Scarcely 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?'"
"To what do you allude?" asked Monte Cristo.
"To the installation of my rival at M. Danglars'."
"Ma foi, what rival? Why, your protege, M. Andrea
"Ah, no joking, viscount, if you please; I do not patronize
M. Andrea -- at least, not as concerns M. Danglars."
"And 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 with it."
"What, do you think he is paying his addresses?"
"I 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
"What does that signify, so long as they favor your suit?"
"But it is not the case, my dear count: on the contrary. I
am repulsed on all sides."
"It is so indeed; Mademoiselle Eugenie scarcely answers me,
and Mademoiselle d'Armilly, her confidant, does not speak to
me at all."
"But the father has the greatest regard possible for you,"
said Monte Cristo.
"He? 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 deadly."
"Jealousy indicates affection."
"True; but I am not jealous."
"Of whom? -- of Debray?"
"No, of you."
"Of me? I will engage to say that before a week is past the
door will be closed against me."
"You are mistaken, my dear viscount."
"Prove it to me."
"Do you wish me to do so?"
"Well, I am charged with the commission of endeavoring to
induce the Comte de Morcerf to make some definite
arrangement with the baron."
"By whom are you charged?"
"By the baron himself."
"Oh," said Albert with all the cajolery of which he was
capable. "You surely will not do that, my dear count?"
"Certainly I shall, Albert, as I have promised to do it."
"Well," said Albert, with a sigh, "it seems you are
determined to marry me."
"I 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
"There has been a misunderstanding."
"What, with the baroness?"
"No, with the baron."
"Has he perceived anything?"
"Ah, that is a good joke!"
"Do you think he suspects?" said Monte Cristo with charming
"Where have you come from, my dear count?" said Albert.
"From Congo, if you will."
"It must be farther off than even that."
"But what do I know of your Parisian husbands?"
"Oh, 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."
"But then, what can have led to the quarrel between Danglars
and Debray? They seemed to understand each other so well,"
said Monte Cristo with renewed energy.
"Ah, 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 in."
"Certainly I will."
"My carriage shall take you back."
"No, thank you; I gave orders for my coupe to follow me."
"There 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 if they guessed what you
wanted by your manner of ringing, and made a point of
keeping everything you can possibly desire in constant
"What you say is perhaps true; they know my habits. For
instance, you shall see; how do you wish to occupy yourself
"Ma foi, I should like to smoke."
Monte 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.
"Oh 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."
"Certainly 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.
"Ma foi, my dear viscount, you are fated to hear music this
evening; you have only escaped from Mademoiselle Danglars'
piano, to be attacked by Haidee's guzla."
"Haidee -- what an adorable name! Are there, then, really
women who bear the name of Haidee anywhere but in Byron's
"Certainly there are. Haidee 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 it."
"Oh, 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-Eugenie, had been named Mademoiselle
Chastity-Modesty-Innocence Danglars; what a fine effect that
would have produced on the announcement of her marriage!"
"Hush," said the count, "do not joke in so loud a tone;
Haidee may hear you, perhaps."
"And you think she would be angry?"
"No, certainly not," said the count with a haughty
"She is very amiable, then, is she not?" said Albert.
"It is not to be called amiability, it is her duty; a slave
does not dictate to a master."
"Come; you are joking yourself now. Are there any more
slaves to be had who bear this beautiful name?"
"Really, 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."
"A 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."
"She must be a princess then."
"You are right; and she is one of the greatest in her
"I thought so. But how did it happen that such a great
princess became a slave?"
"How 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
"And is her name a secret?"
"As 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 so?"
"Certainly; on my word of honor."
"You know the history of the pasha of Yanina, do you not?"
"Of Ali Tepelini?* Oh, yes; it was in his service that my
father made his fortune."
"True, 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.
"Well, what is Haidee to Ali Tepelini?"
"Merely his daughter."
"What? the daughter of Ali Pasha?"
"Of Ali Pasha and the beautiful Vasiliki."
"And your slave?"
"Ma foi, yes."
"But how did she become so?"
"Why, simply from the circumstance of my having bought her
one day, as I was passing through the market at
"Wonderful! 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" --
"But, since you go out with Haidee, and sometimes even take
her to the opera" --
"I think I may venture to ask you this favor."
"You may venture to ask me anything."
"Well then, my dear count, present me to your princess."
"I will do so; but on two conditions."
"I accept them at once."
"The first is, that you will never tell any one that I have
granted the interview."
"Very well," said Albert, extending his hand; "I swear I
"The second is, that you will not tell her that your father
ever served hers."
"I give you my oath that I will not."
"Enough, 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 Haidee," 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."
"Agreed." 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.
Albert 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. Haidee
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.
Albert 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.
"Whom do you bring?" asked the young girl in Romaic, of
Monte Cristo; "is it a friend, a brother, a simple
acquaintance, or an enemy."
"A friend," said Monte Cristo in the same language.
"What is his name?"
"Count Albert; it is the same man whom I rescued from the
hands of the banditti at Rome."
"In what language would you like me to converse with him?"
Monte Cristo turned to Albert. "Do you know modern Greek,"
"Alas, no," said Albert; "nor even ancient Greek, my dear
count; never had Homer or Plato a more unworthy scholar than
"Then," said Haidee, 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."
Monte 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 Haidee 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 Haidee 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; "Haidee 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."
Ali left the room. The cups of coffee were all prepared,
with the addition of sugar, which had been brought for
Albert. Monte Cristo and Haidee took the beverage in the
original Arabian manner, that is to say, without sugar.
Haidee 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 forget."
"I speak sufficient Italian to enable me to converse with
you, sir," said Haidee quietly; "and if you like what is
Eastern, I will do my best to secure the gratification of
your tastes while you are here."
"On what subject shall I converse with her?" said Albert, in
a low tone to Monte Cristo.
"Just 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 Florence."
"Oh," 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."
"Do so then, for of all themes which you could choose that
will be the most agreeable to her taste." Albert turned
towards Haidee. "At what age did you leave Greece, signora?"
"I left it when I was but five years old," replied Haidee.
"And have you any recollection of your country?"
"When 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 forgets."
"And how far back into the past do your recollections
"I 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 prisoners."
"And how old were you at that time?"
"I was three years old," said Haidee.
"Then you remember everything that went on about you from
the time when you were three years old?" said Albert.
"Count," 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 Haidee, 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." Haidee sighed deeply, and a shade of sadness
clouded her beautiful brow.
"What are you saying to her?" said Morcerf in an undertone.
"I again reminded her that you were a friend, and that she
need not conceal anything from you."
"Then," said Albert, "this pious pilgrimage in behalf of the
prisoners was your first remembrance; what is the next?"
"Oh, 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,'
"It 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?"
"I think it is a fine country," said Haidee, "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
"So 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?"
Haidee turned her eyes towards Monte Cristo, who, making at
the same time some imperceptible sign, murmured, -- "Go on."
"Nothing 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 sadness."
"Speak, speak, signora," said Albert, "I am listening with
the most intense delight and interest to all you say."
Haidee answered his remark with a melancholy smile. "You
wish me, then, to relate the history of my past sorrows?"
"I 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.
"I 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.
"Behind 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 Haidee, 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
"`Quick!' 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 Haidee, raising her head, "was that
illustrious man known in Europe under the name of Ali
Tepelini, pasha of Yanina, and before whom Turkey trembled."
Albert, 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 Haidee 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
Haidee, "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.
"From 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.
"`Silence, 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, `They hate me; then
they fear me!' It 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 service" --
Here Haidee 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 long service" --
"Had 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
"And 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.
* A Turkish pasha in command of the troops of a province. --
"It 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.
"Near 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
"One 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.'
"My 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
Haidee.' -- `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.
"As 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
Albert 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 Haidee, 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 pity.
"Go on," said the count in the Romaic language.
Haidee 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. Haidee's learned
reference is to the behavior of an actor in the Dionysian
festivals. -- Ed.
"My 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 Selim tranquilly.
"Suddenly 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."
"And 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 silent.
"I do not recollect it," said Haidee.
"The 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
And for the second time Haidee 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."
Haidee 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 Selim.
"Oh, 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.
"`It 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.'
"My 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.
"My 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."
Haidee'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
"It is a frightful story, count," said Albert, terrified at
the paleness of Haidee's countenance, "and I reproach myself
now for having been so cruel and thoughtless in my request."
"Oh, it is nothing," said Monte Cristo. Then, patting the
young girl on the head, he continued, "Haidee is very
courageous, and she sometimes even finds consolation in the
recital of her misfortunes."
"Because, my lord," said Haidee eagerly, "my miseries recall
to me the remembrance of your goodness."
Albert 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. Haidee 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.
"`To whom, then?' -- `To your new master.'
"`Who and where is he?' -- `He is here.'
"And Koorshid pointed out one who had more than any
contributed to the death of my father," said Haidee, in a
tone of chastened anger. "Then," said Albert, "you became
the property of this man?"
"No," replied Haidee, "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
"`This is the head of Ali Tepelini Pasha of Yanina.' I 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."
"Of 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
"Oh, you are good, you are great, my lord!" said Haidee,
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