The Green Mummy (Chapter 2, page 1 of 11)


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Chapter 2

There was only one really palatial mansion in Gartley, and that was the
ancient Georgian house known as the Pyramids. Lucy's step-father had
given the place this eccentric name on taking up his abode there some
ten years previously. Before that time the dwelling had been occupied by
the Lord of the Manor and his family. But now the old squire was dead,
and his impecunious children were scattered to the four quarters of the
globe in search of money with which to rebuild their ruined fortunes. As
the village was somewhat isolated and rather unhealthily situated in a
marshy country, the huge, roomy old Grange had not been easy to let,
and had proved quite impossible to sell. Under these disastrous
circumstances, Professor Braddock--who described himself humorously as
a scientific pauper--had obtained the tenancy at a ridiculously low
rental, much to his satisfaction.

Many people would have paid money to avoid exile in these damp waste
lands, which, as it were, fringed civilization, but their loneliness and
desolation suited the Professor exactly. He required ample room for his
Egyptian collection, with plenty of time to decipher hieroglyphics and
study perished dynasties of the Nile Valley. The world of the present
day did not interest Braddock in the least. He lived almost continuously
on that portion of the mental plane which had to do with the far-distant
past, and only concerned himself with physical existence, when it
consisted of mummies and mystic beetles, sepulchral ornaments,
pictured documents, hawk-headed deities and suchlike things of almost
inconceivable antiquity. He rarely walked abroad and was invariably
late for meals, save when he missed any particular one altogether, which
happened frequently. Absent-minded in conversation, untidy in dress,
unpractical in business, dreamy in manner, Professor Braddock lived
solely for archaeology. That such a man should have taken to himself a
wife was mystery.

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