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Title: He
Author: Pollock, Walter Herries, 1850-1926, Lang, Andrew, 1844-1912
Language: English
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_Not in the waste beyond the swamp and sand,
The fever-haunted forest and lagoon,
Mysterious Kôr, thy fanes forsaken stand,
With lonely towers beneath the lonely Moon!
Not there doth Ayesha linger,--rune by rune
Spelling the scriptures of a people banned,--
The world is disenchanted! oversoon
Shall Europe send her spies through all the land!_

_Nay, not in Kôr, but in whatever spot,
  In fields, or towns, or by the insatiate sea,
Hearts brood o'er buried Loves and unforgot,
  Or wreck themselves on some Divine decree,
Or would o'er-leap the limits of our lot,
  There in the Tombs and deathless, dwelleth SHE!_


_KÔR_, _Jan._ 30, 1887.


You, who, with others, have aided so manfully in the Restoration of
King Romance, know that His Majesty is a Merry Monarch.

You will not think, therefore, that the respectful Liberty we have
taken with your Wondrous Tale (as Pamela did with the 137th Psalm)
indicates any lack of Loyalty to our Lady Ayesha.

Her beauties are beyond the reach of danger from Burlesque, nor
does_ her _form flit across our humble pages.

May you restore to us yet the prize of her perfections, for we, at
least, can never believe that she wholly perished in the place of the
Pillar of Fire!

Yours ever,



CHAPTER                                         PAGE

   I. EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION                        1

  II. POLLY'S NARRATIVE                           12

 III. LEONORA'S DISCOVERY                         18

  IV. THE EQUIPMENT                               27

   V. DOWN THE DARK RIVER                         31

  VI. THE ZÛ                                      41

 VII. AMONG THE LO-GROLLAS                        49

VIII. HE                                          59

  IX. THE POWER OF HE                             76

   X. A BODY IN PAWN                              81

  XI. THE WIZARD UNBOSOMS                         91

 XII. THE WIZARD'S SCHEME                         97

XIII. THE PERILOUS PATH                          103

 XIV. THE MAGIC CHAIR                            113

  XV. THE END                                    116




As I sat, one evening, idly musing on memories of roers and Boers, and
contemplating the horns of a weendigo I had shot in Labrador and the
head of a Moo Cow[1] from Canada, I was roused by a ring at the door

      A literary friend to whom I have shown your MS. says a
      weendigo is Ojibbeway for a cannibal. And why do you shoot
      poor Moo Cows?--PUBLISHER.

      Mere slip of the pen. Meant a Cow Moose. Literary gent no

      All right.--PUBLISHER.

The hall-porter presently entered, bearing a huge parcel, which had
just arrived by post. I opened it with all the excitement that an
unexpected parcel can cause, and murmured, like Thackeray's sailor-man,
'Claret, perhaps, Mumm, I hope----'

It was a Mummy Case, by Jingo!

This was no common, or museum mummy case. The lid, with the gilded
mask, was absent, and the under half or lower segment, painted all over
with hieroglyphics of an unusual type, and _green_ in colour--had
obviously been used as a cradle for unconscious infancy. A baby had
slept in the last sleeping-place of the dead! What an opportunity for
the moralist! But I am not a collector of cradles.

Who had sent it, and why?

The question was settled by an envelope in a feminine hand, which, with
a cylindrical packet, fell out of the Mummy Case, and contained a
letter running as follows:--

    _'Lady Betty's, Oxford._

    _'My dear Sir,--You have not forgotten me and my friend Leonora

    _'The Mummy Case which encloses this document is the Cradle of
    her ancient Race._

    _'We are, for reasons you will discover in the accompanying
    manuscript, about to start for Treasure Island, where, if anywhere
    in this earth, ready money is to be found on easy terms of personal

'Oh, confound it,' I cried, 'here's another fiend of a woman sending me
another manuscript! They are always at it! Wants to get it into a
high-class magazine, as usual.' And my guess was correct.

The letter went on:--

    '_You, who are so well known, will have no difficulty in getting
    the editor of the Nineteenth Century, or the Quarterly Review, or
    Bow Bells, to accept my little contribution. I shall be glad to hear
    what remuneration I am to expect, and cheques may be forwarded

    '_Yours very truly,_


    'P.S.--_The mummy case is very valuable. Please deposit it at the
    Old Bank, in the High, where it will represent my balance._

    'M. M.'

Now I get letters like this (not usually escorted by a mummy case)
about thrice a day, and a pretty sum it costs me in stamps to send back
the rubbish to the amateur authors. But how could I send back a
manuscript to a lady already on her way to Treasure Island?

Here, perhaps, I should explain how Mary Martin, as she signed herself,
came to choose _me_ for her literary agent. To be sure, total strangers
are always sending me their manuscripts, but Mrs. Martin had actually
been introduced to me years before.

I was staying, as it happened, at one of our university towns, which I
shall call Oxford, for short--not that that was _really_ its name.
Walking one day with a niece, a scholar of Lady Betty's Hall, we
chanced to meet in the High two rather remarkable persons. One of them
was the very prettiest girl I ever saw in my life. Her noble frame
marked her as the victor over Girton at lawn-tennis; while her
_pince-nez_ indicated the student. She reminded me, in the grace of her
movements, of the Artemis of the Louvre and the Psyche of Naples, while
her thoughtful expression recalled the celebrated 'Reading Girl' of
Donatello. Only a reading girl, indeed, could have been, as she was,
Reader in English Literature on the Churton Collins Foundation.

'Who is she?' I said to my friend, the scholar of Lady Betty's; 'what a
lovely creature she is!'

'Who, _that_?' she replied with some tartness. 'Well, what you can see
in _her_, _I_ don't know. That's Leonora O'Dolite, and the lady with
her is the Lady Superior of Lady Betty's.

'They call them Pretty and the Proctor,' my friend went on, 'as Mrs.
Martin--Polly they call her too--has been Proctor twice.'[2]

      I say, you know, keep clear of improbabilities! No one was
      ever old enough to have been Proctor _twice_.--PUBLISHER.

      That's all you know about it. Why, I shall bring in a
      character old enough to have been Proctor a thousand

Now nobody could have called Polly bewitching. Her age must really have
been quite thirty-five. I dislike dwelling on this topic, but she was
short, dumpy, wore blue spectacles, a green umbrella, a red and black
shawl, worsted mittens and uncompromising boots. She had also the
ringlets and other attractions with which French Art adorns its ideal

At my request, I was introduced; but presently some thirty professors,
six or seven senior dons, and a sprinkling of Heads of Houses in red
and black sleeves came bounding out of University sermon, and gathered
round the lovely Leonora. The master of St. Catherine's was accompanied
by a hitherto Unattached student, who manifestly at once fell a victim
to Leonora's charms.

This youth was of peculiar aspect. He was a member of the nearly
extinct Boshman tribe of Kokoatinaland. His long silky hair, originally
black, had been blanched to a permanent and snowy white by failures in
the attempt to matriculate at Balliol. He was short--not above four
feet nine--and was tattooed all over his dark but intelligent features.

When he was introduced I had my first opportunity of admiring Leonora's
extraordinary knowledge of native customs and etiquette.

'Let me present to you,' said the Master of St. Catherine's, 'the
Boshman chief, Ustâni!'

'You 'stonish me!' answered Leonora, with a smile that captivated the
Boshman. It is a rule among the tribes of Kokoatinaland, and in Africa
generally, to greet a new acquaintance with a verbal play on his
name.[3] Owing to our insular ignorance, and the difficulty of the
task, this courtesy had been omitted at Oxford in Ustâni's case, even
by the Professors of Comparative Philology and the learned Keeper of
the Museum. From that hour to another which struck later, when _he_
struck too, Ustâni was Leonora's slave.

      Is this _bonâ fide_?--PUBLISHER.

      All right, see _She_ (p. 145), Ayesha's elegant pun on Holly.
      It's always done--pun, I mean.--ED.

I had no further opportunity of conversing with Leonora and Polly, nor
indeed did I ever think of them again, till Polly's letter and mummy
case recalled them to my memory.

Perhaps for pretty Leonora's sake I did, after all, take up and open
the vast cylindrical roll of MS.[4] in the mummy case. Dawn found me
still reading the following record of unparalleled adventure.[5]

      Don't you think it would stand being cut a little?--PUBLISHER.

      We shall see.--ED.

      There is just one thing that puzzles me. Polly and Leonora
      have gone, no man knows where, and, taking everything into
      consideration, it may be a good two thousand years before they
      come back.

      Ought I not, then, to invest, _in my own name_, the
      princely cheque of the Intelligent Publishers?--ED.



I am the plainest woman in England, bar none.[6] Even in youth I was
not, strictly speaking, voluptuously lovely. Short, stumpy, with a
fringe like the thatch of a newly evicted cottage, such was my
appearance at twenty, and such it remains. Like Cain, I was branded.[7]
But enough of personalities. I had in youth but one friend, a lady of
kingly descent (the kings, to be sure, were Irish), and of bewitching
loveliness. When she rushed into my lonely rooms, one wild winter
night, with a cradle in her arms and a baby in the cradle; when she
besought me to teach that infant Hittite, Hebrew, and the Differential
Calculus, and to bring it up in college, on commons (where the air is
salubrious), what could I do but acquiesce? It is unusual, I know, for
a student of my sex, however learned, to educate an infant in college
and bring her up on commons. But for once the uncompromising nature of
my charms strangled the breath of scandal in the bud, and little
Leonora O'Dolite became the darling of the university. The old Keeper
of the Bodleian was a crusty bachelor, who liked nothing young but
calf, and preferred morocco to _that_. But even _he_ loved Leonora. One
night the little girl was lost, and only after looking for her in the
Hebdomadal Boardroom, in the Sheldonian, the Pusaeum, and all the
barges, did we find that unprincipled old man amusing her by letting
off crackers and Roman-candles among the Mexican MSS. in the Bodleian!

      I may as well say at once that I _will not_ be responsible for
      Polly's style. Sometimes it is flat, they tell me, and
      sometimes it is flamboyant, whatever they may mean. It is
      never the least like what one would expect an elderly lady don
      (or Donna), to write.--ED.

      See _The Mark of Cain_ [Arrowsmith], an excellent

      Is this not 'log rolling'?--PUBLISHER.

These were halcyon hours, happier as Leonora grew up and received the
education prescribed for her by her parent. Her Hebrew was fair, and
her Hittite up to a first class, but, to my distress, she mainly
devoted herself to Celtic studies.

I should tell you that Leonora's chief interest in life was the
decipherment of the inscriptions on her cradle--the mummy case which
had rocked her ancestors since Abraham's time, and which is now in your
possession. Of itself it is a sufficient proof of the accuracy of this
narrative. The mummy case is not the ordinary coffin of Egyptian
commerce. The hieroglyphics have baffled Dr. Isaac Taylor, and have
been variously construed as Chinese, Etruscan, and Basque, by the
various professors of these learned lingoes.[8]

      Don't you think this bit is a little dull? The public don't
      care about dead languages.--PUBLISHER.

      Story can't possibly get on without it, as you'll see. You
      _must_ have something of this sort in a romance. Look at Poe's
      cypher in the _Gold Beetle_, and the chart in _Treasure
      Island_, and the Portuguee's scroll in _King Solomon's

Now about this mummy case: you must know that it had been in Leonora's
family ever since her ancestress, Theodolitê, Pharaoh's daughter, left
Egypt, not knowing when she was well off, and settled in Ireland, of
all places, where she founded the national prosperity.[9]

      Is not _this_ a little steep?--PUBLISHER.

      No; it is in all the Irish histories. See Lady Wilde's
      _Ancient Legends of Ireland_, if you don't believe me.--ED.

The mummy case and a queer ring (see cover) inscribed with a duck, a
duck's egg, and an umbrella, were about all that the O'Dolites kept of
their ancient property. The older Leonora grew the more deeply she
studied the inscriptions on the mummy case. She tried it as Zend, she
tried it as Sanskrit, and Japanese, and the American language, and
finally she tried it as Irish.

We had a very rainy season that winter even for Oxford, and the more it
rained the more Leonora pored over that mummy case. I kept telling her
there was nothing in it, but she would not listen to me.



One wild winter night, when the sleet lashed the pane, my door suddenly
opened. I started out of a slumber, and--could I believe my eyes? can
history repeat itself?--there stood the friend of my early youth, her
eyes ablaze, a cradle in her arms. Was it all coming round again? A
moment's reflection showed me that it was _not_ my early friend, but
her daughter, Leonora.

'Leonora,' I screamed, 'don't tell me that _you_----'

'I have deciphered the inscription,' said the girl proudly, setting
down the cradle. The baby had _not_ come round.

'Oh, is _that_ all?' I replied. 'Let's have a squint at it' (in my case
no mere figure of speech).

'What do you call _that_?' said Leonora, handing me the accompanying


'I call it pie,' said I, using a technical term of typography. 'I can't
make head or tail of it,' I said peevishly.

'Well, pie or no pie, I love it like pie, and I've broken the crust,'
answered the girl, 'according to my interpretation, which I cannot

'Why?' I asked.

'Because,' she answered; and the response seemed sufficient when mixed
with her bright smile.

'It runs thus,' she resumed with severity, 'in the only language _you_
can partially understand----

'It runs thus,' she reiterated, and I could not help saying under such
breath as I had left, 'Been running a long time now.'

She frowned and read--

    '_I, Theodolitê, daughter of a race that has never been run out,
    did to the magician Jambres, whose skill was even as the skill of
    the gods, those things which as you have not yet heard I shall now
    proceed to relate to you.

    'Of him, I say, was I jealous, for that he loved a maiden
    inferior--Oh how inferior!--to me in charms, wit, beauty,
    intellect, stature, girth, and ancestry. Therefore, being well
    assured of this, I made the man into a mummy, ere ever his living
    spirit had left him. What arts I used to this last purpose it boots
    not, nor do I choose to tell. When I had done this thing I put him
    secretly away in a fitting box, even as Set concealed Osiris. Then
    came my maidens and tidied him away, as is the wont of these
    accursed ones. From that hour, even until now, has no man nor woman
    known where to find him, even Jambres the magician. For though the
    mummifying, as thou shalt not fail to discover, was in some sort
    incomplete, yet the tidying away and the losing were so complete
    that no putting forth of precious papyri into cupboards beneath
    flights of stairs has ever equalled it.

    'Now, therefore, shall I curse these maidens, even in Amenti, the
    place of their tormenting.

    'Forget them, may they be eternally forgotten.

    'Curse them up and down through the whole solar system.'_

'This is very violent language, my dear,' said I.

'Our people swore terribly in Egypt,' answered Leonora, calmly.

    '_But it is vain, no woman can curse worth a daric._[10]

          [10] From the use of the word _daric_ I conjecture that
          Leonora's ancestress lived under the Persian Empire. There
          or thereabout.--M. M.

    '_But for this, the losing of the one whom I mummied, must I
    suffer countless penalties. For I, even the seeress, know not what
    the said maidens did with the said mummy, nor do you know, nor any
    other. And not to know, for I want my mummy to have a good cry
    over, is great part of my punishment. But this I, the seeress, do
    know right well, for it was revealed to me in a dream. And this I
    do prophesy unto thee, my daughter, or daughter's daughter, ay,
    this do I say, that a curse will rest upon me until He who was
    mummied shall be found.

    'Now this also do I, the seeress, tell thee. He who was mummified
    shall be found in the dark country, where there is no sun, and men
    breathe the vapour of smoke, and light lamps at noonday, and wire
    themselves even with wires when the wind bloweth. And the place
    where the mummy dwelleth is beneath the Three Balls of Gold. And
    one will lead thee thither who abides hard by the great tree carven
    like the head of an Ethiopian. And thou shalt come to the people
    who slate strangers, and to the place of the Rolling of Logs, and
    the music thereof.

    'Thereafter shalt thou find Him, even Jambres. And when thou hast
    healed him the Curse shall fall from me!

    'Nor, indeed, shall the unmummying be accomplished, even then,
    unless thou, O my daughter, or my daughter's daughter as before,
    shalt go with He-who-was-mummied to the Hall of Egyptian Darkness
    and sit in the Wizard's Chair that is thereby, even the seat which
    was erst the Siege Perilous. These things have I said, well knowing
    that they shall be accomplished._

    '_To thee, my daughter!_


'There, Polly, what do you say to _that_?' said Nora.

'Your grandmother!' I replied.

'Polly!' said Miss Nora, looking at me with quite needlessly flashing
eyes, 'you and I will set out on the search for this unhappy mummied

'Don't you think the critics will call the _motive_ rather thin?' I

'Thin, to rescue my ancestress from a curse!' said Leonora.

'There's just one other thing,' she mused. 'Shall we take a low comedy
character this time, or not?'

'Let's take Ustâni,' I proposed, 'he can double the part with that of
the Faithful Black! A great saving in hotel bills and railway fares.'



After it had been decided that we should start in search of '_He_ who
had been mummified alive,' the next step seemed to be to go. But
Leonora demurred to this.

'We must have our things,' she said; 'what do you think we should

'Scissors,' I replied; and I regret to say that at first she
misinterpreted the phrase.

Leonora is a powerful as well as a pretty girl, and when the bear fight
that ensued was over my rooms were a little mixed.

This suggested mixed biscuits, that invaluable refreshment of the
traveller, and from one thing to another we soon made up a complete
list of our needs.

The scissors, and skates, and the soap we procured at the Church and
State stores,[11] but not, of course, the revolvers. The revolvers we
got of the genuine Government pattern, because both Leonora and I are
dreadfully afraid of fire-arms, and we knew that _these_, anyhow, would
not 'go off.' The jam we got, of course, at the official cartridge
emporium, same which we did _not_ shoot the Arabs. The Gladstone bag
and the Bryant & May's matches we procured direct from the makers,
resisting the piteous appeals of itinerant vendors. Some life-belts we
laid in, and, as will presently be seen, we could have made no more
judicious purchase.

      Won't the critics say you are advertising the stores? And the
      tradesmen won't like it.--PUBLISHER.

      Where would the _stern reality_ of the story be (see _Spectator_),
      and the contrast with the later goings on, if you didn't give

As, from information received on a mummy case, we were travelling in
search of a mummy, of course we laid in a case of Mumm, which was often
a source of gaiety in our darkest hours. The wine was procured, as I
would advise every African traveller to do, from Messrs. ----.[12]

      Messrs. Who? Printers in a hurry.--PUBLISHER.

      Suppressed the name. Messrs. ---- gave an impolite response to
      our suggestions as to mutual arrangements.--ED.

Being acquainted with the deleterious effects of a malarious tropical
atmosphere, we secured a pair of overalls, advertised as sovran for
'all-overishness,' the dreaded curse of an African climate. These we
got at the celebrated emporium of Messrs. ----.[13]

      Name suppressed. When eligible opportunity for advertisement
      as a substitute for a cheque was hinted at, Messrs. ----
      brusquely replied, in the low Essex _patois_, 'Wadyermean?'

Our preparations being now exhaustively completed, Leonora and I
returned to Oxford, packed our things, and consulted as to the route
which we should adopt.



Down the Dark River, the mystic Isis, so Leonora had decided, we sped:
Ustâni plying the long pole of the dhow, or native flat-bottomed boat,
while we took it in turns to keep him up to his work by flicking him
with a tandem-whip.

The moon went slowly down, and it occurred to Leonora to remark that we
were 'going down' too, an unusual thing so early in term. Like some
sweet bride into her chamber the moon departed, and the quivering
footsteps of the Don[14] shook the planets from their places, to the
consternation of the Savilian Professor of Astronomy, who, as in duty
bound, was contemplating these revolutionary performances from the
observatory in the Parks. A number of moral ideas occurred to Leonora
and myself, but out of regard for Ustâni's feelings we denied them
expression. I began, indeed, to utter a few appropriate sentiments, but
the poor Boshman exclaimed, 'You floggee, floggee, Missy, or preachee,
preachee, but no _both_ floggee and preachee--' in a tone that would
have disarmed a Bampton lecturer.

      Do you mean the Dawn?--PUBLISHER.

      Every Oxford man knows what I mean.--ED.

Down we drifted, ever downwards, obedient to the inscrutable laws of
the equilibrium of fluids. Now we swept past the White Willow, now
through the cruel crawling waters of the Gut, now threaded the
calamitous gorge of Iffley, and then shot the perilous cataract of

At this moment, just when the dhow was yet quivering with the strain, I
noticed an expression of abject fear on the face of Ustâni. His dark
countenance was positively blanched with horror, and his teeth

'Silence, chatterbox!' I cried, querulously perhaps, when he laid down
his pole and seated himself in an attitude of despair.

'What's the matter, old boy?' asked Leonora, and the reply came in
faltering accents--

'_The Ama Barghîs!_'[15]

      _Ama_ is the prefix of all the tribal names; Ama Zulu, Ama
      Hagger. I connect it with the Greek preposition [Greek:

      Don't keep hammer hammering away at Greek! This is a boy's
      book, not a holiday task, this is!--PUBLISHER.

We glanced in terror down the river's edge.

There, on the path trodden by so many millions of feet that now are
silent,[16] there were the burly forms of five or six splendid savages.

      _Please_ don't begin moralising again. One never knows when it
      will come upon you.--PUBLISHER.

      Couldn't help just throwing it in.--ED.

The character of their language--which was borne to us on the pure
breeze of morning--their costume, their floating house, in which these
scourges of the water highway commonly reside--everything combined to
demonstrate that they belonged to the Barghîz, the most powerful and
most dreaded of the native populations.

'_Me umslopogey_,' whispered Ustâni in his native language, meaning
that he would retreat.

'Eyes in the boat,' cried Leonora, in her clear, commanding tones;
'paddle on all!'

The Boshman, cowed by her aspect, and the mere slave of discipline (he
had pulled in the St. Catherine's second torpid), obeyed her command,
and presently we were abreast of the Barghîz.

'Hi, Miss,' cried the Barghî chief, a man of colossal stature, 'Can't
yer look where yer a shovin' to?'

Though his words were unintelligible, his tone was insulting.

Leonora rose to her feet, and to the occasion.

By virtue of her rare acquaintance with savage customs, she was able to
taunt the Barghîz with the horrors of their tribal mystery, to divulge
which is _Death_!

She openly insulted the secret orgies of the tribe.

_She denounced the Dog-Feast!_

her proud sweet young voice.

In a moment a shower of stones struck the dhow, and spurred the water
into storm. Frank Muller, the Barghî chief, distinguished himself by
the fury of his imprecations and the accuracy of his aim. A smothered
groan told me that Ustâni had been hit in the mouth.

_Whid, whad, crash_ went the stones, while Leonora plied the pole
with desperate energy, and I erected the patent reversible umbrellas
with which we were provided to catch any breath of favourable wind.

The fierce rapidity of the stream finally carried us out of the reach
of the infuriated Barghîz (who, moreover, were providentially slain by
lightning--a common enough occurrence in that favoured climate, where
nobody thinks anything of it), and we rested, weary and wounded, in a
sheltered backwater.[17]

      Are you not gliding insensibly into _Bess_?--PUBLISHER.

      No; all right. It is a tremendous country for storms; can't
      use them too often; adds to the sense of reality.--ED.

'The dhow's looking rather dowdy,' said Leonora, glancing at the
shattered craft.

'If doughty deeds my lady please,' said I, catching her light tone,
'why, she must take the consequences. But, Leonora,' I added,
shuddering, 'I'm sure my feet are damp.'

If there is one thing I dread it is damp feet.

'No wonder,' said Leonora, calmly. 'The dhow has sprung a leek.'

I searched the dhow everywhere, but could find no trace of the

Meanwhile the water had risen above the capstan, and Ustâni, shivering
audibly, had perched himself on the bowsprit.

'Now or never,' said Leonora, 'is the moment for our life-belts.'

We hurriedly put on our life-belts, regretting the absence of an
experienced maid.

'I'll be Mrs. Lecks, and you'll be Mrs. Aleshine!' laughed Leonora, as
the dhow, shuddering in all her timbers, collapsed.

'_Ego et Lecks mea!_' cried I, not to seem deficient in opportune
gaiety of allusion, and we were in the water. We advanced briskly down
stream, Ustâni propelling himself with the pole of the dhow.

Ever anxious about Ustâni's University education (interrupted by this
expedition), Leonora kept 'coaching' him in the usual way.

'Bow, you're feathering under water,' she exclaimed, when the
unfortunate Ustâni disappeared in a lasher, where we, thanks to our
life-belts, floated gaily enough.

Here we paused to catch a few of the perch and gudgeons, which Leonora
had attracted by carefully wearing white stockings.

'Nothing like white stockings for perch,' she said.

As there were not perch enough to go round, Ustâni was told to content
himself with the pole, a synonym, if not an equivalent.

Laying our trencher-caps on the water, we used them, as of old, for
trenchers, and made an excellent meal.



Our course was now through a series of cross streams, and finally we
emerged into a long, perfectly straight, and perfectly tranquil expanse
of water, bordered by a path which had every appearance of having been
made by the hand of man.

Night fell: a strange, murky night, smelling of lucifer matches, and
lit on the eastern horizon by a mysterious light, flaring like a dreary

Our passage was obstructed by a thousand obstacles, and at one point we
plunged into the very bowels of the earth for a distance of at least a
quarter of a mile. Next we found the canal barred by a grinning row of
black iron teeth, under which we dived as best we might. We were now,
Ustâni whispered to us, within the strange and dreaded region known to
the superstitious natives as _the Zû_. For the first time in our
expedition we heard the roaring of innumerable wild beasts. The
rattling trumpet of the elephant, the drum of the gorilla, the scream
of the lion, the chattering of countless apes, the yells of myriads of
cockatoos, the growls of bears, the sobs of walri,[18] the whistle of
rhinocerotes, combined to make a strange pandemonium--strange, I call
it, because the zoological learning I had picked up while with Nora at
Oxford, informed me at once that the variety of roars, screams, grunts,
skreeks, whirrings, which our footsteps seemed to awake in every kind
of animal, bird, and insect, could be paralleled only in the pages of
the 'Swiss Family Robinson.' Add to this, that it was _night_, yet dark
as a day on the London flags when the fog creeps silently about your
feet and, rising from utter blackness, grows white and whiter in its
ascent, till it coils round your neck, a white choker!

      Is this plural correct?--PUBLISHER.

      I can't find walrus in the Latin dictionary nor anything else
      beginning with W somehow, but it _seems_ all right.--ED.

Yes, the fog was playing a dark game, but Nora could see it and go one
lighter (there were several on the stream we had quitted). She produced
a patent electric light.[19] Aided by this, we looked about us and saw
the strange denizens of the Zû.

      Patent in the first sense of the word. She has not yet
      received offers advantageous enough to close with in the other

It was now that the presence of mind of Leonora saved us. Foreseeing
the probability of an encounter with wild beasts, she had filled her
practicable pocket (she belonged to the Rational Dress Association)
with buns and ginger-bread nuts.

The elephant now walked round, the wolves also circulated, the bear
climbed his pole, the great gorilla beat his breast and roared.

Leonora was their match.

For the elephant she had a rusk, a bun for the bear, and the gorilla
was pacified by an offering of nuts from his native Brazil.


we now read, on an inscription in black letters, and, following the
path indicated, we reached the dank tank where the monsters dwell. We
had arrived at a place which I find it difficult to describe. The floor
was smooth and hard.

'What do you make of _this_?' asked Leonora, tapping her dainty foot on
the floor.

'Flags,' I replied phlagmatically, and she was silent.

In the centre of the space was a dark pool, circled by crystalline
palaces inhabited by the sacred snakes, from huge pythons to the
terrapin proud of his tureen. Again, there was a whipsnake, and a toad,
bloated as the aristocracy of old time, and puffed up as the plutocracy
of to-day. For such is the lot of toads!

Now a strange thing happened.

'_Hark!_' said Ustâni; '_hark! hark! hark!_ a den is opening!'

He was right; it was the den of a catawampuss, an animal whose habits
are so well known that I need not delay to describe them.

In the centre of the dark pool in the middle of the vague space lay one
crocodile. The rest were sleeping on the banks. The catawampuss
secretly emerged from its den--horror, I am not ashamed to say,
prevented me from interfering--stealthily crept across the cold floor,
and, true to the instincts of all the feline tribe,[20] made straight
for the water.

      _Is_ the catawampuss one of the Felidæ?--PUBLISHER.

      Of course he is. Look at his name!--ED.

'Ah!' cried Ustâni, 'he's going for him!'

The expression was ambiguous, but we understood it.

The catawampuss, cunning as the dread jerboa, crept to the edge of the
pool, took a header into it, and then, still true to the feline
instincts, _swimming on its back_, made its way to the crocodile. In
this manner it caught the crocodile by the tail and waked it. When the
tail of a crocodile awakes the head awakes also. The crocodile's head,
then, waking as the catawampuss seized its tail, caught the tail of the
catawampuss. The interview was hurried and tumultuous.

The crocodile had one of his ears chawed off (first blood for the
catawampuss), but this was a mere temporary advantage. When next we saw
clearly through the tempest of flying fur and scales, the head of the
catawampuss _had entirely disappeared_, and the animal was clearly
much distressed.

Then, all of a sudden, the end came.

_They had swallowed each other!_

Not a vestige of either was left!

This duel was a wonderful and shocking sight, and was therefore
withdrawn, by request, as the patrons of the Gardens are directly
interested in the morality of the establishment.



How to escape from our perilous position on the banks of a pestilential
stream, haunted by catawampodes and other fell birds of prey, now
became a subject for consideration. Our object, of course, was to reach
the people of the Lo-grollas, through whose region, according to the
prophecy, we must pass before finding the Magician that should guide us
to the mummy. Our perplexity was only increased by the discovery that
we were surrounded on every side by the walls and houses of a gigantic
city. Stealing out by the canal as we had entered, we found to our
comfort that this must be the very city mentioned by Theodolitê. As the
seeress had declared, a deep and noisome night always prevailed, only
broken here and there as a wanderer scratched one of Bryant & May's
matches and painfully endeavoured to decipher the number on the door of
his house. The streets, moreover, were strewn and interwoven with long
strings of iron fallen from the sky.

'_The people who wire themselves with wires_,' whispered Leonora; 'what
do you think of my interpretation _now_?'

'I shall inquire,' I answered, and I _did_ inquire for the land of the
Lo-grollas, but in vain.

Happily we chanced to meet an old man, clothed in a whitish robe of
some unknown substance, not unlike paper. This fluttering vesture was
marked with strange characters, in black and red, which Leonora was
able to interpret. She read them thus. They were but fragmentary.


    |     SP" "AL           |
    |                       |
    |   VORCE  C"SE.        |
    |                       |
    | WAR "" "URKEY.        |
    |                       |
    |   P"L  ""LL  ""ZETTE. |

On the fragments the words, 'Tragedy,' 'Awful Revelations,' 'Purity,'
and other apparently inconsistent hieroglyphics might be deciphered.

He had a large and ragged staff; on his back he carried a vast Budget,
and he was always asking everybody, 'Won't you put something in the

'Father,' said Leonora, in a respectful tone, 'canst thou tell us the
way to the land of the people called Lo-grolla, and the place of the
Rolling of Logs.'

He stroked his beautiful white beard, and smiled faintly.

'Indeed, child, we not only know it, but ourselves discovered it and
wrote it up--we mean, sent our representative,' he answered.

It was a peculiarity of this man that he always spoke, like royalty, in
the first person plural.

'And if a daughter may ask,' said Leonora, 'what is the name of my

Stedfastly regarding her, he answered, 'Our name is Pellmelli.'

'And whither go we, my father?'

'That you shall see--as soon, that is, as the fog lifts, or as our
representative has made interest with a gas company.'

With these words he furnished an unequalled supply of litter, which
came, he said, 'from the office,' where there was plenty, and we were
borne rapidly in a westward direction.

As we journeyed, old Pellmelli gave us a good deal of information about
the Lo-grollas, whom he did not seem to like.

They were, he said, a savage and treacherous tribe, inhabiting for the
most part the ruined abodes of some kingly race of old.

The names of their chief dwellings, he told us, were still called, in
some ancient and long-lost speech,

'The Academy,' and 'The Athenæum.'

Leonora, whose knowledge of languages was extensive and peculiar, told
Pellmelli that these names were derived from the old Greek.

'Ah,' said he, 'you have clearly drunk of the wisdom of the past, and
thy hands have held the water of the world's knowledge. Know you Latin

'Yes, O Pellmelli,' replied Leonora, and Pellmelli said he preferred
modern tongues, though it would often be useful to him if he did in his
dealings with the Lo-grollas.

'However, if our Greek is a little to seek, our Russian is O.K.,' he
said proudly.

He was very bitter against the Lo-grollas.

The Lo-grollas' favourite weapon, he told us, was the club, and he even
proposed to show us this instrument.

Our litter presently stopped outside a stately palace.

The street was dark, as always in this strange city, but old Pellmelli
paused, sniffed, and, bending his ear to the ground, listened intently.

'I smell the incense,' he said, 'and hear the melodious Rolling of the
Logs. But they shall know their master!'

Thus speaking, he led us into a vast hall, where the Lo-grollas were
sitting or standing, 'offering each other incense,' as Pellmelli
remarked, from thin tubes of paper, which smoked at one end.

'Now listen,' said Pellmelli, and he cried aloud the name of a poet
known to the Lo-grollas.

Instantly we heard, from I know not what recess, a rolling fire of
applause and admiration, which swept past us with stately and solemn
music, like a hymn of praise.

'_There_,' said Pellmelli, 'I told you so. This is the place of the
Rolling of Logs, and yourselves have heard it.'

Leonora said she did not mind how often she heard it, as she quite
agreed with the sentiments.

'Not so!' said Pellmelli; and he cried aloud another name--the name of
a poetaster--which was almost strange to us.

Then followed through that vasty hall a sharp and rattling crash, as of
the descent of innumerable slates.

'Great heavens!' whispered Leonora, 'remember the writing; _the place
where they slate strangers_!'

As _we_ were strangers, and wholly unknown to the Lo-grollas, we
thought they might slate _us_, and, beating a hasty retreat, soon found
ourselves with Pellmelli in the dark outer air.

'They are a desperate lot,' said he; 'they won't ever put anything in
the Budget.'

He was quivering with indignation; and Leonora, to soothe him, told him
the story of our quest for the mummy, and asked him if he could help

'We are your man,' said he. 'We propose to-morrow to send our
representative to interview a magician who has just arrived in this
country. He is a mysterious character; his name is Asher,[21] and it is
said that he is the Wandering Jew, or, at all events, has lived for
many centuries. He, if any one, can direct you in your search.'

      Pronounced _Assha_.--ED.

He then appointed a place where his representative should meet us next
day, and we separated, Pellmelli taking his staff, and going off to
lead an excursion against the Ama-Tory, a brutal and licentious tribe.



Next day Leonora was suffering from a slight feverish cold, and I don't
wonder at it considering what we suffered in the Zû. I therefore went
alone to the rendezvous where I was to meet 'our representative.'

To my surprise, nobody was there but old Pellmelli himself.

'Why, you said you would send your representative!' I exclaimed.

'We are our usual representative,' he answered rather sulkily. 'Come
on, for we have to call on Messrs. Apples, the famous advertisers.'

'Why?' said I.

'Can you ask?' he replied. 'Can aught be more interesting than an

'_I_ call it log rolling,' I answered; but he was silent.

He went at a great pace, and presently, in a somewhat sordid street,
pointed his finger silently to an object over a door.

_It was the carven head of an Ethiopian!_

This new confirmation of the prophecy gave me quite a turn, especially
when I read the characters inscribed beneath--

                     TRY OUR FINE NEGRO'S HEAD!

'Here dwells the sorcerer, even Asher,' said Pellmelli, and began to
crawl upstairs on his hands and knees.

'Why do you do that?' I asked, determined, if I must follow Pellmelli,
at all events not to follow his example.

'It is the manner of the tribe of Interviewers, my daughter. Ours is a
blessed task, yet must we feign humility, or the savage people kick us
and drive us forth with our garments rent.'

He now humbly tapped at a door, and a strange voice cried,


Pellmelli (whose Russian is his strong point) paused in doubt, but I
explained that the word was French for 'come in.'

He crawled in on his stomach, while I followed him erect, and we found
ourselves before a strange kind of tent. It had four posts, and a
broidered veil was drawn all round it.

Within the veil the sorcerer was concealed, and he asked in a gruff


Pellmelli explained that he had come to receive a brief personal
statement for the Budget.

The Voice replied, without hesitation, 'The Centuries and the Æons
pass, and I too make the pass. _Je saute la coupe_,' he added, in a
foreign tongue. 'While thy race wore naught but a little blue paint, I
dwelt among the forgotten peoples. The Red Sea knows me, and the Nile
has turned scarlet at my words. I am Khoot Hoomi, I am also the Chela
of the Mountain!'

'Now it is my turn to ask _you_ a few easy questions.

'Who sitteth on the throne of Hokey, Pokey, Winky Wum, the Monarch of
the Anthropophagi?

'Have the Jews yet come to their land, or have the owners of the land
gone to the Jews?

'Doth Darius the Mede yet rule, or hath his kingdom passed to the

As Pellmelli was utterly floored by these inquiries (which indicated
that the sorcerer had been for a considerable time out of the range of
the daily papers), I answered them as well as I could.

When his very natural curiosity had been satisfied by a course of
Mangnall's Questions, I ventured to broach my own business.

He said he did not deal in mummies himself, though he had a stuffed
crocodile very much at my service; but would I call to-morrow, and
bring Leonora? He added that he had known of our coming by virtue of
his secret art of divination. 'And thyself,' he added, 'shalt gaze
without extra charge in the Fountain of Knowledge.'

Thrusting a withered yellow hand out of the mystic tent, he pointed to
a table where stood a small circular dish or cup of white earthenware,
containing some brown milky liquid.

'Gaze therein!' said the sorcerer.

I gazed--_There was a Stranger in the tea!_

Deeply impressed with the belief (laugh at it if you will) that I was
in the presence of a being of more than mortal endowments, I was
withdrawing, when my glance fell on his weird familiars,--two tailless
cats. This prodigy made me shudder, and I said, in tones of the deepest
awe and sympathy, 'Poor puss!'

'Yes,' came the strange voice from within the tent, 'they are _born_
without tails. I bred them so; it hath taken many centuries and much
trouble, but at last I have triumphed. Once, too, I reared a breed of
dogs with two tails, but after a while they became a proverb for pride;
Nature loathed them, and they perished. [Greek: Chaire!] _Vale!_'[22]

      I have consulted the authorities at the British Museum, who
      tell me these are the Greek and the Latin words for 'Don't you
      think you had better go? Get out!'--ED.

This, though not understood, of course, by Pellmelli, was as good as an
invitation to withdraw, so I induced the old man to come away,
promising the magician I would return on the morrow.

Who was this awful man, to whom centuries were as moments, whose very
correspondence, as I had noticed, came through the Dead Letter Office,
and who spoke in the tongues of the dead past?



Next day Leonora, the Boshman, and I returned to the home of the mage.
He stood before us, a tall thin figure enwrapped in yellowish, strange
garments, of a singular and perfumed character--spicy in fact--which
produced upon me a feeling which I cannot attempt to describe, and
which I can only vaguely hint at by saying that the whole form conveyed
to me the notion of _something wrapped up_.[23]

      The public will say, so is your meaning.--PUBLISHER.

      Don't give it away, but that's what I mean.--ED.

With a curious swaying motion which I have never seen anything
like--for he seemed less to be walking than to be impelled from behind
like a perambulator, or dragged from in front like a canal-boat--he
advanced to the table, where lay some pieces of a white substance like
papyrus, all of the same size and oblong shape, which showed on their
surfaces, some of them antique-looking figures and faces curiously
stained, and others red and black dots, arranged, as it seemed to me,
in some sort of design, although at first sight they looked jumbled
enough. Near to these lay a book bound in brown, but with heavy black
and gold lettering, amid which I thought I could make out the words
_Modern Magic_, and the name _Hoffmann_. The swathed figure poised
itself a moment, resting one thin hand on the table, and then spoke.

'There is naught that is wonderful about this matter,' it said, 'could
you but understand it. Prestigiation itself is wonderful, but that its
phases and phrases should be changed is not wonderful. Not now, I ween,
is the _gibecière_ of the Ancient Wizard seen; not now the "Presto,
pass!" of the less ancient conjurer heard. Nay, all things change, yet
I change not; that which is not yet cannot yet have taken place--at
least not its proper place; that which shall not be may yet come to a
bad pass, and the blind race of man watches helpless the trammels it
could shake off did it but greatly dare. My business, ladies and
gentlemen, now is, as I have just explained to you, to attempt to
puzzle your eyes by the quickness of my fingers. Yours, on the other
hand, will be to detect the way--or _modus operandi_, as old Simon
Magus used to say--in which I perform my little wonders--if you can.
Will any gentleman lend me a helmet--I mean a hat?'

As the only male person present was the Boshman, this appeared to me a
futile question, and even the stately Magician seemed to be struck by
some dim idea of the kind, for I could discern a pair of mysterious
eyes peering anxiously through his swathings, and I heard him mutter to
himself in several languages, 'Ought to have thought of that. No hat
present. Don't know any trick to produce one. Nothing about it in the

But he recovered himself quickly, and went on in clear cheerful tones,
'Ladies and gentlemen, as no person present has a hat, I will proceed
to another of the tricks on my little programme. Will any lady oblige
me by drawing a card? Will you, madam?' he said, bowing with infinite
grace to Leonora.

Her hand touched Asher's as she drew a card, and I saw a shiver pass
over the veiled figure.

'Will the lady on your left now oblige me?' he continued, turning to
me, who was indeed standing on Leonora's left hand, though how he knew
it is a thing I have never been able fully to understand.

'Now, please,' he continued, 'look well at your cards, but do not show
them to me or to each other. _Basta. Assez._ [Greek: Konx Ompax]. Now,
please, still hiding the cards from me and from each other, exchange
them. Now,' he continued, his form dilating with conscious power, 'see
how true is it that change is perennial, even so far as magic and
Nature herself can be perennial. For she who held the King of Hearts
now holds the Queen of Spades, and she who held the Queen of Spades now
holds the King of Hearts. Thus much among the shifting shadows of life
can I, the wizard, see as a sure and accomplished fact. Is it not so,
my children?'

We bowed in silence, overawed by the wonder of his presence, although
Leonora whispered to me, 'He has got the cards wrong, but we had better
say nothing about it.'

'And now,' he continued, 'look upon this glass (it was an ordinary
wineglass) and on this silver coin,' producing a _stater_ of the
Eretrian Republic. 'See! I place the coin in the glass, and now can I
tell you by its means what you will of the future. There is no magic in
it, only a little knowledge of the secrets, mutable yet immutable, of
Nature. And this is an old secret. I did not find it. It was known of
yore in Atlantis and in Chichimec, in Ur and in Lycosura. Even now the
rude Boshmen keep up the tradition among their medicine-men. Vill any
lady ask the coin a qvestion?' he continued, in a hoarse Semitic
whisper, for all currencies and all languages were alike to him. 'Sure
it's the coin 'll be afther tellun' ye what ye like. Voulez-vous
demander, Mademoiselle? Wollen Sie, gnädige Signora?'

'Then,' said Leonora, in trembling accents, 'I demand to know if I
shall find that which I seek.'

The figure, drawing itself up to its full height, passed its hand with
a proud, impatient, and mystic gesture across the glass, and then stood
in the attitude of one who awaited a response. 'Should the coin, my
daughter, jump three times,' he said, 'the answer is yea. Should it
jump but once, nay.'

We waited anxiously. The coin did not jump at all! The wizard took up
the glass, shook it impatiently, and put it down again. Still the coin
showed no sign of animation. Then the wizard uttered some private
ejaculations in Hittite, but still the coin did not move. Then he
affected an air of jauntiness, and said, 'I remember a circumstance of
a similar kind when I was playing odd man out ([Greek: tritos
anthrôpos] dear old Sokrates used to call it) with Darius the night
before Marathon. Darius was the Mede. _I_ was the Medium.' Then he
seemed about to work another wonder, when he was interrupted by the
harsh cackling laughter of the Boshman, who advanced with careless
defiance and observed in his own tongue, which we all knew perfectly,
that he 'could see all the tricks the wizard could do and go several
better.' I waited, horror-struck, to see what would follow this

Asher made a movement so swift that I could scarcely follow it; but it
seemed to me that he lightly laid his hand upon the poor Boshman's
head. I looked at Ustâni, and then staggered back in wonder, for there
upon his snowy hair, right across the wool-white tresses, were five
finger-marks _black as coal_.

'Now go and stand in the corner,' said the magician, in a cold inhuman
voice. The unhappy Boshman tremblingly did his bidding, putting his
hands to his head in a dazed way as he went, and, incredible as it may
seem, thus transferring--as if the curse carried double force--some of
the black mark to his own fingers.

'I will now,' continued the wizard, who had regained his ordinary
polished, if somewhat swaying and overbalanced, manner--'I will now,
with your kind permission, show you a little trick which was a great
favourite with the late Tubal Cain when we were boys together. Observe,
I take this paper-knife--it is an ordinary paper-knife--look at it for
yourselves. I will place it on my down-turned hand. It is an ordinary
hand--look at it for yourselves, but don't touch it; the consequences
might be disastrous.'

I, for my part, having seen the consequences in the case of Ustâni's
hair, had no desire to do so.

'You see,' continued the sorcerer, 'I place the paper-knife _there_! It
falls. Why? Because of gravity. What is gravity? Newton, as you know
well, invented the art; but what of that? Did he find that which did
not exist? No, for the non-existent is as though it had never been. But
now, availing myself of the resources of science, which is ever old and
ever young, I clasp my wrist--the wrist of the hand on which the
paper-knife rests--with the other hand, and--you see.'

As the sorcerer spoke, he deftly turned his hand palm downwards, and
the paper-knife fell with a crash and a clatter on the floor. It was
terrible to see the dumb wrath of the swathed figure at this new

Even in this moment the Boshman glided like a serpent among us, picked
up the paper-knife, and triumphantly performed the very miracle in
which the wizard had failed. A harsh cackle of laughter announced his
success. But the mage was even with him, or rather he was 'odds and
evens.' Rapidly he drew his forefinger across the Boshman's face,
perpendicularly and horizontally--


      |  |
      |  |
      |  |

On the skin of Ustâni, azure with terror, appeared the above diagram in
lines of white! The mage then made the sign of a +, thus--


      |  |+
      |  |
      |  |

and challenged Leonora to a contest of skill in 'oughts and crosses.'
But the Boshman, catching a view of his own altered aspect in a mirror,
exclaimed, 'You 'standy Ustâni? Him no standy He! Him show hisself for
tin! Adults one shilling, kids tizzy. _Me Umslopoguey!_' And he sloped;
nor did we ever again see this victim of an overwhelming Power

We presently took our leave of the mage, promising to call next day,
and bring a policeman.



    'Gin a body meet a body!'--BURNS.

Though Leonora's faith in the magician had been a good deal shaken by
his failures in his black art, she admitted that, as a clairvoyant, he
might be more inspired. We therefore went, as he had directed us, to
the neighbourhood of Clare Market, where he had prophesied that we
should find a Temple adorned with the Three Balls of Gold, which the
Lombards bore with them from their far Aryan home in Frangipani. Nor
did this part of the prophecy fail to coincide with the document on the
mummy case. Through the thick and choking darkness which has made 'The
Lights of London' a proverb, we beheld the glittering of three aureate
orbs. And now, how to win our way, without pass-word or, indeed,
pass-book, into this home of mystery?

Here, in these immemorial recesses, the natives had long been wont to
bury, as we learned, their oldest objects of interest and value. There,
when we pushed our way within the swinging portal, lay around us, in
vast and solemn pyramids of portable property, the silent and touching
monuments of human existence. The busy life of a nation lay sleeping
here! Here, for example, stood that ancestral instrument for the
reckoning of winged Time, which in the native language is styled a
'Grandfather's Clock.' Hard by lay the pipe, fashioned of the 'foam of
perilous seas in fairy lands forlorn,' the pipe on which, perchance,
some swain had discoursed sweet music near the shady heights of High
Holborn. The cradle of infancy, the gamp of decrepitude, the tricycle
of fleeting youth, the paraffin lamp which had lighted bridal gaiety,
the flask which had held the foaming malt,--all were gathered here, and
the dust lay deep on all of them!

I was about to make some appropriate moral remarks, when I heard
Leonora (whose command of tongues is simply _marvellous_) address an
attendant priestess in the local dialect.

'Here, miss,' said she, ''ow much can yer let us 'ave on this 'ere
ticker?' (producing her watch).

The priestess, whose clear-cut features and two lovely black eyes
betrayed a mixture of Semitic blood, was examining the 'turnip'--as she
called the watch--when Leonora, saying 'Mum's the word,' rather
violently called my attention (with her elbow) to a strange parcel
lying apart from the rest.

It was a long bundle, as long as a man, and was swathed in cerements of
white Egyptian tissue.

''Tis you! 'tis you!' I sneezed rapturously, recognising the object of
our search, the very mummy which, two thousand years ago, Theodolitê
had prepared with her own fair but cruel hands.

There, beyond the shadow of doubt, lay all that was mortal of the
unlucky Jambres! On the tissue which wrapped the bundle I distinctly
recognised _the stencilled mark corresponding to Leonora's scarab_, a
duck, the egg of a duck, and an umbrella.[24]

      See cover. Most important to have this cover bound in _sur

'How much,' said I to the priestess of the temple, 'could you afford to
let me have that old bundle of rags for?'

'That old bundle of rags?' said the woman, 'Take it, dear lady, take it
and keep it (if you can), and the blessing of Abraham be on your head!'

So anxious was she to part with the mummy that we could hardly get her
to accept a merely nominal price. To give plausibility to the purchase,
we said we wanted the rags for a paper-mill. Joyously did Leonora and I
call a passing chariot, and, with the mummy between us, we drove to our
abode. I was surprised on the way by receiving a pettish push from
Leonora's foot.

'Don't tread on my toes,' she said, though I had not even stirred. I
told her as much, and we were getting a little animated when my bonnet
was twitched off and thrown out into the darkness.

'Leonora,' I said severely, 'these manners are unworthy of a lady!'

'I declare, my dear Polly,' she replied, 'that I never even moved!' and
as she was obviously in earnest I had to accept her word.

When we reached home, after a series of petty but provoking
accidents,[25] we first locked up the mummy very carefully in the spare
bedroom. To-morrow would be time enough, we said, to consult the wizard
as to our next movement. We ordered a repast of the native viands
(which included, I remember, a small but savoury fish, the Blô-ta), and
sought our couches, in better spirits than usual.

      I say, are you not gliding insensibly into _The Fallen

      Not a bit, you wait and you'll see.--ED.

Next morning, long before Leonora was awake, the young but intelligent
Slavî (so the common people call housemaids) crept into my chamber with
a death-white face.

'Ômum,' she said (it is a term of courtesy), 'wot a night we've been

'Why, what is the matter, Jemimaran?' I asked, for that was her
melodious native name.

'There's _something_ in the spare room, mum, a-carrying on horful. The
bell ringing all night, and the Thing screaming and walking up and down
as restless! I'm a-going to give warning, mum,' she added

'Why, you've _given_ it,' I said, to reassure her. 'Forewarned is

'Four-legged It do run sometimes, like a beast, mum, wailing terrible.
Up and down, up and down It goes, and always ringing the bell, and
crying high for a brandy-and-soda, mum, like a creature tormented.'[26]

      Do take care. This is copyright! Don't you remember Mr.

      Neither Hyde nor Hidol, you're so nervous. Do wait till the

      Wish it was come!--PUBLISHER.

'Well,' I asked, though every hair upon my head stood erect with horror
(adding greatly to the peculiarity of my appearance), 'well, did you
take It what It asked for?'

'Yes, mum; for very fear I dared not refuse. And when I had handed it
in by a chink in the open door, first there was a sound like drinking,
then an awful cry, "Potash again!" and then a heavy soft thud, as if
you had knocked over a bolster stuffed with lead, mum.'

Through the brown glimmer of dawn (it was about ten A.M.) I hurried
to Leonora's chamber. She was dressed, and came out. 'What do you
advise?' I asked.

'Send for Mr. Urmson, the eminent lawyer, at once,' said she, 'he is
used to this kind of thing. Nothing like taking Counsel's opinion. But
first let me knock the door open!' She applied her magnificent white
shoulder to the door, which flew into splinters.

There was not a trace of the mummy, but there, in a deprecatory
attitude, stood the philosopher Asher![27]

      Please pronounce _Assha_.--ED.



'Sir,' said Leonora, 'may I request you to inform me why we find you,
rampaging an unbidden guest, in the chamber which is sacred to

'[Greek: Tên d' apameibomenos prosephê koruthaiolos] Asher,' answered
the magician, dreamily. 'Do my senses deceive me, or--that voice, that
winsome bearing--am I once more with Helen on the walls of Ilion?'

'No, sir, you are in 30 Acacia Gardens,' replied Leonora, severely.
'_Why_, permit me to repeat myself, do I find you here, an unbidden

'To say that I never guessed you'd find me here,' answered the
magician, 'might seem a mere trifling with language and with your

'My feelings!' exclaimed the proud girl, indignantly, 'just as if----
But answer me!'

'When a man has seen as much of life as I have,' answered the magician,
'when the Æons are to him merely as drops in a bucket which he will
never kick--and when he suffers,' he added mournfully, 'from attacks of
multiplex personality, he recognises the futility of personal

'At least I can compel you to tell us _Where is the mummy?_' said

'I am, or lately was, that mummy,' said the wizard, haughtily; then,
drawing himself up to his full height, he added, 'I am the REAL
JAMBRES! Old Gooseberry Jamberries,' he added solemnly. 'No other is

'You are playing, sir, on our credulity,' replied the girl; 'no living
man can be a mummy,--outside of the House of Lords or the Royal

'You speak,' he said tenderly, 'with the haste of youth and
inexperience. When you have lived as long as I have, you will know
better. Hearken to my story.

'Three or four thousand years ago--for what is time?--I was the
authorised magician at the Court of Ptolemy Patriarchus. I had a
rival--the noted witch Theodolitê. In an evil hour she won me by a show
of false affection, and, taking advantage of my passion, mummified me
alive. To this I owe my remarkable state of preservation at an advanced
age. _Très bien conservé_,' he added fatuously.

'But she only half accomplished her purpose. By some accident, which
has never been explained, and in spite of the stress of competition,
she had purchased _pure_ salts of potash for the execution of her fell
purpose in place of _adulterated_ salts of soda.

'To this I owe it that I am now a living man; and in a moment----'

A certain stiffness of demeanour, which we had noticed, but ascribed to
pride, worked an unspeakable change in the mage. As we looked at him
_he hardened into our cheap mummy_.

'Here's a jolly go!' said Leonora, her mind submerged in terror.

I sprang to the bell, '_Soda water at once!_' I cried, and the _slavî_
appeared with the fluid. We applied it to the parched lips of the
mummy, and Jambres was himself again.

'Now will you tell me?' I asked, when he had been given a cigarette and
made comfortable, 'why we found you--I mean the mummy--under the Three

''Twas a pledge,' he replied. 'When my resources ran low, and my rent
was unpaid, the landlady used to take advantage of my condition and
raise a small sum on me.'

All seemed now explained; but Leonora was not yet satisfied.

'You have----' she began.

'Yes, a strawberry mark,' he replied wearily, 'on the usual place!'

'The quest is accomplished,' I said.

'Nay,' replied Jambres, to give him his real name. 'There is still the
adventure of the Siege Perilous.'



'We must, as you are aware, visit the Siege Perilous in the Hall of
Egypt, and risk ourselves in the chair of the Viewless Maiden, of Her
that is not to be seen of Man.'

'We know it,' said Leonora.

'It is,' continued the mage, 'your wish to accomplish the end for which
you set forth. This seems to you an easy matter enough; young hearts
are full of such illusions, and, believe me, I would willingly change
my years, which are lost in geological time, for one hand's breadth of
your daring. Know, then,' continued this strange creature, 'that the
time has now come when matters must be brought to an end between us. It
will be my business, and, I will add, my pleasure,' he continued with a
lofty air which sat drolly enough upon him in his yellow duds, 'to
conduct you to the Siege Perilous. From you, in return, I must exact an
unquestioning obedience; and I will add a measureless _confidence_. I
beg you to bear in mind that the slightest resistance to my will must
be followed by consequences of which you cannot estimate either the
reach or the extension.'

There was such a parrot-like pomp about the creature's tautology, and
such an old-world affectation of fine manners \in his constant
obeisances, that I could hold it no longer, but fairly laughed out in
his face.

I dreaded, it is true, lest some such fate as Ustâni's might punish me
for my temerity, but for reasons which doubtless seemed sufficient to
himself the wizard merely looked at me through his veil, shook himself
a little in his swathings, and said in a matter-of-fact voice, 'Well,
well, perhaps we have had enough of such talk as this. Let's get ahead
with the business before us. That business is to reach the Siege
Perilous, or Magic Chair. Thither will I guide ye, and there ye shall
see what ye shall see. But first it is needful, as all sages have
declared, that ye shall show your confidence in me! I value not wealth.
Gold is mere dross--nay, I have the mines of King Solomon at my
disposal. But when the weary King Ecclesiast confided to me, in his
palace of ivory and cedar in Jerusalem, long ago, the secret of these
diamond treasures, he bade me reveal it to none who did not show their
confidence in me.

'Let _them_ entrust _you_,' said Solomon, 'with their paltry wealth,
ere _you_ place in _their_ hands opulence beyond the dreams of
avarice. Give me, then, merely as a sign of confidence, gold, much
gold, or,' he continued in a confidential and Semitic tone, 'its
equivalent in any safe securities, American railways preferred. Don't
bring bank-notes, my dear--risky things, risky things! Why, when I was
pals with Claude Duval--but 'tis gone, 'tis gone! Now, my dears, what
have you got? what have you got?'

'I have,' answered Leonora, in her clear sweet voice and girlish
trustfulness, 'as is my invariable custom, my _dot_, namely,
300,000_l._ worth of American railway shares, chiefly Chicago N.W. and
L. & N., in my pocket.'

'That's right, my dear, that's right,' said the Erie wizard; 'just hand
those to me, and then we can start at once.

                '_And when_ (he went on in italics)
                            _o my Leonora
                when that mystic change has been worked
                      which has been predestined
              for countless ages and which shall come as
                            sure as fate,
                      then on another continent
             kindred to thine yet strange, even in the land
                of the railways that thy shares are in,
                             Thou and I,
                     the Magician and the Novice,
                  the Celebrated Wizard of the West
                      and his Accomplished Pupil
                         Mademoiselle Léonore
                will make a tour that shall drag in the
                      by the hatful. NOW COME!'_



Forth we rushed into the darkness, through the streaming deluge of that
tropic clime. For the seraphic frenzy had now come upon the mage in
good earnest, and all the Thought-reader burned in his dusky eyes.

We presented, indeed, a strange spectacle, for the mage, in his silvery
swathings, held Leonora by the hands, and Leonora held me, as we raced
through the gloom.

In any other city our aspect and demeanour had excited attention and
claimed the interference of the authorities.

In Berlin Uhlans would have charged us, in Paris grape-shot would have
ploughed through our ranks. _Here_ they deemed we were but of the
sacred race of Thought-readers, who, by a custom of the strange people,
are permitted to run at random through the streets and even to enter
private houses.

We were not even followed, in our headlong career, by a crowd, for the
public had ceased to interest itself in frenzied research for hidden
pins or concealed cigarettes.

After a frantic chase Jambres (late 'the Mage') paused, breathless, in
front of a building of portentous proportions.

How it chanced I have never been able to understand, but, as I am a
living and honourable woman, this hall had the characteristics of
ancient Egyptian architecture, and that (miraculous as it may appear)
in perfect preservation.

There are the hypostyle halls, the two Osirid pillars--colossal figures
of strange gods, in coloured relief--there is the great blue scarab,
the cartouche, the _pschent_, the _pschutt_, and all that we admire in
the Rameseum of the Ancient Empire.

But all was silent, all was deserted; the vast adamantine portals were

Jambres paused in dismay.

'Since I last gave an exhibition of mine art in those halls,' said
he, '('twas in old forgotten days, in Bosco's palmy time), much is
altered. OPEN SESAME!' he cried; but, curious to say, _nothing

At that moment a dark figure crawled submissively to our feet. It was
old Pellmelli.

His instinct for 'copy' had brought him on our track, and he began--

'As our representative, I am commissioned----'

Jambres (late 'Asher') turned from him, and he fell (still making
notes) prone on his face, where we left him, as the pace was too good
to inquire.

The mage now reconnoitred carefully the vast façade of the Hall of
Egypt, and finally fixed his gaze on a perpendicular leaden column,
adorned with strange symbols, through which (for it was a rainy night)
raging torrents of water were distinctly heard flowing downwards to who
knows what abysmal and unfathomable depths?

In this weird climate it was the familiar yet dreaded _waterspout_!

Jambres, with the feline agility of a catapult of the mountain, began
to climb the perpendicular leaden channel to which he had called our
attention, and of course we had to follow him. It was perfectly
marvellous to see the ease and grace with which he skipped and hopped
up the seemingly naked face of the wall. There were places indeed where
our position was perilous enough, and it did not add to our
cheerfulness to hear the horrid roaring and gurgling of the unseen and
imprisoned waters that poured down the channel with a violence which
seemed as if they might at any moment burst their bonds. Helped,
however, by certain ledges which projected from the wall beneath square
openings filled with some transparent substance, on which ledges from
time to time we rested, we arrived at the steep crest, and paused for
repose beneath the leafy shade of the roof-tree, Jambres lightly
leading the way.

'Now,' said Jambres, 'comes the most delicate part of our journey.'

So indeed it proved, for the mage began rapidly to divest himself of
his mysterious swathings. Wrapper by wrapper he undid, cerement on
cerement, till both Leonora and I wondered when he would stop.

Stop he did, however, and, with a practised hand, shot his linen into
one long rope, which he carefully attached to an erect and smoking
pillar, perhaps of basaltic formation, perhaps an ancient altar of St.
Simeon Skylitês. When all was taut, Jambres approached a slanting
slope, smooth and transparent, perhaps of glacial origin. On this he
stamped, and the fragments tinkled as they fell into unknown deeps.
Then he seized the rope, let himself down, and from far below we heard
his voice calling to us to follow him.

Leonora and I descended with agility to some monstrous basin in the
abyss--the Pit, Jambres called it. Here Jambres met us, and bade us
light the railway reading-lamps which, as I forgot to mention, we had
brought with us. Then, jumping off with the lead, he advanced along the
floor, picking his way with great care, as indeed it was most necessary
to do, for the floor was strewn with strange forms, stumbling over the
legs and backs of which it would have been easy to break one's own.
When we halted, brought up by a barrier, of which I did not at first
discern the nature, our lamps (as is sometimes the way of some such
patent lamps[28]) suddenly went out. Jambres whispered hoarsely, 'Wot
are yer waitin' for? Come on; [Greek: all' age]. _Nunc est scandendum._'
We saw before us a vast expanse, of which it was impossible to gauge
the extent, so impenetrable, so overpowering was the gloom of its
blackness. 'It is the abode,' said Jambres, mysteriously, 'of my rival
De Kolta!' He himself, owing to his use of his swathings, was
sufficiently _décolleté_

      I think I've managed not to be libellous.--ED.

      We shall see.--PUBLISHER.

On the hither side was a row of _lumières à pied_ which seemed _afloat_
on the darkness, and in their centre a sudden chasm which looked as if
it had been made by human agency. The fitful moonbeams[29] showed us a
most curious and accurately shaped spur, or _run-down_ as it is called
in the native dialect, which connected the floor on which we stood with
the darkness beyond.

      You've not mentioned them before.--PUBLISHER.

      That's why I do now.--ED.

What mortal, however hardy, dared cross this quivering wavering bridge
in the total darkness? Beneath our feet it swayed and leaped like
rotten ice on the magic Serpentine.

'Hush,' cried Jambres, 'it comes, it comes! Be still!'

Even as he spoke, we saw a _long shaft of yellow light_ streaming
from an unknown centre, and searching out the recesses of the cavern.

'Be still, as you value your liberty,' whispered Jambres. 'The Bobî is
on his beat.'

Then, as the long shaft smote the swaying bridge, he lightly crossed
it, and beckoned us to follow. We obeyed, and in another instant all
was again darkness.

'He has gone his round,' said Jambres. 'Won't be back for hours!'



There, on the plateau, or platform, we had seen, stood, in naked
mystery, the Enchanted Chair.

''Tis the weird chair of the Viewless Maiden, the place of Her who is
no more seen,' said Jambres. 'Who shall sit therein?'

'The writing said,' remarked the dauntless Leonora, 'that a descendant
of Theodolitê must achieve this adventure. I am ready.'

'Nay, not so, maiden,' murmured Jambres, 'try it not till I have made
experience thereof. Me it cannot harm; in me you see the original
inventor; beware of spurious imitations. But it is a dread experience;
let me work it first!'

Leonora could not resist his winning manner and concern for her safety.

'I move,' she said, 'that Mr. Jambres do take the chair at this

'I second that proposal,' said I, and there was not a dissentient

'Mr. Jambres will now take the chair,' said Leonora, and the wizard,
his swathing robes bulging with Leonora's securities, glided forward.

Then an awful thing occurred. No sooner had Jambres sat down than
Leonora and I found ourselves--how can we expect it to be
believed?--gazing on a blank, bare space!

The chair was still there, but the wizard was gone. Leonora turned to
me, horror in her eyes, her golden curls changed to a pale German

'It is the chair of the Vanishing Lady,' she said.

'It is the Confidence Trick,' I cried; and we both lost consciousness
as the true state of the case flashed on our minds. The wizard was off
with 300,000_l._ in high-class American securities.



What remains to be told is of little public interest. When we came to
ourselves, all was darkness. Escape seemed impossible.

We could not swarm up the rope, by the way we had come.

We knew not when the shaft of yellow light might return on its beat.

We lit a Bryant & May's match, and thereby groped our way downwards,
ever downwards.

Finally, as we had given up all for lost, Leonora said, 'Don't you
think the air is a little stuffy?'

We sniffed about the rocky floor, and found an iron grating.

It yielded to a strong tug, and we descended into subterranean
passages, framed by the art of men, through which rolled and surged
torrents of turbid water.

Through these we waded, attacked by armies of rats, till, thank
goodness! we saw a moving light, flashing hither and thither on the

Half swimming, half wading, we reached the bearer of the light.

It was old Pellmelli, 'doing a Sanitary special,' as he told us.

We, somewhat deceitfully, led him to believe that we had lost ourselves
on a similar errand, for a rival Budget, with which he was concerned in
a Paper Mill.[30]

      What do you mean by a Paper Mill?--PUBLISHER.

      A Journalistic War, then.--ED.

On our faithfully promising to give him exclusive information about our
adventures, 'for an Extra,' as he said, old Pellmelli conducted us to
an orifice in the rock, whence we escaped, at last, into the light of
such day as dwells in the Dark City.

Our hopes now entirely rest on finding Jambres again, but it may be, of
course, a good three or four thousand years before that.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Here this strange narrative closes; and as I end my editorial task, I
have only one question to ask myself--Will this thing go on? will
Jambres and Leonora meet? will the Americans give up Jambres under the
Extradition Act? or----

Is the great drama Played Out?--ED.



                            *      *      *




_Being a Sequel to 'KING SOLOMON'S MINES,'_


Was commenced in the January Number of




'Mr. HAGGARD certainly provides the readers of _Longman's Magazine_
with a rich supply of excitement.'


'The Author has so far dispensed with the element of the supernaturally
strange which provided much of the weird attractiveness of "King
Solomon's Mines," and in an even greater measure of "She," but the
inherent probability of the present narrative rather enhances than
detracts from its interest in the mind of the reflective reader.'



                            *      *      *


Price 1_s._ each, boards; 1_s._ 6_d._ each, cloth plain; 2_s._ 6_d._
each, cloth extra, gilt edges

MY HERBERT.                     KATHARINE ASHTON.
GERTRUDE.                       CLEVE HALL.
EARL'S DAUGHTER.                A GLIMPSE of the WORLD.

                            *      *      *


IN THE CARQUINEZ WOODS. 2_s._ boards; 2_s._ 6_d._ cloth.

ON THE FRONTIER (Three Stories). 1_s._ sewed.

BY SHORE AND SEDGE (Three Stories). 1_s._ sewed.

                            *      *      *


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                            *      *      *


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                            *      *      *

By the Author of the 'ATELIER DU LYS.'

THE ATELIER DU LYS; or, An Art Student in the Reign of Terror. 2_s._ 6_d._

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                            *      *      *



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With Facsimiles of either face of the Sherd of Amenartas and of the
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_Crown_ 8_vo. price_ 6_s._

                            *      *      *

_SCOTSMAN._--'One of the most extraordinary stories that has ever made
its appearance in the English tongue.'

_NONCONFORMIST._--'One of the most fascinating and remarkable works of
imagination that has appeared for a considerable time.'

_STANDARD._--'A story told with much imagination and a vividness of
detail which carries the reader along with it, and almost forces him to
believe in its truth.'

_ST. JAMES'S GAZETTE._--'That region of the universe of romance which
Mr. Haggard has opened up is better worth a visit than any that has
been explored for many a long year.'

_WORLD._--'There is invention and fancy enough in these three hundred
pages to furnish all the circulating libraries in the kingdom for a
year.... As rich and original a piece of romance as any our age has

_TIMES._--'It is too wondrous to be told except in the words of the
Author himself. Worthy of Poe is the scene of the vast charnel-house....
On the other hand, the pages of "Vathek" could hardly show finer
imagery than we meet here.'

_SPECTATOR._--'At every stage of the story we feel persuaded that the
Author must have exhausted his resources, and that the interest must
begin to decline. As a matter of fact, this is not the case. At almost
every page the weird interest of the story rises.'

                            *      *      *


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