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THE MACHINE STOPS ... E.M. Forster

THE MACHINE STOPS ... E.M. Forster
Imagine, if you can, a small room, hexagonal in shape, like the cell of a bee. It is lighted neither by window nor by lamp, yet it is filled with a soft radiance. There are no apertures for ventilation, yet the air is fresh. There are no musical instruments, and yet, at the moment that my meditation opens, this room is throbbing with melodious sounds. An armchair is in the centre, by its side a reading-desk-that is all the furniture. And in the armchair there sits a swaddled lump of flesh-a woman, about five feet high, with a face as white as a fungus. An electric bell rang. The woman touched a switch and the music was silent. "I suppose I must see who it is", she thought, and set her chair in motion. "Who is it?" But when she listened into the receiver, her white face wrinkled into smiles, and she said: "Very well. She touched the isolation knob, so that no one else could speak to her. "Be quick!" "Kuno, how slow you are." He smiled gravely. "I really believe you enjoy dawdling." "Well?"

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