illustration of a seaside fortress with waves crashing against the rocky shore

The Count of Monte Cristo

by Alexandre Dumas père

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Chapters 50-54 Summary

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The Count of Monte Cristo visits the Morrel family. The eldest son, Maximilian, is currently living with his sister, Julie, and her husband. Julie is caught off guard by the count’s visit. She had been working in the garden and quickly excuses herself to change her dress. Once they are all seated together, the count is affected by all the warmth and love he feels with this family. Morrel, Maximilian’s and Julie’s father, is now dead, but Dantes’s memory of him continues to connect him to the deceased ship owner’s children. Julia and Maximilian do not know that it was the count who saved their father from bankruptcy and left the jewel for Julie’s dowry. They have not connected the actions of the man they knew as Sinbad the Sailor with the count.

While the count visits them, however, Julia questions the count about the man they knew as Sinbad the Sailor. They want to know if the count knew him. The count replies that he was acquainted with a man who might have fit the description, but this man has sailed away to distant shores, and the count has not seen him in recent years. Maximilian reveals that his father had a theory that he disclosed on his deathbed. His father had told him that he thought their benefactor was a man he knew as Edmund Dantes. At this, the count blushes and promptly ends his visit.

The next chapter follows Maximilan to the Villefort household, where the young man encounters Villefort’s older child, Valentine. She is the daughter from Villefort’s first marriage. Valentine’s mother died when she was very young, and she misses her dreadfully. Her mother made her feel loved. Valentine’s father is distant and cold and pays little attention to her. Valentine’s step-mother is jealous of her because Valentine will soon inherit her mother’s wealth.

Maximilian expresses his love for Valentine and tells her that he has resigned his commission in the army and has taken up the profession of gardener so he can be near her. Villefort is against a marriage between Valentine and Maximilian because he believes the young man is not good enough for his daughter. Maximilian has made a deal to garden a piece of land near the Villefort home so he can see Valentine every day.

Valentine loves Maximilian, but she feels the situation is hopeless. She knows her father is against their union. She tells Maximilian that he is the only person she has in the world to talk to. Although she is very close to her grandfather, Noitier, the old man has lost his ability to speak. As she confesses her feelings for Maximilian, Valentine is called away to meet a visitor. When she asks who the visitor is, she is told it is the Count of Monte Cristo.

The count has come to the Villefort house to visit Madame de Villefort. In the course of their conversation, Madame de Villefort confesses her interest in chemistry. She is very familiar with various chemical compounds and their effects on the body—especially the compounds that are considered poisonous.

Valentine comes into the room to meet the count, but their encounter is very brief because Madame de Villefort desires to continue her discussion with the count. During their conversation, the count describes various chemicals that have been used as poisons and which are the most effective and the least detectable. The more the count speaks, the more fascinated Madame de Villefort becomes. At the close of the discussion, the count promises to send Madame de Villefort a vial of a particular chemical...

(This entire section contains 1190 words.)

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potion. After the incident in which she and her son were trapped in the runaway carriage, her son had gone into shock and fainted. The count had used this potion to revive her son. If only one drop per day is taken, the count tells her, the mixture can be helpful. If the dosage is increased, it would be lethal.

Madame de Villefort says she wishes she knew the count better so she might ask him to stay for dinner. The count thanks her for her sentiments, but he could not accept an invitation even if she could make one because he has planned to take Haydee to the opera that night.

At the opera, readers first encounter Madam Danglars, who is accompanied to the opera by her lover, Lucien Debray, and her daughter, Eugenie. Also at the opera is Albert (Meredes’s son) and his friend Chateau-Renaud. When Chateau-Renaud sees the beautiful woman known as Countess G, whom Albert met in Italy, Chateau-Renaud insists that Albert introduce him to her. Their conversation includes talk of a horse race. In particular, they talk about the horse that won. The owner of that horse is someone who goes by the name of Vampa, whom Albert concludes must be associated with the count. Vampa is the name of the bandit who kidnapped Albert in Italy. The countess tells them that the winner’s cup from the horse race was delivered to her hotel room, but she has no clue as to why this was done. Albert suggests that it is from the count and that the countess should be flattered.

When the count arrives with Haydee at his side, all heads turn. Everyone has become fascinated with this new man in town and wants to know as much about him as they can. They are impressed with the youth and the beauty of Haydee, which only offers more intrigue to the rumors about this man.

At one point, the count leaves Haydee to visit Danglars, who has recently arrived at the opera. The count puts his arm around Danglars and points to Haydee who is sitting across the room. When Haydee looks up to see the man with the count, she almost faints. The count returns to her side, and she tells him that the man he was standing next to has caused her pain. The count says this is the man to whom her father gave much wealth. Haydee insists that Danglars is the man who sold her father to the Turks.

Albert and Lucien Debray visit the count. Part of the time they are there, they discuss the money Madame Danglars makes by gambling her husband’s money in stocks. The count suspects that Lucien, with his government connections, provides Madame Danglars with tips as to whether certain stocks will go up or down. Through this scheme, Madame Danglars is amassing large sums of money.

The count and Albert also discuss Albert’s proposed engagement to Eugenie, Danglars’s daughter. Albert sounds uncommitted to the prospect of marrying Eugenie. He makes several excuses, but the main reason for his reluctance is that his mother does not appear to like the Danglars family. Albert does not know why his mother feels this way, but he wants to do nothing that would pain his mother.

The count begins making preparations for a dinner he is holding at his country home. The guests will be the Danglarses and the Villeforts.

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