Open main menu

Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/310

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
270
THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.

that she would have been astonished had any one hinted at such a thing as danger from that source. So she went and came and laughed before this man who was watching her with evil eyes, biding his time.

In proportion as he waited, his determination to imbitter this woman's life augmented. In the mean time he gave himself excellent reasons for his determination. It must not be supposed that scoundrels are deficient in self-esteem; they enter into details with themselves in their lofty monologues, and they carry matters with a high hand. True, this Josiana had bestowed charity on him! She had thrown some crumbs of her enormous wealth to him, as to a beggar; she had nailed and riveted him to an office which was unworthy him. Yes; that he, Barkilphedro, almost a clergyman, of varied and profound talents, a learned man, with the material in him for a bishop, should have to spend his time registering nasty, patience-trying shards; that he should have to pass his life in the garret of a register-office, gravely uncorking stupid bottles incrusted with all the nastiness of the sea, deciphering musty parchments, dirty wills, and other illegible stuff of the kind,—was all the fault of this Josiana. Worst of all, this creature "thee'd" and "thou'd" him! And should he not revenge himself? Should he not punish such conduct? In that case, there would be no such thing as justice here below!