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Summary Chapter 5

It is dusk and a little chilly when the Time Traveler decides to get some shelter and some sleep. From his elevated vantage point, he has a view of the White Sphinx on the bronze pedestal. He sees the silver birch and the bushes of rhododendrons surrounding the monument. Alas, something is amiss. His time machine is nowhere to be seen! Consequently, the Time Traveler begins to run. He falls and cuts himself. He stanches the flow of blood and continues running. For a moment, he has hopes that the little creatures had merely moved it a little from its original location and that he would find it by and by. Alas, that is not the case.

Furiously, the Time Traveler searches in vain among the bushes which grow at the base of the White Sphinx. He can’t imagine that the little creatures would have it in them to hide the machine. They weren't capable of an ulterior motive. But then who could have done it? The thought that there could be some other force at work sends a chill down his spine. His only consolation is that the levers he had removed would preclude the time machine from irretrievably vanishing.

Greatly agitated, the Time Traveler enters the stone edifice where the little people are sleeping. He wakes them up, demanding to know where his time machine is. He only manages to frighten them however. Subsequently, the Time Traveler returns to the foot of the White Sphinx. There he falls asleep in a state of despair and exhaustion.

Upon awakening, the Time Traveler continues his search of his time machine. His efforts reveal that the bronze pedestal upon which the White Sphinx is erected is hollow. He infers the time machine is within the pedestal. When his effort to break and enter fails, he forcibly grabs one of the little people and drags him to the bronze pedestal only to let him go. For some reason, the bronze pedestal instills a mortal fear in the little person.

Subsequently, the Time Traveler calms himself down and resolves to find a way to gain possession of his time machine. He distracts himself by mingling with the little people and getting a better grasp of their language. He also makes a thorough exploration of his surroundings though always keeping well within sight of the White Sphinx. In his explorations, what he takes to be wells draws his particular attention. He realizes that they not water wells per se but air shafts of some sort with a vast underground network.

It is the third day since his arrival. The Time Traveler saves one of the little people from drowning. Her name is Weena. Her gratitude is such that she becomes the Time Traveler’s most faithful companion.

On the night before his rescue of Weena, the Time Traveler, who is asleep before the White Sphinx, wakes up from a nightmare. Suddenly he sees ghostly white figures dash before his eyes before disappearing over a hill. It is not quite dawn yet, and the Time Traveler wonders if they were ghosts he had just seen.

On the fourth day since his arrival, the Time Traveler explores one of the many ruins when he sees a pair of eyes looking at him from the darkness. The Time Traveler speaks to it. The pair of eyes disappears and presently the Time Traveler tracks it to a well. Lighting a match, the Time Traveler looks into the well and sees the creature clambering down a ladder which is attached to the side of the well. This discovery forces the Time Travelers to rethink his theory about the nature of this world he has stumbled upon.

He theorizes that the human race had been divided into two species: those who live above ground and those who live under ground. He theorizes that the above grounders only live for leisure and pleasure, while the under grounders work to provide the above grounders with their material comforts. Through evolution a perfect harmony has been achieved and they live symbiotically. By and by, he learns that those who live above ground are called Eloi and those who live underground are called Morlocks. What he can’t understand though is why the Morlocks had taken his time machine? (And the Time Traveler is sure that it was they and not the Eloi who have hidden his time machine.) And also why are Eloi so afraid of the dark? Indeed when he presses Weena about her fear of the dark, he only manages to make her cry. Subsequently, he lights a match a for her amusement, and she is her old happy, care-free self again.

H.G. Wells