Table of Contents

+ Add to Library

Previous Next

Chapter 10

  • 'About eight or nine in the morning I came to the same seat of yellow meta_rom which I had viewed the world upon the evening of my arrival. I thought o_y hasty conclusions upon that evening and could not refrain from laughin_itterly at my confidence. Here was the same beautiful scene, the sam_bundant foliage, the same splendid palaces and magnificent ruins, the sam_ilver river running between its fertile banks. The gay robes of the beautifu_eople moved hither and thither among the trees. Some were bathing in exactl_he place where I had saved Weena, and that suddenly gave me a keen stab o_ain. And like blots upon the landscape rose the cupolas above the ways to th_nder-world. I understood now what all the beauty of the Over-world peopl_overed. Very pleasant was their day, as pleasant as the day of the cattle i_he field. Like the cattle, they knew of no enemies and provided against n_eeds. And their end was the same.
  • 'I grieved to think how brief the dream of the human intellect had been. I_ad committed suicide. It had set itself steadfastly towards comfort and ease,
  • a balanced society with security and permanency as its watchword, it ha_ttained its hopes—to come to this at last. Once, life and property must hav_eached almost absolute safety. The rich had been assured of his wealth an_omfort, the toiler assured of his life and work. No doubt in that perfec_orld there had been no unemployed problem, no social question left unsolved.
  • And a great quiet had followed.
  • 'It is a law of nature we overlook, that intellectual versatility is th_ompensation for change, danger, and trouble. An animal perfectly in harmon_ith its environment is a perfect mechanism. Nature never appeals t_ntelligence until habit and instinct are useless. There is no intelligenc_here there is no change and no need of change. Only those animals partake o_ntelligence that have to meet a huge variety of needs and dangers.
  • 'So, as I see it, the Upper-world man had drifted towards his feebl_rettiness, and the Under-world to mere mechanical industry. But that perfec_tate had lacked one thing even for mechanical perfection—absolute permanency.
  • Apparently as time went on, the feeding of the Under-world, however it wa_ffected, had become disjointed. Mother Necessity, who had been staved off fo_ few thousand years, came back again, and she began below. The Under-worl_eing in contact with machinery, which, however perfect, still needs som_ittle thought outside habit, had probably retained perforce rather mor_nitiative, if less of every other human character, than the Upper. And whe_ther meat failed them, they turned to what old habit had hitherto forbidden.
  • So I say I saw it in my last view of the world of Eight Hundred and Tw_housand Seven Hundred and One. It may be as wrong an explanation as morta_it could invent. It is how the thing shaped itself to me, and as that I giv_t to you.
  • 'After the fatigues, excitements, and terrors of the past days, and in spit_f my grief, this seat and the tranquil view and the warm sunlight were ver_leasant. I was very tired and sleepy, and soon my theorizing passed int_ozing. Catching myself at that, I took my own hint, and spreading myself ou_pon the turf I had a long and refreshing sleep.
  • 'I awoke a little before sunsetting. I now felt safe against being caugh_apping by the Morlocks, and, stretching myself, I came on down the hil_owards the White Sphinx. I had my crowbar in one hand, and the other han_layed with the matches in my pocket.
  • 'And now came a most unexpected thing. As I approached the pedestal of th_phinx I found the bronze valves were open. They had slid down into grooves.
  • 'At that I stopped short before them, hesitating to enter.
  • 'Within was a small apartment, and on a raised place in the corner of this wa_he Time Machine. I had the small levers in my pocket. So here, after all m_laborate preparations for the siege of the White Sphinx, was a mee_urrender. I threw my iron bar away, almost sorry not to use it.
  • 'A sudden thought came into my head as I stooped towards the portal. For once,
  • at least, I grasped the mental operations of the Morlocks. Suppressing _trong inclination to laugh, I stepped through the bronze frame and up to th_ime Machine. I was surprised to find it had been carefully oiled and cleaned.
  • I have suspected since that the Morlocks had even partially taken it to piece_hile trying in their dim way to grasp its purpose.
  • 'Now as I stood and examined it, finding a pleasure in the mere touch of th_ontrivance, the thing I had expected happened. The bronze panels suddenl_lid up and struck the frame with a clang. I was in the dark—trapped. So th_orlocks thought. At that I chuckled gleefully.
  • 'I could already hear their murmuring laughter as they came towards me. Ver_almly I tried to strike the match. I had only to fix on the levers and depar_hen like a ghost. But I had overlooked one little thing. The matches were o_hat abominable kind that light only on the box.
  • 'You may imagine how all my calm vanished. The little brutes were close upo_e. One touched me. I made a sweeping blow in the dark at them with th_evers, and began to scramble into the saddle of the machine. Then came on_and upon me and then another. Then I had simply to fight against thei_ersistent fingers for my levers, and at the same time feel for the studs ove_hich these fitted. One, indeed, they almost got away from me. As it slippe_rom my hand, I had to butt in the dark with my head—I could hear th_orlock's skull ring—to recover it. It was a nearer thing than the fight i_he forest, I think, this last scramble.
  • 'But at last the lever was fitted and pulled over. The clinging hands slippe_rom me. The darkness presently fell from my eyes. I found myself in the sam_rey light and tumult I have already described.