When the Sleeper Wakes - Herbert George Wells - Страница 1 из 313


WHEN THE SLEEPER WAKES
By Herbert George Wells
CHAPTER I. INSOMNIA
One afternoon, at low water, Mr. Isbister, a young artist lodging at
Boscastle, walked from that place to the picturesque cove of Pentargen,
desiring to examine the caves there. Halfway down the precipitous
path to the Pentargen beach he came suddenly upon a man sitting in an
attitude of profound distress beneath a projecting mass of rock. The
hands of this man hung limply over his knees, his eyes were red and
staring before him, and his face was wet with tears.
He glanced round at Isbister's footfall. Both men were disconcerted,
Isbister the more so, and, to override the awkwardness of his
involuntary pause, he remarked, with an air of mature conviction, that
the weather was hot for the time of year.
"Very," answered the stranger shortly, hesitated a second, and added in
a colourless tone, "I can't sleep."
Isbister stopped abruptly. "No?" was all he said, but his bearing
conveyed his helpful impulse.
"It may sound incredible," said the stranger, turning weary eyes to
Isbister's face and emphasizing his words with a languid hand, "but I
have had no sleep--no sleep at all for six nights."
"Had advice?"
"Yes. Bad advice for the most part. Drugs. My nervous system.... They
are all very well for the run of people. It's hard to explain. I dare
not take... sufficiently powerful drugs."
"That makes it difficult," said Isbister.
He stood helplessly in the narrow path, perplexed what to do. Clearly
the man wanted to talk. An idea natural enough under the circumstances,


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