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At first I was puzzled by all these strange fruits, and by the strange
flowers I saw, but later I began to perceive their import.
‘However, I am telling you of my fruit dinner in the distant future
now. So soon as my appetite was a little checked, I determined to
make a resolute attempt to learn the speech of these new men of
mine. Clearly that was the next thing to do. The fruits seemed a
convenient thing to begin upon, and holding one of these up I
began a series of interrogative sounds and gestures. I had some
considerable difficulty in conveying my meaning. At first my
efforts met with a stare of surprise or inextinguishable laughter,
but presently a fair-headed little creature seemed to grasp my
intention and repeated a name. They had to chatter and explain the
business at great length to each other, and my first attempts to
make the exquisite little sounds of their language caused an
immense amount of amusement. However, I felt like a
schoolmaster amidst children, and persisted, and presently I had a
score of noun substantives at least at my command; and then I got
to demonstrative pronouns, and even the verb “to eat.” But it was
slow work, and the little people soon tired and wanted to get away
from my interrogations, so I determined, rather of necessity, to let
them give their lessons in little doses when they felt inclined. And
very little doses I found they were before long, for I never met
people more indolent or more easily fatigued.

‘A queer thing I soon discovered about my little hosts, and that
was their lack of interest. They would come to me with eager cries
of astonishment, like children, but like children they would soon
stop examining me and wander away after some other toy. The
dinner and my conversational beginnings ended, I noted for the
first time that almost all those who had surrounded me at first
were gone.

It is odd, too, how speedily I came to disregard these little people. I
went out through the portal into the sunlit world again as soon as
my hunger was satisfied.

I was continually meeting more of these men of the future, who
would follow me a little distance, chatter and laugh about me, and,
having smiled and gesticulated in a friendly way, leave me again
to my own devices.

‘The calm of evening was upon the world as I emerged from the
great hall, and the scene was lit by the warm glow of the setting
sun. At first things were very confusing. Everything was so
entirely different from the world I had knowneven the flowers. The
big building I had left was situated on the slope of a broad river
valley, but the Thames had shifted perhaps a mile from its present
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