The Green Mummy (Chapter 8, page 1 of 11)

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Chapter 8

Sir Frank Random was an amiable young gentleman with--as the saying
goes--all his goods in the shop window. Fair-haired and tall, with a
well-knit, athletic figure, a polished manner, and a man-of-the-world
air, he strictly resembled the romantic officer of Bow Bells, Family
Herald, Young Ladies' Journal fiction. But the romance was all in his
well-groomed looks, as he was as commonplace a Saxon as could be
met with in a day's march. Fond of sport, attentive to his duties as
artillery captain, and devoted to what is romantically known as the fair
sex, he sauntered easily through life, very well contented with himself
and with his agreeable surroundings. He read fiction when he did read,
and those weekly papers devoted to sport; troubled his head very
little about politics, save when they had to do with a possible
German invasion, and was always ready to do any one a good turn. His
brother-officers declared that he was not half a bad sort, which was
high praise from the usually reticent service man. His capacity may be
accurately gauged by the fact that he did not possess a single enemy,
and that every one spoke well of him. A mortal who possesses no quality
likely to be envied by those around him is certain to belong to the rank
and file of humanity. But these unconsidered units of mankind can always
console themselves with the undoubted fact that mediocrity is invariably

Such a man as Random would never set the Thames on fire, and certainly
he had no ambition to perform that astounding feat. He was fond of his
profession and intended to remain in the army as long as he could. He
desired to marry and beget a family, and retire, when set free from
soldiering, to his country seat, and there perform blamelessly the
congenial role of a village squire, until called upon to join the
respectable corpses in the Random vault. Not that he was a saint or
ever could be one. Neither black nor white, he was simply gray, being an
ordinary mixture of good and bad. As theology has provided no hereafter
for gray people, it is hard to imagine where the bulk of humanity will
go. But doubts on this point never troubled Random. He went to church,
kept his mouth shut and his pores open and vaguely believed that it
would be all right somehow. A very comfortable if superficial philosophy

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