The Count of Monte Cristo | Study Guide

Alexandre Dumas

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The Count of Monte Cristo | Chapters 95–99 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 95

The narrator asks the reader "to step back in time" to earlier that day at the Danglars's home, when Eugénie meets with her father in the drawing room and tells him that she doesn't want to marry Andrea Cavalcanti. In fact, she doesn't want to marry at all and can think of no reason why she should do so. Danglars tells her that the reason he wants her to marry Cavalcanti is that he's on the verge of financial ruin, and the marriage will bring him three million francs and help restore his credit. Eugénie agrees to go through with signing the marriage contract if he'll agree not to invest the dowry but will use it only to build his credit. She implies that she has a secret plan of her own, but she refuses to share it with him.

Chapter 96

Three days later, Andrea Cavalcanti asks Monte Cristo if he'd agree to take his father's place at the signing of the marriage contract later that evening. Monte Cristo replies in no uncertain terms that he always refuses to preside at weddings, but he does agree to attend the signing ceremony.

That evening, Danglars's reception rooms are filled with the best of Parisian society for the signing of the marriage contract. Monte Cristo tells Danglars that Villefort isn't there because a new piece of evidence has been found relating to the investigation of Caderousse's murder. People gather around him to listen as the count tells about the new evidence. He explains that the thief's accomplice attacked him outside the house. The people who tried to help the dying man undressed him and threw his clothes aside. When the police later collected the clothes as evidence, the waistcoat was overlooked, and it has just been found. Inside the waistcoat was a letter from Caderousse addressed to Danglars. The letter was sent, as evidence, to Villefort, who is now investigating a possible plot connected with it. The count urges the signing to continue, and the lawyer calls for Andrea to sign. But at that moment, two policemen enter the house and station themselves at the doors. The commissioner of police approaches Danglars, asking for Andrea Cavalcanti, who, he says, is an escaped convict, accused of the murder of Caderousse. But Andrea is gone—he left as soon as he heard the count mention the letter addressed to Caderousse.

Chapter 97

The guests leave the mansion almost immediately. Eugénie and her friend Louise d'Armilly go to Eugénie's room to discuss plans to leave. They had planned to leave on the wedding night, so everything is already in place. Eugénie, disguised as a man, will travel as Louise's brother. Louise has obtained the necessary passport with Monte Cristo's help. He's also given them letters of introduction to theater owners to help them in their musical career. They've saved enough money to live on for a few years, and they're sure that they'll be able to support themselves through their musical talents. They pack a trunk, have it loaded onto their carriage, and set off for Italy via Brussels.

Chapter 98

Andrea Cavalcanti has escaped from Danglars's home after grabbing valuable jewels from the bride's wedding display. Now away from the house, he hires a cab and takes it as far as Louvres; then he hires a horse and continues on. He stays for the night at an inn called the Bell and Bottle. In the morning, he spots three policemen outside the inn. He climbs up the chimney in his room and out onto the roof, but he knows he will soon be seen there. So he climbs down through another chimney, into the room in which Eugénie and Louise happen to be staying. When they see a man appear in their fireplace, they ring the alarm bell in their room. Andrea recognizes the women and tries to persuade them to hide him, but it's too late. The policemen burst in and arrest him. Eugénie and Andrea, exposed to everyone at the inn as two women, not brother and sister, draw unwanted attention as they leave the inn, but they continue on to Brussels.

Chapter 99

The morning after the policemen interrupted the signing ceremony, Madame Danglars is still unaware that Eugénie has fled. Feeling in need of advice, she goes to see Debray, but he isn't in. The next morning, she goes to see Villefort. She tries to persuade him to allow Andrea to escape so that the scandal will die down. To Villefort, Danglers's embarrassment is trivial compared to the threat that hangs over his own house. He refuses and tells her it's too late—Cavalcanti has been captured.

Analysis

These chapters focus on the undoing of Baron Danglars and the effects on his family. The count has helped Eugénie and Louise with their escape plans, so Eugénie, at least, won't be negatively affected by her father's ruin. In fact, she'll benefit because she'll be free. The discussion between Eugénie and her father in Chapter 94 reveals that there's no love lost between Eugénie and her parents, so she certainly won't miss them. Eugénie, like Albert, is spared the punishment being visited on her father. The count seems to be mellowing. The fact that she and Louise escape disguised as men provides yet another example of the motif of identity and disguise. In the world of The Count of Monte Cristo, many people are not who or what they appear to be, the count among them.

The attempted escape of Andrea Cavalcanti in Chapter 98 adds excitement and humor, and provides a release for the built-up tension that preceded the revelation of his identity. His arrest provides an unusual case of justice being served.

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