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The Time Machine

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.