Part 1 - The Invisible Man Audiobook by H. G. Wells (Chs 01-17)

Uploaded by CCProse on 24.09.2011

The stranger came early in February, one wintry day, through a biting wind and a
driving snow, the last snowfall of the year, over the down, walking from
Bramblehurst railway station, and carrying
a little black portmanteau in his thickly gloved hand.
He was wrapped up from head to foot, and the brim of his soft felt hat hid every
inch of his face but the shiny tip of his nose; the snow had piled itself against his
shoulders and chest, and added a white crest to the burden he carried.
He staggered into the "Coach and Horses" more dead than alive, and flung his
portmanteau down.
"A fire," he cried, "in the name of human charity!
A room and a fire!"
He stamped and shook the snow from off himself in the bar, and followed Mrs. Hall
into her guest parlour to strike his bargain.
And with that much introduction, that and a couple of sovereigns flung upon the table,
he took up his quarters in the inn.
Mrs. Hall lit the fire and left him there while she went to prepare him a meal with
her own hands.
A guest to stop at Iping in the wintertime was an unheard-of piece of luck, let alone
a guest who was no "haggler," and she was resolved to show herself worthy of her good
As soon as the bacon was well under way, and Millie, her lymphatic aid, had been
brisked up a bit by a few deftly chosen expressions of contempt, she carried the
cloth, plates, and glasses into the parlour
and began to lay them with the utmost eclat.
Although the fire was burning up briskly, she was surprised to see that her visitor
still wore his hat and coat, standing with his back to her and staring out of the
window at the falling snow in the yard.
His gloved hands were clasped behind him, and he seemed to be lost in thought.
She noticed that the melting snow that still sprinkled his shoulders dripped upon
her carpet.
"Can I take your hat and coat, sir?" she said, "and give them a good dry in the
kitchen?" "No," he said without turning.
She was not sure she had heard him, and was about to repeat her question.
He turned his head and looked at her over his shoulder.
"I prefer to keep them on," he said with emphasis, and she noticed that he wore big
blue spectacles with sidelights, and had a bush side-whisker over his coat-collar that
completely hid his cheeks and face.
"Very well, sir," she said. "As you like.
In a bit the room will be warmer."
He made no answer, and had turned his face away from her again, and Mrs. Hall, feeling
that her conversational advances were ill- timed, laid the rest of the table things in
a quick staccato and whisked out of the room.
When she returned he was still standing there, like a man of stone, his back
hunched, his collar turned up, his dripping hat-brim turned down, hiding his face and
ears completely.
She put down the eggs and bacon with considerable emphasis, and called rather
than said to him, "Your lunch is served, sir."
"Thank you," he said at the same time, and did not stir until she was closing the
door. Then he swung round and approached the
table with a certain eager quickness.
As she went behind the bar to the kitchen she heard a sound repeated at regular
Chirk, chirk, chirk, it went, the sound of a spoon being rapidly whisked round a
basin. "That girl!" she said.
I clean forgot it. It's her being so long!"
And while she herself finished mixing the mustard, she gave Millie a few verbal stabs
for her excessive slowness.
She had cooked the ham and eggs, laid the table, and done everything, while Millie
(help indeed!) had only succeeded in delaying the mustard.
And him a new guest and wanting to stay!
Then she filled the mustard pot, and, putting it with a certain stateliness upon
a gold and black tea-tray, carried it into the parlour.
She rapped and entered promptly.
As she did so her visitor moved quickly, so that she got but a glimpse of a white
object disappearing behind the table. It would seem he was picking something from
the floor.
She rapped down the mustard pot on the table, and then she noticed the overcoat
and hat had been taken off and put over a chair in front of the fire, and a pair of
wet boots threatened rust to her steel fender.
She went to these things resolutely. "I suppose I may have them to dry now," she
said in a voice that brooked no denial.
"Leave the hat," said her visitor, in a muffled voice, and turning she saw he had
raised his head and was sitting and looking at her.
For a moment she stood gaping at him, too surprised to speak.
He held a white cloth--it was a serviette he had brought with him--over the lower
part of his face, so that his mouth and jaws were completely hidden, and that was
the reason of his muffled voice.
But it was not that which startled Mrs. Hall.
It was the fact that all his forehead above his blue glasses was covered by a white
bandage, and that another covered his ears, leaving not a scrap of his face exposed
excepting only his pink, peaked nose.
It was bright, pink, and shiny just as it had been at first.
He wore a dark-brown velvet jacket with a high, black, linen-lined collar turned up
about his neck.
The thick black hair, escaping as it could below and between the cross bandages,
projected in curious tails and horns, giving him the strangest appearance
This muffled and bandaged head was so unlike what she had anticipated, that for a
moment she was rigid.
He did not remove the serviette, but remained holding it, as she saw now, with a
brown gloved hand, and regarding her with his inscrutable blue glasses.
"Leave the hat," he said, speaking very distinctly through the white cloth.
Her nerves began to recover from the shock they had received.
She placed the hat on the chair again by the fire.
"I didn't know, sir," she began, "that--" and she stopped embarrassed.
"Thank you," he said drily, glancing from her to the door and then at her again.
"I'll have them nicely dried, sir, at once," she said, and carried his clothes
out of the room.
She glanced at his white-swathed head and blue goggles again as she was going out of
the door; but his napkin was still in front of his face.
She shivered a little as she closed the door behind her, and her face was eloquent
of her surprise and perplexity. "I never," she whispered.
She went quite softly to the kitchen, and was too preoccupied to ask Millie what she
was messing about with now, when she got there.
The visitor sat and listened to her retreating feet.
He glanced inquiringly at the window before he removed his serviette, and resumed his
He took a mouthful, glanced suspiciously at the window, took another mouthful, then
rose and, taking the serviette in his hand, walked across the room and pulled the blind
down to the top of the white muslin that obscured the lower panes.
This left the room in a twilight. This done, he returned with an easier air
to the table and his meal.
"The poor soul's had an accident or an op'ration or somethin'," said Mrs. Hall.
"What a turn them bandages did give me, to be sure!"
She put on some more coal, unfolded the clothes-horse, and extended the traveller's
coat upon this. "And they goggles!
Why, he looked more like a divin' helmet than a human man!"
She hung his muffler on a corner of the horse.
"And holding that handkerchief over his mouth all the time.
Talkin' through it! ...
Perhaps his mouth was hurt too--maybe."
She turned round, as one who suddenly remembers.
"Bless my soul alive!" she said, going off at a tangent; "ain't you done them taters
yet, Millie?"
When Mrs. Hall went to clear away the stranger's lunch, her idea that his mouth
must also have been cut or disfigured in the accident she supposed him to have
suffered, was confirmed, for he was smoking
a pipe, and all the time that she was in the room he never loosened the silk muffler
he had wrapped round the lower part of his face to put the mouthpiece to his lips.
Yet it was not forgetfulness, for she saw he glanced at it as it smouldered out.
He sat in the corner with his back to the window-blind and spoke now, having eaten
and drunk and being comfortably warmed through, with less aggressive brevity than
The reflection of the fire lent a kind of red animation to his big spectacles they
had lacked hitherto.
"I have some luggage," he said, "at Bramblehurst station," and he asked her how
he could have it sent. He bowed his bandaged head quite politely
in acknowledgment of her explanation.
"To-morrow?" he said. "There is no speedier delivery?" and seemed
quite disappointed when she answered, "No." Was she quite sure?
No man with a trap who would go over?
Mrs. Hall, nothing loath, answered his questions and developed a conversation.
"It's a steep road by the down, sir," she said in answer to the question about a
trap; and then, snatching at an opening, said, "It was there a carriage was
upsettled, a year ago and more.
A gentleman killed, besides his coachman. Accidents, sir, happen in a moment, don't
they?" But the visitor was not to be drawn so
"They do," he said through his muffler, eyeing her quietly through his impenetrable
glasses. "But they take long enough to get well,
don't they?
... There was my sister's son, Tom, jest cut
his arm with a scythe, tumbled on it in the 'ayfield, and, bless me! he was three
months tied up sir.
You'd hardly believe it. It's regular given me a dread of a scythe,
sir." "I can quite understand that," said the
"He was afraid, one time, that he'd have to have an op'ration--he was that bad, sir."
The visitor laughed abruptly, a bark of a laugh that he seemed to bite and kill in
his mouth.
"Was he?" he said. "He was, sir.
And no laughing matter to them as had the doing for him, as I had--my sister being
took up with her little ones so much.
There was bandages to do, sir, and bandages to undo.
So that if I may make so bold as to say it, sir--"
"Will you get me some matches?" said the visitor, quite abruptly.
"My pipe is out." Mrs. Hall was pulled up suddenly.
It was certainly rude of him, after telling him all she had done.
She gasped at him for a moment, and remembered the two sovereigns.
She went for the matches.
"Thanks," he said concisely, as she put them down, and turned his shoulder upon her
and stared out of the window again. It was altogether too discouraging.
Evidently he was sensitive on the topic of operations and bandages.
She did not "make so bold as to say," however, after all.
But his snubbing way had irritated her, and Millie had a hot time of it that afternoon.
The visitor remained in the parlour until four o'clock, without giving the ghost of
an excuse for an intrusion.
For the most part he was quite still during that time; it would seem he sat in the
growing darkness smoking in the firelight-- perhaps dozing.
Once or twice a curious listener might have heard him at the coals, and for the space
of five minutes he was audible pacing the room.
He seemed to be talking to himself.
Then the armchair creaked as he sat down again.
At four o'clock, when it was fairly dark and Mrs. Hall was screwing up her courage
to go in and ask her visitor if he would take some tea, Teddy Henfrey, the clock-
jobber, came into the bar.
"My sakes! Mrs. Hall," said he, "but this is terrible
weather for thin boots!" The snow outside was falling faster.
Mrs. Hall agreed, and then noticed he had his bag with him.
"Now you're here, Mr. Teddy," said she, "I'd be glad if you'd give th' old clock in
the parlour a bit of a look.
'Tis going, and it strikes well and hearty; but the hour-hand won't do nuthin' but
point at six." And leading the way, she went across to the
parlour door and rapped and entered.
Her visitor, she saw as she opened the door, was seated in the armchair before the
fire, dozing it would seem, with his bandaged head drooping on one side.
The only light in the room was the red glow from the fire--which lit his eyes like
adverse railway signals, but left his downcast face in darkness--and the scanty
vestiges of the day that came in through the open door.
Everything was ruddy, shadowy, and indistinct to her, the more so since she
had just been lighting the bar lamp, and her eyes were dazzled.
But for a second it seemed to her that the man she looked at had an enormous mouth
wide open--a vast and incredible mouth that swallowed the whole of the lower portion of
his face.
It was the sensation of a moment: the white-bound head, the monstrous goggle
eyes, and this huge yawn below it. Then he stirred, started up in his chair,
put up his hand.
She opened the door wide, so that the room was lighter, and she saw him more clearly,
with the muffler held up to his face just as she had seen him hold the serviette
The shadows, she fancied, had tricked her. "Would you mind, sir, this man a-coming to
look at the clock, sir?" she said, recovering from the momentary shock.
"Look at the clock?" he said, staring round in a drowsy manner, and speaking over his
hand, and then, getting more fully awake, "certainly."
Mrs. Hall went away to get a lamp, and he rose and stretched himself.
Then came the light, and Mr. Teddy Henfrey, entering, was confronted by this bandaged
He was, he says, "taken aback." "Good afternoon," said the stranger,
regarding him--as Mr. Henfrey says, with a vivid sense of the dark spectacles--"like a
"I hope," said Mr. Henfrey, "that it's no intrusion."
"None whatever," said the stranger.
"Though, I understand," he said turning to Mrs. Hall, "that this room is really to be
mine for my own private use." "I thought, sir," said Mrs. Hall, "you'd
prefer the clock--"
"Certainly," said the stranger, "certainly- -but, as a rule, I like to be alone and
"But I'm really glad to have the clock seen to," he said, seeing a certain hesitation
in Mr. Henfrey's manner. "Very glad."
Mr. Henfrey had intended to apologise and withdraw, but this anticipation reassured
The stranger turned round with his back to the fireplace and put his hands behind his
"And presently," he said, "when the clock- mending is over, I think I should like to
have some tea. But not till the clock-mending is over."
Mrs. Hall was about to leave the room--she made no conversational advances this time,
because she did not want to be snubbed in front of Mr. Henfrey--when her visitor
asked her if she had made any arrangements about his boxes at Bramblehurst.
She told him she had mentioned the matter to the postman, and that the carrier could
bring them over on the morrow.
"You are certain that is the earliest?" he said.
She was certain, with a marked coldness.
"I should explain," he added, "what I was really too cold and fatigued to do before,
that I am an experimental investigator." "Indeed, sir," said Mrs. Hall, much
"And my baggage contains apparatus and appliances."
"Very useful things indeed they are, sir," said Mrs. Hall.
"And I'm very naturally anxious to get on with my inquiries."
"Of course, sir."
"My reason for coming to Iping," he proceeded, with a certain deliberation of
manner, "was ... a desire for solitude. I do not wish to be disturbed in my work.
In addition to my work, an accident--"
"I thought as much," said Mrs. Hall to herself.
"--necessitates a certain retirement.
My eyes--are sometimes so weak and painful that I have to shut myself up in the dark
for hours together. Lock myself up.
Sometimes--now and then.
Not at present, certainly. At such times the slightest disturbance,
the entry of a stranger into the room, is a source of excruciating annoyance to me--it
is well these things should be understood."
"Certainly, sir," said Mrs. Hall. "And if I might make so bold as to ask--"
"That I think, is all," said the stranger, with that quietly irresistible air of
finality he could assume at will.
Mrs. Hall reserved her question and sympathy for a better occasion.
After Mrs. Hall had left the room, he remained standing in front of the fire,
glaring, so Mr. Henfrey puts it, at the clock-mending.
Mr. Henfrey not only took off the hands of the clock, and the face, but extracted the
works; and he tried to work in as slow and quiet and unassuming a manner as possible.
He worked with the lamp close to him, and the green shade threw a brilliant light
upon his hands, and upon the frame and wheels, and left the rest of the room
When he looked up, coloured patches swam in his eyes.
Being constitutionally of a curious nature, he had removed the works--a quite
unnecessary proceeding--with the idea of delaying his departure and perhaps falling
into conversation with the stranger.
But the stranger stood there, perfectly silent and still.
So still, it got on Henfrey's nerves.
He felt alone in the room and looked up, and there, grey and dim, was the bandaged
head and huge blue lenses staring fixedly, with a mist of green spots drifting in
front of them.
It was so uncanny to Henfrey that for a minute they remained staring blankly at one
another. Then Henfrey looked down again.
Very uncomfortable position!
One would like to say something. Should he remark that the weather was very
cold for the time of year? He looked up as if to take aim with that
introductory shot.
"The weather--" he began. "Why don't you finish and go?" said the
rigid figure, evidently in a state of painfully suppressed rage.
"All you've got to do is to fix the hour- hand on its axle.
You're simply humbugging--" "Certainly, sir--one minute more.
I overlooked--" and Mr. Henfrey finished and went.
But he went feeling excessively annoyed.
"Damn it!" said Mr. Henfrey to himself, trudging down the village through the
thawing snow; "a man must do a clock at times, sure-ly."
And again "Can't a man look at you?--Ugly!"
And yet again, "Seemingly not. If the police was wanting you you couldn't
be more wropped and bandaged."
At Gleeson's corner he saw Hall, who had recently married the stranger's hostess at
the "Coach and Horses," and who now drove the Iping conveyance, when occasional
people required it, to Sidderbridge
Junction, coming towards him on his return from that place.
Hall had evidently been "stopping a bit" at Sidderbridge, to judge by his driving.
"'Ow do, Teddy?" he said, passing.
"You got a rum un up home!" said Teddy. Hall very sociably pulled up.
"What's that?" he asked. "Rum-looking customer stopping at the
'Coach and Horses,'" said Teddy.
"My sakes!" And he proceeded to give Hall a vivid
description of his grotesque guest. "Looks a bit like a disguise, don't it?
I'd like to see a man's face if I had him stopping in my place," said Henfrey.
"But women are that trustful--where strangers are concerned.
He's took your rooms and he ain't even given a name, Hall."
"You don't say so!" said Hall, who was a man of sluggish apprehension.
"Yes," said Teddy.
"By the week. Whatever he is, you can't get rid of him
under the week. And he's got a lot of luggage coming to-
morrow, so he says.
Let's hope it won't be stones in boxes, Hall."
He told Hall how his aunt at Hastings had been swindled by a stranger with empty
Altogether he left Hall vaguely suspicious. "Get up, old girl," said Hall.
"I s'pose I must see 'bout this." Teddy trudged on his way with his mind
considerably relieved.
Instead of "seeing 'bout it," however, Hall on his return was severely rated by his
wife on the length of time he had spent in Sidderbridge, and his mild inquiries were
answered snappishly and in a manner not to the point.
But the seed of suspicion Teddy had sown germinated in the mind of Mr. Hall in spite
of these discouragements.
"You wim' don't know everything," said Mr. Hall, resolved to ascertain more about the
personality of his guest at the earliest possible opportunity.
And after the stranger had gone to bed, which he did about half-past nine, Mr. Hall
went very aggressively into the parlour and looked very hard at his wife's furniture,
just to show that the stranger wasn't
master there, and scrutinised closely and a little contemptuously a sheet of
mathematical computations the stranger had left.
When retiring for the night he instructed Mrs. Hall to look very closely at the
stranger's luggage when it came next day. "You mind you own business, Hall," said
Mrs. Hall, "and I'll mind mine."
She was all the more inclined to snap at Hall because the stranger was undoubtedly
an unusually strange sort of stranger, and she was by no means assured about him in
her own mind.
In the middle of the night she woke up dreaming of huge white heads like turnips,
that came trailing after her, at the end of interminable necks, and with vast black
But being a sensible woman, she subdued her terrors and turned over and went to sleep
So it was that on the twenty-ninth day of February, at the beginning of the thaw,
this singular person fell out of infinity into Iping village.
Next day his luggage arrived through the slush--and very remarkable luggage it was.
There were a couple of trunks indeed, such as a rational man might need, but in
addition there were a box of books--big, fat books, of which some were just in an
incomprehensible handwriting--and a dozen
or more crates, boxes, and cases, containing objects packed in straw, as it
seemed to Hall, tugging with a casual curiosity at the straw--glass bottles.
The stranger, muffled in hat, coat, gloves, and wrapper, came out impatiently to meet
Fearenside's cart, while Hall was having a word or so of gossip preparatory to helping
being them in.
Out he came, not noticing Fearenside's dog, who was sniffing in a dilettante spirit at
Hall's legs. "Come along with those boxes," he said.
"I've been waiting long enough."
And he came down the steps towards the tail of the cart as if to lay hands on the
smaller crate.
No sooner had Fearenside's dog caught sight of him, however, than it began to bristle
and growl savagely, and when he rushed down the steps it gave an undecided hop, and
then sprang straight at his hand.
"Whup!" cried Hall, jumping back, for he was no hero with dogs, and Fearenside
howled, "Lie down!" and snatched his whip.
They saw the dog's teeth had slipped the hand, heard a kick, saw the dog execute a
flanking jump and get home on the stranger's leg, and heard the rip of his
Then the finer end of Fearenside's whip reached his property, and the dog, yelping
with dismay, retreated under the wheels of the waggon.
It was all the business of a swift half- minute.
No one spoke, everyone shouted.
The stranger glanced swiftly at his torn glove and at his leg, made as if he would
stoop to the latter, then turned and rushed swiftly up the steps into the inn.
They heard him go headlong across the passage and up the uncarpeted stairs to his
"You brute, you!" said Fearenside, climbing off the waggon with his whip in his hand,
while the dog watched him through the wheel.
"Come here," said Fearenside--"You'd better."
Hall had stood gaping. "He wuz bit," said Hall.
"I'd better go and see to en," and he trotted after the stranger.
He met Mrs. Hall in the passage. "Carrier's darg," he said "bit en."
He went straight upstairs, and the stranger's door being ajar, he pushed it
open and was entering without any ceremony, being of a naturally sympathetic turn of
The blind was down and the room dim.
He caught a glimpse of a most singular thing, what seemed a handless arm waving
towards him, and a face of three huge indeterminate spots on white, very like the
face of a pale pansy.
Then he was struck violently in the chest, hurled back, and the door slammed in his
face and locked. It was so rapid that it gave him no time to
A waving of indecipherable shapes, a blow, and a concussion.
There he stood on the dark little landing, wondering what it might be that he had
A couple of minutes after, he rejoined the little group that had formed outside the
"Coach and Horses."
There was Fearenside telling about it all over again for the second time; there was
Mrs. Hall saying his dog didn't have no business to bite her guests; there was
Huxter, the general dealer from over the
road, interrogative; and Sandy Wadgers from the forge, judicial; besides women and
children, all of them saying fatuities: "Wouldn't let en bite me, I knows";
"'Tasn't right have such dargs"; "Whad 'e bite 'n for, than?" and so forth.
Mr. Hall, staring at them from the steps and listening, found it incredible that he
had seen anything so very remarkable happen upstairs.
Besides, his vocabulary was altogether too limited to express his impressions.
"He don't want no help, he says," he said in answer to his wife's inquiry.
"We'd better be a-takin' of his luggage in."
"He ought to have it cauterised at once," said Mr. Huxter; "especially if it's at all
"I'd shoot en, that's what I'd do," said a lady in the group.
Suddenly the dog began growling again.
"Come along," cried an angry voice in the doorway, and there stood the muffled
stranger with his collar turned up, and his hat-brim bent down.
"The sooner you get those things in the better I'll be pleased."
It is stated by an anonymous bystander that his trousers and gloves had been changed.
"Was you hurt, sir?" said Fearenside.
"I'm rare sorry the darg--" "Not a bit," said the stranger.
"Never broke the skin. Hurry up with those things."
He then swore to himself, so Mr. Hall asserts.
Directly the first crate was, in accordance with his directions, carried into the
parlour, the stranger flung himself upon it with extraordinary eagerness, and began to
unpack it, scattering the straw with an utter disregard of Mrs. Hall's carpet.
And from it he began to produce bottles-- little fat bottles containing powders,
small and slender bottles containing coloured and white fluids, fluted blue
bottles labeled Poison, bottles with round
bodies and slender necks, large green-glass bottles, large white-glass bottles, bottles
with glass stoppers and frosted labels, bottles with fine corks, bottles with
bungs, bottles with wooden caps, wine
bottles, salad-oil bottles--putting them in rows on the chiffonnier, on the mantel, on
the table under the window, round the floor, on the bookshelf--everywhere.
The chemist's shop in Bramblehurst could not boast half so many.
Quite a sight it was.
Crate after crate yielded bottles, until all six were empty and the table high with
straw; the only things that came out of these crates besides the bottles were a
number of test-tubes and a carefully packed balance.
And directly the crates were unpacked, the stranger went to the window and set to
work, not troubling in the least about the litter of straw, the fire which had gone
out, the box of books outside, nor for the
trunks and other luggage that had gone upstairs.
When Mrs. Hall took his dinner in to him, he was already so absorbed in his work,
pouring little drops out of the bottles into test-tubes, that he did not hear her
until she had swept away the bulk of the
straw and put the tray on the table, with some little emphasis perhaps, seeing the
state that the floor was in. Then he half turned his head and
immediately turned it away again.
But she saw he had removed his glasses; they were beside him on the table, and it
seemed to her that his eye sockets were extraordinarily hollow.
He put on his spectacles again, and then turned and faced her.
She was about to complain of the straw on the floor when he anticipated her.
"I wish you wouldn't come in without knocking," he said in the tone of abnormal
exasperation that seemed so characteristic of him.
"I knocked, but seemingly--"
"Perhaps you did. But in my investigations--my really very
urgent and necessary investigations--the slightest disturbance, the jar of a door--I
must ask you--"
"Certainly, sir. You can turn the lock if you're like that,
you know. Any time."
"A very good idea," said the stranger.
"This stror, sir, if I might make so bold as to remark--"
"Don't. If the straw makes trouble put it down in
the bill."
And he mumbled at her--words suspiciously like curses.
He was so odd, standing there, so aggressive and explosive, bottle in one
hand and test-tube in the other, that Mrs. Hall was quite alarmed.
But she was a resolute woman.
"In which case, I should like to know, sir, what you consider--"
"A shilling--put down a shilling. Surely a shilling's enough?"
"So be it," said Mrs. Hall, taking up the table-cloth and beginning to spread it over
the table. "If you're satisfied, of course--"
He turned and sat down, with his coat- collar toward her.
All the afternoon he worked with the door locked and, as Mrs. Hall testifies, for the
most part in silence.
But once there was a concussion and a sound of bottles ringing together as though the
table had been hit, and the smash of a bottle flung violently down, and then a
rapid pacing athwart the room.
Fearing "something was the matter," she went to the door and listened, not caring
to knock. "I can't go on," he was raving.
"I can't go on.
Three hundred thousand, four hundred thousand!
The huge multitude! Cheated!
All my life it may take me!
... Patience!
Patience indeed! ...
Fool! fool!"
There was a noise of hobnails on the bricks in the bar, and Mrs. Hall had very
reluctantly to leave the rest of his soliloquy.
When she returned the room was silent again, save for the faint crepitation of
his chair and the occasional clink of a bottle.
It was all over; the stranger had resumed work.
When she took in his tea she saw broken glass in the corner of the room under the
concave mirror, and a golden stain that had been carelessly wiped.
She called attention to it.
"Put it down in the bill," snapped her visitor.
"For God's sake don't worry me.
If there's damage done, put it down in the bill," and he went on ticking a list in the
exercise book before him. "I'll tell you something," said Fearenside,
It was late in the afternoon, and they were in the little beer-shop of Iping Hanger.
"Well?" said Teddy Henfrey. "This chap you're speaking of, what my dog
Well--he's black. Leastways, his legs are.
I seed through the tear of his trousers and the tear of his glove.
You'd have expected a sort of pinky to show, wouldn't you?
Well--there wasn't none. Just blackness.
I tell you, he's as black as my hat."
"My sakes!" said Henfrey. "It's a rummy case altogether.
Why, his nose is as pink as paint!" "That's true," said Fearenside.
"I knows that.
And I tell 'ee what I'm thinking. That marn's a piebald, Teddy.
Black here and white there--in patches. And he's ashamed of it.
He's a kind of half-breed, and the colour's come off patchy instead of mixing.
I've heard of such things before. And it's the common way with horses, as any
one can see."
I have told the circumstances of the stranger's arrival in Iping with a certain
fulness of detail, in order that the curious impression he created may be
understood by the reader.
But excepting two odd incidents, the circumstances of his stay until the
extraordinary day of the club festival may be passed over very cursorily.
There were a number of skirmishes with Mrs. Hall on matters of domestic discipline, but
in every case until late April, when the first signs of penury began, he over-rode
her by the easy expedient of an extra payment.
Hall did not like him, and whenever he dared he talked of the advisability of
getting rid of him; but he showed his dislike chiefly by concealing it
ostentatiously, and avoiding his visitor as much as possible.
"Wait till the summer," said Mrs. Hall sagely, "when the artisks are beginning to
Then we'll see. He may be a bit overbearing, but bills
settled punctual is bills settled punctual, whatever you'd like to say."
The stranger did not go to church, and indeed made no difference between Sunday
and the irreligious days, even in costume. He worked, as Mrs. Hall thought, very
Some days he would come down early and be continuously busy.
On others he would rise late, pace his room, fretting audibly for hours together,
smoke, sleep in the armchair by the fire.
Communication with the world beyond the village he had none.
His temper continued very uncertain; for the most part his manner was that of a man
suffering under almost unendurable provocation, and once or twice things were
snapped, torn, crushed, or broken in spasmodic gusts of violence.
He seemed under a chronic irritation of the greatest intensity.
His habit of talking to himself in a low voice grew steadily upon him, but though
Mrs. Hall listened conscientiously she could make neither head nor tail of what
she heard.
He rarely went abroad by daylight, but at twilight he would go out muffled up
invisibly, whether the weather were cold or not, and he chose the loneliest paths and
those most overshadowed by trees and banks.
His goggling spectacles and ghastly bandaged face under the penthouse of his
hat, came with a disagreeable suddenness out of the darkness upon one or two home-
going labourers, and Teddy Henfrey,
tumbling out of the "Scarlet Coat" one night, at half-past nine, was scared
shamefully by the stranger's skull-like head (he was walking hat in hand) lit by
the sudden light of the opened inn door.
Such children as saw him at nightfall dreamt of bogies, and it seemed doubtful
whether he disliked boys more than they disliked him, or the reverse; but there was
certainly a vivid enough dislike on either side.
It was inevitable that a person of so remarkable an appearance and bearing should
form a frequent topic in such a village as Iping.
Opinion was greatly divided about his occupation.
Mrs. Hall was sensitive on the point.
When questioned, she explained very carefully that he was an "experimental
investigator," going gingerly over the syllables as one who dreads pitfalls.
When asked what an experimental investigator was, she would say with a
touch of superiority that most educated people knew such things as that, and would
thus explain that he "discovered things."
Her visitor had had an accident, she said, which temporarily discoloured his face and
hands, and being of a sensitive disposition, he was averse to any public
notice of the fact.
Out of her hearing there was a view largely entertained that he was a criminal trying
to escape from justice by wrapping himself up so as to conceal himself altogether from
the eye of the police.
This idea sprang from the brain of Mr. Teddy Henfrey.
No crime of any magnitude dating from the middle or end of February was known to have
Elaborated in the imagination of Mr. Gould, the probationary assistant in the National
School, this theory took the form that the stranger was an Anarchist in disguise,
preparing explosives, and he resolved to
undertake such detective operations as his time permitted.
These consisted for the most part in looking very hard at the stranger whenever
they met, or in asking people who had never seen the stranger, leading questions about
But he detected nothing.
Another school of opinion followed Mr. Fearenside, and either accepted the piebald
view or some modification of it; as, for instance, Silas Durgan, who was heard to
assert that "if he choses to show enself at
fairs he'd make his fortune in no time," and being a bit of a theologian, compared
the stranger to the man with the one talent.
Yet another view explained the entire matter by regarding the stranger as a
harmless lunatic. That had the advantage of accounting for
everything straight away.
Between these main groups there were waverers and compromisers.
Sussex folk have few superstitions, and it was only after the events of early April
that the thought of the supernatural was first whispered in the village.
Even then it was only credited among the women folk.
But whatever they thought of him, people in Iping, on the whole, agreed in disliking
His irritability, though it might have been comprehensible to an urban brain-worker,
was an amazing thing to these quiet Sussex villagers.
The frantic gesticulations they surprised now and then, the headlong pace after
nightfall that swept him upon them round quiet corners, the inhuman bludgeoning of
all tentative advances of curiosity, the
taste for twilight that led to the closing of doors, the pulling down of blinds, the
extinction of candles and lamps--who could agree with such goings on?
They drew aside as he passed down the village, and when he had gone by, young
humourists would up with coat-collars and down with hat-brims, and go pacing
nervously after him in imitation of his occult bearing.
There was a song popular at that time called "The Bogey Man".
Miss Statchell sang it at the schoolroom concert (in aid of the church lamps), and
thereafter whenever one or two of the villagers were gathered together and the
stranger appeared, a bar or so of this
tune, more or less sharp or flat, was whistled in the midst of them.
Also belated little children would call "Bogey Man!" after him, and make off
tremulously elated.
Cuss, the general practitioner, was devoured by curiosity.
The bandages excited his professional interest, the report of the thousand and
one bottles aroused his jealous regard.
All through April and May he coveted an opportunity of talking to the stranger, and
at last, towards Whitsuntide, he could stand it no longer, but hit upon the
subscription-list for a village nurse as an excuse.
He was surprised to find that Mr. Hall did not know his guest's name.
"He give a name," said Mrs. Hall--an assertion which was quite unfounded--"but I
didn't rightly hear it." She thought it seemed so silly not to know
the man's name.
Cuss rapped at the parlour door and entered.
There was a fairly audible imprecation from within.
"Pardon my intrusion," said Cuss, and then the door closed and cut Mrs. Hall off from
the rest of the conversation.
She could hear the murmur of voices for the next ten minutes, then a cry of surprise,
a stirring of feet, a chair flung aside, a bark of laughter, quick steps to the door,
and Cuss appeared, his face white, his eyes staring over his shoulder.
He left the door open behind him, and without looking at her strode across the
hall and went down the steps, and she heard his feet hurrying along the road.
He carried his hat in his hand.
She stood behind the door, looking at the open door of the parlour.
Then she heard the stranger laughing quietly, and then his footsteps came across
the room.
She could not see his face where she stood. The parlour door slammed, and the place was
silent again. Cuss went straight up the village to
Bunting the vicar.
"Am I mad?" Cuss began abruptly, as he entered the
shabby little study. "Do I look like an insane person?"
"What's happened?" said the vicar, putting the ammonite on the loose sheets of his
forth-coming sermon. "That chap at the inn--"
"Give me something to drink," said Cuss, and he sat down.
When his nerves had been steadied by a glass of cheap sherry--the only drink the
good vicar had available--he told him of the interview he had just had.
"Went in," he gasped, "and began to demand a subscription for that Nurse Fund.
He'd stuck his hands in his pockets as I came in, and he sat down lumpily in his
Sniffed. I told him I'd heard he took an interest in
scientific things. He said yes.
Sniffed again.
Kept on sniffing all the time; evidently recently caught an infernal cold.
No wonder, wrapped up like that! I developed the nurse idea, and all the
while kept my eyes open.
Bottles--chemicals--everywhere. Balance, test-tubes in stands, and a smell
of--evening primrose. Would he subscribe?
Said he'd consider it.
Asked him, point-blank, was he researching. Said he was.
A long research? Got quite cross.
'A damnable long research,' said he, blowing the cork out, so to speak.
'Oh,' said I. And out came the grievance.
The man was just on the boil, and my question boiled him over.
He had been given a prescription, most valuable prescription--what for he wouldn't
Was it medical? 'Damn you!
What are you fishing after?' I apologised.
Dignified sniff and cough.
He resumed. He'd read it.
Five ingredients. Put it down; turned his head.
Draught of air from window lifted the paper.
Swish, rustle. He was working in a room with an open
fireplace, he said.
Saw a flicker, and there was the prescription burning and lifting
chimneyward. Rushed towards it just as it whisked up the
So! Just at that point, to illustrate his story, out came his arm."
"Well?" "No hand--just an empty sleeve.
I thought, that's a deformity! Got a cork arm, I suppose, and has taken it
off. Then, I thought, there's something odd in
What the devil keeps that sleeve up and open, if there's nothing in it?
There was nothing in it, I tell you. Nothing down it, right down to the joint.
I could see right down it to the elbow, and there was a glimmer of light shining
through a tear of the cloth. 'Good God!'
I said.
Then he stopped. Stared at me with those black goggles of
his, and then at his sleeve." "Well?"
"That's all.
He never said a word; just glared, and put his sleeve back in his pocket quickly.
'I was saying,' said he, 'that there was the prescription burning, wasn't I?'
Interrogative cough.
'How the devil,' said I, 'can you move an empty sleeve like that?'
'Empty sleeve?' 'Yes,' said I, 'an empty sleeve.'
"'It's an empty sleeve, is it?
You saw it was an empty sleeve?' He stood up right away.
I stood up too. He came towards me in three very slow
steps, and stood quite close.
Sniffed venomously. I didn't flinch, though I'm hanged if that
bandaged knob of his, and those blinkers, aren't enough to unnerve any one, coming
quietly up to you.
"'You said it was an empty sleeve?' he said.
'Certainly,' I said. At staring and saying nothing a barefaced
man, unspectacled, starts scratch.
Then very quietly he pulled his sleeve out of his pocket again, and raised his arm
towards me as though he would show it to me again.
He did it very, very slowly.
I looked at it. Seemed an age.
'Well?' said I, clearing my throat, 'there's nothing in it.'
"Had to say something.
I was beginning to feel frightened. I could see right down it.
He extended it straight towards me, slowly, slowly--just like that--until the cuff was
six inches from my face.
Queer thing to see an empty sleeve come at you like that!
And then--" "Well?"
"Something--exactly like a finger and thumb it felt--nipped my nose."
Bunting began to laugh.
"There wasn't anything there!" said Cuss, his voice running up into a shriek at the
"It's all very well for you to laugh, but I tell you I was so startled, I hit his cuff
hard, and turned around, and cut out of the room--I left him--"
Cuss stopped.
There was no mistaking the sincerity of his panic.
He turned round in a helpless way and took a second glass of the excellent vicar's
very inferior sherry.
"When I hit his cuff," said Cuss, "I tell you, it felt exactly like hitting an arm.
And there wasn't an arm! There wasn't the ghost of an arm!"
Mr. Bunting thought it over.
He looked suspiciously at Cuss. "It's a most remarkable story," he said.
He looked very wise and grave indeed.
"It's really," said Mr. Bunting with judicial emphasis, "a most remarkable
The facts of the burglary at the vicarage came to us chiefly through the medium of
the vicar and his wife.
It occurred in the small hours of Whit Monday, the day devoted in Iping to the
Club festivities.
Mrs. Bunting, it seems, woke up suddenly in the stillness that comes before the dawn,
with the strong impression that the door of their bedroom had opened and closed.
She did not arouse her husband at first, but sat up in bed listening.
She then distinctly heard the pad, pad, pad of bare feet coming out of the adjoining
dressing-room and walking along the passage towards the staircase.
As soon as she felt assured of this, she aroused the Rev. Mr. Bunting as quietly as
He did not strike a light, but putting on his spectacles, her dressing-gown and his
bath slippers, he went out on the landing to listen.
He heard quite distinctly a fumbling going on at his study desk down-stairs, and then
a violent sneeze.
At that he returned to his bedroom, armed himself with the most obvious weapon, the
poker, and descended the staircase as noiselessly as possible.
Mrs. Bunting came out on the landing.
The hour was about four, and the ultimate darkness of the night was past.
There was a faint shimmer of light in the hall, but the study doorway yawned
impenetrably black.
Everything was still except the faint creaking of the stairs under Mr. Bunting's
tread, and the slight movements in the study.
Then something snapped, the drawer was opened, and there was a rustle of papers.
Then came an imprecation, and a match was struck and the study was flooded with
yellow light.
Mr. Bunting was now in the hall, and through the crack of the door he could see
the desk and the open drawer and a candle burning on the desk.
But the robber he could not see.
He stood there in the hall undecided what to do, and Mrs. Bunting, her face white and
intent, crept slowly downstairs after him.
One thing kept Mr. Bunting's courage; the persuasion that this burglar was a resident
in the village.
They heard the chink of money, and realised that the robber had found the housekeeping
reserve of gold--two pounds ten in half sovereigns altogether.
At that sound Mr. Bunting was nerved to abrupt action.
Gripping the poker firmly, he rushed into the room, closely followed by Mrs. Bunting.
"Surrender!" cried Mr. Bunting, fiercely, and then stooped amazed.
Apparently the room was perfectly empty.
Yet their conviction that they had, that very moment, heard somebody moving in the
room had amounted to a certainty.
For half a minute, perhaps, they stood gaping, then Mrs. Bunting went across the
room and looked behind the screen, while Mr. Bunting, by a kindred impulse, peered
under the desk.
Then Mrs. Bunting turned back the window- curtains, and Mr. Bunting looked up the
chimney and probed it with the poker.
Then Mrs. Bunting scrutinised the waste- paper basket and Mr. Bunting opened the lid
of the coal-scuttle. Then they came to a stop and stood with
eyes interrogating each other.
"I could have sworn--" said Mr. Bunting. "The candle!" said Mr. Bunting.
"Who lit the candle?" "The drawer!" said Mrs. Bunting.
"And the money's gone!"
She went hastily to the doorway. "Of all the strange occurrences--"
There was a violent sneeze in the passage. They rushed out, and as they did so the
kitchen door slammed.
"Bring the candle," said Mr. Bunting, and led the way.
They both heard a sound of bolts being hastily shot back.
As he opened the kitchen door he saw through the scullery that the back door was
just opening, and the faint light of early dawn displayed the dark masses of the
garden beyond.
He is certain that nothing went out of the door.
It opened, stood open for a moment, and then closed with a slam.
As it did so, the candle Mrs. Bunting was carrying from the study flickered and
flared. It was a minute or more before they entered
the kitchen.
The place was empty. They refastened the back door, examined the
kitchen, pantry, and scullery thoroughly, and at last went down into the cellar.
There was not a soul to be found in the house, search as they would.
Daylight found the vicar and his wife, a quaintly-costumed little couple, still
marvelling about on their own ground floor by the unnecessary light of a guttering
Now it happened that in the early hours of Whit Monday, before Millie was hunted out
for the day, Mr. Hall and Mrs. Hall both rose and went noiselessly down into the
Their business there was of a private nature, and had something to do with the
specific gravity of their beer.
They had hardly entered the cellar when Mrs. Hall found she had forgotten to bring
down a bottle of sarsaparilla from their joint-room.
As she was the expert and principal operator in this affair, Hall very properly
went upstairs for it. On the landing he was surprised to see that
the stranger's door was ajar.
He went on into his own room and found the bottle as he had been directed.
But returning with the bottle, he noticed that the bolts of the front door had been
shot back, that the door was in fact simply on the latch.
And with a flash of inspiration he connected this with the stranger's room
upstairs and the suggestions of Mr. Teddy Henfrey.
He distinctly remembered holding the candle while Mrs. Hall shot these bolts overnight.
At the sight he stopped, gaping, then with the bottle still in his hand went upstairs
He rapped at the stranger's door. There was no answer.
He rapped again; then pushed the door wide open and entered.
It was as he expected.
The bed, the room also, was empty.
And what was stranger, even to his heavy intelligence, on the bedroom chair and
along the rail of the bed were scattered the garments, the only garments so far as
he knew, and the bandages of their guest.
His big slouch hat even was cocked jauntily over the bed-post.
As Hall stood there he heard his wife's voice coming out of the depth of the
cellar, with that rapid telescoping of the syllables and interrogative cocking up of
the final words to a high note, by which
the West Sussex villager is wont to indicate a brisk impatience.
"George! You gart whad a wand?"
At that he turned and hurried down to her.
"Janny," he said, over the rail of the cellar steps, "'tas the truth what Henfrey
sez. 'E's not in uz room, 'e en't.
And the front door's onbolted."
At first Mrs. Hall did not understand, and as soon as she did she resolved to see the
empty room for herself. Hall, still holding the bottle, went first.
"If 'e en't there," he said, "'is close are.
And what's 'e doin' 'ithout 'is close, then?
'Tas a most curious business."
As they came up the cellar steps they both, it was afterwards ascertained, fancied they
heard the front door open and shut, but seeing it closed and nothing there, neither
said a word to the other about it at the time.
Mrs. Hall passed her husband in the passage and ran on first upstairs.
Someone sneezed on the staircase.
Hall, following six steps behind, thought that he heard her sneeze.
She, going on first, was under the impression that Hall was sneezing.
She flung open the door and stood regarding the room.
"Of all the curious!" she said.
She heard a sniff close behind her head as it seemed, and turning, was surprised to
see Hall a dozen feet off on the topmost stair.
But in another moment he was beside her.
She bent forward and put her hand on the pillow and then under the clothes.
"Cold," she said. "He's been up this hour or more."
As she did so, a most extraordinary thing happened.
The bed-clothes gathered themselves together, leapt up suddenly into a sort of
peak, and then jumped headlong over the bottom rail.
It was exactly as if a hand had clutched them in the centre and flung them aside.
Immediately after, the stranger's hat hopped off the bed-post, described a
whirling flight in the air through the better part of a circle, and then dashed
straight at Mrs. Hall's face.
Then as swiftly came the sponge from the washstand; and then the chair, flinging the
stranger's coat and trousers carelessly aside, and laughing drily in a voice
singularly like the stranger's, turned
itself up with its four legs at Mrs. Hall, seemed to take aim at her for a moment, and
charged at her.
She screamed and turned, and then the chair legs came gently but firmly against her
back and impelled her and Hall out of the room.
The door slammed violently and was locked.
The chair and bed seemed to be executing a dance of triumph for a moment, and then
abruptly everything was still.
Mrs. Hall was left almost in a fainting condition in Mr. Hall's arms on the
It was with the greatest difficulty that Mr. Hall and Millie, who had been roused by
her scream of alarm, succeeded in getting her downstairs, and applying the
restoratives customary in such cases.
"'Tas sperits," said Mrs. Hall. "I know 'tas sperits.
I've read in papers of en. Tables and chairs leaping and dancing..."
"Take a drop more, Janny," said Hall.
"'Twill steady ye." "Lock him out," said Mrs. Hall.
"Don't let him come in again. I half guessed--I might ha' known.
With them goggling eyes and bandaged head, and never going to church of a Sunday.
And all they bottles--more'n it's right for any one to have.
He's put the sperits into the furniture....
My good old furniture! 'Twas in that very chair my poor dear
mother used to sit when I was a little girl.
To think it should rise up against me now!"
"Just a drop more, Janny," said Hall. "Your nerves is all upset."
They sent Millie across the street through the golden five o'clock sunshine to rouse
up Mr. Sandy Wadgers, the blacksmith.
Mr. Hall's compliments and the furniture upstairs was behaving most extraordinary.
Would Mr. Wadgers come round? He was a knowing man, was Mr. Wadgers, and
very resourceful.
He took quite a grave view of the case. "Arm darmed if thet ent witchcraft," was
the view of Mr. Sandy Wadgers. "You warnt horseshoes for such gentry as
He came round greatly concerned. They wanted him to lead the way upstairs to
the room, but he didn't seem to be in any hurry.
He preferred to talk in the passage.
Over the way Huxter's apprentice came out and began taking down the shutters of the
tobacco window. He was called over to join the discussion.
Mr. Huxter naturally followed over in the course of a few minutes.
The Anglo-Saxon genius for parliamentary government asserted itself; there was a
great deal of talk and no decisive action.
"Let's have the facts first," insisted Mr. Sandy Wadgers.
"Let's be sure we'd be acting perfectly right in bustin' that there door open.
A door onbust is always open to bustin', but ye can't onbust a door once you've
busted en."
And suddenly and most wonderfully the door of the room upstairs opened of its own
accord, and as they looked up in amazement, they saw descending the stairs the muffled
figure of the stranger staring more blackly
and blankly than ever with those unreasonably large blue glass eyes of his.
He came down stiffly and slowly, staring all the time; he walked across the passage
staring, then stopped.
"Look there!" he said, and their eyes followed the direction of his gloved finger
and saw a bottle of sarsaparilla hard by the cellar door.
Then he entered the parlour, and suddenly, swiftly, viciously, slammed the door in
their faces. Not a word was spoken until the last echoes
of the slam had died away.
They stared at one another. "Well, if that don't lick everything!" said
Mr. Wadgers, and left the alternative unsaid.
"I'd go in and ask'n 'bout it," said Wadgers, to Mr. Hall.
"I'd d'mand an explanation." It took some time to bring the landlady's
husband up to that pitch.
At last he rapped, opened the door, and got as far as, "Excuse me--"
"Go to the devil!" said the stranger in a tremendous voice, and "Shut that door after
So that brief interview terminated.
The stranger went into the little parlour of the "Coach and Horses" about half-past
five in the morning, and there he remained until near midday, the blinds down, the
door shut, and none, after Hall's repulse, venturing near him.
All that time he must have fasted.
Thrice he rang his bell, the third time furiously and continuously, but no one
answered him. "Him and his 'go to the devil' indeed!"
said Mrs. Hall.
Presently came an imperfect rumour of the burglary at the vicarage, and two and two
were put together.
Hall, assisted by Wadgers, went off to find Mr. Shuckleforth, the magistrate, and take
his advice. No one ventured upstairs.
How the stranger occupied himself is unknown.
Now and then he would stride violently up and down, and twice came an outburst of
curses, a tearing of paper, and a violent smashing of bottles.
The little group of scared but curious people increased.
Mrs. Huxter came over; some gay young fellows resplendent in black ready-made
jackets and pique paper ties--for it was Whit Monday--joined the group with confused
Young Archie Harker distinguished himself by going up the yard and trying to peep
under the window-blinds.
He could see nothing, but gave reason for supposing that he did, and others of the
Iping youth presently joined him.
It was the finest of all possible Whit Mondays, and down the village street stood
a row of nearly a dozen booths, a shooting gallery, and on the grass by the forge were
three yellow and chocolate waggons and some
picturesque strangers of both sexes putting up a cocoanut shy.
The gentlemen wore blue jerseys, the ladies white aprons and quite fashionable hats
with heavy plumes.
Wodger, of the "Purple Fawn," and Mr. Jaggers, the cobbler, who also sold old
second-hand ordinary bicycles, were stretching a string of union-jacks and
royal ensigns (which had originally
celebrated the first Victorian Jubilee) across the road.
And inside, in the artificial darkness of the parlour, into which only one thin jet
of sunlight penetrated, the stranger, hungry we must suppose, and fearful, hidden
in his uncomfortable hot wrappings, pored
through his dark glasses upon his paper or chinked his dirty little bottles, and
occasionally swore savagely at the boys, audible if invisible, outside the windows.
In the corner by the fireplace lay the fragments of half a dozen smashed bottles,
and a pungent twang of chlorine tainted the air.
So much we know from what was heard at the time and from what was subsequently seen in
the room.
About noon he suddenly opened his parlour door and stood glaring fixedly at the three
or four people in the bar. "Mrs. Hall," he said.
Somebody went sheepishly and called for Mrs. Hall.
Mrs. Hall appeared after an interval, a little short of breath, but all the fiercer
for that.
Hall was still out. She had deliberated over this scene, and
she came holding a little tray with an unsettled bill upon it.
"Is it your bill you're wanting, sir?" she said.
"Why wasn't my breakfast laid? Why haven't you prepared my meals and
answered my bell?
Do you think I live without eating?" "Why isn't my bill paid?" said Mrs. Hall.
"That's what I want to know." "I told you three days ago I was awaiting
a remittance--"
"I told you two days ago I wasn't going to await no remittances.
You can't grumble if your breakfast waits a bit, if my bill's been waiting these five
days, can you?"
The stranger swore briefly but vividly. "Nar, nar!" from the bar.
"And I'd thank you kindly, sir, if you'd keep your swearing to yourself, sir," said
Mrs. Hall.
The stranger stood looking more like an angry diving-helmet than ever.
It was universally felt in the bar that Mrs. Hall had the better of him.
His next words showed as much.
"Look here, my good woman--" he began. "Don't 'good woman' me," said Mrs. Hall.
"I've told you my remittance hasn't come." "Remittance indeed!" said Mrs. Hall.
"Still, I daresay in my pocket--"
"You told me three days ago that you hadn't anything but a sovereign's worth of silver
upon you." "Well, I've found some more--"
"'Ul-lo!" from the bar.
"I wonder where you found it," said Mrs. Hall.
That seemed to annoy the stranger very much.
He stamped his foot.
"What do you mean?" he said. "That I wonder where you found it," said
Mrs. Hall.
"And before I take any bills or get any breakfasts, or do any such things
whatsoever, you got to tell me one or two things I don't understand, and what nobody
don't understand, and what everybody is very anxious to understand.
I want to know what you been doing t'my chair upstairs, and I want to know how 'tis
your room was empty, and how you got in again.
Them as stops in this house comes in by the doors--that's the rule of the house, and
that you didn't do, and what I want to know is how you did come in.
And I want to know--"
Suddenly the stranger raised his gloved hands clenched, stamped his foot, and said,
"Stop!" with such extraordinary violence that he silenced her instantly.
"You don't understand," he said, "who I am or what I am.
I'll show you. By Heaven!
I'll show you."
Then he put his open palm over his face and withdrew it.
The centre of his face became a black cavity.
"Here," he said.
He stepped forward and handed Mrs. Hall something which she, staring at his
metamorphosed face, accepted automatically.
Then, when she saw what it was, she screamed loudly, dropped it, and staggered
back. The nose--it was the stranger's nose! pink
and shining--rolled on the floor.
Then he removed his spectacles, and everyone in the bar gasped.
He took off his hat, and with a violent gesture tore at his whiskers and bandages.
For a moment they resisted him.
A flash of horrible anticipation passed through the bar.
"Oh, my Gard!" said some one. Then off they came.
It was worse than anything.
Mrs. Hall, standing open-mouthed and horror-struck, shrieked at what she saw,
and made for the door of the house. Everyone began to move.
They were prepared for scars, disfigurements, tangible horrors, but
The bandages and false hair flew across the passage into the bar, making a hobbledehoy
jump to avoid them. Everyone tumbled on everyone else down the
For the man who stood there shouting some incoherent explanation, was a solid
gesticulating figure up to the coat-collar of him, and then--nothingness, no visible
thing at all!
People down the village heard shouts and shrieks, and looking up the street saw the
"Coach and Horses" violently firing out its humanity.
They saw Mrs. Hall fall down and Mr. Teddy Henfrey jump to avoid tumbling over her,
and then they heard the frightful screams of Millie, who, emerging suddenly from the
kitchen at the noise of the tumult, had
come upon the headless stranger from behind.
These increased suddenly.
Forthwith everyone all down the street, the sweetstuff seller, cocoanut shy proprietor
and his assistant, the swing man, little boys and girls, rustic dandies, smart
wenches, smocked elders and aproned
gipsies--began running towards the inn, and in a miraculously short space of time a
crowd of perhaps forty people, and rapidly increasing, swayed and hooted and inquired
and exclaimed and suggested, in front of Mrs. Hall's establishment.
Everyone seemed eager to talk at once, and the result was Babel.
A small group supported Mrs. Hall, who was picked up in a state of collapse.
There was a conference, and the incredible evidence of a vociferous eye-witness.
"O Bogey!"
"What's he been doin', then?" "Ain't hurt the girl, 'as 'e?"
"Run at en with a knife, I believe." "No 'ed, I tell ye.
I don't mean no manner of speaking.
I mean marn 'ithout a 'ed!" "Narnsense!
'tis some conjuring trick." "Fetched off 'is wrapping, 'e did--"
In its struggles to see in through the open door, the crowd formed itself into a
straggling wedge, with the more adventurous apex nearest the inn.
"He stood for a moment, I heerd the gal scream, and he turned.
I saw her skirts whisk, and he went after her.
Didn't take ten seconds.
Back he comes with a knife in uz hand and a loaf; stood just as if he was staring.
Not a moment ago. Went in that there door.
I tell 'e, 'e ain't gart no 'ed at all.
You just missed en--"
There was a disturbance behind, and the speaker stopped to step aside for a little
procession that was marching very resolutely towards the house; first Mr.
Hall, very red and determined, then Mr.
Bobby Jaffers, the village constable, and then the wary Mr. Wadgers.
They had come now armed with a warrant. People shouted conflicting information of
the recent circumstances.
"'Ed or no 'ed," said Jaffers, "I got to 'rest en, and 'rest en I will."
Mr. Hall marched up the steps, marched straight to the door of the parlour and
flung it open.
"Constable," he said, "do your duty." Jaffers marched in.
Hall next, Wadgers last.
They saw in the dim light the headless figure facing them, with a gnawed crust of
bread in one gloved hand and a chunk of cheese in the other.
"That's him!" said Hall.
"What the devil's this?" came in a tone of angry expostulation from above the collar
of the figure. "You're a damned rum customer, mister,"
said Mr. Jaffers.
"But 'ed or no 'ed, the warrant says 'body,' and duty's duty--"
"Keep off!" said the figure, starting back.
Abruptly he whipped down the bread and cheese, and Mr. Hall just grasped the knife
on the table in time to save it. Off came the stranger's left glove and was
slapped in Jaffers' face.
In another moment Jaffers, cutting short some statement concerning a warrant, had
gripped him by the handless wrist and caught his invisible throat.
He got a sounding kick on the shin that made him shout, but he kept his grip.
Hall sent the knife sliding along the table to Wadgers, who acted as goal-keeper for
the offensive, so to speak, and then stepped forward as Jaffers and the stranger
swayed and staggered towards him, clutching and hitting in.
A chair stood in the way, and went aside with a crash as they came down together.
"Get the feet," said Jaffers between his teeth.
Mr. Hall, endeavouring to act on instructions, received a sounding kick in
the ribs that disposed of him for a moment, and Mr. Wadgers, seeing the decapitated
stranger had rolled over and got the upper
side of Jaffers, retreated towards the door, knife in hand, and so collided with
Mr. Huxter and the Sidderbridge carter coming to the rescue of law and order.
At the same moment down came three or four bottles from the chiffonnier and shot a web
of pungency into the air of the room.
"I'll surrender," cried the stranger, though he had Jaffers down, and in another
moment he stood up panting, a strange figure, headless and handless--for he had
pulled off his right glove now as well as his left.
"It's no good," he said, as if sobbing for breath.
It was the strangest thing in the world to hear that voice coming as if out of empty
space, but the Sussex peasants are perhaps the most matter-of-fact people under the
Jaffers got up also and produced a pair of handcuffs.
Then he stared.
"I say!" said Jaffers, brought up short by a dim realization of the incongruity of the
whole business, "Darn it! Can't use 'em as I can see."
The stranger ran his arm down his waistcoat, and as if by a miracle the
buttons to which his empty sleeve pointed became undone.
Then he said something about his shin, and stooped down.
He seemed to be fumbling with his shoes and socks.
"Why!" said Huxter, suddenly, "that's not a man at all.
It's just empty clothes. Look!
You can see down his collar and the linings of his clothes.
I could put my arm--"
He extended his hand; it seemed to meet something in mid-air, and he drew it back
with a sharp exclamation.
"I wish you'd keep your fingers out of my eye," said the aerial voice, in a tone of
savage expostulation.
"The fact is, I'm all here--head, hands, legs, and all the rest of it, but it
happens I'm invisible. It's a confounded nuisance, but I am.
That's no reason why I should be poked to pieces by every stupid bumpkin in Iping, is
The suit of clothes, now all unbuttoned and hanging loosely upon its unseen supports,
stood up, arms akimbo.
Several other of the men folks had now entered the room, so that it was closely
crowded. "Invisible, eh?" said Huxter, ignoring the
stranger's abuse.
"Who ever heard the likes of that?" "It's strange, perhaps, but it's not a
crime. Why am I assaulted by a policeman in this
"Ah! that's a different matter," said Jaffers.
"No doubt you are a bit difficult to see in this light, but I got a warrant and it's
all correct.
What I'm after ain't no invisibility,--it's burglary.
There's a house been broke into and money took."
"And circumstances certainly point--" "Stuff and nonsense!" said the Invisible
Man. "I hope so, sir; but I've got my
"Well," said the stranger, "I'll come. I'll come.
But no handcuffs." "It's the regular thing," said Jaffers.
"No handcuffs," stipulated the stranger.
"Pardon me," said Jaffers. Abruptly the figure sat down, and before
any one could realise was was being done, the slippers, socks, and trousers had been
kicked off under the table.
Then he sprang up again and flung off his coat.
"Here, stop that," said Jaffers, suddenly realising what was happening.
He gripped at the waistcoat; it struggled, and the shirt slipped out of it and left it
limply and empty in his hand. "Hold him!" said Jaffers, loudly.
"Once he gets the things off--"
"Hold him!" cried everyone, and there was a rush at the fluttering white shirt which
was now all that was visible of the stranger.
The shirt-sleeve planted a shrewd blow in Hall's face that stopped his open-armed
advance, and sent him backward into old Toothsome the sexton, and in another moment
the garment was lifted up and became
convulsed and vacantly flapping about the arms, even as a shirt that is being thrust
over a man's head.
Jaffers clutched at it, and only helped to pull it off; he was struck in the mouth out
of the air, and incontinently threw his truncheon and smote Teddy Henfrey savagely
upon the crown of his head.
"Look out!" said everybody, fencing at random and hitting at nothing.
"Hold him! Shut the door!
Don't let him loose!
I got something! Here he is!"
A perfect Babel of noises they made.
Everybody, it seemed, was being hit all at once, and Sandy Wadgers, knowing as ever
and his wits sharpened by a frightful blow in the nose, reopened the door and led the
The others, following incontinently, were jammed for a moment in the corner by the
doorway. The hitting continued.
Phipps, the Unitarian, had a front tooth broken, and Henfrey was injured in the
cartilage of his ear.
Jaffers was struck under the jaw, and, turning, caught at something that
intervened between him and Huxter in the melee, and prevented their coming together.
He felt a muscular chest, and in another moment the whole mass of struggling,
excited men shot out into the crowded hall.
"I got him!" shouted Jaffers, choking and reeling through them all, and wrestling
with purple face and swelling veins against his unseen enemy.
Men staggered right and left as the extraordinary conflict swayed swiftly
towards the house door, and went spinning down the half-dozen steps of the inn.
Jaffers cried in a strangled voice--holding tight, nevertheless, and making play with
his knee--spun around, and fell heavily undermost with his head on the gravel.
Only then did his fingers relax.
There were excited cries of "Hold him!"
"Invisible!" and so forth, and a young fellow, a stranger in the place whose name
did not come to light, rushed in at once, caught something, missed his hold, and fell
over the constable's prostrate body.
Half-way across the road a woman screamed as something pushed by her; a dog, kicked
apparently, yelped and ran howling into Huxter's yard, and with that the transit of
the Invisible Man was accomplished.
For a space people stood amazed and gesticulating, and then came panic, and
scattered them abroad through the village as a gust scatters dead leaves.
But Jaffers lay quite still, face upward and knees bent, at the foot of the steps of
the inn.
The eighth chapter is exceedingly brief, and relates that Gibbons, the amateur
naturalist of the district, while lying out on the spacious open downs without a soul
within a couple of miles of him, as he
thought, and almost dozing, heard close to him the sound as of a man coughing,
sneezing, and then swearing savagely to himself; and looking, beheld nothing.
Yet the voice was indisputable.
It continued to swear with that breadth and variety that distinguishes the swearing of
a cultivated man.
It grew to a climax, diminished again, and died away in the distance, going as it
seemed to him in the direction of Adderdean.
It lifted to a spasmodic sneeze and ended.
Gibbons had heard nothing of the morning's occurrences, but the phenomenon was so
striking and disturbing that his philosophical tranquillity vanished; he got
up hastily, and hurried down the steepness
of the hill towards the village, as fast as he could go.
You must picture Mr. Thomas Marvel as a person of copious, flexible visage, a nose
of cylindrical protrusion, a liquorish, ample, fluctuating mouth, and a beard of
bristling eccentricity.
His figure inclined to embonpoint; his short limbs accentuated this inclination.
He wore a furry silk hat, and the frequent substitution of twine and shoe-laces for
buttons, apparent at critical points of his costume, marked a man essentially bachelor.
Mr. Thomas Marvel was sitting with his feet in a ditch by the roadside over the down
towards Adderdean, about a mile and a half out of Iping.
His feet, save for socks of irregular open- work, were bare, his big toes were broad,
and pricked like the ears of a watchful dog.
In a leisurely manner--he did everything in a leisurely manner--he was contemplating
trying on a pair of boots.
They were the soundest boots he had come across for a long time, but too large for
him; whereas the ones he had were, in dry weather, a very comfortable fit, but too
thin-soled for damp.
Mr. Thomas Marvel hated roomy shoes, but then he hated damp.
He had never properly thought out which he hated most, and it was a pleasant day, and
there was nothing better to do.
So he put the four shoes in a graceful group on the turf and looked at them.
And seeing them there among the grass and springing agrimony, it suddenly occurred to
him that both pairs were exceedingly ugly to see.
He was not at all startled by a voice behind him.
"They're boots, anyhow," said the Voice.
"They are--charity boots," said Mr. Thomas Marvel, with his head on one side regarding
them distastefully; "and which is the ugliest pair in the whole blessed universe,
I'm darned if I know!"
"H'm," said the Voice. "I've worn worse--in fact, I've worn none.
But none so owdacious ugly--if you'll allow the expression.
I've been cadging boots--in particular--for days.
Because I was sick of them. They're sound enough, of course.
But a gentleman on tramp sees such a thundering lot of his boots.
And if you'll believe me, I've raised nothing in the whole blessed country, try
as I would, but them.
Look at 'em! And a good country for boots, too, in a
general way. But it's just my promiscuous luck.
I've got my boots in this country ten years or more.
And then they treat you like this." "It's a beast of a country," said the
"And pigs for people." "Ain't it?" said Mr. Thomas Marvel.
"Lord! But them boots!
It beats it."
He turned his head over his shoulder to the right, to look at the boots of his
interlocutor with a view to comparisons, and lo! where the boots of his interlocutor
should have been were neither legs nor boots.
He was irradiated by the dawn of a great amazement.
"Where are yer?" said Mr. Thomas Marvel over his shoulder and coming on all fours.
He saw a stretch of empty downs with the wind swaying the remote green-pointed furze
"Am I drunk?" said Mr. Marvel. "Have I had visions?
Was I talking to myself? What the--"
"Don't be alarmed," said a Voice.
"None of your ventriloquising me," said Mr. Thomas Marvel, rising sharply to his feet.
"Where are yer? Alarmed, indeed!"
"Don't be alarmed," repeated the Voice.
"You'll be alarmed in a minute, you silly fool," said Mr. Thomas Marvel.
"Where are yer? Lemme get my mark on yer...
"Are yer buried?" said Mr. Thomas Marvel, after an interval.
There was no answer. Mr. Thomas Marvel stood bootless and
amazed, his jacket nearly thrown off.
"Peewit," said a peewit, very remote. "Peewit, indeed!" said Mr. Thomas Marvel.
"This ain't no time for foolery."
The down was desolate, east and west, north and south; the road with its shallow
ditches and white bordering stakes, ran smooth and empty north and south, and, save
for that peewit, the blue sky was empty too.
"So help me," said Mr. Thomas Marvel, shuffling his coat on to his shoulders
"It's the drink! I might ha' known."
"It's not the drink," said the Voice. "You keep your nerves steady."
"Ow!" said Mr. Marvel, and his face grew white amidst its patches.
"It's the drink!" his lips repeated noiselessly.
He remained staring about him, rotating slowly backwards.
"I could have swore I heard a voice," he whispered.
"Of course you did."
"It's there again," said Mr. Marvel, closing his eyes and clasping his hand on
his brow with a tragic gesture.
He was suddenly taken by the collar and shaken violently, and left more dazed than
ever. "Don't be a fool," said the Voice.
"I'm--off--my--blooming--chump," said Mr. Marvel.
"It's no good. It's fretting about them blarsted boots.
I'm off my blessed blooming chump.
Or it's spirits." "Neither one thing nor the other," said the
Voice. "Listen!"
"Chump," said Mr. Marvel.
"One minute," said the Voice, penetratingly, tremulous with self-control.
"Well?" said Mr. Thomas Marvel, with a strange feeling of having been dug in the
chest by a finger.
"You think I'm just imagination? Just imagination?"
"What else can you be?" said Mr. Thomas Marvel, rubbing the back of his neck.
"Very well," said the Voice, in a tone of relief.
"Then I'm going to throw flints at you till you think differently."
"But where are yer?"
The Voice made no answer. Whizz came a flint, apparently out of the
air, and missed Mr. Marvel's shoulder by a hair's-breadth.
Mr. Marvel, turning, saw a flint jerk up into the air, trace a complicated path,
hang for a moment, and then fling at his feet with almost invisible rapidity.
He was too amazed to dodge.
Whizz it came, and ricochetted from a bare toe into the ditch.
Mr. Thomas Marvel jumped a foot and howled aloud.
Then he started to run, tripped over an unseen obstacle, and came head over heels
into a sitting position.
"Now," said the Voice, as a third stone curved upward and hung in the air above the
tramp. "Am I imagination?"
Mr. Marvel by way of reply struggled to his feet, and was immediately rolled over
again. He lay quiet for a moment.
"If you struggle any more," said the Voice, "I shall throw the flint at your head."
"It's a fair do," said Mr. Thomas Marvel, sitting up, taking his wounded toe in hand
and fixing his eye on the third missile.
"I don't understand it. Stones flinging themselves.
Stones talking. Put yourself down.
Rot away.
I'm done." The third flint fell.
"It's very simple," said the Voice. "I'm an invisible man."
"Tell us something I don't know," said Mr. Marvel, gasping with pain.
"Where you've hid--how you do it--I don't know.
I'm beat."
"That's all," said the Voice. "I'm invisible.
That's what I want you to understand." "Anyone could see that.
There is no need for you to be so confounded impatient, mister.
Now then. Give us a notion.
How are you hid?"
"I'm invisible. That's the great point.
And what I want you to understand is this-- "
"But whereabouts?" interrupted Mr. Marvel.
"Here! Six yards in front of you."
"Oh, come! I ain't blind.
You'll be telling me next you're just thin air.
I'm not one of your ignorant tramps--" "Yes, I am--thin air.
You're looking through me."
"What! Ain't there any stuff to you.
Vox et--what is it?--jabber. Is it that?"
"I am just a human being--solid, needing food and drink, needing covering too--But
I'm invisible. You see?
Simple idea. Invisible."
"What, real like?" "Yes, real."
"Let's have a hand of you," said Marvel, "if you are real.
It won't be so darn out-of-the-way like, then--Lord!" he said, "how you made me
jump!--gripping me like that!"
He felt the hand that had closed round his wrist with his disengaged fingers, and his
fingers went timorously up the arm, patted a muscular chest, and explored a bearded
Marvel's face was astonishment. "I'm dashed!" he said.
"If this don't beat cock-fighting! Most remarkable!--And there I can see a
rabbit clean through you, 'arf a mile away!
Not a bit of you visible--except--" He scrutinised the apparently empty space
keenly. "You 'aven't been eatin' bread and cheese?"
he asked, holding the invisible arm.
"You're quite right, and it's not quite assimilated into the system."
"Ah!" said Mr. Marvel. "Sort of ghostly, though."
"Of course, all this isn't half so wonderful as you think."
"It's quite wonderful enough for my modest wants," said Mr. Thomas Marvel.
"Howjer manage it!
How the dooce is it done?" "It's too long a story.
And besides--" "I tell you, the whole business fairly
beats me," said Mr. Marvel.
"What I want to say at present is this: I need help.
I have come to that--I came upon you suddenly.
I was wandering, mad with rage, naked, impotent.
I could have murdered. And I saw you--"
"Lord!" said Mr. Marvel.
"I came up behind you--hesitated--went on-- "
Mr. Marvel's expression was eloquent. "--then stopped.
'Here,' I said, 'is an outcast like myself.
This is the man for me.' So I turned back and came to you--you.
And--" "Lord!" said Mr. Marvel.
"But I'm all in a tizzy.
May I ask--How is it? And what you may be requiring in the way of
help?--Invisible!" "I want you to help me get clothes--and
shelter--and then, with other things.
I've left them long enough. If you won't--well!
But you will--must." "Look here," said Mr. Marvel.
"I'm too flabbergasted.
Don't knock me about any more. And leave me go.
I must get steady a bit. And you've pretty near broken my toe.
It's all so unreasonable.
Empty downs, empty sky. Nothing visible for miles except the bosom
of Nature. And then comes a voice.
A voice out of heaven!
And stones! And a fist--Lord!"
"Pull yourself together," said the Voice, "for you have to do the job I've chosen for
Mr. Marvel blew out his cheeks, and his eyes were round.
"I've chosen you," said the Voice.
"You are the only man except some of those fools down there, who knows there is such a
thing as an invisible man. You have to be my helper.
Help me--and I will do great things for you.
An invisible man is a man of power." He stopped for a moment to sneeze
"But if you betray me," he said, "if you fail to do as I direct you--" He paused and
tapped Mr. Marvel's shoulder smartly. Mr. Marvel gave a yelp of terror at the
"I don't want to betray you," said Mr. Marvel, edging away from the direction of
the fingers. "Don't you go a-thinking that, whatever you
All I want to do is to help you--just tell me what I got to do.
(Lord!) Whatever you want done, that I'm most
willing to do."
After the first gusty panic had spent itself Iping became argumentative.
Scepticism suddenly reared its head--rather nervous scepticism, not at all assured of
its back, but scepticism nevertheless.
It is so much easier not to believe in an invisible man; and those who had actually
seen him dissolve into air, or felt the strength of his arm, could be counted on
the fingers of two hands.
And of these witnesses Mr. Wadgers was presently missing, having retired
impregnably behind the bolts and bars of his own house, and Jaffers was lying
stunned in the parlour of the "Coach and Horses."
Great and strange ideas transcending experience often have less effect upon men
and women than smaller, more tangible considerations.
Iping was gay with bunting, and everybody was in gala dress.
Whit Monday had been looked forward to for a month or more.
By the afternoon even those who believed in the Unseen were beginning to resume their
little amusements in a tentative fashion, on the supposition that he had quite gone
away, and with the sceptics he was already a jest.
But people, sceptics and believers alike, were remarkably sociable all that day.
Haysman's meadow was gay with a tent, in which Mrs. Bunting and other ladies were
preparing tea, while, without, the Sunday- school children ran races and played games
under the noisy guidance of the curate and the Misses Cuss and Sackbut.
No doubt there was a slight uneasiness in the air, but people for the most part had
the sense to conceal whatever imaginative qualms they experienced.
On the village green an inclined strong [word missing?], down which, clinging the
while to a pulley-swung handle, one could be hurled violently against a sack at the
other end, came in for considerable favour
among the adolescent, as also did the swings and the cocoanut shies.
There was also promenading, and the steam organ attached to a small roundabout filled
the air with a pungent flavour of oil and with equally pungent music.
Members of the club, who had attended church in the morning, were splendid in
badges of pink and green, and some of the gayer-minded had also adorned their bowler
hats with brilliant-coloured favours of ribbon.
Old Fletcher, whose conceptions of holiday- making were severe, was visible through the
jasmine about his window or through the open door (whichever way you chose to
look), poised delicately on a plank
supported on two chairs, and whitewashing the ceiling of his front room.
About four o'clock a stranger entered the village from the direction of the downs.
He was a short, stout person in an extraordinarily shabby top hat, and he
appeared to be very much out of breath. His cheeks were alternately limp and
tightly puffed.
His mottled face was apprehensive, and he moved with a sort of reluctant alacrity.
He turned the corner of the church, and directed his way to the "Coach and Horses."
Among others old Fletcher remembers seeing him, and indeed the old gentleman was so
struck by his peculiar agitation that he inadvertently allowed a quantity of
whitewash to run down the brush into the sleeve of his coat while regarding him.
This stranger, to the perceptions of the proprietor of the cocoanut shy, appeared to
be talking to himself, and Mr. Huxter remarked the same thing.
He stopped at the foot of the "Coach and Horses" steps, and, according to Mr.
Huxter, appeared to undergo a severe internal struggle before he could induce
himself to enter the house.
Finally he marched up the steps, and was seen by Mr. Huxter to turn to the left and
open the door of the parlour.
Mr. Huxter heard voices from within the room and from the bar apprising the man of
his error.
"That room's private!" said Hall, and the stranger shut the door clumsily and went
into the bar.
In the course of a few minutes he reappeared, wiping his lips with the back
of his hand with an air of quiet satisfaction that somehow impressed Mr.
Huxter as assumed.
He stood looking about him for some moments, and then Mr. Huxter saw him walk
in an oddly furtive manner towards the gates of the yard, upon which the parlour
window opened.
The stranger, after some hesitation, leant against one of the gate-posts, produced a
short clay pipe, and prepared to fill it. His fingers trembled while doing so.
He lit it clumsily, and folding his arms began to smoke in a languid attitude, an
attitude which his occasional glances up the yard altogether belied.
All this Mr. Huxter saw over the canisters of the tobacco window, and the singularity
of the man's behaviour prompted him to maintain his observation.
Presently the stranger stood up abruptly and put his pipe in his pocket.
Then he vanished into the yard.
Forthwith Mr. Huxter, conceiving he was witness of some petty larceny, leapt round
his counter and ran out into the road to intercept the thief.
As he did so, Mr. Marvel reappeared, his hat askew, a big bundle in a blue table-
cloth in one hand, and three books tied together--as it proved afterwards with the
Vicar's braces--in the other.
Directly he saw Huxter he gave a sort of gasp, and turning sharply to the left,
began to run. "Stop, thief!" cried Huxter, and set off
after him.
Mr. Huxter's sensations were vivid but brief.
He saw the man just before him and spurting briskly for the church corner and the hill
He saw the village flags and festivities beyond, and a face or so turned towards
him. He bawled, "Stop!" again.
He had hardly gone ten strides before his shin was caught in some mysterious fashion,
and he was no longer running, but flying with inconceivable rapidity through the
He saw the ground suddenly close to his face.
The world seemed to splash into a million whirling specks of light, and subsequent
proceedings interested him no more.
Now in order clearly to understand what had happened in the inn, it is necessary to go
back to the moment when Mr. Marvel first came into view of Mr. Huxter's window.
At that precise moment Mr. Cuss and Mr. Bunting were in the parlour.
They were seriously investigating the strange occurrences of the morning, and
were, with Mr. Hall's permission, making a thorough examination of the Invisible Man's
Jaffers had partially recovered from his fall and had gone home in the charge of his
sympathetic friends.
The stranger's scattered garments had been removed by Mrs. Hall and the room tidied
And on the table under the window where the stranger had been wont to work, Cuss had
hit almost at once on three big books in manuscript labelled "Diary."
"Diary!" said Cuss, putting the three books on the table.
"Now, at any rate, we shall learn something."
The Vicar stood with his hands on the table.
"Diary," repeated Cuss, sitting down, putting two volumes to support the third,
and opening it.
"H'm--no name on the fly-leaf. Bother!--cypher.
And figures." The vicar came round to look over his
Cuss turned the pages over with a face suddenly disappointed.
"I'm--dear me! It's all cypher, Bunting."
"There are no diagrams?" asked Mr. Bunting.
"No illustrations throwing light--" "See for yourself," said Mr. Cuss.
"Some of it's mathematical and some of it's Russian or some such language (to judge by
the letters), and some of it's Greek.
Now the Greek I thought you--"
"Of course," said Mr. Bunting, taking out and wiping his spectacles and feeling
suddenly very uncomfortable--for he had no Greek left in his mind worth talking about;
"yes--the Greek, of course, may furnish a clue."
"I'll find you a place." "I'd rather glance through the volumes
first," said Mr. Bunting, still wiping.
"A general impression first, Cuss, and then, you know, we can go looking for
He coughed, put on his glasses, arranged them fastidiously, coughed again, and
wished something would happen to avert the seemingly inevitable exposure.
Then he took the volume Cuss handed him in a leisurely manner.
And then something did happen. The door opened suddenly.
Both gentlemen started violently, looked round, and were relieved to see a
sporadically rosy face beneath a furry silk hat.
"Tap?" asked the face, and stood staring.
"No," said both gentlemen at once. "Over the other side, my man," said Mr.
Bunting. And "Please shut that door," said Mr. Cuss,
"All right," said the intruder, as it seemed in a low voice curiously different
from the huskiness of its first inquiry. "Right you are," said the intruder in the
former voice.
"Stand clear!" and he vanished and closed the door.
"A sailor, I should judge," said Mr. Bunting.
"Amusing fellows, they are.
Stand clear! indeed. A nautical term, referring to his getting
back out of the room, I suppose." "I daresay so," said Cuss.
"My nerves are all loose to-day.
It quite made me jump--the door opening like that."
Mr. Bunting smiled as if he had not jumped. "And now," he said with a sigh, "these
Someone sniffed as he did so. "One thing is indisputable," said Bunting,
drawing up a chair next to that of Cuss.
"There certainly have been very strange things happen in Iping during the last few
days--very strange. I cannot of course believe in this absurd
invisibility story--"
"It's incredible," said Cuss--"incredible. But the fact remains that I saw--I
certainly saw right down his sleeve--" "But did you--are you sure?
Suppose a mirror, for instance-- hallucinations are so easily produced.
I don't know if you have ever seen a really good conjuror--"
"I won't argue again," said Cuss.
"We've thrashed that out, Bunting. And just now there's these books--Ah!
here's some of what I take to be Greek! Greek letters certainly."
He pointed to the middle of the page.
Mr. Bunting flushed slightly and brought his face nearer, apparently finding some
difficulty with his glasses. Suddenly he became aware of a strange
feeling at the nape of his neck.
He tried to raise his head, and encountered an immovable resistance.
The feeling was a curious pressure, the grip of a heavy, firm hand, and it bore his
chin irresistibly to the table.
"Don't move, little men," whispered a voice, "or I'll brain you both!"
He looked into the face of Cuss, close to his own, and each saw a horrified
reflection of his own sickly astonishment.
"I'm sorry to handle you so roughly," said the Voice, "but it's unavoidable."
"Since when did you learn to pry into an investigator's private memoranda," said the
Voice; and two chins struck the table simultaneously, and two sets of teeth
"Since when did you learn to invade the private rooms of a man in misfortune?" and
the concussion was repeated. "Where have they put my clothes?"
"Listen," said the Voice.
"The windows are fastened and I've taken the key out of the door.
I am a fairly strong man, and I have the poker handy--besides being invisible.
There's not the slightest doubt that I could kill you both and get away quite
easily if I wanted to--do you understand? Very well.
If I let you go will you promise not to try any nonsense and do what I tell you?"
The vicar and the doctor looked at one another, and the doctor pulled a face.
"Yes," said Mr. Bunting, and the doctor repeated it.
Then the pressure on the necks relaxed, and the doctor and the vicar sat up, both very
red in the face and wriggling their heads.
"Please keep sitting where you are," said the Invisible Man.
"Here's the poker, you see."
"When I came into this room," continued the Invisible Man, after presenting the poker
to the tip of the nose of each of his visitors, "I did not expect to find it
occupied, and I expected to find, in
addition to my books of memoranda, an outfit of clothing.
Where is it? No--don't rise.
I can see it's gone.
Now, just at present, though the days are quite warm enough for an invisible man to
run about stark, the evenings are quite chilly.
I want clothing--and other accommodation; and I must also have those three books."
It is unavoidable that at this point the narrative should break off again, for a
certain very painful reason that will presently be apparent.
While these things were going on in the parlour, and while Mr. Huxter was watching
Mr. Marvel smoking his pipe against the gate, not a dozen yards away were Mr. Hall
and Teddy Henfrey discussing in a state of cloudy puzzlement the one Iping topic.
Suddenly there came a violent thud against the door of the parlour, a sharp cry, and
"Hul-lo!" said Teddy Henfrey. "Hul-lo!" from the Tap.
Mr. Hall took things in slowly but surely.
"That ain't right," he said, and came round from behind the bar towards the parlour
door. He and Teddy approached the door together,
with intent faces.
Their eyes considered. "Summat wrong," said Hall, and Henfrey
nodded agreement.
Whiffs of an unpleasant chemical odour met them, and there was a muffled sound of
conversation, very rapid and subdued. "You all right thur?" asked Hall, rapping.
The muttered conversation ceased abruptly, for a moment silence, then the conversation
was resumed, in hissing whispers, then a sharp cry of "No! no, you don't!"
There came a sudden motion and the oversetting of a chair, a brief struggle.
Silence again. "What the dooce?" exclaimed Henfrey, sotto
"You--all--right thur?" asked Mr. Hall, sharply, again.
The Vicar's voice answered with a curious jerking intonation: "Quite ri-right.
Please don't--interrupt."
"Odd!" said Mr. Henfrey. "Odd!" said Mr. Hall.
"Says, 'Don't interrupt,'" said Henfrey. "I heerd'n," said Hall.
"And a sniff," said Henfrey.
They remained listening. The conversation was rapid and subdued.
"I can't," said Mr. Bunting, his voice rising; "I tell you, sir, I will not."
"What was that?" asked Henfrey.
"Says he wi' nart," said Hall. "Warn't speaking to us, wuz he?"
"Disgraceful!" said Mr. Bunting, within. "'Disgraceful,'" said Mr. Henfrey.
"I heard it--distinct."
"Who's that speaking now?" asked Henfrey. "Mr. Cuss, I s'pose," said Hall.
"Can you hear--anything?" Silence.
The sounds within indistinct and perplexing.
"Sounds like throwing the table-cloth about," said Hall.
Mrs. Hall appeared behind the bar.
Hall made gestures of silence and invitation.
This aroused Mrs. Hall's wifely opposition. "What yer listenin' there for, Hall?" she
"Ain't you nothin' better to do--busy day like this?"
Hall tried to convey everything by grimaces and dumb show, but Mrs. Hall was obdurate.
She raised her voice.
So Hall and Henfrey, rather crestfallen, tiptoed back to the bar, gesticulating to
explain to her. At first she refused to see anything in
what they had heard at all.
Then she insisted on Hall keeping silence, while Henfrey told her his story.
She was inclined to think the whole business nonsense--perhaps they were just
moving the furniture about.
"I heerd'n say 'disgraceful'; that I did," said Hall.
"I heerd that, Mrs. Hall," said Henfrey. "Like as not--" began Mrs. Hall.
"Hsh!" said Mr. Teddy Henfrey.
"Didn't I hear the window?" "What window?" asked Mrs. Hall.
"Parlour window," said Henfrey. Everyone stood listening intently.
Mrs. Hall's eyes, directed straight before her, saw without seeing the brilliant
oblong of the inn door, the road white and vivid, and Huxter's shop-front blistering
in the June sun.
Abruptly Huxter's door opened and Huxter appeared, eyes staring with excitement,
arms gesticulating. "Yap!" cried Huxter.
"Stop thief!" and he ran obliquely across the oblong towards the yard gates, and
Simultaneously came a tumult from the parlour, and a sound of windows being
Hall, Henfrey, and the human contents of the tap rushed out at once pell-mell into
the street.
They saw someone whisk round the corner towards the road, and Mr. Huxter executing
a complicated leap in the air that ended on his face and shoulder.
Down the street people were standing astonished or running towards them.
Mr. Huxter was stunned.
Henfrey stopped to discover this, but Hall and the two labourers from the Tap rushed
at once to the corner, shouting incoherent things, and saw Mr. Marvel vanishing by the
corner of the church wall.
They appear to have jumped to the impossible conclusion that this was the
Invisible Man suddenly become visible, and set off at once along the lane in pursuit.
But Hall had hardly run a dozen yards before he gave a loud shout of astonishment
and went flying headlong sideways, clutching one of the labourers and bringing
him to the ground.
He had been charged just as one charges a man at football.
The second labourer came round in a circle, stared, and conceiving that Hall had
tumbled over of his own accord, turned to resume the pursuit, only to be tripped by
the ankle just as Huxter had been.
Then, as the first labourer struggled to his feet, he was kicked sideways by a blow
that might have felled an ox.
As he went down, the rush from the direction of the village green came round
the corner.
The first to appear was the proprietor of the cocoanut shy, a burly man in a blue
He was astonished to see the lane empty save for three men sprawling absurdly on
the ground.
And then something happened to his rear- most foot, and he went headlong and rolled
sideways just in time to graze the feet of his brother and partner, following
The two were then kicked, knelt on, fallen over, and cursed by quite a number of over-
hasty people.
Now when Hall and Henfrey and the labourers ran out of the house, Mrs. Hall, who had
been disciplined by years of experience, remained in the bar next the till.
And suddenly the parlour door was opened, and Mr. Cuss appeared, and without glancing
at her rushed at once down the steps toward the corner.
"Hold him!" he cried.
"Don't let him drop that parcel." He knew nothing of the existence of Marvel.
For the Invisible Man had handed over the books and bundle in the yard.
The face of Mr. Cuss was angry and resolute, but his costume was defective, a
sort of limp white kilt that could only have passed muster in Greece.
"Hold him!" he bawled.
"He's got my trousers! And every stitch of the Vicar's clothes!"
"'Tend to him in a minute!" he cried to Henfrey as he passed the prostrate Huxter,
and, coming round the corner to join the tumult, was promptly knocked off his feet
into an indecorous sprawl.
Somebody in full flight trod heavily on his finger.
He yelled, struggled to regain his feet, was knocked against and thrown on all fours
again, and became aware that he was involved not in a capture, but a rout.
Everyone was running back to the village.
He rose again and was hit severely behind the ear.
He staggered and set off back to the "Coach and Horses" forthwith, leaping over the
deserted Huxter, who was now sitting up, on his way.
Behind him as he was halfway up the inn steps he heard a sudden yell of rage,
rising sharply out of the confusion of cries, and a sounding smack in someone's
He recognised the voice as that of the Invisible Man, and the note was that of a
man suddenly infuriated by a painful blow. In another moment Mr. Cuss was back in the
"He's coming back, Bunting!" he said, rushing in.
"Save yourself!"
Mr. Bunting was standing in the window engaged in an attempt to clothe himself in
the hearth-rug and a West Surrey Gazette.
"Who's coming?" he said, so startled that his costume narrowly escaped
disintegration. "Invisible Man," said Cuss, and rushed on
to the window.
"We'd better clear out from here! He's fighting mad!
Mad!" In another moment he was out in the yard.
"Good heavens!" said Mr. Bunting, hesitating between two horrible
He heard a frightful struggle in the passage of the inn, and his decision was
He clambered out of the window, adjusted his costume hastily, and fled up the
village as fast as his fat little legs would carry him.
From the moment when the Invisible Man screamed with rage and Mr. Bunting made his
memorable flight up the village, it became impossible to give a consecutive account of
affairs in Iping.
Possibly the Invisible Man's original intention was simply to cover Marvel's
retreat with the clothes and books.
But his temper, at no time very good, seems to have gone completely at some chance
blow, and forthwith he set to smiting and overthrowing, for the mere satisfaction of
You must figure the street full of running figures, of doors slamming and fights for
You must figure the tumult suddenly striking on the unstable equilibrium of old
Fletcher's planks and two chairs--with cataclysmic results.
You must figure an appalled couple caught dismally in a swing.
And then the whole tumultuous rush has passed and the Iping street with its gauds
and flags is deserted save for the still raging unseen, and littered with cocoanuts,
overthrown canvas screens, and the
scattered stock in trade of a sweetstuff stall.
Everywhere there is a sound of closing shutters and shoving bolts, and the only
visible humanity is an occasional flitting eye under a raised eyebrow in the corner of
a window pane.
The Invisible Man amused himself for a little while by breaking all the windows in
the "Coach and Horses," and then he thrust a street lamp through the parlour window of
Mrs. Gribble.
He it must have been who cut the telegraph wire to Adderdean just beyond Higgins'
cottage on the Adderdean road.
And after that, as his peculiar qualities allowed, he passed out of human perceptions
altogether, and he was neither heard, seen, nor felt in Iping any more.
He vanished absolutely.
But it was the best part of two hours before any human being ventured out again
into the desolation of Iping street.
When the dusk was gathering and Iping was just beginning to peep timorously forth
again upon the shattered wreckage of its Bank Holiday, a short, thick-set man in a
shabby silk hat was marching painfully
through the twilight behind the beechwoods on the road to Bramblehurst.
He carried three books bound together by some sort of ornamental elastic ligature,
and a bundle wrapped in a blue table-cloth.
His rubicund face expressed consternation and fatigue; he appeared to be in a
spasmodic sort of hurry.
He was accompanied by a voice other than his own, and ever and again he winced under
the touch of unseen hands.
"If you give me the slip again," said the Voice, "if you attempt to give me the slip
again--" "Lord!" said Mr. Marvel.
"That shoulder's a mass of bruises as it is."
"On my honour," said the Voice, "I will kill you."
"I didn't try to give you the slip," said Marvel, in a voice that was not far remote
from tears. "I swear I didn't.
I didn't know the blessed turning, that was all!
How the devil was I to know the blessed turning?
As it is, I've been knocked about--"
"You'll get knocked about a great deal more if you don't mind," said the Voice, and Mr.
Marvel abruptly became silent. He blew out his cheeks, and his eyes were
eloquent of despair.
"It's bad enough to let these floundering yokels explode my little secret, without
your cutting off with my books. It's lucky for some of them they cut and
ran when they did!
Here am I ... No one knew I was invisible!
And now what am I to do?" "What am I to do?" asked Marvel, sotto
"It's all about. It will be in the papers!
Everybody will be looking for me; everyone on their guard--" The Voice broke off into
vivid curses and ceased.
The despair of Mr. Marvel's face deepened, and his pace slackened.
"Go on!" said the Voice. Mr. Marvel's face assumed a greyish tint
between the ruddier patches.
"Don't drop those books, stupid," said the Voice, sharply--overtaking him.
"The fact is," said the Voice, "I shall have to make use of you....
You're a poor tool, but I must."
"I'm a miserable tool," said Marvel. "You are," said the Voice.
"I'm the worst possible tool you could have," said Marvel.
"I'm not strong," he said after a discouraging silence.
"I'm not over strong," he repeated. "No?"
"And my heart's weak.
That little business--I pulled it through, of course--but bless you!
I could have dropped." "Well?"
"I haven't the nerve and strength for the sort of thing you want."
"I'll stimulate you." "I wish you wouldn't.
I wouldn't like to mess up your plans, you know.
But I might--out of sheer funk and misery." "You'd better not," said the Voice, with
quiet emphasis.
"I wish I was dead," said Marvel. "It ain't justice," he said; "you must
admit.... It seems to me I've a perfect right--"
"Get on!" said the Voice.
Mr. Marvel mended his pace, and for a time they went in silence again.
"It's devilish hard," said Mr. Marvel. This was quite ineffectual.
He tried another tack.
"What do I make by it?" he began again in a tone of unendurable wrong.
"Oh! shut up!" said the Voice, with sudden amazing vigour.
"I'll see to you all right.
You do what you're told. You'll do it all right.
You're a fool and all that, but you'll do-- "
"I tell you, sir, I'm not the man for it.
Respectfully--but it is so--" "If you don't shut up I shall twist your
wrist again," said the Invisible Man. "I want to think."
Presently two oblongs of yellow light appeared through the trees, and the square
tower of a church loomed through the gloaming.
"I shall keep my hand on your shoulder," said the Voice, "all through the village.
Go straight through and try no foolery. It will be the worse for you if you do."
"I know that," sighed Mr. Marvel, "I know all that."
The unhappy-looking figure in the obsolete silk hat passed up the street of the little
village with his burdens, and vanished into the gathering darkness beyond the lights of
the windows.
Ten o'clock the next morning found Mr. Marvel, unshaven, dirty, and travel-
stained, sitting with the books beside him and his hands deep in his pockets, looking
very weary, nervous, and uncomfortable, and
inflating his cheeks at infrequent intervals, on the bench outside a little
inn on the outskirts of Port Stowe. Beside him were the books, but now they
were tied with string.
The bundle had been abandoned in the pine- woods beyond Bramblehurst, in accordance
with a change in the plans of the Invisible Man.
Mr. Marvel sat on the bench, and although no one took the slightest notice of him,
his agitation remained at fever heat.
His hands would go ever and again to his various pockets with a curious nervous
When he had been sitting for the best part of an hour, however, an elderly mariner,
carrying a newspaper, came out of the inn and sat down beside him.
"Pleasant day," said the mariner.
Mr. Marvel glanced about him with something very like terror.
"Very," he said. "Just seasonable weather for the time of
year," said the mariner, taking no denial.
"Quite," said Mr. Marvel. The mariner produced a toothpick, and
(saving his regard) was engrossed thereby for some minutes.
His eyes meanwhile were at liberty to examine Mr. Marvel's dusty figure, and the
books beside him.
As he had approached Mr. Marvel he had heard a sound like the dropping of coins
into a pocket.
He was struck by the contrast of Mr. Marvel's appearance with this suggestion of
Thence his mind wandered back again to a topic that had taken a curiously firm hold
of his imagination. "Books?" he said suddenly, noisily
finishing with the toothpick.
Mr. Marvel started and looked at them. "Oh, yes," he said.
"Yes, they're books." "There's some extra-ordinary things in
books," said the mariner.
"I believe you," said Mr. Marvel. "And some extra-ordinary things out of
'em," said the mariner. "True likewise," said Mr. Marvel.
He eyed his interlocutor, and then glanced about him.
"There's some extra-ordinary things in newspapers, for example," said the mariner.
"There are."
"In this newspaper," said the mariner. "Ah!" said Mr. Marvel.
"There's a story," said the mariner, fixing Mr. Marvel with an eye that was firm and
deliberate; "there's a story about an Invisible Man, for instance."
Mr. Marvel pulled his mouth askew and scratched his cheek and felt his ears
glowing. "What will they be writing next?" he asked
"Ostria, or America?" "Neither," said the mariner.
"Here." "Lord!" said Mr. Marvel, starting.
"When I say here," said the mariner, to Mr. Marvel's intense relief, "I don't of course
mean here in this place, I mean hereabouts."
"An Invisible Man!" said Mr. Marvel.
"And what's he been up to?" "Everything," said the mariner, controlling
Marvel with his eye, and then amplifying, "every--blessed--thing."
"I ain't seen a paper these four days," said Marvel.
"Iping's the place he started at," said the mariner.
"In-deed!" said Mr. Marvel.
"He started there. And where he came from, nobody don't seem
to know. Here it is: 'Pe-culiar Story from Iping.'
And it says in this paper that the evidence is extra-ordinary strong--extra-ordinary."
"Lord!" said Mr. Marvel. "But then, it's an extra-ordinary story.
There is a clergyman and a medical gent witnesses--saw 'im all right and proper--or
leastways didn't see 'im.
He was staying, it says, at the 'Coach an' Horses,' and no one don't seem to have been
aware of his misfortune, it says, aware of his misfortune, until in an Altercation in
the inn, it says, his bandages on his head was torn off.
It was then ob-served that his head was invisible.
Attempts were At Once made to secure him, but casting off his garments, it says, he
succeeded in escaping, but not until after a desperate struggle, in which he had
inflicted serious injuries, it says, on our
worthy and able constable, Mr. J. A. Jaffers.
Pretty straight story, eh? Names and everything."
"Lord!" said Mr. Marvel, looking nervously about him, trying to count the money in his
pockets by his unaided sense of touch, and full of a strange and novel idea.
"It sounds most astonishing."
"Don't it? Extra-ordinary, I call it.
Never heard tell of Invisible Men before, I haven't, but nowadays one hears such a lot
of extra-ordinary things--that--"
"That all he did?" asked Marvel, trying to seem at his ease.
"It's enough, ain't it?" said the mariner. "Didn't go Back by any chance?" asked
"Just escaped and that's all, eh?" "All!" said the mariner.
"Why!--ain't it enough?" "Quite enough," said Marvel.
"I should think it was enough," said the mariner.
"I should think it was enough."
"He didn't have any pals--it don't say he had any pals, does it?" asked Mr. Marvel,
anxious. "Ain't one of a sort enough for you?" asked
the mariner.
"No, thank Heaven, as one might say, he didn't."
He nodded his head slowly.
"It makes me regular uncomfortable, the bare thought of that chap running about the
He is at present At Large, and from certain evidence it is supposed that he has--taken-
-took, I suppose they mean--the road to Port Stowe.
You see we're right in it!
None of your American wonders, this time. And just think of the things he might do!
Where'd you be, if he took a drop over and above, and had a fancy to go for you?
Suppose he wants to rob--who can prevent him?
He can trespass, he can burgle, he could walk through a cordon of policemen as easy
as me or you could give the slip to a blind man!
For these here blind chaps hear uncommon sharp, I'm told.
And wherever there was liquor he fancied--" "He's got a tremenjous advantage,
certainly," said Mr. Marvel.
"And--well..." "You're right," said the mariner.
"He has."
All this time Mr. Marvel had been glancing about him intently, listening for faint
footfalls, trying to detect imperceptible movements.
He seemed on the point of some great resolution.
He coughed behind his hand.
He looked about him again, listened, bent towards the mariner, and lowered his voice:
"The fact of it is--I happen--to know just a thing or two about this Invisible Man.
From private sources."
"Oh!" said the mariner, interested. "You?"
"Yes," said Mr. Marvel. "Me."
"Indeed!" said the mariner.
"And may I ask--" "You'll be astonished," said Mr. Marvel
behind his hand. "It's tremenjous."
"Indeed!" said the mariner.
"The fact is," began Mr. Marvel eagerly in a confidential undertone.
Suddenly his expression changed marvellously.
"Ow!" he said.
He rose stiffly in his seat. His face was eloquent of physical
suffering. "Wow!" he said.
"What's up?" said the mariner, concerned.
"Toothache," said Mr. Marvel, and put his hand to his ear.
He caught hold of his books. "I must be getting on, I think," he said.
He edged in a curious way along the seat away from his interlocutor.
"But you was just a-going to tell me about this here Invisible Man!" protested the
Mr. Marvel seemed to consult with himself. "Hoax," said a Voice.
"It's a hoax," said Mr. Marvel. "But it's in the paper," said the mariner.
"Hoax all the same," said Marvel.
"I know the chap that started the lie. There ain't no Invisible Man whatsoever--
Blimey." "But how 'bout this paper?
D'you mean to say--?"
"Not a word of it," said Marvel, stoutly. The mariner stared, paper in hand.
Mr. Marvel jerkily faced about. "Wait a bit," said the mariner, rising and
speaking slowly, "D'you mean to say--?"
"I do," said Mr. Marvel. "Then why did you let me go on and tell you
all this blarsted stuff, then? What d'yer mean by letting a man make a
fool of himself like that for?
Eh?" Mr. Marvel blew out his cheeks.
The mariner was suddenly very red indeed; he clenched his hands.
"I been talking here this ten minutes," he said; "and you, you little pot-bellied,
leathery-faced son of an old boot, couldn't have the elementary manners--"
"Don't you come bandying words with me," said Mr. Marvel.
"Bandying words! I'm a jolly good mind--"
"Come up," said a Voice, and Mr. Marvel was suddenly whirled about and started marching
off in a curious spasmodic manner. "You'd better move on," said the mariner.
"Who's moving on?" said Mr. Marvel.
He was receding obliquely with a curious hurrying gait, with occasional violent
jerks forward. Some way along the road he began a muttered
monologue, protests and recriminations.
"Silly devil!" said the mariner, legs wide apart, elbows akimbo, watching the receding
figure. "I'll show you, you silly ass--hoaxing me!
It's here--on the paper!"
Mr. Marvel retorted incoherently and, receding, was hidden by a bend in the road,
but the mariner still stood magnificent in the midst of the way, until the approach of
a butcher's cart dislodged him.
Then he turned himself towards Port Stowe. "Full of extra-ordinary asses," he said
softly to himself. "Just to take me down a bit--that was his
silly game--It's on the paper!"
And there was another extraordinary thing he was presently to hear, that had happened
quite close to him.
And that was a vision of a "fist full of money" (no less) travelling without visible
agency, along by the wall at the corner of St. Michael's Lane.
A brother mariner had seen this wonderful sight that very morning.
He had snatched at the money forthwith and had been knocked headlong, and when he had
got to his feet the butterfly money had vanished.
Our mariner was in the mood to believe anything, he declared, but that was a bit
too stiff. Afterwards, however, he began to think
things over.
The story of the flying money was true.
And all about that neighbourhood, even from the august London and Country Banking
Company, from the tills of shops and inns-- doors standing that sunny weather entirely
open--money had been quietly and
dexterously making off that day in handfuls and rouleaux, floating quietly along by
walls and shady places, dodging quickly from the approaching eyes of men.
And it had, though no man had traced it, invariably ended its mysterious flight in
the pocket of that agitated gentleman in the obsolete silk hat, sitting outside the
little inn on the outskirts of Port Stowe.
It was ten days after--and indeed only when the Burdock story was already old--that the
mariner collated these facts and began to understand how near he had been to the
wonderful Invisible Man.
In the early evening time Dr. Kemp was sitting in his study in the belvedere on
the hill overlooking Burdock.
It was a pleasant little room, with three windows--north, west, and south--and
bookshelves covered with books and scientific publications, and a broad
writing-table, and, under the north window,
a microscope, glass slips, minute instruments, some cultures, and scattered
bottles of reagents.
Dr. Kemp's solar lamp was lit, albeit the sky was still bright with the sunset light,
and his blinds were up because there was no offence of peering outsiders to require
them pulled down.
Dr. Kemp was a tall and slender young man, with flaxen hair and a moustache almost
white, and the work he was upon would earn him, he hoped, the fellowship of the Royal
Society, so highly did he think of it.
And his eye, presently wandering from his work, caught the sunset blazing at the back
of the hill that is over against his own.
For a minute perhaps he sat, pen in mouth, admiring the rich golden colour above the
crest, and then his attention was attracted by the little figure of a man, inky black,
running over the hill-brow towards him.
He was a shortish little man, and he wore a high hat, and he was running so fast that
his legs verily twinkled. "Another of those fools," said Dr. Kemp.
"Like that ass who ran into me this morning round a corner, with the ''Visible Man a-
coming, sir!' I can't imagine what possess people.
One might think we were in the thirteenth century."
He got up, went to the window, and stared at the dusky hillside, and the dark little
figure tearing down it.
"He seems in a confounded hurry," said Dr. Kemp, "but he doesn't seem to be getting
on. If his pockets were full of lead, he
couldn't run heavier."
"Spurted, sir," said Dr. Kemp. In another moment the higher of the villas
that had clambered up the hill from Burdock had occulted the running figure.
He was visible again for a moment, and again, and then again, three times between
the three detached houses that came next, and then the terrace hid him.
"Asses!" said Dr. Kemp, swinging round on his heel and walking back to his writing-
But those who saw the fugitive nearer, and perceived the abject terror on his
perspiring face, being themselves in the open roadway, did not share in the doctor's
By the man pounded, and as he ran he chinked like a well-filled purse that is
tossed to and fro.
He looked neither to the right nor the left, but his dilated eyes stared straight
downhill to where the lamps were being lit, and the people were crowded in the street.
And his ill-shaped mouth fell apart, and a glairy foam lay on his lips, and his breath
came hoarse and noisy.
All he passed stopped and began staring up the road and down, and interrogating one
another with an inkling of discomfort for the reason of his haste.
And then presently, far up the hill, a dog playing in the road yelped and ran under a
gate, and as they still wondered something- -a wind--a pad, pad, pad,--a sound like a
panting breathing, rushed by.
People screamed. People sprang off the pavement: It passed
in shouts, it passed by instinct down the hill.
They were shouting in the street before Marvel was halfway there.
They were bolting into houses and slamming the doors behind them, with the news.
He heard it and made one last desperate spurt.
Fear came striding by, rushed ahead of him, and in a moment had seized the town.
"The Invisible Man is coming!
The Invisible Man!"
The "Jolly Cricketers" is just at the bottom of the hill, where the tram-lines
The barman leant his fat red arms on the counter and talked of horses with an
anaemic cabman, while a black-bearded man in grey snapped up biscuit and cheese,
drank Burton, and conversed in American with a policeman off duty.
"What's the shouting about!" said the anaemic cabman, going off at a tangent,
trying to see up the hill over the dirty yellow blind in the low window of the inn.
Somebody ran by outside.
"Fire, perhaps," said the barman.
Footsteps approached, running heavily, the door was pushed open violently, and Marvel,
weeping and dishevelled, his hat gone, the neck of his coat torn open, rushed in, made
a convulsive turn, and attempted to shut the door.
It was held half open by a strap. "Coming!" he bawled, his voice shrieking
with terror.
"He's coming. The 'Visible Man!
After me! For Gawd's sake!
'Elp! 'Elp!"
"Shut the doors," said the policeman. "Who's coming?
What's the row?"
He went to the door, released the strap, and it slammed.
The American closed the other door. "Lemme go inside," said Marvel, staggering
and weeping, but still clutching the books.
"Lemme go inside. Lock me in--somewhere.
I tell you he's after me. I give him the slip.
He said he'd kill me and he will."
"You're safe," said the man with the black beard.
"The door's shut. What's it all about?"
"Lemme go inside," said Marvel, and shrieked aloud as a blow suddenly made the
fastened door shiver and was followed by a hurried rapping and a shouting outside.
"Hullo," cried the policeman, "who's there?"
Mr. Marvel began to make frantic dives at panels that looked like doors.
"He'll kill me--he's got a knife or something.
For Gawd's sake--!" "Here you are," said the barman.
"Come in here."
And he held up the flap of the bar. Mr. Marvel rushed behind the bar as the
summons outside was repeated. "Don't open the door," he screamed.
"Please don't open the door.
Where shall I hide?" "This, this Invisible Man, then?" asked the
man with the black beard, with one hand behind him.
"I guess it's about time we saw him."
The window of the inn was suddenly smashed in, and there was a screaming and running
to and fro in the street.
The policeman had been standing on the settee staring out, craning to see who was
at the door. He got down with raised eyebrows.
"It's that," he said.
The barman stood in front of the bar- parlour door which was now locked on Mr.
Marvel, stared at the smashed window, and came round to the two other men.
Everything was suddenly quiet.
"I wish I had my truncheon," said the policeman, going irresolutely to the door.
"Once we open, in he comes. There's no stopping him."
"Don't you be in too much hurry about that door," said the anaemic cabman, anxiously.
"Draw the bolts," said the man with the black beard, "and if he comes--" He showed
a revolver in his hand.
"That won't do," said the policeman; "that's murder."
"I know what country I'm in," said the man with the beard.
"I'm going to let off at his legs.
Draw the bolts." "Not with that blinking thing going off
behind me," said the barman, craning over the blind.
"Very well," said the man with the black beard, and stooping down, revolver ready,
drew them himself. Barman, cabman, and policeman faced about.
"Come in," said the bearded man in an undertone, standing back and facing the
unbolted doors with his pistol behind him. No one came in, the door remained closed.
Five minutes afterwards when a second cabman pushed his head in cautiously, they
were still waiting, and an anxious face peered out of the bar-parlour and supplied
"Are all the doors of the house shut?" asked Marvel.
"He's going round--prowling round. He's as artful as the devil."
"Good Lord!" said the burly barman.
"There's the back! Just watch them doors!
I say--!" He looked about him helplessly.
The bar-parlour door slammed and they heard the key turn.
"There's the yard door and the private door.
The yard door--"
He rushed out of the bar. In a minute he reappeared with a carving-
knife in his hand. "The yard door was open!" he said, and his
fat underlip dropped.
"He may be in the house now!" said the first cabman.
"He's not in the kitchen," said the barman.
"There's two women there, and I've stabbed every inch of it with this little beef
slicer. And they don't think he's come in.
They haven't noticed--"
"Have you fastened it?" asked the first cabman.
"I'm out of frocks," said the barman. The man with the beard replaced his
And even as he did so the flap of the bar was shut down and the bolt clicked, and
then with a tremendous thud the catch of the door snapped and the bar-parlour door
burst open.
They heard Marvel squeal like a caught leveret, and forthwith they were clambering
over the bar to his rescue.
The bearded man's revolver cracked and the looking-glass at the back of the parlour
starred and came smashing and tinkling down.
As the barman entered the room he saw Marvel, curiously crumpled up and
struggling against the door that led to the yard and kitchen.
The door flew open while the barman hesitated, and Marvel was dragged into the
kitchen. There was a scream and a clatter of pans.
Marvel, head down, and lugging back obstinately, was forced to the kitchen
door, and the bolts were drawn.
Then the policeman, who had been trying to pass the barman, rushed in, followed by one
of the cabmen, gripped the wrist of the invisible hand that collared Marvel, was
hit in the face and went reeling back.
The door opened, and Marvel made a frantic effort to obtain a lodgment behind it.
Then the cabman collared something. "I got him," said the cabman.
The barman's red hands came clawing at the unseen.
"Here he is!" said the barman.
Mr. Marvel, released, suddenly dropped to the ground and made an attempt to crawl
behind the legs of the fighting men. The struggle blundered round the edge of
the door.
The voice of the Invisible Man was heard for the first time, yelling out sharply, as
the policeman trod on his foot. Then he cried out passionately and his
fists flew round like flails.
The cabman suddenly whooped and doubled up, kicked under the diaphragm.
The door into the bar-parlour from the kitchen slammed and covered Mr. Marvel's
The men in the kitchen found themselves clutching at and struggling with empty air.
"Where's he gone?" cried the man with the beard.
"This way," said the policeman, stepping into the yard and stopping.
A piece of tile whizzed by his head and smashed among the crockery on the kitchen
"I'll show him," shouted the man with the black beard, and suddenly a steel barrel
shone over the policeman's shoulder, and five bullets had followed one another into
the twilight whence the missile had come.
As he fired, the man with the beard moved his hand in a horizontal curve, so that his
shots radiated out into the narrow yard like spokes from a wheel.
A silence followed.
"Five cartridges," said the man with the black beard.
"That's the best of all. Four aces and a joker.
Get a lantern, someone, and come and feel about for his body."
Dr. Kemp had continued writing in his study until the shots aroused him.
Crack, crack, crack, they came one after the other.
"Hullo!" said Dr. Kemp, putting his pen into his mouth again and listening.
"Who's letting off revolvers in Burdock? What are the asses at now?"
He went to the south window, threw it up, and leaning out stared down on the network
of windows, beaded gas-lamps and shops, with its black interstices of roof and yard
that made up the town at night.
"Looks like a crowd down the hill," he said, "by 'The Cricketers,'" and remained
Thence his eyes wandered over the town to far away where the ships' lights shone, and
the pier glowed--a little illuminated, facetted pavilion like a gem of yellow
The moon in its first quarter hung over the westward hill, and the stars were clear and
almost tropically bright.
After five minutes, during which his mind had travelled into a remote speculation of
social conditions of the future, and lost itself at last over the time dimension, Dr.
Kemp roused himself with a sigh, pulled
down the window again, and returned to his writing desk.
It must have been about an hour after this that the front-door bell rang.
He had been writing slackly, and with intervals of abstraction, since the shots.
He sat listening.
He heard the servant answer the door, and waited for her feet on the staircase, but
she did not come. "Wonder what that was," said Dr. Kemp.
He tried to resume his work, failed, got up, went downstairs from his study to the
landing, rang, and called over the balustrade to the housemaid as she appeared
in the hall below.
"Was that a letter?" he asked. "Only a runaway ring, sir," she answered.
"I'm restless to-night," he said to himself.
He went back to his study, and this time attacked his work resolutely.
In a little while he was hard at work again, and the only sounds in the room were
the ticking of the clock and the subdued shrillness of his quill, hurrying in the
very centre of the circle of light his lampshade threw on his table.
It was two o'clock before Dr. Kemp had finished his work for the night.
He rose, yawned, and went downstairs to bed.
He had already removed his coat and vest, when he noticed that he was thirsty.
He took a candle and went down to the dining-room in search of a syphon and
Dr. Kemp's scientific pursuits have made him a very observant man, and as he
recrossed the hall, he noticed a dark spot on the linoleum near the mat at the foot of
the stairs.
He went on upstairs, and then it suddenly occurred to him to ask himself what the
spot on the linoleum might be. Apparently some subconscious element was at
At any rate, he turned with his burden, went back to the hall, put down the syphon
and whiskey, and bending down, touched the spot.
Without any great surprise he found it had the stickiness and colour of drying blood.
He took up his burden again, and returned upstairs, looking about him and trying to
account for the blood-spot.
On the landing he saw something and stopped astonished.
The door-handle of his own room was blood- stained.
He looked at his own hand.
It was quite clean, and then he remembered that the door of his room had been open
when he came down from his study, and that consequently he had not touched the handle
at all.
He went straight into his room, his face quite calm--perhaps a trifle more resolute
than usual. His glance, wandering inquisitively, fell
on the bed.
On the counterpane was a mess of blood, and the sheet had been torn.
He had not noticed this before because he had walked straight to the dressing-table.
On the further side the bedclothes were depressed as if someone had been recently
sitting there.
Then he had an odd impression that he had heard a low voice say, "Good Heavens!--
Kemp!" But Dr. Kemp was no believer in voices.
He stood staring at the tumbled sheets.
Was that really a voice? He looked about again, but noticed nothing
further than the disordered and blood- stained bed.
Then he distinctly heard a movement across the room, near the wash-hand stand.
All men, however highly educated, retain some superstitious inklings.
The feeling that is called "eerie" came upon him.
He closed the door of the room, came forward to the dressing-table, and put down
his burdens.
Suddenly, with a start, he perceived a coiled and blood-stained bandage of linen
rag hanging in mid-air, between him and the wash-hand stand.
He stared at this in amazement.
It was an empty bandage, a bandage properly tied but quite empty.
He would have advanced to grasp it, but a touch arrested him, and a voice speaking
quite close to him.
"Kemp!" said the Voice. "Eh?" said Kemp, with his mouth open.
"Keep your nerve," said the Voice. "I'm an Invisible Man."
Kemp made no answer for a space, simply stared at the bandage.
"Invisible Man," he said. "I am an Invisible Man," repeated the
The story he had been active to ridicule only that morning rushed through Kemp's
He does not appear to have been either very much frightened or very greatly surprised
at the moment. Realisation came later.
"I thought it was all a lie," he said.
The thought uppermost in his mind was the reiterated arguments of the morning.
"Have you a bandage on?" he asked. "Yes," said the Invisible Man.
"Oh!" said Kemp, and then roused himself.
"I say!" he said. "But this is nonsense.
It's some trick."
He stepped forward suddenly, and his hand, extended towards the bandage, met invisible
fingers. He recoiled at the touch and his colour
"Keep steady, Kemp, for God's sake! I want help badly.
Stop!" The hand gripped his arm.
He struck at it.
"Kemp!" cried the Voice. "Kemp!
Keep steady!" and the grip tightened. A frantic desire to free himself took
possession of Kemp.
The hand of the bandaged arm gripped his shoulder, and he was suddenly tripped and
flung backwards upon the bed.
He opened his mouth to shout, and the corner of the sheet was thrust between his
The Invisible Man had him down grimly, but his arms were free and he struck and tried
to kick savagely.
"Listen to reason, will you?" said the Invisible Man, sticking to him in spite of
a pounding in the ribs. "By Heaven! you'll madden me in a minute!
"Lie still, you fool!" bawled the Invisible Man in Kemp's ear.
Kemp struggled for another moment and then lay still.
"If you shout, I'll smash your face," said the Invisible Man, relieving his mouth.
"I'm an Invisible Man. It's no foolishness, and no magic.
I really am an Invisible Man.
And I want your help. I don't want to hurt you, but if you behave
like a frantic rustic, I must. Don't you remember me, Kemp?
Griffin, of University College?"
"Let me get up," said Kemp. "I'll stop where I am.
And let me sit quiet for a minute." He sat up and felt his neck.
"I am Griffin, of University College, and I have made myself invisible.
I am just an ordinary man--a man you have known--made invisible."
"Griffin?" said Kemp.
"Griffin," answered the Voice. A younger student than you were, almost an
albino, six feet high, and broad, with a pink and white face and red eyes, who won
the medal for chemistry."
"I am confused," said Kemp. "My brain is rioting.
What has this to do with Griffin?" "I am Griffin."
Kemp thought.
"It's horrible," he said. "But what devilry must happen to make a man
invisible?" "It's no devilry.
It's a process, sane and intelligible enough--"
"It's horrible!" said Kemp. "How on earth--?"
"It's horrible enough.
But I'm wounded and in pain, and tired ... Great God!
Kemp, you are a man. Take it steady.
Give me some food and drink, and let me sit down here."
Kemp stared at the bandage as it moved across the room, then saw a basket chair
dragged across the floor and come to rest near the bed.
It creaked, and the seat was depressed the quarter of an inch or so.
He rubbed his eyes and felt his neck again. "This beats ghosts," he said, and laughed
"That's better. Thank Heaven, you're getting sensible!"
"Or silly," said Kemp, and knuckled his eyes.
"Give me some whiskey.
I'm near dead." "It didn't feel so.
Where are you? If I get up shall I run into you?
There! all right.
Whiskey? Here.
Where shall I give it to you?" The chair creaked and Kemp felt the glass
drawn away from him.
He let go by an effort; his instinct was all against it.
It came to rest poised twenty inches above the front edge of the seat of the chair.
He stared at it in infinite perplexity.
"This is--this must be--hypnotism. You have suggested you are invisible."
"Nonsense," said the Voice. "It's frantic."
"Listen to me."
"I demonstrated conclusively this morning," began Kemp, "that invisibility--"
"Never mind what you've demonstrated!--I'm starving," said the Voice, "and the night
is chilly to a man without clothes."
"Food?" said Kemp. The tumbler of whiskey tilted itself.
"Yes," said the Invisible Man rapping it down.
"Have you a dressing-gown?"
Kemp made some exclamation in an undertone. He walked to a wardrobe and produced a robe
of dingy scarlet. "This do?" he asked.
It was taken from him.
It hung limp for a moment in mid-air, fluttered weirdly, stood full and decorous
buttoning itself, and sat down in his chair.
"Drawers, socks, slippers would be a comfort," said the Unseen, curtly.
"And food." "Anything.
But this is the insanest thing I ever was in, in my life!"
He turned out his drawers for the articles, and then went downstairs to ransack his
He came back with some cold cutlets and bread, pulled up a light table, and placed
them before his guest.
"Never mind knives," said his visitor, and a cutlet hung in mid-air, with a sound of
gnawing. "Invisible!" said Kemp, and sat down on a
bedroom chair.
"I always like to get something about me before I eat," said the Invisible Man, with
a full mouth, eating greedily. "Queer fancy!"
"I suppose that wrist is all right," said Kemp.
"Trust me," said the Invisible Man. "Of all the strange and wonderful--"
But it's odd I should blunder into your house to get my bandaging.
My first stroke of luck! Anyhow I meant to sleep in this house to-
You must stand that! It's a filthy nuisance, my blood showing,
isn't it? Quite a clot over there.
Gets visible as it coagulates, I see.
It's only the living tissue I've changed, and only for as long as I'm alive....
I've been in the house three hours." "But how's it done?" began Kemp, in a tone
of exasperation.
"Confound it! The whole business--it's unreasonable from
beginning to end." "Quite reasonable," said the Invisible Man.
"Perfectly reasonable."
He reached over and secured the whiskey bottle.
Kemp stared at the devouring dressing gown.
A ray of candle-light penetrating a torn patch in the right shoulder, made a
triangle of light under the left ribs. "What were the shots?" he asked.
"How did the shooting begin?"
"There was a real fool of a man--a sort of confederate of mine--curse him!--who tried
to steal my money. Has done so."
"Is he invisible too?"
"No." "Well?"
"Can't I have some more to eat before I tell you all that?
I'm hungry--in pain.
And you want me to tell stories!" Kemp got up.
"You didn't do any shooting?" he asked. "Not me," said his visitor.
"Some fool I'd never seen fired at random.
A lot of them got scared. They all got scared at me.
Curse them!--I say--I want more to eat than this, Kemp."
"I'll see what there is to eat downstairs," said Kemp.
"Not much, I'm afraid."
After he had done eating, and he made a heavy meal, the Invisible Man demanded a
He bit the end savagely before Kemp could find a knife, and cursed when the outer
leaf loosened.
It was strange to see him smoking; his mouth, and throat, pharynx and nares,
became visible as a sort of whirling smoke cast.
"This blessed gift of smoking!" he said, and puffed vigorously.
"I'm lucky to have fallen upon you, Kemp. You must help me.
Fancy tumbling on you just now!
I'm in a devilish scrape--I've been mad, I think.
The things I have been through! But we will do things yet.
Let me tell you--"
He helped himself to more whiskey and soda. Kemp got up, looked about him, and fetched
a glass from his spare room. "It's wild--but I suppose I may drink."
"You haven't changed much, Kemp, these dozen years.
You fair men don't. Cool and methodical--after the first
I must tell you. We will work together!"
"But how was it all done?" said Kemp, "and how did you get like this?"
"For God's sake, let me smoke in peace for a little while!
And then I will begin to tell you." But the story was not told that night.
The Invisible Man's wrist was growing painful; he was feverish, exhausted, and
his mind came round to brood upon his chase down the hill and the struggle about the
He spoke in fragments of Marvel, he smoked faster, his voice grew angry.
Kemp tried to gather what he could.
"He was afraid of me, I could see that he was afraid of me," said the Invisible Man
many times over. "He meant to give me the slip--he was
always casting about!
What a fool I was! "The cur!
"I should have killed him!" "Where did you get the money?" asked Kemp,
The Invisible Man was silent for a space. "I can't tell you to-night," he said.
He groaned suddenly and leant forward, supporting his invisible head on invisible
"Kemp," he said, "I've had no sleep for near three days, except a couple of dozes
of an hour or so. I must sleep soon."
"Well, have my room--have this room."
"But how can I sleep? If I sleep--he will get away.
Ugh! What does it matter?"
"What's the shot wound?" asked Kemp, abruptly.
"Nothing--scratch and blood. Oh, God!
How I want sleep!"
"Why not?" The Invisible Man appeared to be regarding
"Because I've a particular objection to being caught by my fellow-men," he said
slowly. Kemp started.
"Fool that I am!" said the Invisible Man, striking the table smartly.
"I've put the idea into your head."