The Count of Monte Cristo

by: Alexandre Dumas

Chapters 35–39

Chapter 35: The Colosseum

While visiting the Colosseum in Rome, Franz overhears a conversation between his mysterious Monte Cristo host (Dantès) and the bandit chief Luigi Vampa. An innocent shepherd named Peppino has been arrested for being an accomplice to bandits. Although he merely provided them with food, he has been sentenced to a public beheading, which is to take place in two days. Monte Cristo promises to buy Peppino’s freedom, and Vampa pledges his everlasting loyalty in return.

The next evening, Franz and Albert attend the opera, and Franz again sees his mysterious host. Monte Cristo is accompanied by Haydée, the most beautiful woman Franz has ever seen, dressed in a Greek costume. The lovely Countess G—, who is sitting with Franz and Albert, is terrified by the mysterious and deathly pale Monte Cristo, whom she is certain is a vampire. The following morning, the hotel owner informs Franz and Albert that their fellow guest, Monte Cristo, has offered to lend them his coach for the duration of the carnival. Albert and Franz pay a visit to Monte Cristo, and Franz is stunned to discover that he is the same man who acted as his mysterious host on the island of Monte Cristo.

Chapter 36: La Mazzolata

Before breakfast, Monte Cristo invites the two young men to watch a public execution from his private windows. He admits to a fascination with executions. The three men engage in a discussion about the limits and shortcomings of human justice. At the execution, one of the two condemned, Peppino, is granted a reprieve. Monte Cristo watches impassively as the other is brutally executed. He appears to take great pleasure in watching vengeance play out.

Chapter 37: The Carnival at Rome

During the three days of the carnival, Albert becomes engaged in an elaborate flirtation with a beautiful woman. He is eager to have several love affairs while in Rome and decides to devote all his energies to pursuing this opportunity.

Chapter 38: The Catacombs of Saint Sebastian

The beautiful woman turns out to be Luigi Vampa’s mistress, Teresa, and the flirtation is actually a trap. The bandit chief kidnaps Albert, and Franz receives a ransom note. Unable to pay the ransom, he approaches Monte Cristo for help. Peppino, who delivered the ransom note, leads Franz and Monte Cristo to the bandits’ lair in the Catacombs of Saint Sebastian. Vampa greets Monte Cristo warmly and sets Albert free with many apologies. Though Albert is surprisingly unfazed by the fact that he has so narrowly escaped a grisly end, he is nonetheless enormously grateful to Monte Cristo for saving him.

Chapter 39: The Rendezvous

In return for saving his life, Monte Cristo asks Albert to introduce him to Parisian society when he visits the city in three months’ time. Albert is delighted. Franz, however, is wary, noting that Monte Cristo seems to shudder involuntarily when he is forced to shake hands with Albert. In an attempt to warn his friend away from Monte Cristo, Franz tells Albert about his experience on the isle of Monte Cristo and the conversation between Vampa and Monte Cristo he overheard in the Colosseum. This additional information leaves Albert only more enchanted with his savior.


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