Athelstone was expected
back the next day; he must search the storeroom that very night.
If--well, he thought he could spoil one scoundrel.
He worked to good advantage during the day, and at nine o'clock that
night, when he was back outside the Oriental Building, there were three
new keys in his pocket.
He unlocked the door noiselessly, tiptoed up the staircase, and gained
the friendly blackness of the ante-chamber quite unobserved. The
watchman was half a block away, sitting by the only street entrance kept
open at night.
Simpkins took off his shoes and found his sandals without striking a
light, and then felt his way to the door leading into the hall. The knob
rattled a little under his hand. All that evening he had been nerving
himself to go in there alone and in the dark, but now he could have
turned and run like a country boy passing a graveyard at night.
The hall was not utterly black, as he had expected. Light from the
electric lamps without flickered through the stained-glass windows.
Ghastly rays of yellow played over the painted faces on the walls and
lit up the gilded features of the mummy by Mrs. Athelstone's desk. There
were crimson spots, like blotches of blood, on the veil of Isis. And all
about were moving shadows, creeping forward stealthily, falling back
slowly, as the light without flared up or died down.