The Count of Monte Cristo

by: Alexandre Dumas

Chapters 1–5

1

‘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 be sorry. Good Captain LeClère 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?’

2

Danglars looked at the two men, one after the other, the one brutalized by liquor, the other overwhelmed by love. ‘I shall extract nothing from these fools,’ he muttered, ‘and I am very much afraid of being here between a drunkard and a coward. . . . Unquestionably, Edmond’s star is in the ascendant, and he will marry his 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.’

3

‘Why, thus it is,’ replied Dantès. ‘Thanks to the influence of M. Morrel, to whom, next to my father, I owe every blessing I enjoy, every difficulty has 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 Hotel-de-Ville. 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 Mercédès will be Madame Dantès.’

4

‘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 Dantès be innocent or guilty? The vessel did call at Elba, where he quitted it, and passed a whole day on 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?’