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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/347

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It is distressing, indeed, to be devoid of sight like Dea; but it is much more distressing to be an enigma to oneself, to see the universe, and not to be able to see oneself,—as was the case with Gwynplaine. Dea had a veil over her,—darkness; Gwynplaine wore a mask,—his face. And, strange to say, it was with his own flesh that Gwynplaine was masked. What his own face had been like he knew not: that face was gone forever. They had affixed a false self to him. His brain lived, and his face was dead; he did not even remember to have ever seen it. While Dea's isolation was terrible, because she could see nothing, Gwynplaine's isolation was even more terrible because he could see everything. For Dea, creation never exceeded the limits of touch and hearing; for Gwynplaine, life was to have mankind ever before him and—beyond him. Dea was debarred from light of the world; Gwynplaine was debarred from the light of life,—from all that makes life desirable. They were certainly two terribly unfortunate creatures; they seemed to be beyond the pale of hope. No observer could fail to feel boundless pity for them. How terribly they must have suffered! Surely, no such dire misfortunes had ever before befallen two innocent human beings, and conspired to make their life a hell!

And yet these two were perfectly happy. They loved each other. Gwynplaine adored Dea; Dea idolized Gwynplaine, "How handsome you are!" she often remarked to him.