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 allâ€” 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 â€” 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 â€” 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 â€” 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 â€” why not another direction at right angles to the other three ? â€” 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 â€” 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 â€” unless his explan- ation is to be accepted â€” 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 â€” 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," â€” he indicated the laboratory, â€” " 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 â€” 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 â€” 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 â€” 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 â€” I suppose I was one of the Time Traveler's most constant guests â€” 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 â€” - " 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 â€” a quiet, shy man with a beard â€” 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 â€” either with dust and dirt or because its color had actually faded. His face was ghastly pale ; his chin had a brown cut on itâ€” 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 â€” 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 â€” the Time Traveler hated to have servants wait- ing at dinner â€” 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 â€” very joyous, irreverent young men. " Our Special Correspondent in the Day After To-Morrow reports," the Journalist was saying â€” or rather shouting â€” 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. â€¢* 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^â€” every word of it, all the same. I was in my laboratory at four o'clock, and since then I've lived eight days â€” 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 â€” and, above all, my own inadequacy â€” 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.
Merci pour la lecture!
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