The Count of Monte Cristo | Study Guide

Alexandre Dumas

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The Count of Monte Cristo | Chapters 65–67 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 65

Later that evening, after arriving back in Paris, Debray is—as usual—making himself at home in Madame Danglars's room. Monsieur Danglars bursts into the room and abruptly asks Debray to leave so he can talk to his wife. She's been passing along to her husband information that Debray picks up at the ministry of the interior, and Danglars has been using this insider information to make money in the stock market. He gives a percentage of his profits to his wife, who, he assumes, passes it along to Debray, her lover. But the tip about the Spanish bonds, based on a false telegraph message, lost Danglars 700,000 francs. He suspects that the false telegraph message was planted by his political enemies to ruin him. It's only fair, he tells his wife, that because he pays her when he wins, she should pay him back when he loses. If that's a problem for her, she should ask Debray for the money. When Madame Danglars objects, he reminds her that he's been very lenient about all the affairs she has had. He reveals, for the first time, that he knows her first husband committed suicide when he returned from the war to find her pregnant by Villefort. Madame Danglars is stunned to find out that he knows her secret.

Chapter 66

The next day, after meeting with some visitors—including Marquis Cavalcanti—Danglars goes to see Monte Cristo. He tells the count that one of his clients, Jacopo Manfredi, who owes him a million francs, has gone bankrupt. Pretending to be sympathetic, the count suggests that Danglars's fortune will soon disappear if he continues to have such losses. Danglars discusses Marquis Cavalcanti's wealth and hints that he might consider Andrea a good match for his daughter, Eugénie. The count asks about the rumored engagement to Albert de Morcerf, but Danglars implies he has some reservations about that match. He tells the count that Morcerf bought his title and changed his name from Mondego after a mysterious situation in Greece related to Ali Pasha. The count suggests that Danglars can find out what happened by writing to a contact in Janina.

Chapter 67

Meanwhile, Madame Danglars is meeting with Villefort at his office. Villefort tells her that Monte Cristo could not have found a newborn's skeleton in the garden. He says that he thought the baby was dead when he buried it in the garden, and then he was stabbed by a Corsican (Bertuccio). He went to Marseille for six months to recover from his wounds, which he told people he sustained in a duel. By the time he returned, his lover had married Danglars. Fearing that his attacker would realize he was still alive and would try to blackmail him, Villefort went back to the garden to get rid of the evidence, but the box wasn't there. Realizing that the baby might have been alive and someone had found him, Villefort tried the orphanage. He learned that a woman claimed the baby six months later, but he's been unable to find her. Villefort says he suspects the Count of Monte Cristo is orchestrating a plan that threatens them. Hermine Danglars assures him that no one knows about their affair, but he warns her to be very suspicious of the count. He vows to find out "what this Monte Cristo is, where he comes from, where he is going, and why he tells us about children dug up from his garden."

Analysis

Danglars's confrontation with his wife in Chapter 65 shows that he's very worried about his financial situation. His tolerance, over many years, of her many affairs, and his easy acceptance of her ongoing affair with Debray, suggest that he really doesn't care about anything other than his wealth.

In Chapter 66, the bankrupt client that causes Danglars to lose a million francs is named Jacopo Manfredi, and the count seems to be aware of the identity of the client even before Danglars tells him. Could this "client" be the same Jacopo who is the count's old friend and employee?

Although Villefort knows—as he tells Hermine in Chapter 67—that there never was a baby's skeleton to be found in the garden at Auteuil, that knowledge doesn't bring him any comfort. Although he can't be accused of murdering a newborn, he can be connected to the scandal surrounding its birth and disappearance, and Villefort suspects (rightly) that Monte Cristo knows more about it than he does. The lack of honesty among the various characters is once again revealed when Hermine Danglars tells Villefort that no one knows of their affair, a statement made a day after learning that her husband knows of it. The original conspirators are not the only duplicitous characters.

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