Short summary - The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas

On February 27, 1815, the three-masted ship "Pharaoh" returned to Marseille from another voyage. Captain Leclair was not destined to set foot on his native land: he died of fever on the high seas. The young sailor Edmond Dantes took over command, fulfilling another last will of the captain: "Pharaoh" enters the island of Elba, where Dantes hands over the package received from Leclair's hands to Marshal Bertrand and meets with the disgraced emperor himself. Dantes is given a letter to be delivered to Paris, to M. Noirtier, one of the conspirators preparing the return to the throne of Napoleon.
The owner of the "Pharaoh" Morrel invites Dantes to officially take over as captain of the ship. The envious accountant of the shipping company Danglars decides to remove Dantes. Together with a retired soldier and now a simple fisherman Fernand Mondego, who competes with Dantes for the right to marry a beautiful Mercedes, and the tailor Cadrusse, who robbed Edmond's father during his voyage, Danglars composes an anonymous letter to the assistant prosecutor Marcel de Villefort. The meaning of the denunciation: Dantes is a secret agent of the Bonapartists. During the interrogation, Dantes without concealment, everything is as it was, tells Villefort about his visit to the Elbe. There is no corpus delicti; Villefort is ready to release the prisoner, but after reading Marshal Bertrand's letter, he realizes: his happiness and his life itself depend on this play of chance. After all, the addressee, M. Noirtier, a dangerous conspirator, is his father! It is not enough to burn the accursed letter, it is necessary to get rid of Dantes, who could unwittingly announce this whole story, and as a result de Villefort will lose not only his place, but also the hand of his bride Rene de Saint-Meran (she is the daughter of an old royalist; views of Mr. Noirtier, his relationship with the groom is a secret for them). Dantes is sentenced to life imprisonment in the Château d'If, a political prison in the middle of the sea, not far from Marseille ...
Five years pass. Dantes is close to despair, he decides to starve to death. Suddenly, one evening, a dull screeching sound is heard beyond the wall. He is not alone here, someone is clearly digging a hole in the direction of his dungeon. Edmond starts digging the oncoming tunnel. Many days of work are rewarded with the joy of meeting a friend in misfortune. Abbot Faria - that is the name of the prisoner from the next cell - spent four years longer than Dantes in the Chateau d'If. Digging his hole, he hoped to make his way to the outer wall of the prison, jump into the sea and run free by swimming. Alas, he made a mistake in his calculations! Edmond consoles the abbot: there are now two of them, which means that they can continue what they started with double energy. The powers of the abbot are running out, soon - when he is close to salvation, he becomes seriously ill. Before his death, he devotes Dantes to the secret of the innumerable treasure hidden by Cardinal Spada on the island of Monte Cristo three hundred years ago.
Having transferred the body of the abbot to his cell, Dantes hides in a bag in which the deceased was put. In the morning, without noticing the substitution, he is thrown into the sea - this is how the inhabitants of the castle of If have been buried since the foundation of the prison. Edmond is saved! Smugglers pick him up. One of them, Jacopo, becomes Dantes' loyal companion. After a few months, Edmond finally reaches the island of Monte Cristo. The treasures of Abbot Faria are truly incalculable.
Over the long years of Dantes' absence, significant changes also took place in the fate of those who were responsible for his suffering, Fernand Mondego rose to the rank of general (now his name is Comte de Morceré). Mercedes became his wife and bore him a son. Danglars is a wealthy banker. De Villefort is the Crown Attorney. Caderousse has said goodbye to a tailor's needle and scissors and runs a country inn. ... God sends a strange guest to Cadrusse. Abbot Busoni, who, according to him, professed the dying Edmond Dantes, must fulfill the last will of the deceased. Dantes handed him a diamond, the money from the sale of which should be divided into five parts: equally - Mercedes, Danglars, Fernand, Cadrus and the old man Dantes. Caderousse is blinded by the brilliance of the diamond. He tells Abbot Busoni that Dantes was agreed by those whom he decided to do good, that Mercedes did not remain faithful to him. Yes, he, Caderousse, witnessed the writing of the denunciation - but what could he do! Danglars and Fernand would have killed him on the spot if he had hinted at the unseemly of their evil intent! As for the old man Dantes, he did not have the strength to endure the blow of fate (in fact, Caderousse robbed him to the skin, and Edmond's father died of hunger). He, he, Cadrusse, is the only heir to poor Dantes! Abbot Busoni hands the diamond to Caderousse and disappears the next morning ...
At the same time, Lord Wilmore, an agent of the banking house of Thomson and French, comes to the mayor of Marseille. He asks permission to review the investigation file of Abbot Faria, who died in If prison. He also has an assignment: to pay the debts of Mr. Morrel, the owner of a shipping company that is on the verge of collapse. Morrel's last hope was on his flagship - the three-masted "Pharaoh", but that one - about evil fate! - dies in a shipwreck. Willmore hands Morrell a six-figure bill of exchange, arranges a three-month grace period. But what can be done in three months! On the day the grace period expires, Morrel's daughter receives a letter signed by "Sinbad the Sailor" with the address where she will find the wallet intended for her illustrious father. In the wallet there is a check for the amount owed by Morrell and a diamond the size of a walnut: Mademoiselle Morrell's dowry. Everything that happened is like a fairy tale: but this is not enough. The Pharaoh enters the port of Marseilles safe and sound in full sail! The city is a witness to this miracle. With a smile he looks at the sailing ship that has risen from the abyss and Lord Wilmore, who is also Abbot Busoni, who is also Count of Monte Cristo, who is also Edmond Dantes: “Be happy, noble man! You deserve this happiness! .. And now - goodbye, philanthropy! May the god of vengeance give me a place so that I punish the villains! .. "With documents from his investigative file, kept together with the case of Abbot Faria, Edmond leaves Marseille ...
Young Parisian aristocrat Baron Franz d'Epinay, going to the carnival in Rome, set out to visit the legendary Elba. However, he changes his route: the ship sails past the island of Monte Cristo, where, according to rumors, a man who calls himself Sinbad the Sailor lives in a fabulous palace. The owner of the island receives Franz with such cordiality and luxury, which, it seems, has never dreamed of any of the most powerful inhabitants of the earth. In Rome, Franz unexpectedly meets Sinbad, who lives in the same hotel with him under the name of Count of Monte Cristo. Franz's friend, the Viscount Albert de Morcer, is captured by robbers from the gang of the ataman Luigi Wampa, terrifying the inhabitants of Rome. Count of Monte Cristo rescues Albert: "Ataman, you have violated our agreement, my friend's friend is my friend." Wampa is in disarray, he sternly chastises his thugs: “We all owe the Count for our lives! How could you act so recklessly! " Albert invites the Count to visit Paris and be his guest of honor.
In the capital (where the count has not appeared until now), Albert introduces him to his friends, including Morrel's son Maximillian. This acquaintance deeply moved the count - just as excited and young Morrel, when he learned that the count uses the services of the banking house of Thomson and French, which saved the life of their entire family.
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Count of Monte Cristo buys several apartments in Paris and a house in Auteuil, at 28 rue Fontaine, formerly owned by the Marquis de Saint-Meran. The count's steward, Bertuccio, sees their move to this house as bad luck. Many years ago he witnessed how de Villefort buried a newborn baby in the garden of his father-in-law's house - an illegitimate son from an unknown lady, Bertuccio hurried to dig up the box - the baby was still alive. Bertuccio's daughter-in-law raised the boy, whom they gave the name Benedetto. The offspring of eminent parents took an unrighteous path and ended up in jail. But this is only one of two horror stories hidden from the count by Bertuccio. In June 1829 he stayed at the inn of Cadrousse - the day after the Abbot Busoni had been there (Bertuccio does not realize that the abbot who rescued him from hard labor long ago and the count are one person). The Abbot Cadrusse's diamond was sold for 45 thousand francs to a reliable jeweler, and on the same night he stabbed to death. Now Caderousse is where Bertuccio happened to be: in hard labor. The count is sure that this is not the last drop in the cup that Cadrusse must drink; as for Benedetto - if he is alive - then he will serve as a weapon of God's punishment ...
The city is full of rumors about the mysterious count and his wealth. At Danglars Bank, the graph opens "unlimited credit". Danglars questions the capabilities of the count: everything in the world has boundaries. The count sneers: "For you - maybe, but not for me." - "Nobody has counted my cash register yet!" - Danglars is hurt. “In this case, I am the first to whom it will be,” the count promises him. Monte Cristo draws closer not only to Danglars, who did not recognize him as poor Edmond, but also to the de Villefort family. The count wins the favor of Madame de Villefort: the servant of the Count Ali saved her and her son Villefort from an accident from an accident with her (Villefort also has a daughter from his first marriage, Valentina, bound by love with Maximillian Morrell, but forced by his relatives to marry Franz d ' Epine). As if fate itself opens wide the doors to the houses of his sworn enemies for the Count of Monte Cristo, informs him of their other victims. The pupil of Dantes-Monte Cristo, the daughter of Pasha Ioannina, the wondrous beauty Gaide (in Paris there are rumors that she is the count's mistress) recognizes in the Opera the man who gave the Turks for two thousand purses of gold the fortress that defended the city where her father ruled, and Gaide herself was twelve years old sold as a girl into slavery to the Turkish sultan. This man's name was Fernand Mondego; he is now known as the Comte de Morser, Lieutenant General, member of the House of Peers. Gayde was ransomed by Monte Cristo from the Sultan, the count vowed to take revenge on the one who killed her father and languished in captivity herself. He is not at all surprised that this scoundrel is Fernand: the one who betrayed him once risks remaining a traitor to the end.
Luxurious lunch at the Monte Cristo house. The first blows prepared by the count for his offenders. Villefort turns pale when the count informs all the guests that he found the skeleton of a baby in the garden, buried alive under the previous owner. Danglars learns that, playing on the stock exchange, he suffered losses in the amount of over a million francs (the count placed false information in the newspaper about the coup in Spain, and Danglars hastened to get rid of the shares of the Bank of Madrid). Villefort informs Madame Danglars that the count is apparently privy to their secret: the unfortunate child was their illegitimate son. “You buried my child alive! God, this is your revenge! " Exclaims Mme Danglars. "No, revenge still awaits us, and the mysterious Count of Monte Cristo will have to carry it out!" Villefort undertakes at all costs to find out the whole truth about the count; but Abbot Busoni and Lord Wilmore, who found themselves in Paris, give him very contradictory information. The Count not only remains unrecognized, playing these two roles, but also obscures the tracks. A young man named Andrea Cavalcanti appears in Paris (one count, who showered him with generosity, knows that he is a fugitive convict Benedetto). Immediately from the ground, Caderousse also rises, assuring Benedetto that he is his offspring, and luring money from the young scoundrel under the threat of ruining the brilliant career that has opened before him. Cavalcanti-Benedetto de Villefort is forced to obey: he has his eyes on the daughter of Danglars, a girl with a rich dowry. Wouldn't it be better, he suggests to Cadrusse, to shake the count well than to pull from him the money that the madcap Monte Cristo lends him to? Caderousse climbs into the count's house - and comes face to face with the Abbot Busoni. The old convict betrays the young; he writes, under the dictation of the abbot, a letter to Danglars, explaining who his son-in-law really is. Leaving the house of the Count of Monte Cristo, Cadruss runs into Benedetto's knife. Before he gives up the spirit, the abbot makes sure that he, Monte Cristo and Edmond Dantes are one person ...
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hail of misfortune falls on de Villefort's head: one by one, his father-in-law and mother-in-law suddenly die, then the old lackey, drinking lemonade from a decanter in his father Noirtier's room. The doctor concludes: they were all poisoned. The perpetrator lives in this house. All Villefort's servants immediately ask for their resignation. The case is getting widespread publicity. And here - a new blow: Noirtier upsets the wedding of Valentina and Franz d'Epinay (he promised this to his beloved granddaughter). The secretary of Noirtier contains a document stating that in February 1815 he killed in a fair duel General de Quesnel, Baron d'Epinay, who did not want to join the Bonapartist conspiracy.
Now it's Fernand's turn. There is a scandal in the House of Peers: the newspapers published a report about his low behavior at the time of the Turkish siege of the fortress of Ioannina. Haide comes to the hearing in the Chamber and presents the peers with documents that confirm: all this is true, the position of General de Morser in society was bought at the price of betrayal. Albert de Morser challenges the count to a duel, standing up for his father, but after the whole truth about Fernand Mondego is revealed to him, he asks Dantes for forgiveness. Madame de Morcer, who still loves his Mercedes, begs for this Edmond. The Count accepts Albert's apology; on the same day he and his mother leave Paris. Morser repeats his son's challenge, but after the Count of Monte Cristo reveals his true name to him, the dishonored general shoots a bullet in the forehead.
Danglars is on the brink of ruin. He has to pay all the new bills, with which the count's proxies come to him. His last hope is that he will be able to form a decent part of his daughter: young Cavalcanti is Monte Cristo's confidant, and the hand of the giver is unlikely to grow thin. Thunder from a clear sky after the signing of the marriage contract, the words from the letter of Cadrusse: "Andrea Cavalcanti - a fugitive convict!" Eugenie leaves Paris. Danglars no longer has a daughter or money. He leaves a farewell note to his wife (“I am letting you go the way I got married: with money, but without a good reputation”) and runs wherever they look. Andrea-Benedetto also runs, hoping to cross the border; but the gendarmes stop him. At the trial, he says: his father is the prosecutor de Villefort!
The last, most terrible blow of fate in the heart of de Villefort: Valentine is poisoned. He has no more doubts: the murderer is his wife, who in such a terrible way obtained an inheritance for herself and her son (old man Noirtier declared his granddaughter to be the sole heiress). De Villefort threatens his wife with the scaffold. In desperation, Madame de Villefort takes poison and poisons the boy: "A good mother does not abandon the child for whose sake she became a criminal." Villefort loses his mind; wandering through the garden of the house of the Count of Monte Cristo, he digs graves in one place, then in another ...
The act of retribution has taken place. Villefort is insane. Cadrusse and Fernand are dead. Danglars was captured by robbers from the gang of Luigi Wampa and spends his last money on bread and water: the thugs sell him a crust for a thousand francs, and in total he has less than fifty thousand in his pocket. The Count of Monte Cristo grants him life and freedom. Gray in one night, Danglars drags out the existence of a beggar.
Evil is punished. But why did young Valentina de Villefort burn out in its flames, not at all sharing the guilt of her father and stepmother? For what should Maximillian Morrel grieve for her all his life - the son of the one who for many years in a row made attempts to rescue Dantes from prison? Leaving Paris, the count performs the miracle of resurrecting Valentine. Her death was staged by him in community with old man Noirtier: a terrible poison was neutralized by a miracle cure - one of the generous gifts of Abbot Faria.
Returning to the island of Monte Cristo, giving happiness to Maximillian and Valentina, Edmond Dantes, martyr of the Château d'If and the Parisian angel of vengeance, leaves a letter to young people that sounds like his confession, and as a commandment to two pure hearts: “There is neither happiness in the world, nor misery. Everything is relative. Only one who has suffered immensely can experience bliss. One must feel the taste of death in order to enjoy life with pleasure. All wisdom is in a nutshell: wait and hope! .. "