The narrator turns to two apartments in a quiet building in an outlying neighborhood of Paris. In one of the apartments, which Mme Danglars and Lucien Debray have used as a hideout, the two of them discuss the former Baroness’s current financial situation. Lucien reveals that what the Baron had long suspected is in fact true: Lucien and the Baroness had been siphoning off a portion of his money and gambling it on the stock market. Lucien shows the Baroness that she has made an enormous sum of money, 800,000 francs, from these speculations. Debray gives the Baroness the money and recommends she travel abroad with it, leaving Paris for a time to restore her name. But the Baroness is distraught, for she loves Lucien and wants their affair to continue. Lucien, however, seems to indicate that their affair is over, for he has gotten what he wanted—the money with which he could make his name.
Lucien is revealed to have been a rather cynical lover after all, loyal only to himself in the final analysis. He and the Baroness have made money speculating on the financial markets, and Lucien can use this money to build an independent reputation in Paris. Lucien also recognizes that the Baroness’s name, once so prominent, has now been tarnished by her husband’s and Eugenie’s scandals. Thus Lucien does what, he believes, any young and ambitious man in his situation would do: he takes what money he has, cuts ties with the woman to whom he was somewhat devoted, and moves along with his life. For the Baroness, however, this news is utterly devastating.
In an apartment above, Albert tells Mercedes of his plans for the future. Albert has pawned some of his objects, enough that the two can travel together to Marseille, and from there Albert will ship to France, for he has joined the foreign legion to make his living. Mercedes, for her part, will live in a convent or some other accommodation in Marseille. In leaving the apartment, Albert runs into Lucien, and Albert bids his former friend adieu, saying that, with his name now lost, he must remake himself elsewhere. Looking on from afar, the Count wonders what he might do to “bring happiness” to Albert and Mercedes, whose lives he has, indirectly, brought to ruin.
Lucien also seems unwilling to offer any help to his friend Albert. Of course, he seems to recognize that Albert must leave the country whether he wants to or not. But Lucien is revealed again to be a man more interested in his own concerns than the wellbeing of his friends and lovers. Thus the narrator, and Dumas, paint a scandalous portrait of French social life at the time – where people seem often to be more concerned with their own social progress than with the happiness and safety of those close to them.