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SOME WORDS WITH A MUMMY.
BY EDGARA. POE.
The symposium of the preceding By the time I had reached the Ponevening had been a little too much for nonner,” it struck me that I was as wide my nerves. I had a wretched headache, awake as a man need be. I leaped out and was desperately drowsy. Instead of bed in an ecstasy, overthrowing all in of going out, therefore, to spend the eve- my way; dressed myself with a rapidity ning as I had proposed, it occurred to me truly marvellous; and set off, at the top that I could not do a wiser thing than of my speed, for the Doctor's. just eat a mouthful of supper and go im. There I found a very eager company mediately to bed.
assembled. They had been awaiting me A light supper of course.
I am ex- with much impatience; the mummy was ceedingly fond of Welsh rarebit. More extended upon the dining-table; and the than a pound at once, however, may not moment I entered, its examination was be at all times advisable. Still, there can commenced. be no material objection to two. And
It was one of a pair brought, several really between two and three, there is years previously, by Captain Arthur merely a single unit of difference. I ven- Sabretash, a cousin of "Ponnonner's, tured, perhaps, upon four. My wife will from a tomb near Eleithias, in the Lybian have it five;—but, clearly, she has con- Mountains, a considerable distance above founded two very distinct affairs. The Thebes, on the Nile. The grottoes at abstract number, five, I am willing to this point, although less magnificent than admit; but, concretely, it has reference the Theban sepulchres, are of higher into bottles of Brown Stout, without which, terest, on account of affording more in the way of condiment, Welsh rarebit numerous illustrations of the private life is to be eschewed.
of the Egyptians. The chamber from Having thus concluded a frugal meal, which our specimen was taken, was said and donned my night-cap with the serene to be
rich in such illustrations; the hope of enjoying it until noon the next walls being completely covered with day, I placed my head upon the pillow, fresco paintings and bas-reliefs, while and through the aid of a capital con- statues, vases, and Mosaic work of rich science, fell into a profound slumber patterns, indicated the vast wealth of the forth with.
deceased. But when were the hopes of humanity The treasure had been deposited in the fulfilled ? I could not have completed Museum precisely in the condition in my third snore when there came a furi- which Captain Sabretash had found it;ons ringing at the street-door bell, and that is to say, the coffin had not been then an impatient thumping at the disturbed. For eight years it had thus knocker, which awakened me at once. stood, subject only externally to public In a minute afterward, and while I was inspection. We had now, therefore, the still rubbing my eyes, my wife thrust in complete Mummy at our disposal; and to my face a note from my old friend, Doc. those who are aware how very rarely tor Ponnonner. It ran thus:
the unransacked antique reaches our
shores, it will be evident, at once, that “Come to me by all means, my dear we had great reason to congratulate our. good friend, as soon as you receive this. selves upon our good fortune. Come a id help us to rejoice. At last, by Approaching the table, I saw upon long persevering diploniacy, I have gained it a large box, or case, nearly seven feet the assent of the Directors of the City long, and perhaps three feet wide, by two Museum, to my examination of the Mummy feet and a half deep. It was oblong-you know the one I mean.
I have per mission to unswathe it and open it, if not coffin-shaped. The material was at desirable. A few friends only will be first supposed to be the wood of the present--you, of course. The Mummy is sycamore (platanus), but, upon cutting now at my house, and we shall begin to un- into it, we found it to be pasteboard, or roll it at eleven to-night. Yours ever, more properly, papier maché, composed
PONNONNER." of papyrus. It was thickly ornament
ed with paintings, representing funeral moved, and glass ones substituted, which scenes, and other mournful subjects, were very beautiful and wonderfully lifeinterspersed among which in every va- like, with the exception of somewhat too riety of position, were certain series of determined a stare. The finger and toe hieroglyphical characters intended, no nails were brilliantly gilded. doubi, for the name of the departed. By Mr. Gliddon was of opinion, from the good luck, Mr. Gliddon formed one of redness of the epidermis, that the embalmour party; and he had no difficulty in ment had been effected altogether by astranslating the letters, which were simply phaltum; but, upon scraping the surface phonetic, and represented the word, Al- with a steel instrument, and throwing inlamistakeo.
to the fire some of the powder thus obWe had some difficulty in getting this tained, the flavor of camphor and other case open without injury, but, having at sweet-scented gums became apparent. length accomplished the task, we came We searched the corpse very carefully to a second, coffin-shaped, and very con- for the usual openings through which the siderably less in size than the exterior entrails are extracted, but, to our surprise, one, but resembling it precisely in every we could discover none. No member of other respect. The interval between the the party was at that period aware that two was filled with resin, which had, in entire or unopened mummies are not unsome degree, defaced the colors of the frequently met. The brain it was cus. interior box.
tomary to withdraw through the nose ; Upon opening this latter (which we did the intestines through an incision in the quite easily,) we arrived at a third case, side; the body was then shaved, washed, also coffin-shaped, and varying from the and salted, ihen laid aside for several second one in no particular, except in weeks, when the operation of embalming, that of its material, which was cedar, and properly so called, began. still emitted the peculiar and highly aro- As no trace of an opening could be matic odor of that wood. Between the found, Doctor Ponnonner was preparing second and third case there was no inter- his instruments for dissection, when I obval; the one fitting accurately within the served that it was then past two o'clock. other.
Hereupon it was agreed to postpone the Removing the third case, we discover- internal examination until the next eveed and took out the body itself. We had ning, and we were about to separate for expected to find it, as usual, enveloped in the present, when someone suggested an frequent rolls, or bandages, of linen, but, experiment or two with the Voltaic pile. in place of these, we found a sort of The application of electricity to a mumsheath, made of papyrus, and coated with my some three or four thousand years old a layer of plaster, thickly gilt and paint. at the least, was an idea, if not very sage, ed. The paintings represented subjects still sufficiently original, and we all connected with the various supposed du- caught at it at once. About one tenth in ties of the soul, and its presentation to earnest and nine tenths in jest, we ardifferent divinities, with numerous iden- ranged a battery in the Doctor's study, tical human figures, intended, very pro- and conveyed thither the Egyptian. bably, as portraits of the person embalm- It was only after much trouble that we ed. Extending from head to foot, was a succeeded in laying bare some portions columnar, or perpendicular inscription in of the temporal muscle which appeared phonetic hieroglyphics, giving again his of less stony rigidity than other parts of name and titles, and the names and titles the frame, but which, as we had antici. of his relations.
pated, of course, gave no indication of Around the neck thus ensheathed, was galvanic susceptibility when brought in a collar of cylindrical glass beads, diverse contact with the wire. This the first triin color, and so arranged as to form ima- al, indeed, seemed decisive, and with a ges of deities, of the scarabæns, etc., with hearty laugh at our own absurdity we the winged globe. Around the small of were bidding each other good night, when the waist was a similar collar, or belt.
my eyes, happening to fall upon those of Stripping off the papyrus, we found the the mummy, were there immediately rivflesh in excellent preservation, with no eted in amazement. My brief glance, in perceptible odor. The color was reddish. fact, had sufficed to assure me that the The skin was hard, smooth and glossy. orbs which we had all supposed to be The teeth and hair were in good condi- glass, and which were originally noticetion. The eyes (it seemed) had been re- able for a certain wild stare, were now
50 far covered by the lids that only a it shook its fist in Doctor Ponnonner's small portion of the tunica albuginea re- face; in the fifth, turning to Messieurs mained visible.
Gliddon and Buckingham, it addressed With a shout I called attention to the them, in very capital Egyptian, thus: fact, and it became immediately obvious “I must say, gentlemen, that I am as to all.
much surprised as I am mortified, at your I cannot say that I was alarmed at the behavior. Of Doctor Ponnonner nothing phenomenon, because “alarmed” is, in better was to be expected. He is a poor my case, not exactly the word. It is little fat fool who knows no better. I possible, however, that, but for the Brown pity and forgive him. But you, Mr. Stout, I might have been a fittle nervous. Gliddon—and you, Silk-who have traAs for the rest of the company, they re- veled and resided in Egypt until one ally made no attempt at concealing the might imagine you to the manor borndownright fright which possessed them. you, I say, who have been so much Doctor Ponnonner was a man to be pi- among us ihat you speak Egyptian fully tied. Mr. Gliddon, by some peculiar pro- as well as you write your mother tongue cess, rendered himself invisible. Mr. Silk —you, whom I have been always led to Buckingham, I fancy, will scarcely be so regard as the firm friend of the mummies bold as to deny that he made his way, - I really did anticipate more gentlemanupon all fours, under the table.
ly conduct from you. What am I to think After the first shock of astonishment, of your standing quietly by and seeing however, we resolved, as a matter of me thus unhandsomely used? What am course, upon farther experiment forth- I to suppose by your permitting Tom, with. Our operations were now direct. Dick and Harry to strip me of my coffins, ed against the great toe of the right foot. and my clothes, in this wretchedly cold We made an incision over the outside of climate? In what light (to come to the the exterior os sesamoideum pollicis pedis, point) am I to regard your aiding and and thus got at the root of the abductor abetting that miserable little villain, Docmuscle. Re-adjusting the battery, we tor Ponnonner, in pulling me by the now applied the fluid to the bisected nose?” nerves—when, with a movement of ex- It will be taken for granted, no doubt, ceeding life-likeliness, the mummy first that upon bearing this
speech under the drew up its right knee so as to bring it circumstances, we all either made for the nearly into contact with the abdomen, door, or fell into violent hysterics, or and then, straightening the limb with in- went off in a general swoon. One of conceivable force, bestowed a kick upon these three things was, I say, to be exDoctor Ponnonner which had the effect pected. Indeed each and all of these lines of discharging that gentleman, like an of conduct might have been very plausiarrow from a catapult, through a window bly pursued. And, upon my word, I am into the street below.
somewhat at a loss to explain how or We rushed out en masse to bring in the why it was that we pursued neither the mangled remains of the victim, but had one nor the other. But, perhaps, the true the happiness to meet him upon the stair- reason is to be sought in the spirit of the case, coming up in an unaccountable hur- age, which proceeds by the rule of conry, brimfull of the most ardent philoso- traries altogether, and is now usually phy, and more than ever impressed with admitted as the solution of every thing in the necessity of prosecuting our experi- the way of paradox and impossibility. ments with rigor and with zeal.
Or, perhaps, after all, it was only the It was by his advice, accordingly, that mummy’s exceedingly natural and matterwe made, upon the spot, a profound in- of-course air that divested his words of cision into the tip of the subject's nose, the terrible. However this may be, the while the Doctor himself, laying violent facts are clear, and no member of our hands upon it, pulled it into vehement party betrayed any very particular trepi. contact with the wire.
dation, or seemed to consider that any Morally and physically-figuratively thing had gone very especially wrong. and literally-was ihe effect electric. In For my part I was convinced it was the first place, the corpse opened its eyes all right, and merely stepped aside, out and winked very rapidly for several min- of the range of the Egyptian's fist. Docutes, as does Mr. Barnes in the panto- tor Ponnonner thrust his hands into his mime; in the second place, it sneezed; breeches pockets, looked hard at the in the third, it sat upon end ; in the fourth, mummy, and grew excessively red in the
face. Mr. Gliddon stroked his whiskers the face, and consented to take off his and drew up the collar of his shirt.
Mr. Buckingham hung down his head, and It will be readily understood that Mr. put his right thumb into the left corner Gliddon’s discourse turned chiefly upon of his mouth.
the vast benefits accruing to science from The Egyptian regarded him with a se- the unrolling and disembowelling of mumvere countenance for some minutes, and mies; apologizing, upon this score, for at length, with a sneer, said:
any disturbance that might have been “Why don't you speak, Mr. Bucking- occasioned him, in particular, the indivi. ham? Did you hear what I asked you, dual Mummy called Allamistakeo; and or not? Do take your thumb out of your concluding with a mere hint, (for it could mouth.”
scarcely be considered more,) that, as Mr. Buckingham, hereupon, gave a these little matters were now explained, slight start, took his right thumb out of it might be as well to proceed with the the left corner of his mouth, and, by way investigation intended. Here Doctor Ponof indemnification, inserted the left thumb nonner made ready his instruments. in the right corner of the aperture above- In regard to the latter suggestions of mentioned.
the orator, it appears that Allamistakeo Not being able to get an answer from had certain scruples of conscience, the Mr. B., the figure turned peevishly to nature of which I did not distinctly learn; Mr. Gliddon, and, in a preremptory tone, but he expressed himself satisfied with demanded in general terms what we all the apologies tendered, and, getting down meant.
from the table, shook hands with the Mr. Gliddon replied at great length, in company all round. phonetics; and but for the deficiency of When this ceremony was at an end, we the American printing-offices in hiero- immediately busied ourselves in repairing glyhical type, it would afford me much the damages which our subject had suspleasure to record here, in the original, tained from the scalpel. We sewed up the whole of his very capital speech. the wound in his temple, bandaged his
I may as well take this occasion to foot, and applied a square inch of black remark, that all the subsequent conversa- plaster to the tip of his nose. tion in which the mummy took a part, It was now observed that the Count, was carried on in the primitive Egyptian, (this was the title, it seems, of Allamisthrough the medium (so far as concerned takeo,) had a slight fit of shivering-no myself and the other untravelled members doubt from the cold. The doctor immeof the company)—through the medium, I diately repaired to his wardrobe, and say, of Messieurs Gliddon and Bucking- soon returned with a black dress coat, ham, as interpreters. These gentlemen made in Jennings best manner, a pair of spoke the mother tongue of the Mummy sky-blue plaid pantaloons with straps, a with inimitable fluency and grace; but I pink gingham chemise, a flapped vest of could not help observing that (owing, brocade, a white sack overcoat, a walking no doubt, to the introduction of images cane with a hook, a hat with no brim, entirely modern, and, of course, entirely patent-leather boots, straw.colored kid novel to the stranger,) the two travel. gloves, an eye-glass, a pair of whiskers, ers were reduced, occasionally, to the and a waterfall cravat. Owing to the employment of sensible forms for the disparity of size between the Count and purpose of conveying a particular mean- the doctor, (the proportion being as two ing. Mr. Gliddon, at one period, for to one,) there was some little difficulty example, could not make the Egyptian in adjusting these habiliments upon the comprehend the term “politics,” until he person of the Egpytian; but when all was sketched upon the wall, with a bit of char- arranged, he might have been said to be coal, a little carbuncle-nosed gentleman, dressed. Mr. Gliddon, therefore, gave out at elbows, standing upon a stump, him his arm, and led him to a comfortable with his left leg drawn back, his right chair by the fire, while the doctor rang arm thrown forward, with the fist shut, the bell upon the spot and ordered a the eyes rolled up toward Heaven, and the supply of cigars and wine. mouth open at an angle of ninety degrees. The conversation soon grew animated. Just in the same way Mr. Buckingham Much curiosity was, of course, expressed failed to convey the absolutely modern in regard to the somewhat remarkable fact idea, “ wig," until, (at Doctor Ponnon- of Allamistakeo's still remaining alive. ner's suggestion,) he grew very pale in “I should have thought,” observed