Nothing more simple

“Nothing more simple,” returned the count. “I had known the famous Vampa for more than ten years. When he was quite a child, and only a shepherd, I gave him a few gold pieces for showing me my way, and he, in order to repay me, gave me a poniard, the hilt of which he had carved with his own hand, and which you may have seen in my collection of arms. In after years, whether he had forgotten this interchange of presents, which ought to have cemented our friendship, or whether he did not recollect me, he sought to take me, but, on the contrary, it was I who captured him and a dozen of his band. I might have handed him over to Roman justice, which is somewhat expeditious, and which would have been particularly so with him; but I did nothing of the sort—I suffered him and his band to depart.”

“With the condition that they should sin no more,” said Beauchamp, laughing. “I see they kept their promise.”

“No, monsieur,” returned Monte Cristo “upon the simple condition that they should respect myself and my friends. Perhaps what I am about to say may seem strange to you, who are socialists, and vaunt humanity and your duty to your neighbor, but I never seek to protect a society which does not protect me, and which I will even say, generally occupies itself about me only to injure me; and thus by giving them a low place in my esteem, and preserving a neutrality towards them, it is society and my neighbor who are indebted to me.”

“Bravo,” cried Chateau-Renaud; “you are the first man I ever met sufficiently courageous to preach egotism. Bravo, count, bravo!”

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

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2 Responses

  1. I have this sitting on my to-read pile. Is the rest of it as good as this?

  2. No. There is too much of Edmond Dantes (The Count of Monte Cristo) believing that he is the agent of providence. But it is still good enough to read. So is the series of novels that starts with The Three Musketeers. It is a nice window into the ideas and values – particularly honor – of that time. It is definitely more entertaining and even thought provoking than the thrillers or adventure stories of today.

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