Danglars introduces the Count to his wife, Madame Danglars (also known as Hermine), and to Lucien Debray, whom the Count already met at Albert de Morcerf’s breakfast. Lucien has spoken very highly of the Count to everyone he’s met, including the Danglars, and Hermine is charmed by the Count as well. Danglars, however, still treats the Count with some mixture of servitude and condescension. Danglars announces to Hermine that the Count intends to spend 6 million francs in his first year in Paris, and that his bank will begin by lending him half a million to get started.
Danglars’s announcing of the Count’s plans is, like all Danglars’s actions, mixed with both anxiety and self-importance. Danglars wishes to make fun of the Count, showing that he is interested in blowing an enormous fortune in Paris despite the fact that he is a social unknown. But Danglars also fears the Count, fears the wealth he has accumulated, and is impressed by the man’s ability to throw away as much money in a year as people spend many lifetimes trying to make.
Hermine reports that, that morning, she learned from her footman that someone had purchased her two most prized horses, the “dapple greys” that were the talk of Paris. Danglars admits, with embarrassment, that someone offered double for the horses that morning, and they were sold. Hermine is angry at this, and disparages Danglars for always wanting to turn a profit, no matter the costs. At this, Lucien realizes, looking out the window, that these very same dapple greys have been harnessed to the Count’s barouche; he is the one who purchased them.
The Count’s plot has succeeded in its first small and frustrating (for Danglars) way. The Count has shown to Hermine that the Baron is petty, willing always to turn a profit even if it inconveniences his wife. The Count also allows himself an opportunity to ingratiate himself further with Hermine, one of the most famous women in Paris. The Count’s plans for revenge are off to a smooth start.
Danglars is once again embarrassed by the Count, who, since the morning, has taken every opportunity to imply that Danglars is nouveau riche, not a banker on the level of the Rothschilds, and otherwise a social newcomer. The Count takes his leave, having satisfied his desire to meet Danglars and his wife, and later that day he sends back the horses to Hermine, without charge, along with diamonds sewn into their harnesses—again embarrassing Danglars.
Danglars is a fascinating counterpoint to Caderousse, his former “partner” in the plot in Marseille. Caderousse believes himself to be a man of rotten luck, and does not feel he is capable of making money in French high society. Danglars, on the other hand, considers himself a canny and successful financial speculator. Thus the Count, as part of his revenge, wants to tear away this part of Danglars’s reputation, demonstrating that Danglars makes foolish choices with money.
But the Count’s plan is not finished. He heads to Auteuil with Ali and makes an additional arrangement: that Ali prepare to stop a carriage of wild, bolting horses that, for some reason, the Count understands will soon be approaching on the road outside his door. Within minutes, a young woman named Heloise de Villefort and her son Edouard cry out from the back of a barouche, driven by the very same dapple-grey horses of Hermine’s. Ali, with his whip, manages to trip up the dapple greys without harming them, and the Count comes outside to find Heloise and Edouard, who had been borrowing Hermine’s horses on hearing that the Count had bought them for a day.
The Count has somehow found out that Heloise de Villefort and her son Edouard will be using these famed dapple-grays. Although this scene appears strange as it unfolds, it allows the Count an opportunity to make the acquaintance of the family of Villefort. Thus, after only a few days in Paris, the Count has managed to ingratiate himself with men connected to the four plotters – Villefort, via his second wife; Danglars; Caderousse, via Bertuccio (and the Count, as the Abbe, has already met with Caderousse); and Fernand, via Albert.
Heloise says that they are indebted to the Count and to Ali for their help in saving them, and Heloise admits that she has heard a great deal about the Count from her close friend Hermine, who was dazzled by him. The Count replies that Ali was only doing what he is trained to do—Ali is the Count’s slave and must therefore do whatever he says, even to the point of risking his life—because, as the Count insists, he owns Ali. Edouard, peevish and ungrateful, calls Ali ugly, and Heloise is embarrassed by her son’s behavior. But she thanks the Count several more times and, the next day, her husband (Villefort) pays a visit of thanks to the Count’s house on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.
Another debt is introduced into the text. The Count turns this indebtedness to complex ends: he says that he would do anything for a woman in distress, and that she need not thank Ali, who must do anything the Count says. Ali is the Count’s slave, devoted to him with his entire life; and the Count is (supposedly) devoted to Villefort’s wife, since she is a woman of nobility, and he, a gentleman, would do anything to protect her from harm. Of course, this latter indebtedness is really an excuse for the Count to get to know the Villefort family more closely.