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Summary Chapter 4

The Time Traveler is greeted by a frail, graceful creature with a laugh and a smile. Anon, they are joined by more frail and graceful creatures who likewise greet the Time Traveler with laughs and smiles. When one of them is on the verge of tinkering with the time machine, the Time Traveler wards him off before unscrewing and pocketing some levers thereby preventing its—the time machine’s—accidental activation.

Noting their delicacy and prettiness, the Time Traveler attempts to communicate with them only to get the awful feeling that they are all on a mental plane equivalent to a five-year old child. Presently, the creatures bedeck the Time traveler in flowers and lead him to a vast gray edifice of fretted stones. En route, the Time Traveler notes that the landscape resembles a wild and bushy, albeit weed-less, garden.

Inside the gray edifice, the Time Traveler is greeted by additional creatures of the same delicate and pretty features. At this point their numbers have swelled to about a hundred. They urge him to sit on a cushion and begin feeding on fruit. As he is hungry Time Traveler joins in the feast which comprises entirely of fruits. Taking note of the badly broken and weather-worn stone fixtures that serve as furniture, the Time Traveler makes an effort to know their language by urging them to identify the fruit that they are eating by name. The creatures oblige and laugh as the Time Traveler tries to vocalize the name, but it isn’t long before the creatures become wearied with the Time Traveler’s many queries; they leave the Time Traveler to his own devices.

Presently, the Time Traveler goes outside to get another view of the landscape and to speculate as to how this world became to be. For one thing, he realizes that the creatures are virtually sexless and reasons that human progress has done away with the need to have the race divided into male and female. While he is thinking this, the Time Traveler notices a sort of well in the ground with a cupola for a roof. He climbs a hill, and while surveying the landscape, reasons that agriculture and horticulture had advanced to such a degree that Man is now in complete harmony with nature, making those sciences obsolete. He climbs to crest of the hill, and there he finds an armchair of sorts made of stone. He sits and surveys the beautiful landscape which, in addition to its likeness to a beautiful wild garden, has a number of stone structures that are in ruins.

He continues with his speculations. Because neither overpopulation nor disease is an issue anymore, the peace and security the people enjoy have made them indolent. In such a society, the strong and the aggressive are at a disadvantage as they have no outlet for their bundled up energy. In such a society, where indolence rules, even the arts are no longer practiced, leading to languor and decay. Such are the Time Traveler’s thoughts as the sun goes down.

H.G. Wells