Dantes wakes up the next morning with a set of plans in mind. He knows he cannot stay on the island forever, simply “counting his money,” and must instead use that money to begin his longstanding plan for revenge. First, he fills his pockets with precious jewels—enough to make any man’s lifetime fortune, in themselves—and covers all traces of his work in the center of the island, even replanting grasses and flowers to make it seem that no one was walked up the high paths for many years. He goes back down to the shore and waits for the Jeune-Amelie, which arrives after several days, and though he tells them he is feeling better, he still pretends to be nursing a serious injury.
Another man might behave rashly with the fortune Dantes has stumbled upon, or might dream of what he could now buy. But Dantes has trained himself too vigorously for that. He realizes that this fortune has made him, overnight, a target, as anyone who knows of its whereabouts will attempt to seize it by force. He thus puts into place a series of plans, some of which he appears to formulate on the spot, to protect his wealth and begin his longer-term project of revenge against those who betrayed him.
Dantes sails with the Jeune-Amelie to Leghorn, where he puts in, having now completed his three-month contract with Baldi and the ship. He sells four of the precious stones, without alerting the rest of the crew, to a banker in Leghorn, netting 20,000 francs. Then he turns to Jacopo and gives him money to buy and outfit his own vessel, to be sailed as part of Dantes’ command. Although Jacopo is surprised to learn that Dantes has come into money so quickly, he has long thought that Dantes was of “superior” social stock to the rest of the smugglers. Dantes explains to him, and later to the captain, that he has learned at Leghorn that he has come into a very large inheritance from a distant relative, and the sailors, all remarking on Dantes’ exceptional and noble nature, find this explanation completely plausible.
Just as the captain of the Jeune-Amelie wondered if Dantes was actually the escaped prisoner from the Chateau D’If, Jacopo, too, wonders if Dantes is actually a nobleman in disguise. Both the captain and Jacopo are then perfectly willing to believe that Dantes is not who he says he is – that he has been wearing a disguise or mask with them, to pursue his own affairs. But Dantes’ good nature and skill as a sailor more than make up for this ambiguity as to his exact identity, and both the captain and Jacopo are willing to put up with it out of loyalty to him.
After he finds and outfits the boat and crew, Dantes dispatches Jacopo to sail to Marseille and report on the presence of his father and a woman named Mercedes, then to meet Dantes back on the island of Monte Cristo. Jacopo agrees to this and sets off. Dantes heads to Genoa, finds a boat being built for a rich Englishman, and buys it from the builders. As he sets sail out of Genoa, alone, those on the shore marvel at the wealthy man and where he might be setting sail for; no one guesses that it’s to Monte Cristo.
The decision-making evident in these scenes will come to be identified with the behavior of the Count of Monte Cristo. That is, the Count is accustomed to buying whatever he sees, at whatever price, sometimes paying ostentatiously more for something than any other man would. Dantes wants a ship in this scene, and so he buys one being made for someone else, without fear of any possible consequences.
Dantes lands at Monte Cristo and, having anchored the vessel (in which the shipbuilders have constructed secret compartments), he loads, all alone, his treasure onto the ship over a period of many days. After about a week, Jacopo sails to him in his own ship, purchased with Dantes’ initial investment, and tells him the sorry news: Old Dantes is no longer alive, and Mercedes has “vanished.” Dantes conceals his response from Jacopo, going off into the center of the island alone for two hours. When he returns, he takes on some of the crew members, and the two ships make for Marseille.
Dantes’ behavior in this scene exactly mirrors his behavior in the Chateau D’If, when, in conversation with the Abbe, the two men deduced the four plotters who placed Dantes unjustly in prison. Dantes does not show his emotions openly, and does not wish to betray to Jacopo his deep sadness at the thought of his father’s death and Mercedes’ absence. But these events become, like the identity of the plotters, the engines of his revenge.
As he approaches the port there, Dantes worries that he will be taken for the criminal Dantes and put back into the Chateau D’If. But he also knows that, having shaved his face and hair, he no longer resembles that criminal in the slightest, and the events of the past fourteen years have rendered him unrecognizable to anyone in Marseille who might have known him as a young man. When he alights at Marseille with his English passport (purchased at Leghorn), he breezes past the gendarmes and past a sailor he knew from his days on the Pharaon, Morrel’s vessel. He gives that sailor a large tip for no reason other than charity, and continues on his way to his father’s house.
Dantes goes to great lengths throughout the novel to conceal himself, to take on other names and costumes, even to affect foreign accents. But here he realizes that the events of his life in prison and the great excitement of the treasure have changed his face thoroughly. He can walk through the streets of Marseille without being noticed because he has become a different person in important physical ways, even though many of his skills, abilities, and passions remain the same.
Dantes mounts the stairs to his father’s old two-room apartment, and he finds a surprised, poor couple inside. He recognizes nothing of his father’s habitation of 15 years before, and when he leaves the apartment, he finds the landlord and buys the entire building, offering the couple from upstairs free lodgings anywhere else in the apartment complex except those top rooms, which Dantes (calling himself Lord Wilmore, the name on his English passport) reserves for himself.
This is another example of the “new” Dantes’ quick decision-making. His father’s apartment was once a site of happiness and love for him, and is now a place he associates with his father’s demise. Although it is not clear for what purpose Dantes purchases the apartment and building, it is evident that in doing so, he has inaugurated the use of a new identity for financial matters: the English banker Lord Wilmore.
Dantes then heads to Les Catalans and asks after Fernand and Mercedes. No one has heard anything of those two either for about 15 years. Dantes, to thank the Catalans for their efforts, buys them some new sailing vessels and nets. But before the inhabitants can thank him or ask where he has come from and what his business is in Marseille, Dantes is off again, on horseback, toward a town called Beaucaire. There, he has learned from the landlord of his father’s apartment, Caderousse has moved and become the manager of a small inn with his wife.
Les Catalans has always been a place of “foreignness” tucked away within the French city of Marseille. The residents of Les Catalans are Spanish, according to family history, and have generally lived separately from the rest of Marseillais society. Dantes realizes, too, that despite the close family ties of this region, no one has any idea what’s become of Fernand and Mercedes, who appear to have moved away long ago.