Page:Tales of old Lusitania.djvu/103

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89
THE MAN WHO SEEKS ADVENTURES.

suddenly awakened by a noise, and soon after heard a voice which repeated several times: "I shall fall through the ceiling. What say you?"

"I have not the least objection; fall near me, if it pleases you," was the quick reply of the youth.

"How will you have me, whole, or shall I come down in pieces?"

"You can fall in fragments, if you like; you cannot frighten me any way."

That instant one leg fell into the room, then another, and so on. Arms, head, and all the component parts of a man's body lay in a heap on the floor, whilst our hero remained perfectly cool and collected, nor did the sickening sight excite in him fear or disgust; but in a firm and commanding tone he said: "I order you, in the name of God, to come together again, and stand before me a whole man; and inform me what it is you want, that you thus haunt this place and scare people?"

Gradually all the parts began to unite into a perfect, but cadaverous-looking man, with toothless jaws, which he worked up and down in a horrible manner; then he said, with a ghastly grin, and in a solemn voice: "I am the late owner of this house. During my lifetime I took possession of another man's property—a farm—to which I had no right whatever; in fact, I was no better than a thief. If my wife does not make restitution and return the