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
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
“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
“Then we can marry,” cried
Miss Kendal with a gasp of delight.
“Whenever you choose next week if
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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?”
“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
“We shall go to congratulate Mrs. Jasher,”
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!”