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The man who made the 
Time Machine "the man I 
shall call the Time Traveler” was well known in scientific circles 
a few years since, and the fact of his 
disappearance is also well known. 
He was a mathematician of peculiar 
subtlety, and one of our most con- 
spicuous investigators in molecular 
physics. He did not confine himself 
to abstract science. Several ingeni- 
ous, and one or two profitable, patents 
were his : very profitable they were, 
these last, as his handsome house at 
Richmond testified. To those who were his intimates, however, his 
scientific investigations were as noth- 
ing to his gift of speech. In the 
after-dinner hours he was ever a 
vivid and variegated talker, and at 
times his fantastic, often paradoxical, 
conceptions came so thick and close 
as to form one continuous discourse. 
At these times he was as unlike the 
popular conception of a scientific in- 
vestigator as a man could be. His 
cheeks would flush, his eyes grow 
bright ; and the stranger the ideas 
that sprang and crowded in his 
brain, the happier and the more 
animated would be his exposition. 
Up to the last there was held at 
his house a kind of informal gather- 
ing, which it was my privilege to at- 
tend, and where, at one time or 
another, I have met most of our dis- 
tinguished literary and scientific men. 
There was a plain dinner at seven. 
After that we would adjourn to a 
room of easy-chairs and little tables, 
and there, with libations of alcohol and reeking pipes, we would invoke 
the god. At first the conversation 
was mere fragmentary chatter, with 
some local lacunce of digestive 
silence ; but toward nine or half-past 
nine, if the god was favorable, some 
particular topic would triumph by a 
kind of natural selection, and would 
become the common interest. So it 
was, I remember, on the last Thurs- 
day but one of all— the Thursday 
when I first heard of the Time 
Machine. 

I had been jammed in a corner 
with a gentleman who shall be dis- 
guised as Filby. He had been run- 
ning down Milton — the public neg- 
lects poor Filby's little verses shock- 
ingly ; and as I could think of 
nothing but the relative status of 
Filby and the man he criticised, and 
was much too timid to discuss that, 
the arrival of that moment of fusion, 
when our several conversations were 
suddenly merged into a general dis- 
cussion, was a great relief to me. 


" What's that is nonsense ?" said a 
well-known Medical Man, speaking 
across Filby to the Psychologist. 

" He thinks," said the Psycholo- 
gist, "that Time's only a kind of 
Space." 

" It's not thinking," said the Time 
Traveler ; "it's knowledge." 

"fFoppish affectation," said Filby, 
still harping upon his wrongs ; but 
I feigned a great interest in this 
question of Space and Time. 

*' Kant "began the Psycholo- 
gist. 

*' Confound Kant ! " said the Time 
Traveler. " I tell you I'm right. 
I've got experimental proof of it. 
I'm not a metaphysician." He ad- 
dressed the Medical Man across the 
room, and so brought the whole 
company into his own circle. " It's 
the most promising departure in ex- 
perimental w^ork that has ever been 
made. It will simply revolutionize 
life. Heaven knows what life will be 
when I've carried the thing through." 


" As long as it's not the water of 
immortality I don't mind," said the 
distinguished Medical Man. " What 
is it?" 

" Only a paradox," said the Psy- 
chologist. 

The Time Traveler said nothing 
in reply, but smiled and began tap- 
ping his pipe upon the fender curb. 
This was the invariable presage of 
a dissertation. 

" You have to admit that time is a 
spatial dimension," said the Psychol- 
ogist, emboldened by immunity and 
addressing the Medical Man, "and 
then all sorts of remarkable con- 
sequences are found inevitable. 
Among others, that it becomes pos- 
sible to travel about in time." 

The Time Traveler chuckled. 
" You forget that I'm going to prove 
it experimentally." 

*' Let's have your experiment," said 
the Psychologist. 

" I think we'd like the argument 
first," said Filby. 
" It's this," said the Time Traveler. 
" You must follow me carefully. I 
shall have to controvert one or two 
ideas that are almost universally ac- 
cepted. The geometry, for instance, 
they taught you at school is founded 
on a misconception." 

" Is not that rather a large thing 
to expect us to begin upon?" said 
Filby. 

" I do not mean to ask you to 
accept anything without reasonable 
ground for it. You will soon admit 
as much as I want from you. You 
know, of course, that a mathematical 
line, a line of thickness nil^ has no 
real existence. They taught you 
that ? Neither has a mathematical 
plane. These things are mere ab- 
stractions." 

"That is all right," said the 
Psychologist. 

'* Nor, having only length, breadth, 
and thickness; can a cube have a real 
existence." 

"There I object," said Filby. 

" Of course a solid body may exist. 
All real things " 

** So most people think. But wait 
a moment. Can an instantaneous 
cube exist ? " 

" Don't follow you," said Filby. 

" Can a cube that does not last 
for any time at all, have a real 
existence ? " 

Filby became pensive. 

"Clearly," the Philosophical In- 
ventor proceeded, "any real body 
must have extension in four direc- 
tions : it must have Length, Breadth, 
Thickness, and — Duration. But 
through a natural infirmity of the 
flesh, which I will explain to you in 
a moment, we incline to overlook 
the fact. There are really four 
dimensions, three which we call the 
three planes of Space, and a fourth, 
Time. There is, however, a tend- 
ency to draw an unreal distinction 
between the former three dimen- 
sions and the latter, because it hap- 
pens that our consciousness moves 

intermittently in one direction along 
the latter from the beginning to the 
end of our lives." 

" That," said a Very Young Man, 
making spasmodic efforts to relight 
his cigar over the lamp : " that — 
very clear indeed." 

" Now, it is very remarkable that 
this is so extensively overlooked," 
continued the Philosophical Inven- 
tor, with a slight accession of cheer- 
fulness. "Really this is what is 
meant by the Fourth Dimension, 
though some people who talk about 
the Fourth Dimension do not know 
they mean it. It is only another 
way of looking at Time. There is 
no differ e7ice betiveen Time and any of 
the three dimensions of Space except 
that our consciousness moves along it. 
But some foolish people have got 
hold of the wrong side of that idea. 
You have all heard what they have to 
say about this Fourth Dimension ? " 

"I have not," said the Provincial 
Mayor. 

"It is simply this, That space, as 
our mathematicians have it, is spoken 
of as having three dimensions, which 
one may call Length, Breadth, and 
Thickness, and is always definable 
by reference to these planes, each at 
right angle to the others. But some 
philosophical people have been ask- 
ing why three dimensions particularly 
— why not another direction at right 
angles to the other three ? — and have 
even tried to construct a Four-Dimen- 
sional geometry. Professor Simon 
Newcomb was expounding this to 
the New York Mathematical Society 
only a month or so ago. You know 
how on a flat surface, which has only 
two dimensions, we can represent a 
figure of a Three-Dimensional solid, 
and similarly they think that by 
models of three dimensions they 
could represent one of four — if they 
could master the perspective of the 
thing. See?" 

" I think so," murmured the Pro- 
vincial Mayor ; and, knitting his 

brows, he lapsed into an introspective 
state, his lips moving as one who re- 
peats mystic words. ** Yes, I think 
I see it now," he said after some 
time, brightening in a quite transi- 
tory manner. 

"" Well, I do not mind telling you I 
have been at work upon this geom- 
etry of Four Dimensions for some 
time. Some of my results are curi- 
ous : for instance, here is a portrait 
of a man at eight years old, another 
at fifteen, another at seventeen, an- 
other at twenty-three, and so on. All 
these are evidently sections, as it 
were, Three-Dimensional representa- 
tions of his Four-Dimensional being, 
which is a fixed and unalterable 
thing. 

" Scientific people," proceeded the 
Philosopher, after the pause requiicd 
for the proper assimilation of this, 
*' know very well that Time is only 
a kind of Space. Here is a popular 
scientific diagram, a weather record. 
This line I trace with my finger shows 



the movement of the barometer. 
Yesterday it was so high, yesterday 
night it fell, then this morning it rose 
again, and so gently upward to here. 
Surely the mercury did not trace this 
line in any of the dimensions of space 
generally recognized ? But certainly 
it traced such a line, and that line, 
therefore, we must conclude, was 
along the Time Dimension." 

" But," said the Medical Man, 
staring hard at a coal in the fire, " if 
Time is really only a fourth dimen- 
sion of Space, why is it, and why has 
it always been, regarded as something 
different ? And why cannot we move 
about in Time as we move about in 
the other dimensions of Space ? " 

The Philosophical Person smiled. 
" Are you so sure we can move freely 
in Space? Right and left we can 
go, backward and forward freely 
enough, and men always have done 
so. I admit we move freely in two 
dimensions. But now about up and 
down ? Gravitation limits us there." 


 

" Not exactly," said the Medical 
Man. " There are balloons." 

" But before the balloons, save for 
spasmodic jumping and the inequali- 
ties of the surface, man had no free- 
dom of vertical movement." 

" Still they could move a little up 
and down," said the Medical Man. 

" Easier, far easier, down than 
up." 

*' And you cannot move at all in 
Time. You cannot get away from 
the present moment." 

" My dear sir, that is just where 
you are wrong. That is just where 
the whole world has gone wrong. 
We are always getting away from 
the present moment. Our mental 
existences, which are immaterial 
and have no dimensions, are passing 
along the Time Dimension with a 
uniform velocity from the cradle to 
the grave. Just as we should travel 
down if we began our existence fifty 
miles above the earth's surface." 

"But the great difficulty is this," 



THE INVENTOR. 13 

interrupted the Psychologist : "You 
can move about in all directions of 
Space, but you cannot move about 
in Time." 

" That is the germ of my great dis- 
covery. But you are wrong to say 
that we cannot move about in Time. 
For instance, if I am recalling an in- 
cident very vividly I go back to the 
instant of its occurrence ; I become 
absent-minded, as you say. I jump 
back for a moment. Of course we 
have no means of staying back for any 
length of time any more than a sav- 
age or an animal has of staying six 
feet above the ground. But a civil- 
ized man is better off than the savage 
in this respect. He can go up against 
gravitation in a balloon, and why 
should we not hope that ultimately 
he may be able to stop or accelerate 
his drift along the Time Dimension ; 
or even to turn about and travel the 
other way ? " 

"Oh, this;' began Filby, "is 
all " 


" Why not ? " said the Philosoph- 
ical Inventor. 

" It's against reason," said Filby. 

"What reason?" said the Philo- 
sophical Inventor. 

" You can show black is white by 
argument," said Filby, "but you will 
never convince me." 

" Possibly not," said the Philosophi- 
cal Inventor. " But now you begin 
to see the object of my investigations 
into the geometry of Four Dimen- 
sions. Long ago I had a vague ink- 
ling of a machine " 

" To travel through Time ! " said 
the Very Young Man. 

" That shall travel indifferently in 
any direction of Space and Time, as 
the driver determines." 

Filby contented himself with laugh- 
ter. 

" It would be remarkably con- 
venient," the Psychologist suggested. 
" One might travel back and witness 
the battle of Hastings." 

" Don't you think you would at- 


tract attention?" said the Medical 
Man. *' Our ancestors had no great 
tolerance for anachronisms." 

" One might get one's Greek from 
the very lips of Homer and Plato," 
the Very Young Man thought. 

" In which case they would cer- 
tainly plow you for the little-go. 
The German scholars have improved 
Greek so much." 

'' Then, there is the future," said 
the Very Young Man. " Just think ! 
One might invest all one's money, 
leave it to accumulate at interest, 
and hurry on ahead." 

"To discover a society," said I, 
" erected on a strictly communistic 

basis." 

" Of all the wild extravagant 
theories " began the Psychologist. 

" Yes, so it seemed to me, and so I 
never talked of it until " 

" Experimental verification ! " cried 
I. " You are going to verify that! " 

" The experiment ! " cried Filby, 
who was getting brain-weary. . 

" Let's see your experiment, any- 
how," said the Psychologist, " though 
it's all humbug, you know." 

The Time Traveler smiled round 
at us. Then, still smiling faintly, 
and with his hands deep in his 
trousers pockets, he walked slowly 
out of the room, and we heard his 
slippers shuffling down the long pas- 
sage to his laboratory. 

The Psychologist looked at us. 
'* I wonder what he's got ? " 

"Some sleight-of-hand trick or 
other," said the Medical Man, and 
Filby tried to tell us about a conjuror 
he had seen at Burslem, but before he 
had finished his preface the Time 
Traveler came back, and Filby's 
anecdote collapsed. 

The thing the Time Traveler held 
in his hand was a glittering metallic 
framework, scarcely larger than a 
small clock, and very delicately made. 
There was ivory in it, and some 
transparent crystalline substance. 
And now I must be explicit, for 


this that follows — unless his explan- 
ation is to be accepted — is an abso- 
lutely unaccountable thing. He took 
one of the small octagonal tables 
that were scattered about the room, 
and set it in front of the fire, with 
two legs on the hearthrug. On this 
table he placed the mechanism. 
Then he drew up a chair and sat 
down. The only other object on the 
table was a small shaded lamp, the 
bright light of which fell full upon 
the model. There were also perhaps 
a dozen candles about, two in brass 
candlesticks upon the mantel and 
several in sconces, so that the room 
was brilliantly illuminated. I sat in 
a low armchair nearest the fire, and I 
drew this forward so as to be almost 
between the Time Traveler and the 
fireplace. Filby sat behind him, 
looking over his shoulder. The 
Medical Man and the Rector 
watched him in profile from the 
right, the Psychologist from the left. 
We were all on the alert. It ap- 



l8 THE TIME MACHINE. 

pears incredible to me that any kind 
of trick, however subtly conceived 
and however adroitly done, could 
have been played upon us under 
these conditions. 

The Time Traveler looked at us 
and then at the mechanism. 

" Well ? " said the Psychologist. 

" This little affair," said the Time 
Traveler, resting his elbows upon the 
table and pressing his hands together 
above the apparatus, '* is only a 
model. It is my plan for a machine 
to travel through Time. You will 
notice that it looks singularly askew, 
and that there is an odd twinkling 
appearance about this bar, as though 
it was in some way unreal." He 
pointed to the part with his finger. 
" Also, here is one little white lever, 
and here is another." 

The Medical Man got up out of 
his chair and peered into the thing. 
"It's beautifully made," he said. 

" It took two years to make," re- 
torted the Time Traveler. Then, 



THE INVENTOR. IQ 

when we had all done as the Medical 
Man, he said : " Now I want you 
clearly to understand that this lever, 
being pressed over, sends the machine 
gliding into the future, and this other 
reverses the motion. This saddle 
represents the seat of a time traveler. 
Presently I am going to press the 
lever, and off the machine will go. 
It will vanish, pass into future time, 
and disappear. Have a good look at 
the thing. Look at the table too, 
and satisfy yourselves there is no 
trickery. I don't want to waste this 
model, and then be told I'm a 
quack." 

There was a minute's pause 
perhaps. The Psychologist seemed 
about to speak to me, but changed 
his mind. Then the Time Traveler 
put forth his finger toward the lever. 
*' No," he said suddenly ; " lend 
me your hand." And turning to the 
Psychologist, he took that individual's 
hand in his own and told him to put 
out his forefinger. So that it was 



20 THE TIME MACHINE. 

the Psychologist himself who sent 
forth the model Time Machine on 
its interminable voyage. We all saw 
the lever turn. I am absolutely cer- 
tain there was no trickery. There 
was a breath of wind, and the lamp 
flame jumped. One of the candles 
on the mantel was blown out, and 
the little machine suddenly swung 
round, became indistinct, was seen as 
a ghost for a second perhaps, as an 
eddy of faintly glittering brass and 
ivory ; and it was gone — vanished ! 
Save for the lamp the table was bare. 

Everyone was silent for a minute. 
Then Filby said he was d d. 

The Psychologist recovered from 
his stupor, and suddenly looked 
under the table. At that the 
Time Traveler laughed cheerfully. 
" Well ? " he said, with a reminis- 
cence of the Psychologist. Then, 
getting up, he went to the tobacco 
jar on the mantel, and with his back 
to us began to fill his pipe. 

AVe stared at each other. 



THE INVENTOR. 21 

"Look here," said the Medical 
Man, '*are you in earnest about this ? 
Do you seriously believe that that 
machine has traveled into Time ? " 

'* Certainly," said the Time Trav- 
eler, stooping to light a spill at the 
fire. Then he turned, lighting his 
pipe, to look at the Psychologist's 
face. (The Psychologist, to show 
that he was not unhinged, helped 
himself to a cigar and tried to light 
it uncut.) *' What is more, I have a 
big machine nearly finished in there," 
— he indicated the laboratory, — " and 
when that is put together I mean to 
have a journey on my own account." 

** You mean to say that that ma- 
chine has traveled into the future ?" 
said Filby. 

" Into the future or the past — I 
don't, for certain, know which." 

After an interval the Psychologist 
had an inspiration. 

" It must have gone into the past 
if it has gone anywhere," he said. 

" Why ? " said the Time Traveler. 



22 THE TIME MACHINE. 

" Because I presume that it has 
not moved in space, and if it traveled 
into the future it would still be here 
all this time, since it must have 
traveled through this time." 

" But," said I, '' if it traveled into 
the past it would have been visible 
when we came first into this room ; 
and last Thursday when we were 
here ; and the Thursday before that ; 
and so forth ! " 

" Serious objections," remarked 
the Rector with an air of impartiality, 
turning toward the Time Traveler. 

" Not a bit," said the Time 
Traveler, and, to the Psychologist : 
** You think. You can explain that. 
It's presentation below the threshold, 
you know, diluted presentation." 

" Of course," said the Psychologist, 
and reassured us. '* That's a simple 
point in psychology. I should have 
thought of it. It's plain enough, and 
helps the paradox delightfully. We 
cannot see it, nor can we appreciate 
this machine, any more than we can 



THE INVENTOR, 23 

the spoke of a wheel spinning, or a 
bullet flying through the air. If it is 
traveling through time fifty times or 
a hundred times faster than we are, 
if it gets through a minute while we 
get through a second, the impression 
it creates will of course be only one- 
fiftieth or one-hundredth of what it 
would make if it were not traveling 
in time. That's plain enough." He 
passed his hand through the space in 
which the machine had been. " You 
see ? " he said laughing. 

We sat and stared at the vacant 
table for a minute or so. Then the 
Time Traveler asked us what we 
thought of it all. 

" It sounds plausible enough to- 
night," said the Medical Man ; "but 
wait until to-morrow. Wait for the 
common sense of the morning." 

*' Would you like to see the Time 
Machine itself ? " asked the Time 
Traveler. And therewith, taking the 
lamp in his hand, he led the way 
down the long, draughty corridor to 



24 THE TIME MACHINE. 

his laboratory. I remember vividly 
the flickering light, his queer, broad 
head in silhouette, the dance of the 
shadows, how we all followed him, 
puzzled but incredulous, and how 
there in the laboratory we beheld a 
larger edition of the little mechanism 
which we had seen vanish from be- 
fore our eyes. Parts were of nickel, 
parts of ivory, parts had certainly 
been filed or sawn out of rock crystal. 
The thing was generally complete, 
but the twisted crystalline bars lay 
unfinished upon the bench beside 
some sheets of drawings, and I took 
one up for a better look at it. 
Quartz it seemed to be. 

" Look here," said the Medical 
Man, "are you perfectly serious? 
Or is this a trick — like that ghost 
you showed us last Christmas ? " 

" Upon that machine," said the 
Time Traveler, holding the lamp 
aloft, " I intend to explore Time. Is 
that plain ? I was never more serious 
in my life." 




CHAPTER II. 
XLhc tlime traveler IReturns* 

THINK that at that time 
none of us quite believed 

in the Time Machine. 

The fact is, the Time Traveler was 
one of those men who are too 
clever to be believed ; you never 
felt that you saw all round him ; you 
always suspected some subtle re- 
serve, some ingenuity in ambush, be- 
hind his lucid frankness. Had Filby 
shown the model and explained the 
matter in the Time Traveler's words, 
we should have shown Mm far less 
skepticism. The point is, we should 
have seen his motives — a pork- 
butcher could understand Filby. 
But the Time Traveler had more 
than a touch of whim among his 
elements, and we distrusted him. 
Things that would have made the 
fame of a clever man seemed tricks 

25 



26 THE TIME MACHINE, 

in his hands. It is a mistake to do 
things too easily. The serious peo- 
ple who took him seriously never felt 
quite sure of his deportment ; they 
were somehow aware that trusting 
their reputations for judgment with 
him was like furnishing a nursery 
with eggshell china. So I don't 
think any of us said very much about 
time traveling in the interval between 
that Thursday and the next, though 
its odd potentialities ran, no doubt, 
in most of our minds : its plausibility, 
that is, its practical incredibleness, 
the curious possibilities of anachro- 
nism and of utter confusion it sug- 
gested. For my own part, I was 
particularly preoccupied with the 
trick of the model. That I remem- 
ber discussing with the Medical Man, 
whom I met on Friday at the Lin- 
nsean. He said he had seen a similar 
thing at Tubingen, and laid consider- 
able stress on the blowing-out of the 
candle. But how the trick was done 
he could not explain. 



THE TIME TRAVELER RETURNS. 27 

The next Thursday I went again 
to Richmond — I suppose I was one 
of the Time Traveler's most constant 
guests — and, arriving late, found four 
or five men already assembled in his 
drawing room. The Medical Man 
was standing before the fire with a 
sheet of paper in one hand and his 
watch in the other. I looked round 
for the Time Traveler, and — - 

" It's half-past seven now," said 
the Medical Man. " I suppose we'd 
better have dinner ? " 

** Where's ?" said I, naming 

our host. 

"You've just come? It's rather 
odd. He's unavoidably detained. 
He asks me in his note to lead off 
with dinner at seven if he's not back. 
Says he'll explain when he comes." 

" It's seems a pity to let the dinner 
spoil," said the Editor of a well- 
known daily paper ; and thereupon 
the Doctor rang the bell. 

The Psychologist was the only per- 
son besides the Doctor and myself 



28 THE TIME MACHINE. 

who had attended the previous din- 
ner. The other men were Blank, the 
Editor afore-mentioned, a certain 
journalist, and another — a quiet, shy 
man with a beard — whom I didn't 
know, and who, as far as my observa- 
tion went, never opened his mouth 
all the evening. There was some 
speculation at the dinner-table about 
the Time Traveler's absence, and I 
suggested time traveling, in a half- 
jocular spirit. The Editor wanted 
that explained to him, and the Psy- 
chologist volunteered a wooden ac- 
count of the " ingenious paradox and 
trick " we had witnessed that day 
week. He was in the midst of his 
exposition when the door from the 
corridor opened slowly and without 
noise. I was facing the door, and 
saw it first. 

"Hallo!" I said. "At last!" 
And the door opened wider, and 
the Time Traveler stood before us. 
I gave a cry of surprise. 

" Good Heavens, man ! what's the matter ? " cried the Medical Man, 
who saw him next. And the whole 
tableful turned toward the door. 

He was in an amazing pHght. His 
coat was dusty and dirty, and smeared 
with green down the sleeves ; his 
hair disordered, and as it seemed to 
me grayer — either with dust and dirt 
or because its color had actually 
faded. His face was ghastly pale ; 
his chin had a brown cut on it— a 
cut half-healed ; his expression was 
haggard and drawn, as by intense 
suffering. For a moment he liesitated 
in the doorway, as if he had been 
dazzled by the light. Then he came 
into the room. He walked with just 
such a limp as I have seen in foot- 
sore tramps. We stared at him in 
silence, expecting him to speak. 

He said not a word, but came pain- 
fully to the table, and made a motion 
toward the wine. The Editor filled 
a glass of champagne and pushed it 
toward him. He drained it, and it 
seemed to do him good ; for he looked 



30 THE TIME MACHINE. 

round the table, and the ghost of his 
old smile flickered across his face. 

" What on earth have you been up 
to, man ? " said the Doctor. 

The Time Traveler did not seem to 
hear. " Don't let me disturb you," he 
said, with a certain faltering articula- 
tion. " I'm all right." He stopped, 
held out his glass for more, and took it 
off at a draught. " That's good," he 
said. His eyes grew brighter, and a 
faint color came into his cheeks. His 
glance flickered over our faces with 
a certain dull approval, and then went 
round the warm and comfortable 
room. Then he spoke again, still as 
it were feeling his way among his 
words. *' I'm going to wash and 
dress, and then I'll come down and 
explain things. Save me some of 
that mutton. I'm starving for a bit 
of meat." 

He looked across at the Editor, 
who was a rare visitor, and hoped he 
was all right. The Editor began a 
question. 



THE TIME TRAVELER RETURNS. 31 

** Tell you presently," said the Time 
Traveler. ''I'm — funny! Be all 
right in a minute." 

He put down his glass, and walked 
toward the staircase door. Again I 
remarked his lameness and the soft 
padding sound of his footfall, and 
standing up in my place I saw his 
feet as he went out. He had nothing 
on them but a pair of tattered, blood- 
stained socks. Then the door closed 
upon him. I had half a mind to fol- 
low, till I remembered how he de- 
tested any fuss about himself. For a 
minute, perhaps, my mind was wool 
gathering. Then, " Remarkable Be- 
havior of an Eminent Scientist," I 
heard the Editor say, thinking (after 
his wont) in headlines. And this 
brought my attention back to the 
bright dinner table. 

" What's the game ? " said the 
Journalist. " Has he been doing the 
Amateur Cadger ? I don't follow." 

I met the eye of the Psychologist, 
and read my own interpretation in 



32 THE TIME MACHINE. 

his face. I thought of the Time 
Traveler limping painfully upstairs. 
I don't think anyone else had noticed 
his lameness. 

The first to recover completely 
from this surprise was the Medical 
Man, who rang the bell — the Time 
Traveler hated to have servants wait- 
ing at dinner — for a hot plate. At 
that the Editor turned to his knife 
and fork with a grunt, and the Silent 
Man followed suit. The dinner was 
resumed. Conversation was exclam- 
atory for a little while, with gaps of 
wonderment ; and then the Editor 
got fervent in his curiosity. 

" Does our friend eke out his mod- 
est income with a crossing, or has he 
his Nebuchadnezzar phases ? " he 
inquired. 

" I feel assured it's this business of 
the Time Machine," I said, and took 
up the Psychologist's account of our 
previous meeting. 

The new guests were frankly incred- 
ulous. The Editor raised objections. 



THE TIME TRAVELER RETURNS. 33 

" What was this time traveling ? 
A man couldn'tcover himself with dust 
by rolling in a paradox, could he?" 

And then, as the idea came home to 
him, he resorted to caricature. Hadn't 
they any clothes-brushes in the Future? 
The Journalist, too, would not be- 
lieve at any price, and joined the 
Editor in the easy work of heaping 
ridicule on the whole thing. They 
were both the new kind of Journalist 
— very joyous, irreverent young men. 
" Our Special Correspondent in the 
Day After To-Morrow reports," the 
Journalist was saying — or rather 
shouting — when the Time Traveler 
came back. He was dressed in ordi- 
nary evening clothes, and nothing 
save his haggard look remained of 
the change that had startled me. 

"I say," said the Editor hilariously, 
" these chaps here say you have 
been traveling into the middle of 
next week ! Tell us all about little 
Rosebery, will you ? What will you 
take for the lot ? " 



34 THE TIME MACHINE. 

The Time Traveler came to the 
place reserved for him without a 
word. He smiled quietly, in his old 
way. 

" Where's ray mutton ? " he said. 
•* What a treat it is to stick a fork 
into meat again ! " 

*' Story !" cried the Editor. 

''Story be d d !" said the Time 

Traveler. " I want something to eat. 
I won't say a word until I get some 
peptone into my arteries. Thanks .' 
And the salt." 

"One word," said I. *' Have you 
been time traveling ?" 

" Yes," said the Time Traveler, 
with his mouth full, nodding his head. 

" I'd give a shilling a line for a 
verbatim note," said the Editor. The 
Time Traveler pushed his glass 
toward the Silent Man and rang it 
with his finger nail ; at which the 
Silent Man, who had been staring 
at his face, started convulsively, and 
poured him wine. The rest of the 
dinner was uncomfortable. For my 



THE TIME TRAVELER RETURNS. 35 

own part, sudden questions kept on 
rising to my lips, and I dare say it 
was the same with the others. The 
Journalist tried to relieve the tension 
by telling anecdotes of Hettie Potter. 
The Time Traveler devoted his at- 
tention to his dinner, and displayed 
the appetite of a tramp. The Medi- 
cal Man smoked a cigarette, and 
watched the Time Traveler through 
his eyelashes. The Silent Man 
seemed even more clumsy than usual, 
and drank champagne with regularity 
and determination out of sheer nerv- 
ousness. At last the Time Traveler 
pushed his plate away, and looked 
round us. 

"I suppose I must apologize," 
he said. " I was simply starving. 
I've had a most amazing time." He 
reached out his hand for a cigar, 
and cut the end. " But come into 
the smoking room. It's too long a 
story to tell over greasy plates." And 
ringing the bell in passing, he led the 
way into the adjoining room. 



36 THE TIME MACHINE. 

" You have told Blank and Dash 
and Chose about the machine?" he 
said to me, leaning back in his easy- 
chair and naming the three new- 
guests. 

" But the thing's a mere paradox," 
said the Editor. 

*' I can't argue to-night. I don't 
mind telling you the story, but I can't 
argue. I will," he went on, *' tell 
you the story of what has happened 
to me, if you like, but you must re- 
frain from interruptions. I want to 
tell it. Badly. Most of it will 
sound like lying. So be it ! It's 
true^— every word of it, all the same. 
I was in my laboratory at four 

o'clock, and since then I've 

lived eight days — such days as no 
human being ever lived before ! 
I'm nearly worn out, but I shan't 
sleep till I've told this thing over to 
you. Then I shall go to bed. But 
no interruptions ! Is it agreed ? " 

" Agreed !" said the Editor, and 
the rest of us echoed " Agreed ! " 



THE TIME TRAVELER RETURNS. 37 

And with that the Time Traveler 
began his story as I have set it forth. 
He sat back in his chair at first, and 
spoke like a weary man. Afterward 
he got more animated. In writing it 
down I feel with only too much keen- 
ness the inadequacy of pen and ink — 
and, above all, my own inadequacy — 
to express its quality. You read, I 
will suppose, attentively enough ; but 
you cannot see the speaker's white, 
sincere face in the bright circle of the 
little lamp, nor hear the intonation 
of his voice. You cannot know how 
his expression followed the turns of 
his story ! Most of us hearers were 
in shadow, for the candles in the 
smoking room had not been lighted, 
and only the face of the Journalist 
and the legs of the Silent Man from 
the knees downward were illumin- 
ated. At first we glanced now and 
again at each other. After a time we 
ceased to do that, and looked only 
at the Time Traveler's face. 





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