The Count of Monte Cristo vol 2
Alexandre Dumas
13:04 h
Level 8
The Count of Monte Cristo (French: Le Comte de Monte-Cristo) is an adventure novel written by French author Alexandre Dumas (père) completed in 1844. It is one of the author's more popular works, along with The Three Musketeers. On the day in 1815 when Napoleon escapes the Island of Elba, Edmond Dantès brings the ship Pharaon into dock at Marseille. His captain, Leclère, died on the passage; the ship's owner, Morrel, will make Dantès the next captain. On his deathbed, Leclère charged Dantès to deliver a package to General Bertrand (exiled with Napoleon), and a letter from Elba to an unknown man in Paris. Dantès' colleague Danglars is jealous of Dantès' rapid promotion and, as the two men are at odds, fearful for his own employment should Dantès ascend. On the eve of Dantès' wedding to his Catalan fiancée Mercédès, Danglars meets at a cabaret with Fernand Mondego, Mercédès' cousin and a rival for her affections, and the two hatch a plot to anonymously denounce Dantès, accusing him of being a Bonapartist traitor. Danglars and Mondego set a trap for Dantès.

The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas [père]

In Five Volumes
Volume Two

Monte-Cristo visits Albert de Morcerf.

Sindbad the sailor entertaining Franzd’Épinay

Chapter 28. The Prison Register

The day after that in which the scene we have just described had taken place on the road between Bellegarde and Beaucaire, a man of about thirty or two-and-thirty, dressed in a bright blue frock coat, nankeen trousers, and a white waistcoat, having the appearance and accent of an Englishman, presented himself before the mayor of Marseilles.

“Sir,” said he, “I am chief clerk of the house of Thomson & French, of Rome. We are, and have been these ten years, connected with the house of Morrel & Son, of Marseilles. We have a hundred thousand francs or thereabouts loaned on their securities, and we are a little uneasy at reports that have reached us that the firm is on the brink of ruin. I have come, therefore, express from Rome, to ask you for information.”

“Sir,” replied the mayor. “I know very well that during the last four or five years misfortune has seemed to pursue M. Morrel. He has lost four or five vessels, and suffered by three or four bankruptcies; but it is not for me, although I am a creditor myself to the amount of ten thousand francs, to give any information as to the state of his finances. Ask of me, as mayor, what is my opinion of M. Morrel, and I shall say that he is a man honorable to the last degree, and who has up to this time fulfilled every engagement with scrupulous punctuality. This is all I can say, sir; if you wish to learn more, address yourself to M. de Boville, the inspector of prisons, No. 15, Rue de Nouailles; he has, I believe, two hundred thousand francs in Morrel’s hands, and if there be any grounds for apprehension, as this is a greater amount than mine, you will most probably find him better informed than myself.”

The Englishman seemed to appreciate this extreme delicacy, made his bow and went away, proceeding with a characteristic British stride towards the street mentioned.

M. de Boville was in his private room, and the Englishman, on perceiving him, made a gesture of surprise, which seemed to indicate that it was not the first time he had been in his presence. As to M. de Boville, he was in such a state of despair, that it was evident all the faculties of his mind, absorbed in the thought which occupied him at the moment, did not allow either his memory or his imagination to stray to the past.

The Englishman, with the coolness of his nation, addressed him in terms nearly similar to those with which he had accosted the mayor of Marseilles.

“Oh, sir,” exclaimed M. de Boville, “your fears are unfortunately but too well founded, and you see before you a man in despair. I had two hundred thousand francs placed in the hands of Morrel & Son; these two hundred thousand francs were the dowry of my daughter, who was to be married in a fortnight, and these two hundred thousand francs were payable, half on the 15th of this month, and the other half on the 15th of next month. I had informed M. Morrel of my desire to have these payments punctually, and he has been here within the last half-hour to tell me that if his ship, the Pharaon, did not come into port on the 15th, he would be wholly unable to make this payment.”

“But,” said the Englishman, “this looks very much like a suspension of payment.”

“It looks more like bankruptcy!” exclaimed M. de Boville despairingly.

The Englishman appeared to reflect a moment, and then said, “From which it would appear, sir, that this credit inspires you with considerable apprehension?”

“To tell you the truth, I consider it lost.”

“Well, then, I will buy it of you!”