with a cart and a couple of oxen our business can be managed. The cart must be tastefully ornamented; and if you and I dress ourselves as Neapolitan reapers, we may get up a striking tableau Jingling the change in his hand he shook his head, after the manner of that splendid picture by Leopold Robert. It would add greatly to the effect if the countess would join us in the costume of a peasant from puzzoli or Sorrento. Our group would then be quite complete, more especially as the countess is quite beautiful enough to represent a madonna."

"Well," said Franz, "this time, Albert, I am bound to give you credit for having hit upon a most capital idea."

"And quite a national one, too," replied Albert with gratified pride. "A mere masque borrowed from our own festivities. Ha, ha, ye Romans! you thought to make us, unhappy strangers, trot at the heels of your processions, like so many lazzaroni, because no carriages or horses are to be had in your beggarly city. But you don't know us; when we can't have one thing we invent another."

"And have you communicated your triumphant idea to anybody?"

"Only to our host. Upon my return home I sent for him, and I then explained to him what I wished to procure. He assured me that nothing would be easier than to furnish all I desired. One thing I was sorry for; when I bade him have the horns of the oxen gilded, he told me there would not be time, as it would require three days to do that; so you see we must do without this little superfluity."

"And where is he now?"


"Our host."

"Gone out in search of our equipage, by to-morrow it might be too late."

"Then he will be able to give us an answer to-night."

"Oh, I expect him every minute." At this instant the door opened, and the head of Signor pastrini appeared. "permesso?" inquired he.

"Certainly-certainly," cried Franz. "Come in, mine host."

"Now, then," asked Albert eagerly, "have you found the desired cart and oxen?"

"Better than that!" replied Signor pastrini, with the air of a man perfectly well satisfied with himself.

"Take care, my worthy host," said Albert, "better is a sure enemy to well."

"Let your excellencies only leave the matter to me," returned Signor pastrini in a tone indicative of unbounded self-confidence.

"But what have you done?" asked Franz. "Speak out, there's a worthy fellow."

"Your excellencies are aware," responded the landlord, swelling with importance, "that the Count of Monte Cristo is living on the same floor with yourselves!"

"I should think we did know it," exclaimed Albert, "since it is owing to that circumstance that we are packed into these small rooms, like two poor students in the back streets of paris."

"When, then, the Count of Monte Cristo, hearing of the dilemma in which you are placed, has sent to offer you seats in his carriage and two places at his windows in the palazzo Rospoli." The friends looked at each other with unutterable surprise.