It will be recollected that the new, or rather old,
acquaintances of the Count of Monte Cristo, residing in the
Rue Meslay, were no other than Maximilian, Julie, and
Emmanuel. The very anticipations of delight to be enjoyed in
his forthcoming visits -- the bright, pure gleam of heavenly
happiness it diffused over the almost deadly warfare in
which he had voluntarily engaged, illumined his whole
countenance with a look of ineffable joy and calmness, as,
immediately after Villefort's departure, his thoughts flew
back to the cheering prospect before him, of tasting, at
least, a brief respite from the fierce and stormy passions
of his mind. Even Ali, who had hastened to obey the Count's
summons, went forth from his master's presence in charmed
amazement at the unusual animation and pleasure depicted on
features ordinarily so stern and cold; while, as though
dreading to put to flight the agreeable ideas hovering over
his patron's meditations, whatever they were, the faithful
Nubian walked on tiptoe towards the door, holding his
breath, lest its faintest sound should dissipate his
master's happy reverie.
It was noon, and Monte Cristo had set apart one hour to be
passed in the apartments of Haidee, as though his oppressed
spirit could not all at once admit the feeling of pure and
unmixed joy, but required a gradual succession of calm and
gentle emotions to prepare his mind to receive full and
perfect happiness, in the same manner as ordinary natures
demand to be inured by degrees to the reception of strong or
violent sensations. The young Greek, as we have already
said, occupied apartments wholly unconnected with those of
the count. The rooms had been fitted up in strict accordance
with Oriental ideas; the floors were covered with the
richest carpets Turkey could produce; the walls hung with
brocaded silk of the most magnificent designs and texture;
while around each chamber luxurious divans were placed, with
piles of soft and yielding cushions, that needed only to be
arranged at the pleasure or convenience of such as sought
repose. Haidee and three French maids, and one who was a
Greek. The first three remained constantly in a small
waiting-room, ready to obey the summons of a small golden
bell, or to receive the orders of the Romaic slave, who knew
just enough French to be able to transmit her mistress's
wishes to the three other waiting-women; the latter had
received most peremptory instructions from Monte Cristo to
treat Haidee with all the deference they would observe to a
The young girl herself generally passed her time in the
chamber at the farther end of her apartments. This was a
sort of boudoir, circular, and lighted only from the roof,
which consisted of rose-colored glass. Haidee was reclining
upon soft downy cushions, covered with blue satin spotted
with silver; her head, supported by one of her exquisitely
moulded arms, rested on the divan immediately behind her,
while the other was employed in adjusting to her lips the
coral tube of a rich narghile, through whose flexible pipe
she drew the smoke fragrant by its passage through perfumed
water. Her attitude, though perfectly natural for an Eastern
woman would, in a European, have been deemed too full of
coquettish straining after effect. Her dress, which was that
of the women of Epirus, consisted of a pair of white satin
trousers, embroidered with pink roses, displaying feet so
exquisitely formed and so delicately fair, that they might
well have been taken for Parian marble, had not the eye been
undeceived by their movements as they constantly shifted in
and out of a pair of little slippers with upturned toes,
beautifully ornamented with gold and pearls. She wore a blue
and white-striped vest, with long open sleeves, trimmed with
silver loops and buttons of pearls, and a sort of bodice,
which, closing only from the centre to the waist, exhibited
the whole of the ivory throat and upper part of the bosom;
it was fastened with three magnificent diamond clasps. The
junction of the bodice and drawers was entirely concealed by
one of the many-colored scarfs, whose brilliant hues and
rich silken fringe have rendered them so precious in the
eyes of Parisian belles. Tilted on one side of her head she
had a small cap of gold-colored silk, embroidered with
pearls; while on the other a purple rose mingled its glowing
colors with the luxuriant masses of her hair, of which the
blackness was so intense that it was tinged with blue. The
extreme beauty of the countenance, that shone forth in
loveliness that mocked the vain attempts of dress to augment
it, was peculiarly and purely Grecian; there were the large,
dark, melting eyes, the finely formed nose, the coral lips,
and pearly teeth, that belonged to her race and country.
And, to complete the whole, Haidee was in the very
springtide and fulness of youthful charms -- she had not yet
numbered more than twenty summers.
Monte Cristo summoned the Greek attendant, and bade her
inquire whether it would be agreeable to her mistress to
receive his visit. Haidee's only reply was to direct her
servant by a sign to withdraw the tapestried curtain that
hung before the door of her boudoir, the framework of the
opening thus made serving as a sort of border to the
graceful tableau presented by the young girl's picturesque
attitude and appearance. As Monte Cristo approached, she
leaned upon the elbow of the arm that held the narghile, and
extending to him her other hand, said, with a smile of
captivating sweetness, in the sonorous language spoken by
the women of Athens and Sparta, "Why demand permission ere
you enter? Are you no longer my master, or have I ceased to
be your slave?" Monte Cristo returned her smile. "Haidee,"
said he, "you well know."
"Why do you address me so coldly -- so distantly?" asked the
young Greek. "Have I by any means displeased you? Oh, if so,
punish me as you will; but do not -- do not speak to me in
tones and manner so formal and constrained."
"Haidee," replied the count, "you know that you are now in
France, and are free."
"Free to do what?" asked the young girl.
"Free to leave me."
"Leave you? Why should I leave you?"
"That is not for me to say; but we are now about to mix in
society -- to visit and be visited."
"I don't wish to see anybody but you."
"And should you see one whom you could prefer, I would not
be so unjust" --
"I have never seen any one I preferred to you, and I have
never loved any one but you and my father."
"My poor child," replied Monte Cristo, "that is merely
because your father and myself are the only men who have
ever talked to you."
"I don't want anybody else to talk to me. My father said I
was his `joy' -- you style me your `love,' -- and both of
you have called me `my child.'"
"Do you remember your father, Haidee?" The young Greek
smiled. "He is here, and here," said she, touching her eyes
and her heart. "And where am I?" inquired Monte Cristo
"You?" cried she, with tones of thrilling tenderness, "you
are everywhere!" Monte Cristo took the delicate hand of the
young girl in his, and was about to raise it to his lips,
when the simple child of nature hastily withdrew it, and
presented her cheek. "You now understand, Haidee," said the
count, "that from this moment you are absolutely free; that
here you exercise unlimited sway, and are at liberty to lay
aside or continue the costume of your country, as it may
suit your inclination. Within this mansion you are absolute
mistress of your actions, and may go abroad or remain in
your apartments as may seem most agreeable to you. A
carriage waits your orders, and Ali and Myrtho will
accompany you whithersoever you desire to go. There is but
one favor I would entreat of you."
"Guard carefully the secret of your birth. Make no allusion
to the past; nor upon any occasion be induced to pronounce
the names of your illustrious father or ill-fated mother."
"I have already told you, my lord, that I shall see no one."
"It is possible, Haidee, that so perfect a seclusion, though
conformable with the habits and customs of the East, may not
be practicable in Paris. Endeavor, then, to accustom
yourself to our manner of living in these northern climes as
you did to those of Rome, Florence, Milan, and Madrid; it
may be useful to you one of these days, whether you remain
here or return to the East." The young girl raised her
tearful eyes towards Monte Cristo as she said with touching
earnestness, "Whether we return to the East, you mean to
say, my lord, do you not?"
"My child," returned Monte Cristo "you know full well that
whenever we part, it will be no fault or wish of mine; the
tree forsakes not the flower -- the flower falls from the
"My lord," replied Haidee, "I never will leave you, for I am
sure I could not exist without you."
"My poor girl, in ten years I shall be old, and you will be
"My father had a long white beard, but I loved him; he was
sixty years old, but to me he was handsomer than all the
fine youths I saw."
"Then tell me, Haidee, do you believe you shall be able to
accustom yourself to our present mode of life?"
"Shall I see you?"
"Then what do you fear, my lord?"
"You might find it dull."
"No, my lord. In the morning, I shall rejoice in the
prospect of your coming, and in the evening dwell with
delight on the happiness I have enjoyed in your presence;
then too, when alone, I can call forth mighty pictures of
the past, see vast horizons bounded only by the towering
mountains of Pindus and Olympus. Oh, believe me, that when
three great passions, such as sorrow, love, and gratitude
fill the heart, ennui can find no place."
"You are a worthy daughter of Epirus, Haidee, and your
charming and poetical ideas prove well your descent from
that race of goddesses who claim your country as their
birthplace. Depend on my care to see that your youth is not
blighted, or suffered to pass away in ungenial solitude; and
of this be well assured, that if you love me as a father, I
love you as a child."
"You are wrong, my lord. The love I have for you is very
different from the love I had for my father. My father died,
but I did not die. If you were to die, I should die too."
The Count, with a smile of profound tenderness, extended his
hand, and she carried it to her lips. Monte Cristo, thus
attuned to the interview he proposed to hold with Morrel and
his family, departed, murmuring as he went these lines of
Pindar, "Youth is a flower of which love is the fruit; happy
is he who, after having watched its silent growth, is
permitted to gather and call it his own." The carriage was
prepared according to orders, and stepping lightly into it,
the count drove off at his usual rapid pace.