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= ROOT|Alexandre_Dumas|The_Count_of_Monte_Cristo-99.txt =

page 17 of 618




"Pen, ink, and paper," muttered Fernand.

"Yes; I am a supercargo; pen, ink, and paper are my tools,
and without my tools I am fit for nothing."

"Pen, ink, and paper, then," called Fernand loudly.

"There's what you want on that table," said the waiter.

"Bring them here." The waiter did as he was desired.

"When one thinks," said Caderousse, letting his hand drop on
the paper, "there is here wherewithal to kill a man more
sure than if we waited at the corner of a wood to
assassinate him! I have always had more dread of a pen, a
bottle of ink, and a sheet of paper, than of a sword or
pistol."

"The fellow is not so drunk as he appears to be," said
Danglars. "Give him some more wine, Fernand." Fernand filled
Caderousse's glass, who, like the confirmed toper he was,
lifted his hand from the paper and seized the glass.

The Catalan watched him until Caderousse, almost overcome by
this fresh assault on his senses, rested, or rather dropped,
his glass upon the table.

"Well!" resumed the Catalan, as he saw the final glimmer of
Caderousse's reason vanishing before the last glass of wine.

"Well, then, I should say, for instance," resumed Danglars,
"that if after a voyage such as Dantes has just made, in
which he touched at the Island of Elba, some one were to
denounce him to the king's procureur as a Bonapartist agent"
--

"I will denounce him!" exclaimed the young man hastily.

"Yes, but they will make you then sign your declaration, and
confront you with him you have denounced; I will supply you
with the means of supporting your accusation, for I know the
fact well. But Dantes cannot remain forever in prison, and
one day or other he will leave it, and the day when he comes
out, woe betide him who was the cause of his incarceration!"

"Oh, I should wish nothing better than that he would come
and seek a quarrel with me."

"Yes, and Mercedes! Mercedes, who will detest you if you
have only the misfortune to scratch the skin of her dearly
beloved Edmond!"

"True!" said Fernand.

"No, no," continued Danglars; "if we resolve on such a step,
it would be much better to take, as I now do, this pen, dip
it into this ink, and write with the left hand (that the
writing may not be recognized) the denunciation we propose."
And Danglars, uniting practice with theory, wrote with his
left hand, and in a writing reversed from his usual style,
and totally unlike it, the following lines, which he handed
to Fernand, and which Fernand read in an undertone: --

"The honorable, the king's attorney, is informed by a friend
of the throne and religion, that one Edmond Dantes, mate of
the ship Pharaon, arrived this morning from Smyrna, after
having touched at Naples and Porto-Ferrajo, has been
intrusted by Murat with a letter for the usurper, and by the
usurper with a letter for the Bonapartist committee in
Paris. Proof of this crime will be found on arresting him,
for the letter will be found upon him, or at his father's,
or in his cabin on board the Pharaon."

"Very good," resumed Danglars; "now your revenge looks like
common-sense, for in no way can it revert to yourself, and
the matter will thus work its own way; there is nothing to
do now but fold the letter as I am doing, and write upon it,
`To the king's attorney,' and that's all settled." And
Danglars wrote the address as he spoke.

"Yes, and that's all settled!" exclaimed Caderousse, who, by
a last effort of intellect, had followed the reading of the
letter, and instinctively comprehended all the misery which
such a denunciation must entail. "Yes, and that's all
settled; only it will be an infamous shame;" and he
stretched out his hand to reach the letter.

"Yes," said Danglars, taking it from beyond his reach; "and
as what I say and do is merely in jest, and I, amongst the
first and foremost, should be sorry if anything happened to
Dantes -- the worthy Dantes -- look here!" And taking the
letter, he squeezed it up in his hands and threw it into a
corner of the arbor.

"All right!" said Caderousse. "Dantes is my friend, and I
won't have him ill-used."

"And who thinks of using him ill? Certainly neither I nor
Fernand," said Danglars, rising and looking at the young
=17=

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