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i/-^



GLENN



NEGIEV



ARTHUR COWELL,

70, WESTBY STREET,
LYTHA^A



DUKE

UNIVERSITY

LIBRARY




FRIENDS OF

DUKE UNIVERSITY

LIBRARY

GIFT OF

Glena Negley



THE FIRST MEN IN
THE MOON



Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive
in 2010 witii funding from
Duke University Libraries



littp://www.arcliive.org/details/firstmeninmooOOwell




" I was progressing in great leaps and bounds



Frontispiece.



The First Men
in the Moon



By

H. G. Wells

Author of "Tales of Space and Time,"

" Love and Mr. Lewisham,"

and " Anticipations "



"Three thousand stadia from the earth to the
moon. . , . Marvel not, my comrade, if I appear
talking to you on super-terrestrial and aerial topics.
The long and the short of the matter is that I am
running over the order of a Journey I have lately
made." — Lucian's Icaromenippus



London
George Newnes, Limited

Southampton Street, Strand*
1901






CONTENTS



I.

II.
III.

IV.

V.

VI.

VII.

VIII.

IX.

X.

XL

XII.

XIII.

XIV.

XV.

XVI.

XVII.



MR. BEDFORD MEETS MR. CAVOR AT LYMPNE

THE B'IRST MAKING OF CAVORITE

THE BUILDING OF THE SPHERE

INSIDE THE SPHERE

THE JOURNEY TO THE MOON

THE LANDING ON THE MOON

SUNRISE ON THE MOON

A LUNAR MORNING

PROSPECTING BEGINS

LOST MEN IN THE MOON

THE MOONCALF PASTURES

THE SELENITE's FACE .

MR. CAVOR MAKES SOME SUGGESTIONS

EXPERIMENTS IN INTERCOURSE

THE GIDDY BRIDGE

POINTS OF VIEW ....



THE FIGHT IN THE CAVE OF THE
BUTCHERS .....



XVIII. IN THE SUNLIGHT



MOON



PAGE

I

28

4T

54
61

70
77
85
92
107

132

140

152
161
178

191
207



VI



CONTENTS



XIX. MR. BEDFORD ALONE ....

XX. MR. BEDFORD IN INFINITE SPACE

XXI. MR. BEDFORD AT LITTLESTONE

XXII. THE ASTONISHING COMMUNICATION OF MR
JULIUS WENDIGEE ....

XXIII. AN ABSTRACT OF THE SIX MESSAGES FIRST

RECEIVED FROM MR. CAVOR

XXIV, THE NATURAL HISTORY OF THE SELENITES

XXV. THE GRAND LUNAR ....

XXVI. THE LAST MESSAGE CAVOR SENT TO THE
EARTH



PAGE

221
238

249

271

277
289
316

340



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



"i was progressing in great leaps and
Bounds" . . . . .



. Frontispiece



" He GESTICULATED WITH HIS HaNDS AND

Arms" ...... To face page 6

"I LOOKED BACK AT HIS RECEDING FiGURE "



"I SAT ACROSS THE EDGE OF THE MANHOLE
AND LOOKED DOWN INTO THE BLACK IN-
TERIOR" .....

"We watched intensely"

"I realised my Leap had been too Violent"

"Insects," murmured Cavor, "Insects"

"There the Thing was, looking at Us"

"Bedford," he whispered, "there's a sort
of Light in front of Us " .

" The nearer I struggled, the more awfully
remote it seemed ....

"They carried Him into Darkness" .

The Grand Lunar ....



II

54
87

lOI

130
137

177

236

292
322



THE FIRST MEN IN
THE MOON



MR. BEDFORD MEETS MR. CAVOR AT LYMPNE

As I sit down to write here amidst the
shadows of vine-leaves under the blue sky of
southern Italy, it comes to me with a certain
quality of astonishment that my participation
in these amazing adventures of Mr. Cavor
was, after all, the outcome of the purest acci-
dent. It might have been any one. I fell
into these things at a time when I thought
myself removed from the slightest possibility
of disturbing experiences. I had gone to
Lympne because I had imagined it the most
uneventful place in the world. " Here, at any
rate," said I, " I shall find peace and a chance
to work ! "
' And this book is the sequel. So utterly at

A



2 THE FIRST MEN IN THE MOON

variance is Destiny with all the little plans of
men.

I may perhaps mention here that very re-
cently I had come an ugly cropper in certain
business enterprises. Sitting now surrounded
by all the circumstances of wealth, there is
a luxury in admitting my extremity. I can
admit, even, that to a certain extent my dis-
asters were conceivably of my own making. It
may be there are directions in which I have
some capacity, but the conduct of business
operations is not among these. But in those
days I was young, and my youth among other
objectionable forms took that of a pride in my
capacity for affairs. I am young still in years,
but the things that have happened to me have
rubbed something of the youth from my mind.
Whether they have brought any wisdom to
light below it is a more doubtful matter.

It is scarcely necessary to go into the details
of the speculations that landed me at Lympne,
in Kent. Nowadays even about business trans-
actions there is a strong spice of adventure.
I took risks. In these things there is invari-
ably a certain amount of give and take, and it
fell to me finally to do the giving. Reluctantly
enough. Even when I had got out of every-
thing, one cantankerous creditor saw fit to be



MR. BEDFORD MEETS MR. CAVOR 3

malignant. Perhaps you have met that flaming
sense of outraged virtue, or perhaps you have
only felt it. He ran me hard. It seemed to
me, at last, that there was nothing for it but to
write a play, unless I wanted to drudge for my
living as a clerk. I have a certain imagination,
and luxurious tastes, and I meant to make a
vigorous fight for it before that fate overtook
me. In addition to my belief in my powers as
a business man, I had always in those days had
an idea that I was equal to writing a very good
play. It is not, I believe, a very uncommon
persuasion. I knew there is nothing a man
can do outside legitimate business transactions
that has such opulent possibilities, and very
probably that biased my opinion. I had, in-
deed, got into the habit of regarding this un-
written drama as a convenient little reserve
put by for a rainy day. That rainy day had
come and I set to work.

I soon discovered that writing a play was a
longer business than I had supposed ; at first
I had reckoned ten days for it, and it was to
have a pied-a-terre while it was in hand that I
came to Lympne. I reckoned myself lucky in
getting that little bungalow. I got it on a
three years' agreement. I put in a few sticks
of furniture, and while the play was in hand



4 THE FIRST MEN IN THE MOON

I did my own cooking. My cooking would
have shocked Mrs. Bond. And yet, you know,
it had flavour. I had a coffee-pot, a sauce-pan
for eggs, and one for potatoes, and a frying-
pan for sausages and bacon — such was the
simple apparatus of my comfort. One cannot
always be magnificent, but simplicity is always
a possible alternative. For the rest I laid in
an eighteen-gallon cask of beer on credit, and
a trustful baker came each day. It was not,
perhaps, in the style of Sybaris, but I have
had worse times. I was a little sorry for the
baker, who was a very decent man indeed, but
even for him I hoped.

Certainly if any one wants solitude, the place
is Lympne. It is in the clay part of Kent, and
my bungalow stood on the edge of an old sea
cliff and stared across the flats of Romney
Marsh at the sea. In very wet weather the
place is almost inaccessible, and I have heard
that at times the postman used to traverse the
more succulent portions of his route with boards
upon his feet. I never saw him doing so, but
I can quite imagine it. Outside the doors of
the few cottages and houses that make up the
present village big birch besoms are stuck, to
wipe off the worst of the clay, which will give
some idea of the texture of the district. I



MR. BEDFORD MEETS MR. CAVOR 5

doubt if the place would be there at all, if it
were not a fading memory of things gone for
ever. It was the big port of England in
Roman times, Portus Lemanus, and now the
sea is four miles away. All down the steep
hill are boulders and masses of Roman brick-
work, and from it old Watling Street, still
paved in places, starts like an arrow to the
north. I used to stand on the hill and think
of it all, the galleys and legions, the captives
and officials, the women and traders, the specu-
lators like myself, all the swarm and tumult
that came clanking in and out of the harbour.
And now just a few lumps of rubble on a
grassy slope, and a sheep or two — and me !
And where the port had been were the levels
of the marsh, sweeping round in a broad curve
to distant Dungeness, and dotted here and
there with tree clumps and the church towers
of old mediaeval towns that are following
Lemanus now towards extinction.

That outlook on the marsh was, indeed, one
of the finest views I have ever seen. I sup-
pose Dungeness was fifteen miles away ; it
lay like a raft on the sea, and further westward
were the hills by Hastings under the setting
sun. Sometimes they hung close and clear,
sometimes they were faded and low, and often



6 THE FIRST MEN IN THE MOON

the drift of the weather took them clean out of
sight. And all the nearer parts of the marsh
were laced and lit by ditches and canals.

The window at which I worked looked over
the skyline of this crest, and it was from this
window that I first set eyes on Cavor. It
was just as I was struggling with my scenario,
holding down my mind to the sheer hard work
of it, and naturally enough he arrested my
attention.

The sun had set, the sky was a vivid tran-
quillity of green and yellow, and against that
he came out black — the oddest little figure.

He was a short, round-bodied, thin-legged
little man, with a jerky quality in his motions ;
he had seen fit to clothe his extraordinary
mind in a cricket cap, an overcoat, and cycling
knickerbockers and stockings. Why he did
so I do not know, for he never cycled and he
never played cricket. It was a fortuitous
concurrence of garments, arising I know not
how. He gesticulated with his hands and
arms, and jerked his head about and buzzed.
He buzzed like something electric. You
never heard such buzzing. And ever and
again he cleared his throat with a most extra-
ordinary noise.

There had been rain, and that spasmodic




if ^



" He gesticulated with his hands and arms "



MR. BEDFORD MEETS MR. CAVOR 7

walk of his was enhanced by the extreme
sHpperiness of the footpath. Exactly as he
came against the sun he stopped, pulled out
a watch, hesitated. Then with a sort of
convulsive gesture he turned and retreated
with every manifestation of haste, no longer
gesticulating, but going with ample strides
that showed the relatively large size of his
feet — they were, I remember, grotesquely ex-
aggerated in size by adhesive clay — to the
best possible advantage.

This occurred on the first day of my sojourn,
when my play- writing energy was at its height,
and I regarded the incident simply as an
annoying distraction — the waste of five minutes.
I returned to my scenario. But when next
evening the apparition was repeated with re-
markable precision, and again the next even-
ing, and indeed every evening when rain was
not falling, concentration upon the scenario
became a considerable effort. "Confound the
man," said I, "one would think he was learn-
ing to be a marionette ! " and for several
evenings I cursed him pretty heartily.

Then my annoyance gave way to amaze-
ment and curiosity. Why on earth should
a man do this thino-? On the fourteenth
evening I could stand it no longer, and so



8 THE FIRST MEN IN THE MOON

soon as he appeared I opened the French
window, crossed the verandah, and directed
myself to the point where he invariably
stopped.

He had his watch out as I came up to him.
He had a chubby, rubicund face with reddish
brown eyes — previously I had seen him only
against the light. "One moment, sir," said I
as he turned.

He stared. "One moment," he said, "cer-
tainly. Or if you wish to speak to me for
longer, and it is not asking too much — your
moment is up — would it trouble you to ac-
company me ? "

"Not in the least," said I, placing myself
beside him.

"My habits are regular. My time for inter-
course — limited."

" This, I presume, is your time for exer-

-i ji
cise :

" It is. I come here to enjoy the sunset."

"You don't."

"Sir?"

" You never look at it."

" Never look at it ?"

" No. I've watched you thirteen nights,
and not once have you looked at the sunset
— not once."



MR. BEDFORD MEETS MR. CAVOR 9

He knitted his brows like one who en-
counters a problem.

"Well, I enjoy the sunlight — the atmos-
phere — I go along this path, through that
gate" — he jerked his head over his shoulder
— "and round "

" You don't. You never have been. It's
all nonsense. There isn't a way. To-night,
for instance "

"Oh! to-night! Let me see. Ah! I just
glanced at my watch, saw that I had already
been out just three minutes over the precise
half-hour, decided there was not time to go
round, turned "

"You always do."

He looked at me — reflected. " Perhaps I
do, now I come to think of it. But what
was it you wanted to speak to me about ? "

"Why, this!"

"This?"

"Yes. Why do you do it? Every night
you come making a noise "

" Making a noise ? "

" Like this " — I imitated his buzzing noise.

He looked at me, and it was evident the
buzzing- awakened distaste. '* Do I do ^/la^f"
he asked.

" Every blessed evening."



lo THE FIRST MEN IN THE MOON

" I had no idea."

He stopped dead. He regarded me gravely.
"Can it be," he said, "that I have formed a
Habit.?"

" Well, it looks like it. Doesn't it ? "

He pulled down his lower lip between finger
and thumb. He regarded a puddle at his
feet.

" My mind is much occupied," he said.
*'And you want to know zu/iy ! Well, sir, I
can assure you that not only do I not know
why I do these things, but I did not even
know I did them. Come to think, it is just
as you say ; I never /lave been beyond that
field . . . And these things annoy you .'* "

For some reason I was beginning to relent
towards him. " Not annoy," I said. " But — •
imagine yourself writing a play ! "

" I couldn't."

"Well, anything that needs concentration."

" Ah ! " he said, " of course," and meditated.
His expression became so eloquent of distress,
that I relented still more. After all, there is a
touch of aesfression in demandingr of a man
you don't know why he hums on a public
footpath.

" You see," he said weakly, " it's a habit."

"Oh, I recognise that."




I looked back at his receding figure



MR. BEDFORD MEETS MR, CAVOR ii

" I must stop it."

" But not if it puts you out. After all, I
had no business — it's something of a liberty."

"Not at all, sir," he said, "not at all. I
am greatly indebted to you. I should guard
myself against these things. In future I will.
Could I trouble you — once again? That
noise .''

"Something like this," I said. "Zuzzoo,
zuzzoo. But really, you know "

" I am greatly obliged to you. In fact, I
know I am getting absurdly absent-minded.
You are quite justified, sir — perfectly justified.
Indeed, I am indebted to you. The thing
shall end. And now, sir, I have already
brought you further than I should have
done."

" I do hope my impertinence "

" Not at all, sir, not at all."

We regarded each other for a moment. I
raised my hat and wished him a good evening.
He responded convulsively, and so we went
our ways.

At the stile I looked back at his receding
figure. His bearing had changed remarkably,
he seemed limp, shrunken. The contrast with
his former gesticulating, zuzzoing self took me
in some absurd way as pathetic. I watched



12 THE FIRST MEN IN THE MOON

him out of sight. Then wishing very heartily
I had kept to my own business, I returned to
my bungalow and my play.

The next evening I saw nothing of him, nor
the next. But he was very much in my mind,
and It had occurred to me that as a sentimental
comic character he might serve a useful pur-
pose In the development of my plot. The
third day he called upon me.

For a time I was puzzled to think what had
brought him. He made indifferent conversa-
tion in the most formal way, then abruptly he
came to business. He wanted to buy me out
of my bungalow.

" You see," he said, " I don't blame you in
the least, but you've destroyed a habit, and it
disorganises my day. I've walked past here
for years — years. No doubt I've hummed
. . . You've made all that impossible ! "

I suggested he might try some other direc-
tion.

" No. There is no other direction. This
is the only one. I've inquired. And now —
every afternoon at four — I come to a dead
wall."

" But, my dear sir, if the thing is so im-
portant to you "

"It's vital. You see, I'm — I'm an investi-



MR. BEDFORD MEETS MR. CAVOR i^

gator — I am engaged in a scientific research.
I live — " he paused and seemed to think.
"Just over there," he said, and pointed
suddenly dangerously near my eye. " The
house with white chimneys you see just over
the trees. And my circumstances are ab-
normal — abnormal. I am on the point of
completing one of the most important demon-
strations — I can assure you one of ^/ze most
important demonstrations that have ever been
made. It requires constant thought, constant
mental ease and activity. And the afternoon
was my brightest time ! — effervescing with
new ideas — new points of view."

** But why not come by still ? "

"It would be all different. I should be
self-conscious. I should think of you at your
play — watching me irritated — instead of think-
ing of my work. No ! I must have the
bungalow."

I meditated. Naturally, I wanted to think
the matter over thoroughly before anything
decisive was said. I was generally ready
enough for business in those days, and selling
always attracted me ; but in the first place it
was not my bungalow, and even if I sold
it to him at a good price I might get incon-
venienced in the delivery of goods if the



14 THE FIRST MEN IN THE MOON

current owner got wind of the transaction,
and in the second I was, well — undischarged.
It was clearly a business that required delicate
handling. Moreover, the possibility of his
being in pursuit of some valuable invention
also interested me. It occurred to me that I
would like to know more of this research, not
with any dishonest intention, but simply with
an idea that to know what it was would be a
relief from play-writing. I threw out feelers.

He was quite willing to supply information.
Indeed, once he was fairly under way the con-
versation became a monologue. He talked
like a man long pent up, who has had it over
with himself again and again. He talked for
nearly an hour, and I must confess I found it a
pretty stiff bit of listening. But through it all
there was the undertone of satisfaction one feels
when one is neglecting work one has set one-
self. During that first interview I gathered
very little of the drift of his work. Half his
words were technicalities entirely strange to
me, and he illustrated one or two points with
what he was pleased to call elementary mathe-
matics, computing on an envelope with a
copying-ink pencil, in a manner that made it
hard even to seem to understand. " Yes," I
said ; " yes. Go on ! " Nevertheless I made



MR. BEDFORD MEETS MR. CAVOR 15

out enough to convince me that he was no
mere crank playing at discoveries. In spite
of his crank-like appearance there was a force
about him that made that impossible. What-
ever it was, it was a thing with mechanical
possibilities. He told me of a work-shed he
had, and of three assistants — originally jobbing
carpenters — whom he had trained. Now, from
the work-shed to the patent office is clearly
only one step. He invited me to see those
things. I accepted readily, and took care, by
a remark or so, to underline that. The pro-
posed transfer of the bungalow remained very
conveniently in suspense.

At last he rose to depart, with an apology
for the length of his call. Talking over his
work was, he said, a pleasure enjoyed only too
rarely. It was not often he found such an
intelligent listener as myself, he mingled very
little with professional scientific men.

*' So much pettiness," he explained ; " so
much intrigue ! And really, when one has an
idea — a novel, fertilising idea — I don't want
to be uncharitable, but "

I am a man who believes in impulses. I
made what was perhaps a rash proposition.
But you must remember that I had been alone,
play-writing in Lympne, for fourteen days,



1 6 THE FIRST MEN IN THE MOON

and my compunction for his ruined walk still
hung about me. " Why not," said I, " make
this your new habit? In the place of the one
I spoilt ? At least, until we can settle about
the bungalow. What you want is to turn over
your work in your mind. That you have
always done during your afternoon walk. Un-
fortunately that's over — you can't get things
back as they were. But why not come and
talk about your work to me ; use me as a sort
of wall against which you may throw your
thoughts and catch them again ? It's certain
I don't know enough to steal your ideas myself
— and I know no scientific men "

I stopped. He was considering. Evidently
the thing attracted him. " But I'm afraid I
should bore you," he said.

" You think I'm too dull ? "

" Oh no ; but technicalities "

" Anyhow, you've interested me immensely
this afternoon."

" Of course it would be a great help to me.
Nothing clears up one's ideas so much as
explaining them. Hitherto "

" My dear sir, say no more."

" But really can you spare the time ? "

" There is no rest like change of occupation,"
I said, with profound conviction.



MR. BEDFORD MEETS MR. CAVOR 17

The affair was over. On my verandah steps
he turned. "I am already greatly indebted
to you," he said.

I made an interrogative noise.

"You have completely cured me of that
ridiculous habit of humming," he explained.

I think I said I was glad to be of any
service to him, and he turned away.

Immediately the train of thought that our
conversation had suggested must have resumed
its sway. His arms began to wave in their
former fashion. The faint echo of " zuzzoo "
came back to me on the breeze. . . .

Well, after all, that was not my affair. . . .

He came the next day, and again the next
day after that, and delivered two lectures on
physics to our mutual satisfaction. He talked
with an air of being extremely lucid about the
"ether," and "tubes of force," and "gravita-
tional potential," and things like that, and I sat
in my other folding-chair and said, " Yes,"
" Go on," " I follow you," to keep him going.
It was tremendously difficult stuff, but I do
not think he ever suspected how much I did
not understand him. There were moments
when I doubted whether I was well employed,
but at any rate I was resting from that con-
founded play. Now and then things gleamed



B



iS THE FIRST MEN IN THE MOON

on me clearly for a space, only to vanish just
when I thought I had hold of them. Some-
times my attention failed altogether, and I
would give it up and sit and stare at him,
wondering whether, after all, it would not be
better to use him as a central figure in a good
farce and let all this other stuff slide. And
then, perhaps, I would catch on again for a bit.
At the earliest opportunity I went to see
his house. It was large and carelessly fur-
nished ; there were no servants other than
his three assistants, and his dietary and pri-
vate life were characterised by a philosophical
simplicity. He was a water-drinker, a vege-
tarian, and all those logical disciplinary things.
But the sight of his equipment settled many
doubts. It looked like business from cellar
to attic — an amazing little place to find in
an out-of-the-way village. The ground-floor
rooms contained benches and apparatus, the
bakehouse and scullery boiler had developed
into respectable furnaces, dynamos occupied
the cellar, and there was a gasometer in the
garden. He showed it to me with all the
confiding zest of a man who has been living
too much alone. His seclusion was overflow-
ing now in an excess of confidence, and I had
the good luck to be the recipient.



MR. BEDFORD MEETS MR. CAVOR 19

The three assistants were creditable speci-
mens of the class of *' handy-men " from which
they came. Conscientious if unintelligent,
strong, civil, and willing. One, Spargus, who
did the cooking and all the metal work, had
been a sailor ; a second, Gibbs, was a joiner ;
and the third was an ex-jobbing gardener, and
now general assistant. They were the merest
labourers. All the intelligent work was done
by Cavor. Theirs was the darkest ignorance
compared even with my muddled impression.

And now, as to the nature of these inquiries.
Here, unhappily, comes a grave difficulty. I
am no scientific expert, and if I were to
attempt to set forth in the highly scientific
language of Mr. Cavor the aim to which his


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