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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/294

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CHAPTER VII.


BARKILPHEDRO GNAWS HIS WAY.


THERE is one essential thing,—that is to be ungrateful. Barkilphedro did not fail in this particular. Having received so many benefits from Josiana, he had naturally but one thought,—to revenge himself upon her. When we add that Josiana was beautiful, great, young, rich, powerful, and illustrious, while Barkilphedro was ugly, little, old, poor, dependent, obscure,—he must necessarily revenge himself for all this as well. When a man is made of darkness, how can he forgive so many beams of light?

Barkilphedro was an Irishman who had denied Ireland,—a bad type. Barkilphedro had but one thing in his favour,—that he had a very big belly. A big belly passes for a sign of kind-heartedness; but this belly was only an addition to Barkilphedro's hypocrisy, for the man was full of malice.

What was Barkilphedro's age? Any age whatever; that is to say, the age necessary for the project of the moment. He was old in his wrinkles and grey hairs, young in the activity of his mind; he was at once active and ponderous,—a sort of hippopotamus-monkey. A royalist, certainly; a republican,—who knows? A Catholic, perhaps; a Protestant, without doubt. For Stuart, probably; for Brunswick, evidently. To be For is a power only on condition of being at the same time Against. Barkilphedro practised this wisdom.