November 26, 1922
CARTER CLAWED AT THE HOLE once again, trying to enlarge it enough to see through to the other side. He was sweaty and winded, and his tobacco-stained fingertips were raw from pulling at the coarse plaster and jagged chunks of rock.
Behind him stood the very attractive Lady Evelyn, along with her father, and Arthur Callender. Farther up the hallway a handful of diggers waited, all hoping for the financial reward that would come if a great discovery was made here today.
Notably absent was Trout Engelbach, the man whose job it was to enter the tomb first. He had left to inspect another dig site several miles away. Carter was supposed to await his return before entering a chamber or tomb. But that was not to be.
When the hole was cleared from the ceiling down to eye level, Carter lit a candle and held it to the opening, checking for foul gases. The candle flickered as air that had been trapped for millennia whooshed from the chamber.
When the flame stopped sputtering, Carter slid the candle through the hole. Next, he pressed his face to the opening, feeling the dust of the centuries against his skin. With one arm inside, holding the candle steady, and his face now looking directly into the chamber, he studied what he could make out in the darkness.
“At first I could see nothing,” wrote Carter. “But presently, as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details from the room within slowly emerged from the mist. Strange animals, statues and gold—everywhere the glint of gold. For the moment—an eternity it must have been to the others standing by—I was struck dumb with amazement.”
“Can you see anything?” Lord Carnarvon asked impatiently, his head close to Carter’s ear.
“Yes,” Carter responded. “Wonderful things.”