚在桌子面前一坐下,我就来到了这儿。现在,假如你不介意,请拉一下铃再要一副刀叉碟子来,我们一同进餐吧。”

“真是这样!”维尔福惊奇地望着他的父亲回答,“你们的消息看来的确很灵通。”

“呃,事情很简单。你们当权的人所拥有的,只不过是金钱能收买到的东西,而我们在野人,却可以得到由信仰所激发的一切。”

“信仰?”维尔福微笑着说。

“不错,是信仰。那两个字的含义,我相信,就是有希望的雄心。”说完,维尔福的父亲伸手去准备拉那条叫人的铃绳,想叫侍者进来。维尔福却按住了他的手臂。

“等一等,我亲爱的父亲,青年说道,我再说一句话。”

“说吧。”

“不管保皇党的警务部多么无能,他们却知道一件可怕的事。”

“什么事?”

“就是有个人的外貌特征在奎斯奈将军失踪的那天早上到将军家里去过。”

“哦,能干的警务部知道了这件事,那个人的外貌特征什么样?”

“褐色的皮肤,头发,眉毛胡须,都是黑的,排胸扣的蓝色披风,钮扣上挂着荣誉团军官的玫瑰形勋章,戴阔边帽子,一支藤手杖。”

“啊,啊!他们知道了这一切?”诺瓦蒂埃说,“那么,为什么他们不捉住那个人?”

“因为昨天,或者前天,他们跟踪那人到高海隆路拐角上的时候,把他给跟丢了。”

“我说你们警备部是些脓包吗?”

“是的,或许他们迟早会捉到他的。”

“不错,”诺瓦蒂埃说,随即漫不经心地环四周看了看——“不错,假如这个人事先没有得到警告或许会被他们抓住的,但现在他已经得到了警告。”他微笑了一下又说,“因此他就要改变他的相貌和穿着了,说着他走到放梳妆品的桌子前面,在脸上擦了一些肥皂,拿起一把剃刀,用一只结实的手刮掉那险些给他添麻烦的胡子,因为它们是给警务部留下了非常明显的印象。维尔福惊奇地注视着他。

胡子刮掉了,诺瓦蒂埃又把他的头发重新整理了一下,然后,拿起一条放在一只打开着的旅行皮包上面的花领巾,打了上去,穿上了维尔福的一件燕尾服式的棕黑色的一衣,脱下了他自己那件高领蓝色披风,在镜子前面试,他又拿了他儿子的一顶狭边帽子,觉得非常合适;把手杖放在原先那个壁炉角落里,拿起一支细竹手杖,用他那有力的手虎虎地试了一下,这支细手杖是文雅代理法官走路时用的,拿着它更显得从容轻快,这是他的主要特征之一。

“好了”化完了妆以后,他转过身来寻着他惊讶得目瞪口呆的儿子说,“怎么样,你们警务部还能认出吗?”

“认不出来了,父亲。维尔福讷纳地说,“至少,我希望如此。”

“现在,我亲爱的孩子,”诺瓦蒂埃又说,“我留给你来照料这些东西,全凭你的谨慎来把它处理掉了。”

“哦,放心好了。”维尔福说。

“是,是的,我现在相信你的确说的不错,你真的救了我的命,但你放心,我很快就会向你报恩的。”

维尔福摇摇头。

“你不相信?”

“至少,我希望是您弄错了。”

“你愿不愿意在他面前当一个预言家呢?”

“讲祸事的预言家是不受宫廷欢迎的,父亲。”

“不错,但他们总有一天会得到报偿的,假如真的发生了第二次的复辟,你那时就可以成为一个伟人了。”

“好吧,我对国王该说些什么呢?”

“对他这样说:‘陛下,关于法国的形势,市民的舆论,军队的士气,您受骗了。那个在巴黎被您称为科西嘉岛的魔王,在内韦尔被冠以逆贼头衔的人,已经在里昂被人欢呼为波拿巴,在格勒诺布尔被尊为皇帝了。您以为他是在被围剿,被追逐,或将要被擒获了,但他却在迅速前进,就象他所养的鹰那样。

您所信赖的士兵都快要饿死,累死啦,他们随时都准备着开小差,然后象雪片附在向前滚的雪球似地赶到他那儿去。陛下,走吧!把法兰西让给它真正的主了吧,让给那个不是把它买到手,而是征服它的人吧。走吧,陛下,倒并不是因为您会遇到什么危险,因为您的对手很强大,会宽容您的,面对圣•路易的孙子来说,竟让那个打赢了阿柯尔战役,马伦戈战役,奥斯特利茨战役的那个人饶他一命未免也太丢脸了。’就对他这样说,或者,最好还是什么也不要告诉他。把你这次行程严守秘密,别吹嘘你到巴黎来干什么,或曾干了什么。赶快回去,在黑夜里进入马赛,从后门溜回家,静静地,服服贴贴地,不声不响地呆在那儿,而最重要的,就是不要惹人讨厌,因为这一次,我敢向你保证,我们认清了谁是敌人以后要给以狠狠的惩罚的。

走吧,我的儿子,走吧,我亲爱的杰拉尔,假如你能听从我的话或者如果你高兴,把它算作友好的忠告也行,我们还可以保留你的原职的。这个,”诺瓦蒂埃微笑了一下又说,“就算是一种交易吧,假如有一天,在政治的天平上你高我低的时候,还希望你再救我一命。再见了,我亲爱的杰拉尔,下次再来时,请在我的门口下车。”诺瓦蒂埃在讲这番话后,他便以同样安祥的态度离开了房间。维尔福脸色苍白,急忙奔到窗前,撩开窗帘,看着他泰然自若地走过街口两三个鬼头鬼脑的人的身边,这两三个人,也许就是等候在那儿来抓一个长黑胡子的,穿蓝色披风,戴阔边呢帽的人的。

维尔福屏息静气地站在那儿呆望着,直望到他的父亲拐入了蒲赛街。然后他转过身来急忙去处理他留下来的那堆东西,把那黑领结和蓝披风塞进旅行包的箱底里,把帽子仍进了黑洞洞的壁厨里,把手杖折成几段,一下子投进了壁炉,然后戴上他的旅行便帽,叫仆人来,用眼色示意让他不要提任何问题,付了饭店的账,跳上那辆早已等候着的马车里,他在里昂得知波拿巴已进入格勒诺布尔,沿途到处都是兵荒马乱的,他终于到达马赛,这个野心勃勃的人初尝成功的喜悦,但同时,他心中又充满了种种希望和忧虑。




Chapter 13. The Hundred Days.

M. Noirtier was a true prophet, and things progressed rapidly, as he had predicted. Every one knows the history of the famous return from Elba, a return which was unprecedented in the past, and will probably remain without a counterpart in the future.

Louis XVIII. made but a faint attempt to parry this unexpected blow; the monarchy he had scarcely reconstructed tottered on its precarious foundation, and at a sign from the emperor the incongruous structure of ancient prejudices and new ideas fell to the ground. Villefort, therefore, gained nothing save the king's gratitude (which was rather likely to injure him at the present time) and the cross of the Legion of Honor, which he had the prudence not to wear, although M. de Blacas had duly forwarded the brevet.

Napoleon would, doubtless, have deprived Villefort of his office had it not been for Noirtier, who was all powerful at court, and thus the Girondin of '93 and the Senator of 1806 protected him who so lately had been his protector. All Villefort's influence barely enabled him to stifle the secret Dantes had so nearly divulged. The king's procureur alone was deprived of his office, being suspected of royalism.

However, scarcely was the imperial power established—that is, scarcely had the emperor re-entered the Tuileries and begun to issue orders from the closet into which we have introduced our readers,—he found on the table there Louis XVIII.'s half-filled snuff-box,—scarcely had this occurred when Marseilles began, in spite of the authorities, to rekindle the flames of civil war, always smouldering in the south, and it required but little to excite the populace to acts of far greater violence than the shouts and insults with which they assailed the royalists whenever they ventured abroad.

Owing to this change, the worthy shipowner became at that moment—we will not say all powerful, because Morrel was a prudent and rather a timid man, so much so, that many of the most zealous partisans of Bonaparte accused him of "moderation"—but sufficiently influential to make a demand in favor of Dantes.

Villefort retained his place, but his marriage was put off until a more favorable opportunity. If the emperor remained on the throne, Gerard required a different alliance to aid his career; if Louis XVIII. returned, the influence of M. de Saint-Meran, like his own, could be vastly increased, and the marriage be still more suitable. The deputy-procureur was, therefore, the first magistrate of Marseilles, when one morning his door opened, and M. Morrel was announced.

Any one else would have hastened to receive him; but Villefort was a man of ability, and he knew this would be a sign of weakness. He made Morrel wait in the ante-chamber, although he had no one with him, for the simple reason that the king's procureur always makes every one wait, and after passing a quarter of an hour in reading the papers, he ordered M. Morrel to be admitted.

Morrel expected Villefort would be dejected; he found him as he had found him six weeks before, calm, firm, and full of that glacial politeness, that most insurmountable barrier which separates the well-bred from the vulgar man.

He had entered Villefort's office expecting that the magistrate would tremble at the sight of him; on the contrary, he felt a cold shudder all over him when he saw Villefort sitting there with his elbow on his desk, and his head leaning on his hand. He stopped at the door; Villefort gazed at him as if he had some difficulty in recognizing him; then, after a brief interval, during which the honest shipowner turned his hat in his hands,—

"M. Morrel, I believe?" said Villefort.

"Yes, sir."

"Come nearer," said the magistrate, with a patronizing wave of the hand, "and tell me to what circumstance I owe the honor of this visit."

"Do you not guess, monsieur?" asked Morrel.

"Not in the least; but if I can serve you in any way I shall be delighted."

"Everything depends on you."

"Explain yourself, pray."

"Monsieur," said Morrel, recovering his assurance as he proceeded, "do you recollect that a few days before the landing of his majesty the emperor, I came to intercede for a young man, the mate of my ship, who was accused of being concerned in correspondence with the Island of Elba? What was the other day a crime is to-day a title to favor. You then served Louis XVIII., and you did not show any favor—it was your duty; to-day you serve Napoleon, and you ought to protect him—it is equally your duty; I come, therefore, to ask what has become of him?"

Villefort by a strong effort sought to control himself. "What is his name?" said he. "Tell me his name."

"Edmond Dantes."

Villefort would probably have rather stood opposite the muzzle of a pistol at five-and-twenty paces than have heard this name spoken; but he did not blanch.

"Dantes," repeated he, "Edmond Dantes."

"Yes, monsieur." Villefort opened a large register, then went to a table, from the table turned to his registers, and then, turning to Morrel,—

"Are you quite sure you are not mistaken, monsieur?" said he, in the most natural tone in the world.

Had Morrel been a more quick-sighted man, or better versed in these matters, he would have been surprised at the king's procureur answering him on such a subject, instead of referring him to the governors of the prison or the prefect of the department. But Morrel, disappointed in his expectations of exciting fear, was conscious only of the other's condescension. Villefort had calculated rightly.

"No," said Morrel; "I am not mistaken. I have known him for ten years, the last four of which he was in my service. Do not you recollect, I came about six weeks ago to plead for clemency, as I come to-day to plead for justice. You received me very coldly. Oh, the royalists were very severe with the Bonapartists in those days."

"Monsieur," returned Villefort, "I was then a royalist, because I believed the Bourbons not only the heirs to the throne, but the chosen of the nation. The miraculous return of Napoleon has conquered me, the legitimate monarch is he who is loved by his people."

"That's right!" cried Morrel. "I like to hear you speak thus, and I augur well for Edmond from it."

"Wait a moment," said Villefort, turning over the leaves of a register; "I have it—a sailor, who was about to marry a young Catalan girl. I recollect now; it was a very serious charge."

"How so?"

"You know that when he left here he was taken to the Palais de Justice."

"Well?"

"I made my report to the authorities at Paris, and a week after he was carried off."

"Carried off!" said Morrel. "What can they have done with him?"

"Oh, he has been taken to Fenestrelles, to Pignerol, or to the Sainte-Marguerite islands. Some fine morning he will return to take command of your vessel."

"Come when he will, it shall be kept for him. But how is it he is not already returned? It seems to me the first care of government should be to set at liberty those who have suffered for their adherence to it."

"Do not be too hasty, M. Morrel," replied Villefort. "The order of imprisonment came from high authority, and the order for his liberation must proceed from the same source; and, as Napoleon has scarcely been reinstated a fortnight, the letters have not yet been forwarded."

"But," said Morrel, "is there no way of expediting all these formalities—of releasing him from arrest?"

"There has been no arrest."

"How?"

"It is sometimes essential to government to cause a man's disappearance without leaving any traces, so that no written forms or documents may defeat their wishes."

"It might be so under the Bourbons, but at present"—

"It has always been so, my dear Morrel, since the reign of Louis XIV. The emperor is more strict in prison discipline than even Louis himself, and the number of prisoners whose names are not on the register is incalculable." Had Morrel even any suspicions, so much kindness would have dispelled them.

"Well, M. de Villefort, how would you advise me to act?" asked he.

"Petition the minister."

"Oh, I know what that is; the minister receives two hundred petitions every day, and does not read three."

"That is true; but he will read a petition countersigned and presented by me."

"And will you undertake to deliver it?"

"With the greatest pleasure. Dantes was then guilty, and now he is innocent, and it is as much my duty to free him as it was to condemn him." Villefort thus forestalled any danger of an inquiry, which, however improbable it might be, if it did take place would leave him defenceless.

"But how shall I address the minister?"

"Sit down there," said Villefort, giving up his place to Morrel, "and write what I dictate."

"Will you be so good?"

"Certainly. But lose no time; we have lost too much already."

"That is true. Only think what the poor fellow may even now be suffering." Villefort shuddered at the suggestion; but he had gone too far to draw back. Dantes must be crushed to gratify Villefort's ambition.

Villefort dictated a petition, in which, from an excellent intention, no doubt, Dantes' patriotic services were exaggerated, and he was made out one of the most active agents of Napoleon's return. It was evident that at the sight of this document the minister would instantly release him. The petition finished, Villefort read it aloud.

"That will do," said he; "leave the rest to me."

"Will the petition go soon?"

"To-day."

"Countersigned by you?"

"The best thing I can do will be to certify the truth of the contents of your petition." And, sitting down, Villefort wrote the certificate at the bottom.

"What more is to be done?"

"I will do whatever is necessary." This assurance delighted Morrel, who took leave of Villefort, and hastened to announce to old Dantes that he would soon see his son.

As for Villefort, instead of sending to Paris, he carefully preserved the petition that so fearfully compromised Dantes, in the hopes of an event that seemed not unlikely,—that is, a second restoration. Dantes remained a prisoner, and heard not the noise of the fall of Louis XVIII.'s throne, or the still more tragic destruction of the empire.

Twice during the Hundred Days had Morrel renewed his demand, and twice had Villefort soothed him with promises. At last there was Waterloo, and Morrel came no more; he had done all that was in his power, and any fresh attempt would only compromise himself uselessly.

Louis XVIII. remounted the throne; Villefort, to whom Marseilles had become filled with remorseful memories, sought and obtained the situation of king's procureur at Toulouse, and a fortnight afterwards he married Mademoiselle de Saint-Meran, whose father now stood higher at court than ever.

And so Dantes, after the Hundred Days and after Waterloo, remained in his dungeon, forgotten of earth and heaven. Danglars comprehended the full extent of the wretched fate that overwhelmed Dantes; and, when Napoleon returned to France, he, after the manner of mediocre minds, termed the coincidence, "a decree of Providence." But when Napoleon returned to Paris, Danglars' heart failed him, and he lived in constant fear of Dantes' return on a mission of vengeance. He therefore informed M. Morrel of his wish to quit the sea, and obtained a recommendation from him to a Spanish merchant, into whose service he entered at the end of March, that is, ten or twelve days after Napoleon's return. He then left for Madrid, and was no more heard of.

Fernand understood nothing except that Dantes was absent. What had become of him he cared not to inquire. Only, during the respite the absence of his rival afforded him, he reflected, partly on the means of deceiving Mercedes as to the cause of his absence, partly on plans of emigration and abduction, as from time to time he sat sad and motionless on the summit of Cape Pharo, at the spot from whence Marseilles and the Catalans are visible, watching for the apparition of a young and handsome man, who was for him also the messenger of vengeance. Fernand's mind was made up; he would shoot Dantes, and then kill himself. But Fernand was mistaken; a man of his disposition never kills himself, for he constantly hopes.

During this time the empire made its last conscription, and every man in France capable of bearing arms rushed to obey the summons of the emperor. Fernand departed with the rest, bearing with him the terrible thought that while he was away, his rival would perhaps return and marry Mercedes. Had Fernand really meant to kill himself, he would have done so when he parted from Mercedes. His devotion, and the compassion he showed for her misfortunes, produced the effect they always produce on noble minds—Mercedes had always had a sincere regard for Fernand, and this was now strengthened by gratitude.

"My brother," said she as she placed his knapsack on his shoulders, "be careful of yourself, for if you are killed, I shall be alone in the world." These words carried a ray of hope into Fernand's heart. Should Dantes not return, Mercedes might one day be his.

Mercedes was left alone face to face with the vast plain that had never seemed so barren, and the sea that had never seemed so vast. Bathed in tears she wandered about the Catalan village. Sometimes she stood mute and motionless as a statue, looking towards Marseilles, at other times gazing on the sea, and debating as to whether it were not better to cast herself into the abyss of the ocean, and thus end her woes. It was not want of courage that prevented her putting this resolution into execution; but her religious feelings came to her aid and saved her. Caderousse was, like Fernand, enrolled in the army, but, being married and eight years older, he was merely sent to the frontier. Old Dantes, who was only sustained by hope, lost all hope at Napoleon's downfall. Five months after he had been separated from his son, and almost at the hour of his arrest, he breathed his last in Mercedes' arms. M. Morrel paid the expenses of his funeral, and a few small debts the poor old man had contracted.

There was more than benevolence in this action; there was courage; the south was aflame, and to assist, even on his death-bed, the father of so dangerous a Bonapartist as Dantes, was stigmatized as a crime.

 

第十三章 百日

诺瓦蒂埃先生真是一个预言家,事态的发展正如他所说的那样。谁都知道从爱尔巴岛卷土重来的这次著名的历史事件,——那次奇妙的复归,不仅是史无前例,而且大概也会后无来者。

路易十八对这一猛烈的打击只是软弱无力地抵抗了一下。他这个还没有坐稳的王朝,本来基础就不稳固,一向是摇摇欲坠,只要拿破仑一挥手,这座由旧偏见和新观念不好调和而构成的上层建筑便坍了下来。所以维尔福从国王那里只得了一些感激(这在目前反而可说是对他有害的)和荣誉十字勋章,但对这个勋章,他倒多了个心眼,并没有佩挂它,尽管勃拉卡斯公爵按时把荣誉勋位证书送了来。

诺瓦蒂埃当时成了显赫一时的人物,要不是为了他,拿破仑无疑早就把维尔福免职了。这个一七九三年的吉伦特党人和一八○六年的上议员保护了这个不久前保护过他的人。

帝国正在复活期间,但已不难预见它的二次倾覆了。维尔福的全部力量都用在封住那几乎被唐太斯所泄漏的秘密上了。只有检察官被免了职,因为他有效忠于王室的嫌疑。

帝国的权力刚刚建立,也就是说,皇帝刚刚住进杜伊勒里宫,从我们已经向读者们介绍过的那间小书房里发出了无数命令,在桌子上路易十八留下的那半空的鼻烟盒还敞开在那里。在马赛,不管官员们的态度如何,老百姓已知道:南北始终未被扑灭的内战的余烬又重新燃起来了;保党人如果敢冒险外出,必定会遭到斥骂和侮辱,这时如果要想挑起人民来报复他们,是不费吹灰之力的。

由于时势的变化,那位可敬的船主在当时虽还说不上势倾全市,因为他毕竟是个谨慎而胆小的人,以致许多最狂热的拿破仑党分子竟斥他为“温和派”,但却已有足够的势力可使他所提出的要求闻达于当局,而他的那个要求,我们不难猜到,是与唐太斯有关的。

维尔福的上司虽已倒台,他本人却依旧保留了原职,只是他的婚事已暂时搁在了一边,以期等待一个更有利的时机。假如皇帝能保住王位,那么杰拉尔就需要一个不同的联姻来帮助他的事业,他的父亲已负责再给他另找一个了。假如路易十八重登王位,则圣•梅朗侯爵以及他本人的势力就会大增,那桩婚事也就比以前更实惠了。

代理检察官暂时当上了马赛的首席法官,一天早晨,仆人推门进来,说莫雷尔先生来访。换了别人很可能就会赶忙去接见船主了。但维尔福是一个很能干的人,他知道这样做等于是在显其软弱。所以尽管他并没有别的客人,但仍让莫雷尔在外客厅里等候,理由只是代理检察官总是要叫每个人都等候一下的,读了一刻钟的报纸以后,他才吩咐请莫雷尔先生进来。

莫雷尔原以为维尔福会显出一副垂头丧气的样子。没想到见到他的时候,发觉他仍象六个星期以前见到他的时候一样,镇定,稳重,冷漠而彬彬有礼,这是教养有素的上等人和平民之间最难逾越的鸿沟。他走进维尔福的书房。满以为那法官见他就会发抖,但正相反,他看到的是维尔福坐在那儿,手肘支在办公桌上,用手托着头,于是他自己感到浑身打了个寒颤。他在门口停了下来。维尔福凝视了他一会儿,象是有点不认识他了似的。在这短短的一瞬间,那诚实的船主只是困惑地把他的帽子在两手中转动着,然后——“我想您是莫雷尔先生吧?”维尔福说。

“是的,先生。”

“请进来先生,”法官象赐恩似地摆一摆手说,“请告诉我是什么原因使我能有幸看到你的来访。”

“您猜不到吗,先生?”莫雷尔问。

“猜不到,但假如我可以做出什么为您效劳的话,我是很高兴的。”

“先生,”莫雷尔说,他渐渐恢复了自信心,“您还记得吧,在皇帝陛下登陆的前几天,我曾来为一个青年人求过情,他是我船上的大副,被控与厄尔巴岛有联系。那样的联系,在当时是一种罪名,尽管在今天却已是一种荣耀了。您当时是为路易十八效劳,不能庇护他,那是您的职责。但今天您定是为拿破仑效劳,您就应该保护他了,——这同样也是您的职责。所以我就是来问问那个青年人现在怎么样了。”

维尔福竭力控制住自己。“他叫什么名字?”他问道。“把他的姓名告诉我。”

“爱德蒙•唐太斯。”

虽然,维尔福宁愿面对一支二十五步外的枪口也不愿听人提到这个名字,但他依旧面不改色。

“唐太斯?”他重复了一遍,“爱德蒙•唐太斯?”

“是的,先生。”

维尔福翻开一大卷档案,放到桌子上,又从桌子上那儿走去翻另外那些档案,然后转向莫雷尔:“您肯定没弄错吗,先生?”他以世界上最自然的口吻说道。

假若莫雷尔再心细一点,或对这种事较有经验的话,那他说应该觉得奇怪,为什么对代理检察官不打发他去问监狱长,去问档案官,而是这样亲自答复他。但此时莫雷尔在维尔福身上没发现半点恐惧,只觉得对方很谦恭。维尔福的作法果然不错。

“没有,”莫雷尔说,“我没弄错。我认识他已经十年了,在他被捕的那一小时里,他还在为我服务呢。您也许还记得,六个星期以前,我曾来请求您对他从宽办理。正象我今天来请求您对他公道一些一样。您当时接待我的态度非常冷淡,啊,在那个年头里,保皇党人对拿破仑党当时是非常严厉的。”

“先生,”维尔福答道,“我当时是一个保皇党人,因为当时我以为波旁家族不仅是王伯的嫡系继承者,而且是国人所拥戴的君主。但皇帝这次奇迹般地复位证明我是错了,只有万民所爱戴的人才是合法的君主。”

“这就对了。”莫雷尔大声说道。“我很高兴听到您这样说,我相信可以从您这番话上得到爱德蒙的喜讯。”

“等一等,”维尔福一边说,一边翻阅一宗档案,“有了,他是一个水手,而且快要娶一个年轻的迦太兰姑娘了。我现在想起来了,这是一件非常严重的案子。”

“怎么回事?”

“您知道,他离开这儿以后,就被关到法院的监狱里去了。”

“那么后来呢?”

“我向巴黎打了个报告,把从他身上找到的文件附送去了。你该明白,这是我的职责。过了一个星期,他就被带走了。”

“带走了!”莫雷尔说。“他们把那个可怜的孩子怎样了呢?”

“哦,他大概被送到费尼斯德里,壁尼罗尔,或圣•玛加里岛去了。你一定会在某一天看到他回来再给您当船长的。”

“无论他什么时候回来,那个位置都给他保留着。但他怎么还不回来呢?依我看,依拿破仑党法院最关切的事,就该是释放那些被保皇党法院关进监狱里去的人。”

“别太心急,莫雷尔先生,”维尔福说道,“凡事我们都得按法律手续进行。禁闭令是上面签发的,他的释放令也得在老地方办理。拿破仑复位还不到两个星期,那些信还没送出去呢。”

“但是,”莫雷尔说,“现在我们已经赢了,除了等待办理这些正式手续之外,难道就没有别的办法了吗?我有几个朋友,他们有点势力,我可以弄到一张撤消逮捕的命令的。”

“根本就没什么逮捕令。”

“那么,在入狱登记簿上勾消他的名字。”

“政治犯是不登记的。有时,政府就是用这种办法来使一个人失踪而不留任何痕迹的。入了册就有据可查了。”

“波旁王执政时,或许是那样,但现在——”

“任何时代都是这样的,我亲爱的莫雷尔,从路易十四那个时代就开始这样了。皇帝对于狱规的管理比路易更加严格,监狱里不登记姓名的犯人多得不计其数。”

即使莫雷尔再有什么怀疑,这番苦口婆心的辩解也足以使之完全消除了。“那么,维尔福先生,您能否给我个什么忠告以便使可怜的唐太斯快点回来?”他问道。

“去求一下警务大臣吧。”

“噢,我知道那意味着什么。大臣每天都要收到两百封请愿书,但他还看不了三封。”

“那倒是真的,不过由我签署的,并由我呈上去的请愿书他一定会看的。”

“您愿意负责送去吗?”

“非常愿意。唐太斯当时有罪,但现在他已无罪了。当时把他判罪和现在使他重获自由都同样是我的职责。”

这样,维尔福就避免了一次调查的危险,一经查究,他可就完了,这虽然并不一定会成为事实,但却是很有可能的。

“可是我怎么去对大臣说明?”

“到这儿来,”维尔福一边说,一边把他的座位让给了莫雷尔,“我说,您写。”

“真的由您费心来办吗?”

“当然罗。别浪费时间了,我们已经浪费得太多啦。”

“是的。想想那个可怜的青年人还在那儿等待着,在那儿受苦,或许在那儿绝望了呢。”

维尔福一想到那个犯人在那黑暗寂静的牢房里咒骂他,就不禁打了个寒颤。但他仍不肯让步,在维尔福的野心的重压之下,唐太斯是必须被摧毁的。

维尔福口述了一封措辞美妙的请愿书,他在里面夸大了唐太斯的爱国心和对拿破仑党的功劳。以致唐太斯简直成了使拿破仑卷土重来最出力的一名活跃分子。据推测,一看到这份函件,大臣会立刻释放他的。请愿书写好了,维尔福把它朗诵了一遍。

“成了,”他说,“其余的事交给我来办好了。”

“请愿书很快就送去吗?”

“今天就送出去。”

“由您批署?”

“证明您的请愿书内容属实,这是我很乐意做的事。”维尔福说着便坐了下来,在信的末端签上了字。

“还要做什么别的吗?”莫雷尔问。

“去等着吧,”维尔福回答,“一切由我来负责好了。”

这个保证使莫雷尔充满了希望,于是他告别了维尔福,赶快去告诉老唐太斯,说不久就可以看见他的儿子了。

维尔福却并没有履行诺言把信送到巴黎去,而是小心地把那封现在看来可以救唐太斯但未来却极易危害他的请愿书保存了起来,以等待那件似乎并非不可能的事情的发生,好二次复辟。

“这样唐太斯仍然还是犯人,被埋没在黑牢的深处,他根本听不到路易十八垮台的消息,以及帝国倾覆时那更可怕的骚动。

但维尔福却用警觉的目光注视着一切,用警觉的耳朵倾听着一切。在拿破仑复位的“百日”期间,莫雷尔曾先后两次提出他的请求,但都被维尔福甜言蜜语地把他哄骗走了。最后发生了滑铁卢之战,莫雷尔就不再来了。他已尽了他力所能及的一切,这时任何新的尝试不仅徒劳无益而且很可能会有害他自己。

路易十八又重新登上了王位。在马赛能引起维尔福内心愧疚的记忆太多了,所以他请求并获准了调任图卢兹检察官一职,两星期后,他就和蕾妮结婚了,岳父在宫廷里比以前更显赫了。这就说明了在“百日”期间和滑铁卢战役以后,唐太斯为什么会依旧被关在牢里,好象上帝已把他忘了似的,但实际上人们并没有忘记他。

腾格拉尔很清楚他给了唐太斯那一击是多么厉害,他象所有做贼心虚但又要小聪明的人一样,诿称这是天意。当拿破仑回到巴黎以后,腾格拉尔害怕极了,唯恐唐太斯会随时来复仇,于是他便把自己希望出海的想法告诉了莫雷尔先生,得到了一封介绍信,把他介绍给了一个西班牙商人,三月底就到那儿去供职,那是在拿破仑回来后的第十一二天。他当时离开马赛后去了马德里,此后就没有听到他的消息了。

弗尔南多只知道唐太斯已从眼前消失了,其他的事他则一概不知。到底唐太斯怎么样了,他也懒得去问。只是,在他情敌不在的这一期间,他时时苦思冥想,有时想到编个离开的理由来欺骗美茜蒂丝,有时想迁移或强行把她带走。于是他常常忧郁地,一动不动地坐在弗罗湾的顶端,从那儿可以同时望到马赛和迦太罗尼亚人村,他是在守望着一个英俊的年轻人出现在他眼前,那个人就是他的复仇使者。弗尔南多已下定决心:他要一枪打死唐太斯,然后自杀。但他错了,他这个人是不会自杀的,因为他还抱有某种希望。

在这个时候,帝国作了最后一次呼吁,法国境内所有能拿起武器的男子都赶去听从他们皇帝的号召了,弗尔南多和其他的人一同离开了马赛,但心里却怀着一个可怕的念头,深恐他的敌人会在他不在的时候回来,而同美茜蒂丝结了婚。假若弗尔南多真的想自杀,则在他离开美茜蒂丝的时候就该这样做的了。他对她的关心,以及他对她的不幸所表示的同情,都产生了效果。美茜蒂丝一向象兄妹般地深爱着弗尔南多,现在这份情谊上又加上了一份感激之情。

“哥哥,”她把行囊挂上他肩头的时候说,“你要自己当心一点,因为如果你再永远离开了我,那我在这个世界上就只有孤零零的一个人了。”这些话在弗尔南多心中注入了一线希望。如果唐太斯不回来的话,总有一天,美茜蒂丝也许就是他的了。

现在只剩下美茜蒂丝一个人孤零零地来面对这从未如此荒凉的大平原,和从未如此一望无际的大海了。她天天以泪洗面,人们看见她有时不断地在迦太罗尼亚人住的这个小村子周围徘徊,有时看见她一动不动地象一尊石像似的站着,呆望着马赛;又有时看见她坐在海边,倾听那如同自己的哀愁那样永恒的海的呻吟,她常常自问,是否应该让自己投入海洋那无底的深渊里,也许这样可以比忍受如此焦灼的等待更好一些。

她并非缺乏这样做的勇气,而是她的宗教观念帮了她的忙,救了她的命。

卡德鲁斯也象弗尔南多一样应征入伍了,但由于他已经结婚,且比弗尔南多大八岁,所以仅被派去驻守边疆。老唐太斯一直是靠希望支撑着的,拿破仑一倒,全部希望都成了泡影。在和他的儿子分离五个月以后,几乎也可以说就在他儿子被捕的那一刻,他就在美茜蒂丝的怀里咽下了最后一口气。莫雷尔先生不仅负担了他的全部丧葬费,还把那可怜的老人生前所借的几笔小债也还清了。

这样做不仅需要出于慈悲心,而且也需要勇气,——因为象唐太斯这样危险的一个拿破仑分子,即使你去帮助他临终的父亲,也会被人当作一个罪名来污蔑的。




Chapter 14. The Two Prisoners.

A year after Louis XVIII.'s restoration, a visit was made by the inspector-general of prisons. Dantes in his cell heard the noise of preparation,—sounds that at the depth where he lay would have been inaudible to any but the ear of a prisoner, who could hear the splash of the drop of water that every hour fell from the roof of his dungeon. He guessed something uncommon was passing among the living; but he had so long ceased to have any intercourse with the world, that he looked upon himself as dead.

The inspector visited, one after another, the cells and dungeons of several of the prisoners, whose good behavior or stupidity recommended them to the clemency of the government. He inquired how they were fed, and if they had any request to make. The universal response was, that the fare was detestable, and that they wanted to be set free.

The inspector asked if they had anything else to ask for. They shook their heads. What could they desire beyond their liberty? The inspector turned smilingly to the governor.

"I do not know what reason government can assign for these useless visits; when you see one prisoner, you see all,—always the same thing,—ill fed and innocent. Are there any others?"

"Yes; the dangerous and mad prisoners are in the dungeons."

"Let us visit them," said the inspector with an air of fatigue. "We must play the farce to the end. Let us see the dungeons."

"Let us first send for two soldiers," said the governor. "The prisoners sometimes, through mere uneasiness of life, and in order to be sentenced to death, commit acts of useless violence, and you might fall a victim."

"Take all needful precautions," replied the inspector.

Two soldiers were accordingly sent for, and the inspector descended a stairway, so foul, so humid, so dark, as to be loathsome to sight, smell, and respiration.

"Oh," cried the inspector, "who can live here?"

"A most dangerous conspirator, a man we are ordered to keep the most strict watch over, as he is daring and resolute."

"He is alone?"

"Certainly."

"How long has he been there?"

"Nearly a year."

"Was he placed here when he first arrived?"

"No; not until he attempted to kill the turnkey, who took his food to him."

"To kill the turnkey?"

"Yes, the very one who is lighting us. Is it not true, Antoine?" asked the governor.

"True enough; he wanted to kill me!" returned the turnkey.

"He must be mad," said the inspector.

"He is worse than that,—he is a devil!" returned the turnkey.

"Shall I complain of him?" demanded the inspector.

"Oh, no; it is useless. Besides, he is almost mad now, and in another year he will be quite so."

"So much the better for him,—he will suffer less," said the inspector. He was, as this remark shows, a man full of philanthropy, and in every way fit for his office.

"You are right, sir," replied the governor; "and this remark proves that you have deeply considered the subject. Now we have in a dungeon about twenty feet distant, and to which you descend by another stair, an abbe, formerly leader of a party in Italy, who has been here since 1811, and in 1813 he went mad, and the change is astonishing. He used to weep, he now laughs; he grew thin, he now grows fat. You had better see him, for his madness is amusing."

"I will see them both," returned the inspector; "I must conscientiously perform my duty." This was the inspector's first visit; he wished to display his authority.

"Let us visit this one first," added he.

"By all means," replied the governor, and he signed to the turnkey to open the door. At the sound of the key turning in the lock, and the creaking of the hinges, Dantes, who was crouched in a corner of the dungeon, whence he could see the ray of light that came through a narrow iron grating above, raised his head. Seeing a stranger, escorted by two turnkeys holding torches and accompanied by two soldiers, and to whom the governor spoke bareheaded, Dantes, who guessed the truth, and that the moment to address himself to the superior authorities was come, sprang forward with clasped hands.

The soldiers interposed their bayonets, for they thought that he was about to attack the inspector, and the latter recoiled two or three steps. Dantes saw that he was looked upon as dangerous. Then, infusing all the humility he possessed into his eyes and voice, he addressed the inspector, and sought to inspire him with pity.

The inspector listened attentively; then, turning to the governor, observed, "He will become religious—he is already more gentle; he is afraid, and retreated before the bayonets—madmen are not afraid of anything; I made some curious observations on this at Charenton." Then, turning to the prisoner, "What is it you want?" said he.

"I want to know what crime I have committed—to be tried; and if I am guilty, to be shot; if innocent, to be set at liberty."

"Are you well fed?" said the inspector.

"I believe so; I don't know; it's of no consequence. What matters really, not only to me, but to officers of justice and the king, is that an innocent man should languish in prison, the victim of an infamous denunciation, to die here cursing his executioners."

"You are very humble to-day," remarked the governor; "you are not so always; the other day, for instance, when you tried to kill the turnkey."

"It is true, sir, and I beg his pardon, for he his always been very good to me, but I was mad."

"And you are not so any longer?"

"No; captivity has subdued me—I have been here so long."

"So long?—when were you arrested, then?" asked the inspector.

"The 28th of February, 1815, at half-past two in the afternoon."

"To-day is the 30th of July, 1816,—why it is but seventeen months."

"Only seventeen months," replied Dantes. "Oh, you do not know what is seventeen months in prison!—seventeen ages rather, especially to a man who, like me, had arrived at the summit of his ambition—to a man, who, like me, was on the point of marrying a woman he adored, who saw an honorable career opened before him, and who loses all in an instant—who sees his prospects destroyed, and is ignorant of the fate of his affianced wife, and whether his aged father be still living! Seventeen months captivity to a sailor accustomed to the boundless ocean, is a worse punishment than human crime ever merited. Have pity on me, then, and ask for me, not intelligence, but a trial; not pardon, but a verdict—a trial, sir, I ask only for a trial; that, surely, cannot be denied to one who is accused!"

"We shall see," said the inspector; then, turning to the governor, "On my word, the poor devil touches me. You must show me the proofs against him."

"Certainly; but you will find terrible charges."

"Monsieur," continued Dantes, "I know it is not in your power to release me; but you can plead for me—you can have me tried—and that is all I ask. Let me know my crime, and the reason why I was condemned. Uncertainty is worse than all."

"Go on with the lights," said the inspector.

"Monsieur," cried Dantes, "I can tell by your voice you are touched with pity; tell me at least to hope."

"I cannot tell you that," replied the inspector; "I can only promise to examine into your case."

"Oh, I am free—then I am saved!"

"Who arrested you?"

"M. Villefort. See him, and hear what he says."

"M. Villefort is no longer at Marseilles; he is now at Toulouse."

"I am no longer surprised at my detention," murmured Dantes, "since my only protector is removed."

"Had M. de Villefort any cause of personal dislike to you?"

"None; on the contrary, he was very kind to me."

"I can, then, rely on the notes he has left concerning you?"

"Entirely."

"That is well; wait patiently, then." Dantes fell on his knees, and prayed earnestly. The door closed; but this time a fresh inmate was left with Dantes—hope.

"Will you see the register at once," asked the governor, "or proceed to the other cell?"

"Let us visit them all," said the inspector. "If I once went up those stairs. I should never have the courage to come down again."

"Ah, this one is not like the other, and his madness is less affecting than this one's display of reason."

"What is his folly?"

"He fancies he possesses an immense treasure. The first year he offered government a million of francs for his release; the second, two; the third, three; and so on progressively. He is now in his fifth year of captivity; he will ask to speak to you in private, and offer you five millions."

"How curious!—what is his name?"

"The Abbe Faria."

"No. 27," said the inspector.

"It is here; unlock the door, Antoine." The turnkey obeyed, and the inspector gazed curiously into the chamber of the "mad abbe."

In the centre of the cell, in a circle traced with a fragment of plaster detached from the wall, sat a man whose tattered garments scarcely covered him. He was drawing in this circle geometrical lines, and seemed as much absorbed in his problem as Archimedes was when the soldier of Marcellus slew him.

He did not move at the sound of the door, and continued his calculations until the flash of the torches lighted up with an unwonted glare the sombre walls of his cell; then, raising his head, he perceived with astonishment the number of persons present. He hastily seized the coverlet of his bed, and wrapped it round him.

"What is it you want?" said the inspector.

"I, monsieur," replied the abbe with an air of surprise—"I want nothing."

"You do not understand," continued the inspector; "I am sent here by government to visit the prison, and hear the requests of the prisoners."

"Oh, that is different," cried the abbe; "and we shall understand each other, I hope."

"There, now," whispered the governor, "it is just as I told you."

"Monsieur," continued the prisoner, "I am the Abbe Faria, born at Rome. I was for twenty years Cardinal Spada's secretary; I was arrested, why, I know not, toward the beginning of the year 1811; since then I have demanded my liberty from the Italian and French government."

"Why from the French government?"

"Because I was arrested at Piombino, and I presume that, like Milan and Florence, Piombino has become the capital of some French department."

"Ah," said the inspector, "you have not the latest news from Italy?"

"My information dates from the day on which I was arrested," returned the Abbe Faria; "and as the emperor had created the kingdom of Rome for his infant son, I presume that he has realized the dream of Machiavelli and Caesar Borgia, which was to make Italy a united kingdom."

"Monsieur," returned the inspector, "providence has changed this gigantic plan you advocate so warmly."

"It is the only means of rendering Italy strong, happy, and independent."

"Very possibly; only I am not come to discuss politics, but to inquire if you have anything to ask or to complain of."

"The food is the same as in other prisons,—that is, very bad; the lodging is very unhealthful, but, on the whole, passable for a dungeon; but it is not that which I wish to speak of, but a secret I have to reveal of the greatest importance."

"We are coming to the point," whispered the governor.

"It is for that reason I am delighted to see you," continued the abbe, "although you have disturbed me in a most important calculation, which, if it succeeded, would possibly change Newton's system. Could you allow me a few words in private."

"What did I tell you?" said the governor.

"You knew him," returned the inspector with a smile.

"What you ask is impossible, monsieur," continued he, addressing Faria.

"But," said the abbe, "I would speak to you of a large sum, amounting to five millions."

"The very sum you named," whispered the inspector in his turn.

"However," continued Faria, seeing that the inspector was about to depart, "it is not absolutely necessary for us to be alone; the governor can be present."

"Unfortunately," said the governor, "I know beforehand what you are about to say; it concerns your treasures, does it not?" Faria fixed his eyes on him with an expression that would have convinced any one else of his sanity.

"Of course," said he; "of what else should I speak?"

"Mr. Inspector," continued the governor, "I can tell you the story as well as he, for it has been dinned in my ears for the last four or five years."

"That proves," returned the abbe, "that you are like those of Holy Writ, who having ears hear not, and having eyes see not."

"My dear sir, the government is rich and does not want your treasures," replied the inspector; "keep them until you are liberated." The abbe's eyes glistened; he seized the inspector's hand.

"But what if I am not liberated," cried he, "and am detained here until my death? this treasure will be lost. Had not government better profit by it? I will offer six millions, and I will content myself with the rest, if they will only give me my liberty."

"On my word," said the inspector in a low tone, "had I not been told beforehand that this man was mad, I should believe what he says."

"I am not mad," replied Faria, with that acuteness of hearing peculiar to prisoners. "The treasure I speak of really exists, and I offer to sign an agreement with you, in which I promise to lead you to the spot where you shall dig; and if I deceive you, bring me here again,—I ask no more."

The governor laughed. "Is the spot far from here?"

"A hundred leagues."

"It is not ill-planned," said the governor. "If all the prisoners took it into their heads to travel a hundred leagues, and their guardians consented to accompany them, they would have a capital chance of escaping."

"The scheme is well known," said the inspector; "and the abbe's plan has not even the merit of originality."

Then turning to Faria—"I inquired if you are well fed?" said he.

"Swear to me," replied Faria, "to free me if what I tell you prove true, and I will stay here while you go to the spot."

"Are you well fed?" repeated the inspector.

"Monsieur, you run no risk, for, as I told you, I will stay here; so there is no chance of my escaping."

"You do not reply to my question," replied the inspector impatiently.

"Nor you to mine," cried the abbe. "You will not accept my gold; I will keep it for myself. You refuse me my liberty; God will give it me." And the abbe, casting away his coverlet, resumed his place, and continued his calculations.

"What is he doing there?" said the inspector.

"Counting his treasures," replied the governor.

Faria replied to this sarcasm with a glance of profound contempt. They went out. The turnkey closed the door behind them.

"He was wealthy once, perhaps?" said the inspector.

"Or dreamed he was, and awoke mad."

"After all," said the inspector, "if he had been rich, he would not have been here." So the matter ended for the Abbe Faria. He remained in his cell, and this visit only increased the belief in his insanity.

Caligula or Nero, those treasure-seekers, those desirers of the impossible, would have accorded to the poor wretch, in exchange for his wealth, the liberty he so earnestly prayed for. But the kings of modern times, restrained by the limits of mere probability, have neither courage nor desire. They fear the ear that hears their orders, and the eye that scrutinizes their actions. Formerly they believed themselves sprung from Jupiter, and shielded by their birth; but nowadays they are not inviolable.

It has always been against the policy of despotic governments to suffer the victims of their persecutions to reappear. As the Inquisition rarely allowed its victims to be seen with their limbs distorted and their flesh lacerated by torture, so madness is always concealed in its cell, from whence, should it depart, it is conveyed to some gloomy hospital, where the doctor has no thought for man or mind in the mutilated being the jailer delivers to him. The very madness of the Abbe Faria, gone mad in prison, condemned him to perpetual captivity.

The inspector kept his word with Dantes; he examined the register, and found the following note concerning him:—

Edmond Dantes:

Violent Bonapartist; took an active part in the return from Elba.

The greatest watchfulness and care to be exercised.

This note was in a different hand from the rest, which showed that it had been added since his confinement. The inspector could not contend against this accusation; he simply wrote,—"Nothing to be done."

This visit had infused new vigor into Dantes; he had, till then, forgotten the date; but now, with a fragment of plaster, he wrote the date, 30th July, 1816, and made a mark every day, in order not to lose his reckoning again. Days and weeks passed away, then months—Dantes still waited; he at first expected to be freed in a fortnight. This fortnight expired, he decided that the inspector would do nothing until his return to Paris, and that he would not reach there until his circuit was finished, he therefore fixed three months; three months passed away, then six more. Finally ten months and a half had gone by and no favorable change had taken place, and Dantes began to fancy the inspector's visit but a dream, an illusion of the brain.

At the expiration of a year the governor was transferred; he had obtained charge of the fortress at Ham. He took with him several of his subordinates, and amongst them Dantes' jailer. A new governor arrived; it would have been too tedious to acquire the names of the prisoners; he learned their numbers instead. This horrible place contained fifty cells; their inhabitants were designated by the numbers of their cell, and the unhappy young man was no longer called Edmond Dantes—he was now number 34.

 

第十四章 两犯人

路易十八复位后一年左右,监狱巡查员到伊夫堡来作了一次视察。唐太斯从他那幽深的地牢里听到了那准备迎接巡查员的嘈杂的声音,在地牢里的一般是听不见的,只有听惯了蜘蛛在夜的静寂里织网,凝聚在黑牢顶上的水珠间歇的滴声犯人的耳朵才能听得出来。他猜想生活在自由之中的那些人发生什么不平常的事了。他已很久没同外界发生任何接触了,以致他把自己看作了死人。

巡查员依次视察大牢单间牢房和地牢,有几个犯人,由于他们的行为良好或愚蠢得到了当局的怜悯。巡查员问他们的伙食如何,有什么要求没有。他们一致回答说伙食太坏,要求恢复自由。巡查员又问他们还有什么别的要求没有。他们摇摇头!他们除了自由以外还能希求什么别的呢?巡查员微笑着转过身来对监狱长说:“我真不明白上面为什么要作这些无用的视察,你见过一个犯人,就等于见到了全体犯人,说得总是老一套,什么伙食坏啦,冤枉啦。还有别的犯人吗?”

“有,危险的犯人和发疯的犯人都在地牢里。”

“我们去看看,”巡察查员带着疲乏的神色说。“我得完成我的任务。我们下去吧。”

“请等一下,我们先派两个士兵去,”监狱长说。“那些犯人有时只为了活得不耐烦,想判个死刑,就会毫无意义地走极端,那样你或许可能成为一个牺牲品的。”

“必须采取一切必要的防范措施。”巡查员说。

于是便找来了两个兵,巡查员他们顺着一条污臭,潮湿,黑暗的楼梯往下走,仅走过这些地方,就已使眼睛,鼻子和呼吸感到很难受了。

“噢!”巡查员走到中途停下来说道,“见什么鬼,是谁住在这种地方?”

“一个最危险的谋反分子,一个我们奉命要特别严加看守的人,这个家伙什么都干得出。”

“就他一个人吗?”

“当然罗。”

“他到这儿多久了?”

“有一年了吧。”

“他一来就关在这种地方吗?”

“不,是他想杀死一狱卒以后才关到这里来的。”

“他想杀死狱卒?”

“是呀,就是替我们掌灯的这一个。对不对,安多尼?”

“对,他要杀我!”狱卒回答。

“他一定是发疯了。”巡察说。

“他比疯子还糟糕——他是一个恶鬼!”狱卒答道。

“您要我训斥他一顿吗?”巡查员问。

“噢,不必了,这是没有用的。他已经受够罪的了。而且,他现在差不多已经疯了,再过一年,就会变成一个十足的疯子的。”

“疯了对他来说反而好些,——他的痛苦会少一些。”巡查员说。从这句话上读者可以看出,巡查员是一个较有人情味的人,做他这份差事很合适。

“您说得不错,先生,”监狱长说,“这句话说明您对这一行很有研究,现在,大约再走二十步,下一层楼梯,我们就可以在一间地牢里看见一个老神甫,他原是意大利一个政党的领袖,从一八一一年起他就在这儿了,一八一三年发了疯,从那时起,他就来了一个惊人的转变。他时而哭,时而笑。以前愈来愈瘦,现在胖起来了。您最好还是去看看他,别去看那个,因为他疯得很有趣。”

“两个我都要看,”巡查员回答,“我做事不能敷衍唐塞。”

这是巡查员第一次视察,他想显示一下他的权威。“我们先去看这一个。”他又说。

“好的。”监狱长答道。于是他向狱卒示意,叫他打开牢门。

听到钥匙在锁里的转动的声音以及铰链的嘎嘎声,那本来踯伏在地牢的一角,带着说不出的快乐在享受从铁栅里射进来的一线微光的唐太斯,他抬起头来。看到了一个陌生人,两个狱卒掌着灯,还有两个兵陪着他,而且监狱长还脱了帽对他讲话,唐太斯猜到来者是何许人,知道他向上层当局申诉的时机到了,于是合着双手跳向前去。

两个兵急忙用他们的刺刀向前一挡,因为他们以为他要来伤害巡查员,巡查员也退后了两三步。唐太斯看出自己被人当作是一个危险的犯人了。于是,他脸上做了一个心地最温顺,最卑微的人所能有的全部表情,用一种令人非常惊讶的虔敬的雄辩进行了一番表白,想打动巡查员的心。

巡查员留神倾听着,然后转向监狱长,说道:“他会皈依宗教的,他已经驯服多了。他很害怕,看见刺刀就后退,疯子是什么都不怕的。这一点在夏朗东曾出于好奇心而观察过几次。”

然后他又转向犯人,“你有什么要求?”他说。

“我要求知道我犯了什么罪,我要求公开审判,总而言之,我要求:假如我有罪,就枪毙我,假如我是冤枉的,就该让我自由。”

“你的伙食怎么样?”巡查员说。

“还可以,我也不知道,但那没有关系。真正重要的是,一个清白无辜的人,不该是一次卑鄙的告密的牺牲品,不该就这样一直咒骂着他的刽子手而老死在狱中,这不仅关系到我这个不幸的犯人,还关系到司法长官,更关系到统治我们的国王。”

“你今天倒非常恭顺,”监狱长说。“但你并不总是这样的,譬如说,那一天,你就要想杀死狱卒。”

“不错,先生,我请他原谅,因为他一向待我很好,我当时非常恼怒,简直是发疯啦。”

“你现在不那样了吗?”

“不了,监狱生活已经使我低头屈膝,俯首贴耳了。我来这儿已经这么久啦。”

“这么久啦?你是什么时候被捕的?”巡查员问。

“一八一五年二月二十八日,下午两点半钟。”

“今天是一八一六年七月三十。咦,才十七个月呀。”

“才十七个月!”唐太斯答道。“噢,您不知道在监狱里的十七个月意味着什么!那简直等于说十七个世纪,尤其是象我这样一个即将得到幸福,将和他所喜欢的女子结婚的人,他看到光明的前途就在他眼前而霎那间竟一切都失去了,他从最欢乐的白天一下子堕入了无穷无尽的黑夜。他看到自己的前途给毁灭了,他不知道他未婚妻的命运现在怎样了,也不知道他年老的父亲究竟是否还活着!十七个月的监狱生活对一个呼吸惯了海上的空气,过惯了水手的独立生活,看惯了海阔天空,无拘无束的人是太难过了!先生,即使是犯了人类史上最令人发指的罪行,十七个月的禁闭也是惩罚得太重了。可怜可怜我吧,我不求赦罪,只求公开审判。先生,我只要求见一见法官,他们是不该拒绝审问嫌疑犯的。”

“我们研究研究吧,”巡查员说,然后转向监狱长,“凭良心说,这个可怜的犯人真使我有点感动了。你一定得把他的档案给我看看。”

“当然可以,但您只会看到对他不利的可怕的记录。”

“先生,”唐太斯又说,“我知道您无权释放我的,但您可以代我向上面提出请求,您可以使我受审,我所要求的仅此而已。”

“你说明白一点。”巡查员说。

“先生,”唐太斯大声说道,“从您的声音里我可以听出您已经被怜悯心所感动了,请告诉我,至少我有希望吧。”

“我还不能这样说,”巡查员答道,“我只能答应调查一下你的案子。”

“噢,那么我自由了!我得救了!”

“是谁下令逮捕你的?”

“是维尔福先生。请去见他,听他说些什么。”

“维尔福先生已不在马赛了,他现在在图卢兹。”

“怪不得我迟迟不放,”唐太斯喃喃地说,“原来我唯一的保护人调走了。”

“他对你有没有什么私人的恩怨?”

“一点没有,正相反,他对我非常好。”

“那么,关于你的事,我可以信赖他所留下来的记录或他给我的意见了?”

“绝对可信。”

“很好,那么,耐心等着吧。”

唐太斯跪下来,喃喃地祷告着,他祈祷上帝赐福于这个象救世主去拯救地狱里的灵魂一样到他狱中来的这个人。门又关上了,但现在唐太斯心中又怀有了一个新来的希望。

“您是想马上看那档案呢,还是先去看看别的牢房?”监狱长问。

“我们先把牢房看完了再说吧,”巡查员说。“我一旦上去了,恐怕就没有勇气再下来了。”

“嗯,这个犯人,不象那一个。他疯得跟他的邻居不一样,也不那么感动人。”

“他有什么怪念头?”

“他只认为他有着一处极大的宝藏。头一年,他提议献给政府一百万让他自由,第二年,两百万,第三年,三百万,不断地这样加上去。现在他入狱已经是五个年头了,他一定会要求和您密谈,给您五百万的。”

“哦,那倒的确很有趣。这位大富翁叫什么名字?”

“法利亚神甫。”

“二十七号。”巡查员说。

“就是这里,打开门,安多尼。”

狱卒遵命打开了牢门,巡查员好奇地向“疯神甫”的牢房里探视着。在这个地牢的中央,有一个用从墙壁上挖下来的石灰画成的圆圈,圆圈里坐着一个人,他的衣服已成了碎布条,难以遮住身体了。他正在圆圈里划几何线,那神态就象阿基米德当马赛鲁斯的兵来杀他时的那样全神贯注。尽管开门的声音很响,但他却一动也不动,继续演算他的问题,直到火炬的光以稀有的光芒照亮了地牢阴暗的墙壁,他才抬起头来,很惊奇地发现他的地牢里竟来了这么多人。他急忙从他的床上抓过被单,把他自己裹了起来。

“你有什么要求?”巡查员问。

“我吗,先生!”神甫带着一种惊愕的神气答道,“我什么要求也没有。”

“你没弄明白,”巡查员又说,“我是当局派来视察监狱,听取犯人的要求的。”

“哦,那就不同了,”神甫大声说,“我希望我们大家能互想谅解。”

“又来了,监狱长低声说道,“就象我告诉过您的那样,他又要开始讲了。”

“先生,”犯人继续说道,“我是法里亚神甫,罗马人。我曾给红衣主教斯巴达当过二十年秘书。我是在一八一一年被捕的,是什么原因我却不知道。从那时起,我就在向意法两国政府要求还我自由。”

“为什么要向法国政府要求呢?”

“因为我是在皮昂比诺被捕的,而据我推测,象梅朗和佛罗伦萨一样,皮昂比诺已成为法国所属的省会了。”

巡查员和监狱长相视而笑。

“见鬼!亲爱的,”巡察员说,“你从意大利得来的新闻已经是老皇历啦!”

“这是根据我被捕那一天的消息推测的,”法利亚神甫答道。“既然皇帝要为他的儿子建立罗马王国,我想他大概也已实现了马基难里和凯撒•布琪亚的梦想,把意大利变成了一个统一的王国了吧。”

“先生,”巡查员回答说,“上帝已经把你这个看来竭诚支持的计划改变过了。”

“这可是使意大利获得幸福和独立和唯一方法呀。”

“可能是吧,但我不是来和你讨论意大利政治的,我是来问你,你对于吃的和住的有什么要求吗。”

“吃的东西和其他监狱一样,也就是说,坏极了,住的地方非常不卫生,但既然是地牢,也总算还过得去。这都没什么关系。我要讲的是一个秘密,我所要揭露的秘密可是极其重要的。”

“那一套又来了。”监狱长耳语道。

“为了那个理由,我很高兴见到您,”神甫继续说道,“尽管您刚才打断了我一次最重要的演算,如果那个演算成功,可能会把牛顿的学说都改变过来。您能允许我同您私下谈几句话吗?”

“我说得怎么样?”监狱长说。

“你的确了解。”巡查员回答道。

“你所要求的事是不可能的,先生。”他对法利亚说道。

“可是,神甫说,“我要和您说的可是很大一笔钱,达五百万呢。”

“正是你所说的那个数目。”这次是巡查员对监狱长耳语了。

“当然,法里亚看到巡查员已想走开,就继续说,“我们也并非绝对要单独谈话,监狱长也可以在场。”

“不幸的是,”监狱长说,“我早已知道你要说什么了,是关于你的宝藏,是不是?”

法里亚眼睛盯住他,那种表情足以使任何人都相信他是神志清楚的。“当然罗,”他说,“除此之外我还有什么可说的呢?”

“巡查员先生,监狱长又说,“那个故事我也可以告诉您,因为它已经在我耳边喋喋不休了四五年了。”

“那就证明,”神甫说道。“你正如《圣经》上所说的那些人,他们视而不见,听而不闻。”

“政府不需要你的宝藏,”巡查员说道:“留着吧,等你释放以后自己享用好了。”

神甫的眼睛闪闪发光,他一把抓住巡查员的手。“可以假如我出不了狱呢,”他大声说道。“假如,偏偏不讲公道,我被老关在这间地牢里,假如我死在这儿而不曾告诉过任何人我的秘密,则那个宝藏不是就白白地丧失了吗?”倒不如由政府享一点利益,我自己也享受一点,那不更好吗?”我情愿出到六百万,先生,是的,我愿意放弃六百万,余下的那些我也就满足了,只要换来我的自由。”

“老实说,”巡查员低声说道,“要不是你事先早告诉我这个人是个疯子,说不定我真会相信他说的话呢。”

“我没有疯!”法里亚大声回答说道,他有着犯人们那特有的敏锐的听觉,把巡查员所说的每一个字都听得清清楚楚。

“我所说的宝藏真有其事,我提议来签订一个协议,内容说明,我答应领你们到那个地方去,由你们来挖,假如我欺骗了你们,就把我再带回到这儿来,我不求别的。”

监狱长大笑起来。“那个地方离这儿远吗?”

“三百里。”

“这个主意倒不坏,”监狱长说道。“假如每个犯人都想作一次三百里的旅行,而他们的看守又答应陪他们去,他们倒是有了一个很妙的逃跑的机会了。”

“这个办法并不新奇,巡查员说道,“神甫先生看来是不能享受发明权了。”然后他又转向法里亚,“我已经问过了你的伙食怎么样?”他说。

“请对我发个誓,”法里亚答道,“假如我对您讲的话证明是真实的话,就一定要让我自由,那么你们去那儿,我可以留在这儿等。”

“你的伙食怎么样?”巡查员又问了一遍。

“先生,你们毫无危险呀,因为,如我所说的,我愿意在这儿等,那我就不会有逃跑的机会啦。”

“你还没回答我的问题呢。”巡查员不耐烦地说道。

“你也没回答我的呀,”神甫大声说道。“那以,你也该受诅咒!象其他那些不肯相信我的傻瓜一样。你不愿意接受我的金子,我就留着给自己。你不肯给我自由,上帝会给我的。你们走吧!我没什么可说的了。”于是神甫扔下他的床单,又坐回到了老地方,继续进行他的演算去了。

“他在那儿干什么?”

“在计算他的宝藏呢。”监狱长回答说。

法里亚以极其轻蔑的一瞥回敬了这句讽刺他的话。

他们走了出去,狱卒在他们身后把门又锁上了。

“或许他曾一度有过钱。”巡查员说。

“也许是做梦发了财,醒来后就疯了。”

“总而言之,”巡查员说,“假如他有钱,他就不会到这儿来了。”这句话坦白道出了当时的腐败情形。

法里亚神甫的这次遭遇就这样结束了。他依旧还是住在他的地牢里,这次视察只是更加使人相信他是个疯子了。

假如神甫遭到的是那些热衷于寻找宝藏的人,那些认为天下没有办不到之事的狂想者,如凯力球垃王或尼罗王,则他们就会答应这个可怜的人,允许他以他的财富来换取他迫切祈求得到的自由和空气。但近代的国王,他们生活的天地是这样狭窄,已不再有勇气狂想了。从前,国王都相信他们是天神的儿子,或至少如此自以为是,而且多少还带着点他们父亲天神的风度。而现在,云层后面的变幻虽尚无法控制,但国王却已都自视为常人了。

要专制政府允许那些牺牲在他人的政权之下的重见天日,一向是和他们的政策相违背的。犯人被毒打得肢体不全,血肉模糊,法庭当然不愿意他再被人看见,疯子总是被藏在地牢里的,即使让他出狱,也不过是往某个阴气沉沉的医院里一送,狱卒送他到那儿时往往只是一具变了形的人体残骸了,连医生也认不出这还是一个人,还留有一点思想。法里亚神是在监狱里发疯的,单凭他的发疯就足以判他无期徒刑。

巡查员实践了他对唐太斯的诺言。他检查了档案,找到了下面这张关于他的记录:

爱德蒙•唐太斯拿破仑党分子,曾负责协助逆贼自厄尔巴岛归来。应严加看守,小心戒备。

这条记录的笔迹和其它的不同,证明是在他入狱以后附加的。巡查员面对眼前记录上这个无法抗争的罪名,只得批上一句,“无需复议。”

那次巡查又在唐太斯的心中重新燃起了希望。自从入狱以来,他已忘记了计算日期。但巡查员给了他一个新的日期,他没有忘记。他用一块从屋顶上掉下来的石灰在墙上写道,“一八一六年七月三十日”,从那时起,他每天做一个记号,以免再把日子忘掉。日子一天天,一个星期一个星期地过去了,后来是一个月一个月地过去了,唐太斯仍然处在期待之中。他最初预计可在两个星期以内释放。可是两个星期过去然后他想到巡查员可在回到巴黎以前是不会有所行动的,而他要在巡查完毕以后才能回到那儿,所以他又定期为三个月。但三个月也过去了,三个月之后又过了六个月。在这么长一段时间里,没有发生任何有利的转变。于是唐太斯开始幻想,认为巡查员的视察只不过是一个梦,是脑子里的一个幻想而已。

一年以后,监狱长被调任汉姆市长。他带走了几个下属,看管唐太斯的狱卒也在其中。新监狱长到任了。他认为记犯人的名字实在太麻烦了,所以干脆他用他们的号码来代替。这个可怕的地方一共有五十个房间,犯人们以他们的房间号码来命名。那不幸的青年已不再叫爱德蒙•唐太斯,他现在成了“三十四号”。




Chapter 15. Number 34 and Number 27.

Dantes passed through all the stages of torture natural to prisoners in suspense. He was sustained at first by that pride of conscious innocence which is the sequence to hope; then he began to doubt his own innocence, which justified in some measure the governor's belief in his mental alienation; and then, relaxing his sentiment of pride, he addressed his supplications, not to God, but to man. God is always the last resource. Unfortunates, who ought to begin with God, do not have any hope in him till they have exhausted all other means of deliverance.

Dantes asked to be removed from his present dungeon into another; for a change, however disadvantageous, was still a change, and would afford him some amusement. He entreated to be allowed to walk about, to have fresh air, books, and writing materials. His requests were not granted, but he went on asking all the same. He accustomed himself to speaking to the new jailer, although the latter was, if possible, more taciturn than the old one; but still, to speak to a man, even though mute, was something. Dantes spoke for the sake of hearing his own voice; he had tried to speak when alone, but the sound of his voice terrified him. Often, before his captivity, Dantes' mind had revolted at the idea of assemblages of prisoners, made up of thieves, vagabonds, and murderers. He now wished to be amongst them, in order to see some other face besides that of his jailer; he sighed for the galleys, with the infamous costume, the chain, and the brand on the shoulder. The galley-slaves breathed the fresh air of heaven, and saw each other. They were very happy. He besought the jailer one day to let him have a companion, were it even the mad abbe.

The jailer, though rough and hardened by the constant sight of so much suffering, was yet a man. At the bottom of his heart he had often had a feeling of pity for this unhappy young man who suffered so; and he laid the request of number 34 before the governor; but the latter sapiently imagined that Dantes wished to conspire or attempt an escape, and refused his request. Dantes had exhausted all human resources, and he then turned to God.

All the pious ideas that had been so long forgotten, returned; he recollected the prayers his mother had taught him, and discovered a new meaning in every word; for in prosperity prayers seem but a mere medley of words, until misfortune comes and the unhappy sufferer first understands the meaning of the sublime language in which he invokes the pity of heaven! He prayed, and prayed aloud, no longer terrified at the sound of his own voice, for he fell into a sort of ecstasy. He laid every action of his life before the Almighty, proposed tasks to accomplish, and at the end of every prayer introduced the entreaty oftener addressed to man than to God: "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us." Yet in spite of his earnest prayers, Dantes remained a prisoner.

Then gloom settled heavily upon him. Dantes was a man of great simplicity of thought, and without education; he could not, therefore, in the solitude of his dungeon, traverse in mental vision the history of the ages, bring to life the nations that had perished, and rebuild the ancient cities so vast and stupendous in the light of the imagination, and that pass before the eye glowing with celestial colors in Martin's Babylonian pictures. He could not do this, he whose past life was so short, whose present so melancholy, and his future so doubtful. Nineteen years of light to reflect upon in eternal darkness! No distraction could come to his aid; his energetic spirit, that would have exalted in thus revisiting the past, was imprisoned like an eagle in a cage. He clung to one idea—that of his happiness, destroyed, without apparent cause, by an unheard-of fatality; he considered and reconsidered this idea, devoured it (so to speak), as the implacable Ugolino devours the skull of Archbishop Roger in the Inferno of Dante.

Rage supplanted religious fervor. Dantes uttered blasphemies that made his jailer recoil with horror, dashed himself furiously against the walls of his prison, wreaked his anger upon everything, and chiefly upon himself, so that the least thing,—a grain of sand, a straw, or a breath of air that annoyed him, led to paroxysms of fury. Then the letter that Villefort had showed to him recurred to his mind, and every line gleamed forth in fiery letters on the wall like the mene tekel upharsin of Belshazzar. He told himself that it was the enmity of man, and not the vengeance of heaven, that had thus plunged him into the deepest misery. He consigned his unknown persecutors to the most horrible tortures he could imagine, and found them all insufficient, because after torture came death, and after death, if not repose, at least the boon of unconsciousness.

By dint of constantly dwelling on the idea that tranquillity was death, and if punishment were the end in view other tortures than death must be invented, he began to reflect on suicide. Unhappy he, who, on the brink of misfortune, broods over ideas like these!

Before him is a dead sea that stretches in azure calm before the eye; but he who unwarily ventures within its embrace finds himself struggling with a monster that would drag him down to perdition. Once thus ensnared, unless the protecting hand of God snatch him thence, all is over, and his struggles but tend to hasten his destruction. This state of mental anguish is, however, less terrible than the sufferings that precede or the punishment that possibly will follow. There is a sort of consolation at the contemplation of the yawning abyss, at the bottom of which lie darkness and obscurity.

Edmond found some solace in these ideas. All his sorrows, all his sufferings, with their train of gloomy spectres, fled from his cell when the angel of death seemed about to enter. Dantes reviewed his past life with composure, and, looking forward with terror to his future existence, chose that middle line that seemed to afford him a refuge.

"Sometimes," said he, "in my voyages, when I was a man and commanded other men, I have seen the heavens overcast, the sea rage and foam, the storm arise, and, like a monstrous bird, beating the two horizons with its wings. Then I felt that my vessel was a vain refuge, that trembled and shook before the tempest. Soon the fury of the waves and the sight of the sharp rocks announced the approach of death, and death then terrified me, and I used all my skill and intelligence as a man and a sailor to struggle against the wrath of God. But I did so because I was happy, because I had not courted death, because to be cast upon a bed of rocks and seaweed seemed terrible, because I was unwilling that I, a creature made for the service of God, should serve for food to the gulls and ravens. But now it is different; I have lost all that bound me to life, death smiles and invites me to repose; I die after my own manner, I die exhausted and broken-spirited, as I fall asleep when I have paced three thousand times round my cell."

No sooner had this idea taken possession of him than he became more composed, arranged his couch to the best of his power, ate little and slept less, and found existence almost supportable, because he felt that he could throw it off at pleasure, like a worn-out garment. Two methods of self-destruction were at his disposal. He could hang himself with his handkerchief to the window bars, or refuse food and die of starvation. But the first was repugnant to him. Dantes had always entertained the greatest horror of pirates, who are hung up to the yard-arm; he would not die by what seemed an infamous death. He resolved to adopt the second, and began that day to carry out his resolve. Nearly four years had passed away; at the end of the second he had ceased to mark the lapse of time.

Dantes said, "I wish to die," and had chosen the manner of his death, and fearful of changing his mind, he had taken an oath to die. "When my morning and evening meals are brought," thought he, "I will cast them out of the window, and they will think that I have eaten them."

He kept his word; twice a day he cast out, through the barred aperture, the provisions his jailer brought him—at first gayly, then with deliberation, and at last with regret. Nothing but the recollection of his oath gave him strength to proceed. Hunger made viands once repugnant, now acceptable; he held the plate in his hand for an hour at a time, and gazed thoughtfully at the morsel of bad meat, of tainted fish, of black and mouldy bread. It was the last yearning for life contending with the resolution of despair; then his dungeon seemed less sombre, his prospects less desperate. He was still young—he was only four or five and twenty—he had nearly fifty years to live. What unforseen events might not open his prison door, and restore him to liberty? Then he raised to his lips the repast that, like a voluntary Tantalus, he refused himself; but he thought of his oath, and he would not break it. He persisted until, at last, he had not sufficient strength to rise and cast his supper out of the loophole. The next morning he could not see or hear; the jailer feared he was dangerously ill. Edmond hoped he was dying.

Thus the day passed away. Edmond felt a sort of stupor creeping over him which brought with it a feeling almost of content; the gnawing pain at his stomach had ceased; his thirst had abated; when he closed his eyes he saw myriads of lights dancing before them like the will-o'-the-wisps that play about the marshes. It was the twilight of that mysterious country called Death!

Suddenly, about nine o'clock in the evening, Edmond heard a hollow sound in the wall against which he was lying.

So many loathsome animals inhabited the prison, that their noise did not, in general, awake him; but whether abstinence had quickened his faculties, or whether the noise was really louder than usual, Edmond raised his head and listened. It was a continual scratching, as if made by a huge claw, a powerful tooth, or some iron instrument attacking the stones.

Although weakened, the young man's brain instantly responded to the idea that haunts all prisoners—liberty! It seemed to him that heaven had at length taken pity on him, and had sent this noise to warn him on the very brink of the abyss. Perhaps one of those beloved ones he had so often thought of was thinking of him, and striving to diminish the distance that separated them.

No, no, doubtless he was deceived, and it was but one of those dreams that forerun death!

Edmond still heard the sound. It lasted nearly three hours; he then heard a noise of something falling, and all was silent.

Some hours afterwards it began again, nearer and more distinct. Edmond was intensely interested. Suddenly the jailer entered.

For a week since he had resolved to die, and during the four days that he had been carrying out his purpose, Edmond had not spoken to the attendant, had not answered him when he inquired what was the matter with him, and turned his face to the wall when he looked too curiously at him; but now the jailer might hear the noise and put an end to it, and so destroy a ray of something like hope that soothed his last moments.

The jailer brought him his breakfast. Dantes raised himself up and began to talk about everything; about the bad quality of the food, about the coldness of his dungeon, grumbling and complaining, in order to have an excuse for speaking louder, and wearying the patience of his jailer, who out of kindness of heart had brought broth and white bread for his prisoner.

Fortunately, he fancied that Dantes was delirious; and placing the food on the rickety table, he withdrew. Edmond listened, and the sound became more and more distinct.

"There can be no doubt about it," thought he; "it is some prisoner who is striving to obtain his freedom. Oh, if I were only there to help him!" Suddenly another idea took possession of his mind, so used to misfortune, that it was scarcely capable of hope—the idea that the noise was made by workmen the governor had ordered to repair the neighboring dungeon.

It was easy to ascertain this; but how could he risk the question? It was easy to call his jailer's attention to the noise, and watch his countenance as he listened; but might he not by this means destroy hopes far more important than the short-lived satisfaction of his own curiosity? Unfortunately, Edmond's brain was still so feeble that he could not bend his thoughts to anything in particular.

He saw but one means of restoring lucidity and clearness to his judgment. He turned his eyes towards the soup which the jailer had brought, rose, staggered towards it, raised the vessel to his lips, and drank off the contents with a feeling of indescribable pleasure. He had often heard that shipwrecked persons had died through having eagerly devoured too much food. Edmond replaced on the table the bread he was about to devour, and returned to his couch—he did not wish to die. He soon felt that his ideas became again collected—he could think, and strengthen his thoughts by reasoning. Then he said to himself, "I must put this to the test, but without compromising anybody. If it is a workman, I need but knock against the wall, and he will cease to work, in order to find out who is knocking, and why he does so; but as his occupation is sanctioned by the governor, he will soon resume it. If, on the contrary, it is a prisoner, the noise I make will alarm him, he will cease, and not begin again until he thinks every one is asleep."

Edmond rose again, but this time his legs did not tremble, and his sight was clear; he went to a corner of his dungeon, detached a stone, and with it knocked against the wall where the sound came. He struck thrice. At the first blow the sound ceased, as if by magic.

Edmond listened intently; an hour passed, two hours passed, and no sound was heard from the wall—all was silent there.

Full of hope, Edmond swallowed a few mouthfuls of bread and water, and, thanks to the vigor of his constitution, found himself well-nigh recovered.

The day passed away in utter silence—night came without recurrence of the noise.

"It is a prisoner," said Edmond joyfully. The night passed in perfect silence. Edmond did not close his eyes.

In the morning the jailer brought him fresh provisions—he had already devoured those of the previous day; he ate these listening anxiously for the sound, walking round and round his cell, shaking the iron bars of the loophole, restoring vigor and agility to his limbs by exercise, and so preparing himself for his future destiny. At intervals he listened to learn if the noise had not begun again, and grew impatient at the prudence of the prisoner, who did not guess he had been disturbed by a captive as anxious for liberty as himself.

Three days passed—seventy-two long tedious hours which he counted off by minutes!

At length one evening, as the jailer was visiting him for the last time that night, Dantes, with his ear for the hundredth time at the wall, fancied he heard an almost imperceptible movement among the stones. He moved away, walked up and down his cell to collect his thoughts, and then went back and listened.

The matter was no longer doubtful. Something was at work on the other side of the wall; the prisoner had discovered the danger, and had substituted a lever for a chisel.

Encouraged by this discovery, Edmond determined to assist the indefatigable laborer. He began by moving his bed, and looked around for anything with which he could pierce the wall, penetrate the moist cement, and displace a stone.

He saw nothing, he had no knife or sharp instrument, the window grating was of iron, but he had too often assured himself of its solidity. All his furniture consisted of a bed, a chair, a table, a pail, and a jug. The bed had iron clamps, but they were screwed to the wood, and it would have required a screw-driver to take them off. The table and chair had nothing, the pail had once possessed a handle, but that had been removed.

Dantes had but one resource, which was to break the jug, and with one of the sharp fragments attack the wall. He let the jug fall on the floor, and it broke in pieces.

Dantes concealed two or three of the sharpest fragments in his bed, leaving the rest on the floor. The breaking of his jug was too natural an accident to excite suspicion. Edmond had all the night to work in, but in the darkness he could not do much, and he soon felt that he was working against something very hard; he pushed back his bed, and waited for day.

All night he heard the subterranean workman, who continued to mine his way. Day came, the jailer entered. Dantes told him that the jug had fallen from his hands while he was drinking, and the jailer went grumblingly to fetch another, without giving himself the trouble to remove the fragments of the broken one. He returned speedily, advised the prisoner to be more careful, and departed.

Dantes heard joyfully the key grate in the lock; he listened until the sound of steps died away, and then, hastily displacing his bed, saw by the faint light that penetrated into his cell, that he had labored uselessly the previous evening in attacking the stone instead of removing the plaster that surrounded it.

The damp had rendered it friable, and Dantes was able to break it off—in small morsels, it is true, but at the end of half an hour he had scraped off a handful; a mathematician might have calculated that in two years, supposing that the rock was not encountered, a passage twenty feet long and two feet broad, might be formed.

The prisoner reproached himself with not having thus employed the hours he had passed in vain hopes, prayer, and despondency. During the six years that he had been imprisoned, what might he not have accomplished?

In three days he had succeeded, with the utmost precaution, in removing the cement, and exposing the stone-work. The wall was built of rough stones, among which, to give strength to the structure, blocks of hewn stone were at intervals imbedded. It was one of these he had uncovered, and which he must remove from its socket.

Dantes strove to do this with his nails, but they were too weak. The fragments of the jug broke, and after an hour of useless toil, he paused.

Was he to be thus stopped at the beginning, and was he to wait inactive until his fellow workman had completed his task? Suddenly an idea occurred to him—he smiled, and the perspiration dried on his forehead.

The jailer always brought Dantes' soup in an iron saucepan; this saucepan contained soup for both prisoners, for Dantes had noticed that it was either quite full, or half empty, according as the turnkey gave it to him or to his companion first.

The handle of this saucepan was of iron; Dantes would have given ten years of his life in exchange for it.

The jailer was accustomed to pour the contents of the saucepan into Dantes' plate, and Dantes, after eating his soup with a wooden spoon, washed the plate, which thus served for every day. Now when evening came Dantes put his plate on the ground near the door; the jailer, as he entered, stepped on it and broke it.

This time he could not blame Dantes. He was wrong to leave it there, but the jailer was wrong not to have looked before him.

The jailer, therefore, only grumbled. Then he looked about for something to pour the soup into; Dantes' entire dinner service consisted of one plate—there was no alternative.

"Leave the saucepan," said Dantes; "you can take it away when you bring me my breakfast." This advice was to the jailer's taste, as it spared him the necessity of making another trip. He left the saucepan.

Dantes was beside himself with joy. He rapidly devoured his food, and after waiting an hour, lest the jailer should change his mind and return, he removed his bed, took the handle of the saucepan, inserted the point between the hewn stone and rough stones of the wall, and employed it as a lever. A slight oscillation showed Dantes that all went well. At the end of an hour the stone was extricated from the wall, leaving a cavity a foot and a half in diameter.

Dantes carefully collected the plaster, carried it into the corner of his cell, and covered it with earth. Then, wishing to make the best use of his time while he had the means of labor, he continued to work without ceasing. At the dawn of day he replaced the stone, pushed his bed against the wall, and lay down. The breakfast consisted of a piece of bread; the jailer entered and placed the bread on the table.

"Well, don't you intend to bring me another plate?" said Dantes.

"No," replied the turnkey; "you destroy everything. First you break your jug, then you make me break your plate; if all the prisoners followed your example, the government would be ruined. I shall leave you the saucepan, and pour your soup into that. So for the future I hope you will not be so destructive."

Dantes raised his eyes to heaven and clasped his hands beneath the coverlet. He felt more gratitude for the possession of this piece of iron than he had ever felt for anything. He had noticed, however, that the prisoner on the other side had ceased to labor; no matter, this was a greater reason for proceeding—if his neighbor would not come to him, he would go to his neighbor. All day he toiled on untiringly, and by the evening he had succeeded in extracting ten handfuls of plaster and fragments of stone. When the hour for his jailer's visit arrived, Dantes straightened the handle of the saucepan as well as he could, and placed it in its accustomed place. The turnkey poured his ration of soup into it, together with the fish—for thrice a week the prisoners were deprived of meat. This would have been a method of reckoning time, had not Dantes long ceased to do so. Having poured out the soup, the turnkey retired. Dantes wished to ascertain whether his neighbor had really ceased to work. He listened—all was silent, as it had been for the last three days. Dantes sighed; it was evident that his neighbor distrusted him. However, he toiled on all the night without being discouraged; but after two or three hours he encountered an obstacle. The iron made no impression, but met with a smooth surface; Dantes touched it, and found that it was a beam. This beam crossed, or rather blocked up, the hole Dantes had made; it was necessary, therefore, to dig above or under it. The unhappy young man had not thought of this. "O my God, my God!" murmured he, "I have so earnestly prayed to you, that I hoped my prayers had been heard. After having deprived me of my liberty, after having deprived me of death, after having recalled me to existence, my God, have pity on me, and do not let me die in despair!"

"Who talks of God and despair at the same time?" said a voice that seemed to come from beneath the earth, and, deadened by the distance, sounded hollow and sepulchral in the young man's ears. Edmond's hair stood on end, and he rose to his knees.

"Ah," said he, "I hear a human voice." Edmond had not heard any one speak save his jailer for four or five years; and a jailer is no man to a prisoner—he is a living door, a barrier of flesh and blood adding strength to restraints of oak and iron.

"In the name of heaven," cried Dantes, "speak again, though the sound of your voice terrifies me. Who are you?"

"Who are you?" said the voice.

"An unhappy prisoner," replied Dantes, who made no hesitation in answering.

"Of what country?"

"A Frenchman."

"Your name?"

"Edmond Dantes."

"Your profession?"

"A sailor."

"How long have you been here?"

"Since the 28th of February, 1815."

"Your crime?"

"I am innocent."

"But of what are you accused?"

"Of having conspired to aid the emperor's return."

"What! For the emperor's return?—the emperor is no longer on the throne, then?"

"He abdicated at Fontainebleau in 1814, and was sent to the Island of Elba. But how long have you been here that you are ignorant of all this?"

"Since 1811."

Dantes shuddered; this man had been four years longer than himself in prison.

"Do not dig any more," said the voice; "only tell me how high up is your excavation?"

"On a level with the floor."

"How is it concealed?"

"Behind my bed."

"Has your bed been moved since you have been a prisoner?"

"No."

"What does your chamber open on?"

"A corridor."

"And the corridor?"

"On a court."

"Alas!" murmured the voice.

"Oh, what is the matter?" cried Dantes.

"I have made a mistake owing to an error in my plans. I took the wrong angle, and have come out fifteen feet from where I intended. I took the wall you are mining for the outer wall of the fortress."

"But then you would be close to the sea?"

"That is what I hoped."

"And supposing you had succeeded?"

"I should have thrown myself into the sea, gained one of the islands near here—the Isle de Daume or the Isle de Tiboulen—and then I should have been safe."

"Could you have swum so far?"

"Heaven would have given me strength; but now all is lost."

"All?"

"Yes; stop up your excavation carefully, do not work any more, and wait until you hear from me."

"Tell me, at least, who you are?"

"I am—I am No. 27."

"You mistrust me, then," said Dantes. Edmond fancied he heard a bitter laugh resounding from the depths.

"Oh, I am a Christian," cried Dantes, guessing instinctively that this man meant to abandon him. "I swear to you by him who died for us that naught shall induce me to breathe one syllable to my jailers; but I conjure you do not abandon me. If you do, I swear to you, for I have got to the end of my strength, that I will dash my brains out against the wall, and you will have my death to reproach yourself with."

"How old are you? Your voice is that of a young man."

"I do not know my age, for I have not counted the years I have been here. All I do know is, that I was just nineteen when I was arrested, the 28th of February, 1815."

"Not quite twenty-six!" murmured the voice; "at that age he cannot be a traitor."

"Oh, no, no," cried Dantes. "I swear to you again, rather than betray you, I would allow myself to be hacked in pieces!"

"You have done well to speak to me, and ask for my assistance, for I was about to form another plan, and leave you; but your age reassures me. I will not forget you. Wait."

"How long?"

"I must calculate our chances; I will give you the signal."

"But you will not leave me; you will come to me, or you will let me come to you. We will escape, and if we cannot escape we will talk; you of those whom you love, and I of those whom I love. You must love somebody?"

"No, I am alone in the world."

"Then you will love me. If you are young, I will be your comrade; if you are old, I will be your son. I have a father who is seventy if he yet lives; I only love him and a young girl called Mercedes. My father has not yet forgotten me, I am sure, but God alone knows if she loves me still; I shall love you as I loved my father."

"It is well," returned the voice; "to-morrow."

These few words were uttered with an accent that left no doubt of his sincerity; Dantes rose, dispersed the fragments with the same precaution as before, and pushed his bed back against the wall. He then gave himself up to his happiness. He would no longer be alone. He was, perhaps, about to regain his liberty; at the worst, he would have a companion, and captivity that is shared is but half captivity. Plaints made in common are almost prayers, and prayers where two or three are gathered together invoke the mercy of heaven.

All day Dantes walked up and down his cell. He sat down occasionally on his bed, pressing his hand on his heart. At the slightest noise he bounded towards the door. Once or twice the thought crossed his mind that he might be separated from this unknown, whom he loved already; and then his mind was made up—when the jailer moved his bed and stooped to examine the opening, he would kill him with his water jug. He would be condemned to die, but he was about to die of grief and despair when this miraculous noise recalled him to life.

The jailer came in the evening. Dantes was on his bed. It seemed to him that thus he better guarded the unfinished opening. Doubtless there was a strange expression in his eyes, for the jailer said, "Come, are you going mad again?"

Dantes did not answer; he feared that the emotion of his voice would betray him. The jailer went away shaking his head. Night came; Dantes hoped that his neighbor would profit by the silence to address him, but he was mistaken. The next morning, however, just as he removed his bed from the wall, he heard three knocks; he threw himself on his knees.

"Is it you?" said he; "I am here."

"Is your jailer gone?"

"Yes," said Dantes; "he will not return until the evening; so that we have twelve hours before us."

"I can work, then?" said the voice.

"Oh, yes, yes; this instant, I entreat you."

In a moment that part of the floor on which Dantes was resting his two hands, as he knelt with his head in the opening, suddenly gave way; he drew back smartly, while a mass of stones and earth disappeared in a hole that opened beneath the aperture he himself had formed. Then from the bottom of this passage, the depth of which it was impossible to measure, he saw appear, first the head, then the shoulders, and lastly the body of a man, who sprang lightly into his cell.

 

第十五章 三十四号和二十七号

那些被遗忘了的犯人在地牢里所受的各种各样的痛苦唐太斯都尝到了,他最初很高傲,因为他怀有希望并自知无罪,然后他开始怀疑起自己的冤枉来,这种怀疑多少证实了监狱长认为他是精神错乱的这一看法,他从高傲的顶端一交跌了下来,他开始恳求,不是向上帝恳求,而是向人恳求。却等到这个不幸的人,他本该一开始便寻求主的庇护的,但他却等到希望都破灭了以后才寄希望于上帝。

唐太斯恳求他换一间单房,因为不管怎么说,换动一次,总是一次变动,可以使他发泄一点烦闷。他请求允许他散步,给他一点书和手工。结果什么都没满足,那也没有关系,他还是照样的要求。他努力使自己和新来的狱卒讲话,虽然他可能比以前的那个更沉默寡言,但是,对一个人讲话,即使对方是个哑巴,也是一种乐趣。唐太斯讲话的用意是要听听他自己的声音,他也曾尝试自言自语,但他却被自己的声音吓了一跳。

在他入狱以前,每当想到这样一些犯人聚集在一起,他们中有贼,有流浪汉,有杀人犯,心中便不禁要作呕。而现在他却希望和他们在一起,以便除了看到那不和他讲话的狱卒以外,还可以看到一些其他的面孔,他羡慕那些穿着囚衣,系着铁链,肩上钉着记号的苦工。充当苦工的囚徒能呼吸到外面新鲜的空气,又能互相见面,他们是非常幸福的。他恳求狱卒为他找个同伴,哪怕是那个疯神甫也好。

那个狱卒,纵然因为看惯了许多受苦的情形而心肠硬了些,但毕竟是个人。在他内心深处,也常常同情这个如此受苦的不幸的青年,于是他把三十四号的要求报告给了监狱长。但后者却审慎得象个政治家,竟以为唐太斯想结党或企图逃跑,所以拒绝了他的请求。唐太斯已尽了一切努力,他终于转向了上帝。

所有那些久已忘记的敬神之念此时都回忆起来了。他记起了母亲所教他的祷告,并在那些祷告里发现了一种他以前从未意识到的意义。因为在顺境中,祷告似乎只是字语的堆积,直到有一天,灾祸来临后,他那祈求上苍怜悯的话,才显得非常的崇高!他祷告,并非出自热诚,而是出自仇怒。他大声地祷告,他已不再怕听到他自己的声音了。然后他陷入了一种神志恍惚的状态。他似乎看到上帝在倾听他所说的每一个字。

他把他一生的行为都献到万能的主的面前,诉说他所愿意去做的种种事情,并在每一次祷告地结尾引用这样一句话而这句话向上帝请求时常用而向人请求时更常用,“请宽恕我们的罪恶,象我们宽恕那些罪于我们的人一样。”尽管作了这种最诚恳的祷告,唐太斯却依旧还是名犯人。

渐渐地,心头充满了阴郁。他很单纯,又没有受过什么教育,所以,在他那孤独的地牢里,凭他自己的想象无法重新唤回那些已经逝去的年代,复活那些已经灭亡了的民族,无法重建那些被想象渲染得如此宏伟广大,象马丁的名画里所描绘得那样被天火所照耀,在我们眼前而已消逝了古代城市。他无法做到这一点,他过去的生命短暂,目前很阴郁,未来的又很朦胧。十九年的光太微弱了,无法照亮,那无穷尽的黑暗!他没有消闷解愁的方法。他那充沛的精力,本来可以借追溯往事来活跃一下,现在却被囚禁了起来,象一只被关在笼子里的鹰一样。他只抓住了一个念头,即他的幸福,那被空前的动运所不明不白地毁灭了的幸福。他把这个念头想了又想,然后,象但丁的地狱里的乌哥里诺吞下罗格大主教的头颅骨似的把它囫囵吞了下去。

竭力的自制以后狂怒。唐太斯用自己的身体去撞监狱的墙,嘴里对上帝大声咒骂着,以致他的狱卒吓得对他望而却步。他把愤怒转嫁到他周围的一切上,他泄怒于自己,泄怒于那来惹他的最微不足道的东西,如一粒沙子,一根草,或一点气息,维尔福给他看的那封告密信在他的脑海里重新浮现出来,一行似乎是用火红的字母写在墙上一般。他对自己说,把他抛入这无限痛苦的深渊里的,是人的仇恨而不是天的报应。

他用他所能想象得出的种种最可怕的酷刑来惩罚这些不明的迫害者,但觉得一切酷刑都不够厉害,因为在酷刑之后接着就是死亡,而死了以后,即使不是安息,至少也是近于安息的那种麻木状态。

由于老是想着死就是安息,由于想发明比死更残酷的刑罚,他开始想到了自杀。真是不幸,处于痛苦中的他竟又有了这种念头!自杀之念头就象那死海,肉眼看来似乎很风平浪静;但假如轻率地冒险去投入它的怀抱,就会发现自己被陷在了一个泥沼里,愈陷愈深被吞进去。一旦陷进去,除非是上帝之手把他从那里拉出来,否则就一切都完了,他的挣扎只会加速他的毁灭。但是,这种心灵上的惨境却没有先前的受苦和此后的惩罚那样可怕。这也是一种慰藉,这种慰藉犹如使人只看见深渊张开的大口,而不知底下是一片黑暗。

爱德蒙从这个念头上获得了一些安慰。当死神就要来临的时候,他一切的忧愁,一切痛苦,以及伴随着忧愁痛苦而来的那一连串妖魔鬼怪都从他的地牢里逃了出去。唐太斯平静地回顾着自己过去的生活,恐惧地瞻仰他的未来,就选择了那儿似乎可以给他作一个避难所。

“有时候,”在心里说,“在我远航的时候,当我自由自在,身强力壮,指挥着别人的时候,我也曾见过天空突然布满了阴云暴怒地吐着白沫,波涛翻滚,天空中象有一只大怪鸟遮天蔽日而来。那时,我觉得我的船只是一个不起作用的藏身之处,它象是巨人手中的一根羽毛,在大风暴来临之前颤抖着,震荡着。不久,浪潮的怒吼和尖利的岩石向我宣布死亡即将来临,那时,很害怕死亡,于是我以一个男子汉和一个水手的全部技术和智慧与万能的主抗争。我之所以那样做,因为那时我处在幸福之中,挽回了生命就是挽回了欢乐,我不允许那样的去死,不愿意那样的去死,那长眠在岩石和海藻所筑成的床上的景象是很可怕的,因为我不愿意自己这个上帝依照他自己的模样创造出来的人去喂海鸥和乌鸦。但现在不同了。我已经失去了使我为之留恋的生命中的一切,死神在向我微笑,邀我去长眠。我是自愿去死的。我是精疲力尽而死的。就好象在那几天晚上,我绕着这个地牢来回走了三千遍以后带着绝望和仇怒睡去一样。”

一旦有了这种念头,他就比较平静、温和了。他尽力把他的床整理好,只吃很少东西,睡很短一点时间,并发觉这样生活下去也可以,因为他觉得他能愉快地把生存抛开,象抛掉一件破旧的衣服一样。他有两种方法可以死:一是用他的手帕挂在窗口的栅栏上吊死,一是绝食而死,但前面这个计划使他感到厌恶。唐太斯一向厌恶海盗,海盗被擒以后就是在帆船上吊死的,他不愿意采用这种不光彩的死法。他决定采用第二种办法,于是,当天就实施起来了。入狱以来差不多已过去四年了,在第二年的年底,他又忘了计算日期,因为从那时起他觉得巡查员已抛弃了他。

唐太斯说过:“我想死。”并选定了死的方法,由于怕自己改变主意,他便发誓一定要去死。“当早餐和晚餐拿来的时候,”他想道,“我就把它倒出窗外,就算已经把它吃了。”

他按设想要做的那样去做了,把狱卒每天给他送来的两次食物从钉着栅栏的窗洞里倒出去,最初很高兴,后来就有点犹豫,最后则很悔恨。只因那誓言才使他有力量继续这样做下去。过去,人一看到这此食物就恶心,现在由于饥饿难忍,看到这些食物觉得非常可口的,有几次,他整小时的把盘子端在手里,凝视着那不满一口的腐肉,臭鱼和发霉的黑面包。神秘的生存本能在他的内心中与他抗争,并不时地动摇着他的决心,那时,他那间地牢似乎也不象以前那么阴森了,他也不象以前那么绝望了。他还年轻,才不过二十四岁,他差不多还有五十年可活。在那样长的时间里,谁能断言不会发生什么意料不到的事,从而可以打开他的牢门,恢复他的自由呢?他本来自愿做丹达露斯,自动绝食的,现在想到这里,便把食物送到了唇边;但他又想起了他的誓言,他天性高尚,深怕食言会有损于自己的人格。于是他毅然无情地坚持了下去,直到最后,他连把晚餐倒出窗外去的力气都没有了。第二天早晨,他的视觉和听觉失去了作用;狱卒以为他得了重病,爱德蒙则只想早点死去。

那一天就这样过去了。爱德蒙觉得精神恍惚,胃痉挛所造成的那种痛苦感消失了,口渴也减轻了,一闭上眼睛,就仿佛见眼前有星光在乱舞,象是无数流星在夜空里游戏似的。这就是那个神秘的死之国度里升起的光!

大约在晚上九点钟的时候,爱德蒙突然听到靠他所睡的这一面墙上发出了一种空洞的声音。

牢房里住着许多讨厌的小动物,它们常发出一些响声,他早已习以为常了。可是现在,不知是因为绝食使他的感官更灵敏了呢,还是因为那声音的确比平常的响,也许是因为在那弥留之际,一切都有了新的意义,总之爱德蒙抬起头来倾听了一会儿。这是一种不断的搔扒声,象是一只巨爪,或一颗强有力的牙齿,或某种铁器在啮石头似的。

年轻人虽然已很衰弱,但他的脑子里却立刻闪出了那个一切犯人都时刻难忘的念头——自由!他觉得,似乎上苍终于怜悯他的不幸了,所以派这个声音来警告他立刻悬崖勒马。或许是那些他所挚爱,一刻也不能忘怀的人之中,有一个也在想念着他,正在努力缩短那分隔他们的距离。

不,不!他无疑地是错了,这只是那些飘浮在死亡之门前的梦幻罢了。

爱德蒙还是听出了那响声。它约摸持续了三个小时;然后他听到一块东西掉了下来的响声,接着就一切都恢复了平静。

过了几小时,声音又响起来了,而且比刚才更近更清晰了。爱德蒙对那种劳动产生了兴趣,因为它使他有了个伴儿。

但突然间,狱卒进来了。

一周以前,他下决心去死,四天前,他开始付诸实施以来,爱德蒙就没有和这个人讲过话,问他是怎么回事,他也不回答,当狱卒仔细观察他时,他就转过脸去面对着墙壁,但现在狱卒或许听到这种声音,要是追查起来,或许会永远终止这种声音,从而毁灭了这在他临终时来安慰他的唯一的一线希望了。

狱卒给他送来了早餐。唐太斯支摇起身子,开始东拉西扯说起话来,什么伙食太坏啦,地牢太冷啦,抱怨这个,埋怨那个,并故意拉高了嗓门,以便让狱卒听得不耐烦,碰巧那天狱卒为他的犯人求得了一点肉汤和白面包,并且给他送来了。

幸亏狱卒以为唐太斯在讲呓语,他把食物放在那张歪歪斜斜的桌子上后,就退了出去。。爱德蒙终于又自由了,他又惊喜地倾听起来。那个声音又响了,而且现在是这样的清晰,他可以毫不费力的听到了。

“不必怀疑了,”他想,“一定是有个犯人在努力求得他的自由。噢,假如我和他一起,可以帮他多少忙呀!”

突然间,他那惯于接受不幸,难于接受欢乐与希望的头脑里,那希望之光又被一片阴云遮住了。他想,这种声音说不定是监狱长吩咐工人修隔壁那监牢所发出来的。

要确定这一点倒也不难,但他怎么能冒险去问人呢?要引起狱卒注意那声音并不难,只要注意观察他听声音时的表情就可得到答案了,但如果用这种方法,说不定会因一时的满足而出卖了自己宝贵的希望,不幸的是爱德蒙还是这样的虚弱,以致他无法的思想集中,专想一个问题。

他知道,只有一个办法可以使他的思想变清晰些把目光转向了狱卒给他送来的那盆汤上,并站起来踉踉跄跄地走了过去,带着说不出的舒服之感喝干了它,然后他又克制住自己不要吃得太多。因为他曾听人说过,海上遭遇不幸被救起来的人常因心急吞了太多的食物而致死。爱德蒙把那快要送进嘴里的面包又放回到了桌子上,回到他床上,他已不再想死了。

不久他就觉得脑子清醒了许多,他又可以思想了,于是就用推理来加强他的思想。他对自己说:“我一定要考验一下,但必须不连累别人。假如这是一个工人,我只要敲敲墙壁,他就会停止工作,并过来查究是谁在敲墙,为什么要敲墙,由于他是监狱长派来干活的,所以不久就会重新干起来。假如,反过来讲,这是一个犯人,那我所发出的声音就会吓倒他,他会停止工作,直到他认为每个人都睡着了以后才会再动手。”

爱德蒙又一次起身,这次他的腿不抖了,也不再眼花目眩了。他走到地牢的一角,挖下一块因受潮而松动的石片,拿来敲击那墙壁上声音听得最清楚的地方。他敲了三下,第一下敲下去,那声音就停止了,象是变魔术似的。

爱德蒙留心倾听着。一小时过去了,两小时过去了,墙上再也听不到任何声音了,一切都是静静的。

满怀着希望,爱德蒙吃了几口面包,喝了一点水,仗着自己良好的体质,他发觉自己已差不多完全恢复了。

这一天就在极端的寂静中度过去了;夜来临了,但并没有带着那声音同来。

“这是一个犯人!”爱德蒙高兴自忖道。

这一夜又在打不破的寂静中度过去了。爱德蒙一夜没合眼。

早晨,狱卒又把他的饭送了来,他已经把前一天的都吃了。他吃了这些东西以后便焦急地想再听到那种声音,在他的斗室里转了又转,摇摇窗上的铁栅栏,活动一下他的四肢,使它们恢复那原有的能力,准备应付可能降临的事变。每过一会儿,他就听听那声音有没有再来,渐渐地他对那个犯人的审慎感到不耐烦起来,而那个犯人却猜不到打扰他的原来也是一个象他自己那样热切盼望着自由的犯人。

三天过去了,要命的七十二个钟头,是一分钟一分钟的数过去的呀!

终于在一天晚上,狱卒来作了最后一次的查看,唐太斯又一次把他的耳朵贴到墙上去的,他仿佛听到石块之间有一种几乎察觉不出的响动。他缩身离开墙,在他的斗室里踱来踱去,以便集中思想,然后又把耳朵贴到老地方去。

不用再怀疑了,那一边一定在做一件什么工作,而犯人已发觉了危险,所以比以前更小心地在继续干着,已用凿子代替了铁杆。

在这个发现的鼓舞之下,爱德蒙决心要帮助那个不屈不挠的劳动者。他先搬开了他的床,因为在他看来,那工作是在床后面那个方向进行着的。他用眼睛寻找一件什么东西以便可以用来穿透墙壁,挖掘水泥,搬开石块。

但他什么也没看到。他没有小刀等尖利的工具,虽然他窗上的栅栏是铁做的,但它非常牢固,他已试过多次了。地牢里的全部家具就是一张床,一把椅子,一张桌子,一只水桶和一个瓦壶。床上有铁档子,但却是旋紧在木架子上的,得用螺丝刀才能把它们取下来。桌子和椅子无法利用,水桶是有柄的,但那柄已被拆掉了。只有一种办法了,就是把瓦罐打碎,挑一块锋利的碎片来挖墙。他把瓦壶摔到了地上,碎成了片。他挑了两三块最锋利的藏到床上草褥子里,其余的留在地上。他有整夜的时间可以工作,但在黑暗之中,他干不了多少,他不久就感觉到工具碰到了某种坚硬的东西。他把床推回去,等待天亮。一有了希望便也有了耐心。

他整夜都听着那个隐蔽的工作者,那个人在继续他的挖掘工程。白天来了,狱卒走进来了。唐太斯告诉他,说他在喝水的时候瓦罐从手里滑下去,摔碎了,狱卒一边埋怨一边给他去另外拿了一个,甚至都懒得去打扫那些碎片。他很快就回来了,并叮嘱犯人以后要小心一点,然后就走了。

唐太斯无比喜悦地听到钥匙在锁里格勒地一响。他注意听着,他注意听着,直到那脚步声完全消失,然后,他急忙拉开自己的床,借着透进地牢里来的那点微弱的光线,才发现昨天晚上他挖的是块石头而不是石头周围的石灰,由于牢内潮湿,石灰一碰就碎。他很高兴地看到它竟会自己剥落,当然,那只是一些碎片,但半小时以后,他已刮下了满满一把。一位数学家大概可以算出来,这样挖下去,两年之内,假如不计那些石头,就可以掘成一条二十尺长,二尺宽的地道。犯人埋怨自己不该把那么多时间浪费在祷告和绝望中,而没有及早开始这项工作,在被关在这里的六年里,还有什么事完成不了呢?

唐太斯接连工作了三天,极其小心地挖掉了水泥层,使石头露了出来。墙壁是用碎石砌成的,为了使它更坚固,还用粗糙不平的大石块嵌住其间的空隙里。他所挖到的就是这样一块石头,他必须把它从石窝里挖出来。他勉强用他的指甲去挖,但指甲太软了;至于那瓦罐的碎片,嵌进石缝里一撬就碎了,经过一小时白费力气的辛苦以后,他住手了。难道他就这样刚开头就停下来,然后什么也不做地干等着,等着那位疲倦但也许有工具的邻居来完成一切吗?一个想法突然出现在他的脑子里,他微笑起来,额头上的汗也干了。

狱卒给唐太斯送汤来的时候,总是盛在一只铁的平底锅里的。这只平底锅还盛着另一个犯人的汤,因为唐太斯曾注意到,它有时是很满的,有时则是半空的,这是看狱卒是先送给他还是先送给他的同伴而定。这只平底锅的柄是铁的,唐太斯情愿以他十年的生命来和它交换。

狱卒每次把这只平底锅里的东西倒入唐太斯的盆里以后,唐太斯就用一只木匙来喝汤,然后洗干净,留待第二次再用。当天晚上,唐太斯故意的把盆子放在门旁边。狱卒进门时脚踩到盆子上,把它踩破了。这一次他不能怪唐太斯了。他固然有错,不该把它放到那里,但狱卒走路也该看着点儿。

那狱卒咕哝几句也就算了。他看了一下四周,想找个东西来盛汤,但唐太斯所有的餐具只有一只盆子,再无其他可以代替的东西了。

“把锅留下吧,”唐太斯说,“你给我送早餐来的时候再带去好了。”这个建议正合狱卒的心意,这可以使他不必上下再多跑一次了。于是他就把平底锅留了下来。

唐太斯简直高兴极了。他急忙吃了他的食物,又等了一个钟头,唯恐狱卒会改变主意又回来,然后,他搬开床,把平底锅的把手一端插进墙上大石块和碎石的缝里,把它当作一条杠杆。他开始撬动,大石块动了一下,他明白这个主意不错,一小时以后,那块大石头就从墙上挖了出来,露出了一个一尺半见方的洞穴。

唐太斯小心地把泥灰都收拢来,捧到地牢的一个角落里,上面用泥土把它盖上。现在他手里有了这样宝贵的一样工具,这是碰巧得来的,或更确切地说,是他巧施计谋得来的,他决定要尽量利用这一夜功夫,继续拼命地工作。天一亮,他就把石头放回原处,把床也推回去靠住墙壁,在床上躺下来。早餐只有一片面包,狱卒进来把面包放在了桌子上。

“咦,你没有另外给我拿一只盆子来。”唐太斯说。

“没有,”狱卒回答说,“什么东西都让你给弄坏。你先是打烂了瓦罐,后来你又让我踩破了你的盆子,要是所有的犯人都象你这个样,政府就支付不了啦。我就把锅留给你,就用这个来盛汤吧,那样,省得让你再打碎了碟子。”

唐太斯抬头望天,在被子里双手合十。他对上天让他保留这一片铁器比给他留下什么都更感激。但他也注意到了,那边的那个犯人已停止了工作。这没关系,他得加紧工作,假如他的邻居不来靠拢他,他可以去接近他。他不知疲倦地整天工作着,到了傍晚时分,他已经挖出了十把水泥、石灰和碎石片。当狱卒快要来的时候,唐太斯就扳直了那条锅柄,把铁锅放回了原处。狱卒向锅里倒了一些老一套的肉汤,不,说得确切些,是鱼汤,因为这一天是斋日,犯人每星期得斋戒三次。要不是唐太斯早就忘了数日子,这本来倒也是一种数日子的方法。狱卒倒了汤就走了。唐太斯很想确定他的邻居是否真的已停止了工作。他听了一会儿,一切都是静静的,就象过去的三天来一样。唐太斯叹了一口气,很明显的他的邻居不信任他。但是,他仍然毫不气馁地整夜工作。两三小时以后,他遇到了一个障碍物。铁柄碰上丝毫不起作用,只是在一个平面上滑了一下。

唐太斯用手去一摸,发觉原来是一条横梁。这条横梁挡住了,或更贴切地说,完全堵住了唐太斯所挖成的洞,所以必须在它的上面或下面从头再挖起。那不幸的青年没料到会遇到这种障碍。“噢,上帝!上帝呵!”他轻声地说,“我曾这样诚心诚意地向您祷告,希望您能听到我的话。你剥夺了我的自由,又剥夺了我死亡的安息,是您又让我有了生存下去的希望,我的上帝呵!可怜可怜我吧,别让我绝望而死吧!”

“是谁在把上帝和绝望放在一块儿说?”一个象是来自地下的声音说道,这个因隔了一层而被压低了声音传到那青年人的耳朵里,阴森森的,象是从坟墓里发出来的。爱德蒙感到头发都竖了起来,他身子向后一缩,跪在了地上。

“啊!”他说,“我听到了一个人的声音。”四五年来,除了狱卒以外,他再没有听到过别人讲话,而在一个犯人看来,狱卒不能算是个人,他是橡木门以外的一扇活的门,铁栅栏以外的一道血和肉的障碍物。

“看在上帝的份上,”唐太斯说道,“请再说话吧,虽然你的声音吓了我一跳,你是谁?

“你是谁?”那声音问。

“一个不幸的犯人。”唐太斯回答说,他答话的时候毫不犹豫。

“哪国人?”

“法国人。”

“叫什么名字?”

“爱德蒙唐太斯。”

“干那一行的?”

“是一个水手。”

“你到这儿有多久了?”

“是一八一五年二月二十八日来的。”

“什么罪名?”

“我是无辜的。”

“那么别人指控你什么罪?”

“参与皇帝的复位活动。”

“什么!皇帝复位!那么皇帝不在位了吗?”

“他是一八一四年在枫丹白露逊位的,以后就被押到厄尔巴岛去了。你在这儿多久了,怎么连这些事都不知道?”

“我是一八一一年来的。”

唐太斯不禁打了个寒颤,这个人比自己多关了四年牢。

“不要再挖了,”那声音说道,“只告诉我你的洞有多高就得了。”

“和地面齐平。”

“这个洞怎么遮起来的?”

“在我的床背后。”

“你关进来以后,你的床搬动过没有?”

“没有。”

“你的房间通向什么地方?”

“通向一条走廊。”

“走廊呢?”

“通到天井里。”

“糟糕!那声音低声说道。

“哦,怎么了?”唐太斯喊道。

“我算错啦,我计划里的这一点缺陷把一切都毁了。设计图上只错了一条线,实行起来就等于错了十五尺。我把你所挖的这面墙当作城堡的墙啦。”

“但那样你不是就挖到海边去了吗?”

“那就是我所希望的。”

“假如你成功了呢?”

“我就跳到海里,登上附近的一个岛上,多姻岛或是波伦岛,那时我就安全了。”

“你能游那么远吗?”

“上帝会给我力量的,可现在一切都完了!”

“一切都完了?”

“是的,你小心别再挖了。别再干了。听候我的消息再说吧。”

“至少请告诉我你是谁呀。”

“我是——我是二十七号。”

“那么你信不过我吗?”唐太斯说。他似乎听到从那个无名客那儿传过来一阵苦笑。

“噢,我是一个基督徒,”唐太斯大声说,他本能地猜想到这个人是有意要弃他而去。“我以基督的名义向你发誓,我情愿让他们杀了我也不会向刽子手们吐露一点实情的,看在上帝的份上,别离开,别不和我说话,不然我向你发誓因为我已忍耐到了极限,我会把头在墙上撞碎的,会懊悔的。”

“你多大了?听你的声音象是一个青年人。”

“我不知道自己的年龄,因为自从到了这里以后,我就不曾计算过时间。我所知道的只是当我被捕的时候,我刚满十九岁,当时是一八一五年二月二十八日。”

“那你还不满二十六岁!”那声音轻轻地说,“在这个年龄,是不会做奸细的。”

“不,不,不!”唐太斯喊道,“我再向你发誓,就是他们把我剁成肉酱也不会出卖你的!”

“幸亏你对我这样说,这样请求我,因为我就要另去拟一个计划了,不顾你了,但是你的年龄使我放了心。我会再来找你的。等着我吧。”

“什么时候?”

“我得算算我们的机会再说,我会打信号给你的。”

“千万别抛弃我,即使请你到我这儿来,要不就让我到你那儿去。我们一同逃走,即使我们逃不了,我们也能说话,你谈你所爱的人,我谈我所爱的那些人。你一定爱着什么人吧?”

“不,我在这个世界上孤单一人。”

“那么你会爱我的。假如你年轻,我就做你的朋友,假如你年纪大了,我就做你的儿子。我有一个父亲,要是他还活着,该有七十岁啦,我只爱他和一个名叫美塞苔丝的年轻姑娘。我父亲没有忘了我,这一点我可以肯定,但她还爱不爱我,那就只有上帝知道了。我会象爱我父亲那样爱你的。”

“很好!”那声音答道,“明天见。”

这几个字的语气无疑是出于诚意的。唐太斯站起身来,象以往做的那样小心地埋藏了从墙上挖下来的碎石和残片,把床推回去靠住墙壁。他现在整个儿沉没在幸福里了,他将不再孤独了,或许不久就会获得自由了。退一步说,即使他依旧还是犯人,他也至少有了一个伙伴,而犯人的生活一经与人分尝,其苦味也就减少了一半。

唐太斯整天地在他的小单房里踱来踱去,心里充满了欢喜。他有时竟高兴得发呆,他在床上坐下来,用手按住自己的胸膛。每有极轻微的响动,他就会一跃跳到门口去。有几次,他内心里突然产生了一种担忧,唯恐他会被迫同这个他把他当作朋友的人分离。如果发生这种事,他打定了主意,只要狱卒一移开他的床,弯下身来检查那洞口,他就用他的瓦罐砸碎他的脑袋。这样他会被处死,但他本来就已经快要忧虑绝望而死了,是这个神妙不可思议的声音又把他救活了过来。

傍晚时分,狱卒来了,唐太斯已上了床。他觉得这样似乎可以把那未挖成的洞口保护得更严一点。他的眼里无疑露出了一种奇异的目光,因为那狱卒说,“喂,你又疯了吗?”

唐太斯没有回答。他怕他的声音会把自己的情绪泄漏出来。狱卒一边摇着头一边退了出去。夜晚降临了,唐太斯满以为他的邻居会利用这寂静来招呼他,他想错了。但第二天早晨,正当他把床拖离墙壁时,他听到了三下叩击声,他赶紧跪下来。

“是你吗?”他说,“我在这儿。”

“你那边的狱卒走了吗?”

“走了,”唐太斯说,“他不到晚上是不会再回来的。我们有十二小时可以自由自在的。”

“那么,我可以动手了?”那声音说。

“噢,是的,是的,马上动手吧,我求求你!”

唐太斯这时半个身体钻在洞里,他撑手的那一块地面突然间陷了下去。他赶紧缩回身来,一大堆石头和泥土落了下去,就在他自己所挖成的这个洞下面,又露出来一个头,接着露出了肩膀,最后露出了整个人,那个人十分敏捷地钻进了他的地牢里。




Chapter 16. A Learned Italian.

Seizing in his arms the friend so long and ardently desired, Dantes almost carried him towards the window, in order to obtain a better view of his features by the aid of the imperfect light that struggled through the grating.

He was a man of small stature, with hair blanched rather by suffering and sorrow than by age. He had a deep-set, penetrating eye, almost buried beneath the thick gray eyebrow, and a long (and still black) beard reaching down to his breast. His thin face, deeply furrowed by care, and the bold outline of his strongly marked features, betokened a man more accustomed to exercise his mental faculties than his physical strength. Large drops of perspiration were now standing on his brow, while the garments that hung about him were so ragged that one could only guess at the pattern upon which they had originally been fashioned.

The stranger might have numbered sixty or sixty-five years; but a certain briskness and appearance of vigor in his movements made it probable that he was aged more from captivity than the course of time. He received the enthusiastic greeting of his young acquaintance with evident pleasure, as though his chilled affections were rekindled and invigorated by his contact with one so warm and ardent. He thanked him with grateful cordiality for his kindly welcome, although he must at that moment have been suffering bitterly to find another dungeon where he had fondly reckoned on discovering a means of regaining his liberty.

"Let us first see," said he, "whether it is possible to remove the traces of my entrance here—our future tranquillity depends upon our jailers being entirely ignorant of it." Advancing to the opening, he stooped and raised the stone easily in spite of its weight; then, fitting it into its place, he said,—

"You removed this stone very carelessly; but I suppose you had no tools to aid you."

"Why," exclaimed Dantes, with astonishment, "do you possess any?"

"I made myself some; and with the exception of a file, I have all that are necessary,—a chisel, pincers, and lever."

"Oh, how I should like to see these products of your industry and patience."

"Well, in the first place, here is my chisel." So saying, he displayed a sharp strong blade, with a handle made of beechwood.

"And with what did you contrive to make that?" inquired Dantes.

"With one of the clamps of my bedstead; and this very tool has sufficed me to hollow out the road by which I came hither, a distance of about fifty feet."

"Fifty feet!" responded Dantes, almost terrified.

"Do not speak so loud, young man—don't speak so loud. It frequently occurs in a state prison like this, that persons are stationed outside the doors of the cells purposely to overhear the conversation of the prisoners."

"But they believe I am shut up alone here."

"That makes no difference."

"And you say that you dug your way a distance of fifty feet to get here?"

"I do; that is about the distance that separates your chamber from mine; only, unfortunately, I did not curve aright; for want of the necessary geometrical instruments to calculate my scale of proportion, instead of taking an ellipsis of forty feet, I made it fifty. I expected, as I told you, to reach the outer wall, pierce through it, and throw myself into the sea; I have, however, kept along the corridor on which your chamber opens, instead of going beneath it. My labor is all in vain, for I find that the corridor looks into a courtyard filled with soldiers."

"That's true," said Dantes; "but the corridor you speak of only bounds one side of my cell; there are three others—do you know anything of their situation?"

"This one is built against the solid rock, and it would take ten experienced miners, duly furnished with the requisite tools, as many years to perforate it. This adjoins the lower part of the governor's apartments, and were we to work our way through, we should only get into some lock-up cellars, where we must necessarily be recaptured. The fourth and last side of your cell faces on—faces on—stop a minute, now where does it face?"

The wall of which he spoke was the one in which was fixed the loophole by which light was admitted to the chamber. This loophole, which gradually diminished in size as it approached the outside, to an opening through which a child could not have passed, was, for better security, furnished with three iron bars, so as to quiet all apprehensions even in the mind of the most suspicious jailer as to the possibility of a prisoner's escape. As the stranger asked the question, he dragged the table beneath the window.

"Climb up," said he to Dantes. The young man obeyed, mounted on the table, and, divining the wishes of his companion, placed his back securely against the wall and held out both hands. The stranger, whom as yet Dantes knew only by the number of his cell, sprang up with an agility by no means to be expected in a person of his years, and, light and steady on his feet as a cat or a lizard, climbed from the table to the outstretched hands of Dantes, and from them to his shoulders; then, bending double, for the ceiling of the dungeon prevented him from holding himself erect, he managed to slip his head between the upper bars of the window, so as to be able to command a perfect view from top to bottom.

An instant afterwards he hastily drew back his head, saying, "I thought so!" and sliding from the shoulders of Dantes as dextrously as he had ascended, he nimbly leaped from the table to the ground.

"What was it that you thought?" asked the young man anxiously, in his turn descending from the table.

The elder prisoner pondered the matter. "Yes," said he at length, "it is so. This side of your chamber looks out upon a kind of open gallery, where patrols are continually passing, and sentries keep watch day and night."

"Are you quite sure of that?"

"Certain. I saw the soldier's shape and the top of his musket; that made me draw in my head so quickly, for I was fearful he might also see me."

"Well?" inquired Dantes.

"You perceive then the utter impossibility of escaping through your dungeon?"

"Then," pursued the young man eagerly—

"Then," answered the elder prisoner, "the will of God be done!" and as the old man slowly pronounced those words, an air of profound resignation spread itself over his careworn countenance. Dantes gazed on the man who could thus philosophically resign hopes so long and ardently nourished with an astonishment mingled with admiration.

"Tell me, I entreat of you, who and what you are?" said he at length; "never have I met with so remarkable a person as yourself."

"Willingly," answered the stranger; "if, indeed, you feel any curiosity respecting one, now, alas, powerless to aid you in any way."

"Say not so; you can console and support me by the strength of your own powerful mind. Pray let me know who you really are?"

The stranger smiled a melancholy smile. "Then listen," said he. "I am the Abbe Faria, and have been imprisoned as you know in this Chateau d'If since the year 1811; previously to which I had been confined for three years in the fortress of Fenestrelle. In the year 1811 I was transferred to Piedmont in France. It was at this period I learned that the destiny which seemed subservient to every wish formed by Napoleon, had bestowed on him a son, named king of Rome even in his cradle. I was very far then from expecting the change you have just informed me of; namely, that four years afterwards, this colossus of power would be overthrown. Then who reigns in France at this moment—Napoleon II.?"

"No, Louis XVIII."

"The brother of Louis XVII.! How inscrutable are the ways of providence—for what great and mysterious purpose has it pleased heaven to abase the man once so elevated, and raise up him who was so abased?"

Dantes' whole attention was riveted on a man who could thus forget his own misfortunes while occupying himself with the destinies of others.

"Yes, yes," continued he, "'Twill be the same as it was in England. After Charles I., Cromwell; after Cromwell, Charles II., and then James II., and then some son-in-law or relation, some Prince of Orange, a stadtholder who becomes a king. Then new concessions to the people, then a constitution, then liberty. Ah, my friend!" said the abbe, turning towards Dantes, and surveying him with the kindling gaze of a prophet, "you are young, you will see all this come to pass."

"Probably, if ever I get out of prison!"

"True," replied Faria, "we are prisoners; but I forget this sometimes, and there are even moments when my mental vision transports me beyond these walls, and I fancy myself at liberty."

"But wherefore are you here?"

"Because in 1807 I dreamed of the very plan Napoleon tried to realize in 1811; because, like Machiavelli, I desired to alter the political face of Italy, and instead of allowing it to be split up into a quantity of petty principalities, each held by some weak or tyrannical ruler, I sought to form one large, compact, and powerful empire; and, lastly, because I fancied I had found my Caesar Borgia in a crowned simpleton, who feigned to enter into my views only to betray me. It was the plan of Alexander VI. and Clement VII., but it will never succeed now, for they attempted it fruitlessly, and Napoleon was unable to complete his work. Italy seems fated to misfortune." And the old man bowed his head.

Dantes could not understand a man risking his life for such matters. Napoleon certainly he knew something of, inasmuch as he had seen and spoken with him; but of Clement VII. and Alexander VI. he knew nothing.

"Are you not," he asked, "the priest who here in the Chateau d'If is generally thought to be—ill?"

"Mad, you mean, don't you?"

"I did not like to say so," answered Dantes, smiling.

"Well, then," resumed Faria with a bitter smile, "let me answer your question in full, by acknowledging that I am the poor mad prisoner of the Chateau d'If, for many years permitted to amuse the different visitors with what is said to be my insanity; and, in all probability, I should be promoted to the honor of making sport for the children, if such innocent beings could be found in an abode devoted like this to suffering and despair."

Dantes remained for a short time mute and motionless; at length he said,—"Then you abandon all hope of escape?"

"I perceive its utter impossibility; and I consider it impious to attempt that which the Almighty evidently does not approve."

"Nay, be not discouraged. Would it not be expecting too much to hope to succeed at your first attempt? Why not try to find an opening in another direction from that which has so unfortunately failed?"

"Alas, it shows how little notion you can have of all it has cost me to effect a purpose so unexpectedly frustrated, that you talk of beginning over again. In the first place, I was four years making the tools I possess, and have been two years scraping and digging out earth, hard as granite itself; then what toil and fatigue has it not been to remove huge stones I should once have deemed impossible to loosen. Whole days have I passed in these Titanic efforts, considering my labor well repaid if, by night-time I had contrived to carry away a square inch of this hard-bound cement, changed by ages into a substance unyielding as the stones themselves; then to conceal the mass of earth and rubbish I dug up, I was compelled to break through a staircase, and throw the fruits of my labor into the hollow part of it; but the well is now so completely choked up, that I scarcely think it would be possible to add another handful of dust without leading to discovery. Consider also that I fully believed I had accomplished the end and aim of my undertaking, for which I had so exactly husbanded my strength as to make it just hold out to the termination of my enterprise; and now, at the moment when I reckoned upon success, my hopes are forever dashed from me. No, I repeat again, that nothing shall induce me to renew attempts evidently at variance with the Almighty's pleasure."

Dantes held down his head, that the other might not see how joy at the thought of having a companion outweighed the sympathy he felt for the failure of the abbe's plans.

The abbe sank upon Edmond's bed, while Edmond himself remained standing. Escape had never once occurred to him. There are, indeed, some things which appear so impossible that the mind does not dwell on them for an instant. To undermine the ground for fifty feet—to devote three years to a labor which, if successful, would conduct you to a precipice overhanging the sea—to plunge into the waves from the height of fifty, sixty, perhaps a hundred feet, at the risk of being dashed to pieces against the rocks, should you have been fortunate enough to have escaped the fire of the sentinels; and even, supposing all these perils past, then to have to swim for your life a distance of at least three miles ere you could reach the shore—were difficulties so startling and formidable that Dantes had never even dreamed of such a scheme, resigning himself rather to death. But the sight of an old man clinging to life with so desperate a courage, gave a fresh turn to his ideas, and inspired him with new courage. Another, older and less strong than he, had attempted what he had not had sufficient resolution to undertake, and had failed only because of an error in calculation. This same person, with almost incredible patience and perseverance, had contrived to provide himself with tools requisite for so unparalleled an attempt. Another had done all this; why, then, was it impossible to Dantes? Faria had dug his way through fifty feet, Dantes would dig a hundred; Faria, at the age of fifty, had devoted three years to the task; he, who was but half as old, would sacrifice six; Faria, a priest and savant, had not shrunk from the idea of risking his life by trying to swim a distance of three miles to one of the islands—Daume, Rattonneau, or Lemaire; should a hardy sailer, an experienced diver, like himself, shrink from a similar task; should he, who had so often for mere amusement's sake plunged to the bottom of the sea to fetch up the bright coral branch, hesitate to entertain the same project? He could do it in an hour, and how many times had he, for pure pastime, continued in the water for more than twice as long! At once Dantes resolved to follow the brave example of his energetic companion, and to remember that what has once been done may be done again.

After continuing some time in profound meditation, the young man suddenly exclaimed, "I have found what you were in search of!"

Faria started: "Have you, indeed?" cried he, raising his head with quick anxiety; "pray, let me know what it is you have discovered?"

"The corridor through which you have bored your way from the cell you occupy here, extends in the same direction as the outer gallery, does it not?"

"It does."

"And is not above fifteen feet from it?"

"About that."

"Well, then, I will tell you what we must do. We must pierce through the corridor by forming a side opening about the middle, as it were the top part of a cross. This time you will lay your plans more accurately; we shall get out into the gallery you have described; kill the sentinel who guards it, and make our escape. All we require to insure success is courage, and that you possess, and strength, which I am not deficient in; as for patience, you have abundantly proved yours—you shall now see me prove mine."

"One instant, my dear friend," replied the abbe; "it is clear you do not understand the nature of the courage with which I am endowed, and what use I intend making of my strength. As for patience, I consider that I have abundantly exercised that in beginning every morning the task of the night before, and every night renewing the task of the day. But then, young man (and I pray of you to give me your full attention), then I thought I could not be doing anything displeasing to the Almighty in trying to set an innocent being at liberty—one who had committed no offence, and merited not condemnation."

"And have your notions changed?" asked Dantes with much surprise; "do you think yourself more guilty in making the attempt since you have encountered me?"

"No; neither do I wish to incur guilt. Hitherto I have fancied myself merely waging war against circumstances, not men. I have thought it no sin to bore through a wall, or destroy a staircase; but I cannot so easily persuade myself to pierce a heart or take away a life." A slight movement of surprise escaped Dantes.

"Is it possible," said he, "that where your liberty is at stake you can allow any such scruple to deter you from obtaining it?"

"Tell me," replied Faria, "what has hindered you from knocking down your jailer with a piece of wood torn from your bedstead, dressing yourself in his clothes, and endeavoring to escape?"

"Simply the fact that the idea never occurred to me," answered Dantes.

"Because," said the old man, "the natural repugnance to the commission of such a crime prevented you from thinking of it; and so it ever is because in simple and allowable things our natural instincts keep us from deviating from the strict line of duty. The tiger, whose nature teaches him to delight in shedding blood, needs but the sense of smell to show him when his prey is within his reach, and by following this instinct he is enabled to measure the leap necessary to permit him to spring on his victim; but man, on the contrary, loathes the idea of blood—it is not alone that the laws of social life inspire him with a shrinking dread of taking life; his natural construction and physiological formation"—

Dantes was confused and silent at this explanation of the thoughts which had unconsciously been working in his mind, or rather soul; for there are two distinct sorts of ideas, those that proceed from the head and those that emanate from the heart.

"Since my imprisonment," said Faria, "I have thought over all the most celebrated cases of escape on record. They have rarely been successful. Those that have been crowned with full success have been long meditated upon, and carefully arranged; such, for instance, as the escape of the Duc de Beaufort from the Chateau de Vincennes, that of the Abbe Dubuquoi from For l'Eveque; of Latude from the Bastille. Then there are those for which chance sometimes affords opportunity, and those are the best of all. Let us, therefore, wait patiently for some favorable moment, and when it presents itself, profit by it."

"Ah," said Dantes, "you might well endure the tedious delay; you were constantly employed in the task you set yourself, and when weary with toil, you had your hopes to refresh and encourage you."

"I assure you," replied the old man, "I did not turn to that source for recreation or support."

"What did you do then?"

"I wrote or studied."

"Were you then permitted the use of pens, ink, and paper?"

"Oh, no," answered the abbe; "I had none but what I made for myself."

"You made paper, pens and ink?"

"Yes."

Dantes gazed with admiration, but he had some difficulty in believing. Faria saw this.

"When you pay me a visit in my cell, my young friend," said he, "I will show you an entire work, the fruits of the thoughts and reflections of my whole life; many of them meditated over in the shades of the Colosseum at Rome, at the foot of St. Mark's column at Venice, and on the borders of the Arno at Florence, little imagining at the time that they would be arranged in order within the walls of the Chateau d'If. The work I speak of is called 'A Treatise on the Possibility of a General Monarchy in Italy,' and will make one large quarto volume."

"And on what have you written all this?"

"On two of my shirts. I invented a preparation that makes linen as smooth and as easy to write on as parchment."

"You are, then, a chemist?"

"Somewhat; I know Lavoisier, and was the intimate friend of Cabanis."

"But for such a work you must have needed books—had you any?"

"I had nearly five thousand volumes in my library at Rome; but after reading them over many times, I found out that with one hundred and fifty well-chosen books a man possesses, if not a complete summary of all human knowledge, at least all that a man need really know. I devoted three years of my life to reading and studying these one hundred and fifty volumes, till I knew them nearly by heart; so that since I have been in prison, a very slight effort of memory has enabled me to recall their contents as readily as though the pages were open before me. I could recite you the whole of Thucydides, Xenophon, Plutarch, Titus Livius, Tacitus, Strada, Jornandes, Dante, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Spinoza, Machiavelli, and Bossuet. I name only the most important."

"You are, doubtless, acquainted with a variety of languages, so as to have been able to read all these?"

"Yes, I speak five of the modern tongues—that is to say, German, French, Italian, English, and Spanish; by the aid of ancient Greek I learned modern Greek—I don't speak it so well as I could wish, but I am still trying to improve myself."

"Improve yourself!" repeated Dantes; "why, how can you manage to do so?"

"Why, I made a vocabulary of the words I knew; turned, returned, and arranged them, so as to enable me to express my thoughts through their medium. I know nearly one thousand words, which is all that is absolutely necessary, although I believe there are nearly one hundred thousand in the dictionaries. I cannot hope to be very fluent, but I certainly should have no difficulty in explaining my wants and wishes; and that would be quite as much as I should ever require."

Stronger grew the wonder of Dantes, who almost fancied he had to do with one gifted with supernatural powers; still hoping to find some imperfection which might bring him down to a level with human beings, he added, "Then if you were not furnished with pens, how did you manage to write the work you speak of?"

"I made myself some excellent ones, which would be universally preferred to all others if once known. You are aware what huge whitings are served to us on maigre days. Well, I selected the cartilages of the heads of these fishes, and you can scarcely imagine the delight with which I welcomed the arrival of each Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, as affording me the means of increasing my stock of pens; for I will freely confess that my historical labors have been my greatest solace and relief. While retracing the past, I forget the present; and traversing at will the path of history I cease to remember that I am myself a prisoner."

"But the ink," said Dantes; "of what did you make your ink?"

"There was formerly a fireplace in my dungeon," replied Faria, "but it was closed up long ere I became an occupant of this prison. Still, it must have been many years in use, for it was thickly covered with a coating of soot; this soot I dissolved in a portion of the wine brought to me every Sunday, and I assure you a better ink cannot be desired. For very important notes, for which closer attention is required, I pricked one of my fingers, and wrote with my own blood."

"And when," asked Dantes, "may I see all this?"

"Whenever you please," replied the abbe.

"Oh, then let it be directly!" exclaimed the young man.

"Follow me, then," said the abbe, as he re-entered the subterranean passage, in which he soon disappeared, followed by Dantes.

 

第十六章 一位意大利学者

唐太斯用热烈的拥抱来迎接他这位渴望已久的朋友,然后把他拉到窗口,以便借着从铁栅栏间透进来的微弱的光线把他整个人看得清楚些。这个人身材瘦小,头发已经灰白,那大概是受苦和忧虑的结果而不是由于年龄的原因,眼睛深陷有神,几乎被那灰色的眉毛所掩没了,一把又长又黑的胡子一直垂到胸前。他那神色疲惫的脸上刻满了忧虑的皱纹,再加上他那个性坚毅的轮廓,一望便知他是一个惯于劳心而少劳力的人。他的额头正淌着大滴的汗珠。他的衣服已破碎成了片,披在身上,已看不出它们原来的样子了。

他看上去六十岁到六十五岁之间,但他行动上倒挺利索,这说明由于长期囚禁的结果使他显得比实际年龄老一些。他那变得冷漠了的心境似乎又变得温暖激奋起来。他很诚意地感谢这样亲热的欢迎,尽管他有些失望,因为他原来以为可获得自由,而现在却只是进入了另外一间地牢。

“我们来看看,”他说,“我进来的痕迹能不能想法去掉。我们要严守秘密,千万不能让狱卒知道。”他走向洞口,弯下身子,轻而易举地把那块大石头拿了起来。然后,又把它塞回原位说:“你挖这块石头的时候太不小心了,我想你大概是没有工具作帮手吧。”

“工具?”唐太斯吃惊地问道,“难道你有工具吗?”

“我自己做了几样,除了少一把锉刀以外其余必要的我都有了,我有凿子,钳子和锤子。”

“噢,我很想看看你凭耐心和巧手做出来的这些东西!”

“好吧,这是我的凿子。”说着,他拿出一片尖利结实的铁块,上面有一块木棒做的柄。

“你是怎么做成的?”唐太斯问。

“用我床上的一根铁楔子做的。我就是用这个工具挖通了到这儿来的路,至少有五十尺的距离。”

“五十尺!”唐太斯惊叫了一声。

“小声点儿,小伙子,说话轻点儿!在这种国家监狱里,是常常有人站在牢房门外偷听犯人的谈话。”

“但他们知道我是一个人。”

“那也一样。”

“你说你挖了五十尺才挖到这儿吗?”

“不错,那差不多就是你我两个房间之间的距离。可惜我没有把转弯弄对,我因为缺少必要的几何量具来计算我的比例图,本来只要挖一条四十尺长的弧线就行了,我却挖了五十尺。我已经告诉过你,我本来是想挖到外墙,挖穿它,然后跳进海里去的,但是,我却顺着你房间对面的走廊挖,没有挖到底下去。我的一切努力白费了。因为这条走廊是通到院子里的,而院子里到处都是兵。”

“不错。”唐太斯说,“但你所说的走廊只占我房间的一面,还有另外三面呢。那三面方位你清楚吗?”

“这一面是用实心的岩石筑成的,得有十个经验丰富的矿工,带着所需要的各种工具,再花许多年的功夫才能挖穿它。

另外这一面和监狱长住处的下部相联,假如我们挖过去,只钻进一间锁了门的地牢里,在那儿又会被人捉住的。你这间地牢的第四面,也就是最后一面是通向——等一下,它是通向哪儿的呢?”

引起好奇心的这一面有透进光线的窗洞,这个窗洞向外渐渐缩小,开口的地方连一个小孩都钻不过去,上面还装着三条铁栅,所以连最多疑的狱卒也尽可以放心,知道犯人是绝不可能从这个地方逃跑的。新来者一面说着,一面把桌子拖到窗口底下。“爬上去。”他对唐太斯说。

年轻人顺从地爬上桌子,他已猜到了他同伴的意图,就将背牢牢地贴住墙壁,伸出双手。唐太斯到目前为止只知道这个人的牢房号码,从他外表来看绝想不到他竟会这样敏捷,他一跳就跳了上来,象一只猫或一条蜥蜴那样敏捷的从桌子爬到唐太斯伸出的手上,又从手上爬到他的肩头上,然后,弯下腰,由于地牢的房顶使他无法伸直身子,所以他勉强把头从窗洞的栅栏间塞了出去,以便从上到下看个仔细。

一会儿以后,他赶紧缩回头说道:“我早料到会是如此!”

凭着象刚才上去那样灵巧地从唐太斯的肩上溜了下来,敏捷地从桌上跳到地面上。

“你早料到了什么?”年青人用焦急的口吻问道,他也从桌子上跳了下来。

老犯人沉思了一下。“是的,”他终于说,“是这样的。你房间的这一面的外边是一条露天走廊,不断地有巡逻兵在那儿踱来踱去,而且日夜还有哨兵把守着。”

“你看清楚了吗?”

“当然。我看到了一个哨兵的军帽和毛瑟枪的枪管,所以我才赶紧地把头缩回来,我怕他会看见我。”

“怎么办呢?”唐太斯问。

“现在你该知道了要想从你的地牢里逃出去是绝对不可能的了吧?”

“那么,”年青人用疑问的口吻追问道。

“那么?”老犯人答道,“上帝的意志是应该服从的!”当老人慢慢地吐出这些字的时候,一种听天由命的神情渐渐显示在他阴云密布的脸上。这个人酝酿了这么久的希望,现在就这样一下子放弃了,唐太斯望着他,既惊讶又钦佩。

“请告诉我,我求求你,你是什么人?”他终于说。

“好吧,”那人回答说,“如果你对我还存有好奇心,我可以告诉你,反正现在我已无力帮助你了。”

“你可以安慰我,鼓励我,因为依我看,你是强者中的强者。”

怪客凄然微笑了一下。“那么听着,”他说,“我是法利亚神甫,是在一八一一年关到伊夫堡来的。在这以前,我曾在费尼斯德坦克堡被关过三年。一八一一年,我从皮埃蒙特被转押到了法国。在那个时候,拿破仑似乎万事如意,甚至把他那个还在摇篮里的儿子封做了罗马国王。我万没想到竟会发生你刚才告诉我的那个转变。想不到四年以后,这个庞大的帝国竟会被人推翻。那么法国现在由谁统治呢,拿破仑二世吗?”

“不,是路易十八。”

“路易十六的兄弟!天意真太难测了!究竟是因为什么苍天要贬黜一个显赫有名的人,去抬举一个软弱无能的人呢?”

唐太斯的全部注意力都被他吸引去了,这个人多么奇怪,他竟忘记了自己的不幸,而关心起别人的命运来了。

“是啊,英国也是这样的,”他继续说道,“查理一世以后,来了克伦威尔,克伦威尔之后是查理二世,然后是詹姆士二世,詹姆士二世的继承人是他的一个外甥,一个亲戚,一个什么爱尔兰亲王,一个自任为国王的总督,对人民作了一些新的让步,订立一部宪法,然后自由来了!你会看到的,小伙子,”他转向唐太斯,以一种预言家的所有的兴奋的眼光凝视着他说,“你还年轻,你会看到的。”

“是的,假如我能出狱的话!”

“不错,”法利亚答道,“我们是犯人,但有时候常常忘记了这一点,甚至有些时候,当我头脑里的想象把我带到这座监狱外的时候,我真以为自己已经获得了自由了呢。”

“你怎么会到这儿来的?”

“一八○七年,我想出了那个拿破仑在一八一一年实现的计划。因为,象马基维里一样,我也希望改变意大利的政治局面,我不愿意看着它分裂成许多个小王国,每一个小王国有一个无能的或残暴的统治者。我想把它建成一个伟大的,团结的,强有力的帝国。最后,由于我把一个头戴王冠的傻瓜错当成我的凯撒布琪亚,他假装采纳了我的意见,但实际上却出卖了我。亚历山大六世和克力门七世也曾有过这种计划,但现在是绝不会成功的了,因为他们轻视这种计划,认为它不会有好结果,而拿破仑不能实现。意大利似乎命中注定要倒霉的。”老人说最后这几个字时的语气极其沮丧,他的头无力地垂到胸前。

在唐太斯听来,这一切都是无法理解的,他不懂一个人怎么能为这种事甘冒生命的危险。不错,他知道一点拿破仑,因为他曾见过他,并和他讲过话,但克力门七世和亚历山大六世,他听都没听过。

“你是不是就是那位有病的神甫?”唐太斯说,他开始有点相信狱卒的话了,这也是伊夫堡普通的看法。——“你是想说他们叫我疯子,对不对?”

“我不敢那么说。”唐太斯微笑着回答。

“好吧,那么,”法利亚带着苦笑重新接着说,“让我来回答你这个问题吧,我承认我是伊夫堡那个普通人认为的疯犯人。

很多年来,他们都把我当作笑料,指给来参观监狱的来宾看,说我如何如何地疯狂,假如在这个暗无天日的地方有孩子们来的话。还极可能再抬举我一下,叫我耍把戏给孩子们看。”

唐太斯默默无言地呆立了许久。最后,他终于说,“那么你完全放弃逃走的希望了吗?”

“逃走已是不可能的了,而且我认为,硬要去尝试那万能的上帝显然不许的事未免太违抗上帝了。”

“不,不要泄气。你第一次尝试就希望成功,那未免期望太高我吗?为什么不再试试看,在另一个方向找一个出口呢?”

“你把重新开始说得这么轻松,你知不知道我以前是怎么做的?首先,我花了四年的功夫来制做我现在所有的这些工具,然后又花了两年的功夫来挖掘那象花岗石一样坚硬的泥土,然后我又得搬开那些我曾认为连摇都摇不动的大石头。我整天都做着这种非人力所及的工作,如果到晚上我能挖下一寸见方这种坚实的水泥,就认为自己是很不错的了。你知道,这种水泥,由于年代已久,简直如同石头一般难挖。然后,我又得把挖出来的大量泥土灰沙藏起来,我不得不掘通一条楼梯,把它们扔到楼梯底下的空隙里。那个地方现在已经完全塞满了,如果再投一把泥土进去,一定会被人发觉的。你再想想看,我本来完全相信我已经实现了我的目标,达到了我的目的了,为了这项工作,我曾尽了我的全力,而正当我算来已经成功了的时候,希望却永远地离开了。不,我再说一遍,想叫我重新再试,那显然是违背天意的,是决不可能的了。”

唐太斯低下头,他对于这个计划的失败并不感到怎么遗憾,他不愿意让他的同伴看到他脸上的这种表情。说老实话,这个年青人的心里现在只有高兴儿,因为他发觉自己已不再孤独了,不再冷清了。

神甫就势倒在爱德蒙的床上休息,而爱德蒙仍然站着。他以前从未想过要逃走。有些事情看来实在是不可能的,以致他的脑子里从没有过那种念头。在地底下挖一条五十尺的地道,用三年的时间来干这项工作,即使成功了,也不过是把自己带到了海边的一块悬崖边上,从五十尺,六十尺,或许一百尺的高处向下跳,冒着在岩石摔得粉身碎骨的危险,即使哨兵的子弹没打死你,你逃过了一切危险,也还得再游三里路的海面,这一切在唐太斯看来实在是太艰难了,这种计划他甚至连做梦都没有想到过,他只是听天由命。但现在他看到一个老人竟这样大胆不怕死的在寻求活路,他也就有了一个新的希望,勇气和精力也被激励起来。已经有别人尝试过他希望连想都没有想过的事,而那个人,还不如他年轻,不如他强壮,也不如他这样灵敏,却凭着耐心和技巧给自己配备了做那桩惊人的工作所必需的一切工具,只是由于计算上的一个失误而变成了一场空。那个人既然做到了这一切,那么,唐太斯就没有什么做不到的事了!法利亚从他的牢房里掘通了五十尺地道,唐太斯则决心掘通两倍于那个距离。年已五十的法利亚,用了三年的时间的时光致力于工作,还没有前者一半年龄的他,却虚度了六年的时光。做教士和哲学家的法利亚,甘愿冒生命危险去游过三哩路然后登上大魔岛,兰顿纽岛,或黎玛岛,难道象他这样一个身强力壮的水手,一个经验丰富的潜泳者,竟做不到这一点吗?难道象他这样的常常只为了好玩而潜到海底去采珊瑚的人,还会迟疑去游那三里路吗?三里路他在一小时内就可以游到,从前,纯碎是为了消遣,他曾多次在水里游过两倍于那么长的距离!唐太斯下决心以这位大无畏的同伴为榜样,并牢牢地记住,曾做成过一次的事,是可以再一次做到的。

年轻人继续沉思默想了片刻,说道,“我想出你所寻求的办法了!”

法利亚吃了一惊。“真的吗?”他赶紧抬起头来说道,“请告诉我你发现了什么?”

“你从你住的地牢挖过来的这条通道,是不是和外面这条走廊是同一个方向?”

“是呀。”

“而走廊离你的地道不过十五步左右?”

“最多也不过如此。”

“那好吧,我来告诉你我们该怎么做吧。我们必须在地道的中间处开一条丁字形的路。这一次你测量得准确一些。我们可以挖到你讲过的那条走廊边上,杀死看守走廊的哨兵,就此逃走。要保证成功,我们只需要勇气,这个你不缺,还要力气,这个我也有,至于说耐心,你已经够多的了,现在就瞧我的吧。”

“等一下,我亲爱的朋友,”神甫答道,“你显然还不了解我有的是什么样的勇气,打算把力气用在何处,说到忍耐,我那样夜以继日的工作,倒也够耐心的了,不过,小伙子,请听我说,那时,我觉得一个无辜的人,不该受罪的人归于自由是不会使万能的主不高兴的。”

“难道你观念改变了吗?”唐太斯问,“难道在遇见我以后你认为自己是有罪的了吗?”

“不,但我不希望变成个罪人。到目前为止,我始终以为是在同环境作战,但现在你却提出一个同人作战的计划。我能够挖通一堵墙,或拆毁一座楼梯,但我不愿意去刺穿一个人的胸膛,或毁掉一个生命。”

唐太斯微微露出一点惊异之色。“当前面就是你有自由的时候,”他说,“你就为了那样的一个理由而踌躇不前吗?”

“请告诉我,”法利亚答道,“有谁阻止过你拆一根床腿下来,打倒你的狱卒,穿上他的衣服,然后设法逃走?”

“只是因为我从没想到过这样一个计划罢啦!”唐太斯回答说。

“那是因为,”老人说,“上帝不允许人犯这样的罪,所以阻止了这个想法钻入你的脑子里。凡是一切简单易行的事,我们天生的本能自会阻止我们偏离正道。譬如说老虎吧,它本性嗜血,所以只要用鼻子一嗅,就可以知道它的牺牲品已经进了它的范围了,于是,它扑向牺牲品的身上,把它撕得粉碎。那就是它的本能,它在按本能行事。但人却正相反,人是怕见血的。谋杀不但为社会的法律所不容而且也是自然的法则所不容的。”

唐太斯默默无言的听着这一番话,觉得有点不知如何是好了,因为这种想法一向活跃在他的脑子里,或者,说得准确些,曾活跃在他的心里,因为有些想法是脑海中想出来的,而有些想法则是从心里流露出来的。

“自从我入狱以来,”法利亚说,“我把所有的那些有名的越狱案都在我脑子里想过了。那些最终成功的人,都经过了长期的计划和小心安排的,举些例子来说,如波福公爵之逃出万森堡,杜布古神甫之逃出伊微克堡,拉都特之逃出巴士底监狱。但存心想逃脱而最后成功的例子却是很少的。机会常常会出其不意地到来,那是我们始料不到的。所以,让我们耐心地等待一个有利的时机吧,相信时遇吧,你将来会知道,我抓时机是不会比你差的。”

“唉!”唐太斯说,“你大概很善于等待。这次长期的工作使你每时每刻都有事儿做了,而当你无事可做的时候,你还有希望,可以使你重新振作起来。”

“我老实跟你说吧,”老人答道,“我不是单靠这个的。”

“那么你还做些什么呢?”

“我写作,或者从事研究。”

“那么他们给了你笔,墨水和纸吗?”

“噢,不!”神甫回答说,他们没给我,是我自己制做的。

唐太斯惊呼道:“你自己做的纸,笔和墨水?”

“是的。”

唐太斯钦佩地望着他。但他的脑子里仍然有些疑惑,神甫的慧眼一下子就看了出来。

“等你到我的地牢里去的时候,”他说,“我可以给你看一篇已完成了的文章,那是我反省自己的一生的心血的结晶,那是在罗马竞技场的废墟里,在威尼斯圣马克古宫的圆柱脚下,在狱卒会让我在伊夫堡的牢墙之内有时间把它们写出来。我说的那篇文章的题目叫做《论建立意大利统一王国》,印出来可以成为一册四开本的大书。”

“您把这些文章写在了什么东西上面?”

写在了我的两件衬衣上。我发明了一种药剂,可以使得在布片上写字就象在羊皮纸上写一样光滑流利。”

“那么说,你还是一位化学家?”

“勉强算是吧,我认识拉瓦锡,也是卡巴尼斯的好朋友。”

“但是写这样的巨著,你一定需要一些书作参考,你有书吗?”

“在我罗马的书房里,有将近有五千本书。但把它们读过了许多遍以后我发觉,一个人只要有一百五十本精选过的书,就如同掌握了人类一切知识,至少是够用的了或者该知道的都知道了。我用一生中三年的时间来致力于研究这一百五十本书,直到我把它们完全记在心里为止。所以入狱以后,我只要略微回忆一下,就可以清楚记起它们的内容,就象把书本摊开在我面前一样。我可以把休昔的底斯,萨诺芬,普罗塔克,塔都司李浮斯,塔西佗,史德拉达,约南特斯,但丁,蒙田,莎士比亚,斯宾诺莎,马基维里和布苏亚的书全部背给你听。我在这里仅仅只举出了几个最有名的作家。”

“那么,你一定懂好几种语言了?”

“是的,我可以讲五种近代语言,德语,法语,意大利语,英语和西班牙语。我还依据古希腊文学会了现代希腊语,我虽不能说得非常流利,但我现在还在不断地研究它呢。”

“你在研究?”

“是的,我把我所掌握的字组成了一套词汇,把它们不断地重新组合,所以我已经能用它们来表达我的思想了。我大约认得有将近一千个字,那一千个字是绝对必须的,尽管我也知道字典里有将近有十万个字。我无法希望说得非常流利,但我能够让人听懂的意思,也就够了。”

唐太斯愈来愈觉得奇怪了,他觉得眼前这个人具有超凡的能力。可是,他还是希望能发现他的某种缺陷,于是他说:“假如你没有笔,你怎么能把你所说的那本巨著写出来呢?”

“我自己制造了几支绝妙的笔,这个办法如果一旦流传出去,大家一定很乐于照着去做的。你知道,我们每逢斋戒日都可以吃到鱼的。我就选用了这种鱼头部的几条软骨,你简直想象不到每到星期三,星期五和星期六我是多么的高兴,多么的欢迎它的到来,来更多的为我提供做笔的材料,因为我坦白地承认,我的这本历史著作是我最大的安慰,当我追述过去的时候,我就忘掉了现在。当我自由自在地在历史里驰骋的时候,我就暂时忘记了自己是个犯人。”

“墨水呢?”唐太斯问,“你又是怎么弄到那个的呢?”

“告诉你,”法利亚答道。“我的地牢里从前原有一个壁炉,在我住进来以前,早就已经不用了。可是,它一定用过许多年,因为它上面履盖着厚厚的一层煤烟,我把这种煤烟溶解在每星期天给我拿来的酒里,我可以向你担保,你再别想找到一种更好的墨水了。至于极其重要的记录,想引起特别注意的,我就刺破一只手指,用我的血来写。”

“你什么时候可以把这些东西拿给我看看?”唐太斯问。

“随便你什么时候都行,”神甫答道。

“噢,那么立刻给我看吧!”青年恳求道。

“那就跟我来吧。”神甫说着就重新钻进了地道里,一会儿就不见了。唐太斯跟着他钻了进去。




Chapter 17. The Abbe's Chamber.

After having passed with tolerable ease through the subterranean passage, which, however, did not admit of their holding themselves erect, the two friends reached the further end of the corridor, into which the abbe's cell opened; from that point the passage became much narrower, and barely permitted one to creep through on hands and knees. The floor of the abbe's cell was paved, and it had been by raising one of the stones in the most obscure corner that Faria had to been able to commence the laborious task of which Dantes had witnessed the completion.

As he entered the chamber of his friend, Dantes cast around one eager and searching glance in quest of the expected marvels, but nothing more than common met his view.

"It is well," said the abbe; "we have some hours before us—it is now just a quarter past twelve o'clock." Instinctively Dantes turned round to observe by what watch or clock the abbe had been able so accurately to specify the hour.

"Look at this ray of light which enters by my window," said the abbe, "and then observe the lines traced on the wall. Well, by means of these lines, which are in accordance with the double motion of the earth, and the ellipse it describes round the sun, I am enabled to ascertain the precise hour with more minuteness than if I possessed a watch; for that might be broken or deranged in its movements, while the sun and earth never vary in their appointed paths."

This last explanation was wholly lost upon Dantes, who had always imagined, from seeing the sun rise from behind the mountains and set in the Mediterranean, that it moved, and not the earth. A double movement of the globe he inhabited, and of which he could feel nothing, appeared to him perfectly impossible. Each word that fell from his companion's lips seemed fraught with the mysteries of science, as worthy of digging out as the gold and diamonds in the mines of Guzerat and Golconda, which he could just recollect having visited during a voyage made in his earliest youth.

"Come," said he to the abbe, "I am anxious to see your treasures."

The abbe smiled, and, proceeding to the disused fireplace, raised, by the help of his chisel, a long stone, which had doubtless been the hearth, beneath which was a cavity of considerable depth, serving as a safe depository of the articles mentioned to Dantes.

"What do you wish to see first?" asked the abbe.

"Oh, your great work on the monarchy of Italy!"

Faria then drew forth from his hiding-place three or four rolls of linen, laid one over the other, like folds of papyrus. These rolls consisted of slips of cloth about four inches wide and eighteen long; they were all carefully numbered and closely covered with writing, so legible that Dantes could easily read it, as well as make out the sense—it being in Italian, a language he, as a Provencal, perfectly understood.

"There," said he, "there is the work complete. I wrote the word finis at the end of the sixty-eighth strip about a week ago. I have torn up two of my shirts, and as many handkerchiefs as I was master of, to complete the precious pages. Should I ever get out of prison and find in all Italy a printer courageous enough to publish what I have composed, my literary reputation is forever secured."

"I see," answered Dantes. "Now let me behold the curious pens with which you have written your work."

"Look!" said Faria, showing to the young man a slender stick about six inches long, and much resembling the size of the handle of a fine painting-brush, to the end of which was tied, by a piece of thread, one of those cartilages of which the abbe had before spoken to Dantes; it was pointed, and divided at the nib like an ordinary pen. Dantes examined it with intense admiration, then looked around to see the instrument with which it had been shaped so correctly into form.

"Ah, yes," said Faria; "the penknife. That's my masterpiece. I made it, as well as this larger knife, out of an old iron candlestick." The penknife was sharp and keen as a razor; as for the other knife, it would serve a double purpose, and with it one could cut and thrust.

Dantes examined the various articles shown to him with the same attention that he had bestowed on the curiosities and strange tools exhibited in the shops at Marseilles as the works of the savages in the South Seas from whence they had been brought by the different trading vessels.

"As for the ink," said Faria, "I told you how I managed to obtain that—and I only just make it from time to time, as I require it."

"One thing still puzzles me," observed Dantes, "and that is how you managed to do all this by daylight?"

"I worked at night also," replied Faria.

"Night!—why, for heaven's sake, are your eyes like cats', that you can see to work in the dark?"

"Indeed they are not; but God has supplied man with the intelligence that enables him to overcome the limitations of natural conditions. I furnished myself with a light."

"You did? Pray tell me how."

"I separated the fat from the meat served to me, melted it, and so made oil—here is my lamp." So saying, the abbe exhibited a sort of torch very similar to those used in public illuminations.

"But light?"

"Here are two flints and a piece of burnt linen."

"And matches?"

"I pretended that I had a disorder of the skin, and asked for a little sulphur, which was readily supplied." Dantes laid the different things he had been looking at on the table, and stood with his head drooping on his breast, as though overwhelmed by the perseverance and strength of Faria's mind.

"You have not seen all yet," continued Faria, "for I did not think it wise to trust all my treasures in the same hiding-place. Let us shut this one up." They put the stone back in its place; the abbe sprinkled a little dust over it to conceal the traces of its having been removed, rubbed his foot well on it to make it assume the same appearance as the other, and then, going towards his bed, he removed it from the spot it stood in. Behind the head of the bed, and concealed by a stone fitting in so closely as to defy all suspicion, was a hollow space, and in this space a ladder of cords between twenty-five and thirty feet in length. Dantes closely and eagerly examined it; he found it firm, solid, and compact enough to bear any weight.

"Who supplied you with the materials for making this wonderful work?"

"I tore up several of my shirts, and ripped out the seams in the sheets of my bed, during my three years' imprisonment at Fenestrelle; and when I was removed to the Chateau d'If, I managed to bring the ravellings with me, so that I have been able to finish my work here."

"And was it not discovered that your sheets were unhemmed?"

"Oh, no, for when I had taken out the thread I required, I hemmed the edges over again."

"With what?"

"With this needle," said the abbe, as, opening his ragged vestments, he showed Dantes a long, sharp fish-bone, with a small perforated eye for the thread, a small portion of which still remained in it. "I once thought," continued Faria, "of removing these iron bars, and letting myself down from the window, which, as you see, is somewhat wider than yours, although I should have enlarged it still more preparatory to my flight; however, I discovered that I should merely have dropped into a sort of inner court, and I therefore renounced the project altogether as too full of risk and danger. Nevertheless, I carefully preserved my ladder against one of those unforeseen opportunities of which I spoke just now, and which sudden chance frequently brings about." While affecting to be deeply engaged in examining the ladder, the mind of Dantes was, in fact, busily occupied by the idea that a person so intelligent, ingenious, and clear-sighted as the abbe might probably be able to solve the dark mystery of his own misfortunes, where he himself could see nothing.

"What are you thinking of?" asked the abbe smilingly, imputing the deep abstraction in which his visitor was plunged to the excess of his awe and wonder.

"I was reflecting, in the first place," replied Dantes, "upon the enormous degree of intelligence and ability you must have employed to reach the high perfection to which you have attained. What would you not have accomplished if you had been free?"

"Possibly nothing at all; the overflow of my brain would probably, in a state of freedom, have evaporated in a thousand follies; misfortune is needed to bring to light the treasures of the human intellect. Compression is needed to explode gunpowder. Captivity has brought my mental faculties to a focus; and you are well aware that from the collision of clouds electricity is produced—from electricity, lightning, from lightning, illumination."

"No," replied Dantes. "I know nothing. Some of your words are to me quite empty of meaning. You must be blessed indeed to possess the knowledge you have."

The abbe smiled. "Well," said he, "but you had another subject for your thoughts; did you not say so just now?"

"I did!"

"You have told me as yet but one of them—let me hear the other."

"It was this,—that while you had related to me all the particulars of your past life, you were perfectly unacquainted with mine."

"Your life, my young friend, has not been of sufficient length to admit of your having passed through any very important events."

"It has been long enough to inflict on me a great and undeserved misfortune. I would fain fix the source of it on man that I may no longer vent reproaches upon heaven."

"Then you profess ignorance of the crime with which you are charged?"

"I do, indeed; and this I swear by the two beings most dear to me upon earth,—my father and Mercedes."

"Come," said the abbe, closing his hiding-place, and pushing the bed back to its original situation, "let me hear your story."

Dantes obeyed, and commenced what he called his history, but which consisted only of the account of a voyage to India, and two or three voyages to the Levant until he arrived at the recital of his last cruise, with the death of Captain Leclere, and the receipt of a packet to be delivered by himself to the grand marshal; his interview with that personage, and his receiving, in place of the packet brought, a letter addressed to a Monsieur Noirtier—his arrival at Marseilles, and interview with his father—his affection for Mercedes, and their nuptual feast—his arrest and subsequent examination, his temporary detention at the Palais de Justice, and his final imprisonment in the Chateau d'If. From this point everything was a blank to Dantes—he knew nothing more, not even the length of time he had been imprisoned. His recital finished, the abbe reflected long and earnestly.

"There is," said he, at the end of his meditations, "a clever maxim, which bears upon what I was saying to you some little while ago, and that is, that unless wicked ideas take root in a naturally depraved mind, human nature, in a right and wholesome state, revolts at crime. Still, from an artificial civilization have originated wants, vices, and false tastes, which occasionally become so powerful as to stifle within us all good feelings, and ultimately to lead us into guilt and wickedness. From this view of things, then, comes the axiom that if you visit to discover the author of any bad action, seek first to discover the person to whom the perpetration of that bad action could be in any way advantageous. Now, to apply it in your case,—to whom could your disappearance have been serviceable?"

"To no one, by heaven! I was a very insignificant person."

"Do not speak thus, for your reply evinces neither logic nor philosophy; everything is relative, my dear young friend, from the king who stands in the way of his successor, to the employee who keeps his rival out of a place. Now, in the event of the king's death, his successor inherits a crown,—when the employee dies, the supernumerary steps into his shoes, and receives his salary of twelve thousand livres. Well, these twelve thousand livres are his civil list, and are as essential to him as the twelve millions of a king. Every one, from the highest to the lowest degree, has his place on the social ladder, and is beset by stormy passions and conflicting interests, as in Descartes' theory of pressure and impulsion. But these forces increase as we go higher, so that we have a spiral which in defiance of reason rests upon the apex and not on the base. Now let us return to your particular world. You say you were on the point of being made captain of the Pharaon?"

"Yes."

"And about to become the husband of a young and lovely girl?"

"Yes."

"Now, could any one have had any interest in preventing the accomplishment of these two things? But let us first settle the question as to its being the interest of any one to hinder you from being captain of the Pharaon. What say you?"

"I cannot believe such was the case. I was generally liked on board, and had the sailors possessed the right of selecting a captain themselves, I feel convinced their choice would have fallen on me. There was only one person among the crew who had any feeling of ill-will towards me. I had quarelled with him some time previously, and had even challenged him to fight me; but he refused."

"Now we are getting on. And what was this man's name?"

"Danglars."

"What rank did he hold on board?"

"He was supercargo."

"And had you been captain, should you have retained him in his employment?"

"Not if the choice had remained with me, for I had frequently observed inaccuracies in his accounts."

"Good again! Now then, tell me, was any person present during your last conversation with Captain Leclere?"

"No; we were quite alone."

"Could your conversation have been overheard by any one?"

"It might, for the cabin door was open—and—stay; now I recollect,—Danglars himself passed by just as Captain Leclere was giving me the packet for the grand marshal."

"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?"

"Nobody."

"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?"

"No."

"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?"

"Yes."

"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"—

"What?"

"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"—

"Fernand."

"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"—

"What?"

"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?"

"Yes."

"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."

"Noirtier!" repeated the abbe; "Noirtier!—I knew a person of that name at the court of the Queen of Etruria,—a Noirtier, who had been a Girondin during the Revolution! What was your deputy called?"

"De Villefort!" The abbe burst into a fit of laughter, while Dantes gazed on him in utter astonishment.

"What ails you?" said he at length.

"Do you see that ray of sunlight?"

"I do."

"Well, the whole thing is more clear to me than that sunbeam is to you. Poor fellow! poor young man! And you tell me this magistrate expressed great sympathy and commiseration for you?"

"He did."

"And the worthy man destroyed your compromising letter?"

"Yes."

"And then made you swear never to utter the name of Noirtier?"

"Yes."

"Why, you poor short-sighted simpleton, can you not guess who this Noirtier was, whose very name he was so careful to keep concealed? Noirtier was his father."

Had a thunderbolt fallen at the feet of Dantes, or hell opened its yawning gulf before him, he could not have been more completely transfixed with horror than he was at the sound of these unexpected words. Starting up, he clasped his hands around his head as though to prevent his very brain from bursting, and exclaimed, "His father! his father!"

"Yes, his father," replied the abbe; "his right name was Noirtier de Villefort." At this instant a bright light shot through the mind of Dantes, and cleared up all that had been dark and obscure before. The change that had come over Villefort during the examination, the destruction of the letter, the exacted promise, the almost supplicating tones of the magistrate, who seemed rather to implore mercy than to pronounce punishment,—all returned with a stunning force to his memory. He cried out, and staggered against the wall like a drunken man, then he hurried to the opening that led from the abbe's cell to his own, and said, "I must be alone, to think over all this."

When he regained his dungeon, he threw himself on his bed, where the turnkey found him in the evening visit, sitting with fixed gaze and contracted features, dumb and motionless as a statue. During these hours of profound meditation, which to him had seemed only minutes, he had formed a fearful resolution, and bound himself to its fulfilment by a solemn oath.

Dantes was at length roused from his revery by the voice of Faria, who, having also been visited by his jailer, had come to invite his fellow-sufferer to share his supper. The reputation of being out of his mind, though harmlessly and even amusingly so, had procured for the abbe unusual privileges. He was supplied with bread of a finer, whiter quality than the usual prison fare, and even regaled each Sunday with a small quantity of wine. Now this was a Sunday, and the abbe had come to ask his young companion to share the luxuries with him. Dantes followed; his features were no longer contracted, and now wore their usual expression, but there was that in his whole appearance that bespoke one who had come to a fixed and desperate resolve. Faria bent on him his penetrating eye: "I regret now," said he, "having helped you in your late inquiries, or having given you the information I did."

"Why so?" inquired Dantes.

"Because it has instilled a new passion in your heart—that of vengeance."

Dantes smiled. "Let us talk of something else," said he.

Again the abbe looked at him, then mournfully shook his head; but in accordance with Dantes' request, he began to speak of other matters. The elder prisoner was one of those persons whose conversation, like that of all who have experienced many trials, contained many useful and important hints as well as sound information; but it was never egotistical, for the unfortunate man never alluded to his own sorrows. Dantes listened with admiring attention to all he said; some of his remarks corresponded with what he already knew, or applied to the sort of knowledge his nautical life had enabled him to acquire. A part of the good abbe's words, however, were wholly incomprehensible to him; but, like the aurora which guides the navigator in northern latitudes, opened new vistas to the inquiring mind of the listener, and gave fantastic glimpses of new horizons, enabling him justly to estimate the delight an intellectual mind would have in following one so richly gifted as Faria along the heights of truth, where he was so much at home.

"You must teach me a small part of what you know," said Dantes, "if only to prevent your growing weary of me. I can well believe that so learned a person as yourself would prefer absolute solitude to being tormented with the company of one as ignorant and uninformed as myself. If you will only agree to my request, I promise you never to mention another word about escaping." The abbe smiled. "Alas, my boy," said he, "human knowledge is confined within very narrow limits; and when I have taught you mathematics, physics, history, and the three or four modern languages with which I am acquainted, you will know as much as I do myself. Now, it will scarcely require two years for me to communicate to you the stock of learning I possess."

"Two years!" exclaimed Dantes; "do you really believe I can acquire all these things in so short a time?"

"Not their application, certainly, but their principles you may; to learn is not to know; there are the learners and the learned. Memory makes the one, philosophy the other."

"But cannot one learn philosophy?"

"Philosophy cannot be taught; it is the application of the sciences to truth; it is like the golden cloud in which the Messiah went up into heaven."

"Well, then," said Dantes, "What shall you teach me first? I am in a hurry to begin. I want to learn."

"Everything," said the abbe. And that very evening the prisoners sketched a plan of education, to be entered upon the following day. Dantes possessed a prodigious memory, combined with an astonishing quickness and readiness of conception; the mathematical turn of his mind rendered him apt at all kinds of calculation, while his naturally poetical feelings threw a light and pleasing veil over the dry reality of arithmetical computation, or the rigid severity of geometry. He already knew Italian, and had also picked up a little of the Romaic dialect during voyages to the East; and by the aid of these two languages he easily comprehended the construction of all the others, so that at the end of six months he began to speak Spanish, English, and German. In strict accordance with the promise made to the abbe, Dantes spoke no more of escape. Perhaps the delight his studies afforded him left no room for such thoughts; perhaps the recollection that he had pledged his word (on which his sense of honor was keen) kept him from referring in any way to the possibilities of flight. Days, even months, passed by unheeded in one rapid and instructive course. At the end of a year Dantes was a new man. Dantes observed, however, that Faria, in spite of the relief his society afforded, daily grew sadder; one thought seemed incessantly to harass and distract his mind. Sometimes he would fall into long reveries, sigh heavily and involuntarily, then suddenly rise, and, with folded arms, begin pacing the confined space of his dungeon. One day he stopped all at once, and exclaimed, "Ah, if there were no sentinel!"

"There shall not be one a minute longer than you please," said Dantes, who had followed the working of his thoughts as accurately as though his brain were enclosed in crystal so clear as to display its minutest operations.

"I have already told you," answered the abbe, "that I loathe the idea of shedding blood."

"And yet the murder, if you choose to call it so, would be simply a measure of self-preservation."

"No matter! I could never agree to it."

"Still, you have thought of it?"

"Incessantly, alas!" cried the abbe.

"And you have discovered a means of regaining our freedom, have you not?" asked Dantes eagerly.

"I have; if it were only possible to place a deaf and blind sentinel in the gallery beyond us."

"He shall be both blind and deaf," replied the young man, with an air of determination that made his companion shudder.

"No, no," cried the abbe; "impossible!" Dantes endeavored to renew the subject; the abbe shook his head in token of disapproval, and refused to make any further response. Three months passed away.

"Are you strong?" the abbe asked one day of Dantes. The young man, in reply, took up the chisel, bent it into the form of a horseshoe, and then as readily straightened it.

"And will you engage not to do any harm to the sentry, except as a last resort?"

"I promise on my honor."

"Then," said the abbe, "we may hope to put our design into execution."

"And how long shall we be in accomplishing the necessary work?"

"At least a year."

"And shall we begin at once?"

"At once."

"We have lost a year to no purpose!" cried Dantes.

"Do you consider the last twelve months to have been wasted?" asked the abbe.

"Forgive me!" cried Edmond, blushing deeply.

"Tut, tut!" answered the abbe, "man is but man after all, and you are about the best specimen of the genus I have ever known. Come, let me show you my plan." The abbe then showed Dantes the sketch he had made for their escape. It consisted of a plan of his own cell and that of Dantes, with the passage which united them. In this passage he proposed to drive a level as they do in mines; this level would bring the two prisoners immediately beneath the gallery where the sentry kept watch; once there, a large excavation would be made, and one of the flag-stones with which the gallery was paved be so completely loosened that at the desired moment it would give way beneath the feet of the soldier, who, stunned by his fall, would be immediately bound and gagged by Dantes before he had power to offer any resistance. The prisoners were then to make their way through one of the gallery windows, and to let themselves down from the outer walls by means of the abbe's ladder of cords. Dantes' eyes sparkled with joy, and he rubbed his hands with delight at the idea of a plan so simple, yet apparently so certain to succeed.

That very day the miners began their labors, with a vigor and alacrity proportionate to their long rest from fatigue and their hopes of ultimate success. Nothing interrupted the progress of the work except the necessity that each was under of returning to his cell in anticipation of the turnkey's visits. They had learned to distinguish the almost imperceptible sound of his footsteps as he descended towards their dungeons, and happily, never failed of being prepared for his coming. The fresh earth excavated during their present work, and which would have entirely blocked up the old passage, was thrown, by degrees and with the utmost precaution, out of the window in either Faria's or Dantes' cell, the rubbish being first pulverized so finely that the night wind carried it far away without permitting the smallest trace to remain. More than a year had been consumed in this undertaking, the only tools for which had been a chisel, a knife, and a wooden lever; Faria still continuing to instruct Dantes by conversing with him, sometimes in one language, sometimes in another; at others, relating to him the history of nations and great men who from time to time have risen to fame and trodden the path of glory.

The abbe was a man of the world, and had, moreover, mixed in the first society of the day; he wore an air of melancholy dignity which Dantes, thanks to the imitative powers bestowed on him by nature, easily acquired, as well as that outward polish and politeness he had before been wanting in, and which is seldom possessed except by those who have been placed in constant intercourse with persons of high birth and breeding. At the end of fifteen months the level was finished, and the excavation completed beneath the gallery, and the two workmen could distinctly hear the measured tread of the sentinel as he paced to and fro over their heads.

Compelled, as they were, to await a night sufficiently dark to favor their flight, they were obliged to defer their final attempt till that auspicious moment should arrive; their greatest dread now was lest the stone through which the sentry was doomed to fall should give way before its right time, and this they had in some measure provided against by propping it up with a small beam which they had discovered in the walls through which they had worked their way. Dantes was occupied in arranging this piece of wood when he heard Faria, who had remained in Edmond's cell for the purpose of cutting a peg to secure their rope-ladder, call to him in a tone indicative of great suffering. Dantes hastened to his dungeon, where he found him standing in the middle of the room, pale as death, his forehead streaming with perspiration, and his hands clinched tightly together.

"Gracious heavens!" exclaimed Dantes, "what is the matter? what has happened?"

"Quick! quick!" returned the abbe, "listen to what I have to say." Dantes looked in fear and wonder at the livid countenance of Faria, whose eyes, already dull and sunken, were surrounded by purple circles, while his lips were white as those of a corpse, and his very hair seemed to stand on end.

"Tell me, I beseech you, what ails you?" cried Dantes, letting his chisel fall to the floor.

"Alas," faltered out the abbe, "all is over with me. I am seized with a terrible, perhaps mortal illness; I can feel that the paroxysm is fast approaching. I had a similar attack the year previous to my imprisonment. This malady admits but of one remedy; I will tell you what that is. Go into my cell as quickly as you can; draw out one of the feet that support the bed; you will find it has been hollowed out for the purpose of containing a small phial you will see there half-filled with a red-looking fluid. Bring it to me—or rather—no, no!—I may be found here, therefore help me back to my room while I have the strength to drag myself along. Who knows what may happen, or how long the attack may last?"

In spite of the magnitude of the misfortune which thus suddenly frustrated his hopes, Dantes did not lose his presence of mind, but descended into the passage, dragging his unfortunate companion with him; then, half-carrying, half-supporting him, he managed to reach the abbe's chamber, when he immediately laid the sufferer on his bed.

"Thanks," said the poor abbe, shivering as though his veins were filled with ice. "I am about to be seized with a fit of catalepsy; when it comes to its height I shall probably lie still and motionless as though dead, uttering neither sigh nor groan. On the other hand, the symptoms may be much more violent, and cause me to fall into fearful convulsions, foam at the mouth, and cry out loudly. Take care my cries are not heard, for if they are it is more than probable I should be removed to another part of the prison, and we be separated forever. When I become quite motionless, cold, and rigid as a corpse, then, and not before,—be careful about this,—force open my teeth with the knife, pour from eight to ten drops of the liquor contained in the phial down my throat, and I may perhaps revive."

"Perhaps!" exclaimed Dantes in grief-stricken tones.

"Help! help!" cried the abbe, "I—I—die—I"—

So sudden and violent was the fit that the unfortunate prisoner was unable to complete the sentence; a violent convulsion shook his whole frame, his eyes started from their sockets, his mouth was drawn on one side, his cheeks became purple, he struggled, foamed, dashed himself about, and uttered the most dreadful cries, which, however, Dantes prevented from being heard by covering his head with the blanket. The fit lasted two hours; then, more helpless than an infant, and colder and paler than marble, more crushed and broken than a reed trampled under foot, he fell back, doubled up in one last convulsion, and became as rigid as a corpse.

Edmond waited till life seemed extinct in the body of his friend, then, taking up the knife, he with difficulty forced open the closely fixed jaws, carefully administered the appointed number of drops, and anxiously awaited the result. An hour passed away and the old man gave no sign of returning animation. Dantes began to fear he had delayed too long ere he administered the remedy, and, thrusting his hands into his hair, continued gazing on the lifeless features of his friend. At length a slight color tinged the livid cheeks, consciousness returned to the dull, open eyeballs, a faint sigh issued from the lips, and the sufferer made a feeble effort to move.

"He is saved! he is saved!" cried Dantes in a paroxysm of delight.

The sick man was not yet able to speak, but he pointed with evident anxiety towards the door. Dantes listened, and plainly distinguished the approaching steps of the jailer. It was therefore near seven o'clock; but Edmond's anxiety had put all thoughts of time out of his head. The young man sprang to the entrance, darted through it, carefully drawing the stone over the opening, and hurried to his cell. He had scarcely done so before the door opened, and the jailer saw the prisoner seated as usual on the side of his bed. Almost before the key had turned in the lock, and before the departing steps of the jailer had died away in the long corridor he had to traverse, Dantes, whose restless anxiety concerning his friend left him no desire to touch the food brought him, hurried back to the abbe's chamber, and raising the stone by pressing his head against it, was soon beside the sick man's couch. Faria had now fully regained his consciousness, but he still lay helpless and exhausted.

"I did not expect to see you again," said he feebly, to Dantes.

"And why not?" asked the young man. "Did you fancy yourself dying?"

"No, I had no such idea; but, knowing that all was ready for flight, I thought you might have made your escape." The deep glow of indignation suffused the cheeks of Dantes.

"Without you? Did you really think me capable of that?"

"At least," said the abbe, "I now see how wrong such an opinion would have been. Alas, alas! I am fearfully exhausted and debilitated by this attack."

"Be of good cheer," replied Dantes; "your strength will return." And as he spoke he seated himself near the bed beside Faria, and took his hands. The abbe shook his head.

"The last attack I had," said he, "lasted but half an hour, and after it I was hungry, and got up without help; now I can move neither my right arm nor leg, and my head seems uncomfortable, which shows that there has been a suffusion of blood on the brain. The third attack will either carry me off, or leave me paralyzed for life."

"No, no," cried Dantes; "you are mistaken—you will not die! And your third attack (if, indeed, you should have another) will find you at liberty. We shall save you another time, as we have done this, only with a better chance of success, because we shall be able to command every requisite assistance."

"My good Edmond," answered the abbe, "be not deceived. The attack which has just passed away, condemns me forever to the walls of a prison. None can fly from a dungeon who cannot walk."

"Well, we will wait,—a week, a month, two months, if need be,—and meanwhile your strength will return. Everything is in readiness for our flight, and we can select any time we choose. As soon as you feel able to swim we will go."

"I shall never swim again," replied Faria. "This arm is paralyzed; not for a time, but forever. Lift it, and judge if I am mistaken." The young man raised the arm, which fell back by its own weight, perfectly inanimate and helpless. A sigh escaped him.

"You are convinced now, Edmond, are you not?" asked the abbe. "Depend upon it, I know what I say. Since the first attack I experienced of this malady, I have continually reflected on it. Indeed, I expected it, for it is a family inheritance; both my father and grandfather died of it in a third attack. The physician who prepared for me the remedy I have twice successfully taken, was no other than the celebrated Cabanis, and he predicted a similar end for me."

"The physician may be mistaken!" exclaimed Dantes. "And as for your poor arm, what difference will that make? I can take you on my shoulders, and swim for both of us."

"My son," said the abbe, "you, who are a sailor and a swimmer, must know as well as I do that a man so loaded would sink before he had done fifty strokes. Cease, then, to allow yourself to be duped by vain hopes, that even your own excellent heart refuses to believe in. Here I shall remain till the hour of my deliverance arrives, and that, in all human probability, will be the hour of my death. As for you, who are young and active, delay not on my account, but fly—go—I give you back your promise."

"It is well," said Dantes. "Then I shall also remain." Then, rising and extending his hand with an air of solemnity over the old man's head, he slowly added, "By the blood of Christ I swear never to leave you while you live."

Faria gazed fondly on his noble-minded, single-hearted, high-principled young friend, and read in his countenance ample confirmation of the sincerity of his devotion and the loyalty of his purpose.

"Thanks," murmured the invalid, extending one hand. "I accept. You may one of these days reap the reward of your disinterested devotion. But as I cannot, and you will not, quit this place, it becomes necessary to fill up the excavation beneath the soldier's gallery; he might, by chance, hear the hollow sound of his footsteps, and call the attention of his officer to the circumstance. That would bring about a discovery which would inevitably lead to our being separated. Go, then, and set about this work, in which, unhappily, I can offer you no assistance; keep at it all night, if necessary, and do not return here to-morrow till after the jailer his visited me. I shall have something of the greatest importance to communicate to you."

Dantes took the hand of the abbe in his, and affectionately pressed it. Faria smiled encouragingly on him, and the young man retired to his task, in the spirit of obedience and respect which he had sworn to show towards his aged friend.

 

第十七章 神甫的房间

那条通道虽容不下这两个人直着身子走路,但勉强还算宽敞,他们不久就到了通道的那一头,一出去便是神甫的牢房了。这儿,洞穴就渐渐地狭小起来,只有双手双膝都贴在地上才能爬过去。神甫房间的地面是用石块铺成的,法里亚在最隐的一个角落掘起一块石头以后才能开始艰巨的工作,这项工作,唐太斯已目证其完成了。唐太斯一进到他朋友的房间里,就用一种急切和搜索的目光环顾四周,想寻找意料中的奇迹,但目光所及之处,只是些平平常常的东西。

“很好,”神甫说,“现在是刚过十二点一刻,我们还有几个钟头可以利用。”唐太斯本能地转身去看究竟哪儿有钟表,以致神甫能这样准确地报出时间。

“你看到从我的窗口进来的这缕阳光了吧。”神甫说,“我就是根据它观察划在墙上的这些线条来推测时间的。这些线条是根据地球的自转和它绕着太阳公转的道理划成的,只要向它一看,我就可以断定是什么时间,比表还准确,因为表是会坏的,而且有时走快了,有时走慢了,但太阳和地球都决不会出乱子。”

唐太斯一点儿也听不懂他的这番解释,他以前只看到太阳在山背后升起,又落入地中海,所以在他的想象中,始终以为动的是太阳,而不是地球。要说他所在的这个地球竟会自转和绕太阳公转,在他看来,那几乎是不可能的,因为他一点都感觉不到有什么转动。可是,尽管无法理解他的同伴所说的话,但从他的嘴里说出的每一个字,似乎都充满了科学的神秘,就象早年他在航行中,从古齐拉到戈尔康达 【印度的两个地方。前者产黄金,后者产金刚石。——译注】所见到的那些宝物一样闪闪发光,很值得好好地琢磨和体味。

“来,”他对神甫说,“把你对我讲的那些奇妙的发明给我看看,我简直等不及啦。”

神甫微笑了一下,走到废弃的壁炉前面,用凿子撬起一块长石头,这块长石头无疑是炉床,下面有一个相当深的洞,这是一个安全的贮藏室,里面藏着向唐太斯提到过的所有东西。

“你想先看什么?”神甫问。

“把你那篇《论意大利王国》的巨著给我看看吧。”

法里亚从他那藏东西的地方抽出了三四卷一叠一叠,象木乃伊棺材里所找到的草纸那样的布片。这几卷布片都是四寸宽,十八寸长,都仔细地编着号,上面密密麻麻的写满了字,字写得很清楚,唐太斯读起来一点也不费力,意思也不难懂,是用意大利文写成的,由于唐太斯是普罗旺斯省人,所以他完全懂得这种文字。

“你看!”他说,“这篇文章已经写完了,我大概在一星期前才在第六十八页的末尾写上了‘完’这个字。我撕碎了两件衬衣和我所有的手帕。假如我一旦出狱,能找到一个出版商敢把我所写的文章印出来,我就成名了。”

“那是肯定的,”唐太斯答道。“现在让我看一下你写文章的笔吧”。

“瞧!”法里亚一边说,一边拿出了一支长约六寸左右的细杆子给那青年看,那细杆的样子极象一画笔的笔杆,末端用线绑着一片神甫对唐太斯说过的那种软骨,它的头很尖,也象普通的笔那样笔尖上分成了两半。唐太斯仔细地看了一番,然后又四下里瞧了瞧,想寻找那件把它削得这样整齐的工具。

“对了,”法里亚说,“你是在奇怪我从哪儿弄来的削笔刀是不是?这是我的杰作,也是我自制的,这把刀是用旧的铁蜡烛台做的,”那削笔刀锋利得象一把剃刀,它有两种用处,可以当匕首用,也可以当小刀用。

唐太斯仔细地观看着神甫拿出来的每一样东西,其全神贯注的神态,犹如他在欣赏船长从南半球海域带回来陈列在马赛商店里的南海野人所用的那些稀奇古怪的工具一样。

“墨水嘛,”法里亚说,“我已经告诉过你是怎么做的了。我是在需要的时候现做现用的。”

“有一件事我还不明白,”唐太斯说,“就是这么多工作你单凭白天怎么做得完呢?”

“我晚上也工作。”法里亚答道。

“晚上!难道你有着猫一样眼睛,在黑暗中也能看得见?”

“不是的,但上帝赐人以智慧,借此弥补感官的不足。我给自己弄到了光。”

“是吗?请告诉我是怎么回事”

在他所给我送来的肉中,我把肥肉割下来,把它熬一熬,就炼成了一种最上等的油,你看我这盏灯,”说着,神甫拿出一只容器,样子极象公共场所照明用的油灯。

“但你怎么引火呢?”

“喏,这儿有两片火石,还有一团烧焦的棉布。”

“火柴呢?”

“那不难弄到。我假装患了皮肤病,向他们要一点硫磺,那是随要随有的。”

唐太斯把他所看过的东西轻轻地放到了桌子上,垂下了头,完全被这个人的坚忍和毅力所折服了。

“你还没看完全部的东西呢,”法里亚继续说“因为我认为把我的全部宝物都放在一个贮藏处未免有点太不聪明了。我们先来把这个洞盖上吧。”

唐太斯帮助他把那块石头放回了原处,神甫洒了一点尘土在上面,以掩盖那移动的痕迹,又用脚把它擦了几下,使它确实与其他的部分一样,然后,他走到床边,把床移开。床头后面又有一个洞。这个洞是用一块石头非常严密地盖着的,所以绝不会引起人的怀疑。洞里面有一根绳梯,长约二十五尺到三十尺之间。邓蒂斯仔细看了看,发觉它非常结实坚固。

“你做出这个奇迹所需用的绳子是谁给你的?”

“没有谁给我,还是我自己做的。我撕破了几件衬衣,又拆散了我的床单,这都是我被关在费尼斯德里堡的三年期间做的。当我被转到伊夫堡来的时候,我就设法把那些拆散了的纱线带了来,所以我就在这儿完成了我的工作。”

“难道没有被人发觉你的床单没有缝边吗?”

“噢,不!因为当我把需要的线抽出来以后,我又把边缝了起来。”

“用什么东西缝呢?”

“用这枚针,”神甫说着就掀开他那破衣烂衫,拔出了一根又长又尖的鱼骨给邓蒂斯看,鱼骨上有一个小小的针眼以备穿线之用,那上面还留有一小段线在那儿。“我一度曾想拆掉这些铁栅,”法利亚继续说,“从这个窗口里钻出去,你看,这个窗口比你那个多少要宽一点,虽然为了更易于逃走,应该把它挖得大一些。但我发现,我只能从这里落到一个象内院那样的地方,所以我就打消了这个念头,因为所冒的危险太大了。但尽管如此,我依然很小心地保存了我的绳梯,以备万一意想不到的机会来临时可以派上用场,我已经对你讲过了,机会是常常会突然降临的。”

唐太斯一面出神地注视着绳梯,一面在脑子里转着另一个念头。他想:象神甫这样聪明,灵巧和深思熟虑的人,或许能够替他解开那个迷,找出他遭祸的原因,尽管他自己曾努力去分析过,但始终找不到原因。

“你在想什么?”神甫看到年轻人露出那种出神的表情,就含笑问他原因。

“我在想,”唐太斯答道,“首先,你所取得的这一切都是你经过很多努力并凭借你的才能得以实现的。将来一旦你自由了,还有什么事办不成呢?”

“或许会一事无成。我的精力过剩也许会泛滥成灾。要想开发人类的神秘智慧,必需要经过挫折或遭遇不幸,要想火药引爆就需要有压力。是囚禁的生活把我所分散的浮动的能力都集中到了一个焦点上。在一个狭隘的空间里,它们就有了密切的接触,而你知道,云相互挫击而生成电,由电生成火花,由火花生成了光。”

“不,我一无所知,”唐太斯说,他因自己的无知而感到遗憾,“你所说的话在我听来是如天书。你如此博学,一定很快乐吧。”

神甫微笑了一下。说道,“你刚才不是说在想两件事吗?”

“是的。”

“两件事中你只告诉了我一件,让我再来听听另一件吧。”

“是这么回事:你已经把你的身世都讲给我听了,但你还不知道我的吧。”

“我的年青朋友,你的生命太短了,会经历什么重要的大事的。”

“它却遇到了一场极大的灾难,”唐太斯说,“我根本不该遇上这场灾难,我很想找出究竟是谁给我造成的痛苦,以使我不再去咒骂上帝。”

“那么,你肯定那对你的指控是冤枉了你吗?”

“绝对的无中生有,我可以向世界上我最亲爱的两个人来发誓,即我的父亲和美茜蒂丝。”

“请谈吧,”神甫说,他堵上了他藏东西的洞口,又把床推回到了原处,“让我来听听你的故事。”

于是唐太斯开始讲他自己的身世了,实际上只包含了一次到印度和几次到勒旺的航行,接着就讲到了他最后这次航行;讲到了莱克勒船长是如何死的;如何从他那儿接过一包东西并交给了大元帅;又如何谒见了那位大人物,交了那包东西,并转交了一封致诺瓦蒂埃先生的信;然后又如何到达了马赛,见到了父亲;他还讲了自己是如何与美塞苔丝相爱,如何举行他们的婚宴;如何被捕,受审和暂时押在法院的监牢里;最后,又如何被关到伊夫堡来。在未遇到神甫的那一阶段中,一切对唐太斯来说都是一片空白,他什么都不知道,连他入狱有多长时间了也不清楚。他讲完以后,神甫沉思了良久。

“有一句格言说得很妙,”他想完了以后说道,“这句格言和我刚刚不久前讲过的话是相互联系的,即,虽然乱世易作恶,但人类的天性是不愿犯罪的。可是,文明使我们产生了欲望,恶习和不良的嗜好,这种种因素有时会扼杀我们善良的本性,最终引导我们走上犯罪之路。所以那句格言是:不论何种坏事,欲抓那作恶之人。先得去找出能从那件坏事中得利之人。你不在了能对谁有利呢?”

“我的天!谁都没什么好处。我不过是一个无足轻重的人。”

“别这么说,因为你的回答是既不合逻辑又缺乏哲理。我的好朋友,世上万事万物,从国王和他的继承人到小官和他的接替者,都是相互有关连的。假如国王死了,他的继承人就可继承王位。假如小官死了,那接替他的人就可以接替他的位置,并拿到他每年一千二百里弗的薪水。这一千二百里弗作为他的官俸,在他看来,这笔钱就如同国王拥有一千二百万里弗一样的重要。每一个人,从最高阶级到最低阶级,在社会的各个阶层都有他的位置,在他的周围,聚集着一个利害相关的小世界,是由许多乱跳乱蹦的原子组成的,就象笛卡儿的世界一样。但这些小世界会随着本人地位的提高,越张越大,就象一个倒金字塔,其低部是尖的,全凭运动的平衡力来支撑它。我们来看一下你的小世界吧。你自己说你当时快要升任法老号的船长了,是不是?”

“是的。”

“而且快要成为一位既年轻又美貌可爱的姑娘的丈夫了?”

“不错。”

“假如这两件事不能成功,谁可以从中得到女人呢?谁不愿意你当法老号的船长呢?”

“没有,船员们都很喜欢我,要是他们有权可以自己选举船长的话,我相信他们一定会选我的。只有一个人对我有点恶感。我以前曾和他吵过一次架,甚至向他挑战过,要他和我决斗,但他拒绝了。”

“现在有点头绪了。这个人叫什么名字?”

“腾格拉尔。”

“他在船上是什么职务?”

“押运员。”

“假如你当了船长,你会不会留他继续任职?”

“如我有决定权的话,我不会留任他的,因为我常常发现他的帐目不清。”

“好极了!那么现在告诉我,当你和莱克勒船长作最后那次谈话的时候,有别人在场吗?”

“没有,只有我们两个人。”

“你们的谈话会不会被别人偷听到了呢?”

“那是可能的,因为舱门是开着的,而且kk等一下,现在我想起来当莱克勒船长把那包给大元帅的东西托付给我的时候,腾格拉尔正巧经过那里。”

“那就对了,”神甫喊道,“我们说到正题上。你在厄尔巴岛停泊的时候,有没有带谁一同上岸?”

“没有。”

“那儿有人给了你一封信?”

“是的,是大元帅给的。”

“你把那封信放在哪儿了?”

“我把它夹在我的笔记本里。”

“那么,你是带着笔记本去的罗?但是,一本大得能够夹得下公事信的笔记本,怎么能装进一个水手的口袋里呢?”

“你说得不错,我把笔记本留在船上了。”

“那么,你是在回到船上以后才把那封信夹进笔记本里的?”

“是的。”

“你从费拉约回到船上以前,这封信你放在哪儿了?”

“我一直把它拿在手里。”

“那么当你回到法老号上的时候,谁都可以看到你手里拿着一封信了?”

“他们当然看得见。”

“腾格拉尔也象其它的人一样看得见吗?”

“是的,他也象其它的人一样看得见。”

“现在,且听我说,你仔细想一下被捕时的各种情景。你还记得那封告发信上的内容吗?”

“噢,记得!我把它读了三遍,那些字都深深地刻在了我的脑子里。”

“请背给我听吧。”唐太斯沉思地想了一会儿,象是在集中他的思想似的,然后说道:“是这样的,我把它一个字一个字的背给你听:‘敝人系拥护王室及教会之人士,兹向您报告,有爱德蒙•唐太斯其人,系法老号之大副,今晨自士麦拿经那不勒斯抵埠,中途曾停靠费拉约港。此人受缪拉之命送信与逆贼,并受逆贼命送信与巴黎拿破仑党委员会。犯罪证据在将其逮捕时即可获得,该信件不是在其身上,就是在其父家中,或者在法老号上他的船舱。”

神甫耸耸肩。“这件事现在一清二楚了,”他说道,“你一定是天性极不会怀疑人,而且心地太善良了,以致不能猜出这是怎么回事。”

“你真以为是这样吗?唐太斯禁不住说道,啊!那真太卑鄙了。”

“腾格拉尔平常的笔迹是怎么样的?”

“一手很漂亮流利的字。”

“那封匿名信的笔迹是怎么样的?”

“稍微有点向后倒。”

神甫又微笑了一下。“哦,伪装过的是吗?”

“我不知道!但即使是伪装过的,也写得极其流利。”

“等一下。”神甫说。他拿起他那自己称之为的笔,在墨水里蘸了蘸,然后用他的左手在一小片布片上写下了那封告密信开头的三个字。唐太斯退后了几步,不胜惊恐地看着神甫。

“啊!真是不可思议!”他惊叫道。“你的笔迹和那封告密信上的简直一模一样呀!”

“这就是说那封告密信是用左手写的,我注意到了这一点。”

“什么?”

“就是用右手写出来的笔迹人人不同,而那些用左手写的却都是大同小异的。”

“你显然是无事不知,无事不晓的了。”

“接着往下说吧。”

“噢,好的,好的!”

“现在要提到第二个问题了。有谁不愿意看到你和美塞苔丝的结婚呢?”

“有一个人,是一个也爱着她的年青人。”

“他叫什么名字?”

“弗尔南多。”

“那是一个西班牙人的名字呀。”

“他是迦太罗尼亚人。”

“你认为他会写那封信吗?”

“噢,不!假如他想除掉我,他会宁愿捅我一刀的。”

“西班牙人的性格倒也确实如此,他们宁可当杀人犯,也不当懦夫。”

“再说,”唐太斯说,“信中所涉及到的各种情节他也是完全不知道的。”

“你自己绝没有向任何人讲过吗?”

“没有。”

“甚至没有对你的情妇说过吗?”

“没有,甚至连我的未婚妻都没有告诉过。”

“那么就是腾格拉尔写的了,毫无疑问。”

“我现在也觉得一定是他了。”

“等一下。腾格拉尔认识弗尔南多吗?”

“不。是,他认识的。现在我想起来了。”

“想起来什么?”

“在我订婚的前一天,我看到他们两个人一同坐在邦费勒老爹的凉棚里。他们态度很亲热。腾格拉尔在善意地开着玩笑,但弗尔南多却脸色苍白,看上去很恼怒。”

“就他们两个人吗?”

“还有另外一个人和他们在一起,那个人我很熟悉,而且多半还是他介绍他们俩认识的,他叫卡德鲁斯,是个裁缝,不过当时他已喝醉了。等一下,等一下,真怪,我以前怎么就没想到呢!在他们中间的桌子上,有笔,墨水和纸。噢,这些没心肝的坏蛋!”唐太斯用手敲着自己的脑袋喊道。

“你还想知道什么别的事吗?神甫微笑着问。”

“想,想,”唐太斯急切地回答说,“既然你一眼就能完全把事情看透,对你来说,凡事你都心明眼亮,我求你给我解释一下,为什么我只被审讯过一次,为什么我没有上法庭,而最重要的为什么我没经过正规的手续就被判了罪?”

“这事可就完全不同了,而且要严重得多了,”神甫答道。

“司法界的内幕常常是太黑暗,太神秘,难以捉摸的。到目前为止,我们对你那两个朋友的分析还算是容易的。假如你要我来分析这件事,你就必须再给我提供更详细的情况。”

“这我当然是很乐意的。请开始吧,我亲爱的神甫,随便你问我什么问题好了,因为说老实话,你对于我的生活看得比我自己还要清楚。”

“那么首先,是谁审问你的,是检察官,代理检察官,还是推事?”

“是代理检查官。”

“他是年轻人还是老年人?”

“大约有二十七八岁左右。”

“好!”神甫回答道,“虽然还没有腐化,但已有野心了。他对你的态度如何?”

“宽容多于严厉。”

“你把你的事全都告诉他了吗?”

“是的。”

“在审问的过程中,他的态度有什么变化吗?”

“有的,当他阅读那封陷害我的信的时候,显得很激动。他似乎难以忍受我所遭遇的不幸。”

“你的不幸遭遇。”

“是的。”

“那么你肯定他很同情你的不幸了?”

“至少有一点可以证明他对我的同情。”

“是什么?”

“他把那封能陷害我的唯一的信烧毁了。”

“你是指那封告密信吗?”

“噢,不!是那封要我转交的信。”

“你肯定他把它烧了吗?”

“他是当着我的面烧的。”

“啊,真的!那就不同了。那个人可能是一个你想象不到的最阴险、毒辣的家伙。”

“说真话,”唐太斯说,“你使我太寒心了。难道世界上真的遍地是老虎和鳄鱼吗?”

“是的,但两只脚的老虎和鳄鱼比四只脚的更危险。”

“请继续说下去吧。”

“好!你告诉我他是当着你的面烧掉那封信的吗?”

“是的,当时他还说,‘你看,我把唯一可以攻击你的证据毁掉啦’”“这样做太过份了。”

“你这样以为吗?”

“我可以肯定。这封信是给谁的?”

“给诺瓦蒂埃先生的,地址是巴黎高海隆路十三号。”

“你能想象得出代理检察官烧毁了那封信以后对他有什么好处吗?”

“很可能对他有好处的,因为他嘱咐了我好几次,叫我千万不要把那封信的事讲给别人听,还再三对我说,他这样忠告我,完全是为了我好,不仅如此,他还硬要我郑重发誓,决不吐露信封上所写的那个人名。”

“诺瓦蒂埃!”神甫把那个名字反复念道,“诺瓦蒂埃,我知道在伊特罗丽亚女王那个时代有一个人叫这个名字大革命时期也有一个梯埃,他是个吉伦特党人!代理检查官姓什么?”

“维尔福!”

神甫爆发出一阵大笑,唐太斯惊异万分地望着他。

“你怎么了?”他问道。

“你看到这一缕阳光吗?”神甫问道。

“看到了。”

“好!这件事的全部来龙去脉,我现在看得清清楚楚,甚至比你看见的这缕阳光还清楚。可怜的孩子!可怜的小伙子呵!

你还告诉我这位法官对你深表同情,大发恻隐之心?”

“是呀。”

“那位可敬的代理官还烧毁了你那封信?”

“是呀。”

“那位道貌岸然的刽子手还要你发誓决不吐露诺瓦蒂埃这个名字?”

“是呀。”

“你这个可怜的傻瓜,你知不知道这个诺瓦蒂埃是谁?”

“我不知道!”

“这个诺瓦蒂埃就是他的父亲呀!”

这时,即使一个霹雳在唐太斯的脚下响起,或地狱在他的面前张开它那无底的大口,也不会比听到这完全出乎意料的几个字使他吓得呆若木鸡的了。这几个字揭发了只有鬼才做得出的不义行为,而他就因此被葬送在一个监狱的黑地牢里,慢慢地熬着他的日子,简直如同把他埋入了一个坟墓。而他此时才惊醒过来,用双手紧紧地抱住头,象是要防止他的脑袋爆裂开似的,同时用一种窒息的,几乎听不清楚的声音喊道:“他的父亲,他的父亲。”

“他的亲生父亲,”神甫答道,“他的名字就叫诺瓦蒂埃•维尔福。”

刹那间,一缕明亮的光射进了唐太斯的脑子里,照亮了以前模糊的一切。维尔福在审问时态度的改变,那封信的销毁,硬要他作的许诺,法官那种几乎象是恳求的口吻,他那简直不象是宣布罪状倒象是恳求宽恕的语气,一切都回到他的记忆里来了。唐太斯的嘴里发出了一声来自心灵深处的痛苦的喊声,他踉踉跄跄地靠到墙上,几乎象个醉汉一样。然后,当那一阵激烈的感情过去以后,他急忙走到从神甫的地牢通到他自己地牢的洞口,说:“噢,我要一个人呆着把这一切再想一想。”

他回到自己的牢房以后,就倒在了床上。晚上,狱卒来的时候,发现他两眼发直,板着脸孔,象一尊石像似的,一动不动地坐在那儿。这几小时的默想,在唐太斯看来似乎只是几分钟,在这期间,他下了一个可怕的决心,并立下了令人生畏的誓言。一个声音把他从恍惚迷离的状态中唤醒,是法利亚神甫。法利亚在狱卒查看过以后过来邀请他共进晚餐了。由于他是一个疯子,尤其是一个很有趣的疯子,所以他享受着某些特权。他可以得到一点儿白面色。甚至每星期日还可以享受少量的酒。这一天碰巧是星期日,神甫特地来邀请他的年轻伙伴去分享他的面包和酒。唐太斯跟着他去了。他脸上那种紧张的表情已经消失了,现在已恢复了常态,但仍带着一种刚强坚毅的神色,可以看得出,他的决心不可动遥法利亚用他尖锐的目光盯住他。

“我现在很后悔刚才帮助你寻根问底,给你查明了那些事情。”

“为什么?”唐太斯问道。

“因为这在你的心里又注入了一种新的情感,那就是复仇。”

年轻人的脸上闪过一个痛苦的微笑。“我们来谈些别的事吧。”他说。

神甫又望了望他,然后悲哀地摇了摇头,但为了顺从唐太斯的请求,他开始谈起其他的事来。这个老犯人同那些饱经沧桑的人一样,他的谈话里包含着许多重要的启示和有价值的知识,但却毫不自夸自负,这个不幸的人从不提及他伤心事。

唐太斯钦佩地倾听着他所说的一切。他所说的有些话和他已经知道的事相符的,和他从航海生活中所得来的知识相一致的;当然,有些是他所不知道的事情,但就象那黎明时的北风给在赤道附近航行的航海者以指示一样,这些话给他这孜孜求教的听者打开了新的眼界,犹如流星一般一瞬间照亮了新天地。他明白了,一个假如能在道德上,哲学上,或社会上追随这种高尚的精神,他将会感到多么的快乐。

“你一定要把你所知道的教给我一点,”唐太斯说,“哪怕只是为了跟我在一起时解解闷也好。我似乎觉得象你这样一位有学问的人,是宁愿独处也不愿同我这样一个无知无训的人作伴的。只要你能答应我的要求,我保证决不再提逃走这两个字了。”

神甫微笑了一下。“唉,我的孩子!”他说,“人类的知识是很有限的。当我教会了你数学,物理,和三四种我知道的现代语言以后,你的学问就会和我的相等了。我所知道的基本知识传授给你。”

“两年!”唐太斯惊叫起来,“你真的认为我能在这样短的时间内,学会这一切吗?”

“当然不是指它们的应用,但它们的原理你是可以学到的,学习并不等于认识。有学问的人和能认识的人是不同的。

记忆造就了前者,哲学造就了后者。”

“但是人难道不能学哲学吗?”

“哲学是学不到的,这是科学的综合,是能善用科学的天才所求得的。哲学,它是基督踏在脚下升上天去的五色彩云。”

“好吧那么,”唐太斯说,“你先教我什么?我真想快点开始,我太渴望知识了。”

“好吧!”神甫说道。

当天晚上,两个犯人就拟定了一个学习计划,决定从第二天就开始。唐太斯有着惊人的记忆力和极强的理解力,一学就会。他很有数学头脑,能适应各种各样的计算方法,而他的想象力又能使枯燥的数学公式和严密呆板的线条变得有趣起来。他原先就懂得意大利语,希腊语是他在到地中海东部航行时零零碎碎的学会了一点,凭借这两种语言的帮助,了解其他各种语言的结构就容易多了。所以六个月以后,他已经能讲西班牙语,英语和德语了。唐太斯严格遵守着他对神甫许下的诺言,从不提及逃走的事。或许是他的学习兴趣代替了渴望自由的要求,或许是由于他牢记自己的诺言,(关于这一点,我们已经知道,他是十分注意的)总之,他再也不提逃走的事。时间在学习中飞速地流逝,一年之后,唐太斯已变成了另一个人。

至于法利亚神甫,尽管有他作伴,唐太斯却注意到他愈来愈忧郁了。有一个想法似乎不断地在困扰着他的思想。有时,他会长时间的陷入沉思,不由自主地,深深地叹息,然后,突然站起身来,交叉着两臂开始在牢房里踱来踱去。有一天,他突然在这种习惯性的散步中停下来,感叹道:“唉,如果没有哨兵该多好啊!”

“只要你愿意,立刻就可以一个都没有。”唐太斯说,他本来就在探究他的思想,像透过水晶球一般一下就看透了他脑子里的想法。

“啊!我已经说过了,”神甫说道,“我是厌恶谋杀。”

“但,即使犯下了谋杀罪,也是我们的生存和自立的本能所引起的呀。”

“无论如可,我决不赞成。”

“但你老想着这事,对吗?”

“愈来愈想得厉害啦,唉!”神甫说道。

“你已经想出了可以使我们获得自由的办法了,对吗?”唐太斯急切地问。

“是的,假如他们碰巧派了一个又聋又瞎的哨兵守在我们外面这条走廊就好了。”

“他又瞎又聋的!”年轻人用一种极坚定的口气说道,神甫不禁打了一个寒颤。

“不,不!”神甫说道,“这是不可能的!”唐太斯竭力想把话题拉回来,但神甫摇了摇头,拒绝再谈这方面的事了。

又过去了三个月。

“你觉得自己力气大吗?”神甫问唐太斯。年轻人的回答是拿起了那凿子,把它弯成了一个马蹄形,然后又轻易地把它扳直了。

“你能答应我不到万不得以不伤害那个哨兵吗?”

“我以人格担保。”

“那么,”神甫说,“我们或许可以实现我们的计划。”

“我们要多久才能完成那必须的工作?”

“至少一年。”

“我们立刻就开始吗?”

“马上就开始。”

“我们已白白地耗费了一年的时间!”唐太斯说道。

“你认为那过去的十二个月是浪费了吗?”神甫用一种温和的责备的口吻问道。

“啊!对不起!”爱德蒙涨红了脸说道。

“算了,算了!”神甫说道,“人终究是人,你大概还可算是我生平所见的人之中最优秀的呢。来,我来把我的计划给你看看。”说着神甫拿出了一张他所画的设计图给唐太斯看。这张图上画有唐太斯的和他自己的地牢,中间以那条地道连接着。

在这条地道里,他提议再挖一条地道,就如同矿工使用的巷道可使他俩通到哨兵站岗的那条走廊的下面。一旦通到了那儿,就掘开一个大洞,同时要把走廊上所铺的大石头挖松一块,以便在需要的时候,哨兵的脚一踏上去就会塌陷下来,而那个哨兵也就会一下子跌到洞底下,那样他俩就把他捆上,并堵住他的嘴,他经此一跌,一定会吓呆了的,所以决不会有力量作任何反抗的。于是他们便就从走廊的窗口里逃出去用神甫的绳梯爬出外墙。唐太斯一听完这个简单并显然有把握成功的计划,眼睛里就射出喜悦的光彩,高兴得连连拍手。

当天这两名挖掘工就一起干了起来,由于长期间休息已使他们从疲劳中恢复了过来,而且他们这种希望多半命中注定了会实现的,所以工作干得非常起劲。除了在规定的时间里必须回到他们各自的牢房里去等待狱卒的查看以外,再没有别的事来打扰他们的工作了。狱卒从楼梯上下到他们牢房里来的时候,脚步声原是极轻的,但他们已学会了辨别这种几乎觉察不到的声音,狱卒一直没有发觉。他们在做这件事他们这次所挖出的新土本来可把那条旧地道完全塞没的,但他们以极其小心的态度,一点一点的从法利亚或唐太斯牢房的窗口抛了出去至于那些挖出来的杂物,他们就把它碾成粉末,让夜风把它吹到远处,不留下任何的痕迹。

一年多的时间就在这项工程里消磨过去了,他们所有的工具仅是一只凿子,一把小刀和一条木棒。法利亚边干活边给唐太斯上课,时而说这种语言,时而说那种语言;有时向他讲述各国历史,和那些身后留下了所谓的“光荣”的灿烂的足迹的一代又一代伟人的传记。神甫是一个饱经沧桑的人,曾多少混入过当时的上流社会。他的外表抑郁而严肃,这一点,天性善于模仿的唐太斯很快学了过来,同时还吸收了他那种高雅温文的风度,这种风度正是他以前所欠缺的,除非能有机会经常和那些出身高贵、有教养的人来往,否则是很难获得的。

十五个月之后,地道挖成了,走廊下面的洞穴也完工了,每当哨兵在这两个挖掘者的头上踱来踱去的时候,他们可以清晰地听到那均匀的脚步声。他们在等待一个漆黑无月的夜晚来掩护他们的逃亡。他们现在最害怕的是深恐那块石头,就是那哨兵命中注定该从那儿跌下来的那块石头,会在时机未成熟以前掉下来。为了防止这一点,他们不得不又采取了一种措施,用支柱撑在它的下面,这条支柱是他们在掘地道时在墙基中发现的。这一天,唐太斯正在撑起这根木头,法利亚则在爱德蒙的牢房里削一个预备挂绳梯用的搭扣。突然间,唐太斯听到法利亚在用一种痛苦的声音呼唤他,他急忙回到自己的牢房里,发现后者正站在房间中央,脸色苍白,额头上冒着冷汗,两手紧紧地握在一起。

“哦!天哪!”唐太斯惊叫道,“出了什么事?你怎么啦?”

“快!快!”神甫说道,“听我说!”

唐太斯惊恐地望着面无人色的法利亚,法利亚眼睛的四周现出了一圈青黑色,嘴唇发白,头发竖起,他惊呆了,握在手里的凿子一下子落到了地上。“什什么事?”他惊叫道。

“我完啦!”神甫说。“我得了一种可怕的病,或许会死的,我觉得马上就要发作了。我在入狱的前一年也这样发作过一次。对付这种病只有一种药,我告诉你是什么东西。赶快到我的牢房里,拆下一只床脚。你可以看到床脚上有一个洞,洞里面藏着一只小瓶子,里面有半瓶红色的液体。把它拿来给我,或者,不,不!我在这儿也许会被人发觉的,趁我现在还有一点力气,扶我回我的房间里去吧。谁知道我发病的时候会发生什么事呢?”

这飞来的横祸对唐太斯那一腔热血是个极沉重的打击,但唐太斯并没因此被打蒙了头。他拉着他那不幸的同伴艰难地钻过地道,把他半拖半扶的弄回到了自己的房间,立刻把他放到了床上。

“谢谢!”神甫说道,他好象血管里满是冰那样的四肢直哆嗦。“我得的是癫痫病,当它发作很厉害的时候,我或许会一动不动地躺着,象死了一样,并发出一种既不象叹息又不象呻吟那样的喊声。但是,说不定病症会比这剧烈得多,我也许会出现可怕地痉挛,口吐白沫,而且不由自主地发出最尖厉的叫声。这一点至关重要,因为我的喊声要是被人听到了,他们就会把我转移到别处去那样我们就会永远分离的。当我变得一动不动,冷冰冰,硬磞磞的,象一具死尸那样的时候,你要记住,要及时地,但千万不要过早地,用凿子撬开我的牙齿,把瓶子里的药水滴八滴至十滴到我的喉咙里,也许我还会恢复过来。”

“也许?”唐太斯痛苦地问道。

“救命!救命!”神甫突然喊道,“我我死我”病发作得如此突然和剧烈,以致那不幸的犯人连那句话都没能讲完。他全身开始猛烈地抽搐颤抖起来,他的眼睛向外突出,嘴巴歪斜,两颊变成紫色,他扭动着身子,口吐白沫,翻来复去,并发出极可怕的叫声,唐太斯赶紧用被单蒙住他的头,免得被人听见。这一发作继续了两个钟头,然后他最后抽搐一次,便面无人色昏厥了过去简直比一块朽木更无声无息,比大理石更冷更白,比一根踩在脚下的芦苇更软弱无力。

爱德蒙直等到生命似乎已在他朋友的身体里完全消失了的时候,才拿起凿子,很费劲的撬开那紧闭的牙关,小心翼翼地把那红色液体按预定的滴数滴入那僵硬的喉咙里,然后便焦急地等待着结果。一个钟头过去了,老人毫无复苏的迹象。

唐太斯开始感到害怕了,他担心下药或许下得过迟了,他两手插在自己的头发里,痛苦而绝望地凝视着他朋友那毫无生气的脸。终于那铁青色的脸颊上出现了一丝红晕,知觉又回到了那双迟钝的、张开着的眼睛上,一声轻微的叹息从嘴里发了出来,病人有气无力地挣扎了一下,想动一下他的身体。

“救活了!救活了!”唐太斯禁不住大叫起来。

病人虽还不能说话,但他用手指了指门口,显得非常着急。唐太斯听了一下,辨别出狱卒的脚步声正在渐渐靠近。那时快近七点钟了,爱德蒙在焦急之中竟完全忘记了时间。年轻人急忙奔向洞口,钻了进去然后小心地用石块将洞口遮住,回到了自己的牢房里。他刚把一切弄妥,门就开了,狱卒随随便便地看了一眼,看到犯人象平常一样坐在他的床边上。唐太斯一心挂记着他的朋友,根本不想吃东西。他不等钥匙在锁里转动,也不等狱卒的脚步声在那条长廊上消失,就急忙回到神甫的房间里,用头顶开石头,一下子奔到病人的床边。法利亚现在神志已完全恢复了,但他仍然十分虚弱,四肢无力地躺在床上。

“我想不到还能看见你。”他有气无力地对唐太斯说道。

“怎么这样说呢?”年轻人问道。“难道你以为会去死吗?”

“这倒不是,不过逃走的条件全都具备了,我以为你先逃走了呢。”

唐太斯生气了,脸涨得通红。“你真的把我想象得那么坏,”他大声说,“竟以为我会不顾你而跑掉吧?”

“现在,”神甫说,“现在我知道我看错了。唉,唉!这一次发病可把我折腾得精疲力尽了。”

“振作一点,”唐太斯说道,“你会恢复的。”他一面说,一面在床边上坐下,贴近法里亚,温柔地抚摸着他那冰冷的双手。

神甫摇了摇头。“上一次发作的时候只有半个钟头,发作完以后,我除了觉得很饥饿以外,并没有什么别的感觉,我可以不用人扶就能自己起床。可现在我的右手右脚都不能动了,我的脑袋发涨,这说明我的脑血管在渗血。这种病如果再发作一次,就会使我全身瘫痪或是死的。”

“不,不!”唐太斯大叫道,“你不会死的!你第三次发病的时候,(假如你真的还要发一次的话)你就早已自由啦。我们到那时还会把你救回来的,就象这一次一样,而且只会比这次更容易,因为那时必须的药品和医生我们就都有了。”

“我的爱德蒙,”神甫回答说,“别糊涂了。刚才这次发病已把我判处了无期徒刑啦。不能走路的人是无法逃走的。”

“好吧,我们可以再等一个星期,或等上一个月,假如需要的话,就是等上两个月也无妨。这期间,你的体力就可以恢复了!我们现在所要做的事情,就是确定逃走的时间,只要一旦你感到能够游泳了,我们就选定那个时间来实行我们的计划好了。”

“我永远也游不了了,”法利亚说道。“这只胳膊已经麻木,不是暂时的,而是永久性的了。你来拍一下它,从它落下来的情形就可以判断我说的有没有错。”

年轻人抬起那只胳膊,胳膊沉甸甸地落了下来,看不出有一丝生气。他不由自主地叹了一口气。

“现在你相信了吧,爱德蒙?”神甫问道。“信了吧,我知道我在说些什么。自从我得了这种病第一次发作以来我就不断地想到它。真的,我料到它会再次发作的,因为这是一种家庭遗传玻我的父亲和祖父都是死在这种病上的。这种药已经两次救了我的命,它就是那驰名的‘卡巴尼斯’。这是医生早就给我预备好了的,他预言我也会在这种病上丧命的。”

“医生或许错了呢!”唐太斯说道,“至于你这条瘫痪的胳膊,这难不倒我,你不能游泳也没关系,我可以把你背在我的身上游,我们两个一起逃走。”

“我的孩子,”神甫说道“你是一个水手,一个游泳好手,你一定和我知道得一样清楚的,一个人背着这样重的分量,在海里游不到五十吗就会沉下去的。所以,别再欺骗自己了吧,你的心地虽好,但这种虚妄的希望连你自己也不会相信的。我应该留下来,等待着我的解脱,凡人皆有死,我的死也就是我的解放。至于你,你还年轻,别为了我的缘故而耽搁了快走吧!我把你所许的诺言退给你。”

“好吧,”唐太斯说道。“现在也来听听我的决心吧。”说着他站起来带着庄严的神色,在神甫的头上伸出一只手,慢慢地说,“我以基督的血发誓,只要你活着,我就决不离开你!”

法利亚望着这个年轻人,他是这样的高尚,这样的朴实,又有着这样崇高的精神,从他那忠厚坦诚的脸上,可以充分看出信心,诚恳,挚爱和真诚的情意。

“谢谢,”那病人伸出了那只还能移动的手轻声地说道。

“谢谢你的好意,你既然这样说,我也就接受了。”歇了一会儿,他又说道,“你那无私的诚意,将来有一天,或许会得到报偿的。但既然我无法离开这个地方了,你又不愿马上离开,那就必须把哨兵站岗的走廊底下的那个洞填上,说不定碰巧会踩着那块有洞的地面,因而注意到那空洞的声音,然后去报告狱官来查看的。那样我们的事就会败露的,从而使我们彼此分离。去吧,去做这项工作吧,不幸我不能帮你的忙了。假如必要的话,就连夜工作,明天早晨狱卒没来之前,不必回来。我有一件重要的事情要讲给你听。”

唐太斯拿起神甫的手,亲热地紧握了一下。法利亚给了他一个鼓励的微笑,于是年轻人就去干他的工作去了,他已下定了决心,一定要忠诚地,绝不动摇地去实现他对他那受苦的朋友所作的誓言。




Chapter 18. The Treasure.

When Dantes returned next morning to the chamber of his companion in captivity, he found Faria seated and looking composed. In the ray of light which entered by the narrow window of his cell, he held open in his left hand, of which alone, it will be recollected, he retained the use, a sheet of paper, which, from being constantly rolled into a small compass, had the form of a cylinder, and was not easily kept open. He did not speak, but showed the paper to Dantes.

"What is that?" he inquired.

"Look at it," said the abbe with a smile.

"I have looked at it with all possible attention," said Dantes, "and I only see a half-burnt paper, on which are traces of Gothic characters inscribed with a peculiar kind of ink."

"This paper, my friend," said Faria, "I may now avow to you, since I have the proof of your fidelity—this paper is my treasure, of which, from this day forth, one-half belongs to you."

The sweat started forth on Dantes brow. Until this day and for how long a time!—he had refrained from talking of the treasure, which had brought upon the abbe the accusation of madness. With his instinctive delicacy Edmond had preferred avoiding any touch on this painful chord, and Faria had been equally silent. He had taken the silence of the old man for a return to reason; and now these few words uttered by Faria, after so painful a crisis, seemed to indicate a serious relapse into mental alienation.

"Your treasure?" stammered Dantes. Faria smiled.

"Yes," said he. "You have, indeed, a noble nature, Edmond, and I see by your paleness and agitation what is passing in your heart at this moment. No, be assured, I am not mad. This treasure exists, Dantes, and if I have not been allowed to possess it, you will. Yes—you. No one would listen or believe me, because everyone thought me mad; but you, who must know that I am not, listen to me, and believe me so afterwards if you will."

"Alas," murmured Edmond to himself, "this is a terrible relapse! There was only this blow wanting." Then he said aloud, "My dear friend, your attack has, perhaps, fatigued you; had you not better repose awhile? To-morrow, if you will, I will hear your narrative; but to-day I wish to nurse you carefully. Besides," he said, "a treasure is not a thing we need hurry about."

"On the contrary, it is a matter of the utmost importance, Edmond!" replied the old man. "Who knows if to-morrow, or the next day after, the third attack may not come on? and then must not all be over? Yes, indeed, I have often thought with a bitter joy that these riches, which would make the wealth of a dozen families, will be forever lost to those men who persecute me. This idea was one of vengeance to me, and I tasted it slowly in the night of my dungeon and the despair of my captivity. But now I have forgiven the world for the love of you; now that I see you, young and with a promising future,—now that I think of all that may result to you in the good fortune of such a disclosure, I shudder at any delay, and tremble lest I should not assure to one as worthy as yourself the possession of so vast an amount of hidden wealth." Edmond turned away his head with a sigh.

"You persist in your incredulity, Edmond," continued Faria. "My words have not convinced you. I see you require proofs. Well, then, read this paper, which I have never shown to any one."

"To-morrow, my dear friend," said Edmond, desirous of not yielding to the old man's madness. "I thought it was understood that we should not talk of that until to-morrow."

"Then we will not talk of it until to-morrow; but read this paper to-day."

"I will not irritate him," thought Edmond, and taking the paper, of which half was wanting,—having been burnt, no doubt, by some accident,—he read:—

"This treasure, which may amount to two... of Roman crowns in the most distant a... of the second opening wh... declare to belong to him alo... heir. "25th April, 149-"

"Well!" said Faria, when the young man had finished reading it.

"Why," replied Dantes, "I see nothing but broken lines and unconnected words, which are rendered illegible by fire."

"Yes, to you, my friend, who read them for the first time; but not for me, who have grown pale over them by many nights' study, and have reconstructed every phrase, completed every thought."

"And do you believe you have discovered the hidden meaning?"

"I am sure I have, and you shall judge for yourself; but first listen to the history of this paper."

"Silence!" exclaimed Dantes. "Steps approach—I go—adieu."

And Dantes, happy to escape the history and explanation which would be sure to confirm his belief in his friend's mental instability, glided like a snake along the narrow passage; while Faria, restored by his alarm to a certain amount of activity, pushed the stone into place with his foot, and covered it with a mat in order the more effectually to avoid discovery.

It was the governor, who, hearing of Faria's illness from the jailer, had come in person to see him.

Faria sat up to receive him, avoiding all gestures in order that he might conceal from the governor the paralysis that had already half stricken him with death. His fear was lest the governor, touched with pity, might order him to be removed to better quarters, and thus separate him from his young companion. But fortunately this was not the case, and the governor left him, convinced that the poor madman, for whom in his heart he felt a kind of affection, was only troubled with a slight indisposition.

During this time, Edmond, seated on his bed with his head in his hands, tried to collect his scattered thoughts. Faria, since their first acquaintance, had been on all points so rational and logical, so wonderfully sagacious, in fact, that he could not understand how so much wisdom on all points could be allied with madness. Was Faria deceived as to his treasure, or was all the world deceived as to Faria?

Dantes remained in his cell all day, not daring to return to his friend, thinking thus to defer the moment when he should be convinced, once for all, that the abbe was mad—such a conviction would be so terrible!

But, towards the evening after the hour for the customary visit had gone by, Faria, not seeing the young man appear, tried to move and get over the distance which separated them. Edmond shuddered when he heard the painful efforts which the old man made to drag himself along; his leg was inert, and he could no longer make use of one arm. Edmond was obliged to assist him, for otherwise he would not have been able to enter by the small aperture which led to Dantes' chamber.

"Here I am, pursuing you remorselessly," he said with a benignant smile. "You thought to escape my munificence, but it is in vain. Listen to me."

Edmond saw there was no escape, and placing the old man on his bed, he seated himself on the stool beside him.

"You know," said the abbe, "that I was the secretary and intimate friend of Cardinal Spada, the last of the princes of that name. I owe to this worthy lord all the happiness I ever knew. He was not rich, although the wealth of his family had passed into a proverb, and I heard the phrase very often, 'As rich as a Spada.' But he, like public rumor, lived on this reputation for wealth; his palace was my paradise. I was tutor to his nephews, who are dead; and when he was alone in the world, I tried by absolute devotion to his will, to make up to him all he had done for me during ten years of unremitting kindness. The cardinal's house had no secrets for me. I had often seen my noble patron annotating ancient volumes, and eagerly searching amongst dusty family manuscripts. One day when I was reproaching him for his unavailing searches, and deploring the prostration of mind that followed them, he looked at me, and, smiling bitterly, opened a volume relating to the History of the City of Rome. There, in the twentieth chapter of the Life of Pope Alexander VI., were the following lines, which I can never forget:—

"'The great wars of Romagna had ended; Caesar Borgia, who had completed his conquest, had need of money to purchase all Italy. The pope had also need of money to bring matters to an end with Louis XII. King of France, who was formidable still in spite of his recent reverses; and it was necessary, therefore, to have recourse to some profitable scheme, which was a matter of great difficulty in the impoverished condition of exhausted Italy. His holiness had an idea. He determined to make two cardinals.'

"By choosing two of the greatest personages of Rome, especially rich men—this was the return the holy father looked for. In the first place, he could sell the great appointments and splendid offices which the cardinals already held; and then he had the two hats to sell besides. There was a third point in view, which will appear hereafter. The pope and Caesar Borgia first found the two future cardinals; they were Giovanni Rospigliosi, who held four of the highest dignities of the Holy See, and Caesar Spada, one of the noblest and richest of the Roman nobility; both felt the high honor of such a favor from the pope. They were ambitious, and Caesar Borgia soon found purchasers for their appointments. The result was, that Rospigliosi and Spada paid for being cardinals, and eight other persons paid for the offices the cardinals held before their elevation, and thus eight hundred thousand crowns entered into the coffers of the speculators.

"It is time now to proceed to the last part of the speculation. The pope heaped attentions upon Rospigliosi and Spada, conferred upon them the insignia of the cardinalate, and induced them to arrange their affairs and take up their residence at Rome. Then the pope and Caesar Borgia invited the two cardinals to dinner. This was a matter of dispute between the holy father and his son. Caesar thought they could make use of one of the means which he always had ready for his friends, that is to say, in the first place, the famous key which was given to certain persons with the request that they go and open a designated cupboard. This key was furnished with a small iron point,—a negligence on the part of the locksmith. When this was pressed to effect the opening of the cupboard, of which the lock was difficult, the person was pricked by this small point, and died next day. Then there was the ring with the lion's head, which Caesar wore when he wanted to greet his friends with a clasp of the hand. The lion bit the hand thus favored, and at the end of twenty-four hours, the bite was mortal. Caesar proposed to his father, that they should either ask the cardinals to open the cupboard, or shake hands with them; but Alexander VI., replied: 'Now as to the worthy cardinals, Spada and Rospigliosi, let us ask both of them to dinner, something tells me that we shall get that money back. Besides, you forget, Caesar, an indigestion declares itself immediately, while a prick or a bite occasions a delay of a day or two.' Caesar gave way before such cogent reasoning, and the cardinals were consequently invited to dinner.

"The table was laid in a vineyard belonging to the pope, near San Pierdarena, a charming retreat which the cardinals knew very well by report. Rospigliosi, quite set up with his new dignities, went with a good appetite and his most ingratiating manner. Spada, a prudent man, and greatly attached to his only nephew, a young captain of the highest promise, took paper and pen, and made his will. He then sent word to his nephew to wait for him near the vineyard; but it appeared the servant did not find him.

"Spada knew what these invitations meant; since Christianity, so eminently civilizing, had made progress in Rome, it was no longer a centurion who came from the tyrant with a message, 'Caesar wills that you die.' but it was a legate a latere, who came with a smile on his lips to say from the pope, 'His holiness requests you to dine with him.'

"Spada set out about two o'clock to San Pierdarena. The pope awaited him. The first sight that attracted the eyes of Spada was that of his nephew, in full costume, and Caesar Borgia paying him most marked attentions. Spada turned pale, as Caesar looked at him with an ironical air, which proved that he had anticipated all, and that the snare was well spread. They began dinner and Spada was only able to inquire of his nephew if he had received his message. The nephew replied no; perfectly comprehending the meaning of the question. It was too late, for he had already drunk a glass of excellent wine, placed for him expressly by the pope's butler. Spada at the same moment saw another bottle approach him, which he was pressed to taste. An hour afterwards a physician declared they were both poisoned through eating mushrooms. Spada died on the threshold of the vineyard; the nephew expired at his own door, making signs which his wife could not comprehend.

"Then Caesar and the pope hastened to lay hands on the heritage, under presence of seeking for the papers of the dead man. But the inheritance consisted in this only, a scrap of paper on which Spada had written:—'I bequeath to my beloved nephew my coffers, my books, and, amongst others, my breviary with the gold corners, which I beg he will preserve in remembrance of his affectionate uncle.'

"The heirs sought everywhere, admired the breviary, laid hands on the furniture, and were greatly astonished that Spada, the rich man, was really the most miserable of uncles—no treasures—unless they were those of science, contained in the library and laboratories. That was all. Caesar and his father searched, examined, scrutinized, but found nothing, or at least very little; not exceeding a few thousand crowns in plate, and about the same in ready money; but the nephew had time to say to his wife before he expired: 'Look well among my uncle's papers; there is a will.'

"They sought even more thoroughly than the august heirs had done, but it was fruitless. There were two palaces and a vineyard behind the Palatine Hill; but in these days landed property had not much value, and the two palaces and the vineyard remained to the family since they were beneath the rapacity of the pope and his son. Months and years rolled on. Alexander VI. died, poisoned,—you know by what mistake. Caesar, poisoned at the same time, escaped by shedding his skin like a snake; but the new skin was spotted by the poison till it looked like a tiger's. Then, compelled to quit Rome, he went and got himself obscurely killed in a night skirmish, scarcely noticed in history. After the pope's death and his son's exile, it was supposed that the Spada family would resume the splendid position they had held before the cardinal's time; but this was not the case. The Spadas remained in doubtful ease, a mystery hung over this dark affair, and the public rumor was, that Caesar, a better politician than his father, had carried off from the pope the fortune of the two cardinals. I say the two, because Cardinal Rospigliosi, who had not taken any precaution, was completely despoiled.

"Up to this point," said Faria, interrupting the thread of his narrative, "this seems to you very meaningless, no doubt, eh?"

"Oh, my friend," cried Dantes, "on the contrary, it seems as if I were reading a most interesting narrative; go on, I beg of you."

"I will."

"The family began to get accustomed to their obscurity. Years rolled on, and amongst the descendants some were soldiers, others diplomatists; some churchmen, some bankers; some grew rich, and some were ruined. I come now to the last of the family, whose secretary I was—the Count of Spada. I had often heard him complain of the disproportion of his rank with his fortune; and I advised him to invest all he had in an annuity. He did so, and thus doubled his income. The celebrated breviary remained in the family, and was in the count's possession. It had been handed down from father to son; for the singular clause of the only will that had been found, had caused it to be regarded as a genuine relic, preserved in the family with superstitious veneration. It was an illuminated book, with beautiful Gothic characters, and so weighty with gold, that a servant always carried it before the cardinal on days of great solemnity.

"At the sight of papers of all sorts,—titles, contracts, parchments, which were kept in the archives of the family, all descending from the poisoned cardinal, I in my turn examined the immense bundles of documents, like twenty servitors, stewards, secretaries before me; but in spite of the most exhaustive researches, I found—nothing. Yet I had read, I had even written a precise history of the Borgia family, for the sole purpose of assuring myself whether any increase of fortune had occurred to them on the death of the Cardinal Caesar Spada; but could only trace the acquisition of the property of the Cardinal Rospigliosi, his companion in misfortune.

"I was then almost assured that the inheritance had neither profited the Borgias nor the family, but had remained unpossessed like the treasures of the Arabian Nights, which slept in the bosom of the earth under the eyes of the genie. I searched, ransacked, counted, calculated a thousand and a thousand times the income and expenditure of the family for three hundred years. It was useless. I remained in my ignorance, and the Count of Spada in his poverty. My patron died. He had reserved from his annuity his family papers, his library, composed of five thousand volumes, and his famous breviary. All these he bequeathed to me, with a thousand Roman crowns, which he had in ready money, on condition that I would have anniversary masses said for the repose of his soul, and that I would draw up a genealogical tree and history of his house. All this I did scrupulously. Be easy, my dear Edmond, we are near the conclusion.

"In 1807, a month before I was arrested, and a fortnight after the death of the Count of Spada, on the 25th of December (you will see presently how the date became fixed in my memory), I was reading, for the thousandth time, the papers I was arranging, for the palace was sold to a stranger, and I was going to leave Rome and settle at Florence, intending to take with me twelve thousand francs I possessed, my library, and the famous breviary, when, tired with my constant labor at the same thing, and overcome by a heavy dinner I had eaten, my head dropped on my hands, and I fell asleep about three o'clock in the afternoon. I awoke as the clock was striking six. I raised my head; I was in utter darkness. I rang for a light, but as no one came, I determined to find one for myself. It was indeed but anticipating the simple manners which I should soon be under the necessity of adopting. I took a wax-candle in one hand, and with the other groped about for a piece of paper (my match-box being empty), with which I proposed to get a light from the small flame still playing on the embers. Fearing, however, to make use of any valuable piece of paper, I hesitated for a moment, then recollected that I had seen in the famous breviary, which was on the table beside me, an old paper quite yellow with age, and which had served as a marker for centuries, kept there by the request of the heirs. I felt for it, found it, twisted it up together, and putting it into the expiring flame, set light to it.

"But beneath my fingers, as if by magic, in proportion as the fire ascended, I saw yellowish characters appear on the paper. I grasped it in my hand, put out the flame as quickly as I could, lighted my taper in the fire itself, and opened the crumpled paper with inexpressible emotion, recognizing, when I had done so, that these characters had been traced in mysterious and sympathetic ink, only appearing when exposed to the fire; nearly one-third of the paper had been consumed by the flame. It was that paper you read this morning; read it again, Dantes, and then I will complete for you the incomplete words and unconnected sense."

Faria, with an air of triumph, offered the paper to Dantes, who this time read the following words, traced with an ink of a reddish color resembling rust:—

     "This 25th day of April, 1498, be...

     Alexander VI., and fearing that not...

     he may desire to become my heir, and re...

     and Bentivoglio, who were poisoned,...

     my sole heir, that I have bu...

     and has visited with me, that is, in...

     Island of Monte Cristo, all I poss...

     jewels, diamonds, gems; that I alone...

     may amount to nearly two mil...

     will find on raising the twentieth ro...

     creek to the east in a right line. Two open...

     in these caves; the treasure is in the furthest a...

     which treasure I bequeath and leave en...

     as my sole heir.

     "25th April, 1498.

     "Caes...

"And now," said the abbe, "read this other paper;" and he presented to Dantes a second leaf with fragments of lines written on it, which Edmond read as follows:—

           "...ing invited to dine by his Holiness

        ...content with making me pay for my hat,

   ...serves for me the fate of Cardinals Caprara

           ...I declare to my nephew, Guido Spada

                      ...ried in a place he knows

                        ...the caves of the small

                 ...essed of ingots, gold, money,

 ...know of the existence of this treasure, which

           ...lions of Roman crowns, and which he

                             ...ck from the small

                           ...ings have been made

                           ...ngle in the second;

                                   ...tire to him

                                    ...ar Spada."

Faria followed him with an excited look, "and now," he said, when he saw that Dantes had read the last line, "put the two fragments together, and judge for yourself." Dantes obeyed, and the conjointed pieces gave the following:—

"This 25th day of April, 1498, be...ing invited to dine by his Holiness Alexander VI., and fearing that not...content with making me pay for my hat, he may desire to become my heir, and re...serves for me the fate of Cardinals Caprara and Bentivoglio, who were poisoned...I declare to my nephew, Guido Spada, my sole heir, that I have bu...ried in a place he knows and has visited with me, that is, in...the caves of the small Island of Monte Cristo all I poss...ssed of ingots, gold, money, jewels, diamonds, gems; that I alone...know of the existence of this treasure, which may amount to nearly two mil...lions of Roman crowns, and which he will find on raising the twentieth ro...ck from the small creek to the east in a right line. Two open...ings have been made in these caves; the treasure is in the furthest a...ngle in the second; which treasure I bequeath and leave en...tire to him as my sole heir. "25th April, 1498. "Caes...ar Spada."

"Well, do you comprehend now?" inquired Faria.

"It is the declaration of Cardinal Spada, and the will so long sought for," replied Edmond, still incredulous.

"Yes; a thousand times, yes!"

"And who completed it as it now is?"

"I did. Aided by the remaining fragment, I guessed the rest; measuring the length of the lines by those of the paper, and divining the hidden meaning by means of what was in part revealed, as we are guided in a cavern by the small ray of light above us."

"And what did you do when you arrived at this conclusion?"

"I resolved to set out, and did set out at that very instant, carrying with me the beginning of my great work, the unity of the Italian kingdom; but for some time the imperial police (who at this period, quite contrary to what Napoleon desired so soon as he had a son born to him, wished for a partition of provinces) had their eyes on me; and my hasty departure, the cause of which they were unable to guess, having aroused their suspicions, I was arrested at the very moment I was leaving Piombino.

"Now," continued Faria, addressing Dantes with an almost paternal expression, "now, my dear fellow, you know as much as I do myself. If we ever escape together, half this treasure is yours; if I die here, and you escape alone, the whole belongs to you."

"But," inquired Dantes hesitating, "has this treasure no more legitimate possessor in the world than ourselves?"

"No, no, be easy on that score; the family is extinct. The last Count of Spada, moreover, made me his heir, bequeathing to me this symbolic breviary, he bequeathed to me all it contained; no, no, make your mind satisfied on that point. If we lay hands on this fortune, we may enjoy it without remorse."

"And you say this treasure amounts to"—

"Two millions of Roman crowns; nearly thirteen millions of our money." [*]

     * $2,600,000 in 1894.

"Impossible!" said Dantes, staggered at the enormous amount.

"Impossible? and why?" asked the old man. "The Spada family was one of the oldest and most powerful families of the fifteenth century; and in those times, when other opportunities for investment were wanting, such accumulations of gold and jewels were by no means rare; there are at this day Roman families perishing of hunger, though possessed of nearly a million in diamonds and jewels, handed down by entail, and which they cannot touch." Edmond thought he was in a dream—he wavered between incredulity and joy.

"I have only kept this secret so long from you," continued Faria, "that I might test your character, and then surprise you. Had we escaped before my attack of catalepsy, I should have conducted you to Monte Cristo; now," he added, with a sigh, "it is you who will conduct me thither. Well, Dantes, you do not thank me?"

"This treasure belongs to you, my dear friend," replied Dantes, "and to you only. I have no right to it. I am no relation of yours."

"You are my son, Dantes," exclaimed the old man. "You are the child of my captivity. My profession condemns me to celibacy. God has sent you to me to console, at one and the same time, the man who could not be a father, and the prisoner who could not get free." And Faria extended the arm of which alone the use remained to him to the young man who threw himself upon his neck and wept.

 

第十八章 宝藏

第二天早晨,当唐太斯回到他难友的房间里时,他看见法利亚坐在那儿,神色安祥。一束阳光透过牢房那狭小的窗口射了进来,他左手拿着一张展开的纸,读者记得他只有这只手可以用了。这片纸因为先前一直被卷着,所以变成了一个卷,很不容易打开。他不说话,只把那张纸给唐太斯看。

“那是什么?”后者问道。

“看。”神甫微笑着。

“我已经仔细地看过啦,”唐太斯说,“我只看到一张烧掉了一半的纸,上面有些哥拧体的文字,好象是用一种特别的墨水写的。”

“这片纸,我的朋友,”法利亚说,“既然我已经考验过你了,现在可以把我的秘密告诉你了,这片纸就是我的宝藏。从今天起,这个宝藏的一半是属于你的了。”唐太斯的额头冒出一阵冷汗。到这一天为止,经过了这么长的一段时间,他始终避免和神甫谈及有关他的宝藏的事,因为这是他发疯的病根。

生性谨慎的爱德蒙处处留意,避免触及这根痛苦的心弦,而法利亚在这方面也同样保持着沉默。他把神甫的这种沉默看作是理智的恢复,可现在,法利亚经过了这样痛苦的一场剧变以后又吐出了这些话,这说明他的神经错乱又复发了。

“你的宝藏?”唐太斯结结巴巴地问道。

法利亚微笑了一下。“是的,”他说,“你的心地的确很高尚,爱德蒙。因为我看你脸色苍白,浑身发抖,就知道你此刻心里在想些什么。不,你放心,我没有疯。这个宝藏的确存在,唐太斯。假如我不能去拥有它们,你可以去拥有它们,是的,你。

谁都不相信我的话,因为他们以为我是疯子。但是你,你该知道我并没有疯,假如你愿意的话,你一定会相信的。”

“糟糕!”爱德蒙喃喃地对自己说,“他的老病又犯了!我就差没得这种病了。”然后他大声说道,“我亲爱的朋友,你刚才发病时大概累着了,你先休息一会儿,好吧?假如你高兴,明天我再来听你讲。今天我只希望能好好地照料你。而且,”他又说,“宝藏对我们并不是很急迫的事呀。”

“非常紧急,爱德蒙!”神甫回答说。“谁知道我的病会不会在明天或后天第三次发作呢?那时就一切都完啦。这些财宝可使十家人变成巨富,我常常想,就让它们永远埋没吧,决不能让那些迫害我的人得到它们,每有这种想法,心里虽不免带点苦味,却还觉得相当畅快。这种想法也满足了我的报复心,我在这黑牢的夜里在这囚禁生活的绝望中,正在慢慢地体味其中的快意。但是现在,我已因为出于对你的爱宽恕了世界。

现在,我看到你还很年轻,前途远大,我想,这个秘密一经泄露,你就可以得到一切幸福,我深怕再耽误一分钟一秒钟,深怕失掉象你这样一个可敬的人来拥有这样巨大的宝藏。”

爱德蒙扭过头去叹息了一声。

“你仍然不肯相信,爱德蒙,”法利亚继续说道。“我的话还无法使你相信。看来你需要证据。好吧,那么,且念一念这张纸吧,这张纸我从没给别人看过。”

“明天吧,我亲爱的朋友,”爱德蒙说,他不愿顺从神甫的疯狂。“我们已说定到明天再去谈它嘛。”

“那就把它留到明天再谈吧,但今天先念一念这张纸吧。”

“别惹他生气。”爱德蒙心里想,于是便接过那张缺了一半,显然因为某次意外而被火烧过的纸来,念道——

今日为一四九八年四月历山大六世之邀,应召赴宴,献之款,而望成为吾之继承人,则将凯普勒拉及宾铁伏格里奥归于被毒死者),吾今向吾之帕达,宣布:吾曾在一彼所知地点(在基督山小岛之洞窟银条,金块,宝石,钻石,美余一人知之,其总值约及罗马艾居二开岛东小港右手第二十块岩洞口二处;宝藏系在第二洞口最吾全部遗与吾之惟一继承人。

一四九八年四月二十五日

“怎么样?”法利亚在年轻人读完以后问道。

“可是,”唐太斯答道,“我看到的只不过是一张被火烧掉了一半的,上面是一些意义不明的断句残字呀。”

“是的,我的朋友,对你是这样,因为你才第一次读到它。

但对我却不然,我曾费尽心血,熬了许多个夜晚来研究它,把每一个句子都重新写了出来,把每一处意思都作了完整的补充。”

“你认为你已经找到了另一半的意思了吗?”

“我完全可以肯定,你可以自己来判断,但先来听我讲一讲这张纸的来历吧。”

“别出声!”唐太斯轻声叫道。“有脚步声!我走啦再会!”

说着唐太斯象一条蛇似地钻进了狭窄的地道里,他很高兴能逃避去听那个故事和解释,因为这些只能使他更加确信他的难友又犯病了;至于法利亚,他在惊惶之中倒恢复了一种活力,他用脚把那块石头推到原位,又拿一张草席盖在上面,使它不易被发现。

来者是监狱长,他从狱卒那儿得知了法利亚的病情,所以亲自来看看他。

法利亚坐起身来见他,尽量避免做出任何引起怀疑的举动,他向典狱长隐瞒了他这半身瘫痪的实情。他深恐典狱长会对他萌发恻隐之心。把他换到一间较好的牢房里去那样就会把他和他的年轻伙伴分开。幸亏这种事并没有发生,监狱长离开他的时候认为那个可怜的疯子只是身体略感不适而已,心里倒也有一些同情他。

但此时,爱德蒙正坐在床上,双手捧着头,竭力在聚精会神地回想。自从他认识法利亚以来,觉得后者身上一切都显得那样的理智、伟大和崇高,他不懂为什么一个在各方面都这样富于智慧的人竟会在某一点上失去理智。究竟是法利亚被他的宝藏所迷惑了呢,还是全世界都误解了法利亚?

唐太斯整个白天都呆在他的牢房里,不敢再回到他的朋友那儿去心想这样就可以拖延一些时候,使自己慢一点来证实神甫真的疯了,他是多么怕证实这一点!

到了傍晚时分,常规的查监过后,法利亚不见年轻人过来,就试着自己去穿过那条通道。他的一条腿已不能动弹了,一只手臂也已不能再用了,所以他只能拖着身子爬过来。爱德蒙一听到神甫那痛苦挣扎的声音,就不禁打了个寒颤。他不得不勉强迎上前去帮他一把,因为否则老人是无法从那通向唐太斯房间的小洞口钻过来的。

“我来了,不顾一切地追到你这儿来了,”他慈祥地向他笑着说。“你以为可以逃避我慷慨的馈赠,但这是没有用的。听我说吧。”

爱德蒙看到已无法逃避,便扶神甫坐到他的床上,自己则拖过长登坐在他的旁边。“你知道,”神甫说道,“我是红衣主教斯帕达的秘书,也是他的密友,而他是斯帕达亲王这一族中最后的一位。我一生的全部幸福都是这位可敬的爵爷所赐于的。

尽管我曾时常听人说‘象斯帕达那样富有但他本人并不富有,外面有此谣言所以他也就在一个富有的虚名下生活。他的宫殿就是我的天堂。我曾教过他的侄子,那个人现在已经死了。

当他只剩下孤家寡人的时候,我就回到了他那儿,决心要照料他,以此来报答十年来他对我的恩情。红衣主教的家事我简直可以说无所不知。我常常看到我那高贵的爵爷在辛辛苦苦地注释古书,费劲地在灰尘之中翻寻祖先的遗稿。有一天,我埋怨他不该作这种于事无益的搜寻,以致把自己弄得身心疲惫,他看了看我,然后苦笑着打开一大卷述及罗马城历史的书。他翻到书中记述教皇亚历山大六世生平的第二十九章,上面有这么几句话,那是我永远也忘不了的。

“‘罗马尼大战业已结束。凯撒•布琪亚完成其征服事业以后,急需款子购买意大利全境。教皇便急需款子摆脱法国国王路易十二,故必须借助于某种有利的交易活动,然而在意大利遍地穷困之状况下,此事极其为难。教皇陛下想到了一个主意,决定册封两位红衣主教’”。

“假如在罗马挑选两个伟大的人物,尤其是大富翁,则圣父 【教皇亚历山大六世——译注】就可以从这项交易里获到以下利益。第一,他可以把这两个红衣主教属下的大官美缺出卖;第二是红衣主教这两顶高帽子也可以卖不少钱。这项交易还有第三种好处,下面将要讲到。教皇和凯撒•布琪亚先找到了这两位未来的红衣主教,他们是琪恩•罗斯辟格里奥赛和凯撒•斯帕达,前者已在教廷里挂着四种最高的头衔,后者则是罗马贵族中最高贵和最富有的。两位都对教皇的这种情意感到无上的光荣。他们都是很有野心的。这事一经确定,凯撒•布琪亚不久就又找到了出钱买红衣主教手下官职的人。结果是罗斯辟格里奥赛和斯帕达花钱当上了红衣主教,而在他们还不曾正式荣升之前,已另外有八个人花钱当了主教以前所托的职位,而八十万艾居就此进了这笔交易的卖主的金库里。

“现在该讲讲这项交易的最后一部分了。教皇对罗斯辟格里奥赛和斯巴达,既赐他们以红衣主教的勋章,又劝他们把不动产都变卖成现钱,使他们在罗马定居下来,教皇和凯撒•布琪亚还设宴招待这两位红衣主教。这是圣父和他的儿子 【指凯撒•布琪亚。——译注】之间的一场争论。凯撒心里可以使用对付他的老朋友的一个惯用手法。即可以用那把出了名的钥匙,他们请某个人拿了这把钥匙去打开一只指定的碗柜。这把钥匙上有一个小小的铁刺,那是锁匠一时疏忽留下来的。那把锁很难开,当这个人用力去开碗柜的时候,钥匙上的小刺就刺破了他的皮,而他第二天他必将死去。此外还有那只狮头戒指,凯撒每当要与人紧紧握手的时候就把它戴上。狮头便会咬破那只承恩的手,而在二十四小时以后,那咬破的小伤口便会致命。所以凯撒向他的父亲建议,或是请这两位红衣主教去开碗柜,或是与他们每人亲热地紧握一次手。但亚历山大六世回答他说:‘想到罗斯辟格里奥赛和斯帕达这两位可敬的红衣主教,我们就别计较一顿晚宴的费用了。我总觉得,我们可以把他们的钱弄过来的。而且,你忘记啦,凯撒,消化不良会立刻发作的,而刺一下或咬一下却要在一两天以后才能见结果。’凯撒听了这番头头是道的话后就让步了。两位红衣主教要因此就被邀赴宴了。

“宴席摆在圣皮埃尔—埃里斯兰宫附近教皇的一个葡萄园里,两位红衣主教早就听说那是一个很幽静可爱的地方。罗斯辟格里奥赛真是受宠若惊,乐得忘乎所以了,他穿上最漂亮的衣服,准备赴宴。斯帕达却是一个很谨慎小心的人,他只有一个侄子,是一个前途远大的青年军官,他对他极其钟爱,所以他拿出笔和纸,写下了他的遗嘱。然后就派人去找他的侄子,要他在葡萄园附近等候他,可是仆人似乎没有找到他。“斯帕达很清楚这种邀请的意义。自基督教问世以来,罗马的文明已大有进步了,现在不再会有一个百夫长来传达暴君的口信:‘凯撒赐你死!’而是由教皇派来一个特使,面带微笑地说:‘教皇陛下请你去赴宴。’“斯帕达在两点钟左右动身到了圣皮埃尔斯里安宫的葡萄园里。教皇已在等着他了。斯帕达第一眼看到的人就是他那穿着全套盛装的侄子,和对他虎视眈眈地望着他的凯撒•布琪亚。斯帕达的脸立刻变青了,而凯撒却带着一种讥讽的神色望了望他,证明一切都不出他之所料,天罗地网已经布下了。他们开始进餐,斯帕达只来得及问了他的侄子一句话,问他有没有接到他的口信,侄子回答说没有,他已完全明白了这句问话的意义。但是太晚啦,因为他已经喝下了一杯教皇膳食总管特地捧到他面前的美酒。同时,斯帕达看见他自己的面前又添了一瓶酒,他被劝喝了几大杯。一小时以后,医生宣布他们两个人都因食有了羊脏菌而中毒身亡。斯帕达死在葡萄园的门口。他的侄子在他自己的家门口断的气,临死前还做了一些手势,但他的妻子不懂其中的含意。

“凯撒和教皇迫不及待去抢遗产,借口是去找死者的文件。但遗产仅止于此,即斯帕达在一小片纸上写到:吾将吾之库藏及书籍赠与吾所钟爱之侄,其中有吾之金角祈祷书一本,吾盼其能善为保存,借作其爱叔之留念。

抢夺遗产者四处寻找,仔仔细细地翻看了那本祈祷书,又把家具都翻来复去的察看了一遍,他们不由得都大吃一惊,原来这位以富有闻名的叔父斯巴达,实际上却是一位最可怜的叔父。说到财宝,除了那些在图书馆和实验室里的科学珍品以外,别的一点都没有。事情就是这样:凯撒和他的父亲到处寻找,到处搜查,到处仔细地察看,但却什么也没找到,或者说东西少得可怜,只有几千艾居的金条,和大约相同数目的现钱。

不过侄子在他断气以前,还来得及对他的妻子说过一句话:‘仔细在我叔父的文件里找,里面有真正的遗嘱。’“他们又去寻找,甚至比那两位尊严的继承人找得还彻底,但仍然是毫无结果。王府后面有两座宫殿和一个葡萄园,但当时不动产还不那么值钱,不能满足教皇和他儿子的胃口,这两座宫殿和那葡萄园仍归家族所有。光阴似水流过,亚历山大六世死了,是中毒死的,你知道那是怎么错杀了的。凯撒也同时中了毒,不过他的皮肤并没有变成蛇皮的颜色,毒药只使他的皮肤起了很多斑点,象蒙上了一张老虎皮一样。于是,他被迫离开罗马,在一次精历史学家所遗忘的夜间的小战斗中被人莫名其妙地打死了。在教皇去世和他的儿子被放逐以后,大家以为斯怕达这一族又要象他们当红衣主教那个时代那样发达起来了,但事实却并不如此。斯帕达这一族人依旧只是勉强过得去,这桩黑暗的事件始终被笼罩在迷中雾中。一般的谣传是,那政治手腕比他父亲高强的凯撒已从教皇那儿夺了两位红衣主教的财产带走了。我说两位,是指还有那位红衣主教罗斯辟格里奥赛,他由于事先毫无准备,所以完全被抢光了。”

“讲到这里为止,”法利亚打断自己的话头说,“你一定觉得这非常荒唐吧?”

“噢,我的朋友,”唐太斯说道,“正相反,我好象是在读一本最有趣的故事,请你说下去吧。”

“我继续说下去,斯帕达这家族的人开始习惯于这种平庸的生活了。许多年又过去了,在他们后代之中,有的当了军人,有的当了外交家,有的当了教士,有成了银行家,有的发了财,有的破了产。我现在要讲的是这个家族的最后一位,就是斯帕达伯爵,我当过他的秘书,常常听到他抱怨,说他的爵位和他的财产太不相称。我就劝他把全部财产都变成定期存款。他照办了,因此收入就增加了一倍。那本著名的祈祷书仍由这个家族的人保存着,现在已归伯爵所有。这是由父传子,子传孙一路传下来的,由于所找到的遗嘱上有那么一句话,所以它变成了一件真正的传家之宝,族里的人都带着迷信的崇敬之感把它好好地保存着。这本书上的大写字母都是用金银彩色写成的,全书都是美丽的歌特体的文字,由于包金的缘故,份量很重,所以每到大的日子,总得由一个仆人把它捧到红衣主教面前。”

“那各种各样的文件,有诏书,契约,公文等,这一切都藏在档案柜里,从那被毒死的红衣主教开始一直传下来,全族人的文件都在这里了,我也象在我以前的那二十位侍仆,管家和秘书一样,把那庞大的文件堆又查看了一遍。虽说我经过了最认真仔细的研究,但结果还是一场空。我把布琪亚那个家族人的历史详详细细地读了一遍,甚至还把它写成了一部书,唯一的目的,就是想研究出他们有没有因红衣主教凯撒•斯帕达的死而增加了任何财富。但我发现他们只得了他的同难人红衣主教罗斯辟格里奥赛的产业。”

“当时我就几乎肯定,那笔遗产并没有被布琪亚那一族人或他的本族人得去那依旧是一笔无主之财,象《一千零一夜》故事里的宝藏一样,仍在大地的怀抱里,由一个魔鬼看守着。

我无数次地搜索考查,把那一族人三百年来的收入和支出算了又算,简直不下千百次,还是没有用。我仍然茫然无所知,而斯帕达伯爵仍然穷困潦倒。我的东家死了。他除了定期存款以外,还保存着他的家族文件,他那藏有五千卷书的图书和他那著名的祈祷书。这一切他都遗赠了给我,还有一笔一千罗马艾居的现款,条件是要我每年给他举行一次弥撒,祈祷他的灵魂安息,并叫我给他编一本族谱,写一部家史。这一切我都一丝不苟的照办了。别着急,我亲爱的爱德蒙,我们就要讲到最后这段了。”

“一八○七年十二月二十五日,在我被捕的前一个月,也就是斯帕达伯爵去世后的第十五天,你看,那个日期在我的记忆里印得多深刻,我一边整理文件,一边把这些读过千百次的东西又看了一遍,因为那座宫殿已卖给了一个陌生人,我就要离开罗马,去定居在佛罗伦萨,同时准备带走我所有的一万二千里弗,我的藏书和那本著名的祈祷书,由于长时间的翻阅这些资料,我感到疲倦极了,加之午餐又吃得太饱,所以我竟用手垫着头睡过去了,那时约莫下午三点钟。当我醒来的时候,时钟正敲六点。我抬起头来,四周是一片黑暗。我拉铃叫人拿灯来,但没有人来,我就决定自己去弄一个。这原是一种哲学家的脾气,但这时我是非这样做不可了。我用一手拿着一支蜡烛,由于我的火柴盒子已经空了,一手去摸索一片纸,想拿它到壁炉的余火里去点燃。我担心在黑暗之中用掉的是一张有价值的纸,所以我迟疑了一会儿,然后想到,在那本著名的祈祷书里我曾见过一张因年代久远而发黄了的纸片,这张纸片,几世纪来都被人当作书签用,只是由于世代子孙尊重遗物,所以还把它保存在那儿。那本祈祷书就在我身旁的桌子上,我摸索了一会儿,找到了那张纸,把它扭成一条,按到将熄的火焰上面,点燃了它。”

“但在我的手指底下,象施了魔法似的,当那火苗窜起的时候,只见纸上现出了淡黄色的字迹。我吓了一跳。赶急把那张纸抓在手里,扑灭了火,直接点燃了那支小蜡烛,然后带着难以表达的激动心情摊开了那张扭皱了的纸。我发觉那上面的字是用神秘的隐显墨水写的,只有拿到火上去烘才会显现出来。那张纸有三分之一多一点已被火烧掉了。剩下的就是你今天早晨的那张碎纸片,把它再念一遍吧,唐太斯,读过以后我再把那些残破的句子和互不连贯的意义给你补充上。”

法利亚洋洋得意地把那张纸交给了唐太斯,后者这次又把下列这些铁锈色的字句读了一遍:——

今日为一四九八年四月历山大六世之邀,应召赴宴,献之款,而望成为吾之继承人,则将凯普勒拉及宾铁伏格里奥归于被毒死者),吾今向吾之帕达,宣布:吾曾在一彼所知地点(在基督山小岛之洞窟银条,金块,宝石,钻石,美余一人知之,其总值约及罗马艾居二开岛东小港右手第二十块岩洞口二处;宝藏系在第二洞口最吾全部遗与吾之惟一继承人。

一四九八年四月二十五日

“现在,”神甫说,“再念一念这张纸;”说着他把第二张纸给了唐太斯,那上面也有一些残缺的句子,爱德蒙读道:——二十五日,吾受教皇圣下亚恐彼或不满于吾捐衔所令吾与红衣主教同一之命运(彼二人系惟一继承人,吾侄葛陀•斯悉并曾与吾同往游览之中)埋藏余所有之全部金玉;此项宝藏之存在仅百万;彼仅须打石,即可获得。此窟共有深之一角;此项宝藏撒十斯帕达

法利亚用兴奋的目光注视着他。“现在,”当他看到唐太斯已念到最后一行的时候说,“把两片残纸拼拢起来,你就可以自己判断了。”唐太斯照着做了,合起来的那两片纸上的内容如下:

今日为一四九八年四月——二十五日,吾受教皇圣下亚历山大六世之邀,应召赴宴,——恐彼或不满于吾捐衔所献之款,而望成为吾之继承人,则将——令吾与红衣主教凯普勒拉及宾铁伏格里奥归于——同一之命运(彼二人系被毒死者),吾今向吾之——惟一继承人,吾侄葛陀•斯帕达,宣布:吾曾在一彼所知——悉并曾与吾同往游览之地点(在基督山小岛之洞窟——中)埋藏吾所有之全部金银条,金块,宝石,钻石,美——玉;此项宝藏之存在仅吾一人知之,其总值约及罗马艾居二——百万;彼仅须打开鸟东小港右手第二十块岩——石,即可获得。此窟共有洞口二处;宝藏系在第二洞口最——深之一角;此项宝藏吾全部遗赠与吾之惟一继承人。

凯——撒十斯巴达

一四九八年四月二十五日

“好,现在你明白了吧?”法利亚问道。

“这就是红衣主教斯帕达的声明,也就是人们找了那么久的遗嘱吗?”唐太斯问道,他心里依旧是半信半疑的。

“是呀!千真万确!”

“谁把它补充成现在这个样子的?”

“我,凭借那残余的半张。我把其余的部猜了出来,从那张纸的长度,测出句子的长短,再根据字面上的含义推敲出隐去的意思,就好象我们在岩洞里凭着顶上的一线微光摸路一样的把它摸索了出来。”

“你得到这个结果以后又做了些什么呢?”

“我决定马上出发,当时即刻就出发了,身边只带着我那本论统一意大利那篇巨著的前几章。但帝国的警务部长却早已在注意我了,他当时的意见恰巧和拿破仑相反,拿破仑是希望生一个儿子来统一意大利,而他却希望造成割据的局面。而我这样子行色匆匆,他们猜不出原因,就起了疑心,所以我刚一离开皮昂比诺就被捕了。现在,”法利亚以慈父般的表情对唐太斯继续说道,“现在,我的朋友,你知道得和我一样清楚了。假如我们能一起逃走,这个宝藏的一半就是你的了,假如我死在这儿,你一个人逃出去那么就全部归你了。”

“可是,”唐太斯吞吞吐吐地问道,“这个宝藏除了我们以外,难道世界上就没有更合法的主人了吗?”

“没有了,没有了这方面你放心好了,那个家族已经绝后了。再说,最后一代的斯帕达伯爵又指定我为他的继承人,把这本有象征意义的祈祷书遗赠给了我,他把这本书里所有的一切都遗赠了给我。不要紧,不要紧,放心好了,假如我们得到了这笔财富,我们大可问心无愧地享用它。”

“你说这个宝藏价值——?”

“两百万罗马艾居,照我们的钱算,约等于一千三百万埃居。”

“不可能!”唐太斯被这个天文数字吓得叫出了声。

“不可能!为什么?”神甫问道。“斯巴达家族人是十五世纪最古老,最强盛的家族之一。而在当时,没有金融交易和工业,所以积攒那些金银珠宝并不为奇。就是在当今,也有些罗马家族几乎都快饿死了,可他们还有价值百万的钻石珠宝,那是当作传家之宝世代传下来的,他们是不能动用的。”

爱德蒙仿费是在做梦,他时而怀疑,时而兴奋。

“我把这个秘密对你保守了这么久,”法利亚继续说道,“只是为了我要考验一下你这个人,然后让你吃一惊。要是在我的病没有再发作以前我们就逃了出去我会把你带到基督山岛去的,现在,”他长叹了一声,又说,“是要你带我到那儿去了。喂!唐太斯,你还没有谢谢我呢。”

“这个宝藏是属于你的,我亲爱的朋友,”唐太斯答道,“而且只属于你一个人。我没有任何权利。我又不是你的亲人。”

“你是我的儿子呀,唐太斯!”神甫喊道。“你是我囚禁生活中的儿子。我的职业决定了我只能过独身生活。上帝派你来抚慰我,来抚慰我这个不能做父亲的人和不能得到自由的囚徒。”说着法利亚就把他那条还能动的手臂向年轻人伸去后者扑上去抱住他的脖子,哭了起来。




Chapter 19. The Third Attack.

Now that this treasure, which had so long been the object of the abbe's meditations, could insure the future happiness of him whom Faria really loved as a son, it had doubled its value in his eyes, and every day he expatiated on the amount, explaining to Dantes all the good which, with thirteen or fourteen millions of francs, a man could do in these days to his friends; and then Dantes' countenance became gloomy, for the oath of vengeance he had taken recurred to his memory, and he reflected how much ill, in these times, a man with thirteen or fourteen millions could do to his enemies.

The abbe did not know the Island of Monte Cristo; but Dantes knew it, and had often passed it, situated twenty-five miles from Pianosa, between Corsica and the Island of Elba, and had once touched there. This island was, always had been, and still is, completely deserted. It is a rock of almost conical form, which looks as though it had been thrust up by volcanic force from the depth to the surface of the ocean. Dantes drew a plan of the island for Faria, and Faria gave Dantes advice as to the means he should employ to recover the treasure. But Dantes was far from being as enthusiastic and confident as the old man. It was past a question now that Faria was not a lunatic, and the way in which he had achieved the discovery, which had given rise to the suspicion of his madness, increased Edmond's admiration of him; but at the same time Dantes could not believe that the deposit, supposing it had ever existed, still existed; and though he considered the treasure as by no means chimerical, he yet believed it was no longer there.

However, as if fate resolved on depriving the prisoners of their last chance, and making them understand that they were condemned to perpetual imprisonment, a new misfortune befell them; the gallery on the sea side, which had long been in ruins, was rebuilt. They had repaired it completely, and stopped up with vast masses of stone the hole Dantes had partly filled in. But for this precaution, which, it will be remembered, the abbe had made to Edmond, the misfortune would have been still greater, for their attempt to escape would have been detected, and they would undoubtedly have been separated. Thus a new, a stronger, and more inexorable barrier was interposed to cut off the realization of their hopes.

"You see," said the young man, with an air of sorrowful resignation, to Faria, "that God deems it right to take from me any claim to merit for what you call my devotion to you. I have promised to remain forever with you, and now I could not break my promise if I would. The treasure will be no more mine than yours, and neither of us will quit this prison. But my real treasure is not that, my dear friend, which awaits me beneath the sombre rocks of Monte Cristo, it is your presence, our living together five or six hours a day, in spite of our jailers; it is the rays of intelligence you have elicited from my brain, the languages you have implanted in my memory, and which have taken root there with all their philological ramifications. These different sciences that you have made so easy to me by the depth of the knowledge you possess of them, and the clearness of the principles to which you have reduced them—this is my treasure, my beloved friend, and with this you have made me rich and happy. Believe me, and take comfort, this is better for me than tons of gold and cases of diamonds, even were they not as problematical as the clouds we see in the morning floating over the sea, which we take for terra firma, and which evaporate and vanish as we draw near to them. To have you as long as possible near me, to hear your eloquent speech,—which embellishes my mind, strengthens my soul, and makes my whole frame capable of great and terrible things, if I should ever be free,—so fills my whole existence, that the despair to which I was just on the point of yielding when I knew you, has no longer any hold over me; and this—this is my fortune—not chimerical, but actual. I owe you my real good, my present happiness; and all the sovereigns of the earth, even Caesar Borgia himself, could not deprive me of this."

Thus, if not actually happy, yet the days these two unfortunates passed together went quickly. Faria, who for so long a time had kept silence as to the treasure, now perpetually talked of it. As he had prophesied would be the case, he remained paralyzed in the right arm and the left leg, and had given up all hope of ever enjoying it himself. But he was continually thinking over some means of escape for his young companion, and anticipating the pleasure he would enjoy. For fear the letter might be some day lost or stolen, he compelled Dantes to learn it by heart; and Dantes knew it from the first to the last word. Then he destroyed the second portion, assured that if the first were seized, no one would be able to discover its real meaning. Whole hours sometimes passed while Faria was giving instructions to Dantes,—instructions which were to serve him when he was at liberty. Then, once free, from the day and hour and moment when he was so, he could have but one only thought, which was, to gain Monte Cristo by some means, and remain there alone under some pretext which would arouse no suspicions; and once there, to endeavor to find the wonderful caverns, and search in the appointed spot,—the appointed spot, be it remembered, being the farthest angle in the second opening.

In the meanwhile the hours passed, if not rapidly, at least tolerably. Faria, as we have said, without having recovered the use of his hand and foot, had regained all the clearness of his understanding, and had gradually, besides the moral instructions we have detailed, taught his youthful companion the patient and sublime duty of a prisoner, who learns to make something from nothing. They were thus perpetually employed,—Faria, that he might not see himself grow old; Dantes, for fear of recalling the almost extinct past which now only floated in his memory like a distant light wandering in the night. So life went on for them as it does for those who are not victims of misfortune and whose activities glide along mechanically and tranquilly beneath the eye of providence.

But beneath this superficial calm there were in the heart of the young man, and perhaps in that of the old man, many repressed desires, many stifled sighs, which found vent when Faria was left alone, and when Edmond returned to his cell. One night Edmond awoke suddenly, believing that he heard some one calling him. He opened his eyes upon utter darkness. His name, or rather a plaintive voice which essayed to pronounce his name, reached him. He sat up in bed and a cold sweat broke out upon his brow. Undoubtedly the call came from Faria's dungeon. "Alas," murmured Edmond; "can it be?"

He moved his bed, drew up the stone, rushed into the passage, and reached the opposite extremity; the secret entrance was open. By the light of the wretched and wavering lamp, of which we have spoken, Dantes saw the old man, pale, but yet erect, clinging to the bedstead. His features were writhing with those horrible symptoms which he already knew, and which had so seriously alarmed him when he saw them for the first time.

"Alas, my dear friend," said Faria in a resigned tone, "you understand, do you not, and I need not attempt to explain to you?"

Edmond uttered a cry of agony, and, quite out of his senses, rushed towards the door, exclaiming, "Help, help!" Faria had just sufficient strength to restrain him.

"Silence," he said, "or you are lost. We must now only think of you, my dear friend, and so act as to render your captivity supportable or your flight possible. It would require years to do again what I have done here, and the results would be instantly destroyed if our jailers knew we had communicated with each other. Besides, be assured, my dear Edmond, the dungeon I am about to leave will not long remain empty; some other unfortunate being will soon take my place, and to him you will appear like an angel of salvation. Perhaps he will be young, strong, and enduring, like yourself, and will aid you in your escape, while I have been but a hindrance. You will no longer have half a dead body tied to you as a drag to all your movements. At length providence has done something for you; he restores to you more than he takes away, and it was time I should die."

Edmond could only clasp his hands and exclaim, "Oh, my friend, my friend, speak not thus!" and then resuming all his presence of mind, which had for a moment staggered under this blow, and his strength, which had failed at the words of the old man, he said, "Oh, I have saved you once, and I will save you a second time!" And raising the foot of the bed, he drew out the phial, still a third filled with the red liquor.

"See," he exclaimed, "there remains still some of the magic draught. Quick, quick! tell me what I must do this time; are there any fresh instructions? Speak, my friend; I listen."

"There is not a hope," replied Faria, shaking his head, "but no matter; God wills it that man whom he has created, and in whose heart he has so profoundly rooted the love of life, should do all in his power to preserve that existence, which, however painful it may be, is yet always so dear."

"Oh, yes, yes!" exclaimed Dantes; "and I tell you that I will save you yet."

"Well, then, try. The cold gains upon me. I feel the blood flowing towards my brain. These horrible chills, which make my teeth chatter and seem to dislocate my bones, begin to pervade my whole frame; in five minutes the malady will reach its height, and in a quarter of an hour there will be nothing left of me but a corpse."

"Oh!" exclaimed Dantes, his heart wrung with anguish.

"Do as you did before, only do not wait so long, all the springs of life are now exhausted in me, and death," he continued, looking at his paralyzed arm and leg, "has but half its work to do. If, after having made me swallow twelve drops instead of ten, you see that I do not recover, then pour the rest down my throat. Now lift me on my bed, for I can no longer support myself."

Edmond took the old man in his arms, and laid him on the bed.

"And now, my dear friend," said Faria, "sole consolation of my wretched existence,—you whom heaven gave me somewhat late, but still gave me, a priceless gift, and for which I am most grateful,—at the moment of separating from you forever, I wish you all the happiness and all the prosperity you so well deserve. My son, I bless thee!" The young man cast himself on his knees, leaning his head against the old man's bed.

"Listen, now, to what I say in this my dying moment. The treasure of the Spadas exists. God grants me the boon of vision unrestricted by time or space. I see it in the depths of the inner cavern. My eyes pierce the inmost recesses of the earth, and are dazzled at the sight of so much riches. If you do escape, remember that the poor abbe, whom all the world called mad, was not so. Hasten to Monte Cristo—avail yourself of the fortune—for you have indeed suffered long enough." A violent convulsion attacked the old man. Dantes raised his head and saw Faria's eyes injected with blood. It seemed as if a flow of blood had ascended from the chest to the head.

"Adieu, adieu!" murmured the old man, clasping Edmond's hand convulsively—"adieu!"

"Oh, no,—no, not yet," he cried; "do not forsake me! Oh, succor him! Help—help—help!"

"Hush—hush!" murmured the dying man, "that they may not separate us if you save me!"

"You are right. Oh, yes, yes; be assured I shall save you! Besides, although you suffer much, you do not seem to be in such agony as you were before."

"Do not mistake. I suffer less because there is in me less strength to endure. At your age we have faith in life; it is the privilege of youth to believe and hope, but old men see death more clearly. Oh, 'tis here—'tis here—'tis over—my sight is gone—my senses fail! Your hand, Dantes! Adieu—adieu!" And raising himself by a final effort, in which he summoned all his faculties, he said,—"Monte Cristo, forget not Monte Cristo!" And he fell back on the bed. The crisis was terrible, and a rigid form with twisted limbs, swollen eyelids, and lips flecked with bloody foam, lay on the bed of torture, in place of the intellectual being who so lately rested there.

Dantes took the lamp, placed it on a projecting stone above the bed, whence its tremulous light fell with strange and fantastic ray on the distorted countenance and motionless, stiffened body. With steady gaze he awaited confidently the moment for administering the restorative.

When he believed that the right moment had arrived, he took the knife, pried open the teeth, which offered less resistance than before, counted one after the other twelve drops, and watched; the phial contained, perhaps, twice as much more. He waited ten minutes, a quarter of an hour, half an hour,—no change took place. Trembling, his hair erect, his brow bathed with perspiration, he counted the seconds by the beating of his heart. Then he thought it was time to make the last trial, and he put the phial to the purple lips of Faria, and without having occasion to force open his jaws, which had remained extended, he poured the whole of the liquid down his throat.

The draught produced a galvanic effect, a violent trembling pervaded the old man's limbs, his eyes opened until it was fearful to gaze upon them, he heaved a sigh which resembled a shriek, and then his convulsed body returned gradually to its former immobility, the eyes remaining open.

Half an hour, an hour, an hour and a half elapsed, and during this period of anguish, Edmond leaned over his friend, his hand applied to his heart, and felt the body gradually grow cold, and the heart's pulsation become more and more deep and dull, until at length it stopped; the last movement of the heart ceased, the face became livid, the eyes remained open, but the eyeballs were glazed. It was six o'clock in the morning, the dawn was just breaking, and its feeble ray came into the dungeon, and paled the ineffectual light of the lamp. Strange shadows passed over the countenance of the dead man, and at times gave it the appearance of life. While the struggle between day and night lasted, Dantes still doubted; but as soon as the daylight gained the pre-eminence, he saw that he was alone with a corpse. Then an invincible and extreme terror seized upon him, and he dared not again press the hand that hung out of bed, he dared no longer to gaze on those fixed and vacant eyes, which he tried many times to close, but in vain—they opened again as soon as shut. He extinguished the lamp, carefully concealed it, and then went away, closing as well as he could the entrance to the secret passage by the large stone as he descended.

It was time, for the jailer was coming. On this occasion he began his rounds at Dantes' cell, and on leaving him he went on to Faria's dungeon, taking thither breakfast and some linen. Nothing betokened that the man knew anything of what had occurred. He went on his way.

Dantes was then seized with an indescribable desire to know what was going on in the dungeon of his unfortunate friend. He therefore returned by the subterraneous gallery, and arrived in time to hear the exclamations of the turnkey, who called out for help. Other turnkeys came, and then was heard the regular tramp of soldiers. Last of all came the governor.

Edmond heard the creaking of the bed as they moved the corpse, heard the voice of the governor, who asked them to throw water on the dead man's face; and seeing that, in spite of this application, the prisoner did not recover, they sent for the doctor. The governor then went out, and words of pity fell on Dantes' listening ears, mingled with brutal laughter.

"Well, well," said one, "the madman has gone to look after his treasure. Good journey to him!"

"With all his millions, he will not have enough to pay for his shroud!" said another.

"Oh," added a third voice, "the shrouds of the Chateau d'If are not dear!"

"Perhaps," said one of the previous speakers, "as he was a churchman, they may go to some expense in his behalf."

"They may give him the honors of the sack."

Edmond did not lose a word, but comprehended very little of what was said. The voices soon ceased, and it seemed to him as if every one had left the cell. Still he dared not to enter, as they might have left some turnkey to watch the dead. He remained, therefore, mute and motionless, hardly venturing to breathe. At the end of an hour, he heard a faint noise, which increased. It was the governor who returned, followed by the doctor and other attendants. There was a moment's silence,—it was evident that the doctor was examining the dead body. The inquiries soon commenced.

The doctor analyzed the symptoms of the malady to which the prisoner had succumbed, and declared that he was dead. Questions and answers followed in a nonchalant manner that made Dantes indignant, for he felt that all the world should have for the poor abbe a love and respect equal to his own.

"I am very sorry for what you tell me," said the governor, replying to the assurance of the doctor, "that the old man is really dead; for he was a quiet, inoffensive prisoner, happy in his folly, and required no watching."

"Ah," added the turnkey, "there was no occasion for watching him: he would have stayed here fifty years, I'll answer for it, without any attempt to escape."

"Still," said the governor, "I believe it will be requisite, notwithstanding your certainty, and not that I doubt your science, but in discharge of my official duty, that we should be perfectly assured that the prisoner is dead." There was a moment of complete silence, during which Dantes, still listening, knew that the doctor was examining the corpse a second time.

"You may make your mind easy," said the doctor; "he is dead. I will answer for that."

"You know, sir," said the governor, persisting, "that we are not content in such cases as this with such a simple examination. In spite of all appearances, be so kind, therefore, as to finish your duty by fulfilling the formalities described by law."

"Let the irons be heated," said the doctor; "but really it is a useless precaution." This order to heat the irons made Dantes shudder. He heard hasty steps, the creaking of a door, people going and coming, and some minutes afterwards a turnkey entered, saying,—

"Here is the brazier, lighted." There was a moment's silence, and then was heard the crackling of burning flesh, of which the peculiar and nauseous smell penetrated even behind the wall where Dantes was listening in horror. The perspiration poured forth upon the young man's brow, and he felt as if he should faint.

"You see, sir, he is really dead," said the doctor; "this burn in the heel is decisive. The poor fool is cured of his folly, and delivered from his captivity."

"Wasn't his name Faria?" inquired one of the officers who accompanied the governor.

"Yes, sir; and, as he said, it was an ancient name. He was, too, very learned, and rational enough on all points which did not relate to his treasure; but on that, indeed, he was intractable."

"It is the sort of malady which we call monomania," said the doctor.

"You had never anything to complain of?" said the governor to the jailer who had charge of the abbe.

"Never, sir," replied the jailer, "never; on the contrary, he sometimes amused me very much by telling me stories. One day, too, when my wife was ill, he gave me a prescription which cured her."

"Ah, ah!" said the doctor, "I did not know that I had a rival; but I hope, governor, that you will show him all proper respect."

"Yes, yes, make your mind easy, he shall be decently interred in the newest sack we can find. Will that satisfy you?"

"Must this last formality take place in your presence, sir?" inquired a turnkey.

"Certainly. But make haste—I cannot stay here all day." Other footsteps, going and coming, were now heard, and a moment afterwards the noise of rustling canvas reached Dantes' ears, the bed creaked, and the heavy footfall of a man who lifts a weight sounded on the floor; then the bed again creaked under the weight deposited upon it.

"This evening," said the governor.

"Will there be any mass?" asked one of the attendants.

"That is impossible," replied the governor. "The chaplain of the chateau came to me yesterday to beg for leave of absence, in order to take a trip to Hyeres for a week. I told him I would attend to the prisoners in his absence. If the poor abbe had not been in such a hurry, he might have had his requiem."

"Pooh, pooh;" said the doctor, with the impiety usual in persons of his profession; "he is a churchman. God will respect his profession, and not give the devil the wicked delight of sending him a priest." A shout of laughter followed this brutal jest. Meanwhile the operation of putting the body in the sack was going on.

"This evening," said the governor, when the task was ended.

"At what hour?" inquired a turnkey.

"Why, about ten or eleven o'clock."

"Shall we watch by the corpse?"

"Of what use would it be? Shut the dungeon as if he were alive—that is all." Then the steps retreated, and the voices died away in the distance; the noise of the door, with its creaking hinges and bolts ceased, and a silence more sombre than that of solitude ensued,—the silence of death, which was all-pervasive, and struck its icy chill to the very soul of Dantes. Then he raised the flag-stone cautiously with his head, and looked carefully around the chamber. It was empty, and Dantes emerged from the tunnel.

 

第十九章 第三次发病

长久以来,神甫一直在沉思默想这个宝藏,现在,他终于能用它来保证他爱如己子的唐太斯的未来的幸福了。于是,在法利亚的眼中无形中宝藏的价值增加了一倍,他每天絮絮叨叨谈论它的数目,向唐太斯解释,在当个这个时代,一个人拥有了一千三百万或一千四百万的财富,能如何如何地为他的朋友造福。可是唐太斯的脸却阴沉起来,因为他脑海中复仇的誓言又出现了,他也想到,在当今这个时代,一个人拥有了一千三百万或一千四百万财富,能给他的仇人带去多大的灾难。

神甫不知道基督山岛在什么地方,但唐太斯却知道,而且常常经过那个地方,甚至还曾上去过一次,它离皮亚诺扎只有二十五哩,在科西嘉岛和厄尔巴岛之间。这个岛以前一向是,而且现在也还是荒无人烟的地方。它像是一块圆椎形的大岩石,似乎是某次海底火山爆发把它推到海面上来的。唐太斯把那个岛画了一张地图给法利亚看,法利亚则指导唐太斯应该用什么办法去找到那宝藏。不过唐太斯却远没有老人那样热情和有信心。不错,法利亚确实不是一个疯子,他的发现让人以为他疯了,可是发现这个秘密的艰苦经过更增加了唐太斯对他的敬仰。同时,即使那笔宝藏的确存在,他也不能相信现在它是否依旧还存在着,虽然他认为那宝藏决不是想象出来的东西,可是他相信它已不在那儿了。

即使他相信那宝藏还在那儿,但命运仿佛有意要剥夺这两个囚徒的最后的一些希望似的,象是要让他们懂得他们已命中注定要一辈子坐牢似的,一次新的灾难又降临到了他们头上。靠海的那条走廊,早已有坍陷的危险,近来又重新加固起来。他们用许多大石头填没了唐太斯已经填过了一半的洞。

要是没有采取神甫建议过的这一预防措施,他们就会遇到更大的不幸,因为他们逃走的企图一旦被发现,他们俩肯定被隔离开的。现在,他们被关在一道新的一更坚固的牢门里面了。

“你看,”年轻人带着一种悲哀的、听天由命的口气对法利亚说,“你说我肯为你牺牲,但上帝认为这种赞誉我是不应该接受的。我答应过永远和你在一起,现在即使我想违背我的诺言,事实也不允许了。我和你一样得不到那宝藏了,我们俩谁也出不了这个监狱。但我真正的财富并不是那个,我的朋友,并不是在基督山岛阴森的岩石底下等待着我的那些东西,而是和你会面,虽然有狱卒,我们每天仍可以共同度过五六个钟头。是你那些智慧之光启发了我的头脑,你的话已深深根植在我的记忆里,会在那儿成长,开花,结果的。你教给了我各门科学知识,你对它们有着深刻的认识,所以才能把它们变得明白易懂,使我很容易便掌握了它们,这才是我的财富,我敬爱的朋友,就凭这一切,你已经使我富足和幸福了。相信我吧,请放心吧!对我来说,这比成吨的黄金和成箱的钻石更加珍贵,即使那些黄金和钻石确实存在,不象我们在早晨看到深浮在海面上的,以为是陆地,而向它渐渐走近的时候就消失了的海市蜃楼。可能长时间地与你呆在一起,倾听你那雄辩的声音来丰富我的头脑,振作我的精神,使我的身心能在一旦获得自由的时候经受得住可怕的打击,它们丰富了我的心灵,使快要向绝望让步的我,自从认识了你以后,不再伤心绝望,这些才是我的财富,真正属于我的财富。这一切都是你赐给我的。世上所有的帝王,即使是凯撒•布琪亚,也休想从我这儿把它们夺走的。”

于是,这两个不幸的人往后的日子,虽然说不上幸福的日子,但也一天天地过得很快。法利亚对那宝藏以前多年来一直保守着秘密,现在却不断地谈到它。果然不出他所料,他的右臂和右腿依旧麻痹不能动,他自己已放弃了享受那宝藏的任何希望。然而他仍不断地在为他的年轻伙伴考虑逃走的办法。

他怕那张遗嘱说不定哪天会失落或失窃,所以强迫唐太斯把它熟记在心里,使他能逐字背出来。然后他把另一半毁掉了,以保证即使前一半被人弄了去也没有人能够猜透其中的真意。有时候,法利亚以整小时地整个小时指教唐太斯,指教他在得到自由以后该如何如何。如果一旦获得自由,从获得自由的那一天、一时、一刻起,他应该只有一个念头,就是想方设法到基督山岛去。并找一个不会引起怀疑的借口独自留在那儿。

一到了那,就得努力去找到那神奇的洞窟,在指定的地点去挖,读者还记得,那指定的地点就是在第二个洞口最深的一个角落里。

在这期间,时间的消逝虽说不上很快,但至少不致于令人难以忍受。我们已经说过,法利亚身体一侧的手脚虽不能恢复活动了,但他的头脑仍然很清醒,理解力也已全部恢复,除了我们已详述过的那种为人处世的种种教诲以外,他还逐渐地教导他的年轻伙伴,教他应该做一个耐心和高尚的犯人,怎样懂得从无所事事找些事来做。因此他俩永远是有事可做的,法利亚借此来忘却他自己的逐渐衰老;唐太斯则借此避免去回忆那以前曾一度几乎熄灭,而现在却象夜里漂荡在远处的一盏明灯那样浮动在他记忆里的往事。日子就这样平平静静地过去了,再也没有新的灾难降临,在上帝的庇护之下,时光机械地、宁静地流逝了。

在那年轻人的心里,或许也那老人的心里,在这种表面的宁静之下,隐藏着许多被压抑了的愿望,和被窒息住了的叹息。每当法利亚独自一个人时,当爱德蒙回到他自己的牢房里时,它们就都表露出来。有一天晚上,爱德蒙突然醒来,他好象听到有人在呼唤他。他睁开眼睛,尽力在黑暗中张望。他听到有人在喊他的名字,或者确切地说,是一种费力地呼喊他名字的呻吟声。“天哪!”爱德蒙自言自语地说,“难道真的发生了?”

他迅速移开他的床,搬起那块石头,钻入了地道,爬到那一端,那秘密洞口已经打开。我们提到过的那可怜的摇曳的灯光下,唐太斯看到神甫脸色苍白地抓住了床架。他的脸上可拍地抽搐着,唐太斯熟悉这可怕的证状,当他第一次看到的时候,曾非常惊惶。

“唉,我的朋友,”法利亚用一种听天由命的口吻说道,“你知道是怎么回事,对吧?我不必再向你解释什么了。”

爱德蒙痛苦地惨叫了一声,他失去了理智,冲到门口,大喊起来,“救命!救命!”法利亚用最后一点力气阻止了他。

“别出声!”他说,“不然你就完了。现在指望你自己吧,使你的狱中生活过得好一点,使自己还可以逃走。我在这里所做的一切你得花几年功夫才能完成,假如狱卒知道我们互相有来往,一切就都完了。放心吧,我亲爱的爱德蒙,我就要离开的这间牢房,是不会长期空着的,另一个受难人不久就会来接替我的位置的,他将把你看作是一个拯救天使。也许他也同样年轻,强壮,能吃苦耐劳,就象你一样,他可以帮助你一起逃,而我却只能妨碍你。你不再会有一个半死的身体绑在你的身上,使你动弹不得。上帝终于为你做了件好事,把你被剥夺的一切加倍偿还了你,现在是我该死的时候了。”

爱德蒙只能紧握着他的手大声说道,“噢,我的朋友!我的朋友!别这么说!”因为他的脑子被这一下打击给搞昏了,他的勇气也在听了神甫的这些话以后消失了。过了一会儿,他又振作起一点来说道,“噢,我救活过你一次,我还可以再救你一次!”于是他拆开床脚,取出了那只瓶子,瓶子里还有一点红色药水。

“看!”他说道,“这种救命药水还有一点呢。快,快!快告诉我这一次该怎么办,有没有什么新的办法?说呀,我的朋友,我听着呢。”

“没有希望了,”法利亚摇摇头说道,“不过也没什么。上帝在人的心里根深蒂固地种下了对生命的爱,不论生活是多么痛苦,总还是让人觉得它是可爱的,上帝既然这样创造了人,他总会尽力使他存在的。”

“噢,是的,是的!”唐太斯说道,“我已经说过了,我会再救活你的!”

“好呢,那就试试看吧。我已经觉得愈来愈冷了。我觉得血在向我的脑子里流。我颤抖得厉害,牙齿直在打战,我的骨头快要散架子了,这病五分钟之内就会达到最高点,一刻钟之内,我就会变成一具僵尸了。”

“啊!”唐太斯喊道,心里感到一阵绞痛。

“你还是照上一次那样做,不过不要等那么久。我生命的源泉现在已经枯竭了,而死神要做的事”他望着他那麻痹了的手臂和腿继续说道“只剩一半啦。这一次要给我往嘴里倒十二滴,不是十滴,假如你看我还不醒过来,就把其余的都倒到我的喉咙里。现在,你把我抱到床上去因为我已经支持不住啦。”

爱德蒙把神甫抱起来,放到了床上。

“现在,朋友,”法利亚说,“你是我悲惨的生活中唯一的安慰呀,你是上天赐给我的一个无价之宝,虽说迟了一点,却依旧还是把你给了我。为了这,我衷心地感谢上帝,我要永远地和你分离了,我希望你获得你该得到的一切幸福,希望你万事如意。我的孩子,我为你祝福!”

年轻人跪了下来,把头伏在神甫的床边。

“现在,听我在临终时说几句话。斯帐达的宝藏的确存在。

承蒙上帝的仁慈,对于我,现在已不再有所距离或障碍了。我看到了那洞窟的深处。我的眼睛穿透了最深厚的地层,这么多财宝简直耀得我眼睛都花啦。如果你真能逃出去要记住那位可怜的神甫,全世界的人都说他疯了,但他并没有疯。赶快到基督山岛去,去享用那宝藏吧,因为你受的苦难实在够多的了。”

一阵剧烈的颤动打断了神甫的话。唐太斯抬起头,看到法利亚的眼睛已充满了血,似乎大量的血已从脑腔里涌到了他的脸部。

“永别了!永别了!”神甫痉挛地紧紧抓住爱德蒙的手,低声地说,“永别了!”

“噢,不,不!”他大声叫道,“别抛下我!噢,快来救救他呀!救命呀!救命呀!”

“嘘!嘘!”垂死的人低声说道,“假如你能救活我,我们就不会分离了!”

“你说得对。噢,是的,是的!相信我吧,我一定会把你救活的!而且,虽然你很难受,但看来你没有上次那样严重。”

“你错了!我所以不那么难受,是因为我已经没有力气来忍受了。在你这个年纪,对生活是充满信心的。自信和希望是年轻人的特权,但老年人对死看得比较清楚。噢!它来了!来了来了我看不见了我的理智消失了!你的手呢,唐太斯!永别了永别了!”他集中起所有的力量,作了最后的一次挣扎抬起身来,说道,“基督山!别忘了基督山!”说完他倒在了床上。这一次发作十分厉害。神甫的四肢僵直,眼皮肿胀,口吐带血的白沫,身子一动不动,在这张痛苦的床上,再看不到刚刚还躺在那里的那位智者了。

唐太斯拿起那盏灯,把它放在床边一块凸出的石头上,颤动的火苗把它那异样而古怪的光倾泻到了那张变了形的脸上和那僵硬的身体上。他眼睛一眨不眨地等待着那施用救命药水的时机的到来。

当他确信那时刻已经到了的时候,便拿起小刀去撬开牙齿,这一次牙齿没象上次那样咬得紧,他一滴一滴地数着,直数到十二滴,然后等着。瓶子里大概还有两倍于滴下去的数量。他等了十分钟,一刻钟,半小时,一点动静都没有。他浑身发抖,毛发直竖,额头上凝着冷汗,他用自己的心跳来计算时间。然后他想到作最后一次努力的时间到了,他把瓶子放到法利亚那紫色的嘴唇上,这一次不必再去撬牙关,因为它还是开着的,他把全部药水都倒进了他的喉咙。

药水产生了一种象电击的效应。神甫的四肢开始剧烈地抖动。他的眼睛渐渐地瞪大,令人害怕。他发出一声象尖叫似的叹息,然后颤动的全身又渐归于死寂,眼睛依旧睁得大大的。

半个小时,一个小时,一个半小时过去了。这时,悲痛万分的爱德蒙斜靠在他朋友的身上,把手按在他的心脏上,觉得那身体正在逐渐变冷,心脏的跳动也愈来愈弱,终于完全停止了。心脏最后的跳动一停止,脸色就变得铁青,眼睛仍然睁着,但目光无神。此时是早晨六点钟,天刚刚亮,微弱的晨曦穿入黑牢,使那将熄的灯光显得更加苍白,异样的反光映射在死者的脸上,使人看上去还有点生气。在这日夜交接的时刻,唐太斯还曾有一线希望,但一到白天到来的时候,他明白了,现在只有自己和一具尸体在一起了。于是,一种无法克服的极端的恐怖摄住了他,他不敢再去握那悬在床外的手;不敢再去看那对一眨不眨的,茫然的眼睛,他曾多次想使它合上,但没有用,它仍然张开着。他吹灭了灯,小心地把它藏了起来,然后他钻进了地道,尽可能地把他进入秘密地道的那块大石头盖好。

真是千钧一发,因为狱卒正好过来了。这一次,他先到了唐太斯的地牢,离开唐太斯以后,就向法利亚的牢房走去,他手里端着早餐和一件衬衣。显然那个人还不知道已经发生了什么事。他径自走去。

唐太斯的心里突然产生了一种难以形容的焦急情绪,他迫切想知道他那不幸的朋友的牢房里,发生的事。于是他又钻进地道里,当他到达那一端的时候,恰巧听到那狱卒在连声惊喊,叫人来帮忙。不一会儿,几个狱卒来了,接着又听到种均匀的脚步声,一听便知是来了士兵,他们即使不在值班的时候也是习惯地这样走路的。在他们的后面来了监狱长。

爱德蒙听到床上发出吱吱格格的声音,知道他们在搬动那尸体,然后又听到了监狱长的声音,他叫人往犯人脸上洒水,看到这种办法无法使犯人苏醒时,就派人去请医生。然后监狱长走了,唐太斯的耳朵里传进了几句怜悯的话,还夹杂着残酷的哄笑。

“行啦,行啦!”有一个人喊道,“这疯子去找他的宝藏去啦。祝他一路顺风!”

“他虽有百万,却买不起一条裹尸布!”另一个说道。

“噢!”第三个接上一句,“伊夫堡的裹尸布可并不贵!”

“或许,”先前那个人说道,“因为他是一位神甫,他们说不定会为他多费一点。”

“他们或许会赐他一条布袋。”

爱德蒙一个字都不漏地听着,可是其中有些话却听不大懂。说话声不久就停止了,那些人似乎都已离开了地牢。但他仍然不敢进去说不定他们会留下一个狱卒看守尸体。所以他仍然一声不响,一动不动地呆着,甚至屏住了呼吸。一小时以后,他听到一阵轻微的声音,渐渐地愈来愈响。这是监狱长带着医生和随从回来了。房间里沉寂了片刻,显然是医生在检查那尸体。不久,问话就开始了。

医生分析了犯人所得的病症,宣布他已经死了。接着就传来了一番漠不关心的问话和答话,唐太斯听了非常气愤,因为他觉得全世界都应该象他那样怜爱那位可怜的神甫。

“我听了您的话觉得非常遗憾。”在医生断言那老人真的死了以后,监狱长说道,“他是一个性情温和,安份守己,傻里傻气自寻开心的犯人,简直用不着看守他。”

狱卒接着说:“完全不用看守,我敢说,他在这儿住上五十年也不会逃走的。”

“不过,”监狱长又说道,“我虽说您有把握,但还是再确定一下吧。这倒并非因为我怀疑您的医道,而是出于我们的责任,我们应该对犯人的死亡十分确定才行。”

房间里又鸦雀无声地沉默了一会儿,唐太斯一直在偷听着,他推测医生正在第二次检查尸体。

“您放心好了,”医生说道,“他确实死了。这一点我敢担保。”

“您知道,先生,”监狱长坚持说,“这种事,我们是不能单凭检验就可以满足的。不论外表看上去怎样,还是请您按法律规定的手续办理,来了结这件事吧。”

“那么,去把烙铁烧烧拿来,”医生说道,“不过这样做实在没有必要。”

这个烧烙铁的命令使唐太斯打了一个寒噤。他听到了匆忙的脚步声,门的格格声,人们的来来去去的走动声。过了几分钟,一个狱卒进来说;“火盆和烙铁拿来了。”

房间里静默了片刻,接着听到了烙肉的丝丝声,那种令人作呕的怪味甚至穿透了墙壁,传到了正惊恐地偷听着的唐太斯的鼻孔里。一闻到这种人肉被烧焦的气味,年轻人的额头便冒出了冷汗他觉得自己快要昏过去了。

“您看,先生,他真的死了,”医生说道,“烧脚跟是最厉害的。这个可怜的疯子这一来倒把他的疯病治好了,他从监狱生活里解脱出来啦。”

“他的名字不是叫法利亚吗?”一个陪监狱长同来的官员问道。

“是的,先生。照他自己的说法,这是一个世家的姓氏。他很博学,只要不涉及他的宝藏,也还明辩事理,但一提到宝藏,他就固执得要命。”

“这种病我们叫做偏执狂。”医生说道。

“你没有听到他抱怨什么吗?”监狱长对那负责看管神甫的狱卒问道。

“从来没有,先生。”狱卒回答道,“是从来没有的事,相反的,他有时还讲故事给我听,有趣极了。有一天,我老婆病了,他给我开了一张药方,果然把她治好了。”

“哦,哦!”医生说道,“我还不知道这儿又增加一位与我竞争的同行呢,我希望监狱长先生,您尽可能妥善地给他办理后事。”

“是的,是的,您放心吧。我们尽力找一只最新的布袋来装他。您满意了吧?”

“当然罗。但要快!我可不能整天呆在这儿。”于是又响起了人们进进出出地脚步声。一会儿之后,一阵揉蹭麻布的声音传到了唐太斯的耳朵里,床在格吱格吱地作响,地上响起一个人举起一样重物的脚步声,然后床又受压咯吱地响了一声。

“就在今天晚上吧。”监狱长说道。

“要做弥撒吗?”随从中有人问道。

“不可能了,”监狱长答道,“监狱里的神父昨天向我请了假,要到耶尔去旅行一周。我告诉他,在他离职期间,我会照顾犯人的。要是这可怜的神甫不是走得这么匆忙,他是可以听到安魂曲的。”

“唔,唔!”医生说道,干他这一行的人大多是不信鬼神的,“他本来就是神父。上帝会考虑他这种情况,不会派一个教士来给他送葬,和他开这么一个鬼玩笑的。”这个残酷的玩笑引起了一阵哄堂大笑。这时,把尸体装进麻袋的工作仍在继续着。

“就在今天晚上。”监狱长在工作完成了的时候说道。

“几点钟?”一个狱卒问道。

“十点或十一点吧。”

“要我们看守尸体吗?”

“何必呢?只要把牢门关上,就算他还活着就得了。”

于是脚步声走远了,声音渐渐变校门链格格地响了一阵,接着是上锁的声音,然后就没有声音了,接下来是一片比任何孤独的环境里更萧肃的寂静,死的寂静,它渗透了一切,甚至渗透了那年轻人的冰冷了的灵魂。他小心翼翼地用头顶起那块大石头,谨慎地环顾室内。室内空无一人。唐太斯一跃钻出了地道。




Chapter 20. The Cemetery of the Chateau D'If.

On the bed, at full length, and faintly illuminated by the pale light that came from the window, lay a sack of canvas, and under its rude folds was stretched a long and stiffened form; it was Faria's last winding-sheet,—a winding-sheet which, as the turnkey said, cost so little. Everything was in readiness. A barrier had been placed between Dantes and his old friend. No longer could Edmond look into those wide-open eyes which had seemed to be penetrating the mysteries of death; no longer could he clasp the hand which had done so much to make his existence blessed. Faria, the beneficent and cheerful companion, with whom he was accustomed to live so intimately, no longer breathed. He seated himself on the edge of that terrible bed, and fell into melancholy and gloomy revery.

Alone—he was alone again—again condemned to silence—again face to face with nothingness! Alone!—never again to see the face, never again to hear the voice of the only human being who united him to earth! Was not Faria's fate the better, after all—to solve the problem of life at its source, even at the risk of horrible suffering? The idea of suicide, which his friend had driven away and kept away by his cheerful presence, now hovered like a phantom over the abbe's dead body.

"If I could die," he said, "I should go where he goes, and should assuredly find him again. But how to die? It is very easy," he went on with a smile; "I will remain here, rush on the first person that opens the door, strangle him, and then they will guillotine me." But excessive grief is like a storm at sea, where the frail bark is tossed from the depths to the top of the wave. Dantes recoiled from the idea of so infamous a death, and passed suddenly from despair to an ardent desire for life and liberty.

"Die? oh, no," he exclaimed—"not die now, after having lived and suffered so long and so much! Die? yes, had I died years ago; but now to die would be, indeed, to give way to the sarcasm of destiny. No, I want to live; I shall struggle to the very last; I will yet win back the happiness of which I have been deprived. Before I die I must not forget that I have my executioners to punish, and perhaps, too, who knows, some friends to reward. Yet they will forget me here, and I shall die in my dungeon like Faria." As he said this, he became silent and gazed straight before him like one overwhelmed with a strange and amazing thought. Suddenly he arose, lifted his hand to his brow as if his brain were giddy, paced twice or thrice round the dungeon, and then paused abruptly by the bed.

"Just God!" he muttered, "whence comes this thought? Is it from thee? Since none but the dead pass freely from this dungeon, let me take the place of the dead!" Without giving himself time to reconsider his decision, and, indeed, that he might not allow his thoughts to be distracted from his desperate resolution, he bent over the appalling shroud, opened it with the knife which Faria had made, drew the corpse from the sack, and bore it along the tunnel to his own chamber, laid it on his couch, tied around its head the rag he wore at night around his own, covered it with his counterpane, once again kissed the ice-cold brow, and tried vainly to close the resisting eyes, which glared horribly, turned the head towards the wall, so that the jailer might, when he brought the evening meal, believe that he was asleep, as was his frequent custom; entered the tunnel again, drew the bed against the wall, returned to the other cell, took from the hiding-place the needle and thread, flung off his rags, that they might feel only naked flesh beneath the coarse canvas, and getting inside the sack, placed himself in the posture in which the dead body had been laid, and sewed up the mouth of the sack from the inside.

He would have been discovered by the beating of his heart, if by any mischance the jailers had entered at that moment. Dantes might have waited until the evening visit was over, but he was afraid that the governor would change his mind, and order the dead body to be removed earlier. In that case his last hope would have been destroyed. Now his plans were fully made, and this is what he intended to do. If while he was being carried out the grave-diggers should discover that they were bearing a live instead of a dead body, Dantes did not intend to give them time to recognize him, but with a sudden cut of the knife, he meant to open the sack from top to bottom, and, profiting by their alarm, escape; if they tried to catch him, he would use his knife to better purpose.

If they took him to the cemetery and laid him in a grave, he would allow himself to be covered with earth, and then, as it was night, the grave-diggers could scarcely have turned their backs before he would have worked his way through the yielding soil and escaped. He hoped that the weight of earth would not be so great that he could not overcome it. If he was detected in this and the earth proved too heavy, he would be stifled, and then—so much the better, all would be over. Dantes had not eaten since the preceding evening, but he had not thought of hunger, nor did he think of it now. His situation was too precarious to allow him even time to reflect on any thought but one.

The first risk that Dantes ran was, that the jailer, when he brought him his supper at seven o'clock, might perceive the change that had been made; fortunately, twenty times at least, from misanthropy or fatigue, Dantes had received his jailer in bed, and then the man placed his bread and soup on the table, and went away without saying a word. This time the jailer might not be as silent as usual, but speak to Dantes, and seeing that he received no reply, go to the bed, and thus discover all.

When seven o'clock came, Dantes' agony really began. His hand placed upon his heart was unable to redress its throbbings, while, with the other he wiped the perspiration from his temples. From time to time chills ran through his whole body, and clutched his heart in a grasp of ice. Then he thought he was going to die. Yet the hours passed on without any unusual disturbance, and Dantes knew that he had escaped the first peril. It was a good augury. At length, about the hour the governor had appointed, footsteps were heard on the stairs. Edmond felt that the moment had arrived, summoned up all his courage, held his breath, and would have been happy if at the same time he could have repressed the throbbing of his veins. The footsteps—they were double—paused at the door—and Dantes guessed that the two grave-diggers had come to seek him—this idea was soon converted into certainty, when he heard the noise they made in putting down the hand-bier. The door opened, and a dim light reached Dantes' eyes through the coarse sack that covered him; he saw two shadows approach his bed, a third remaining at the door with a torch in its hand. The two men, approaching the ends of the bed, took the sack by its extremities.

"He's heavy though for an old and thin man," said one, as he raised the head.

"They say every year adds half a pound to the weight of the bones," said another, lifting the feet.

"Have you tied the knot?" inquired the first speaker.

"What would be the use of carrying so much more weight?" was the reply, "I can do that when we get there."

"Yes, you're right," replied the companion.

"What's the knot for?" thought Dantes.

They deposited the supposed corpse on the bier. Edmond stiffened himself in order to play the part of a dead man, and then the party, lighted by the man with the torch, who went first, ascended the stairs. Suddenly he felt the fresh and sharp night air, and Dantes knew that the mistral was blowing. It was a sensation in which pleasure and pain were strangely mingled. The bearers went on for twenty paces, then stopped, putting the bier down on the ground. One of them went away, and Dantes heard his shoes striking on the pavement.

"Where am I?" he asked himself.

"Really, he is by no means a light load!" said the other bearer, sitting on the edge of the hand-barrow. Dantes' first impulse was to escape, but fortunately he did not attempt it.

"Give us a light," said the other bearer, "or I shall never find what I am looking for." The man with the torch complied, although not asked in the most polite terms.

"What can he be looking for?" thought Edmond. "The spade, perhaps." An exclamation of satisfaction indicated that the grave-digger had found the object of his search. "Here it is at last," he said, "not without some trouble though."

"Yes," was the answer, "but it has lost nothing by waiting."

As he said this, the man came towards Edmond, who heard a heavy metallic substance laid down beside him, and at the same moment a cord was fastened round his feet with sudden and painful violence.

"Well, have you tied the knot?" inquired the grave-digger, who was looking on.

"Yes, and pretty tight too, I can tell you," was the answer.

"Move on, then." And the bier was lifted once more, and they proceeded.

They advanced fifty paces farther, and then stopped to open a door, then went forward again. The noise of the waves dashing against the rocks on which the chateau is built, reached Dantes' ear distinctly as they went forward.

"Bad weather!" observed one of the bearers; "not a pleasant night for a dip in the sea."

"Why, yes, the abbe runs a chance of being wet," said the other; and then there was a burst of brutal laughter. Dantes did not comprehend the jest, but his hair stood erect on his head.

"Well, here we are at last," said one of them. "A little farther—a little farther," said the other. "You know very well that the last was stopped on his way, dashed on the rocks, and the governor told us next day that we were careless fellows."

They ascended five or six more steps, and then Dantes felt that they took him, one by the head and the other by the heels, and swung him to and fro. "One!" said the grave-diggers, "two! three!" And at the same instant Dantes felt himself flung into the air like a wounded bird, falling, falling, with a rapidity that made his blood curdle. Although drawn downwards by the heavy weight which hastened his rapid descent, it seemed to him as if the fall lasted for a century.

At last, with a horrible splash, he darted like an arrow into the ice-cold water, and as he did so he uttered a shrill cry, stifled in a moment by his immersion beneath the waves.

Dantes had been flung into the sea, and was dragged into its depths by a thirty-six pound shot tied to his feet. The sea is the cemetery of the Chateau d'If.

 

第二十章 伊夫堡的坟场

借着从窗口透进来的一线苍白微弱的光线,可以看到床上有一只平放着的粗布口袋,在这个大口袋里,直挺挺地躺着一个长而僵硬的东西。这个口袋就是法利亚裹尸布,正如狱卒所说的,这的确不值几个钱。就这样一切都结束了。在唐太斯和他的老朋友之间,已有了一重物质的分离。他再也看不到那一双睁得大大的,仿佛死后仍能看见的眼睛了;他再也不能紧握那只曾为他揭开事实真相的灵巧的手了。法利亚,这位与他曾长期亲密相处的有用的好伙伴,已不再呼吸了。他在那张可拍的床上坐了下来,陷入了一种忧郁,迷悯的状态之中。

孤零零的!他又孤零零的一个人了,他觉得自己重又陷入了孤寂之中!再也看不到那个唯一使他对生命尚有所留恋的人了,再也听不到他的声音了!他还不如也象法利亚那样,不惜通过那道痛苦的死亡之门,去向上帝追问人生之谜的意义呢?自杀的念头,曾一度被他的朋友从他的思想中逐出,神甫活着的时候,他的面前,唐太斯便不去想这事了,现在当着他的尸体,那个念头又象个幽灵似的在他面前出现了。“假如我死了,”他说,“我就可以到他所去的地方,一定可以找到他。但怎么个死法呢?这倒不难,”他痛苦地笑着继续说道,“我只要呆在这儿,谁第一个来开门,我就向他冲上去,掐死他,这样他们就会把我绞死的。”

人在极度悲痛之中,犹如在大风暴里是一样,两个高峰之间必是形成低谷,唐太斯这时也从这种自暴自弃的念头前退了回来,突然从绝望转变成了一种强烈的求生和自由的愿望。

“死!噢,不!”他喊道,“现在还不能死,你已经活了这么久,受这么长时间的苦!几年前,当我存心想死的时候去死了,或许还好些,但现在这样去做,就等于自己屈服了,承认自己的苦命了。不,我要活,我要斗争到底,我要重新去获得被剥夺了的幸福。我不能死,在死以前,我还有几个仇人要去惩罚,谁知道呢,也许还有几个朋友要报答呢。眼下,他们要把我忘在这里,我只能象法利亚一样离开我的地牢了。说到这里,他愣住了,坐在那儿一动不动,眼睛一眨不眨,好象突然有了一个极其惊人的想法。突然,他猛地站起身来,用手扶住额头,象是头晕似的。他在房间里转两三圈,又在床前站住了、”啊!啊!

“他自言自语地说,”是谁使我有这个想法的?是您吗,慈悲的上帝?既然只有死人才能自由地从这里出去那就让我来装死吧!”

他不容自己有片刻时间来考虑这个,因为如果他仔细去想的话,他这种决心也许会动摇的。他弯身凑到那个可拍的布袋面前,用法利亚制造的小刀将它割开,把尸体从口袋里拖出来,再把它背到自己的地牢里,把它放在自己的床上,把自己平常戴的破帽子戴在他头上,最后吻了一次那冰冷的额头,几次徒劳地试着合上仍然睁着的眼睛,把他的脸面向墙壁,这样,当狱卒送晚餐来的时候,会以为他已经睡着了,这也是常事,然后他又返回地道,把床拖过来靠住墙壁,回到那间牢房里从贮藏处拿出针线,脱掉他身上破烂的衣衫,以便使他们一摸就知道粗糙的口袋里的确是裸体的尸身,然后他钻进了口袋里,按尸体原来的位置躺下又从里面把袋口缝了起来。

假如不巧狱卒此时进来,或许会听到他心跳的声音。他本来可以等到晚上七点钟的,那次查看过后再这样做的,但他怕监狱长改变临时决定,提前把尸体搬走,这样的话,他最后的希望也就破灭了。现在,不管怎样,他决心已定,希望此举能成功。假如在搬运的途中,被掘墓人发觉他们所抬的不是一具尸体而是一个活人,唐太斯则不等人们回过神来,就用小刀把口袋从头到底划破,乘他们惊惶失措的时候逃走。如他们想来捉他,他就要动用刀子了。假如他们把他扛到了坟场,把他放进了坟墓里,他就让他们在他的身上盖土,因为夜里,只要那掘墓人一转身,他就可以从那松软的泥土里爬出来逃走。他希望所盖的泥土不要太重,使他受不了。假如不幸,那泥土太重的话,他就会被压在里面,不过那样也好,也可一了百了。唐太斯从昨天晚上起就不曾吃过东西,也不觉得饥渴,他现在也没此感觉。他现在的处境太危险了,不容他有时间去想别的事。

唐太斯遇到的第一个危险就是:当狱卒在七点钟给他送晚餐来的时候,也许会发觉他的掉包计。幸而,以往有二十多次,为了怕麻烦或是因为疲倦,唐太斯曾这样躺在床上等狱卒来的。每当这时,狱卒就把他的面包和汤放在桌子上,然后一言不发的走了。这次,狱卒或许不会象往常那样沉默,他或许会同唐太斯讲话,而当看到他不回答时,或许会走到床边去看看,这样可就全露馅了。

七点钟来临的时候,唐太斯那颗紧张的心也提到了嗓子眼。他把一只手按在心上,想压住它的剧跳,另一只手则不断地去擦额头上的冷汗。他不时地浑身打颤,心在紧缩着,象是被一只冰冷的手抓住了似的。此时,他觉得自己快要死了。可是,一小时一小时过去了,监狱里毫无动静,唐太斯知道他已逃过了第一关,这是一个好兆头。终于,大约就是监狱长指定的那个时间,楼梯上响起了脚步声。爱德蒙知道关键的时刻到了,他鼓起全部的勇气,屏住呼吸,他真希望能同时屏住脉搏急促的跳动。

脚步在门口停了下来。那是两个人的脚步声,唐太斯猜测这是两个掘墓人来抬他了。这个猜测不久便被证实了。因为听到了他们放担架时所发出的声音。门开了,唐太斯的眼睛透过粗布看到了隐隐约约的亮光。他看到两个黑影朝他的床边走过来,还有一个人留在门口,手里举着火把。这两个人分别走到床的两头,各人扛起布袋的一端。

“这个瘦老头子还挺重的呢,”抬头的那个人说道。

“据说人的骨头每年要增加半磅哩。”另外那个抬脚的人说。

“你绑上了没有?”第一个讲话的人问道。

“何必增加这么多重量呢?”那一个回答说,“我们到了那儿再绑好啦。”

“对,你说得对。”他的同伴回答道。

“干吗要捆绑呢?”唐太斯暗自问道。

他们把所谓的死人放到了担架上。爱德蒙为了装得象个死人,故意把自己挺得硬棒棒地,于是由那举火把的人引路,这一队人就开始走上楼梯。突然间,唐太斯呼吸到了夜晚新鲜寒冷的空气,他知道这是海湾边冷燥的西北风。这种突然的感触,真使他悲喜交集,抬担架者向前走了二十多步,就停了下来,把担架放在地上。其中的一个走开了,唐太斯听到了他的皮鞋在石板道上响声。

“我到哪儿了?”他自问道。

“真的,他可真是不轻呵!”站在唐太斯旁边的那个人边说边在担架边上坐了下来。唐太斯的第一个冲动就是想逃走,但幸而他克制住了。

“照着我,畜生,”那个人又说,“不然我就看不到要找的东西啦。”举火把的那个人听从了他,尽管对主说话的口吻不太客气。

“他在找什么?”爱德蒙想。“或许是铲子吧。”

一声满意的叫喊声表示那掘墓人已找到了他要找的东西。“在这儿,”他说,“真不容易。”

“对呀,”另一个回答说,“就是多等一会儿也不费你什么的。”

说完,那人向爱德蒙走来,后者听到他的身旁放下了一件很重很结实的东西,同时他的两脚突然被使劲地绑上了一条绳子。

“喂,你绑好了没有?”旁观的那个掘墓人问道。

“绑好啦,很紧呢。”那一个回答道。

“那么走吧。”于是担架又被抬了起来,他们继续向前走去。又走了五十多步的路,便停下来去开门,然后又向前走去。

在他们走着的时候,波涛冲激成堡下岩石所发出的声音清晰地传到了唐太斯的耳朵里。

“这鬼天气!”其中的一个说道,“今夜里泡在海里可是滋味。”

“是啊,神甫可要浑身湿个透啦。”另一个说,接着就一声大笑。唐太斯不大懂他们开这个玩笑是什么意思,他直觉得头发都竖起来了。

“好,我们总算到啦。”他们之中的一个说道。

“走远一点!走远一点!”另外那一个说。“你知道上一个就在这儿停的,结果撞到岩石上,躺在了半山腰里,第二天,监狱长怪我们都是些偷懒的家伙。

他们又向上走了五六步,然后唐太斯觉得他们把他抬起来了,一个抬头,一个抬脚,把他荡来荡去。”一!“两个掘墓人一齐喊道,“二!三,走吧!”接着,唐太斯就觉得自己被抛入了空中,象只受伤的鸟穿过空气层,然后直往下掉,以一种几乎使他的血液凝固的速度往下掉。有重物拖着他,加快了他下降的速度,但他仍觉着下落的时间似乎持续了一百年。终于,随着可怕的一声巨响,他掉进了冰冷的海水里,当他落入水中的时候,他不禁发出了一声尖锐的惊叫,但那声喊叫立刻被淹没有浪花里了。

唐太斯被抛进了海里,他的脚上绑着一个三十六磅重的铁球,正把他拖向海底深处。大海就是伊夫堡的坟场。




Chapter 21. The Island of Tiboulen.

Dantes, although stunned and almost suffocated, had sufficient presence of mind to hold his breath, and as his right hand (prepared as he was for every chance) held his knife open, he rapidly ripped up the sack, extricated his arm, and then his body; but in spite of all his efforts to free himself from the shot, he felt it dragging him down still lower. He then bent his body, and by a desperate effort severed the cord that bound his legs, at the moment when it seemed as if he were actually strangled. With a mighty leap he rose to the surface of the sea, while the shot dragged down to the depths the sack that had so nearly become his shroud.

Dantes waited only to get breath, and then dived, in order to avoid being seen. When he arose a second time, he was fifty paces from where he had first sunk. He saw overhead a black and tempestuous sky, across which the wind was driving clouds that occasionally suffered a twinkling star to appear; before him was the vast expanse of waters, sombre and terrible, whose waves foamed and roared as if before the approach of a storm. Behind him, blacker than the sea, blacker than the sky, rose phantom-like the vast stone structure, whose projecting crags seemed like arms extended to seize their prey, and on the highest rock was a torch lighting two figures. He fancied that these two forms were looking at the sea; doubtless these strange grave-diggers had heard his cry. Dantes dived again, and remained a long time beneath the water. This was an easy feat to him, for he usually attracted a crowd of spectators in the bay before the lighthouse at Marseilles when he swam there, and was unanimously declared to be the best swimmer in the port. When he came up again the light had disappeared.

He must now get his bearings. Ratonneau and Pomegue are the nearest islands of all those that surround the Chateau d'If, but Ratonneau and Pomegue are inhabited, as is also the islet of Daume. Tiboulen and Lemaire were therefore the safest for Dantes' venture. The islands of Tiboulen and Lemaire are a league from the Chateau d'If; Dantes, nevertheless, determined to make for them. But how could he find his way in the darkness of the night? At this moment he saw the light of Planier, gleaming in front of him like a star. By leaving this light on the right, he kept the Island of Tiboulen a little on the left; by turning to the left, therefore, he would find it. But, as we have said, it was at least a league from the Chateau d'If to this island. Often in prison Faria had said to him, when he saw him idle and inactive, "Dantes, you must not give way to this listlessness; you will be drowned if you seek to escape, and your strength has not been properly exercised and prepared for exertion." These words rang in Dantes' ears, even beneath the waves; he hastened to cleave his way through them to see if he had not lost his strength. He found with pleasure that his captivity had taken away nothing of his power, and that he was still master of that element on whose bosom he had so often sported as a boy.

Fear, that relentless pursuer, clogged Dantes' efforts. He listened for any sound that might be audible, and every time that he rose to the top of a wave he scanned the horizon, and strove to penetrate the darkness. He fancied that every wave behind him was a pursuing boat, and he redoubled his exertions, increasing rapidly his distance from the chateau, but exhausting his strength. He swam on still, and already the terrible chateau had disappeared in the darkness. He could not see it, but he felt its presence. An hour passed, during which Dantes, excited by the feeling of freedom, continued to cleave the waves. "Let us see," said he, "I have swum above an hour, but as the wind is against me, that has retarded my speed; however, if I am not mistaken, I must be close to Tiboulen. But what if I were mistaken?" A shudder passed over him. He sought to tread water, in order to rest himself; but the sea was too violent, and he felt that he could not make use of this means of recuperation.

"Well," said he, "I will swim on until I am worn out, or the cramp seizes me, and then I shall sink;" and he struck out with the energy of despair.

Suddenly the sky seemed to him to become still darker and more dense, and heavy clouds seemed to sweep down towards him; at the same time he felt a sharp pain in his knee. He fancied for a moment that he had been shot, and listened for the report; but he heard nothing. Then he put out his hand, and encountered an obstacle and with another stroke knew that he had gained the shore.

Before him rose a grotesque mass of rocks, that resembled nothing so much as a vast fire petrified at the moment of its most fervent combustion. It was the Island of Tiboulen. Dantes rose, advanced a few steps, and, with a fervent prayer of gratitude, stretched himself on the granite, which seemed to him softer than down. Then, in spite of the wind and rain, he fell into the deep, sweet sleep of utter exhaustion. At the expiration of an hour Edmond was awakened by the roar of thunder. The tempest was let loose and beating the atmosphere with its mighty wings; from time to time a flash of lightning stretched across the heavens like a fiery serpent, lighting up the clouds that rolled on in vast chaotic waves.

Dantes had not been deceived—he had reached the first of the two islands, which was, in fact, Tiboulen. He knew that it was barren and without shelter; but when the sea became more calm, he resolved to plunge into its waves again, and swim to Lemaire, equally arid, but larger, and consequently better adapted for concealment.

An overhanging rock offered him a temporary shelter, and scarcely had he availed himself of it when the tempest burst forth in all its fury. Edmond felt the trembling of the rock beneath which he lay; the waves, dashing themselves against it, wetted him with their spray. He was safely sheltered, and yet he felt dizzy in the midst of the warring of the elements and the dazzling brightness of the lightning. It seemed to him that the island trembled to its base, and that it would, like a vessel at anchor, break moorings, and bear him off into the centre of the storm. He then recollected that he had not eaten or drunk for four-and-twenty hours. He extended his hands, and drank greedily of the rainwater that had lodged in a hollow of the rock.

As he rose, a flash of lightning, that seemed to rive the remotest heights of heaven, illumined the darkness. By its light, between the Island of Lemaire and Cape Croiselle, a quarter of a league distant, Dantes saw a fishing-boat driven rapidly like a spectre before the power of winds and waves. A second after, he saw it again, approaching with frightful rapidity. Dantes cried at the top of his voice to warn them of their danger, but they saw it themselves. Another flash showed him four men clinging to the shattered mast and the rigging, while a fifth clung to the broken rudder.

The men he beheld saw him undoubtedly, for their cries were carried to his ears by the wind. Above the splintered mast a sail rent to tatters was waving; suddenly the ropes that still held it gave way, and it disappeared in the darkness of the night like a vast sea-bird. At the same moment a violent crash was heard, and cries of distress. Dantes from his rocky perch saw the shattered vessel, and among the fragments the floating forms of the hapless sailors. Then all was dark again.

Dantes ran down the rocks at the risk of being himself dashed to pieces; he listened, he groped about, but he heard and saw nothing—the cries had ceased, and the tempest continued to rage. By degrees the wind abated, vast gray clouds rolled towards the west, and the blue firmament appeared studded with bright stars. Soon a red streak became visible in the horizon, the waves whitened, a light played over them, and gilded their foaming crests with gold. It was day.

Dantes stood mute and motionless before this majestic spectacle, as if he now beheld it for the first time; and indeed since his captivity in the Chateau d'If he had forgotten that such scenes were ever to be witnessed. He turned towards the fortress, and looked at both sea and land. The gloomy building rose from the bosom of the ocean with imposing majesty and seemed to dominate the scene. It was about five o'clock. The sea continued to get calmer.

"In two or three hours," thought Dantes, "the turnkey will enter my chamber, find the body of my poor friend, recognize it, seek for me in vain, and give the alarm. Then the tunnel will be discovered; the men who cast me into the sea and who must have heard the cry I uttered, will be questioned. Then boats filled with armed soldiers will pursue the wretched fugitive. The cannon will warn every one to refuse shelter to a man wandering about naked and famished. The police of Marseilles will be on the alert by land, whilst the governor pursues me by sea. I am cold, I am hungry. I have lost even the knife that saved me. O my God, I have suffered enough surely! Have pity on me, and do for me what I am unable to do for myself."

As Dantes (his eyes turned in the direction of the Chateau d'If) uttered this prayer, he saw off the farther point of the Island of Pomegue a small vessel with lateen sail skimming the sea like a gull in search of prey; and with his sailor's eye he knew it to be a Genoese tartan. She was coming out of Marseilles harbor, and was standing out to sea rapidly, her sharp prow cleaving through the waves. "Oh," cried Edmond, "to think that in half an hour I could join her, did I not fear being questioned, detected, and conveyed back to Marseilles! What can I do? What story can I invent? under pretext of trading along the coast, these men, who are in reality smugglers, will prefer selling me to doing a good action. I must wait. But I cannot—— I am starving. In a few hours my strength will be utterly exhausted; besides, perhaps I have not been missed at the fortress. I can pass as one of the sailors wrecked last night. My story will be accepted, for there is no one left to contradict me."

As he spoke, Dantes looked toward the spot where the fishing-vessel had been wrecked, and started. The red cap of one of the sailors hung to a point of the rock and some timbers that had formed part of the vessel's keel, floated at the foot of the crag. In an instant Dantes' plan was formed. He swam to the cap, placed it on his head, seized one of the timbers, and struck out so as to cut across the course the vessel was taking.

"I am saved!" murmured he. And this conviction restored his strength.

He soon saw that the vessel, with the wind dead ahead, was tacking between the Chateau d'If and the tower of Planier. For an instant he feared lest, instead of keeping in shore, she should stand out to sea; but he soon saw that she would pass, like most vessels bound for Italy, between the islands of Jaros and Calaseraigne. However, the vessel and the swimmer insensibly neared one another, and in one of its tacks the tartan bore down within a quarter of a mile of him. He rose on the waves, making signs of distress; but no one on board saw him, and the vessel stood on another tack. Dantes would have shouted, but he knew that the wind would drown his voice.

It was then he rejoiced at his precaution in taking the timber, for without it he would have been unable, perhaps, to reach the vessel—certainly to return to shore, should he be unsuccessful in attracting attention.

Dantes, though almost sure as to what course the vessel would take, had yet watched it anxiously until it tacked and stood towards him. Then he advanced; but before they could meet, the vessel again changed her course. By a violent effort he rose half out of the water, waving his cap, and uttering a loud shout peculiar to sailers. This time he was both seen and heard, and the tartan instantly steered towards him. At the same time, he saw they were about to lower the boat.

An instant after, the boat, rowed by two men, advanced rapidly towards him. Dantes let go of the timber, which he now thought to be useless, and swam vigorously to meet them. But he had reckoned too much upon his strength, and then he realized how serviceable the timber had been to him. His arms became stiff, his legs lost their flexibility, and he was almost breathless.

He shouted again. The two sailors redoubled their efforts, and one of them cried in Italian, "Courage!"

The word reached his ear as a wave which he no longer had the strength to surmount passed over his head. He rose again to the surface, struggled with the last desperate effort of a drowning man, uttered a third cry, and felt himself sinking, as if the fatal cannon shot were again tied to his feet. The water passed over his head, and the sky turned gray. A convulsive movement again brought him to the surface. He felt himself seized by the hair, then he saw and heard nothing. He had fainted.

When he opened his eyes Dantes found himself on the deck of the tartan. His first care was to see what course they were taking. They were rapidly leaving the Chateau d'If behind. Dantes was so exhausted that the exclamation of joy he uttered was mistaken for a sigh.

As we have said, he was lying on the deck. A sailor was rubbing his limbs with a woollen cloth; another, whom he recognized as the one who had cried out "Courage!" held a gourd full of rum to his mouth; while the third, an old sailer, at once the pilot and captain, looked on with that egotistical pity men feel for a misfortune that they have escaped yesterday, and which may overtake them to-morrow.

A few drops of the rum restored suspended animation, while the friction of his limbs restored their elasticity.

"Who are you?" said the pilot in bad French.

"I am," replied Dantes, in bad Italian, "a Maltese sailor. We were coming from Syracuse laden with grain. The storm of last night overtook us at Cape Morgion, and we were wrecked on these rocks."

"Where do you come from?"

"From these rocks that I had the good luck to cling to while our captain and the rest of the crew were all lost. I saw your vessel, and fearful of being left to perish on the desolate island, I swam off on a piece of wreckage to try and intercept your course. You have saved my life, and I thank you," continued Dantes. "I was lost when one of your sailors caught hold of my hair."

"It was I," said a sailor of a frank and manly appearance; "and it was time, for you were sinking."

"Yes," returned Dantes, holding out his hand, "I thank you again."

"I almost hesitated, though," replied the sailor; "you looked more like a brigand than an honest man, with your beard six inches, and your hair a foot long." Dantes recollected that his hair and beard had not been cut all the time he was at the Chateau d'If.

"Yes," said he, "I made a vow, to our Lady of the Grotto not to cut my hair or beard for ten years if I were saved in a moment of danger; but to-day the vow expires."

"Now what are we to do with you?" said the captain.

"Alas, anything you please. My captain is dead; I have barely escaped; but I am a good sailor. Leave me at the first port you make; I shall be sure to find employment."

"Do you know the Mediterranean?"

"I have sailed over it since my childhood."

"You know the best harbors?"

"There are few ports that I could not enter or leave with a bandage over my eyes."

"I say, captain," said the sailor who had cried "Courage!" to Dantes, "if what he says is true, what hinders his staying with us?"

"If he says true," said the captain doubtingly. "But in his present condition he will promise anything, and take his chance of keeping it afterwards."

"I will do more than I promise," said Dantes.

"We shall see," returned the other, smiling.

"Where are you going?" asked Dantes.

"To Leghorn."

"Then why, instead of tacking so frequently, do you not sail nearer the wind?"

"Because we should run straight on to the Island of Rion."

"You shall pass it by twenty fathoms."

"Take the helm, and let us see what you know." The young man took the helm, felt to see if the vessel answered the rudder promptly and seeing that, without being a first-rate sailer, she yet was tolerably obedient,—

"To the sheets," said he. The four seamen, who composed the crew, obeyed, while the pilot looked on. "Haul taut."—They obeyed.

"Belay." This order was also executed; and the vessel passed, as Dantes had predicted, twenty fathoms to windward.

"Bravo!" said the captain.

"Bravo!" repeated the sailors. And they all looked with astonishment at this man whose eye now disclosed an intelligence and his body a vigor they had not thought him capable of showing.

"You see," said Dantes, quitting the helm, "I shall be of some use to you, at least during the voyage. If you do not want me at Leghorn, you can leave me there, and I will pay you out of the first wages I get, for my food and the clothes you lend me."

"Ah," said the captain, "we can agree very well, if you are reasonable."

"Give me what you give the others, and it will be all right," returned Dantes.

"That's not fair," said the seaman who had saved Dantes; "for you know more than we do."

"What is that to you, Jacopo?" returned the Captain. "Every one is free to ask what he pleases."

"That's true," replied Jacopo; "I only make a remark."

"Well, you would do much better to find him a jacket and a pair of trousers, if you have them."

"No," said Jacopo; "but I have a shirt and a pair of trousers."

"That is all I want," interrupted Dantes. Jacopo dived into the hold and soon returned with what Edmond wanted.

"Now, then, do you wish for anything else?" said the patron.

"A piece of bread and another glass of the capital rum I tasted, for I have not eaten or drunk for a long time." He had not tasted food for forty hours. A piece of bread was brought, and Jacopo offered him the gourd.

"Larboard your helm," cried the captain to the steersman. Dantes glanced that way as he lifted the gourd to his mouth; then paused with hand in mid-air.

"Hollo! what's the matter at the Chateau d'If?" said the captain.

A small white cloud, which had attracted Dantes' attention, crowned the summit of the bastion of the Chateau d'If. At the same moment the faint report of a gun was heard. The sailors looked at one another.

"What is this?" asked the captain.

"A prisoner has escaped from the Chateau d'If, and they are firing the alarm gun," replied Dantes. The captain glanced at him, but he had lifted the rum to his lips and was drinking it with so much composure, that suspicions, if the captain had any, died away.

"At any rate," murmured he, "if it be, so much the better, for I have made a rare acquisition." Under pretence of being fatigued, Dantes asked to take the helm; the steersman, glad to be relieved, looked at the captain, and the latter by a sign indicated that he might abandon it to his new comrade. Dantes could thus keep his eyes on Marseilles.

"What is the day of the month?" asked he of Jacopo, who sat down beside him.

"The 28th of February."

"In what year?"

"In what year—you ask me in what year?"

"Yes," replied the young man, "I ask you in what year!"

"You have forgotten then?"

"I got such a fright last night," replied Dantes, smiling, "that I have almost lost my memory. I ask you what year is it?"

"The year 1829," returned Jacopo. It was fourteen years day for day since Dantes' arrest. He was nineteen when he entered the Chateau d'If; he was thirty-three when he escaped. A sorrowful smile passed over his face; he asked himself what had become of Mercedes, who must believe him dead. Then his eyes lighted up with hatred as he thought of the three men who had caused him so long and wretched a captivity. He renewed against Danglars, Fernand, and Villefort the oath of implacable vengeance he had made in his dungeon. This oath was no longer a vain menace; for the fastest sailer in the Mediterranean would have been unable to overtake the little tartan, that with every stitch of canvas set was flying before the wind to Leghorn.

 

第二十一章 狄布伦岛

唐太斯尽管有点头晕目眩的,而且几乎快要窒息了,他还算头脑清醒,不时地屏住了他的呼吸。他的右手本来就拿着一把张开的小刀(他原准备随时乘机逃脱时用的),所以现在他很快地划破口袋,先把他的手臂挣扎出来,接着又挣出他的身体。虽然他竭力想抑脱掉那铁球,但整个身体却仍在不断地往下沉。于是他弯下身子,拚命用力割断了那绑住他两脚的绳索,此时他已几乎要窒息了。他使劲用脚向上一蹬,浮出了海面,那铁球便带着那几乎成了他裹尸布的布袋沉入了海底。

唐太斯在海面只吸了一口气,便又潜到了水里,以免被人看到。当他第二次浮出水面的时候,距离第一次沉下去的地方已有五十步了。他看到天空是一片黑暗,预示着大风暴即将来临了,风在用劲地驱赶着疾驰的浮云,不时的露出一颗闪烁的星星。在他的面前,是一片无边无际,阴沉可怕的海面,浊浪汹涌,滚滚而来在他的背后,耸立着一座比大海比天空更黑暗的,象一个赤面獠牙似的怪物,它那凸出的奇岩象是伸出来的捕人的手臂。在那块最高的岩石上,一支火把照出了两个人影。他觉得这两个人是在往大海里张望,这两个古怪的掘墓人肯定已听到了他的喊叫声。唐太斯又潜了下去,在水下停留了很长一段时间。他从前就很喜欢潜泳,他过去在马赛灯塔前的海湾游泳的时候,常常能吸引许多观众,他们一致称赞他是港内最好的游泳能手。当他重新露出头来的时候,那火光已不见了。

必须确定一下方向了。兰顿纽和波米琪是伊夫堡周围最近的小岛,但兰顿纽和波米琪是有人居住的,大魔小岛也是如此。狄波伦或黎玛最安全。这两个岛离伊夫堡有三哩路,唐太斯决定游到那儿去。但在黑夜里他怎样来辨别方向呢?这时,他看到了伯兰尼亚灯塔象一颗灿烂的明星闪烁在他前面。假如这个灯光在右面,则狄布伦岛应左面,所以他只要向左转就能找到它。但我们已经说过,从伊夫堡到这个岛至少有三哩路。在狱中的时候,法利亚每见他显出萎靡不振,无精打采的样子时,就常常对他说:“唐太斯,你可不能老是这个样子。要是你不好好地锻炼身体,你就是逃了出去体力不支也会淹死的。”在海浪劈头打来的时候,这些话又在唐太斯的耳边响了起来,他使劲划起水来,以此看看自己是否真的体力不支。他很高兴地看到长期的牢狱生活并未夺去他的力量,他以前常常在海的怀抱里象一个孩子似的嬉戏,而现在他仍是这方面的老手。

恐惧是一个无情的追逐者,它迫使唐太斯加倍用力。他侧耳倾听,想听听有没有什么声音传来。每次浮出浪峰时,他的目光就向地平线上搜索一下,努力透过黑暗望出去。每一个较高的浪头都象是一只来追赶他的小船,于是他就使足了劲拉开了他和小船之间的距离,但这样反复做了几次以后,他的体力便消耗得很厉害。他不停地向前游去,那座可怕的城堡渐渐地消失在黑暗里了。他虽看不清它的模样,但却仍能感觉到它的存在。

一小时过去了,在这期间,因获得了自由而兴奋不已的唐太斯,不断地破浪前进。“我来算算看,”他说,“我差不多已游了一小时了,我是逆风游的,速度不免要减慢,但不管怎样,要是我没弄错方向的话,我离狄布伦岛一定很近了。但要是我弄错了呢?”他浑身打了个寒颤。他想浮在海面上休息一下,但海面波动得太猛烈,无法靠这种方法来休息。

“好吧,”他说,“我就游到精疲力尽为止,游到双臂麻木,浑身抽筋,然后淹死算了。”于是他孤注一掷,使出全身力气。

突然间,他觉得天空似乎更黑更阴沉了,稠密的云块向他头顶上压了下来,同时,他感到膝盖一阵剧痛。他的想象力告诉他自己已中了一颗子弹,一刹那间,他就会听到枪声,然而并没有枪声。他伸出手,觉得有个东西挡住了他,于是他伸出脚去,碰到了地面,这时他才看清了自己错当成乌云的那个东西了。

在他的面前,耸立着一大堆奇形怪状的岩石,活象是经过一场猛烈的大火之后凝固而成的东西。这就是狄布伦岛了。唐太斯站起身来,向前走了几步,边感谢上帝边直挺挺地在花岗石上躺了下来,此刻他觉得睡在岩石上比睡在最舒适的床上还要柔软。然后,也不管风暴肆虐,大雨倾注他就象那些疲倦到了极点的人那样沉入了甜蜜的梦乡。一小时以后,爱德蒙被雷声惊醒了。此时,大风暴正以雷霆万钧之势在奔驰,闪电一次次划过夜空,象一条浑身带火的赤炼蛇,照亮了那浑沌汹涌的浪潮卷滚着的云层。

唐太斯没有弄错,他已到达了两个小岛中的一个,这里的确是狄布伦岛。他知道这个地方是草木不生,无处隐藏的,但如果海能稍微平静一些,他就要重新跳到海水里去,再游到黎玛岛去,那儿虽也和这儿一样荒无人烟,但地方比较大,因此也较容易藏身。

一块悬空的岩石成了他暂时栖身之处,他刚躲到它的黑面,大风暴就又以排山倒海之势扑来。爱德蒙觉得他身下的岩石都在抖动,凶猛的波浪冲到花岗岩上,溅了他一身的水。他虽然已很安全,却在这耀眼的雷电交加之中一直感到头晕目眩。他似乎觉得整个岛都在脚下颤抖,象一艘抛了锚的船在断缆以后被带入了风暴的中心。这时他想起自己已有二十四小时没吃东西了。他伸出手去,贪婪地捧着积存在岩洞里的雨水喝着。

当他站起身来的时候,一道闪电划破了天空,驱走了黑暗,直射到了上帝灿烂的宝座脚下。借着这道电光,唐太斯看到,在黎玛岛和克罗斯里海角之间,离他不到一哩远的海面上,有一艘渔船,象一个幽灵似的,正被风浪摆弄着,从浪峰跌入浪谷。一秒钟以后,他又看到了它,而且更近了。唐太斯用尽力气大喊,想警告他们将有触礁的危险,但他们自己已发觉了