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Summary Chapter 10

At around eight or nine in the morning, the Time Traveler arrives at the crest of the hill which overlooks the White Sphinx. He sits on the stone armchair which he had first sat on the first evening of his arrival. He sees the Elois in their usual state of play and shudders at the thought that they are merely cattle for the Morlocks. He thinks about how this state of affairs came to be.

At some point Man had achieved a perfect harmony between the rich, who were only concerned for their wealth and comfort, and the poor, who were only concerned for their life and work. As the rich became increasingly inactive, all their instincts for initiative and enterprise atrophied, while the poor, who remained industrious, retained their instinct for action and enterprise. When, for whatever reason, the food source of the poor depleted, they began to prey on the rich, overcoming Man’s instinctive repulsion of cannibalism.

Presently, feeling worn out from all the exertions vis-à-vis the Palace of Green Porcelain, the Time Traveler gives in to his body’s demands and lies on the turf for a bit of sleep. He wakes up before sunset. Assured that he won’t encounter the Morlocks just yet, the Time Traveler makes his way to the White Sphinx. He is confident that his iron crowbar will allow him to force himself in through the hollow pedestal. Should he encounter the Morlocks within, he has a few matches with which to repel them. (Although the Morlocks had made off with his box of matches, in taking the box, a few of the matches had fallen out into his pocket.)

Suddenly the Time Traveler notices something extraordinary. The pedestal’s panels have been slid open. Dropping his iron crowbar, the Time Traveler approaches the open pedestal but hesitates to enter. He sees the time machine tucked away in a corner. Regretting the fact that the use of the iron crowbar isn’t necessary, the Time Traveler enters and sees that the machine has been cleaned and oiled. He suspects that the Morlocks have studied it in trying to get an understanding of its purpose.

Suddenly, the pedestal’s panels close shut, and there is the murmur of Morlocks. The Time Traveler had anticipated this, and presently he reaches for his matches only to realize that these matches cannot be lit without the box. A struggle ensues. The Time Traveler mounts his time machine and between fending of Morlocks he reassembles the time machine’s lever. He pulls the lever.

H.G. Wells