Chapter 105 The Cemetery of Père-la-Chaise
DE BOVILLE had indeed met the funeral procession which was taking
Valentine to her last home on earth. The weather was dull and stormy, a
cold wind shook the few remaining yellow leaves from the boughs of the
trees, and scattered them among the crowd which filled the boulevards. M.
de Villefort, a true Parisian, considered the cemetery of Père-la-Chaise
alone worthy of receiving the mortal remains of a Parisian family; there
alone the corpses belonging to him would be surrounded by worthy
associates. He had therefore purchased a vault, which was quickly occupied
by members of his family. On the front of the monument was inscribed:
"The families of Saint-Méran
and Villefort," for such had been the last wish expressed by poor Renée, Valentine's mother. The
pompous procession therefore wended its way towards Père-la-Chaise from the Faubourg
Having crossed Paris, it passed through the Faubourg du Temple, then
leaving the exterior boulevards, it reached the cemetery. More than fifty
private carriages followed the twenty mourning-coaches, and behind them
more than five hundred persons joined in the procession on foot.
last consisted of all the young people whom Valentine's death had struck
like a thunderbolt, and who, notwithstanding the raw chilliness of the
season, could not refrain from paying a last tribute to the memory of the
beautiful, chaste, and adorable girl, thus cut off in the flower of her
youth. As they left Paris, an equipage with four horses, at full speed,
was seen to draw up suddenly; it contained Monte Cristo. The count left
the carriage and mingled in the crowd who followed on foot. Chateau-Renaud
perceived him and immediately alighting from his coupé,
count looked attentively through every opening in the crowd; he was
evidently watching for some one, but his search ended in disappointment.
"Where is Morrel?" he asked; "do either of these gentlemen
know where he is?"
have already asked that question," said Chateau-Renaud, "for
none of us has seen him." The count was silent, but continued to gaze
around him. At length they arrived at the cemetery. The piercing eye of
Monte Cristo glanced through clusters of bushes and trees, and was soon
relieved from all anxiety, for seeing a shadow glide between the
yew-trees, Monte Cristo recognized him whom he sought. One funeral is
generally very much like another in this magnificent metropolis. Black
figures are seen scattered over the long white avenues; the silence of
earth and heaven is alone broken by the noise made by the crackling
branches of hedges planted around the monuments; then follows the
melancholy chant of the priests, mingled now and then with a sob of
anguish, escaping from some woman concealed behind a mass of flowers.
shadow Monte Cristo had noticed passed rapidly behind the tomb of Abelard
and Hélo?se, placed itself close to the
heads of the horses belonging to the hearse, and following the
undertaker's men, arrived with them at the spot appointed for the burial.
Each person's attention was occupied. Monte Cristo saw nothing but the
shadow, which no one else observed. Twice the count left the ranks to see
whether the object of his interest had any concealed weapon beneath his
clothes. When the procession stopped, this shadow was recognized as Morrel,
who, with his coat buttoned up to his throat, his face livid, and
convulsively crushing his hat between his fingers, leaned against a tree,
situated on an elevation commanding the mausoleum, so that none of the
funeral details could escape his observation. Everything was conducted in
the usual manner. A few men, the least impressed of all by the scene,
pronounced a discourse, some deploring this premature death, others
expatiating on the grief of the father, and one very ingenious person
quoting the fact that Valentine had solicited pardon of her father for
criminals on whom the arm of justice was ready to fall--until at length
they exhausted their stores of metaphor and mournful speeches.
Cristo heard and saw nothing, or rather he only saw Morrel, whose calmness
had a frightful effect on those who knew what was passing in his heart.
"See," said Beauchamp, pointing out Morrel to Debray. "What
is he doing up there?" And they called Chateau-Renaud's attention to
pale he is!" said Chateau-Renaud, shuddering.
is cold," said Debray.
at all," said Chateau-Renaud, slowly; "I think he is violently
agitated. He is very susceptible."
said Debray; "he scarcely knew Mademoiselle de Villefort; you said so
Still I remember he danced three times with her at Madame de Morcerf's. Do
you recollect that ball, count, where you produced such an effect?"
I do not," replied Monte Cristo, without even knowing of what or to
whom he was speaking, so much was he occupied in watching Morrel, who was
holding his breath with emotion. "The discourse is over; farewell,
gentlemen," said the count. And he disappeared without anyone seeing
whither he went. The funeral being over, the guests returned to Paris.
Chateau-Renaud looked for a moment for Morrel; but while they were
watching the departure of the count, Morrel had quitted his post, and
Chateau-Renaud, failing in his search, joined Debray and Beauchamp.
Cristo concealed himself behind a large tomb and awaited the arrival of
Morrel, who by degrees approached the tomb now abandoned by spectators and
workmen. Morrel threw a glance around, but before it reached the spot
occupied by Monte Cristo the latter had advanced yet nearer, still
unperceived. The young man knelt down. The count, with outstretched neck
and glaring eyes, stood in an attitude ready to pounce upon Morrel upon
the first occasion. Morrel bent his head till it touched the stone, then
clutching the grating with both hands, he murmured,--"Oh,
Valentine!" The count's heart was pierced by the utterance of these
two words; he stepped forward, and touching the young man's shoulder,
said,--"I was looking for you, my friend." Monte Cristo expected
a burst of passion, but he was deceived, for Morrel turning round, said
see I was praying." The scrutinizing glance of the count searched the
young man from head to foot. He then seemed more easy.
I drive you back to Paris?" he asked.
you wish anything?"
me to pray." The count withdrew without opposition, but it was only
to place himself in a situation where he could watch every movement of
Morrel, who at length arose, brushed the dust from his knees, and turned
towards Paris, without once looking back. He walked slowly down the Rue de
la Roquette. The count, dismissing his carriage, followed him about a
hundred paces behind. Maximilian crossed the canal and entered the Rue
Meslay by the boulevards. Five minutes after the door had been closed on
Morrel's entrance, it was again opened for the count. Julie was at the
entrance of the garden, where she was attentively watching Penelon, who,
entering with zeal into his profession of gardener, was very busy grafting
some Bengal roses. "Ah, count," she exclaimed, with the delight
manifested by every member of the family whenever he visited the Rue
has just returned, has he not, madame?" asked the count.
I think I saw him pass; but pray, call Emmanuel."
me, madame, but I must go up to Maximilian's room this instant,"
replied Monte Cristo, "I have something of the greatest importance to
then," she said with a charming smile, which accompanied him until he
had disappeared. Monte Cristo soon ran up the staircase conducting from
the ground-floor to Maximilian's room; when he reached the landing he
listened attentively, but all was still. Like many old houses occupied by
a single family, the room door was panelled with glass; but it was locked,
Maximilian was shut in, and it was impossible to see what was passing in
the room, because a red curtain was drawn before the glass. The count's
anxiety was manifested by a bright color which seldom appeared on the face
of that imperturbable man.
shall I do!" he uttered, and reflected for a moment; "shall I
ring? No, the sound of a bell, announcing a visitor, will but accelerate
the resolution of one in Maximilian's situation, and then the bell would
be followed by a louder noise." Monte Cristo trembled from head to
foot and as if his determination had been taken with the rapidity of
lightning, he struck one of the panes of glass with his elbow; the glass
was shivered to atoms, then withdrawing the curtain he saw Morrel, who had
been writing at his desk, bound from his seat at the noise of the broken
beg a thousand pardons," said the count, "there is nothing the
matter, but I slipped down and broke one of your panes of glass with my
elbow. Since it is opened, I will take advantage of it to enter your room;
do not disturb yourself--do not disturb yourself!" And passing his
hand through the broken glass, the count opened the door. Morrel,
evidently discomposed, came to meet Monte Cristo less with the intention
of receiving him than to exclude his entry.
foi!" said Monte Cristo, rubbing his elbow, "it's all your
servant's fault; your stairs are so polished, it is like walking on
you hurt, sir?" coldly asked Morrel.
believe not. But what are you about there? You were writing."
fingers are stained with ink."
true, I was writing. I do sometimes, soldier though I am."
Cristo advanced into the room; Maximilian was obliged to let him pass, but
he followed him. "You were writing?" said Monte Cristo with a
have already had the honor of telling you I was," said Morrel.
count looked around him. "Your pistols are beside your desk,"
said Monte Cristo, pointing with his finger to the pistols on the table.
am on the point of starting on a journey," replied Morrel
friend," exclaimed Monte Cristo in a tone of exquisite sweetness.
friend, my dear Maximilian, do not make a hasty resolution, I entreat
make a hasty resolution?" said Morrel, shrugging his shoulders;
"is there anything extraordinary in a journey?"
said the count, "let us both lay aside the mask we have assumed. You
no more deceive me with that false calmness than I impose upon you with my
frivolous solicitude. You can understand, can you not, that to have acted
as I have done, to have broken that glass, to have intruded on the
solitude of a friend--you can understand that, to have done all this, I
must have been actuated by real uneasiness, or rather by a terrible
conviction. Morrel, you are going to destroy yourself!"
count," said Morrel, shuddering; "what has put this into your
tell you that you are about to destroy yourself," continued the
count, "and here is proof of what I say;" and, approaching the
desk, he removed the sheet of paper which Morrel had placed over the
letter he had begun, and took the latter in his hands.
rushed forward to tear it from him, but Monte Cristo perceiving his
intention, seized his wrist with his iron grasp. "You wish to destroy
yourself," said the count; "you have written it."
said Morrel, changing his expression of calmness for one of
violence--"well, and if I do intend to turn this pistol against
myself, who shall prevent me--who will dare prevent me? All my hopes are
blighted, my heart is broken, my life a burden, everything around me is
sad and mournful; earth has become distasteful to me, and human voices
distract me. It is a mercy to let me die, for if I live I shall lose my
reason and become mad. When, sir, I tell you all this with tears of
heartfelt anguish, can you reply that I am wrong, can you prevent my
putting an end to my miserable existence? Tell me, sir, could you have the
courage to do so?"
Morrel," said Monte Cristo, with a calmness which contrasted
strangely with the young man's excitement; "yes, I would do so."
exclaimed Morrel, with increasing anger and reproach--"you, who have
deceived me with false hopes, who have cheered and soothed me with vain
promises, when I might, if not have saved her, at least have seen her die
in my arms! You, who pretend to understand everything, even the hidden
sources of knowledge,--and who enact the part of a guardian angel upon
earth, and could not even find an antidote to a poison administered to a
young girl! Ah, sir, indeed you would inspire me with pity, were you not
hateful in my eyes."
you tell me to lay aside the mask, and I will do so, be satisfied! When
you spoke to me at the cemetery, I answered you--my heart was softened;
when you arrived here, I allowed you to enter. But since you abuse my
confidence, since you have devised a new torture after I thought I had
exhausted them all, then, Count of Monte Cristo my pretended
benefactor--then, Count of Monte Cristo, the universal guardian, be
satisfied, you shall witness the death of your friend;" and Morrel,
with a maniacal laugh, again rushed towards the pistols.
I again repeat, you shall not commit suicide."
me, then!" replied Morrel, with another struggle, which, like the
first, failed in releasing him from the count's iron grasp.
will prevent you."
who are you, then, that arrogate to yourself this tyrannical right over
free and rational beings?"
am I?" repeated Monte Cristo. "Listen; I am the only man in the
world having the right to say to you, 'Morrel, your father's son shall not
die to-day;'" and Monte Cristo, with an expression of majesty and
sublimity, advanced with arms folded toward the young man, who,
involuntarily overcome by the commanding manner of this man, recoiled a
do you mention my father?" stammered he; "why do you mingle a
recollection of him with the affairs of today?"
I am he who saved your father's life when he wished to destroy himself, as
you do to-day--because I am the man who sent the purse to your young
sister, and the Pharaon to old Morrel--because I am the Edmond Dantès who nursed you, a child, on my
knees." Morrel made another step back, staggering, breathless,
crushed; then all his strength give way, and he fell prostrate at the feet
of Monte Cristo. Then his admirable nature underwent a complete and sudden
revulsion; he arose, rushed out of the room and to the stairs, exclaiming
energetically, "Julie, Julie--Emmanuel, Emmanuel!"
Cristo endeavored also to leave, but Maximilian would have died rather
than relax his hold of the handle of the door, which he closed upon the
count. Julie, Emmanuel, and some of the servants, ran up in alarm on
hearing the cries of Maximilian. Morrel seized their hands, and opening
the door exclaimed in a voice choked with sobs, "On your knees--on
your knees--he is our benefactor--the saviour of our father! He is"--
would have added "Edmond Dantès,"
but the count seized his arm and prevented him. Julie threw herself into
the arms of the count; Emmanuel embraced him as a guardian angel; Morrel
again fell on his knees, and struck the ground with his forehead. Then the
iron-hearted man felt his heart swell in his breast; a flame seemed to
rush from his throat to his eyes, he bent his head and wept. For a while
nothing was heard in the room but a succession of sobs, while the incense
from their grateful hearts mounted to heaven. Julie had scarcely recovered
from her deep emotion when she rushed out of the room, descended to the
next floor, ran into the drawing-room with childlike joy and raised the
crystal globe which covered the purse given by the unknown of the Allées
de Meillan. Meanwhile, Emmanuel in a broken voice said to the count,
"Oh, count, how could you, hearing us so often speak of our unknown
benefactor, seeing us pay such homage of gratitude and adoration to his
memory,--how could you continue so long without discovering yourself to
us? Oh, it was cruel to us, and--dare I say it?--to you also."
my friends," said the count--"I may call you so since we have
really been friends for the last eleven years--the discovery of this
secret has been occasioned by a great event which you must never know. I
wish to bury it during my whole life in my own bosom, but your brother
Maximilian wrested it from me by a violence he repents of now, I am
sure." Then turning around, and seeing that Morrel, still on his
knees, had thrown himself into an arm-chair, be added in a low voice,
pressing Emmanuel's hand significantly, "Watch over him."
so?" asked the young man, surprised.
cannot explain myself; but watch over him." Emmanuel looked around
the room and caught sight of the pistols; his eyes rested on the weapons,
and he pointed to them. Monte Cristo bent his head. Emmanuel went towards
the pistols. "Leave them," said Monte Cristo. Then walking
towards Morrel, he took his hand; the tumultuous agitation of the young
man was succeeded by a profound stupor. Julie returned, holding the silken
purse in her hands, while tears of joy rolled down her cheeks, like
dewdrops on the rose.
is the relic," she said; "do not think it will be less dear to
us now we are acquainted with our benefactor!"
child," said Monte Cristo, coloring, "allow me to take back that
purse? Since you now know my face, I wish to be remembered alone through
the affection I hope you will grant me.
said Julie, pressing the purse to her heart, "no, no, I beseech you
do not take it, for some unhappy day you will leave us, will you
have guessed rightly, madame," replied Monte Cristo, smiling;
"in a week I shall have left this country, where so many persons who
merit the vengeance of heaven lived happily, while my father perished of
hunger and grief." While announcing his departure, the count fixed
his eyes on Morrel, and remarked that the words, "I shall have left
this country," had failed to rouse him from his lethargy. He then saw
that he must make another struggle against the grief of his friend, and
taking the hands of Emmanuel and Julie, which he pressed within his own,
he said with the mild authority of a father, "My kind friends, leave
me alone with Maximilian." Julie saw the means offered of carrying
off her precious relic, which Monte Cristo had forgotten. She drew her
husband to the door. "Let us leave them," she said. The count
was alone with Morrel, who remained motionless as a statue.
said Monte-Cristo, touching his shoulder with his finger, "are you a
man again, Maximilian?"
for I begin to suffer again."
count frowned, apparently in gloomy hesitation.
Maximilian," he said, "the ideas you yield to are unworthy of a
do not fear, my friend," said Morrel, raising his head, and smiling
with a sweet expression on the count; "I shall no longer attempt my
we are to have no more pistols--no more despair?"
I have found a better remedy for my grief than either a bullet or a
fellow, what is it?"
grief will kill me of itself."
friend," said Monte Cristo, with an expression of melancholy equal to
his own, "listen to me. One day, in a moment of despair like yours,
since it led to a similar resolution, I also wished to kill myself; one
day your father, equally desperate, wished to kill himself too. If any one
had said to your father, at the moment he raised the pistol to his
head--if any one had told me, when in my prison I pushed back the food I
had not tasted for three days--if anyone had said to either of us then,
'Live--the day will come when you will be happy, and will bless life!'--no
matter whose voice had spoken, we should have heard him with the smile of
doubt, or the anguish of incredulity,--and yet how many times has your
father blessed life while embracing you--how often have I myself" --
exclaimed Morrel, interrupting the count, "you had only lost your
liberty, my father had only lost his fortune, but I have lost
at me," said Monte Cristo, with that expression which sometimes made
him so eloquent and persuasive--"look at me. There are no tears in my
eyes, nor is there fever in my veins, yet I see you suffer--you,
Maximilian, whom I love as my own son. Well, does not this tell you that
in grief, as in life, there is always something to look forward to beyond?
Now, if I entreat, if I order you to live, Morrel, it is in the conviction
that one day you will thank me for having preserved your life."
heavens," said the young man, "oh, heavens--what are you saying,
count? Take care. But perhaps you have never loved!"
replied the count.
mean, as I love. You see, I have been a soldier ever since I attained
manhood. I reached the age of twenty-nine without loving, for none of the
feelings I before then experienced merit the apellation of love. Well, at
twenty-nine I saw Valentine; for two years I have loved her, for two years
I have seen written in her heart, as in a book, all the virtues of a
daughter and wife. Count, to possess Valentine would have been a happiness
too infinite, too ecstatic, too complete, too divine for this world, since
it has been denied me; but without Valentine the earth is desolate."
have told you to hope," said the count.
have a care, I repeat, for you seek to persuade me, and if you succeed I
should lose my reason, for I should hope that I could again behold
Valentine." The count smiled. "My friend, my father," said
Morrel with excitement, "have a care, I again repeat, for the power
you wield over me alarms me. Weigh your words before you speak, for my
eyes have already become brighter, and my heart beats strongly; be
cautious, or you will make me believe in supernatural agencies. I must
obey you, though you bade me call forth the dead or walk upon the
my friend," repeated the count.
said Morrel, falling from the height of excitement to the abyss of
despair--"ah, you are playing with me, like those good, or rather
selfish mothers who soothe their children with honeyed words, because
their screams annoy them. No, my friend, I was wrong to caution you; do
not fear, I will bury my grief so deep in my heart, I will disguise it so,
that you shall not even care to sympathize with me. Adieu, my friend,
the contrary," said the count, "after this time you must live
with me--you must not leave me, and in a week we shall have left France
you still bid me hope?"
tell you to hope, because I have a method of curing you."
you render me sadder than before, if it be possible. You think the result
of this blow has been to produce an ordinary grief, and you would cure it
by an ordinary remedy--change of scene." And Morrel dropped his head
with disdainful incredulity. "What can I say more?" asked Monte
Cristo. "I have confidence in the remedy I propose, and only ask you
to permit me to assure you of its efficacy."
you prolong my agony."
said the count, "your feeble spirit will not even grant me the trial
I request? Come--do you know of what the Count of Monte Cristo is capable?
do you know that he holds terrestrial beings under his control? nay, that
he can almost work a miracle? Well, wait for the miracle I hope to
take care, Morrel, lest I call you ungrateful."
pity on me, count!"
feel so much pity towards you, Maximilian, that--listen to me
attentively--if I do not cure you in a month, to the day, to the very
hour, mark my words, Morrel, I will place loaded pistols before you, and a
cup of the deadliest Italian poison--a poison more sure and prompt than
that which has killed Valentine."
you promise me?"
for I am a man, and have suffered like yourself, and also contemplated
suicide; indeed, often since misfortune has left me I have longed for the
delights of an eternal sleep."
you are sure you will promise me this?" said Morrel, intoxicated.
"I not only promise, but swear it!" said Monte Cristo extending
a month, then, on your honor, if I am not consoled, you will let me take
my life into my own hands, and whatever may happen you will not call me
a month, to the day, the very hour and the date are sacred, Maximilian. I
do not know whether you remember that this is the 5th of September; it is
ten years to-day since I saved your father's life, who wished to
die." Morrel seized the count's hand and kissed it; the count allowed
him to pay the homage he felt due to him. "In a month you will find
on the table, at which we shall be then sitting, good pistols and a
delicious draught; but, on the other hand, you must promise me not to
attempt your life before that time."
I also swear it!" Monte Cristo drew the young man towards him, and
pressed him for some time to his heart. "And now," he said,
"after to-day, you will come and live with me; you can occupy Haidée's apartment, and my daughter
will at least be replaced by my son."
"Haidée?" said Morrel, "what
has become of her?"
departed last night."
wait for me. Hold yourself ready then to join me at the Champs Elysées, and lead me out of this house
without any one seeing my departure." Maximilian hung his head, and
obeyed with childlike reverence.