Shock and Awe

Uncle: (with much solicitude) Oh! it wasn’t you, then. Why what was it? (Sam receives another shock—also Uncle), Why where did it come from? (both examine premises much alarmed).

Lady: There is no cause for alarm. It is nothing. A little uncomfortable, perhaps, until you are acclimatized, but nothing serious. (slight shock to Lady herself).

Uncle: Merciful powers! what diabolical element is this?

Lady: It is nothing. It merely signifies the near approach of my Blitzen.

Sam: And by all the powers of darkness, who is Blitzen?.

Lady: Well, it is rather difficult to explain who and what he is. He is the Charioteer of Mongolfior, and my private electric battery.

Both: Your private electric battery!

Lady: He transacts all business which requires despatch. Receives and transmits messages, and informs me of important events transpiring at the antipodes, which my mental vision fails to apprehend. (both mummies groan).

Uncle: Till now my intellect has been just able to follow and grasp your meaning. But this is too much for me. This is too much.

Sam: Oh Uncle! let’s go. I feel so ill.

Lady: Be not alarmed. Even in your day you were not ignorant of the existence of electricity. The manipulators of that mysterious agent had already appeared. They were called mediums, but it was left for the 20th century to understand and to utilize their peculiar gifts. you shall judge for yourselves.

Uncle: Merciful powers! you are not going to bring that electric eel into this room!

Sam: Let us take refuge in flight. (both mummies go hastily toward door when they encounter Blitzen who enters with a thunderclap—mummies retreat rapidly—tremendous effect of electricity).

Uncle: Oh, madam, I do implore you, in the name of St Vitus, to chain up that boy. My old bones rattle in their sockets, and I am going clean daft.

Sam: I’ll catch him. I’ll give him a good shaking (advances).

Uncle: Don’t touch him, Sammy, whatever you do. There is no telling what would be the effect of more friction.

(Blitzen bows respectfully to the lady placing a small tablet against his forehead. Lady places a similar tablet against her forehead).

Uncle: (to Sam) What mummery is this?

Sam: Relating to mummies, I suppose. (Lady and Blitzen remain in that attitude for a moment without speaking)

Sam: What’s that? have you a headache, Madam?

Lady: A headache! no, why should you think so?

Sam: I saw you applying that tablet to your forehead.

Lady: (smiling and displaying it) That is my patent composite reflector.

Uncle: Your what?

Lady: My patent composite reflector.

Uncle: Shade of Bacon! what’s that for?

Lady: Dear me! how difficult it is to explain to you, you seem to enter so little into the spirit of the age. The patent composite reflector is the agent by which we apprehend the thought of another without speech. This is not peculiar to Blitzen, their use is universal.

Uncle: Oh Sammy!

Sam: Oh Uncle!

Uncle: And is speech unnecessary?

Lady: Perfectly so. I will tell you now what that boy wishes me to understand. It is that Mongolfior is quite ready. Am I not correct, Blitzino? (Blitzen bows).

Sam: What! is human speech abolished?

Lady: Among the most intellectual and cultured of the present day it is. Speech betrays a density of perception which, excuse me, savors of the darker ages.

Uncle: And do the women submit to this?

Lady: The women were the first to introduce this custom, and I have had the honor of enforcing its use wherever British authority extends.

Sam: (to Uncle) What an influential personage she must be. I wonder who she is.

Lady: The benefit arising from this new order of things, in Parliament, especially, is daily acknowledged. Formally the members spoke without thinking, now they think without speaking.

(Blitzen bows and places tablet again on forehead).

Lady: You may speak, Blitzino. It may amuse these gentlemen, friends of mine from the Pyramids.

Blitzen: I wish to say that the Lady Chancellor desires to confer with your Potency.

Lady: When did you see her Sackship?

Blitzen: Nearly two hours since, and her Sackship greatly desired an interview before the meeting of Parliament. Parliament meets, your Potency, almost immediately.

Lady: I will immediately confer with her. Catch me a current.

(Blitzen makes several passes in the air as if grasping something).

Sam: What is he doing? catching flies?

Blitzen: Here is one, your Potency.

Uncle: Excuse me, madam, but is he catching flies?

Lady: My dear Sir, you are as good as a play. He is catching an electric current.

My Cousin Amelia