Chapter 2 Father and Son
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 Dantès,
who, after having traversed La Canebière, took the Rue de Noailles, and entering a small
house, on the left of the Allées
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.
room was occupied by Dantès'
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
old man uttered a cry, and turned round; then, seeing his son, he fell
into his arms, pale and trembling.
ails you, my dearest father? Are you ill?" inquired the young man,
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
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, 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."
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
my dear boy," replied the old man, "it is very fortunate."
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?"
nothing, nothing; it will soon pass away"--and as he said so the old
man's strength failed him, and he fell backwards.
come," said the young man, "a glass of wine, father, will revive
you. Where do you keep your wine?"
no; thanks. You need not look for it; I do not want it," said the old
yes, father, tell me where it is," and he opened two or three
is no use," said the old man, "there is no wine."
no wine?" said Dantès,
turning pale, and looking alternately at the hollow cheeks of the old man
and the empty cupboards. "What, no wine? Have you wanted money,
want nothing now that I have you," said the old man.
wiping the perspiration from his brow,--"yet I gave you two hundred
francs when I left, three months ago."
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" --
I paid him."
"it was a hundred and forty francs I owed Caderousse."
stammered the old man.
you paid him out of the two hundred francs I left you?"
old man nodded.
that you have lived for three months on sixty francs," muttered
know how little I require," said the old man.
pardon me," cried Edmond, falling on his knees before his father.
are you doing?"
have wounded me to the heart."
mind it, for I see you once more," said the old man; "and now
it's all over--everything is all right again."
here I am," said the young man, "with a promising future and a
little money. Here, father, here!" he said, "take this--take it,
and send for something immediately." And he emptied his pockets on
the table, the contents consisting of a dozen gold pieces, five or six
five-franc pieces, and some smaller coin. The countenance of old Dantès brightened.
does this belong to?" he inquired.
me, to you, to us! Take it; buy some provisions; be happy, and to-morrow
we shall have more." "Gently, gently," said the old man,
with a smile; "and by your leave I will use your purse moderately,
for they would say, if they saw me buy too many things at a time, that I
had been obliged to await your return, in order to be able to purchase
as you please; but, first of all, pray have a servant, father. I will not
have you left alone so long. I have some smuggled coffee and most capital
tobacco, in a small chest in the hold, which you shall have to-morrow.
But, hush, here comes somebody."
Caderousse, who has heard of your arrival, and no doubt comes to
congratulate you on your fortunate return."
lips that say one thing, while the heart thinks another," murmured
Edmond. "But, never mind, he is a neighbor who has done us a service
on a time, so he's welcome."
Edmond paused, the black and bearded head of Caderousse appeared at the
door. He was a man of twenty-five or six, and held a piece of cloth,
which, being a tailor, he was about to make into a coat-lining.
is it you, Edmond, back again?" said he, with a broad Marseillaise
accent, and a grin that displayed his ivory-white teeth.
as you see, neighbor Caderousse; and ready to be agreeable to you in any
and every way," replied Dantès,
but ill-concealing his coldness under this cloak of civility.
but, fortunately, I do not want for anything; and it chances that at times
there are others who have need of me." Dantès made a gesture. "I do not allude to you, my
boy. No!--no! I lent you money, and you returned it; that's like good
neighbors, and we are quits."
are never quits with those who oblige us," was Dantès' reply; "for when we do
not owe them money, we owe them gratitude."
the use of mentioning that? What is done is done. Let us talk of your
happy return, my boy. I had gone on the quay to match a piece of mulberry
cloth, when I met friend Danglars. 'You at Marseilles?'--'Yes,' says he.
thought you were at Smyrna.'--'I was; but am now back again.'
where is the dear boy, our little Edmond?'
with his father, no doubt,' replied Danglars. And so I came," added
Caderousse, "as fast as I could to have the pleasure of shaking hands
with a friend."
Caderousse!" said the old man, "he is so much attached to
to be sure I am. I love and esteem you, because honest folks are so rare.
But it seems you have come back rich, my boy," continued the tailor,
looking askance at the handful of gold and silver which Dantès had thrown on the table.
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 Dantès,
"put this money back in your box--unless neighbor Caderousse wants
anything, and in that case it is at his service."
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."
was offered with good will," said Dantès.
doubt, my boy; no doubt. Well, you stand well with M. Morrel I hear,--you
insinuating dog, you!"
Morrel has always been exceedingly kind to me," replied Dantès.
you were wrong to refuse to dine with him." "What, did you
refuse to dine with him?" said old Dantès; "and did he invite you to dine?"
my dear father," replied Edmond, smiling at his father's astonishment
at the excessive honor paid to his son.
why did you refuse, my son?" inquired the old man.
I might the sooner see you again, my dear father," replied the young
man. "I was most anxious to see you."
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."
I explained to him the cause of my refusal," replied Dantès, "and I hope he fully
but to be captain one must do a little flattery to one's patrons."
hope to be captain without that," said Dantès.
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."
"Mercédès?" said the old man.
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."
my dear boy," said old Dantès: "and heaven bless you in your wife, as it
has blessed me in my son!"
wife!" said Caderousse; "why, how fast you go on, father Dantès; she is not his wife yet, as it
seems to me."
but according to all probability she soon will be," replied Edmond.
said Caderousse; "but you were right to return as soon as possible,
Mercédès is a very fine girl, and fine
girls never lack followers; she particularly has them by dozens."
answered Edmond, with a smile which had in it traces of slight uneasiness.
yes," continued Caderousse, "and capital offers, too; but you
know, you will be captain, and who could refuse you then?"
to say," replied Dantès,
with a smile which but ill-concealed his trouble, "that if I were not
said Caderousse, shaking his head.
come," said the sailor, "I have a better opinion than you of
women in general, and of Mercédès in particular; and I am certain
that, captain or not, she will remain ever faithful to me."
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 prospects."
will go directly," was Edmond's reply; and, embracing his father, and
nodding to Caderousse, he left the apartment.
lingered for a moment, then taking leave of old Dantès, he went downstairs to rejoin
Danglars, who awaited him at the corner of the Rue Senac.
said Danglars, "did you see him?"
have just left him," answered Caderousse.
he allude to his hope of being captain?"
spoke of it as a thing already decided."
said Danglars, "he is in too much hurry, it appears to me."
it seems M. Morrel has promised him the thing."
that he is quite elated about it?"
yes, he is actually insolent over the matter--has already offered me his
patronage, as if he were a grand personage, and proffered me a loan of
money, as though he were a banker."
assuredly; although I might easily have accepted it, for it was I who put
into his hands the first silver he ever earned; but now M. Dantès has no longer any occasion for
assistance--he is about to become a captain."
said Danglars, "he is not one yet."
foi! it will be as well if he is not," answered Caderousse; "for
if he should be, there will be really no speaking to him."
we choose," replied Danglars, "he will remain what he is; and
perhaps become even less than he is."
do you mean?"
was speaking to myself. And is he still in love with the Catalane?"
head and ears; but, unless I am much mistaken, there will be a storm in
is more important than you think, perhaps. You do not like Dantès?"
never like upstarts."
tell me all you know about the Catalane."
know nothing for certain; only I have seen things which induce me to
believe, as I told you, that the future captain will find some annoyance
in the vicinity of the Vieilles Infirmeries."
have you seen?--come, tell me!"
every time I have seen Mercédès come into the city she has been
accompanied by a tall, strapping, black-eyed Catalan, with a red
complexion, brown skin, and fierce air, whom she calls cousin."
and you think this cousin pays her attentions?"
only suppose so. What else can a strapping chap of twenty-one mean with a
fine wench of seventeen?"
you say that Dantès
has gone to the Catalans?"
went before I came down."
us go the same way; we will stop at La Rèserve, and we can drink a glass of La Malgue, whilst
we wait for news."
along," said Caderousse; "but you pay the score."
course," replied Danglars; and going quickly to the designated place,
they called for a bottle of wine, and two glasses.
Père Pamphile had seen Dantès pass not ten minutes before;
and assured that he was at the Catalans, they sat down under the budding
foliage of the planes and sycamores, in the branches of which the birds
were singing their welcome to one of the first days of spring.