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Free Study Guide-The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas-Summary
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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES

CHAPTER 57 - In the Lucerne Patch

Summary

Morrel goes to meet Valentine over their adjoining gate, and sees her speaking to Eugénie Danglars. Both girls are expressing their unhappiness with their planned marriages and Eugénie states she would prefer to remain independent and unmarried to become an artist. When Eugénie leaves, Morrel tells Valentine that he understands Franz d’Epinay is supposed to return to Paris soon, which makes Valentine even more unhappy, although she believes that her step-mother secretly opposes the marriage and would prefer that Valentine enter a convent as she had once expressed an interest in doing.

This would, of course, permit Edward to inherit all monies otherwise going to Valentine. Morrel asks Valentine’s permission to tell the Count of their secret love, but she refuses, believing her stepmother and the Count to be good friends. Morrel tells her that he believes the Count to be a type of protector for him, evidenced by the dinner on Saturday which will make it possible for him to meet Valentine’s parents, and by the fact that he believes that the Count somehow made it possible for him to win enough money in a card game to buy a horse he had wanted.

Notes

This chapter further explores the almost familial relationship between the Count and the Morrels, as when Morrel says to Valentine in regards to the Count: "Have you never experienced for anyone that sudden and irresistible sympathy which made you feel as if the object of it had been your old and familiar friend, though, in reality, it was the first time you had ever met?" Morrel acquisition of the horse was certainly thanks to the Count, and Morrel senses it, stating: "ever since I have known this man, I have involuntarily entertained the idea that all the good fortune which has befallen me originated from him."


CHAPTER 58 - M. Noirtier de Villefort

Summary

While Valentine is outside with Morrel, Villefort and his wife speak to Noirtier about their planned marriage for Valentine in three months’ time. Although paralyzed and mute, Noirtier’s eyes bulge when he learns the intended groom is Franz d’Epinay, the son of General Quesnel, the man he killed in 1815. Villefort is of course aware of this, and tells Noirtier that the marriage should be thought of as a type of peace offering. It is planned that after the marriage, Noirtier will live with Valentine. The Villeforts leave Noirtier, and Valentine enters her grandfather’s room, learning that he is also unhappy with the planned marriage. In accordance with Noirtier’s wishes, Valentine sends for a notary, to which Villefort reluctantly agrees.

Notes

This chapter is important for the opinion it shows regarding Noirtier, he is obviously to be represented as a sympathetic character, fond of Valentine and opposed to his son who, we already know, is corrupt and evil. We learn that Valentine is also a good person, thus making her and her grandfather good despite their relation to Villefort and his second wife.

CHAPTER 59 - The Will

Summary

The notary arrives at the Villefort’s, and Valentine translates her grandfather’s wishes. When they learn that Noirtier wishes to make a will, they send for a second witness notary. To everyone’s surprise, Noirtier then leaves his 900,000 francs to charity instead of Valentine; his reason being her engagement to Franz d’Epinay, thus thwarting Valentine’s father. Valentine is happy and hopes this will cause her father to cancel the engagement so that she will inherit after all, but her father is outraged and insists that Valentine will marry Franz anyway.

Notes

Further proof of Noirtier’s good nature is revealed, and Villefort’s stubbornness and bad nature are also confirmed.

CHAPTER 60 - The Telegraph

Summary

The Count arrives at the Villeforts and learns what has just happened in regards to Valentine and Noirtier’s fortune. Madame de Villefort seems happy with what has taken place, although she appears to support her husband. Villefort insists that Valentine will marry Franz and that she still stands to inherit a large sum from her grandparents on her mother’s side. The Count reminds the Villeforts of his dinner party on Saturday which they have promised to attend, although Villefort appears nervous when he hears the house address - it had previously belonged to his first wife’s parents. Before leaving, the Count tells them that he is on his way to see a telegraph outpost, located in the country.

Notes

The Count in this chapter is showing the depth of his knowledge to Villefort in an attempt to get a better idea what is going on in the Villefort home so that he may use it to his own advantage, although probably also to scare Villefort. In this sense, he succeeds in frightening Villefort when he reports that the dinner is to be held in the house where Villefort was almost murdered by Bertuccio, and in which he himself committed a heinous crime. Strangely in this chapter, the Count reveals he is going to learn about the intricacies of telegraphs, which he will use for his revenge on Danglars.

CHAPTER 61 - How a Gardener May Get Rid of the Dormice that Eat his Peaches

Summary

The Count goes to the tower of Montlhéry outside the village of Linas. There is a garden around the tower tended by the telegraph’s caretaker. The Count speaks to the caretaker about his passion - gardening - to earn his trust, and learns how the telegraph correspondent receives and relays messages. Learning how little the man earns, the Count offers him 25,000 francs plus 1,000 francs per year to purchase his own land where he may garden on the condition that he pass a new message onto the next tower instead of the message he is supposed to transmit. The gardener agrees. The Minister of the Interior receives the message and Debray immediately goes to see Madame Danglars to report that Don Carlos has returned to Spain, in turn prompting the Baron Danglars to sell all his Spanish bonds. The following day, the paper reports that the news of Don Carlos’ return to Spain was false, owing to a telegraphic error, and the Spanish fund rise. Danglars loses about a million francs.

Notes

In furthering his plans of revenge to ruin Danglars financially, the Count is surprised to meet a man who does not have the same sense of ambition that he has recognized in all other men. Interestingly, although the gardener does not have this same trait of "blinding ambition", the Count is nonetheless able to pay him a sufficient amount of money to help in his scheme against Danglars. For the gardener then, it was money and not ambition that convinced him to forsake his principles. In this sense, he is more like Caderousse then Danglars, Fernand or Villefort.

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