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= ROOT|Alexandre_Dumas|The_Count_of_Monte_Cristo-99.txt =

page 6 of 618





Chapter 2
Father and Son.

We will leave Danglars struggling with the demon of hatred,
and endeavoring to insinuate in the ear of the shipowner
some evil suspicions against his comrade, and follow Dantes,
who, after having traversed La Canebiere, took the Rue de
Noailles, and entering a small house, on the left of the
Allees de Meillan, rapidly ascended four flights of a dark
staircase, holding the baluster with one hand, while with
the other he repressed the beatings of his heart, and paused
before a half-open door, from which he could see the whole
of a small room.

This room was occupied by Dantes' father. The news of the
arrival of the Pharaon had not yet reached the old man, who,
mounted on a chair, was amusing himself by training with
trembling hand the nasturtiums and sprays of clematis that
clambered over the trellis at his window. Suddenly, he felt
an arm thrown around his body, and a well-known voice behind
him exclaimed, "Father -- dear father!"

The old man uttered a cry, and turned round; then, seeing
his son, he fell into his arms, pale and trembling.

"What ails you, my dearest father? Are you ill?" inquired
the young man, much alarmed.

"No, no, my dear Edmond -- my boy -- my son! -- no; but I
did not expect you; and joy, the surprise of seeing you so
suddenly -- Ah, I feel as if I were going to die."

"Come, come, cheer up, my dear father! 'Tis I -- really I!
They say joy never hurts, and so I came to you without any
warning. Come now, do smile, instead of looking at me so
solemnly. Here I am back again, and we are going to be
happy."

"Yes, yes, my boy, so we will -- so we will," replied the
old man; "but how shall we be happy? Shall you never leave
me again? Come, tell me all the good fortune that has
befallen you."

"God forgive me," said the young man, "for rejoicing at
happiness derived from the misery of others, but, Heaven
knows, I did not seek this good fortune; it has happened,
and I really cannot pretend to lament it. The good Captain
Leclere is dead, father, and it is probable that, with the
aid of M. Morrel, I shall have his place. Do you understand,
father? Only imagine me a captain at twenty, with a hundred
louis pay, and a share in the profits! Is this not more than
a poor sailor like me could have hoped for?"

"Yes, my dear boy," replied the old man, "it is very
fortunate."

"Well, then, with the first money I touch, I mean you to
have a small house, with a garden in which to plant
clematis, nasturtiums, and honeysuckle. But what ails you,
father? Are you not well?"

"'Tis nothing, nothing; it will soon pass away" -- and as he
said so the old man's strength failed him, and he fell
backwards.

"Come, come," said the young man, "a glass of wine, father,
will revive you. Where do you keep your wine?"

"No, no; thanks. You need not look for it; I do not want
it," said the old man.

"Yes, yes, father, tell me where it is," and he opened two
or three cupboards.

"It is no use," said the old man, "there is no wine."

"What, no wine?" said Dantes, turning pale, and looking
alternately at the hollow cheeks of the old man and the
empty cupboards. "What, no wine? Have you wanted money,
father?"

"I want nothing now that I have you," said the old man.

"Yet," stammered Dantes, wiping the perspiration from his
brow, -- "yet I gave you two hundred francs when I left,
three months ago."

"Yes, yes, Edmond, that is true, but you forgot at that time
a little debt to our neighbor, Caderousse. He reminded me of
it, telling me if I did not pay for you, he would be paid by
M. Morrel; and so, you see, lest he might do you an injury"
--

"Well?"

"Why, I paid him."

"But," cried Dantes, "it was a hundred and forty francs I
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