The Count of Monte Cristo

by: Alexandre Dumas

Chapters 77–84

Chapter 82: The Room of the Retired Baker

Caderousse summons Benedetto to his home. No longer satisfied with his 200 francs per month, Caderousse presses Benedetto for more. Benedetto reveals his suspicion that Monte Cristo is really his father and that he will receive a large inheritance. Caderousse hatches a plan to break into Monte Cristo’s Parisian home while he is away at Auteuil.

Chapter 83: The Burglary

The next day Monte Cristo receives an anonymous letter warning him of the robbery. He orders his entire staff to abandon the Paris house, leaving only himself and Ali, both fully armed. After several hours, a man enters through the bedroom window. Ali notices another man keeping watch outside. Monte Cristo watches as the first man tries to break into his desk. He realizes, with surprise, that the thief is Caderousse. Monte Cristo quickly changes into his Abbé Busoni disguise and presents himself to Caderousse. Caderousse recognizes the priest instantly and is terrified.

Abbé Busoni tells Caderousse that he will let him go free if he reveals the entire truth about how he escaped from prison and explains what he is doing here now. Caderousse explains that an Englishman named Lord Wilmore sent a file to Benedetto, Caderousse’s companion in chains, and that the two of them filed off their shackles and escaped. He also admits that he is now in league with Benedetto, living off of his friend’s newfound salary. Busoni feigns shock at learning that Benedetto’s alter ego, Andrea Cavalcanti—the fiancé of Eugénie Danglars—is nothing but a convict. He declares that he will make this fact known immediately.

To prevent the secret from leaking out, Caderousse lunges at Busoni with a dagger, but the dagger bounces off the chain-mail vest that Monte Cristo is wearing underneath his habit. Busoni forces Caderousse to write a note to Danglars, informing him that his future son-in-law is a convict. He then lets Caderousse leave through the window through which he entered, telling him that if he makes it home safely, then God has forgiven him. Monte Cristo knows, however, that Benedetto is outside waiting to kill Caderousse.

Chapter 84: The Hand of God

Just as Monte Cristo predicts, Benedetto stabs Caderousse. Monte Cristo brings the injured Caderousse into his house, and Caderousse signs a statement naming Benedetto as his murderer. As Caderousse dies, Monte Cristo berates him for his evil ways, urging him to repent and acknowledge God. Caderousse refuses until Monte Cristo reveals that he is really Edmond Dantès, at which point Caderousse acknowledges the existence of Providence and then dies. The police begin an all-out search for Benedetto.

Analysis: Chapters 77–84

The death of Caderousse marks Monte Cristo’s first tangible success in exacting vengeance and delivering justice. The rest of his triumphs now come in quick succession; in fact, each individual’s impending downfall is perfectly set up at this point in the novel. Danglars is losing his fortune quickly, as many of his previously reliable creditors continue to default on their debt. Danglars is also about to fall into the trap Monte Cristo has set in the form of Andrea Cavalcanti, the disgraceful suitor of his daughter, Eugénie. Fernand Mondego’s history is now known by at least a few people in France, and it is only a matter of time before it becomes widespread public knowledge. Villefort’s home is beset by murders, and his illegitimate son, whom he has tried to kill, is loose somewhere in Parisian society. Though no one but Monte Cristo knows it yet, three lives are about to be utterly destroyed.