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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/356

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THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.

ing that within the caterpillar there was a divine butterfly. Gwynplaine the rejected, was chosen.

To have one's desire is everything. Gwynplaine had his, Dea hers. The dejection of the disfigured man was changed to profound gratitude and intoxicating delight. The wretched found a refuge in each other: two blanks, combining, filled each other. They were bound together by what they lacked: in that in which one was poor, the other was rich. The misfortune of the one was the good fortune of the other. If Dea had not been blind, would she have chosen Gwynplaine? If Gwynplaine had not been disfigured, would he have preferred Dea? She would probably have rejected the deformed man, as he would have passed by the afflicted woman. Hence how fortunate it was for Dea that Gwynplaine was hideous; and how fortunate for Gwynplaine that Dea was blind! A mighty need of each other was the foundation of their love. Gwynplaine saved Dea; Dea saved Gwynplaine. Apposition of misery produced adherence. It was the embrace of those swallowed in the abyss,—none closer, none more hopeless, none more exquisite.

"What should I be without her?" Gwynplaine thought.

"What should I be without him?" Dea thought.

The exile of each made a country for both. Two hopeless fatalities, Gwynplaine's hideousness and Dea's blindness, united them. They sufficed to each other; they imagined nothing beyond each other. To speak to each other was a delight; to approach was beatitude. By force of reciprocal intuition they became united in the same reverie, and thought the same thoughts. In Gwynplaine's tread Dea fancied she heard the step of one deified. They tightened their hold upon each other in a sort of sidereal chiaroscuro, full of perfumes, of