The notary arrives, and wonders if he will be able to serve a man in Noirtier’s condition, as he fears that Noirtier’s disability is not only physical but mental, and that, therefore, he would not be in a position to make a change to his will and testament. But Valentine demonstrates that she is in fact capable of interpreting Noirtier’s speech, and Noirtier himself shows that he is sound of mind by accurately accounting for the 900,000 francs that he has in government bonds—doing this by means of nodding and blinking to Valentine’s and the notary’s questions. The notary is therefore satisfied that Noirtier is in a position to draw up a new will.
The notary is a representative of official authority, and he insists on performing this addendum to Noirtier’s will by the book. The novel has an interesting under-layer of institutional life, as depicted in Villefort’s encounters with the French crown early on and in the Count’s dealings with various bankers and real estate officials. Although oftentimes these officials lay down rules that other characters skirt around, here the notary insists on being scrupulous in his dealings.
Through more nodding, Noirtier expresses that he will disinherit everyone in his family, including Valentine, should Villefort proceed with his wish of marrying Valentine to Franz. Noirtier suggests that he objects to this marriage on principle, and that, should it be done, Noirtier will instead give all his money to the poor.
With this Noirtier mounts his defense of Valentine’s right to marry whomever she pleases. It would be devastating for the family for Noirtier’s money to go not to Valentine but to a charity, so Noirtier believes his son would never allow this to happen.
The notary draws up this will, and Villefort announces that, in his position as crown prosecutor, he is no position to contest his father’s wishes and dispute money that is otherwise marked for the poor. Valentine is overjoyed that her grandfather is trying with all his might to stand in the way of her proposed marriage to Franz, although it is unclear whether Noirtier will convince her father, ultimately, of renouncing the match he seems to want so desperately.
Villefort leaves the door open that, although he will not contest his father’s actions, he might nevertheless proceed with the match between Valentine and Franz because he believes it is to the social credit of the family for the two to marry. Villefort and his father, then, are locked in a kind of war over control of the family – and although Villefort appears to be more powerful in French society, his father is an admirable combatant within the home.