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fancied that if I could solve their puzzles I should find myself in
possession of powers that might be of use against the Morlocks.
‘Suddenly Weena came very close to my side. So suddenly that she
startled me. Had it not been for her I do not think I should have
noticed that the floor of the gallery sloped at all. The end I had
come in at was quite above ground, and was lit by rare slit-like
windows.1 As you went down the length, the ground came up
against these windows, until at last there was a pit like the “area”
of a London house before each, and only a narrow line of daylight
at the top. I went slowly along, puzzling about the machines, and
had been too intent upon them to notice the gradual diminution of
the light, until Weena’s increasing apprehensions drew my
attention. Then I saw that the gallery ran down at last into a thick
darkness. I hesitated, and then, as I looked round me, I saw that
the dust was less 1 It may be, of course, that the floor did not slope,
but that the museum was built into the side of a hill.- ED. abundant
and its surface less even. Further away towards the dimness, it
appeared to be broken by a number of small narrow footprints. My
sense of the immediate presence of the Morlocks revived at that. I
felt that I was wasting my time in this academic examination of
machinery. I called to mind that it was already far advanced in the
afternoon, and that I had still no weapon, no refuge, and no means
of making a fire. And then down in the remote blackness of the
gallery I heard a peculiar pattering, and the same odd noises I had
heard down the well.
‘I took Weena’s hand. Then, struck with a sudden idea, I left her
and turned to a machine from which projected a lever not unlike
those in a signal-box. Clambering upon the stand, and grasping
this lever in my hands, I put all my weight upon it sideways.
Suddenly Weena, deserted in the central aisle, began to whimper. I
had judged the strength of the lever pretty correctly, for it snapped
after a minute’s strain, and I rejoined her with a mace in my hand
more than sufficient, I judged, for any Morlock skull I might
encounter. And I longed very much to kill a Morlock or so. Very
inhuman, you may think, to want to go killing one’s own
descendants! But it was impossible, somehow, to feel any
humanity in the things.
Only my disinclination to leave Weena, and a persuasion that if I
began to slake my thirst for murder my Time Machine might
suffer, restrained me from going straight down the gallery and
killing the brutes I heard.
‘Well, mace in one hand and Weena in the other, I went out of that
gallery and into another and still larger one, which at the first
glance reminded me of a military chapel hung with tattered flags.