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After leaving the room, de Villefort puts on his game face, filled with love for his fiancée and the knowledge of his good fortune.
After receiving a brief from the police commissioner, de Villefort heads down to his office. He is quickly intercepted by M. Morrel.
Morrel assures M. de Villefort that Edmond is innocent and honest, but de Villefort isn't so easily convinced.
De Villefort suspects Morrel of harboring pro-Napoleon sentiments, and he lets Morrel know, indirectly, that he should be careful about what he says, before reassuring him that he will do his best to make sure that justice is carried out.
Villefort makes his way to his office, past a group of policeman and Edmond. Once settled, he calls for Edmond to be brought in.
Villefort goes through the usual formalities, asking Edmond his name and age, but he is touched when he hears that Edmond, like himself, was interrupted on the day of his betrothal feast.
As Edmond goes on about his personal history – nothing we haven't heard before – Villefort is struck by the kindness and innocence in Edmond's voice and look.
Villefort asks Edmond if he has made any enemies; Edmond is surprised. I'm too young, he says, and too innocent to have made enemies. Villefort suggests that all his good fortune may have created some jealousy, but Edmond can't imagine that anyone would do him harm.
Villefort takes out the denouncement, hands it to Edmond, and asks if he recognizes the handwriting. Edmond does not.
At this point, Edmond takes a moment to thank Villefort – he can see, he thinks, that the prosecutor is a kind, honest man.
At this point, Edmond tells Villefort the story – the whole story, everything from his visit to Elba and the letter from Captain Leclère, of his arrival in Marseille, up to his arrest during the betrothal feast.
Satisfied with Edmond's explanation – if anything, Villefort says, he's guilty of following his Captain's orders and nothing more – the prosecutor asks for Leclère's letter.
Edmond tells him that it's probably in the packet of letters in front of him.
Villefort asks Edmond to tell him the name of the person the letter was addressed to.
Monsieur Noirtier, Rue Coq-Héron, number 13, Edmond says. Villefort is dumbstruck. Villefort makes Edmond promise that he's shown the letter or mentioned the address to no one. He rifles through the papers, finds the letter, and reads it. This only makes him feel worse.
Edmond asks if everything is OK; Villefort tells him to shut up. After making Edmond promise a second and third time that he has not read the letter or shown it to anyone else, he tells him that he, Villefort, can no longer set him free.
Villefort goes on to tell him that the main charge against Edmond hinges upon the existence of the letter – which he quickly tears up and burns in the fire. Edmond takes this to mean that Villefort is his ally, but Villefort is really just covering his own you-know-what.
Deny the existence of the letter, Villefort tells Edmond one last time, and you'll be fine. He calls in the police commissioner and has Edmond taken away.
With Edmond gone, Villefort thanks his lucky stars that he was able to intercept the letter.
Suddenly, he has an epiphany. The very thing that could have been his undoing, he realizes, could prove my lucky break.