Far and wide spread the marshes, flatly towards the shore of the river on one side, but on the other sloping up to Gartley village, which twinkled with many lights on the rising ground.
Some distance away the Fort rose black and menacing in the moonlight, and the mighty stream of the Thames glittered like polished steel as it flowed seaward.
As there were only a few leafless trees dotted about the marshy ground, and as that same ground, lightly sprinkled with powdery snow, revealed every moving object for quite a mile or so, Hope could not conceive how the mummy case, which seemed heavy, could have been brought into the silent garden without its bearers being seen.
It was not late, and soldiers were still returning through Gartley to the Fort.
Then, again, some noise must have been caused by so bulky an object being thrust through the narrow wicket, and Mrs. Jasher, inhabiting a wooden house, which was a very sea-shell for sound, might have heard footsteps and voices.
If those who had brought the mummy here—and there was more than one from the size of the case—could be discovered, then the mystery of Sidney Bolton's death would be solved very speedily.
It was at this moment of his reflections that Lucy returned to the arbor, leading Mrs. Jasher, who was attired in a tea-gown and who looked bewildered….
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