The narrator describes Villefort’s arrival at the Tuileries, where Louis XVIII has been half-heartedly reading Horace to himself and listening to his courtiers discuss the state of the French nation. The scene is broad comedy—the king is presented as a pedantic buffoon, as concerned (or more so) with who’s marrying whom as he is with the country he rules. After some back and forth with his ministers, Louis XVIII hears that a young man, Villefort, has come to see him with urgent news. When one minister says Villefort comes from a rebellious family, Louis says this is no matter; Villefort, he is convinced, would cross his own father for the sake of his ambitions.
In this section the narrator appears to be poking fun at Louis XVIII, who seems more concerned with his own literary puns than he does with the state of France. But the king perks up when he hears from his messenger that Villefort has news of a supposed rebellion. This indicates that, for French rulers in the post-Napoleon period, there was a sense that Napoleonic sentiment could rise – or that the Emperor himself could return. Thus Louis and his retinue must remain on their guard to insure continued Royalist rule.
Villefort is brought in to speak to the king. He tells Louis, falsely, that the man he has recently arrested and imprisoned was part of a larger Bonapartist plot to wrest back power for Napoleon. Villefort makes it seem that, in putting Dantes in prison, he has helped to quell this plot. Louis seems delighted by this news, but as Villefort makes to leave, another man comes rushing in with news that is, he claims, also quite urgent.
Not only has Villefort made sure that Dantes is in prison, he has also convinced the king of France that Dantes is a dangerous part of a pro-Napoleon conspiracy, and that imprisonment was therefore the only option. This is before Villefort has any sense that historical events in France will, coincidentally, make a Napoleonic revolution seem more likely.