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    Chapter 50

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    Chapter 50
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    CHAPTER 50
    The Morrel Family.

    In a very few minutes the count reached No. 7 in the Rue
    Meslay. The house was of white stone, and in a small court
    before it were two small beds full of beautiful flowers. In
    the concierge that opened the gate the count recognized
    Cocles; but as he had but one eye, and that eye had become
    somewhat dim in the course of nine years, Cocles did not
    recognize the count. The carriages that drove up to the door
    were compelled to turn, to avoid a fountain that played in a
    basin of rockwork, -- an ornament that had excited the
    jealousy of the whole quarter, and had gained for the place
    the appellation of "The Little Versailles." It is needless
    to add that there were gold and silver fish in the basin.
    The house, with kitchens and cellars below, had above the
    ground-floor, two stories and attics. The whole of the
    property, consisting of an immense workshop, two pavilions
    at the bottom of the garden, and the garden itself, had been
    purchased by Emmanuel, who had seen at a glance that he
    could make of it a profitable speculation. He had reserved
    the house and half the garden, and building a wall between
    the garden and the workshops, had let them upon lease with
    the pavilions at the bottom of the garden. So that for a
    trifling sum he was as well lodged, and as perfectly shut
    out from observation, as the inhabitants of the finest
    mansion in the Faubourg St. Germain. The breakfast-room was
    finished in oak; the salon in mahogany, and the furnishings
    were of blue velvet; the bedroom was in citronwood and green
    damask. There was a study for Emmanuel, who never studied,
    and a music-room for Julie, who never played. The whole of
    the second story was set apart for Maximilian; it was
    precisely similar to his sister's apartments, except that
    for the breakfast-parlor he had a billiard-room, where he
    received his friends. He was superintending the grooming of
    his horse, and smoking his cigar at the entrance of the
    garden, when the count's carriage stopped at the gate.

    Cocles opened the gate, and Baptistin, springing from the
    box, inquired whether Monsieur and Madame Herbault and
    Monsieur Maximilian Morrel would see his excellency the
    Count of Monte Cristo. "The Count of Monte Cristo?" cried
    Morrel, throwing away his cigar and hastening to the
    carriage; "I should think we would see him. Ah, a thousand
    thanks, count, for not having forgotten your promise." And
    the young officer shook the count's hand so warmly, that
    Monte Cristo could not be mistaken as to the sincerity of
    his joy, and he saw that he had been expected with
    impatience, and was received with pleasure. "Come, come,"
    said Maximilian, "I will serve as your guide; such a man as
    you are ought not to be introduced by a servant. My sister
    is in the garden plucking the dead roses; my brother is
    reading his two papers, the Presse and the Debats, within
    six steps of her; for wherever you see Madame Herbault, you
    have only to look within a circle of four yards and you will
    find M. Emmanuel, and 'reciprocally,' as they say at the
    Polytechnic School." At the sound of their steps a young
    woman of twenty to five and twenty, dressed in a silk
    morning gown, and busily engaged in plucking the dead leaves
    off a noisette rose-tree, raised her head. This was Julie,
    who had become, as the clerk of the house of Thomson &
    French had predicted, Madame Emmanuel Herbault. She uttered
    a cry of surprise at the sight of a stranger, and Maximilian
    began to laugh. "Don't disturb yourself, Julie," said he.
    "The count has only been two or three days in Paris, but he
    already knows what a fashionable woman of the Marais is, and
    if he does not, you will show him."

    "Ah, monsieur," returned Julie, "it is treason in my brother
    to bring you thus, but he never has any regard for his poor
    sister. Penelon, Penelon!" An old man, who was digging
    busily at one of the beds, stuck his spade in the earth, and
    approached, cap in hand, striving to conceal a quid of
    tobacco he had just thrust into his cheek. A few locks of
    gray mingled with his hair, which was still thick and
    matted, while his bronzed features and determined glance
    well suited an old sailor who had braved the heat of the
    equator and the storms of the tropics. "I think you hailed
    me, Mademoiselle Julie?" said he. Penelon had still
    preserved the habit of calling his master's daughter
    "Mademoiselle Julie," and had never been able to change the
    name to Madame Herbault. "Penelon," replied Julie, "go and
    inform M. Emmanuel of this gentleman's visit, and Maximilian
    will conduct him to the salon." Then, turning to Monte
    Cristo, -- "I hope you will permit me to leave you for a few
    minutes," continued she; and without awaiting any reply,
    disappeared behind a clump of trees, and escaped to the
    house by a lateral alley.

    "I am sorry to see," observed Monte Cristo to Morrel, "that
    I cause no small disturbance in your house."

    "Look there," said Maximilian, laughing; "there is her
    husband changing his jacket for a coat. I assure you, you
    are well known in the Rue Meslay."

    "Your family appears to be a very happy one," said the
    count, as if speaking to himself.

    "Oh, yes, I assure you, count, they want nothing that can
    render them happy; they are young and cheerful, they are
    tenderly attached to each other, and with twenty-five
    thousand francs a year they fancy themselves as rich as
    Rothschild."

    "Five and twenty thousand francs is not a large sum,
    however," replied Monte Cristo, with a tone so sweet and
    gentle, that it went to Maximilian's heart like the voice of
    a father; "but they will not be content with that. Your
    brother-in-law is a barrister? a doctor?"

    "He was a merchant, monsieur, and had succeeded to the
    business of my poor father. M. Morrel, at his death, left
    500,000 francs, which were divided between my sister and
    myself, for we were his only children. Her husband, who,
    when he married her, had no other patrimony than his noble
    probity, his first-rate ability, and his spotless
    reputation, wished to possess as much as his wife. He
    labored and toiled until he had amassed 250,000 francs; six
    years sufficed to achieve this object. Oh, I assure you,
    sir, it was a touching spectacle to see these young
    creatures, destined by their talents for higher stations,
    toiling together, and through their unwillingness to change
    any of the customs of their paternal house, taking six years
    to accomplish what less scrupulous people would have
    effected in two or three. Marseilles resounded with their
    well-earned praises. At last, one day, Emmanuel came to his
    wife, who had just finished making up the accounts. 'Julie,'
    said he to her, 'Cocles has just given me the last rouleau
    of a hundred francs; that completes the 250,000 francs we
    had fixed as the limits of our gains. Can you content
    yourself with the small fortune which we shall possess for
    the future? Listen to me. Our house transacts business to
    the amount of a million a year, from which we derive an
    income of 40,000 francs. We can dispose of the business, if
    we please, in an hour, for I have received a letter from M.
    Delaunay, in which he offers to purchase the good-will of
    the house, to unite with his own, for 300,000 francs. Advise
    me what I had better do.' -- 'Emmanuel,' returned my sister,
    'the house of Morrel can only be carried on by a Morrel. Is
    it not worth 300,000 francs to save our father's name from
    the chances of evil fortune and failure?' -- 'I thought so,'
    replied Emmanuel; 'but I wished to have your advice.' --
    'This is my counsel: -- Our accounts are made up and our
    bills paid; all we have to do is to stop the issue of any
    more, and close our office.' This was done instantly. It was
    three o'clock; at a quarter past, a merchant presented
    himself to insure two ships; it was a clear profit of 15,000
    francs. 'Monsieur,' said Emmanuel, 'have the goodness to
    address yourself to M. Delaunay. We have quitted business.'
    -- 'How long?' inquired the astonished merchant. 'A quarter
    of an hour,' was the reply. And this is the reason,
    monsieur," continued Maximilian, "of my sister and
    brother-in-law having only 25,000 francs a year."

    Maximilian had scarcely finished his story, during which the
    count's heart had swelled within him, when Emmanuel entered
    wearing a hat and coat. He saluted the count with the air of
    a man who is aware of the rank of his guest; then, after
    having led Monte Cristo around the little garden, he
    returned to the house. A large vase of Japan porcelain,
    filled with flowers that loaded the air with their perfume,
    stood in the salon. Julie, suitably dressed, and her hair
    arranged (she had accomplished this feat in less than ten
    minutes), received the count on his entrance. The songs of
    the birds were heard in an aviary hard by, and the branches
    of laburnums and rose acacias formed an exquisite framework
    to the blue velvet curtains. Everything in this charming
    retreat, from the warble of the birds to the smile of the
    mistress, breathed tranquillity and repose. The count had
    felt the influence of this happiness from the moment he
    entered the house, and he remained silent and pensive,
    forgetting that he was expected to renew the conversation,
    which had ceased after the first salutations had been
    exchanged. The silence became almost painful when, by a
    violent effort, tearing himself from his pleasing reverie --
    "Madame," said he at length, "I pray you to excuse my
    emotion, which must astonish you who are only accustomed to
    the happiness I meet here; but contentment is so new a sight
    to me, that I could never be weary of looking at yourself
    and your husband."

    "We are very happy, monsieur," replied Julie; "but we have
    also known unhappiness, and few have ever undergone more
    bitter sufferings than ourselves." The Count's features
    displayed an expression of the most intense curiosity.

    "Oh, all this is a family history, as Chateau-Renaud told
    you the other day," observed Maximilian. "This humble
    picture would have but little interest for you, accustomed
    as you are to behold the pleasures and the misfortunes of
    the wealthy and industrious; but such as we are, we have
    experienced bitter sorrows."

    "And God has poured balm into your wounds, as he does into
    those of all who are in affliction?" said Monte Cristo
    inquiringly.

    "Yes, count," returned Julie, "we may indeed say he has, for
    he has done for us what he grants only to his chosen; he
    sent us one of his angels." The count's cheeks became
    scarlet, and he coughed, in order to have an excuse for
    putting his handkerchief to his mouth. "Those born to
    wealth, and who have the means of gratifying every wish,"
    said Emmanuel, "know not what is the real happiness of life,
    just as those who have been tossed on the stormy waters of
    the ocean on a few frail planks can alone realize the
    blessings of fair weather."

    Monte Cristo rose, and without making any answer (for the
    tremulousness of his voice would have betrayed his emotion)
    walked up and down the apartment with a slow step.

    "Our magnificence makes you smile, count," said Maximilian,
    who had followed him with his eyes. "No, no," returned Monte
    Cristo, pale as death, pressing one hand on his heart to
    still its throbbings, while with the other he pointed to a
    crystal cover, beneath which a silken purse lay on a black
    velvet cushion. "I was wondering what could be the
    significance of this purse, with the paper at one end and
    the large diamond at the other."

    "Count," replied Maximilian, with an air of gravity, "those
    are our most precious family treasures."

    "The stone seems very brilliant," answered the count.

    "Oh, my brother does not allude to its value, although it
    has been estimated at 100,000 francs; he means, that the
    articles contained in this purse are the relics of the angel
    I spoke of just now."

    "This I do not comprehend; and yet I may not ask for an
    explanation, madame," replied Monte Cristo bowing. "Pardon
    me, I had no intention of committing an indiscretion."

    "Indiscretion, -- oh, you make us happy by giving us an
    excuse for expatiating on this subject. If we wanted to
    conceal the noble action this purse commemorates, we should
    not expose it thus to view. Oh, would we could relate it
    everywhere, and to every one, so that the emotion of our
    unknown benefactor might reveal his presence."

    "Ah, really," said Monte Cristo in a half-stifled voice.

    "Monsieur," returned Maximilian, raising the glass cover,
    and respectfully kissing the silken purse, "this has touched
    the hand of a man who saved my father from suicide, us from
    ruin, and our name from shame and disgrace, -- a man by
    whose matchless benevolence we poor children, doomed to want
    and wretchedness, can at present hear every one envying our
    happy lot. This letter" (as he spoke, Maximilian drew a
    letter from the purse and gave it to the count) -- "this
    letter was written by him the day that my father had taken a
    desperate resolution, and this diamond was given by the
    generous unknown to my sister as her dowry." Monte Cristo
    opened the letter, and read it with an indescribable feeling
    of delight. It was the letter written (as our readers know)
    to Julie, and signed "Sinbad the Sailor." "Unknown you say,
    is the man who rendered you this service -- unknown to you?"

    "Yes; we have never had the happiness of pressing his hand,"
    continued Maximilian. "We have supplicated heaven in vain to
    grant us this favor, but the whole affair has had a
    mysterious meaning that we cannot comprehend -- we have been
    guided by an invisible hand, -- a hand as powerful as that
    of an enchanter."

    "Oh," cried Julie, "I have not lost all hope of some day
    kissing that hand, as I now kiss the purse which he has
    touched. Four years ago, Penelon was at Trieste -- Penelon,
    count, is the old sailor you saw in the garden, and who,
    from quartermaster, has become gardener -- Penelon, when he
    was at Trieste, saw on the quay an Englishman, who was on
    the point of embarking on board a yacht, and he recognized
    him as the person who called on my father the fifth of June,
    1829, and who wrote me this letter on the fifth of
    September. He felt convinced of his identity, but he did not
    venture to address him."

    "An Englishman," said Monte Cristo, who grew uneasy at the
    attention with which Julie looked at him. "An Englishman you
    say?"

    "Yes," replied Maximilian, "an Englishman, who represented
    himself as the confidential clerk of the house of Thomson &
    French, at Rome. It was this that made me start when you
    said the other day, at M. de Morcerf's, that Messrs. Thomson
    & French were your bankers. That happened, as I told you, in
    1829. For God's sake, tell me, did you know this
    Englishman?"

    "But you tell me, also, that the house of Thomson & French
    have constantly denied having rendered you this service?"

    "Yes."

    "Then is it not probable that this Englishman may be some
    one who, grateful for a kindness your father had shown him,
    and which he himself had forgotten, has taken this method of
    requiting the obligation?"

    "Everything is possible in this affair, even a miracle."

    "What was his name?" asked Monte Cristo.

    "He gave no other name," answered Julie, looking earnestly
    at the count, "than that at the end of his letter -- 'Sinbad
    the Sailor.'"

    "Which is evidently not his real name, but a fictitious
    one."

    Then, noticing that Julie was struck with the sound of his
    voice, --

    "Tell me," continued he, "was he not about my height,
    perhaps a little taller, with his chin imprisoned, as it
    were, in a high cravat; his coat closely buttoned up, and
    constantly taking out his pencil?"

    "Oh, do you then know him?" cried Julie, whose eyes sparkled
    with joy.

    "No," returned Monte Cristo "I only guessed. I knew a Lord
    Wilmore, who was constantly doing actions of this kind."

    "Without revealing himself?"

    "He was an eccentric being, and did not believe in the
    existence of gratitude."

    "Oh, heaven," exclaimed Julie, clasping her hands, "in what
    did he believe, then?"

    "He did not credit it at the period which I knew him," said
    Monte Cristo, touched to the heart by the accents of Julie's
    voice; "but, perhaps, since then he has had proofs that
    gratitude does exist."

    "And do you know this gentleman, monsieur?" inquired
    Emmanuel.

    "Oh, if you do know him," cried Julie, "can you tell us
    where he is -- where we can find him? Maximilian -- Emmanuel
    -- if we do but discover him, he must believe in the
    gratitude of the heart!" Monte Cristo felt tears start into
    his eyes, and he again walked hastily up and down the room.

    "In the name of heaven," said Maximilian, "if you know
    anything of him, tell us what it is."

    "Alas," cried Monte Cristo, striving to repress his emotion,
    "if Lord Wilmore was your unknown benefactor, I fear you
    will never see him again. I parted from him two years ago at
    Palermo, and he was then on the point of setting out for the
    most remote regions; so that I fear he will never return."

    "Oh, monsieur, this is cruel of you," said Julie, much
    affected; and the young lady's eyes swam with tears.

    "Madame," replied Monte Cristo gravely, and gazing earnestly
    on the two liquid pearls that trickled down Julie's cheeks,
    "had Lord Wilmore seen what I now see, he would become
    attached to life, for the tears you shed would reconcile him
    to mankind;" and he held out his hand to Julie, who gave him
    hers, carried away by the look and accent of the count.
    "But," continued she, "Lord Wilmore had a family or friends,
    he must have known some one, can we not -- "

    "Oh, it is useless to inquire," returned the count;
    "perhaps, after all, he was not the man you seek for. He was
    my friend: he had no secrets from me, and if this had been
    so he would have confided in me."

    "And he told you nothing?"

    "Not a word."

    "Nothing that would lead you to suppose?"

    "Nothing."

    "And yet you spoke of him at once."

    "Ah, in such a case one supposes" --

    "Sister, sister," said Maximilian, coming to the count's
    aid, "monsieur is quite right. Recollect what our excellent
    father so often told us, 'It was no Englishman that thus
    saved us.'" Monte Cristo started. "What did your father tell
    you, M. Morrel?" said he eagerly.

    "My father thought that this action had been miraculously
    performed -- he believed that a benefactor had arisen from
    the grave to save us. Oh, it was a touching superstition,
    monsieur, and although I did not myself believe it, I would
    not for the world have destroyed my father's faith. How
    often did he muse over it and pronounce the name of a dear
    friend -- a friend lost to him forever; and on his
    death-bed, when the near approach of eternity seemed to have
    illumined his mind with supernatural light, this thought,
    which had until then been but a doubt, became a conviction,
    and his last words were, 'Maximilian, it was Edmond
    Dantes!'" At these words the count's paleness, which had for
    some time been increasing, became alarming; he could not
    speak; he looked at his watch like a man who has forgotten
    the hour, said a few hurried words to Madame Herbault, and
    pressing the hands of Emmanuel and Maximilian, -- "Madame,"
    said he, "I trust you will allow me to visit you
    occasionally; I value your friendship, and feel grateful to
    you for your welcome, for this is the first time for many
    years that I have thus yielded to my feelings;" and he
    hastily quitted the apartment.

    "This Count of Monte Cristo is a strange man," said
    Emmanuel.

    "Yes," answered Maximilian, "but I feel sure he has an
    excellent heart, and that he likes us."

    "His voice went to my heart," observed Julie; "and two or
    three times I fancied that I had heard it before."
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