Guide Works of Edmund Flagg

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I naturally imagined that no one could inhabit such a dwelling save some high official of the Greek Government, and, without making further inquiries, again secured the services of the fisherman, who took me to the neighboring Island of Kylo. There I was in safety, for I fell in with a band of stout-hearted men, of whom I eventually became the chief. We prospered exceedingly and imagined that our career could be continued with impunity as long as we might desire; in this, however, we were sadly mistaken, for one fatal night the Greek soldiery suddenly descended upon us and hemmed us in on every side ere we were aware of their presence.

We fought none the less desperately on that account, and in the sanguinary conflict all my companions were slain. I was grievously wounded and left for dead, but the following day managed to crawl to the beach and contrived to be conveyed hither, having learned by accident that the great lord of the Island of Salmis was no other than my old friend of happier days, the Count of Monte-Cristo, in short, yourself.

Now, you know my story. I am a fugitive here as in France, and need your aid to enable me to escape. I will give you a thousand francs, but not a sou more! Are you going to give me the money? Again I tell you to beware how you trifle with a desperate man! At the repetition of this phrase, as if it had been a preconcerted signal, a dozen stalwart figures started up from the darkness and surrounded Monte-Cristo, who instantly discharged his weapon right and left among them.

Several of the bandits fell, pierced by the balls, and Benedetto, with a loud oath, leaped at the Count's throat, brandishing a long, keen-bladed dagger above his head. Raising his empty revolver, Monte-Cristo with a hand of iron struck his on-coming assailant full in the face, stretching him instantly at his feet; but scarcely had he accomplished this when three of the bandits sprang upon him and hurled him to the earth beside Benedetto. As he was about to fire, there arose a tremendous shout, and, headed by Ali, who swung aloft a Turkish yataghan, the entire force of Monte-Cristo's servants, armed to the teeth, swept down upon the astonished bandits.

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At the same instant a pistol-shot rang out, and the man who had threatened to take the Count's life fell to the ground a corpse. The struggle that ensued was of short duration, for the bandits, finding themselves outnumbered, speedily fled to their boats, leaving their wounded comrades behind them.

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They came from the library and thither Monte-Cristo hurried, followed by his son. It was several moments longer before she could speak; then she exclaimed in a tremulous voice:. I know nothing further, for as he vanished I fell to the floor in a swoon.

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Monte-Cristo touched a bell and almost immediately Ali stood bowing before him, as calm and unmoved as though nothing unusual had occurred. The chief of the bandits, who is no other than the former Prince Cavalcanti, was here in our absence and must yet be hovering in the vicinity. See that he does not effect another entrance, as his purpose is robbery if not murder! Ali signified by his eloquent pantomime that he had already taken it upon himself to station the servants as his master directed, and that it would be utterly impossible for any one to approach the palace without being seen and seized.

As the faithful Nubian turned to retire, Monte-Cristo noticed that his right hand was bandaged as if wounded, and inquired whether he had been hurt in the conflict with the bandits. Ali explained that a dagger thrust had cut his palm, but that the wound had been properly cared for and would soon heal. You left the letter you received so strangely this morning lying upon your secretary. I opened it and hurriedly made myself acquainted with its contents, for I had a premonition that some terrible danger threatened you.

Had you committed even a much more serious fault than peeping into my correspondence, that would be more than sufficient to secure my full forgiveness. I knew papa was in danger, and, taking a pistol that I had seen Ali load this morning from the cabinet of fire-arms, I followed the servants, arriving at the almond grove just in time. But you have saved your father's life, my son, and I bless you for it! Zuleika had thrown herself upon the divan, and, utterly worn out by the excitement through which she had passed, was already wrapped in a deep slumber.

Benedetto had not been seen again, and a diligent search of the entire island, made by Ali and the servants, failed to reveal even the slightest trace [Pg 59] of him. He had evidently succeeded in finding some fisherman's skiff and in it had made his escape.

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This view of the case was confirmed a few hours later, when old Alexis came to the palace and informed Monte-Cristo that his smack had vanished during the night, having, in all probability, been carried off by thieves. Now, however, I thought I had better put you on your guard.

Alexis touched his cap, bowed and was about to withdraw when Monte-Cristo said to him, assuming a careless tone:. Under ordinary circumstances Monte-Cristo would not have been disturbed by the presence of bandits so near the Island of Salmis, but it became an altogether different thing when those bandits were led by Benedetto. A month passed, but in it nothing occurred calculated to break the tranquillity of the Count and his family. The bandits had not reappeared and Benedetto had given no sign of life. The faithful Ali no longer deemed it necessary to maintain his precautions against surprise, and the strict watch that had been kept up day and night ever since the [Pg 61] conflict in the almond grove was abandoned.

One night, while the Count was writing at a late hour in the library, he yielded to fatigue and fell asleep over his papers. His slumber was troubled with a strange and vivid dream. A man in the picturesque garb of a Greek peasant, and wearing a mask on his face, suddenly stood before him, with his arms folded upon his breast.

Monte-Cristo saw him distinctly, though unable to stir either hand or foot. The singular visitant surveyed the Count long and steadily. There was something vaguely familiar about him, but as to his identity the sleeper could form no idea. At last he slowly removed the mask, and recognition was instantaneous. The man was Danglars. He raised his right hand, and, pointing with his forefinger at the Count, said deliberately, with a hiss like some venomous serpent:. The light of the huge lamp, suspended from the ceiling, fell full upon Danglars' countenance; it was as bloodless as that of a corpse, and the eyes shone with a remorseless, vindictive glare. The banker continued in the same hissing tone, his words penetrating to the very marrow of the slumberer's bones:. By the most ingenious and fiendish combinations possible for a human being to contrive, you wrecked my fortune and with it my hopes.


You drove me ignominiously from Paris; in Rome you caused me to be starved and robbed by Luigi Vampa and his brigands; then with the malevolent magnanimity of an arch-demon you sent me forth into the world a fugitive and an outcast. You have had your vengeance; now you shall feel mine! Here in the Grecian Archipelago, on the Island of Salmis, I will torture you through your dearest affections, and grind you to dust beneath my heel!

As Danglars finished, his features changed and became those of Villefort, while his Greek peasant's garb was transformed into the sombre habiliments of the Procureur du Roi. Villefort's face wore the look of madness, but there was a freezing calmness in his voice as he said:.

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Through you I was dragged down from my high position, exposed, humiliated and deprived of reason. But although the mere wreck of my former self, I am not utterly powerless, as you shall learn to your cost. You raised up my infamous son, Benedetto, to be the instrument of my destruction. Now, he shall work yours, and avenge his unhappy father!

Look well to your fabulous riches, for they are threatened; look well to your stately and magnificent palace, for already the element that shall devour it is noiselessly and stealthily at work! Count of Monte-Cristo, farewell! A heart-rending shriek rang in the sleeper's ears, a mighty flash dazzled his eyes, and, with a grim smile upon his pallid countenance, Villefort vanished.

Monte-Cristo awoke with a quick start and passed his hand across his forehead, as if dazed; then he leaped to his feet and glanced breathlessly about him. He sprang into the spacious hall that was as light as day, and, as he did so, the figure of a man rushed by him—it was Benedetto, and in his hand he held a long knife dripping with blood. The Count turned and pursued him, snatching a dagger from a table as [Pg 64] he ran.

At the door leading to the lawn, he grasped him firmly by the shoulder and held him. Monte-Cristo struck at the assassin with his dagger, but Benedetto eluded the blow, and raising his own weapon inflicted a frightful gash upon the Count's cheek. A terrible struggle ensued. Monte-Cristo was possessed of wonderful strength and activity, but in both these respects the two desperate antagonists seemed fairly matched.

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Three times did the Count bury his dagger in Benedetto's body, but, though the assassin's blood gushed copiously from his wounds, he continued to fight with the utmost determination. At length the men grappled in a supreme, deadly effort, but Monte-Cristo, making a false step, slipped on the blood-spattered marble floor, and Benedetto, with the quickness of thought, hurling him backward, freed himself and bounding through the open doorway vanished in the darkness beyond.

The shrieks had now [Pg 65] grown fainter and the hall was full of smoke. During all this time neither Ali nor any of the servants under him had appeared, a circumstance that, to Monte-Cristo, seemed inexplicable. He, however, did not pause to give it thought, but dashed up the stairway and strove to reach his wife's apartment; blinding, stifling clouds of smoke, through which penetrated the glare of the conflagration, drove him back again and again, but he renewed his attempts to force a passage with undaunted energy and courage. There the smoke had increased in volume and density, but, summoning all his resolution and endurance to his aid, he plunged through it, and finally was successful in reaching the library.

Where were they and what had happened to them? The Count felt a cold perspiration break out upon his forehead, and a feeling of unspeakable dread took entire possession of him. At the top of his voice Monte-Cristo shouted for Ali, but no reply was returned. At last an answering shout came suddenly from the lawn, and old Alexis, followed by several fishermen, leaped into the library through an open window. To release the prisoners was but the work of a moment, and then it was learned that all the servants under Ali were confined in their dormitory.

They, as well as Monte-Cristo's children and the Nubian, had been suddenly seized by a party of rough-looking Greeks, evidently a portion of Benedetto's band. Seizing his children, he directed Ali and the fishermen to release the captive servants, and hastily returned to the library. Zuleika burst into tears. Be good children and obey your [Pg 68] father in all things.

They did as she desired; her lips were already purple and cold; the stamp of death was upon her features. Suddenly her frame was convulsed and her eyes assumed a glassy look. The death rattle was in her throat; she raised herself with a mighty effort, gazed lovingly at her husband and children, and strove to speak again, but could not; then a flickering shade of violet passed over her countenance, and she fell back dead. Save yourselves, [Pg 69] save yourselves! They were not an instant too soon, for as they quitted the library the tempest of fire burst into it, accompanied by torrents of smoke.

The fishermen and servants, commanded by the Nubian, had made every effort to save the doomed mansion, but in vain. The wife of Monte-Cristo was buried on the Island of Salmis, and over her remains her husband erected a massive monument. Beauchamp, the journalist, sat at his desk in his editorial sanctum early one bright morning in the autumn of He had gone to work long before his usual hour, for important movements were on foot, the political atmosphere was agitated and Paris was in a state of feverish excitement; besides, Beauchamp had that day printed in his journal a dispatch from Algeria that would be certain to cause a great sensation, and, with the proper spirit of pride, the journalist desired to be at his post that he might receive the numerous congratulations his friends could not fail to offer, as the dispatch had appeared in his paper alone.

The sanctum had not an attractive look; in fact, it was rather dilapidated, while, in addition, the disorder occasioned by the previous night's work had not been repaired, and all was chaos and confusion. Beauchamp was busily engaged in glancing over the rival morning papers when Lucien Debray entered and seated himself at another desk. The Ministerial Secretary smiled upon the journalist in a knowing way, and the latter, nodding to him with an air of triumph, silently pointed to the pile of [Pg 71] journals he had finished examining.

Lucien took them up, and without a word began scanning their contents.