Come, now ... I have a better opinion than you of women in general, and Mercedes in particular, and I am persuaded that, whether I were a captain or not, she would remain faithful to me.
The king! I thought him enough of a philosopher to realize that there is no such thing as murder in politics. You know as well as I do, my dear boy, that in politics there are no people, only ideas; no feelings, only interests. In politics, you don’t kill a man, you remove an obstacle, that’s all.
Finally, do you realize that I thought my labors were at an end, that I felt I had just enough strength to complete the task, and that God has now not only set back my goal but removed it, I know not where? Oh, let me tell you, and repeat it: I shall not take another step to try and regain my freedom, since God’s will is for me to have lost it for ever.
I regret having helped you in your investigation and said what I did to you ...
Why is that?
Because I have insinuated a feeling into your heart that was not previously there: the desire for revenge ...
Let us change the subject.
Die! No, no! It was not worth living so long, and suffering so much, to die now. Death was welcome previously, when I made a resolution to meet it ... But now it would truly be conceding too much to my miserable fate. No, I want to live, I want to struggle to the end.
Then he began to count his fortune. There were a thousand gold ingots, each of two or three pounds. Next to these, he piled 25,000 gold ecus, each worth perhaps twenty-four francs in today’s money ... Finally, he measured ten times the capacity of his joined hands in pearls, precious stones and diamonds ...
Monsieur ... they had both made me drink until I was almost senseless. Everything was blurred. I protested as much as a man can in such a state, but they assured me it was a joke they were playing and that nothing would come of it.
And now ... farewell, goodness, humanity, gratitude ... Farewell all those feelings that nourish and illuminate the heart! I have taken the place of Providence to reward the good; now let the avenging God make way for me to punish the wrongdoer!
What country does the Count come from? What is his language? What are his means of support? Where does his huge fortune come from? What was the first half of this mysterious and unknown life, that it has cast over the second half such a dark and misanthropic shadow?
Come away, Monsieur! Come away, I beg you. You are on the very spot!
What spot is that?
The spot where he fell.
But everything that you know, with respect to the French legal system, I know, not only with respect to that, but also to the laws of every country: the laws of the English, the Turks, the Japanese and the Hindus are as familiar to me as those of the French ... relative to all that I have done, you have very little to do, and relative to what I have learned, you still have very much to learn.
A drop of that elixir sufficed to bring the child back to life when he was dying, but three drops would have driven the blood into his lungs in such a way as to give him palpitations of the heart. Six would have interrupted his breathing and caused him a much more serious fit than the one he was already suffering. Ten would have killed him.
You mean, I didn’t kill him?
Come, come ...
But he isn’t dead?
No, he isn’t, as you can very well see. Instead of striking him between the sixth and seventh left rib, as your compatriots usually do, you must have struck higher or lower; and these lawyers, you know, are not easy to kill off.
How can you live like that, with nothing attaching you to life?
It is not my fault, Madame. In Malta I loved a girl and was going to marry her, when the war came and swept me away from her like a whirlwind. I thought that she loved me enough to wait for me, even to remain faithful to my tomb. When I came back, she was married.
I was taken to the bazaar. A rich Armenian bought me, educated me, gave me teachers and, when I was thirteen, sold me to Sultan Mahmoud.
And from him, I bought her, as I told you, Albert, for that stone equal to the one in which I keep my lozenges of hashish.
Oh, my lord, how good and great you are ... How fortunate I am to belong to you!
How odd it was! For all the confused feelings that he experienced on seeing [Valentine’s] tears, he also managed to observe Mme de Villefort; and it seemed to him that a faint, dark smile passed briefly across her thin lips, like one of those sinister meteors that can be glimpsed as they fall between two clouds against a stormy day.
Oh, God. Oh, God, forgive me for denying You. You do indeed exist, You are the father of men in heaven and their judge on earth. Oh, my Lord, I have long mistaken You! My Lord God, forgive me! My god, my Lord, receive my soul!
What would you say if you knew the extent of the sacrifice I am making for you? Suppose that the Lord God, after creating the world, after fertilizing the void, had stopped one-third of the way through His creation to spare an angel the tears that our crimes would one day bring to His immortal eyes. Suppose that ... God had extinguished the sun and with His foot dashed the world into eternal night ...
Yes, I share your hope: the wrath of heaven will not pursue us, you who are so pure and I so innocent. But since we are resolved, let us act promptly. Monsieur de Morcerf left the house around half an hour ago; so, as you see, we have a good opportunity to avoid scandal or explanations.
But in the end, since I myself failed and was found wanting—more profoundly perhaps than other men; well, since that time I have shaken out their clothes to discover a blemish, and I have always found it; I will say more: I have found it with joy, this evidence of human weakness and perversity.
You see, the angel for whom you longed has left this earth. She no longer needs the adoration of men – she, who, at this moment, is adoring the Lord. So say your farewells, Monsieur, to these sad remains that she has left behind among us.
Oh, yes, now. That’s where the trying times will begin. You know what is agreed?
Have we agreed something?
Yes, it is agreed that you will live in Marseille and I shall leave for Africa. There, instead of the name I have given up, I shall make for myself the name I have adopted.
Yes, he is gone. Farewell, my friend! Farewell, my sister!
Who knows if we shall ever see them again?
My dearest ... has the Count not just told us that all human wisdom was contained in these two words – ‘wait’ and ‘hope’?