Albert, Franz, and the Count of Monte Cristo attend the Carnival, where Albert flirts with a lady in a carriage. He writes her a letter the following day. He receives a reply requesting a rendezvous. Franz soon finds out that this rendezvous was a ploy. He receives a note from Albert requesting the payment of a ransom. He has been kidnapped by Luis Vampa, and infamous Italian bandit. Franz, unfortunately does not have enough money to pay the ransom. He thus goes to Monte Cristo for help. Monte Cristo of course knows Vampa. Thus, the two set out to set Albert free from the bandit camp where he is being held hostage. Albert is sleeping when they arrive, apparently never having lost faith that the bandits would receive their ransom. Monte Cristo of course does not pay the ransom, since Vampa is a friend. Albert is thus set free, and is forever indebted to the count. He offers his services to the count, who asks to be introduced to Parisien society,. He agrees to visit Albert in exactly three months.
This chapter further illustrates Dantes' calculating, patient vengeance. He constructs a plot to kidnap Albert, in order to be de Morcerf's savior. He will then have a reason to visit the Morcerf's in Paris. The plot also shows the networking that the Count has managed to achieve. By rendering these bandits indebted to him, they are now at his disposal. They are tools for his vengeance.
Three months pass. Albert is expecting the Count for lunch. He also invites the minister's secretary and a journalist, Monsieur Beauchamp and Lucien Dubray. Two others arrive as guest, a Baron Chateau-Renard who brings his own "savior" Maximilen Morrel. The son of M. Morrel is here introduced as having saved the Baron's life from Arabs near Constantinople. They eagerly await the arrival of Albert's savior, for he has told them all that he knows of the mysterious Count of Monte Cristo.
The Count arrives, dressed simply, yet perfectly. He impresses the guests with his tale of how he had three emeralds, one which he bought a woman's freedom with, another a man's life, and the third is passed around the table as an encasement to opium pills the guests had wished to see.
The Count learns at this lunch that Albert is engaged to Eugenie Danglars, the daughter of the very same Danglars who was responsible for Dantes' incarceration. He also learns that Morrel's daughter Julie has been married nine years.
The Count also has bought a house in Paris. It is at 30 Champs Elysees. He has also bought a house in Auteuil, a suburb of Paris. This impresses the guests. Beauchamp offers to open the world of the Paris opera to Monte Cristo. He however, says he has had his steward obtain him a seat. The guests leave and Albert is left alone with the Count.
The Count has earned Albert's trust, thus he shall now use Albert as a pawn to enter Paris society. Of course, the count has already met Maximilien Morrel, and is pleased that the Morrel's are now successful again. He uses this good deed as justification for his plans for revenge. The fact that Julie Morrel has been married for 9 years is an indication of how much time the Count has spent calculating his revenge. He sees himself as divine justice, rewarding those who are good and punishing those who are evil. Already, after this luncheon Monte Cristo is closer to his goal. He will meet the Morcerfs. The Count's refusal to accept Beauchamp's offer is a symbol of the Count's resolve to not be indebted to anyone.
The Count is introduced to Albert's father, who has heard Albert's story of the Count's rescue. The two men chat. The Count de Morcerf does not recognize him. He claims to be indebted to the Count for saving his son, and thus invites Monte Cristo to attend the Chamber of Commerce with him. The Count wishes to meet the Countess de Morcerf, who is of course Mercedes. When the countess sees The Count of Monte Cristo, Albert comments, "are you ill, mother?". Mercedes has recognized him, but does not reveal his identity. She becomes lost in thought. She also warns Albert to be careful around the Count.
Everyone in Paris is impressed and baffled by the Count of Monte Cristo. This includes Albert's father, The Count de Morcerf. He is eager to befriend this rich enigmatic man, a symbol that his greed had not subsided. He does not anticipate his own downfall. The Countess however, recognizes Monte Cristo. She alone recognizes the count, yet she says nothing, for as we find out later she understands his desire for vengeance. She warns Albert to beware of the Count for her love for her son is the most valuable treasure in her life.
The following chapter is where Dantes tests his servant, Bertuccio's, fidelity. Bertuccio must tell Dantes the story of why he is scared of the Auteuil house that Dantes just purchased. He once attempted to murder Monsieur de Villefort there. The house belonged to the deceased wife of the public prosecutor, who refused to investigate the murder of Bertuccio's brother. Bertuccio sought revenge on Villefort and stabbed him in the very same garden of Monte Cristo's new house. Bertuccio also rescued a newborn baby that Villefort had buried alive. Dantes already knows Bertuccio's story, and he purchased the house in order to extract the story from Bertuccio. This is how Monte Cristo knew the story. Bertuccio was part of a smuggler's ring that hid at Caderousse's inn. In 1829, Bertuccio was present when Dantes was disguised as the Abbe Busoni when he gave Caderousse the diamond. Bertuccio witnessed the gift and what ensued. Caderousse proceeded to fetch a jeweler to sell the diamond. Once Caderousse had the money, his greed took over, and he killed the jeweler and his wife, and took back the diamond. Bertuccio was arrested, and the Abbe Busoni (Dantes) heard his confession in prison. Once Bertuccio was found innocent (Caderousse confessed and was sent to a labor camp), Abbe Busoni recommended that Bertuccio work for the Count of Monte Cristo. Thus Dantes knew the story all along, yet the concordance of Bertuccio's story to his confession is proof of his sincerity.
This chapter puts forth the story that spells the downfall of Monsieur de Villefort and Caderousse. The Count wishes to test Bertuccio's fidelity, yet Bertuccio's story also foreshadows Villefort's downfall. The newborn baby Villefort buried was adopted by Bertuccio's sister in law, became a smuggler, and stayed at Caderousse's inn. He will murder Caderousse and publicly ruin Villefort. The newborn baby symbolizes Villefort's disrespect for life in general. Villefort had no qualms "burying" Dantes alive in the Chateau D'If just like his conscience did not stop him from burying his own child (a bastard) in a garden alive. Villefort's disrespect for life is later punished by the poisonings that shall plague his household.
Danglars visits the Count. The Count admires Danglars' horses, thus he instructs Bertuccio to offer him the price it will take to buy them. Danglars, of course, a man of business, will sell them to the Count. Monte Cristo has his valet tell Danglars that he is engaged. Danglars thus leaves his calling card, and Monte Cristo returns the banker's visit that evening. He travels there in a carriage drawn by his newly acquired horses.
When Danglars and the Count meet, they discuss a letter from the firm of Thomson and French that opens an account with Danglars for the Count's unlimited credit. Danglars is astonished at this letter. Monte Cristo further astonishes him by presenting two more letters of the same nature. He has unlimited credit with three firms in Europe. Danglars is surprised because he believed himself to have been acquainted with all the major fortunes of Europe. Monte Cristo tells him his fortune is old money, yet money which had previously been inaccessible.
Danglars wishes to present his wife to the Count. Monsieur Debray is currently in his wife's company. The Count met Debray at the lunch at Albert de Morcerf's. Madame Danglars has thus heard of the Count from Debray (her lover) and Albert (betrothed to her daughter). Madame Danglars is astonished, however, when her maid tells her of Monte Cristo's horses. They were, earlier in the day, her horses, and now they are attached to the Count's carriage. She blames her husband, a creature of profit, for selling her prize possession. Two hours later, after his departure, Monte Cristo sends the Madame a letter and returns the horses. He even inserts a diamond on the rosettes that they wear on their ears.
The next morning when Madame de Villefort and her son take a ride in the carriage drawn by Madame Danglars' prized dappled grays, the horses become wild. They pass the Count's Auteuil residence, where Ali, the Count's valet, is conveniently located and equipped with a lasso to save the mother and son. The son has fainted. Monte Cristo pours a drop of liquid in the child's mouth, and thus the child is rejuvenated.
This chapter witnesses the Count winning favor with the wives of both his archenemies. He plays with Danglars' desire for money, by buying his wife's horses from him, not because he actually desires the horses, but because he wishes to win Danglars' wife favor. He does this by returning the horses to her. This gesture also astounds and intimidates his enemy because the Count essentially throws away the huge sum of money for which he bought them. His ploy also widens the domestic schism that already exists in the Danglars' household, for husband and wife do not live in happy matrimony.
The Count also wins the trust of Madame Heloise de Villefort. By "saving" her from the wild horses, and rejuvenating her son, Madame de Villefort is so impressed with the miraculous Count. He knows the story will be related to her husband who will feel obliged to visit the Count. This is how the Count schemes to meet his nemesis.
Monsieur de Villefort visits the Count to thank him for the service he paid to his family. When the Count makes a philosophical statement, Monsieur de Villefort comments that the Count must have nothing to do all day to have time to philosphize. The Count retorts that Villefort assumes that his post as public prosecutor is "something to do," but in reality his post is merely part of a human social organization. This prompts a discussion between the two where the Count says his only barrier is deathit is the only thing that can stop him from his overall mission of which is to act as Providence. He states that he exists to reward and punish. Monsieur de Villefort is no doubt impressed by the superiority of this man. He makes reference to his father, Noirtier, who, in his day, was a great man as well, but who is now paralyzed and cannot speak. Thus, he insinuates the Monte Cristo should not be as self-assured, for there are other demons that strike human beings besides death. He takes leave of Monte Cristo saying that he holds the Count in high esteem.
Ironically, Monte Cristo states his true purpose in life to Villefort, his enemy. Villefort is unaware that Monte Cristo's mission to do justice is directed at him. At all times in the conversation, Monte Cristo is in the position of control. This control is symbolized by the manner in which he speaks, his great wealth and his great intellect. The Count is almost superhuman. Monsieur de Villefort, a man of high status in Parisien society, is at times dumbfounded and intimidated. Nonetheless, he wishes to cultivate a friendship with the Count.
The Count visits Haydee, a Greek slave that he hadpurchased. He tells her she is free. She however, loves him and does not wish to leave him. The Count tells her not to reveal her identity. She says she will remain in seclusion in Paris.
This chapter reveals the tenderness that Haydee harbors for the Count. It is a chapter that foreshadows Haydee's role in the Count's mission to destroy his enemies. Haydee must not reveal her birth for it will be used against Morcerf in a court of law, but for now it must kept silent.
Monte Cristo next visits the Morrel residence. He is introduced to Julie and she relates to him the story of the man who bestowed a miracle upon her family. Monte Cristo is pleased at the family's apparent economic success. He also observes that they keep the diamond and the note that he wrote as Sinbad the Sailor in a crystal globe. When the Morrel's state that the man's identity was anonymous, Monte Cristo states that perhaps it was his friend Lord Wilmore, who performs similar good deeds. Maximillien states, to Monte Cristo's astonishment, that on M. Morrel's deathbed he claimed that it was Edmond Dantes who had saved his family. At this information the Count leaves abruptly stating that he has other engagements. He mentions that he will return, however.
This chapter shows the result of Monte Cristo's rewards upon the Morrel family. They are all happy. Monte Cristo is careful not to portray emotion, however. When he hears of M.Morrel's proclamation on his deathbed he must leave for it stirs up emotions that he must not show. This chapter is one of the few that shows that the Count is perhaps not a tower of stone, and may still have human feelings. Monte Cristo is often alluded to as superhuman, as if he were above human sentiments. Chapters like this one, show that he merely must assume this role in order to accomplish his goal of revenge.
Monte Cristo returns Monsieur de Villefort's visit. He meets Valentine, who he remembers meeting in Italy at the Carnival. Valentine is Villefort's daughter by his first marriage. He also has a conversation about chemistry with Madame de Villefort, who has an apparent knowledge and interest in the subject. She saw him remedy her son, thus she thinks he is a great chemist. He has knowledge of poisons, and agrees to give her the formula for the concoction that cured her son. He then departs.
In this chapter the Count continues to obtain the trust of Madame de Villefort. He sends her the remedy and is thus true to his promise. This chapter foreshadows Madame de Villefort's use of the poisons against her husband's family from his first marriage. The poison is also a symbol of the putrid personalities that reside within the Villefort household, such as the public prosecutor himself. His greed and obsession for success poison his personality.
Albert de Morcerf and Monsieur Debray pay a visit to the Count. Albert expresses his displeasure at his engagement to Eugenie Danglars. He mentions his mother's displeasure at the betrothal as well. Albert concludes to fight with his father to avoid upsetting his mother. The three also discuss Madame Danglars' gambling habits. Albert suggests that Debray teach her a lesson by giving her false information that would cause her to lose money. Debray laughs uneasily and leaves. Left alone, Monte Cristo informs Albert that he is planning a dinner party for the Villeforts and the Danglars. He uses Albert's engagement to the Danglars' daughter as a pretext for his excuse at not inviting the Morcerfs. After all, the Morcerf's presence would make it seem like an engagement ball. Albert is in agreement since he fears the prospect of this marriage. In fact, Dantes mentions that he will introduce Andrea Calvacanti to the Danglars as another option for their daughter.
This chapter foreshadows the havoc that Andrea Calvacanti will cause in Parisien society. The Count saves Albert from marriage to Eugenie Danglars because he knows that the money hungry Danglars will find Calvacanti a better alternative. Calvacanti is Monte Cristo's "Italian Prince," yet in reality he is an escaped convict. He will be arrested at the betrothal party, publicly humiliating Danglars. Calvacanti is backed by Monte Cristo's unlimited funds and is an example how the treasure of Monte Cristo is instrumental in executing the Count's revenge. This chapter also foreshadows the monetary gain Debray amasses from being the lover of Madame Danglars. The Count is perceptive, noting Debray's uneasiness at Albert's mention of Madame Danglars gambling habits. Madame Danglars is merely Debray's pawn, her monetary risks are influenced by Debray. The Count intends to use this relationship to further ruin Danglars financial resources.
The book has been divided based on a 73 chapter edition; this may differ from other editions.