Study Guide

The Count of Monte Cristo Chapter 6

By Alexandre Dumas

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Chapter 6

The Deputy Crown Prosecutor

  • As it happens, there's a very different kind of betrothal feast going down on the other side of town.
  • Monsieur de Villefort, Marseille's Deputy Crown Prosecutor – think of him as an assistant district attorney – is getting married to the very wealthy, very aristocratic Mademoiselle de Saint-Méran. The mademoiselle's parents, persecuted under the rule of Bonaparte, are, shall we say, quite happy to have the monarchy restored, and a lot of the conversation at the party revolves around Napoleon and the tumultuous politics of the time.
  • De Villefort is the life of the party, verbally jousting with the fiery, feisty Madame de Saint Méran. It comes out that de Villefort's father was a Girondin during the Revolution – which is to say, he was a radical, a revolutionary – but the Saint Mérans haven't blamed him for the "sins" of his father.
  • Mademoiselle de Saint-Méran asks them all to move on from the touchy subject of her fiancée's past, and they do. Instead, they discuss the imminent removal of Napoléon from Elba to the far more distant St. Helena – a tiny little island thousands of miles from France.
  • They get to talking to about de Villefort's job as a prosecutor. He assures them that it's serious business, a matter of life and death; his work is a kind of duel against the defendant, and his words are his weapons.
  • At some point the Comte de Salvieux interjects that the King himself has approved of the match between de Villefort and Mademoiselle de Saint-Méran. Villefort is, of course, flattered.
  • Just then, de Villefort is interrupted by a messenger. He returns to the room quickly bearing a letter – the denunciation of Edmond written by Danglars and delivered by Fernand. Since the Crown Prosecutor is out of town, de Villefort is obliged to deal with the case.
  • He gives his fiancée a loving look, then takes his leave.

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