Eugenie requests a formal meeting with Danglars, in whom she confides that she no longer wishes to marry anyone, especially Andrea Cavalcanti, who seems fine enough to her but has no charm beyond his bare good looks. Danglars, for his part, says that he largely respects Eugenie’s wishes, but says that he is ruined financially, and that he needs the capital Andrea can provide in order to guarantee his current loans and speculate on a railway with other investors. He asks Eugenie to go through the motions of signing the contract and marrying Andrea so that this loan and his good name can be secured.
This is the first acknowledgment Danglars makes about his financial situation. For many chapters, it has seemed that Danglars has sustained heavy losses on the markets, but he has not yet admitted that these losses are more than he can bear. The Count, then, has succeeded in eroding the Baron’s fortunes, forcing the Baron to look for other avenues for wealth – including a marriage to Andrea, whom he believes to be a nobleman.
Eugenie agrees to this, although she insists that she has her own secret plan, which she will not divulge to her father and that will not, she insists, interrupt his plan for obtaining the loan from Andrea. Danglars seems to appreciate this negotiation on Eugenie’s part, and they shake hands before Eugenie readies herself to visit the Villeforts with her mother.
Danglars seems to respect a certain kind of financial negotiation, as Eugenie has offered her father here. Eugenie seems to know this as well, and so has given herself some bargaining room as she figures out what to do with the idea of a potential marital match to Andrea.