The Count picks up Maximilien, saying goodbye to Julie and Emmanuel, who thank the Count once again for his service to Julie’s father so many years ago. The Count says that, although Morrel is now despondent over the death of Valentine, he will take him away traveling and return Morrel to his family in far greater spirits than his present state. They depart first for Marseille.
The Count has two reasons for wanting to leave Paris. First, he wishes to take Young Morrel’s mind off the supposed loss of Valentine. Second, he still has a few more places he’d like to visit before he himself leaves behind the life of the Count of Monte Cristo.
In Marseille, they spot Albert heading out on a ship to Africa, where he will begin his career as a soldier. When Maximilien goes off to pray at his father’s grave, the Count makes his way to his father’s old apartment, where he finds Mercedes living in grief at the loss of her son. The two have a heartfelt conversation, in which Mercedes curses her decision not to have waited for Edmond, and Edmond wonders aloud if he has taken his vengeance “too far.” They part, acknowledging the love they once shared for one another and all the misfortunes they have suffered in the ensuing two decades. The Count believes he will not see Mercedes ever again.
This is an extremely important emotional moment in the text. The Count acknowledges that he has allowed his vengeance to take over his life, and Mercedes acknowledges that she should have waited for Dantes, and should have hoped that he was going to return to her. Both characters have made mistakes over the years, and both see the love that they’ve shared, as complex and fraught as it’s been, as an important part of their lives.