The Count of Monte Cristo
by Alexandre Dumas
More than anything else, Peppino is a plot device. A bandit in Luigi Vampa's gang, he's caught, convicted, and sentenced to death. In order to save his life, Vampa calls in the Count for help. This allows the Count – and, of course Dumas – to make some points about the business of coercion. When Vampa suggests that he will simply use force to rescue Peppino from the executioner, the Count tells him to get real:
"What I mean, my dear fellow, is that I shall do more by myself with my gold than you and all your people with their daggers, their pistols, their carbines and their blunderbusses. So let me do it." (34.39)
As usual, the Count is right, and the Peppino episode proves to be a sort of miniature-scale version of his larger scheme. We don't know how many palms the Count has to grease in order to get Peppino a papal pardon, but he gets it done – without shedding a drop of blood or causing the least bit of trouble.