Chapter 54: Robert Le Diable
Monte Cristo and Haydée cause quite a stir when they appear in their box at the opera. Monte Cristo visits Madame Danglars’s box, in which Eugénie, Albert, and Fernand are all sitting. While Monte Cristo leans over the balcony with Fernand, Haydée catches sight of the box and nearly faints. Monte Cristo takes leave of the Danglars and Morcerf families and returns to Haydée, who is beside herself with emotion. She tells Monte Cristo that Morcerf is the man who betrayed her father, Ali Pacha, to the Turks and then sold her into slavery.
Chapter 55: A Talk about Stocks
Albert de Morcerf and Lucien Debray visit Monte Cristo. They discuss Albert’s engagement to Eugénie Danglars. Albert is reluctant to marry Eugénie, despite her extreme beauty and wealth, as she seems “too erudite and masculine.” In addition, Mercédès is very upset at the prospect of having Eugénie as a daughter-in-law, and Albert cannot imagine doing anything to cause his mother pain.
Debray then reveals that Madame Danglars, his lover, gambles large sums of her husband’s money in stocks. Albert jokingly suggests teaching Madame Danglars a lesson by manipulating her stocks with a false news report. Monte Cristo notices that Debray appears unsettled by this line of conversation. It is clear that Debray does, in fact, regularly abuse his government position by giving privileged information to Madame Danglars.
Chapter 56: Major Cavalcanti
Monte Cristo plans to meet with two men and instructs them to play the roles he has outlined for them in return for significant monetary compensation. The older man must pretend to be Marquis Bartolomeo Cavalcanti, a retired Italian major and nobleman who has been searching in vain for his kidnapped son for fifteen years.
Chapter 57: Andrea Cavalcanti
Monte Cristo continues that the younger man must play the part of Bartolomeo Cavalcanti’s son, Andrea Cavalcanti, reunited with his father by Monte Cristo. After giving the two men false identity documents, new wardrobes, and other necessities for their disguise, Monte Cristo invites them to a dinner party he is throwing the following Saturday.
Chapter 58: At the Gate
Maximilian and Valentine meet again in the garden of the Villefort home. Maximilian reveals that Franz is returning to Paris soon, and Valentine swears that she is unable to oppose her father’s will that she marry Franz. Valentine mentions that her stepmother wants her to remain unmarried and join a convent so that all of her inheritance will go to Edward, who will otherwise receive almost no inheritance at all. In the course of the conversation, it becomes clear that Eugénie is just as reluctant to marry Albert de Morcerf as he is to marry her. Eugénie has confided in Valentine that she never wants to marry but wants instead to lead a free and independent life as an artist.