6

In Chapter Seventy-Eight of The Count of Monte Cristo Albert shows Monte Cristo the following article from the newspaper:

A correspondent at Yanina informs us of a fact of which until now we had remained in ignorance. The castle which formed the protection of the town was given up to the Turks by a French officer named Fernand, in whom the grand vizier, Ali Tepelini, had reposed the greatest confidence.

Albert is offended by this because he thinks it is a reference to his father. As he tells Monte Cristo:

"It signifies to my father, the Count of Morcerf, whose Christian name is Fernand!"

Monte Cristo tries to convince Albert that no one will make the connection:

"Now, just tell me who the devil should know in France that the officer Fernand and the Count of Morcerf are one and the same person? and who cares now about Yanina, which was taken as long ago as the year 1822 or 1823?"

Yet Albert is unconvinced, and he goes to demand that Beauchamp issue a retraction of the article. At one point in the conversation Beauchamp says:

Do you insist on this retractation so far as to kill me if I do not make it, although I have repeated more than once, and affirmed on my honor, that I was ignorant of the thing with which you charge me, and although I still declare that it is impossible for anyone but you to recognize the Count of Morcerf under the name of Fernand?”

To me this seems to be essentially the same argument given by Monte Cristo – while Albert's father the Count of Morcerf is indeed named Fernand, that is not enough to make people think that the Fernand spoken of in the newspaper is in fact Albert's father.

However, in the edition containing notes by Keith Wren of Kent University, the following note appears on the last sentence above:

Fernand clearly incorrect: Dumas means Albert

I am having trouble understanding this. The sentence seems to make perfect sense using the name Fernand, as Beauchamp is saying that no one will recognize the Count of Morcerf under the name of Fernand (despite Fernand being his actual given name). To replace Fernand with Albert would seem to make no sense – Beauchamp would be saying that no one would recognize the Count of Morcerf under the name Albert, which has nothing to do with what was written in the newspaper.

Am I missing something here, or is this note just wrong?

7

You don’t say which edition of the novel you were reading (you’ll see below why it’s vital to be clear about this), but I guess it is the 2002 paperback published by Wordsworth Editions Limited, where the text appears on page 631 and the note (number 209) appears on page 890. In this edition, the note has been attached to the wrong paragraph. It belongs here, a few paragraphs earlier:

“Wait a moment—no threats, if you please, M. Fernand Mondego, Vicomte de Morcerf; I never allow them from my enemies, and therefore shall not put up with them from my friends. You insist on my contradicting the article relating to General Fernand, an article with which, I assure you on my word of honor, I had nothing whatever to do?”

Alexandre Dumas (1844). The Count of Monte Cristo. Project Gutenberg. Based on an anonymous English translation, first published by Crowell & Co (1889).

However, in the text of the 2002 Wordsworth edition, this error has been corrected, and on page 630 it says, “no threats, if you please, M. Albert Mondego”. The editor should therefore have deleted the note, but instead they have moved it to a nearby occurrence of the word ‘Fernand’, presumably under the mistaken belief that the note was misplaced.

  • Yes, I used the 2002 edition. Nice answer. – Alex May 19 at 14:22

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