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Chapter 7

  • 'Now, indeed, I seemed in a worse case than before. Hitherto, except during m_ight's anguish at the loss of the Time Machine, I had felt a sustaining hop_f ultimate escape, but that hope was staggered by these new discoveries.
  • Hitherto I had merely thought myself impeded by the childish simplicity of th_ittle people, and by some unknown forces which I had only to understand t_vercome; but there was an altogether new element in the sickening quality o_he Morlocks—a something inhuman and malign. Instinctively I loathed them.
  • Before, I had felt as a man might feel who had fallen into a pit: my concer_as with the pit and how to get out of it. Now I felt like a beast in a trap,
  • whose enemy would come upon him soon.
  • 'The enemy I dreaded may surprise you. It was the darkness of the new moon.
  • Weena had put this into my head by some at first incomprehensible remark_bout the Dark Nights. It was not now such a very difficult problem to gues_hat the coming Dark Nights might mean. The moon was on the wane: each nigh_here was a longer interval of darkness. And I now understood to some sligh_egree at least the reason of the fear of the little Upper-world people fo_he dark. I wondered vaguely what foul villainy it might be that the Morlock_id under the new moon. I felt pretty sure now that my second hypothesis wa_ll wrong. The Upper-world people might once have been the favoure_ristocracy, and the Morlocks their mechanical servants: but that had lon_ince passed away. The two species that had resulted from the evolution of ma_ere sliding down towards, or had already arrived at, an altogether ne_elationship. The Eloi, like the Carolingian kings, had decayed to a mer_eautiful futility. They still possessed the earth on sufferance: since th_orlocks, subterranean for innumerable generations, had come at last to fin_he daylit surface intolerable. And the Morlocks made their garments, _nferred, and maintained them in their habitual needs, perhaps through th_urvival of an old habit of service. They did it as a standing horse paws wit_is foot, or as a man enjoys killing animals in sport: because ancient an_eparted necessities had impressed it on the organism. But, clearly, the ol_rder was already in part reversed. The Nemesis of the delicate ones wa_reeping on apace. Ages ago, thousands of generations ago, man had thrust hi_rother man out of the ease and the sunshine. And now that brother was comin_ack changed! Already the Eloi had begun to learn one old lesson anew. The_ere becoming reacquainted with Fear. And suddenly there came into my head th_emory of the meat I had seen in the Under-world. It seemed odd how it floate_nto my mind: not stirred up as it were by the current of my meditations, bu_oming in almost like a question from outside. I tried to recall the form o_t. I had a vague sense of something familiar, but I could not tell what i_as at the time.
  • 'Still, however helpless the little people in the presence of their mysteriou_ear, I was differently constituted. I came out of this age of ours, this rip_rime of the human race, when Fear does not paralyse and mystery has lost it_errors. I at least would defend myself. Without further delay I determined t_ake myself arms and a fastness where I might sleep. With that refuge as _ase, I could face this strange world with some of that confidence I had los_n realizing to what creatures night by night I lay exposed. I felt I coul_ever sleep again until my bed was secure from them. I shuddered with horro_o think how they must already have examined me.
  • 'I wandered during the afternoon along the valley of the Thames, but foun_othing that commended itself to my mind as inaccessible. All the building_nd trees seemed easily practicable to such dexterous climbers as th_orlocks, to judge by their wells, must be. Then the tall pinnacles of th_alace of Green Porcelain and the polished gleam of its walls came back to m_emory; and in the evening, taking Weena like a child upon my shoulder, I wen_p the hills towards the south-west. The distance, I had reckoned, was seve_r eight miles, but it must have been nearer eighteen. I had first seen th_lace on a moist afternoon when distances are deceptively diminished. I_ddition, the heel of one of my shoes was loose, and a nail was workin_hrough the sole—they were comfortable old shoes I wore about indoors—so tha_ was lame. And it was already long past sunset when I came in sight of th_alace, silhouetted black against the pale yellow of the sky.
  • 'Weena had been hugely delighted when I began to carry her, but after a whil_he desired me to let her down, and ran along by the side of me, occasionall_arting off on either hand to pick flowers to stick in my pockets. My pocket_ad always puzzled Weena, but at the last she had concluded that they were a_ccentric kind of vase for floral decoration. At least she utilized them fo_hat purpose. And that reminds me! In changing my jacket I found… '
  • The Time Traveller paused, put his hand into his pocket, and silently place_wo withered flowers, not unlike very large white mallows, upon the littl_able. Then he resumed his narrative.
  • 'As the hush of evening crept over the world and we proceeded over the hil_rest towards Wimbledon, Weena grew tired and wanted to return to the house o_rey stone. But I pointed out the distant pinnacles of the Palace of Gree_orcelain to her, and contrived to make her understand that we were seeking _efuge there from her Fear. You know that great pause that comes upon thing_efore the dusk? Even the breeze stops in the trees. To me there is always a_ir of expectation about that evening stillness. The sky was clear, remote,
  • and empty save for a few horizontal bars far down in the sunset. Well, tha_ight the expectation took the colour of my fears. In that darkling calm m_enses seemed preternaturally sharpened. I fancied I could even feel th_ollowness of the ground beneath my feet: could, indeed, almost see through i_he Morlocks on their ant-hill going hither and thither and waiting for th_ark. In my excitement I fancied that they would receive my invasion of thei_urrows as a declaration of war. And why had they taken my Time Machine?
  • 'So we went on in the quiet, and the twilight deepened into night. The clea_lue of the distance faded, and one star after another came out. The groun_rew dim and the trees black. Weena's fears and her fatigue grew upon her. _ook her in my arms and talked to her and caressed her. Then, as the darknes_rew deeper, she put her arms round my neck, and, closing her eyes, tightl_ressed her face against my shoulder. So we went down a long slope into _alley, and there in the dimness I almost walked into a little river. This _aded, and went up the opposite side of the valley, past a number of sleepin_ouses, and by a statue—a Faun, or some such figure, minus the head. Here to_ere acacias. So far I had seen nothing of the Morlocks, but it was yet earl_n the night, and the darker hours before the old moon rose were still t_ome.
  • 'From the brow of the next hill I saw a thick wood spreading wide and blac_efore me. I hesitated at this. I could see no end to it, either to the righ_r the left. Feeling tired—my feet, in particular, were very sore—I carefull_owered Weena from my shoulder as I halted, and sat down upon the turf. _ould no longer see the Palace of Green Porcelain, and I was in doubt of m_irection. I looked into the thickness of the wood and thought of what i_ight hide. Under that dense tangle of branches one would be out of sight o_he stars. Even were there no other lurking danger—a danger I did not care t_et my imagination loose upon—there would still be all the roots to stumbl_ver and the tree-boles to strike against.
  • 'I was very tired, too, after the excitements of the day; so I decided that _ould not face it, but would pass the night upon the open hill.
  • 'Weena, I was glad to find, was fast asleep. I carefully wrapped her in m_acket, and sat down beside her to wait for the moonrise. The hill-side wa_uiet and deserted, but from the black of the wood there came now and then _tir of living things. Above me shone the stars, for the night was very clear.
  • I felt a certain sense of friendly comfort in their twinkling. All the ol_onstellations had gone from the sky, however: that slow movement which i_mperceptible in a hundred human lifetimes, had long since rearranged them i_nfamiliar groupings. But the Milky Way, it seemed to me, was still the sam_attered streamer of star-dust as of yore. Southward (as I judged it) was _ery bright red star that was new to me; it was even more splendid than ou_wn green Sirius. And amid all these scintillating points of light one brigh_lanet shone kindly and steadily like the face of an old friend.
  • 'Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own troubles and all the gravitie_f terrestrial life. I thought of their unfathomable distance, and the slo_nevitable drift of their movements out of the unknown past into the unknow_uture. I thought of the great precessional cycle that the pole of the eart_escribes. Only forty times had that silent revolution occurred during all th_ears that I had traversed. And during these few revolutions all the activity,
  • all the traditions, the complex organizations, the nations, languages,
  • literatures, aspirations, even the mere memory of Man as I knew him, had bee_wept out of existence. Instead were these frail creatures who had forgotte_heir high ancestry, and the white Things of which I went in terror. Then _hought of the Great Fear that was between the two species, and for the firs_ime, with a sudden shiver, came the clear knowledge of what the meat I ha_een might be. Yet it was too horrible! I looked at little Weena sleepin_eside me, her face white and starlike under the stars, and forthwit_ismissed the thought.
  • 'Through that long night I held my mind off the Morlocks as well as I could,
  • and whiled away the time by trying to fancy I could find signs of the ol_onstellations in the new confusion. The sky kept very clear, except for _azy cloud or so. No doubt I dozed at times. Then, as my vigil wore on, came _aintness in the eastward sky, like the reflection of some colourless fire,
  • and the old moon rose, thin and peaked and white. And close behind, an_vertaking it, and overflowing it, the dawn came, pale at first, and the_rowing pink and warm. No Morlocks had approached us. Indeed, I had seen non_pon the hill that night. And in the confidence of renewed day it almos_eemed to me that my fear had been unreasonable. I stood up and found my foo_ith the loose heel swollen at the ankle and painful under the heel; so I sa_own again, took off my shoes, and flung them away.
  • 'I awakened Weena, and we went down into the wood, now green and pleasan_nstead of black and forbidding. We found some fruit wherewith to break ou_ast. We soon met others of the dainty ones, laughing and dancing in th_unlight as though there was no such thing in nature as the night. And then _hought once more of the meat that I had seen. I felt assured now of what i_as, and from the bottom of my heart I pitied this last feeble rill from th_reat flood of humanity. Clearly, at some time in the Long-Ago of human deca_he Morlocks' food had run short. Possibly they had lived on rats and such-
  • like vermin. Even now man is far less discriminating and exclusive in his foo_han he was—far less than any monkey. His prejudice against human flesh is n_eep-seated instinct. And so these inhuman sons of men——! I tried to look a_he thing in a scientific spirit. After all, they were less human and mor_emote than our cannibal ancestors of three or four thousand years ago. An_he intelligence that would have made this state of things a torment had gone.
  • Why should I trouble myself? These Eloi were mere fatted cattle, which th_nt-like Morlocks preserved and preyed upon—probably saw to the breeding of.
  • And there was Weena dancing at my side!
  • 'Then I tried to preserve myself from the horror that was coming upon me, b_egarding it as a rigorous punishment of human selfishness. Man had bee_ontent to live in ease and delight upon the labours of his fellow-man, ha_aken Necessity as his watchword and excuse, and in the fullness of tim_ecessity had come home to him. I even tried a Carlyle-like scorn of thi_retched aristocracy in decay. But this attitude of mind was impossible.
  • However great their intellectual degradation, the Eloi had kept too much o_he human form not to claim my sympathy, and to make me perforce a sharer i_heir degradation and their Fear.
  • 'I had at that time very vague ideas as to the course I should pursue. M_irst was to secure some safe place of refuge, and to make myself such arms o_etal or stone as I could contrive. That necessity was immediate. In the nex_lace, I hoped to procure some means of fire, so that I should have the weapo_f a torch at hand, for nothing, I knew, would be more efficient against thes_orlocks. Then I wanted to arrange some contrivance to break open the doors o_ronze under the White Sphinx. I had in mind a battering ram. I had _ersuasion that if I could enter those doors and carry a blaze of light befor_e I should discover the Time Machine and escape. I could not imagine th_orlocks were strong enough to move it far away. Weena I had resolved to brin_ith me to our own time. And turning such schemes over in my mind I pursue_ur way towards the building which my fancy had chosen as our dwelling.