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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/308

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THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.

The unforeseen lurks one knows not where. There is no such thing as petty hatred; hatred is always dangerous, even in the smallest creature. An elephant hated by even an ant is in danger.

Barkilphedro did not know as yet what he was going to do to Josiana; but he had made up his mind to do something. To have come to this decision was a great step taken. To crush Josiana utterly would have been too great a triumph. He could not hope for that; but to humiliate her, wound her, bring her to grief, redden her proud eyes with tears of rage,—what happiness! He counted on it. Tenacious, diligent, faithful to the torment of his neighbour, not to be moved from his purpose,—Nature had not formed him for nothing. He understood how to find the flaw in Josiana's golden armour, and how to make the blood of this goddess flow.

What benefit, we ask again, would accrue to him in so doing? An immense benefit,—doing evil to one who had done good to him. What is an envious man? An ungrateful one. He hates the sun that lights and warms him. Zoilus hated that benefactor of mankind, Homer. To inflict on Josiana what would nowadays be called vivisection; to have her, all convulsed, on his anatomical table; to dissect her alive, at his leisure, in some surgery; to cut her up, bit by bit, while she shrieked with agony,—this dream delighted Barkilphedro! To arrive at this result it was necessary to suffer some himself; he did so willingly. We may pinch ourselves with our own pincers; the knife as it shuts cuts our fingers,—what does that matter? That he should partake of Josiana's torture was a matter of little moment. The executioner handling the red-hot iron, when about to brand a prisoner, does not mind a little burn. As another suffers so much, he suffers