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    Chapter 42

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    Chapter 42
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    CHAPTER 42
    Monsieur Bertuccio.

    Meanwhile the count had arrived at his house; it had taken
    him six minutes to perform the distance, but these six
    minutes were sufficient to induce twenty young men who knew
    the price of the equipage they had been unable to purchase
    themselves, to put their horses in a gallop in order to see
    the rich foreigner who could afford to give 20,000 francs
    apiece for his horses. The house Ali had chosen, and which
    was to serve as a town residence to Monte Cristo, was
    situated on the right hand as you ascend the Champs Elysees.
    A thick clump of trees and shrubs rose in the centre, and
    masked a portion of the front; around this shrubbery two
    alleys, like two arms, extended right and left, and formed a
    carriage-drive from the iron gates to a double portico, on
    every step of which stood a porcelain vase. filled with
    flowers. This house, isolated from the rest, had, besides
    the main entrance, another in the Rue Ponthieu. Even before
    the coachman had hailed the concierge, the massy gates
    rolled on their hinges -- they had seen the Count coming,
    and at Paris, as everywhere else, he was served with the
    rapidity of lightning. The coachman entered and traversed
    the half-circle without slackening his speed, and the gates
    were closed ere the wheels had ceased to sound on the
    gravel. The carriage stopped at the left side of the
    portico, two men presented themselves at the
    carriage-window; the one was Ali, who, smiling with an
    expression of the most sincere joy, seemed amply repaid by a
    mere look from Monte Cristo. The other bowed respectfully,
    and offered his arm to assist the count in descending.
    "Thanks, M. Bertuccio," said the count, springing lightly up
    the three steps of the portico; "and the notary?"

    "He is in the small salon, excellency," returned Bertuccio.

    "And the cards I ordered to be engraved as soon as you knew
    the number of the house?"

    "Your excellency, it is done already. I have been myself to
    the best engraver of the Palais Royal, who did the plate in
    my presence. The first card struck off was taken, according
    to your orders, to the Baron Danglars, Rue de la Chaussee
    d'Antin, No. 7; the others are on the mantle-piece of your
    excellency's bedroom."

    "Good; what o'clock is it?"

    "Four o'clock." Monte Cristo gave his hat, cane, and gloves
    to the same French footman who had called his carriage at
    the Count of Morcerf's, and then he passed into the small
    salon, preceded by Bertuccio, who showed him the way. "These
    are but indifferent marbles in this ante-chamber," said
    Monte Cristo. "I trust all this will soon be taken away."
    Bertuccio bowed. As the steward had said, the notary awaited
    him in the small salon. He was a simple-looking lawyer's
    clerk, elevated to the extraordinary dignity of a provincial
    scrivener. "You are the notary empowered to sell the country
    house that I wish to purchase, monsieur?" asked Monte
    Cristo.

    "Yes, count," returned the notary.

    "Is the deed of sale ready?"

    "Yes, count."

    "Have you brought it?"

    "Here it is."

    "Very well; and where is this house that I purchase?" asked
    the count carelessly, addressing himself half to Bertuccio,
    half to the notary. The steward made a gesture that
    signified, "I do not know." The notary looked at the count
    with astonishment. "What!" said he, "does not the count know
    where the house he purchases is situated?"

    "No," returned the count.

    "The count does not know?"

    "How should I know? I have arrived from Cadiz this morning.
    I have never before been at Paris, and it is the first time
    I have ever even set my foot in France."

    "Ah, that is different; the house you purchase is at
    Auteuil." At these words Bertuccio turned pale. "And where
    is Auteuil?" asked the count.

    "Close by here, monsieur," replied the notary -- "a little
    beyond Passy; a charming situation, in the heart of the Bois
    de Boulogne."

    "So near as that?" said the Count; "but that is not in the
    country. What made you choose a house at the gates of Paris,
    M. Bertuccio?"

    "I," cried the steward with a strange expression. "His
    excellency did not charge me to purchase this house. If his
    excellency will recollect -- if he will think" --

    "Ah, true," observed Monte Cristo; "I recollect now. I read
    the advertisement in one of the papers, and was tempted by
    the false title, 'a country house.'"

    "It is not yet too late," cried Bertuccio, eagerly; "and if
    your excellency will intrust me with the commission, I will
    find you a better at Enghien, at Fontenay-aux-Roses, or at
    Bellevue."

    "Oh, no," returned Monte Cristo negligently; "since I have
    this, I will keep it."

    "And you are quite right," said the notary, who feared to
    lose his fee. "It is a charming place, well supplied with
    spring-water and fine trees; a comfortable habitation,
    although abandoned for a long time, without reckoning the
    furniture, which, although old, is yet valuable, now that
    old things are so much sought after. I suppose the count has
    the tastes of the day?"

    "To be sure," returned Monte Cristo; "it is very convenient,
    then?"

    "It is more -- it is magnificent."

    "Peste, let us not lose such an opportunity," returned Monte
    Cristo. "The deed, if you please, Mr. Notary." And he signed
    it rapidly, after having first run his eye over that part of
    the deed in which were specified the situation of the house
    and the names of the proprietors. "Bertuccio," said he,
    "give fifty-five thousand francs to monsieur." The steward
    left the room with a faltering step, and returned with a
    bundle of bank-notes, which the notary counted like a man
    who never gives a receipt for money until after he is sure
    it is all there. "And now," demanded the count, "are all the
    forms complied with?"

    "All, sir."

    "Have you the keys?"

    "They are in the hands of the concierge, who takes care of
    the house, but here is the order I have given him to install
    the count in his new possessions."

    "Very well;" and Monte Cristo made a sign with his hand to
    the notary, which said, "I have no further need of you; you
    may go."

    "But," observed the honest notary, "the count is, I think,
    mistaken; it is only fifty thousand francs, everything
    included."

    "And your fee?"

    "Is included in this sum."

    "But have you not come from Auteuil here?"

    "Yes, certainly."

    "Well, then, it is but fair that you should be paid for your
    loss of time and trouble," said the count; and he made a
    gesture of polite dismissal. The notary left the room
    backwards, and bowing down to the ground; it was the first
    time he had ever met a similar client. "See this gentleman
    out," said the count to Bertuccio. And the steward followed
    the notary out of the room. Scarcely was the count alone,
    when he drew from his pocket a book closed with a lock, and
    opened it with a key which he wore round his neck, and which
    never left him. After having sought for a few minutes, he
    stopped at a leaf which had several notes, and compared them
    with the deed of sale, which lay on the table. "'Auteuil,
    Rue de la Fontaine, No. 28;' it is indeed the same," said
    he; "and now, am I to rely upon an avowal extorted by
    religious or physical terror? However, in an hour I shall
    know all. Bertuccio!" cried he, striking a light hammer with
    a pliant handle on a small gong. "Bertuccio!" The steward
    appeared at the door. "Monsieur Bertuccio," said the count,
    "did you never tell me that you had travelled in France?"

    "In some parts of France -- yes, excellency."

    "You know the environs of Paris, then?"

    "No, excellency, no," returned the steward, with a sort of
    nervous trembling, which Monte Cristo, a connoisseur in all
    emotions, rightly attributed to great disquietude.

    "It is unfortunate," returned he, "that you have never
    visited the environs, for I wish to see my new property this
    evening, and had you gone with me, you could have given me
    some useful information."

    "To Auteuil!" cried Bertuccio, whose copper complexion
    became livid -- "I go to Auteuil?"

    "Well, what is there surprising in that? When I live at
    Auteuil, you must come there, as you belong to my service."
    Bertuccio hung down his head before the imperious look of
    his master, and remained motionless, without making any
    answer. "Why, what has happened to you? -- are you going to
    make me ring a second time for the carriage?" asked Monte
    Cristo, in the same tone that Louis XIV. pronounced the
    famous, "I have been almost obliged to wait." Bertuccio made
    but one bound to the ante-chamber, and cried in a hoarse
    voice -- "His excellency's horses!" Monte Cristo wrote two
    or three notes, and, as he sealed the last, the steward
    appeared. "Your excellency's carriage is at the door," said
    he.

    "Well, take your hat and gloves," returned Monte Cristo.

    "Am I to accompany you, your excellency?" cried Bertuccio.

    "Certainly, you must give the orders, for I intend residing
    at the house." It was unexampled for a servant of the
    count's to dare to dispute an order of his, so the steward,
    without saying a word, followed his master, who got into the
    carriage, and signed to him to follow, which he did, taking
    his place respectfully on the front seat.
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