Maximilien Morrel, fresh from the aborted duel, goes to visit Valentine at the Villefort home, where she announces that she has decided that finally she and Noirtier will move out together into their own quarters. Mme Danglars and Eugenie visit Mme de Villefort to announce that Eugenie will be marrying Andrea Cavalcanti, and though Eugenie says she does not wish to marry at all, she says it is at least better that she marry Andrea than a man disgraced.
This is another instance of dramatic irony, for the reader understands that Andrea himself is an imposter, and as previous events in the novel have indicated, it seems only a matter of time until Andrea’s past is also brought to light. Eugenie is a fascinating character, one who attempts to make her own life in a society where this kind of independence for women is rarely possible.
Valentine has been feeling faint and unwell, and she tells Maximilien that Noirtier has prescribed to her the same potion that he drinks in large quantities, as a medicine for his own condition. This same potion is what the doctor formerly described as a poison which, in preparatory doses, can be used actually to prevent poisoning, if one builds up resistance to it slowly. Coming to pay respects to the Danglars, Valentine excuses herself, falls ill again, and collapses in another room near Noirtier and Morrel, who immediately call for help.
For many chapters the groundwork has seemingly been laid for Valentine’s poisoning. Although it has not been stated explicitly that Mme de Villefort is the poisoner, it always seemed unlikely that Valentine was the culprit. Now that Valentine has fallen ill, this gives even more credence to the idea that it is Mme de Villefort who is to blame. The question now is the emergency of Valentine’s condition, and whether she will be able to survive this sickness.