BOOK ONE: THE COMING OF THE MARTIANS
CHAPTER 1: THE EVE OF THE WAR
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 tranquil.