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‘Story be damned!’ said the Time Traveller. ‘I want something to
eat. I won’t say a word until I get some peptone into my arteries.
Thanks. And the salt.’
‘One word’ said I. ‘Have you been time travelling?’ ‘Yes,’ said the
Time Traveller, with his mouth full, nodding his head.
‘I’d give a shilling a line for a verbatim note,’ said the Editor. The
Time Traveller pushed his glass towards the Silent Man and rang it
with his fingernail; at which the Silent Man, who had been staring
at his face, started convulsively, and poured him wine. The rest of
the dinner was uncomfortable. For my part, sudden questions kept
on rising to my lips, and I dare say it was the same with the others.
The Journalist tried to relieve the tension by telling anecdotes of
The Time Traveller devoted his attention to his dinner, and
displayed the appetite of a tramp. The Medical Man smoked a
cigarette, and watched the Time Traveller through his eyelashes.
The Silent Man seemed even more clumsy than usual, and drank
champagne with regularity and determination out of sheer
nervousness. At last the Time Traveller pushed his plate away, and
looked round us. ‘I suppose I must apologize,’ he said. ‘I was
simply starving. I’ve had a most amazing time.’ He reached out his
hand for a cigar, and cut the end. ‘But come into the smokingroom.
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
‘But the thing’s a mere paradox,’ said the Editor.
‘I can’t argue to-night. I don’t mind telling you the story, but I can’t
argue. I will,’ he went on, ‘tell you the story of what has happened
to me, if you like, but you must refrain from interruptions. I want
to tell it. Badly. Most of it will sound like lying. So be it! It’s true-
every word of it, all the same. I was in my laboratory at four
o’clock, and since then... I’ve lived eight days... such days as no
human being ever lived before! I’m nearly worn out, but I shan’t
sleep till I’ve told this thing over to you. Then I shall go to bed. But
no interruptions! Is it agreed?’ ‘Agreed,’ said the Editor, and the
rest of us echoed ‘Agreed.’ And with that the Time Traveller began
his story as I have set it forth. He sat back in his chair at first, and
spoke like a weary man. Afterwards he got more animated. In
writing it down I feel with only too much keenness the inadequacy
of pen and ink-and, above all, my own inadequacy-to express its
quality. You read, I will suppose, attentively enough; but you
cannot see the speaker’s white, sincere face in the bright circle of