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= ROOT|Alexandre_Dumas|The_Count_of_Monte_Cristo-99.txt =

page 1 of 618








The Count of Monte Cristo

by Alexandre Dumas [Pere]




Chapter 1
Marseilles -- The Arrival.

On the 24th of February, 1815, the look-out at Notre-Dame de
la Garde signalled the three-master, the Pharaon from
Smyrna, Trieste, and Naples.

As usual, a pilot put off immediately, and rounding the
Chateau d'If, got on board the vessel between Cape Morgion
and Rion island.

Immediately, and according to custom, the ramparts of Fort
Saint-Jean were covered with spectators; it is always an
event at Marseilles for a ship to come into port, especially
when this ship, like the Pharaon, has been built, rigged,
and laden at the old Phocee docks, and belongs to an owner
of the city.

The ship drew on and had safely passed the strait, which
some volcanic shock has made between the Calasareigne and
Jaros islands; had doubled Pomegue, and approached the
harbor under topsails, jib, and spanker, but so slowly and
sedately that the idlers, with that instinct which is the
forerunner of evil, asked one another what misfortune could
have happened on board. However, those experienced in
navigation saw plainly that if any accident had occurred, it
was not to the vessel herself, for she bore down with all
the evidence of being skilfully handled, the anchor
a-cockbill, the jib-boom guys already eased off, and
standing by the side of the pilot, who was steering the
Pharaon towards the narrow entrance of the inner port, was a
young man, who, with activity and vigilant eye, watched
every motion of the ship, and repeated each direction of the
pilot.

The vague disquietude which prevailed among the spectators
had so much affected one of the crowd that he did not await
the arrival of the vessel in harbor, but jumping into a
small skiff, desired to be pulled alongside the Pharaon,
which he reached as she rounded into La Reserve basin.

When the young man on board saw this person approach, he
left his station by the pilot, and, hat in hand, leaned over
the ship's bulwarks.

He was a fine, tall, slim young fellow of eighteen or
twenty, with black eyes, and hair as dark as a raven's wing;
and his whole appearance bespoke that calmness and
resolution peculiar to men accustomed from their cradle to
contend with danger.

"Ah, is it you, Dantes?" cried the man in the skiff. "What's
the matter? and why have you such an air of sadness aboard?"

"A great misfortune, M. Morrel," replied the young man, --
"a great misfortune, for me especially! Off Civita Vecchia
we lost our brave Captain Leclere."

"And the cargo?" inquired the owner, eagerly.

"Is all safe, M. Morrel; and I think you will be satisfied
on that head. But poor Captain Leclere -- "

"What happened to him?" asked the owner, with an air of
considerable resignation. "What happened to the worthy
captain?"

"He died."

"Fell into the sea?"

"No, sir, he died of brain-fever in dreadful agony." Then
turning to the crew, he said, "Bear a hand there, to take in
sail!"

All hands obeyed, and at once the eight or ten seamen who
composed the crew, sprang to their respective stations at
the spanker brails and outhaul, topsail sheets and halyards,
the jib downhaul, and the topsail clewlines and buntlines.
The young sailor gave a look to see that his orders were
promptly and accurately obeyed, and then turned again to the
owner.

"And how did this misfortune occur?" inquired the latter,
resuming the interrupted conversation.

"Alas, sir, in the most unexpected manner. After a long talk
with the harbor-master, Captain Leclere left Naples greatly
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