bikerbuddy: I am currently reading The Count of Monte Cristo while I also read and review other books for this website. I decided that since it was such a long book I would read it over an extended period and summarise each chapter as I go. So, this is a SPOILER WARNING. What appears below gives away all key aspects of the plot. I will eventually write a regular review for the book, also.
Edmond Dantes: Captain of the Pharaon
M.Morrel: Owner of the Pharaon
Captain Leclere: Former captain of the Pharaon. Dead by fever
Danglars: Agent of the Pharaon
Dantes brings the Pharaon into harbour after a trading voyage. The ship’s captain, Leclere has died of fever and Dante has taken command of the ship as required. He is shown to be competent. Morrel, an owner of the ship, expresses his pleasure at Dante’s command and promises to speak with his business partner to have Dante permanently appointed to the position. As Dante attends to various tasks, Danglars speaks with Morrel, suggesting first, that Dante acted inappropriately by delaying their trip at the island of Elba where Napoleon is in exile. Dante reveals it had been Leclere’s dying wish he do so to deliver a package to Marshal Bertrand. Next, Danglars suggests Dante holds a letter for Morrel from Captain Leclere, suggesting that Dante is withholding it. Dante denies any letter and politely refuses an invitation to dine with Morrel on the excuse that he must see his father and will later want to see his girl, Mercedes.
Caderousse: Neighbour / Tailor
Senior Dantes: Edmond Dantes’ father
Senior Dantes, Edmond Dantes, Danglars, Caderousse
Dantes returns home to find his father in a poor state. He has lived on only 60 francs for three months since Caderousse demanded repayment of 140 francs owed by Dantes. Dantes tells his father and Caderousse of his (assumed) captaincy and speaks of his desire to see Mercedes. Caderousse plants some doubt in his mind that Mercedes is also pursued by other men. When Dante leaves, we find that Caderousse is reporting back to Danglars and is not well disposed to Dante. Caderousse confirms Dante’s ambition to be the captain of the Pharaon and his desire to marry Mercedes.
Mercedes: Edmond Dantes’ girlfriend
Fernand: A suitor to Mercedes
Mercedes, Fernand, Edmond Dantes, Danglars, Caderousse
Mercedes awaits the return of Dantes from his voyage. Meanwhile, Fernand presses her to be his lover. He has pursued her for ten years but she has never given him any encouragement. She tells him he must only ever think of himself as a friend or brother. Dantes arrives and she is overjoyed to see him. She introduces Fernand as a friend who appears gloomy and threatening instead. Mercedes declares she will kill herself if anything ever happens to Dantes to put out of Fernand’s mind the implicit threat in his behaviour. Fernand flees the house and meets Caderousse and Danglars who tease him about his unrequited desire. They suggest that he not allow Dantes to have Mercedes without a fight and also tell of Dantes’ likely promotion to the rank of captain. When the lovers leave the house Caderousse points them out to Fernand as they hold each other tight. Caderousse addresses Mercedes as Madame Dantes and Danglars addresses Dantes as captain. Both reject these premature titles saying it would be bad luck to accept them. Dantes announces he must go to Paris to finalise Captain Leclere’s business by delivering a letter he received from Marshal Bertrand on the island of Elba.
Fernand, Danglars, Caderousse
Danglars attempts to persuade Fernand that the only way he can have Mercedes is by killing Dantes. Fernand doesn’t dare do it because he believes Mercedes will then carry out her threat to kill herself. Caderousse, who is mostly drunk by now, declares he doesn’t want to kill Dantes because he is his friend. Realising he cannot get past this, Danglars decides to implicate Dantes in a plot involving Napoleon, based on Dantes’ brief stop at Elba where he met Napoleon. He reasons to Fernand that Dantes in prison will serve Fernand’s ends. He does not openly reveal his own motives for getting rid of Dantes: the issue over the captaincy of the Pharaon. Danglars writes the note in his left hand to disguise his identity, so that Dantes will have no cause for revenge against them when he is finally out of prison. However, he makes a show of crumpling the letter and tossing it in the corner when concern is raised about the plan.
Edmond Dantes, Senior Dantes, Mercedes, Fernand, Danglars, Caderousse, M. Morrel
A dinner gathering to celebrate the betrothal of Dantes and Mercedes. However, Dantes announces during the dinner that he and Mercedes will be married within the next 90 minutes after he cleared all legal issues prior to that. However, the merriment is soon cut short when a magristrate appears at the door with orders to arrest Dantes. Dantes quietly goes with the officer, assuming it is a mere technicality over the shipment he brought in the day before. Morrel leaves to find out what the specific problem is. Caderousse challenges Danglars to explain what has happened, since Caderousse is well disposed towards Dantes. Danglars feigns ignorance, saying he did not go ahead with their plan, and implicates Fernand who has momentarily left the room. Morrel returns to tell them Dantes has been implicated as an agent of Napoleon. Now Danglars becomes more aggressive with Caderousse, saying that the charges may well be true, since certain facts do support them (eg landing at Elba). Now Danglars is offered the captaincy of the Pharaon, at least temporarily until Dantes is released. And he reiterates that he believes Fernand is responsible for handing the letter to the authorities. So Danglars has Dantes in prison, has the captaincy of the Pharaon, at least for the moment, and he has a scapegoat for his plan.
Marquis de Saint-Meren: old man who opposed Bonaparte
Marquise de Saint-Meren: old woman: wife who also opposes revolutionaries and the losses of the aristocracy
Compte de Salvieux: Old friend to Saint-Meren
Gerard de Villefort: a young magistrate and betrothed to Renee
Renee: Betrothed to Villefort, daughter of Compte de Salvieux
At the same time as that of Dantes and Mercedes, another marriage feast is being celebrated in an aristocratic mansion for Villefort and Renee. The subject of discussion turns to politics, with the Saint-Merens voicing their disapproval of the revolutionaries. They characterise the followers of Napoleon as fanatics. However, Villefort speaks in favour of forgetting the past and moving on, while at the same time asserting his willingness to prosecute any revolutionaries who would break the law. Renee expresses a desire to see a court case, but Villefort warns her that unlike theatre, the reality of the court might be distressing for her. Then Villefort is briefly called away. Upon his return he informs the company that he has been assigned the case of Dantes whom he says has been implicated in a Bonaparte conspiracy. Renee begs him to be merciful. Villefort promises to be as merciful as he can, but he will not hesitate to ask for the death penalty if the case justifies it.
Edmond Dantes, Gerard de Villefort, M. Morrel
M. Morrel meets Villefort and speaks to Dantes character. At first Villefort’s suspicions are aroused by Morrel whom he suspects is a conspirator, but when he meets Dante he changes his mind. Dante is young and Villefort reacts to the fact that they had both been celebrating their betrothals that day. Added to this, he believes Dantes’s story about Leclere’s dying wishes and how Dante went to Elba to honour them. Villefort goes so far as to show the letter of accusation to Dantes, hoping he would recognise the handwriting, since he believes (quite rightly) that Dantes’s accusation is the result of jealousy from his early success and/or betrothal. He asks to see the letter given to him on Elba to take to Paris. It is addressed to Monsieur Noirtier, Rue Coq-Heron, Paris. This is Villefort’s father who has had a chequered political past that Villefort worries will destroy his own career. Without telling Dantes this he burns the letter and makes Dante swear he will not speak of its existence. From this moment Villefort is really acting to protect his own interests, but he says Dantes must be held a little while longer until everything is cleared up.
Edmond Dantes, Mercedes, Gendarmes, Jailer
Dantes is temporarily put in a prison cell, but then is moved by Gendarmes who escort him to a boat at night. He does not know where he is going and the gendarmes are forbidden to tell him. Eventually he persuades them to talk to him and they indicate they are rowing to the Chateau d’If, a notorious prison on an island for political prisoners. The conditions here are much harsher. Dantes spends the night standing without sleep. He regrets not having escaped, knowing he might have been able to start his life anew abroad. The next morning when his jailer comes he demands to see the prison governor. The jailor says it is not allowed. Dantes refuses any comforts the jailer says are available to him and continues to press for the governor. When the jailer refuses Dantes asks him to get a message to Mercedes. The jailer says it is not worth the risk to him. Dantes threatens violence if he does not help. The jailer returns with a corporal and four soldiers who escort Dantes to the dungeon below.
Villefort, Marquis de Saint-Meren, Marquise de Saint-Meren, Renee, Mercedes, Fernand, M.Morrel, Caderousse, Danglars
Villefort returns to Saint-Meren’s place to find the guests in the salon. He advises the Marquis to sell all his funds at once and then asks him to procure a letter of introduction to the king from M.de Salvieux to speed things up and ensure no one else gets to deliver his news. He then leaves to return home but finds Mercedes waiting for him. She begs news of Dantes but Villefort tells her he no longer knows where he is and that Dantes is a criminal. Then Villefort suffers a pang of conscience that he is condemning an innocent man because of his own father’s crimes. Meanwhile, Fernand has met Mercedes as she returns home and insinuates himself with her as he tries to comfort her. Both Morrel and Caderousse are disturbed by news of Dantes’s arrest. Caderousse is getting drunk again. Meanwhile, Danglars is pleased with how things have gone.
Danglars was one of those men born with a pen behind the ear, and an inkstand in place of a heart. Everything with him was multiplication and subtraction. The life of a man was to him of far less value than a numeral, especially when, by taking it away, he could increase the sum of his own desires.
- page 69
King Louis XVIII, Duke Blacas [M. de Blacas], Baron M. Dandre (Chief of Police)
King Louis XVIII, Duke Blacas [M. de Blacas], M. Dandre (Chief of Police), Villefort
Blacas has received the letter of introduction from M. de Salvieux recommending Villefort to the king. He is concerned that Villefort’s presence means a new threat from Bonaparte is looming. He tries to convince the king of this, but when Dandre arrives the king encourages him to tell Blacas that he is needlessly alarmed. Dandre and the king paint a portrait of Napoleon wiling away his days in boredom and impotence; of a man given up on ambition who has allowed some of his key supporters to return to France to start anew. Blacas assures the king that his messenger is in earnest, having travelled 220 leagues in only three days to deliver his intelligence. When Blacas tells the king Villefort’s name, Louis suddenly takes him more seriously, having heard of Villefort. He knows of Villefort’s father and his desire to rise above that history. Villefort is brought in and he exaggerates the danger. He suggests that Napoleon is advanced in a conspiracy to overthrow the king, and that this intelligence comes from Dantes, whom he has interrogated. Even so, the king assures Villefort that Napoleon will have little support no matter where he escapes to, and presents little threat. But Dandre returns pale and trembling, suggesting he has terrible news.
Germain: Villefort’s servant
M. Noirtier: Villefort’s father
King Louis XVIII, Duke Blacas [M. de Blacas], Baron M. Dandre (Chief of Police), Germain [Villefort’s servant], Villefort’s father
Dandre tells them that Napoleon has escaped from Elba about four days ago and has been gathering forces. Louis shows his contempt for Dandre: Villefort, he argues has no telegraph or intelligence agency yet he was able to get news of Dantes’s alleged conspiracy to him sooner. He spares Blacas his anger because Blacas had supported Villefort’s suspicions prior to this news. Villefort diplomatically attributes his success to luck to try to win Dandre over. Louis speculates that this has something to do with the murder of General Quesnel, after leaving a Bonapartist club after keeping an appointment there with a man of about fifty, who wore a rosette of the Legion of Honor. Villefort is horrified to hear of this description. He is excused by the king who first asks whether he will be seeing his father. Villefort says he will not. Louis admires his loyalty and tells him to expect support in his career in the future, and makes him an officer. When Villefort returns home his servant says there is a man waiting for him. It turns out to be his father, fitting exactly the description of the man who is suspected of murdering General Quesnel.
Villefort, M. Noirtier
Villefort questions his father about his associations with the Bonapartist club. His father admits the association. Villefort tells his father he knew of Bonaparte’s plans when he intercepted the letter from Elba meant for him. He burned the letter to protect his father. Villefort tells him of General Quesnel’s murder at the club. His father quibbles about whether it was murder, and suggests it is something else when done for the purpose of politics. Quesnel had listened to all there plans then revealed himself a royalist. They did not trust the oath he swore not to reveal what he knew. Noirtier assures his son that Napoleon has far more support in France than the Royalist think and assures him Napoleon will have their support. He then changes his appearance because of the description the police have of him. Before he leaves he suggests Villefort should go home and stay out of the struggle to come so that when the Bonapartist win he can be saved, and if they lose, he will also be safe. Villefort allows him to leave, but then heads to Marseilles, himself, still full of ambition.
M.Morrel, Villefort, Louis XVIII, Napoleon, Danglars, Fernand, Mercedes, Caderousse, Senior Dantes
Napoleon regains power swiftly after his escape from Elba. This means that the crime for which Dantes was accused is no longer a crime. Morrel visits Villefort to ask for help in getting Dantes released. Villefort feigns a difficulty in remembering the case, at first. But he knows if he doesn’t help Morrel will go to someone else for help and the matter will pass out of his hands, potentially placing himself in danger. He states that many political prisoners have no records kept for them since they were supposed to disappear. He encourages Morrel to write a petition to the minister which he will support. By this he means to delay. He suspects Napoleon will be defeated and Louis XVIII reinstated, thereby removing the issue of Dantes’s freedom. Meanwhile, Danglars fears Dantes’s return and so leaves Morrel’s service and is seen no more. Fernand decides to join Napoleon’s army, as does Caderousse. Mercedes tells Fernand to be careful, since she will be left alone if he dies. This gives him some hope for the future. Finally, Dantes’ father dies five months after Dantes’s imprisonment.
Inspector-general of prisons, Governor, Antoine [turnkey], Abbe Faria [Prisoner No.27]
Inspector, Governor, Antoine [turnkey], Abbe Faria [Prisoner No.27], Dantes [Prisoner No.34]
The inspector-general of prisons arrives a year after Louis XVIII’s restoration to check on the conditions of the prison. He is introduced to Dantes whom he is told is dangerous. Dantes pleads to know what his crime is, to be put to trial and if found guilty, shot, or else released. He is told he has been in prison for 17 months. The inspector promises Dantes he will inspect Villefort’s notes after Dantes naively informs him that Villefort had no reason to bear him a grudge. Next, the inspector is introduced to the Abbe Faria. Faria also does not know why he is in prison, but he claims to have a large fortune which he promises to share with the government and the inspector if he is set free. He even promises to reveal the place his treasure is buried and wait in prison for them to ascertain the truth of his story. Unfortunately, the governor has already anticipated Faria’s story for the inspector, having heard it many times. Faria is dismissed as being mad. The narrative points out that it is not in a government’s interest to have the victims of persecution reappear in society. In this case, the inspector does check Villefort’s notes, but they describe Dantes as political and violent, and the inspector is content to leave Dantes in prison. Another year passes with Dantes’s false hope of release slowly dwindling. The governor leaves the prison during this time and a new governor is appointed who does not learn their names, only their numbers.
Turnkey [a new one since last chapter]
Jailer, Abbe Faria [Prisoner No.27], Dantes [Prisoner No.34]
Dantes falls into despair after another few years in the prison and resolves to kill himself. He considers two methods, whether to hang himself with his handkerchief or to starve himself. Having seen men hanged in the past he resolves to starve and begins to throw his food away. Four days after he begins to starve himself, he hears a sound in the wall and instantly thinks it is another prisoner trying to escape. He makes a noise with a rock, reasoning that a prisoner would be cautious and wait a long time before resuming their digging. He appears to be right. Dantes then smashes a jug and later causes the jailer to step on his plate at the door to break it. The jailer, too lazy to remove the pieces immediately, leaves Dantes with the tools he needs to loosen the mortal in the wall. He speaks to the prisoner who introduces himself only as No.27. He has been imprisoned four years longer than Dantes. Dantes gains his trust. No.27 asks him to fill in the hole and await his signal. When Dantes next hears from him the prisoner completes his burrowing and the floor collapses beneath Dante.
Abbe Faria [Prisoner No.27], Dantes [Prisoner No.34]
Dantes questions Faria as to how he managed to dig into his cell. Faria explains he had been attempting to escape but had not calculated his position correctly. He had spent years making tools to help him dig using his bed and implements. He explains that he was imprisoned for a plan to alter the political face of Italy in 1811. Faria hears of the reinstatement of royalty in France. Faria is quite sanguine about his failed escape. In his conversation he reveals himself to be a man of enormous intellectual powers. He describes his detailed knowledge of ancient writers as well as his own writings he has conducted on clothing using ink and a quill fashioned from soot and wine, and fish bones. Dantes admires Faria and finds his own spirits lifted, believing that if this man of twice his age could achieve what he has, then Dantes feels he, himself, could exert himself even better and that his prospects of escape would also be good. Dantes suggests digging into a corridor and killing a guard to escape, but Faria rejects the idea of harming someone else for his liberty. Dantes expresses a desire to see Faria’s cell and his writings. Faria invites him to follow him back.
Abbe Faria [Prisoner No.27], Dantes [Prisoner No.34]
The Abbe Faria and Dantes return to Faria’s cell via the tunnel Faria has excavated. Faria displays the achievements he has made over his many years of imprisonment: his written history, his writing implement, his knife and the ladder he has constructed from materials, all carefully hidden by various means in his cell. Next, Dantes recounts the events that led to his imprisonment for Faria. Faria suggests Dantes might logically work out who was responsible for his imprisonment by considering who benefitted from it. So, he cross examines Dantes and through Dantes story works out that Danglars and Fernand both had motives to have Dantes imprisoned. When he is told the name of the intended recipient of the letter Dantes was carrying and his prosecutor, Faria realises it is the son of the man implicated in the letter that had Dantes imprisoned, most likely to protect his father. Over the next year Dantes and Faria form a close relationship. Faria becomes Dantes mentor, teaching him several languages, mathematics and science. Then Faria has an idea for escape but insists that Dantes does not hurt the guard to achieve it. The plan is that they will dig a cavity under the gallery where the guard patrols and cause a stone upon which he steps to collapse beneath him, causing him to fall into the cavity. They will tie him up and then use the ladder Faria has constructed to escape. They dig for 15 months but just before they are about to enact their plan Faria has an attack which leaves him incapacitated. He explains that it is a malady that runs in his family and he fears the next attack will end his life. He urges Dantes to make the escape without him, but Dantes refuses to. So, he asks Dantes to fill in the cavity so that it does not lead to their detection.
Abbe Faria [Prisoner No.27], Dantes [Prisoner No.34]
The day after Faria’s collapse Dantes returns to his cell. Faria wants to tell Dantes about a treasure he wishes to share now that he has convinced himself that he trusts Dantes. Dantes at first believes this is he Faria’s madness which has been suppressed until now and is reluctant to talk abut it, but Faria produces a text about a treasure with each line missing one half. Faria tells Dantes of his connection to a once wealthy family as secretary to Cardinal Spada. He explains that Spada’s ancestor bought one of two new cardinal positions from Pope Alexander VI, who created them to help raise money after the wars of Romagna and defend against Louis XII of France. Once they came to Rome the pope invited them to dinner, often a sign that the invitee was about to be poisoned. Cardinal Spada wrote a will bequeathing his books and a breviary to his nephew. Then he and his fellow Cardinal Rospiliosi were indeed poisoned, but the pope and his son Cesare could not find any record of wealth among Spada’s papers. The centuries rolled on and the Spada family slipped into obscurity. When Faria was employed by the present Cardinal Spada he was asked to look for evidence of wealth in the family papers but found none. Before Spada died he bequeathed his books and papers and anything else he owned to Faria. Early one morning Faria discovered that one of the papers contained invisible ink which reappeared when he lit it. The paper was damaged by the fire, leaving only half of each line. But Faria was able to peace together the instructions over time, which revealed the first Cardinal Spada had hidden a huge treasure in a cave on the island of Monte Cristo before he was poisoned. Faria had intended to take Dantes to the island upon their escape and share the fortune, but now he wants Dantes to take him there, or go himself if Faria dies first, and retrieve the treasure for himself.
Abbe Faria [Prisoner No.27], Dantes [Prisoner No.34], Governor, Turnkey, Prison Doctor
Dantes makes plans with Faria for their escape, but a part of the prison is rebuilt which cuts off access to their former escape route. Nevertheless, Faria continues to give instructions to Dantes until one night he is again overcome by an attack of the malady the partially paralysed him before. Faria is convinced he will die this time, but allows Dantes to administer the medicine which saved him last time. Faria dies, nevertheless. Dantes retreats to his own cell knowing that the turnkey will soon come with their dinners. Dantes moves back into their connecting tunnel between the cells to listen to what is happening after his own food is delivered. He hears the turnkey’s discovery of the body and the conversation between the governor and doctor as the doctor pronounces Faria dead. The governor, not wishing to take chances, has a brazier brought into the cell and a hot iron placed against his ankle. The governor is then convinced. Faria’s body is to be left in the cell until his burial. No religious mass will be said in his honour since the prison chaplain has taken a leave of absence. When they have left the cell Dantes once again enters Faria’s cell.
Dantes, Two gravediggers
Dantes returns to Faria’s cell and contemplates his corpse. He is briefly overcome with a sense of despair and considers suicide or a violent end with the guards. Then he has the idea of swapping places with Faria’s corpse. He removes the corpse to the bed in his own cell where he disguises it, then sews himself from the inside into Faria’s winding sheet. When the gravediggers come they haul him outside, but instead of burying him they throw him into the sea where it is the custom to dispose of corpses from the prison.
Ship Captain, Jacopo
Edmond Dantes, Ship Captain, Jacopo
Dantes manages to cut himself free of the winding sheet and lead balls weighting his feet before he drowns. He swims for over an hour and lands on the island of Tiboulen. As he shelters on the island, he sees a ship sunk nearby by the storm. Later, when he sees a Genoese trading ship passing near the island, he strikes out again using a timber from the sunken ship to keep him afloat. Just as he is about to sink, he is rescued by the crew members. Dantes asks to be taken in, at least to give him passage to Leghorn. He tells them he is a Maltese sailor, the only survivor from the ship that sunk nearby. He also demonstrates his skill as a sailor by sailing the ship closer to the wind and clearing an island with fewer tacks. Meanwhile, the report of a gun is heard from the Chateau d’If. Dantes boldly explains that a prisoner has probably escaped. The captain is willing to believe that Dantes is not the prisoner, but privately considers Dantes too good a sailor to pass up. Dantes is told the year is 1829. He has been in prison for fourteen years and he is now 33 years old. His mind now turns to the three men responsible for his incarceration – Danglars, Fernand and Villefort – and he remembers his oath of vengeance he swore.
Edmond Dantes, Ship Captain, Jacopo
At first the captain of The Young Amelia fears Dantes might be a customs officer in disguise because the boat was used for smuggling goods past customs in various countries in the Mediterranean. But his fears are soon allayed and he begins to trust Dantes. Dantes is given an advance on wages and has a hair cut and shave in Leghorn. He realises that the years in prison have changed his appearance a great deal. Dantes begins a three-month contract as a sailor on The Young Amelia and during that time they sail past the island of Monte Cristo many times. During one trip their boat is chased by a customs ship and shots are exchanged. The customs officer is killed and Dantes is wounded in the shoulder. Jacopo saves Dantes and helps him recover from the wound. Dantes offers him a cut of his pay in thanks but Jacopo declines the offer. So, in return, Dantes begins to teach Jacopo naval navigation with the idea that he might one day be more than just a sailor. Maybe a captain of a ship. Meanwhile, Dantes thinks about the island of Monte Carlo and determines to secretly visit the island after his three-month contract is over to look for the treasure. One problem, however, is that he will need to trust someone else to help him. Then he attends a meeting in a tavern where plans to smuggle goods are made. The island of Monte Cristo is chosen as a neutral ground to trade goods, and Dantes’s hopes rise when he realises he will finally have an excuse to visit the island.
Edmond Dantes, Ship Captain Baldi, Jacopo
Dantes has a disturbed night’s sleep before they set sail for Monte Cristo, dreaming of failure. When they land on the island the following night, he is faced with the problem of how to search for the caves talked of by Faria without raising suspicion. When he chances to mention caves, Jacopo says he knows of no caves on the island. Dantes concludes that Faria may have had the entrance deliberately concealed. He proposes to go and hunt goats for food and Jacopo accompanies him. They kill a goat and Dantes asks Jacopo to take it back to camp to have it cooked while he continues to hunt. He will return to them, he says, at the firing of a gun, used to mark that the goat is ready for dinner. Left alone, Dantes continues to look for signs of a hiding place and eventually comes across some markings which he thinks might have been left by Faria. When the gun goes off Dantes is in sight of his fellow sailors and begins to head towards them quickly, then seems to slip into a crevice. When his companions find him, he appears to have broken ribs and he says he is in too much pain to move. He asks them to leave him for the moment, since they must leave the island soon, and return for him in a week. With some persuading he makes them agree, even Jacopo, who is willing to stay with him. Once the boat is out of sight, Dantes climbs to his feet. He is not hurt at all. His fall was a ruse to get time alone to explore the island.
Dantes returns to where he saw the markings on the rock, follows a creek and finds a large rock that looks like it has been moved into place in the past. He is becoming paranoid, constantly checking that he is alone. Unable to move the rock with leverage, he uses gun powder to shift the rock, then levers it away. He enters a cavern, but begins to believe that the treasure Faria spoke of was either fictitious or long since stolen. He imagines Cesare Borgia coming not long after the treasure was hidden to claim it for his own. Nevertheless, curiosity takes Dantes further into the cave. He finds a section in the wall that seems to have been filled, so he uses his pick to dislodge the rocks and enters a second cavern where he begins to dig according to the instructions he received from Faria. He unearths an iron and wooden chest. He forces the lock and finds three compartments inside. The first is full or gold coin, the second of unpolished gold ingots and the third of diamonds, pearls and rubies. Dantes runs out outside, mad with delight, then spends a restless night at the entrance to the caverns.
Edmond Dantes, Jacopo, Former crew mate from the Pharaon
The next day Dantes fills his pockets with gems and then seals the entrance to the cave and disguises any evidence of his having been there. He waits for The Young Amelia to return six days later. When he gets back to Leghorn he sells his jewels and buys a new boat for Jacopo. He pretends he is from a rich family and has been a sailor from a whim to spite his family. He asks Jacopo to sail to Marseilles to check on his father and Mercedes. He then gives money to the crew of The Young Amelia and then departs, his contract now over. He goes to Genoa where he purchases himself a yacht and has the builder install three hidden compartments in the cabin. He then returns to Monte Cristo where he removes the rest of the treasure to the secret compartments of his boat. He then sails about the island for a week waiting for the return of Jacopo. Jacopo tells him that his father has died and that Mercedes has disappeared. He decides to return to Marseilles himself where he bumps into an old shipmate from the Pharaon. As expected, the man does not recognise Dantes now. Dantes returns to his father’s apartment, the Allees de Meillan, to find that a newly-wed couple now occupies it. He makes an inquiry about Caderousse but is told Caderousse got into financial difficulty and now stays at a small inn on the route from Bellegrade to Beaucaire. Next, Dante finds out where the owner of the Allees de Meillan lives and visits him to offer a price well in excess of its worth. Having bought the residence, he asks the married couple to take their choice of any of the best rooms in the house for no extra rent, as long as Dantes can have their rooms, the rooms of his late father. Yet Dantes does not remain there. He leaves Marseilles by the Port d’Aix almost immediately.
Madeleine Radelle (La Carconte): Wife of Caderousse
Edmond Dantes (disguised as an Abbe), Gaspard Caderousse, Madeleine Radelle (La Carconte)
The scene changes to a small roadside inn, the Pont du Gard, which is run by Caderousse and his wife, Madeleine. The inn has fallen on hard times since traffic past the road has fallen off after a nearby canal has been employed for shipping goods, in preference to stage coaches. A priest turns up, evidently Dantes in disguise, who establishes Caderousse’s identity, and explains that he was called to Dantes’s prison cell to administer last rights. He says that it was Dantes’s dying wish that his friends and father divide the wealth of a valuable diamond given to him by a rich man he befriended in prison. The ‘priest’ begins to asks questions of Caderousse, clearly trying to find out as much as he can. He ascertains that his father starved to death a year after he was imprisoned, according to Caderousse. Caderousse, upon learning that the diamond is to be divided equally in its value to the remaining four beneficiaries – himself, Danglars, Mercedes and Fernand – sees there is profit in it for him if he can disqualify Danglars and Fernand because they were not the friends that the supposedly dead Dantes believed them to be. His wife, however, is suspicious of the ‘priests’ motives, and warns her husband to say nothing. However, her intransigence is softened when the ‘priest’ shows her the diamond which is to be sold to fund the inheritance. So she withdraws upstairs, leaving Caderousse to speak. Caderousse promises to tell the ‘priest’ a story about Dantes’s supposed friends.
Edmond Dantes (disguised as an Abbe), Gaspard Caderousse, Madeleine Radelle (La Carconte)
Caderousse is reassured that his story will not pass beyond the ‘abbe’ but will be treated like a confession. First he tells of the grief of Dantes’s father after the arrest. Inconsolable, his health deteriorated, and after a doctor diagnosed bowel trouble and recommended a reduced diet, it gave him the excuse to refuse food. After nine days he starved to death. Next, Caderousse speaks of Fernand and Danglars, bot of whom have made their fortune since Edmond was arrested. Caderousse speaks of the writing of the incriminating letter and bemoans his failure to grasp their full intent, since he was drunk at the time. M.Morrel, who was entirely unaware of the plot against Dantes, has fallen on bad times. Morrel had attended the dying father and had left his purse with which to pay his debts and funeral. Now, after losing five ships in two years, he is on the edge of ruin. Meanwhile, Danglars and Fernand are rich. Danglars was employed in the commissariat of the French army during the war with Spain, made a fortune through speculation, married a banker’s daughter and then later became a baron when he married Madame de Nargonne, daughter of M. de Servieux, the king’s chamberlain. He is now a millionaire. Fernand was drafted into the army and his fortunes rose after the Battle of Ligny when he accompanied a general on a mission to meet with the English. He rose to the rank of captain in the Spanish War of 1823, and was eventually made colonel for his part against the royalists. He was also left money by Ali Pasha after he was killed, for his services in Greece in the rank of Instructor General. He later returned to Mercedes to persuade her to marry him. She held out for eighteen months, hoping Dantes would return, but she eventually relented. They were married and Fernand and Mercedes left Marseilles, although Caderousse met Mercedes once more and knows she had a son, Albert. Later, when Caderousse asked for financial aid he was turned away by both Danglars and Fernand, but Mercedes dropped a purse with money from a window to him. Of Villefort, Caderousse knows nothing, except that he was married to Mademoiselle de Saint-Meren and they left Marseilles. Having heard the story, the ‘abbe’ judges that Caderousse was the only one who was a true friend to Dantes and gives him the diamond. When the ‘abbe’ leaves, Madeleine remains sceptical, saying the diamond is probably a fake used to get Caderousse’s story from him for nothing. Caderousse resolves to consult a jeweller at a fair in Beaucaire to determine the worth of the diamond.
Mayor of Marseilles
M. de Boville: Inspector of Prisons
Edmond Dantes (disguised as an Englishman Chief Clerk of the house of Thomas and French, Rome), Mayor of Marseilles, M. de Boville
Dantes visits the mayor of Marseilles dressed as an Englishman representing a trading firm. He inquires after M.Morrel. The mayor will not disclose Morrel’s financial situation but tells Dantes Morrel is an honourable man. The mayor advises Dantes to speak to M. de Boville, inspector of prisons, who has invested 200,000 francs in a shipment of Morrel’s. M. de Boville confirms that Morrel is in dire financial straits, and that the money he invested was for his daughter’s dowry. He now fears it lost. Dantes offers to buy the investment for the full value, despite the risk, saying he merely represents a firm whose motives he does not fully understand. As commission, Dantes asks only to view the prison records from the Château d’If, saying that Abbé Faria had educated him as a child. M. de Boville tells Dantes the story of Faria’s death, the passage between his and Dantes’s cell and of Dantes’s escape, whom he calls a dangerous Bonapartist. He confirms that Dantes’s is officially believed to be dead, drowned in his escape attempt. M. de Boville allows Dantes to view the prison records in private. Dantes discovers the accusing letter written by Danglars and Fernand. He removes it from the records. He also finds in Villefort’s handwriting a marginal note stating that he was “an inveterate Bonapartist” and was to be kept in strict confinement.
Cocles: Morrel’s one-eyed clerk, secretly in love with Julie
Julie: Morrel’s daughter
Emmanuel: Employee of Morrel
Penelon: Old seaman off The Phareon
M. de Boville: Inspector of Prisons
Edmond Dantes (disguised as an Englishman Chief Clerk of the house of Thomas and French, Rome), M.Morrel, Cocles, Julie, Emmanuel, Penelon
Still in disguise, Dantes visits Morrel, his former employer and owner of The Pharaon. Morrel’s business is obviously in decline with few employees left. The one-eyed Cocles, the cashier, is one of them. Dantes is conducted to Morrel’s room, where he finds Morrel visibly older. He explains to Morrel that he has bought all Morrel’s debts and that Morrel now owes the house of Thomas and French 287,500 francs. Morrel explains that he awaits the return of The Pharaon which will give him liquidity once again to pay his debts, but if the ship sinks, which is already a month late, he will be ruined. At this moment there is a cry and Morrel’s daughter, Julie, enters the room to inform her father that The Pharaon has indeed sunk and that her crew were brought into port by La Gironde which has just arrived. Penelon, an old sailor, represents the ship’s crew since the captain is sick and cannot attend. He tells the story of the ship facing a huge storm in which she was damaged and took on water faster than the crew could pump it out. Eventually they had to abandon ship and they floated for three days before rescue. Morrel offers to pay the crew with what money he has left. The crew are willing to wait for a new boat to be built, but Morrel reveals he has no further money of his own to invest. The crew is reluctant to take the money, but Morrel assures them he will contact them in better times. Once Dantes and Morrel are alone again, Dantes agrees to extend the payment date by three months, making the payment date the 5th September. Ominously, Morrel says,
I shall expect you … and I will pay you – or I shall be dead. The last remark is said too low for Dantes to hear. Dantes leaves after encouraging Julie that she and Emmanuel will one day marry, and asks Penelon to accompany him so they can talk further alone. He also tells Julie she will one day receive a letter from ‘Sinbad the Sailor’ and asks her to promise she will do whatever the letter bids her to do.
Maximilian Morrel: Morrel’s military son
Captain Guamard: Captain of The Pharaon who was too sick to attend Morrel in the previous chapter
M.Morrel, Julie, Maximilian Morrel, Emmanuel, Cocles, Wife, Penelon, Captain Gaumard, Dantes
Morrel feels some relief at the extension to pay his debts, but wonders whether it has been done for altruistic or practical reasons. In the meantime, business continues with Cocles able to pay small bills that fall due before the 5th of December. Morrel meets Penelon and Captain Guamard who has recovered, and sees that Penelon has a new outfit. He is happy the sailor is finding other employment. On the 1st September Morrel goes to Paris to ask help of Danglars, but Danglars refuses any help. Julie and her mother decide to write to Maximilian, the son, who has a military career, asking him to return home. In the meantime, mother and daughter are kept awake at night by Morrel’s pacing in his study. They also observe him writing what they take to be his will. Julie is also perturbed because Morrel has asked her to return the key to Morrel’s study, but she pretends not to have it. The next day Maximilian arrives home. At the same time a man arrives with a note for Julie from ‘Sinbad the Sailor’ directing her to go alone to retrieve a red silk purse from a house at the Allees de Meillan. Meanwhile, Maximilian finds Morrel preparing to end his own life with a pistol. He at first tries to talk his father out of doing it, but Morrel explains his financial situation and the shame that will attend the family if he goes on living, appearing as a rogue who cares little about his creditors, rather than an honourable man who was forced to the wall. Maximilian at first declares he will die with his father, but Morrel tells him he must live, look after the family and return the family name to its former reputation. Maximilian agrees and leaves his father to end his own life. With only minutes to go before the agent of Thomas and French is at the door demanding money, Morrel is about to kill himself when Julie bursts in to stop him. She has retrieved the silk purse which contains a large diamond and the receipt of the bill that Morrel owes. At that moment there is also a call from the harbour ushering in The Pharaon They go down to the harbour where they find a boat which is the replica of the old boat, laden with the cargo The Pharaon was meant to have brought back to Marseilles, with Morrel’s old crew sailing it. Observing all this from a hidden place is Dantes who takes pleasure in the good he has done, but now resolves to turn his mind to thoughts of revenge.
Vicomte Albert de Morcerf, Baron Franz d’Epinay, Captain Gaetano, ‘Sentinel’
Vicomte Albert de Morcerf, Baron Franz d’Epinay, Captain Gaetano, Dantes (as Sinbad the Sailor)
The year is now 1838. Morcerf and Franz decide to attend the carnival in Rome, but before departing Morcerf starts for Naples while Franz decides to take an excursion to the island of Elba. He hires a crew and he hunts partridges on the island, but he is dissatisfied with the hunt. Captain Gaetano suggests he land on the island of Monte Cristo where there are many goats to hunt. He advises that the island is uninhabited but it is frequented by pirates and smugglers. Gaetano admits to sometimes smuggling to help make ends meet. Franz agrees to go to the island, but as they approach in darkness, they see a fire on the shore positioned out of sight of the mainland. Gaetano wades to shore to investigate and returns to say he knows the sailors who are at the fire – four of them – who are accompanied by two Corsican bandits. Nevertheless, he still encourages Franz to go ashore and Franz agrees, not wishing to look cowardly. They are stopped by a sentinel and escorted to the fire where the sailors are cooking a goat. Franz is tempted by the goat and asks whether he can join in supper. Franz is granted permission to attend a luxurious cavern on the island where he may eat on the condition that he remain blindfolded until instructed to take it off. Gaetano advises that he knows the host and his reputation, which is both good and negative. Franz agrees to the blindfold and is led to a luxurious cavern alone where he is instructed to remove the blindfold. His host, who introduces himself as Sinbad the Sailor, says the blindfold was necessary to protect his hideaway that he might escape from the world whenever he pleases. Franz is invited to use a nom de guerre and he selects ‘Aladdin’. ‘Sinbad’ and ‘Aladdin’ are attended by a man who has no tongue. Sinbad/Dantes explains that he rescued Ali from execution after he was sentenced first to have his tongue removed, his hand the next day and his life the day after that. A curtain is pulled back and Franz is led into a sumptuous dining hall where he is treated to an excellent dinner. Franz, in appraising Sinbad, assumes he is a man who has known suffering and seeks revenge. Sinbad/Dantes disagrees, explaining that he has a freedom greater than most men’s and sees himself as a philosopher. He plans, he says, to one day go to Paris and make his name as a philosopher. Sinbad/Dantes introduces Franz to
the ambrosia which Hebe served at the table of Jupiter. Sinbad/Dantes makes some hefty claims about the effects of the ambrosia – that it will take all cares away, make any objective seem possible etc. Franz learns upon questioning that the ‘ambrosia’ is a kind of pure hashish. Franz eats the ambrosia after Sinbad/Dantes has some. At first, he does not like it, but then he begins to experience strange feelings, like he has wings growing from his back, and is then treated to a vision in which female statues come to life to treat him with unimagined sexual favours. It is not clear whether these are real women or just a vision at this point.
Signor Pastrini: Hotelier
Vicomte Albert de Morcerf, Baron Franz d’Epinay, Captain Gaetano, Giovanni, Signor Pastrini, , Dantes (as Sinbad the Sailor)
Franz awakens on the island to find himself laying in a grotto. For a time he reflects with pleasure of the company and visions of the night before, not entirely sure it was real. But then he finds Gaetano and the other sailors. Gaetano explains that Sinbad had to leave early to return to Malagna. Franz looks through a telescope to see Sinbad’s yacht in the distance. Sinbad/Dantes waves to him and a cannon is fired as a farewell. Franz tries to find the entrance to Sinbad’s cavern but fails and so finishes his time on the island by hunting a few goats. It does not bring him pleasure. Franz looks out to sea again and sees that Sinbad’s ship is not heading to Malagna. Gaetano explains that Sinbad has to drop the Corsican brigands at Porto-Vecchio. He says Sinbad does not fear the authorities and has friends everywhere who will support and protect him. They leave Monte Cristo and Franz returns to Rome where he meets Morcerf. They make their way to the hotel of Signor Pastrini but are initially told by the staff there is no room for them. Pastrini appears and sorts out the misunderstanding. He explains a rich Sicilian or Maltese gentlemen had booked the rest of the floor. When they ask to be supplied with a carriage for the following days Pastrini tells them there are none available. He says there are no horses available either. Pastrini promises to try to help. Franz is concerned but Morcerf is content to wait, believing that the right amount of money will solve the problem.