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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/364

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GWYNPLAINE reproached himself at times. He made his happiness a matter of conscience. He fancied that in allowing a woman who could not see him to love him, he was guilty of a gross deception. What would she say if her sight were suddenly restored? How she would shrink from what had previously attracted her! How she would recoil from her frightful lover! What a cry! what covering of her face! what a flight! These bitter scruples harassed him. He told himself that such a monster as he was had no right to love. He was a hydra idolized by a star. It was his duty to enlighten the blind star.

One day Gwynplaine said to Dea, "You know that I am very ugly."

"I know that you are sublime," she answered.

He resumed: "When you hear everybody laugh, it is at me they are laughing, because I am horrible."

"I love you!" said Dea. After a silence, she added: "I was dead; you restored me to life. When you are near me heaven is beside me. Give me your hand, that I may touch heaven."

Their hands met and grasped each other. They spoke no more, but were silent in the plenitude of their love.

Ursus, who was a crabbed old fellow, overheard this. The next day when the three were together, he remarked, "For that matter, Dea is ugly too."