Peppino, the jailor in the catacombs, announces to Danglars the next day that, if the banker would like to eat, he must pay 100,000 francs for a chicken, or 100,000 francs for a loaf of bread. Peppino says he knows that Danglars is carrying over 5 million francs worth of banknotes on his person, and so he asks that, for each individual item, Danglars pay out 100,000 francs so that he might survive. Danglars realizes this is how his ransom is to be meted out, and he does in fact pay 100,000 francs for a chicken, which he considers rather “thin” as he eats it angrily in the cave.
This is a small, humorous episode in Danglars capture, allowing Vampa, Peppino, and their men to slowly peel away Danglars’ money. It should be noted that this money has effectively been stolen from Boville, who was to use it for charitable ends. Thus, though Vampa is stealing it for himself, he is at least stealing from a thief, one who is doing all he can to maintain his social standing in the face of public shaming.