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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/320

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CHAPTER XI.


BARKILPHEDRO IN AMBUSCADE.


TO find the vulnerable spot in Josiana, and to strike her there, was, for the causes we have just mentioned, the imperturbable determination of Barkilphedro. The wish, however, was not enough; the power to accomplish it was also necessary. How was he to set about it? That was the question.

Vulgar vagabonds set with care the scene of any wickedness they intend to commit. They do not feel themselves strong enough to seize the opportunity as it passes, to take possession of it by fair means or foul, and to constrain it to serve them. Cunning scoundrels disdain preliminary combinations; they start out to perform their villainies alone, after arming themselves thoroughly, prepared to avail themselves of any chances which may occur, and then, like Barkilphedro, await the opportunity. They know that a ready-made scheme runs the risk of fitting ill into the events which may present themselves. It is not thus that a man makes himself master of possibilities, and guides them as one pleases. You can make no arrangements with destiny; to-morrow will not obey you. There is a great want of discipline about chance; therefore they watch for it, and summon it suddenly, authoritatively, on the spot,—no plan, no sketch, no rough model, no ready-made shoe ill-fitting the unexpected; they plunge headlong into the dark. To turn to immediate and rapid profit any