Still in a good mood, Maximilien walks to the Villefort home, where he is scheduled to meet with Valentine (who is now free of her engagement to Franz) and Noirtier. Valentine interprets for her grandfather and says that, either when she reaches the age of eighteen or if her father consents, she and Noirtier will move out of the house and Noirtier will serve as her protector. In these new lodgings, with Valentine’s independent means from Noirtier and her maternal grandparents, she will receive Morrel as her official suitor, and if their relationship progresses, they can marry. Morrel is overwhelmed at this news and he thanks Noirtier deeply and profusely.
Morrel believes he is one step closer to marrying Valentine. Morrel is frustrated that events do not move more quickly, but he is also motivated by conflicting desires. On the one hand, he loves and is devoted to Valentine because of her firmness of moral resolve; he does not want them to elope. On the other, he feels his love quite passionately, and worries that something might happen in the coming days that will make their marriage impossible – that other people might interfere with their happiness somehow.
Barrois, who is overheated from the summer’s day, has a drink of the lemonade found in a jug in Noirtier’s room. Suddenly, without warning, he falls over of a stroke, similar to that experienced by the Saint-Merans. The same doctor who warned Villefort of poisoning before happens to be in the house, tending to Edouard, and so he comes down to care for Barrois, but it is too late—he cannot be saved, and he dies of his seizure. The doctor confirms that the lemonade is poisoned by pouring it onto another chemical tincture, causing it to change color. At this incontrovertible proof, Villefort collapses into a chair, for there is “death in his house.”
This is an instance of vengeance that has been misplaced. The poisoner in the home, of course, did not intend to harm the servant Barrois, but instead to kill off Noirtier, who stands in the way of Valentine’s marriage and her relationship to the other characters in the Villefort home. Although the reader might suspect that Mme de Villefort is the culprit, since she has much to gain from all these poisonings, Villefort himself remains baffled by the events in his home.