The dinner is served, and everyone eats heartily, if somewhat suspiciously, the various delights the Count has assembled, including fish from as far away as Russia, carried to the table in specially-fitted water-carriages. After the meal, the Count takes the guests on a tour of the estate, and when he shows them a room in which, he avers, a crime has been committed, Madame Danglars swoons and Villefort rises to comfort her.
The Count demonstrates two things in this section. First, he shows that he is capable of bringing in some of the most extreme and expensive delights in all the known (European) world. And second, he makes clear to Villefort and Hermine that he is aware of some crime committed in the house, without explicitly stating that Villefort and Hermine are involved – thus causing them additional agony at the thought of being found out in front of some of the luminaries of French society.
Villefort and Debray (Madame Danglars’ lover) wonder if maybe the Baroness has had too much wine with dinner, or if the Count’s ominous tone for the evening has scared her. But the Count insists a crime really was committed in the house, and as others care for Madame Danglars, the Count asks Villefort to help him “take a statement” on this crime, in Villefort’s capacity as the crown prosecutor. The Count claims, misleadingly, that in his renovations his men dug up the skeleton of a newborn child in the garden just beyond the walls of that “haunted” room.
In another instance of dramatic irony, the reader knows that the Count is fibbing here. The Count knows that the child who was to be buried in that garden was exhumed by Bertuccio, and that he grew into Andrea, who is also present. But the Count does not reveal all this information at once. Instead, it’s as though he lowers a net over all the people assembled at his home, slowly ensnaring them in the revenge he has planned for years.
Though Villefort seems to be holding himself together as much as a he can, the Count notices, and the narrator relates, that he whispers into the Baroness’s ear that he’d like to speak with her as soon as he can. The Baroness, awakened from her swoon, says she will do this as soon as they leave Auteuil.
The reader understands that Villefort wishes to clear the air with Hermine. The other guests assembled, though they understand that Hermine is upset, have not yet put together that Villefort and Hermine are two of the “criminals” to whom the Count refers in his discussions of the house.