Adapted from a work by Alexandre Dumas
Once there was a young man. He was a very talented scientist. Medicine was his passion. He studied cadavers to develop new medicines. He lived in Paris during a difficult time: the French Revolution. People cut off the king’s head. Then, they cut off the aristocrats’ heads. Dukes, barons, princes, and princesses, all aristocrats were executed.
The poor man got cadavers for his experiments, but they had no heads.
One evening, the scientist left his laboratory. He was walking home. Suddenly, he saw a young woman. She was crying. She needed help. She ran to him and said, “Alfred! Help!”
The young man was confused. His name was not “Alfred.” He did not know the mysterious girl.
Then, he saw a group of soldiers. The captain cried, “You! You must go to the police station. You do not have identification papers. “
“Alfred can identify me,” said the girl.
It was obvious that she was in danger. So the young man said, “Oh, yes. My friend… Solange.” He did not know the girl, so he invented a name: Solange.
At that moment, the captain recognized the young man. The captain said, “Ah, you are the doctor at the clinic. I know you. Every day, I bring you the aristocrats after we cut off their heads. You study the cadavers.”
“Yes, Captain! Yes, my name is Alfred. Thank you for the cadavers; it is a great contribution to science. Captain, you work too hard. Please, relax. Let me escort the poor girl home. Then, you can visit the clinic tomorrow. I will have Solange’s papers.”
The captain was satisfied. So, the captain left with the rest of the soldiers.
The young man escorted the beautiful girl home. He said, “What’s your name? “
“Solange,” said the girl.
“No, Solange is not your real name,” said the young man.
The beautiful girl said sadly, “I cannot say my real name. I am in danger.”
She was so beautiful and so sad, that “Alfred” was touched. He smiled and said “Good night, Solange.”
Solange smiled, too. She said “Good night, Alfred.” She did not know his real name, but she knew he was a good man.
The next day, Alfred went back to Solange’s house. He had the false identification papers. Solange smiled and said, “Thank you, Alfred. You are a hero. But there is one problem.”
“What problem?” he asked.
“My father, he has no identification papers. My father and I are aristocrats. If the police find us…
“You will be executed,” said Alfred.
“Yes,” said the girl sadly. Alfred was touched. He understood why the beautiful girl was an aristocrat. She was so elegant. She talked and walked like a princess.
Alfred promised to return the next day. “I will have the papers for your father. I promise,” he said.
“Then, I promise eternal loyalty,” said Solange. She smiled at Alfred.
The next day, Alfred presented the papers to Solange. She was so touched, but she was nervous. She said, “Alfred, you saved my life, and now you saved my father’s life! But it’s dangerous. The police may stop you. You’d be executed with my father and me.”
“I must help you. You are in danger,” said Alfred.
“Why are you so generous?” asked Solange.
“Because I love you,” said Alfred.
The beautiful girl smiled. She said softly, “I love you, too.”
Immediately, Alfred got to work. He made a plan. France was too dangerous. Solange and her father had to go to Italy. Alfred explained, “I will stay in France. One person traveling is not suspicious. Two is more suspicious. Three travelers is very, very suspicious.”
Solange was sad. She wanted to stay with Alfred. She loved Alfred.
Finally, the day arrived to go to Italy. But Solange refused to go.
”It’s dangerous. Please, go,” said Alfred.
“No, two travelers are more suspicious. Papa can go alone. It is less dangerous. Besides, I love you, Alfred. I will stay with you,” said Solange.
So Solange’s father traveled alone. He promised to send a letter from Italy.
The days pass. Every day, Solange cried for her father. He was in danger, and she had no idea if her father was in Italy… or dead.
One day, the letter finally arrived. Solange opened the letter with joy! The letter said her father was finally in Italy.
Then, Solange noticed something suspicious. The envelope was torn. “Who opened the letter?” she thought. Solange thought about going to Alfred… but he was at work.
Alfred was at his clinic at 8:00. He worked and worked, but he was nervous. He had a bad feeling.
At 6:00 in the evening, the police arrived. They had many body bags. In the bags, there were many dead bodies and heads. Alfred said “thank you” and closed the door. He was alone in the clinic.
Alfred continued his work. Suddenly he heard: “Alfred, Alfred!”
Solange is the only person who calls him Alfred. This is not his real name.
“Alfred, Alfred!” the voice repeated. The voice is not far away, not in the distance. The voice was coming from the clinic. Yet, Alfred was alone.
Alfred searched frantically. “Solange – where are you?” he said.
The voice was coming from a body bag. It was Solange’s voice. Alfred’s hands were shaking. Alfred opened the bag. “This is not real,” he thought.
Inside, he saw a head. It’s Solange’s head. That day, she was arrested and executed. The police intercepted her father’s letter.
Alfred cried “SOLANGE!” Solange’s head turned to Alfred. She was crying. She said “Alfred, I love you.” Then she closed her eyes. She was dead.