The Count of Monte Cristo
by Alexandre Dumas
The Count of Monte Cristo Chapter 14 Summary
The Raving Prisoner and the Mad One
- It's a year a later and Louis XVIII is back on the throne.
- The Inspector General of Prisons has decided to make a trip down to the Chateau d'If to see how things are.
- Edmond, made hyper-sensitive to noise by his year in prison, knows something's up. The inspector does his job, asking prisoners if they have any complaints or requests. The food, they complain, is awful; freedom is their only request.
- Though the inspector realizes how silly it is to be doing this kind of thing – he hears the same thing everywhere – he still takes it upon himself to visit the prison's "special" inmates down in the dungeons. The governor gets two soldiers to accompany them down – just in case.
- The inspector is told that Edmond has been thrown in the dungeon – a place he finds horribly disgusting – for threatening to kill a porter. Still, despite the smell, and the fact that Edmond and his fellow prisoner are pretty much insane – he visits them anyway.
- Seeing the inspector, Edmond summons up some hidden eloquence and tries to get the inspector to help him. All he wants, he says, is to know what crime he has committed, and to be given a fair trial; he even asks forgiveness for threatening the porter.
- The inspector is touched by his requests, and he agrees to look at his file once they get upstairs.
- Edmond tells the inspector that Villefort, the prosecutor, was kind to him, and that any notes that he might have left will prove his innocence.
- Before heading upstairs to look at the records, the inspector makes a stop at the other cell.
- Inside he finds the Abbé Faria drawing a very precise geometrical pattern on the ground. Upon hearing the inspector enter, the abbé covers himself up, trying his best to look presentable.
- The inspector asks if he has any requests. He does not. The abbé tells the inspector that he's been in jail since 1811, that the food is awful, and the lodging despicable. He goes on to say he has something else very important to tell him.
- He proceeds to promise him a huge amount of money – millions of francs – in exchange for his release. This is exactly the kind of thing that the abbé is known for, and the inspector has been warned in advance.
- The abbé goes on to tell the inspector that he is not mad, that the treasure exists, and that he knows where, exactly where, it is stashed.
- When the inspector will not listen to him, the abbé says good riddance and goes back to his calculations.
- His tour done, the inspector heads back upstairs to check on Edmond's records. There he finds a short note:
Fanatical Bonapartist. Played an active role in the return from Elba. To be kept in solitary confinement, under the closest supervision.
- All the inspector can bring himself to do is write "no action" on the file.
- The inspector's visit gives Edmond hope, but the longer he waits, the less he believes he ever even received a visit from the inspector.
- A year after the inspector's visit, a new governor is installed in the prison. The governor cannot even be bothered to learn his prisoners' names. Edmond Dantès becomes Number 34.
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