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|The First Men In The Moon||H. G. [Herbert George] Wells|
Inside the Sphere
|Page 1 of 3||
"GO ON," said Cavor, as I sat across the edge of the manhole, and looked down into the black interior of the sphere. We two were alone. It was evening, the sun had set, and the stillness of the twilight was upon everything.
I drew my other leg inside and slid down the smooth glass to the bottom of the sphere, then turned to take the cans of food and other impedimenta from Cavor. The interior was warm, the thermometer stood at eighty, and as we should lose little or none of this by radiation, we were dressed in shoes and thin flannels. We had, however, a bundle of thick woollen clothing and several thick blankets to guard against mischance.
By Cavor's direction I placed the packages, the cylinders of oxygen, and so forth, loosely about my feet, and soon we had everything in. He walked about the roofless shed for a time seeking anything we had overlooked, and then crawled in after me. I noted something in his hand.
"What have you got there? " I asked.
"Haven't you brought anything to read? "
"Good Lord! No."
"I forgot to tell you. There are uncertainties - The voyage may last - We may be weeks! "
"But - "
" We shall be floating in this sphere with absolutely no occupation."
"I wish I'd known"
He peered out of the manhole. " Look! " he said. " There's something there!"
"Is there time? "
"We shall be an hour."
I looked out. It was an old number of Tit-Bits that one of the men must have brought. Farther away in the corner I saw a torn Lloyd's News. I scrambled back into the sphere with these things. "What have you got? " I said.
I took the book from his hand and read, "The Works of William Shakespeare".
He coloured slightly. "My education has been so purely scientific -" he said apologetically.
"Never read him? "
"He knew a little, you know - in an irregular sort of way."
"Precisely what I am told," said Cavor.
I assisted him to screw in the glass cover of the manhole, and then he pressed a stud to close the corresponding blind in the outer case. The little oblong of twilight vanished. We were in darkness. For a time neither of us spoke. Although our case would not be impervious to sound, everything was very still. I perceived there was nothing to grip when the shock of our start should come, and I realised that I should be uncomfortable for want of a chair.
"Why have we no chairs? " I asked.
"I've settled all that," said Cavor. "We won't need them."
"You will see," he said, in the tone of a man who refuses to talk.
I became silent. Suddenly it had come to me clear and vivid that I was a fool to be inside that sphere. Even now, I asked myself, is to too late to withdraw? The world outside the sphere, I knew, would be cold and inhospitable enough for me - for weeks I had been living on subsidies from Cavor - but after all, would it be as cold as the infinite zero, as inhospitable as empty space? If it had not been for the appearance of cowardice, I believe that even then I should have made him let me out. But I hesitated on that score, and hesitated, and grew fretful and angry, and the time passed.
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|The First Men In The Moon
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells
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