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door on you. You know the rest. I washed, and dined, and now I
am telling you the story.

‘I know,’ he said, after a pause, ‘that all this will be absolutely
incredible to you. To me the one incredible thing is that I am here
to-night in this old familiar room looking into your friendly faces
and telling you these strange adventures.’ He looked at the
Medical Man. ‘No. I cannot expect you to believe it. Take it as a lie-
or a prophecy. Say I dreamed it in the workshop. Consider I have
been speculating upon the destinies of our race until I have hatched
this fiction. Treat my assertion of its truth as a mere stroke of art to
enhance its interest. And taking it as a story, what do you think of

He took up his pipe, and began, in his old accustomed manner, to
tap with it nervously upon the bars of the grate. There was a
momentary stillness. Then chairs began to creak and shoes to
scrape upon the carpet. I took my eyes off the Time Traveller’s face,
and looked round at his audience. They were in the dark, and little
spots of colour swam before them. The Medical Man seemed
absorbed in the contemplation of our host. The Editor was looking
hard at the end of his cigar-the sixth. The Journalist fumbled for
his watch. The others, as far as I remember, were motionless.

The Editor stood up with a sigh. ‘What a pity it is you’re not a
writer of stories!’ he said, putting his hand on the Time Traveller’s

‘You don’t believe it?’ ‘Well-’ ‘I thought not.’ The Time Traveller
turned to us. ‘Where are the matches?’ he said. He lit one and
spoke over his pipe, puffing. ‘To tell you the truth... I hardly
believe it myself.... And yet...’ His eye fell with a mute inquiry
upon the withered white flowers upon the little table. Then he
turned over the hand holding his pipe, and I saw he was looking at
some half-healed scars on his knuckles.

The Medical Man rose, came to the lamp, and examined the
flowers. ‘The gynaeceum’s odd,’ he said. The Psychologist leant
forward to see, holding out his hand for a specimen.

‘I’m hanged if it isn’t a quarter to one,’ said the Journalist. ‘How
shall we get home?’ ‘Plenty of cabs at the station,’ said the

‘It’s a curious thing,’ said the Medical Man; ‘but I certainly don’t
know the natural order of these flowers. May I have them?’ The
Time Traveller hesitated. Then suddenly: ‘Certainly not.’ ‘Where
did you really get them?’ said the Medical Man.

The Time Traveller put his hand to his head. He spoke like one
who was trying to keep hold of an idea that eluded him. ‘They
were put into my pocket by Weena, when I travelled into Time.’
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