The Count of Monte Cristo | Study Guide

Alexandre Dumas

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The Count of Monte Cristo | Chapters 62–64 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 62

The count's house at Auteuil has been transformed, according to his instructions and under Bertuccio's direction. Only one garden and one first-floor bedroom remain unchanged. The dinner guests include Maximilien Morrel, Lucien Debray, Baroness and Baron Danglars, Château-Renaud, Major Cavalcanti, Andrea Cavalcanti, and Monsieur and Madame de Villefort.

Danglars is curious about the Cavalcantis. The count tells him they are extremely wealthy, and the major hopes his son will find a wife in Paris. Danglars is in a bad mood due to his recent financial loss, and Villefort seems nervous. Bertuccio is startled when he recognizes Madame Danglars as the pregnant woman he'd seen at the house many years ago. He's even more startled to see Villefort, alive and well, amazed to learn that he hadn't killed the man after all. Then he notices Andrea Cavalcanti and recognizes him as Benedetto, the boy he rescued from the garden and later adopted.

Chapter 63

During the dinner, the count tells his guests that the one room in the house he didn't redecorate is a bedroom that has a sinister feel. As he shows the dark, gloomy room to them, with its blood-red damask curtains, the count spins a scary tale about a murder that might have happened there. Keeping an eye on the uneasy reactions of Villefort and Madame Danglers, who, of course, know what happened in that room, he leads his guests down the hidden staircase to the garden. He tells his guests to imagine a person "carrying some grim burden" down the staircase on a dark, stormy night, trying to hide his deed. Madame Danglers nearly faints at these remarks. Outside in the garden, the count says that he really does have a crime to report to the chief prosecutor. He takes Villefort to the spot where Bertuccio had seen the baby's casket buried. He says his gardeners, while digging at that spot, uncovered a chest containing the skeleton of a newborn child. The guests speculate about whether the baby was alive or dead when it was buried. Villefort whispers to Madame Danglers that they need to meet at his office.

Chapter 64

The guests depart; some in carriages, some on horseback. Danglars, who has been enjoying talking about business with Marquis Cavalcanti, invites him to ride back in his carriage. As Andrea Cavalcanti's carriage pulls away from the house, a dirty beggar asks for a ride back to Paris. The beggar is Caderousse, who has escaped from prison. He threatens to expose the young man's past as Benedetto unless Andrea gives him 200 francs a month. Andrea has no choice but to agree.

Analysis

Chapter 62 sheds light on the reason behind the Cavalcanti father–son charade. The engagement between Eugénie Danglars and Albert de Morcerf had never been formalized. Monte Cristo wants Danglars to think Andrea Cavalcanti is not only more wealthy than Albert de Morcerf but that he also has a more aristocratic background. If Danglars falls for the ploy and arranges to marry his daughter to Andrea, he'll be disgraced when Andrea is exposed as a thief and a murderer. The scandal will also cause his business clients to go elsewhere. Benedetto's connection with Villefort may create some upheaval in his life as well.

Monte Cristo's orchestration of the tour of the red bedroom and the visit to the grave succeeds in unnerving Villefort and Madame Danglers. The reputation for eccentricity and drama that he has carefully cultivated helps him pull off what might otherwise seem like a madman's wild imaginings.

The resurfacing of Caderousse could derail the count's plans for Andrea Cavalcanti.

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