The Count of Monte Cristo | Study Guide

Alexandre Dumas

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The Count of Monte Cristo | Chapters 77–78 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 77

The count invites Albert to come home with him for tea. When they arrive at the house, they hear Haydée playing music on her guzla, an instrument that sounds like a guitar. The count says he'll introduce him to Haydée, but first Albert must promise not to tell anyone he's met her and not to tell her that his father served hers. They go to her apartment, and the count introduces her as the daughter of Ali Pasha of Janina. Albert asks Haydée if she would tell him about her childhood, and Monte Cristo privately tells her not to reveal the name of the man who betrayed her father. She recounts the harrowing story of Ali Pasha's murder and how she came to be sold into slavery. Albert knows that his father was connected with Ali Pasha, but he's unaware that his father was the man who betrayed Haydée's father.

Chapter 78

A few hours after reading Noirtier's document, Villefort receives an angry letter from Franz, confirming that it's unthinkable for him to marry into the family of the man who killed his father. He also accuses Villefort of having previous knowledge of his father's actions. Valentine finds Maximilien waiting at their meeting spot and tells him Noirtier has prevented the marriage to Franz. They arrange to meet the following evening. Meanwhile, Madame de Villefort goes to Noirtier and asks him to reinstate Valentine in his will. He'd intended to do this anyway, and he changes his will the following day.

The Comte de Morcerf visits Danglars to finalize the match between Albert and Eugénie. Danglars receives him coldly. He suggests that there are slanders against Morcerf, but he doesn't give any details, and the engagement is broken off. The next morning, Danglars is pleased to see an article in the newspaper hinting at military misconduct in Janina by a man named Fernand. Meanwhile, Albert de Morcerf goes looking for the Count of Monte Cristo and finds him at the shooting gallery, where he's amusing himself by doing some very precise target shooting. Albert asks Monte Cristo to be his second, or assistant, in a duel with Beauchamp. He's angry because Beauchamp's newspaper has printed a story that implicates his father in treachery against Janina. The count tries to dissuade Albert from challenging Beauchamp, and refuses to help in any way. He even suggests that Albert ask Haydée to tell him who killed her father. Albert refuses to involve a woman in the matter, but he takes the count's advice to go to Beauchamp and ask him to retract the story. Beauchamp, as the manager and editor of the newspaper, didn't write the story; he only published it. He refuses to retract the story without further research. They agree that, in three weeks, if the story hasn't been retracted, they will have a duel.

Analysis

Albert is the first person in Paris the count has introduced to Haydée (Chapter 77). His most likely motive for doing so is to provide verification for the story about the Comte de Morcerf's treachery, which will soon be exposed. It may also be a way to ease the shock for Albert, who is proud of his father's heroic reputation.

Chapter 78 addresses some loose ends relating to the two unraveling engagements, and it sets up a new conflict related to Albert. With regard to Valentine's broken engagement, it's a bit surprising that Madame de Villefort would go to Noirtier to advocate for restoring Valentine's inheritance. However, this may be an indication that she really does have long-term plans to have Valentine's fortune come to her son.

The newspaper article pleases Danglers because it justifies breaking Eugénie's engagement with Albert; this sends Albert on his own mission of vengeance: he's determined to defend his father's honor. Having just heard the story from Haydée's point of view, he's well aware of the seriousness of the accusation.

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