In this brief chapter, the crown prosecutor himself goes to interview (separately) the Abbe Busoni and Lord Wilmore, having learned from the former inspector of prisons that the Count of Monte Cristo has been known to associate with those two men, both of whom live in Paris. First, the Abbe Busoni argues that the Count is the son of a wealthy Maltese shipping magnate, and later Lord Wilmore—who swears he is the enemy of the Count, for obscure reasons—largely echoes this story. Both men state that the Count is simply an arriviste, whose connection to the house in Auteuil is rooted in an interest in converting that space into an asylum. Reassured via this misinformation that the Count has no special knowledge of his past, Villefort “sleeps soundly” that night.
The Count uses his skill in disguising his identity to throw the Crown Prosecutor off his trail. Villefort is a man trained in detective work, so the Count must use every tool at his disposal to keep him off-balance—even if it seems unlikely that Villefort would actually be fooled into thinking Wilmore, Busoni, and the Count are all different people after meeting them each in person. The plot relies on this conceit, however, as Dantes’ alter-egos insist that the Count merely has a love of the macabre, and is not aware of the crime Hermine and Villefort have committed together. This is, therefore, another instance of dramatic irony, in which the reader knows some things that the character, here Villefort, does not.