Though Simpkins could find no clew to the mechanism of the statue, he
determined that he had sprung it with his feet, and that during his
struggles a lucky kick had touched the spring which relaxed the arms.
"Did any one beside himself know their strength?" he asked himself, as
he stepped out into the hall again. Mrs. Athelstone was bent over her
desk writing; Brander was yawning over a novel in his corner, and
neither paid any attention to him. So he busied himself going over the
mummy-cases, and by the time he had worked around to the two beside Mrs.
Athelstone he had himself well in hand, outwardly. But he was still so
shaken internally that he knocked the black case rather roughly as he
"What way is that to treat a king?" demanded Mrs. Athelstone; and the
anger in her voice was so real that Simpkins, startled, blundered out:
"I really meant no disrespect. Very careless of me, I'm sure." He looked
so distressed that Mrs. Athelstone's anger melted into a delicious
little laugh, as she answered:
"Really, Simpkins, you musn't be so bungling. These mummies are
priceless." And she got up and made a careful inspection of the case.
Simpkins, rather crestfallen, went back to his desk and began to address
circulars, his brain busy with the shadow which had crept into it.