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concerning Jane

     In 1859, Alexandre Dumas returned from his trip to Russia with numerous story ideas, many of which he wrote during a productive prior to his departure for Italy. One of these ideas was a short, cheerful romance based on a work by the Russian author Marlinsky.
     It is 1812, and Napoleon is at the gates of Moscow. A Russian naval squadron is blockading the coast of the French-occupied Netherlands. A young Russian lieutenant, Elim Melodor, is shipwrecked on the Dutch coast. Elim and five Russian sailors, seeking shelter, arrive at an isolated house just in time to prevent the inhabitants, a wealthy Dutch merchant and his sixteen year-old daughter, Jane, from being despoiled by robbers.
     The grateful merchant houses shelters Elim and his men, and attempts to arrange for their escape. Meanwhile, a romance blossoms between Jane and Elim. Elim asks the merchant for Jane's hand, but the merchant demurs, in part because Jane is young and also because Elim's as a junior officer trapped in enemy territory in wartime, might reasonably be expected to have a very short life expectancy.
     Elim, the merchant, and Jane are betrayed to the French, but Elim escapes, rescues Jane, seizes a Dutch customs boat, and makes his way back to the Russian fleet and to a happy ending.
     While the plot is pure melodrama, the story is filled with Dumas' patent affectionate good humour, which allows him to poke some good natured fun at the Dutch, the French national character, as well as the passions of the young.

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