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1. Chapter I (continued)
`Certainly,' said the Time Traveller, stooping to light a spill at the fire. Then he turned, lighting his pipe, to look at the Psychologist's face. (The Psychologist, to show that he was not unhinged, helped himself to a cigar and tried to light it uncut.) `What is more, I have a big machine nearly finished in there'--he indicated the laboratory--`and when that is put together I mean to have a journey on my own account.'
`You mean to say that that machine has travelled into the future?' said Filby.
`Into the future or the past--I don't, for certain, know which.'
After an interval the Psychologist had an inspiration. `It must have gone into the past if it has gone anywhere,' he said.
`Why?' said the Time Traveller.
`Because I presume that it has not moved in space, and if it travelled into the future it would still be here all this time, since it must have travelled through this time.'
`But,' I said, `If it travelled into the past it would have been visible when we came first into this room; and last Thursday when we were here; and the Thursday before that; and so forth!'
`Serious objections,' remarked the Provincial Mayor, with an air of impartiality, turning towards the Time Traveller.
`Not a bit,' said the Time Traveller, and, to the Psychologist: `You think. You can explain that. It's presentation below the threshold, you know, diluted presentation.'
`Of course,' said the Psychologist, and reassured us. `That's a simple point of psychology. I should have thought of it. It's plain enough, and helps the paradox delightfully. We cannot see it, nor can we appreciate this machine, any more than we can the spoke of a wheel spinning, or a bullet flying through the air. If it is travelling through time fifty times or a hundred times faster than we are, if it gets through a minute while we get through a second, the impression it creates will of course be only one-fiftieth or one-hundredth of what it would make if it were not travelling in time. That's plain enough.' He passed his hand through the space in which the machine had been. `You see?' he said, laughing.
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