Chapter 77 Haidée
HAD the count's horses cleared the angle of the boulevard, than Albert,
turning towards the count, burst into a loud fit of laughter--much too
loud in fact not to give the idea of its being rather forced and
unnatural. "Well," said he, "I will ask you the same
question which Charles IX. put to Catherine de Medicis, after the massacre
of Saint Bartholomew, 'How have I played my little part?'"
what do you allude?" asked Monte Cristo.
the installation of my rival at M. Danglars'."
foi! what rival? Why, your protege, M. Andrea Cavalcanti!"
no joking, viscount, if you please; I do not patronize M. Andrea--at
least, not as concerns M. Danglars."
you would be to blame for not assisting him, if the young man really
needed your help in that quarter, but, happily for me, he can dispense
do you think he is paying his addresses?"
am certain of it; his languishing looks and modulated tones when
addressing Mademoiselle Danglars fully proclaim his intentions. He aspires
to the hand of the proud Eugénie."
does that signify, so long as they favor your suit?"
it is not the case, my dear count: on the contrary. I am repulsed on all
is so indeed; Mademoiselle Eugénie
scarcely answers me, and Mademoiselle d'Armilly, her confidant, does not
speak to me at all."
the father has the greatest regard possible for you," said Monte
Oh, no, he has plunged a thousand daggers into my heart, tragedy-weapons,
I own, which instead of wounding sheathe their points in their own
handles, but daggers which he nevertheless believed to be real and
but I am not jealous."
me? I will engage to say that before a week is past the door will be
closed against me."
are mistaken, my dear viscount."
it to me."
you wish me to do so?"
I am charged with the commission of endeavoring to induce the Comte de
Morcerf to make some definite arrangement with the baron."
whom are you charged?"
the baron himself."
said Albert with all the cajolery of which he was capable. "You
surely will not do that, my dear count?"
I shall, Albert, as I have promised to do it."
said Albert, with a sigh, "it seems you are determined to marry
am determined to try and be on good terms with everybody, at all
events," said Monte Cristo. "But apropos of Debray, how is it
that I have not seen him lately at the baron's house?"
has been a misunderstanding."
with the baroness?"
with the baron."
he perceived anything?"
that is a good joke!"
you think he suspects?" said Monte Cristo with charming artlessness.
have you come from, my dear count?" said Albert.
Congo, if you will."
must be farther off than even that."
what do I know of your Parisian husbands?"
my dear count, husbands are pretty much the same everywhere; an individual
husband of any country is a pretty fair specimen of the whole race."
then, what can have led to the quarrel between Danglars and Debray? They
seemed to understand each other so well," said Monte Cristo with
now you are trying to penetrate into the mysteries of Isis, in which I am
not initiated. When M. Andrea Cavalcanti has become one of the family, you
can ask him that question." The carriage stopped. "Here we
are," said Monte Cristo; "it is only half-past ten o'clock, come
carriage shall take you back."
thank you; I gave orders for my coupé to follow me."
it is, then," said Monte Cristo, as he stepped out of the carriage.
They both went into the house; the drawing-room was lighted up--they went
in there. "You will make tea for us, Baptistin," said the count.
Baptistin left the room without waiting to answer, and in two seconds
reappeared, bringing on a waiter all that his master had ordered, ready
prepared, and appearing to have sprung from the ground, like the repasts
which we read of in fairy tales. "Really, my dear count," said
Morcerf. "what I admire in you is, not so much your riches, for
perhaps there are people even wealthier than yourself, nor is it only your
wit, for Beaumarchais might have possessed as much,--but it is your manner
of being served, without any questions, in a moment, in a second; it is as
it they guessed what you wanted by your manner of ringing, and made a
point of keeping everything you can possibly desire in constant
you say is perhaps true; they know my habits. For instance, you shall see;
how do you wish to occupy yourself during tea-time?"
foi! I should like to smoke."
Cristo took the gong and struck it once. In about the space of a second a
private door opened, and Ali appeared, bringing two chibouques filled with
excellent latakia. "It is quite wonderful," said Albert.
no, it is as simple as possible," replied Monte Cristo. "Ali
knows I generally smoke while I am taking my tea or coffee; he has heard
that I ordered tea, and he also knows that I brought you home with me;
when I summoned him he naturally guessed the reason of my doing so, and as
he comes from a country where hospitality is especially manifested through
the medium of smoking, he naturally concludes that we shall smoke in
company, and therefore brings two chibouques instead of one--and now the
mystery is solved."
you give a most commonplace air to your explanation, but it is not the
less true that you--Ah, but what do I hear?" and Morcerf inclined his
head towards the door, through which sounds seemed to issue resembling
those of a guitar.
foi! my dear viscount, you are fated to hear music this evening; you have
only escaped from Mademoiselle Danglars' piano, to be attacked by Haidée's guzla."
"Haidée--what an adorable name! Are
there, then, really women who bear the name of Haidée anywhere but in Byron's
there are. Haidée
is a very uncommon name in France, but is common enough in Albania and
Epirus; it is as it you said, for example, Chastity, Modesty,
Innocence,--it is a kind of baptismal name, as you Parisians call
that is charming," said Albert, "how I should like to hear my
countrywomen called Mademoiselle Goodness, Mademoiselle Silence,
Mademoiselle Christian Charity! Only think, then, if Mademoiselle Danglars,
instead of being called Claire-Marie-Eugénie,
had been named Mademoiselle Chastity-Modesty-Innocence Danglars; what a
fine effect that would have produced on the announcement of her
said the count, "do not joke in so loud a tone; Haidée may hear you, perhaps."
you think she would be angry?"
certainly not," said the count with a haughty expression.
is very amiable, then, is she not?" said Albert.
is not to be called amiability, it is her duty; a slave does not dictate
to a master."
you are joking yourself now. Are there any more slaves to be had who bear
this beautiful name?"
count, you do nothing, and have nothing like other people. The slave of
the Count of Monte Cristo! Why, it is a rank of itself in France, and from
the way in which you lavish money, it is a place that must be worth a
hundred thousand francs a year."
hundred thousand francs! The poor girl originally possessed much more than
that; she was born to treasures in comparison with which those recorded in
the Thousand and One Nights would seem but poverty."
must be a princess then."
are right; and she is one of the greatest in her country too."
thought so. But how did it happen that such a great princess became a
was it that Dionysius the Tyrant became a schoolmaster? The fortune of
war, my dear viscount,--the caprice of fortune; that is the way in which
these things are to be accounted for."
is her name a secret?"
regards the generality of mankind it is; but not for you, my dear
viscount, who are one of my most intimate friends, and on whose silence I
feel I may rely, if I consider it necessary to enjoin it--may I not do
on my word of honor."
know the history of the pasha of Yanina, do you not?"
Ali Tepelini?* Oh, yes; it was in his service that my father made his
I had forgotten that."
Ali Pasha, "The Lion," was born at Tepelini, an Albanian village
at the foot of the Klissoura Mountains, in 1741. By diplomacy and success
in arms he became almost supreme ruler of Albania, Epirus, and adjacent
territory. Having aroused the enmity of the Sultan, he was proscribed and
put to death by treachery in 1822, at the age of eighty.--Ed.
what is Haidée
to Ali Tepelini?"
the daughter of Ali Pasha?"
Ali Pasha and the beautiful Vasiliki."
how did she become so?"
simply from the circumstance of my having bought her one day, as I was
passing through the market at Constantinople."
Really, my dear count, you seem to throw a sort of magic influence over
all in which you are concerned; when I listen to you, existence no longer
seems reality, but a waking dream. Now, I am perhaps going to make an
imprudent and thoughtless request, but"--
since you go out with Haidée,
and sometimes even take her to the opera"--
think I may venture to ask you this favor."
may venture to ask me anything."
then, my dear count, present me to your princess."
will do so; but on two conditions."
accept them at once."
first is, that you will never tell any one that I have granted the
well," said Albert, extending his hand; "I swear I will
second is, that you will not tell her that your father ever served
give you my oath that I will not."
viscount; you will remember those two vows, will you not? But I know you
to be a man of honor." The count again struck the gong. Ali
reappeared. "Tell Haidée,"
said he, "that I will take coffee with her, and give her to
understand that I desire permission to present one of my friends to
her." Ali bowed and left the room. "Now, understand me,"
said the count, "no direct questions, my dear Morcerf; if you wish to
know anything, tell me, and I will ask her."
Ali reappeared for the third time, and drew back the tapestried hanging
which concealed the door, to signify to his master and Albert that they
were at liberty to pass on. "Let us go in," said Monte Cristo.
passed his hand through his hair, and curled his mustache, then, having
satisfied himself as to his personal appearance, followed the count into
the room, the latter having previously resumed his hat and gloves. Ali was
stationed as a kind of advanced guard, and the door was kept by the three
French attendants, commanded by Myrtho. Haidée was awaiting her visitors in the first room of her
apartments, which was the drawing-room. Her large eyes were dilated with
surprise and expectation, for it was the first time that any man, except
Monte Cristo, had been accorded an entrance into her presence. She was
sitting on a sofa placed in an angle of the room, with her legs crossed
under her in the Eastern fashion, and seemed to have made for herself, as
it were, a kind of nest in the rich Indian silks which enveloped her. Near
her was the instrument on which she had just been playing; it was
elegantly fashioned, and worthy of its mistress. On perceiving Monte
Cristo, she arose and welcomed him with a smile peculiar to herself,
expressive at once of the most implicit obedience and also of the deepest
love. Monte Cristo advanced towards her and extended his hand, which she
as usual raised to her lips.
had proceeded no farther than the door, where he remained rooted to the
spot, being completely fascinated by the sight of such surpassing beauty,
beheld as it was for the first time, and of which an inhabitant of more
northern climes could form no adequate idea.
do you bring?" asked the young girl in Romaic, of Monte Cristo;
"is it a friend, a brother, a simple acquaintance, or an enemy."
friend," said Monte Cristo in the same language.
is his name?"
Albert; it is the same man whom I rescued from the hands of the banditti
what language would you like me to converse with him?"
Cristo turned to Albert. "Do you know modern Greek," asked he.
no," said Albert; "nor even ancient Greek, my dear count; never
had Homer or Plato a more unworthy scholar than myself."
proving by her remark that she had quite understood Monte Cristo's
question and Albert's answer, "then I will speak either in French or
Italian, if my lord so wills it."
Cristo reflected one instant. "You will speak in Italian," said
he. Then, turning towards Albert,--"It is a pity you do not
understand either ancient or modern Greek, both of which Haidée speaks so fluently; the poor child will be obliged
to talk to you in Italian, which will give you but a very false idea of
her powers of conversation." The count made a sign to Haidée to address his visitor.
"Sir," she said to Morcerf, "you are most welcome as the
friend of my lord and master." This was said in excellent Tuscan, and
with that soft Roman accent which makes the language of Dante as sonorous
as that of Homer. Then, turning to Ali, she directed him to bring coffee
and pipes, and when he had left the room to execute the orders of his
young mistress she beckoned Albert to approach nearer to her. Monte Cristo
and Morcerf drew their seats towards a small table, on which were arranged
music, drawings, and vases of flowers. Ali then entered bringing coffee
and chibouques; as to M. Baptistin, this portion of the building was
interdicted to him. Albert refused the pipe which the Nubian offered him.
"Oh, take it--take it," said the count; "Haidée
is almost as civilized as a Parisian; the smell of an Havana is
disagreeable to her, but the tobacco of the East is a most delicious
perfume, you know."
left the room. The cups of coffee were all prepared, with the addition of
sugar, which had been brought for Albert. Monte Cristo and Haidée took the beverage in the
original Arabian manner, that is to say, without sugar. Haidée took the porcelain cup in her
little slender fingers and conveyed it to her mouth with all the innocent
artlessness of a child when eating or drinking something which it likes.
At this moment two women entered, bringing salvers filled with ices and
sherbet, which they placed on two small tables appropriated to that
purpose. "My dear host, and you, signora," said Albert, in
Italian, "excuse my apparent stupidity. I am quite bewildered, and it
is natural that it should be so. Here I am in the heart of Paris; but a
moment ago I heard the rumbling of the omnibuses and the tinkling of the
bells of the lemonade-sellers, and now I feel as if I were suddenly
transported to the East; not such as I have seen it, but such as my dreams
have painted it. Oh, signora, if I could but speak Greek, your
conversation, added to the fairy-scene which surrounds me, would furnish
an evening of such delight as it would be impossible for me ever to
speak sufficient Italian to enable me to converse with you, sir,"
quietly; "and if you like what is Eastern, I will do my best to
secure the gratification of your tastes while you are here."
what subject shall I converse with her?" said Albert, in a low tone
to Monte Cristo.
what you please; you may speak of her country and of her youthful
reminiscences, or if you like it better you can talk of Rome, Naples, or
said Albert, "it is of no use to be in the company of a Greek if one
converses just in the same style as with a Parisian; let me speak to her
of the East."
so then, for of all themes which you could choose that will be the most
agreeable to her taste." Albert turned towards Haidée. "At what age did you
leave Greece, signora?" asked he.
left it when I was but five years old," replied Haidée.
have you any recollection of your country?"
I shut my eyes and think, I seem to see it all again. The mind can see as
well as the body. The body forgets sometimes--but the mind never
how far back into the past do your recollections extend?"
could scarcely walk when my mother, who was called Vasiliki, which means
royal," said the young girl, tossing her head proudly, "took me
by the hand, and after putting in our purse all the money we possessed, we
went out, both covered with veils, to solicit alms for the prisoners,
saying, 'He who giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord.' Then when our
purse was full we returned to the palace, and without saying a word to my
father, we sent it to the convent, where it was divided amongst the
how old were you at that time?"
was three years old," said Haidée.
you remember everything that went on about you from the time when you were
three years old?" said Albert.
said Albert, in a low tone to Monte Cristo, "do allow the signora to
tell me something of her history. You prohibited my mentioning my father's
name to her, but perhaps she will allude to him of her own accord in the
course of the recital, and you have no idea how delighted I should be to
hear our name pronounced by such beautiful lips." Monte Cristo turned
to Haidée, and with an expression of
countenance which commanded her to pay the most implicit attention to his
words, he said in Greek,--"Tell us the fate of your father; but
neither the name of the traitor nor the treason." Haidée sighed deeply, and a shade of
sadness clouded her beautiful brow.
are you saying to her?" said Morcerf in an undertone.
again reminded her that you were a friend, and that she need not conceal
anything from you."
said Albert, "this pious pilgrimage in behalf of the prisoners was
your first remembrance; what is the next?"
then I remember as if it were but yesterday sitting under the shade of
some sycamore-trees, on the borders of a lake, in the waters of which the
trembling foliage was reflected as in a mirror. Under the oldest and
thickest of these trees, reclining on cushions, sat my father; my mother
was at his feet, and I, childlike, amused myself by playing with his long
white beard which descended to his girdle, or with the diamond-hilt of the
scimitar attached to his girdle. Then from time to time there came to him
an Albanian who said something to which I paid no attention, but which he
always answered in the same tone of voice, either 'Kill,' or
is very strange," said Albert, "to hear such words proceed from
the mouth of any one but an actress on the stage, and one needs constantly
to be saying to one's self, 'This is no fiction, it is all reality,' in
order to believe it. And how does France appear in your eyes, accustomed
as they have been to gaze on such enchanted scenes?"
think it is a fine country," said Haidée, "but I see France as it really is, because I
look on it with the eyes of a woman; whereas my own country, which I can
only judge of from the impression produced on my childish mind, always
seems enveloped in a vague atmosphere, which is luminous or otherwise,
according as my remembrances of it are sad or joyous."
young," said Albert, forgetting at the moment the Count's command
that he should ask no questions of the slave herself, "is it possible
that you can have known what suffering is except by name?"
Haidée turned her eyes towards Monte
Cristo, who, making at the same time some imperceptible sign,
is ever so firmly impressed on the mind as the memory of our early
childhood, and with the exception of the two scenes I have just described
to you, all my earliest reminiscences are fraught with deepest
speak, signora," said Albert, "I am listening with the most
intense delight and interest to all you say."
Haidée answered his remark with a
melancholy smile. "You wish me, then, to relate the history of my
past sorrows?" said she.
beg you to do so," replied Albert. "Well, I was but four years
old when one night I was suddenly awakened by my mother. We were in the
palace of Yanina; she snatched me from the cushions on which I was
sleeping, and on opening my eyes I saw hers filled with tears. She took me
away without speaking. When I saw her weeping I began to cry too. 'Hush,
child!' said she. At other times in spite of maternal endearments or
threats, I had with a child's caprice been accustomed to indulge my
feelings of sorrow or anger by crying as much as I felt inclined; but on
this occasion there was an intonation of such extreme terror in my
mother's voice when she enjoined me to silence, that I ceased crying as
soon as her command was given. She bore me rapidly away.
saw then that we were descending a large staircase; around us were all my
mother's servants carrying trunks, bags, ornaments, jewels, purses of
gold, with which they were hurrying away in the greatest distraction.
the women came a guard of twenty men armed with long guns and pistols, and
dressed in the costume which the Greeks have assumed since they have again
become a nation. You may imagine there was something startling and
ominous," said Haidée,
shaking her head and turning pale at the mere remembrance of the scene,
"in this long file of slaves and women only half-aroused from sleep,
or at least so they appeared to me, who was myself scarcely awake. Here
and there on the walls of the staircase, were reflected gigantic shadows,
which trembled in the flickering light of the pine-torches till they
seemed to reach to the vaulted roof above.
said a voice at the end of the gallery. This voice made every one bow
before it, resembling in its effect the wind passing over a field of
wheat, by its superior strength forcing every ear to yield obeisance. As
for me, it made me tremble. This voice was that of my father. He came
last, clothed in his splendid robes and holding in his hand the carbine
which your emperor presented him. He was leaning on the shoulder of his
favorite Selim, and he drove us all before him, as a shepherd would his
straggling flock. My father," said Haidée,
raising her head, "was that illustrious man known in Europe under the
name of Ali Tepelini, pasha of Yanina, and before whom Turkey
without knowing why, started on hearing these words pronounced with such a
haughty and dignified accent; it appeared to him as if there was something
supernaturally gloomy and terrible in the expression which gleamed from
the brilliant eyes of Haidée
at this moment; she appeared like a Pythoness evoking a spectre, as she
recalled to his mind the remembrance of the fearful death of this man, to
the news of which all Europe had listened with horror. "Soon,"
said Haidée, "we halted on our march,
and found ourselves on the borders of a lake. My mother pressed me to her
throbbing heart, and at the distance of a few paces I saw my father, who
was glancing anxiously around. Four marble steps led down to the water's
edge, and below them was a boat floating on the tide.
where we stood I could see in the middle of the lake a large blank mass;
it was the kiosk to which we were going. This kiosk appeared to me to be
at a considerable distance, perhaps on account of the darkness of the
night, which prevented any object from being more than partially
discerned. We stepped into the boat. I remember well that the oars made no
noise whatever in striking the water, and when I leaned over to ascertain
the cause I saw that they were muffled with the sashes of our Palikares.*
Besides the rowers, the boat contained only the women, my father, mother,
Selim, and myself. The Palikares had remained on the shore of the lake,
ready to cover our retreat; they were kneeling on the lowest of the marble
steps, and in that manner intended making a rampart of the three others,
in case of pursuit. Our bark flew before the wind. 'Why does the boat go
so fast?' asked I of my mother.
Greek militiamen in the war for independence.--Ed.
child! Hush, we are flying!' I did not understand. Why should my father
fly?--he, the all-powerful--he, before whom others were accustomed to
fly--he, who had taken for his device,
HATE ME; THEN THEY FEAR ME!'
was, indeed, a flight which my father was trying to effect. I have been
told since that the garrison of the castle of Yanina, fatigued with long
cast a significant glance at Monte Cristo, whose eyes had been riveted on
her countenance during the whole course of her narrative. The young girl
then continued, speaking slowly, like a person who is either inventing or
suppressing some feature of the history which he is relating. "You
were saying, signora," said Albert, who was paying the most implicit
attention to the recital, "that the garrison of Yanina, fatigued with
treated with the Serasker Koorshid, who had been sent by the sultan to
gain possession of the person of my father; it was then that Ali
Tepelini--after having sent to the sultan a French officer in whom he
reposed great confidence--resolved to retire to the asylum which he had
long before prepared for himself, and which he called kataphygion, or the
this officer," asked Albert, "do you remember his name,
signora?" Monte Cristo exchanged a rapid glance with the young girl,
which was quite unperceived by Albert. "No," said she, "I
do not remember it just at this moment; but if it should occur to me
presently, I will tell you." Albert was on the point of pronouncing
his father's name, when Monte Cristo gently held up his finger in token of
reproach; the young man recollected his promise, and was silent.
was towards this kiosk that we were rowing. A ground-floor, ornamented
with arabesques, bathing its terraces in the water, and another floor,
looking on the lake, was all which was visible to the eye. But beneath the
ground-floor, stretching out into the island, was a large subterranean
cavern, to which my mother, myself, and the women were conducted. In this
place were together 60,000 pouches and 200 barrels; the pouches contained
25,000,000 of money in gold, and the barrels were filled with 30,000
pounds of gunpowder.
the barrels stood Selim, my father's favorite, whom I mentioned to you
just now. He stood watch day and night with a lance provided with a
lighted slowmatch in his hand, and he had orders to blow up
everything--kiosk, guards, women, gold, and Ali Tepelini himself--at the
first signal given by my father. I remember well that the slaves,
convinced of the precarious tenure on which they held their lives, passed
whole days and nights in praying, crying, and groaning. As for me, I can
never forget the pale complexion and black eyes of the young soldier, and
whenever the angel of death summons me to another world, I am quite sure I
shall recognize Selim. I cannot tell you how long we remained in this
state; at that period I did not even know what time meant. Sometimes, but
very rarely, my father summoned me and my mother to the terrace of the
palace; these were hours of recreation for me, as I never saw anything in
the dismal cavern but the gloomy countenances of the slaves and Selim's
fiery lance. My father was endeavoring to pierce with his eager looks the
remotest verge of the horizon, examining attentively every black speck
which appeared on the lake, while my mother, reclining by his side, rested
her head on his shoulder, and I played at his feet, admiring everything I
saw with that unsophisticated innocence of childhood which throws a charm
round objects insignificant in themselves, but which in its eyes are
invested with the greatest importance. The heights of Pindus towered above
us; the castle of Yanina rose white and angular from the blue waters of
the lake, and the immense masses of black vegetation which, viewed in the
distance, gave the idea of lichens clinging to the rocks, were in reality
gigantic fir-trees and myrtles.
morning my father sent for us; my mother had been crying all the night,
and was very wretched; we found the pasha calm, but paler than usual.
'Take courage, Vasiliki,' said he; 'to-day arrives the firman of the
master, and my fate will be decided. If my pardon be complete, we shall
return triumphant to Yanina; if the news be inauspicious, we must fly this
night.'--'But supposing our enemy should not allow us to do so?' said my
mother. 'Oh, make yourself easy on that head,' said Ali, smiling; 'Selim
and his flaming lance will settle that matter. They would be glad to see
me dead, but they would not like themselves to die with me.'
mother only answered by sighs to consolations which she knew did not come
from my father's heart. She prepared the iced water which he was in the
habit of constantly drinking,--for since his sojourn at the kiosk he had
been parched by the most violent fever,--after which she anointed his
white beard with perfumed oil, and lighted his chibouque, which he
sometimes smoked for hours together, quietly watching the wreaths of vapor
that ascended in spiral clouds and gradually melted away in the
surrounding atmosphere. Presently he made such a sudden movement that I
was paralyzed with fear. Then, without taking his eyes from the object
which had first attracted his attention, he asked for his telescope. My
mother gave it him. and as she did so, looked whiter than the marble
against which she leaned. I saw my father's hand tremble. 'A
boat!--two!--three!' murmured my, father;--'four!' He then arose, seizing
his arms and priming his pistols. 'Vasiliki,' said he to my mother,
trembling perceptibly, 'the instant approaches which will decide
everything. In the space of half an hour we shall know the emperor's
answer. Go into the cavern with Haidée.'--'I
will not quit you,' said Vasiliki; 'if you die, my lord, I will die with
you.'--'Go to Selim!' cried my father. 'Adieu, my lord,' murmured my
mother, determining quietly to await the approach of death. 'Take away
Vasiliki!' said my father to his Palikares.
for me, I had been forgotten in the general confusion; I ran toward Ali
Tepelini; he saw me hold out my arms to him, and he stooped down and
pressed my forehead with his lips. Oh, how distinctly I remember that
kiss!--it was the last he ever gave me, and I feel as if it were still
warm on my forehead. On descending, we saw through the lattice-work
several boats which were gradually becoming more distinct to our view. At
first they appeared like black specks, and now they looked like birds
skimming the surface of the waves. During this time, in the kiosk at my
father's feet, were seated twenty Palikares, concealed from view by an
angle of the wall and watching with eager eyes the arrival of the boats.
They were armed with their long guns inlaid with mother-of-pearl and
silver, and cartridges in great numbers were lying scattered on the floor.
My father looked at his watch, and paced up and down with a countenance
expressive of the greatest anguish. This was the scene which presented
itself to my view as I quitted my father after that last kiss. My mother
and I traversed the gloomy passage leading to the cavern. Selim was still
at his post, and smiled sadly on us as we entered. We fetched our cushions
from the other end of the cavern, and sat down by Selim. In great dangers
the devoted ones cling to each other; and, young as I was, I quite
understood that some imminent danger was hanging over our heads."
had often heard--not from his father, for he never spoke on the subject,
but from strangers--the description of the last moments of the vizier of
Yanina; he had read different accounts of his death, but the story seemed
to acquire fresh meaning from the voice and expression of the young girl,
and her sympathetic accent and the melancholy expression of her
countenance at once charmed and horrified him. As to Haidée,
these terrible reminiscences seemed to have overpowered her for a moment,
for she ceased speaking, her head leaning on her hand like a beautiful
flower bowing beneath the violence of the storm; and her eyes gazing on
vacancy indicated that she was mentally contemplating the green summit of
the Pindus and the blue waters of the lake of Yanina, which, like a magic
mirror, seemed to reflect the sombre picture which she sketched. Monte
Cristo looked at her with an indescribable expression of interest and
on," said the count in the Romaic language.
Haidée looked up abruptly, as if the
sonorous tones of Monte Cristo's voice had awakened her from a dream; and
she resumed her narrative. "It was about four o'clock in the
afternoon, and although the day was brilliant out-of-doors, we were
enveloped in the gloomy darkness of the cavern. One single, solitary light
was burning there, and it appeared like a star set in a heaven of
blackness; it was Selim's flaming lance. My mother was a Christian, and
she prayed. Selim repeated from time to time the sacred words: 'God is
great!' However, my mother had still some hope. As she was coming down,
she thought she recognized the French officer who had been sent to
Constantinople, and in whom my father placed so much confidence; for he
knew that all the soldiers of the French emperor were naturally noble and
generous. She advanced some steps towards the staircase, and listened.
'They are approaching,' said she; 'perhaps they bring us peace and
liberty!'--'What do you fear, Vasiliki?' said Selim, in a voice at once so
gentle and yet so proud. 'If they do not bring us peace, we will give them
war; if they do not bring life, we will give them death.' And he renewed
the flame of his lance with a gesture which made one think of Dionysus of
Crete.* But I, being only a little child, was terrified by this undaunted
courage, which appeared to me both ferocious and senseless, and I recoiled
with horror from the idea of the frightful death amidst fire and flames
which probably awaited us.
The god of fruitfulness in Grecian mythology. In Crete he was supposed to
be slain in winter with the decay of vegetation and to revive in the
spring. Haidée's learned reference is to the
behavior of an actor in the Dionysian festivals.--Ed.
mother experienced the same sensations, for I felt her tremble. 'Mamma,
mamma,' said I, 'are we really to be killed?' And at the sound of my voice
the slaves redoubled their cries and prayers and lamentations. 'My child,'
said Vasiliki, 'may God preserve you from ever wishing for that death
which to-day you so much dread!' Then, whispering to Selim, she asked what
were her master's orders. 'If he send me his poniard, it will signify that
the emperor's intentions are not favorable, and I am to set fire to the
powder; if, on the contrary, he send me his ring, it will be a sign that
the emperor pardons him, and I am to extinguish the match and leave the
magazine untouched.'--'My friend,' said my mother, 'when your master's
orders arrive, if it is the poniard which he sends, instead of despatching
us by that horrible death which we both so much dread, you will mercifully
kill us with this same poniard, will you not?'--'Yes, Vasiliki,' replied
we heard loud cries; and, listening, discerned that they were cries of
joy. The name of the French officer who had been sent to Constantinople
resounded on all sides amongst our Palikares; it was evident that he
brought the answer of the emperor, and that it was favorable."
do you not remember the Frenchman's name?" said Morcerf, quite ready
to aid the memory of the narrator. Monte Cristo made a sign to him to be
do not recollect it," said Haidée.
noise increased; steps were heard approaching nearer and nearer: they were
descending the steps leading to the cavern. Selim made ready his lance.
Soon a figure appeared in the gray twilight at the entrance of the cave,
formed by the reflection of the few rays of daylight which had found their
way into this gloomy retreat. 'Who are you?' cried Selim. 'But whoever you
may be, I charge you not to advance another step.'--'Long live the
emperor!' said the figure. 'He grants a full pardon to the Vizier Ali, and
not only gives him his life, but restores to him his fortune and his
possessions.' My mother uttered a cry of joy, and clasped me to her bosom.
'Stop,' said Selim, seeing that she was about to go out; you see I have
not yet received the ring,'--'True,' said my mother. And she fell on her
knees, at the same time holding me up towards heaven, as if she desired,
while praying to God in my behalf, to raise me actually to his
for the second time Haidée
stopped, overcome by such violent emotion that the perspiration stood upon
her pale brow, and her stifled voice seemed hardly able to find utterance,
so parched and dry were her throat and lips. Monte Cristo poured a little
iced water into a glass, and presented it to her, saying with a mildness
in which was also a shade of command,--"Courage."
Haidée dried her eyes, and continued:
"By this time our eyes, habituated to the darkness, had recognized
the messenger of the pasha,--it was a friend. Selim had also recognized
him, but the brave young man only acknowledged one duty, which was to
obey. 'In whose name do you come?' said he to him. 'I come in the name of
our master, Ali Tepelini.'--'If you come from Ali himself,' said Selim,
'you know what you were charged to remit to me?'--'Yes,' said the
messenger, 'and I bring you his ring.' At these words he raised his hand
above his head, to show the token; but it was too far off, and there was
not light enough to enable Selim, where he was standing, to distinguish
and recognize the object presented to his view. 'I do not see what you
have in your hand,' said Selim. 'Approach then,' said the messenger, 'or I
will come nearer to you, if you prefer it.'--'I will agree to neither one
nor the other,' replied the young soldier; 'place the object which I
desire to see in the ray of light which shines there, and retire while I
examine it.'--'Be it so,' said the envoy; and he retired, after having
first deposited the token agreed on in the place pointed out to him by
how our hearts palpitated; for it did, indeed, seem to be a ring which was
placed there. But was it my father's ring? that was the question. Selim,
still holding in his hand the lighted match, walked towards the opening in
the cavern, and, aided by the faint light which streamed in through the
mouth of the cave, picked up the token.
is well,' said he, kissing it; 'it is my master's ring!' And throwing the
match on the ground, he trampled on it and extinguished it. The messenger
uttered a cry of joy and clapped his hands. At this signal four soldiers
of the Serasker Koorshid suddenly appeared, and Selim fell, pierced by
five blows. Each man had stabbed him separately, and, intoxicated by their
crime, though still pale with fear, they sought all over the cavern to
discover if there was any fear of fire, after which they amused themselves
by rolling on the bags of gold. At this moment my mother seized me in her
arms, and hurrying noiselessly along numerous turnings and windings known
only to ourselves, she arrived at a private staircase of the kiosk, where
was a scene of frightful tumult and confusion. The lower rooms were
entirely filled with Koorshid's troops; that is to say, with our enemies.
Just as my mother was on the point of pushing open a small door, we heard
the voice of the pasha sounding in a loud and threatening tone. My mother
applied her eye to the crack between the boards; I luckily found a small
opening which afforded me a view of the apartment and what was passing
within. 'What do you want?' said my father to some people who were holding
a paper inscribed with characters of gold. 'What we want,' replied one,
'is to communicate to you the will of his highness. Do you see this
firman?'--'I do,' said my father. 'Well, read it; he demands your head.'
father answered with a loud laugh, which was more frightful than even
threats would have been, and he had not ceased when two reports of a
pistol were heard; he had fired them himself, and had killed two men. The
Palikares, who were prostrated at my father's feet, now sprang up and
fired, and the room was filled with fire and smoke. At the same instant
the firing began on the other side, and the balls penetrated the boards
all round us. Oh, how noble did the grand vizier my father look at that
moment, in the midst of the flying bullets, his scimitar in his hand, and
his face blackened with the powder of his enemies! and how he terrified
them, even then, and made them fly before him! 'Selim, Selim!' cried he,
'guardian of the fire, do your duty!'--'Selim is dead,' replied a voice
which seemed to come from the depths of the earth, 'and you are lost,
Ali!' At the same moment an explosion was heard, and the flooring of the
room in which my father was sitting was suddenly torn up and shivered to
atoms--the troops were firing from underneath. Three or four Palikares
fell with their bodies literally ploughed with wounds.
father howled aloud, plunged his fingers into the holes which the balls
had made, and tore up one of the planks entire. But immediately through
this opening twenty more shots were fired, and the flame, rushing up like
fire from the crater of a volcano, soon reached the tapestry, which it
quickly devoured. In the midst of all this frightful tumult and these
terrific cries, two reports, fearfully distinct, followed by two shrieks
more heartrending than all, froze me with terror. These two shots had
mortally wounded my father, and it was he who had given utterance to these
frightful cries. However, he remained standing, clinging to a window. My
mother tried to force the door, that she might go and die with him, but it
was fastened on the inside. All around him were lying the Palikares,
writhing in convulsive agonies, while two or three who were only slightly
wounded were trying to escape by springing from the windows. At this
crisis the whole flooring suddenly gave way. my father fell on one knee,
and at the same moment twenty hands were thrust forth, armed with sabres,
pistols, and poniards--twenty blows were instantaneously directed against
one man, and my father disappeared in a whirlwind of fire and smoke
kindled by these demons, and which seemed like hell itself opening beneath
his feet. I felt myself fall to the ground, my mother had fainted."
Haidée's arms fell by her side, and
she uttered a deep groan, at the same time looking towards the count as if
to ask if he were satisfied with her obedience to his commands. Monte
Cristo arose and approached her, took her hand, and said to her in Romaic,
"Calm yourself, my dear child, and take courage in remembering that
there is a God who will punish traitors."
is a frightful story, count," said Albert, terrified at the paleness
countenance, "and I reproach myself now for having been so cruel and
thoughtless in my request."
it is nothing," said Monte Cristo. Then, patting the young girl on
the head, he continued, "Haidée
is very courageous, and she sometimes even finds consolation in the
recital of her misfortunes."
my lord." said Haidée
eagerly, "my miseries recall to me the remembrance of your
looked at her with curiosity, for she had not yet related what he most
desired to know,--how she had become the slave of the count. Haidée saw at a glance the same
expression pervading the countenances of her two auditors; she exclaimed,
'When my mother recovered her senses we were before the serasker. 'Kill,'
said she, 'but spare the honor of the widow of Ali.'--'It is not to me to
whom you must address yourself,' said Koorshid.
whom, then?'--'To your new master.'
and where is he?'--'He is here.'
Koorshid pointed out one who had more than any contributed to the death of
my father," said Haidée,
in a tone of chastened anger. "Then," said Albert, "you
became the property of this man?"
"he did not dare to keep us, so we were sold to some slave-merchants
who were going to Constantinople. We traversed Greece, and arrived half
dead at the imperial gates. They were surrounded by a crowd of people, who
opened a way for us to pass, when suddenly my mother, having looked
closely at an object which was attracting their attention, uttered a
piercing cry and fell to the ground, pointing as she did so to a head
which was placed over the gates, and beneath which were inscribed these
IS THE HEAD OF ALI TEPELINI, PASHA OF YANINA.'
cried bitterly, and tried to raise my mother from the earth, but she was
dead! I was taken to the slave-market, and was purchased by a rich
Armenian. He caused me to be instructed, gave me masters, and when I was
thirteen years of age he sold me to the Sultan Mahmood."
whom I bought her," said Monte Cristo, "as I told you, Albert,
with the emerald which formed a match to the one I had made into a box for
the purpose of holding my hashish pills."
you are good, you are great, my lord!" said Haidée, kissing the count's hand,
"and I am very fortunate in belonging to such a master!" Albert
remained quite bewildered with all that he had seen and heard. "Come,
finish your cup of coffee," said Monte Cristo; "the history is