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    Chapter 66

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    Chapter 66
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    CHAPTER 66
    Matrimonial Projects.

    The day following this scene, at the hour the banker usually
    chose to pay a visit to Madame Danglars on his way to his
    office, his coupe did not appear. At this time, that is,
    about half-past twelve, Madame Danglars ordered her
    carriage, and went out. Danglars, hidden behind a curtain,
    watched the departure he had been waiting for. He gave
    orders that he should be informed as soon as Madame Danglars
    appeared; but at two o'clock she had not returned. He then
    called for his horses, drove to the Chamber, and inscribed
    his name to speak against the budget. From twelve to two
    o'clock Danglars had remained in his study, unsealing his
    dispatches, and becoming more and more sad every minute,
    heaping figure upon figure, and receiving, among other
    visits, one from Major Cavalcanti, who, as stiff and exact
    as ever, presented himself precisely at the hour named the
    night before, to terminate his business with the banker. On
    leaving the Chamber, Danglars, who had shown violent marks
    of agitation during the sitting, and been more bitter than
    ever against the ministry, re-entered his carriage, and told
    the coachman to drive to the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, No.
    30.

    Monte Cristo was at home; only he was engaged with some one
    and begged Danglars to wait for a moment in the
    drawing-room. While the banker was waiting in the anteroom,
    the door opened, and a man dressed as an abbe and doubtless
    more familiar with the house than he was, came in and
    instead of waiting, merely bowed, passed on to the farther
    apartments, and disappeared. A minute after the door by
    which the priest had entered reopened, and Monte Cristo
    appeared. "Pardon me," said he, "my dear baron, but one of
    my friends, the Abbe Busoni, whom you perhaps saw pass by,
    has just arrived in Paris; not having seen him for a long
    time, I could not make up my mind to leave him sooner, so I
    hope this will be sufficient reason for my having made you
    wait."

    "Nay," said Danglars, "it is my fault; I have chosen my
    visit at a wrong time, and will retire."

    "Not at all; on the contrary, be seated; but what is the
    matter with you? You look careworn; really, you alarm me.
    Melancholy in a capitalist, like the appearance of a comet,
    presages some misfortune to the world."

    "I have been in ill-luck for several days," said Danglars,
    "and I have heard nothing but bad news."

    "Ah, indeed?" said Monte Cristo. "Have you had another fall
    at the Bourse?"

    "No; I am safe for a few days at least. I am only annoyed
    about a bankrupt of Trieste."

    "Really? Does it happen to be Jacopo Manfredi?"

    "Exactly so. Imagine a man who has transacted business with
    me for I don't know how long, to the amount of 800,000 or
    900,000 francs during the year. Never a mistake or delay --
    a fellow who paid like a prince. Well, I was a million in
    advance with him, and now my fine Jacopo Manfredi suspends
    payment!"

    "Really?"

    "It is an unheard-of fatality. I draw upon him for 600,000
    francs, my bills are returned unpaid, and, more than that, I
    hold bills of exchange signed by him to the value of 400,000
    francs, payable at his correspondent's in Paris at the end
    of this month. To-day is the 30th. I present them; but my
    correspondent has disappeared. This, with my Spanish
    affairs, made a pretty end to the month."

    "Then you really lost by that affair in Spain?"

    "Yes; only 700,000 francs out of my cash-box -- nothing
    more!"

    "Why, how could you make such a mistake -- such an old
    stager?"

    "Oh, it is all my wife's fault. She dreamed Don Carlos had
    returned to Spain; she believes in dreams. It is magnetism,
    she says, and when she dreams a thing it is sure to happen,
    she assures me. On this conviction I allow her to speculate,
    she having her bank and her stockbroker; she speculated and
    lost. It is true she speculates with her own money, not
    mine; nevertheless, you can understand that when 700,000
    francs leave the wife's pocket, the husband always finds it
    out. But do you mean to say you have not heard of this? Why,
    the thing has made a tremendous noise."

    "Yes, I heard it spoken of, but I did not know the details,
    and then no one can be more ignorant than I am of the
    affairs in the Bourse."

    "Then you do not speculate?"

    "I? -- How could I speculate when I already have so much
    trouble in regulating my income? I should be obliged,
    besides my steward, to keep a clerk and a boy. But touching
    these Spanish affairs, I think that the baroness did not
    dream the whole of the Don Carlos matter. The papers said
    something about it, did they not?"

    "Then you believe the papers?"

    "I? -- not the least in the world; only I fancied that the
    honest Messager was an exception to the rule, and that it
    only announced telegraphic despatches."

    "Well, that's what puzzles me," replied Danglars; "the news
    of the return of Don Carlos was brought by telegraph."

    "So that," said Monte Cristo, "you have lost nearly
    1,700,000 francs this month."

    "Not nearly, indeed; that is exactly my loss."

    "Diable," said Monte Cristo compassionately, "it is a hard
    blow for a third-rate fortune."

    "Third-rate," said Danglars, rather humble, "what do you
    mean by that?"

    "Certainly," continued Monte Cristo, "I make three
    assortments in fortune -- first-rate, second-rate, and
    third-rate fortunes. I call those first-rate which are
    composed of treasures one possesses under one's hand, such
    as mines, lands, and funded property, in such states as
    France, Austria, and England, provided these treasures and
    property form a total of about a hundred millions; I call
    those second-rate fortunes, that are gained by manufacturing
    enterprises, joint-stock companies, viceroyalties, and
    principalities, not drawing more than 1,500,000 francs, the
    whole forming a capital of about fifty millions; finally, I
    call those third-rate fortunes, which are composed of a
    fluctuating capital, dependent upon the will of others, or
    upon chances which a bankruptcy involves or a false telegram
    shakes, such as banks, speculations of the day -- in fact,
    all operations under the influence of greater or less
    mischances, the whole bringing in a real or fictitious
    capital of about fifteen millions. I think this is about
    your position, is it not?"

    "Confound it, yes!" replied Danglars.

    "The result, then, of six more such months as this would be
    to reduce the third-rate house to despair."

    "Oh," said Danglars, becoming very pale, how you are running
    on!"

    "Let us imagine seven such months," continued Monte Cristo,
    in the same tone. "Tell me, have you ever thought that seven
    times 1,700,000 francs make nearly twelve millions? No, you
    have not; -- well, you are right, for if you indulged in
    such reflections, you would never risk your principal, which
    is to the speculator what the skin is to civilized man. We
    have our clothes, some more splendid than others, -- this is
    our credit; but when a man dies he has only his skin; in the
    same way, on retiring from business, you have nothing but
    your real principal of about five or six millions, at the
    most; for third-rate fortunes are never more than a fourth
    of what they appear to be, like the locomotive on a railway,
    the size of which is magnified by the smoke and steam
    surrounding it. Well, out of the five or six millions which
    form your real capital, you have just lost nearly two
    millions, which must, of course, in the same degree diminish
    your credit and fictitious fortune; to follow out my simile,
    your skin has been opened by bleeding, and this if repeated
    three or four times will cause death -- so pay attention to
    it, my dear Monsieur Danglars. Do you want money? Do you
    wish me to lend you some?"

    "What a bad calculator you are!" exclaimed Danglars, calling
    to his assistance all his philosophy and dissimulation. "I
    have made money at the same time by speculations which have
    succeeded. I have made up the loss of blood by nutrition. I
    lost a battle in Spain, I have been defeated in Trieste, but
    my naval army in India will have taken some galleons, and my
    Mexican pioneers will have discovered some mine."

    "Very good, very good! But the wound remains and will reopen
    at the first loss."

    "No, for I am only embarked in certainties," replied
    Danglars, with the air of a mountebank sounding his own
    praises; "to involve me, three governments must crumble to
    dust."

    "Well, such things have been."

    "That there should be a famine!"

    "Recollect the seven fat and the seven lean kine."

    "Or, that the sea should become dry, as in the days of
    Pharaoh, and even then my vessels would become caravans."

    "So much the better. I congratulate you, my dear M.
    Danglars," said Monte Cristo; "I see I was deceived, and
    that you belong to the class of second-rate fortunes."

    "I think I may aspire to that honor," said Danglars with a
    smile, which reminded Monte Cristo of the sickly moons which
    bad artists are so fond of daubing into their pictures of
    ruins. "But, while we are speaking of business," Danglars
    added, pleased to find an opportunity of changing the
    subject, "tell me what I am to do for M. Cavalcanti."

    "Give him money, if he is recommended to you, and the
    recommendation seems good."

    "Excellent; he presented himself this morning with a bond of
    40,000 francs, payable at sight, on you, signed by Busoni,
    and returned by you to me, with your indorsement -- of
    course, I immediately counted him over the forty
    bank-notes."

    Monte Cristo nodded his head in token of assent. "But that
    is not all," continued Danglars; "he has opened an account
    with my house for his son."

    "May I ask how much he allows the young man?"

    "Five thousand francs per month."

    "Sixty thousand francs per year. I thought I was right in
    believing that Cavalcanti to be a stingy fellow. How can a
    young man live upon 5,000 francs a month?"

    "But you understand that if the young man should want a few
    thousands more" --

    "Do not advance it; the father will never repay it. You do
    not know these ultramontane millionaires; they are regular
    misers. And by whom were they recommended to you?"

    "Oh, by the house of Fenzi, one of the best in Florence."

    "I do not mean to say you will lose, but, nevertheless, mind
    you hold to the terms of the agreement."

    "Would you not trust the Cavalcanti?"

    "I? oh, I would advance six millions on his signature. I was
    only speaking in reference to the second-rate fortunes we
    were mentioning just now."

    "And with all this, how unassuming he is! I should never
    have taken him for anything more than a mere major."

    "And you would have flattered him, for certainly, as you
    say, he has no manner. The first time I saw him he appeared
    to me like an old lieutenant who had grown mouldy under his
    epaulets. But all the Italians are the same; they are like
    old Jews when they are not glittering in Oriental splendor."

    "The young man is better," said Danglars.

    "Yes; a little nervous, perhaps, but, upon the whole, he
    appeared tolerable. I was uneasy about him."

    "Why?"

    "Because you met him at my house, just after his
    introduction into the world, as they told me. He has been
    travelling with a very severe tutor, and had never been to
    Paris before."

    "Ah, I believe noblemen marry amongst themselves, do they
    not?" asked Danglars carelessly; they like to unite their
    fortunes."

    "It is usual, certainly; but Cavalcanti is an original who
    does nothing like other people. I cannot help thinking that
    he has brought his son to France to choose a wife."

    "Do you think so?"

    "I am sure of it."

    "And you have heard his fortune mentioned?"

    "Nothing else was talked of; only some said he was worth
    millions, and others that he did not possess a farthing."

    "And what is your opinion?"

    "I ought not to influence you, because it is only my own
    personal impression."

    "Well, and it is that" --

    "My opinion is, that all these old podestas, these ancient
    condottieri, -- for the Cavalcanti have commanded armies and
    governed provinces, -- my opinion, I say, is, that they have
    buried their millions in corners, the secret of which they
    have transmitted only to their eldest sons, who have done
    the same from generation to generation; and the proof of
    this is seen in their yellow and dry appearance, like the
    florins of the republic, which, from being constantly gazed
    upon, have become reflected in them."

    "Certainly," said Danglars, "and this is further supported
    by the fact of their not possessing an inch of land."

    "Very little, at least; I know of none which Cavalcanti
    possesses, excepting his palace in Lucca."

    "Ah, he has a palace?" said Danglars, laughing; "come, that
    is something."

    "Yes; and more than that, he lets it to the Minister of
    Finance while he lives in a simple house. Oh, as I told you
    before, I think the old fellow is very close."

    "Come, you do not flatter him."

    "I scarcely know him; I think I have seen him three times in
    my life; all I know relating to him is through Busoni and
    himself. He was telling me this morning that, tired of
    letting his property lie dormant in Italy, which is a dead
    nation, he wished to find a method, either in France or
    England, of multiplying his millions, but remember, that
    though I place great confidence in Busoni, I am not
    responsible for this."

    "Never mind; accept my thanks for the client you have sent
    me. It is a fine name to inscribe on my ledgers, and my
    cashier was quite proud of it when I explained to him who
    the Cavalcanti were. By the way, this is merely a simple
    question, when this sort of people marry their sons, do they
    give them any fortune?"

    "Oh, that depends upon circumstances. I know an Italian
    prince, rich as a gold mine, one of the noblest families in
    Tuscany, who, when his sons married according to his wish,
    gave them millions; and when they married against his
    consent, merely allowed them thirty crowns a month. Should
    Andrea marry according to his father's views, he will,
    perhaps, give him one, two, or three millions. For example,
    supposing it were the daughter of a banker, he might take an
    interest in the house of the father-in-law of his son; then
    again, if he disliked his choice, the major takes the key,
    double-locks his coffer, and Master Andrea would be obliged
    to live like the sons of a Parisian family, by shuffling
    cards or rattling the dice."

    "Ah, that boy will find out some Bavarian or Peruvian
    princess; he will want a crown and an immense fortune."

    "No; these grand lords on the other side of the Alps
    frequently marry into plain families; like Jupiter, they
    like to cross the race. But do you wish to marry Andrea, my
    dear M. Danglars, that you are asking so many questions?"

    "Ma foi," said Danglars, "it would not be a bad speculation,
    I fancy, and you know I am a speculator."

    "You are not thinking of Mademoiselle Danglars, I hope; you
    would not like poor Andrea to have his throat cut by
    Albert?"

    "Albert," repeated Danglars, shrugging his shoulders; "ah,
    well; he would care very little about it, I think."

    "But he is betrothed to your daughter, I believe?"

    "Well, M. de Morcerf and I have talked about this marriage,
    but Madame de Morcerf and Albert" --

    "You do not mean to say that it would not be a good match?"

    "Indeed, I imagine that Mademoiselle Danglars is as good as
    M. de Morcerf."

    "Mademoiselle Danglars' fortune will be great, no doubt,
    especially it the telegraph should not make any more
    mistakes."

    "Oh, I do not mean her fortune only; but tell me" --

    "What?"

    "Why did you not invite M. and Madame de Morcerf to your
    dinner?"

    "I did so, but he excused himself on account of Madame de
    Morcerf being obliged to go to Dieppe for the benefit of sea
    air."

    "Yes, yes," said Danglars, laughing, "it would do her a
    great deal of good."

    "Why so?"

    "Because it is the air she always breathed in her youth."
    Monte Cristo took no notice of this ill-natured remark.

    "But still, if Albert be not so rich as Mademoiselle
    Danglars," said the count, "you must allow that he has a
    fine name?"

    "So he has; but I like mine as well."

    "Certainly; your name is popular, and does honor to the
    title they have adorned it with; but you are too intelligent
    not to know that according to a prejudice, too firmly rooted
    to be exterminated, a nobility which dates back five
    centuries is worth more than one that can only reckon twenty
    years."

    "And for this very reason," said Danglars with a smile,
    which he tried to make sardonic, "I prefer M. Andrea
    Cavalcanti to M. Albert de Morcerf."

    "Still, I should not think the Morcerfs would yield to the
    Cavalcanti?"

    "The Morcerfs! -- Stay, my dear count," said Danglars; "you
    are a man of the world, are you not?"

    "I think so."

    "And you understand heraldry?"

    "A little."

    "Well, look at my coat-of-arms, it is worth more than
    Morcerf's."

    "Why so?"

    "Because, though I am not a baron by birth, my real name is,
    at least, Danglars."

    "Well, what then?"

    "While his name is not Morcerf."

    "How? -- not Morcerf?"

    "Not the least in the world."

    "Go on."

    "I have been made a baron, so that I actually am one; he
    made himself a count, so that he is not one at all."

    "Impossible!"

    "Listen my dear count; M. de Morcerf has been my friend, or
    rather my acquaintance, during the last thirty years. You
    know I have made the most of my arms, though I never forgot
    my origin."

    "A proof of great humility or great pride," said Monte
    Cristo.

    "Well, when I was a clerk, Morcerf was a mere fisherman."

    "And then he was called" --

    "Fernand."

    "Only Fernand?"

    "Fernand Mondego."

    "You are sure?"

    "Pardieu, I have bought enough fish of him to know his
    name."

    "Then, why did you think of giving your daughter to him?"

    "Because Fernand and Danglars, being both parvenus, both
    having become noble, both rich, are about equal in worth,
    excepting that there have been certain things mentioned of
    him that were never said of me."

    "What?"

    "Oh, nothing!"

    "Ah, yes; what you tell me recalls to mind something about
    the name of Fernand Mondego. I have heard that name in
    Greece."

    "In conjunction with the affairs of Ali Pasha?"

    "Exactly so."

    "This is the mystery," said Danglars. "I acknowledge I would
    have given anything to find it out."

    "It would be very easy if you much wished it?"

    "How so?"

    "Probably you have some correspondent in Greece?"

    "I should think so."

    "At Yanina?"

    "Everywhere."

    "Well, write to your correspondent in Yanina, and ask him
    what part was played by a Frenchman named Fernand Mondego in
    the catastrophe of Ali Tepelini."

    "You are right," exclaimed Danglars, rising quickly, "I will
    write to-day."

    "Do so."

    "I will."

    "And if you should hear of anything very scandalous" --

    "I will communicate it to you."

    "You will oblige me." Danglars rushed out of the room, and
    made but one leap into his coupe.
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