C H R O N I C L E

T H R E E


A N N O

S T E L L A E

1 9 2 4



1 The East Gate

Though the Alien saw no place in its present agenda for the planet, once upon a time its Guardian and Mentor had invested considerable stock in not only it but its pre-Adamic twin. Dabbling in the psychology of a little Cuthbertson here, a little Shickelgruber there--that was child's play compared to the Grand Design of Destruction that empowered its sacred genius. So too this odd attachment to past civilizations. Because of former association, perhaps, it could not resist revisiting its Keeper's old haunts, and what could be older than Egypt? If Sumer, at the head of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, that land of fabulous ziggurats and walled Ur, Lagash, Kish, and Eridu, was no more. If China, yes, she had the Great Wall, Forbidden City, pagodas, bird's nest soup and so forth, but she was more a muddled product of the 17th to the 19th Centuries, painfully scratching a path from long-lost past glories into the 20th, with its borrowed Western science and technology. If--no, the Alien had it right in turning to Egypt, known as Misr, or Mizraim, in ancient times, a land, in Napoleon's estimation, still without peer.

Once there, the mindset of its Mentor locked on to the data and...it was the first indication the world, and Egyptologist Harold Carter, who was fated to commit the most dastardly crime of the century, might ultimately be set for relentless, catastrophic Rewind.


"No, my dear boy," he remarked to Carter when approached on the subject. "What we've found is not what you wish to think. They're only the things robbed from the tomb I've just discovered, stored in this pit by necropolis guards. There's no more to look for here, might as well move on to greener pastures!"

But there is infinitely more!" Carter's heart shouted at the time, only it was best to keep that feeling private, he knew.

The artifacts from the pit were forwarded to the Metropolitan Museum, New York. The Curator of the Egyptian Department, Mr. Herbert Winlock, examined them and came to a different conclusion, a less conservative view than Davis's. Since the world of working archeologists, particularly Egyptologists, is a small one when it comes to sharing ideas, it soon got round to Carter that Winlock thought the pit find was highly significant. Carter wired him immediately and got an answer, a telegram that gave his hands what felt like an electric charge:

T. DAVIS ITEMS EMPLOYED IN TUTANKHAMUM FUNERAL. SOME USED BY EMBALMERS. OTHERS USED IN BANQUET. EIGHT PEOPLE ATTENDED THE BURIAL DOES THIS HELP YOU ANY? H. E. WINLOCK, NEW YORK

So here was proof Tutankhamum was buried in the Valley, in a tomb no one yet had uncovered!

Unfortunately, despite his hard-won credentials as an Egyptologist, he hadn't what it took to follow this now confirmed, exciting lead. He needed money, lots of it, to really unlock Egypt's rich hoard of secrets. Professor Theodore Davis was well-heeled and financed his own digs, but Davis wasn't interested any further in Tutankhamum. So close, yet so far! Carter's frustration was indescribable.

The only option left was to find a patron with deep pockets. But that species was a rare one, indeed. And if you were poor or of modest income your chances of hobnobbing with the upper echelons, where you might find a prospective patron, were equally slim!

Yet he wasn't at a total loss for thinking of a prospective set of deep pockets. It was by recommendation of Lady Amherst that he first got his job as archeological draughtsman and assistant with Newberry. She had seen his drawings at an exhibition, met him standing nearby and from that chance encounter formed a good opinion of him and his work that led to his being hired in Egypt. Lady Amherst, of course, was no longer a possibility, having died two years aftewards. But she had made favorable mention of his talents and character to a certain Anglo-Scottish earl, Lord Carnarvon. The earl had gone so far as to write to him some encouraging words, to apply himself "most energetically and selflessly in that most exciting land of fabled Antiquities, Desertine Egypt" in a badly smudged, much blotted letter that also described the earl's disability brought on by a riding mishap while hunting fox. "I'm afraid I am little good for anything now," the earl lamented on pale green paper with the Carnarvon family coat of arms in gold, "except light reading of popular [blot] detective crime books and collecting curious old things that strike my fancy. I've quite filled the [blot] house here at [blot] Highclere and now resort to the outbuildings to [blot] store them all. My housekeepers are quite over-worked, having to dust so many trifling things..."

Lord Carnarvon's interest in him had struck Carter at the time, enough so he put the letter carefully away in his private papers after sending a brief reply on plain commoner paper. The earl had even invited him up to hunt the earl's own herd of red deer in a fenced deer park (artifi cially-kept ice free with underground steam lines) on the estate lands, though saying he had "eschewed" hunting altogether since his accident. But Carter had no taste for hunting animals, and thought the earl a trifle barbaric and out of touch with modern youth like himself, so he put the letter and its invitation away and forgot it. Now he got the letter out and read it through. Was the earl still alive? He must be, Carter decided. Noblemen, even the gouty ones, don't expire prematurely of reading penny thrillers and collecting expensive knick-knacks. That type--unlike the risk-taking gentleman-sportsman--was known to hang on almost indefinitely.

As he had back then, he thanked the earl for the interest shown him, as if no significant time had elapsed. But he also brought the noble gentleman up to date on his work with Professor-Archeologist Theodore Davis, the Museum of Cairo, and the Egyptian government. As Inspector of Monuments Carter now had impressive credentials, and a prospective patron needed to be apprised of them. As for coming out with his reason for writing a second time--that he desperately wanted a patron to finance radical excavations in the Valley--he decided that would be just too bold. Better just a notification that he was working hard in Egypt--that he was one Briton who did not shirk his duty to bring glory to his country's escrutcheon if he could. If the earl responded in a friendly fashion, then he could be approached on the matter dearest to Carter's heart.

Still it was a mild shock to receive a letter with the same spidery and much blotted writing as his first crumpled specimen. It was almost like a ghost of yesteryear speaking to him. But the spirit behind the delicate writing was manly enough. Lord Carnarvon said how "pleased as punch" he was to see how well Carter had conducted his affairs since he left Britain for foreign shores. He knew Carter could do it! But he was a little confused, evidently, as to the object of Carter's second letter. Was Carter in need of anything? He feared Carter, as a "young gentleman of vocation", was too reticent and did not wish to make his needs known to an older man of the world and one so retired in habits as he. "Come out with it [blot], dear boy!" wrote the earl. "I'll either say yea or nay. And it's not bloody likely I'll turn a deaf [blot] ear to such a promising Egypto[blot] s you, Mr. [blot] Carter!" Then came the best part. "My daughter Evelyn and I [blot] will be vacationing in the Levant shortly. We will make it a point to stop by Thebes to see the monuments and also the Karnak collections. We would be greatly [blot] pleased if you can find time out from your archeological duties to [blot] show us round a bit. If then you wish to tell me what you wish me to do for you, you should find jolly ample opportunity. Yours [blot] Most [blot] Cordially--"

The evening after receiving Lord Carnarvon's letter, Carter went to the local village and danced up a storm of dust with the native men and youth to the wee hours of the morning. Of course, that wasn't done by an Englishman in those days! But let the niceties go hang, Carter thought. He really had something to celebrate: a patron! And the earl, holding stocks in the Bank of England and major Continental railways and shipping companies, was reputed to be one of Britain's wealthiest!

The meeting in Luxor, the village, port, and rail link across River from Thebes and the Valley of the Kings, went very well, indeed. "Lady Evelyn"--the heiress of the great Carnarvon fortune after the earl's decease--turned out to be only a string-bean-y, poker-faced schoolgirl, but Carter found his rich patron, and with a speed that astonished the other archeologists he gathered up diggers and implements and supplies. "Deep Pockets " Lord Carnarvon, postponing his tour of the Holy Land, stayed over and the excavation began at a site just outside the Valley--the only concession available at the time.

In 1917 they resumed. A year went by, then two, then several more, and they found absolutely nothing but some rather utilitarian alabaster vessels inscribed with the name of Ramesses II and his son Merneptah, the sort that you could find and purchase in dusty antiquities shops serving foreign tourists in Cairo.

By late 1923 they still had nothing significant to show for all the work and money expended. Anyone else but Carter would have given up long before. They had laboriously moved 200,000 tonnes of sand, dried mud, and rock, without finding a single item of genuine archeological importance. Trained in Industrial Revolution progressivism as applied to man's arena, with enough exposure at university to Schopenhauer's pessimism and Olney's RUINES to eradicate every last vestige of superstitious, childish faith in God and the supernatural with its attendant miracles, the earl was not, however, thanks to his unexpected disability, so assured of ultimate success as Carter seemed to be. Lord Carnarvon retired to Highclere. It was difficult to do, but he wrote Carter that he had decided against continuing at the Valley, and would Mr. Carter come to visit him at Highclere Manor?


By this time Carter knew the earl well, and the letter was no surprise. He ws prepared for it, in fact. He sailed to England and by rail went straight to the earl's Scottish rootstock near Newbury, where he had a cabby take him to the cavernous, palatial seat of the Carnarvon earls, quite a sight from a distance with its gray-stone turreted towers and fourteen peat-burning fireplaces going full blast.

What a tremendous contrast Scotland's cold tarns, denuded and wasted fields, and permanent ice were, as opposed to the sere rock cliffs and sands, the burning heat and sun of Egypt! It was like entering an icebox after leaving an oven, Scotland little resembled the green, well-tended landscape he knew in his childhood and early youth from holiday excursions with his parents. But he hadn't come back for old home associations.

Nor had he come to talk about the weather--beastly as it was.

I can't run any more sheep on my land, think of it!" complained the earl. "For centuries we've had a lot of sheep here, and quite a bit of the larger domestic stock, but no more. The last ten or so years have all been too bloody cold. We haven't had one good season where there was forage enough to keep ten head of sheep decently, much less the 4,000 we used to run here. I've had to sell them off and stock some on land I have in Australia--which isn't helping, since stock is slow to build on arrid Australian grazing lands and we won't get any profit for considerable years."

Meanwhile, as the earl went on belaboring the foul, unseasonably cold weather, the guest said nothing, hoping the gloomy subject would lag of itself, which it presently did for lack of fresh fuel.

After dinner with the earl and his now grown daughter, Lady Evelyn Herbert, he retired with the earl to the smoking room and immediately rolled out on the table a map he had drawn of the Valley of the Kings. Carter noted the large portrait of a woman of considerable beauty and fashion hung above a fireplace mantel, but he chose not to question the earl, since the earl's wife was not a part in any way of the earl's life and residence. He decided they must be living, on mutual agreement, separated lives, with a compensation already paid her, and the earl was more or less resigned to bachelorhood, since he never referred to her.

As for his own interests, all his training from his draughtsman days was with him still.

"Superb," the earl remarked, his hands deep in the pockets of his brocaded smoking jacket as he leaned close. "The unmistakable touch and precision of the expert cartographer!"

"But Lord Carnarvon, please look here at this particular site," Carter said, eager to get to the business of his coming.

The earl paused. A servant brought word from Lady Evelyn. Might she see with her own eyes what was so important in Mr. Carter's coming that young ladies weren't invited?

Lady Evelyn was waiting at the door, to be let in, as she indeed was. The earl doted on her and bent the few rules of the house with little provocation.

But Carter could not understand the earl's affection. A "confirmed bachelor," Carter saw only a somewhat too sober, young, cultivated woman--not the rousing camaraderie he relished in the midst of his archeological peers. Yet she didn't talk too much, or interject her unqualified opinions, so there was little he found to offend him. Besides, she wasn't feigning an interest in archeology just to be polite. She knew--and he could tell by a chance question or two of hers--that she knew the topography of the Valley in fine detail, requiring little explanation to see the location and significance of the various digging concessions.

"Here, my lord," Carter resumed, pointing to a site near the tomb of Ramesses VI, "we were about to dig, if you recall, but we were prevented by the comings and goings of tourists. Well, I find it extremely likely that it will prove fruitful. I am so strong in that belief, my lord, that I propose to pay for the cost of the excavation for an entire season if--[long, dramatic pause]--if I have to secure loans on my own little house and property in London, bequeathed to me by my dear, widowed, departed mother, to do so."

Carter heard Lady Evelyn draw in her breath sharply. He saw her glance up at the portrait over the mantel, then look quickly away. He looked over at his patron, and observed the earl's eyes were moist as they regarded the same picture.

"No such sacrifice of sacred memory will be necessary, Mr. Carter. We will provide for everything as before," Lord Carnarvon said. "Since you are that certain of success, I can do no less as a friend than encourage you in the enterprise! Where could I find a man to represent my interests who evinces such vision coupled with absolute integrity and attention to duty?"

That was the sort of man the earl was (and Carter, never good at saving his salary) had counted on it. If the Earl of Highclere came to see that a man firmly believed in himself, then he stuck with him all the way.

The interview at Highclere could not have gone better. Carter left Britain immediately. He itched to get back to work before the usual avalanche of tourists spoiled the site in the early spring, which in Egypt came in early February. With just a few weeks of glorious, tourist-free digging left, he began with his army of basket and adze-wielding local men on 2 January, 1924. On the very first days he uncovered workmen's huts from Pharaonic times. By 4 January he had uncovered a step cut in the rock floor of the Valley--cut by the Ancients. By the next day he had uncovered twelve steps. The following day he was at the bottom of the steps, facing an ancient door which in turn opened west but faced east.

The doorway was blocked. An intact seal as set with the insignia of the ancient necropolis guards--a jackal reclining over nine captives. After taking the precaution of filling up the excavation and posting a guard, Carter rushed back to Luxor and sent the cable that was heard round the world:

AT LAST HAVE MADE WONDERFUL DISCOVERY IN VALLEY STOP A MAGNIFICENT TOMB WITH SEALS INTACT STOP RECOVERED SAME FOR YOUR ARRIVAL STOP CONGRATULATIONS.

These and other things everybody knows well--how it was in the course of the next few days the world was astonished by the news that Lord Carnarvon and Mr. Carter had broken through a door into chambers overflowing with unheard-of golden splendors from the Age of Pharaohs spaning over two millenia. All from one tomb, of the long-lost boy-king, Tutankhamun!

Photographs and moving pictures were taken of Mr. Carter poking a hole in the door, then peering inside with a lighted and flickering torch, then a terribly suspenseful pause which Lord Carnarvon could not help but break.

"What is it you see, Mr. Carter?" the earl inquired, the hot, stale, long-imprisoned air still blowing in their faces.

"Wonderful things! O, wonderful things!"

The world went wild with the news.


Harold Carter's boat had come in at last with his pay-off--an argosy full of real gold, in fact. Perhaps it was appropriate that he, rather than Theodore Davis, Petrie, Flinders, or any other renowned archeologist, made the greatest find of two hundred years of Anglo-Egyptian exploration. More than any of them, he was a man who could not only find secrets, but keep them.


2 Carter's Pill

6 January, 1924. Valley of the Kings, Thebes. What a day the 5th was! I need to catch up, dear old Diary! Do I have paper enough in this book? I can't leave out the most important things, for I don't trust a mortal memory. Well, the uncovering of the tomb of Tutankhamun proceeded satisfactorily, but it is apparent to Lord Carnarvon, myself, as well as many representatives present from the museums, not to mention fellow archeologists, that the work of removal and cataloguing of the items will take months, perhaps years. I estimate several thousand objects of the larger sizes. If the smaller are included, there may be upwards of ten thousand. It is an immense treasure lode, and we must not damage a single item, handling each artifact as more precious than life itself, for the whole world is watching our every move. Indeed, substantial people are flocking here from all corners of the globe. I have my new movie camera going almost constantly at the entrance to record the arrival of dignitaries. Mehmet my supervisor of the diggers is manning the camera most faithfully. After I load the film it is a simple matter to keep the machine trained in the right direction. When the film runs out he tells me and I reload from a supply I keep constantly replenished from Alexandria and special post. No expense is too much for this undertaking. This event belongs to Posterity and I have a most grave duty to record every moment and item of it.

But now to the truly stupendous events of the day. Going to the concession early to meet with Mehmet in preparation for the day's digging, I arrived and was first on site as usual. Mehmet was still on his way from Quna, the modern village squatting on the site of Thebes, five and a half miles distant on the River's edge. But he was never much later. By telescope I could see him hurrying my way, his fez--though badly faded--quite visible.

Mehmet Running From Quna

At that moment something furiously red flashed by my glass. I dropped the scope and tried to follow with my naked eye. The apparition vanished into the ground, in the midst of Lord Carnarvon's concession. I also felt a great heat, then a most intense chill sensation, which more than the visual event awoke my memory of a previous like occurrence.

As on the first occasion I grabbed an adze and a basket and rushed to the point where the red light penetrated the ground like a burning dart. But suddenly a tremendous blast sent up tonnes of material, all without a sound. The shock was so unexpected, it seemed the end of the world. Had I proceeded a few feet beyond, I might have been killed outright, thrown up in the air with the dirt, sand, and rock. I was wearing my helmet, thank God, but evenso I found myself buried alive. Gasping and choking and spitting out dirt, I struggled to the surface like a puppy buried by cruel schoolboys, but terrified that I was permanently blinded. I had a terrible time finding my gear, which fortunately was far enough off to escape the blast. First, I washed out my eyes and, to my great relief, found my vision restored. Then taking a clean handkerchief, I wiped my face and hair and ears and shook myself like a dog to dislodge the worst of the dirt from my clothing. Meanwhile, I was trying to make sense of the happening. What had caused such a great detonation--the Red Mystery Light? Or had my footfalls ignited a stray store of gun-cotten discarded by the railway builders? Their dump was not far off. Or was the Egyptian militia in the area and a shell from one of their field guns had strayed into the diggings? Yet none seemed good possibilities, since in the case of the last two I ought to have heard something--and there hadn't been the slightest sound of maneuvers. Understandably, I still had no clear explanation when I went forward carefully to see what damage had been done.

I went down on the ground as I saw a pit. I crawled to the edge and slowly peered in. I immediately forgot the terrific explosion as I caught sight of steps leading downward. With no more forethought for my safety, I scrambled downwards. At the bottom--there were sixteen steps cut into bedrock, I came to the blocking stones of a door. I don'tknow what rattled me most--the explosion, or the sight of the steps, or the moment I confronted the door.

Suddenly, the ancient truths of the Bible I was beginning to cast doubt upon fell upon me with a weight that made me shudder. My heart--was it beating? I dared not touch the door. But then I did so--I was actually touching the Garden of Eden's East Gate. Beyond lay a paradise no one could deny. I might have wept then, my excitement was so great. I was frantic to see beyond the sacred door, which faced east. My emotional state cannot be described. All my life I had labored for other other men and endured their slights, their annoying eccentricities, and petty, tedious duties to gain this one glorious Moment, and here it was at las! Without seeing anything more of the Red Mystery Light, I would have gone for an adze, but some sand and pebbles slid down and spattered on the steps behind me. I looked up and saw Mehmet's incredulous face peering over the edge of the excavation.

Naturally, I clamped as stiff an English mug as I could over my wild, emotional state, and got up out of the pit with dispatch. I knew exactly what had to be done. I needed to recover the steps and send the diggers back home the moment they arrived. But I first turned to explain to Mehmet how I had done so much digging on my own.

It made me perspire copiously to have to concoct something suitable in so short a space of time. I knew these ignorant, simple-souled villagers were easily swayed by every passing fable of fantastical nature, but I liked them as they were and never thought to lie to them before, just as a man would ever think to lie to his trusting companion, be him horse or dog. I knew Mehmet as a solid, trustworthy specimen. Somehow he had found himself a subaltern's jacket, and carried himself with a jaunty military air. The old, buttonless jacket, faded fez, and striped pyjamas many sizes too big--he wore this absurd costume with stern dignity and integrity that would have done a barrister well in Fleet Street. How could I deceive such a one?

"Mehmet," I said, "I will not lie to you I saw a red light, looking like a hot, red coal from the fire, and it passed this way. The earth blew up and next I saw these steps. How it happened, I do not know, but there it is. I could not have dug the pit myself in one night as you know. I would take fifty men at least a day, and all working very hard."

Mehmet knew the potential of his diggers well enough. Nodding slowly, he considered my words, glanced at the gaping pit, then up at the heavens. Finally, he turned to me with a grave expression. "Yes, it must be an evil work, Effendi," he said. "A very big, wicked dijinn came and dug it. He was trying to steal gold maybe from the old infidel kings sleeping here deep in the ground."

He glanced next toward the vanguard of the diggers coming to work.

There was no more time to discuss the matter, and anyway I rather liked his simple explanation for something that remained utterly baffling to Modern Science. I always carried my pay purse to the site, so I ran to my gear and tendered it to Mehmet, for disbursement was another of his duties.

"Mehmet, tell the men I'm granting a holiday with pay. You and I will fill in the djinn's pit. That should only take a few hours. You--I will give you double pay for your services today."

Mehmet could be trusted to do exactly as he was told, without asking inconvenient questions of me. After all, that was one chief reason I promoted him from digger to my native gang boss. I watched him meet the workers, who greeted the announcement with pleased exprssions and only a few glances toward the mound of dirt thrown up by the explosion. Presently, Mehmet returned to me with a list of those who received payment and were sent away.

That accomplished, we set to work filling the hole. "Did any ask about the new mound of dirt?" I inquired after we had labored several minutes. "No, Effendi, they were just very, very glad because of holiday and money for no work. They did not ask about anything. They will all go now and buy cigarettes and drink tea at Mahmoud Ismail's tea house." "Capital!"

Since my servant was too accustomed to superior men of civilized parts to press for further explanation, I thought to let sleeping dogs lie and said no more about the miraculous red light and the appearance of the steps and what they might lead to. He might suspect that an undisturbed tomb probably lay at the terminus of the stairs, but that was my business as Archeologist, not his as underling. Between us, always a great gulf remained fixed, and both of us respected it in every matter.

After smoothing over the site with the flat of an English shovel, then scattered random rocks and dirt clods upon the surface to make it look as natural as possible, I instructed Mehmet to stand guard but tell no one anything. Then I rushed off to the "Winter Palace"--Lord Carnarvon's residence in Quna.

He is at Highclere, but from the house we have a private Marconi line strung to the railway telegraph and can wire messages to Alexandria. From there a cable is sent out to Civilisation: to London and thence to Highclere. It is most convenient, but up to now it has never proved so vital nor carried so important a message. Thus I notified my patron to come at once to see the wonderful tomb I knew lay beyond the blocking stones. I should expect him to arrive in three weeks at the latest. If connections were particularly good, he might be here in seventeen.

Great Civilisation has long departed from this wretched country, but oh! these Ancient Peoples of the Nile! I often feel them in the air and dust of this immemorial land--palpable presences, noble ghosts of vanished golden realms, that seem to breathe and talk as living men still, if given half the chance to communicate their great secrets of lost wisdom and knowledge.

So when I returned to site and went and stood beside the recovered steps and gate to Paradise, I could hear the Ancients, most distinctly. It did not surprise me, yet this time it was as if I had stirred a hornets' nest. I felt the pressure of many, many voices beating on my temples. They were shouting and bewailing the fact I had found their long-lost king. "Do not disturb the king's ka, his divine immortality resides in it," they charged me strictly, "lest the dooms of the thousand curses fall on your head, O stranger and robber of the royal grave!"

Nevertheless, serving Modern Science and not my own self-interest and self-gain, I wasn't in the least frightened, since I had no time to cultivate superstitious fancies. Mehmet, his legs ballooning in the wind, also seemed to hear the Invisible Guardians, though his interpretation inspired more fright in him than it could with me, a civilized man. He drew back from the sit. His face turned ashen-colored as he clapped his hands over his ears to no avail. "Dijinn!" he cried. "The old buried ones have sent the guardian dijinni to kill us!"

I let the poor fellow go, and saw him run off once he had found his legs--a droll sight to my eyes, since he was usualy so conscious of his dignity as assistant to the foreign archeologist. "Let him go and spread the tale that dijinni were at work here," I thought as I watched Mehmet's fez fly off and he left it where it lay and kept running. "That wild tale of his will keep the rest from venturing up here for a while, and, meanwhile--" Already I had conceived a plan for I felt it inexpedient to wait for D.P. Once decided, there was no time to waste.

The dirt was very loose and friable now, easy fill to remove. Myself, I knew I could clear the site and regain the door within a couple hours. The time flew almost merrily, and in two hours I was once again at the door. Though it had not been entered since it was shut and sealed--the seal of the ancient necropolis guards and Tutankhamun's royal seal were intact--I was utterly dismayed when I saw a hole. It had been refilled, but it was evidence the tomb had been entered illegally in the long-ago. Would this tomb too be stripped of all valuables, with only a few old, cracked pots to show for all I had sacrificed to get to this point?

Instead of disturbing the two seals, I went in by the robbers' hole, removing its contents and gaining entrance. Inside the door, I entered a slightly inclined tunnel the thieves had dug but fortunately in their haste to depart had not refilled with rubble. Though it I reached yet anoher sealed door of blocking stones. Again, the robbers, I found, rather than disturb the official seals with all their curses and spells, had burrowed like moles round the door. I found Tutankhamun's seal undisturbed, on its original blocking. But the second seal of the necropolis guards was not on its original blocking.

I found this confusing, then decided the guards had also entered by the robber's convenient route, leaving the royal seal intact, to make their inspection. Departing, they relaid a fresh seal over the old one--a sign of how meticulous and akin to my own countrymen the Ancients were in carrying out their duties to their Sovereign Monarch.

Presently, I poked an explanatory hole and peered in beyond the door. I had a candle lit and held it cupped in my hand until the escaping hot air had dissipated sufficiently for me to look in I could not believe at first what I was seeing, exposed to living eyes for the first time in nearly three thousand years. Marvelous things all lay tumbled about--and, as I had dreamed countless times but never seen before this time--everywhere the glint of gold! Gold!


Dismantled chariots, chests of rich design, beds with fantastic bovine and jackal forms of Egyptian gods and goddesses, clam-like wooden boxes piled up for storage of the pharaoh's favorite viands and delicacies--it was absolutely mind-boggling! This chamber was about ten by twenty feet in extent, with a roof of about fifteen feet, all plastered and whitened with lime. Lacking time to spend on its details, I viewed what I could, then passed to the adjoining chamber. Originally there had been a blocking plastered wall, but a hole gave me entrance.

Apparently, the thieves removed only portable jewelry and other small items they could pass quickly through the tunnel. Everything large was left relatively undisturbed. Beyond two life-sized golden figures of the king guarding the door of his own royal burial chamber, I found the king's catafalque containing his royal sarcophagi. It was a huge box almost completely filling the room, all gleaming with gold. I tried to move the top lid, but of course it was far too heavy. I was most fearful the contents had been disturbed, but there was no sign of it. The grave robbers, as I could tell now, were after only "cash in hand" for a quick getaway. It is quite certain too they were apprehended selling the stolen goods and were promptly executed, since obviously no one had returned from that time to loot the remaining valuables.

At this point, I had to pause. So much had just occurred, it was simply overwhelming to a mortal. Violent emotions of utmost joy and excitement, as well as trepidation that the discovery might be found out at an inopportune moment, surged through my heaving breast. So I left what I was doing to check "topside" to see if anyone had come. I was vastly relieved when I found no one lurking about the site. Then I recalled a boxed bottle of medicinal liquor I always carried in my camp gear for any mishap among the diggers, who occasionally lost fingers or toes to the chopping adze and required it for dulling the pain when the injured member was wrapped in whatever rags were at hand. Getting it, I returned quickly to the king's chamber. There I solemnly toasted His Majesty's health and also my discovery of his tomb and burial chamber.

Again, I felt unspeakable elation sweep my spirit for a time. Paradise regained! The thought turned my knees to water. I had glimpsed it with my own mortal eyes--for that was the effect of so much splendor, splendor I knew no modern man other than myself had been privileged to gaze upon. All darkness seemed turned to brightest day as I looked round freely at hidden marvels unknown to the world for three thousand years. Drinking it all in, my soul felt pierced by innumerable points of sweetness and light, the rapture dispelling the whole crass and sordid weight of mortal life with all its common meannesses and degradations.

Strengthened by these and other reflections, I continued. I turned to the next room, stepping by the jackal-bodied god that lay couchant on a sledge, guarding the open doorway with sharp-pricked ears and huge, alert eyes. Inside I found tall golden chests containing Canopic jars in which the king's viscera were preserved forever. I also found poignant reminders of even the god-king's mortal antecedents--two jeweled chests containing the tiny mummies of infant princesses, dead at birth no doubt. Along with these stood golden thrones and priceless alabaster, crystal, and gilded figurines of unnatural, heavenly beauty in design and workmanship.

There isn't space enough in a hundred volumes to write all I saw in this room alone. But the most curious item of it all--and then I realized it was time to return to the base and ignoble, colorless world above of living men.

As for my reflections on the discovery, if not for Lady Amherst's intervention (and later Lord Carnarvon's timely patronage). I would have spent my life a shipping clerk in some great warehouse emporium by the Thames at London or Graveside--drudgery fit more for a senseless beast than a man. So, impressed by what I could have missed (if my career had taken the normal course instead of what it did take), it was with greatest reluctance I tore myself away from such glories to do my duty to Mankind and make the discovery known to the public.

At the same time I was not unmindful of the signal role the Red Mystery Light had played once again in my fortunes. What was it? I still had no certain facts on the subject. Would it return again and guide me to yet further glories? I could not imagine any greater, however, than Tutankhamun's tomb. Once, now twice, the Red Mystery Light entered my life for unexplained reasons. But that is the quintessential Egypt! I can expect no ansers, since I cannot tell what it is, or where it has gone. Who, indeed, knows the power by which the Ancients reared the great Pyramids, a Wonder of the Ancient World, and the numerous colossi of statuary that litters the land of the Pharaohs? Was it by virtue of this same Red Mystery Light that still flickers in the byways of their lost realm, that had led me to the East Gate of Paradise itself?

A few minutes later, I was up out of the tomb and filling in the excavation, my only companion Africa's great horned crescent moon tapping my shoulder.


That, and other entries, as Carter would have it, would never fall to the scrutiny of the public. But there was much more besides he was obliged to keep forever secret.

He reached Cairo and quickly stored the Tutanhamun consignment under heavy guard in the Museum of Antiquities, then left to journey to Alexandria to meet Queen Beatrice of the Belgians. Imagine, a crowned monarch coming expressly to see him and the artifacts! He was to be her escort to the marvels of Tutankhamun's tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

Yet he had done his job so well, he had some time to kill, a couple day's worth, in fact, before Her Majesty's ship docked at Alexandria. An archeologist who never entertained random hunches was not worth his salt, according to School-of-Hard-Knocks Carter. Again, as in times past, he followed a sudden intuition to go take a look at the Great Pyramids of Giza, a site lying only a mile or two across the River from Cairo beyond the west bank.

Oh, he hadn't anything in mind, he just wanted to be among genuine antiquities again. They breathed a life and grandeur he could not get enough of. It was the most rare vintage of wine, exhilarating, leaving no aftertaste. The bustling, noisy, silly tinbox of modern life did not appeal to him at all. Let the Western World have its flappers and Jazz Babies, slapstick films, flagpole sitting, bathtub gin, raccoon hats and beaver coats, speakeasies and the Ziegfield Follies! Let the fools do the American Charleston at posh Parisian clubs, shout "Chow" and "Pung" at mah-jongg, dance in marathons, or play tennis strapped to the wings of a modern aeroplane flying 75 miles an hour!

It gave him much gratification to know that he was the cynosure of the civilized world--all because he had stuck it out and found what he had known had always been there waiting for him. "I've shown them all, indeed!" he thought, thinking mainly of the stuffed-shirts, the university-bred archeologists who in the past had always made him conscious of his technical school training. "The old snobs assumed they were better than my likes, but I've proved them dead wrong!"

No gentlemen, without an old school tie from Eton and a degree or two from Oxford or Cambridge, he had shown them! He had reached the top of his profession on his own merits. From that point on he would accept the praises due him and spend his days cataloguing the Tutankhamun artifacts. That finished, he wold retire to London, write his account of the discovery, speak at Royal Archeological Academy gatherings, and, when he grew too old for that sort of thing, relax at a sedate private club and go on long, meditative walks in the finest parks. "It's getting time to leave Archeology to younger fellows," he thought generously. "Let them try a hand at it and see if they can do better than I."

Carter unwrapped a fat cigar and lit up, puffing meditatively as the cab drew way from the city and approached the Pyramids. Since his discovery at Thebes had drawn world attention, he found Giza forsaken by the usual horde of well-heeled tourists and parasitic guides. That was fine with him. He felt, after his great discovery, a need for anonymity and a chance to enjoy Egypt at its best without the ubiquitous tribe of prying eyes and wheedling beggars and guides.

It's all vanity," he observed of his fame. "A sensible chap mustn't put too much stock in it."


He sent away the cab he had hired, then continued on foot. Strutting about and smoking his Royal Marmaduke cigar, the best to be had in the country's smokeshops, he passed into the shadow of the three main pyramids, the Great Pyramid of Cheops being his objective. The only extant Wonder of the Ancient World, it commanded the world's reverent attention still, though the mighty Industrial Age that had its genesis in Great Britain had lately constructed as largely, if less nobly, in perishable iron instead of immortal stone.

The effect of the Great Pyramid, as usual, was to dwarf his mortal frame to a speck of utter nothingness. He came to the Sphinx, the human-headed stone lion which which lay crouched near Cheops' pyramid. Everything, even lions, were gods in Ancient Egypt, Carter reflected. But in the shadow of the lionine majesty of the Sphinx, he wasn't so sure the Egyptians were wrong. His casual Bible storybook reading with a nanny-housekeeper and a little church-going on holy days in his youth seemed lights things beside the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid.

He went to view the inscription Cheops put between the huge front paws. On the commemorative stone Cheops credited himself with restoration of the god's stonework. He left the paws and began to walk down along the side of the colossus. A sudden, tell-tale red flash alerted him. The Red Mystery Light?

Whatever it was, it vanished round the mammoth shoulders of the Sphinx, and Carter flew in hot pursuit, coat-tails flapping. He caught a glimpse of it again, toward the haunch of this statue that was half the length of the TITANIC before it broke up and sank.

Gasping with his mad dash, he arrived at the spot where he last saw the light dive under the ground, just in time to see a flamelike exhalation from the deep sand. A lightning strike, only icy as death and not scorching hot, ran down Carter's spine. Remembering his near-fatal experience in the Valley of the Kings, he ran back out of harm's way, choosing what he thought was a safe distance to wait.

Moments passed. Finally, when he was somewhat assured there would be no great explosion as before, he crept back, and then carefully lay down his hat with a stone to hold it in place against the wind that always blew from the desert. Frantic to do something, he raced away from the Sphinx toward the road. Perhaps he could catch his cab.

He had not misjudged the cunning and avarice of his cabbie. Ha! Ha! The cabbie was loitering at a convenient distance, watching for him to tire of the glories of the Pyramids, as he knew he would. Endeavoring to appear dignified and European despite his haste, Carter hurried toward toward the cab and got in. "Posthaste, you old rascal!" he shouted at the grinning driver.

When he reached the city, he surprised the driver by ordering him to patrol the poorest districts of the Fustat where no European was to be found. Wherever he sighted the most down-and-out specimens of humanity, he halted the cab. He sought diggers, not gentlemen! After a few inquiries, ascertaining whether the prospective digger had wife and family or lived alone, he hired the ones who were least likely to impart secrets to anyone in Cairo's teeming, gossipy hive of three million souls. Abject, impoverished clots of skin and bones, they subsisted by begging, doing odd, penny-jobs for merchants, or when everything else failed, living on spoiled, cast-off fruit in the markets. He conscripted what he needed in this manner--the human dregs of society who had nothing to lose by following a mad infidel with money to spend.

Hiring a truck, Carter had the men board, and off they went in a caravan back to Giza. He had stopped on the way in the districts of the iron-mongers and basket-weavers and equipped his little troop with adzes and baskets. As for the firman to dig, making it a legal concession, he could wait and get it another day. Would anyone dare interfere with him because of a mere formality? He was still on the Museum staff as Inspector of Monuments. If that wasn't enough, he was also Egypt's favorite after finding the golden treasures of a long-lost pharaoh--which according to agreement with the government would go to the Cairo Museum "in perpetuuam."

Leading the men over to his hat, he ordered them to get busy. Even with a derelict crew, the sand was easy to dig and the work went forward. The sand they carried basket by basket to a spot a few yards away and dumped. Carter didn't wish the pile too far off, for he knew he might want to re-cover his tracks in a hurry. He had twenty men, ample for the single shaft he was sinking beneath the Sphinx at the extreme norwest corner. The diggers, being dissolute city trash and not villagers with experience of farmwork to toughen their muscles, lacked stamina and will to work. After half an hour of noisy show, they suddenly lost all their initial enthusiasm for the project. Their flagging exertions made Carter shout ill-bred oaths like a Thames stevedore to get them moving faster. Even some well-aimed kicks in the nearest rears failed to get any faster movement.

Finally, exasperated beyond words, he leaped down with an adze and basket and showed them all how a real man could labor. They all gaped at the crazy, rich foreigner with the deep pockets doing a poor man's work. But he got his point across, shaming them. They understood that he wasn't giving them a century or two to dig the hole. After that they applied themselves with greater industry.

The hole deepened considerably, five to ten to nearly twenty feet, though Carter had seen much more progress in efforts expended at the Valley of the Kings.

Now that he could see some progress, he began to fret. Was he about to make himself look a fool? Would they go another ten feet and still find nothing but sand? He could only hope the story of the famous Carter, Inspector of Monuments and Discoverer of Tutankhamun, digging up Giza's Sphinx to no purpose would not leak to the outside world and make him a laughingstock!

Years after the event, he would recall with some thudding of the heart but mostly a sense of great relief, how the sight of the first worked stone affected him as the men cleared away sand and rubble.

Carter nearly stamped and cried with childish delight as steps appeared, cut in the rock-floor of the desert. The steps led, downward at an angle, beneath the Sphinx. But not only that! Within another ten feet, the men penetrated to more hewn stone. Blocking stones of black basalt! It was unmistakable to a an archeologist's trained eye--something important lay beneath, hidden by the carefully-laid slabs. But what?


Trembling but showing an Englishman's cool go-hang-it exterior, Carter went down to inspect the work, acting as diffident as possible so as not to give the diggers the idea he thought anything there was remarkable. He glanced at the exposed stonework, then up around at the waiting men. Frowning, he shook his head vigorously. "No good! nothing here!" he barked at them like a martinet in the Army.

He could see stupid, avaricious faces fall, one and all. They understood he was displeased at the poor result of their labors and all the money he had lavished on the project. Well, the area round about was riddled with pits foreigners like him had dug to to avail. They could see that plainly. This then was just another vain enterprise. Fate had decreed it, since it had happened so. Resigned to misfortune, resigned to wretchedness, resigned to all the slings and arrows of life, they still expected pay from an infidel. So Carter paid them and dismissed the lot at once. Why pay men to fill in a holde the wind would fill for nothing? That is what he let them think anyway. The moment they received payment, they flew off off with the windfall to the truck, which Carter had directed to transport them back to the city.

As for the cabby, he directed him to remain on the road, however long it took for his return. Then Carter, his face twisted with a mixture of ungentlemanly, strong emotions, raced back the pit and dropped down to the blocking stones.

Despite the late hour of the day--eventide was fast falling--he knew good fortune when he saw it. Four or more millenia of indefatigable tomb-robbers, sacking armies, countless impoverished rulers and robber barons looking for ways to fill their empty coffers, and finally swarms of European fortune-hunters and archeologists of modern times had dug up Giza in a million places, all hoping to turn up intact tombs of the Old Kingdom royal officials, noblemen, queens, and princesses. From the pyramids to adjacent tombs of lesser burials, it was thought to be utterly exhausted, where anything valuable was concerned. Yet hadn't he proven the university-trained experts wrong in the Valley of the Kings? Now he was being given a second chance to prove them utter fools at Giza! It flashed upon him too that the unlikely Sphinx was a prime site, precisely because it was not thought to contain anything costly. Since the Sphinx had never been considered a tomb, it had been left virtually alone except for restoration projects in Pharaonic times and later some attempts by religious vandals, including a lucky cannon shot by a French artillery man aiming at the nose, to deface the infidel monument.

He had with him an adze and basket. The blocking stones of dark basalt were quite like he was used to seeing. He soon had one, then two prised out, so that he could slip between. He ruined the adze in the process. Heedless of a cascade of sand from above that threatened to bury him, he climbed down. He found himself in a thick, palpable Egyptian darkness. But an archeologist learns early on in his profession to always carry plentiful matches and candles. He also had a modern battery torch.

Beyond was a corridor, like so many he had explored leading to royal tombs. For a moment, Carter was baffled. Was it another king's tomb? No, the experienced Inspector of Monuments decided. Without few exceptions, the rulers of the Two Lands of Upper and Lower Egypt chose to be buried in the pyramids or in the Valley of the Kings. Saqqara, the ancient site near the vanished "Queen City" of Memphis, and El-Amarna, were of course, royal burial sites, but they held few sites of promise compared to the others. So what was this?

With his torch he illuminated a door, very massive with a single stone weighing tons, set between two curiously carved serpent columns, all polished black basalt. Impossible as it seemed to gain entrance, Carter was not the man to give up easily at this point. He started to use the adze to prise the door open, then, with a hiss...a sacred cobra's hiss that congealed Carter's blood, it slid open before him.

Carter cried out, not from spectral, animal fear but a trained professional's surprise. Air rushing out was surprisingly cool, well-ventilated--far to fresh for a tomb buried in hot sand for thousands of years. Loosed by a spastic jerk of his trembling hand, his torch bounded away and rolled forward into the chamber beyond. It rolled quite a distance into the darkness and lay shining at the bases of what appeared to be massive, polished, basalt blocks. Should he proceed?

In the circumstances, it was a good question--not one a coward would ask, for a coward most likely would have run away before this. Carter knew very well the Ancients were capable of devising strategems, elaborate devices to protect their tombs. Some weren't less than devilish. Fortunately, Tutankhamun's was a straightforward affair--no pits, false doors, false walls, access tunnels filled with uncountable tons of giant stones impossible to move, and all the rest. Then Egypt provided, without asking, the usual complement of cobras, scorpions, spiders, heat, and disease to make things all the more sticky for the archeologist.

His excitement was now telling on his moral resolve and stamina. He felt edgy and exhausted, thugh he still didn't know what he was dealing with. If not a tomb, if not anything he could recognize as Ancient Egyptian, what could it be? The serpent columns of the doorway weren't Old Kingdom Egyptian, he knew, though they had worshipped the cobra in ancient times. What was the proof they were foreign to Egypt?

Carter hadn't been digging up, dating, and classifying Egyptian antiquities for so many years without having developed a keen, additional sense--the almost unerring ability to distinguish the fake from the real, the truly ancient from the merely old and worn. How many sellers of "genuine Old or Middle Kingdom artifacts" had approached him with paltry items they had stolen from Ptolemaic and even ridiculously modern Mameluke tombs? No, authentic relics of the earliest ages of mankind all had a certain look and feel that was lost to later generations. It was unmistakable and couldn't possibly be duplicated, skillful as the forgers were in Cairo's teeming faux-antique manufacturing quarter.

For that reason he knew for a certainty that the chamber before him and its unknown contents were immeasurably old--well beyond the Old Kingdom in age. Yet how could that be? Was he going mad from too much desert sun? Everyone knew Civilisation did not extend further back than Pharaoh Menes, who ruled about ANNO 3250 B.C. Professors Newberry and Davis had been adamant about that fact. Before ANNO 3250 the world was sunk in barbarism and chaos. After ANNO 3250 flourished Civilisation and all her artistic and comfort-producing amenities. But just how Civilisation arrived on the scene in Egypt full-blown in glory, as reputed to have happened in the threshold year, was ground Carter could never get Davis and Newberry to tread.

Years of close association with such thorough-going, well-informed skeptics had taken gradual but telling effect. The secret, golden Dream had quietly expired--or nearly so. As Carter dragged cold, wary feet in the doorway of the Unknown, a strange idea--a sport, a maverick notion--slipped into his conscious mind. He immediately dismissed it though it was something of which he had been most fond. He had never forgiven professor Newberry after he had naively tried the idea on Professor Newberry back in his Beni Hasan days, and the Professor had soundly berated him.

"Why, my boy, that is pure drivel, sheer, nonsensical fantasy!" So despite the Professor's attempt to make amends with a few books on the subject, he had not discussed Atlantis again with the man, though the Professor's own library contained the works of a man named Plato, an ancient and still widely-acclaimed Greek philosopher who swore to the once existence of the Mother of all Civilisation, the lost island-continent of Atlantis.

Naturally, Davis and Newberry and their ilk explained that Plato really meant in his reference to Atlantis. It wasn't some lost island-continent far to the west of the Greeks--oh, no!--but the island of Crete, which suffered a collapse of its cities due to an earthquake and possibly even a catastrophic eruption of the volcano on the nearby island of Thera. Atlantis was unquestionably Crete, and a natural cataclysm had put an end to the great Minoan kingdom centered on Knossos, Phaistos, and other palace-cities. So much for the island-continent myth! Plato, the poor old chap, has been grossly misinterpreted, according to these unimpeachable authorities, Davis and Newberry.

"Yet what would they think standing here with me?" the shaking Carter thought. "This isn't the Egyptian antiquity. It's older--far older. And what could be older than Egypt? What?"

Creeping in slowly and carefully, Carter regained his precious torch, shone it around, and quickly discovered that it was as he had always suspected--Egypt's Mysteries, despite all the attempts to push everything behind the Great Wall of ANNO 3250 B.C., had scarcely been plumbed. Scarcely plumbed, indeed!

With pupils pooling enormous wonder in his widened eyes, Carter viewed a room as lofty in height and ample in girth as any respectable church sanctuary, but completely hidden to the world for how many eons? He glanced back toward the doorway. Shouldn't he block it somehow, to prevent his being trapped? What if the stone was a trick and rolled back? It wouldn't take a key even if he could find one. And he had left his broken adze outside the site. "I'm a bloody fool to come in here, without anyone knowing. Something could yet happen to me and not one living soul would know."

Despite real misgivings, he felt drawn toward the objects on the slabs that had begun to glow and show themselves. They seemed to invite closer inspection. "As long as I've come this far, it wouldn't hurt to take a quick look at a few of them," he decided. After that he would go.

His mind spinning with possibilities, he approached the first display. Suddenly, verses flashed through his mind--Bible scriptures he had never memorized, though somewhere in his childhood memory he knew his little Children's Abbreviated Bible by heart.

I destroyed the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and beast. I sent signs and wonders into the midst of you, O Egypt, upon Pharaoh and all his servants...

What? Carter wondered, trying to plumb old recollections of Bible stories read to him by a pious nanny. Wasn't that a reference to Yahweh and Moses and the bondage of his people of Israel? Pharaoh Ramesses was supposed to be the hard-hearted ruler at that time, who slew the infant males of the Israelites and put their parents to hard slavery building his great store cities, Pithom and Ramesses in the Delta--oppressing them to the point they cried out to Jehovah God and He had finally sent a Deliverer, Moses.

What did all that have to do with what he was seeing? There seemed no connection, unless this chamber too was a product somehow of divine judgment and catastrophe, like the Ten Plagues that befell Ancient Egypt in Moses' and Ramesses' time. He picked up the second prism. Lit from within by an undying blue fire, it illuminated the inscription it bore, E=MC, set within a square.


Wasn't that Albert Einstein's famous theorum? It was close enough to be unmistakable, anyway. Most curious, the inscription was fluid, running through every alphabet and numerical system known to man--few of which Carter with his training could recognize, but enough to tell him they were all variants of the same thing. He examined another. Again, he was rewarded when he waited for the right alphanumeric equivalent to cvome up. However, it proved more arcane: N=R*Fp Np Fl Fi FcL. Just the same, he knew he had more than enough to think about with the Einstein theorum. He set the prism back on the basalt slab. His hand clapped his vest and felt the ;pocket. His eyes working wildly in their sockets, Carter considered the matter, then curiosity overcame his shock. He looked and disovered that the other prisms all bore theorums.

What immense troves of knowledge and sciences have I stumbled upon? he marveled, his hours of hard work having paid off wonderfully. But, perhaps, except for the Einstein theorum, they were all gibberish, mere superstition, and antiquated notions like so much of Babylonian medical lore. Yet how could he tell? He wasn't really a scientist in training. He had learned Archeology on the job while plying his trade of draughtsmanship. At school, a little of Euclid's geometry, British history up to Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar, and double-entry bookkeeping, and he was though educated enough to make a tolerably good shipping clerk, or, failing that, a bank dick.

Passing along the ranks of mathematical prisms, he found something of more than remarkable nature--a mirror-like crystal, concave, raised on a gold pedestal. As he looked closer it began showing scenes--people in white linen passing to and fro on a bridge strung between two immense blue and green spheres, then dazzling whitge, pyramid-shaped structures with blue fire and streams of saucer-like objects exhaling out the apexes, tall, serpent=twined pillars crowned with heroic figures, and many palaces and great, towering cities set amidst orchards and intricately gardened landscapes.

Starting with these scenes, the crystal portrayed the breakup of the cities, palaces, observatories, oratorios, temples, and all the monuments in a vast spreading circle of destruction, apparently by underground explosions and the burning of newborn volcanoes all round the coasts of the great unknown country.

Though shown in miniature, Carter felt involved as he watched multitudes of people rush into ships, which waves overwhelmed and sank. They they rushed into the high mountains, flying in cunningly-fashioned, glistening white spheroids that jetted in convoys from the apexes of the pyramid-shaped structures. They too found doom awaiting them as the mountains burst into flame and consumed nearly all of them. As for the remaining airships, they abandoned not only the site of the lost continent but the planet too as they headed outwards to seek refuge on the Red Planet and even farther places.

By this time Carter sweated all down his back and under his arms. He watched until the entire country broke in pieces like a sheet of ice, which all sank, people still clinging to the fragments and what boats were still seaworthy, many of which sank because they soon became overloaded. All those who did not perish or flee the planet spread to other lands. Darkness fell,b ut whereever the Atlanteans fled great empires arose, and there followed a rapid cavalcade of powers that Carter easily recognized--Pharaonic Egypt, Babylon, Minoan Crete, Mitanni, Hatti, Persia, Greece, Rome, Bysantium, China, the Moche, Toltecs, Incas, and Aztecs, Imperial Spain, the Ottoman Caliphate, and many, many more, until finally the British Empire appared, the largest of all, on which the Sun never set.

The prism went dark, and Carter, shaking his head, contionued. He came to a display different from the rest. A crook and flail? Uraeus? Lotus and papyrus crowns? A golden mace, used for ceremonially smiting Egypt's foes ont he pate? These, Carter knew, were traditionally royal insigne of Ancient Egyptian monarchs. "So this is an Egyptian archive and has nothing to do with fabled Atlantis!" he concluded.

Feeling relieved though unaccountably disappointed, Carter idly picked up the crook, which unlike the specimens in the Cairo Museum, was so charged with an electric current his hand shook. Instantly, there was a rush of air downward and the next thing Carter saw was something large coming at him out of the ceiling. Flinging the crook, he leaped back. Carter had good reason to do so.

As he shone his recovered torch on it, a suspended slab of inches-thick basalt lowered to his eye level and before him lay a long, glowing crystal object.

The spectacle was more than even a seasoned archeologist could absorb. He might have dashed out through the serpent-columned door, but he had seen too much and was mesmerized, held against his will. Forgetting to breathe, he saw it was two skeletons, all replicated in purest crystal, and luminous with the bluish glow that the prisms posessed. They appeared at first glance to be perfectly modeled skeletal forms of a man and woman, but something was wrong. Their skulls were not human.

Ghastly and beautiful at the same time, Carter could not help reaching out and touching the crystal of the nearest skeleton, just to see if it were not a vision, a fleeing chimaera of the brain, and not a real thing.

He touched crystal that felt both hot and cold. He was about to walk round the skeletons when he noticed something. He wasn't sure he was really seeing it at first, but soon he was left with no doubt. A surge of bright light swept from the point where he had touched the object--the clavicle--of the nearest skeleton, and it spread to the toe and finger bones. Suddenly, other things followed. The hands and feet bones began acquiring what looked to be tissue, ligaments, and blood vessels.

Carter reared back away in horror. Yet he didn't run off. Britons weren't accustomed to doing that. As he watched in helpless stupefaction, muscle and skin covered over the spreading veins and connective tissues and ligaments. By rapid degrees the finite human mind could not possibly fathom, the skeleton transformed itself into a living being before Carter's bulging eyes.

Carter, transfixed at the spot. a completely unwilling spectator of "spontaneous generation," saw the fingers and toes begin to flex. Then the muscles in the arms and legs rippled into life. Still the odd skull remained. Yet it was next to materialize, apparently. The light pooled and shone most brilliantly on it, and as with the legs, arms, and torso the skull now began to flesh out.

Carter saw he was looking at a male, a prime, regal specimen of manhood that had to be seven or eight feet tall. Only the head was raptorian--was it a hawk's or eagles? Is this the divine Horus, the chief God of the Ancient Egyptian pantheon?" Carter was thunderstruck by the thought.

The brain was forming within the crystaline skull bones. The great predatory beak then started taking shape. Carter, at this point, wrenched himself out of his trance-like state. With his utmost strength, he grabbed what was nearest to hand, which happened to be the solid gold mace, and brought it down on the head of the crystal Horus, god or no god. He would have done the same to the monster's female-bodied consort too, but he was given no opportunity.

The night was now far gone. Carter, miraculously, survived it--but barely.

Slowly, Carter pulled himself out of the smoking bits of crystal that littered the floor and his clothes. They could burn his clothes, so he swept them away with his hand, feeling a strange sensation of hot and cold as he did so. Surprised to find himself alive, he groaned from shock and some pain where he lay after being thrown by the explosion of the crystal.

He looked upwards into the gloom, but there was no sign of the Horus and his consort. Appalled into action, he struggled to his feet, staggered toward the door, intending to put the terrible place and its experiences ouf of sight and mind forever.

"Mr. Carter!"

Carter spun around toward the voice. Someone whose identity he could not tell in the darkness rose from behind a display slab. "Who are you?" he cried.

"Your conscience, Mr. Carter, which you seem to have buried and lost in the course of your excavations!"

"You're mad, whoever you are!" he retorted, moving toward the speaker. "But you must leave here at once! Tourists are not allowed on my concession without my express consent. You must go immediately!" Then Carter stopped. The intruder's face was illuminated just enough by the blue-glowing prisms. "What are you doing here, Lady Evelyn? How did you find--"

Lord Carnarvon's daughter gave him a scornful laugh and she was holding a small, dark object in her hands, pointing it at him. "I've seen reason to watch your behavior for some time, ever sense I first detected a lust for self-glorification in you. Oh, I didn't think it was anything out of the ordinary, given the nature of your work, to want to shine above your peers. You certainly worked hard enough and deserved some success for all your efforts. No one would begrudge you that. But I came to see for certain that you would stop at nothing to gain your object, even if it meant hurting my father's interests and betraying his trust."

Carter now laughed in turn, forgetting his bunged up clothes and body for the moment. "You are certainly adept at modern psychology, Lady Evelyn! Is it Dr. Sigmund Freud you have been seeing in Vienna while I have been faithfully digging for your father's glory and enrichment?"

"You're being altogether absurd now. I also dislike your ill-bred tone. I have proof that my judgement of you is correct. You gave it to me yourself, unknowingly."

Carter did not respond. After a strained moment, Lady Evelyn Herbert continued, her quavering voice gathering strength as she kept the revolver--a female's toy Colt it appeared to Carter--fixed on him. "I said I found evidence, Mr. Carter! It came in this way. I followed and saw you hire the diggers instead of proceeding to Alexandria to meet and escort the queen. I followed you here, and waited until it was safe to enter without your knowing. You were so busy seeking your prospective second Tutankamun I had no difficulty hiding in the shadows. But you won't get away with these treasures as you did at the tomb. I will see my father is not stolen from again by the likes of you, Mr. Carter!"

Carter was amazed. He knew he wasn't the treacherous scoundrel she was portraying, a double-dealer who sought advantage over his unsuspecting, trusting patron. Just because he was not supposed to receive any of the artifacts as remuneration, there wasn't any restriction on his publishing and gaining all the monies he required for his sunset years through the wielding of his pen. "What are you talking about?" the world's greatest archeologist burst out in in offended tones. "I've done absolutely nothing beyond the book of a gentleman. My duty to Lord Car--"

"Don't you dare mention my father's name with that lying, sperpent-tongue of yours!" Lady Evelyn cried.

Carter clucked his "serpent tongue." "Tut tut, I am, according to you, a thief of some sort, and now I'm a liar. Is there any end to my depravity? I must be a terrible bounder, to be all the things you say I am!" Carter really thought Lady Herbert had gone mad. After all, not only eccentricity but lunacy ran in noble families, from generation to generation. Why should the earldom of Carnarvon be immune? He thought he had best humor her, and somehow get her out and away from the site and into protective custody at the Museum--for her own safety, of course. After that, he could conveniently fill the site in and then think of some suitable explanation for the public and Lord Carnarvon about his daughter's sttacks on him--if she still continued to spout the nonsense he had just heard. People, he knew, would believe him. Obviously, the poor girl had taken the whole affair of the long search for Tutankhamun too much to heart. The strain had been too much for her nerves. The sudden success had snapped something in her and--

Carter decided to cut the interview short if he could. He had not just survived a near fatal explosion only to be thrust into undeserved disrepute by a mere female. "You just watched me destroy a prime artifact. Is that the reason you are so hostile toward me and threaten me with a gun? I did it without thinking, it seemed just too horrible to allow to exist. I hardly see, however, what business that is of yours. Surely, that's the reason. You think you can gain some value from these artifacts and--"

"Not at all!" Lady Herbert interrupted. "I have no idea what these things in here are. Let the Egyptologists examine the place. It's beyond my understanding. But I do know what is ours and belongs to my father's concession. So give me what you stole from him, Mr. Carter!" she demanded, pointing the nose of the weapon toward Carter as he swung the light of the torch on her.

She blinked in the light but kept the gun pointed at him.

Carter could feel profound sympathy for unfortunate people who crossed him, particularly those who had lost either sense or wits. But the sight of a weapon threatening his life at close proximity put fire into his veins. Besides, how had she found out? He decided something must be done quickly to disarm the highly excited female--even if it proved unpleasant. "Certainly, Lady Evelyn, you can have the item," he replied in calming, soothing tones. "It was taken quite by mistake and--"

Lady Herbert laughed. "Don't try to excuse yourself, you brazen thief! You were obligated to account for every single item in the inventory of the tomb. You were duty-bound to enter everything in the inventory catalogue--absolutely no exceptions! You were so clever, Mr. Carter. You knew your obligation, and you put in an entry for the missing item, but you failed to see you had entered it twice as a black nephrite scarab--a fatal slip, since only one of the size and type you described exists, and it was inventoried years ago by your own hand for Dr. Davis's concession, not my father's. Since you make so few mistakes of that kind (checking everything twice, due to your bookkeeker's training), it was bound to stick out even though you cleverly substituted Dr. Davis's scarab for the item you pilfered. You were, evidently, in haste to cover your crime, or you might never have bungled the theft so badly. Mehmet--if more proof is needed--told me all he saw you do. He watched you hide the item in your clothing, your vest pocket, after debauching yourself with liquor ande dancing about like a madman."

Carter sobered immediately. "So he was the informant!" he exclaimed under his breath. Mehmet, despite his look of integrity, was a sneaking Judas! He had crept in behind him when he was preoccupied with the discovery of its wonders. How adept those villagers were in crawling round foreign backs! He ought to have known better than to trust Egyptians. They had betrayed his solemn trust. Theodore Davis and Newberry were right after all in one thing. "You put too much stock in these ignorant natives,' they both told him. "You can only properly trust a fellow European, who is civilised and knows what fair play is."

He had to do something about the gun, however. It was beinning to make him a bit nervous. "But Lady Evelyn, a man has a right under law to defend himself, surely?" he hedged. As he was speaking, he was moving close to the weapon holder. Suddenly, he swung the torch and whacked the arm with the revolver, throwing himself down to catch it as it fell. In a flash, he had it. Then he grabbed her good arm.

Despite her fractured arm, she tried to stomp on his foot to make him let go, but that he couldn't allow. Just then another shadow crept in while Carter subdued Lady Evelyn. Carter dropped her as he felt a breeze from something narrowly missing his head. He swung the torch and caught the lunging form of Theodore Davis.

In the wildly dashing beam of the torch bits and pieces of both men appeared, only to disappear. Soon the scuffle was over asd Carter got the adze away from the elderly man. Gasping hoarsely, Davis sank to his kneees, Lady Herbert throwing herself between the old man and the triumphant Carter.

"Now just what is the reason for this second outrage against my person?" Carter demanded in a savagely cold voice. "I will see both of you arraigned in court for this unprovoked, completely unjustified attack!"

Lady Herbert began to weep. Professor Davis's gasps became more constricted and tormented. Carter, noticing, shone his light and ilumined the professor's pinched, white features. His hand clutched at his chest.

"The old goat deserves a heart seizure," thought Carter. Behind him a sound made Carter's surging, hold blood run instantly cold. The door, it was moving!

Carter didn't stop to think. His enemies would have to wait their disposition. He threw himself forward and succeeded in passing through the portal before the giant blocking stone slammed back into place, sealing off the archives from the outside world. Carter sank to his knees outside the door. His mind whirling, he realized how close he had come to being interred alive. He was out! But the totally unexpected attacks and revelations of Lady Evelyn and Theodore Davis had taken some of his own stuffing. Rather than deal with it, he scrambled toward safety as fast as he could, feeling his way by sense, not sight, for it was still pitch dark.

He clawed and fought like a tiger up the sandy bank of the pit, for the steps were covered again with fallen sand. Only when he gained the top did he fall to his knees, gasping for air. Safe! When he recovered sufficiently, he thought of the prisoners walled up below his feet. He didn't think very long about them. He felt about and finally located an adze and began filling in the pit. He threw the workers' tools in as well. When he had finished and smoothed it over, he was exhausted but feeling better about his prospects. Nothing would be suspected if the two below had not informed anyone. Mehmet might accept a bribe, or something might happen to him accidentally--natives were always falling into the River and drowning, for, strangely enough, Egyptians along the riverbanks were notoriously poor swimmers.

The feeling of triumph was short-lived. He was seized with a terrible doubt. Where was his hat? In the secret chamber below! In the same place with Lady Evelyn's revolver too!

Well, there they would remain, he decided. And now he knew for certain he would never tell the world what he had seen. It was simply out of the question. The secret archives of Atlantis--for such they seemed to be--would remain a secret forever.

Carter buried the adze carefully. It was just beginning to turn light. He could see a bit. After taking a last look around, he began walking. Yet another terrible thought gave him pause. "Was it still there?" He felt his vest pocket, and the lump assured him that he had not lost his little treasure. Carter then made his way to the road. This time it was a long walk beneath the moon, since the cabby had given up long before and gone home to bed.

As he walked, Carter formed his strategy. He had no desire to remain in Cairo a minute more. As for meeting Queen Beatrice, let her find her way to the tomb, he decided. He'd render some excuse when she arrived at Luxor. They would believe the great archeologist. Everyone knew how busy he was tending to his discoveries--the greatest of modern times in the field of archeology. The farther he got from the Sphinx, however, he began to feel less sure. A plague of doubts fell on him.

"Lord Carnarvon, is he in on this plot? No, D.P. is a simple, trusting fool despite his affecting a gentleman's fashionable skepticism." Somehow plots didn't suit Carter's appraisal of the man. Yet Lady Herbert had surprised him, along with old Theodore Davis. They had flown at him like avenging harpies. Was he such a monster that he deserved such treatment? Not at all! He was, apparently, paying the first increments of the cost of his notoriety and fame. Posessed by envy and spite, they had ganged up on him and meant to steal his discoveries.

Surely, the Atlantis archives, if made known by Lady Evelyn and Davis, would have eclipsed Tutankhamun's tomb. That he could not allow. He decided he had to move more carefully in the future, lest all he had gained with so much hard work were lost. After all, from what he had observed, the archeological value of the archives was beyond the point. Exposed to the world, they would overturn the whole structure of modern society. Governments would fall. Crowns would topple from royal brows. There might well erupt rioting in the streets of all the major cities and capitals. The whole order of the civilized world might well collapse. It wasn't a mere, exciting discovery of ancient civilisation--no, this was entire different.

Nothing about the archives would serve to enhance modern society--rather, the effect would be sheer panic and the dissolution of the entire social fabric that had been built for hundreds of years upon certain understandings about the world and man's place in it.

How so? If people only once saw real evidence that Atlantis had preceded Ancient Egyptian civilisation by thousands of years, they would refuse to believe anything they had been taught6 about the progress and development of humanity. The Genesis account of Adam and Eve, Creation and the subsequent moral fall, would not be discredited, perhaps, but such a glaring omission of Atlantis from human education would spell the doom of the present world order, because it was based fundamentally on the notion of human progress, not regress. Everything that had been built up culturally, on the belief Civilisation was a recent development, would be blown to bits along with the belief. The artifacts in the archives would revolutionalize science and technology, not to mention sweep aside anthropology and sociology. Not, it would be just too far-reaching and catastrophic a change to contemplate. Modern society could not lose all its underpinings overnight and hope to survive. Barbarism--like that experienced in the Dark Ages after Rome's collapse in the West--would seize upon the whole glob in the wake of the Atlantean archives being made known.

No, to save the world from such a fate he could not let happen, he must keep the archives secret at all cost. That meant, of course, a certain sacrifice n the part of Lady Evelyn and Theodore Davis. Concerning their sudden disappearance, he had to do some thinking. In a few days the news would fill the papers, since they were well-known Britons. Lord Carnarvon--poor man!--would be distraught and make every effort to find his daughter. He would offer a handsome reward, no doubt.

In any case, Carter knew he had to return to the Tutankhamun tomb and resume the tedious task of cataloguing as though nothing were out of the ordinary. As for his patron, if he started to suspect he had anything to do with his daughter's vanishing into thin air, let him suspect! He wouldn't be able to prove a thing unless the Sphinx dig became known and it was investigated. Yet they would have a hard time implicating him on mere hearsay from some rag-tag mendicants on the streets of Old Cairo who might claim to have been his diggers. The buried adzes couldn't really be traced either--they were too common in use by farmers and workmen. As for his hat, it too was the ordinary type Europeans wore, and the country swarmed with men wearing such hats, European and native.

Carter was still making up something suitable when he boarded the Cairo=Asyut train. To put reporters off the scent, he tried to take a second or even a third class carriage, but the conductor recognized him. With a scowl, Carter stepped into First Class and sat down, a paper in hand.

The train began moving downt he track, away from the millions of Cairenes who all seemed to reside a good part of the day at the station. Carter opened his paper, which was mostly for show, since his mind was preoccupied with other matters than the coal riots in Slovenia and elections in the Weimar Republic. When he though he had arrived at a good excuse for the queen, he started reading articles concerning himself and Tutankhamun. Only slightly aware of the existence of two females in the compartment normally reserved for European males and smokers, he was startled when a lady's voice broke in on his privacy. "Mr. Harold Carter the famed archeologist, I presume."

The famed man glanced with a little irritation over his paper. He saw a young woman, evidently a countrywoman of his by her British accent, attired in a modest but not unfashionable dress, coat, and hat--and a motherly-looking, older female companion.

My name is Lydia Peckham," the speaker began. "My companion is Mrs. Henrietta Gresham, my housekeeper and beloved sister in Christ for some years. We are headed to Asyut to inspect the mission orphanage. Our mission society in London, a long contributor to the orphanage, has sent us out here to appraise the quality of the care--"

As Miss Peckham went on, Carter began to squirm and rustle his paper. The seat seemed uncomfortably hot and cold, alternately. Besides, he had no personal interest in the condition of orphanages, mission-founded or otherwise. Ham's descendants were best left alone in their original condition, however hopeless. Raise their expectation of life to European levels, and you got nothing but trouble!

Finished with her introduction of herself and her companion, Miss Peckham fixed a keen eye on him. "Are you satisfied with your worldly success, Mr. Carter?" she wanted to know.

Miss Peckham and Mr. Carter

Despite her boldness, unusual for normally reserved Britons, Carter felt a surge of pride and warmed to the subject in spite of himself. He could not help but say a few words. "Well, yes, I have labored rather hard over the years since coming to this country, in preparation for the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun. It didn't fall like a ripe fruit in my lap, I can assure you ladies. Now that the discovery has been made and I am recording the details for Posterity, I feel a certain satisfaction, now that you mention it, and I naturally--"

Miss Peckham, her gray eyes darkening beneath her hat's brim, shook her neat head slowly. "I couldn't feel that way about it at all, Mr. Carter," she broke in. "It's such a dirty, low-bred trade you took up. No matter how the sinful, fallen world presumes to paint it, what you are doing is vile, most vile!"

Carter's ears could not believe what he had just heard. "What do you infer by that?" he protested.

"I am not inferring anything! I mean to say that you are robbing graves! Is that anything to be proud of, Mr. Carter? In our country grave robbers are imprisoned, even hanged! No one at home would dream of calling them "archeologists" and conferring high honors on them for exhuming the dead for their own gain. Is it anything to be proud of, Mr. Carter?"

Carter half rose from his hot-cold seat. "Really, Miss-Miss Burnham!" he exploded.

"Peckham, Mr. Carter! Peck-ham. P, E, C, K, H--"

Peckham? Burnham? What did it matter to Carter? He felt so insulted, he was at a loss of words for a moment. Sputtering, he finally found his footing and started to forward charge once again after nearly shivering his lance. "Everybody knows Archeology is a well-known, respectable branch of the practical sciences!" he informed her as if she were a child. "We are not to be compared with--"

"But those are tombs of real dead people you insist on digging up. Did they ask you, Mr. Carter, to expose him brutally to the light of day, after being buried and left in peace for hundreds and even thousands of years? Why, in a moral sense, you wold be much better off a shipping clerk at the Docks, toiling at honest if poorly paid account=work, than doing something you need to be heartily ashamed of."

Carter again lost or shivered his lance, he was so taken aback by Miss Peckham's charges. Not only had her prim presence and the disapproving glances of her companion upset him, but the grave-robbing charges were hitting home, rather too pointedly. He recovered as best he could. "I hardly see cause to defend my illustrious vocation!" he burst out, perhaps too loudly for a gentleman who had nothing to defend. "And I fail to see how you as mission representatives are in any way qualified to pass judgement on my work and profession!" he added vehemently.

Mrs. Gresham colored and started to say something, but Miss Peckham quickly laid her gloverd hand over her companion's. Instead, Miss Peckham drew out a printed tractate of some sort from her belongings. She was about to serve Mr. Carter ith it, but he gave her a glare that made her draw back her hand.

"No thank you, I am staunch Anglican since birth, Miss, so you are wasting your time," he said icily. "My Christian baptism is registered at St. Cynewulfs on Battenhead, 14 Monks Close, Gloucester Square, Sandringham (had recently filed the information with the Royal Archeology Society in response to an inquiry as to his family background and also when he was able to go and receive its highest awards, so it came freshly to mind).

Silence fell between the bord and bred Anglican and the two evangelicals like an iron portcullis. The train rolled past mud huts of villages strung along the track outside Cairo's dusty sprawl. Dirty, naked children ran to see the people in the carriages. Men stood up to rest backs, their dusky bodies punctuating the green fields.

Carter, meantime, was seeing little of the scene he knew so well. He still wished to put the two females in their place, as they richly deserved. After all, it was a totally unprovoked attack on his profession and attainments. But what good would that do? he had to wonder. Suddenly, a bad thought made him again squirm all the more behind his paper. Two souls were immured alive in a certain underground chamber miles behind him. Hoqw long would they last without food and water? Should he go back, take the cvhance they would denounce him to the world? They ought to feel grateful if he set them free, but could he count on that? What would they charge him with anyway? Being a thief of Tutankhamun artifacts? A breaker of trust with his employer? Or--as Miss Peckham would phrase it--a skulking grave robber? Carter decided he would stay put. He just couldn't go back. He'd lose everything he had worked so hard to achieve in his career.

A smiling porter bustled into the compartment with a large, messy looseleaf notebook and a pencil fixed to a chain that attached to his uniform. "Gentlemens and ladies. What please, you order now. Food have we, and also many much excellent liquors--"

The ladies vigorously shook their heads, having brought a basket from London that answered to all their needs, and as for liquors, their expressions made it plain what they thought of that offer.

The porter went out after taking Carter's order of a whiskey, and Carter returned to his train of thought. It was a pity, he reflected, that Lady Evelyn and Theodore Davis had to experience the misery of being shut up forever in the underground archives. But they had brought it on themselves. Nothing on earth could release them now.

There was quite a bit of rustling noise as the two women engaged the basket's contents, but Mr. Carter paid them no mind.

"Care for a sandwich of beef and mustard, Mr. Carter?" Miss Pekham offered. I have freshly made one up for you from the tins we carry along."

Still feeling insulted, Carter replied rather rudely, "Certainly not! Keep your sandwiches. I'm not hungry in the least!"

"Harold, is that really you?"

Carter was too stunned to respond.

Harold, is that really you?"

Carter nearly sprang from his seat at the second inquiry.

The two women looked over at him with widened eyes, their sandwiches nearly dropping from their hands.

Harold, I heard your voice in here a minute ago," the voice continued. "Is that you, Harold?"

Carter recognized his mother's voice, coming from his midriff of all places, and more particularly from his vest pocket. Tmhough muffled, he had no touble making out her words. He clamped a hand over the spot and thought the problem taken care of. The paper he used to provide a male barricade against the intrusive evangelical femals he now raised to shield himself from the ladies' rigid stares.

"Harold," the voice continued more plaintively, "you must know I never liked jokes being played on me. I heard you shouting something about sandwiches. Are you really here in the house? Have you come back to London again without telling me? You did that before, naughty boy! My heart's broken, because you don't tell me, or come and see me. I am so lonely for you. Do tell me if you are hiding somewhere in here, Harold! Harold!"

This was too much for Carter. Once activated, he knew no way to direct its powers or change the channels. Carter seizeds the blue-glowing crystal "pill" or lozenge he had found in a gilded box inside one of Tutankhamun's Canopic jars. The compartment window was small, but he wrenched it open. "We can use some fresh air, don't you think?" he shouted at the now standing women.

Wind blew in the window and scattered the pages of his paper all around the compartment. At that moment they were passing over a stretch of elevated track, unevenly supported, so that the train raocked hard from side to side alarmingly. Below ran the dark, deep, silty Nile, ready to receive the pitching train if it slipped the rail.

Behind him he heard Miss Peckham say something, then their rapid footfalls and the sound of the compartment door slamming. It would be a lost chance in another moment should they return, but Carter knew when to seize the day. He gave the little talking pill a tremendous fling out the window. It sailed away, straight into the great River.

Then, slowly, with indescribably relief, Carter sank back on his seat as the train rattled down the track toward Asyut and Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. With the women gone for whatever reason, at last he could think of the horrific scenes of the recent past and put them in proper perspective. The vindictive plots and collusion of Theodore Davis and Lady Evelyn, of course, were the main events in question. How well they had kept their suspicions until they could spring them on him when least expected! It was a trying but good lesson for him, he decided. Obviously, the treachery and duplicity of colleagues knew no bounds once you got the edge on them. And as for the vituperative vixen, the sectarian, bigoted Miss Peckham, he knew what to do if she ever served a missionary tractate on him again--he'd have her hauled before the local magistrate and see her jailed for disseminating seditious Christian literature in Islamic society! After all, a man had a right to his own beliefs, and that included the right not to have his profession slighted. If she wished to believe as she did, that was her own folly, but she had no right to proselytize him.

The rest of the journey, Carter was free to smoke and imbibe spirits to his heart's content. He induged himself with several excellent cigars and a bottle of port besides the whiskey. He was, consequently, in fine fettle, able to take on the likes of Miss Peckham and her companion should they show themselves again in the compartment.

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