Meet us on:
Entire Site
    Try our fun game

    Dueling book covers…may the best design win!

    Random Quote
    "Grasp the subject, the words will follow."

    Subscribe to Our Newsletter

    Follow us on Twitter

    Never miss a good book again! Follow Read Print on Twitter

    Chapter 64

    • Rate it:
    • Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 based on 28 ratings
    • 49 Favorites on Read Print
    Launch Reading Mode Next Chapter
    Chapter 64
    Previous Chapter
    CHAPTER 64
    The Beggar.

    The evening passed on; Madame de Villefort expressed a
    desire to return to Paris, which Madame Danglars had not
    dared to do, notwithstanding the uneasiness she experienced.
    On his wife's request, M. de Villefort was the first to give
    the signal of departure. He offered a seat in his landau to
    Madame Danglars, that she might be under the care of his
    wife. As for M. Danglars, absorbed in an interesting
    conversation with M. Cavalcanti, he paid no attention to
    anything that was passing. While Monte Cristo had begged the
    smelling-bottle of Madame de Villefort, he had noticed the
    approach of Villefort to Madame Danglars, and he soon
    guessed all that had passed between them, though the words
    had been uttered in so low a voice as hardly to be heard by
    Madame Danglars. Without opposing their arrangements, he
    allowed Morrel, Chateau-Renaud, and Debray to leave on
    horseback, and the ladies in M. de Villefort's carriage.
    Danglars, more and more delighted with Major Cavalcanti, had
    offered him a seat in his carriage. Andrea Cavalcanti found
    his tilbury waiting at the door; the groom, in every respect
    a caricature of the English fashion, was standing on tiptoe
    to hold a large iron-gray horse.

    Andrea had spoken very little during dinner; he was an
    intelligent lad, and he feared to utter some absurdity
    before so many grand people, amongst whom, with dilating
    eyes, he saw the king's attorney. Then he had been seized
    upon by Danglars, who, with a rapid glance at the
    stiff-necked old major and his modest son, and taking into
    consideration the hospitality of the count, made up his mind
    that he was in the society of some nabob come to Paris to
    finish the worldly education of his heir. He contemplated
    with unspeakable delight the large diamond which shone on
    the major's little finger; for the major, like a prudent
    man, in case of any accident happening to his bank-notes,
    had immediately converted them into an available asset.
    Then, after dinner, on the pretext of business, he
    questioned the father and son upon their mode of living; and
    the father and son, previously informed that it was through
    Danglars the one was to receive his 48,000 francs and the
    other 50,000 livres annually, were so full of affability
    that they would have shaken hands even with the banker's
    servants, so much did their gratitude need an object to
    expend itself upon. One thing above all the rest heightened
    the respect, nay almost the veneration, of Danglars for
    Cavalcanti. The latter, faithful to the principle of Horace,
    nil admirari, had contented himself with showing his
    knowledge by declaring in what lake the best lampreys were
    caught. Then he had eaten some without saying a word more;
    Danglars, therefore, concluded that such luxuries were
    common at the table of the illustrious descendant of the
    Cavalcanti, who most likely in Lucca fed upon trout brought
    from Switzerland, and lobsters sent from England, by the
    same means used by the count to bring the lampreys from Lake
    Fusaro, and the sterlet from the Volga. Thus it was with
    much politeness of manner that he heard Cavalcanti pronounce
    these words, "To-morrow, sir, I shall have the honor of
    waiting upon you on business."

    "And I, sir," said Danglars, "shall be most happy to receive
    you." Upon which he offered to take Cavalcanti in his
    carriage to the Hotel des Princes, if it would not be
    depriving him of the company of his son. To this Cavalcanti
    replied by saying that for some time past his son had lived
    independently of him, that he had his own horses and
    carriages, and that not having come together, it would not
    be difficult for them to leave separately. The major seated
    himself, therefore, by the side of Danglars, who was more
    and more charmed with the ideas of order and economy which
    ruled this man, and yet who, being able to allow his son
    60,000 francs a year, might be supposed to possess a fortune
    of 500,000 or 600,000 livres.

    As for Andrea, he began, by way of showing off, to scold his
    groom, who, instead of bringing the tilbury to the steps of
    the house, had taken it to the outer door, thus giving him
    the trouble of walking thirty steps to reach it. The groom
    heard him with humility, took the bit of the impatient
    animal with his left hand, and with the right held out the
    reins to Andrea, who, taking them from him, rested his
    polished boot lightly on the step. At that moment a hand
    touched his shoulder. The young man turned round, thinking
    that Danglars or Monte Cristo had forgotten something they
    wished to tell him, and had returned just as they were
    starting. But instead of either of these, he saw nothing but
    a strange face, sunburnt, and encircled by a beard, with
    eyes brilliant as carbuncles, and a smile upon the mouth
    which displayed a perfect set of white teeth, pointed and
    sharp as the wolf's or jackal's. A red handkerchief
    encircled his gray head; torn and filthy garments covered
    his large bony limbs, which seemed as though, like those of
    a skeleton, they would rattle as he walked; and the hand
    with which he leaned upon the young man's shoulder, and
    which was the first thing Andrea saw, seemed of gigantic
    size. Did the young man recognize that face by the light of
    the lantern in his tilbury, or was he merely struck with the
    horrible appearance of his interrogator? We cannot say; but
    only relate the fact that he shuddered and stepped back
    suddenly. "What do you want of me?" he asked.

    "Pardon me, my friend, if I disturb you," said the man with
    the red handkerchief, "but I want to speak to you."

    "You have no right to beg at night," said the groom,
    endeavoring to rid his master of the troublesome intruder.

    "I am not begging, my fine fellow," said the unknown to the
    servant, with so ironical an expression of the eye, and so
    frightful a smile, that he withdrew; "I only wish to say two
    or three words to your master, who gave me a commission to
    execute about a fortnight ago."

    "Come," said Andrea, with sufficient nerve for his servant
    not to perceive his agitation, "what do you want? Speak
    quickly, friend."

    The man said, in a low voice: "I wish -- I wish you to spare
    me the walk back to Paris. I am very tired, and as I have
    not eaten so good a dinner as you, I can scarcely stand."
    The young man shuddered at this strange familiarity. "Tell
    me," he said -- "tell me what you want?"

    "Well, then, I want you to take me up in your fine carriage,
    and carry me back." Andrea turned pale, but said nothing.

    "Yes," said the man, thrusting his hands into his pockets,
    and looking impudently at the youth; "I have taken the whim
    into my head; do you understand, Master Benedetto?"

    At this name, no doubt, the young man reflected a little,
    for he went towards his groom, saying, "This man is right; I
    did indeed charge him with a commission, the result of which
    he must tell me; walk to the barrier, there take a cab, that
    you may not be too late." The surprised groom retired. "Let
    me at least reach a shady spot," said Andrea.

    "Oh, as for that, I'll take you to a splendid place," said
    the man with the handkerchief; and taking the horse's bit he
    led the tilbury where it was certainly impossible for any
    one to witness the honor that Andrea conferred upon him.

    "Don't think I want the glory of riding in your fine
    carriage," said he; "oh, no, it's only because I am tired,
    and also because I have a little business to talk over with

    "Come, step in," said the young man. It was a pity this
    scene had not occurred in daylight, for it was curious to
    see this rascal throwing himself heavily down on the cushion
    beside the young and elegant driver of the tilbury. Andrea
    drove past the last house in the village without saying a
    word to his companion, who smiled complacently, as though
    well-pleased to find himself travelling in so comfortable a
    vehicle. Once out of Auteuil, Andrea looked around, in order
    to assure himself that he could neither be seen nor heard,
    and then, stopping the horse and crossing his arms before
    the man, he asked, -- "Now, tell me why you come to disturb
    my tranquillity?"

    "Let me ask you why you deceived me?"

    "How have I deceived you?"

    "'How,' do you ask? When we parted at the Pont du Var, you
    told me you were going to travel through Piedmont and
    Tuscany; but instead of that, you come to Paris."

    "How does that annoy you?"

    "It does not; on the contrary, I think it will answer my

    "So," said Andrea, "you are speculating upon me?"

    "What fine words he uses!"

    "I warn you, Master Caderousse, that you are mistaken."

    "Well, well, don't be angry, my boy; you know well enough
    what it is to be unfortunate; and misfortunes make us
    jealous. I thought you were earning a living in Tuscany or
    Piedmont by acting as facchino or cicerone, and I pitied you
    sincerely, as I would a child of my own. You know I always
    did call you my child."

    "Come, come, what then?"

    "Patience -- patience!"

    "I am patient, but go on."

    "All at once I see you pass through the barrier with a
    groom, a tilbury, and fine new clothes. You must have
    discovered a mine, or else become a stockbroker."

    "So that, as you confess, you are jealous?"

    "No, I am pleased -- so pleased that I wished to
    congratulate you; but as I am not quite properly dressed, I
    chose my opportunity, that I might not compromise you."

    "Yes, and a fine opportunity you have chosen!" exclaimed
    Andrea; "you speak to me before my servant."

    "How can I help that, my boy? I speak to you when I can
    catch you. You have a quick horse, a light tilbury, you are
    naturally as slippery as an eel; if I had missed you
    to-night, I might not have had another chance."

    "You see, I do not conceal myself."

    "You are lucky; I wish I could say as much, for I do conceal
    myself; and then I was afraid you would not recognize me,
    but you did," added Caderousse with his unpleasant smile.
    "It was very polite of you."

    "Come," said Andrea, "what do want?"

    "You do not speak affectionately to me, Benedetto, my old
    friend, that is not right -- take care, or I may become
    troublesome." This menace smothered the young man's passion.
    He urged the horse again into a trot. "You should not speak
    so to an old friend like me, Caderousse, as you said just
    now; you are a native of Marseilles, I am" --

    "Do you know then now what you are?"

    "No, but I was brought up in Corsica; you are old and
    obstinate, I am young and wilful. Between people like us
    threats are out of place, everything should be amicably
    arranged. Is it my fault if fortune, which has frowned on
    you, has been kind to me?"

    "Fortune has been kind to you, then? Your tilbury, your
    groom, your clothes, are not then hired? Good, so much the
    better," said Caderousse, his eyes sparkling with avarice.

    "Oh, you knew that well enough before speaking to me," said
    Andrea, becoming more and more excited. "If I had been
    wearing a handkerchief like yours on my head, rags on my
    back, and worn-out shoes on my feet, you would not have
    known me."

    "You wrong me, my boy; now I have found you, nothing
    prevents my being as well-dressed as any one, knowing, as I
    do, the goodness of your heart. If you have two coats you
    will give me one of them. I used to divide my soup and beans
    with you when you were hungry."

    "True," said Andrea.

    "What an appetite you used to have! Is it as good now?"

    "Oh, yes," replied Andrea, laughing.

    "How did you come to be dining with that prince whose house
    you have just left?"

    "He is not a prince; simply a count."

    "A count, and a rich one too, eh?"

    "Yes; but you had better not have anything to say to him,
    for he is not a very good-tempered gentleman."

    "Oh, be easy! I have no design upon your count, and you
    shall have him all to yourself. But," said Caderousse, again
    smiling with the disagreeable expression he had before
    assumed, "you must pay for it -- you understand?"

    "Well, what do you want?"

    "I think that with a hundred francs a month" --


    "I could live" --

    "Upon a hundred francs!"

    "Come -- you understand me; but that with" --


    "With a hundred and fifty francs I should be quite happy."

    "Here are two hundred," said Andrea; and he placed ten gold
    louis in the hand of Caderousse.

    "Good!" said Caderousse.

    "Apply to the steward on the first day of every mouth, and
    you will receive the same sum."

    "There now, again you degrade me."

    "How so?"

    "By making me apply to the servants, when I want to transact
    business with you alone."

    "Well, be it so, then. Take it from me then, and so long at
    least as I receive my income, you shall be paid yours."

    "Come, come; I always said you were a line fellow, and it is
    a blessing when good fortune happens to such as you. But
    tell me all about it?"

    "Why do you wish to know?" asked Cavalcanti.

    "What? do you again defy me?"

    "No; the fact is, I have found my father."

    "What? a real father?"

    "Yes, so long as he pays me" --

    "You'll honor and believe him -- that's right. What is his

    "Major Cavalcanti."

    "Is he pleased with you?"

    "So far I have appeared to answer his purpose."

    "And who found this father for you?"

    "The Count of Monte Cristo."

    "The man whose house you have just left?"


    "I wish you would try and find me a situation with him as
    grandfather, since he holds the money-chest!"

    "Well, I will mention you to him. Meanwhile, what are you
    going to do?"


    "Yes, you."

    "It is very kind of you to trouble yourself about me."

    "Since you interest yourself in my affairs, I think it is
    now my turn to ask you some questions."

    "Ah, true. Well; I shall rent a room in some respectable
    house, wear a decent coat, shave every day, and go and read
    the papers in a cafe. Then, in the evening, I shall go to
    the theatre; I shall look like some retired baker. That is
    what I want."

    "Come, if you will only put this scheme into execution, and
    be steady, nothing could be better."

    "Do you think so, M. Bossuet? And you -- what will you
    become? A peer of France?"

    "Ah," said Andrea, "who knows?"

    "Major Cavalcanti is already one, perhaps; but then,
    hereditary rank is abolished."

    "No politics, Caderousse. And now that you have all you
    want, and that we understand each other, jump down from the
    tilbury and disappear."

    "Not at all, my good friend."

    "How? Not at all?"

    "Why, just think for a moment; with this red handkerchief on
    my head, with scarcely any shoes, no papers, and ten gold
    napoleons in my pocket, without reckoning what was there
    before -- making in all about two hundred francs, -- why, I
    should certainly be arrested at the barriers. Then, to
    justify myself, I should say that you gave me the money;
    this would cause inquiries, it would be found that I left
    Toulon without giving due notice, and I should then be
    escorted back to the shores of the Mediterranean. Then I
    should become simply No. 106, and good-by to my dream of
    resembling the retired baker! No, no, my boy; I prefer
    remaining honorably in the capital." Andrea scowled.
    Certainly, as he had himself owned, the reputed son of Major
    Cavalcanti was a wilful fellow. He drew up for a minute,
    threw a rapid glance around him, and then his hand fell
    instantly into his pocket, where it began playing with a
    pistol. But, meanwhile, Caderousse, who had never taken his
    eyes off his companion, passed his hand behind his back, and
    opened a long Spanish knife, which he always carried with
    him, to be ready in case of need. The two friends, as we
    see, were worthy of and understood one another. Andrea's
    hand left his pocket inoffensively, and was carried up to
    the red mustache, which it played with for some time. "Good
    Caderousse," he said, "how happy you will be."

    "I will do my best," said the inn-keeper of the Pont du
    Gard, shutting up his knife.

    "Well, then, we will go into Paris. But how will you pass
    through the barrier without exciting suspicion? It seems to
    me that you are in more danger riding than on foot."

    "Wait," said Caderousse, "we shall see." He then took the
    great-coat with the large collar, which the groom had left
    behind in the tilbury, and put it on his back; then he took
    off Cavalcanti's hat, which he placed upon his own head, and
    finally he assumed the careless attitude of a servant whose
    master drives himself.

    "But, tell me," said Andrea, "am I to remain bareheaded?"

    "Pooh," said Caderousse; "it is so windy that your hat can
    easily appear to have blown off."

    "Come, come; enough of this," said Cavalcanti.

    "What are you waiting for?" said Caderousse. "I hope I am
    not the cause."

    "Hush," said Andrea. They passed the barrier without
    accident. At the first cross street Andrea stopped his
    horse, and Caderousse leaped out.

    "Well!" said Andrea, -- "my servant's coat and my hat?"

    "Ah," said Caderousse, "you would not like me to risk taking

    "But what am I to do?"

    "You? Oh, you are young while I am beginning to get old. Au
    revoir, Benedetto;" and running into a court, he
    disappeared. "Alas," said Andrea, sighing, "one cannot be
    completely happy in this world!"
    Next Chapter
    Chapter 64
    Previous Chapter
    If you're writing a Alexandre Dumas pere essay and need some advice, post your Alexandre Dumas pere essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

    Top 5 Authors

    Top 5 Books

    Book Status
    Want to read

    Are you sure you want to leave this group?