Where is the first chapter of The Time Machine set?
The first chapter is set in the Time Traveller’s drawing room. The Time Traveller appears to be in the habit of having guests to dinner every Thursday. This is one of these days. They have just had their meal:
The fire burned brightly, and the soft radiance of the incandescent lights in the lilies of silver caught the bubbles that flashed and passed in our glasses. Our chairs, being his patents, embraced and caressed us rather than submitted to being sat upon, and there was that luxurious after-dinner atmosphere, when thought runs gracefully free of the trammels of precision. (chapter 1)
Thus Wells establishes a cosy and relaxing mood in a comfortable room, a 'luxurious after-dinner atmosphere' which is most conducive to discussion upon speculative matters such as the Time Traveller clearly enjoys. On this occasion he instigates a debate about time travel - although his guests remain sceptical that he can actually put this into practice.
It is precisely this same setting which we find in the next chapter, a week later when the Time Traveller returns from his amazing journey to tell the story of his exploits. In fact, as the Time Traveller travels in time rather than space, his adventures take place in and around the region of his house – an area transformed beyond all recognition in his narrative. Thus, this whole story of marvels is actually contained, overall, within an ordinary, everyday setting.