The Egyptologist

The Egyptologist by Arthur Phillips Read Free Book Online

Book: The Egyptologist by Arthur Phillips Read Free Book Online
Authors: Arthur Phillips
Tags: Fiction, Literary
discovery to come, and offer as epigraph a thrilling episode not too far off in the future, an
    excerpt of events described in the book itself. We shall extract a tri• umphan t moment and place it at the front, a shocking jewel in the crown, a zesty appetiser to tickle the reader' s tongue for the vast feast to come and to prepare his digestion, lining his stomach for riches for
    which his dull daily fare has not prepared him. We shall tentatively use the events of—to make a conservative guess and present myself on that date with a nice birthday gift— 24 November, six and a half weeks from now, neither too optimistic nor too stodgy, something like: "page ii:
    24 November, 1922. At the Deir et Bahari site. I cleared away the loose rocks and descended to my knees, and began slowly — painstakingly slowly, despite my pounding heart — to widen the hole in the millennia-old heaped rubble. The light shook in the hands of the irrationally frightened Abdullah. 'It's all right, man. Just give me the torch, 'I whispered, and held my eye to the narrow aperture. "Yes, yes...' 'Please, what does His Lordship see?' 'Immortality, Abdullah, I see 'im• mortality.'"
    Cover d esign: photo of RM T standing alongside Atum-hadu' s golden (one safely projects) sarcophagus. Native labourers in wor k robes standing off to the side. Ralph M. Trilipush and the Discovery of the Tomb of King Atum-hadu by Ralph M. Trilipush. Subtitle: Including the ar• chaeologist's private diary, notes, and sketches. Harvard University Press, 1923. Dedication page: A discovery of this magnitude simply cannot be achieved without the tireless help and inspirational example of several other contributors. To my team of nearly 500 Egyptian workers, whose diligence was matched only by their devotion to me and our common effort, wh o suspended wha t for them must have been an excruciating disbelief and instead displayed a simple faith that the objects I un• earthed had significance beyond their shiny lustre, I offer my sincerest gratitude. And, in particular, to my headman, Abdullah, wh o knew how to dispense to the men discipline and baksheesh in just the right propor• tions, and whose fierce loyalty to me and quaint efforts to wrestle with the complexities of English touched and amused me in equal measure during our weeks of great toil and peril, I offer a hearty salaam! Mr.
    Chester Crawford Finneran, of Finneran' s Finer Finery, is a gentleman of magnificent depth and parts, a discerning collector of ancient art, a
    man of force but also of finesse, not at all what one would have ex• pected to find in an American, let alone a vaunted 'captain of com• merce.' But our 'CCF' has proven himself worthy of the noble, ancient Egyptian title of Master of Largesse, that generous and trusted dis• penser of wisdom and wealth in times of need, and the title that Atum- hadu himself used in his poetic Admonitions to refer to his own trusted prime minister. The tomb of Atum-hadu is known to us thanks to CCF, my Master of Largesse, as well as my other partners in Hand-of-Atum Explorations, Limited. To my beloved fiancee, Margaret Finneran, words are insufficient to express my love, admiration, and gratitude.
    To my fellow explorers, who labour in the hot sands of our beloved adopted mother, I offer you my thanks for your collective example, your tireless and too often unrewarded dedication. In particular, I wish to mention that paragon of Egyptological exploration, my dear friend, Mr. Howard Carter, who as I set pen to paper here, is deep into his sixth season in an apparently fruitless quest for a chimerical tomb, that of a minor XVIIIth-Dynasty king called Tut-ankh-Amen. I now state publicly in these pages, that—fail or succeed—Mr. Carter's nearly senseless dedication (six years!) is a model to us all, and that for it I have admired him, even before I knew him and called him friend. I salute my elder comrade in dust, my mentor and the dominant figure of the

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