Journey to the centre: Great middle lines – 15

The Sleeper Awakes.  It’s 1890s England when an insomniac falls into a sleep-like trance and awakes 203 years later to find he is the Master of the World.  But while he had been sleeping, the masses had been oppressed, and they now find he has awoken and hope he will rescue them.  One hundred and ten pages into this 220-page H.G. Wells novel, the sleeper, Graham, decides to reveal himself to the multitudes of people waiting:

“Will you let them see you, Sire? said Ostrog.  “They are very anxious to see you.”

Graham hesitated, and then walked forward to where the broken verge of wall dropped sheer. He stood looking down, a lonely, tall, black figure against the sky.

Very slowly the swarming ruins became aware of him.  And as they did so little bands of black-uniformed men appeared remotely, thrusting through the crowds towards the Council House.  He saw little black heads become pink, looking at him, saw by that means a wave of recognition sweep across the space.