In the beginning...
"What news from the common?" said I. There were two men and a woman at the gate. "Eh?" said one of the men, turning. "What news from the common?" I said. "People seem fair silly about the common," said the woman over the gate. "What's it all abart?" "Haven't you heard of the men from Mars?" said I; "the creatures from Mars?" "Quite enough," said the woman over the gate. "Thenks"; and all three of them laughed. I felt foolish and angry.
I tried and found I could not tell them what I had seen. They laughed again at my broken sentences. "You'll hear more yet," I said, and went on to my home. I startled my wife at the doorway, so haggard was I. I went into the dining room, sat down, drank some wine, and so soon as I could collect myself sufficiently I told her the things I had seen. The dinner, which was a cold one, had already been served, and remained neglected on the table while I told my story. "There is one thing," I said, to allay the fears I had aroused; "they are the most sluggish things I ever saw crawl.
They may keep the pit and kill people who come near them, but they cannot get out of it. . . . But the horror of them!" "Don't, dear!" said my wife, knitting her brows and putting her hand on mine. "Poor Ogilvy!" I said. "To think he may be lying dead there!" My wife at least did not find my experience incredible. When I saw how deadly white her face was, I ceased abruptly. "They may come here," she said again and again. I pressed her to take wine, and tried to reassure her. "They can scarcely move," I said. The atmosphere of the earth, we now know, contains far more oxygen or far less argon (whichever way one likes to put it) than does Mars. The invigorating influences of this excess of oxygen upon the Martians indisputably did much to counterbalance the increased weight of their bodies.
And, in the second place, we all overlooked the fact that such mechanical intelligence as the Martian possessed was quite able to dispense with muscular exertion at a pinch. But I did not consider these points at the time, and so my reasoning was dead against the chances of the invaders. With wine and food, the confidence of my own table, and the necessity of reassuring my wife, I grew by insensible degrees courageous and secure. "They have done a foolish thing," said I, fingering my wineglass. "They are dangerous because, no doubt, they are mad with terror. Perhaps they expected to find no living things--certainly no intelligent living things." "A shell in the pit" said I, "if the worst comes to the worst will kill them all."
The intense excitement of the events had no doubt left my perceptive powers in a state of erethism. I remember that dinner table with extraordinary vividness even now. My dear wife's sweet anxious face peering