H. G. Wells.
The Time Machine
The Wonderful Visit
and Other Stories.
The Works of H. G. Wells
Atlantic Edition.
Volume 1.
T. Fisher Unwin, Ltd., 1924.

Shelfmark: PR 5770 F2A v. 1.
Copy no. 574.
Signed by H. G. Wells.

Edited by

Ian Lancashire (Dept. of English, University of Toronto)
Assisted by Charlene Black

As published in
I. Lancashire, in collaboration with J. Bradley,
W. McCarty, M. Stairs, and T. R. Wooldridge.
Using TACT and Electronic Texts: Text-Analysis
Computing Tools Vers. 2.1 for MS-DOS and PC DOS.
New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1996.

Electronic edition copyrighted Ian Lancashire 1996.

Permission is hereby granted for non-commercial educational, research, and personal use and copying. These texts may not be re-distributed in any form other than their current ones. No one is permitted to mount these texts on their own servers, for public use or for use by a set of subscribers, except by written permission of the editor.

In this first volume are some of the author's earliest
imaginative writings. The idea of "The Time Ma­
chine" itself, a rather forced development of the idea
that time is a direction in space, came when he was
still a student at the Royal College of Science. He
tried to make a story of it in the students' magazine.
If the old numbers of that publication for the years
1889 and 1890, or thereabouts, still exist, the curious
may read there that first essay, written obviously
under the influence of Hawthorne and smeared with
that miscellaneous allusiveness that Carlyle and many
other of the great Victorians had made the fashion.
"Time Travellers" were not to be written of in those
days of the twopence coloured style; the story was
called, rather deliciously, "The Chronic Argonauts"
and the Time Traveller was "Mr. Nebo-gipfel."
Similar pigments prevailed throughout. A cleansing
course of Swift and Sterne intervened before the idea
was written again for Henley's National Observer in
1894, and his later New Review in 1895, and pub­
lished as a book in the spring of the latter year. That
version stands here unaltered. There was a slight
struggle between the writer and W. E. Henley who
wanted, he said, to put a little "writing" into the
tale. But the writer was in reaction from that sort

[[Page]] xxi

of thing, the Henley interpolations were cut out again,
and he had his own way with the text.

And now the writer reads this book, "The Time
Machine," and can no more touch it or change it than
if it were the work of an entirely different person.
He reads it again after a long interval, he does not
believe he has opened its pages for twenty years, and
finds it hard and "clever" and youthful. And --
what is rather odd, he thinks -- a little unsympathetic.
He if left doubting -- rather irrelevantly to the gen­
eral business of this Preface -- whether if the Time
Machine were a sufficiently practicable method of
transport for such a meeting, the H. G. Wells of 1894
and the H. G. Wells of 1922 would get on very well
together. But he has found a copy of the book in
which, somewhen between 1898 or 1899, he marked out
a few modifications in arrangement and improve­
ments in expression. Almost all these suggested
changes he has accepted, so that what the reader
gets here is a revised definitive version a quarter of
a century old.

"The Jilting of Jane" and "The Cone" are also
very "young" things. "The Jilting of Jane" is the
sort of little deliberately pleasant and sympathetic
sketch that every young journalist was doing in those
days. "The Cone" is the last surviving relic of what
might have been a considerable lark to write; it was
to have been a vast melodrama, all at that same level
of high sensation. These two were done some time
before the first rewriting of "The Time Machine"
but before its final revision. After them comes a
string of irresponsible stories. They are just inven­

[[Page]] xxii

tions that were written for magazines, and there is
hardly anything more to be said for them. "The
Wonderful Visit" was published as a book very soon
after "The Time Machine," and its develops the
method of quite a number of the writer's short sto­
ries, the method of bringing some fantastically possi­
ble or impossible thing into a commonplace group of
people, and working out their their reactions with the
completest gravity and reasonableness. Perhaps the
best and reallest of all this group of stories is the
one called "The Purple Pileus," which completes
this first volume.

H. G. W.

[[Page]] xxiii [[blank]]



§ 1

THE Time Traveller (for so it will be
convenient to speak of him) was ex­
pounding 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 lux­
urious after-dinner atmosphere when thought runs
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 uni­
versally accepted. The geometry, for instance, they
taught you at school is founded on a misconcep­

"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 [[ad­]]

[[Page]] 3

||ad||mit 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

"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 exist?"

"Don't follow you," said Filby.

"Can a cube that does not last for any time at all,
have a real existence?"

Filby became pensive. "Clearly," the Time Trav­
eller 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, how­
ever, a tendency to draw an unreal distinction be­
tween the former three dimensions and the latter,
because it happens that our consciousness moves in­
termittently 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 [[exten­]]

[[Page]] 4

||exten||sively 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 any of the three dimensions of Space except that our
consciousness moves 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 Dimension?"

"I have not," said the Provincial Mayor.

"It is simply this. That Space, as our mathemati­
cians 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 phil­
osophical people have been asking why three dimen­
sions particularly -- why not another direction at right
angles to the other three? -- and have even tried to
construct a Four-Dimensional 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-di­
mensional 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 introspec­
tive state, his lips moving as one who repeats mystic

[[Page]] 5

words. "Yes, I think I see it now," he said after
some time, brightening in a quite transitory man­

"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 in­
stance, 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 sec­
tions, 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 dimen­
sions of Space generally recognised? 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 di­
mension of Space, why is it, and why has it always
been, regarded as something different? And why
cannot we move about in Time as we move about in
the other dimensions of Space?"

The Time Traveller smiled. "Are you so sure we
can move freely in Space? Right and left we can go,

[[Page]] 6

backward and forward freely enough, and men always
have done so. I admit we move freely in two di­
mensions. But how about up and down? Gravita­
tion limits us there."

"Not exactly," said the Medical Man. "There
are balloons."

"But before the balloons, save for spasmodic jump­
ing 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 mo­
vement. 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 sur­

"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 [[stay­]]

[[Page]] 7

||stay||ing back for any length of time, any more than a
savage or an animal has of staying six feet above the
ground. But a civilised man is better off than the
savage in this respect. He can go up against gravi­
tation 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 his­
torian," 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."

[[Page]] 8

"One might get one's Greek from the very
lips of Homer and Plato," the Very Young Man

"In which case they would certainly plough you
for the Little-go. The German scholars have im­
proved 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 basis."

"Of all the wild extravagant theories!" began the

"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

"Let's see your experiment anyhow," said the Psy­
chologist, "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 laboratory.

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 con­
jurer he had seen at Burslem; but before he had [[fin­]]

[[Page]] 9

||fin||ished 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 sub­
stance. 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 hearth rug. On this table he placed the me­
chanism. 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 armchair nearest the fire,
and I drew this forward so as to be almost between
the Time Traveller and the fireplace. Filby sat be­
hind him, looking over his shoulder. The Medical
Man and the Provincial Mayor watched him in pro­
file 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

[[Page]] 10

his elbows upon the table and pressing his hands to­
gether 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

"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

There was a minute's pause perhaps. The Psychol­
ogist 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

[[Page]] 11

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.

Every one 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 Psy­
chologist, 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 ac­

"You mean to say that that machine has travelled
into the future?" said Filby.

[[Page]] 12

"Into the future or the past -- I don't, for certain,
know which."

After an interval the Psychologist had an inspira­
tion. "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," said I, "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, di­
luted 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 impres­
sion it creates will of course be only one-fiftieth or
one-hundredth of what it would make if it were not

[[Page]] 13

travelling in time. That's plain enough." He passed
his hand through the space in which the machine had
been. "You see?" he said, laughing.

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 fol­
lowed 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 be­
fore 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 per­
fectly 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.

[[Page]] 14

I caught Filby's eye over the shoulder of the Medi­
cal Man, and he winked at me solemnly.

§ 2

I think that at that time none of us quite believed
in the Time Machine. The fact is, the Time Travel­
ler 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 in­
genuity 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 per­
ceived 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 fame of a less
clever man seemed tricks in his hands. It is a mis­
take to do things too easily. The serious people who
took him seriously never felt quite sure of his deport­
ment: they were somehow aware that trusting their
reputations for judgment with him was like furnish­
ing 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 incredi­
bleness, 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 [[Medi­]]

[[Page]] 15

||Medi||cal Man, whom I met on Friday at the Linnæan.
He said he had seen a similar thing at Tübingen, and
laid considerable stress on the blowing out of the can­
dle. 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 con­
stant 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 un­
avoidably 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 afore­
mentioned, 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 specula­
tion 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

[[Page]] 16

him, and the Psychologist volunteered a wooden ac­
count 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 be­
fore 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 expres­
sion 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 to­
wards 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

[[Page]] 17

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 flick­
ered 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 vis­
itor, and hoped he was all right. The Editor began a
question. "Tell you presently," said the Time Trav­
eller. "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, per­
haps, my mind was wool gathering. Then, 'Remark­
able Behaviour of an Eminent Scientist," I heard the
Editor say, thinking (after his wont) in head-lines.
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

[[Page]] 18

Traveller limping painfully upstairs. I don't think
any one else had noticed his lameness.

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 fol­
lowed suit. The dinner was resumed. Conversa­
tion 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 in­
come with a crossing? or has he his Nebuchadnezzar
phases?" he inquired. "I feel assured it's this busi­
ness 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 journal­
ist -- very joyous, irreverent young men. "Our Spe­
cial Correspondent in the Day after To-morrow
reports," the Journalist was saying -- or rather shout­
ing -- 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

[[Page]] 19

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 travel­

"Yes," said the Time Traveller, with his mouth
full, nodding his head.

"I'd give a shilling a line for a verbatim note," said
the Editor. The Time Traveller pushed his glass to­
wards the Silent Man and rang it with his finger nail;
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 anec­
dotes of Hettie Potter. The Time Traveller devoted
his attention to his dinner, and displayed the appe­
tite of a tramp. The Medical Man smoked a ciga­
rette, 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

[[Page]] 20

Time Traveller pushed his plate away, and looked
round us. "I suppose I must apologise," 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 inter­
ruptions! 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. After­
wards 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, [[at­]]

[[Page]] 21

||at||tentively 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 can­
not 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 il­
luminated. 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 princi­
ples 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 [[immedi­]]

[[Page]] 22

||immedi||ately 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 hap­
pened? 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 start­
ing 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 con­
fusedness descended on my mind.

"I am afraid I cannot convey the peculiar sensa­
tions of time travelling. They are excessively un­
pleasant. 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 im­
minent 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

[[Page]] 23

day. I supposed the laboratory had been destroyed
and I had come into the open air. I had a dim im­
pression of scaffolding, but I was already going too
fast to be conscious of any moving things. The slow­
est 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 inter­
mittent 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 colour like that of early twilight; the jerk­
ing 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 hillside 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 conse­
quently my pace was over a year a minute; and min­
ute by minute the white snow flashed across the

[[Page]] 24

world, and vanished, and was followed by the bright,
brief green of spring.

"The unpleasant sensations of the start were less
poignant now. They merged at last into a kind of hys­
terical 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 im­
pressions grew up in my mind -- a certain curiosity
and therewith a certain dread -- until at last they took
complete possession of me. What strange develop­
ments of humanity, what wonderful advances upon
our rudimentary civilisation, I thought, might not
appear when I came to look nearly into the dim elu­
sive 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 hillside, 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 busi­
ness of stopping.

"The peculiar risk lay in the possibility of my find­
ing some substance in the space which I, or the ma­
chine, 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!

[[Page]] 25

But to come to a stop involved the jamming of my­
self, 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 risk -- one
of the risks a man has got to take! Now the risk
was inevitable, I no longer saw it in the same cheer­
ful light. The fact is that, insensibly, the absolute
strangeness of everything, the sickly jarring and
swaying of the machine, above all, the feeling of pro­
longed 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 im­
patient 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. Every­
thing 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

[[Page]] 26

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 in­
numerable 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 indis­
tinctly 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 sug­
gestion 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 be­
fore 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 cur­
tain was altogether withdrawn? What might not

[[Page]] 27

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 overwhelm­
ingly powerful? I might seem some old-world sav­
age animal, only the more dreadful and disgusting
for our common likeness -- a foul creature to be incon­
tinently slain.

"Already I saw other vast shapes -- huge buildings
with intricate parapets and tall columns, with a
wooded hillside 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 down­
pour 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 wins
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 sad­
dle, the other on the lever, I stood panting heavily in
attitude to mount again.

"But with this recovery of a prompt retreat my

[[Page]] 28

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 to­
wards 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 no­
ticed for the first time how warm the air was.

"He struck me as being a very beautiful and grace­
ful creature, but indescribably frail. His flushed face
reminded me of the more beautiful kind of consump­
tive -- 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.

§ 4

"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

[[Page]] 29

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 crea­
tures 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. In­
deed, there was something in these pretty little peo­
ple 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 uni­
formly 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,

[[Page]] 30

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 then 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 conversa­
tion. 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 ges­
ture, and then astonished me by imitating the sound
of thunder.

"For a moment I was staggered, though the im­
port of his gesture was plain enough. The question
had come into my mind abruptly: were these crea­
tures fools? You may hardly understand how it took
me. You see I had always anticipated that the peo­
ple 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 children -- asked me,
in fact, if I had come from the sun in a thunder­
storm! 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

[[Page]] 31

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 melodi­
ous 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 some one 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 alto­
gether 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 of 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 per­
haps 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

[[Page]] 32

naturally I did not observe the carving very narrowly,
though I fancied I saw suggestions of old Phœnician
decorations as I passed through, and it struck me
that they were very badly broken and weather-worn.
Several more brightly clad people met me in the door­
way, and so we entered, I, dressed in dingy nine­
teenth-century garments, looking grotesque enough,
garlanded with flowers, and surrounded by an eddy­
ing mass of bright, soft-coloured robes and shining
white limbs, in a melodious whirl of laughter and
laughing speech.

"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 pol­
ished stone, raised perhaps a foot from the floor, and
upon these were heaps of fruits. Some I recognised
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 them­
selves, 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 loth to follow their example, for I felt thirsty

[[Page]] 33

and hungry. As I did so I surveyed the hall at my

"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 eat­
ing. All were clad in the same soft, and yet strong,
silky material.

"Fruit, by the bye, was all their diet. These peo­
ple of the remote future were strict vegetarians, and
while I was with them, in spite of some carnal crav­
ings, I had to be frugivorous also. Indeed, I found
afterwards that horses, cattle, sheep, dogs, had fol­
lowed 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 at­
tempt to learn the speech of these new men of mine.

[[Page]] 34

Clearly that was the next thing to do. The fruits
seemed a convenient thing to begin upon, and hold­
ing one of these up I began a series of interrogative
sounds and gestures. I had some considerable diffi­
culty in conveying my meaning. At first my efforts
met with a stare of surprise or inextinguishable laugh­
ter, 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 demonstra­
tive 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 de­
termined, 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

"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 ex­
amining 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.

[[Page]] 35

I went out through the portal into the sunlit world
again so soon as my hunger was satisfied. I was con­
tinually 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 flow­
ers. The big building I had left was situate 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 Hun­
dred 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 watchful 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

[[Page]] 36

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

"Looking round with a sudden thought, from a
terrace on which I rested for a while, I realised 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 cot­
tage, 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 fol­
lowing 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 peo­
ple 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

[[Page]] 37

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 child-bearing becomes an evil rather
than a blessing to the State; where violence comes
but rarely and offspring are secure, there is less ne­
cessity -- indeed there is no necessity -- for an efficient
family, and the specialisation of the sexes with refer­
ence 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 atten­
tion 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 walk­
ing 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

"There I found a seat of some yellow metal that
I did not recognise, 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

[[Page]] 38

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 hu­
manity upon the wane. The ruddy sunset set me
thinking of the sunset of mankind. For the first time
I began to realise 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 premi­
um on feebleness. The work of ameliorating the con­
ditions of life -- the true civilising process that makes
life more and more secure -- had gone steadily on to a
climax. One triumph of a united humanity over Na­
ture 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

"After all, the sanitation and the agriculture of to­
day are still in the rudimentary stage. The science of

[[Page]] 39

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 agri­
culture and horticulture destroy a weed just here and
there and cultivate perhaps a score or so of whole­
some 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 -- gradu­
ally 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; be­
cause Nature, too, is shy and slow in our clumsy
hands. Some day all this will be better organised,
and still better. That is the drift of the current in
spite of the eddies. The whole world will be intelli­
gent, educated, and cooperating; 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 life to suit our human

"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. Dis­
eases 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

[[Page]] 40

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 advertise­
ment, 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 popula­
tion had been met, I guessed, and population had
ceased to increase.

"But with this change in condition comes inevi­
tably adaptations to the change. What, unless bio­
logical science in a mass of errors, is the cause of
human intelligence and vigour? Hardship and free­
dom: conditions under which the active, strong, and
subtle survive and the weaker go to the wall; condi­
tions that put a premium upon the loyal alliance of
capable men, upon self-restraint, patience, and de­
cision. 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 immi­
nent 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,

[[Page]] 41

their lack of intelligence, and those big abundant
ruins, and it strengthened my belief in a perfect con­
quest 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 con­
ditions under which it lived. And now came the re­
action 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 cer­
tain tendencies and desires, once necessary to sur­
vival, are a constant source of failure. Physical cour­
age and the love of battle, for instance, are no great
help -- may even be hindrances -- to a civilised 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 con­
stitution, 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 out­
come 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.

[[Page]] 42

"Even this artistic impetus would at last die away
-- had almost died in the Time I saw. To adorn them­
selves 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 in­
activity. 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 world -- mastered 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!

§ 5

"As I stood there musing over this too perfect tri­
umph 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

[[Page]] 43

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 possi­
bility 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.' Never­
theless, 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 an­
swered. Not a creature seemed to be stirring in that
moonlit world.

[[Page]] 44

"When I reached the lawn my worst fears were
realised. 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 lit­
tle people had put the mechanism in some shelter for
me, had I not felt assured of their physical and intel­
lectual inadequacy. That is what dismayed me: the
sense of some hitherto unsuspected power, through
whose intervention my invention had vanished. Yet,
of 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 later -- prevented 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, beat­
ing the bushes with my clenched fists 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.

[[Page]] 45

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

"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 to­
gether. 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 try­
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, knock­
ing one of the people over in my course, went blunder­
ing 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

[[Page]] 46

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 moonlit ruins and touching strange creatures
in the black shadows; at last, of lying on the ground
near the sphinx and weeping with absolute wretched­
ness. 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 -- per­
haps destroyed? It behooves me to be calm and pa­
tient, 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, per­
haps, I may make another. That would be my only
hope, a poor hopeperhaps, 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

[[Page]] 47

exhausted my emotion. Indeed, as I went about my
business, I found myself wondering at my intense ex­
citement 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 im­
pulse, 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 ped­
estal of the sphinx and the marks of my feet where,
on arrival, I had struggled with the overturned ma­
chine. 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 deco­
rated with deep framed panels on either side. I went
and rapped at these. The pedestal was hollow. Ex­
amining the panels with care I found them discon­
tinuous 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 in­
side that pedestal. But how it got there was a differ­
ent problem.

"I saw the heads of two orange-clad people coming

[[Page]] 48

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 ham­
mered 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

[[Page]] 49

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

"I got up after a time, and began walking aim­
lessly through the bushes towards the hill again.
`Patience,' said I to myself. `If you want your ma­
chine 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 care­
ful of too hasty guesses at its meaning. In the end
you will find clues to it all.' Then suddenly the hu­
mour 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 aloud.

"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 tol­
erably 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

[[Page]] 50

explorations here and there. Either I missed some
subtle point, or their language was excessively sim­
ple -- almost exclusively composed of concrete sub­
stantives 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 sim­
plest 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 pres­
ently attracted my attention, was the presence of cer­
tain 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. Sit­
ting by the side of these wells, and peering down into
the shafted darkness, I could see no gleam of water,

[[Page]] 51

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 sight.

"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 subter­
ranean 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 [[De­]]

[[Page]] 52

||De||livery 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 com­
fort; but save for a general impression of automatic
organisation, 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 be­
yond the range of my explorings. This, again, was a
question I deliberately put to myself, and my curi­
osity 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 none.

"I must confess that my satisfaction with my first
theories of an automatic civilisation 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 [[metal­]]

[[Page]] 53

||metal||work. 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: some­
thing, 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 un­
known 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 crea­
tures, 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 realised
this, I hurriedly slipped off my clothes, and, wading

[[Page]] 54

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 ex­
pect 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 pre­
sented me with a big garland of flowers -- evidently
made for me and me alone. The thing took my imagi­
nation. 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

[[Page]] 55

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, alto­
er, I had as much trouble as comfort from her de­
on. 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 neighbour­
hood of the White Sphinx almost the feeling of com­
ing 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 threaten­
ing 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

[[Page]] 56

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, dream­
ing 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. Three sev­
eral times, as I scanned the slope, I saw white figures.
Twice I fancied I saw a solitary white, ape-like crea­
ture 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 be­
came of them. It seemed that they vanished among

[[Page]] 57

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 Thou­
sand 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 asso­
ciated 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 sub­
stitute. Yet all the same, they were soon destined to
take far deadlier possession of my mind.

"I think I have said how much hotter than our own
was the weather of this Golden Age. I cannot ac­
count 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 ulti­
mately fall back one by one into the parent body. As

[[Page]] 58

these catastrophes occur, the sun will blaze with re­
newed 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 gal­
lery, whose end and side windows were blocked by
fallen masses of stone. By contrast with the bril­
liancy 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, lumi­
nous by reflection against the daylight without, was
watching me out of the darkness.

"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 ad­
vanced 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 man­
ner, running across the sunlit space behind me. It

[[Page]] 59

blundered against a block of granite, staggered aside,
and in a moment was hidden in a black shadow be­
neath 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 dif­
ferentiated into two distinct animals: that my grace­
ful children of the Upperworld were not the sole

[[Page]] 60

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
organisation? How was it related to the indolent
serenity of the beautiful Upperworlders? 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 run­
ning in their amorous sport across the daylight into
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 revolu­
tion; 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

[[Page]] 61

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 prob­
lem that had puzzled me.

"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 things -- witness the
owl and the cat. And last of all, that evident con­
fusion in the sunshine, that hasty yet fumbling and
awkward flight towards dark shadow, and that pe­
culiar carriage of the head while in the light -- all rein­
forced the theory of an extreme sensitiveness of the

"Beneath my feet, then, the earth must be tun­
nelled enormously, and these tunnellings were the
habitat of the new race. The presence of ventilat­
ing-shafts and wells along the hill slopes -- every­
where, in fact, except along the river valley -- showed
how universal were its ramifications. What so natu­
ral, 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

[[Page]] 62

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 incredi­
ble! -- and yet even now there are existing circum­
stances to point that way. There is a tendency to
utilise underground space for the less ornamental pur­
poses of civilisation; there is the Metropolitan Rail­
way 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 birth­
right in the sky. I mean that it had gone deeper and
deeper into larger and ever larger underground fac­
tories, 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 poor -- is already leading to
the closing, in their interest, of considerable portions
of the surface of the land. About London, for in­
stance, perhaps half the prettier country is shut in

[[Page]] 63

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 pres­
ent 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, pur­
suing pleasure and comfort, and beauty, and below
ground the Have-nots, the Workers getting continu­
ally 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 con­
stituted as to be miserable and rebellious would die;
and, in the end, the balance being permanent, the sur­
vivors would become as well adapted to the condi­
tions 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
peration as I had imagined. Instead, I saw a real
aristocracy, armed with a perfected science and work­
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

[[Page]] 64

time. I had no convenient cicerone in the pattern of
the Utopian books. My explanation may be abso­
lutely wrong. I still think it is the most plausible
one. But even on this supposition the balanced civi­
lisation 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 Upperworlders had led
them to a slow movement of degeneration, to a gen­
eral dwindling in size, strength, and intelligence. That
I could see clearly enough already. What had hap­
pened to the Undergrounders I did not yet suspect;
but, from what I had seen of the Morlocks -- that, by
the bye, 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 Underworld, 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 Mor­
locks, and was only concerned in banishing these

[[Page]] 65

signs of human inheritance from Weena's eyes. And
very soon she was smiling and clapping her hands,
while I solemnly burned a match.

§ 6

"It may seem odd to you, but it was two days be­
fore I could follow up the new-found clue in what was
manifestly the proper way. I felt a peculiar shrink­
ing from those pallid bodies. They were just the half­
bleached colour of the worms and things one sees pre­
served in spirit in a zoological museum. And they
were filthily cold to the touch. Probably my shrink­
ing 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 un­
pleasant creatures from below, these whitened Le­
murs, 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

[[Page]] 66

to be recovered by boldly penetrating these under­
ground 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 ex­
ploring expeditions. Going to the south-westward
towards the rising country that is now called Combe
Wood, I observed far off, in the direction of nine­
teenth-century Banstead, a vast green structure, dif­
ferent in character from any I had hitherto seen. It
was larger than the largest of the palaces or ruins I
knew, and the façade 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 differ­
ence 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 fol­
lowing day, and I returned to the welcome and the
caresses of little Weena. But next morning I per­
ceived clearly enough that my curiosity regarding the
Palace of Green Porcelain was a piece of self-decep­
tion, to enable me to shirk, by another day, an experi­
ence 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.

[[Page]] 67

"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 dis­
concerted. `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
agonised 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 sim­
ply fatigued! One of the bars bent suddenly under
my weight, and almost swung me off into the black­
ness 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 up­
ward, 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

[[Page]] 68

machine below grew louder and more oppressive.
Everything save that little disk above was profoundly
dark, and when I looked up again Weena had disap­

"I was in an agony of discomfort. I had some
thought of trying to go up the shaft again, and leave
the Underworld 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 pro­
longed 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 strik­
ing 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

[[Page]] 69

and tunnels, from which their eyes glared at me in the
strangest fashion.

"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 match.

"Necessarily my memory is vague. Great shapes
like big machines rose out of the dimness, and cast
grotesque black shadows, in which dim spectral Mor­
locks sheltered from the glare. The place, by the bye,
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 remem­
ber wondering what large animal could have survived
to furnish the red joint I saw. It was all very indis­
tinct: the heavy smell, the big unmeaning shapes, the
obscene figures lurking in the shadows, and only wait­
ing 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

[[Page]] 70

I was for such an experience. When I had started
with the Time Machine, I had started with the ab­
surd assumption that the men of the Future would
certainly be infinitely ahead of ourselves in all their
appliances. I had come without arms, without medi­
cine, 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 Na­
ture had endowed me with -- hands, feet, and teeth;
these, and four safety-matches that still remained to

"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 economise them,
and I had wasted almost half the box in astonishing
the Upperworlders, 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 realisation
of my ignorance of their ways of thinking and doing
came home to me very vividly in the darkness. I

[[Page]] 71

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 con­
fess 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, chin­
less 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.

[[Page]] 72

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 clamber­
ing up the shaft, while they stayed peering and blink­
ing up at me: all but one little wretch who followed
me for some way, and well-nigh 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 keep­
ing 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 sun­
light. 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.

§ 7

"Now, indeed, I seemed in a worse case than be­
fore. 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.

[[Page]] 73

Instinctively I loathed them. Before, I had felt as
a man might feel who had fallen into a pit: my con­
cern 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 re­
marks 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 dark­
ness. 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 Carlovingian 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

[[Page]] 74

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 genera­
tions 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 be­
gun to learn one old lesson anew. They were becom­
ing reacquainted with Fear. And suddenly there
came into my head the memory of the meat I had
seen in the Underworld. 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 de­
fend 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
realising to what creatures night by night I lay ex­
posed. 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

[[Page]] 75

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, tak­
ing 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 time she desired me to let
her down, and ran along by the side of me, occasion­
ally 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 utilised 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 un­
like 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,

[[Page]] 76

Weena grew tired and wanted to return to the house
of grey stone. But I pointed out the distant pinna­
cles of the Palace of Green Porcelain to her, and con­
trived 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 still­
ness. 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 preternatu­
rally sharpened. I fancied I could even feel the
hollowness of the ground beneath my feet: could, in­
deed, almost see through it the Morlocks in 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 deep­
ened 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

[[Page]] 77

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 shoul­
der 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
against. 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 hill.

"Weena, I was glad to find, was fast asleep. I
carefully wrapped her in my jacket, and sat down be­
side her to wait for the moonrise. The hillside 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

[[Page]] 78

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 un­
known 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 revolu­
tion occurred during all the years that I had traversed.
And during these few revolutions all the activity, all
the traditions, the complex organisations, the na­
tions, 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

[[Page]] 79

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 overtak­
ing it, and overflowing it, the dawn came, pale at
first, and then growing pink and warm. No Mor­
locks 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 pain­
ful 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 [[re­]]

[[Page]] 80

||re||mote 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 rigor­
ous 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 fulness of time Ne­
cessity 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 Fear.

"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 pro­
cure 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

[[Page]] 81

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 re­
solved to bring with me to our own time. And turn­
ing such schemes over in my mind I pursued our way
towards the building which my fancy had chosen as
our dwelling.

§ 8

"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 examina­
tion 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

[[Page]] 82

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 recog­
nised 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 hy­
pothesis was confirmed. Going towards the side I
found what appeared to be sloping shelves, and, clear­
ing 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 contents.

"Clearly we stood among the ruins of some latter­
day South Kensington! Here, apparently, was the
Palæontological 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, never­
theless, with extreme sureness if with extreme slow­
ness 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

[[Page]] 83

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 an­
cient 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 Palæontology; possibly historical galler­
ies; it might be, even a library! To me, at least in my
present circumstances, these would be vastly more
interesting than this spectacle of old-time geology in
decay. Exploring, I found another short gallery run­
ning transversely to the first. This appeared to be
devoted to minerals, and the sight of a block of sul­
phur set my mind running on gunpowder. But I
could find no saltpetre; 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 pre­
served 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

[[Page]] 84

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 patient 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 sug­
gested 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 cer­
tain 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.* 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
* It may be, of course, that the floor did not slope, but that the museum
was built into the side of a hill. -- ED.

[[Page]] 85

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 immedi­
ate presence of the Morlocks revived at that. I felt
that I was wasting my time in this academic exami­
nation 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 mak­
ing 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 sud­
den 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 side­
ways. 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

[[Page]] 86

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 recognised 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 moralised 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 Transac­
tions and my own seventeen papers upon physical

"Then, going up a broad staircase, we came to
what may once have been a gallery of technical chem­
istry. And here I had not a little hope of useful dis­
coveries. Except at one end where the roof had col­
lapsed, 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.

[[Page]] 87

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 de­
light, 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 know.

"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 cen­
turies. 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 fossilised mil­
lions 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

[[Page]] 88

most helpful thing I had chanced upon. Neverthe­
less I left that gallery greatly elated.

"I cannot tell you all the story of that long after­
noon. 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, how­
ever, 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, Phœ­
nician, 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 sud­
denly 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 disap­
pointment as I did in waiting five, ten, fifteen minutes

[[Page]] 89

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 non-existence.

"It was after that, I think, that we came to a little
open court within the palace. It was turfed, and had
three fruit-trees. So we rested and refreshed our­
selves. Towards sunset I began to consider our posi­
tion. Night was creeping upon us, and my inaccessi­
ble 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.

§ 9

"We emerged from the palace while the sun was
still in part above the horizon. I was determined to

[[Page]] 90

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 it.

"While we hesitated, among the black bushes be­
hind 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 insidi­
ous approach. The forest, I calculated, was rather
less than a mile across. If we could get through it
to the bare hillside, 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 evi­
dent that if I was to flourish matches with my hands
I should have to abandon my firewood; so, rather re­
luctantly, I put it down. And then it came into my
head that I would amaze our friends behind by [[light­]]

[[Page]] 91

||light||ing 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 focussed 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 fermenta­
tion, but this rarely results in flame. In this deca­
dence, 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 be­
lieve 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

[[Page]] 92

because I had no hand free. Upon my left arm I
carried my little one, in my right hand I had my
iron bar.

"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 pat­
tering grew more distinct, and then I caught the
same queer sounds and voices I had heard in the
Underworld. There were evidently several of the
Morlocks, and they were closing in upon me. In­
deed, in another minute I felt a tug at my coat, then
something at my arm. And Weena shivered vio­
lently, 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 it 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

[[Page]] 93

shadows, I knelt down and lifted her. The wood be­
hind seemed full of the stir and murmur of a great

"She seemed to have fainted. I put her carefully
upon my shoulder and rose to push on, and then there
came a horrible realisation. In manœuvring 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 Porce­
lain. 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 motion­
less, 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 carbuncles.

"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 no­
ticed 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 economise my camphor. Then I turned to

[[Page]] 94

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

"Now, the smoke of the fire beat over towards me,
and it must have made me heavy of a sudden. More­
over, 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 bitter­
ness 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 over­
powered, 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

[[Page]] 95

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 recognised, with incredulous sur­
prise, 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 star­
light between the branches, and vanish. And at that
I understood the smell of burning wood, the slum­
brous 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

[[Page]] 96

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 reflec­
tion of the fire. In the centre was a hillock or tumu­
lus, surmounted by a scorched hawthorn. Beyond
this was another arm of the burning forest, with yel­
low tongues already writhing from it, completely en­
circling 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 realise their blindness, and struck furiously
at them with my bar, in a frenzy of fear, as they ap­
proached 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 even think­
ing of beginning the fight by killing some of them be­
fore this should happen; but the fire burst out again
brightly, and I stayed my hand. I walked about the

[[Page]] 97

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, re­
mote 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 so.

"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 wan­
dered 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 whiten­
ing 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 [[my­]]

[[Page]] 98

||my||self. 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 Porce­
lain, 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 moan­
ing, 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 over­
whelming 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.

§ 10

"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 [[abun­]]

[[Page]] 99

||abun||dant foliage, the same splendid palaces and magnifi­
cent 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 Underworld. I under­
stood now what all the beauty of the Over-world peo­
ple covered. Very pleasant was their day, as pleas­
ant 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 sui­
cide. It had set itself steadfastly towards comfort
and ease, a balanced society with security and perma­
nency 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 as­
sured 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

[[Page]] 100

partake of intelligence that have to meet a huge va­
riety of needs and dangers.

"So, as I see it, the Upper-world man had drifted
towards his feeble prettiness, and the Underworld 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 Underworld, 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, how­
ever 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 pleas­
ant. I was very tired and sleepy, and soon my
theorising 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 sleep.

"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

[[Page]] 101

the White Sphinx. I had my crowbar in one hand,
and the other hand played with the matches in my

"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 plea­
sure in the mere touch of the contrivance, the thing
I had expected happened. The bronze panels sud­
denly 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

[[Page]] 102

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 box.

"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, in­
deed, 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 re­
cover it. It was a nearer thing than the fight in the
forest, I think, this last scramble.

"But at last the lever was fixed 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.

§ 11

"I HAVE already told you of the sickness and con­
fusion 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 in­
definite 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

[[Page]] 103

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 pro­
digious 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 twi­
light brooded over the earth, a twilight only broken
now and then when a comet glared across the dark­
ling 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 creep­
ing points of light. At last, some time before I
stopped, the sun, red and very large, halted motion­
less 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

[[Page]] 104

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 mo­
tion. Slower and slower went the circling hands un­
til 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 Ma­
chine, 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 star­
less, 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

[[Page]] 105

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 mountaineer­
ing, 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 fluttering 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 mon­
strous 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
antennæ, 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 orna­
mented with ungainly bosses, and a greenish incrusta­
tion 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

[[Page]] 106

turned, and 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 mon­
sters. 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

"I cannot convey the sense of abominable desola­
tion 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 con­
tributed to an appalling effect. I moved on a hun­
dred 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 moon.

"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 west­
ward 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

[[Page]] 107

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 ex­
panse of that salt ocean, all bloody under the eternal
sunset, was still unfrozen.

"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 sand-bank had appeared in the
sea and the water had receded from the beach. I fan­
cied 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
realised that an eclipse was beginning. Either the

[[Page]] 108

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 show­
ering 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 mo­
ment 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 fac­
ing 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 --

[[Page]] 109

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 faint­
ing. But a terrible dread of lying helpless in that
remote and awful twilight sustained me while I
clambered upon the saddle.

§ 12

"So I came back. For a long time I must have
been insensible upon the machine. The blinking suc­
cession 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. Pres­
ently, when the million dial was at zero, I slackened
speed. I began to recognise our own petty and fa­
miliar 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

[[Page]] 110

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 appli­
ances just as I had left them. I got off the thing
very shakily, and sat down upon my bench. For sev­
eral 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 ma­

"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

[[Page]] 111

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. Con­
sider 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 en­
hance its interest. And taking it as a story, what do
you think of it?"

He took up his pipe, and began, in his old accus­
tomed 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 contempla­
tion 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 shoulder.

"You don't believe it?"

"Well -- -- "

[[Page]] 112

"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 gynæceum'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 Psychol­

"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 Medi­
cal 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 ||Ma­||

[[Page]] 113

||Ma||chine? 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

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 abso­
lute silence, we returned to the smoking-room.

He came into the hall with us and helped the Edi­
tor 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 door­
way, 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 [[de­]]

[[Page]] 114

||de||termined 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 min­
ute 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 fright­
fully busy," said he, "with that thing in there."

"But is it not some hoax?" I said. "Do you
really travel through time?"

"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, specimens 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 labora­
tory 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 [[adver­]]

[[Page]] 115

||adver||tisement 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 Trav­

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 dis­
tinct; but this phantasm vanished as I rubbed my
eyes. The Time Machine had gone. Save for a sub­
siding 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 here."

At that I understood. At the risk of disappoint­
ing Richardson I stayed on, waiting for the Time
Traveller; waiting for the second, perhaps still
stranger story, and the specimens and photographs

[[Page]] 116

he would bring with him. But I am beginning now
to fear that I must wait a lifetime. The Time Trav­
eller vanished three years ago. And, as everybody
knows now, he has never

ONE cannot choose but wonder. Will he ever re­
turn? 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 be­
side 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 Advance­
ment of Mankind, and saw in the growing pile of
civilisation only a foolish heaping that must inevi­
tably 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

[[Page]] 117

me, for my comfort, two strange white flowers -- shriv­
elled now, and brown and flat and brittle -- to witness
that even when mind and strength had gone, grati­
tude and a mutual tenderness still lived on in the
heart of man.