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    Chapter 18

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    Chapter 18
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    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

    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

    "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...
    "25th April, l49"

    "Well!" said Faria, when the young man had finished reading

    "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 --

    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

    "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.

    "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: --

    " 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 from the small
    ...ings have been made
    ...ngle in the second;
    ...tire to him 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, 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 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.
    " 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

    "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.
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