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Chapter 7 The Man on Putney Hill

  • I spent that night in the inn that stands at the top of Putney Hill, sleepin_n a made bed for the first time since my flight to Leatherhead. I will no_ell the needless trouble I had breaking into that house—afterwards I foun_he front door was on the latch—nor how I ransacked every room for food, unti_ust on the verge of despair, in what seemed to me to be a servant's bedroom, I found a rat-gnawed crust and two tins of pineapple. The place had bee_lready searched and emptied. In the bar I afterwards found some biscuits an_andwiches that had been overlooked. The latter I could not eat, they were to_otten, but the former not only stayed my hunger, but filled my pockets. I li_o lamps, fearing some Martian might come beating that part of London for foo_n the night. Before I went to bed I had an interval of restlessness, an_rowled from window to window, peering out for some sign of these monsters. _lept little. As I lay in bed I found myself thinking consecutively— a thing _o not remember to have done since my last argument with the curate. Durin_ll the intervening time my mental condition had been a hurrying succession o_ague emotional states or a sort of stupid receptivity. But in the night m_rain, reinforced, I suppose, by the food I had eaten, grew clear again, and _hought.
  • Three things struggled for possession of my mind: the killing of the curate, the whereabouts of the Martians, and the possible fate of my wife. The forme_ave me no sensation of horror or remorse to recall; I saw it simply as _hing done, a memory infinitely disagreeable but quite without the quality o_emorse. I saw myself then as I see myself now, driven step by step toward_hat hasty blow, the creature of a sequence of accidents leading inevitably t_hat. I felt no condemnation; yet the memory, static, unprogressive, haunte_e. In the silence of the night, with that sense of the nearness of God tha_ometimes comes into the stillness and the darkness, I stood my trial, my onl_rial, for that moment of wrath and fear. I retraced every step of ou_onversation from the moment when I had found him crouching beside me, heedless of my thirst, and pointing to the fire and smoke that streamed u_rom the ruins of Weybridge. We had been incapable of co-operation—grim chanc_ad taken no heed of that. Had I foreseen, I should have left him a_alliford. But I did not foresee; and crime is to foresee and do. And I se_his down as I have set all this story down, as it was. There were n_itnesses—all these things I might have concealed. But I set it down, and th_eader must form his judgment as he will.
  • And when, by an effort, I had set aside that picture of a prostrate body, _aced the problem of the Martians and the fate of my wife. For the former _ad no data; I could imagine a hundred things, and so, unhappily, I could fo_he latter. And suddenly that night became terrible. I found myself sitting u_n bed, staring at the dark. I found myself praying that the Heat-Ray migh_ave suddenly and painlessly struck her out of being. Since the night of m_eturn from Leatherhead I had not prayed. I had uttered prayers, fetis_rayers, had prayed as heathens mutter charms when I was in extremity; but no_ prayed indeed, pleading steadfastly and sanely, face to face with th_arkness of God. Strange night! Strangest in this, that so soon as dawn ha_ome, I, who had talked with God, crept out of the house like a rat leavin_ts hiding place—a creature scarcely larger, an inferior animal, a thing tha_or any passing whim of our masters might be hunted and killed. Perhaps the_lso prayed confidently to God. Surely, if we have learned nothing else, thi_ar has taught us pity—pity for those witless souls that suffer our dominion.
  • The morning was bright and fine, and the eastern sky glowed pink, and wa_retted with little golden clouds. In the road that runs from the top o_utney Hill to Wimbledon was a number of poor vestiges of the panic torren_hat must have poured Londonward on the Sunday night after the fighting began.
  • There was a little two-wheeled cart inscribed with the name of Thomas Lobb, Greengrocer, New Malden, with a smashed wheel and an abandoned tin trunk; there was a straw hat trampled into the now hardened mud, and at the top o_est Hill a lot of blood-stained glass about the overturned water trough. M_ovements were languid, my plans of the vaguest. I had an idea of going t_eatherhead, though I knew that there I had the poorest chance of finding m_ife. Certainly, unless death had overtaken them suddenly, my cousins and sh_ould have fled thence; but it seemed to me I might find or learn ther_hither the Surrey people had fled. I knew I wanted to find my wife, that m_eart ached for her and the world of men, but I had no clear idea how th_inding might be done. I was also sharply aware now of my intense loneliness.
  • From the corner I went, under cover of a thicket of trees and bushes, to th_dge of Wimbledon Common, stretching wide and far.
  • That dark expanse was lit in patches by yellow gorse and broom; there was n_ed weed to be seen, and as I prowled, hesitating, on the verge of the open, the sun rose, flooding it all with light and vitality. I came upon a bus_warm of little frogs in a swampy place among the trees. I stopped to look a_hem, drawing a lesson from their stout resolve to live. And presently, turning suddenly, with an odd feeling of being watched, I beheld somethin_rouching amid a clump of bushes. I stood regarding this. I made a ste_owards it, and it rose up and became a man armed with a cutlass. I approache_im slowly. He stood silent and motionless, regarding me.
  • As I drew nearer I perceived he was dressed in clothes as dusty and filthy a_y own; he looked, indeed, as though he had been dragged through a culvert.
  • Nearer, I distinguished the green slime of ditches mixing with the pale dra_f dried clay and shiny, coaly patches. His black hair fell over his eyes, an_is face was dark and dirty and sunken, so that at first I did not recognis_im. There was a red cut across the lower part of his face.
  • "Stop!" he cried, when I was within ten yards of him, and I stopped. His voic_as hoarse. "Where do you come from?" he said.
  • I thought, surveying him.
  • "I come from Mortlake," I said. "I was buried near the pit the Martians mad_bout their cylinder. I have worked my way out and escaped."
  • "There is no food about here," he said. "This is my country. All this hil_own to the river, and back to Clapham, and up to the edge of the common.
  • There is only food for one. Which way are you going?"
  • I answered slowly.
  • "I don't know," I said. "I have been buried in the ruins of a house thirtee_r fourteen days. I don't know what has happened."
  • He looked at me doubtfully, then started, and looked with a change_xpression.
  • "I've no wish to stop about here," said I. "I think I shall go to Leatherhead, for my wife was there."
  • He shot out a pointing finger.
  • "It is you," said he; "the man from Woking. And you weren't killed a_eybridge?"
  • I recognised him at the same moment.
  • "You are the artilleryman who came into my garden."
  • "Good luck!" he said. "We are lucky ones! Fancy YOU!" He put out a hand, and _ook it. "I crawled up a drain," he said. "But they didn't kill everyone. An_fter they went away I got off towards Walton across the fields. But—— It'_ot sixteen days altogether— and your hair is grey." He looked over hi_houlder suddenly. "Only a rook," he said. "One gets to know that birds hav_hadows these days. This is a bit open. Let us crawl under those bushes an_alk."
  • "Have you seen any Martians?" I said. "Since I crawled out——"
  • "They've gone away across London," he said. "I guess they've got a bigger cam_here. Of a night, all over there, Hampstead way, the sky is alive with thei_ights. It's like a great city, and in the glare you can just see them moving.
  • By daylight you can't. But nearer—I haven't seen them—" (he counted on hi_ingers) "five days. Then I saw a couple across Hammersmith way carryin_omething big. And the night before last"—he stopped and spok_mpressively—"it was just a matter of lights, but it was something up in th_ir. I believe they've built a flying-machine, and are learning to fly."
  • I stopped, on hands and knees, for we had come to the bushes.
  • "Fly!"
  • "Yes," he said, "fly."
  • I went on into a little bower, and sat down.
  • "It is all over with humanity," I said. "If they can do that they will simpl_o round the world."
  • He nodded.
  • "They will. But—— It will relieve things over here a bit. And besides——" H_ooked at me. "Aren't you satisfied it IS up with humanity? I am. We're down; we're beat."
  • I stared. Strange as it may seem, I had not arrived at this fact— a fac_erfectly obvious so soon as he spoke. I had still held a vague hope; rather, I had kept a lifelong habit of mind. He repeated his words, "We're beat." The_arried absolute conviction.
  • "It's all over," he said. "They've lost ONE—just ONE. And they've made thei_ooting good and crippled the greatest power in the world. They've walked ove_s. The death of that one at Weybridge was an accident. And these are onl_ioneers. They kept on coming. These green stars—I've seen none these five o_ix days, but I've no doubt they're falling somewhere every night. Nothing'_o be done. We're under! We're beat!"
  • I made him no answer. I sat staring before me, trying in vain to devise som_ountervailing thought.
  • "This isn't a war," said the artilleryman. "It never was a war, any more tha_here's war between man and ants."
  • Suddenly I recalled the night in the observatory.
  • "After the tenth shot they fired no more—at least, until the first cylinde_ame."
  • "How do you know?" said the artilleryman. I explained. He thought. "Somethin_rong with the gun," he said. "But what if there is? They'll get it righ_gain. And even if there's a delay, how can it alter the end? It's just me_nd ants. There's the ants builds their cities, live their lives, have wars, revolutions, until the men want them out of the way, and then they go out o_he way. That's what we are now—just ants. Only——"
  • "Yes," I said.
  • "We're eatable ants."
  • We sat looking at each other.
  • "And what will they do with us?" I said.
  • "That's what I've been thinking," he said; "that's what I've been thinking.
  • After Weybridge I went south—thinking. I saw what was up. Most of the peopl_ere hard at it squealing and exciting themselves. But I'm not so fond o_quealing. I've been in sight of death once or twice; I'm not an ornamenta_oldier, and at the best and worst, death—it's just death. And it's the ma_hat keeps on thinking comes through. I saw everyone tracking away south. Say_, "Food won't last this way," and I turned right back. I went for th_artians like a sparrow goes for man. All round"—he waved a hand to th_orizon—"they're starving in heaps, bolting, treading on each other…"
  • He saw my face, and halted awkwardly.
  • "No doubt lots who had money have gone away to France," he said. He seemed t_esitate whether to apologise, met my eyes, and went on: "There's food al_bout here. Canned things in shops; wines, spirits, mineral waters; and th_ater mains and drains are empty. Well, I was telling you what I was thinking.
  • "Here's intelligent things," I said, "and it seems they want us for food.
  • First, they'll smash us up— ships, machines, guns, cities, all the order an_rganisation. All that will go. If we were the size of ants we might pul_hrough. But we're not. It's all too bulky to stop. That's the firs_ertainty." Eh?"
  • I assented.
  • "It is; I've thought it out. Very well, then—next; at present we're caught a_e're wanted. A Martian has only to go a few miles to get a crowd on the run.
  • And I saw one, one day, out by Wandsworth, picking houses to pieces an_outing among the wreckage. But they won't keep on doing that. So soon a_hey've settled all our guns and ships, and smashed our railways, and done al_he things they are doing over there, they will begin catching us systematic, picking the best and storing us in cages and things. That's what they wil_tart doing in a bit. Lord! They haven't begun on us yet. Don't you see that?"
  • "Not begun!" I exclaimed.
  • "Not begun. All that's happened so far is through our not having the sense t_eep quiet—worrying them with guns and such foolery. And losing our heads, an_ushing off in crowds to where there wasn't any more safety than where w_ere. They don't want to bother us yet. They're making their things—making al_he things they couldn't bring with them, getting things ready for the rest o_heir people. Very likely that's why the cylinders have stopped for a bit, fo_ear of hitting those who are here. And instead of our rushing about blind, o_he howl, or getting dynamite on the chance of busting them up, we've got t_ix ourselves up according to the new state of affairs. That's how I figure i_ut. It isn't quite according to what a man wants for his species, but it'_bout what the facts point to. And that's the principle I acted upon. Cities, nations, civilisation, progress—it's all over. That game's up. We're beat."
  • "But if that is so, what is there to live for?"
  • The artilleryman looked at me for a moment.
  • "There won't be any more blessed concerts for a million years or so; ther_on't be any Royal Academy of Arts, and no nice little feeds at restaurants.
  • If it's amusement you're after, I reckon the game is up. If you've got an_rawing-room manners or a dislike to eating peas with a knife or droppin_itches, you'd better chuck 'em away. They ain't no further use."
  • "You mean——"
  • "I mean that men like me are going on living—for the sake of the breed. I tel_ou, I'm grim set on living. And if I'm not mistaken, you'll show what inside_OU'VE got, too, before long. We aren't going to be exterminated. And I don'_ean to be caught either, and tamed and fattened and bred like a thunderin_x. Ugh! Fancy those brown creepers!"
  • "You don't mean to say——"
  • "I do. I'm going on, under their feet. I've got it planned; I've thought i_ut. We men are beat. We don't know enough. We've got to learn before we'v_ot a chance. And we've got to live and keep independent while we learn. See!
  • That's what has to be done."
  • I stared, astonished, and stirred profoundly by the man's resolution.
  • "Great God!," cried I. "But you are a man indeed!" And suddenly I gripped hi_and.
  • "Eh!" he said, with his eyes shining. "I've thought it out, eh?"
  • "Go on," I said.
  • "Well, those who mean to escape their catching must get ready. I'm gettin_eady. Mind you, it isn't all of us that are made for wild beasts; and that'_hat it's got to be. That's why I watched you. I had my doubts. You'r_lender. I didn't know that it was you, you see, or just how you'd bee_uried. All these—the sort of people that lived in these houses, and all thos_amn little clerks that used to live down that way—they'd be no good. The_aven't any spirit in them—no proud dreams and no proud lusts; and a man wh_asn't one or the other—Lord! What is he but funk and precautions? They jus_sed to skedaddle off to work—I've seen hundreds of 'em, bit of breakfast i_and, running wild and shining to catch their little season-ticket train, fo_ear they'd get dismissed if they didn't; working at businesses they wer_fraid to take the trouble to understand; skedaddling back for fear the_ouldn't be in time for dinner; keeping indoors after dinner for fear of th_ack streets, and sleeping with the wives they married, not because the_anted them, but because they had a bit of money that would make for safety i_heir one little miserable skedaddle through the world. Lives insured and _it invested for fear of accidents. And on Sundays—fear of the hereafter. A_f hell was built for rabbits! Well, the Martians will just be a godsend t_hese. Nice roomy cages, fattening food, careful breeding, no worry. After _eek or so chasing about the fields and lands on empty stomachs, they'll com_nd be caught cheerful. They'll be quite glad after a bit. They'll wonder wha_eople did before there were Martians to take care of them. And the ba_oafers, and mashers, and singers—I can imagine them. I can imagine them," h_aid, with a sort of sombre gratification. "There'll be any amount o_entiment and religion loose among them. There's hundreds of things I saw wit_y eyes that I've only begun to see clearly these last few days. There's lot_ill take things as they are—fat and stupid; and lots will be worried by _ort of feeling that it's all wrong, and that they ought to be doin_omething. Now whenever things are so that a lot of people feel they ought t_e doing something, the weak, and those who go weak with a lot of complicate_hinking, always make for a sort of do-nothing religion, very pious an_uperior, and submit to persecution and the will of the Lord. Very likel_ou've seen the same thing. It's energy in a gale of funk, and turned clea_nside out. These cages will be full of psalms and hymns and piety. And thos_f a less simple sort will work in a bit of—what is it?— eroticism."
  • He paused.
  • "Very likely these Martians will make pets of some of them; train them to d_ricks—who knows?—get sentimental over the pet boy who grew up and had to b_illed. And some, maybe, they will train to hunt us."
  • "No," I cried, "that's impossible! No human being——"
  • "What's the good of going on with such lies?" said the artilleryman. "There'_en who'd do it cheerful. What nonsense to pretend there isn't!"
  • And I succumbed to his conviction.
  • "If they come after me," he said; "Lord, if they come after me!" and subside_nto a grim meditation.
  • I sat contemplating these things. I could find nothing to bring against thi_an's reasoning. In the days before the invasion no one would have questione_y intellectual superiority to his—I, a professed and recognised writer o_hilosophical themes, and he, a common soldier; and yet he had alread_ormulated a situation that I had scarcely realised.
  • "What are you doing?" I said presently. "What plans have you made?"
  • He hesitated.
  • "Well, it's like this," he said. "What have we to do? We have to invent a sor_f life where men can live and breed, and be sufficiently secure to bring th_hildren up. Yes—wait a bit, and I'll make it clearer what I think ought to b_one. The tame ones will go like all tame beasts; in a few generations they'l_e big, beautiful, rich-blooded, stupid—rubbish! The risk is that we who kee_ild will go savage—degenerate into a sort of big, savage rat… You see, how _ean to live is underground. I've been thinking about the drains. Of cours_hose who don't know drains think horrible things; but under this London ar_iles and miles—hundreds of miles— and a few days rain and London empty wil_eave them sweet and clean. The main drains are big enough and airy enough fo_nyone. Then there's cellars, vaults, stores, from which bolting passages ma_e made to the drains. And the railway tunnels and subways. Eh? You begin t_ee? And we form a band—able-bodied, clean-minded men. We're not going to pic_p any rubbish that drifts in. Weaklings go out again."
  • "As you meant me to go?"
  • "Well—l parleyed, didn't I?"
  • "We won't quarrel about that. Go on."
  • "Those who stop obey orders. Able-bodied, clean-minded women we wan_lso—mothers and teachers. No lackadaisical ladies—no blasted rolling eyes. W_an't have any weak or silly. Life is real again, and the useless an_umbersome and mischievous have to die. They ought to die. They ought to b_illing to die. It's a sort of disloyalty, after all, to live and taint th_ace. And they can't be happy. Moreover, dying's none so dreadful; it's th_unking makes it bad. And in all those places we shall gather. Our distric_ill be London. And we may even be able to keep a watch, and run about in th_pen when the Martians keep away. Play cricket, perhaps. That's how we shal_ave the race. Eh? It's a possible thing? But saving the race is nothing i_tself. As I say, that's only being rats. It's saving our knowledge and addin_o it is the thing. There men like you come in. There's books, there's models.
  • We must make great safe places down deep, and get all the books we can; no_ovels and poetry swipes, but ideas, science books. That's where men like yo_ome in. We must go to the British Museum and pick all those books through.
  • Especially we must keep up our science—learn more. We must watch thes_artians. Some of us must go as spies. When it's all working, perhaps I will.
  • Get caught, I mean. And the great thing is, we must leave the Martians alone.
  • We mustn't even steal. If we get in their way, we clear out. We must show the_e mean no harm. Yes, I know. But they're intelligent things, and they won'_unt us down if they have all they want, and think we're just harmles_ermin."
  • The artilleryman paused and laid a brown hand upon my arm.
  • "After all, it may not be so much we may have to learn before—Just imagin_his: four or five of their fighting machines suddenly starting off—Heat-Ray_ight and left, and not a Martian in 'em. Not a Martian in 'em, but men—me_ho have learned the way how. It may be in my time, even—those men. Fanc_aving one of them lovely things, with its Heat-Ray wide and free! Fanc_aving it in control! What would it matter if you smashed to smithereens a_he end of the run, after a bust like that? I reckon the Martians'll ope_heir beautiful eyes! Can't you see them, man? Can't you see them hurrying, hurrying—puffing and blowing and hooting to their other mechanical affairs?
  • Something out of gear in every case. And swish, bang, rattle, swish! Just a_hey are fumbling over it, SWISH comes the Heat-Ray, and, behold! man has com_ack to his own."
  • For a while the imaginative daring of the artilleryman, and the tone o_ssurance and courage he assumed, completely dominated my mind. I believe_nhesitatingly both in his forecast of human destiny and in the practicabilit_f his astonishing scheme, and the reader who thinks me susceptible an_oolish must contrast his position, reading steadily with all his thought_bout his subject, and mine, crouching fearfully in the bushes and listening, distracted by apprehension. We talked in this manner through the early mornin_ime, and later crept out of the bushes, and, after scanning the sky fo_artians, hurried precipitately to the house on Putney Hill where he had mad_is lair. It was the coal cellar of the place, and when I saw the work he ha_pent a week upon—it was a burrow scarcely ten yards long, which he designe_o reach to the main drain on Putney Hill—I had my first inkling of the gul_etween his dreams and his powers. Such a hole I could have dug in a day. Bu_ believed in him sufficiently to work with him all that morning until pas_idday at his digging. We had a garden barrow and shot the earth we remove_gainst the kitchen range. We refreshed ourselves with a tin of mock- turtl_oup and wine from the neighbouring pantry. I found a curious relief from th_ching strangeness of the world in this steady labour. As we worked, I turne_is project over in my mind, and presently objections and doubts began t_rise; but I worked there all the morning, so glad was I to find myself with _urpose again. After working an hour I began to speculate on the distance on_ad to go before the cloaca was reached, the chances we had of missing i_ltogether. My immediate trouble was why we should dig this long tunnel, whe_t was possible to get into the drain at once down one of the manholes, an_ork back to the house. It seemed to me, too, that the house wa_nconveniently chosen, and required a needless length of tunnel. And just as _as beginning to face these things, the artilleryman stopped digging, an_ooked at me.
  • "We're working well," he said. He put down his spade. "Let us knock off a bit"
  • he said. "I think it's time we reconnoitred from the roof of the house."
  • I was for going on, and after a little hesitation he resumed his spade; an_hen suddenly I was struck by a thought. I stopped, and so did he at once.
  • "Why were you walking about the common," I said, "instead of being here?"
  • "Taking the air," he said. "I was coming back. It's safer by night."
  • "But the work?"
  • "Oh, one can't always work," he said, and in a flash I saw the man plain. H_esitated, holding his spade. "We ought to reconnoitre now," he said, "becaus_f any come near they may hear the spades and drop upon us unawares."
  • I was no longer disposed to object. We went together to the roof and stood o_ ladder peeping out of the roof door. No Martians were to be seen, and w_entured out on the tiles, and slipped down under shelter of the parapet.
  • From this position a shrubbery hid the greater portion of Putney, but we coul_ee the river below, a bubbly mass of red weed, and the low parts of Lambet_looded and red. The red creeper swarmed up the trees about the old palace, and their branches stretched gaunt and dead, and set with shrivelled leaves, from amid its clusters. It was strange how entirely dependent both thes_hings were upon flowing water for their propagation. About us neither ha_ained a footing; laburnums, pink mays, snowballs, and trees of arbor-vitae, rose out of laurels and hydrangeas, green and brilliant into the sunlight.
  • Beyond Kensington dense smoke was rising, and that and a blue haze hid th_orthward hills.
  • The artilleryman began to tell me of the sort of people who still remained i_ondon.
  • "One night last week," he said, "some fools got the electric light in order, and there was all Regent Street and the Circus ablaze, crowded with painte_nd ragged drunkards, men and women, dancing and shouting till dawn. A man wh_as there told me. And as the day came they became aware of a fighting-machin_tanding near by the Langham and looking down at them. Heaven knows how lon_e had been there. It must have given some of them a nasty turn. He came dow_he road towards them, and picked up nearly a hundred too drunk or frightene_o run away."
  • Grotesque gleam of a time no history will ever fully describe!
  • From that, in answer to my questions, he came round to his grandiose plan_gain. He grew enthusiastic. He talked so eloquently of the possibility o_apturing a fighting-machine that I more than half believed in him again. Bu_ow that I was beginning to understand something of his quality, I coul_ivine the stress he laid on doing nothing precipitately. And I noted that no_here was no question that he personally was to capture and fight the grea_achine.
  • After a time we went down to the cellar. Neither of us seemed disposed t_esume digging, and when he suggested a meal, I was nothing loath. He becam_uddenly very generous, and when we had eaten he went away and returned wit_ome excellent cigars. We lit these, and his optimism glowed. He was incline_o regard my coming as a great occasion.
  • "There's some champagne in the cellar," he said.
  • "We can dig better on this Thames-side burgundy," said I.
  • "No," said he; "I am host today. Champagne! Great God! We've a heavy enoug_ask before us! Let us take a rest and gather strength while we may. Look a_hese blistered hands!"
  • And pursuant to this idea of a holiday, he insisted upon playing cards afte_e had eaten. He taught me euchre, and after dividing London between us, _aking the northern side and he the southern, we played for parish points.
  • Grotesque and foolish as this will seem to the sober reader, it is absolutel_rue, and what is more remarkable, I found the card game and several others w_layed extremely interesting.
  • Strange mind of man! that, with our species upon the edge of extermination o_ppalling degradation, with no clear prospect before us but the chance of _orrible death, we could sit following the chance of this painted pasteboard, and playing the "joker" with vivid delight. Afterwards he taught me poker, an_ beat him at three tough chess games. When dark came we decided to take th_isk, and lit a lamp.
  • After an interminable string of games, we supped, and the artilleryma_inished the champagne. We went on smoking the cigars. He was no longer th_nergetic regenerator of his species I had encountered in the morning. He wa_till optimistic, but it was a less kinetic, a more thoughtful optimism. _emember he wound up with my health, proposed in a speech of small variety an_onsiderable intermittence. I took a cigar, and went upstairs to look at th_ights of which he had spoken that blazed so greenly along the Highgate hills.
  • At first I stared unintelligently across the London valley. The northern hill_ere shrouded in darkness; the fires near Kensington glowed redly, and now an_hen an orange-red tongue of flame flashed up and vanished in the deep blu_ight. All the rest of London was black. Then, nearer, I perceived a strang_ight, a pale, violet- purple fluorescent glow, quivering under the nigh_reeze. For a space I could not understand it, and then I knew that it must b_he red weed from which this faint irradiation proceeded. With tha_ealisation my dormant sense of wonder, my sense of the proportion of things, awoke again. I glanced from that to Mars, red and clear, glowing high in th_est, and then gazed long and earnestly at the darkness of Hampstead an_ighgate.
  • I remained a very long time upon the roof, wondering at the grotesque change_f the day. I recalled my mental states from the midnight prayer to th_oolish card-playing. I had a violent revulsion of feeling. I remember I flun_way the cigar with a certain wasteful symbolism. My folly came to me wit_laring exaggeration. I seemed a traitor to my wife and to my kind; I wa_illed with remorse. I resolved to leave this strange undisciplined dreamer o_reat things to his drink and gluttony, and to go on into London. There, i_eemed to me, I had the best chance of learning what the Martians and m_ellowmen were doing. I was still upon the roof when the late moon rose.