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Extrait du chapitre 20 The isle of Monte-Cristo
At the bottom of the stairway Ali received them, conducting them into a
vast chamber that had evidently once possessed great splendor, but
was at present dingy and dust-covered as if it had been long deserted.
It was the apartment in which Monte-Cristo as Sinbad the Sailor had
welcomed the Baron Franz d'Epinay years before, but the crimson brocade,
worked with flowers of gold, though it still lined the chamber as
it did then, was now faded and moth-eaten, while the Turkey carpet
in which the Baron's feet had sunk to the instep, as well as the tapestry
hanging in front of the doors, was in the same condition. The divan
in the recess had been riddled by worms and the silver scabbards of
the stand of Arabian swords that surmounted it were tarnished, the
gems in the handles of the weapons alone retaining their brilliancy.
The once beautiful lamp of Venice glass hanging from the ceiling,
which Ali had filled and lighted, was also tarnished and its delicately
shaped globe was cracked from top to bottom. Monte-Cristo sadly contemplated
this scene of ruin and decay but he contemplated it only for a moment.
Then he turned to Zuleika and said:
"My child, this was once my salon and its beauty riveted the eyes of all who saw it, but I deserted it and time has done its work, aided by neglect - its beauty is no more! Shall I raise another ghost of the past and show you its former occupant?"
"Surely, I see him before me, do I not ?" said Zuleika, gazing tenderly at her father.
"Not as he was, my child, not as he was. Wait here a few moments, with my faithful Ali as your guard and protector, and I will invoke the fantastic apparition!"
As he spoke he raised the faded tapestry, revealing the door leading to the inner apartment; opening this door and closing it behind him he was lost to sight; the tapestry fell back to its place, masking the point of entrance.
After a brief absence he reappeared dressed in his famous Tunisian costume, but that, alas! had also lost its pristine glory like everything else in this abandoned subterranean abode. Still the wrecks were there - the red cap with the long blue silk tassel; the vest of black cloth embroidered with gold; the pantaloons of deep red; the large, full gaiters of the same color, embroidered with gold like the vest; the yellow slippers; the cachemire around his waist, and the small, crooked cangiar passed through his girdle.
Zuleika gazed at him in amazement. In his faded, tarnished, moth-eaten finery he, indeed, looked like a fantastic apparition, a picturesque ghost of the past.
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