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    Chapter 4

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    Chapter 4
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    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 saving, 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."
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