The Morcerf ball is held on a hot July night, and many gather to celebrate, though they complain of the heat. Danglars learns from the Count, when he makes his much-anticipated arrival, that some of his German debtors have lost their fortunes too, meaning increasing losses for Danglars. But Danglars warns the Count not to speak of his fortune in front of Andrea Cavalcanti, whom Danglars hopes to marry to Eugenie.
It is revealed that the Count has continued to erode the Baron’s fortunes through further manipulation of the foreign stock markets. Incredibly, the Count’s machinations only make the Baron more willing to marry his daughter to Andrea, because the Baron believes that Andrea is worth a good deal of money and comes from a noble family.
The Count finally makes his way to Mercedes, who greats him kindly if formally. The Count offers to open the windows and doors and walk out together into the garden, to which Mercedes agrees. Previously, Mercedes had noted to her son that the Count has never eaten or drunk anything in anyone’s presence in Paris, and she wonders aloud if there is some reason for this mystery. She vows to test it.
Once again, it’s made clear that the Count never eats or drinks when he is before Mercedes. This mystery is now freshly in the reader’s mind, as Mercedes prepares to have a conversation with the Count, but it is unclear why the Count would insist on so strange a scruple as this.