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Unsuspecting Nature

Monday May 30 2005 10:08 IST

By Karmayogi

Edmund Dantes was a shipmate. He was 19. His captain, who was ill, gave Dantes a letter to deliver to Napoleon on Elba and then died. To a shipmate, the captains word is an order, especially when it is a dying wish.

It never struck Dantes that in France of that day to visit the Emperor in exile would warrant the anger of the government. He visited Napoleon on Elba, gave him the letter, received a letter for someone in France from him.

Nor did he take care to hide the possession of that letter. On landing in France, the owner of his ship elevated him to the captaincy, overlooking Danglars, who was much elder to him.

Dantes went immediately to see his father and fiancÚ Mercedes. Soon their wedding was arranged. On the eve of the wedding, the police came to his reception and arrested him for possessing the letter. It never struck Dantes what his crime was.

Danglars was smarting under the wound of having been overlooked. Dantes was not aware of it nor was it possible for him to conceive that someone could be jealous of him.

Mercedes was the prettiest Catalan girl in Marseilles. She was 17 and an orphan. Her cousin Fernand was courting her for a long time, but she had given her love to Edmund.

Dantes knew of Fernand and his love for Mercedes, but it never entered his head that Fernand could be a rival to his personality. Dantess neighbour was a tailor who was innately vicious.

Danglars and Fernand met under a tree outside a hotel and compared notes about Dantes. The tailor was an interested accomplice. Danglars knew of Dantess visit to Napoleon and the letter from Napoleon to someone in France.

Fernand, bitterly disappointed in love, came up with the idea that Dantes could be arrested and imprisoned.

Danglars offered to write an anonymous letter by his left hand to the Magistrate and the venomous three together executed their pet project of treachery. The letter informed the government about Napoleons letter in Dantess possession.

Dantes was arrested and shut up in prison. Fernand carried a false news of Dantess death to Mercedes and gently persuaded her to marry him. In prison, Dantes was resisting the warders and turned violent. He was then put in solitary confinement.

He tore his hair in despair. He did not know what he was accused of. It was a mystery to him how he, who had been on the eve of marrying the girl he deeply loved and who had received the promotion to captaincy, could land in jail.

His nature was open and unsuspecting. It was noble. To live in this world of human affairs, one should be worldly-wise.

It is not enough to be GOOD, magnanimous and unsuspecting. An unsuspecting nature is one of generosity. But it has an element of naivetÚ, a simple-mindedness. Inner strength of purity behind such a noble character can ward off such evil influences.

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