So, I know this book was long. I was one of the people who voted for it, so I was going to read the whole thing, darn it! And I’m glad I did. It was ridiculously long, but also really good. And I feel like I accomplished something when I finished. As I read, I realized that things were going to get complicated, and I didn’t want to lose track of what was going on. So I started writing my review chapter by chapter. I knew it would take a while, and it did, but now there is a lovely resource out there for those of you who maybe didn’t have time to read, or read an abridged version and got confused with the holes that you found. So here you are, lovelies, an 18,000 word summary and review of Alexandre Dumas’ classic The Count of Monte Cristo.
The Plot (with some extras):
There is a ship, the Pharaon, pulling into the harbor in Marseilles. Young Edmund Dantès is acting as captain, as the previous captain has died (in agony, in case you were wondering.) Almost everyone likes him and thinks he’s a good captain. Then there’s Danglars. No one likes him, and as this is not a YA novel about accepting who you are and stuff like that, we assume he is one of the bad guys. He snitches to the ship’s owner, Morrel, that Dantès detoured to the Isle of Elba (where Napoleon is) on his way home. Dantès said it was ordered by the late captain, so Morrel is cool with it. When Morrel asks Dantès his opinion of Danglars, he says that while he may not be fond of him as a person, he does his job, so everything is cool. Dantès is good at HR.
Dantès goes home to visit his father. (It reminds me of the reuniting scene in A Knight’s Tale, only the father isn’t blind.) Dantès had given his father money before he went on his boat trip. Their neighbor, Caderousse, conveniently remembered that he had lent Dantès some money, and wanted it back right now (because he is a dick.) Seeing as his son wasn’t home, his father paid his neighbor out of the funds he left, leaving himself with almost no moneys. Grr. Caderousse and Danglars meet up and talk shit about Dantès, because he’s a good person who is getting nice things, and we can’t have that. Caderousse also infers that Dantès’ fiance has been playin’ so they go follow him to find out.
We meet Mercédès, Dante’s lady. Her cousin Fernand is trying to get cousinly action, but Mercédès is having none of it. She wants to marry Dante, who she is conveniently not related to. (And you know, is a decent human being.) As Fernand is whining another proposal, Dantès shows up, and Fernand sulks. He meets up with Caderousse, who is sloshed on wine (and is kinda funny in the audiobook) and Danglars, as they continue to talk shit. Danglars comes up with a dastardly plan, involving a letter that Dantès is supposed to deliver somewhere in Paris, which Danglars thinks may be treasonous.
The baddies come up with a plan. They will “anonymously” let the authorities know that Dantès has a treasonous letter. That way they can’t be blamed. Dantès will be thrown in prison, so he will be unable to marry Mercédès or be captain of the ship. And he won’t be killed, which Mercédès claimed that she would do herself in if that were to happen. Danglars claims it is all a joke and throws the plan on the ground, knowing that Fernand will pick it up and follow through, because he is a jealous shit. Caderousse continues to be entertaining.
As everyone is on their way from the betrothal feast to the wedding, Dantès gets arrested, and no one seems to know why. Danglars offers to take the captaincy of the ship while Dantès gets himself sorted, because you know, he’s such a swell guy, and Morrel agrees.
There is another betrothal feast, this time between Villefort and his betrothed Renée de Saint-Méran. There is much political talk. Basically Napoleon and his supporters (Bonapartists) are bad. Villefort is a Royalist, in support of King Louis XVIII, and opposite his father Noirtier, who is a Bonapartist. One of the airheaded attendees requests a political trial, for there are said to provide great amusement. She is a bitch. And then a servant appears and tells Villefort that there’s a situation, and he happily tells the party that they may have their amusement, for there is a Bonapartist conspiracy afoot! Renee is not a bitch, so she requests leniency for whichever poor sap is interrupting her happy day.
Villefort questions Dantès, who as we know is a swell guy. Villefort is all set to be lenient, due to his similar matrimonial situation and the fact that Dantès is cool. Everything is all hunky-dory until Villefort discovers that the letter was to be delivered to his father! Aw snap! If it were known that his father was part of a conspiracy to aid Napoleon, then his own career would be ruined! To keep his secret and to further his own career, he decides that Dantès must be sacrificed. Villefort now sucks.
Dantès is sent to the Château d’If, an island prison for dangerous political criminals. He doesn’t behave very well, demands to see the Governor, threatens his jailor, and gets sent to the dungeon where the crazies go. He is told of a fellow crazy prisoner who rambles on about his treasure. This will be important later.
Villefort goes home and tells his father-in-law-to-be that he has to go to Paris immediately to warn the king of a plot against him. He thinks it will be good for him financially, and advises his future father-in-law in a matter of finances. Mercédès intercepts him to beg for news of Dantès, but he pushes her aside, and he feels a little bad about ruining Dantès’ life. But not too much, because he doesn’t do anything about it.
Villefort warns the king of a Bonapartist plot. The voice the narrator gives the king is fabulous! I really like the king here. He is just done with everybody’s shit. Because you know, it’s so hard to find good help these days. Or those days.
Too late. Apparently Napoleon is already in France. Villefort gets props from the king for being the only one who warned him at all, even if it was too late. While they are speaking of disasters, they bring up the recent assassination of General de Quesnel who was killed after a meeting in a Bonapartist club. There is a description floating about of his assassin, who the police are searching for, and a man of that same description calls on Villefort at his hotel. OMG it’s his father!
His father Noirtier has found him immediately, because he has people, and his people are good. Villefort warns his father of what the king and his people know, and the fact that they have Noirtier’s description and are looking for him in connection to a murder. Noirtier thanks his son, shaves his beard, changes his coat and hat, and leaves in disguise.
Napoleon is back in power (for 100 days, at least.) Since the crime Dantès was put in prison for is no longer a crime, Morrel goes to Villefort to beg for his release. Villefort sends him away with empty promises, because he has no intention of having Dantès released, because he’s a dick. Danglars retires from Morrel’s service and flees to Madrid because he’s worried that Dantès will be released and seek revenge. Fernand sniffs after Mercédès but joins Napoleon’s army. Dantès’ father dies of grief, and Morrel pays for his funeral. Dantès has been imprisoned for 5 months.
There is an inspection of the Château d’If and its prisoners by some high-up muckety-muck. Dantès begs for his release or at least a trial. The fancy pants guy agrees to look into his case. Dantès says that he believes everything Villefort put in his file is true, because he thinks Villefort is a kind friend to him, instead of the rat he really is. The notes that Villefort left on Dantès do not paint a good picture of him, which does absolutely no good for Dantès.
Dantès does not do well in prison. For the first six years, he goes through the gambit of emotions and finally decided to kill himself via starvation. But wait, he hears a mysterious noise! There is a scratching coming from the other side of the wall! Dantès, wishing to meet this industrious stranger, places his plate on the ground so his guard will step on it, with the consequence of Dantès being left with the saucepan for his soup dish, which he uses to scrape at the wall. He eventually hears the voice of his fellow anti-mason and soon he has a guest in his cell.
We learn that the stranger is the Abbé Faria, who is said to be mad by the people in the prison. He was causing political problems in Italy, and has been imprisoned four years longer than Dantès. While Dantès is happy to have company, the Abbé is a bit miffed, as he thought he was tunneling to freedom instead of another cell. Oops.
Abbé Faria is not mad, only brilliant. He is super smart and has made tools and paper and all sorts of things, because he is awesome. He even wrote a book of sorts, using bits of a shirt as paper. He can MacGyver anything, it seems! In learning Dantès’ story, Faria is able to quickly decipher who the baddies are in Dantès’ life – Danglars, Fernand, and Villefort. Faria pieces together that Noirtier, the would-be recipient of the cursed letter, is Villefort’s father. Dantès’ thoughts move toward revenge, to which Faria basically says, “My bad.” Dantès does not realize, but this is the beginning of his loss of innocence. Faria teaches Dantès all that he knows over the next two years, which is a lot, including some languages, philosophy, mathematics, history, and MacGyvering. When you have nothing else to do but learn, you get a lot done! They plan an escape, but as soon as they are about to implement it, Faria suffers a fit and becomes half paralyzed. Dantès refuses to leave his friend to escape on his own.
Faria brings up the subject of his treasure, which Dantès is not pleased about. Treasure talk = Madness to the people at Château d’If, and so Dantès thinks his friend suffered some damage during his fit. Reluctantly, Dantès listens to his friend’s story. Basically, a rich guy of an old family left his fortune on the island of Monte Cristo to hide it from a pope. But there was an oops along the way, and the treasure was never discovered. Faira worked for the last of that family, and discovered the secret of where it was hidden after the last guy died. Faria was made his heir, so he and Dantès shouldn’t feel bad about taking the fortune.
Faria makes Dantès memorize the direction to the treasure. Then he dies.
Dantès is sad that his friend and father-figure is dead. He manages to finally escape the prison by switching places with Faria – he places the corpse on Dantès’ bed, makes it look like he is sleeping, and hides himself in the burial sack with a knife. It’s the ol’ switcheroo. Faria helps Dantès even in death! Dantès assumes they will bury him, and he’ll figure that out later, but they throw him into the sea instead in the middle of the night. Whoops. Luckily, Dantès is the best swimmer that ever was!
Dantès makes it to an uninhabited island during a storm. A fishing boat caught in the storm is destroyed and fatally washes up on the island. Dantès poses as one of the lost fisherman, and is rescued by a Genoese ship. He passes off his long hair and beard as a religious affectation, and is believed. His usefulness as a sailor and calm and intelligent manner make his story all the more believable.
Dantès realizes that the men he sails with are smugglers, but hey, everyone has to make a living! He was in prison for 14 years and is now 33 years old (Jesus comparison, anyone?) He shaves off his beard, cuts his hair, and buys some new clothes to start his new life. The smugglers conveniently use the island of Monte Cristo as a rendezvous point.
While on the island, Dantès uses his mad MacGyver skills to fake an injury. When he is eventually left alone on the island to “recover” until the smugglers can pick him up. One of the sailors, Jacopo, offers to stay with him, but Dantès refuses, because he has secret plans!
Dantès looks for the treasure. He finds it. Hurrah!
Dantès gets picked back up by his fellow smuggling crew. He takes a bunch of jewels with him. When back in the city, he sells the smallest of them. He buys Jacopo a boat in reward for his kindness and sends him to Marseilles to find out what happened to Mercédès and his father, and requests that they meet again on Monte Cristo. Dantès invents a story that his stint as a sailor was an amusement, and that he’s really a wealthy young man, and everyone believes him. Dantès also buys a yacht on the spot for much monies and requests a secret compartment be installed. He sails it expertly back to Monte Cristo and puts the rest of the treasure on his yacht. Dantès is portrayed as the best sailor that ever was! Jacopo brings the sad news that his father has died and Mercédès has disappeared. Dantès tries to conceal his sads and sails to Marseilles. He goes to his old house to inquire after his father and Caderousse. He learns that Caderousse is now an innkeeper. He buys his old house and also visits Mercédès’ old house. He is spreading gold around like a flower girl throws petals at a wedding.
We visit Caderousse at his inn. He is not doing particularly well – he lives in poverty with his sickly wife (who is smarter than him.) He is no longer the happy-go-lucky drunkard we knew before. He is visited by the Abbé Busoni, who is really Dantès, claiming to be following Dantès’ dying wish, which was to split the proceeds from the sale of a diamond he acquired in prison between those he loved best in the world: his father, Mercédès, Danglars, Fernand, and Caderousse himself. Caderousse confesses his part in the arrest of Dantès, which was basically cowardice and inaction. Seeing that he really is remorseful, Dantès forgives him. Caderousse agrees to tell all he knows, in exchange that the information cannot be traced back to him.
Caderousse tells how Dantès’ father died. He eventually stopped eating and starved himself to death in grief, despite having options to live with both Mercédès and Morrel. Morrel even left him his red silk purse to support the man, but was still refused. The money he left was used to pay the old man’s debts and to give him a decent burial. Caderousse now has the purse, which he willingly gives to Dantès. Morrel is not doing well at all. He suffered politically due to his trying so vehemently to get Dantès out of prison. He is now on the edge of ruin – his ships have been lost, and he has but one, the Pharaon, remaining. Danglars made his fortune in Spain, married twice, and is now enjoys a very elevated status. And Fernand mysteriously made his fortune during the war. Caderousse doesn’t know what happened to Villefort, but assumes he did well like everyone else. Dantès gives the diamond to Caderousse, saying that the entirety is his, as he has proved to be a friend to Dantès.
Dantès is now disguised as an Englishman who is representing the investment firm of Thompson and French. He goes to Marseilles and buys up all of Morrel’s numerous debts. One of those belongs to the inspector of prisons. Seeing as Dantès is paying him a large sum of money that he thought was going to be lost, he lets him see the prison records. He claims to be interested in the Abbé Faria as he was a former student, and while he is in the records he pockets the letter from Danglars, while confirming that Villefort meant for him to be locked away for life.
Morrel is not doing well. If his ship, the Pharaon, does not come in, he will not be able to pay his debts, and he will be ruined. Aside from the crew of the Pharaon, he has two employees – Emmanuel, who is in love with Morrel’s daughter Julie, and Coclѐs, who is a very loyal employee acting as cashier and house servant. Dantès arrives, still playing the Englishman, and informs Morrel that he holds most of his debt. During their meeting, word arrives that the Pharaon has been lost, although the crew survived. Dantès grants Morrel a reprieve, and says he will return in exactly three months, to the hour, for the money. On the way out, Dantès meets Julie on the stairs, and tells her that she will receive a missive from Sinbad the Sailor, and she is to follow the instructions exactly.
Three months later, and Morrel has not reclaimed everything. He still does not have all of the money he owes, although he was able to pay off some of it to other people. Claiming that the family will be better off being pitied with him dead than being shunned by having a man without honor as a husband and father, he plans on shooting himself. Having an inkling these were his thoughts, Morrel’s wife sent for their son Maximilian to come home from the army. Maximilian is not helpful in this, as he agrees with his father’s reasoning, but agrees to remain alive for his mother and sister. As the meeting draws near, Julie receives the note from ‘Sinbad the Sailor,’ and following the instructions finds the red silk purse from chapter 27 with the entirety of the money receipted and a big freakin’ diamond marked as “Julie’s dowry.” She brings the purse to her father as he cocks his gun at his temple, but then there is a ruckus outside! There is the Pharaon, which was said to be lost, but there is her crew and the cargo she was to have had! Happy day! The results of the ship’s demise had been greatly exaggerated. Or perhaps it was the Mandela effect. Dantès, seeing everything all wrapped up with a shiny bow, sails off into the sunset.
Fast forward ten years. We are now following a young French dandy, the Baron Franz d’Epinay. I am confused as to why. It is suggested to him that he go hunt wild goats on the island of Monte Cristo. But wait, there might be smugglers or pirates! Franz decides to go anyway, because he is rich and does what he wants! They land on the island, and the ship’s captain is familiar with the inhabitants that happen to be on the island at the moment. Franz is surprised to be invited to dine with a mysterious gentleman. He is blindfolded and taken into a secret grotto that is totally blinged out. His host is Sinbad the Sailor (who we know is Edmund Dantès) who treats him to a lavish meal and some drugs. Yay drugs! He also tells the tale of how he acquired his Nubian slave Ali, who is mute. Ali was caught a little too close to a harem, and was sentenced to have his tongue, hand, and head cut off in that order. Wishing for a mute servant, Dantès waited until the tongue was cut off and then offered to buy the condemned man for the price of a gun and a cutlass. Dantès is a bit of a jerk.
Franz wakes up from his drugged stupor to find that his host has quitted the island. He tries to find the entrance to the secret grotto, but cannot, because it’s secret. He eventually gives up and leaves for Rome, where he meets up with his friend the Viscount Albert de Morcerf. Albert seems to be more of a dandy than Franz. He is the son of Fernand (dun dun DUN!), although we aren’t sure if Dantès knows this yet. They are staying in a hotel for the duration of the grand carnival that comes before Lent. They did not plan ahead very well, however, as they did not book the services of a carriage, which apparently is necessary for the full enjoyment of the festivities. They are used to life in Paris, where everything can be acquired for the right price, and seem perplexed and put out that money cannot solve all of their problems in Rome.
Upon hearing that Franz wants to take Albert on a moonlit trip to the Colosseum via a route that goes outside the city walls, their hotel concierge Pastrini cautions them that it is too dangerous. There are bandits about, specifically Luigi Vampa. We also learn his backstory over the next two chapters. Vampa was a shepherd who begged a priest to teach him to read, which he did exponentially. He also learned to carve wood and shoot and other stuff. He was in love with the shepherdess Teresa. One day, the two hide a man from soldiers, who happened to be the famous bandit Cucumetto, who was a baddie. We also learn his backstory as a massive jerk. And rapist. And backstabbing murderer. You know, one of the gems of society.
Vampa and Teresa go to a fancy party at a count’s house where the nobility can mingle with the peasants somewhat freely. Teresa is asked to join the dance with the daughter of the house to make up a quadrille. Vampa gets super jealous of the attention paid to her and the attention she pays to her young and handsome dance partner. He takes her away, and when she speaks of her desire for the costume of the count’s daughter, he goes and sets fire to the place to get the costume without notice. He gives it to Teresa the next day, and she doesn’t question it, because she’s selfish and apparently a little dumb. While she’s changing, a stranger appears and asks for directions. Vampa leads him to the crossroads, and accepts two shinies in exchange of the directions and a dagger. The stranger was Sinbad the Sailor! On returning to Teresa, he finds her being carried off by a villain! He shoots the guy, and discovers it was Cucumetto. He puts on the dead guy’s clothes, and dressed in their finery the couple goes to find the bandits, who Vampa requests to be made captain of. You know, seeing as he killed their old leader and set a house fire.
The young men visit the Colosseum at night (via the safe roads inside the city walls.) Franz witnesses a conversation between two shady characters in the dark. He is fairly sure one of them is his mysterious host from the island of Monte Cristo. The conversation is about the fate of a young man, Peppino, who is set to be executed on the first day of the Carnival, for providing aid to the bandit Luigi Vampa (who is the other stranger.) Monte Cristo promises to save Peppino from death via monetary means, which is preferable to Vampa’s plan of running in with guns a-blazing. Vampa promises his everlasting loyalty in exchange for Peppino’s life.
At the opera, and Franz is amazed to see his mysterious host again, this time accompanied by a beautiful young Greek girl. The Countess G-, a lovely Venetian woman who had been known to Albert previously, is frightened by the appearance of the stranger and believes him to be a vampire (of the non-sparkly variety) and refers to him as Lord Ruthvan, a well-known vampire. (Fun fact – according to the notes in the back of the book, the Countess G- may have been modeled after (or referring to) Teresa Giucciolo, who was Byron’s mistress between 1817 and 1819!) Franz promises the Countess he will not seek out the stranger, but wait! The next morning, Pastrini tells the gentlemen that their fellow hotel guest invites them to use his carriage for the Carnival. They go to visit him, and he is the mysterious stranger, the Count of Monte Cristo!
The Count of Monte Cristo invites the gentlemen to witness the public execution that opens the Carnival from his private rooms. The three gentlemen discuss human justice and deuling. Monte Cristo is not fond of dueling – he claims he would fight in a duel if he had to over a trifle or an insult, but real justice comes from equal suffering. Franz is eager to go, not to witness the killings but to confirm his theories that the stranger from the Colosseum and the Count of Monte Cristo are the same, and to see if the scheme plays out. If the plan to save Peppino was a go, then certain curtains would be hung in certain windows, so Franz wants to check. They are. The plan to save Peppino goes off without a hitch. Yay Peppino! The day does not go as well for the other guy set to be executed. No one saves him, so he is violently bludgeoned to death. Monte Cristo is creepily all about it, but Franz and Albert are a little squeamish after.
But hey, it’s time to party! Over the course of the Carnival, Albert is engaged in a flirtation with a mysterious woman. They pass notes and favors, but do not speak. She gives him a note asking to meet up at the conclusion of the festival. He is trying to pursue it and get some, because hey, he’s on vacation!
So, it turns out the mysterious lady was Teresa, Vampa’s mistress. Oops. And the whole ‘flirtation’ was okayed by the bandit to trap and kidnap Albert for ransom. Franz receives the ransom note, conveniently brought by the newly freed Peppino. Franz does not have enough money on hand to pay the ransom, so he goes to ask Monte Cristo for help, knowing that he has some sway with Vampa. Peppino leads them to the bandit lair, and Monte Cristo casually greets Vampa. Monte Cristo calls Albert one of his friends, so Vampa releases him with many apologies. Albert was super casual about his kidnapping and release, but is still extremely grateful to Monte Cristo.
In exchange for saving his life, all Monte Cristo wants is to be introduced into Parisian society. Albert happily agrees, and they set a date and time – exactly 3 months to the hour – for Monte Cristo to show up at Albert’s house in Paris. Albert is all about it, but Franz is still freaked out by Monte Cristo a bit. So Franz tells Albert the tale of his first meeting Monte Cristo, and of the conversation in the Colosseum. He asks Albert to keep it a secret. (Spoiler alert: he doesn’t.)
The day has finally come for Monte Cristo to visit Albert. Albert invites some people over to meet the Count of Monte Cristo, and also to start introducing him into Parisian society. Among the guests are Beauchamp, a journalist, and Lucien Debray, the secretary to the minister of the interior. These two will be important later.
More guests arrive, this time with someone unexpected. The Baron of Château-Renaud, a diplomat, has brought with him Maximilian Morrel, a captain in the French army. Morrel saved Château-Renaud’s life in Constantinople on the anniversary of his father’s salvation, a tradition that Morrel has created for himself. Monte Cristo arrives, and seems particularly interested in Morrel. Albert has been singing Monte Cristo’s praises, and he claims it was not that big of a deal. He tells the group how he once captured Vampa and his bandits, and instead of handing them in he requested that they never harm himself or his friends. He also talks about drugs. Yay drugs! He shows them some pastilles (pills?) he made himself to help him sleep, or rather knock him unconscious for a while. He keeps them in a little box he had made out of an emerald, because why not? (Note: this box will make another appearance in chapter 102.)
After everyone else leaves, Albert shows Monte Cristo around his place. Albert has a lot of stuff, and we hear about it, and Monte Cristo knows more about his stuff than Albert does, including science, history, and art. Albert has a portrait of a Catalan woman looking out to see. He says that it is of his mother, and he keeps it in his apartment because his father hates it. Albert introduces Monte Cristo to his parents. Fernand, now the Count de Morcerf, does not recognize Monte Cristo as Dantès at all. Mercédès, on the other hand, does, and kind of freaks out.
Monte Cristo buys a summer house in Auteuil, which is not that far from his main Paris house in the Champs-Elysées. (It’s a 45 minute walk between houses, according to Google Maps!) The house used to belong to the Marquis de Saint-Méran, whose daughter was Villefort’s first wife before she died.
Monte Cristo visits his new house. His steward, Bertuccio, is very weird about it. Monte Cristo pushes the issue and makes him go in the house, because he’s an ass. As Bertuccio completely loses his shit, Monte Cristo forces him to tell him his story, threatening to fire him if he doesn’t. Monte Cristo sucks.
Bertuccio tells his tale. His beloved brother was in Napoleon’s army, and after the Hundred Days he was assassinated by royalists in the streets in Nimes. Bertuccio went to Villefort for justice, because he was the prosecutor. Being a royalist himself, Villefort coldly dismisses Bertuccio, basically saying that “these things happen” and “this is the natural way of things.” Bertuccio, not taking Villefort’s shit, tells Villefort that he will deliver Corsican justice upon him and kill him. Villefort, realizing that Bertuccio is not playing, becomes paranoid, and rightly so. Bertuccio follows Villefort for a long time, waiting for an opportunity. He finds one (in the house Monte Cristo eventually buys) in the garden at night. Villefort visits a lovely young woman (his wife?) who gives birth to a child, and Bertuccio stabs Villefort as he is burying the body of his infant son. Bertuccio steals the casket and revives the child, then leaves the baby at a hospital, keeping part of the burial cloth in case he needs to identify the child later. (Monte Cristo knows more than he says here, as he knows the child was a boy without Bertuccio saying so.) After seven or eight months, his widowed sister-in-law goes and claims the baby as her own to raise. This will prove to be a bad idea. The child, Benedetto, is a little shit. About twelve years later, Bertuccio goes on a smuggling run, and after narrowly escaping the customs officers, ends up hiding at Caderousse’s inn, a few days after Monte Cristo gave him the diamond. A jeweler is visiting, and offers 45,000 francs for the diamond. Caderousse and his wife eventually accept, although grudgingly, for they had been told it was worth 50,000. The jeweler leaves to go home, but has to turn back due to a storm.
In the middle of the night, Bertuccio hears a gunshot, and then feels “water” dripping on his head. He sees Caderousse light a candle, take all the money and the diamond, hide his loot, and then flee. Bertuccio goes to check on the murder he didn’t prevent, and trips on the corpse of Caderousse’s wife on the stairs. The jeweler is also dead, and as Bertuccio goes down the stairs, he is arrested for their murders. He proclaims his innocence, and once in Nimes begs for the Abbé Busoni, who can confirm that at least part of his tale is true. Eventually, Busoni (Dantès) shows up, confirms his story, and hears Bertuccio’s confession. As he is confessing to the real murder he actually committed, Busoni backs him up on his innocence of the ones he is accused of. Busoni advises him to change his line of work and recommends him to the Count of Monte Cristo (himself in a different hat.) Caderousse is eventually found and arrested, and so Bertuccio is released. And what of Benedetto? At the tender age of eleven he tortured his adopted mother for money, and she dies shortly thereafter.
Monte Cristo instructs Bertuccio to purchase a fine set of horses he sees passing by, knowing they belong to the Danglars, and tells Bertuccio that cost is no issue. He then takes these horses with him when he goes to visit Danglars as his banker, with letters from other banks instructing Monte Cristo to receive unlimited credit, a concept which baffles Danglars. When pressed, Monte Cristo admits he may spend somewhere in the amount of six millions while in Paris over the next year. This makes Danglars realize that Monte Cristo is in a completely different class than his own.
Danglars brings Monte Cristo to meet his wife, Madame Danglars, who has a visitor in Debray, who we met before. Madame Danglars discovers that her husband has sold her prized horses, and is pissed. She had been planning on loaning them to Madame de Villefort the next day. Danglars explains to the room he sold the horses because they were too wild for his wife. He then takes her aside and claims that a fool bought them for a profit of 16,000 francs, and that she should have part of the money, and her daughter as well. She is not appeased, and the situation becomes worse when they look out the window and discover that it was Monte Cristo who bought the horses! Things become tense, and Monte Cristo and Debray leave, because awk-ward. That evening, Monte Cristo, acting all magnanimous, regifts the horses to Madame Danglars, because she was so attached to them, with the addition of a large diamond on top of each harness. This may or may not be significant.
The next day, Monte Cristo asks Ali if he could lasso two horses running at “ungovernable fury.” At his smile, Monte Cristo explains that the two horses he had bought and then returned would be racing by that Ali must stop at all costs. Ali goes outside and places a mark in the road to show exactly where the horses would be stopped. It is a grand lark for him! As the promised horses go racing past with a woman and her young child as terrified cargo, Ali calmy lassos the horses and subdues them. The child faints from fright, and mother and child are brought inside. Monte Cristo uses a drop of a peculiar red liquid to bring the boy to his senses. Villefort’s bratty son is a brat, and when told to thank Ali for saving his life, he says that he won’t, and that he doesn’t like Ali because he’s ugly.Monte Cristo is a jerk, and translates this for Ali, who has his feelings hurt. Monte Cristo says that Ali will take the Villefort’s home with the horses that caused all the trouble.
Something was done to the horses, because they act out of character in bolting, andMonte Cristo expects their catastrophe. And then they get better. Does Ali rub some substance on them, or wipe it away, or was something in the diamond on their harness? The horses are so subdued on their return journey that it takes them several hours to deliver the shaken couple home, a journey that may have been faster had they walked. Madame de Villefort writes of her encounter to Madame Danglars, and so it is the talk of Paris.
(Apparently, Villefort is still alive, because he has a wife, a daughter, and another son. So who did Bertuccio stab? Also, Villefort sires shitty sons.)
Villefort goes to visit Monte Cristo to thank him for saving his wife and son. Monte Cristo elaborates on his Gary Stu-ness. He claims to have been to every country and speaks every language, and has studied the justice system everywhere as well. While he denies claims of perfection, he says he is higher than most men, with only God above him. Well, now, sir. You think mightily high of yourself! Villefort reveals that his father, Noirtier Villefort, lives with him, but it to be pitied because he has suffered a stroke and is no longer the man he was. I guess there was a public reunion between father and son since the time of Napoleon. This is in response to the news that Monte Cristo does not fear death, for it will only stop him, he does not fear old age, for job will be done before then, and he does not fear madness, for he has been almost mad before.
Monte Cristo goes home to Haydée. He tells her that she is free and no longer a slave, because they do not have slaves in France. She replies with a “Thanks, but no thanks.” She has every want and need met, so why should she risk that for a life of uncertainty? She swears her loyalty to him, for he has been very good to her. She refers to herself as a slave, but I have a feeling she only plays the slave card when she wants to. He tells her she is free to stay or leave as she pleases, but asks that she not reveal her parentage to the citizens of Paris. We also learn that she is twenty years old.
Monte Cristo visits the Morrel/Herbaut family. They are super cute. Monte Cristo seems to have no emotion, but blushes when they praise the “angel” (him) who saved them. He tells them that their benefactor may have been Lord Wilmore, the eccentric Englishman, but he couldn’t be sure. Maximilian believes their benefactor is Edmond Dantès, working from beyond the grave.
A young lady, Valentine Villefort, meets her lover, Maximilian Morrel, on either side of a closed gate. Maximilian has leased a bit of land bordering Valentine’s father’s – Maximilian shall be a gardener. Valentine is the affianced of Franz d’Epinay, who is supposed to be gone for another year. Maximilian waxes lyrically about how she gives him no encouragement and no reward, and then backtracks when she cries. Valentine speaks of how she is unloved except by her grandfather. Villefort is a cold personage, and her stepmother hates her, both because all of her love is reserved for her own monster of a child and the fact that Valentine inherits money both from her birth mother and her grandparents. There is much complaining and exaggerating in the way of youths.
Monte Cristo visits Madame de Villefort. Her son is still a little shit. Monte Cristo reminds Madame that they met in Italy. Madame remembers Monte Cristo as a medical man, for he had just saved two lives. They speak of poisons, which interests Madame de Villefort greatly. (We have a brief lesson in biomagnification, which I taught in a lesson last week! Only with mercury in fish instead of arsenic and other poisons.) Monte Cristo stresses the fact that the potion he gave her son to restore him, an antispasmodic, could have very easily killed him with a few more drops, and the death would have appeared natural. He alo talks of how he made himself immune to some poisons. After some ‘subtle’ hinting, Monte Cristo agrees to send Madame de Villefort some of the potion. After he leaves, we learn that Monte Cristo is very pleased with this development.
We now enjoy a night at the opera. Or rather, at night at the opera house. We are in the company of Albert and Château-Renaud. (If I had been around during this time, I would have probably murdered someone, as it was very common for people to make later appearances and chat during the performance. If I had been present in this scene, Albert would have been stabbed through the eye with a hairpin.) They chat about the arrival of Countess G-, who we met in Rome, and the horse races that took place that afternoon. There was an upset in that an unknown horse called Vampa won the Jockey Club race. At this point in the conversation, the gentlemen realize that they are surrounded by people who, like me, want to stab them with pointy objects, so they quiet for a few minutes.
The Danglars ladies appear in their box, so we finally get to see Eugénie, Albert’s betrothed. He is less than enthusiastic about the match. She is compared to the “Hunting Diana,” where Albert would prefer the Venus de Milo. Mademoiselle Danglars is studying music with Mademoiselle Louise d’Armilly.
At the intermission, Albert introduces his friend to the Countess G-. They speak of the horse races that occurred that afternoon. The Countess G- was taken with the the winner of the race, and was amazed to see that the golden cup awarded to the winner was placed on her doorstep! Inside was a note saying it was ‘From Lord Ruthven to Countess G-.’ This confirms Albert’s theory that the owner of the horse was the Count of Monte Cristo, the hints being the name of the horse being the same as his bandit captor and the moniker of Lord Ruthven (aka a vampire), which the Countess G- assigned to him in Rome. When the astonished Countess G- asks why he would gift her the cup, Albert’s response is basically “he does it for the lolz.”
Monte Cristo arrives at the opera with Haydée, which causes a commotion, for this was the first time the beautiful Greek had been seen in public in Paris. Madame Danglars entreats Albert to go to Monte Cristo’s box and ask him to visit her. Albert’s father, Morcerf, makes an appearance in Madame Danglars’ box as well. He eventually visits her, and in conversation they speak of Haydée. Morcerf claims he served Ali Tebelen (he does not know he was Haydée’s father) and owes his fortune to him. Monte Cristo places his face next to Morcerf so that Haydée is sure to see it, and when she sees them across the room she is thrown into distress. When he returns to her, she tells him that Morcerf was the one who sold her family into slavery.
The title of this chapter is “A Talk About Stocks” and that is what it is. Albert de Morcerf and Lucien Debray visit Monte Cristo. Albert speaks of his engagement to Eugénie Danglars and his reluctance. In addition to her beauty not being to his tastes (he calls her beautiful, but masculine), his mother Mercédès does not approve of the marriage at all. Apparently Madame Danglars likes to gamble large amounts of money in the stock markets. Albert jokes that to teach her a lesson, Lucien should ‘let slip’ some false juicy info that she would act on and then lose a large sum of money. Lucien becomes uncomfortable with this idea, both because she is his lover and he probably often tells her things she uses in her gambling.
We meet the Marquis Bartolomeo Cavalcanti as he visits Monte Cristo. He seems nervous and repeats almost everything Monte Cristo says. He is from an old Italian family, and is in Paris to find his long lost son. He has a letter from the Abbé Busoni, saying that Monte Cristo will aid him in finding his son, and will also give him some money.
The long lost son, Andrea Cavalcanti, is reunited with his father. But wait! Neither of these gentlemen are who they say! They have received mysterious letters with strange instructions. As “Bartolomeo’s” letter was from Busoni, “Andrea’s” letter is from Sinbad the Sailor. They are to become the Marquis and his son, and they have been given stories, funds, and wardrobes to back up the charade. Monte Cristo invites them to his party that he’s having.
Maximilian and Valentine meet up in the garden again. Maximilian has to wait for his love, for she is walking with Eugénie. After Mademoiselle Danglars leaves, the couple speaks on how Eugénie really doesn’t want to marry Albert, or any man for that matter, and that she wants to live a free life as an artist. Maximilian tells her that he heard that Franz, Valentine’s betrothed, will be returning to Paris soon. Madame de Villefort is against the marriage, but then again she is against all marriages, in hope that Valentine’s substantial fortune should eventually pass to her shit of a son Edward. Valentine had thought of joining a convent before she met Maximilian, to the secret delight of her stepmother, but it caused her grandfather pain to consider, so she scrapped that idea. Maximilian wants to tell Monte Cristo about Valentine, but she says no, because she doesn’t like him. Maximilian tells her how Monte Cristo ‘lost’ at cards to give him a significant amount of money to buy a horse he had fallen in love with, and how he invited Maximilian to his dinner party with her parents and others.
We meet Noirtier de Villefort again, only now in his paralytic state. He only has the power of sight and hearing left, so he communicates by blinking his eyes in various configurations. Valentine can understand him because of her love, Villefort can if he wants to because he is his son, and Barrois can because he is his loyal servant. Villefort and his wife go to Noirtier to tell him of Valentine’s engagement to Franz, and Noirtier is pissed, because Franz is the son of one of his enemies. They leave, and Valentine goes to her grandfather, apologizes for keeping the engagement secret, and confesses that she does not want to marry Franz. He lets her know that he will take care of it.
Noirtier calls for a notary and rewrites his will, stating that if Valentine marries Franz then he disinherits her and all of his fortune will go to the poor. This threat does not work on Villefort, whose response is “meh?”
Monte Cristo is chillin’ waiting for Villefort, and invites them to his dinner party. They tell him of Noirtier’s decision and change of will. When they tell his it is due to the marriage to Franz d’Epinay, he recalls that he is the son of the assassinated General de Quesnel from chapter 11 (Dun dun DUN!) and he wonders at the politics involved. This is also the time that Villefort learns that the dinner party will be at the house in Auteuil, which used to belong to his father-in-law. He also requests to visit a telegraph office, and Villefort suggests the Spanish line, because it is the busiest.
Monte Cristo visits a remote telegraph office, where is kind of pissed at the life of the telegraph officer. He has no ambition and is content with his lot, although he is paid little. The officer has a garden, which is his only joy, and it still has many problems, including mice who eat his produce. The telegraph officer does not understand the messages he sends, only the commands he personally needs to know, such as “nothing new,” “you have an hour” or “tomorrow.” He bribes the telegraph operator to pass along a false message with enough money to let him retire much more comfortably than he would have otherwise, twenty-five thousand francs. Once Debray receives the false message concerned an upcoming revolution in Spain, he rushes to Madame Danglars and encourages her to tell her husband to sell all of his Spanish shares. He does so, and the market gets wobbly. The next morning the news that was contained in the telegraph was retracted, stating an error due to fog, and that Spain is fine, and the market unwobbles itself. Due to his losses and his missed gains, Danglars is out one millions. (One may note that this is the exact scheme that Albert had joked about in chapter 55.) In the presence of Maximilian, Monte Cristo hears the news of Danglars’ misfortune, and we get this gem of an exchange:
“I have just made a discovery for twenty-five thousand francs, for which I would have paid a hundred thousand.”
“What have you discovered?” asked Morrel.
“I have just discovered the method of ridding a gardener of the dormice that eat his peaches.”
We journey to Auteuil for the illustrious dinner party. The whole house has been fancified, except for the garden and one red bedroom. Maximilian arrives first, then Danglars and his wife, with Debray and Château-Renaud. The imposter wealthy Cavalcanti gentlemen are introduced, and Danglars is interested when Monte Cristo hints that Andrea is looking for a wife. The Villefort’s also arrive. The guests comment on all of the fancy stuff in the house. When Bertuccio asks the Count how many there are for dinner, he tells his steward to count for himself. He is surprised to see Madame Danglars, who he recognizes as the pregnant woman Villefort was meeting that fatal night. He is shocked to see Villefort, who he thought he had murdered. And he is staggered to see the man known as Andrea Cavalcanti, for he is none other than Benedetto! OMG!
In keeping with his character, the meal Monte Cristo serves is fantastic. Danglars is unfamiliar with some of the dishes, and inquires about two of the fish. Château-Renaud identifies one as a sterlet only found in Russia, and Cavalcanti identifies the other as a lamprey from a certain lake in Italy. Monte Cristo explains how the fish were taken from their natural habitats, placed in tubs, and transported to Paris. When he is doubted, he proves this by bringing out tubs containing live specimens of the fish, explaining that he brought extra in case one should die in transit. He likens this to a practice the Romans did with goldfish – the delight in the fish came from its death, wherefore it would change colors in dying. If the fish was not seen while dying, it was useless.
The party speaks of the incredible transformation of the house. Monte Cristo explains that he changed everything minus one room, decorated in red, which he claimed to be dramatic. He invites the group to visit it. The group agrees it is strange, and he shows them a secret staircase. Monte Cristo paints an image of a crime that may have been committed there, and frightens the ladies, especially Madame Danglars, who knows what really happened. In talking of theoretical crime, Madame de Villefort reminds the party that the procureur du roi is there, and Monte Cristo claims that there really was a crime committed. They all go out to the garden. Monte Cristo claims that, while he was having new trees put in the garden, his groundskeeper found buried the remnants of a box with the skeleton of an infant. They talk of the punishment for infanticide. Madame Danglars and Villefort not cool with the situation.
Andrea is about to climb into his carriage when he is interrupted by a shady character in a red headscarf. Andrea’s servant is skeptical, but Andrea lets the shady guy into his carriage back to Paris. OMG it’s Caderousse! I thought he was in prison! He talks of his past with Andrea, on how he shared whatever he had with him, and how he expects the favor repaid. He demands 150 francs a month to keep quiet, and Andrea gives him 200 to ensure his silence. Andrea speaks of his situation, his ‘found father,’ and his mysterious benefactor, the Count of Monte Cristo. Caderousse claims he will live well as a retired baker on his misbegotten funds from Andrea, but we all know that he’ll mess it up somehow.
We go to the Danglars household. Debray has followed Mme Danglars home, which seems to be a normal occurrence. All of a sudden, Danglars busts into his wife’s boudoir! It is super awkward, and Debray leaves. Danglars confronts his wife. He is aware of her affairs, and has indeed conducted affairs of his own, so he is not too concerned about that. What he is concerned with is the fact that he lost money. He is aware that Debray feeds information to Mme Danglars, which Danglars acts upon. When the information bore fruit, Danglars rewarded his wife with a quarter of the profits, which in turn ended up in Debray’s pocket. But the information this time proved to be detrimental to Danglars’ wallet, to the tune of 700,000 francs, and Danglars is pissed off about it. He reasons that since his wife shares in a quarter of the fortune she wins in her speculation, she should share in the misfortune as well. He speaks of her former affairs, including the one with Villefort during her first marriage, which resulted in both a child and the suicide of her first husband.
Danglars visits Monte Cristo at his house. He is made to wait, and sees a man in the garb of an abbé pass through the room. Monte Cristo appears, apologizing, saying that his friend the Abbé Busoni had just arrived, and that he had been attending to his friend. (This serves to cement the “fact” that Busoni and Monte Cristo are different people.) Danglars bemoans his current financial fate – due to the poor Spanish investment advice and the poor behavior of a large client, Danglars is down 1,700,000 francs. Monte Cristo speaks about the nature of fortunes. Danglars inquires about the Cavalcanti family and their fortune. Monte Cristo says he has heard both rumors that the family has millions and that they are penniless. He also says that he believes Cavalcanti brought his son to Paris to look for a bride. Danglars asks if Cavalcanti will bestow a fortune upon his son on his marriage, and Monte Cristo guesses it may be around 3 millions. But surely Danglars cannot be thinking of his daughter, for she is betrothed to Albert! Danglars tells Monte Cristo that the Morcerf name is not old at all, and that the Count de Morcerf used to be known as the fisherman Fernand Mondego. How he jumped from fisherman to Count is a not generally well known. Monte Cristo ‘vaguely recalls’ hearing of a Fernand Mondego being involved in the Ali Pacha affair in Yanina. Monte Cristo advises Danglars to inquire about the affair to one of his contacts in Greece.
Madame Danglars visits Villefort in the offices of the procureur du roi to discuss the revelations at the dinner party. Villefort tells her that there was no chance that Monte Cristo found the remains of their child, for it was not there! Villefort tells her how, after recovering from his wound from Bertuccio, he went back to the house to look for the body of his child. He dug everywhere and could not find it. He came to the conclusion that Bertuccio must have taken the child, and as he would not take a corpse, the child must have been alive. (At this point, Madame Danglars loses her shit.) He made inquiries, and traced the child to the foundling hospital, and then learned it was claimed, but he lost the trail. The two realize that the living child is more of a threat than a dead one, and that Monte Cristo knows something. Villefort vows to find out.
Albert comes back from his mini vacay to the sea and immediately invites Monte Cristo to the summer ball his family is hosting. Monte Cristo tells Bertuccio to check on a property in Normandy he has purchased.
Villefort discovers that two of Monte Cristo’s acquaintances are living in Paris, the Italian Abbé Busoni and the English Lord Wilmore. He sends the police commissioner to visit Busoni. Busoni, who claims to be an old friend of Monte Cristo, or rather Zaccone by name, says that he is the son of a wealthy Maltese shipbuilder, and Busoni has known him since childhood. When asked about the house in Auteuil, Busoni is under the impression it will become a lunatic asylum. He claims his only enemy is Lord Wilmore.
Villefort visits Lord Wilmore, and learns some more particulars. He says Monte Cristo discovered a silver mine in his travels. He says that Monte Cristo is speculating in railways, and that he intends to turn the house in Auteuil into a bathhouse. As to their status as enemies, he says Monte Cristo seduced the wife of one of Wilmore’s friends. Wilmore claims to have fought three duels with Monte Cristo and has come out the loser each time. Both men give differing opinions on the amount of Monte Cristo’s fortune.
We attend the Morcerf summer ball. Everyone is talking about Monte Cristo to the point that Albert is keeping track of how many people ask him if the count will be attending. Madame de Villefort spreads the gossip that her husband learned about Monte Cristo. He eventually shows up, and Mercédès notices that he will not eat or drink anything.
Mercédès takes him aside to the greenhouse and offers him fruit from the tree and vine, yet he still refuses. She is upset at this, as she knows it is an Arabian custom that those who share bread and salt under one roof are eternal friends. Mercédès learns that he is not married, and that he sees Haydée as his daughter. They speak in a roundabout way about their shared past, and Monte Cristo says they are friends. Villefort arrives to collect his wife and daughter bearing the bad news that the Marquis de Saint-Méran, Valentine’s maternal grandfather, has died.
While trying to figure out the mystery of Monte Cristo knowing his secret past, his mother-in-law appears at the door in a frightful state. Her husband had suddenly died in the carriage on the journey to see Valentine. Marquise de Saint-Méran takes to her bed, suddenly ill. In her delirium, she sees a white figure, who she assumes to be her husband, appear at her bedside and move a glass. Feeling that she is dying, she requests to hasten Valentine’s marriage to Franz so she may see them married before she dies. Valentine does not tell her grandmother that not only does she not want to marry Franz, but she is in love with Maximilian, of who her aristocratic grandmother would not approve. Valentine entreats the doctor to see her grandmother.
In the garden once more, Maximilian gives Valentine the sad news that Franz just arrived in Paris, so according to her grandmother’s wishes she would be married the next day. Valentine says she does not know what they can do, as she cannot disappoint her grandmother on her deathbed. Maximilian goes to take his leave, and is acting all weird, and claims that he is leaving her to go commit suicide if she marries Franz. Bad form, Maximilian! The lovers eventually plan to run away together. The night they plan to run away, Valentine does not show up. Maximilian risks discovery to find out what is going on, and the house is in mourning – the marchioness has died. Maximilian overhears a conversation between Villefort and the doctor. The doctor is convinced that both the marquis and marchioness had been poisoned with brucine, but he is unsure if it was by accident or assassination. The doctor had been giving Noirtier a small dose of brucine to combat his paralysis, and others may have ingested that which was meant for him. In concern for Valentine, Maximilian sneaks into the house, and is introduced to Noirtier, who assures the couple that he has a plan to stop the marriage between Valentine and Franz.
What was supposed to be a funeral for one has turned into a funeral for two. At the cemetery, Villefort requests that the marriage contract be signed immediately. The plan is for Valentine to go to a country estate to finish her mourning while Franz can return to Paris. Franz agrees, and goes to fetch his friends Albert and Château-Renaud to be his witnesses. As they are about to sign the contract, Barrois the servant announces that Noirtier would like to speak to Franz.
As the party goes into Noirtier’s room, he requests that a secret compartment in a desk be opened and a sealed letter given to Franz, which he is to read aloud. The letter contains the dealings of the last night of his father’s life in great detail. He had been brought to a Bonapartist club in great secrecy, and when he maintained his status as a royalist, those at the club were not pleased. He signed a statement that he would keep silent on his knowledge of the club in return for safe passage out instead of death. Not pleased with this, on his way home Noirtier killed Franz’s father in a duel, not an assassination as had been assumed. Villefort runs away, because he does not react well to bad news, and was so pissed off at his father that he had thoughts of killing the old man.
Monte Cristo and Andrea Cavalcanti visit the Danglars family. Eugénie tries to escape by going to her tutor, Louise d’Armilly at the piano, but Danglars volun-tells Andrea to join the ladies in the other room and then mostly closes the door. Danglars has lost more money, and every franc he loses makes Andrea (and his money) look that much more attractive. Danglars also insists on calling Andrea a prince, for some reason, probably to make him sound more impressive. Monte Cristo tells them that the marriage between Franz and Valentine is off, but he only says that Franz “declined the honor” and that the reason is unknown. Just as Monte Cristo is remarking that Albert would not be pleased to find his betrothed almost alone with Andrea and Danglars replies that Albert never shows up, Albert is announced! (Once again proving that Monte Cristo has superpowers.) Danglars, after being fairly rude to Albert, takes Monte Cristo aside and tells him that he does not want Eugénie to marry Albert, stating one of the reasons being the past of his father. As they are leaving, Danglars receives his report from Greece. Monte Cristo reminds Madame Danglars that as a banker’s wife, she should be looking out for her own interests.
Albert was pleased with his treatment at his betrothed’s house, as he does not want to marry her anyway, and would rather Andrea take his place. Monte Cristo denies that Andrea is his protege, keeping his distance. Albert asks to meet Haydée, and Monte Cristo acquiesces. He tells Albert that he must not tell anyone of his meeting her, he must not name his father, and he must not ask any questions of Haydée directly. Monte Cristo tells Haydée, in Romaic, to speak to Albert in Italian rather than French. He also tells her to not name her father’s betrayer.
Haydée’s father was the royal Ali Pacha, or Ali Tebelen. The entire royal family fled to an island, where all of their riches were stored along with gunpowder to blow the entire thing up if they were betrayed. They were waiting to see if the sultan would pardon them – a man was stationed with a lighted torch in anticipation of the news. A Frenchman (who we know as Fernand) arrived who knew the family and told Ali Pacha that they were saved. As everyone rejoiced, soldiers began killing people. The Frenchman had betrayed them, giving false notice of safety until the threat from the fire was gone. Ali Pacha was killed, and Haydée and her mother were given to the Frenchman as slaves, but he sold them to a slave market in Constantinople. As they reached the city, they saw the head of Ali Pacha placed above the gates. Her mother did not survive long after that, but Haydée was sold and educated, and was sold again to the sultan, from whom Monte Cristo purchased her with an emerald. Albert had always been told that his father was in the service of Ali Pacha, and still does not know that his father was his betrayer.
Franz officially breaks off the engagement, after which Valentine joyfully tells Maximilian. Madame de Villefort goes to Noirtier and requests that he reinstate Valentine into his will. This is super shady. Noirtier knows that it’s shady, but as he was going to do that anyway, he goes along with it, with the condition that Valentine should never leave him.
Morcerf goes to visit Danglars to officially talk about the marriage of his son Albert to Eugénie. (They had an unofficial betrothal for eight years, since Eugénie was 9 and Albert 13!) Danglars says that he has changed his mind, and Morcerf gets pissed off. The next day, there is an article in Beauchamp’s paper regarding the actions of one Colonel Fernand in the Yanina affair. (Note – the article just says Colonel Fernand, and makes no connection to Morcerf.)
Albert goes looking for Monte Cristo in quite a state. He finds him at the shooting range, where he finds Monte Cristo to be a freakishly good shot. Albert asks Monte Cristo to be his second, as he is going to go challenge Beauchamp to a duel if he will not retract the article. Monte Cristo refuses, and refers to their conversation on dueling way back in Chapter 36. He advises Albert to go to Beauchamp alone to gather more information and to avoid embarrassment. He goes to his friend and demands the article be retracted. Beauchamp, who didn’t even know about the article, yet alone write it, asks for three weeks to investigate, after which he will either retract the article or duel his friend. Albert, what the hell? Why do you suddenly suck? And why do you not listen to reason? I don’t like you anymore, because I can’t handle your douchebag-ness.
Barrois goes to fetch Maximilian for Noirtier. Maximilian, being young and spritely, runs to his meeting, while poor Barrois, who is not in the best of shape, struggles to keep up. Noirtier tells Maximilian and Valentine to wait and not do anything hasty regarding their marriage. Barrois is still panting after his unexpected run, so he drinks some of Noirtier’s lemonade. Almost immediately, he falls ill and dies violently. Madame de Villefort appears briefly and acts shady. It is discovered that Barrois prepared the lemonade, but it was left unattended for a while, and then Valentine brought it to her grandfather, and it was she who bade Barrois partake of it. The doctor discovers that the lemonade was laced with brucine, but as Noirtier had been taking a small amount of that substance daily, he did not suffer any ill effects. Villefort does not react well to the news that there is a poisoner in the house.
The doctor maintains that there was a crime committed in the house, while Villefort focuses on the misfortune. The poison was obviously meant for Noirtier. The doctor follows the information available to him and concludes that Valentine must be the poisoner, as she had access to all of the victims in some way before they died and that she is the sole benefactor from the deaths. Villefort denies that it could be her, and the doctor refuses to attend to the Villefort family again.
Andrea Cavalcanti goes to visit Danglars to ask for Eugénie’s hand. When Danglars remarks that it is strange that his patron Monte Cristo does not perform this task instead, Andrea writes it off as an eccentricity that Monte Cristo will not make proposals on behalf of another. They speak of Andrea’s fortune, and Andrea calls on Danglars as a banker for some money. When he returns home, he finds that Caderousse has been by. He changes into a servant’s livery to visit his old friend and blackmailer. Caderousse serves him a good peasant meal, and asks for more money. Andrea (Benedetto) tells Caderousse that he thinks Monte Cristo is his real father, which is why he has been so good to him. He tells Caderousse of the glories in Monte Cristo’s townhouse, and gives him a detailed floor plan and direct instructions to his desk, which is kept with the key in the lock. He also says that Monte Cristo will be at his country house with the entire household the next day. Andrea (semi-unwillingly) gives Caderousse the diamond that he wears on his finger, claiming it to be false, but finds that it will cut glass. He leaves, knowing that Caderousse is going to attempt to rob Monte Cristo.
Monte Cristo receives an ‘anonymous’ letter saying that he is going to be robbed. He recalls his household to Auteuil and remains hidden in his townhouse armed to the teeth with Ali. He does not know if it will be a thief or an assassin, so he is prepared. In the middle of the night, they hear someone breaking into an upstairs window, carefully cutting the glass with a diamond. When Monte Cristo goes to investigate, he discovers that it’s his old pal Caderousse, trying to break into his desk which he had prudently locked. Ali also discovers someone stealthily waiting on the street. Telling Ali to remain hidden, Monte Cristo dons the garb of Abbé Busoni, taking the precaution of wearing light armor underneath. Needless to say, Caderousse is surprised and terrified to see him. Busoni says he will give Caderousse another chance if he tells his tale of what he has been up to since leaving Busoni last. Caderousse attempts to lie, but Busoni calls him out on it. Caderousse was in a chain gang with Benedetto, who received a file from the mysterious Lord Wilmore, and they escaped. He is living off of Benedetto now, who Busoni is ‘shocked’ to learn is Andrea Cavalcanti. Busoni says he will make this common knowledge and Caderousse, seeing his meal ticket in danger, attacks Busoni with a knife. Not knowing that he is wearing armor, Caderousse is even more terrified when the blow has no effect. Busoni twists his arm so much as to almost dislocate it, and forces Caderousse to write a letter to Danglars outing Andrea as the convict Benedetto. He then allows Caderousse to leave the same way he came, which was by a ladder, to which the injured thief is not pleased. Busoni tells Caderousse that if he should make the journey home safely, it means that God has forgiven him, and then so shall Busoni. Monte Cristo knows that Benedetto still waits in the darkness. As he predicted, Benedetto stabs Caderousse as he descends the outer wall of the townhouse.
Busoni brings Caderousse and sends for the doctor and the procureur du roi. He then has Caderousse sign a note identifying Benedetto as his murderer. Busoni gives Caderousse something for clarity in his last moments and asks him if he repents. Caderousse says he does not believe in God and does not repent. It is only once Busoni removes his Abbé garb to prove to be Edmond Dantès does Caderousse repent and acknowledge God, and then die. Monte Cristo’s reaction is a single word: “One!” The doctor and procureur du roi arrive to see the Abbé Busoni praying over the body.
(We have started the real vengeance here. Caderousse is dead, Danglars is losing his fortune and is on the verge of marrying his daughter to a murderer, Villefort is losing family left and right to a poisoner in his house, and his illegitimate son is also a murderer, and Fernand is set to have his past exposed. It’s getting good, people!)
Beauchamp returns to Albert. It turns out he went to Yanina to find out the truth. Good job fact checking, Beauchamp! He is sad to deliver the news to Albert that his father was indeed the one who betrayed Ali Pacha. Albert is devastated, for now he feels the shame of his father. Beauchamp gives the letter of proof to Albert, who burns it. The secret, they think, is safe.
The two friends visit Monte Cristo, who is delighted that they no longer speak of dueling. Seeing Albert out of sorts, he invites him to go to Normandy with him. While they are enjoying their trip, Albert receives an urgent summons from Beauchamp to return home. He includes a clipping from a different newspaper, this time linking Morcerf with the Ali Pacha affair. Well, shit.
Albert goes to Beauchamp, who tells him that a man carrying documents from Yanina went to a different newspaper who published the article. The governing body that Morcerf is a member of has decided to investigate. Morcerf requests that the investigation begin later that day. During the investigation, Haydée shows up with proof against Morcerf. She has a document saying that Monte Cristo bought her with documentation leading to Fernand Mondego as the original slave owner. She also says her father’s betrayer had a scar on his hand that Fernand indeed has. Fernand is found guilty of felony, treason, and outrage.
Albert again is looking for someone to duel for the ruination of his father. Beauchamp admits that Danglars was making inquiries into the matter, and Albert rushes off to confront him. Danglars is with Andrea, and Albert challenges them both. At first they think it is due to the cancelled marriage between Albert and Eugénie, but Albert clarifies it has to do with Danglars writing to Yanina. Danglars tells Albert is was Monte Cristo who advised him to do so. Albert realizes that Monte Cristo knew of his father’s crimes all along from Haydée, as well as her bill of sale. Albert has a new target in Monte Cristo. (Albert, this is a bad plan. He could kill you dead with his eyes closed and one hand tied behind his back while whistling Dixie. Cut your losses, man!)
Beauchamp follows his hotheaded friend to Monte Cristo’s house, only to be told he is not currently receiving visitors, but will be attending the opera later that evening. Beauchamp worries that Monte Cristo will kill him, and Albert says that is his wish, so that he will not die of shame. Albert goes to his mother to discover if Monte Cristo has any reason to ruin his father. He remembers that Monte Cristo would not eat in their house, indicating an enemy there. She tells him that Monte Cristo is not his enemy. She has a servant discretely trail her son to discover his movements. Albert goes to the opera and challenges Monte Cristo to a duel, which is set for 8 o’clock the next morning with pistols. Monte Cristo coldly remarks that Albert will be dead before 10 o’clock. Monte Cristo ask Maximilian and his brother-in-law Emmanuel to be there with him as his seconds.
Mercédès visits Monte Cristo, or rather Edmond Dantès. She begs for her son’s life. First she claims that Yanina should mean nothing to him, and he agrees, in that it was his slave who dealt the final blow. Then she says that if he seeks revenge for Fernand marrying Mercédès, it should be she who is punished. Dantès then relates the role of Fernand in his imprisonment. He even shows her the letter Fernand sent. Mercédès tells him that she still loves him, and that she, too, has suffered, for she has seen her beloved on the verge of killing her son. Dantès relents, and says that her son shall live. He tells her the duel must still take place, and that it is he who will die in the morning. Mercédès thanks him profusely and leaves, not knowing that he is giving up his entire reason for living (vengeance.) As her carriage drives away, the clock strikes one, and that causes him to lift his head. That bell for him signifies that only one out of the four suffers their full fate.
After Mercédès leaves, Monte Cristo writes out his will, coming to the conclusion that God has deemed him not strong enough to carry out his vengeance. He leaves Haydée most of his fortune, and a quarter of it to Maximilian, with the hopes that they should marry if his heart is free (which we know it is not.) Haydée is not happy about it, says that she will require nothing if he dies, tears up the will and faints. As he brings her to her chamber, it occurs to him for the first time that she may love him as something other than a father. The morning of the duel, Monte Cristo confesses to Maximilian and Emmanuel that he intends for Albert to kill him. On the dueling ground, Monte Cristo asks Maximilian if his affections are engaged, and he replies that he is, so Monte Cristo suffers another disappointment for the future. Beauchamp and Château-Renaud are there, and Franz and Debray also make an appearance. When Albert shows up, the entire group is shocked to find that instead of preparing to duel, Albert apologizes! He claims that his actions in Yanina notwithstanding, Monte Cristo was fully in the right for seeking his revenge from the fisherman Fernand and the miseries he caused, and thanks him for not being more severe. Everyone is surprised and confused except for the two gentlemen in question, and Monte Cristo thanks God for Mercédès’ good heart that saved both his life that day and his quest for vengeance. She must have told her son the truth, destroying any chance that Fernand would regain his son’s respect and regard. (So, Albert was all set to fight, but his mom told him no.)
Albert goes home and takes stock of his belongings to say goodbye to them. The only thing he takes is his mother’s portrait. His father’s servant comes to him, and he tells him to tell Fernand that he apologized to Monte Cristo. He later uncaringly sees Fernand leave in his carriage. He goes to his mother and sees that she is doing the same thing. Both he and Mercédès are planning on leaving Fernand and starting again away from his tainted sins. Albert receives a letter from Monte Cristo saying that while he knows (with his superpowers) they plan on leaving with nothing, in the garden of his father’s house he had buried some money that he intended to use to start his life with Mercédès. The money was meant for her, so she should take it now, and she could live on it for the rest of her life. Mercédès is indeed grateful, and plans on using the money to join a convent.
We find out part of Monte Cristo’s superpowers: gossip. The servants talk! That’s how he knew to send the letter at that moment to Albert. Monte Cristo goes home to a joyful Haydée. Monte Cristo starts to hope that he may love again, with Haydée replacing Mercédès in his heart. As they are basking in their love, Fernand unexpectedly (to us) bursts into the moment like the Kool-Aid Man. He challenges Monte Cristo to the duel his son did not fight, and Monte Cristo agrees. They claim no need for seconds, for Monte Cristo knows Fernand well, and goes to prove that Fernand knows him as well. Monte Cristo returns in the garb of a simple sailor. Farnand recognizes him as Edmond Dantès, and flees in terror. As he returns home, he sees his wife and son leaving forever. He goes up into his chamber and shoots himself.
Maximilian goes to visit Noirtier and Valentine. Noirtier plans on moving to a different house for himself and Valentine. Maximilian notices that Valentine doesn’t look well. She says that she hasn’t been feeling well, and complains that after the medicine her grandfather has her take every morning, which is bitter, all of her drinks taste bitter to her. Madame Danglars and Eugénie come to visit, and Valentine goes up to her step-mother’s drawing room to receive them. Madame Danglars tell the Villefort ladies that Eugénie will marry Prince Andrea Cavalcanti in one week. It is remarked that Valentine does not look well, and on her way down the stairs she falls. While she is with her grandfather and Maximilian, she faints.
Villefort goes to fetch the doctor, recalling that he said he would not come for another victim. When the doctor learns that the patient is Valentine, he rushes to the house. Maximilian goes to Monte Cristo for help. After the necessary pleasantries, Monte Cristo tells Maximilian of the death of Fernand, saying “The general has just blown his brains out.” Honestly, Monte Cristo seems a little peeved about it. (Also, that statement was really funny when listened to at 1.5x speed!) After reacting to that, Monte Cristo claims that for Albert and his mother, they are better off, “for a dead father or husband is better than a dishonored one; blood washes out shame.” Regaining his composure, Maximilian recalls the discussion between Villefort and the doctor in the garden, and deduces that Valentine has been poisoned. Monte Cristo couldn’t care less about Valentine until Maximilian expresses his love for her. Well, that changes things! (And he kind of inwardly pouts, because now he can’t wish for the elimination of the entire Villefort family.) Monte Cristo says he will save her.
Meanwhile Villefort and the doctor have arrived at the house. Madame de Villefort comes down to see what the commotion is, and removes Valentine to her bed, which the doctor allows so he can communicate with Noirtier. The doctor discovers that Noirtier has been accustoming Valentine’s system to brucine so she would be safe from the poison. This is the only reason she is still alive. As this is going on, the Abbé Busoni quietly buys the dilapidated house next door to the Villefort’s.
Earlier in the day, Eugénie confronts her father and tells him she will not marry Andrea Cavalcanti. She is beautiful, witty, clever, talented, and rich, and as she loves no one why should she marry? Danglars explains to her that she must, for he is on the edge of ruin. With the promise of 3 million francs to the marriage, Danglars will be able to restore his credit and borrow money again and speculate in the railways, the only stable investment. Eugénie agrees to the marriage on the condition that he not spend any of the 3 million francs, just borrow on the reputation of them. Eugénie hints at but does not explain this, but Danglars doesn’t press the issue. She and her mother set off immediately to spread news of the marriage.
Three days later and it is the day of the contract signing for Eugénie and Andrea. Andrea meets Monte Cristo in his carriage and asks him to take the role of his absent father. Monte Cristo flat out refuses, and elaborates that he has had no hand in the affair, and does not really know Andrea. He says he will attend the festivities and sign the contract with everyone else, but no more. Andrea also asks about money logistics. Monte Cristo is still firmly playing his part, while Andrea wishes to speak plainly.
At the signing, which is indeed a very shiny party with everyone with their jewels, Madame Danglars expresses vexation that Villefort could not be there, due to a new development in the hunt for Benedetto. Monte Cristo reveals that it’s his fault, that a letter from Caderousse to Danglars was found in a corner that was overlooked by the police and was immediately brought to the procurer du roi. For some reason, when it is Andrea’s time to sign the contract, he is nowhere to be found! Just in time, too, for the police have arrived looking for him, and identify him as the murder and escaped convict. (Eugénie has rotten luck with prospective husbands – first it’s Albert with his dishonoured father, and now Andrea who is a criminal!)
Eugénie flees the embarrassment of the party to her rooms where Louise d’Armilly is waiting for her. They discuss their plan to get the hell out of Dodge, which they had been planning on doing anyway. Eugénie had prepared for this – they shall travel as brother and sister, with herself taking the male role. She had asked Monte Cristo to help her with a passport, claiming to be uneasy travelling as a woman. She changes into men’s clothes (which she has apparently worn before) and cuts her awesome hair. Louise is all a’flutter. They gather their money and jewels and sneak off in the carriage with a plan to go to Brussels and from there Italy, where they plan on making a living with their music.
Andrea, or Benedetto as he is once again known, also flees Paris. He dodges and weaves his way through Paris and then stops at an inn, where he makes a plan to live in the woods for a while. He oversleeps, and the police are searching for him when he wakes up. He tries to fake them out by leaving a note to the effect that he left that morning and then crawls up the chimney. He then descends the only other chimney that is not lit, but it was a bad choice, for that is the room that Eugénie and Louise were in! (They were in the same bed, and probably not for warmth, just sayin’.) Louise screams and the police arrive and Benedetto surrenders (although he really had no way of escaping at that point.) Eugénie is way embarrassed, as she had entered the hotel as a man and left as a woman, but her shame probably did not follow her to Brussels. And this is the last we see of Mademoiselle Eugénie Danglars and Louise d’Armilly.
Madame Danglars is a little pissed that the marriage between Eugénie and Andrea take place, for it would have taken Eugénie off her hands. Now her daughter, and perhaps herself, is ruined, and she goes to Villefort to try for some damage control. When she gets to his house, it is very secure and secretive, almost to the point where the servant could have asked for a password. Villefort is paranoid now with the poisoning of Valentine. Madame Danglars asks Villefort to forget about Andrea/Benedetto and let him go to lessen the scandal, and he refuses. As they are speaking, word arrives that Benedetto has been arrested. They did not know they were speaking about their own son.
Valentine is still not recovering, but she’s still alive. The house is on lockdown, and the door to her room is locked when she is alone, with the only access being from Madame de Villefort and Edward’s rooms. (And no one suspected? Really?) Valentine often hallucinates, and she thinks she sees a form appear in the middle of the night. OMG, it’s Monte Cristo! She realizes that she’s not hallucinating this time, and he tells her how he has been watching over her for Maximilian. Every time the poisoner made another attempt, he would switch out the glass without anyone knowing. He appeared from the house next door, which he had bought. He tells her the truth that she has been poisoned, and is still being poisoned, and entreats her to stay awake and see her would-be murderer, for only then would she believe it.
Valentine feigns sleep, and Madame de Villefort enters and pours poison into her glass. Valentine almost gets caught, but she doesn’t. When she leaves and Monte Cristo enters, they learn that Madame de Villefort has given up on good ol’ brucine and has chosen a new poison, a narcotic that would have killed Valentine for sure. Valentine is confused at her step-mother’s motive, but Monte Cristo tells her it’s for Valentine’s inheritance that would go to the brat Edward. But Monte Cristo has a plan! He tells her not to worry or panic wherever she may wake, be it in a bed or a tomb, and that she’ll be fine. He gives her a pill to take. They have pulled off a classic Juliet! Hopefully her Romeo won’t be as dumb!
Madame de Villefort goes to check on her handiwork and disposes of the poison in the glass. Valentine is, to all intents and purposes, dead. The house is thrown into a panic and then mourning, and the servants all quit, because there’s some serious shit going on. After Madame de Villefort left, Monte Cristo went in and replaced said poison, so when the doctor arrives he is able to detect the poison. Knowing she removed the evidence of her crime, she faints upon seeing the glass just as it was before. Maximilian arrives to hear about the death of his beloved.
The grieving lover stares his lover’s body. Villefort, who had no idea what was going on with their love affair, orders him to leave. Maximilian does so, only to return carrying Noirtier down the stairs in his wheelchair, which apparently was really heavy. Maximilian declares his love for Valentine, looking to Noirtier for backup, and says that they were betrothed. Maximilian calls for justice for Valentine’s murder, but Villefort is still in denial. Noirtier asks to alone with his son, where he relates the name of the murderer. Villefort asks the doctor and Maximilian to keep the crime a secret, for justice will be done. Villefort then sends for a priest to pray over his daughter’s body, and the nearest is the Abbé Busoni. When alone, Monte Cristo informs Noirtier of what’s really going on.
Monte Cristo goes to visit Danglars as his banker. He sees Danglars writing out checks for 5 millions and asks for them. Danglars is very unwilling to give them over, both as they are intended for the hospital whose representative is due shortly, and because he doesn’t have that much money left. He tries to wheedle out of it with different compromises, but ultimately Monte Cristo walks away with the checks, leaving a receipt payable by the bank of Thompson and French in Rome. After he leaves, the hospital representative arrives looking for his money, and is shocked that it already passed him on the stairs. Danglars begs for another day to give the hospital the money, and the representative leaves. Danglars begins making plans to flee, for he is truly ruined. He leaves a note for his wife, but the hospital will just have to make due without their 5 millions which they desperately needed. (Monte Cristo, that seemed like a dick move on your part. Taking money from a hospital, for shame!) Danglars cannot seem to keep his stories straight. He tells Monte Cristo that she has gone to travel with a relative, but he tells the hospital guy that she’s to join a convent and left with a nun.
Monte Cristo is keeping a strict eye on Maximilian at Valentine’s funeral. He follows the young man home, and breaks his door down as he writes his suicide note. Maximilian says he has nothing left to live for, and becomes angry because Monte Cristo told him he would save Valentine. In an attempt to stop him, Monte Cristo reveals that he is Edmond Dantès, the man who saved his father. Maximilian falls to his knees in gratitude and calls for his sister and brother-in-law to tell them, although Monte Cristo does not allow Maximilian to reveal his true name to them. He charges Maximilian with a task, to stay by his side and not end his life for a solid month, and if he is still unhappy after that he will assist Maximilian in his suicide. Maximilian doubts he will be cured of his grief, but Monte Cristo tells him to hope (an important word), for he has done miraculous things before.
Madame Danglars, finding her husband’s note, rushes to her lover Debray in a shady hotel to ask his advice on what to do. Upon hearing the news that Danglars is bankrupt and has fled, Debray becomes cold and all business. He cooly splits the money they made together, a decent amount in that she walks away with 1,340,000 francs, and advises her to leave Paris. She is no longer rich and respectable, hence he has no more use for her. Burn! She’s understandably upset at this. Meanwhile, upstairs in the hotel Albert meets with his mother. He makes a plan for them to go to Marseille where she has her money and house from Monte Cristo. As they do not have much money, he calculates her travel exactly at being 114 francs, and his at 80. He has this money from selling his watch, and is happy that he has money left over. He has joined the army and gives her the 1,000 francs they gave him for enlisting. As they leave, they pass Debray in the hall. Albert greets him as a former friend, as he has no friends now, and is not in need of money, for he says they shall 5,000 francs at the end of their journey. Debray wonders at the two women burdened by misfortune – the one with almost 1,500,000 francs and in distress and the one with 5,000 francs who holds herself with dignity. Monte Cristo also sees them and vows to return happiness to the two innocent victims.
We visit Benedetto in prison. He is still thinking that he will be saved by Monte Cristo who he believes to be his father. He tries to look his best, and when one of the guards try to get the other prisoners to turn against him, Benedetto uses the super-secret bandit handshake (well, wink tongue-roll thing), and they leave him alone. He is surprised to be visited by Bertuccio, who promises to reveal the name of his true father, who is not (obviously) Monte Cristo. Bertuccio does not reveal that he is Monte Cristo’s steward. Their visit is cut short, but Bertuccio promises to return the next day.
Villefort, grieving for his daughter, buries himself in his work, preparing for the publicly popular case against Benedetto. While he is preparing, Madame de Villefort sends him a cup of chocolate for strength during the trial. Not knowing if it is poisoned or not, he drinks it anyway. Before he leaves for the trial, he confronts his wife. He tells her he knows she is the poisoner and murderer, and he allows her a form of an out. If she does not fatally poison herself before he returns, then he shall bring her to public justice and she will die on the scaffold. He locks the door behind him as he leaves her rooms.
All of fashionable Paris has shown up to the trial, including Madame Danglars. Benedetto asks the judge if he might change the order of the basic questions asked of him to better prove his case. When asked his age, he recalls that his age is almost 21, and gives his birthdate, as well as his birthplace. Villefort pales at these. When asked his profession, he freely admits to being a forger, a thief, and assassin. When asked his name, he replies that he does not know it, but he does know the name of his father, and tells everyone, first that it is the procureur du roi, then naming Villefort. Villefort does not react well. Benedetto goes on to tell the story of his birth. He claims to not know or want to know the name of his mother, at which Madame Danglars goes into hysterics. When asked for proof, he draws attention to Villefort, and calls him father. Villefort admits everything is true, and then flees the court.
One the way home, Villefort is struggling with his past. He believes that his wife was tainted with his sins, and she would have not done as she did if not for him. He resolves to let her live, and they will flee with their son and teach him to be better than they. Upon reaching his house, he finds that Madame de Villefort already carried out his order, and she dies in the doorway to Edward’s room. Upon entering, he finds the child dead, also poisoned. (On one hand, this was a horrible child. On the other, his mother was so selfish that she did not want him to live without her. Bitch.) The Abbé Busoni was visiting with Noirtier. Knowing what had occurred at the trial, he tells Villefort that he has paid his debt to him and he is forgiven, as he reveals himself to be Edmond Dantès. Villefort shows him the bodies of his wife and child, asking if he has been avenged. Seeing the body of the child, Monte Cristo cries out in anguish and tries to save him to no avail. Monte Cristo goes to Villefort in the garden to reveal the truth about Valentine, but Villefort is frantically digging in the garden, looking for the remains of his firstborn son. He has been driven completely insane. Monte Cristo tells Maximilian that they are to leave Paris the next day, and we see that he now doubts if he is in the right anymore.
Monte Cristo collects Maximilian from his house and they say goodbye to Julie and Emmanuel. Julie is heartbroken at their leaving. Monte Cristo assures her that her brother will be restored to her. As they leave, we meet Ali, who has been to see Noirtier, who has agreed to some plan of Monte Cristo. As they leave Paris, Monte Cristo says goodbye to the city and declares his vengeance there complete. He been in Paris for less than six months.
In Marseille, Monte Cristo and Maximilian arrive to see a ship departing with tearful families on the shore. Albert is aboard, on his way to fight in Africa, and Monte Cristo sees Mercédès. He sends Maximilian to his parents’ graves while he visits with Mercédès. He finds her sad, and assures her he will do everything he can to ensure Albert’s safety. She blames herself for her misfortunes while Monte Cristo will have none of it. She says that they will meet again in heaven, and that she has hope (that word again!) She is so forgiving and believing in the will of God that when Monte Cristo leaves, he doubts all of his actions and his vengeance. He takes a small boat to the Château d’If, which no longer serves as a prison. (It’s a curiosity, kind of like Alcatraz now.) Monte Cristo tours the place and visits his old cell, where his guide tells him the story of the prisoner there and his escape to a watery grave. Monte Cristo recalls the anguish he went through during his imprisonment. When he visits the Abbé Faria’s cell, he just recalls his fond feelings for the old man. He gives his guide some gold, which is much more than the poor man expected. In gratitude, he gives Monte Cristo the book of sorts that he found in one of Faria’s hiding places. (From way back in Chapter 17!) Monte Cristo is thrilled, for this was Faria’s life work. He once again feels justified in his work, for God has given him a sign. He gives the guide a wallet containing banknotes for 10,000 francs and the order to not open it until Monte Cristo leaves. When he collects Maximilian at his father’s grave, he tells him that he leaves for Italy and Maximilian shall remain in Marseille, and they shall meet on the island of Monte Cristo on October 5th, the day that Maximilian believes he shall commit suicide.
We go once again to Rome to learn the fate of Danglars. (You didn’t think he gets off scot free, did you?) He goes to the offices of Thompson and French (which is an actual place, I though Monte Cristo made it up) to redeem the receipt he received from Monte Cristo for 5 million francs. He plans on living in Vienna with it instead of paying back his creditors, because he is nowhere near an honest man. The underworld of Rome is watching him, though, and he gets kidnapped by our good friend Peppino and Luigi Vampa’s bandits on the road from Rome. Danglars is put in a comfortable cell, and remembering Albert’s stories, figures he’ll be fine, as they would not ransom him for anywhere near 5 million francs.
The next morning, Danglars is still sure that all will be well, until he starts to get hungry. The bandits are eating very close to him, and he requests food. Peppino, one of the only ones who speaks French (Danglars does not speak Italian) asks him what he would like. He also says the prisoners pay for their food, and the price is 5000 louis, or 100,000 francs, in advance, whether the meal be fish or fowl or bread. He thinks the price is a joke, but Peppino is deadly serious. He refuses at first, but eventually caves and agrees, seeing this is how they will get their money. He also learns that they know exactly how much money he has. He writes a letter to the bank, and he gets his expensive meal.
The next day Danglars demands to see Vampa who, claiming that he is being held under someone else’s orders, he can do nothing about his situation. Vampa says they are not to shed his blood, but if he dies of hunger that is another matter. Danglars plans to wait them out, but he caves after two days. By day twelve, he had lost 5 million francs and was down to 50,000, which he resolved to keep. He started going a bit crazy, and by three of no food he starts to see an old man also dying of hunger on his bed. By day five, he asks to see Vampa again, and begs to be allowed to live with them instead of being set free. When asked if he suffered a great deal, he agreed, and also thought that no one had suffered more than he. But Vampa reminds him that men have died of starvation, and he agrees that others have suffered more. A new voice asks Danglars if he repents of all the evil he has done, and he says that he does repent. The voice reveals himself as the man Danglars calls the Count of Monte Cristo, but he is corrected.
“Someone whom you sold and dishonoured, -whose betrothed you prostituted, -upon whom you trampled that you might raise yourself to fortune, -whose father you condemned to die of hunger, -whom you also condemned to starvation, and who yet forgives you, because he hopes to be forgiven, I am Edmond Dantès!”
Monte Cristo tells Danglars that he can keep the 50,000 francs he has left, and that the 5 million francs were restored to the hospital ‘anonymously.’ He instructs Vampa to feed him and let him go. When he is free, Danglars goes to a stream to drink, and he sees in his reflection that his hair has turned white. (At first I thought this punishment would have been better suited for Caderousse, as he was physically there when old man Dantès was starving. But Danglars really was the instigator of the whole thing. He was most to blame, yet he is the one who managed to live.)
On October 5th, the last day Maximilian promised Monte Cristo he would live, he arrives on the island. Maximilian finds Monte Cristo free and easy, for he does not know that his vengeance is indeed complete. Maximilian is still set to kill himself, for the past month has not relieved his grief at all. He is resolute, and not even the offer of Monte Cristo’s entire fortune will tempt him to life. Monte Cristo offers him a liquid which Maximilian believes to be a painless poison and consumes it, content that he should die and be with his Valentine. He tries to pull a Romeo. But we know it wasn’t poison! Maximilian is a little drugged up, so he’s a little slow on the uptake when Valentine appears before him! While Maximilian is regaining his faculties, Valentine tells Monte Cristo she loves Haydée, who she has been with this whole time, like a sister. Monte Cristo asks Valentine to look after her, as she will be alone soon. Haydée will have none of that. If Monte Cristo were to die, so would she, and he finally realizes that she loves him and he loves her. He finally accepts her love and his ability to love as a gift from God.
In the morning as the young lovers are walking along the beach, Jacopo (from way back in Chapter 25) gives them a letter from Monte Cristo. In it he tells them where to go to meet Noirtier who will see them married. He gives them all of the remaining treasure on the island as well as two houses, one of which is the townhouse in Paris. (Which would be kind of awkward if they went there, because Valentine is supposed to be dead.) He asks Valentine to give her fortune to the poor, as her father is mad and her step-mother and brother are dead. He reestablishes the power and wisdom of God, and states that “there is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state to another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience extreme happiness.” He also maintains that “all human wisdom is contained in these two words, -“Wait and hope.’” He signs the letter as Edmond Dantès, Count of Monte Cristo. When Maximilian and Valentine ask where their benefactor and friend is, he points to the horizon where they can just see the ship that carries Monte Cristo and Haydée off into their own happiness.
Monte Cristo is kind of a Gary Stu – he has all of the monies, and he knows everything, he can speak all the languages flawlessly, he can shoot incredibly accurately, he can disguise himself so completely as to be unrecognizable, and can read everyone at a glance. He has 1800’s superpowers. Sure, his life sucks and he has nothing in his mind except vengeance, but take time to enjoy life, man! (Wait, I just realized that he’s Batman! Tons of money and he swears vengeance for the death of his father! And he never actively kills anyone!)
His servants are awesome. They have everything ready whenever he needs it. Even Bertuccio, who was not trained as a steward, can redecorate an entire house in like, a day.
Depending where you look, his fortune equates to anywhere between 1 and 9 billion dollars. That’s a lot.
Speaking of money, it was very confusing to know the value of things with piastres crowns and livres and francs and louis and sometimes no denominations at all floating about! I know 1 louis equaled to 20 francs, but that’s the only conversion I can easily recall.
Monte Cristo is always precisely on time.
Edmond Dantès was a nice guy, but Monte Cristo is a bit of a dick.
(I was tempted to add pictures and gifs, but I didn’t want to break the website… Also, I need to sleep sometimes!)