The Hippopotamus Pool
objection—"
    "Ramses, you are always making objections," Nefret exclaimed. She slipped her arm through Emerson's and smiled up at him. "I am sure the Professor knows exactly what he is doing. A queen's tomb! It is thrilling."
    "Hmph," said Emerson, in a much more affable tone than the one he had previously employed. "Thank you, my dear."
    "You are absolutely correct, Nefret," I added. "The Professor always knows what he is doing. In my opinion historians have never given enough attention to the ladies, and what a remarkable woman this Tetisheri must have been—the first of that line of great queens who wielded so much power during the Eighteenth Dynasty."
    "I believe," said Ramses, "that in your opinion, Father—which is, I hasten to add, mine as well—she was the mother of that king Sekenenre whose horribly mutilated mummy was found in the royal cache. His wounds suggest that he died in battle."
    "You were once of the opinion that he had been murdered by the ladies of the harim," Emerson interrupted, amusement warming his blue eyes.
    "I was at that time only three years of age," said Ramses in his most dignified manner. "The manuscript about the hippopotamus pool that Mother is presently translating suggests that war between the Hyksos and the Theban princes was about to be resumed. The wounds that killed Sekenenre and the hasty form of mummification employed support the idea of death on the battlefield."
    Nefret had been sorting through a pile of photographs on Emerson's desk. "This is his mummy?"
    It was a hideous face, even as mummified faces go—and few of them would look well framed and set on a mantelpiece. The shriveled lips were drawn back in a distorted snarl. Heavy blows had smashed the bones of the face; one long symmetrical slit in the skull must have been caused by a sharp-edged weapon, an ax or sword.
    Most girls would have shrieked and covered their eyes if confronted with such an image. Nefret's voice was calm and her countenance unmoved except by remote pity. But then, I reflected, she had known many a mummy in her time. A distinct asset for a would-be archaeologist.
    "Yes, that is his," Emerson answered. "Hard to imagine from that shriveled residue, but he was a handsome, well-set-up chap in his day, and barely thirty years of age when he met his death."
    I joined Nefret, who went on looking at the photographs. "An unsightly portrait gallery indeed," I remarked. "It is sobering to reflect that those grisly remains, now so withered and naked and broken, were once divine monarchs and their beautiful queens. Of course we must never forget what our faith teaches us: that the body must return to the dust whence it came, whereas the soul of man ..."
    "Is immortal?" In a particularly sardonic tone Emerson finished the sentence I had left incomplete—for I had belatedly realized where it was heading. Concerned as I was about Nefret's questionable religious beliefs, I had thought to administer a little lesson on Christian dogma. What I had forgotten was that the immortality of the soul was also Egyptian dogma, and that Emerson might not want to be reminded of our strange visitor and his talk of reincarnation.
    "Er—yes," I said.
    Nefret was too absorbed with her mummies to heed the exchange. "All of them look as if they had been in a war," she murmured, contemplating an emaciated cadaver whose nose was decidedly askew.
    "He may well have been in a war," Emerson said. "That is Ahmose, Tetisheri's grandson, who defeated the Hyksos and reunited Egypt. His injuries are postmortem, however—inflicted by thieves who unwrapped the mummies looking for jewels. The poor corpses had rather a hard time of it, unwrapped and mutilated by thieves, rewrapped by pious priests—some of whom were not pious enough to refrain from removing objects the thieves had overlooked—violated again, moved from one hiding place to another in the futile hope of preserving what little remained of them. Not all of them were lovely and

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