The Time Machine — EN

V
In The Golden Age

“In anoth­er moment we were stand­ing face to face, I and this frag­ile thing out of futu­ri­ty. He came straight up to me and laughed into my eyes. The absence from his bear­ing of any sign of fear struck me at once. Then he turned to the two oth­ers who were fol­low­ing him and spoke to them in a strange and very sweet and liq­uid tongue.

“There were oth­ers com­ing, and present­ly a lit­tle group of per­haps eight or ten of these exquis­ite crea­tures were about me. One of them addressed me. It came into my head, odd­ly enough, that my voice was too harsh and deep for them. So I shook my head, and, point­ing to my ears, shook it again. He came a step for­ward, hes­i­tat­ed, and then touched my hand. Then I felt oth­er soft lit­tle ten­ta­cles upon my back and shoul­ders. They want­ed to make sure I was real. There was noth­ing in this at all alarm­ing. Indeed, there was some­thing in these pret­ty lit­tle peo­ple that inspired con­fi­dence – a grace­ful gen­tle­ness, a cer­tain child­like ease. And besides, they looked so frail that I could fan­cy myself fling­ing the whole dozen of them about like nine-pins. But I made a sud­den motion to warn them when I saw their lit­tle pink hands feel­ing at the Time Machine. Hap­pi­ly then, when it was not too late, I thought of a dan­ger I had hith­er­to for­got­ten, and reach­ing over the bars of the machine I unscrewed the lit­tle levers that would set it in motion, and put these in my pock­et. Then I turned again to see what I could do in the way of com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

“And then, look­ing more near­ly into their fea­tures, I saw some fur­ther pecu­liar­i­ties in their Dres­den-chi­na type of pret­ti­ness. Their hair, which was uni­form­ly curly, came to a sharp end at the neck and cheek; there was not the faintest sug­ges­tion of it on the face, and their ears were sin­gu­lar­ly minute. The mouths were small, with bright red, rather thin lips, and the lit­tle chins ran to a point. The eyes were large and mild; and – this may seem ego­tism on my part – I fan­cied even that there was a cer­tain lack of the inter­est I might have expect­ed in them.

“As they made no effort to com­mu­ni­cate with me, but sim­ply stood round me smil­ing and speak­ing in soft coo­ing notes to each oth­er, I began the con­ver­sa­tion. I point­ed to the Time Machine and to myself. Then hes­i­tat­ing for a moment how to express time, I point­ed to the sun. At once a quaint­ly pret­ty lit­tle fig­ure in che­quered pur­ple and white fol­lowed my ges­ture, and then aston­ished me by imi­tat­ing the sound of thun­der.

“For a moment I was stag­gered, though the import of his ges­ture was plain enough. The ques­tion had come into my mind abrupt­ly: were these crea­tures fools? You may hard­ly under­stand how it took me. You see I had always antic­i­pat­ed that the peo­ple of the year Eight Hun­dred and Two Thou­sand odd would be incred­i­bly in front of us in knowl­edge, art, every­thing. Then one of them sud­den­ly asked me a ques­tion that showed him to be on the intel­lec­tu­al lev­el of one of our five-year-old chil­dren – asked me, in fact, if I had come from the sun in a thun­der­storm! It let loose the judg­ment I had sus­pend­ed upon their clothes, their frail light limbs, and frag­ile fea­tures. A flow of dis­ap­point­ment rushed across my mind. For a moment I felt that I had built the Time Machine in vain.

“I nod­ded, point­ed to the sun, and gave them such a vivid ren­der­ing of a thun­der­clap as star­tled them. They all with­drew a pace or so and bowed. Then came one laugh­ing towards me, car­ry­ing a chain of beau­ti­ful flow­ers alto­geth­er new to me, and put it about my neck. The idea was received with melo­di­ous applause; and present­ly they were all run­ning to and fro for flow­ers, and laugh­ing­ly fling­ing them upon me until I was almost smoth­ered with blos­som. You who have nev­er seen the like can scarce­ly imag­ine what del­i­cate and won­der­ful flow­ers count­less years of cul­ture had cre­at­ed. Then some­one sug­gest­ed that their play­thing should be exhib­it­ed in the near­est build­ing, and so I was led past the sphinx of white mar­ble, which had seemed to watch me all the while with a smile at my aston­ish­ment, towards a vast grey edi­fice of fret­ted stone. As I went with them the mem­o­ry of my con­fi­dent antic­i­pa­tions of a pro­found­ly grave and intel­lec­tu­al pos­ter­i­ty came, with irre­sistible mer­ri­ment, to my mind.

“The build­ing had a huge entry, and was alto­geth­er of colos­sal dimen­sions. I was nat­u­ral­ly most occu­pied with the grow­ing crowd of lit­tle peo­ple, and with the big open por­tals that yawned before me shad­owy and mys­te­ri­ous. My gen­er­al impres­sion of the world I saw over their heads was a tan­gled waste of beau­ti­ful bush­es and flow­ers, a long neglect­ed and yet weed­less gar­den. I saw a num­ber of tall spikes of strange white flow­ers, mea­sur­ing a foot per­haps across the spread of the wax­en petals. They grew scat­tered, as if wild, among the var­ie­gat­ed shrubs, but, as I say, I did not exam­ine them close­ly at this time. The Time Machine was left desert­ed on the turf among the rhodo­den­drons.

“The arch of the door­way was rich­ly carved, but nat­u­ral­ly I did not observe the carv­ing very nar­row­ly, though I fan­cied I saw sug­ges­tions of old Phoeni­cian dec­o­ra­tions as I passed through, and it struck me that they were very bad­ly bro­ken and weath­er-worn. Sev­er­al more bright­ly clad peo­ple met me in the door­way, and so we entered, I, dressed in dingy nine­teenth-cen­tu­ry gar­ments, look­ing grotesque enough, gar­land­ed with flow­ers, and sur­round­ed by an eddy­ing mass of bright, soft-col­ored robes and shin­ing white limbs, in a melo­di­ous whirl of laugh­ter and laugh­ing speech.

“The big door­way opened into a pro­por­tion­ate­ly great hall hung with brown. The roof was in shad­ow, and the win­dows, par­tial­ly glazed with coloured glass and par­tial­ly unglazed, admit­ted a tem­pered light. The floor was made up of huge blocks of some very hard white met­al, not plates nor slabs – blocks, and it was so much worn, as I judged by the going to and fro of past gen­er­a­tions, as to be deeply chan­nelled along the more fre­quent­ed ways. Trans­verse to the length were tables made of slabs of pol­ished stone, raised per­haps a foot from the floor, and upon these were heaps of fruits. Some I rec­og­nized as a kind of hyper­tro­phied rasp­ber­ry and orange, but for the most part they were strange.

“Between the tables was scat­tered a great num­ber of cush­ions. Upon these my con­duc­tors seat­ed them­selves, sign­ing for me to do like­wise. With a pret­ty absence of cer­e­mo­ny they began to eat the fruit with their hands, fling­ing peel and stalks, and so forth, into the round open­ings in the sides of the tables. I was not loath to fol­low their exam­ple, for I felt thirsty and hun­gry. As I did so I sur­veyed the hall at my leisure.

“And per­haps the thing that struck me most was its dilap­i­dat­ed look. The stained-glass win­dows, which dis­played only a geo­met­ri­cal pat­tern, were bro­ken in many places, and the cur­tains that hung across the low­er end were thick with dust. And it caught my eye that the cor­ner of the mar­ble table near me was frac­tured. Nev­er­the­less, the gen­er­al effect was extreme­ly rich and pic­turesque. There were, per­haps, a cou­ple of hun­dred peo­ple din­ing in the hall, and most of them, seat­ed as near to me as they could come, were watch­ing me with inter­est, their lit­tle eyes shin­ing over the fruit they were eat­ing. All were clad in the same soft and yet strong, silky mate­r­i­al.

“Fruit, by the by, was all their diet. These peo­ple of the remote future were strict veg­e­tar­i­ans, and while I was with them, in spite of some car­nal crav­ings, I had to be fru­giv­o­rous also.

Indeed, I found after­wards that hors­es, cat­tle, sheep, dogs, had fol­lowed the Ichthyosaurus into extinc­tion. But the fruits were very delight­ful; one, in par­tic­u­lar, that seemed to be in sea­son all the time I was there – a floury thing in a three-sided husk – was espe­cial­ly good, and I made it my sta­ple. At first I was puz­zled by all these strange fruits, and by the strange flow­ers I saw, but lat­er I began to per­ceive their import.

“How­ev­er, I am telling you of my fruit din­ner in the dis­tant future now. So soon as my appetite was a lit­tle checked, I deter­mined to make a res­olute attemptto learn the speech of these new men of mine. Clear­ly that was the next thing to do. The fruits seemed a con­ve­nient thing to begin upon, and hold­ing one of these up I began a series of inter­rog­a­tive sounds and ges­tures. I had some con­sid­er­able dif­fi­cul­ty in con­vey­ing my mean­ing. At first my efforts met with a stare of sur­prise or inex­tin­guish­able laugh­ter, but present­ly a fair-haired lit­tle crea­ture seemed to grasp my inten­tion and repeat­ed a name. They had to chat­ter and explain the busi­ness at great length to each oth­er, and my first attempts to make the exquis­ite lit­tle sounds of their lan­guage caused an immense amount of amuse­ment. How­ev­er, I felt like a school­mas­ter amidst chil­dren, and per­sist­ed, and present­ly I had a score of noun sub­stan­tives at least at my com­mand; and then I got to demon­stra­tive pro­nouns, and even the verb “to eat.” But it was slow work, and the lit­tle peo­ple soon tired and want­ed to get away from my inter­ro­ga­tions, so I deter­mined, rather of neces­si­ty, to let them give their lessons in lit­tle dos­es when they felt inclined. And very lit­tle dos­es I found they were before long, for I nev­er met peo­ple more indo­lent or more eas­i­ly fatigued.

frag­ile ˈfræʤaɪl adj Eas­i­ly bro­ken or dam­aged: del­i­cate, brit­tle, break­able

futu­ri­ty fju(ː)ˈtjʊərɪti n The future.

exquis­ite ˈɛk­skwɪzɪt adj Of spe­cial beau­ty or charm.

ten­ta­cle ˈtɛn­təkl n An elon­gat­ed, flex­i­ble exten­sion, used for feel­ing, grasp­ing etc.

to make sure (that) ⇒ To find out about some­thing so as not to have doubts.

at all ⇒ In any way; for any rea­son; to any extent; what­ev­er.

frail freɪl adj Phys­i­cal­ly weak: del­i­cate

fling flɪŋ v To throw with vio­lence; fig­u­ra­tive­ly to defeat.

nine-pins ⇒ A bowl­ing game in which nine wood­en pins are the tar­get.

to feel at some­thing ⇒ To touch light­ly.

hith­er­to ˈhɪðəˈ­tuː adv Until this time.

unscrew ʌnˈskruː v To undo or unfas­ten the screws by turn­ing.

lever ˈliːvə n Pro­ject­ing han­dle used to adjust or oper­ate a mech­a­nism.

in the way of ⇒ While, dur­ing the time of.

pecu­liar­i­ty pɪˌkjuːlɪˈærɪti n Some­thing that is unusu­al or pecu­liar in a per­son or thing.

Dres­den chi­na ⇒ Hard-paste porce­lain made in the vicin­i­ty of the Ger­man town Dres­den and typ­i­cal­ly char­ac­ter­ized by dain­ti­ness of design and ornate dec­o­ra­tion; chi­na ˈʧaɪnə n Dish­ware made of high qual­i­ty porce­lain.

pret­ti­ness ˈprɪtɪnəs n The qual­i­ty of being appeal­ing in a del­i­cate or grace­ful way (of a girl or young woman).

uni­form­ly ˈjuːnɪfɔːm­li n Being the same as or con­so­nant with anoth­er or oth­ers.

curly ˈkɜːli adj Hav­ing curls or a curved shape.

sin­gu­lar­ly ˈsɪŋgjʊləli adv In a way that is very notice­able or unusu­al.

minute ˈmaɪn­juːt adj Infi­nite­ly or immea­sur­ably small.

to run to a point ⇒ To extend to a par­tic­u­lar point.

ego­tism ˈɛgəʊtɪzm n Exces­sive self-regard; self-cen­tered­ness or self­ish­ness.

on my part ⇒ As far as I am con­cerned.

coo kuː v To utter the mur­mur­ing sound of a dove; to talk fond­ly or amorous­ly in mur­murs.

che­quered ˈʧɛkəd adj Divid­ed into squares; marked by light and dark patch­es; diver­si­fied in colour.

quaint­ly ˈkweɪntli adv In a strange but not unpleas­ant man­ner.

at once ⇒ Imme­di­ate­ly, at the same time.

stag­ger ˈstægə v To aston­ish or shock: amaze, shock, aston­ish, stun

import ɪmˈpɔːt n Mean­ing; impli­ca­tion.

abrupt­ly əˈbrʌptli adv Quick­ly and with­out warn­ing: sud­den­ly, hasti­ly, hur­ried­ly

to take ⇒ To sur­prise, to over­whelm.

Eight Hun­dred and Two Thou­sand odd ⇒ (often used in com­bi­na­tion) Being in excess of the indi­cat­ed num­ber.

thun­der­storm ˈθʌndəstɔːm n A tran­sient, some­times vio­lent storm of thun­der and light­ning, often accom­pa­nied by rain and some­times hail.

to let loose ⇒ To set free.

in vain ⇒ To no avail; with­out suc­cess.

vivid ˈvɪvɪd adv Very clear, pow­er­ful, and detailed in your mind.

thun­der-clap ˈθʌndə-klæp n Sin­gle sharp crash of thun­der; fig a star­tling or shock­ing piece of news.

star­tle ˈstɑːtl v To sur­prise or fright­en some­one sud­den­ly but not seri­ous­ly: fright­en, scare, ter­ri­fy, alarm

or so ⇒ (of quan­ti­ties) Impre­cise but fair­ly close to.

to and fro ⇒ In one direc­tion and then the oppo­site one.

smoth­er ˈsmʌðə v To sti­fle or kill by depriv­ing of air: suf­fo­cate

blos­som ˈblɒsəm n A flower or a group of flow­ers.

scarce­ly ˈskeəs­li adv Bare­ly; hard­ly; not quite, almost not.

play­thing ˈpleɪθɪŋ n An object used for plea­sure or enjoy­ment, such as a child’s toy.

edi­fice ɛˈdɪfɪs n Per­ma­nent con­struc­tion, as a house, store, etc.: build­ing, struc­ture

fret­ted ˈfrɛtɪd adj Orna­ment­ed with angu­lar designs or such a pat­tern made in relief and with numer­ous small open­ings.

antic­i­pa­tion ænˌtɪsɪˈpeɪʃ(ə)n n The state of being hap­py and excit­ed about some­thing upcom­ing.

pos­ter­i­ty pɒsˈtɛrɪti n Future gen­er­a­tions; all of a person’s descen­dants.

It came to my mind ⇒ It occurred to me; mer­ri­ment ˈmɛrɪmənt n State of joy­ful exu­ber­ance: gai­ety, glee, mirth, hilar­i­ty, jovi­al­i­ty

yawn jɔːn v To open wide; gape.

tan­gled ˈtæŋgld adj In a con­fused mass.

neglect nɪˈglɛkt v To pay no atten­tion or too lit­tle atten­tion to.

spike spaɪk n A nar­row, thin shape with a sharp point at one end.

wax­en ˈwæk­sən adj Pale or smooth and glossy as wax.

petal ˈpɛtl n One of the often col­ored seg­ments of the corol­la of a flower.

to grow (scat­tered) ⇒ To become grad­u­al­ly.

var­ie­gate ˈveərɪgeɪt v To mark with a line of dif­fer­ent colour or tex­ture: stripe, streak, stri­ate

shrub ʃrʌb n A woody peren­ni­al plant, small­er than a tree, with sev­er­al major branch­es aris­ing from near the base of the main stem.

turf tɜːf n Sur­face lay­er of earth con­tain­ing a dense growth of grass and its mat­ted roots: sod

rhodo­den­dron ˌrəʊdəˈdɛn­drən n An ever­green orna­men­tal shrub with clus­ters of var­i­ous­ly coloured, often bell-shaped flow­ers.

Phoeni­cian fɪˈnɪʃɪən ⇒ Relat­ing to ancient Phoeni­cia cul­ture.

it struck me that ⇒ I was impressed to see that.

clothe kləʊð pt, pp clad klæd v To clothe; to cov­er with a pro­tec­tive lay­er of oth­er mate­r­i­al.

dingy ˈdɪnʤi adj Dirty or dis­coloured; show­ing signs of wear and tear: shab­by, thread­bare, shod­dy, fad­ed, seedy, tat­tered

gar­ment ˈgɑːmənt n Any arti­cle of cloth­ing.

grotesque grəʊˈtɛsk adj Bizarre in appear­ance: freaky, fan­tas­tic

gar­land ˈgɑːlənd v To orna­ment with a wreath or fes­toon.

eddy ˈɛdi v To move or whirl in minia­ture cur­rent at vari­ance with the main cur­rent in a stream of water or air, usu­al­ly hav­ing a rotary or whirling motion: twist; whirl

robe rəʊb n A long, loose or flow­ing gar­ment worn as cer­e­mo­ni­al or offi­cial dress.

whirl wɜːl n A rapid round of events: swirl, turn, spin, reel, rev­o­lu­tion, rapid rota­tion, twirl

pro­por­tion­ate­ly prəˈpɔːʃnɪtli adj To a pro­por­tion­ate degree; in pro­por­tion: pro­por­tion­al­ly

glazed gleɪzd adj Hav­ing a sur­face cov­ered with a glaze: lus­trous, smooth, glassy

unglazed ˌʌnˈ­gleɪzd adj Not fur­nished with a sur­face cov­ered with a glaze: mat­ted, rough

tem­pered ˈtɛm­pəd adj Made less intense or vio­lent, espe­cial­ly by the influ­ence of some­thing else.

slab slæb n Broad, flat, thick piece.

trans­verse /ˈtrænzvɜːs adj Sit­u­at­ed or lying across: cross­ing, thwart, tra­verse

heap hiːp n A large, dis­or­dered pile of things: pile

hyper­tro­phy haɪˈpɜːtrəʊ­fi v To affect with or under­go abnor­mal enlarge­ment.

rasp­ber­ry ˈrɑːzbəri n A small soft, red fruit that grow on bush­es.

cush­ion ˈkʊʃən n A pad with a soft fill­ing, used for rest­ing, reclin­ing, or kneel­ing: pil­low

con­duc­tor kənˈdʌk­tə n Some­one that shows the way: leader, direc­tor, guide, men­tor

to do like­wise ⇒ To do the same/a sim­i­lar thing.

stalk stɔːk n Stem.

to be loath to ⇒ To be unwill­ing to.

at one’s leisure ⇒ When one has free time; at one’s con­ve­nience.

dilap­i­date dɪˈlæpɪdeɪt v To fall into a state of par­tial ruin, decay etc.

frac­tured ˈfrækʧəd adj Bro­ken, or cracked.

pic­turesque ˌpɪkʧəˈrɛsk adj Visu­al­ly attrac­tive, espe­cial­ly in a quaint or charm­ing way.

by the by ⇒ by the way.

in spite of ⇒ with­out wor­ry­ing about; although.

car­nal ˈkɑːnl adj Relat­ing to the body or flesh.

crav­ing ˈkreɪvɪŋ n An intense desire or long­ing.

fru­giv­o­rous fruːˈdʒɪvərəs adj Eat­ing on fruit, fruit-eat­ing.

ichthyosaurus n ɪkθɪəˈsɔːrəs adj Kind of a fish­like marine dinosaur.

extinc­tion ɪksˈtɪŋkʃən n The fact of dying; utter destruc­tion: death, demise, decease; liq­ui­da­tion, anni­hi­la­tion, exter­mi­na­tion

husk hʌsk n Shell or out­er cov­er­ing.

feed­sta­ple ˈfiːd­steɪ­pl n Main kind of food in a diet.

so soon as ⇒ As ear­ly as.

to make an attempt ⇒ To try, to endeav­our.

inter­rog­a­tive ˌɪn­təˈrɒgətɪv adj Being of the nature of a ques­tion.

to con­vey one’s mean­ing ⇒ To make one’s mean­ing known.

inex­tin­guish­able ˌɪnɪk­sˈtɪŋg­wɪʃəbl adj Dif­fi­cult or impos­si­ble to bring an end to.

fair-haired ⇒ blond.

to grasp one’s inten­tion ⇒ To under­stand.

chat­ter ˈʧætə v To talk con­tin­u­ous­ly in a fast infor­mal way, usu­al­ly about unim­por­tant sub­jects.

at great length ⇒ with great details.

immense ɪˈmɛns adj Extreme­ly large in size or degree:

amidst əˈmɪdst prep Sur­round­ed by; in the mid­dle of.

a score of ⇒ A cou­ple of, sev­er­al.

sub­stan­tive ˈsʌb­stən­tɪv n Any word or group of words func­tion­ing as a noun.

pro­noun ˈprəʊ­naʊn n The part of speech that sub­sti­tutes for nouns or noun phras­es and des­ig­nates per­sons or things asked for, pre­vi­ous­ly spec­i­fied, or under­stood from the con­text.

inter­ro­ga­tions ɪnˌtɛrəʊˈgeɪʃənz n A process of ask­ing some­one a lot of ques­tions for a long time in order to get infor­ma­tion, some­times using threats or vio­lence:

to feel inclined ⇒ To be dis­posed to.

before long ⇒ soon.

indo­lent ˈɪndələnt adj Resis­tant to exer­tion and activ­i­ty: idle, lazy, shift­less, sloth­ful

fatigue fəˈtiːg v To dimin­ish the strength and ener­gy of: wear, tire, drain, weary

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