At the same time that the steamer disappeared behind Cape
Morgion, a man travelling post on the road from Florence to
Rome had just passed the little town of Aquapendente. He was
travelling fast enough to cover a great deal of ground
without exciting suspicion. This man was dressed in a
greatcoat, or rather a surtout, a little worse for the
journey, but which exhibited the ribbon of the Legion of
Honor still fresh and brilliant, a decoration which also
ornamented the under coat. He might be recognized, not only
by these signs, but also from the accent with which he spoke
to the postilion, as a Frenchman. Another proof that he was
a native of the universal country was apparent in the fact
of his knowing no other Italian words than the terms used in
music, and which like the "goddam" of Figaro, served all
possible linguistic requirements. "Allegro!" he called out
to the postilions at every ascent. "Moderato!" he cried as
they descended. And heaven knows there are hills enough
between Rome and Florence by the way of Aquapendente! These
two words greatly amused the men to whom they were
addressed. On reaching La Storta, the point from whence Rome
is first visible, the traveller evinced none of the
enthusiastic curiosity which usually leads strangers to
stand up and endeavor to catch sight of the dome of St.
Peter's, which may be seen long before any other object is
distinguishable. No, he merely drew a pocketbook from his
pocket, and took from it a paper folded in four, and after
having examined it in a manner almost reverential, he said
-- "Good! I have it still!"
The carriage entered by the Porto del Popolo, turned to the
left, and stopped at the Hotel d'Espagne. Old Pastrini, our
former acquaintance, received the traveller at the door, hat
in hand. The traveller alighted, ordered a good dinner, and
inquired the address of the house of Thomson & French, which
was immediately given to him, as it was one of the most
celebrated in Rome. It was situated in the Via dei Banchi,
near St. Peter's. In Rome, as everywhere else, the arrival
of a post-chaise is an event. Ten young descendants of
Marius and the Gracchi, barefooted and out at elbows, with
one hand resting on the hip and the other gracefully curved
above the head, stared at the traveller, the post-chaise,
and the horses; to these were added about fifty little
vagabonds from the Papal States, who earned a pittance by
diving into the Tiber at high water from the bridge of St.
Angelo. Now, as these street Arabs of Rome, more fortunate
than those of Paris, understand every language, more
especially the French, they heard the traveller order an
apartment, a dinner, and finally inquire the way to the
house of Thomson & French. The result was that when the
new-comer left the hotel with the cicerone, a man detached
himself from the rest of the idlers, and without having been
seen by the traveller, and appearing to excite no attention
from the guide, followed the stranger with as much skill as
a Parisian police agent would have used.
The Frenchman had been so impatient to reach the house of
Thomson & French that he would not wait for the horses to be
harnessed, but left word for the carriage to overtake him on
the road, or to wait for him at the bankers' door. He
reached it before the carriage arrived. The Frenchman
entered, leaving in the anteroom his guide, who immediately
entered into conversation with two or three of the
industrious idlers who are always to be found in Rome at the
doors of banking-houses, churches, museums, or theatres.
With the Frenchman, the man who had followed him entered
too; the Frenchman knocked at the inner door, and entered
the first room; his shadow did the same.
"Messrs. Thomson & French?" inquired the stranger.
An attendant arose at a sign from a confidential clerk at
the first desk. "Whom shall I announce?" said the attendant.
"Follow me," said the man. A door opened, through which the
attendant and the baron disappeared. The man who had
followed Danglars sat down on a bench. The clerk continued
to write for the next five minutes; the man preserved
profound silence, and remained perfectly motionless. Then
the pen of the clerk ceased to move over the paper; he
raised his head, and appearing to be perfectly sure of
privacy, -- "Ah, ha," he said, "here you are, Peppino!"
"Yes," was the laconic reply. "You have found out that there
is something worth having about this large gentleman?"
"There is no great merit due to me, for we were informed of
"You know his business here, then."
"Pardieu, he has come to draw, but I don't know how much!"
"You will know presently, my friend."
"Very well, only do not give me false information as you did
the other day."
"What do you mean? -- of whom do you speak? Was it the
Englishman who carried off 3,000 crowns from here the other
"No; he really had 3,000 crowns, and we found them. I mean
the Russian prince, who you said had 30,000 livres, and we
only found 22,000."
"You must have searched badly."
"Luigi Vampa himself searched."
"Indeed? But you must let me make my observations, or the
Frenchman will transact his business without my knowing the
sum." Peppino nodded, and taking a rosary from his pocket
began to mutter a few prayers while the clerk disappeared
through the same door by which Danglars and the attendant
had gone out. At the expiration of ten minutes the clerk
returned with a beaming countenance. "Well?" asked Peppino
of his friend.
"Joy, joy -- the sum is large!"
"Five or six millions, is it not?"
"Yes, you know the amount."
"On the receipt of the Count of Monte Cristo?"
"Why, how came you to be so well acquainted with all this?"
"I told you we were informed beforehand."
"Then why do you apply to me?"
"That I may be sure I have the right man."
"Yes, it is indeed he. Five millions -- a pretty sum, eh,
"Hush -- here is our man!" The clerk seized his pen, and
Peppino his beads; one was writing and the other praying
when the door opened. Danglars looked radiant with joy; the
banker accompanied him to the door. Peppino followed
According to the arrangements, the carriage was waiting at
the door. The guide held the door open. Guides are useful
people, who will turn their hands to anything. Danglars
leaped into the carriage like a young man of twenty. The
cicerone reclosed the door, and sprang up by the side of the
coachman. Peppino mounted the seat behind.
"Will your excellency visit St. Peter's?" asked the
"I did not come to Rome to see," said Danglars aloud; then
he added softly, with an avaricious smile, "I came to
touch!" and he rapped his pocket-book, in which he had just
placed a letter.
"Then your excellency is going" --
"To the hotel."
"Casa Pastrini!" said the cicerone to the coachman, and the
carriage drove rapidly on. Ten minutes afterwards the baron
entered his apartment, and Peppino stationed himself on the
bench outside the door of the hotel, after having whispered
something in the ear of one of the descendants of Marius and
the Gracchi whom we noticed at the beginning of the chapter,
who immediately ran down the road leading to the Capitol at
his fullest speed. Danglars was tired and sleepy; he
therefore went to bed, placing his pocketbook under his
pillow. Peppino had a little spare time, so he had a game of
mora with the facchini, lost three crowns, and then to
console himself drank a bottle of Orvieto.
The next morning Danglars awoke late, though he went to bed
so early; he had not slept well for five or six nights, even
if he had slept at all. He breakfasted heartily, and caring
little, as he said, for the beauties of the Eternal City,
ordered post-horses at noon. But Danglars had not reckoned
upon the formalities of the police and the idleness of the
posting-master. The horses only arrived at two o'clock, and
the cicerone did not bring the passport till three. All
these preparations had collected a number of idlers round
the door of Signor Pastrini's; the descendants of Marius and
the Gracchi were also not wanting. The baron walked
triumphantly through the crowd, who for the sake of gain
styled him "your excellency." As Danglars had hitherto
contented himself with being called a baron, he felt rather
flattered at the title of excellency, and distributed a
dozen silver coins among the beggars, who were ready, for
twelve more, to call him "your highness."
"Which road?" asked the postilion in Italian. "The Ancona
road," replied the baron. Signor Pastrini interpreted the
question and answer, and the horses galloped off. Danglars
intended travelling to Venice, where he would receive one
part of his fortune, and then proceeding to Vienna, where he
would find the rest, he meant to take up his residence in
the latter town, which he had been told was a city of
He had scarcely advanced three leagues out of Rome when
daylight began to disappear. Danglars had not intended
starting so late, or he would have remained; he put his head
out and asked the postilion how long it would be before they
reached the next town. "Non capisco" (do not understand),
was the reply. Danglars bent his head, which he meant to
imply, "Very well." The carriage again moved on. "I will
stop at the first posting-house," said Danglars to himself.
He still felt the same self-satisfaction which he had
experienced the previous evening, and which had procured him
so good a night's rest. He was luxuriously stretched in a
good English calash, with double springs; he was drawn by
four good horses, at full gallop; he knew the relay to be at
a distance of seven leagues. What subject of meditation
could present itself to the banker, so fortunately become
Danglars thought for ten minutes about his wife in Paris;
another ten minutes about his daughter travelling with
Mademoiselle d'Armilly; the same period was given to his
creditors, and the manner in which he intended spending
their money; and then, having no subject left for
contemplation, he shut his eyes, and fell asleep. Now and
then a jolt more violent than the rest caused him to open
his eyes; then he felt that he was still being carried with
great rapidity over the same country, thickly strewn with
broken aqueducts, which looked like granite giants petrified
while running a race. But the night was cold, dull, and
rainy, and it was much more pleasant for a traveller to
remain in the warm carriage than to put his head out of the
window to make inquiries of a postilion whose only answer
was "Non capisco."
Danglars therefore continued to sleep, saying to himself
that he would be sure to awake at the posting-house. The
carriage stopped. Danglars fancied that they had reached the
long-desired point; he opened his eyes and looked through
the window, expecting to find himself in the midst of some
town, or at least village; but he saw nothing except what
seemed like a ruin, where three or four men went and came
like shadows. Danglars waited a moment, expecting the
postilion to come and demand payment with the termination of
his stage. He intended taking advantage of the opportunity
to make fresh inquiries of the new conductor; but the horses
were unharnessed, and others put in their places, without
any one claiming money from the traveller. Danglars,
astonished, opened the door; but a strong hand pushed him
back, and the carriage rolled on. The baron was completely
roused. "Eh?" he said to the postilion, "eh, mio caro?"
This was another little piece of Italian the baron had
learned from hearing his daughter sing Italian duets with
Cavalcanti. But mio caro did not reply. Danglars then opened
"Come, my friend," he said, thrusting his hand through the
opening, "where are we going?"
"Dentro la testa!" answered a solemn and imperious voice,
accompanied by a menacing gesture. Danglars thought dentro
la testa meant, "Put in your head!" He was making rapid
progress in Italian. He obeyed, not without some uneasiness,
which, momentarily increasing, caused his mind, instead of
being as unoccupied as it was when he began his journey, to
fill with ideas which were very likely to keep a traveller
awake, more especially one in such a situation as Danglars.
His eyes acquired that quality which in the first moment of
strong emotion enables them to see distinctly, and which
afterwards fails from being too much taxed. Before we are
alarmed, we see correctly; when we are alarmed, we see
double; and when we have been alarmed, we see nothing but
trouble. Danglars observed a man in a cloak galloping at the
right hand of the carriage.
"Some gendarme!" he exclaimed. "Can I have been intercepted
by French telegrams to the pontifical authorities?" He
resolved to end his anxiety. "Where are you taking me?" he
asked. "Dentro la testa," replied the same voice, with the
same menacing accent.
Danglars turned to the left; another man on horseback was
galloping on that side. "Decidedly," said Danglars, with the
perspiration on his forehead, "I must be under arrest." And
he threw himself back in the calash, not this time to sleep,
but to think. Directly afterwards the moon rose. He then saw
the great aqueducts, those stone phantoms which he had
before remarked, only then they were on the right hand, now
they were on the left. He understood that they had described
a circle, and were bringing him back to Rome. "Oh,
unfortunate!" he cried, "they must have obtained my arrest."
The carriage continued to roll on with frightful speed. An
hour of terror elapsed, for every spot they passed showed
that they were on the road back. At length he saw a dark
mass, against which it seemed as if the carriage was about
to dash; but the vehicle turned to one side, leaving the
barrier behind and Danglars saw that it was one of the
ramparts encircling Rome.
"Mon dieu!" cried Danglars, "we are not returning to Rome;
then it is not justice which is pursuing me! Gracious
heavens; another idea presents itself -- what if they should
His hair stood on end. He remembered those interesting
stories, so little believed in Paris, respecting Roman
bandits; he remembered the adventures that Albert de Morcerf
had related when it was intended that he should marry
Mademoiselle Eugenie. "They are robbers, perhaps," he
muttered. Just then the carriage rolled on something harder
than gravel road. Danglars hazarded a look on both sides of
the road, and perceived monuments of a singular form, and
his mind now recalled all the details Morcerf had related,
and comparing them with his own situation, he felt sure that
he must be on the Appian Way. On the left, in a sort of
valley, he perceived a circular excavation. It was
Caracalla's circus. On a word from the man who rode at the
side of the carriage, it stopped. At the same time the door
was opened. "Scendi!" exclaimed a commanding voice. Danglars
instantly descended; although he did not yet speak Italian,
he understood it very well. More dead than alive, he looked
around him. Four men surrounded him, besides the postilion.
"Di qua," said one of the men, descending a little path
leading out of the Appian Way. Danglars followed his guide
without opposition, and had no occasion to turn around to
see whether the three others were following him. Still it
appeared as though they were stationed at equal distances
from one another, like sentinels. After walking for about
ten minutes, during which Danglars did not exchange a single
word with his guide, he found himself between a hillock and
a clump of high weeds; three men, standing silent, formed a
triangle, of which he was the centre. He wished to speak,
but his tongue refused to move. "Avanti!" said the same
sharp and imperative voice.
This time Danglars had double reason to understand, for if
the word and gesture had not explained the speaker's
meaning, it was clearly expressed by the man walking behind
him, who pushed him so rudely that he struck against the
guide. This guide was our friend Peppino, who dashed into
the thicket of high weeds, through a path which none but
lizards or polecats could have imagined to be an open road.
Peppino stopped before a pit overhung by thick hedges; the
pit, half open, afforded a passage to the young man, who
disappeared like the evil spirits in the fairy tales. The
voice and gesture of the man who followed Danglars ordered
him to do the same. There was no longer any doubt, the
bankrupt was in the hands of Roman banditti. Danglars
acquitted himself like a man placed between two dangerous
positions, and who is rendered brave by fear.
Notwithstanding his large stomach, certainly not intended to
penetrate the fissures of the Campagna, he slid down like
Peppino, and closing his eyes fell upon his feet. As he
touched the ground, he opened his eyes. The path was wide,
but dark. Peppino, who cared little for being recognized now
that he was in his own territories, struck a light and lit a
torch. Two other men descended after Danglars forming the
rearguard, and pushing Danglars whenever he happened to
stop, they came by a gentle declivity to the intersection of
two corridors. The walls were hollowed out in sepulchres,
one above the other, and which seemed in contrast with the
white stones to open their large dark eyes, like those which
we see on the faces of the dead. A sentinel struck the rings
of his carbine against his left hand. "Who comes there?" he
"A friend, a friend!" said Peppino; "but where is the
"There," said the sentinel, pointing over his shoulder to a
spacious crypt, hollowed out of the rock, the lights from
which shone into the passage through the large arched
openings. "Fine spoil, captain, fine spoil!" said Peppino in
Italian, and taking Danglars by the collar of his coat he
dragged him to an opening resembling a door, through which
they entered the apartment which the captain appeared to
have made his dwelling-place.
"Is this the man?" asked the captain, who was attentively
reading Plutarch's "Life of Alexander."
"Himself, captain -- himself."
"Very well, show him to me." At this rather impertinent
order, Peppino raised his torch to the face of Danglars, who
hastily withdrew that he might not have his eyelashes burnt.
His agitated features presented the appearance of pale and
hideous terror. "The man is tired," said the captain,
"conduct him to his bed."
"Oh," murmured Danglars," that bed is probably one of the
coffins hollowed in the wall, and the sleep I shall enjoy
will be death from one of the poniards I see glistening in
From their beds of dried leaves or wolf-skins at the back of
the chamber now arose the companions of the man who had been
found by Albert de Morcerf reading "Caesar's Commentaries,"
and by Danglars studying the "Life of Alexander." The banker
uttered a groan and followed his guide; he neither
supplicated nor exclaimed. He no longer possessed strength,
will, power, or feeling; he followed where they led him. At
length he found himself at the foot of a staircase, and he
mechanically lifted his foot five or six times. Then a low
door was opened before him, and bending his head to avoid
striking his forehead he entered a small room cut out of the
rock. The cell was clean, though empty, and dry, though
situated at an immeasurable distance under the earth. A bed
of dried grass covered with goat-skins was placed in one
corner. Danglars brightened up on beholding it, fancying
that it gave some promise of safety. "Oh, God be praised,"
he said; "it is a real bed!"
"Ecco!" said the guide, and pushing Danglars into the cell,
he closed the door upon him. A bolt grated and Danglars was
a prisoner. If there had been no bolt, it would have been
impossible for him to pass through the midst of the garrison
who held the catacombs of St. Sebastian, encamped round a
master whom our readers must have recognized as the famous
Luigi Vampa. Danglars, too, had recognized the bandit, whose
existence he would not believe when Albert de Morcerf
mentioned him in Paris; and not only did he recognize him,
but the cell in which Albert had been confined, and which
was probably kept for the accommodation of strangers. These
recollections were dwelt upon with some pleasure by
Danglars, and restored him to some degree of tranquillity.
Since the bandits had not despatched him at once, he felt
that they would not kill him at all. They had arrested him
for the purpose of robbery, and as he had only a few louis
about him, he doubted not he would be ransomed. He
remembered that Morcerf had been taxed at 4,000 crowns, and
as he considered himself of much greater importance than
Morcerf he fixed his own price at 8,000 crowns. Eight
thousand crowns amounted to 48,000 livres; he would then
have about 5,050,000 francs left. With this sum he could
manage to keep out of difficulties. Therefore, tolerably
secure in being able to extricate himself from his position,
provided he were not rated at the unreasonable sum of
5,050,000 francs, he stretched himself on his bed, and after
turning over two or three times, fell asleep with the
tranquillity of the hero whose life Luigi Vampa was