popular Six Sbillins Hovels
Richard Harding Davis
SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE
THE BETH BOOK
THE HEAVENLY TWINS
OUR MANIFOLD NATURE
THE FREEDOM OF HENRY MEREDYTH
McLEOD OF THE CAMERONS
A SELF-DENYING ORDINANCE
THE FOLLY OF EUSTACE
AN IMAGINATIVE MAN
Annie E. Holdsworth
THE GODS ARRIVE
THE YEARS THAT THE LOCUST HATH EATEN
W. E. Morris
THE DANCER IN YELLOW
A VICTIM OF GOOD LUCK
THE COUNTESS RADNA
Flora Annie Steel
IN THE PERMANENT WAY
ON THE FACE OF THE WATERS
THE POTTER'S THUMB
FROM THE FIVE RIVERS
Robert Louis Stevenson
THE EBB TIDE
THE KING OF SCHNORRERS
CHILDREN OF THE GHETTO
THE PREMIER AND THE PAINTER
LONDON : WILLIAM HEINEMANN
21 BEDFORD STREET, W.C.
And all Bookstllers and Bookstalls
War of the Worlds
H. G; Wells
Author of ' The Time Machine,' ' The Island of Doctor Moreau,'
' The Invisible Man,' etc.
' But who shall dwell in these Worlds if they be inhabited ?
. . . Are we or they Lords of the World ? . . . And
how are all things made for man ?'
KEPLER (quoted in The Anatomy of Melancholy]
All rights reserved
THIS RENDERING OF HIS IDEA.
BOOK I. THE COMING OF THE MARTIANS.
I. THE EVE OF THE WAR - I
II. THE FALLING STAR - 12
III. ON HORSELL COMMON 1 9
IV. THE CYLINDER UNSCREWS - 25
V. THE HEAT-RAY - "31
VI. THE HEAT-RAY IN THE CHOBHAM ROAD - - 39
VII. HOW I REACHED HOME - - 44
VIII. FRIDAY NIGHT - $1
IX. THE FIGHTING BEGINS - - $6
X. IN THE STORM - - 67
XI. AT THE WINDOW - 78
XII. WHAT I SAW OF THE DESTRUCTION OF WEYBRIDGE
AND SHEPPERTON - 88
XIII. HOW I FELL IN WITH THE CURATE - 107
XIV. IN LONDON - 117
XV. WHAT HAD HAPPENED IN SURREY - 136
XVI. THE EXODUS FROM LONDON - 150
xvn. THE 'THUNDER CHILD' - - . - 172
BOOK II. THE EARTH UNDER THE MARTIANS.
I. UNDER FOOT - 1 88
II. WHAT WE SAW FROM THE RUINED HOUSE - 2OI
III. THE DAYS OF IMPRISONMENT - - 217
IV. THE DEATH OF THE CURATE - 227
V.' THE STILLNESS - - 235
VI. THE WORK OF FIFTEEN DAYS - - 240
VII. THE MAN ON PUTNEY HILL - 246
VIII. DEAD LONDON - 273
IX. WRECKAGE - - 288
X. THE EPILOGUE - - - - - 297
BOOK I. THE COMING OF THE
THE EVE OF THE WAR.
No one would have believed, in the last years
of the nineteenth century, that human affairs
were being watched keenly and closely by
intelligences greater than man's and yet as
mortal as his own ; that as men busied them-
selves about their affairs they were scrutinized
and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a
man with a microscope might scrutinize the
transient creatures that swarm and multiply in
a drop of water. With infinite complacency
men went to and fro over this globe about
J;heir little affairs, serene in their assurance of
their empire over matter. It is possible that
the infusoria under the microscope do the
same. No one gave a thought to the older
worlds of space as sources of human danger, or
2 The War of the Worlds
thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life
upon them as impossible or improbable. It is
curious to recall some of the mental habits of
those departed days. At most, terrestrial men
fancied there might be other men upon Mars,
perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to
welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet, across
the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds
as ours are to those of the beasts that perish,
intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic,
regarded this earth with envious eyes, and
slowly and surely drew their plans against
us. And early in the twentieth century came
the great disillusionment.
The planet Mars, I scarcely need remind the
reader, revolves about the sun at a mean dis-
tance of 140,000,000 miles, and the light and
heat it receives from the sun is barely half of
that received by this world. It must be, if the
nebular hypothesis has any truth, older than
our world, and long before this earth ceased to
be molten, life upon its surface must have
begun its course. The fact that it is scarcely one-
seventh of the volume of the earth must have
accelerated its cooling to the temperature at
which life could begin. It has air and water,
and all that is necessary for the support of
The Eve of the War 3
Yet so vain is man, and so blinded by his
vanity, that no writer, up to the very end of the
nineteenth century, expressed any idea that
intelligent life might have developed there far,
or indeed at all, beyond its earthly level. Nor
was it generally understood that since Mars is
older than our earth, with scarcely a quarter of
the superficial area, and remoter from the sun,
it necessarily follows that it is not only more
distant from life's beginning but nearer its
The secular cooling that must some day over-
take our planet has already gone far indeed
with our neighbour. Its physical condition is
still largely a mystery, but we know now that
even in its equatorial region the mid-day tem-
perature barely approaches that of our coldest
winter. Its air is much more attenuated than
ours, its oceans have shrunk until they cover
but a third of its surface, and as its slow seasons
change huge snowcaps gather and melt about
either pole, and periodically inundate its tem-
perate zones. That last stage of exhaustion,
which to us is still incredibly remote, has become
a present-day problem for the inhabitants of
Mars. The immediate pressure of necessity
has brightened their intellects, enlarged their
powers, and hardened their hearts. And look-
4 The War of the Worlds
ing across space, with instruments and intelli-
gences such as we have scarcely dreamt of, they
see, at its nearest distance, only 35,000,000 of
miles sunward of them, a morning star of hope,
our own warmer planet, green with vegetation
and gray with water, with a cloudy atmosphere
eloquent of fertility, with glimpses through
its drifting cloud-wisps of broad stretches of
populous country and narrow navy -crowded
And we men, the creatures who inhabit this
earth, must be to them at least as alien and
lowly as are the monkeys and lemurs to us.
The intellectual side of man already admits
that life is an incessant struggle for existence,
and it would seem that this too is the belief of
the minds upon Mars. Their world is far gone
in its cooling, and this world is still crowded
with life, but crowded only with what they
regard as inferior animals. To carry warfare
sunward is indeed their only escape from the
destruction that generation after generation
creeps upon them.
And before we judge of them too harshly,
we must remember what ruthless and utter
destruction our own species has wrought, not
only upon animals, such as the vanished
bison and the dodo, but upon its own inferior
The Eve of the War 5
races. The Tasmanians, in spite of their
human likeness, were entirely swept out of
existence in a war of extermination waged
by European immigrants, in the space of fifty
years. Are we such apostles of mercy as to
complain if the Martians warred in the same
The Martians seem to have calculated their
descent with amazing subtlety their mathe-
matical learning is evidently far in excess of
ours and to have carried out their prepara-
tions with a well-nigh perfect unanimity. Had
our instruments permitted it, we might have
seen the gathering trouble far back in the
nineteenth century. Men like Schiaparelli
watched the red planet it is odd, by-the-by,
that for countless centuries Mars has been the
star of war but failed to interpret the fluctu-
ating appearances of the markings they mapped
so well. All that time the Martians must have
been getting ready.
During the opposition of 1894 a great light
was seen on the illuminated part of the disc,
first at the Lick Observatory, then by Perrotin
of Nice, and then by other observers. English
readers heard of it first in the issue of Nature
dated August 2. I am inclined to think that
the appearance may have been the casting of
6 The War of the Worlds
the huge gun, the vast pit sunk into their planet,
from which their shots were fired at us. Peculiar
markings, as yet unexplained, were seen near
the site of that outbreak during the next two
The storm burst upon us six years ago now.
As Mars approached opposition, Lavelle of
Java set the wires of the astronomical exchange
palpitating with the amazing intelligence of a
huge outbreak of incandescent gas upon the
planet. It had occurred towards midnight of
the 1 2th, and the spectroscope, to which he
had at once resorted, indicated a mass of
. flaming gas, chiefly hydrogen, moving with an
enormous velocity towards this earth. This
jet of fire had become invisible about a quarter
past twelve. He compared it to a colossal puff
of flame, suddenly and violently squirted out of
the planet, ' as flaming gas rushes out of a
A singularly appropriate phrase it proved.
Yet the next day there was nothing of this in
the papers, except a little note in the Daily
Telegraph, and the world went in ignorance of
one of the gravest dangers that ever threatened
the human race. I might not have heard of the
eruption at all had I not met Ogilvy, the well-
known astronomer, at Ottershaw. He was
immensely excited at the news, and in the ex-
cess of his feelings invited me up to take a turn
with him that night in a scrutiny of the red
In spite of all that has happened since, I still
remember that vigil very distinctly : the black
and silent observatory, the shadowed lantern
throwing a feeble glow upon the floor in the
corner, the steady ticking of the clockwork of
the telescope, the little slit in the roof an
oblong profundity with the star dust streaked
across it. Ogilvy moved about, invisible but
audible. Looking through the telescope, one
saw a circle of deep blue, and the little round
planet swimming in the field. It seemed such
a little thing, so bright and small and still,
faintly marked with transverse stripes, and
slightly flattened from the perfect round. But
so little it was, so silvery warm, a pin's head of
light T -It was as if it quivered a little, but
really this was the telescope vibrating with the
activity of the clockwork that kept the planet
As I watched, the little star seemed to grow
larger and smaller, and to advance and recede,
but that was simply that my eye was tired.
Forty millions of miles it was from us more
than 40,000,000 miles of void. Few people
8 The War of the Worlds
realize the immensity of vacancy in which the
dust of the material universe swims.
Near it in the field, I remember, were three
little points of light, three telescopic stars
infinitely remote, and all around it was the un-
fathomable darkness of empty space. You
know how that blackness looks on a frosty star-
light night. In a telescope it seems far pro-
founder. And invisible to me, because it was
so remote and small, flying swiftly and steadily
towards me across that incredible distance, draw-
ing nearer every minute by so many thousands
of miles, came the Thing they were sending us,
the Thing that was to bring so much struggle
and calamity and death to the earth. I never
dreamt of it then as I watched ; no one on
earth dreamt of that unerring missile.
That night, too, there was another jetting
out of gas from the distant planet. I saw it.
A reddish flash at the edge, the slightest pro-
jection of the outline, just as the chronometer
struck midnight, and at that I told Ogilvy, and
he took my place. The night was warm and I
was thirsty, and I went, stretching my legs
clumsily, and feeling my way in the darkness,
to the little table where the siphon stood, while
Ogilvy exclaimed at the streamer of gas that
came out towards us.
The Eve of the War 9
That night another invisible missile started
on its way to the earth from Mars, just a second
or so under twenty-four hours after the first
one. I remember how I sat on the table there
in the blackness, with patches of green and
crimson swimming before my eyes. I wished
I had a light to smoke by, little suspecting the
meaning of the minute gleam I had seen, and
all that it would presently bring me. Ogilvy
watched till one, and then gave it up, and we
lit the lantern and walked over to his house.
Down below in the darkness were Ottershaw
and Chertsey, and all their hundreds of people,
sleeping in peace.
He was full of speculation that night about
the condition of Mars, and scoffed at the vulgar
idea of its having inhabitants who were signal-
ling us. His idea was that meteorites might
be falling in a heavy shower upon the planet,
or that a huge volcanic explosion was in pro-
gress. He pointed out to me how unlikely it
was that organic evolution had taken the same
direction in the two adjacent planets.
' The chances against anything man-like on
Mars are a million to one,' he said.
Hundreds of observers saw the flame that
night and the night after, about midnight, and
again the night after, and so for ten nights,
io The War of the Worlds
a flame each night. Why the shots ceased
after the tenth no one on earth has attempted
to exglain. It may be the gases of the
firing caused the Martians inconvenience.
Dense clouds of smoke or dust, visible through
a powerful telescope on earth as little gray,
fluctuating patches, spread through the clear-
ness of the planet's atmosphere, and obscured
its more familiar features.
Even the daily papers woke up to the dis-
turbances at last, and popular notes appeared
here, there, and everywhere concerning the
volcanoes upon Mars. The serio-comic peri-
odical Punch, I remember, made a happy use
of it in the political cartoon. And, all un-
suspected, those missiles the Martians had fired
at us drew earthward, rushing now at a pace
of many miles a second through the empty gulf
of space, hour by hour and day by day, nearer
and nearer. It seems to me now almost in-
credibly wonderful that, with that swift fate
hanging over us, men could go about their
petty concerns as they did. I remember how
jubilant Markham was at securing a new photo-
graph of the planet for the illustrated paper he
edited in those days. People in these latter
times scarcely realize the abundance and enter-
prise of our nineteenth-century papers. For
The Eve of the War 1 1
my own part, I was much occupied in learning
to ride the bicycle, and busy upon a series of
papers discussing the probable developments of
moral ideas as civilization progressed.
One night (the first missile then could scarcely
have been 10,000,000 miles away) I went for a
walk with my wife. It was starlight, and I
explained the Signs of the Zodiac to her, and
pointed out Mars, a bright dot of light creeping
zenithward, towards which so many telescopes
were pointed. It was a warm night. Coming
home, a party of excursionists from Chertsey
or Isleworth passed us singing and playing
music. There were lights in the upper
windows of the houses as the people went
to bed. From the railway - station in the
distance came the sound of shunting trains,
ringing and rumbling, softened almost into
melody by the distance. My wife pointed out
to me the brightness of the red, green and
yellow signal lights, hanging in a framework
against the sky. It seemed so safe and
THE FALLING STAR.
THEN came the night of the first falling star.
It was seen early in the morning rushing over
Winchester eastward, a line of flame, high in
the atmosphere. Hundreds must have seen it,
and taken it for an ordinary falling star. Albin
described it as leaving a greenish streak behind
it that glowed for some seconds. Denning, our
greatest authority on meteorites, stated that the
height of its first appearance was about ninety
or one hundred miles. It seemed to him that it
fell to earth about one hundred miles east of
I was at home at that hour and writing in
my study, and although my French windows
face towards Ottershaw and the blind was up
(for I loved in those days to look up at the
night sky), I saw nothing of it. Yet this
strangest of all things that ever came to earth
from outer space must have fallen while I was
sitting there, visible to me had I only looked
The Falling Star 13
up as it passed. Some of those who saw its
flight say it travelled with a hissing sound. I
myself heard nothing of that. Many people
in Berkshire, Surrey, and Middlesex must have
seen the fall of it, and, at most, have thought
that another meteorite had descended. No one
seems to have troubled to look for the fallen
mass that night.
But very early in the morning poor Ogilvy,
who had seen the shooting star, and who was
persuaded that a meteorite lay somewhere on
the common between Horsell, Ottershaw and
Woking, rose early with the idea of finding it.
Find it he did, soon after dawn, and not far
from the sand-pits. An enormous hole had
been made by the impact of the projectile,
and the sand and gravel had been flung vio-
lently in every direction over the heath and
heather, forming heaps visible a mile and
a half away. The heather was on fire east-
ward, and a thin blue smoke rose against the
The Thing itself lay almost entirely buried in
sand, amidst the scattered splinters of a fir-tree
it had shivered to fragments in its descent,
The uncovered part had the appearance of a
huge cylinder, caked over, and its outline
softened by a thick, scaly, dun-coloured incrus-
14 The War of the Worlds
tation. It had a diameter of about thirty yards.
He approached the mass, surprised at the size
and more so at the shape, since most meteorites
are rounded more or less completely. It was,
however, still so hot from its flight through the
air as to forbid his near approach. A stirring
noise within its cylinder he ascribed to the
unequal cooling of its surface ; for at that time
it had not occurred to him that it might be
He remained standing at the edge of the
pit that the thing had made for itself, staring
at its strange appearance, astonished chiefly at
its unusual shape and colour, and dimly per-
ceiving even then some evidence of design in
its arrival. The early morning was wonder-
fully still, and the sun, just clearing the pine-
trees towards Weybridge, was already warm.
He did not remember hearing any birds that
morning, there was certainly no breeze stirring,
and the only sounds were the faint movements
from within the cindery cylinder. He was all
alone on the common.
Then suddenly he noticed with a start that
some of the gray clinker, the ashy incrustation
that covered the meteorite, was falling off the
circular edge of the end. It was dropping off
in flakes and raining down upon the sand. A
The Falling Star 15
large piece suddenly came off and fell with a
sharp noise that brought his heart into his
For a minute he scarcely realized what this
meant, and, although the heat was excessive,
he clambered down into the pit close to the
bulk to see the thing more clearly. He fancied
even then that the cooling of the body might
account for this, but what disturbed that idea
was the fact that the ash was falling only from
the end of the cylinder.
And then he perceived that, very slowly, the
circular top of the cylinder was rotating on its
body. It was such a gradual movement that
he discovered it only through noticing that a
black mark that had been near him five minutes
ago was now at the other side of the circum-
ference. Even then he scarcely understood
what this indicated, until he heard a muffled
grating sound and saw the black mark jerk
forward an inch or so. Then the thing came
upon him in a flash. The cylinder was arti-
ficial hollow with an end that screwed out !
Something within the cylinder was unscrewing
the top !
1 Good heavens !' said Ogilvy. ' There's a
man in it men in it ! Half roasted to death !
1 6 The War of the Worlds
At once, with a quick mental leap, he linked
the thing with the flash upon Mars.
The thought of the confined creature was so
dreadful to him that he forgot the heat, and
went forward to the cylinder to help turn. But
luckily the dull radiation arrested him before he
could burn his hands on the still glowing metal.
At that he stood irresolute for a moment, then
turned, scrambled out of the pit, and set off
running wildly into Woking. The time then
must have been somewhere about six o'clock.
He met a waggoner and tried to make him
understand, but the tale he told, and his appear-
ance, were so wild his hat had fallen off in
the pit that the man simply drove on. He
was equally unsuccessful with the potman who
was just unlocking the doors of the public-
house by Horsell Bridge. The fellow thought
he was a lunatic at large, and made an unsuc-
cessful attempt to shut him into the tap-room.
That sobered him a little, and when he saw
Henderson, the London journalist, in his
garden, he called over the palings and made
' Henderson,' he called, ' you saw that shoot-
ing star last night ?'
' Well ?' said Henderson.
' It's out on Horsell Common now.'
The Falling Star 17
' Good Lord !' said Henderson*. ' Fallen
meteorite ! That's good.'
' But it's something more than a meteorite.
It's a cylinder an artificial cylinder, man ! And
there's something inside.'
Henderson stood up with his spade in his
'What's that?' he said. He is deaf in one
Ogilvy told him all that he had seen. Hen-
derson was a minute or so taking it in. Then
he dropped his spade, snatched at his jacket,
and came out into the road. The two men
hurried back at once to the common, and found
the cylinder still lying in the same position.
But now the sounds inside had ceased, and a
thin circle of bright metal showed between the
top and the body of the cylinder. Air was
either entering or escaping at the rim with a
thin, sizzling sound.
They listened, rapped on the scale with a
stick, and, meeting with no response, they
both concluded the man or men inside must
r 1 be insensible or dead.
Of course the two were quite unable to do
anything. They shouted consolation and pro-
mises, and went off back to the town again to
get help. One can imagine them, covered with
1 8 The War of the Worlds
sand, excited and disordered, running up the
little street in the bright sunlight, just as the
shop folks were taking down their shutters and
people were opening their bedroom windows.
Henderson went into the railway - station at
once, in order to telegraph the news to London.
The newspaper articles had prepared men's
minds for the reception of the idea.
By eight o'clock a number of boys and un-
employed men had already started for the
common to see the 'dead men from Mars.'
That was the form the story took. I heard of
it first from my newspaper boy, about a quarter
to nine, when I went out to get my Daily
Chronicle. I was naturally startled, and lost
no time in going out and across the Ottershaw
bridge to the sand-pits.
ON HORSELL COMMON.
I FOUND a little crowd of perhaps twenty people
surrounding the huge hole in which the cylinder
lay. I have already described the appearance
of that colossal bulk, imbedded in the ground.
The turf and gravel about it seemed charred as
if by a sudden explosion. No doubt its impact
had caused a flash of fire. Henderson and
Ogilvy were not there. I think they perceived
that nothing was to be done for the present,
and had gone away to breakfast at Henderson's
There were four or five boys sitting on the
edge of the pit, with their feet dangling, and
amusing themselves until I stopped them by
throwing stones at the giant mass. After I
-/had spoken to them about it, they began play-
ing at ' touch ' in and out of the group of by-
Among these were a couple of cyclists, a
jobbing gardener I employed sometimes, a girl
20 The War of the Worlds
carrying a baby, Gregg the butcher and his
little boy, and two or three loafers and golf
caddies who were accustomed to hang about
the railway - station. There was very little
talking. Few of the common people in Eng-
land had anything but the vaguest astronomical
ideas in those days. Most of them were staring
quietly at the big table-like end of the cylinder,
which was still as Ogilvy and Henderson had
left it. I fancy the popular expectation of a
heap of charred corpses was disappointed at
this inanimate bulk. Some went away while I
was there, and other people came. I clambered
into the pit and fancied I heard a faint move-
ment under my feet. The top had certainly
ceased to rotate.
It was only when I got thus close to it that
the strangeness of this object was at all evident
to me. At the first glance it was really no
more exciting than an overturned carriage or a
tree blown across the road. Not so much so,
indeed. It looked like a rusty gas-float half
buried, more than anything else in the world.
It required a certain amount of scientific educa-
tion to perceive that the gray scale of the thing
was no common oxide, that the yellowish-white
metal that gleamed in the crack between the
lid and the cylinder had an unfamiliar hue.
On Horsell Common 21
' Extra-terrestrial ' had no meaning for most of
At that time it was quite clear in my own
mind that the Thing had come from the planet
Mars, but I judged it improbable that it con-
tained any living creature. I thought the un-
screwing might be automatic. In spite of
Ogilvy, I still believed that there were men in
Mars. My mind ran fancifully on the possi-
bilities of its containing manuscript, on the
difficulties in translation that might arise,
whether we should find coins and models in it,
and so forth. Yet it was a little too large for
assurance on this idea. I felt an impatience to
see it opened. About eleven, as nothing
seemed happening, I walked back, full of such
thoughts, to my home in Maybury. But I
found it difficult to get to work upon my
In the afternoon the appearance of the
common had altered very much. The early
editions of the evening papers had startled
London with enormous headlines :
' A MESSAGE RECEIVED FROM MARS/
' REMARKABLE STORY FROM WOKING,'
and so forth. In addition, Ogilvy's wire to the
22 The War of the Worlds
Astronomical Exchange had roused every
observatory in the three kingdoms.
There were half a dozen flys or more from
the Woking station standing in the road by the
sand-pits, a basket chaise from Chobham, and a
rather lordly carriage. Besides that, there was
quite a heap of bicycles. In addition, a large
number of people must have walked, in spite of
the heat of the day, from Woking and Chertsey,
so that there was altogether quite a consider-
able crowd one or two gaily dressed ladies
among the others.
It was glaringly hot, not a cloud in the sky,
nor a breath of wind, and the only shadow was
that of the few scattered pine-trees. The burn-
ing heather had been extinguished, but the
level ground towards Ottershaw was blackened
as far as one could see, and still giving off
vertical streamers of smoke. An enterprising
sweetstuff dealer in the Chobham Road had
sent up his son with a barrow-load of green
apples and ginger-beer.
Going to the edge of the pit, I found it
occupied by a group of about half a dozen men
Henderson, Ogilvy, and a tall fair-haired
man that I afterwards learnt was Stent, the
Astronomer Royal, with several workmen
wielding spades and pickaxes. Stent was
On Horsell Common 23
giving directions in a clear, high - pitched
voice. He was standing on the cylinder,
which was now evidently much cooler ; his
face was crimson and streaming with perspira-
tion, and something seemed to have irritated
A large portion of the cylinder had been un-
covered, though its lower end was still em-
bedded. As soon as Ogilvy saw me among
the staring crowd on the edge of the pit, he
called to me to come down, and asked me if I
would mind going over to see Lord Hilton, the
lord of the manor.
The growing crowd, he said, was becoming
a serious impediment to their excavations,
especially the boys. They wanted a light
railing put up, and help to keep the people
back. He told me that a faint stirring was
occasionally still audible within the case, but
that the workmen had failed to unscrew the
top, as it afforded no grip to them. The case
appeared to be enormously thick, and it was
possible that the faint sounds we heard repre-
sented a noisy tumult in the interior.
I was very glad to do as he asked, and so
become one of the privileged spectators within
the contemplated enclosure. I failed to find
Lord Hilton at his house, but I was told he
24 The War of the Worlds
was expected from London by the six o'clock
train from Waterloo ; and as it was then about
a quarter past five, I went home, had some
tea, and walked up to the station to waylay
THE CYLINDER UNSCREWS.
WHEN I returned to the common the sun was
setting. Scattered groups were hurrying from
the direction of Woking, and one or two
persons were returning. The crowd about the
pit had increased, and stood out black against
the lemon-yellow of the sky a couple of hun-
dred people, perhaps. There were a number
of voices raised, and some sort of struggle
appeared to be going on about the pit. Strange
imaginings passed through my mind. As I
drew nearer I heard Stent's voice :
' Keep back ! Keep back !'
A boy came running towards me.
' It's a-movin',' he said to me as he passed
' a-screwin' and a-screwin' out. I don't like it.
I'm a-goin' 'ome, I am.'
I went on to the crowd. There were really,
I should think, two or three hundred people
elbowing and jostling one another, the one or two
ladies there being by no means the least active.
26 The War of the Worlds
' He's fallen in the pit !' cried someone.
' Keep back !' said several.
The crowd swayed a little, and I elbowed my
way through. Everyone seemed greatly ex-
cited. I heard a peculiar humming sound from
4 1 say !' said Ogilvy, 4 help keep these idiots
back. We don't know what's in the confounded
thing, you know !'
I saw a young man, a shop assistant in
Woking I believe he was, standing on the
cylinder and trying to scramble out of the hole
again. The crowd had pushed him in.
The end of the cylinder was being screwed
out from within. Nearly two feet of shining
screw projected. Somebody blundered against
me, and I narrowly missed being pitched on
to the top of the screw. I turned, and as I did
so the screw must have come out, and the lid
of the cylinder fell upon the gravel with a ring-
ing concussion. I stuck my elbow into the
person behind me, and turned my head towards
the Thing again. For a moment that circular
cavity seemed perfectly black. I had the sun-
set in my eyes.
I think everyone expected to see a man
emerge possibly something a little unlike us
terrestrial men, but in all essentials a man. I
The Cylinder unscrews 27
know I did. But, looking, I presently saw
something stirring within the shadow grayish
billowy movements, one above another, and
then two luminous discs like eyes. Then
something resembling a little gray snake, about
the thickness of a walking-stick, coiled up out
of the writhing middle, and wriggled in the air
towards me and then another.
A sudden chill came over me. There was a
loud shriek from a woman behind. I half
turned, keeping my eyes fixed upon the cylin-
der still, from which other tentacles were now
projecting, and began pushing my way back
from the edge of the pit. I saw astonishment
giving place to horror on the faces of the
people about me. I heard inarticulate exclama-
tions on all sides. There was a general move-
ment backward. I saw the shopman struggling
still on the edge of the pit. I found myself
alone, and saw the people on the other side of
the pit running off, Stent among them. I
looked again at the cylinder, and ungovern-
able terror gripped me. I stood petrified and
A big grayish, rounded bulk, the size, per-
haps, of a bear, was rising slowly and painfully
out of the cylinder. As it bulged up and
caught the light, it glistened like wet leather.
28 The War of the Worlds
Two large dark-coloured eyes were regarding
me steadfastly. It was rounded, and had, one
might say, a face. There was a mouth under
the eyes, the lipless brim of which quivered
and panted, and dropped saliva. The body
heaved and pulsated convulsively. A lank
tentacular appendage gripped the edge of the
cylinder, another swayed in the air.
Those who have never seen a living Martian
can scarcely imagine the strange horror of their
appearance. The peculiar V-shaped mouth
with its pointed upper lip, the absence of brow
ridges, the absence of a chin beneath the
wedge-like lower lip, the incessant quivering of
this mouth, the Gorgon groups of tentacles, the
tumultuous breathing of the lungs in a strange
atmosphere, the evident heaviness and painful-
ness of movement, due to the greater gravita-
tional energy of the earth above all, the
extraordinary intensity of the immense eyes
culminated in an effect akin to nausea. There
was something fungoid in the oily brown skin,
something in the clumsy deliberation of their
tedious movements unspeakably terrible. Even
at this first encounter, this first glimpse, I was
overcome with disgust and dread.
Suddenly the monster vanished. It had
toppled over the brim of the cylinder and fallen
The Cylinder unscrews 29
into the pit, with a thud like the fall of a great
mass of leather. I heard it give a peculiar thick
cry, and forthwith another of these creatures
appeared darkly in the deep shadow of the
At that my rigour of terror passed away. I
turned and, running madly, made for the first
group of trees, perhaps a hundred yards away ;
but I ran slantingly and stumbling, for I could
not avert my face from these things.
There, among some young pine-trees and
furze bushes, I stopped, panting, and waited
further developments. The common round the
sand-pits was dotted with people, standing, like
myself, in a half-fascinated terror, staring at
these creatures, or, rather, at the heaped gravel
at the edge of the pit in which they lay. And
then, with a renewed horror, I saw a round,
black object bobbing up and down on the edge
of the pit. It was the head of the shopman
who had fallen in, but showing as a little black
object against the hot western sky. Now he
got his shoulder and knee up, and again he
seemed to slip back until only his head was
visible. Suddenly he vanished, and I could
have fancied a faint shriek had reached me. I
had a momentary impulse to go back and help
him that my fears overruled.
30 The War of the Worlds
Everything was then quite invisible, hidden
by the deep pit and the heap of sand that the
fall of the cylinder had made. Anyone coming
along the road from Chobham or Woking
would have been amazed at the sight a dwind-
ling multitude of perhaps a hundred people or
more standing in a great irregular circle, in
ditches, behind bushes, behind gates and
hedges, saying little to one another, and that in
short, excited shouts, and staring, staring hard
at a few heaps of sand. The barrow of ginger-
beer stood, a queer derelict, black against the
burning sky, and in the sand-pits was a row of
deserted vehicles with their horses feeding out
of nose-bags or pawing the ground.
AFTER the glimpse I had had of the Martians
emerging from the cylinder in which they had
come to the earth from their planet, a kind of
fascination paralyzed my actions. I remained
standing knee-deep in the heather, staring at
the mound that hid them. I was a battle-
ground of fear and curiosity.
I did not dare to go back toward the pit, but
I felt a passionate longing to peer into it. I
began walking, therefore, in a big curve, seek-
ing some point of vantage, and continually look-
ing at the sand-heaps that hid these new-comers
to our earth. Once a leash of thin black whips,
like the arms of an octopus, flashed across the
sunset and was immediately withdrawn, and
afterwards a thin rod rose up, joint by joint,
bearing at its apex a circular disc that spun with a
wobbling motion. What could be going on there?
Most of the spectators had gathered in one
or two groups one a little crowd towards
30 The War of the Worlds
Evetg, the other a knot of people in the
by tH-tion of Chobham. Evidently they shared
fal/ mental conflict. There were few near me.
One man I approached he was, I perceived,
a neighbour of mine, though I did not know
his name and accosted. But it was scarcely
a time for articulate conversation.
' What ugly brutes f he said. ' Good God !
what ugly brutes !' He repeated this over and
' Did you see a man in the pit ?' I said ; but
he made me no answer to that. We became
silent, and stood watching for a time side by
side, deriving, I fancy, a certain comfort in one
another's company. Then I shifted my posi-
tion to a little knoll that gave me the advantage
of a yard or more of elevation, and when I
looked for him presently he was walking to-
The sunset faded to twilight before anything
further happened. The crowd far away on the
left, towards Woking, seemed to grow, and I
heard now a faint murmur from it. The little
knot of people towards Chobham dispersed.
There was scarcely an intimation of movement
from the pit.
It was this, as much as anything, that gave
people courage, and I suppose the new arrivals
The Heat- Ray 33
from Woking also helped to restore confidence.
At any rate, as the dusk came on, a slow, in-
termittent movement upon the sand-pits began,
a movement that seemed to gather force as the
stillness of the evening about the cylinder re-
mained unbroken. Vertical black figures in
twos and threes would advance, stop, watch, and
advance again, spreading out as they did so in a
thin irregular crescent that promised to enclose
the pit in its attenuated horns. I, too, on my
side began to move towards the pit.
Then I saw some cabmen and others had
walked boldly into the sand-pits, and heard the
clatter of hoofs and the gride of wheels. I saw
a lad trundling off the barrow of apples. And
then, within thirty yards of the pit, advancing
from the direction of Horsell, I noted a little
black knot of men, the foremost of whom was
waving a white flag.
This was the Deputation. There had been
a hasty consultation, and, since the Martians
were evidently, in spite of their repulsive
forms, intelligent creatures, it had been resolved
' to show them, by approaching them with signals,
that we, too, were intelligent.
Flutter, flutter, went the flag, first to the
right, then to the left. It was too far for me to
recognise anyone there, but afterwards I learnt
34 The War of the Worlds
that Ogilvy, Stent, and Henderson were with
others in this attempt at communication. This
little group had in its advance dragged inward,
so to speak, the circumference of the now
almost complete circle of people, and a number
of dim black figures followed it at discreet
Suddenly there was a flash of light, and a
quantity of luminous greenish smoke came out
of the pit in three distinct puffs, which drove
up, one after the other, straight into the still air.
This smoke (or flame, perhaps, would be the
better word for it) was so bright that the deep
blue sky overhead, and the hazy stretches of
brown common towards Chertsey, set with black
pine-trees, seemed to darken abruptly as these
puffs arose, and to remain the darker after their
dispersal. At the same time a faint hissing
sound became audible.
Beyond the pit stood the little wedge of
people, with the white flag at its apex, arrested
by these phenomena, a little knot of small
vertical black shapes upon the black ground.
As the green smoke rose, their faces flashed
out pallid green, and faded again as it vanished.
Then slowly the hissing passed into a hum-
ming, into a long, loud, droning noise. Slowly
a humped shape rose out of the pit, and the
The Heat-Ray 35
ghost of a beam of light seemed to flicker out
Forthwith flashes of actual flame, a bright
glare leaping from one to another, sprang from
the scattered group of men. It was as if
some invisible jet impinged upon them and
flashed into white flame. It was as if each
man were suddenly and momentarily turned
to fire. ,
Then, oy the light of their own destruction, I
saw them staggering and falling, and their sup-
porters turning to run.
I stood staring, not as yet realizing that this
was death leaping from man to man in that
little distant crowd. All I felt was that it was
something strange. An almost noiseless and
blinding flash of light, and a man fell headlong
and lay still, and as the unseen shaft of heat
passed over them, pine-trees burst into fire,
and every dry furze-bush became with one
dull thud a mass of flames. And far away
towards Knaphill I saw the flashes of trees
and hedges and wooden buildings suddenly set
It was sweeping round swiftly and steadily,
this flaming death, this invisible, inevitable
sword of heat. I perceived it coming towards
me by the flashing bushes it touched, and was
36 The War of the Worlds
too astounded and stupefied to stir. I heard
the crackle of fire in the sand-pits and the
sudden squeal of a horse that was as suddenly
stilled. Then it was as if an invisible yet
intensely heated finger was drawn through the
heather between me and the Martians, and all
along a curving line beyond the sand-pits the
dark ground smoked and crackled. Something
fell with a crash, far away to the left where
the road from Woking Station opens out on
the common. Forthwith the hissing and hum-
ming ceased, and the black, dome-like object
sank slowly out of sight into the pit.
All this had happened with such swiftness
that I had stood motionless, dumfounded and
dazzled by the flashes of light. Had that
death swept through a full circle, it must
inevitably have slain me in my surprise. But
it passed and spared me, and left the night
about me suddenly dark and unfamiliar.
The undulating common seemed now dark
almost to blackness, except where its roadways
lay gray and pale under the deep-blue sky
of the early night. It was dark, and suddenly
void of men. Overhead the stars were muster-
ing, and in the west the sky was still a pale,
bright, almost greenish blue. The tops of the
pine-trees and the roofs of Horsell came out
The Heat-Ray 37
sharp and black against the western after-glow.
The Martians and their appliances were alto-
gether invisible, save for that thin mast upon
which their restless mirror wobbled. Patches
of bush and isolated trees here and there
smoked and glowed still, and the houses towards
Woking Station were sending up spires of flame
into the stillness of the evening air.
Nothing was changed save for that and a
terrible astonishment. The little group of black
specks with the flag of white had been swept
out of existence, and the stillness of the even-
ing, so it seemed to me, had scarcely been
It came to me that I was upon this dark
common, helpless, unprotected and alone. Sud-
denly like a thing falling upon me from without
With an effort I turned and began a stumb-
ling run through the heather.
The fear I felt was no rational fear but a
panic terror, not only of the Martians, but of
the dusk and stillness all about me. Such an
extraordinary effect in unmanning me it had
that I ran weeping silently as a child might
do. Once I had turned, I did not dare to
I remember I felt an extraordinary per-
3 8 The War of the^Worlds
suasion that I was being played with, that
presently, when I was upon the very verge ot
safety, this mysterious death as swift as the
passage of light would leap after me from the
pit about the cylinder, and strike me down.
THE HEAT-RAY IN THE CHOBHAM ROAD.
IT is still a matter of wonder how the Martians
are able to slay men so swiftly and so silently.
Many think that in some way they are able to
generate an intense heat in a chamber of prac-
tically absolute non-conductivity. This intense
heat they project in a parallel beam against
any object they choose by means of a polished
parabolic mirror of unknown composition-
much as the parabolic mirror of a lighthouse
projects a beam of light. But no one has
absolutely proved these details. However it is
done, it is certain that a beam of heat is the
essence of the matter. Heat, and invisible,
instead of visible light. Whatever is combus-
tible flashes into flame at its touch, lead runs
like water, it softens iron, cracks and melts
glass, and when it falls upon water inconti-
nently that explodes into steam.
That night nearly forty people lay under the
starlight about the pit, charred and distorted
40 The War of the Worlds
beyond recognition, and all night long the
common from Horsell to Maybury was
deserted, and brightly ablaze.
The news of the massacre probably reached
Chobham, Woking, and Ottershaw about the
same time. In Woking the shops had closed
when the tragedy happened, and a number of
people, shop-people and so forth, attracted by
the stories they had heard, were walking over
Horsell Bridge and along the road between the
hedges that run out at last upon the common.
You may imagine the young people brushed
up after the labours of the day, and making this
novelty, as they would make any novelty, the
excuse for walking together and enjoying a trivial
flirtation. You may figure to yourself the hum
of voices along the road in the gloaming. . . .
As yet, of course, few people in Woking even
knew that the cylinder had opened, though
poor Henderson had sent a messenger on a
bicycle to the post-office with a special wire to
an evening paper.
As these folks came out by twos and threes
upon the open, they found little knots of people
talking excitedly, and peering at the spinning
mirror over the sand-pits, and the new-comers
were, no doubt, soon infected by the excitement
of the occasion.
The Heat- Ray in the Chobham Road 41
By half-past eight, when the Deputation was
destroyed, there may have been a crowd of
300 people or more at this place, besides those
who had left the road to approach the Martians
nearer. There were three policemen, too, one
of whom was mounted, doing their best, under
instructions from Stent, to keep the people back
and deter them from approaching the cylinder.
There was some booing from those more
thoughtless and excitable souls to whom a crowd
is always an occasion for noise and horse-play.
Stent and Ogilvy, anticipating some possi-
bilities of a collision, had telegraphed from
Horsell to the barracks as soon as the Martians
emerged, for the help of a company of soldiers
to protect these strange creatures from violence.
After that they returned to lead that ill-fated
advance. The description of their death, as it
was seen by the crowd, tallies very closely
with my own impressions : the three puffs of
green smoke, the deep humming note, and the
flashes of flame.
But that crowd of people had a far narrower
escape than mine. Only the fact that a hum-
mock of heathery sand intercepted the lower
part of the Heat-Ray saved them. Had the
elevation of the parabolic mirror been a few
yards higher, none could have lived to tell the
42 The War of the Worlds
tale. They saw the flashes, and the men
falling, and an invisible hand, as it were, lit the
bushes as it hurried towards them through the
twilight. Then, with a whistling note that rose
above the droning of the pit, the beam swung
close over their heads, lighting the tops of the
beech-trees that line the road, and splitting the
bricks, smashing the windows, firing the window-
frames, and bringing down in crumbling ruin
a portion of the gable of the house nearest the
In the sudden thud, hiss and glare of the
igniting trees, the panic-stricken crowd seems to
have swayed hesitatingly for some moments.
Sparks and burning twigs began to fall into
the road, and single leaves like puffs of flame.
Hats and dresses caught fire. Then came a
crying from the common.
There were shrieks and shouts, and suddenly
a mounted policeman came galloping through
the confusion with his hands clasped over his
' They're coming !' a woman shrieked, and
incontinently everyone was turning and pushing
at those behind, in order to clear their way to
Woking again. They must have bolted as
blindly as a flock of sheep. Where the road
grows narrow and black between the high
The Heat- Ray in the Chobham Road 43
banks the crowd jammed and a desperate
struggle occurred. All that crowd did not
escape ; three persons at least, two women and
a little boy, were crushed and trampled there
and left to die amidst the terror and the
HOW I REACHED HOME.
FOR my own part, I remember nothing of my
flight except the stress of blundering against
trees and stumbling through the heather. All
about me gathered the invisible terrors of the
Martians ; that pitiless sword of heat seemed
whirling to and fro, flourishing overhead before
it descended and smote me out of life. I came
into the road between the cross-roads and
Horsell, and ran along this to the cross-roads.
At last I could go no further ; I was exhausted
with the violence of my emotion and of my
flight, and I staggered and fell by the way-
side. That was near the bridge that crosses
the canal by the gasworks. I fell and lay
I must have remained there some time.
I sat up, strangely perplexed. For a moment,
perhaps, I could not clearly understand how I
came there. My terror had fallen from me like
a garment. My hat had gone, and my collar
How I reached Home 45
had burst away from its stud. A few minutes
before there had only been three real things
before me the immensity of the night and
space and nature, my own feebleness and
anguish, and the near approach of death. Now
it was as if something turned over, and the point
of view altered abruptly. There was no sensible
transition from one state of mind to the other.
I was immediately the self of every day again,
a decent ordinary citizen. The silent common,
the impulse of my flight, the starting flames,
were as if it were a dream. I asked myself had
these latter things indeed happened. I could
not credit it.
1 rose and walked unsteadily up the steep
incline of the bridge. My mind was blank
wonder. My muscles and nerves seemed drained
of their strength. I dare say I staggered
drunkenly. A head rose over the arch, and the
figure of a workman carrying a basket appeared.
Beside him ran a little boy. He passed me,
wishing me good-night. I was minded to
speak to him, and did not. I answered his
greeting with a meaningless mumble and went
on over the bridge.
Over the May bury arch a train, a billowing
tumult of white, firelit smoke, and a long cater-
pillar of lighted windows, went flying south :
46 The War of the Worlds
clatter, clatter, clap, rap, and it had gone. A
dim group of people talked in the gate of one
of the houses in the pretty little row of gables
that was called Oriental Terrace. It was all
so real and so familiar. And that behind me !
It was frantic, fantastic ! Such things, I told
myself, could not be.
Perhaps I am a man of exceptional moods.
I do not know how far my experience is
common. At times I suffer from the strangest
sense of detachment from myself and the
world about me ; I seem to watch it all from
the outside, from somewhere inconceivably re-
mote, out of time, out of space, out of the
stress and tragedy of it all. This feeling was
very strong upon me that night. Here was
another side to my dream.
But the trouble was the blank incongruity
of this serenity and the swift death flying
yonder, not two miles away. There was a
noise of business from the gasworks, and the
electric lamps were all alight. I stopped at the
group of people.
' What news from the common ?' said I.
There were two men and a woman at the gate.
' Eh ?' said one of the men, turning.
' What news from the common ?' I said.
* Ain't yer just been there ?' asked the men.
How I reached Home 47
1 People seem fair silly about the common,'
said the woman over the gate. ' What's it all
' Haven't you heard of the men from Mars ?'
said I. 'The creatures from Mars ?'
' Quite enough,' said the woman over the
gate. ' Thenks ;' and all three of them laughed.
I felt foolish and angry. I tried and found
I could not tell them what I had seen. They
laughed again at my broken sentences.
' You'll hear more yet/ I said, and went on
to my home.
I startled my wife at the doorway, so hag-
gard was I. I went into the dining-room, sat
down, drank some wine, and so soon as I could
collect myself sufficiently told her the things
I had seen. The dinner, which was a cold
one, had already been served, and remained
neglected on the table while I told my
' There is one thing,' I said to allay the
fears I had aroused. 'They are the most
sluggish things I ever saw crawl. They may
-"keep the pit and kill people who come near
them, but they cannot get out of it. ... But
the horror of them !'
' Don't, dear!' said my wife, knitting her
brows and putting her hand on mine.
48 The War of the Worlds
' Poor Ogilvy !' I said. ' To think he may
be lying dead there !'
My wife at least did not find my experience
incredible. When I saw how deadly white her
face was, I ceased abruptly.
' They may come here,' she said again and
I pressed her to take wine, and tried to re-
' They can scarcely move,' I said.
I began to comfort her and myself by repeat-
ing all that Ogilvy had told me of the impos-
sibility of the Martians establishing themselves
on the earth. In particular I laid stress on the
gravitational difficulty. On the surface of the
earth the force of gravity is three times what it
is on the surface of Mars. A Martian, therefore,
would weigh three times more than on Mars,
albeit his muscular strength would be the same.
His own body would be a cope of lead to him,
therefore. That indeed was the general opinion.
Both the Times and the Daily Telegraph, for
instance, insisted on it the next morning, and
both overlooked, just as I did, two obvious
The atmosphere of the earth, we now know,
contains far more oxygen or far less argon
(whichever way one likes to put it) than does
How I reached Home 49
Mars'. The invigorating influences of this ex-
cess of oxygen upon the Martians indisputably
did much to counterbalance the increased
weight of their bodies. And, in the second
place, we all overlooked the fact that such
mechanical intelligence as the Martian pos-
sessed was quite able to dispense with muscular
exertion at a pinch.
But I did not consider these points at the
time, and so my reasoning was dead against the
chances of the invaders. With wine and food,
the confidence of my own table, and the
necessity of reassuring my wife, I grew, by
insensible degrees, courageous and secure.
' They have done a foolish thing,' said I,
fingering my wineglass. ' They are dangerous,
because no doubt they are mad with terror.
Perhaps they expected to find no living things
- certainly no intelligent living things. A
shell in the pit,' said I, 'if the worst comes
to the worst, will kill them all.'
The intense excitement of the events had no
doubt left my perceptive powers in a state of
'-erethism. I remember that dinner-table with
extraordinary vividness even now. My dear
wife's sweet, anxious face peering at me from
under the pink lamp-shade, the white cloth with
its silver and glass table furniture for in those
50 The War of the Worlds
days even philosophical writers had many little
luxuries the crimson-purple wine in my glass,
are photographically distinct. At the end of it
I sat, tempering nuts with a cigarette, regret-
ting Ogilvy's rashness, and denouncing the
short-sighted timidity of the Martians.
So some respectable dodo in the Mauritius
might have lorded it in his nest, and discussed
the arrival of that shipful of pitiless sailors in
want of animal food. ' We will peck them to
death to-morrow, my dear.'
I did not know it, but that was the last
civilized dinner I was to eat for very many
strange and terrible days.
THE most extraordinary thing to my mind, of
all the strange and wonderful things that
happened upon that Friday, was the dovetail-
ing of the commonplace habits of our social
order with the first beginnings of the series of
events that was to topple that social order
headlong. If on Friday night you had taken
a pair of compasses and drawn a circle with a
radius of five miles round the Woking sand-
pits, I doubt if you would have had one human
being outside it, unless it was some relation of
Stent or of the three or four cyclists or London
people who lay dead on the common, whose
emotions or habits were at all affected by the
new-comers. Many people had heard of the
cylinder, of course, and talked about it in their
leisure, but it certainly did not make the sensa-
tion an ultimatum to Germany would have
In London that night poor Henderson's
52 The War of the Worlds
telegram describing the gradual unscrewing of
the shot was judged to be a canard, and his
evening paper, after wiring for authentication
from him and receiving no reply the man was
killed decided not to print a special edition.
Within the five-mile circle even the great
majority of people were inert. I have already
described the behaviour of the men and women
to whom I spoke. All over the district people
were dining and supping ; working-men were
gardening after the labours of the day, children
were being put to bed, young people were
wandering through the lanes love-making,
students sat over their books.
Maybe there was a murmur in the village
streets, a novel and dominant topic in the
public-houses, and here and there a messenger,
or even an eye-witness of the later occurrences,
caused a whirl of excitement, a shouting and a
running to and fro ; but for the most part the
daily routine of working, eating, drinking,
sleeping, went on as it had done for countless
years as though no planet Mars existed in the
sky. Even at Woking Station and Horsell
and Chobham that was the case.
In Woking Junction, until a late hour, trains
were stopping and going on, others were shunt-
ing on the sidings, passengers were alighting
Friday Night 53
and waiting, and everything was proceeding in
the most ordinary way. A boy from town,
trenching on Smith's monopoly, was selling
papers with the afternoon's news. The ring-
ing and impact of trucks, the sharp whistle of
the engines from the junction, mingled with
his shouts of ' Men from Mars !' Excited
men came into the station with incredible
tidings about nine o'clock, and caused no more
disturbance than drunkards might have done.
People rattling Londonwards peered into the
darkness outside the carriage windows and saw
only a rare, flickering, vanishing spark dance
up from the direction of Horsell, a red glow
and a thin veil of smoke driving across the
stars, and thought that nothing more serious
than a heath fire was happening. It was only
round the edge of the common that any dis-
turbance was perceptible. There were half a
dozen villas burning on the Woking border.
There were lights in all the houses on the
common side of the three villages, and the
people there kept awake till dawn.
A curious crowd lingered restlessly, people
coming and going but the crowd remaining,
both on the Chobham and Horsell bridges.
One or two adventurous, souls, it was afterwards
found, went into the darkness and crawled quite
54 The War of the Worlds
near the Martians ; but they never returned, for
now and again a light-ray, like the beam of a
warship's searchlight, swept the common, and
the Heat-Ray was ready to follow. Save for
such, that big area of common was silent and
desolate, and the charred bodies lay about on it
all night under the stars, and all the next day.
A noise of hammering from the pit was heard
by many people.
So you have the state of things on Friday
night. In the centre, sticking into the skin of
our old planet Earth like a poisoned dart, was
this cylinder. But the poison was scarcely
working yet. Around it was a patch of silent
common, smouldering in places, and with a few
dark, dimly - seen objects lying in contorted
attitudes here and there. Here and there was
a burning bush or tree. Beyond was a fringe of
excitement, and further than that fringe the in-
flammation had not crept as yet. In the rest
of the world the stream of life still flowed as it
had flowed for immemorial years. The fever
of war that would presently clog vein and
artery, deaden nerve and destroy brain, had
still to develop.
All night long the Martians were hammering
and stirring, sleepless, indefatigable, at work
upon the machines they were making ready,
Friday Night 55
and ever and again a puff of greenish-white
smoke whirled up to the starlit sky.
About eleven a company of soldiers came
through Horsell, and deployed along the edge
of the common to form a cordon. Later a
second company marched through Chobham to
deploy on the north side of the common.
Several officers from the Inkerman barracks
had been on the common earlier in the day,
and one, Major Eden, was reported to be miss-
ing. The Colonel of the regiment came to the
Chobham bridge, and was busy questioning the
crowd at midnight. The military authorities
were certainly alive to the seriousness of the busi-
ness. About eleven, the next morning's papers
were able to say, a squadron of hussars, two
Maxims, and about 400 men of the Cardigan
regiment, started from Aldershot.
A few seconds after midnight the crowd in
the Chertsey road, Woking, saw a star fall
from heaven into the pine-woods to the north-
west. It fell with a greenish light, causing a
flash of light like summer lightning. This was
the second cylinder.
THE FIGHTING BEGINS.
SATURDAY lives in my memory as a day of
suspense. It was a day of lassitude too, hot
and close, with, I am told, a rapidly fluctuating
barometer. I had slept but little, though my
wife had succeeded in sleeping, and I rose
early. I went into my garden before break-
fast, and stood listening, but towards the
common there was nothing stirring but a
The milkman came as usual. I heard the
rattle of his chariot, and I went round to
the side -gate to ask the latest news. He
told me that during the night the Martians
had been surrounded by troops, and that
guns were expected. Then, a familiar reassur-
ing note, I heard a train running towards
' They aren't to be killed/ said the milkman,
' if that can possibly be avoided.'
I saw my neighbour gardening, chatted with
The Fighting begins 57
him for a time, and then strolled in to breakfast.
It was a most unexceptional morning. My
neighbour was of opinion that the troops would
be able to capture or to destroy the Martians
during the day.
1 It's a pity they make themselves so un-
approachable,' he said. ' It would be curious
to learn how they live on another planet ; we
might learn a thing or two.'
He came up to the fence and extended a
handful of strawberries, for his gardening was
as generous as it was enthusiastic. At the
same time he told me of the burning of the
pine-woods about the Byfleet Golf Links.
' They say,' said he, ' that there's another oil
those blessed things fallen there number two.
But one's enough, surely. This lot '11 cost the
insurance people a pretty penny before every-
thing's settled.' He laughed with an air of the
greatest good-humour as he said this. The
woods, he said, were still burning, and pointed
out a haze of smoke to me. ' They will be hot
under foot for days on account of the thick soil
--of pine-needles and turf, 1 he said, and then
grew serious over ' poor Ogilvy.'
After breakfast, instead of working, I decided
to walk down towards the common. Under the
railway-bridge I found a group of soldiers
58 The War of the Worlds
sappers, I think, men in small round caps, dirty
red jackets unbuttoned, and showing their blue
shirts, dark trousers, and boots coming to the
calf. They told me no one was allowed over
the canal, and, looking along the road towards
the bridge, I saw one of the Cardigan men
standing sentinel there. I talked with these
soldiers for a time ; I told them of my sight of
the Martians on the previous evening. None
of them had seen the Martians, and they had
but the vaguest ideas of them, so that they
plied me with questions. They said that they
did not know who had authorized the move-
ments of the troops ; their idea was that a
dispute had arisen at the Horse Guards. The
ordinary sapper is a great deal better educated
than the common soldier, and they discussed the
peculiar conditions of the possible fight with
some acuteness. I described the Heat- Ray to
them, and they began to argue among them-
' Crawl up under cover and rush 'em, say I,'
' Get aht !' said another. ' What's Cover
against this 'ere 'eat ? Sticks to cook yer !
What we got to do is to go as near as the
ground '11 let us, and then drive a trench.'
' Blow yer trenches ! You always want
The Fighting begins 59
trenches ; you ought to ha' been born a rabbit,
' Ain't they got any necks, then ?' said a
third abruptly a little, contemplative, dark
man, smoking a pipe.
I repeated my description.
' Octopuses,' said he, ' that's what I calls
'em. Talk about fishers of men fighters of
fish it is this time !'
' It ain't no murder killing beasts like that,'
said the first speaker.
' Why not shell the darned things strite off
and finish 'em ?' said the little dark man. 'You
earn tell what they might do.'
4 Where's your shells ?' said the first speaker.
' There ain't no time. Do it in a rush, that's
my tip, and do it at once.'
So they discussed it. After a while I left
them, and went on to the railway-station to
get as many morning papers as I could.
But I will not weary the reader with a descrip-
tion of that long morning and of the longer after-
noon. I did not succeed in getting a glimpse of
the common, for even Horsell and Chobham
church towers were in the hands of the military
authorities. The soldiers I addressed didn't
know anything ; the officers were mysterious as
well as busy. I found people in the town quite
60 The War of the Worlds
secure again in the presence of the military,
and I heard for the first time from Marshall,
the tobacconist, that his son was among the
dead on the common. The soldiers had made
the people on the outskirts of Horsell lock up
and leave their houses.
I got back to lunch about two, very tired,
for, as I have said, the day was extremely hot
and dull, and in order to refresh myself I took
a cold bath in the afternoon. About half-past
four I went up to the railway-station to get an
evening paper, for the morning papers had con-
tained only a very inaccurate description of the
killing of Stent, Henderson, Ogilvy, and the
others. But there was little I didn't know.
The Martians did not show an inch of them-
selves. They seemed busy in their pit, and
there was a sound of hammering and an almost
continuous streamer of smoke. Apparently,
they were busy getting ready for a struggle.
' Fresh attempts have been made to signal, but
without success,' was the stereotyped formula of
the papers. A sapper told me it was done by
a man in a ditch with a flag on a long pole.
The Martians took as much notice of such
advances as we should of the lowing of a
I must confess the sight of all this armament,
The Fighting begins 61
all this preparation, greatly excited me. My
imagination became belligerent, and defeated
the invaders in a dozen striking ways ; some-
thing of my schoolboy dreams of battle and
heroism came back. It hardly seemed a fair
fight to me at that time. They seemed very
helpless in this pit of theirs.
About three o'clock there began the thud of
a gun at measured intervals from Chertsey or
Addlestone. I learnt that the smouldering
pine-wood into which the second cylinder had
fallen was being shelled, in the hope of destroy-
ing that object before it opened. It was only
above five, however, that a field-gun reached
Chobham for use against the first body of
About six in the evening, as I sat at tea with
my wife in the summer-house talking vigorously
about the battle that was lowering upon us, I
heard a mufHed detonation from the common,
and immediately after a gust of firing. Close
on the heels of that came a violent, rattling
crash, quite close to us, that shook the ground ;
^and, starting out upon the lawn, I saw the tops
of the trees about the Oriental College burst
into smoky red flame, and the tower of the
little church beside it slide down into ruin.
The pinnacle of the mosque had vanished, and
62 The War of the Worlds
the roof-line of the college itself looked as if a
hundred-ton gun had been at work upon it.
One of our chimneys cracked as if a shot had
hit it, flew, and the piece of it came clattering
down the tiles and made a heap of broken red
fragments upon the flower-bed by my study
I and my wife stood amazed. Then I realized
that the crest of Maybury Hill must be within
range of the Martians' Heat- Ray now that the
college was cleared out of the way.
At that I gripped my wife's arm, and without
ceremony ran her out into the road. Then I
fetched out the servant, telling her I would go
upstairs myself for the box she was clamouring
' We can't possibly stay here,' I said ; and as
I spoke the firing re-opened for a moment upon
' But where are we to go ?' said my wife in
I thought, perplexed. Then I remembered
her cousins at Leatherhead.
' Leatherhead !' I shouted above the sudden
She looked away from me downhill. The
people were coming out of their houses as-
The Fighting begins 63
' How are we to get to Leatherhead ? she
Down the hill I saw a bevy of hussars
ride under the railway-bridge ; three galloped
through the open gates of the Oriental College ;
two others dismounted, and began running from
house to house. The sun, shining through the
smoke that drove up from the tops of the trees,
seemed blood-red, and threw an unfamiliar lurid
light upon everything.
1 Stop here,' said I ; ' you are safe here ;' and
I started off at once for the Spotted Dog, for I
knew the landlord had a horse and dogcart.
I ran, for I perceived that in a moment every-
one upon this side of the hill would be moving.
I found him in his bar, quite unaware of what
was going on behind his house. A man stood
with his back to me, talking to him.
' I must have a pound,' said the landlord,
' and I've no one to drive it.'
' I'll give you two,' said I, over the stranger's
' And I'll bring it back by midnight,' I said.
1 Lord !' said the landlord, ' what's the
hurry ? I'm selling my bit of a pig. Two
pounds, and you bring it back ? What's going
on now ?'
64 The War of the Worlds
I explained hastily that I had to leave my
home, and so secured the dogcart. At the
time it did not seem to me nearly so urgent
that the landlord should leave his. I took care to
have the cart there and then, drove it off down
the road, and, leaving it in charge of my wife
and servant, rushed into my house and packed
a few valuables, such plate as we had, and so
forth. The beech-trees below the house were
burning while I did this, and the palings up the
road glowed red. While I was occupied in this
way, one of the dismounted hussars came run-
ning up. He was going from house to house,
warning people to leave. He was going on
as I came out of my front-door, lugging my
treasures, done up in a table-cloth. I shouted
after him :
4 What news ?'
He turned, stared, bawled something about
1 crawling out in a thing like a dish cover/ and
ran on to the gate of the house at the crest.
A sudden whirl of black smoke driving across
the road hid him for a moment. I ran to my
neighbour's door, and rapped to satisfy myself,
what I already knew, that his wife had gone to
London with him, and had locked up their
house. I went in again according to my promise
to get my servant's box, lugged it out, clapped
The Fighting begins 65
it beside her on the tail of the dogcart, and
then caught the reins and jumped up into the
driver's seat beside my wife. In another
moment we were clear of the smoke and
noise, and spanking down the opposite slope
of May bury Hill towards Old Woking.
In front was a quiet sunny landscape, a wheat-
field ahead on either side of the road, and the
May bury Inn with its swinging sign. I saw
the doctor's cart ahead of me. At the bottom
of the hill I turned my head to look at the
hillside I was leaving. Thick streamers of
black smoke shot with threads of red fire were
driving up into the still air, and throwing dark
shadows upon the green tree-tops eastward.
The smoke already extended far away to the
east and west to the Byfleet pine-woods east-
ward, and to Woking on the west. The road
was dotted with people running towards us.
And very faint now, but very distinct through
the hot, quiet air, one heard the whirr of a
machine-gun that was presently stilled, and an
intermittent cracking of rifles. Apparently, the
-^Martians were setting fire to everything within
range of their Heat- Ray.
I am not an expert driver, and I had imme-
diately to turn my attention to the horse.
When I looked back again the second hill had
66 The War of the Worlds
hidden the black smoke. I slashed the horse
with the whip, and gave him a loose rein until
Woking and Send lay between us and that
quivering tumult. I overtook and passed the
doctor between Woking and Send.
IN THE STORM.
LEATHERHEAD is about twelve miles from
May bury Hill. The scent of hay was in the
air through the lush meadows beyond Pyrford,
and the hedges on either side were sweet and
gay with multitudes of dog-roses. The heavy
firing that had broken out while we were driving
down Maybury Hill ceased as abruptly as it
began, leaving the evening very peaceful and
still. We got to Leatherhead without mis-
adventure about nine o'clock, and the horse
had an hour's rest while I took supper with
my cousins and commended my wife to their
My wife was curiously silent throughout the
drive, and seemed oppressed with forebodings
"of evil. I talked to her reassuringly, pointing
out that the Martians were tied to the pit by
sheer heaviness, and, at the utmost, could but
crawl a little out of it, but she answered only
in monosyllables. Had it not been for my
68 The War of the Worlds
promise to the innkeeper, she would, I think,
have urged me to stay in Leatherhead that
night. Would that I had ! Her face, I re-
member, was very white as we parted.
For my own part, I had been feverishly ex-
cited all day. Something very like the war-fever,
that occasionally runs through a civilized com-
munity, had got into my blood, and in my heart
I was not so very sorry that I had to return to
May bury that night. I was even afraid that
last fusillade I had heard might mean the
extermination of our invaders from Mars. I
can best express my state of mind by saying
that I wanted to be in at the death.
It was nearly eleven when I started to return,
The night was unexpectedly dark ; to me,
walking out of the lighted passage of my
cousins' house, it seemed indeed black, and it
was as hot and close as the day. Overhead
the clouds were driving fast, albeit not a breath
stirred the shrubs about us. My cousins' man
lit both lamps. Happily, I knew the road
intimately. My wife stood in the light of the
doorway, and watched me until I jumped up
into the dogcart. Then abruptly she turned
and went in, leaving my cousins side by side
wishing me good hap.
I was a little depressed at first with the con-
In the Storm 69
tagion of my wife's fears, but very soon my
thoughts reverted to the Martians. At that
time I was absolutely in the dark as to the
course of the evening's fighting. I did not
know even the circumstances that had pre-
cipitated the conflict. As I came through
Ockham (for that was the way I returned, and
not through Send and Old Woking) I saw
along the western horizon a blood-red glow,
which, as I drew nearer, crept slowly up the
sky. The driving clouds of the gathering
thunderstorm mingled there with masses of
black and red smoke.
Ripley Street was deserted, and except for a
lighted window or so the village showed not
a sign of life ; but I narrowly escaped an
accident at the corner of the road to Pyrford,
where a knot of people stood with their backs
to me. They said nothing to me as I passed.
I do not know what they knew of the things
happening beyond the hill, nor do I know if
the silent houses I passed on my way were
sleeping securely, or deserted and empty, or
harassed and watching against the terror of the
From Ripley until I came through Pyrford I
was in the valley of the Wey, and the red glare
was hidden from me. As I ascended the little
70 The War of the Worlds
hill beyond Pyrford Church the glare came into
view again, and the trees about me shivered
with the first intimation of the storm that was
upon me. Then I heard midnight pealing out
from Pyrford Church behind me, and then came
the silhouette of May bury Hill, with its tree-
tops and roofs black and sharp against the red.
Even as I beheld this, a lurid green glare lit
the road about me, and showed the distant
woods towards Addlestone. I felt a tug at the
reins. I saw that the driving clouds had been
pierced as it were by a thread of green fire,
suddenly lighting their confusion and falling
into the fields to my left. It was the Third
Falling Star !
Close on its apparition, and blindingly violet
by contrast, danced out the first lightning of
the gathering storm, and the thunder burst like
a rocket overhead. The horse took the bit
between his teeth and bolted.
A moderate incline runs down towards the
foot of Maybury Hill, and down this we
clattered. Once the lightning had begun, it
went on in as rapid a succession of flashes as
I have ever seen. The thunder-claps, treading
one on the heels of another and with a strange
crackling accompaniment, sounded more like
the working of a gigantic electric machine
In the Storm 71
than the usual detonating reverberations. The
flickering light was blinding and confusing, and
a thin hail smote gustily at my face as I drove
down the slope.
At first I regarded little but the road before
me, and then abruptly my attention was arrested
by something that was moving rapidly down
the opposite slope of Maybury Hill. At first
I took it for the wet roof of a house, but one
flash following another showed it to be in swift
rolling movement. It was an elusive vision
a moment bewildering darkness, and then in
a flash like daylight, the red masses of the
Orphanage near the crest of the hill, the green
tops of the pine-trees, and this problematical
object came out clear and sharp and bright.
*And this thing I saw! How can I describe
it? A monstrous tripod, higher than many
houses, striding over the young pine-trees, and
smashing them aside in its career ; a walking
engine of glittering metal, striding now across
the heather ; articulate ropes of steel dangling
from it, and the clattering tumult of its passage"
mingling with the riot of the thunder.' A flash,
and it came out vividly, heeling over one way
with two feet in the air, to vanish and reappear
almost instantly as it seemed, with the next
flash, a hundred yards nearer. Can you imagine
72 The War of the Worlds
a milking-stool tilted and bowled violently
along the ground ? That was the impression
those instant flashes gave. But instead of a
milking-stool imagine it a great body of
machinery on a tripod stand.
Then suddenly the trees in the pine-wood
ahead of me were parted, as brittle reeds are
parted by a man thrusting through them ; they
were snapped off and driven headlong, and a
second huge , tripod appeared, rushing, as it
seemed, headlong towards me. And I was
galloping hard to meet it ! At the sight of the
second monster, my nerve went altogether.
Not stopping to look again, I wrenched the
horse's head hard round to the right, and in
another moment the dogcart had heeled over
upon the horse ; the shafts smashed noisily, and
I was flung sideways and fell heavily into a
shallow pool of water.
I crawled out almost immediately, and
crouched, my feet still in the water, under a
clump of furze. The horse lay motionless (his
neck was broken, poor brute !), and by the
lightning flashes I saw the black bulk of the
overturned dogcart, and the silhouette of
the wheel still spinning slowly. In another
moment the colossal mechanism went striding
by me, and passed uphill towards Pyrford.
In the Storm 73
Seen nearer, the thing was incredibly strange,
for it was no mere insensate machine driving
on its way. Machine it was, with a ringing
metallic pace, and long flexible glittering ten-
tacles (one of which gripped a young pine-tree)
swinging and rattling about its strange body.
It picked its road as it went striding along, and
the brazen hood that surmounted it moved to
and fro with the inevitable suggestion of a head
looking about it. Behind the main body was
a huge thing of white metal like a gigantic
fisherman's basket, and puffs of green smoke
squirted out from the joints of the limbs as the
monster swept by me. And in an instant it
So much I* saw then, all vaguely for the
flickering of the lightning, in blinding high
lights and dense black shadows.
As it passed it set up an exultant deafening
howl that drowned the thunder, ' Aloo ! aloo !'
and in another minute it was with its com-
panion, and half a mile away, stooping over
something in the field. I have no doubt
this thing in the field was the third of the
ten cylinders they had fired at us from
For some minutes I lay there in the rain and
darkness watching, by the intermittent light,
74 The War of the Worlds
these monstrous beings of metal moving about
in the distance over the hedge-tops. A thin
hail was now beginning, and as it came and
went, their figures grew misty and then flashed
into clearness again. Now and then came a
gap in the lightning, and the night swallowed
I was soaked with hail above and puddle-
water below. It was some time before my blank
astonishment would let me struggle up the bank
to a drier position, or think at all of my imminent
Not far from me was a little one-roomed
squatter's hut of wood, surrounded by a patch
of potato-garden. I struggled to my feet at
last, and, crouching and making use of every
chance of cover, I made a run for this. I ham-
mered at the door, but I could not make the
people hear (if there were any people inside),
and after a time I desisted, and, availing myself
of a ditch for the greater part of the way, suc-
ceeded in crawling, unobserved by these
monstrous machines, into the pine-wood towards
Under cover of this I pushed on, wet and
shivering now, towards my own house. I
walked among the trees trying to find the foot-
path. It was very dark indeed in the wood,
In the Storm 75
for the lightning was now becoming infrequent,
and the hail, which was pouring down in a
torrent, fell in columns through the gaps in the
If I had fully realized the meaning of all the
things I had seen I should have immediately
worked my way round through Byfleet to Street
Cobham, and so gone back to rejoin my wife
at Leatherhead. But that night the strangeness
of things about me, and my physical wretched-
ness, prevented me, for I was bruised, weary,
wet to the skin, deafened and blinded by the
I had a vague idea of going on to my own
house, and that was as much motive as I had.
I staggered through the trees, fell into a ditch
and bruised my knees against a plank, and
finally splashed out into the lane that ran down
from the College Arms. I say splashed, for
the storm water was sweeping the sand down
the hill in a muddy torrent. There in the
darkness a man blundered into me and sent me
He gave a cry of terror, sprung sideways,
and rushed on before I could gather my wits
sufficiently to speak to him. So heavy was the
stress of the storm just at this place that I had
the hardest task to win my way up the hill. I
76 The War of the Worlds
went close up to the fence on the left and worked
my way along its palings.
Near the top I stumbled upon something
soft, and, by a flash of lightning, saw between
my feet a heap of black broadcloth and a pair
of boots. Before I could distinguish clearly
how the man lay, the flicker of light had passed.
I stood over him waiting for the next flash.
When it came, I saw that he was a sturdy man,
cheaply but not shabbily dressed ; his head was
bent under his body, and he lay crumpled up
close to the fence, as though he had been flung
violently against it.
Overcoming the repugnance natural to one
who had never before touched a dead body, I
stooped and turned him over to feel for his
heart. He was quite dead. Apparently his
neck had been broken. The lightning flashed
for a third time, and his face leapt upon me. I
sprang to my feet. It was the landlord of the
Spotted Dog, whose conveyance I had taken.
I stepped over him gingerly and pushed on
up the hill. I made my way by the police-
station and the College Arms towards my own
house. Nothing was burning on the hillside,
though from the common there still came a red
glare and a rolling tumult of ruddy smoke beat-
ing up against the drenching hail. So far as I
In the Storm 70
could see by the flashes, the houses about me
were mostly uninjured. By the College Arms
a dark heap lay in the road.
Down the road towards Maybury Bridge
there were voices and the sound of feet, but I
had not the courage to shout or to go to them.
I let myself in with my latch-key, closed, locked
and bolted the door, staggered to the foot of the
staircase and sat down. My imagination was
full of those striding metallic monsters, and of
the dead body smashed against the fence.
I crouched at the foot of the staircase with my
back to the wall, shivering violently.
AT THE WINDOW.
I HAVE said already that my storms of emotion
have a trick of exhausting themselves. After
a time I discovered that I was cold and wet,
and with little pools of water about me on the
stair-carpet. I got up almost mechanically,
went into the dining-room and drank some
whisky, and then I was moved to change my
After I had done that I went upstairs to my
study, but why I did so I do not know. The
window of my study looks over the trees and
the railway towards Horsell Common. In the
hurry of our departure this window had been
left open. The passage was dark, and, by
contrast with the picture the window-frame
enclosed, that side of the room seemed im-
penetrably dark. I stopped short in the door-
The thunderstorm had passed. The towers
of the Oriental College and the pine-trees about
At the Window 79
it had gone, and very far away, lit by a vivid
red glare, the common about the sand-pits was
visible. Across the light, huge black shapes,
grotesque and strange, moved busily to and
*It seemed, indeed, as if the whole country
in that direction was on fire a broad hillside
set with minute tongues of flame, swaying and
writhing with the gusts of the dying storm, and
throwing a red reflection upon the cloud scud
above. Every now and then a haze of smoke
from some nearer conflagration drove across
the window and hid the Martian shapes/ I
could not see what they were doing, nor the
clear form of them, nor recognise f the black
objects they were busied upon. Neither could
I see the nearer fire, though the reflections of
it danced on the wall and ceiling of the study.
A sharp, resinous twang of burning was in the
I closed the door noiselessly and crept
towards the window. As I did so, the view
opened out until, on the one hand, it reached
^to the houses about Woking Station, and on
the other to the charred and blackened pine-
woods of Byfleet. There was a light down
below the hill, on the railway, near the arch,
and several of the houses along the Maybury
8o The War of the Worlds
road and the streets near the station were
glowing ruins. The light upon the railway
puzzled me at first ; there was a black heap
and a vivid glare, and to the right of that a
row of yellow oblongs. Then I perceived this
was a wrecked train, the fore part smashed
and on fire, the hinder carriages still upon the
Between these three main centres of light,
the houses, the train, and the burning country
towards Chobham, stretched irregular patches
of dark country, broken here and there by
intervals of dimly glowing and smoking ground.
It was the strangest spectacle, that black
expanse set with fire. It reminded me, more
than anything else, of the Potteries seen at
night. People at first I could distinguish
none, though I peered intently for them.
Later I saw against the light of Woking
Station a number of black figures hurrying one
after the other across the line.
And this was the little world in which I had
been living securely for years, this fiery chaos !
What had happened in the last seven hours I
still did not know, nor did I know, though I
was beginning to guess, the relation between
these mechanical colossi and the sluggish
lumps I had seen disgorged from the cylinder.
At the Window 81
With a queer feeling of impersonal interest I
turned my desk-chair to the window, sat down,
and stared at the blackened country, and par-
ticularly at the three gigantic black things that
were going to and fro in the glare about the
They seemed amazingly busy. I began to
ask myself what they could be. Were they
intelligent mechanisms ? Such a thing I felt
was impossible. Or did a Martian sit within
each, ruling, directing, using, much as a man's
brain sits and rules in his body ? I began
to compare the things to human machines, to
ask myself for the first time in my life how an
ironclad or a steam-engine would seem to an
intelligent lower animal.
The storm had left the sky clear, and over
the smoke of the burning land the little fading
pin-point of Mars was dropping into the west,
when the soldier came into my garden. I
heard a slight scraping at the fence, and rousing
myself from the lethargy that had fallen upon
me, I looked down and saw him dimly,
^clambering over the palings. At the sight of
another human being my torpor passed, and
I leant out of the window eagerly.
' Hist !' said I in a whisper.
He stopped astride of the fence in doubt.
82 The War of the Worlds
Then he came over and across the lawn to the
corner of the house. He bent down and
' Who's there ?' he said, also whispering,
standing under the window and peering up.
' Where are you going ?' I asked.
' God knows.'
' Are you trying to hide ?'
' That's it.'
' Come into the house,' I said.
I went down, unfastened the door and let
him in, and locked the door again. I could not
see his face. He was hatless, and his coat was
' My God !' he said as I drew him in.
' What has happened ?' I asked.
' What hasn't ?' In the obscurity I could see
he made a gesture of despair. ' They wiped
us out simply wiped us out,' he repeated again
He followed me, almost mechanically, into
' Take some whisky,' I said, pouring out a
He drank it. Then abruptly he sat down
before the table, put his head on his arms, and
began to sob and weep like a little boy, in a
perfect passion of emotion, while I, with a
At the Window 83
curious forgetfulness of my own recent despair,
stood beside him wondering.
It was a long time before he could steady his
nerves to answer my questions, and then he
answered perplexingly and brokenly. He was
a driver in the artillery, and had only come
into action about seven. At that time firing
was going on across the common, and it was
said the first party of Martians were crawling
slowly towards their second cylinder under
cover of a metal shield.
Later this shield staggered up on tripod legs,
and became the first of the fighting machines I
had seen. The gun he drove had been un-
limbered near Horsell, in order to command
the sand-pits, and its arrival had precipitated
the action. As the limber gunners went to
the rear, his horse trod in a rabbit-hole and
came down, throwing him into a depression of
the ground. At the same moment the gun
exploded behind him, the ammunition blew up,
there was fire all about him, and he found him-
self lying under a heap of charred dead men and
' I lay still,' he said, ' scared out of my wits,
with the fore-quarter of a horse atop of me.
We'd been wiped out. And the smell good
God ! Like burnt meat ! I was hurt across
84 The War of the Worlds
the back by the fall of the horse, and there I
had to lie until I felt better. Just like parade
it had been a minute before then stumble,
bang, swish !
' Wiped out !' he said.
He had hid under the dead horse for a long
time, peeping out furtively across the common.
The Cardigan men had tried a rush, in skirmish-
ing order, at the pit, simply to be swept out of
existence. Then the monster had risen to its
feet, and had begun to walk leisurely to and fro
across the common, among the few fugitives,
with its head-like hood turning about exactly
like the head of a cowled human being. A
kind of arm carried a complicated metallic
case, about which green flashes scintillated, and
out of the funnel of this there smote the Heat-
In a few minutes there was, so far as the
soldier could see, not a living thing left upon
the common, and every bush and tree upon it
that was not already a blackened skeleton was
burning. The hussars had been on the road
beyond the curvature of the ground, and he saw-
nothing of them. He heard the Maxims rattle
for a time, and then become still. The giant
saved Woking Station and its cluster of houses
until last ; then in a moment the Heat- Ray was
At the Window 85
brought to bear, and the town became a heap of
fiery ruins. Then the thing shut off the Heat-
Ray, and, turning its back upon the artilleryman,
began to waddle away towards the smouldering
pine-woods that sheltered the second cylinder.
As it did so, a second glittering Titan built itself
up out of the pit.
The second monster followed the first, and at
that the artilleryman began to crawl very
cautiously across the hot heather ash towards
Horsell. He managed to get alive into the
ditch along by the side of the road, and so
escaped to Woking. There his story became
ejaculatory. The place was impassable. It
seems there were a few people alive there,
frantic for the most part, and many burnt and
scalded. He was turned aside by the fire, and
hid among some almost scorching heaps of
broken wall as one of the Martian giants re-
turned. He saw this one pursue a man, catch
him up in one of its steely tentacles, and knock
his head against the trunk of a pine-tree. At
last, after nightfall, the artilleryman made a
rush for it and got over the railway embank-
Since then he had been skulking along towards
Maybury, in the hope of getting out of danger
Londonward. People were hiding in trenches
86 The War of the Worlds
and cellars, and many of the survivors had made
off towards Woking Village and Send. He had
been consumed with thirst until he found one of
the water mains near the railway arch smashed,
and the water bubbling out like a spring upon
That was the story I got from him bit by
bit. He grew calmer telling me and trying to
make me see the things he had seen. He had
eaten no food since mid-day, he told me early
in his narrative, and I found some mutton and
bread in the pantry and brought it into the
room. We lit no lamp, for fear of attracting the
Martians, and ever and again our hands would
touch upon bread or meat. As he talked, things
about us came darkly out of the darkness, and
the trampled bushes and broken rose-trees out-
side the window grew distinct. It would seem
that a number of men or animals had rushed
across the lawn. I began to see his face,
blackened and haggard, as no doubt mine was
When we had finished eating we went softly
upstairs to my study, and I looked again out of
the open window. In one night the valley had
become a valley of ashes. The fires had
dwindled now. Where flames had been there
were now streamers of smoke ; but the count-
At the Window 87
less ruins of shattered and gutted houses and
blasted and blackened trees that the night had
hidden stood out now gaunt and terrible in the
pitiless light of dawn. Yet here and there
some object had had the luck to escape a
white railway signal here, the end of a green-
house there, white and fresh amidst the wreck-
age. Never before in the history of warfare
had destruction been so indiscriminate and
so universal. And, shining with the growing
light of the east, three of the metallic giants
stood about the pit, their cowls rotating as
though they were surveying the desolation they
It seemed to me that the pit had been
enlarged, and ever and again puffs of vivid
green vapour streamed up out of it towards
the brightening dawn streamed up, whirled,
broke, and vanished.
Beyond were the pillars of fire about Chob-
ham. They became pillars of bloodshot smoke
at the first touch of day.
WHAT I SAW OF THE DESTRUCTION OF WEY-
BRIDGE AND SHEPPERTON.
As the dawn grew brighter we withdrew our-
selves from the window from which we had
watched the Martians, and went very quietly
The artilleryman agreed with me that the
house was no place to stay in. He proposed,
he said, to make his way Londonward, and
thence rejoin his battery No. 12, of the Horse
Artillery. My plan was to return at once to
Leatherhead, and so greatly had the strength
of the Martians impressed me that I had
determined to take my wife to Newhaven,
and go with her out of the country forthwith.
For I already perceived clearly that the country
about London must inevitably be the scene of a
disastrous struggle before such creatures as these
could be destroyed.
Between us and Leatherhead, however, lay the
third cylinder, with its guarding giants. Had
The Destruction of Weybridge, etc. 89
I been alone, I think I should have taken my
chance and struck across country. But the
artilleryman dissuaded me : 'It's no kindness
to the right sort of wife,' he said, ' to make her
a widow ;' and in the end I agreed to go with
him, under cover of the woods, northward as far
as Street Cobham before I parted with him.
Thence I would make a big detour by Epsom
to reach Leatherhead.
I should have started at once, but my com-
panion had been in active service, and he knew
better than that. He made me ransack the
house for a flask, which he filled with whisky ;
and we lined every available pocket with
packets of biscuits and slices of meat. Then
we crept out of the house, and ran as quickly
as we could down the ill-made road by which I
had come overnight. The houses seemed de-
serted. In the road lay a group of three charred
bodies close together, struck dead by the Heat-
Ray ; and here and there were things that the
people had dropped a clock, a slipper, a
silver spoon, and the like poor valuables. At
the corner turning up towards the post-office a
little cart, filled with boxes and furniture, and
horseless, heeled over on a broken wheel. A
cash-box had been hastily smashed open, and
thrown under the debris.
90 The War of the Worlds
Except the lodge at the Orphanage, which
was still on fire, none of the houses had suffered
very greatly here. The Heat-Ray had shaved
the chimney-tops and passed. Yet, save our-
selves, there did not seem to be a living soul
on Maybury Hill. The majority of the in-
habitants had escaped, I suppose, by way of
the Old Woking road the road I had taken
when I drove to Leatherhead or they had
We went down the lane, by the body of the
man in black, sodden now from the overnight
hail, and broke into the woods at the foot of
the hill. We pushed through these towards
the railway, without meeting a soul. The
woods across the line were but the scarred and
blackened ruins of woods ; for the most part
the trees had fallen, but a certain proportion
still stood, dismal gray stems, with dark-brown
foliage instead of green.
On our side the fire had done no more than
scorch the nearer trees ; it had failed to secure
its footing. In one place the woodmen had
been at work on Saturday ; trees, felled and
freshly trimmed, lay in a clearing, with heaps
of sawdust, by the sawing machine and its
engine. Hard by was a temporary hut, de-
serted. There was not a breath of wind this
The Destruction of Weybridge, etc. 91
morning, and everything was strangely still.
Even the birds were hushed, and as we
hurried along, I and the artilleryman talked
in whispers, and looked now and again over
our shoulders. Once or twice we stopped to
After a time we drew near the road, and as
we did so we heard the clatter of hoofs, and
saw through the tree - stems three cavalry
soldiers riding slowly towards Woking. We
hailed them, and they halted while we hurried
towards them. It was a lieutenant and a couple
of privates of the 8th Hussars, with a stand
like a theodolite, which the artilleryman told
me was a heliograph.
' You are the first men I've seen coming
this way this morning,' said the lieutenant.
' What's brewing ?'
His voice and face were eager. The men
behind him stared curiously. The artilleryman
jumped down the bank into the road and
' Gun destroyed last night, sir. Have been
hiding. Trying to rejoin battery, sir. You'll
come in sight of the Martians, I expect, about
half a mile along this road.'
' What the dickens are they like ?' asked the
92 The War of the Worlds
' Giants in armour, sir. Hundred feet high.
Three legs and a body like 'luminium, with a
mighty great head in a hood, sir.'
' Get out !' said the lieutenant. ' What con-
founded nonsense !'
' You'll see, sir. They carry a kind of box,
sir, that shoots fire and strikes you dead.'
' What d'ye mean a gun ?'
' No, sir,' and the artilleryman began a vivid
account of the Heat- Ray. Halfway through
the lieutenant interrupted him and looked up at
me. I was still standing on the bank by the
side of the road.
' Did you see it ?' said the lieutenant.
'It's perfectly true,' I said.
' Well,' said the lieutenant, ' I suppose it's
my business to see it too. Look here ' to the
artilleryman ' we're detailed here clearing
people out of their houses. You'd better go
along and report yourself to Brigadier-General
Marvin, and tell him all you know. He's at
W 7 eybridge. Know the way ?'
' I do,' I said ; and he turned his horse
' Half a mile, you say ?' said he.
'At most,' I answered, and pointed over the
tree-tops southward. He thanked me and rode
on, and we saw them no more.
The Destruction of Weybridge, etc. 93
Further along we came upon a group of
three women and two children in the road,
busy clearing out a labourer's cottage. They
had got hold of a little hand-truck, and were
piling it up with unclean-looking bundles and
shabby furniture. They were all too assiduously
engaged to talk to us as we passed.
By Byfleet Station we emerged from the pine-
trees, and found the country calm and peaceful
under the morning sunlight. We were far be-
yond the range of the Heat- Ray there, and
had it not been for the silent desertion of some
of the houses, the stirring movement of packing
in others, and the knot of soldiers standing on
the bridge over the railway and staring down
the line towards Woking, the day would have
seemed very like any other Sunday.
Several farm waggons and carts were moving
creakily along the road to Addlestone, and
suddenly through the gate of a field we saw,
across a stretch of flat meadow, six twelve-
pounders, standing neatly at equal distances
and pointing towards Woking. The gunners
cStood by the guns waiting, and the ammunition
waggons were at a business-like distance. The
men stood almost as if under inspection.
'That's good!' said I. 'They will get one
fair shot, at any rate.'
94 The War of the Worlds
The artilleryman hesitated at the gate.
' I shall go on,' he said.
Further on towards Weybridge, just over
the bridge, there were a number of men in
white fatigue jackets throwing up a long ram-
part, and more guns behind.
' It's bows and arrows against the lightning,
anyhow/ said the artilleryman. ' They 'aven't
seen that fire-beam yet.'
The officers who were not actively engaged
stood and stared over the tree-tops south-
westward, and the men digging would stop
every now and again to stare in the same
Byfleet was in a tumult, people packing, and
a score of hussars, some of them dismounted,
some on horseback, were hunting them about.
Three or four black Government waggons,
with crosses in white circles, and an old
omnibus, among other vehicles, were being
loaded in the village street. There were
scores of people, most of them sufficiently
Sabbatical to have assumed their best clothes.
The soldiers were having the greatest difficulty
in making them realize the gravity of their
position. We saw one shrivelled old fellow
with a huge box and a score or more of
flower-pots containing orchids, angrily expos-
The Destruction of Weybridge, etc. 95
tulating with the corporal who would leave
them behind. I stopped and gripped his
' Do you know what's over there ?' I said,
pointing at the pine-tops that hid the Martians.
' Eh ?' said he, turning. ' I was explainin'
these is vallyble.'
1 Death !' I shouted. ' Death is coming !
Death !' and, leaving him to digest that if he
could, I hurried on after the artilleryman. At
the corner I looked back. The soldier had
left him, and he was still standing by his box
with the pots of orchids on the lid of it, and
staring vaguely over the trees.
No one in Weybridge could tell us where the
headquarters were established ; the whole place
was in such confusion as I had never seen in any
town before. Carts, carriages everywhere, the
most astonishing miscellany of conveyances and
horseflesh. The respectable inhabitants of the
place, men in golf and boating costumes, wives
prettily dressed, were packing, riverside loafers
energetically helping, children excited, and, for
4he most part, highly delighted at this astonish-
ing variation of their Sunday experiences. In
the midst of it all the worthy vicar was very
pluckily holding an early celebration, and his
bell was jangling out above the excitement.
96 The War of the Worlds
I and the artilleryman, seated on the step of
the drinking-fountain, made a very passable
meal upon what we had brought with us.
Patrols of soldiers here no longer hussars, but
grenadiers in white were warning people to
move now or to take refuge in their cellars as
soon as the firing began. We saw as we crossed
the railway bridge that a growing crowd of
people had assembled in and about the railway-
station, and the swarming platform was piled
with boxes and packages. The ordinary traffic
had been stopped, I believe, in order to allow of
the passage of troops and guns to Chertsey, and
I have heard since that a savage struggle
occurred for places in the special trains that were
put on at a later hour.
We remained at Weybridge until mid-day,
and at that hour we found ourselves at the
place near Shepperton Lock where the Wey
and Thames join. Part of the time we spent
helping two old women to pack a little cart.
The Wey has a treble mouth, and at this point
boats are to be hired, and there was a ferry
across the river. On the Shepperton side was
an inn, with a lawn, and beyond that the tower
of Shepperton Church it has been replaced by
a spire rose above the trees.
Here we found an excited and noisy crowd
The Destruction of Weybridge, etc. 97
of fugitives. As yet the flight had not grown
to a panic, but there were already far more
people than all the boats going to and fro could
enable to cross. People came panting along
under heavy burdens ; one husband and wife
were even carrying a small outhouse door
between them, with some of their household
goods piled thereon. One man told us he meant
to try to get away from Shepperton Station.
There was a lot of shouting, and one man
was even jesting. The idea people seemed to
have here was that the Martians were simply
formidable human beings, who might attack and
sack the town, to be certainly destroyed in the
end. Every now and then people would glance
nervously across the Wey, at the meadows
towards Chertsey, but everything over there
Across the Thames, except just where the
boats landed, everything was quiet, in vivid con-
trast with the Surrey side. The people who
landed there from the boats went tramping off
down the lane. The big ferry-boat had just
-made a journey. Three or four soldiers stood
on the lawn of the inn, staring and jesting at
the fugitives, without offering to help. The
inn was closed, as it was now within prohibited
98 The War of the Worlds
' What's that !' cried a boatman, and ' Shut
up, you fool !' said a man near me to a yelping
dog. Then the sound came again, this time
from the direction of Chertsey, a muffled thud
the sound of a gun.
The fighting was beginning. Almost imme-
diately unseen batteries across the river to our
right,' unseen because of the trees, took up the
chorus, firing heavily one after the other. A
woman screamed. Everyone stood arrested by
the sudden stir of battle, near us and yet
invisible to us. Nothing was to be seen save
flat meadows, cows feeding unconcernedly for
the most part, and silvery pollard willows
motionless in the warm sunlight.
' The sojers '11 stop 'em,' said a woman beside
me doubtfully. A haziness rose over the tree-
Then suddenly we saw a rush of smoke far
away up the river, a puff of smoke that jerked
up into the air, and hung, and forthwith the
ground heaved under foot and a heavy explosion
shook the air, smashing two or three windows
in the houses near, and leaving us aston-
' Here they are !' shouted a man in a blue
jersey. ' Yonder ! D'yer see them ? Yonder !'
Quickly, one after the other, one, two, three,
The Destruction of Weybridge, etc. 99
four of the armoured Martians appeared, far
away over the little trees, across the flat meadows
that stretch towards Chertsey, and striding
hurriedly towards the river. Little cowled
figures they seemed at first, going with a rolling
motion and as fast as flying birds.
Then, advancing obliquely towards us, came
a fifth. Their armoured bodies glittered in the
sun, as they swept swiftly forward upon the
guns, growing rapidly larger as they drew
nearer. One on the extreme left, the remotest,
that is, flourished a huge case high in the air,
and the ghostly terrible Heat- Ray I had already
seen on Friday night smote towards Chertsey,
and struck the town.
At sight of these strange, swift, and terrible
creatures, the crowd along by the water's edge
seemed to me to be for a moment horror-struck.
There was no screaming or shouting, but a
silence. Then a hoarse murmur and a move-
ment of feet a splashing from the water. A
man, too frightened to drop the portmanteau he
carried on his shoulder, swung round and sent
me staggering with a blow from the corner of
his burden. A woman thrust at me with her
hand and rushed past me. I turned, too, with
the rush of the people, but I was not too
terrified for thought. The terrible Heat-
ioo The War of the Worlds
Ray was in my mind. To get under water !
That was it !
' Get under water !' I shouted unheeded.
I faced about again, and rushed towards the
approaching Martian rushed right down the
gravelly beach and headlong into the water.
Others did the same. A boatload of people
putting back came leaping out as I rushed past.
The stones under my feet were muddy and
slippery, and the river was so low that I ran
perhaps twenty feet scarcely waist-deep. Then,
as the Martian towered overhead scarcely a
couple of hundred yards away, I flung myself
forward under the surface. The splashes of
the people in the boats leaping into the river
sounded like thunderclaps in my ears. People
were landing hastily on both sides of the
But the Martian machine took no more
notice for the moment of the people running
this way and that than a man would of the con-
fusion of ants in a nest against which his foot
has kicked. When, half suffocated, I raised
my head above water the Martian's hood pointed
at the batteries that were still firing across
the river, and as it advanced it swung loose
what must have been the generator of the
The Destruction of Weybridge, etc. i o I
In another moment it was on the bank, and
in a stride wading half-way across. The knees
of its foremost legs bent at the further bank,
and in another moment it had raised itself to
its full height again, close to the village of
Shepperton. Forthwith the six guns, which,
unknown to anyone on the right bank, had
been hidden behind the outskirts of that village,
fired simultaneously. The sudden near concus-
sions, the last close upon the first, made my
heart jump. The monster was already raising
the case generating the Heat-Ray, as the first
shell burst six yards above the hood.
I gave a cry of astonishment. I saw and
thought nothing of the other four Martian
monsters : my attention was riveted upon the
nearer incident. Simultaneously two other
shells burst in the air near the body as the hood
twisted round in time to receive, but not in
time to dodge, the fourth shell.
The shell burst clean in the face of the thing.
The hood bulged, flashed, was whirled off in a
dozen tattered fragments of red flesh and
'Hit!' shouted I, with something between a
scream and a cheer.
I heard answering shouts from the people
in the water about me. I could have leapt
IO2 The War of the Worlds
out of the water with that momentary exulta-
The decapitated colossus reeled like a
drunken giant ; but it did not fall over. It re-
covered its balance by a miracle, and, no longer
heeding its steps, and with the camera that fired
the Heat- Ray now rigidly upheld, it reeled
swiftly upon Shepperton. The living in-
telligence, the Martian within the hood, was
slain and splashed to the four winds of heaven,
and the thing was now but a mere intricate
device of metal whirling to destruction. It
drove along in a straight line, incapable of
guidance. It struck the tower of Shepperton
Church, smashing it down as the impact of
a battering ram might have done, swerved
aside, blundered on, and collapsed with a
tremendous impact into the river out of my
A violent explosion shook the air, and a
spout of water, steam, mud, and shattered
metal, shot far up into the sky. As the camera
of the Heat- Ray hit the water, the latter had
incontinently flashed into steam. In another
moment a huge wave, like a muddy tidal bore,
but almost scaldingly hot, came sweeping round
the bend up-stream. I saw people struggling
shorewards, and heard their screaming and
The Destruction of Weybridge, etc. 103
shouting faintly above the seething and roar of
the Martian's collapse.
For the moment I heeded nothing of the
heat, forgot the patent need of self-preservation.
I splashed through the tumultuous water, push-
ing aside a man in black to do so, until I could
see round the bend. Half a dozen deserted
boats pitched aimlessly upon the confusion of
the waves. The fallen Martian came into
sight down-stream, lying across the river, and
for the most part submerged.
Thick clouds of steam were pouring off the
wreckage, and through the tumultuously whirl-
ing wisps I could see, intermittently and vaguely,
the gigantic limbs churning the water and fling-
ing a splash and spray of mud and froth into
the air. The tentacles swayed and struck like
living arms, and, save for the helpless purpose-
lessness of these movements, it was as if some
wounded thing struggled for life amidst the
waves. Enormous quantities of a ruddy brown
fluid were spurting up in noisy jets out of the
My attention was diverted from this sight
by a furious yelling, like that of the thing called
a siren in our manufacturing towns. A man,
knee-deep near the towing-path, shouted in-
audibly to me and pointed. Looking back, I
1 04 The War of the Worlds
saw the other Martians advancing with gigantic
strides down the river-bank from the direction
of Chertsey. The Shepperton guns spoke
this time unavailingly.
At that I ducked at once under water, and,
holding my breath until movement was an
agony, blundered painfully along under the
surface as long as I could. The water was
in a tumult about me, and rapidly growing
When for a moment I raised my head to take
breath, and throw the hair and water from my
eyes, the steam was rising in a whirling white fog
that at first hid the Martians altogether. The
noise was deafening. Then I saw them dimly,
colossal figures of gray, magnified by the mist.
They had passed by me, and two were stooping
over the frothing tumultuous ruins of their
The third and fourth stood beside him in
the water, one perhaps 200 yards from me,
the other towards Laleham. The generators
of the Heat- Rays waved high, and the hissing
beams smote down this way and that.
The air was full of sound, a deafening and
confusing conflict of noises, the clangorous din
of the Martians, the crash of falling houses,
the thud of trees, fences, sheds, flashing into
The Destruction of Weybridge, etc. 105
flame, and the crackling and roaring of fire.
Dense black smoke was leaping up to mingle
with the steam from the river, and as^the Heat-
Ray went to and fro over Weybridge, its im-
pact was marked by flashes of incandescent
white, that gave place at once to a smoky dance
of lurid flames/ The nearer houses still stood
intact, awaiting their fate, shadowy, faint and
pallid in the steam, with the fire behind them
going to and fro.
For a moment, perhaps, I stood there, breast-
high in the almost boiling water, dumfounded
at my position, hopeless of escape. Through
the reek I could see the people who had been
with me in the river scrambling out of the
water through the reeds, like little frogs hurry-
ing through grass from the advance of a man,
or running to and fro in utter dismay on the
Then suddenly the white flashes of the Heat-
Ray came leaping towards me. The houses
caved in as they dissolved at its touch, and
darted out flames ; the trees changed to fire
'with a roar. It flickered up and down the
towing-path, licking off the people who ran
this way and that, and came down to the
water's edge not fifty yards from where I stood. '
It swept across the river to Shepperton, and
106 The War of the Worlds
the water in its track rose in a boiling wheal
crested with steam. I turned shoreward.
In another moment the huge wave, well-nigh
at the boiling-point, had rushed upon me. I
screamed aloud, and scalded, half blinded,
agonized, I staggered through the leaping,
hissing water towards the shore. Had my
foot stumbled, it would have been the end. I
fell helplessly, in full sight of the Martians,
upon the broad, bare gravelly spit that runs
down to mark the angle of the Wey and
Thames. I expected nothing but death.
I have a dim memory of the foot of a Martian
coming down within a score of yards of my head,
driving straight into the loose gravel, whirling it
this way and that, and lifting again ; of a long
suspense, and then of the four carrying the
debris of their comrade between them, now
clear, and then presently faint, through a veil
of smoke, receding interminably, as it seemed
to me, across a vast space of river and meadow.
And then, very slowly, I realized that by a
miracle I had escaped.
H the Curate 109
the pit. They
the night, and
e hills about
FELL IN WITH THE CURATE.
ig this sudden lesson in the power
AFTI weapons, the Martians retreated to
of teJ-1 position upon Horsell Common,
their" haste, and encumbered with the
and ie i r smashed companion, they no
c[k r :>oked many such a stray and un-
d ou ;ictim as myself. Had they left their
nect nd pushed on forthwith, there was
corm lat time between them and London
noth 3 f twelve-pounder guns, and they
but l im ly have reached the capital in
woul the tidings of their approach ; as
ac j va :adful and destructive their advent
sudd- been as the earthquake that
wou lisbon a century ago.
destr were m no hurry. Cylinder followed
B t its interplanetary flight ; every
cylin hours brought them reinforcement,
twen'hile the military and naval authori-
And^y an 've to the tremendous power
io6 The War of the Worlds
the water in its track rose in a boiling wiergy.
crested with steam. I turned shoreward, sition,
In another moment the huge wave, well-r row
at the boiling-point, had rushed upon meabout
screamed aloud, and scalded, half blin^ctant
agonized, I staggered through the leajl and
hissing water towards the shore. Had miles
foot stumbled, it would have been the end:amp-
fell helplessly, in full sight of the Martiarred
upon the broad, bare gravelly spit that trees,
down to mark the angle of the Wey 'cades
Thames. I expected nothing but death, meys,
I have a dim memory of the foot of a Mairaphs
coming down within a score of yards of my he' the
driving straight into the loose gravel, whirlii' now
this way and that, and lifting again ; of a 1 the
suspense, and then of the four carrying man
debris of their comrade between them, save
clear, and then presently faint, through a
of smoke, receding interminably, as it seearlier
to me, across a vast space of river and meatrans-
And then, very slowly, I realized that I third
miracle I had escaped. .inks,
: th the Curate 109
o the pit. They
*-Q the night, and
^n smoke that
-.he hills about
iOW I FELL IN WITH THE CURATE.
giving this sudden lesson in the power
sstrial weapons, the Martians retreated to
riginal position upon Horsell Common,
their haste, and encumbered with the
of their smashed companion, they no
overlooked many such a stray and un-
iry victim as myself. Had they left their
le, and pushed on forthwith, there was
at that time between them and London
teries of twelve-pounder guns, and they
certainly have reached the capital in
e of the tidings of their approach ; as
dreadful and destructive their advent
have been as the earthquake that
d Lisbon a century ago.
they were in no hurry. Cylinder followed
:r ^in its interplanetary flight ; every
-four hours brought them reinforcement,
.eanwhile the military and naval authori-
>w fully alive to the tremendous power
v/ar of the Worlds
<ni \*r Agonists, worked with furious eii
106 The Wr , ,
mute a fresh gun came into po
the water in its efore twilight, every copse, ever|
crested with suburban villas on the hilly slopes
In another gston and Richmond, masked an expJ
at the 1" tilack muzzle. And through the charreci
screa* desolated area perhaps twenty square I
a p- altogether that encircled the Martian enl
ment on Horsell Common, through ell
and ruined villages among the green
through the blackened and smoking ai
that had been but a day ago pine spif
crawled the devoted scouts with the heliop
that were presently to warn the gunners h
Martian approach. But the Martians
understood our command of artillery an
danger of human proximity, and not a
ventured within a mile of either cylinder
at the price of his life.
It would seem these giants spent the e
part of the afternoon in going to and fro,
ferring everything from the second and
cylinders the second in Addlestone Golf I
and the third at Pyrford to their origin
on Horsell Common. Over that, abov
blackened heather and ruined buildings
stretched far and wide, stood one as sen
while the rest abandoned their vast figl;
How I fell in with the Curate 109
machines and descended into the pit. They
were hard at work there far into the night, and
the towering pillar of dense green smoke that
rose therefrom could be seen from the hills about
Merrow, and even, it is said, from Banstead
and Epsom Downs.
And while the Martians behind me were thus
preparing for their next sally, and in front of
me Humanity gathered for the battle, I made
my way, with infinite pains and labour, from
the fire and smoke of burning Weybridge
I saw an abandoned boat, very small and
remote, drifting down-stream, and, throwing off
the most of my sodden clothes, I went after it,
gained it, and so escaped out of that destruction.
There were no oars in the boat, but I contrived
to paddle, as much as my parboiled hands
would allow, down the river towards Halliford
and Walton, going very tediously, and con-
tinually looking behind me, as you may well
understand. 1 followed the river because I
considered the water gave me my best chance
*6f escape, should these giants return.
The hot water from the Martian's overthrow
drifted down-stream with me, so that for the
best part of a mile I could see little of either
bank. Once, however, I made out a string of
1 1 o The War of the Worlds
black figures hurrying across the meadows from
the direction of Weybridge. Halliford, it seemed,
was quite deserted, and several of the houses
facincr the river were on fire. It was strange to
see the place quite tranquil, quite desolate under
the hot blue sky, with the smoke and little
threads of flame going straight up into the heat
of the afternoon. Never before had I seen
houses burning without the accompaniment of
an inconvenient crowd. A little further on the
dry reeds up the bank were smoking and glow-
ing, and a line of fire inland was marching
steadily across a late field of hay.
For a long time I drifted, so painful and
weary was I after the violence I had been
through, and so intense the heat upon the
water. Then my fears got the better of me
again, and I resumed my paddling. The sun
scorched my bare back. At last, as the bridge
at Walton was coming into sight round the
bend, my fever and faintness overcame my
fears, and I landed on the Middlesex bank, and
lay down, deadly sick, amidst the long grass. I
suppose the time was then about four or five
o'clock. I got up presently, walked perhaps
half a mile without meeting a soul, and then lay
down again in the shadow of a hedge. I seem
to remember talking wanderingly to myself
How I fell in with the Curate i 1 1
during that last spurt. I was also very thirsty,
and bitterly regretful I had drunk no more
water. It is a curious thing that I felt angry
with my wife ; I cannot account for it, but my
impotent desire to reach Leatherhead worried
I do not clearly remember the arrival of the
curate, so that I probably dozed. I became
aware of him as a seated figure in soot-smudged
shirtsleeves, and with his upturned clean-shaven
face staring at a faint flickering that danced
over the sky. The sky was what is called a
mackerel sky, rows and rows of faint down-
plumes of cloud, just tinted with the midsummer
I sat up, and at the rustle of my motion he
looked at me quickly.
4 Have you any water ?' I asked abruptly.
He shook his head.
4 You have been asking for water for the last
hour,' he said.
For a moment we were silent, taking stock
of one another. I dare say he found me a
^strange enough figure, naked save for my
water-soaked trousers and socks, scalded, and
my face and shoulders blackened from the
smoke. His face was a fair weakness, his chin
retreated, and his hair lay in crisp, almost flaxen
1 1 2 The War of the Worlds
curls on his low forehead ; his eyes were rather
large, pale blue, and blankly staring. He spoke
abruptly, looking vacantly away from me.
' What does it mean ?' he said. ' What do
these things mean ?'
I stared at him and made no answer.
He extended a thin white hand and spoke
in almost a complaining tone.
' Why are these things permitted ? What
sins have we done ? The morning service was
over, I was walking through the roads to clear
my brain for the afternoon, and then fire,
earthquake, death ! As if it were Sodom and
Gomorrah ! All our work undone, all the work
... What are these Martians ?'
' What are we ?' I answered, clearing my
He gripped his knees and turned to look at
me again. For half a minute, perhaps, he
' I was walking through the roads to clear
my brains,' he said. ' And suddenly fire,
earthquake, death !'
He relapsed into silence, with his chin now
sunken almost to his knees.
Presently he began waving his hand :
' All the work all the Sunday - schools.
What have we done what has Weybridge
How I fell in with the Curate 1 1 3
done ? Everything gone everything de-
stroyed. The church ! We rebuilt it only
three years ago. Gone ! swept out of exist-
ence ! Why ?'
Another pause, and he broke out again like
' The smoke of her burning goeth up for
ever and ever !' he shouted.
His eyes flamed, and he pointed a lean
finger in the direction of Weybridge.
By this time I was beginning to take his
measure. The tremendous tragedy in which
he had been involved it was evident he was a
fugitive from Weybridge had driven him to
the very verge of his reason.
' Are we far from Sunbury ?' I said in a
' What are we to do ?' he asked. ' Are these
creatures everywhere? Has the earth been
given over to them ?'
1 Are we far from Sunbury P 5
' Only this morning I officiated at early
celebration. . . .'
' Things have changed,' I said quietly.
' You must keep your head. There is still
' Yes; plentiful hope for all this destruction!'
H4 The War of the Worlds
I began to explain my view of our position.
He listened at first, but as I went on the
interest in his eyes changed to their former
stare, and his regard wandered from me.
' This must be the beginning of the end,' he
said, interrupting me. ' The end ! The great
and terrible day of the Lord ! When men
shall call upon the mountains and the rocks to
fall upon them and hide them hide them
from the face of Him that sitteth upon the
I began to understand the position. I ceased
rny laboured reasoning, struggled to my feet,
and, standing over him, laid my hand on his
1 Be a man,' said I. 'You are scared out of
your wits. What good is religion if it collapses
at calamity ? Think of what earthquakes and
floods, wars and volcanoes, have done before
to men. Did you think God had exempted
Wey bridge ? . . . He is not an insurance agent,
For a time he sat in blank silence.
' But how can we escape ?' he asked suddenly.
' They are invulnerable, they are pitiless. . . .'
' Neither the one nor, perhaps, the other,'
I answered. ' And the mightier they are,
the more sane and wary should we be. One
How I fell in with the Curate 1 1 5
of them was killed yonder not three hours
' Killed !' he said, staring about him. ' How
can God's ministers be killed ?'
' I saw it happen,' I proceeded to tell him.
' We have chanced to come in for the thick of
it,' said I, ' and that is all.'
' What is that flicker in the sky ?' he asked
I told him it was the heliograph signalling
that it was the sign of human help and effort
in the sky.
'We are in the midst of it,' I said, ' quiet as
it is. That flicker in the sky tells of the
gathering storm. Yonder, I take it, are the
Martians, and Londonward, where those hills
rise about Richmond and Kingston, and
the trees give cover, earthworks are being
thrown up and guns are being laid. Pre-
sently the Martians will be coming this way
again. . . .'
And even as I spoke, he sprang to his feet
and stopped me by a gesture.
' Listen !' he said. . . .
From beyond the low hills across the
water came the dull resonance of distant
guns and a remote, weird crying. Then every-
thing was still. A cockchafer came droning
1 1 6 The War of the Worlds
over the hedge and past us. High in the west
the crescent moon hung faint and pale, above
the smoke of Weybridge and Shepperton and
the hot still splendour of the sunset.
' We had better follow this path,' I said,
MY younger brother was in London when the
Martians fell at Woking. He was a medical
student, working for an imminent examination,
and he heard nothing of the arrival until Satur-
day morning. The morning papers on Saturday
contained, in addition to lengthy special articles
on the planet Mars, on life in the planets, and
so forth, a brief and vaguely-worded telegram,
all the more striking for its brevity.
The Martians, alarmed by the approach of a
crowd, had killed a number of people with a
quick-firing gun, so the story ran. The tele-
gram concluded with the words : ' Formidable
as they seem to be, the Martians have not
moved from the pit into which they have
fallen, and, indeed, seem incapable of doing so.
Probably this is due to the relative strength of
the earth's gravitational energy.' On that last
text the leader-writers expanded very comfort-
1 1 8 The War of the Worlds
Of course, all the students in the crammer's
biology class, to which my brother went that
day, were intensely interested, but there were no
signs of any unusual excitement in the streets.
The afternoon papers puffed scraps of news
under big headlines. They had nothing to
tell beyond the movements of troops about the
common, and the burning of the pine-woods
between Woking and Weybridge, until eight.
Then the St. James s Gazette, in an extra
special edition, announced the bare fact of the
interruption of telegraphic communication. This
was thought to be due to the falling of burning
pine-trees across the line. Nothing more of
the fighting was known that night, the night of
my drive to Leatherhead and back.
My brother felt no anxiety about us, as he
knew from the description in the papers that the
cylinder was a good two miles from my house.
He made up his mind to run down that night
to me, in order, as he says, to see the things
before they were killed. He despatched a
telegram, which never reached me, about four
o'clock, and spent the evening at a music-hall.
In London, also, on Saturday night there
was a thunderstorm, and my brother reached
Waterloo in a cab. On the platform from
which the midnight train usually starts he
In London 119
learnt, after some waiting, that an accident
prevented trains from reaching Woking that
night. The nature of the accident he could
not ascertain ; indeed, the railway authorities
did not clearly know at that time. There was
very little excitement in the station, as the
officials, failing to realize that anything further
than a breakdown between Byfleet and Woking
Junction had occurred, were running the theatre'
trains, which usually passed through Woking,
round by Virginia Water or Guildford. They
were busy making the necessary arrangements
to alter the route of the Southampton and Ports-
mouth Sunday League excursions. A nocturnal
newspaper reporter, mistaking my brother for
the traffic manager, whom he does to a slight
extent resemble, waylaid and tried to interview
him. Few people, excepting the railway officials,
connected the breakdown with the Martians.
I have read, in another account of these
events, that on Sunday morning ' all London
was electrified by the news from Woking.'
As a matter of fact, there was nothing to
justify that very extravagant phrase. Plenty
of people in London did not hear of the
Martians until the panic of Monday morning.
Those who did took some time to realize all
that the hastily-worded telegrams in the Sunday
1 20 The War of the Worlds
papers conveyed. The majority of people in
London do not read Sunday papers.
The habit of personal security, moreover, is
so deeply fixed in the Londoner's mind, and
startling intelligence so much a matter of course
in the papers, that they could read without any
personal tremors : ' About seven o'clock last
night the Martians came out of the cylinder,
and, moving about under an armour of metallic
shields, have completely wrecked Woking
Station, with the adjacent houses, and mas-
sacred an entire battalion of the Cardigan
Regiment. No details are known. Maxims
have been absolutely useless against their
armour; the field-guns have been disabled
by them. Flying hussars have been galloping
into Chertsey. The Martians appear to be
moving slowly towards Chertsey or Windsor.
Great anxiety prevails in West Surrey, and
earthworks are being thrown up to check the
advance Londonwards.' That was how the
Sunday Sun put it, and a clever and remark-
ably prompt ' hand-book ' article in the Referee
compared the affair to a menagerie suddenly
let loose in a village.
No one in London knew positively of the
nature of the armoured Martians, and there
was still a fixed idea that these monsters must
In London 121
be sluggish : ' crawling,' ' creeping painfully '
such expressions occurred in almost all the
earlier reports. None of the telegrams could
have been written by an eye-witness of their
advance. The Sunday papers printed separate
editions as further news came to hand, some
even in default of it. But there was practically
nothing more to tell people until late in the
afternoon, when the authorities gave the press
agencies the news in their possession. It was
stated that the people of Walton and Weybridge,
and all that district, were pouring along the
roads Londonward, and that was all.
My brother went to church at the Foundling
Hospital in the morning, still in ignorance of
what had happened on the previous night.
There he heard allusions made to the invasion,
and a special prayer for peace. Coming out,
he bought a Referee. He became alarmed at
the news in this, and went again to Waterloo
Station to find out if communication were re-
stored. The omnibuses, carriages, cyclists,
and innumerable people walking in their best
clothes, seemed scarcely affected by the strange
intelligence that the newsvendors were dis-
seminating. People were interested, or, if
alarmed; alarmed only on account of the local
residents. At the station he heard for the first
122 The War of the Worlds
time that the Windsor and Chertsey lines were
now interrupted. The porters told him that
several remarkable telegrams had been received
in the morning from Byfleet and Chertsey
Stations, but that these had abruptly ceased.
My brother could get very little precise detail
out of them. ' There's fighting going on about
Weybridge,' was the extent of their information.
The train service was now very much dis-
organized. Quite a number of people, who
had been expecting friends from places on the
South-Western network, were standing about
the station. One gray-headed old gentleman
came and abused the South-Western Company
bitterly to my brother. ' It wants showing up,'
One or two trains came in from Richmond,
Putney, and Kingston, containing people who
had gone out for a day's boating, and found
the locks closed and a feeling of panic in the
air. A man in a blue and white blazer ad-
dressed my brother, full of strange tidings.
' There's hosts of people driving into King-
ston in traps and carts and things, with boxes of
valuables and all that,' he said. ' They come
from Molesey and Weybridge and Walton, and
they say there's been guns heard at Chertsey,
heavy firing, and that mounted soldiers have
In London 123
told them to get off at once because the Mar-
tians are coming. We heard guns firing at
Hampton Court Station, but we thought it was
thunder. What the dickens does it all mean ?
The Martians can't get out of their pit, can
My brother could not tell him.
Afterwards he found that the vague feeling
of alarm had spread to the clients of the
underground railway, and that the Sunday
excursionists began to return from all the
South-Western ' lungs ' Barnes, Wimbledon,
Richmond Park, Kew, and so forth at un-
naturally early hours ; but not a soul had
anything but vague hearsay to tell of. Every-
one connected with the terminus seemed ill-
About five o'clock the gathering crowd in
the station was immensely excited by the
opening of the line of communication, which
is almost invariably closed, between the South-
Eastern and the South-Western stations, and
the passage of carriage-trucks bearing huge
guns, and carriages crammed with soldiers.
These were the guns that were brought up
from Woolwich and Chatham to cover Kingston.
There was an exchange of pleasantries : ' You'll
get eaten !' 4 We're the beast-tamers !' and so
1 24 The War of the Worlds
forth. A little while after that a squad o
police came into the station, and began t
clear the public off the platforms, and m
brother went out into the street again.
The church bells were ringing for even-
song, and a squad of Salvation Army lasses
came singing down Waterloo Road. On the
bridge a number of loafers were watching a
curious brown scum that came drifting down
the stream in patches. The sun was just
setting, and the Clock Tower and the Houses
of Parliament rose against one of the most
peaceful skies it is possible to imagine, a sky
of gold, barred with long transverse stripes
of reddish-purple cloud. There was talk of
a floating body. One of the men there, a
reservist he said he was, told my brother
he had seen the heliograph flickering in the
In Wellington Street my brother met a
couple of sturdy roughs, who had just rushed
out of Fleet Street with still wet newspapers
and staring placards. ' Dreadful catastrophe !'
they bawled one to the other down Wellington
Street. ' Fighting at Weybridge ! Full de-
scription ! Repulse of the Martians ! London
said to be in danger !' He had to give three-
pence for a copy of that paper.
In London 125
Then it was, and then only, that he realized
something of the full power and terror of these
monsters. He learnt that they were not merely
a handful of small sluggish creatures, but that
they were minds swaying vast mechanical
bodies, and that they could move swiftly and
smite with such power that even the mightiest
guns could not stand against them.
They were described as ' vast spider-like
machines, nearly a hundred feet high, capable
of the speed of an express train, and able to
shoot out a beam of intense heat.' Masked
batteries, chiefly of field-guns, had been planted
in the country about Horsell Common, and
especially between the Woking district and
London. Five of the machines had been seen
moving towards the Thames, and one, by a
freak of chance, had been destroyed. In the
other cases the shells had missed, and the
batteries had been at once annihilated by the
Heat- Rays. Heavy losses of soldiers were
mentioned, but the tone of the despatch was
The Martians had been repulsed ; they were
not invulnerable. They had retreated to their
triangle of cylinders again, in the circle about
Woking. Signallers with heliographs were
pushing forward upon them from all sides.
1 26 The War of the Worlds
Guns were in rapid transit from Windsor,
Portsmouth, Aldershot, Woolwich even froi
the north ; among others, long wire guns of
ninety-five tons from Woolwich. Altogethei
one hundred and sixteen were in position 01
being hastily laid, chiefly covering London.
Never before in England had there been sue!
a vast or rapid concentration of military material.
Any further cylinders that fell, it was hoped,
could be destroyed at once by high explosives,
which were being rapidly manufactured and
distributed. No doubt, ran the report, the
situation was of the strangest and gravest
description, but the public was exhorted to
avoid and discourage panic. No doubt the
Martians were strange and terrible in the
extreme, but at the outside there could not
be more than twenty of them against our
The authorities had reason to suppose, from
the size of the cylinders, that at the outside
there could not be more than five in each
cylinder fifteen altogether. And one at least
was disposed of perhaps more. The public
would be fairly warned of the approach of
danger, and elaborate measures were being
taken for the protection of the people in the
threatened south-western suburbs. And so,
with reiterated assurances of the safety of
London, and the confidence of the authorities
to cope with the difficulty, this quasi proclama-
This was printed in enormous type, so fresh
that the paper was still wet, and there had been
no time to add a word of comment. It was
curious, my brother said, to see how ruthlessly
the other contents of the paper had been hacked
and taken out to give this place.
All down Wellington Street, people could be
seen fluttering out the pink sheets and reading,
and the Strand was suddenly noisy with the
voices of an army of hawkers following these
pioneers. Men came scrambling off buses to
secure copies. Certainly this news excited
people intensely, whatever their previous apathy.
The shutters of a map-shop in the Strand were
being taken down, my brother said, and a man
in his Sunday raiment, lemon -yellow gloves
even, was visible inside the window, hastily
fastening maps of Surrey to the glass.
Going on along the Strand to Trafalgar
Square, the paper in his hand, my brother saw
some of the fugitives from West Surrey.
There was a man driving a cart such as green-
grocers use, and his wife and two boys and
some articles of furniture. He was driving
1 28 The War of the Worlds
from the direction of Westminster Bridge, and
close behind him came a hay-waggon with five
or six respectable-looking people in it, and some
boxes and bundles. The faces of these people
were haggard, and their entire appearance con-
trasted conspicuously with the Sabbath-best
appearance of the people on the omnibuses.
People in fashionable clothing peeped at thei
out of cabs. They stopped at the Square as il
undecided which way to take, and finally turnec
eastward along the Strand. Some wa-vt afte
these came a man in work-day clothes, 'ri
one of those old-fashioned tricycles with a small
front- wheel. He was dirty and white in the
My brother turned down towards Victoria,
and met a number of such people. He had
vague idea that he might see something of
me. He noticed an unusual number of police
regulating the traffic. Some of the refugees
were exchanging news with the people on the
omnibuses. One was professing to have seei
the Martians. ' Boilers on stilts, I tell you,
striding along like men.' Most of them were
excited and animated by their strange ex-
Beyond Victoria the public-houses were doinj
a lively trade with these arrivals. At all the
In London 129
street corners groups of people were reading
papers, talking excitedly, or staring at these
unusual Sunday visitors. They seemed to
increase as night drew on, until at last the
roads, my brother said, were like the Epsom
High Street on a Derby Day. My brother
addressed several of these fugitives and got
unsatisfactory answers from most.
None of them could tell him any news of
Woking except one man, who assured him that
Wok^g had been entirely destroyed on the
' I come from Byfleet,' he said ; ' a man on a
bicycle came through the place in the early
morning, and ran from door to door warning us
to come away. Then came soldiers. We went
out to look, and there were clouds of smoke to
the south nothing but smoke, and not a soul
coming that way. Then we heard the guns at
Chertsey, and folks coming from Weybridge.
So I've locked up my house and come on.'
At that time there was a strong feeling in the
streets that the authorities were to blame for
their incapacity to dispose of the invaders with-
out all this inconvenience.
About eight o'clock, a noise of heavy firing
was distinctly audible all over the south of
London. My brother could not hear it for the
1 30 The War of the Worlds
traffic in the main streets, but by striking
through the quiet back-streets to the river he
was able to distinguish it quite plainly.
He walked back from Westminster to his
apartments near Regent's Park about two. He
was now very anxious on my account, and dis-
turbed at the evident magnitude of the trouble.
His mind was inclined to run, even as mine
had run on Saturday, on military details. He
thought of all those silent expectant guns,
of the suddenly nomadic countryside ; he tried
to imagine ' boilers on stilts ' a hundred feet
There were one or two cartloads of refugees
passing along Oxford Street, and several in the
Marylebone Road, but so slowly was the news
spreading that Regent Street and Portland
Road were full of their usual Sunday-night
promenaders, albeit they talked in groups, and
along the edge of Regent's Park there were
as many silent couples ' walking out ' together
under the scattered gas-lamps as ever there had
been. The night was warm and still, and a
little oppressive, the sound of guns continued
intermittently, and after midnight there seemed
to be sheet lightning in the south.
He read and re-read the paper, fearing the
worst had happened to me. He was restless,
In London 131
and after supper prowled out again aimlessly.
He returned and tried to divert his attention by
his examination notes in vain. He went to
bed a little after midnight, and he was awakened
out of some lurid dreams in the small hours of
Monday by the sound of door-knockers, feet
running in the street, distant drumming, and a
clamour of bells. Red reflections danced on
the ceiling. For a moment he lay astonished,
wondering whether day had come or the world
had gone mad. Then he jumped out of bed
and ran to the window.
His room was an attic, and as he thrust his
head out, up and down the street there were a
dozen echoes to the noise of his window-sash,
and heads in every kind of night disarray
appeared. Inquiries were being shouted. 'They
are coming!' bawled a policeman, hammering
at the door ; ' the Martians are coming !' and
hurried to the next door.
The noise of drumming and trumpeting came
from the Albany Street Barracks, and every
church within earshot was hard at work killing
sleep with a vehement disorderly tocsin. There
was a noise of doors opening, and window after
window in the houses opposite flashed from
darkness into yellow illumination.
Up the street came galloping a closed car-
1 32 The War of the Worlds
riage, bursting abruptly into noise at the corner,
rising to a clattering climax under the window,
and dying away slowly in the distance. Close
on the rear of this came a couple of cabs, the
forerunners of a long procession of flying
vehicles, going for the most part to Chalk Farm
Station, where the North- Western special trains
were loading up, instead of coming down the
gradient into Euston.
For a long time my brother stared out of
the window in blank astonishment, watching
the policemen hammering at door after door,
and delivering their incomprehensible message.
Then the door behind him opened, and the man
who lodged across the landing came in, dressed
only in shirt, trousers, and slippers, his braces
loose about his waist, his hair disordered from
' What the devil is it ?' he asked. 'A fire ?
What a devil of a row !'
They both craned their heads out of the
window, straining to hear what the policemen
were shouting. People were coming out of
the side-streets, and standing in groups at the
' What the devil is it all about ?' said my
My brother answered him vaguely and began
In London 133
to dress, running with each garment to the
window in order to miss nothing of the growing
excitement of the streets. And presently men
selling unnaturally early newspapers came bawl-
ing into the street :
' London in danger of suffocation ! The
Kingston and Richmond defences forced !
Fearful massacres in the Thames Valley !'
And all about him in the rooms below, in
the houses on either side and across the road,
and behind in the Park Terraces and in the
hundred other streets of that part of Maryle-
bone, and the Westbourne Park district and
St. Pancras, and westward and northward in
Kilburn and St. John's Wood and Hampstead,
and eastward in Shoreditch.and Highbury and
Haggerston and Hoxton, and, indeed, through
all the vastness of London from Ealing to East
Ham people were rubbing their eyes, and
opening windows to stare out and ask aimless
questions, and dressing hastily as the first
breath of the coming storm of Fear blew
through the streets. It was the dawn of the
great panic. London, which had gone to bed
on Sunday night stupid and inert, was awakened
in the small hours of Monday morning to a
vivid sense of danger.
Unable from his window to learn what was
1 34 The War of the Worlds
happening, my brother went down and out into
the street, just as the sky between the parapets
of the houses grew pink with the early dawn.
The flying people on foot and in vehicles grew
more numerous every moment. ' Black Smoke !'
he heard people crying, and again ' Black
Smoke !' The contagion of such a unanimous
fear was inevitable. As my brother hesitated
on the doorstep, he saw another newsvendor
approaching him, and got a copy forthwith.
The man was running away with the rest, and
selling his papers as he ran for a shilling each
a grotesque mingling of profit and panic.
And from this paper my brother read that
catastrophic despatch of the Commander-in-
' The Martians are able to discharge enormous
clouds of a black and poisonous vapour by
means of rockets. They have smothered our
batteries, destroyed Richmond, Kingston, and
Wimbledon, and are advancing slowly towards
London, destroying everything on the way. It
is impossible to stop them. There is no safety
from the Black Smoke but in instant flight.'
That was all, but it was enough. The whole
population of the great six-million city was
In London 137
stirring, slipping, running ; presently it woulcre
be pouring en masse northward.
' Black Smoke !' the voices cried. ' Fire !'
The bells of the neighbouring church made
a jangling tumult, a cart carelessly driven
smashed amidst shrieks and curses against the
water-trough up the street. Sickly yellow light
went to and fro in the houses, and some of the
passing cabs flaunted unextinguished lamps.
And overhead the dawn was growing brighter,
clear and steady and calm.
He heard footsteps running to and fro in the
rooms, and up and down stairs behind him.
His landlady came to the door, loosely wrapped
in dressing-gown and shawl ; her husband fol-
As my brother began to realize the import of
all these things, he turned hastily to his own
room, put all his available money some ten
pounds altogether into his pockets, and went
out again into the streets.
WHAT HAD HAPPENED IN SURREY.
IT was while the curate had sat and talked so
wildly to me under the hedge in the flat
meadows near Halliford, and while my brother
was watching the fugitives stream over West-
minster Bridge, that the Martians had resumed
the offensive. So far as one can ascertain from
the conflicting accounts that have been put
forth, the majority of them remained busied
with preparations in the Horsell pit until nine
that night, hurrying on some operation that dis-
engaged huge volumes of green smoke.
But three certainly came out about eight
o'clock, and, advancing slowly and cautiously,
made their way through Byfleet and Pyrford
towards Ripley and Weybridge, and so came in
sight of the expectant batteries against the
setting sun. These Martians did not advance
in a body, but in a line, each perhaps a mile and
a half from his nearest fellow. They communi-
cated with each other by means of siren-like
What had happened in Surrey 137
howls, running up and down the scale from one
note to another.
It was this howling and the firing of the guns
at Ripley and St. George's Hill that we had
heard at Upper Halliford. The Ripley gunners,
unseasoned artillery volunteers who ought never
to have been placed in such a position, fired one
wild, premature, ineffectual volley, and bolted
on horse and foot through the deserted village,
and the Martian walked over their guns serenely
without using his Heat-Ray, stepped gingerly
among them, passed in front of them, and so
came unexpectedly upon the guns in Painshill
Park, which he destroyed.
The St. George's Hill men, however, were
better led or of a better mettle. Hidden by a
pine-wood as they were, they seem to have
been quite unexpected by the Martian nearest
to them. They laid their guns as deliberately
as if they had been on parade, and fired at about
a thousand yards' range.
The shells flashed all round the Martian, and
they saw him advance a few paces, stagger, and
go down. Everybody yelled together, and the
guns were reloaded in frantic haste. The
overthrown Martian set up a prolonged ulula-
tion, and immediately a second glittering giant,
answering him, appeared over the trees to the
1 3 8 The War of the Worlds
south. It would seem that a leg of the tripod
had been smashed by one of the shells. The
whole of the second volley flew wide of the
Martian on the ground, and simultaneously
both his companions brought their Heat- Rays
to bear on the battery. The ammunition blew
up, the pine-trees all about the guns flashed
into fire, and only one or two of the men who
were already running over the crest of the hill
After this it would seem that the three took
counsel together and halted, and the scouts who
were watching them report that they remained
absolutely stationary for the next half-hour.
The Martian who had been overthrown crawled
tediously out of his hood, a small brown figure,
oddly suggestive from that distance of a speck
of blight, and apparently engaged in the repair
of his support. About nine he had finished,
for his cowl was then seen above the trees
It was a few minutes past nine that night
when these three sentinels were joined by four
other Martians, each carrying a thick black
tube. A similar tube was handed to each
of the three, and the seven proceeded to dis-
tribute themselves at equal distances along a
curved line between St. George's Hill, Wey-
What had happened in Surrey 1 39
bridge, and the village of Send, south-west of
A dozen rockets sprang out of the hills before
them so soon as they began to move, and warned
the waiting batteries about Ditton and Esher.
At the same time four of their Fighting Machines,
similarly armed with tubes, crossed the river,
and two of them, black against the western sky,
came into sight of myself and the curate as we
hurried wearily and painfully along the road
that runs northward out of Halliford. They
moved, as it seemed to us, upon a cloud, for
i milky mist covered the fields and rose to a
nird of their height.
At this sight the curate cried faintly in his
throat, and began running ; but I knew it was
no good running from a Martian, and I turned
aside and crawled through dewy nettles and
brambles into the broad ditch by the side of
the road. He looked back, saw what I was
doing, and turned to join me.
The two Martians halted, the nearer to us
standing and facing Sunbury, the remoter being
a gray indistinctness towards the evening star,
away towards Staines.
The occasional howling of the Martians had
ceased ; they took up their positions in the
huge crescent about their cylinders in absolute
140 The War of the Worlds
silence. It was a crescent with twelve miles
between its horns. Never since the devising
of gunpowder was the beginning of a battle so
still. To us and to an observer about Ripley
it would have had precisely the same effect
the Martians seemed in solitary possession of
the darkling night, lit only as it was by the
slender moon, the stars, the after-glow of the
daylight, and the ruddy glare from St. George's
Hill and the woods of Painshill.
But facing that crescent everywhere, at
Staines, Hounslow, Ditton, Esher, Ockham,
behind hills and woods south of the river, and
across the flat grass meadows to the north of it,
wherever a cluster of trees or village houses
gave sufficient cover, the guns were waiting.
The signal rockets burst and rained their sparks
through the night and vanished, and the spirit
of all those watching batteries rose to a tense
expectation. The Martians had but to advance
into the line of fire, and instantly those motion-
less black forms of men, those guns glittering
so darkly in the early night, would explode into
a thunderous fury of battle.
No doubt the thought that was uppermost in
a thousand of those vigilant minds, even as it
was uppermost in mine, was the riddle how
much they understood of us. Did they grasp
What had happened in Surrey 141
that we in our millions were organized, disci-
plined, working together ? Or did they inter-
pret our spurts of fire, the sudden stinging of
our shells, our steady investment of their
encampment, as we should the furious unanimity
of onslaught in a disturbed hive of bees ? Did
they dream they might exterminate us ? (At
that time no one knew what food they needed.)
A hundred such questions struggled together in
my mind as I watched that vast sentinel shape.
And in the back of my mind was the sense
of all the huge unknown and hidden forces
London ward. Had they prepared pitfalls ?
Were the powder-mills at Hounslow ready as a
snare ? Would the Londoners have the heart
and courage to make a greater Moscow of their
mighty province of houses ?
Then, after an interminable time as it seemed
to us, crouching and peering through the hedge,
came a sound like the distant concussion of a
gun. Another nearer, and then another. And
then the Martian beside us raised his tube on
high and discharged it gunwise, with a heavy
''report that made the ground heave. The
Martian towards Staines answered him. There
was no flash, no smoke, simply that loaded
I was so excited by these heavy minute-guns
142 The War of the Worlds
following one another that I so far forgot my
personal safety and my scalded hands as to
clamber up into the hedge and stare towards
Sunbury. As I did so a second report followed,
and a big projectile hurtled overhead towards
Hounslow. I expected at least to see smoke
or fire or some such evidence of its work. But
all I saw was the deep-blue sky above, with one
solitary star, and the white mist spreading wide
and low beneath. And there had been no
crash, no answering explosion. The silence
was restored ; the minute lengthened to three.
' What has happened ?' said the curate, stand-
ing up beside me.
' Heaven knows !' said I.
A bat flickered by and vanished. A distant
tumult of shouting began and ceased. I looked
again at the Martian, and saw he was now
moving eastward along the river-bank, with a
swift rolling motion.
Every moment I expected the fire of some
hidden battery to spring upon him ; but the
evening calm was unbroken. The figure of the
Martian grew smaller as he receded, and
presently the mist and the gathering night had
swallowed him up. By a common impulse we
clambered higher. Towards Sunbury was a
dark appearance, as though a conical hill had
What had happened in Surrey 143
suddenly come into being there, hiding our
view of the further country ; and then, remoter
across the river, over Walton, we saw another
such summit. These hill-like forms grew lower
and broader even as we stared.
Moved by a sudden thought, I looked north-
ward, and there I perceived a third of these
cloudy black kopjes had arisen.
Everything had suddenly become very still.
Far away to the south-east, marking the quiet,
we heard the Martians hooting to one another,
and then the air quivered again with the distant
thud of their guns. But the earthly artillery
made no reply.
Now, at the time we could not understand
these things ; but later I was to learn the mean-
ing of these ominous kopjes that gathered in
the twilight. Each of the Martians, standing
in the great crescent I have described, had dis-
charged at some unknown signal, by means of
the gun-like tube he carried, a huge canister
over whatever hill, copse, cluster of houses, or
other possible cover for guns, chanced to be in
-front of him. Some fired only one of these,
some two, as in the case of the one we had
seen ; the one at Ripley is said to have dis-
charged no fewer than five at that time. * These
canisters smashed on striking the ground they
144 The War of the Worlds
did not explode and incontinently disengaged
an enormous volume of a heavy inky vapour,
coiling and pouring upwards in a huge and
ebony cumulus cloud, a gaseous hill that sank
and spread itself slowly over the surrounding
country. And the touch of that vapour, the in-
haling of its pungent wisps, was death to all
It was heavy, this vapour, heavier than the
densest smoke, so that, after the first tumultuous
uprush and outflow of its impact, it sank down
through the air and poured over the ground in
a manner rather liquid than gaseous, abandon-
ing the hills, and streaming into the valleys and
ditches and water-courses'even as I have heard
the carbonic acid gas that pours from volcanic
clefts is wont to do. And where it came upon
water some chemical action occurred, and the
surface would be instantly covered with a
powdery scum that sank slowly and made way
for more. The scum was absolutely insoluble,
and it is a strange thing, seeing the instant
effect of the gas, that one could drink the water
from which it had been strained without hurt.
The vapour did not diffuse as a true gas would
do. It hung together in banks, flowing slug-
gishly down the slope of the land and driving
reluctantly before the wind, and very slowly it
What had happened in Surrey 145
combined with the mist and moisture of the air,
and sank to the earth in the form of dust.
Save that an unknown element giving a group
of four lines in the blue of the spectrum is con-
cerned, we are still entirely ignorant of the
nature of this substance.
Once the tumultuous upheaval of its disper-
sion was over, the black smoke clung so closely
to the ground, even before its precipitation,
that, fifty feet up in the air, on the roofs and
upper stories of high houses and on great trees,
there was a chance of escaping its poison
altogether, as was proved even that night at
Street Cobham and Ditton.
The man who escaped at the former place
tells a wonderful story of the strangeness of its
coiling flow, and how he looked down from the
church spire and saw the houses of the village
rising like ghosts out of its inky nothingness.
For a day and a half he remained there, weary,
starving, and sun-scorched, the earth under the
blue sky and against the prospect of the distant
hills a velvet black expanse, with red roofs,
^green trees, and, later, black-veiled shrubs and
gates, barns, outhouses, and walls, rising here
and there into the sunlight.
But that was at Street Cobham, where the
black vapour was allowed to remain until it
146 The War of the Worlds
sank of its own accord into the ground. As a
rule, the Martians, when it had served its
purpose, cleared the air of it agaki by wading
into it and directing a jet of steam upon it.
That they did with the vapour-banks near
us, as we saw in the starlight from the window
of a deserted house at Upper Halliford, whither
we had returned. From there we could see
the searchlights on Richmond Hill and Kings-
ton Hill going to and fro, and about eleven
the window rattled, and we heard the sound of
the huge siege guns that had been put in posi-
tion there. These continued intermittently for
the space of a quarter of an hour, sending
chance shots at the invisible Martians at
Hampton and Ditton, and then the pale beams
of the electric light vanished, and were replaced
by a bright red glow.
Then the fourth cylinder fell a brilliant
green meteor as I learnt afterwards, in
Bushey Park. Before the guns on the Rich-
mond and Kingston line of hills began, there
was a fitful cannonade far away in the south-
west, due, I believe, to guns being fired hap-
hazard before the black vapour could overwhelm
So, setting about it as methodically as men
might smoke out a wasps' nest, the Martians
What had happened in Surrey 147
spread this strange stifling vapour over the
Londonward country. The horns of the
crescent slowly spread apart, until at last they
formed a line from Han well to Coombe and
Maiden. All night through their destructive
tubes advanced. Never once, after the Martian
at St. George's Hill was brought down, did they
give the artillery the ghost of a chance against
them. Wherever there was a possibility of
guns being laid for them unseen, a fresh canister
of the black vapour was discharged, and where
the guns were openly displayed the Heat- Ray
was brought to bear.
By midnight the blazing trees along the
slopes of Richmond Park, and the glare of
Kingston Hill, threw their light upon a net-
work of black smoke, blotting out the whole
Valley of the Thames, and extending as far as
the eye could reach. And through this two
Martians slowly waded, and turned their hissing
steam -jets this way and that.
The Martians were sparing of the Heat- Ray
that night, either because they had but a limited
supply of material for its production, or because
they did not wish to destroy the country, but
only to crush and overawe the opposition they
had aroused. In the latter aim they certainly
succeeded. Sunday night was the end of the
148 The War of the Worlds
organized opposition to their movements. After
that no body of men could stand against them,
so hopeless was the enterprise. Even the
crews of the torpedo boats and destroyers that
had brought their quick-firers up the Thames
refused to stop, mutinied, and went down again.
The only offensive operation men ventured
upon after that night was the preparation of
mines and pitfalls, and even in that men's
energies were frantic and spasmodic.
One has to imagine the fate of those batteries
towards Esher, waiting so tensely in the twilight,
as well as one may. Survivors there were none.
One may picture the orderly expectation, the
officers alert and watchful, the gunners ready,
the ammunition piled to hand, the limber gun-
ners with their horses and waggons, the groups
of civilian spectators standing as near as they
were permitted, the evening stillness ; the
ambulances and hospital tents, with the burnt
and wounded from Weybridge ; then the dull
resonance of the shots the Martians fired, and
the clumsy projectile whirling over the trees
and houses, and smashing amidst the neigh-
One may picture, too, the sudden shifting of
the attention, the swiftly spreading coils and
bellyings of that blackness advancing head-
What had happened in Surrey 149
long, towering heavenward, turning the twilight
to a palpable darkness, a strange and horrible
antagonist of vapour striding upon its victims,
men and horses near it seen dimly, running,
shrieking, falling headlong, shouts of dismay,
the guns suddenly abandoned, men choking
and writhing on the ground, and the swift
broadening out of the opaque cone of smoke.
And then, night and extinction nothing but
a silent mass of impenetrable vapour hiding
Before dawn the black vapour was pouring
through the streets of Richmond, and the dis-
integrating organism of government was, with
a last expiring effort, rousing the population of
London to the necessity of flight.
THE EXODUS FROM LONDON.
So you understand the roaring wave of fear
that swept through the greatest city in the
world just as Monday was dawning the stream
of flight rising swiftly to a torrent, lashing in a
foaming tumult round the railway - stations,
banked up into a horrible struggle about the
shipping in the Thames, and hurrying by
every available channel northward and east-
ward. By ten o'clock the police organiza-
tion, and by mid-day even the railway or-
ganizations, were losing coherency, losing
shape and efficiency,' guttering, softening, run-
ning at last in that swift liquefaction of the
All the railway lines north of the Thames
and the South - Eastern people at Cannon
Street had been warned by midnight on Sun-
day, and trains were being filled, people were
fighting savagely for standing - room in the
carriages, even at two o'clock. By three people
The Exodus from London 151
were being trampled and crushed even in
Bishopsgate Street ; a couple of hundred yards
or more from Liverpool Street Station revolvers
were fired, people stabbed, and the police-
men who had been sent to direct the traffic,
exhausted and infuriated, were breaking the
heads of the people they were called out to
And as the day advanced and the engine-
drivers and stokers refused to return to London,
the pressure of the flight drove the people in
an ever-thickening multitude away from the
stations and along the northward-running roads.
By mid-day a Martian had been seen at Barnes,
and a cloud of slowly sinking black vapour
drove along the Thames and across the flats of
Lambeth, cutting off all escape over the bridges
in its sluggish advance. Another bank drove
over Ealing, and surrounded a little island of
survivors on Castle Hill, alive, but unable to
After a fruitless struggle to get aboard
^a North-Western train at Chalk Farm the
engines of the trains that had loaded in the
goods yard there ploughed through shrieking
people, and a dozen stalwart men fought to
keep the crowd from crushing the driver
against his furnace my brother emerged upon
152 The War of the Worlds
the Chalk Farm Road, dodged across through
a hurrying swarm of vehicles, and had the luck
to be foremost in the sack of a cycle shop. The
front tyre of the machine he got was punctured
in dragging it through the window, but he got
up and off, notwithstanding, with no further
injury than a cut wrist. The steep foot of
Haverstock Hill was impassable owing to
several overturned horses, and my brother
struck into Belsize Road.
So he got out of the fury of the panic, and,
skirting the Edgware Road, reached Edgware
about seven, fasting and wearied, but well
ahead of the crowd. Along the road people
were standing in the roadway curious, wonder-
ing. He was passed by a number of cyclists,
some horsemen, and two motor-cars. A mile
from Edgware the rim of the wheel broke, and
the machine became unrideable. He left it by
the roadside and trudged through the village.
There were shops half opened in the main
street of the place, and people crowded on the
pavement and in the doorways and windows,
staring astonished at this extraordinary proces-
sion of fugitives that was beginning. He suc-
ceeded in getting some food at an inn.
For a time he remained in Edgware, not
knowing what next to do. The flying people
The Exodus from London 153
increased in number. Many of them, like
my brother, seemed inclined to stop in the
place. There was no fresh news of the in-
vaders from Mars.
At that time the road was crowded, but as
yet far from congested. Most of the fugitives
at that hour were mounted on cycles, but there
were soon motor - cars, hansom cabs, and
carriages hurrying along, and the dust hung in
heavy clouds along the road to St. Albans.
It was perhaps a vague idea of making his way
to Chelmsford, where some friends of his lived,
that at last induced my brother to strike into a
quiet lane running eastward. Presently he came
upon a stile, and, crossing it, followed a foot-
path north-eastward. He passed near several
farm-houses and some little places whose names
he did not learn. He saw few fugitives until,
in a grass lane towards High Barnet, he hap-
pened upon the two ladies who became his
fellow-travellers. He came upon them just in
time to save them.
He heard their screams, and, hurrying round
the corner, saw a couple of men struggling to
drag them out of the little pony-chaise in which
they had been driving, while a third with diffi-
culty held the frightened pony's head. One of
the ladies, a short woman dressed in white, was
1 54 The War of the Worlds
simply screaming ; the other, a dark, slender
figure, slashed at the man who gripped her
arm with a whip she held in her disengaged
My brother immediately grasped the situa-
tion, shouted, and hurried towards the struggle.
One of the men desisted and turned towards
him, and my brother, realizing from his antago-
nist's face that a fight was unavoidable, and
being an expert boxer, went into him forthwith,
and sent him down against the wheel of the
It was no time for pugilistic chivalry, and my
brother laid him quiet with a kick, and gripped
the collar of the man who pulled at the slender
lady's arm. He heard the clatter of hoofs, the
whip stung across his face, a third antagonist
struck him between the eyes, and the man he
held wrenched himself free and made off down
the lane in the direction from which he had
Partly stunned, he found himself facing the
man who had held the horse's head, and became
aware of the chaise receding from him down
the lane, swaying from side to side and with
the women in it looking back. The man before
him, a burly rough, tried to close, and he
stopped him with a blow in the face. Then,
The Exodus from London 155
realizing that he was deserted, he dodged round
and made off down the lane after the chaise,
with the sturdy man close behind him, and the
fugitive, who had turned now, following re-
Suddenly he stumbled and fell : his imme-
diate pursuer went headlong, and he rose to his
feet to find himself with a couple of antagonists
again. He would have had little chance against
them had not the slender lady very pluckily
pulled up and returned to his help. It seems
she had had a revolver all this time, but it
had been under the seat when she and her
companion were attacked. She fired at six
yards' distance, narrowly missing my brother.
The less courageous of the robbers made off,
and his companion followed him, cursing
his cowardice. They both stopped in sight
down the lane, where the third man lay insen-
' Take this !' said the slender lady, and gave
my brother her revolver.
' Go back to the chaise,' said my brother,
wiping the blood from his split lip.
She turned without a word they were both
panting and they went back to where the
lady in white struggled to hold back the fright-
1 56 The War of the Worlds
The robbers had evidently had enough of it.
When my brother looked again they were
' I'll sit here/ said my brother, ' if I may ;'
and he got up on the empty front-seat. The
lady looked over her shoulder.
'Give me the reins/ she said, and laid the
whip along the pony's side. In another
moment a bend in the road hid the three men
from my brother's eyes.
So, quite unexpectedly, my brother found
himself, panting, with a cut mouth, a bruised
jaw and blood-stained knuckles, driving along
an unknown lane with these two women.
He learnt they were the wife and the younger
sister of a surgeon living at Stanmore, who had
come in the small hours from a dangerous case
at Pinner, and heard at some railway-station on
his way of the Martian advance. He had
hurried home, roused the women their servant
had left them two days before packed some
provisions, put his revolver under the seat
luckily for my brother and told them to
drive on to Edgware, with the idea of getting
a train there. He stopped behind to tell
the neighbours. He would overtake them, he
said, at about half-past four in the morning,
and now it was nearly nine and they had seen
The Exodus from London 157
nothing of him since. They could not stop in
Edgware because of the growing traffic through
the place, and so they had come into this side-
That was the story they told my brother in
fragments when presently they stopped again,
nearer to New Barnet. He promised to stay
with them at least until they could determine
what to do, or until the missing man arrived,
and professed to be an expert shot with the
revolver a weapon strange to him in order
to give them confidence.
They made a sort of encampment by the way-
side, and the pony became happy in the hedge.
He told them of his own escape out of London,
and all that he knew of these Martians and
their ways. The sun crept higher in the sky,
and after a time their talk died out and gave place
to an uneasy state of anticipation. Several way-
farers came along the lane, and of these my
brother gathered such news as he could. Every
broken answer he had deepened his impression
of the great disaster that had come on humanity,
'deepened his persuasion of the immediate neces-
sity for prosecuting this flight. He urged the
matter upon them.
' We have money,' said the slender woman,
1 5 8 The War of the Worlds
Her eyes met my brother's and her hesita-
' So have I,' said my brother.
She explained that they had as much as thirty
pounds in gold besides a five-pound note, and
suggested that with that they might get upon
a train at St. Albans or New Barnet. My
brother thought that was hopeless, seeing the
fury of the Londoners to crowd upon the
trains, and broached his own idea of striking
across Essex towards Harwich and thence
escaping from the country altogether.
Mrs. Elphinstone that was the name of the
woman in white would listen to no reasoning,
and kept calling upon ' George ;' but her sister-
in-law was astonishingly quiet and deliberate,
and at last agreed to my brother's suggestion.
So they went on towards Barnet, designing to
cross the Great North Road, my brother
leading the pony to save it as much as
As the sun crept up the sky the day
became excessively hot, and under foot a thick
whitish sand grew burning and blinding, so that
they travelled only very slowly. The hedges
were gray with dust. And as they advanced
towards Barnet, a tumultuous murmuring grew
The Exodus from London 159
They began to meet more people. For the
most part these were staring before them,
murmuring indistinct questions, jaded, haggard,
unclean. One man in evening dress passed
them on foot, his eyes on the ground. They
heard his voice, and, looking back at him, saw
one hand clutched in his hair and the other
beating invisible things. His paroxysm of
rage over, he went on his way without once
As my brother's party went on towards the
cross-roads to the south of Barnet, they saw a
woman approaching the road across some
fields on their left, carrying a child and with
two other children, and then a man in dirty
black, with a thick stick in one hand and a
small portmanteau in the other, passed. Then
round the corner of the lane, from between
the villas that guarded it at its confluence with
the highroad, came a little cart drawn by a
sweating black pony and driven by a sallow
youth in a bowler hat, gray with dust. There
were three girls like East End factory girls,
and a couple of little children, crowded in the
' This'll tike us rahnd Edgware ?' asked the
driver, wild-eyed, white-faced ; and when my
brother told him it would if he turned to the
160 The War of the Worlds
left, he whipped up at once without the formality
My brother noticed a pale gray smoke or
haze rising among the houses in front of them,
and veiling the white faade of a terrace beyond
the road that appeared between the backs of the
villas. Mrs. Elphinstone suddenly cried out at a
number of tongues of smoky red flame leaping
up above the houses in front of them against
the hot blue sky. The tumultuous noise
resolved itself now into the disorderly mingling
of many voices, the gride of many wheels, the
creaking of waggons, and the staccato of hoofs.
The lane came round sharply not fifty yards
from the cross-roads.
' Good heavens !' cried Mrs. Elphinstone.
' What is this you are driving us into ?'
My brother stopped.
For^the main road was a boiling stream ol
people, a torrent of human beings rushing
northward, one pressing on another. A great
bank of dust, white and luminous in the blaze
of the sun, made everything within twenty feet
of the ground gray and indistinct, and was per-
petually renewed by the hurrying feet of a
dense crowd of horses and men and women on
foot, and by the wheels of vehicles of every
The Exodus from London 161
' Way !' my brother heard voices crying.
' Make way !'
It was like riding into the smoke of a fire to
approach the meeting-point of the lane and
road; the crowd roared like a fire, and the dust
was hot and pungent. And, indeed, a little
way up the road a villa was burning and send-
ing rolling masses of black smoke across the
road to add to the confusion.
Two men came past them. Then a dirty
woman carrying a heavy bundle and weeping.
A lost retriever dog with hanging tongue circled
dubiously round them, scared and wretched, and
fled at my brother's threat.
So much as they could see of the road
Londonward between the houses to the right,
was a tumultuous stream of dirty, hurrying
people pent in between the villas on either
side ; the black heads, the crowded forms,
grew into distinctness as they rushed towards
the corner, hurried past, and merged their
individuality again in a receding multitude
that was swallowed up at last in a cloud of
' Go on ! Go on !' cried the voices. ' Way !
One man's hands pressed on the back of
another. My brother stood at the pony's head.
1 62 The War of the Worlds
irresistibly attracted, he advanced slowly, pace
by pace, down the lane.
Edgware had been a scene of confusion,
Chalk Farm a riotous tumult, but this was a
whole population in movement. It is hard to
imagine that host. It had no character of its
own. The figures poured out past the corner,
and receded with their backs to the group in
the lane. Along the margin came those who
were on foot, threatened by the wheels, stum-
bling in the ditches, blundering into one
The carts and carnages crowded close upon
one another, making little way for those swifter
and more impatient vehicles that darted forward
every now and then when an opportunity
showed itself of doing so, sending the people
scattering against the fences and gates of the
' Push on !' was the cry. ' Push on ! they are
In one cart stood a blind man in the uniform
of the Salvation Army, gesticulating with his
crooked fingers and bawling, 'Eternity! eternity!'
His voice was hoarse and very loud, so that my
brother could hear him long after he was lost to
sight in the southward dust. Some of the
people who crowded in the carts whipped
The Exodus from London 163
stupidly at their horses and quarrelled with
other drivers ; some sat motionless, staring at
nothing with miserable eyes ; some gnawed
their hands with thirst or lay prostrate in the
bottoms of their conveyances. The horses' bits
were covered with foam, their eyes bloodshot.
There were cabs, carriages, shop - carts,
waggons, beyond counting ; a mail-cart, a road-
cleaner's cart marked ' Vestry of St. Pancras,' a
huge timber-waggon crowded with roughs. A
brewer's dray rumbled by with its two near
wheels splashed with recent blood.
' Clear the way !' cried the voices. ' Clear
the way !'
' Eter nity ! eter nity !' came echoing up
There were sad, haggard women tramping
by, well dressed, with children that cried and
stumbled, their dainty clothes smothered in
dust, their weary faces smeared with tears.
With many of these came men, sometimes help-
ful, sometimes lowering and savage. Fighting
side by side with them pushed some weary
street outcast in faded black rags, wide-eyed,
loud-voiced, and foul-mouthed. There were
sturdy workmen thrusting their way along,
wretched unkempt men clothed like clerks or
shopmen, struggling spasmodically, a wounded
1 64 The War of the Worlds
soldier my brother noticed, men dressed in the
clothes of railway porters, one wretched
creature in a night-shirt with a coat thrown
But, varied as its composition was, certain
things all that host had in common. There
was fear and pain on their faces, and fear
behind them. A tumult up the road, a quarrel
for a place in a waggon, sent the whole host of
them quickening their pace ; even a man so
scared and broken that his knees bent under
him was galvanized for a moment into renewed
activity. The heat and dust had already been
at work upon this multitude. Their skins were
dry, their lips black and cracked. They were
all thirsty, weary, and footsore. And amid the
various cries one heard disputes, reproaches,
groans of weariness and fatigue ; the voices of
most of them were hoarse and weak. Through
it all ran a refrain :
' Way ! way ! The Martians are coming !'
Few stopped and came aside from that flood.
The lane opened slantingly into the main road
with a narrow opening, and had a delusive
appearance of coming from the direction of
London. Yet a kind of eddy of people drove
into its mouth ; weaklings elbowed out of the
stream, who for the most part rested but a
The Exodus from London 165
moment before plunging into it again. A little
way down the lane, with two friends bending
over him, lay a man with a bare leg, wrapped
about with bloody rags. He was a lucky man
to have friends.
A little old man, with a gray military mous-
tache and a filthy black frock-coat, limped out
and sat down beside the trap, removed his boot
his sock was blood-stained shook out a
pebble, and hobbled on again ; and then a
little girl of eight or nine, all alone, threw
herself under the hedge close by my brother,
' I can't go on ! I can't go on !'
My brother woke from his torpor of astonish-
ment, and lifted her up, speaking gently to her,
and carried her to Miss Elphinstone. So soon
as my brother touched her she became quite
still, as if frightened.
' Ellen !' shrieked a woman in the crowd,
with tears in her voice. ' Ellen !' And the
child suddenly darted away from my brother,
crying : ' Mother !'
' They are coming,' said a man on horseback,
riding past along the lane.
1 Out of the way, there !' bawled a coachman,
towering high ; and my brother saw a closed
carriage turning into the lane.
1 66 The War of the Worlds
The people crushed back on one another to
avoid the horse. My brother pushed the pony
and chaise back into the hedge, and the man
drove by and stopped at the turn of the way. It
was a carriage, with a pole for a pair of horses,
but only one was in the traces.
My brother saw dimly through the dust that
two men lifted out something on a white
stretcher, and put this gently on the grass
beneath the privet hedge.
One of the men came running to my
' Where is there any water ?' he said. ' He
is dying fast, and very thirsty. It is Lord
4 Lord Garrick !' said my brother, ' the Chief
' The water ?' he said.
' There may be a tap,' said my brother, ' in
some of the houses. We have no water. I
dare not leave my people.'
The man pushed against the crowd towards
the gate of the corner house.
' Go on !' said the people, thrusting at him.
' They are coming ! Go on !'
Then my brother's attention was distracted
by a bearded, eagle-faced man lugging a small
hand-bag, which split even as my brother's eyes
The Exodus from London 167
rested on it, and disgorged a mass of sovereigns
that seemed to break up into separate coins as
it struck the ground. They rolled hither and
thither among the struggling feet of men and
horses. The man stopped, and looked stupidly
at the heap, and the shaft of a cab struck his
shoulder and sent him reeling. He gave a
shriek and dodged back, and a cartwheel shaved
' Way !' cried the men all about him. ' Make
So soon as the cab had passed, he flung him-
self, with both hands open, upon the heap of
coins, and began clutching handfuls in his
pockets. A horse rose close upon him, and in
another moment he had half risen, and had
been borne down under the horse's hoofs.
' Stop !' screamed my brother, and, pushing a
woman out of his way, tried to clutch the bit of
Before he could get to it, he heard a scream
under the wheels, and saw through the dust the
rim passing over the poor wretch's back. The
driver of the cart slashed his whip at my
brother, who ran round behind the cart. The
multitudinous shouting confused his ears. The
man was writhing in the dust among his scattered
money, unable to rise, for the wheel had broken
1 68 The War of the Worlds
his back, and his lower limbs lay limp and dead.
My brother stood up and yelled at the next
driver, and a man on a black horse came to his
' Get him out of the road,' said he ; and,
clutching the man's collar with his free hand,
my brother lugged him sideways. But he still
clutched after his money, and regarded my
brother fiercely, hammering at his arm with a
handful of gold. ' Go on ! Go on !' shouted
angry voices behind. ' Way ! Way !'
There was a smash as the pole of a carriage
crashed into the cart that the man on horseback
stopped. My brother looked up, and the man
with the gold twisted his head round and bit
the wrist that held his collar. There was a
concussion, and the black horse came stagger-
ing sideways, and the cart-horse pushed beside
it. A hoof missed my brother's foot by a hair's
breadth. He released his grip on the fallen
man and jumped back. He saw anger change
to terror on the face of the poor wretch on the
ground, and in a moment he was hidden and
my brother was borne backward and carried past
the entrance of the lane, and had to fight hard
in the torrent to recover it.
He saw Miss Elphinstone covering her eyes,
and a little child, with all a child's want of
The Exodus from London 169
sympathetic imagination, staring with dilated
eyes at a dusty something that lay black and
still, ground and crushed under the rolling
wheels. ' Let us go back !' he shouted, and
began turning the pony round. ' We cannot
cross this hell,' he said ; and they went back
a hundred yards the way they had come, until
the fighting crowd was hidden. As they passed
the bend in the lane, my brother saw the face
of the dying man in the ditch under the privet,
deadly white and drawn, and shining with per-
spiration. The two women sat silent, crouching
in their seats and shivering.
Then beyond the bend my brother stopped
again. Miss Elphinstone was white and
pale, and her sister-in-law sat weeping, too
wretched even to call upon ' George.' My
brother was horrified and perplexed. So soon
as they had retreated, he realized how urgent
and unavoidable it was to attempt this cross-
ing. He turned to Miss Elphinstone suddenly,
' We must gel that way,' he said, and led
the pony round again.
For the second time that day this girl proved
her quality. To force their way into the tor-
rent of people, my brother plunged into the
traffic and held back a cab-horse, while she
170 The War of the Worlds
drove the pony across its head. A waggon
locked wheels for a moment, and ripped a
long splinter from the chaise. In another
moment they were caught and swept forward
by the stream. My brother, with the cabman's
whip-marks red across his face and hands,
scrambled into the chaise, and took the reins
' Point the revolver at the man behind/ he
said, giving it to her, 'if he presses us too
hard. No ! point it at his horse.'
Then he began to look out for a chance
of edging to the right across the road. But
once in the stream, he seemed to lose volition,
to become a part of that dusty rout. They
swept through Chipping Barnet with the tor-
rent ; they were nearly a mile beyond the
centre of the town before they had fought
across to the opposite side of the way. It was
din and confusion indescribable ; but in and
beyond the town the road forks repeatedly, and
this to some extent relieved the stress.
They struck eastward through Hadley, and
there on either side of the road, and at another
place further on, they came upon a great multi-
tude of people drinking at the stream, some
fighting to come at the water. And further on,
from a hill near East Barnet, they saw tw(
The Exodus from London 171
trains running slowly one after the other with-
out signal or order trains swarming with
people, with men even among the coals behind
the engines going northward along the Great
Northern Railway. My brother supposes they
must have filled outside London, for at that
time the .furious terror of the people had
rendered the central termini impossible.
Near this place they halted for the rest of
the afternoon, for the violence of the day had
already utterly exhausted all three of them.
They began to suffer the beginnings of hunger,
the night was cold, and none of them dared to
sleep. And in the evening many people came
hurrying along the road near by their stopping-
place, fleeing from unknown dangers before
them and going in the direction from which my
brother had come.
THE ' THUNDER CHILD.'
HAD the Martians aimed only at destruction,
they might on Monday have annihilated the
entire population of London, as it spread itself
slowly through the home counties. Not onl\
along the road through Barnet, but also througl
Edgware and Waltham Abbey, and along the
roads eastward to Southend and Shoeburyness,
and south of the Thames to Deal and Broad-
stairs, poured the same frantic rout. If one
could have hung that June morning in
balloon in the blazing blue above London,
every northward and eastward road running
out of the infinite tangle of streets would have
seemed stippled black with the streaming
fugitives, each dot a human agony of terror
and physical distress. I have set forth at
length in the last chapter my brother's account
of the road through Chipping Barnet, in order
that my readers may realize how that swarming
of black dots appeared to one of those con-
The ' Thunder Child '
cerned. Never before in the history of th
world had such a mass of human beings moved
and suffered together. The legendary hosts of
Goths and Huns, the hugest armies Asia has
ever seen, would have been but a drop in that
current. And this was no disciplined march ;
it was a stampede a stampede gigantic and
terrible without order and without a goal, six
million people, unarmed and unprovisioned,
driving headlong. It was the beginning of
the rout of civilization, of the massacre of man-
Directly below him the balloonist would have
seen the network of streets far and wide,
houses, churches, squares, crescents, gardens
already derelict spread out like a huge map,
and in the southward blotted. Over Ealing,
Richmond, Wimbledon, it would have seemed
as if some monstrous pen had flung ink upon
the chart. Steadily, incessantly, each black
splash grew and spread, shooting out ramifica-
tions this way and that, now banking itself
against rising ground, now pouring swiftly over
a crest into a new-found valley, exactly as a
gout of ink would spread itself upon blotting
And beyond, over the blue hills that rise
southward of the river, the glittering Martians
The War of the Worlds
went to and fro, calmly and methodically
spreading their poison-cloud over this patch of
country, and then over that, laying it again
with their steam-jets when it had served its
purpose, and taking possession of the conquerec
country. They do not seem to have aimed at
extermination so much as at complete demorali-
zation and the destruction of any opposition.
They exploded any stores of powder they came
upon, cut every telegraph, and wrecked the
railways here and there. They were ham-
stringing mankind. They seemed in no hurr
to extend the field of their operations, and di(
not come beyond the central part of London all
that day. It is possible that a very consider-
able number of people in London stuck to their
houses through Monday morning. Certain it
is that many died at home, suffocated by the
Until about mid-day, the Pool of London
was an astonishing scene. Steamboats and
shipping of all sorts lay there, tempted by the
enormous sums of money offered by fugitives,
and it is said that many who swam out to these
vessels were thrust off with boathooks and
drowned. About one o'clock in the afternoon
the thinning remnant of a cloud of the black
vapour appeared between the arches of Black-
The c Thunder Child ' 175
friars Bridge. At that the Pool became a scene
of mad confusion, fighting and collision, and for
some time a multitude of boats and barges
jammed in the northern arch of the Tower
Bridge, and the sailors and lightermen had to
fight savagely against the people who swarmed
upon them from the river front. People were
actually clambering down the piers of the
bridge from above. . . .
When, an hour later, a Martian appeared
beyond the Clock Tower and waded down the
river, nothing but wreckage floated above
Of the falling of the fifth cylinder I have
presently to tell. The sixth star fell at
Wimbledon. My brother, keeping watch be-
side the women sleeping in the chaise in a
meadow, saw the green flash of it far beyond
the hills. On Tuesday the little party, still set
upon getting across the sea, made its way
through the swarming country towards Col-
chester. The news that the Martians were
now in possession of the whole of London was
confirmed. They had been seen at Highgate,
and even, it was said, at Neasdon. But they
did not come into my brother's view until the
That day the scattered multitudes began to
176 The War of the Worlds
realize the urgent need of provisions. As they
grew hungry the rights of property ceased to
be regarded. Farmers were out to defend their
cattle-sheds, granaries, and ripening root crops
with arms in their hands. A number of people
now, like my brother, had their faces eastward,
and there were some desperate souls ever
going back towards London to get food. These
were chiefly people from the northern suburbs,
whose knowledge of the Black Smoke came bj
hearsay. He heard that about half the members
of the Government had gathered at Birming-
ham, and that enormous quantities of high ex-
plosives were being prepared to be used ii
automatic mines across the Midland counties.
He was also told that the Midland Railway
Company had replaced the desertions of th(
first day's panic, had resumed traffic, and were
running northward trains from St. Albans tc
relieve the congestion of the home counties.
There was also a placard in Chipping Ongar
announcing that large stores of flour were
available in the northern towns, and that withii
twenty-four hours bread would be distributee
among the starving people in the neighbour-
hood. But this intelligence did not deter him
from the plan of escape he had formed, and the
three pressed eastward all day, and saw nc
The Thunder Child ' 177
more of the bread distribution than this promise.
Nor, as a matter of fact, did anyone else see
more of it. That night fell the seventh star,
falling upon Primrose Hill. It fell while
Miss Elphinstone was watching, for she took
that duty alternately with my brother. She
On Wednesday the three fugitives they had
passed the night in a field of unripe wheat
reached Chelmsford, and there a body of the
inhabitants, calling itself the Committee of
Public Supply, seized the pony as provi-
sions, and would give nothing in exchange
for it but the promise of a share in it the next
day. Here there were rumours of Martians at
Epping, and news of the destruction of Waltham
Abbey Powder Mills in a vain attempt to blow
up one of the invaders.
People were watching for Martians here from
the church towers. My brother, very luckily
for him as it chanced, preferred to push on at
once to the coast, rather than wait for food,
although all three of them were very hungry.
By mid-day they passed through Tillingham,
which strangely enough seemed to be quite
silent and deserted, save for a few furtive
plunderers, hunting for food. Near Tilling-
ham they suddenly came in sight of the sea,
178 The War of the Worlds
and the most amazing crowd of shipping of all
sorts that it is possible to imagine.
For after the sailors could no longer come up
the Thames, they came on to the Essex coast,
to Harwich, and Walton, and Clacton, and
afterwards to Foulness and Shoebury, to bring
off the people. They lay in a huge sickle-
shaped curve that vanished into mist at last
towards the Naze. Close inshore was a mul-
titude of fishing - smacks, English, Scotch,
French, Dutch and Swedish ; steam-launches
from the Thames, yachts, electric boats ; and
beyond were ships of larger burthen, a
multitude of filthy colliers, trim merchantmen,
cattle-ships, passenger-boats, petroleum-tanks,
ocean tramps, an old white transport even, neat
white and gray liners from Southampton and
Hamburg ; and along the blue coast across the
Blackwater my brother could make out dimly
a dense swarm of boats chaffering with the
people on the beach, a swarm which also ex-
tended up the Blackwater almost to Maldon.
About a couple of miles out lay an ironclad
very low in the water, almost, to my brother's
perception, like a water-logged ship. This was
the ram Thunder Child. It was the only
warship in sight, but far away to the right over
the smooth surface of the sea for that day
The Thunder Child ' 179
there was a dead calm lay a serpent of black
smoke to mark the next ironclads of the
Channel Fleet, which hovered in an extended
line, steam up and ready for action, across the
Thames estuary during the course of the
Martian conquest, vigilant and yet powerless to
At the sight of the sea, Mrs. Elphinstone, in
spite of the assurances of her sister-in-law, gave
way to panic. She had never been out of Eng-
land before, she would rather die than trust her-
self friendless in a foreign country, and so forth.
She seemed, poor woman ! to imagine that the
French and the Martians might prove very
similar. She had been growing increasingly
hysterical, fearful and depressed, during the
two days' journeyings. Her great idea was to
return to Stanmore. Things had been always
well and safe at Stanmore. They would find
George at Stanmore. . . .
It was with the greatest difficulty they could
get her down to the beach, where presently my
brother succeeded in attracting the attention
"t>f some men on a paddle steamer out of the
Thames. They sent a boat and drove a
bargain for thirty-six pounds for the three.
The steamer was going, these men said, to
1 80 The War of the Worlds
It was about two o'clock when my brother,
having paid their fares at the gangway, found
himself safely aboard the steamboat with his
charges. There was food aboard, albeit at
exorbitant prices, and the three of them con-
trived to eat a meal on one of the seats
There were already a couple of score of
passengers aboard, some of whom had ex-
pended their last money in securing a passage,
but the captain lay off the Blackwater until
five in the afternoon, picking up passengers
until the seated decks were even dangerously
crowded. He would probably have remained
longer had it not been for the sound of guns
that began about that hour in the south. As
if in answer, the ironclad seaward fired a
small gun and hoisted a string of flags. A
jet of smoke sprang out of her funnels.
Some of the passengers were of opinion
that this firing came from Shoeburyness, until
it was noticed that it was growing louder. At
the same time, far away in the south-east, the
masts and upper- works of three ironclads rose
one after the other out of the sea, beneath
clouds of black smoke. But my brother's
attention speedily reverted to the distant
firing in the south. He fancied he saw a
The 'Thunder Child' 181
column of smoke rising out of the distant gray
The little steamer was already flapping her
way eastward of the big crescent of shipping,
and the low Essex coast was growing blue and
hazy, when a Martian appeared, small and
faint in the remote distance, advancing along
the muddy coast from the direction of Foul-
ness. At that the captain on the bridge swore
at the top of his voice with fear and anger at
his own delay, and the paddles seemed infected
with his terror. Every soul aboard stood at
the bulwarks or on the seats of the steamer,
and stared at that distant shape, higher than
the trees or church towers inland, and advanc-
ing with a leisurely parody of a human stride.
It was the first Martian my brother had
seen, and he stood, more amazed than terrified,
watching this Titan advancing deliberately to-
wards the shipping, wading farther and farther
into the water as the coast fell away. Then,
far away beyond the Crouch, came another
striding over some stunted trees, and then yet
'another still further off, wading deeply through
a shiny mudflat that seemed to hang halfway
up between sea and sky. They were all stalk-
ing seaward, as if to intercept the escape of
the multitudinous vessels that were crowded
1 82 The War of the Worlds
between Foulness and the Naze. In spite of
the throbbing exertions of the engines of the
little paddle-boat, and the pouring foam that
her wheels flung behind her, she receded with
terrifying slowness from this ominous advance.
Glancing north-westward, my brother saw
the large crescent of shipping already writhing
with the approaching terror ; one ship passing
behind another, another coming round from
broadside to end on, steamships whistling and
giving off volumes of steam, sails being let
out, launches rushing hither and thither. He
was so fascinated by this and by the creeping
danger away to the left that he had no eyes
for anything seaward. And then a swift move-
ment of the steamboat (she had suddenly come
round to avoid being run down) flung him
headlong from the seat upon which he was
standing. There was a shouting all about
him, a trampling of feet, and a cheer that
seemed to be answered faintly. The steam-
boat lurched, and rolled him over upon his
He sprang to his feet and saw to starboard,
and not a hundred yards from their heeling,
pitching boat, a vast iron bulk like the blade
of a plough tearing through the water, tossing
it on either side in huge waves of foam that
The 'Thunder Child' 183
leapt towards the steamer, flinging her paddles
helplessly in the air, and then sucking her deck
down almost to the water-line.
A douche of spray blinded my brother for a
moment. When his eyes were clear again, he
saw the monster had passed and was rushing
landward. Big iron upper- works rose out of
this headlong structure, and from that twin
funnels projected, and spat a smoking blast
shot with fire into the air. It was the torpedo-
ram, Thunder Child, steaming headlong, coming
to the rescue of the threatened shipping.
Keeping his footing on the heaving deck by
clutching the bulwarks, my brother looked past
this charging leviathan at the Martians again,
and he saw the three of them now close
together, and standing so far out to sea that
their tripod supports were almost entirely sub-
merged. Thus sunken, and seen in remote
perspective, they appeared far less formidable
than the huge iron bulk in whose wake the
steamer was pitching so helplessly. It would
seem they were regarding this new antagonist
with astonishment. To their intelligence, it
may be, the giant was even such another as
themselves. The Thunder Child fired no gun,
but simply drove full speed towards them. It
was probably her not firing that enabled her to
1 84 The War of the Worlds
get so near the enemy as she did. They did
not know what to make of her. One shell,
and they would have sent her to the bottom
forthwith with the Heat- Ray.
She was steaming at such a pace that in a
minute she seemed halfway between the steam-
boat and the Martians a diminishing black
bulk against the receding horizontal expanse of
the Essex coast.
Suddenly the foremost Martian lowered his
tube, and discharged a canister of the black
gas at the ironclad. It hit her larboard side,
and glanced off in an inky jet, that rolled away
to seaward, an unfolding torrent of black smoke,
from which the ironclad drove clear. To the
watchers from the steamer, low in the water and
with the sun in their eyes, it seemed as though
she was already among the Martians.
They saw the gaunt figures separating and
rising out of the water as they retreated shore-
ward, and one of them raised the camera-like
generator of the Heat- Ray. He held it point-
ing obliquely downward, and a bank of steam
sprang from the water at its touch. It must
have driven through the iron of the ship's side
like a white-hot iron rod through paper.
A flicker of flame went up through the rising
steam, and then the Martian reeled and staggered.
The 'Thunder Child' 185
In another moment he was cut down, and a
great body of water and steam shot high in
the air. The guns of the Thunder Child
sounded through the reek, going off one after
the other, and one shot splashed the water
high close by the steamer, ricocheted towards
the other flying ships to the north, and smashed
a smack to matchwood.
But no one heeded that very much. At the
sight of the Martian's collapse, the captain on
the bridge yelled inarticulately, and all the
crowding passengers on the steamer's stern
shouted together. And then they yelled again.
For, surging out beyond the white tumult drove
something long and black, the flames streaming
from its middle parts, its ventilators and funnels
She was alive still ; the steering gear, it
seems, was intact and her engines working.
She headed straight for a second Martian, and
was within a hundred yards of him when the
Heat- Ray came to bear. Then with a violent
thud, a blinding flash, her decks, her funnels,
leapt upward. The Martian staggered with
the violence of her explosion, and in another
moment the flaming wreckage, still driving
forward with the impetus of its pace, had
struck him and crumpled him up like a thing of
1 86 The War of the Worlds
cardboard. My brother shouted involuntarily.
A boiling tumult of steam hid everything again.
' Two !' yelled the captain.
Everyone was shouting ; the whole steamer
from end to end rang with frantic cheering that
was taken up first by one and then by all in the
crowding multitude of ships and boats that
driving out to sea.
The steam hung upon the water for man]
minutes, hiding the third Martian and the coast
altogether. And all this time the boat We
paddling steadily out to sea and away from the
fight ; and when at last the confusion cleare(
the drifting bank of black vapour intervene(
and nothing of the Thunder Child could be
made out, nor could the third Martian be seei
But the ironclads to seaward were now quite
close, and standing in towards shore past the
The little vessel continued to beat its waj
seaward, and the ironclads receded slow!)
towards the coast, which was hidden still by
marbled bank of vapour, part steam, part black
gas, eddying and combining in the strangest
ways. The fleet of refugees was scattering to
the north-east ; several smacks were sailing
between the ironclads and the steamboat.
After a time, and before they reached the sink-
The 'Thunder Child' 187
ing cloud-bank, the warships turned northwards,
and then abruptly went about and passed into
the thickening haze of evening southward. The
coast grew faint, and at last indistinguishable
amidst the low banks of clouds that were
gathering about the sinking sun.
Then suddenly out of the golden haze of the
sunset came the vibration of guns, and a form
of black shadows moving. Everyone struggled
to the rail of the steamer and peered into the
blinding furnace of the west, but nothing was
to be distinguished clearly. A mass of smoke
rose slantingly and barred the face of the sun.
The steamboat throbbed on its way through an
The sun sank into gray clouds, the sky
flushed and darkened, the evening star trembled
into sight. It was deep twilight when the
captain cried out and pointed. My brother
strained his eyes. Something rushed up into
the sky out of the grayness, rushed slantingly
upward and very swiftly into the luminous
clearness above the clouds in the western sky,
"something flat and broad and very large, that
swept round in a vast curve, grew smaller, sank
slowly, and vanished again into the gray
mystery of the night. And as it flew it rained
down darkness upon the land.
BOOK II. THE EARTH UNDER TH]
IN the first book I have wandered so mucl
from my own adventures to tell of the ex-
periences of my brother, that all through the
last two chapters I and the curate have beei
lurking in the empty house at Halliford,
whither we fled to escape the Black Smoke.
There I will resume. We stopped there all
Sunday night and all the next day the day
of the panic in a little island of daylight, cut
off by the Black Smoke from the rest of the
world. We could do nothing but wait, in an
aching inactivity, during those two weary days.
My mind was occupied by anxiety for my
wife. I figured her at Leatherhead, terrified,
in danger, mourning me already as a dead man.
I paced the rooms and cried aloud when I
thought of how I was cut off from her, of all
Under Foot 189
that might happen to her in my absence. My
cousin I knew was brave enough for any emer-
gency, but he was not the sort of man to realize
danger quickly, to rise promptly. What was
needed now was not bravery, but circumspection.
My only consolation was to believe that the
Martians were moving Londonward and -away
from her. Such vague anxieties keep the mind
sensitive and painful. I grew very weary and
irritable with the curate's perpetual ejaculations,
I tired of the sight of his selfish despair. After
some ineffectual remonstrance I kept away from
him, staying in a room containing globes, forms,
and copy-books, that was evidently a children's
schoolroom. When at last he followed me
thither, I went to a box-room at the top of the
house and locked myself in, in order to be
alone with my aching miseries.
We were hopelessly hemmed in by the Black
Smoke all that day, and the morning of the next.
There were signs of people in the next house
on Sunday evening a face at a window and
moving lights, and later the slamming of a door.
But I do not know who these people were, nor
what became of them. We saw nothing of them
next day. The Black Smoke drifted slowly
riverward all through Monday morning, creep-
ing nearer and nearer to us, driving at last
1 90 The War of the Worlds
along the roadway outside the house that
A Martian came across the fields about mid-
day, laying the stuff with a jet of superheated
steam that hissed against the walls, smashed all
the windows it touched, and scalded the curate's
hand as he fled out of the front-room. When
at last we crept across the sodden rooms and
looked out again, the country northward was as
though a black snowstorm had passed over it.
Looking towards the river, we were astonished
to see an unaccountable redness mingling with
the black of the scorched meadows.
For a time we did not see how this change
affected our position, save that we were relieved
of our fear of the Black Smoke. But later I
perceived that we were no longer hemmed in,
that now we might get away. So soon as I
realized the way of escape was open, my dream
of action returned. But the curate was lethargic,
'We are safe here,' he repeated 'safe
I resolved to leave him would that I had !
Wiser now for the artilleryman's teaching, I
sought out food and drink. I had found oil
and rags for my burns, and I also took a hat
and a flannel shirt that I found in one of the
Under Foot 191
bedrooms. When it was clear to him that I
meant to go alone, had reconciled myself to
going alone, he suddenly roused himself to
come. And, all being quiet throughout the
afternoon, we started, as I should judge, about
five along the blackened road to Sunbury.
In Sunbury, and at intervals along the road,
were dead bodies lying in contorted attitudes
horses as well as men overturned carts and
luggage, all covered thickly with black dust.
That pall of cindery powder made me think of
what I had read of the destruction of Pompeii.
We got to Hampton Court without misadven-
ture, our minds full of strange and unfamiliar
appearances, and at Hampton Court our eyes
were relieved to find a patch of green that had
escaped the suffocating drift. We went through
Bushey Park, with its deer going to and fro
under the chestnuts, and some men and women
hurrying in the distance towards Hampton, and
so came to Twickenham. These were the
first people we saw.
Away across the road the woods beyond
Ham and Petersham were still afire. Twicken-
ham was uninjured by either Heat- Ray or
Black Smoke, and there were more people
about here, though none could give us news.
For the most part, they were like ourselves,
192 The War of the Worlds
taking advantage of a lull to shift their quarters.
I have an impression that many of the houses
here were still occupied by scared inhabitants,
too frightened even for flight. Here, too, the
evidence of a hasty rout was abundant along
the road. I remember most vividly three
smashed bicycles in a heap, pounded into the
road by the wheels of subsequent carts. We
crossed Richmond Bridge about half-past eight.
We hurried across the exposed bridge, of course,
but I noticed floating down the stream a number
of red masses, some many feet across. I did
not know what these were there was no time
for scrutiny and I put a more horrible interpre-
tation on them than they deserved. Here,
again, on the Surrey side, was black dust that
had once been smoke, and dead bodies a heap
near the approach to the station and never a
sight of the Martians until we were some way
We saw in the blackened distance a group of
three people running down a side-street towards
the river, but otherwise it seemed deserted.
Up the hill Richmond town was burning
briskly ; outside the town of Richmond there
was no trace of the Black Smoke.
Then suddenly, as we approached Kew, came
a number of people running, and the upper- works
Under Foot 193
of a Martian Fighting Machine loomed in sight
over the housetops, not a hundred yards away
from us. We stood aghast at our danger, and
had he looked down we must immediately have
perished. We were so terrified that we dared
not go on, but turned aside and hid in a shed inf
a garden. There the curate crouched, weeping
silently, and refusing to stir again.
But my fixed idea of reaching Leatherhead
would not let me rest, and in the twilight I
ventured out again. I went through a shrub-
bery, and along a passage beside a big house
standing in its own grounds, and so emerged
upon the road towards Kew. The curate I
left in the shed, but he came hurrying af;er
That second start was the most foolhardy
thing I ever did. For it was manifest the
Martians were about us. Scarcely had he over-
taken me than we saw either the Fighting
Machine we had seen before or another, far
away across the meadows in the direction of
Kew Lodge. Four or five little black figures
Jhurried before it across the green -gray of the
field, and in a moment it was evident this
Martian pursued them. In three strides he was
among them, and they ran radiating from his
feet in all directions. He used no Heat- Ray to
1 94 The War of the Worlds
destroy them, but picked them up one by one.
Apparently he tossed them into the great
metallic carrier which projected behind him,
much as a workman's basket hangs over his
It was the first time I realized the Martians
might have any other purpose than destruc-
tion with defeated humanity. We stood for a
moment petrified, then turned and fled through
a gate behind us into a walled garden, fell into
rather than found a fortunate ditch, and lay
there, scarce daring to whisper to one another
until the stars were out.
I suppose it was nearly eleven at night before
we gathered courage to start t again, no longer
venturing into the road, but sneaking along
hedgerows and through plantations, and watch-
ing keenly through the darkness, he on the
right and I on the left, for the Martians, who
seemed to be all about us. In one place we
blundered upon a scorched and blackened area,
now cooling and ashen, and a number of scattered
dead bodies of men, burnt horribly about the
heads and bodies, but with their legs and boots
mostly intact ; and of dead horses, fifty feet,
perhaps, behind a line of four ripped guns and
Sheen, it seemed, had escaped destruction,
Under Foot 195
but the place was silent and deserted. Here
we happened on no dead, though the night was
too dark for us to see into the side-roads of the
place. In Sheen my companion suddenly com-
plained of faintness and thirst, and we decided
to try one of the houses.
The first house we entered, after a little diffi-
culty with the window, was a small semi-detached
villa, and I found nothing eatable left in the
place but some mouldy cheese. There was,
however, water to drink, and I took a hatchet,
which promised to be useful in our next house-
We crossed the road to a place where the
road turns towards Mortlake. Here there stood
a white house within a walled garden, and in
the pantry of this we found a store of food two
loaves of bread in a pan, an uncooked steak,
and the half of a ham. I give this catalogue so
precisely because, as it happened, we were
destined to subsist upon this store for the next
fortnight. Bottled beer stood under a shelf,
and there were two bags of haricot beans and
some limp lettuces. This pantry opened into a
kind of wash-up kitchen, and in this was fire-
wood, and a cupboard in which we found nearly
a dozen of burgundy, tinned soups and salmon,
and two tins of biscuits.
1 96 The War of the Worlds
We sat in the adjacent kitchen in the dark
for we dared not strike a light and ate bread
and ham and drank beer out of one bottle. The
curate, who was still timorous and restless, was
now oddly enough for pushing on, and I was
urging him to keep up his strength by eating,
when the thing that was to imprison us
' It can't be midnight yet,' I said, and then
came a blinding glare of vivid green light.
Everything in the kitchen leapt out, clearly
visible in green and black, and then vanished
again. And then followed such a concussion as
I have never heard before or since. So close
on the heels of this as to seem instantaneous,
came a thud behind me, a clash of glass, a crash
and rattle of falling masonry all about us, and
incontinently the plaster of the ceiling came
down upon us, smashing into a multitude of
fragments upon our heads. I was knocked
headlong across the floor against the oven
handle and stunned. I was insensible for a
long time, the curate told me, and when I came
to we were in darkness again, and he, with
a face wet as I found afterwards with blood
from a cut forehead, was dabbing water over
For some time I could not recollect what had
Under Foot 197
happened. Then things came to me slowly. A
bruise on my temple asserted itself.
' Are you better ?' asked the curate, in a
At last I answered him. I sat up.
' Don't move,' he said. 'The floor is covered
with smashed crockery from the dresser. You
can't possibly move without making a noise, and
I fancy they are outside.'
We both sat quite silent, so that we could
scarcely hear one another breathing. Every-
thing seemed deadly still, though once some-
thing near us, some plaster or broken brickwork,
slid down with a rumbling sound. Outside
and very near was an intermittent, metallic
' That !' said the curate, when presently it
' Yes,' I said. ' But what is it ?'
' A Martian !' said the curate.
I listened again.
' It was not like the Heat- Ray,' I said, and
for a time I was inclined to think one of the
*great Fighting Machines had stumbled against
the house, as I had seen one stumble against
the tower of Shepperton Church.
Our situation was so strange and incompre-
hensible that for three or four hours, until the
1 98 The War of the Worlds
dawn came, we scarcely moved. And then the
light filtered in, not through the window, which
remained black, but through a triangular aper-
ture between a beam and a heap of broken
bricks in the wall behind us. The interior of
the kitchen we now saw grayly for the first
The window had been burst in by a mass of
garden mould, which flowed over the table upon
which we had been sitting and lay about our
feet. Outside the soil was banked high against
the house. At the top of the window-frame we
could see an uprooted drain-pipe. The floor
was littered with smashed hardware ; the end
of the kitchen towards the house was broken
into, and since the daylight shone in there it
was evident the greater part of the house had
collapsed. Contrasting vividly with this ruin
was the neat dresser, stained in the fashion,
pale green, and with a number of copper and
tin vessels below it, the wall-paper imitating
blue and white tiles, and a couple of coloured
supplements fluttering from the walls above the
As the dawn grew clearer, we saw through
the gap in the wall the body of a Martian
standing sentinel, I suppose, over the still glow-
ing cylinder. At the sight of that we crawled
Under Foot 199
as circumspectly as possible out of the twilight
of the kitchen into the darkness of the scullery.
Abruptly the right interpretation of the things
dawned upon my mind.
'The fifth cylinder,' I whispered, 'the fifth
shot from Mars, has struck this house and
buried us under the ruins !'
For a space the curate was silent, and then
he whispered :
' God have mercy upon us !'
I heard him presently whimpering to him-
Save for that sound we lay quite still in the
scullery. I for my part scarce dared breathe,
and sat with my eyes fixed on the faint light of
the kitchen door. I could just see the curate's
face, a dim oval shape, and his collar and cuffs.
Outside there began a metallic hammering, and
then a violent hooting, and then, after a quiet
interval, a hissing, like the hissing of an engine.
These noises, for the most part problematical,
continued intermittently, and seemed, if any-
thing, to increase in number as the time wore
''on. Presently a measured thudding, and a
vibration that made everything about us quiver
and the vessels in the pantry ring and shift,
began and continued. Once the light was
eclipsed, and the ghostly kitchen doorway
The War of the Worlds
became absolutely dark. For many hours we
must have crouched there, silent and shivering,
until our tired attention failed. . . .
At last I found myself awake and very
hungry. I am inclined to believe we must
have been the greater portion of a day before
that awakening. My hunger was at a stride so
insistent that it moved me to action. I told
him I was going to seek food, and felt my way
towards the pantry. He made me no answer,
but so soon as I began eating, the faint noise I
made stirred him to action, and I heard him
crawling after me.
WHAT WE SAW FROM THE RUINED HOUSE.
AFTER eating we crept back to the scullery,
and there I must have dozed again, for when
presently I stirred I was alone. The thudding
vibration continued with wearisome persistence.
I whispered for the curate several times, and at
last felt my way to the door of the kitchen. It
was still daylight, and I perceived him across
the room, lying against the triangular hole that
looked out upon the Martians. His shoulders
were hunched, so that his head was hidden
I could hear a number of noises, almost like
those of an engine-shed, and the place rocked
with that beating thud. Through the aperture
in the wall I could see the top of a tree touched
""With gold, and the warm blue of a tranquil
evening sky. For a minute or so I remained
watching the curate, and then I advanced,
crouching and stepping with extreme care amidst
the broken crockery that littered the floor.
202 The War of the World
I touched the curate's leg, and he started so
violently that a mass of plaster went sliding
down outside and fell with a loud impact I
gripped his arm, fearing he might cry out, and
for a long time we crouched motionless. Then
I turned to see how much of our rampart re-
mained. The detachment of the plaster had
left a vertical slit open in the debris, and by
raising myself cautiously across a beam I was
able to see out of this gap into what had been
overnight a quiet suburban roadway. Vast
indeed was the change that we beheld.
The fifth cylinder must have fallen right into
the midst of the house we had first visited.
The building had vanished, completely smashed,
pulverized and dispersed by the blow. The
cylinder lay now far beneath the original foun-
dations, deep in a hole, already vastly larger
than the pit I had looked into at Woking. The
earth all round it had splashed under that tre-
mendous impact ' splashed ' is the only word
and lay in heaped piles that hid the masses of
the adjacent houses. It had behaved exactly
like mud under the violent blow of a hammer.
Our house had collapsed backwards ; the front
portion, even on the ground-floor, had been
destroyed completely ; by a chance, the kitchen
and scullery had escaped, and stood buried now
What we saw from the Ruined House 203
under soil and ruins, closed in by tons of earth
on every side, save towards the cylinder. Over
that aspect we hung now on the very verge of
the great circular pit the Martians were engaged
in making. The heavy beating sound was
evidently just behind us, and ever and again a
bright green vapour drove up like a veil across
The cylinder was already opened in the
centre of the pit, and on the further edge of
the pit, amidst the smashed and gravel-heaped
shrubbery, one of the great Fighting Machines
stood, deserted by its occupant, stiff and tall
against the evening sky. At first I scarcely
noticed the pit or the cylinder, although it has
been convenient to describe them first, on
account of the extraordinary glittering mechan-
ism I saw, busy in the excavation, and on
account of the strange creatures that were
crawling slowly and painfully across the heaped
mould near it.
The mechanism it certainly was held my
attention first. It was one of those compli-
1:ated fabrics that have since been called Hand-
ling Machines, and the study of which has
already given such an enormous impetus to
terrestrial invention. As it dawned upon me
first it presented a sort of metallic spider with
204 The War of the Worlds
five jointed, agile legs, and with an extra-
ordinary number of jointed levers, bars, and
reaching and clutching tentacles about its body.
Most of its arms were retracted, but with three
long tentacles it was fishing out a number of
rods, plates and bars which lined the covering
of, and apparently strengthened the walls of,
the cylinder. These, as it extracted them,
were lifted out and deposited upon a level
surface of earth behind it.
Its motion was so swift, complex and perfect
that at first I did not see it as a machine, in
spite of its metallic glitter. The Fighting
Machines were co-ordinated and animated to
an extraordinary pitch, but nothing to compare
with this. People who have never seen these
structures, and have only the ill-imagined efforts
of artists or the imperfect descriptions of such
eye-witnesses as myself to go upon, scarcely
realize that living quality.
I recall particularly the illustration of one of
the first pamphlets to give a consecutive
account of the war. The artist had evidently
made a hasty study of one of the Fighting
Machines, and there his knowledge ended. He
presented them as tilted, stiff tripods, without
either flexibility or subtlety, and with an alto-
gether misleading monotony of effect. The
What we saw from the Ruined House 205
pamphlet containing these renderings had a
considerable vogue, and I mention them here
simply to warn the reader against the impres-
sion they may have created. They were no
more like the Martians I saw in action than a
Dutch doll is like a human being. To my
mind, the pamphlet would have been much
better without them.
At first, I say, the Handling Machine did
not impress me as a machine, but as a crab-
like creature with a glittering integument, the
controlling Martian, whose delicate tentacles
actuated its movements, seeming to be simply
the equivalent of the crab's cerebral portion.
But then I perceived the resemblance of its
gray-brown, shiny, leathery integument to that
of the other sprawling bodies beyond, and the
true nature of this dexterous workman dawned
upon me. With that realization my interest
shifted to those other creatures, the real Mar-
tians. Already I had had a transient impres-
sion of these, and the first nausea no longer
obscured my observation. Moreover, I was
-concealed and motionless, and under no urgency
They were, I now saw, the most unearthly
creatures it is possible to conceive. They were
huge round bodies or, rather, heads about
206 The War of the Worlds
four feet in diameter, each body having in front
of it a face. This face had no nostrils indeed,
the Martians do not seem to have had any sense
of smell but it had a pair of very large, dark-
coloured eyes, and just beneath this a kind of
fleshy beak. In the back of this head or body
I scarcely know how to speak of it was the
single tight tympanic surface, since known to
be anatomically an ear, though it must have
been almost useless in our denser air. In a
group round the mouth were sixteen slender,
almost whip-like tentacles, arranged in two
bunches of eight each. These bunches have
since been named rather aptly, by that dis-
tinguished anatomist Professor Howes, the
hands. Even as I saw these Martians for the
first time they seemed to be endeavouring to
raise themselves on these hands, but of course,
with the increased weight of terrestrial con-
ditions, this was impossible. There is reason
to suppose that on Mars they may have pro-
gressed upon them with some facility.
The internal anatomy, I may remark here,
dissection has since shown, was almost equally
simple. The greater part of the structure was
the brain, sending enormous nerves to the eyes,
ear and tactile tentacles. Besides this were the
complex lungs, into which the mouth opened,
What we saw from the Ruined House 207
and the heart and its vessels. The pulmonary
distress caused by the denser atmosphere and
greater gravitational attraction was only too
evident in the convulsive movements of the
And this was the sum of the Martian organs.
Strange as it may seem to a human being, all
the complex apparatus of digestion, which makes
up the bulk of our bodies, did not exist in the
Martians. They were heads, merely heads.
Entrails they had none. They did not eat, much
less digest. Instead, they took the fresh living
blood of other creatures, and injected it into
their own veins. I have myself seen this being
done, as I shall mention in its place. But,
squeamish as I may seem, I cannot bring my-
self to describe what I could not endure even
to continue watching. Let it suffice, blood
obtained from a still living animal, in most
cases from a human being, was run directly
by means of a little pipette into the recipient
canal. . . .
The bare idea of this is no doubt horribly
repulsive to us, but at the same time I think
that we should remember how repulsive our
carnivorous habits would seem to an intelligent
The physiological advantages of the practice
The War of the Worlds
of injection are undeniable, if one thinks of th(
tremendous waste of human time and energy
occasioned by eating and the digestive process.
Our bodies are half made up of glands am
tubes and organs, occupied in turning hetero-
geneous food into blood. The digestive pro-
cesses and their reaction upon the nervous
system sap our strength, colour our minds.
Men go happy or miserable as they have
healthy or unhealthy livers, or sound gastric
glands. But the Martians were lifted above
all these organic fluctuations of mood and
Their undeniable preference for men as theii
source of nourishment is partly explained by the
nature of the remains of the victims they had
brought with them as provisions from Mars.
These creatures, to judge from the shrivellec
remains that have fallen into human hands, were
bipeds, with flimsy siliceous skeletons (almost
like those of the siliceous sponges) and feeble
musculature, standing about six feet high, anc
having round erect heads, and large eyes
in flinty sockets. Two or three of these
seem to have been brought in each cylinder,
and all were killed before earth was reached.
It was just as well for them, for the mere
attempt to stand upright upon our planet
What we saw from the Ruined House 209
would have broken every bone in their
And while I am engaged in this description,
I may add in this place certain further details,
which, although they were not all evident to us
at the time, will enable the reader who is unac-
quainted with them to form a clearer picture of
these offensive creatures.
In three other points their physiology differed
strangely from ours. Their organisms did not
sleep, any more than the heart of man sleeps.
Since they had no extensive muscular mechanism
to recuperate, that periodical extinction was
unknown to them. They had little or no sense
of fatigue, it would seem. On earth they can
never have moved without effort, yet even to
the last they kept in action. In twenty- four
hours they did twenty-four hours of work, as
even on earth is perhaps the case with the
In the next place, wonderful as it seems in a
sexual world, the Martians were absolutely
without sex, and therefore without any of the
tumultuous emotions that arise from that dif-
ference among men. A young Martian, there
can now be no dispute, was really born upon
earth during the war, and it was found attached
to its parent, partially budded off, just as young
2io The War of the Worlds
lily bulbs bud off, or the young animals in the
In man, in all the higher terrestrial animals,
such a method of increase has disappeared; but
even on this earth it was certainly the primitive
method. Among the lower animals, up even to
those first cousins of the vertebrated animals,
the Tunicates, the two processes occur side by
side, but finally the sexual method superseded
its competitor altogether. On Mars, however,
just the reverse has apparently been the case.
It is worthy of remark that a certain specula-
tive writer of quasi-scientific repute, writing long
before the Martian invasion, did forecast for
man a final structure not unlike the actua
Martian condition. His prophecy, I remember,
appeared in November or December, 1893, in
a long defunct publication, the Pall Mall Budget,
and I recall a caricature of it in a pre- Martian
periodical called Punch. He pointed out-
writing in a foolish facetious tone that the per-
fection of mechanical appliances must ultimately
supersede limbs, the perfection of chemical
devices, digestion that such organs as hair,
external nose, teeth, ears, chin, were no longer
essential parts of the human being, and that
the tendency of natural selection would lie in the
direction of their steady diminution through the
What we saw from the Ruined House 2 1 1
coming ages. The brain alone remained a
cardinal necessity. Only one other part of the
body had a strong case for survival, and that
was the hand, ' teacher and agent of the brain.'
While the rest of the body dwindled, the hands
would grow larger.
There is many a true word written in jest,
and here in the Martians we have beyond
dispute the actual accomplishment of such a
suppression of the animal side of the organism
by the intelligence. To me it is quite credible
that the Martians may be descended from
beings not unlike ourselves, by a gradual
development of brain and hands (the latter
giving rise to the two bunches of delicate
tentacles at last) at the expense of the rest of
the body. Without the body the brain would
of course become a more selfish intelligence,
without any of the emotional substratum of the
The last salient point in which the systems
of these creatures differed from ours was in what
one might have thought a very trivial particular.
Micro-organisms, which cause so much disease
and pain on earth, have either never appeared
upon Mars, or Martian sanitary science elimin-
ated them ages ago. A hundred diseases, all
the fevers and contagions of human life, con-
2 1 2 The War of the Worlds
sumption, cancers, tumours, and such mor-
bidities, never enter the scheme of their life.
And speaking of the differences between the
life on Mars and terrestrial life, I may allude
here to the curious suggestions of the Red
Apparently the vegetable kingdom in Mars,
instead of having green for a dominant colour,
is of a vivid blood-red tint. At any rate, the
seeds which the Martians (intentionally or acci-
dentally) brought with them gave rise in all
cases to red-coloured growths. Only that known
popularly as the Red Weed, however, gained
any footing in competition with terrestrial forms.
The Red Creeper was quite a transitory growth,
and few people have seen it growing. For a
time, however, the Red Weed grew with aston-
ishing vigour and luxuriance. It spread up the
sides of the pit by the third or fourth day of our
imprisonment, and its cactus - like branches
formed a carmine fringe to the edges of our
triangular window. And afterwards I found it
broadcast throughout the country, and especially
wherever there was a stream of water.
The Martians had what appears to have been
an auditory organ, a: single round drum at the
back of the head-body, and eyes with a visual
range not very different from ours, except that,
What we saw from the Ruined House 2 1 3
according to Philips, blue and violet were as
black to them. It is commonly supposed that
they communicated by sounds and tentacular
gesticulations ; this is asserted, for instance, in
the able but hastily compiled pamphlet (written
evidently by someone not an eye - witness of
Martian actions) to which I have already
alluded, and which, so far, has been the chief
source of information concerning them. Now,
no surviving human being saw so much of the
Martians in action as I did. I take no credit
to myself for an accident, but the fact is so.
And I assert that I watched them closely time
after time, and that I have seen four, five, and
(once) six of them sluggishly performing the
most elaborately complicated operations to-
gether, without either sound or gesture. Their
peculiar hooting invariably preceded feeding ;
it had no modulation, and was, I believe, in no
sense a signal, but merely the expiration of air
preparatory to the suctional operation. I have
a certain claim to at least an elementary know-
ledge of psychology, and in this matter I am
-convinced as firmly as I am convinced of any-
thing that the Martians interchanged thoughts
without any physical intermediation. And I
have been convinced of this in spite of strong
preconceptions. Before the Martian invasion,
2 1 4 The War of the Worlds
as an occasional reader here or there may
remember, I had written, with some little
vehemence, against the telepathic theory.
The Martians wore no clothing. Their con-
ceptions of ornament and decorum were neces-
sarily different from ours ; and not only were
they evidently much less sensible of changes
of temperature than we are, but changes of
pressure do not seem to have affected their
health at all seriously. But if they wore no
clothing, yet it was in the other artificial addi-
tions to their bodily resources, certainly, that
their great superiority over man lay. We men,
with our bicycles and road-skates, our Lilienthal
soaring-machines, our guns and sticks, and so
forth, are just in the beginning of the evolution
that the Martians have worked out. They
have become practically mere brains, wearing
different bodies according to their needs, just
as men wear suits of clothes, and take a bicycle
in a hurry or an umbrella in the wet. And of
their appliances, perhaps nothing is more
wonderful to a man than the curious fact that
what is the dominant feature of almost all
human devices in mechanism is absent the
wheel is absent ; amongst all the things they
brought to earth there is no trace or suggestion
of their use of wheels. One would have at
What we saw from the Ruined House 2 1 5
least expected it in locomotion. And in this
connection it is curious to remark that even on
this earth Nature has never hit upon the wheel,
or has preferred other expedients to its develop-
ment. And not only did the Martians either
not know of (which is incredible) or abstain
from the wheel, but in their apparatus singularly
little use is made of the fixed pivot, or relatively
fixed pivot, with circular motions thereabout
confined to one plane. Almost all the joints of
the machinery present a complicated system of
sliding parts moving over small but beautifully
curved friction bearings. And while upon this
matter of detail, it is remarkable that the long
leverages of their machines are in most cases
actuated by a sort of sham musculature of discs
in an elastic sheath ; these discs become polar-
ized and drawn closely and powerfully together
when traversed by a current of electricity. In
this way the curious parallelism to animal
motions, which was so striking and disturbing
to the human beholder, was attained. Such
quasi-muscles abounded in the crab-like Hand-
ling Machine which I watched unpacking the
cylinder, on my first peeping out of the slit.
It seemed infinitely more alive than the actual
Martians lying beyond it in the sunset light,
panting, stirring ineffectual tentacles, and
2 1 6 The War of the Worlds
moving feebly, after their vast journey across
While I was still watching their feeble
motions in the sunlight, and noting each
strange detail of their form, the curate re-
minded me of his presence by pulling violently
at my arm. I turned to a scowling face, and
silent, eloquent lips. He wanted the slit, which
permitted only one of us to peep through at a
time ; and so I had to forego watching them
for a time while he enjoyed that privilege.
When I looked again, the busy Handling
Machine had already put together several of
the pieces of apparatus it had taken out of
the cylinder into a shape having an unmis-
takable likeness to its own ; and down on the
left a busy little digging mechanism^ had come
into view, emitting jets of green vapour and
working its way round the pit, excavating and
embanking in a methodical and discriminating
manner. This it was had caused the regular
beating noise, and the rhythmic shocks that
had kept our ruinous refuge quivering. It
piped and whistled as it worked. So far as I
could see, the thing was without a directing
Martian at all.
THE DAYS OF IMPRISONMENT.
THE arrival of a second Fighting Machine
drove us from our peephole into the scullery,
for we feared that from his elevation the
Martian might see down upon us behind our
barrier. At a later date we began to feel less
in danger of their eyes, for to an eye in the
dazzle of the sunlight outside our refuge must
have seemed a blind of blackness, but at first
the slightest suggestion of approach drove us
into the scullery in heart -throbbing retreat.
Yet, terrible as was the danger we incurred,
the attraction of peeping was for both of us
irresistible. And I recall now with a sort of
wonder that, spite of the infinite danger in
which we were between starvation and a still
<more terrible death, we could yet struggle
bitterly for that horrible privilege of sight.
We would race across the kitchen in a grotesque
pace between eagerness and the dread of
making a noise, and strike one another, and
2 1 8 The War of the Worlds
thrust and kick, within a few inches of expo-
The fact is that we had absolutely incom-
patible dispositions and habits of thought and
action, and our danger and isolation only ac-
centuated the incompatibility. At Halliford I
had already come to hate his trick of helpless
exclamation, his stupid rigidity of mind. His
endless muttering monologue vitiated every
effort I made to think out a line of action, and
drove me at times, thus pent up and intensified,
almost to the verge of craziness. He was as
lacking in restraint as a silly woman. He
would weep for hours together, and I verily be-
lieve that to the very end this spoilt child of
life thought his weak tears in some way effi-
cacious. And I would sit in the darkness
unable to keep my mind off him by reason of
his importunities. He ate more than I did, and
it was in vain I pointed out that our only
chance of life was to stop in the house until the
Martians had done with their pit, that in that
long patience a time might presently come
when we should need food. He ate and drank
impulsively in heavy meals at long intervals.
He slept little.
As the days wore on, his utter carelessness
of any consideration so intensified our distress
The Days of Imprisonment 219
and danger that I had, much as I loathed doing
it, to resort to threats, and at last to blows.
That brought him to reason for a time. But
he was one of those weak creatures full of a
shifty cunning who face neither God nor man,
who face not even themselves, void of pride,
timorous, anaemic, hateful souls.
It is disagreeable for me to recall and write
these things, but I set them down that my
story may lack nothing. Those who have
escaped the dark and terrible aspects of life
will find my brutality, my flash of rage in our
final tragedy, easy enough to blame ; for they
know what is wrong as well as any, but not
what is possible to tortured men. But those
who have been under the shadow, who have
gone down at last to elemental things, will have
a wider charity.
And while within we fought out our dark
dim contest of whispers, snatched food and
drink and gripping hands and blows, without
in the pitiless sunlight of that terrible June
was the strange wonder, the unfamiliar routine
trf the Martians in the pit. Let me return to
those first new experiences of mine. After a
long time I ventured back to the peephole, to
find that the new-comers had been reinforced
by the occupants of no less than three of the
220 The War of the Worlds
Fighting Machines. These last had brought
with them certain fresh appliances that stood in
an orderly manner about the cylinder. The
second Handling Machine was now completed,
and was busied in serving one of the novel
contrivances the big machine had brought.
This was a body resembling a milk-can in its
general form above which oscillated a pear-
shaped receptacle, and from which a stream of
white powder flowed into a circular basin
The oscillatory motion was imparted to this
by one tentacle of the Handling Machine.
With two spatulate hands the Handling
Machine was digging out and flinging masses
of clay into the pear-shaped receptacle above,
while with another arm it periodically opened a
door and removed rusty and blackened clinkers
from the middle part of the machine. Another
steely tentacle directed the powder from the
basin along a ribbed channel towards some
receiver that was hidden from me by the mound
of bluish dust. From this unseen receiver a
little thread of green smoke rose vertically into
the quiet air. As I looked, the Handling
Machine, with a faint and musical clinking,
extended, telescopic fashion, a tentacle that had
been a moment before a mere blunt projection,
The Days of Imprisonment 221
until its end was hidden behind the mound of
clay. In another second it had lifted a bar of
white aluminium into sight, untarnished as yet
and shining dazzlingly, and deposited it in a
growing stack of bars that stood at the side of
the pit. Between sunset and starlight this
dexterous machine must have made more than
a hundred such bars out of the crude clay, and
the mound of bluish dust rose steadily until it
topped the side of the pit.
The contrast between the swift and complex
movements of these contrivances and the inert,
panting clumsiness of their masters was acute,
and for days I had to tell myself repeatedly
that these latter were indeed the living of the
The curate had possession of the slit when
the first men were brought to the pit. I was
sitting below, crouched together, listening with
all my ears. He made a sudden movement
backward, and I, fearful that we were observed,
crouched in a spasm of terror. He came
sliding down the rubbish, and crouched beside
tne in the darkness, inarticulate, gesticulating,
and for a moment I shared his terror. His
gesture suggested a resignation of the slit, and
after a little while my curiosity gave me courage,
and I rose up, stepped across him, and clam-
222 The War of the Worlds
bered up to it. At first I could see no reasor
for his terror. The twilight had now come,
the stars were little and faint, but the pit was
illuminated by the flickering green fire that
came from the aluminium making. The whole
picture was a flickering scheme of green gleams
and shifting rusty black shadows, strangely
trying to the eyes. Over and through it all
went the bats, heeding it not at all. The
sprawling Martians were no longer to be seen,
the mound of blue-green powder had risen to
cover them from sight, and a Fighting Machine,
with its legs contracted, crumpled and abbre-
viated, stood across the corner of the pit. And
then, amidst the clangour of the machinery,
came a drifting suspicion of human voices, that
I entertained at first only to dismiss.
I crouched, watching this Fighting Machine
closely, satisfying myself now for the first
time that the hood did indeed contain
Martian. As the green flames lifted- I could
see the oily gleam of his integument and the
brightness of his eyes. And suddenly I heard
a yell, and saw a long tentacle reaching over
the shoulder of the machine, to the little cage
that hunched upon its back. Then something
something struggling violently was lifted
high against the sky, a black vague enigma
The Days of Imprisonment 223
against the starlight, and as this black object
came down again, I saw by the green bright-
ness that it was a man. For an instant he was
clearly visible. He was a stout, ruddy, middle-
aged man; well dressed ; three days before he
must have been walking the world, a man of
considerable consequence. I could see his
staring eyes and gleams of light on his studs
and watch-chain. He vanished behind the
mound, and for a moment there was silence.
And then began a shrieking and a sustained
and cheerful hooting from the Martians. . . .
I slid down the rubbish, struggled to my
feet, clapped my hands over my ears, and
bolted into the scullery. The curate, who
had been crouching silently with his arms over
his head, looked up as I passed, cried out quite
loudly at my desertion of him, and came running
after me. ...
That night, as we lurked in the scullery,
balanced between our horror and the horrible
fascination this peeping had, although I felt an
urgent need of action, I tried in vain to con-
ceive any plan of escape ; but afterwards, during
the second day, I was able to consider our posi-
tion with great clearness. The curate, I found,
was quite incapable of discussion ; strange
terrors had already made him a creature of
The War of the Worlds
violent impulses, had robbed him of reason or
forethought. Practically he had already sunk.
to the level of an animal. But, as the saying
goes, I gripped myself with both hands. It
grew upon my mind, once I could face the
facts, that, terrible as our position was, there
was as yet no justification for absolute despair.
Our chief chance lay in the possibility of the
Martians making the pit nothing more than a
temporary encampment. Or even if they kept
it permanently, they might not consider it
necessary to guard it, and a chance of escape
might be afforded us. I also weighed very
carefully the possibility of our digging a way
out in a direction away from the pit, but the
chances of our emerging within sight of some
sentinel Fighting Machine seemed at first too
enormous. And I should have had to have
done all the digging myself, fhe curate would
certainly have failed me.
It was on the third day, if my memory
serves me right, that I saw the lad killed. It
was the only occasion on which I actually
saw the Martians feed. After that experience,
I avoided the hole in the wall for the better
part of a day. I went into the scullery,
removed the door, and spent some hours
digging with my hatchet as silently as possible ;
The Days of Imprisonment 225
but when I had made a hole about a couple of
feet deep the loose earth collapsed noisily, and
I did not dare continue. I lost heart, and
lay down on the scullery floor for a long time,
having no spirit even to move. And after that
I abandoned altogether the idea of escaping by
It says much for the impression the Martians
had made upon me, that at first I entertained
little or no hope of our escape being brought
about by their overthrow through any human
effort. But on the fourth or fifth night I heard
a sound like heavy guns.
It was very late in the night, and the moon
was shining brightly. The Martians had taken
away the Excavating Machine, and, save for
a Fighting Machine that stood on the remoter
bank of the pit, and a Handling Machine
that was busied out of my sight in a corner
of the pit immediately beneath my peep-hole,
the place was deserted by them. Except for
the pale glow from the Handling Machine,
and the bars and patches of white moon-
light, the pit was in darkness, and except for
the clinking of the Handling Machine, quite
still. That night was a beautiful serenity ;
save for one planet, the moon seemed to have
the sky to herself. I heard a dog howling, and
The War of the Worlds
that familiar sound it was made me listen.
Then I heard quite distinctly a booming
exactly like the sound of great guns. Six
distinct reports I counted, and after a lorn
interval six again. And that was all.
THE DEATH OF THE CURATE.
IT was on the sixth day of our imprisonment that
I peeped for the last time, and presently found
myself alone. Instead of keeping close to me
and trying to oust me from the slit, the curate
had gone back into the scullery. I was struck
by a sudden thought. I went back quickly and
quietly into the scullery. In the darkness I
heard the curate drinking. I snatched in the
darkness, and my fingers caught a bottle of
For a few minutes there was a tussle. The
bottle struck the floor and broke, and I desisted
and rose. We stood panting, threatening one
another. In the end I planted myself between
him and the food, and told him of my deter-
mination to begin a discipline. I divided the
food in the pantry into rations to last us ten
days. I would not let him eat any more that
day. In the afternoon he made a feeble effort
to get at the food. I had been dozing, but in
228 The War of the Worlds
an instant I was awake. All day and all night
we sat face to face, I weary but resolute, and
he weeping and complaining of his immediate
hunger. It was, I know, a night and a day, but
to me it seemed it seems now an intermin-
able length of time.
And so our widened incompatibility ended
at last in open conflict. For two vast days we
struggled in undertones and wrestling contests.
There were times when I beat and kicked him
madly, times when I cajoled and persuaded
him, and once I tried to bribe him with the last
bottle of burgundy, for there was a rain-water
pump from which I could get water. But
neither force nor kindness availed : he was
indeed beyond reason. He would neither
desist from his attacks on the tood nor from his
noisy babbling to himself. The rudimentary
precautions to keep our imprisonment endur-
able he would not observe. Slowly I began to
realize the complete overthrow of his intelli-
gence, to perceive that my sole companion in
this close and sickly darkness was a man in-
From certain vague memories I am inclined
to think my own mind wandered at times. I
had strange and hideous dreams whenever I
slept. It sounds strange, but I am inclined to
The Death of the Curate 229
think that the weakness and insanity of the
curate warned me, braced me and kept me a
On the eighth day he began to talk aloud
instead of whisper, and nothing I could do
would moderate his speech.
' It is just, O God !' he would say over and
over again. ' It is just. On me and mine be
the punishment laid. We have sinned, we
have fallen short. There was poverty, sorrow ;
the poor were trodden in the dust, and I held
my peace. I preached acceptable folly my
God, what folly ! when I should have stood
up, though I died for it, and called upon them
to repent repent ! . . . Oppressors of the poor
and needy. . . . The winepress of God !'
Then he would suddenly revert to the matter
of the food I withheld from him, praying, beg-
ging, weeping, at last threatening. He began
to raise his voice I prayed him not to ; he
perceived a hold on me he threatened he
would shout and bring the Martians upon us.
For a time that scared me ; but any concession
would have shortened our chance of escape
beyond estimating. I defied him, although I
felt no assurance that he might not do this
thing. But that day, at any rate, he did not.
He talked with his voice rising slowly, through
The War of the Worlds
the greater part of the eighth and ninth days-
threats, entreaties, mingled with a torrent 01
half-sane and always frothy repentance for his
vacant sham of God's service, such as made me
pity him. Then he slept awhile, and began
again with renewed strength, so loudly that I
must needs make him desist.
' Be still !' I implored.
He rose to his knees, for he had been sitting
in the darkness near the copper.
' I have been still too long,' he said in a tone
that must have reached the pit, ' and now I
must bear my witness. Woe unto this unfaith-
ful city ! Woe ! woe ! Woe ! woe ! woe ! to the
inhabitants of the earth by reason of the other
voices of the trumpet '
' Shut up !' I said, rising to my feet, and in
terror lest the Martians should hear us. ' Foi
God's sake '
' Nay,' shouted the curate at the top of hi
voice, standing likewise and extending
arms. ' Speak ! The word of the Lord is
In three strides he was at the door into the
' I must bear my witness. I go. It
already been too long delayed.'
I put out my hand and felt the meat-chopper
The Death of the Curate 2 3 1
hanging to the wall. In a flash I was after
him. I was fierce with fear. Before he was
half-way across the kitchen I had overtaken
him. With one last touch of humanity I turned
the blade back and struck him with the butt.
He went headlong forward, and lay stretched on
the ground. I stumbled over him, and stood
panting. He lay still.
Abruptly I heard a noise without, the run
and smash of slipping plaster, and the triangular
aperture in the wall was darkened. I looked
up and saw the lower surface of a Handling
Machine coming slowly across the hole. One
of its gripping limbs curled amidst the debris ;
another limb appeared, feeling its way over the
fallen beams. I stood petrified, staring. Then
I saw through a sort of glass plate near the
edge of the body the face, as we may call it,
and the large dark eyes of a Martian peering,
and then a long metallic snake of tentacle came
feeling slowly through the hole.
I turned by an effort, stumbled over the
curate, and stopped at the scullery door. The
tentacle was now some way, two yards or more,
in the room, and twisting and turning with
queer sudden movements, this way and that.
For a while I stood fascinated by that slow,
fitful advance. Then, with a faint, hoarse cry,
232 The War of the Worlds
I forced myself across the scullery. I trembled
violently ; I could scarcely stand upright. I
opened the door of the coal-cellar, and stood
there in the darkness, staring at the faintly lit
doorway into the kitchen, and listening. Had
the Martian seen me ? What was it doing
Something was moving to and fro there, very
quietly ; every now and then it tapped against
the wall, or started on its movements with a
faint metallic ringing, like the movement of
keys on a split-ring. Then a heavy body I
knew too well what was dragged across the
floor of the kitchen towards the opening. Irre-
sistibly attracted, I crept to the door and peeped
into the kitchen. In the triangle of bright
outer sunlight I saw the Martian in its Briareus
of a Handling Machine, scrutinizing the curate's
head. I thought at once that it would infer
my presence from the mark of the blow I had
I crept back to the coal-cellar, shut the door,
and began to cover myself up as much as I
could, and as noiselessly as possible, in the
darkness, among the firewood and coal therein.
Every now and then I paused rigid, to hear if
the Martian had thrust its tentacle through the
The Death of the Curate 233
Then the faint metallic jingle returned. I
traced it slowly feeling over the kitchen.
Presently I heard it nearer in the scullery, as
I judged. I thought that its length might be
insufficient to reach me. I prayed copiously.
It passed, scraping faintly across the cellar door.
An age of almost intolerable suspense inter-
vened ; then I heard it fumbling at the latch.
It had found the door ! The Martian under-
stood doors !
It worried at the catch for a minute, perhaps,
and then the door opened.
In the darkness I could just see the thing
like an elephant trunk more than anything else
waving towards me and touching and examin-
ing the wall, coals, wood, and ceiling. It was
like a black worm swaying its blind head to and
Once, even, it touched the heel of my boot.
I was on the verge of screaming ; I bit my
hand. For a time it was silent. I could have
fancied it had been withdrawn. Presently, with
an abrupt click, it gripped something I thought
[j: had me ! and seemed to go out of the cellar
again. For a minute I was not sure. Apparently,
it had taken a lump of coal to examine.
I seized the opportunity of slightly shifting
my position, which had become cramped, and
234 The War of the Worlds
listened. I whispered passionate prayers for
Then I heard the slow, deliberate sound
creeping towards me again. Slowly, slowly it
drew near, scratching against walls and tapping
While I was still doubtful, it rapped smartly
against the cellar door and closed it. I heard
it go into the pantry, and the biscuit-tins rattled
and a bottle smashed, and then came a heavy
bump against the cellar door. Then silence,
that passed into an infinity of suspense.
Had it gone ?
At last I decided that it had.
It came into the scullery no more ; but I lay
all the tenth day, in the close darkness, buried
among coals and firewood, not daring even to
crawl out for the drink for which I craved. It
was the eleventh day before I ventured so far
from my security.
MY first act, before I went into the pantry, was
to fasten the door between kitchen and scullery.
But the pantry was empty ; every scrap of food
had gone. Apparently, the Martian had taken
it all on the previous day. At that discovery I
despaired for the first time. I took no food and
no drink either on the eleventh or the twelfth
At first my mouth and throat were parched,
and my strength ebbed sensibly. I sat about
in the darkness of the scullery, in a state of
despondent wretchedness. My mind ran on
eating. I thought I had become deaf, for the
noises of movement I had been accustomed to
hear from the pit ceased absolutely. I did not
feel strong enough to crawl noiselessly to the
peephole, or I would have gone there.
On the twelfth day my throat was so painful
that, taking the chance of alarming the Martians,
I attacked the creaking rain-water pump that
236 The War of the Worlds
stood by the sink, and got a couple of glassfuls
of blackened and tainted rain-water. I was
greatly refreshed by this, and emboldened by
the fact that no inquiring tentacle followed the
noise of my pumping.
During these days I thought much of the
curate, and of the manner of his death, in a
rambling, inconclusive manner.
On the thirteenth day I drank some more
water, and dozed and thought disjointedly of
eating and of vague impossible plans of escape.
Whenever I dozed, I dreamt of horrible phan-
tasms, of the death of the curate, or of
sumptuous dinners ; but, sleeping or awake, I
felt a keen pain that urged me to drink again
and again. The light that came into the
scullery was no longer grey but red. To my
disordered imagination it seemed the colour of
On the fourteenth day I went into the kitchen,
and I was surprised to find that the fronds of
the Red Weed had grown right across the hole
in the wall, turning the half-light of the place
into a crimson-coloured obscurity.
It was early on the fifteenth day that I heard
a curious familiar sequence of sounds in the
kitchen, and, listening, identified it as the snuff-
ing and scratching of a dog. Going into the
The Stillness 237
kitchen, I saw a dog's nose peering in through
a break among the ruddy fronds. This greatly
surprised me. At the scent of me he barked
I thought if I could induce him to come into
the place quietly I should be able, perhaps, to
kill and eat him, and in any case it would be
advisable to kill him, lest his actions attracted
the attention of the Martians.
I crept forward, saying ' Good dog !' very
softly ; but he suddenly withdrew his head and
I listened I was not deaf but certainly the
pit was still. I heard a sound like the flutter of
a bird's wings, and a hoarse croaking, but that
For a long while I lay close to the peephole,
but not daring to move aside the red plants
that obscured it. Once or twice I heard a faint
pitter-patter like the feet of the dog going
hither and thither on the sand far below me,
and there were more bird-like sounds, but that
was all. At length, encouraged by the silence,
4 looked out.
Except in the corner, where a multitude of
crows hopped and fought over the skeletons of
the dead the Martians had consumed, there
was not a living thing in the pit.
238 The War of the Worlds
I stared about me, scarcely believing my
eyes. All the machinery had gone. Save for
the big mound of grayish-blue powder in one
corner, certain bars of aluminium in another,
the black birds and the skeletons of the killed,
the place was merely an empty circular pit in
Slowly I thrust myself out through the red
weed, and stood up on the mound of rubble.
I could see in any direction save behind me,
to the north, and neither Martian nor sign of
Martian was to be seen. The pit dropped
sheerly from my feet, but a little way along,
the rubbish afforded a practicable slope to the
summit of the ruins. My chance of escape
had come. I began to tremble.
I hesitated for some time, and then, in a gust
of desperate resolution and with a heart that
throbbed violently, I scrambled to the top of
the mound in which I had been buried so long.
I looked about again. To the northward,
too, no Martian was visible.
When I had last seen this part of Sheen in
the daylight, it had been a straggling street of
comfortable white and red houses, interspersed
with abundant shady trees. Now I stood on a
mound of smashed brickwork, clay and gravel,
over which spread a multitude of red cactus-
The Stillness 239
shaped plants, knee-high, without a solitary
terrestrial growth to dispute their footing. The
trees near me were dead and brown, but further,
a network of red threads scaled the still living
The neighbouring houses had all been
wrecked, but none had been burned ; their walls
stood sometimes to the second story, with
smashed windows and shattered doors. The
Red Weed grew tumultuously in their roofless
rooms. Below me was the great pit, with the
crows struggling for its refuse. A number of
other birds hopped about among the ruins.
Far away I saw a gaunt cat slink crouchingly
along a wall, but traces of men there were
The day seemed, by contrast with my recent
confinement, dazzlingly bright, the sky a glow-
ing blue. A gentle breeze kept the Red Weed,
that covered every scrap of unoccupied ground,
gently swaying. And oh ! the sweetness of
the air !
THE WORK OF FIFTEEN DAYS.
FOR some time I stood tottering on the mound,
regardless of my safety. Within that noisome
den from which I had emerged, I had thought
with a narrow intensity only of our immediate
security. I had not realized what had been
happening to the world, had not anticipated
this startling vision of unfamiliar things. I
had expected to see Sheen in ruins I found
about me the landscape, weird and lurid, of
For that moment I touched an emotion
beyond the common range of men, yet one
that the poor brutes we dominate know only
too well. I felt as a rabbit might feel return-
ing to his burrow, and suddenly confronted by
the work of a dozen busy navvies digging the
foundations of a house. I felt the first inkling
of a thing that presently grew quite clear in
my mind, that oppressed me for many days, a
sense of dethronement, a persuasion that I was
The Work of Fifteen Days 241
no longer a master, but an animal among the
animals, under the Martian heel. With us it
would be as with them, to lurk and watch, to
run and hide ; the fear and empire of man had
But so soon as this strangeness had been
realized, it passed, and my dominant motive
became the hunger of my long and dismal fast.
In the direction away from the pit, I saw, be-
yond a red-covered wall, a patch of garden
ground unburied. This gave me a hint, and I
went knee-deep, and sometimes neck-deep, in
the Red Weed. The density of the weed gave
me a reassuring sense of hiding. The wall
was some six feet high and when I attempted
to clamber it I found I could not lift my feet to
the crest. So I went along by the side of it,
and came to a corner and a rockwork that
enabled me to get to the top and tumble into
the garden I coveted. Here I found some
young onions, a couple of gladiolus bulbs, and
a quantity of immature carrots, all of which I
secured, and, scrambling over a ruined wall,
j^ent on my way through scarlet and crimson
trees towards Kew it was like walking through
an avenue of gigantic blood-drops possessed
with two ideas : to get more food, and to limp,
as soon and as far as my strength permitted,
242 The War of the Worlds
out of this accursed unearthly region of the
Some way further, in a grassy place, was a
group of mushrooms, which I also devoured,
and then I came upon a brown sheet of flowing
shallow water, where meadows used to be.
These fragments of nourishment served only
to whet my hunger. At first I was surprised
at this flood in a hot, dry summer, but after-
wards I discovered that this was caused by the
tropical exuberance of the Red Weed. Directly
this extraordinary growth encountered water,
it straightway became gigantic and of unparal-
leled fecundity. Its seeds were simply poured
down into the water of the Wey and Thames,
and its swiftly-growing and Titanic water-
fronds speedily choked both these rivers.
At Putney, as I afterwards saw, the bridge
was almost lost in a tangle of this weed, and at
Richmond, too, the Thames water poured in a
broad and shallow stream across the meadows
of Hampton and Twickenham. As the waters
spread the weed followed them, until the ruined
villas of the Thames Valley were for a time lost
in this red swamp, whose margin I explored,
and much of the desolation the Martians had
caused was concealed.
In the end the Red Weed succumbed almost
The Work of Fifteen Days 243
as quickly as it spread. A cankering disease,
due, it is believed, to the action of certain
bacteria, presently seized upon it. Now, by
the action of natural selection, all terrestrial
plants have acquired a resisting power against
bacterial diseases they never succumb without
a severe struggle ; but the Red Weed rotted
like a thing already dead. The fronds became
bleached, and then shrivelled and brittle. They
broke off at the least touch, and the waters that
had stimulated their early growth carried their
last vestiges out to sea. . . .
My first act on coming to this water was, of
course, to slake my thirst. I drank a great
bulk of water, and, moved by an impulse,
gnawed some fronds of Red Weed ; but they
were watery, and had a sickly metallic taste. I
found the water was sufficiently shallow for me
to wade securely, although the Red Weed im-
peded my feet a little ; but the flood evidently
got deeper towards the river, and I turned back
towards Mortlake. I managed to make out
the road by means of occasional ruins of its
villas and fences and lamps, and so presently
I got out of this spate, and made my way to
the hill going up towards Roehampton, and
came out on Putney Common.
Here the scenery changed from the strange
1 6 2
244 The War of the Worlds
and unfamiliar to the wreckage of the familiar ;
patches of ground exhibited the devastation of
a cyclone, and in a few score yards I would
come upon perfectly undisturbed spaces, houses
with their blinds trimly drawn and doors closed,
as if they had been left for a day by the owners,
or as if their inhabitants slept within. The Red
Weed was less abundant ; the tall trees along
the lane were free from the red creeper. I
hunted for food among the trees, finding nothing,
and I also raided a couple of silent houses, but
they had already been broken into and ran-
sacked. I rested for the remainder of the day-
light in a shrubbery, being, in my enfeebled
condition, too fatigued to push on.
All this time I saw no human beings, and n<
signs of the Martians. I encountered a couple
of hungry-looking dogs, but both hurried cir-
cuitously away from the advances I made them.
Near Roehampton I had seen two human
skeletons not bodies, but skeletons, picked
clean and in the wood by me I found the
crushed and scattered bones of several cats and
rabbits, and the skull of a sheep. But though
I gnawed parts of these in my mouth, there
was nothing to be got from them.
After sunset, I struggled on along the road
towards Putney, where I think the Heat- Ray
The Work of Fifteen Days 245
must have been used for some reason. And in a
garden beyond Roehampton I got a quantity of
immature potatoes sufficient to stay my hunger.
From this garden one saw down upon Putney
and the river. The aspect of the place in the
dusk was singularly desolate : blackened trees,
blackened, desolate ruins, and down the hill the
sheets of the flooded river, red-tinged with the
weed. And over all silence. It filled me with
indescribable terror to think how swiftly that
desolating change had come.
For a time I believed that mankind had been
swept out of existence, and that I stood there
alone, the last man left alive. Hard by the top
of Putney Hill I came upon another skeleton,
with the arms dislocated and removed several
yards from the rest of the body. As I pro-
ceeded. I became more and more convinced that
the extermination of mankind was, save for such
stragglers as myself, already accomplished in
this part of the world. The Martians, I
thought, had gone on, and left the country
desolated, seeking food elsewhere. Perhaps
even now they were destroying Berlin or
Paris, or it might be they had gone north-
THE MAN ON PUTNEY HILL.
I SPENT that night in the inn that stands at the
top of Putney Hill, sleeping in a made bed for
the first time since my flight to Leatherhead.
I will not tell the needless trouble I had break-
ing into that house afterwards I found the
front-door was on the latch nor how I ran-
sacked every room for food, until, just on the
verge of despair, in what seemed to me to be a
servant's bedroom, I found a rat-gnawed crust
and two tinned pineapples. The place had
been already searched and emptied. In the
bar I afterwards found some biscuits and sand-
wiches that had been overlooked. The latter
I could not eat, but the former not only stayed
my hunger, but filled my pockets. I lit no
lamps, fearing some Martian might come beat-
ing that part of London for food in the night.
Before I went to bed I had an interval of rest-
lessness, and prowled from window to window,
peering out for some sign of these monsters. I
The Man on Putney Hill 247
slept little. As I lay in bed I found myself
thinking consecutively a thing I do not re-
member to have done since my last argument
with the curate. During all the intervening
time my mental condition had been a hurrying
succession of vague emotional states, or a sort
of stupid receptivity. But in the night my
brain, reinforced, I suppose, by the food I had
eaten, grew clear again, and I thought.
Three things struggled for possession of my
mind : the killing of the curate, the whereabouts
of the Martians, and the possible fate of my
wife. The former gave me no sensation of
horror or remorse to recall ; I saw it simply as
a thing done, a memory infinitely disagreeable,
but quite without the quality of remorse. I
saw myself then as I see myself now, driven
step by step towards that hasty blow, the
creature of a sequence of accidents leading
inevitably to that. I felt no condemnation ;
yet the memory, static, unprogressive, haunted
me. In the silence of the night, with that sense
of the nearness of God that sometimes comes
into the stillness and the darkness, I stood my
trial, my only trial, for that moment of wrath
and fear. I retraced every step of our con-
^ versation from the moment when I had found
him crouching beside me, heedless of my thirst,
248 The War of the Worlds
and pointing to the fire and smoke that streamed
up from the ruins of Weybridge. We had
been incapable of co-operation grim chance
had taken no heed of that. Had I foreseen, I
should have left him at Halliford. But I did
not foresee ; and crime is to foresee and do.
And I set this down as I have set all this story
down, as it was. There were no witnesses-
all these things I might have concealed. But
I set it down, and the reader must form his
judgment as he will.
And when, by an effort, I had set aside that
picture of a prostrate body, I faced the problem
of the Martians and the fate of my wife. For
the former I had no data ; I could imagine a
hundred things, and so, unhappily, I could for
the latter. And suddenly that night became
terrible. I found myself sitting up in bed,
staring at the dark. I found myself praying
that the Heat-Ray may have suddenly and
painlessly struck her out of being. Since the
night of my return from Leatherhead I had not
prayed. I had uttered prayers, fetich prayers,
had prayed as heathens mutter charms when I
was in extremity ; but now I prayed indeed,
pleading steadfastly and sanely, face to face
with the darkness of God. Strange night !
strangest in this, that so soon as dawn had
The Man on Putney Hill 249
come, I, who had talked with God, crept out of
the house like a rat leaving its hiding-place a
creature scarcely larger, an inferior animal, a
thing that for any passing whim of our masters
might be hunted and killed. Perhaps they also
prayed confidently to God. Surely, if we have
learnt nothing else, this war has taught us pity
pity for those witless souls that suffer our
The morning was bright and fine, and the
eastern sky glowed pink, and was fretted with
little golden clouds. In the road that runs from
the top of Putney Hill to Wimbledon was a
number of pitiful vestiges of the panic torrent
that must have poured London ward on the
Sunday night after the fighting began. There
was a little two-wheeled cart inscribed with the
name of Thomas Lobb, Greengrocer, New
Maiden, with a smashed wheel and an aban-
doned tin trunk ; there was a straw hat
trampled into the now hardened mud, and
at the top of West Hill a lot of blood-stained
glass about the overturned water-trough. My
movements were languid, my plans of the
vaguest. I had an idea of going to Leather-
head, though I knew that there I had the
poorest chance of finding my wife. Certainly,
unless death had overtaken them suddenly, my
250 The War of the Worlds
cousins and she would have fled thence ; but
it seemed to me I might find or learn there
whither the Surrey people had fled. I knew I
wanted to find my wife, that my heart ached
for her and the world of men, but I had no
clear idea how the finding might be done. I
was also clearly aware now of my intense
loneliness. From the corner I went, under
cover of a thicket of trees and bushes, to the
edge of Wimbledon Common, stretching wide
That dark expanse was lit in patches by
yellow gorse and broom ; there was no Red
Weed to be seen, and as I prowled, hesitating,
on the verge of the open, the sun rose, flooding
it all with light and vitality. I came upon a
busy swarm of little frogs in a swampy place
among the trees. I stopped to look at them,
drawing a lesson from their stout resolve to
live. And presently, turning suddenly, with
an odd feeling of being watched, I beheld
something crouching amidst a clump of bushes.
I stood regarding this. I made a step towards
it, and it rose up, and became a man armed
with a cutlass. I approached him slowly. He
stood silent and motionless, regarding me.
As I drew nearer, I perceived he was dressed
in clothes as dusty and filthy as my own ; he
The Man on Putney Hill 251
looked, indeed, as though he had been dragged
through a culvert. Nearer, I distinguished the
green slime of ditches mixing with the pale
drab of dried clay and shiny coaly patches.
His black hair fell over his eyes, and his face
was dark and dirty and sunken, so that at first
I did not recognise him. There was a red cut
across the lower part of his face. ,-
4 Stop !' he cried, when I was within ten
yards of him, and I stopped. His voice was
hoarse. ' Where do you come from ?' he said.
I thought, surveying him.
' I come from Mortlake,' I said. ' I was
buried near the pit the Martians made about
their cylinder. I have worked my way out and
' There is no food about here,' he said.
' This is my country. All this hill down to the
river, and back to Clapham, and up to the edge
of the Common. There is only food for one.
Which way are you going ?'
I answered slowly.
' I don't know,' I said. ' I have been buried
in the ruins of a house thirteen or fourteen days.
I don't know what has happened.'
He looked at me doubtfully, then started, and
^"looked with a changed expression.
4 I've no wish to stop about here,' said I. 'I
252 The War of the Worlds
think I shall go to Leatherhead, for my wife
He shot out a pointing finger.
' It is you,' said he. ' The man from Woking.
And you weren't killed at Weybridge ?'
I recognised him at the same moment.
' You are the artilleryman who came into my
' Good luck !' he said. ' We are lucky ones !
Fancy you f He put out a hand, and I took it.
' I crawled up a drain,' he said. ' But they
didn't kill everyone. And after they went
away I got off towards Walton across the fields.
But It's not sixteen days altogether and
your hair is gray.' He looked over his shoulder
suddenly. * Only a rook,' he said. ' One gets
to know that birds have shadows these days.
This is a bit open. Let us crawl under those
bushes and talk.'
' Have you seen any Martians ?' I said.
' Since I crawled out '
' They've gone away across London,' he said.
' I guess they've got a bigger camp there. Of
a night, all over there, Hampstead way, the
sky is alive with their lights. It's like a great
city, and in the glare you can just see them
moving. By daylight you can't. But nearer
I haven't seen them ' He counted on his
The Man on Putney Hill 253
fingers. ' Five days. Then I saw a couple
across Hammersmith way carrying something
big. And the night before last' he stopped,
and spoke impressively ' it was just a matter
of lights, but it was something up in the air.
I believe they've built a flying-machine, and are
learning to fly.'
I stopped, on hands and knees, for we had
come to the bushes.
'Yes/ he said, 'fly.'
I went on into a little bower, and sat down.
' It is all over with humanity,' I said. ' If
they can do that, they will simply go round the
' They will. But It will relieve things
over here a bit. And besides ' He looked
at me. ' Aren't you satisfied it is up with
humanity ? I am. We're down ; we're beat.'
I stared. Strange as it may seem, I had not
arrived at this fact a fact perfectly obvious so
soon as he spoke. I had still held a vague
hope ; rather, I had kept a lifelong habit of
mind. He repeated his words, ' We're beat. 1
They carried absolute conviction.
' It's all over,' he said. ' They've lost one
just one. And they've made their footing good,
254 The War of the Worlds
and crippled the greatest power in the world.
They've walked over us. The death of that
one at Weybridge was an accident. And these
are only pioneers. They keep on coming.
These green stars I've seen none these five
or six days, but I've no doubt they're falling
somewhere every night. Nothing's to be done.
We're under ! We're beat !'
I made him no answer. I sat staring before
me, trying in vain to devise some counter-
' This isn't a war,' said the artilleryman. ' It
never was a war, any more than there's war
between men and ants.'
Suddenly I recalled the night in the
' After the tenth shot they fired no more at
least, until the first cylinder came.'
'How do you know ?' said the artilleryman.
I explained. He thought. ' Something wrong
with the gun,' he said. ' But what if there is ?
They'll get it right again. And even if there's
a delay, how can it alter the end? It's just
men and ants. There's the ants builds their
cities, live their lives, have wars, revolutions,
until the men want them out of the way, and
then they go out of the way. That's what we
are now just ants. Only '
The Man on Putney Hill 255
'Yes,' I said.
' We're eatable ants.'
We sat looking at each other.
' And what will they do with us ?' I said.
1 That's what I've been thinking,' he said
' that's what I've been thinking. After Wey-
bridge I went south thinking. I saw what
was up. Most of the people were hard at
it squealing and exciting themselves. But
I'm not so fond of squealing. I've been in
sight of death once or twice ; I'm not an orna-
mental soldier, and at the best and worst,
death it's just death. And it's the man that
keeps on thinking comes through. I saw every-
one tracking away south. Says I, " Food won't
last this way," and I turned right back. I went
for the Martians like a sparrow goes for man.
All round ' he waved a hand to the horizon
' they're starving in heaps, bolting, treading on
each other. ..."
He saw my face, and halted awkwardly.
' No doubt lots who had money have gone
away to France,' he said. He seemed to hesitate
whether to apologize, met my eyes, and went
on : ' There's food all about here. Canned
things in shops ; wines, spirits, mineral waters ;
and the water mains and drains are empty.
Well, I was telling you what I was thinking.
The War of the Worlds
" Here's intelligent things," I said, " and it
seems they want us for food. First, they'll
smash us up ships, machines, guns, cities, all
the order and organization. All that will go.
If we were the size of ants, we might pull
through. But we're not. It's all too bulky tc
stop. That's the first certainty." Eh ?'
' It is ; I've thought it out. Very well, ther
next : at present we're caught as we're wantec
A Martian has only to go a few miles to get
crowd on the run. And I saw one, one da}
out by Wandsworth, picking houses to piec<
and routing among the wreckage. But thej
won't keep on doing that. So soon as they've
settled all our guns and ships, and smashed oui
railways, and done all the things they ar
doing over there, they will begin catching uj
systematic, picking the best and storing us ii
cages and things. That's what they will stai
doing in a bit. Lord ! they haven't begun 01
us yet. Don't you see that ?'
' Not begun !' I exclaimed.
' Not begun. All that's happened so far is
through our not having the sense to keep quiet
worrying them with guns and such fooler
And losing our heads, and rushing off in crowc
to where there wasn't any more safety thai
The Man on Putney Hill 257
where we were. They don't want to bother us
yet. They're making their things making all
the things they couldn't bring with them, get-
ting things ready for the rest of their people.
Very likely that's why the cylinders have
stopped for a bit, for fear of hitting those who
are here. And instead of our rushing about
blind, on the howl, or getting dynamite on the
chance of busting them up, we've got to fix
ourselves up according to the new state of
affairs. That's how I figure it out. It isn't
quite according to what a man wants for his
species, but it's about what the facts point to.
And that's the principle I acted upon. Cities,
nations, civilization, progress it's all over.
That game's up. We're beat.'
' But if that is so, what is there to live for ?'
The artilleryman looked at me for a moment.
' There won't be any more blessed concerts
for a million years or so ; there won't be any
Royal Academy of Arts, and no nice little feeds
at restaurants. If it's amusement you're after,
I reckon the game is up. If you've got any
drawing-room manners, or a dislike to eating
peas with a knife or dropping aitches, you'd
better chuck 'em away. They ain't no further
' You mean '
2 5 8
The War of the Worlds
' I mean, that men like me are going on
living for the sake of the breed. I tell you,
I'm grim set on living. And, if I'm not mis-
taken, you'll show what insides youve got, too,
before long. We aren't going to be exter-
minated. And I don't mean to be caught,
either, and tamed and fattened and bred like
a thundering ox. Ugh ! Fancy those brown
' You don't mean to say '
' I do. I'm going on. Under their feet.
I've got it planned ; I've thought it out. We
men are beat. We don't know enough. We've
got to learn before we've got a chance. And
we've got to live, and keep independent while
we learn. See ? That's what has to be done.'
I stared, astonished, and stirred profoundly
by the man's resolution.
' Great God !' cried I. 'But you are a man
indeed !' And suddenly I gripped his hand.
' Eh ?' he said, with his eyes shining. ' I've
thought it out, eh ?'
' Go on/ I said.
' Well, those who mean to escape their catch-
ing must get ready. I'm getting ready. Mind
you, it isn't all of us are made for wild beasts ;
and that's what it's got to be. That's why I
watched you. I had my doubts. You're thin
The Man on Putney Hill 259
and slender. I didn't know it was you, you
see, or just how you'd been buried. All
these the sort of people that lived in these
houses, and all those damn little clerks that
used to live down that way they'd be no
good. They haven't any spirit in them no
proud dreams and no proud lusts ; and a man
who hasn't one or the other Lord ! what is he
but funk and precautions ? They just used to
skedaddle off to work I've seen hundreds of
'em, bit of breakfast in hand, running wild and
shining to catch their little season-ticket train,
for fear they'd get dismissed if they didn't ;
working at businesses they were afraid to take
the trouble to understand ; skedaddling back
for fear they wouldn't be in time for dinner ;
keeping indoors after dinner for fear of the
back-streets ; and sleeping with the wives they
married, not because they wanted them, but
because they had a bit of money that would
make for safety in their one little miserable
skedaddle through the world. Lives insured
and a bit invested for fear of accidents. And
on Sundays fear of the hereafter. As if hell
was built for rabbits ! Well, the Martians will
just be a godsend to these. Nice roomy cages,
fattening food, careful breeding, no worry.
After a week or so chasing about the fields and
260 The War of the Worlds
lands on empty stomachs, they'll come and be
caught cheerful. They'll be quite glad after a
bit. They'll wonder what people did before
there were Martians to take care of them.
And the bar-loafers, and mashers, and singers
I can imagine them. I can imagine them,'
he said, with a sort of sombre gratification.
' There'll be any amount of sentiment and
religion loose among them. There's hundreds
of things I saw with my eyes, that I've only
begun to see clearly these last few days.
There's lots will take things as they are, fat
and stupid ; and lots will be worried by a sort
of feeling that it's all wrong, and that they
ought to be doing something. Now, when-
ever things are so that a lot of people feel
they ought to be doing something, the weak,
and those who go weak with a lot of compli-
cated thinking, always make for a sort of do-
nothing religion, very pious, and superior, and
submit to persecution and the will of the
Lord. Very likely you've seen the same
thing. It's energy in a gale of funk, and
turned clean inside out. These cages will be
full of psalms and hymns and piety. And
those of a less simple sort will work in a bit
of what is it ? eroticism.'
The Man on Putney Hill 261
' Very likely these Martians will make pets
of some of them ; train them to do tricks who
knows ? get sentimental over the pet boy
who grew up and had to be killed. And
some, maybe, they will train to hunt us.'
' No,' I cried, ' that's impossible ! No human
' What's the good of going on with such
lies ?' said the artilleryman. ' There's men
who'd do it cheerful. What nonsense to
pretend there isn't !'
And I succumbed to his conviction.
* If they come after me,' he said ' Lord !
if they come after me !' and subsided into a
I sat contemplating these things. I could
find nothing to bring against this man's reason-
ing. In the days before the invasion no one
would have questioned my intellectual superi-
ority to his I, a professed and recognised
writer on philosophical themes, and he, a
common soldier and yet he had already
formulated a situation that I had scarcely
' What are you doing ?' I said presently.
' What plans have you made ?'
'Well, it's like this,' he said. 'What have
262 The War of the Worlds
we to do ? We have to invent a sort of life
where men can live and breed, and be suffi-
ciently secure to bring the children up. Yes-
wait a bit, and I'll make it clearer what I think
ought to be done. The tame ones will go like
all tame beasts ; in a few generations they'll be
big, beautiful, rich-blooded, stupid rubbish !
The risk is that we who keep wild will go
savage degenerate into a sort of big savage
rat. . . . You see, how I mean to live is under-
ground. I've been thinking about the drains.
Of course, those who don't know drains think
horrible things ; but under this London are
miles and miles hundreds of miles and a
few days' rain and London empty will leave
them sweet and clean. The main drains are
big enough and airy enough for anyone. Then
there's cellars, vaults, stores, from which bolting
passages may be made to the drains. And the
railway tunnels and subways. Eh ? You begin
to see ? And we form a band able-bodied,
clean-minded men. We're not going to pick
up any rubbish that drifts in. Weaklings go
' As you meant me to go ?'
'Well I parleyed, didn't I ?'
' We won't quarrel about that. Go on.'
' Those who stop, obey orders. Able-bodied,
The Man on Putney Hill 263
clean-minded women we want also mothers
and teachers. No lackadaisical ladies no
blasted rolling eyes. We can't have any weak
or silly. Life is real again, and the useless
and cumbersome and mischievous have to die.
They ought to die. They ought to be willing
to die. It's a sort of disloyalty, after all, to live
and taint the race. And they can't be happy.
Moreover, dying's none so dreadful ; it's the
funking makes it bad. And in all those places
we shall gather. Our district will be London.
And we may even be able to keep a watch,
and run about in the open when the Martians
keep away. Play cricket, perhaps. That's
how we shall save the race. Eh ? It's a
possible thing ? But saving the race is nothing
in itself. As I say, that's only being rats. It's
saving our knowledge and adding to it is the
thing. There men like you come in. There's
books, there's models. We must make great
safe places down deep, and get all the books
we can ; not novels and poetry swipes, but
ideas, science books. That's where men like
you come in. We must go to the British
Museum and pick all those books through.
Especially we must keep up our science learn
more. We must watch these Martians. Some
of us must go as spies. When it's all working,
264 The War of the Worlds
perhaps I will. Get caught, I mean. And
the great thing is, we must leave the Martians
alone. We mustn't even steal. If we get in
their way, we clear out. We must show them
we mean no harm. Yes, I know. But they're
intelligent things, and they won't hunt us down
if they have all they want, and think we're just
The artilleryman paused, and laid a brown
hand upon my arm.
1 After all, it may not be so much we may
have to learn before Just imagine this :
Four or five of their Fighting Machines sud-
denly starting off Heat-Rays right and left,
and not a Martian in 'em. Not a Martian in 'em,
but men men who have learnt the way how.
It may be in my time, even those men. Fancy
having one of them lovely things, with its
Heat- Ray wide and free ! Fancy having it in
control ! What would it matter if you smashed
to smithereens at the end of the run, after a
bust like that ? I reckon the Martians '11 open
their beautiful eyes ! Can't you see them, man ?
Can't you see them hurrying, hurrying puffing
and blowing and hooting to their other mechani-
cal affairs ? Something out of gear in every
case. And swish, bang, rattle, swish ! just as
they are fumbling over it, swisk comes the
The Man on Putney Hill 265
Heat- Ray, and, behold ! man has come back
to his own.'
For a while the imaginative daring of the
artilleryman, and the tone of assurance and
courage he assumed, completely dominated my
mind. I believed unhesitatingly both in his
forecast of human destiny and in the practica-
bility of his astonishing scheme, and the reader
who thinks me susceptible and foolish must
contrast his position, reading steadily, with all
his thoughts about his subject, and mine,
crouching fearfully in the bushes and listening,
distracted by apprehension. We talked in this
manner through the early morning time, and
later crept out of the bushes, and, after scanning
the sky for Martians, hurried precipitately to
the house on Putney Hill where he had made
his lair. It was the coal-cellar of the place, and
when I saw the work he had spent a week
upon it was a burrow scarcely ten yards long,
which he designed to reach to the main drain
on Putney Hill I had my first inkling of the
gulf between his dreams and his powers. Such
a hole I could have dug in a day. But I
believed in him sufficiently to work with him all
that morning until past mid-day at his digging.
Ve had a garden barrow, and shot the earth we
removed against the kitchen range. We re-
266 The War of the Worlds
freshed ourselves with a tin of mock-turtle soup
and wine from the neighbouring pantry. I
found a curious relief from the aching strange-
ness of the world in this steady labour. As we
worked, I turned his project over in my mind,
and presently objections and doubts began to
arise ; but I worked there all the morning, so
glad was I to find myself with a purpose again.
After working an hour, I began to speculate on
the distance one had to go before the cloaca
was reached the chances we had of missing it
altogether. My immediate trouble was why we
should dig this long tunnel, when it was possible
to get into the drain at once down one of the
manholes, and work back to the house. It
seemed to me, too, that the house was incon-
veniently chosen, and required a needless length
of tunnel. And just as I was beginning to face
these things, the artilleryman stopped digging,
and looked at me.
' We're working well,' he said. He put
down his spade. ' Let us knock off a bit/ he
said. ' I think it's time we reconnoitred from
the roof of the house.'
I was for going on, and after a little hesita-
tion he resumed his spade ; and then suddenly
I was struck by a thought. I stopped, and so
did he at once.
The Man on Putney Hill 267
* Why were you walking about the Common,'
I said, ' instead of being here ?'
' Taking the air/ he said. ' I was coming
back. It's safer by night.'
' But the work ?'
' Oh, one can't always work,' he said, and in
a flash I saw the man plain. He hesitated,
holding his spade. ' We ought to reconnoitre
now,' he said, ' because if any come near they
may hear the spades and drop upon us un-
I was no longer disposed to object. We
went together to the roof and stood on a ladder
peeping out of the roof door. No Martians
were to be seen, and we ventured out on the
tiles, and slipped down under shelter of the
From this position a shrubbery hid the
greater portion of Putney, but we could see the
river below, a bubbly mass of Red Weed, and
the low parts of Lambeth flooded and red.
The red creeper swarmed up the trees about
the old palace, and their branches stretched
gaunt and dead, and set with shrivelled leaves,
from amidst its clusters. It was strange how
entirely dependent both these things were upon
^flowing water for their propagation. About us
neither had gained a footing ; laburnums, pink
268 The War of the Worlds
mays, snowballs, and trees of arbor vitae, ro
out of laurels and hydrangeas, green an
brilliant, into the sunlight. Beyond Kensin
ton dense smoke was rising, and that and
blue haze hid the northward hills.
The artilleryman began to tell me of the so
of people who still remained in London.
'One night last week,' he said, 'some fool
got the electric light in order, and there was a
Regent's Street and the Circus ablaze, crowde
with painted and ragged drunkards, men an
women, dancing and shouting till dawn,
man who was there told me. And as the da
came they beheld a Fighting Machine standin
near by the Langham, and looking down a
them. Heaven knows how long he had bee
there. He came down the road towards them
and picked up nearly a hundred too drunk o
frightened to run away.'
Grotesque gleam of a time no history wil
ever fully describe !
From that, in answer to my questions, he
came round to his grandiose plans again. He
grew enthusiastic. He talked so eloquently of
the possibility of capturing a Fighting Machine,
that I more than half believed in him again.
But now that I was beginning to understand
something of his quality, I could divine th
The Man on Putney Hill 269
stress he laid on doing nothing precipitately.
And I noted that now there was no question
that he personally was to capture and fight the
After a time we went down to the cellar.
Neither of us seemed disposed to resume dig-
ging, and when he suggested a meal, I was
nothing loath. He became suddenly very
generous, and when we had eaten he went
away, and returned with some excellent cigars.
We lit these, and his optimism glowed. He
was inclined to regard my coming as a great
' There's some champagne in the cellar,' he
'We can dig better on this Thames-side
burgundy,' said I.
' No,' said he ; ' I am host to-day. Cham-
pagne ! Great God ! we've a heavy enough
task before us ! Let us take a rest, and gather
strength while we may. Look at these blistered
And pursuant to this idea of a holiday, he
insisted upon playing cards after we had eaten.
He taught me euchre, and after dividing London
between us, I taking the northern side, and he
the southern, we played for parish points.
Grotesque and foolish as this will seem to the
270 The War of the Worlds
sober reader, it is absolutely true, and what
is more remarkable, I found the card game
and several others we played extremely in-
Strange mind of man ! that, with our species
upon the edge of extermination or appalling
degradation, with no clear prospect before us
but the chance of a horrible death, we could
sit following the chance of this painted paste-
board and playing the 'joker' with vivid
delight. Afterwards he taught me poker,
and I beat him at three tough chess games.
When dark came we were so interested that
we decided to take the risk and light a
After an interminable string of games, we
supped, and the artilleryman finished the cham-
pagne. We continued smoking the cigars. He
was no longer the energetic regenerator of his
species I had encountered in the morning. He
was still optimistic, but it was a less kinetic, a
more thoughtful optimism. I remember he
wound up with my health, proposed in a speech
of small variety and considerable intermittence.
I took a cigar, and went upstairs to look at the
lights he had spoken of, that blazed so greenly
along the Highgate hills.
At first I stared across the London valley,
The Man on Putney Hill 271
unintelligently. The northern hills were
shrouded in darkness ; the fires near Kensing-
ton glowed redly, and now and then an orange-
red tongue of flame flashed up and vanished in
the deep blue night. All the rest of London
was black. Then, nearer, I perceived a strange
light, a pale violet-purple fluorescent glow,
quivering under the night breeze. For a space
I could not understand it, and then I knew that
it must be the Red Weed from which this faint
irradiation proceeded. With that realization,
my dormant sense of wonder, my sense of
the proportion of things, awoke again. I
glanced from that to Mars, red and clear, glow-
ing high in the west, and then gazed long and
earnestly at the darkness of Hampstead and
I remained a very long time upon the roof,
wondering at the grotesque changes of the day.
I recalled my mental states from the midnight
prayer to the foolish card-playing. I had a
violent revulsion of feeling. I remember I
flung away the cigar with a certain wasteful
symbolism. My folly came to me with glaring
exaggeration. I seemed a traitor to my wife
and to my kind ; I was filled with remorse. I
resolved to leave this strange undisciplined
dreamer of great things to his drink and
The War of the Worlds
gluttony, and to go on into London. Thei
it seemed to me, I had the best chance of learn-
ing what the Martians and my fellow-men were
doing. I was still upon the roof when the late
AFTER I had , parted from the artilleryman, I
went down the hill, and by the High Street
across the bridge to Lambeth. The Red Weed
was tumultuous at that time, and nearly choked
the bridge roadway, but its fronds were already
whitened in patches by the spreading disease
that presently removed it so swiftly.
At the corner of the lane that runs to Putney
Bridge Station I found a man lying. He was
as black as a sweep with the black dust, alive,
but helplessly and speechlessly drunk. I could
get nothing from him but curses and furious
lunges at my head. I think I should have
stayed by him but for the brutal type of his
There was black dust along the roadway
from the bridge onwards, and it grew thicker
in Fulham. The streets were horribly quiet.
I got food sour, hard, and mouldy, but quite
eatable in a baker's shop here. Some way
274 The War of the Worlds
towards Walham Green the streets became
clear of powder, and I passed a white terrace of
houses on fire ; the noise of the burning was ai
absolute relief. Going on towards Brompton,
the streets were quiet again.
Here I came once more upon the blacl
powder in the streets and upon dead bodies,
saw altogether about a dozen in the length of
the Fulham Road. They had been dead man)
days, so that I hurried quickly past them. The
black powder covered them over, and softenec
their outlines. One or two had been disturbec
Where there was no black powder, it We
curiously like a Sunday in the City, with the
closed shops, the houses locked up and the
blinds drawn, the desertion, and the stillness
In some places plunderers had been at work
but rarely at other than the provision and wine-
shops. A jeweller's window had been broken
open in one place, but apparently the thief hac
been disturbed, and a number of gold chains
and a watch were scattered on the pavement
I did not trouble to touch them. Further on
was a tattered woman in a heap on a doorstep
the hand that hung over her knee was gashed
and bled down her rusty brown dress, and a
smashed magnum of champagne formed a pool
Dead London 275
across the pavement. She seemed asleep, but
she was dead.
The further I penetrated into London, the
profounder grew the stillness. But it was
not so much the stillness of death it was the
stillness of suspense, of expectation. At any
time the destruction that had already singed the
north-western borders of the Metropolis, and
had annihilated Ealing and Kilburn, might
strike among these houses and leave them
smoking ruins. It was a city condemned and
derelict. . . .
In South Kensington the streets were clear
of dead and of black powder. It was near
South Kensington that I first heard the howl-
ing. It crept almost imperceptibly upon my
senses. It was a sobbing alternation of two
notes, ' Ulla, ulla, ulla, ulla,' keeping on per-
petually. When I passed streets that ran
northward, it grew in volume, and houses and
buildings seemed to deaden and cut it off again.
It came to a full tide down Exhibition Road. I
stopped, staring towards Kensington Gardens,
wondering at this strange remote wailing. It
was as if that mighty desert of houses had
found a voice for its fear and solitude.
' Ulla, ulla, ulla, ulla,' wailed that superhuman
note great waves of sound sweeping down the
1 8 2
276 The War of the Worlds
broad, sunlit roadway, between the tall build-
ings on either side. I turned northward,
marvelling, towards the iron gates of Hyde
Park. I had half a mind to break into the
Natural History Museum and find my way up
to the summits of the towers, in order to see
across the park. But I decided to keep to the
ground, where quick hiding was possible, and
so went on up the Exhibition Road. All the
large mansions on either side of the road were
empty and still, and my footsteps echoed
against the sides of the houses. At the top,
near the park gate, I came upon a strange
sight a 'bus overturned, and the skeleton of a
horse picked clean. I puzzled over this for
a time, and then went on to the bridge over
the Serpentine. The Voice grew stronger
and stronger, though I could see nothing
above the housetops on the north side of the
park, save a haze of smoke to the north-
' Ulla, ulla, ulla, ulla,' cried the Voice, coming,
as it seemed to me, from the district about
Regent's Park. The desolating cry worked
upon my mind. The mood that had sustained
me passed. The wailing took possession of
me. I found I was intensely weary, footsore,
and now again hungry and thirsty.
Dead London 277
It was already past noon. Why was I
wandering alone in this city of the dead ?
Why was I alone when all London was lying in
state, and in its black shroud ? I felt intolerably
lonely. My mind ran on old friends that I had
forgotten for years. I thought of the poisons
in the chemists' shops, of the liquors the wine-
merchants stored ; I recalled the two sodden
creatures of despair who, so far as I knew,
shared the city with myself. . . .
I came into Oxford Street by the Marble
Arch, and here again was black powder and
several bodies, and an evil, ominous smell from
the gratings of the cellars of some of the
houses. I grew very thirsty after the heat
of my long walk. With infinite trouble I
managed to break into a public-house and get
food and drink. I was weary after eating,
and went into the parlour behind the bar,
and slept on a black horsehair sofa I found
I awoke to find that dismal howling still in
my ears, ' Ulla, ulla, ulla, ulla.' It was now
dusk, and after I had routed out some biscuits
and a cheese in the bar there was a meat-
safe, but it contained nothing but maggots I
wandered on through the silent residential
squares to Baker Street Portman Square is
278 The War of the Worlds
the only one I can name and so came out at
last upon Regent's Park. And as I emerged
from the top of Baker Street, I saw far away
over the trees in the clearness of the sunset the
hood of the Martian giant from which this
howling proceeded. 1 was not terrified. I
came upon him as if it were a matter of
course. I watched him for some time, but he
did not move. He appeared to be stand-
ing and yelling, for no reason that I could
I tried to formulate a plan of action. That
perpetual sound of ' Ulla, ulla, ulla, ulla,' con-
fused my mind. Perhaps I was too tired to be
very fearful. Certainly I was rather curious to
know the reason of this monotonous crying
than afraid. I turned back away from the
park and struck into Park Road, intending to
skirt the park, went along under shelter of the
terraces, and got a view of this stationary howl-
ing Martian from the direction of St. John's
Wood. A couple of hundred yards out of
Baker Street I heard a yelping chorus, and
saw, first a dog with a piece of putrescent red
meat in his jaws coming headlong towards me,
and then a pack of starving mongrels in pur-
suit of him. He made a wide curve to avoid
me, as though he feared I might prove a fresh
Dead London 281
competitor. As the yelping died away dowl
the silent road, the wailing sound of ' Ulla, ulla,
ulla, ulla,' reasserted itself.
I came upon the wrecked Handling Machine
halfway to St. John's Wood Station. At first
I thought a house had fallen across the road.
It was only as I clambered among the ruins
that I saw, with a start, this mechanical Samson
lying, with its tentacles bent and smashed and
twisted, among the ruins it had made. The
fore-part was shattered. It seemed as if it had
driven blindly straight at the house, and had
been overwhelmed in its overthrow. It seemed
to me then that this might have happened by a
Handling Machine escaping from the guidance
of its Martian. I could not clamber among
the ruins to see it, and the twilight was now so
far advanced that the blood with which its seat
was smeared, and the gnawed gristle of the
Martian that the dogs had left, was invisible
Wondering still more at all that I had seen,
I pushed on towards Primrose Hill. Far away,
through a gap in the trees, I saw a second
Martian, motionless as the first, standing in the
park towards the Zoological Gardens, and silent.
A little beyond the ruins about the smashed
Handling Machine I came upon the Red Weed
278 The War of the Worlds
thgain, and found Regent's Canal a spongy mass
of dark-red vegetation.
Abruptly, as I crossed the bridge, the sound
of ' Ulla, ulla, ulla,' ceased. It was, as it were,
cut off. The silence came like a thunder-clap.
The dusky houses about me stood faint, and
tall and dim ; the trees towards the park were
growing black. All about me the Red Weed
clambered among the ruins, writhing to get
above me in the dim. Night, the Mother of
Fear and Mystery, was coming upon me. But
while that voice sounded, the solitude, the
desolation, had been endurable ; by virtue of it
London had still seemed alive, and the sense of
life about me had upheld me. Then suddenly
a change, the passing of something I knew
not what and then a stillness that could be
felt. Nothing but this gaunt quiet.
London about me gazed at me spectrally.
The windows in the white houses were like the
eye-sockets of skulls. About me my imagina-
tion found a thousand noiseless enemies moving.
Terror seized me, a horror of my temerity. In
front of me the road became pitchy black as
though it was tarred, and I saw a contorted
shape lying across the pathway. I could not
bring myself to go on. I turned down St.
John's Wood Road, and ran headlong from
Dead London 281
this unendurable stillness towards Kilburn. I
hid from the night and the silence, until long
after midnight, in a cabmen's shelter in the
Harrow Road. But before the dawn my
courage returned, and while the stars were
still in the sky, I turned once more towards
Regent's Park. I missed my way among the
streets, and presently saw, down a long avenue,
in the half-light of the early dawn, the curve of
Primrose Hill. On the summit, towering up
to the fading stars, was a third Martian, erect
and motionless like the others.
An insane resolve possessed me. I would
die and end it. And I would save myself even
the trouble of killing myself. I marched on
recklessly towards this Titan, and then, as I
drew nearer and the light grew, I saw that a
multitude of black birds was circling and
clustering about the hood. At that my heart
gave a bound, and I began running along the
I hurried through the Red Weed that choked
St. Edmund's Terrace (I waded breast-high
across a torrent of water that was rushing down
from the waterworks towards the Albert Road),
and emerged upon the grass before the rising
of the sun. Great mounds had been heaped
about the crest of the hill, making a huge re-
282 The War of the Worlds
doubt of it it was the final and largest place
the Martians made and from behind these
heaps there rose a thin smoke against the sky.
Against the skyline an eager dog ran and dis-
appeared. The thought that had flashed into
my mind grew real, grew credible. I felt no
fear, only a wild trembling exultation, as I ran
up the hill towards the motionless monster.
Out of the hood hung lank shreds of brown at
which the hungry birds pecked and tore.
In another moment I had scrambled up the
earthen rampart and stood upon its crest, and
the interior of the redoubt was below me. A
mighty space it was, with gigantic machines
here and there within it, huge mounds of
material and strange shelter - places. And,
scattered about it, some in their over-turned
war-machines, some in the now rigid Handling
Machines, and a dozen of them stark and silent
and laid in a row, were the Martians dead /
slain by the putrefactive and disease bacteria
against which their systems were unprepared ;
slain as the Red Weed was being slain ; slain,
after all man's devices had failed, by the
humblest things that God, in His wisdom, has
put upon this earth.
For so it had come about, as, indeed, I and
many men might have foreseen had not terror
Dead London 283
and disaster blinded our minds. These germs
of disease have taken toll of humanity since
the beginning of things taken toll of our pre-
human ancestors since life began here. But by
virtue of this natural selection of our kind we
have developed resisting-power ; to no germs
do we succumb without a struggle, and to many
those that cause putrefaction in dead matter,
for instance our living frames are altogether
immune. But there are no bacteria in Mars,
and directly these invaders arrived, directly
they drank and fed, our microscopic allies began
to work their overthrow. Already when I
watched them they were irrevocably doomed,
dying and rotting even as they went to and
fro. It was inevitable. By the toll of a billion
deaths, man has bought his birthright of the
earth, and it is his against all comers ; it would
still be his were the Martians ten times as
mighty as they are. For neither do men live
nor die in vain.
Here and there they were scattered, nearly
fifty altogether in that great gulf they had
made, overtaken by a death that must have
seemed to them as incomprehensible as any
^ death could be. To me also at that time this
death was incomprehensible. All I knew was
that these things that had been alive and so
284 The War of the Worlds
terrible to men were dead. For a moment
believed that the destruction of Sennacheril
had been repeated, that God had repented, that
the Angel of Death had slain them in th<
I stood staring into the pit, and my heat
lightened gloriously, even as the rising sui
struck the world to fire about me with his rays.
The pit was still in darkness ; the mighty en-
gines, so great and wonderful in their power
and complexity, so unearthly in their tortuous
forms, rose weird and vague and strange out ol
the shadows towards the light. A multitude oi
dogs, I could hear, fought over the bodies that
lay darkly in the depth of the pit, far below me.
Across the pit on its further lip, flat and vast
and strange, lay the great flying-machine with
which they had been experimenting upon our
denser atmosphere when decay and death
arrested them. Death had come not a day too
soon. At the sound of a cawing overhead I
looked up at the huge Fighting Machine, that
would fight no more for ever, at the tattered
red shreds of flesh that dripped down upon the
overturned seats on the summit of Primrose
I turned and looked down the slope of the
hill to where, enhaloed now in birds, stood
Dead London 285
those other two Martians that I had seen over-
night, just as death had overtaken them. The
one had died, even as it had been crying to its
companions ; perhaps it was the last to die, and
its voice had gone on perpetually until the force
of its machinery was exhausted. They glit-
tered now, harmless tripod towers of shining
metal, in the brightness of the rising sun. . . .
All about the pit, and saved as by a miracle
from everlasting destruction, stretched the great
Mother of Cities. Those who have only seen
London veiled in her sombre robes of smoke
can scarcely imagine the naked clearness and
beauty of the silent wilderness of houses.
Eastward, over the blackened ruins of the
Albert Terrace and the splintered spire of the
church, the sun blazed dazzling in a clear sky,
and here and there some facet in the great
wilderness of roofs caught the light and glared
with a white intensity. It touched even that
round store place for wines by the Chalk Farm
Station, and the vast railway yards, marked
once with a graining of black rails, but red-
lined now with the quick rusting of a fortnight's
disuse, with something of the mystery of beauty.
^ Northward were Kilburn and Hampstead,
blue and crowded with houses ; westward the
great city was dimmed ; and southward, beyond
286 The War of the Worlds
the Martians, the green waves of Regent's
Park, the Langham Hotel, the dome of the
Albert Hall, the Imperial Institute, and the
giant mansions of the Brompton Road, came
out clear and little in the sunrise, the jagged
ruins of Westminster rising hazily beyond.
Far away and blue were the Surrey hills, and
the towers of the Crystal Palace glittered like
two silver rods. The dome of St. Paul's We
dark against the sunrise, and injured, I saw for
the first time, by a huge gaping cavity on it
And as I looked at this wide expanse of
houses and factories and churches, silent anc
abandoned ; as I thought of the multitudinous
hopes and efforts, the innumerable hosts of
lives that had gone to build this human reef,
and of the swift and ruthless destruction that
had hung over it all ; when I realized that the
shadow had been rolled back, and that men
might still live in the streets, and this dear vast
dead city of mine be once more alive and
powerful, I felt a wave of emotion that
near akin to tears.
The torment was over. Even that day the
healing would begin. The survivors of the
people scattered over the country leaderless,
lawless, foodless, like sheep without a shepherd
Dead London 287
the thousands who had fled by sea, would
begin to return ; the pulse of life, growing
stronger and stronger, would beat again in the
empty streets, and pour across the vacant
squares. Whatever destruction was done, the
hand of the destroyer was stayed. The hand of
the destroyer was stayed. All the gaunt wrecks,
the blackened skeletons of houses that stared so
dismally at the sunlit grass of the hill, would
presently be echoing with the hammers of the
restorers and ringing with the tapping of the
trowels. At the thought I extended my hands
towards the sky and began thanking God. In
a year, thought I in a year. . . .
And then, with overwhelming force, came the
thought of myself, of my wife, and the old life
of hope and tender helpfulness that had ceased
AND now comes the strangest thing in my stoi
And yet, perhaps, it is not altogether strange.
I remember, clearly and coldly and vividly, all
that I did that day until the time that I stooc
weeping and praising God upon the summit of
Primrose Hill. And then I forget. . . .
Of the next three days I know nothing,
have learnt since that, so far from my being th(
first discoverer of the Martian overthrow, several
such wanderers as myself had already discovered
this on the previous night. One man the
first had gone to St. Martin's-le-Grand, and,
while I sheltered in the cabmen's hut, had con-
trived to telegraph to Paris. Thence the joyful
news had flashed all over the world ; a thousand
cities, chilled by ghastly apprehensions, sud-
denly flashed into frantic illumination ; the)
knew of it in Dublin, Edinburgh, Manchester,
Birmingham, at the time when I stood upon
the verge of the pit. Already men, weeping
with joy, as I have heard, shouting and staying
their work to shake hands and shout, were
making up trains, even as near as Crewe, to
descend upon London. The church bells that
had ceased a fortnight since suddenly caught
the news, until all England was bell-ring-
ing. Men on cycles, lean-faced, unkempt,
scorched along every country lane, shouting ot
unhoped deliverance, shouting to gaunt, staring
figures of despair. And for the food ! Across
the Channel, across the Irish Sea, across the
Atlantic, corn, bread and meat were tearing to
our relief. All the shipping in the world
seemed going Londonward in those days. But
of all this I have no memory. I drifted a
demented man. I found myself in the house of
kindly people who had found me on the third
day, wandering, weeping and raving, through
the streets of St. John's Wood. They have
told me since that I was singing some inane
doggerel about ' The Last Man Left Alive,
Hurrah ! The Last Man Left Alive.' Troubled
as they were with their own affairs, these people,
whose name, much as I would like to express
my gratitude to them, I may not even give
here, nevertheless cumbered themselves with
Ine, sheltered me and protected me from my-
self. Apparently they had learnt something
290 The War of the Worlds
of my story from me during the days of my
Very gently, when my mind was assure(
again, did they break to me what they hac
learnt of the fate of Leatherhead. Two days
after I was imprisoned it had been destroyed,
with every soul in it, by a Martian. He hac
swept it out of existence, as it seemed, without
any provocation, as a boy might crush an ant-
hill, in the mere wantonness of power.
I was a lonely man, and they were very kind
to me. I was a lonely man and a sad one,
and they bore with me. I remained with them
four days after my recovery. All that time
I felt a vague, a growing craving to look
once more on whatever remained of the little
life that seemed so happy and bright in my
past. It was a mere hopeless desire to feast
upon my misery. They dissuaded me. The)
did all they could to divert me from this
morbidity. But at last I could resist the im-
pulse no longer, and promising faithfully to
return to them, and parting, as I will confess,
from these four-day friends with tears, I went
out again into the streets that had lately been
so dark and strange and empty.
Already they were busy with returning
people, in places even there were shops
Wreckage 29 1
open, and I saw a drinking fountain running
I remember how mockingly bright the day
seemed as I went back on my melancholy
pilgrimage to the little house at Woking, how
busy the streets and vivid the moving life about
me. So many people were abroad everywhere,
busied in a thousand activities, that it seemed
incredible that any great proportion of the
population could have been slain. But then I
noticed how yellow were the skins of the people
I met, how shaggy the hair of the men, how
large and bright their eyes, and that every
other man still wore his dirty rags. The faces
seemed all with one of two expressions a
leaping exultation and energy, or a grim resolu-
tion. Save for the expression of the faces,
London seemed a city of tramps. The vestries
were indiscriminately distributing bread sent us
by the French Government. The ribs of the
few horses showed dismally. Haggard special
constables with white badges stood at the
corners of every street. I saw little of the
mischief wrought by the Martians until I
reached Wellington Street, and there I saw
the Red Weed clambering over the buttresses
<!>f Waterloo Bridge.
At the corner of the bridge, too, I saw one
292 The War of the Worlds
of the common contrasts of that grotesque
time : a sheet of paper flaunting against a
thicket of the Red Weed, transfixed by a stick
that kept it in place. It was the placard of the
first newspaper to resume publication the
Daily Mail. I bought a copy for a blackened
shilling I found in my pocket. Most of it was
in blank, but the solitary compositor who die
the thing had amused himself by making
grotesque scheme of advertisement stereo on
the back page. The matter he printed We
emotion ; the news organization had not as yet
found its way back. I learnt nothing fresl
except that already in one week the examina-
tion of the Martian mechanisms had yielded
astonishing results. Among other things, the
article assured me what I did not believe at the
time : that the ' Secret of Flying ' was dis-
covered. At Waterloo I found the free trains
that were taking people to their homes. The
first rush was already over. There were few
people in the train, and I was in no mood for
casual conversation. I got a compartment tc
myself, and sat with folded arms, looking grayly
at the sunlit devastation that flowed past the
windows. And just outside the terminus the
train jolted over temporary rails, and on either
side of the railway the houses were blackened
ruins. To Clapham Junction the face of
London was grimy with powder of the Black
Smoke, in spite of two days of thunderstorms
and rain, and at Clapham Junction the line had
been wrecked again ; there were hundreds of
out-of-work clerks and shopmen working side
by side with the customary navvies, and we
were jolted over a hasty relaying.
All down the line from there the aspect of
the country was gaunt and unfamiliar ; Wimble-
don particularly had suffered. Walton, by
virtue of its unburnt pine-woods, seemed the
least hurt of any place along the line. The
Wandle, the Mole, every little stream, was a
heaped mass of Red Weed, in appearance
between butcher's meat and pickled cabbage.
The Surrey pine-woods were too dry, however,
for the festoons of the red climber. Beyond
Wimbledon, within sight of the line, in certain
nursery grounds, were the heaped masses of
earth about the sixth cylinder. A number of
people were standing about it, and some
sappers were busy in the midst of it. Over it
flaunted a Union Jack, flapping cheerfully in
the morning breeze. The nursery grounds
, were everywhere crimson with the weed, a
wide expanse of livid colour cut with purple
shadows, and very painful to the eye. One's
294 The War of the Worlds
gaze went with infinite relief from the scorched
grays and sullen reds of the foreground to the
blue-green softness of the eastward hills.
The line on the London side of Woking
Station was still undergoing repair, so I
descended at Byfleet Station and took the road
to Maybury, past the place where I and the
artilleryman had talked to the hussars, and
on by the spot where the Martian had
appeared to me in the thunderstorm. Here,
moved by curiosity, I turned aside to find,
among a tangle of red fronds, the warped and
broken dogcart with the whitened bones of the
horse, scattered and gnawed. For a time I
stood regarding these vestiges. . . .
Then I returned through the pine-wood, neck-
high with Red Weed here and there, to find
the landlord of the Spotted Dog had already
found burial ; and so came home past the
College Arms. A man standing at an open
cottage door greeted me by name as I passed.
I looked at my house with a quick flash of
hope that faded immediately. The door had
been forced ; it was unfastened, and was open-
ing slowly as I approached.
It slammed again. The curtains of my
study fluttered out of the open window from
which I and the artilleryman had watched the
dawn. No one had closed that window since.
The smashed bushes were just as I had left
them nearly four weeks ago. I stumbled into
the hall, and the house felt empty. The stair-
carpet was ruffled and discoloured where I had
crouched soaked to the skin from the thunder-
storm, the night of the catastrophe. Our
muddy footsteps I saw still went up the stairs.
I followed them to my study, and found lying
on my writing-table still, with the selenite
paper-weight upon] it, the sheet of work I had
left on the afternoon of the opening of the
cylinder. For a space I stood reading over my
abandoned arguments. It was a paper on the
probable development of Moral Ideas with the
development of the civilizing process ; and the
last sentence was the opening of a prophecy :
* In about two hundred years,' I had written,
' we may expect ' The sentence ended
abruptly. I remembered my inability to fix my
mind that morning, scarcely a month gone by,
and how I had broken off to get my Daily
Chronicle from the newsboy. I remembered
how I went down to the garden gate as he
came along, and how I had listened to his odd
^story of the ' Men from Mars.'
I came down and went into the dining-room.
There were the mutton and the bread, both far
296 The War of the Worlds
gone now in decay, and a beer bottle over-
turned, just as I and the artilleryman had left
them. My home was desolate. I perceived
the folly of the faint hope I had cherished so
long. And then a strange thing occurred.
'It is no use,' said a voice. 'The house is
deserted. No one has been here these ten
days. Do not stay here to torment yourself.
No one escaped but you.'
I was startled. Had I spoken my thought
aloud ? I turned, and the French window was
open behind me. I made a step to it, and
stood looking out.
And there, amazed and afraid, even as I
stood amazed and afraid, were my cousin and
my wife my wife white and tearless. She
gave a faint cry.
' I came,' she said. ' I knew knew '
She put her hand to her throat swayed. I
made a step forward, and caught her in my
I CANNOT but regret, now that I am concluding
my story, how little I am able to contribute to
the discussion of the many debatable questions
which are still unsettled. In one respect I
shall certainly provoke criticism. My particular
province is speculative philosophy. My know-
ledge of comparative physiology is confined to
a book or two, but it seems to me that Carver's
suggestions as to the reason of the rapid death
of the Martians is so probable as to be regarded
almost as a proven conclusion. I have assumed
that in the body of my narrative.
At any rate, in all the bodies of the Martians
that were examined after the war, no bacteria
except those already known as terrestrial species
were found. That they did not bury any of
their dead, and the reckless slaughter they per-
petrated, point also to an entire ignorance of
the putrefactive process. But probable as this
seems, it is by no means a proven conclusion.
298 The War of the Worlds
Neither is the composition of the Black
Smoke known, which the Martians used with
such deadly effect, and the generator of the
Heat- Ray remains a puzzle. The terrible
disasters at the Ealing and South Kensington
laboratories have disinclined analysts for further
investigations upon the latter. Spectrum ana-
lysis of the black powder points unmistakably
to the presence of an unknown element with a
brilliant group of three lines in the green, and
it is possible that it combines with argon to
form a compound which acts at once with
deadly effect upon some constituent in the
blood. But such unproven speculations will
scarcely be of interest to the general reader, to
whom this story is addressed. None of the
brown scum that drifted down the Thames after
the destruction of Shepperton was examined at
the time, and now none is forthcoming.
The results of an anatomical examination of
the Martians, so far as the prowling dogs had
left such an examination possible, I have
already given. But everyone is familiar with
the magnificent and almost complete specimen
in spirits at the Natural History Museum, and
the countless drawings that have been made
from it ; and beyond that the interest of the
physiology and structure is purely scientific.
The Epilogue 299
A question of graver and universal interest is
the possibility of another attack from the Mar-
tians. I do not think that nearly enough atten-
tion is being given to this aspect of the matter.
At present the planet Mars is in conjunction,
but with every return to opposition I, for one,
anticipate a renewal of their adventure. In
any case, we should be prepared. It seems to
me that it should be possible to define the
position of the gun from which the shots are
discharged, to keep a sustained watch upon this
part of the planet, and to anticipate the arrival
of the next attack.
In that case the cylinder might be destroyed
with dynamite or artillery before it was suffi-
ciently cool for the Martians to emerge, or
they might be butchered by means of guns so
soon as the screw opened. It seems to me
that they have lost a vast advantage in the
failure of their first surprise. Possibly they
see it in the same light.
Lessing had advanced excellent reasons for
supposing that the Martians have actually suc-
ceeded in effecting a landing on the planet
Venus. Seven months ago now, Venus and
Mars were in alignment with the sun ; that is to
say, Mars was in opposition from the point of
view of an observer on Venus. Subsequently
The War of the Worlds
a peculiar luminous and sinuous marking
appeared on the unillumined half of the inner
planet, and almost simultaneously a faint dark
mark of a similar sinuous character was de-
tected upon a photograph of the Martian disc.
One needs to see the drawings of these appear-
ances in order to appreciate fully their remark-
able resemblance in character.
At any rate, whether we expect another in-
vasion or not, our views of the human future
must be greatly modified by these events.
\ We have learned now that we cannot regard
' this planet as being fenced in and a secure
abiding- place for Man ; we can never antici-
pate the unseen good or evil that may come
upon us suddenly out of space. It may be
that in the larger design of the universe this
invasion from Mars is not without its ultimate
benefit for men ; it has robbed us of that
serene confidence in the future which is the
most fruitful source of decadence, the gifts to
human science it has brought are enormous,
and it has done much to promote the con-
ception of the commonweal of mankind. It
may be that across the immensity of space
the Martians have watched the fate of these
pioneers of theirs and learned their lesson, and
that on the planet Venus they have found a
The Epilogue 301
securer settlement. Be that as it may, for
many years yet there will certainly be no re-
laxation of the eager scrutiny of the Martian
disc, and those fiery darts of the sky, the
shooting stars, will bring with them as they fall
an unavoidable apprehension to all the sons of
The broadening of men's views that has
resulted can scarcely be exaggerated. Before
the cylinder fell there was a general persuasion
that through all the deep of space no life existed
beyond the petty surface of our minute sphere.
Now we see further. If the Martians can
reach Venus, there is no reason to suppose that
the thing is impossible for men, and when the
slow cooling of the sun makes this earth unin-
habitable, as at last it must do, it may be that the
thread of life that has begun here will have
streamed out and caught our sister planet within
its toils. Should we conquer ?
Dim and wonderful is the vision I have con-
jured up in my mind of life spreading slowly
from this little seed-bed of the solar system
throughout the inanimate vastness of sidereal
space. But that is a remote dream. It may
be, on the other hand, that the destruction of
the Martians is only a reprieve. To them, and
not to us, perhaps, is the future ordained.
302 The War of the Worlds
I must confess the stress and danger of the
time have left an abiding sense of doubt am
insecurity in my mind. I sit in my stud)
writing by lamplight, and suddenly I see again
the healing valley below set with writhing
flames, and feel the house behind and about me
empty and desolate. I go out into the By fleet
Road, and vehicles pass me, a butcher-boy in a
cart, a cabful of visitors, a workman on a
bicycle, children going to school, and suddenly
they become vague and unreal, and I hurry
again with the artilleryman through the hot,
brooding silence. Of a night I see the black
powder darkening the silent streets, and the
contorted bodies shrouded in that layer ; they
rise upon me tattered and dog-bitten. They
gibber and grow fiercer, paler, uglier, mad dis-
tortions of humanity at last, and I wake, cold
and wretched, in the darkness of the night.
I go to London and see the busy multitudes
in Fleet Street and the Strand, and it comes
across my mind that they are but the ghosts of
the past, haunting the streets that I have seen
silent and wretched, going to and fro, phantasms
in a dead city, the mockery of life in a galvan-
ized body. And strange, too, it is to stand on
Primrose Hill, as I did but a day before writing
this last chapter, to see the great province of
The Epilogue 303
houses, dim and blue through the haze of the
smoke and mist, vanishing at last into the vague
lower sky, to see the people walking to and fro
among the flower-beds on the hill, to see the
sightseers about the Martian machine that
stands there still, to hear the tumult of playing
children, and to recall the time when I saw it
all bright and clear-cut, hard and silent, under
the dawn of that last great day. . . .
And strangest of all is it to hold my wife's
hand again, and to think that I have counted
her, and that she has counted me, among the
BILLING AND SONS, PRINTERS, GUILDFORD.
Mr. William Heinemann's
THE BOOKS MENTIONED IN THIS LIST MAY
BE OBTAINED THROUGH ANT
NEW LETTERS OF NAPOLEON I.
Omitted from the Collection published under tht
Auspices of Napoleon III.
TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH BY
LADY MARY LOYD
In One Volume, demy 8vo, with Frontispiece, price 155. ne
The monumental twenty-eight volumes of Napoleon I.'s letter!
published under the direction of the Commission appointed \y
Napoleon III. to edit and arrange his uncle's correspondence, we
by no means exhaustive. The Correspondence, as originally issuei
contained, indeed, some 22,000 pieces. Many of these, howevej
were decrees, orders of the day, bulletins, &c., and the origin
minutes in the French archives show a total of over 30,000 letters,
is notorious that the Commission, of which Prince Napoleon wa
President, exercised its prerogative of suppression with great freedom
The reasons for its action in the matter are obvious. In some cases!
letters were set aside as wanting in interest, or as going over grouikj
already covered by other documents. But in the majority of instances 1
a pardonable zeal for the family glory came into play, urging the with,
holding of anything that might dim the lustre of Napoleon's fame, oij
reflect unpleasantly on his near relatives. Governed by considerations]
of this nature, the Commission set aside a series of letters of extra I
ordinary historical interest some dealing with the quarrels of Napoleor <
and his brothers, and the long struggle with the Pope, others con-
taining trenchant criticisms of the capacity and conduct of eminenl
generals and officials, or bearing witness to the iron hand with which
the greatest organiser the world has ever seen, carried out his
" system," and ordered the affairs of the press, the police, and all the
minutiae of his vast economy.
The object of the two supplementary volumes recently published ir
France is to repair these deliberate omissions, and to make the formei
collection practically complete. A considerable part of these twc
volumes is naturally wanting in novelty and interest. But they contain
so much that is fresh and new, so much of exceptional value historically,
and they throw so many new lights on the actors of that wonderful
drama of the First Empire, especially on the masterful character of its I
creator, that the English publisher is confident that a selection, with
a view to the general interest felt for Napoleon I., is bound to
A Critical Study
By GEORG BRANDES, Ph.D.
Translated from the Danish by WILLIAM ARCHER and
In Two Volumes, demy 8vo, price 245.
Dr. Georg Brandes's "William Shakespeare" may best be called,
perhaps, an exhaustive critical biography. Keeping fully abreast of the
latest English and German researches and criticism, Dr. Brandes pre-
serves that breadth and sanity of view which are apt to be sacrificed by
the mere Shakespearologist. He places the poet in his political and
literary environment, and studies each play not as an isolated phe-
nomenon, but as the record of a stage in Shakespeare's spiritual history.
Dr. Brandes has achieved German thoroughness without German
heaviness, and has produced what must be regarded as a standard
A Study. By COUNT PASOLINI
Adapted from the Italian by PAUL SYLVESTER
Demy 8vo, with many Illustrations
Count Pasolini is a lineal descendant of the hereditary enemies of the
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similes of handwriting, seals, and quotations from some five hundred
letters of the Madonna of Forli. It combines the charm of romance
with the dignity of history, and brings within the reader's ken, not
only the militant princess who held the Fort of St. Angelo against
the Conclave (thus arresting the affairs of Europe until her own
were settled), who circumvented Machiavelli and defied Cesar Borgia,
but the private woman in her court and home, her domestic and
A HISTORY OF THE LIVERPOOL
And Letters of Marque, Including the Slave Trade.
By GOMER WILLIAMS
In one Volume, demy 8vo, price 125. net
ROBERT, EARL NUGENT
~s A Memoir
By CLAUD NUGENT
In One Volume, demy Svo, with a number of Portraits and
William Heinemanri s
Each subject forms a complete volume, crown 8vo, 55.
THOMAS AND MATTHEW ARNOLD
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Volumes Previously Published
Aristotle. By T. DAVIDSON
Loyola. By Rev. T. HUGHES, S.J.
Alcuin. By A. F. WEST
Froebel. By H. COURTHOPE
Abelard. By J. G. COMPAYRE.
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In Preparation volumes on
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With numerous Illustrations, large crown 8vo, 6s.
This work is intended to give to those who are intereste
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insight into the Fairy World of Homer's Epics.
The Gods and Heroes of Homer have been much more frequently
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THE STORY OF THE GREEKS
By H. A. GRUEBER
Small crown 8vo, 288 pp., with Illustrations
This Elementary History of Greece is intended for supplements
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the childhood of civilisation. It has been the author's intention
write a book which will give pleasure to read, and will thus counters
the impression that history is uninteresting.
To be Published on Trafalgar Day, October 21
A SCHOOL PRIZE EDITION OF
THE LIFE OF NELSON
By ROBERT SOUTHEY, Poet Laureate
A New Edition. Edited by DAVID HANNAY
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^Autumn ^Announcements 5
A HISTORY OF DANCING
From the Earliest Ages to Our Own Times
FROM THE FRENCH OF
With 25 Plates in Photogravure and about 400 Illustrations in the Text
In One Volume, 4to. Price 365. net
Also 35 copies printed on Japanese Vellum (containing 3 additional
Plates), with a duplicate set of the plates on India paper for framing.
Each copy numbered and signed, price twelve guineas net.
Copious as are the incidental studies of the various phases of the
Art of Dancing, no comprehensive attempt has yet been made in our
own times to evolve from the rich material available a synthesis that
shall be not only a serious contribution to social history, but a treasury
of quaint information and artistic pleasure for those who wish to be
amused as well as instructed. M. Vuillier has undertaken this inter-
esting task. The History of Dancing is traced from its dawn in Egypt,
throughout all its developments in the sacred dances of the Hebrews,
the Greeks, the Romans, and the early Christians. The author
sketches the decline of religious feeling in this form of art, and the
gradual debasement of the poetry of motion to the level of licentious
pantomime. He deals with its renaissance in the age of chivalry,
notes the more animated and voluptuous character impressed on it by
Italian influences, and shows how the ballet, the masquerade, and the
masked ball were the outcome of this further development. From this
he passes on to the age par excellence of social pageants, the eighteenth
century, when dancing reached its apogee of elegance in the minuet and
the gavotte, and glancing at such sinister offshoots of the art as the
Carmagnole of the Revolution, depicts the rise of modern dancing,
signalised on the stage by the appearance of Taglioni and Fanny Elssler,
and in social life by the introduction of the waltz, the galop, and the
polka forerunners of the fashionable skirt-dance of the moment.
An Illustrated Prospectus on Application
By H. B. IRVING
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Xtteratureg of tbe Morlfr
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A HISTORY OF FRENCH LITERATURE
By EDWARD DOWDEN, D.C.L., LL.D., Professor
of Oratory and English Literature in the
University of Dublin
A HISTORY OF MODERN ENGLISH
By EDMUND GOSSE, Hon. M.A. of Trinity
A HISTORY OF ITALIAN LITERATURE
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A HISTORY OF ANCIENT GREEK LITERATURE.
By GILBERT MURRAY, M. A., Professor of Greek in the University
The Times. "A sketch to which the much-abused word 'brilliant'
may be justly applied. Dealing in 400 pages with a subject which is
both immense and well worn, Mr. Murray presents us with a treatment
at once comprehensive, penetrating and fresh. By dint of a clear,
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and lucid, he has produced a book which fairly represents the best
conclusions of modern scholarship."
The Athenceum. "The book is brilliant and stimulating, while its
freshness of treatment and recognition of the latest German research
amply justify its existence. Professor Murray has made these old'
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^Autumn ^Announcements j
In preparation the following volumes
A HISTORY OF 5PANI5H LITERATURE. By J. Fm-
A HISTORY OF JAPANESE LITERATURE. By
WILLIAM GEORGE ASTON. C.M.G.. M.A.
A HISTORY OF MODERN SCANDINAVIAN LITERA-
TURE. By Dr. GEORG BRANDES.
A HISTORY OF SANSCRIT LITERATURE. By A. A.
A HISTORY OF HUNGARIAN LITERATURE. By Dr.
A HISTORY OF AMERICAN LITERATURE. By Pro-
fessor MOSES Con TYLER.
A HISTORY OF GERMAN LITERATURE. By Dr.
C. H. HERFORD.
A HISTORY OF LATIN LITERATURE. By Dr. A. W.
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THE NON-RELIGION OF THE FUTURE
From the French of MARIE JEAN GUYAU
In One Volume, demy 8vo, 175. net
This work traces the connection between religion, aesthetics and
morals, and the inevitable decomposition of all systems of dogmatic
religion. It also deals with the state of "non- religion" toward which the
human mind seems to tend. It explains the exact sense in which one
must understand the non-religion as distinguished from the " religion
of the future," and sets forth the value and utility, for the time being,
Uniform with the above, prict ijs. net each
By MAX NORDAD
Conventional Lies of Our
By MAX NORDAU
By Dr. WILLIAM HIRSCH
Genius and Degeneration
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CUBA IN WARTIME
By RICHARD HARDING DAVIS
Author of " Soldiers of Fortune "
With Numerous Illustrations by FREDERIC REMINGTON
Crown 8vo, price 38. 6d.
WITH THE FIGHTING JAPS
Naval Experiences during the late Chino- Japanese Wtt
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MY FOURTH TOUR IN WESTERN
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POEMS FROM THE DIVAN OF HAFIZ
Translated from the Persian by
GERTRUDE LOWTHIAN BELL
Small crown 8vo, price 6s.
A SELECTION FROM THE POEMS
OF WILFRED SCAWEN BLUNT
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IN CAP AND GOWN
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Selected and arranged by CHARLES WHIBLEY
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THE NEW VOLUME
SIXTY YEARS OF EMPIRE
With over 70 Portraits and Diagrams
This volume gathers together the remarkable series of articles which
attracted such general attention when they first appeared in the
Daily Chronicle, on the occasion of the Queen's Jubilee. Embracing as
they do the whole field of national and Imperial interests, written each
by an expert in the subject of which he treats (Sir Charles Dilke, Mr.
John Burns. Mr. A. B. Walkley and Mr. Joseph Pennell are among
the contributors), illustrated with portraits and diagrams, the papers
thus collected supply what this Jubilee year has hitherto failed to pro-
ducea brief, comprehensive and authoritative review of the period
covered by Her Majesty's reign.
The following volumes have been published in this Series
By K. WALISZEWSKI.
The Romance of an Empress.
Catherine II. of Russia.
The Story of a Throne.
Catherine II. of Russia.
By F. MASSON.
Napoleon and the Fair Sex.
By PAUL GAOLOT.
A Friend of the Queen. Marie
Antoinette and Count Fersen.
The Memoirs of the Prince
By ARTHUR WAUGH
Alfred Lord Tennyson.
By EDMUND GOSSE.
The Naturalist of the Sea-
shore. The Life of Philip
Fcap. 8vo, cloth, price 33. 6d.
By CAMILLE FLAMMARION
M. Flammarion, the distinguished French astronomer, has in his
volume entitled Lumen added to his exact scientific knowledge a new and
interesting attempt to bring before his readers a speculative theory of
life in another planet.
In France the volume has been widely read, for more than 50,000
copies have been sold in the original.
io Jl/fr. William Hzinemanri s
THE WORKS OF LORD BYRON
Edited by WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY
To be completed in Twelve Volumes
The Letters, Diaries, Controversies, Speeches, &c., in Four, I
and the Verse in Eight
Small Crown 8vo, price 53. net each
VERSE VOLUME I. Containing "Hours of Idleness,"]
" English Bards and Scotch Reviewers " and " Childe Harold."
With a Portrait after HOLMES. [In October. ]
1. LETTERS, 1804-1813. With a Portrait after PHILLIPS.]
[Is now ready.
" Mr. W. E. Henley is not only steeped to the lips in Byronic poetry,
but he has also a very familiar acquaintance with the remarkable
characters who formed ' the Byronic set ' and he knows the manners
and customs of the Regency epoch to an extent that gives him full
mastery of his subject.
" He manages to give in a few vigorous sentences vivid sketches of
the wide circle of Byron's friends and enemies." Pall Mall Gazette.
"These Byron Letters (Vol. I.) Mr. Henley has annotated as never}
surely were letters annotated before. His notes provide simply a com-i
plete series of little biographies miniature biographies with such
vital selection, such concise completion without dry-as-dustness suchi
interest as no other writer but Mr. Henley could compass. It may
fairly be said that he has discovered a new art, the art of biographic
cameos. ... It is safe to say that henceforth the typical edition o
Byron can never be separated from these notes. In conclusion, if Byroru
has waited long for a heaven-sent editor, he has him at last."
" Mr. Henley, so far as elucidation and illustration are concerne
is fully equipped." Athentsum.
There will also be an Edition, limited to 1 50 sets for sal
in Great Britain, printed on Van Gelder's hand-made pape
price Six Guineas net, subscriptions for which are now beii
STUDIES IN FRANKNESS
By CHARLES WHIBLEY
Crown 8vo, with Frontispiece, price 75. 6d.
By the same Author, uniform with the above
A BOOK OF SCOUNDRELS
Crown 8vo, buckram, price js. 6d,
By WILLIAM NICHOLSON
In three Editions
1. The Popular Edition. Lithographed in Colours, on stout Cartridge
Paper. Price 55.
2. The Library Edition (Limited). Lithographed in Colours, on Dutch
. Hand-made Paper, mounted on brown paper and bound in Cloth,
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3. The Edition de Luxe (Limited). Printed from the Original Wood-
blocks. ' Hand-coloured, and signed by the Artist. In Vellum
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AN ILLUSTRATED PROSPECTUS ON APPLICATION
The art of the coloured woodcut, which was brought to its highest
perfection in Japan, has been comparatively neglected of recent years
in Europe, and its revival is due, probably, to the discovery of the
inadequacy of all mechanical processes for certain artistic effects. Mr.
Pennell has recently given enthusiastic testimony to the extraordinary
merit of the few examples of Mr. Nicholson's art which have hitherto
An ALMANAC of TWELVE
SPORTS for 1898
By WILLIAM NICHOLSON
WITH VERSES BY
Will be Published in November 1897
In three Editions
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Paper. Price 2S.
2. The Library Edition (Limited). Lithographed in Colours, on Japanese
Vellum, and bound in Cloth. Price 75. 6d.
3. The Edition de Luxe (Limited). Printed from the Original Wood-
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AN ILLUSTRATED PROSPECTUS ON APPLICATION
These pictures, done by one of the most distinguished younger artists
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not only for a momentary perusal but more so even if framed and daily
seen, as indeed their subject, and assuredly also their artistic merit,
In One Volume at 6s
NEW VOLUMES OF SHORT STORIES
DREAMERS OF THE GHETTO
By I. ZANGWILL .
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Children of the Ghetto. 6s.
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