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Chapter 18: The Treasure.
When Dantes returned next morning to the chamber of his companion in captivity, he found Faria seated and looking composed. In the ray of light which entered by the narrow window of his cell, he held open in his left hand, of which alone, it will be recollected, he retained the use, a sheet of paper, which, from being constantly rolled into a small compass, had the form of a cylinder, and was not easily kept open. He did not speak, but showed the paper to Dantes.
"What is that?" he inquired.
"Look at it," said the abbe with a smile.
"I have looked at it with all possible attention," said Dantes, "and I only see a half-burnt paper, on which are traces of Gothic characters inscribed with a peculiar kind of ink."
"This paper, my friend," said Faria, "I may now avow to you, since I have the proof of your fidelity -- this paper is my treasure, of which, from this day forth, one-half belongs to you."
The sweat started forth on Dantes brow. Until this day and for how long a time! -- he had refrained from talking of the treasure, which had brought upon the abbe the accusation of madness. With his instinctive delicacy Edmond had preferred avoiding any touch on this painful chord, and Faria had been equally silent. He had taken the silence of the old man for a return to reason; and now these few words uttered by Faria, after so painful a crisis, seemed to indicate a serious relapse into mental alienation.
"Your treasure?" stammered Dantes. Faria smiled.
"Yes," said he. "You have, indeed, a noble nature, Edmond, and I see by your paleness and agitation what is passing in your heart at this moment. No, be assured, I am not mad. This treasure exists, Dantes, and if I have not been allowed to possess it, you will. Yes -- you. No one would listen or believe me, because everyone thought me mad; but you, who must know that I am not, listen to me, and believe me so afterwards if you will."
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