100-ish Days of Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo
June 1 – August 31, 2022
August 14, 2022: Chapters 95-99 (to be read August 13-16)
Next post: August 18, 2022, Chapters 100-103 (to be read August 13-16)
18 chapters to go after today’s post!!! Congratulations!!! I will write 2 more 5 chapter posts and 2 more 4 chapter posts – the calculation was perfect!!! My final post will appear on Sunday, August 28!!! Then I will switch to commenting on Les Miserables!!! Get your copy, join the new group!!! Invite friends and foes alike to follow us on our new adventure!!! I will start posting preliminary historical commentary on the Les Miserables page tomorrow!!! And I did not forget of the extra notes I was going to write for Monte Cristo – I promise to post them before our reading is over!!! PLUS – we are going to schedule a Zoom session for The Count of Monte Cristo for sometime in September – so many reasons to finish the novel by September 1!!!
After the heart wrenching chapters dedicated to Mercedes and Edmond’s meeting and the shocking resolution of Fernand’s destroyed life, much needed levity appears in the chapters under consideration. The destruction of Danglars’ marital plans for his daughter coincide with her yearning for both personal and artistic freedom. The conversation between father and daughter is delightfully brutal in a deeply manipulative psychological way!!!
“Danglars nodded, to signify that he was satisfied. To the world and to his servants Danglars assumed the character of the good-natured man and the indulgent father. This was one of his parts in the popular comedy he was performing,—a make-up he had adopted and which suited him about as well as the masks worn on the classic stage by paternal actors, who seen from one side, were the image of geniality, and from the other showed lips drawn down in chronic ill-temper. Let us hasten to say that in private the genial side descended to the level of the other, so that generally the indulgent man disappeared to give place to the brutal husband and domineering father.”
And to the absolute delight of both Mademoiselle Danglars and Mademoiselle Louise d’Armilly the marriage is off!!! They are FREE!!! To turn into a brother and sister and set off on their grand European adventure together!!! They rent a room with two beds – BUT are discovered sleeping in the SAME bed when Andrea falls into their room!!! Dumas reveals a spirited love story of two young ladies who are ready to leave the stuffy conventions of their times behind and embrace a life of mutual commitment to each other and to art!!! Sunny skies of Italy – here they come!!!
But not Andrea… His journey ends with a thud – despite his superbly clever ability to cover his tracks…
Note that the murder revelation and the attempt to arrest Andrea is timed by Monte Cristo to coincide with his betrothal ceremony – in a ghastly
reenactment of the interrupted betrothal of the young Edmond Dantes at the very start of the novel… A sinister touch – since it was Danglars who was the initiator of the plot to write the denunciation of Edmond…
Madame Danglars has to come to terms with the sordid collapse of her entire life – and becomes introspective…
“In proportion as her memory became clearer, the occurrences of the evening were revealed in their true light; what she had taken for confusion was a tumult; what she had regarded as something distressing, was in reality a disgrace. And then the baroness remembered that she had felt no pity for poor Mercédès, who had been afflicted with as severe a blow through her husband and son.”
Madame Danglars runs to Villefort to ask him to be merciful and not exacerbated the situation with a public trial… (How soon will she find out that they are talking about their lost son?…)
Villefort is living in a house where crime upon crime has been commuted – but it only strengthened his desire to smite the wicked with the full power of the law…
“Woman, siren that you are, do you persist in fixing on me that fascinating eye, which reminds me that I ought to blush? Well, be it so; let me blush for the faults you know, and perhaps—perhaps for even more than those! But having sinned myself,—it may be more deeply than others,—I never rest till I have torn the disguises from my fellow-creatures, and found out their weaknesses. I have always found them; and more,—I repeat it with joy, with triumph,—I have always found some proof of human perversity or error. Every criminal I condemn seems to me living evidence that I am not a hideous exception to the rest. Alas, alas, alas; all the world is wicked; let us therefore strike at wickedness!”
What about Valentine?!?!?! 18 more chapters to tie EVERYTHING together!!! We are ALMOST there!!!
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