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Over in the area of Marseille known as Les Catalans – which, oddly enough, is where a lot of people of Catalonian/Spanish descent live – inside a modest little shack, an uncomfortable scene is unfolding.
A beautiful, dark-haired girl is arguing with a big, swarthy man. He wants her to marry him; she just wants to be friends. In any case, Fernand has to ship out to war soon. The girl is named Mercédès. The dude is named Fernand.
Mercédès is waiting for her true love, Edmond, to show up, and no matter how much Fernand tries to convince her that Edmond is not, in fact, coming, she won't budge.
Edmond shows up right on cue. He and Mercédès embrace. Fernand looks totally pale and angry.
Mercédès tries to explain that Fernand is like a brother to her, but Edmond isn't having it. He knows that Fernand is jealous and angry and a potential rival.
The two dudes shake hands…then Fernand runs from the house like a madman, screaming.
On his way out he runs past Caderousse and Danglars, who invite him to have a drink.
Caderousse and Danglars tease Fernand mercilessly, nearly driving him mad for the second time. He gets especially angry when Edmond and Mercédès walk by the table acting all lovey-dovey.
Edmond lets them know that the wedding will be taking place in a day or two, and that, immediately afterwards, he'll be making a trip to Paris on behalf of the dead captain.