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THE COMMISSARY of police, as he traversed the ante-chamber, made a sign to two gendarmes, who placed themselves one on Dantès' right and the other on his left. A door that communicated with the Palais de Justice was opened, and they went through a long range of gloomy corridors, whose appearance might have made even the boldest shudder. The Palais de Justice communicated with the prison,--a sombre edifice, that from its grated windows looks on the clock-tower of the Accoules. After numberless windings, Dantès saw a door with an iron wicket. The commissary took up an iron mallet and knocked thrice, every blow seeming to Dantès as if struck on his heart. The door opened, the two gendarmes gently pushed him forward, and the door closed with a loud sound behind him. The air he inhaled was no longer pure, but thick and mephitic,--he was in prison. He was conducted to a tolerably neat chamber, but grated and barred, and its appearance, therefore, did not greatly alarm him; besides, the words of Villefort, who seemed to interest himself so much, resounded still in his ears like a promise of freedom. It was four o'clock when Dantès was placed in this chamber. It was, as we have said, the 1st of March, and the prisoner was soon buried in darkness. The obscurity augmented the acuteness of his hearing; at the slightest sound he rose and hastened to the door, convinced they were about to liberate him, but the sound died away, and Dantès sank again into his seat. At last, about ten o'clock, and just as Dantès began to despair, steps were heard in the corridor, a key turned in the lock, the bolts creaked, the massy oaken door flew open, and a flood of light from two torches pervaded the apartment. By the torchlight Dantès saw the glittering sabres and carbines of four gendarmes. He had advanced at first, but stopped at the sight of this display of force.

"Are you come to fetch me?" asked he.

"Yes," replied a gendarme.

"By the orders of the deputy procureur?"

"I believe so." The conviction that they came from M. de Villefort relieved all Dantès' apprehensions; he advanced calmly, and placed himself in the centre of the escort. A carriage waited at the door, the coachman was on the box, and a police officer sat beside him.

"Is this carriage for me?" said Dantès.

"It is for you," replied a gendarme.

Dantès was about to speak; but feeling himself urged forward, and having neither the power nor the intention to resist, he mounted the steps, and was in an instant seated inside between two gendarmes; the two others took their places opposite, and the carriage rolled heavily over the stones.

The prisoner glanced at the windows--they were grated; he had changed his prison for another that was conveying him he knew not whither. Through the grating, however, Dantès saw they were passing through the Rue Caisserie, and by the Rue Saint-Laurent and the Rue Taramis, to the port. Soon he saw the lights of La Consigne.

The carriage stopped, the officer descended, approached the guardhouse, a dozen soldiers came out and formed themselves in order; Dantès saw the reflection of their muskets by the light of the lamps on the quay.

"Can all this force be summoned on my account?" thought he.

The officer opened the door, which was locked, and, without speaking a word, answered Dantès' question; for he saw between the ranks of the soldiers a passage formed from the carriage to the port. The two gendarmes who were opposite to him descended first, then he was ordered to alight and the gendarmes on each side of him followed his example. They advanced towards a boat, which a custom-house officer held by a chain, near the quay.

The soldiers looked at Dantès with an air of stupid curiosity. In an instant he was placed in the stern-sheets of the boat, between the gendarmes, while the officer stationed himself at the bow; a shove sent the boat adrift, and four sturdy oarsmen impelled it rapidly towards the Pilon. At a shout from the boat, the chain that closes the mouth of the port was lowered and in a second they were, as Dantès knew, in the Frioul and outside the inner harbor.

The prisoner's first feeling was of joy at again breathing the pure air--for air is freedom; but he soon sighed, for he passed before La Rèserve, where he had that morning been so happy, and now through the open windows came the laughter and revelry of a ball. Dantès folded his hands, raised his eyes to heaven, and prayed fervently.

The boat continued her voyage. They had passed the Tête de Morte, were now off the Anse du Pharo, and about to double the battery. This manoeuvre was incomprehensible to Dantès.

"Whither are you taking me?" asked he.

"You will soon know."

"But still"--

"We are forbidden to give you any explanation." Dantès, trained in discipline, knew that nothing would be more absurd than to question subordinates, who were forbidden to reply; and so he remained silent.

The most vague and wild thoughts passed through his mind. The boat they were in could not make a long voyage; there was no vessel at anchor outside the harbor; he thought, perhaps, they were going to leave him on some distant point. He was not bound, nor had they made any attempt to handcuff him; this seemed a good augury. Besides, had not the deputy, who had been so kind to him, told him that provided he did not pronounce the dreaded name of Noirtier, he had nothing to apprehend? Had not Villefort in his presence destroyed the fatal letter, the only proof against him?

He waited silently, striving to pierce through the darkness.

They had left the Ile Ratonneau, where the lighthouse stood, on the right, and were now opposite the Point des Catalans. It seemed to the prisoner that he could distinguish a feminine form on the beach, for it was there Mercédès dwelt. How was it that a presentiment did not warn Mercédès that her lover was within three hundred yards of her?

One light alone was visible; and Dantès saw that it came from Mercédès' chamber. Mercédès was the only one awake in the whole settlement. A loud cry could be heard by her. But pride restrained him and he did not utter it. What would his guards think if they heard him shout like a madman?

He remained silent, his eyes fixed upon the light; the boat went on, but the prisoner thought only of Mercédès. An intervening elevation of land hid the light. Dantès turned and perceived that they had got out to sea. While he had been absorbed in thought, they had shipped their oars and hoisted sail; the boat was now moving with the wind.

In spite of his repugnance to address the guards, Dantès turned to the nearest gendarme, and taking his hand,--

"Comrade," said he, "I adjure you, as a Christian and a soldier, to tell me where we are going. I am Captain Dantès, a loyal Frenchman, thought accused of treason; tell me where you are conducting me, and I promise you on my honor I will submit to my fate."

The gendarme looked irresolutely at his companion, who returned for answer a sign that said, "I see no great harm in telling him now," and the gendarme replied,--

"You are a native of Marseilles, and a sailor, and yet you do not know where you are going?"

"On my honor, I have no idea."

"Have you no idea whatever?"

"None at all."

"That is impossible."

"I swear to you it is true. Tell me, I entreat."

"But my orders."

"Your orders do not forbid your telling me what I must know in ten minutes, in half an hour, or an hour. You see I cannot escape, even if I intended."

"Unless you are blind, or have never been outside the harbor, you must know."

"I do not."

"Look round you then." Dantès rose and looked forward, when he saw rise within a hundred yards of him the black and frowning rock on which stands the Chateau d'If. This gloomy fortress, which has for more than three hundred years furnished food for so many wild legends, seemed to Dantès like a scaffold to a malefactor.

"The Chateau d'If?" cried he, "what are we going there for?" The gendarme smiled.

"I am not going there to be imprisoned," said Dantès; "it is only used for political prisoners. I have committed no crime. Are there any magistrates or judges at the Chateau d'If?"

"There are only," said the gendarme, "a governor, a garrison, turnkeys, and good thick walls. Come, come, do not look so astonished, or you will make me think you are laughing at me in return for my good nature." Dantès pressed the gendarme's hand as though he would crush it.

"You think, then," said he, "that I am taken to the Chateau d'If to be imprisoned there?"

"It is probable; but there is no occasion to squeeze so hard."

"Without any inquiry, without any formality?"

"All the formalities have been gone through; the inquiry is already made."

"And so, in spite of M. de Villefort's promises?"

"I do not know what M. de Villefort promised you," said the gendarme, "but I know we are taking you to the Chateau d'If. But what are you doing? Help, comrades, help!"

By a rapid movement, which the gendarme's practiced eye had perceived, Dantès sprang forward to precipitate himself into the sea; but four vigorous arms seized him as his feet quitted the bottom of the boat. He fell back cursing with rage.

"Good!" said the gendarme, placing his knee on his chest; "believe soft-spoken gentlemen again! Harkye, my friend, I have disobeyed my first order, but I will not disobey the second; and if you move, I will blow your brains out." And he levelled his carbine at Dantès, who felt the muzzle against his temple.

For a moment the idea of struggling crossed his mind, and of so ending the unexpected evil that had overtaken him. But he bethought him of M. de Villefort's promise; and, besides, death in a boat from the hand of a gendarme seemed too terrible. He remained motionless, but gnashing his teeth and wringing his hands with fury.

At this moment the boat came to a landing with a violent shock. One of the sailors leaped on shore, a cord creaked as it ran through a pulley, and Dantès guessed they were at the end of the voyage, and that they were mooring the boat.

His guards, taking him by the arms and coat-collar, forced him to rise, and dragged him towards the steps that lead to the gate of the fortress, while the police officer carrying a musket with fixed bayonet followed behind.

Dantès made no resistance; he was like a man in a dream: he saw soldiers drawn up on the embankment; he knew vaguely that he was ascending a flight of steps; he was conscious that he passed through a door, and that the door closed behind him; but all this indistinctly as through a mist. He did not even see the ocean, that terrible barrier against freedom, which the prisoners look upon with utter despair.

They halted for a minute, during which he strove to collect his thoughts. He looked around; he was in a court surrounded by high walls; he heard the measured tread of sentinels, and as they passed before the light he saw the barrels of their muskets shine.

They waited upwards of ten minutes. Certain Dantès could not escape, the gendarmes released him. They seemed awaiting orders. The orders came.

"Where is the prisoner?" said a voice.

"Here," replied the gendarmes.

"Let him follow me; I will take him to his cell."

"Go!" said the gendarmes, thrusting Dantès forward.

The prisoner followed his guide, who led him into a room almost under ground, whose bare and reeking walls seemed as though impregnated with tears; a lamp placed on a stool illumined the apartment faintly, and showed Dantès the features of his conductor, an under-jailer, ill-clothed, and of sullen appearance.

"Here is your chamber for to-night," said he. "It is late, and the governor is asleep. To-morrow, perhaps, he may change you. In the meantime there is bread, water, and fresh straw; and that is all a prisoner can wish for. Goodnight." And before Dantès could open his mouth--before he had noticed where the jailer placed his bread or the water--before he had glanced towards the corner where the straw was, the jailer disappeared, taking with him the lamp and closing the door, leaving stamped upon the prisoner's mind the dim reflection of the dripping walls of his dungeon.

Dantès was alone in darkness and in silence--cold as the shadows that he felt breathe on his burning forehead. With the first dawn of day the jailer returned, with orders to leave Dantès where he was. He found the prisoner in the same position, as if fixed there, his eyes swollen with weeping. He had passed the night standing, and without sleep. The jailer advanced; Dantès appeared not to perceive him. He touched him on the shoulder. Edmond started.

"Have you not slept?" said the jailer.

"I do not know," replied Dantès. The jailer stared.

"Are you hungry?" continued he.

"I do not know."

"Do you wish for anything?"

"I wish to see the governor." The jailer shrugged his shoulders and left the chamber.

Dantès followed him with his eyes, and stretched forth his hands towards the open door; but the door closed. All his emotion then burst forth; he cast himself on the ground, weeping bitterly, and asking himself what crime he had committed that he was thus punished.

The day passed thus; he scarcely tasted food, but walked round and round the cell like a wild beast in its cage. One thought in particular tormented him: namely, that during his journey hither he had sat so still, whereas he might, a dozen times, have plunged into the sea, and, thanks to his powers of swimming, for which he was famous, have gained the shore, concealed himself until the arrival of a Genoese or Spanish vessel, escaped to Spain or Italy, where Mercédès and his father could have joined him. He had no fears as to how he should live--good seamen are welcome everywhere. He spoke Italian like a Tuscan, and Spanish like a Castilian; he would have been free, and happy with Mercédès and his father, whereas he was now confined in the Chateau d'If, that impregnable fortress, ignorant of the future destiny of his father and Mercédès; and all this because he had trusted to Villefort's promise. The thought was maddening, and Dantès threw himself furiously down on his straw. The next morning at the same hour, the jailer came again.

"Well," said the jailer, "are you more reasonable to-day?" Dantès made no reply.

"Come, cheer up; is there anything that I can do for you?"

"I wish to see the governor."

"I have already told you it was impossible."

"Why so?"

"Because it is against prison rules, and prisoners must not even ask for it."

"What is allowed, then?"

"Better fare, if you pay for it, books, and leave to walk about."

"I do not want books, I am satisfied with my food, and do not care to walk about; but I wish to see the governor."

"If you worry me by repeating the same thing, I will not bring you any more to eat."

"Well, then," said Edmond, "if you do not, I shall die of hunger--that is all."

The jailer saw by his tone he would be happy to die; and as every prisoner is worth ten sous a day to his jailer, he replied in a more subdued tone.

"What you ask is impossible; but if you are very well behaved you will be allowed to walk about, and some day you will meet the governor, and if he chooses to reply, that is his affair."

"But," asked Dantès, "how long shall I have to wait?"

"Ah, a month--six months--a year."

"It is too long a time. I wish to see him at once."

"Ah," said the jailer, "do not always brood over what is impossible, or you will be mad in a fortnight."

"You think so?"

"Yes; we have an instance here; it was by always offering a million of francs to the governor for his liberty that an abbé became mad, who was in this chamber before you."

"How long has he left it?"

"Two years."

"Was he liberated, then?"

"No; he was put in a dungeon."

"Listen!" said Dantès. "I am not an abbé, I am not mad; perhaps I shall be, but at present, unfortunately, I am not. I will make you another offer."

"What is that?"

"I do not offer you a million, because I have it not; but I will give you a hundred crowns if, the first time you go to Marseilles, you will seek out a young girl named Mercédès, at the Catalans, and give her two lines from me."

"If I took them, and were detected, I should lose my place, which is worth two thousand francs a year; so that I should be a great fool to run such a risk for three hundred."

"Well," said Dantès, "mark this; if you refuse at least to tell Mercédès I am here, I will some day hide myself behind the door, and when you enter I will dash out your brains with this stool."

"Threats!" cried the jailer, retreating and putting himself on the defensive; "you are certainly going mad. The abbé began like you, and in three days you will be like him, mad enough to tie up; but, fortunately, there are dungeons here." Dantès whirled the stool round his head.

"All right, all right," said the jailer; "all right, since you will have it so. I will send word to the governor."

"Very well," returned Dantès, dropping the stool and sitting on it as if he were in reality mad. The jailer went out, and returned in an instant with a corporal and four soldiers.

"By the governor's orders," said he, "conduct the prisoner to the tier beneath."

"To the dungeon, then," said the corporal.

"Yes; we must put the madman with the madmen." The soldiers seized Dantès, who followed passively.

He descended fifteen steps, and the door of a dungeon was opened, and he was thrust in. The door closed, and Dantès advanced with outstretched hands until he touched the wall; he then sat down in the corner until his eyes became accustomed to the darkness. The jailer was right; Dantès wanted but little of being utterly mad.

警长穿过外客厅的时候对两个宪兵做了一个手势,他们就跟上来了,一个站在唐太斯的右边,一个站在他的左边。一扇通向院子的门已经打开了,他们穿过了条长长的、阴森森的走廊,这条走廊的外貌,即使最大胆的人看了也会不寒而栗的,法院和监狱是相通的,监狱是一座幽暗的大建筑,从它铁格子的窗口望出去可以看见阿库尔教堂钟楼的尖顶。拐了无数的弯,唐太斯终于看见了一扇铁门,警长在门上敲了三下,唐太斯觉得每一个都敲在他的心里似的,门开了,两个宪兵把他轻轻地往前一推,他便迟疑地迈了进去,那门猛地在他的身后关上了。他呼吸到了一种空气,那是一种混浊的略带臭味的空气,他被带到了一个房间里,虽然门窗都装着铁栏杆,但还算是干净些,所以它的外观倒还不使他怎么害怕,再说代理检察官刚才似乎对他充满了关切,他的话还在他的耳边,象是在允诺给他自由似的,唐太斯被关进这个牢房的时候是下午四点钟,我们已经说过,这天是三月一日,所以没呆多久就进入了黑夜。幽暗使他的听觉变得敏锐了起来,每有一个微弱声音传进这个房间,他就赶快站起来到门边,都认为是来释放他的,但声音又渐渐沉寂了,唐太斯只好颓然地坐在了他的木凳子上,最后,大约到了十点左右,唐太斯开始绝望的时候,一把钥匙插入了锁,并转动了一下,门闩嘎嘎地响了几声,那笨重的大铁门便突然打开了,两只火把上的光照亮了整个房间,借着火把的灯光,唐太斯看清了四个宪兵身佩闪光的佩刀和马枪,他迎上前去,但一看到这些新增的士兵便又停下步来。

“你们是来接我的吗?”他问。

“是的。”一个士兵回答。

“是奉了代理检察官的命令吗?”

“我想是吧。”

“那好。”

即然相信他们是代理检察官派来的,不幸的唐太斯便打消了一切疑虑开了门。他镇定地迈步向前走去,自动地走在了宪兵的中间。门口有一辆马车车夫坐在车座上,他的身后有一位下级检察官。

“这辆马车是给我坐的吗?”唐太斯问。

“是给你坐的。”一个宪兵回答。

唐太斯想说什么,但觉得后边有人推了他一下,他既无力也无心作出什么拒绝,就登上了踏板,立刻被夹在了两个宪兵之间,其余两个在对面的位置上坐了下来,于是马车轮子开始在石路上笨重地滚动起来。

犯人看了看车窗,车窗也是钉着栏杆的。他虽然已从牢里出来,但现在正在被送到一个他所不知道的地方去。通过车窗和栏杆,唐太斯看到他们正经过凯塞立街。沿着劳伦码头和塔拉密司街向港口方向驶去,不久,他又觉得灯塔上的光穿过窗上的栏杆,照到了他的身上。

马车停了下来,那个警官下了车向卫兵室走去,不久,里面出来了十几个卫兵,排起队来,借着码头的灯光,唐太斯看到了他们的毛瑟枪在闪光。

“难道他们是为了我吗?”他想。

警官打开车门,他虽然什么也没说,但唐太斯的疑问已经得到了答复——因为他看见了两排士兵夹道排成了一条甬道,从马车直排到码头。坐在他对面的两个宪兵先下来然后命令他下了车,左右两边的宪兵跟在他的后面。他们向一艘小船走去,那条小船是一个海关关员的,用一条铁链拴在码头旁边。

士兵们都带着一种惊奇的神色看着唐太斯。刹那间,他已经被士兵们夹持着坐在船尾,警官刚坐在船头,船只一篙就被撑离了岸,四个健壮的桨手划着它迅速地向皮隆方向驶去。船上喊了一声,封锁港口的铁链就垂了下来。转眼,他们已经到了港口外面。

犯人一到大海上最初是很高兴,他深深地吸了一口新鲜空气,——空气是自由的,他感到了一种舒畅,但不久他就叹了一口气,因为他正在从瑞瑟夫酒家经过,这天早上他还在那儿,还是那样地快乐,而现在,从那敞开的窗子里,传来了他人在跳舞,在欢笑,在喧哗的声音。唐太斯双手合在胸前,仰面朝天祈祷起来。

小船继续前进着,他们已经过了穆德峡,现在已经到了灯塔前面,正要绕过炮台。唐太斯对这一条航线感到有些不理解。

“你们要把我带到那里去?”他问。

“待一会你就知道了。”

“但是——”

“我们是奉命,不得向你做任何解释。”

唐太斯知道去向奉命不得作答的下属提出问题是毫无意义的举动,也就沉没了。

这时,他的脑子里冒出了一些奇怪的念头,他们所乘的这只小船是不能做长途航行的,港口外面又没有大帆船停泊在那里;他想,他们或许要在某个很偏僻的地方放他走,他没有被绑起来,他们也丝毫没有给他上手铐的意图,这似乎是个好兆头,而且,那位很仁慈地对待他的代理法官不是告诉过他,说是要他不提到诺瓦蒂埃这个可怕的名子,他就什么也不说了,也不必害怕,代理法官不是还当着他的面把那封致命的信毁了吗,那攻击他的唯一证据也没有了,于是,他就一言不发地等着,努力在黑暗中看清航向。

他们已经过了兰顿纽岛,那儿也有一座灯塔,立在他们右边,现在已正对着迦太罗尼亚人村的海面上,犯人更加睁大了眼睛,他好象在沙滩上隐隐约约地辨认女人的身影,因为美塞苔丝就在那儿。她怎么会不预感到她的爱人就在她的身边呢?

有一处灯光还隐隐约约可辨,唐太斯认出那是美塞苔丝房间,在那个小小的村落里,只有美塞苔丝没睡,他真想大声喊出来让她听到自己的声音,但他没有喊,因为如果宪兵们听到他象一个疯子似的大声喊叫起来,他们会怎么想呢。

他依旧一言不发,但眼睛盯在那灯光上,小船继续前进着,他在思念着美塞苔丝。一片隆起的高地挡住了那灯光。唐太斯转过头来,发现他们已经划到了海上,在他沉思的时,他们早已经扯起了风帆。

唐太斯虽然极不愿意再提出疑问,但他还是禁不住转向靠近他的那个宪兵,抓住了他的一只手。

“朋友,我以一个基督教徒和水手的身份请求您,请您告诉我,我们究竟到那里去?我是唐太斯船长,一个忠实的法国人,有人诬告我是叛徒,请你告诉我你们究竟要押我到什么地方去,我以我的人格向你保证,我一定听天由命。”

那宪兵迟疑不决地看着他的同伴,他的同伴长叹一声,象是说告诉他也无妨。于是那宪兵回答说:“你是马赛本地人,又是个水手,怎么会不知道你在往什么地方去?”

“凭良心说,我一点也不知道。”

“那是不可能的。”

“我向你们发誓,的确如此。告诉我吧,我求您们了。”

“但那命令怎么办呢?”

“那命令并没有阻止你告诉我在十分钟前,半小时,或一小时后我一定会知道的事呀。别让我闷在葫芦里了吧,你看,我把你当成了朋友,我又不想反抗逃走,而且,我也做不出那样的事,我们究竟是到什么地方?”

“除非你是瞎子或是从来没出过马赛港,不然你一定会知道的。”

“那么你四周看看吧!”

唐太斯站起来向前望去,他看到了一百码远处,在黑森森地岩石上,竖着的是伊夫堡。三百多年来,这座阴森森的监狱曾有过许多可怕的传说,所以当他出现在唐太斯的眼前的时候,他就象一个死囚看见了断头台一样。

“伊夫堡?”他喊到,“我们到那儿去干什么?”

宪兵们只是笑了笑。

“我该不是被扣留到那儿吧?”唐太斯说,“那可是关重要的政治犯的地方。我没有犯罪。伊夫堡有法官吗?”

“那儿,只有一个典狱长,一个卫队,一些囚卒和厚厚的墙。好,好别装出一副吃惊的样子了,不然我真要觉得你在用嘲笑来报答我的好意了。”

“那么,这么说,我也要被关在这里面?”

“或许是吧。不过,你这样紧紧地捏着我的手也无济于事呀。”

“不经过任何手续了吧?”

“一切手继已经办齐啦。”

“这么说,也不用考虑维尔福先生所许的愿了吗?”

“我们不知道维尔福先生曾许过你什么愿。”宪兵说,我知道我们是押你到伊夫监狱去,咦,你想干什么,朋友,抓住他!

宪兵那训练有素的眼睛只看见了急速一动,那是唐太斯正跃身准备投入海里的一瞬间,但是,四条强有力的手臂已经抓住了他,以致他的脚好象给钉在了地板上一样,他疯狂地叫着跌进了船舱里。

好几个宪兵用膝头顶着他的胸膛说“你们水手的信用原来是这样的!别在相信这些甜言蜜语了!听着先生,我的朋友,我已经违背了我的第一个命令,但我不会违背第二个命令,你要是动一动,我马上就叫你的脑袋开花,”他的枪对着了唐太斯,后者觉得枪已顶住了他的头。

这时,他很想故意就此了结那些忽然降临到他头上的恶运,但正因为那恶运是不期而致,唐太斯认为它不会坚持太久的。他记起了维尔福先生的许诺,于是希望又复活了,而且他想,如果这样在船上死在一个宪兵的手里,似乎他觉得太平庸,太丢人的脸了。所以他索性倒在船舱里,怒吼了一声,恨恨地咬着自己的手。

这当儿,一个剧烈的震动使小船全身摇晃了一下,他们已经到达目的地,一个水手跳上岸去,一条铁索拖过滑轮,水手们已经在用缆绳系住小船。

宪兵们抓住他的手臂,硬拉他起身,拖他踏上石级,向城堡走去,那个警长跟在后面,拿着一把上了刺刀的火枪。

唐太斯没做什么反抗,他象是一个梦游的人,看见士兵排在两旁,他也知道在有石级的地方不得不抬脚迈上去,他觉得他过了一道门,那道门在他走过以后就关上了,他看到的所有的东西都象是在雾里似的,一切都是模模糊糊的,他甚至连海都看不见了,——海景在犯人的眼里是这样的令人沮丧。他只能带着痛苦的回忆望着犯人眼前那一片浩瀚的海洋了,知道他再也不能纵横驰骋了。

他们停了一下,乘这个时候也竭力使自己集中一下思想。

他向四周看了看,才发现他正站在一个高墙环绕的的正方形天井里。他听到哨兵们均匀的脚步,当他在灯光前走过时,他看见了他们的毛瑟枪在闪光。

他们等候了有十分钟,。宪兵确信唐太斯不会再逃走了,便松手放开他。他们象在等命令,而命令终于来了。

“犯人在什么地方?”一个声音在问。

“在这儿。”一个宪兵在回答。

“叫他到我这里来,我带他到他自己房间里去。”

“走!”宪兵推着唐太斯说。

犯人跟在他的引路人后面走,后者领他走进了一个几乎埋在地下的房间,光秃秃的墙壁发出难闻的臭味,象是挂满了泪珠;长凳上放着一盏灯,灯光昏暗地照着房间,唐太斯看清了他引路人的面貌,他是一个下级狱卒,衣着十分不整齐,脸色阴沉沉的。

“这是你今天晚上的房间,”他说“时间已经晚了,典狱长先生已经睡了。明天,当他醒来看到关于处置你的命令的时候,他或许给你换地方。现在,这儿有面包,水和稻草。一个犯人所希望的也就是这些了,晚安。”唐太斯还没来得及看到狱卒把面包和水放在什么地方,还不曾向屋角看一看稻草究竟在什么地方,那狱卒已经拿起他的灯走了。

唐太斯,独自站在黑暗和寂静里,他头上的圆形拱顶发出冰冷的寒气,直逼进他火一样燃烧的额头,而他象那拱顶似的一言不发,一动也不动地站着。天一亮,狱卒就带着唐太斯不必调换房间的命令回来了。他发现犯人还站在那个地方,一动也没动,好象钉在那儿似的,他的两眼都哭肿了。他就是这样站了整整一夜的,不曾睡过一会儿。狱卒走向前去,唐太斯象没看见似的,他碰一碰他的肩头,唐太斯吃了一惊。

“你没有睡吗?”狱卒说。

“我不知道。”唐太斯回答。狱卒呆呆地瞪了他一会儿。

“你饿不饿?”他又问。

“我不知道。”

“你想干什么?”

“我想见一见典狱长。”

狱卒耸耸他的肩膀,便离开了房间走了。

唐太斯目送着他向那半开着的门伸出手去,但门又关上了,他的情绪一下子爆发了出来,他跌倒在地上,眼泪夺眶而出,他扪心自问,究竟犯了什么罪,要受到这样的惩罚。

这一天就这样过去了,他没吃一点食物,只是在斗室里走来走去,象一只被困在笼子里的野兽似的,最使他苦恼的是,在这次被押送的途中,他竟这样的平静和呆笨,他本来这次跳海也是成功的,他的游泳技术是素来有名的,他可以游到岸边躲起来,等到热那亚船或西班牙船来的时候,逃到西班牙或意大利去,美塞苔丝和他的父亲可以到那儿去找我团聚,他跟本用不着担心以后的生活,因为他是一个好海员是到处都受人欢迎的,他讲起意大利语来就象托斯卡人一样[意大利的一种民族。],而讲起西班牙语来就象卡斯蒂利亚人[西班牙的一种民族。],那时他就会很幸福的。但是现在他却被囚禁到了伊夫堡这个地方,再也无法知道他父亲和美塞苔丝的命运如何了。而这一切都是因为他轻信了维尔福的许诺,他愈想愈气得发疯,痛恨得在稻草上打滚。第二天早上,狱卒又来了。

“喂,你今天想了通吗,”狱卒说,唐太斯没有回答。

“好了,振作一点,在我力所能及的范围内,你有什么要求没有?”

“我想见典狱长。”

“唉,我已经告你,这是不可能的,”狱卒不耐烦地说。

“为什么不可能?”

“因为这是这里的规定所不允许的。”

“假如你付得起钱,伙食可以好一点,还有书可读,还可以让你散散步。”

“我不要书,我对伙食已经很满意,我也不想什么散步,我只希望见见典狱长。”

“假如你老拿这个问题来麻烦我,我就不给你饭吃啦。”

“嗯,那么,假如你不拿来,我就饿死了,——那也成。”

唐太斯讲这些话的口吻使狱卒相信他的囚犯的确很愿意死,但由于狱卒每天从每一个犯人身上可以赚到十个左右的生活费,他说话时语气又软了下来,“你提的要求是不可能的,但你要是驯驯服服的在这儿,你就可以去散散步,你也许会有一天碰到典狱长,至于他是否能回答你的话,那就看他的了。”

“可是,我要等多久呢?”唐太斯问。

“哦,一个月,——六个月——一年。”

“这太久了,我希望能立刻见到他。”

“噢,别老去想那些不可能的事,否则你不到二个星期就会发疯的!”狱卒说。

“你这样认为吗?”

“是的,就会发疯的,疯子一开始的时候,就是这样的,我们这里就有这样一个例子。有一个神甫先前就在这个牢房里,他也是总跟典狱长说,要求得到自由,他就是这样开始发疯的。”

“他离开这儿多久了?”

“两年了。”

“那么他被释放了吗?”

“没有,他给关到地牢里了。”

“听着,我不是那个神甫,我也没有疯,或许将来,我会疯,但目前还没有,我想跟你另外商量一件事。”

“什么事?”

“我给你一百万法郎,因为我没有那么多钱,假如你为我到马赛去一趟,到迦太罗尼亚人村找一个名叫美塞苔丝的姑娘,替我带两行字,我就给你一百个艾居。”

“要是我听了你的话,信被人搜出来,我这个饭碗就保不住了,我在这里一年可挣一千里弗,为了三百里弗去冒这个险,我不成了个大傻瓜了。”

“好吧,”唐太斯说,“那么你要记住,假如你不肯替我带个口信给美塞苔丝,又不肯告诉她我在这儿,总有一天,我会躲在门背后,当你进来的时候,我就用这张长凳把你的脑壳打碎。”

“你威胁我,!狱卒一面喊,一面退后几步做出防备的样子,“你一定要发疯了,那个也象你这样开头的,三天之内,你就要象他那样穿上一件保险衣[专门用来束缚疯子的一种衣服。]但幸亏这里还有地牢。”

唐太斯抓起长凳子,在他的头上挥舞着。

“好!”狱卒说,“好极了,即然你这样坚持如此,我就去告诉典狱长。”

“这就对了,”唐太斯说完,放下长凳,坐在上面,垂下头,瞪着眼,象是真疯了似的。狱卒出去了,一会儿以后,带着一个伍长和四个兵回来了。

“奉典狱长之命,把犯人带到下面去。”他说。

“是的,我们必须疯子同疯子关在一起。”士兵们过来抓住了唐太斯的胳膊,唐太斯已经陷入一种虚弱的状态,毫不反抗地随着他们去了。

他向下走了十五级楼梯,一间地牢的门已经打开了,他走了进去,嘴里喃喃地说:“他说的不错,疯子应该和疯子在一起。”门关上了,唐太斯伸出双手向前走去,直到他碰到了墙壁,他于是在角落里座了下来,等他的眼睛渐渐习惯于黑暗,那狱卒说的不错,唐太斯离完全发疯已经不远了。


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