The Count of Monte Cristo

by: Alexandre Dumas

Chapters 40–46

Chapter 44: The House at Auteuil

Monte Cristo goes to visit his new summerhouse. While he explores the grounds, his steward, Bertuccio, becomes frantic. When Monte Cristo presses him for an explanation of his agitation, Bertuccio unfolds a complex story.

Chapter 45: The Vendetta

Bertuccio explains that years ago, his brother, who had been a soldier in Napoleon’s army, was murdered by royalist assassins in the city of Nîmes. Seeking justice, Bertuccio visited the public prosecutor of Nîmes, who at the time was Gérard de Villefort. Villefort, a royalist, was unsympathetic to Bertuccio’s story and coolly turned him away. Bertuccio swore revenge on the public prosecutor.

Terrified for his life, Villefort transferred to Versailles, but Bertuccio followed him there. Bertuccio soon discovered that Villefort often came to visit the summerhouse in Auteuil, where he kept his mistress, a widowed baroness. One night, Bertuccio lay in wait for Villefort in the small garden behind the house and stabbed him, leaving him for dead. Villefort had just finished burying a box when Bertuccio pounced on him and grabbed the box, thinking that it contained a treasure. Instead, he found a baby, which had been smothered but started breathing after being given mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Following a seven- or eight-month stay in the hospital, Bertuccio took the baby home with him and raised it with the help of his widowed sister-in-law.

The baby, whom Bertuccio and his sister-in-law named Benedetto, almost immediately showed signs of cruelty. As an older boy, he disappeared and was never heard from again. In the meantime, Bertuccio was away smuggling goods into France. On the run from the authorities, he ducked into a loft behind Caderousse’s inn. While hiding in the loft behind Caderousse’s inn, Bertuccio watched a terrible scene unfold. Caderousse and his wife had invited a jeweler to buy the diamond that the Abbé Busoni had just given them. After handing over forty-five thousand francs, the jeweler planned to return home, but a storm convinced him to spend the night at the inn.

Chapter 46: The Rain of Blood

Bertuccio continues his story: seizing the chance to double his profit, Caderousse murdered both the jeweler and his own wife, then fled with the money and the diamond.

Arriving at the scene, the police arrested Bertuccio for the crime. Bertuccio remembered that Caderousse claimed to have received the diamond from a man named Abbé Busoni, so the authorities put out a search for the priest in order to clear Bertuccio of the crime. When Busoni turned up, he visited Bertuccio in prison. Bertuccio told the abbé his entire story, and Busoni suggested that should Bertuccio ever get out of prison, he should contact the Count of Monte Cristo, who would hire him as a steward. Soon thereafter, Caderousse turned up and confessed to the crime. Bertuccio was released and went to work for the Count of Monte Cristo, while Caderousse was sentenced to a lifetime of hard labor. Then, at the age of eleven, while Bertuccio was away on business, Benedetto tortured his adopted mother for a small amount of money and ended up killing her.