BOOK ONE: THE COMING OF THE MARTIANS
CHAPTER 10: IN THE STORM
I crawled out almost immediately, and crouched, my feet
still in the water, under a clump of furze. The horse lay
motionless (his neck was broken, poor brute!) and by the
lightning flashes I saw the black bulk of the overturned dog
cart and the silhouette of the wheel still spinning slowly. In
another moment the colossal mechanism went striding by
me, and passed uphill towards Pyrford.
Seen nearer, the Thing was incredibly strange, for it was
no mere insensate machine driving on its way. Machine it was,
with a ringing metallic pace, and long, flexible, glittering
tentacles (one of which gripped a young pine tree) swinging
and rattling about its strange body. It picked its road as it
went striding along, and the brazen hood that surmounted
it moved to and fro with the inevitable suggestion of a head
looking about. Behind the main body was a huge mass of
white metal like a gigantic fisherman's basket, and puffs of
green smoke squirted out from the joints of the limbs as the
monster swept by me. And in an instant it was gone.
So much I saw then, all vaguely for the flickering of the
lightning, in blinding highlights and dense black shadows.
As it passed it set up an exultant deafening howl that
drowned the thunder--"Aloo! Aloo!"--and in another minute
it was with its companion, half a mile away, stooping over
something in the field. I have no doubt this Thing in the field
was the third of the ten cylinders they had fired at us from
For some minutes I lay there in the rain and darkness
watching, by the intermittent light, these monstrous beings
of metal moving about in the distance over the hedge tops.
A thin hail was now beginning, and as it came and went their
figures grew misty and then flashed into clearness again. Now
and then came a gap in the lightning, and the night swallowed
I was soaked with hail above and puddle water below.
It was some time before my blank astonishment would let
me struggle up the bank to a drier position, or think at all of
my imminent peril.