It was more especially when speaking in a manner half jesting, half bitter, that Franz’s ear recalled most vividly the deep sonorous, yet well-pitched voice, that had spoken to him in the grotto of Monte Cristo, and which he heard for the second time amid the darkness and ruined grandeur of the Colosseum. And the more he thought the more entire was his conviction that the man in the mantle was no other than his former host and entertainer, ‘Sinbad the Sailor’.
As Franz spoke he heard the sound of a door turning on its hinges, and almost immediately afterwards the tapestry was drawn aside and the owner of all these riches stood before the two young men. Albert instantly rose to meet him, but Franz remained, in a manner spell-bound on his chair, for in the person who had just entered he recognized not only the mysterious visitant to the Colosseum, and the occupant of the
logeat the Salle Argentino, but also his strange host from Monte Cristo.
The steps were crowded with masks, who strove to snatch each other’s glim. Franz followed Albert with his eyes, and saw him mount the first step. Instantly a mask, wearing the well-known costume of a female peasant, snatched the
moccolettofrom him without his offering any resistance. Franz was too far off to hear what they said, but without doubt nothing hostile passed, for he saw Albert disappear arm in arm with the peasant girl.
[A] carriage was waiting at the end of Via Macello. Beppo got in, inviting the Frenchman to follow him, and he did not wait to be asked twice. Beppo told him he was going to take him to a villa, a league from Rome; the Frenchman assured him he would follow him to the end of the world . . . [W]hen they were two hundred yards outside city walls, as the Frenchman became somewhat too forward, Beppo put a brace of pistols to his head, the coachman pulled up and did the same.
‘[A]s my motive in traveling to your capital would not have been for the purpose of dabbling in high finance, I stayed away until some favourable chance should present itself of realizing my ambition: your offer, however, smooths all difficulties, and I have only to ask you, my dear M. de Morcerf’ (these words were accompanied by a most peculiar smile), ‘whether you would undertake, upon my arrival in France, to open the doors of that fashionable world of which I know no more than a Huron or native of Cochin-China?’