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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/368

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CHAPTER VIII.


NOT ONLY HAPPINESS, BUT PROSPERITY.


HOW many true things are told in stories! The burn of the invisible fiend who touches you is remorse for a wicked thought.

In Gwynplaine these evil thoughts never came to fruition; so he felt no remorse. Sometimes he felt regret. A few vague compunctions of conscience, what was that? Nothing. Their happiness was complete; so complete, that they were no longer poor, even.

From 1689 to 1704 a great change had taken place. It sometimes happened, in the year 1704 that an immense van drawn by two sturdy horses made its appearance about nightfall in some small village on the sea-coast. This van resembled the hull of a vessel turned upside down, the keel serving for a roof, and the deck, placed upon four wheels, for a floor. The wheels were all of the same size, and as high as wagon-wheels. Wheels, pole, and van were all painted green, with a rhythmical gradation of shades, which ranged from bottle-green for the wheels, to apple-green for the roofing. This colour attracted attention to the establishment, which was known on all fair-grounds as The Green Box. The Green Box had but two windows, one at each end, and at the back there was a door with steps that let down. On the roof, from a pipe painted green like the rest, smoke arose. This moving house was always newly varnished and washed. In front, on a sort of platform, fastened to the