Madame Danglars visits Villefort’s office, cursing their terrible luck at having their past dredged up again. Villefort, however, swears that the situation has nothing to do with luck. Monte Cristo, he explains, could not have found the skeleton of their child because the man who stabbed Villefort—Bertuccio—stole the box with the corpse from Villefort. He deduces that the child must have still been alive; if it had been dead, Bertuccio would have shown its corpse to the police and had Villefort arrested for murder as soon as he realized Villefort was still alive.
Concluding that the child must in fact still be alive, Villefort and Madame Danglars understand that they are in much danger. The fact that Monte Cristo seems to know of their crime makes their situation even more perilous. Villefort promises Madame Danglars that he will discover who the Count of Monte Cristo really is and find out how he knows so much about their past.
That same day, Albert de Morcerf visits Monte Cristo and invites him to his family’s ball.
Making inquiries through his police contacts, Villefort discovers that Monte Cristo has two old acquaintances living in Paris. The first is an Italian priest named Abbé Busoni, the other an English aristocrat named Lord Wilmore. Villefort sends the police commissioner to visit Busoni first. Busoni (Monte Cristo in disguise, of course) says that he has known Monte Cristo for decades and reveals that Monte Cristo is really the son of a rich Maltese shipbuilder. He mentions that Monte Cristo’s only enemy is Lord Wilmore.
Villefort visits Wilmore himself. Wilmore (again, Monte Cristo in disguise) claims that Monte Cristo is a speculator who made his vast fortune when he discovered a silver mine in the Middle East. When asked why Monte Cristo has purchased the house in Auteuil, Wilmore explains that Monte Cristo hopes to dig up a mineral spring in the area. Villefort is relieved by this information.
Monte Cristo is the center of attention at the Morcerfs’ ball. Mercédès notices that he refuses to eat or drink anything the entire evening.