' Last time it only lasted half an hour,' answered he,
' and when it was over I could raise myself. Now my
right arm and leg are paralysed and helpless, and my
head is confused. The third time my whole body will
194 THE PRISONER OF THE CHATEAU D'lF
be paralysed and I shall die immediately. You have
done all you can ; now escape.'
But Dantes would not go. He wished even to
carry out the plan they had made, and drag the Abbe
with him through the tunnel, and swim with him on his
back w r hen they reached the sea. The old man smiled
and his heart warmed at the words, but he knew it
was all impossible, and bade Dantes fill up the hole at
the further end without delay, lest the sentinel should
fall through and all be discovered.
As soon as the gaoler had paid his morning visit
Dantes hastened back to the old man's cell. He found
him looking better, and holding in his hand the breviary
which he had drawn the previous day from under the
' Do you see this paper ? ' he said, holding out two
fragments yellow with age.
Yes, I see ; what of it ? ' asked Dantes.
' It is my legacy to you. Learn it by heart, for you
must destroy it. It is over three hundred years old, and
tells where the great Spada treasure is buried in the
desert island of Monte Cristo. If we had escaped I
would have taken you there myself. Now you must go
alone. The Spada family are all dead. You can accept
it with a clear conscience.'
Dantes read the paper and studied it carefully to
please his friend, but he thought much less of the
treasure than of whether the Abbe would ever be well
enough to share his flight.
One night, a short time after he had fallen asleep,
Dantes \vas awakened by a cry. He opened his eyes
and listened and the sound was repeated. Instantly
he bounded out of bed and crawled through the tunnel
to the Abbe's cell, where by the dim light of a little
lamp the old man had made he perceived Faria bent
double with the same horrible symptoms as before.
THE PRISONER OF THE CHATEAU D'lF !'.):>
' It is the end,' he managed to utter between his
'No, no ! ' cried Edmond ; ' I saved you before and
I will save you again.'
' It is useless,' replied the Abbe, * and this time it
will be quick. In twenty minutes I shall be a dead
man. Not even that liquid can revive me now.'
But Edmond would not listen, and when the Abbe
lay stark and stiff before him, he thrust all that remained
of the liquid into his mouth. In vain he waited for
some trembling of the eyelids such as he had seen
before. Nothing came.
At last he was convinced, and putting out the lamp
and replacing the stone, he crept back to his cell, just
as the gaoler's steps were heard along the passage.
Then, hastening through the tunnel, he crouched down,
so as to hear what happened when the turnkey discovered
that death had delivered his prisoner.
The man's shouts speedily brought other gaolers to
the cell, and then one went off to bring the governor and
another to fetch the doctor.
' Poor fellow ! ' said the governor, stooping over him,
' he was quite harmless, but he always fancied he had
some secret about a treasure. Well, he shall have a
new sack for a coffin, and this evening we will bury him.'
' At what hour ? ' asked the gaoler.
' Between ten and eleven will be best.'
4 And is someone to watch in the cell during the
day ? ' said the man.
' No. Why ? Lock the door as if he were alive.
That will be enough.'
All that day Dantes remained crouched on his bed,
once more possessed by despair. After the close com-
panionship of the last months, he was alone again, and
for ever ! How could he bear it ? ' If I could only
die,' he thought, as he had thought before he had known
196 THE PRISONER OF THE CHATEAU D'lF
the Abbe, and he began to consider the different ways in
which he might kill himself. ' I shall never leave my
cell till, like Faria, I do so in a sack,' he murmured half
aloud, and as he said the words he started to his feet
and cold drops broke out on his forehead. ' Is that the
way ? ' he whispered, with a frightened face. ' Well,
since only the dead leave here, I must take the place of
one.' And without giving himself time to think about
it, he quickly crawled through the passage to the cell
of the Abbe. Then, still in a desperate hurry lest his
courage should fail him, he leaned over the bed on which
lay the sack with the stiff burden outlined beneath it,
and cutting open the mouth, drew out the body.
Trembling all over, he placed it on his shoulders and
made his way along the tunnel. When he reached his
own cell he was almost exhausted and nearly fell on the
bed. With a great effort he stretched out the corpse,
turned the face to the wall, and tied round the head the
strip of bright handkerchief which he himself, like many
sailors, was in the habit of wearing, and stooping from
the entrance to the passage, pulled the bed in front of the
hole and returned to the vacant cell. Here he raised
the stone, and drew from its hiding-place the rough
needle and thread which the Abbe had made, and thrust
under the stone the few rags that were all that remained
of his clothes. Then he slipped into the sack, and,
sewing up the hole, lay flat and stiff, as a dead man. with
the knife beside him. But it was fortunate that nobody
came in at that moment or they might have heard his
Hours passed before he was disturbed, and he had
plenty of time to make plans and to unmake them again.
If he was buried in a cemetery he determined to allow
the earth to be thrown over him his grave was not
likely to be very deep, he knew and as it would be
quite dark, he could shake it off as soon as the grave-
diggers had departed. Of course, there was just the
THE PRISONER OF THE CHATEAU ////' i'.7
chance that the men who were carrying him might
discover the trick, but in that case he would cut open
the sack with his knife and escape while. they were still
paralysed with terror. In any case, he .was resolved
not to be taken alive.
The first danger was the risk that the gaoler when
he brought in Dantes' supper at seven o'clock might
perceive that the figure on the bed was both shorter and
thinner than his prisoner. But luckily the man had
many times found Dantes lying in his bed, too miserable
or too sulky to speak, and had then just put his supper
on the table and had gone away without a word. And
this is what happened now, and as the hours went by
Dantes began to breathe freely again. So far he was
Ten o'clock passed, and steps were heard along the
corridor. Dantes knew what they meant. The two
grave-diggers entered to carry off the corpse, and a third
stood at the door bearing a torch. Stiffening his limbs
with an effort of will and holding his breath till he felt
as if he should burst, he waited, while the men took hold
of his head and feet.
' He is pretty heavy for such a thin old man,' said
' They say we are half a pound heavier each year of
our lives ; perhaps that is the reason,' answered the
other, and the sack was lifted on to a hand-barrow and
carried down the corridor.
The rush of the fresh air, felt for the first time
after fourteen years, nearly made Dantes betray him-
self, and when the barrow was placed on the ground,
and one of the bearers departed, he wondered whether
the moment of escape had not come. Happily he
decided to wait, for in an instant the man was back
' Hold the torch lower,' he grumbled. ' How can I
198 THE PRISONER OF THE CHATEAU D'lF
see to tie this knot ? ' and Edmond felt a cord wound
round his ankles and a hard knot tied.
' That is all right,' said the man ; ' now let us go on,'
and on they went for a little distance till they heard the
waves lapping against the walls of the castle.
' A dirty night,' remarked the other bearer. ' I
should not care to be at sea myself.'
* No,' answered the first, * the Abbe runs a chance of
getting \vet,' and they both laughed loudly, though
Dantes did not understand the joke.
' Will this do ? ' asked one.
4 No ; further on. You know the last one was
dashed against the rocks, and the governor told us we
were a pair of lazy dogs,' and they proceeded a few yards
further up a steep path. Here they halted, and Dantes
felt himself lifted by his head and feet and swung
backwards and forwards.
' One, two, three,' and to his horror he was flying
through the air for what seemed an eternity. Then
suddenly he plunged into the water, with a leaden
weight attached to his ankles.
The sea was the cemetery of the Chateau d'If.
Great as was the shock, Dantes did not lose liis
presence of mind ; ever since he had been in the sack he
had held the knife in his hand, and now he quickly
ripped a hole and pushed out his arm and his head.
But the weight kept dragging him down, down, and his
senses were rapidly leaving him ; he was almost lost
when, with a violent effort, he pulled himself together
and cut the cord which bound his legs. After that it
was easy to shake himself free of the sack, which sank
to the bottom with its weight of lead.
In former years Dantes had been noted among all
the young men of his native coast for his skill in swimming
and diving. A spark on the sea told him that the
torch-bearer was still there, so he took a long dive and
THE CEMETERY OF THE CHATEAU D IF
THE PRISONER OF THE CHATEAU D'lF 201
came up a far distance out to sea. The light had
disappeared now, and he was alone ; alone with tho
sea and sky, as he had never thought to be again. He
grew almost giddy with happiness, and had to remind
himself that he was not safe yet.
What course had he better take ? Of the many
islands which lay scattered about the Chateau d'lf the
three nearest were inhabited. Those he dared not visit ;
there was nothing for it but to swim to Tiboulen, over
two miles away. But after fourteen years of prison had
he not lost his strength? Could he do it ? Then there
flashed across his mind the words of Faria soon after
their first meeting : ' Dantes, take heed, and try to
harden your muscles, or you will be drowned in your
first attempt to escape.'
The wind was blowing and the sea rising, but to his
joy, and somewhat to his surprise, he was able to fight
through the waves nearly as well as of old. Still, he felt
the shadow of the prison upon him, though every stroke
carried him farther away. Would it ever be possible to
leave it behind ? But he resolved not to think of such
things ; fortune had favoured him so far, and perhaps,
after all, his luck had turned.
He had been swimming in the darkness for more than
an hour, but suddenly he was conscious of a sharp pain
in his knee. At first he imagined that he must have
been shot ; then he cautiously put out his hand and
touched a rock. He had reached his goal it was the
island of Tiboulen.
Shaking the water off him like a dog, Dantes drew
himself on to dry land, when a flash of lightning showed
him a towering mass of rocks. Feeling his way up these
-for he could see nothing without the aid of the light-
ning he lay down at the top, and in spite of the noise of
the storm and the violence of the rain, which was falling
in torrents, went sound asleep, sheltered in part by an
202 THE PRISONER OF THE CHATEAU D'lF
It was still dark when he awoke, and the fury of the
tempest seemed to have increased. By a flash more
brilliant than the rest he beheld, only a quarter of a mile
away, a little fishing boat being driven straight upon
his island, with four men clinging to the masts. Dantes
gave a cry of warning, but it was blown back in his
throat, and in a few seconds a horrible cracking sound
was heard, of which he knew too well the meaning.
Towards dawn the storm abated, and, as the sun
rose, Edmond turned to look at the Chateau d'If.
' In two or three hours,' said he, ' the gaoler will
enter my cell, and will find out that it is the Abbe who
lies there, and not I. They will examine every corner,
and the tunnel will be discovered. The alarm will be
given and boats full of soldiers be sent in search of me,
while notices will be despatched all down the coast. If
I land I am at the mercy of anyone who cares to earn
twenty francs. Yet I am starving. What am I to do ?
But as he spoke his eye fell on a small ship, coming from
the direction of Marseilles, which he recognised as a
' Oh,' he cried a second time, ' what shall I do ?
In half an hour I could be on board if I was not afraid of
being questioned and given up. They are smugglers,
of course, and they touch at every port. But if I stay
here I shall die of hunger. Yes, I must risk it. At
least, no alarm has been given yet.'
Quickly he clambered from his perch, and was about
to throw himself into the water when he saw one of the
drowned fishermen's Phrygian caps, sticking on a rock,
while some planks or the wrecked boat were floating
' I am saved,' he murmured, drawing the cap over
his head, and seizing the plank by way of support, he
struck out with it to the cutter. Hope gave him fresh
strength, but when he had approached within a quarter
THE PRISONER OF THE (.'11 AT KM ////<' 203
of a mile, to his horror he perceived the ship's course \
being altered. With a violent effort he raised himself in
the water, uttering loud cries of despair and waving his
cap in one hand. This time the sailors saw him ; the
helm was put about, a boat was lowered, and Dani
was hauled on board just as an immense weariness came
over him and he felt he could swim no more.
When he came to himself he was stretched on the
bridge of the cutter, with a woollen covering thrown over
him. Rum was being slowly poured down his throat by
one man, while another was kneeling beside him rubbing
his limbs. For a while he lay still, but though his eyes
were closed his consciousness had returned to him, and
his brain was busily making up a story that he would tell
the sailors when he w r as questioned.
They left him alone for some hours, but as soon as
the captain thought he had recovered from his fatigue
he came and sat by his side.
' I want to know,' he said, in bad French, * who you
are and how you happened to be alone in the sea this
morning ? '
' I am a Maltese sailor,' answered Dantes, in equally
bad Italian, ' and the ship I was in was laden with
Sicilian wines. It was driven on to those rocks down
there and broken in pieces, and I only escaped by the
help of one of the planks. I was so exhausted when
your boat reached me that I could not swim another
* Ah ! ' remarked one of the crew who stood near by,
' it was I who hauled you in, and I hesitated before I
did it, I can assure you, for with your hair and beard you
looked more like a brigand than an honest man.'
Then Dantes remembered that neither his hair nor
beard had been touched since he entered the prison.
' Yes,' he answered hastily, ' I don't wonder. Ten
years ago I was in great danger, and I made a vow that
204 THE PRISONER OF THE CHATEAU D'lF
if I escaped I would not shave for ten years. Luckily
the time is up to-morrow, and the first thing I shall do
when we get into port is to visit a barber.'
* And when we put you on shore what will you do
next ? ' continued the captain.
'Oh, I shall be all right if you will lend me some
clothes to land in,' replied Dantes, ' for as you saw I
was perfectly naked. I know every harbour, little and
big, along the Mediterranean, and there are very few
that I couldn't steer into with my eyes shut. I shall
get taken on as pilot quite easily.'
' Hum ! ' said the captain. ' I've heard other men
in your condition promise as much.'
' Try me,' answered Dantes. ' Where are you
going ? '
' To Leghorn.'
' I will engage to steer you by a course shorter than
any man on board.'
' Well, take the helm and we will see,' said the
The promise was kept, and when they cast anchor,
Dantes, in a shirt and trousers borrowed from one of the
men, presented himself before the captain.
' I did not boast of what I could not perform,' said
he ; ' and now farewell for the present, as I am going on
shore to seek a barber.'
THE HUNT FOR THE TREASURE
DANT^S came out of the barber's shop a new man.
The thick black beard had entirely vanished, and several
inches of his hair had gone. For the first time in
fourteen years he looked at himself in the glass, and felt
sure that his own mother would not have known him.
The round merry face that he had worn on his wedding
day had disappeared for ever, and in its place was a pale,
stern countenance with sad eyes. No ; he was quite
safe, and could return with an easy mind to the smugglers'
boat and accept the partnership offered him by the
captain, who had never in his many voyages met with
so skilful a pilot. Dantes might remain on board as
long as he chose and nobody would suspect that he was
other than the Maltese sailor he had given himself out
to be. He had gone through one very bad moment a
couple of hours after being taken on board The Young
Amelia, when, just as he was drinking a glass of rum,
a distant gun from the Chateau d'lf came across the
water. For half a second he stopped, his blood turning
cold and a cloud dimming his sight.
' What is the meaning of that ? ' asked the captain.
* It is the signal for the escape of a prisoner,'
answered Dantes, as he lifted again the glass to his
mouth. The captain turned and looked sharply at
him, but on seeing him drinking quietly and with enjoy-
ment, concluded he was mistaken, and thought no more
But Dantes had understood.
206 THE HUNT FOR THE TREASURE
So the vessel left Leghorn and steered her course,
for Corsica, passing a group of granite rocks which
bore the name of Monte Cristo. In half an hour Dantes
could easily have reached it, but he knew that before
he could hope to find the treasure he would need many
tools, and besides, it was necessary to lay his plans
carefully so that no one should guess what he was
doing. He had grown used to waiting by this time,
and as he had waited fourteen years for liberty, it was
not much to wait six months for riches.
From Corsica The Young Amelia set sail for Sar-
dinia, shipping a cargo of cigars from Havana and
Spanish wines which had paid no duty. Off Sardinia
they had a skirmish with the Custom-house officers,
in which Dantes received a wound. It was only a
slight one, but it was dressed daily by the sailor who
had rescued him, old Jacopo, his faithful friend.
Two months and a half went by, and his engagement
on board The Young Amelia was drawing to a conclu-
sion. He was now as good a captain as he was a pilot,
and had made acquaintance with all the smugglers
along the coast. He had also made a little money from
the cargoes which they had sold, and felt that he might
prudently carry out the plan he had formed for the
search in Monte Cristo. But before this happened an
unexpected event promised to place him on the island
without any risk to himself.
One evening after they had cast anchor in Leghorn,
the captain, who was most anxious to keep Dantes in
his service, begged the young man to accompany him
to supper in a tavern on shore, where the smugglers
round Leghorn were accustomed to meet. As soon as
they were all assembled, the captain, who presided,
announced that the subject they were about to discuss
was how best to arrange the exchange of their cargo
of wine and cigars for a shipload of Turkish carpets
THE HUNT FOR THE TREASURE I'D?
and the Cashmere shawls so highly prized by the l-Vcndi
ladies. It was necessary to find some place which the,
Custom officers would not be likely to visit, and to his
mind no spot would suit them o well as the distant
and deserted island of Monte Cristo.
At the sound of the name sr constantly in his
thoughts Dantes could hardly repress a cry of joy,
and to conceal his emotion he got up and walked to the
' What do you think, Maltese,' asked the captain
as he passed ; ' you know these seas better than any
' You will find no place more secure than Monte
Cristo,' answered Dantes ; ' only, if you are to succeed,
you should lose no time, or the affair may reach the
ears of the Custom-house people. To-morrow night,
if the wind is fair, let us start.'
At seven o'clock on the following evening they
weighed anchor and stood out to sea. One by one the
stars came out, and at length Dantes, who gradually
had obtained a sort of authority over the rest, told
the crew that they might all turn in to their bunks,
as he \vould be at the helm. The Maltese/ as they
called him, was glad to be alone ; he did not want
company when he caught sight of Monte Cristo. Often
as he had passed it, he had ne.ver landed on the shining
rocks, and when, after more than twenty-four hours
run with the wind behind them they cast anchor, he
was the first to jump on shore.
' Where are we going to sleep ? ' he asked his friend
Jacopo, when they had been working for some time
hiding casks among the high rocks.
' Why, on the ship, of course,' answered the old
1 Not in the caves ? ' said Dantes carelessly.
1 There aren't any caves,' replied Jacopo.
4 No caves on Monte Cristo?' exclaimed Dantes,
208 THE HUNT FOR THE TREASURE
amazed and horrified, for the paper given him by the
Abbe had stated plain that it was in the ' caves ' of the
island that the treasure lay buried.
' No,' returned Jacopo, and Dantes stood thinking
what it could all mean.
' Some rocks must have fallen and blocked the
entrance,' he said to himself at last. ' There is no use
searching for it in the dark ; I must make some excuse
to get away to-morrow, after the barque has been
unloaded. Here she comes.'
Dantes need not have troubled himself as to whether
he was to sleep on land or sea, for with the arrival of
the other boat every man was kept busy. By the
next day at sunrise the goods were out of one ship and
into another, and Dantes had told the captain he
meant to stretch his legs and shoot some wild goats.
So taking with him a gun and some ammunition, he
began to climb the rocks.
' We shall be ready to sail in three hours' time,
and if you are not here we shall go without you,' called
the captain after him.
' Oh, I shall be back,' answered Dantes, and went
He chose a path which soon hid him from the sight
of his companions, and which seemed no more than
the bed of a stream, as perhaps it was. After a while
he noticed little marks on the rocks that appeared
to have been made by man.
' Could they,' he thought, ' have been traced by
the Cardinal himself ? '
After the marks had continued for about sixty yards
they suddenly stopped. No cave was to be seen, but
instead the path was blocked by a large round rock.
Plainly the treasure was not to be found as easily as
he expected ; it was clear that he must remain on the
island, and let the ship sail without him. So he turned
back and clambered along the rocks to a point in full
THE HUNT FOR THE TREASURE i>0!>
view of the place where the sailors were }>n-p a rm_<
dinner on the shore.
He gave a shout, and they looked up to see him
bounding towards them from rock to rock as lightly
as a chamois. They watched him with admiration,
when his foot slipped. He staggered, and then with
a cry fell and disappeared. In an instant the men
were making their way over the sharp granite till th<-v
reached Dantes, who was lying on the ground almost
unconscious. A few drops of rum poured down his
throat caused him to open his eyes, but as soon as
he tried to raise himself a spasm of pain crossed his
face, and he fell back again.
' It is my knee,' he said ; ' and I think I must have
hurt myself here,' and he laid his hand on his thigh.
' If you leave me to rest a little, perhaps I shall be able
to move. Go and finish your breakfast,' and he leaned
his head against a stone.
The sailors were hungry and obeyed him, but when
they returned in an hour's time they found that
Dantes had only had the strength to drag himself a
' The pain is worse than ever,' he said to the cap-
tain, who proposed that some of the men should carry
him to the boat. ' It is no use ; I can't bear to be
touched. Leave me some food, and enough powder
and shot to kill some goats if I get better, and, in case
you should be very long absent, a pickaxe to hew out
a place to sleep in. The weather is warm ; I shall be
' No, no ! ' cried the captain, much to the surprise
of the sailors who were listening. ' I would sooner