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THE MUMMY AND
MISS NITOCRIS A PHANTASY
OF THE FOURTH DIMENSION BY GEORGE GRIFFITH
AUTHOR OF "THE ANGEL OF THE REVOLUTION," "A HONEYMOON
IN SPACE," "AN ISLAND LOVE STORY,"
"A MAYFAIR MAGICIAN," ETC., ETC.
T. WERNER LAURIE
CLIFFORD'S INN, FLEET STREET
A New York Times Company
Editorial Supervision: MARIE STARECK
Reprint Edition 1976 by Arno Press Inc. Reprinted from a copy in The Library of the
University of California, Riverside
ISBN for complete set: O-405-08107-3
See last pages of this volume for titles.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Griffith, George Chetwynd.
The mummy and Miss Nitocris.
(Supernatural and occult fiction)
Reprint of the 1906? ed. published by T. W. Laurie, London.
I. Title. II. Series.
PZ3.G88Mu7 [PR4728.083] 823'.8 75-46273
Certain it should be that, beyond and about this World of Length, and Breadth, and Thickness, there is another World, or State of Existence, consisting of these and another dimension of which only those beings who are privileged to enter or dwell in it can have any conception. Now, if this postulate be granted, it follows that a dweller in this State would be freed from those conditions of Time and Space which bind those beings who are confined within the limits of Tri-Dimensional Space, or Existence. For example, he would be able to make himself visible or invisible to us at will by entering into or withdrawing himself from this State, and returning into that of Four Dimensions, whither our eyes could not follow him—even though he might be close to us in our sense of nearness. Moreover, he could be in two or more places at once, and cause two bodies to occupy the same space—which to us is inconceivable. Stranger still, he might be both alive and dead at the same time—since Past, Present, and Future would be all one to him; the world without beginning or end ...—From the "Geometrical Possibilities," of Abd'el Kasir, of Cordoba, circa. 1050 A.D.CONTENTS
THE MUMMY AND
INTRODUCES THE MUMMY
"Oh, what a perfectly lovely mummy! Just fancy!—the poor thing—dead how many years? Something like five thousand, isn't it? And doesn't she look just like me! I mean, wouldn't she, if we had both been dead as long?"
As she said this, Miss Nitocris Marmion, the golden-haired, black-eyed daughter of one of the most celebrated mathematicians and physicists in Europe, stood herself up beside the mummy-case which her father had received that morning from Memphis.
"Look!" she continued. "I am almost the same height. Just a little taller, perhaps, but you see her hair is nearly as fair as mine. Of course, you don't know what colour her eyes are—just fancy, Dad! they have been shut for nearly five thousand[Pg 2] years, perhaps a little more—because I think they counted by dynasties then—and yet look at the features! Just imagine me dead!"
"Just imagine yourself shutting the door on the other side, my dear Niti," said the Professor, who had risen from the chair, and was facing his daughter and the Mummy. "I don't want to banish you too unceremoniously, but I really have a lot of work to do to-night, and, as you might know, Bachelor of Science of London as you are, I have got to worry out as best I can, if I can do it at all, this problem that Hartley sent me about the Forty-seventh Proposition of the first book of Euclid."
"Oh yes," she said, going to his side and putting her hand on to his shoulder as he stood facing the Mummy; "I have reason enough to remember that. And what does Professor Hartley say about it?"
"He says, my dear Niti," said the Professor, in a voice which had something like a note of awe in it, "that when Pythagoras thought out that problem—which, of course, is not Euclid's at all—he almost saw across the horizon of the world that we live in."
"But that," she interrupted, "would be something like looking across the edge of time into eternity, and that—well, of course, that is quite impossible, even to you, Dad, or Mr Hartley. What does he mean?"
"He doesn't quite mean that, dear," replied the Professor, still staring straight at the motionless[Pg 3] Mummy as though he half expected the lips which had not spoken for fifty centuries to answer the question that was shaping itself in his mind. "What Hartley means, dear, is this—that when Pythagoras thought out that proposition he had almost reached the border which divides the world of three dimensions from the world of four."
"Which, as our dear old friend Euclid would say, is impossible; because you know, Dad, if that were possible, everything else would be. Come, now, Annie is bringing up your whisky and soda. Put away your problems and take your night-cap, and do get to bed in something like respectable time. Don't worry your dear old head about forty-seventh propositions and fourth dimensions and mummies and that sort of thing, even if this Mummy does happen to look a bit like me. Now, good night, and remember that the night-cap is to be a night-cap, and when you've put it on you really must go to bed. You've been thinking a great deal too much this week. Good-night, Dad."
"Good-night, Niti, dear. Don't trouble your head about my thinking. Sufficient unto the brain are the thoughts thereof. Sometimes they are more than sufficient. Good-night. Sleep well and don't dream, if you can help it."
"And don't you dream, Dad, especially about that wretched proposition. Just have another pipe, and drink your whisky and go to bed. There's something in your eyes that says you want a long night's rest. Good-night now, and sleep well."[Pg 4]
She pulled his head down and kissed him twice on his grey, thin cheek, and then, with a wave of her hand and a laughing nod towards the Mummy, vanished through the closing study door to go and dream her dreams, which were not very likely to be of mummies and fourth dimensional problems, and left her father to dream his.
Then a couple of lines from one of "B.V.'s" poems, which had been running in his head all the evening, came back to him, and he murmured half-unconsciously:
"'Was it hundreds of years ago, my love,
Was it thousands of miles away...?'"
"And why should it not be? Why should you, who were once Ma-Rimōn, priest of Amen-Ra, in the City of Memphis—you who almost stood upon the threshold of the Inmost Sanctuary of Knowledge: you who, if your footsteps had not turned aside into the way of temptation and trodden the black path of Sin, might even now be dwelling on the Shores of Everlasting Peace in the Land of Amenti—dost thou dare to ask such a question?"
The sudden change of the pronoun seemed to him to put the Clock of Time back indefinitely.
He was standing by his desk still facing the Mummy just as his daughter had left him after saying "good-night." He was not a man to be easily astonished. Not only was he one of the best-read amateur Egyptologists in Europe, but he was also an ex-President of the Royal Society,[Pg 5] a Member of the Psychical Research Society, and, moreover, Chairman of a recently appointed Commission on Comparative Insanity, the object of whose labours was to determine, if possible, what proportion of people outside asylums were mad or sane according to a standard which, somehow, no one had thought of inventing before—the standard of common-sense.
The voice, strangely like his daughter's and his dead wife's also, appeared to come from nowhere and yet from everywhere, and it had a faint and far-away echo in it which harmonised most marvellously with other echoes which seemed to come up out of the depths of his own soul.
Where had he heard it before? Somewhere, certainly. There was no possibility of mistaking tones which were so irresistibly familiar, and, moreover, why did they bring back to him such distinct memories of tragedies long forgotten, even by him? Why did they instantly draw before the windows of his soul a long panorama of vast cities, splendid palaces, sombre temples, and towering tombs, in which he saw all these and more with an infinitely greater vividness of form and light and colour than he had ever been able to do in his most inspired hours of dream or study?
Had the voice really come from those long-silenced lips of the Mummy of Nitocris, that daughter of the Pharaohs who had so terribly avenged her outraged love, and after whom he had named the only child of his marriage?[Pg 6]
"It is certainly very strange," he said, going to his writing-table and taking up his pipe. "I know that voice, or at least I seem to know it, and it is very like Niti's and her mother's; but where can it have come from? Hardly from your lips, my long-dead Royal Egypt," he went on, going up to the mummy-case and peering through his spectacles into the rigid features. He put up his hand and tapped the tightly-drawn lips very gently, then turned away with a smile, saying aloud to himself: "No, no, I must have been allowing what they call my scientific imagination to play tricks with me. Perhaps I have been worrying a little too much about this confounded fourth dimension problem,—and yet the thing is exceedingly fascinating. If the hand of Science could only reach across the frontier line! If we could only see out of the world of length and breadth and thickness into that other world of these and something else, how many puzzles would be solved, how many impossibilities would become possible, and how many of the miracles which those old Egyptian adepts so seriously claimed to work would look like the merest commonplaces! Ah well, now for the realities. I suppose that's Annie with the whisky."
As he turned round the door opened, and he beheld a very strange sight, one which, to a man who had had a less stern mental training than he had had, would have been nothing less than[Pg 7] terrifying. His daughter came in with a little silver tray on which there was a small decanter of whisky, a glass, and a syphon of soda-water.
"Annie has gone to the post, and I thought I might as well bring this myself," said Miss Nitocris, walking to the table and putting the tray down on the corner of it.
Beside her stood another figure as familiar now to his eyes as her's was, dressed and tired and jewelled in a fashion equally familiar. Save for the difference in dress, Nitocris, the