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= ROOT|Alexandre_Dumas|The_Count_of_Monte_Cristo-99.txt =

page 8 of 618




The young man remarked the greedy glance which shone in the
dark eyes of his neighbor. "Eh," he said, negligently. "this
money is not mine. I was expressing to my father my fears
that he had wanted many things in my absence, and to
convince me he emptied his purse on the table. Come, father"
added Dantes, "put this money back in your box -- unless
neighbor Caderousse wants anything, and in that case it is
at his service."

"No, my boy, no," said Caderousse. "I am not in any want,
thank God, my living is suited to my means. Keep your money
-- keep it, I say; -- one never has too much; -- but, at the
same time, my boy, I am as much obliged by your offer as if
I took advantage of it."

"It was offered with good will," said Dantes.

"No doubt, my boy; no doubt. Well, you stand well with M.
Morrel I hear, -- you insinuating dog, you!"

"M. Morrel has always been exceedingly kind to me," replied
Dantes.

"Then you were wrong to refuse to dine with him."

"What, did you refuse to dine with him?" said old Dantes;
"and did he invite you to dine?"

"Yes, my dear father," replied Edmond, smiling at his
father's astonishment at the excessive honor paid to his
son.

"And why did you refuse, my son?" inquired the old man.

"That I might the sooner see you again, my dear father,"
replied the young man. "I was most anxious to see you."

"But it must have vexed M. Morrel, good, worthy man," said
Caderousse. "And when you are looking forward to be captain,
it was wrong to annoy the owner."

"But I explained to him the cause of my refusal," replied
Dantes, "and I hope he fully understood it."

"Yes, but to be captain one must do a little flattery to
one's patrons."

"I hope to be captain without that," said Dantes.

"So much the better -- so much the better! Nothing will give
greater pleasure to all your old friends; and I know one
down there behind the Saint Nicolas citadel who will not be
sorry to hear it."

"Mercedes?" said the old man.

"Yes, my dear father, and with your permission, now I have
seen you, and know you are well and have all you require, I
will ask your consent to go and pay a visit to the
Catalans."

"Go, my dear boy," said old Dantes: "and heaven bless you in
your wife, as it has blessed me in my son!"

"His wife!" said Caderousse; "why, how fast you go on,
father Dantes; she is not his wife yet, as it seems to me."

"So, but according to all probability she soon will be,"
replied Edmond.

"Yes -- yes," said Caderousse; "but you were right to return
as soon as possible, my boy."

"And why?"

"Because Mercedes is a very fine girl, and fine girls never
lack followers; she particularly has them by dozens."

"Really?" answered Edmond, with a smile which had in it
traces of slight uneasiness.

"Ah, yes," continued Caderousse, "and capital offers, too;
but you know, you will be captain, and who could refuse you
then?"

"Meaning to say," replied Dantes, with a smile which but
ill-concealed his trouble, "that if I were not a captain" --

"Eh -- eh!" said Caderousse, shaking his head.

"Come, come," said the sailor, "I have a better opinion than
you of women in general, and of Mercedes in particular; and
I am certain that, captain or not, she will remain ever
faithful to me."

"So much the better -- so much the better," said Caderousse.
"When one is going to be married, there is nothing like
implicit confidence; but never mind that, my boy, -- go and
announce your arrival, and let her know all your hopes and
=8=

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