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12. Chapter XII (continued)
`I thought not.'
The Time Traveller turned to us. `Where are the matches?' he said. He lit one and spoke over his pipe, puffing. `To tell you the truth . . . I hardly believe it myself. . . . And yet . . .'
His eye fell with a mute inquiry upon the withered white flowers upon the little table. Then he turned over the hand holding his pipe, and I saw he was looking at some half-healed scars on his knuckles.
The Medical Man rose, came to the lamp, and examined the flowers. `The gynaeceum's odd,' he said. The Psychologist leant forward to see, holding out his hand for a specimen.
`I'm hanged if it isn't a quarter to one,' said the Journalist. `How shall we get home?'
`Plenty of cabs at the station,' said the Psychologist.
`It's a curious thing,' said the Medical Man; `but I certainly don't know the natural order of these flowers. May I have them?'
The Time Traveller hesitated. Then suddenly: `Certainly not.'
`Where did you really get them?' said the Medical Man.
The Time Traveller put his hand to his head. He spoke like one who was trying to keep hold of an idea that eluded him. 'They were put into my pocket by Weena, when I travelled into Time.' He stared round the room. `I'm damned if it isn't all going. This room and you and the atmosphere of every day is too much for my memory. Did I ever make a Time Machine, or a model of a Time Machine? Or is it all only a dream? They say life is a dream, a precious poor dream at times--but I can't stand another that won't fit. It's madness. And where did the dream come from? . . . I must look at that machine. If there is one!'
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