These, I remember, consisted of a handbag with my dress clothes and a yellow-backed novel. I thought of moving up to the Berkeley Square house, but it was impossible in the time, also I didn't know how to catch you. Opposite, on the other side of the fire and evidently very angry, stood Lady Ragnall, regardant. Both of them were dressed in green and wore topaz necklaces. Their operations brought down a huge mass of the overhanging bank beneath which the sand-vein had been hollowed by workmen who deserted the pit when they saw that it had become unsafe.
I saw no women in their camp, nor any sign of children. The best idea that I can give of its general appearance is to liken it to a tall hat of fashionable shape, without a brim, slightly squashed in so that it bulged at the top, and surrounded by a rather sporting necktie. That is, unless I did not chance to wake up again at all in this world, which was a most unpleasant possibility. Presently, however, we found a path made perchance by game coming down to drink, or by crocodiles coming up to sleep, and followed it, I with an arrow on my string and Bes with the throwing spear in his right hand and the stabbing spear in his left, half a pace ahead of me. And you can stop longer, that is if you live through the Atterby-Smiths who are worse than both the Kendah tribes put together. Its real contents, however, were very different. Perhaps I might slip out of the back door and run for it, without my great coat or hat although the night was so cold and I should probably be taken up as a lunatic.
She did not resemble any other woman. It is curious to find oneself strangely intimate with a person of whom after all one does not know much, just as if one really knew a great deal that was shut off by a thin but quite impassable door. Yet I confess that these papers and the circumstances connected with them, made me feel afraid. The Horus child, whom the old Egyptians called Heru-Hennu, signified eternal regeneration, eternal youth, eternal strength and beauty. Lastly there was that Taduki business. The King looked up and saw us.
If her guests had been angry, it was clear that she was furious, almost weeping with rage, indeed. Also for me she had a peculiar attraction and not one of the ordinary kind. Again he shot and missed it, whereon he began to curse and to swear in his own royal oaths, and the charioteer trembled. I suppose I ought to be thankful for that but, before expressing an opinion on the point, I should have to be quite sure whether it is better to be alive or dead. Then followed a whole maze of visions, but really I cannot disentangle them.
Ere long I shall visit Egypt, as I have told you, and there I shall pass judgment on you and others. A common sort of catastrophe enough, it is true, though people of superstitious mind might have thought that it looked as though the goddess, or whatever force was behind the goddess, was working vengeance on the man who desecrated her ancient shrine. Also they made me wish that I had not come to Ragnall Castle. Here is her tail, O King of kings. The big clock ticked and ticked and at last chimed the quarter, jarring on my nerves in that great lonely banqueting hall. I don't know what had happened but there we found the atmosphere distinctly stormy. But the king who greatly desired those tusks, caused my father to be poisoned that he might take them as his heir.
Then before I could set another he was on us, reared upon his hind legs and roaring. Thus I reflected, standing face to face with those mummies, till presently I observed that the Singer of Amen who wore a staring, gold mask, seemed to be watching me with her oblong painted eyes. But even this retreat was not without disaster, for in my hurry I trod upon one of the young lady's dresses; I don't know whether it was Dolly's or Polly's they were named Dolly and Polly and heard a dreadful crack about her middle as though she were breaking in two. Bes was faithful and clever, but what could a single dwarf do among all these black-hearted fiends? I remember becoming aware that it was the signal for the rolling up of some vast proscenium, revealing behind it a stage that was the world— nothing less. Then they shut again and through them burst a whine like that of a hurt dog.
This evening I was led to the bank of the river in charge of the eunuch Houman, who desired to take me for a row in a boat. This I opened also and perceived that within lay bundles of dried leaves that looked like tobacco, from which floated an enervating and well-remembered scent that clouded my brain for a moment. Moreover, oddly enough Lady Ragnall had herself for a while filled the rôle of Isis in a shrine whereof these two papyri had been part of the sacred appurtenances for unknown ages, and one of her official titles there was Prophetess and Lady of the Moon, whose symbol she wore upon her breast. I crept downstairs feebly and found Lady Ragnall waiting for me in the drawing-room, clothed with gaiety as with a garment. Yet how was I to dream of lands, events and people where of I have only the vaguest knowledge, or none at all, unless indeed, as some say, being a part of this world, we have hidden away somewhere in ourselves an acquaintance with everything that has ever happened in the world.
Passing through the latter I came to the spot on the back drive where once I had saved her from being abducted by Harût and Marût, and as I recognized it, uttered an exclamation. Our goods together with the bags of gold were laden on sumpter horses which were led by my six hunter slaves. Still I should not complain for I have had my share of good. I drew the string and shot, this time not in vain, for I heard the arrow thud upon his hide. He was black as night, black as a Sunday hat, with yellow rolling eyes set in a countenance of extraordinary ugliness and I may add, extraordinary humour. Well, the Atterby-Smiths had so far effectually put a stop to any talk of such matters and even if Lady Ragnall should succeed in getting rid of them by that morning train, as to which I was doubtful, there remained but a single day of my visit during which it ought not to be hard to stave off the subject.