Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

Mr. Buckingham, “that it is high time in perpetual abeyance, all the animal funcyou were dead.”

tions subjected to the process. To be Why," replied the Count, very much brief, in whatever condition the individual astonished, “I am little more than seven was, at the period of embalmment, in that hundred years old! My father lived a condition he remained. Now, as it is my thousand, and was by no means in his good fortune to be of the blood of the dotage when he died.

Scarabæus, I was embalmed alive, as you Here ensued a brisk series of questions see me at present.” and computations, by means of which it 6. The blood of the Scarabeus !” ex. became evident that the antiquity of the claimed Doctor Ponnonner. mummy had been grossly misjudged. It “ Yes. The Scarabæus was the insig. had been five thousand and fifty years, nium, on the “ arms,” of a very distinand some months, since he had been con- guished and a very rare patrician family. signed to the catacombs at Eleithias. To be “ of the blood of ihe Scarabæus,"

“ But my remark,” resumed Mr. is merely to be one of that family of Buckingham,“ had no reference to your which the Scarabeus is the insignium. age at the period of interment; (I am I speak figuratively.” willing to grant, in fact, that you are « But what has this to do with your still a young man), and my allusion was being alive.” to the immensity of time during which, “Why it is the general custom, in by your own showing, you must have Egypt, to deprive a corpse, before embeen done up in asphaltum.”

ba!mment, of its bowels and brains; the * In what?” said the Count.

race of the Scarabæi alone did not coin“In asphaltum,” persisted Mr B. cide with the custom. Had I not been a “Ah, yes; I have some faint notion Scarabæus, therefore, I should have been of what you mean; it might be made to without bowels and brains; and without answer, no doubt,--but in my time we either it is inconvenient to live.” employed scarcely anything else than “ I perceive that ;” said Mr. Buckingthe bichloride of Mercury.”.

ham, “and I presume that all the entire “ But what we are especially at a loss mummies that come to hand are of the to understand,” said Doctor Ponnonner, race of Scarabæi." is how it happens that, having been Beyond doubt.” dead and buried in Egypt five thousand “I thought,” said Mr. Gliddon very years ago, you are here to-day all alive, meekly, " that the Scarabæus was one and looking so delightfully well.” of the Egyptian gods.”

“ Had I been, as you say, dead,” re- “One of the Egyptian what ?” exclaim. plied the Count, it is more than prob- ed the Mummy, starting to its feet. able that dead I should still be ; for I “ Gods !" repeated the traveler. perceive that you are yet in the infancy “ Mr. Gliddon I really am ashamed to of Galvanism, and cannot accomplish hear you talk in this style,” said the with it what was a common thing among Count, resuming his chair. “ No nation us in the old days. But the fact is, I fell upon the face of the earth has ever acinto catalepsy, and it was considered by knowledged more than the one God. The my best friends that I was either dead or Scarabæus, the lbis, etc. were, with us, (as should be; they accordingly embalmed similar creatures have been with others) me at once-I presume you are aware of the symbols, or media, through which we the chief principle of the embalming pro- offered worship to a Creator too august cess"

to be more directly approached.” • Why, not altogether.”

There was here a pause. At length "Ah, I perceive ;-a deplorable con- the colloquy was renewed by Doctor dition of ignorance! Well, I cannot Ponnonner. enter into details just now; but it is ne- • It is not improbable, then, from what cessary to explain that to embalm, (pro- you have explained,” said he, “ that perly speaking), in Egypt, was to arrest among the catacombs near the Nile, there indefinitely all the animal functions sub- may exist other mummies of the Scarajected to the process. I use the word bæus tribe, in a condition of vitality.” “ animal” in its widest sense, as including There can be no question of it,” rethe physical not more than the moral and plied the Count ; “ all the Scarabæi emvital being. I repeat that the leading prin- balmed accidentally while alive, are alive ciple of embalmment consisted, with us, Even some of those purposely so is the immediately arresting, and holding embalmed, may have been overlooked

a

now.

by their executors, and still remain in the “I beg your pardon,” said Doctor Pontombs.”

nonner at this point, laying his hand “Will you be kind enough to explain,” gently upon the arm of the EgyptianI said, “what you mean by `purposely “I beg your pardon, sir, but may I preso embalmed ? »

sume to interrupt you for one moment ?" “ With great pleasure,” answered the • By all means, sir,” replied the Count, Mummy, after surveying me leisurely drawing up. through his eye-glass-for it was the “ I merely wished to ask you a ques. first time I had ventured to address him a tion,” said the Doctor. “ You mentioned direct question.

the historian's personal correction of tra“With great pleasure,” said he. “ The ditions respecting his own epoch. Fray, usual duration of man's life, in my time, sir, upon an average, what proportion of was about eight hundred years. Few these Kabbala were usually found to be men died, unless by most extraordinary right?” accident, before the age of six hundred; “ The Kabbala, as you properly term few lived longer than a decade of centu. them, sir, were generally discovered to ries; but eight were considered the na- be precisely on a par with the facts tural term. After the discovery of the recorded in the un-re-written histories embalming principle, as I have already themselves;—that is to say, not one indescribed it to you, it occurred to our dividual iota of either, was ever known, philosophers that a laudable curiosity under any circumstances, to be not totally might be gratified, and, at the same time, and radically wrong.". the interests of science much advanced, “But as it is quite clear,” resumed the by living this natural term in instalments. Doctor, “ that at least five thousand years In the case of history, indeed, experience have elapsed since your entombment, I demonstrated that something of this kind take it for granted that your histories at was indispensable. A historian, for ex- that period, if not your traditions, were ample, having attained the age of five sufficiently explicit on that one topic of hundred, would write a book with great universal interest, the Creation, which labor and then get himself carefully em- took place, as I presume you are aware, balmed ; leaving instructions to his exe- only

about ten centuries before.” cutors pro tem., that they should cause « Sir!” said Count Allamistakeo. him to be revivified after the lapse of a The Doctor repeated his remarks, but certain period—say five or six hundred it was only after much additional explanyears. Resuming existence at the expi- ation, that the foreigner could be made to ration of this term, he would invariably comprehend them. The latter at length find his great work converted into a spe- said,

hesitatingly: cies of hap-hazard note-book-that is to The ideas you have suggested are to say, into a kind of literary arena for the me, I confess, utterly novel. During conflicting guesses, riddles, and personal my time I never knew any one to ensquabbles of whole herds of exasperated tertain so singular a fancy as that the commentators. These

guesses, etc., universe (or this world if you will have which passed under the name of annota- it so) ever had a beginning at all. I retions or emendations, were found so member, once, and once only, hearing completely to have enveloped, distorted, something remotely hinted, by a man of and overwhelmed the text, that the many speculations, concerning the origin author had to go about with a lantern to of the human race; and by this individual discover his own book. When disco- the very word Adam, (or Red Earth) vered, it was never worth the trouble of which you make use of, was employed. the search. After re-writing it through. He employed it, however, in a generical out, it was regarded as the bounden duty sense, with reference to spontaneous gerof the historian to set himself to work, mination from rank soil (just as a thouforthwith, in correcting from his own sand of the lower genera of creatures are private knowledge and experience, the germinated)—the spontaneous germinatraditions of the day, concerning the tion, I say, of five vast hordes of men siepoch at which he had originally lived multaneously upspringing in five distinct Now this process of re-scription and per- and nearly equal divisions of the globe.” sonal rectification, pursued by various Here, in general, the company shrug. individual sages, from time to time, had ged their shoulders, and one or two of the effect of preventing our history from us touched our foreheads with a very sigdegenerating into absolute fable.” nificant air. Mr. Silk Buckingham, first glancing slightly at the occiput and then “ Look at our architecture !” he exat the sinciput of Allamistakeo, spoke as claimed, greatly to the indignation of both follows:

the travelers, who pinched him black “ The long duration of human life in and blue to no purpose. your time, together with the occasional “Look," he cried with enthusiasm, practice of passing it, as you have ex- “at the Bowling-Green Fountain in New plained, in instalinents, must have had, York; or if this be too vast a contemindeed, strong tendency to the gener- plation, regard for a moment the Capitol al development and conglomeration of at Washington, D. C. !”—and the good knowledge. I presume, therefore, that little medical man went on to detail very we are to attribute the marked inferiority minutely the proportions of the fabric to of the old Egyptians in all particulars of which he referred. He explained that the science, when compared with the mo- portico alone was adorned with no less derns, and more especially with the Yan. than four and twenty columns, five feet kees, altogether to the superior solidity in diameter, and ten feet apart. of the Egyptian skull.”

The Count said that he regretted not “I confess again,” replied the Count, being able to remember, just at that mowith much suavity," that I am somewhat ment, the precise dimensions of any one at a loss to comprehend you ; pray, to what of the principal buildings of the city of particulars of science do you allude ?” Aznac, whose foundations were laid in

Here our whole party joining voices, the night of Time, but the ruins of which detailed, at great length, the assumptions were still standing, at the epoch of his of phrenology and the marvels of ani. entombment, in a vast plain of sand to the mal magnetism.

westward of Thebes. He recollected, Having heard us to an end, the Count however, (talking of porticoes) that one proceeded to relate a few anecdotes, affixed to an inferior palace in a kind of which rendered it evident that prototypes suburb called Carnac, consisted of a of Gall and Spurzheim had flourished hundred and forty-four columns, thirty and faded in Egypt so long ago as to seven feet each in circumference, and have been nearly forgotten, and that the twent-five feet apart. The approach to manæuvres of Mesmerism were really this portico, from the Nile, was through very contemptible tricks when put in col. an avenue two miles long, composed of lation with the positive miracles of the sphynxes, statues and obelisks, twenty, Theban savans, who created lice, and sixty, and a hundred feet in height. The a great many other similar things. palace itself (as well as he could remem

I here asked the Count if his people ber) was, in one direction, two miles long, were able to calculate eclipses. He and might have been, altogether, about smiled rather contemptuously, and said seven in circuit. Its walls were richly they were.

painted all over, within and without, This put me a little out, but I began with hieroglyphics. He would not preto make other inquiries in regard to his tend to assert that even fifty or sixty of astronomical knowledge, when a member the Doctor's Capitols might have been of the company, who had never as yet built within these walls, but he was by opened his mouth, whispered in my ear no means sure that two or three hundred that, for information on this head, I had of them might not have been squeezed in better consult Ptolemy, (whoever Ptolemy with some trouble. That palace at Caris) as well as one Plutarch de facie lune. nac was an insignificant little building,

I then questioned the Mummy about after all. He, (the Count) however, could burning-glasses and lenses, and, in gene- not conscientiously refuse to admit the ral, about the manufacture of glass; but ingenuity, magnificence, and superiority I had not made an end of my queries of the Fountain at the Bowling-Green, before the silent member again touched as described by the Doctor. Nothing like me quietly on the elbow, and begged me it, he was forced to allow, had ever been for God's sake to take a peep at Diodorus seen in Egypt or elsewhere. Siculus. As for the Count, he merely I here asked the Count what he had to asked me, in the way of reply, if we say to our rail-roads. moderns possessed any such microscopes Nothing,” he replied,“ in particular.” as would enable us to cut cameos in the They were rather slight, rather ill constyle of the Egyptians. While I was ceived, and clumsily put together. They thinking how I should answer this ques. could not be compared, of course, with tion, little Doctor Ponnonner committed the vast, level, direct, iron-grooved causehimself in a very extraordinary way. ways, upon which the Egyptians con

a

veyed entire temples and solid obelisks As well as the Count could recollect, of a hundred and fiity feet in altitude. it was Mob.

I spoke of our gigantic mechanical Not knowing what to say to this, I forces.

raised my voice, and deplored the EgypHe agreed that we knew something in tian ignorance of steam. that way, but inquired how I should The Count looked at me with much have gone to work in getting up the im- astonishment, but made no answer. The posts on the lintels of even ihe little lent gentleman, however, gave me aviopalace at Carnac.

lent nudge in the ribs with his elbowsThis question I concluded not to hear, told me I had sufficiently exposed myself and demanded if he had any idea of Ar- for once--and demanded if I was really tesian wells; but he simply raised his such a fool as not to know that the modern eye-brows; while Mr. Gliddon, winked steam engine is derived from the invenat me very hard, and said, in a low tone, tion of Hero, through Solomon de Caus. that one had been recently discovered by We were now in imminent danger of the engineers employed to bore for water being discomfited; but, as good luck in the Great Oasis.

would have it, Doctor Ponnonner, having I then mentioned our steel; but the rallied, returned to our rescue, and inforeigner elevated his nose, and asked quired if the people of Egypt would me if our steel could have executed the seriously pretend to rival the moderns in sharp carved work seen on the obelisks, the all-important particular of dress. and which was wrought altogether by The Count, at this, glanced downward edge-tools of copper.

to the straps of his pantaloons, and then, This disconcerted us so greatly that taking hold of the extreme end of one of his we thought it advisable to vary the at coat-tails, held it up close to his eyes for tack to Metaphysics. We sent for a some minutes. Letting it fall, at last, his copy of a book called the “ Dial”, and mouth extended itself very gradually from read out of it a chapter or two about ear to ear ;—but I don't remember that he something which is not very clear, but said anything in the way of reply. which the Bostonians call the Great Hereupon we recovered our spirits, Movement or Progress.

and the Doctor, approaching the Mummy The Count merely said that Great with great dignity, desired it to say canMovements were awfully common things didly, upon its honor as a gentleman, if in his day, and as for Progress it was the Egyptians had comprehended, at any quite a nuisance, but it never progressed. period, the manufacture of either Pon

We then spoke of the great beauty nonner's lozenges, or Brandreth's pills. and importance of Democracy, and were We looked, with profound anxiety, at much trouble in impressing the Count for an answer;—but in vain. It was not with a due sense of the advantages we forthcoming. The Egyptian blushed and enjoyed in living where there was suf- hung down his head. Never was trifrage ad libitum, and no king.

umph more consummate; never was deHe listened with marked interest, and feat borne with so ill a grace. Indeed I in fact seemed not a little amused. When could not endure the spectacle of the poor we had done, he said that, a great while Mummy's mortification. I reached my ago, there had occurred something of a hat, bowed to him stiffly, and took leave. very similar sort. Thirteen Egyptian Upon getting home I found it past four provinces determined all at once to be o'clock, and went immediately to bed. It free, and so set a magnificent example is now ten, A. M. I have been up since to the rest of mankind. They assembled seven, penning these memoranda for the their wise men, and concocted the most benefit of my family and of mankind ingenious constitution it is possible to The former I shall behold no more. My conceive. For a while they managed wife is a shrew. The truth is, I am remarkably well; only their habit of heartily sick of this life and of the ninebragging was prodigious. The thing end- teenth century in general. I am coned, however, in the consolidation of the vinced that every thing is going wrong. thirteen states, with some fifteen or twen. Besides, I am anxious to know who will ty others, into the most odious and insup- be President in 2045. As soon, there. portable despotism that ever was heard fore, as I shave and swallow a cup of of upon the face of the Earth.

coffee, I shall just step over to PonnonI asked what was the name of the ner's and get embalmed for a couple of usurping tyrant.

hundred years.

ABOUT BIRDS.

"answer

There is a philosophy, which, taking of his inheritance, up the steep—the man for the highest and purest exhibition calm radiance of his merciful brow drawof the divisible--that type of all being, in ing its flood toward the stars! It is a which organism is perfected--recognizes healthful philosophy, full of lenient and him also as linking it with the indivisi- noble teachings. These co-mates, and ble, as the penultimate of forms part of sharers of the sun with us, are introduced heaven and part of earth. This being within the circle of our sympathies. We accepted, whereto we are greatly in- become cursed and harsh with dwelling clined, his relations to inferior creatures forever amidst false hopes and carebecome beautifully dignified. They con- weighed aspirations, and io get forth into stitute, under the sun, a sort of archan- this marvelous outer world, full as it is gelship, drawn by the common ties of of loveliness, of quaint and mirth-procommon sympathies toward all things voking forms, is a pleasant relief. Here that breathe and move, yet holding an are beings infinitely numerous, who awful throne, by right of its spiritual breathe and move by the same laws with lineage. Then becomes he, to their ma. us, yet who, in their appareling, their terial nature, a “God made visible”—the modes and humors,

mere immediate expression of that mystery and Nature.' Just as we love the matron power which are the elements of all su- smiling front of her eternal freshness, preme rule, whether human or Divine. will we love these, and shed upon them These earth-mated things are his subjects, out of our hearts, a wide beneficence. and here, at least, his lust of despotism is How can we fail to love a keen-eyed gratified--for he is ruler and lord above wild bird, coming from solitude, burthem, for evil as for good. When for nished and many-hued, as if the air where evil, how terrible must he be to them its surpassing beauty grew held stores with his dread engines and his fierce sub- of gold, of amethyst, and glittering gems tlety! When for good, what moving of within its depths, and had sifted them in strange thoughts, what yearnings for a gradual splendor down upon the plumy better and gentler being must visit them! ihing that sat within its stillness. What Was it not so with our face when“ there a pleasant mystery its gay eccentric bewere giants in those days,” and angels ing is. How we delight to watch its trod the earth amidst the sons of Adam ? tameless heart, pulsing through every gesIf creation be an unresting tendency, ture, and to wonder what it thinks and eternally ascending toward the perfect, feels, and how its moods go. Who has then is our supposition less a fancy than not noticed the joyful amazement lighting a truth, and our dominion over the beast up an infant's eye when you hold a bird of the earth and the fowl of the air be- before it: or a sleek-furred squirrel, just comes a heritage of fearful responsibili. from its leaf-cradle in the hollow oak. ties, embracing wide extremes of pleasure How he screams with the novel joy, as and of pain. Duties, then, of startling its shrinking fingers feel the strange, soft significancy, open to us, and we feel the touch. His first impulse, (the royal papresence of self-derived majesty expand tron roused already,) is to fondle, caress throughout our“ principality, and in be- and feed the little prisoner, and though neticence above immortal subjects. We the awkward, chubby fist of the young are no longer tyrants, but right royal Hercules may strangle his delicate vassal masters. We know them not as the in- at the first grasp, yet it is not from crusensate objects of a rude caprice, dumb elty, but in the eagerness of the new defoot-balls to our blind and heady passions, light. All children are enthusiastic nato be chased and torn and worried in our turalists so long as the happy time of savage glee, but as the creatures of our innocent, free impulse lasts, and that man delicated love;' to be guarded gently, is the purer and the better for it who has nurtured well, and led by easy ways up retained that wise enthusiasm all bis days. through serener airs to happier fields. Apart from any philosophy, who has not This is the apocalyptic vision of an elder observed how such tastes ameliorate race. Man, the ascender,' beckoning the asperities of character-how simplethe flocks and herds—the live ocean-tide hearted, kindly, and merciful the natu

« PreviousContinue »