The Countess de Morcerf (Mercedes) visits Monte Cristo and pleads with the Count to spare her son. She cries that she too has suffered from pain of loss of Dantes, her lover. She did not realize that she had married Dantes' enemy, the man who had had him incarcerated. When Monte Cristo agrees to let Albert live, he tells her this means that he will die. He is surprised when she thanks him for sparing her son. She calls him noble and great hearted
The Countess of Morcerf visits Monte Cristo and succeeds in obtaining his sympathy. This is the first time the reader catches a glimpse of Monte Cristo's dormant feelings for Mercedes. Of course, the next morning when Albert apologizes to the Count, Monte Cristo realizes that the Countess had never planned that he should die in place of Albert.
The Count is ready for the duel at 8 am. His second, Maximilien Morrel, and his sister, Julie's, husband are also present. Monte Cristo allays their fears that he has a poor shot. He places an ace of diamonds in the four-corners of a wooden board, and shoots the center of the diamond of each card. Despite this he warns them that he shall not win. Monte Cristo shall shoot first. When Albert arrives, however, Monte Cristo realizes that his mother has told him everything. Thus Albert apologizes to Monte Cristo and offers him his hand. Monte Cristo accepts and the two shake hands.
This chapter highlights the Count's exceptional shot, which he no doubt cultivated in the nine year interlude between is escape from prison and the realization of his vengeance. Monte Cristo was willing to die in the duel and spare Albert, however the Countess prevents this occurrence. She is still noblehearted, and is willing to see her treacherous husband's honor go unavenged.
Albert begins to pack as soon as he arrives home, for he cannot live in Paris amidst his father's corrupted past. He packs jewels and a portrait of his mother in his suitcase. When he goes to his mother's room he discovers that she too is packing. He informs her that he intends to live in poverty. She admires his courage, but instills in him her confidence for his future success. At this moment, Albert receives a letter from the Count. In the letter he directs Albert to a garden at Dantes' father's house. It is here where so many years ago he buried the three thousand francs meant to start his household with Mercedes. He tells him that Mercedes and he have a right to this pittance, and that they should take it. Mercedes' accepts the proposition intending to bring the money with her to a convent.
Though Mercedes renounces all of her husband's fortune, she is willing to return to Marseilles to retrieve the small amount originally set aside for her and Dantes. The Count gives this to her, thus showing that he has pity for the ruin he has brought to her.
Maximilien returns with Monte Cristo from the duel, but declines a lunch date with the Count. The Count guesses he his in love, and Maximilien does not deny it. The Count assures Maximilien that should he need anything Maximilien should come to him. The Count also realizes that he may be falling in love with Haydee. The Count de Morcerf, who demands to know why his son apologized to the Count instead of fighting him, also visits him. Morcerf, then, wishes to fight the Count. The Count says they should lose no time, since they know eachother so well. Morcerf says it is to the contrary, they hardly know each other. At this opening, Monte Cristo cites the shameful deeds of Fernand Mondego's military past, including desertion at Waterloo and spying in Spain. This infuriates Morcerf who demands to know Monte Cristo's real identity. Monte Cristo quickly changes into a sailor costume in an adjoining room. This makes Morcerf tremble and scream with terror the name Edmund Dantes! He goes home, sees his wife and son leaving, and shoots himself.
The Count of Morcerf is vanquished in this chapter. He loses all that he has lived for since Dantes imprisonment: his wife, his son, and his honor.
Maximilien goes to visit Valentine and Noirtier. He finds that Valentine is not feeling so well. She has been drinking Noirtier's medicine. Meanwhile, Madame and Eugenie Danglars come to announce Eugenie's engagement to Prince Calvacanti. Eugenie is not happy. She wishes for freedom, not a husband. Since Valentine is ill, she is excused from their company. When Maximilien asks of their upcoming marriage, Valentine falls back motionless. Villefort runs to the doctor, Maximilien runs to the Count. The Count is astonished to know that Maximilien is in love with the daughter of an accursed family. He, however, promises that if Valentine is not dead, she will not die. The doctor also speaks to Noirtier who informs him that he has been boosting valentine's tolerance to the poison that someone is trying to kill her with. Thus, thanks to Noirtier she will not die.
The Abbe Busoni purchases the house next door to the Villefort's and visits Valentine.
It is thanks to Noirtier that Valentine is not dead. He has been boosting her tolerance to the toxin that Madame de Villefort poisons her with. He does not yet know who the culprit is. It is Monte Cristo who intends to observe Valentine's room from the house he purchases next door under the alias Abbe Busoni.
Andrea Calvacanti and Eugenie Danglars are about to sign the marriage contract. There is a betrothal party at the Danglars' house. Monte Cristo arrives and attracts much attention. Madame de Villefort is present yet Monsieur de Villefort is not. Monte Cristo explains that it is his fault that the public prosecutor is absent. He explains that a vest was found which belonged to the murderer of the thief who broke into his residence. The vest also contained a revealing letter. He mentions that the thief s name was Caderousse. At the mention of this name, Danglars pales. Calvacanti also disappears, just in time, for police come for his arrest. They announce that Calvacanti is an escaped convict.
Monte Cristo accomplishes his public humiliation of Danglars by framing Calvacanti. This also causes Danglars' daughter to take the opportunity to escape from marriage and her family.
Eugenie is anything but disappointed that her marriage is now called off. She now has an excuse not to marry. She is prepared to escape that night with her friend Louise d'Armilly. They were to escape on Eugenie's wedding night. They pack, and Eugenie dresses as a man. She cuts her hair, without remorse. She is comfortable in her new garb. They escape in a carriage unnoticed.
This chapter shows how Danglars' has lost his daughter due to the failed betrothal plans that he had greedily concocted. His daughter did not wish to marry, yet he wished to acquire more wealth. She thus flees.
Meanwhile, Calvacanti escapes from Paris in a coach, and stays overnight in a hotel. Brigadiers show up the following morning, and despite Calvacanti's maneuvering, he is apprehended. As he escapes down through a chimney he ends up in the very same room that Eugenie and Louise are staying in. Louise thus rings a bell summoning the brigadiers. He is led out of the room, but not before revealing the identity of the two girls.
Valentine is still ill. One night she receives a visitor who is not Maximilien.
It is the Count of Monte Cristo. He tells Valentine that he has been watching her room every night from the house he bought next door. Someone has been poisoning her medicine every night while she has been delirious. Before she drinks the medicine, he substitutes the poison with his concoctions. He tells her to pretend to be asleep and she will see the responsible individual at work. Valentine does as he says. She sees Madame de Villefort pour poison into her drink. The Count of Monte Cristo returns and Valentine is in shock. The Count tells Valentine that Madame de Villefort is poisoning Valentine so Eduoard will receive Valentine's fortune. Valentine falls asleep, "an angel lying at the feet of the Lord."
This chapter furthers the God-like role of Monte Cristo. As the Abbe Busoni he takes it upon himself to save Valentine. He acts as her divine protector. The metaphor of "an angel lying at the feet of the Lord" is a powerful one. Valentine is portrayed as noble and good despite her family's corruption and Monte Cristo is portrayed as the hand of God.
Madame de Villefort enters Valentine's room a few hours later to see the results of her potion. She finds Valentine dead. Her lips are pale, and her fingers are blue, and she does not hear a heartbeat. A nurse enters soon afterwards and alerts the household. Maximilien also stops by and hears the terrible news. He picks up Noirtier's wheelchair and brings it into Valentine's room, so that he too can see what has happened. Noirtier asks Maximilien to leave with the doctor. Villefort demands silence from the two who are departing. He does not wish for the two to spread the horrible secret that his daughter was poisoned to death. He wishes to have vengeance on the murderer himself. Villefort also asks Maximilien to fetch the Italian priest (Busoni) who lives next door. Abbe Busoni is already on his way, however. Busoni goes into Valentine's room, and bolts the door, locking himself, Noirtier and Valentine's motionless corpse inside the room.
The Abbe Busoni has given Valentine a potion to appear dead, yet she is not. The Abbe wishes to test Maximilien's love. He also wishes to deceive Monsieur de Villefort into thinking his daughter is dead. This will contribute to his suffering and downfall.
The book has been divided based on a 73 chapter edition; this may differ from other editions.