I have been a wanderer and a vagabond on the face of the earth for a good
many years now, and I have certainly had some odd adventures in my time; but
I can assure you, I never spent twenty-four queerer hours than those which I
passed some twelve months since in the great unopened Pyramid of Abu Yilla.
The way I got there was itself a very strange one. I had come to Egypt for a
winter tour with the Fitz-Simkinses, to whose daughter Editha I was at that
precise moment engaged. You will probably remember that old Fitz-Simkins
belonged originally to the wealthy firm of Simkinson and Stokoe, worshipful
vintners; but when the senior partner retired from the business and got his
knighthood, the College of Heralds opportunely discovered that his ancestors
had changed their fine old Norman name for its English equivalent some time
about the reign of King Richard I; and they immediately authorized the old
gentleman to resume the patronymic and the armorial bearings of his
distinguished forefathers. It's really quite astonishing how often these
curious coincidences crop up at the College of Heralds.
Of course it was a great catch for a landless and briefless barrister like
myself -- dependent on a small fortune in South American securities, and my
precarious earnings as a writer of burlesque -- to secure such a valuable
prospective property as Editha Fitz-Simkins. To be sure, the girl was
undeniably plain; but I have known plainer girls than she was, whom forty
thousand pounds converted into My Ladies: and if Editha hadn't really fallen
over head and ears in love with me, I suppose old Fitz-Simkins would never
have consented to such a match. As it was, however, we had flirted so openly
and so desperately during the Scarborough season, that it would have been
difficult for Sir Peter to break it off: and so I had come to Egypt on a
tour of insurance to secure my prize, following in the wake of my future
mother-in-law, whose lungs were supposed to require a genial climate though
in my private opinion they were really as creditable a pair of pulmonary
appendages as ever drew breath.
Nevertheless, the course of true love did not run so smoothly as might have
been expected. Editha found me less ardent than a devoted squire should be;
and on the very last night of the old year she got up a regulation lovers'
quarrel, because I had sneaked away from the boat that afternoon under the
guidance of our dragoman, to witness the seductive performances of some fair
Ghaw zi, the dancing girls of a neighbouring town. How she found it out
heaven only knows, for I gave that rascal Dimitri five piastres to hold his
tongue: but she did find it out somehow, and chose to regard it as an
offence of the first magnitude: a mortal sin only to be expiated by three
days of penance and humiliation.
I went to bed that night, in my hammock on deck, with feelings far from
satisfactory. We were moored against the bank at Abu Yilla, the most
pestiferous hole between the cataracts and the Delta. The mosquitoes were
worse than the ordinary mosquitoes of Egypt, and that is saying a great
deal. The heat was oppressive even at night, and the malaria from the lotus
beds rose like a palpable mist before my eyes. Above all, I was getting
doubtful whether Editha Fitz-Simkins might not after all slip between my
fingers. I felt wretched and feverish: and yet I had delightful interlusive
recollections, in between, of that lovely little Gh ziyah, who danced that
exquisite, marvellous, entrancing, delicious, and awfully oriental dance
that I saw in the afternoon.
By Jove, she was a beautiful creature. Eyes like two full moons; hair like
Milton's Penseroso; movements like a poem of Swinburne's set to action. If
Editha was only a faint picture of that girl now! Upon my word, I was
falling in love with a Gh ziyah!
Then the mosquitoes came again. Buzz -- buzz -- buzz. I make a lunge at the
loudest and biggest, a sort of prima donna in their infernal opera. I kill
the prima donna, but ten more shrill performers come in its place. The frogs
croak dismally in the reedy shallows. The night grows hotter and hotter
still. At last, I can stand it no longer. I rise up, dress myself lightly,
and jump ashore to find some way of passing the time.
Yonder, across the flat, lies the great unopened Pyramid of Abu Yilla. We
are going to-morrow to climb to the top; but I will take a turn to
reconnoitre in that direction now. I walk across the moonlit fields, my soul
still divided between Editha and the Gh ziyah, and approach the solemn mass
of huge, antiquated granite blocks standing out so grimly against the pale
horizon. I feel half awake, half asleep, and altogether feverish: but I poke
about the base in an aimless sort of way, with a vague idea that I may
perhaps discover by chance the secret of its sealed entrance, which has ere
now baffled so many pertinacious explorers and learned Egyptologists.
As I walk along the base, I remember old Herodotus's story, like a page from
the 'Arabian Nights', of how King Rhampsinitus built himself a treasury,
wherein one stone turned on a pivot like a door; and how the builder availed
himself of this his cunning device to steal gold from the king's storehouse.
Suppose the entrance to the unopened Pyramid should be by such a door. It
would be curious if I should chance to light upon the very spot.
I stood in the broad moonlight, near the north-east angle of the great pile,
at the twelfth stone from the corner. A random fancy struck me, that I might
turn this stone by pushing it inward on the left side. I leant against it
with all my weight, and tried to move it on the imaginary pivot. Did it give
way a fraction of an inch? No, it must have been mere fancy. Let me try
again. Surely it is yielding! Gracious Osiris, it has moved an inch or more!
My heart beats fast, either with fever or excitement, and I try a third
time. The rust of centuries on the pivot wears slowly off, and the stone
turned ponderously round, giving access to a low dark passage.
It must have been madness which led me to enter the forgotten corridor,
alone, without torch or match, at that hour of the evening; but at any rate
I entered. The passage was tall enough for a man to walk erect, and I could
feel, as I groped slowly along, that the wall was composed of smooth
polished granite, while the floor sloped away downward with a slight but
regular descent. I walked with trembling heart and faltering feet for some
forty or fifty yards down the mysterious vestibule: and then I felt myself
brought suddenly to a standstill by a block of stone placed right across the
pathway. I had had nearly enough for one evening, and I was preparing to
return to the boat, agog with my new discovery, when my attention was
suddenly arrested by an incredible, a perfectly miraculous fact.
The block of stone which barred the passage was faintly visible as a square,
by means of a struggling belt of light streaming through the seams. There
must be a lamp or other flame burning within. What if this were a door like
the outer one, leading into a chamber perhaps inhabited by some dangerous
band of outcasts? The light was a sure evidence of human occupation: and yet
the outer door swung rustily on its pivot as though it had never been opened
for ages. I paused a moment in fear before I ventured to try the stone: and
then, urged on once more by some insane impulse, I turned the massive block
with all my might to the left. It gave way slowly like its neighbour, and
finally opened into the central hall.
Never as long as I live shall I forget the ecstasy of terror, astonishment,
and blank dismay which seized upon me when I stepped into that seemingly
enchanted chamber. A blaze of light first burst upon my eyes, from jets of
gas arranged in regular rows tier above tier, upon the columns and walls of
the vast apartment. Huge pillars, richly painted with red, yellow, blue and
green decorations, stretched in endless succession down the dazzling aisles.
A floor of polished syenite reflected the splendour of the lamps, and
afforded a base for red granite sphinxes and dark purple images in porphyry
of the cat-faced goddess Pasht, whose form I knew so well at the Louvre and
the British Museum. But I had no eyes for any of these lesser marvels, being
wholly absorbed in the greatest marvel of all: for there, in royal state and
with mitred head, a living Egyptian king, surrounded by his coiffured court,
was banqueting in the flesh upon a real throne, before a table laden with
I stood transfixed with awe and amazement, my tongue and my feet alike
forgetting their office, and my brain whirling round and round, as I
remember it used to whirl when my health broke down utterly at Cambridge
after the Classical Tripos. I gazed fixedly at the strange picture before
me, taking in all its details in a confused way, yet quite incapable of
understanding or realizing any part of its true import. I saw the king in
the centre of the hall, raised on a throne of granite inlaid with gold and
ivory; his head crowned with the peaked cap of Rameses, and his curled hair
flowing down his shoulders in a set and formal frizz. I saw priests and
warriors on either side, dressed in the costumes which I had often carefully
noted in our great collections; while bronze-skinned maids, with light
garments round their waists, and limbs displayed in graceful picturesqueness,
waited upon them, half nude, as in the wall paintings which we had lately
examined at Karnak and Syene. I saw the ladies, clothed from head to foot in
dyed linen garments, sitting apart in the background, banqueting by
themselves at a separate table; while dancing girls, like older
representatives of my yesternoon friends, the Ghaw zi, tumbled before them
in strange attitudes, to the music of four-stringed harps and long straight
pipes. In short, I beheld as in a dream the whole drama of everyday Egyptian
royal life, playing itself out anew under my eyes, in its real original
properties and personages.
Gradually, as I looked, I became aware that my hosts were no less surprised
at the appearance of their anachronistic guest than was the guest himself at
the strange living panorama which met his eyes. In a moment music and
dancing ceased; the banquet paused in its course, and the king and his
nobles stood up in undisguised astonishment to survey the strange intruder.
Some minutes passed before any one moved forward on either side. At last a
young girl of royal appearance, yet strangely resembling the Gh ziyah of Abu
Yilla, and recalling in part the laughing maiden in the foreground of Mr
Long's great canvas at the previous Academy, stepped out before the throng.
'May I ask you,' she said in Ancient Egyptian, 'who you are, and why you
come hither to disturb us?'
I was never aware before that I spoke or understood the language of the
hieroglyphics: yet I found I had not the slightest difficulty in
comprehending or answering her question. To say the truth, Ancient Egyptian,
though an extremely tough tongue to decipher in its written form, becomes as
easy as love-making when spoken by a pair of lips like that Pharaonic
princess's. It is really very much the same as English, pronounced in a
rapid and somewhat indefinite whisper, and with all the vowels left out.
'I beg ten thousand pardons for my intrusion,' I answered apologetically:
'but I did not know that this Pyramid was inhabited, or I should not have
entered your residence so rudely. As for the points you wish to know, I am
an English tourist, and you will find my name upon this card;' saying which
I handed her one from the case which I had fortunately put into my pocket,
with conciliatory politeness. The princess examined it closely, but
evidently did not understand its import.
'In return,' I continued, 'may I ask you in what august presence I now find
myself by accident?'
A court official stood forth from the throng, and answered in a set heraldic
tone: 'In the presence of the illustrious monarch, Brother of the Sun,
Thothmes the Twenty-seventh, king of the Eighteenth Dynasty.'
'Salute the Lord of the World,' put in another official in the same
I bowed low to his Majesty, and stepped out into the hall. Apparently my
obeisance did not come up to Egyptian standards of courtesy, for a
suppressed titter broke audibly from the ranks of bronze-skinned
waiting-women. But the king graciously smiled at my attempt, and turning to
the nearest nobleman, observed in a voice of great sweetness and
self-contained majesty: 'This stranger, Ombos, is certainly a very curious
person. His appearance does not at all resemble that of an Ethiopian or
other savage, nor does he look like the pale-faced sailors who come to us
from the Achaian land beyond the sea. His features, to be sure, are not very
different from theirs; but his extraordinary and singularly inartistic dress
shows him to belong to some other barbaric race.'
I glanced down at my waistcoat, and saw that I was wearing my tourist's
check suit, of grey and mud colour, with which a Bond Street tailor had
supplied me just before leaving town, as the latest thing out in fancy
tweeds. Evidently these Egyptians must have a very curious standard of taste
not to admire our pretty and graceful style of male attire.
'If the dust beneath your Majesty's feet may venture upon a suggestion,' put
in the officer whom the king had addressed, 'I would hint that this young
man is probably a stray visitor from the utterly uncivilized lands of the
North. The headgear which he carries in his hand obviously betrays an Arctic
I had instinctively taken off my round felt hat in the first moment of
surprise, when I found myself in the midst of this strange throng, and I was
standing now in a somewhat embarrassed posture, holding it awkwardly before
me like a shield to protect my chest.
'Let the stranger cover himself,' said the king.
'Barbarian intruder, cover yourself,' cried the herald. I noticed throughout
that the king never directly addressed anybody save the higher officials
I put on my hat as desired. 'A most uncomfortable and silly form of tiara
indeed,' said the great Thothmes.
'Very unlike your noble and awe-spiring mitre, Lion of Egypt,' answered
'Ask the stranger his name,' the king continued.
It was useless to offer another card, so I mentioned it in a clear voice.
'An uncouth and almost unpronounceable designation truly,' commented his
Majesty to the Grand Chamberlain beside him. 'These savages speak strange
languages, widely different from the flowing tongue of Memnon and Sesostris.'
The chamberlain bowed his assent with three low genuflexions. I began to
feel a little abashed at these personal remarks, and I almost think (though
I shouldn't like it to be mentioned in the Temple) that a blush rose to my
The beautiful princess, who had been standing near me meanwhile in an
attitude of statuesque repose, now appeared anxious to change the current of
the conversation. 'Dear father,' she said with a respectful inclination,
'surely the stranger, barbarian though he be, cannot relish such pointed
allusions to his person and costume. We must let him feel the grace and
delicacy of Egyptian refinement. Then he may perhaps carry back with him
some faint echo of its cultured beauty to his northern wilds.'
'Nonsense, Hatasou,' replied Thothmes XXVII testily. 'Savages have no
feelings, and they are as incapable of appreciating Egyptian sensibility as
the chattering crow is incapable of attaining the dignified reserve of the
'Your Majesty is mistaken,' I said, recovering my self-possession gradually
and realizing my position as a freeborn Englishman before the court of a
foreign despot -- though I must allow that I felt rather less confident than
usual, owing to the fact that we were not represented in the Pyramid by a
British Consul -- 'I am an English tourist, a visitor from a modern land
whose civilization far surpasses the rude culture of early Egypt; and I am
accustomed to respectful treatment from all other nationalities, as becomes
a citizen of the First Naval Power in the World.'
My answer created a profound impression. 'He has spoken to the Brother of
the Sun,' cried Ombos in evident perturbation. 'He must be of the Blood
Royal in his own tribe, or he would never have dared to do so!'
'Otherwise,' added a person whose dress I recognized as that of a priest,
'he must be offered up in expiation to Amon-Ra immediately.'
As a rule I am a decent truthful person, but under these alarming
circumstances I ventured to tell a slight fib with an air of nonchalant
boldness. 'I am a younger brother of our reigning king,' I said without a
moment's hesitation; for there was nobody present to gainsay me, and I tried
to salve my conscience by reflecting that at any rate I was only claiming
consanguinity with an imaginary personage.
'In that case,' said King Thothmes, with more geniality in his tone, 'there
can be no impropriety in my addressing you personally. Will you take a place
at our table next to myself, and we can converse together without
interrupting a banquet which must be brief enough in any circumstances?
Hatasou, my dear, you may seat yourself next to the barbarian prince.'
I felt a visible swelling to the proper dimensions of a Royal Highness as I
sat down by the king's right hand. The nobles resumed their places, the
bronze-skinned waitresses left off standing like soldiers in a row and
staring straight at my humble self, the goblets went round once more, and a
comely maid soon brought me meat, bread, fruits and date wine.
All this time I was naturally burning with curiosity to inquire who my
strange host might be, and how they had preserved their existence for so
many centuries in this undiscovered hall; but I was obliged to wait until I
had satisfied his Majesty of my own nationality, the means by which I had
entered the Pyramid, the general state of affairs throughout the world at
the present moment, and fifty thousand other matters of a similar sort.
Thothmes utterly refused to believe my reiterated assertion that our
existing civilization was far superior to the Egyptian; 'because,' he said,
'I see from your dress that your nation is utterly devoid of taste or
invention;' but he listened with great interest to my account of modern
society, the steam-engine, the Permissive Prohibitory Bill, the telegraph,
the House of Commons, Home Rule, and other blessings of our advanced era, as
well as to a brief resume of European history from the rise of the Greek
culture to the Russo-Turkish war. At last his questions were nearly
exhausted, and I got a chance of making a few counter inquiries on my own
'And now,' I said, turning to the charming Hatasou, whom I thought a more
pleasing informant than her august papa, 'I should like to know who you
'What, don't you know?' she cried with unaffected surprise. 'Why, we're
She made this astonishing statement with just the same quiet unconsciousness
as if she had said, 'we're French,' or 'we're Americans.' I glanced round
the walls, and observed behind the columns, what I had not noticed till then
-- a large number of empty mummy-cases, with their lids placed carelessly by
'But what are you doing here?' I asked in a bewildered way.
'Is it possible,' said Hatasou, 'that you don't really know the object of
embalming? Though your manners show you to be an agreeable and well-bred
young man, you must excuse my saying that you are shockingly ignorant. We
are made into mummies in order to preserve our immortality. Once in every
thousand years we wake up for twenty-four hours, recover our flesh and
blood, and banquet once more upon the mummied dishes and other good things
laid by for us in the Pyramid. To-day is the first day of a millennium, and
so we have waked up for the sixth time since we were first embalmed.'
'The sixth time?' I inquired incredulously. 'Then you must have been dead
six thousand years.'
'But the world has not yet existed so long,' I cried, in a fervour of
'Excuse me, barbarian prince. This is the first day of the three hundred and
twenty-seven thousandth millennium.'
My orthodoxy received a severe shock. However, I had been accustomed to
geological calculations, and was somewhat inclined to accept the antiquity
of man; so I swallowed the statement without more ado. Besides, if such a
charming girl as Hatasou had asked me at that moment to turn Mohammedan, or
to worship Oysteries, I believe I should incontinently have done so.
'You wake up only for a single day and night, then?' I said.
'Only for a single day and night. After that, we go to sleep for another
'Unless you are meanwhile burned as fuel on the Cairo Railway,' I added
mentally. 'But how,' I continued aloud, 'do you get these lights?'
'The Pyramid is built above a spring of inflammable gas. We have a reservoir
in one of the side chambers in which it collects during the thousand years.
As soon as we awake, we turn it on at once from the tap, and light it with a
'Upon my word,' I interposed, 'I had no notion you Ancient Egyptians were
acquainted with the use of matches.'
'Very likely not. "There are more things in heaven and earth, Cephrenes,
than are dreamt of in your philosophy," as the bard of Philae puts it.'
Further inquiries brought out all the secrets of that strange tomb-house,
and kept me fully interested till the close of the banquet. Then the chief
priest solemnly rose, offered a small fragment of meat to a deified
crocodile, who sat in a meditative manner by the side of his deserted
mummy-case, and declared the feast concluded for the night. All rose from
their places, wandered away into the long corridors or side-aisles, and
formed little groups of talkers under the brilliant gas-lamps.
For my part, I strolled off with Hatasou down the least illuminated of the
colonnades, and took my seat beside a marble fountain, where several fish
(gods of great sanctity, Hatasou assured me) were disporting themselves in a
porphyry basin. How long we sat there I cannot tell, but I know that we
talked a good deal about fish, and gods, and Egyptian habits, and Egyptian
philosophy, and, above all, Egyptian love-making. The last-named subject we
found very interesting, and when once we got fully started upon it, no
diversion afterwards occurred to break the even tenour of the conversation.
Hatasou was a lovely figure, tall, queenly, with smooth dark arms and neck
of polished bronze: her big black eyes full of tenderness, and her long hair
bound up into a bright Egyptian headdress, that harmonized to a tone with
her complexion and her robe. The more we talked, the more desperately did I
fall in love, and the more utterly oblivious did I become of my duty to
Editha Fitz-Simkins. The mere ugly daughter of a rich and vulgar brand-new
knight, forsooth, to show off her airs before me, when here was a Princess
of the Blood Royal of Egypt, obviously sensible to the attentions which I
was paying her, and not unwilling to receive them with a coy and modest
Well, I went on saying pretty things to Hatasou, and Hatasou went on
deprecating them in a pretty little way, as who should say, 'I don't mean
what I pretend to mean one bit;' until at last I may confess that we were
both evidently as far gone in the disease of the heart called love as it is
possible for two young people on first acquaintance to become. Therefore,
when Hatasou pulled forth her watch -- another piece of mechanism with which
antiquaries used never to credit the Egyptian people -- and declared that
she had only three more hours to live, at least for the next thousand years,
I fairly broke down, took out my handkerchief, and began to sob like a child
of five years old.
Hatasou was deeply moved. Decorum forbade that she should console me with
too much empressement; but she ventured to remove the handkerchief gently
from my face, and suggested that there was yet one course open by which we
might enjoy a little more of one another's society. 'Suppose,' she said
quietly, 'you were to become a mummy. You would then wake up, as we do,
every thousand years; and after you have tried it once, you will find it
just as natural to sleep for a millennium as for eight hours. Of course,'
she added with a slight blush, 'during the next three or four solar cycles
there would be plenty of time to conclude any other arrangements you might
possibly contemplate, before the occurrence of another glacial epoch.'
This mode of regarding time was certainly novel and somewhat bewildering to
people who ordinarily reckon its lapse by weeks and months; and I had a
vague consciousness that my relations with Editha imposed upon me a moral
necessity of returning to the outer world, instead of becoming a millennial
mummy. Besides, there was the awkward chance of being converted into fuel
and dissipated into space before the arrival of the next waking day. But I
took one look at Hatasou, whose eyes were filling in turn with sympathetic
tears, and that look decided me. I flung Editha, life, and duty to the dogs,
and resolved at once to become a mummy.
There was no time to be lost. Only three hours remained to us, and the
process of embalming, even in the most hasty manner, would take up fully
two. We rushed off to the chief priest, who had charge of the particular
department in question. He at once acceded to my wishes, and briefly
explained the mode in which they usually treated the corpse.
That word suddenly aroused me. 'The corpse!' I cried; 'but I am alive. You
can't embalm me living,'
'We can,' replied the priest, 'under chloroform.'
'Chloroform!' I echoed, growing more and more astonished: 'I had no idea you
Egyptians knew anything about it.'
'Ignorant barbarian!' he answered with a curl of the lip; 'you imagine
yourself much wiser than the teachers of the world. If you were versed in
all the wisdom of the Egyptians, you would know that chloroform is one of
our simplest and commonest anaesthetics.'
I put myself at once under the hands of the priest. He brought out the
chloroform, and placed it beneath my nostrils, as I lay on a soft couch
under the central court. Hatasou held my hand in hers, and watched my
breathing with an anxious eye. I saw the priest leaning over me, with a
clouded phial in his hand, and I experienced a vague sensation of smelling
myrrh and spikenard. Next, I lost myself for a few moments, and when I again
recovered my senses in a temporary break, the priest was holding a small
greenstone knife, dabbled with blood, and I felt that a gash had been made
across my breast. Then they applied the chloroform once more; I felt Hatasou
give my hand a gentle squeeze; the whole panorama faded finally from my
view; and I went to sleep for a seemingly endless time.
When I awoke again, my first impression led me to believe that the thousand
years were over, and that I had come to life once more to feast with Hatasou
and Thothmes in the Pyramid of Abu Yilla. But second thoughts, combined with
closer observation of the surroundings, convinced me that I was really lying
in a bedroom of Shepheard's Hotel at Cairo. An hospital nurse leant over me,
instead of a chief priest; and I noticed no tokens of Editha Fitz-Simkins's
presence. But when I endeavoured to make inquiries upon the subject of my
whereabouts, I was peremptorily informed that I mustn't speak, as I was only
just recovering from a severe fever, and might endanger my life by talking.
Some weeks later I learned the sequel of my night's adventure. The
Fitz-Simkinses, missing me from the boat in the morning, at first imagined
that I might have gone ashore for an early stroll. But after breakfast time,
lunch time, and dinner time had gone past, they began to grow alarmed, and
sent to look for me in all directions. One of their scouts, happening to
pass the Pyramid, noticed that one of the stones near the north-east angle
had been displaced, so as to give access to a dark passage, hitherto
unknown. Calling several of his friends, for he was afraid to venture in
alone, he passed down the corridor, and through a second gateway into the
central hall. There the Fellahin found me, lying on the ground, bleeding
profusely from a wound on the breast, and in an advanced stage of malarious
fever. They brought me back to the boat, and the Fitz-Simkinses conveyed me
at once to Cairo, for medical attendance and proper nursing.
Editha was at first convinced that I had attempted to commit suicide because
I could not endure having caused her pain, and she accordingly resolved to
tend me with the utmost care through my illness. But she found that my
delirious remarks, besides bearing frequent reference to a princess, with
whom I appeared to have been on unexpectedly intimate terms, also related
very largely to our casus belli itself, the dancing girls of Abu Yilla. Even
this trial she might have borne, setting down the moral degeneracy which led
me to patronize so degrading an exhibition as a first symptom of my
approaching malady: but certain unfortunate observations, containing pointed
and by no means flattering allusions to her personal appearance -- which I
contrasted, much to her disadvantage, with that of the unknown princess --
these, I say, were things which she could not forgive; and she left Cairo
abruptly with her parents for the Riviera, leaving behind a stinging note,
in which she denounced my perfidy and empty-heartedness with all the flowers
of feminine eloquence. From that day to this I have never seen her.
When I returned to London and proposed to lay this account before the
Society of Antiquaries, all my friends dissuaded me on the grounds of its
apparent incredibility. They declare that I must have gone to the Pyramid
already in a state of delirium, discovered the entrance by accident, and
sunk exhausted when I reached the inner chamber. In answer, I would point
out three facts. In the first place, I undoubtedly found my way into the
unknown passage - for which achievement I afterwards received the gold medal
of the SocitE Khdiviale, and of which I retain a clear recollection,
differing in no way from my recollection of the subsequent events. In the
second place, I had in my pocket, when found, a ring of Hatasou's, which I
drew from her finger just before I took the chloroform, and put into my
pocket as a keepsake. And in the third place, I had on my breast the wound
which I saw the priest inflict with a knife of greenstone, and the scar may
be seen on the spot to the present day. The absurd hypothesis of my medical
friends, that I was wounded by falling against a sharp edge of rock, I must
at once reject as unworthy of a moment's consideration.
My own theory is either that the priest had not time to complete the
operation, or else that the arrival of the Fitz-Simkins' scouts frightened
back the mummies to their cases an hour or so too soon. At any rate, there
they all were, ranged around the walls undisturbed, the moment the Fellahin
Unfortunately, the truth of my account cannot be tested for another thousand
years. But as a copy of this book will be preserved for the benefit of
posterity in the British Museum, I hereby solemnly call upon Collective
Humanity to try the veracity of this history by sending a deputation of
archaeologists to the Pyramid of Abu Yilla, on the last day of December, Two
thousand eight hundred and seventy-seven. If they do not then find Thothmes
and Hatasou feasting in the central hall exactly as I have described, I
shall willingly admit that the story of my New Year's Eve among the Mummies
is a vain hallucination, unworthy of credence at the hands of the scientific