Just beyond, the light playing fantastically on her
upturned face, stood Mrs. Athelstone.
Simpkins closed the veil abruptly. There came to him the remembrance
of the time when the boy had pulled the cat's tail, her anger and her
curious exclamation; and again, the repetition of it in his case, when
he had handled the mummy of Amosis roughly; and her affectation of
Egyptian symbols as ornaments. "She's the simon-pure Blavatsky, all
right," he concluded, as he pieced these things into what he had just
seen. "All others are base imitations."
The reporter had gathered from his little reading that behind these
monstrous gods and this complex symbolism there was something near akin
to Christianity in a few great essentials, and he understood how a woman
of Mrs. Athelstone's temperament, engrossed in the study of these things
and living in these surroundings, might be affected by them. Even he,
shrewd, hard Yankee that he was, had felt the influence of the place,
and there was that behind him then which made his heart beat quicker at
When he looked out again Mrs. Athelstone was gone. He was impatient to
get to his work in the storeroom; but first he peeped out again to make
sure that she had returned to her room. She was still in the hall,
walking about in the corner where she ordinarily worked.