“It isn’t so much what she knows. She has a kind of feeling for things. I took up a lot of photographs to-day—some of the later period mixed in—and she picked them out as if she had been brought up in Athens.”
The professor looked interested. “Modern educational methods?”
“As much as you like,” said the instructor. “But it is something more. When I am with the child I am in Athens itself. Chicago makes me blink when I come out.”
The professor laughed. The next day he made an appointment to go himself to see the child. He was a famous epigraphist and an authority in his subject. He had spent years in Greece—with his nose, for the most part, held close to bits of parchment and stone.
When he came away, he was laughing softly. “I am going over for a year,” he said, when he met the instructor that afternoon in the corridor.
“Did you see the little Harris girl?” asked the instructor.
The professor paused. “Yes, I saw her.”
“How did she strike you?”
“She struck me dumb,” said the professor. “I listened for the best part of an hour while she expounded things to me—asked me questions I couldn’t answer, mostly.” He chuckled a little. “I felt like a fool,” he added, frankly, “and it felt good.”
The instructor smiled. “I go through it twice a week. The trouble seems to be that she’s alive, and that she thinks everything Greek is alive, too.”
The professor nodded. “It’s never occurred to her it’s dead and done with, these thousand years and more.” He gave a little sigh. “Sometimes I’ve wondered myself whether it is—quite as dead as it looks to you and me,” he added. “You know that grain—wheat or something—that Blackman took from the Egyptian mummy he brought over last spring—”
“Yes, he planted it—”
“Exactly. And all summer he was tending a little patch of something green up there in his back yard—as fresh as the eyes of Pharaoh’s daughter ever looked on—”
The instructor opened his eyes a little. This was a wild flight for the head epigraphist.
“That’s the way she made me feel—that little Harris girl,” explained the professor—“as if my mummy might spring up and blossom any day if I didn’t look out.”
The instructor laughed out. “So you’re going over with it?”
“A year—two years, maybe,” said the professor. “I want to watch it sprout.”
ACHILLES CALLS ON BETTY HARRIS
In another week Achilles Alexandrakis had made ready to call on Betty Harris. There had been many details to attend to—a careful sponging and pressing of his best suit, the purchase of a new hat, and cuffs and collars of the finest linen—nothing was too good for the little lady who had flitted into the dusky shop and out, leaving behind her the little line of light.