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|The First Men In The Moon||H. G. [Herbert George] Wells|
Mr. Bedford at Littlestone
|Page 3 of 9||
I decided to take that line for the present. I made a few vague affirmatives. "I want help," I said hoarsely. " I want to get some stuff up the beach - stuff I can't very well leave about." I became aware of three other pleasant-looking young men with towels, blazers, and straw hats, coming down the sands towards me. Evidently the early bathing section of this Littlestone.
"Help!" said the young man: "rather!" He became vaguely active. "What particularly do you want done? " He turned round and gesticulated. The three young men accelerated their pace. In a minute they there about me, plying me with questions I was indisposed to answer. "I'll tell all that later," I said. "I'm dead beat. I'm a rag."
"Come up to the hotel," said the foremost little man. "We'll look after that thing there."
I hesitated. "I can't," I said. "In that sphere there's two big bars of gold."
They looked incredulously at one another, then at me with a new inquiry. I went to the sphere, stooped, crept in, and presently they had the Selenites' crowbars and the broken chain before them. If I had not been so horribly fagged I could have laughed at them. It was like kittens round a beetle. They didn't know what to do with the stuff. The fat little man stooped and lifted the end of one of the bars, and then dropped it with a grunt. Then they all did.
"It's lead, or gold!" said one.
"Oh, it's gold!" said another.
"Gold, right enough," said the third.
Then they all stared at me, and then they all stared at the ship lying at anchor.
"I say!" cried the little man. "But where did you get that?"
I was too tired to keep up a lie. "I got it in the moon."
I saw them stare at one another.
"Look here!" said I, "I'm not going to argue now. Help me carry these lumps of gold up to the hotel - I guess, with rests, two of you can manage one, and I'll trail this chain thing - and I'll tell you more when I've had some food."
"And how about that thing?"
"It won't hurt there," I said. "Anyhow - confound it! - it must stop there now. If the tide comes up, it will float all right."
And in a state of enormous wonderment, these young men most obediently hoisted my treasures on their shoulders, and with limbs that felt like lead I headed a sort of procession towards that distant fragment of "sea-front." Half-way there we were reinforced by two awe-stricken little girls with spades, and later a lean little boy, with a penetrating sniff, appeared. He was, I remember, wheeling a bicycle, and he accompanied us at a distance of about a hundred yards on our right flank, and then I suppose, gave us up as uninteresting, mounted his bicycle and rode off over the level sands in the direction of the sphere.
I glanced back after him.
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|The First Men In The Moon
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells
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