“By the side of the body was the gilded mask, with black and staring eyes, and the painted breast-piece of stiff linen, neither of which the thieves had found worth stealing.
“I looked and a thought came to me. Lifting the mummy, I thrust it into the sarcophagus, all of it save the gilded mask and the painted breast-piece of stiff linen. Then I laid myself down in the coffin, of which the lid, still lying crosswise, hid me to the waist, and drew the gilded mask and painted breast-piece over my head and bosom. Scarcely was it done when the soldiers entered. By now the reflected sunlight had faded from the place, leaving it in deep shadow; but some of the men held burning torches made from splinters of old coffins, that were full of pitch.
“‘Feet have passed here; I saw the marks of them in the dust,’ said the officer. ’She may have hidden in this place. Search! Search! It will go hard with us if we return to Musa to tell him that he has lost his toy.’
“They looked into the sarcophagus and saw the broken mummy. Indeed, one of them lifted it, unwillingly enough, and let it fall again, saying grimly,
“’Musa would scarce care for this companion, though in her day she may have been fair enough.’
“Then they came to the coffin.
“‘Here’s another,’ exclaimed the soldier, ’and one with a gold face. Allah! how its eyes stare.’
“‘Pull it out,’ said the officer.
“‘Let that be your task,’ answered the man. ’I’ll defile myself with no more corpses.’
“The officer came and looked. ’What a haunted hole is this, full of the ghosts of idol worshippers, or so I think,’ he said. ’Those eyes stare curses at us. Well, the Christian maid is not here. On, before the torches fail.’
“Then they went, leaving me; the painted linen creaked upon my breast as I breathed again.
“’Till nightfall I lay in that coffin, fearing lest they should return; and I tell you, Olaf, that strange dreams came to me there, for I think I swooned or slept in that narrow bed. Yes, dreams of the past, which you shall hear one day, if we live, for they seem to have to do with you and me. Aye, I thought that the dead woman in the sarcophagus at my side awoke and told them to me. At length I rose and crept back to this place where we stand, for here I could see the friendly light, and being outworn, laid me down and slept.
“At the first break of day I crawled from the tomb, followed that same road by which I had entered, though I found it hard to climb up through the entrance hole.