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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/357

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light, and of music, in the radiant land of dreams. They belonged to each other; they knew themselves to be forever united in the same joy and the same ecstasy, and nothing could be stranger than this construction of an Eden by two of the damned. They were inexpressibly happy. Out of their hell they had created a heaven. Such is thy power, O Love! Dea heard Gwynplaine's laugh; Gwynplaine saw Dea's smile. Thus ideal felicity was created; the perfect joy of life was realized; the mysterious problem of happiness was solved. By whom? By two outcasts.

To Gwynplaine, Dea was splendour; to Dea, Gwynplaine was presence. Presence is that profound mystery which renders the invisible world divine, and from which results that other mystery,—faith. In religions this is the one thing which is irreducible; but this irreducible thing suffices. The great motive power is not seen, it is felt. Gwynplaine was Dea's religion. Sometimes, lost in her sense of love towards him, she knelt, like a beautiful priestess before a gnome in a pagoda, made happy by her adoration. Imagine to yourself an unfathomable abyss; in the centre of this abyss an oasis of light; and on this oasis two creatures shut out of any other life, dazzling each other. No purity could be compared to their loves. Dea did not even know what a kiss might be, though perhaps she desired it; because blindness, especially in a woman, has its dreams, and though trembling at the approaches of the unknown does not fear them all. As for Gwynplaine, his unhappy youth had made him sensitive. The more intensely he loved, the more timid he became. He might have dared anything with this companion of his early youth, with this creature as ignorant of fault as of light, with this blind girl who knew but one thing,—that she adored him. But he would have thought it a