‘God forgive me,’ said the young man, ‘for rejoicing at happiness derived from the misery of others; but Heaven knows I did not seek this good fortune; it has happened, and I really cannot pretend to be sorry. Good Captain LeClère is dead, father, and it is probable that, with the aid of M. Morrel, I shall have his place. Do you understand, father? Only imagine me a captain at twenty, with a hundred louis pay, and a share in the profits! Is this not more than a poor sailor like me could have hoped for?’
Danglars looked at the two men, one after the other, the one brutalized by liquor, the other overwhelmed by love.
‘I shall extract nothing from these fools,’ he muttered, ‘and I am very much afraid of being here between a drunkard and a coward. . . . Unquestionably, Edmond’s star is in the ascendant, and he will marry his splendid girl— he will be captain, too, and laugh at us all, unless’— a sinister smile passed over Danglars’ lips— ‘unless I take a hand in the affair.’
‘Why, thus it is,’ replied Dantès. ‘Thanks to the influence of M. Morrel, to whom, next to my father, I owe every blessing I enjoy, every difficulty has been removed. We have purchased permission to waive the usual delay; and at half-past two o’clock the mayor of Marseilles will be waiting for us at the Hotel-de-Ville. Now, as a quarter-past one has already struck, I do not consider I have asserted too much in saying, that in another hour and thirty minutes Mercédès will be Madame Dantès.’
‘Be silent, you simpleton!’ cried Danglars, grasping him by the arm, ‘or I will not answer even for your own safety. Who can tell whether Dantès be innocent or guilty? The vessel did call at Elba, where he quitted it, and passed a whole day on the island. Now, should any letters or other documents of a compromising character be found upon him, will it not be taken for granted that all who uphold him are his accomplices?’