The First Men In The Moon
2. The First Making Of Cavorite
But Cavor's fears were groundless, so far as the actual making was concerned. On the
14th of October, 1899, this incredible substance was made!
Oddly enough, it was made at last by accident, when Mr. Cavor least expected it. He had
fused together a number of metals and certain other things - I wish I knew the particulars
now ! - and he intended to leave the mixture a week and then allow it to cool slowly.
Unless he had miscalculated, the last stage in the combination would occur when the stuff
sank to a temperature of 60 Fahr.
But it chanced that, unknown to Cavor, dissension had arisen about the furnace tending.
Gibbs, who had previously seen to this, had suddenly attempted to shift it to the man who
had been a gardener, on the score that coal was soil, being dug, and therefore could not
possibly fall within the province of a joiner; the man who had been a jobbing gardener
alleged, however, that coal was a metallic or ore-like substance, let alone that he was
But Spargus insisted on Gibbs doing the coaling, seeing that he was a joiner and that coal
is notoriously fossil wood. Consequently Gibbs ceased to replenish the furnace, and no
one else did so, and Cavor was too much immersed in certain interesting problems
concerning a Cavorite flying machine (neglecting the resistance of the air and one or two
other points) to perceive that anything was wrong. And the premature birth of his
invention took place just as he was coming across the field to my bungalow for our
afternoon talk and tea.
I remember the occasion with extreme vividness. The water was boiling, and everything
was prepared, and the sound of his "zuzzoo" had brought me out upon the verandah. His
active little figure was black against the autumnal sunset, and to the right the chimneys of
his house just rose above a gloriously tinted group of trees. Remoter rose the Wealden
Hills, faint and blue, while to the left the hazy marsh spread out spacious and serene. And
The chimneys jerked heavenward, smashing into a string of bricks as they rose, and the
roof and a miscellany of furniture followed. Then overtaking them came a huge white
flame. The trees about the building swayed and whirled and tore themselves to pieces,
that sprang towards the flare. My ears were smitten with a clap of thunder that left me
deaf on one side for life, and all about me windows smashed, unheeded.
I took three steps from the verandah towards Cavor's house, and even as I did so came the
Instantly my coat tails were over my head, and I was progressing in great leaps and
bounds, and quite against my will, towards him. In the same moment the discoverer was
seized, whirled about, and flew through the screaming air. I saw one of my chimney pots