The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexander Dumas

Translator: Anonymous


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.

Chapter 1: Marseilles – The Arrival

New Characters

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

Summary

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.

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Chapter 2: Father and Son

New Characters

Caderousse: Neighbour / Tailor

Senior Dantes: Edmond Dantes’ father

Characters

Senior Dantes, Edmond Dantes, Danglars, Caderousse

Summary

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.

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Chapter 3: The Catalans

New Characters

Mercedes: Edmond Dantes’ girlfriend

Fernand: A suitor to Mercedes

Characters

Mercedes, Fernand, Edmond Dantes, Danglars, Caderousse

Summary

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.

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Chapter 4: Conspiracy

Characters

Fernand, Danglars, Caderousse

Summary

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.

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Chapter 5: The Marriage Feast

Characters

Edmond Dantes, Senior Dantes, Mercedes, Fernand, Danglars, Caderousse, M. Morrel

Summary

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.

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Chapter 6: The Deputy Procurer du Roi

New Characters

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

Summary

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.

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Chapter 7: The Examination

Characters

Edmond Dantes, Gerard de Villefort, M. Morrel

Summary

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.

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Chapter 8: The Château d’If

New Characters

Gendarmes, Jailer

Characters

Edmond Dantes, Mercedes, Gendarmes, Jailer

Summary

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.

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Chapter 9: The Evening of the Betrothal

Characters

Villefort, Marquis de Saint-Meren, Marquise de Saint-Meren, Renee, Mercedes, Fernand, M.Morrel, Caderousse, Danglars

Summary

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.

Quote

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


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Chapter 10: The King’s closet at the Tuileries

New Characters

King Louis XVIII, Duke Blacas [M. de Blacas], Baron M. Dandre (Chief of Police)

Characters

King Louis XVIII, Duke Blacas [M. de Blacas], M. Dandre (Chief of Police), Villefort

Summary

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.

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Chapter 11: The Corsican Ogre

New Characters

Germain: Villefort’s servant

M. Noirtier: Villefort’s father

Characters

King Louis XVIII, Duke Blacas [M. de Blacas], Baron M. Dandre (Chief of Police), Germain [Villefort’s servant], Villefort’s father

Summary

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.

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Chapter 12: Father and Son

Characters

Villefort, M. Noirtier

Summary

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.

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Chapter 13: The Hundred Days

Characters

M.Morrel, Villefort, Louis XVIII, Napoleon, Danglars, Fernand, Mercedes, Caderousse, Senior Dantes

Summary

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.

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Chapter 14: The Two Prisoners

New Characters

Inspector-general of prisons, Governor, Antoine [turnkey], Abbe Faria [Prisoner No.27]

Characters

Inspector, Governor, Antoine [turnkey], Abbe Faria [Prisoner No.27], Dantes [Prisoner No.34]

Summary

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.

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Chapter 15: Number 34 and Number 27

New Characters

Turnkey [a new one since last chapter]

Characters

Jailer, Abbe Faria [Prisoner No.27], Dantes [Prisoner No.34]

Summary

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.

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Chapter 16: A Learned Italian

Characters

Abbe Faria [Prisoner No.27], Dantes [Prisoner No.34]

Summary

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.

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Chapter 17: The Abbe’s Chamber

Characters

Abbe Faria [Prisoner No.27], Dantes [Prisoner No.34]

Summary

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.

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Chapter 18: The Treasure

Characters

Abbe Faria [Prisoner No.27], Dantes [Prisoner No.34]

Summary

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.

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Chapter 19: The Third Attack

New Characters

Prison Doctor

Characters

Abbe Faria [Prisoner No.27], Dantes [Prisoner No.34], Governor, Turnkey, Prison Doctor

Summary

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.

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Chapter 20: The Cemetery of the Château D’If

New Characters

Two gravediggers

Characters

Dantes, Two gravediggers

Summary

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.

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Chapter 21: The Island of Tiboulen

New Characters

Ship Captain, Jacopo

Characters

Edmond Dantes, Ship Captain, Jacopo

Summary

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.

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Chapter 22: The Smugglers

Characters

Edmond Dantes, Ship Captain, Jacopo

Summary

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.

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Chapter 23: The Island of Monte Cristo

Characters

Edmond Dantes, Ship Captain Baldi, Jacopo

Summary

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.

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Chapter 24: The Secret Cave

Characters

Edmond Dantes

Summary

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.

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Chapter 25: The Unknown

Characters

Edmond Dantes, Jacopo, Former crew mate from the Pharaon

Summary

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.

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Chapter 26: The Pont Du Gard Inn

New Characters

Madeleine Radelle (La Carconte): Wife of Caderousse

Trinette: Chambermaid

Pecaud: Hostler

Characters

Edmond Dantes (disguised as an Abbe), Gaspard Caderousse, Madeleine Radelle (La Carconte)

Summary

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.

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Chapter 27: The Story

Characters

Edmond Dantes (disguised as an Abbe), Gaspard Caderousse, Madeleine Radelle (La Carconte)

Summary

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.

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Chapter 28: The Prison Register

New Characters

Mayor of Marseilles

M. de Boville: Inspector of Prisons

Characters

Edmond Dantes (disguised as an Englishman Chief Clerk of the house of Thomas and French, Rome), Mayor of Marseilles, M. de Boville

Summary

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.

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Chapter 29: The House of Morrel & Son

New Characters

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

Characters

Edmond Dantes (disguised as an Englishman Chief Clerk of the house of Thomas and French, Rome), M.Morrel, Cocles, Julie, Emmanuel, Penelon

Summary

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.

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Chapter 30: The 5th of December

New Characters

Maximilian Morrel: Morrel’s military son

Captain Guamard: Captain of The Pharaon who was too sick to attend Morrel in the previous chapter

Characters

M.Morrel, Julie, Maximilian Morrel, Emmanuel, Cocles, Wife, Penelon, Captain Gaumard, Dantes

Summary

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.

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Chapter 31: Italy: Sinbad the Sailor

New Characters

Vicomte Albert de Morcerf, Baron Franz d’Epinay, Captain Gaetano, ‘Sentinel’

Characters

Vicomte Albert de Morcerf, Baron Franz d’Epinay, Captain Gaetano, Dantes (as Sinbad the Sailor)

Summary

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.

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Chapter 32: The Waking

New Characters

Giovanni: Sailor

Signor Pastrini: Hotelier

Characters

Vicomte Albert de Morcerf, Baron Franz d’Epinay, Captain Gaetano, Giovanni, Signor Pastrini, , Dantes (as Sinbad the Sailor)

Summary

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.

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Chapter 33: Roman Bandits

New Characters

Luigi Vampa: Bandit

Teresa: Grew up with Luigi Vampa and his betrothed

Cucumento: Bandit

Carlini: Cucumento’s man

Rita: Carlini’s girl

Diovolaccio: Bandit

Rita’s father

Characters

Vicomte Albert de Morcerf, Baron Franz d’Epinay, Signor Pastrini, Luigi Vampa, Teresa, Cucumento, Carlini, Rita, Rita’s father

Summary

The next day Pastrini tells Morcerf and Franz that carriages will be available until Sunday, it now being Thursday. They hope to rent a room with a window also, but a Russian prince has let the whole fifth floor. They visit St Peter’s Basilica with the carriage then decide that they will see the Colosseum at night and approach it by first exiting the city gates and skirting the city before entering again to avoid other sights along the way. Pastrini warns against it, saying they will likely be attacked by the bandit, Luigi Vampa, if they try it. Franz jokes that they will take weapons and capture Vampa, and will be rewarded by the Pope if they do. Pastrini says it is best not to fight back against bandits. Pastrini claims to have known Vampa since he was a boy. He says Vampa is only 22 years old and once held him up. However, Vampa gave him an expensive watch when he recognised Pastrini. Pastrini now begins to tell Vampa’s story:

Vampa was an orphan who was taught to read and write by the curate of Palestrina. He met Teresa, a girl a year younger, who tended sheep in Palestrina. They became close and grew up together. While Vampa remained aloof from others, Teresa had influence over him. Vampa was given a gun after a wolf was spotted near the flock. He carved his own stock for it and he devoted much of his time to learning to use the gun. He later killed the wolf. Vampa’s reputation grew as did Teresa’s beauty.

Pastrini’s story now digresses to a bandit, Cucumento, who was gaining a reputation at this time. He abducted a girl, Rita, who was the daughter of the surveyor of Frosinone. It turned out she was the lover of one of the young men in Cucumento’s troop, Carlini. He persuaded Cucumento to ask a ransom from her father rather than let the troop defile her. Cucumento agreed, but when Carlini came back after negotiating this with her father he found Cucumento raping Rita. He restrained himself from attacking Cucumento. Cucumento told Carlini that the men would draw lots for Rita that night before she was returned to her father. Diovolaccio won the draw but when he returned he was holding Rita’s lifeless body. She had been stabbed in the heart. Carlini had killed her. He now demanded the body. At midnight Rita’s father arrived. Carlini told him how she died and that he had killed Rita to save her honour. He invited her father to kill him in turn, but the father refused, believing Carlini did the right thing. The band decided to leave the forest, but the next morning before leaving Carlini found Rita’s father hanging from a tree. Carlini vowed revenge, but Carlini was killed two days later in a skirmish with Roman carbineers. However, it was clear that Cucumento shot him from behind while the exchange took place.

Pastrini says this is a subject often spoken about by Vampa and Teresa, who, as they grew, agreed to marry when she was 19 and he was 20. Then, one day, Cucumento crossed their paths. He was fleeing Roman carbineers. They hid Cucumento and didn’t betray him to the carbineers despite a good reward on offer for his capture. Vampa offered them a purse of gold which Vampa refused, but which was a temptation to Teresa. Cucumento is compared to the serpent in Eden and Teresa to Eve as the chapter closes.

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Chapter 34: Vampa

New Characters

Count of San-Felice

Carmela: Daughter to the count

Cavalier

Characters

Vicomte Albert de Morcerf, Baron Franz d’Epinay, Signor Pastrini, Luigi Vampa, Teresa, Cucumento, Count of San-Felice, Carmela, Cavalier

Summary

Pastrini continues his story of Luigi Vampa and Teresa. He narrates how during carnival time Count San-Felice held a grand masked ball. Teresa and Vampa attended. They both wore their best clothes. During a dance Teresa was called upon to dance in Carmela’s group to form a quadrille. A cavalier who danced with her showed interest in Teresa. Luigi was insanely jealous and after the dance forced Teresa away. He wanted to know what she was thinking as she danced, and Teresa admitted she was thinking she would give half my life for a costume like the one Carmela wore. Luigi says she would have it. That night there was a fire next to Carmela’s bedroom and she was rescued through the window by a stranger – Luigi of course. An entire wing of the villa was destroyed and no one from the villa saw him afterwards. Luigi had used the confusion to steal Carmela’s dress, pearl necklace and diamond pins. The next day he presented them to Teresa on the border of the forest and asked her to change into Carmela’s clothes in a grotto. While she changed Luigi saw a traveller who seemed lost. He offered to ride a short way with the man to show him the way. The traveller offered a gift of Venetian sequins in thanks and introduced himself as Sinbad the Sailor.

At this point Franz interrupts Pastrini’s narrative to ask about the man, but is unwilling to tell of his own encounter with a man calling himself Sinbad the Sailor.

Pastrini resumes his narrative. He tells how as Luigi returned to Teresa he saw a man carrying her off. The man had too much of a head start for Luigi to catch them, so Luigi shot him dead. It turned out it was Cucumento who had followed them and had now used Luigi’s brief absence to abduct Teresa. Luigi now dressed in Cucumento’s clothes. When Teresa saw him dressed thus, she was full of admiration and swore to follow him wherever he led. He led her into the forest where they were stopped by a sentry of Cucumento’s bandits. The sentry agreed to lead them to Rocca Bianca, their hideout. Luigi announced to the bandits that he not only wished to join their gang, he wished to lead them. He told them how he acquired Teresa’s dress and how he now wore the cloths of the dead Cucumento. They agreed to accept him as their leader.

With the story over, Morcerf declares he believes it a myth and still wants to skirt outside the city walls at night to get to the Colosseum. Franz, however, is not so sure, and insists they approach the Colosseum by the streets, staying within the city walls.

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Chapter 35: The Colosseum

New Characters

Countess G.

Characters

Edmond Dantes (‘Sinbad the Sailor’, also the Count of Monte Cristo), Vicomte Albert de Morcerf, Baron Franz d’Epinay, Signor Pastrini, Luigi Vampa, Countess G.

Summary

Franz and Albert approach the Colosseum via a route that passes no other ancient monuments. As they travel Franz considers the story Pastrini has told them of Vampa and Teresa. At the Colosseum Albert is escorted about the ruin by a guide while Franz rests by a column. As he waits a man descends the stairs and is met by a second man. Franz hears talk of executions that will occur at the start of the carnival. One is for a priest killer, but the second is a shepherd, Peppino, whose crime is to have given supplies to the second man and his gang [Vampa]. Vampa, as yet unnamed, is determined to rescue Peppino by force. The other man (Dantes, as yet unidentified) persuades him to only act if his own plan fails. He suggests he will bribe an official to get a stay of execution for Peppino and then will give further bribes to break him from prison. He will hang yellow and red damasks from the windows of the Café Rospoli if he succeeds in the first part of this plan. A priest will then carry the reprieve to the executioner. The men agree to his plan. As they leave Franz is sure the man advocating the bribe is ‘Sinbad the Sailor’ – Dantes.

Franz and Albert attend the opera. Albert is frustrated because he had had hopes of engaging in several love affairs while in Italy, but has found all Italian women faithful to their partners. He hopes the carnival period will relax their restraint and has hired an expensive opera box from where he hopes to be noticed and excite the interest of a young lady. At the opera he notices a beautiful woman enter another box. It turns out she is Countess G. and Franz has some acquaintance with her. She waves to Franz. Albert insists on being introduced, so during interval they go to meet her. While Albert speaks to the Countess, Franz examines the audience with opera glasses. He sees a beautiful foreign woman, attended by a man, whom he asks the Countess about. The Countess does not know her. When the next act ends the man stands to applaud and Franz realises it is ‘Sinbad the Sailor’. Franz asks the Countess about the man but she again knows nothing. However, it is her opinion, based on books she has read, that the man looks like a vampire, since his skin is pale. He looks to her like he is returned from death. She insists Franz does not approach the man while in her company, and in fact, she also insists that Franz escort her home on the pretext that she will have visitors that night. Franz escorts her home where he realises she has no visitors. She just wanted to get away from the man at the opera. She asks that Franz does not seek the man out that night on a superstitious belief that through Franz she will be connected to him, Franz only having just left her. So, Franz returns to Albert who is surprised to see him. Franz reminds him of the fidelity of Italian women; that the reputation of the Countess will remain free from scandal since Italian women live their lives publicly, not in secret. Albert believes the man at the opera looked well dressed and considered his pale skin to be aristocratic in appearance.

Albert explains he has asked Pastrini to hire a cart and oxen for them to appear in the carnival parade, since no amount of money can procure a carriage. He intends that they dress as Neapolitan reapers, with the Countess joining them in their peasant garb. But Pastrini has returned to tell them that the Count of Monte Cristo, who has hired the rest of the hotel floor, has offered them the use of a carriage and a view of the executions from his rooms at Palazzo Raspoli. This reminds Franz of the plan to rescue Peppino and the signal to be given from those windows. So, he asks Pastrini about the executions and is shown a tavolletes – a wooden sign used to announce the details of executions. It confirms all the details Franz overheard at the Colosseum. Franz realises that ‘Sinbad the Sailor’ is behind the plans for rescue. Franz requests that he and Albert be able to meet the Count of Monte Cristo to thank him for his generosity. Pastrini arranges for this to happen. They are led into a sumptuous apartment, full of riches, where they meet the count. Franz is shocked to find that the count is also ‘Sinbad the Sailor’: the man he saw at the colosseum and at the opera.

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Chapter 36: La Mazzolata

New Characters

Monsieur Bertuccio (Count’s steward. In a previous chapter he took Franz into the cavern on the isle of Monte Cristo)

Peppino Prisoner to be beheaded

Andrea Prisoner to be executed

Characters

Edmond Dantes (‘Sinbad the Sailor’, also the Count of Monte Cristo), Vicomte Albert de Morcerf, Baron Franz d’Epinay, Signor Pastrini, Monsieur Bertuccio, Peppino, Andrea

Summary

The Count welcomes Franz and Albert into his apartment. Unsure whether the Count was the man at the Colosseum, Franz decides to not mention their previous meetings. The Count rings for his steward, Monsieur Beruccio, whom Franz recognises as the man who took him to the chamber on the island of Monte Cristo. The Count asks him for a copy of the tavoletta for information on the executions, but Franz offers him the copy he made. The Count tells Franz there has been a reprieve for Peppino, and suggests that it would be good for Franz to witness a beheading at some stage even though he will miss out today. The Count speaks of principles of revenge and expresses his feeling that the guillotine or killing a man in a duel is too quick a death to satisfy the needs of revenge. He advocates the principle of an eye for an eye. If the crime has inflicted slow and torturous pain, that is what must be administered in return. The Count treats them to breakfast but does not eat. Franz is reminded of Countess G.’s belief that the Count is a vampire. Franz suggests he no longer wishes to see the executions, but the Count argues that he must experience as much of life as possible when he travels, and death is of the greatest interest to the living. Albert is determined to witness the execution so Franz relents. Franz wishes to walk through the Corso to the execution, and as they approach, he asks which windows they have to view it. The Count confirms they have the three windows with yellow and white damask, thus confirming in Franz’s mind that the Count was the man he saw at night in the Colosseum. As they sit to wait for the execution a large man who is almost naked – the executioner – leads two prisoners out. Franz questions the Count about the reprieve for Peppino, but the Count is still confident it will arrive. And it does. When the priest brings Peppino’s reprieve, Andrea, the other prisoner, flies into a rage. He is not content to die alone and sees injustice in the situation. He struggles and the executioner is forced to deliver him several blows with a mace and a knife to kill him. Meanwhile, the Count revels in the spectacle, seeming to feel that it confirms a belief he has about human nature; that people care little for one another and are happier when others also suffer. Franz feels that the Count’s laughter at the spectacle and his response shows he must have once suffered horribly himself.

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Chapter 37: The Carnival at Rome

Characters

Edmond Dantes (the Count of Monte Cristo), Vicomte Albert de Morcerf, Baron Franz d’Epinay, Signor Pastrini, Countess G.

Summary

Peppino has escaped during the confusion of Andrea’s execution. The Count moralises on dying men, suggesting that the true quality of a man is not judged by how he lives, but how he dies. He has a low opinion of Andrea’s behaviour before he was killed. But now the carnival officially begins. They put on their costumes and descend to the street where they join other revellers. It is a great melting pot of different races and people, dressed up and all vying for attention and fun. Albert and Franz have the use of the Count’s carriage and they use it to mingle with the other carriages being driven up and down. Albert flirts with a woman dressed as a peasant woman who rides in another carriage, and she eventually gives him a bunch of violets. At the end of the day Albert is resolved not to pursue the woman unless she pursues him. Nevertheless, Albert and Franz ask Pastrini to have peasant costumes made for their next day of revels. Pastrini says this will not be possible to do, but promises to procure some from another source. The Count offers them the use of his theatre box, so they attend another production where they are seen by Countess G. in the Count’s box. She is disturbed by this. She questions them about the Count and they tell her of the windows they shared with him to witness the execution the previous day. She suggests he must be enormously wealthy since those windows would have cost thousands of Roman crowns to hire. Yet the island from which he takes his name produces nothing of value. Later, the Count gives Franz and Albert the use of his carriage for the rest of the carnival since he has others. As they eat, he impresses them with his erudition on a range of subjects. The next day they return to the carnival in peasant outfits and discover that the woman and her company have now adopted harlequin costumes similar to their own of the day before. Albert catches a fresh spray of violets and pins them on. Albert flirts with the woman all day. That evening Franz receives an invitation for an audience with the Pope, which he has long sought. So, he does not accompany Albert the following day when Albert discovers that the woman has reverted to peasant costume yet turns out to be an aristocrat. He asks to be alone again the next day and Franz agrees. He returns that night with a letter from the woman with instructions for an assignation on the next Tuesday, involving costumes and instructions to follow a girl who will take his candle. Franz advises caution, suggesting that the woman might be of a lower class who is tricking him into an affair. Albert dismisses this, and points to the evident level of education apparent in the note she gave him as proof of her breeding. Albert says he is in love. The Count offers them the use of his theatre box again, and Franz and Albert compare him to Byron – a dark, mysterious, passionate and intelligent man. On the last day of the carnival Albert dresses as a harlequin. There are fireworks and horse races, and the carnival ends with a game of Moccoletto, in which thousands light candles and attempt to extinguish the candles of others while protecting their own. Towards the end of this two hours of revelry Albert makes his way towards the church of San Giacomo, as the letter instructed. His candle is taken from him by a girl dressed as a peasant, and Franz disappears into the crowd with her. The bell then rings that signals the end of the carnival.

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Chapter 38: The Catacombs of St Sebastian

New Characters

Ali Count’s carriage driver and recognised by Franz as mute slave in grotto at Monte Cristo.

Characters

Edmond Dantes (‘Sinbad the Sailor’, also the Count of Monte Cristo), Vicomte Albert de Morcerf, Baron Franz d’Epinay, Signor Pastrini, Duke of Bracciano, Countess G., Peppino, Ali, Luigi Vampa

Summary

The sudden end of the carnival brings an air of melancholy and Franz returns alone to the Hotel de Londres for dinner. He then decides to go to the house of the Duke of Bracciano for the night, since he has a letter of introduction. The Duke expresses concern that Albert has gone off with an unknown woman in the streets of Rome after dark, and his concern soon proves justified. A message is sent from the hotel saying a man awaits Franz. Franz finds him in the street and is given a letter to which the man expects a reply, but he will not come into Franz’s room. The letter is a ransom note for 4000 piastres, to be delivered by 6 o’clock the next morning, or Albert will be killed. Franz discovers he is 800 piastres short of the total. He then has an idea to see the Count. He is admitted into the Count’s rooms and he reveals he knows it was the Count who had Peppino saved. He believes the Count has the influence to also save Albert. The Count calls Albert’s messenger into his apartment, who turns out to be Peppino. Peppino describes how the woman Albert flirted with was Teresa and her driver had been Vampa. When Albert went to the appointed place to meet it was Beppo he met who lured him out of town and then Albert with overpowered by five men. The Count proposes that they leave immediately for the Catacombs of St Sebastian where Albert is being held. They are driven there by Ali, the mute slave from the grotto at Monte Cristo. When they arrive, they are greeted by guards and Franz and the Count are led into the catacombs by Peppino. They find Vampa among his bandits, reading at an old church alter. The Count reminds Vampa of his promise never to interfere with his friends, and says the man he kidnapped was a friend. Vampa agrees to release Albert immediately. Albert has been sleeping, having a nice dream and is annoyed to be roused from it. He does not seem to be distressed at his ordeal. He offers the Count his hand, and Franz notices that the Count shudders when he takes it. Before they leave, Franz asks Vampa what he had been reading. Vampa says he was reading Caesar’s Commentaries, his favourite book. Franz and Albert then return to the Duke’s house, where they are in time to join the late-night dance with the Duke’s other guests.

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Chapter 39: The Compact

Characters

Edmond Dantes (Count of Monte Cristo), Vicomte Albert de Morcerf, Baron Franz d’Epinay,

Summary

The morning after Albert’s rescue he visits the Count with Franz and thanks him for his intervention. He offers to serve the Count a good deed in return, offering his own or his family’s services. The Count eagerly takes up the offer and asks to be introduced into Parisian society. He explains that he has never been to Paris and has no connections there. Albert is happy to help. Albert will soon be returning to Paris as he has received a letter from his father concerning a marriage alliance between himself and a woman with an influential family. The Count says he will visit Albert in Paris in exactly three months’ time at 10:30am. Franz, however, intends to remain in Italy for another year or two. After their meeting with the Count Franz expresses an uneasy feeling about Albert’s deepening involvement with the Count. In attempting to explain his feeling he admits he has previously met the Count at the Island of Monte Cristo where he was accompanied by bandits, and how he overheard his conversation with Vampa at the Colosseum. Albert will hear no ill of the Count, however, and surmises that a man of his wealth would naturally travel a lot, possess property and mix in a wide circle. Also, he feels that Corsican bandits are not morally bad but in reality, are more accurately to be described as political refugees. He also refuses to be concerned about the Count’s influence over Vampa since it saved his life, nor is he troubled by the mystery of the Count’s background or source of wealth. In fact, he supposes that the Count must be travelling to Paris to compete for the Monthyon Prize, awarded for those who advance virtue and humanity. Despite the Count’s reassurance that he would be punctual in his visit in three months’ time, Albert sends him a card to remind him of the date, time and place.

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Chapter 40: The Guests

New Characters

John: Vicomte Albert de Morcerf’s groom.

Germain: Vicomte Albert de Morcerf’s valet.

M.Lucien Debray

Beauchamp

Characters

Vicomte Albert de Morcerf, M.Lucien Debray, Beauchamp, John, Germain

Summary

The chapter begins with a long description of Albert’s residence which seems masculine and designed for a young single man. His mother lives somewhere in the residence, but the layout of the residence assures privacy to her adult son. Albert is now married but, on this morning, at least he is not eating with his new wife. It is the morning of the 21 May before 10am, the morning the Count promised to visit him. Albert is preparing to have breakfast when M.Lucien Debray turns up, hungry and bored, wanting to be entertained. He is evidently influential in government since he has just received the order of Charles III after he successfully drove Don Carlos from Spain, or as he puts it, having taken him to the other side of the French frontier, and offered him the hospitality of Bourges. Debray is amazed at how quickly it was known throughout Paris the day before, and that M.Danglers made a million with his quick intelligence on the matter. Debray later cynically remarks that Don Carlos, far from being punished, will somehow manage to marry his son off to the queen. Debray seems world-weary and wishes he had Albert’s leisure, but Albert chides him, saying Debray wouldn’t know what to do with his time without work. He offers to introduce Debray to an interesting man, the Count, whom he still believes might turn up at 10:30am. Beauchamp, who appears to be an editor or writer (the translation refers to reading the papers) turns up and Albert suggests Debray go argue with him in the next room while they await the Count’s arrival. The friendly banter has already started before the chapter ends, with Debray suggesting Beauchamp should enter politics while Beauchamp says he will whenever a minister manages to stay in their job longer than six months.

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Chapter 41: The Breakfast

New Characters

M de Château-Renaud

Characters

Vicomte Albert de Morcerf, M.Lucien Debray, Beauchamp, John, Germain, M de Château-Renaud, M.Maximillian Morel, Edmond Dantes (Count of Monte Cristo)

Summary

Albert explains to his guests he is set to wed Mlle.Eugene Danglars, daughter of M.Danglars, now a government minister (who plotted against Edmond Dantes). He is set to give a speech in the Chamber of Deputies that day. Beauchamp intends to report on the speech. Debray says Albert will be marrying money, not quality; that his own social position is too high for her. Danglars is only recently elevated to his position. Two men arrive, M.de Château-Renaud and M.Maximillian Morel (who had tried to have Dantes released from prison). Château-Renaud introduces Morrel to Albert and the other guests as captain of the Spahis, a French cavalry unit in Africa. He says Morrel saved his life, although Morrel is modest about it. Albert warns against them telling a long story, since he is expecting a visit from the Count at 10:30am, but Château-Renaud nevertheless begins to tell how he went to the Holy Land to fight Arabs. His Arabian Horse died during a siege after bad weather. He had been set upon by two Arabs after his horse died and had fought them, but they were on the verge of killing him when he was saved by Morrel, who had vowed to save the life of a man that day to honour the anniversary – September 5 – of his father being saved [See Chapter 30, in which his business is saved by Dantes’ secret intervention just before the father is about to kill himself].

Now Albert tells his own history with the Count of Monte Cristo, especially the Count’s intervention with Vampa’s bandits, and speculates upon the Count’s origin. He assumes the Count may have been a fisherman risen up in the world who has bought a title. He tells his friends of his wealth which he believes is hidden in a secret chamber, and once again it is speculated as to whether the Count is a vampire. His friends mock Albert, not believing the story of the Count, but then the Count arrives at the door precisely at 10:30am as he promised. The Count is introduced to the guests, and he has a moment of unguarded reaction when he hears hears Morrel’s name. Albert tells the count of Morrel’s brave deed in saving Château-Renaud and the Count acknowledges him to be a ‘noble heart’. Beauchamp and Debray are immediately impressed by the Count and agree between themselves that he is a great man. As he settles to the company the Count asks to be forgiven for any ways that seem foreign since he has travelled widely but never been to Paris before. Albert, uncertain about the breakfast he has to offer, is assured by the Count that he has had to eat a great variety of food in many places and he is, besides, hungry, since he hasn’t eaten for 24 hours, due to a detour he took to Nimes seeking information. The Count describes to Albert’s guests the sleeping pills he manufactures himself from hashish and opium, and shows them the emerald casket in which he keeps them. He hollowed it out himself and has presented the Pope and Sultan with similar emeralds. Albert is eager for his friends to believe his story about bandits in Italy, and so asks the Count to corroborate it. The Count explains he gained Vampa’s trust and placed him in the Count’s debt after he tried to capture the Count, but the Count captured him instead. Instead of turning Vampa over to the authorities he let him go with the promise that Vampa would never disturb him or his friends. The Count explains he does not work for the good of society, but is merely neutral to it. He looks out only for his own interests. Albert disagrees, calling him a philanthropist, but the Count insists he acted only on his own principles when he saved Albert, and he expects to benefit from the acquaintance in Paris. Albert says Paris is prosaic compared to the life the Count has led and the Count will find it boring, but promises to help the Count any way he can, except to offer accommodation, since he soon expects to be married. The Count appears to know something of Albert’s future father-in-law, M.Danglars, but when questioned he insists they have never met. He only knows of him since they have a line of credit through several houses in Europe, he says, including Thompson & French in Rome. Morrel says he would be interested in the Count’s help in contacting that house, since he knows they had something to do with the mysterious financial help his family received, even though they have denied it. Morrel tells the Count that his sister has now been happily married nine years to Emmanual Herbert. Offers are now made to the Count for accommodation in Paris, but he says he has arranged for accommodation already. Ali, his mute Nubian servant has been in Paris a week to furnish his new accommodation, and M.Bertuccio, his steward, is also with him. Château-Renaud jokes that all he now needs is a mistress, but the Count says he has a slave woman who fulfils that role. They tell him she becomes free when she enters France, but the Count explains no one can tell her that since she only speaks Romaic. The Count then ominously says that everyone who serves him is free to quit his service, but after that they ‘no longer have need of me or anyone else’. Albert’s guests are all impressed by the Count. Beauchamp wants to write a newspaper article about him. Then they leave and Albert is left alone with the Count.

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Chapter 42: The Presentation

Characters

Vicomte Albert de Morcerf, Edmond Dantes (Count of Monte Cristo), Count Morcerf (Albert’s father and former competitor for Mercedes’s hand with Edmond, Fernand), Countess Morcerf (Mercedes)

Summary

Once the other visitors are gone Albert gives the Count a tour of his residence and the many fine artworks he possesses. The Count displays his great knowledge of art as he is shown about. Finally, he is shown a picture painted by Leopold Robert in which he takes great interest. Albert says it is a picture of his mother, but he has it since his father dislikes the work. The Count takes further interest in the family coat of arms, which he questions Albert over, establishing that the family lineage must be traced back at least to the Crusades and the thirteenth century. Albert extends an invitation for the Count to visit his parents, who are keen to meet him since he rescued their son. He is introduced to the Count of Morcerf (Fernand) who shows no evidence that he recognises the Count. Morcerf talks of his time in the army and how he resigned after the July Revolution. He has now entered industry. The Count praises him for his achievements and adaptability. When Albert’s mother appears, she seems taken aback by the appearance of the Count, but she quickly dismisses her reaction, saying that she was overcome by meeting the saviour of her son. The Count takes his leave but the Countess asks him to visit them another time. Albert offers the Count the use of his own coupe to return the favour the Count did him and Franz in Rome, but the Count’s man, M.Bertuccio, has already acquired a carriage. The Count assures Albert he is welcome to visit any time after the next day, to allow him time to get his accommodation in order. As he leaves, the Count sees Countess Morcerf peeking out the window at him. When Albert returns to his mother, he expresses concern about her health, but she reassures him that she has just been bothered by the scent of the flowers. Albert has them removed. The Countess next questions Albert concerning the Count of Monte Cristo’s character. Albert says he believes the Count to be of an ancient family, disinherited, who has made his own way in the world. However, his mother primarily wants to know if Albert trusts him. Albert does. Next, she questions him as to the Count’s age. Albert believes, given what the Count has told him and his general appearance, that the Count is no more than 35 years old. The Countess believes him to be older. It is obvious that the Countess – Mercedes – has recognised the Count to be Edmond, or suspects he might be her former lover, and is concerned about his intentions.

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Chapter 43: Monsieur Bertuccio

New Characters

A Notary

Characters

Edmond Dantes (Count of Monte Cristo), M.Bertuccio, A Notary

Summary

The Count returns to his new town residence where he meets his steward, M.Bertuccio. Bertuccio informs him that his new cards have been printed and one has been sent to Baron Danglars as he was ordered to do. A notary awaits the Count to complete the sale of a house outside the city. The notary is surprised to find the Count knows nothing of the house or where it is. The notary informs him the house is at Auteuil, near the outskirts of Paris. The Count comments that he thought the house was a country house, as was advertised, but when the notary offers to look for another house for him, the Count completes the purchase and even gives him a generous tip for his troubles. The Count tells Bertuccio that he intends to travel to Auteuil to inspect his new house and expects Bertuccio to accompany him. Bertuccio seems reluctant. It is apparent that the location holds some significance for him which makes him uneasy. Nevertheless, he agrees to accompany the Count.

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The Count of Monte Cristo