The Count of Monte Cristo (Chapters 45 through 49)

Chapter 45: The Vendetta

Bertuccio begins his story by explaining that his brother was killed during the French Revolution, and that when he confronted the procurer du roi, Gerard de Villefort, he simply dismissed the death and refused to acknowledge the violence. Villefort insists that “Every revolution has its catastrophes”, and that Bertuccio’s brother was a casualty, not worth the time and effort required to obtain justice. This argument makes Bertuccio incredibly angry, and he vows to kill Villefort for his heartlessness.

Because he knew that Villefort met his mistress at her home in Auteuil, Bertuccio waited for him there, hiding in the gardens. When Villefort materializes, he is carrying a small box, containing what Bertuccio thinks is some kind of treasure. Bertuccio reveals himself, stabs Villefort, and steals the box. When he opens the box, he’s surprised to discover a small baby, likely the result of Villefort’s ongoing affair. The baby is nearly blue with suffocation, but Bertuccio manages to revive the child with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. He secretly drops off the child at a hospital for a few months, later allowing his sister, Assunta, to collect the baby and raise as her own. They name the boy Benedetto, but soon discover that the child has taken after his father’s nasty disposition. He is an absolute terror, wrecking havoc on all their lives, later torturing Assunta nearly to death in order to steal what little possessions she owned. Feeling as though he was bound to the child’s welfare, Bertuccio makes one last effort to set Benedetto on the “right path” before embarking on his next smuggling excursion.

It is during this job in France, facing the threat of oncoming custom-house officers, that he races to a nearby home for shelter. The home, as it turns out, happens to be the dwelling of Gaspard Caderousse and his wife, La Carconte. While in hiding, he overhears the couple speaking with a jeweller. They are trying to sell their diamond. Oh, what a small world it is… The characters and their motives are finally coming to light. It becomes very evident that, as Bertuccio is listening to the diamond deal unfold that something sinister is brewing. The jeweller, M. Joannes, will not budge on the price of the diamond. He will only give 40,000 francs. The couple wants 50,000, but he refuses. He does, however, offer a few extra pieces of gold, but will not provide more than 40,000 francs for the diamond. It’s difficult to tell if the jeweller is honestly assessing the worth of the diamonds, but Caderousse and his wife will not settle for anything less than 50,000 francs. They finally accept 40, but the energy in the room darkens. Rain is falling hard, and the tension builds. M. Joannes makes an attempt at leaving, but the rain is too heavy, and he must return to the home of Caderousse, where he is invited to spend the night.

Chapter 46: The Rain of Blood

I don’t think it takes a brain surgeon or a rocket scientist to predict the contents of chapter 46, addequately titled “The Rain of Blood”. Sure enough, once the jeweller settles into bed, M. Caderousse readies his weapons. What unfolds, however, is a little surprising. Yes, the jeweller is predictably killed, stabbed, but La Carconte does not escape the violence. She is killed by one of M. Caderousse’s pistols. When Bertuccio springs to action, he comes across the body of M. Joannes. Unfortunately, the jeweller cannot survive the wounds, and dies soon after. Bertuccio, being the super-duper lucky guy he is, is apprehended by a troup of soldiery, who believe he is responsible for the violence. Thankfully, one officer believes him, and looks for the mysterious Abbé Busoni on his behalf, someone who could vouch for Bertuccio’s innocence, and verify the story of Caderousse’s diamond. Of course, we all know that the Abbé is none other than Dantés. Once the Abbé arrives to clear Bertuccio’s name, he recommends the smuggler find employment with the Count of Monte Cristo.

It is at this point that Bertuccio’s story comes to an end, culminating in Caderousse’s capture. The Count thanks his man for the information, then everyone retires for the evening. Then, just as the chapter is about to end, the Count’s Greek mistress enters the scene.

Chapter 47: Unlimited Credit

Banker M. Danglars has arrived at The Count of Monte Cristo’s “humble abode” to pay a visit, but is immediately turned away. After Danglars leaves, he demands to know why Danglars should possess two of the most beautiful horses in all of Paris. He demands that Bertuccio purchase them immediately. (The Count’s character is becoming increasingly indignant…) Bertuccio does as instructed and returns with the horses, after paying some insanely high, stupid price. The Count, of course, is trying to prove a point. Everything can be bought for the right price. Everything is for sale.

The banker doesn’t know what to think of this rude reception. He has just received a note from Thomson and French (sound familiar?), insisting that the Count be given an unlimited amount of credit. Danglars can’t comprehend such a notice; he can’t wrap his head around that kind of wealth. Finally, the Count and Danglars meet and the particulars of this permission for “unlimited credit” are discussed. The count throws around numbers like one and six million francs, and Danglars is eternally shocked. They have a battle of words about titles and rank. It becomes increasingly clear that Danglars is impressed by the Count’s crazy, unimaginable weath. He immediately promises that the Count will have access to whatever funds he desires. Then, as the conversation comes to an end, he suggests introducing the Count to his wife.

Chapter 48: The Dappled Grays

Madame Danglars is just as impressed by the Count’s wealth as her husband. She can barely contain herself, really. Even though she’s pretending, it’s obvious that her blood is boiling in the presence of all that money. They talk about Paris and all there is to do in the city during the summer. Just as Madame Danglars asks the Count if he is “fond of horses”, her steward enters the room and quietly tells the Madame her horses are missing. Well, it appears that M. Danglars sold his wife’s horses to the Count without asking permission!! When she discovers this, she is livid. Her husband insists that the price was right, that they made a great profit, but this is of no consolation to the vain Madame Danglars. As the fight heats up, the Count quietly makes his exit. Then, with a fecitious note, returns the horses to the Danglars family.

When the Count arrives home, he asks Ali if he’s ever lassoed a tiger, a lion, an ox. If you’re confused, so was I. I’m not sure how the Count predicted this would happen but, after positioning Ali on the street near his home, the infamous horses, Madame Danglars’ prized dappled grays, come roaring around the corner. Ali captures the horses just as they were about to tear down the street, carrying a carriage of mother and child with it. Apparently, Villefort’s second wife, along with her young son, were so curious about the horses after all the city gossip, they decided to take the beasts for a spin. Madame de Villefort can’t be more thankful, and is just as impressed with the Count’s weath as everyone else.  She writes a letter to Madame Danglars, expressing her deep shock and awe. The Count is officially the talk of the town.

Chapter 49: Ideology

You may be wondering, “I thought Villefort was dead!” but no he’s not. When Bertuccio stabbed him, he merely injured the man. Villefort returns in chapter 49, when he visits the Count to express his deepest thanks for saving his wife and child from the rogue horses. This chapter, however, is a strange one, because for the first time, we sink our teeth into the Count’s philosophy. Yes, we know he’s vengeful but, in this chapter, a thoughtful (and beligerent) conversation unfolds between the two men about justice, god, and death, ethnicity, and culture.

They take an immediate dislike to one another. The tension is thick and uncomfortable. Finally, they part ways, neither feeling especially satisfied from the outcome.

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