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ALEXANDRE DUMAS The Count of Monte Cristo

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default ALEXANDRE DUMAS The Count of Monte Cristo

Post by lian on Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:03 pm

Chapter 1 The Ship Comes Home
On 24th February 1815 the ship Pharaoh came in to Marseilles. A
man on the shore jumped into a boat and went out to the ship.
A young man, about twenty years old, looked over the side of
the ship. He seemed to be the captain. He was the type of man
who meets danger without fear.
'Oh! Is it you, Dantes?' cried the man in the boat. 'What has
happened?'
'A very sad thing, Mr Morrel,' replied the young man. 'When
our ship was near Civitavecchia, we lost our brave Captain Leclerc.'
He turned to his men and gave a quick order. Then he turned
again to Morrel. The Pharaoh was Morrel's ship, and Edmond
Dantes was First Officer.
'We will all die one day, Edmond,' said Morrel. 'The
goods—?'
'They are safe, Mr Morrel. Now, come on board. Here is
Danglars. He does all the buying and selling. I must look after
my ship.'
Morrel climbed quickly onto the ship and met Danglars.
Danglars was about twenty-five years old. Nobody on the Pharaoh
liked him.
'Well, Mr Morrel,' said Danglars. 'You heard about the sad
death of Captain Leclerc?'
'Yes. He was a brave and good man.'
'And a good seaman. He was old and wise, a good ship's
captain for Morrel and Son,' replied Danglars.
'A young man can be a good captain, too,' Morrel said. 'Look
at our friend Edmond. He works well.'
'Yes,' said Danglars. He looked at Dantes. He did not like him.
'Yes, he is young and he is very sure of himself. When the captain
died, we had to take orders from him. And as a result, we lost a
day and a half at the island of Elba. We needed to come straight
to Marseilles.'
'He has to take the captain's place,' said Morrel . 'He is the First
Officer. But it was wrong to stop at Elba. Was the ship unsafe ?
Did you need to work on it?'
'There was nothing wrong with the ship. We stopped at Elba
and went on shore. It was a holiday, not work!'
'Dantes,' the shipowner called. 'Come here, please.'
'In a minute, Mr Morrel,' answered Dantes. He gave an order to
his men. When the ship was safely tied up, Dantes came towards
Morrel. 'The ship is now ready,' he said. 'Can I help you, sir?'
Danglars took a few steps back. 'Why did you stop at the
island of Elba?' asked Morrel.
'I don't know, Mr Morrel. It was Captain Leclerc's last order.
He gave me a letter for Marshal Bertrand.'
Morrel took Dantes' arm and pulled him close. 'And how is
Napoleon?' he said quietly.
'He seemed very well.'
'You spoke to him?'
'No, he spoke to me,' said Dantes. 'He asked: "When did you
leave Marseilles? What goods are on board?" He was very
interested. Perhaps he wanted to buy the ship. "I am only the
First Officer," I said. "The ship belongs to Morrel and Son."
"Ah!" he said, "I know them. The Morrels have owned ships
for many years. But there was a Morrel who was a soldier. He
fought with me at Valence." '
'True!' cried Morrel, happily. 'That was Policar Morrel, my
uncle. He was a great soldier, a captain. Dantes, my uncle will be
very happy about Napoleon. It will bring fire into the old
soldier's eyes. You were right to stop at Elba, Dantes. But don't tell
people about the letter for Marshal Bertrand, and about
Napoleon. You will get into trouble.'
'Why?' asked Dantes. 'I don't know what was in the letter.
Napoleon only asked me simple questions. Anyone can answer
questions like those.'
'My dear Dantes,' said the owner, 'are you now free?'
'Yes, Mr Morrel,' Dantes replied.
'Can you come and have dinner with me?'
'Thank you, Mr Morrel. But I must visit my father first.'
'Visit your father, and then come to my house.'
'Thank you again, Mr Morrel. But there is another person
that I must see.'
'True, Dantes. I forgot. Of course - the beautiful Mercedes.
She came to see me three times. She wanted news about
the Pharaoh.'
'She has promised to marry me,' the young seaman said.
'My dear Edmond,' said the owner, 'that is very good news.
Now hurry away to see your father.'
'Thank you, Mr Morrel. I have a question. Can I leave the
ship for fourteen days?'
'To get married?' Morrel asked.
'Yes, first. And then I want to go to Paris.'
'Yes, of course, Dantes. But come back again in one month.
The Pharaoh can't sail without her captain.'
'Without her captain!' cried Dantes. His eyes were bright and
he was very happy. 'Are you really going to make me captain of
the Pharaoh? Oh, Mr Morrel! I thank you for my father and
for Mercedes.'
'Good, Edmond. Go to your father, go and see Mercedes, and
then come to see me.'
'Shall I take you to the shore with me?' Dantes asked.
'No, thank you. I'll stay and do some work with Danglars.
Were you pleased with him on this journey ?'
'Do you mean, "Is Danglars a good friend?" No, we aren't
friends. We disagreed one day near the island of Monte Cristo,and he doesn't like me. But he works well. I can say nothing
against him.'
The shipowner watched Dantes until he reached the shore.
Danglars stood on the ship behind Morrel. He also watched
the young man as he went away. But he did not look kindly
at Dantes.

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