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<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library-The Time Machine by H.G. Wells


‘As the hush of evening crept over the world and we proceeded
over the hill crest towards Wimbledon, Weena grew tired and
wanted to return to the house of grey stone. But I pointed out the
distant. pinnacles of the Palace of Green Porcelain to her, and
contrived 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 stillness.
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
preternaturally sharpened. I fancied I could even feel the
hollowness of the ground beneath my feet: could, indeed, almost
see through it the Morlocks on 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 deepened 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 statuea Faun, or some 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 shoulder 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
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