Baroness Danglars visits Villefort at his offices, coming in incognito so as to avoid the attention of others. Villefort does not mince words: he tells her that someone seems to be onto both the details of their affair twenty years ago and the death of the child. Based on the dinner at Auteuil, Villefort believes that the Count must know all, although he’s not sure how Monte Cristo could have found out, as neither Villefort nor Baroness Danglars has told anyone about their tryst.
Villefort demonstrates some of his abilities as a prosecutor, noting what the reader already knows: that the Count is aware of his and Hermine’s past misdeeds. Villefort nevertheless really believes that their secret is still hidden – that no one alive could have knowledge of it. But it appears strange that Villefort does not think of the man who tried to kill him, who might still be alive.
Villefort reveals that, when Bertuccio stabbed him, he crawled inside to the Baroness, able to survive the wound. After his convalescence in the south, Villefort tells the Baroness, who was not aware before, how he dug in the garden to try to find the body of their illegitimate child, only to discover that Bertuccio had taken it. Villefort was able to track the child to a foundling hospital nearby, but he found no information on the family who adopted him. Villefort wonders if the child is still alive and, if so, where he is living—he also wonders how the Count could have figured out the sordid tale of Villefort’s life, which, as he tells the Baroness mysteriously, is filled with other deeds of which he’d rather not speak.
What is striking is that Villefort was indeed nearly able to track down Bertuccio, but after Bertuccio’s common-law wife Assunta adopted Benedetto, the trail went cold for Villefort. In these pages, Villefort emerges as a man haunted by the things he’s done in the past, but also a man unwilling to atone for these misdeeds. Instead, he only wishes to continue covering them up, to do what he can to keep them from ruining his and Hermine’s reputations in Paris.