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The Time Machine

VI
'It may seem odd to you, but it was two days before I could follow up the new-found
clue in what was manifestly the proper way. I felt a peculiar shrinking from those pallid
bodies. They were just the half-bleached colour of the worms and things one sees
preserved in spirit in a zoological museum. And they were filthily cold to the touch.
Probably my shrinking was largely due to the sympathetic influence of the Eloi, whose
disgust of the Morlocks I now began to appreciate.
'The next night I did not sleep well. Probably my health was a little disordered. I was
oppressed with perplexity and doubt. Once or twice I had a feeling of intense fear for
which I could perceive no definite reason. I remember creeping noiselessly into the great
hall where the little people were sleeping in the moonlight--that night Weena was among
them--and feeling reassured by their presence. It occurred to me even then, that in the
course of a few days the moon must pass through its last quarter, and the nights grow
dark, when the appearances of these unpleasant creatures from below, these whitened
Lemurs, this new vermin that had replaced the old, might be more abundant. And on both
these days I had the restless feeling of one who shirks an inevitable duty. I felt assured
that the Time Machine was only to be recovered by boldly penetrating these underground
mysteries. Yet I could not face the mystery. If only I had had a companion it would have
been different. But I was so horribly alone, and even to clamber down into the darkness
of the well appalled me. I don't know if you will understand my feeling, but I never felt
quite safe at my back.
'It was this restlessness, this insecurity, perhaps, that drove me further and further afield
in my exploring expeditions. Going to the south-westward towards the rising country that
is now called Combe Wood, I observed far off, in the direction of nineteenth-century
Banstead, a vast green structure, different in character from any I had hitherto seen. It
was larger than the largest of the palaces or ruins I knew, and the facade had an Oriental
look: the face of it having the lustre, as well as the pale-green tint, a kind of bluish-green,
of a certain type of Chinese porcelain. This difference in aspect suggested a difference in
use, and I was minded to push on and explore. But the day was growing late, and I had
come upon the sight of the place after a long and tiring circuit; so I resolved to hold over
the adventure for the following day, and I returned to the welcome and the caresses of
little Weena. But next morning I perceived clearly enough that my curiosity regarding the
Palace of Green Porcelain was a piece of self-deception, to enable me to shirk, by another
day, an experience I dreaded. I resolved I would make the descent without further waste
of time, and started out in the early morning towards a well near the ruins of granite and
aluminium.
'Little Weena ran with me. She danced beside me to the well, but when she saw me lean
over the mouth and look downward, she seemed strangely disconcerted. "Good-bye,
Little Weena," I said, kissing her; and then putting her down, I began to feel over the
parapet for the climbing hooks. Rather hastily, I may as well confess, for I feared my
courage might leak away! At first she watched me in amazement. Then she gave a most
 
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