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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/334

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THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.

position, it was evident that this was the last round, for no one doubted his defeat. He placed his guard below his chin, with the awkwardness of a failing man.

Helmsgail, with a skin hardly sweating, cried out: "I'll back myself, a thousand to one." Then raising his arm. struck out.

Strange to say, both men went down. A ghastly chuckle was heard. It was Phelem-ghe-Madone's expression of delight. While receiving the terrible blow given him by Helmsgail on the skull, he had given him a foul blow on the navel. Helmsgail, lying on his back, rattled in his throat.

The spectators looked at him as he lay on the ground, and said, "Paid back!" All clapped their hands, even those who had lost. Phelem-ghe-Madone had given foul blow for foul blow, and done what he had a right to do. They carried Helmsgail off on a hand-barrow. The opinion was that he would not recover.

Lord Robartes exclaimed, "I win twelve hundred guineas."

Phelem-ghe-Madone was evidently maimed for life.

As she left, Josiana took the arm of Lord David,—an act which was tolerated among people "engaged,"—saying to him,—

"It was very fine; but—"

"But what?"

"I thought it would have driven away my ennui; but it hasn't."

Lord David stopped, looked at Josiana, shut his mouth, and inflated his cheeks, while he nodded his head, as if to signify, "Indeed?" Then he said,—

"There is but one effectual cure for ennui."

"What is that?" asked Josiana.

"Gwynplaine," replied Lord David.

"And who is Gwynplaine?" asked the duchess.