Сборники Художественной, Технической, Справочной, Английской, Нормативной, Исторической, и др. литературы.

панели управления дгу

The Time Machine by Herbert George Wells


    The Time Traveller (for so it will be convenient to speak of him) was
expounding a recondite matter to us. His grey eyes shone and twinkled, and
his usually pale face was flushed and animated. The fire burned  brightly,
and the soft radiance of the incandescent lights in the lilies  of  silver
caught the bubbles that flashed and passed in  our  glasses.  Our  chairs,
being his patents, embraced and caressed us rather than  submitted  to  be
sat upon, and  there  was  that  luxurious  after-dinner  atmosphere  when
thought roams gracefully free of the trammels of precision. And he put  it
to us in this way-marking the points with a lean forefinger-as we sat  and
lazily admired his earnestness over this new paradox (as we  thought  it:)
and his fecundity.
    `You must follow me carefully. I shall have to controvert one or  two
ideas that are almost universally accepted. The  geometry,  for  instance,
they taught you at school is founded on a misconception.'
    `Is not that rather a large thing to expect us to begin  upon?'  said
Filby, an argumentative person with red hair.
    `I do not mean to ask  you  to  accept  anything  without  reasonable
ground for it. You will soon admit as much as I need from you. You know of
course that a mathematical line, a line of  thickness  NIL,  has  no  real
existence. They taught you that? Neither has a mathematical  plane.  These
things are mere abstractions.'
    `That is all right,' said the Psychologist.
    `Nor, having only length, breadth, and thickness, can a cube  have  a
real existence.'
    `There I object,' said Filby. `Of course a solid body may exist.  All
real things-'
    `So most people think. But wait a moment. Can an  INSTANTANEOUS  cube
    `Don't follow you,' said Filby.
    `Can a cube that does not last for any  time  at  all,  have  a  real
    Filby became pensive. `Clearly,' the Time Traveller  proceeded,  `any
real body must have extension in FOUR directions:  it  must  have  Length,
Breadth, Thickness, and-Duration. But through a natural infirmity  of  the
flesh, which I will explain to you in a moment,  we  incline  to  overlook
this fact. There are really four dimensions, three which we call the three
planes of Space, and a fourth, Time. There is, however, a tendency to draw
an unreal distinction between the former three dimensions and the  latter,
because it happens that our  consciousness  moves  intermittently  in  one
direction along the latter from the beginning to the end of our lives.'
    `That,' said a very young man, making spasmodic  efforts  to  relight
his cigar over the lamp; `that... very clear indeed.'
    `Now, it is very remarkable that this is so extensively  overlooked,'
continued the Time Traveller, with a  slight  accession  of  cheerfulness.
`Really this is what is meant by the Fourth Dimension, though some  people
who talk about the Fourth Dimension do not know they mean it. It  is  only
another way of looking at Time. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE  BETWEEN  TIME  AND
ALONG IT. But some foolish people have got hold of the wrong side of  that
idea. You have  all  heard  what  they  have  to  say  about  this  Fourth
    `_I_ have not,' said the Provincial Mayor.
    `It is simply this. That Space, as our  mathematicians  have  it,  is
spoken of as having three dimensions, which one may call Length,  Breadth,
and Thickness, and is always definable by reference to three planes,  each
at right angles to the others. But some  philosophical  people  have  been
asking why THREE dimensions  particularly-why  not  another  direction  at
right angles to the other three? - and have  even  tried  to  construct  a
Four-Dimension geometry. Professor Simon Newcomb was  expounding  this  to
the New York Mathematical Society only a month or so ago. You know how  on
a flat surface, which has only two dimensions, we can represent  a  figure
of a three-dimensional solid, and similarly they think that by  models  of
thee dimensions they could represent one of four-if they could master  the
perspective of the thing. See?'
    `I think so,' murmured the Provincial Mayor; and, knitting his brows,
he lapsed into an introspective state, his lips moving as one who  repeats
mystic words. `Yes, I think I see  it  now,'  he  said  after  some  time,
brightening in a quite transitory manner.
    `Well, I do not mind telling you  I  have  been  at  work  upon  this
geometry of Four Dimensions for some time. Some of my results are curious.
For instance, here is a portrait of a man at eight years old,  another  at
fifteen, another at seventeen, another at twenty-three,  and  so  on.  All
these   are   evidently   sections,   as   it   were,    Three-Dimensional
representations of his  Four-Dimensioned  being,  which  is  a  fixed  and
unalterable thing.
    `Scientific people,' proceeded the Time Traveller,  after  the  pause
required for the proper assimilation of this, `know very well that Time is
only a kind of Space. Here is a  popular  scientific  diagram,  a  weather
record. This line I trace  with  my  finger  shows  the  movement  of  the
barometer. Yesterday it was so high, yesterday night it  fell,  then  this
morning it rose again, and so gently upward to here.  Surely  the  mercury
did not trace this line in  any  of  the  dimensions  of  Space  generally
recognized? But certainly it traced such a line, and that line, therefore,
we must conclude was along the Time-Dimension.'
    `But,' said the Medical Man, staring hard at a coal in the fire,  `if
Time is really only a fourth dimension of Space, why is it, and why has it
always been, regarded as something different? And why cannot  we  move  in
Time as we move about in the other dimensions of Space?'
    The Time Traveller smiled. `Are you sure we can move freely in Space?
Right and left we can go, backward and  forward  freely  enough,  and  men
always have done so. I admit we move freely in  two  dimensions.  But  how
about up and down? Gravitation limits us there.'
    `Not exactly,' said the Medical Man. `There are balloons.'
    `But  before  the  balloons,  save  for  spasmodic  jumping  and  the
inequalities of the surface, man had no  freedom  of  vertical  movement.'
`Still they could move a little up and down,' said the Medical Man.
    `Easier, far easier down than up.'
    `And you cannot move at all in Time, you cannot  get  away  from  the
present moment.'
    `My dear sir, that is just where you are wrong. That  is  just  where
the whole world has gone wrong.  We  are  always  getting  away  from  the
present movement. Our mental existences, which are immaterial and have  no
dimensions, are passing along the Time-Dimension with a  uniform  velocity
from the cradle to the grave. Just as we should travel DOWN  if  we  began
our existence fifty miles above the earth's surface.'
    `But the great difficulty is  this,'  interrupted  the  Psychologist.
`You CAN move about in all directions of Space, but you cannot move  about
in Time.'
    `That is the germ of my great discovery. But you  are  wrong  to  say
that we cannot move about in Time. For instance,  if  I  am  recalling  an
incident very vividly I go back to the instant of its occurrence: I become
absent-minded, as you say. I jump back for a moment. Of course we have  no
means of staying back for any length of Time, any more than a savage or an
animal has of staying six feet above the ground. But a  civilized  man  is
better off than  the  savage  in  this  respect.  He  can  go  up  against
gravitation in a balloon, and why should he not hope  that  ultimately  he
may be able to stop or accelerate his drift along the  Time-Dimension,  or
even turn about and travel the other way?'
    `Oh, THIS,' began Filby, `is all-'
    `Why not?' said the Time Traveller.
    `It's against reason,' said Filby.
    `What reason?' said the Time Traveller.
    `You can show black is white by argument,' said Filby, `but you  will
never convince me.'
    `Possibly not,' said the Time Traveller. `But now you  begin  to  see
the object of my investigations into the geometry of Four Dimensions. Long
ago I had a vague inkling of a machine-'
    `To travel through Time!' exclaimed the Very Young Man.
    `That shall travel indifferently in any direction of Space and  Time,
as the driver determines.'
    Filby contented himself with laughter.
    `But I have experimental verification,' said the Time Traveller.
    `It  would  be  remarkably  convenient  for   the   historian,'   the
Psychologist suggested. `One might travel back  and  verify  the  accepted
account of the Battle of Hastings, for instance!'
    `Don't you think you would attract attention?' said the Medical  Man.
`Our ancestors had no great tolerance for anachronisms.'
    `One might get one's Greek from the very lips of  Homer  and  Plato,'
the Very Young Man thought.
    `In which case they would certainly plough you for the Little-go. The
German scholars have improved Greek so much.'
    `Then there is the future,' said the Very Young Man. `Just think! One
might invest all one's money, leave it  to  accumulate  at  interest,  and
hurry on ahead!'
    `To discover a society,' said I, `erected on a  strictly  communistic
    `Of all the wild extravagant theories!' began the Psychologist.
    `Yes, so it seemed to me, and so I never talked of it until-'
    `Experimental verification!' cried I. `You are going to verify THAT?'
    `The experiment!' cried Filby, who was getting brain-weary.
    `Let's see your experiment anyhow,' said  the  Psychologist,  `though
it's all humbug, you know.'
    The Time Traveller smiled round at us. Then, still  smiling  faintly,
and with his hands deep in his trousers pockets, he walked slowly  out  of
the room, and we heard his slippers shuffling down the long passage to his
    The Psychologist looked at us. `I wonder what he's got?'
    `Some sleight-of-hand trick or other,'  said  the  Medical  Man,  and
Filby tried to tell us about a conjurer he had seen at Burslem; but before
he had finished his preface the Time  Traveller  came  back,  and  Filby's
anecdote collapsed.
    The thing the Time Traveller  held  in  his  hand  was  a  glittering
metallic  framework,  scarcely  larger  than  a  small  clock,  and   very
delicately made. There was ivory in it, and some  transparent  crystalline
substance. And now I must be explicit, for this  that  follows-unless  his
explanation is to be accepted-is an  absolutely  unaccountable  thing.  He
took one of the small octagonal tables that were scattered about the room,
and set it in front of the fire, with two legs on the hearthrug.  On  this
table he placed the mechanism. Then he drew up a chair, and sat down.  The
only other object on the table was a small shaded lamp, the  bright  light
of which fell upon the model. There were  also  perhaps  a  dozen  candles
about, two in brass candlesticks upon the mantel and several  in  sconces,
so that the room was brilliantly illuminated. I sat  in  a  low  arm-chair
nearest the fire, and I drew this forward so as to be almost  between  the
Time Traveller and the fireplace. Filby sat behind him, looking  over  his
shoulder. The Medical Man and the Provincial Mayor watched him in  profile
from the right, the Psychologist from the left. The Very Young  Man  stood
behind the Psychologist. We were all on the alert. It  appears  incredible
to me that any  kind  of  trick,  however  subtly  conceived  and  however
adroitly done, could have been played upon us under these conditions.
    The Time Traveller looked at us, and then at the  mechanism.  `Well?'
said the Psychologist.
    `This little affair,' said the Time  Traveller,  resting  his  elbows
upon the table and pressing his hands together above  the  apparatus,  `is
only a model. It is my plan for a machine to travel through time. You will
notice that it looks singularly askew, and that there is an odd  twinkling
appearance about this bar, as though  it  was  in  some  way  unreal.'  He
pointed to the part with his finger.  `Also,  here  is  one  little  white
lever, and here is another.'
    The Medical Man got up out of his chair and peered  into  the  thing.
`It's beautifully made,' he said.
    `It took two years to make,' retorted the Time Traveller. Then,  when
we had all imitated the action of the Medical Man, he said:  `Now  I  want
you clearly to understand that this lever, being pressed over,  sends  the
machine gliding into the future, and this other reverses the motion.  This
saddle represents the seat of a time traveller. Presently I  am  going  to
press the lever, and off the machine will go. It will  vanish,  pass  into
future Time, and disappear. Have a good look at the  thing.  Look  at  the
table too, and satisfy yourselves there is no trickery. I  don't  want  to
waste this model, and then be told I'm a quack.'
    There was a minute's pause perhaps. The Psychologist seemed about  to
speak to me, but changed his mind. Then the Time Traveller put  forth  his
finger towards the lever. `No,' he said suddenly. `Lend me your hand.' And
turning to the Psychologist, he took that individual's hand in his own and
told him to put out his  forefinger.  So  that  it  was  the  Psychologist
himself who sent forth the model Time Machine on its interminable  voyage.
We all saw the lever turn. I am absolutely certain there was no  trickery.
There was a breath of wind, and the lamp flame jumped. One of the  candles
on the mantel was blown out, and the little machine suddenly swung  round,
became indistinct, was seen as a ghost for a second perhaps, as an eddy of
faintly glittering brass and ivory; and it was gone-vanished! Save for the
lamp the table was bare.
    Everyone was silent for a minute. Then Filby said he was damned.
    The Psychologist recovered from his stupor, and suddenly looked under
the table. At that the Time Traveller laughed cheerfully. `Well?' he said,
with a reminiscence of the Psychologist. Then, getting up, he went to  the
tobacco jar on the mantel, and with his back to us began to fill his pipe.
    We stared at each other. `Look here,' said the Medical Man, `are  you
in earnest about this? Do you seriously  believe  that  that  machine  has
travelled into time?'
    `Certainly,' said the Time Traveller, stooping to light  a  spill  at
the fire. Then he turned, lighting his pipe, to look at the Psychologist's
face. (The Psychologist, to show that he was not unhinged, helped  himself
to a cigar and tried to light it uncut.) `What  is  more,  I  have  a  big
machine nearly finished in there'-he indicated  the  laboratory-`and  when
that is put together I mean to have a journey on my own account.'
    `You mean to say that that machine has travelled  into  the  future?'
said Filby.
    `Into the future or the past-I don't, for certain, know which.'
    After an interval the Psychologist had an inspiration. `It must  have
gone into the past if it has gone anywhere,' he said.
    `Why?' said the Time Traveller.
    `Because I presume that  it  has  not  moved  in  space,  and  if  it
travelled into the future it would still be here all this time,  since  it
must have travelled through this time.'
    `But,' I said, `If it travelled into the  past  it  would  have  been
visible when we came first into this room; and last Thursday when we  were
here; and the Thursday before that; and so forth!'
    `Serious objections,' remarked the Provincial Mayor, with an  air  of
impartiality, turning towards the Time Traveller.
    `Not a bit,' said the Time Traveller, and, to the Psychologist:  `You
think. You can explain that. It's presentation below  the  threshold,  you
know, diluted presentation.'
    `Of course,' said the  Psychologist,  and  reassured  us.  `That's  a
simple point of psychology. I  should  have  thought  of  it.  It's  plain
enough, and helps the paradox delightfully. We cannot see it, nor  can  we
appreciate this machine, any more  than  we  can  the  spoke  of  a  wheel
spinning, or a bullet flying through the air. If it is travelling  through
time fifty times or a hundred times faster than we are, if it gets through
a minute while we get through a second, the impression it creates will  of
course be only one-fiftieth or one-hundredth of what it would make  if  it
were not travelling in time. That's plain  enough.'  He  passed  his  hand
through the space in which the machine  had  been.  `You  see?'  he  said,
    We sat and stared at the vacant table for a minute or  so.  Then  the
Time Traveller asked us what we thought of it all.
    `It sounds plausible enough to-night,' said  the  Medical  Man;  'but
wait until to-morrow. Wait for the common sense of the morning.'
    `Would you like to see the  Time  Machine  itself?'  asked  the  Time
Traveller. And therewith, taking the lamp in his hand, he led the way down
the long, draughty corridor to his  laboratory.  I  remember  vividly  the
flickering light, his queer, broad head in silhouette, the  dance  of  the
shadows, how we all followed him, puzzled but incredulous, and  how  there
in the laboratory we beheld a larger edition of the little mechanism which
we had seen vanish from before our eyes. Parts were of  nickel,  parts  of
ivory, parts had certainly been filed or sawn out  of  rock  crystal.  The
thing was  generally  complete,  but  the  twisted  crystalline  bars  lay
unfinished upon the bench beside some sheets of drawings, and I  took  one
up for a better look at it. Quartz it seemed to be.
    `Look here,' said the Medical Man, `are you perfectly serious? Or  is
this a trick-like that ghost you showed us last Christmas?'
    `Upon that machine,' said the Time Traveller, holding the lamp aloft,
`I intend to explore time. Is that plain? I was never more serious  in  my
    None of us quite knew how to take it.
    I caught Filby's eye over the shoulder of the  Medical  Man,  and  he
winked at me solemnly.


    I think that at that time none of  us  quite  believed  in  the  Time
Machine. The fact is, the Time Traveller was one of those men who are  too
clever to be believed: you never felt that you  saw  all  round  him;  you
always suspected some subtle reserve, some ingenuity in ambush, behind his
lucid frankness. Had Filby shown the model and explained the matter in the
Time Traveller's words, we should have shown HIM far less scepticism.  For
we should have perceived his motives;  a  pork  butcher  could  understand
Filby. But the Time Traveller had more than a  touch  of  whim  among  his
elements, and we distrusted him. Things that would have made the frame  of
a less clever man seemed tricks in his hands. It is a mistake to do things
too easily. The serious people who took him  seriously  never  felt  quite
sure of his deportment;  they  were  somehow  aware  that  trusting  their
reputations for judgment with him  was  like  furnishing  a  nursery  with
egg-shell china. So I don't think any of us  said  very  much  about  time
travelling in the interval between that Thursday and the next, though  its
odd potentialities ran, no doubt, in most of our minds: its  plausibility,
that is,  its  practical  incredibleness,  the  curious  possibilities  of
anachronism and of utter confusion it suggested. For my own  part,  I  was
particularly preoccupied with the trick of  the  model.  That  I  remember
discussing with the Medical Man, whom I met on Friday at the Linnaean.  He
said he had seen a similar thing at Tubingen, and laid considerable stress
on the blowing out of the candle. But how the trick was done he could  not
    The next Thursday I went again to Richmond-I suppose I was one of the
Time Traveller's most constant guests-and, arriving late,  found  four  or
five men already assembled  in  his  drawing-room.  The  Medical  Man  was
standing before the fire with a sheet of paper in one hand and  his  watch
in the other. I looked round for the Time Traveller,  and-`It's  half-past
seven now,' said the Medical Man. `I suppose we'd better have dinner?'
    `Where's-?' said I, naming our host.
    `You've just come? It's rather odd.  He's  unavoidably  detained.  He
asks me in this note to lead off with dinner at seven if  he's  not  back.
Says he'll explain when he comes.'
    `It seems a pity to let the dinner  spoil,'  said  the  Editor  of  a
well-known daily paper; and thereupon the Doctor rang the bell.
    The Psychologist was the only person besides the  Doctor  and  myself
who had attended the previous dinner. The other men were Blank, the Editor
aforementioned, a certain journalist, and another-a quiet, shy man with  a
beard-whom I didn't know, and who, as far as my  observation  went,  never
opened his mouth all the  evening.  There  was  some  speculation  at  the
dinner-table about the Time Traveller's  absence,  and  I  suggested  time
travelling, in a half-jocular spirit. The Editor wanted that explained  to
him, and the Psychologist volunteered a wooden account of  the  `ingenious
paradox and trick' we had witnessed that day week. He was in the midst  of
his exposition when the door from the corridor opened slowly  and  without
noise.  I was facing  the door,  and saw  it first.  `Hallo!' I said.  `At
last!' And the door opened wider, and the Time Traveller stood before  us.
I gave a cry of surprise.  `Good heavens! man,  what's the matter?'  cried
the Medical Man,  who saw him next.  And the whole tableful turned towards
the door.
    He was in an amazing plight.  His  coat  was  dusty  and  dirty,  and
smeared with green down the sleeves; his hair disordered, and as it seemed
to me greyer-either with dust and dirt or because its colour had  actually
faded. His face was ghastly pale; his chin had a brown  cut  on  it-a  cut
half  healed;  his  expression  was  haggard  and  drawn,  as  by  intense
suffering. For a moment he hesitated in the doorway, as  if  he  had  been
dazzled by the light. Then he came into the room. He walked with just such
a limp as I have seen in footsore tramps. We stared  at  him  in  silence,
expecting him to speak.
    He said not a word, but came painfully  to  the  table,  and  made  a
motion towards the wine. The Editor  filled  a  glass  of  champagne,  and
pushed it towards him. He drained it, and it seemed to do him good: for he
looked round the table, and the ghost of his old  smile  flickered  across
his face. `What on earth have you been up to, man?' said the  Doctor.  The
Time Traveller did not seem to hear. `Don't let me disturb you,' he  said,
with a certain faltering articulation. `I'm all right.' He  stopped,  held
out his glass for more, and took it off at a draught.  `That's  good,'  he
said. His eyes grew brighter, and a faint colour came into his cheeks. His
glance flickered over our faces with a certain  dull  approval,  and  then
went round the warm and comfortable room. Then he spoke again, still as it
were feeling his way among his words. `I'm going to wash  and  dress,  and
then I'll come down and explain things... Save me some of that mutton. I'm
starving for a bit of meat.'
    He looked across at the Editor, who was a rare visitor, and hoped  he
was all right. The Editor began a question. `Tell you presently,' said the
Time Traveller. `I'm-funny! Be all right in a minute.'
    He put down his glass, and walked towards the staircase door. Again I
remarked his lameness and the soft padding  sound  of  his  footfall,  and
standing up in my place, I saw his feet as he went out. He had nothing  on
them but a pair of tattered blood-stained socks. Then the door closed upon
him. I had half a mind to follow, till I remembered how  he  detested  any
fuss about himself. For a minute, perhaps,  my  mind  was  wool-gathering.
Then, 'Remarkable Behaviour of an Eminent Scientist,' I heard  the  Editor
say, thinking (after his wont) in headlines. And this brought my attention
back to the bright dinner-table.
    `What's the game?' said  the  Journalist.  `Has  he  been  doing  the
Amateur Cadger? I don't follow.' I met the eye of  the  Psychologist,  and
read my own interpretation in his face. I thought of  the  Time  Traveller
limping painfully upstairs. I don't think any one  else  had  noticed  his
    The first to recover completely from this surprise  was  the  Medical
Man, who rang the bell-the Time Traveller hated to have  servants  waiting
at dinner-for a hot plate. At that the Editor turned to his knife and fork
with a grunt, and the Silent Man followed suit. The  dinner  was  resumed.
Conversation was exclamatory for a little while, with gaps of  wonderment;
and then the Editor got fervent in his curiosity. `Does our friend eke out
his modest income with a crossing? or has he his  Nebuchadnezzar  phases?'
he inquired. `I feel assured it's this business of the  Time  Machine,'  I
said, and took up the Psychologist's account of our previous meeting.  The
new guests were frankly incredulous. The Editor raised  objections.  `What
WAS this time travelling? A  man  couldn't  cover  himself  with  dust  by
rolling in a paradox, could he?' And then, as the idea came home  to  him,
he resorted to caricature. Hadn't they any clothes-brushes in the  Future?
The Journalist too, would not believe at any price, and joined the  Editor
in the easy work of heaping ridicule on the whole thing.  They  were  both
the new kind of journalist-very joyous, irreverent young men. `Our Special
Correspondent in the Day after  To-morrow  reports,'  the  Journalist  was
saying-or rather shouting-when  the  Time  Traveller  came  back.  He  was
dressed in ordinary evening clothes, and nothing  save  his  haggard  look
remained of the change that had startled me.
    `I say,' said the Editor hilariously, `these chaps here say you  have
been travelling into the middle of next week! Tell  us  all  about  little
Rosebery, will you? What will you take for the lot?'
    The Time Traveller came to the place reserved for him without a word.
He smiled quietly, in his old way. `Where's my mutton?' he said.  `What  a
treat it is to stick a fork into meat again!'
    `Story!' cried the Editor.
    `Story be damned!' said the Time Traveller. `I want something to eat.
I won't say a word until I get some peptone into my arteries. Thanks.  And
the salt.'
    `One word,' said I. `Have you been time travelling?'
    `Yes,' said the Time Traveller, with  his  mouth  full,  nodding  his
    `I'd give a shilling a line for a verbatim note,'  said  the  Editor.
The Time Traveller pushed his glass towards the Silent  Man  and  rang  it
with his fingernail; at which the Silent Man, who had been staring at  his
face, started convulsively, and poured him wine. The rest  of  the  dinner
was uncomfortable. For my own part, sudden questions kept on rising to  my
lips, and I dare say it was the same with the others. The Journalist tried
to relieve the tension by telling anecdotes of  Hettie  Potter.  The  Time
Traveller devoted his attention to his dinner, and displayed the  appetite
of a tramp. The Medical Man smoked  a  cigarette,  and  watched  the  Time
Traveller through his eyelashes. The Silent Man seemed  even  more  clumsy
than usual, and drank champagne with regularity and determination  out  of
sheer nervousness. At last the Time Traveller pushed his plate  away,  and
looked round us. `I suppose I must apologize,'  he  said.  `I  was  simply
starving. I've had a most amazing time.' He reached out  his  hand  for  a
cigar, and cut the end. `But come into the smoking-room. It's too  long  a
story to tell over greasy plates.' And ringing the bell in passing, he led
the way into the adjoining room.
    `You have told Blank, and Dash, and Chose about the machine?' he said
to me, leaning back in his easy-chair and naming the three new guests.
    `But the thing's a mere paradox,' said the Editor.
    `I can't argue to-night. I don't mind telling you the  story,  but  I
can't argue. I will,' he went on, `tell you the story of what has happened
to me, if you like, but you must refrain from  interruptions.  I  want  to
tell it. Badly. Most  of  it  will  sound  like  lying.  So  be  it!  It's
true-every word of it, all the same.  I  was  in  my  laboratory  at  four
o'clock, and since then... I've lived eight days... such days as no  human
being ever lived before! I'm nearly worn out, but I shan't sleep till I've
told this thing over to you. Then I shall go to bed. But no interruptions!
Is it agreed?'
    `Agreed,' said the Editor, and the rest of us  echoed  `Agreed.'  And
with that the Time Traveller began his story as I have set  it  forth.  He
sat back in his chair at first, and spoke like a weary man. Afterwards  he
got more animated. In writing it down I feel with only too  much  keenness
the inadequacy of pen and  ink  -and,  above  all,  my  own  inadequacy-to
express its quality. You read, I will suppose, attentively enough; but you
cannot see the speaker's white, sincere face in the bright circle  of  the
little lamp, nor hear the intonation of his voice. You cannot know how his
expression followed the turns of his story! Most of  us  hearers  were  in
shadow, for the candles in the smoking-room had not been lighted, and only
the face of the Journalist and the legs of the Silent Man from  the  knees
downward were illuminated. At first we  glanced  now  and  again  at  each
other. After a time we ceased to do that, and  looked  only  at  the  Time
Traveller's face.


    `I told some of you last Thursday  of  the  principles  of  the  Time
Machine, and showed  you  the  actual  thing  itself,  incomplete  in  the
workshop. There it is now, a little travel-worn, truly;  and  one  of  the
ivory bars is cracked, and a brass rail bent; but the rest of  it's  sound
enough. I expected to finish it on Friday, but on Friday, when the putting
together was nearly done, I found that one of the nickel bars was  exactly
one inch too short, and this I had to get remade; so that  the  thing  was
not complete until this morning. It was at ten  o'clock  to-day  that  the
first of all Time Machines began its career. I gave it a last  tap,  tried
all the screws again, put one more drop of oil on the quartz rod, and  sat
myself in the saddle. I suppose a suicide who holds a pistol to his  skull
feels much the same wonder at what will come next as I felt then.  I  took
the starting lever in one hand and the stopping one in the other,  pressed
the first, and almost immediately the second. I seemed to reel; I  felt  a
nightmare sensation of falling; and, looking round, I saw  the  laboratory
exactly as before. Had anything happened? For a moment I suspected that my
intellect had tricked me. Then I noted the clock. A moment before,  as  it
seemed, it had stood at a minute  or  so  past  ten;  now  it  was  nearly
half-past three!
    `I drew a breath, set my teeth, gripped the starting lever with  both
hands, and went off with a thud. The laboratory got hazy  and  went  dark.
Mrs. Watchett came in and walked, apparently without  seeing  me,  towards
the garden door. I suppose it took her a minute  or  so  to  traverse  the
place, but to me she seemed to shoot across the  room  like  a  rocket.  I
pressed the lever over to its extreme position. The night  came  like  the
turning out  of  a  lamp,  and  in  another  moment  came  to-morrow.  The
laboratory grew faint and hazy, then fainter and ever  fainter.  To-morrow
night came black, then day again,  night  again,  day  again,  faster  and
faster still. An eddying murmur  filled  my  ears,  and  a  strange,  dumb
confusedness descended on my mind.
    `I am  afraid  I  cannot  convey  the  peculiar  sensations  of  time
travelling. They are excessively unpleasant. There is  a  feeling  exactly
like that one has upon a switchback-of a helpless headlong motion! I  felt
the same horrible anticipation, too, of an imminent smash.  As  I  put  on
pace, night followed day like the  flapping  of  a  black  wing.  The  dim
suggestion of the laboratory seemed presently to fall away from me, and  I
saw the sun hopping swiftly across the sky, leaping it every  minute,  and
every minute marking a day. I supposed the laboratory had  been  destroyed
and I had come into the open air. I had a dim impression  of  scaffolding,
but I was already going too fast to be conscious of any moving things. The
slowest snail that ever crawled dashed by too fast for me.  The  twinkling
succession of darkness and light was excessively painful to the eye. Then,
in the intermittent darknesses, I saw the moon  spinning  swiftly  through
her quarters from new to full, and had a faint  glimpse  of  the  circling
stars. Presently, as I went on, still gaining velocity, the palpitation of
night and day merged into one continuous  greyness;  the  sky  took  on  a
wonderful deepness of blue, a splendid luminous color like that  of  early
twilight; the jerking sun became a streak of fire, a  brilliant  arch,  in
space; the moon a fainter fluctuating band; and I could see nothing of the
stars, save now and then a brighter circle flickering in the blue.
    `The landscape was misty and vague. I was still on the hill-side upon
which this house now stands, and the shoulder rose above me grey and  dim.
I saw trees growing and changing like puffs  of  vapour,  now  brown,  now
green; they grew, spread, shivered, and passed away. I saw huge  buildings
rise up faint and fair, and pass like dreams. The  whole  surface  of  the
earth seemed changed-melting and flowing under my eyes. The  little  hands
upon the dials that registered my speed raced  round  faster  and  faster.
Presently I noted that the sun belt swayed up and down, from  solstice  to
solstice, in a minute or less, and that consequently my pace  was  over  a
year a minute; and minute by minute the  white  snow  flashed  across  the
world, and vanished, and was  followed  by  the  bright,  brief  green  of
    `The unpleasant sensations of the start were less poignant now.  They
merged at last into a kind of hysterical exhilaration. I remarked indeed a
clumsy swaying of the machine, for which I was unable to account.  But  my
mind was too confused to attend to it, so with a kind of  madness  growing
upon me, I flung myself into  futurity.  At  first  I  scarce  thought  of
stopping, scarce  thought  of  anything  but  these  new  sensations.  But
presently a fresh series of impressions  grew  up  in  my  mind-a  certain
curiosity and therewith a certain dread-until at last they  took  complete
possession of me. What strange developments of  humanity,  what  wonderful
advances upon our rudimentary civilization, I thought,  might  not  appear
when I came to look nearly into the  dim  elusive  world  that  raced  and
fluctuated before my eyes! I saw great and  splendid  architecture  rising
about me, more massive than any buildings of our own time, and yet, as  it
seemed, built of glimmer and mist. I  saw  a  richer  green  flow  up  the
hill-side, and remain there, without any wintry intermission. Even through
the veil of my confusion the earth seemed very fair. And so my  mind  came
round to the business of stopping,
    `The peculiar  risk  lay  in  the  possibility  of  my  finding  some
substance in the space which I, or the machine, occupied.  So  long  as  I
travelled at a high velocity through time, this scarcely mattered; I  was,
so to speak, attenuated-was slipping like a vapour through the interstices
of intervening substances! But to come to a stop involved the  jamming  of
myself, molecule by molecule, into whatever lay in my way; meant  bringing
my atoms into such intimate contact with those  of  the  obstacle  that  a
profound  chemical  reaction-possibly  a  far-reaching  explosion   -would
result,  and  blow  myself  and  my  apparatus   out   of   all   possible
dimensions-into the Unknown. This possibility had occurred to me again and
again while I was making the machine; but then I had  cheerfully  accepted
it as an unavoidable riskone of the risks a man has got to take!  Now  the
risk was inevitable, I no longer saw it in the same  cheerful  light.  The
fact is that insensibly,  the  absolute  strangeness  of  everything,  the
sickly jarring and swaying of the  machine,  above  all,  the  feeling  of
prolonged falling, had absolutely upset my nerve. I  told  myself  that  I
could never stop, and  with  a  gust  of  petulance  I  resolved  to  stop
forthwith.  Like  an  impatient  fool,  I  lugged  over  the  lever,   and
incontinently the thing went  reeling  over,  and  I  was  flung  headlong
through the air.
    `There was the sound of a clap of thunder in my ears. I may have been
stunned for a moment. A pitiless hail was hissing  round  me,  and  I  was
sitting on soft turf in front of the  overset  machine.  Everything  still
seemed grey, but presently I remarked that the confusion in  my  ears  was
gone. I looked round me. I was on what seemed to be a  little  lawn  in  a
garden, surrounded by rhododendron bushes, and I noticed that their  mauve
and purple blossoms were dropping in a shower under  the  beating  of  the
hail-stones. The rebounding,  dancing  hail  hung  in  a  cloud  over  the
machine, and drove along the ground like smoke. In a moment I was  wet  to
the skin. "Fine  hospitality,"  said  I,  "to  a  man  who  has  travelled
innumerable years to see you."
    `Presently I thought what a fool I was to get wet.  I  stood  up  and
looked round me. A colossal figure, carved apparently in some white stone,
loomed indistinctly beyond the rhododendrons through  the  hazy  downpour.
But all else of the world was invisible.
    `My sensations would be hard to describe. As the columns of hail grew
thinner, I saw the white figure more distinctly. It was very large, for  a
silver birch-tree touched its shoulder. It was of white marble,  in  shape
something like a winged sphinx, but the wings, instead  of  being  carried
vertically at the sides, were spread so  that  it  seemed  to  hover.  The
pedestal, it appeared to me, was of bronze, and was thick with  verdigris.
It chanced that the face was towards me;  the  sightless  eyes  seemed  to
watch me; there was the faint shadow of  a  smile  on  the  lips.  It  was
greatly weather-worn,  and  that  imparted  an  unpleasant  suggestion  of
disease. I stood looking at it for a little space-half a minute,  perhaps,
or half an hour. It seemed to advance and to  recede  as  the  hail  drove
before it denser or thinner. At last I tore my eyes from it for  a  moment
and saw that the hail curtain had worn threadbare, and that  the  sky  was
lightening with the promise of the Sun.
    `I looked up again  at  the  crouching  white  shape,  and  the  full
temerity of my voyage came suddenly upon me. What might appear  when  that
hazy curtain was altogether withdrawn? What might  not  have  happened  to
men? What if cruelty had grown into a common  passion?  What  if  in  this
interval the race had lost its manliness and had developed into  something
inhuman, unsympathetic, and overwhelmingly powerful?  I  might  seem  some
old-world savage animal, only the more dreadful  and  disgusting  for  our
common likeness-a foul creature to be incontinently slain.
    `Already I  saw  other  vast  shapes-huge  buildings  with  intricate
parapets and tall columns, with a wooded hill-side dimly creeping in  upon
me through the lessening storm. I was seized with a panic fear.  I  turned
frantically to the Time Machine, and strove hard to readjust it. As I  did
so the shafts of the sun smote through the thunderstorm. The grey downpour
was swept aside and vanished like the trailing garments of a ghost.  Above
me, in the intense blue of the summer sky,  some  faint  brown  shreds  of
cloud whirled into nothingness. The great buildings  about  me  stood  out
clear and distinct, shining with the wet of the thunderstorm,  and  picked
out in white by the unmelted hailstones piled along their courses. I  felt
naked in a strange world. I felt as perhaps a bird may feel in  the  clear
air, knowing the hawk wings above and will swoop. My fear grew to  frenzy.
I took a breathing space, set my teeth, and again grappled fiercely, wrist
and knee, with the machine. It gave under my desperate  onset  and  turned
over. It struck my chin violently. One hand on the saddle,  the  other  on
the lever, I stood panting heavily in attitude to mount again.
    `But with this recovery of a prompt retreat my courage  recovered.  I
looked more curiously and less fearfully  at  this  world  of  the  remote
future. In a circular opening, high up in the wall of the nearer house,  I
saw a group of figures clad in rich soft robes.  They  had  seen  me,  and
their faces were directed towards me.
    `Then I heard voices approaching me. Coming through the bushes by the
White Sphinx were the heads and shoulders of men  running.  One  of  these
emerged in a pathway leading straight to the  little  lawn  upon  which  I
stood with  my  machine.  He  was  a  slight  creature-perhaps  four  feet
high-clad in a purple tunic, girdled at the waist  with  a  leather  belt.
Sandals or buskins-I could not clearly distinguish which-were on his feet;
his legs were bare to the knees, and his head was bare. Noticing  that,  I
noticed for the first time how warm the air was.
    `He struck me as being a very beautiful and  graceful  creature,  but
indescribably frail. His flushed face reminded me of  the  more  beautiful
kind of consumptive-that hectic beauty of which we used to hear  so  much.
At the sight of him I suddenly regained confidence. I took my  hands  from
the machine.


    `In another moment we were standing face to face, I and this  fragile
thing out of futurity. He came straight up to me and laughed into my eyes.
The absence from his bearing of any sign of fear struck me at  once.  Then
he turned to the two others who were following him and spoke to them in  a
strange and very sweet and liquid tongue.
    `There were others coming, and presently a little  group  of  perhaps
eight or ten of these exquisite creatures  were  about  me.  One  of  them
addressed me. It came into my head, oddly enough, that my  voice  was  too
harsh and deep for them. So I shook my head, and,  pointing  to  my  ears,
shook it again. He came a step forward, hesitated,  and  then  touched  my
hand. Then I felt other soft little tentacles upon my back and  shoulders.
They wanted to make sure I was real. There was  nothing  in  this  at  all
alarming. Indeed, there was something in these pretty little  people  that
inspired confidence-a graceful gentleness, a certain childlike  ease.  And
besides, they looked so frail that I could fancy myself flinging the whole
dozen of them about like nine-pins. But I made a  sudden  motion  to  warn
them when I saw their little pink  hands  feeling  at  the  Time  Machine.
Happily then, when it was not too late,  I  thought  of  a  danger  I  had
hitherto forgotten, and reaching over the bars of the machine I  unscrewed
the little levers that would set it in motion, and put these in my pocket.
Then I turned again to see what I could do in the way of communication.
    `And then, looking more  nearly  into  their  features,  I  saw  some
further peculiarities in their Dresden-china  type  of  prettiness.  Their
hair, which was uniformly curly, came to a  sharp  end  at  the  neck  and
cheek; there was not the faintest suggestion of it on the face, and  their
ears were singularly minute. The  mouths  were  small,  with  bright  red,
rather thin lips, and the little chins ran to a point. The eyes were large
and mild; and-this may seem egotism on my part-I fancied even  that  there
was a certain lack of the interest I might have expected in them.
    `As they made no effort to communicate  with  me,  but  simply  stood
round me smiling and speaking in soft cooing notes to each other, I  began
the conversation. I pointed to  the  Time  Machine  and  to  myself.  Then
hesitating for a moment how to express time, I pointed to the sun. At once
a quaintly pretty little figure in chequered purple and white followed  my
gesture, and then astonished me by imitating the sound of thunder.
    `For a moment I was staggered, though the import of his  gesture  was
plain enough. The question had come into  my  mind  abruptly:  were  these
creatures fools? You may hardly understand how it took me. You see  I  had
always anticipated that the people of  the  year  Eight  Hundred  and  Two
Thousand odd would be  incredibly  in  front  of  us  in  knowledge,  art,
everything. Then one of them suddenly asked me a question that showed  him
to be on the intellectual level of one of our five-year-old  childrenasked
me, in fact, if I had come from the sun in a thunderstorm!  It  let  loose
the judgment I had suspended upon their clothes, their frail light  limbs,
and fragile features. A flow of disappointment rushed across my mind.  For
a moment I felt that I had built the Time Machine in vain.
    `I nodded, pointed to the sun, and gave them such a  vivid  rendering
of a thunderclap as startled them. They all withdrew  a  pace  or  so  and
bowed. Then came one laughing towards me, carrying a  chain  of  beautiful
flowers altogether new to me, and put it  about  my  neck.  The  idea  was
received with melodious applause; and presently they were all  running  to
and fro for flowers, and laughingly flinging them  upon  me  until  I  was
almost smothered with blossom. You  who  have  never  seen  the  like  can
scarcely imagine what delicate and wonderful flowers  countless  years  of
culture had created. Then someone suggested that their plaything should be
exhibited in the nearest building, and so I was led  past  the  sphinx  of
white marble, which had seemed to watch me all the while with a  smile  at
my astonishment, towards a vast grey edifice of fretted stone. As  I  went
with them the memory of my confident anticipations of a  profoundly  grave
and intellectual posterity came, with irresistible merriment, to my mind.
    `The building had a  huge  entry,  and  was  altogether  of  colossal
dimensions. I was naturally most occupied with the growing crowd of little
people, and with the big open portals that yawned before  me  shadowy  and
mysterious. My general impression of the world I saw over their heads  was
a tangled waste of beautiful bushes and flowers, a long neglected and  yet
weedless garden. I saw a number of tall spikes of strange  white  flowers,
measuring a foot perhaps across the spread of the waxen petals. They  grew
scattered, as if wild, among the variegated shrubs, but, as I say,  I  did
not examine them closely at this time. The Time Machine was left  deserted
on the turf among the rhododendrons.
    `The arch of the doorway was richly carved, but naturally I  did  not
observe the carving very narrowly, though I fancied I saw  suggestions  of
old Phoenician decorations as I passed through, and it struck me that they
were very badly broken and weatherworn. Several more brightly clad  people
met  me  in  the  doorway,  and  so  we  entered,  I,  dressed  in   dingy
nineteenth-century garments,  looking  grotesque  enough,  garlanded  with
flowers, and surrounded by an eddying mass of bright,  soft-colored  robes
and shining white limbs, in a melodious whirl  of  laughter  and  laughing
    `The big doorway opened into a proportionately great hall  hung  with
brown. The roof was in shadow, and  the  windows,  partially  glazed  with
coloured glass and partially unglazed,  admitted  a  tempered  light.  The
floor was made up of huge blocks of some very hard white metal, not plates
nor slabs-blocks, and it was so much worn, as I judged by the going to and
fro of past generations,  as  to  be  deeply  channelled  along  the  more
frequented ways. Transverse to the length were innumerable tables made  of
slabs of polished stone, raised perhaps a foot from the  floor,  and  upon
these were heaps of fruits. Some I recognized as a kind  of  hypertrophied
raspberry and orange, but for the most part they were strange.
    `Between the tables was scattered a great number  of  cushions.  Upon
these my conductors seated themselves, signing for me to do likewise. With
a pretty absence of ceremony they began to eat the fruit with their hands,
flinging peel and stalks, and so forth, into the  round  openings  in  the
sides of the tables. I was not loath to follow their example, for  I  felt
thirsty and hungry. As I did so I surveyed the hall at my leisure.
    `And perhaps the thing that struck me most was its dilapidated  look.
The stained-glass windows, which displayed  only  a  geometrical  pattern,
were broken in many places, and the curtains that hung  across  the  lower
end were thick with dust. And it caught my eye  that  the  corner  of  the
marble table near me was fractured. Nevertheless, the general  effect  was
extremely rich and picturesque. There were, perhaps, a couple  of  hundred
people dining in the hall, and most of them, seated as near to me as  they
could come, were watching me with interest, their little eyes shining over
the fruit they were eating. All were clad in the same soft and yet strong,
silky material.
    `Fruit, by the by, was all their diet. These  people  of  the  remote
future were strict vegetarians, and while I was with  them,  in  spite  of
some carnal cravings, I had  to  be  frugivorous  also.  Indeed,  I  found
afterwards  that  horses,  cattle,   sheep,   dogs,   had   followed   the
Ichthyosaurus into extinction. But the fruits were very  delightful;  one,
in particular, that seemed to be in season all  the  time  I  was  there-a
floury thing in a three-sided husk -was especially good, and I made it  my
staple. At first I was puzzled by all these strange  fruits,  and  by  the
strange flowers I saw, but later I began to perceive their import.
    `However, I am telling you of my fruit dinner in the  distant  future
now. So soon as my appetite was a little checked, I determined to  make  a
resolute attempt to learn the speech of these new  men  of  mine.  Clearly
that was the next thing to do. The fruits seemed  a  convenient  thing  to
begin upon, and holding one of these up I began a series of  interrogative
sounds and gestures. I had some considerable difficulty  in  conveying  my
meaning.  At  first  my  efforts  met  with  a  stare   of   surprise   or
inextinguishable laughter, but presently  a  fair-haired  little  creature
seemed to grasp my intention and repeated a name. They had to chatter  and
explain the business at great length to each other, and my first  attempts
to make the exquisite little sounds of their language  caused  an  immense
amount of amusement. However, I felt like a schoolmaster amidst  children,
and persisted, and presently I had a score of noun substantives  at  least
at my command; and then I got to demonstrative pronouns, and even the verb
"to eat." But it was slow work, and  the  little  people  soon  tired  and
wanted to get away from my interrogations,  so  I  determined,  rather  of
necessity, to let them give their lessons in little doses when  they  felt
inclined. And very little doses I found they were before long, for I never
met people more indolent or more easily fatigued.
    `A queer thing I soon discovered about my little hosts, and that  was
their lack of interest.  They  would  come  to  me  with  eager  cries  of
astonishment, like children,  but  like  children  they  would  soon  stop
examining me and wander away after some  other  toy.  The  dinner  and  my
conversational beginnings ended, I noted for the first  time  that  almost
all those who had surrounded me at first were gone. It is  odd,  too,  how
speedily I came to disregard these little people. I went out  through  the
portal into the sunlit world again as soon as my hunger was  satisfied.  I
was continually meeting more of these men of the future, who would  follow
me a little distance, chatter and laugh about me, and, having  smiled  and
gesticulated in a friendly way, leave me again to my own devices.
    `The calm of evening was upon the world as I emerged from  the  great
hall, and the scene was lit by the warm glow of the setting sun. At  first
things were very confusing. Everything was so entirely different from  the
world I had known-even the flowers.  The  big  building  I  had  left  was
situated on the slope of a broad river valley, but the Thames had  shifted
perhaps a mile from its present position.  I  resolved  to  mount  to  the
summit of a crest perhaps a mile and a half away, from which I could get a
wider view of this our planet in the year Eight Hundred and  Two  Thousand
Seven Hundred and One A.D. For that, I should explain, was  the  date  the
little dials of my machine recorded.
    `As I walked I was watching for every impression that could  possibly
help to explain the condition of ruinous splendour in which  I  found  the
world-for ruinous it was. A little way up the hill, for  instance,  was  a
great heap of granite, bound together  by  masses  of  aluminium,  a  vast
labyrinth of precipitous walls and crumpled heaps, amidst which were thick
heaps  of   very   beautiful   pagoda-like   plants-nettles   possibly-but
wonderfully tinted with brown about the leaves, and incapable of stinging.
It was evidently the derelict remains of some vast structure, to what  end
built I could not determine. It was here that I was destined, at  a  later
date, to have a very strange experience-the first intimation  of  a  still
stranger discovery-but of that I will speak in its proper place.
    `Looking round with a sudden thought,  from  a  terrace  on  which  I
rested for a while, I realized that there were no small houses to be seen.
Apparently  the  single  house,  and  possibly  even  the  household,  had
vanished. Here and there among the greenery  were  palace-like  buildings,
but the house and the cottage, which form such characteristic features  of
our own English landscape, had disappeared.
    `"Communism," said I to myself.
    `And on the heels of that came  another  thought.  I  looked  at  the
half-dozen little figures that were following me.  Then,  in  a  flash,  I
perceived that all had the same form of costume, the  same  soft  hairless
visage, and the same girlish rotundity  of  limb.  It  may  seem  strange,
perhaps, that I had  not  noticed  this  before.  But  everything  was  so
strange. Now, I saw the fact plainly enough. In costume, and  in  all  the
differences of texture and bearing that now mark off the sexes  from  each
other, these people of the future were alike. And the children  seemed  to
my eyes to be but the miniatures of their parents. I  judged,  then,  that
the children of that time were extremely precocious, physically at  least,
and I found afterwards abundant verification of my opinion.
    `Seeing the ease and security in which these people  were  living,  I
felt that this close resemblance of the sexes was after all what one would
expect; for the strength of a  man  and  the  softness  of  a  woman,  the
institution of the family, and the differentiation of occupations are mere
militant necessities of an age of  physical  force;  where  population  is
balanced and abundant, much childbearing becomes an  evil  rather  than  a
blessing to the State; where violence comes but rarely and off-spring  are
secure, there is  less  necessity-indeed  there  is  no  necessity-for  an
efficient family, and the specialization of the sexes  with  reference  to
their children's needs disappears. We see some beginnings of this even  in
our own time, and in this future age it was complete. This, I must  remind
you, was my speculation at the time. Later, I was to appreciate how far it
fell short of the reality.
    `While I was musing upon these things, my attention was attracted  by
a pretty little structure, like a well under a  cupola.  I  thought  in  a
transitory way of the oddness of wells still existing,  and  then  resumed
the thread of my speculations. There were no large buildings  towards  the
top of the hill, and as my walking powers were evidently miraculous, I was
presently left alone for the first time. With a strange sense  of  freedom
and adventure I pushed on up to the crest.
    `There I found a seat of some yellow metal that I did not  recognize,
corroded in places with a kind of pinkish rust and half smothered in  soft
moss, the arm-rests cast and  filed  into  the  resemblance  of  griffins'
heads. I sat down on it, and I surveyed the broad view of  our  old  world
under the sunset of that long day. It was as sweet and fair a  view  as  I
have ever seen. The sun had already gone below the horizon  and  the  west
was flaming gold, touched with some horizontal bars of purple and crimson.
Below was the valley of the Thames, in which the river lay like a band  of
burnished steel. I have already spoken of the great palaces  dotted  about
among the variegated greenery, some in ruins and some still occupied. Here
and there rose a white or silvery figure in the waste garden of the earth,
here and there came the sharp vertical line of  some  cupola  or  obelisk.
There were no hedges, no signs of  proprietary  rights,  no  evidences  of
agriculture; the whole earth had become a garden.
    `So watching, I began to put my interpretation upon the things I  had
seen, and as it shaped itself to me that evening,  my  interpretation  was
something in this way. (Afterwards I found I had got only a  half-truth-or
only a glimpse of one facet of the truth.)
    `It seemed to me that I had happened upon humanity upon the wane. The
ruddy sunset set me thinking of the sunset of mankind. For the first  time
I began to realize an odd consequence of the social effort in which we are
at present engaged. And yet, come to think, it is  a  logical  consequence
enough. Strength is the outcome  of  need;  security  sets  a  premium  on
feebleness. The work of  ameliorating  the  conditions  of  life-the  true
civilizing process that makes life more and more secure-had gone  steadily
on to a climax. One triumph of a united humanity over Nature had  followed
another. Things that are now mere dreams had become projects  deliberately
put in hand and carried forward. And the harvest was what I saw!
    `After all, the sanitation and the agriculture of to-day are still in
the rudimentary stage. The science of our time has attacked but  a  little
department of the field of human disease, but  even  so,  it  spreads  its
operations  very  steadily   and   persistently.   Our   agriculture   and
horticulture destroy a weed just here and there and  cultivate  perhaps  a
score or so of wholesome plants, leaving the greater number to fight out a
balance as they can. We improve our favourite plants and animals -and  how
few they are-gradually by selective breeding; now a new and better  peach,
now a seedless grape,  now  a  sweeter  and  larger  flower,  now  a  more
convenient breed of cattle. We improve them gradually, because our  ideals
are vague and tentative,  and  our  knowledge  is  very  limited;  because
Nature, too, is shy and slow in our clumsy hands. Some day all  this  will
be better organized, and still better. That is the drift of the current in
spite of the eddies. The whole world will be  intelligent,  educated,  and
co-operating; things will move faster and faster towards  the  subjugation
of Nature. In the end, wisely and carefully we shall readjust the  balance
of animal and vegetable me to suit our human needs.
    `This adjustment, I say, must have been done,  and  done  well;  done
indeed for all Time, in the space of Time  across  which  my  machine  had
leaped. The air was free from  gnats,  the  earth  from  weeds  or  fungi;
everywhere  were  fruits  and  sweet  and  delightful  flowers;  brilliant
butterflies flew hither and thither. The ideal of preventive medicine  was
attained. Diseases had  been  stamped  out.  I  saw  no  evidence  of  any
contagious diseases during all my stay. And I shall have to tell you later
that even the processes of putrefaction  and  decay  had  been  profoundly
affected by these changes.
    `Social triumphs, too, had been effected. I  saw  mankind  housed  in
splendid shelters, gloriously clothed, and as yet I had found them engaged
in no toil. There were no signs of struggle, neither social nor economical
struggle. The shop, the advertisement, traffic, all  that  commerce  which
constitutes the body of our world, was gone. It was natural on that golden
evening that I  should  jump  at  the  idea  of  a  social  paradise.  The
difficulty  of  increasing  population  had  been  met,  I  guessed,   and
population had ceased to increase.
    `But with this change in condition comes  inevitably  adaptations  to
the change. What, unless biological science is a mass of  errors,  is  the
cause of human intelligence and vigour? Hardship and  freedom:  conditions
under which the active, strong, and subtle survive and the  weaker  go  to
the wall; conditions that put a premium upon the loyal alliance of capable
men, upon self-restraint, patience, and decision. And the  institution  of
the family, and the emotions that arise therein, the fierce jealousy,  the
tenderness  for  offspring,  parental  self-devotion,  all   found   their
justification and support in the imminent dangers of the young. NOW, where
are these imminent dangers? There is a  sentiment  arising,  and  it  will
grow,  against  connubial  jealousy,  against  fierce  maternity,  against
passion of all sorts; unnecessary things now,  and  things  that  make  us
uncomfortable, savage survivals, discords in a refined and pleasant life.
    `I thought of the physical slightness of the people,  their  lack  of
intelligence, and those big abundant ruins, and it strengthened my  belief
in a perfect conquest  of  Nature.  For  after  the  battle  comes  Quiet.
Humanity had been strong, energetic, and intelligent, and had used all its
abundant vitality to alter the conditions under which it  lived.  And  now
came the reaction of the altered conditions.
    `Under the new conditions  of  perfect  comfort  and  security,  that
restless energy, that with us is strength, would become weakness. Even  in
our own time certain tendencies and desires, once necessary  to  survival,
are a constant source of failure. Physical courage and the love of battle,
for instance, are no great help-may even be hindrances-to a civilized man.
And in a state of physical balance and security,  power,  intellectual  as
well as physical, would be out of place.  For  countless  years  I  judged
there had been no danger of war or solitary violence, no danger from  wild
beasts, no wasting disease to require strength of constitution, no need of
toil. For such a life, what we should call the weak are as  well  equipped
as the strong, are indeed no longer weak. Better equipped indeed they are,
for the strong would be fretted by  an  energy  for  which  there  was  no
outlet. No doubt the exquisite beauty of  the  buildings  I  saw  was  the
outcome of the last surgings of the  now  purposeless  energy  of  mankind
before it settled down into perfect  harmony  with  the  conditions  under
which it lived-the flourish of that triumph which  began  the  last  great
peace. This has ever been the fate of energy in security; it takes to  art
and to eroticism, and then come languor and decay.
    `Even this artistic impetus would at last die away-had almost died in
the Time I saw. To adorn themselves with flowers, to dance, to sing in the
sunlight: so much was left of the artistic spirit, and no more. Even  that
would fade in the end into a contented inactivity. We are kept keen on the
grindstone of pain and necessity, and, it seemed to me, that here was that
hateful grindstone broken at last!
    `As I stood there in the gathering dark I thought that in this simple
explanation I had mastered the problem  of  the  worldmastered  the  whole
secret of these delicious people. Possibly the checks they had devised for
the increase of population had succeeded too well, and their  numbers  had
rather diminished  than  kept  stationary.  That  would  account  for  the
abandoned ruins. Very simple was my explanation, and  plausible  enough-as
most wrong theories are!


    `As I stood there musing over this too perfect triumph  of  man,  the
full moon, yellow and gibbous, came up out of an overflow of silver  light
in the north-east. The bright little figures ceased to move about below, a
noiseless owl flitted by, and I shivered with the chill of  the  night.  I
determined to descend and find where I could sleep.
    `I looked for the building I knew. Then my eye travelled along to the
figure of the White Sphinx upon the pedestal of bronze,  growing  distinct
as the light of the rising moon grew brighter.  I  could  see  the  silver
birch against it. There was the tangle of rhododendron  bushes,  black  in
the pale light, and there was the little lawn. I looked at the lawn again.
A queer doubt chilled my complacency. "No,"  said  I  stoutly  to  myself,
"that was not the lawn."
    `But it WAS the lawn. For the white leprous face of  the  sphinx  was
towards it. Can you imagine what I felt as this conviction  came  home  to
me? But you cannot. The Time Machine was gone!
    `At once, like a lash across the face, came the possibility of losing
my own age, of being left helpless in this strange  new  world.  The  bare
thought of it was an actual physical sensation. I could feel it grip me at
the throat and stop my breathing. In another moment I was in a passion  of
fear and running with great leaping strides down the slope.  Once  I  fell
headlong and cut my face; I lost no  time  in  stanching  the  blood,  but
jumped up and ran on, with a warm trickle down my cheek and chin. All  the
time I ran I was saying to myself: "They have moved it a little, pushed it
under the bushes out of the way." Nevertheless, I ran with all  my  might.
All the time, with the  certainty  that  sometimes  comes  with  excessive
dread, I knew that such assurance was folly, knew instinctively  that  the
machine was removed out of my reach. My breath came with pain. I suppose I
covered the whole distance from the hill crest to  the  little  lawn,  two
miles perhaps, in ten minutes. And I am not a young man. I  cursed  aloud,
as I ran, at my confident folly  in  leaving  the  machine,  wasting  good
breath thereby. I cried aloud, and none answered. Not a creature seemed to
be stirring in that moonlit world.
    `When I reached the lawn my worst fears were realized. Not a trace of
the thing was to be seen. I felt faint and cold when  I  faced  the  empty
space among the black tangle of bushes. I ran round it  furiously,  as  if
the thing might be hidden in a corner, and then stopped abruptly, with  my
hands clutching my hair. Above me towered  the  sphinx,  upon  the  bronze
pedestal, white, shining, leprous, in the light of  the  rising  moon.  It
seemed to smile in mockery of my dismay.
    `I might have consoled myself by imagining the little people had  put
the mechanism in some shelter for me, had I  not  felt  assured  of  their
physical and intellectual inadequacy. That is what dismayed me: the  sense
of  some  hitherto  unsuspected  power,  through  whose  intervention   my
invention had vanished. Yet, for one thing I  felt  assured:  unless  some
other age had produced its exact duplicate, the  machine  could  not  have
moved in time. The attachment of the levers-I will  show  you  the  method
laterprevented any one from tampering with it in that way when  they  were
removed. It had moved, and was hid, only in space. But then,  where  could
it be?
    `I think I must have  had  a  kind  of  frenzy.  I  remember  running
violently in and out among the moonlit bushes all round  the  sphinx,  and
startling some white animal that, in the dim light, I  took  for  a  small
deer. I remember, too,  late  that  night,  beating  the  bushes  with  my
clenched fist until my knuckles were gashed and bleeding from  the  broken
twigs. Then, sobbing and raving in my anguish of mind, I went down to  the
great building of stone. The big hall was dark, silent,  and  deserted.  I
slipped on the uneven floor, and fell over one of  the  malachite  tables,
almost breaking my shin. I  lit  a  match  and  went  on  past  the  dusty
curtains, of which I have told you.
    `There I found a second great hall covered with cushions, upon which,
perhaps, a score or so of the little people were sleeping. I have no doubt
they found my second appearance strange enough, coming suddenly out of the
quiet darkness with inarticulate noises and the splutter and  flare  of  a
match. For they had forgotten about matches. "Where is my Time Machine?" I
began, bawling like an angry child, laying hands  upon  them  and  shaking
them up together. It must have been very queer to them. Some laughed, most
of them looked sorely frightened. When I saw them standing  round  me,  it
came into my head that I was doing as foolish a thing as it  was  possible
for me to do under the circumstances, in trying to revive the sensation of
fear. For, reasoning from their daylight behaviour, I  thought  that  fear
must be forgotten.
    `Abruptly, I dashed down the match, and, knocking one of  the  people
over in my course, went blundering across the big dining-hall  again,  out
under the moonlight. I heard cries of terror and their little feet running
and stumbling this way and that. I do not remember all I did as  the  moon
crept up the sky. I suppose it was the unexpected nature of my  loss  that
maddened me. I felt hopelessly cut off from my own kind-a  strange  animal
in an unknown world. I must have raved to and fro,  screaming  and  crying
upon God and Fate. I have a memory of horrible fatigue, as the long  night
of despair wore away; of looking in this impossible  place  and  that;  of
groping among moon-lit ruins and touching strange creatures in  the  black
shadows; at last, of lying on the ground near the sphinx and weeping  with
absolute wretchedness. I had nothing left but misery. Then  I  slept,  and
when I woke again it was full day, and a couple of sparrows  were  hopping
round me on the turf within reach of my arm.
    `I sat up in the freshness of the morning, trying to remember  how  I
had got there, and why I had  such  a  profound  sense  of  desertion  and
despair. Then things came clear in my mind.  With  the  plain,  reasonable
daylight, I could look my circumstances fairly in the face. I saw the wild
folly of my frenzy overnight, and I could reason with myself. "Suppose the
worst?" I said. "Suppose the machine altogether lost-perhaps destroyed? It
behooves me to be calm and patient, to learn the way of the people, to get
a clear idea of the method of my loss, and the means of getting  materials
and tools; so that in the end, perhaps, I may make another." That would be
my only hope, perhaps, but better than despair. And, after all, it  was  a
beautiful and curious world.
    `But probably, the machine had only been taken away. Still, I must be
calm and patient, find its  hiding-place,  and  recover  it  by  force  or
cunning. And with that I  scrambled  to  my  feet  and  looked  about  me,
wondering where I could bathe. I felt weary, stiff, and travel-soiled. The
freshness of the  morning  made  me  desire  an  equal  freshness.  I  had
exhausted my emotion. Indeed, as I went about my business, I found  myself
wondering at my intense excitement overnight. I made a careful examination
of the ground about  the  little  lawn.  I  wasted  some  time  in  futile
questionings, conveyed, as well as I was  able,  to  such  of  the  little
people as came by. They all failed to understand my  gestures;  some  were
simply stolid, some thought it was a jest and laughed at  me.  I  had  the
hardest task in the world to keep  my  hands  off  their  pretty  laughing
faces. It was a foolish impulse, but the devil begotten of fear and  blind
anger was ill curbed and still eager to take advantage of  my  perplexity.
The turf gave better counsel. I found a groove ripped in it, about  midway
between the pedestal of the sphinx and the marks  of  my  feet  where,  on
arrival, I had struggled with the overturned  machine.  There  were  other
signs of removal about, with queer narrow footprints like  those  I  could
imagine made by  a  sloth.  This  directed  my  closer  attention  to  the
pedestal. It was, as I think I have said, of bronze. It  was  not  a  mere
block, but highly decorated with deep framed panels on either side. I went
and rapped at these. The pedestal was hollow. Examining  the  panels  with
care I found them discontinuous with the frames. There were no handles  or
keyholes, but possibly the panels, if they  were  doors,  as  I  supposed,
opened from within. One thing was clear enough to my mind. It took no very
great mental effort  to  infer  that  my  Time  Machine  was  inside  that
pedestal. But how it got there was a different problem.
    `I saw the heads of two orange-clad people coming through the  bushes
and under some blossom-covered apple-trees towards me. I turned smiling to
them and beckoned them to me. They came, and then, pointing to the  bronze
pedestal, I tried to intimate my wish to open it. But at my first  gesture
towards this they behaved very oddly. I don't know  how  to  convey  their
expression to you. Suppose you were to use a grossly improper gesture to a
delicate-minded woman-it is how she would look. They went off as  if  they
had received the last possible insult. I tried a sweet-looking little chap
in white next, with exactly the same result. Somehow, his manner  made  me
feel ashamed of myself. But, as you know, I wanted the Time Machine, and I
tried him once more. As he turned off, like the others, my temper got  the
better of me. In three strides I was after him, had him by the loose  part
of his robe round the neck, and began dragging  him  towards  the  sphinx.
Then I saw the horror and repugnance of his face, and all of  a  sudden  I
let him go.
    `But I was not beaten yet. I  banged  with  my  fist  at  the  bronze
panels. I thought I heard something stir inside-to be explicit, I  thought
I heard a sound like a chuckle-but I must have been mistaken. Then I got a
big pebble from the river, and came and hammered till I  had  flattened  a
coil in the decorations, and the verdigris came off in powdery flakes. The
delicate little people must have heard me hammering in gusty  outbreaks  a
mile away on either hand, but nothing came of it. I saw a  crowd  of  them
upon the slopes, looking furtively at me. At last, hot and  tired,  I  sat
down to watch the place. But I was too restless to watch long;  I  am  too
Occidental for a long vigil. I could work at a problem for years,  but  to
wait inactive for twenty-four hours-that is another matter.
    `I got up after a time,  and  began  walking  aimlessly  through  the
bushes towards the hill again. "Patience," said I to myself. "If you  want
your machine again you must leave that sphinx alone. If they mean to  take
your machine away, it's little good your wrecking their bronze panels, and
if they don't, you will get it back as soon as you can ask for it. To  sit
among all those unknown things before a puzzle like that is hopeless. That
way lies monomania. Face this world. Learn its ways, watch it, be  careful
of too hasty guesses at its meaning. In the end you will find clues to  it
all." Then suddenly the humour of the situation came  into  my  mind:  the
thought of the years I had spent in study and toil to get into the  future
age, and now my passion of anxiety to get out of it. I had made myself the
most complicated and the most hopeless  trap  that  ever  a  man  devised.
Although it was at my own expense, I could  not  help  myself.  I  laughed
    `Going through the big palace, it seemed to me that the little people
avoided me. It may have been my fancy, or it may have had something to  do
with my hammering at the gates of bronze. Yet I felt tolerably sure of the
avoidance. I was careful, however, to show no concern and to abstain  from
any pursuit of them, and in the course of a day or two things got back  to
the old footing. I made what progress I could  in  the  language,  and  in
addition I pushed my explorations here and there.  Either  I  missed  some
subtle point or their language was excessively  simple-almost  exclusively
composed of concrete substantives and verbs. There seemed to  be  few,  if
any, abstract terms, or little use of figurative language. Their sentences
were usually simple and of two words, and I failed to convey or understand
any but the simplest propositions. I determined to put the thought  of  my
Time Machine and the mystery of the bronze doors under the sphinx as  much
as possible in a corner of memory, until my growing knowledge  would  lead
me back to them  in  a  natural  way.  Yet  a  certain  feeling,  you  may
understand, tethered me in a circle of a few miles round the point  of  my
    `So far as I could see, all the world displayed  the  same  exuberant
richness as the Thames valley. From every hill I climbed I  saw  the  same
abundance of splendid buildings, endlessly varied in material  and  style,
the same clustering thickets of evergreens, the same  blossom-laden  trees
and tree-ferns. Here and there water shone like silver,  and  beyond,  the
land rose into blue undulating hills, and so faded into  the  serenity  of
the sky. A peculiar feature, which presently attracted my  attention,  was
the presence of certain circular wells, several, as it seemed to me, of  a
very great depth. One lay by the path up the hill, which  I  had  followed
during my first  walk.  Like  the  others,  it  was  rimmed  with  bronze,
curiously wrought, and protected by a little cupola from the rain. Sitting
by the side of these wells, and peering down into the shafted darkness,  I
could see no gleam of water, nor could  I  start  any  reflection  with  a
lighted  match.  But  in  all  of  them  I  heard  a  certain   sound:   a
thud-thud-thud, like the beating of some big  engine;  and  I  discovered,
from the flaring of my matches, that a steady current of air set down  the
shafts. Further, I threw a scrap of paper into the  throat  of  one,  and,
instead of fluttering slowly down, it was at once sucked  swiftly  out  of
    `After a time, too, I came to connect these wells  with  tall  towers
standing here and there upon the slopes; for above them  there  was  often
just such a flicker in  the  air  as  one  sees  on  a  hot  day  above  a
sun-scorched beach. Putting things together, I reached a strong suggestion
of an extensive system of subterranean ventilation, whose true  import  it
was difficult to imagine. I was at first inclined to associate it with the
sanitary apparatus of these people. It was an obvious conclusion,  but  it
was absolutely wrong.
    `And here I must admit that I learned very little of drains and bells
and modes of conveyance, and the like conveniences, during my time in this
real future. In some of these visions of Utopias and coming times which  I
have read, there is a vast amount of detail  about  building,  and  social
arrangements, and so forth. But while such  details  are  easy  enough  to
obtain when the whole world is contained in one's  imagination,  they  are
altogether inaccessible to a real traveller amid such realities as I found
here. Conceive the tale of  London  which  a  negro,  fresh  from  Central
Africa, would take back to his  tribe!  What  would  he  know  of  railway
companies, of social movements, of telephone and telegraph wires,  of  the
Parcels Delivery Company, and postal orders  and  the  like?  Yet  we,  at
least, should be willing enough to explain these things to him!  And  even
of what he knew, how much could he  make  his  untravelled  friend  either
apprehend or believe? Then, think how narrow the gap between a negro and a
white man of our own times, and how wide the interval between  myself  and
these of the Golden Age! I was sensible of  much  which  was  unseen,  and
which contributed to my comfort; but save  for  a  general  impression  of
automatic organization, I fear I can convey very little of the  difference
to your mind.
    `In the matter of sepulchre, for instance, I could see  no  signs  of
crematoria nor anything suggestive of tombs. But it occurred to  me  that,
possibly, there might be cemeteries (or crematoria) somewhere  beyond  the
range of my explorings. This, again, was a question I deliberately put  to
myself, and my curiosity was at first entirely defeated  upon  the  point.
The thing puzzled me, and I was  led  to  make  a  further  remark,  which
puzzled me still more: that aged and infirm among this people  there  were
    `I must confess that my satisfaction with my  first  theories  of  an
automatic civilization and a decadent humanity did not long endure. Yet  I
could think of no other. Let me  put  my  difficulties.  The  several  big
palaces I had explored were mere living  places,  great  dining-halls  and
sleeping apartments. I could find no machinery, no appliances of any kind.
Yet these people were clothed in pleasant fabrics that must at times  need
renewal, and  their  sandals,  though  undecorated,  were  fairly  complex
specimens of metalwork. Somehow such things must be made. And  the  little
people displayed no vestige of a creative tendency. There were  no  shops,
no workshops, no sign of importations among them.  They  spent  all  their
time in playing gently, in bathing in the  river,  in  making  love  in  a
half-playful fashion, in eating fruit and sleeping. I could  not  see  how
things were kept going.
    `Then, again, about the Time Machine: something, I knew not what, had
taken it into the hollow pedestal of the White Sphinx. Why? For  the  life
of me I could not imagine. Those waterless wells,  too,  those  flickering
pillars. I felt I lacked a clue. I felt-how shall I put  it?  Suppose  you
found an inscription, with sentences here and  there  in  excellent  plain
English, and interpolated therewith, others made up of words,  of  letters
even, absolutely unknown to you? Well, on the third day of my visit,  that
was how the world of Eight Hundred and Two Thousand Seven Hundred and  One
presented itself to me!
    `That day, too, I made a friend-of a sort. It happened that, as I was
watching some of the little people bathing in a shallow, one of  them  was
seized with cramp and began drifting  downstream.  The  main  current  ran
rather swiftly, but not too strongly for even a moderate swimmer. It  will
give you an idea, therefore, of the strange deficiency in these creatures,
when I tell you that none made the slightest attempt to rescue the  weakly
crying little thing which was drowning before their eyes. When I  realized
this, I hurriedly slipped off my clothes, and, wading in at a point  lower
down, I caught the poor mite and drew her safe to land. A  little  rubbing
of the limbs soon brought her round, and I had the satisfaction of  seeing
she was all right before I left her. I had got to such a low  estimate  of
her kind that I did not expect any gratitude from her. In that, however, I
was wrong.
    `This happened in the morning. In  the  afternoon  I  met  my  little
woman, as I believe it was, as I was returning towards my centre  from  an
exploration, and she received me with cries of delight  and  presented  me
with a big garland of flowersevidently made for me and me alone. The thing
took my imagination. Very possibly I had been  feeling  desolate.  At  any
rate I did my best to display my appreciation of the gift.  We  were  soon
seated together in a little stone arbour, engaged in conversation, chiefly
of smiles. The creature's friendliness affected me exactly  as  a  child's
might have done. We passed each other flowers, and she kissed my hands.  I
did the same to hers. Then I tried talk,  and  found  that  her  name  was
Weena,  which,  though  I  don't  know  what  it  meant,  somehow   seemed
appropriate enough. That was the beginning of  a  queer  friendship  which
lasted a week, and ended-as I will tell you!
    `She was exactly like a child. She wanted to be with me  always.  She
tried to follow me everywhere, and on my next journey  out  and  about  it
went to my heart to tire her down, and leave her at  last,  exhausted  and
calling after me rather plaintively. But the problems of the world had  to
be mastered. I had not, I said to myself, come into the future to carry on
a miniature flirtation. Yet her distress when I left her was  very  great,
her expostulations at the parting were sometimes  frantic,  and  I  think,
altogether,  I  had  as  much  trouble  as  comfort  from  her   devotion.
Nevertheless she was, somehow, a very great comfort. I thought it was mere
childish affection that made her cling to me. Until it was too late, I did
not clearly know what I had inflicted upon her when I left her. Nor  until
it was too late did I clearly understand what  she  was  to  me.  For,  by
merely seeming fond of me, and showing in her weak, futile  way  that  she
cared for me, the little doll of a creature presently gave  my  return  to
the neighbourhood of the White Sphinx almost the feeling of  coming  home;
and I would watch for her tiny figure of white and gold so soon as I  came
over the hill.
    `It was from her, too, that I learned that fear had not yet left  the
world. She was fearless enough in the daylight, and  she  had  the  oddest
confidence in me; for once,  in  a  foolish  moment,  I  made  threatening
grimaces at her, and she simply laughed at them. But she dreaded the dark,
dreaded shadows, dreaded black things. Darkness to her was the  one  thing
dreadful. It was a singularly passionate emotion, and it set  me  thinking
and observing. I discovered then, among other things,  that  these  little
people gathered into the great houses after dark, and slept in droves.  To
enter upon them without  a  light  was  to  put  them  into  a  tumult  of
apprehension. I never found one out of doors, or one sleeping alone within
doors, after dark. Yet I was still such a  blockhead  that  I  missed  the
lesson of that fear, and in spite of  Weena's  distress  I  insisted  upon
sleeping away from these slumbering multitudes.
    `It troubled her greatly, but in the end her  odd  affection  for  me
triumphed, and for five of the nights of our acquaintance,  including  the
last night of all, she slept with her head pillowed  on  my  arm.  But  my
story slips away from me as I speak of her. It must have  been  the  night
before her rescue that I was awakened about dawn.  I  had  been  restless,
dreaming most disagreeably that I was drowned, and that sea anemones  were
feeling over my face with their soft palps. I woke with a start, and  with
an odd fancy that some greyish animal had just rushed out of the  chamber.
I tried to get to sleep again, but I felt restless and  uncomfortable.  It
was that dim grey hour when things are just creeping out of darkness, when
everything is colourless and clear cut, and yet unreal. I got up, and went
down into the great hall, and so out upon the flagstones in front  of  the
palace. I thought I would make a virtue of necessity, and see the sunrise.
    `The moon was setting, and the dying moonlight and the  first  pallor
of dawn were mingled in a ghastly half-light. The bushes were inky  black,
the ground a sombre grey, the sky colourless and  cheerless.  And  up  the
hill I thought I could see ghosts. There several times, as I  scanned  the
slope, I saw white figures. Twice  I  fancied  I  saw  a  solitary  white,
ape-like creature running rather quickly up the hill, and  once  near  the
ruins I saw a leash of them carrying some dark body. They moved hastily. I
did not see what became of them. It seemed that they  vanished  among  the
bushes. The dawn was still indistinct, you must understand. I was  feeling
that chill, uncertain, early-morning feeling you may have known. I doubted
my eyes.
    `As the eastern sky grew brighter, and the light of the day  came  on
and its vivid colouring returned upon the world once more, I  scanned  the
view keenly. But I saw no vestige of my  white  figures.  They  were  mere
creatures of the half light. "They must have  been  ghosts,"  I  said;  "I
wonder whence they dated." For a queer notion of Grant Allen's  came  into
my head, and amused me. If  each  generation  die  and  leave  ghosts,  he
argued, the world at last will get overcrowded with them. On  that  theory
they would have grown innumerable some Eight Hundred Thousand Years hence,
and it was no great  wonder  to  see  four  at  once.  But  the  jest  was
unsatisfying, and I was thinking of these figures all the  morning,  until
Weena's rescue drove them out of  my  head.  I  associated  them  in  some
indefinite way with the white animal I had startled in my first passionate
search for the Time Machine. But Weena was a pleasant substitute. Yet  all
the same, they were soon destined to take far deadlier  possession  of  my
    `I think I have said how much hotter than our own was the weather  of
this Golden Age. I cannot account for it. It  may  be  that  the  sun  was
hotter, or the earth nearer the sun. It is usual to assume  that  the  sun
will go on cooling steadily in the future.  But  people,  unfamiliar  with
such speculations as those of the younger Darwin, forget that the  planets
must ultimately fall back one by  one  into  the  parent  body.  As  these
catastrophes occur, the sun will blaze with renewed energy; and it may  be
that some inner planet had suffered this fate. Whatever  the  reason,  the
fact remains that the sun was very much hotter than we know it.
    `Well, one very hot morning-my  fourth,  I  think-as  I  was  seeking
shelter from the heat and glare in a colossal ruin near  the  great  house
where I slept and fed, there happened this strange thing: Clambering among
these heaps of masonry, I found a  narrow  gallery,  whose  end  and  side
windows were blocked by fallen masses  of  stone.  By  contrast  with  the
brilliancy outside, it seemed at first impenetrably dark to me. I  entered
it groping, for the change from light to blackness made  spots  of  colour
swim before me. Suddenly I halted spellbound. A pair of eyes, luminous  by
reflection against the daylight  without,  was  watching  me  out  of  the
    `The old instinctive dread of wild beasts came upon me. I clenched my
hands and steadfastly looked into the glaring eyeballs. I  was  afraid  to
turn. Then the thought of the absolute security in which humanity appeared
to be living came to my mind. And then I remembered that strange terror of
the dark. Overcoming my fear to some extent, I advanced a step and  spoke.
I will admit that my voice was harsh and ill-controlled. I put out my hand
and touched  something  soft.  At  once  the  eyes  darted  sideways,  and
something white ran past me. I turned with my heart in my mouth, and saw a
queer little ape-like figure, its head held down  in  a  peculiar  manner,
running across the sunlit space behind me. It blundered against a block of
granite, staggered aside, and in a moment was hidden  in  a  black  shadow
beneath another pile of ruined masonry.
    `My impression of it is, of course, imperfect; but I know  it  was  a
dull white, and had strange large greyish-red eyes; also  that  there  was
flaxen hair on its head and down its back. But, as I say, it went too fast
for me to see distinctly. I cannot even say whether it ran  on  all-fours,
or only with its forearms held  very  low.  After  an  instant's  pause  I
followed it into the second heap of ruins. I could not find it  at  first;
but, after a time in the profound obscurity, I  came  upon  one  of  those
round well-like openings of which I have told you, half closed by a fallen
pillar. A sudden thought came to me. Could this Thing have  vanished  down
the shaft? I lit a match, and, looking down, I saw a small, white,  moving
creature, with large bright eyes  which  regarded  me  steadfastly  as  it
retreated. It made me shudder. It was so  like  a  human  spider!  It  was
clambering down the wall, and now I saw for the first  time  a  number  of
metal foot and hand rests forming a kind of ladder down  the  shaft.  Then
the light burned my fingers and fell out of  my  hand,  going  out  as  it
dropped, and when I had lit another the little monster had disappeared.
    `I do not know how long I sat peering down that well. It was not  for
some time that I could succeed in persuading myself that the thing  I  had
seen was human. But, gradually, the truth dawned on me: that Man  had  not
remained one species, but had differentiated into  two  distinct  animals:
that my graceful children of the Upper-world were not the sole descendants
of our generation, but that this bleached, obscene, nocturnal Thing, which
had flashed before me, was also heir to all the ages.
    `I thought  of  the  flickering  pillars  and  of  my  theory  of  an
underground ventilation. I began to suspect their true import. And what, I
wondered, was this Lemur doing  in  my  scheme  of  a  perfectly  balanced
organization? How was it related to the indolent serenity of the beautiful
Upper-worlders? And what was hidden down there, at the foot of that shaft?
I sat upon the edge of the well telling myself that, at  any  rate,  there
was nothing to fear, and that there I must descend for the solution of  my
difficulties. And withal I was absolutely afraid to go!  As  I  hesitated,
two of the beautiful Upper-world people  came  running  in  their  amorous
sport across the daylight in the shadow.  The  male  pursued  the  female,
flinging flowers at her as he ran.
    `They seemed distressed to find me, my  arm  against  the  overturned
pillar, peering down the well. Apparently it was considered  bad  form  to
remark these apertures; for when I pointed to this one, and tried to frame
a question about  it  in  their  tongue,  they  were  still  more  visibly
distressed and turned away. But they were interested by my matches, and  I
struck some to amuse them. I tried them again about the well, and again  I
failed. So presently I left them, meaning to go back  to  Weena,  and  see
what I could get from her. But my  mind  was  already  in  revolution;  my
guesses and impressions were slipping and sliding to a new  adjustment.  I
had now a clue to the import of these wells, to the ventilating towers, to
the mystery of the ghosts; to say nothing of a hint at the meaning of  the
bronze gates and the fate of the Time Machine! And very vaguely there came
a suggestion towards the solution of the economic problem that had puzzled
    `Here was the new view. Plainly,  this  second  species  of  Man  was
subterranean. There were three circumstances in particular which  made  me
think  that  its  rare  emergence  above  ground  was  the  outcome  of  a
long-continued underground habit.  In  the  first  place,  there  was  the
bleached look common in most animals that live  largely  in  the  dark-the
white fish of the Kentucky caves, for instance. Then,  those  large  eyes,
with that capacity for reflecting light, are common features of  nocturnal
thingswitness the owl and the cat. And last of all, that evident confusion
in the sunshine, that hasty  yet  fumbling  awkward  flight  towards  dark
shadow, and that peculiar carriage of the  head  while  in  the  light-all
reinforced the theory of an extreme sensitiveness of the retina.
    `Beneath my feet, then, the earth must be tunnelled  enormously,  and
these tunnellings were the habitat  of  the  new  race.  The  presence  of
ventilating shafts and wells along the  hill  slopes-everywhere,  in  fact
except  along  the  river  valley   -showed   how   universal   were   its
ramifications. What so natural, then, as to assume that  it  was  in  this
artificial Underworld that such work as was necessary to  the  comfort  of
the daylight race was done? The notion was so plausible  that  I  at  once
accepted it, and went on to assume the how of this splitting of the  human
species. I dare say you will anticipate the shape of  my  theory;  though,
for myself, I very soon felt that it fell far short of the truth.
    `At first, proceeding from the problems of our  own  age,  it  seemed
clear as daylight to me that the gradual widening of  the  present  merely
temporary and social difference between the Capitalist and  the  Labourer,
was the key to the whole position. No doubt it will seem grotesque  enough
to  you-and  wildly  incredible!-and  yet  even  now  there  are  existing
circumstances  to  point  that  way.  There  is  a  tendency  to   utilize
underground space for the less ornamental purposes of civilization;  there
is the Metropolitan  Railway  in  London,  for  instance,  there  are  new
electric railways, there are subways, there are underground workrooms  and
restaurants, and they increase and multiply. Evidently,  I  thought,  this
tendency had increased till Industry had gradually lost its birthright  in
the sky. I mean that it had gone deeper and deeper into  larger  and  ever
larger underground factories, spending a still-increasing  amount  of  its
time therein, till, in the end-! Even now, does  not  an  East-end  worker
live in such artificial conditions as practically to be cut off  from  the
natural surface of the earth?
    `Again, the exclusive tendency of richer people-due, no doubt, to the
increasing refinement of their education, and the  widening  gulf  between
them and the rude violence of the pooris already leading to  the  closing,
in their interest, of considerable portions of the surface  of  the  land.
About London, for instance, perhaps half the prettier country is  shut  in
against intrusion. And this same widening gulf-which is due to the  length
and expense of the higher educational process and the increased facilities
for and temptations towards refined habits on the part  of  the  rich-will
make  that  exchange  between  class  and   class,   that   promotion   by
intermarriage which at present retards the splitting of our species  along
lines of social stratification, less and less frequent. So,  in  the  end,
above ground you must have the Haves, pursuing pleasure  and  comfort  and
beauty, and below ground the Have-nots, the  Workers  getting  continually
adapted to the conditions of their labour.  Once  they  were  there,  they
would no doubt have to  pay  rent,  and  not  a  little  of  it,  for  the
ventilation of their caverns; and if they refused, they would starve or be
suffocated for arrears. Such of them as  were  so  constituted  as  to  be
miserable and rebellious would die; and, in the  end,  the  balance  being
permanent, the survivors would become as well adapted to the conditions of
underground life, and as happy in their way,  as  the  Upper-world  people
were to theirs. As it seemed to me, the refined beauty and  the  etiolated
pallor followed naturally enough.
    `The great triumph of Humanity I had  dreamed  of  took  a  different
shape in my mind. It had been no  such  triumph  of  moral  education  and
general co-operation as I had imagined. Instead, I saw a real aristocracy,
armed with a perfected science and working to  a  logical  conclusion  the
industrial system of to-day. Its triumph had not  been  simply  a  triumph
over Nature, but a triumph over Nature and the fellow-man.  This,  I  must
warn you, was my theory at the time. I had no convenient cicerone  in  the
pattern of the Utopian books. My explanation may be  absolutely  wrong.  I
still think it is the most plausible one. But even on this supposition the
balanced civilization that was at  last  attained  must  have  long  since
passed its zenith, and was now far  fallen  into  decay.  The  too-perfect
security of the  Upper-worlders  had  led  them  to  a  slow  movement  of
degeneration, to a general dwindling in size, strength, and  intelligence.
That I could  see  clearly  enough  already.  What  had  happened  to  the
Under-grounders I did not yet suspect; but from what I  had  seen  of  the
Morlocks-that, by the by, was the  name  by  which  these  creatures  were
called-I could imagine that the modification of the human  type  was  even
far more profound than among the "Eloi," the beautiful race that I already
    `Then came troublesome doubts. Why had the  Morlocks  taken  my  Time
Machine? For I felt sure it was they who had taken it. Why,  too,  if  the
Eloi were masters, could they not restore the machine to me? And why  were
they so terribly afraid of the dark? I  proceeded,  as  I  have  said,  to
question Weena about this Under-world, but here again I was  disappointed.
At first she would not understand my questions, and presently she  refused
to answer them. She shivered as though the topic was unendurable. And when
I pressed her, perhaps a little harshly, she burst into tears.  They  were
the only tears, except my own, I ever saw in that Golden Age. When  I  saw
them I ceased abruptly  to  trouble  about  the  Morlocks,  and  was  only
concerned in banishing these signs of the human inheritance  from  Weena's
eyes. And very soon she was  smiling  and  clapping  her  hands,  while  I
solemnly burned a match.


    `It may seem odd to you, but it was two days before I could follow up
the new-found clue in what  was  manifestly  the  proper  way.  I  felt  a
peculiar  shrinking  from  those  pallid  bodies.  They  were   just   the
half-bleached colour of the worms and things one sees preserved in  spirit
in a zoological museum. And they were filthily cold to the touch. Probably
my shrinking was largely due to the sympathetic  influence  of  the  Eloi,
whose disgust of the Morlocks I now began to appreciate.
    `The next night I did not sleep well. Probably my health was a little
disordered. I was oppressed with perplexity and doubt. Once or twice I had
a feeling of intense fear for which I could perceive no definite reason. I
remember creeping noiselessly into the great hall where the little  people
were sleeping in the moonlight-that night Weena was among them-and feeling
reassured by their presence. It occurred to me  even  then,  that  in  the
course of a few days the moon must pass through its last quarter, and  the
nights grow dark, when the appearances of these unpleasant creatures  from
below, these whitened Lemurs, this new vermin that had replaced  the  old,
might be more abundant. And on both these days I had the restless  feeling
of one who shirks an inevitable duty. I felt assured that the Time Machine
was  only  to  be  recovered  by  boldly  penetrating  these   underground
mysteries. Yet I could not face the mystery. If only I had had a companion
it would have been different. But I was so horribly  alone,  and  even  to
clamber down into the darkness of the well appalled me. I  don't  know  if
you will understand my feeling, but I never felt quite safe at my back.
    `It was this restlessness, this insecurity, perhaps,  that  drove  me
further and further afield in  my  exploring  expeditions.  Going  to  the
south-westward towards the rising country that is now called Combe Wood, I
observed far off, in the direction of nineteenth-century Banstead, a  vast
green structure, different in character from any I had hitherto  seen.  It
was larger than the largest of the palaces or ruins I knew, and the facade
had an Oriental look: the face of it having the lustre,  as  well  as  the
pale-green tint, a kind of bluish-green, of  a  certain  type  of  Chinese
porcelain. This difference in aspect suggested a difference in use, and  I
was minded to push on and explore. But the day was growing late, and I had
come upon the sight of the place after a long and  tiring  circuit;  so  I
resolved to hold over the adventure for the following day, and I  returned
to the welcome and the caresses  of  little  Weena.  But  next  morning  I
perceived clearly enough that my curiosity regarding the Palace  of  Green
Porcelain was a piece of self-deception, to enable me to shirk, by another
day, an experience I dreaded. I resolved I would make the descent  without
further waste of time, and started out in the early morning towards a well
near the ruins of granite and aluminium.
    `Little Weena ran with me. She danced beside me to the well, but when
she saw me lean over the mouth and look  downward,  she  seemed  strangely
disconcerted. "Good-bye, Little Weena," I  said,  kissing  her;  and  then
putting her down, I began to feel over the parapet for the climbing hooks.
Rather hastily, I may as well confess, for I feared my courage might  leak
away! At first she watched me in amazement. Then she gave a  most  piteous
cry, and running to me, she began to pull at me with her little  hands.  I
think her opposition nerved me rather to proceed. I shook her off, perhaps
a little roughly, and in another moment I was in the throat of the well. I
saw her agonized face over the parapet, and smiled to reassure her. Then I
had to look down at the unstable hooks to which I clung.
    `I had to clamber down a shaft of  perhaps  two  hundred  yards.  The
descent was effected by means of metallic bars projecting from  the  sides
of the well, and these being adapted to  the  needs  of  a  creature  much
smaller and lighter than myself, I was speedily cramped  and  fatigued  by
the descent. And not simply fatigued! One of the bars bent suddenly  under
my weight, and almost swung me off  into  the  blackness  beneath.  For  a
moment I hung by one hand, and after that experience I  did  not  dare  to
rest again. Though my arms and back were presently acutely painful, I went
on clambering down the sheer descent with as quick a motion  as  possible.
Glancing upward, I saw the aperture, a small blue disk, in  which  a  star
was visible, while little Weena's head showed as a round black projection.
The thudding sound of a machine below grew  louder  and  more  oppressive.
Everything save that little disk above was profoundly  dark,  and  when  I
looked up again Weena had disappeared.
    `I was in an agony of discomfort. I had some thought of trying to  go
up the shaft again, and leave the Under-world  alone.  But  even  while  I
turned this over in my mind I continued to descend. At last, with  intense
relief, I saw dimly coming up, a foot  to  the  right  of  me,  a  slender
loophole in the wall. Swinging myself in, I found it was the aperture of a
narrow horizontal tunnel in which I could lie down and rest.  It  was  not
too soon. My arms ached, my back was cramped, and I was trembling with the
prolonged terror of a fall. Besides this, the unbroken darkness had had  a
distressing effect upon my eyes. The air was full of the throb and hum  of
machinery pumping air down the shaft.
    `I do not know how long I lay. I was roused by a soft  hand  touching
my face. Starting up in the darkness I snatched at my matches and, hastily
striking one, I saw three stooping white creatures similar to  the  one  I
had seen above ground in the ruin, hastily retreating  before  the  light.
Living, as they did, in what appeared to me impenetrable  darkness,  their
eyes were abnormally large and sensitive, just as are the  pupils  of  the
abysmal fishes, and they reflected the light in the same way.  I  have  no
doubt they could see me in that rayless obscurity, and they did  not  seem
to have any fear of me apart from the light. But, so soon as  I  struck  a
match in order to see them, they fled incontinently, vanishing  into  dark
gutters and tunnels, from which their eyes glared at me in  the  strangest
    `I tried to call to them, but the language they  had  was  apparently
different from that of the Over-world people; so that I was needs left  to
my own unaided efforts, and the thought of flight before  exploration  was
even then in my mind. But I said to myself, "You are in for it now,"  and,
feeling my way along the tunnel, I  found  the  noise  of  machinery  grow
louder. Presently the walls fell away from me, and I came to a large  open
space, and striking another match, saw that I had entered  a  vast  arched
cavern, which stretched into utter darkness beyond the range of my  light.
The view I had of it was as much as one could see  in  the  burning  of  a
    `Necessarily my memory is vague. Great shapes like big machines  rose
out of the dimness,  and  cast  grotesque  black  shadows,  in  which  dim
spectral Morlocks sheltered from the glare. The place, by the by, was very
stuffy and oppressive, and the faint halitus of freshly shed blood was  in
the air. Some way down the central vista  was  a  little  table  of  white
metal, laid with what seemed  a  meal.  The  Morlocks  at  any  rate  were
carnivorous! Even at the time, I  remember  wondering  what  large  animal
could have survived to furnish the red  joint  I  saw.  It  was  all  very
indistinct: the heavy smell, the big unmeaning shapes, the obscene figures
lurking in the shadows, and only waiting for the darkness to  come  at  me
again! Then the match burned down, and  stung  my  fingers,  and  fell,  a
wriggling red spot in the blackness.
    `I have thought since how particularly ill-equipped I was for such an
experience. When I had started with the Time Machine, I had  started  with
the absurd assumption that the  men  of  the  Future  would  certainly  be
infinitely ahead of ourselves in all their appliances. I had come  without
arms, without medicine,  without  anything  to  smoke-at  times  I  missed
tobacco frightfully-even without enough matches. If only I had thought  of
a Kodak! I could have flashed that glimpse of the Underworld in a  second,
and examined it at leisure. But, as it was, I stood there  with  only  the
weapons and the powers that Nature had endowed me  with-hands,  feet,  and
teeth; these, and four safety-matches that still remained to me.
    `I was afraid to push my way in among all this machinery in the dark,
and it was only with my last glimpse of light I discovered that  my  store
of matches had run low. It had never occurred to me until that moment that
there was any need to economize them, and I had wasted almost half the box
in astonishing the Upper-worlders, to whom fire was a novelty. Now,  as  I
say, I had four left, and while I stood in the dark, a hand touched  mine,
lank fingers came feeling over my face, and I was sensible of  a  peculiar
unpleasant odour. I fancied I heard the breathing  of  a  crowd  of  those
dreadful little beings about me. I felt the box  of  matches  in  my  hand
being gently  disengaged,  and  other  hands  behind  me  plucking  at  my
clothing.  The  sense  of  these  unseen  creatures   examining   me   was
indescribably unpleasant. The sudden realization of my ignorance of  their
ways of thinking and doing came home to me very vividly in the darkness. I
shouted at them as loudly as I could. They started away, and then I  could
feel  them  approaching  me  again.  They  clutched  at  me  more  boldly,
whispering odd sounds to each other. I  shivered  violently,  and  shouted
again rather discordantly. This time they were not so  seriously  alarmed,
and they made a queer laughing noise as they  came  back  at  me.  I  will
confess I was horribly frightened. I determined to  strike  another  match
and escape under the protection of its glare. I did so, and eking out  the
flicker with a scrap of paper from my pocket, I made good  my  retreat  to
the narrow tunnel. But I had scarce entered this when my light  was  blown
out and in the blackness I could hear  the  Morlocks  rustling  like  wind
among leaves, and pattering like the rain, as they hurried after me.
    `In a moment I was clutched  by  several  hands,  and  there  was  no
mistaking that they were trying to haul me back. I struck  another  light,
and  waved  it  in  their  dazzled  faces.  You  can  scarce  imagine  how
nauseatingly inhuman they looked-those pale,  chinless  faces  and  great,
lidless,  pinkish-grey  eyes!-as  they  stared  in  their  blindness   and
bewilderment. But I did not stay to  look,  I  promise  you:  I  retreated
again, and when my second match had ended,  I  struck  my  third.  It  had
almost burned through when I reached the opening into  the  shaft.  I  lay
down on the edge, for the throb of the great pump  below  made  me  giddy.
Then I felt sideways for the projecting hooks, and, as I did so,  my  feet
were grasped from behind, and I was violently tugged backward.  I  lit  my
last match... and it incontinently went out. But I  had  my  hand  on  the
climbing bars now, and, kicking violently, I disengaged  myself  from  the
clutches of the Morlocks and was speedily clambering up the  shaft,  while
they stayed peering and blinking up at me: all but one little  wretch  who
followed me for some way, and wellnigh secured my boot as a trophy.
    `That climb seemed interminable to me. With the last twenty or thirty
feet of it a deadly nausea came upon me. I had the greatest difficulty  in
keeping my hold. The last few yards was a frightful struggle against  this
faintness. Several times my head swam, and I felt all  the  sensations  of
falling. At  last,  however,  I  got  over  the  well-mouth  somehow,  and
staggered out of the ruin into the blinding sunlight. I fell upon my face.
Even the soil smelt sweet and clean. Then  I  remember  Weena  kissing  my
hands and ears, and the voices of others among the Eloi. Then, for a time,
I was insensible.


    `Now, indeed, I seemed in a worse case than before. Hitherto,  except
during my night's anguish at the loss of the Time Machine, I  had  felt  a
sustaining hope of ultimate escape, but that hope was staggered  by  these
new discoveries. Hitherto I had  merely  thought  myself  impeded  by  the
childish simplicity of the little people, and by some unknown forces which
I had only to understand to overcome; but  there  was  an  altogether  new
element in the sickening quality of the Morlocks-a something  inhuman  and
malign. Instinctively I loathed them. Before, I had felt as  a  man  might
feel who had fallen into a pit: my concern was with the pit and how to get
out of it. Now I felt like a beast in a trap, whose enemy would come  upon
him soon.
    `The enemy I dreaded may surprise you. It was the darkness of the new
moon. Weena had put this into my head by some  at  first  incomprehensible
remarks about the Dark Nights. It  was  not  now  such  a  very  difficult
problem to guess what the coming Dark Nights might mean. The moon  was  on
the wane: each night there was a longer interval of darkness.  And  I  now
understood to some slight degree at least the reason of the  fear  of  the
little Upper-world people for the  dark.  I  wondered  vaguely  what  foul
villainy it might be that the Morlocks did under  the  new  moon.  I  felt
pretty sure now that my second hypothesis was all wrong.  The  Upper-world
people might once have been the favoured  aristocracy,  and  the  Morlocks
their mechanical servants: but that had long since passed  away.  The  two
species that had resulted from the evolution  of  man  were  sliding  down
towards, or had already arrived at, an altogether  new  relationship.  The
Eloi, like  the  Carolingian  kings,  had  decayed  to  a  mere  beautiful
futility.  They  still  possessed  the  earth  on  sufferance:  since  the
Morlocks, subterranean for innumerable generations, had come  at  last  to
find the daylit surface intolerable. And the Morlocks made their garments,
I inferred, and maintained them in their habitual needs,  perhaps  through
the survival of an old habit of service. They did it as a  standing  horse
paws with his foot, or as a man enjoys killing animals in  sport:  because
ancient and departed necessities had impressed it on  the  organism.  But,
clearly, the old order was already in part reversed. The  Nemesis  of  the
delicate ones was creeping on apace. Ages ago,  thousands  of  generations
ago, man had thrust his brother man out of the ease and the sunshine.  And
now that brother was coming back changed! Already the Eloi  had  begun  to
learn one old lesson anew. They were becoming reacquainted with Fear.  And
suddenly there came into my head the memory of the meat I had seen in  the
Under-world. It seemed odd how it floated into my mind: not stirred up  as
it were by the current of my meditations, but  coming  in  almost  like  a
question from outside. I tried to recall the form of it.  I  had  a  vague
sense of something familiar, but I could not tell what it was at the time.
    `Still, however helpless the little people in the presence  of  their
mysterious Fear, I was differently constituted. I came out of this age  of
ours, this ripe prime of the human race, when Fear does not  paralyse  and
mystery has lost its terrors. I at  least  would  defend  myself.  Without
further delay I determined to make myself arms  and  a  fastness  where  I
might sleep. With that refuge as a base, I could face this  strange  world
with some of that confidence I had lost in  realizing  to  what  creatures
night by night I lay exposed. I felt I could never sleep  again  until  my
bed was secure from them. I shuddered with horror to think how  they  must
already have examined me.
    `I wandered during the afternoon along the valley of the Thames,  but
found nothing that commended itself to my mind as  inaccessible.  All  the
buildings and trees seemed easily practicable to such  dexterous  climbers
as the Morlocks, to judge by their wells, must be. Then the tall pinnacles
of the Palace of Green Porcelain and the polished gleam of its walls  came
back to my memory; and in the evening, taking Weena like a child  upon  my
shoulder, I went up the hills towards the south-west. The distance, I  had
reckoned, was seven or eight miles, but it must have been nearer eighteen.
I had first seen the  place  on  a  moist  afternoon  when  distances  are
deceptively diminished. In addition, the heel  of  one  of  my  shoes  was
loose, and a nail was working through the sole-they were  comfortable  old
shoes I wore about indoors-so that I was lame. And  it  was  already  long
past sunset when I came in sight of the palace, silhouetted black  against
the pale yellow of the sky.
    `Weena had been hugely delighted when I began to carry her, but after
a while she desired me to let her down, and ran along by the side  of  me,
occasionally darting off on either hand to pick flowers  to  stick  in  my
pockets. My pockets had always puzzled Weena, but  at  the  last  she  had
concluded that they were an eccentric kind of vase for floral  decoration.
At least she utilized them for that  purpose.  And  that  reminds  me!  In
changing my jacket I found...'
    The Time Traveller paused, put his hand into his pocket, and silently
placed two withered flowers, not unlike very large white mallows, upon the
little table. Then he resumed his narrative.
    `As the hush of evening crept over the world and  we  proceeded  over
the hill crest towards Wimbledon, Weena grew tired and wanted to return to
the house of grey stone. But I pointed out the distant  pinnacles  of  the
Palace of Green Porcelain to her, and contrived  to  make  her  understand
that we were seeking a refuge there from her Fear.  You  know  that  great
pause that comes upon things before the dusk? Even the breeze stops in the
trees. To me there is always an air  of  expectation  about  that  evening
stillness. The sky was clear, remote, and empty save for a few  horizontal
bars far down in the sunset. Well, that night  the  expectation  took  the
colour of my fears. In that darkling calm my senses seemed preternaturally
sharpened. I fancied I could  even  feel  the  hollowness  of  the  ground
beneath my feet: could, indeed, almost see  through  it  the  Morlocks  on
their ant-hill going hither and thither and waiting for the  dark.  In  my
excitement I fancied that they would receive my invasion of their  burrows
as a declaration of war. And why had they taken my Time Machine?
    `So we went on in the quiet, and the twilight  deepened  into  night.
The clear blue of the distance faded, and one star after another came out.
The ground grew dim and the trees black. Weena's  fears  and  her  fatigue
grew upon her. I took her in my arms and talked to her and  caressed  her.
Then, as the darkness grew deeper, she put her arms round  my  neck,  and,
closing her eyes, tightly pressed her face against my shoulder. So we went
down a long slope into a valley, and there in the dimness I almost  walked
into a little river. This I waded, and went up the opposite  side  of  the
valley, past a number of sleeping houses, and by a statue-a Faun, or  some
such figure, MINUS the head. Here too were acacias.  So  far  I  had  seen
nothing of the Morlocks, but it was yet early in the night, and the darker
hours before the old moon rose were still to come.
    `From the brow of the next hill I saw a thick wood spreading wide and
black before me. I hesitated at this. I could see no end to it, either  to
the right or the left. Feeling tired-my feet,  in  particular,  were  very
sore-I carefully lowered Weena from my shoulder as I halted, and sat  down
upon the turf. I could no longer see the Palace of Green Porcelain, and  I
was in doubt of my direction. I looked into the thickness of the wood  and
thought of what it might hide. Under that dense  tangle  of  branches  one
would be out of sight of the stars.  Even  were  there  no  other  lurking
danger-a danger I did not care to  let  my  imagination  loose  upon-there
would still be all the roots to stumble over and the tree-boles to  strike
    `I was very tired, too, after  the  excitements  of  the  day;  so  I
decided that I would not face it, but would pass the night upon  the  open
    `Weena, I was glad to find, was fast asleep. I carefully wrapped  her
in my jacket, and sat down beside  her  to  wait  for  the  moonrise.  The
hill-side was quiet and deserted, but from the black  of  the  wood  there
came now and then a stir of living things. Above me shone the  stars,  for
the night was very clear. I felt a certain sense of  friendly  comfort  in
their twinkling. All  the  old  constellations  had  gone  from  the  sky,
however: that slow movement which is  imperceptible  in  a  hundred  human
lifetimes, had long since rearranged them in unfamiliar groupings. But the
Milky Way, it seemed to me,  was  still  the  same  tattered  streamer  of
star-dust as of yore. Southward (as I judged it) was  a  very  bright  red
star that was new to me; it was even more  splendid  than  our  own  green
Sirius. And amid all these scintillating points of light one bright planet
shone kindly and steadily like the face of an old friend.
    `Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own troubles and all  the
gravities of terrestrial life. I thought of their  unfathomable  distance,
and the slow inevitable drift of their movements out of the  unknown  past
into the unknown future. I thought of the great  precessional  cycle  that
the pole of  the  earth  describes.  Only  forty  times  had  that  silent
revolution occurred during all the years that I had traversed. And  during
these few revolutions all the activity, all the  traditions,  the  complex
organizations, the nations, languages, literatures, aspirations, even  the
mere memory of Man as I knew him, had been swept out of existence. Instead
were these frail creatures who had forgotten their high ancestry, and  the
white Things of which I went in terror. Then I thought of the  Great  Fear
that was between the two species, and for the first time,  with  a  sudden
shiver, came the clear knowledge of what the meat I had seen might be. Yet
it was too horrible! I looked at little Weena sleeping beside me, her face
white and starlike under the stars, and forthwith dismissed the thought.
    `Through that long night I held my mind off the Morlocks as well as I
could, and whiled away the time by trying to fancy I could find  signs  of
the old constellations in the new confusion.  The  sky  kept  very  clear,
except for a hazy cloud or so. No doubt I dozed  at  times.  Then,  as  my
vigil wore on, came a faintness in the eastward sky, like  the  reflection
of some colourless fire, and the old moon rose, thin and peaked and white.
And close behind, and overtaking it, and overflowing it,  the  dawn  came,
pale at first, and then growing pink and warm. No Morlocks had  approached
us. Indeed, I had  seen  none  upon  the  hill  that  night.  And  in  the
confidence of renewed day it almost seemed to me that  my  fear  had  been
unreasonable. I stood up and found my foot with the loose heel swollen  at
the ankle and painful under the heel; so I sat down  again,  took  off  my
shoes, and flung them away.
    `I awakened Weena, and we went down into  the  wood,  now  green  and
pleasant instead of black and forbidding. We found some fruit wherewith to
break our fast. We soon met  others  of  the  dainty  ones,  laughing  and
dancing in the sunlight as though there was no such thing in nature as the
night. And then I thought once more of the meat that I had  seen.  I  felt
assured now of what it was, and from the bottom of my heart I pitied  this
last feeble rill from the great flood of humanity. Clearly, at  some  time
in the Long-Ago of human decay the Morlocks' food had run short.  Possibly
they had lived on rats and such-like vermin. Even  now  man  is  far  less
discriminating and exclusive in his food than he  was-far  less  than  any
monkey. His prejudice against human flesh is no deep-seated instinct.  And
so these inhuman sons of  men-!  I  tried  to  look  at  the  thing  in  a
scientific spirit. After all, they were less human and  more  remote  than
our cannibal ancestors of three  or  four  thousand  years  ago.  And  the
intelligence that would have made this state of things a torment had gone.
Why should I trouble myself? These Eloi were mere fatted cattle, which the
ant-like Morlocks preserved and preyed upon-probably saw to  the  breeding
of. And there was Weena dancing at my side!
    `Then I tried to preserve myself from the horror that was coming upon
me, by regarding it as a rigorous punishment of human selfishness. Man had
been content to  live  in  ease  and  delight  upon  the  labours  of  his
fellow-man, had taken Necessity as his watchword and excuse,  and  in  the
fullness of  time  Necessity  had  come  home  to  him.  I  even  tried  a
Carlyle-like scorn  of  this  wretched  aristocracy  in  decay.  But  this
attitude  of  mind  was  impossible.  However  great  their   intellectual
degradation, the Eloi had kept too much of the human form not to claim  my
sympathy, and to make me perforce a sharer in their degradation and  their
    `I had at that time very vague  ideas  as  to  the  course  I  should
pursue. My first was to secure some safe place  of  refuge,  and  to  make
myself such arms of metal or stone as I could contrive. That necessity was
immediate. In the next place, I hoped to procure some means  of  fire,  so
that I should have the weapon of a torch at hand,  for  nothing,  I  knew,
would be more efficient against these Morlocks. Then I wanted  to  arrange
some contrivance to break open the doors of bronze under the White Sphinx.
I had in mind a battering ram. I had a persuasion that if  I  could  enter
those doors and carry a blaze of light before me  I  should  discover  the
Time Machine and escape. I could not  imagine  the  Morlocks  were  strong
enough to move it far away. Weena I had resolved to bring with me  to  our
own time. And turning such schemes over in  my  mind  I  pursued  our  way
towards the building which my fancy had chosen as our dwelling.


    `I found the Palace of Green Porcelain, when we approached  it  about
noon, deserted and falling  into  ruin.  Only  ragged  vestiges  of  glass
remained in its windows, and great sheets of the green facing  had  fallen
away from the corroded metallic framework. It lay very high upon  a  turfy
down, and looking north-eastward before I entered it, I was  surprised  to
see a large  estuary,  or  even  creek,  where  I  judged  Wandsworth  and
Battersea must once have been. I thought then-though I never  followed  up
the thought-of what might have happened, or might  be  happening,  to  the
living things in the sea.
    `The material of the  Palace  proved  on  examination  to  be  indeed
porcelain, and along the face of it I saw an inscription in  some  unknown
character. I thought, rather  foolishly,  that  Weena  might  help  me  to
interpret this, but I only learned that the bare idea of writing had never
entered her head. She always seemed to me, I fancy, more  human  than  she
was, perhaps because her affection was so human.
    `Within the big valves of the  door-which  were  open  and  broken-we
found, instead of the customary hall, a long  gallery  lit  by  many  side
windows. At the first glance I was reminded of a museum. The  tiled  floor
was thick with dust, and a remarkable array of miscellaneous  objects  was
shrouded in the same grey covering. Then I perceived, standing strange and
gaunt in the centre of the hall, what was clearly the lower part of a huge
skeleton. I recognized by the  oblique  feet  that  it  was  some  extinct
creature after the fashion of the Megatherium. The  skull  and  the  upper
bones lay beside it in the thick dust, and in one place, where  rain-water
had dropped through a leak in the roof, the thing  itself  had  been  worn
away.  Further  in  the  gallery  was  the  huge  skeleton  barrel  of   a
Brontosaurus. My museum hypothesis was confirmed. Going towards the side I
found what appeared to be sloping shelves, and  clearing  away  the  thick
dust, I found the old familiar glass cases of our own time. But they  must
have been air-tight to judge from the fair preservation of some  of  their
    `Clearly  we  stood  among  the  ruins  of  some   latter-day   South
Kensington! Here, apparently, was the Palaeontological Section, and a very
splendid array of fossils it must have been, though the inevitable process
of decay that had been staved  off  for  a  time,  and  had,  through  the
extinction of bacteria and  fungi,  lost  ninety-nine  hundredths  of  its
force, was nevertheless, with extreme sureness if with extreme slowness at
work again upon all its treasures. Here and there I found  traces  of  the
little people in the shape of rare fossils broken to pieces or threaded in
strings upon reeds. And the  cases  had  in  some  instances  been  bodily
removed-by the Morlocks as I judged. The place was very silent. The  thick
dust deadened our footsteps. Weena, who had been rolling a sea urchin down
the sloping glass of a case, presently came, as I  stared  about  me,  and
very quietly took my hand and stood beside me.
    `And at first I was so much surprised by this ancient monument of  an
intellectual  age,  that  I  gave  no  thought  to  the  possibilities  it
presented. Even my preoccupation about the Time Machine receded  a  little
from my mind.
    `To judge from the size of the place, this Palace of Green  Porcelain
had a great deal more in it than  a  Gallery  of  Palaeontology;  possibly
historical galleries; it might be, even a library! To me, at least  in  my
present circumstances, these would be vastly more  interesting  than  this
spectacle of oldtime geology in decay. Exploring, I  found  another  short
gallery running transversely to the first. This appeared to be devoted  to
minerals, and the sight of a block of  sulphur  set  my  mind  running  on
gunpowder. But I could find no saltpeter; indeed, no nitrates of any kind.
Doubtless they had deliquesced ages ago. Yet the sulphur hung in my  mind,
and set up a train of thinking. As for the rest of the  contents  of  that
gallery, though on the whole they were the best preserved of all I saw,  I
had little interest. I am no specialist in mineralogy, and I went on  down
a very ruinous aisle running parallel to the first  hall  I  had  entered.
Apparently  this  section  had  been  devoted  to  natural  history,   but
everything had long since passed out of recognition. A few shrivelled  and
blackened vestiges of what  had  once  been  stuffed  animals,  desiccated
mummies in jars that had once  held  spirit,  a  brown  dust  of  departed
plants: that was all! I was sorry for that, because  I  should  have  been
glad to trace the patent readjustments by which the conquest  of  animated
nature had been attained. Then we came to a  gallery  of  simply  colossal
proportions, but singularly ill-lit, the floor of it running downward at a
slight angle from the end at which I entered. At  intervals  white  globes
hung from the ceiling-many of them  cracked  and  smashed-which  suggested
that originally the place had been artificially lit. Here I was more in my
element, for rising on either side of  me  were  the  huge  bulks  of  big
machines, all greatly corroded and many broken down, but some still fairly
complete. You know I have a certain weakness  for  mechanism,  and  I  was
inclined to linger among these; the more so as for the most part they  had
the interest of puzzles, and I could make only the vaguest guesses at what
they were for. I fancied that if I could solve their puzzles I should find
myself in possession of powers that might be of use against the Morlocks.
    `Suddenly Weena came very close to my  side.  So  suddenly  that  she
startled me. Had it not been for her I do not think I should have  noticed
that the floor of the gallery sloped at all.  [Footnote:  It  may  be,  of
course, that the floor did not slope, but that the museum was  built  into
the side of a hill.-ED.] The end I had come in at was quite above  ground,
and was lit by rare slit-like windows. As you went down  the  length,  the
ground came up against these windows, until at last there was a  pit  like
the "area" of a London house before  each,  and  only  a  narrow  line  of
daylight at the top. I went slowly along, puzzling about the machines, and
had been too intent upon them to notice  the  gradual  diminution  of  the
light, until Weena's increasing apprehensions drew my  attention.  Then  I
saw that the gallery ran down at last into a thick darkness. I  hesitated,
and then, as I looked round me, I saw that the dust was less abundant  and
its surface less even. Further away towards the dimness, it appeared to be
broken by a number of small narrow footprints. My sense of  the  immediate
presence of the Morlocks revived at that. I felt that  I  was  wasting  my
time in the academic examination of machinery. I called to  mind  that  it
was already far advanced in the afternoon, and that I had still no weapon,
no refuge, and no means of making a fire. And  then  down  in  the  remote
blackness of the gallery I heard a peculiar pattering, and  the  same  odd
noises I had heard down the well.
    `I took Weena's hand. Then, struck with a sudden idea, I left her and
turned to a machine from which projected a lever not  unlike  those  in  a
signal-box. Clambering upon the stand,  and  grasping  this  lever  in  my
hands, I put all my weight upon it sideways. Suddenly Weena,  deserted  in
the central aisle, began to whimper. I had  judged  the  strength  of  the
lever pretty correctly, for it snapped after  a  minute's  strain,  and  I
rejoined her with a mace in my hand more than sufficient,  I  judged,  for
any Morlock skull I might encounter. And I longed  very  much  to  kill  a
Morlock or so. Very inhuman, you may think, to want to  go  killing  one's
own descendants! But it was impossible, somehow, to feel any  humanity  in
the things. Only my disinclination to leave Weena, and a  persuasion  that
if I began to slake my thirst for murder my  Time  Machine  might  suffer,
restrained me from going straight down the gallery and killing the  brutes
I heard.
    `Well, mace in one hand and Weena in the other, I went  out  of  that
gallery and into another and still larger one, which at the  first  glance
reminded me of a military chapel hung with tattered flags. The  brown  and
charred rags that hung from the sides of it, I presently recognized as the
decaying vestiges of books. They had long since  dropped  to  pieces,  and
every semblance of print had left them. But here  and  there  were  warped
boards and cracked metallic clasps that told the tale well enough.  Had  I
been a literary man I might, perhaps, have moralized upon the futility  of
all ambition. But as it was, the thing that struck me with  keenest  force
was the enormous waste of  labour  to  which  this  sombre  wilderness  of
rotting paper testified. At the time I will confess that I thought chiefly
of the  PHILOSOPHICAL  TRANSACTIONS  and  my  own  seventeen  papers  upon
physical optics.
    `Then, going up a broad staircase, we came to what may once have been
a gallery of technical chemistry. And here I had  not  a  little  hope  of
useful discoveries. Except at one end where the roof had  collapsed,  this
gallery was well preserved. I went eagerly to every unbroken case. And  at
last, in one of the really air-tight cases, I found a box of matches. Very
eagerly I tried them. They were perfectly good. They were not even damp. I
turned to Weena. "Dance," I cried to her in her own tongue. For now I  had
a weapon indeed against the horrible creatures we feared. And so, in  that
derelict museum, upon the thick soft carpeting of dust,  to  Weena's  huge
delight, I solemnly performed a kind of  composite  dance,  whistling  THE
LAND OF THE LEAL as cheerfully as I could. In part it was a modest CANCAN,
in part a step dance, in part  a  skirt-dance  (so  far  as  my  tail-coat
permitted), and in part original. For I am  naturally  inventive,  as  you
    `Now, I still think that for this box of matches to have escaped  the
wear of time for immemorial years was a most strange, as for me it  was  a
most fortunate  thing.  Yet,  oddly  enough,  I  found  a  far  unlikelier
substance, and that was camphor. I found it  in  a  sealed  jar,  that  by
chance, I suppose, had been really hermetically sealed. I fancied at first
that it was paraffin wax, and smashed the glass accordingly. But the odour
of  camphor  was  unmistakable.  In  the  universal  decay  this  volatile
substance had chanced  to  survive,  perhaps  through  many  thousands  of
centuries. It reminded me of a sepia painting I had once  seen  done  from
the ink  of  a  fossil  Belemnite  that  must  have  perished  and  become
fossilized millions of years ago. I was about to  throw  it  away,  but  I
remembered  that  it  was  inflammable  and  burned  with  a  good  bright
flame-was, in fact, an excellent candle-and I put it in my pocket. I found
no explosives, however, nor any means of breaking down the  bronze  doors.
As yet my iron crowbar was the most helpful  thing  I  had  chanced  upon.
Nevertheless I left that gallery greatly elated.
    `I cannot tell you all the story of that  long  afternoon.  It  would
require a great effort of memory to recall my explorations in at  all  the
proper order. I remember a long gallery of rusting stands of arms, and how
I hesitated between my crowbar and a hatchet or a sword. I could not carry
both, however, and my bar of iron promised best against the bronze  gates.
There were numbers of guns, pistols, and rifles. The most were  masses  of
rust, but many were of some new metal, and still  fairly  sound.  But  any
cartridges or powder there may once have been had rotted  into  dust.  One
corner I saw  was  charred  and  shattered;  perhaps,  I  thought,  by  an
explosion among the specimens. In  another  place  was  a  vast  array  of
idols-Polynesian, Mexican, Grecian, Phoenician, every country on  earth  I
should think. And here, yielding to an irresistible impulse,  I  wrote  my
name upon  the  nose  of  a  steatite  monster  from  South  America  that
particularly took my fancy.
    `As the evening drew on, my interest waned. I  went  through  gallery
after gallery, dusty, silent, often ruinous, the exhibits  sometimes  mere
heaps of rust and lignite, sometimes fresher.  In  one  place  I  suddenly
found myself near the model of a tin-mine, and then by the merest accident
I discovered, in an air-tight case, two  dynamite  cartridges!  I  shouted
"Eureka!" and smashed the case with joy. Then came a doubt.  I  hesitated.
Then, selecting a little side gallery, I made my essay. I never felt  such
a disappointment as I did in waiting five, ten,  fifteen  minutes  for  an
explosion that never came. Of course the things were dummies, as  I  might
have guessed from their presence. I really believe that had they not  been
so, I should have rushed off incontinently and blown Sphinx, bronze doors,
and (as it proved) my chances of finding the Time  Machine,  all  together
into nonexistence.
    `It was after that, I think, that we came  to  a  little  open  court
within the palace. It was turfed, and had three fruittrees. So  we  rested
and refreshed ourselves. Towards sunset I began to consider our  position.
Night was creeping upon us, and my inaccessible hiding-place had still  to
be found. But that troubled me very little now. I had in my  possession  a
thing that was, perhaps, the best of all defences against  the  Morlocks-I
had matches! I had the camphor in my pocket, too, if a blaze were  needed.
It seemed to me that the best thing we could do would be to pass the night
in the open, protected by a fire. In the morning there was the getting  of
the Time Machine. Towards that, as yet, I had only my iron mace. But  now,
with my growing knowledge, I felt very differently  towards  those  bronze
doors. Up to this, I had refrained from forcing them, largely  because  of
the mystery on the other side. They had never impressed me as  being  very
strong, and I hoped to find my bar of iron not altogether  inadequate  for
the work.


    `We emerged from the palace while the sun was still in part above the
horizon. I was determined  to  reach  the  White  Sphinx  early  the  next
morning, and ere the dusk I purposed pushing through the  woods  that  had
stopped me on the previous journey. My plan was to go as far  as  possible
that night, and then, building a fire, to sleep in the protection  of  its
glare. Accordingly, as we went along I gathered any sticks or dried  grass
I saw, and presently had my arms full of such  litter.  Thus  loaded,  our
progress was slower than I had anticipated, and besides Weena  was  tired.
And I began to suffer from sleepiness too;  so  that  it  was  full  night
before we reached the wood. Upon the shrubby hill of its edge Weena  would
have stopped, fearing the darkness before us;  but  a  singular  sense  of
impending calamity, that should indeed have served me as a warning,  drove
me onward. I had been without sleep for a night and two days,  and  I  was
feverish and irritable. I felt sleep coming upon me, and the Morlocks with
    `While we hesitated, among  the  black  bushes  behind  us,  and  dim
against their blackness, I saw three crouching figures.  There  was  scrub
and long grass all about us, and I did not feel safe from their  insidious
approach. The forest, I calculated, was rather less than a mile across. If
we could get through it to the bare hill-side, there, as it seemed to  me,
was an altogether safer resting-place; I thought that with my matches  and
my camphor I could contrive to keep my path illuminated through the woods.
Yet it was evident that if I was to  flourish  matches  with  my  hands  I
should have to abandon my firewood; so, rather reluctantly, I put it down.
And then it came into my head that I would amaze  our  friends  behind  by
lighting it. I was to discover the atrocious folly of this proceeding, but
it came to my mind as an ingenious move for covering our retreat.
    `I don't know if you have ever thought what a rare thing  flame  must
be in the absence of man and in a temperate climate.  The  sun's  heat  is
rarely strong enough to burn, even when it is focused by dewdrops,  as  is
sometimes the case in more tropical districts.  Lightning  may  blast  and
blacken, but it rarely gives rise to widespread fire. Decaying  vegetation
may occasionally smoulder with the heat  of  its  fermentation,  but  this
rarely results in flame. In this decadence, too, the  art  of  fire-making
had been forgotten on the earth. The red tongues that went licking  up  my
heap of wood were an altogether new and strange thing to Weena.
    `She wanted to run to it and play with it. I believe she  would  have
cast herself into it had I not restrained her. But I caught her up, and in
spite of her struggles, plunged boldly before me  into  the  wood.  For  a
little way the glare of my fire lit the path. Looking  back  presently,  I
could see, through the crowded stems, that from  my  heap  of  sticks  the
blaze had spread to some bushes adjacent, and a curved line  of  fire  was
creeping up the grass of the hill. I laughed at that, and turned again  to
the dark trees before me. It  was  very  black,  and  Weena  clung  to  me
convulsively, but there was still, as  my  eyes  grew  accustomed  to  the
darkness, sufficient light for me to avoid  the  stems.  Overhead  it  was
simply black, except where a gap of remote blue sky  shone  down  upon  us
here and there. I struck none of my matches because I had  no  hand  free.
Upon my left arm I carried my little one, in my right hand I had  my  iron
    `For some way I heard nothing but the crackling twigs under my  feet,
the faint rustle of the breeze above, and my own breathing and  the  throb
of the blood-vessels in my ears. Then I seemed  to  know  of  a  pattering
about me. I pushed on grimly. The pattering grew more distinct, and then I
caught the same queer sound and voices I had  heard  in  the  Under-world.
There were evidently several of the Morlocks, and  they  were  closing  in
upon me. Indeed, in another minute I felt a tug at my coat, then something
at my arm. And Weena shivered violently, and became quite still.
    `It was time for a match. But to get one I must put her down.  I  did
so, and, as I fumbled with my pocket, a struggle  began  in  the  darkness
about my knees, perfectly silent on her part and with  the  same  peculiar
cooing sounds from the Morlocks. Soft little  hands,  too,  were  creeping
over my coat and back, touching even my neck. Then the match scratched and
fizzed. I held it flaring, and saw the white  backs  of  the  Morlocks  in
flight amid the trees. I hastily took a lump of camphor  from  my  pocket,
and prepared to light is as soon as the match should wane. Then  I  looked
at Weena. She was lying clutching my feet and quite motionless,  with  her
face to the ground. With a sudden fright I  stooped  to  her.  She  seemed
scarcely to breathe. I lit the block  of  camphor  and  flung  it  to  the
ground, and as it split and flared up and drove back the Morlocks and  the
shadows, I knelt down and lifted her. The wood behind seemed full  of  the
stir and murmur of a great company!
    `She seemed to have fainted. I put her carefully upon my shoulder and
rose  to  push  on,  and  then  there  came  a  horrible  realization.  In
manoeuvring with my matches and Weena, I had turned myself  about  several
times, and now I had not the faintest idea in what direction lay my  path.
For all I knew, I might  be  facing  back  towards  the  Palace  of  Green
Porcelain. I found myself in a cold sweat. I had to think rapidly what  to
do. I determined to build a fire and encamp where we were.  I  put  Weena,
still motionless, down upon a turfy bole, and very hastily,  as  my  first
lump of camphor waned, I began collecting  sticks  and  leaves.  Here  and
there out  of  the  darkness  round  me  the  Morlocks'  eyes  shone  like
    `The camphor flickered and went out. I lit a match, and as I did  so,
two white forms that had been approaching Weena dashed hastily  away.  One
was so blinded by the light that he came straight for me, and I  felt  his
bones grind under the blow  of  my  fist.  He  gave  a  whoop  of  dismay,
staggered a little way, and fell down. I lit another piece of camphor, and
went on gathering my bonfire. Presently I noticed how dry was some of  the
foliage above me, for since my arrival on the Time Machine, a matter of  a
week, no rain had fallen. So, instead of casting about among the trees for
fallen twigs, I began leaping up and dragging down branches. Very  soon  I
had a choking smoky fire of green wood and dry sticks, and could economize
my camphor. Then I turned to where Weena lay beside my iron mace. I  tried
what I could to revive her, but she lay like one dead. I  could  not  even
satisfy myself whether or not she breathed.
    `Now, the smoke of the fire beat over towards me, and  it  must  have
made me heavy of a sudden. Moreover, the vapour of camphor was in the air.
My fire would not need replenishing for an hour or so. I felt  very  weary
after my exertion, and sat down. The wood, too, was full  of  a  slumbrous
murmur that I did not understand. I seemed just to nod and open  my  eyes.
But all was dark, and the Morlocks had their hands upon me.  Flinging  off
their clinging fingers I hastily felt in  my  pocket  for  the  match-box,
and-it had gone! Then they gripped and closed with me again. In a moment I
knew what had happened. I had slept, and my fire had  gone  out,  and  the
bitterness of death came over my soul. The forest seemed full of the smell
of burning wood. I was caught by the neck, by the hair, by the  arms,  and
pulled down. It was indescribably horrible in the  darkness  to  feel  all
these soft creatures heaped upon me. I felt as if I  was  in  a  monstrous
spider's web. I was overpowered,  and  went  down.  I  felt  little  teeth
nipping at my neck. I rolled over, and as I did so my hand came against my
iron lever. It gave me strength. I struggled up, shaking  the  human  rats
from me, and, holding the bar short, I thrust where I judged  their  faces
might be. I could feel the succulent giving of flesh  and  bone  under  my
blows, and for a moment I was free.
    `The strange  exultation  that  so  often  seems  to  accompany  hard
fighting came upon me. I knew that both I  and  Weena  were  lost,  but  I
determined to make the Morlocks pay for their meat. I stood with  my  back
to a tree, swinging the iron bar before me. The whole wood was full of the
stir and cries of them. A minute passed. Their voices seemed to rise to  a
higher pitch of excitement, and their movements grew faster. Yet none came
within reach. I stood glaring at the blackness. Then suddenly  came  hope.
What if the Morlocks were afraid? And close on the heels of  that  came  a
strange thing. The darkness seemed to grow luminous. Very dimly I began to
see the Morlocks about me-three battered at my feet-and then I recognized,
with incredulous surprise, that the others were running, in  an  incessant
stream, as it seemed, from behind me, and away through the wood in  front.
And their backs seemed no longer white, but reddish. As I stood  agape,  I
saw a little red spark go drifting across a gap of starlight  between  the
branches, and vanish. And at that I understood the smell of burning  wood,
the slumbrous murmur that was growing now into a gusty roar, the red glow,
and the Morlocks' flight.
    `Stepping out from behind my tree and looking back,  I  saw,  through
the black pillars of the nearer trees, the flames of the  burning  forest.
It was my first fire coming after me. With that I looked  for  Weena,  but
she was gone. The hissing and crackling behind me, the explosive  thud  as
each fresh tree burst into flame, left little time for reflection. My iron
bar still gripped, I followed in the Morlocks' path. It was a close  race.
Once the flames crept forward so swiftly on my right as I ran that  I  was
outflanked and had to strike off to the left. But at last I emerged upon a
small open space, and as I did so, a Morlock came blundering  towards  me,
and past me, and went on straight into the fire!
    `And now I was to see the most weird and horrible thing, I think,  of
all that I beheld in that future age. This whole space was  as  bright  as
day with the reflection of the fire.  In  the  centre  was  a  hillock  or
tumulus, surmounted by a scorched hawthorn. Beyond this was another arm of
the  burning  forest,  with  yellow  tongues  already  writhing  from  it,
completely encircling the space with a fence of fire. Upon  the  hill-side
were some thirty or forty Morlocks, dazzled by the  light  and  heat,  and
blundering hither and thither against each other in their bewilderment. At
first I did not realize their blindness, and struck furiously at them with
my bar, in a frenzy of fear,  as  they  approached  me,  killing  one  and
crippling several more. But when I had watched the gestures of one of them
groping under the hawthorn against the red sky, and heard their  moans,  I
was assured of their absolute helplessness and misery in the glare, and  I
struck no more of them.
    `Yet every now and then one would come straight towards  me,  setting
loose a quivering horror that made me quick to elude him. At one time  the
flames died down somewhat, and I feared the foul creatures would presently
be able to see me. I was thinking of beginning the fight by  killing  some
of them before this should happen; but the fire burst out again  brightly,
and I stayed my hand. I walked about the hill among them and avoided them,
looking for some trace of Weena. But Weena was gone.
    `At last I sat down on the summit of the hillock,  and  watched  this
strange incredible company of blind things groping to and fro, and  making
uncanny noises to each other, as the glare of the fire beat on  them.  The
coiling uprush of smoke streamed across the  sky,  and  through  the  rare
tatters of that red canopy, remote as  though  they  belonged  to  another
universe, shone the little stars. Two or three  Morlocks  came  blundering
into me, and I drove them off with blows of my fists, trembling as  I  did
    `For the most part of that night I was persuaded it was a  nightmare.
I bit myself and screamed in a passionate desire  to  awake.  I  beat  the
ground with my hands, and got up and sat down again, and wandered here and
there, and again sat down. Then I  would  fall  to  rubbing  my  eyes  and
calling upon God to let me awake. Thrice I saw Morlocks  put  their  heads
down in a kind of agony and rush into the flames. But, at last, above  the
subsiding red of the fire, above the streaming masses of black  smoke  and
the whitening and blackening tree stumps, and the diminishing  numbers  of
these dim creatures, came the white light of the day.
    `I searched again for traces of Weena, but there were  none.  It  was
plain that they had left her poor little body  in  the  forest.  I  cannot
describe how it relieved me to think that it had escaped the awful fate to
which it seemed destined. As I thought of that,  I  was  almost  moved  to
begin a massacre of the helpless abominations about me,  but  I  contained
myself. The hillock, as I have said, was a kind of island in  the  forest.
From its summit I could now make out through a haze of smoke the Palace of
Green Porcelain, and from that I could  get  my  bearings  for  the  White
Sphinx. And so, leaving the remnant of  these  damned  souls  still  going
hither and thither and moaning, as the day grew clearer, I tied some grass
about my feet and limped on across smoking ashes and  among  black  stems,
that still pulsated internally with fire, towards the hiding-place of  the
Time Machine. I walked slowly, for I was  almost  exhausted,  as  well  as
lame, and I felt the intensest wretchedness  for  the  horrible  death  of
little Weena. It  seemed  an  overwhelming  calamity.  Now,  in  this  old
familiar room, it is more like the sorrow of a dream than an actual  loss.
But that morning it left me  absolutely  lonely  again-terribly  alone.  I
began to think of this house of mine, of this fireside, of  some  of  you,
and with such thoughts came a longing that was pain.
    `But as I walked over the smoking ashes under the bright morning sky,
I made a discovery. In my trouser pocket were still  some  loose  matches.
The box must have leaked before it was lost.


    `About eight or nine in the morning I came to the same seat of yellow
metal from which I had viewed the world upon the evening of my arrival.  I
thought of my hasty conclusions upon that evening and  could  not  refrain
from laughing bitterly at my  confidence.  Here  was  the  same  beautiful
scene,  the  same  abundant  foliage,  the  same  splendid   palaces   and
magnificent ruins, the same  silver  river  running  between  its  fertile
banks. The gay robes of the beautiful  people  moved  hither  and  thither
among the trees. Some were bathing in exactly the place where I had  saved
Weena, and that suddenly gave me a keen stab of pain. And like blots  upon
the landscape rose the cupolas  above  the  ways  to  the  Under-world.  I
understood now what all the beauty of the Overworld people  covered.  Very
pleasant was their day, as pleasant as the day of the cattle in the field.
Like the cattle, they knew of no enemies and provided  against  no  needs.
And their end was the same.
    `I grieved to think how brief the dream of the  human  intellect  had
been. It had committed suicide. It  had  set  itself  steadfastly  towards
comfort and ease, a balanced society with security and permanency  as  its
watchword, it had attained its hopes-to come to this at last.  Once,  life
and property must have reached almost absolute safety. The rich  had  been
assured of his wealth and comfort, the toiler  assured  of  his  life  and
work. No doubt in that perfect world there had been no unemployed problem,
no social question left unsolved. And a great quiet had followed.
    `It is a law of nature we overlook, that intellectual versatility  is
the compensation for change, danger, and trouble. An animal  perfectly  in
harmony with its environment is a perfect mechanism. Nature never  appeals
to intelligence  until  habit  and  instinct  are  useless.  There  is  no
intelligence where there is no change and no need of  change.  Only  those
animals partake of intelligence that have to meet a huge variety of  needs
and dangers.
    `So, as I see it, the Upper-world man had drifted towards his  feeble
prettiness, and the Under-world to  mere  mechanical  industry.  But  that
perfect state had lacked one thing even for mechanical perfection-absolute
permanency. Apparently as time went on, the feeding  of  the  Under-world,
however it was effected, had become disjointed. Mother Necessity, who  had
been staved off for a few thousand years, came back again, and  she  began
below. The Under-world being in contact  with  machinery,  which,  however
perfect, still needs some  little  thought  outside  habit,  had  probably
retained perforce rather more initiative, if less  of  every  other  human
character, than the Upper. And when other meat failed them, they turned to
what old habit had hitherto forbidden. So I say I saw it in my  last  view
of the world of Eight Hundred and Two Thousand Seven Hundred and  One.  It
may be as wrong an explanation as mortal wit could invent. It is  how  the
thing shaped itself to me, and as that I give it to you.
    `After the fatigues, excitements, and terrors of the past  days,  and
in spite of my grief, this  seat  and  the  tranquil  view  and  the  warm
sunlight were very pleasant. I was very tired  and  sleepy,  and  soon  my
theorizing passed into dozing. Catching myself at  that,  I  took  my  own
hint, and spreading myself out upon the turf I had a long  and  refreshing
    `I awoke a little before sunsetting. I now felt  safe  against  being
caught napping by the Morlocks, and, stretching myself, I came on down the
hill towards the White Sphinx. I had my crowbar in one hand, and the other
hand played with the matches in my pocket.
    `And now came a most unexpected thing. As I approached  the  pedestal
of the sphinx I found the bronze valves were open. They had slid down into
    `At that I stopped short before them, hesitating to enter.
    `Within was a small apartment, and on a raised place in the corner of
this was the Time Machine. I had the small levers in my pocket.  So  here,
after all my elaborate preparations for the siege of the White Sphinx, was
a meek surrender. I threw my iron bar away, almost sorry not to use it.
    `A sudden thought came into my head as I stooped towards the  portal.
For once, at least, I grasped  the  mental  operations  of  the  Morlocks.
Suppressing a strong inclination to laugh, I stepped  through  the  bronze
frame and up to the Time Machine. I was surprised  to  find  it  had  been
carefully oiled and cleaned. I have suspected since that the Morlocks  had
even partially taken it to pieces while trying in their dim way  to  grasp
its purpose.
    `Now as I stood and examined it, finding a pleasure in the mere touch
of the contrivance, the thing I had expected happened. The  bronze  panels
suddenly slid up and  struck  the  frame  with  a  clang.  I  was  in  the
dark-trapped. So the Morlocks thought. At that I chuckled gleefully.
    `I could already hear their murmuring laughter as they  came  towards
me. Very calmly I tried to strike the match. I had  only  to  fix  on  the
levers and depart then like a ghost.  But  I  had  overlooked  one  little
thing. The matches were of that abominable kind that  light  only  on  the
    `You may imagine how all my calm vanished.  The  little  brutes  were
close upon me. One touched me. I made a sweeping blow in the dark at  them
with the levers, and began to scramble into the  saddle  of  the  machine.
Then came one hand upon me and then another. Then I had  simply  to  fight
against their persistent fingers for my levers, and at the same time  feel
for the studs over which these fitted. One, indeed, they almost  got  away
from me. As it slipped from my hand, I had to butt in  the  dark  with  my
head-I could hear the Morlock's skull ring-to recover it. It was a  nearer
thing than the fight in the forest, I think, this last scramble.
    `But at last the lever was fitted and pulled over. The clinging hands
slipped from me. The darkness presently fell from my eyes. I found  myself
in the same grey light and tumult I have already described.


    `I have already told you of the sickness  and  confusion  that  comes
with time travelling. And this time I  was  not  seated  properly  in  the
saddle, but sideways and in an unstable fashion. For an indefinite time  I
clung to the machine as it swayed and  vibrated,  quite  unheeding  how  I
went, and when I brought myself to look at the dials again I was amazed to
find where I had arrived. One dial records days, and another thousands  of
days, another millions of days, and another thousands  of  millions.  Now,
instead of reversing the levers, I had  pulled  them  over  so  as  to  go
forward with them, and when I came to look at  these  indicators  I  found
that the thousands hand was sweeping round as fast as the seconds hand  of
a watch-into futurity.
    `As I drove on, a  peculiar  change  crept  over  the  appearance  of
things. The palpitating greyness grew  darker;  then-though  I  was  still
travelling with prodigious velocity-the blinking  succession  of  day  and
night, which was usually indicative of a slower pace, returned,  and  grew
more and more marked. This puzzled me very much at first. The alternations
of night and day grew slower and slower, and so did the passage of the sun
across the sky, until they seemed to stretch through centuries. At last  a
steady twilight brooded over the earth, a twilight  only  broken  now  and
then when a comet glared across the darkling sky. The band of  light  that
had indicated the sun had long since disappeared; for the sun  had  ceased
to set-it simply rose and fell in the west, and grew ever broader and more
red. All trace of the moon  had  vanished.  The  circling  of  the  stars,
growing slower and slower, had given place to creeping points of light. At
last, some time before I stopped, the sun,  red  and  very  large,  halted
motionless upon the horizon, a vast dome glowing with a dull heat, and now
and then suffering a momentary extinction. At one time it had for a little
while glowed more brilliantly again,  but  it  speedily  reverted  to  its
sullen red heat. I perceived by  this  slowing  down  of  its  rising  and
setting that the work of the tidal drag was done. The earth  had  come  to
rest with one face to the sun, even as in our own time the moon faces  the
earth. Very cautiously, for I remembered my former headlong fall, I  began
to reverse my motion. Slower and slower went the circling hands until  the
thousands one seemed motionless and the daily one was  no  longer  a  mere
mist upon its scale. Still slower, until the dim outlines  of  a  desolate
beach grew visible.
    `I stopped very gently and sat upon the Time Machine, looking  round.
The sky was no longer blue. North-eastward it was inky black, and  out  of
the blackness shone brightly and steadily the pale white  stars.  Overhead
it was a deep Indian red and starless, and south-eastward it grew brighter
to a glowing scarlet where, cut by the horizon, lay the huge hull  of  the
sun, red and motionless. The rocks  about  me  were  of  a  harsh  reddish
colour, and all the trace of life that  I  could  see  at  first  was  the
intensely green vegetation that covered every projecting  point  on  their
south-eastern face. It was the same rich green that  one  sees  on  forest
moss or on the lichen  in  caves:  plants  which  like  these  grow  in  a
perpetual twilight.
    `The machine was standing on a sloping beach. The sea stretched  away
to the south-west, to rise into a sharp bright  horizon  against  the  wan
sky. There were no breakers and no waves, for not a  breath  of  wind  was
stirring. Only a slight oily swell rose and fell like a gentle  breathing,
and showed that the eternal sea was still moving and living. And along the
margin where the  water  sometimes  broke  was  a  thick  incrustation  of
salt-pink under the lurid sky. There was a sense of oppression in my head,
and I noticed that I was breathing very fast. The sensation reminded me of
my only experience of mountaineering, and from that I judged the air to be
more rarefied than it is now.
    `Far away up the desolate slope I heard a harsh  scream,  and  saw  a
thing like a huge white butterfly go slanting and flittering up  into  the
sky and, circling, disappear over some low hillocks beyond. The  sound  of
its voice was so dismal that I shivered and seated myself more firmly upon
the machine. Looking round me again, I saw that, quite near,  what  I  had
taken to be a reddish mass of rock was moving slowly towards  me.  Then  I
saw the thing was really a monstrous crab-like creature. Can you imagine a
crab as large as yonder table,  with  its  many  legs  moving  slowly  and
uncertainly, its big claws  swaying,  its  long  antennae,  like  carters'
whips, waving and feeling, and its stalked eyes gleaming at you on  either
side of its metallic front? Its back was corrugated  and  ornamented  with
ungainly bosses, and a greenish incrustation blotched it here and there. I
could see the many palps of its complicated mouth flickering  and  feeling
as it moved.
    `As I stared at this sinister apparition crawling towards me, I  felt
a tickling on my cheek as though a fly had lighted there. I tried to brush
it away with my hand, but in a moment it returned, and almost  immediately
came another by my ear. I struck at this, and caught something threadlike.
It was drawn swiftly out of my hand. With a frightful qualm, I turned, and
I saw that I had grasped the antenna of another monster  crab  that  stood
just behind me. Its evil eyes were wriggling on their  stalks,  its  mouth
was all alive with appetite, and its vast ungainly claws, smeared with  an
algal slime, were descending upon me. In a  moment  my  hand  was  on  the
lever, and I had placed a month between myself and these monsters.  But  I
was still on the same beach, and I saw them distinctly now as  soon  as  I
stopped. Dozens of them seemed to be  crawling  here  and  there,  in  the
sombre light, among the foliated sheets of intense green.
    `I cannot convey the sense of abominable desolation  that  hung  over
the world. The red eastern sky, the northward  blackness,  the  salt  Dead
Sea, the stony beach crawling with these foul, slow-stirring monsters, the
uniform poisonous-looking green of the lichenous plants, the thin air that
hurts one's lungs: all contributed to an appalling effect. I  moved  on  a
hundred years, and there was the same red sun-a little  larger,  a  little
duller-the same dying sea, the same chill  air,  and  the  same  crowd  of
earthy crustacea creeping in and out among the  green  weed  and  the  red
rocks. And in the westward sky, I saw a curved pale line like a  vast  new
    `So I travelled, stopping ever and  again,  in  great  strides  of  a
thousand years or more, drawn on by  the  mystery  of  the  earth's  fate,
watching with a strange fascination the sun grow larger and duller in  the
westward sky, and the life of the old earth ebb away. At last,  more  than
thirty million years hence, the huge red-hot dome of the sun had  come  to
obscure nearly a tenth part of the darkling heavens. Then I  stopped  once
more, for the crawling multitude of crabs had  disappeared,  and  the  red
beach, save for its livid green liverworts and lichens,  seemed  lifeless.
And now it was flecked with white. A bitter cold assailed me.  Rare  white
flakes ever and again came eddying down. To the north-eastward, the  glare
of snow lay under the starlight of the  sable  sky  and  I  could  see  an
undulating crest of hillocks pinkish white.  There  were  fringes  of  ice
along the sea margin, with drifting  masses  further  out;  but  the  main
expanse of that salt ocean, all bloody under the eternal sunset, was still
    `I looked about me to see if any traces of animal  life  remained.  A
certain indefinable apprehension still  kept  me  in  the  saddle  of  the
machine. But I saw nothing moving, in earth or sky or sea. The green slime
on the rocks alone testified that life was not extinct. A shallow sandbank
had appeared in the sea and the  water  had  receded  from  the  beach.  I
fancied I saw some black object flopping about  upon  this  bank,  but  it
became motionless as I looked at it, and I judged that  my  eye  had  been
deceived, and that the black object was merely a rock. The  stars  in  the
sky were intensely bright and seemed to me to twinkle very little.
    `Suddenly I noticed that the circular westward outline of the sun had
changed; that a concavity, a bay, had appeared in the curve.  I  saw  this
grow larger. For a minute perhaps I stared aghast at this  blackness  that
was creeping over the day,  and  then  I  realized  that  an  eclipse  was
beginning. Either the moon or the planet Mercury was  passing  across  the
sun's disk. Naturally, at first I took it to be the  moon,  but  there  is
much to incline me to believe that what I really saw was the transit of an
inner planet passing very near to the earth.
    `The darkness grew apace; a cold wind began  to  blow  in  freshening
gusts from the east, and the showering white flakes in the  air  increased
in number. From the edge of the sea came  a  ripple  and  whisper.  Beyond
these lifeless sounds the world was silent. Silent? It would  be  hard  to
convey the stillness of it. All the sounds of man, the bleating of  sheep,
the cries of birds, the hum of insects, the stir that makes the background
of our lives-all that was over. As the  darkness  thickened,  the  eddying
flakes grew more abundant, dancing before my eyes; and the cold of the air
more intense. At last, one by one, swiftly, one after the other, the white
peaks of the distant hills vanished into blackness. The breeze rose  to  a
moaning wind. I saw the black  central  shadow  of  the  eclipse  sweeping
towards me. In another moment the pale stars alone were visible. All  else
was rayless obscurity. The sky was absolutely black.
    `A horror of this great darkness came on me. The cold, that smote  to
my marrow, and the pain I felt in breathing, overcame me. I shivered,  and
a deadly nausea seized me. Then like a red-hot bow in the sky appeared the
edge of the sun. I got off the machine to recover myself. I felt giddy and
incapable of facing the return journey. As I stood sick and confused I saw
again the moving thing upon the shoal-there was no mistake now that it was
a moving thing-against the red water of the sea. It was a round thing, the
size of a football perhaps, or, it may be, bigger, and  tentacles  trailed
down from it; it seemed black against the weltering blood-red  water,  and
it was hopping fitfully about. Then I felt I was fainting. But a  terrible
dread of lying helpless in that remote and  awful  twilight  sustained  me
while I clambered upon the saddle.


    `So I came back. For a long time I must have been insensible upon the
machine. The blinking succession of the days and nights was  resumed,  the
sun got golden again, the sky blue. I breathed with greater  freedom.  The
fluctuating contours of the land ebbed and flowed. The hands spun backward
upon the dials. At last I  saw  again  the  dim  shadows  of  houses,  the
evidences of decadent humanity. These, too, changed and passed, and others
came. Presently, when the million dial was at zero, I slackened  speed.  I
began to recognize our own petty and familiar architecture, the  thousands
hand ran back to the starting-point, the night and day flapped slower  and
slower. Then the old walls of the laboratory came round me.  Very  gently,
now, I slowed the mechanism down.
    `I saw one little thing that seemed odd to me. I think  I  have  told
you that when I set  out,  before  my  velocity  became  very  high,  Mrs.
Watchett had walked across the room, travelling, as it seemed to me,  like
a rocket. As I returned, I  passed  again  across  that  minute  when  she
traversed the laboratory. But now her every  motion  appeared  to  be  the
exact inversion of her previous ones. The door at the  lower  end  opened,
and she glided quietly up the laboratory, back foremost,  and  disappeared
behind the door by which she had previously entered. Just  before  that  I
seemed to see Hillyer for a moment; but he passed like a flash.
    `Then I stopped the machine, and saw about me again the old  familiar
laboratory, my tools, my appliances just as I had left them. I got off the
thing very shaky, and sat down  upon  my  bench.  For  several  minutes  I
trembled violently. Then I became calmer. Around me was  my  old  workshop
again, exactly as it had been. I might have slept  there,  and  the  whole
thing have been a dream.
    `And yet, not exactly! The thing  had  started  from  the  south-east
corner of the laboratory. It had come to rest  again  in  the  north-west,
against the wall where you saw it. That gives you the exact distance  from
my little lawn to the  pedestal  of  the  White  Sphinx,  into  which  the
Morlocks had carried my machine.
    `For a time my brain went stagnant.  Presently  I  got  up  and  came
through the passage here, limping, because my heel was still painful,  and
feeling sorely begrimed. I saw the PALL MALL GAZETTE on the table  by  the
door. I found the date was indeed to-day, and looking  at  the  timepiece,
saw the hour was almost eight o'clock. I heard your voices and the clatter
of plates. I hesitated-I felt so  sick  and  weak.  Then  I  sniffed  good
wholesome meat, and opened the door on you. You know the rest.  I  washed,
and dined, and now I am telling you the story.
    `I know,' he said, after a pause, `that all this will  be  absolutely
incredible to you. To me the one  incredible  thing  is  that  I  am  here
to-night in this old familiar room looking into your  friendly  faces  and
telling you these strange adventures.'
    He looked at the Medical Man. `No. I cannot expect you to believe it.
Take it as a lie-or a prophecy. Say I dreamed it in the workshop. Consider
I have been speculating upon the  destinies  of  our  race  until  I  have
hatched this fiction. Treat my assertion of its truth as a mere stroke  of
art to enhance its interest. And taking it as a story, what do  you  think
of it?'
    He took up his pipe, and began, in his old accustomed manner, to  tap
with it nervously upon the bars  of  the  grate.  There  was  a  momentary
stillness. Then chairs began to creak and shoes to scrape upon the carpet.
I took my eyes off the Time Traveller's face,  and  looked  round  at  his
audience. They were in the dark, and little spots of  colour  swam  before
them. The Medical Man seemed absorbed in the contemplation  of  our  host.
The Editor was looking hard  at  the  end  of  his  cigar-the  sixth.  The
Journalist fumbled for his watch. The others, as far as I  remember,  were
    The Editor stood up with a sigh. `What a pity  it  is  you're  not  a
writer of stories!' he said, putting his  hand  on  the  Time  Traveller's
    `You don't believe it?'
    `I thought not.'
    The Time Traveller turned to us. `Where are the matches?' he said. He
lit one and spoke over his pipe, puffing. `To  tell  you  the  truth...  I
hardly believe it myself... And yet...'
    His eye fell with a mute inquiry upon the withered white flowers upon
the little table. Then he turned over the hand holding his pipe, and I saw
he was looking at some half-healed scars on his knuckles.
    The Medical Man rose, came to the lamp,  and  examined  the  flowers.
`The gynaeceum's odd,' he said. The Psychologist  leant  forward  to  see,
holding out his hand for a specimen.
    `I'm hanged if it isn't a quarter to one,' said the Journalist.  `How
shall we get home?'
    `Plenty of cabs at the station,' said the Psychologist.
    `It's a curious thing,' said the Medical Man; `but I certainly  don't
know the natural order of these flowers. May I have them?'
    The Time Traveller hesitated. Then suddenly: `Certainly not.'
    `Where did you really get them?' said the Medical Man.
    The Time Traveller put his hand to his head. He spoke  like  one  who
was trying to keep hold of an idea that eluded him. 'They were put into my
pocket by Weena, when I travelled into Time.' He stared  round  the  room.
`I'm damned if it isn't all going. This room and you and the atmosphere of
every day is too much for my memory. Did I ever make a Time Machine, or  a
model of a Time Machine? Or is it all only a dream? They  say  life  is  a
dream, a precious poor dream at times-but I can't stand another that won't
fit. It's madness. And where did the dream come from?... I  must  look  at
that machine. If there is one!'
    He caught up the lamp swiftly, and carried it, flaring  red,  through
the door into the corridor. We followed him. There in the flickering light
of the lamp was the machine sure enough, squat, ugly, and askew;  a  thing
of brass, ebony, ivory, and translucent glimmering quartz.  Solid  to  the
touch-for I put out my hand and felt the rail of it-and with  brown  spots
and smears upon the ivory, and bits of  grass  and  moss  upon  the  lower
parts, and one rail bent awry.
    The Time Traveller put the lamp down on the bench, and ran  his  hand
along the damaged rail. `It's all right now,' he said. 'The story  I  told
you was true. I'm sorry to have brought you out here in the cold.' He took
up the lamp, and, in an absolute silence, we returned to the smoking-room.
    He came into the hall with us and helped the Editor on with his coat.
The Medical Man looked into his face and, with a certain hesitation,  told
him he was suffering from overwork, at which he laughed hugely. I remember
him standing in the open doorway, bawling good night.
    I shared a cab with the Editor. He thought the tale  a  `gaudy  lie.'
For my own part I was unable to come to a conclusion.  The  story  was  so
fantastic and incredible, the telling so credible and sober. I  lay  awake
most of the night thinking about it. I determined to go next day  and  see
the Time Traveller again. I was told he was in the laboratory,  and  being
on easy terms in the house, I went up to him. The laboratory, however, was
empty. I stared for a minute at the Time Machine and put out my  hand  and
touched the lever. At that the squat substantial-looking mass swayed  like
a bough shaken by the wind. Its instability startled me extremely,  and  I
had a queer reminiscence of the childish days when I used to be  forbidden
to meddle. I came back through the corridor. The Time Traveller met me  in
the smoking-room. He was coming from the house.  He  had  a  small  camera
under one arm and a knapsack under the other. He laughed when he  saw  me,
and gave me an elbow to shake. `I'm frightfully busy,' said he, `with that
thing in there.'
    `But is it not some hoax?' I said.  `Do  you  really  travel  through
    `Really and truly I do.' And he  looked  frankly  into  my  eyes.  He
hesitated. His eye wandered about the room. `I only want half an hour,' he
said. `I know why you came, and it's awfully good  of  you.  There's  some
magazines here.  If  you'll  stop  to  lunch  I'll  prove  you  this  time
travelling up to the hilt, specimen and all. If you'll forgive my  leaving
you now?'
    I consented, hardly comprehending then the full import of his  words,
and he nodded and went on down the corridor.  I  heard  the  door  of  the
laboratory slam, seated myself in a chair, and took up a daily paper. What
was he going to do before lunch-time? Then suddenly I was reminded  by  an
advertisement that I had promised to meet Richardson,  the  publisher,  at
two. I looked at  my  watch,  and  saw  that  I  could  barely  save  that
engagement. I got up and went down the passage to tell the Time Traveller.
    As I took hold of the handle of the  door  I  heard  an  exclamation,
oddly truncated at the end, and a click and a thud. A gust of air  whirled
round me as I opened the door, and from within came the  sound  of  broken
glass falling on the floor. The Time Traveller was not there. I seemed  to
see a ghostly, indistinct figure sitting in a whirling mass of  black  and
brass for a moment-a figure so transparent that the bench behind with  its
sheets of drawings was absolutely distinct; but this phantasm vanished  as
I rubbed my eyes. The Time Machine had gone. Save for a subsiding stir  of
dust, the further end of the laboratory was empty. A pane of the  skylight
had, apparently, just been blown in.
    I felt an unreasonable amazement. I knew that something  strange  had
happened, and for the moment could not distinguish what the strange  thing
might be. As I stood staring, the door into the  garden  opened,  and  the
man-servant appeared.
    We looked at each other. Then ideas began to come. `Has  Mr.  -  gone
out that way?' said I.
    `No, sir. No one has come out this way. I was expecting to  find  him
    At that I understood. At  the  risk  of  disappointing  Richardson  I
stayed on, waiting for the Time Traveller; waiting for the second, perhaps
still stranger story, and the specimens and  photographs  he  would  bring
with him. But I am beginning now to fear that I must wait a lifetime.  The
Time Traveller vanished three years ago. And, as everybody knows  now,  he
has never returned.


    One cannot choose but wonder. Will he ever return? It may be that  he
swept back into the past, and fell among the blood-drinking, hairy savages
of the Age of Unpolished Stone; into the abysses of the Cretaceous Sea; or
among the grotesque saurians, the huge reptilian brutes  of  the  Jurassic
times. He may even now-if I  may  use  the  phrase-be  wandering  on  some
plesiosaurus-haunted Oolitic coral reef, or beside the lonely saline lakes
of the Triassic Age. Or did he go forward, into one of the nearer ages, in
which men are still men, but with the riddles of our own time answered and
its wearisome problems solved? Into the manhood of the race: for I, for my
own  part  cannot  think  that  these  latter  days  of  weak  experiment,
fragmentary theory, and mutual discord are indeed man's culminating  time!
I say, for my own part. He, I know-for the  question  had  been  discussed
among us long before the Time Machine was made-thought but cheerlessly  of
the Advancement of Mankind, and saw in the growing  pile  of  civilization
only a foolish heaping that must inevitably fall back upon and destroy its
makers in the end. If that is so, it remains for us to live as  though  it
were not so. But to me the future is  still  black  and  blank-is  a  vast
ignorance, lit at a few casual places by the memory of his  story.  And  I
have by me, for my comfort, two strange white flowers -shrivelled now, and
brown and flat and brittle-to witness that even when mind and strength had
gone, gratitude and a mutual tenderness still lived on  in  the  heart  of

Яндекс цитирования