Installment 3 Annotations Transcript

The War of the Worlds: Pearson’s Magazine Installment 3 Annotations

by Madeline B. Gangnes

This installment comprises the text that is roughly comparable to Book I (“The Coming of the Martians”), Chapters IX-XI of the 1898 collected edition and subsequent versions.

The majority of the annotations on this page draw from the following critical editions of The War of the Worlds, which will be cited and tagged according to the last name(s) of the editor(s) of that edition:

DANAHAY: Martin A. Danahay. The War of the Worlds. Broadview Press, 2003.

HUGHES AND GEDULD: David Y. Hughes and Harry M. Geduld, eds. A Critical Edition of The War of the Worlds: H. G. Wells’s Scientific Romance, with Introduction and Notes by David Y. Hughes and Harry M. Geduld. Indiana UP, 1993.

MCCONNELL: Frank McConnell, ed. The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds: A Critical Edition. Oxford UP, 1977.

STOVER: Leon Stover. The War of the Worlds: A Critical Text of the 1898 London First Edition, with an Introduction, Illustrations and Appendices. McFarland and Company, Inc, 2001.

Madeline Gangnes has added additional annotations and resources, especially those that address materials related to Pearson’s Magazine and adaptations of the text. They are cited with their source(s) (where applicable) and referenced as GANGNES.

Annotation: lassitude

From DANAHAY 68: weariness, lack of energy

Annotation: close

GANGNES: In this usage, according to the Oxford English Dictionary: “of the atmosphere or weather: Like that of a closed up room; confined, stifling, without free circulation.”

Annotation: rapidly fluctuating barometer

GANGNES: This indicates that the weather is volatile and likely heralds an imminent storm. See Oxford English Dictionary on “barometer”: “an instrument for determining the weight or pressure of the atmosphere, and hence for judging of probable changes in the weather, ascertaining the height of an ascent, etc” and Encyclopædia Britannica entry.

Annotation: chariot

From DANAHAY 68: a word for cart

Annotation: This lot’ll cost the insurance people a pretty penny, before everything’s settled.” He laughed with an air of the greatest good humour, as he said this.

From STOVER 93-4: “The narrator’s neighbor in Woking assumes, with a touching faith in bourgeois property values, that ‘the insurance people’ will settle for damages once the Martians are defeated.”

Annotation: sappers

From MCCONNELL156: “military engineers, builders of trenches, fortifications, etc.”

From DANAHAY 69: “engineers who built bridges, forts and other structures the army might need”

Annotation: Horse Guards

From MCCONNELL156: “The famous ‘Blues,’ or Royal Horse Guards, consolidated in 1819.”

From DANAHAY 69: the Royal Horse Guards: elite British army cavalry unit

Annotation: that a dispute had arisen at the Horse Guards

GANGNES: STOVER corrects HUGHES AND GEDULD’s annotation, though does not mention them specifically in the note, despite referencing them in other notes.

From HUGHES AND GEDULD 206: “Their notion is that there was an operational or tactical dispute–about how to deal with the situation–among the officers of the elite Horse Guards at the Horse Guard barracks (a building in central London opposite Whitehall). The Horse Guards are the cavalry brigade of the English Household troops (the third regiment of Horse Guards is known as the Royal Horse Guards).”

From STOVER 94: Horse Guards here “is a shorthand reference to the British War Office, located on Horse Guards Parade near Downing Street in London. As Americans refer to the Department of Defense as ‘The Pentagon’ after its office building, so the British called its War Office ‘the Horse Guards.’ Not to be confused with the Household Calvary regiment The Royal Horse Guards, even then a tourist attraction when on parade.”

Annotation: fishers of men

From MCCONNELL 156: “In Matthew 4:19 Christ tells Peter and Andrew that He will make them ‘fishers of men.’”

Annotation: stereotyped formula

GANGNES: In this case, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, “something continued or constantly repeated without change; a stereotyped phrase, formula, etc.; stereotyped diction or usage.”

Annotation: belligerent

GANGNES: In this case, according to the Oxford English Dictionary: “waging or carrying on regular recognized war; actually engaged in hostilities,” which is to say, the narrator is imagining, and is excited about, an epic war between the British and the Martians.

Annotation: They seemed so helpless in this pit of theirs.

GANGNES: In the 1898 edition, this sentence (slightly edited) is preceded by, “It hardly seemed a fair fight to me at the time.” In the revised version we are offered this bit of foreshadowing and characterization without a strong emotional component. See text comparison page.

Annotation: Addlestone

GANGNES: village to the north and slightly east of Woking

From HUGHES AND GEDULD 227: “a village in Surrey, about four miles north of Woking”

Annotation: field gun

From DANAHAY 71: “a piece of mobile artillery, usually pulled by horses”

Annotation: tea

GANGNES: In this case, the equivalent of dinner or an evening meal (hence it being “six in the evening”). See Oxford English Dictionary: “locally in the U.K. (esp. northern) … a cooked evening meal”

Annotation: Oriental College

From DANAHAY 71: the Oriental Institute

Annotation: pinnacle of the mosque

From STOVER 96-7: “The mosque was built for Muslim students at the Oriental College, a center for distinguished Indian visitors from the British Raj.” Unlike in the novel, the mosque still stands today.

Annotation: crest of Maybury Hill

From HUGHES AND GEDULD 231: “a street that extends south, at almost a right angle, from the northeast end of Maybury Road”

Annotation: As soon as my astonishment would let me

GANGNES: Cut from the 1898 volume. Another removal of the narrator’s emotions. See text comparison page.

Annotation: her cousins

From MCCONNELL158: “An apparent slip. Everywhere else these cousins are the narrator’s cousins, not his wife’s.”

Annotation: Leatherhead

From HUGHES AND GEDULD 230: “A town in central Surrey, about twelve miles due east of Woking. It is sixteen miles southwest of central London, on the river Mole.”

Annotation: bevy

From DANAHAY 71: large group

Annotation: Spotted Dog

From HUGHES AND GEDULD 207: Wells uses this name in place of the name of a real pub: the Princess of Wales.

From DANAHAY 72: the name of a local pub

Annotation: horse and dog-cart

From MCCONNELL 159: “a light, two-wheeled vehicle with two seats, back to back: horse-drawn”

Annotation: I’m selling my bit of a pig.

GANGNES: HUGHES AND GEDULD and STOVER both disagree with MCCONNELL about the meaning of this phrase.

From MCCONNELL 159: “The landlord fears he may be selling (not buying) a ‘pig in a poke.’”

From HUGHES AND GEDULD 207: “One nineteenth-century slang meaning of ‘pig’ was goods or property. Hence the sentence might simply mean: ‘I’m selling my bit of property.’ Another slang meaning of ‘pig’ was nag, donkey, or moke; while ‘bit of’ was an adjectival term that could be used variously to express affection for the subject it preceded. … Another possibility is a real pig, i.e., the landlord is surprised–after asking a pig buyer to pay a pound and drive the pig home himself–to be offered two pounds with a promise moreover to return the pig. According to this, people are simply talking at cross-purposes, and the narrator then explains that he wants a dogcart, not a pig.”

From STOVER 98: “The landlord is puzzled by the narrator’s haste to pay two pounds for his ‘bit of pig’ (=his valuable piece of property) coupled with a strong promise to return it.”

Annotation: palings

From MCCONNELL 159: fence pickets

Annotation: dish cover

From DANAHAY 72: a large metal cover used to keep food hot

Annotation: spanking

From DANAHAY 73: speeding

Annotation: down the opposite slope of Maybury Hill towards Old Woking

From HUGHES AND GEDULD 207: heading due south

Annotation: machine gun

From MCCONNELL 160: “The period from 1890 to the First World War has been called the ‘golden age’ of the machine gun, and was an era of intensive development of new weapons of all sorts. … [B]y 1898 technology had produced an amazingly wide range of designs.”

Annotation: But that strange sight of the swift confusion and destruction of war, the first real glimpse of warfare that had ever come into my life, was photographed in an instant upon my memory.

GANGNES: Cut from the 1898 volume. Another removal of the narrator’s emotional responses to the invasion. The “loss” here is part of the novel’s discussion of photography and photographic war journalism specifically. The chapter ends (after “that quivering tumult”) with an additional sentence: “I overtook and passed the doctor between Woking and Send.” See text comparison page.

Annotation: Leatherhead is about twelve miles from Maybury Hill

From HUGHES AND GEDULD 207: to the east

Annotation: Pyrford

From HUGHES AND GEDULD 232: “a village in Surrey, about three-quarters of a mile east of Woking”

Annotation: dog roses

From MCCONNELL 161: “European variety of rose, with very pale red flowers”

Annotation: fusillade

From DANAHAY 74: “a round of coordinated fire by a body of soldiers”

Annotation: I wanted to be in at the death.

GANGNES: The 1898 volume adds “I can best express my state of mind by saying that” to the beginning of this sentence. The change softens the impact of the narrator’s emotions by adding an analytical “stepping back” from his feelings at the time. See text comparison page.

Annotation: good hap

From DANAHAY 74: good luck

Annotation: I came through Ockham (for that was the way I returned, and not through Send and Old Woking)

From HUGHES AND GEDULD: The narrator “went to Leatherhead by a southerly route, through Send, but returns by a northerly route.”

Annotation: heard midnight pealing out

From DANAHAY 75: church bells ringing

GANGNES: Which is to say, the church bells rang in such a way that indicated the time was midnight.

Annotation: I gripped the reins, and we went whirling along between hedges, and emerged in a minute or so upon the open common.

GANGNES: Cut from the 1898 volume. See text comparison page.

Annotation: sounded more like the working of a gigantic electric machine than the usual detonating reverberations

From STOVER 102: “an allusion to the Wimshurst electrostatic induction generator invented in 1880 by James Wimshurst”

Annotation: smote

From DANAHAY 75: struck or hit

Annotation: the Orphanage, near the crest of the hill

From HUGHES AND GEDULD 208: some readers have mistaken this for the Orphanage that used to be in Oriental Road

From STOVER 103: “The orphanage on the crest of Maybury Hill was not built until 1909; in its place at the time there stood St. Peter’s Memorial Home for the aged.”

Annotation: And this Thing! How can I describe it?

GANGNES: This passage through the next page is the most striking and detailed description of the Martian fighting machines in the novel. Despite the degree of detail offered by the narrator, the machines’ physical appearance has been depicted quite differently across various illustrations. Wells made his dislike of Goble’s illustrations clear in a passage he added to what would become Book II, Chapter II of the 1898 volume. See Installment 8. He also cut and changed some phrasing to deemphasize comparisons to human technologies. See text comparison page.

Annotation: tripod

From MCCONNELL 163: “Any three-legged support, although the most common instance of the ‘tripod’ for Wells’s readers would probably have been the tripod on which older cameras were mounted.”

Annotation: in its wallowing career

From DANAHAY 76: in its path

GANGNES: In the 1898 edition, “wallowing” is removed.

Annotation: articulate

From DANAHAY 76: jointed, able to bend and/or move

Annotation: A flash, and it came out vividly, heeling over one way with two feet in the air, to vanish and reappear almost instantly as it seemed, with the next flash, a hundred yards nearer.

From MCCONNELL 164: “This is a remarkable anticipation of the ‘strobe effect’ of rapid flashes of light, which we have come to associate (through films as much as through real experience of warfare) with modern battle scenes.”

Annotation: But instead of a milking

GANGNES: The 1898 edition adds “That was the impression those instant flashes gave” before this sentence. See text comparison page.

Annotation: imagine it a great thing of metal, like the body of a colossal steam engine on a tripod stand

GANGNES: The 1898 volume changes this to simply “imagine it a great body of machinery on a tripod stand.” This seems likely to be part of Wells’s negative response to Warwick Goble’s depictions of the Martian fighting machines, which resembled known human technology more than Wells would have liked. See text comparison page, note on “The Terrible Trades of Sheffield” below, and the additional passage in what would eventually become Book II, Chapter 2 in the 1898 volume.

Annotation: insensate

From DANAHAY 76: without consciousness

Annotation: In this was the Martian.

GANGNES: Cut from the 1898 volume. Perhaps the sentence was thought to be redundant or that it revealed a piece of information the narrator could not have known at the time. See text comparison page.

Annotation: So much I saw then

GANGNES: The 1898 volume inserts “And in an instant it was gone.” and a paragraph break before this sentence. See text comparison page.

Annotation: simply stupefied

GANGNES: The 1898 volume replaces this phrase with “in the rain and darkness”; another instance of deemphasizing the narrator’s emotions in favor of a more “objective” perspective. See text comparison page.

Annotation: squatter’s

From DANAHAY 77: a squatter is “a person living in a building without paying rent”

Annotation: The steaming air was full of a hot resinous smell.

GANGNES: Cut from the 1898 volume. See text comparison page.

Annotation: Street Chobham

GANGNES: This should be Cobham, which was confused with Chobham–a village to the northwest of Woking mentioned several times in the novel. Cobham is five miles to the east and slightly north of Woking on the way from Woking (via Byfleet) to Leatherhead. It seems that either Wells or the editors of Pearson’s mistakenly wrote “Street Chobham” instead of “Street Cobham”; the error is corrected in the 1898 version.

Annotation: College Arms

From HUGHES AND GEDULD 208: a real pub licensed in the 1890s

Annotation: stress

From DANAHAY 78: force

Annotation: Apparently his neck had been broken. The lightning flashed for a third time, and his face leapt upon me. I sprang to my feet. It was the landlord of the “Spotted Dog,” whose conveyance I had taken.

From STOVER 107: The narrator’s false promise to return the dogcart was likely the cause of the landlord’s death; he couldn’t escape because the narrator had taken his means of conveyance.

Annotation: two or three distant

GANGNES: Cut from the 1898 volume. See text comparison page.

Annotation: but I did not care to examine it

GANGNES: Cut from the 1898 volume. See text comparison page.

Annotation: I saw nothing unusual in my garden that night, though the gate was off its hinges, and the shrubs seemed trampled.

GANGNES: Cut from the 1898 volume. See text comparison page.

Annotation: My strength and courage seemed absolutely exhausted. A great horror of this darkness and desolation about me came upon me.

GANGNES: Cut from the 1898 volume. Another clear instance of removing references to the narrator’s emotional and physical responses to his predicament. See text comparison page.

Annotation: I felt like a rat in a corner.

GANGNES: This is cut from the 1898 volume and a paragraph break is added to separate out the final sentence. See text comparison page.

Annotation: The light itself came from Chobham.

GANGNES: Cut from the 1898 volume. See text comparison page.

Annotation: the potteries

From MCCONNELL 168: “A district in central England, also called the ‘Five Towns,’ famous for its pottery and china factories. The area was a favorite subject of Wells’s friend, the novelist Arnold Bennett (1867-1931).”

From HUGHES AND GEDULD 208: The “five towns” MCCONNELL refers to are Stoke-on-Trent, Hanley, Burslem, Tunstall, and Longton. In 1888 Wells spent three months in the Potteries region.

From DANAHAY 80: “an area of central England with a large number of china factories and their furnaces”

Annotation: fiery chaos

From STOVER 109: reference to Revelation 20:9: “and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”

Annotation: Colossi

From MCCONNELL 169: “giant figures”

Annotation: Later I was to learn that this was the case. That with incredible rapidity these bodiless brains, these limbless intelligences, had built up these monstrous structures since their arrival, and, no longer sluggish and inert, were now able to go to and fro, destroying and irresistible.

GANGNES: This section is replaced in the 1898 edition with the following passage after “…rules in his body?”:

“I began to compare the things to human machines, to ask myself for the first time in my life how an ironclad or a steam engine would seem to an intelligent lower animal.”

This revision is particularly interesting because Wells removed language referring to steam engines and other human technologies in the narrator’s description of the fighting machines in the previous chapter (beginning “And this Thing!”).

In this site’s page on “The Terrible Trades of Sheffield,” a connection is drawn between these edits and Wells’s opinion of Warwick Goble’s illustrations, which were too close to human technologies. In the revision, then, Wells reframes human technologies as part of an analogy; Martian technology is beyond human technology to so extreme a degree as to be incomprehensible to humans.

Annotation: I was so delighted

GANGNES: Cut from the 1898 volume. See text comparison page.

Annotation: torpor

GANGNES: according to the Oxford English Dictionary, “absence or suspension of motive power, activity, or feeling”

Annotation: Hist!

GANGNES: an exclamation to quietly get someone’s attention; similar to “Psst!”

Annotation: a driver in the Artillery

From MCCONNELL170: “That is, he drove the horse-drawn carriage of the heavy field guns.”

GANGNES: As other scholars have pointed out (e.g., HUGHES AND GEDULD 210), the marked difference in the role of the artilleryman in the Pearson’s version as compared with the volume constitutes a significant change between the two versions. He is the “man” in the new chapter–“The Man on Putney Hill”–added for the volume, and he is a conduit through which the novel explores how humankind might grapple (or fail to grapple) with such a crisis as the Martian invasion. See Installment 9.

Annotation: gun he drove had been unlimbered

From MCCONNELL: “To ‘unlimber’ a gun is to detach it from its limber, a two-wheeled carriage drawn by four to six horses, and prepare it for firing.”

Annotation: limber

From DANAHAY 81: “the part of the carriage on which the gun is pulled, and from which it has to be ‘unlimbered’ or detached”

Annotation: I asked him a hundred questions.

GANGNES: Cut from the 1898 volume. See text comparison page.

Annotation: in skirmishing order

From MCCONNELL 171: “formation for a conventional attack”

Annotation: thing like a huge photographic camera

GANGNES: The 1898 volume replaces this with “complicated metallic case, about which green flashes scintillated” and changes “funnel” to “eye.” Again we “lose” language about photography, despite the fact that the novel as a whole retains such references in other areas. See text comparison page.

Annotation: Titan

From MCCONNELL 171: “In Greek myth the Titans were the gigantic and violent pre-Olympian gods whom Zeus vanquished in establishing the rule of reason and order.”

Annotation: ejaculatory

From DANAHAY 82: disjointed, told in short bursts

Annotation: cowls

From DANAHAY 83: the hood of a monk’s garment

Annotation: pillars of fire

GANGNES: MCCONNELL is partially incorrect here; his citation is more thorough in that it addresses both the pillar of fire and pillar of smoke, but the appropriate chapter is Exodus 13, not Exodus 15. The most thorough and correct citation here would be a combination of the two–Exodus 13:21-22–which STOVER cites, though inexplicably as a note at the beginning of Chapter XII rather than at the textual reference.

From MCCONNELL 173: “In Exodus 15:21-22, God sends a pillar of fire to guide the Israelites through the Sinai Desert by night, and a pillar of cloud to guide them by day.”

From HUGHES AND GEDULD 209: “See Exodus 13:21: ‘And the Lord went before them [to guide the Israelites through the Sinai] … by night in a pillar of fire.’”

From STOVER 114: quotes Exodus 13:21-22, then: “As the Lord guided the Israelites through the Sinai desert, so the Martians lead humanity through a wasteland of suffering. Ahead, leaving the old order behind, is the promise of world unity.”