(enter Egypt)

Egypt: How now, what noise is this? Peace! peace!

Both: We wanted to get up.

Egypt: What have you to do with this present age? To what use could you put all these new ideas, all these modern inventions? You would be laughed at as incapables. Your very appearance, your manner, your speech, is unlike that of the present day. No! no! take the word of one who has lived longer than yourself, of one who has lived through many ages, that if you could be transplanted to any other age than that in which you were born, life would be no longer tolerable. New manners, new ideas, a new race, in short, spring up during each of nature’s cycles, and could we find ourselves in their midst we should feel as aliens. Be content to have lived among your people, among your own friends, among those objects with which you were familiar. Peace! peace!

Uncle: Samuel, mother Egypt is right. I have already had enough of the 20th century. I sigh for rest. Let us return to the past which we loved so well. We felt more at home a century ago. Come (goes into his mummy case and closes the lid)

Sam: (a little pause) What! Here all alone. Uncle! uncle! You are not really gone?

Egypt: Yes! he is really gone. Follow him! follow him! for I must return to my Pyramids and cross the Black Sea before the tide turns. Peace! peace!

Sam: You are right, mother Egypt, I will go. I am, indeed, out of place. But tell me one thing. Wasn’t that woman jesting?

Egypt: Jesting! not in the least. She was speaking simple truth. But do you know why she appeared to you to be jesting?

Sam: I do not.

Egypt: Because she was alluding to manners and customs to which you are a stranger, to facts of which you have no cognizance. To you, her superior wisdom appeared a jest; to her, your ignorance seemed incredible. But there are wiser men than yourself, who feel that what they do not themselves understand, cannot exist. It is an error common to humanity, but it is an error. If we knew more we should feel that all things were possible. Peace! peace! (Sam goes in and closes the lid).

(she turns to audience)

How deftly are the ages planned,
Each following each, yet none o’erspanned.
Wisely the magic circle wheels,
For each his age the wisest feels.
Happy illusion! Who would learn
His wisdom could to folly turn?
Who feel his skill could be surpassed?
Who feel his light could be o’ercast?
What heart so brave, what brain so wise,
As dream that aught beyond it lies?
More wise to think—more wise—more blest—
Superior wisdom but a jest.