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lives.’ ‘That,’ said a very young man, making spasmodic efforts to
relight his cigar over the lamp; ‘that... very clear indeed.’ ‘Now, it
is very remarkable that this is so extensively overlooked,’
continued the Time Traveller, with a slight accession of
cheerfulness. ‘Really this is what is meant by the Fourth
Dimension, though some people who talk about the Fourth
Dimension do not know they mean it. It is only another way of
looking at Time.
There is no difference between Time and 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 mathematicians have it, is
spoken of as having three dimensions, which one may call Length,
Breadth, and Thickness, and is always definable by reference to
three planes, each at right angles to the others. But some
philosophical people have been asking why three dimensions
particularly-why not another direction at right angles to the other
three?- and have even tried to construct a Four-Dimension
geometry. Professor Simon Newcomb was expounding this to the
New York Mathematical Society only a month or so ago. You know
how on a flat surface, which has only two dimensions, we can
represent a figure of a three dimensional solid, and similarly they
think that by models of three dimensions they could represent one
of four-if they could master the perspective of the thing. See?’ ‘I
think so,’ murmured the Provincial Mayor; and, knitting his brows,
he lapsed into an introspective state, his lips moving, as one who
repeats mystic words. ‘Yes, I think I see it now,’ he said after some
time, brightening in a quite transitory manner.
‘Well, I do not mind telling you I have been at work upon this
geometry of Four Dimensions for some time. Some of my results
are curious. For instance, here is a portrait of a man at eight years
old, another at fifteen, another at seventeen, another at twenty-
three, and so on. All these are evidently sections, as it were, Three-
Dimensional representations of his Four-Dimensioned being,
which is a fixed and unalterable thing.
‘Scientific people,’ proceeded the Time Traveller, after the pause
required for the proper assimilation of this, ‘know very well that
Time is only a kind of Space.
Here is a popular scientific diagram, a weather record. This line I
trace with my finger shows the movement of the barometer.
Yesterday it was so high, yesterday night it fell, then this morning
it rose again, and so gently upward to here. Surely the mercury did