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and there I found traces of the little people in the shape of rare
fossils broken to pieces or threaded in strings upon reeds. And the
cases had in some instances been bodily removed-by the Morlocks
as I judged. The place was very silent. The thick dust deadened our
footsteps. Weena, who had been rolling a sea-urchin down the
sloping glass of a case, presently came, as I stared about me, and
very quietly took my hand and stood beside me.
‘And at first I was so much surprised by this ancient monument of
an intellectual age, that I gave no thought to the possibilities it
presented. Even my preoccupation about the Time Machine
receded a little from my mind.
‘To judge from the size of the place, this Palace of Green Porcelain
had a great deal more in it than a Gallery of Palaeontology;
possibly historical galleries; it might be, even a library! To me, at
least in my present circumstances, these would be vastly more
interesting than this spectacle of old-time geology in decay.
Exploring, I found another short gallery running transversely to
the first. This appeared to be devoted to minerals, and the sight of
a block of sulphur set my mind running on gunpowder. But I
could find no saltpeter; indeed, no nitrates of any kind. Doubtless
they had deliquesced ages ago. Yet the sulphur hung in my mind,
and set up a train of thinking. As for the rest of the contents of that
gallery, though on the whole they were the best preserved of all I
saw, I had little interest.
I am no specialist in mineralogy, and I went on down a very
ruinous aisle running parallel to the first hall I had entered.
Apparently this section had been devoted to natural history, but
everything had long since passed out of recognition. A few
shrivelled and blackened vestiges of what had once been stuffed
animals, desiccated mummies in jars that had once held spirit, a
brown dust of departed plants: that was all! I was sorry for that,
because I should have been glad to trace the patent readjustments
by which the conquest of animated nature had been attained.
Then we came to a gallery of simply colossal proportions, but
singularly ill-lit, the floor of it running downward at a slight angle
from the end at which I entered. At intervals white globes hung
from the ceiling-many of them cracked and smashed-which
suggested that originally the place had been artificially lit. Here I
was more in my element, for rising on either side of me were the
huge bulks of big machines, all greatly corroded and many broken
down, but some still fairly complete. You know I have a certain
weakness for mechanism, and I was inclined to linger among these;
the more so as for the most part they had the interest of puzzles,
and I could make only the vaguest guesses at what they were for. I