Villefort calls on the doctor who had warned him about the poisoning in his family, and after hearing that it is Valentine who has now fallen ill—Valentine whom the doctor initially suspected of the crime—he agrees to help Villefort in finding the true criminal. The doctor arrives at the Villefort home and questions Noirtier, who admits in his sign-language to having prepared Valentine by administering to her protective doses of brucine, the poison, in order to inoculate her against possible attack. The doctor thanks Noirtier for saving Valentine’s life.
The doctor discovers practice the method that, long ago, the Count discussed with Mme de Villefort. Noirtier, in his wisdom, saw that Valentine was going to be a target of poisoning in the home, and so he used a small amount of poison to build up Valentine’s tolerance, allowing her to suffer larger doses without immediately succumbing to them. The doctor recognizes how clever and compassionate Noirtier’s care for Valentine has been.
In parallel, Maximilien runs to the house of the Count, begging him for help, since there is a murderer in the Villefort house. Morrel finally admits to the Count that he is in love with and wishes to marry Valentine. As devoted as the Count is to Morrel, this harms his plan, for the Count has sworn vengeance against Villefort and calls Valentine the child of a “dangerous breed.” At this, however, the Count says he will ponder what best to do. After the doctor has finished checking up on Valentine and realizes that she will survive this poisoning attack, the narrator relates that the Abbe Busoni has purchased the house next to the Villeforts, the house whose garden Morrel has tended as a way of courting Valentine.
This is another complication to the Count’s plan. The Count wants to elevate Young Morrel, to name him as his son and heir, as indicated in previous chapters. But if Maximilien is joined to the Villefort family, the Count finds himself in a conundrum, for he wants to destroy the Villeforts. With this said, however, the episode with Albert and Mercedes has helped him to separate the innocent from the guilty, even within a family. Thus, after much thought, he seems open to the possibility that he can disentangle helping Valentine from harming Villefort.