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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/360

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THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.

"Dea, you must not be so fond of Gwynplaine. To live only in another is dangerous. Selfishness is the surest foundation for happiness, after all. Men play women false sometimes. Besides, Gwynplaine might end by becoming infatuated with you. His success is very great! You have no idea how great his success is!"

Again: "Gwynplaine, such disparities are unfortunate. So much ugliness on one side and so much beauty on another, ought to cause reflection. Temper your ardour, my boy; do not become too enthusiastic about Dea. Do you seriously consider that you are suited to her? Just think of your deformity and her perfection! See the difference between her and yourself. She has everything, this Dea. What a white skin! What hair! Lips like strawberries! and her foot, her hand! Those shoulders, with their exquisite curve! Her expression too is sublime. She seems to diffuse light around her as she moves; and when she speaks, that grave tone of voice is charming. And in spite of all this, to think that she is a woman! She would not be such a fool as to be an angel. She is a perfect beauty! Keep all this in mind, to calm your ardour."

These speeches only increased the mutual love of Gwynplaine and Dea; and Ursus marvelled at his want of success, like one who might say, "It is singular that with all the oil I throw on the fire, I cannot extinguish it!"

Did Ursus, then, really desire to extinguish their love, or to cool it even? Certainly not. He would have been sorely disappointed had he succeeded. In his secret heart this love delighted him beyond measure. But it is natural to scoff a little at that which charms us; men call it wisdom. Ursus had been, in his relations with Gwynplaine and Dea, almost a father and a