'I found the Palace of Green Porcelain, when we approached it about noon,
deserted and falling into ruin. Only ragged vestiges of glass remained in it_indows, and great sheets of the green facing had fallen away from th_orroded metallic framework. It lay very high upon a turfy down, and lookin_orth-eastward before I entered it, I was surprised to see a large estuary, o_ven creek, where I judged Wandsworth and Battersea must once have been. _hought then—though I never followed up the thought—of what might hav_appened, or might be happening, to the living things in the sea.
'The material of the Palace proved on examination to be indeed porcelain, an_long the face of it I saw an inscription in some unknown character. _hought, rather foolishly, that Weena might help me to interpret this, but _nly learned that the bare idea of writing had never entered her head. Sh_lways seemed to me, I fancy, more human than she was, perhaps because he_ffection was so human.
'Within the big valves of the door—which were open and broken—we found,
instead of the customary hall, a long gallery lit by many side windows. At th_irst glance I was reminded of a museum. The tiled floor was thick with dust,
and a remarkable array of miscellaneous objects was shrouded in the same gre_overing. Then I perceived, standing strange and gaunt in the centre of th_all, what was clearly the lower part of a huge skeleton. I recognized by th_blique feet that it was some extinct creature after the fashion of th_egatherium. The skull and the upper bones lay beside it in the thick dust,
and in one place, where rain-water had dropped through a leak in the roof, th_hing itself had been worn away. Further in the gallery was the huge skeleto_arrel of a Brontosaurus. My museum hypothesis was confirmed. Going toward_he side I found what appeared to be sloping shelves, and clearing away th_hick dust, I found the old familiar glass cases of our own time. But the_ust have been air-tight to judge from the fair preservation of some of thei_ontents.
'Clearly we stood among the ruins of some latter-day South Kensington! Here,
apparently, was the Palaeontological Section, and a very splendid array o_ossils it must have been, though the inevitable process of decay that ha_een staved off for a time, and had, through the extinction of bacteria an_ungi, lost ninety-nine hundredths of its force, was nevertheless, wit_xtreme sureness if with extreme slowness at work again upon all it_reasures. Here and there I found traces of the little people in the shape o_are fossils broken to pieces or threaded in strings upon reeds. And the case_ad in some instances been bodily removed—by the Morlocks as I judged. Th_lace was very silent. The thick dust deadened our footsteps. Weena, who ha_een rolling a sea urchin down the sloping glass of a case, presently came, a_ stared about me, and very quietly took my hand and stood beside me.
'And at first I was so much surprised by this ancient monument of a_ntellectual age, that I gave no thought to the possibilities it presented.
Even my preoccupation about the Time Machine receded a little from my mind.
'To judge from the size of the place, this Palace of Green Porcelain had _reat deal more in it than a Gallery of Palaeontology; possibly historica_alleries; it might be, even a library! To me, at least in my presen_ircumstances, these would be vastly more interesting than this spectacle o_ldtime geology in decay. Exploring, I found another short gallery runnin_ransversely to the first. This appeared to be devoted to minerals, and th_ight of a block of sulphur set my mind running on gunpowder. But I could fin_o saltpeter; indeed, no nitrates of any kind. Doubtless they had deliquesce_ges ago. Yet the sulphur hung in my mind, and set up a train of thinking. A_or the rest of the contents of that gallery, though on the whole they wer_he best preserved of all I saw, I had little interest. I am no specialist i_ineralogy, and I went on down a very ruinous aisle running parallel to th_irst hall I had entered. Apparently this section had been devoted to natura_istory, but everything had long since passed out of recognition. A fe_hrivelled and blackened vestiges of what had once been stuffed animals,
desiccated mummies in jars that had once held spirit, a brown dust of departe_lants: that was all! I was sorry for that, because I should have been glad t_race the patent readjustments by which the conquest of animated nature ha_een attained. Then we came to a gallery of simply colossal proportions, bu_ingularly ill-lit, the floor of it running downward at a slight angle fro_he end at which I entered. At intervals white globes hung from th_eiling—many of them cracked and smashed—which suggested that originally th_lace had been artificially lit. Here I was more in my element, for rising o_ither side of me were the huge bulks of big machines, all greatly corrode_nd many broken down, but some still fairly complete. You know I have _ertain weakness for mechanism, and I was inclined to linger among these; th_ore so as for the most part they had the interest of puzzles, and I coul_ake only the vaguest guesses at what they were for. I fancied that if I coul_olve their puzzles I should find myself in possession of powers that might b_f use against the Morlocks.
'Suddenly Weena came very close to my side. So suddenly that she startled me.
Had it not been for her I do not think I should have noticed that the floor o_he gallery sloped at all. [Footnote: It may be, of course, that the floor di_ot slope, but that the museum was built into the side of a hill.—ED.] The en_ had come in at was quite above ground, and was lit by rare slit-lik_indows. As you went down the length, the ground came up against thes_indows, until at last there was a pit like the "area" of a London hous_efore each, and only a narrow line of daylight at the top. I went slowl_long, puzzling about the machines, and had been too intent upon them t_otice the gradual diminution of the light, until Weena's increasin_pprehensions drew my attention. Then I saw that the gallery ran down at las_nto a thick darkness. I hesitated, and then, as I looked round me, I saw tha_he dust was less abundant and its surface less even. Further away towards th_imness, it appeared to be broken by a number of small narrow footprints. M_ense of the immediate presence of the Morlocks revived at that. I felt that _as wasting my time in the academic examination of machinery. I called to min_hat it was already far advanced in the afternoon, and that I had still n_eapon, no refuge, and no means of making a fire. And then down in the remot_lackness of the gallery I heard a peculiar pattering, and the same odd noise_ had heard down the well.
'I took Weena's hand. Then, struck with a sudden idea, I left her and turne_o a machine from which projected a lever not unlike those in a signal-box.
Clambering upon the stand, and grasping this lever in my hands, I put all m_eight upon it sideways. Suddenly Weena, deserted in the central aisle, bega_o whimper. I had judged the strength of the lever pretty correctly, for i_napped after a minute's strain, and I rejoined her with a mace in my han_ore than sufficient, I judged, for any Morlock skull I might encounter. And _onged very much to kill a Morlock or so. Very inhuman, you may think, to wan_o go killing one's own descendants! But it was impossible, somehow, to fee_ny humanity in the things. Only my disinclination to leave Weena, and _ersuasion that if I began to slake my thirst for murder my Time Machine migh_uffer, restrained me from going straight down the gallery and killing th_rutes I heard.
'Well, mace in one hand and Weena in the other, I went out of that gallery an_nto another and still larger one, which at the first glance reminded me of _ilitary chapel hung with tattered flags. The brown and charred rags that hun_rom the sides of it, I presently recognized as the decaying vestiges o_ooks. They had long since dropped to pieces, and every semblance of print ha_eft them. But here and there were warped boards and cracked metallic clasp_hat told the tale well enough. Had I been a literary man I might, perhaps,
have moralized upon the futility of all ambition. But as it was, the thin_hat struck me with keenest force was the enormous waste of labour to whic_his sombre wilderness of rotting paper testified. At the time I will confes_hat I thought chiefly of the Philosophical Transactions and my own seventee_apers upon physical optics.
'Then, going up a broad staircase, we came to what may once have been _allery of technical chemistry. And here I had not a little hope of usefu_iscoveries. Except at one end where the roof had collapsed, this gallery wa_ell preserved. I went eagerly to every unbroken case. And at last, in one o_he really air-tight cases, I found a box of matches. Very eagerly I trie_hem. They were perfectly good. They were not even damp. I turned to Weena.
"Dance," I cried to her in her own tongue. For now I had a weapon indee_gainst the horrible creatures we feared. And so, in that derelict museum,
upon the thick soft carpeting of dust, to Weena's huge delight, I solemnl_erformed a kind of composite dance, whistling The Land of the Leal a_heerfully as I could. In part it was a modest cancan, in part a step dance,
in part a skirt-dance (so far as my tail-coat permitted), and in par_riginal. For I am naturally inventive, as you know.
'Now, I still think that for this box of matches to have escaped the wear o_ime for immemorial years was a most strange, as for me it was a mos_ortunate thing. Yet, oddly enough, I found a far unlikelier substance, an_hat was camphor. I found it in a sealed jar, that by chance, I suppose, ha_een really hermetically sealed. I fancied at first that it was paraffin wax,
and smashed the glass accordingly. But the odour of camphor was unmistakable.
In the universal decay this volatile substance had chanced to survive, perhap_hrough many thousands of centuries. It reminded me of a sepia painting I ha_nce seen done from the ink of a fossil Belemnite that must have perished an_ecome fossilized millions of years ago. I was about to throw it away, but _emembered that it was inflammable and burned with a good bright flame—was, i_act, an excellent candle—and I put it in my pocket. I found no explosives,
however, nor any means of breaking down the bronze doors. As yet my iro_rowbar was the most helpful thing I had chanced upon. Nevertheless I lef_hat gallery greatly elated.
'I cannot tell you all the story of that long afternoon. It would require _reat effort of memory to recall my explorations in at all the proper order. _emember a long gallery of rusting stands of arms, and how I hesitated betwee_y crowbar and a hatchet or a sword. I could not carry both, however, and m_ar of iron promised best against the bronze gates. There were numbers o_uns, pistols, and rifles. The most were masses of rust, but many were of som_ew metal, and still fairly sound. But any cartridges or powder there may onc_ave been had rotted into dust. One corner I saw was charred and shattered;
perhaps, I thought, by an explosion among the specimens. In another place wa_ vast array of idols—Polynesian, Mexican, Grecian, Phoenician, every countr_n earth I should think. And here, yielding to an irresistible impulse, _rote my name upon the nose of a steatite monster from South America tha_articularly took my fancy.
'As the evening drew on, my interest waned. I went through gallery afte_allery, dusty, silent, often ruinous, the exhibits sometimes mere heaps o_ust and lignite, sometimes fresher. In one place I suddenly found myself nea_he model of a tin-mine, and then by the merest accident I discovered, in a_ir-tight case, two dynamite cartridges! I shouted "Eureka!" and smashed th_ase with joy. Then came a doubt. I hesitated. Then, selecting a little sid_allery, I made my essay. I never felt such a disappointment as I did i_aiting five, ten, fifteen minutes for an explosion that never came. Of cours_he things were dummies, as I might have guessed from their presence. I reall_elieve that had they not been so, I should have rushed off incontinently an_lown Sphinx, bronze doors, and (as it proved) my chances of finding the Tim_achine, all together into non-existence.
'It was after that, I think, that we came to a little open court within th_alace. It was turfed, and had three fruit-trees. So we rested and refreshe_urselves. Towards sunset I began to consider our position. Night was creepin_pon us, and my inaccessible hiding-place had still to be found. But tha_roubled me very little now. I had in my possession a thing that was, perhaps,
the best of all defences against the Morlocks—I had matches! I had the campho_n my pocket, too, if a blaze were needed. It seemed to me that the best thin_e could do would be to pass the night in the open, protected by a fire. I_he morning there was the getting of the Time Machine. Towards that, as yet, _ad only my iron mace. But now, with my growing knowledge, I felt ver_ifferently towards those bronze doors. Up to this, I had refrained fro_orcing them, largely because of the mystery on the other side. They had neve_mpressed me as being very strong, and I hoped to find my bar of iron no_ltogether inadequate for the work.