Franz and Albert go to the Colosseum for their nighttime visit, and when Albert is whisked off through the edifice by a number of Italian guides, Franz walks alone. He overhears a conversation, in the shadows, between a man he later believes to be Sinbad the Sailor, and another he cannot identify. The two men discuss how they will bring about the escape and pardon of a man named Peppino, who is to be executed in two days. Sinbad says he will pay off the authorities to stay the execution and then help Peppino to escape; the other man was going to free him by violence, but he agrees to Sinbad’s plan instead. Franz scurries off before being noticed, and he and Albert return to the hotel, where Franz has trouble falling asleep.
Up till this point, Franz believes Sinbad to be somehow related to the Count of Monte Cristo – perhaps in fact being the same person. And the reader, but not Franz, knows that Sinbad was also the man responsible for passing along the money necessary for the temporary saving of Morrel’s business interests, and for the resurrection of the ship Pharaon. It is becoming clear to more characters, then, that the influence of Sinbad extends vastly in all directions, and seems to be bound up in the otherworldly powers and wealth of the Count of Monte Cristo.
Albert and Franz go to the theater the next day, and Albert complains he is having trouble finding a woman in Italy with whom to have an affair, despite being an eligible and wealthy young bachelor. In the theater, Franz and Albert catch the eyes of a woman named the Countess G, whom Franz knows from Paris, and who was rumored to have been Lord Byron’s mistress. He and Albert go over to her and chat. During this time, Franz catches sight of a striking Albanian woman in Greek dress, and of a shadowy figure behind her, in an opposite box, whom Franz believes to be the Count of Monte Cristo. When he asks Countess G about the man, though, she replies that she is scared of him and she believes he is a vampire. Franz has a deepened sense of unease about the Count and his possible relationship to Sinbad the Sailor, and he accompanies Countess G back to her home.
The idea that the Count is a vampire – an undead character who feasts on the blood of the living – is a chilling one. It seems also, on an intuitive level, to link the Count to a figure of violence and revenge, one who cannot be killed because he does not live the way other men do. The Count’s vampire-like qualities also link him, linguistically, to Luigi Vampa, the criminal lord who is indebted to Sinbad the Sailor, whom Franz believes to be the same person as the Count. The woman in Greek dress, introduced for the first time here, only adds to the Count’s mystique in Roman and, later, in Parisian circles – as no one quite knows where she has come from, and what her relationship to the Count might be.
When Franz and Albert wake up the next day, they learn from Pastrini that the Count of Monte Cristo, rumored to be their neighbor in the hotel, would like to offer them use of a carriage during Carnival and also a place from which to view the festivities. Albert is very happy to learn this, and Franz is anxious to meet this Count and to get to the bottom of the series of mysteries of which he’s been a part since his journey to Monte Cristo with Gaetano. The two men go over to the Count’s apartments, and Franz discovers that this man really is the same as “Sinbad.” Franz does not immediately let on that he’s made this connection.
Just as Mercedes seems not to know the Count at first blush, and as Teresa seems unaware that Vampa is a violent criminal, so, too, is the Count seemingly unaware that he and Franz have spent time together on the island of Monte Cristo. This strange dynamic, in which one character seems not to acknowledge what they know of a given situation, contributes to the sense of tension and unease that run throughout the book – especially as the Count begins in earnest his quest of revenge.