Part 2 out of 6
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.
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
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,
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
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
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
"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
"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
"There isn't a scrap of evidence to show that the murderer was a
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
"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."
"Yes. I don't wash, whatever Bolton's mother may, do. Don't ask
"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
"I never said that they would," retorted Braddock, "but you
wanted to hear who would like to have the mummy; and I have told
The Coroner waived the question.
"Was there any jewelry on the mummy likely to attract a thief?"
"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
"No. You can see for yourself, if you have inspected the
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 heath?"
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
"Perhaps you did, and took no notice?"
"Oh, sir, if a stranger was around we should all have taken
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
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
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
"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
"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
"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
"You make me smile, and likewise tired," murmured Hervey,
admiring the little man's pluck. "See here, Professor, touching
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
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
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
"Aha!" Braddock put his venerable head on one side like a roguish
bird and smiled in an infantine manner. "I have good news for
"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 stepfather 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
"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
"So is Archie - in my love."
"Nonsense! nonsense! That is mere foolish romance, He has no
"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
"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
"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
Miss Kendal could have pointed out that her Stepfather 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
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
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
"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
"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."
"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
"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 ht 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."
"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,
"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
"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
"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 man
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
"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
"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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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.
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
"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 armchairs 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 hearthrug. 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.
"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
"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 stepfather
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 -
"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."
"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
"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
"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
"Before marriage, not after. He needs to be managed, like all
"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
"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
"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
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
"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."
"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
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
"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.
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 be 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
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
"Eh, what? Well? Why do you say that?" snapped Braddock
"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
"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
"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
"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