Page:The Count of Monte-Cristo (1887 Volume 1).djvu/244

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box being empty), with which I proposed to produce a light from the small flame still playing on the embers. Fearing, however, to make use of any valuable piece of paper, I hesitated for a moment, then recollected that I had seen in the famous breviary, which was on the table beside me, an old paper quite yellow with age, and which had served as a marker for centuries, kept there by the superstition of the heirs. I felt for it, found it, twisted it up together, and, putting it into the expiring flame, set light to it.

"But beneath my fingers, as if by magic, in proportion as the fire ascended, I saw yellowish characters appear on the paper. I grasped it in my hand, put out the flame as quickly as I could, lighted my taper in the fire itself, and opened the crumpled paper with inexpressible emotion, recognizing, when I had done so, that these characters had been traced in mysterious and sympathetic ink, only appearing when exposed to the fire: nearly one-third of the paper had been consumed by the flame. It was that paper you read this morning; read it again, Dantès, and then I will complete for you the incomplete words and unconnected sense."

Faria, with an air of triumph, offered the paper to Dantès, who this time read the following words, traced with an ink of a color which most nearly resembled rust:

"'This 25th day of April, 1498, be . . .
Alexander VI. and fearing that not . . .
he may desire to become my heir, and re . . .
and Bentivoglio, who were poisoned . . .
my sole heir, that I have bu . . .
and has visited with me, that is in . . .
island of Monte-Cristo all I poss . . .
jewels, diamonds, gems; that I alone . . .
may amount to nearly two mil . . .
will find on raising the twentieth ro . . .
creek to the east in a right line. Two open . . .
in these caves; the treasure is in the furthest a . . .
which treasure I bequeath and leave en . . .
as my sole heir.

"'25th April, 1498. "' Cæs . . .

"And now," said the abbé, "read this other paper." And he presented to Dantès a second leaf with fragments of lines written on it, which Edmond read as follows: