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was he to do? Day broke at last; he heard Ursus get up, but did not raise his eyelids. No truce for him, however. The letter was ever in his mind. Every word of it came back to him in a kind of chaos. In certain violent storms within the soul, thought becomes a liquid. It is convulsed, it heaves, and something rises from it, like the dull roaring of the waves. Flood and flow, sudden shocks and whirls, the hesitation of the wave before the rock; hail and rain; clouds with the light shining through their breaks; the petty flights of useless foam, the wild swell broken in an instant; huge efforts lost; wreck appearing all around; darkness and universal dispersion : as these are of the sea, so are they of man. Gwynplaine was a prey to such a storm.
At the acme of his agony, his eyes still closed, he heard an exquisite voice saying, “ Are you asleep, Gwynplaine?” He opened his eyes
with a start, and sat up. Dea was standing in the half-open door-way. Her ineffable smile was in her eyes and on her lips. She was standing there, charming in the unconscious serenity of her radiance. It was, as it were, a sacred moment. Gwynplaine watched her, startled, dazzled, awakened. Awakened from what? from sleep? no, from sleeplessness. It was she, it was Dea; and suddenly he felt in the depths of his being the indescribable wane of the storm, and the sublime descent of good over evil; the miracle of the look from on high was accomplished; the blind girl, the sweet lightbearer, with no effort beyond her mere presence, dissipated all the darkness within him ; the curtain of cloud was dispersed from his soul as if drawn by an invisible hand, and a sky of azure, as though by celestial enchantment, again spread over Gwynplaine's conscience. Again in a moment he became by the virtue of that angel, the great and good Gwynplaine, the innocent man. Such mysterious confrontations occur to the soul as they do to creation. Both were silent; she, who was the light; he, who was the abyss; she, who was divine; he, who was appeased; and over Gwynplaine's stormy heart Dea shone with the indescribable effect of a star shining on the Sea.
FROM GAY TO GRAVE.
How simple is a miracle! It was breakfast hour at the Green Box, and Dea had merely come to see why Gwynplaine had not joined their little breakfast table.
“It is you!" exclaimed Gwynplaine; and he had said everything.
There was no other horizon, no other vision for him now but the heaven where Dea was. His mind was appeased ; appeased in such a manner as he alone can understand, who has seen the smile spread swiftly over the sea when the hurricane has passed away. Over nothing does the calm come so quickly as over the whirlpool. This results from its power of absorption. And so it is with the human heart. Not always, however.
Dea had but to show herself, and all the light that was in Gwynplaine left him and went to her, and behind the dazzled Gwynplaine there was but a flight of phantoms. What a peace-maker is adoration ! A few minutes afterwards they were sitting opposite each other, Ursus between them, Homo at their feet. The teapot, hung over a little lamp, was on the table. Fibi and Vinos were outside, waiting
They breakfasted as they supped, in the centre compartment. From the position in which the narrow table was placed Dea's back was turned towards the aperture in the partition, which corresponded with the entrance-door of the Green Box. Their knees were touching. Gwynplaine was pouring out tea for Dea. Dea blew gracefully on her cup. Suddenly she sneezed. Just at that moment a thin smoke rose above the flame of the lamp, and something like a piece of paper fell into ashes. It was the smoke which had caused Dea to sneeze.
" What was that?" she asked.
The conscience of the man who loves is the guardian angel of the woman whom he loves.
Unburthened of that letter, his relief was wondrous, and Gwynplaine felt his integrity as the eagle feels its wings.
It seemed to him as if his temptation had evaporated with the smoke, and as if the duchess had crumbled into ashes with the paper.
Taking up the cups at random, and drinking one after the other from the same one, they talked. A babble of lovers, a chattering of sparrows! Child's talk, worthy of Mother Goose or of Homer! With two loving hearts, go no further for poetry: with two kisses for dialogue, go no further for music.
“Do you know something ?”
“Fools; it means angels,” growled Ursus. And their talk went on. "If you did not exist, Gwynplaine?" " What then?" “ It could only be that there were no God.” “ The tea is too hot; you will burn yourself, Dea.” " Blow on my cup.” “How beautiful you are this morning !” “Do you know that I have a great many things to say to you?" “Say them.” “I love you." “ I adore you." And Ursus said aside, “By heaven, these are frank folk!”
Exquisite to lovers are their moments of silence ! In them they amass, as it were, heaps of love, which afterwards explode into sweet fragments.
“Do you know! In the evening, when we are playing our parts, at the moment when my hand touches your forehead-oh, what a noble head is yours, Gwynplaine !-at the moment when I feel your hair under my fingers I shiver; a heavenly joy comes over me, and I say to myself, In all this world of darkness which encompasses me, in this universe of solitude, in this great obscurity of ruin which I am, in this quaking fear of myself and everything, I have one prop; and he is there. It is he.
It is you." “Oh! you love me," said Gwynplaine. “I, too, have but you on earth. You are all in all to me. Dea, what would you have me do? What do you desire ? What do you want?”
Oh, you are happy, are you? That's an offence. I have warned you already You are happy! Then take care you aren't seen. Take up as little room as you can. Happiness ought to stuff itself into a hole. Make yourselves still less than you are, if that can be. God measures the greatness of happiness by the littleness of the happy. The happy should conceal themselves like malefactors. Oh, only shine out like the wretched glow-worms you are, and you'll be trodden on; and quite right, too! What do you mean by all that love-making nonsense? I'm no duenna, whose business it is to watch lovers billing and cooing. I'm tired of it all, I tell you ; and you may both go to the devil.”
And, feeling that his harsh tones were melting into tenderness, he drowned his emotion in a loud grumble.
“Father,” said Dea, "how roughly you scold."
Here Homo re-echoed Ursus. His growl was heard from under the lovers' feet.
Ursus stooped down, and placed his hand on Homo's head.
“That's right; you're in bad humour, too. You growl. The bristles are all on end on your wolf's pate. You don't like all this love-making. That's because you are wise. Hold your tongue all the same. You have had your say, and given your opinion; be it so. Now be silent.”
The wolf growled again. Ursus looked under the table at him. "Be still, Homo ! Come, don't dwell on it, you philosopher !"
But the wolf sat up, and looked towards the door, showing his teeth.
“What's wrong with you, now?” said Ursus. And he caught hold of Homo by the skin of the neck.
Heedless of the wolf's growls, and wholly wrapped up in her own thoughts, and in the sound of Gwynplaine's voice, which left its aftertaste within her, Dea was silent, absorbed by that kind of ecstacy peculiar to the blind, which seems at times to give them a song to listen to in their souls, and to make up to them for the light which they lack, by some strain of ideal music. Blindness is a cavern, reached by the deep harmony of the Eternal.
While Ursus, addressing Homo, was looking down, Gwynplaine had raised his eyes. He was about to drink a cup of tea, but did not drink it. He placed it on the table with the slow movement of a spring drawn back; his fingers remained open, his eyes fixed. He scarcely breathed.
A man was standing in the doorway, behind Dea. This man was clad in black, with a hood. He wore a wig down to his eyebrows, and held in his hand an iron staff with a crown at each end. This staff was short and massive. It was like Medusa thrusting her head between two branches in Paradise.
Ursus, who had heard some one enter and raised his head without loosing his hold of Homo, recognised the terrible personage. He shook from head to foot, and whispered to Gwynplaine,
“ It's the wapentake.”
Gwynplaine recollected. An exclamation of surprise was about to escape him, but he restrained it. The iron staff, with the crown at each end, was called the iron weapon. It was from this iron weapon,
upon which the city officers of justice took the oath when they entered on their duties, that the old wapentakes of the English police derived their qualification.
Behind the man in the wig the frightened landlord could just be perceived in the shadow.
Without saying a word, a personification of the muta Themis of the old charters, the man stretched his right arm over the radiant Dea, and touched Gwynplaine on the shoulder with the iron staff, at the same time pointing with his left thumb to the door of the Green Box behind him. These gestures, all the more imperious for their silence, meant, follow me.
“Pro signo exeundi, sursum trahe," says the old Norman record.
He who had been touched by the iron weapon had no right but the right of obedience. To that mute order there was no reply. The harsh penalties of the English law threatened the refractory. Gwynplaine felt a shock under the rigid touch of the law; then he sat as though petrified.
If, instead of having been merely grazed on the shoulder, he had been struck a violent blow on the head with the iron staff, he could not have been more stunned. He knew that the police officer summoned him to follow ; but why? That he could not understand.
On his part Ursus, too, was thrown into the most painful agitation, but he saw matters pretty distinctly. His thoughts ran on the jugglers and preachers, his competitors, on informations laid against the Green Box, on that delinquent the wolf, on his own affair with the three Bishopsgate commissioners, and who knows ?-perhapsbut that would be too fearful-Gwynplaine's unbecoming and factious speeches touching the royal authority.
He trembled violently.
Neither Guynplaine nor Ursus pronounced a word. They had both the same thought : not to frighten Dea. It may have struck the wolf as well, for he ceased growling. True, Ursus did not loose him.
Homo, however, was a prudent wolf when occasion required. Who is there who has not remarked a kind of intelligent anxiety in animals? It may be that to the extent to which a wolf can understand mankind, he felt that he was an outlaw.
Resistance was impracticable, as Gwynplaine knew. He remembered Ursus's words, and there was no question possible. He remained standing in front of the wapentake. The latter raised the iron