But to this second period succeeded finally the third,—that which witnessed the birth and growth of the Egyptian mania. Its natal moment has not been precisely determined; perhaps it was a gradual accretion. Mr. Glyphic’s relatives in Brooklyn were one day electrified by the news that the quondam Henry—now Hiero—purposed instant departure for Europe and Egypt. Before starting, however, he built the brick wall round his estate, shutting it out forever from human eyes. Then he vanished, and for nine years was seen no more.
His return was heralded by the arrival at the port of New York of a mountain of freight, described in the invoice as the property of Doctor Hiero Glyphic of New Jersey. The boxes, as they stood piled together on the wharf, might have furnished timber sufficient to build a town. They contained the fruits of Doctor Glyphic’s antiquarian researches.
The Doctor himself—where he picked up his learned title is unknown—was accompanied by a slender, swarthy young factotum who answered to the name of Manetho. He was introduced to the Brooklyn relatives as the pupil, assistant, and adopted son of Hiero Glyphic. The latter, physically broadened, browned, and thickened by his travels, was intellectually the same good-natured, fussy, flighty original as ever; shallow, enthusiastic, incoherent, energetic.
He and his adopted son shut themselves up behind the brick wall; but it soon transpired that extensive additions were making to the old house. Beyond this elementary fact conjecture had the field to itself. Both architects and builders were imported from another State and sworn to secrecy, while the high wall and the hedge of trees baffled prying eyes. Quantities of red granite and many blocks of precious marbles were understood to be using in the work. The opinion gained that such an Oriental palace was building as never had been seen outside an Arabian fairy-tale.