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Chapter 2
IthinkthatatthattimenoneofusquitebelievedintheTimeMachine. The
fact is, the Time e Traveller was one e of those men who are too clever to be
believed: you never felt that you saw all round him; you always suspected
somesubtlereserve,someingenuityinambush,behindhislucidfrankness. Had
FilbyshownthemodelandexplainedthematterintheTimeTraveller’swords,
weshouldhaveshownhim far less scepticism. For r we shouldhaveperceived
hismotives: apork k butcher couldunderstandFilby. But t theTime Traveller
hadmore thanatouchof whim amonghis elements,andwe distrustedhim.
Thingsthatwouldhavemadethefameofalessclevermanseemedtricksinhis
hands.Itisamistaketodothingstooeasily.Theseriouspeoplewhotookhim
seriouslyneverfeltquitesureofhisdeportment: theyweresomehowawarethat
trustingtheirreputationsforjudgmentwithhimwaslikefurnishinganursery
withegg-shell china. SoI I don’t thinkany of us saidvery muchabout time
travellingintheintervalbetweenthatThursdayandthenext,thoughitsodd
potentialitiesran,nodoubt,inmostofourminds: itsplausibility,thatis,its
practical incredibleness, the curious s possibilities ofanachronism andof utter
confusionitsuggested. Formyownpart,Iwasparticularlypreoccupiedwith
the trick of the model. That t I remember discussingwiththeMedical Man,
whomImetonFridayattheLinnan. Hesaidhehadseenasimilarthingat
Tubingen,andlaidconsiderablestressontheblowingout ofthecandle. But
howthetrickwasdonehecouldnotexplain.
ThenextThursdayIwentagaintoRichmond|IsupposeIwasoneofthe
Time Traveller’s most constant guests|and, arrivinglate, foundfour or ve
menalreadyassembledinhisdrawing-room. The e MedicalManwasstanding
beforetherewithasheetofpaperinonehandandhiswatchintheother. I
lookedroundfortheTimeTraveller,and|‘It’shalf-pastsevennow,’saidthe
MedicalMan.‘Isupposewe’dbetterhavedinner?’
‘Where’s|?’saidI,namingourhost.
‘You’vejustcome? It’sratherodd.He’sunavoidablydetained. Heasksme
inthisnotetoleadowithdinneratsevenifhe’snotback. Sayshe’llexplain
whenhecomes.’
‘Itseemsapitytoletthedinnerspoil,’saidtheEditorofawell-knowndaily
paper;andthereupontheDoctorrangthebell.
11
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12
CHAPTER2.
ThePsychologistwastheonlypersonbesidestheDoctorandmyselfwhohad
attendedthepreviousdinner.TheothermenwereBlank,theEditoraforemen-
tioned,acertainjournalist,andanother|aquiet,shymanwithabeard|whom
Ididn’tknow,andwho,asfarasmyobservationwent,neveropenedhismouth
alltheevening.Therewassomespeculationatthedinner-tableabouttheTime
Traveller’sabsence,andIsuggestedtimetravelling,inahalf-jocularspirit. The
Editorwantedthatexplainedtohim,andthePsychologistvolunteeredawooden
accountof the‘ingenious paradoxandtrick’wehadwitnessedthatdayweek.
Hewasinthemidstofhisexpositionwhenthedoorfromthecorridoropened
slowlyandwithoutnoise.Iwasfacingthedoor,andsawitrst. ‘Hallo!’Isaid.
‘Atlast!’ Andthedooropenedwider,andtheTimeTravellerstoodbeforeus.
Igaveacry of surprise. ‘Goodheavens! man,what’sthematter?’ criedthe
MedicalMan,whosawhimnext. Andthewholetablefulturnedtowardsthe
door.
Hewasinanamazingplight.Hiscoatwasdustyanddirty,andsmearedwith
greendownthe sleeves; his hair disordered, andas it seemedtome greyer|
eitherwithdustanddirtorbecauseitscolourhadactuallyfaded. Hisfacewas
ghastlypale;hischinhadabrowncutonit|acuthalfhealed;hisexpression
washaggardanddrawn,asbyintensesuering. Foramomenthehesitatedin
thedoorway,as ifhehadbeendazzledby the light. Thenhe e came intothe
room. HewalkedwithjustsuchalimpasIhaveseeninfootsoretramps. We
staredathiminsilence,expectinghimtospeak.
He saidnot aword,but came painfullyto the table,andmade amotion
towardsthewine. TheEditorlledaglassofchampagne,andpushedittowards
him. Hedrainedit,anditseemedtodohimgood:forhelookedroundthetable,
andtheghostofhisoldsmile ickeredacrosshisface.‘Whatonearthhaveyou
beenupto,man?’ saidtheDoctor. TheTimeTravellerdidnotseemtohear.
‘Don’tletmedisturbyou,’hesaid,withacertainfalteringarticulation. ‘I’m
allright.’Hestopped,heldouthisglassformore,andtookitoatadraught.
‘That’s good,’ ’ he said. His s eyes grew w brighter, andafaint t colour came into
hischeeks.Hisglance ickeredoverourfaceswithacertaindullapproval,and
thenwent roundthe warmandcomfortableroom. Thenhespokeagain,still
asitwerefeelinghiswayamonghiswords. ‘I’mgoingtowashanddress,and
thenI’llcomedownandexplainthings... .Savemesomeofthatmutton. . I’m
starvingforabitofmeat.’
Helookedacross atthe Editor,whowasararevisitor,andhopedhewas
allright. The e Editor begana question. ‘Tell l youpresently,’ said the e Time
Traveller. ‘I’m|funny! Beallrightinaminute.’
He put downhis s glass, , and walked towards the staircase door. Again I
remarkedhislamenessandthesoftpaddingsoundofhisfootfall,andstanding
upinmyplace,Isawhisfeetas hewentout. Hehadnothingonthembuta
pairoftatteredblood-stainedsocks.Thenthedoorcloseduponhim. Ihadhalf
amindtofollow,tillIrememberedhowhedetestedanyfussabouthimself.For
aminute,perhaps,mymindwaswool-gathering.Then,‘RemarkableBehaviour
ofanEminent Scientist,’I heardthe Editorsay,thinking(after his wont)in
head-lines.Andthisbroughtmyattentionbacktothebrightdinner-table.
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13
‘What’sthegame?’ saidtheJournalist. ‘Hashe e beendoingtheAmateur
Cadger? Idon’t t follow.’ ImettheeyeofthePsychologist,andreadmy y own
interpretation in his s face. I I thought of the TimeTraveller limping painfully
upstairs. Idon’tthinkanyoneelsehadnoticedhislameness.
ThersttorecovercompletelyfromthissurprisewastheMedicalMan,who
rangthebell|theTimeTravellerhatedtohaveservants waitingat dinner|
forahotplate. Atthat t theEditorturnedtohisknifeandforkwithagrunt,
andtheSilentManfollowedsuit. Thedinnerwasresumed. Conversationwas
exclamatory for alittlewhile,withgaps ofwonderment;andthenthe Editor
gotferventinhiscuriosity. ‘Doesourfriendekeouthismodestincomewitha
crossing? orhas s hehis Nebuchadnezzar phases?’ heinquired. ‘Ifeelassured
it’sthisbusinessoftheTimeMachine,’Isaid,andtookupthePsychologist’s
account of our previous meeting. The new w guests were frankly incredulous.
TheEditorraisedobjections. ‘Whatwasthistimetravelling? ? Amancouldn’t
cover himselfwithdust byrollinginaparadox, , couldhe?’ Andthen,asthe
idea came home tohim, he resortedtocaricature. Hadn’t t they anyclothes-
brushes in the e Future? The e Journalist too, wouldnot t believe at any price,
andjoinedtheEditorintheeasyworkofheapingridiculeonthewholething.
Theywereboththenewkindofjournalist|veryjoyous,irreverentyoungmen.
‘OurSpecialCorrespondentintheDayafterTo-morrowreports,’theJournalist
wassaying|orrathershouting|whentheTimeTravellercameback. Hewas
dressedinordinaryeveningclothes,andnothingsavehishaggardlookremained
ofthechangethathadstartledme.
‘Isay,’saidtheEditorhilariously,‘thesechapsheresayyouhavebeentrav-
ellingintothemiddleofnextweek!!TellusallaboutlittleRosebery,willyou?
Whatwillyoutakeforthelot?’
TheTimeTravellercametotheplacereservedforhimwithoutaword. He
smiledquietly,inhisoldway. ‘Where’smymutton?’ hesaid. ‘Whatatreatit
istostickaforkintomeatagain!’
‘Story!’ criedtheEditor.
‘Storybedamned!’ saidthe e TimeTraveller. ‘Iwant t somethingto o eat. I
won’tsayaworduntilIgetsomepeptoneintomyarteries. Thanks. Andthe
salt.’
‘Oneword,’saidI.‘Haveyoubeentimetravelling?’
‘Yes,’saidtheTimeTraveller,withhismouthfull,noddinghishead.
‘I’dgive ashillingalinefor averbatim note,’ saidtheEditor. The e Time
TravellerpushedhisglasstowardstheSilentManandrangitwithhisngernail;
atwhichtheSilentMan,whohadbeenstaringathisface,startedconvulsively,
andpouredhimwine. Therestofthedinnerwasuncomfortable. Formyown
part, sudden questions kept onrisingto my lips, andI dare say it was s the
same with the e others. The e Journalist triedto relieve e the tensionby telling
anecdotes of f Hettie Potter. The e Time Traveller devotedhis attentiontohis
dinner, and displayedthe appetite of atramp. The e MedicalMansmokeda
cigarette,andwatched the e Time Traveller throughhis eyelashes. The e Silent
Manseemedevenmoreclumsythanusual,anddrankchampagnewithregularity
anddeterminationoutofsheernervousness. AtlasttheTimeTravellerpushed
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14
CHAPTER2.
his plateaway,andlookedroundus. ‘IsupposeImustapologize,’hesaid. ‘I
wassimplystarving. I’vehadamostamazingtime.’ Hereachedouthishand
foracigar,andcuttheend.‘Butcomeintothesmoking-room. It’stoolonga
storytotellovergreasyplates.’Andringingthebellinpassing,heledtheway
intotheadjoiningroom.
‘YouhavetoldBlank,andDash,andChoseaboutthemachine?’ hesaidto
me,leaningbackinhiseasy-chairandnamingthethreenewguests.
‘Butthething’samereparadox,’saidtheEditor.
‘Ican’targueto-night.Idon’tmindtellingyouthestory,butIcan’targue.
Iwill,’hewenton,‘tellyouthestoryofwhathashappenedtome,ifyoulike,
butyoumustrefrainfrominterruptions.Iwanttotellit.Badly.Mostofitwill
soundlikelying.Sobeit!It’strue|everywordofit,allthesame. Iwasinmy
laboratoryatfouro’clock,andsincethen... I’velivedeightdays... suchdays
asnohumanbeingeverlivedbefore!I’mnearlywornout,butIshan’tsleeptill
I’vetoldthisthingovertoyou. ThenIshallgotobed. . Butnointerruptions!
Isitagreed?’
‘Agreed,’saidtheEditor,andtherestofusechoed‘Agreed.’ Andwiththat
theTimeTravellerbeganhis story as I haveset itforth. Hesat t back inhis
chair atrst,andspokelikeawearyman. Afterwardshegotmoreanimated.
InwritingitdownIfeelwithonlytoomuchkeennesstheinadequacyofpenand
ink|and,aboveall, my owninadequacy|toexpressits s quality. Youread, , I
willsuppose,attentivelyenough;butyoucannotseethespeaker’swhite,sincere
faceinthebrightcircleofthelittlelamp,norheartheintonationofhisvoice.
Youcannot knowhowhisexpressionfollowedtheturns ofhisstory! Most t of
ushearerswereinshadow,forthecandlesinthesmoking-roomhadnot been
lighted,andonlythefaceoftheJournalistandthelegsoftheSilentManfrom
theknees downwardwereilluminated. At t rst weglancednowandagainat
eachother. After r atimeweceasedtodothat,andlookedonlyattheTime
Traveller’sface.
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Chapter 3
‘ItoldsomeofyoulastThursdayoftheprinciples oftheTime Machine,and
showedyoutheactualthingitself,incompleteintheworkshop. Thereitisnow,
alittletravel-worn,truly;andoneoftheivorybarsiscracked,andabrassrail
bent;buttherestofit’ssoundenough. Iexpectedtonishit t onFriday;but
onFriday,whentheputtingtogetherwasnearlydone,Ifoundthatoneofthe
nickelbarswasexactlyoneinchtooshort,andthisIhadtogetremade;sothat
thethingwasnotcompleteuntilthismorning. Itwasatteno’clockto-daythat
therstofallTimeMachinesbeganitscareer. Igaveitalasttap,triedallthe
screwsagain,putonemoredropofoilonthequartzrod,andsatmyselfinthe
saddle. Isupposeasuicidewhoholdsapistoltohisskullfeelsmuchthesame
wonderatwhatwillcomenextasIfeltthen.Itookthestartingleverinonehand
andthestoppingoneintheother,pressedtherst,andalmostimmediatelythe
second. Iseemedtoreel; ; Ifelt anightmaresensationof falling;and, looking
round,Isawthelaboratoryexactlyasbefore. Hadanythinghappened? Fora
momentIsuspectedthatmyintellecthadtrickedme. ThenInotedtheclock.
Amomentbefore,asitseemed,ithadstoodataminuteorsopastten;nowit
wasnearlyhalf-pastthree!
‘Idrewabreath,setmyteeth,grippedthestartingleverwithbothhands,
andwentowithathud.Thelaboratorygothazyandwentdark.Mrs.Watch-
ettcameinandwalked,apparentlywithoutseeingme,towardsthegardendoor.
Isupposeittookheraminuteorsototraversetheplace,buttomesheseemed
toshootacross theroomlikearocket. Ipressedtheleverovertoits s extreme
position. Thenightcameliketheturningoutofalamp,andinanother r mo-
ment cameto-morrow. The e laboratory grewfaintandhazy,thenfainterand
ever fainter. To-morrownight t came black, thenday again,night again, day
again,fasterandfasterstill.Aneddyingmurmurlledmyears,andastrange,
dumbconfusednessdescendedonmymind.
‘IamafraidIcannotconveythepeculiarsensationsoftimetravelling. They
areexcessivelyunpleasant. Thereisafeelingexactlylikethatonehasupona
switchback|ofahelplessheadlongmotion!Ifeltthesamehorribleanticipation,
too,ofanimminentsmash. AsIputonpace,nightfolloweddaylikethe apping
ofablackwing. Thedimsuggestionofthelaboratoryseemedpresentlytofall
away from me, andI I saw the sun hoppingswiftly across the e sky, leaping g it
15
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16
CHAPTER3.
everyminute,andeveryminutemarkingaday. Isupposedthelaboratoryhad
beendestroyedandIhadcome intotheopenair. I I hadadimimpressionof
scaolding,butIwasalreadygoingtoofasttobeconsciousofanymovingthings.
Theslowestsnailthatevercrawleddashedbytoofastforme. Thetwinkling
successionofdarknessandlightwasexcessivelypainfultotheeye.Then,inthe
intermittentdarknesses,Isawthemoonspinningswiftlythroughherquarters
fromnewtofull,andhadafaintglimpseofthecirclingstars. Presently,as s I
wenton,stillgainingvelocity,thepalpitationofnightanddaymergedintoone
continuousgreyness;theskytookonawonderfuldeepnessofblue,asplendid
luminouscolorlikethatofearlytwilight;thejerkingsunbecameastreakofre,
abrilliantarch,inspace;themoonafainter uctuatingband;andIcouldsee
nothingofthestars,savenowandthenabrightercircle ickeringintheblue.
‘Thelandscapewasmistyandvague.Iwasstillonthehill-sideuponwhich
thishousenowstands,andtheshoulderroseabovemegreyanddim.Isawtrees
growingandchanginglikepusofvapour,nowbrown,nowgreen;theygrew,
spread,shivered,andpassedaway. Isawhugebuildingsriseupfaintandfair,
andpasslikedreams.Thewholesurfaceoftheearthseemedchanged|melting
and owingundermyeyes. Thelittlehandsuponthedialsthatregisteredmy
speedracedroundfasterandfaster. PresentlyInotedthatthesunbeltswayed
upanddown,fromsolsticetosolstice,inaminuteorless,andthatconsequently
mypacewasoverayearaminute;andminutebyminutethewhitesnow ashed
acrosstheworld,andvanished,andwasfollowedbythebright,briefgreenof
spring.
‘Theunpleasantsensationsofthestartwerelesspoignantnow.Theymerged
atlastintoakindofhystericalexhilaration. Iremarkedindeedaclumsysway-
ingofthemachine,forwhichIwas unabletoaccount. Butmymindwas s too
confusedtoattendtoit,sowithakindofmadnessgrowinguponme,I ung
myselfintofuturity.AtrstIscarcethoughtofstopping,scarcethoughtofany-
thingbutthesenewsensations.Butpresentlyafreshseriesofimpressionsgrew
upinmymind|acertaincuriosityandtherewithacertaindread|untilatlast
theytookcompletepossessionofme.Whatstrangedevelopmentsofhumanity,
whatwonderfuladvances uponour rudimentarycivilisation,Ithought,might
notappearwhenIcametolooknearlyintothedimelusiveworldthatracedand
uctuatedbeforemyeyes! Isawgreat t andsplendidarchitecturerisingabout
me,moremassivethanany buildingsofour owntime,andyet,asitseemed,
builtofglimmerandmist. Isawarichergreen owupthehill-side,andremain
there,withoutanywintryintermission. Eventhroughtheveilofmyconfusion
theearthseemed very y fair. Andsomy y mindcameroundtothe business of
stopping,
‘The peculiar risk lay y inthe possibility of my nding some substance in
thespacewhichI,orthemachine,occupied. SolongasItravelledatahigh
velocitythroughtime,thisscarcelymattered;Iwas,sotospeak,attenuated|
wasslippinglikeavapourthroughtheintersticesofinterveningsubstances! But
tocometoastopinvolvedthejammingofmyself,moleculebymolecule,into
whatever layinmyway;meantbringingmyatomsintosuchintimatecontact
withthoseoftheobstaclethataprofoundchemicalreaction|possiblyafar-
17
reachingexplosion|wouldresult,andblowmyselfandmyapparatusoutofall
possibledimensions|intotheUnknown. Thispossibility y hadoccurredtome
againandagainwhile I was making the machine; but then I hadcheerfully
accepted it as an unavoidable e risk|one of the risks a man has s got to o take!
Nowtheriskwasinevitable,Inolongersawitinthesamecheerfullight. The
factisthatinsensibly,theabsolutestrangenessofeverything,thesicklyjarring
andswaying of the e machine, above all, the feeling of prolongedfalling, had
absolutely upset mynerve. Itoldmyself f that Icouldneverstop,andwitha
gustofpetulanceIresolvedtostopforthwith.Likeanimpatientfool,Ilugged
over the lever,andincontinentlythe thingwent reelingover,andI was  ung
headlongthroughtheair.
‘There was the soundof aclap of f thunder inmy y ears. I I may have been
stunnedforamoment. Apitilesshailwashissingroundme,andIwassitting
onsoft turfinfrontoftheoversetmachine. Everythingstillseemedgrey,but
presentlyIremarkedthatthe confusioninmyearswas gone. Ilookedround
me. I I was on what t seemed to be e a little lawn in a garden, surrounded by
rhododendronbushes,andInoticedthattheirmauveandpurpleblossomswere
droppingin ashower under r the beating g of the hailstones. The e rebounding,
dancinghailhunginacloudoverthemachine,anddrovealongthegroundlike
smoke.InamomentIwaswettotheskin.\Finehospitality,"saidI,\toaman
whohastravelledinnumerableyearstoseeyou."
‘Presently Ithought what afool Iwastogetwet. Istoodupandlooked
roundme. A A colossalgure,carvedapparentlyinsome whitestone, loomed
indistinctly beyondthe rhododendrons throughthe hazy downpour. But t all
elseoftheworldwasinvisible.
‘My sensations would be e hardtodescribe. As the e columns of f hailgrew
thinner,Isawthewhiteguremoredistinctly. It t was verylarge,forasilver
birch-treetoucheditsshoulder.Itwasofwhitemarble,inshapesomethinglike
awingedsphinx,butthewings,insteadofbeingcarriedverticallyatthesides,
werespreadsothatitseemedtohover.Thepedestal,itappearedtome,wasof
bronze,andwasthickwithverdigris.Itchancedthatthefacewastowardsme;
thesightlesseyes seemedtowatchme;therewas thefaintshadowofasmile
on the e lips. It was s greatly weather-worn, , and that imparted anunpleasant
suggestionof disease. Istoodlooking g at t it for a a little space|half aminute,
perhaps,orhalfanhour. Itseemedtoadvanceandtorecedeasthehaildrove
beforeitdenser or thinner. AtlastItore e my eyes fromitforamomentand
sawthatthehailcurtainhadwornthreadbare,andthattheskywaslightening
withthepromiseofthesun.
‘Ilookedupagainatthecrouchingwhiteshape,andthefulltemerityofmy
voyagecamesuddenly uponme. Whatmight t appearwhenthathazycurtain
was altogetherwithdrawn? Whatmightnothavehappenedtomen? Whatif
crueltyhadgrownintoacommonpassion? Whatifinthisintervaltheracehad
lostitsmanlinessandhaddevelopedintosomethinginhuman,unsympathetic,
andoverwhelminglypowerful? Imightseemsomeold-worldsavageanimal,only
themoredreadfulanddisgustingforour commonlikeness|afoulcreatureto
beincontinentlyslain.
18
CHAPTER3.
‘Already I saw other vast shapes|huge buildings withintricate parapets
andtallcolumns,withawoodedhillsidedimly creepinginuponme through
thelesseningstorm. Iwasseizedwithapanicfear. Iturnedfranticallytothe
TimeMachine, andstrove hardto readjustit. As s Ididsotheshafts of the
sunsmotethroughthethunderstorm. Thegreydownpourwassweptasideand
vanishedlike thetrailinggarments of aghost. Aboveme, , inthe intenseblue
ofthesummersky,somefaintbrownshredsofcloudwhirledintonothingness.
Thegreatbuildingsaboutmestoodoutclearanddistinct,shiningwiththewet
ofthethunderstorm,andpickedoutinwhitebytheunmeltedhailstonespiled
alongtheir courses. Ifelt t nakedinastrange world. Ifeltas s perhaps abird
mayfeelintheclear air,knowingthehawk wingsaboveandwillswoop. My
feargrewtofrenzy. Itookabreathingspace,setmyteeth,andagaingrappled
ercely,wrist andknee, withthemachine. Itgaveunder r my desperateonset
andturnedover.Itstruckmychinviolently. Onehandonthesaddle,theother
onthelever,Istoodpantingheavilyinattitudetomountagain.
‘Butwiththisrecoveryofapromptretreatmycouragerecovered. Ilooked
morecuriouslyandlessfearfullyatthisworldoftheremotefuture.Inacircular
opening,highupinthewallofthenearerhouse,Isawagroupofguresclad
inrichsoftrobes. Theyhadseenme,andtheirfacesweredirectedtowardsme.
‘ThenI heardvoices approachingme. Comingthroughthebushes s bythe
White Sphinx were the e heads and shoulders of menrunning. One e of these
emergedinapathwayleadingstraight tothelittlelawnuponwhichI stood
withmy machine. He e was aslight creature|perhapsfourfeet high|cladin
apurpletunic,girdledatthewaistwithaleatherbelt. Sandalsorbuskins|I
couldnotclearlydistinguishwhich|wereonhisfeet;hislegswerebaretothe
knees,andhisheadwasbare. Noticingthat,I I noticedforthersttimehow
warmtheairwas.
‘He struck me as being a very beautiful and graceful creature, but inde-
scribably frail. His s  ushed face e reminded me e of the more beautiful kind of
consumptive|that hectic beauty ofwhich weusedto hearsomuch. At t the
sightofhimIsuddenlyregainedcondence.Itookmyhandsfromthemachine.
Chapter 4
‘Inanothermomentwewerestandingfacetoface,Iandthisfragilethingout
offuturity. Hecamestraightuptomeandlaughedintomyeyes. Theabsence
fromhisbearingofanysignoffearstruckmeatonce. Thenheturnedtothe
twoothers whowere followinghim andspoketo o them inastrangeandvery
sweetandliquidtongue.
‘Therewereotherscoming,andpresentlyalittlegroupofperhapseightor
tenoftheseexquisitecreatureswereaboutme. Oneofthemaddressedme. It
cameintomyhead,oddlyenough,thatmyvoicewastooharshanddeepfor
them. SoIshookmyhead,and,pointingtomyears,shookitagain. Hecame
a stepforward, hesitated, andthentouchedmy hand. ThenI I felt other soft
littletentaclesuponmybackandshoulders. TheywantedtomakesureIwas
real. Therewasnothinginthis s at allalarming. Indeed,therewas s something
inthesepretty littlepeoplethat inspiredcondence|agracefulgentleness,a
certainchildlikeease.Andbesides,theylookedsofrailthatIcouldfancymyself
ingingthe whole dozenof them about likenine-pins. But t Imade asudden
motiontowarnthem whenIsawtheir little pink hands feelingat the Time
Machine. Happilythen,whenitwas s nottoolate,IthoughtofadangerIhad
hithertoforgotten,andreachingoverthebarsofthemachineIunscrewedthe
littlelevers that wouldset it inmotion,andputtheseinmypocket. ThenI
turnedagaintoseewhatIcoulddointhewayofcommunication.
‘Andthen,lookingmorenearlyintotheir features,Isawsomefurther pe-
culiarities in their r Dresden china type e of prettiness. Their hair, which was
uniformlycurly,cametoasharpendattheneckandcheek;therewasnotthe
faintestsuggestionofitontheface,andtheirearsweresingularlyminute. The
mouths were small, , withbright red, rather r thinlips, , andthe little chins s ran
toapoint. Theeyeswerelargeandmild;and|thismayseemegotismonmy
part|IfanciedeventhattherewasacertainlackoftheinterestImighthave
expectedinthem.
‘Astheymadenoeorttocommunicatewithme,butsimplystoodroundme
smilingandspeakinginsoftcooingnotestoeachother,Ibegantheconversation.
IpointedtotheTimeMachineandtomyself. Thenhesitatingforamoment
howtoexpresstime,Ipointedtothesun. Atonceaquaintlyprettylittlegure
inchequeredpurpleandwhitefollowedmygesture,andthenastonishedmeby
19
20
CHAPTER4.
imitatingthesoundofthunder.
‘ForamomentIwasstaggered,thoughtheimportofhisgesturewasplain
enough. Thequestionhadcomeintomymindabruptly: werethesecreatures
fools? You may hardly y understand how it t took me. You see I hadalways
anticipatedthatthepeopleoftheyearEightHundredandTwoThousandodd
wouldbeincrediblyinfrontofus inknowledge,art,everything. Thenoneof
themsuddenlyaskedmeaquestionthatshowedhimtobeontheintellectual
levelofoneofourve-year-oldchildren|askedme,infact,ifIhadcomefrom
thesuninathunderstorm!ItletloosethejudgmentIhadsuspendedupontheir
clothes,theirfraillight limbs, andfragile features. A owof f disappointment
rushedacrossmymind.ForamomentIfeltthatIhadbuilttheTimeMachine
invain.
‘Inodded,pointedtothesun,andgavethemsuchavividrenderingof a
thunderclapasstartledthem.Theyallwithdrewapaceorsoandbowed.Then
cameonelaughingtowardsme,carryingachainofbeautiful owersaltogether
newtome,andputitaboutmyneck. Theideawasreceivedwithmelodious
applause;andpresentlytheywereallrunningtoandfrofor owers,andlaugh-
ingly ingingthemuponmeuntilIwas almostsmotheredwithblossom. You
whohaveneverseenthelikecanscarcelyimaginewhatdelicateandwonderful
owers countless years ofculture hadcreated. Thensomeonesuggestedthat
their playthingshouldbeexhibitedinthe nearest building, , andsoI was s led
past thesphinxofwhitemarble,whichhadseemedtowatchmeallthewhile
withasmileat myastonishment,towardsavast greyediceof frettedstone.
AsIwentwiththemthememoryofmycondentanticipationsofaprofoundly
graveandintellectualposteritycame,withirresistiblemerriment,tomymind.
‘Thebuildinghadahugeentry,andwasaltogetherofcolossaldimensions.
I was naturally y most occupiedwiththe growing crowd of little e people, and
withthebigopenportalsthatyawnedbeforemeshadowyandmysterious.My
generalimpressionoftheworldIsawovertheirheads wasatangledwasteof
beautifulbushesand owers,along-neglectedandyetweedlessgarden. Isawa
numberoftallspikesofstrangewhite owers,measuringafootperhapsacross
the spreadof the waxenpetals. They y grewscattered, as if wild, amongthe
variegatedshrubs,but,as Isay,Ididnot examine them closelyatthis time.
TheTimeMachinewasleftdesertedontheturfamongtherhododendrons.
‘Thearchofthedoorwaywasrichlycarved,butnaturallyIdidnotobserve
thecarvingverynarrowly,thoughIfanciedIsawsuggestionsofoldPhoenician
decorations as Ipassedthrough,andit struck methat theywereverybadly
brokenand weather-worn. Several l more brightly clad people met me inthe
doorway,andsoweentered,I,dressedindingynineteenth-centurygarments,
lookinggrotesqueenough,garlandedwith owers,andsurroundedbyaneddying
massofbright,soft-coloredrobesandshiningwhitelimbs,inamelodiouswhirl
oflaughterandlaughingspeech.
‘Thebigdoorwayopenedintoaproportionatelygreathallhungwithbrown.
Theroofwasinshadow,andthewindows,partiallyglazedwithcolouredglass
andpartiallyunglazed,admittedatemperedlight. The oorwasmadeupof
hugeblocksofsomeveryhardwhitemetal,notplatesnor slabs|blocks,and
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