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Summary Chapter 9

It is nearly dusk. Before the sun sets, the Time Traveler hopes to have cleared the forest at which point he and Weena will encamp in the clearing with a fire. To that end, as they head for the forest, the Time Traveler collects firewood. To his chagrin, the collecting of firewood slows him down to the extent that the sun has already set and they have yet entered the forest. Morlocks are nearby, compelling Weena to hold on tightly to the Time Traveler. Subsequently, the Time Traveler decides upon a daring strategy. He will light a fire and let it trail in their path by laying down the firewood as they go, thus deterring the Morlocks from following.

At first, the strategy seems to work as the Time Traveler and Weena plunge into the forest. But as they go deeper into the forest, darkness surrounds them. There’s the sound of muttering and of pattering of feet nearby. The Morlocks are close. Indeed, it isn’t long before the Time Traveler feels a tug on his coat and a Morlock touching his arm. Subsequently, the Time Traveler let goes of Weena, digs into his pocket for the matches, lights one, and sees the Morlocks retreating. He also sees that Weena is clutching onto one of his legs and that she is unconscious. Having lit a camphor which he throws to the ground where it continues to illuminate brightly, the Time Traveler lifts Weena and attempts to make a run for it. Alas, he realizes that his maneuvers in driving off the Morlocks have disoriented his sense of direction. He is at a loss as to which to way to run.

Consequently, the Time Traveler decides to encamp right where they are. He sets Weena down on the ground and sets about with the task of building a fire. He has nearly all the twigs and firewood collected when the camphor he had lit is down to its last gasps of life. Again he feels the Morlocks closing in. He lights a match, and just as he does, he sees a couple of Morlocks dash away. Another Morlock is so blinded by the light that it comes directly at Time Traveler only to be knocked senseless by the Time Traveler’s fist. Eventually, the Time Traveler gets the fire going. He sits down and tries his best not to doze off.

Alas, the Time Traveler dozes off and when he awakes, he sees the fire extinguished. The Morlocks are all about him. The Time Traveler reaches for his matches and realizes that they are gone. A struggle ensues. The Time Traveler is grabbed by his hair and arm and is dragged down to ground when he rolls over and feels within his grasp the iron bar. Grasping the iron bar, the Time Traveler swings and incapacitates a number of Morlocks. He gets up, and putting his back against a tree, the Time Traveler attempts to maim and incapacitate as many Morlocks as he can. Then, all of sudden, the Morlocks cease harassing him. There is an ominous red glow, and when the Time Traveler peers behind the tree, he sees a conflagration, the result of the trailing fire he had built as he and Weena had fled into the forest. All the Morlocks are fleeing from the fire and so must the Time Traveler. He looks for Weena, but she is nowhere to be found. Subsequently, he runs but the fire is moving so fast that it outflanks the Time Traveler on his right, making him detour to the left.

It’s a close call, but the Time Traveler manages to escape into a clearing. There he sees the Morlocks in utter disarray so disoriented are they by the fire. Knowing that the fire is making them suffer grievously, he refrains from massacring them wholesale. As for Weena, the Time Traveler infers that she was left in the forest and concludes that that is a fate preferable to what might have happened.

Presently, the Time Traveler waits for sunrise, which comes by and by, showing him the way to the White Sphinx.

H.G. Wells