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    Chapter 112

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    Chapter 112
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    CHAPTER 112
    The Departure.

    The recent event formed the theme of conversation throughout
    all Paris. Emmanuel and his wife conversed with natural
    astonishment in their little apartment in the Rue Meslay
    upon the three successive, sudden, and most unexpected
    catastrophes of Morcerf, Danglars, and Villefort.
    Maximilian, who was paying them a visit, listened to their
    conversation, or rather was present at it, plunged in his
    accustomed state of apathy. "Indeed," said Julie, "might we
    not almost fancy, Emmanuel, that those people, so rich, so
    happy but yesterday, had forgotten in their prosperity that
    an evil genius -- like the wicked fairies in Perrault's
    stories who present themselves unbidden at a wedding or
    baptism -- hovered over them, and appeared all at once to
    revenge himself for their fatal neglect?"

    "What a dire misfortune!" said Emmanuel, thinking of Morcerf
    and Danglars.

    "What dreadful sufferings!" said Julie, remembering
    Valentine, but whom, with a delicacy natural to women, she
    did not name before her brother.

    "If the Supreme Being has directed the fatal blow," said
    Emmanuel, "it must be that he in his great goodness has
    perceived nothing in the past lives of these people to merit
    mitigation of their awful punishment."

    "Do you not form a very rash judgment, Emmanuel?" said
    Julie. "When my father, with a pistol in his hand, was once
    on the point of committing suicide, had any one then said,
    'This man deserves his misery,' would not that person have
    been deceived?"

    "Yes; but your father was not allowed to fall. A being was
    commissioned to arrest the fatal hand of death about to
    descend on him."

    Emmanuel had scarcely uttered these words when the sound of
    the bell was heard, the well-known signal given by the
    porter that a visitor had arrived. Nearly at the same
    instant the door was opened and the Count of Monte Cristo
    appeared on the threshold. The young people uttered a cry of
    joy, while Maximilian raised his head, but let it fall again
    immediately. "Maximilian," said the count, without appearing
    to notice the different impressions which his presence
    produced on the little circle, "I come to seek you."

    "To seek me?" repeated Morrel, as if awakening from a dream.

    "Yes," said Monte Cristo; "has it not been agreed that I
    should take you with me, and did I not tell you yesterday to
    prepare for departure?"

    "I am ready," said Maximilian; "I came expressly to wish
    them farewell."

    "Whither are you going, count?" asked Julie.

    "In the first instance to Marseilles, madame."

    "To Marseilles!" exclaimed the young couple.

    "Yes, and I take your brother with me."

    "Oh, count." said Julie, "will you restore him to us cured
    of his melancholy?" -- Morrel turned away to conceal the
    confusion of his countenance.

    "You perceive, then, that he is not happy?" said the count.
    "Yes," replied the young woman; "and fear much that he finds
    our home but a dull one."

    "I will undertake to divert him," replied the count.

    "I am ready to accompany you, sir," said Maximilian. "Adieu,
    my kind friends! Emmanuel -- Julie -- farewell!"

    "How farewell?" exclaimed Julie; "do you leave us thus, so
    suddenly, without any preparations for your journey, without
    even a passport?"

    "Needless delays but increase the grief of parting," said
    Monte Cristo, "and Maximilian has doubtless provided himself
    with everything requisite; at least, I advised him to do
    so."

    "I have a passport, and my clothes are ready packed," said
    Morrel in his tranquil but mournful manner.

    "Good," said Monte Cristo, smiling; "in these prompt
    arrangements we recognize the order of a well-disciplined
    soldier."

    "And you leave us," said Julie, "at a moment's warning? you
    do not give us a day -- no, not even an hour before your
    departure?"

    "My carriage is at the door, madame, and I must be in Rome
    in five days."

    "But does Maximilian go to Rome?" exclaimed Emmanuel.

    "I am going wherever it may please the count to take me,"
    said Morrel, with a smile full of grief; "I am under his
    orders for the next month."

    "Oh, heavens, how strangely he expresses himself, count!"
    said Julie.

    "Maximilian goes with me," said the count, in his kindest
    and most persuasive manner; "therefore do not make yourself
    uneasy on your brother's account."

    "Once more farewell, my dear sister; Emmanuel, adieu!"
    Morrel repeated.

    "His carelessness and indifference touch me to the heart,"
    said Julie. "Oh, Maximilian, Maximilian, you are certainly
    concealing something from us."

    "Pshaw!" said Monte Cristo, "you will see him return to you
    gay, smiling, and joyful."

    Maximilian cast a look of disdain, almost of anger, on the
    count.

    "We must leave you," said Monte Cristo.

    "Before you quit us, count," said Julie, "will you permit us
    to express to you all that the other day" --

    "Madame," interrupted the count, taking her two hands in
    his, "all that you could say in words would never express
    what I read in your eyes; the thoughts of your heart are
    fully understood by mine. Like benefactors in romances, I
    should have left you without seeing you again, but that
    would have been a virtue beyond my strength, because I am a
    weak and vain man, fond of the tender, kind, and thankful
    glances of my fellow-creatures. On the eve of departure I
    carry my egotism so far as to say, 'Do not forget me, my
    kind friends, for probably you will never see me again.'"

    "Never see you again?" exclaimed Emmanuel, while two large
    tears rolled down Julie's cheeks, "never behold you again?
    It is not a man, then, but some angel that leaves us, and
    this angel is on the point of returning to heaven after
    having appeared on earth to do good."

    "Say not so," quickly returned Monte Cristo -- "say not so,
    my friends; angels never err, celestial beings remain where
    they wish to be. Fate is not more powerful than they; it is
    they who, on the contrary, overcome fate. No, Emmanuel, I am
    but a man, and your admiration is as unmerited as your words
    are sacrilegious." And pressing his lips on the hand of
    Julie, who rushed into his arms, he extended his other hand
    to Emmanuel; then tearing himself from this abode of peace
    and happiness, he made a sign to Maximilian, who followed
    him passively, with the indifference which had been
    perceptible in him ever since the death of Valentine had so
    stunned him. "Restore my brother to peace and happiness,"
    whispered Julie to Monte Cristo. And the count pressed her
    hand in reply, as he had done eleven years before on the
    staircase leading to Morrel's study.

    "You still confide, then, in Sinbad the Sailor?" asked he,
    smiling.

    "Oh, yes," was the ready answer.

    "Well, then, sleep in peace, and put your trust in heaven."
    As we have before said, the postchaise was waiting; four
    powerful horses were already pawing the ground with
    impatience, while Ali, apparently just arrived from a long
    walk, was standing at the foot of the steps, his face bathed
    in perspiration. "Well," asked the count in Arabic, "have
    you been to see the old man?" Ali made a sign in the
    affirmative.

    "And have you placed the letter before him, as I ordered you
    to do?"

    The slave respectfully signalized that he had. "And what did
    he say, or rather do?" Ali placed himself in the light, so
    that his master might see him distinctly, and then imitating
    in his intelligent manner the countenance of the old man, he
    closed his eyes, as Noirtier was in the custom of doing when
    saying "Yes."

    "Good; he accepts," said Monte Cristo. "Now let us go."

    These words had scarcely escaped him, when the carriage was
    on its way, and the feet of the horses struck a shower of
    sparks from the pavement. Maximilian settled himself in his
    corner without uttering a word. Half an hour had passed when
    the carriage stopped suddenly; the count had just pulled the
    silken check-string, which was fastened to Ali's finger. The
    Nubian immediately descended and opened the carriage door.
    It was a lovely starlight night -- they had just reached the
    top of the hill Villejuif, from whence Paris appears like a
    sombre sea tossing its millions of phosphoric waves into
    light -- waves indeed more noisy, more passionate, more
    changeable, more furious, more greedy, than those of the
    tempestuous ocean, -- waves which never rest as those of the
    sea sometimes do, -- waves ever dashing, ever foaming, ever
    ingulfing what falls within their grasp. The count stood
    alone, and at a sign from his hand, the carriage went on for
    a short distance. With folded arms, he gazed for some time
    upon the great city. When he had fixed his piercing look on
    this modern Babylon, which equally engages the contemplation
    of the religious enthusiast, the materialist, and the
    scoffer, -- "Great city," murmured he, inclining his head,
    and joining his hands as if in prayer, "less than six months
    have elapsed since first I entered thy gates. I believe that
    the Spirit of God led my steps to thee and that he also
    enables me to quit thee in triumph; the secret cause of my
    presence within thy walls I have confided alone to him who
    only has had the power to read my heart. God only knows that
    I retire from thee without pride or hatred, but not without
    many regrets; he only knows that the power confided to me
    has never been made subservient to my personal good or to
    any useless cause. Oh, great city, it is in thy palpitating
    bosom that I have found that which I sought; like a patient
    miner, I have dug deep into thy very entrails to root out
    evil thence. Now my work is accomplished, my mission is
    terminated, now thou canst neither afford me pain nor
    pleasure. Adieu, Paris, adieu!"

    His look wandered over the vast plain like that of some
    genius of the night; he passed his hand over his brow, got
    into the carriage, the door was closed on him, and the
    vehicle quickly disappeared down the other side of the hill
    in a whirlwind of noise and dust.

    Ten leagues were passed and not a single word was uttered.

    Morrel was dreaming, and Monte Cristo was looking at the
    dreamer.

    "Morrel," said the count to him at length, "do you repent
    having followed me?"

    "No, count; but to leave Paris" --

    "If I thought happiness might await you in Paris, Morrel, I
    would have left you there."

    "Valentine reposes within the walls of Paris, and to leave
    Paris is like losing her a second time."

    "Maximilian," said the count, "the friends that we have lost
    do not repose in the bosom of the earth, but are buried deep
    in our hearts, and it has been thus ordained that we may
    always be accompanied by them. I have two friends, who in
    this way never depart from me; the one who gave me being,
    and the other who conferred knowledge and intelligence on
    me. Their spirits live in me. I consult them when doubtful,
    and if I ever do any good, it is due to their beneficent
    counsels. Listen to the voice of your heart, Morrel, and ask
    it whether you ought to preserve this melancholy exterior
    towards me."

    "My friend," said Maximilian, "the voice of my heart is very
    sorrowful, and promises me nothing but misfortune."

    "It is the way of weakened minds to see everything through a
    black cloud. The soul forms its own horizons; your soul is
    darkened, and consequently the sky of the future appears
    stormy and unpromising."

    "That may possibly be true," said Maximilian, and he again
    subsided into his thoughtful mood.

    The journey was performed with that marvellous rapidity
    which the unlimited power of the count ever commanded. Towns
    fled from them like shadows on their path, and trees shaken
    by the first winds of autumn seemed like giants madly
    rushing on to meet them, and retreating as rapidly when once
    reached. The following morning they arrived at Chalons,
    where the count's steamboat waited for them. Without the
    loss of an instant, the carriage was placed on board and the
    two travellers embarked without delay. The boat was built
    for speed; her two paddle-wheels were like two wings with
    which she skimmed the water like a bird. Morrel was not
    insensible to that sensation of delight which is generally
    experienced in passing rapidly through the air, and the wind
    which occasionally raised the hair from his forehead seemed
    on the point of dispelling momentarily the clouds collected
    there.

    As the distance increased between the travellers and Paris,
    almost superhuman serenity appeared to surround the count;
    he might have been taken for an exile about to revisit his
    native land. Ere long Marseilles presented herself to view,
    -- Marseilles, white, fervid, full of life and energy, --
    Marseilles, the younger sister of Tyre and Carthage, the
    successor to them in the empire of the Mediterranean, --
    Marseilles, old, yet always young. Powerful memories were
    stirred within them by the sight of the round tower, Fort
    Saint-Nicolas, the City Hall designed by Puget,* the port
    with its brick quays, where they had both played in
    childhood, and it was with one accord that they stopped on
    the Cannebiere. A vessel was setting sail for Algiers, on
    board of which the bustle usually attending departure
    prevailed. The passengers and their relations crowded on the
    deck, friends taking a tender but sorrowful leave of each
    other, some weeping, others noisy in their grief, the whole
    forming a spectacle that might be exciting even to those who
    witnessed similar sights daily, but which had no power to
    disturb the current of thought that had taken possession of
    the mind of Maximilian from the moment he had set foot on
    the broad pavement of the quay.

    * Pierre Puget, the sculptor-architect, was born at
    Marseilles in 1622.

    "Here," said he, leaning heavily on the arm of Monte Cristo,
    -- "here is the spot where my father stopped, when the
    Pharaon entered the port; it was here that the good old man,
    whom you saved from death and dishonor, threw himself into
    my arms. I yet feel his warm tears on my face, and his were
    not the only tears shed, for many who witnessed our meeting
    wept also." Monte Cristo gently smiled and said, -- "I was
    there;" at the same time pointing to the corner of a street.
    As he spoke, and in the very direction he indicated, a
    groan, expressive of bitter grief, was heard, and a woman
    was seen waving her hand to a passenger on board the vessel
    about to sail. Monte Cristo looked at her with an emotion
    that must have been remarked by Morrel had not his eyes been
    fixed on the vessel.

    "Oh, heavens!" exclaimed Morrel, "I do not deceive myself --
    that young man who is waving his hat, that youth in the
    uniform of a lieutenant, is Albert de Morcerf!"

    "Yes," said Monte Cristo, "I recognized him."

    "How so? -- you were looking the other way." the count
    smiled, as he was in the habit of doing when he did not want
    to make any reply, and he again turned towards the veiled
    woman, who soon disappeared at the corner of the street.
    Turning to his friend, -- "Dear Maximilian," said the count,
    "have you nothing to do in this land?"

    "I have to weep over the grave of my father," replied Morrel
    in a broken voice.

    "Well, then, go, -- wait for me there, and I will soon join
    you."

    "You leave me, then?"

    "Yes; I also have a pious visit to pay."

    Morrel allowed his hand to fall into that which the count
    extended to him; then with an inexpressibly sorrowful
    inclination of the head he quitted the count and bent his
    steps to the east of the city. Monte Cristo remained on the
    same spot until Maximilian was out of sight; he then walked
    slowly towards the Allees de Meillan to seek out a small
    house with which our readers were made familiar at the
    beginning of this story. It yet stood, under the shade of
    the fine avenue of lime-trees, which forms one of the most
    frequent walks of the idlers of Marseilles, covered by an
    immense vine, which spreads its aged and blackened branches
    over the stone front, burnt yellow by the ardent sun of the
    south. Two stone steps worn away by the friction of many
    feet led to the door, which was made of three planks; the
    door had never been painted or varnished, so great cracks
    yawned in it during the dry season to close again when the
    rains came on. The house, with all its crumbling antiquity
    and apparent misery, was yet cheerful and picturesque, and
    was the same that old Dantes formerly inhabited -- the only
    difference being that the old man occupied merely the
    garret, while the whole house was now placed at the command
    of Mercedes by the count.

    The woman whom the count had seen leave the ship with so
    much regret entered this house; she had scarcely closed the
    door after her when Monte Cristo appeared at the corner of a
    street, so that he found and lost her again almost at the
    same instant. The worn out steps were old acquaintances of
    his; he knew better than any one else how to open that
    weather-beaten door with the large headed nail which served
    to raise the latch within. He entered without knocking, or
    giving any other intimation of his presence, as if he had
    been a friend or the master of the place. At the end of a
    passage paved with bricks, was a little garden, bathed in
    sunshine, and rich in warmth and light. In this garden
    Mercedes had found, at the place indicated by the count, the
    sum of money which he, through a sense of delicacy, had
    described as having been placed there twenty-four years
    previously. The trees of the garden were easily seen from
    the steps of the street-door. Monte Cristo, on stepping into
    the house, heard a sigh that was almost a deep sob; he
    looked in the direction whence it came, and there under an
    arbor of Virginia jessamine,* with its thick foliage and
    beautiful long purple flowers, he saw Mercedes seated, with
    her head bowed, and weeping bitterly. She had raised her
    veil, and with her face hidden by her hands was giving free
    scope to the sighs and tears which had been so long
    restrained by the presence of her son. Monte Cristo advanced
    a few steps, which were heard on the gravel. Mercedes raised
    her head, and uttered a cry of terror on beholding a man
    before her.

    * The Carolina -- not Virginia -- jessamine, gelsemium
    sempervirens (properly speaking not a jessamine at all) has
    yellow blossoms. The reference is no doubt to the Wistaria
    frutescens. -- Ed.

    "Madame," said the count, "it is no longer in my power to
    restore you to happiness, but I offer you consolation; will
    you deign to accept it as coming from a friend?"

    "I am, indeed, most wretched," replied Mercedes. "Alone in
    the world, I had but my son, and he has left me!"

    "He possesses a noble heart, madame," replied the count,
    "and he has acted rightly. He feels that every man owes a
    tribute to his country; some contribute their talents,
    others their industry; these devote their blood, those their
    nightly labors, to the same cause. Had he remained with you,
    his life must have become a hateful burden, nor would he
    have participated in your griefs. He will increase in
    strength and honor by struggling with adversity, which he
    will convert into prosperity. Leave him to build up the
    future for you, and I venture to say you will confide it to
    safe hands."

    "Oh," replied the wretched woman, mournfully shaking her
    head, "the prosperity of which you speak, and which, from
    the bottom of my heart, I pray God in his mercy to grant
    him, I can never enjoy. The bitter cup of adversity has been
    drained by me to the very dregs, and I feel that the grave
    is not far distant. You have acted kindly, count, in
    bringing me back to the place where I have enjoyed so much
    bliss. I ought to meet death on the same spot where
    happiness was once all my own."

    "Alas," said Monte Cristo, "your words sear and embitter my
    heart, the more so as you have every reason to hate me. I
    have been the cause of all your misfortunes; but why do you
    pity, instead of blaming me? You render me still more
    unhappy" --

    "Hate you, blame you -- you, Edmond! Hate, reproach, the man
    that has spared my son's life! For was it not your fatal and
    sanguinary intention to destroy that son of whom M. de
    Morcerf was so proud? Oh, look at me closely, and discover
    if you can even the semblance of a reproach in me." The
    count looked up and fixed his eyes on Mercedes, who arose
    partly from her seat and extended both her hands towards
    him. "Oh, look at me," continued she, with a feeling of
    profound melancholy, "my eyes no longer dazzle by their
    brilliancy, for the time has long fled since I used to smile
    on Edmond Dantes, who anxiously looked out for me from the
    window of yonder garret, then inhabited by his old father.
    Years of grief have created an abyss between those days and
    the present. I neither reproach you nor hate you, my friend.
    Oh, no, Edmond, it is myself that I blame, myself that I
    hate! Oh, miserable creature that I am!" cried she, clasping
    her hands, and raising her eyes to heaven. "I once possessed
    piety, innocence, and love, the three ingredients of the
    happiness of angels, and now what am I?" Monte Cristo
    approached her, and silently took her hand. "No," said she,
    withdrawing it gently -- "no, my friend, touch me not. You
    have spared me, yet of all those who have fallen under your
    vengeance I was the most guilty. They were influenced by
    hatred, by avarice, and by self-love; but I was base, and
    for want of courage acted against my judgment. Nay, do not
    press my hand, Edmond; you are thinking, I am sure, of some
    kind speech to console me, but do not utter it to me,
    reserve it for others more worthy of your kindness. See"
    (and she exposed her face completely to view) -- "see,
    misfortune has silvered my hair, my eyes have shed so many
    tears that they are encircled by a rim of purple, and my
    brow is wrinkled. You, Edmond, on the contrary, -- you are
    still young, handsome, dignified; it is because you have had
    faith; because you have had strength, because you have had
    trust in God, and God has sustained you. But as for me, I
    have been a coward; I have denied God and he has abandoned
    me."

    Mercedes burst into tears; her woman's heart was breaking
    under its load of memories. Monte Cristo took her hand and
    imprinted a kiss on it; but she herself felt that it was a
    kiss of no greater warmth than he would have bestowed on the
    hand of some marble statue of a saint. "It often happens,"
    continued she, "that a first fault destroys the prospects of
    a whole life. I believed you dead; why did I survive you?
    What good has it done me to mourn for you eternally in the
    secret recesses of my heart? -- only to make a woman of
    thirty-nine look like a woman of fifty. Why, having
    recognized you, and I the only one to do so -- why was I
    able to save my son alone? Ought I not also to have rescued
    the man that I had accepted for a husband, guilty though he
    were? Yet I let him die! What do I say? Oh, merciful
    heavens, was I not accessory to his death by my supine
    insensibility, by my contempt for him, not remembering, or
    not willing to remember, that it was for my sake he had
    become a traitor and a perjurer? In what am I benefited by
    accompanying my son so far, since I now abandon him, and
    allow him to depart alone to the baneful climate of Africa?
    Oh, I have been base, cowardly, I tell you; I have abjured
    my affections, and like all renegades I am of evil omen to
    those who surround me!"

    "No, Mercedes," said Monte Cristo, "no; you judge yourself
    with too much severity. You are a noble-minded woman, and it
    was your grief that disarmed me. Still I was but an agent,
    led on by an invisible and offended Deity, who chose not to
    withhold the fatal blow that I was destined to hurl. I take
    that God to witness, at whose feet I have prostrated myself
    daily for the last ten years, that I would have sacrificed
    my life to you, and with my life the projects that were
    indissolubly linked with it. But -- and I say it with some
    pride, Mercedes -- God needed me, and I lived. Examine the
    past and the present, and endeavor to dive into futurity,
    and then say whether I am not a divine instrument. The most
    dreadful misfortunes, the most frightful sufferings, the
    abandonment of all those who loved me, the persecution of
    those who did not know me, formed the trials of my youth;
    when suddenly, from captivity, solitude, misery, I was
    restored to light and liberty, and became the possessor of a
    fortune so brilliant, so unbounded, so unheard-of, that I
    must have been blind not to be conscious that God had
    endowed me with it to work out his own great designs. From
    that time I looked upon this fortune as something confided
    to me for an especial purpose. Not a thought was given to a
    life which you once, Mercedes, had the power to render
    blissful; not one hour of peaceful calm was mine; but I felt
    myself driven on like an exterminating angel. Like
    adventurous captains about to embark on some enterprise full
    of danger, I laid in my provisions, I loaded my weapons, I
    collected every means of attack and defence; I inured my
    body to the most violent exercises, my soul to the bitterest
    trials; I taught my arm to slay, my eyes to behold
    excruciating sufferings, and my mouth to smile at the most
    horrid spectacles. Good-natured, confiding, and forgiving as
    I had been, I became revengeful, cunning, and wicked, or
    rather, immovable as fate. Then I launched out into the path
    that was opened to me. I overcame every obstacle, and
    reached the goal; but woe to those who stood in my pathway!"

    "Enough," said Mercedes; "enough, Edmond! Believe me, that
    she who alone recognized you has been the only one to
    comprehend you; and had she crossed your path, and you had
    crushed her like glass, still, Edmond, still she must have
    admired you! Like the gulf between me and the past, there is
    an abyss between you, Edmond, and the rest of mankind; and I
    tell you freely that the comparison I draw between you and
    other men will ever be one of my greatest tortures. No,
    there is nothing in the world to resemble you in worth and
    goodness! But we must say farewell, Edmond, and let us
    part."

    "Before I leave you, Mercedes, have you no request to make?"
    said the count.

    "I desire but one thing in this world, Edmond, -- the
    happiness of my son."

    "Pray to the Almighty to spare his life, and I will take
    upon myself to promote his happiness."

    "Thank you, Edmond."

    "But have you no request to make for yourself, Mercedes?"

    "For myself I want nothing. I live, as it were, between two
    graves. One is that of Edmond Dantes, lost to me long, long
    since. He had my love! That word ill becomes my faded lip
    now, but it is a memory dear to my heart, and one that I
    would not lose for all that the world contains. The other
    grave is that of the man who met his death from the hand of
    Edmond Dantes. I approve of the deed, but I must pray for
    the dead."

    "Your son shall be happy, Mercedes," repeated the count.

    "Then I shall enjoy as much happiness as this world can
    possibly confer."

    "But what are your intentions?"

    "To say that I shall live here, like the Mercedes of other
    times, gaining my bread by labor, would not be true, nor
    would you believe me. I have no longer the strength to do
    anything but to spend my days in prayer. However, I shall
    have no occasion to work, for the little sum of money buried
    by you, and which I found in the place you mentioned, will
    be sufficient to maintain me. Rumor will probably be busy
    respecting me, my occupations, my manner of living -- that
    will signify but little."

    "Mercedes," said the count, "I do not say it to blame you,
    but you made an unnecessary sacrifice in relinquishing the
    whole of the fortune amassed by M. de Morcerf; half of it at
    least by right belonged to you, in virtue of your vigilance
    and economy."

    "I perceive what you are intending to propose to me; but I
    cannot accept it, Edmond -- my son would not permit it."

    "Nothing shall be done without the full approbation of
    Albert de Morcerf. I will make myself acquainted with his
    intentions and will submit to them. But if he be willing to
    accept my offers, will you oppose them?"

    "You well know, Edmond, that I am no longer a reasoning
    creature; I have no will, unless it be the will never to
    decide. I have been so overwhelmed by the many storms that
    have broken over my head, that I am become passive in the
    hands of the Almighty, like a sparrow in the talons of an
    eagle. I live, because it is not ordained for me to die. If
    succor be sent to me, I will accept it."

    "Ah, madame," said Monte Cristo, "you should not talk thus!
    It is not so we should evince our resignation to the will of
    heaven; on the contrary, we are all free agents."

    "Alas!" exclaimed Mercedes, "if it were so, if I possessed
    free-will, but without the power to render that will
    efficacious, it would drive me to despair." Monte Cristo
    dropped his head and shrank from the vehemence of her grief.
    "Will you not even say you will see me again?" he asked.

    "On the contrary, we shall meet again," said Mercedes,
    pointing to heaven with solemnity. "I tell you so to prove
    to you that I still hope." And after pressing her own
    trembling hand upon that of the count, Mercedes rushed up
    the stairs and disappeared. Monte Cristo slowly left the
    house and turned towards the quay. But Mercedes did not
    witness his departure, although she was seated at the little
    window of the room which had been occupied by old Dantes.
    Her eyes were straining to see the ship which was carrying
    her son over the vast sea; but still her voice involuntarily
    murmured softly, "Edmond, Edmond, Edmond!"
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