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= ROOT|Alexandre_Dumas|The_Count_of_Monte_Cristo-99.txt =

page 16 of 618



* "The wicked are great drinkers of water
As the flood proved once for all."

"You said, sir, you would like to help me, but" --

"Yes; but I added, to help you it would be sufficient that
Dantes did not marry her you love; and the marriage may
easily be thwarted, methinks, and yet Dantes need not die."

"Death alone can separate them," remarked Fernand.

"You talk like a noodle, my friend," said Caderousse; "and
here is Danglars, who is a wide-awake, clever, deep fellow,
who will prove to you that you are wrong. Prove it,
Danglars. I have answered for you. Say there is no need why
Dantes should die; it would, indeed, be a pity he should.
Dantes is a good fellow; I like Dantes. Dantes, your
health."

Fernand rose impatiently. "Let him run on," said Danglars,
restraining the young man; "drunk as he is, he is not much
out in what he says. Absence severs as well as death, and if
the walls of a prison were between Edmond and Mercedes they
would be as effectually separated as if he lay under a
tombstone."

"Yes; but one gets out of prison," said Caderousse, who,
with what sense was left him, listened eagerly to the
conversation, "and when one gets out and one's name is
Edmond Dantes, one seeks revenge" --

"What matters that?" muttered Fernand.

"And why, I should like to know," persisted Caderousse,
"should they put Dantes in prison? he has not robbed or
killed or murdered."

"Hold your tongue!" said Danglars.

"I won't hold my tongue!" replied Caderousse; "I say I want
to know why they should put Dantes in prison; I like Dantes;
Dantes, your health!" and he swallowed another glass of
wine.

Danglars saw in the muddled look of the tailor the progress
of his intoxication, and turning towards Fernand, said,
"Well, you understand there is no need to kill him."

"Certainly not, if, as you said just now, you have the means
of having Dantes arrested. Have you that means?"

"It is to be found for the searching. But why should I
meddle in the matter? it is no affair of mine."

"I know not why you meddle," said Fernand, seizing his arm;
"but this I know, you have some motive of personal hatred
against Dantes, for he who himself hates is never mistaken
in the sentiments of others."

"I! -- motives of hatred against Dantes? None, on my word! I
saw you were unhappy, and your unhappiness interested me;
that's all; but since you believe I act for my own account,
adieu, my dear friend, get out of the affair as best you
may;" and Danglars rose as if he meant to depart.

"No, no," said Fernand, restraining him, "stay! It is of
very little consequence to me at the end of the matter
whether you have any angry feeling or not against Dantes. I
hate him! I confess it openly. Do you find the means, I will
execute it, provided it is not to kill the man, for Mercedes
has declared she will kill herself if Dantes is killed."

Caderousse, who had let his head drop on the table, now
raised it, and looking at Fernand with his dull and fishy
eyes, he said, -- "Kill Dantes! who talks of killing Dantes?
I won't have him killed -- I won't! He's my friend, and this
morning offered to share his money with me, as I shared mine
with him. I won't have Dantes killed -- I won't!"

"And who has said a word about killing him, muddlehead?"
replied Danglars. "We were merely joking; drink to his
health," he added, filling Caderousse's glass, "and do not
interfere with us."

"Yes, yes, Dantes' good health!" said Caderousse, emptying
his glass, "here's to his health! his health -- hurrah!"

"But the means -- the means?" said Fernand.

"Have you not hit upon any?" asked Danglars.

"No! -- you undertook to do so."

"True," replied Danglars; "the French have the superiority
over the Spaniards, that the Spaniards ruminate, while the
French invent."

"Do you invent, then," said Fernand impatiently.

"Waiter," said Danglars, "pen, ink, and paper."
=16=

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