The Curse of the Pharaohs
known," he said. "But why does he not employ the men of Luxor who worked for the dead lord?"
    "I prefer to work with my friends," Emerson replied. "Men I can trust in danger and difficulty."
    "Ah, yes." Abdullah stroked his beard. "Emerson speaks of danger. It is known that he never lies. Will he tell us what danger he means?"
    "Scorpions, snakes, landslides," Emerson shot back. "The same dangers we men have always faced together."
    "And the dead who will not die, but walk abroad under the moon?"
    This was a much more direct question than I had anticipated. Emerson, too, was caught off guard. He did not answer immediately. Every man in the room sat with his eyes fixed unwinkingly on my husband.
    At last he said quietly, "You of all men, Abdullah, know that there is no such thing. Have you forgotten the mummy that was no mummy, but only an evil man?"
    "I remember well, Emerson, but who is to say mat such things cannot exist? They say that the lord who is dead disturbed the sleep of the pharaoh. They say—"
    "They are fools who say so," Emerson interrupted. "Has not God promised the faithful protection against evil spirits? I go to carry on the work. I look for men to come with me, not fools and cowards."
    The issue had never really been in doubt. When we left the village we had our crew, but thanks to Abdullah's piously expressed doubts we had to agree to a wage considerably higher than was customary. Superstition has its practical uses.
    On the following morning I sat, as I have described, on the terrace of Shepheard's and reviewed the events of the past two days. You will now comprehend, reader, why a single small cloud cast a faint shadow on the brightness of my pleasure. The cut on Emerson's arm was healing nicely, but the doubts that incident had raised were not so easily cured. I had taken it for granted that the death of Lord Baskerville and the disappearance of his assistant were parts of a single, isolated tragedy, and that the so-called curse was no more than the invention of an enterprising journalist. The strange case of the knife in the wardrobe raised another and more alarming possibility.
    It is foolish to brood about matters one cannot control, so I dismissed the problem for the moment and enjoyed the constantly changing panorama unrolling before me until Emerson finally joined me. I had sent a messenger to Monsieur Grebaut earlier, informing him that we planned to call on him that morning. We were going to be late, thanks to Emerson's procrastination, but when I saw his scowl and his tight-set lips I realized I was fortunate to persuade him to go at all.
    Since we were last in Egypt the Museum had been moved from its overcrowded quarters at Boulaq to the Palace of Gizeh. The result was an improvement in the amount of space only; the crumbling, overly ornate decorations of the palace were poorly suited for purposes of display, and the antiquities were in wretched condition. This increased Emerson's bad temper; he was red with annoyance by the time we reached the office, and when a supercilious secretary informed us that we must come back another day, since the Director was too busy to see us, he pushed the young man rudely aside and hurled himself at the door of the inner office.
    I was not surprised when it failed to yield, for I had heard sound like that of a key being turned in a lock. Locks do not hinder Emerson when he wishes to proceed; a second, are vigorous assault burst the door open. With a consoling smile at the cowering secretary I followed my impetuous husband into Grebaut's sanctum.
    The room was crowded to the bursting point with open boxes containing antiquities, all awaiting examination and classification. Pots of baked clay, scraps of wood from furniture and coffins, alabaster jars, ushabtis, and dozens of other items overflowed the packing cases onto tables and desk.
    Emerson let out a cry of outrage. "It is worse than it was in Maspero's day! Curse the rascal, where is he? I want to give him

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