Study Guide

The Count of Monte Cristo Chapter 21

By Alexandre Dumas

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Chapter 21

The Island of Tiboulen

  • Miraculously – there's really no other word for it – Edmond manages to cut himself out of the sack and struggle free of the cannonball. He swims desperately in the rough seas, and after some quick and tortured thinking, he decides that he must swim to one of two islands, Tiboulen or Lemaire, both of which are a league – about three miles – away. Encouraged by the memory of Faria, he manages to make it Tiboulen. Yes, that's right, he swims three miles after being thrown off a cliff with a cannonball attached to his leg.
  • He immediately collapses on the shore and falls asleep.
  • Awoken by a clap of thunder, he soon sees a small fishing boat off in the distance. He watches as the boat breaks apart and the sailors are thrown into the sea.
  • Edmond, afraid that his escape will be discovered soon, realizes he needs to get going. The next morning, he sees another boat off in the distance, but afraid that his ragged clothing will tip off the sailors as to his true identity, hesitates in flagging him down.
  • Then he notices that the cap of one of the drowned sailors has washed ashore, and decides to take a chance. He takes the cap, leaps into the sea, and grabs onto a floating beam from the other ship's wreckage. After anxiously waiting to be seen by the other ship, he finally manages to get their attention. They send out a small rowboat, and soon enough he's on the ship.
  • Edmond tells the ship's captain that he's a Maltese seaman that washed ashore on Tiboulen in the middle of yesterday's storm. They're a little skeptical of his story – his long beard and hair make him look more than a little odd – but they decide to take him in anyway.
  • He quickly impresses them with his nautical knowledge by showing them a shortcut to Leghorn. Edmond then promises to pay them back for any food and clothing they give him if they pay him a regular sailor's wage. Jacopo, the sailor who hoisted Edmond from the sea, agrees to lend Edmond some clothing. Edmond is grateful for clothing, and for the food and drink he's given him soon after.
  • Only a short time later, the captain sees a puff of smoke rise above the Chateau d'If. Edmond tells them that that means a prisoner has recently escaped. The captain is suspicious, but he gives Edmond a free pass on account of his abilities.
  • Edmond turns to Jacopo and asks him what day and month it is; Jacopo quickly replies, but he's confused when Edmond goes on to ask him what year it is.
  • Jacopo tells him that it's February 28th, 1829 – fourteen years, to the day, after Edmond was first imprisoned.
  • Thinking it over, Edmond feels the urge to get his revenge on the three men responsible for locking him up for so long.

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