'The Mummy!' is a novel written by Jane C. Loudon which was published anonymously in 1827. It concerns the Egyptian mummy of Cheops, who is brought back to life in the year 2126. The novel describes a future filled with advanced technology, and was the first English-language story to feature a reanimated mummy. Unlike many early science fiction works, Loudon did not portray the future as her own day with only political changes. She filled her world with foreseeable changes in technology, society, and even fashion. Her social attitudes have resulted in the book being ranked among proto-feminist novels.
Jane Wells Webb Loudon (1807-1858) was an English author and early pioneer of science fiction. She wrote before the term was coined, and was discussed for a century as a writer of Gothic fiction, fantasy or horror. She also created the first popular gardening manuals, as opposed to specialist horticultural works, reframing the art of gardening as fit for young women. Furthermore, she contributed to the work of her husband, John Claudius Loudon.
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High and distinguished as was the favour shown to Edmund Montagu, it was by no means greater than he deserved. His face and figure were such as the imagination delights to picture as a hero of antiquity; and his character accorded well with the majestic graces of his person. Haughty and commanding in his temper-ambition was his God, and love of glory his strongest passion; yet his very pride had a nobleness in it, and his soldiers loved though they feared him.
Very different was the character of his younger brother Edric, whose romantic disposition and contemplative turn of mind often excited the ridicule of his friends. As usual, however, in similar cases, the persecutions he endured upon the subject, only wedded him more firmly to his own peculiar opinions; which, indeed, he seemed determined to sustain with the constancy of a martyr; whilst he put on such a countenance of resolution and magnanimity whenever they were assailed by jests or raillery, as might have been imagined suitable to an expiring Indian at the stake. Unfortunately, however, his friends did not always properly estimate this dignified silence; and their repeated bursts of laughter grated so harshly in the ears of the youthful Diogenes, that he became gradually disgusted with mankind. He secluded himself from society; despised the opinion of the world, because he found it was against him; and supposed himself capable of resisting every species of temptation, simply because, as yet, he had met with nothing adequate to tempt him. Older and more experienced persons have made the same mistake.
The education of these two young men had been entrusted to tutors of characters as essentially different as those of their pupils.-Father Morris, who had had the care of the elder, was an intelligent Catholic priest, the confessor of the family. Whilst Doctor Entwerfen, who took charge of the younger, was a worthy inoffensive man, whose passion for trying experiments was his leading foible; but whose good-nature caused him to be beloved, even by those to whom his follies made him appear ridiculous.
Sir Ambrose Montagu, the father of Edmund and Edric, was a widower, and these two sons constituted his whole family. The worthy Baronet was no bad representative of what an old English country gentleman always has been, and of what it still continued, even in that age of refinement. He was as warm in his feelings as hasty in his temper, and as violent in his prejudices, as any of his predecessors. In fact, the same causes must always lead to the same results; and there is something in a country life that never fails to produce certain peculiar effects upon the mind.
Sir Ambrose, however, was far superior to the generality of his class, and amongst innumerable other good qualities, he was an indulgent master and an affectionate father. His foible, however-for alas! where shall we find character without one-was a desire to show occasionally how implicitly he could be obeyed. In general, he was easy to a fault; and it was only when roused by opposition, that the natural obstinacy of his disposition displayed itself. Edmund was his favourite son; the early military glory of the youthful hero was flattering to his parental pride, and his eyes would glisten with delight at the bare mention of his darling's name.
It was one fine evening in the summer of the year 2126, when Sir Ambrose Montagu, such as we have described him, was sitting in his library, anxiously expecting intelligence from the army. To divert his impatience, he had ordered the attendance of his steward Mr. Davis, and endeavoured to amuse himself by hearing a report of the affairs of his farm; whilst Abelard, an old butler, who had been in the Baronet's service more than forty years, stood behind his master's chair holding a small tray, on which was placed an elegant apparatus for smoking, and a magnificent service of malleable glass, made to fold up to a pocket size, when not in use, containing the baronet's evening refreshment.
Sir Ambrose was above seventy; and his long white hair hung in waving curls upon his shoulders, as he now sat in his comfortable elastic arm-chair, leaning one elbow upon the table before him. His features had been very handsome, and his complexion still retained that look of health and cleanness, which, in a green old age, is the sure indication of a well-spent life. His countenance, though intelligent, was unmarked by the traces of any stormy passions; the cares and troubles of life seemed to have passed gently over him, and content had smoothed the wrinkles age might have made upon his brow; whilst the tall thin figure of Mr. Davis, as he stood reverentially bending forward, his hat in his hand, and his whole demeanour expressing a singular mixture of preciseness and habitual respect, contrasted strongly with the dignified appearance of his master.
The windows of the library opened to the ground, and looked out upon a fine terrace, shaded by a verandah, supported by trellis-work, round which, twined roses mingled with vines. Below, stretched a smiling valley, beautifully wooded, and watered by a majestic river winding slowly along; now lost amidst the spreading foliage of the trees that hung over its banks, and then shining forth again in the sun like a lake of liquid silver. Beyond, rose hills majestically towering to the skies, their clear outline now distinctly marked by the setting sun, as it slowly sunk behind them, shedding its glowing tints of purple and gold upon their heathy sides; whilst some of its brilliant rays even penetrated through the leafy shade of the verandah, and danced like summer lightning upon the surface of a mirror of polished steel which hung directly in face of Sir Ambrose.
"What a lovely evening!" exclaimed the worthy baronet, gazing with a delighted eye upon the rich landscape before him; "often as I have looked upon this scene, methinks every time I see it I discover some new beauty. How finely that golden tint which the sun throws upon the tops of those trees is relieved by the deep masses of shadow below!"
"It is a fine evening," said Davis, bowing low, "and if your honour pleases, I think we had better get the patent steam-mowing apparatus in motion to-morrow. If the sun should be as hot to-morrow as it has been to-day, I am sure the hay will make without using the burning glass at all."
"Do as you like, Davis," returned his master, taking his pipe, "you know I leave these matters entirely to you."
"And does not your honour think I had better give the barley a little rain? It will be all burnt up, if this weather continues; and if your honour approves, it may be done immediately, for I saw a nice black heavy-looking cloud sailing by just now, and I can get the electrical machine out in five minutes to draw it down, if your honour thinks fit."
"I have already told you I leave these things entirely to you, Davis," returned the baronet, puffing out volumes of smoke from his hookah. "Inundate the fields if you will; you have my full permission to do whatever you please with them, so that you don't trouble me any more about the matter."
"But I would not wish to act without your honour's full conviction," resumed the persevering steward. "Your honour must be aware of the aridity of the soil, and of the impossibility that exists of a proper development of the incipient heads, unless they be supplied with an adequate quantity of moisture."
"You are very unreasonable, Davis," aid Sir Ambrose; "most of your fraternity would be satisfied by being permitted to have their own way; but you--"
"Excuse my interrupting your honour," cried Davis, bowing profoundly; "but I cannot bear it to be thought that I was capable of persuading your honour to take any steps, your honour might not thoroughly approve. Now as to the germinization and ripening--"
"My good fellow!" exclaimed Sir Ambrose, smiling at the energy with which Davis spoke-his thin figure waving backwards and forwards in the sunshine, and his earnest wish to convince his master, almost depriving his voice of its usual solemn and sententious tone. "As I said before, I give you full and free liberty to burn, dry, or drown my fields, as you may think fit; empowering you to take any steps you judge proper, either to germinate or ripen corn upon any part of my estate whatever, only premising, that in future you never trouble me upon the subject; and so good night."
This being spoken in a tone of voice Davis did not dare to disobey, he slowly retired, apparently as much annoyed at having his own way, as some people are at being contradicted; when suddenly a brilliant flash of light gleamed on the baronet's polished mirror. "Ah! what was that?" exclaimed Sir Ambrose, starting up, and dashing his pipe upon the ground.
He gazed eagerly upon the mirror for a few seconds in breathless anxiety, bending forwards in a listening attitude, and not daring to stir, as though he feared the slightest movement might destroy the pleasing illusion. The flash was repeated again and again in rapid succession, whilst a peal of silver bells began to ring their rounds in liquid melody. "Thank God! thank God!" exclaimed the aged baronet, sinking upon his knees, and clasping his hands together, whilst the big tears rolled rapidly down his face, "My Edmund has conquered! my Edmund is safe!"
The faithful servants of Sir Ambrose followed the example of their master, and for some minutes the whole party appeared lost in silent thanksgiving; the silver bells still continuing their harmonious sweetness, though in softer and softer strains, till at last they gradually died away upon the ear. Sir Ambrose started from his knees as the melody ceased, and desiring Abelard to summon Edric and Father...