The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo

by

Alexandre Dumas

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The Count of Monte Cristo: Chapter 40 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The Count continues telling his fantastical tales, including that he takes self-prepared pills of hashish and opium when he is tired from a long journey—he goes so far as to show one of the pills to the young men, and also speaks to them of the valuable emerald that he had installed in the hilt of his sword. He also describes giving another such emerald to secure a man’s freedom. Albert correctly guesses that this man was Peppino, in Rome, and the Count smiles. But Albert then wonders why the Count would help him, against Vampa and his men, without knowing him. To this, the Count replies, in front of the others, that Albert was indeed no stranger to him, and that he had already planned, for some time, that Albert was to introduce the Count around Paris.
The Count’s comments at the end of this section can be interpreted in two ways. When the Count insists that Albert was not a stranger to him, Albert and the other take this to mean that the Count and Albert had become fast friends in Rome – that they were neighbors in the apartments controlled by Pastrini. But of course, the Count could also mean that he has spent some time studying the family of Fernand Morcerf, including his wife and son, so that he might better exact his revenge on Fernand.
Themes
Justice, Revenge, and God’s Will Theme Icon
Debt and Gratitude Theme Icon
The Domestic and the Foreign Theme Icon
Albert reveals that he is engaged to the daughter of the Baron Danglars, now one of the most prominent bankers in Paris, and says that her name is Eugenie. The Count seems both delighted and somewhat startled by this information, though he recovers himself and says only that he will be meeting with Danglars soon to open an account at the man’s bank. The Count also mentions the name of the firm Thomson and French, claiming that it is his banking concern in Rome, and at this name M. Morrel starts, as he of course recognizes it as the firm that saved his father’s life so many years ago. Morrel says as much to the Count, and asks that the Count might visit him, his sister Julie, and his brother-in-law Emmanuel some day soon in the city, to which the Count agrees.
The Count had not known that Albert was intertwined with the relative of another of his targets of revenge, and so views this connection as a means by which he (the Count) might come closer to Danglars, and perhaps also to Villefort, who is living in Paris as well. Importantly, Morrel notes that Thomson and French is the firm to which he and his family attribute their salvation, but Morrel is unable to recognize the Count as the envoy from that very same firm – as the Count’s identity has been altered substantially enough to make the drawing of this connection impossible for the young man, who only saw the envoy for a short time many years ago.
Themes
Justice, Revenge, and God’s Will Theme Icon
Debt and Gratitude Theme Icon
The Domestic and the Foreign Theme Icon
Albert asks where the Count is staying in Paris, and he replies, to the group’s astonishment, that his Nubian servant, Ali, whom Franz met on Monte Cristo, has been dispatched to Paris to find a place on the Champs-Elysees, the most exclusive address in the city. Albert wonders who else is serving the Count in Paris, to which he answers that Bertuccio, one of the smugglers whom the Count had serving him on Monte Cristo and who procured his apartment in Rome, is also taking on the role of servant in the city.
Atop all the fantastical stories that the Count has already told to the assembled company, they are most flabbergasted at the thought that the Count has already purchased, sight-unseen, a giant house in Paris, and that he has managed to staff it with servants in short order. Thus the young men begin to realize the kind of man they are dealing with – someone whose ways seem to them reminiscent of an Eastern emperor.
Themes
Justice, Revenge, and God’s Will Theme Icon
Debt and Gratitude Theme Icon
The Domestic and the Foreign Theme Icon
The other men take their leave of the group, one by one, going about their business for the day and floored by the Count’s exotic stories, enormous wealth, and impulsive decision-making, as in a day he has established himself as a gentleman in Rome. Albert and the Count end the chapter alone at the breakfast table.
Although the Count has enjoyed meeting the other young men – and has had a hard time concealing his excitement at seeing the young Morrel again – he seems to be most inclined to spend time with Albert alone, and with Albert’s parents, to whom he is shortly to be introduced.
Themes
Justice, Revenge, and God’s Will Theme Icon
Debt and Gratitude Theme Icon
The Domestic and the Foreign Theme Icon
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