Franz goes to a party hosted by a Duke that evening, at which Countess G and other Roman luminaries are present. There, some of the other guests become worried that no one has heard from Albert, and at this moment Franz is called outside by a messenger, who claims he has a note from Albert. The note is a ransom letter, with Albert asking for a large sum of money, and with an addendum signed in the hand of Luigi Vampa, saying that, if Albert’s ransom is not brought that night, the young man will be shot the next morning.
It is perhaps no surprise that Vampa returns to the narrative, and that Albert, who seemed unafraid of him earlier, would be caught in his web. As is the case throughout the text, when characters are introduced and when violent or dangerous circumstances are hinted at, they often reappear later on. This structure of the foreshadowing of violence followed by actual violence crops up again and again in the text.
Terrified, Franz goes back to his apartment and finds that the two men between them do not have enough money to pay the ransom. Franz calls on the Count of Monte Cristo, who is home in his neighboring apartment, and who says he will pay the rest of the ransom. In addition, because Franz seems to know that the Count has a connection to Vampa and his men, the Count agrees to accompany Franz to Vampa and to plead their case in person. The messenger from earlier is brought up to the Count’s apartments and is revealed to be Peppino, the man whom the Count ordered pardoned at the guillotine.
Franz begins to realize that the Count’s connections to the underworld of Rome are more pronounced than they first seemed. The Count has arranged for the pardon of Peppino, and Peppino works for Vampa – thus it seems clear, knowing that Vampa and Sinbad once met, that the Count and Vampa have an intimate relationship. Franz seems both shocked by the information and, somehow, not entirely surprised when he thinks about it further. In the Count’s presence, Franz has undergone strange and baffling experiences – as though the Count’s reality is somehow more magical and adventurous and terrifying than others.
The Count, Peppino, and Franz head to the Catacombs of San Sebastian, where Albert is being kept by Vampa. The Count announces himself to the bandits, who treat him as a friend, and when Vampa himself comes out, putting down his copy of Caesar’s Commentaries which he has been quietly reading, he apologizes many times over to the Count, as he did not know that Albert was a friend of the Count’s, and Vampa has promised never to harm anyone in the Count’s circle. It is revealed that the “mysterious woman” in the other carriage during Carnival was in fact Teresa, Vampa’s mistress, and Albert was taken in by the bandits so that he might be swindled.
Teresa, who does not return in the narrative, plays a small role in “seducing” Albert, and thus in allowing for his capture and the eventual ransom. Albert has been tricked, perhaps because he was so willing to find love in Rome that he was less careful than he would have been in other circumstances – or less careful than Franz was. In this section, too, it is proved that the Count has a friendly and intimate relationship with Vampa and his gang – something that Franz has suspected, and causes him to fear the Count.
Franz finds Albert sleeping that evening, and apparently none too worried about his impending demise—he tells Franz he has been having a dream about dancing with the Countess G at the ball at the Duke’s home. The Count arranges for Albert to be set free, with apologies, and Albert and Franz make it in time for the end of the Duke’s ball, at which Albert really does dance with the Countess. Thanking the Count for saving his life, Albert offers the man his hand, and Franz notices that, when the Count shakes it, he does so with a bizarre and very noticeable shudder.
While Franz stays safe and is not captured by Vampa, he demonstrates to the reader that he is afraid of the Count, and afraid of the criminal underworld with which the Count associates. Albert, however, shows a marked sense of adventure – and he acquits himself with coolness and confidence when he is held by the bandits overnight, even though they threaten his life. Albert’s coolness under pressure might be compared to Dantes’ skills and abilities in young life – or perhaps Albert is used to his wealth and social status protecting him no matter the situation.