فصل 10

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فصل 10

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  • زمان مطالعه 13 دقیقه
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CHAPTER TEN

A Place to Live

‘Now I seemed in a worse position than before. Until then, except during my night of madness over the disappearance of the Time Machine, I had felt that in the end I would escape. But that hope was shaken by these new discoveries. I had been worried by the thought of unknown forces which I could beat when I understood them. The situation was different now. There was something sickening about the Morlocks - something inhuman. Before, I had felt like a man who had fallen into a hole: my worry was how to get out of it. Now I felt like an animal which had been caught, whose enemy would come to him soon.

‘That enemy was the darkness of the new moon. Weena had put this fear into my head by some things she said, which at first I didn’t understand, about the Dark Nights. Now I could guess what the coming Dark Nights might mean. The moon was getting smaller and each night there was a longer time of darkness. And I now understood a little of the Eloi’s fear of the dark. I wondered what terrible things the Morlocks did under the new moon.

‘The Eloi had probably been the managers and the Morlocks their servants, but that situation had changed a long time before. The two species were moving towards, or had already arrived at, a completely new relationship. The Eloi were still allowed to own the world, because the Morlocks, underground for so long, now found the daylight impossible. And the Morlocks made their clothes, I thought, and did other necessary things for them, perhaps because an old habit of service had continued.

‘But clearly, the end of the Eloi’s power was coming closer. And suddenly I thought of the meat I had seen in the Underworld. I tried to remember its shape. I had a feeling it was something familiar, but I hadn’t recognised it at the time.

‘The little people could do nothing about their fear, but I was made differently. I came out of our age, this best time for humans, when fear doesn’t make us helpless. I at least could defend myself. Without further delay I decided to make myself weapons and a safe place where I could sleep. From there, I could face this strange world with some of that confidence. I had been slow to realise what creatures could harm me night after night. I felt I could never sleep again until my bed was safe from them. I shook with fear to think how they had already examined me.

‘I walked during the afternoon along the valley of the Thames, but found nowhere that seemed safe. All the buildings and trees seemed easy for such good climbers as the Morlocks to get into, judging by their skill at entering and leaving their wells. Then the Green Palace came into my mind. In the evening, carrying Weena like a child on my shoulders, I went up into the hills towards the south-west. The distance, I had thought, was eleven or twelve kilometres, but it was probably nearer thirty.

‘I had first seen the place on a wet afternoon when things in the distance seemed nearer. In addition, the heel of one of my shoes was loose, so I couldn’t walk well. And it was already long past sunset when I came in sight of the palace, dark against the pale yellow of the sky.

‘Weena had been very pleased when I began to carry her, but later she wanted me to put her down. She ran along by my side, occasionally going off to pick flowers to put in my pockets. Weena had been unsure of the purpose of pockets, but had decided that they should be filled and decorated with flowers. And that reminds me! While changing my jacket I found…’

The Time Traveller paused, put his hand into his pocket and silently placed two dead flowers on the little table. Then he went back to his story.

‘As the quiet of evening spread over the world and we moved over the top of the hill towards Wimbledon, Weena grew tired and wanted to return to the house of grey stone. But I pointed to the Green Palace, and tried to make her understand that we were looking for a safe place there.

‘You know that quietness that comes before dark? In that calm my senses seemed to sharpen. I thought that I could almost see the tunnels in the ground under my feet - that I could see the Morlocks going here and there and waiting for the dark. In my excitement I imagined that they would see my arrival in their homes as an act of war.

‘So we continued and the evening turned into night. The ground grew difficult to see and the trees turned black. Weena’s fears and her tiredness grew. I took her in my arms and talked to her. Then, as the darkness grew deeper, she put her arms round my neck. Closing her eyes, she tightly pressed her face against my shoulder.

‘So we went down a long hillside into a valley, and there in the poor light I almost fell into a little river. I walked across this and went up the opposite side. I had seen nothing of the Morlocks, but it was still early in the night. The darker hours before the moon came up hadn’t yet arrived.

‘From the top of the next hill I saw a thick wood spreading wide and black in front of me. I stopped at this. I could see no end to it, either to the right or the left. Feeling tired - my feet, especially, were very painful - I carefully lowered Weena from my shoulder as I stopped, and sat down on the grass. I could no longer see the Green Palace, and I wasn’t sure of my direction.

‘I looked into the thickness of the wood and thought of what it might hide. In there, we might be out of sight of the stars. Even if there were no other waiting danger, there would still be many things to fall over and walk into. I was very tired, too, after the excitement of the day, so I decided that I wouldn’t face it, but would spend the night on the open hill.

‘Weena, I was glad to find, was asleep. I put my jacket round her and sat down beside her to wait for the moon to rise. The hillside was quiet and empty, but from the black of the wood came, now and then, the sound of living things. Above me the stars shone, because the night was very clear, and I felt a sense of friendly comfort from their lights. All the familiar old ones had moved in the sky, rearranged in new groups during countless human lifetimes.

‘As I looked at all these stars, I suddenly felt that my problems were smaller. I thought of their distance, and their slow movements out of the unknown past into the unknown future. And in my time travelling forwards, all the activity, the traditions, the organisations, the nations, languages, literature, hopes, even the memory of humans as I knew them, had totally disappeared. Instead, there were these weak people who had forgotten their great history, and the white Things of which I was so afraid.

‘Then I thought of the great fear between the two species. I thought about the meat that I had seen. And for the first time I understood what it might be. But the thought was too horrible! I looked at little Weena sleeping beside me, her face white under the stars, and put the thought from my mind.

‘Through that long night I kept my mind off the Morlocks as well as I could. I passed the time by trying to find signs of the old groups of stars in the sky. No doubt I slept a little. Then, as time passed, there came a soft light in the eastern sky and the old moon came up, thin and pointed and white. And close behind, and stronger, came the light from the sun.

‘No Morlocks had come near us. In fact, I had seen none on the hills that night. And in the confidence of the new day it almost seemed to me that I had been wrong to be afraid. I stood up and found my foot with the loose heel was painful, so I sat down again, took off my shoes and threw them away.

‘I woke Weena and we went down into the wood, now green and pleasant instead of black and unwelcoming. We found some fruit there to eat for breakfast. We soon met other Eloi, laughing and dancing in the sunlight. And then I thought again of the meat that I had seen. I felt sure now what it was and with all my heart I pitied them.

‘Clearly, at some time in the past, the Morlocks hadn’t been able to find enough food. Possibly they had lived on rats and similar animals. Now the Eloi were like fat cows, which the Morlocks kept and hunted. And there was Weena dancing at my side!

‘I tried to think more scientifically, and less emotionally. Perhaps this was a punishment for human selfishness. Some people had been happy to live from the work of others. They had said this was necessary, and in time it had become equally necessary for the workers to eat them. But this attitude was impossible. It didn’t matter how unintelligent they were, the Eloi still looked human. I understood their situation and I felt their fear.

‘I had at that time no clear ideas about what I should do. I thought I could find a safe place and make myself some weapons out of metal or stone. Next I hoped to find a way of making fire, so I would have the weapon of a torch. I knew that nothing would work better against these Morlocks. Then I wanted to find a way of breaking open the metal panels under the white sphinx.

‘I felt that if I could enter those doors and carry a light in front of me I would discover the Time Machine and escape. I couldn’t imagine that the Morlocks were strong enough to move it far away. I had decided to bring Weena with me to our own time. And thinking about plans like these, we walked towards the building which I had chosen as our home.

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