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Summary Chapter 8

Upon arriving at the site of the Palace of Green Porcelain, the Time Traveler ascertains that it is indeed made of porcelain. He sees an inscription and foolishly enquires Weena about its meaning. (Weena has no conception of written language.)

By and by, after perusal of some of the ruin’s contents, including a skeleton of a brontosaurus, the Time Traveler determines that the palace was once a museum. He continues to explore, with Weena by his side, and arrives at an area devoted to minerals. He finds sulfur. Hoping to make gunpowder, he looks for saltpeter. Alas, there is no saltpeter. Continuing his exploration, the Time Traveler enters a gallery which is devoted to machinery. What with his natural, mechanical bent of mind the Time Traveler is tempted to linger here and study the machines but for Weena who suddenly grows apprehensive and draws close to the Time Traveler. Midst the pockets of darkness here and there, there is the familiar sound of pattering feet: Morlocks!

Consequently, the Time Traveler temporarily leaves Weena’s side to wrench a metal bar free from its attachment. As he suspected, the attachment is weak enough for the Time Traveler to pry it free with one mighty tug. He is now equipped with a formidable weapon. He is eager to encounter the Morlocks and give them a piece of his mind. He doesn’t go looking for Morlocks, however, as he has Weena to look after and because his priority—to get his time machine back—precludes him from undertaking such foolishness.

Presently, the Time Traveler arrives at an area which was formerly a library. He sees that all the books are coming apart and that all the print has faded. He reflects on how what a waste of effort that the accumulation of human knowledge ultimately is. The Time Traveler continues to explore with Weena by his side.

They come upon a glass case which has preserved inside it what looks to be like a box of matches. The Time Traveler breaks the case; he tests a match. It works. He asks Weena to dance and then performs a dance of his own for Weena’s amusement. In another glass case, the Time Traveler finds camphor and recalling camphor’s flammability, he adds it to his growing collection of usable tools. At one point, the Time Traveler thinks he has found some cartridges of dynamite. He tests one out only to realize that they are mere objects of display, dummies. Still, it has been a good day.

As the sun is about to set, the Time Traveler decides to camp outdoor with a fire and, come morning, make the journey back to the site of the White Sphinx.

H.G. Wells