At this moment the abbe pressed

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 down his side of the shade and so raised it on the other, throwing a bright light on the stranger's face, while his own remained obscuredJinglingthe changein his handhe shookhishead. "Excuse me, abbe," said the envoy of the prefect of the police, "but the light tries my eyes very much." The abbe lowered the shade. "Now, sir, I am listening-go on."

"I will come at once to the point. Do you know the Count of Monte Cristo?"

"You mean Monsieur Zaccone, I presume?"

"Zaccone?-is not his name Monte Cristo?"

"Monte Cristo is the name of an estate, or, rather, of a rock, and not a family name."

"Well, be it so-let us not dispute about words; and since M. de Monte Cristo and M. Zaccone are the same"-

"Absolutely the same."

"Let us speak of M. Zaccone."

"Agreed."

"I asked you if you knew him?"

"Extremely well."

"Who is he?"

"The son of a rich shipbuilder in Malta."

"I know that is the report; but, as you are aware, the police does not content itself with vague reports."

"However," replied the abbe, with an affable smile, "when that report is in accordance with the truth, everybody must believe it, the police as well as all the rest."

"Are you sure of what you assert?"

"What do you mean by that question?"

"Understand, sir, I do not in the least suspect your veracity; I ask if you are certain of it?"

"I knew his father, M. Zaccone."

"Ah, indeed?"

"And when a child I often played with the son in the timber-yards."

"But whence does he derive the title of count?"

"You are aware that may be bought."

"In Italy?"

"Everywhere."

"And his immense riches, whence does he procure them?"

"They may not be so very great."

"How much do you suppose he possesses?"

"From one hundred and fifty to two hundred thousand livres per annum."

"That is reasonable," said the visitor; "I have heard he had three or four millions."

"Two hundred thousand per annum would make four millions of capital."

"But I was told he had four millions per annum?"

"That is not probable."

"Do you know this Island of Monte Cristo?"


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