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The Time Machine
by H(erbert) G(eorge) Wells

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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.



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