The Jewel of Seven Stars eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 326 pages of information about The Jewel of Seven Stars.

Chapter IX The Need of Knowledge

Mr. Corbeck seemed to go almost off his head at the recovery of the lamps.  He took them up one by one and looked them all over tenderly, as though they were things that he loved.  In his delight and excitement he breathed so hard that it seemed almost like a cat purring.  Sergeant Daw said quietly, his voice breaking the silence like a discord in a melody: 

“Are you quite sure those lamps are the ones you had, and that were stolen?”

His answer was in an indignant tone:  “Sure!  Of course I’m sure.  There isn’t another set of lamps like these in the world!”

“So far as you know!” The Detective’s words were smooth enough, but his manner was so exasperating that I was sure he had some motive in it; so I waited in silence.  He went on: 

“Of course there may be some in the British Museum; or Mr. Trelawny may have had these already.  There’s nothing new under the sun, you know, Mr. Corbeck; not even in Egypt.  These may be the originals, and yours may have been the copies.  Are there any points by which you can identify these as yours?”

Mr. Corbeck was really angry by this time.  He forgot his reserve; and in his indignation poured forth a torrent of almost incoherent, but enlightening, broken sentences: 

“Identify!  Copies of them!  British Museum!  Rot!  Perhaps they keep a set in Scotland Yard for teaching idiot policemen Egyptology!  Do I know them?  When I have carried them about my body, in the desert, for three months; and lay awake night after night to watch them!  When I have looked them over with a magnifying-glass, hour after hour, till my eyes ached; till every tiny blotch, and chip, and dinge became as familiar to me as his chart to a captain; as familiar as they doubtless have been all the time to every thick-headed area-prowler within the bounds of mortality.  See here, young man, look at these!” He ranged the lamps in a row on the top of the cabinet.  “Did you ever see a set of lamps of these shapes—­of any one of these shapes?  Look at these dominant figures on them!  Did you ever see so complete a set—­even in Scotland Yard; even in Bow Street?  Look! one on each, the seven forms of Hathor.  Look at that figure of the Ka of a Princess of the Two Egypts, standing between Ra and Osiris in the Boat of the Dead, with the Eye of Sleep, supported on legs, bending before her; and Harmochis rising in the north.  Will you find that in the British Museum—­or Bow Street?  Or perhaps your studies in the Gizeh Museum, or the Fitzwilliam, or Paris, or Leyden, or Berlin, have shown you that the episode is common in hieroglyphics; and that this is only a copy.  Perhaps you can tell me what that figure of Ptah-Seker-Ausar holding the Tet wrapped in the Sceptre of Papyrus means?  Did you ever see it before; even in the British Museum, or Gizeh, or Scotland Yard?”

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The Jewel of Seven Stars from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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