Study Guide

The War of the Worlds Book 1, Chapter 10

By H.G. Wells

Book 1, Chapter 10

In the Storm

  • The narrator drives to Leatherhead where his family lives and leaves his wife there. Though he should've stayed in Leatherhead that night (he says now), he has to go back to Woking to return the horse and cart he rented.
  • Also, he confesses to having some "war-fever" – he wants to be there to see the Martians defeated. We're sure his wife wouldn't support that one.
  • It is, if you'll pardon the phrase that we've just invented this very moment, a dark and stormy night. Also a very quiet night. The narrator passes houses, but can't tell if a) the people are sleeping soundly, b) the people have run away already, or c) the people are nervously watching for some new disaster.
  • Things were so much easier in the beginning of the book, when he could be sure that dark houses at night meant people were sleeping.
  • Then the third cylinder arrives.
  • But that's not all. The narrator sees one of the Martian tripods, which he describes as moving like a "milking stool tilted and bowled violently along the ground" (1.10.12).
  • This doesn't exactly sound scary to us, but maybe we're not imagining it right – does this milking-stool have fangs? (For some images of the tripods, check out this gallery of book covers.)
  • Then, as if one tripod wasn't enough, another monstrous tripod appears in front of the narrator. He crashes the cart and the horse dies – so we guess he won't be returning it to the landlord.
  • The narrator ends up watching the tripods pass over him, making some strange "Aloo! aloo!" sound (1.10.17).
  • After the Martian tripods pass, the narrator basically crawls most of the way home in the terrible storm.
  • It's such a bad storm that he doesn't see the landlord's dead body until he stumbles upon it – so we guess he really won't be returning the (dead) horse and cart to him. (But at least he doesn't have to come up with some excuse to the landlord: "Uh, I got spooked by something that moved like a milking-stool bowled violently along the ground.")
  • The narrator lets himself into his house and spends some time shivering.