Meet us on:
 
Entire Site
    Try our fun game

    Dueling book covers…may the best design win!

    Random Quote
    "I don't think necessity is the mother of invention - invention, in my opinion, arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness. To save oneself trouble."
     

    Subscribe to Our Newsletter

    Follow us on Twitter

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

    Chapter 82

    • Rate it:
    • Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 based on 28 ratings
    • 49 Favorites on Read Print
    Launch Reading Mode Next Chapter
    Chapter 82
    Previous Chapter
    CHAPTER 82
    The Burglary.

    The day following that on which the conversation we have
    related took place, the Count of Monte Cristo set out for
    Auteuil, accompanied by Ali and several attendants, and also
    taking with him some horses whose qualities he was desirous
    of ascertaining. He was induced to undertake this journey,
    of which the day before he had not even thought and which
    had not occurred to Andrea either, by the arrival of
    Bertuccio from Normandy with intelligence respecting the
    house and sloop. The house was ready, and the sloop which
    had arrived a week before lay at anchor in a small creek
    with her crew of six men, who had observed all the requisite
    formalities and were ready again to put to sea.

    The count praised Bertuccio's zeal, and ordered him to
    prepare for a speedy departure, as his stay in France would
    not be prolonged more than a mouth. "Now," said he, "I may
    require to go in one night from Paris to Treport; let eight
    fresh horses be in readiness on the road, which will enable
    me to go fifty leagues in ten hours."

    "Your highness had already expressed that wish," said
    Bertuccio, "and the horses are ready. I have bought them,
    and stationed them myself at the most desirable posts, that
    is, in villages, where no one generally stops."

    "That's well," said Monte Cristo; "I remain here a day or
    two -- arrange accordingly." As Bertuccio was leaving the
    room to give the requisite orders, Baptistin opened the
    door: he held a letter on a silver waiter.

    "What are you doing here?" asked the count, seeing him
    covered with dust; "I did not send for you, I think?"

    Baptistin, without answering, approached the count, and
    presented the letter. "Important and urgent," said he. The
    count opened the letter, and read: --

    "M. de Monte Cristo is apprised that this night a man will
    enter his house in the Champs-Elysees with the intention of
    carrying off some papers supposed to be in the secretary in
    the dressing-room. The count's well-known courage will
    render unnecessary the aid of the police, whose interference
    might seriously affect him who sends this advice. The count,
    by any opening from the bedroom, or by concealing himself in
    the dressing-room, would be able to defend his property
    himself. Many attendents or apparent precautions would
    prevent the villain from the attempt, and M. de Monte Cristo
    would lose the opportunity of discovering an enemy whom
    chance has revealed to him who now sends this warning to the
    count, -- a warning he might not be able to send another
    time, if this first attempt should fail and another be
    made."

    The count's first idea was that this was an artifice -- a
    gross deception, to draw his attention from a minor danger
    in order to expose him to a greater. He was on the point of
    sending the letter to the commissary of police,
    notwithstanding the advice of his anonymous friend, or
    perhaps because of that advice, when suddenly the idea
    occurred to him that it might be some personal enemy, whom
    he alone should recognize and over whom, if such were the
    case, he alone would gain any advantage, as Fiesco* had done
    over the Moor who would have killed him. We know the Count's
    vigorous and daring mind, denying anything to be impossible,
    with that energy which marks the great man. From his past
    life, from his resolution to shrink from nothing, the count
    had acquired an inconceivable relish for the contests in
    which he had engaged, sometimes against nature, that is to
    say, against God, and sometimes against the world, that is,
    against the devil.

    * The Genoese conspirator.

    "They do not want my papers," said Monte Cristo, "they want
    to kill me; they are no robbers, but assassins. I will not
    allow the prefect of police to interfere with my private
    affairs. I am rich enough, forsooth, to distribute his
    authority on this occasion." The count recalled Baptistin,
    who had left the room after delivering the letter. "Return
    to Paris," said he; "assemble the servants who remain there.
    I want all my household at Auteuil."

    "But will no one remain in the house, my lord?" asked
    Baptistin.

    "Yes, the porter."

    "My lord will remember that the lodge is at a distance from
    the house."

    "Well?"

    "The house might be stripped without his hearing the least
    noise."

    "By whom?"

    "By thieves."

    "You are a fool, M. Baptistin. Thieves might strip the house
    -- it would annoy me less than to be disobeyed." Baptistin
    bowed.

    "You understand me?" said the count. "Bring your comrades
    here, one and all; but let everything remain as usual, only
    close the shutters of the ground floor."

    "And those of the second floor?"

    "You know they are never closed. Go!"

    The count signified his intention of dining alone, and that
    no one but Ali should attend him. Having dined with his
    usual tranquillity and moderation, the count, making a
    signal to Ali to follow him, went out by the side-gate and
    on reaching the Bois de Boulogne turned, apparently without
    design towards Paris and at twilight; found himself opposite
    his house in the Champs-Elysees. All was dark; one solitary,
    feeble light was burning in the porter's lodge, about forty
    paces distant from the house, as Baptistin had said. Monte
    Cristo leaned against a tree, and with that scrutinizing
    glance which was so rarely deceived, looked up and down the
    avenue, examined the passers-by, and carefully looked down
    the neighboring streets, to see that no one was concealed.
    Ten minutes passed thus, and he was convinced that no one
    was watching him. He hastened to the side-door with Ali,
    entered hurriedly, and by the servants' staircase, of which
    he had the key, gained his bedroom without opening or
    disarranging a single curtain, without even the porter
    having the slightest suspicion that the house, which he
    supposed empty, contained its chief occupant.

    Arrived in his bedroom, the count motioned to Ali to stop;
    then he passed into the dressing-room, which he examined.
    Everything appeared as usual -- the precious secretary in
    its place, and the key in the secretary. He double locked
    it, took the key, returned to the bedroom door, removed the
    double staple of the bolt, and went in. Meanwhile Ali had
    procured the arms the count required -- namely, a short
    carbine and a pair of double-barrelled pistols, with which
    as sure an aim might be taken as with a single-barrelled
    one. Thus armed, the count held the lives of five men in his
    hands. It was about half-past nine. The count and Ali ate in
    haste a crust of bread and drank a glass of Spanish wine;
    then Monte Cristo slipped aside one of the movable panels,
    which enabled him to see into the adjoining room. He had
    within his reach his pistols and carbine, and Ali, standing
    near him, held one of the small Arabian hatchets, whose form
    has not varied since the Crusades. Through one of the
    windows of the bedroom, on a line with that in the
    dressing-room, the count could see into the street.

    Two hours passed thus. It was intensely dark; still Ali,
    thanks to his wild nature, and the count, thanks doubtless
    to his long confinement, could distinguish in the darkness
    the slightest movement of the trees. The little light in the
    lodge had long been extinct. It might be expected that the
    attack, if indeed an attack was projected, would be made
    from the staircase of the ground floor, and not from a
    window; in Monte Cristo's opinion, the villains sought his
    life, not his money. It would be his bedroom they would
    attack, and they must reach it by the back staircase, or by
    the window in the dressing-room. The clock of the Invalides
    struck a quarter to twelve; the west wind bore on its
    moistened gusts the doleful vibration of the three strokes.

    As the last stroke died away, the count thought he heard a
    slight noise in the dressing-room; this first sound, or
    rather this first grinding, was followed by a second, then a
    third; at the fourth, the count knew what to expect. A firm
    and well-practised hand was engaged in cutting the four
    sides of a pane of glass with a diamond. The count felt his
    heart beat more rapidly. Inured as men may be to danger,
    forewarned as they may be of peril, they understand, by the
    fluttering of the heart and the shuddering of the frame, the
    enormous difference between a dream and a reality, between
    the project and the execution. However, Monte Cristo only
    made a sign to apprise Ali, who, understanding that danger
    was approaching from the other side, drew nearer to his
    master. Monte Cristo was eager to ascertain the strength and
    number of his enemies.

    The window whence the noise proceeded was opposite the
    opening by which the count could see into the dressing-room.
    He fixed his eyes on that window -- he distinguished a
    shadow in the darkness; then one of the panes became quite
    opaque, as if a sheet of paper were stuck on the outside,
    then the square cracked without falling. Through the opening
    an arm was passed to find the fastening, then a second; the
    window turned on its hinges, and a man entered. He was
    alone.

    "That's a daring rascal," whispered the count.

    At that moment Ali touched him slightly on the shoulder. He
    turned; Ali pointed to the window of the room in which they
    were, facing the street. "I see!" said he, "there are two of
    them; one does the work while the other stands guard." He
    made a sign to Ali not to lose sight of the man in the
    street, and turned to the one in the dressing-room.

    The glass-cutter had entered, and was feeling his way, his
    arms stretched out before him. At last he appeared to have
    made himself familiar with his surroundings. There were two
    doors; he bolted them both.

    When he drew near to the bedroom door, Monte Cristo expected
    that he was coming in, and raised one of his pistols; but he
    simply heard the sound of the bolts sliding in their copper
    rings. It was only a precaution. The nocturnal visitor,
    ignorant of the fact that the count had removed the staples,
    might now think himself at home, and pursue his purpose with
    full security. Alone and free to act as he wished, the man
    then drew from his pocket something which the count could
    not discern, placed it on a stand, then went straight to the
    secretary, felt the lock, and contrary to his expectation
    found that the key was missing. But the glass-cutter was a
    prudent man who had provided for all emergencies. The count
    soon heard the rattling of a bunch of skeleton keys, such as
    the locksmith brings when called to force a lock, and which
    thieves call nightingales, doubtless from the music of their
    nightly song when they grind against the bolt. "Ah, ha,"
    whispered Monte Cristo with a smile of disappointment, "he
    is only a thief."

    But the man in the dark could not find the right key. He
    reached the instrument he had placed on the stand, touched a
    spring, and immediately a pale light, just bright enough to
    render objects distinct, was reflected on his hands and
    countenance. "By heavens," exclaimed Monte Cristo, starting
    back, "it is" --

    Ali raised his hatchet. "Don't stir," whispered Monte
    Cristo, "and put down your hatchet; we shall require no
    arms." Then he added some words in a low tone, for the
    exclamation which surprise had drawn from the count, faint
    as it had been, had startled the man who remained in the
    pose of the old knife-grinder. It was an order the count had
    just given, for immediately Ali went noiselessly, and
    returned, bearing a black dress and a three-cornered hat.
    Meanwhile Monte Cristo had rapidly taken off his great-coat,
    waistcoat, and shirt, and one might distinguish by the
    glimmering through the open panel that he wore a pliant
    tunic of steel mail, of which the last in France, where
    daggers are no longer dreaded, was worn by King Louis XVI.,
    who feared the dagger at his breast, and whose head was
    cleft with a hatchet. The tunic soon disappeared under a
    long cassock, as did his hair under a priest's wig; the
    three-cornered hat over this effectually transformed the
    count into an abbe.

    The man, hearing nothing more, stood erect, and while Monte
    Cristo was completing his disguise had advanced straight to
    the secretary, whose lock was beginning to crack under his
    nightingale.

    "Try again," whispered the count, who depended on the secret
    spring, which was unknown to the picklock, clever as he
    might be -- "try again, you have a few minutes' work there."
    And he advanced to the window. The man whom he had seen
    seated on a fence had got down, and was still pacing the
    street; but, strange as it appeared, he cared not for those
    who might pass from the avenue of the Champs-Elysees or by
    the Faubourg St. Honore; his attention was engrossed with
    what was passing at the count's, and his only aim appeared
    to be to discern every movement in the dressing-room.

    Monte Cristo suddenly struck his finger on his forehead and
    a smile passed over his lips; then drawing near to Ali, he
    whispered, --

    "Remain here, concealed in the dark, and whatever noise you
    hear, whatever passes, only come in or show yourself if I
    call you." Ali bowed in token of strict obedience. Monte
    Cristo then drew a lighted taper from a closet, and when the
    thief was deeply engaged with his lock, silently opened the
    door, taking care that the light should shine directly on
    his face. The door opened so quietly that the thief heard no
    sound; but, to his astonishment, the room was suddenly
    illuminated. He turned.

    "Ah, good-evening, my dear M. Caderousse," said Monte
    Cristo; "what are you doing here, at such an hour?"

    "The Abbe Busoni!" exclaimed Caderousse; and, not knowing
    how this strange apparition could have entered when he had
    bolted the doors, he let fall his bunch of keys, and
    remained motionless and stupefied. The count placed himself
    between Caderousse and the window, thus cutting off from the
    thief his only chance of retreat. "The Abbe Busoni!"
    repeated Caderousse, fixing his haggard gaze on the count.

    "Yes, undoubtedly, the Abbe Busoni himself," replied Monte
    Cristo. "And I am very glad you recognize me, dear M.
    Caderousse; it proves you have a good memory, for it must be
    about ten years since we last met." This calmness of Busoni,
    combined with his irony and boldness, staggered Caderousse.

    "The abbe, the abbe!" murmured he, clinching his fists, and
    his teeth chattering.

    "So you would rob the Count of Monte Cristo?" continued the
    false abbe.

    "Reverend sir," murmured Caderousse, seeking to regain the
    window, which the count pitilessly blocked -- "reverend sir,
    I don't know -- believe me -- I take my oath" --

    "A pane of glass out," continued the count, "a dark lantern,
    a bunch of false keys, a secretary half forced -- it is
    tolerably evident" --

    Caderousse was choking; he looked around for some corner to
    hide in, some way of escape.

    "Come, come," continued the count, "I see you are still the
    same, -- an assassin."

    "Reverend sir, since you know everything, you know it was
    not I -- it was La Carconte; that was proved at the trial,
    since I was only condemned to the galleys."

    "Is your time, then, expired, since I find you in a fair way
    to return there?"

    "No, reverend sir; I have been liberated by some one."

    "That some one has done society a great kindness."

    "Ah," said Caderousse, "I had promised" --

    "And you are breaking your promise!" interrupted Monte
    Cristo.

    "Alas, yes!" said Caderousse very uneasily.

    "A bad relapse, that will lead you, if I mistake not, to the
    Place de Greve. So much the worse, so much the worse --
    diavolo, as they say in my country."

    "Reverend sir, I am impelled" --

    "Every criminal says the same thing."

    "Poverty" --

    "Pshaw!" said Busoni disdainfully; "poverty may make a man
    beg, steal a loaf of bread at a baker's door, but not cause
    him to open a secretary in a house supposed to be inhabited.
    And when the jeweller Johannes had just paid you 40,000
    francs for the diamond I had given you, and you killed him
    to get the diamond and the money both, was that also
    poverty?"

    "Pardon, reverend sir," said Caderousse; "you have saved my
    life once, save me again!"

    "That is but poor encouragement."

    "Are you alone, reverend sir, or have you there soldiers
    ready to seize me?"

    "I am alone," said the abbe, "and I will again have pity on
    you, and will let you escape, at the risk of the fresh
    miseries my weakness may lead to, if you tell me the truth."

    "Ah, reverend sir," cried Caderousse, clasping his hands,
    and drawing nearer to Monte Cristo, "I may indeed say you
    are my deliverer!"

    "You mean to say you have been freed from confinement?"

    "Yes, that is true, reverend sir."

    "Who was your liberator?"

    "An Englishman."

    "What was his name?"

    "Lord Wilmore."

    "I know him; I shall know if you lie."

    "Ah, reverend sir, I tell you the simple truth."

    "Was this Englishman protecting you?"

    "No, not me, but a young Corsican, my companion."

    "What was this young Corsican's name?"

    "Benedetto."

    "Is that his Christian name?"

    "He had no other; he was a foundling."

    "Then this young man escaped with you?"

    "He did."

    "In what way?"

    "We were working at St. Mandrier, near Toulon. Do you know
    St. Mandrier?"

    "I do."

    "In the hour of rest, between noon and one o'clock" --

    "Galley-slaves having a nap after dinner! We may well pity
    the poor fellows!" said the abbe.

    "Nay," said Caderousse, "one can't always work -- one is not
    a dog."

    "So much the better for the dogs," said Monte Cristo.

    "While the rest slept, then, we went away a short distance;
    we severed our fetters with a file the Englishman had given
    us, and swam away."

    "And what is become of this Benedetto?"

    "I don't know."

    "You ought to know."

    "No, in truth; we parted at Hyeres." And, to give more
    weight to his protestation, Caderousse advanced another step
    towards the abbe, who remained motionless in his place, as
    calm as ever, and pursuing his interrogation. "You lie,"
    said the Abbe Busoni, with a tone of irresistible authority.

    "Reverend sir!"

    "You lie! This man is still your friend, and you, perhaps,
    make use of him as your accomplice."

    "Oh, reverend sir!"

    "Since you left Toulon what have you lived on? Answer me!"

    "On what I could get."

    "You lie," repeated the abbe a third time, with a still more
    imperative tone. Caderousse, terrified, looked at the count.
    "You have lived on the money he has given you."

    "True," said Caderousse; "Benedetto has become the son of a
    great lord."

    "How can he be the son of a great lord?"

    "A natural son."

    "And what is that great lord's name?"

    "The Count of Monte Cristo, the very same in whose house we
    are."

    "Benedetto the count's son?" replied Monte Cristo,
    astonished in his turn.

    "Well, I should think so, since the count has found him a
    false father -- since the count gives him four thousand
    francs a month, and leaves him 500,000 francs in his will."

    "Ah, yes," said the factitious abbe, who began to
    understand; "and what name does the young man bear
    meanwhile?"

    "Andrea Cavalcanti."

    "Is it, then, that young man whom my friend the Count of
    Monte Cristo has received into his house, and who is going
    to marry Mademoiselle Danglars?"

    "Exactly."

    "And you suffer that, you wretch -- you, who know his life
    and his crime?"

    "Why should I stand in a comrade's way?" said Caderousse.

    "You are right; it is not you who should apprise M.
    Danglars, it is I."

    "Do not do so, reverend sir."

    "Why not?"

    "Because you would bring us to ruin."

    "And you think that to save such villains as you I will
    become an abettor of their plot, an accomplice in their
    crimes?"

    "Reverend sir," said Caderousse, drawing still nearer.

    "I will expose all."

    "To whom?"

    "To M. Danglars."

    "By heaven!" cried Caderousse, drawing from his waistcoat an
    open knife, and striking the count in the breast, "you shall
    disclose nothing, reverend sir!" To Caderousse's great
    astonishment, the knife, instead of piercing the count's
    breast, flew back blunted. At the same moment the count
    seized with his left hand the assassin's wrist, and wrung it
    with such strength that the knife fell from his stiffened
    fingers, and Caderousse uttered a cry of pain. But the
    count, disregarding his cry, continued to wring the bandit's
    wrist, until, his arm being dislocated, he fell first on his
    knees, then flat on the floor. The count then placed his
    foot on his head, saying, "I know not what restrains me from
    crushing thy skull, rascal."

    "Ah, mercy -- mercy!" cried Caderousse. The count withdrew
    his foot. "Rise!" said he. Caderousse rose.

    "What a wrist you have, reverend sir!" said Caderousse.
    stroking his arm, all bruised by the fleshy pincers which
    had held it; "what a wrist!"

    "Silence! God gives me strength to overcome a wild beast
    like you; in the name of that God I act, -- remember that,
    wretch, -- and to spare thee at this moment is still serving
    him."

    "Oh!" said Caderousse, groaning with pain.

    "Take this pen and paper, and write what I dictate."

    "I don't know how to write, reverend sir."

    "You lie! Take this pen, and write!" Caderousse, awed by the
    superior power of the abbe, sat down and wrote: --

    Sir, -- The man whom you are receiving at your house, and to
    whom you intend to marry your daughter, is a felon who
    escaped with me from confinement at Toulon. He was No. 59,
    and I No. 58. He was called Benedetto, but he is ignorant of
    his real name, having never known his parents.

    "Sign it!" continued the count.

    "But would you ruin me?"

    "If I sought your ruin, fool, I should drag you to the first
    guard-house; besides, when that note is delivered, in all
    probability you will have no more to fear. Sign it, then!"

    Caderousse signed it. "The address, 'To monsieur the Baron
    Danglars, banker, Rue de la Chaussee d'Antin.'" Caderousse
    wrote the address. The abbe took the note. "Now," said he,
    "that suffices -- begone!"

    "Which way?"

    "The way you came."

    "You wish me to get out at that window?"

    "You got in very well."

    "Oh, you have some design against me, reverend sir."

    "Idiot! what design can I have?"

    "Why, then, not let me out by the door?"

    "What would be the advantage of waking the porter?" --

    "Ah, reverend sir, tell me, do you wish me dead?"

    "I wish what God wills."

    "But swear that you will not strike me as I go down."

    "Cowardly fool!"

    "What do you intend doing with me?"

    "I ask you what can I do? I have tried to make you a happy
    man, and you have turned out a murderer."

    "Oh, monsieur," said Caderousse, "make one more attempt --
    try me once more!"

    "I will," said the count. "Listen -- you know if I may be
    relied on."

    "Yes," said Caderousse.

    "If you arrive safely at home" --

    "What have I to fear, except from you?"

    "If you reach your home safely, leave Paris, leave France,
    and wherever you may be, so long as you conduct yourself
    well, I will send you a small annuity; for, if you return
    home safely, then" --

    "Then?" asked Caderousse, shuddering.

    "Then I shall believe God has forgiven you, and I will
    forgive you too."

    "As true as I am a Christian," stammered Caderousse, "you
    will make me die of fright!"

    "Now begone," said the count, pointing to the window.

    Caderousse, scarcely yet relying on this promise, put his
    legs out of the window and stood on the ladder. "Now go
    down," said the abbe, folding his arms. Understanding he had
    nothing more to fear from him, Caderousse began to go down.
    Then the count brought the taper to the window, that it
    might be seen in the Champs-Elysees that a man was getting
    out of the window while another held a light.

    "What are you doing, reverend sir? Suppose a watchman should
    pass?" And he blew out the light. He then descended, but it
    was only when he felt his foot touch the ground that he was
    satisfied of his safety.

    Monte Cristo returned to his bedroom, and, glancing rapidly
    from the garden to the street, he saw first Caderousse, who
    after walking to the end of the garden, fixed his ladder
    against the wall at a different part from where he came in.
    The count then looking over into the street, saw the man who
    appeared to be waiting run in the same direction, and place
    himself against the angle of the wall where Caderousse would
    come over. Caderousse climbed the ladder slowly, and looked
    over the coping to see if the street was quiet. No one could
    be seen or heard. The clock of the Invalides struck one.
    Then Caderousse sat astride the coping, and drawing up his
    ladder passed it over the wall; then he began to descend, or
    rather to slide down by the two stanchions, which he did
    with an ease which proved how accustomed he was to the
    exercise. But, once started, he could not stop. In vain did
    he see a man start from the shadow when he was halfway down
    -- in vain did he see an arm raised as he touched the
    ground. Before he could defend himself that arm struck him
    so violently in the back that he let go the ladder, crying,
    "Help!" A second blow struck him almost immediately in the
    side, and he fell, calling, "Help, murder!" Then, as he
    rolled on the ground, his adversary seized him by the hair,
    and struck him a third blow in the chest. This time
    Caderousse endeavored to call again, but he could only utter
    a groan, and he shuddered as the blood flowed from his three
    wounds. The assassin, finding that he no longer cried out,
    lifted his head up by the hair; his eyes were closed, and
    the mouth was distorted. The murderer, supposing him dead,
    let fall his head and disappeared. Then Caderousse, feeling
    that he was leaving him, raised himself on his elbow, and
    with a dying voice cried with great effort, "Murder! I am
    dying! Help, reverend sir, -- help!"

    This mournful appeal pierced the darkness. The door of the
    back-staircase opened, then the side-gate of the garden, and
    Ali and his master were on the spot with lights.
    Next Chapter
    Chapter 82
    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
    Finished
    Want to read
    Abandoned

    Are you sure you want to leave this group?