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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/371

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NOT ONLY HAPPINESS, BUT PROSPERITY.

interior of the wheeled house with almost as much ease and safety as a person who could see. In the back part of this new and imposing establishment, in the corner to the right of the door, stood the old van, securely fastened to the floor. This now served as a sleeping apartment and dressing-room for Gwynplaine and Ursus. In the opposite corner was the kitchen.

No vessel could be more precise and compact in its arrangements than the interior of the Green Box. Everything connected with it had been planned with remarkable foresight and care. The caravan was divided into three compartments, partitioned off from one another. These communicated by open spaces without doors, but were hung with curtains. The compartment in the rear belonged to the men, the compartment in front to the women, the compartment in the middle, separating the two sexes, was the stage. The musical instruments and the stage properties were kept in the kitchen. A loft under the arch of the roof held the scenery, and on opening a trap-door lamps appeared, which did wonders in the way of lighting the stage!

Ursus was the poet of these representations; he wrote the pieces. He had a diversity of talents; he was clever at sleight-of-hand. Besides the voices he imitated, he produced all sorts of unexpected effects,—sudden alternations of light and darkness, spontaneous formations of figures or words,—as he willed, on the wall; also vanishing figures in chiaroscuro, wonders amidst which he seemed to meditate, unmindful of the crowd who marvelled at him.

One day Gwynplaine said to him: "Father, you look like a sorcerer!"

And Ursus replied, "Then I look, perhaps, like what I am."

The Green Box, built on a model conceived by Ursus,