Manalive eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 201 pages of information about Manalive.

“I suppose you mean,” said the other dubiously, “that we have got to find out what all these crimes meant, as if they were so many coloured picture-puzzles.  But even supposing that they do mean something—­why, Lord bless my soul!—­”

Taking the turn of the garden quite naturally, he had lifted his eyes to the moon, by this time risen big and luminous, and had seen a huge, half-human figure sitting on the garden wall.  It was outlined so sharply against the moon that for the first flash it was hard to be certain even that it was human:  the hunched shoulders and outstanding hair had rather the air of a colossal cat.  It resembled a cat also in the fact that when first startled it sprang up and ran with easy activity along the top of the wall.  As it ran, however, its heavy shoulders and small stooping head rather suggested a baboon.  The instant it came within reach of a tree it made an ape-like leap and was lost in the branches.  The gale, which by this time was shaking every shrub in the garden, made the identification yet more difficult, since it melted the moving limbs of the fugitive in the multitudinous moving limbs of the tree.

“Who is there?” shouted Arthur.  “Who are you?  Are you Innocent?”

“Not quite,” answered an obscure voice among the leaves.  “I cheated you once about a penknife.”

The wind in the garden had gathered strength, and was throwing the tree backwards and forwards with the man in the thick of it, just as it had on the gay and golden afternoon when he had first arrived.

“But are you Smith?” asked Inglewood as in an agony.

“Very nearly,” said the voice out of the tossing tree.

“But you must have some real names,” shrieked Inglewood in despair.  “You must call yourself something.”

“Call myself something,” thundered the obscure voice, shaking the tree so that all its ten thousand leaves seemed to be talking at once.  “I call myself Roland Oliver Isaiah Charlemagne Arthur Hildebrand Homer Danton Michaelangelo Shakespeare Brakespeare—­”

“But, manalive!” began Inglewood in exasperation.

“That’s right! that’s right!” came with a roar out of the rocking tree; “that’s my real name.”  And he broke a branch, and one or two autumn leaves fluttered away across the moon.

Part II

The Explanations of Innocent Smith

Chapter I

The Eye of Death;
or, the Murder Charge

The dining-room of the Dukes had been set out for the Court of Beacon with a certain impromptu pomposity that seemed somehow to increase its cosiness.  The big room was, as it were, cut up into small rooms, with walls only waist high—­the sort of separation that children make when they are playing at shops.  This had been done by Moses Gould and Michael Moon (the two most active members of this remarkable inquiry) with the ordinary furniture of

Project Gutenberg
Manalive from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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