The Count of Monte Cristo; or, The Reprisal of Edmond Dantes

The Count of Monte Cristo; or, The Reprisal of Edmond Dantes

The Count of Monte Cristo; or, The Reprisal of Edmond Dantes

The Count of Monte Cristo; or, The Reprisal of Edmond Dantes

Excerpt

On the 24th of February, 1815, the Marseilles port lookouts signalled that the three-master Pharaoh was coming up the harbor. She belonged to Morrel and Son, and was homeward bound from Smyrna, Trieste and Naples. The pilot boat ran out to meet her, and the idlers congregated on the waterside to see her come into her mooring-place, with the more interest as she had been built launched and fitted out from this ancient port.

She came in so slowly that it was easy to guess that she had met some mishap, not to herself, as she was in trim condition, but to some one aboard. By the pilot was seen, standing to transmit his orders, a bright-eyed and active young man.

The vague disquiet of the spectators was peculiarly sharper in one of them who took a boat and man, and was rowed out to meet the vessel.

On seeing him draw near, the ship's officer left the pilot and with his hat off went to lean over the taffrail.

He was a handsome fellow not over twenty, tall but slim, with beautiful black eyes and ebony hair, with all the calmness and resolution of those inured from childhood to wrestle with dangers.

"Ah, is this you, Dantes?" hailed the passenger in the wherry, "what is wrong and why do you all wear such a sad look?"

"A great misfortune befell us, M. Morre!," replied the young man, "and worse for me; off Civita Vecchia, we lost our honest Captain Leclere --"

"But the cargo?" quickly asked the shipowner.

"That is safe in port, and I believe you will be satisfied on that score; but poor Captain Leclere is dead -- not fallen overboard, but carried off by brain fever. . . ."

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