I thought it advisable to answer this question by asking another, so I said: “But how about Davenport? Will you go?”
“Yes,” he replied. “Anything with a Cleopatra to it interests me. I’ll go now and see about the tickets,” and he left me.
I have related Maitland’s aesthetic views as expressed to me upon this occasion, not because they have any particular bearing upon the mystery I am narrating, but because they cast a strong side-light upon the young man’s character, and also for the reason that I believe his personality to be sufficiently strong and unique to be of general interest.
We went that same night to see Sardou’s “Cleopatra.” I asked Maitland how he liked the piece, and the only reply he vouchsafed was: “I have recently read Shakespeare’s treatment of the same theme.”
If events spread themselves out fanwise from the past into the future, then must the occurrences of the present exhibit convergence toward some historical burning-point,—some focal centre whereat the potential was warmed into the kinetic.
It was nearly a week after the events last narrated before I saw Maitland again, and then only by chance. We happened to meet in the Parker House, and, as he had some business pertaining to a case he was on, to transact at the Court House, I walked up Beacon Street with him. There is a book or stationery store, on Somerset Street, just before you turn down toward Pemberton Square. As we were passing this store, Maitland espied a large photographic reproduction of some picture.
“Let us cross over and see what it is,” he said. We did so. It was a photograph of L. Alma-Tadema’s painting of Antony and Cleopatra. Maitland started a little as he read the title, and then said lightly: “Do you suppose, Doc, that woman’s mummy is in existence? I should like to find it. I’ve an idea she left some hieroglyphic message for me on her mummy-case, and doesn’t propose to let me rest easy until I find and translate it. Now, if I believed in transmigration of souls—do you see any mark of Antony about me? Say, though, just imagine the spirit of Marcus Antonius in a rubber apron, making an analysis of oleomargarine! But here we are; good-bye,” and he left me without awaiting any reply. He seemed to me to be in decidedly better spirits than formerly, and I was at the time at a loss to account for it. The cause of his levity, however, was soon explained, for that night, as Gwen, my sister, and I were sitting cosily in the study according to our usual custom, Maitland walked in, unannounced. He had come now to be a regular visitor, and I invented not a few subterfuges to get him to call even oftener than he otherwise would, for I perceived that his coming gave pleasure to Gwen. She exhibited less depression when in his presence than at any other time. I had learned that hers