give up the whole thing than desert you like that. AY<-
will not sail to-night.'
' But you must,' answered Dantes ; ' it is not fair
to the men, who will lose their profits. It will not take
you more than eight days, and if, on the way, you
210 THE HUNT FOR THE TREASURE
should meet a fishing boat sailing in this direction, you
could send it after me. I would pay them well to carry
me back to Leghorn.' And so, after a few more words,
it was settled, and with many promises of a speedy
return they left him.
When the ship had disappeared in the distance
-*"< ..- e< j-oliti'S VL' 'i/.#til>i4Ka ^i
Dantes jumped up, and hastened to the path with the
marked rocks, pickaxe in hand.
The May sun shone hotly, bringing out the smell
of the myrtles that grew in the clefts. Grasshoppers
hummed among the bushes, and at every step brilliant
green lizards hastened to hide themselves. But there
was no man on the island save Dantes himself.
THE HUNT FOR THE TREASURE 21 1
The first thing he did was to trace back the marks
to their beginning, which he found ended in a K-ck
completely hidden till you were close to it, very small,
but deep enough to allow of the entrance of a tiny
boat. Here the Cardinal must have landed, and 1m v<
carried his treasure along the path, which, when all
was buried, he closed with the rock. Dantes stooped
and narrowly examined the earth around and beneath
it, and in spite of the grass and bushes which had
grown about it during three hundred years, he thought
he detected signs that man had once been at work
there, and that the great rock was not so firmly fixed
in the ground as it appeared. But in this he was mis-
taken, for a small stone was wedged under it placed
there, most likely, of set purpose and this no blows
from his pickaxe were able to dislodge. Then, just
as he was almost in despair, his eye lighted on
the pow r der flask which had been left him. Yes, that
would do !
A mine was soon dug and filled with powder, while
Dantes twisted his handkerchief into a long fuse, and
set one end alight. Having made his preparations, he
retired to a safe distance, and throwing himself on the
ground face downwards, to avoid any splinters, he
waited for the explosion.
It came, very soon and very loud, and it was well
that Dantes before laying his train had first made sure
that no vessel of any sort was in sight. The lower
stone was blown to pieces, and the big rock, deprived
of its support, swayed to and fro, so that only a vigorous
push was needed to send it over. Down it rolled, down,
down the side, till with one great leap it was swallowed
in the sea. Fascinated, Dantes watched its progress
before he turned to see if his hopes were realised. Ah !
he had been right after all, for under the rock was a
huge round hole, in the midst of which was a large
square stone with an iron ring. With the branch of
212 THE HUNT FOR THE TREASURE
an olive tree he had cut down Dantes raised the stone,
disclosing a flight of steps leading into darkness.
His search had been successful ; yet, instead of
feeling triumphant, his legs trembled under him. He
was afraid lest a disappointment awaited him.
' Come,' he said to himself, ' I am really too
co\vardly. Supposing, after all, that the Abbe was
deceived, and the treasure has been discovered and
removed long ago. I shall be no worse off than I was,
and I am used to poverty.' And he w r ent slowly down
From the top it seemed as if no light could penetrate
into the cavern, but to the eye of Dantes, accustomed
for so long to the dim obscurity of his cell, the furthest
corners were perceptible. The emptiness at first struck
him with a chill ; then he remembered that the paper
had spoken of a second cave leading out of the first,
and he tapped carefully with his pickaxe on the granite
wall, listening lest one part should seem more hollow
than the rest. Once again he had nearly given up
hope, when at length he seemed to hear a difference
in the sound, but it was so slight that no ear except
that of an escaped prisoner would have heard it.
Here he began to work, but in a short time the
closeness of the air and the fact that he had eaten
nothing since the day before affected him without his
knowing it. The pickaxe slipped from his hands ; it
felt too heavy to hold ; and pretending to himself that
he would make sure that nobody was watching him,
he mounted the steps and sank on the grass.
After eating and drinking a little the fainting
passed off, and he lay still to think ; but it was
curious that the more proofs he had that the Abbe's
paper had spoken truth, the more he was convinced
that someone had been beforehand with the treasure.
However, he did not waste time in thinking. Very
soon he took up his pickaxe and went back to his
THE HUNT FOR THE TREASURE
cave, where he set to work to remove the plaster \\lm-li
covered the stones. As these were only piled I<,<,M -1\-
on one another, they were easily pushed aside, and
Dantes entered. This second cave was to all appraraiir.-
as empty as the first, but the corner on the left hand
was very dark, and he made up his mind that it was
here that the treasure must be buried.
Now that the moment had come when at last
Dantes was to know the truth, he trembled like a
child ; then with a violent effort at self-control he
struck at the ground.
The sixth blow fell upon an iron substance, and the
noise rang through the cave. Very pale, Dantes again
struck, but this time the answering sound uas different.
' It is a wooden box bound with iron,' he said to him-
self ; and stooping down he managed to touch the
coffer. It was larger than he supposed, and the earth
round it had still further to be loosened before it could
be moved. By the light of a torch made from a tree
he recognised engraved in the centre the arms of the
Spada family, which he had often seen on an old book
belonging to the Abbe ; this set all his doubts at
rest. The treasure was there, but he could neither
lift the box out of the hole nor open it. What was he
to do ? Curiously enough, he felt as bewildered and
helpless as a child.
He sat down for a few minutes to recover himself,
and then took up the pickaxe afresh.
' I can't think what is the matter with me,' he
murmured ; and striking the lock, it gave way. Dantes
lifted the cover, and there, in three compartments,
lay the treasure which had been awaiting him for three
hundred years ; gold crowns in one, rough nuggets in
another, precious stones in the third. Edmond touched
them slowly one by one ; then, turning, ran out of the
214 THE HUNT FOR THE TREASURE
When he reached the sea he stopped and looked
about him, and by-and-by his excitement died away.
He walked quietly back to the cavern, and, kneeling
by the hole, tried to guess the value of the contents
of the box. But in the effort his brain grew dizzy, and
after replacing the stone across the entrance to the
outer cave, stretched himself across it, and went to
His first care on awaking next morning was to make
sure that no one had landed on the island during the
night, and when he had satisfied himself that he was
alone, he removed the stone which concealed- the stair-
case, and going into the further cavern filled his pockets
and some small leather bags which he had brought on
THE HUNT FOR THE TREASURE 215
purpose with diamonds and jewels of various sorts-
Then he put the rest back into the box, replaced the
soil above it, and sprinkled sand over the whole floor.
The stone covering the entrance to the staircase he
likewise concealed under earth, and planted some tufts
of heath and myrtle, which he carefully watered. This
being done, he set himself to wait for the return of the
boat and to get used to his good fortune.
On the sixth day after her departure Dantes beheld
The Young Amelia approaching Monte Cristo. He
dragged himself along the beach, and declared that he
found after all that no bones were broken, and that the
rest had nearly cured him. The sailors on their part
were eager to tell their own adventures ; they had sold
their cargo, it was true, but had narrowly escaped being
captured by a brig which had chased them from Toulon
till they had managed to get away in the dark. If the
* Maltese ' had been there the brig would have been
shaken off sooner ; and what a pity, too, he had lost his
chance of fifty gold pieces !
The Young Amelia headed straight for Leghorn,
and Dantes went on shore at once, and disappeared
down one of the poorest and dirtiest streets of the
town, where lived a Jew whom he had known long ago.
This man agreed to give him twenty thousand francs,
or 800/. of our money, for four small diamonds, which
were worth a great deal more.
With this in his pocket he bought a small boat for
old Jacopo, bidding him go without delay to Marseilles
and find out all he could about a man who in former
days lived there, called Louis Dantes, and a girl named
Mercedes. On his way back Jacopo was to stop at
Monte Cristo, where Dantes would probably be.
Then he took leave of his friends on board The
Young Amelia, telling them that he had run away to
sea when he was a boy, because his family would not
216 THE HUNT FOR THE TREASURE
allow him to become a sailor, but that on his arrival
in Leghorn he had received news that a rich uncle had
died, and had left him all his fortune. They parted on
the best of terms, and Dantes took ship the same
day for Genoa. In this way ended the hunt for the
THE STORY OF THE GOLD BEETLE
Do you like stories of treasure hunts ? If so, read
this one, for it is the very best hunt in the whole world,
and was the first tale of the sort to be told.
A little way from the coast of South Carolina in the*
United States lies an island, very narrow and green, and
no more than three miles long. On the land side there
was formerly a thick growth of reeds and rushes, full of
wildfowl, which love a marsh, and at this end a Fort was
built in which two or three men were always placed, in
order to keep a look-out. Towards the open sea was a,
beach of dazzling white sand, while the centre was filled
with a dense wood of sweet myrtle.
It was here, cut off from the Fort by the shrubs, which
often grew as high as twenty feet, that William Legrand
lived in a small hut, with Jupiter his negro servant^
Jupiter had taken care of him ever since he was a little
boy, and did not believe yet that ' Massa Will ' had
grown up. Indeed, one day when Massa Will had not
returned home till very early in the morning, Jupiter
went in search of a whip, and would have laid it across
his master's shoulders if he had not looked so ill and
worried. At least, this was the tale Jupiter told to
Edward Robertson, the only person who ever came from
the mainland to see Legrand.
Why Legrand chose to live on this tiny island
nobody knew, and what was more, nobody cared.
218 THE STORY OF THE GOLD BEETLE
The man himself seemed quite content, and his
days were passed in fishing and in collecting shells on
the beach or beetles in the myrtle bushes. The climate
was delightful, for the sea breezes softened the heat in
summer, while in winter it was seldom indeed that even
Jupiter felt the need of a fire before the New Year.
A fire of wood was, however, burning one evening
about sunset in the month of October a hundred years
ago, when Robertson, after an absence of several weeks,
knocked at the door of the hut. Nobody answered, and
at length Robertson, tired of waiting, took down the key
from its nail and walked in. There w r ere no signs of
either master or man, so the guest sat himself in the
armchair and fell sound asleep. The darkness falls
quickly in those southern lands, and not long after the
last rays of the sun had disappeared Legrand entered,
followed by Jupiter.
' Here you are at last, old man,' cried he. ' I thought
you had given me up. But I have had good luck to-day,
and have brought home some fine marsh hens. So
Jupiter will soon have a supper ready fit for a king.'
' That's so, Massa Will,' replied Jupiter, grinning,
and, kicking off his boots, Legrand flung himself at full
length in front of the fire.
' Anything new for the collection ? ' asked Robert-
son lazily after a while.
' New ? I should think there was ! Yesterday I
picked up a shell which I knew to be the very one all the
learned men have been hunting for for two hundred
years at least, and better than that oh, much better !
the day before, when I was out with Jupiter, we found a
splendid beetle on the high rocks, which must have been
washed up during the last big gale.'
; What sort of a beetle ? ' asked Robertson, who
knew that the question would please his friend, though
lie himself hated insects.
THE STORY OF THE GOLD BEETLE 219
' Oh, a wonderful creature ! I've lent it to the man
at the Fort ; but I'll show it to you to-morrow. You'll
stay here to-night, of course ? It is really a marvel-
about the size of a walnut and shines like gold. On its
back at one end are two round black spots, and at the
other end is another black mark that is rather longer.'
' Gold ! every bit of him,' added Jupiter, ' solid gold !
I never felt a beetle half so heavy.'
' Well, I must say it does look very like it,' said
Legrand. ' Of course, you can't tell till you see it
to-morrow, but I can give you an idea of its shape,' and
as he spoke he opened the drawer of a small writing-
table, where paper ought to have been but was not.
' Never mind ; I've got a bit here,' and he pulled out
of his pocket a piece of what seemed very dirty foolscap,
and made a drawing on it with a pen. When he had
finished he handed it to his friend, who was still sitting
by the fire. Robertson bent forward so as to examine
it better by the light of the flames, when a great New-
foundland dog pushed open the door, and seeing an old
playfellow made a sudden spring at him and began
furiously to lick his face, knocking, as he did so, the
paper out of Robertson's hand.
' Be quiet ! Down, old boy ! ' but only when the
dog had ended his welcome did he pay any attention,
and stretched himself on the floor, rapping his tail
loudly. Then Robertson picked up the paper and began
to look at it.
' You are right,' he said, after a pause ; ' this is a most
strange beetle. It is more like a skull than anything I
' A skull ! ' exclaimed Legrand. ' Oh, well, yes.
It does look like it there. The two black spots might be
taken for eyes, and the other one for a mouth. And, of
course, there is the shape.'
' jbut, Legrand,' remarked Robertson, ' I thought
you could draw better than that. I must wait till I see
220 THE STORY OF THE GOLD BEETLE
the beetle itself. Now I can think of nothing but the
' Oh, it is quite a good sketch of the beetle,' answered
Legrand rather sharply, for he prided himself on
his drawing. ' You ought to be able to understand
' It is a very good sketch of a skull ; I can't imagine a
better,' replied Robertson, handing his friend the paper
that he might examine it himself more closely.
Legrand took it impatiently, meaning to crumple it
up and throw it on the fire, when he suddenly caught
sight of the sketch. To Robertson's surprise he turned
first very red and then very pale, and, after staring at
the drawing for a minute or two, took up a candle and
sat down on a sea-chest in the farthest corner of the
room and examined the paper through and through,
holding it up to the light as if there was something about
it that he could not understand. When he seemed to
have satisfied himself that there was no more to be seen
he locked the paper in a desk and gazed dreamily into
the fire, apparently never hearing anything that his
friend said. At length Robertson, feeling that no
more conversation was to be got out of him, bade
him good-night and returned to his home on the
During the month that followed Robertson was very
busy and had no chance of visiting the island again ;.
but one day, to his surprise, Jupiter paid him a call. It
was easy to see that something was troubling the old
negro, so Robertson made him sit down in the sun and
asked him if anything was the matter and how his
' Not so very well as he might be, to speak the truth,*
' Is it fever ? ' asked Robertson. ' What does he
complain of ? '
THE STORY OF THE GOLD BEETLE 221
' Nothing, sir. He never complains of nothing ; but
he is very bad for all that.'
' Is he in bed ? '
' No, sir. I wish he was. That's just where the
LEGRAND PUZZLED BY THE PAPER
shoe pinches. My mind is very heavy about poor
Massa Will. He says there's nothing at all the matter
with him ; but then, what makes him go about \vith his
head down and his shoulders up, and as white as a
ghost ? And all day he keeps looking at some figures on
222 THE STORY OF THE GOLD BEETLE
a slate the queerest figures that ever 7 saw. I'm
getting pretty frightened, I can tell you. The other day
he gave me the slip before sunrise, and was gone the
whole blessed day. I had a big stick cut to give him a
good beating, but when he did come I hadn't the heart
to do it after all, he looked so poorly.'
In spite of being really anxious, Robertson could
hardly help laughing at the idea of the master being
whipped by his man. However, Jupiter was perfectly
serious, so Robertson choked down his laughter and
answered gravely :
' No, I shouldn't flog him if I were you ; it doesn't
sound as if he could stand it. But tell me, has anything
strange happened since I was at the hut ? '
' No, sir ; not since then ; it was before then, I'm
afraid. The very day you were there.'
' How ? What do you mean ? '
' Why the beetle ! '
' The what ? '
The beetle. I'm certain sure that Massa Will was
bitten somewhere about the head by that gold beetle.'
' Good gracious ! But what makes you think so ? '
' Well, sir, 7 never beheld such a beetle. He kicks
and bites everything that conies near him. Massa Will
caught him first, but he let him go mighty quick seems
as if he must have been bitten. I didn't like the look of
his great mouth, so I laid hold of him with a piece of
paper that I found in the sand. I wrapped him up in it
and stuffed one end in his mouth that was the way I
' And you think it was the bite that made him ill ? '
' I know it was the bite. Why should he have
dreamed about the gold so much if he hadn't been bitten
by the gold beetle ? He just talks of it in his sleep all
the night long.'
Robertson did not answer directly. It was strange,
he thought, even though he did not believe in the bite
THE STORY OF THE GOLD BEETLE 223
of the gold beetle. At length he said, ' Does he know
you have come to me, Jupiter ? '
' Yes, sir, he gave me this note. It is to ask you to
come back with me to-night, sir.'
Robertson opened the note, and instantly perceived
that something was troubling his friend, though there
was nothing in it to tell him what it was.
' Well, let us go at once,' he ans\vered, rising, and
together the t\vo \valked down to the wharf, w T here
Legrand's boat was lying. As Robertson stepped in he
nearly fell over some things in the bottom, and on
picking himself up, saw to his surprise the articles were
a scythe and three new spades.
' What in the world are you going to do with those,
Jupe ? ' asked he.
' Massa Will sent me into the town to buy them for
him, and a fine lot of money I had to give for them,'
replied the old negro. ' But as to what he means to do
with them that's more than / know, and I don't believe
he knows either ! But it all comes of that beetle.'
The wind w T as behind them and soon ble\v them across,
and a walk of two miles brought them to the hut about
three o'clock. Legrand w r as eagerly awaiting them, but
Robertson was shocked at his appearance. His eyes
seemed to have sunk further into his face and glowed
fiercely, while his skin was parched and shrivelled,
Robertson hastily made a few remarks, and then
inquired if the officer at the Fort had returned the
' Oh, yes,' replied Legrand, flushing with excitement.
' He sent it back next day. I wouldn't part with it for
the world. Jupiter w r as quite right about it.'
' How ? ' asked his friend.
' In supposing it \vas of real gold,' and he looked so
strange as he spoke that Robertson had no doubt he was
really a little mad. He became still more certain of the
fact as Legrand w r ent on gaily, ' That beetle is to make
224 THE STORY OF THE GOLD BEETLE
my fortune and to buy back the family estates. So it
isn't wonderful that I prize it. But I forgot that you
haven't seen it. Jupiter, bring it to me.'
' What, the beetle, massa? I'd rather not trouble that
beetle ; you must get him your own self,' and Legrand
arose from his chair, and opening a glass case, brought
out the most curious insect Robertson had ever seen.
Its back was covered with hard shining scales, with two
black spots at one end and a long one near the other,
just as Legrand had drawn it a month before. But the
strangest thing about it was its weight. If it had really
been made of gold it could hardly have been heavier.
Legrand watched closely while Robertson was
inspecting the beetle, and then he said, ' Now you have
examined it are you prepared to do as I wish and come
with me to-night across the hills ? '
' Across the hills ? ' exclaimed Robertson. ' But you
ought to be in bed. If you go about in this condition
you will get brain fever.'
' I am much more likely to get it if I don't go,' and
Robertson, on glancing at him, thought that his words
might be true, so he answered reluctantly :
' What is it that you propose ? '
This is my plan. I mean to take Jupiter and go an
expedition into the hills on the mainland, but I shall
need a third man, and you are the only person I can
trust. Will you come ? '
' Has it anything to do with that horrid beetle,
because if so I would rather stay at home ? '
Yes, it has. But if you refuse we shall have to try
it without you.'
' Are you mad ? How long will you be ? '
' Probably all night. We shall start at once, but I
do not expect to return before sunrise.'
1 Well, if I go, will you promise when all this beetle
business is settled that there shall be an end to it, and
that you will stay quiet ? '
THE STORY OF THE GOLD BEETLE 225
* Yes, I promise ; and now let us be off,' and so they
The wind was behind them, and it was not long
before they ran the boat ashore in a desolate part of the
coast. Here a rope fastened her to a stone ; then
Jupiter, frightened and sulky, took up the scythe and
;spades. Robertson lighted the way with a couple of
dark lanterns, while Legrand contented himself with the
gold beetle, which he had fastened to a piece of whip-
cord. Higher and higher they went, and wilder and
more desolate grew the country. There was not a trace
anywhere of a single human being, but in his former
visits to this dreary spot Legrand had made certain
landmarks which served to guide them now. After
they had climbed for two hours the party reached a kind
of platform half-way up a hill which was covered with
wood from the base to the summit, broken here and
there by deep gulleys or steep rocks. The trees in most
places were so matted together by low brambles that it
would have been impossible to pass through had not
Jupiter cut them down with his scythe. This took a long
while, and by the time a path was hewn the sun had
set and there was only a new moon to guide them.
However, led by Legrand they pushed on till they
arrived at a level place where grew an enormous tulip
tree, whose far-reaching branches spread over eight
or ten oaks standing round.
Here Legrand stopped, and turning to Jupiter he
said, ' Jupe, can you climb that tulip tree ? '
The negro looked rather alarmed, and going to the
tree he examined it closely. Then he answered, ' Yes,
massa. Jupe climb any tree he ever saw in his
* Up with you then ; we have no time to lose.'
' How far must I go, massa ? ' asked Jupiter.
' You get up the trunk and I'll tell you. But stop !
Carry the beetle with you.'
226 THE STORY OF THE GOLD BEETLE
' That, massa ! Me carry up that ? ' cried poor
Jupiter, shrinking in dismay.
* Do you mean to say that you are afraid a
great big negro like you to catch hold of a little
harmless dead beetle ? Why, you can carry it by
the string. I shall have to break your head with
' Oh, massa ! what a fuss you make,' answered