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Epilogue

  • One cannot choose but wonder. Will he ever return? It may be that he swept
  • back into the past, and fell among the blood-drinking, hairy savages of the
  • Age of Unpolished Stone; into the abysses of the Cretaceous Sea; or among the
  • grotesque saurians, the huge reptilian brutes of the Jurassic times. He may
  • even now—if I may use the phrase—be wandering on some plesiosaurus-haunted
  • Oolitic coral reef, or beside the lonely saline lakes of the Triassic Age. Or
  • did he go forward, into one of the nearer ages, in which men are still men,
  • but with the riddles of our own time answered and its wearisome problems
  • solved? Into the manhood of the race: for I, for my own part, cannot think
  • that these latter days of weak experiment, fragmentary theory, and mutual
  • discord are indeed man's culminating time! I say, for my own part. He, I
  • know—for the question had been discussed among us long before the Time Machine
  • was made—thought but cheerlessly of the Advancement of Mankind, and saw in the
  • growing pile of civilization only a foolish heaping that must inevitably fall
  • back upon and destroy its makers in the end. If that is so, it remains for us
  • to live as though it were not so. But to me the future is still black and
  • blank—is a vast ignorance, lit at a few casual places by the memory of his
  • story. And I have by me, for my comfort, two strange white flowers—shrivelled
  • now, and brown and flat and brittle—to witness that even when mind and
  • strength had gone, gratitude and a mutual tenderness still lived on in the
  • heart of man.