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


‘I cannot tell you all the story of that long afternoon. It would
require a great effort of memory to recall my explorations in at all
the proper order. I remember a long gallery of rusting stands of
arms, and how I hesitated between my crowbar and a hatchet or a
sword. I could not carry both, however, and my bar of iron
promised best against the bronze gates. There were numbers of
guns, pistols, and rifles. The most were masses of rust, but many
were of some new metal, and still fairly sound. But any cartridges
or powder there may once have been had rotted into dust. One
corner I saw was charred and shattered; perhaps, I thought, by an
explosion among the specimens. In another place was a vast array
of idols-Polynesian, Mexican, Grecian, Phoenician, every country
on earth I should think.

And here, yielding to an irresistible impulse, I wrote my name
upon the nose of a steatite monster from South America that
particularly took my fancy.

‘As the evening drew on, my interest waned. I went through
gallery after gallery, dusty, silent, often ruinous, the exhibits
sometimes mere heaps of rust and lignite, sometimes fresher. In
one place I suddenly found myself near the model of a tin-mine,
and then by the merest accident I discovered, in an air-tight case,
two dynamite cartridges! I shouted “Eureka!” and smashed the
case with joy.

Then came a doubt. I hesitated. Then, selecting a little side gallery,
I made my essay. I never felt such a disappointment as I did in
waiting five, ten, fifteen minutes for an explosion that never came.
Of course the things were dummies, as I might have guessed from
their presence. I really believe that, had they not been so, I should
have rushed off incontinently and blown Sphinx, bronze doors,
and (as it proved) my chances of finding the Time Machine, all
together into nonexistence.

‘It was after that, I think, that we came to a little open court within
the palace.

It was turfed, and had three fruit-trees. So we rested and refreshed
ourselves. Towards sunset I began to consider our position. Night
was creeping upon us, and my inaccessible hiding-place had still to
be found. But that troubled me very little now. I had in my
possession a thing that was, perhaps, the best of all defences
against the Morlocks-I had matches! I had the camphor in my
pocket, too, if a blaze were needed. It seemed to me that the best
thing we could do would be to pass the night in the open,
protected by a fire. In the morning there was the getting of the
Time Machine. Towards that, as yet, I had only my iron mace. But
now, with my growing knowledge, I felt very differently towards
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