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magazines here. If you’ll stop to lunch I’ll prove you this time
travelling up to the hilt, specimens and all.

If you’ll forgive my leaving you now?’ I consented, hardly
comprehending then the full import of his words, and he nodded
and went on down the corridor. I heard the door of the laboratory
slam, seated myself in a chair, and took up a daily paper. What
was he going to do before lunch-time? Then suddenly I was
reminded by an advertisement that I had promised to meet
Richardson, the publisher, at two. I looked at my watch, and saw
that I could barely save that engagement. I got up and went down
the passage to tell the Time Traveller.

As I took hold of the handle of the door I heard an exclamation,
oddly truncated at the end, and a click and a thud. A gust of air
whirled round me as I opened the door, and from within came the
sound of broken glass falling on the floor. The Time Traveller was
not there. I seemed to see a ghostly, indistinct figure sitting in a
whirling mass of black and brass for a moment-a figure so
transparent that the bench behind with its sheets of drawings was
absolutely distinct; but this phantasm vanished as I rubbed my
eyes. The Time Machine had gone.

Save for a subsiding stir of dust, the further end of the laboratory
was empty. A pane of the skylight had, apparently, just been
blown in.

I felt an unreasonable amazement. I knew that something strange
had happened, and for the moment could not distinguish what the
strange thing might be.

As I stood staring, the door into the garden opened, and the man-
servant appeared.

We looked at each other. Then ideas began to come. ‘Has Mr.- gone
out that way?’ said I.

‘No, sir. No one has come out this way. I was expecting to find him
here.’ At that I understood. At the risk of disappointing Richardson
I stayed on, waiting for the Time Traveller; waiting for the second,
perhaps still stranger story, and the specimens and photographs he
would bring with him. But I am beginning now to fear that I must
wait a lifetime. The Time Traveller vanished three years ago. And,
as everybody knows now, he has never returned.
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