The Count of Monte Cristo

Summary

The Original: The Count of Monte Cristo

Author: Alexandre Dumas

Original Time of Plot: 1810 - 1835

The Plot:

Upon returning to port, Edmond Dantès, the ship’s first mate, informs M. Morrel, the ship’s owner, that the ship’s captain, M. Leclère, died from a brain fever during the return voyage. M. Morrel expresses his appreciation for the manner in which Dantès capably took over the ship for its safe return, and the two are obviously fond of one another. Dantès immediately expresses his desire to see his father, with whom he is very close, and then to see his Catalan fiancée Mercédès. He asks for a few days’ leave to be married and then to go to Paris, which Morrel grants. Danglars, the ship’s Supercargo, attempts to arouse Morrel’s suspicions regarding the ship’s unplanned landing at the Island of Elba, where the deposed Emperor Napoleon has recently been exiled, however, Morrel trusts Dantès and believes that he would make a capable captain. Danglars mentions that Leclère gave Dantès two mysterious packages before dying. When asked, Dantès replies to Morrel that he does not have a letter for him from Leclère. Trusting Dantès, Morrel tells him that he plans to make him the new captain of the Pharaon. Morrel then asks Dantès whether he likes Danglars and whether, as captain, he would like to see Danglars remain as the Supercargo. Dantès admits that while he feels Danglars does not particularly like him, "I shall always have the greatest respect for those who possess the owners’ confidence." Dantès goes ashore happy and excited to see his father and fiancée.

Dantès leaves Danglars steaming with hatred and arrives at his father’s small room. His father is delighted to see his son’s return and the two trade affectionate words. Dantès tells his father the good news that he shall probably be the next captain of the Pharaon. Edmond notices that his father does not appear well, and when he searches quickly for some wine, his father admits that there is no wine or food. His father confesses that Edmond had left Marseilles with an outstanding debt of 140 francs to their neighbor, Caderousse. Caderousse had told the elder Dantès that if he did not pay on behalf of Edmond, that he would go to Edmond’s employer for the money. Rather than risk his son’s embarrassment, the elder Dantès had paid Caderousse, and had lived on only 60 francs for the past three months. Edmond feels terrible and throws a dozen gold pieces onto the table, promising to find a servant for his father when he next leaves. Caderousse then enters and praises Dantès’ safe return, of which he has just heard from his friend Danglars. While civil, Dantès cannot help but ill-conceal his coldness to Caderousse, particularly when Caderousse looks greedily at the money on the table. When Dantès mentions he will go to see his fiancée Mercédès, Caderousse implies that she has not lacked for admirers in Edmond’s absence. Caderousse rejoins Danglars downstairs and Danglars immediately asks Caderousse whether Dantès alluded to any hope of becoming captain of the Pharaon. When Caderousse states that he has, Danglars replies "Pooh! He is not one yet...If we choose he will remain what he is; and perhaps become even less than he is." When Caderousse asks him what he means by this, Danglars refuses to elaborate. When Danglars asks Caderousse about Mercédès, Caderousse tells him that she has frequently been seen accompanied by a tall, strapping black-eyed Catalan whom she calls cousin. The two decide to follow Dantès and stop for some wine at a small shop while they wait for news.

Guests are gathered at a small restaurant outside of Marseilles for a feast in honor of Dantès and Mercédès’ wedding. M. Morrel’s presence at the feast signals to all present that Dantès will surely be the next captain of the Pharaon. Danglars notes that Fernand appears nervous, glancing continuously in the direction of Marseilles in anticipation. Dantès remarks to his friends that his great happiness makes him almost nervous, he is unworthy of such honor and happiness. Dantès surprises the guests by announcing that, thanks to M. Morrel and the fact that Mercédès has no fortune to require settlement, they have received permission from the Mayor of Marseilles to waive the usual delays and the two will be married within an hour and a half. Dantès continues to say that the following he day he will go to Paris and should return in 8 days. Caderousse remarks to Danglars that it would have been a shame if, given Dantès’ happiness, they had played the trick discussed yesterday on him. Danglars replies that certainly no harm was meant, all the while speaking of Dantès in generous terms and even referring to him as "my future captain". As Dantès and Mercédès make their way to the city hall, the entire party is stopped by soldiers and the magistrate of Marseilles, who is there to arrest Dantès, for what reason he cannot say. Caderousse realizes what has happened and tells Danglars that he and Fernand will receive double evil in return for their actions, while Danglars protests his innocence, reminding Caderousse that he had thrown the letter away. Morrel follows the magistrate and Dantès, hoping to learn more, returning to report that Dantès has been arrested for being an agent of the Bonapartiste faction. Caderousse tells Danglars that he is now sure of his treachery, and that he will tell everyone. Danglars pointedly tells Caderousse that Dantès may indeed be guilty of the crime, considering that their vessel did touch down at Elba on the return voyage, and that Dantès did have a letter to take to Paris. Caderousse agrees, temporarily, to be cautious and await word on Dantès’ guilt. Morrel asks Danglars whether he thinks Dantès could be guilty of such a crime, and Danglars tells him he did find Dantès’ behavior at Elba very suspicious. Morrel then asks Danglars to assume the post of captain for the Pharaon until Dantès is cleared of guilt, Danglars readily accepts. Morrel leaves, saying he will continue to make appeals on Dantès’ behalf to M. de Villefort, the king’s attorney.

The chapter opens on the marriage feast of M. de Villefort and Renée de Saint-Méran. The assembly of people at the feast are officers and magistrates, all loyal to the King of France, many of whom had resigned their posts under Napoleon. The conversations revolves gleefully around the downfall of Napoleon and Robespierre, another key figure in the Revolution. Renée’s mother, the Marquise de Saint-Méran, remarks that Villefort, while a staunch supporter of the monarchy, must retain some revolutionary blood, considering that his father is such a celebrated Girondin, or revolutionary. The Marquise adds that while her father lost his head for his loyalty to the King, Villefort’s father Noirtier transformed from "Citizen Noirtier" to "Count Noirtier the Senator" after the re-installation of the monarchy, suggesting that his father has been clever enough to survive politically since Napoleon’s exile. Villefort makes a point of disowning his father’s political beliefs, reminding the party that he had gone so far as to even take the name "de Villefort" to distance himself from his infamous father. The Marquise admits that she believes fully in de Villefort’s loyalty to the King, and adds that should he come across anyone conspiring against the government he, in his position as magistrate, must be all the more certain to treat the offence with severity. Villefort agrees that swift punishment of revolutionaries is necessary, and confesses his fear that France has not yet heard the last of Napoleon.

The conversation turns to the marriage of Villefort and Renée, and the Marquis de Saint Méran mentions that the King was most pleased to hear of the match and that he has great faith in Villefort’s ability as the magistrate of Marseilles. Villefort is thrilled to have been mentioned so favorably by the King and expresses his deepest wish to show the King his gratitude. Villefort announces to the assembled party that he must leave since a Bonapartiste conspiracy has just been discovered, reading aloud the letter he has just received (the letter written by Danglars denouncing Dantès as a traitor to the Crown). As the senior Procurer is away at the moment, Villefort, as Deputy Procurer, must try the case.

Villefort discusses the arrest of Dantès briefly with the commissary of police who had just arrested him and Morrel approaches Villefort. Morrel pleads on behalf of Dantès to Villefort, who is obviously an acquaintance. Villefort assures Morrel he will act impartially. Villefort’s first impression of Dantès is favorable, and he recognizes courage, intelligence and honesty in his face. Dantès tells Villefort that he was at the festival of his marriage when he was arrested, a detail which makes Villefort shudder with compassion. Villefort becomes convinced of Dantès’ innocence over the course of the conversation and asks Dantès if he might have any enemies. Dantès says he is unaware of anyone who may be jealous of him and, reading the letter, confesses he does not know who could have written it. Dantès relates the events surrounding Captain Leclère’s death, describing how, shortly before dying, the Captain had charged whim with the delivery of a letter to the grand-marshal at Elba. Villefort tells Dantès that he believes him fully and that it was simple imprudence, which had placed him in his current situation. Villefort tells him he may leave upon handing over the letter. Dantès gives him the letter, addressed to a Monsieur Noirtier. Villefort is struck to learn that the letter is addressed to his father and has difficulty in not appearing visibly shaken at learning the identity of the recipient. Villefort repeatedly asks Dantès if he has shown the letter or mentioned the name of the recipient to anyone - Dantès replies that he has not. Villefort is inwardly concerned that the discovery of the letter will ruin him, as the son of a man obviously engaged in a conspiracy against the King. Villefort announces that rather than release Dantès as he had planned, he must consult the trial justice. Villefort, in an act meant to convince Dantès of his resolution to help him, burns the letter as the only evidence against him. Dantès thanks him and Villefort tells him that he will be detained until the evening, and that for his own sake, he must not mention the letter to anyone. Dantès agrees. When Dantès leaves, Villefort sinks into his seat, musing on how, if the Procurer had been in Marseilles at the time of Dantès arrest, Villefort would have been ruined. Villefort suddenly smiles with an idea and determines to use the situation to his advantage.

Edmond is taken to a cell in the Palais de Justice and waits patiently to be released. When he is let out that evening, he is placed inside a carriage and driven to the port where he is ordered into a boat. His police escorts will not tell him where he is going and Dante’s faith in Villefort’s promise is gradually eroded as the boat sets further out to sea. Dantès is shocked to learn that their destination is the Chateau d’If prison, declaring desperately that there must be a mistake as the Chateau d’If is for political prisoners. Dantès attempts to jump out of the boat but is stopped by his escorts. The boat arrives at the fortress and Dantès is placed in a cell and left for the night. Dantès begins to weep, wondering what he could possibly have done to deserve this punishment. The jailer returns the following day and again Dantès asks to see the governor. The jailer replies that he may have an opportunity to meet the governor in six months to a year. Dantès is inconsolable and his jailer tells him not to brood over what is impossible or he will go mad, much like an Abbé in the prison who is now crazy, evidenced by his constant offers to the governor of a million francs for his liberty. When the jailer refuses to take a message to Mercédès for him, Dantès threatens to kill him with his stool. Dantès is transferred to a dungeon room underground.

Villefort returns to his marriage feast after his interview with Dantès and announces that he must immediately leave for Paris on urgent business, asking to speak to the Marquis de Saint-Méran privately. Villefort tells the Marquis to sell any and all funded property he may have or risk losing it all. In addition, he asks the Marquis for a letter from his friend M. de Salvieux to secure an audience with the King without delay. The Marquis agrees, and as Villefort leaves to say his good-byes to the Marquise and Renée, he is confronted at the door by Mercédès, who has come to inquire about Dantès. Villefort coldly tells her that Dantès is a criminal and that he can do nothing for him. Fernand comforts Mercédès, who is crushed. Morrel, after having futilely asked all influential people in Marseilles for help, has given up. Caderousse is shut up inside his apartment drinking, Dantès’ father is extremely anxious to learn of his son’s fate, and only Danglars is happy.

The chapter opens at the Tuileries in Paris, where King Louis XVIII is listening to the Duke de Blacas, who is telling the King that he fears a storm is brewing against the King in the south of France. M. Dandre, a Baron and the Minister of Police, enters the room and the King asks him to give his report on Napoleon’s activities. The Baron reports that Napoleon is mortally weary, spends all day scratching his skin and appears to be going insane. The Minister also describes reports in which Napoleon dismissed three of his friends to go "serve the good king", and suggests that Napoleon has undergone a conversion. Blacas, still concerned by the few details given to him by Villefort, begs the King to see the messenger. When the King learns the messenger is Villefort, he sees him immediately. Villefort has arrived in Paris after three days of continuous travel, and has intentionally given Blacas few details on the matter, for fear of having him reap the benefits. Villefort informs the King that he has uncovered an intricate plot against the King and that Napoleon is currently arming three ships and will have, by now, left Elba. Villefort states he came by this information as the result of an examination of a Marseilles man that he had been watching for some time. He describes the man (Dantès) as a sailor of turbulent character, suspected of being a Bonapartiste, who had recently been to the Island of Elba. Villefort tells the King that the man had been given an oral message to take to a Bonapartiste in Paris and that he had been unable the extract the name of the intended recipient. The message, says Villefort, was intended to prepare men’s minds for Napoleon’s return and he assures the King that the sailor is now safely in prison. The King expresses his gratitude to Villefort, and Dandre again enters, pale and trembling.

M. Dandre admits to the King that he has just learned that Napoleon landed near Antibes in France three days earlier and is now advancing towards Paris. The King is angry that the information came so late and praises Villefort. Villefort defends Dandre to the King as he does not want to make an enemy of him, particularly since the minister of police might have the opportunity to interrogate Dantès and uncover his own plot. The King asks that the matter of Napoleon be referred to the Minister of War and then asks the baron what he has learned in regards to an affair in the Rue-Saint Jacques - the death of a General Quesnel, loyal to the King, has recently taken place as Quesnel left a Bonapartiste club with another unidentified man. Quesnel had fallen victim to a Bonapartiste ambush. Quesnel’s companion has been well described, but was lost by Quesnel’s valet on the evening he was murdered on the corner of the Rue Coq-Heron, the same street on which Villefort’s father lives. The King continues to say that the assassin will be severely punished. The King then asks Villefort if he has yet seen his father in Paris and Villefort says that he probably will not, a fact that pleases the King. The King then gives his cross of the Legion of Honor to Villefort and Villefort is overcome with pride. Villefort leaves and returns to his hotel intending to leave for Marseilles in two hours. As he eats, his father Noirtier arrives.

After ensuring that they are alone, M. Noirtier expresses his surprise at his son’s presence in Paris so soon, only three days after his wedding. Villefort responds that it is for his father’s sake that he is here, asking his father if he is familiar with the Bonpartist Club in the rue Saint-Jacques, to which Noirtier unashamedly replies that he is its Vice President. Villefort describes his conversation earlier with the King, the letter addressed to Noirtier that brought him to Paris and the King’s suspicion about the murder of General Quesnel. Noirtier states that General Quesnel had been referred to his club as an ally and how, after the club had told him of their plans for Napoleon’s return, Quesnel had declared himself a royalist. They permitted him to leave the club freely after he took an oath of secrecy, but somehow he never returned home. The two men discuss whether Napoleon’s return will be successful, and both men are impressed how informed the other is. Villefort reminds his father that the police have a good description of the man who accompanied General Quesnel on the day of his murder and his father immediately shaves his beard and changes into Villefort’s clothing. Noirtier leaves, telling his son he hopes to return the favor someday. Villefort destroys all of the belongings left by his father and returns to Marseilles.

The Chapter begins with a brief description of the very different situation in which Villefort and other royalists now find themselves when, as Noirtier had predicted, Napoleon resumes power some days later. Villefort retains his post as deputy-procurer, in great part due to his father’s protection and favor. Villefort’s marriage to Rene (sp) is postponed until political conditions are more favorable. Morrel, more powerful under Napoleon, visits Villefort again on behalf of Dantès, hoping particularly that "what was the other day a crime is today a title to favor." Villefort is unreceptive, and tells Morrel that the authorities carried Dantès off a week after his arrest to an unknown place. He states that Dantès will probably be released soon as he had never actually been arrested and that Morrel should petition the Minister for his release. Villefort offers to countersign Morrel’s letter and give it to the Minister himself, the letter describes Dantès’ role as an active agent for Napoleon. Twice more during this period of the Hundred Days of Napoleon’s return Morrel goes to see Villefort and Villefort begs him to be patient. Napoleon is defeated at Waterloo and Villefort uses the letter to the Minister (which he had of course never delivered) to seal Dantès fate as a Napoleonic agent. Villefort is promoted to procurer in Toulouse and marries Rene. Danglars has left Morrel and entered the service of a Spanish merchant. Fernand yielded to conscription under Napoleon and Mercédès initially endures of the pain of losing Dantès with religion. Caderousse also enters the army and Dantès’ father, having lost all hope with Napoleon’s final defeat, dies 5 months after his son’s arrest in Mercédès’ arms. Morrel pays his funeral costs and all outstanding debts, an extremely courageous act given the current political circumstances (assisting the father of a dangerous Bonapartiste).

It is a full year after the restoration of Louis XVIII and Dantès has been imprisoned for a year and a half. The governor visits and inspects the prisons and dungeons with the Inspector of Prisons and finds them horribly disgusting and dark. Referring to Dantès, the governor notes that he is extremely dangerous, having tried to kill the turnkey the year before. The governor and inspector then discuss the imprisoned Abbé, approximately 20 feet away from Dantès who had formerly been a party leader in Italy and who has been in the dungeon since 1811 (about five years) and who is now insane. Dantès pleads with the governor to look into his case and the governor, kindly, promises to do so. The Inspector tells Dantès that M. de Villefort, who originally arrested Dantès, is now at Toulouse. Dantès still expresses trust in Villefort. The governor and Inspector of Prisons discuss the Abbe's crazed claims of possessing an immense treasure and fortune, which he has offered to give to the government over his years there in return for release. The Abbé was born in Rome, and was a secretary of Cardinal Spada for 20 years before being arrested in 1811 for an unknown reason. The Abbé offers the two men 5 million francs for his release as the governor had laughingly predicted. The Abbé is desperate, promising to wait in jail while they find the treasure, but the governor and Inspector refuse to believe him, reasoning if he were really wealthy he never would have been imprisoned in the first place. The Inspector examines Dantès register of arrest, and finds a note left by Villefort calling Dantès a "violent Bonapartiste who took an active part in the return from Elba," who must be watched carefully. Dantès waits in hope for ten months, but when the governor is transferred and the new governor learns numbers instead of names, Dantès becomes number 34.

Having lost much hope, Dantès tries to make the best of the situation by asking for things including pen, paper, cell change or a companion - all are refused. Dantès turns to God, then begins to rage, wondering what he could have done to deserve his situation and swears vengeance. Six years into his imprisonment, Dantès considers suicide and begins to starve himself to death by hiding and disposing of his food. On the fourth day of starving, Edmond hears a neighboring prisoner scratching his way to what Dantès believes is escape. Dantès’ hope is renewed and he begins again to eat, determined to help his neighbor. He first breaks a pitcher in his cell and uses the pieces to remove stones in his cell wall, then graduates to a saucepan holder, regretting not having considered escape seriously before. That night he speaks for the first time to his neighbor, Number 27, who is now very close to Dantès through the wall - the neighbor learns from Dantès that Napoleon has been defeated and admits he has miscalculated the prison in his attempt to escape. Grateful for the company, Dantès is full of renewed hope and solace and is eager to help in the escape, vowing to kill his jailer should he ever discover the hole in the wall behind Dantès’ bed. The next day, prisoner #27 breaks through to Dantès cell.

Dantès is impressed by Number 27, a learned man with a number of homemade and sophisticated tools for his escape. Number 27 is in fact the so-called crazy Abbé Faria, and both he and Dantès discuss the escape situation, which the Abbé finds useless, having spent too much time and effort on the first failed attempt. Dantès, however, is so impressed with the Abbé having plotted an escape over three years that he is filled with hope. Dantès hatches a new plot involving the murder of the sentinel that guards the prison gallery. The Abbé refuses to resort to murder and instead believes they should wait for a more favorable moment. Dantès learns that throughout the Abbe's imprisonment, he has kept himself busy by writing and studying, having made himself pens, ink and paper, which impresses Dantès. The Abbé has spent years writing "A Treatise on the Possibility of General Monarchy in Italy" on his shirts, his references and history having been recalled from memory. The Abbé had memorized some 150 books before his imprisonment and speaks six languages.

The two men go to the Abbe's cell where Dantès is shown the Abbe's method for telling time by the light on the wall. He also sees the Abbe's handcrafted tools and inventions including homemade ink, made with blood and ashes. Dantès explains his history and arrest and the Abbé then walks Dantès through the details leading up to Dantès’ arrest, urging Dantès to think logically when considering the facts of the case. With the Abbe's help, Dantès sees clearly that Fernand, Danglars and Villefort have all benefited by his imprisonment. He learns from the Abbé that Noirtier is Villefort’s father, and Dantès retires to his cell in a state of shock and revelation. Dantès becomes set on vengeance, and although the Abbé is disappointed with Dantès’ resolution for revenge, he agrees to teach Dantès as much as he knows, believing it will take about two years. A year afterwards, the two men plot a new escape and plan to bind and gag the sentinel without killing him. Another 15 months pass and the two prepare to escape when the Abbé suffers a terrible seizure. Directing Dantès to treat him with a red liquid in his cell, he is saved, but remains paralyzed, telling Dantès to escape without him, which Dantès, in his devotion to the Abbé, refuses to do. The Abbé accepts his refusal and the two hide their escape passage. Remarking upon Dantès’ obedience and respect, the Abbé asks Dantès to return the following day as he has something of great importance to tell him.

The Abbé tells Dantès about a great treasure, which had once belong to Caesar Spada, an ancestor of the Cardinal Spada, for whom the Abbé worked. Faria found the directions to the treasure and has painstakingly solved the riddle around the directions to it. Dantès is initially reluctant to believe the story but soon becomes convinced, particularly by the scrap of paper with the directions to the treasure. The Abbé tells Dantès that should the two ever escape the prison, they will share the treasure, but that if Dantès must escape alone, the treasure will be all his. The Abbé assures Dantès that the treasure has no living heirs and should amount to almost 13 million francs. The Abbé had intended to test Dantès’ character before telling him of the treasure, but now considers Dantès a son and trusts Dantès to take them both to the Island should they escape. Dantès is overcome by the gesture.

Recalling the oath of vengeance he has taken on his enemies, Dantès reflects on how much power the money would give him. As Dantès is familiar with the Island of Monte Cristo, the two men draw plans to recover the treasure and Dantès memorizes the directions so that half the letter can be destroyed. Time passes and the Abbe's health does not improve, and he has a third and fatal attack. Despite Dantès attempts to save the Abbé, his worst fears are confirmed when he hears the prison officials pronounce the Abbé officially dead, verified by pressing burning irons to his flesh. The officials place the body in a sack and leave, stating their intent to return later that night to bury the body.

Thinking about his burning desire to escape, live, punish his enemies and reward his friends, Dantès comes up with the plan to remove the Abbé from the sack and place the corpse in his own bed. Dantès gets into the sack, sewing it closed from the inside and bringing a knife. Planning and hoping to escape from the earth after being buried, Dantès realizes that if he cannot overcome the weight of the soil, he will be stifled to death. That night, he is removed from the prison that night by two men, taken outside and, to his surprise, thrown into the sea with a 36 pound shot tied around his feet to weigh him down. Using his knife, Dantès escapes the sinking sack and swims to the Island of Tiboulen in a near-tempest. With 2 or 3 hours to escape until the Abbe's body is discovered and the prison officials begin to search for him, Dantès assumes the identity of one of the sailors in a ship destroyed the night before by the storm. He is rescued by a Genoese ship nearby, and the crew agrees to take him with them when the "Maltese" sailor (Dantès) proves his expertise with ships and the Mediterranean. The ship sets out to Leghorn and the captain notes the alarm gun being fired at the Chateau d’If, signaling the escape of a prisoner. While doubting Dantès’ identity somewhat, the captain is impressed by his abilities. Dantès learns that it is now 1829, fourteen years since his arrest, and calculates that he must now be 33. His thoughts turn to Mercédès and his oath of vengeance upon his three enemies.

Edmond sticks to his story with his new crewmates and upon getting his hair and beard cut for the first time in 14 years, he realizes he is now completely unrecognizable to those who once knew him. Dantès agrees to remain with the smuggling ship for another three months and to wait a little longer for his wealth. One day, upon watching a customs officer die in a skirmish, Dantès feels very little sympathy and realizes his heart has hardened. During one trip, the captain suggests they stop at the island of Monte Cristo, a good opportunity for Dantès.

Arriving at the Island of Monte Cristo at night to rendezvous with another smuggling ship, Dantès waits until the morning to investigate the island under the pretext of hunting goats. Unable to locate the cave, Dantès fakes a fall on the rocks, claiming to be in too much pain to be moved and asks to be left there while the ship completes its work elsewhere (about a week) when he hopes he will feel better. The crew agrees and leaves him with supplies. Dantès immediately approaches a large rock he had earlier identified as being in the correct place on the map.

Using gunpowder to move the large rock, Dantès uncovers a passage with steps leading down into an underground cave. Once inside, Dantès remembers that the treasure is in a "second opening". Dantès identifies a section in the wall, which sounds hollow and removes some stacked stones. Entering the second cave, he digs in the corner where the letter had said the treasure would be. Discovering a large chest with the arms of the Spada family on it, there are three compartments inside: the first filled with gold coins, the second with 1,000 bars of gold and the third with "ten double handfuls" of diamonds, pearls, rubies, etc. Overcome by the treasure and its significance, Dantès counts it, runs madly over the island in glee, and then sleeps.

Filling his pockets with gems and hiding the cave’s entrance, Dantès joins his ship again five days later. When the ship returns to Leghorn, Dantès sells four of his diamonds and then presents a brand new ship to Jacopo, his loyal friend on board the smuggler’s ship, on the condition that Jacopo enquire after a man named Louis Dantès and a young woman named Mercédès in Marseilles. Dantès tells both Jacopo and his ship’s captain that he has recently become sole heir to his uncle’s huge fortune, and leaves the ship giving Jacopo instructions to meet him at the Island of Monte Cristo when he returns from Marseilles. Dantès leaves for Genoa, where he purchases a small yacht with secret compartments to hide his treasure. Dantès meets Jacopo on the Island of Monte Cristo about a week later, and learns that his father died long ago and Mercédès has long since disappeared. The two men leave for Marseilles where Dantès uses an English passport that he has purchased in Leghorn, deciding with all he has learned from the Abbé, (including languages) he can assume any disguise. Seeing a former shipmate from the Pharaon, Dantès becomes convinced in a conversation with him that he is not recognizable. Dantès asks the current tenants if he may see his father’s old room, and learns that Caderousse now keeps a small inn on the road from Bellegarde to Beaucaire. Dantès purchases the house in which his father once lived under his English passport name "Lord Wilmore" for far more than it is worth and pays the current tenants to give him his father’s old apartment, offering them any other in the house. He asks a poor fisherman for information relating to a number of people, and pays him with a new fishing boat in thanks. Dantès then leaves Marseilles, leaving the entire city curious about his identity.

The Inn is run down and dingy and obviously not very profitable, run by Caderousse and his wife, La Carconte. His wife is very ill and they are quite poor. An Italian Abbé arrives at the Inn and asks to see Caderousse. He buys a bottle of Caderousse’s best wine, impressing him. Caderousse describes his wife’s illness, noting that although he is not rich, he is honest, a remark, which interests the Abbé. The Abbé asks Caderousse if he ever knew a sailor named Dantès, to which Caderousse replies that he did, and cries when told by the Abbé that Edmond died a wretched, heartbroken prisoner. The Abbé explains that he was called to see Edmond on his deathbed, and that Dantès asked the Abbé to clear his memory after his death by clearing up the mystery of his arrest. The Abbé has a large diamond worth 50,000 francs given to him by Dantès (ostensibly acquired by Dantès from an English prisoner that he had nursed back to health) to be divided among his four remaining friends (Caderousse, Danglars, Fernand, Mercédès) considering a fifth, Dantès’ father, is dead. Caderousse tells the Abbé that Dantès father died of starvation, a fact that affects the Abbé visibly. In an effort to keep the entire jewel for himself, Caderousse tells the Abbé that he has a story to tell him about Dantès’ "friends".

Caderousse requests that the Abbé not tell anyone that he is telling him this story since the men involved are now rich and powerful. The Abbé learns that following Dantès’ arrest, both M. Morrel and Mercédès tried to obtain details of Dantès’ arrest and leniency from M. de Villefort without success. Dantès’ father had refused to leave his room to live with Mercédès and had slowly sold all his belongings for food until he very behind in rent and died. Caderousse denounces Danglars and Fernand as the men who had reported Dantès as a Bonapartiste. Caderousse insists he was drunk and had not understood what was happening at the time and admits to having later said nothing out of cowardice when threatened by Danglars. The Abbé learns also from Caderousse that M. Morrel had tried to rescue Dantès several times, having even given Dantès’ father money in a red silk purse. Morrel was now living in poverty, having lost five ships in two years and suffering from the bankruptcies of three large banks. Danglars made a fortune while employed in the commissariat of the French army during the war with Spain. He was now married for the second time to the daughter of the King’s chamberlain and had been made a Baron. Fernand was drafted into the army, which he deserted to follow a general who went over to the side of the English. Under the restoration of the monarchy, Fernand’s action was rewarded and he was made a captain during the Spanish War. He had since been made a colonel, received the title of count and was now the Count de Morcerf. While serving in Greece, he supposedly won the favor of Ali Pasha, who left Fernand a large sum of money when he died in the Greek war with Turkey. He was then made a lieutenant general and, like Danglars, now lived in Paris. Mercédès, initially devastated by the loss of Dantès, finally married Fernand and the two had a son named Albert. When Caderousse once traveled to Paris to ask both Danglars and Fernand for money, neither man would see him but Mercédès had slipped him some money. Caderousse did not know what had become of M. de Villefort and the Abbé gives Caderousse the diamond to keep for himself, asking in return only the red silk purse left by Morrel for Dantès’ father. The Abbé leaves, and Caderousse leaves to find a jeweler to verify the worth of the diamond.

The following day, a man appearing to be an Englishman goes to the mayor of Marseilles claiming to be a clerk of the banking house of Thomson & French (one of Morrel’s bankers). The man at the mayor’s knows little about Morrel except that Morrel owes him money and refers him to another creditor, M. de Boville, the inspector of prisons, and the man that once inspected Dantès prison. The Englishman learns from the inspector that Morrel owes M. de Boville 200,000 francs and considers it lost. The Englishman offers to buy the debt, asking in return the particulars of the death of a man named Abbé Faria. He learns that the Abbé died five or six months ago from an attack of catalepsy, which the inspector remembers was accompanied by the attempted escape of Edmond Dantès, who had likely been drowned while impersonating the body of the Abbé. The Englishman is allowed to examine the documents regarding Edmond Dantès and secretly steals Villefort’s accusation against Edmond, pays the inspector 200,000 francs and leaves.

Morrel only has two loyal clerks remaining, one of whom (Emmanuel) is in love with Morrel’s daughter Julie. The other is a servant named Cocles. Morrel has no resources left and no way to pay his bills, due within days. Counting on the successful return of his ship the Pharaon for funds, he is devastated when it is lost in a gale. An Englishman from the banking house of Thomson & French arrives to say Morrel owes them a large sum of money due this month, and Morrel is embarrassed by his inability to pay. Morrel permits his surviving sailors to leave and find another employer. The Englishman gives Morrel a three-month extension to pay the debts and Morrel is grateful. As he leaves, the Englishman whispers to Julie that she will one day receive a letter from Sinbad the Sailor, and that she should do exactly as the letter says. Julie promises to do so, and seeing the surviving sailor who reported the loss of the Pharaon outside, the Englishman then asks to speak to him.

With anther three months to pay his debts and expecting that he will not be able to pay even then, Morrel travels to Paris to ask Danglars for money since it was due to Morrel’s recommendation that Danglars entered the service of the Spanish banker under whom he became rich. Danglars refuses to give him money. Anticipating Morrel’s complete ruin, his family sends for Maximilian, Morrel’s son, from the army for moral support. On the day the money is due, Morrel is planning suicide when a man appears at the door giving Julie a note signed by Sinbad the Sailor which directs her to an apartment where she finds a red silk purse that she must give to her father before 11:00 am. Maximilien arrives and discovers his father’s plans for suicide, which he regretfully accepts given his father’s desperate situation. Julie arrives in time to give her father the purse that contains a receipt for the owed sum and a large diamond with a note for "Julie’s dowry". Emmanuel then tells them that a brand new, fully-equipped ship named "the Pharaon" has just entered Marseilles’ harbor, an exact duplicate of the original and manned by all Morrel’s former sailors. The man responsible for this remains a secret to the family and leaves Marseilles saying to himself and in regards to Morrel: "Be happy, noble heart, be blessed for all the good thou hast done and wilt do hereafter, and let my gratitude remain in obscurity like your good deeds". The man then bids farewell to all kindness, humanity and gratitude, swearing instead only vengeance and punishment.

The year is now 1838 and the Vicomte Albert de Morcerf is vacationing in Italy with his friend, the Baron Franz d’Epinay, who has been living in Italy for the last three or four years. The two are planning a short vacation to Rome for the Carnival. Agreeing to meet Albert in Florence in a few days, Franz takes a short hunting trip to the Island of Monte Cristo, known as a refuge for smugglers and bandits. Meeting smugglers on the island, Franz agrees to have supper with their chief, who, upon learning Franz is French, wishes to receive him into his home provided he arrives blindfolded. Franz is stunned by the Chief’s magnificent underground cave palace and the Chief himself, described as a man of about 38-40 years of age, dressed in the Eastern fashion and with very pale skin. The Chief asks to be called "Sinbad the Sailor". Franz is amazed by everything about the man and his cave including the devotion of his servant, whose life he once saved. Franz gets the impression that Sinbad the Sailor has suffered much and appears focused on ideas of justice and revenge, despite his otherwise general kindness. The two have some hashish, after which Franz passes out, completely entranced by Sinbad and the palace.

Franz wakes in the morning to find Sinbad gone and himself on a beach with the sailors who had brought him to the island the night before. He futilely searches for the entrance to the magnificent cave. Franz leaves the island and proceeds to Florence to meet Albert and then the two travel to Rome for the Carnival. The two are told by the hotel’s owner, Signor Pastrini, that all carriages in the city have already been rented well in advance for the carnival.

The following day, Albert and Franz take the carriage that they are able to hire for the first four days of their trip and spend the day at Saint Peter’s Cathedral. Intending to visit the Colosseum in the evening, the two are warned by Signor Pastrini that visiting the Colosseum at night is dangerous as they may be robbed or kidnapped by the famous bandit, Luigi Vampa. As Albert is unwilling to believe in the existence of Italian bandits, Signor Pastrini tells them the story of Luigi Vampa: As a child, Luigi Vampa was a shepherd who learned to read and write and shoot at an early age, and who loved a young girl named Teresa, also a shepherd. The two grew and agreed to marry, and Luigi one day helped a man named Sinbad the Sailor (Franz is shaken by this name and story) who was lost in the forest. Upon discovering Teresa kidnapped one day, Vampa immediately shot and killed her abductor, who turned out to be the leader of the nearby troupe of bandits. Luigi and Teresa proceeded to find the group of bandits, and Luigi became its new leader. At the end of the story, Albert remains unconvinced of Vampa’s existence, and he and Albert proceed to the Colosseum.

Arriving at the Colosseum, Albert and Franz split up and Franz overhears a private conversation between two men. The two men discuss the impending execution of a man named Peppino who, as his crime, had helped the first man’s "Band" by supplying them with provisions. The second man, well dressed, states he will pay a large sum for Peppino’s reprieve or provide a means of helping him to escape prison. The second man tells the first that he will know whether he has succeeded in helping Peppino by displaying yellow cloth on the windows of a café overlooking the Carnival streets on the day of the execution. The first man professes his devotion to the second man and appreciates the promise, promising in return to grant him absolute obedience should the second man succeed. When the two men part, Franz recognizes the second and well-dressed man to be Sinbad the Sailor. The next evening, Franz and Albert go to the opera where the two meet a Countess friend of Franz’. The three remark on the beauty of a woman sitting in the audience with a man only Franz recognizes as Sinbad the Sailor, although he does not tell the others. Having an unnatural fear of Sinbad’s appearance, the Countess asks Franz to escort her home. Albert sees "Sinbad" and his companion speaking in a Romaic dialect, confirming Franz’ suspicion that Sinbad is also the man that he met at the Island of Monte Cristo and the man that he overheard at the Colosseum. Albert and Franz are informed by Signor Pastrini that another guest at the hotel, the Count of Monte Cristo, has offered them a carriage to use and two windows overlooking the Carnival the next day. The next day, Franz notes without surprise Peppino’s name on a list of men to be executed, his crime being an accomplice to the bandit Luigi Vampa. The two men go to see the Count to thank him for his offers and Franz is surprised to learn that the Count of Monte Cristo is the man he knows as Sinbad the Sailor.

Neither the Count nor Franz show any signs of recognizing each other. The men discuss the two scheduled executions of the day, and the Count says he understands that the one named Peppino has been spared. After a conversation during which the Count expresses a great deal of knowledge regarding methods of execution, the three leave to witness the executions from the Count’s windows. Franz sees the yellow cloth mentioned between the two men at the Colosseum hanging on the Count’s windows. Peppino is pardoned just before his execution is to take place.

The Count is the only one of the three men not horrified by the execution of the man who was beaten to death, and afterwards they proceed to enjoy the carnival in the streets of Rome. That night, the Count gives Albert and Franz his carriage and seats at the theater. Throughout the Carnival, Albert flirts with a masked woman, with whom he hopes to have an adventurous love affair. He receives a note from her, asking him to meet her in the evening. The masked woman approaches Albert in the middle of a crowd, and the two leave together.

Franz receives a letter from Albert via a messenger advising him that he has been kidnapped and immediately needs Franz to seek the letter of credit from his pocketbook and withdraw 4,000 piastres. The message includes a note from Luigi Vampa stating that if the money is not received by 6 a.m. the following day, Albert will be killed. Finding that he and Albert combined do not have 4,000 piastres, Franz asks the Count of Monte Cristo for help, who offers him the money he needs. Franz presses further, implying he knows of the close relationship between the Count and Luigi Vampa. The Count is surprised, but does not ask how Franz knows of his involvement in the rescue of Peppino and agrees to go see Vampa with Franz. The Count has the messenger who delivered the message to Franz come to his room and it is Peppino. Peppino explains that Albert was targeted because he had been flirting with Vampa’s girlfriend, Teresa, during the Carnival. The three men go to the Catacombs of Saint Sebastian where Vampa’s band of bandits has a hidden home. Vampa immediately releases Albert when he learns that Albert is a friend of the Count’s and is anxious to repair the damage. The three leave and Albert proceeds immediately to a ball to which they had been invited for the evening.

The following day, Albert repeats his thanks to the Count and promises to render him whatever service he can in return for his help. The Count immediately replies that as he has never been to Paris, he would appreciate it if Albert could introduce him to Parisian society when he moves there in about three months. Albert readily agrees and leaves the following day for Paris. Franz expresses his nervousness regarding the Count’s planned trip to Paris, telling Albert the story of his first meeting with the Count at the Island of Monte Cristo and then about the conversation he overheard at the Colosseum. Albert is not at all concerned as he is still very impressed by the Count’s money, resourcefulness, manners and all the things the Count had given him and Franz.

Three months later on the appointed date of the Count’s arrival, Albert has prepared his obviously beautiful home, which he shares with his parents, for the arrival of the Count and some friends. M. Lucien Debray, a private secretary to the Minister of the Interior arrives, and he and Albert discuss how M. Danglars made a million francs the day before as a result of receiving timely political intelligence. Another friend, M. Beauchamp, an editor of a newspaper critical of the government, arrives and the men await the Count and a fourth guest for breakfast.

The men discuss politics, and Albert mentions that he is supposed to marry Eugénie Danglars, the daughter of Baron Danglars, a very rich and politically influential man. M. Château-Renaud and Maximilien Morrel arrive, and Château-Renaud introduces Morrel as a captain who recently saved his life from an Arab during a trip to Africa. Morrel modestly notes that the event occurred on September 5 th , the anniversary of his father also being saved by a man. Albert tells the men of his meeting the Count of Monte Cristo, who saved his life three months earlier. Albert describes the Count’s riches and lifestyle as similar to that in the Arabian Nights, to which Morrel mentions that he has heard of such a man from an old sailor. The Count arrives and slightly falters when he sees Morrel. The men are impressed by the Count’s manners and strange customs, and note particularly a large emerald that contains pills (a mixture of opium and hashish) which the Count uses to sleep at any time. Regarding Albert’s kidnapping, the Count only says that he has known Luigi Vampa since he was a child, having met him when he was once a shepherd and the Count had become lost. Some years afterward, Vampa’s band attempted to kidnap the Count and was surprised when the Count captured his band instead and let them go. Albert repeats his promise to help the Count while he is in Paris, and the Count appears interested to learn that Albert may soon be marrying Eugénie Danglars. The Count mentions that he will be banking with Danglars via Thomson & French, a name which surprises Morrel, and who then asks the Count to assist him in some research into a kind deed that the house of Thomson & French once rendered his family but now denies having rendered. The Count learns that Morrel’s sister Julie has been happily married in Paris for the last nine years to Emmanuel. The Count leaves for his newly purchased house in Paris. Debray, Beauchamp, Château-Renaud and Morrel leave Albert with the Count.

The Count tours Albert’s apartment, which is separated from that of his parents, particularly noticing a painting of Albert’s mother, which makes him pale. Albert introduces the Count to his father, the Count of Morcerf (Fernand), who thanks the Count for saving his son. The Count of Morcerf left the army to join politics some years before. Albert’s mother Mercédès is introduced to the Count and appears to be struck by his appearance. Albert’s father leaves for the government chamber and when the Count also leaves, Albert notices his mother appears very ill. Mercédès asks her son if Fernand noticed how nervous she was. Mercédès asks her son a number of questions regarding the Count, who replies that his title (Count) was purchased. Mercédès warns her son to be careful of the Count and asks whether Albert believes the Count is as he appears.

The Count of Monte Cristo arrives at his new home in Paris and meets M. Bertuccio, his hired steward, who informs him that his new cards are ready, the first having already been delivered to Baron Danglars as requested. A notary is waiting with a deed to a house being purchased by the Count just outside of Paris at Auteuil. Bertuccio appears nervous at the mention of Auteuil and immediately offers to find the Count another house when the Count appears to be disappointed by the fact that his "country house" is closer to the city than he had imagined. The Count decides to keep the house and later verifies the information on the deed by comparing its details to some of his other documents, and is evidently pleased to have purchased the "correct" house. He asks a reluctant but obedient Bertuccio to accompany him to the new house in Auteuil.

Arriving at the house, the Count is told by the resident caretaker that his employer, the Marquis of Saint-Méran (see chapter 6) had rarely used the house in the past five years. The Count asks about the Saint-Mérans, learning that the family were followers of the Bourbon monarchy and that the couple’s only daughter had married M. de Villefort, the King’s attorney at Nimes and then at Versailles. Villefort’s wife had died some 21 years ago. Bertuccio is very nervous when the Count insists Bertuccio accompany him on a tour of the house and then collapses in fear, admitting that he knows the house. Bertuccio had been recommended to the Count by the Abbé Busoni who was, according to Bertuccio, the only man he had ever told his story to while he was in prison. The Count demands that Bertuccio tell him the story and Bertuccio finally agrees, telling the Count that in pursuing a vendetta, he had killed a man at the Auteuil house. Bertuccio tells the Count that M. de Villefort was a villain and that he once had proof of this, which interests the Count as he prepares to listen.

Bertuccio, a Corsican raised by his older brother, one day received a letter from his brother asking him to leave some money for him with an innkeeper at Nimes. Upon arriving at the Inn, he learned that his brother, who had joined Napoleon’s army during the 100 days of Napoleon’s return, had been assassinated the previous night by royalists. Bertuccio had gone to de Villefort, the King’s attorney at Nimes, but Villefort refused to either search for the killer or help to secure a pension for his brother’s widow because they were Corsicans and Bonapartists. Outraged by his attitude, Bertuccio swore a vendetta against Villefort. Afraid, Villefort left Nimes for Versailles where Bertuccio tracked him to the house in Auteuil, owned but rarely used by his wife’s father. Villefort met a young and pregnant woman at the house, and one night Bertuccio spies Villefort burying something near the garden. Bertuccio stabbed Villefort and, believing him dead, dug up the box that Villefort had buried, finding an almost dead baby inside. Bertuccio had left the baby with an asylum in Paris for some time until he and his sister-in-law had enough money to reclaim it. The child, named Benedetto, turned out to be very evil and was a notorious thief. During a trip, Bertuccio stopped at the Inn of a friend, Gaspard Caderousse, for shelter. As Caderousse was with someone, Bertuccio hid himself until the stranger left, and then overhears Caderousse tell his wife that the jeweler has pronounced that the diamond left by the Abbé Busoni is worth 45,000 francs. The jeweler paid Caderousse and prepared to leave, but stayed due to poor weather and to avoid robbers. Bertuccio overheard Caderousse and his wife greedily implying they could have even more money if the jeweler stayed the night and some harm came to him.

The jeweler went to sleep at the inn and Bertuccio witnessed Caderousse flee with all the money, discovering that both the jeweler and Caderousse’s wife have been murdered. When Bertuccio attempted to flee the inn, he was arrested by officers downstairs. In prison, he requested to speak with the Abbé Busoni, who could possibly back up his story regarding the jewel and money. The Abbé came to see Bertuccio and, believing his story, wrote a letter of recommendation to the Count of Monte Cristo on Bertuccio’s behalf. Caderousse was soon captured and confessed to the theft and murders. Bertuccio returned to find his sister-in-law murdered during a bungled attempt at robbery by Benedetto. With his sister-in-law dead and Benedetto missing, Bertuccio views his bad luck as punishment for his vendetta against Villefort. The Count comforts Bertuccio, assuring him that ill deeds are eventually repaid. The Count returns to his home at Paris and his Greek slave/companion Haidee (who he has already told Albert he purchased in Constantinople) arrives from Italy.

The next day, the Baron Danglars arrives at the Count’s house to speak to him regarding his account, but is told that the Count is not seeing anyone at the present time. As the Baron leaves, the Count notices that Danglars’ horses are better than his, and instructs his servant to purchase them at any price. The Count also orders the purchase of another house in Normandy with a spot for his boat, and instructs that his two boats should be in a state of constant readiness for his use. The following day, the Count goes to see the Baron Danglars with his newly purchased horses. Danglars expresses his doubt regarding the Count’s identity and is amazed that the Count has a letter of unlimited credit from Thomson & French, his bankers in Rome, which allow him to draw funds from Danglars freely. During the meeting, the two engage in a battle of words over titles and positions, and the Count confidently asserts his superiority in intelligence by refusing to be impressed by Danglars. When challenged by the Count, Danglars insists that he has vast resources and is capable of providing the Count with all the funds he will need while he is in Paris, but is stunned that the Count has so much money and two more letters of unlimited credit with other bankers in Paris. Danglars then introduces the Count to his wife, the Baroness, who is entertaining M. Lucien Debray, whom the Count has already met.

Danglars enters his wife’s sitting room where she and M. Debray are speaking, and she is introduced to the Count. She is already impressed by the Count from all that she has heard regarding his fortune and lifestyle. Madame Danglars suddenly learns from her attendant that her favorite two horses (which she had intended to lend to her friend, Madame de Villefort) were sold by her husband that morning, and then everyone in the room learns that it was the Count that purchased them. Madame Danglars is visibly angry with her husband, and the Count and Debray leave immediately. Later that day, the Count returns the dappled greys to the Baroness as a gift, with a large diamond attached to each. That night, the Count goes to his house at Auteuil, and the following day, asks his slave Ali to stop the wild dappled greys which he knows will rush by the house the next day, probably out of control. As expected, Ali rescues the out-of-control carriage with Madame de Villefort and her young son Edward inside the next day, and she is extremely thankful to the Count, of whom she has heard a great deal. Ali takes Madame de Villefort and her son home, where she immediately writes a letter to Baroness Danglars describing what happened, asking the Baroness to arrange another meeting with the Count. Practically all of Paris hears of the incident and Villefort immediately goes to visit the Count.

Villefort is by this time a well-known and powerful magistrate in Paris, married for the second time to Héloise. He has an 18 year old daughter, Valentine, from his previous marriage to Renée de Saint-Méran, and a son Edward from his second marriage. Villefort is, by this time, very arrogant and haughty. He coolly thanks the Count for rescuing his wife the day before and the conversation between the two men is strained. In denigrating Villefort’s profession, the Count states that he considers himself to be an agent of Providence, to recompense and to punish, which shocks and interests de Villefort. Villefort describes his father Noirtier who he believes, struck down by a ruptured blood vessel in his brain some years before, must certainly be being punished for an evil deed.

Haidee, the Count’s slave, is living in separate chambers from the Count in complete luxury with four attendants to wait on her. She is obviously fond of the Count and wishes he were more familiar with her, but recognizes that she is his slave and that he is her master. The Count tells her that now that they are in France, Haidee is technically free to leave him, which she refuses to do, stating that the Count and her father are the only ones who have ever told her they love her. The Count reiterates that she is now free if she chooses, but asks that she promise to carefully guard the secret of her birth, and not mention the names of her parents to anyone. Haidee agrees. Although the Count tells Haidee that he loves her as his daughter, Haidee tells him that the love she feels for him is very different from the love she felt for her father.

The Count visits the Morrel family house, where Maximilan, his sister Julie and her husband Emmanuel and two servants are living. Julie and her husband live on a modest yearly sum from the now sold family business. When the Count remarks how happy the Morrels appear, they tell him the story of the "angel" who once saved their family’s fortunes so many years ago, and the Count secretly blushes. They stress that they have many times sought the English man who helped save their father from ruin and suicide, but have never succeeded in discovering who it was that helped them as they have only the name, "Sinbad the Sailor", that he gave them. The Count becomes nervous when he thinks that Julie is staring at him too closely, and tells the family that he knew a man named Lord Wilmore who had performed good deeds such as this one, and described him perfectly as the man who may have been responsible, telling them that Wilmore had left on a journey and was unlikely to return. Maximilian then tells the Count that on his deathbed, his father had attributed the kind deed to an old friend, Edmond Dantès, which makes the Count pale, and he immediately leaves.

Valentine de Villefort (Villefort’s daughter) and Maximilian Morrel meet secretly and are obviously in love, despite Morrel’s concern that he is not socially or financially worthy of Valentine. Morrel has even bought an abandoned property adjoined to the de Villefort house so that the two can meet easily and speak over the adjoining gate. Valentine expresses frustration with her arranged engagement to Franz d’Epinay (who is due to return from his travels in about a year), her neglect by her father and the harshness of her stepmother due to preference for Edward. Valentine’s only happiness comes from Morrel and her disabled and now mute grandfather, Noirtier. Valentine believes her stepmother hates her because of the fortune she will inherit. Valentine asks Morrel whether, when both their families lived in Marseilles, there was ever any misunderstanding between their fathers, as she has noticed that the name Morrel appears to make both her father and Baron Danglars uncomfortable. Morrel is not aware of any misunderstanding, but is pleased to hear that Noirtier expresses kind feelings for the Morrel family. The two part when Valentine is advised that the Count of Monte Cristo has arrived.

The Count again meets Madame de Villefort and her son Edward, who is obviously spoiled by his mother. The Count recollects having seen Valentine and her stepmother in Naples two years before and when Madame de Villefort does not remember the Count, he reminds her that he had been dressed as a medicine man while healing his valet de chambre of a fever. Madame de Villefort appears uneasy when reminded of this meeting, and the Count further reminds her that she had asked his opinion regarding Valentine’s health, at which point Madame de Villefort changes the subject and sends Valentine away to feed Noirtier. With Valentine absent, the two discuss the Count’s knowledge of poisons, the topic that had initially interested Madame de Villefort when they first met in Italy. It is clear that Madame de Villefort knows a great deal about poisons and is anxious to learn more, particularly regarding brucine, which the Count gladly explains. Madame de Villefort recalls the vial that the Count used days earlier to revive her son when he fainted as a result of the speeding horses, and the Count offers to send her some, while cautioning that too large a dose would be poisonous. The Count leaves to take Haidee to the Opera.

That night, Lucien Debray (who is well known as Madam Danglars’ lover) escorts Madame Danglars and her daughter Eugénie to the Opera. The Count, Haidee, Albert de Morcerf and Château-Renaud are also all at the Opera. Albert introduces Château-Renaud to the Countess that he and Franz had met in Italy. Château-Renaud tells Morcerf that the winner of the horse races that day was an unknown horse and jockey entered under the name "Vampa", which Albert recognizes as belonging to the Count. Albert confesses to Château-Renaud his general unhappiness with his arranged marriage to Eugénie Danglars, who is known to be very independent, artistically inclined and somewhat masculine. The Countess tells the two men that the jockey’s prize from that afternoon had been delivered to her home, possibly because her fear of the Count in Italy had been reported by Albert. Albert and Château-Renaud then visit the Danglars’ and Debray, where they all discuss their fascination with the Count and Haidee. Albert then visits the Count in his opera box, who is pleased to hear about the general curiosity surrounding him. The Count then visits the Danglars’ and Debray, who have, by this time, been joined by the Count of Morcerf, Albert’s father. Everyone is alarmed when, from the other side of the room, Haidee reacts violently to seeing the Count of Morcerf. When the Count returns to Haidee, he informs her that the Count of Morcerf has just admitted that he owes his fortune to Ali Tepelini, Haidee’s father. Haidee is outraged and asks the Count whether he is aware that the Count of Morcerf made his fortune by selling her father to the Turks in a treacherous act. The Count professes to know very little of this and agrees to leave with the very upset Haidee.

Some days later, Albert and Debray visit the Count, and they discuss the marriage match between Albert and Eugénie Danglars, which neither Albert nor his mother Mercédès particularly approve of, although Albert does not know why his mother does not like the idea. Debray remarks that the Danglars’ made a good amount of money by cleverly buying and selling Haitian bonds the day before. Lucien, as the minister’s secretary, certainly passes on political news to Madam Danglars, which she then uses to play the stock market. Debray, suddenly uncomfortable about his relationship with Madame Danglars being discussed, leaves. The Count warns Albert about a dinner he will hold soon to which he will invite the de Villeforts, the Danglars and the de Morcerfs, giving Albert and his mother the opportunity to come up with a previous excuse to avoid the Danglars. The Count tells Albert that he cannot have dinner with him and his mother that evening as he is expecting two minor acquaintances, Major Bartolomeo Cavalcanti and his son Andrea. The Count tells Albert he is going to act as a sort of host for Andrea as the young, rich and famous Cavalcanti makes his entry into the Parisian world. Albert gives Count Franz’ regards from Italy, noting that the intended marriage between Franz and Valentine de Villefort is also not a particularly happy match. The Count gives Bertuccio instructions to arrange the house in Auteuil appropriately for the dinner that he will host there that weekend, but does not tell Bertuccio who he is expecting for dinner.

Major Cavalcanti arrives at the Count’s and is very nervous. The Count asks him several questions regarding his identity, and "confirms" his name and position as an ex-major in the Austrian service. However, Major Cavalcanti himself appears to be unsure of the details and is also confirming his identity and getting the story straight. The two decide/agree that the Major has been sent to the Count by the Abbé Busoni, and the two have a very strange and humourous conversation recapping the details and events of the Major’s "life" including the size of his fortune and the "fact" that he has but one wish - to "recover a lost and adored son stolen away in infancy at the age of five years" by an unknown person. The letter that the Major presents from the Abbé also asks the Count, as the Abbe's friend, to advance the Major a sum of money while in Paris, which he needs. After confirming all details with the Major concerning his identity and the clothing that he should wear while in Paris, the Count announces that he has located the Major’s son as a happy and convenient surprise, and leaves to fetch him in the next room as he has just arrived.

In the next room, the Count meets Andrea Cavalcanti, who presents the Count with a letter of introduction from Lord Wilmore. Upon being asked, Andrea gives an account of his life and search for his father, which exactly matches the story discussed by the Count with the Major. The Count gains Andrea’s assurance that his rather "rough" history will not interfere with his intended position in Paris, and then assures Andrea that his "father" will give him 50,000 francs for his year in Paris. The Count then permits the "Major" and "his son" to meet, while spying on them from the next room. The meeting is stiff and awkward and the Major gives Andrea his birth documents, previously supplied by the Count, and finally Andrea asks the Major how much he is being paid, and whether the Major believes the two of them can trust the Count. The two compare their letters from the Abbé Busoni and Lord Wilmore, which are very alike and which offer them both money and a story to present to the Count on this date. The two agree to play their parts as well as they can and the Count returns, asking them both to be present and appropriately dressed for his dinner party in Auteuil on Saturday.

Morrel goes to meet Valentine over their adjoining gate, and sees her speaking to Eugénie Danglars. Both girls are expressing their unhappiness with their planned marriages and Eugénie states she would prefer to remain independent and unmarried to become an artist. When Eugénie leaves, Morrel tells Valentine that he understands Franz d’Epinay is supposed to return to Paris soon, which makes Valentine even more unhappy, although she believes that her step-mother secretly opposes the marriage and would prefer that Valentine enter a convent as she had once expressed an interest in doing. This would, of course, permit Edward to inherit all monies otherwise going to Valentine. Morrel asks Valentine’s permission to tell the Count of their secret love, but she refuses, believing her stepmother and the Count to be good friends. Morrel tells her that he believes the Count to be a type of protector for him, evidenced by the dinner on Saturday which will make it possible for him to meet Valentine’s parents, and by the fact that he believes that the Count somehow made it possible for him to win enough money in a card game to buy a horse he had wanted.

While Valentine is outside with Morrel, Villefort and his wife speak to Noirtier about their planned marriage for Valentine in three months’ time. Although paralyzed and mute, Noirtier’s eyes bulge when he learns the intended groom is Franz d’Epinay, the son of General Quesnel, the man he killed in 1815. Villefort is of course aware of this, and tells Noirtier that the marriage should be thought of as a type of peace offering. It is planned that after the marriage, Noirtier will live with Valentine. The Villeforts leave Noirtier, and Valentine enters her grandfather’s room, learning that he is also unhappy with the planned marriage. In accordance with Noirtier’s wishes, Valentine sends for a notary, to which Villefort reluctantly agrees.

The notary arrives at the Villefort’s, and Valentine translates her grandfather’s wishes. When they learn that Noirtier wishes to make a will, they send for a second witness notary. To everyone’s surprise, Noirtier then leaves his 900,000 francs to charity instead of Valentine; his reason being her engagement to Franz d’Epinay, thus thwarting Valentine’s father. Valentine is happy and hopes this will cause her father to cancel the engagement so that she will inherit after all, but her father is outraged and insists that Valentine will marry Franz anyway.

The Count arrives at the Villeforts and learns what has just happened in regards to Valentine and Noirtier’s fortune. Madame de Villefort seems happy with what has taken place, although she appears to support her husband. Villefort insists that Valentine will marry Franz and that she still stands to inherit a large sum from her grandparents on her mother’s side. The Count reminds the Villeforts of his dinner party on Saturday which they have promised to attend, although Villefort appears nervous when he hears the house address - it had previously belonged to his first wife’s parents. Before leaving, the Count tells them that he is on his way to see a telegraph outpost, located in the country.

The Count goes to the tower of Montlhéry outside the village of Linas. There is a garden around the tower tended by the telegraph’s caretaker. The Count speaks to the caretaker about his passion - gardening - to earn his trust, and learns how the telegraph correspondent receives and relays messages. Learning how little the man earns, the Count offers him 25,000 francs plus 1,000 francs per year to purchase his own land where he may garden on the condition that he pass a new message onto the next tower instead of the message he is supposed to transmit. The gardener agrees. The Minister of the Interior receives the message and Debray immediately goes to see Madame Danglars to report that Don Carlos has returned to Spain, in turn prompting the Baron Danglars to sell all his Spanish bonds. The following day, the paper reports that the news of Don Carlos’ return to Spain was false, owing to a telegraphic error, and the Spanish fund rise. Danglars loses about a million francs.

The house at Auteuil has been transformed by Bertuccio, except for the garden, for the dinner on Saturday. Morrel arrives, followed by Château-Renaud, Debray, the Danglars, the Villeforts and the Cavalcantis. When the Cavalcantis arrive, the Count introduces them, describing their history and large fortune. Villefort is visibly agitated in the house, and Bertuccio is stunned to see Villefort there, and recognizes Madame Danglars as the woman gave birth the night he attempted to kill Villefort. Most shocking is Andrea Cavalcanti, who Bertuccio recognizes to be Benedetto, his adopted son and the unknown son of both Villefort and Madame Danglars.

The dinner is stunningly luxurious and everyone is impressed with the Count’s expensively obtained food and house. Madame de Villefort is surprised to learn the house once belonged to the de Saint Mérans. When the Count offers to give everyone a tour, both Villefort and Madame Danglars are secretly terrified, particularly when the Count alludes to a particular room which seems sinister. Madame Danglars faints when the Count relates his theory of a baby once being carried down the house’s hidden staircase. When she revives, the Count takes them all out to the garden to report what is, in his opinion, a crime. He tells his guests that while digging in the yard, he found a box with the skeleton of a newly-born infant. He asks Villefort whether infanticides have their heads cut off in France, which Villefort grimly confirms. Madame Danglars is extremely upset and Villefort secretly asks her to meet him the following day.

The Count’s guests leave following the dinner, and Danglars in particular has taken a strong liking to the Cavalcantis, believing them very rich. As Andrea leaves, he is intercepted by a beggar who calls him by the name "Benedetto". Nervous, Andrea immediately agrees to speak with the beggar in private, who turns out to be Caderousse. Caderousse sees Andrea suddenly appears to have a lot of money, and blackmails him for 200 francs per month or promises Andrea he will become ‘troublesome’ to him in his new life. Andrea agrees and Caderousse follows him into Paris.

After leaving the Count’s dinner, Debray immediately goes to the private rooms of Madame Danglars in an attempt to find out what made her so upset earlier. She insists that nothing particular has made her upset. Danglars then enters her rooms and to the surprise of both his wife and Debray, he insists Debray leave. Danglars is angry that he recently lost 700,000 francs due to bad advice from his wife, advice that he has always followed with positive results and for which he has always given his wife a quarter of his profits. He then tells her that as a result of his recent lost, she now owes him a quarter of his losses (175,000 francs), but knows she cannot pay because she receives her tips from Debray and then pays him a large portion of the money given to her by her husband from the proceeds. Danglars tells his wife that since she has no money, he will no longer pay for her "diplomacy" lessons from Debray, and Debray must now either provide them free of charge or he will not be tolerated in the house any longer. Madame Danglars is enraged, and her husband accuses her of being responsible for the suicide of her first husband when, after an absence of nine months, her first husband discovered her six months pregnant with Villefort’s child, a fact that his wife did not think he knew.

The following day, Danglars goes to see the Count to relate his money problems which are currently numerous - a number of his business colleagues have recently defaulted on payments and he has lost 1,700,000 francs this month. The conversation turns to the Cavalcantis, and Danglars expresses interest in the family’s money, and asks whether Andrea is looking for a wife. The Count purposely says very little about his trust or knowledge of the Cavalcantis, and states he cannot be responsible for what he has heard concerning the family as he does not know them well. Danglars seems unconcerned by the Count’s hesitation, and states he would like to marry Eugénie to Andrea as he prefers the Cavalcantis’ more distinguished family history and name, and he does not really think Albert de Morcerf would mind. Danglars then confides to the Count that he somewhat dislikes Fernand de Morcerf because, while his own name has always been Danglars, the Count of Morcerf was originally a poor fisherman named Fernand Mondego. The Count appears to be very interested in this secret, and encourages Danglars to research rumors regarding Fernand’s conduct in the Ali Pasha affair in Greece, as any scandalous information regarding the Morcerfs would allow Danglars to gracefully withdraw his offer of his daughter’s hand in marriage to Albert.

The same afternoon, Madame Danglars goes to see Villefort, who tells her that despite what the Count said the night before, he cannot have discovered the buried child in his yard since Villefort searched for it years later and found it missing. After being attacked by the Corsican (Bertuccio) that night years ago, he had been taken to Versailles and then Marseilles to recover. Madame Danglars herself had been clinging to life and when Villefort next heard of her, she had married the Baron Danglars. Villefort believed that the child must have still been alive and saved by the Corsican. Madam Danglars is horrified to learn that the child may have been buried alive, and is even more horrified that the Count of Monte Cristo must somehow know their secret. Villefort had tracked the baby via its marked blanket to the hospital where the Corsican left it until his sister-in-law claimed it six months later, and then the child disappeared. Now, however, Villefort states his intention to renew his search for the child out of his fear of their secret being discovered, and remarks that of all the Count gave them for dinner, the Count himself touched nothing. Madame Danglars assures Villefort that she has never told anyone their secret, and Villefort vows to find out who the Count of Monte Cristo is.

Upon returning from a short holiday in Tréport with his mother, Albert visits the Count to find out whether Monte Cristo was able to make any progress on his behalf regarding his impending marriage to Eugénie Danglars as the Count has said he would see what he could do. The Count tells Albert that Danglars had met Andrea Cavalcanti and is interested in breaking off the engagement between Albert and his daughter. Albert mentions that his father is having a ball that weekend, and that he would like both the Count and Andrea to come. Albert tells the Count that his mother particularly would like the Count to attend. The Count asks Albert to have Franz visit him when he returns to Paris in five or six days and Albert leaves, agreeing. The Count asks Bertuccio about Madame Danglars activities that morning, which Bertuccio has watched carefully and reports to the Count.

After writing to M. de Boville for information about the Count of Monte Cristo, Villefort learns that the Count is close to both Lord Wilmore and the Abbé Busoni, who he then investigates. He learns that the Abbé was recently in Paris for a month and was alone almost the entire time, and that Lord Wilmore is an English traveler who never speaks French. Villefort then sends an envoy to visit the Abbé, who he succeeds in seeing when he returns to visit the second time at an appointed hour. In response to the envoy’s questions, the Abbé "confides" that the Count’s name is actually M. Zaccone, and that he is the son of a rich Maltese shipbuilder. The Abbé further tells the envoy that the Count is likely a Lutheran who served in the navy, and that he is very charitable. The Count’s only enemy, as far as the Abbé knows, is Lord Wilmore, and the Count bought the house at Auteuil to turn it into a charitable lunatic asylum. The envoy then goes to Villefort’s home, and then to see Lord Wilmore, with whom he has an appointment. Lord Wilmore tells the envoy that he has known Zaccone since he was about ten years old, and says Zaccone spent time in the navy until he discovered a silver mine. Lord Wilmore believes the Count is in Paris to speculate in railways and telegraphy, and bought the house in Auteuil to turn it into a health spa. Lord Wilmore tells the envoy that he and the Count are enemies because Zaccone seduced the wife of one of his friends, and that the two have already fought three duels. The envoy leaves and turns out to have been Villefort all along. When the envoy/Villefort leaves, Lord Wilmore removes his disguise to reveal that he is actually the Count of Monte Cristo.

Although initially hesitant to attend the Morcerf ball, Madame Danglars agrees to go upon Villefort’s request. Albert makes small talk with Madame Danglars when she arrives, and then speaks to Madame de Villefort, who relates all her newly-acquired information regarding the Count’s true name and heritage. She tells Albert that the information was researched by the police because of the Count’s high profile in Paris. The Count tells Danglars that a Frankfurt bank has just gone bankrupt, which makes Danglars very upset as they owe him 200,000 francs. Danglars then leaves to speak to Andrea Cavalcanti, and Madame de Morcerf (Mercédès) notices that the Count refuses to eat anything in the house, despite her trying to persuade him. She feels strongly that his refusal to eat anything in the house is intended.

Madame de Morcerf asks the Count to escort her outside and again tries to get him to eat some fruit, but he refuses. She then asks him whether he is happy and if he is married, and he replies that he once loved a girl, but war carried him away and she married someone else. Madame de Morcerf asks significantly whether he ever forgave the girl, while hating those that separated them. The Count appears not to understand why he should hate the people that separated them, but acknowledges he forgave his first love. Albert arrives with the news that everyone has just learned that M. de Saint-Méran, Valentine’s grandfather on her mother’s side, has just died and that the Villeforts are leaving.

Madame de Morcerf asks the Count to escort her outside and again tries to get him to eat some fruit, but he refuses. She then asks him whether he is happy and if he is married, and he replies that he once loved a girl, but war carried him away and she married someone else. Madame de Morcerf asks significantly whether he ever forgave the girl, while hating those that separated them. The Count appears not to understand why he should hate the people that separated them, but acknowledges he forgave his first love. Albert arrives with the news that everyone has just learned that M. de Saint-Méran, Valentine’s grandfather on her mother’s side, has just died and that the Villeforts are leaving.

Villefort had not gone to the ball, but stayed home to think and review a private list of those people who, throughout his life, had become his enemies. He is stumped as to who could have waited so patiently to crush him with his secret, and what role the Count of Monte Cristo has to play in the scheme. Madame de Saint-Méran arrives with the news that her husband has died of an apparently apoplectic stroke while they were en route to Paris for Valentine’s wedding. Villefort leaves immediately for the ball to bring his wife and Valentine back to comfort his first mother-in-law. The next day, Madame de Saint-Méran becomes very ill and wishes to meet Franz d’Epinay and to hasten Valentine’s marriage as she believes she does not have much longer to live. In particular, she believes she saw the ghost of the soul of her husband enter her room the previous night. Valentine considers telling her grandmother the truth about her wishes to marry, but knows that she will not approve of Morrel as he is not noble. A notary arrives so that Madame de Saint-Méran can ensure that the Saint-Méran fortune goes to Valentine. A doctor then arrives to see Madame de Saint-Méran. Valentine, very upset, goes to the garden to try to pull herself together.

Valentine tells Morrel that according to her grandmother’s wishes, her marriage contract will be signed as soon as Franz arrives in a few days. Morrel is desperate and hopes that Valentine will resist the marriage by leaving the country with him, but she cannot imagine defying her family’s wishes. Morrel is desolate and tells Valentine he intends to take his own life if she marries as she is the only happiness in his life. Horrified, Valentine makes him promise that he will wait until she figures out a way out of the marriage with Franz. The two make plans to escape if necessary. Two days later, Morrel receives a letter from Valentine saying that she has been unsuccessful at delaying or stopping the marriage and that the contract will be signed that evening; the two will then escape together just before the planned contract signing. That night at the appointed time for the escape, Valentine does not appear and Morrel learns by eavesdropping on Villefort and the doctor that Madame de Saint-Méran has died. The doctor tells Villefort in confidence that her death is suspicious and that the symptoms of her death resemble poisoning by brucine or strychnine. Villefort refuses to believe she has been poisoned and, rather than cause an embarrassing public inquest, the doctor agrees to hide his suspicions. Morrel sneaks into the house to comfort Valentine, who tells him that the contract signing has only been delayed, and she then sneaks him into Noirtier’s room. Noirtier and Morrel meet, and Valentine tells her grandfather that they are in love. She leaves the two men alone to speak and Morrel tells Noirtier of the plans for his and Valentine’s escape. Noirtier insists they must not escape and he promises to help them if they wait a bit longer.

Two days later, the funerals of both Saint-Mérans take place. Morrel is introduced to Franz and Franz goes to the Villeforts after the funeral. Franz and Villefort agree that the marriage contract will be signed later that day, and Franz leaves to get Albert de Morcerf and Château-Renaud as his witnesses. The ceremony begins within an hour. As it begins, Noirtier’s servant interrupts and states that Noirtier wants to speak to Franz immediately. Despite Villefort’s objections, Franz agrees to see Noirtier.

When Franz, Valentine and her father enter Noirtier’s room, Noirtier asks Valentine to retrieve a hidden bundle of secret papers. He asks Franz to read them aloud, and the papers are a report of a specific meeting of the Bonapartiste club, held the night Franz’ father was murdered. The report, signed by a lieutenant-colonel of artillery, a general of brigade, and a keeper of woods and forests, details the murder of Franz’ father, the General de Quesnel, in a duel following the meeting. Franz is stunned and Villefort is horrified by the revelation.

The elder "Cavalcanti" has left Paris, and Andrea is visiting Madame and Eugénie Danglars when the Count pays Danglars a visit. Danglars tries to force Andrea and Eugénie together; Eugénie seems disinterested. The Count learns from Madame Danglars that the Baron has lost more money recently, and the Count inwardly notes that Danglars is now hiding his losses despite having boasted of them a few weeks ago. Madame Danglars tells the Count of the Villeforts’ misfortunes. Albert de Morcerf arrives, and it is clear by Danglars’ rudeness that he prefers Andrea to Albert for Eugénie. Speaking privately to the Count, Danglars requests that the Count speak to the Count of Morcerf on his behalf to determine whether the marriage between Albert and Eugénie is still absolutely desired or whether it can perhaps be canceled. The Count agrees. Danglars receives some important news from his courier from Greece regarding Fernand’s history, and tells the Count that he would like to speak to him when Albert is not around, as he can no longer endure Albert’s presence.

The Count and Albert go to the Count’s and discuss both the Count’s plans to see Albert’s father regarding the Danglars-Morcerf wedding as well as the quarrel between Danglars and Debray. Upon arriving at the Count’s, the Count tells Albert that Haidee is the daughter of Ali Tepelini, the pasha of Yanina who died in 1822. Albert knows that his father served under Ali Tepelini and made his fortune in the pasha’s service, but the Count will only introduce him to Haidee if he promises not to tell her that his father served hers. The Count introduces them, but does not tell Haidee Albert’s full name, and asks Haidee to tell Albert the fate of her father without revealing either the name of the man who betrayed her father or exactly how he was betrayed. Haidee tells Albert that when she was four, she and her family were forced to sneak away from their palace with all their jewels and belongings because a man had been sent by the Turkish sultan to capture her father. Her father sent a trusted French officer to broker a peace deal. Haidee’s father instructed a guard to blow up the entire house and everything in it on his signal if the peace deal was refused. The guard watching over Haidee and her mother was to be delivered a poniard if the news was bad (in which case he was to set the explosion) and a ring if the news was good. The guard was delivered a ring, but was then immediately killed by four soldiers. Haidee and her mother escaped the soldiers but overheard Haidee’s father’s murder, who had been betrayed by his own French officer. The officer then sold Haidee and her mother to slave merchants and her mother died soon thereafter. Haidee was sold to a rich Armenian and then to the Sultan Mahmood at age 13, and it was from the Sultan that the Count bought Haidee.

Villefort receives a letter from Franz d’Epinay stating that he is no longer prepared to marry Valentine, particularly as it appears that Villefort was aware of the events surrounding Franz’ father’s death. Valentine tells Morrel the good news without telling him the reason for the cancellation, and Madame de Villefort has Noirtier agree to restore Valentine as his heir. After the Count’s visit to the Count of Morcerf, Morcerf visits Danglars to discuss the marriage of Eugénie and Albert, which he is still intending to see through. Morcerf is shocked by Danglars cold demeanor, and Danglars tells him that he has decided to hold off on the marriage, but refuses to say why. After Morcerf leaves, Andrea Cavalcanti arrives at the Danglars’ and stays very late. The following day, there is an article in Beauchamp’s paper (which had been expected by Danglars) about Fernand’s actions at Yanina. Albert goes to see the Count while he is in a shooting gallery and asks him to be his second in a duel with Beauchamp over the article, which names Albert’s father Fernand as Ali Tepelini’s traitor. Albert is convinced that the article is untrue and plans to ask Beauchamp to retract the article. The Count expresses his hesitation and asks him to first confirm with Haidee whether or not it might be true, but Albert refuses. When Albert confronts Beauchamp, Beauchamp is honestly unaware that the "Fernand" in the story might refer to Albert’s father, but refuses to retract the article until he investigates the matter further. Unsatisfied, Albert challenges Beauchamp to a duel. Beauchamp insists upon a delay of three weeks to confirm or contradict the story, consenting to the duel should he be unable to contradict the story.

Noirtier has sent for Morrel, and via Valentine he explains that he intends to leave the Villefort home and that Valentine will accompany him. Once they have found a new house, Morrel may visit and he and Valentine can be married. If her father objects, Valentine will wait ten months until she is of age with an independent fortune. Noirtier’s servant Barrois drinks some of his master’s lemonade, and as the doctor arrives to see Noirtier, Barrois collapses and dies. Morrel sneaks out and the doctor ascertains by Barrois’ symptoms before dying that the lemonade is responsible. Privately, the doctor shows Villefort with a chemical test that the lemonade has been poisoned, and seems to suspect Valentine as it was she who brought the lemonade to Noirtier.

Speaking alone, Doctor d’Avrigny tells Villefort that he suspects Valentine is the poisoner as she would be the one to benefit by the deaths of Noirtier and the Saint-Mérans and as she was the one who had the opportunity when sending medicine to the Saint-Mérans and in carrying lemonade to Noirtier. Villefort is in agreement with the doctor, but refuses to accuse Valentine. In anger and helplessness, the doctor says he will remain silent about his suspicions, but that he cannot come to the house again in good conscience. The doctor reports to everyone that Barrois died of age and over-exertion in a fit of apoplexy. That night, all of Villefort’s servants quit.

After Morcerf leaves Danglars, Andrea Cavalcanti arrives at Danglars’ and tells Danglars of his wish to marry Eugénie, to which Danglars happily agrees after he is satisfied that Andrea has enough money and documents proving his birth. Andrea asks Danglars for 80,000 francs, which Danglars gives him the next day. Andrea then leaves 200 francs for Caderousse, who leaves a message for Andrea demanding he come to see him the next morning. Disguising himself, Andrea goes to see Caderousse, who then blackmails him for more money per month as he is aware Andrea is going to marry Eugénie. Andrea agrees, and tells Caderousse that he believes the Count of Monte Cristo is his true father, and that the Count has told him that he will inherit 500,000 when he dies. Caderousse, who wants more money, is impressed, and asks Andrea for the Count’s exact address, which Andrea gives him in addition to a diagram of the Count’s house. Caderousse then takes Andrea’s diamond ring and although Andrea is growing more angry, he does not show Caderousse. It appears that Caderousse is planning to kill the Count during a robbery.

The Count goes to his house in Auteuil, telling his servant that he does not intend to be in France longer than a month. He receives an anonymous letter warning him that his house will be burglarized that night. The Count secretly returns to Paris with a servant, and the two arm themselves and hide. A man cuts through his window with a diamond ring, and the servant notices another man "standing guard" across the street. Recognizing Caderousse, the Count disguises himself as the Abbé Busoni (who had visited Caderousse 10 years before). Caderousse is shocked to see the Abbé, who knows about his conviction for the murder of the jeweler and of his subsequent escape from the galleys which had been arranged by "Lord Wilmore" for Benedetto, his friend in the galleys. Caderousse tells the "Abbé" that Benedetto has been giving him money and that Benedetto believes the Count is his father. When the "Abbé" threatens to tell Danglars about Benedetto/Andrea’s identity, Caderousse tries unsuccessfully to kill him, and is instead forced to write a letter to Danglars revealing Andrea’s identity. The Abbé agrees to send Caderousse enough money to live on if he leaves France, and the Count then watches as Caderousse is stabbed in the street by what the Count had supposed was Caderousse’s accomplice.

Before Caderousse dies, the Count sends for Villefort, and hears Caderousse say it was Benedetto who stabbed him. The Count helps Caderousse to write a deposition naming Benedetto as his murderer, and then calmly tells Caderousse that he is being punished for all the wrong he has done, revealing himself as Edmond Dantès. Caderousse begs God’s forgiveness as he dies and the Count says "One!" after Caderousse is dead.

The police and Villefort begin their search for Benedetto the murderer, as yet unaware that Andrea is Benedetto because the Count has not revealed it. Andrea prepares to marry Eugénie and receives word from his "father’ in Parma that for his marriage, he will receive three million francs which will be given to Danglars to invest. In the meantime, Beauchamp returns from a trip to Yanina and tells Albert that it was indeed Fernand de Morcerf who betrayed Ali Tepelini, providing written statements by four distinguished men in Yanina as proof. Albert is crushed and forgives Beauchamp, who agrees to keep the secret. The two still do not know how the story surfaced, although Beauchamp suspects Danglars.

Albert and Beauchamp go to the Count’s, who is glad to see that the two men have reconciled, and they discuss the impending marriage of Eugénie and Andrea, which the Count still refuses to admit having influenced. The Count proposes that Albert and Beauchamp accompany him on a trip to the sea, but Beauchamp states that he prefers to stay in Paris to watch the newspaper and perhaps discover the source of the story about Fernand. Albert and the Count leave immediately for Normandy, and the two are there three days when Albert’s valet de chambre arrives with a newspaper and letter from Beauchamp. Albert is stunned by the letter and also learns that his mother is very upset, and tells the Count that he must leave immediately, giving the Count the newspaper which contains a further article on the betrayal of Ali Tepelini, this time giving Fernand Mondego’s full name and identity as the traitor. The article has appeared in a paper other than Beauchamp’s.

Albert learns from Beauchamp that several papers have printed the story and that an unknown man had arrived at another friend’s newspaper with several documents of proof regarding Fernand’s role in the Ali Tepelini affair. Unaware the story is being circulated, Fernand goes to the House where he is a peer of France, where a political enemy reads the story aloud and calls for an investigation. That same evening, the trial takes place and Fernand provides documents in his own defense which show he was a favorite of the Ali Pasha, evidenced further by Ali Tepelini having "entrusted his favorite mistress and her daughter to (his) care". The star witness against him, however, is Haidee, who tells the story of her father’s betrayal by Fernand, providing proof of her identity and proof of her sale into slavery by Fernand. Haidee’s proof against Fernand leaves him speechless, and he is pronounced guilty by the committee.

After hearing the story of his father’s public denouncement, Albert is determined to kill the man who is pursuing his family with the story. Beauchamp admits that during his investigation in Yanina he learned that Danglars was also investigating Fernand, and the two men set out for Danglars’ house. Danglars admits to having written to Yanina on the Count of Monte Cristo’s advice while considering the marriage between Albert and his daughter, and Albert is shocked to learn that the Count was aware of the results that Danglars received from Yanina. Danglars denies having informed the papers of his discovery. Albert and Beauchamp leave to find the Count and learn the truth.

Albert learns that the Count is going to the opera that night, and asks Beauchamp and Château-Renaud to accompany him to the opera. Albert also asks Morrel and Debray to attend the opera, and goes to see his mother Mercédès, who, though stunned to hear that the Count may be an enemy, also seems to understand. Accompanied by Beauchamp and Château-Renaud, Albert confronts the Count at the opera. The Count accepts Albert’s challenge to a duel and promises to kill him. After Albert and his friends leave, Beauchamp returns to ask the Count for an explanation, which the Count refuses to provide. They set the duel for 8:00 the following morning with pistols in the Bois de Vincennes. Morrel tells the Count that he and his brother-in-law Emmanuel will serve as the Count’s second.

As the Count is inspecting his pistols later that night, Madame Mercédès de Morcerf arrives and begs him not to kill her son, calling him "Edmond". The Count is shocked to hear her call him Edmond and an argument begins with Mercédès demanding to know why the Count/Edmond is punishing her family. The Count tells her that he has sworn to revenge himself on Fernand, and explains Fernand’s role in his arrest years ago. Mercédès is shocked to learn of Fernand’s betrayal and begs the Count to forgive him, but he refuses. Mercédès begs for her son’s life, and the Count finally promises her that Albert will live, despite his conviction that "the sins of the father are said to fall upon their children to the third and fourth generation." The Count tells her that in making this sacrifice for her, he will die instead since one of them must die. Horrified but thankful, Mercédès leaves.

The Count is frustrated with his promise to Mercédès, and determined that his enemies should know that they were only saved because he voluntarily committed suicide, he writes a letter to which he adds a will, leaving all his property and fortune to Morrel and Haidee, along with the wish that Morrel and Haidee will marry. Haidee discovers the will he is writing and is horrified. In the morning, the Count shows Morrel and Emmanuel his perfect aim and shot, and as he will have the first shot in the duel, asks them to remember what they have just seen, admitting that he will be the one to die in the duel. As they leave, the Count asks Morrel if he loves anyone, and Morrel tells him that he is already in love. At the appointed time and place for the duel, Albert arrives with Franz, Debray, Château-Renaud and Beauchamp. Without explaining the details to the others, Albert tells the Count in front of everyone that he has learned of his father’s betrayal of the Count and says he believes that the Count was justified in seeking revenge. The Count is moved and the duel is cancelled.

Albert tells his friends he intends to leave Paris. He returns home and learns that his mother also intends to leave Fernand and Paris to start her life anew. The two leave immediately while Fernand is away, and are stopped on the way by a letter from the Count offering Mercédès the 150 louis that he had originally planned to give her before his arrest years before, which is buried near his old house in Marseilles. The letter begs Albert to have his mother accept the money since their loss of honor, pride and fortune is not her fault. Mercédès accepts the offer, stating her intention to join a convent.

Morrel returns from the aborted duel with the Count to the Count’s house and then leaves to see Valentine, although he has still not told the Count her name. Haidee’s happiness that the Count has returned safely suggests to the Count that she may love him as more than a father, and he is also beginning to view her as other than a daughter. Fernand goes to see the Count after learning that Albert apologized to the Count at the duel and demands to know what happened and why he was not revenged by his son. Morcerf challenges the Count to a duel instead, stating that he instinctively hates the Count and feels that he always has. The Count reveals his true identity as Edmond Dantès and Fernand is stunned. Returning home, Fernand sees his wife and son preparing to leave and shoots himself fatally in the head.

Morrel goes to see Valentine and Noirtier, and Valentine tells Morrel that she and Noirtier are planning to leave the house soon, particularly as her grandfather thinks she does not seem well. Valentine has been feeling ill and is gradually taking larger doses of her grandfather’s medicine on his advice. Valentine leaves the two men when Madame and Eugénie Danglars arrive; the two have come to announce the approaching marriage of Eugénie to Andrea Cavalcanti. Valentine, feeling very ill, leaves the Danglars’ to rest and collapses on the floor.

With Valentine’s collapse, Morrel quickly leaves and Villefort immediately leaves to get the doctor, who is surprised to learn that his suspicions must have been wrong as Valentine is the one now ill. Hoping Monte Cristo can help, Morrel goes to his house and tells the Count everything about his love for Valentine, and his fear that she is now being poisoned. The Count is horrified to learn that Morrel loves someone related to Villefort, but promises to help and sends Morrel home. Alone with the doctor, Noirtier tells him that he anticipated the attempt to poison Valentine and had thus prepared her system by giving her his own medicine (containing brucine) over time. Villefort arrives with a prescription ordered by the doctor. At the same time, the "Abbé Busoni" moves into the dilapidated house adjacent to Villefort’s.

Prior to the Danglars’ visit to the Villefort’s, Eugénie meets her father to discuss her intention not to marry Andrea, and her preference to remain independent. Danglars insists that as their family is now almost financially ruined, she must marry as he can and will not otherwise support her, and as he himself needs the money that Andrea will bring to the marriage. Surprised at her father’s financial situation and in an effort to help him, Eugénie agrees to marry Andrea so that her father’s credit can be restored, provided he then allow her to be free. She dos not reveal her secret plans for freedom following the wedding, and further agrees to make the necessary marriage announcements and social visits.

On the day of the signing of the marriage contract between Eugénie and Andrea, Andrea goes to see the Count to ask him to stand in for the part of his father at the contract signing. The Count refuses, and is adamant that Andrea understand that he does not have the Count to thank for help in arranging the marriage in any way and indeed, the Count stresses that he hardly knows Andrea at all. Andrea is concerned that the three million francs he is supposed to receive from his "father" in Italy following the marriage is going to be invested immediately by Danglars and that he will not be able to access it. Distinguished guests including the Count attend the marriage contract signing, and Eugénie’s friend and fellow musician Louise thanks the Count for the letters of introduction he has given her for Italy that she intends to use immediately. As the contract is being signed, the Count remarks that the police found a note addressed to Danglars among the recently murdered Caderousse’s clothing. Hearing the name of the murdered man, both Danglars and Andrea look uneasy. Danglars looks for Andrea when it is his turn to sign the contract, but he has disappeared. The police arrive looking for "Andrea Cavalcanti", accused of having murdered Caderousse.

The marriage contract signing is aborted and Danglars gives his statement to the police. In private, Eugénie and Louise discuss their plan to leave Paris for Italy which they have been planning for three days. Armed with a previously arranged carriage, fake passports arranged by the Count and approximately 50,000 francs, the two leave immediately with Eugénie in disguise as a man.

As Andrea sneaks out of Danglars’ house during the marriage contract signing, he steals some jewels from Eugénie’s on-display trousseau. He flees town and stops at an inn where he hires a horse. He continues on to Compiègne where he gets a room at the Bell and Bottle Inn where, unbeknownst to him, Eugénie and Louise are also staying. Planning to leave and disguise himself the next morning, he is stunned to see three gendarmes looking for him outside the inn the next morning and hides himself in the room’s chimney until the gendarmes are satisfied that Andrea has already escaped. Slipping into Eugénie and Louise’s room by the chimney to hide, the two girls scream. Andrea is captured and taken into custody.

Troubled by the marriage contract signing affair and the shame it will bring, Madame Danglars goes to seek the advice of Debray, who is not home. Instead, she goes to see Villefort for advice the next morning. Villefort is so occupied in his own grief and misfortune that Madame Danglars’ concerns seem unimportant. Despite her plea that he be lenient with Andrea/Benedetto to save the Danglars’ honor, Villefort vows to punish him severely.

Troubled by the marriage contract signing affair and the shame it will bring, Madame Danglars goes to seek the advice of Debray, who is not home. Instead, she goes to see Villefort for advice the next morning. Villefort is so occupied in his own grief and misfortune that Madame Danglars’ concerns seem unimportant. Despite her plea that he be lenient with Andrea/Benedetto to save the Danglars’ honor, Villefort vows to punish him severely.

Four days after her collapse, Valentine is still very ill and confined to her bed. Late at night, the Count enters her room secretly and tells her that he is a friend who has been watching her day and night for Morrel. Valentine is doubtful, but the Count tells her that he has been replacing her poisoned food and drink with healthful substitutes to save her life for four days. As Valentine is unable to believe that anyone in her home could be poisoning her, the Count suggests she pretend to be asleep and watch carefully to see who enters her room that night.

Half an hour later, Valentine sees Madame de Villefort sneak into her room and empty a strange liquid into her glass. When Madame de Villefort has left, the Count comes back in and discovers that Madame de Villefort has now switched to a different, more powerful poison. Not understanding why her step-mother would want to kill her, the Count explains that with the death of the Saint-Mérans, Noirtier and herself, her half-brother Edward would then inherit everything as the only remaining heir. The Count also tells her that her step-mother has been planning these murders since he first met them in Italy years before. Valentine promises to trust the Count from this point on and to tell no one what is happening. The Count then gives her a tablet to swallow and tells her not to be afraid no matter what happens, even if she should wake up to find herself in a coffin.

Madame de Villefort returns to Valentine’s room to discard the rest of Valentine’s drink (which the Count has partially emptied in an effort to make it appear as if Valentine has drunk from it) and clean the glass. Checking on Valentine, she finds that Valentine appears dead. In the morning, the doctor pronounces Valentine dead and Madame de Villefort is astonished to see that the glass with the poisoned drink (that she had earlier discarded) now has liquid in it resembling the poison she used. Madame de Villefort collapses. To his shock, Morrel arrives and learns that Valentine is dead.

Despite Villefort’s shock at seeing Morrel in his house and his demand that Morrel leave, Morrel carries Noirtier in his wheelchair upstairs to Valentine’s room. Morrel tells Villefort that he loved Valentine and was engaged to marry her. Although Villefort forgives him in his grief, Morrel demands that Valentine be avenged as she has been assassinated, which Villefort guiltily denies. Morrel states everything he knows about the poisonings, which the doctor confirms. Noirtier then asks to be left alone with Villefort so that he may tell him the identity of the murderer. Villefort emerges from the conversation promising to revenge Valentine and secure justice. Villefort and Noirtier both refuse to tell Morrel or the doctor the identity of the murderer, and explain that this is because the revenge will be horrific. Morrel leaves, and the doctor makes arrangements for a priest to come to the house. As the Abbé Busoni next door is the closest priest, he is brought into the house to pray by Valentine’s bedside beside Noirtier.

The following day, Valentine’s body is removed from the house and there is a mourning reception at the de Villefort’s. While others attend the funeral procession, the Count goes to see Danglars, who is distraught over the affair with Benedetto/Andrea and now the loss of his daughter, who he pretends has asked permission to leave with a relation due to her embarrassment over the Andrea scandal. Danglars claims to be happy because at least he is rich, but when the Count announces his intention to draw five million francs from Danglars, Danglars is very shaken but gives the Count the money for the sake of appearances. As the Count leaves, M. de Boville, the receiver general of the charities, arrives to see Danglars to ask for the five million francs he has come to collect on behalf of the widows and orphans charity. Danglars explains that he needs 24 hours to pay M. de Boville the five million, as it would appear strange to the governor if he paid out ten million francs in one day. The receiver general agrees to come back the next day at 12:00 p.m., and mentions that Madame de Morcerf and her son have given their entire fortune to the hospital charities and that Mercédès has retired to the country while Albert has entered the army. Danglars tells the receiver general that Eugénie has entered a convent. As soon as the receiver-general leaves, Danglars prepares to leave the country, burning papers, getting his passport, leaving a note for his wife, and carefully taking the Count’s receipt for 5.1 million francs which he can cash with the bankers Thomson & French in Rome.

The Count has caught up to Valentine’s funeral procession at the cemetery, where he anxiously seeks Morrel. Morrel is too upset to speak to the Count and the Count later follows him to his home where he must break into Morrel’s room to see him. Morrel is preparing to kill himself and is angry at the Count both for interrupting him and for falsely promising that Valentine would be saved. The Count then reveals that it was he, Edmond Dantès, who saved Morrel’s father and business years ago. Morrel immediately tells his sister and her husband Emmanuel, who are overcome in their thanks. Pointing out the pistols on Morrel’s desk, the Count asks Emmanuel to watch over Morrel, and announces that in a week he will have left France. Alone again with Morrel, the Count asks Morrel to wait and hope for one month, at which time he promises to have cured Morrel of his grief. Although unbelieving, Morrel promises to wait one month because of his family’s history with the Count and because it is September 5, ten years to the day that the Count saved his father. Morrel agrees to leave Paris with the Count in one week. The Count tells Morrel that he must come live with him the following day, and that Haidee has already left Paris to wait for the Count elsewhere.

Meeting in a poor hotel, Madame Danglars tells Debray that her husband has left, leaving her a letter explaining that he has lost almost everything and that she is mostly to blame. The letter states that he could not bear to admit the next day that he did not have the five million francs for the charities, and that he was sure that his wife would be fine and rich enough without him. Debray takes the news coldly, and recommends that Madame Danglars also leave France to travel. Debray gives her her share of the fortune the two have amassed together, about 1,340,000 francs. Although Madame Danglars appears to have hoped that Debray would offer her some sort future together, it is clear that he is not interested. In the meantime, Mercédès and Albert are living very poorly in the same hotel, making plans to go to Marseilles to retrieve the 3,000 francs hidden there by Dantès/the Count. Albert has joined the Spahis (the French cavalry in Africa) for which he has received 1,000 francs for his mother to live on. As the two leave their room, they encounter Debray who is kind to them, but embarrassed that he has so much money and they so little. The next day, Madame de Morcerf leaves for Marseilles, where Albert will meet her a few days later.

Benedetto/Andrea is in a prison nicknamed "The Lion’s Den", expecting any day to be visited by his "illustrious protector" (the Count) who he still believes is his father and who he believes will rescue him. Bertuccio pays Benedetto a visit and although Benedetto is initially disappointed to see his former father, he believes that Bertuccio has been sent by the Count. Instead, Bertuccio only tells him that the Count of Monte Cristo is not his father, and seems satisfied that Benedetto is now where he belongs. Not having time to tell him the true identity of his father, Bertuccio leaves, promising to return the next day. Benedetto is brought before the examining magistrate.

Villefort has thrown himself into the case against Benedetto, all the while reassuring Noirtier that he has not forgotten his promise to punish Valentine’s killer. It is clear by the way Noirtier glares at Madame de Villefort that he believes she is the murderer. On the day of Benedetto’s trial, Villefort confronts his wife and accuses her of all the murders which have recently taken place in their home. Although she is unable to deny the crimes and begs mercy, Villefort tells her that as she is guilty she must be punished. He tells her that she will not face the scaffold if she has preserved some of the poison for herself. He tells her that he would prefer she not die on the scaffold as it would be a dishonor to the family and tells her that if she is still alive when he returns that night, he will arrest her and she will spend the night in jail. He leaves and his wife faints.

Beauchamp, Château-Renaud and Debray are at Benedetto’s trial where they discuss the strange deaths at the de Villefort’s, which Beauchamp has heard are being carried out by the de Villefort’s young son, Edward.

Villefort’s charges against Benedetto are read aloud. Benedetto stuns first Villefort and then the rest of the assembled crowd by stating his birth date, birthplace, and then Villefort’s name as his father. Benedetto provides the details of the day of his birth when he was buried alive and his subsequent rescue and adoption by Bertuccio, but states he does not know who his mother is. Madame Danglars, in the audience, faints. Overcome, Villefort admits that everything Benedetto has said is true, and volunteers to surrender to the procurer who will replace him. The audience, including Debray, Beauchamp and Château-Renaud, is stunned.

Villefort returns home, having decided that considering his own guilt, his wife should be permitted to live, and they will flee Paris with their son. Bursting into his wife’s bedroom, he finds that she has just swallowed the poison and watches her die. He then finds his son Edward also murdered with poison by his wife. Going downstairs, he sees the Abbé Busoni with his father, and the Count/Count sees by Villefort’s face that his identity as Benedetto’s father has been revealed at the trial. Telling Villefort that he has now repaid his debt, the Count reveals his true identity as Edmond Dantès. Villefort shows Edmond the bodies of his wife and son and Edmond/the Count is stunned, immediately trying unsuccessfully to restore Edward to life. Villefort rushes to the garden where he insanely begins to dig to find the body of his child from years before (he is digging in the yard of the wrong house). Recognizing that Villefort has gone insane and feeling remorse the Count goes to Morrel’s house to prepare him for their departure the next day. He leaves Bertuccio with Noirtier.

The Count picks up Morrel at Julie and Emmanuel’s house, where Julie and Emmanuel are discussing their beliefs that the recent disasters of Morcerf, Danglars and Villefort seem to have been guided by a Supreme Being. The Count tells Julie and Emmanuel that he will probably never see them again and leaves with Morrel, who is still grieving. The Count’s slave Ali tells him that Noirtier has accepted the contents of a message in a letter that the Count has sent him. Morrel and the Count arrive in Marseilles and while Morrel visits his father’s grave, the Count goes to his father’s old house to see Mercédès. The Count and Morrel see Albert de Morcerf, who is leaving Marseilles by ship. The Count comforts Mercédès, telling her that her son is acting nobly. Mercédès is full of self-reproach and grieved by the past, although she is not angry with Edmond. Edmond repeats and explains his belief in his role as the avenger of God. He and Mercédès part, probably forever, and Mercédès seems heavy with her memories of Edmond, who she realizes no longer exists as she remembers him.

The Count is expressing self-doubt about his actions and vengeance, particularly since Edward’s death. The Count returns to the Chateau d’If, and his guide there relates "Edmond Dantès’" escape story and the story of the Abbé Faria as a famous incident in the prison’s past. Objectively listening again to his own imprisonment, the Count’s feelings of guilt begin to lessen. The guide gives him a book that he found written by the Abbé Faria, which restores Edmond’s belief that what he has done is right. He returns to Marseilles to see Morrel, who promises to meet the Count on the Island of Monte Cristo on October 5, the day Morrel has promised the Count he will wait for before he takes his own life.

Danglars makes his way to Rome to the banking house of Thomson & French, followed by Peppino, Luigi Vampa’s bandit friend, who we learn is being regularly informed by the clerk at Thomson & French as to the amounts of money with which people are leaving the bank. Danglars collects his 5 million francs on the Count of Monte Cristo’s receipt and leaves, and Peppino mentions to the clerk that he and his band have known about Danglars arrival for some time already. Danglars sets out for Vienna (where he intends to live) via Venice the next day in a hired carriage. Danglars’ carriage driver hijacks him and takes him to Luigi Vampa’s headquarters where he is put in a cell. Believing he has been abducted by the same people that abducted Albert months before, Danglars assumes that he will be ransomed for a sum not exceeding 8,000 francs. He is carrying with him only a few louis and receipts for the collection of the 5 million francs from banking houses in Venice and Vienna.

The next day Danglars is left alone in the cell until the end of the day when he finally asks for some food. He is brought an entire fowl, but before being allowed to eat, he is told he must pay 100,000 francs for it. Danglars refuses to eat. When he finally asks for bread some time later, he is told the bread also costs 100,000 francs, particularly as they know he has 5,050,000 francs in his pocket. Danglars realizes what is happening but is so hungry he writes them letter of credit for 100,000 francs so that he can eat.

Having saved half his fowl, Danglars is thirsty the next day, but is told that bottles of wine are 25,000 francs each. He demands to see Vampa, who tells Danglars that they want the entire five million francs, which is all Danglars has left in the world. When Danglars tells him they may as well kill him, he is told that Vampa has been forbidden to shed Danglars’ blood by a chief, but that he may starve to death if he refuses to pay. Danglars gives in two days later, and after another 12 days he has only 50,000 francs left. Danglars goes another five days without eating until he is hallucinating, and finally offers the last of his money to be released. The Count of Monte Cristo then arrives and asks Danglars if he has now repented of his evil deeds, and reveals his identity as Edmond Dantès, the man betrayed by Danglars and the son of the man Danglars caused to die by starvation. The Count allows Danglars to keep his last 50,000 francs and sets him free. The Count has returned the five million francs to the Paris charities robbed by Danglars, and Danglars finds when he emerges from the bandits’ cave that his hair has turned white.

On October 5 th , Morrel arrives at the Island of Monte Cristo and is met by the Count, who takes him to his palatial cave. As Morrel is still determined to die, the Count offers him all of his millions if he will live, but Morrel refuses, convincing the Count that Morrel is truly miserable. The Count provides him with a green substance which he tells him is a pleasant poison that will kill him, but then also tells Morrel that he too will kill himself. Morrel refuses to hear of the Count killing himself and takes the substance, and while he lays immobile, the Count brings in Valentine and reunites her with Morrel. The Count asks Valentine to take care of Haidee for him as he is going to leave her. Haidee overhears and, desolate at losing him, Haidee tells the Count that she will die if he leaves her, and the Count then understands that she loves him as he now loves her. The Count is happy, and feels that Haidee’s love and his future happiness are signs from God that he has been rewarded for his past sufferings and for his triumph in vanquishing those who are evil. He and Haidee leave by the time Morrel regains full consciousness, and Valentine tells Morrel how the Count saved her life. The Count has left Morrel a letter telling him that Noirtier is waiting at Leghorn to bless the couple before they are married, and that he has left everything in the cave and his houses in Paris and Tréport to them. He tells Valentine to give her inherited fortune from her now-insane father to the poor, and that her step-mother and brother have died. The letter sums up the Count’s philosophy of life as "Wait and Hope", expresses his humility in God, and wishes them happiness.

(Thanks to Carol for the summary!)

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The Characters

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The Love and War Version

Below are links to the threads written so far. Please note that some of the content may be unsuitable for persons under 18yrs of age.

The Count of Monte Cristo has been restarted since the majority of cast members have changed, this threads are stored in the file of the group. You must join the group to access them.

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