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    Chapter 79

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    Chapter 79
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    CHAPTER 79
    The Lemonade.

    Morrel was, in fact, very happy. M. Noirtier had just sent
    for him, and he was in such haste to know the reason of his
    doing so that he had not stopped to take a cab, placing
    infinitely more dependence on his own two legs than on the
    four legs of a cab-horse. He had therefore set off at a
    furious rate from the Rue Meslay, and was hastening with
    rapid strides in the direction of the Faubourg Saint-Honore.
    Morrel advanced with a firm, manly tread, and poor Barrois
    followed him as he best might. Morrel was only thirty-one,
    Barrois was sixty years of age; Morrel was deeply in love,
    and Barrois was dying with heat and exertion. These two men,
    thus opposed in age and interests, resembled two parts of a
    triangle, presenting the extremes of separation, yet
    nevertheless possessing their point of union. This point of
    union was Noirtier, and it was he who had just sent for
    Morrel, with the request that the latter would lose no time
    in coming to him -- a command which Morrel obeyed to the
    letter, to the great discomfiture of Barrois. On arriving at
    the house, Morrel was not even out of breath, for love lends
    wings to our desires; but Barrois, who had long forgotten
    what it was to love, was sorely fatigued by the expedition
    he had been constrained to use.

    The old servant introduced Morrel by a private entrance,
    closed the door of the study, and soon the rustling of a
    dress announced the arrival of Valentine. She looked
    marvellously beautiful in her deep mourning dress, and
    Morrel experienced such intense delight in gazing upon her
    that he felt as if he could almost have dispensed with the
    conversation of her grandfather. But the easy-chair of the
    old man was heard rolling along the floor, and he soon made
    his appearance in the room. Noirtier acknowledged by a look
    of extreme kindness and benevolence the thanks which Morrel
    lavished on him for his timely intervention on behalf of
    Valentine and himself -- an intervention which had saved
    them from despair. Morrel then cast on the invalid an
    interrogative look as to the new favor which he designed to
    bestow on him. Valentine was sitting at a little distance
    from them, timidly awaiting the moment when she should be
    obliged to speak. Noirtier fixed his eyes on her. "Am I to
    say what you told me?" asked Valentine. Noirtier made a sign
    that she was to do so.

    "Monsieur Morrel," said Valentine to the young man, who was
    regarding her with the most intense interest, "my
    grandfather, M. Noirtier, had a thousand things to say,
    which he told me three days ago; and now, he has sent for
    you, that I may repeat them to you. I will repeat them,
    then; and since he has chosen me as his interpreter, I will
    be faithful to the trust, and will not alter a word of his
    intentions."

    "Oh, I am listening with the greatest impatience," replied
    the young man; "speak, I beg of you." Valentine cast down
    her eyes; this was a good omen for Morrel, for he knew that
    nothing but happiness could have the power of thus
    overcoming Valentine. "My grandfather intends leaving this
    house," said she, "and Barrois is looking out suitable
    apartments for him in another."

    "But you, Mademoiselle de Villefort, -- you, who are
    necessary to M. Noirtier's happiness" --

    "I?" interrupted Valentine; "I shall not leave my
    grandfather, -- that is an understood thing between us. My
    apartment will be close to his. Now, M. de Villefort must
    either give his consent to this plan or his refusal; in the
    first case, I shall leave directly, and in the second, I
    shall wait till I am of age, which will be in about ten
    months. Then I shall be free, I shall have an independent
    fortune, and" --

    "And what?" demanded Morrel.

    "And with my grandfather's consent I shall fulfil the
    promise which I have made you." Valentine pronounced these
    last few words in such a low tone, that nothing but Morrel's
    intense interest in what she was saying could have enabled
    him to hear them. "Have I not explained your wishes,
    grandpapa?" said Valentine, addressing Noirtier. "Yes,"
    looked the old man. -- "Once under my grandfather's roof, M.
    Morrel can visit me in the presence of my good and worthy
    protector, if we still feel that the union we contemplated
    will be likely to insure our future comfort and happiness;
    in that case I shall expect M. Morrel to come and claim me
    at my own hands. But, alas, I have heard it said that hearts
    inflamed by obstacles to their desire grew cold in time of
    security; I trust we shall never find it so in our
    experience!"

    "Oh," cried Morrel, almost tempted to throw himself on his
    knees before Noirtier and Valentine, and to adore them as
    two superior beings, "what have I ever done in my life to
    merit such unbounded happiness?"

    "Until that time," continued the young girl in a calm and
    self-possessed tone of voice, "we will conform to
    circumstances, and be guided by the wishes of our friends,
    so long as those wishes do not tend finally to separate us;
    in a word, and I repeat it, because it expresses all I wish
    to convey, -- we will wait."

    "And I swear to make all the sacrifices which this word
    imposes, sir," said Morrel, "not only with resignation, but
    with cheerfulness."

    "Therefore," continued Valentine, looking playfully at
    Maximilian, "no more inconsiderate actions -- no more rash
    projects; for you surely would not wish to compromise one
    who from this day regards herself as destined, honorably and
    happily, to bear your name?"

    Morrel looked obedience to her commands. Noirtier regarded
    the lovers with a look of ineffable tenderness, while
    Barrois, who had remained in the room in the character of a
    man privileged to know everything that passed, smiled on the
    youthful couple as he wiped the perspiration from his bald
    forehead. "How hot you look, my good Barrois," said
    Valentine.

    "Ah, I have been running very fast, mademoiselle, but I must
    do M. Morrel the justice to say that he ran still faster."
    Noirtier directed their attention to a waiter, on which was
    placed a decanter containing lemonade and a glass. The
    decanter was nearly full, with the exception of a little,
    which had been already drunk by M. Noirtier.

    "Come, Barrois," said the young girl, "take some of this
    lemonade; I see you are coveting a good draught of it."

    "The fact is, mademoiselle," said Barrois, "I am dying with
    thirst, and since you are so kind as to offer it me, I
    cannot say I should at all object to drinking your health in
    a glass of it."

    "Take some, then, and come back immediately." Barrois took
    away the waiter, and hardly was he outside the door, which
    in his haste he forgot to shut, than they saw him throw back
    his head and empty to the very dregs the glass which
    Valentine had filled. Valentine and Morrel were exchanging
    their adieux in the presence of Noirtier when a ring was
    heard at the door-bell. It was the signal of a visit.
    Valentine looked at her watch.

    "It is past noon," said she, "and to-day is Saturday; I dare
    say it is the doctor, grandpapa." Noirtier looked his
    conviction that she was right in her supposition. "He will
    come in here, and M. Morrel had better go, -- do you not
    think so, grandpapa?"

    "Yes," signed the old man.

    "Barrois," cried Valentine, "Barrois!"

    "I am coming, mademoiselle," replied he. "Barrois will open
    the door for you," said Valentine, addressing Morrel. "And
    now remember one thing, Monsieur Officer, that my
    grandfather commands you not to take any rash or ill-advised
    step which would be likely to compromise our happiness."

    "I promised him to wait," replied Morrel; "and I will wait."

    At this moment Barrois entered. "Who rang?" asked Valentine.

    "Doctor d'Avrigny," said Barrois, staggering as if he would
    fall.

    "What is the matter, Barrois?" said Valentine. The old man
    did not answer, but looked at his master with wild staring
    eyes, while with his cramped hand he grasped a piece of
    furniture to enable him to stand upright. "He is going to
    fall!" cried Morrel. The rigors which had attacked Barrois
    gradually increased, the features of the face became quite
    altered, and the convulsive movement of the muscles appeared
    to indicate the approach of a most serious nervous disorder.
    Noirtier, seeing Barrois in this pitiable condition, showed
    by his looks all the various emotions of sorrow and sympathy
    which can animate the heart of man. Barrois made some steps
    towards his master.

    "Ah, sir," said he, "tell me what is the matter with me. I
    am suffering -- I cannot see. A thousand fiery darts are
    piercing my brain. Ah, don't touch me, pray don't." By this
    time his haggard eyes had the appearance of being ready to
    start from their sockets; his head fell back, and the lower
    extremities of the body began to stiffen. Valentine uttered
    a cry of horror; Morrel took her in his arms, as if to
    defend her from some unknown danger. "M. d'Avrigny, M.
    d'Avrigny," cried she, in a stifled voice. "Help, help!"
    Barrois turned round and with a great effort stumbled a few
    steps, then fell at the feet of Noirtier, and resting his
    hand on the knee of the invalid, exclaimed, "My master, my
    good master!" At this moment M. de Villefort, attracted by
    the noise, appeared on the threshold. Morrel relaxed his
    hold of Valentine, and retreating to a distant corner of the
    room remained half hidden behind a curtain. Pale as if he
    had been gazing on a serpent, he fixed his terrified eye on
    the agonized sufferer.

    Noirtier, burning with impatience and terror, was in despair
    at his utter inability to help his old domestic, whom he
    regarded more in the light of a friend than a servant. One
    might by the fearful swelling of the veins of his forehead
    and the contraction of the muscles round the eye, trace the
    terrible conflict which was going on between the living
    energetic mind and the inanimate and helpless body. Barrois,
    his features convulsed, his eyes suffused with blood, and
    his head thrown back, was lying at full length, beating the
    floor with his hands, while his legs had become so stiff,
    that they looked as if they would break rather than bend. A
    slight appearance of foam was visible around the mouth, and
    he breathed painfully, and with extreme difficulty.

    Villefort seemed stupefied with astonishment, and remained
    gazing intently on the scene before him without uttering a
    word. He had not seen Morrel. After a moment of dumb
    contemplation, during which his face became pale and his
    hair seemed to stand on end, he sprang towards the door,
    crying out, "Doctor, doctor! come instantly, pray come!"

    "Madame, madame!" cried Valentine, calling her step-mother,
    and running up-stairs to meet her; "come quick, quick! --
    and bring your bottle of smelling-salts with you."

    "What is the matter?" said Madame de Villefort in a harsh
    and constrained tone.

    "Oh, come, come!"

    "But where is the doctor?" exclaimed Villefort; "where is
    he?" Madame de Villefort now deliberately descended the
    staircase. In one hand she held her handkerchief, with which
    she appeared to be wiping her face, and in the other a
    bottle of English smelling-salts. Her first look on entering
    the room was at Noirtier, whose face, independent of the
    emotion which such a scene could not fail of producing,
    proclaimed him to be in possession of his usual health; her
    second glance was at the dying man. She turned pale, and her
    eye passed quickly from the servant and rested on the
    master.

    "In the name of heaven, madame," said Villefort, "where is
    the doctor? He was with you just now. You see this is a fit
    of apoplexy, and he might be saved if he could but be bled!"

    "Has he eaten anything lately?" asked Madame de Villefort,
    eluding her husband's question. "Madame," replied Valentine,
    "he has not even breakfasted. He has been running very fast
    on an errand with which my grandfather charged him, and when
    he returned, took nothing but a glass of lemonade."

    "Ah," said Madame de Villefort, "why did he not take wine?
    Lemonade was a very bad thing for him."

    "Grandpapa's bottle of lemonade was standing just by his
    side; poor Barrois was very thirsty, and was thankful to
    drink anything he could find." Madame de Villefort started.
    Noirtier looked at her with a glance of the most profound
    scrutiny. "He has such a short neck," said she. "Madame,"
    said Villefort, "I ask where is M. d'Avrigny? In God's name
    answer me!"

    "He is with Edward, who is not quite well," replied Madame
    de Villefort, no longer being able to avoid answering.

    Villefort rushed up-stairs to fetch him. "Take this," said
    Madame de Villefort, giving her smelling-bottle to
    Valentine. "They will, no doubt, bleed him; therefore I will
    retire, for I cannot endure the sight of blood;" and she
    followed her husband up-stairs. Morrel now emerged from his
    hiding-place, where he had remained quite unperceived, so
    great had been the general confusion. "Go away as quick as
    you can, Maximilian," said Valentine, "and stay till I send
    for you. Go."

    Morrel looked towards Noirtier for permission to retire. The
    old man, who had preserved all his usual coolness, made a
    sign to him to do so. The young man pressed Valentine's hand
    to his lips, and then left the house by a back staircase. At
    the same moment that he quitted the room, Villefort and the
    doctor entered by an opposite door. Barrois was now showing
    signs of returning consciousness. The crisis seemed past, a
    low moaning was heard, and he raised himself on one knee.
    D'Avrigny and Villefort laid him on a couch. "What do you
    prescribe, doctor?" demanded Villefort. "Give me some water
    and ether. You have some in the house, have you not?"

    "Yes."

    "Send for some oil of turpentine and tartar emetic."

    Villefort immediately despatched a messenger. "And now let
    every one retire."

    "Must I go too?" asked Valentine timidly.

    "Yes, mademoiselle, you especially," replied the doctor
    abruptly.

    Valentine looked at M. d'Avrigny with astonishment, kissed
    her grandfather on the forehead, and left the room. The
    doctor closed the door after her with a gloomy air. "Look,
    look, doctor," said Villefort, "he is quite coming round
    again; I really do not think, after all, it is anything of
    consequence." M. d'Avrigny answered by a melancholy smile.
    "How do you feel, Barrois?" asked he. "A little better,
    sir."

    "Will you drink some of this ether and water?"

    "I will try; but don't touch me."

    "Why not?"

    "Because I feel that if you were only to touch me with the
    tip of your finger the fit would return."

    "Drink."

    Barrois took the glass, and, raising it to his purple lips,
    took about half of the liquid offered him. "Where do you
    suffer?" asked the doctor.

    "Everywhere. I feel cramps over my whole body."

    "Do you find any dazzling sensation before the eyes?"

    "Yes."

    "Any noise in the ears?"

    "Frightful."

    "When did you first feel that?"

    "Just now."

    "Suddenly?"

    "Yes, like a clap of thunder."

    "Did you feel nothing of it yesterday or the day before?"

    "Nothing."

    "No drowsiness?"

    "None."

    "What have you eaten to-day?"

    "I have eaten nothing; I only drank a glass of my master's
    lemonade -- that's all;" and Barrois turned towards
    Noirtier, who, immovably fixed in his arm-chair, was
    contemplating this terrible scene without allowing a word or
    a movement to escape him.

    "Where is this lemonade?" asked the doctor eagerly.

    "Down-stairs in the decanter."

    "Whereabouts downstairs?"

    "In the kitchen."

    "Shall I go and fetch it, doctor?" inquired Villefort.

    "No, stay here and try to make Barrois drink the rest of
    this glass of ether and water. I will go myself and fetch
    the lemonade." D'Avrigny bounded towards the door, flew down
    the back staircase, and almost knocked down Madame de
    Villefort, in his haste, who was herself going down to the
    kitchen. She cried out, but d'Avrigny paid no attention to
    her; possessed with but one idea, he cleared the last four
    steps with a bound, and rushed into the kitchen, where he
    saw the decanter about three parts empty still standing on
    the waiter, where it had been left. He darted upon it as an
    eagle would seize upon its prey. Panting with loss of
    breath, he returned to the room he had just left. Madame de
    Villefort was slowly ascending the steps which led to her
    room. "Is this the decanter you spoke of?" asked d'Avrigny.

    "Yes, doctor."

    "Is this the same lemonade of which you partook?"

    "I believe so."

    "What did it taste like?"

    "It had a bitter taste."

    The doctor poured some drops of the lemonade into the palm
    of his hand, put his lips to it, and after having rinsed his
    mouth as a man does when he is tasting wine, he spat the
    liquor into the fireplace.

    "It is no doubt the same," said he. "Did you drink some too,
    M. Noirtier?"

    "Yes."

    "And did you also discover a bitter taste?"

    "Yes."

    "Oh, doctor," cried Barrois, "the fit is coming on again.
    Oh, do something for me." The doctor flew to his patient.
    "That emetic, Villefort -- see if it is coming." Villefort
    sprang into the passage, exclaiming, "The emetic! the
    emetic! -- is it come yet?" No one answered. The most
    profound terror reigned throughout the house. "If I had
    anything by means of which I could inflate the lungs," said
    d'Avrigny, looking around him, "perhaps I might prevent
    suffocation. But there is nothing which would do --
    nothing!" "Oh, sir," cried Barrois, "are you going to let me
    die without help? Oh, I am dying! Oh, save me!"

    "A pen, a pen!" said the doctor. There was one lying on the
    table; he endeavored to introduce it into the mouth of the
    patient, who, in the midst of his convulsions, was making
    vain attempts to vomit; but the jaws were so clinched that
    the pen could not pass them. This second attack was much
    more violent than the first, and he had slipped from the
    couch to the ground, where he was writhing in agony. The
    doctor left him in this paroxysm, knowing that he could do
    nothing to alleviate it, and, going up to Noirtier, said
    abruptly, "How do you find yourself? -- well?"

    "Yes."

    "Have you any weight on the chest; or does your stomach feel
    light and comfortable -- eh?"

    "Yes."

    "Then you feel pretty much as you generally do after you
    have had the dose which I am accustomed to give you every
    Sunday?"

    "Yes."

    "Did Barrois make your lemonade?"

    "Yes."

    "Was it you who asked him to drink some of it?"

    "No."

    "Was it M. de Villefort?"

    "No."

    "Madame?"

    "No."

    "It was your granddaughter, then, was it not?"

    "Yes." A groan from Barrois, accompanied by a yawn which
    seemed to crack the very jawbones, attracted the attention
    of M. d'Avrigny; he left M. Noirtier, and returned to the
    sick man. "Barrois," said the doctor, "can you speak?"
    Barrois muttered a few unintelligible words. "Try and make
    an effort to do so, my good man." said d'Avrigny. Barrois
    reopened his bloodshot eyes. "Who made the lemonade?"

    "I did."

    "Did you bring it to your master directly it was made?"

    "No."

    "You left it somewhere, then, in the meantime?"

    "Yes; I left it in the pantry, because I was called away."

    "Who brought it into this room, then?"

    "Mademoiselle Valentine." D'Avrigny struck his forehead with
    his hand. "Gracious heaven," exclaimed he. "Doctor, doctor!"
    cried Barrois, who felt another fit coming.

    "Will they never bring that emetic?" asked the doctor.

    "Here is a glass with one already prepared," said Villefort,
    entering the room.

    "Who prepared it?"

    "The chemist who came here with me."

    "Drink it," said the doctor to Barrois. "Impossible, doctor;
    it is too late; my throat is closing up. I am choking! Oh,
    my heart! Ah, my head! -- Oh, what agony! -- Shall I suffer
    like this long?"

    "No, no, friend," replied the doctor, "you will soon cease
    to suffer."

    "Ah, I understand you," said the unhappy man. "My God, have
    mercy upon me!" and, uttering a fearful cry, Barrois fell
    back as if he had been struck by lightning. D'Avrigny put
    his hand to his heart, and placed a glass before his lips.

    "Well?" said Villefort. "Go to the kitchen and get me some
    syrup of violets." Villefort went immediately. "Do not be
    alarmed, M. Noirtier," said d'Avrigny; "I am going to take
    my patient into the next room to bleed him; this sort of
    attack is very frightful to witness."

    And taking Barrois under the arms, he dragged him into an
    adjoining room; but almost immediately he returned to fetch
    the lemonade. Noirtier closed lids right eye. "You want
    Valentine, do you not? I will tell them to send her to you."
    Villefort returned, and d'Avrigny met him in the passage.
    "Well, how is he now?" asked he. "Come in here," said
    d'Avrigny, and he took him into the chamber where the sick
    man lay. "Is he still in a fit?" said the procureur.

    "He is dead."

    Villefort drew back a few steps, and, clasping his hands,
    exclaimed, with real amazement and sympathy, "Dead? -- and
    so soon too!"

    "Yes, it is very soon," said the doctor, looking at the
    corpse before him; "but that ought not to astonish you;
    Monsieur and Madame de Saint-Meran died as soon. People die
    very suddenly in your house, M. de Villefort."

    "What?" cried the magistrate, with an accent of horror and
    consternation, "are you still harping on that terrible
    idea?"

    "Still, sir; and I shall always do so," replied d'Avrigny,
    "for it has never for one instant ceased to retain
    possession of my mind; and that you may be quite sure I am
    not mistaken this time, listen well to what I am going to
    say, M. de Villefort." The magistrate trembled convulsively.
    "There is a poison which destroys life almost without
    leaving any perceptible traces. I know it well; I have
    studied it in all its forms and in the effects which it
    produces. I recognized the presence of this poison in the
    case of poor Barrois as well as in that of Madame de
    Saint-Meran. There is a way of detecting its presence. It
    restores the blue color of litmus-paper reddened by an acid,
    and it turns syrup of violets green. We have no
    litmus-paper, but, see, here they come with the syrup of
    violets."

    The doctor was right; steps were heard in the passage. M.
    d'Avrigny opened the door, and took from the hands of the
    chambermaid a cup which contained two or three spoonfuls of
    the syrup, he then carefully closed the door. "Look," said
    he to the procureur, whose heart beat so loudly that it
    might almost be heard, "here is in this cup some syrup of
    violets, and this decanter contains the remainder of the
    lemonade of which M. Noirtier and Barrois partook. If the
    lemonade be pure and inoffensive, the syrup will retain its
    color; if, on the contrary, the lemonade be drugged with
    poison, the syrup will become green. Look closely!"

    The doctor then slowly poured some drops of the lemonade
    from the decanter into the cup, and in an instant a light
    cloudy sediment began to form at the bottom of the cup; this
    sediment first took a blue shade, then from the color of
    sapphire it passed to that of opal, and from opal to
    emerald. Arrived at this last hue, it changed no more. The
    result of the experiment left no doubt whatever on the mind.

    "The unfortunate Barrois has been poisoned," said d'Avrigny,
    "and I will maintain this assertion before God and man."
    Villefort said nothing, but he clasped his hands, opened his
    haggard eyes, and, overcome with his emotion, sank into a
    chair.
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    Chapter 79
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