And when he sat down again one hand clutched tight the butt of a
"You seem strangely disturbed, Simpkins," said Mrs. Athelstone quietly;
but he fancied that there was a note of malicious pleasure in her voice.
"Has anything happened to alarm you?"
"I thought I heard a slight noise, as if something were moving behind
me. Perhaps a mummy was breaking out of its case," he answered, but his
voice was scarcely steady enough for the flippancy of his speech.
"Hardly that," was the serious answer; "but it might have been my cat,
"Not unless it was Rameses II., because--well, it didn't sound like a
cat," he wound up, guiltily conscious of his other reason for certainty
on this point. "Perhaps Isis has climbed down from her pedestal to
stretch herself," and he smiled, but his eyes were anxious, and he shot
a furtive glance toward the veil.
"It's hardly probable," was the calm reply.
"What? Can't the thing use its legs as well as its arms?"
"Ah! then you know----"
"Yes; she reached for me when I was dusting her off, but I kicked harder
than Doctor Athelstone, I suppose, and so touched the spring twice."
"Well, let it go at that," Simpkins assented. "And let's hear the rest."
He was burning with impatience to reach the end and get away, back to
noisy, crowded Broadway.