Infomotions, Inc.The Green Mummy / Hume, Fergus, 1859-1932



Author: Hume, Fergus, 1859-1932
Title: The Green Mummy
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): jasher; braddock; mummy; don pedro; lucy; archie; pedro; random; hervey; bolton; cockatoo; professor braddock; miss kendal; sidney; professor; emeralds; captain hervey; green mummy; sidney bolton; manuscript; widow; widow anne; frank
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Title:  The Green Mummy

Author:  Fergus Hume

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This Etext prepared by an anonymous Project Gutenberg volunteer.





The Green Mummy

by Fergus Hume




CONTENTS



CHAPTER



    I    THE LOVERS

   II    PROFESSOR BRADDOCK

  III    A MYSTERIOUS TOMB

   IV    THE UNEXPECTED

    V    MYSTERY

   VI    THE INQUEST

  VII    THE CAPTAIN OF "THE DIVER"

 VIII    THE BARONET

   IX    MRS. JASHER'S LUCK

    X    THE DON AND HIS DAUGHTER

   XI    THE MANUSCRIPT

  XII    A DISCOVERY

 XIII    MORE MYSTERY

  XIV    THE UNEXPECTED HAPPENS

   XV    AN ACCUSATION

  XVI    THE MANUSCRIPT AGAIN

 XVII    CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE

XVIII    RECOGNITION

  XIX    NEARER THE TRUTH

   XX    THE LETTER

  XXI    A STORY OF THE PAST

 XXII    A WEDDING PRESENT

XXIII    JUST IN TIME

 XXIV    A CONFESSION

  XXV    THE MILLS OF GOD

 XXVI    THE APPOINTMENT

XXVII    BY THE RIVER





The Green Mummy




CHAPTER I

THE LOVERS


"I am very angry," pouted the maid.

"In heaven's name, why?" questioned the bachelor.

"You have, so to speak, bought me."

"Impossible: your price is prohibitive."

"Indeed, when a thousand pounds--"

"You are worth fifty and a hundred times as much.  Pooh!"

"That interjection doesn't answer my question."

"I don't think it is one which needs answering," said the young
man lightly; "there are more important things to talk about than
pounds, shillings, and sordid pence."

"Oh, indeed! Such as--"

"Love, on a day such as this is.  Look at the sky, blue as your
eyes; at the sunshine, golden as your hair."

"Warm as your affection, you should say."

"Affection!  So cold a word, when I love you."

"To the extent of one thousand pounds."

"Lucy, you are a--woman.  That money did not buy your love, but
the consent of your step-father to our marriage.  Had I not
humored his whim, he would have insisted upon your marrying
Random."

Lucy pouted again and in scorn.

"As if I ever would," said she.

"Well, I don't know.  Random is a soldier and a baronet; handsome
and agreeable, with a certain amount of talent.  What objection
can you find to such a match?"

"One insuperable objection; he isn't you, Archie--darling."

"H'm, the adjective appears to be an afterthought," grumbled the
bachelor; then, when she merely laughed teasingly after the
manner of women, he added moodily:

"No, by Jove, Random isn't me, by any manner of means.  I am but
a poor artist without fame or position, struggling on three
hundred a year for a grudging recognition."

"Quite enough for one, you greedy creature."

"And for two?" he inquired softly.

"More than enough."

"Oh, nonsense, nonsense, nonsense!"

"What! when I am engaged to you?  Actions speak much louder than
remarks, Mr. Archibald Hope.  I love you more than I do money."

"Angel! angel!"

"You said that I was a woman just now.  What do, you mean?"

"This," and he kissed her willing lips in the lane, which was
empty save for blackbirds and beetles.  "Is any explanation a
clear one?"

"Not to an angel, who requires adoration, but to a woman who--
Let us walk on, Archie, or we shall be late for dinner."

The young man smiled and frowned and sighed and laughed in the
space of thirty seconds--something of a feat in the way of
emotional gymnastics.  The freakish feminine nature perplexed him
as it had perplexed Adam, and he could not understand this rapid
change from poetry to prose.  How could it be otherwise, when he
was but five-and-twenty, and engaged for the first time?
Threescore years and ten is all too short a time to learn what
woman really is, and every student leaves this world with the
conviction that of the thousand sides which the female of man
presents to the male of woman, not one reveals the being he
desires to know.  There is always a deep below a deep; a veil
behind a veil, a sphere within a sphere.

"It's most remarkable," said the puzzled man in this instance.

"What is?" asked the enigma promptly.

To avoid an argument which he could not sustain, Archie switched
his on to the weather.

"This day in September; one could well believe that it is still
the month of roses."

"What!  With those wilted hedges and falling leaves and reaped
fields and golden haystacks, and--and--"

She glanced around for further illustrations in the way of
contradiction.

"I can see all those things, dear, and the misplaced day also!"

"Misplaced?"

"July day slipped into September.  It comes into the landscape of
this autumn month, as does love into the hearts of an elderly
couple who feel too late the supreme passion."

Lucy's eyes swept the prospect, and the spring-like sunshine,
revealing all too clearly the wrinkles of aging Nature, assisted
her comprehension.

"I understand.  Yet youth has its wisdom."

"And old age its experience.  The law of compensation, my
dearest.  But I don't see," he added reflectively, "what your
remark and my answer have to do with the view," whereat Lucy
declared that his wits wandered.

Within the last five minutes they had emerged from a sunken lane
where the hedges were white with dust and dry with heat to a vast
open space, apparently at the World's-End.  Here the saltings
spread raggedly towards the stately stream of the Thames,
intersected by dykes and ditches, by earthen ramparts, crooked
fences, sod walls, and irregular lines of stunted trees following
the water-courses.  The marshes were shaggy with reeds and
rushes, and brown with coarse, fading herbage, although here and
there gleamed emerald-hued patches of water-soaked soil, fit for
fairy-rings.  Beyond a moderately high embankment of turf and
timber, the lovers could see the broad river, sweeping eastward
to the Nore, with homeward-bound and outward-faring ships afloat
on its golden tide.  Across the gleaming waters, from where they
lipped their banks to the foot of low domestic Kentish hills,
stretched alluvial lands, sparsely timbered, and in the clear
sunshine clusters of houses, great and small, factories with
tall, smoky chimneys, clumps of trees and rigid railway lines
could be discerned.  The landscape was not beautiful, in spite of
the sun's profuse gildings, but to the lovers it appeared a
Paradise.  Cupid, lord of gods and men, had bestowed on them the
usual rose-colored spectacles which form an important part of his
stock-in-trade, and they looked abroad on a fairy world.  Was not
SHE there: was not HE there: could Romeo or Juliet desire more?

From their feet ran the slim, straight causeway, which was the
King's highway of the district--a trim, prim line of white above
the picturesque disorder of the marshes.  It skirted the
low-lying fields at the foot of the uplands and slipped through
an iron gate to end in the far distance at the gigantic portal of
The Fort.  This was a squat, ungainly pile of rugged gray stone,
symmetrically built, but aggressively ugly in its very
regularity, since it insulted the graceful curves of Nature
everywhere discernible.  It stood nakedly amidst the bare, bleak
meadows glittering with pools of still water, with not even the
leaf of a creeper to soften its menacing walls, although above
them appeared the full-foliaged tops of trees planted in the
barrack-yard.  It looked as though the grim walls belted a secret
orchard.  What with the frowning battlements, the very few
windows diminutive and closely barred, the sullen entrance and
the absence of any gracious greenery, Gartley Fort resembled the
Castle of Giant Despair.  On the hither side, but invisible to
the lovers, great cannons scowled on the river they protected,
and, when they spoke, received answer from smaller guns across
the stream.  There less extensive forts were concealed amidst
trees and masked by turf embankments, to watch and guard the
golden argosies of London commerce.

Lucy, always impressionable, shivered with her hand in that of
Archie's, as she stared at the landscape, melancholy even in the
brilliant sunshine.

"I should hate to live in Gartley Fort," said she abruptly.  "One
might as well be in jail."

"If you marry Random you will have to live there, or on a baggage
wagon.  He is R.G.A. captain, remember, and has to go where glory
calls him, like a good soldier."

"Glory can call until glory is hoarse for me," retorted the girl
candidly.  "I prefer an artist's studio to a camp."

"Why?" asked Hope, laughing at her vehemence.

"The reason is obvious.  I love the artist."

"And if you loved the soldier?"

"I should mount the baggage wagon and make him Bovril when he was
wounded.  But for you, dear, I shall cook and sew and bake and--"

"Stop! stop!  I want a wife, not a housekeeper."

"Every sensible man wants the two in one."

"But you should be a queen, darling."

"Not with my own consent, Archie: the work is much too hard.
Existence on six pounds a week with you will be more amusing.  We
can take a cottage, you know, and live, the simple life in
Gartley village, until you become the P.R.A., and I can be Lady
Hope, to walk in silk attire."

"You shall be Queen of the Earth, darling, and walk alone."

"How dull!  I would much rather walk with you.  And that reminds
me that dinner is waiting.  Let us take the short cut home
through the village.  On the way you can tell me exactly how you
bought me from my step-father for one thousand pounds."

Archie Hope frowned at the incurable obstinacy of the sex.  "I
didn't buy you, dearest: how many times do you wish me to deny a
sale which never took place?  I merely obtained your
step-father's consent to our marriage in the near future."

"As if he had anything to do with my marriage, being only my
step-father, and having, in my eyes, no authority.  In what way
did you get his consent--his unnecessary consent," she repeated
with emphasis.

Of course it was waste of breath to argue with a woman who had
made up her mind.  The two began to walk towards the village
along the causeway, and Hope cleared his throat to explain--
patiently as to a child.

"You know that your step-father--Professor Braddock--is crazy
on the subject of mummies?"

Lucy nodded in her pretty wilful way.  "He is an Egyptologist."

"Quite so, but less famous and rich than he should be,
considering his knowledge of dry-as-dust antiquities.  Well,
then, to make a long story short, he told me that he greatly
desired to examine into the difference between the Egyptians and
the Peruvians, with regard to the embalming of the dead."

"I always thought that he was too fond of Egypt to bother about
any other country," said Lucy sapiently.

"My dear, it isn't the country he cares about, but the
civilization of the past.  The Incas embalmed their dead, as did
the Egyptians, and in some way the Professor heard of a Royal
Mummy, swathed in green bandages--so he described it to me."

"It should be called an Irish mummy," said Lucy flippantly.
"Well?"

"This mummy is in possession of a man at Malta, and Professor
Braddock, hearing that it was for sale for one thousand pounds--"

"Oh!" interrupted the girl vivaciously, "so this was why father
sent Sidney Bolton away six weeks ago?"

"Yes.  As you know, Bolton is your step-father's assistant, and
is as crazy as the Professor on the subject of Egypt.  I asked
the Professor if he would allow me to marry you--"

"Quite unnecessary," interpolated Lucy briskly.

Archie passed over the remark to evade an argument.

"When I asked him, he said that he wished you to marry Random,
who is rich.  I pointed out that you loved me and not Random, and
that Random was on a yachting cruise, while I was on the spot.
He then said that he could not wait for the return of Random, and
would give me a chance."

"What did he mean by that?"

"Well, it seems that he was in a hurry to get this Green Mummy
from Malta, as he feared lest some other person should snap it
up.  This was two months ago, remember, and Professor Braddock
wanted the cash at once.  Had Random been here he could have
supplied it, but as Random was away he told me that if I handed
over one thousand pounds to purchase the mummy, that he would
permit our engagement now, and our marriage in six months.  I saw
my chance and took it, for your step-father has always been an
obstacle in our path, Lucy, dear.  In a week Professor Braddock
had the money, as I sold out some of my investments to get it.
He then sent Bolton to Malta in a tramp steamer for the sake of
cheapness, and now expects him back with the Green Mummy."

"Has Sidney bought it?"

"Yes.  He got it for nine hundred pounds, the Professor told me,
and is bringing it back in The Diver--that's the same tramp
steamer in which he went to Malta.  So that's the whole story,
and you can see there is no question of you being bought.  The
thousand pounds went to get your father's consent."

"He is not my father," snapped Lucy, finding nothing else to say.

"You call him so."

"That is only from habit.  I can't call him Mr. Braddock, or
Professor Braddock, when I live with him, so `father' is the sole
mode of address left to me.  And after all," she added, taking
her lover's arm, "I like the Professor; he is very kind and good,
although extremely absent-minded.  And I am glad he has
consented, for he worried me a lot to marry Sir Frank Random.  I
am glad you bought me."

"But I didn't," cried the exasperated lover.

"I think you did, and you shouldn't have diminished your income
by buying what you could have had for nothing."

Archie shrugged his shoulders.  It was vain to combat her fixed
idea.

"I have still three hundred a year left.  And you were worth
buying."

"You have no right to talk of me as though I had been bought."

The young man gasped.  "But you said--"

"Oh, what does it matter what I said.  I am going to marry you on
three hundred a year, so there it is.  I suppose when Bolton
returns, my father will be glad to see the back of me, and then
will go to Egypt with Sidney to explore this secret tomb he is
always talking about."

"That expedition will require more than a thousand pounds," said
Archie dryly.  "The Professor explained the obstacles to me.
However, his doings have nothing to do with us, darling.  Let
Professor Braddock fumble amongst the dead if he likes.  We
live!"

"Apart," sighed Lucy.

"Only for the next six months; then we can get our cottage and
live on love, my dearest."

"Plus three hundred a year," said the girl sensibly then she
added, "Oh, poor Frank Random!"

"Lucy," cried her lover indignantly.

"Well, I was only pitying him.  He's a nice man, and you can't
expect him to be pleased at our marriage."

"Perhaps," said Hope in an icy tone, "you would like him to be
the bridegroom.  If so, there is still time."

"Silly boy!"  She took his arm.  "As I have been bought, you know
that I can't run away from my purchaser."

"You denied being bought just now.  It seems to me, Lucy, that I
am to marry a weather-cock."

"That is only an impolite name for a woman, dear.  You have no
sense of humor, Frank, or you would call me an April lady."

"Because you change every five minutes.  H'm!  It's puzzling."

"Is it?  Perhaps you would like me to resemble Widow Anne, who is
always funereal.  Here she is, looking like Niobe."

They were strolling through Gartley village by this time, and the
cottagers came to their doors and front gates to look at the
handsome young couple.  Everyone knew of the engagement, and
approved of the same, although some hinted that Lucy Kendal would
have been wiser to marry the soldier-baronet.  Amongst these was
Widow Anne, who really was Mrs. Bolton, the mother of Sidney, a
dismal female invariably arrayed in rusty, stuffy, aggressive
mourning, although her husband had been dead for over twenty
years.  Because of this same mourning, and because she was always
talking of the dead, she was called "Widow Anne," and looked on
the appellation as a compliment to her fidelity.  At the present
moment she stood at the gate of her tiny garden, mopping her red
eyes with a dingy handkerchief.

"Ah, young love, young love, my lady," she groaned, when the
couple passed, for she always gave Lucy a title as though she
really and truly had become the wife of Sir Frank, "but who knows
how long it may last?"

"As long as we do," retorted Lucy, annoyed by this prophetic
speech.

Widow Anne groaned with relish.  "So me and Aaron, as is dead and
gone, thought, my lady.  But in six months he was knocking the
head off me."

"The man who would lay his hand on a woman save in the way of--"

"Oh, Archie, what nonsense, you talk!" cried Miss Kendal
pettishly.

"Ah!" sighed the woman of experience, "I called it nonsense too,
my lady, afore Aaron, who now lies with the worms, laid me out
with a flat-iron.  Men's fit for jails only, as I allays says."

"A nice opinion you have of our sex," remarked Archie dryly.

"I have, sir.  I could tell you things as would make your head
waggle with horror on there shoulders of yours."

"What about your son Sidney?  Is he also wicked?"

"He would be if he had the strength, which he hasn't," exclaimed
the widow with uncomplimentary fervor.  "He's Aaron's son, and
Aaron hadn't much to learn from them as is where he's gone too,"
and she looked downward significantly.

"Sidney is a decent young fellow," said Lucy sharply.  "How dare
you miscall your own flesh and blood, Widow Anne?  My father
thinks a great deal of Sidney, else he would not have sent him to
Malta.  Do try and be cheerful, there's a good soul.  Sidney will
tell you plenty to make you laugh, when he comes home."

"If he ever does come home," sighed the old woman.

"What do you mean by that?"

"Oh, it's all very well asking questions as can't be answered
nohow, my lady, but I be all of a mubble-fubble, that I be."

"What is a mubble-fubble?" asked Hope, staring.

"It's a queer-like feeling of death and sorrow and tears of blood
and not lifting your head for groans," said Widow Anne
incoherently, "and there's meanings in mubble-fumbles, as we're
told in Scripture.  Not but what the Perfesser's been a kind
gentleman to Sid in taking him from going round with the laundry
cart, and eddicating him to watch camphorated corpses: not as
what I'd like to keep an eye on them things myself.  But there's
no more watching for my boy Sid, as I dreamed."

"What did you dream?" asked Lucy curiously.

Widow Anne threw up two gnarled hands, wrinkled with age and
laundry work, screwing up her face meanwhile.

"I dreamed of battle and murder and sudden death, my lady, with
Sid in his cold grave playing on a harp, angel-like.  Yes!" she
folded her rusty shawl tightly round her spare form and nodded,
"there was Sid, looking beautiful in his coffin, and cut into a
hash, as you might say, with--"

"Ugh! ugh!" shuddered Lucy, and Archie strove to draw her away.

"With murder written all over his poor face," pursued the widow.
"And I woke up screeching with cramp in my legs and pains in my
lungs, and beatings in my heart, and stiffness in my--"

"Oh, hang it, shut up!" shouted Archie, seeing that Lucy was
growing pale at this ghoulish recital, "don't be fool, woman.
Professor Braddock says that Bolton'll be back in three days with
the mummy he has been sent to fetch from Malta.  You have been
having nightmare!  Don't you see how you are frightening Miss
Kendal?"

"'The Witch' of Endor, sir--"

"Deuce take the Witch of Endor and you also.  There's a shilling.
Go and drink yourself into a more cheery frame of mind."

Widow Anne bit the shilling with one of her two remaining teeth,
and dropped a curtsey.

"You're a good, kind gentleman," she smirked, cheered at the idea
of unlimited gin.  "And when my boy Sid do come home a corpse, I
hope you'll come to the funeral, sir."

"What a raven!" said Lucy, as Widow Anne toddled away in the
direction of the one public-house in Gartley village.

"I don't wonder that the late Mr. Bolton laid her out with a
flat-iron.  To slay such a woman would be meritorious."

"I wonder how she came to be the mother of Sidney," said Miss
Kendal reflectively, as they resumed their walk, "he's such a
clever, smart, and handsome young man."

"I think Bolton owes everything to the Professor's teaching and
example, Lucy," replied her lover.  "He was an uncouth lad, I
understand, when your step-father took him into the house six
years ago.  Now he is quite presentable.  I shouldn't wonder if
he married Mrs. Jasher."

"H'm!  I rather think Mrs. Jasher admires the Professor."

"Oh, he'll never marry her.  If she were a mummy there might be a
chance, of course, but as a human being the Professor will never
look at her."

"I don't know so much about that, Archie.  Mrs. Jasher is
attractive."

Hope laughed.  "In a mutton-dressed-as-lamb way, no doubt."

"And she has money.  My father is poor and so--"

"You make up a match at once, as every woman will do.  Well, let
us get back to the Pyramids, and see how the flirtation is
progressing."

Lucy walked on for a few steps in silence.  "Do you believe in
Mrs. Bolton's dream, Archie?"

"No!  I believe she eats heavy suppers.  Bolton will return quite
safe; he is a clever fellow, not easily taken advantage of.
Don't bother any more about Widow Anne and her dismal
prophecies."

"I'll try not to," replied Lucy dutifully.  "All the same, I wish
she had not told me her dream," and she shivered.




CHAPTER II

PROFESSOR BRADDOCK


There was only one really palatial mansion in Gartley, and that
was the ancient Georgian house known as the Pyramids.  Lucy's
step-father had given the place this eccentric name on taking up
his abode there some ten years previously.  Before that time the
dwelling had been occupied by the Lord of the Manor and his
family.  But now the old squire was dead, and his impecunious
children were scattered to the four quarters of the globe in
search of money with which to rebuild their ruined fortunes.  As
the village was somewhat isolated and rather unhealthily situated
in a marshy country, the huge, roomy old Grange had not been easy
to let, and had proved quite impossible to sell.  Under these
disastrous circumstances, Professor Braddock--who described
himself humorously as a scientific pauper--had obtained the
tenancy at a ridiculously low rental, much to his satisfaction.

Many people would have paid money to avoid exile in these damp
waste lands, which, as it were, fringed civilization, but their
loneliness and desolation suited the Professor exactly.  He
required ample room for his Egyptian collection, with plenty of
time to decipher hieroglyphics and study perished dynasties of
the Nile Valley.  The world of the present day did not interest
Braddock in the least.  He lived almost continuously on that
portion of the mental plane which had to do with the far-distant
past, and only concerned himself with physical existence, when it
consisted of mummies and mystic beetles, sepulchral ornaments,
pictured documents, hawk-headed deities and suchlike things of
almost inconceivable antiquity.  He rarely walked abroad and was
invariably late for meals, save when he missed any particular one
altogether, which happened frequently.  Absent-minded in
conversation, untidy in dress, unpractical in business, dreamy in
manner, Professor Braddock lived solely for archaeology.  That
such a man should have taken to himself a wife was mystery.

Yet he had been married fifteen years before to a widow, who
possessed a limited income and one small child.  It was the
opportunity of securing the use of a steady income which had
decoyed Braddock into the matrimonial snare of Mrs. Kendal.  To
put it plainly, he had married the agreeable widow for her money,
although he could scarcely be called a fortune-hunter.  Like
Eugene Aram, he desired cash to assist learning, and as that
scholar had committed murder to secure what he wanted, so did the
Professor marry to obtain his ends.  These were to have someone
to manage the house, and to be set free from the necessity of
earning his bread, so that he might indulge in pursuits more
pleasurable than money-making.  Mrs. Kendal was a placid,
phlegmatic lady, who liked rather than loved the Professor, and
who desired him more as a companion than as a husband.  With
Braddock she did not arrange a romantic marriage so much as enter
into a congenial partnership.  She wanted a man in the house, and
he desired freedom from pecuniary embarrassment.  On these lines
the prosaic bargain was struck, and Mrs. Kendal became the
Professor's wife with entirely successful results.  She gave her
husband a home, and her child a father, who became fond of Lucy,
and who--considering he was merely an amateur parent--acted
admirably.

But this sensible partnership lasted only for five years.  Mrs.
Braddock died of a chill on the liver and left her five hundred a
year to the Professor for life, with remainder to Lucy, then a
small girl of ten.  It was at this critical moment that Braddock
became a practical man for the first and last time in his dreamy
life.  He buried his wife with unfeigned regret--for he had been
sincerely attached to her in his absent-minded way--and sent
Lucy to a Hampstead boarding school.  After an interview with his
late wife's lawyer to see that the income was safe, he sought for
a house in the country, and quickly discovered Gartley Grange,
which no one would take because of its isolation.  Within three
months from the burial of Mrs. Braddock, the widower had removed
himself and his collection to Gartley, and had renamed his new
abode the Pyramids.  Here he dwelt quietly and enjoyably--from
his dry-as-dust point of view--for ten years, and here Lucy
Kendal had come when her education was completed.  The arrival of
a marriageable young lady made no difference in the Professor's
habits, and he hailed her thankfully as the successor to her
mother in managing the small establishment.  It is to be feared
that Braddock was somewhat selfish in his views, but the fixed
idea of archaeological research made him egotistical.

The mansion was three-story, flat-roofed, extremely ugly and
unexpectedly comfortable.  Built of mellow red brick with dingy
white stone facings, it stood a few yards back from the roadway
which ran from Gartley Fort through the village, and, at the
precise point where the Pyramids was situated, curved abruptly
through woodlands to terminate a mile away, at Jessum, the local
station of the Thames Railway Line.  An iron railing, embedded in
moldering stone work, divided the narrow front garden from the
road, and on either side of the door--which could be reached by
five shallow steps--grew two small yew trees, smartly clipped
and trimmed into cones of dull green.  These yews possessed some
magical significance, which Professor Braddock would occasionally
explain to chance visitors interested in occult matters; for,
amongst other things Egyptian, the archaeologist searched into
the magic of the Sons of Khem, and insisted that there was more
truth than superstition in their enchantments.

Braddock used all the vast rooms of the ground floor to house his
collection of antiquities, which he had acquired through many
laborious years.  He dwelt entirely in this museum, as his
bedroom adjoined his study, and he frequently devoured his
hurried meals amongst the brilliantly tinted mummy cases.  The
embalmed dead populated his world, and only now and then, when
Lucy insisted, did he ascend to the first floor, which was her
particular abode.  Here was the drawing-room, the dining-room and
Lucy's boudoir; here also were sundry bedrooms, furnished and
unfurnished, in one of which Miss Kendal slept, while the others
remained vacant for chance visitors, principally from the
scientific world.  The third story was devoted to the cook, her
husband--who acted as gardener--and to the house parlor maid, a
composite domestic, who worked from morning until night in
keeping the great house clean.  During the day these servants
attended to their business in a comfortable basement, where the
cook ruled supreme.  At the back of the mansion stretched a
fairly large kitchen garden, to which the cook's husband devoted
his attention.  This was the entire domain belonging to the
tenant, as, of course, the Professor did not rent the arable
acres and comfortable farms which had belonged to the
dispossessed family.

Everything in the house went smoothly, as Lucy was a methodical
young person, who went by the clock and the almanac.  Braddock
little knew how much of his undeniable comfort he owed to her
fostering care; for, prior to her return from school, he had been
robbed right and left by unscrupulous domestics.  When his
step-daughter arrived he simply handed over the keys and the
housekeeping money--a fixed sum--and gave her strict
instructions not to bother him.  Miss Kendal faithfully observed
this injunction, as she enjoyed being undisputed mistress, and
knew that, so long as her step-father had his meals, his bed, his
bath and his clothes, he required nothing save the constant
society of his beloved mummies, of which no one wished to deprive
him.  These he dusted and cleansed and rearranged himself.  Not
even Lucy dared to invade the museum, and the mere mention of
spring cleaning drove the Professor into displaying frantic rage,
in which he used bad language.

On returning from her walk with Archie, the girl had lured her
step-father into assuming a rusty dress suit, which had done
service for many years, and had coaxed him into a promise to be
present at dinner.  Mrs. Jasher, the lively widow of the
district, was coming, and Braddock approved of a woman who looked
up to him as the one wise man in the world.  Even science is
susceptible to judicious flattery, and Mrs. Jasher was never
backward in putting her admiration into words.  Female gossip
declared that the widow wished to become the second Mrs.
Braddock, but if this was really the case, she had but small
chance of gaining her end.  The Professor had once sacrificed his
liberty to secure a competence, and, having acquired five hundred
a year, was not inclined for a second matrimonial venture.  Had
the widow been a dollar heiress with a million at her back he
would not have troubled to place a ring on her finger.  And
certainly Mrs. Jasher had little to gain from such a dreary
marriage, beyond a collection of rubbish--as she said--and a
dull country house situated in a district inhabited solely by
peasants belonging to Saxon times.

Archie Hope left Lucy at the door of the Pyramids and repaired to
his village lodgings, for the purpose of assuming evening dress.
Lucy, being her own housekeeper, assisted the overworked parlor
maid to lay and decorate the table before receiving the guests.
Thus Mrs. Jasher found no one in the drawing-room to welcome her,
and, taking the privilege of old friendship, descended to beard
Braddock in his den.  The Professor raised his eyes from a newly
bought scarabeus to behold a stout little lady smiling on him
from the doorway.  He did not appear to be grateful for the
interruption, but Mrs. Jasher was not at all dismayed, being a
man-hunter by profession.  Besides, she saw that Braddock was in
the clouds as usual, and would have received the King himself in
the same absent-minded manner.

"Pouf! what an abominal smell!" exclaimed the widow, holding a
flimsy lace handkerchief to her nose.  "Kind of
camphor-sandal-wood-charnel-house smell.  I wonder you are not
asphyxiated.  Pouf!  Ugh!  Bur-r-r!"

The Professor stared at her with cold, fishy eyes.  "Did you
speak?"

"Oh, dear me, yes, and you don't even ask me to take a chair.  If
I were a nasty stuffy mummy, now, you would be embracing me by,
this time.  Don't you know that I have come to dinner, you silly
man?" and she tapped him playfully with her closed fan.

"I have had dinner," said Braddock, egotistic as usual.

"No, you have not."  Mrs. Jasher spoke positively, and pointed to
a small tray of untouched food on the side table.  "You have not
even had luncheon.  You must live on air, like a chameleon--or
on love, perhaps," she ended in a significantly tender tone.

But she might as well have spoken to the granite image of Horus
in the corner.  Braddock merely rubbed his chin and stared harder
than ever at the glittering visitor.

"Dear me!" he said innocently.  "I must have forgotten to eat.
Lamplight!" he looked round vaguely.  "Of course, I remember
lighting the lamps.  Time has gone by very rapidly.  I am really
hungry."  He paused to make sure, then repeated his remark in a
more positive manner.  "Yes, I am very hungry, Mrs. Jasher."  He
looked at her as though she had just entered.  "Of course, Mrs.
Jasher.  Do you wish to see me about anything particular?"

The widow frowned at his inattention, and then laughed.  It was
impossible to be angry with this dreamer.

"I have come to dinner, Professor.  Do try and wake up; you are
half asleep and half starved, too, I expect."

"I certainly feel unaccountably hungry," admitted Braddock
cautiously.

"Unaccountably, when you have eaten nothing since breakfast.  You
weird man, I believe you are a mummy yourself."

But the Professor had again returned to examine the scarabeus,
this time with a powerful magnifying glass.

"It certainly belongs to the twentieth dynasty," he murmured,
wrinkling his brows.

Mrs. Jasher stamped and flirted her fan pettishly.  The
creature's soul, she decided, was certainly not in his body, and
until it came back he would continue to ignore her.  With the
annoyance of a woman who is not getting her own way, she leaned
back in Braddock's one comfortable chair--which she had
unerringly selected--and examined him intently.  Perhaps the
gossips were correct, and she was trying to imagine what kind of
a husband he would make.  But whatever might be her thoughts, she
eyed Braddock as earnestly as Braddock eyed the scarabeus.

Outwardly the Professor did not appear like the savant he was
reported to be.  He was small of stature, plump of body, rosy as
a little Cupid, and extraordinarily youthful, considering his
fifty-odd years of scientific wear and tear.  With a smooth,
clean-shaven face, plentiful white hair like spun silk, and neat
feet and hands, he did not look his age.  The dreamy look in his
small blue eyes was rather belied by the hardness of his thin-
lipped mouth, and by the pugnacious push of his jaw.  The eyes
and the dome-like forehead hinted that brain without much
originality; but the lower part of this contradictory countenance
might have belonged to a prize-fighter.  Nevertheless, Braddock's
plumpness did away to a considerable extent with his aggressive
look.  It was certainly latent, but only came to the surface when
he fought with a brother savant over some tomb-dweller from
Thebes.  In the soft lamplight he looked like a fighting cherub,
and it was a pity--in the interests of art--that the hairless
pink and white face did not surmount a pair of wings rather than
a rusty and ill-fitting dress suit.

"He's nane sa dafty as he looks," thought Mrs. Jasher, who was
Scotch, although she claimed to be cosmopolitan.  "With his
mummies he is all right, but outside those he might be difficult
to manage.  And these things," she glanced round the shadowy
room, crowded with the dead and their earthly belongings.  "I
don't think I would care to marry the British Museum.  Too much
like hard work, and I am not so young as I was."

The near mirror--a polished silver one, which had belonged, ages
ago, to some coquette of Memphis--denied this uncomplimentary
thought, for Mrs. Jasher did not look a day over thirty, although
her birth certificate set her down as forty-five.  In the
lamplight she might have passed for even younger, so carefully
had she preserved what remained to her of youth.  She assuredly
was somewhat stout, and never had been so tall as she desired to
be.  But the lines of her plump figure were still discernible in
the cunningly cut gown, and she carried her little self with
such mighty dignity that people overlooked the mortifying height
of a trifle over five feet.  Her features were small and neat,
but her large blue eyes were so noticeable and melting that those
on whom she turned them ignored the lack of boldness in chin and
nose.  Her hair was brown and arranged in the latest fashion,
while her complexion was so fresh and pink that, if she did paint
--as jealous women averred--she must have been quite an artist
with the hare's foot and the rouge pot and the necessary powder
puff.

Mrs. Jasher's clothes repaid the thought she expended upon them,
and she was artistic in this as in other things.  Dressed in a
crocus-yellow gown, with short sleeves to reveal her beautiful
arms, and cut low to display her splendid bust, she looked
perfectly dressed.  A woman would have declared the wide-netted
black lace with which the dress was draped to be cheap, and would
have hinted that the widow wore too many jewels in her hair, on
her corsage, round her arms, and ridiculously gaudy rings on her
fingers.  This might have been true, for Mrs. Jasher sparkled
like the Milky Way at every movement; but the gleam of gold and
the flash of gems seemed to suit her opulent beauty.  Her
slightest movement wafted around her a strange Chinese perfume,
which she obtained--so she said--from a friend of her late
husband's who was in the British Embassy at Pekin.  No one
possessed this especial perfume but Mrs. Jasher, and anyone who
had previously met her, meeting her in the darkness, could have
guessed at her identity.  With a smile to show her white teeth,
with her golden-hued dress and glittering jewels, the pretty
widow glowed in that glimmering room like a tropical bird.

The Professor raised his dreamy eyes and laid the beetle on one
side, when his brain fully grasped that this charming vision was
waiting to be entertained.  She was better to look upon even than
the beloved scarabeus, and he advanced to shake hands as though
she had just entered the room.  Mrs. Jasher--knowing his ways--
rose to extend her hand, and the two small, stout figures looked
absurdly like a pair of chubby Dresden ornaments which had
stepped from the mantelshelf.

"Dear lady, I am glad to see you.  You have--you have"--the
Professor reflected, and then came back with a rush to the
present century--"you have come to dinner, if I mistake not."

"Lucy asked me a week ago," she replied tartly, for no woman
likes to be neglected for a mere beetle, however ancient.

"Then you will certainly get a good dinner," said Braddock,
waving his plump white hands.  "Lucy is an excellent housekeeper.
I have no fault to find with her--no fault at all.  But she is
obstinate--oh, very obstinate, as her mother was.  Do you know,
dear lady, that in a papyrus scroll which I lately acquired I
found the recipe for a genuine Egyptian dish, which Amenemha--
the last Pharaoh of the eleventh dynasty, you know--might have
eaten, and probably did eat.  I desired Lucy to serve it
to-night, but she refused, much to my annoyance.  The
ingredients, which had to do with roasted gazelle, were oil and
coriander seed and--if my memory serves me--asafoetida."

"Ugh!"  Mrs. Jasher's handkerchief went again to her mouth.  "Say
no more, Professor; your dish sounds horrid.  I don't wish to eat
it, and be turned into a mummy before my time."

"You would make a really beautiful mummy," said Braddock, paying
what he conceived was a compliment; "and, should you die, I shall
certainly attend to your embalming, if you prefer that to
cremation."

"You dreadful man!" cried the widow, turning pale and shrinking.
"Why, I really believe that you would like to see me packed away
in one of those disgusting coffins."

"Disgusting!" cried the outraged Professor, striking one of the
brilliantly tinted cases.  "Can you call so beautiful a specimen
of sepulchral art disgusting?  Look at the colors, at the
regularity of the hieroglyphics--why, the history of the dead is
set out in this magnificent series of pictures."  He adjusted his
pince-nez and began to read, "The Osirian, Scemiophis that is a
female name, Mrs. Jasher--who--"

"I don't want to have my history written on my coffin,"
interrupted the widow hysterically, for this funereal talk
frightened her.  "It would take much more space than a mummy case
upon which to write it.  My life has been volcanic, I can tell
you.  By the way," she added hurriedly, seeing that Braddock was
on the eve of resuming the reading, "tell me about your Inca
mummy.  Has it arrived?"

The Professor immediately followed the false trail.  "Not yet,"
he said briskly, rubbing his smooth hands, "but in three days I
expect The Diver will be at Pierside, and Sidney will bring the
mummy on here.  I shall unpack it at once and learn exactly how
the ancient Peruvians embalmed their dead.  Doubtless they
learned the art from--"

"The Egyptians," ventured Mrs. Jasher rashly.

Braddock glared.  "Nothing of the sort, dear lady," he snorted
angrily.  "Absurd, ridiculous!  I am inclined to believe that
Egypt was merely a colony of that vast island of Atlantis
mentioned by Plato.  There--if my theory is correct--
civilization begun, and the kings of Atlantis--doubtless the
gods of historical tribes--governed the whole world, including
that portion which we now term South America."

"Do you mean to say that there were Yankees in those days?"
inquired Mrs. Jasher frivolously.

The Professor tucked his hands under his shabby coattails and
strode up and down the room warming his rage, which was provoked
by such ignorance.

"Good heavens, madam, where have you lived?" he exclaimed
explosively--"are you a fool, or merely an ignorant woman?  I am
talking of prehistoric times, thousands of years ago, when you
were probably a stray atom embedded in the slime."

"Oh, you horrid creature!" cried Mrs. Jasher indignantly, and was
about to give Braddock her opinion, if only to show him that she
could hold her own, when the door opened.

"How are you, Mrs. Jasher?" said Lucy, advancing.

"Here am I and here is Archie.  Dinner is ready.  And you--"

"I am very hungry," said Mrs. Jasher.  "I have been called an
atom of the slime," then she laughed and took possession of young
Hope.

Lucy wrinkled her brow; she did not approve of the widow's
man-annexing instinct.




CHAPTER III

A MYSTERIOUS TOMB


One member of the Braddock household was not included in the
general staff, being a mere appendage of the Professor himself.
This was a dwarfish, misshapen Kanaka, a pigmy in height, but a
giant in breadth, with short, thick legs, and long, powerful
arms.  He had a large head, and a somewhat handsome face, with
melancholy black eyes and a fine set of white teeth.  Like most
Polynesians, his skin was of a pale bronze and elaborately
tattooed, even the cheeks and chin being scored with curves and
straight lines of mystical import.  But the most noticeable thing
about him was his huge mop of frizzled hair, which, by some
process, known only to himself, he usually dyed a vivid yellow.
The flaring locks streaming from his head made him resemble a
Peruvian image of the sun, and it was this peculiar coiffure
which had procured for him the odd name of Cockatoo.  The fact
that this grotesque creature invariably wore a white drill suit,
emphasized still more the suggestion of his likeness to an
Australian parrot.

Cockatoo had come from the Solomon Islands in his teens to the
colony of Queensland, to work on the plantations, and there the
Professor had picked him up as his body servant.  When Braddock
returned to marry Mrs. Kendal, the boy had refused to leave him,
although it was represented to the young savage that he was
somewhat too barbaric for sober England.  Finally, the Professor
had consented to bring him over seas, and had never regretted
doing so, for Cockatoo, finding his scientific master a true
friend, worshipped him as a visible god.  Having been captured
when young by Pacific black-birders, he talked excellent English,
and from contact with the necessary restraints of civilization
was, on the whole, extremely well behaved.  Occasionally, when
teased by the villagers and his fellow-servants, he would break
into childish rages, which bordered on the dangerous.  But a word
from Braddock always quieted him, and when penitent he would
crawl like a whipped dog to the feet of his divinity.  For the
most part he lived entirely in the museum, looking after the
collection and guarding it from harm.  Lucy--who had a horror of
the creature's uncanny looks--objected to Cockatoo waiting at
the table, and it was only on rare occasions that he was
permitted to assist the harassed parlormaid.  On this night the
Kanaka acted excellently as a butler, and crept softly round the
table, attending to the needs of the diners.  He was an admirable
servant, deft and handy, but his blue-lined face and squat figure
together with the obtrusively golden halo, rather worried Mrs.
Jasher.  And, indeed, in spite of custom, Lucy also felt
uncomfortable when this gnome hovered at her elbow.  It looked as
though one of the fantastical idols from the museum below had
come to haunt the living.

"I do not like that Golliwog," breathed Mrs. Jasher to her host,
when Cockatoo was at the sideboard.  "He gives me the creeps."

"Imagination, my dear lady, pure imagination.  Why should we not
have a picturesque animal to wait upon us?"

"He would wait picturesquely enough at a cannibal feast,"
suggested Archie, with a laugh.

"Don't!" murmured Lucy, with a shiver.  "I shall not be able to
eat my dinner if you talk so."

"Odd that Hope should say what he has said," observed Braddock
confidently to the widow.  "Cockatoo comes from a cannibal
island, and doubtless has seen the consumption of human flesh.
No, no, my dear lady, do not look so alarmed.  I don't think he
has eaten any, as he was taken to Queensland long before he could
participate in such banquets.  He is a very decent animal."

"A very dangerous one, I fancy," retorted Mrs. Jasher, who looked
pale.

"Only when he loses his temper, and I'm always able to suppress
that when it is at its worst.  You are not eating your meat, my
dear lady."

"Can you wonder at it, and you talk of cannibals?"

"Let us change the conversation to cereals," suggested Hope,
whose appetite was of the best--"wheat, for instance.  In this
queer little village I notice the houses are divided by a field
of wheat.  It seems wrong somehow for corn to be bunched up with
houses."

"That's old Farmer Jenkins," said Lucy vivaciously; "he owns
three or four acres near the public-house and will not allow them
to be built over, although he has been offered a lot of money.  I
noticed myself, Archie, the oddity of finding a cornfield
surrounded by cottages.  It's like Alice in Wonderland."

"But fancy any one offering money for land here," observed Hope,
toying with his claret glass, which had just been refilled, by
the attentive Cockatoo, "at the Back-of-Beyond, as it were.  I
shouldn't care to live here--the neighborhood is so desolate."

"All the same you do live here!" interposed Mrs. Jasher smartly,
and with a roguish glance at Lucy.

Archie caught the glance and saw the blush on Miss Kendal's face.

"You have answered your question yourself, Mrs. Jasher," he--
said, smiling.  "I have the inducement you hint at to remain
here, and certainly, as a landscape painter, I admire the marshes
and sunsets.  As an artist and an engaged man I stop in Gartley,
otherwise I should clear out.  But I fail to see why a lady of
your attractions should--"

"I may have a sentimental reason also," interrupted the widow,
with a sly glance at the absent-minded Professor, who was drawing
hieroglyphics on the table-cloth with a fork; "also, my cottage
is cheap and very comfortable.  The late Mr. Jasher did not leave
me sufficient money to live in London.  He was a consul in China,
you know, and consuls are never very well paid.  I will come in
for a large income, however."

"Indeed," said Lucy politely, and wondering why Mrs. Jasher was
so communicative.  "Soon I hope."

"It may be very soon.  My brother, you know--a merchant in
Pekin.  He has come home to die, and is unmarried.  When he does
die, I shall go to London.  But," added the widow, meditatively
and glancing again at the Professor, "I shall be sorry to leave
dear Gartley.  Still, the memory of happy hours spent in this
house will always remain with me.  Ah me! ah me!" and she put her
handkerchief to her eyes.

Lucy telegraphed to Archie that the widow was a humbug, and
Archie telegraphed back that he quite agreed with her.  But the
Professor, whom the momentary silence had brought back to the
present century, looked up and asked Lucy if the dinner was
finished.

"I have to do some work this evening," said the Professor.

"Oh, father, when you said that you would take a holiday," said
Lucy reproachfully.

"I am doing so now.  Look at the precious minutes I am wasting in
eating, my dear.  Life is short and much remains to be done in
the way of Egyptian exploration.  There is the sepulchre of Queen
Tahoser.  If I could only enter that," and he sighed, while
helping himself to cream.

"Why don't you?" asked Mrs. Jasher, who was beginning to give up
her pursuit of Braddock, for it was no use wooing a man whose
interests centered entirely in Egyptian tombs.

"I have yet to discover it," said the Professor simply; then,
warming to the congenial theme, he glanced around and delivered a
short historical lecture.  "Tahoser was the chief wife and queen
of a famous Pharaoh--the Pharaoh of the Exodus, in fact."

"The one who was drowned in the Red Sea?" asked Archie idly.

"Why, yes--but that happened later.  Before pursuing the
Hebrews,--if the Mosaic account is to be believed,--this
Pharaoh marched far into the interior of Africa,--the Libya of
the ancients,--and conquered the natives of Upper Ethiopia.
Being deeply in love with his queen, he took her with him on this
expedition, and she died before the Pharaoh returned to Memphis.
From records which I discovered in the museum of Cairo, I have
reason to believe that the Pharaoh buried her with much pomp in
Ethiopia, sacrificing, I believe, many prisoners at her gorgeous
funeral rites.  From the wealth of that Pharaoh--for wealthy he
must have been on account of his numerous victories--and from
the love he bore this princess, I am confident--confident,"
added Braddock, striking the table vehemently, "that when
discovered, her tomb will be filled with riches, and may also
contain documents of incalculable value."

"And you wish to get the money?" asked Mrs. Jasher, who was
rather bored.

The Professor rose fiercely.  "Money!  I care nothing for money.
I desire to obtain the funeral jewelry and golden masks, the
precious images of the gods, so as to place them in the British
Museum.  And the scrolls of papyrus buried with the mummy of
Tahoser may contain an account of Ethiopian civilization, about
which we know nothing.  Oh, that tomb,--that tomb!"  Braddock
began to walk the room, quite forgetting that he had not finished
his dinner.  "I know the mountains whose entrails were pierced to
form the sepulchre.  Were I able to go to Africa, I am certain
that I should discover the tomb.  Ah, with what glory would my
name be covered, were I so fortunate!"

"Why don't you go to Africa, sir, and try?" asked Hope.

"Fool!" cried the Professor politely.  "To fit out an expedition
would take some five thousand pounds, if not more.  I would have
to penetrate through a hostile country to reach the chain of
mountains I speak of, where I know this precious tomb is to be
found.  I need supplies, an escort, guns, camels, and all the
rest of it.  A leader must be obtained to manage the fighting men
necessary to pass through this dangerous zone.  It is no easy
task to find the tomb of Tahoser.  And yet if I could--if I
could only get the money," and he walked up and down with his
head bent on his breast.

Mrs. Jasher was used to Braddock's vagaries by this time, and
merely continued to fan herself placidly.

"I wish I could help you with the expedition," she said quietly.
"I should like to have some of that lovely Egyptian jewelry
myself.  But I am quite a pauper, until my brother dies, poor
man.  Then--"  She hesitated.

"What then?" asked Braddock, wheeling.

"I shall aid you with pleasure."

"It's a bargain!"  Braddock stretched out his hand.

"A bargain," said Mrs. Jasher, accepting the grasp somewhat
nervously, for she had not expected to be taken so readily at her
word.  A glance at Lucy revealed her nervousness.

"Do sit down, father, and finish your dinner," said that young
lady.  "I am sure you will have more than enough to do when the
mummy arrives."

"Mummy--what mummy?" murmured Braddock, again beginning to eat.

"The Inca mummy."

"Of course.  The mummy of Inca Caxas, which Sidney is bringing
from Malta.  When I strip that corpse of its green bandages I
shall find--"

"Find what?" asked Archie, seeing that the Professor hesitated.

Braddock cast a swift look at his questioner.

"I shall find the peculiar mode of Peruvian embalming," he
replied abruptly, and somehow the way in which he spoke gave Hope
the impression that the answer was an excuse.  But before he
could formulate the thought that Braddock was concealing
something, Mrs. Jasher spoke frivolously.

"I hope your mummy has jewels," she said.

"It has not," replied Braddock sharply.  "So far as I know, the
Inca race never buried their dead with jewels,"

"But I have read in Prescott's History that they did," said Hope.

"Prescott!  Prescott!" cried the Professor contemptuously, "a
most unreliable authority.  However, I'll promise you one thing,
Hope, that if there are any jewels, or jewelry, you shall have
the lot."

"Give me some, Mr. Hope," cried the widow.

"I cannot," laughed Archie; "the green mummy belongs to the
Professor."

"I cannot accept such a gift, Hope.  Owing to circumstances I
have been obliged to borrow the money from you; otherwise the
mummy would have been acquired by some one else.  But when I find
the tomb of Queen Tahoser, I shall repay the loan."

"You have repaid it already," said Hope, looking at Lucy.

Braddock's eyes followed his gaze and his brows contracted.
"Humph!" he muttered, "I don't know if I am right in consenting
to Lucy's marriage with a pauper."

"Oh, father!" cried the girl, "Archie is not a pauper."

"I have enough for Lucy and me to live on," said Hope, although
his face had flushed, "and, had I been a pauper I could not have
given you that thousand pounds."

"You will be repaid--you will be repaid," said Braddock, waving
his hand to dismiss the subject.  "And now," he rose with a yawn,
"if this tedious feast is at an end, I shall again seek my work."

Without a word of apology to the disgusted Mrs. Jasher, he
trotted to the door, and there paused.

"By the way, Lucy," he said, turning, "I had a letter to-day from
Random.  He returns in his yacht to Pierside in two or three
days.  In fact, his arrival will coincide with that of The
Diver."

"I don't see what his arrival has to do with me," said Lucy
tartly.

"Oh, nothing at all--nothing at all," said Braddock airily,
"only I thought--that is, but never mind, never mind.  Cockatoo,
come down with me.  Good night!  Good night!" and he disappeared.

"Well," said Mrs. Jasher, drawing along breath, "for rudeness and
selfishness, commend me to a scientist.  We might be all mud, for
what notice he takes of us."

"Never mind," said Miss Kendal, rising, "come to the drawing-room
and have some music.  Archie, will you stop here?"

"No.  I don't care to sit over my wine alone," said that young
gentleman, rising.  "I shall accompany you and Mrs. Jasher.  And
Lucy," he stopped her at the door, through which the widow had
already passed, "what did your father mean by his hints
concerning Random?"

"I think he regrets giving his consent to my marriage with you,"
she whispered back.  "Did you not hear him talk about that tomb?
He desires to get money for the expedition."

"From Random?  What rubbish!  Sooner than that--if our marriage
is stopped by the beastly business--I'll sell out and--"

"You'll do nothing of the sort," interrupted the girl
imperiously; "we must live if we marry.  You have given my father
enough."

"But if Random lends money for this expedition?"

"He does so at his own risk.  I am not going to marry Sir Frank
because of my step-father's requirements.  He has no rights over
me, and, whether he consents or not, I marry you."

"My darling!" and Archie kissed her before they followed Mrs.
Jasher into the drawing-room.  All the same, he foresaw trouble.




CHAPTER IV

THE UNEXPECTED


For the next two or three days, Archie felt decidedly, worried
over his projected marriage with Lucy.  Certainly he had--to put
it bluntly--purchased Braddock's consent, and that gentleman
could scarcely draw back from his plighted word, which had cost
the lover so much.  Nevertheless, Hope did not entirely, trust
the Professor, as, from the few words which he had let drop at
the dinner party, it was plain that he hankered after money with
which to fit out the expedition in search of the mysterious tomb
to which he had alluded.  Archie knew, as did the Professor, that
he could not supply the necessary five thousand pounds without
practically ruining himself, and already he had crippled his
resources in paying over the price of the green mummy.  He had
fondly believed that Braddock would have been satisfied with the
relic of Peruvian humanity; but it seemed that the Professor,
having got what he wanted, now clamored for what was at present
beyond his reach.  The mummy was his property, but he desired the
contents of Queen Tahoser's tomb also.  This particular moon,
which he cried for, was a very expensive article, and Hope did
not see how he could gain it.

Unless--and here came in the cause of Archie's worry--unless
the five thousand pounds was borrowed from Sir Frank Random, the
Professor would have to content himself with the Maltese mummy.
But from what the young man had seen of Braddock's longing for
the especial sepulchre, which he desired to loot, he believed
that the scientist would not readily surrender his whim.  Random
could easily lend or give the money, since he was extremely rich,
and extremely generous, but it was improbable that he would aid
Braddock without a quid pro quo.  As the sole desire of the
baronet's heart was to make Lucy his wife, it could easily be
guessed that he would only assist the Professor to realize his
ambition on condition that the savant used his influence with his
step-daughter.  That meant the breaking of the engagement with
Hope and the marriage of the girl to the soldier.  Of course such
a state of things would make Lucy unhappy; but Braddock cared
very little for that.  To gratify his craze for Egyptian
research, he would be willing to sacrifice a dozen girls like
Lucy.

Undoubtedly Lucy would refuse to be passed along from one man to
another like a bale of goods, and Archie knew that, so far as in
her lay, she would keep to her engagement, especially as she
denied Braddock's right to dispose of her hand.  All the same,
the Professor, in spite of his cherubical looks, could make
himself extremely disagreeable, and undoubtedly would do so if
thwarted.  The sole course that remained, should Braddock begin
operations to break the present engagement, would be to marry
Lucy at once.  Archie would willingly have done so, but pecuniary
difficulties stood in the way.  He had never told any one of
these, not even the girl he loved, but they existed all the same.
For many years he had been assisting needy relatives, and thus
had hampered himself, in spite of his income.  By sheer force of
will, so as to force Braddock into giving him Lucy, he had
contrived to secure the necessary thousand pounds, without
confusing the arrangements he had made to pay off certain debts
connected with his domestic philanthropy; but this brought him to
the end of his resources.  In six months he hoped to be free to
have his income entirely to himself, and then--small as it was--
he could support a wife.  But until the half year elapsed he
could see no chance of marrying Lucy with any degree of comfort,
and meanwhile she would be exposed to the persecutions of the
Professor.  Perhaps persecutions is too harsh a word, as Braddock
was kind enough to the girl.  Nevertheless, he was pertinacious
in gaining his aims where his pet hobby was concerned, and
undoubtedly, could he see any chance of obtaining the money from
Random by selling his step-daughter, he would do so.  Assuredly
it was dishonorable to act in this way, but the Professor was a
scientific Jesuit, and deemed that the end justified the means,
when any glory to himself and gain to the British Museum was in
question.

"But I may be doing him an injustice," said Archie, when he was
explaining his fears to Miss Kendal on the third day after the
dinner party.  "After all, the Professor is a gentleman, and will
probably hold to the bargain which he has made."

"I don't care whether he does or not," cried Lucy, who had a fine
color and a certain amount of fire in her eyes.  "I am not going
to be bought and sold to forward these nasty scientific schemes.
My father can say what he likes and do what he likes, but I marry
you--to-morrow if you like."

"That's just it," said Archie, flushing, "we can't marry."

"Why?" she asked, much astonished.

Hope looked at the ground and drew patterns with his cane-point
in the sand.  They were seated in the hot sunshine--for the
Indian summer still continued--under a moldering brick wall,
which ran around the most delightful of kitchen gardens.  This
was situated at the back of the Pyramids, and contained a
multiplicity of pot herbs and fruit trees and vegetables.  It
resembled the Fairy Garden in Madame D'Alnoy's story of The White
Cat, and in the autumn yielded a plentiful crop of fine-flavored
fruit.  But now the trees were bare and the garden looked
somewhat forlorn for lack of greenery.  But in spite of the
lateness of the season, Lucy often brought a book to read under
the glowing wall, and there ripened like a peach in the warm
sunshine.  On this occasion she brought Archie into the old-world
garden, as he had hinted at confidences.  And the time had come
to speak plainly, as Hope began to think that he had not treated
Lucy quite fairly in hiding from her his momentarily embarrassed
position.

"Why can't we marry at once?" asked Lucy, seeing that her lover
held his peace and looked confused.

Hope did not reply directly.  "I had better release you from your
engagement," he said haltingly.

"Oh!" Lucy's nostrils dilated and she threw back her head
scornfully.  "And the other woman's name?"

"There is no other woman.  I love you and you only.  But--
money."

"What about money?  You have your income!"

"Oh yes--that is sure, small as it is.  But I have incurred
debts on behalf of an uncle and his family.  These have
embarrassed me for the moment, and so I cannot see my way to
marrying you for at least six months, Lucy."  He caught her hand.
"I feel ashamed of myself that I did not tell you of this before.
But I feared to lose you.  Yet, on reflection, I see that it is
dishonorable to keep you in the dark, and if you think that I
have behaved badly--"

"Well, I do in a way," she interrupted quickly,  "as your silence
was quite unnecessary.  Don't treat me as a doll, my dear.  I
wish to share your troubles as well as your joys.  Come, tell me
all about it."

"You are not angry?"

"Yes, I am--at your thinking I loved you so little as to be
biased against our marriage because of money troubles.  Pooh!"
she flicked away a speck of dust from his coat, "I don't care
that for such things."

"You are an angel," he cried ardently.

"I am a very practical girl just now," she retorted.  "Go on,
confess!"

Archie, thus encouraged, did so, and it was a very mild
confession that she heard, involving a great deal of unnecessary
sacrifice in helping a pauper uncle.  Hope strove to belittle his
good deeds as much as possible, but Lucy saw plainly the good
heart that had dictated the giving up of his small income for
some years.  When in possession of all the facts, she threw her
arms around his neck and kissed him.

"You are a silly old boy," she whispered.  "As if what you tell
me could make any difference to me!"

"But we can't be married for six months, dearest."

"Of course not.  Do you believe that I as a woman can gather
together my trousseau under six months?  No, my dear.  We must
not marry in haste to repent at leisure.  In another half year
you will enjoy your own income, and then we can marry."

"But meanwhile," said Archie, after kissing her, "the Professor
will bother you to marry Random."

"Oh no.  He has sold me to you for one thousand pounds.  There!
There, do not say a single word.  I am only teasing you.  Let us
say that my father has consented to my marriage with you, and
cannot withdraw his word.  Not that I care if he does.  I am my
own mistress."

"Lucy!"--he took her hands again and looked into her eyes--
"Braddock is a scientific lunatic, and would do anything to
forward his aims with regard to this very expensive tomb, which
he has set his heart on discovering.  As I can't lend or give the
money, he is sure to apply to Random, and Random--"

"Will want to marry me," cried Lucy, rising.  "No, my dear, not
at all.  Sir Frank is a gentleman, and when he learns that I am
engaged to you, he will simply become a dear friend.  There,
don't worry any more about the matter.  You ought to have told me
of your troubles before, but as I have forgiven you, there is no
more to be said.  In six months I shall become Mrs. Hope, and
meanwhile I can hold my own against any inconvenience that my
father may cause me."

"But--"  He rose and began to remonstrate, anxious to abase
himself still further before this angel of a maiden.

She placed her hand over his mouth.  "Not another word, or I
shall box your ears, sir--that is, I shall exercise the
privilege of a wife before I become one.  And now," she slipped
her arm within his, "let us go in and see the arrival of the
precious mummy."

"Oh, it has arrived then."

"Not here exactly.  My father expects it at three o'clock."

"It is now a quarter to," said Archie, consulting his watch.  "As
I have been to London all yesterday I did not know that The Diver
had arrived at Pierside, How is Bolton?"

Lucy wrinkled her brows.  "I am rather worried over Sidney," she
said in an anxious voice, "and so is my father.  He had not
appeared."

"What do you mean by that?"

"Well," she looked at the ground in a pondering manner, "my
father got a letter from Sidney yesterday afternoon, saying that
the ship with the mummy and himself on board had arrived about
four o'clock.  The letter was sent on by special messenger and
came at six."

"Then it arrived in the evening and not in the afternoon?"

"How particular you are!" said Miss Kendal, with a shrug.  "Well,
then, Sidney said that he could not bring the mummy to this place
last night as it was so late.  He intended--so he told my father
in the letter--to remove the case containing the mummy ashore to
an inn near the wharf at Pierside, and there would remain the
night so as to take care of it."

"That's all right," said Hope, puzzled.  "Where's your
difficulty?"

"A note came from the landlord of the inn this morning, saying
that by direction of Mr. Bolton--that is Sidney, you know--he
was sending the mummy in its case to Gartley on a lorry, and that
it would arrive at three o'clock this afternoon."

"Well?" asked Hope, still puzzled.

"Well?" she rejoined impatiently.  "Can't you see show strange it
is that Sidney should let the mummy out of his sight, after
guarding it so carefully not only from Malta to England, but all
the night in Pierside at that hotel?  Why doesn't he bring the
mummy here himself, and come on with the lorry?"

"There is no explanation--no letter from Sidney Bolton?"

"None.  He wrote yesterday, as I stated, saying that he would
keep the case in the hotel, and send it on this morning."

"Did he use the word `send,' or the word `bring'?"

"He said 'send.'"

"Then that shows he did not intend to bring it himself."

"But why should he not do so?"

"I daresay he will explain when he appears."

"I am very sorry for him when he does appear," said Lucy
seriously, "for my father is furious.  Why, this precious mummy,
for which so much has been paid, might have been lost."

"Pooh!  Who would steal a thing like that?"

"A thing like that is worth nearly one thousand pounds," said
Lucy in a dry tone, "and if anyone got wind of it, stealing would
be easy, since Sidney, as appears likely, has sent on the case
unguarded."

"Well, let us go in and see if Sidney arrives with the case."

They passed out of the garden and sauntered round to the front of
the house.  There, standing in the roadway, they beheld a
ponderous lorry with a rough-looking driver standing at the
horses' heads.  The front door of the house was open, so the
mummy case had apparently arrived before its time, and had been
taken to Braddock's museum while they were chatting in the
kitchen garden.

"Did Mr. Bolton come with the case?" asked Lucy, leaning over the
railings and addressing the driver.

"No one came, miss, except myself and my two mates, who have
taken the case indoor."  The driver jerked a coarse thumb over
his shoulder.

"Was Mr. Bolton at the hotel, where the case remained for the
night?"

"No, miss--that is, I dunno who Mr. Bolton is.  The landlord of
the Sailor's Rest told me and my mates to take the case to this
here house, and we done it.  That's all I know, miss."

"Strange," murmured Lucy, walking to the front door.  "What do
you think, Archie?  Isn't it strange?"

Hope nodded.  "But I daresay Bolton will explain his absence,"
said he, following her.  "He will arrive in time to open the
mummy case along with the Professor."

"I hope so," said Miss Kendal, who looked much perplexed.  "I
can't understand Sidney abandoning the case, when it might so
easily have been stolen.  Come in and see my father, Archie," and
she passed into the house, followed by the young man, whose
curiosity was now aroused.  As they entered the door, the two men
who had taken in the case blundered out and shortly drove away on
the lorry towards Jessum railway station.

In the museum they found Braddock purple with rage and swearing
vigorously.  He was staring at a large packing case, which had
been set up on end against the wall, while beside him crouched
Cockatoo, holding chisels and hammers and wedges necessary to
open the treasure trove.

"So the precious mummy has arrived, father," said Lucy, who saw
that the Professor was furious.  "Are you not pleased?"

"Pleased! pleased!" shouted the angry man of science.  "How can
I be pleased when I see how badly the case has been treated?  See
how it has been bruised and battered and shaken!  I'll have an
action against Captain Hervey of The Diver if my mummy has been
injured.  Sidney should have taken better care of so precious an
object."

"What does he say?" asked Archie, glancing round the museum to
see if the delinquent had arrived.

"Say!" shouted Braddock again, and snatching a chisel from
Cockatoo.  "Oh, what can he say when he is not here?"

"Not here?" said Lucy, more and more surprised at the
unaccountable absence of Braddock's assistant.  "Where is he,
then?"

"I don't know.  I wish I did; I'd have him arrested for
neglecting to watch over this case.  As it is, when he comes back
I'll dismiss him from my employment.  He can go back to his
infernal laundry work along with his old witch of a mother."

"But why hasn't Bolton come back, sir?" asked Hope sharply.

Braddock struck a furious blow at the head of the chisel which he
had inserted into the case.

"I want to know that.  He brought the case to the Sailor's Rest,
and should have come on with it this morning.  Instead of doing
so, he tells the landlord--a most unreliable man--to send it
on.  And my precious mummy--the mummy that has cost nine hundred
pounds," cried Braddock, working furiously, and battering the
chisel as though it were Bolton's head, "is left to be stolen by
any scientific thief that comes along."  While the Professor,
assisted by Cockatoo, loosened the lid of the packing case, a
mild voice was heard at the door.  Lucy turned, as did Archie, to
see Widow Anne curtseying on the threshold of the door.

Braddock himself took no notice of her entrance, being occupied
with his task, and even while doing it swore scientifically under
his breath.  He was furious against Bolton for neglect of duty,
and Hope rather sympathized with him.  It was a serious matter to
have left a valuable object like the green mummy to the rough
care of laborers.

"I beg your pardon, my lady," whimpered Widow Anne, who looked
more lean and rusty and dismal than ever; "but has my Sid come?
I saw the cart and the coffin.  Where's my boy?"

"Coffin! coffin!" bellowed Braddock angrily between thunder
blows.  "What do you mean by calling this case a coffin?"

"Well, it do hold one of them camphorated corps, sir," said Mrs.
Bolton with another curtsey.  "My boy Sid told me as much, afore
he went to them furren parts."

"Have you seen him since he returned?" questioned Lucy, while
Braddock and Cockatoo strained at the lid, now nearly off.

"Why, I ain't set eyes on him," moaned the widow dismally, "and
summat tells me as I never will."

"Don't talk rubbish, woman," said Archie tartly, for he did not
wish Lucy to be upset again by this ancient ghoul.

"Woman indeed, sir.  I'd have you know,--oh!" the widow jumped
and quavered as the lid of the packing case fell on the floor
with a bang.  "Oh lor, sir, the start you did give me!"

But Braddock had no eyes for her, and no ears for anyone.  He
pulled lustily at the straw packing, and soon the floor was
littered with rubbish.  But no green case appeared, and no mummy.
Suddenly Widow Anne shrieked again.

"There's my Sid--dead--oh, my son, dead! dead!"

She spoke truly.  The body of Sidney Bolton was before them.




CHAPTER V

MYSTERY


After that one cry of agony from Widow Anne, there was silence
for quite one minute.  The terrible contents of the packing case
startled and terrified all present.  Faint and white, Lucy clung
to the arm of her lover to keep herself from sinking to the
ground, as Mrs. Bolton had done.  Archie stared at the grotesque
rigidity of the body, as though he had been changed into stone,
while Professor Braddock stared likewise, scarcely able to credit
the evidence of his eyes.  Only the Kanaka was unmoved and
squatted on his hams, indifferently surveying the living and the
dead.  As a savage he could not be expected to have the nerves of
civilized man.

Braddock, who had dropped chisel and hammer in the first movement
of surprise, was the quickest to recover his powers of speech.
The sole question he asked, revealed the marvelous egotism of a
scientist, nominated by one idea.  "Where is the mummy of Inca
Caxas?" he murmured with a bewildered air.

Widow Anne, groveling on the floor, pulled her gray locks into
wild confusion, and uttered a cry of mingled rage and grief.  "He
asks that? he asks that?" she cried, stammering and choking,
"when he has murdered my poor boy Sid."

"What's that?" demanded Braddock sharply, and recovering from a
veritable stupor, which the disappearance of the mummy and the
sight of his dead assistant had thrown him into.  "Kill your son:
how could I kill your son?  What advantage would it have been to
me had I killed your son?"

"God knows!  God knows!" sobbed the old woman, "but you--"

"Mrs. Bolton, you are raving," said Hope hastily, and strove to
raise her from the floor.  "Let Miss Kendal take you away.  And
you go, Lucy: this sight is too terrible for your eyes."

Lucy, inarticulate with nervous fear, nodded and tottered towards
the door of the museum; but Widow Anne refused to be lifted to
her feet.

"My boy is dead," she wailed; "my boy Sid is a corp as I saw him
in my dream.  In the coffin, too, cut to pieces--"

"Rubbish! rubbish!" interrupted Braddock, peering into the depths
of the packing case.  "I can see no wound."

Mrs. Bolton leaped to her feet with an agility surprising in so
aged a woman.  "Let me find the wound," she screamed, throwing
herself forward.

Hope caught her back and forced her towards the door.  "No!  The
body must not be disturbed until the police see it," he said
firmly.

"The police--ah, yes, the police," remarked Braddock quickly,
"we must send for the police to Pierside and tell them my mummy
has been stolen."

"That my boy has been murdered," screeched Widow Anne, waving her
skinny arms, and striving to break from Archie.  "You wicked old
devil to kill my darling Sid.  If he hadn't gone to them furren
parts he wouldn't be a corp now.  But I'll have the lawr: you'll
be hanged, you--you--"

Braddock lost his patience under this torrent of unjust
accusations and rushed towards Mrs. Bolton, dragging Cockatoo by
the arm.  In less time than it takes to tell, he had swept both
Archie and the widow out into the hall, where Lucy was trembling,
and Cockatoo, by his master's order, was locking the door.

"Not a thing shall be touched until the police come.  Hope, you
are, a witness that I have not meddled with the dead: you were
present when I opened the packing case: you have seen that a
useless body has been substituted for a valuable mummy.  And yet
this old witch dares--dares--" Braddock stamped and grew
incoherent from sheer rage.

Archie soothed him, leaving go of Widow Anne's arm to do so.
"Hush! hush!" said the young man quietly, "the poor woman does
not know what she is saying.  I'll go for the police and--"

"No," interrupted the Professor sharply; "Cockatoo can go for the
inspector of Pierside.  I shall call in the village constable.
Meanwhile you keep the key of the museum," he dropped it into
Hope's breast-pocket, "so that you and the police may be sure the
body has not been touched.  Widow Anne, go home," he turned
angrily on the old creature, who was now trembling after her
burst of rage, "and don't dare to come here again until you ask
pardon for what you have said."

"I want to be near my poor boy's corp," wailed Widow Anne, "and
I'm very sorry, Perfesser.  I didn't mean to--"

"But you have, you witch.  Go away!" and he stamped.

But by this time Lucy had recovered her self-possession, which
had been sorely shaken by the sight of the dead.  "Leave her to
me," she observed, taking Mrs. Bolton's arm, and leading her
towards the stairs.  "I shall take her to my room and give her
some brandy.  Father, you must make some allowance for her
natural grief, and--"

Braddock stamped again.  "Take her away! take her away!" he
cried testily, "and keep her out of my sight.  Is it not enough
to have lost an invaluable assistant, and a costly mummy of
infinite historical and archaeological value, without my being
accused of--of--oh!"  The Professor choked with rage and shook
his hand in the air.

Seeing that he was unable to speak, Lucy seized the opportunity
of the lull in the storm, and hurried the old woman, sobbing and
moaning, up the stairs.  By this time the shrieks of Mrs. Bolton,
and the wordy wrath of Braddock, had drawn the cook and her
husband, along with the housemaid, from the basement to the
ground floor.  The sight of their surprised faces only added to
their master's anger, and he advanced furiously.

"Go downstairs again: go down, I tell you!"

"But if there's anything wrong, sir," ventured the gardener
timidly.

"Everything is wrong.  My mummy has been lost: Mr. Bolton has
been murdered.  The police are coming, and--and--"  He choked
again.

But the servants waited to hear no more.  The mere mention of the
words "murder" and "police" sent them, pale-faced and startled,
down to the basement, where they huddled like a flock of sheep.
Braddock looked around for Hope, but found that he had opened the
front door, and had vanished.  But he was too distracted to think
why Archie had gone, and there was much to do in putting things
straight.  Beckoning to Cockatoo, he stalked into a side room,
and scribbled a pencil note to the inspector of police at
Pierside, telling him of what had happened, and asking him to
come at once to the Pyramids with his underlings.  This
communication he dispatched by Cockatoo, who flew to get his
bicycle.  In a short time he was riding at top speed to Brefort,
which was on this side of the river; facing Pierside.  There he
could ferry across to the town and deliver his terrible message.

Having done all that he could until the police came, Braddock
walked out of the front door and into the roadway to see if
Archie was in sight.  He could not see the young man, but, as
luck would have it, and by one of those coincidences which are
much more common than is suspected, he saw the Gartley doctor
walking briskly past.

"Hi!" shouted the Professor, who was purple in the face and
perspiring profusely.  "Hi, there, Dr. Robinson!  I want you.
Come! come! hurry, man, hurry!" he ended in a testy rage, and the
doctor, knowing Braddock's eccentricities, advanced with a smile.
He was a slim, dark, young medical practitioner with an amiable
countenance, which argued of no mighty intelligence.

"Well, Professor," he remarked quietly, "do you want me to attend
you for apoplexy?  Take your time, my dear sir--take your time."
He patted the scientist on the shoulder to soothe his clamorous
rage.  "You are already purple in the face.  Don't let your blood
rush to your head."

"Robinson, you're a--a--a fool!" shouted Braddock, glaring at
the suave looks of the doctor.  "I am in perfect health, damn
you, sir."

"Then Miss Kendal--?"

"She is quite well also.  But Bolton--?"

"Oh!" Robinson looked interested.  "Has he returned with your
mummy?"

"Mummy," bellowed Braddock, stamping like an insane Cupid--"the
mummy hasn't arrived."

"Really, Professor, you surprise me," said the doctor mildly.

"I'll surprise you more," growled Braddock, dragging Robinson
into the garden and up the steps.

"Gently! gently! my dear sir," said the doctor, who really began
to think that much learning had made the Professor mad.  "Didn't
Bolton--?"

"Bolton is dead, you fool."

"Dead!"  The doctor nearly tumbled backward down the steps.

"Murdered.  At least I think he is murdered.  At all events he
arrived here to-day in the packing case, which should have
contained my green mummy.  Come in and examine the body at once.
No," Braddock pushed back the doctor just as fiercely as he had
dragged him forward, "wait until the constable comes.  I want him
to see the body first, and to observe that nothing has been
touched.  I have sent for the Pierside inspector to come.  There
will be all sorts of trouble," cried Braddock despairingly, "and
my work--most important work--will be delayed, just because
this silly young ass Sidney Bolton chose to be murdered," and the
Professor stormed up and down the hall, shaking impotent arms in
the air.

"Good heavens!" stammered Robinson, who was young in years and
somewhat new to his profession, "you--you must be mistaken."

"Mistaken! mistaken!" shouted Braddock with another glare.  "Come
and see that poor fellow's body then.  He is dead, murdered."

"By whom?"

"Hang you, sir, how should I know?"

"In what way has he been murdered?  Stabbed, shot, or--"

"I don't know--I don't know!  Such a nuisance to lose a man like
Bolton--an invaluable assistant.  What I shall do without him I
really don't know.  And his mother has been here, making no end
of a fuss."

"Can you blame her?" said the doctor, recovering his breath.
"She is his mother, after all, and poor Bolton was her only son."

"I am not denying the relationship, confound you!" snapped the
Professor, ruffling his hair until it stood up like the crest of
a parrot.  "But she needn't--ah!"  He glanced through the open
door, and then rushed to the threshold.  "Here is Hope and
Painter.  Come in--come in.  I have the doctor here.  Hope, you
have the key.  You observe, constable, that Mr. Hope has the key.
Open the door: open the door, and let us see the meaning of this
dreadful crime."

"Crime, sir?" queried the constable, who had heard all that was
known from Hope, but now wished to hear what Braddock had to say.

"Yes, crime: crime, you idiot!  I have lost my mummy."

"But I thought, sir, that a murder--"

"Oh, of course--of course," gabbled the Professor, as if the
death was quite a minor consideration.  "Bolton's dead--
murdered, I suppose, as he could scarcely have nailed himself
down in a packing case.  But it's my precious mummy I am thinking
of, Painter.  A mummy--if you know what a mummy is--that cost
me nine hundred pounds.  Go in, man.  Go in and don't stand there
gaping.  Don't you see that Mr. Hope has opened the door.  I have
sent Cockatoo to Pierside to notify the police.  They will soon
be here.  Meanwhile, doctor, you can examine the body, and
Painter here can give his opinion as to who stole my mummy."

"The assassin stole the mummy," said Archie, as the four men
entered the museum, "and substituted the body of the murdered
man."

"That is all A B C," snapped Braddock, issuing into the vast
room, "but we want to know the name of the assassin, if we are to
revenge Bolton and get back my mummy.  Oh, what a loss!--what a
loss!  I have lost nine hundred pounds, or say one thousand,
considering the cost of bringing Inca Caxas to England."

Archie forebore to remind the Professor as to who had really lost
the money, as the scientist was not in a fit state to be talked
to reasonably, and seemed much more concerned because his
Peruvian relic of humanity had been lost than for the terrible
death of Sidney Bolton.  But by this time Painter--a fair-haired
young constable of small intelligence--was examining the packing
case and surveying the dead.  Dr. Robinson also looked with a
professional eye, and Braddock, wiping his purple face and
gasping with exhaustion, sat down on a stone sarcophagus.
Archie, folding his arms, leaned against the wall and waited
quietly to hear what the experts in crime and medicine would say.

The packing case was deep and wide and long, made of tough teak
and banded at intervals with iron bands.  Within this was a case
of tin, which, when it held the mummy, had been soldered up;
impervious to air and water.  But the unknown person who had
extracted the mummy, to replace it by a murdered man's body, had
cut open the tin casing with some sharp instrument.  There was
straw round the tin casing and straw within, amongst which the
body of the unfortunate young man was placed.  Rigor mortis had
set in, and the corpse, with straight legs and hands placed
stiffly by its side, lay against the back of the tin casing
surrounded more or less by the straw packing, or at least by so
much as the Professor had not torn away.  The face looked dark,
and the eyes were wide open and staring.  Robinson stepped
forward and ran his hand round the neck.  Uttering an
ejaculation, he removed the woollen scarf which the dead man had
probably worn to keep himself from catching cold, and those who
looked on saw that a red-colored window cord was tightly bound
about the throat of the dead.

"The poor devil has been strangled," said the doctor quietly.
"See: the assassin has left the bow-string on, and had the
courage to place over it this scarf, which belonged to Bolton."

"How do you know that, sir?" asked Painter heavily.

"Because Widow Anne knitted that scarf for Bolton before he went
to Malta.  He showed it to me, laughingly, remarking that his
mother evidently thought that he was going to Lapland."

"When did he show it to you, sir?"

"Before he went to Malta, of course," said Robinson in mild
surprise.  "You don't suppose he showed it to me when he
returned.  When did he return to England?" he asked the
Professor, with an afterthought.

"Yesterday afternoon, about four o'clock," replied Braddock.

"Then, from the condition of the body"--the doctor felt the dead
flesh--"he must have been murdered last night.  H'm!  With your
permission, Painter, I'll examine the corpse."

The constable shook his head.  "Better wait, sir, until the
inspector comes," he said in his unintelligent way.  "Poor Sid!
Why, I knew him.  He was at school with me, and now he's dead.
Who killed him?"

None of his listeners could answer this question.




CHAPTER VI

THE INQUEST


Like a geographical Lord Byron, the isolated village of Gartley
awoke one morning to find itself famous.  Previously unknown,
save to the inhabitants of Brefort, Jessum, and the surrounding
country, and to the soldiers stationed in the Fort, it became a
nine days' centre of interest.  Inspector Date of Pierside
arrived with his constables to inquire into the reported crime,
and the local journalists, scenting sensation, came flying to
Gartley on bicycles and in traps.  Next morning London was duly
advised that a valuable mummy was missing, and that the assistant
of Professor Braddock, who had been sent to fetch it from Malta,
was murdered by strangulation.  In a couple of days the three
kingdoms were ringing with the news of the mystery.

And a mystery it proved, to be, for, in spite of Inspector Date's
efforts and the enterprise of Scotland Yard detectives summoned
by the Professor, no clue could be found to the identity of the
assassin.  Briefly, the story told by the newspapers ran as
follows:

The tramp steamer Diver--Captain George Hervey in command--had
berthed alongside the Pierside jetty at four o'clock on a
Wednesday afternoon in mid-September, and some two hours later
Sidney Bolton removed the case, containing the green mummy,
ashore.

As it was impossible to carry the case to the Pyramids on that
night, Bolton had placed it in his bedroom at the Sailor's Rest,
a mean little public-house of no very savory reputation near the
water's edge.  He was last seen alive by the landlord and the
barmaid, when, after a drink of harmless ginger-beer, he retired
to bed at eight, leaving instructions to the landlord--overheard
by the barmaid--that the case was to be sent on next day to
Professor Braddock of Gartley.  Bolton hinted that he might leave
the hotel early and would probably precede the case to its
destination, so as to advise Professor Braddock--necessarily
anxious--of its safe arrival.  Before retiring he paid his bill,
and deposited in the landlord's hand a small sum of money, so
that the case might be sent across stream to Brefort, thence to
be taken in a lorry to the Pyramids.  There was no sign, said the
barmaid and the landlord, that Bolton contemplated suicide, or
that he feared sudden death.  His whole demeanor was cheerful,
and he expressed himself exceedingly glad to be in England once
more.

At eleven on the ensuing morning, a persistent knocking and a
subsequent opening of the door of Bolton's bedroom proved that he
was not in the room, although the tumbled condition of the
bed-clothes proved that he had taken some rest.  No one in the
hotel thought anything of Bolton's absence, since he had hinted
at an early departure, although the chamber-maid considered it
strange that no one had seen him leave the hotel.  The landlord
obeyed Bolton's instructions and sent the case, in charge of a
trustworthy man, to Brefort across the river.  There a lorry was
procured, and the case was taken to Gartley, where it arrived at
three in the afternoon.  It was then that Professor Braddock,
in opening the case, discovered the body of his ill-fated
assistant, rigid in death, and with a red window cord tightly
bound round the throat of the corpse.  At once, said the
newspapers, the Professor sent for the police, and later insisted
that the smartest Scotland Yard detectives should come down to
elucidate the mystery.  At present both police and detectives
were engaged in searching for a needle in a haystack, and so far
had met with no success.

Such was the tale set forth in the local and London and
provincial journals.  Widely as it was discussed, and many as
were the theories offered, no one could fathom the mystery.  But
all agreed that the failure of the police to find a clue was
inexplicable.  It was difficult enough to understand how the
assassin could have murdered Bolton and opened the packing case,
and removed the mummy to replace it by the body of his victim in
a house filled with at least half a dozen people; but it was yet
more difficult to guess how the criminal had escaped with so
noticeable an object as the mummy, bandaged with emerald-hued
woollen stuff woven from the hair of Peruvian llamas.  If the
culprit was one who thieved and murdered for gain, he could
scarcely sell the mummy without being arrested, since all England
was ringing with the news of its disappearance; if a scientist,
impelled to robbery by an archaeological mania, he could not
possibly keep possession of the mummy without someone learning
that he possessed it.  Meanwhile the thief and his plunder had
vanished as completely as if the earth had swallowed both.  Great
was the wonder at the cleverness of the criminal, and many were
the solutions offered to account for the disappearance.  One
enterprising weekly paper, improving on the Limerick craze,
offered a furnished house and three pounds a week for life to the
fortunate person who could solve the mystery.  As yet no one
had won the prize, but it was early days yet, and at least five
thousand amateur detectives tried to work out the problem.

Naturally Hope was sorry for the untimely death of Bolton, whom
he had known as an amiable and clever young man.  But he was also
annoyed that his loan of the money to Braddock should have been,
so to speak, nullified by the loss of the mummy.  The Professor
was perfectly furious at his double loss of assistant and
embalmed corpse, and was only prevented from offering a reward
for the discovery of the thief and assassin by the painful fact
that he had no money.  He hinted to Archie that a reward should
be offered, but that young man, backed by Lucy, declined to throw
away good money after bad.  Braddock took this refusal so ill,
that Hope felt perfectly convinced he would try and wriggle out
of his promise to permit the marriage and persuade Lucy to engage
herself to Sir Frank Random, should the baronet be willing to
offer a reward.  And Hope was also certain that Braddock, a
singularly obstinate man, would never rest until he once more had
the mummy in his possession.  That the murderer of Sidney Bolton
should be hanged was quite a minor consideration with the
Professor.

Meanwhile Widow Anne had insisted on the dead body being taken to
her cottage, and Braddock, with the consent of Inspector Date,
willingly agreed, as he did not wish a newly dead corpse to
remain under his roof.  Therefore, the remains of the unfortunate
young man were taken to his humble home, and here the body was
inspected by the jury when the inquest took place in the
coffee-room of the Warrior Inn, immediately opposite Mrs.
Bolton's abode.  There was a large crowd round the inn, as people
had come from far and wide to hear the verdict of the jury, and
Gartley, for the first and only time in its existence, presented
the aspect of an August Bank Holiday.

The Coroner--an elderly doctor with a short temper; caused by
the unrealized ambition of a country practitioner--opened the
proceedings by a snappy speech, in which he set forth the details
of the crime in the same bold fashion in which they had been
published by the newspapers.  A plan of the Sailor's Rest was
then placed before the jury, and the Coroner drew the attention
of the twelve good and lawful men to the fact that the bedroom
occupied by deceased was on the ground floor, with a window
looking out on to the river, merely a stone-throw away.

"So you will see, gentlemen," said the Coroner, "that the
difficulty of the assassin in leaving the hotel with his plunder
was not so great as has been imagined.  He had merely to open the
window in the quiet hours of the night, when no one was about,
and pass the mummy through to his accomplice, who probably waited
without.  It is also probable that a boat was waiting by the bank
of the river, and the mummy having been placed in this, the
assassin and his friend could row away into the unknown without
the slightest chance of discovery."

Inspector Date--a tall, thin, upright man with an iron jaw and a
severe expression--drew the Coroner's attention to the fact that
there was no evidence to show that the assassin had an
accomplice.

"What you have stated, sir, may have occurred," rasped Date in a
military voice, "but we cannot prove the truth of your
assumption, since the evidence at our disposal is merely
circumstantial."

"I never suggested that it was anything else," snapped the
Coroner.  "You waste time in traversing my statements.  Say what
you have to say, Mr. Inspector, and produce your witnesses--if
you have any."

"There are no witnesses who can swear to the identity of the
murderer," said Inspector Date coldly, and determined not to be
ruffled by the apparent antagonism of the Coroner.  "The criminal
has vanished, and no one can guess his name or occupation, or
even the reason which led him to slay the deceased."

Coroner: "The reason is plain.  He wanted the mummy."

Inspector: "Why should he want the mummy?"

Coroner: "That is what we wish to find out."

Inspector: "Exactly, sir.  We wish to learn the reason why the
murderer strangled the deceased."

Coroner: "We know that reason.  What we wish to know is why the
murderer stole the mummy.  And I would point out to you, Mr.
Inspector, that, as yet, we do not even know the sex of the
assassin.  It might be a woman who murdered the deceased."

Professor Braddock, who was seated near the door of the
coffee-room, being even more irascible than usual, rose to
contradict.

"There isn't a scrap of evidence to show that the murderer was a
woman."

Coroner: "You are out of order, sir.  And I would point out that,
as yet, Inspector Date has produced no witnesses."

Date glared.  He and the Coroner were old enemies, and always
sparred when they met.  It seemed likely, that the peppery little
Professor would join in the quarrel and that there would be a
duel of three; but Date, not wishing for an adverse report in the
newspapers as to his conduct of the case, contented himself with
the glare aforesaid, and, after a short speech, called Braddock.
The Professor, looking more like a cross cherub than ever, gave
his evidence tartly.  It seemed ridiculous to his prejudiced mind
that all this fuss should be made over Bolton's body, when the
mummy; was still missing.  However, as the discovery of the
criminal would assuredly lead to the regaining of that precious
Peruvian relic, he curbed his wrath and answered the Coroner's
questions in a fairly amiable fashion.

And, after all, Braddock had very little to tell.  He had, so he
stated, seen an advertisement in a newspaper that a mummy,
swathed in green bandages, was to be sold in Malta; and had sent
his assistant to buy it and bring it home.  This was done, and
what happened after the mummy left the tramp steamer was known to
everyone, through the medium of the press.

"With which," grumbled the Professor, "I do not agree."

"What do you mean by that?" asked the Coroner sharply.

"I mean, sir," snapped Braddock, equally sharply, "that the
publicity given by the newspapers to these details will probably
place the assassin on his guard."

"Why not on her guard?" persisted the Coroner wilfully.

"Rubbish! rubbish! rubbish!  My mummy wasn't stolen by a woman.
What the devil would a woman want with my mummy?"

"Be more respectful, Professor."

"Then talk sense, doctor," and the two glared at one another.

After a moment or two the situation was adjusted in silence, and
the Coroner asked a few questions, pertinent to the matter in
hand.

"Had the deceased any enemies?"

"No, sir, he hadn't, not being famous enough, or rich enough, or
clever enough to excite the hatred of mankind.  He was simply an
intelligent young man, who worked excellently when supervised by
me.  His mother is a washerwoman in this village, and the lad
brought washing to my house.  Noting that he was intelligent and
was anxious to rise above his station, I engaged him as my
assistant and trained him to do my work."

"Archaeological work?"

"Yes.  I don't wash, whatever Bolton's mother may, do.  Don't ask
silly questions."

"Be more respectful," said the Coroner again, and grew red.
"Have you any idea as to the name of anyone who desired to obtain
possession of this mummy?"

"I daresay dozens of scientists in my line of business would have
liked to get the corpse of Inca Caxas.  Such as--" and he reeled
out a list of celebrated men.

"Nonsense," growled the Coroner.  "Famous men like those you
mention would not murder even for the sake of obtaining this
mummy."

"I never said that they would," retorted Braddock, "but you
wanted to hear who would like to have the mummy; and I have told
you."

The Coroner waived the question.

"Was there any jewelry on the mummy likely to attract a thief?"
he asked.

"How the devil should I know?" fumed the Professor.  "I never
unpacked the mummy; I never even saw it.  Any jewelry buried with
Inca Caxas would be bound up in the bandages.  So far as I know
those bandages were never unwound."

"You can throw no light on the subject?"

"No, I can't.  Bolton went to get the mummy and brought it home.
I understood that he would personally bring his precious charge
to my house; but he didn't.  Why, I don't know."

When the Professor stepped down, still fuming at what he
considered were the unnecessary questions of the Coroner, the
young doctor who had examined the corpse was called.  Robinson
deposed that deceased had been strangled by means of a red window
cord, and that, from the condition of the body, he would judge
death had taken place some twelve hours more or less before the
opening of the packing case by Braddock.  That was at three
o'clock on Thursday afternoon, so in witness's opinion the crime
was committed between two and three on the previous morning.

"But I can't be absolutely certain as to the precise hour," added
witness; "at any rate poor Bolton was strangled after midnight
and before three o'clock."

"That is a wide margin," grumbled the Coroner, jealous of his
brother-practitioner.  "Were there any, other wounds on the
body?"

"No.  You can see for yourself, if you have inspected the
corpse."

The Coroner, thus reproved, glared, and Widow Anne appeared after
Robinson retired.  She stated, with many sobs, that her son had
no enemies and was a good, kind young man.  She also related her
dream, but this was flouted by the Coroner, who did not believe
in the occult.  However, the narration of her premonition was
listened to with deep interest by those in the court.  Widow Anne
concluded her evidence by asking how she was to live now that her
boy Sid was dead.  The Coroner professed himself unable to answer
this question, and dismissed her.

Samuel Quass, the landlord of the Sailor's Rest, was next called.
He proved to be a big, burly, red-haired, red-whiskered man, who
looked like a sailor.  And indeed a few questions elicited the
information that he was a retired sea-captain.  He gave his
evidence gruffly but honestly, and although he kept so shady a
public-house, seemed straightforward enough.  He told much the
same tale as had appeared in the newspapers.  In the hotel on
that night there was only himself, his wife and two children, and
the staff of servants.  Bolton retired to bed saying that he
might start early for Gartley, and paid one pound to get the case
taken across to river and placed on a lorry.  As Bolton had
vanished next morning, Quass obeyed instructions, with the result
which everyone knew.  He also stated that he did not know the
case contained a mummy.

"What did you think it contained?" asked the Coroner quickly.

"Clothes and curios from foreign parts," said the witness coolly.

"Did Mr. Bolton tell you so?"

"He told me nothing about the case," growled the witness, "but he
chatted a lot about Malta, which I know well, having put into
that port frequent when a sailor."

"Did he hint at any rows taking place at Malta?"

"No, he didn't."

"Did he say that he had enemies?"

"No, he didn't."

"Did he strike you as a man who was in fear of death?"

"No, he didn't," said the witness for the third time.  "He seemed
happy enough.  I never thought for one moment that he was dead
until I heard how his body had been found in the packing case."

The Coroner asked all manner of questions, and so did Inspector
Date; but all attempts to incriminate Quass were vain.  He was
bluff and straightforward, and told--so far as could be judged--
everything he knew.  There was nothing for it but to dismiss him,
and Eliza Flight was called as the last witness.

She also proved to be the most important, as she knew several
things which she had not told to her master, or to the reporters,
or even to the police.  On being asked why she had kept silence,
she said that her desire was to obtain any reward that might be
offered; but as she had heard that there would be no reward, she
was willing to tell what she knew.  It was an important piece of
evidence.

The girl stated that Bolton had retired to bed at eight on the
ground floor, and the bedroom had a window--as marked in the
plan--which looked on to the river a stone-throw distant.  At
nine or a trifle later witness went out to have a few words with
her lover.  In the darkness she saw that the window was open and
that Bolton was talking to an old woman muffled in a shawl.  She
could not see the woman's face, nor judge of her stature, as she
was stooping down to listen to Bolton.  Witness did not take much
notice, as she was in a hurry to see her lover.  When she
returned past the window at ten o'clock it was closed and the
light was extinguished, so she thought that Mr. Bolton was
asleep.

"But, to tell the truth," said Eliza Flight, "I never thought
anything of the matter at all.  It was only after the murder that
I saw how important it was I should remember everything."

"And you have?"

"Yes, sir," said the girl, honestly enough.  "I have told you
everything that happened on that night.  Next morning--"  She
hesitated.

"Well, what about next morning?"

"Mr. Bolton had locked his door.  I know that, because a few
minutes after eight on the night before, not knowing he had
retired.  I tried to enter the room and make ready the bed for
the night.  He sang out through the door--which was locked, for
I tried it--that he was in bed.  That was a lie also, as after
nine I saw him talking to the woman at the window."

"You previously said an old woman," said the Coroner, referring
to his notes.  "How do you know she was old?"

"I can't say if she was old or young," said the witness candidly;
"it's only a manner of speaking.  She had a dark shawl over her
head and a dark dress.  I couldn't say if she was old or young,
fair or dark, stout or lean, tall or short.  The night was dark."

The Coroner referred to the plan.

"There is a gas-lamp near the window of the bedroom.  Did you not
see her in that light?"

"Oh, yes, sir; but just for a moment.  I took very little notice.
Had I known that the gentleman was to be murdered, I should have
taken a great deal of notice."

"Well, about this locked door?"

"It was locked over-night, sir, but when I went next morning, it
was not locked.  I knocked and knocked, but could get no answer.
As it was eleven, I thought the gentleman was sleeping very long,
so I tried to open the door.  It was not locked, as I say--but,"
added witness with emphasis, "the window was snibbed and the
blind was down."

"That is natural enough," said the Coroner.  "Mr. Bolton, after
his interview with the woman, would of course snib the window,
and pull down the blind.  When he went away next morning he would
unlock the door."

"Begging your pardon, sir, but, as we know, he didn't go away
next morning, being in the packing case, nailed down."

The Coroner could have kicked himself for the very natural
mistake he had made, for he saw a derisive grin on the faces
around him, and particularly on that of Inspector Date.

"Then the assassin must have gone out by the door," he said
weakly.

"Then I don't know how he got out," cried Eliza Flight, "for I
was up at six and the front and back doors of the hotel were
locked.  And after six I was about in passages and rooms doing my
work, and master and missus and others were all over the place.
How could the murderer walk out, sir, without some of us seeing
him?"

"Perhaps you did, and took no notice?"

"Oh, sir, if a stranger was around we should all have taken
notice."

This concluded the evidence, which was meagre enough.  Widow Anne
was indeed recalled to see if Miss Flight could identify her as
the woman who, had been talking to Bolton, but witness failed to
recognize her, and the widow herself proved, by means of three
friends, that she had been imbibing gin at home on the night and
at the hour in question.  Also, there was no evidence to connect
this unknown woman with the murder, and no sound--according to
the unanimous testimony of the inmates of the Sailor's Rest--had
been heard in the bedroom of Bolton.  Yet, as the Coroner
observed, there must have been some knocking and hammering and
ripping going on.  But of this nothing could be proved, and
although several witnesses were examined again, not one could
throw light on the mystery.  Under these circumstances the jury
could only bring in a verdict of wilful murder against some
person or persons unknown, which was done.  And it may be
mentioned that the cord with which Bolton had been strangled was
identified by the landlord and the chamber-maid as belonging to
the blind of the bedroom window.

"Well," said Hope, when the inquest was over, "so nothing can be
proved against anyone.  What is to be done next?"

"I'll tell you after I have seen Random," said the Professor
curtly.




CHAPTER VII

THE CAPTAIN OF THE DIVER


The day after the inquest, Sidney Bolton's body was buried in
Gartley churchyard.  Owing to the nature of the death, and the
publicity given to the murder by the press, a great concourse of
people assembled to witness the interment, and there was an
impressive silence when the corpse was committed to the grave.
Afterwards, as was natural, much discussion followed on the
verdict at the inquest.  It was the common opinion that the jury
could have brought in no other verdict, considering the nature of
the evidence supplied; but many people declared that Captain
Hervey of The Diver should have been called.  If the deceased had
enemies, said these wiseacres, it was probable that he would have
talked about them to the skipper.  But they forgot that the
witnesses called at the inquest, including the mother of the dead
man, had insisted that Bolton had no enemies, so it is difficult
to see what they expected Captain Hervey to say.

After the funeral, the journals made but few remarks about the
mystery.  Every now and then it was hinted that a clue had been
found, and that the police would sooner or later track down the
criminal.  But all this loose chatter came to nothing, and as the
days went by, the public--in London, at all events--lost
interest in the case.  The enterprising weekly paper that had
offered the furnished house and the life income to the person who
found the assassin received an intimation from the Government
that such a lottery could not be allowed.  The paper, therefore,
returned to Limericks, and the amateur detectives, like so many
Othellos, found their occupation gone.  Then a political crisis
took place in the far East, and the fickle public relegated the
murder of Bolton to the list of undiscovered crimes.  Even the
Scotland Yard detectives, failing to find a clue, lost interest
in the matter, and it seemed as though the mystery of Bolton's
death would not be solved until the Day of Judgment.

In the village, however, people still continued to be keenly
interested, since Bolton was one of themselves, and, moreover,
Widow Anne kept up a perpetual outcry about her murdered boy.
She had lost the small weekly sum which Sidney had allowed her
out of his wages, so the neighbors, the gentry of the surrounding
country, and the officers at the Fort sent her ample washing to
do.  Widow Anne in a few weeks had quite a large business,
considering the size of the village, and philosophically observed
to a neighbor that "It was an ill wind which blew no one any
good," adding also that Sidney was more good to her dead than
alive.  But even in Gartley the villagers grew weary of
discussing a mystery which could never be solved, and so the case
became rarely talked about.  In these days of bustle and worry
and competition, it is wonderful how people forget even important
events.  If a blue sun arose to lighten the world instead of a
yellow one, after nine days of wonder, man would settle down
quite comfortably to a cerulean existence.  Such is the wonderful
adaptability of humanity.

Professor Braddock was less forgetful, as he always bore in mind
the loss of his mummy, and constantly thought of schemes whereby
he could trap the assassin of his late secretary.  Not that he
cared for the dead in any way, save from a strictly business
point of view, but the capture of the criminal meant the
restitution of the mummy, and--as Braddock told everyone with
whom he came in contact--he was determined to regain possession
of his treasure.  He went himself to the Sailor's Rest, and drove
the landlord and his servants wild by asking tart questions and
storming when a satisfactory answer could not be supplied.  Quass
was glad when he saw the plump back of the cross little man, who
so pertinaciously followed what everyone else had abandoned.

"Life was too short," grumbled Quass, "to be bothered in that
way."

The wooing of Archie and Lucy went on smoothly, and the Professor
showed no sign of wishing to break the engagement.  But Hope, as
he confided to Lucy, was somewhat worried, as his pauper uncle,
on an insufficient borrowed capital, had begun to speculate in
South African mines, and it was probable that he would lose all
his money.  In that case Hope fancied he would be once more
called upon to make good the avuncular loss, and so the marriage
would have to be postponed.  But it so happened that the pauper
uncle made some lucky speculative shots and acquired money, which
he promptly reinvested in new mines of the wildcat description.
Still, for the moment all was well, and the lovers had a few
halcyon days of peace and happiness.

Then came a bolt from the blue in the person of Captain Hervey,
who called a fortnight after the funeral to see the Professor.
The skipper was a tall, slim man, lean as a fasting friar, and
hard as nails, with closely clipped red hair, mustache of the
same aggressive hue, and an American goatee.  He spoke with a
Yankee accent, and in a truculent manner, sufficiently annoying
to the fiery Professor.  When he met Braddock in the museum, the
two became enemies at the first glance, and because both were
bad-tempered and obstinate, took an instant dislike to one
another.  Like did not draw to like in this instance.

"What do you want to see me about?" asked Braddock crossly.  He
had been summoned by Cockatoo from the perusal of a new papyrus
to see his visitor, and consequently was not in the best of
tempers.

"I've jes' blew in fur a trifle of chin-music," replied Hervey
with an emphatic U.S.A. accent.

"I'm busy: get out," was the uncomplimentary reply.

Hervey took a chair and, stretching his lengthy legs, produced a
black cheroot, as long and lean as himself.

"If you were in the States, Professor, I'd draw a bead on you for
that style of lingo.  I'm not taking any.  See!" and he lighted
up.

"You're the captain of 'The Diver'?"

"That's so; I was, that is.  Now, I've shifted to a dandy
wind-jammer of sorts that can run rings round the old barky.  I
surmise I'm off for the South Seas, pearl-fishing, in three
months.  I'll take that Kanaka along with me, if y'like,
Professor," and he cast a side glance at Cockatoo, who was
squatting on his hams as usual, polishing a blue enameled jar
from a Theban tomb.

"I require the services of the man," said Braddock stiffly.  "As
to you, sir: you've been paid for your business in connection
with Bolton's passage and the shipment of my mummy, so there is
no more to be said."



"Heaps more! heaps, you bet," remarked the man of the sea
placidly, and controlling a temper which in less civilized parts
would have led him to wipe the floor with the plump scientist.
"My owners were paid fur that racket: not me.  No, sir.  So I've
paddled into this port to see if I can rake in a few dollars on
my own."

"I've no dollars to give you--in charity, that is."

"Huh!  An' who asked charity, you bald-headed jelly-bag?"

Braddock grew scarlet with fury.  "If you speak to me like that,
you ruffian, I'll throw you out."

"What?--you?"

"Yes, me," and the Professor stood on tip-toe, like the bantam he
was.

"You make me smile, and likewise tired," murmured Hervey,
admiring the little man's pluck.  "See here, Professor, touching
that mummy?"

"My mummy: my green mummy.  What about it?"  Braddock rose to the
fly thrown by this skilful angler.

"That's so.  What will you shell out if I pass along that
corpse?"

"Ah!"  The Professor again stood on tip-toe, gasping and purple
in the face.  He almost squeaked in the extremity of his anger.
"I knew it."

"Knew what?" demanded the skipper, genuinely surprised.

"I knew that you had stolen my mummy.  Yes, you needn't deny it.
Bolton, like the silly fool he was, told you how valuable the
mummy was, and you strangled the poor devil to get my property."

"Go slow," said the captain, in no wise perturbed by this
accusation.  "I would have you remember that at the inquest it
was stated that the window was locked and the door was open.  How
then could I waltz into that blamed hotel and arrange for a
funeral?  'Sides, I guess shooting is mor'n my line than
garrotting.  I leave that to the East Coast Yellow-Stomachs."

Braddock sat down and wiped his face.  He saw plainly enough that
he had not a leg to stand on, as Hervey was plainly innocent.

"'Sides," went on the skipper, chewing his cheroot, "I guess if
I'd wanted that old corpse of yours, I'd have yanked Bolton
overside, and set down the accident to bad weather.  Better fur
me to loot the case aboard than to make a fool of myself ashore.
No, sir, H.H. don't run 'is own perticler private circus in that
blamed way."

"H.H.  Who the devil is H.H.?"

"Me, you bet.  Hiram Hervey, citizen of the U.S.A.  Nantucket
neighborhood for home life.  And see, don't you get m'hair riz,
or I'll scalp."

"You can't scalp me," chuckled Braddock, passing his hand over a
very bald head.  "See here, what do you want?"

"Name a price and I'll float round to get back your verdant
corpse."

"I thought you were going to the South Seas?"

"In three months, pearl-fishing.  Lots of time, I reckon, to run
this old circus I want you to finance."

"Have you any suspicions?"

"No, 'sept I don't believe in that window business."

"What do you mean?" Braddock sat upright.

"Well," drawled the Yankee, "y'see, I interviewed the gal as told
that perticler lie in court."

"Eliza Flight.  Was it a lie she told?"

"Well, not exactly.  The window was snibbed, but that was done
after the chap who sent your pal to Kingdom Come had got out."

"Do you mean to say that the window was locked from the outside?"
asked Braddock, and then, when Hervey nodded, he exclaimed
"Impossible!"

"Narry an impossibility, you bet.  The chap who engineered the
circus was all-fired smart.  The snib was an old one, and he
yanked a piece of string round it, and passed the string through
the crack between the upper and lower sash of the window.  When
outside he pulled, and the snib slid into place.  But he left the
string on the ground outside.  I picked it up nex' day and
guessed the racket he'd been on.  I tried the same business and
brought off the deal."

"It sounds wonderful and yet impossible," cried Braddock, rubbing
his bald head and walking excitedly to and fro.  "See here, I'll
come along with you and see how it's done."

"You bet you won't, unless you shell out.  See here"--Hervey
leaned forward--"from that window business it's plain that no
one inside the shanty corpsed your pal.  The chap as did it
entered and left by the window, and made tracks with that old
corp you want.  Now you pass along five hundred pounds--that's
English currency, I reckon--and I'll smell round for the
robber."

"And where do you think I can obtain five hundred pounds?" asked
the Professor very dryly.

"Well, I guess if that blamed corpse is worth it, you'll be
willing to trade.  Y'don't live in this shanty for nothing."

"My good friend, I have enough to live on, and obtain this house
at a small rent on account of its isolation.  But I can no more
find the sum of five hundred pounds than fly."

Hervey rose and straightened his legs.

"Then I guess I'd best be getting back to Pierside."

"One moment, sir.  Did anything happen on the voyage?--did
Bolton say anything likely to lead you to suppose that he was in
danger of being robbed and murdered?"

"No," said the skipper musingly, and pulling his goatee.  "He
told me that he had secured the old corpse, and was bringing it
home to you.  I didn't talk much to Bolton; he wasn't my style."

"Have you any idea who killed him?"

"No, I ain't."

"Then how do you propose to find the criminal who has the mummy?"

"You give me five hundred pounds and see," said Hervey coolly.

"I haven't got the money."

"Then I reckon you don't get the corpse.  So long," and the
skipper strolled towards the door.  Braddock followed him.

"You have a clue?"

"No, I've got nothing; not even that five hundred pounds you make
such a fuss over.  It's a wasted day with H.H., I surmise.
Wait!"  He scribbled on a card and flung it across the room.
"That's my Pierside address if you should change your blamed
mind."

The Professor picked up the card.  "The Sailor's Rest!  What, are
you stopping there?"   Then, when Hervey nodded, he cried
violently, "Why, I believe you have a clue, and stop at the hotel
to follow it up."

"Maybe I do and maybe I don't," retorted the captain, opening the
door with a jerk; "anyhow, I don't hunt for that corpse without
the dollars."

When Hiram Hervey departed, the Professor raged up and down the
room so violently that Cockatoo was cowed by his anger.
Apparently this American skipper knew of something which might
lead to the discovery of the assassin and incidentally to the
restoration of the green mummy to its rightful owner.  But he
would not make a move unless he was paid five hundred pounds, and
Braddock did not know where to procure that amount.  Having long
since made himself acquainted with Hope's financial condition, he
knew well that there was no chance of getting a second check in
that quarter.  Of course there was Random, whom he had heard
casually had returned from his yachting cruise, and was now back
again at the Fort.  But Random was in love with Lucy, and would
probably only give or lend the money on condition that the
Professor helped him with his wooing.  In that case, since Lucy
was engaged to Hope, there would be some difficulty in altering
present conditions.  But having arrived at this point of his
somewhat angry meditations, Braddock sent Cockatoo with a message
to his step-daughter, saying that he wished to see her.

"I'll see if she really loves Hope," thought the Professor,
rubbing his plump hands.  "If she doesn't, there may be a chance
of her throwing him over to become Lady Random.  Then I can get
the money.  And indeed," soliloquized the Professor virtuously,
"I must point out to her that it is wrong of her to make a poor
marriage, when she can gain a wealthy husband.  I will only be
doing my duty by my dear dead wife, by preventing her wedding
poverty.  But girls are so obstinate, and Lucy is a thorough
girl."

His amiable anxiety on behalf of Miss Kendal was only cut short
by the entrance of the young lady herself.  Professor Braddock
then showed his hand too plainly by evincing a strong wish to
conciliate her in every way.  He procured her a seat: he asked
after her health: he told her that she was growing prettier every
day, and in all ways behaved so unlike his usual self, that Lucy
became alarmed and thought that he had been

"Why have you sent for me?" she asked, anxious to come to the
point.

"Aha!" Braddock put his venerable head on one side like a roguish
bird and smiled in an infantine manner.  "I have good news for
you."

"About the mummy?" she demanded innocently.

"No, about flesh and blood, which you prefer.  Sir Frank Random
has arrived back at the Fort.  There!"

"I know that," was Miss Kendal's unexpected reply.  "His yacht
came to Pierside on the same afternoon as The Diver arrived."

"Oh, indeed!" said the Professor, struck by the coincidence, and
with a stare.  "How do you know?"

"Archie met Sir Frank the other day, and learned as much."

"What?"  Braddock struck a tragic attitude.  "Do you mean to say
that those two young men speak to one another?"

"Yes.  Why not?  They are friends."

"Oh!"  Braddock became roguish again.  "I fancied they were
lovers of a certain young lady who is in this room."

By this time Lucy was beginning to guess what her step-father was
aiming at, and grew correspondingly angry.

"Archie is my sole lover now," she remarked stiffly.  "Sir Frank
knows that we are engaged and is quite ready to be the friend of
us both."

"And he calls that love.  Idiot!" cried the Professor, much
disgusted.  "But I would point out to you, Lucy--and I do so
because of my deep affection for you, dear child--that Sir Frank
is wealthy."

"So is Archie--in my love."

"Nonsense! nonsense!  That is mere foolish romance, He has no
money."

"You should not say that.  Archie had money to the extent of one
thousand pounds, which he gave you."

"One thousand pounds: a mere nothing.  Consider, Lucy, that if
you marry Random you will have a title."

Miss Kendal, whose patience was getting exhausted, stamped a very
neat boot.

"I don't know why you talk in this way, father."

"I wish to see you happy."

"Then your wish is granted: you do see me happy.  But I won't be
happy long if you keep bothering me to marry a man I don't care
two straws about.  I am going to be Mrs. Hope, so there."

"My dear child," said the Professor, who always became paternal
when most obstinate, "I have reason to believe that the green
mummy can be discovered and poor Sidney's death avenged if a
reward of five hundred pounds is offered.  If Hope can give me
that money--"

"He will not: I shall not allow him to.  He has lost too much
already."

"In that case I must apply to Sir Frank Random."

"Well, apply," she snapped, being decidedly angry; "it's none of
my business.  I don't want to hear anything about it."

"It is your business, miss," cried Braddock, growing angry in his
turn and becoming very pink; "you know that only by getting you
to marry Random can I procure the money."

"Oh!" said Lucy coldly.  "So this is why you sent for me.  Now,
father, I have had enough of this.  You gave your consent to
Archie being engaged to me in exchange for one thousand pounds.
As I love him I shall abide by the word you gave.  If I had not
loved him I should have refused to marry him.  You understand?"

"I understand that I have a very obstinate girl to deal with.
You shall marry as I choose."

"I shall do nothing of the sort.  You have no right to dictate my
choice of a husband."

"No right, when I am your father?"

"You are not my father: merely my step-father--merely a relation
by marriage.  I am of age.  I can do as I like, and intend to."

"But, Lucy," implored Braddock, changing his tune, "think."

"I have thought.  I marry Archie."

"But he is poor and Random is rich."

"I don't care.  I love Archie and I don't love Frank."

"Would you have me lose the mummy for ever?"

"Yes, I would, if my misery is to be the price of its
restoration.  Why should I sell myself to a man I care nothing
about, just because you want a musty, fusty old corpse?  Now I am
going." Lucy walked to the door.  "I shan't listen to another
word.  And if you bother me again, I shall marry Archie at once
and leave the house."

"I can make you leave it in any case, you ungrateful girl,"
bellowed Braddock, who was purple with rage, never having a very
good temper at the best of times.  "Look what I have done for
you!"

Miss Kendal could have pointed out that her step-father had done
nothing save attend to himself.  But she disdained such an
argument, and without another word opened the door and walked
out.  Almost immediately afterwards Cockatoo entered, much to the
relief of the Professor, who relieved his feelings by kicking the
unfortunate Kanaka.  Then he sat down again to consider ways and
means of obtaining the necessary mummy and still more necessary
money.




CHAPTER VIII

THE BARONET

Sir Frank Random was an amiable young gentleman with--as the
saying goes--all his goods in the shop window.  Fair-haired and
tall, with a well-knit, athletic figure, a polished manner, and a
man-of-the-world air, he strictly resembled the romantic officer
of Bow Bells, Family Herald, Young Ladies' Journal fiction.  But
the romance was all in his well-groomed looks, as he was as
commonplace a Saxon as could be met with in a day's march.  Fond
of sport, attentive to his duties as artillery captain, and
devoted to what is romantically known as the fair sex, he
sauntered easily through life, very well contented with himself
and with his agreeable surroundings.  He read fiction when he did
read, and those weekly papers devoted to sport; troubled his head
very little about politics, save when they had to do with a
possible German invasion, and was always ready to do any one a
good turn.  His brother-officers declared that he was not half a
bad sort, which was high praise from the usually reticent service
man.  His capacity may be accurately gauged by the fact that he
did not possess a single enemy, and that every one spoke well of
him.  A mortal who possesses no quality likely to be envied by
those around him is certain to belong to the rank and file of
humanity.  But these unconsidered units of mankind can always
console themselves with the undoubted fact that mediocrity is
invariably happy.

Such a man as Random would never set the Thames on fire, and
certainly he had no ambition to perform that astounding feat.  He
was fond of his profession and intended to remain in the army as
long as he could.  He desired to marry and beget a family, and
retire, when set free from soldiering, to his country seat, and
there perform blamelessly the congenial role of a village squire,
until called upon to join the respectable corpses in the Random
vault.  Not that he was a saint or ever could be one.  Neither
black nor white, he was simply gray, being an ordinary mixture of
good and bad.  As theology has provided no hereafter for gray
people, it is hard to imagine where the bulk of humanity will go.
But doubts on this point never troubled Random.  He went to
church, kept his mouth shut and his pores open and vaguely
believed that it would be all right somehow.  A very comfortable
if superficial philosophy indeed.

It can easily be guessed that Random's somewhat colorless
personality would never attract Lucy Kendal, since the hues of
her own character were deeper.  For this reason she was drawn to
Hope, who possessed that aggressive artistic temperament, where
good and bad, are in violent contrast.  Random took opinions from
books, or from other people, and his mind, like a looking-glass,
reflected whatever came along; but Hope possessed opinions of his
own, both right and wrong, and held to these in the face of all
verbal opposition.  He could argue and did argue, when Random
simply agreed.  Lucy had similar idiosyncrasies, inherited from a
clever father, so it was just as well that she preferred Archie
to Frank.  Had the latter young gentleman married her, he would
have dwindled to Lady Random's husband, and would have found too
late that he had domesticated a kind of imitation George Eliot.
When he congratulated Archie on his engagement somewhat ruefully,
he little thought what an escape he had had.

But Professor Braddock, who did not belong to the gray tribe,
knew nothing of this, as his Egyptological studies did not permit
him time to argue on such commonplace matters.  He therefore
failed in advance when he set out to persuade Random into
renewing his suit.  As the fiery little man afterwards expressed
himself, "I might as well have talked to a mollusc," for Random
politely declined to be used as an instrument to forward the
Professor's ambition at the cost of Miss Kendal's unhappiness.
The interview took place in Sir Frank's quarters at the Fort on
the day after Hervey had called to propose a search for the
corpse.  And it was during this interview that Braddock learned
something which both startled and annoyed him.

Random, at three o'clock, had just changed into mufti, when the
Professor was announced by his servant.  Braddock, determined to
give his host no chance of denying himself, followed close on the
man's heels, and was in the room almost before Sir Frank had read
the card.  It was a bare room, sparsely furnished, according to
the War Office's idea of comfort, and although the baronet had
added a few more civilized necessities, it still looked somewhat
dismal.  Braddock, who liked comfort, shook hands carelessly with
his host and cast a disapproving eye on his surroundings.

"Dog kennel! dog kennel!" grumbled the polite Professor.  "Bare
desolation like a damned dungeon.  You might as well live in the
Sahara."

"It would certainly be warmer," replied Random, who knew the
scientist's snappy ways very well.  "Take a chair, sir!"

"Hard as bricks, confound it!  Hand me over a cushion.  There,
that's better!  No, I never drink between meals, thank you.
Smoke?  Hang it, Random, you should know by this time that I
dislike making a chimney of my throat!  There! there! don't fuss.
Take a seat and listen to what I have to say.  It's important.
Poke the fire, please: it's cold."

Random placidly did as he was told, and then lighted a cigar, as
he sat down quietly.

"I am sorry to hear of your trouble, sir.'"

"Trouble! trouble!  What particular trouble?"

"The death of your assistant."

"Oh yes.  Silly young ass to get killed.  Lost my mummy, too:
there's trouble if you like."

"The green mummy." Random looked into the fire, "Yes.  I have
heard of the green mummy."

"I should think you have," snapped Braddock, warming his plump
hands.  "Every penny-a-liner has been talking about it.  When did
you return?"

"On the same day that that steamer with the mummy on board
arrived," was Random's odd reply.

The Professor stared suspiciously.  "I don't see why you should
date your movements by my mummy," he retorted.

"Well, I had a reason in doing so."

"What reason?"

"The mummy--"

"What about it?--do you know where it is?"  Braddock started to
his feet, and looked eagerly at the calm face of his host.

"No, I wish I did.  How much did you pay for it, Professor?"

"What's that to you?" snapped the other, resuming his seat.

"Nothing at all.  But it is a great deal to Don Pedro de
Gayangos."

"And who the deuce is he?  Some Spanish Egyptologist?"

"I don't think he is an Egyptologist, sir."

"He must be, if he wants my mummy."

"You forget, Professor, that the green mummy comes from Peru."

"Who denied that it did, sir?  You are illogical--infernally
so."  The little man rose and straddled on the hearth-rug, with
his back to the fire and his hands under his coat-tails.  "Now,
sir," he said, glaring at the young man like a school-master--
"what the deuce are you talking about?  Out with it: no evasion."

"Oh, hang it, Professor, don't jump down my throat, spurs and
all," said Random, rather annoyed by this dictatorial tone.

"I never wear spurs: go on, sir, and don't argue."

Sir Frank could not help laughing, although he knew that it was
useless to induce Braddock to be civil.  Not that the Professor,
meant to be rude, especially as he desired to conciliate Random.
But long years of fighting with other scientists and of having
his own scientific way had turned him into a kind of
school-master, and every one knows that they are the most
domineering of the human race.

"It's a long story," said the baronet, with a shrug and a smile.

"Story!  story!  What story?"


"'That which I am about to tell you." And then

Random began hurriedly, so as to prevent further arguments of an
unprofitable kind.  "I was at Genoa with my yacht, and there
stopped on shore at the Casa Bianca."

"What place is that?"

"An hotel.  I there met with a certain Don Pedro de Gayangos and
his daughter, Donna Inez, He was a gentleman from Lima, and had
come to Europe in search of the green mummy."

Braddock stared.

"And what did this confounded Spaniard want with my green mummy?"
he demanded indignantly.  "How did he know of its existence?--
what reason had he to try and obtain it?  Answer, sir."

"I shall let Don Pedro answer himself," said Random dryly.  "He
arrives in a couple of days, and intends to take rooms at the
Warrior Inn along with his daughter.  Then you can question him,
Professor."

"I question you," snapped Braddock angrily.

"And I am answering to the best of my ability.  Don Pedro told me
nothing beyond the fact that he wanted the mummy, and had come to
Europe to get it.  In some way he learned that it was in Malta
and was for sale."

"Quite so: quite so," rasped the Professor.  "He saw the
advertisement in the newspapers, as I did, and wanted to buy it
over my head."

"Oh, he wanted to buy it right enough, and wired to Malta," said
Random, "but in reply he received a letter stating that it had
been sold to you and was being taken to England on The Diver.  I
followed The Diver in my yacht and arrived at Pierside an hour
after she did."

"Ah!" Braddock glared.  "I begin to see light.  This infernal
Spaniard was on board, and wanted my mummy.  He knew that Bolton
had taken it to the Sailor's Rest and went there to kill the poor
lad and get my--"

"Nothing of the sort," interrupted Sir Frank impatiently.  "Don
Pedro remained behind in Genoa, intending to write and ask if you
would sell him the mummy.  I wrote and told him of the murder of
your assistant and related all that had happened.  He wired to me
that he was coming to England at once, as--as I told you.  He
will be in Gartley in a couple of days.  That is the whole
story."

"It is a sufficiently strange one," grumbled Braddock, frowning.
"What does he want with my mummy?"

"I cannot tell you.  But if you will sell--"

"Sell! sell! sell!" vociferated Braddock furiously.

"Don Pedro will give you a good price," finished Random calmly.

"I haven't got the mummy," said the Professor, sitting down and
wiping his pink head, "and if I had, I certainly would not sell.
However, I'll hear what this gentleman has to say when he
arrives.  Perhaps he can throw some light on the mystery of this
crime."

"I am perfectly certain that he cannot, sir.  Don Pedro--as I
said--was left behind in Genoa."

"Humph!" said the Professor, unconvinced.  "He could easily
employ a third party."

Random rose, looking and feeling annoyed.

"I assure you that Don Pedro is a gentleman and a man of honor.
He would not stoop to--"

"There! there!" Braddock waved his hands.  "Sit down: sit down."

"You shouldn't say such things, Professor."

"I say what I desire to say," retorted the old gentleman
tartly; "but we can dismiss the subject for the time being."

"I am only too glad to do so," said Random, who was ruffled out
of his usual calm by the veiled accusation which Braddock had
brought against his foreign friend, "and to get to a more
agreeable subject, tell me how Miss Kendal is keeping."

"She is ill, very ill," said the Professor solemnly.

"Ill?  Why, Hope, whom I met the other day, said that she was
feeling very well and very happy."

"So Hope thinks, because he has forced her into an engagement."

Random started to his feet.

"Forced her?  Nonsense!"

"It isn't nonsense, and don't dare to speak like that to me, sir.
I repeat that Lucy--poor child--is breaking her heart for you."

The young man stared and then broke into a hearty laugh.

"Pardon me, sir, but that is impossible."

"It isn't, confound you!" said Braddock, who did not like being
laughed at.  "I know women."

"You don't know your daughter."

"Step-daughter, you mean."

"Ah, perhaps the more distant relationship accounts for your
ignorance of her character," said Random dryly.  "You are quite
wrong.  I was in love with Miss Kendal, and asked her to be my
wife before I went on leave.  She refused me, saying that she
loved Hope, and because of her refusal I took my broken heart to
Monte Carlo, where I lost much more money than I had any right to
lose."

"Your broken heart seems to have mended quickly," said Braddock,
who was trying to suppress his wrath at this instance of Lucy's
duplicity, for so he considered it.

"Oh, pooh, it's only my way of speaking," laughed the young man.
"If my heart had been really broken I should not have mentioned
the fact."

"Then you did not love Lucy, and you dared to play fast and loose
with her affections," raged Braddock, stamping.

"You are quite wrong," said Sir Frank sharply; "I did love Miss
Kendal, or I should certainly not have asked her to be my wife.
But when she told me that she loved another man, I stood aside as
any fellow would."

"You should have insisted on--"

"On nothing, sir.  I am not the man to force a woman to give me a
heart which belongs to another person.  I am very glad that Miss
Kendal is engaged to Hope, as he is a capital fellow, and will
make her a better husband than I ever could have made her.
Besides," Random shrugged his shoulders, "one nail drives another
out."

"Humph!  That means you love another."

"I am not bound to tell you my private affairs, Professor."

"Quite so: quite so; but Inez is a pretty and romantic name."

"I don't know what you are talking about, sir," said Random
stiffly.

Braddock chuckled, having read the truth in the flush which had
crept over Random's tanned face.

"I ask your pardon," he said elaborately.  "I am an old man, and
I was your father's friend.  You must not mind if I have been a
trifle inquisitive."

"Say no more, sir: that is all right."

"I don't agree with you, Random.  Things are not all right and
never will be until my mummy is discovered.  Now you can help
me."

"In what way?" asked the other uneasily.

"With money.  Understand, my boy," added the Professor in a
genial way which he knew well how to assume, "I should have
preferred Lucy becoming your wife.  However, since she prefers
Hope, there's no more to be said on that score.  I therefore will
not make the offer I came here to make."

"An offer, sir?"

"Yes!  I fancied that you loved Lucy and were broken-hearted by
the news of her engagement to Hope.  I therefore intended to ask
you to give me, or rather lend me, five hundred pounds on
condition that I helped you to--"

"Stop, Professor," said Random, coloring, "I should never have
bought Miss Kendal as my wife on those terms."

"Of course! of course! and--as I say--there is no more to be
said.  I shall therefore agree to Lucy's engagement to Hope"--
Braddock carefully omitted to say that he had already agreed and
had been paid one thousand pounds to agree--"and will
congratulate you when you lead Donna Inez to the altar."

"I never said anything about Donna Inez, Professor Braddock."

"Of course not: modern reticence.  However, I can see through a
brick wall as well as most people.  I understand, so let us drop
the subject, my boy.  And this five hundred pounds--"

"I cannot lend it to you, Professor.  The fact is, I lost heaps
of coin at Monte Carlo, and am not in a position to--"

"Very good, let us shelve that also," said Braddock with apparent
heartiness, although he was really very angry at his failure.  "I
am sorry, though, as I wish to get back the mummy and to revenge
poor Sidney Bolton's death."

"How can the five hundred do that?" asked Random with interest.

"Well," drawled the Professor with his eyes on the young man's
attentive face, "Captain Hervey of The Diver came to me yesterday
and proposed to search for the assassin and his plunder on
condition that I paid him five hundred pounds.  I am, as you
know, very poor for a scientist, and so I wished to borrow the
five hundred from you on condition that Lucy--"

"We won't talk of that again," said Random hurriedly; "but do you
mean to say that this Captain Hervey knows of anything likely to
solve this mystery?"

"He says that he does not, and merely proposes to search.  From
what I have seen of the man I should think that he had all the
capacities of a good bloodhound and would certainly succeed.  But
he will not move a step without money."

"Five hundred pounds," murmured Random thoughtfully, while the
Professor watched him closely.  "I can tell you how to obtain
it."

"How?  In what way?"

"Don Pedro seems to be rich, and he wants the mummy," said the
baronet.  "So when he comes here ask him to--"

"Certainly not: certainly not," raged Braddock, clapping on his
hat in a fury.  "How dare you make such a proposition to me,
Random!  If this Don Pedro offers the reward and Hervey finds the
mummy, he will simply hand it over to your friend."

"He can scarcely do that, since you have bought the mummy.  But
Don Pedro is willing to purchase it from you."

"Humph!"  Braddock moved to the door, thinking.  "I shall reserve
my decision until this man arrives.  Good day," and he departed.

Random did not attempt to detain him, as he was somewhat weary of
the Professor's vagaries.  He knew very well that Braddock would
call on Don Pedro when he came to the Warrior Inn, and join
forces with him in searching for the lost goods.  And the train
of thought initiated by the Professor's visit led Random to a
certain drawer, whence he took the photograph of a
splendid-looking beauty.  To this he pressed his lips.  "I
wonder if your father will give you to me in exchange for that
mummy," he thought, and kissed the pictured face again.




CHAPTER IX

MRS. JASHER'S LUCK'


Some weeks had now elapsed since the death and burial of Sidney
Bolton, and the excitement had simmered down to a gentle
speculation as to who had killed him.  This question was
discussed in a half-hearted manner round the winter fires of
Gartley, but gradually people were ceasing to interest themselves
in a crime, the mystery of which would apparently never be
solved.  Life went on in the village and at the Pyramids much in
the same way, save that the Professor attended along with
Cockatoo to his museum and did not engage another assistant.

Archie and Lucy were perfectly happy, as they looked forward to
being married in the spring, and Braddock showed no desire to
interfere with their engagement.  They knew, of course, that he
had called upon Sir Frank, but were ignorant of what had taken
place.  Random himself called at the Pyramids to congratulate
Miss Kendal on her engagement, and seemed so very pleased that
she was going to marry the man of her choice, that, woman-like,
she grew rather annoyed.  As the baronet had been her lover, she
thought that he should wear the willow for her sake.  But Random
showed no disposition to do so, therefore Lucy shrewdly guessed
that his broken heart had been mended by another woman.  The
Professor could have confirmed the truth of this from the hints
which Random had given him, but he said nothing about his
interview with the young man, nor did he mention that a Spanish
gentleman from Peru was seeking for the famous green mummy.

Considerably vexed that Random should be so cheerful, Lucy cast
round to learn the truth.  She could scarcely ask the baronet
himself, and Archie professed himself unable to explain.  Miss
Kendal did not dream of cross-examining Braddock, as it never
entered her mind that the dry-as-dust scientist would know
anything.  It then occurred to this inquisitive young lady that
Mrs. Jasher might be aware of Random's secret, which made him so
cheerful.  Sir Frank was a great friend of the plump widow, and
frequently went to take afternoon tea at her small house, which
was situated no great distance from the Fort.  In fact, Mrs.
Jasher entertained the officers largely, as she was hospitable by
nature, and liked to have presentable men about her for flirting
purposes.  With good-looking youth she assumed the maternal air,
and in the role of a clever woman of the world professed to be
the adviser of one and all.  In this way she became quite a
favorite, and her little parlor--she liked the old English word
--was usually, well filled at the hour of afternoon tea.

Twice already Lucy had called on Mrs. Jasher after the commotion
caused by the crime, as she wished to speak to her about the
same; but on each occasion the widow proved to be absent in
London.  However, the third visit proved to be more lucky, for
Mrs. Jasher was at home, and expressed herself happy to see the
girl.

"So good of you to come and see me in my little wooden hut," said
the widow, kissing her guest.

And Mrs. Jasher's cottage really was a little wooden hut, being
what was left of an old-fashioned farmhouse, built before the
stone age.  It lay on the verge of the marshes in an isolated
position and was placed in the middle of a square garden,
protected from the winter floods by a low stone wall solidly
built, but of no great height.  The road to the Fort ran past the
front part of the garden, but behind the marshes spread towards
the embankment, which cut off the view of the Thames.  The
situation was not an ideal one, nor was the cottage, but money
was scarce with Mrs. Jasher, and she had obtained the whole place
at a surprisingly small rental.  The house and grounds were dry
enough in summer, but decidedly damp in winter.  Therefore, the
widow went to a flat in London, as a rule, for the season of
fogs.  But this winter she had made up her mind--so she told
Lucy--to remain in her own little castle and brave the watery
humors of the marshes.

"I can always keep fires burning in every room," said Mrs.
Jasher, when she had removed her guest's hat and had settled her
for a confidential talk on the sofa.  "And after all, my dear,
there is no place like home."

The room was small, and Mrs. Jasher was small, so she suited her
surroundings excellently.  Also, the widow had the good taste to
furnish it sparsely, instead of crowding it with furniture; but
what furniture there was could not be improved upon.  There were
Chippendale chairs, a Louis Quinze table, a Sheridan cabinet, and
a satin-wood desk, hand-painted, which was said to have been the
property of the unhappy Marie Antoinette.  Oil-paintings adorned
the rose-tinted walls, chiefly landscapes, although one or two
were portraits.  Also, there were water-colored pictures, framed
and signed caricatures, many plates of old china, and rice-paper
adornments from Canton.  The room was essentially feminine, being
filled with Indian stuffs, with silver oddments, with flowers,
and with other trifles.  The walls, the carpet, the hangings, and
the upholstery of the arm-chairs were all of a rosy hue, so that
Mrs. Jasher looked as young as Dame Holda in the Venusberg.  A
very pretty room and a very charming hostess, was the verdict of
the young gentlemen from the Fort, who came here to flirt when
they were not serving their country.

Mrs. Jasher in a tea-rose tea-gown for afternoon tea--she always
liked to be in keeping--rang for that beverage dear to the
feminine heart, and lighted a rose-shaded lamp.  When a glow as
of dawn spread through the dainty room, she settled Lucy on the
sofa near the fire, and drew up an arm-chair on the other side of
the hearth-rug.  Outside it was cold and foggy, but the rose-hued
curtains shut out all that was disagreeable in the weather, and
in the absence of male society, the two women talked more or less
confidentially.  Lucy did not dislike Mrs. Jasher, even though
she fancied that the lively widow was planning to become the
mistress of the Pyramids.

"Well, my dear girl," said Mrs. Jasher, shading her face from the
fire with a large fan, "and how is your dear father after his
late terrible experiences?"

"He is perfectly well, and rather cross," replied Lucy, smiling.

"Cross?"

"Of course.  He has lost that wretched mummy."

"And poor Sidney Bolton."

"Oh, I don't think he cares for poor Sidney's death beyond the
fact that he misses his services.  But the mummy cost nine
hundred pounds, and father is much annoyed, especially as
Peruvian mummies are somewhat hard to obtain.  You see, Mrs.
Jasher, father wishes to see the difference between the Peruvian
and Egyptian modes of embalming."

"Ugh!  How gruesome!" Mrs. Jasher shuddered.  "But has anything
been discovered likely to show who killed this poor lad?"

"No, the whole thing is a mystery."

Mrs. Jasher looked into the fire over the top of the fan.

"I have read the papers," she said slowly, "and have gathered
what I could from what the reporters explained.  But I intend to
call on the Professor and hear all that evidence which did not
get into the papers."

"I think that everything has been made public.  The police have
no clue to the murderer.  Why do you want to know?"

Mrs. Jasher made a movement of surprise.

"Why, I am the Professor's friend, of course, my dear, and
naturally I want to help him to solve this mystery."

"There is no chance, so far as I can see, of it ever being
solved," said Lucy.  "It's very sweet of you, of course, but were
I you I should not talk about it to my father."

"Why?" asked Mrs. Jasher quickly.

"Because he thinks of nothing else, and both Archie and I are
trying to get him off the subject.  The mummy is lost and poor
Sidney is buried.  There is no more to be said."

"Still, if a reward was offered--"

"My father is too poor to offer a reward, and the Government will
not do so.  And as people will not work without money, why--"
Lucy completed her sentence with a shrug.

"I might offer a reward if the dear Professor will let me," said
the widow unexpectedly.

"You!  But I thought that you were poor, as we are."

"I was, and I am not very rich now.  All the same, I have come in
for some thousands of pounds."

"I congratulate you.  A legacy?"

"Yes.  You remember how I told you about my brother who was a
Pekin merchant.  He is dead."

"Oh, I am so sorry."

"My dear, what is the use of being sorry.  I never cry over spilt
milk, or assume a virtue which I have not.  My brother and I were
almost strangers, as we lived apart for so many years.  However,
he came home to die at Brighton, and a few weeks ago--just after
this murder took place, in fact--I was summoned to his
death-bed.  He lingered on until last week and died in my arms.
He left me nearly all his money, so I will be able to help the
Professor."

"I don't see why you should," said Lucy, wondering why Mrs.
Jasher did not wear mourning for the dead.

"Oh yes, you do see," remarked the widow, raising her eyes and
rubbing her plump hands together.  "I want to marry your father."

Lucy did not express astonishment, as she had understood this for
a long time.

"I guessed as much."

"And what do you say?"

Miss Kendal shrugged her shoulders.

"If my step-father," she emphasized the word--"if my step-father
consents, why should I mind?  I am going to marry Archie, and no
doubt the Professor will be lonely."

"Then you do not disapprove of me as a mother."

"My dear Mrs. Jasher," said Lucy, coldly, "there is no
relationship between me and my step-father beyond the fact that
he married my mother.  Therefore you can never be my mother.
Were I stopping on at the Pyramids, that question might arise,
but as I become Mrs. Hope in six months, we can be friends--
nothing more."

"I am quite content with that," said Mrs. Jasher in a
businesslike way.  "After all, I am no sentimentalist.  But I am
glad that you do not mind my marrying the Professor, as I don't
want you to prevent the match, my dear."

Lucy laughed.

"I assure you that I have no influence with my father, Mrs.
Jasher.  He will marry you if he thinks fit and without
consulting me.  But," added the girl with emphasis, "I do not see
what you gain in becoming Mrs. Braddock."

"I may become Lady Braddock," said the widow, dryly.  Then, in
answer to the open astonishment on Lucy's face, she hastened to
remark: "Do you mean to say that you don't know your father is
heir to a baronetcy?"

"Oh, I know that," rejoined Miss Kendal.  "The Professor's
brother, Sir Donald Braddock, is an old man and unmarried.  If he
dies without heirs, as it seems likely, the Professor will
certainly take the title."

"Well, then, there you are!" cried Mrs. Jasher, in her liveliest
tone.  "I want to give my legacy for the title and preside over a
scientific salon in London."

"I understand.  But you will never get my father to live in
London."

"Wait until I marry him," said the little woman shrewdly.  "I'll
make a man of him.  I know, of course, that mummies and
sepulchral ornaments and those sort of horrid things are dull,
but the Professor will become Sir Julian Braddock, and that is
enough for me.  I don't love him, of course, as love between two
elderly people is absurd, but I shall make him a good wife, and
with my money he can take his proper position in the scientific
world, which he doesn't occupy at present.  I would rather he had
been artistic, as science is so dull.  However, I am getting on
in years and wish to have some amusement before I die, so I must
take what I can get.  What do you say?"

"I am quite agreeable, as, when I leave, someone must look after
my father, else he will be shamefully robbed by everyone in
household matters.  We are good friends, so why not you as well
as another."

"You are a dear girl," said Mrs. Jasher with a sigh of relief,
and kissed Lucy fondly.  "I am sure we shall get on excellently."

"At a distance.  The artistic world doesn't touch on the
scientific, you know.  And you forget, Mrs. Jasher, that my
father wishes to go to Egypt to explore this mysterious tomb."

Mrs. Jasher nodded.

"Yes, I promised, when I came in for my brother's money, to help
the Professor to fit out his expedition.  But it seems to me that
the money will be better spent in offering a reward so that the
mummy can be found."

"Well," said Lucy, laughing, "you can give the Professor his
choice."

"Before marriage, not after.  He needs to be managed, like all
men."

"You will not find him easy to manage," said Lucy dryly.  "He is
a very obstinate man, and quite feminine in his persistency."

"H'm!  I recognize that he is a difficult character, and between
you and me dear, I should not marry him but for the title.  It
sounds rather like an adventuress talking in this way, but, after
all, if he makes me Lady Braddock I can give him enough money to
let him realize his desire of getting the mummy back.  It's six
of one and half a dozen of the other.  And I'll be good to him:
you need not fear."

"I am quite sure that, good or bad, the Professor will have his
own way.  It is not his happiness I am thinking of so much as
yours."

"Really.  Here is the tea.  Put the table near the fire, Jane,
between Miss Kendal and myself.  Thank you.  The muffins on the
fender.  Thank you.  No, there is nothing more.  Close the door
when you go out."

The tea equippage having been arranged, Mrs. Jasher poured out a
cup of Souchong, and handed it to her guest, resuming the subject
of her proposed marriage meanwhile.

"I don't see why you should be anxious about me, dear.  I am
quite able to look after myself.  And the Professor seems to be
kind-hearted enough."

"Oh, he is kind-hearted when he gets his own way.  Give him his
hobby and he will never bother you.  But he won't live in London,
and he will not consent to this salon you wish to institute."

"Why not?  It means fame to him.  I shall gather round me all the
scientists of London and make my house a centre of interest.  The
Professor can stop in his laboratory if he likes.  As his wife, I
can do all that is necessary.  Well, my dear"--Mrs. Jasher took
a cup of tea--"we need not talk the subject threadbare.  You do
not disapprove of my marriage with your step-father, so you can
leave the rest to me.  If you can give me a hint of how to
proceed to bring about this marriage, of course I am not above
taking it."

Lucy glanced at the tea-gown.

"As you will have to tell the Professor that your brother is dead
to account for possessing the money," she said pointedly, "I
should advise you to go into mourning.  Professor Braddock will
be shocked otherwise."

"Dear me, what a tender heart he must have!" said Mrs. Jasher
flippantly.  "My brother was very little to me, poor man, so he
cannot be anything to the Professor.  However, I shall adopt your
advice, and, after all, black suits me very well.  There"--she
swept her hands across the tea-table--"that is settled.  Now
about yourself?"

"Archie and I marry in the springtime."

"And your other admirer, who has come back?"

"Sir Frank Random?" said Lucy, coloring.

"Of course.  He called to see me a day or so ago, and seems less
broken-hearted than he should be."

Lucy nodded and colored still deeper.

"I suppose some other woman has consoled him."

"Of course.  Catch a modern man wearing the willow for any girl,
however dear.  Are you angry?"

"Oh no, no."

"Oh yes, yes, I think," said the widow, laughing, "else you are
no woman, my dear.  I know I should be angry to see a man get
over his rejection so rapidly."

"Who is she?" asked Lucy abruptly.

"Donna Inez de Gayangos."

"A Spaniard?"

"I believe so--a colonial Spaniard, at least--from Lima.  Her
father, Don Pedro de Gayangos, met Sir Frank in Genoa by chance."

"Well?" demanded Lucy impatiently.

Mrs. Jasher shrugged her plump shoulders.

"Well, my dear, can't you put two and two together.  Of course
Sir Frank fell in love with this dark-hued angel."

"Dark-hued! and I am light-haired.  What a compliment!"

"Perhaps Sir Frank wanted a change.  He played on white and lost,
and therefore stakes his money on black to win.  That's the
result of having been at Monte Carlo.  Besides, this young lady
is rich, I understand, and Sir Frank--so he told me--lost much
more money at Monte Carlo than he could afford.  Well, you don't
look pleased."

Lucy roused herself from a fit of abstraction.

"Oh yes, I am pleased, of course.  I suppose, as any woman would,
I felt rather hurt for the moment in being forgotten so soon.
But, after all, I can't blame Sir Frank for consoling himself.
If I am married first, he shall dance at my wedding: if he is
married first, I shall dance at his."

"And you shall both dance at mine," said Mrs. Jasher.  "Why,
there is quite an epidemic of matrimony.  Well, Donna Inez
arrives here with her father in a day, or so.  They stop at the
Warrior Inn, I believe."

"That horrid place?"

"Oh, it is clean and respectable.  Besides, Sir Frank can hardly
ask them to stop in the Fort, and I have no room in this bandbox
of mine.  However, the two of them--Donna Inez and Frank, I mean
--can come here and flirt; so can you and Archie if you like."

"I fear four people in this room would not do," laughed Lucy,
rising to take her leave.  "Well, I hope Sir Frank will marry
this lady and that you will become Mrs. Braddock.  Only one thing
I should like to know."

"And that is?"

"Why was the mummy stolen.  It was not valuable save to a
scientist."

"By that argument a scientist must be the murderer and thief,"
said Mrs. Jasher.  "However, we shall see.  Meanwhile, live every
moment of love's golden hours: they never return."

"That is good advice; I shall take it and my leave," said Lucy,
and departed in a very happy frame of mind.




CHAPTER X

THE DON AND HIS DAUGHTER


Professor Braddock was usually the most methodical of men, and
timed his life by the clock and the almanac.  He rose at seven,
summer and winter, to partake of a hearty breakfast, which served
him until dinner came at five thirty.  Braddock dined at this
unusual hour--save when there was company--as he did not eat
any luncheon and scorned the very idea of afternoon tea.  Two
meals a day, he maintained, was enough for any man who led a
sedentary life, as too much food was apt to clog the wheels of
the intellect.  He usually worked in his museum--if the
indulgence of his hobby could be called work--from nine until
four, after which hour he took a short walk in the garden or
through the village.  On finishing his dinner he would glance
over some scientific publication, or perhaps, by way of
recreation, play a game or two of patience; but at seven he
invariably retired into his own rooms to renew work.  Retirement
to bed took place at midnight, so it can be guessed that the
Professor got through an enormous quantity of work during the
year.  A more methodical man, or a more industrious man did not
exist.

But on occasions even this enthusiast wearied of his hobby, and
of the year's routine.  A longing to see brother scientists of
his own way of thinking would seize him, and he would abruptly
depart for London, to occupy quiet lodgings, and indulge in
intercourse with his fellow-men.  Braddock rarely gave early
intimation of his urban nostalgia.  At breakfast he would
suddenly announce that the fit took him to go to London, and he
would drive to Jessum along with Cockatoo to catch the ten
o'clock train to London.  Sometimes he sent the Kanaka back; at
other times he would take him to town; but whether Cockatoo
remained or departed, the museum was always locked up lest it
should be profaned by the servants of the house.  As a matter of
fact, Braddock need not have been afraid, for Lucy--knowing her
step-father's whims and violent temper--took care that the
sanctity of the place should remain inviolate.

Sometimes the Professor came back in a couple of days; at times
his absence would extend to a week; and on two or three occasions
he remained absent for a fortnight.  But whenever he returned, he
said very little about his doings to Lucy, perhaps deeming that
dry scientific details would not appeal to a lively young lady.
As soon as he was established in his museum again, life at the
Pyramids would resume its usual routine, until Braddock again
felt the want of a change.  The wonder was, considering the
nature of his work, and the closeness of his application, that he
did not more often indulge in these Bohemian wanderings.

Lucy, therefore, was not astonished when, on the morning after
her visit to Mrs. Jasher, the Professor announced in his usual
abrupt way that he intended to go to London, but would leave
Cockatoo in charge of his precious collection.  She was somewhat
disturbed, however, as, wishing to forward the widow's
matrimonial aims, she had invited her to dinner for the ensuing
night.  This she told her step-father, and, rather to her
surprise, he expressed himself sorry that he could not remain.

"Mrs. Jasher," said Braddock hastily, drinking his coffee, "is a
very sensible woman, who knows when to be silent."

"She is also a good housekeeper, I believe," hinted Miss Kendal
demurely.

"Eh, what?  Well?  Why do you say that?" snapped Braddock
sharply.

Lucy fenced.

"Mrs. Jasher admires you, father."

Braddock grunted, but did not seem displeased, since even a
scientist possessing the usual vanity of the male is not
inaccessible to flattery.

"Did Mrs. Jasher tell you this?" he inquired, smiling
complacently.

"Not in so many words.  Still, I am a woman, and can guess how
much another woman leaves unsaid." Lucy paused, then added
significantly: "I do not think that she is so very old, and you
must admit that she is wonderfully well preserved."

"Like a mummy," remarked the Professor absently; then pushed back
his chair to add briskly: "What does all this mean, you minx?  I
know that the woman is all right so far as a woman can be: but
her confounded age and her looks and her unexpressed admiration.
What are these to an old man like myself?"

"Father," said Lucy earnestly, "when I marry Archie I shall, in
all probability, leave Gartley for London."

"I know--I know.  Bless me, child, do you think that I have not
thought of that?  If you were only wise, which you are not, you
would marry Random and remain at the Fort."

"Sir Frank has other fish to fry, father.  And even if I did
remain at the Fort as his wife, I still could not look after
you."

"Humph!  I am beginning to see what you are driving at.  But I
can't forget your mother, my dear.  She was a good wife to me."

"Still," said Lucy coaxingly, and becoming more and more the
champion of Mrs. Jasher, "you cannot manage this large house by
yourself.  I do not like to leave you in the hands of servants
when I marry.  Mrs. Jasher is very domesticated and--"

"And would make a good housekeeper.  No, no, I don't want to give
you another mother, child."

"There is no danger of that, even if I did not marry," rejoined
Lucy stiffly.  "A girl can have only one mother."

"And a man apparently can have two wives," said Braddock with dry
humor.  "Humph!"--he pinched his plump chin--"it's not a bad
idea.  But of course I can't fall in love at my age."

"I don't think that Mrs. Jasher asks for impossibilities."

The Professor rose briskly.

"I'll think over it," said he.  "Meanwhile, I am going to
London."

"When will you be back, father?"

"I can't say.  Don't ask silly questions.  I dislike being bound
to time.  I may be a week, and I may be only a few days.  Things
can go on here as usual, but if Hope comes to see you, ask Mrs.
Jasher in, to play chaperon."

Lucy consented to this suggestion, and Braddock went away to
prepare for his departure.  To get him off the premises was like
launching a ship, as the entire household was at his swift heels,
packing boxes, strapping rugs, cutting sandwiches, helping him on
with his overcoat and assisting him into the trap, which had been
hastily sent for to the Warrior Inn.  All the time Braddock
talked and scolded and gave directions and left instructions,
until every one was quite bewildered.  Lucy and the servants all
sighed with relief when they saw the trap disappear round the end
of the road in the direction of Jessum.  In addition to being a
famous archaeologist, the Professor was assuredly a great
nuisance to those who had to do with his whims and fancies.

For the next two or three days Lucy enjoyed herself in a quiet
way with Archie.  In spite of the lateness of the season, the
weather was still fine, and the artist took the opportunity of
the pale sunshine to sketch a great deal of the marsh scenery.
Lucy attended him as a rule when he went abroad, and sometimes
Mrs. Jasher, voluble and merry, would come along with them to
play the part of chaperon.  But the girl noticed that Mrs.
Jasher's merriment was forced at times, and in the searching
morning light she appeared to be quite old.  Wrinkles showed
themselves on her plump face and weary lines appeared round her
mouth.  Also, she was absent-minded while the lovers chattered,
and, when spoken to, would return to the present moment with a
start.  As the widow was now well off as regards money, and as
her scheme to marry Braddock was well on the way to success--for
Lucy had duly reported the Professor's attitude--it was
difficult to understand why Mrs. Jasher should look so worried.
One day Lucy spoke to her on the subject.  Random had strolled
across the marshes to look at Hope sketch, and the two men
chatted together, while Miss Kendal led the little widow to one
side.

"There is nothing the matter, I hope," said Lucy gently.

"No.  Why do you say that?" asked Mrs. Jasher, flushing.

"You have been looking worried for the last few days."

"I have a few troubles," sighed the widow--"troubles connected
with the estate of my late brother.  The lawyers are very
disagreeable and make all sorts of difficulties to swell their
costs.  Then, strangely enough, I am beginning to feel my
brother's death more than I thought I should have done.  You see
that I am in mourning, dear.  After what you said the other day I
felt that it was wrong for me not to wear mourning.  Of course my
poor brother and I were almost strangers.  All the same, as he
has left me money and was my only relative, I think it right to
show some grief.  I am a lonely woman, my dear."

"When my father comes back you will no longer be lonely," said
Lucy.

"I hope not.  I feel that I want a man to look after me.  I told
you that I desired to marry the Professor for his possible title
and in order to form a salon and have some amusement and power.
But also I want a companion for my old age.  There is no
denying," added Mrs. Jasher with another sigh, "that I am growing
old in spite of all the care I take.  I am grateful for your
friendship, dear.  At one time I thought that you did not like
me."

"Oh, I think we get on very well together," said Lucy somewhat
evasively, for she did not want to say that she would make the
widow an intimate friend, "and, as you know, I am quite pleased
that you should marry my step-father."

"So pleasant to think that you look at my ambition in that
light," said Mrs. Jasher, patting the girl's arm.  "When does the
Professor return?"

"I cannot say.  He refused to fix a date.  But he usually remains
away for a fortnight.  I expect him back in that time, but he may
come much earlier.  He will come back when the fancy takes him."

"I shall alter all that, when we are married," muttered Mrs.
Jasher with a frown.  "He must be taught to be less selfish."

"I fear you will never improve him in that respect," said Lucy
dryly, and rejoined the gentlemen in time to hear Random mention
the name of Don Pedro de Gayangos.

"What is that, Sir Frank?" she asked.

Random turned toward her with his pleasant smile.

"My Spanish friend, whom I met at Genoa, is coming here
to-morrow."

"With his daughter?" questioned Mrs. Jasher roguishly.

"Of course," replied the young soldier, coloring.  "Donna Inez is
quite devoted to her father and never leaves him."

"She will one day, I expect," said Hope innocently, for his eyes
were on his sketch and not on Random's face, "when the husband of
her choice comes along."

"Perhaps he has come along already," tittered Mrs. Jasher
significantly.

Lucy took pity on Random's confusion.

"Where will they stay?"

"At the Warrior Inn.  I have engaged the best rooms in the place.
I fancy they will be comfortable there, as Mrs. Humber, the
landlady, is a good housekeeper and an excellent cook.  And I
don't think Don Pedro is hard to please."

"A Spaniard, you say," remarked Archie idly.  "Does he speak
English?"

"Admirably--so does the daughter."

"But why does a Spaniard come to so out-of-the-way a place?"
asked Mrs. Jasher, after a pause.

"I thought I told you the other day, when we spoke of the
matter," answered Sir Frank with surprise.  "Don Pedro has come
here to interview Professor Braddock about that missing mummy."

Hope looked up sharply.

"What does he know about the mummy?"

"Nothing so far as I know, save that he came to Europe with the
intention of purchasing it, and found himself forestalled by
Professor Braddock.  Don Pedro told me no more than that."

"Humph!" murmured Hope to himself.  "Don Pedro will be
disappointed when he learns that the mummy is missing."

Random did not catch the words and was about to ask him what he
had said, when two tall figures, conducted by a shorter one, were
seen moving on the white road which led to the Fort.

"Strangers!" said Mrs. Jasher, putting up her lorgnette, which
she used for effect, although she had remarkably keen sight.

"How do you know?" asked Lucy carelessly.

"My dear, look how oddly the man is dressed."

"I can't tell at this distance," said Lucy, "and if you can, Mrs.
Jasher I really do not see why you require glasses."

Mrs. Jasher laughed at the compliment to her sight, and colored
through her rouge at the reproof to her vanity.  Meanwhile, the
smaller figure, which was that of a village lad leading a tall
gentleman and a slender lady, pointed toward the group round
Hope's easel.  Shortly, the boy ran back up to the village road,
and the gentleman came along the pathway with the lady.  Random,
who had been looking at them intently, suddenly started, having
at length recognized them.

"Don Pedro and his daughter," he said in an astonished voice, and
sprang forward to welcome the unexpected visitors.

"Now, my dear," whispered the widow in Lucy's ear, "we shall see
the kind of woman Sir Frank prefers to you."

"Well, as Sir Frank has seen the kind of man I prefer to him,"
retorted Lucy, "that makes us quite equal."

"I am glad these new-comers talk English," said Hope, who had
risen to his feet.  "I know nothing of Spanish."

"They are not Spanish, but Peruvian," said Mrs. Jasher.

"The language is the same, more or less.  Confound it! here is
Random bringing them here.  I wish he would take them to the
Fort.  There's no more work for the next hour, I suppose," and
Hope, rather annoyed, began to pack his artistic traps.

On a nearer view, Don Pedro proved to be a tall, lean, dry man,
not unlike Dore's conception of Don Quixote.  He must have had
Indian blood in his veins, judging from his very dark eyes, his
stiff, lank hair, worn somewhat long, and his high cheek-bones.
Also, although he was arrayed in puritanic black, his barbaric
love of color betrayed itself in a red tie and in a scarlet
handkerchief which was twisted loosely round a soft slouch hat,
It was the hat and the brilliant red of tie and handkerchief
which had caught Mrs. Jasher's eye at so great a distance, and
which had led her to pronounce the man a stranger, for Mrs.
Jasher well knew that no Englishman would affect such vivid
tints.  All the same, in spite of this eccentricity, Don Pedro
looked a thorough Castilian gentleman, and bowed gravely when
presented to the ladies by Random.

"Mrs. Jasher, Miss Kendal, permit me to present Don Pedro de
Gayangos."

"I am charmed," said the Peruvian, bowing, hat in hand, "and in
turn, allow me, ladies, to introduce my daughter, Donna Inez de
Gayangos."

Archie was also presented to the Don and to the young lady, after
which Lucy and Mrs. Jasher, while not appearing to look, made a
thorough examination of the lady with whom Random was in love.
No doubt Donna Inez was making an examination on her own account,
and with the cleverness of the sex the three women, while
chatting affably, learned all that there was to be learned from
the outward appearance of each other in three minutes.  Miss
Kendal could not deny but what Donna Inez was very beautiful, and
frankly admitted--inwardly, of course--her own inferiority.
She was merely pretty, whereas the Peruvian lady was truly
handsome and quite majestic in appearance.

Yet about Donna Inez there was the same indefinite barbaric look
as characterized her father.  Her face was lovely, dark and proud
in expression, but there was an aloofness about it which puzzled
the English girl.  Donna Inez might have belonged to a race
populating another planet of the solar system.  She had large
black, melting eyes, a straight Greek nose and perfect mouth, a
well-rounded chin and magnificent hair, dark and glossy as the
wing of the raven, which was arranged in the latest Parisian
style of coiffure.  Also, her gown--as the two women guessed in
an instant--was from Paris.  She was perfectly gloved and
booted, and even if she betrayed somehow a barbaric taste for
color in the dull ruddy hue of her dress, which was subdued with
black braid, yet she looked quite a well-bred woman.  All the
same, her whole appearance gave an observant onlooker the idea
that she would be more at home in a scanty robe and glittering
with rudely wrought ornaments of gold.  Perhaps Peru, where she
came from, suggested the comparison, but Lucy's thoughts flew
back to an account of the Virgins of the Sun, which the Professor
had once described.  It occurred to her, perhaps wrongly, that in
Donna Inez she beheld one who in former days would have been the
bride of some gorgeous Inca.

"I fear you will find England dull after the sunshine of Lima,"
said Lucy, having ended a swift examination.

Donna Inez shivered a trifle and glanced around at the gray misty
air through which the pale sunshine struggled with difficulty.

"I certainly prefer the tropics to this," she said in musical
English, "but my father has come down here on business, and until
it is concluded we shall remain in this place."

"Then we must make things as bright as possible for you," said
Mrs. Jasher cheerfully, and desperately anxious to learn more of
the new-comers.  "You must come to see me, Donna Inez--yonder is
my cottage."

"Thank you, madame: you are very good."

Meanwhile Don Pedro was talking to the two young men.

"Yes, I did arrive here earlier than I expected," he was
remarking, "but I have to return to Lima shortly, and I wish to
get my business with Professor Braddock finished as speedily as
possible."

"I am sorry," said Lucy politely, "but my father is absent."

"And when will he return, Miss Kendal?"

"I can scarcely say--in a week or a fortnight."

Don Pedro made a gesture of annoyance.

"It is a pity, as I am so very pressed for time.  Still, I must
remain until the Professor returns.  I am so anxious to hear if
the mummy has been found."

"It is not found yet," said Hope quickly,  "and never will be."

Don Pedro looked at him quietly.

"It must be found," said he.  "I have come all the way from Lima
to obtain it.  When you hear my story you will not be surprised
at my desire to regain the mummy."

"Regain it?" echoed Hope and Random in one breath.

Don Pedro nodded.

"The mummy was stolen from my father," he said.




CHAPTER XI

THE MANUSCRIPT


It was certainly strange how constantly the subject of the
missing mummy came uppermost.  Since it had disappeared and since
the man who had brought it to England was dead, it might have
been thought that nothing more would be said about the matter.
But Professor Braddock harped incessantly on his loss--which was
perhaps natural--and Widow Anne also talked a great deal as to
the possibility of the mummy, being found, as she hoped to learn
by that means the name of the assassin who had strangled her poor
boy.  Now Don Pedro de Gayangos appeared with the strange
information that the weird relic of Peruvian civilization had
been stolen from his father.  Apparently fate was not inclined to
let the matter of the lost mummy drop, and was working round to a
denouement, which would possibly include the solution of the
mystery of Sidney Bolton's death.  Yet, on the face of it, there
appeared to be no chance of the truth becoming known.

Of course, when Don Pedro announced that the Mummy had formerly
belonged to his father, every one was anxious to hear how it had
been stolen.  The Gayangos family were established in Lima, and
the embalmed body of Inca Caxas had been purchased from a
gentleman residing in Malta.  How, then, had it crossed the
water, and how had Don Pedro learned its whereabouts, only to
arrive too late to secure his missing property?  Mrs. Jasher was
especially anxious to learn these things, and explained her
reasons to Lucy.

"You see, my dear," she said to the girl on the day after Don
Pedro's arrival in Gartley,  "if we learn the past of that horrid
mummy, we may gain a clue to the person who desired possession of
the nasty thing, and so may hunt down this terrible criminal.
Once he is found, the mummy may be secured again, and should I be
able to return it to your father, out of gratitude he would
certainly marry me."

"You seem to think that the assassin is a man," said Lucy dryly;
"yet you forget that the person who talked to Sidney through the
window of the Sailor's Rest was a woman."

"An old woman," emphasized Mrs. Jasher briskly: "quite so."

Lucy contradicted.

"Eliza Flight did not say if the woman was old or young, but
merely stated that she wore a dark dress and a dark shawl over
her head.  Still, this mysterious woman was connected in some way
with the murder, else she would not have been speaking to
Sidney."

"I don't follow you, my dear.  You talk as though poor Mr. Bolton
expected to be murdered.  For my part, I hold by the verdict of
wilful murder against some person or persons unknown.  The truth
is to be found, if anywhere, in the past of the mummy."

"We can discover nothing about that."

"You forget what Don Pedro said, my dear," remarked Mrs. Jasher
hastily,  "that the mummy had been stolen from his father.  Let
us hear what he has to say and we may find a clue.  I am anxious
that the Professor should regain the green mummy for reasons
which you know of.  And now, my hear, can you come to dinner
to-night?"

"Well, I don't know." Miss Kendal hesitated.  "Archie said that
he would look in this evening."

"I shall ask Mr. Hope also, my love.  Don Pedro is coming and his
daughter likewise.  Needless to say Sir Frank will follow the
young lady.  We shall be a party of six, and after dinner we must
induce Don Pedro to relate the story of how the mummy was
stolen."

"He may not be inclined."

"Oh, I think so," replied; Mrs. Jasher quickly.  "He wants to get
the mummy back again, and if we discuss the subject we may see
some chance of securing it."

"But Don Pedro will not wish it to be restored to my father."

Mrs. Jasher shrugged her plump shoulders.

"Your father and Don Pedro can arrange that themselves.  All I
desire is, that the mummy should be found.  Undoubtedly it
belongs by purchase to the Professor, but as it has been stolen,
this Peruvian gentleman may claim it.  Well?"

"I shall come and Archie also," assented Lucy, who was beginning
to be interested in the matter.  "The affair is somewhat
romantic."

"Criminal, my dear, criminal," said Mrs. Jasher, rising to take
her leave.  "It is not a matter I care to mix myself up with.
Still"--she laughed--"you know, why I am doing so."

"If I had to take all this trouble to gain a husband," observed
Lucy somewhat acidly,  "I should remain single all my life."

"If you were as lonely as I am," retorted the plump widow, "you
would do your best to secure a man toy look after you.  I should
prefer a young and handsomer husband--such as Sir Frank Random,
for instance but, as beggars cannot be choosers, I must content
myself with old age, a famous scientist, and the chance of a
possible title.  Now mind, dear, to-night at seven--not a minute
later," and she bustled away to prepare for the reception of her
guests.

It seemed to Lucy that Mrs. Jasher was taking a great deal of
trouble to become Mrs. Braddock, especially as the Professor's
brother might live for many a long day yet, in which case the
widow would not gain the title she coveted for years.  However,
the girl rather sympathized with Mrs. Jasher, who was a
companionable soul, and fond of society.  Circumstances condemned
her to a somewhat lonely life in an isolated cottage in a rather
dull neighborhood, so it was little to be wondered at that she
should strive to move heaven and earth--as she was doing--in
the hope of escaping from her solitude.  Besides, although Miss
Kendal did not wish to make a close companion of the widow, yet
she did not dislike her, and, moreover, thought that she would
make Professor Braddock a very presentable wife.  Thinking thus,
Lucy was quite willing to forward Mrs. Jasher's plans by inducing
Don Pedro to tell all he knew about this missing mummy.

Thus it came about that six people assembled in the tiny pink
parlor of Mrs. Jasher at the hour of seven o'clock.  It required
dexterous management to seat the whole company in the dining
room, which was only a trifle larger than the parlor.  However,
Mrs. Jasher contrived to place them round her hospitable board
in, a fairly comfortable fashion, and, once seated, the dinner
was so good that no one felt the drawbacks of scanty elbow room.
The widow, as hostess, was placed at the head of the table; Don
Pedro, as the eldest of the men, at the foot; and Sir Frank, with
Donna Inez, faced Archie and Lucy Kendal.  Jane, who was well
instructed in waiting by her mistress, attended to her duties
admirably, acting both as footman and butler.  Lucy, indeed, had
offered Mrs. Jasher the services of Cockatoo to hand round the
wine, but the widow with a pretty shudder had declined.

"That dreadful creature with his yellow mop of hair gives me the
shivers," she declared.

Considering the isolation of the district, and the narrow limits
of Mrs. Jasher's income, the meal was truly, admirable, being
well cooked and well served, while the table was arrayed like an
altar for the reception of the various dishes.  Whatever Mrs.
Jasher might be as an adventuress, she certainly proved herself
to be a capital housekeeper, and Lucy foresaw that, if she did
become Mrs. Braddock, the Professor would fare sumptuously, for
the rest of his scientific life.  When the meal was ended the
widow produced a box of superfine cigars and another of
cigarettes, after which she left the gentlemen to sip their wine,
and took her two young friends to chatter chiffons in the tiny
parlor.  And it said much for Mrs. Jasher's methodical ways that,
considering the limited space, everything went--as the saying
goes--like clockwork.  Likewise, the widow had proved herself a
wonderful hostess, as she kept the ball of conversation rolling
briskly and induced a spirit of fraternity, uncommon in an
ordinary dinner party.

During the meal Mrs. Jasher had kept off the subject of the
mummy, which was the excuse for the entertainment; but when the
gentlemen strolled into the parlor, feeling well fed and happy,
she hinted at Don Pedro's quest.  As the night was cold and the
Peruvian gentleman came from the tropics, he was established in a
well padded arm-chair close to the sea-coal fire, and with her
own fair hands Mrs. Jasher gave him a cup of fragrant coffee,
which was rendered still more agreeable to the palate by the
introduction of a vanilla bean.  With this and with a good cigar
--for the ladies gave the gentlemen permission to smoke--Don
Pedro felt very happy and easy, and complimented Mrs. Jasher
warmly on her capability of making her fellow-creatures
comfortable.

"It is altogether comfortable, madame," said Don Pedro, rising to
make a courtly bow.  In fact, so agreeable was the foreigner that
Mrs. Jasher dreamed for one swift moment of throwing over the
dry-as-dust scientist to become a Spanish lady of Lima.

"You flatter me, Don Pedro," she said, waving a wholly
unnecessary fan out of compliment to her guest's Spanish
extraction.  "Indeed, I am very glad that you are pleased with my
poor little house."

"Pardon, madame, but no house can be poor when it is a casket to
contain such a jewel."

"There!" said Lucy somewhat satirically to the young men, while
Mrs. Jasher blushed and bridled, "what Englishman could turn such
a compliment?  It reminds one of Georgian times."

"We are more sober now than my fathers were then," said Hope,
smiling,  "and I am sure if Random thought for a few minutes he
could produce something pretty.  Go on, Random."

"My brain is not equal to the strain after dinner," said Sir
Frank.

As for Donna Inez, she did not speak, but sat smiling quietly in
her corner of the room, looking remarkably handsome.  As a young
girl Lucy was pretty, and Mrs. Jasher was a comely widow, but
neither one had the majestic looks of the Spanish lady.  She
smiled, a veritable queen amidst the gim-crack ornaments of Mrs.
Jasher's parlor, and Sir Frank, who was fathoms deep in love,
could not keep his eyes off her face.

For a few minutes the conversation was frivolous, quite the
Shakespeare and musical glasses kind of speech.  Then Mrs.
Jasher, who had no idea that her good dinner should be wasted in
charming nothings, introduced the subject of the mummy by a
reference to Professor Braddock.  It was characteristic of her
cleverness that she did not address Don Pedro, but pointed her
speech at Lucy Kendal.

"I do hope your father will return with that mummy," she
observed, after a dexterous allusion to the late tragedy.

"I don't think he has gone to look for it," replied Miss Kendal
indifferently.

"But surely he desired to get it back, after paying nearly one
thousand pounds for it," said Mrs. Jasher, with well-feigned
astonishment.

"Oh, of course; but he would scarcely look for it in London."

"Has Professor Braddock gone to search for the mummy?" asked Don
Pedro.

"No," answered Lucy.  "He is visiting the British Museum to make
some researches in the Egyptian department."

"When do you expect him back, please?"

Lucy shrugged her shoulders.

"I can't say, Don Pedro.  My father comes and goes as the whim
takes him."

The Spanish gentleman looked thoughtfully into the fire.

"I shall be glad to see the Professor when he returns," he said
in his excellent, slow-sounding English.  "My concern about this
mummy is deep."

"Dear me," remarked Mrs. Jasher, shielding her fair cheek with
the unnecessary fan, and venturing on a joke,  "is the mummy a
relative?"

"Yes, madame," replied Don Pedro, gravely and unexpectedly.

At this every one, very naturally, looked astonished--that is,
all save Donna Inez, who still preserved her fixed smile.  Mrs.
Jasher took a mental note of the same, and decided that the young
lady was not very intelligent.  Meanwhile Don Pedro continued his
speech after a glance round the circle.

"I have the blood of the royal Inca race in my veins," he said
with pride.

"Ha!" murmured the widow to herself, "then that accounts for your
love of color, which is so un-English;" then she raised her
voice.  "Tell us all about it, Don Pedro," she entreated; "we are
usually so dull here that a romantic story excites us
dreadfully."

"I do not know that it is very romantic," said Don Pedro with a
polite smile,  "and if you will not find it dull--"

"Oh, no!" said Archie, who was as anxious as Mrs. Jasher to hear
what was to be said about the mummy.  "Come, sir, we are all
attention."

Don Pedro bowed again, and again swept the circle with his
deep-set eyes.

"The Inca Caxas," he remarked, "was one of the decadent rulers of
ancient Peru.  At the Conquest by the Spaniards, Inca Atahuallpa
was murdered by Pizarro, as you probably know.  Inca Toparca
succeeded him as a puppet king.  He died also, and it was
suspected that he was slain by a native chief called
Challcuchima.  Then Manco succeeded, and is looked upon by
historians as the last Inca of Peru.  But he was not."

"This is news, indeed," said Random lazily.  "And who was the
last Inca?"

"The man who is now the green mummy."

"Inca Caxas," ventured Lucy timidly.

Don Pedro looked at her sharply.  "How do you come to know the
name?"

"You mentioned it just now, but, before that, I heard my father
mention it," said Lucy, who was surprised at the sharpness of his
tone.

"And where did the Professor learn the name?" asked Don Pedro
anxiously.

Lucy shook her head.

"I cannot say.  But go on with the story," she continued, with
the naive curiosity of a child.

"Yes, do," pleaded Mrs. Jasher, who was listening with all her
ears.

The Peruvian meditated for a few minutes, then slipped his hand
into the pocket of his coat and brought out a discolored
parchment, scrawled and scribbled with odd-looking letters in
purple ink somewhat faded.

"Did you ever see this before?" he asked Lucy,  "or any
manuscript like it?"

"No," she answered, bending forward to examine the parchment
carefully.

Don Pedro again swept an inquiring eye round the circle, but
everyone denied having seen the manuscript.

"What is it?" asked Sir Frank curiously.

Don Pedro restored the manuscript to his pocket.

"It is an account of the embalming of Inca Caxas, written by his
son, who was my ancestor."

"Then you are descended from this Inca?" said Mrs. Jasher
eagerly.

"I am.  Had I my rights I should rule Peru.  As it is, I am a
poor gentleman with very little money.  That," added Don Pedro
with emphasis,  "is why I wish to recover the mummy of my great
ancestor."

"Is it then so valuable?" asked Archie suddenly.  He was thinking
of some reason why the mummy should have been stolen.

"Well, in itself it is of no great value, save to an
archaeologist," was Don Pedro's reply;  "but I had better tell
you the story of how it was stolen from my father."

"Go on, go on," cried Mrs. Jasher.  "This is most interesting."

Don Pedro plunged into his story without further preamble.

"Inca Caxas held his state amidst the solitudes of the Andes,
away from the cruel men who had conquered his country.  He died
and was buried.  This manuscript,"--he touched his pocket--"was
written by his son, and details the ceremonies, the place of
sepulchre, and also gives a list of the jewels with which the
mummy was buried."

"Jewels," murmured Hope under his breath.  "I thought as much."

"The son of Inca Caxas married a Spanish lady and made peace with
the Spaniards.  He came to live at Cuzco, and brought with him,
for some purpose which the manuscript does not disclose, the
mummy of his father.  But the manuscript was lost for years, and
although my family--the De Gayangoses--became poor, no member
of it knew that, concealed in the corpse of Inca Caxas, were two
large emeralds of immense value.  The mummy of our royal ancestor
was treated as a sacred thing and venerated accordingly.
Afterwards my family came to live at Lima, and I still dwell in
the old house."

"But how was the mummy stolen from you?" asked Random curiously.

"I am coming to that," said Don Pedro, frowning at the
interruption.  "I was not in Lima at the time; but I had met the
man who stole the precious mummy."

"Was he a Spaniard?"

"No," answered Don Pedro slowly,  "he was an English sailor
called Vasa."

"Vasa is a Swedish name," observed Hope critically.

"This man said that he was English, and certainly spoke like an
Englishman, so far as I, a foreigner, can tell.  At that time,
when I was a young man, civil war raged in Peru.  My father's
house was sacked, and this Vasa, who had been received hospitably
by my father when he was shipwrecked at Callao, stole the mummy,
of Inca Caxas.  My father died of grief and charged me to get the
mummy back.  When peace was restored to my unhappy country I
tried to recover the venerated body of my ancestor.  But all
search proved vain, as Vasa had disappeared, and it was supposed
that, for some reason, he had taken the embalmed body out of the
country.  It was when the mummy was lost that I unexpectedly came
across the manuscript, which detailed the funeral ceremonies of
Inca Caxas, and on learning about the two emeralds I was
naturally more anxious than ever to discover the mummy and
retrieve my fallen fortunes by means of the jewels.  But, as I
said, all search proved vain, and I afterward married, thinking
to settle down on what fortune remained to me.  I did live
quietly in Lima for years until my wife died.  Then with my
daughter I came to Europe on a visit."

"To search for the mummy?" questioned Archie eagerly.

"No, sir.  I had given up all hope of finding that.  But chance
placed a clue in my hands.  At Genoa I came across a newspaper,
which stated that a mummy in a green case--and a Peruvian mummy
at that--was for sale at Malta.  I immediately made inquiries,
thinking that this was the long-lost body of Inca Caxas.  But it
so happened that I was too late, as already the mummy had been
sold to Professor Braddock, and had been taken to England on
board The Diver by Mr. Bolton.  Chance, which had pointed out the
whereabouts of the mummy, also brought me at Genoa into relations
with Sir Frank Random"--Don Pedro bowed his head to the baronet
--"and, as it appeared that he knew Professor Braddock, I
thankfully accepted his offer to introduce me.  Hence I am here,
but only to hear that the mummy is again lost.  That is all," and
the Peruvian gentleman dramatically waved his arm.

"A strange story," said Archie, who was the first to speak, "and
it certainly solves at least one part of the mystery."

"What is that?" demanded Mrs. Jasher quickly.

"It shows that the mummy was stolen on account of the emeralds."

"Pardon me, but that is impossible, sir," said Don Pedro, drawing
up his lean figure.  "No one but myself knew that the mummy held
two emeralds in its dead hands, and I learned that only a few
years ago from the manuscript which I had the honor of showing
you."

"There is that objection assuredly," replied Hope with composure.
"Yet I can hardly believe that any man would risk his neck to
steal so remarkable a mummy, which he would have a difficulty in
disposing of.  But did this assassin know of the emeralds, he
would venture much to gain them, since jewels can be disposed of
with comparative ease, and cannot easily be traced."

"All the same," said Random, looking up,  "I do not see how the
assassin could have learned that the jewels were wrapped in the
bandages."

"Humph!" said Hope, glancing at De Gayangos, "perhaps there is
more than one copy of this manuscript you speak of."

"Not to my knowledge."

"The sailor Vasa might have copied it."

"No."  Don Pedro shook his head.  "It is written in Latin, since
a Spanish priest taught the son of Inca Caxas, who wrote it, that
language.  I do not think that Vasa knew Latin.  Also, if Vasa
had copied the manuscript, he would have stripped the mummy to
procure the jewels.  Now, in the newspaper advertisement it
stated that the bandages of the mummy were intact, as also was
the verdant case.  No," said Don Pedro decisively,  "I am quite
of opinion that Vasa, and indeed everyone else, was ignorant of
this manuscript."

"It seems to me," suggested Mrs. Jasher, "that it would be best
to find this sailor."

"That," remarked De Gayangos, "is impossible.  It is twenty years
since he disappeared with the mummy.  Let us drop the subject
until Professor Braddock returns to discuss it with me."  And
this was accordingly done.


CHAPTER XII

A DISCOVERY


Three days went by, and Professor Braddock still remained absent
in London, although an occasional letter to Lucy requested such
and such an article from the museum to be forwarded, sometimes by
post and on other occasions by Cockatoo, who traveled up to town
especially.  The Kanaka always returned with the news that his
master was looking well, but brought no word of the Professor's
return.  Lucy was not surprised, as she was accustomed to
Braddock's vagaries.

Meanwhile Don Pedro, comfortably established at the Warrior Inn,
wandered about Gartley in his dignified way, taking very little
interest in the village, but a great deal in the Pyramids.  As
the Professor was absent, Lucy could not ask him to dinner, but
she did invite him and Donna Inez to afternoon tea.  Don Pedro
was anxious to peep into the museum, but Cockatoo absolutely
refused to let him enter, saying that his master had forbidden
anyone to view the collection during his absence.  And in this
refusal Cockatoo was supported by Miss Kendal, who had a
wholesome dread of her step-father's rage, should he return and
find that a stranger had been making free of his sacred
apartments.  The Peruvian gentleman expressed himself extremely
disappointed, so much so, indeed, that Lucy fancied he believed
Braddock had the green mummy hidden in the museum, in spite of
the reported loss from the Sailor's Rest.

Failing to get permission to range through the rooms of the
Pyramids, Don Pedro paid occasional visits to Pierside and
questioned the police regarding the Bolton murder.  From
Inspector Date he learned nothing of any importance, and indeed
that officer expressed his belief that not until the Day of
judgment would the truth become known.  It then occurred to De
Gayangos to explore the neighborhood of the Sailor's Rest, and to
examine that public-house himself.  He saw the famous window
through which the mysterious woman had talked to the deceased,
and noted that it looked across a stony, narrow path to the
water's edge, wherefrom a rugged jetty ran out into the stream
for some little distance.  Nothing would have been easier,
reflected Don Pedro, than for the assassin to enter by the
window, and, having accomplished his deed, to leave in the same
way, bearing the case containing the mummy.  A few steps would
carry the man and his burden to a waiting boat, and once the
craft slipped into the mists on the river, all trace would be
lost, as had truly happened.  In this way the Peruvian gentleman
believed the murder and the theft had been accomplished, but even
supposing things had happened as he surmised, still, he was as
far as ever from unraveling the mystery.

While Don Pedro searched for his royal ancestor's corpse, and
incidentally for the thief and murderer, his daughter was being
wooed by Sir Frank Random.  Heaven only knows what he saw in her
--as Lucy observed to young Hope--for the girl had not a word to
say for herself.  She was undeniably handsome, and dressed with
great taste, save for stray hints of barbaric delight in color,
doubtless inherited from her Inca ancestors.  All the same, she
appeared to be devoid of small talk or great talk, or any talk
whatsoever.  She sat and smiled and looked like a handsome
picture, but after her appearance had satisfied the eye, she left
much to be desired.  Yet Sir Frank approved of her stately
quietness, and seemed anxious to make her his wife.  Lucy, in
spite of the fact that he had so speedily got over her refusal to
marry him, was anxious that he should be happy with Donna Inez,
whom he appeared to love, and afforded him every opportunity of
meeting the lady, so that he might prosecute his wooing.  All the
same, she wondered that he should desire to marry an iceberg, and
Donna Inez, with her silent tongue and cold smiles, was little
else.  However, as Frank Random was the chief party concerned in
the love-making--for Donna Inez was merely passive--there was
no more to be said.

Sometimes Hope came to dine at the Pyramids, and on these
occasions Mrs. Jasher was present in her character of chaperon.
As Miss Kendal was helping the widow to marry Professor Braddock,
she in her turn did her best to speed Archie's wooing.  Certainly
the young couple were engaged and there was no understanding to
be brought about.  Nevertheless, Mrs. Jasher was a useful article
of furniture to be in the room when they were together, for
Gartley, like all English villages, was filled with
scandalmongers, who would have talked, had Hope and Lucy not
employed Mrs. Jasher as gooseberry.  Sometimes Donna Inez came
with the widow, while her father was hunting for the mummy in
Pierside, and then Sir Frank Random would be sure to put in an
appearance to woo his Dulcinea in admiring silence.  Mrs. Jasher
declared that the two must have made love by telepathy, for they
rarely exchanged a word.  But this was all the better, as Archie
and Lucy chattered a great deal, and two pair of magpies--Mrs.
Jasher declared--would have been too much for her nerves.  She
made a very good chaperon, as she allowed the young people to act
as they pleased, only sanctioning the meetings by her elderly
presence.

One evening Mrs. Jasher was due to dinner, and Hope had already
arrived.  No one else was expected, as Don Pedro had taken his
daughter to the theatre at Pierside and Sir Frank had gone to
London in connection with his military duties.  It was a bitterly
cold night, and already a fall of snow had hinted that there was
to be a real English Christmas of the genuine kind.  Lucy had
prepared an excellent dinner for three, and Archie had brought a
set of new patience cards for Mrs. Jasher, who was fond of the
game.  While the widow played, the lovers hoped to make love
undisturbed, and looked forward to a happy evening.  But there
was one drawback, for although the dinner hour was supposed to be
eight o'clock, and it was now thirty minutes past, Mrs. Jasher
had not arrived.  Lucy was dismayed.

"What can be keeping her?" she asked Archie, to which that young
gentleman replied that he did not know, and, what was more, he
did not care.  Miss Kendal very properly rebuked this sentiment.
"You ought to care, Archie, for you know that if Mrs. Jasher does
not come to dinner, you will have to go away."

"Why should I?" he inquired sulkily.

"People will talk."

"Let them.  I don't care."

"Neither do I, you stupid boy.  But my father will care, and if
people talk he will be very angry."

"My dear Lucy," and Archie put his arm round her waist to say
this,  "I don't see why you should be afraid of the Professor.
He is only your step-father, and you aren't so very fond of him
as to mind what he says.  Besides, we can marry soon, and then he
can go hang."

"But I don't want him to go hang," she replied, laughing.  "After
all, the Professor has always been kind to me, and as a
step-father has behaved very well, when he could easily have made
himself disagreeable.  Another thing is that he can be very bad
tempered when he likes, and if I let people talk about us--which
they will do if they get a chance--he will behave so coldly to
me, that I shall have a disagreeable time.  As we can't marry for
ever so long, I don't want to be uncomfortable."

"We can marry whenever you like," said Hope unexpectedly.

"What, with your income so unsettled?"

"It is not unsettled."

"Yes, it is.  You will help that horrid spendthrift uncle of
yours, and until he and his family are solvent I don't see how we
can be sure of our money."

"We are sure of it now, dearest.  Uncle Simon has turned up
trumps after all, and so have his investments."

"What do you mean exactly?"

"I mean that yesterday I received a letter from him saying that
he was now rich, and would pay back all I had lent him.  I went
up to London to-day, and had an interview.  The result of that is
that I am some thousands to the good, that Uncle Simon is well
off for the rest of his life and will require no more assistance,
and that my three hundred a year is quite clear for ever and ever
and ever."

"Then we can marry," cried Miss Kendal with a gasp of delight.

"Whenever you choose--next week if you like."

"In January then--just after Christmas.  We'll go on a trip to
Italy and return to take a flat in London.  Oh, Archie, I am
sorry I thought so badly of your uncle.  He has behaved very
well.  And what a mercy it is that he will require no more
assistance!  You are sure he will not."

"If he does, he won't get it," said Hope candidly.  "While I was
a bachelor I could assist him; but when I am married I must look
after myself and my wife."  He gave Lucy a hug.  "It's all right
now, dear, and Uncle Simon has behaved excellently--far better
than I expected.  We shall go to Italy for the honeymoon and need
not hurry back until we--well, say until we quarrel."

"In that case we shall live in Italy for the rest of our lives,"
said Lucy with twinkling eyes; "but we must come back in a year
and take a studio in Chelsea."

"Why not in Gartley?  Remember, the Professor will be lonely."

"No, he won't.  Mrs. Jasher, as I told you, intends to marry
him."

"He might not wish to marry her"

"That doesn't matter," rejoined Lucy, with the cleverness of a
woman.  "She can manage to bring the marriage about.  Besides, I
want to break with the old life here, and begin quite a new one
with you.  When I am your wife and Mrs. Jasher is my
step-father's, everything will be capitally arranged."

"Well, I hope so," said Archie heartily,  "for I want you all to
myself and have no desire to share you with anyone else.  But I
say," he glanced at his watch;  "it is getting towards nine
o'clock, and I am desperately hungry.  Can't we go to dinner?"

"Not until Mrs. Jasher arrives," said Lucy primly.

"Oh, bother--!"

Hope, being quite exasperated with hunger, would have launched
out into a speech condemning the widow's unpunctuality, when in
the hall below the drawing-room was heard the sound of the door
opening and closing.  Without doubt this was Mrs. Jasher arriving
at last, and Lucy ran out of the room and down the stairs to
welcome her in her eagerness to get Archie seated at the dinner
table.  The young man lingered by the open door of the
drawing-room, ready to welcome the widow, when he heard Lucy
utter an exclamation of surprise and became aware that she was
ascending the stairs along with Professor Braddock.  At once he
reflected there would be trouble, since he was in the house with
Lucy, and lacked the necessary chaperon which Braddock's
primitive Anglo-Saxon instincts insisted upon.

"I did not know you were returning to-night," Lucy was saying
when she re-entered the drawing-room with her step-father.

"I arrived by the six o'clock train," explained the Professor,
unwinding a large red scarf from his neck, and struggling out of
his overcoat with the assistance of his daughter.  "Ha, Hope,
good evening."

"Where have you been since?" asked Lucy, throwing the Professor's
coat and wraps on to a chair.

"With Mrs. Jasher," said Braddock, warming his plump hands at the
fire.  "So you must blame me that she is not here to preside at
dinner as the chaperon of you young people."

Lucy and her lover glanced at one another in surprise.  This
light and airy tone was a new one for the Professor to take.
Instead of being angry, he seemed to be unusually gay, and
looked at them in quite a jocular manner for a dry-as-dust
scientist.

"We waited dinner for her, father," ventured Lucy timidly.

"Then I am ready to eat it," announced Braddock.  "I am extremely
hungry, my dear.  I can't live on love, you know."

"Live on love?" Lucy stared, and Archie laughed quietly.

"Oh yes, you may smile and look astonished;" went on the
Professor good-humoredly,  "but science does not destroy the
primeval instincts entirely.  Lucy, my dear," he took her hand
and patted it,  "while in London and in lodgings, it was borne in
upon me forcibly how lonely I was and how lonely I would be when
you married our young friend yonder.  I had intended to come down
to-morrow, but to-night, such was my feeling of loneliness that I
considered favorably your idea that I should find a second
helpmate in Mrs. Jasher.  I have always had a profound admiration
for that lady, and so--on the spur of the moment, as I may say--
I decided to come down this evening and propose."

"Oh," Lucy clapped her hands, very well satisfied with the
unexpected news,  "and have you?"

"Mrs. Jasher," said the Professor gravely,  "did me the honor to
promise to become my wife this evening."

"She will become your wife this evening?" said Archie, smiling.

Braddock, with one of those odd twists of humor which were
characteristic of him, became irascible.

"Confound it, sir, don't I speak English," he snapped, with his
eyes glaring rebuke.  "She promised this evening to become Mrs.
Braddock.  We shall marry--so we have arranged--in the
springtime, which is the natural pairing season for human beings
as well as for birds.  And I am glad to say that Mrs. Jasher
takes a deep interest in archaeology."

"And, what is more, she is a splendid housekeeper," said Lucy.

The temporary anger of the Professor vanished.  He drew his
step-daughter towards him and kissed her on the cheek.

"I believe that I have to thank you for putting the idea into my
head," said he,  "and also--if Mrs. Jasher is to be believed--
for aiding her to see the mutual advantage it would be to both of
us to marry.  Ha," he released Lucy and rubbed his hands,  "let
us go to dinner."

"I am very glad," said Miss Kendal heartily.

"So am I, so am I," replied Braddock, nodding.  "As you very
truly observed, my child, the house would have gone to rack and
ruin without a woman to look after my interests.  Well," he took
the arms of the two young people,  "I really think that we must
have a bottle of champagne on the strength of it."

Shortly the trio were seated at the table, and Braddock explained
that Mrs. Jasher, being overcome by his proposal, had not been
able to face the ordeal of congratulations.

"But she will come to-morrow," said he, as Cockatoo filled three
glasses.

"Indeed, I shall congratulate her to-night," said Lucy
obstinately.  "As soon as dinner is over, I shall go with Archie
to her house, and tell her how pleased I am."

"It is very cold for you to be out, Lucy dear," urged Archie
anxiously.

"Oh, I can wrap up warmly," she answered.

Strange to say, the Professor made no objection to the excursion,
although Hope quite expected such a stickler for etiquette to
refuse permission to his step-daughter.  But Braddock seemed
rather pleased than otherwise.  His proposal of marriage seemed
to have put him into excellent humor, and he raised his glass
with a chuckle.

"I drink to your happiness, my dear Lucy, and to that of Mrs.
Jasher's."

"And I drink to Archie's and to yours, father," she replied.  "I
am glad that you will not be lonely when we are married.  Archie
and I wish to become one in January."

"Yes," said Hope, finishing his champagne,  "my income is now all
right, as my uncle has paid up."

"Very good, very good.  I make no objection," said Braddock
placidly.  "I will give you a handsome wedding present, Lucy, for
you may have heard that my future wife has money left to her by
her brother, who was lately a merchant in Pekin.  She is heart
and hand with me in our proposed expedition to Egypt."

"Will you go there for the honeymoon, sir?" asked Hope.

"Not exactly for the honeymoon, since we are to be married in
spring, and my expedition to the tomb of Queen Tahoser cannot
start until the late autumn.  But Mrs. Braddock will come with
me.  That is only just, since it will be her money which will
furnish the sinews of war."

"Well, everything is arranged very well," said Lucy.  "I marry
Archie; you, father, make Mrs. Jasher your wife; and I suspect
Sir Frank will marry Donna Inez."

"Ha!" said Braddock with a start,  "the daughter of De Gayangos,
who has come here for the missing mummy.  Mrs. Jasher told me
somewhat of that, my dear.  But I shall see Don Pedro myself
to-morrow.  Meanwhile, let us eat and drink.  I must go down to
the museum, and you--"

"We shall go to congratulate Mrs. Jasher," said Lucy.

So it was arranged, and shortly Professor Braddock retired into
his sanctum along with the devoted Cockatoo, who displayed lively
joy on beholding his master once more.  Lucy, after being
carefully wrapped up by Archie, set out with that young man to
congratulate the bride-elect.  It was just half-past nine when
they started out.

The night was frosty and the stars twinkled like jewels in a
cloudless sky of dark blue.  The moon shone with hard brilliance
on the ground, which was powdered with a light fall of snow.  As
the young people walked briskly through the village, their
footsteps rang on the frosty earth and they scrunched the snow in
their quick tread.  The Warrior Inn was still open, as it was not
late, and lights shone from the windows of the various cottages.
When the two, following the road through the marshes, emerged
from the village, they saw the great mass of the Fort bulking
blackly against the clear sky, the glittering stream of the
Thames, and the marshes outlined in delicate white.  The fairy
world of snow and moonlight appealed to Archie's artistic sense,
and Lucy approving of the same, they did not hurry to arrive at
their destination.

But shortly they saw the squarely fenced acre of ground near the
embankment, wherein Mrs. Jasher's humble abode was placed.  Light
shone through the pink curtains of the drawing-room, showing that
the widow had not yet retired.  In a few minutes the lovers were
at the gate and promptly entered.  It was then that one of those
odd things happened which would argue that some people are
possessed of a sixth sense.

Archie closed the gate after him, and, glancing right and left,
walked up the snowy path with Lucy.  To the right was a leafless
arbor, also powdered with snow, and against the white bulked a
dark form something like a coffin.  Hope out of curiosity went up
to it.

"What the deuce is this?" he asked himself; then raised his voice
in loud surprise.  "Lucy! Lucy! come here!"

"What is it?" she asked, running up.

"Look"--he pointed to the oddly shaped case--"the green mummy!"




CHAPTER XIII

MORE MYSTERY


Neither Lucy nor Archie Hope had ever seen the mummy, but they
knew the appearance which it would present, as Professor
Braddock, with the enthusiasm of an archaeologist, had often
described the same to them.  It appeared, according to Braddock,
that on purchasing the precious corpse in Malta, his dead
assistant had written home a full description of the treasure
trove.  Consequently, being advised beforehand, Hope had no
difficulty in recognizing the oddly shaped case, which was made
somewhat in the Egyptian form.  On the impulse of the moment he
had proclaimed this to be the long-lost mummy, and when a closer
examination by the light of a lucifer match revealed the green
hue of the coffin wood, he knew that he was right.

But what was the mummy in its ancient case doing in Mrs. Jasher's
arbor?  That was the mute question which the two young people
asked themselves and each other, as they stood in the chilly
moonlight, staring at the grotesque thing.  The mummy had
disappeared from the Sailor's Rest at Pierside some weeks ago,
and now unexpectedly appeared in a lonely garden, surrounded by
marshes.  How it had been brought there, or why it should have
been brought there, or who had brought it to such an unlikely
place, were questions hard to answer.  However, the most obvious
thing to do was to question Mrs. Jasher, since the uncanny object
was lying within a stone-throw of her home.  Lucy, after a rapid
word or two, went to ring the bell, and summon the lady, while
Archie stood by the arbor, wondering how the mummy came to be
there.  In the same way George III had wondered how the apples
got into the dumplings.

Far and wide spread the marshes, flatly towards the shore of the
river on one side, but on the other sloping up to Gartley
village, which twinkled with many lights on the rising ground.
Some distance away the Fort rose black and menacing in the
moonlight, and the mighty stream of the Thames glittered like
polished steel as it flowed seaward.  As there were only a few
leafless trees dotted about the marshy ground, and as that same
ground, lightly sprinkled with powdery snow, revealed every
moving object for quite a mile or so, Hope could not conceive how
the mummy case, which seemed heavy, could have been brought into
the silent garden without its bearers being seen.  It was not
late, and soldiers were still returning through Gartley to the
Fort.  Then, again, some noise must have been caused by so bulky
an object being thrust through the narrow wicket, and Mrs.
Jasher, inhabiting a wooden house, which was a very sea-shell for
sound, might have heard footsteps and voices.  If those who had
brought the mummy here--and there was more than one from the
size of the case--could be discovered, then the mystery of
Sidney Bolton's death would be solved very speedily.  It was at
this moment of his reflections that Lucy returned to the arbor,
leading Mrs. Jasher, who was attired in a tea-gown and who looked
bewildered.

"What are you talking about, my dear?" she said, as Lucy led her
towards the arbor.  "I declare I was ever so much astonished,
when Jane told me that you wished to speak to me.  I was just
writing a letter to the lawyer who has my poor brother's property
in hand, announcing my engagement to the Professor.  Mr. Hope?
You here also.  Well, I'm sure."

Lucy grew impatient at all this babble.

"Did you not hear what I said, Mrs. Jasher?" she cried irritably.
"Can't you use your eyes?  Look!  The green mummy is in your
arbor."

"The--green--mummy--in--my--arbor," repeated Mrs. Jasher,
like a child learning words of one syllable, and staring at the
black object before which the three were standing.

"As you see," said Archie abruptly.  "How did it come here?"

He spoke harshly.  Of course, it was absurd to accuse Mrs. Jasher
of knowing anything about the matter, since she had been writing
letters.  Still, the fact remained that a mummy, which had been
thieved from a murdered man, was in her arbor, and naturally she
was called upon to explain.

Some suspicion in his tone struck the little woman, and she
turned on him with indignation.

"How did it come here?" she repeated.  "Now, how can I tell, you
silly boy.  I have been writing to my lawyer about my engagement
to Mr. Braddock.  I daresay he has told you."

"Yes," chimed in Miss Kendal,  "and we came here to congratulate
you, only to find the mummy."

"Is that the horrid thing?"  Mrs. Jasher stared with all her
eyes, and timidly touched the hard green-stained wood.

"It's the case--the mummy is inside."

"But I thought that the Professor opened the case to find the
body of poor Sidney Bolton," argued Mrs. Jasher.

"That was a packing case in which this"--Archie struck the
old-world coffin--"was stored.  But this is the corpse of Inca
Caxas, about which Don Pedro told us the other night.  How does
it come to be hidden in your garden?"

"Hidden."  Mrs. Jasher repeated the word with a laugh.  "There is
not much hiding about it.  Why, every one can see it from the
path."

"And from the door of your house," remarked Hope significantly.
"Did you not see it when you took leave of Braddock?"

"No," snapped the widow.  "If I had I should certainly have come
to look.  Also Professor Braddock, who is so anxious to recover
it, would not have allowed it to remain here."

"Then the case was not here when the Professor left you to-night?"

"No!  He left me at eight o'clock to go home to dinner."

"When did he arrive here?" questioned Hope quickly.

"At seven.  I am sure of the time, for I was just sitting down to
my supper.  He was here an hour.  But he said nothing, when he
entered, of any mummy being in the arbor; nor when he left me at
the door and I came to say good-bye to him--did either of us see
this object.  To be sure," added Mrs. Jasher meditatively,  "we
did not look particularly in the direction of this arbor."

"I scarcely see how any one entering or leaving the garden could
fail to see it, especially as the snow reflects the moonlight so
brightly."

Mrs. Jasher shivered, and taking the skirt of her tea-gown, flung
it over her carefully attired head,

"It is very cold," she remarked irritably.  "Don't you think we
had better return to the house, and talk there?"

"What!" said Archie grimly,  "and leave the mummy to be carried
away as mysteriously as it has been brought.  No, Mrs. Jasher.
That mummy represents one thousand pounds of my money."

"I understood that the Professor bought it himself."

"So he did, but I supplied the purchase money.  Therefore I do
not intend that this should be lost sight of again.  Lucy, my
dear, you run home again and tell your father what we have found.
He had better bring men, to take it to his museum.  When it is
there, Mrs. Jasher can then explain how it came to be in her
garden."

Without a word Lucy set off, walking quickly, anxious to fulfill
her mission and gladden the heart of her step-father with the
amazing news.

Archie and Mrs. Jasher were left alone, and the former lighted a
cigarette, while he tapped the mummy case, and examined it as
closely as the pale gleam of the moonlight permitted.  Mrs.
Jasher made no move to enter the house, much as she had
complained of the cold.  But perhaps she found the flimsy skirt
of the tea-gown sufficient protection.

"It seems to me, Mr. Hope," said she very tartly,  "that you
suspect my having a hand in this," and she tapped the mummy
coffin also.

"Pardon me," observed Hope very politely,  "but I suspect
nothing, because I have no grounds upon which to base my
suspicions.  But certainly it is odd that this missing mummy
should be found in your garden.  You will admit that much."

"I admit nothing of the sort," she rejoined coolly.  "Only myself
and Jane live in the cottage, and you don't expect that two
delicate women could move this huge thing."  She tapped the case
again.  "Moreover, had I found the mummy I should have taken it
to the Pyramids at once, so as to give Professor Braddock some
pleasure."

"It will certainly be an acceptable wedding present," said Archie
sarcastically.

"Pardon me," said Mrs. Jasher in her turn, "but I have nothing to
do with it as a present or otherwise.  How the thing came into my
arbor I really cannot say.  As I told you, Professor Braddock
made no remark about it when he came; and when he left, although
I was at the door, I did not notice anything in this arbor.
Indeed I cannot say if I ever looked in this direction."

Archie mused and glanced at his watch.

"The Professor told Lucy that he came by the six train: you say
that he was here at seven."

"Yes, and he left at eight.  What is the time now?"

"Ten o'clock, or a few minutes after.  Therefore, since neither
you nor Braddock saw the mummy, I take it that the case was
brought here by some unknown people between eight o'clock and a
quarter to ten, about which time I arrived here with Lucy."

Mrs. Jasher nodded.

"You put the matter very clearly," she observed dryly.  "You have
mistaken your vocation, Mr. Hope, and should have been a criminal
lawyer.  I should turn detective were I you."

"Why?" asked Archie with a start.

"You might ascertain my movements on the night when the crime was
committed," snapped the little widow.  "A woman muffled in a
shawl, in much the same way as my head is now muffled in my
skirt, talked to Bolton through the bedroom window of the
Sailor's Rest, you know."

Hope expostulated.

"My dear lady, how you run on!  I assure you that I would as soon
suspect Lucy as you."

"Thank you," said the widow very dryly and very tartly.

"I merely wish to point out," went on Archie in a conciliatory
tone,  "that, as the mummy in its case--as appears probable--
was brought into your garden between the hours of eight and ten,
less fifteen minutes, that you may have heard the voices or
footsteps of those who carried it here."

"I heard nothing," said Mrs. Jasher, turning towards the path.
"I had my supper, and played a game or two of patience, and then
wrote letters, as I told you before.  And I am not going to stand
in the cold, answering silly questions, Mr. Hope.  If you wish to
talk you must come inside."

Hope shook his head and lighted a fresh cigarette.

"I stand guard over this mummy until its rightful owner comes,"
said he determinedly.

"Ho!" rejoined Mrs. Jasher scornfully: she was now at the door.
"I understood that you bought the mummy and therefore were its
owner.  Well, I only hope you'll find those emeralds Don Pedro
talked about," and with a light laugh she entered the cottage.

Archie looked after her in a puzzled way.  There was no reason to
suspect Mrs. Jasher, so far as he saw, even though a woman had
been seen talking to Bolton on the night of the crime.  And yet,
why should the widow refer to the emeralds, which were of such
immense value, according to Don Pedro?  Hope glanced at the case
and shook the primitive coffin, anxious for the moment to open it
and ascertain if the jewels were still clutched grimly in the
mummy's dead hands.  But the coffin was fastened tightly down
with wooden pegs, and could only be opened with extreme care and
difficulty.  Also, as Hope reflected, even did he manage to open
this receptacle of the dead, he still could not ascertain if the
emeralds were safe, since they would be hidden under innumerable
swathings of green-dyed llama wool.  He therefore let the matter
rest there, and, staring at the river, wondered how the mummy had
been brought to the garden in the marshes.

Hope recollected that experts had decided the mode in which the
mummy had been removed from the Pierside public-house.  It had
been passed through the window, according to Inspector Date and
others, and, when taken across the narrow path which bordered the
river, had been placed in a waiting boat.  After that it had
vanished until it had re-appeared in this arbor.  But if taken by
water once, it could have been taken by water again.  There was a
rude jetty behind the embankment, which Hope could easily see
from where he stood.  In all probability the mummy had been
landed there and carried to the garden, while Mrs. Jasher was
busy with her supper and her game of cards and her letters.
Also, the path from the shore to the house was very lonely, and
if any care had been exercised, which was probable, no one from
the Fort road or from the village street could have seen the
stealthy conspirators bringing their weird burden.  So far Hope
felt that he could argue excellently.  But who had brought the
mummy to the garden and why had it been brought there?  These
questions he could not answer so easily, and indeed not at all.

While thus meditating, he heard, far away in the frosty air, a
puffing and blowing and panting like an impatient motor-car.
Before he could guess what this was, Braddock appeared, simply
racing along the marshy causeway, followed closely by Cockatoo,
and at some distance away by Lucy.  The little scientist rushed
through the gate, which he flung open with a noise fit to wake
the dead, and lunged forward, to fall with outstretched arms upon
the green case.  There he remained, still puffing and blowing,
and looked as though he were hugging a huge green beetle.
Cockatoo, who, being lean and hard, kept his breath more easily,
stood respectfully by, waiting for his master to give orders, and
Lucy came in quietly by the gate, smiling at her father's
enthusiasm.  At the same moment Mrs. Jasher, well wrapped up in a
coat of sables, emerged from the cottage.

"I heard you coming, Professor," she called out, hurrying down
the path.

"I should think the whole Fort heard the Professor coming," said
Hope, glancing at the dark mass.  "The soldiers must think it is
an invasion."

But Braddock paid no heed to this jocularity, or even to Mrs.
Jasher, to whom he had been so lately engaged.  All his soul was
in the mummy case, and as soon as he recovered his breath, he
loudly proclaimed his joy at this miraculous recovery of the
precious article.

"Mine! mine!" he roared, and his words ran violently through the
frosty air.

"Be calm, sir," advised Hope--"be calm."

"Calm! calm!" bellowed Braddock, struggling to a standing
position.  "Oh, confound you, sir, how can I be calm when I find
what I have lost?  You have a mean, groveling soul, Hope, not the
soaring spirit of a collector."

"There is no need to be rude to Archie, father," corrected Lucy
sharply.

"Rude!  Rude!  I am never rude.  But this mummy."  Braddock
peered closely at it and rapped the wood to assure himself it was
no phantom.  "Yes! it is my mummy, the mummy of Inca Caxas.  Now
I shall learn how the Peruvians embalmed their royal dead.  Mine!
mine! mine!"  He crooned like a mother over a child, caressing
the coffin; then suddenly drew himself upright and fixed Mrs.
Jasher with an indignant eye.  "So it was you, madam, who stole
my mummy," he declared venomously,  "and I thought of making you
my wife.  Oh, what an escape I have had.  Shame, woman, shame!"

Mrs. Jasher stared, then her face grew redder than the rouge on
her cheeks, and she stamped furiously in the neat Louis Quinze
slippers in which she had in judiciously come out.

"How dare you say what you have said?" she cried, her voice
shrill and hard with anger.  "Mr. Hope has been saying the same
thing.  Are you both mad?  I never set eyes on the horrid thing
in my life.  And only to-night you told me that you loved--"

"Yes, yes, I said many foolish things, I don't doubt, madam.  But
that is not the question.  My mummy! my mummy!" he rapped the
wood furiously--"how does my mummy come to be here?"

"I don't know," said Mrs. Jasher, still furious,  "and I don't
care."

"Don't care: don't care, when I look forward to your helping me
in my lifework!  As my wife--"

"I shall never be your wife," cried the widow, stamping again.
"I wouldn't be your wife for a thousand or a million pounds.
Marry your mummy, you horrid, red-faced, crabbed little--"

"Hush! hush!" whispered Lucy, taking the angry woman round the
waist,  "you must make allowances for my father.  He is so
excited over his good fortune that he--"

"I shall not make allowance," interrupted Mrs. Jasher angrily.
"He practically accuses me of stealing the mummy.  If I did that,
I must have murdered poor Sidney Bolton."

"No, no," cried the Professor, wiping his red face.  "I never
hinted at such a thing.  But the mummy is in your garden."

"What of that?  I don't know how it came there.  Mr. Hope, surely
you do not support Professor Braddock in his preposterous
accusation?"

"I bring no accusation," stuttered the Professor.

"Neither do I, Mrs. Jasher.  You are excited now.  Go in and
sleep, and to-morrow you will talk reasonably."  This brilliant
speech was from Hope, and wrought Mrs. Jasher into a royal rage.

"Well," she gasped,  "he asks me to be calm, as it I wasn't the
very calmest person here.  I declare: oh, I shall be ill!  Lucy,"
she seized the girl's hand and dragged her towards the cottage,
"come in and give me red lavender.  I shall be in bed for days
and days and days.  Oh, what brutes men can be!  But listen, you
two horrors," she indicated Braddock and Hope, as she pushed open
the door, "if you dare to say a word against me, I'll have an
action for libel against you.  Oh, dear me, how very ill I feel!
Lucy, darling, help me, oh, help me, and--and--oh--oh--oh!"
She flopped down on the threshold of her home with a cry.

"Archie!  Archie!  She's fainted."

Hope rushed forward, and raised the stout little woman in his
arms.  Jane, attracted by the clamor, appeared on the scene, and
between the three of them they managed to get Mrs. Jasher placed
on the sofa of the pink drawing-room.  She certainly was in a
dead faint, so Hope left her to the administrations of Lucy and
the servant, and walked out again into the garden, closing the
cottage door after him.

He found the heartless Professor quite oblivious to Mrs. Jasher's
sufferings, so taken up was he with the newly found mummy.
Cockatoo had been sent for a hand-cart, and while he was absent
Braddock expatiated on the perfections of this relic of Peruvian
civilization.

"Will you sell it to Don Pedro?" asked Hope.

"After I have done with it, not before," snapped Braddock,
hovering round his treasure.  "I shall want a percentage on my
bargain also."

Archie thought privately that if Braddock unswathed the mummy, he
would find the emeralds and would probably stick to them, so that
his expedition to Egypt might be financed.  It that case Don
Pedro would no longer wish to buy the corpse of his ancestor.
But while he debated as to the advisability of telling the
Professor of the existence of the emeralds, Cockatoo returned
with the hand-cart.

"You have lost Mrs. Jasher," said Hope, while he, assisted the
Professor to hoist the mummy on to the cart.

"Never mind! never mind!" Braddock patted the coffin.  "I have
found something much more to my mind: something ever so much
better.  Ha!  ha!"




CHAPTER XIV

THE UNEXPECTED HAPPENS


In spite of newspapers and letters and tape-machines and
telegrams and such like aids to the speedy diffusion of news, the
same travels quicker in villages than in cities.  Word of mouth
can spread gossip with marvelous rapidity in sparsely inhabited
communities, since it is obvious that in such places every person
knows the other--as the saying goes--inside out.  In every
English village walls have ears and windows have eyes, so that
every cottage is a hot-bed of scandal, and what is known to one
is, within the hour, known to the others.  Even the Sphinx could
not have preserved her secret long in such a locality.

Gartley could keep up its reputation in this respect along with
the best, therefore it was little to be wondered at, that early
next morning every one knew that Professor Braddock had found his
long-lost mummy in Mrs. Jasher's garden, and had removed the same
to the Pyramids without unnecessary delay.  It was not
particularly late when the hand-cart, with its uncanny burden,
had passed along the sole street of the place, and several men
had emerged from the Warrior Inn ostensibly to offer help, but
really to know what the eccentric master of the great house was
doing.  Braddock brusquely rejected these offers; but the oddly
shaped mummy case, stained green, having been seen, it needed
little wit for those who had caught a sight of it to put two and
two together, especially as the weird object had been described
at the inquest and had been talked over ever since in every
cottage.  And as the cart had been seen coming out of the widow's
garden, it naturally occurred to the villagers that Mrs. Jasher
had been concealing the mummy.  Shortly the rumor spread that she
had also murdered Bolton, for unless she had done so, she
certainly--according to village logic--could not have been
possessed of the spoil.  Finally, as Mrs. Jasher's doors and
windows were small and the mummy was rather bulky, it was natural
to presume that she had hidden it in the garden.  Report said she
had buried it and had dug it up just in time to be pounced upon
by its rightful owner.  From which it can be seen that gossip is
not invariably accurate.

However this may be, the news of Professor Braddock's good
fortune shortly came to Don Pedro's ears through the medium of
the landlady.  As she revealed what she had heard in the morning,
the Peruvian gentleman was spared a sleepless night.  But as soon
as he learned the truth--which was surprising enough in its
unexpectedness--he hastily finished his breakfast and hurried to
the Pyramids.  As yet he had not intended to see Braddock so
promptly, or at least not until he had made further inquiries at
Pierside, but the news that Braddock possessed the royal ancestor
of the De Gayangoses brought him immediately into the museum.  He
greeted the Professor in his usual grave and dignified manner,
and no one would have guessed from his inherent calmness that the
unexpected news of Braddock's arrival, and the still more
unexpected information about the green mummy, had surprised him
beyond measure.  Being somewhat superstitious, it also occurred
to Don Pedro that the coincidence meant good fortune to him in
the recovery of his long-lost ancestor.

Braddock, already knowing a great deal about Don Pedro from Lucy
and Archie Hope, was only too pleased to see the Peruvian, hoping
to find in him a kindred spirit.  As yet the Professor was not
aware of the contents of the ancient Latin manuscript, which
revealed the fact of the hidden emeralds, since Hope had decided
to leave it to the Peruvian to impart the information.  Archie
knew very well that Don Pedro--as he had plainly stated--wished
to purchase the mummy, and it was only right that Braddock should
know what he was selling.  But Hope forgot one important fact
perhaps from the careless way in which Don Pedro had told his
story--namely, that the Professor in a second degree was a
receiver of stolen goods.  Therefore it was more than probable
that the Peruvian would claim the mummy as his own property.
Still, in that event he would have to prove his claim, and that
would not be easy.

The plump little professor had not yet unsealed the case, and
when Don Pedro entered, he was standing before it rubbing his fat
hands, with a gloating expression in his face.  However, as
Cockatoo had brought in the Peruvian's card, Braddock expected
his visitor and wheeled to face him.

"How are you, sir?" said he, extending his hand.  "I am glad to
see you, as I hear that you know all about this mummy of Inca
Caxas."

"Well, I do," answered De Gayangos, sitting down in the chair
which his host pushed forward.  "But may I ask who told you that
this mummy was that of the last Inca?"

Braddock pinched his plump chin and replied readily, enough.

"Certainly, Don Pedro.  I wished to learn the difference in
embalming between the Egyptians and the ancient Peruvians, and
looked about for a South American corpse.  Unexpectedly I saw in
several European newspapers and in two English journals that a
green Peruvian mummy was for sale at Malta for one thousand
pounds.  I sent my assistant, Sidney Bolton, to buy it, and he
managed to get it, coffin and all, for nine hundred.  While in
Malta, and before he started back in The Diver with the mummy, he
wrote me an account of the transaction.  The seller--who was the
son of a Maltese collector--told Bolton that his father had
picked up the mummy in Paris some twenty and more years ago.  It
came from Lima some thirty years back, I believe, and, according
to the collector in Paris, was the corpse of Inca Caxas.  That is
the whole story."

Don Pedro nodded gravely.

"Was there a Latin manuscript delivered along with the mummy?" he
asked.

Braddock's eyes opened widely.

"No, sir.  The mummy came thirty years ago from Lima to Paris.
It passed twenty years back into the possession of the Maltese
collector, and his son sold it to me a few months ago.  I never
heard of any manuscript."

"Then Mr. Hope did not repeat to you what I told him the other
night?"

The Professor sat down and his mouth grew obstinate.

"Mr. Hope related some story you told him and others about this
mummy having been stolen from you."

"From my father," corrected the unsmiling Peruvian; keeping a
careful eye on his host; "that is really the case.  Inca Caxas
is, or was, my ancestor, and this manuscript"--Don Pedro
produced the same from his inner pocket--"details the funeral
ceremonies."

"Very interesting; most interesting," fussed Braddock, stretching
out his hand.  "May I see it?"

"You read Latin," observed Don Pedro, surrendering the
manuscript.

Braddock raised his eyebrows.

"Of course," he said simply,  "every well-educated man reads
Latin, or should do so.  Wait, sir, until I glance through this
document."

"One moment," said Don Pedro, as the Professor began to literally
devour the discolored page.  "You know from Hope, I have no
doubt, how I chance upon my own property in Europe?"

Braddock, still with his eyes on the manuscript, mumbled

"Your own property.  Quite so: quite so."

"You admit that.  Then you will no doubt restore the mummy to
me."

By this time the drift of Don Pedro's observations entirely
reached the understanding of the scientist, and he dropped the
document he was reading to leap to his feet.

"Restore the mummy to you!" he gasped.  "Why, it is mine."

"Pardon me," said the Peruvian, still gravely but very
decisively,  "you admitted that it belonged to me."

Braddock's face deepened to a fine purple.

"I didn't know what I was saying," he protested.  "How could I
say it was your property when I have bought it for nine hundred
pounds?"

"It was stolen from me."

"That has got to be proved," said Braddock caustically.

Don Pedro rose, looking more like, Don Quixote than ever.

"I have the honor to give you my word and--"

"Yes, yes.  That is all right.  I cast no imputation on your
honor."

"I should think not," said the other coldly but strongly.

"All the same, you can scarcely expect me to part with so
valuable an object,"  Braddock waved his hand towards the case,
"without strict inquiry into the circumstances.  And again, sir,
even if you succeed in proving your ownership, I am not inclined
to restore the mummy to you for nothing."

"But it is stolen property you are keeping from me."

"I know nothing about that: I have only your bare word that it is
so, Don Pedro.  All I know is that I paid nine hundred pounds for
the mummy and that it cost the best part of another hundred to
bring it to England.  What I have, I keep."

"Like your country," said the Peruvian sarcastically.

"Precisely," replied the Professor suavely.  "Every Englishman has
a bull-dog tenacity of purpose.  Brag is a good dog, Don Pedro,
but Holdfast is a better one."

"Then I understand," said the Peruvian, stretching out his hand
to pick up the fallen manuscript, "that you will keep the mummy."

"Certainly," said Braddock coolly,  "since I have paid for it.
Also, I shall keep the jewels, which the manuscript tells me--
from the glance I obtained of it--were buried with it."

"The sole jewels buried are two large emeralds which the mummy
holds in its hands," explained Don Pedro, restoring the
manuscript to his pocket,  "and I wish for them so that I may get
money to restore the fortunes of my family."

"No! no! no!" said Braddock forcibly.  "I have bought the mummy
and the jewels with it.  They will sell to supply me with money
to fit out my expedition to the tomb of Queen Tahoser."

"I shall dispute your claim," cried De Gayangos, losing his
calmness.

Braddock waved his hand with supreme content.

"I can give you the address of my lawyers," he retorted; "any
steps you choose to take will only result in loss, and from what
you hint I should not think that you had much money to spend on
litigation."

Don Pedro bit his lip, and saw that it was indeed a more
difficult task than he had anticipated to make Braddock yield up
his prize.

"If you were in Lima," he muttered, speaking Spanish in his
excitement,  "you would then learn that I speak truly."

"I do not doubt your truth," answered the Professor in the same
language.

De Gayangos wheeled and faced his host, much surprised.

"You speak my tongue, senor?" he demanded.

Braddock nodded.

"I have been in Spain, and I have been in Peru," he answered
dryly,  "therefore I know classical Spanish and its colonial
dialects.  As to being in Lima, I was there, and I do not wish to
go there again, as I had quite enough of those uncivilized parts
thirty years ago, when the country was much disturbed after your
civil war."

"You were in Lima thirty years ago," echoed Don Pedro; "then you
were there when Vasa stole this mummy."

"I don't know who stole it, or even if it was stolen," said the
Professor obstinately,  "and I don't know the name of Vasa.  Ah!
now I remember.  Young Hope did say something about the Swedish
sailor who you said stole the mummy."

"Vasa did, and brought it to Europe to sell--probably to that
man in Paris, who afterwards sold it to your Malteses collector."

"No doubt," rejoined Braddock calmly; "but what has all this to
do with me, Don Pedro?"

"I want my mummy," raged the other, and looked dangerous.

"Then you won't get it," retorted Braddock, adopting a pugnacious
attitude and quite composed.  "This mummy has caused one death,
Don Pedro, and from your looks I should think you would like it
to cause another."

"Will you not be honest?"

"I'll knock your head off if you bring my honesty into question,"
cried the Professor, standing on tip-toe like a bantam.  "The
best thing to do will be to take the matter into court.  Then the
law can decide, and I have little doubt but what it will decide
in my favor."

The Englishman and the Peruvian glared at one another, and
Cockatoo, who was crouching on the floor, glanced from one angry
face to another.  He guessed that the white men were quarreling
and perhaps would come to blows.  It was at this moment that a
knock came to the door, and a minute later Archie entered.
Braddock glanced at him, and took a sudden resolution as he
stepped forward.

"Hope, you are just in time," he declared.  "Don Pedro states
that the mummy belongs to him, and I assert that I have bought
it.  We shall make you umpire.  He wants it: I want it.  What is
to be done?"

"The mummy is my own flesh and blood, Mr. Hope," said Don Pedro.

"Precious little of either about it," said Braddock
contemptuously.

Archie twisted a chair round and straddled his long legs across
it, with his arms resting on its back.  His quick brain had
rapidly comprehended the situation, and, being acquainted with
both sides of the question, it was not difficult to come to a
decision.  If it was hard that Don Pedro should lose his
ancestor's mummy, it was equally hard that Braddock--or rather
himself--should lose the purchase money, seeing that it had been
paid in good faith to the seller in Malta for a presumably
righteously acquired object.  On these premises the young Solon
proceeded to deliver judgment.

"I understand," said he judiciously,  "that Don Pedro had the
mummy stolen from him thirty years ago, and that you, Professor,
bought it under the impression that the Maltese owner had a right
to possess it."

"Yes," snapped Braddock,  "and I daresay the Maltese owner
thought so too, since he bought it from that collector in Paris."

Hope nodded.

"And if Vasa sold it to the man in Paris," said he calmly,  "he
certainly would not tell the purchaser that he had looted the
mummy in Lima, and the poor man would not know that he was
receiving stolen goods.  Is that right, Don Pedro?"

"Yes, sir," said the Peruvian, who had recovered his temper and
his gravity;  "but I declare solemnly that the mummy was stolen
from my father and should belong to me."

"No one disputes that," said Archie cheerfully; "but it ought to
belong to the Professor also, since he has bought it.  Now, as it
can't possibly belong to two people, we must split the
difference.  You, Professor, must sell back the mummy to Don
Pedro for the price you paid for it, and then, Don Pedro, you
must recompense Professor Braddock for his loss."

"I have not much money," said Don Pedro gravely;  "still, I am
willing to do as you say."

"I don't know that I am," protested Braddock noisily.  "There are
the two emeralds which are of immense value, as Don Pedro says,
and they belong to me, since the mummy is my property."

"Professor," said Archie solemnly,  "you must do right, even if
you lose by it.  I believe the story of Senor De Gayangos; and
the mummy with its jewels belongs to him.  Besides, you only wish
to see the way in which the Inca race embalmed their dead.
Well, then, unpack the mummy here in the presence of Don Pedro.
When you have satisfied your curiosity, and when Senor De
Gayangos signs a check for one thousand pounds, he can take away
the corpse.  You have had so much trouble over it, that I wonder
your are not anxious to see the last of it."

"But the emeralds would sell for much money and would defray the
expenses of my expedition into Egypt to search for that Queen's
tomb."

"I understood from Lucy that Mrs. Jasher intended to finance that
expedition when she became your wife."

"Humph!" muttered Braddock, stroking his fat chin.  "I said a few
foolish things to her last night when I was heated up.  She may
not forgive me, Hope."

"A woman will forgive anything to the man she loves," said
Archie.

Braddock was no fool, and could not help casting a glance at his
tubby figure, which was reflected in a near mirror.  It seemed
incredible that Mrs. Jasher could love him for his looks, and the
fact that he might some day be a baronet did not strike him at
the moment as a consideration.  However, he foresaw trouble and
expense should Don Pedro go to law, as he seemed determined to
do.  Taking all things into consideration, Braddock thought that
Archie's judgment was a good one, and yielded.

"Well," he said after reflection, "let us agree.  I shall open
the case and examine the mummy, which after all is the reason why
I bought it.  When I have satisfied myself as to the difference
between the modes of embalming, Don Pedro can give me a check and
take away the mummy.  I only hope that he will have less trouble
with it than I have had," and, so speaking, Braddock, signing to
Cockatoo to bring all the necessary tools, laid hands on the
case.

"I am content," said Don Pedro briefly, and seated himself in a
chair beside the young Daniel who had delivered judgment.

Hope offered to assist the Professor to open the case, but was
dismissed with an abrupt refusal.

"Though I am glad you are present to see the mummy unpacked,"
said Braddock, laboring at the lid of the case,  "for if the
emeralds are missing, Don Pedro might accuse me of stealing
them."

"Why should the emeralds be missing?" asked Hope quickly.

Braddock shrugged his shoulders.

"Sidney Bolton was killed," said he in a low voice, "and it was
not likely that any one would commit a murder for the sake of
this mummy, and then leave it stranded in Mrs. Jasher's garden.
I have my doubts about the safety of the emeralds, else I would
not have consented to sell the thing back again."

With this honest speech, the Professor vigorously attacked the
lid of the case, and inserted a steel instrument into the cracks
to prize up the covering.  The lid was closed with wooden pegs in
an antique but perfectly safe manner, and apparently had not been
opened since the dead Inca had been laid to rest therein hundreds
of years ago among the Andean mountains.  Don Pedro winced at
this desecration of the dead, but, as he had given his consent,
there was nothing left to do but to grin and bear it.  In a
wonderfully short space of time, considering the neatness of the
workmanship and the holding power of the wooden pegs, the lid was
removed.  Then the four on-lookers saw that the mummy had been
tampered with.  Swathed in green-stained llama wool, it lay rigid
in its case.  But the swathings had been cut; the hands protruded
and the emeralds were gone--torn rudely from the hard grip of
the dead.




CHAPTER XV

AN ACCUSATION


Both Don Pedro and Professor Braddock were amazed and angry at
the disappearance of the jewels, but Hope did not express much
surprise.  Considering the facts of the murder, it was just what
he expected, although it must be confessed that he was wise after
the event.

"I refer you to your own words immediately before the case was
opened, Professor," he remarked, after the first surprise had
subsided.

"Words! words!" snapped Braddock, who was anything but pleased.
"What words of mine do you mean, Hope?"

"You said that it was not likely that any one would commit a
murder for the sake of the mummy only, and then leave it stranded
in Mrs. Jasher's garden.  Also, you declared that you had your
doubts about the safety of the emeralds, else you would not have
consented to sell the mummy again to its rightful owner."

The Professor nodded.

"Quite so: quite so.  And what I say I hold to," he retorted,
"especially as I have proved myself a true prophet.  You can both
see for yourselves," he waved his hand towards the rifled case,
"that poor Sidney must have been killed for the sake of the
emeralds.  The question is, who killed him?"

"The person who knew about the jewels," said Don Pedro promptly.

"Of course: but who did know?  I was ignorant until you told me
about the manuscript.  And you, Hope?"  He searched Archie's
face.

"Do you intend to accuse me?" questioned the young man with a
slight laugh.  "I assure you, Professor, that I was ignorant of
what had been buried with the corpse, until Don Pedro related his
story the other night to myself and Random, and the ladies."

Braddock turned impatiently to De Gayangos, as he did not approve
of Archie's apparent flippancy.

"Does any one else know of the contents of this manuscript?" he
demanded irritably.

Don Pedro nursed his chin and looked musingly on the ground.

"It is just possible that Vasa may."

"Vasa?  Vasa?  Oh yes, the sailor who stole the mummy thirty
years ago from your father in Lima.  Pooh! pooh! pooh!  You tell
me that this manuscript is written in Latin, and evidently in
monkish Latin at that, which is of the worst.  Your sailor could
not read it, and would not know the value of the manuscript.  If
he had, he would have carried it off."

"Senor," said the Peruvian politely,  "I have an idea that my
father made a translation of this manuscript, or at all events a
copy."

"But I understood," put in Hope, still astride of his chair,
"that you did not find the original manuscript until your father
died."

"That is quite true, sir," assented the other readily,  "but I
did not tell you everything the other night.  My father it was
who found the manuscript at Cuzco, and although I cannot state
authoritatively, yet I believe I am correct in saying that he had
a copy  made.  But whether the copy was merely a transcript or
actually a translation, I cannot tell.  I think it was the
former, as if Vasa, reading a translation, had learned of the
jewels, he undoubtedly would have stolen them before selling this
mummy to the Parisian collector."

"Perhaps he did," said Braddock, pointing to the rifled corpse.
"You see that the emeralds are missing."

"Your assistant's assassin stole them," insisted Don Pedro
coldly.

"We cannot be sure of that," retorted the Professor,  "although I
admit that no man would jeopardize his neck for the sake of a
corpse."

Archie looked surprised.

"But an enthusiast such as you are, Professor, might risk so
much."

For once in his life Braddock made a good-humored reply.

"No, sir.  Not even for this mummy would I place myself in the
power of the law.  And I do not think that any other scientist
would either.  We savants may not be worldly, but we are not
fools.  However, the fact remains that the jewels are gone, and
whether they were stolen by Vasa thirty years ago, or by poor
Sidney's assassin the other day, I don't know, and, what is more,
I don't care.  I shall examine the mummy further, and in a couple
of days Don Pedro can bring me a check for one thousand and
remove his ancestor."

"No! no!" cried the Peruvian hurriedly; "since the emeralds are
missing, I am not in a position to pay you one thousand English
pounds, sir.  I want to take back the body of Inca Caxas to Lima;
as one must show respect to one's ancestors.  But the fact is, I
cannot pay the money."

"You said that you could," shouted the exasperated Professor in
his bullying way.

"I admit it, senor, but I had hoped to do so when I sold the
emeralds, which--as you can see--are not available.  Therefore
the body of my royal ancestor must remain here until I can
procure the money.  And it may be that Sir Frank Random will help
me in this matter."

"He wouldn't help me," snapped Braddock,  "so why should he help
you?"

Don Pedro, looking more dignified than ever, drew himself up to
his tall height.

"Sir Frank," he said, in a stately way, "has done me the honor
of seeking to be my son-in-law.  As my daughter loves him, I am
willing to permit the marriage, but now that I have learned the
emeralds are lost, I shall not consent until Sir Frank buys the
mummy from you, Professor.  It is only right that my daughter's
hand should redeem her regal forefather from purely scientific
surroundings and that she should take the mummy back to be buried
in Lima.  At the same time, sir, I must say that I am the
rightful owner of the dead, and that you should surrender the
mummy to me free of charge."

"What, and lose a thousand pounds!" cried Braddock furiously.
"No, sir, I shall do nothing of the sort.  You only wanted the
mummy for the sake of the jewels, and now that they are lost, you
do not care what becomes of your confounded ancestor, and you--"

The Professor would have gone on still more furiously, but that
Hope, seeing Don Pedro was growing angry at the insult, chimed
in.

"Let me throw oil on the troubled waters," he said, smoothly.
"Don Pedro is not able to redeem the mummy until the emeralds are
found.  As such is the case, we must find the emeralds and enable
him to do what is necessary."

"And how are we to find the jewels?" asked Braddock crossly.

"By finding the assassin."

"How is that to be done?" asked De Gayangos gloomily.  "I have
been doing my best at Pierside, but I cannot find a single clue.
Vasa is not to be found."

"Vasa!" exclaimed Archie and the Professor, both profoundly
astonished.

Don Pedro raised his eyebrows.

"Certainly.  Vasa, if anyone, must have killed your assistant,
since he alone could have known that the jewels were buried with
Inca Caxas."

"But, my dear sir," argued Hope good-naturedly,  "if Vasa stole
the manuscript, whether translated or not, he certainly must have
learned the truth long, long ago, since thirty years have
elapsed.  In that event he must have stolen the jewels, as
Professor Braddock remarked lately, before he sold the mummy to
the Parisian collector."

"That may be so," said Don Pedro obstinately, while the Professor
muttered his approval,  "but we cannot be certain on that point.
No one--I agree with the Professor in this--would have risked
his neck to steal a mere mummy, therefore the motive for the
committal of the crime must have been the emeralds.  Only Vasa
knew of their existence outside myself and my dead father.  He,
therefore, must be the assassin.  I shall hunt for him, and, when
I find him, I shall have him arrested."

"But you can't possibly recognize the man after thirty years?"
argued Braddock disbelievingly.

"I have a royal memory for faces," said Don Pedro imperturbably,
"and in the past I saw much of Vasa.  He was then a young sailor
of twenty."

"Humph!" muttered Braddock.  "He is now fifty, and must have
changed in thirty years.  You'll never recognize him."

"Oh, I think so," said the Peruvian smoothly.  "His eyes were
peculiarly blue and full of light.  Also, he had a scar on the
right temple from a blow which he received in a street riot in
which I also was concerned.  Finally, gentlemen, Vasa loved a
peon girl on my father's estate, and she induced him to have the
sun encircled by a serpent--a Peruvian symbol--tattooed on his
left wrist.  With all these marks, and with my memory for faces,
which never yet has failed me, I have no doubt but what I shall
recognize the man."

"And then?"

"And then I shall have him arrested"

Hope shrugged his square shoulders.  He had not much belief in
Don Pedro's boasted royal memory, and did not think that he would
recognize a young sailor of twenty in what would certainly be a
grizzled old salt of fifty years.  However, it was possible that
the man might be right in his surmise, since Vasa alone could
have known about the emeralds.  The only doubt was whether he
would have waited for thirty years before looting the mummy.
Archie said nothing of these thoughts, as they would only serve
to prolong an unprofitable discussion.  But he made one
suggestion.

"Your best plan," he said suggestively,  "is to write a
description of Vasa--who, by the way, has probably changed his
name--and hand it to the police, with the promise of a reward if
he is found."

"I am very poor, senor.  Surely the Professor here--"

"I can offer nothing," said Braddock quickly,  "as I am quite as
poor as you are, if not more so, Sir Frank might help," he added
sarcastically.

"I shall not ask," said Don Pedro loftily.  "If Sir Frank chooses
to become my son-in-law by purchasing back my royal ancestor, to
which you have no right, I am willing that it should be so.  But,
poor as I am, I shall offer a reward myself, since the honor of
the De Gayangoses is involved in this matter.  What reward do you
suggest, Mr. Hope?"

"Five hundred pounds," said the Professor quickly.

"Too much," said Hope sharply--"far too much.  Make the reward
one hundred pounds, Don Pedro.  That is enough to tempt many a
man."

The Peruvian bowed and noted down the amount.

"I shall go at once to Pierside and see Inspector Date, who had
to do with the inquest," he remarked.  "Meanwhile, Professor,
please do not desecrate my royal ancestor's body more than you
can help."

"I shall certainly not search for any more emeralds," retorted
Braddock dryly.  "Now, clear out, both of you, and leave me to
examine the mummy.  Cockatoo, show these gentlemen out, and let
no one else in."

Don Pedro returned to the Warrior Hotel to inform his daughter of
what had taken place, with the intention of going in the
afternoon to Pierside.  Meanwhile, he wrote out a full
description of Vasa, making an allowance for the lapse of years
and explaining the scar and the symbol on the left wrist.  Hope
also sought Lucy and related the latest development of the case.
The girl was not surprised, as she likewise believed that the
assassin had desired more than the mummy when he murdered Sidney
Bolton.

"Mrs. Jasher did not know about the emeralds?" she asked
suddenly.

"No," replied Archie, much surprised.  "Surely you do not suspect
her of having a hand in the devilment?"

"Certainly not," was the prompt answer.  "Only I cannot
understand how the mummy came to be in her garden."

"It was brought up from the river, I expect."

"But why to Mrs. Jasher's garden?"

Hope shook his head.

"I cannot tell that.  The whole thing is a mystery, and seems
likely to remain so."

"It seems to me," said the girl, after a pause,  "that it would
be best for my father to return this mummy to Don Pedro, and have
done with it, since it seems to bring bad luck.  Then he can
marry Mrs. Jasher, and go to Egypt on her fortune to seek for
this tomb."

"I doubt very much if Mrs. Jasher will marry the Professor now,
after what he said last night."

"Nonsense, my father was in a rage and said what first came into
his mind.  I daresay she is angry.  However, I shall see her this
afternoon, and put matters right."

"You are very anxious that the Professor should marry the lady."

"I am," replied Lucy seriously,  "as I want to leave my father
comfortably settled when I marry you.  The sooner he makes Mrs.
Jasher his wife, the readier will he be to let me go, and I want
to marry you as soon as I possibly can.  I am tired of Gartley
and of this present life."

Of course to this speech Archie could make only one answer, and
as that took the form of kissing, it was entirely satisfactory to
Miss Kendal.  Then they discussed the future and also the
proposed engagement of Sir Frank Random to the Peruvian lady.
But both left the subject of the mummy alone, as they were quite
weary of the matter, and neither could suggest a solution of the
mystery.

Meanwhile Professor Braddock had passed a very pleasant hour in
examining the swathings of the mummy.  But his pleasure was
destined to be cut short sooner than he desired, as Captain Hiram
Hervey unexpectedly arrived.  Although Cockatoo--as he had been
instructed--did his best to keep him out, the sailor forced his
way in, and heralded his appearance by throwing the Kanaka
head-foremost into the museum.

"What does this mean?" demanded the fiery Professor, while
Cockatoo, with an angry expression, struggled to his feet, and
Hervey, smoking his inevitable cheroot, stood on the threshold--
"how dare you treat my property in this careless way."

"Guess your property should behave itself then," said the captain
in careless tones, and sauntered into the room.  "D'y think I'm
goin' to be chucked out by a measly nigger and--Great Scott!"--
this latter exclamation was extorted by the sight of the mummy.

Braddock motioned to the still angry Cockatoo to move aside, and
then nodded triumphantly.

"You didn't expect to see that, did you?" he asked.

Hervey came to anchor on a chair and turned the cheroot in his
mouth with an odd look at the mummy.

"When will he be hanged?"

Braddock stared.

"When will who be hanged?"

"The man as stole that thing."

"We haven't found him yet," Braddock informed him swiftly.

"Then how in creation did you annex the corpse."

The Professor sat down and explained.  The lean, long mariner
listened quietly, only nodding at intervals.  He did not seem to
be surprised when he heard that the corpse of the head Inca had
been found in Mrs. Jasher's garden, especially when Braddock
explained the whereabouts of the property.

"Wal," he drawled,  "that don't make my hair stand on end.  I
guess the garden was on his way and he used it for a cemetery."

"What are you talking about?" demanded the perplexed scientist.

"About the man who strangled your help and yanked away the
corpse."

"But I don't know who he is.  Nobody knows."

"Go slow.  I do."

"You!" Braddock started and flung himself across the room to
seize Hervey by the lapels of his reefer coat.  "You know.  Tell
me who he is, so that I can get the emeralds."

"Emeralds!"  Hervey removed Braddock's plump hands and stared
greedily.

"Don't you know?  No, of course you don't.  But two emeralds were
buried with the mummy, and they have been stolen."

"Who by?"

"No doubt by the assassin who murdered poor Sidney."

Hervey spat on the floor, and his weather-beaten face took on an
expression of, profound regret.

"I guess I'm a fool of the best."

"Why?" asked Braddock, again puzzled.

"To think," said Hervey, addressing the mummy,  "that you were on
board my boat, and I never looted you."

"What!" Braddock stamped.  "Would you have committed theft?"

"Theft be hanged!" was the reply.  "It ain't thieving to loot the
dead.  I guess a corpse hasn't got any use for jewels.  You bet
I'd have gummed straightways onto that mummy, when I brought it
from Malta in the old Diver, had I known it was a jeweler's shop
of sorts.  Huh!  Two emeralds, and I never knew.  I could kick
myself."

"You are a blackguard," gasped the astonished Professor.

"Oh, shucks!" was the elegant retort, "give it a rest.  I'm no
worse than that dandy gentleman who added murder to stealing,
anyhow."

"Ah!" Braddock bounded off his chair like an india-rubber ball,
"you said that you knew who had committed the murder."

"Wal," drawled Hervey again, "I do and I don't.  That is I
suspect, but I can't swear to the business before a judge."

"Who killed Bolton?" asked the Professor furiously.  "Tell me at
once."

"Not me, unless it's made worth my while."

"It will be, by Don Pedro."

"That yellow-stomach.  What's he got to do with it?"

"I have just told you the mummy belongs to him; he came to Europe
to find it.  He wants the emeralds, and intends to offer a reward
of one hundred pounds for the discovery of the assassin."

Hervey arose briskly.

"I'm right on the job," said he, sauntering to the door.  "I'll
go to that old inn of yours, where you say the Don's stopping,
and look him up.  Guess I'll trade."

"But who killed Bolton?" asked Braddock, running to the door and
gripping Hervey by his coat.

The mariner looked down on the anxious face of the plump little
man with a grim smile.

"I can tell you," said he,  "as you can't figure out the
business, unless I'm on the racket.  No, sir; I'm the white boy
in thin circus."

The Professor shook the lean sailor in his anxiety.

"Who is he?"

"That almighty aristocrat that came on board my ship, when I lay
in the Thames on the very afternoon I arrived with Bolton."

"Who do you mean?" demanded Braddock, more and more perplexed.

"Sir Frank Random."

"What! did he kill Bolton and steal my mummy?"

"And hide it in that garden on his way to the Fort?  I guess he
did."

The Professor sat down and closed his eyes with horror.  When he
opened them again, Hervey was gone.




CHAPTER XVI

THE MANUSCRIPT AGAIN


But the Professor was not going to let Captain Hervey escape
without giving him full information.  Before the Yankee skipper
could reach the front door, Braddock was at his heels, gasping
and blowing like a grampus.

"Come back, come back.  Tell me all."

"I reckon not," rejoined the mariner, removing Braddock's grip.
"You ain't the one to give the money.  I'll go to the Don, or to
Inspector Date of Pierside."

"But Sir Frank must be innocent," insisted Braddock.

"He's got to prove it," was the dry response.  "Let me go."

"No.  You must tell me on what grounds--"

"Oh, the devil take you!" said Hervey hastily, and sat down on
one of the hall chairs.  "It's this way, since you won't let me
skip until I tell you.  This almighty aristocrat came to Pierside
on the same afternoon as I cast anchor.  While Bolton was on
board, he looked in to have a yarn of sorts."

"What about?"

"Now, how in creation should I know?" snapped the skipper.  "I
wasn't on hand, as I'd enough to do with unloading cargo.  But
his lordship went with Bolton to the state-room, and they talked
for half an hour.  When they came out, I saw that his lordship
had his hair riz, and heard him saying things to Bolton."

"What sort of things?"

"Well, for one, he said, `You'll repent of this,' and then again,
`Your life isn't safe while you keep it.'"

"Meaning the mummy?"

"I reckon that's so, unless I am mistaken," said Hervey serenely.

"Why didn't you go to the police with this information?"

"Me?  Not much.  Why, I saw no way of making dollars.  And then,
again, I did not think of putting things together, until I found
that his lorship--"

"Meaning Sir Frank," interpolated the Professor, frowning.

"I'm talking Queen's, or King's, or Republican lingo, I guess,
and I do mean his lorship," said the skipper dryly--"until I
found that his lorship had been in the public-house where the
crime was committed."

"The Sailor's Rest?  When did he go there?"

"In the evening.  After his talk with Bolton, and after a row--
as they both seemed to have their hair off--he skipped over the
side and went back to his yacht, which wasn't far away.  Bolton
took his blamed mummy ashore and got fixed at the Sailor's Rest.
I gathered afterwards, from the second mate of The Diver (which
ain't my ship now), that his lorship came into the hotel and had
a drink.  Afterwards my second mate saw him talking to Bolton
through the window."

"In the same place as the woman talked?" questioned the
Professor.

"That's so, only it was later in the evening that the woman came
along to give chin-music through the window.  I am bound to say,"
added the captain generously,  "that no one I can place my hand
on saw his lorship loafing about the hotel after dark.  But what
of that?  He may have laid his plans, and arranged for the corpse
to be found later, in that blamed packing case."

"Is this all your evidence?"

"It's enough, I guess."

"Not to procure a warrant."

"Why, a man in the States would be electrocuted on half the
evidence."

"I daresay," retorted the little man with contempt, "but we are
in a land where justice of the purest prevails.  All your
evidence is circumstantial.  It proves nothing."

The captain was considerably nettled.

"I calculate that it proves Sir Frank wanted the mummy, else why
did he come on board my ship to see your infernal assistant.  The
words he used showed that he was warning Bolton how he'd do for
him.  And then he talked through the window, and was in the
public-house, which ain't a place for an almighty aristocrat to
shelter in.  I guess he's the man wanted by the police.  Why,"
added Hervey, warming to his tale, "he'd a slap-up yacht laying
near the blamed hotel, and could easily ship the corpse, after
slipping it through the window.  When he got tired of it, and
looted the emeralds, he took it by boat, below the Fort, to Mrs.
Jasher's garden and left it there, so as to pull the wool over
the eyes of the police.  It's as clear as mud to me.  You search
his lorship's shanty, and you'll find the emeralds."

"It is strange," muttered Braddock unwillingly.

"Strange, but not true," said a voice from the head of the
stairs, and young Hope came down leisurely, with a pale face, but
a very determined air.  "Random is absolutely innocent."

"How do you know?" demanded the skipper contemptuously.

"Because he is an English gentleman and my very good friend."

"Huh!  I guess that defense won't save him from being lynched."

Meanwhile Braddock was looking irritably at Archie.

"You've been listening to a private conversation, sir.  How dare
you listen?"

"If you hold private conversations at the top of your voices in
the hall, you must be expected to be listened to," said Archie
coolly.  "I plead guilty, and I am not sorry."

"When did you come?"

"In time to hear all that Captain Hervey has explained.  I was
chatting with Lucy, and had just left her, when I heard your loud
voices."

"Has Lucy heard anything?"

"No.  She is busy in her room.  But I'll tell her," Hope turned
to mount the stairs;  "she likes Random, and will no more believe
him guilty than I do at this present moment."

"Stop!" cried Braddock, flying forward to pull Hope back, as he
placed his foot on the first stair.  "Tell Lucy nothing just now.
We must go to the Fort, you--and I, to see Random.  Hervey, you
come also, and then you can accuse Sir Frank to his face."

"If he dares to do it!" said Archie, who looked and felt
indignant.

"Oh, I'll accuse him right enough when the time comes," said
Hervey in his coolest manner,  "but the time isn't now.  Savy!  I
am going to see the Don first and make sure of this reward."

"Faugh!" cried Hope with disgust,  "Blood-money!"

"What of that?  Ifs a man is a murderer he should be lynched."

"My friend, Sir Frank Random, is no murderer."

"He's got to prove, that, as I said before," rejoined the Yankee
in a calm way, and strolled to the door.  "So-long, gents both.
I'll light out for the Warrior Inn and play my cards.  And I may
tell you," he added, pausing at the door, which he opened, "that
I haven't got that blamed wind-jammer, so need money to hold out
until another steamer comes along.  One hundred pounds English
currency will just fill the bill.  So now you know the lay I'm
on.  So-long," and he walked quietly out of the house, leaving
Archie and Braddock looking at one another with pale faces.  The
assurance of Hervey surprised and horrified them.  Still, they
could not believe that Sir Frank Random had been guilty of so
brutal a crime.

"For one thing," said Hope after a pause,  "Random did not know
where the emeralds were to be found, or even that they existed."

"I understood that he did know," said Braddock reluctantly.  "In
my hearing, and in your own, you heard Don Pedro state that he
had related the story of the manuscript to Random."

"You forget that I learned about the emeralds at the same time,"
said Hope quietly.  "Yet this Yankee skipper does not accuse me.
The knowledge of the emeralds came to Random's ears and to mine
long after the crime was committed.  To have a motive for killing
Bolton and stealing the emeralds, Random would have had to know
when he arrived in England."

"And why should he have not known?" asked the Professor, biting
his lip vexedly.  "I don't want to accuse Random, or even to
doubt him, as he is a very good fellow, even though he refused to
assist me with money when I desired a reward to be offered.  All
the same, he met Don Pedro in Genoa, and it is just possible that
the man told him of the jewels buried with the mummy."

Archie shook his head.

"I doubt that," said he thoughtfully.  "Random was as astonished
as the rest of us, when Don Pedro told his Arabian Night story.
However, the point can be easily settled by sending for Random.
I daresay he is at the Fort."

"I shall send Cockatoo for him at once," said the Professor
quickly, and walked into the museum to instruct the Kanaka.
Archie remained where he was, and seated himself on a chair, with
folded arms and knitted brows.  It was incredible that an English
gentleman with a stainless name and such a well-known soldier
should commit so terrible a crime.  And the matter of Hervey's
accusation was complicated by the fact--of which Hervey was
ignorant--that Don Pedro was willing that Random should become
his son-in-law.  Hope wondered what the fiery, proud Peruvian
would say when he heard his friend denounced.  His reflections on
this point were cut short by the return of the Professor, who
appeared at the door of the museum dismissing Cockatoo.  When the
Kanaka took his departure, Braddock beckoned to the young man.

"There is no reason why we should talk in the hall, and let the
whole house know of this new difficulty," he said in a testy
manner.  "Come in here."

Hope entered and looked with ill-concealed repugnance at the
uncanny shape of the green mummy, which was lying on a long
table.  He examined the portions where the swathings had been cut
with some sharp instrument, to reveal the dry, bony hands, which
formerly had held the costly jewels.  The face was invisible and
covered with a mask of dull beaten gold.  Formerly the eyes had
been jeweled, but these last were now absent.  He pointed out the
mask to the Professor, who was hovering over the weird dead with
a large magnifying-glass.

"It is strange," said Hope earnestly,  "that the mask of gold was
not stolen also, since it is so valuable."

"Unless melted down, the mask could be traced," said Braddock
after a pause.  "The jewels, according to Don Pedro, are of
immense value, and so could have been got rid of easily.  Random
was satisfied with those."

"Don't talk of him in that way, as though his guilt was certain,"
said Hope, wincing.

"Well, you must admit that the evidence against him is strong."

"But purely circumstantial."

"Circumstantial evidence has hanged many an innocent man before
now.  Humph!" said Braddock uneasily,  "I hope it won't hang our
friend.  However, we shall hear what he has to say.  I have sent
Cockatoo to the Fort to bring him here at once.  If Random is
absent, Cockatoo is to leave a note in his room, on the
writing-table."

"Would it not have been better to have told Cockatoo to give the
note to Random's servant?"

"I think not," responded Braddock dryly.  "Random's servant is
certainly one of the most stupid men in the entire army.  He
would probably forget to give him the note, and as it is
important that we should see Random at once, it is better that he
should find it placed personally on his writing-table by
Cockatoo, upon whom I can depend."

Archie abandoned the argument, as it really mattered very little.
He took up another line of conversation.

"I expect if the criminal tries to dispose of the emeralds he
will be caught," said he:  "such large jewels are too noticeable
to escape comment."

"Humph!  It depends upon the cleverness of the thief," said the
Professor, who was more taken up with the mummy than with the
conversation,  "He might have the jewels cut into smaller stones,
or he might go to India and dispose of them to some Rajah, who
would certainly say nothing.  I don't know how criminals act
myself, as I have never studied their methods.  But I hope that
the clue you mention will be hit upon, if only for Random's
sake."

"I don't believe for one moment that Random is in danger," said
Archie,  "and, if he is, I shall turn detective myself."

"I wish you joy," replied Braddock, bending over the mummy.
"Look, Hope, at the wonderful color of this wool.  There are some
arts we have lost completely--dyeing of this surprising beauty
is one.  Humph!" mused the archaeologist,  "I wonder why this
particular mummy is dyed green, or rather why it is wrapped in
green bandages.  Yellow was the royal color of the ancient
Peruvian monarchs.  Vicuna wool dyed yellow.  What do you think,
Hope?  It is strange."

Archie shrugged his shoulders.

"I can say nothing, because I know nothing," he said sharply.
"All I do know is that I wish this precious mummy had never been
brought here.  It has caused trouble ever since its arrival."

"Well," said Braddock, surveying the dead with some disfavor,  "I
must say that I shall be glad to see the last of it myself.  I
know now all that I wanted to know!  Humph!  I wonder if Don
Pedro will allow me to strip the mummy?  Of course!  It is mine
not his.  I shall unswathe it entirely," and Braddock was about
to lay sacrilegious hands on the dead, when Cockatoo entered
breathlessly.  He had been so quick that he must have run to the
Fort and back again.

"I knock at door," said the Kanaka, delivering his message, "and
I hear no voice.  I go in and find no one, so I put the letter on
the table.  I come down and ask, and a soldier tells me, sir, his
master is coming back in half an hour."

"You should have waited," said Braddock, waving Cockatoo aside.
"Come along with me to the Fort, Hope."

"But Random will come here as soon as he returns."

"Very likely, but I can't wait.  I am anxious to hear what he has
to say in his defense.  Come, Cockatoo, my coat, my hat, my
gloves.  Stir yourself, you scoundrel!"

Archie was not unwilling to go, since he was anxious also to hear
what Random would say to the absurd accusation brought against
him by the Yankee.  In a few minutes the two men were walking
smartly down the road through the village, the Professor striving
to keep up with Hope's longer legs by trotting as hard as he
could.  Halfway down the village they met a trap, and in it
Captain Hervey being driven to the Jessum railway station.

"Have you seen Don Pedro?" asked the Professor, stopping the
vehicle.

"I reckon not," answered Hervey stolidly.  "He's gone into
Pierside to see the police.  I'm off there also."

"You had better come with us," said Archie sternly;--"we are
going to see Sir Frank Random."

"Give him my respects," said the skipper cold-bloodedly,  "and
say that he's worth one hundred pounds to me," he waved his hand
and the trap moved away, but he looked back with a wry smile.
"Say I'll square the matter for double the money and command of
his yacht."

Braddock and Archie looked after the trap in disgust.

"What a scoundrel the man is!" said the Professor pettishly;
"he'd sell his father for what he could get."

"It shows how much his word is to be depended upon.  I expect
this accusation of Random is a put-up job."

"I hope so, for Random's sake," said Braddock, trotting briskly
along.

In a short time they arrived at the Fort and were informed that
Sir Frank had not yet returned, but was expected back every
moment.  In the meanwhile, as Braddock and Hope were both
extremely well known, they were shown into Random's quarters,
which were on the first floor.  When the soldier-servant retired
and the door was closed, Hope seated himself near the window,
while Braddock trotted round, looking into things.

"It's a dog kennel," said the Professor.  "I told Random that."

"Perhaps we should have waited him in the mess," suggested
Archie.

"No! no! no!  We couldn't talk there, with a lot of silly young
fools hanging about.  I told Random that I would never enter the
mess, so he invited me to come always to his quarters.  He was in
love with Lucy then," chuckled the Professor, "and nothing was
too good for me."

"Not even the dog kennel," said Hope dryly, for the Professor's
chatter was so rude as to be quite annoying.

"Pooh! pooh! pooh!  Random doesn't mind a joke.  You, Hope, have
no sense of humor.  Your name is Scotch also.  I believe you are
a Caledonian."

"I am nothing of the sort.  I was born on this side of the
border."

"You might have been born at the North Pole for all I care," said
the little man politely.  "I don't like artists: they are usually
silly.  I wish Lucy had married a man of science.  Now don't talk
rubbish.  I know what you are going to say."

"Well," said Archie, humoring him,  "what am I going to say?"

This non-plussed the irritable savant.

"Hum! Hum! hum!  I don't know and don't care.  Pouf!  How hot
this room is!  What a number of books of travel Random has!"
Braddock was now at the bookcase, which consisted of shelves
swung by cords against the wall.

"Random travels a great deal," Archie reminded him.

"Quite so: quite so.  Wastes his money on that silly yacht.  But
he hasn't traveled in South America.  I expect he's going there.
Come here, Hope, and see the many, many books about Peru and
Chili and Brazil.  There must be a dozen, and all library books
too."

Archie sauntered towards the shelves.

"I expect Random is getting up the subject of South America, so
as to talk to Donna Inez."

"Probably! probably!" snapped Braddock, pulling several of the
books out of place.  "Why, there isn't a-- Ah, dear me!  What a
catastrophe!"

He might well say so, for in his desire to examine the books,
they all tipped off the shelves and lay in a disorderly heap on
the floor.  Hope began to pick them up and replace them, and so
did the author of the mischief.  Among the books were several
papers scribbled with notes, and Braddock bundled these all in a
heap..  Shortly, he caught sight of the writing on one.

"Hullo!  Latin," said he, and read a line or two.  "Oh!" he
gasped,  "Hope!  Hope!  The manuscript of Don Pedro!"

"Impossible!"

Archie rose and stared at the discolored paper.

"Sorry to have kept you," said Random, entering at this moment.

"You villain!" shouted Braddock furiously,  "so you are guilty
after all?"




CHAPTER XVII

CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE


Random was so taken aback by the fierce accusation of the
Professor that he stood suddenly still at the door, and did not
advance into the room.  Yet he did not look so much afraid as
puzzled.  Whatever Braddock might have thought, Hope, from the
expression on the young soldier's face, was more than ever
satisfied of his innocence.

"What are you talking about, Professor?" asked Random, genuinely
surprised.

"You know well enough," retorted the Professor.

"Upon my word I don't," said the other, walking into the room and
unbuckling his sword.  "I find you here, with the contents of my
bookcase on the floor, and you promptly accuse me of being
guilty.  Of what, I should like to know?  Perhaps you can tell me
Hope."

"There is no need for Hope to tell you, sir.  You are perfectly
well aware of your own villainy."

Random frowned.

"I allow a certain amount of latitude to my guests, Professor,"
he said with marked dignity,  "but for a man of your age and
position you go too far.  Be more explicit."

"Allow me to speak," intervened Archie, anticipating Braddock.
"Random, the Professor has just had a visit from Captain Hiram
Hervey, who was the skipper of The Diver.  He accuses you of
having murdered Bolton!"

"What?" the baronet started back, looking thunderstruck.

"Wait a moment.  I have not finished yet.  Hervey accuses you of
this murder, of stealing the mummy, of gaining possession of the
emeralds, and of placing the rifled corpse in Mrs. Jasher's
garden, so that she might be accused of committing the crime."

"Exactly," cried Braddock, seeing that his host remained silent
from sheer surprise.  "Hope has stated the case very clearly.
Now, sir, your defense?"

"Defense! defense!"  Random found his tongue at last and spoke
indignantly.  "I have no defense to make."

"Ah!  Then you acknowledge your guilt?"

"I acknowledge nothing.  The accusation is too preposterous for
any denial to be necessary.  Do you believe this of me?" He
looked from one to the other.

"I don't," said Archie quickly,  "there is some mistake."

"Thank you, Hope.  And you, Professor?"

Braddock fidgeted about the room.

"I don't know what to think," he said at length.  "Hervey spoke
very decisively."

"Oh, indeed," returned Random dryly, and, walking to the door, he
locked it.  "In that case, I must ask you for an explanation, and
neither of you shall leave this room until one is given.  Your
proofs?"

"Here is one of them," snapped Braddock, throwing the manuscript
on the table.  "Where did you get this?"

Random took up the discolored paper with a bewildered air.

"I never set eyes on this before," he said, much puzzled.  "What
is it?"

"A copy of the manuscript mentioned by Don Pedro, which describes
the two emeralds buried with the mummy of Inca Caxas."

"I see."  Random understood all in a moment.  "So you say that I
knew of the emeralds from this, and so murdered Bolton to obtain
them."

"Pardon me," said Braddock with elaborate politeness.  "Hervey
says that you murdered my poor assistant, and although my
discovery of this manuscript proves that you must have known
about the jewels, I say nothing.  I wait to hear your defense."

"That's very good of you," remarked Sir Frank ironically.  "So it
seems that I am in the dock.  Perhaps the counsel for the
prosecution will state the evidence against me," and he looked
again from one to the other.

Archie shook the baronet by the hand very warmly.

"My dear fellow," he declared decidedly,  "I don't believe one
word of the evidence."

"In that case there must be a flaw in it," retorted Random, but
did not seem to be unmoved by Hope's generous action.  "Sit down,
Professor; it appears that you are against me."

"Until I hear your defense," said the old man obstinately.

"I cannot make any until I hear your evidence.  Go on.  I am
waiting," and Sir Frank flung himself into a chair, where he sat
calmly, his eyes steadily fixed on the Professor's face.

"Where did you get that manuscript?" asked Braddock sharply.

"I got it nowhere: this is the first time I have seen it."

"Yet it was hidden amongst your books."

"Then I can't say how it got there.  Were you looking for it?"

"No!  Certainly not.  To pass the time while waiting, I examined
your library, and in pulling out a book, your case, being a swing
one, over-balanced and shot its contents on to the floor.
Amongst the papers which fell with the books, I caught a glimpse
of the manuscript, and, noting that it was written in Latin, I
picked it up, surprised to think that a frivolous young man, such
as you are, should study a dead language.  A few words showed me
that the manuscript was a copy of the one referred to by Don
Pedro."

"One moment," said Archie, who had been thinking.  "Perhaps this
is the original manuscript, which De Gayangos has given to you,
Random."

"It is good of you to afford me a loophole of escape," said Sir
Frank, leaning back with folded arms,  "but De Gayangos gave me
nothing.  I saw the manuscript in his hands, when he showed it to
us all at Mrs. Jasher's.  But whether this is the original or a
copy I can't say.  Don Pedro certainly did not give it to me."

"Has Don Pedro been in your quarters?" asked Hope thoughtfully.

"No.  He has only visited me in the mess.  And even if Don Pedro
did come in here--for I guess what is in your mind--I really do
not see why he should slip a manuscript which he values highly
amongst my books."

"Then you really never saw this before?" said Braddock,
indicating the paper on the table, and impressed by Random's
earnestness.

"How often do you want me to deny it?" retorted the young man
impatiently.  "Perhaps you will state on what grounds I am
accused?"

Braddock nodded and cleared his throat.

"Captain Hervey declared that your yacht arrived at Pierside
almost at the same time as his steamer."

"Quite right.  When Don Pedro received a wire from Malta stating
that the mummy had been sold to you, and that it was being
shipped to London on The Diver, I got up steam at once, and
chased the tramp to that port.  As the tramp was slow, and my
boat was fast, I arrived on the same day and almost at the same
hour, even though Hervey's boat had the start of mine."

"Why were you anxious to follow The Diver?" asked Hope.

"Don Pedro wished to get back the mummy, and asked me to follow.
As I was in love with Donna Inez, and still am, I was only too
willing to oblige him."

Braddock nodded again.

"Hervey says that you went on board The Diver, and had an
interview with Bolton."

"That is perfectly true, and my visit was paid for the same
reason as I followed the steamer to London--that is, I acted on
behalf of Don Pedro.  I wished to ascertain for certain that the
mummy was on board, and having done so from Bolton, I urged him
to induce you to give back the same, free of charge, to De
Gayangos, from whom it had been stolen.  He refused, as he
declared that he intended to deliver it to you."

"I knew I could always trust Bolton," said the Professor
enthusiastically.  "It would have been better for you to have
come to me, Random."

"I daresay; but I wished, as I told you, to make certain that the
mummy was on board.  That was the real reason for my visit; but,
being in Bolton's company, I naturally told him that Don Pedro
claimed the mummy as his property, and warned him that if you or
he kept the same, that there would be trouble."

"Did you use threats?" asked Hope, remembering what he had
overheard.

"No; certainly not."

"Yes, you did," cried Braddock quickly.  "Hervey declares that
you told Bolton that he would repent of keeping the mummy, and
that his life would not be safe while he held it."

To the surprise of both visitors, Random admitted using these
serious threats without a moment's hesitation.

"Don Pedro told me that many Indians, both in Lima and Cuzco, who
look upon him as the lawful descendant of the last Inca, are
anxiously expecting the return of the royal mummy.  He also
stated that when the Indians knew who held the mummy they would
send one of themselves to get it back, if he--Don Pedro, that is
--did not fetch it.  To get back the mummy Don Pedro declared
that these Indians would not stop short of murder.  Hence my
warning to Bolton."

"Oh!" Archie jumped up with widely opened eyes.  "Then perhaps
this solves the problem.  Bolton was murdered by some Peruvian
Indian."

Random shook his head gravely.

"Again you offer me a loophole of escape, my dear fellow," he
said sententiously, "but that theory will not hold water.  At
present the Indians in Lima and Cuzco do not know that the mummy
has been found.  Don Pedro only chanced upon the paper which
announced the sale by accident and had no time to communicate
with his barbaric friends in South America.  Failing to get the
mummy from you, Professor, he would have returned to Peru and
then would have told who possessed the corpse of Inca Caxas,
leaving the Indians to deal with the matter.  In that case my
warning to Bolton would be necessary.  But at the time I told
him, it was not necessary.  However, Bolton remained true to you,
Professor, and declined to surrender the mummy.  I therefore
wired to Don Pedro at Genoa that the mummy was on board The
Diver and was being sent to Gartley.  I also advised him to come
to me here in order to be introduced to you.  The rest you know."

There was a moment's silence.  Then Archie, to test if Random was
willing to admit everything--as an innocent man certainly
would--asked significantly

"Did you see Bolton again after your interview on board ship?"

It was then that the baronet proved his good faith.

"Oh, yes," he said easily and without hesitation.  "I was walking
about Pierside later, and, passing along that waterside alley
near the Sailor's Rest, I saw a window on the ground floor open,
and Bolton looking out across the river.  I stopped and asked him
when he proposed to take the mummy to Gartley, and if it was on
shore.  He admitted that it was in the hotel, but declined to say
when he would send it on to you, Professor.  When he closed the
window, I afterwards went into the hotel and had a drink in order
to ask casually when Mr. Bolton intended to leave.  I gathered--
not directly, of course, but in a roundabout way--that he had
arranged to go next morning and to send on his luggage.  Then I
left and went to London.  In the course of time I returned here
and learned of the murder and the disappearance of the corpse of
Inca Caxas.  And now," Random stood up, "having admitted all
this, perhaps you will believe me to be innocent."

"You have no idea who murdered Bolton and placed his body in the
packing case?" asked Braddock, manifestly disappointed.

"'No.  No more than I have any idea of the person who placed the
mummy case and its contents in Mrs. Jasher's garden."

"Oh, you know that!" said Archie quickly.

"Yes.  The news was all over the village this morning.  I could
hardly help knowing it.  And I believe that the mummy has been
taken to your house, Professor."

"It has," admitted Braddock dryly.  "I took it myself from Mrs.
Jasher's arbor in a hand-cart, with the assistance of Cockatoo.
But when I made an examination this morning in the presence of
Hope and Don Pedro, I found that the swathings of the body had
been ripped up, and that the emeralds mentioned in that
manuscript had been stolen."

"Strange!" said Random with a frown; "and by whom?"

"No doubt by the assassin of Sidney Bolton."

"Probably."  Random kicked a mat straight with his foot.  "At any
rate the theft of the emeralds shows that it was not any Indian
who killed Bolton.  None of them would rifle so sacred a corpse."

"Besides which--as you say--the Indians in Peru do not know
that the mummy has reappeared after thirty years' seclusion,"
chimed in Hope, rising.  "Well, and what is to be done now?"

For answer Sir Frank picked up the manuscript which still
remained on the table.

"I shall see Don Pedro about this," he said quietly, "and
ascertain if it is the original or a copy."

Braddock rose slowly and stared at the paper.

"Do you know Latin?" he asked.

"No," rejoined Random, knowing what the savant meant.  "I learned
it, of course, but I have forgotten much.  I might translate a
word or two, but certainly not the hedge-priest Latin in which
this is written."  He looked carefully at the manuscript as he
spoke.

"But who could have placed it in your room?" questioned Archie.

"We cannot learn that until we see Don Pedro.  If this is the
original manuscript which we saw the other night, we may learn
how it passed from the possession of De Gayangos to my bookcase.
If it is a copy, then we must learn, if possible, who owned it."

"Don Pedro said that a transcript or a translation had been
made," mentioned Hope.

"Evidently a transcript," said Braddock, glaring at the paper in
Random's hand.  "But how could that find its way from Lima to
this place?"

"It might have been packed up with the mummy," suggested Archie.

"No," contradicted Random decisively,  "in that event, the man in
Malta from whom the mummy was bought would have discovered the
emeralds, and would have taken them."

"Perhaps he did.  We have nothing to show that Bolton's assassin
committed the crime for the sake of the jewels."

"He must have done so," cried the Professor, irritably,  "else
there is no motive for the commission of the crime.  But I think
myself that we must start at the other end to find a clue.  When
we discover who placed the mummy in Mrs. Jasher's garden--"

"That will not be easy," murmured Hope thoughtfully,  "though, of
course, the same must have been brought by river.  Let us go down
to the embankment and see if there are any signs of a boat having
been brought there last night," and he moved to the door.
"Random?"

"I cannot leave the Fort, as I am on duty," replied the officer,
putting the manuscript away in a drawer and locking the same,
"but this evening I shall see Don Pedro, and in the meanwhile I
shall endeavor to learn from my servant who visited me lately
while I was absent.  The manuscript must have been brought here
by someone.  But I trust," he added as he escorted his two
visitors to the door,  "that you now acquit me of--"

"Yes! yes! yes!" cried Braddock, hastily cutting him short and
shaking his hand.  "I apologize for my suspicions.  Now I
maintain that you are innocent."

"And I never believed you to be guilty," cried Hope heartily.

"Thank you both," said Random simply, and, having closed the
door, he returned to a chair near the fire to smoke a pipe, and
meditate over his future movements.  "An enemy hath done this,"
said Random, referring to the concealment of the manuscript, but
he could think of no one who desired to harm him in any way.




CHAPTER XVIII

RECOGNITION


Lucy and Mrs. Jasher were having a confidential conversation in
the small pink drawing-room.  True to her promise, Miss Kendal
had come to readjust matters between the fiery little Professor
and the widow.  But it was not an easy task, as Mrs. Jasher was
righteously indignant at the rash words used to her.

"As if I knew anything about the matter," she repeated again and
again in angry tones.  "Why, my dear, he as good as told me I had
murdered--"

Lucy did not let her finish.

"There! there!" she said, speaking as she would have done to a
fretful child, "you know what my father is."

"It seems to me that I am just beginning to learn," said the
widow bitterly,  "and knowing how ready he is to believe ill of
me, I think it is better we should part for ever."

"But you'll never be Lady Braddock."

"Even if I married him, I am not sure that I should be, since I
learn that his brother is singularly healthy and comes of a long-
lived family.  And it will not be pleasant to live with your
father when he has such a temper."

"That was only because he was excited.  Think of your salon, and
of the position you wish to hold in, London."

"Ah, well," said Mrs. Jasher, visibly softening,  "there is
something to be said there.  After all, one can never find a man
who is perfection.  And a very amiable man is usually a fool.
One can't expect a rose to be without thorns.  But really, my
dear," she surveyed Lucy with mild surprise,  "you appear to be
very anxious that I should marry your father."

"I want to see my father made comfortable before I marry Archie,"
said the girl with a blush.  "Of course my father is quite a
child in household affairs and needs everything done for him.
Archie--I am glad to say--is now in a position to marry me in
the spring.  I want you to be married about the same time, and
then you can live in Gartley, and--"

"No, my dear," said Mrs. Jasher firmly,  "if I marry your father,
he wishes us to go at once to Egypt in search of this tomb."

"I know that he wants you to help with the money left to you by
your late brother.  But surely you will not go up the Nile
yourself?"

"No, certainly not," said the widow promptly.  "I shall remain in
Cairo while the Professor goes on his excursion into Ethiopia.  I
know that Cairo is a very charming place, and that I shall be
able to enjoy myself there."

"Then you have decided to forgive my father for his rash words?"

"I must," sighed Mrs. Jasher.  "I am so tired of being an
unprotected widow without a recognized position in the world.
Even with my brother's money,--not that it is so very much--I
shall still be looked upon askance if I go into society.  But as
Mrs. Braddock, or Lady Braddock, no one will dare to say a word
against me.  Yes, my dear, if your father comes and, asks my
pardon he shall have it.  We women are so weak," ended the widow
virtuously, as if she was not making a virtue of necessity.

Things being thus settled, the two talked on amiably for some
time, and discussed the chances of Random marrying Donna Inez.
Both acknowledged that the Peruvian lady was handsome enough, but
had not a word to say for herself.

While thus chattering, Professor Braddock trotted into the room,
looking brisk and bright from his stroll in the cold frosty air.
Gifted as he was with scientific assurance, the little man was
not at all taken aback by the cold reception of Mrs. Jasher, but
rubbed his hands cheerfully.

"Ah, there you are, Selina," said he, looking like a bright-eyed
robin.  "I hope you are feeling well."

"How can you expect me to feel well after what you said?"
remarked Mrs. Jasher reproachfully, and anxious to make a virtue
of forgiveness.

"Oh, I beg pardon: I beg pardon.  Surely, Selina, you are not
going to make a fuss over a trifle like that?"

"I did not give you permission to call me Selina."

"Quite so.  But as we are to be married, I may as well get used
to your Christian name, my dear."

"I am not so sure that we will be married," said Mrs. Jasher
stiffly.

"Oh, but we must," cried Braddock in dismay.  "I am depending
upon your money to finance my expedition to Queen Tahoser's
tomb."

"I see," observed the widow coldly, while Lucy sat quietly by and
allowed the elder woman to conduct the campaign, "you want me for
my money.  There is no love in the question."

"My dear, as soon as I have the time--say during our voyage to
Cairo, whence we start inland up the Nile for Ethiopia--I shall
make love whenever you like.  And, confound it, Selina, I admire
you no end--to use a slang phrase.  You are a fine woman and a
sensible woman, and I am afraid that you are throwing yourself
away on a snuffy old man like myself."

"Oh no!  no!  Pray do not say that," cried Mrs. Jasher, visibly
moved by this flattery.  "You will make a very good husband if
you will only strive to govern your temper."

"Temper!  temper!  Bless the woman--I mean you, Selina--I have
the very best temper in the world.  However, you shall govern it
and myself also if you like.  Come," he took her hand,  "let us
be friends and fix the wedding day."

Mrs. Jasher did not withdraw her hand.

"Then you do not believe that I have anything to do with this
terrible murder?" she asked playfully.

"No! no!  I was heated last night.  I spoke rashly and hastily.
Forgive and forget, Selina.  You are innocent--quite innocent,
in spite of the mummy being in your confounded garden.  After
all, the evidence is stronger against Random than against you.
Perhaps he put it there: it's on his way to the Fort, you see.
Never mind.  He has exonerated himself, and no doubt, when
confronted with Hervey, will be able to silence that blackguard.
And I am quite sure that Hervey is a blackguard," ended Braddock,
rubbing his bald head.

The two ladies looked at one another in amazement, not knowing
what to say.  They were ignorant of the theft of the emeralds and
of the accusation of Sir Frank by the Yankee skipper.  But, with
his usual absentmindedness, Braddock had forgotten all about
that, and sat in his chair rubbing his head quite pink and
rattling on cheerfully.

"I went down with Hope to the embankment," he continued, "but
neither of us could see any sign of a boat.  There's the rude,
short jetty, of course, and if a boat came, a boat could go away
without leaving any trace.  Perhaps that is so.  However, we must
wait until we see Don Pedro and Hervey again, and then--"

Lucy broke in desperately.

"What are you talking about, father?  Why do you bring in Sir
Frank's name in that way?"

"What do you expect me to say?" retorted the little man.  "After
all, the manuscript was found in his room, and the emeralds are
gone.  I saw that for myself, as did Hope and Don Pedro, in whose
presence I opened the mummy case."

Mrs. Jasher rose in her astonishment.

"Are the emeralds gone?" she gasped.

"Yes! yes! yes!" cried Braddock irritably.  "Am I not telling you
so?  I almost believe in Hervey's accusation of Random, and yet
the boy exonerated himself very forcibly--very forcibly indeed."

"Will you explain all that has happened, father?" said Lucy, who
was becoming more and more perplexed by this rambling chatter.
"We are quite in the dark."

"So am I: so is Hope: so is every one," chuckled Braddock.  "Ah,
yes: of course, you were not present when these events took
place."

"What events?--what events?" demanded Mrs. Jasher, now quite
exasperated.

"I am about to tell you," snapped her future husband, and related
all that had taken place since the arrival of Captain Hervey in
the museum at the Pyramids.  The women listened with interest and
with growing astonishment, only interrupting the narrator with a
simultaneous exclamation of indignation when they heard that Sir
Frank was accused.

"It is utterly and wholly absurd," cried Lucy angrily.  "Sir
Frank is the soul of honor."

"So I think, my dear," chimed in Mrs. Jasher.  "And what does he
say to--?"

Braddock interrupted.

"I am about to tell you, if you will stop talking," he cried
crossly.  "That is so like a woman.  She asks for an explanation
and then prevents the man from giving it.  Random offers a very
good defense, I am bound to say," and he detailed what Sir Frank
had said.

When the history was finished, Lucy rose to go.

"I shall see Archie at once," she said, moving hastily, towards
the door.

"What for?" demanded her father benignly.

Lucy turned.

"This thing can't go on," she declared resolutely.  "Mrs. Jasher
was accused by you, father--"

"Only in a heated moment," cried the Professor, excusing himself.

"Never mind, she was accused," retorted Lucy stubbornly,  "and
now this sailor accuses Sir Frank.  Who knows who will be charged
next with committing the crime?  I shall ask Archie to take the
matter up, and hunt down the real criminal.  Until the guilty
person is found, I foresee that we shall never have a moment's
peace."

"I quite agree with you," said Mrs. Jasher earnestly.  "For my
own sake I wish the matter of this mystery to be cleared up.  Why
don't you help me?" she added, turning to Braddock, who listened
placidly.

"I am helping," said Braddock quietly.  "I intend to set Cockatoo
on the trail at once.  He shall take up his abode in the Sailor's
Rest on some pretext, and no doubt will be able to find a clue."

"What?" cried the widow incredulously,  "a savage like that?"

"Cockatoo is much cleverer than the average white man," said
Braddock dryly, "especially in following a trail.  He, if any
one, will learn the truth.  I would much rather trust the Kanaka
than young Hope."

"Nonsense!" cried Lucy, standing up for her lover.  "Archie is
the one to discover the assassin.  I'll see him at once.  And
you, father?"

"I, my dear," said the Professor calmly,  "shall remain here and
make my peace with the future Mrs. Braddock."

"You have made it already," said the widow graciously, and
extended her hand, which the Professor kissed unexpectedly, and
then sat back in his chair, looking quite abashed at his outburst
of gallantry.

Seeing that everything was going well, Lucy left the elderly
couple to continue their courting, and hurried to Archie's
lodgings in the village.  However, he happened to be out, and his
landlady did not know when he would return.  Rather annoyed by
this, since she greatly desired to unbosom herself, Miss Kendal
walked disconsolately towards the Pyramids.  On the way she was
stopped by Widow Anne, looking more dismal and funereal than
ever, and garrulous with copious draughts of gin.  Not that she
was intoxicated, but her tongue was loose, and she wept freely
for no apparent reason.  According to herself, she had stopped
Lucy to demand back from Mr. Hope through the girl certain
articles of attire which had been borrowed for artistic purposes.
These, consisting of a shawl and a skirt and a bodice, were of
extraordinary value, and Mrs. Bolton wanted them back or their
equivalent in value.  She mentioned that she would prefer the sum
of five pounds.

"Why do you not ask Mr. Hope yourself?" said Lucy who was too
impatient to bear with the old creature's maunderings.  "If you
gave him the things he will no doubt return them."

"If they aren't spiled with paint," wailed Widow Anne.  "He told
my Sid as he wanted them for a model to wear while being painted.
Sid asked me, and I gave 'em to Sid, and Sid, he passed 'em along
to your good gentleman.  There was a skirt, as good as new, and a
body of the dress trimmest beautiful, and a tartan shawl as I got
from my mother.  But no," the old woman corrected herself,  "it
was a dark shawl with red spots and--"

"Ask Mr. Hope, ask Mr. Hope," cried Miss Kendal impatiently.  "I
know nothing about the things," and she tore her dress from Widow
Anne's detaining hand to hurry home.  Mrs. Bolton wailed aloud at
this desertion, and took her way to Hope's lodgings, where she
declared her determination to remain until the artist restored
her apparel.

Lucy for the moment thought little of this interview; but on
reflection she thought it strange that Archie should borrow
clothes from Mrs. Bolton through Sidney.  Not that there was
anything strange in Archie's procuring such garments, since he
may have wanted them to clothe a model with.  But he could easily
have got such things from his landlady, or, if from Widow Anne,
could have borrowed them direct without appealing to Sidney.
Why, then, had the dead man acted as an intermediate party?  This
question was hard to answer, yet Lucy greatly wished for a reply,
since she suddenly remembered how a woman in a dark dress and
with a dark shawl over her head had been seen by Eliza Flight,
the housemaid of the Sailor's Rest, talking to Bolton through the
window.  Were the garments borrowed as a disguise, and did the
person who had borrowed them desire that it should be supposed
that Widow Anne was talking to her son?  There was a chill hand
clutching Lucy's heart as she went home, for the words of Mrs.
Bolton seemed indirectly to implicate Hope in the mystery.  She
determined to ask him about the matter straight out, when he came
in that night to pay his usual visit.

At dinner the Professor was in excellent spirits, and actually
became so human as to compliment Lucy on her housekeeping.  He
also mentioned that he hoped Mrs. Jasher would cater as
excellently.  Over coffee he informed his step-daughter that he
had entirely won the widow's heart by abasing himself at her feet
and withdrawing the accusation.  They had arranged to be married
in May, one or two weeks after Lucy became Mrs. Hope.  In the
autumn they would start for Egypt, and would remain abroad for a
year or more.

"In fact," said the Professor, setting down his cup and preparing
to take his departure,  "everything is now settled excellently.
I marry Mrs. Jasher: you, my dear, marry Hope, and--"

"And Sir Frank marries Donna Inez," finished Lucy quickly.

"That," said Braddock stiffly,  "entirely depends upon what De
Gayangos says to this accusation of Hervey's."

"Sir Frank is innocent."

"I hope so, and I believe so.  But he will have to prove his
innocence.  I shall do my best, and I have sent round to Don
Pedro to come here.  We can then talk it over."

"Can Archie and I come in also?" asked Miss Kendal anxiously.

Somewhat to her surprise, the Professor yielded a ready assent.

"By all means, my dear.  The more witnesses we have, the better
it will be.  We must do all in our powers to bring this matter to
a successful issue."

So things were arranged, and when Archie came up to the
drawing-room, Lucy informed him that Braddock was in the museum
with Don Pedro, telling all that had happened.  Hope was glad to
hear that Lucy had secured the Professor's consent that they
should be present, for the mystery of Bolton's terrible death was
piquing him, and he dearly desired to learn the truth.  As a
matter of fact, although he was unaware of it, he was suffering
from an attack of detective fever, and wished to solve the
mystery.  He therefore went gladly into the museum with his
sweetheart.  Oddly enough--as Lucy recollected when it was too
late to speak--she quite forgot to relate what Widow Anne had
said about the borrowed clothes.

Don Pedro, looking more stiff and dignified than ever, was in the
museum with Braddock.  The two men were seated in comfortable
chairs, and Cockatoo, some distance away, was polishing with a
cloth the green mummy case of the fatal object which had brought
about all the trouble.  Lucy had half expected to see Donna Inez,
but De Gayangos explained that he had left her writing letters to
Lima in the Warrior Inn.  When Miss Kendal and Hope were seated,
the Peruvian expressed himself much surprised at the charge which
had been brought against Sir Frank.

"If I can speak of such things in the presence of a lady," he
remarked, bowing his head to Lucy.

"Oh yes," she answered eagerly.  "I have heard all about the
charge.  And I am glad that you are here, Don Pedro, for I wish
to say that I do not believe there is a word of truth in the
accusation."

"Nor do I," asserted the Peruvian decisively.

"I agree--I agree," cried Braddock, beaming.  "And you, Hope?"

"I never believed it, even before I heard Random's defense," said
Archie with a dry smile.  "Did you not see Captain Hervey
yourself, sir?" he added, turning to Don Pedro; "he started for
Pierside to look you up."

"I have not seen him," said De Gayangos in his stately way,  "and
I am very sorry, as I desire to examine him about the accusation
he had dared to bring against my very good friend, Sir Frank
Random.  I wish he were here at this very minute, so that I could
tell him what I think of the charge."

Just as Don Pedro spoke the unexpected happened, as though some
genie had obeyed his commands.  As though transported into the
room by magic, the American skipper appeared, not through the
floor, but by the door.  A female domestic admitted him and
announced his name, then fled to avoid the anger of her master,
seeing she had violated the sacred precincts of the museum.

Captain Hervey, amused by the surprise visible on every face,
sauntered forward, hat on head and cheroot in mouth as usual.
But when he saw Lucy he removed both with a politeness scarcely
to be expected from so rude and ready and rough a mariner.

"I beg pardon for coming here uninvited," said Hervey awkwardly,
"but I've been chasing the Don all over Pierside and through this
village.  They told me at the police office that you"--he spoke
to De Gayangos "had doubled on your trail, so here I am for a
little private conversation."

The Peruvian looked gravely at Hervey's face, which was clearly
revealed in the powerful light of the many lamps with which the
museum was filled, and rose to bow.

"I am glad to see you, sir," he said politely, and with a still
more searching glance.  "With the permission of our host I shall
ask you to take a chair," and he turned to Braddock.

"Certainly! certainly!" said the Professor fussily.  "Cockatoo?"

"Pardon, allow me," said De Gayangos, and brought forward a
chair, still keeping his eyes on the skipper, who was rather
confused by the courtesy.  "Will you be seated, senor: then we
can talk."

Hervey sat down quietly close to the Peruvian; who then leaned
forward to address him.

"You will have a cigarette?" he asked, offering a silver case.

"Thanks, no.  I'll smoke a cheroot if the lady don't mind."

"Not at all," replied Lucy, who, along with Archie and the
Professor, was puzzled by Don Pedro's manner.  "Please smoke!"

In taking back the case Don Pedro allowed it to drop.  As he made
no motion of picking it up, Hervey, although annoyed with himself
for his politeness towards a yellow-stomach, as he called De
Gayangos, was compelled to stretch for it.  As he handed it back
to Don Pedro, the Peruvian's eyes lighted up and he nodded
gravely.

"Thank you, Vasa," said De Gayangos, and Hervey, changing color,
leaped from his seat as though touched by a spear-point.




CHAPTER XIX

NEARER THE TRUTH


For a few moments there was silence.  Lucy and Archie sat still,
as they were too much surprised by Don Pedro's recognition of
Captain Hervey as the Swedish sailor Vasa to move or speak.  But
the Professor did not seem to be greatly astonished, and the sole
sound which broke the stillness was his sardonic chuckle.
Perhaps the little man had progressed beyond the point of being
surprised at anything, or, like, Moliere's hero, was only
surprised at finding virtue in unexpected places.

As for the Peruvian and the skipper, they were both on their
feet, eyeing one another like two fighting dogs.  Hervey was the
first to find his very useful tongue.

"I guess you've got the bulge on me," said he, trying to outstare
the Peruvian, for which nationality, from long voyaging on the
South American coast, he entertained the most profound contempt.

But in De Gayangos he found a foeman worthy of his steel.

"I think not," said Don Pedro quietly, and facing the
pseudo-American bravely.  "I never forget faces, and yours is a
noticeable one.  When you first spoke I fancied that I remembered
your voice.  All that business with the chair was to get close to
you, so that I could see the scar on your right temple.  It is
still there, I notice.  Also, I dropped my cigarette case and
forced you to pick it up, so that, when you stretched your arm, I
might see what mark was on your left wrist.  It is a serpent
encircling the sun, which Lola Farjados induced you to have
tattooed when you were in Lima thirty years ago.  Your eyes are
blue and full of light, and as you were twenty when I knew you,
the lapse of years has made you fifty--your present age."

"Shucks!" said Hervey coolly, and sat down to smoke.

Don Pedro turned to Archie and Braddock.

"Mr. Hope!  Professor!" he remarked,  "if you remember the
description I gave of Gustav Vasa, I appeal to you to see if it
does not exactly fit this man?"

"It does," said Archie unhesitatingly,  "although I cannot see
the tattooed left wrist to which you refer."

Hervey, still smoking, made no offer to show the symbol, but
Braddock unexpectedly came to the assistance of Don Pedro.

"The man is Vasa right enough," he remarked abruptly.  "Whether
he is Swedish or American I cannot say.  But he is the same man I
met when I was in Lima thirty years ago, after the war."

Hervey slowly turned his blue eyes on the scientist with a
twinkle in their depths.

"So you recognized me?" he observed, with his Yankee drawl.

"I recognized you at the moment I hired you to take The Diver to
Malta to bring back that mummy," retorted Braddock,  "but it
didn't suit my book to let on.  Didn't you recognize me?"

"Wal, no," said Hervey, his drawl more pronounced than ever.  "I
haven't got the memory for faces that you and the Don here seem
to possess.  Huh!"  He wheeled his chair and faced Braddock
squarely.  "I'd have thought you wiser not to back up the Don,
sir."

Braddock's little eyes sparkled.

"I am not afraid of you," said he with great contempt.  "I never
did anything for which you could get money out of me for, Captain
Hervey or Gustav Vasa, or whatever your name might be."

"You were always a mighty spry man," assented the skipper coolly,
"but spry men, I take it, make mistakes from being too almighty
smart."

Braddock shrugged his shoulders, and Don Pedro intervened.

"This is all beside the point," he remarked angrily.  "Captain
Hervey, do you deny that you are Gustav Vasa in the face of this
evidence?"

Hervey drew up the left sleeve of his reefer jacket, and showed
on his bared wrist the symbol of the sun and the encircling
serpent.

"Is that enough?" he drawled,  "or do you want to look at this?"
and he turned his head to reveal his scarred right temple.

"Then you admit that you are Vasa?"

"Wal," drawled the captain again,  "that's one of my names, I
guess, though I haven't used it since I traded that blamed mummy
in Paris, thirty years ago.  There's nothing like owning up."

"Are you not Swedish?" asked Lucy timidly.

"I am a citizen of the world, I guess," replied Hervey with great
politeness for him,  "and America suits me for headquarters as
well as any other nation.  I might be Swedish or Danish or a Dago
for choice.  Vasa may be my name, or Hervey, or anything you
like.  But I guess I'm a man all through."

"And a thief!" cried Don Pedro, who had resumed his seat, but
was keeping quiet with difficulty.

"Not of those emeralds," rejoined the skipper coolly:  "Lord, to
think of the chance I missed!  Thirty years ago I could have
looted them, and again the other day.  But I never knew--I never
knew," cried Hervey regretfully, with his vividly blue eyes on
the mummy.  "I could jes' kick myself, gentlemen, when I think of
the miss."

"Then you didn't steal the manuscript along with the emeralds?"

"Wal, I did," cried Hervey, turning to Archie, who had spoken,
"but it was in a furren lingo, to which I didn't catch on.  If
I'd known I'd have learned about those blamed emeralds."

"What did you do with the copy of the manuscript you stole?"
asked Don Pedro sharply.  "I know there was a copy, as my father
told me so.  I have the original myself, but the transcript--and
not a translation, as I fancied--appeared in Sir Frank Random's
room to-day, hidden behind some books."

Hervey made no move, but smoked steadily, with his eyes on the
carpet.  However, Archie, who was observing keenly, saw that he
was more startled than he would admit.  The explanation had taken
him by surprise.

"Explain!" cried the Peruvian sharply.

Hervey looked up and fixed a pair of very evil eyes on the Don.

"See here," he remarked,  "if the lady wasn't present, I'd show
you that I take no orders from any yellow--that is, from any
low-down Don."

"Lucy, my dear, leave us," said Braddock, rising, much excited;
"we must have this matter sifted to the bottom, and if Hervey can
explain better in your absence, I think you should go."

Although Miss Kendal was very anxious to hear all that was to be
heard, she saw the advisability of taking this advice, especially
as Hope gave her arm a meaning nudge.

"I'll go," she said meekly, and was escorted by her lover to the
door.  There she paused.  "Tell me all that takes place," she
whispered, and when Archie nodded, she vanished promptly.  The
young man closed the door and returned to his seat in time to
hear Don Pedro reiterate his request for an explanation.

"And 'spose I can't oblige," said the skipper, now more at his
ease since the lady was out of the room.

"Then I shall have you arrested," was the quick reply.

"For what?"

"For the theft of my mummy."

Hervey laughed raucously.

"I guess the law can't worry me about that after thirty years,
and in a low-down country like Peru.  Your Government has shifted
fifty times since I looted the corpse."

This was quite true, and there was absolutely no chance of the
skipper being brought to book.  Don Pedro looked rather
disconsolate, and his gaze dropped under the glare of Hervey's
eyes, which seemed unfair, seeing that the Don was as good as the
captain was evil.

"You can't expect me to condone the theft," he muttered.

"I reckon I don't expect anything," retorted Hervey coolly  "I
looted the corpse, I don't deny, and--"

"After my father had treated you like a son," said Don Pedro
bitterly.  "You were homeless and friendless, and my father took
you in, only to find that you robbed him of his most precious
possession."

The skipper had the grace to blush, and shifted uneasily in his
chair.

"You can't say truer than that," he grumbled, averting his eyes.
"I guess I'm a bad lot all through.  But a friend of mine wanted
the corpse, and offered me a heap of dollars to see the business
through."

"Do you mean to say that some one asked you to steal it?"

"No," put in Braddock unexpectedly, "for I was the friend."

"You!" Don Pedro swung round in great astonishment, but the
Professor faced him with all the consciousness of innocence.

"Yes," he remarked quietly, "as I told you, I was in Peru thirty
years ago.  I was then hunting for specimens of Inca mummies.
Vasa--this man now called Hervey--told me that he could obtain
a splendid specimen of a mummy, and I arranged to give him one
hundred pounds to procure what I wanted.  But I swear to you, De
Gayangos," continued the little man earnestly, "that I did not
know he proposed to steal the mummy from you."

"You knew it was the green mummy?" asked Don Pedro sharply.

"No, I only knew that it was a mummy."

"Did Vasa get it for you?"

"I guess not," said the gentleman who confessed to that name.
"The Professor went to Cuzco and got into trouble--"

"I was carried off to the mountains by some Indians,"
interpolated the Professor, "and only escaped after a year's
captivity.  I did not mind that, as it gave me the opportunity of
studying a decaying civilization.  But when I returned a free man
to Lima, I found that Vasa had left the country with the mummy."

"That's so," assented Hervey, waving his hand.  "I got a berth as
second mate on a wind-jammer sailing to Europe, and as the
country wasn't healthy for me since I'd looted the green mummy, I
took it abroad and yanked it to Paris, where I sold it for a
couple of hundred pounds.  With that, I changed my name and had a
high old time.  I never heard of the blamed thing again until the
Professor here turned up with Mr. Bolton at Pierside, asking me
to bring it in The Diver from Malta.  It was what you'd call a
coincidence, I reckon," added Hervey lazily;  "but I did cry
small when I heard the Professor here had paid nine hundred for a
thing I'd let slip for two hundred.  Had I known of those
infernal emeralds, I'd have ripped open the case on board and
would have recouped myself.  But I knew nothing, and Bolton never
told me."

"How could he," asked Braddock quietly, "when he did not know
that any jewels were buried with the dead?  I did not know
either.  And I have explained why I wanted the mummy.  But it
never struck me until I hear what you say now, that this mummy,"
he nodded towards the green case, "was the one which you had
stolen at Lima from De Gayangos.  But you must do me the justice,
Captain Hervey, to tell Don Pedro that I never countenanced the
theft."

"No! you were square enough, I guess.  The sin is on my own
blessed shoulders, and I don't ask it to be shifted."

"What did you do with the copy of the manuscript?" asked Don
Pedro.

Hervey ruminated.

"I can't think," he mused.  "I found a screed of Latin along with
the mummy, when I looted it from your Lima house, but it dropped
out of my mind as to what became of it.  Maybe I passed it along
to the Paris man, and he sold it along with the corpse to the
Maltese gent."

"But I tell you this copy was found in Sir Frank's room,"
insisted De Gayangos.  "How did it come to be there?"

Captain Hervey rose and took a turn up and down the room.  When
Cockatoo came in his way he calmly kicked him aside.

"What do you think, Mr. Hope?" he asked, coming to a full stop
before Archie, while Cockatoo crept away with a very dark scowl.

"I don't know what to think," replied that young gentleman
promptly, "save that Sir Frank is my very good friend, and that I
take his word that he knows nothing of how the manuscript came to
be hidden in his bookcase."

"Huh!" said Hervey scornfully, and took another turn up and down
the room in silence.  "I surmise that your friend isn't a white
man."

Hope leaped to his feet.

"That's a lie," he said distinctly.

"I'd have shot you for that down Chili way," snapped the skipper.

"Possibly," retorted the artist dryly,  "but I happen to be handy
with my revolver also.  I say again that you lie.  Random is not
the man to commit so foul a crime."

"Then how did the manuscript get into his room?" questioned
Hervey.

"He is trying to learn, and, when he does, will come here to let
us all know, Captain Hervey.  But I ask you on what grounds you
accuse him?  Oh I know all you said to-day," added Hope
scornfully, waving his hand; "but you can't prove that Random got
the manuscript."

"If it's in his room, as you acknowledge, I can," said Hervey,
speaking in a much more cultivated tone.  "See here.  As I said
before, that copy must have been passed along with the corpse to
the Maltese man.  Well, then, the Professor here bought the
corpse, and with it the manuscript."

"No," contradicted the little man, prodigiously excited.  "Bolton
wrote to me full particulars of the mummy, but said nothing about
any manuscript."

"Well, he wouldn't," replied Hervey calmly,  "seeing that he'd
know Latin."

"He did know Latin," admitted Braddock uneasily;  "I taught him
myself.  But do you mean to say that he got that manuscript and
read it and intended to keep the fact of the emeralds secret?"

Hervey nodded three times, and twisted his cheroot in his mouth.

"How else can you figure the business out?" he demanded quietly,
and with his eyes fixed on the excited Professor.  "Bolton must
have got that manuscript, as I can't remember what I did with it,
save pass it along with the corpse.  He--as you admit--doesn't
tell you about it when he writes.  Well, then, I reckon he
calculated getting this corpse to England, and intended to steal
the emeralds when safely ashore."

"But he could have done that on the boat," said Archie quickly.

"I guess not, with me about," said Hervey coolly.  "I'd have
spotted his game and would have howled for shares."

"You dare to say that?" demanded De Gayangos fiercely.

"Keep your hair on.  I dare to say anything that comes up my
darned back, you bet.  I'm not going to knuckle down to a
yellow-stomach--"

Out flew Don Pedro's long arm, and Hervey slammed against the
wall.  He slipped his hand around to his hip pocket with an ugly
smile, but before he could use the revolver he produced, Hope
dashed up his arm, and the ball went through the ceiling.
"Lucy!" cried the young man, knowing that the drawing-room was
overhead, and in a moment was out of the door, racing up the
stairs at top speed.  Some sense of shame seemed to overpower
Hervey as he thought that he might have shot the girl, and he
replaced the revolver in his pocket with a shrug.

"I climb down and apologize," he said to Don Pedro, who bowed
gravely.

"Hang you, sir; you might have shot my daughter," cried Braddock.
"The drawing-room, where she is sitting, is right overhead, and-"

As he spoke the door opened, and Lucy came in on Archie's arm.
She was pale with fright, but had sustained no damage.  It seemed
that the revolver bullet had passed through the floor some
distance away from where she was sitting.

"I offer my humble apologies, miss," said the cowed Hervey.

"I'll break your neck, you ruffian!" growled Hope, who looked,
and was, dangerous.  "How dare you shoot here and--"

"It's all right," interposed Lucy, not wishing for further
trouble.  "I am all safe.  But I shall remain here for the rest
of your interview, Captain Hervey, as I am sure you will not
shoot again in the presence of a lady."

"No, miss," muttered the captain, and when again invited by the
angry Professor to speak, resumed his discourse in low tones.
"Wal, as I was saying," he remarked, sitting down with a dogged
look,  "Bolton intended to clear with the emeralds, but I guess
Sir Frank got ahead of him and packed him in that blamed case,
while he annexed the emeralds.  He then took the manuscript,
which he looted from Bolton's corpse, and hid it among his books,
as you say, while he left the blamed mummy in the garden of the
old lady you talked about.  I guess that's what I say."

"It's all theory," said Don Pedro in vexed tones.

"And there isn't a word of truth in it," said Lucy indignantly,
standing up for Frank Random.

"It ain't for me to contradict you, miss," said Hervey, who was
still humble, "but I ask you, if what I say ain't true, how did
that copy of the manuscript come to be in that aristocrat's
room?"

There was no reply made to this, and although every one present,
save Hervey, believed in Random's innocence, no one could
explain.  The reply came after some further conversation, by the
appearance of the soldier himself in mess kit.  He walked
unexpectedly into the room with Donna Inez on his arm, and at
once apologized to De Gayangos.

"I called to see you at the inn, sir," he said, "and as you were
not there, I brought your daughter along with me to explain about
the manuscript."

"Ah, yes.  We talk of that now.  How did it come into your room,
sir?"

Random pointed to Hervey.

"That rascal placed it there," he said firmly.




CHAPTER XX

THE LETTER


At this second insult Archie quite expected to see the skipper
again draw his revolver and shoot.  He therefore jumped up
rapidly to once more avert disaster.  But perhaps the fiery
American was awed by the presence of a second lady--since men of
the adventurous type are often shy when the fair sex is at hand--
for he meekly sat where he was and did not even contradict.  Don
Pedro shook hands with Sir Frank, and then Hervey smiled blandly.

"I see you don't believe in my theory," said he scoffingly.

"What theory is that?" asked Random hastily.

"Hervey declares that you murdered Bolton, stole the manuscript
from him, and concealed it in your room," said Archie succinctly.

"I can't suggest any other reason for its presence in the room,"
observed the American with a grim smile.  "If I'm wrong, perhaps
this almighty aristocrat will correct me."

Random was about to do so, and with some pardonable heat, when he
was anticipated by Donna Inez.  It has been mentioned before that
this young lady was of the silent order.  Usually she simply
ornamented any company in which she found herself without
troubling to entertain with her tongue.  But the accusation
against the baronet, whom she apparently loved, changed her into
a voluble virago.  Brushing aside the little Professor, who stood
in her way, she launched herself forward and spoke at length.
Hervey, cowering in the chair, thus met with an antagonist
against whom he had no armor.  He could not use force; she
dominated him with her eye and when he ventured to open his mouth
his few feeble words were speedily drowned by the torrent of
speech which flowed from the lips of the Peruvian lady.  Every
one was as astonished by this outburst as though a dog had
spoken.  That the hitherto silent Donna Inez de Gayangos should
speak thus freely and with such power was quite as great a
miracle.

"You--are a dog and a liar," said Donna Inez with great
distinctness, and speaking English excellently.  "What you say
against Sir Frank is madness and foolish talk.  In Genoa my
father did not speak of the manuscript, nor did I, who tell you
this.  How, then, could Sir Frank kill this poor man, when he had
no reason to slay him--"

"For the emeralds," faltered Hervey weakly.

"For the emeralds!" echoed the lady scornfully.  "Sir Frank is
rich.  He does not need to steal to have much money.  He is a
gentleman, who does not murder, as you have done."

Hervey started to his feet, dismayed but defiant, and saw that he
was ringed with unfriendly faces.

"As I have done.  Why, I am--"

Donna Inez interrupted.

"You are a murderer.  I truly believe that you--yes, that you"
she pointed a scornful finger at him "killed this poor man who
was bringing the mummy to the Professor.  If you were in my own
country, I should have you lashed like the dog you are.  Pig of a
Yankee, vile scum of the--"

"That will do, Inez," said De Gayangos imperiously.  "We wish to
make this gentleman tell the truth, and this is not the way to go
about the matter."

"Gentleman," echoed the angry Peruvian,  "he is none.  Truth!
There is no truth in him, the pig of pigs!" and then, her English
failing, she took refuge in Spanish, which is a fairly
comprehensive language for swearing in a polite way.  The words
fairly poured from her mouth, and she looked as fierce as
Bellona, the goddess of war.

Archie, listening to her words and watching her beautiful face
distorted out of all loveliness, secretly congratulated himself
upon the fact that he was not her prospective bridegroom.  He
wondered how Sir Frank, who was a mild, good-tempered man
himself, could dare to make such a fiery female Lady Random.

Perhaps the young man thought himself that she was going a trifle
too far, for he touched her nervously on the arm.  At once the
anger of Donna Inez died down, and she submitted to be led to a
chair, whispering as she went,  "It was for your sake, my angel,
that I was angry," she said, and then relapsed into silence,
watching all future proceedings with flashing eyes but compressed
mouth.

"Wal," muttered Hervey with his invariable drawl,  "now that the
lady has eased her mind, I should like to know why this
aristocrat says I placed that manuscript in his room."

"You shall know, and at once," said Random promptly.  "Did you
not call to see me a day or so ago?"

"I did, sir.  I wished to tell you what I had discovered, so that
you might pay me to shut my mouth if you felt so inclined.  I
asked where your room was, sir, and walked right in, since your
flunky was not at the door."

"Quite so.  You were in my room for a few minutes--"

"Say five," interpolated the American imperturbably.

"And then came down.  You met my servant, who told you that I
would not be back for five or six hours."

"That's just as you state, sir.  I was sorry to miss you, but, my
time being valuable, I had to get back to Pierside.  Failing you,
I later came to see the Professor here, and told him what I had
discovered."

"You merely discovered a mare's nest," said Random
contemptuously;  "but this is not the point.  I believe that you,
and you only, could have hidden that manuscript among my books,
intending that it should be discovered, so that I might be
implicated in this crime."

"Did your flunky tell you that much?" inquired Hervey coolly.

"My servant told me nothing, save that you had been in my room,
where you had no right to be."

"Then," said the American quietly and decisively,  "I can't see,
sir, how you can place the ticket on me."

"You accuse me, so why should I not accuse you?" retorted Random.

"Because you are guilty, and I ain't," snapped the American.

"You join issue: you join issue," murmured Braddock, rubbing his
hands.

Random took no notice of the interruption.

"I have heard from Mr. Hope and Professor Braddock of the grounds
upon which you base your accusation, and I have explained to them
how I came to be on board your ship and both in and out of the
Sailor's Rest."

"And the explanation is quite satisfactory," said Hope smartly.

"I agree," Donna Inez nodded with very bright eyes.  "Sir Frank
has explained to me also.  He knew nothing of the manuscript."

"And you, sir," said Don Pedro quietly to Captain Hervey,
"apparently did, since you stole it along with the mummy from
Lima."

"I confess the theft, but I didn't know what the manuscript
contained," said the skipper dryly,  "or I reckon you wouldn't
have to ask who stole the emeralds.  No, sir, I should have
looted them."

"I believe you did, and murdered Bolton," cried Random hotly.

"Shucks!" retorted Hervey, rising with a shrug,  "if I had wished
to get rid of Bolton, I'd have yanked him overboard and then
would have written `accident' in my blamed log-book."

Braddock looked at Don Pedro, and Archie at Sir Frank.  What the
skipper said was plausible enough.  No man would have been such a
fool as to have murdered Bolton ashore, when he could have done
so without suspicion on board the tramp.  Moreover, Hervey spoke
with genuine regret, since he had missed the emeralds and
assuredly would not have hesitated to steal them even at the cost
of Bolton's life, had he known of their whereabouts.  So far he
had made a good defense, and, seeing the impression produced, he
strolled to the door.  There he halted.

"If you gents want to lynch me," he said leisurely, "I'll be
found at the Sailor's Rest for the next week.  Then I'm going as
skipper of The Firefly steamer, Port o' London, to Algiers.  You
can send the sheriff along whenever you choose.  But I mean to
have my picnic first, and to-morrow I'm going to Inspector Date
with my yarn.  Then I guess that almighty aristocrat wilt find
himself in quod."

"Wait a moment," cried Braddock, running to the door.  "Let me
talk to you and arrange what is best to be done.  If you will--"

He proceeded no further, for without vouchsafing him a reply,
Hervey, now quite master of the situation, passed through the
door, and the Professor hastily followed him.  Those who remained
looked at one another, scarcely knowing what to say, or how to
act.

"They will arrest thee, my angel," cried Donna Inez, clasping
Random's arm.

"Let them," retorted the young man defiantly.  "They can prove
nothing.  With all my heart and soul I believe Hervey to be the
guilty person.  Hope, what do you say?--and you, Miss Kendal?"

"Hervey has certainly made an excellent defense," said Archie
cautiously.  "He wouldn't have been such a fool as to murder
Bolton ashore when he could have done it so easily when on the
narrow seas."

"I agree with you there," said Random quickly.  "But if he is
innocent; if he did not bring the manuscript into my room, who
did?"

"I wonder if Widow Anne herself is guilty?" said Lucy in a musing
tone.

All present turned and looked at the girl.

"Who is Widow Anne?" asked Don Pedro with a puzzled air,

"She is the mother of Sidney Bolton, the man who was murdered,"
said Hope quickly.  "My dear Lucy, why do you say that?"

Lucy paused before replying and then answered the question by
asking another one.

"Did you ask Sidney to get you some clothes from his mother to
clothe a model?"

"Never in my life," said Hope promptly, and, as Lucy, saw, truly.

"Well, I accidentally met Mrs. Bolton to-day, and she insisted
that her son had borrowed from her a dark shawl and a dark dress
for you."

"That is not true," said Hope hotly.  "Why should the woman tell
such a lie?"

"Well," said Lucy slowly,  "it struck me that the woman who spoke
with Sidney through the Sailor's Rest window might be Widow Anne
herself, and that she has invented this story of the clothes
being lent to account for their being worn, should she be
discovered."

"It's certainly odd she should speak like this," said Random
thoughtfully;  "but you forget, Miss Kendal, that she proved an
alibi."

"What of that?" cried Don Pedro hurriedly,  "alibis can be
manufactured."

"It will be best to see this woman and question her," suggested
Donna Inez.

Archie nodded.

"I shall do so to-morrow.  By the way, does she ever come to your
room in the Fort, Random?"

"Oh yes, she is my laundress, you know, and at times brings back
the clothes herself.  My servant is usually in, though.  I see
what you mean.  That she might have received the manuscript from
Bolton, and have left it in my room."

"Yes, I think that," said Archie slowly.  "I should not be at all
surprised to learn that a portion of Hervey's theory is correct.
Bolton may have found the manuscript packed up in the mummy,
amongst the graveclothes, in fact.  If he read it--as he would
and could, seeing that he was an excellent Latin scholar, thanks
to Professor Braddock's training--he might have formed a design
to steal the emeralds when he was in the Sailor's Rest.  Then
someone saved him the trouble, and packed him off to Gartley
instead of the mummy."

"But why should Widow Anne leave the manuscript in my room?"
argued Random.

"Can't you see?  Bolton knew that you wanted the mummy for Don
Pedro, and was aware how you had--so to speak--used threats in
the presence of witnesses, since you spoke out aloud on the
deck."

"Only to warn Bolton against the Indians," pleaded Random.

"Exactly; but your words were capable of being twisted as Hervey
has twisted them.  Well, if Widow Anne really went to see her son
--and from the lie about the borrowed clothes it looks like it--
he may have given her the manuscript, so as to throw the blame on
you."

"The murder?"

"No, no," said Archie testily.  "Bolton did not expect to be
murdered.  But I really believe that he intended to fly with the
emeralds, and hoped that when the manuscript was found in your
room you would be accused.  The idea was suggested to him, I
believe, by your visit to The Diver."

"What do you think, Miss Kendal?" asked Random nervously.

"I fancy that it is possible."

Sir Frank turned to the Peruvian.

"Don Pedro," he said proudly,  "you have heard what Hervey says;
do you believe that I am guilty?"

For answer De Gayangos took his daughter's hand and placed it in
that of the young soldier.

"That will show you what I think," he said gravely.

"Thank you, sir," said Random, moved, and shook his future
father-in-law heartily by the hand, while Donna Inez, throwing
all restraint to the winds, kissed her lover exultingly on the
check.  In the midst of this scene Professor Braddock returned,
looking very pleased.

"I have induced Hervey to hold his tongue for a few days until we
can look into this matter," he said, rubbing his hands "that is,
if you think it wise, all of you.  Otherwise, I am quite willing
to go myself to-morrow and tell the police."

"No," said Archie rapidly, "let us thresh out the matter
ourselves.  We will save Sir Frank's name from a police court
slur at all events."

"I do not think there is any chance of Sir Frank being arrested,"
said Don Pedro politely;  "the evidence is insufficient.  And at
the worst he can provide an alibi."

"I am not so sure of that," said Random anxiously.  "I went to
London certainly, but I did not go to any place where I am known.
However," he added cheerfully,  "I daresay I'll be able to defend
myself.  Still, the fact remains that we are no nearer to
learning who killed Bolton than we were."

"I am sending Cockatoo to Pierside to-morrow to stop at the
Sailor's Rest for a time," said Braddock quickly.  "He will watch
Hervey, and if there is anything suspicious about his movements,
we shall soon know."

"And I turn amateur detective to-morrow and question Widow Anne,"
said Hope, after which remark he had to explain matters to
Braddock, who had been out of the room when Mrs. Bolton's strange
request had been discussed.

Meanwhile Donna Inez had been whispering to her lover and
pointing to the mummy.  Don Pedro followed her thoughts and
guessed what she was saying.  Random proved the truth of his
guess by, turning to him.

"Do you really want to take back the mummy to Peru, sir?" he
asked quietly.

"Certainly.  Inca Caxas was my forefather.  I do not wish to
leave him in this place.  His body must be restored to its tomb.
All the Indians, who look upon me as their present Inca expect me
to bring the body back.  Although," added De Gayangos gravely,
"I did not come to Europe to look for the mummy, as you know."

"Then I shall buy the mummy," said Random impetuously.
"Professor, will you sell it to me?"

"Now that I have examined it thoroughly I shall be delighted,"
said the little man,  "say for two thousand pounds."

"Not at all," interposed Don Pedro; "you mean one thousand."

"Of course he does," said Lucy quickly; "and the check must be
paid to Archie, Sir Frank."

"To me! to me!" cried Braddock indignantly.  "I insist."

"The money belongs to Archie," said Lucy obstinately.  "You have
seen what you desired to see, father and as Archie only lent you
the money, it is only fair that he should have it again."

"Oh, let the Professor have it," said Hope good-naturedly.

"No! no! no!"

Random laughed.

"I shall make the check payable to you, Miss Kendal, and you can
give it to whomsoever you choose," he said; "and now, as
everything has been settled so far, I suggest that we should
retire."

"Come to my rooms at the inn," said Don Pedro, opening the door.
"I have much to say to you.  Good night, Professor; to-morrow let
us go to Pierside and see if we cannot get at the truth."

"And to-morrow," cried Random,  "I shall send the check, sir."

When the company departed, Lucy had another wrangle with her
father about the check.  As Archie had gone away, she could speak
freely, and pointed out that he was enjoying her mother's income
and was about to marry Mrs. Jasher, who was rich.

"Therefore," argued Lucy, "you certainly do not want to keep poor
Archie's money."

"He paid me that sum on condition that I consented to the
wedding."

"He did nothing of the sort," she cried indignantly.  "I am not
going to be bought and sold in this manner.  Archie lent you the
money, and it must be returned.  Don't force me to think you
selfish, father."

The upshot of the argument was that Lucy got her own way, and the
Professor rather unwillingly agreed to part with the mummy and
restore the thousand pounds.  But he regretted doing so, as he
wished to get all the money he could to go towards his proposed
Egyptian expedition, and Mrs. Jasher's fortune, as he assured his
step-daughter, was not so large as might be thought.  However,
Lucy overruled him, and retired to bed, congratulating herself
that she would soon be able to marry Hope.  She was beginning to
grow a trifle weary of the Professor's selfish nature, and
wondered how her mother had put up with it for so long.

Next day Braddock did not go with Don Pedro to Pierside, as he
was very busy in his museum.  The Peruvian went alone, and
Archie, after a morning's work at his easel, sought out Widow
Anne to ask questions.  Lucy and Donna Inez paid an afternoon
visit to Mrs. Jasher and found her in bed, as she had caught a
mild sort of influenza.  They expected to find Sir Frank here,
but it seemed that he had not called.  Thinking that he was
detained by military business, the girls thought nothing more of
his absence, although Donna Inez was somewhat downcast.

But Random was detained in his quarters by a letter which had
arrived by the mid-day host, and which surprised him not a
little.  The postmark was London, and the writing, evidently a
disguised hand, was almost illegible in its crudeness.  The
contents ran as follows, and it will be noticed that there is
neither date nor address, and that it is written in the third
person:

"If Sir Frank Random wants his character to be cleared and all
suspicion of murder to be removed from him, he can be completely
exonerated by the writer, if he will pay the same five thousand
pounds.  If Sir Frank Random is willing to do this, let him
appoint a meeting-place in London, and the writer will send a
messenger to receive the money and to hand over the proofs which
will clear Sir Frank Random.  If Sir Frank Random plays the
writer false, or communicates with the police, proofs will be
forthcoming which will prove him to be guilty of Sidney Bolton's
death, and which will bring him to the scaffold without any
chance of escape.  A couple of lines in the Agony Column of The
Daily Telegraph, signed `Artillery,' and appointing a
meeting-place, will suffice; but beware of treachery."




CHAPTER XXI

A STORY OF THE PAST


Mrs. Jasher's influenza proved to be very mild indeed.

When Donna Inez de Gayangos and Lucy paid a visit to her on the
afternoon of the day succeeding the explanations in the museum,
she was certainly in bed, and explained that she had been there
since the Professor's visit on the previous day.  Lucy was
surprised at this, as she had left Mrs. Jasher perfectly well,
and Braddock had not mentioned any ailment of the widow.  But
influenza, as Mrs. Jasher observed, was very rapid in its action,
and she was always susceptible to disease from the fact that in
Jamaica she had suffered from malaria.  Still, she was feeling
better and intended to rise from her bed on that evening, if only
to lie on the couch in the pink drawing-room.  Having thus
detailed her reasons for being ill, the widow asked for news.

As no prohibition had been placed upon Lucy with regard to
Hervey's visit and as Mrs. Jasher would be one of the family when
she married the Professor, Miss Kendal had no hesitation in
reporting all that had taken place.  The narrative excited Mrs.
Jasher, and she frequently interrupted with expressions of
wonder.  Even Donna Inez grew eloquent, and told the widow how
she had defended Sir Frank against the American skipper.

"What a dreadfully wicked man!" said Mrs. Jasher, when in
possession of all the facts.  "I really believe that he did kill
poor Sidney."

"No," said Lucy decisively,  "I don't think that.  He would have
murdered him on board had he intended the crime, as he could have
done so with more safety.  He is as innocent as Sir Frank."

"And no one dare say a word against him," cried Donna Inez with
flashing eyes.

"He has a good defender, my dear," said the widow, patting the
girl's hand.

"I love him," said Donna Inez, as if that explained everything,
and perhaps it did, so far as she was concerned.

Mrs. Jasher smiled indulgently, then turned for further
information to Lucy.

"Can it be possible," she said,  "that Widow Anne is guilty?"

"Oh, I don't think so.  She would not murder her own son,
especially when she was so very fond of him.  Archie told me,
just before we came here, that he had called to see her.  She
still insists that Sidney borrowed the clothes, saying that
Archie wanted them."

"What do you make of that, my dear?"

"Well," said Miss Kendal, pondering,  "either Widow Anne herself
was the woman who talked to Sidney through the Sailor's Rest
window, and has invented this story to save herself, or Sidney
did get the clothes and intended to use them as a disguise when
he fled with the emeralds."

"In that case," said Mrs. Jasher,  "the woman who talked through
the window still remains a problem.  Again, if Sidney Bolton
intended to steal the emeralds, he could have done so in Malta,
or on board the boat."

"No," said Lucy decisively.  "The mummy was taken directly from
the seller's house to the boat, and perhaps Sidney did not find
the manuscript until he looked at the mummy.  Then Captain Hervey
kept an eye on Sidney, so that he could not open the mummy to
steal the emeralds."

"Still, according to your own showing, Sidney looked at the
actual mummy--he opened the mummy case, that is, else he could
not have got the manuscript."

Lucy nodded.

"I think so, but of course we cannot be sure.  But the packing
case in which the mummy was stowed was placed in the hold of the
steamer, and if Sidney had wished to steal the emeralds, he could
not have done so without exciting Captain Hervey's suspicions."

"Then let us say that Sidney robbed the mummy when in the
Sailor's Rest, and took the clothes he borrowed from his mother
in order to fly in disguise.  But what of the woman?"

Lucy shook her head.

"I cannot tell.  We may learn more later.  Don Pedro has gone to
Pierside to search, and my father says that he will send Cockatoo
there also to search."

"Well," sighed Mrs. Jasher wearily,  "I hope that all this
trouble will come to an end.  That green mummy has proved most
unlucky.  Leave me now, dear girls, as I feel somewhat tired."

"Good-bye," said Lucy, kissing her.  "I hope that you will be
better this evening.  Don't get up unless you feel quite able."

"Oh, I shall take my ease in the drawing-room."

"I thought you always called it the parlor," laughed the girl.

"Ah," Mrs. Jasher smiled,  "you see I am practicing against the
time when I shall be mistress of the Pyramids, You can't call
that large room there a parlor," and she laughed weakly.

Altogether, Mrs. Jasher impressed both Lucy and Donna Inez with
the fact that she was very weak and scarcely able, as she put it,
to draw one leg after the other.  Both the girls would have been
surprised to see what a hearty meal Mrs. Jasher made that
evening, when she was up and dressed.  Perhaps she felt that her
strength needed keeping up, but she certainly partook largely of
the delicate dinner provided by Jane, who was a most excellent
cook.

After dinner, Mrs. Jasher lay on a pink couch in the pink parlor
by a splendid fire, for the night was cold and raw with a promise
of rain.  The widow had a small table at her elbow, on which
stood a cup of coffee and a glass of liquor.  The rose-colored
curtains were drawn, the rose-shaded lamps were lighted, and the
whole interior of the cottage looked very comfortable indeed.
Mrs. Jasher, in a crocus-yellow tea-gown trimmed with rich black
lace, reclined on her couch like Cleopatra in her barge.  In the
pink light she looked very well preserved, although her face wore
an anxious expression.  This was due to the fact that the mail
had come in and the three letters brought by the postman had to
do with creditors.  Mrs. Jasher was always trying to make both
ends meet, and had a hard struggle to keep her head above water.
Certainly, since she had inherited the money of her brother, the
Pekin merchant, she need not have looked so worried.  But she
did, and made no disguise of it, seeing that she was quite alone.

After a time she went to her desk and took out a bundle of bills
and some other letters, also an account book and a bank book.
Over these she pored for quite an hour.  The clock struck nine
before she looked up from this unpleasant task, and she found her
financial position anything but satisfactory.  With a weary sigh
she rose and stared at herself in the mirror over the fireplace,
frowning as she did so.

"Unless I can marry the Professor at once, I don't know what will
happen to me," she mused gloomily.  "I have managed very well so
far, but things are coming to a crisis.  These devils," she
alluded to her creditors,  "will not keep off much longer, and
then the crash will come.  I shall have to leave Gartley as poor
as when I came, and there will be nothing left but the old
nightmare life of despair and horror.  I am getting older every
day, and this is my last chance of getting married.  I must force
the Professor to have a speedy marriage.  I must!  I must!" and
she began to pace the tiny room in a frenzy of terror and
well-founded alarm.

As she was trying to calm herself and succeeding very badly, Jane
entered the room with a card.  It proved to be that of Sir Frank
Random.

"It is rather a late hour for a visit," said Mrs. Jasher to the
servant.  "However, I feel so bored, that perhaps he will cheer
me up.  Ask him to come in."

When Jane left, she stood still for a moment or so, trying to
think why the young man had called at so untoward an hour.  But
when his footsteps were heard approaching the door, she swept the
books and the bills and the letters into the desk and locked it
quickly.  When Random appeared at the door, she was just leaving
the desk to greet him, and no one would have taken the smiling,
plump, well-preserved woman for the creature who lately had
looked so haggard and careworn.

"I am glad to see you, Sir Frank," said Mrs. Jasher, nodding in a
familiar manner.  "Sit down in this very comfortable chair, and
Jane shall bring you some coffee and kummel."

"No, thank you," said Random in his usual stiff way, but very
politely.  "I have just left the mess, where I had a good
dinner."

Mrs. Jasher nodded, and sank again on the couch, which was
opposite the chair which she had selected for her visitor.

"I see you are in mess kit," she said gayly;  "quite a glorified
creature to appear in my poor little parlor.  Why are you not
with Donna Inez?  I have heard all about your engagement from
Lucy.  She was here to-day with Senorita De Gayangos."

"So I believe," said Random, still stiffly;  "but you see I was
anxious to come and see you."

"Ah!" said Mrs. Jasher equably,  "you heard that I was ill.  Yes;
I have been in bed ever since yesterday afternoon, until a couple
of hours ago.  But I am now better.  My dinner has done me good.
Pass me that fan, please.  The fire is so hot."

Sir Frank did as he was told, and she held the feather fan
between her face and the fire, while he stared at her, wondering
what to say.

"Don't you find this atmosphere very stuffy?" he remarked at
length.  "It would be a good thing to have the windows open."

Mrs. Jasher shrieked.

"My dear boy, are you mad?  I have a touch of the influenza, and
an open window would bring about my death.  Why, this room is
delightfully comfortable."

"There is such a strong perfume about it," sniffed Random
pointedly.

"I should think you knew that scent by this time, Sir Frank.  I
use no other and never have done.  Smell!" and she passed a
flimsy handkerchief of lace.

Random took the handkerchief and placed it to his nostrils.  As
he did so a strange expression of triumph crept into his eyes.

"I think you told me once that it was a Chinese perfume," he said,
returning the handkerchief.

Mrs. Jasher nodded, well pleased.

"I get it from a friend of my late husband who is in the British
Embassy at Pekin.  No one uses it but me."

"But surely some other person uses it?"

"Not in England; and I do not know why you should say so.  It is
a specialty of mine.  Why," she added playfully,  "if you met me
in the dark you should know me, by this scent."

"Can you swear that no one else has ever used this perfume?"
asked Random.

Mrs. Jasher lifted her penciled eyebrows.

"I do not know why you should ask me to swear," she said quietly,
"but I assure you that I keep this perfume which comes from
China to myself.  Not even Lucy Kendal has it, although she
greatly desired some.  We women are selfish in some things, my
dear man.  It's a most delicious perfume."

"Yes," said Sir Frank, staring at her,  "and very strong."

"What do you mean by that?"

"Nothing.  Only I should think that such a perfume would be good
for the cold you contracted by going to London last night."

Mrs. Jasher turned suddenly pale under her rouge, and her hand
clenched the fan so tightly as to break the handle.

"I have not been to London for quite a month," she faltered.
"What a strange remark!"

"A true one," said the baronet, fumbling in the pocket of his
jacket.  "You went to London last night by the seven o'clock
train to post this," and he held out the anonymous letter.

The widow, now quite pale, and looking years older, sat up on the
couch with a painful effort, which suggested old age.

"I don't understand," she said, trying to speak calmly.  "I was
not in London, and I did not post any letter.  If you came here
to insult me--"

"There can be no insult in asking a few questions," said Random,
throwing aside his stiffness and speaking decisively.  "I
received this letter, which bears a London postmark, by the
mid-day post.  The handwriting is disguised, and there is neither
address nor signature nor date.  You manufactured your
communication very cleverly, Mrs. Jasher, but you forgot that the
Chinese perfume might betray you."

"The perfume! the perfume!" Mrs. Jasher gasped and saw in a
moment how the late conversation had led her to fall into a trap.

"The letter retains traces of the perfume you use," went on the
baronet relentlessly.  "I have a remarkably keen sense of smell,
and, as scent is a most powerful aid to memory, I speedily
recollected that you used this especial perfume.  You told me a
few moments ago that no one else used it, and so you have proved
the truth of my statement that this letter"--he tapped it--"is
written by you."

"It's a lie--a mistake," stuttered Mrs. Jasher, now at bay and
looking dangerous.  Her society veneer was stripped off, and the
adventuress pure and simple came to the surface.

Indignant at the way in which she had deceived everyone, and
having much at stake, Random did not spare her.

"It is not a mistake," he insisted;  "neither is it a lie.  When
I became aware that you must have written the letter, I drove at
once to Jessum to see if you had gone to London, as you had
posted it there.  I learned from the station master and from a
porter that you went to town by the seven o'clock train and
returned by the midnight."

Mrs. Jasher leaped to her feet.

"They could not recognize me.  I wore--"  Then she stopped,
confused at having so plainly betrayed herself.

"You wore a veil.  All the same, Mrs. Jasher, you are too well
known hereabouts for anyone to fail to recognize you.  Besides,
your remark just now proves that I am right.  You wrote this
blackmailing letter, and I demand an explanation."

"I have none to give," muttered the woman fiercely, and fighting
every inch.

"If you refuse to explain to me you shall to the police," said
Sir Frank, rising and making for the door.

Mrs. Jasher flung herself forward and clung to him.

"For God's sake, don't!"

"Then you will explain?  You will tell me?"

"Tell you what?"

"Who murdered Sidney Bolton."

"I do not know.  I swear I do not know," she cried feverishly.

"That is ridiculous," said Random coldly.  "You say in this
letter that you can hang me or save me.  As you know that I am
innocent, you must be aware who is guilty."

"It's all bluff.  I know nothing," said Mrs. Jasher, releasing
his arm and throwing herself on the couch.  "I only wished to get
money."

"Five thousand pounds--eh?  Rather a large order," sneered
Random, replacing the letter in his pocket.  "You would not ask
that sum for nothing: you must be aware of the truth.  I
suspected many people, Mrs. Jasher, but never you."

The woman rose and flung out her arms.

"No," she said in a deep voice, and fighting like a rat in a
corner.  "I tricked you all down here.  Sir Frank, I will tell
you the truth."

"About the murder?"

"I know nothing of that.  About myself."

Random shrugged his shoulders.

"I'll hear about yourself first," he said.  "I can learn details
concerning the murder later.  Go on."

"I know nothing of the murder or of the theft of the emeralds--"

"Yet you hid the mummy in this house, and afterwards placed it in
your arbor to be found by the Professor, for some reason."

"I know nothing about that either," muttered Mrs. Jasher
doggedly, and with very white lips.  "That letter you have traced
to me is all bluff."

"Then you admit having written it?"

"Yes," she said sullenly.  "You know too much, and it is useless
for me to deny the truth in the face of the evidence you bring
against me.  I would fight though," she added, raising her head
like a snake its crest,  "if I was not sick and tired of
fighting."

"Fighting?"

"Yes, against trouble and worry and money difficulties and
creditors.  Oh," she struck her breast,  "what do you know of
life, you rich, easy-going man?  I have been in the depths, and
not through my own fault.  I had a bad mother, a bad husband.  I
was dragged in the mire by those who should have helped me to
rise.  I have starved for days; I have wept for years; in all
God's earth there is no more miserable a creature than I am."

"Kindly talk without so much melodrama," said Random cruelly.

"Ah," Mrs. Jasher sat down and locked her hands together,  "you
don't believe me.  I daresay you don't understand, for life, real
life, is a sealed book to you.  It is useless for me to appeal to
your sympathy, for you are so very ignorant.  Let us stick to
facts.  What do you wish to know?"

"Who killed Sidney Bolton: who has the emeralds."

"I can't tell you.  Listen!  With my past life you have nothing
to do.  I will commence from the time I came down here.  I had
just lost my husband, and I managed to scrape together a few
hundred pounds--oh, quite in a respectable way, I assure you,"
she added scoffingly, on seeing her listener wince.  "I came here
to try and live quietly, and, if possible, to secure a rich
husband.  I knew that the Fort was here and thought that I might
marry an officer.  However, the Professor's position attracted
me, and I decided to marry him.  I am engaged, and but for your
cleverness in tracing that letter I should be Mrs. Braddock
within a very short time.  I have exhausted all my money.  I am
deeply, in debt.  I cannot hold out longer."

"But the money you inherited--"

"That is all bluff also.  I never had a brother.  I inherit no
money.  I know nothing of Pekin, save that a friend of mine sends
that scent to me as a yearly Christmas present.  I am an
adventuress, but perhaps not so bad as you think me.  Lucy and
Donna Inez have heard no wickedness from my lips.  I have always
been a good woman in one sense--a moral woman, that is--and I
did wish to marry the Professor and live a happy life.  Seeing
that I was at the end of my resources, and that Professor
Braddock expected a legacy with me before marriage, I looked
round to, see how I could get the money.  I heard that you were
accused by Captain Hervey, and so last night I wrote that letter
and posted it in London, thinking that you would yield to save
yourself from arrest."

Random laughed cynically.

"You must have thought me weak," he muttered.

"I did," said Mrs. Jasher frankly.  "To tell you the truth, I
thought that you were a fool.  But by tracing that letter and
withstanding my demand, you have proved yourself to be more
clever than I took you to be.  Well, that is all.  I know nothing
of the murder.  My letter is sheer bluff to extort from you five
thousand pounds.  Had you paid I should have passed it off to the
Professor as the money left to me by my brother.  But now--"

"Now," said Random, rising to go,  "I shall tell what you have
told me to the Professor, and--"

"And hand me over to the police," said Mrs. Jasher, shrugging her
plump shoulders,  "Well, I expected that.  Yet I fancied for old
times' sake that you might have been more lenient."

"We were never anything but acquaintances, Mrs. Jasher," said
Random coldly,  "so I fail to see why you should expect mercy
after the way in which you have behaved.  You expect to blackmail
me, and yet go free.  I must punish you somehow, so I shall tell
Professor Braddock, as you certainly cannot marry him.  But I
shall not hand you over to the police."

"You won't?" Mrs. Jasher stared, scarcely able to believe her
ears.

"No.  Give me a day to think over matters, and I shall arrange
what to do with you.  I think there is some good in you, Mrs.
Jasher, and so I shall see if I can't assist you.  In the
meantime I shall have your cottage watched, so that you may not
run away."

"In that case, you may as well hand me over to the police," she
said bitterly.

"Not at all," rejoined Random coolly.  "I can trust my servant,
who is stupid but honest and is devoted to me.  I'll see that
everything is kept quiet.  But if you attempt to run away I shall
have you arrested for blackmail.  You understand?"

"Yes.  You are treating me very well," she gasped.  "When shall I
see you?"

"To-morrow evening.  I must talk the matter over with Braddock.
To-morrow I shall arrange what to do, and probably I shall give
you a chance of leading a new life in some other part of the
world.  What do you say?"

"I accept.  Indeed, there is nothing else left for me to do."

"That is an ungrateful speech," said Random severely.

"I daresay.  However, we can talk of gratitude to-morrow.
Meanwhile, please leave me."

Sir Frank went to the door and there paused.

"Remember," he said distinctly,  "that your cottage is being
watched.  Try to escape and I shall have you arrested."

Mrs. Jasher groaned and buried her face in the sofa cushion.




CHAPTER XXII

A WEDDING PRESENT


Mrs. Jasher had thought Random exceedingly clever in acting as he
had done to trap her.  She would have thought him still more
clever had she known that he trusted to the power of suggestion
to prevent her from trying to escape.  Sir Frank had not the
slightest intention of setting his soldier-servant to watch, as
such was not the duty for which such servants are hired.  But
having impressed firmly on the adventuress's mind that he would
act in this way, he departed, quite certain that the woman would
not attempt to run away.  Although no one was watching the
cottage, Mrs. Jasher, believing what had been told her, would
think that sharp eyes were on her doors and windows day and
night, and would firmly believe that if she tried to get away she
would be captured forthwith by the Pierside police, or perhaps by
the village constable.  Like an Eastern enchanter, the baronet
had placed a spell on the cottage, and it acted admirably.  Mrs.
Jasher, although longing to escape and hide herself, remained
where she was, cowed by a spy who did not exist.

The next day Random went to the Pyramids as soon as his duties
permitted and saw the Professor.  To the prospective bridegroom
he explained all that had happened, and displayed the anonymous
letter, with an account of how he had proved Mrs. Jasher to be
the writer.  Braddock's hair could not stand on end, as he had
none, but he lost his temper completely, and raged up and down
the museum in a way which frightened Cockatoo out of his barbaric
wits.  When more quiet he sat down to discuss the matter, and
promptly demanded that Mrs. Jasher should be handed over to the
police.  But he might have guessed that Sir Frank would refuse to
follow this extreme advice.

"She has acted badly, I admit," said the young man.  "All the
same, I think she is a better woman than you may think,
Professor."

"Think! think! think!" shouted the fiery little man, getting up
once more to trot up and down like an infuriated poodle.  "I
think she is a bad woman, a wicked woman.  To deceive me into
thinking her rich and--"

"But surely, Professor, you wished to marry her also for love?"

"Nothing of the sort, sir: nothing of the sort.  I leave love and
such-like trash to those like yourself and Hope, who have nothing
else to think about."

"But a marriage without love--"

"Pooh! pooh! pooh!  Don't argue with me, Random.  Love is all
moonshine.  I did not love my first wife--Lucy's mother--and
yet we were very happy.  Had I made Mrs. Jasher my second, we
should have got on excellently, provided the money was
forthcoming for my Egyptian expedition.  What am I to do now, I
ask you, Random?  Even the thousand pounds you pay for the mummy
goes back to that infernal Hope because of Lucy's silly ideas.  I
have nothing--absolutely nothing, and that tomb is amongst those
Ethiopian hills, I swear, waiting to be opened.  Oh, what a
chance I have missed!--what a chance!  But I shall see Mrs.
Jasher myself.  She knows about this murder."

"She declares that she does not."

"Don't tell me! don't tell me!" vociferated the Professor.  "She
would not have written that letter had she known nothing."

"That was bluff.  I explained all that."

"Bluff be hanged!" cried Braddock, only he used a more vigorous
word.  "I do not believe that she would have dared to act on such
a slight foundation.  I shall see her myself this very afternoon
and force her to confess.  In one way or another I shall find the
assassin and make him disgorge those emeralds under the penalty
of being hanged.  Then I can sell them and finance my Egyptian
expedition."

"But you forget, Professor, that the emeralds, when found, belong
to Don Pedro."

"They don't," rasped the little man, turning purple with rage.
"I refuse to let him have them.  I bought the mummy, and the
contents of the mummy, including those emeralds.  They are
mine."

"No," said Random sharply.  "I buy the mummy, from you, so they
pass into my possession and belong to De Gayangos.  I shall give
them to him."

"You'll have to find them first," said Braddock savagely; "and as
to the mummy, you shan't have it.  I decline to sell it.  So
there!"

"If you don't," said Random very distinctly,  "Don Pedro will
bring an action against you, and Captain Hervey will be called as
a witness to prove that the mummy was stolen."

"Don Pedro hasn't the money," said Braddock triumphantly;  "he
can't pay lawyer's fees."

"But I can," rejoined the young man very dryly.  "As I am going
to marry Donna Inez, it is only just that I should help my future
father-in-law in every way.  He has a romantic feeling about this
relic of poor humanity and wishes to take it back to Peru.  He
shall do so."

"And what about me?--what about me?"

"Well," said Random, speaking slowly with the intention of still
further irritating the little man, whose selfishness annoyed him,
"if I were you I should marry Mrs. Jasher and settle down quietly
in this house to live on what income you have."

Braddock turned purple again and spluttered.

"How dare you make a proposition like that to me, sir?" he
bellowed.  "You ask me to marry this low woman, this adventuress,
this--this--this--"  Words failed him.

Of course Random had no intention of advising such a marriage,
although he did not think so badly of Mrs. Jasher as did the
Professor.  But the little man was so venomous that the young man
took a delight in stirring him up, using the widow's name as a
red rag to this particular bull.

"I do not think Mrs. Jasher is a bad woman," he remarked.

"What! what! what!  After what she has done?  Blackmail!
blackmail! blackmail!"

"That is bad, I admit, but she has failed to get what she wanted,
and, after all, you indirectly are the cause of her writing that
blackmailing letter."

"I am?--I am?  How dare you?"

"You see, she wanted to get five thousand out of me as her
dowry."

"Yes, and told me lies about her damned brother who was a Pekin
merchant, when after all he never existed."

"Oh, I don't defend that," said Random coolly.  "Mrs. Jasher has
behaved badly on the whole.  Still, Professor, I think there is
good in her, as I said before.  She evidently had bad parents and
a bad husband; but, so far as I can gather, she is not an immoral
woman.  The poor wretch only came here to try and drag herself
out of the mire.  If she had married you I feel sure that she
would have made you a most excellent wife."

The Professor was in such a rage that he suddenly became calm.

"Of course you talk absolute rubbish," he said caustically.  "Had
I my way this woman would be whipped at a cart's tail for the
shameful way in which she has deceived us all.  However, I shall
see her to-day and make her confess who murdered Bolton."

"Don Pedro will be greatly obliged if you do.  He wants those
emeralds."

"So do I, and if I get them I shall keep them," snapped Braddock;
"and if you haven't anything more to say you can leave me.  I'm
busy."

As there was nothing more to be done with the choleric little
man, Sir Frank took the hint and departed.  He went forthwith to
the Warrior Inn to see Don Pedro and also Donna Inez.  But it so
happened that the girl had gone to the Pyramids on a visit to
Miss Kendal, and Random was sorry that he had missed her.
However, it was just as well, as he could now talk freely to De
Gayangos.  To him he related the whole story of Mrs. Jasher, and
discovered that the Peruvian also, as Braddock had done, insisted
that Mrs. Jasher knew the truth.

"She would not have written that letter if she did not know it,"
said Don Pedro.

"Then you think that she should be arrested?"

"No.  We can deal with this matter ourselves.  At present she is
quite safe, as she certainly will not leave her cottage, seeing
that she thinks it is being watched.  Let us permit Braddock to
interview her, and see what he can learn.  Then we can discuss
the matter and come to a decision."

Random nodded absently.

"I wonder if Mrs. Jasher was the woman who talked to Bolton
through the window?" he remarked.

"It is not impossible.  Although that does not explain why Bolton
borrowed a female disguise from this mother."

"Mrs. Jasher might have worn it."

"That would argue some understanding between Bolton and Mrs.
Jasher, and a knowledge of the manuscript before Bolton left for
Malta.  We know that he could only have seen the manuscript for
the first time at Malta.  It was evidently stowed away in the
swathings of the mummy by my father, who forgot all about it when
he gave me the original."

"Hervey forgot also.  I wonder if that is true?"

"I am certain it is," said Don Pedro emphatically,  "for, if
Hervey, or Vasa, or whatever you like to call him, had found that
manuscript and had got it translated, he certainly would have
opened the mummy and have secured the emeralds.  No, Sir Frank, I
believe that his theory is partly true.  Bolton intended to run
away with the emeralds, and send the empty mummy to Professor
Braddock; for, if you remember, he arranged that the landlord of
the Sailor's Rest should forward the case next morning, even if
he happened to be away.  Bolton intended to be away--with the
emeralds."

"Then you do not believe that Hervey placed the manuscript in my
room?"

"He declared most emphatically that he did not," said Don Pedro,
"when at Pierside yesterday I went to the Sailor's Rest and saw
him.  He told Braddock only the other day that he had lost his
chance of a sailing vessel, and, as yet, had not got another one.
But when he returned to Pierside he found a letter waiting him--
so he told me--giving him command of a four thousand ton tramp
steamer called The Firefly.  He is to sail at once--to-morrow, I
believe."

"Then what is he going to do about this murder business?"

"He can do nothing at present, as, if he remains in Pierside, he
will lose his new command.  To-morrow he drops down stream, but
meantime he intends to write out the whole story of the theft of
the mummy.  I have promised to give him fifty pounds for doing
so, as I want to get back the mummy, free of charge, from
Braddock."

"I think Braddock will stick to the mummy in any event," said
Random grimly.

"Not when Hervey writes out his evidence.  He will not have it
completed by the time he sails, as he is very busy.  But he has
promised to send off a boat to the jetty near the Fort to-morrow
evening, when he is dropping down stream.  I shall be there with
fifty pounds in gold."

"Supposing he fails to stop or send the boat?"

"Then he will not get his fifty pounds," retorted Don Pedro.
"The man is a rascal, and deserves prison rather than reward, but
since the mummy was stolen by him thirty years back, he alone can
prove my ownership."

"But why take all this trouble?" argued the baronet.  "I can buy
the mummy from Braddock."

"No," said Don Pedro.  "I have a right to my own property."

Random lingered until late in the afternoon and until darkness
fell, as he was anxious to see Donna Inez.  But she did not
appear until late.  Meanwhile Archie Hope put in an appearance,
having come to see Don Pedro with an account of his interview
with Widow Anne.  Before coming to the inn he had called on
Professor Braddock, and from him had heard all about the
wickedness of Mrs. Jasher.  His surprise was very great.

"I should not have believed it," he declared.  "Poor woman!"

"Ah," said Random, rather pleased,  "you are more merciful than
the Professor, Hope.  He calls her a bad woman."

"Humph!  I don't think that Braddock is so good that he can
afford to throw a stone," said Archie rather sourly.  "Mrs.
Jasher has not behaved well, but I should like to hear her
complete story before judging.  There must be a lot of good in
her, or Lucy, who has been with her a great deal, would have
found her out long ago.  I go by a woman's judgment of a woman.
But Mrs. Jasher must have been anxious to marry."

"She was; as Professor Braddock knows," said Random quickly.

"I am not thinking of that so much as of what Widow Anne told
me."

"Oh," said Don Pedro, looking up from where he was seated,  "so
you have seen that old woman?  What does she say about the
clothes?"

"She sticks to her story.  Sidney, she declares, borrowed the
clothes to give to me for a model.  Now, I never asked Bolton to
do this, so I fancy the disguise must have been intended for
himself, or for Mrs. Jasher."

"But what had Mrs. Jasher to do with him?" demanded Random
sharply.

"Well, it's odd," replied Hope slowly,  "but Mrs. Bolton declares
that her son was in love with Mrs. Jasher, and when he returned
from Malta intended to marry her."

"Impossible!" cried Sir Frank.  "She engaged herself to Braddock."

"But only after Bolton's death, remember."

Don Pedro nodded.

"That is true.  But what you say, Mr. Hope, proves the truth of
Hervey's theory."

"In what way?"

"Mrs. Jasher, as we know from what Random told us, wanted money.
She would not marry a man who was poor.  Bolton was poor, but of
course the emeralds would make him wealthy, as they are of
immense value.  Probably he intended to steal them in order to
marry this woman.  This implicates Mrs. Jasher in the crime."

"Yes," assented Sir Frank, nodding.  "But as Bolton did not know
that the emeralds existed before he bought the mummy in Malta, I
do not see why he should borrow a disguise beforehand for Mrs.
Jasher to meet him at the Sailor's Rest."

"The thing is easily settled," said Hope impatiently.  "Let us
both go to Mrs. Jasher's this evening, and insist upon the truth
being told.  If she confesses about her secret engagement to
Sidney Bolton, she may admit that the clothes were borrowed for
her."

"And she may admit also that she placed the manuscript in my
room," said Sir Frank after a pause.  "Hervey did not place it
there, but it is just possible that Mrs. Jasher, having got it
from Bolton when she talked to him through the window, may have
done so."

"Nonsense!" said Hope with vigorous commonsense.  "Mrs. Jasher
would be spotted in a moment if she had gone to your quarters.
She had to pass the sentry, remember.  Then, again, we have not
yet proved that she was the woman in Mrs. Bolton's clothes who
spoke through the window.  That can all be settled if we speak to
her this evening."

"Very good." Random glanced at his watch.  "I must get back.  Don
Pedro, will you tell Inez that I shall come in this evening?  We
can then talk further about these matters.  Hope?"

"I shall stop here, as I wish to consult Don Pedro."

Random nodded and took a reluctant departure.  He dearly wished,
as an engaged lover should, to remain on the chance that Donna
Inez might return, but duty called him and he was forced to obey.

The night was very dark, although it was not particularly late.
But there was no rain, and Random walked rapidly through the
village and down the road to the Fort.  He caught a glimpse of
the lights of Mrs. Jasher's cottage twinkling in the distance,
and smiled grimly as he thought of the invisible spell he had
placed thereon.  No doubt Mrs. Jasher was shivering in her Louis
Quinze shoes at the idea of being watched.  But then, she
deserved that much punishment at least, as Random truly thought.

When entering the Fort, the sentry saluted as usual, and Random
was about to pass, when the man stepped forward, holding out a
brown paper package.

"Please, sir, I found this in my sentry box," he said, saluting.

Sir Frank took the packet.

"Who placed it there? and why do you give it to me?" he demanded
in surprise.

"Please, sir, it's directed to you, sir, and I don't know who put
it in my box, sir.  I was on duty, sir, and I 'spose someone must
have dropped it on the floor of the box, sir, when I was at the
other end of my beat, sir.  It was as dark as this, sir, and I
saw nothing and heard nothing.  When I come back, sir, I stepped
into the box out of the rain and felt it with my feet.  I struck
a light, sir, and found it was for you."

Sir Frank slipped the package into his pocket and went away after
a grim word or so to the sentry, advising him to be more on the
alert.  He was puzzled to think who had left the packet in the
sentry box, and curious to know what it contained.  As soon as he
got to his own room, he cut the string which bound loosely the
brown paper.  Then, in the lamplight, there rolled out from the
carelessly-tied parcel a glorious sea-green emerald of great
size, radiating light like a sun.  A scrap of white paper lay in
the brown wrapping.  On it was written,  "A wedding gift for Sir
Frank Random."




CHAPTER XXIII

JUST IN TIME


Of all the surprises in connection with the tragedy of the green
mummy, this was surely the greatest.  Sidney Bolton had
undoubtedly been murdered for the sake of the emeralds, and the
assassin had escaped with the spoil, for which he had sold his
soul.  Yet here was one of the jewels returned anonymously to
Random, who could pass on the same to its rightful owner.  In the
midst of his amazement Sir Frank could not help chuckling when he
thought how enraged Professor Braddock would be at Don Pedro's
good fortune.  At the eleventh hour, as it were, the Peruvian had
got back his own, or at least a portion of his own.

Placing the emerald in his drawer, Random gave orders to his
servant that the sentry, when off duty, should be brought before
him.  Just as Random finished dressing for mess--and he dressed
very early, so as to devote his entire attention to solving this
new problem--the soldier who had been on guard appeared.  But he
could tell nothing more than he had already related.  When doing
sentry-go immediately outside the gate of the Fort, the packet
had been slipped into the box, while the man was at the far end
of his beat.  It was quite dark when this was done, and the
soldier confessed that he had not heard a sound, much less had he
seen anyone.  The person who had brought the glorious gem had
watched his opportunity, and, soft-footed as a cat, had stolen
forward in the darkness to drop the precious parcel on the floor
of the sentry box.  There the man had found it by the feel of his
feet, when he stepped in some time later to escape a shower.  But
what time had elapsed from the placing of the parcel to its
discovery by the sentry it was impossible to say.  It must,
however, as Random calculated, have been within the hour, since,
before then, it would not have been dark enough to hide the
approach of the person, whether male or female, who carried a
king's ransom in the brown paper parcel.

At first Random was inclined to place the sentry under arrest for
having failed so much in his duty as to allow anyone to approach
so near the Fort; but, as he had already reprimanded the man,
and, moreover, wished to keep the fact of the recovered jewel
quiet, he simply dismissed him.  When alone, he sat down before
the fire, wondering who could have dared so very greatly, and for
what reason the emerald had been handed to him.  If it had been
sent to Don Pedro, or even to Professor Braddock, it would have
been much more reasonable.

It first occurred to him that Mrs. Jasher, out of gratitude for
the way in which he had treated her, had sent him the jewel.
Remembering his former experience, he smelt the parcel, but could
detect no sign of the famous Chinese scent which had proved a
clue to the letter.  Of course the direction on the packet and
the inscribed slip of paper were in feigned handwriting, so he
could gather nothing from that.  Still, he did not think that
Mrs. Jasher had sent the emerald.  She was desperately hard up,
and if she had become possessed of the gem by murder--presuming
her to have been the woman who talked to Bolton through the
window--she assuredly would have sold it to supply her own
needs.  Certainly, if guilty, she would still possess the other
emerald, of equal value; but undoubtedly, had she risked her neck
to gain a fortune, she would have kept the entire plunder which
was likely to cost her so dear.  No; whomsoever it was who had
repented at the eleventh hour, Mrs. Jasher was not the person.

Perhaps Widow Anne was the woman who had talked through the
window, and who had restored the emerald.  But that was
impossible, since Mrs. Bolton habitually took more liquor than
was good for her, and would not have the nerve to deliver the
jewel, much less commit the crime, the more especially as the
victim was her own son.  Of course she might have found out
Sidney's scheme to run away with the jewels, and so would have
claimed her share.  But if she had been in Pierside on that
evening--and her presence in Gartley had been sworn to by three
or four cronies--she would have guessed who had strangled her
boy.  If so, not all the jewels in the world would have prevented
her denouncing the criminal.  With all her faults--and they were
many--Mrs. Bolton was a good mother, and looked upon Sidney as
the pride and joy of her somewhat dissipated life.  Mrs. Bolton
was certainly as innocent as Mrs. Jasher.

There remained Hervey.  Random laughed aloud when the name came
into his puzzled head.  That buccaneer was the last person to
surrender his plunder or to feel compunction in committing a
crime.  Once the skipper got his grip on two jewels, worth
endless money, he would never let them go--not even one of them.
Arguing thus, it seemed that Hervey was out of the running, and
Random could think of no one else.  In this dilemma he remembered
that two heads were better than one, and, before going into
dinner, he sent a note to Archie Hope, asking him to come to the
Fort as speedily as possible.

Sir Frank was somewhat dull at dinner on that evening, and
scarcely responded to the joking remarks of his brother officers.
These jocularly put his preoccupation down to love, for it was an
open secret that the baronet admired the fair Peruvian, although
no one as yet knew that Random was legally engaged with Don
Pedro's consent.  The young man good-humoredly stood all the
chaff hurled at him, but seized the opportunity to slip away to
his quarters as soon as coffee came on the table and the smoking
began.  It was nine o'clock before he returned to his room, and
here he found Hope waiting for him impatiently.

"I see you have been dining at the Pyramids," said Random, seeing
that Hope was in evening dress.

Archie nodded.

"Yes.  I don't put on this kit to have my humble chop at my
lodgings.  But the Professor asked me to dinner to talk over
matters."

"What does he say?" asked Random, looking for the cigarette box.

"Oh, he is very angry with Mrs. Jasher, and considers that she
has swindled him.  He called to see her this afternoon, and--so
he says--had a stormy interview with her."

"I don't wonder at that, if he speaks as he generally does," said
the other grimly, and pushing along the cigarettes,  "There you
are!  The whisky and soda are on yonder table.  Make yourself
comfortable, and tell me what the Professor intends to do."

"Well," said Archie, turning half round from the side table where
he was pouring out the whisky,  "he had already started action,
by sending Cockatoo to live at the Sailor's Rest and spy on
Hervey."

"What rubbish!  Hervey is, going away to-morrow in The Firefly,
bound for Algiers.  Nothing is to be learned from him."

"So I told the Professor," said Hope, returning to the armchair
near the fire,  "and I mentioned that Don Pedro had induced the
skipper to write out a full account of the theft of the mummy
from Lima thirty years ago.  I also said that the signed paper
would be handed in at the Gartley jetty when The Firefly came
down stream to-morrow night."

"Humph!  And what did Braddock say to that?"

"Nothing much.  He merely stated that whatever Hervey said toward
proving the ownership of your future father-in-law, that he
intended to stick to the embalmed corpse of Inca Caxas, and also
that he intended to claim the emeralds when they turned up."

Random rose and went to the drawer of his desk.

"I am afraid he has lost one emerald, at all events," he said,
unlocking the drawer.

"What's that?" said Hope sharply.  "Why did you--oh, gosh!"  He
jumped up with an amazed look as Random held up the magnificent
gem, from which streamed vividly green flames in the mellow
lamplight.  "Oh, gosh!" gasped the artist again.  "Where the
devil did you get that?"

"I sent for you to tell you," said Sir Frank, giving the jewel
into his friend's hand and coming back to his seat.  "It was
found in the sentry box."

Hope stared at the great jewel and then at the soldier.

"What do you mean by that?" he demanded.  "How the dickens could
it be found in a sentry box?  You must be making a mistake."

"Not a bit of it.  It was found on the floor of the box by the
sentry, as I tell you, and I have sent to consult with you as to
how the deuce it got there."

"Hervey," muttered Archie, fascinated by the gem.

Random shrugged his square shoulders.

"Catch that Yankee Shylock returning anything he got his grip on,
even as a wedding present."

"A wedding present," said Hope, more at sea than ever.  "If you
don't mind giving me details, old chap, my head would buzz less."

"I rather think that it will buzz more," said Random dryly, and,
producing the brown paper in which the gem had been wrapped, and
the inscribed paper found within, he related all that had
happened.

Archie listened quietly and did not interrupt, but the puzzled
look on his face grew more pronounced.

"Well," ended Random, seeing that no remark was made when he had
finished,  "what do you think?"

"Lord knows!  I'll go out of my mind if these sort of things come
along.  I am a simple sort of chap, and have no use for mysteries
which beat all the detective stories I have ever read.  That sort
of thing is all very well in fiction, but in real life--humph!
What are you going to do?"

"Give back the emerald to Don Pedro."

"Of course, though, it is given to you for a wedding present.
And then?"

"Then"--Random stared into the fire--" I don't know.  I asked
you in to assist me."

"Willingly; but how?"

Random pondered for a few moments.

"Who sent that emerald to me, do you think?" he asked, looking
squarely at the artist.

Hope meditatively turned the jewel in his long fingers.

"Why not ask Mrs. Jasher?" he suggested suddenly.

"No!" Sir Frank shook his head.  "I fancied it might be her, but
it cannot be.  If she is guilty--as she must be, should she have
sent the emerald--she would not part with her plunder when she
is so hard up.  I am beginning to believe, Hope, that what she
said was true about the letter."

"How do you mean exactly?"

"That the letter was mere bluff and that she really knows nothing
about the crime.  By the way, did Braddock learn anything?"

"Not a thing.  He merely said that the two of them fought.  I
expect Braddock stormed and Mrs. Jasher retorted.  Both of them
have too much tongue-music to come to any understanding.  By the
way--to echo, your own phrase--you had better put away this gem
or I shall be strangling you myself in order to gain possession
of it.  The mere sight of that gorgeous color tempts me beyond my
strength."

Random laughed and locked the jewel in his drawer.  Hope
suggested that with such a flimsy lock it was unsafe, but the
baronet shook his head.

"It is safer here than in a woman's jewel case," he asserted.
"No one looks to my drawer, and certainly no one would expect to
find a crown jewel of this description in my quarters.  Well," he
came back to his seat, slipping his keys into his trouser
pocket, "the whole thing puzzles me."

"Why not do as I suggest and go to Mrs. Jasher?  In any case you
are going there to-night, are you not?"

"Yes.  I want to decide what to do about the woman.  I had
intended to go alone, but as you are here you may as well come
also."

"I shall be delighted.  What do you intend to do?"

"Help her," said Random briefly.

"She doesn't deserve it," replied Hope, lighting a fresh
cigarette.

"Does anyone ever deserve anything?" asked Sir Frank cynically.
"What does Miss Kendal think of the business?  I suppose Braddock
told her.  He has too long a tongue to keep anything to himself."

"He told her at dinner, when I was present.  Lucy is quite on
your side.  She says that she had known Mrs. Jasher for months
and that there is good in her, although I am bound to say that
Lucy was a trifle shocked."

"Does she want Mrs. Jasher to marry her father now?"

"Her step-father," corrected Archie immediately.  "No, that is
out of the question.  But she would like Mrs. Jasher to be helped
out of her difficulties and have a fair start.  It was only by
the greatest diplomacy that I prevented Lucy going to see the
wretched woman this evening."

"Why did you prevent her?"

Archie colored.

"I daresay I am a trifle prudish," he replied,  "but after what
has happened I do not wish Lucy to associate with Mrs. Jasher.
Do you blame me?"

"No, I don't.  All the same, I don't think that Mrs. Jasher is an
immoral woman by any means."

"Perhaps not; but we needn't discuss her character, as we know
precious little of her past, and she no doubt told you the story
that best suited herself.  I think it will be best to make her
tell all she knows this evening, and then send her away with a
sum of money in her pocket to begin a new life."

"I shall help her certainly," said Random, with his eyes on the
fire, "but can't say exactly how.  It is my opinion that the
poor wretch is more sinned against than sinning."

"You are a soldier with a conscience, Random."

The other laughed.

"Why shouldn't a soldier have a conscience?  Do you take your
idea of officers from the lady novelist, who makes us out to be
all idle idiots?"

"Not exactly.  All the same, many a man would not take the
trouble to behave as you are doing to this unlucky woman."

"Any man, who was a man, whether soldier or civilian, would help
such a poor creature.  And I believe, Hope, that you will help
her also."

The artist leaped to his feet impulsively.

"Of course.  I'm with you right along, as Hervey would say.  But
first, before deciding what we shall do to set Mrs. Jasher on her
legs again, let us hear what she has to say."

"She can say nothing more than she has said," remonstrated
Random.

"I don't believe that," replied Hope, reaching for his overcoat.
"You may choose to believe that the letter was the outcome of
bluff.  But I really and truly think that Mrs. Jasher is in the
know.  What is more, I believe that Bolton got her those clothes,
and that she was the woman who talked to him--went there to see
how the little scheme was progressing."

"If I thought that," said Random coldly,  "I would not help Mrs.
Jasher."

"Oh, yes, you would.  The greater the sinner the more need she or
he has of help, you know, my dear fellow.  But get your coat on,
and let us toddle.  I don't suppose we need pistols."

Sir Frank laughed, as, aided by the artist, he struggled into his
military greatcoat.

"I don't suppose that Mrs. Jasher will be dangerous," he
remarked.  "We'll get what we can out of her, and then arrange
what is best to be done to recoup her fallen fortunes.  Then she
can go where she chooses, and we can,--as the French say--
return to our muttons."

"I think Donna Inez and Lucy would be annoyed to hear themselves
called muttons," laughed Archie, and the two men left the room.

The night was darker than ever, and a fine rain was falling
incessantly.  When they left the dimly lighted archway of the
fort through the smaller, gate set in the larger one they stepped
into midnight blackness such as must have been spread over the
land of Egypt.  In accordance with the primitive customs of
Gartley inhabitants, one of them at least should have been
furnished with a lantern, as it was no easy task to pick a clean
way through the mud.---However, Archie, knowing the surroundings
better even than Random, led the way, and they walked slowly
through the iron gate on the hard high road which led to the
Fort.  Immediately beyond this they turned towards the narrow
cinder path which led through the marshes to Mrs. Jasher's
cottage, and toiled on cautiously through the misty rain, which
fell continuously.  The fog was drifting up from the mouth of the
river and was growing so thick that they could not see the
somewhat feeble lights of the cottage.  However, Archie's
instincts led him aright, and they blundered finally upon the
wooden gate.  Here they paused in shocked surprise, for a woman's
scream rang out wildly and suddenly.

"What, in heaven's name, is that?" asked Hope, aghast.

"We must find out," breathed Random, and raced through the white
cotton-wool of the fog up the path.  As he reached the veranda
the door opened and a woman came running out screaming.  But
other screams inside the cottage still continued.

"What is the matter?" cried Random, seizing the woman.

She proved to be Jane.

"Oh, sir, my mistress is being murdered--"

Hope plunged past her into the corridor, not waiting to hear
more.  The cries had died down to a low moaning, and he dashed
into the pink parlor to find it in smoky darkness.  Striking a
match, he held it above his head.  It showed Mrs. Jasher prone on
the floor, and a dark figure smashing its way through the flimsy
window.  There was a snarl and the figure vanished as the match
went out.




CHAPTER XXIV

A CONFESSION


Jane was still being held by Sir Frank at the floor, and was
still screaming, fully convinced that her captor was a burglar,
in spite of having recognized him by his voice.  Random was so
exasperated by her stupidity that he shook her.

"What is the matter, you fool?" he demanded.  "Don't you know
that I am a friend?"

"Y-e-s, s-i-r," gasped Jane, fetching her breath again after the
shaking; "but go for the police.  My mistress is being murdered."

"Mr. Hope is looking after that, and the screams have ceased.
Who was with your mistress?"

"I don't know, sir," sobbed the servant.  "I didn't know anyone
had called, and then I heard the screaming.  I looked into the
parlor to see what was the matter, but the lamp had been thrown
over and had gone out, and there was a dreadful struggle going on
in the darkness, so I screamed and ran out and then I--oh--oh"
Jane showed symptoms of renewed hysteria, and clutched Random
tightly, as a man came cautiously round the corner.

"Are you there, Random?" asked Hope's voice.

"It's so infernally dark and foggy that I have missed him."

"Missed who?"

"The man who was trying to murder Mrs. Jasher, He got her down
when I entered and struck a match.  Then he dashed through the
window before I could catch him or even recognize him.  He's
vanished in the mist."

"It's no use looking for him anyhow," said Random, peering into
the dense blackness, which was thick with damp.  "We had better
see after Mrs. Jasher."

"Whom have you got there?"

"Jane--who seems to have lost her head."

"It's a mercy I haven't lost my life, sir, with burglars and
murderers all about the place," sobbed the girl, dropping on to
the veranda.

Random promptly hauled her to her feet.

"Go and get a candle, and keep calm if you can," he said in an
abrupt military voice.  "This is no time to play the fool."

His sharpness had great effect on the girl, and she became much
more her usual self.  Hope lighted another match, and the trio
proceeded through the passage towards the kitchen, where Jane had
left a lamp burning.  Seizing this from its bracket, Sir Frank
retraced his way along the passage to the pink parlor, followed
closely by Hope and timorously by Jane.  A dreadful scene
presented itself.  The dainty little room was literally smashed
to pieces, as though a gigantic bull had been wallowing therein.
The lamp lay on the floor, surrounded by several extinguished
candles.  It was a mercy that all the lights had been put out
when overturned, else the gim-crack cottage would have been long
since in a blaze.  Chairs and tables and screens were also
overturned, and the one window had its rose-hued curtains torn
down and its glass broken, showing only too clearly the way in
which the murderer had escaped.  And that the man who had
attacked Mrs. Jasher was a murderer could be seen from the stream
of blood that ran slowly from Mrs. Jasher's breast.  Apparently
she had been stabbed in the lungs, for the wound was on the right
side.  There she lay, poor woman, in her tawdry finery, crumpled
up, battered and bruised, dead amongst the ruins of her home.
Jane immediately began to scream again.

"Stop her, Hope," cried Random, who was kneeling by the body and
feeling the heart.  "Mrs. Jasher is not dead.  Hold your noise,
woman, and go for a doctor."  This was to Jane, who, prevented
from screaming, took to whimpering.

"I had better go," said Hope quickly; "and I'll go to the Fort
and alarm the men.  Perhaps they may catch the man."

"Can you describe him?"

"Of course not," said Archie indignantly.  "I only caught a
glimpse of him by the feeble light of a lucifer match.  Then he
leaped through the window and I after him.  I made a grab at him,
but lost him in the mist.  I don't know in the least what he is
like."

"Then how can anyone arrest him?" snapped Random, raising Mrs.
Jasher's head.  "Give what alarm you like, but race for Robinson
up the village.  We must save this poor woman's life, if only to
learn who killed her."

"But she isn't dead yet--she isn't dead yet," wailed Jane,
clapping her hands, while Hope, knowing the value of time,
promptly ran out of the house to get further assistance.

"She soon will be," said Sir Frank, whose temper was not of the
best at so critical a moment in dealing with a fool.  "Go and
bring me brandy at once, and afterwards linen and hot water.  We
must do our best to staunch this wound and revive her."

For the next quarter of an hour the man and the woman labored
hard to save Mrs. Jasher's life.  Random bound up the wound in a
rough and ready fashion, and Jane fed the pale lips of her
mistress with sips of brandy.  Mrs. Jasher gradually became more
alive, and a faint sigh escaped from her lips, as her wounded
bosom rose and fell with recovered breath.  When Sir Frank was in
hopes that she would speak, she suddenly relapsed again into a
comatose state.  Luckily at that moment Archie returned with
young Dr. Robinson at his heels, and also was followed by
Painter, the village constable, who had luckily been picked up in
the fog.

Robinson whistled as he looked at the insensible woman.

"She's had a narrow squeak," he muttered, lifting the body with
the assistance of Random.

"Will she recover?" questioned Hope anxiously.

"I can't tell you yet," answered the doctor; and with Sir Frank
he carried the heavy body of the widow into her bedroom.  "How
did it happen?"

"That is my business," said Painter, who had followed, and who
was now filled with importance.  "You look after the body, sir,
and I'll question these gentlemen and the servant."

"Servant yourself!  Such sauce!" muttered Jane, with an angry
toss of her cap at the daring young policeman.  "I know nothing.
I left my mistress in the parlor writing letters, and never heard
anyone come in.  The bell didn't sound anyhow.  The first thing I
knew that anything was wrong was on hearing the screams.  When I
looked into the parlor the candles and the lamp were out, and
there was a struggle going on in the dark.  Then I cried out,
very naturally, I'm sure, and ran straight into the arms of these
gentlemen, as soon as I could get the front door open."

After delivering this address, Jane was called away to assist the
doctor in the bedroom, and along with Archie and Random the
constable repaired to the pink parlor to hear what they had to
say.  Of course they could tell him even less than Jane had told,
and Archie protested that he was quite unable to describe the man
who had dashed out of the window.

"Ah," said Painter sapiently,  "he got out there; but how did he
enter?"

"No doubt by the door," said Random sharply.

"We don't know that, sir.  Jane says she did not hear the bell."

"Mrs. Jasher might have let the man in, whomsoever he was,
secretly."

"Why should she, sir?"

"Ah! now you are asking more than I can tell you.  Only Mrs.
Jasher can explain, and it seems to me that she will die."

Meanwhile, in some mysterious way the news of the crime had
spread through the village, and although it was growing late--
for it was past ten o'clock--a dozen or so of villagers came
along.  Also there arrived a number of soldiers under a smart
sergeant, and to him Sir Frank explained what had happened.  In
the fainthearted way--for the mist was now like cotton-wool--
the military and the civilians hunted through the marshes round
the cottage, hoping to come across the assassin hiding in a
ditch.  Needless to say, they found no one and nothing, for it
was worse than looking for a needle in a bundle of hay.  The man
had come out of the mist, and, after executing the deed, had
vanished into the mist, and there was not the very slightest
chance of finding him.  Gradually, as it drew towards midnight,
the soldiers went back to the Fort, and the villagers to their
homes.  But, along with the doctor and the constable, Hope and
his military friend stopped on.  They were determined to get at
the root of the mystery, and when Mrs. Jasher became sensible she
would be able to reveal the truth.

"It's all of a piece with the sending of the emerald," said
Random to the artist,  "and that is connected, as we know, with
the death of Bolton."

"Do you think that this man who has struck down Mrs. Jasher is
the same one who strangled Sidney Bolton?"

"I should think so.  Perhaps Mrs. Jasher sent the emerald after
all, and this man killed her out of revenge."

"But how would he know that she had the emerald?"

"God knows!  She may have been his accomplice."

Archie knit his brows.

"Who the devil can this mysterious person be?"

"I can only reply as you have done, my friend.  God knows."

"Well, I am certain that God will not let him escape this time.
This will bring Gartley once more into notoriety," went on Hope.
"By the way, I saw one of the servants from the Pyramids here.  I
hope the fool won't go home and frighten Lucy's life out of her."

"Go to the Pyramids and see her," suggested Sir Frank.  "Mrs.
Jasher is still unconscious, and will be for hours, the doctor
tells me."

"It is too late to go to the Pyramids, Random."

"If they know of this new tragedy there, I'll bet they are not in
bed."

Hope nodded.

"All the same, I'll remain here until Mrs. Jasher can speak," he
said, and sat smoking with Random in the dining-room, as the most
comfortable room in the house.

Constable Painter camped, so to speak, in the drawing-room,
keeping guard over the scene of the crime, and had placed the
Chinese screen against the broken window to keep out the cold.
In the bedroom Jane and Dr. Robinson looked after the dying
woman.  And dying she was, according to the young physician, for
he did not think she would live much longer.  Round the lonely
cottage the sea-mist drifted white and thick, and the darkness
deepened, until--as the saying goes--it could have been cut
with a knife.  Never was there so eerie and weary and sinister a
vigil.

Towards four o'clock Hope fell into a doze, while resting in an
arm-chair; but he was suddenly aroused from this by an
exclamation from Sir Frank, who had remained wide awake, smoking
cigar after cigar.  In a moment the artist was on his feet, alert
and quick-brained.

"What is it?"

Random made for the dining-room door rapidly.

"I thought I heard Painter call out," he declared, and hastily
sought the parlor, followed by Hope.

The room was empty, but the screen before the broken window had
been thrown down, and they could see Painter's bulky form
immediately outside.

"What the deuce is the matter?" demanded Random, entering.  "Did
you call out, Painter.  I fancied I heard something."

The constable came in again.

"I did call out, sir," he confessed.  "I was half asleep in that
chair, when I suddenly became wide awake, and believed I saw a
face looking at me round the corner of the screen.  I jumped up,
calling for you, sir, and upset the screen."

"Well?  well?" demanded Sir Frank impatiently, and seeing that
the man hesitated.

"I saw no one, sir.  All the same, I had an idea, and I have
still, that a man came through the window and peered at me from
behind the screen."

"The man who attacked Mrs. Jasher?"

"I can't say, sir.  But there was someone.  At any rate he's gone
again, if he really did come, and there is no chance of finding
him.  It's like pea-soup outside."

Hope and Random simultaneously stepped through the window, but
could not see an inch before them, so thick was the sea-fog and
so dense was the darkness.  Returning, they replaced the screen,
and, telling Painter to be more on the alert, went back shivering
to the fire in the dining-room.  When they were seated again,
Archie put a question.

"Do you think that policeman was dreaming?" he asked
meditatively.

"No," replied Random sharply.  "I believe that the man who
assaulted Mrs. Jasher is hanging about, and ventured back into
the room, relying on the fog as a means of escape, should he be
spotted."

"But the man wouldn't be such a fool as to return into danger."

"Not unless he wanted something very badly," said Random
significantly.

Hope let the cigarette he was lighting fall.

"What do you mean?"

"I may be wrong, of course.  But it is my impression that there
is something in the parlor which this man wants, and for which he
tried to murder Mrs. Jasher.  We interrupted him, and he was
forced to flee.  Hidden in the fog, he is lurking about to see if
he can't obtain what he has risked his neck to secure."

"What can it be?" murmured Archie, struck by the feasibility of
this theory.

"Perhaps the second emerald," remarked Sir Frank grimly.

"What!  You don't think that--"

"I don't think anything.  I am too tired to think at all.
However, Painter will keep his eyes open, and in the morning we
can search the room.  The man has been in the house twice to get
what he wanted.  He won't risk another attempt, now that he is
aware we are on the alert.  I'm going to try and get forty winks.
You keep watch, as you have had your sleep."

Hope was quite agreeable, but just as Random composed himself to
uneasy slumber, Jane, haggard and red-eyed, came hastily into the
dining-room.

"If you please, gentlemen, the doctor wants you to come and see
mistress.  She is sensible, and--"

The two waited to hear no more, but went hastily but softly into
the room wherein lay the dying woman.  Robinson sat by the
bedside, holding his patient's hand and feeling her pulse.  He
placed his finger on his lips as the men entered gently, and at
the same moment Mrs. Jasher's voice, weak from exhaustion,
sounded through the room, which was dimly illuminated by one
candle.  The newcomers halted in obedience to Robinson's signal.

"Who is there?" asked Mrs. Jasher weakly, for, in spite of the
care exercised, she had evidently heard the footsteps.

"Mr. Hope and Sir Frank Random," whispered the doctor, speaking
into the dying woman's ear.  "They came in time to save you."

"In time to see me die," she murmured;  "and I can't die, unless
I tell the truth.  I am glad Random is there; he is a kind-hearted
boy, and treated me better than he need have done.  I--oh--some
brandy--brandy."

Robinson gave her some in a spoon.

"Now lie quietly and do not attempt to speak," he commanded.
"You need all your strength."

"I do--to tell that which I wish to tell," gasped Mrs. Jasher,
trying to raise herself.  "Sir Frank!  Sir Frank!"  Her voice
sounded hoarse and weak.

"Yes, Mrs. Jasher," said the young man, coming softly to the
bedside.

She thrust out a weak hand and clutched him.

"You must be my father-confessor, and hear all.  You got the
emerald?"

"What!" Random recoiled in astonishment,  "Did you--"

"Yes, I sent it to you as a wedding present.  I was sorry and I
was afraid; and I--I--"  She paused again, gasping.

The doctor intervened and gave her more brandy.

"You must not talk," he insisted severely,  "or I shall turn Sir
Frank and Mr. Hope out of the room."

"No! no!  Give me more brandy--more--more." and when the doctor
placed a tumbler to her lips, she drank so greedily that he had
to take the glass away lest she should do herself harm.  But the
ardent spirit put new life into her, and with a superhuman effort
she suddenly reared herself in the bed.

"Come here, Hope--come here, Random," she said in a much
stronger voice.  "I have much to tell you.  Yes, I took the
emerald after dark and threw it into the sentry box when the man
wasn't looking.  I escaped your spy, Random, and I escaped the
notice of the sentry.  I walked like a cat, and like a cat I can
see in the dark.  I am glad you have got the emerald."

"Where did you get it?" asked Random quietly.

"That's a long story.  I don't know that I have the strength to
tell it.  I have written it out."

"You have written it out?" said Hope quickly, and drawing near.

"Yes.  Jane thought that I was writing letters, but I was writing
out the whole story of the murder.  You were good to me, Random,
you dear boy, and on the impulse of the moment I took the emerald
to you.  I was sorry when I got back, but it was too late then to
repent, as I did not dare to go near the Fort again.  Your spy
who watched might have discovered me the second time.  I then
thought that I would write out the story of the murder, so as to
exonerate myself."

"Then you are not guilty of Bolton's death?" asked Sir Frank,
puzzled, for her confession was somewhat incoherent.

"No.  I did not strangle him.  But I know who did.  I have
written it all down.  I was just finishing when I heard the
tapping at the window.  I let him in and he tried to get the
confession, for I told him what I had done."

"Who did you tell?" asked Hope, much excited.

Mrs. Jasher took no notice.

"The confession is lying on my desk--all the sheets of paper are
loose.  I had no time to bind them together, for he came in.  He
wanted the emerald, and the confession.  I told him that I had
given the emerald to you, Random, and that I had confessed all in
writing.  Then he went mad and flew at me with a dreadful knife.
He knocked over the candles and the lamp.  Everything went out
and all was darkness, and I lay crying for help, with that devil
stabbing--stabbing--ah--"

"Who, in heaven's name, is the man?" demanded Random, standing up
in his eagerness.  But Mrs. Jasher had fallen back in a faint,
and Robinson was again supplying her with brandy.

"You had better leave the room, you two," he said, "or I can't be
answerable for her life."

"I must stay and learn the truth," said Random determinedly,
"and you, Hope, go into the parlor and find that confession.  It
is on the desk, as she said, all loose sheets.  No doubt it was
the confession which the man she refers to tried to secure when
he came back the second time.  He may make another attempt, or
Painter may go to sleep.  Hurry!  hurry!"

Archie needed no second telling, as he realized what hung on the
securing of the confession.  He stole swiftly out of the room,
closing the door after him.  Faint as was the sound, Mrs. Jasher
heard it and opened her eyes.

"Do not go, Random," she said faintly.  "I have yet much to say,
although the confession will tell you all.  I am half sorry I
wrote it out--at least I was--and perhaps should have burnt it
had I not met with this accident."

"Accident!" echoed Sir Frank scornfully.  "Murder you mean."

The sinister word galvanized the dying woman in sudden strong
life, and she reared herself again on the bed.

"Murder!  Yes, it is murder," she cried loudly.  "He killed
Sidney Bolton to get the emeralds, and he killed me to make me
close my mouth."

"Who stabbed you?  Speak! speak!" cried Random anxiously.

"Cockatoo.  He is guilty of my death and Bolton's," and she fell
back, dead.



CHAPTER XXV

THE MILLS OF GOD


In the cold gray hours of the morning, Hope and his friend left
the cottage wherein such a tragedy had taken place.  The dead
woman was lying stiff and white on her bed under a winding sheet,
which had already been strewn with many-hued chrysanthemums taken
from the pink parlor by the weeping Jane.  The wretched woman who
had led so stormy and unhappy a life had at least one sincere
mourner, for she had always been kind to the servant, who formed
her entire domestic staff, and Jane would not hear a word said
against the dead.  Not that anyone did say anything; for Random
and Hope kept the contents of the confession to themselves.
There would be time enough for Mrs. Jasher's reputation to be
smirched when those same contents were made public.

When the poor woman died, Random left the doctor and the servant
to look after the corpse, and went into the parlor.  Here he met
Hope with the confession in his hand.  Luckily, Painter was not
in the room at the moment, else he would have prevented the
artist from taking away the same.  Hope--as directed by Mrs.
Jasher--had found the confession, written on many sheets, lying
on the desk.  It broke off abruptly towards the end, and was not
signed.  Apparently at this point Mrs. Jasher had been
interrupted--as she had said--by the tapping of Cockatoo at the
window.  Probably she had admitted him at once, and on her
refusal to give him the emerald, and on her confessing what she
had written, he had overturned the lights for the purpose of
murdering her.  Only too well had the Kanaka succeeded in his
wickedness.

Archie slipped the confession into his pocket before the
policeman returned, and then left the cottage with Random and the
doctor, since nothing else could now be done.  It was between
seven and eight, and the chilly dawn was breaking, but the
sea-mist still lay heavily over the marshes, as though it were
the winding sheet of the dead.  Robinson went to his own house to
get his trap and drive into Jessum, there to catch the train and
ferry to Pierside.  It was necessary that Inspector Date should
be informed of this new tragedy without delay, and as Constable
Painter was engaged in watching the cottage, there was no
messenger available but Dr. Robinson.  Random indeed offered to
send a soldier, or to afford Robinson the use of the Fort
telephone, but the doctor preferred to see Date personally, so as
to detail exactly what had happened.  Perhaps the young medical
man had an eye to becoming better known, for the improvement of
his practice; but he certainly seemed anxious to take a prominent
part in the proceedings connected with the murder of Mrs. Jasher.

When Robinson parted from them, Random and Hope went to the
lodgings of the latter, so as to read over the confession and
learn exactly to what extent Mrs. Jasher had been mixed up in the
tragedy of the green mummy.  She had declared herself innocent
even on her death-bed, and so far as the two could judge at this
point, she certainly had not actually strangled Sidney Bolton.
But it might be--and it appeared to be more than probable--that
she was an accessory after the fact.  But this they could learn
from the confession, and they sat in Hope's quiet little
sitting-room, in which the fire had been just lighted by the
artist's landlady, with the scattered sheets neatly ranged before
them.

"Perhaps you would like a cup of coffee, or a whisky and soda,"
suggested Archie,  "before starting to read?"

"I should," assented Random, who looked weary and pale.  "The
events of the night have somewhat knocked me up.  Coffee for
choice--nice, black, strong, hot coffee."

Hope nodded and went to order the same.  When he returned he sat
down, after closing the door carefully, and proceeded to read.
But before he could speak Random raised his hand.

"Let us chat until the coffee comes in," he said;  "then we shall
not be interrupted when reading."

"All right," said Hope.  "Have a cigar!"

"No, thanks.  I have been smoking all the night.  I shall sit
here by the fire and wait for the coffee.  You look chippy
yourself."

"And small wonder," said Archie wearily.  "We little thought when
we left the Fort last night what a time we were going to have.
Fancy Mrs. Jasher having sent you the emerald after all!"

"Yes.  She repented, as she said, and yet I dare say--as she
also said--she was sorry that she acted on her impulse.  If she
had not been stabbed by that damned Cockatoo, she would no doubt
have destroyed that confession.  I expect she wrote that also on
the impulse of the moment."

"She confessed as much," said Hope, leaning his head on his hand
and staring into the fire.  "She must have been cognizant of the
truth all along.  I wonder if she was an accessory before or
after the fact?"

"What I wonder," said Random, after a moment's thought,  "is,
what Braddock has to do with the matter?"

Hope raised his head in surprise.

"Why, nothing.  Mrs. Jasher did not say a word against Braddock."

"I know that.  All the same, Cockatoo was completely under the
thumb of the Professor, and probably was instructed by him to
strangle Bolton."

"That is impossible," cried the artist, much agitated.  "Think of
what you are saying, Random.  What a terrible thing it would be
for Lucy if the Professor were guilty in such a way as you
suggest!"

"Really, I fail to see that.  Miss Kendal is no relation to
Braddock save by marriage.  His iniquities have nothing to do
with her, or with you."

"But it's impossible, I tell you, Random.  Throughout the whole
of this case Braddock has acted in a perfectly innocent way."

"That's just it," said Sir Frank caustically;  "he has acted.  In
spite of his pretended grief for the loss of the emeralds, I
should not be surprised to learn from that," he nodded towards
the confession on the table, "that he was in possession of the
missing gem.  Cockatoo had no reason to steal the emeralds
himself, setting aside the fact that he probably would not know
their value, being but a semi-civilized savage.  He acted under
orders from his master, and although Cockatoo strangled Bolton,
the Professor is really the author and the gainer and the moving
spirit."

"You would make Braddock an accessory before the fact."

"Yes, and Mrs. Jasher an accessory after the fact.  Cockatoo is
the link, as the actual criminal, who joins the two in a guilty
partnership.  No wonder Braddock intended to make that woman his
wife even though he did not love her, for she knew a jolly sight
too much for his peace of mind."

"This is horrible," murmured Hope desperately;  "but it is mere
theory.  We cannot be sure until we read the confession."

"We'll be sure soon, then, for here comes the coffee."

This last remark Random made when a timid knock came to the door,
and a moment later the landlady entered with a tray bearing cups,
saucers, and a jug of steaming coffee.  She was a meek, reticent
woman who entered and departed in dismal silence, and in a few
moments the two young men were quite alone with the door closed.
They drank a cup of coffee each, and then Hope proceeded to read
the confession.

The story told by Mrs. Jasher commenced with a short account of
her early life.  It appeared that her father was a ruined
gentleman and a gambler, and that her mother had been an actress.
She was dragged up in a Bohemian sort of way until she attained a
marriageable age, when her mother, who seemed to have been both
wicked and hard-hearted, forced her to marry a comparatively
wealthy man called Jasher.  The elderly husband--for Jasher was
not young--treated his wife very badly, and, infected with the
spirit of gambling by her father, lost all his money.  Mrs.
Jasher then went with him to America and performed on the stage
in order to keep the home together.  She had one child, but it
died, much to her grief, yet also much to her relief, as she was
so miserable and poor.  Mrs. Jasher gave a scanty account of
sordid years of trouble and trial, of failure and sorrow.  She
and her husband roamed all over America, and then went to
Australia and New Zealand, where they lived a wretched existence
for many years.  Finally the husband died of strong drink at an
advanced age, leaving Mrs. Jasher a somewhat elderly widow.

The poor woman again took to the stage and tried to earn her
bread, but was unsuccessful.  Afterwards she lectured.  Then she
kept a boarding establishment, and finally went out as a nurse.
In every way, it would seem, she tried to keep her head above
water, and roamed the world like a bird of passage, finding rest
nowhere for the sole of her foot.  Yet throughout her story both
the young men could see that she had always aspired to a quiet
and decent, respectable existence, and that only force of
circumstances had flung her into the whirlpool of life.

"As I said," remarked Random at this stage, "the miserable
creature was more sinned against than sinning."

"Her moral sense seemed to have become blunted, however," said
Archie doubtfully.

"And small wonder, amidst such surroundings; but it seems to me
that she was much better under the circumstances than many
another woman would have been.  Go on."

In Melbourne Mrs. Jasher made a lucky speculation in mines, which
brought her one thousand pounds.  With this she came to England,
and resolved to make a bid for respectability.  Chance led her
into the neighborhood of Gartley, and thinking that if she set up
her tent in this locality she might manage to marry an officer
from the Fort--since amidst such dismal surroundings a young man
might be the more easily fascinated by a woman of the world--she
took the cottage amidst the marshes at a small rent.  Here she
hoped to eke out what money she had left--a few hundreds--until
the coveted marriage should take place.  Afterwards she met
Professor Braddock and determined to marry him, as a man more
easy to manage.  She was successful in enlisting Lucy on her
side, and until the green mummy brought its bad luck to the
Pyramids everything went capitally.

It was in connection with the name of Bolton that the first
mention was made of the green mummy.  Sidney was a clever young
man, although very lowly born, and having been taken up by
Professor Braddock as an assistant, could hope some day to make a
position.  Braddock was educating him, although he paid him very
little in the way of wages.  Sidney fell in love with Mrs.
Jasher, and in some way--she did not mention how--gained her
confidence.  Perhaps the lonely woman was glad to have a
sympathetic friend.  At all events she told her past history to
Sidney, and mentioned that she desired to marry Braddock.  But
Sidney insisted that she should marry him, and promised to make
enough money to satisfy her that he was a good match, setting
aside his humble birth, for which Mrs. Jasher cared nothing.

It was then that Sidney related what he had discovered.
Braddock, when in Peru many years before, had tried to get
mummies for some scientific reason.  When Hervey--then known as
Vasa--promised to procure him the mummy of the last Inca,
Braddock was extremely pleased.  Hervey stole the mummy and also
the copy of the manuscript which was written in Latin.  He sent
this latter to Braddock--who was then at Cuzco--as an earnest of
his success in procuring the mummy, and when the Professor
returned to Lima the mummy was to be handed to him.
Unfortunately, Braddock was carried into captivity for one year,
and when he escaped Vasa had disappeared with the mummy.  As the
Professor had deciphered the Latin manuscript, he knew of the
emeralds, and for years had been hunting for the mummy--sure to
be recognized from its peculiar green color--in order to get the
jewels, and thus secure money for his Egyptian expedition.  All
through, it seems, the Professor was actuated by purely
scientific enthusiasm, as in the abstract he cared very little
for hard cash.  Bolton told Mrs. Jasher that Braddock explained
how much he desired to get the mummy, but he did not mention
about the jewels.  For a long time Sidney was under the
impression that his master merely wanted the mummy to see the
difference between the Egyptian and Peruvian modes of embalming.

Then one day Sidney chanced on the Latin manuscript, and learned
that Braddock's real reason for getting the mummy was to procure
the emeralds which were held in the grip of the dead.  Sidney
kept this knowledge to himself, and Braddock never guessed that
his assistant knew the truth.  Then unexpectedly Braddock
stumbled across the advertisement describing the green mummy for
sale in Malta.  From the color he made sure that it was that of
Inca Caxas, and so moved heaven and earth to get money to buy it.
At length he did, from Archie Hope, on condition that he
consented to the marriage of his step-daughter with the young
man.  Thinking that Sidney was ignorant of the jewels, he sent
him to bring the mummy home.

Sidney told Mrs. Jasher that he would try and steal the jewels in
Malta or on board the tramp steamer.  Failing that, he would
delay the delivery of the mummy to Braddock on some excuse and
rob it at Pierside.  To make sure of escaping, he borrowed a
disguise from his mother, alleging that Hope wanted the same to
clothe a model.  Sidney intended to take these clothes with him,
and, after stealing the jewels, to escape disguised as an old
woman.  As he was slender and clean-shaven and a capital actor,
he could easily manage this.

Then he arranged that Mrs. Jasher should join him in Paris, and
they would sell the emeralds, and go to America, there to marry
and live happily ever afterwards, like a fairy tale.

Unfortunately for the success of this plan, Mrs. Jasher thought
that the Professor would make a more distinguished husband, so
she betrayed all that Sidney, had arranged.

"What a beastly thing to do!" interrupted Random, disgusted.  "It
is not as if she wanted to help Braddock.  I think less of Mrs.
Jasher than ever I did.  She might have remembered that there is
honor amongst thieves."

"Well, she is dead, poor soul!" said Hope with a sigh.  "God
knows that if she sinned, she has paid cruelly for her sin,"
after which remark, as Sir Frank was silent, he resumed his
reading.

Braddock was furious when he learned of his assistant's projected
trickery, and he determined to circumvent him.  He agreed to
marry Mrs. Jasher, as, if he had not done so, she could have
warned Sidney and he could have escaped with both the mummy and
the jewels by conniving with Hervey.  The Professor could not
risk that, as, remembering Hervey as Gustav Vasa, he was aware
how clever and reckless he was.  Whether Braddock ever intended
to marry the widow in the end it is hard to say, but he certainly
pretended to consent to the engagement, which was mainly brought
about by Lucy.  Then came the details of the murder so far as
Mrs. Jasher knew.

One evening--in fact on the evening when the crime was committed
--the woman was walking in her garden late.  In the moonlight she
saw Braddock and Cockatoo go down along the cinderpath to the
jetty near the Fort.  Wondering what they were doing, she waited
up, and heard and saw them--for it was still moonlight--come
back long after midnight.  The next day she heard of the murder,
and guessed that the Professor and his slave--for Cockatoo was
little else--had rowed up to Pierside in a boat and there had
strangled Sidney and stolen the mummy.  She saw Braddock and
accused him.  The Professor had then opened the case, and had
pretended astonishment when discovering the corpse of the man
whom Cockatoo had strangled, as he knew perfectly well.

Braddock at first denied having been to Pierside, but Mrs. Jasher
insisted that she would tell the police, so he was forced to make
a clean breast of it to the woman.

"Now for it," said Random, settling himself to hear details of
the crime, for he had often wondered how it had been executed.

"Braddock," read Archie from the confession, for Mrs. Jasher did
not trouble herself with a polite prefix--"Braddock explained
that when he received a letter from Sidney stating that he would
have to remain with the mummy for a night in Pierside, he guessed
that his treacherous assistant intended to effect the robbery.
It seems that Sidney by mistake had left behind the disguise in
which he intended to escape.  Aware of this through me"--Mrs.
Jasher referred to herself--"he made Cockatoo assume the dress
and row up the river to the Sailor's Rest.  The Kanaka easily
could be mistaken for a woman, as he also, like Sidney, was
slender and smooth-chinned.  Also, he wore the shawl over his
head to disguise his mop of frizzy hair as much as possible, and
for the purpose of concealing his tattooed face.  In the darkness
--it was after nine o'clock--he spoke to Sidney through the
window, as he had seen him there earlier, when searching for him.
Cockatoo said that Sidney was much afraid when he heard that his
purpose had been discovered by the Professor.  He offered a share
of the plunder to the Kanaka, and Cockatoo agreed, saying he
would come back late, and that Sidney was to admit him into the
bedroom so that they could open the mummy and steal the jewels.
Sidney quite believed that Cockatoo was heart and soul with him,
especially as the cunning Kanaka swore that he was weary of his
master's tyranny.  It was when Cockatoo was talking thus that he
was seen by Eliza Flight, who mistook him--very naturally--for
a woman.  Cockatoo then returned by boat to the Gartley jetty and
told his master.  Afterwards, the Professor, at a much later
hour, went down to the jetty and was rowed up to Pierside by the
Kanaka."

"That was when Mrs. Jasher saw them," said Random, much
interested.

"Yes," said Archie.  "And then, if you remember; she watched for
the return of the couple."

"It was nearly midnight when the boat was brought alongside the
sloping stone bank of the alley which ran past the Sailor's Rest.
No one was about at that hour, not even a policeman, and there
was no light in Sidney Bolton's window.  Braddock was much
agitated as he thought that Sidney had already escaped.  He
waited in the boat and sent Cockatoo to knock at the window.
Then a light appeared and the window was silently opened.  The
Kanaka slipped in and remained there for some ten minutes after
closing the window.  When he returned, the light was
extinguished.  He whispered to his master that Sidney had opened
the packing case and the mummy coffin, and had ripped the
swathings to get the jewels.  When Sidney would not hand over the
jewels to the Kanaka, as the latter wanted him to, Cockatoo,
already prepared with the window cord, which he had silently
taken from the blind, sprang upon the unfortunate assistant and
strangled him.  Cockatoo told this to his horrified master, and
wanted him to come back to hide the corpse in the packing case.
Braddock refused, and then Cockatoo told him that he would throw
the jewels--which he had taken from Sidney's body--into the
river.  The position of master and servant was reversed, and
Braddock was forced to obey.

"The Professor slipped silently ashore and into the room.  The
two men relighted the candle and pulled down the blind.  They
then placed the corpse of Sidney in the packing case, and screwed
the same down in silence.  When this was completed, they were
about to carry the mummy in its coffin--the lid of which they
had replaced--to the boat, when they heard distant footsteps,
probably those of a policeman on his beat.  At once they
extinguished the candle, and--as Braddock told Mrs. Jasher--he,
for one, sat trembling in the dark.  But the policeman--if the
footsteps were those of a policeman--passed up another street,
and the two were safe.  Without relighting the candle, they
silently slipped the mummy through the window, Cockatoo within
and Braddock without.  The case and its contents were not heavy,
and it was not difficult for the two men to take it to the boat.
When it was safely bestowed, Cockatoo--who was as cunning as the
devil, according to his master returned to the bedroom, and
unlocked the door.  He afterwards passed a string through the
joining of the upper and lower windows, and managed to shut the
snib.  Afterwards he came to the boat and rowed it back to
Gartley.  On the way Cockatoo told his master that Sidney had
left instructions that the packing case should be taken next
morning to the Pyramids, so there was nothing to fear.  The mummy
was hidden in a hole under the jetty and covered with grass."

"Why didn't they take it up to the house?" asked Random, on
hearing this.

"That would have been dangerous," said Hope, looking up from the
manuscript,  "seeing that the mummy was supposed to have been
stolen by the murderer.  It was easier to hide it amongst the
grasses under the jetty, as no one ever goes there.  Well"--he
turned over a few pages--"that is practically all.  The rest is
after events."

"I want to hear them," said Random, taking another cup of coffee.

Hope ran his eyes swiftly over the remaining portion of the
paper, and gave further details rapidly to his friend.

"You know all that happened," he said,  "the Professor's
pretended surprise when he found the corpse he had himself helped
to pack and--"

"Yes! yes!  But why was the mummy placed in Mrs. Jasher's
garden?"

"That was Braddock's idea.  He fancied that the mummy might be
found under the jetty and that inconvenient inquiries might be
made.  Also, he wished if possible to implicate Mrs. Jasher, so
as to keep her from telling to the police what he had told her.
He and Cockatoo went down to the river one night and removed the
mummy to the arbor silently.  Afterwards he pretended to be
astonished when I found it.  I must say he acted his part very
well," said Hope reflectively,  "even to accusing Mrs. Jasher.
That was a bold stroke of genius."

"A very dangerous one."

"Not at all.  He swore to Mrs. Jasher that if she said anything,
he would tell the police that she had taken the clothes provided
by Sidney from the Pyramids and had gone to speak through the
window, in order to fly with Sidney and the emeralds.  As the
fact of the mummy being found in Mrs. Jasher's garden would lend
color to the lie, she was obliged to hold her tongue.  And after
all, as she says, she didn't mind, since she was engaged to the
Professor, and possessed at least one of the emeralds."

"Ah! the one she passed along to me.  How did she get that?"

Hope referred again to the manuscript.

"She insisted that Braddock should give it to her as a pledge of
good faith.  He had to do it, or risk her splitting.  That was
why he placed the mummy in her garden, so as to bring her into
the matter, and render it more difficult for her to speak."

"What of the other emerald?"

"Braddock took that to Amsterdam, when he went to London that
time--if you remember, when Don Pedro arrived.  Braddock sold
the emerald for three thousand pounds, and it is now on its way
to an Indian rajah.  I fear Don Pedro will never set eyes on that
again."

"Where is the money?"

"He banked it in a feigned name in Amsterdam, and intended to
account for it when he married Mrs. Jasher by saying it was left
to her by that mythical Pekin merchant brother of hers.  Savvy!"

"Yes.  What an infernal little villain!  And I expect he sent
Cockatoo down last night for the other emerald."

"That is not related in the manuscript," said Archie, laying down
the last sheet and taking up his coffee.  "The confession ends
abruptly--at the time Cockatoo tapped at the window, I expect.
But she said, when dying, that the Kanaka asked for the second
emerald.  If she had not sent it to you in a fit of weakness, I
expect she would have passed it along.  I can't make out," added
Archie musingly, "why Mrs. Jasher confessed when everything was
so safe."

"Well," said Random, nursing his chin, and staring into the fire,
"she made a mistake in trying to blackmail me, though why she did
so I can't tell, seeing she had the whiphand of Braddock.
Perhaps she wanted the five thousand to spend herself, knowing
that the Professor's plunder would be wasted on his confounded
expedition.  At any rate she gave herself away by the blackmail,
and I expect she grew frightened.  If the house had been searched
--and it might have been searched by the police, had I arrested
her for blackmail the emerald would have been found and she would
have been incriminated.  She therefore got rid of it cleverly, by
passing it along to me as a wedding gift.  Then she again grew
afraid and wrote out this confession to exonerate herself."

"But it doesn't," insisted Hope.  "She makes herself out plainly
as an accessory after the fact."

"A woman doesn't understand these legal niceties.  She wrote that
out to clear herself in case she was arrested for the blackmail,
and perhaps in case Braddock refused to help her--as he
certainly did, if you remember."

"He was hard on her," confessed Archie slowly.

"Being such a villain himself," said Random grimly.  "However,
Cockatoo arrived unluckily on the scene, and when he found she
had parted with the emerald, and had written out the truth, he
stabbed her.  If we hadn't come just in the nick of time, he
would have annexed that confession, and the truth would never
have become known.  No one," ended Random, rising and stretching
himself,  "would connect Braddock or Cockatoo with the death of
Mrs. Jasher."

"Or with the death of Sidney Bolton either," said Hope, also
rising and putting on his cap.  "What an actor the man is!"

"Where are you going?" demanded Sir Frank, yawning.

"To the Pyramids.  I want to see how Lucy is."

"Will you tell her about that confession?"

"Not until later.  I shall give this to Inspector Date when he
arrives.  The Professor has made his bed, so he must lie on it.
When I marry Lucy, I'll take her away from this damned place."

"Marry her at once, then," advised Random,  "while the Professor
is doing time, and while Cockatoo is being hanged.  Meanwhile, I
think you had better put on your overcoat, unless you want to
walk through the village in crumpled evening dress, like a
dissipated undergraduate."

Archie laughed in spite of his weariness, and assumed his
greatcoat at the same moment as Random slipped into his.  The two
young men walked out into the village and up to the Pyramids, for
Random wished to see Braddock before returning to the Fort.  They
found the door of the great house open and the servants in the
hall.

"What is all this?" demanded Hope, entering.  "Why are you here,
and not at work?  Where is your master?"

"He's run away," said the cook in a shrill voice.  "Lord knows
why, sir."

"Archie!  Archie!" Lucy came running out of the museum,
pale-faced and white,  "my father has gone away with Cockatoo and
the green mummy.  What does it mean?  And just when poor Mrs.
Jasher is murdered too."

"Hush, darling!  Come in, and I'll explain," said Hope gently.




CHAPTER XXVI

THE APPOINTMENT


Poor Lucy Kendal was terribly grieved and shocked when the full
account of her step-father's iniquity was revealed to her.
Archie tried to break the news as delicately as possible, but no
words could soften the sordid story.  Lucy, at first, could not
believe it possible that a man, whom she had known for so long,
and to whom she was related, would behave in such a base way.  To
convince her Hope was forced to let her read the account in Mrs.
Jasher's handwriting.  When acquainted with the contents, the
poor girl's first desire was to have the matter hushed up, and
she implored her lover with tears to suppress the damning
document.

"That is impossible," said Hope firmly; "and if you think again,
my dear, you will not repeat such a request.  It is absolutely
necessary that this should be placed in the hands of the police,
and that the truth should become as widely known as possible.
Unless the matter is settled once and for all, someone else may
be accused of this murder."

"But the disgrace," wept Lucy, hiding her face on her lover's
shoulder.

He slipped his arm round her waist.

"My darling, the disgrace exists whether it be public or private.
After all, the Professor is no relation."

"No.  But everyone knows that I am his step-daughter."

"Everyone," echoed Archie, with an assumed lightness.  "My dear,
everyone in this instance only means the handful of people who
live in this out-of-the-way village.  Your name will not appear
in the papers.  And even if by chance it does, you will soon be
changing it for mine.  I think the best thing that can be done is
for you to come with me to London next week and marry me.  Then
we can go to the south of France for the rest of the winter,
until you recover.  When we return and set up house in London--
say in a year--the whole affair will be forgotten."

"But how can you bear to marry me, when you know that I come of
such a bad stock?" wept Lucy, a trifle more comforted.

"My dear, must I remind you again that you are no relation to
Professor Braddock; you have not a drop of his wicked blood in
your veins.  And even if you had, I should still marry you.  It
is you I love, and you I marry, so there is no more to be said.
Come, darling, say that you will become my wife next week."

"But the Professor?"

Archie smiled grimly.  He found it difficult to forgive Braddock
for the disgrace he had brought on the girl.

"I don't think we'll ever be troubled again with the Professor,"
he said, after a pause.  "He has bolted into the unknown with
that infernal Kanaka."

"But why did he fly, Archie?"

"Because he knew that the game was up.  Mrs. Jasher wrote out
this confession, and told Cockatoo, when he entered the room to
get the emerald, that she had written it.  To save his master the
Kanaka stabbed the wretched woman, and, had Random and I not
arrived, he would have secured the confession.  I really believe
he came back again out of the mist in the small hours of the
morning to steal it.  But when he found that all was vain, he
returned here and told the Professor that the story of the murder
had been written out.  Therefore there was nothing left to
Braddock but to fly.  Although," added Hope, with an
afterthought,  "I can't imagine why those two fugitives should
drag that confounded mummy with them."

"But why should the Professor fly?" asked Lucy again.  "According
to what Mrs. Jasher writes, he did not strangle poor Sidney."

"No.  And I will do him the justice to say that he had no idea of
having his assistant murdered.  It was Cockatoo's savage blood
which came out in the deed, and maybe it can be explained by the
Kanaka's devotion to the Professor.  It was the same way in the
murder of Mrs. Jasher.  By killing Bolton, the Kanaka hoped to
save the emeralds for Braddock: in stabbing Mrs. Jasher, he hoped
to save the Professor's life."

"Oh, Archie, will they hang my father?"

Hope winced.

"Call him your step-father," he said quickly.  "No, dear, I do
not think he will be hanged; but as an accessory after the fact
he will certainly be condemned to a long term of imprisonment.
Cockatoo, however, assuredly will be hanged, and a good job too.
He is only a savage, and as such is dangerous in a civilized
community.  I wonder where they have gone?  Did anyone hear them
going?"

"No," said Lucy unhesitatingly.  "Cook came up this morning to my
room, and said that my father--I mean my step-father--had gone
away with Cockatoo and with the green mummy.  I don't know why
she should have said that, as the Professor often went away
unexpectedly."

"Perhaps she heard rumors in the village and put two and two
together.  I cannot tell.  Some instinct must have told her.  But
I daresay Braddock and his accomplice fled under cover of the
mist and in the small hours of the morning.  They must have known
that the confession would bring the officers of the law to this
house."

"I hope they will escape," murmured Lucy.

"Well, I am not sure," said Hope hesitatingly.  "Of course, I
should like to avoid a scandal for your sake, and yet it is only
right that the two of them should be punished.  Remember, Lucy
dear, how Braddock has acted all along in deceiving us.  He knew
all, and yet not one of us suspected him."

While Archie was thus comforting the poor girl, Gartley village
was in an uproar.  Everyone was talking about this new crime, and
everyone was wondering who had stabbed the unlucky woman.  As yet
the confession of Mrs. Jasher had not been placed in the hands of
the police and everyone was ignorant that Cockatoo was the
criminal who had escaped in the fog.  Inspector Date speedily
arrived with his myrmidons on the scene and made the cottage his
headquarters.  Later in the day, Hope, having taken a cold bath
to freshen himself up, came with the confession.  This he gave to
the officer and explained the whole story of the previous night.

Date was more than astonished: he was astounded.  He read the
confession and made notes; then he sent for Sir Frank Random, and
examined him in the same strict way as he had examined the
artist.  Jane was also questioned.  Widow Anne was put in the
witness box, so as to report about the clothes, and in every way
Date gathered material for another inquest.  At the former one he
had only been able to place scanty evidence before the jury, and
the verdict had been unsatisfactory to the public.  But on this
occasion, seeing that the witnesses he could bring forward would
solve the mystery of the first death as well as the second,
Inspector Date exulted greatly.  He saw himself promoted and his
salary raised, and his name praised in the papers as a zealous
and clever officer.  By the time the inquest came to be held, the
inspector had talked himself into believing that the whole
mystery had been solved by himself.  But before that time came
another event happened which astonished everyone, and which made
the final phase of the green mummy crime even more sensational
than it had been.  And Heaven knows that from beginning to end
there had been no lack of melodrama of the most lurid
description.

Don Pedro de Gayangos was exceedingly amazed at the unexpected
turn which the case had taken.  That he should have been trying
to solve a deep mystery for so long, and that the solution, all
the time, had been in the hands of the Professor, startled him
exceedingly.  He admitted that he had never liked Braddock, but
explained that he had not expected to hear that the fiery little
scientist was such a scoundrel.  But, as Don Pedro confessed, it
was an ill wind which blew him some good, when the upshot of the
whole mysterious tragic business was the restoration of at least
one emerald.  Sir Frank brought the gem to him on the afternoon
of the day succeeding Mrs. Jasher's death, and while the whole
village was buzzing with excitement.  It was Random who gave all
details to Donna Inez and her father, leading from one revelation
to another, until he capped the whole extraordinary story by
producing the splendid gem.

"Mine! mine!" said Don Pedro, his dark eyes glittering.  "Thanks
be to the Virgin and the Saints," and he bowed his head to make
the sign of the cross devoutly on his breast.

Donna Inez clapped her hands and her eyes flashed, for, like
every woman, she had a profound love for jewels.

"Oh, how lovely, Frank!  It must be worth no end of money."

"Professor Braddock sold the other to some Indian rajah in
Amsterdam--through an agent, I presume for three thousand
pounds."

"I shall get more than that," said Don Pedro quickly.  "The
Professor sold his jewel in a hurry and had no time to bargain.
But sooner or later I shall get five thousand pounds for this."
He held the gem in the sunlight, where it glowed like an emerald
sun.  "Why, it is worthy of a king's crown."

"I fear you will never get the other gem," said Random
regretfully.  "I believe that it is on its way to India, if Mrs.
Jasher can be trusted."

"Never mind.  I shall be content with this one, senor.  I have
simple tastes, and this will do much to restore the fortunes of
my family.  When I go back with this and the green mummy, all
those Indians who know of my descent from the ancient Incas will
be delighted and will pay me fresh reverence."

"But you forget," said Random, frowning, "the green mummy has
been taken away by Professor Braddock."

"They cannot have gone far with it," said Donna Inez, shrugging.

"I don't know so much about that, dearest," said Sir Frank.
"Apparently, since they handled it at the time of the murder, it
is easier carried about than one would think.  And then they fled
last night, or rather in the small hours of this morning, under
cover of a dense fog."

"It is clear enough now," said De Gayangos, peering through the
window, where a pale winter sun shone in a clear steel-hued sky.
"They are bound to be caught in the long run."

"Do you wish them to be caught?" asked Random abruptly.

"Not the Professor.  For Miss Lucy's sake I hope he will escape;
but I trust that the savage who killed these two unfortunate
people will be brought to the gallows."

"So do I," said Random.  "Well, Don Pedro, it seems to me that
your task in Gartley is ended.  All you have to do is to wait for
the inquest and see Mrs. Jasher buried, poor soul!  Then you can
go to London and remain there until after Christmas."

"But why should I remain in London?" asked the Peruvian,
surprised.

Random glanced at Donna Inez, who blushed.

"You forget that you have given your consent to my marriage with--"

"Ah, yes," Don Pedro smiled gravely.  "I return with the jewel to
Lima, but I leave my other jewel behind."

"Never mind," said the girl, kissing her father;  "when Frank and
I are married we will come to Callao in his yacht."

"Our yacht," said Random, smiling.

"Our yacht," repeated Donna Inez.  "And then you will see,
father, that I have become a real English lady."

"But don't entirely forget that you are a Peruvian," said Don
Pedro playfully.

"And a descendant of Inca Caxas," added Donna Inez.  Then she
flirted her fan, which she was rarely without, and laughed in her
English lover's face.  "Don't forget, senor, that you marry a
princess."

"I marry the most charming girl in the world," he replied,
catching her in his arms, rather to the scandal of De Gayangos,
who had stiff Spanish notions regarding the etiquette of engaged
couples.

"There is one thing you must do for me, senor," he said quietly,
"before we leave this most unhappy case of murder and theft for
ever."

"What is that?" asked Sir Frank, turning with Inez in his arms.

"To-night at eight o'clock, Captain Hervey--the sailor Gustav
Vasa, if you prefer the name--steams down the river in his new
boat The Firefly.  I received a note from him"--he displayed a
letter--"stating that he will pass the jetty of Gartley at that
hour, and will burn a blue light.  If I fire a pistol, he will
send off a boat with a full account of the theft of the mummy of
Inca Caxas, written by himself.  Then I will hand his messenger
fifty gold sovereigns, which I have here," added Don Pedro,
pointing to a canvas bag on the table, "and we will return.  I
wish you to go with me, senor, and also I wish your friend Mr.
Hope to come."

"Do you anticipate treachery from Captain Hervey?" asked Random.

"I should not be surprised if he tried to trick me in some way,
and I wish you and your friend to stand by me.  Were this man
alone, I would go alone, but he will have a boat's crew with him.
It is best to be safe."

"I agree with you," said Random quickly.  "Hope and I will come,
and we will take revolvers with us.  It doesn't do to trust this
blackguard.  Ho! ho!  I wonder if he knows of the Professor's
flight."

"No.  Considering the terms upon which the Professor stood with
Hervey, I should think he would be the last person he would
trust.  I wonder what has become of the man."

More people than Don Pedro wondered as to the whereabouts of
Braddock and his servant, for everyone was inquiring and hunting.
The marshes round the cottage were explored: the great house
itself was searched, as well as many cottages in the village, and
inquiries were made at all the local stations.  But all in vain.
Braddock and Cockatoo, along with the cumbersome mummy in its
case, had vanished as completely as though the earth had
swallowed them up.  Inspector Date's idea was that the pair had
taken the mummy to Gartley Pier, after the search made by the
soldiers, and there had launched the boat, which Cockatoo--
judging from his visit to Pierside--apparently kept hidden in
some nook.  It was probable, said Date, the two had rowed down
the river, and had managed to get on board some outward-bound
tramp.  They could easily furbish up some story, and as Braddock
doubtless had money, could easily buy a passage for a large sum.
The tramp being outward-bound, her captain and crew would know
nothing of the crime, and even if the fugitives were suspected,
they would be shipped out of England if the bribe was
sufficiently large.  So it was apparent that Inspector Date had
not much opinion of tramp-steamer skippers.

However, as the day wore on to night, nothing was heard of
Braddock or Cockatoo or the mummy, and when night came the
village was filled with local reporters and with London
journalists asking questions.  The Warrior Inn did a great trade
in drink and beds and meals, and the rustics reaped quite a
harvest in answering questions about Mrs. Jasher and the
Professor and the weird-looking Kanaka.  Some reporters dared to
invade the Pyramids, where Lucy was weeping in sorrow and shame,
but Archie, reinforced by two policemen, sent to his aid by Date,
soon sent them to the right about.  Hope would have liked to
remain with Lucy all the evening, but at half-past seven he was
forced to meet Don Pedro and Random outside the Fort in order to
go to Gartley Jetty.




CHAPTER XXVII

BY THE RIVER


As the hunt for the fugitives had continued all day, everyone,
police, villagers and soldiers, were weary and disheartened.
Consequently, when the three men met near the Fort, there seemed
to be few people about.  This was just as well, as they would
have been followed to the jetty, and obviously it was best to
keep the strange meeting with Captain Hervey as secret as
possible.  However, Don Pedro had taken Inspector Date into his
confidence, as it was impossible to get past the cottage of the
late Mrs. Jasher, in which the officer had taken up his quarters,
without being discovered.  Date was quite willing that the trio
should go, but stipulated that he should come also.  He had heard
all about Captain Hervey in connection with the mummy, and
thought that he would like to ask that sailor a few leading
questions.

"And if I see fit I shall detain him until the inquest is over,"
said Date, which was mere bluff, as the inspector had no warrant
to stop The Firefly or arrest her skipper.

The three men therefore were joined by Date, when they came along
the cinder path abreast of the cottage, and the quartette
proceeded further immediately, walking amongst the bents and
grasses to the rude old wooden jetty, near which Hervey intended
to stop his ship.  The night was quite clear of fog, strange to
say, considering the late sea-mist; but a strong wind had been
blowing all day and the fog-wreaths were entirely dispersed.  A
full moon rode amongst a galaxy of stars, which twinkled like
diamonds.  The air was frosty, and their feet scrunched the earth
and grasses and coarse herbage under foot, as they made rapidly
for the embankment.

When they reached the top they could see the jetty clearly almost
below their feet, and in the distance the glittering lights of
Pierside.  Vague forms of vessels at anchor loomed on the water,
and there was a stream of light where the moon made a pathway of
silver.  After a casual glance the three men proceeded down the
slope to the jetty.  Three of them at least had revolvers, since
Hervey was an ill man to tackle; but probably Date, who was too
dense to consider consequences, was unarmed.  Neither did Don
Pedro think it necessary to tell the officer that he and his two
companions were prepared to shoot if necessary.  Inspector Date,
being a prosy Englishman, would not have understood such lawless
doings in his own sober, law-abiding country.

When they reached the jetty Don Pedro glanced at his watch,
illuminating the dial by puffing his cigar to a ruddy glow.  It
was just after eight o'clock, and even as he looked an
exclamation from Date made him raise his head.  The inspector was
pointing out-stream to a large vessel which had steamed inshore
as far as was safe.  Probably Hervey was watching for them
through a night-glass, for a blue light suddenly flared on the
bridge.  Don Pedro, according to his promise, fired a pistol, and
it was then that Date learned that his companions were armed.

"What the devil did you do that for?" he inquired angrily.  "It
will bring my constables down on us."

"I do not mind, since you can control them," said De Gayangos
coolly.  "I had to give the signal."

"And we all have revolvers," said Random quickly.  "Hervey is not
a very safe man to tackle, inspector."

"Do you expect a fight?" said Date, while they all watched a boat
being lowered.  "If so, you might have told me, and I should have
brought a revolver also.  Not that I think it is needed.  The
sight of my uniform will be enough to show this man that I have
the law behind me."

"I don't think that will matter to Hervey," said Archie dryly.
"So much as I have seen of him suggests to me that he is a
singularly lawless man."

Date laughed good-humoredly.

"It seems to me, gentlemen, that you have brought me on a
filibustering expedition," he said, and seemed to enjoy the novel
situation.  Date had been wrapped up in the cotton-wool of
civilization for a long time, but his primitive instincts rose to
the surface, now that he had to face a probable rough-and-tumble
fight.  "But I don't expect there will be any scrap," he said
regretfully.  "My uniform will settle the matter."

It certainly seemed to annoy Captain Hervey considerably, for, as
the boat approached the shore, and the moonlight revealed a
distinctly official overcoat, he gave an order.  The man stopped
rowing and the boat rocked gently, some distance from the jetty.

"You've got a high old crowd with you, Don Pedro," sang out
Hervey, in great displeasure.  "Is that angel in the military
togs, with the brass buttons, the almighty aristocrat!"

"No.  I am here," cried out Random, laughing at the description,
which he recognized.  "My friend Hope is with me, and Inspector
Date.  I suppose you have heard what has happened?"

"Yes, I've taken it all in," said Hervey sourly.  "I guess the
news is all over Pierside.  Well, it's none of my picnic, I
reckon.  So chuck that gold over here, Don Pedro, and I'll send
along the writing."

"No," said Don Pedro, prompted by Date.  "You must come ashore."

"I guess not," said Hervey vigorously.  "You want to run me in."

"For that theft of thirty years ago," laughed De Gayangos.
"Nonsense!  Come along.  You are quite safe."

"Shan't take your damned word for it," growled Hervey.  "But if
those two gents can swear that there's no trickery, I'll come.  I
can depend on the word of an English aristocrat, anyhow."

"Come along.  You are quite safe," said Sir Frank, and Hope
echoed his words.

Thus being made certain, Hervey gave an order and the boat was
rowed right up to the beach, immediately below the jetty.  The
four men were about to descend, but Hervey seemed anxious to
avoid giving them trouble.

"Hold on, gents," said he, leaping ashore.  "I'll come up
'longside."

Date, ever suspicious, thought it queer that the skipper should
behave so politely, as he had gathered that Hervey was not
usually a considerate man.  Also, he saw that when the captain
was climbing the bank, the boat, in charge of a mate--as the
inspector judged from his brass-bound uniform--backed water to
the end of the jetty, where it swung against one of the
shell-encrusted piles.  Hervey finally reached the jetty level,
but refused to come on to the same.  He beckoned to Don Pedro and
his companions to walk forward to the ground upon which he was
standing.  Also, he seemed exceedingly anxious to take time over
the transaction, as even after he had handed the scroll of
writing to the Peruvian, and had received the gold in exchange,
he engaged in quarrelsome conversation.  Pretending that he
doubted if De Gayangos had brought the exact sum, he opened the
canvas bag and insisted on counting the money.  Don Pedro
naturally lost his temper at this insult, and swore in Spanish,
upon which Hervey responded with such volubility that anyone
could see he was a pastmaster in Castilian swearing.  The row was
considerable, especially as Random and Hope were laughing at the
quarrel.  They thought that Hervey was the worse for drink, but
Date--clever for once in his life--did not think so.  It
appeared to him that the boat had gone to the end of the jetty
for some reason connected with the same reason which induced the
skipper to spin out the time of the meeting by indulging in an
unnecessary quarrel.

The skipper also kept his eyes about him, and insisted that the
four men should keep together at the head of the pier.

"I daresay you're trying to play low down on me," he said with a
scowl, after satisfying himself that the money was correct,  "but
I've got my shooter."

"So have I," cried Don Pedro indignantly, and slipped his hand
round to his hip pocket,  "and if you talk any further so
insulting I shall--"

"Oh, you bet, two can play at that game," cried Hervey, and
ripped out his own weapon before the Spaniard could produce his
Derringer.  "Hands up or I shoot."

But he had reckoned without his host.  While covering De
Gayangos, he overlooked the fact that Random and Hope were close
at hand.  The next moment, and while Don Pedro flung up his
hands, the ruffian was covered by two revolvers in the hands of
two very capable men.

"Great Scott!" cried Hervey, lowering his weapon.  "Only my fun,
gents.  Here, you get back!"

This was to Inspector Date, who had been keeping his ears and
eyes open, and who was now racing for the end of the jetty.
Peering over, he uttered a loud cry.

"I thought so--I thought so.  Here's the nigger and the mummy!"

Hervey uttered a curse, and, plunging past the trio, careless of
the leveled weapons, ran down to the end of the jetty, and,
throwing his arms round Date, leaped with him into the sea.  They
fell just beside the boat, as Random saw when he reached the
spot.  A confused volley of curses arose, as the boat pushed out
from the encrusted pile, the mate thrusting with a boat-hook.
Hervey and Date were in the water, but as the boat shot into the
moonlight, Random--and now Hope and De Gayangos, who had come up
--saw a long green form in amongst the sailors; also, very
plainly, Cockatoo with his great mop of yellow hair.

"Shoot! shoot!" yelled Date, who was struggling with the skipper
in the shallow water near shore.  "Don't let them escape."

Hope ran up the jetty and fired three shots in the air, certain
that the firing would attract the attention of the four or five
constables on guard at the cottage, which was no very great
distance away.  Random sent a bullet into the midst of the
boatload, and immediately the mate fired also.  The bullet
whistled past his head, and, crazy with rage, he felt inclined to
jump in amongst the ruffians and have a hand-to-hand fight.  But
De Gayangos stopped him in a voice shrill with anger.  Already
the shouts and noise of the approaching policemen could be heard.
Cockatoo gripped the green mummy case desperately, while the
sailors tried to row towards the ship.

Then De Gayangos gave a shout, and leaped, as the boat swung past
the jetty.  He landed right on Cockatoo, and although a cloud
drifted across the moon, Random heard the shots coming rapidly
from his revolver.  Meanwhile Hervey got away from Date, as the
constables came pounding down the jetty and on to the beach.

"Chuck the mummy and nigger overboard and make for the ship," he
yelled, swimming with long strokes towards the boat.

This order was quite to the sailors' minds, as they had not
reckoned on such a fight.  Half a dozen willing hands clutched
both Cockatoo and the case, and, in spite of the Kanaka's cries,
both were hurled overboard.  As the case swung overside, De
Gayangos, balancing himself at the end of the boat, fired at
Cockatoo.  The shot missed the Kanaka, and pierced the mummy
case.  Then from it came a piercing yell of agony and rage.

"Great God!" shouted Hope, who was watching the battle, "I
believe Braddock is in that damned thing."

The next moment De Gayangos was swung overboard also, and the
sailors were lifting Hervey into the boat.  It nearly upset, but
he managed to get in, and the craft rowed for the vessel, which
was again showing a flaring blue light.  Random sent a shot after
the boat, and then with the policemen ran down to help De
Gayangos, who was struggling in the water.  He managed to pull
him out, and when he had him safe and breathless on shore, he saw
that the boat was nearing the ship, and that Date, torn and wet
and disheveled, with three policemen, was up to his waist in
water, struggling to bring ashore Cockatoo and the mummy case, to
which he clung like a limpet.  Hope ran down to give a hand, and
in a few minutes they had the Kanaka ashore, fighting like the
demon he was.  Random and De Gayangos joined the breathless
group, and Cockatoo was held in the grasp of two strong men--who
required all their strength to hold him--while Date, warned by
Hope's cry of what was in the case, tore at the lid.  It was but
lightly fastened and soon came off.  Then those present saw in
the moonlight the dead face of Professor Braddock, who had been
shot through the heart.  As they looked at the sight, Cockatoo
broke from those who held him, and, throwing himself on his
master, howled and wept as though his heart would break.  At the
same moment there came a derisive whistle from The Firefly, and
they saw the great tramp steamer slowly moving down stream,
increasing her speed with almost every revolution of the screw.
Braddock had been captured, but Hervey had escaped.

At the inquest on the Professor and on the body of Mrs. Jasher,
it was proved that Cockatoo had warned his master that the game
was up, and had suggested that Braddock should escape by hiding
in the mummy case.  The corpse of Inca Caxas was placed in an
empty Egyptian sarcophagus--in which it was afterwards found--
and Braddock, assisted by his faithful Kanaka, wheeled the case
down to the old jetty.  Here, in a nook where Cockatoo had
formerly kept the boat, the Professor concealed himself all that
night and all next day.  Cockatoo, having got rid of his boat
long since (lest it might be used in evidence against him and his
master), ran through the dense mist and the long night up to
Pierside, where he saw Captain Hervey and bribed him with a
promise of one thousand pounds to save his master.  Hervey,
having assured himself that the money was safe, since it was
banked in a feigned name in Amsterdam, agreed, and arranged to
ship the Professor in the mummy case.

Thus it was that Hervey kept the four men talking up the jetty,
as he knew that Cockatoo with his own sailors was shipping the
Professor in the mummy case underneath, and well out of sight.
Cockatoo had come down stream with The Firefly, and in this way
had not been discovered.  Throughout that long day the miserable
Braddock had crouched like a toad in its hole, trembling at every
sound of pursuit, as he knew that the whole of the village was
looking for him.  But Cockatoo had hidden him well in the case,
in the lid of which holes had been bored.  He had brandy to drink
and food to eat, and he knew that he could depend upon the
Kanaka.  Had Date not been suspicious, the ruse might have been
successful, but to save himself Hervey had to sacrifice the
wretched Professor, which he did without the slightest
hesitation.  Then came the unlucky shot from the revolver of De
Gayangos, which had ended Braddock's wicked life.  It was Fate.

At the inquest a verdict of "wilful murder" was brought against
the Kanaka, but a verdict of  "justifiable homicide" was given in
favor of the Peruvian.  Thus Cockatoo was hanged for the double
murder and Don Pedro went free.  He remained long enough in
London to see his daughter married to the man of her choice, and
then returned to Lima.

Of course the affair caused more than a nine days' wonder, and
the newspapers were filled with accounts of the murder and the
projected escape.  But Lucy was saved from all this publicity,
as, in the first place, her name was kept out of print as much as
possible, and, in the second, Archie promptly married her, and
within a fortnight of her step-father's death took her to the
south of France, and afterwards to Italy.  What with his own
money and the money she inherited from her mother--in which
Braddock had a life interest--the young couple had nearly a
thousand a year.

Six months later Sir Frank came into the small San Remo where Mr.
and Mrs. Hope lived, with his wife on his arm.  Lady Random
looked singularly charming and was assuredly more conversational.
This was the first time the two sets of lovers had met since the
tragedy, and now each girl had married the man she loved.
Therefore there was great joy.

"My yacht is over at Monte Carlo," said Random, "and I am, going
with Inez to South America.  She wants to see her father."

"Yes, I do," said Lady Random;  "and we want you to come also,
Lucy--you and your dear husband."

Archie and his wife looked at one another, but declined
unanimously.

"We would rather stay here in San Remo," said Mrs. Hope, becoming
slightly pale.  "Don't think me unkind, Inez, but I could not
bear to go to Peru.  It is associated too much in my own mind
with that terrible green mummy."

"Oh, Don Pedro has taken that back to the Andes," explained Sir
Frank, "and it is now reposing in the sepulchre in which it was
placed, hundreds of years ago, by the Indians, faithful to Inca
Caxas.  Inez and I are going up to a kind of forbidden city,
where Don Pedro reigns as Inca, and I expect we shall have a
jolly time.  I hear there is some big game shooting there."

"What about your soldiering?" asked Hope, rather, surprised at
this extended tour being arranged.

"Oh, my husband has left the army," pouted Inez.  "His duties
kept him away from me nearly all the day, and I grew weary of
being left alone."

"So you see, Mrs. Hope," laughed Random gayly, "that I have had
to succumb to my fireside tyrant.  We shall go and see this fairy
city and then return to my home in Oxfordshire.  There Inez will
settle down as a real English wife and I'll turn a country
squire.  So, after all our troubles, peace will come."

"And as you will not come to my country," said Lady Random to
her hostess,  "you cannot refuse to visit Frank and myself at the
Grange.  We have had so much trouble together that we cannot lose
sight of each other."

"No," said Lucy, kissing her.  "We will come to Oxfordshire."

So it was arranged, and the next day Mr. and Mrs. Hope went over
to Monte Carlo to see the last of Sir Frank and his wife.  They
stood on the heights watching the pretty little steamer making
for South America.  Archie noticed that his wife's face was
somewhat sad.

"Are you sorry we did not go, sweetheart?"

"No," she replied, placing her arm within his own.  "I only want
to be with you."

"That is all right."  He patted her hand.  "Now that we have sold
all the furniture in the Pyramids, and have got rid of the lease,
there will be nothing to remind you of the green mummy."

"Yet I can't help thinking of my unfortunate step-father, and of
poor Mrs. Jasher, and of Sidney Bolton.  Oh, Archie, little as we
can afford it, I am glad that we allow Mrs. Bolton a small sum a
year.  After all, it was through my step-father that her son met
with his death."

"I don't quite agree with you, dear.  Cockatoo's innate savagery
was the cause, as Professor Braddock did not intend or desire
murder.  But there, dear, do not think any more about these
dismal things.  Dream of the time when I shall be the president
of the Royal Academy, and you my lady."

"I am your lady now.  But," added Lucy, perhaps from an
association of ideas of color and the Academy,  "I shall hate
green for the rest of my life."

"That's unlucky, considering it is Nature's color.  My dear, in a
year or two this tragedy, or rather the three tragedies, will
seem like a dream.  I won't listen to another word now.  The
green mummy has passed out of our lives and has taken its bad
luck with it."

"Amen, so be it," said Lucy Hope, and the happy couple went home,
leaving all their sorrows behind them, while the smoke of the
steamer faded on the horizon.





End of Project Gutenberg's Etext of The Green Mummy, by Fergus Hume


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