Illustration for the novel by A. Dumas "The Count of Monte Cristo"
Among the many novels written by Alexandre Dumas (father), two have the happiest fate. None of the other novels written by this author, even close, could repeat their success and come close to them in circulation and popularity. In the twentieth century, these works were repeatedly filmed, and now even those who were not going to open the book and get acquainted with the original are familiar with their plots.
The first of them, of course, "The Three Musketeers" is one of the main and favorite novels of adolescents in all countries, which, however, evokes a distinct feeling of bewilderment and rejection among intelligently capable adult readers. An article that had a great resonance and was sold on dozens of sites was devoted to his analysis. Four Musketeers, or Why is it Dangerous to Reread Dumas Novels?.
The second of these novels is the famous "The Count of Monte Cristo": exhilarating and exciting история deceit and love, hatred and revenge.
The novel "The Count of Monte Cristo", published in 1853
The first film based on this novel was filmed back in 1908 in the United States. And in the French film versions, cult actors and stars of the first magnitude were filmed - Jean Mare (1954) and Gerard Depardieu (1998).
Jean Mare as Count of Monte Cristo
In the 1998 film, along with Gerard Dererdieu, his son Guillaume also starred, who played the role of young Dantes.
Guillaume Depardieu as young Dantes
This novel has also become a reference book for teenagers of several generations, it is no coincidence that the children's training rifle, created in the middle of the XNUMXth century by the French gunsmith Flaubert (a prototype of small-bore rifles), was called "Montecristo" in Russia.
Rifles "Montecristo" could often be seen in the shooting galleries of pre-revolutionary Russia. But in Europe they were called "flaubers".
In this article, we will not conduct a literary analysis of the novel. Instead, let's talk about real people who became the prototypes of his heroes and characters.
The plot of the novel "The Count of Monte Cristo"
In the novel "The Count of Monte Cristo" by A. Dumas, as in many of his other works, he used a real plot, only significantly romanticizing it: he idealized the main character and deprived his opponents of halftones. The main features of all the characters were exaggerated and brought to the absolute. This, on the one hand, extremely vulgarized the heroes of the novel, who began to resemble walking stereotypes, each endowed with its own function. But, on the other hand, this simplification allowed readers to immediately and clearly define their sympathies and come to terms with the behavior of the main character in the second part of the book. After all, Dumas leaves no shadow of doubt for readers, leading them to the idea: this cruel and truly manic revenge is carried out by an absolutely positive character in relation to absolutely negative ones. The hero's enemies just got what they deserved, the avenger's conscience was absolutely clear and calm.
However, the real story of revenge, which became the basis of Dumas's novel, had a different ending - and for the man who became the prototype of the protagonist, it ended much more terrifying and sadder. If this plot was undertaken to develop not a frivolous novelist who traditionally viewed history as "the nail on which he hangs his picture", but a more serious writer, a tragedy of Shakespearean scale could have turned out. It would be a work about the futility and even perniciousness of rancor and revenge on everyone. But at the same time, fans of fiction would have lost one of the "pearls" of this genre.
The story of Francois Picot
In the novel The Count of Monte Cristo, Dumas creatively reworked one of the chapters of the book Police Without Masks, published in 1838. These were the memoirs of a certain Jacques Pesche, and the story that interested the famous writer was called "Diamond and Vengeance" by Pesce himself.
This story began in 1807, which for some reason did not suit Dumas, who postponed the beginning of the novel to 1814. The writer did not like the profession of the main character either. Deciding that a romantic hero could not be a shoemaker, Dumas, with a light movement of his pen, turned the real Francois Picot into a sailor and ship captain, Edmond Dantes. As for the title, which Dumas "awarded" the hero of his novel, it was derived from the name of a rocky island that the writer saw near the island of Elba.
The enemy of the real Pico, a poor bourgeois Mathieu Lupian, in Dumas's novel became a nobleman and officer Fernand. The name of the Milanese prelate, whom the hero met in prison, Pesce did not name in his memoirs, and A. Dumas, with no hesitation, appointed Dantes 'kind genius' Jose Custodio de Faria, a very real person who himself could become the hero of an adventure novel. We will also talk about him today (a little later).
The fact that Faria did not even think of dying in the Château d'If, but safely got out of this prison and at large wrote one of the first scientific books devoted to hypnotic practices, did not matter to Dumas. He is an "artist" and "so sees", what can you do.
But what actually happened? The real story, as we remember, began in 1807 in Paris, when a shoemaker from the city of Nîmes, François Picot, told his fellow countryman Mathieu Lupian that he was lucky: he would marry Marguerite Vigor, whose parents gave their daughter a very generous dowry. Instead of rejoicing for an old acquaintance, Lupian, who himself had plans for such a rich bride, together with two friends wrote a denunciation to the police. It stated that Pico was a nobleman from the Languedoc and an English agent through whom communication was carried out between various groups of royalists. This case interested the chief of police Lagori, who ordered the arrest of Pico. The unfortunate shoemaker spent 7 years in prison and, of course, did not escape from it, but was simply released after the fall of Napoleon - in 1814. Pico's cellmate was an unnamed priest from Milan, who bequeathed his fortune to him. And in Dumas' novel, as we remember, Dantes received an ancient treasure of Cardinal Cesare Spada (real person), allegedly poisoned by Pope Alexander VI (Borgia).
The money received would have allowed the by no means elderly Pico to start a new life, but he thirsted for revenge and therefore began to look for those responsible for his arrest. His suspicions fell on Lupian, but there was no evidence. Soon Pico was lucky (at least so he thought then): he found an acquaintance of Lupian - a certain Antoine Allu, who at that time was living in Rome. Calling himself Abbot Baldini, he told him that he was acting on the will of the deceased François Picot, according to which the names of the people involved in his arrest should be inscribed on his tombstone. Having received a large diamond as a reward, Allu named the necessary names. And from that moment a chain of tragic events began that led to the death of both Pico and many other people.
The first victim was a jeweler to whom Allu sold the diamond, receiving 60 thousand francs for it. Learning that he was cheap, and the diamond actually costs 120 thousand, Allu robbed and killed the "deceiver". And Pico returned to France and, changing his name to Prospero, took a job in a restaurant owned by Lupian and Margarita Vigoru, who married him.
Soon, Pico began his revenge. One of the informers was found killed, and on the handle of the dagger that became the instrument of the crime, the investigators read the mysterious words: "Number one". Soon the second informer was poisoned, and on the black cloth covering the coffin, someone pinned a note with the words: "Number two".
Now it was Lupian's turn, and it turned out that Pico's revenge was also directed at his family - his wife and children. The son of Lupian and Margarita Vigoru met dashing guys who involved him in thieves' affairs, which pulled him into hard labor for 20 years. One of the daughters of this couple was deceived and dishonored by a fugitive convict who pretended to be a wealthy and influential marquis. After that, the restaurant Lupiana burned down, and Margarita, unable to withstand the troubles that befell her family, died after a serious illness. Her death did not stop Pico, who forced the ex-fiance's other daughter to become his mistress, promising to pay off her father's debts. Instead, Pico killed him. However, Antoine Allu did not believe the story told to him by the false abbot Baldini, and did not let Pico out of sight, hoping to profit well at his expense. After the third murder, he stunned the avenger who imagined himself to be the god of justice with a blow with a baton and kept him locked up in his basement for a long time. So, who did not want to take advantage of the chance for a new life, Pico was again in dungeon - and the new prison was much worse than the first. Allu mocked his prisoner and starved him, extorting more and more sums of money: it got to the point that he began to demand 25 thousand francs for each piece of bread and a sip of water (in Dumas's novel, as you remember, he was "having fun" with Dantes himself was his prisoner). As a result, Pico went mad and only after that Allu was killed, who then moved to England. Here in 1828, at his deathbed confession, he told about everything to a certain Catholic priest, who transferred the information he received to the Parisian police. Allu's story turned out to be reliable and was confirmed by archival documents.
Thus, the state obtained by Pico in real life did not bring him happiness and became the cause of the death of five people, including himself.
The real life of Abbot Faria
Now let's turn to another important character in Dumas's novel, whom the writer called Abbot Faria.
The real Jose Custodio de Faria was born in 1756 in Western India - on the territory of the Portuguese colony of Goa, which is now well known to tourists all over the world. The future abbot came from a Brahmin family, but his father, Cayetano de Faria, converted to Christianity. This allowed him to marry the daughter of a Portuguese official, and their son to receive an excellent education. But the Indian origin and the years spent in this country made themselves felt, and even after receiving the ordination of a priest, Jose continued to practice yoga and Vedic practices.
The de Faria family moved to Europe when José was 15 years old. In Rome, father and son entered the university at the same time: Cayetano graduated from the medical faculty, Jose - theological. After that, they settled well in Lisbon, where the father became the confessor of the Portuguese royal couple, and the son became the priest of the royal church.
Padre Jose Custódio de Faria
However, later they were drawn into a conspiracy to separate Goa from the metropolis, and in 1788 the Faria family was forced to move to France. But even in this country, the views of the younger Faria were considered too radical: the emigrant ended up in the Bastille, where he remained for several months until he was liberated by the insurgent Parisians on July 14, 1789.
José de Faria's imprisonment regime was not very harsh, especially since one of the prison guards turned out to be a great lover of the game of checkers, and the prisoner was a real master. Therefore, the disgraced abbot did not have to be especially bored. It was then that he decided to modernize the rules of this game by increasing the number of fields, and became the inventor of the hundred-cell checkers. And that would have been enough for the name of the abbot to remain in history, but he was by no means going to stop there.
Revolutions open many paths for extraordinary people, and de Faria was no exception. As a victim of the previous regime, he enjoyed the full confidence of the new authorities and even received command of one of the units of the National Guard. But, as you know, revolutions tend to devour their children, and in 1793 the Jacobins who headed the Convention drew attention to the suspicious former abbot. De Faria did not wait for the arrest and fled to the south, where he retired from politics, teaching medicine. It was at this time that he became interested in Franz Mesmer's newfangled doctrine of "animal magnetism", and at the same time began his experiments in the field of hypnosis. However, this extraordinary man could not remain outside politics, and when "villains saved France from fanatics", he joined the organization founded by François Noel Babeuf, which he called "Conspiracy for Equality".
In 1794, after the fall of the Jacobins, power in France fell into the hands of a new government - the Directory, under which a few nouveau riches became the actual masters of the country, and the difference in the standard of living between rich and poor reached unprecedented proportions, far exceeding the social stratification under Louis XVI. All this was accompanied by a decline in morality, and shameless "secular lionesses" like Teresa Talien appeared and began to set the tone in large cities. The Republican troops already had good generals and learned how to fight, the enemy armies now could not threaten the very existence of the French Republic. The main danger for her now was internal instability. On the one hand, some popular generals tried to establish "order in the country", on the other hand, there were quite numerous supporters of the "left" who dreamed of social justice and the establishment of a truly popular power in France. It all ended with the coup d'état of 18 Brumaire in 1799, as a result of which Napoleon Bonaparte came to power. The leaders of the new "left" did not accept this, and branches of the "Conspiracy for Equality" appeared in many French cities, including in Nimes, where José Custodio de Faria was at that time. It was he who headed the city organization "Conspiracy ..." However, "Gracchus" Babeuf was betrayed and executed on May 27, 1797, his comrades-in-arms ended up in prison, or exiled to the southern colonies to hard labor. José de Faria was imprisoned at the Chateau d'If, in which he spent 17 years in solitary confinement.
Gualtiero Tumiati as Faria
Currently, this castle houses a museum. They also show the "cell of Abbot Faria", in which there is a hole in his name. But the size of its hole is such that it is impossible even for a child to crawl through it.
There is also a "Dantes chamber" in this museum, in which there are also two small holes. But, if in the first chamber the hole is located near the floor, then in this one it is under the ceiling.
It must be said that A. Dumas, who personally visited this castle, somewhat exaggerated the colors: If, nevertheless, was built not as a prison, but as a fortress, and many cells had windows from which a beautiful view of the sea, the coast, or the surrounding islands opens. Only a few cells were located in the basement, and it was them that Dumas described in his novel.
Let's say at the same time that Dantes and Faria are not the only "stars" and heroes of the museum of the If castle. Part of the exhibition is dedicated to the rhinoceros, thanks to which, it is believed, the fortress was built. It is said that the ship with the rhinoceros, which the King of Portugal Manuel I presented to Pope Leo X of Rome, stopped in Marseilles so that the French monarch Francis I could admire this unprecedented beast. The island of If, on which this rhino was temporarily landed, seemed to Francis convenient for construction of the fortress, which was erected in 1524-1531.
The image of this rhinoceros has been preserved in A. Durer's engraving.
But back to Faria, who was released at the same time as Pico, after the fall of Napoleon in 1814. With the unfortunate shoemaker, who became the prototype of another hero of Dumas's novel, he not only did not know, but did not even suspect of his existence. In general, these were personalities of different scales and different views, they could hardly be interesting to each other.
Having found freedom, Pico began his maniacal revenge, and Faria returned to Paris, where at 49 rue Clichy he opened "magnetic classes", which quickly became very popular. José de Faria conducted very successful hypnosis sessions in which the objects of his experiments were not only people (both adults and children), but even pets. In doing so, he personally developed two innovative methods of suggestion, which received his name and are described in all textbooks on psychotherapy. The first of these techniques prescribes to look the patient in the eyes for a long time and without blinking, and then give the command to fall asleep in a confident imperative tone. Using the second technique, the doctor must quickly approach the patient and command him imperiously: "Sleep!" In the city of Panaji, the capital of the Indian state of Goa, you can see a monument on which the local native Jose Custodio de Faria appears exactly in the role of a hypnotist.
Abbot Faria, monument in Panaji, Goa
Faria's activities, as already mentioned, were quite successful, and this caused the envy of colleagues, who began to accuse him of deceiving patients and quackery. On the other hand, representatives of the official church accused him of having connections with the devil and of witchcraft. Fearing being arrested a third time, Faria chose to leave his medical practice and even left Paris out of harm's way. Until his death in 1819, he served as a priest in a church in one of the surrounding villages. However, he did not leave his scientific work: he wrote the famous book "On the Cause of Lucid Sleep, or A Study of the Nature of Man, Written by Abbot Faria, Brahmin, Doctor of Theology."