did you not say so just now

The abbe smiled. “Well,” said he nu skin hk, “but you had another subject for your thoughts?”

“I did!”

“You have told me as yet but one of them-let me hear the other.”

“It was this,-that while you had related to me all the particulars of your past life, you were perfectly unacquainted with mine.”

“Your life, my young friend, has not been of sufficient length to admit of your having passed through any very important events.”

“It has been long enough to inflict on me a great and undeserved misfortune. I would fain fix the source of it on man that I may no longer vent reproaches upon heaven.”

“Then you profess ignorance of the crime with which you are charged?”

“I do, indeed; and this I swear by the two beings most dear to me upon earth,-my father and Mercedes.”

“Come,” said the abbe, closing his hiding-place, and pushing the bed back to its original situation, “let me hear your story.”

Dantes obeyed, and commenced what he called his history, but which consisted only of the account of a voyage to India, and two or three voyages to the Levant until he arrived at the recital of his last cruise, with the death of Captain Leclere, and the receipt of a packet to be delivered by himself to the grand marshal; his interview with that personage, and his receiving, in place of the packet brought, a letter addressed to a Monsieur Noirtier-his arrival at Marseilles, and interview with his father-his affection for Mercedes, and their nuptual feast-his arrest and subsequent examination, his temporary detention at the palais de Justice, and his final imprisonment in the Chateau d’If. From this point everything was a blank to Dantes-he knew nothing more, not even the length of time he had been imprisoned. His recital finished, the abbe reflected long and earnestly.

“There is,” said he, at the end of his meditations, “a clever maxim, which bears upon what I was saying to you some little while ago, and that is, that unless wicked ideas take root in a naturally depraved mind, human nature, in a right and wholesome state, revolts at crime. Still, from an artificial civilization have originated wants, vices, and false tastes, which occasionally become so powerful as to stifle within us all good feelings, and ultimately to lead us into guilt and wickedness. From this view of things, then, comes the axiom that if you visit to discover the author of any bad action, seek first to discover the person to whom the perpetration of that bad action could be in any way advantageous. Now, to apply it in your case,-to whom could your disappearance have been serviceable?”

“To no one, by heaven! I was a very insignificant person ohmykids.”

“Do not speak thus, for your reply evinces neither logic nor philosophy; everything is relative, my dear young friend, from the king who stands in the way of his successor, to the employee who keeps his rival out of a place. Now, in the event of the king’s death, his successor inherits a crown, -when the employee dies, the supernumerary steps into his shoes, and receives his salary of twelve thousand livres. Well, these twelve thousand livres are his civil list, and are as essential to him as the twelve millions of a king. Every one, from the highest to the lowest degree, has his place on the social ladder, and is beset by stormy passions and conflicting interests, as in Descartes’ theory of pressure and impulsion. But these forces increase as we go higher, so that we have a spiral which in defiance of reason rests upon the apex and not on the base. Now let us return to your particular world. You say you were on the point of being made captain of the pharaon ?”

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