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‘AS I stood musing over this too perfect triumph of man, the full
moon, yellow and gibbous, came up out of an overflow of silver
light in the north-east. The bright little figures ceased to move
about below, a noiseless owl flitted by, and I shivered with the
chill of the night. I determined to descend and find where I could

‘I looked for the building I knew. Then my eye travelled along to
the figure of the White Sphinx upon the pedestal of bronze,
growing distinct as the light of the rising moon grew brighter. I
could see the silver birch against it. There was the tangle of
rhododendron bushes, black in the pale light, and there was the
little lawn. I looked at the lawn again. A queer doubt chilled my
complacency. “No,” said I stoutly to myself, “that was not the
lawn.” ‘But it was the lawn. For the white leprous face of the
sphinx was towards it.

Can you imagine what I felt as this conviction came home to me?
But you cannot. The Time Machine was gone!

‘At once, like a lash across the face, came the possibility of losing
my own age, of being left helpless in this strange new world. The
bare thought of it was an actual physical sensation. I could feel it
grip me at the throat and stop my breathing. In another moment I
was in a passion of fear and running with great leaping strides
down the slope. Once I fell headlong and cut my face; I lost no time
in stanching the blood, but jumped up and ran on, with a warm
trickle down my cheek and chin. All the time I ran I was saying to
myself: “They have moved it a little, pushed it under the bushes
out of the way.” Nevertheless, I ran with all my might. All the
time, with the certainty that sometimes comes with excessive
dread, I knew that such assurance was folly, knew instinctively
that the machine was removed out of my reach. My breath came
with pain. I suppose I covered the whole distance from the hill
crest to the little lawn, two miles perhaps, in ten minutes. And I am
not a young man. I cursed aloud, as I ran, at my confident folly in
leaving the machine, wasting good breath thereby. I cried aloud,
and none answered. Not a creature seemed to be stirring in that
moonlit world.

‘When I reached the lawn my worst fears were realized. Not a trace
of the thing was to be seen. I felt faint and cold when I faced the
empty space among the black tangle of bushes. I ran round it
furiously, as if the thing might be hidden in a corner, and then
stopped abruptly, with my hands clutching my hair. Above me
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