At these words the reclining figure rose, and the electric light fell upon his countenance
Too Long; Didn't ReadAt these words the reclining figure rose, and the electric light fell upon his countenance; a magnificent head, the forehead high, the glance commanding, beard white, hair abundant and falling over the shoulders.
His hand rested upon the cushion of the divan from which he had just risen. He appeared perfectly calm. It was evident that his strength had been gradually undermined by illness, but his voice seemed yet powerful, as he said in English, and in a tone which evinced extreme surprise,—
“Sir, I have no name.”
“Nevertheless, I know you!” replied Cyrus Harding.
Captain Nemo fixed his penetrating gaze upon the engineer, as though he were about to annihilate him.
Then, falling back amid the pillows of the divan,—
“After all, what matters now?” he murmured; “I am dying!”
Cyrus Harding drew near the captain, and Gideon Spilett took his hand—it was of a feverish heat. Ayrton, Pencroft, Herbert, and Neb stood respectfully apart in an angle of the magnificent saloon, whose atmosphere was saturated with the electric fluid.
Meanwhile Captain Nemo withdrew his hand, and motioned the engineer and the reporter to be seated.
All regarded him with profound emotion. Before them they beheld that being whom they had styled the “genius of the island,” the powerful protector whose intervention, in so many circumstances, had been so efficacious, the benefactor to whom they owed such a debt of gratitude! Their eyes beheld a man only, and a man at the point of death, where Pencroft and Neb had expected to find an almost supernatural being!
But how happened it that Cyrus Harding had recognized Captain Nemo? why had the latter so suddenly risen on hearing this name uttered, a name which he had believed known to none?—
The captain had resumed his position on the divan, and leaning on his arm, he regarded the engineer, seated near him.
“You know the name I formerly bore, sir?” he asked.
“I do,” answered Cyrus Harding, “and also that of this wonderful submarine vessel—”
“The ‘Nautilus’?” said the captain, with a faint smile.
“But do you—do you know who I am?”