Morrel was, in fact, very happy. M. Noirtier had just sent
for him, and he was in such haste to know the reason of his
doing so that he had not stopped to take a cab, placing
infinitely more dependence on his own two legs than on the
four legs of a cab-horse. He had therefore set off at a
furious rate from the Rue Meslay, and was hastening with
rapid strides in the direction of the Faubourg Saint-Honore.
Morrel advanced with a firm, manly tread, and poor Barrois
followed him as he best might. Morrel was only thirty-one,
Barrois was sixty years of age; Morrel was deeply in love,
and Barrois was dying with heat and exertion. These two men,
thus opposed in age and interests, resembled two parts of a
triangle, presenting the extremes of separation, yet
nevertheless possessing their point of union. This point of
union was Noirtier, and it was he who had just sent for
Morrel, with the request that the latter would lose no time
in coming to him -- a command which Morrel obeyed to the
letter, to the great discomfiture of Barrois. On arriving at
the house, Morrel was not even out of breath, for love lends
wings to our desires; but Barrois, who had long forgotten
what it was to love, was sorely fatigued by the expedition
he had been constrained to use.
The old servant introduced Morrel by a private entrance,
closed the door of the study, and soon the rustling of a
dress announced the arrival of Valentine. She looked
marvellously beautiful in her deep mourning dress, and
Morrel experienced such intense delight in gazing upon her
that he felt as if he could almost have dispensed with the
conversation of her grandfather. But the easy-chair of the
old man was heard rolling along the floor, and he soon made
his appearance in the room. Noirtier acknowledged by a look
of extreme kindness and benevolence the thanks which Morrel
lavished on him for his timely intervention on behalf of
Valentine and himself -- an intervention which had saved
them from despair. Morrel then cast on the invalid an
interrogative look as to the new favor which he designed to
bestow on him. Valentine was sitting at a little distance
from them, timidly awaiting the moment when she should be
obliged to speak. Noirtier fixed his eyes on her. "Am I to
say what you told me?" asked Valentine. Noirtier made a sign
that she was to do so.
"Monsieur Morrel," said Valentine to the young man, who was
regarding her with the most intense interest, "my
grandfather, M. Noirtier, had a thousand things to say,
which he told me three days ago; and now, he has sent for
you, that I may repeat them to you. I will repeat them,
then; and since he has chosen me as his interpreter, I will
be faithful to the trust, and will not alter a word of his
"Oh, I am listening with the greatest impatience," replied
the young man; "speak, I beg of you." Valentine cast down
her eyes; this was a good omen for Morrel, for he knew that
nothing but happiness could have the power of thus
overcoming Valentine. "My grandfather intends leaving this
house," said she, "and Barrois is looking out suitable
apartments for him in another."
"But you, Mademoiselle de Villefort, -- you, who are
necessary to M. Noirtier's happiness" --
"I?" interrupted Valentine; "I shall not leave my
grandfather, -- that is an understood thing between us. My
apartment will be close to his. Now, M. de Villefort must
either give his consent to this plan or his refusal; in the
first case, I shall leave directly, and in the second, I
shall wait till I am of age, which will be in about ten
months. Then I shall be free, I shall have an independent
fortune, and" --
"And what?" demanded Morrel.
"And with my grandfather's consent I shall fulfil the
promise which I have made you." Valentine pronounced these
last few words in such a low tone, that nothing but Morrel's
intense interest in what she was saying could have enabled
him to hear them. "Have I not explained your wishes,
grandpapa?" said Valentine, addressing Noirtier. "Yes,"
looked the old man. -- "Once under my grandfather's roof, M.
Morrel can visit me in the presence of my good and worthy
protector, if we still feel that the union we contemplated
will be likely to insure our future comfort and happiness;
in that case I shall expect M. Morrel to come and claim me
at my own hands. But, alas, I have heard it said that hearts
inflamed by obstacles to their desire grew cold in time of
security; I trust we shall never find it so in our
"Oh," cried Morrel, almost tempted to throw himself on his
knees before Noirtier and Valentine, and to adore them as
two superior beings, "what have I ever done in my life to
merit such unbounded happiness?"
"Until that time," continued the young girl in a calm and
self-possessed tone of voice, "we will conform to
circumstances, and be guided by the wishes of our friends,
so long as those wishes do not tend finally to separate us;
in a word, and I repeat it, because it expresses all I wish
to convey, -- we will wait."
"And I swear to make all the sacrifices which this word
imposes, sir," said Morrel, "not only with resignation, but
"Therefore," continued Valentine, looking playfully at
Maximilian, "no more inconsiderate actions -- no more rash
projects; for you surely would not wish to compromise one
who from this day regards herself as destined, honorably and
happily, to bear your name?"
Morrel looked obedience to her commands. Noirtier regarded
the lovers with a look of ineffable tenderness, while
Barrois, who had remained in the room in the character of a
man privileged to know everything that passed, smiled on the
youthful couple as he wiped the perspiration from his bald
forehead. "How hot you look, my good Barrois," said
"Ah, I have been running very fast, mademoiselle, but I must
do M. Morrel the justice to say that he ran still faster."
Noirtier directed their attention to a waiter, on which was
placed a decanter containing lemonade and a glass. The
decanter was nearly full, with the exception of a little,
which had been already drunk by M. Noirtier.
"Come, Barrois," said the young girl, "take some of this
lemonade; I see you are coveting a good draught of it."
"The fact is, mademoiselle," said Barrois, "I am dying with
thirst, and since you are so kind as to offer it me, I
cannot say I should at all object to drinking your health in
a glass of it."
"Take some, then, and come back immediately." Barrois took
away the waiter, and hardly was he outside the door, which
in his haste he forgot to shut, than they saw him throw back
his head and empty to the very dregs the glass which
Valentine had filled. Valentine and Morrel were exchanging
their adieux in the presence of Noirtier when a ring was
heard at the door-bell. It was the signal of a visit.
Valentine looked at her watch.
"It is past noon," said she, "and to-day is Saturday; I dare
say it is the doctor, grandpapa." Noirtier looked his
conviction that she was right in her supposition. "He will
come in here, and M. Morrel had better go, -- do you not
think so, grandpapa?"
"Yes," signed the old man.
"Barrois," cried Valentine, "Barrois!"
"I am coming, mademoiselle," replied he. "Barrois will open
the door for you," said Valentine, addressing Morrel. "And
now remember one thing, Monsieur Officer, that my
grandfather commands you not to take any rash or ill-advised
step which would be likely to compromise our happiness."
"I promised him to wait," replied Morrel; "and I will wait."
At this moment Barrois entered. "Who rang?" asked Valentine.
"Doctor d'Avrigny," said Barrois, staggering as if he would
"What is the matter, Barrois?" said Valentine. The old man
did not answer, but looked at his master with wild staring
eyes, while with his cramped hand he grasped a piece of
furniture to enable him to stand upright. "He is going to
fall!" cried Morrel. The rigors which had attacked Barrois
gradually increased, the features of the face became quite
altered, and the convulsive movement of the muscles appeared
to indicate the approach of a most serious nervous disorder.
Noirtier, seeing Barrois in this pitiable condition, showed
by his looks all the various emotions of sorrow and sympathy
which can animate the heart of man. Barrois made some steps
towards his master.
"Ah, sir," said he, "tell me what is the matter with me. I
am suffering -- I cannot see. A thousand fiery darts are
piercing my brain. Ah, don't touch me, pray don't." By this
time his haggard eyes had the appearance of being ready to
start from their sockets; his head fell back, and the lower
extremities of the body began to stiffen. Valentine uttered
a cry of horror; Morrel took her in his arms, as if to
defend her from some unknown danger. "M. d'Avrigny, M.
d'Avrigny," cried she, in a stifled voice. "Help, help!"
Barrois turned round and with a great effort stumbled a few
steps, then fell at the feet of Noirtier, and resting his
hand on the knee of the invalid, exclaimed, "My master, my
good master!" At this moment M. de Villefort, attracted by
the noise, appeared on the threshold. Morrel relaxed his
hold of Valentine, and retreating to a distant corner of the
room remained half hidden behind a curtain. Pale as if he
had been gazing on a serpent, he fixed his terrified eye on
the agonized sufferer.
Noirtier, burning with impatience and terror, was in despair
at his utter inability to help his old domestic, whom he
regarded more in the light of a friend than a servant. One
might by the fearful swelling of the veins of his forehead
and the contraction of the muscles round the eye, trace the
terrible conflict which was going on between the living
energetic mind and the inanimate and helpless body. Barrois,
his features convulsed, his eyes suffused with blood, and
his head thrown back, was lying at full length, beating the
floor with his hands, while his legs had become so stiff,
that they looked as if they would break rather than bend. A
slight appearance of foam was visible around the mouth, and
he breathed painfully, and with extreme difficulty.
Villefort seemed stupefied with astonishment, and remained
gazing intently on the scene before him without uttering a
word. He had not seen Morrel. After a moment of dumb
contemplation, during which his face became pale and his
hair seemed to stand on end, he sprang towards the door,
crying out, "Doctor, doctor! come instantly, pray come!"
"Madame, madame!" cried Valentine, calling her step-mother,
and running up-stairs to meet her; "come quick, quick! --
and bring your bottle of smelling-salts with you."
"What is the matter?" said Madame de Villefort in a harsh
and constrained tone.
"Oh, come, come!"
"But where is the doctor?" exclaimed Villefort; "where is
he?" Madame de Villefort now deliberately descended the
staircase. In one hand she held her handkerchief, with which
she appeared to be wiping her face, and in the other a
bottle of English smelling-salts. Her first look on entering
the room was at Noirtier, whose face, independent of the
emotion which such a scene could not fail of producing,
proclaimed him to be in possession of his usual health; her
second glance was at the dying man. She turned pale, and her
eye passed quickly from the servant and rested on the
"In the name of heaven, madame," said Villefort, "where is
the doctor? He was with you just now. You see this is a fit
of apoplexy, and he might be saved if he could but be bled!"
"Has he eaten anything lately?" asked Madame de Villefort,
eluding her husband's question. "Madame," replied Valentine,
"he has not even breakfasted. He has been running very fast
on an errand with which my grandfather charged him, and when
he returned, took nothing but a glass of lemonade."
"Ah," said Madame de Villefort, "why did he not take wine?
Lemonade was a very bad thing for him."
"Grandpapa's bottle of lemonade was standing just by his
side; poor Barrois was very thirsty, and was thankful to
drink anything he could find." Madame de Villefort started.
Noirtier looked at her with a glance of the most profound
scrutiny. "He has such a short neck," said she. "Madame,"
said Villefort, "I ask where is M. d'Avrigny? In God's name
"He is with Edward, who is not quite well," replied Madame
de Villefort, no longer being able to avoid answering.
Villefort rushed up-stairs to fetch him. "Take this," said
Madame de Villefort, giving her smelling-bottle to
Valentine. "They will, no doubt, bleed him; therefore I will
retire, for I cannot endure the sight of blood;" and she
followed her husband up-stairs. Morrel now emerged from his
hiding-place, where he had remained quite unperceived, so
great had been the general confusion. "Go away as quick as
you can, Maximilian," said Valentine, "and stay till I send
for you. Go."
Morrel looked towards Noirtier for permission to retire. The
old man, who had preserved all his usual coolness, made a
sign to him to do so. The young man pressed Valentine's hand
to his lips, and then left the house by a back staircase. At
the same moment that he quitted the room, Villefort and the
doctor entered by an opposite door. Barrois was now showing
signs of returning consciousness. The crisis seemed past, a
low moaning was heard, and he raised himself on one knee.
D'Avrigny and Villefort laid him on a couch. "What do you
prescribe, doctor?" demanded Villefort. "Give me some water
and ether. You have some in the house, have you not?"
"Send for some oil of turpentine and tartar emetic."
Villefort immediately despatched a messenger. "And now let
every one retire."
"Must I go too?" asked Valentine timidly.
"Yes, mademoiselle, you especially," replied the doctor
Valentine looked at M. d'Avrigny with astonishment, kissed
her grandfather on the forehead, and left the room. The
doctor closed the door after her with a gloomy air. "Look,
look, doctor," said Villefort, "he is quite coming round
again; I really do not think, after all, it is anything of
consequence." M. d'Avrigny answered by a melancholy smile.
"How do you feel, Barrois?" asked he. "A little better,
"Will you drink some of this ether and water?"
"I will try; but don't touch me."
"Because I feel that if you were only to touch me with the
tip of your finger the fit would return."
Barrois took the glass, and, raising it to his purple lips,
took about half of the liquid offered him. "Where do you
suffer?" asked the doctor.
"Everywhere. I feel cramps over my whole body."
"Do you find any dazzling sensation before the eyes?"
"Any noise in the ears?"
"When did you first feel that?"
"Yes, like a clap of thunder."
"Did you feel nothing of it yesterday or the day before?"
"What have you eaten to-day?"
"I have eaten nothing; I only drank a glass of my master's
lemonade -- that's all;" and Barrois turned towards
Noirtier, who, immovably fixed in his arm-chair, was
contemplating this terrible scene without allowing a word or
a movement to escape him.
"Where is this lemonade?" asked the doctor eagerly.
"Down-stairs in the decanter."
"In the kitchen."
"Shall I go and fetch it, doctor?" inquired Villefort.
"No, stay here and try to make Barrois drink the rest of
this glass of ether and water. I will go myself and fetch
the lemonade." D'Avrigny bounded towards the door, flew down
the back staircase, and almost knocked down Madame de
Villefort, in his haste, who was herself going down to the
kitchen. She cried out, but d'Avrigny paid no attention to
her; possessed with but one idea, he cleared the last four
steps with a bound, and rushed into the kitchen, where he
saw the decanter about three parts empty still standing on
the waiter, where it had been left. He darted upon it as an
eagle would seize upon its prey. Panting with loss of
breath, he returned to the room he had just left. Madame de
Villefort was slowly ascending the steps which led to her
room. "Is this the decanter you spoke of?" asked d'Avrigny.
"Is this the same lemonade of which you partook?"
"I believe so."
"What did it taste like?"
"It had a bitter taste."
The doctor poured some drops of the lemonade into the palm
of his hand, put his lips to it, and after having rinsed his
mouth as a man does when he is tasting wine, he spat the
liquor into the fireplace.
"It is no doubt the same," said he. "Did you drink some too,
"And did you also discover a bitter taste?"
"Oh, doctor," cried Barrois, "the fit is coming on again.
Oh, do something for me." The doctor flew to his patient.
"That emetic, Villefort -- see if it is coming." Villefort
sprang into the passage, exclaiming, "The emetic! the
emetic! -- is it come yet?" No one answered. The most
profound terror reigned throughout the house. "If I had
anything by means of which I could inflate the lungs," said
d'Avrigny, looking around him, "perhaps I might prevent
suffocation. But there is nothing which would do --
nothing!" "Oh, sir," cried Barrois, "are you going to let me
die without help? Oh, I am dying! Oh, save me!"
"A pen, a pen!" said the doctor. There was one lying on the
table; he endeavored to introduce it into the mouth of the
patient, who, in the midst of his convulsions, was making
vain attempts to vomit; but the jaws were so clinched that
the pen could not pass them. This second attack was much
more violent than the first, and he had slipped from the
couch to the ground, where he was writhing in agony. The
doctor left him in this paroxysm, knowing that he could do
nothing to alleviate it, and, going up to Noirtier, said
abruptly, "How do you find yourself? -- well?"
"Have you any weight on the chest; or does your stomach feel
light and comfortable -- eh?"
"Then you feel pretty much as you generally do after you
have had the dose which I am accustomed to give you every
"Did Barrois make your lemonade?"
"Was it you who asked him to drink some of it?"
"Was it M. de Villefort?"
"It was your granddaughter, then, was it not?"
"Yes." A groan from Barrois, accompanied by a yawn which
seemed to crack the very jawbones, attracted the attention
of M. d'Avrigny; he left M. Noirtier, and returned to the
sick man. "Barrois," said the doctor, "can you speak?"
Barrois muttered a few unintelligible words. "Try and make
an effort to do so, my good man." said d'Avrigny. Barrois
reopened his bloodshot eyes. "Who made the lemonade?"
"Did you bring it to your master directly it was made?"
"You left it somewhere, then, in the meantime?"
"Yes; I left it in the pantry, because I was called away."
"Who brought it into this room, then?"
"Mademoiselle Valentine." D'Avrigny struck his forehead with
his hand. "Gracious heaven," exclaimed he. "Doctor, doctor!"
cried Barrois, who felt another fit coming.
"Will they never bring that emetic?" asked the doctor.
"Here is a glass with one already prepared," said Villefort,
entering the room.
"Who prepared it?"
"The chemist who came here with me."
"Drink it," said the doctor to Barrois. "Impossible, doctor;
it is too late; my throat is closing up. I am choking! Oh,
my heart! Ah, my head! -- Oh, what agony! -- Shall I suffer
like this long?"
"No, no, friend," replied the doctor, "you will soon cease
"Ah, I understand you," said the unhappy man. "My God, have
mercy upon me!" and, uttering a fearful cry, Barrois fell
back as if he had been struck by lightning. D'Avrigny put
his hand to his heart, and placed a glass before his lips.
"Well?" said Villefort. "Go to the kitchen and get me some
syrup of violets." Villefort went immediately. "Do not be
alarmed, M. Noirtier," said d'Avrigny; "I am going to take
my patient into the next room to bleed him; this sort of
attack is very frightful to witness."
And taking Barrois under the arms, he dragged him into an
adjoining room; but almost immediately he returned to fetch
the lemonade. Noirtier closed lids right eye. "You want
Valentine, do you not? I will tell them to send her to you."
Villefort returned, and d'Avrigny met him in the passage.
"Well, how is he now?" asked he. "Come in here," said
d'Avrigny, and he took him into the chamber where the sick
man lay. "Is he still in a fit?" said the procureur.
"He is dead."
Villefort drew back a few steps, and, clasping his hands,
exclaimed, with real amazement and sympathy, "Dead? -- and
so soon too!"
"Yes, it is very soon," said the doctor, looking at the
corpse before him; "but that ought not to astonish you;
Monsieur and Madame de Saint-Meran died as soon. People die
very suddenly in your house, M. de Villefort."
"What?" cried the magistrate, with an accent of horror and
consternation, "are you still harping on that terrible
"Still, sir; and I shall always do so," replied d'Avrigny,
"for it has never for one instant ceased to retain
possession of my mind; and that you may be quite sure I am
not mistaken this time, listen well to what I am going to
say, M. de Villefort." The magistrate trembled convulsively.
"There is a poison which destroys life almost without
leaving any perceptible traces. I know it well; I have
studied it in all its forms and in the effects which it
produces. I recognized the presence of this poison in the
case of poor Barrois as well as in that of Madame de
Saint-Meran. There is a way of detecting its presence. It
restores the blue color of litmus-paper reddened by an acid,
and it turns syrup of violets green. We have no
litmus-paper, but, see, here they come with the syrup of
The doctor was right; steps were heard in the passage. M.
d'Avrigny opened the door, and took from the hands of the
chambermaid a cup which contained two or three spoonfuls of
the syrup, he then carefully closed the door. "Look," said
he to the procureur, whose heart beat so loudly that it
might almost be heard, "here is in this cup some syrup of
violets, and this decanter contains the remainder of the
lemonade of which M. Noirtier and Barrois partook. If the
lemonade be pure and inoffensive, the syrup will retain its
color; if, on the contrary, the lemonade be drugged with
poison, the syrup will become green. Look closely!"
The doctor then slowly poured some drops of the lemonade
from the decanter into the cup, and in an instant a light
cloudy sediment began to form at the bottom of the cup; this
sediment first took a blue shade, then from the color of
sapphire it passed to that of opal, and from opal to
emerald. Arrived at this last hue, it changed no more. The
result of the experiment left no doubt whatever on the mind.
"The unfortunate Barrois has been poisoned," said d'Avrigny,
"and I will maintain this assertion before God and man."
Villefort said nothing, but he clasped his hands, opened his
haggard eyes, and, overcome with his emotion, sank into a