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English pages for children. English pages for everyone.

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English pages for children. English pages for everyone.

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Babs Bell (Bishop) Hajdusiewicz and her books

Bestselling author Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz, Ms.Ed. is the author of more than 100 books and 350 poems for children, including: Dont Go Out in Your Underwear!; Phonics through Poetry: Teaching Phonemic Awareness Using Poetry; MORE Phonics through Poetry: Teaching Phonemic Awareness Using Poetry; Rhythm & Rhyme Reader Series; Questions and Answers Series; Jacks and More Jacks, Words! Words! Words!; Words and More Words. She is also author of Steppingstone Stories Series; Peaceful Me and Sometimes I Feel Happy, Sometimes I Feel Sad; three Poetry Works! collections for early childhood through intermediate grades; middle-grades biography Mary Carter Smith: African-American Storyteller; and the Dainty Dinosaur Series.

Hajdusiewicz stars in the Wright Group staff-development video Developing Oral Language and Phonemic Awareness through Rhythm and Rhyme. She has written numerous children's stories, articles for teachers and parents, and has contributed to and edited many elementary textbooks.

An educator for 40 years, Hajdusiewicz taught early childhood, elementary, and special education at all levels, served school districts in Indiana and Michigan as director of special education, and taught graduate and undergraduate education courses at Eastern Michigan and Cleveland State Universities. She founded Booking the Future: Reader to Reader, a community-involvement literacy program that placed books in the hands and homes of more than 16,000 four, five, and six year olds, and Pee Wee Poetry, a language development program for children aged two through nine. Hajdusiewicz is a frequent conference keynoter for educators and parents and a popular visiting author in schools across the country and abroad.

Specialties: Poetry for kids; humor; parenting for literacy; school staff development; author of numerous classroom materials; emphasis on phonemic awareness before phonics instruction; building love of learning from infancy onward

(Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz , . 100 350 . , , , . . .)

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It's an old Middleton family recipe.
16 Hosting Rules Kate Middleton Never Breaks
Prince Philip to retire from public duties at age of 96
Quotes about Life
etc

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301

The Washington Post. Advice

I See Dead People
: Please, make my month and tell me she looks like Sybill Trelawney in the Harry Potter movies.
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Its not your place to tell Beth shes dead wrong or push her to conform to your idea of non-delusional; skepticism is a lot less arrogant than certainty.

Its also not your place to indulge Beth as though you believe what shes saying when you secretly think its a crock.

If you can summon a non-mocking Why not? attitude and go along with the possibilities, then, great, thats ideal. Otherwise I suggest: Wow, interesting no one comes to mind but Ill try to figure it out.

Even as I type this, I have the phrase No ones doing Beth any favors here clanging in my head, but thats why I advise remaining kindly neutral. Take no sides and let her sort it out. That includes not biting when the in-laws try to draw you into anything deeper than a kind, non-committal response to Beths gift or gift.

And think of it this way: Wherever you believe the stories come from, Beth is a storyteller, and surely weve all been to dinners that could have used one of those. (If my kids were reading this, theyd say, Thanks, but dont call me Shirley.)

Re: Beth: I think I would stop at Wow, interesting, unless I really were going to try to figure it out. If Beth continues, depending on what she says, theres also Hmm, doesnt ring a bell, and Ill give that some thought (if Beth says that the spirit is giving advice or a warning), and just Hmm. There really is a lot of middle ground; most of it consists of neutral responses and looking for opportunities to change the subject.

Anonymous
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Anonymous: Fair enough, but you wouldnt try to figure it out, not even a little bit?

Write to Carolyn Hax at tellme@washpost.com. Get her column delivered to your inbox each morning at bit.ly/haxmail.
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Carolyn Hax: Must I really indulge my psychic sister-in-law?

A reader should summon their best non-mocking tone next time a spirit drops by for dinner.

By Carolyn Hax Columnist August 5

Adapted from an online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: My husbands sister Beth fancies herself a psychic of sorts who can communicate with the beyond. A few months ago, we were eating dinner when she began talking about a spirit with me. I honestly had no idea who she was talking about and told her that, because I had no deceased relatives or friends who fit her description. Beth became very upset, claiming that she was overwhelmed with what the spirit was trying to tell her. She was so upset she ran from the room to lie in a dark room and compose herself.

My in-laws asked me to be gentler with her, since this gift is a major part of her identity.

I see two paths. I can either lie to Beth and feed her belief that she has this gift. Or I can tell her she is dead wrong. Which makes me feel like Im kicking a puppy. My husband and I would ideally like to handle Beths gift in a thoughtful way, but its hard to see what middle ground we have, especially when she puts you on the spot. How can I thoughtfully respond to Beth in a way that preserves her self-worth but also doesnt give in to a delusion?

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Grammar of Happiness

What is love? Shakespeare wrote that love is a star. He is one of thousands of poets and writers who have used symbols to express this deep feeling. Love is a journey. Love is a rose. Love is a fire. Love is a light. Love is a bird. Love is war. Love is a disease. Love is an addiction. Love is a game.  The list of love metaphors goes on and on. Talking about abstract ideas like love is a unique human ability. This is true for almost every language in the world, but not for the language of the Pirahã people of Brazil.

The Piraha are a small tribe of about 400 people that live in the Amazon. Unlike every other human language, Piraha doesnt have words for abstract ideas. They only talk about what they directly experience or what people they know have directly experienced. The idea that love is a star is not something that they would understand. The Piraha are not stupid, they just have a different way of experiencing the world. Daniel Everett is a professor who has been studying the Piraha for thirty years and deeply respects their culture. They have a wide knowledge of the thousands of plants and animals of the Amazon. He says, they can walk into the jungle naked, with no tools or weapons, and walk out three days later with baskets of fruit, nuts, and small game.

Another unusual thing about the Piraha language is they dont talk about time. There are no words for tomorrow or yesterday or last year. While there are a few words to say day and night or morning, they mostly live in a world without time. There is also no past or future tense. They have no way to talk about time. They have no history and they dont talk about things that happened before their grandparents were born. Their experience of the world is almost completely in the present.

Piraha also does not have words for numbers. They have a word for more and a word for less, but there is no way to be specific about quantity. They dont count how much food they have, or how many people they have in their tribe, or even how many children they have. This doesnt mean they dont have deep relationships with their children or other members of the tribe. It just means that they do not think of them as numbers.

Its hard to imagine a world without time and numbers, but Dan Everett admires this part of their culture. He describes the Piraha language as having a grammar of happiness. Many spiritual teachers say that living in the present moment is the way to happiness. Maybe this is why the Piraha dont have these words. Their culture is one free of worrying about the future and the past, and enjoying each day fully.

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303

Imagine Your Future a Guided Visualization

I want you to sit up straight in your chair. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath, and relax. Im going to speak to you, and I want you to just listen and imagine. Do not sleep. Just relax and imagine.

Right now I want you to think about your life. Think about your family. See your family. Think about your friends. In your mind, see your friends. And think about your job. See yourself working. And when you see all these things in your mind about your current life, how does it make you feel? Take a moment to imagine.

Now think about a goal you want to accomplish in the next year of your life. It could be a relationship goal, an educational goal, a personal goal, or a work-related goal. Think about why this goal is important to you. How will achieving this goal add value to your life? Think about it and see your goal in your minds eye.

Now I want you to imagine yourself going forward into the future: one week, two weeks, three weeks. Go forward into the future. It is now one month in the future. You have started on the road to success. What decisions have you made? What actions have you taken? And how does it feel to be on the road to success?

Now I want you to continue going forward. It is now 6 months in the future. You are much closer to your goal. You are starting to feel the benefits of all of your efforts. How does it feel to be closer to your goal? What emotions do you feel as you move closer toward your goal. Imagine.

Now I want you to continue going forward. It is now one year in the future. You have fully accomplished your goal. You have achieved success. See yourself. What do you look like? What are you doing? Who are you with? What are people saying to you? And what are you saying to them. How does success feel?

Now I want you to look back on your success. Look back on the process of achieving success. Look back on all of your hard work and effort. How did you reach your goal, step-by-step. What were the little things you did, day-by-day, to achieve success? What did you do at work? What did you do in your relationships? And what did you do inwardly to achieve success? Take a moment to think of all the steps you took to accomplish your goal.

And when you are ready, take a deep breath. Relax. Smile. And open your eyes.

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(1899-1977)

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Nabokov's interview. (04) Life [1964]

      On August 18, 1964, Jane Howard of Life magazine sent me eleven questions. I have kept the typescript of my replies. In mid-September she arrived in Montreux with the photographer Henry Grossman. Text and pictures appeared in the November 20 issue of Life.

      What writers and persons and places have influenced you most?

      In my boyhood I was an extraordinarily avid reader. By the age of 14 or 15 I had read or re-read all Tolstoy in Russian, all Shakespeare in English, and all Flaubert in French-- besides hundreds of other books. Today I can always tell when a sentence I compose happens to resemble in cut and intonation that of any of the writers I loved or detested half a century ago; but I do not believe that any particular writer has had any definite influence upon me. As to the influence of places and persons, I owe many metaphors and sensuous associations to the North Russian landscape of my boyhood, and I am also aware that my father was responsible for my appreciating very early in life the thrill of a great poem.

      Have you ever seriously contemplated a career other than in letters?

      Frankly, I never thought of letters as a career. Writing has always been for me a blend of dejection and high spirits, a torture and a pastime-- but I never expected it to be a source of income. On the other hand, I have often dreamt of a long and exciting career as an obscure curator of lepidoptera in a great museum.

      Which of your writings has pleased you most?

      I would say that of all my books Lolita has left me with the most pleasurable afterglow-- perhaps because it is the purest of all, the most abstract and carefully contrived. I am probably responsible for the odd fact that people don't seem to name their daughters Lolita any more. I have heard of young female poodles being given that name since 1956, but of no human beings. Well-wishers have tried to translate Lolita into Russian, but with such execrable results that I'm now doing a translation myself. The word "jeans," for example, is translated in Russian dictionaries as "wide, short trousers"-- a totally unsatisfactory definition.

      In the foreword to The Defense you allude to psychiatry. Do you think the dependence of analyzed on analysts is a great danger?

      I cannot conceive bow anybody in his right mind should go to a psychoanalyst, but of course if one's mind is deranged one might try anything; after all, quacks and cranks, shamans and holy men, kings and hypnotists have cured people-- especially hysterical people. Our grandsons no doubt will regard today's psychoanalysts with the same amused contempt as we do astrology and phrenology. One of the greatest pieces of charlatanic, and satanic, nonsense imposed on a gullible public is the Freudian interpretation of dreams. I take gleeful pleasure every morning in refuting the Viennese quack by recalling and explaining the details of my dreams without using one single reference to sexual symbols or mythical complexes. I urge my potential patients to do likewise.

      How do your views on politics and religion affect what you write?

      I have never belonged to any political party but have always loathed and despised dictatorships and police states, as well as any sort of oppression. This goes for regimentation of thought, governmental censorship, racial or religious persecution, and all the rest of it. Whether or not my simple credo affects my writing does not interest me. I suppose that my indifference to religion is of the same nature as my dislike of group activities in the domain of political or civic commitments. I have allowed some of my creatures in some of my novels to be restless freethinkers but here again I do not care one bit what kind of faith or brand of non-faith my reader may assign to their maker.

      Would you have liked to have lived at a time other than this?

      My choice of "when" would be influenced by that of "where." As a matter of fact, I would have to construct a mosaic of time and space to suit my desires and demands. It would be too complicated to tabulate all the elements of this combination. But I know pretty well what it should include. It should include a warm climate, daily baths, an absence of radio music and traffic noise, the honey of ancient Persia, a complete microfilm library, and the unique and indescribable rapture of learning more and more about the moon and the planets. In other words, I think I would like my head to be in the United States of the nineteen-sixties, but would not mind distributing some of my other organs and limbs through various centuries and countries.

      With what living writers do you feel a particular sympathy?

      When Mr. N. learns from an interview that Mr. X., another writer, has named as his favorites Mr. A., Mr. B. and Mr. N., this inclusion may puzzle Mr. N. who considers, say, Mr. A.'s work to be primitive and trite. I would not like to puzzle Mr. C., Mr. D., or Mr. X., all of whom I like.

      Do you anticipate that more of your works will be made into films? On the basis of Lolita, does the prospect please you?

      I greatly admired the film Lolita as a film-- but was sorry not to have been given an opportunity to collaborate in its actual making. People who liked my novel said the film was too reticent and incomplete. If, however, all the next pictures based on my books are as charming as Kubrick's, I shall not grumble too much.

      Which of the languages you speak do you consider the most beautiful?

      My head says English, my heart, Russian, my ear, French.

      Why do you prefer Montreux as a headquarters? Do you in any way miss the America you parodied so exquisitely in Lolita^ Do you find that Europe and the US are coming to resemble each other to a discouraging degree?

      I think I am trying to develop, in this rosy exile, the same fertile nostalgia in regard to America, my new country, as I evolved for Russia, my old one, in the first post-revolution years of West-European expatriation. Of course, I miss America-- even Miss America. If Europe and America are coming to resemble each other more and more-- why should I be discouraged? Amusing, perhaps, and, perhaps, not quite true, but certainly not discouraging in any sense I can think of. My wife and I are very fond of Montreux, the scenery of which I needed for Pale Fire, and still need for another book. There are also family reasons for our living in this part of Europe. I have a sister in Geneva and a son in Milan. He is a graduate of Harvard who came to Italy to complete his operatic training, which he combines with racing an Italian car in major events and translating the early works of his father from Russian into English.

      What is your prognosis for the health of Russian letters?

      There is no plain answer to your question. The trouble is that no government however intelligent or humane is capable of generating great artists, although a bad government certainly can pester, thwart, and suppress them. We must also remember-- and this is very important-- that the only people who flourish under all types of government are the Philistines. In the aura of mild regimes there is exactly as rare a chance of a great artist's appearing on the scene as there is in the less happy times of despicable dictatorships. Therefore I cannot predict anything though I certainly hope that under the influence of the West, and especially under that of America, the Soviet police state will gradually wither away. Incidentally, I deplore the attitude of foolish or dishonest people who ridiculously equate Stalin with McCarthy, Auschwitz with the atom bomb, and the ruthless imperialism of the USSR with the earnest and unselfish assistance extended by the USA to nations in distress.

      P.S.

      Dear Miss Howard, allow me to add the following three points:

      1) My answers must be published accurately and completely: verbatim, if quoted; in a faithful version, if not.

      2) I must see the proofs of the interview-- semifinal and final.

      3) I have the right to correct therein all factual errors and specific slips ("Mr. Nabokov is a small man with long hair," etc.)

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"Autumn Leaves"

The falling leaves
Drift by my window
The falling leaves
Of red and gold

I see your lips
The summer kisses
The sunburned hands
I used to hold

Since you went away
The days grow long
And soon I'll hear
Old winter's song

But I miss you most of all
My darling
When autumn leaves
Start to fall

Since you went away
The days grow long
And soon I'll hear
Old winter's song

But I miss you most of all
My darling
When autumn leaves
Start to fall

.......

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Pastor Greg Laurie talks with Mel Gibson about his upcoming film projects.

=Spoiler ():


 

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The Invisible Man
The Invisible Man  (1897)
by H.G. Wells

The author died in 1946

The Invisible Man is a 1897 science fiction novel, originally serialized in Pearson's Magazine. The Invisible Man of the title is "Griffin", a scientist who theorizes that if a person's refractive index is changed to exactly that of air and his body does not absorb or reflect light, then he will not be visible. He successfully carries out this procedure on himself, but cannot become visible again, becoming mentally unstable as a result.

    Excerpted from The Invisible Man on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/40/Wells_The_Invisible_Man.jpg
First edition cover

Author H.G. Wells
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Horror, Science fiction novel
Published 1897 (C. Arthur Pearson)
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
Pages 149

The Invisible Man is a science fiction novella by H. G. Wells. Originally serialized in Pearson's Weekly in 1897, it was published as a novel the same year. The Invisible Man of the title is Griffin, a scientist who has devoted himself to research into optics and invents a way to change a body's refractive index to that of air so that it neither absorbs nor reflects light and thus becomes invisible. He successfully carries out this procedure on himself, but fails in his attempt to reverse it.

While its predecessors, The Time Machine and The Island of Doctor Moreau, were written using first-person narrators, Wells adopts a third-person objective point of view in The Invisible Man.

Plot summary

A mysterious man, Griffin, arrives at the local inn of the English village of Iping, West Sussex, during a snowstorm. The stranger wears a long-sleeved, thick coat and gloves; his face is hidden entirely by bandages except for a fake pink nose; and he wears a wide-brimmed hat. He is excessively reclusive, irascible, and unfriendly. He demands to be left alone and spends most of his time in his rooms working with a set of chemicals and laboratory apparatus, only venturing out at night. While Griffin is staying at the inn, hundreds of strange glass bottles (that he calls his luggage) arrive. Many local townspeople believe this to be very strange. He becomes the talk of the village.

Meanwhile, a mysterious burglary occurs in the village. Griffin has run out of money and is trying to find a way to pay for his board and lodging. When his landlady demands that he pay his bill and quit the premises, he reveals part of his invisibility to her in a fit of pique. An attempt to apprehend the stranger is frustrated when he undresses to take advantage of his invisibility, fights off his would-be captors, and flees to the downs.

There Griffin coerces a tramp, Thomas Marvel, into becoming his assistant. With Marvel, he returns to the village to recover three notebooks that contain records of his experiments. When Marvel attempts to betray the Invisible Man to the police, Griffin chases him to the seaside town of Port Burdock, threatening to kill him. Marvel escapes to a local inn and is saved by the people at the inn, but Griffin escapes. Marvel later goes to the police and tells them of this "invisible man," then requests to be locked up in a high-security jail.

Griffin's furious attempt to avenge his betrayal leads to his being shot. He takes shelter in a nearby house that turns out to belong to Dr. Kemp, a former acquaintance from medical school. To Kemp, he reveals his true identity: the Invisible Man is Griffin, a former medical student who left medicine to devote himself to optics. Griffin recounts how he invented chemicals capable of rendering bodies invisible, and, on impulse, performed the procedure on himself.

Griffin tells Kemp of the story of how he became invisible. He explains how he tried the invisibility on a cat, then himself. Griffin burned down the boarding house he was staying in, along with all the equipment he used to turn invisible, to cover his tracks; but he soon realised that he was ill-equipped to survive in the open. He attempted to steal food and clothes from a large department store, and eventually stole some clothing from a theatrical supply shop and headed to Iping to attempt to reverse the invisibility. Now he imagines that he can make Kemp his secret confederate, describing his plan to begin a "Reign of Terror" by using his invisibility to terrorise the nation.

Kemp has already denounced Griffin to the local authorities and is waiting for help to arrive as he listens to this wild proposal. When the authorities arrive at Kemp's house, Griffin fights his way out and the next day leaves a note announcing that Kemp himself will be the first man to be killed in the "Reign of Terror". Kemp, a cool-headed character, tries to organise a plan to use himself as bait to trap the Invisible Man, but a note that he sends is stolen from his servant by Griffin.

Griffin uses Kemp's gun to shoot and injure a local policeman who comes to Kemp's aid, then breaks into Kemp's house. Kemp bolts for the town, where the local citizenry come to his aid. Griffin is seized, assaulted, and killed by a mob. The Invisible Man's naked, battered body gradually becomes visible as he dies. A local policeman shouts to have someone cover Griffin's face with a sheet, then the book concludes.

In the final chapter, it is revealed that Marvel has secretly kept Griffin's notes but is completely incapable of understanding them.

Characters

Griffin is the surname of the story's protagonist. His name is not mentioned until about halfway through the book. Consumed with his greed for power and fame, he is the model of science without humanity. A gifted young student, he becomes interested in the science of refraction. During his experiments, he accidentally discovers chemicals (combined with an unspecified kind of radiation) that would make tissue invisible. Obsessed with his discovery, he tries the experiment on himself and becomes invisible. However, he does not know how to reverse the process, and he slowly discovers that the advantages of being invisible do not outweigh the disadvantages and the problems he faces. Thus begins his downfall as he takes the road to crime for his survival, revealing in the process his lack of conscience, inhumanity and complete selfishness. He progresses from obsession to fanaticism, to insanity, and finally to his fateful end.

Dr. Kemp

Dr. Kemp is a scientist living in the town of Port Burdock. He is a former acquaintance of Griffin, who knew Kemp to be interested in strange, bizarre aspects of science. Kemp continues to study science as he hopes to be admitted to The Royal Society. His scientific temperament makes him listen to the story Griffin tells him. He does not become hysterical nor does he behave like the locals. Griffin hopes Kemp would support him in his evil schemes and help him live a normal life, but Kemp is too decent to join him. He is repelled by Griffin's brutality and considers him insane and homicidal. He betrays Griffin to the police. He keeps his cool throughout the plot, when the final hunt for Griffin begins. Kemp helps in the final capture and killing of Griffin.

In the 1933 Universal film adaptation, Kemp is given the first name Arthur and is played by William Harrigan. Unlike the novel, Kemp in the film does not survive to the end of the story.
Janny Hall

Janny Hall is the wife of Mr. Hall and the owner of the Coach and Horses Inn. A very friendly, down-to-earth woman who enjoys socialising with her guests, Mrs. Hall is continually frustrated by the mysterious Griffin's refusal to talk with her, and by his repeated temper tantrums. She vents her frustrations on her maid, Millie, and becomes suspicious of Griffin.

Mrs. Hall appears in the 1933 film adaptation, where she was played by Una O'Connor.
George Hall

George Hall is the husband of Mrs. Hall and helps her run the Coach and Horses Inn. He was the first person in Iping to suspect that Griffin is invisible: when a dog bites him and tears his glove, Griffin retreats to his room and Hall follows to see if he is all right, only to see Griffin without his glove and handless (or so it appears to Hall).

Mr. Hall appears in the 1933 film adaptation, where his first name is changed to Herbert; he is seriously injured by Griffin. He is portrayed by Forrester Harvey.
Thomas Marvel

Thomas Marvel is a droll tramp unwittingly recruited to assist the Invisible Man as his first visible partner. He carries the Invisible Man's scientific notebooks and stolen money. Eventually Marvel grows afraid of his unseen partner and flees to Port Burdock, taking both the notebooks and the money with him, where he seeks police protection. Although the Invisible Man is furious and vows revenge, he becomes preoccupied with hiding from the law and retaliating against Dr. Kemp, and Marvel is spared. Marvel eventually uses the stolen money to open his own inn, which he calls the Invisible Man, and prospers. The novel ends with him secretly "marvelling" at Griffin's notes (though not comprehending them). It turns out Marvel kept the notes and only views them when there is nobody around, so nobody can know Griffin's secrets or that Marvel has them.

Marvel does not appear in the 1933 film adaptation, but does appear in Alan Moore's comics series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Colonel Adye

Colonel Adye is the chief of police in the town of Port Burdock. He is called upon by Dr. Kemp when the Invisible Man turns up in Kemp's house. Adye saves Kemp from the Invisible Man's first attempt on his life and leads the hunt for the unseen fugitive. He mostly follows Kemp's suggestions in planning the campaign against the Invisible Man. He is eventually shot by the Invisible Man with Kemp's revolver. Upon being shot, Adye is described as falling down and not getting back up.
Dr. Cuss

Dr. Cuss is a doctor living in the village of Iping. Intrigued by tales of a bandaged stranger staying at the Coach and Horses Inn, Dr. Cuss goes to see him under the pretence of asking for a donation to the nurse's fund. Cuss is scared away after Griffin pinches his nose with an invisible hand. Cuss immediately goes to see the Rev. Bunting, who, not surprisingly, does not believe the doctor's wild story and is quite amused to hear it . Later, Cuss and Bunting obtain the Invisible Man's notebooks, but these are subsequently stolen back from them by the invisible Griffin, when he also takes both men's clothes.
J.A. Jaffers

J.A. Jaffers is a constable in the town of Iping. He is called upon by George Hall and Janny Hall to arrest Griffin after they suspect him of robbing the Reverend Bunting. He quickly overcomes his shock at the discovery that Griffin is invisible, and is determined to arrest him in spite of this. The Invisible Man knocks him unconscious in his flight from Iping.

Jaffers appears in the 1933 film adaptation.

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Queen - The Invisible Man (Official Video)

The Invisible Man ( Queen)

- ( J )
I'm the invisible man,
- -,
I'm the invisible man,
- -,
Incredible how you can,
,
See right through me,
.

When you hear a sound,
,
That you just can't place
, ,
Feel somethin' move
- ,
That you just can't trace,
,
When something sits
-
On the end of your bed
,
Don't turn around
,
When you hear me tread.
.

I'm the invisible man,
- -,
I'm the invisible man
- -,
Incredible how you can
,
See right through me
.
I'm the invisible man
- -,
I'm the invisible man
- -,
It's criminal how I can
,
See right through you.
.

Now I'm in your room
-
And I'm in your bed
,
And I'm in your life
,
And I'm in your head
,
Like the CIA

Or the FBI
,
You'll never get close

Never take me alive
.

I'm the invisible man
- -,
I'm the invisible man
- -,
Incredible how you can
,
See right through me
.
I'm the invisible man
- -,
I'm the invisible man
- -,
It's criminal how I can
,
See right through you,
.

Hah, hah, hah, hello,
, , , ,
Hah, hah, hah, hello,
, , , ,
Hah, hah, hah, hello-hello-hello-
, , , --...

hello,
,
Never had a real good friend - not a
-
Boy or a girl
, ,
No-one knows what I've been through -
, -
Let my flag unfurl
,
So make my mark from the edge of the world,

From the edge of the world,
,
From the edge of the world,
.

Now I'm on your track
-
And I'm in your mind,
,
And I'm on your back
,
But don't look behind
.
I'm your meanest thought
- ,
I'm your darkest fear
- ,
Put I'll never get caught
,
You can't shake me, shake me dear,
, , .

I'm the invisible man,
- -,
I'm the invisible man
- -,
Incredible how you can
,
See right through me
.
I'm the invisible man
- -,
I'm the invisible man
- -,
It's criminal how I can
,
See right through you
.
Look at me, look at me
, , .

0

311

Herbert George Wells

THE INVISIBLE MAN

CHAPTER I

THE STRANGE MANS ARRIVAL

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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 thicklygloved hand. He was wrapped up from head to foot, and the brim of his soft felt hat hid every inch of his face save 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.[1] And with that much introduction,[2] 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 winter time was an unheardof piece of luck, let alone a guest who was no haggler,[3] and she was resolved to show herself worthy of her good fortune.

As soon as the bacon was well under way, and Millie, her lymphatic aid,[4] 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 éclat.[5] Although the fire was burning up briskly, she was surprised to see that her visitor still wore his hat and coat, and stood 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 melted 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,[6] and had a bushy side whisker over his coat collar that completely hid his face.

Very well, sir, she said. As you like. In a bit the room will be warmer.

He made no answer, and turned his face away from her again, and Mrs. Hall, feeling that her conversational advances were illtimed,[7] laid the rest of the table things in a quick staccato[8] manner, 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 hatbrim 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 eagerness.

As she went behind the bar to the kitchen she heard a sound repeated at regular intervals. Chirk, chirk, chirk, it went, the sound of a spoon being whisked rapidly round a basin. That girl! she said. There! I clean forgot it. Its her being so long! And while she herself finished mixing the mustard, she gave Millie a few verbal stabs[9] 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 mustardpot, and, putting it with some stateliness upon a gold and black teatray, 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 mustardpot 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. 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 looking at her.

For a moment she stood gazing at him, too surprised to speak.

He held a white clothit was a serviette he had brought with himover 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 the 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 shining, just as it had been at first. He wore a dark brown velvet jacket, with a high, black, linenlined 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 conceivable. 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 blank glasses. Leave the hat, he said, speaking indistinctly 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 didnt know, sir, she began, "that" And she stopped, embarrassed.

Thank you, he said dryly, glancing from her to the door, and then at her again.

Ill have them nicely dried,[10] sir, at once, she said, and carried his clothes out of the room. She glanced at his whiteswathed head and blank 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.[11] I never! she whispered. There![12] She went quite softly to the kitchen, and was too preoccupied to ask Millie what she was messing about with now,[13] 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 meal. 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 plunged the room in twilight. He returned with an easier air to the table and his meal.

The poor souls had an accident, or an opration or somethin, said Mrs. Hall. What a turn them bandages did give me[14] to be sure!

She put on some more coal, unfolded the clothehorse, and extended the travellers coat upon this. And they goggles! Why, he looked more like a divin elmet[15] 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 toomaybe.

She turned round, as one who suddenly remembers. Bless my soul alive![16] she said, going off at a tangent, aint you done them taters[17] yet, Millie?

When Mrs. Hall went to clear away the strangers 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 the tobacco as it smouldered out. He sat in the corner with his back to the windowblind, and spoke now, having eaten and drunk and being comfortably warmed through, with less aggressive brevity than before. 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. Tomorrow! he said. There is no speedier delivery? and seemed disappointed when she answered No. Was she quite sure? No man with a trap who would go over?[18]

Mrs. Hall, nothing loath, answered his questions, and then developed a conversation. Its a steep road by the down, sir, she said, in answer to the question about a trap; and then snatching at an opening[19] said, It was there a carriage was upsettled,[20] a year ago and more. A gentleman killed, besides his coachman. Accidents, sir, happen in a moment, dont they?

But the visitor was not to be drawn so easily.[21] They do, he said, through his muffler, eyeing her quietly from behind his impenetrable glasses.

But they take long enough to get well, sir, dont they? There was my sisters son, Tom, jest[22] cut his arm with a scythetumbled on it in the ayfieldand bless me! he was three months tied up, sir. Youd hardly believe it. Its regular[23] give me a dread of a scythe, sir.

I can quite understand that, said the visitor.

We was afraid, one time, that hed have to have an opration, he was that bad, sir.

The vistor laughed abruptlya bark of a laugh[24] 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[25] 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. Evidently he was sensitive on the topic of operations and bandages. She did not make so bold as to say, after all. But his snubbing way had irritated her, and Millie had a hot time of it[26] that afternoon.

The visitor remained in the parlour until four oclock, 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 by the firelightperhaps dozing.

Once or twice a curious listener might have heard him at the coals,[27] 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.

CHAPTER II

MR. TEDDY HENFREYs FIRST IMPRESSIONS

At four oclock, 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 clockjobber,[1] came into the bar.

My sakes,[2] 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 youre here, Mr. Teddy, said she, Id be glad if youd give th old clock in the parlour a bit of a look. Tis going, and it strikes well and hearty, but the hour hand wont do nothin 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. 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 whitebound 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 to his face, just as she had seen him hold the serviette before. The shadows, she fancied, had tricked her.

Would you mind, sir, this man acoming to look at the clock, sir? she said, recovering from her momentary disorder.

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 person. He was, he says, taken aback.

Good afternoon, said the stranger, regarding himas Mr. Henfrey says, with a vivid sense of the dark spectacles[3] like a lobster.

I hope, said Mr. Henfrey, that its 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, youd prefer the clock

Certainly, said the stranger, certainly; but as a rule I like to be alone and undisturbed.

He turned round with his back to the fireplace, and put his hands behind his back. And presently, he said, when the clockmending is over, I think I should like to have some tea. But not till the clockmending is over.

Mrs. Hall was about to leave the roomshe made no conversational advances this time, because she did not want to be snubbed in front of Mr. Henfreywhen 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 coolness.[4]

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 impressed.

And my baggage contains apparatus and appliances.

Very useful things indeed they are, sir, said Mrs. Hall.

And Im 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 togetherlock myself up. Sometimesnow 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 clockmending. Mr. Henfrey 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 shadowy. When he looked up coloured patches swam in his eyes. Being constitutionally of a curious nature, he had removed the worksa quite unnecessary proceedingwith the idea of delaying his departure and perhaps falling into conversation with the stranger. But the stranger stood there, perfectly silent and still. So stillit got on Henfreys nerves. He felt alone in the room and looked up, and there, gray and dim, was the bandaged head and huge, dark 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 the year?

He looked up as if to take aim with that introductory shot. "The weather" he began.

Why dont you finish and go? said the rigid figure, evidently in a state of painfully suppressed rage. All youve got to do is to fix the hour hand on itsaxle. Youre simply humbugging.

Certainly, sirone minute more. I overlooked And Mr. Henfrey finished and went.

But he went off feeling excessively annoyed. Damn it! said Mr. Henfrey to himself, trudging down the village through the falling snow, a man must do a clock at times, surely.

And again, Cant a man look at you? Ugly!

And yet again, Seemingly not. If the police was wanting you, you couldnt be more wrapped and bandaged.

At Gleesons corner he saw Hall, who had recently married the strangers 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[5] up home! said Teddy.

Hall very sociably pulled up. Whats that? he asked.

Rumlooking customer stopping at the Coach and Horses, said Teddy. My sakes!

And he proceeded to give Hall a vivid description of his wifes grotesque guest. Looks a bit like a disguise, dont it? Id like to see a mans face if I had him stopping in my place, said Henfrey. But women are that trustfulwhere strangers are concerned. Hes took your rooms, and he aint even given a name, Hall.

You dont say so,[6] said Hall, who was a man of sluggish apprehension.

Yes, said Teddy. By the week.[7] Whatever he is, you cant get rid of him under the week.[7] And hes got a lot of luggage coming tomorrow, so he says. Lets hope it wont be stones in boxes, Hall.

He told Hall how his aunt at Hastings had been swindled by a stranger with empty portmanteaux. Altogether he left Hall vaguely suspicious. Get up, old girl,[8] said Hall. I spose 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[9] dont 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 halfpast nine, Mr. Hall went aggressively into the parlour, and looked very hard at his wifes furniture, just to show that the stranger wasnt master there, and scrutinised 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 strangers luggage when it came next day.

You mind your own business, Hall, said Mrs. Hall, and Ill 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 eyes. But being a sensible woman, she subdued her terrors, and turned over and went to sleep again.

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312

Herbert George Wells

THE INVISIBLE MAN

CHAPTER III

THE THOUSAND AND ONE BOTTLES

So it was that on the 9th 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 slushand very remarkable luggage it was.

There were a couple of trunks, indeed, such as a rational man might have, but in addition there were a box of booksbig, fat books, of which some were just in an incomprehensible handwritingand a dozen or more crates, boxes, and cases, containing objects packed in strawglass bottles, as it seemed to Hall, tugging with a casual curiosity at the straw. The stranger, muffled in hat, coat, gloves, and wrapper,[1] out impatiently to meet Fearensides cart, while Hall was having a word or so of gossip preparatory to helping bring them in. Out he came, not noticing Fearensides dog, who was sniffing in a dilettante[2] spirit at Halls legs.

Come along with those boxes, he said. Ive been waiting long enough.

And he came down the steps towards the tail of the wagon, as if to lay hands on the smaller crate.

No sooner had Fearensides 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 dogs teeth had slipped the hand, heard a kick, saw the dog execute a flanking jump and get home on the strangers leg,[3] and heard the rip of his trousering. Then the finer end of Fearensides whip reached his property, and the dog, yelping with dismay, retreated under the wheels of the wagon. It was all the business of a swift half minute. No one spoke, every one shouted. The stranger glanced swiftly at his torn glove and at his leg, made as if he would stoop[4] to the latter, then turned and rushed up the steps into the inn. They heard him go headlong across the passage and up the uncarpeted stairs to his bedroom.

You brute, you! said Fearenside, climbing off the wagon with his whip in his hand, while the dog watched him through the wheel.

Come here! said Fearenside Youd better.

Hall had stood gaping. He wuz bit, said Hall. Id better go an see to en. And he trotted after the stranger. He met Mrs. Hall in the passage. Carriers darg, he said, bit en.

He went straight upstairs, and the strangers door being ajar, he pushed it open, and was entering without any ceremony, being of a naturally sympathetic turn of mind.

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 observe. 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 seen.

After a couple of minutes 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 didnt have no business to bite her guests;[5] there was Huxter, the general dealer[6] from over the road, interrogative; and Sandy Wadgers from the forge, judicial;[7] besides women and children, all of them saying fatuities: Wouldnt let en bite me, I knows; Tasnt right have such dargs; Whad e bite n for, then? 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 for his impressions.

He dont want no help, he says, he said in answer to his wifes inquiry. Wed better be atakin of his luggage in.

He ought to have it cauterised at once, said Mr. Huxter, especially if its at all[8] inflamed.

Id shoot en, thats what Id do, said a lady in the group.

Suddenly the dog began growling again.

Gome 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 Ill be pleased. It is stated by an anonymous bystander that his trousers and gloves had been changed.

Was you hurt, sir? said Fearenside. Im rare[9] 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. Halls carpet, and from it he began to produce bottleslittle fat bottles containing powders, small and slender bottles containing coloured and white fluids, fluted blue bottles labelled 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, saladoil bottlesputting them in rows on the chiffonier, on the mantle, on the table under the window, round the floor, on the bookshelfeverywhere. The chemists shop in Bramblehurst could not boast half so many. Quite a sight it was. Crate after crate yielded bottles,[10] until all six were empty and the table high with straw;[11] 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 wouldnt 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 investigationsmy really very urgent and necessary investigationsthe slightest disturbance, the jar of a door I must ask you

Certainly, sir. You can turn the lock if youre 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

Dont. If the straw makes trouble, put it down in the bill. And he mumbled at herwords suspiciously like curses.

He was so odd, standing there, so aggressive and explosive, bottle in one hand and test tube in the other,[12] 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 shillingput down a shilling. Surely a shillings enough?

So be it, said Mrs. Hall, taking up the tablecloth and beginning to spread it over the table. If youre satisfied, of course

He turned and sat down with his coat collar towards 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 glass 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 cant go on, he was raving; I cant 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 very reluctantly had 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 Gods sake dont worry me! If theres damage done, put it down in the bill, and he went on ticking a list[13] in the exercisebook before him.
* * *

Ill tell you something, said Fearenside mysteriously. It was late in the afternoon, and they were in the little beershop of Iping Hanger.

Well? said Teddy Henfrey.

This chap youre speaking of, what my darg bit. Wellhes black. Leastways his legs are.

I seed through the tear of his trousers and the tear of his glove. Youd have expected a sort of pinky to show, wouldnt you? Wellthere wasnt none. Just blackness. I tell you hes as black as my hat.

My sakes! said Henfrey. Its a rummy case altogether. Why, his nose is as pink as paint!

Thats true, said Fearenside. I knows that. And I tell what Im thinking. That marns a piebald, Teddy; black here and white therein patches. And hes ashamed of it. Hes a kind of halfbreed, and the colours come off patchy instead of mixing.[14] Ive heard of such things before. And its the common way with harses, as any one can see.

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Herbert George Wells

THE INVISIBLE MAN

CHAPTER IV

MR. CUSS INTERVIEWS THE STRANGER

I have told the circumstances of the strangers arrival in Iping with a certain fullness 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 in April, when the first signs of penury began, he overrode her by the easy expedient of an extra payment.[1] Hall did not like him, and whenever he dared he talked of the advisability of getting rid of him; but he showed his dislike mainly by concealing it ostentatiously, and avoiding his visitor as much as possible. Wait till the summer, said Mrs. Hall sagely, when the artisks[2] are beginning to come. Then well see. He may be a bit overbearing, but bills settled punctual is bills settled punctual, whatever you likes 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 fitfully. Some days he would[3] come down early and be continuously busy. On others he would rise late, pace his room, fretting audibly for hours together, smoke, or sleep in the armchair by the fire. Communication with the world beyond the village he had none.[4] 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. His habit of talking to himself in a low voice grew steadily upon him,[5] but though Mrs. Hall listened conscientiously she could make neither head nor tail of[6] what she heard.

He rarely went abroad by day, but at twilight he would go out muffled up enormously, whether the weather was 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 homegoing labourers; and Teddy Henfrey, tumbling out of the Scarlet Coat one night at halfpast nine, was scared shamefully by the strangers skulllike 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 bogeys, 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[7] 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 then 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 was averse to any public notice of the fact.

Out of her hearing there was a view largely entertained that[8] he was a criminal trying to escape from justice by wrapping 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 occurred. Elaborated in the imagination of Mr. Gould, the probationary assistant in the National School,[9] 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 him. But he detected nothing.

Another school of opinion followed Mr. Fearenside, and either accepted the piebald view or some modification of it.[10] As, for instance, Silas Durgan who was heard to assert that if he chose to show enself at fairs hed make his fortune in no time, and being a bit of a theologian compared the stranger to the man with the one talent.[11] 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 womenfolk.

But whenever they thought of him, people in Iping on the whole agreed in disliking him. His irritability, though it might have been comprehensible to an urban brainworker,[12] was an amazing thing to these quiet Sussex villagers. The frantic gesticulations they surprised now and then,[13] the headlong pace after nightfall that swept him upon them round quiet corners,[14] the inhuman bludgeoning of all the 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 lampswho could agree with such goings on? They drew aside as he passed down the village, and when he had gone by, young humorists would up with coat collars and down with hat brims,[15] 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 Satchell sang it at the schoolroom concertin aid of the church lamps[16] 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,[17] 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 thousandandone 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[18] the subscription list for a village nurse as an excuse. He was surprised to find that Mr. Hall did not know his guests name.

He gave a name, said Mrs. Hallan assertion which was quite unfoundedbut I didnt rightly hear it. She thought it seemed so silly not to know the mans 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 bar, looking at the open door of the parlour. Then she heard the stranger laughing quietly, and 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?

Whats happened? said the vicar, putting the ammonite[19] on the loose sheets of his forthcoming sermon.

That chap at the inn

Well?

Give me something to drink, said Cuss, and he sat down.

When his nerves had been steadied by a glass of cheap sherrythe only drink the good vicar had availablehe told him of the interview he had just had.

Went in,[20] he gasped, and began to demand a subscription for that nurse fund.[21] Hed stuck his hands in his pockets as I came in, and he sat down lumpily in his chair. Sniffed. I told him Id 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 wonderwrapped up like that. I developed the nurse idea, and all the while kept my eyes open. Bottleschemicalseverywhere. Balance, test tubes, in stands, and a smell ofevening primrose. Would he subscribe?[22] Said hed 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,[23] so to speak. Oh? said I. And out came the grievance.[24] The man was just on the boil, and my question boiled him over.[25] He had been given a prescription most valuable prescriptionwhat for he wouldnt say. Was it medical? Damn you! what are you fishing after? I apologised. Dignified sniff and cough. He resumed. Hed 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 chimney. So! Just at that point, to illustrate his story, out came his arm."

Well?

No hand. Just an empty sleeve. Lord! I thought, thats a deformity! Got a cork arm, I suppose, and has taken it off. Then, I thought, theres something odd in that. What the devil keeps that sleeve up and open if theres 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 blank, goggled eyes of his, and then at his sleeve.

Well?

Thats 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, wasnt I? Interrogative cough. How the devil, said I, can you move an empty sleeve like that? Empty sleeve? Yes, said I, an empty sleeve.

Its 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 didnt flinch, though Im hanged if that bandaged knob of his, and those blinkers,[26] arent 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.[27] 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; theres 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, slowlyjust like thatuntil the cuff was six inches from my face. Queer thing to see an empty sleeve come at you like that! And then"

Well?

Somethingexactly like a finger and a thumb it feltnipped my nose.

Bunting began to laugh.

There wasnt anything there! said Cusshis voice running up into a shriek at the there. Its all very well for you to laugh, but I tell you I was so startled, I hit his cuff hard, and turned round and cut out of the room[28] 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 vicars very inferior sherry. When I hit his cuff, said Cuss, I tell you, it felt exactly like hitting an arm.

And there wasnt an arm! There wasnt the ghost of an arm!

Mr. Bunting thought it over. He looked suspiciously at Cuss. Its a most remarkable story, he said. He looked very wise and grave indeed. Its really, said Mr. Bunting with judicial emphasis, a most remarkable story.

CHAPTER V

THE BURGLARY AT THE VICARAGE

The facts of the burglary at the Vicarage come 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 a 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 dressingroom and walking along the passage towards the staircase. So soon as she felt assured of this, she aroused the Rev. Mr. Bunting as quietly as possible. He did not strike a light, but putting on his spectacles, her dressinggown, and his bath slippers, went out on the landing to listen. He heard quite distinctly a fumbling going on at his study desk downstairs, 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 passed. 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. Buntings 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 up Mr. Buntings 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 goldtwo pounds ten in halfsovereigns altogether. At that sound Mr. Bunting was nerved to abrupt action.[1] Gripping the poker firmly, he rushed into the room, closely followed by Mrs. Bunting.

Surrender! cried Mr. Bunting fiercely, and then stopped, 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 gasping, 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 wastepaper basket, and Mr. Bunting opened the coalscuttle. Then they came to a stop, and stood with eyes interrogating one another.

I could have sworn said Mr. Bunting.

The candle! said Mr. Bunting. Who lit the candle?

The drawer! said Mrs. Bunting. And the moneys gone!

She went hastily to the doorway.

Of all the extraordinary occurrences[2]

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 the sound of bolts being hastily shot back.[3]

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 was 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 bringing 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.[4]

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 candle.

Of all the extraordinary affairs, began the vicar for the twentieth time.

My dear, said Mrs. Bunting, theres Susie coming down. Just wait here until she has gone into the kitchen, and then slip upstairs.

0

314

Herbert George Wells

THE INVISIBLE MAN

CHAPTER VI

THE FURNITURE THAT WENT MAD

Now it happened that in the early hours of Whit Monday, before Millie was hunted out for the day,[1] Mr. Hall and Mrs. Hall both rose and went noiselessly down into the cellar. Their business there was of a private nature, and had something to do with the specific gravity[2] of their beer.

They had hardly entered the cellar when Mrs. Hall found she had forgotten to bring down a bottle of sarsaparilla[3] 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 strangers door was ajar. He went on into his own room and found the bottle as he had been directed.

But as he came downstairs, he noticed that the bolts on the front door had been shot backthat the door was, in fact, simply on the latch. And, with a flash of inspiration, he connected this with the strangers 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 hands, went upstairs again. He rapped at the strangers 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 queerer, 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 bedpost.

As Hall stood there he heard his wifes voice coming out of the depth of the cellar, and with that rapid telescoping of the syllables[4] 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. Gearge! You gart whad a wand?[5]

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. Es not in uz room, e ent.[6] And the front doors onbolted.

At first Mrs. Hall did not understand, and so soon as she did she resolved to see the empty room for herself. Hall, still holding the bottle, went first. If e ent there, he said, is close are. And whats e doin ithout is close, than? Tas a most curius basness.[7]

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. Hes been up this hour or more.

As she did so a most extraordinary thing happened. The bedclothes 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 strangers hat hopped off the bedpost, described a whirling flight in the air through the better part of a circle, and then dashed straight at Mrs. Halls face. Then as swiftly came the sponge from the washstand, and then the chair, flinging the strangers coat and trousers carelessly aside, and laughing dryly in a voice singularly like the strangers, 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. Halls arms on the landing. 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. Ive 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. Dont 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 bottlesmoren its right for anyone to have. Hes 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 oclock sunshine to rouse up Mr. Sandy Wadgers, the blacksmith.

Mr. Halls compliments, and the furniture upstairs was behaving most extraordinary. Would Mr. Wadgers come round?[8]

He was a knowing man, was Mr. Wadgers,[9] and very resourceful. He took quite a grave view of the case. Arm darmed if thet ent witchcraft,[10] was the view of Mr. Sandy Wadgers. You warnt horseshoes for such gentry as he.[11]

He came round greatly concerned. They wanted him to lead the way upstairs to the room; but he didnt seem to be in any hurry. He preferred to talk in the passage. Over the way Huxters 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 in the course of a few minutes. The AngloSaxon genius for parliamentary government asserted itself:[12] there was a great deal of talk and no decisive action.

Lets have the facts first, insisted Mr. Sandy Wadgers. Lets be sure wed be acting perfectly right in bustin that there door open.[13] A door onbust is always open to bustin, but ye cant onbust a bust door once youve busted en.[14]

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 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 dont lick everything! said Mr. Wadgers, and left the alternative unsaid.[15]

Id go in and askn bout it, said Wadgers to Mr. Hall. Id dmand an explanation.

It took some time to bring the landladys husband up to that pitch.[16] 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 you.

So this brief interview terminated.

CHAPTER VII

THE UNVEILING OF THE STRANGER

The stranger went into the little parlour of the Coach and Horses about halfpast five in the morning, and there he remained until near midday, the blinds down, the door shut, and none, after Halls 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.[1] 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 readymade jackets and pique paper ties2for it was Whit Mondayjoined the group with confused and confusing interrogations. Young Archie Harker distinguished himself by going up the yard and trying to peep under the drawn 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 shootinggallery, and on the grass by the forge were three yellow and chocolate wagons, and some picturesque strangers of both sexes putting up a cocoanutshy.3 The gentlemen wore blue jerseys, the ladies white aprons and quite fashionable hats with heavy plumes. Woodyer, of the "Purple Fawn,"4 and Mr. Jaggers, the cobbler, who also sold secondhand ordinary bicycles, were stretching a string of union jacks and royal ensigns,5 which had originally celebrated the first Victorian Jubilee,6 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 youre wanting, sir? she said.

Why wasnt my breakfast laid? Why havent you prepared my meals and answered my bell? Do you think I live without eating?

Why isnt my bill paid? said Mrs. Hall. Thats what I want to know.

I told you three days ago I was awaiting a remittance

I told you three days ago I wasnt going to await no remittances. You cant grumble if your breakfast waits a bit, if my bills been waiting these five days, can you?

The stranger swore briefly but vividly.

Nar, nar!7 from the bar.

And Id thank you kindly, sir, if youd 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 of8 him. His next words showed as much.

Look here, my good woman he began.

Dont good woman me,9 said Mrs. Hall.

Ive told you my remittance hasnt come.

Remittance, indeed! said Mrs. Hall.

Still, I dare say in my pocket

You told me three days ago that you hadnt anything but a sovereigns worth of silver upon you.

Well, Ive found some more.

Ullo! 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 dont understand, and what nobody dont understand, and what everybody is very anxious to understand. I want know what you been doing tmy chair upstairs, and I want know how tis your room was empty and how you got in again? Them as stops in this house comes in by the doorsthats the rule of this house, and that you didnt do, and what I want know is how you did come. And I want 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 dont understand, he said, who I am or what I am. Ill show you. By heaven! Ill 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 noseit was the strangers nose! pink and shiningrolled on the floor with a sound of hollow cardboard.

Then he removed his spectacles, and every one 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 openmouthed and horrorstruck, shrieked at what she saw, and made for the door of the house. Every one began to move. They were prepared for scars, disfigurement, tangible horrorsbut nothing! The bandages and false hair flew across the passage into the bar, making a hobbledehoy jump to avoid them. Every one tumbled on every one else down the steps. For the man who stood there shouting some incoherent explanation was a solid, gesticulating figure up to the coatcollar of him, and thennothingness, 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.10 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 ceased suddenly.

Forthwith every one all the way down the streetthe sweetstuffseller, cocoanutshy proprietor and his assistant, the swing man,11 little boys and girls, rustic dandies, smart wenches, smocked elders, and aproned gipsies11 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. Halls establishment. Everybody seemed eager to talk at once, and the result was Babel.12 A small group supported Mrs. Hall, who was picked up in a state of collapse. There was a confusion, and the incredible evidence of a vociferous eyewitness. O Bogie! Whats he been doin, then? Aint hurt the girl, as e?13 Run at en with a knife,14 I believe. No ed, I tell ye. I dont mean no manner of speaking, I mean Marn ithout a Ed!15 Narnsense! tis some conjuring trick. Fetched off is wrappings, e did

In its struggles to see in through the open door the crowd formed itself into a struggling 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. Didnt take ten seconds. Back he comes with a knife in his hand and a loaf, stood just as if he was staring. Not a moment ago. Went in that there door. I tell e, e aint gart no ed tall.16 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,17 and rest en I will.

Mr. Hall marched up the steps, marched straight to the door of the parlour and found 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.

Thats him, said Hall.

What the devils this? came in a tone of angry expostulation from above the collar of the figure.

Youre a darmed rum customer, mister, said Mr. Jaffers. But ed or no ed, the warrant says body,18 and dutys 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 strangers left glove, and was slapped in Jafferss 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 goalkeeper 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 him19 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 chiffonier and shot a web of pungency20 into the air of the room.

Ill surrender, cried the stranger, though he had Jaffers down, and in another moment he stood up panting, a strange figure, headless and handlessfor he had pulled off his right glove now as well as his left. Its 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 matteroffact people under the sun. Jaffers got up also, and produced a pair of handcuffs. Then he stared.

I say! said Jaffers, brought up short21 by a dim realisation of the incongruity of the whole business. Darm it! Cant 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, thats not a man at all. Its 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 midair, and he drew it back with a sharp exclamation. I wish youd keep your fingers out of my eye, said the aerial voice22 in a tone of savage expostulation. The fact is, Im all herehead, hands, legs and all the rest of it, but it happens Im invisible. Its a confounded nuisance, but I am. Thats no reason why I should be poked to pieces by every stupid bumpkin in Iping, is it?

The suit of clothes, now all unbuttoned and hanging loosely upon its unseen supports, stood up, arms akimbo.

Several other of the menfolk had now entered the room, so that it was closely crowded. Invisible, eh? said Huxter, ignoring the strangers abuse. Who ever heard the likes of that?

Its strange, perhaps, but its not a crime. Why am I assaulted by a policeman in this fashion

Ah! thats a different matter, said Jaffers. No doubt you are a bit difficult to see in this light, but I got a warrant and its all correct. What Im after aint no invisibility, its burglary. Theres a house been broke into, and money took.

Well?

And circumstances certainly point

Stuff and nonsense! said the Invisible Man.

I hope so, sir. But Ive got my instructions

Well, said the stranger, Ill come. Ill come. But no handcuffs.

Its 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 what 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 the waistcoat, it struggled, and the shirt slipped out of it and left it limp and empty in his hand. Hold him! said Jaffers loudly. Once he gets the things off

Hold him! cried every one, 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 Halls face that stopped his openarmed 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 off over a mans head. Jaffers clutched at it, and only helped to pull it off. He was struck in the mouth out of the air, and incontinently drew 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! Dont 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 on the nose, reopened the door and led the rout. The others, following incontinently, were jammed for a moment in the corner by the doorway. The hitting continued. Phipps, the Unitarian,23 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 mêlée,24 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 round 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 constables prostrate body. Halfway across the road a woman screamed as something pushed by her, a dog, kicked apparently, yelped and ran howling into Huxters 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 abroad25 through the village as a gust scatters dead leaves. But Jaffers lay quite still, face and knees upward bent, at the foot of the steps of the inn.

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Herbert George Wells

THE INVISIBLE MAN

CHAPTER VIII

IN TRANSIT1

The eighth chapter is exceedingly brief, and relates that Gibbins, 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,2 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. Gibbins had heard nothing of the mornings 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.

CHAPTER IX

MR. THOMAS MARVEL

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,1 his short limbs accentuated this inclination. He wore a furry silk hat,2 and the frequent substitution of twine and shoelaces for buttons,3 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 openwork,4 were bare, his big toes were broad, and pricked like the ears of a watchful dog. In a leisurely mannerhe did everything in a leisurely mannerhe was contemplating a pair of laceup boots. They were the soundest boots he had come across for a long time, but too large for him, whereas those he had had were, in dry weather, a very comfortable fit, but too thin soled for damp. Mr. Thomas Marvel hated roomy boots, 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 boots 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 exceeding ugly to see. He was not at all startled by a voice behind him.

Theyre boots, anyhow, said the Voice.

They areCharity 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, Im darned if I know!

Hm, said the Voice.

Ive worn worsein fact, Ive worn none. But none so owdacious ugly5 if youll allow the expression. Ive been cadging bootsin particularfor days, because I was sick of them. Theyre sound enough, of course. But a gentleman on tramp6 sees such a thundering7 lot of his boots. And if youll believe me, Ive raised nothing in the whole blessed county, try as I would, but them. Look at em! And a good county for boots, too,8 in a general way. But its just my promiscuous luck. Ive got my boots in this county ten years or more. And then they treat you like this.

Its a beast of a county, said the Voice, and pigs for people.

Aint it? said Mr. Thomas Marvel. Lord! But them boots! It beats it.9

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 turned his head over his shoulder to the left, and there also 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.10 He saw a stretch of empty down, with the wind swaying the remote greenpointed furze bushes.

Am I drunk? said Mr. Marvel. Have I had visions? Was I talking to myself? What the

Dont be alarmed, said a Voice.

None of your ventriloquising me, said Mr. Thomas Marvel, rising sharply to his feet. Where are yer? Alarmed, indeed!

Dont be alarmed, repeated the Voice.

Youll be alarmed in a minute, you silly fool, said Mr. Thomas Marvel. Where are yer? Lemme11 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,12 said a peewit very remote.

Peewit, indeed! said Mr. Thomas Marvel. This aint 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,13 said Mr. Thomas Marvel, shuffling his coat on to his shoulders again. Its the drink. I might ha known.

Its not the drink, said the Voice. You keep your nerves steady.

Ow! said Mr. Marvel, and his face grew white amidst its patches. Its 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.

Its 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. Dont be a fool! said the Voice.

Imoffmy bloomingchump!14 said Mr. Marvel.

Its no good. Its fretting about them blarsted15 boots. Im off my blessed, blooming chump. Or its spirits!

Neither one thing nor the other, said the Voice. Listen!

Chump! said Mr. Marvel.

One minute, said the Voice penetratingly, tremulous with selfcontrol.

Well? said Mr. Thomas Marvel, with a strange feeling of having been dug in the chest by a finger.

You think Im just imaginationjust 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 Im going to throw flints at you till you think differently.

But where are yer?

The Voice made no answer. Whizz came a flint,16 apparently out of the air, and missed Mr. Marvels shoulder by a hairs breadth. Mr. Marvel, turning, saw a flint jerk up into the air, trace a complicated path, hang for a moment, and then fall at his feet with almost invisible rapidity. He was too amazed to dodge. Whizz it came, and ricocheted 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.

Its a fair do,17 said Mr. Thomas Marvel, sitting up, taking his wounded toe in hand, and fixing his eye on the third missile. I dont understand it. Stones flinging themselves. Stones talking. Put yourself down. Rot away. Im done.18

The third flint fell.

Its very simple, said the Voice. Im an invisible man.

Tell us something I dont know,19 said Mr. Marvel, gasping with pain. Where youve hidhow you do it I dont know. Im beat.

Thats all, said the Voice. Im invisible. Thats what I want you to understand.

Any one 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?

Im invisible. Thats the great point. And what I want you to understand is this

But whereabouts? interrupted Mr. Marvel.

Heresix yards in front of you.

Oh, come! I aint blind. Youll be telling me next youre just thin air. Im not one of your ignorant tramps

Yes. I amthin air. Youre looking through me.

What! Aint there any stuff to you? Vox et20 what is it?jabber. Is it that?

I am just a human beingsolid, needing food and drink, needing covering, too But Im invisible. You see? Invisible. Simple idea. Invisible.

What, real like?

Yes, real.

Lets have a hand of you, said Marvel, if you are real. It wont be so darn outoftheway like, then21

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 touch went timorously up the arm, patted a muscular chest, and explored a bearded face. Marvels face was astonishment.

Im dashed! he said. If this dont beat cockfighting! Most remarkable!And there I can see a rabbit clean through you arf22 a mile away! Not a bit of you visibleexcept

He scrutinised the apparently empty space keenly. You avent been eatin bread and cheese? he asked, holding the invisible arm.

You are quite right. Its not assimilated into the system.

Ah! said Mr. Marvel. Sort of ghostly, though.

Of course, all this isnt half so wonderful as you think.

Its quite wonderful enough for my modest wants, said Mr. Thomas Marvel. Howjer23 manage it? How the dooce is it done?24

Its too long a story. And besides

I tell you, the whole business fair25 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 youhesitatedwent on.

Mr. Marvels 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 Im all in a dizzy.26 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. Ive left them long enough. If you wontwell! . .. But you willmust.

Look here, said Mr. Marvel. Im too flabbergasted. Dont knock me about any more. And leave me go. I must get steady a bit. And youve pretty near broken my toe. Its 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 Ive chosen for you.

Mr. Marvel blew out his cheeks, and his eyes were round.

Ive 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 meand I will do great things for you. An Invisible Man is a man of power. He stopped for a moment to sneeze violently.

But if you betray me, he said, if you fail to do as I direct you

He paused and tapped Mr. Marvels shoulder smartly. Mr. Marvel gave a yelp of terror at the touch. I dont want to betray you, said Mr. Marvel, edging away from the direction of the fingers. Dont you go athinking that, whatever you do. All I want to do is to help youjust tell me what I got to do. (Lord!) Whatever you want done, that Im most willing to do.

CHAPTER X

MR. MARVELS VISIT TO IPING

After the first gusty panic had spent itself, Iping became argumentative. Scepticism suddenly reared its headrather nervous scepticism, not at all assured of its back,1 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 experience2 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 peoplesceptics and believers alikewere remarkably sociable all that day.

Haysmans meadow was gay with a tent, in which Mrs. Bunting and other ladies were preparing tea, while without the Sundayschool3 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 green4 an inclined string, down which, clinging the while to a pulleyswung handle,5 one could be hurled violently against a sack at the other end, came in for considerable favour6 among the adolescent, as also did the swings and the cocoanutshies. 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.7 Old Fletcher, whose conceptions of holidaymaking 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 oclock 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 by 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 cocoanutshy, 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 rooms 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 gateposts, 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 quick glances up the yard altogether belied.

All this Mr. Huxter saw over the canisters of the tobacco window, and the singularity of the mans 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 tablecloth in one hand, and three books tied togetheras it proved afterwards with the vicars bracesin the other. Directly he saw Huxter he gave a sort of gasp, and turning sharply to the left, began to run. Stop thief!8 cried Huxter, and set off after him.

Mr. Huxters sensations were vivid but brief. He saw the man just before him, and sprinting briskly for the church corner and the down road. He saw the village flags and festivities beyond, and only a face or two turned toward him. He bawled Stop thief again, and set off gallantly. He had hardly gone ten strides before his shin was caught in some mysterious fashion, and he was no longer running but flying with incredible velocity through the air. He saw the ground suddenly close to his head. The world seemed to splash into a million whirling specks of light, and subsequent proceedings interested him no more.9

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Herbert George Wells

THE INVISIBLE MAN

CHAPTER XI

IN THE COACH AND HORSES

Now, in order to understand clearly what had happened in the inn, it is necessary to go back to the moment when Mr. Marvel first came into view of Mr. Huxters 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. Halls permission, making a thorough examination of the Invisible Mans belongings. Jaffers had partially recovered from his fall and had gone home in the charge of his sympathetic friends. The strangers scattered garments had been removed by Mrs. Hall, and the room tidied up. 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. Hmno name on the flyleaf. Bother! Cipher. And figures.

The vicar came round to look over his shoulder.

Cuss turned the pages over with a face suddenly disappointed. Imdear me! Its all cipher, Bunting.

There are no diagrams? asked Mr. Bunting. No illustrations throwing light

See for yourself, said Mr. Cuss. Some of its mathematical, and some of its Russian or some such language (to judge by the letters), and some of its Greek. Now the Greek I thought you

Of course, said Mr. Bunting, taking out and wiping his spectacles, and feeling suddenly very uncomfortablefor he had no Greek left in his mind worth talking about. Yesthe Greek, of course, may furnish a clue.1

Ill find you a place.

Id 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 clues.

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 men started violently, looked round, and were relieved to see a sporadically rosy face beneath a furry silk hat. Tap?2 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 irritably.

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,3 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 dare say so, said Cuss. My nerves are all loose today. It quite made me jumpthe door opening like that.

Mr. Bunting smiled as if he had not jumped. And now, he said with a sigh, these books.

One minute, said Cuss, and went and locked the door. Now I think we are safe from interruption.

Some one 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 daysvery strange. I cannot, of course, believe in this absurd invisibility story

Its incredible, said Cuss, incredible. But the fact remains that I sawI certainly saw right down his sleeve

But did youare you sure Suppose a mirror, for instance Hallucinations are so easily produced. I dont know if you have ever seen a really good conjurer

I wont argue again, said Cuss. Weve thrashed that out, Bunting. And just now theres these books Ah! heres 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. The little mans Greek was of the flimsiest, and he firmly believed that every one outside the Church4 credited him with a knowledge of Greek and Hebrew originals.5 And now Should he confess? Should he vamp? Suddenly he became aware of a strange feeling at the nape of his neck. He tried to move his head, and encountered an immovable resistance.

The feeling was a curious pressurethe grip of a heavy, firm hand, and it bore his chin irresistibly to the table. Dont move, little men, whispered a voice, or Ill brain you both!

He looked into the face of Cuss, close to his own, and saw a horrified reflection of his own sickly astonishment.

Im sorry to handle you roughly, said the Voice, but its unavoidable.

Since when did you learn to pry into an investigators private memoranda? said the Voice, and two chins struck the table simultaneously, and two sets of teeth rattled.

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 Ive taken the key out of the door. I am a fairly strong man, and I have the poker handybesides being invisible. Theres not the slightest doubt that I could kill you both and get away quite easily if I wanted todo 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 vicar sat up, both very red in the face, and wriggling their heads.

Please keep sitting where you are, said the Invisible. Man. Heres 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? Nodont rise. I can see its gone. Now just at present, though the days are quite warm enough for an invisible man to run about stark6the evenings are chilly. I want clothing and other accommodation. And I must also have those three books.

CHAPTER XII

THE INVISIBLE MAN LOSES HIS TEMPER

It is unavoidable that at this point the narrative should break off again, for a certain very painful reason that will presently be apparent. And 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 thensilence.

Hullo! said Teddy Henfrey.

Hullo! from the tap.

Mr. Hall took things in slowly but surely. That aint 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. Summat1 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 raight, thur?2 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 dont!3 There came a sudden motion and the oversetting of a chair, a brief struggle. Silence again.

What the dooce! exclaimed Henfrey sotto voce.4

Youallraightthur? asked Mr. Hall sharply again.

The vicars voice answered with a curious jerking intonation. Quite riight. Please dontinterrupt.

Odd! said Mr. Henfrey.

Odd! said Mr. Hall.

Says, Dont interrupt, said Henfrey.

I heerdn,5 said Hall.

And a sniff, said Henfrey.

They remained listening. The conversation was rapid and subdued. I cant, said Mr. Bunting, his voice rising; I tell you, sir, I will not.

What was that? asked Henfrey.

Says he wi nart, said Hall. Warnt speakin to us, wuz he?

Disgraceful! said Mr. Bunting within.

Disgraceful, said Mr. Henfrey. I heard itdistinct.

Whos that speaking now? asked Henfrey.

Mr. Cuss, I spose, said Hall. Can you hearanything?

Silence. The sounds within indistinct and perplexing.

Sounds like throwing the tablecloth about, said Hall.

Mrs. Hall appeared behind the bar. Hall made gestures of silence and invitation. This roused Mrs. Halls wifely opposition.

What yer listenin there for, Hall? she asked. Aint you nothin better to dobusy day like this?

Hall tried to convey everything by grimaces and dumb show,6 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 nonsenseperhaps they were just moving the furniture about.

I heerdn say disgraceful; that I did, said Hall.

I heard that, Mis Hall, said Henfrey.

Like as not,7 began Mrs. Hall.

Hsh! said Mr. Teddy Henfrey. Didnt I hear the window?

What window? asked Mrs. Hall.

Parlour window, said Henfrey.

Every one stood listening intently. Mrs. Halls eyes, directed straight before her, saw, without seeing, the brilliant oblong of the inn door, the road, white and vivid, and Huxters shopfront blistering in the June sun. Abruptly Huxters 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 vanished.

Simultaneously came a tumult from the parlour, and a sound of windows being closed.

Hall, Henfrey, and the human contents of the tap rushed out at once pellmell into the street. They saw some one whisk round the corner towards the down 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 knocked 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 cocoanutshy, a burly man in a blue jersey. He was astonished to see the lane empty save for three men sprawling absurdly on the ground. And then something happened to his rearmost foot, and he went headlong and rolled sideways just in time to snare the feet of his brother and partner, following headlong. The two were then kicked, knelt on, fallen over, and cursed by quite a number of overhasty people.8

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 towards the corner. Hold him! he cried, dont let him drop that parcel! You can see him so long as he holds the 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 defectivea sort of limp, white kilt that could only have passed muster in Greece.9 Hold him! he bawled. Hes got my trousers! and every stitch of the vicars 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 in a rout. Every one 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 some ones face. 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 parlour.

Hes 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 hearthrug and a West Surrey Gazette.

Whos coming? he said, so startled that his costume narrowly escaped disintegration.

Invisible Man! said Cuss, and rushed to the window. Wed better clear out from here. Hes fighting mad! Mad!

In another moment he was out in the yard.

Good heavens! said Mr. Bunting, hesitating between two horrible alternatives. He heard a frightful struggle in the passage of the inn, and his decision was made. 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 Mans original intention was simply to cover Marvels 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 hurting.

You must figure the street full of running figures, of doors slamming, and fights for hidingplaces. You must figure the tumult suddenly striking on the unstable equilibrium of old Fletchers plank and two chairswith cataclysmal 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 stockintrade of a sweetstuff stall. Everywhere there is a sound of closing shutters and shooting bolts, and the only visible humanity is an occasional flitting eye under a raised eyebrow in the corner of a windowpane.

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. Grogram. He it must have been who cut the telegraph wire to Adderdean just beyond Higginss 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 hours10 before any human being ventured out again into the desolation of Iping Street.

0

317

Herbert George Wells

THE INVISIBLE MAN

CHAPTER XIII

MR. MARVEL DISCUSSES HIS RESIGNATION

When the dusk was gathering, and Iping was just beginning to peep timorously forth again upon the shattered wreckage of its Bank Holiday,1 a short, thickset 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 tablecloth. 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.

Jf you give me the slip2 again, said the Voice; if you attempt to give me the slip again

Lord! said Mr. Marvel. That shoulders a mass of bruises as it is.

On my honour, said the Voice, I will kill you.

I didnt try to give you the slip, said Marvel, in a voice that was not far remote from tears. I swear I didnt. I didnt know the blessed turning, that was all! How the devil was I to know the blessed turning? As it is, Ive been knocked about

Youll get knocked about a great deal more if you dont mind,3 said the Voice, and Mr. Marvel abruptly became silent. He blew out his cheeks, and his eyes were eloquent of despair.

Its bad enough to let these floundering yokels explode my little secret, without your cutting off with my books. Its 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 voce.

Its all about.4 It will be in the papers! Everybody will be looking for me. Every one on their guard

The Voice broke off into vivid curses and ceased. The despair of Mr. Marvels face deepened, and his pace slackened.

Go on, said the Voice.

Mr. Marvels face assumed a grayish tint between the ruddier patches.

Dont drop those books, stupid! said the Voice sharply.

The fact is, said the Voice, I shall have to make use of you Youre a poor tool, but I must.

Im a miserable tool, said Marvel.

You are, said the Voice.

Im the worst possible tool you could have, said Marvel.

Im not strong, he said, after a discouraging silence.

Im not over strong, he repeated.

"No?"

And my hearts weak. That little businessI pulled it through, of course. But, bless you! I could have dropped.

Well?

I havent the nerve and strength for the sort of thing you want

Ill stimulate you.

I wish you wouldnt. I wouldnt like to mess up your plans, you know. But I might. Out of sheer funk and misery

Youd better not, said the Voice, with quiet emphasis.

I wish I was dead, said Marvel.

It aint justice, he said. You must admit It seems to me Ive a perfect right

Get on,5 said the Voice.

Mr. Marvel mended his pace, and for a time they went in silence again.

Its devilish hard, said Mr. Marvel.

This was quite ineffectual. He tried another tack.

What do I make by it?6 he began, again in a tone of unendurable wrong.

Oh! shut up! said the Voice, with sudden amazing vigour. Ill see to you all right. You do what youre told. Youll do it all right. Youre a fool and all that, but youll do

I tell you, sir, Im not the man for it. Respectfullybut it is so

If you dont 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 this 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 unhappylooking 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.

CHAPTER XIV

AT PORT STOWE

Ten oclock the next morning found Mr. Marvel, unshaven, dirty and travelstained, sitting with his hands deep in his pockets, looking very weary, nervous, and uncomfortable, and inflating his cheeks at frequent 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 pinewoods 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 fumbling.

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)1 was engrossed thereby for some minutes. His eyes meanwhile were at liberty to examine Mr. Marvels 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. Marvels appearance with this suggestion of opulence. 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, theyre books.

Theres some extraordinary things in books, said the mariner.

I believe you, said Mr. Marvel.

And some extraordinary things out of em, said the mariner.

True, likewise, said Mr. Marvel. He eyed his interlocutor, and then glanced about him.

Theres some extraordinary things in newspapers, for example, said the mariner.

There are.

In this newspaper, said the mariner.

Ah! said Mr. Marvel.

Theres a story, said the mariner, fixing Mr. Marvel with an eye that was firm and deliberate; theres 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 faintly. Ostria2 or America?

Neither, said the mariner. Here.

Lord! said Mr. Marvel, starting.

When I say here said the mariner to Mr. Marvels intense relief, I dont, of course, mean here in this place, I mean hereabouts.

An Invisible Man! said Mr. Marvel. And whats he been up to?3

Everything, said the mariner controlling Marvel with his eye, and then amplifying, everyblessed thing.

I aint seen a paper these four days, said Marvel.

Ipings the place he started at, said the mariner.

lndeed! said Mr. Marvel.

He started there. And where he came from nobody dont seem to know. Here it is: Peculiar Story from Iping. And it says in this paper that the evidence is extraordinary strong, extraordinary.

Lord! said Mr. Marvel.

But then its a extraordinary story. There is a clergyman and a medical gent witnessessaw im all right and properor leastways, didnt see him. He was staying, it says, at the Coach an Horses, and no one dont seem to have been aware of his misfortune, it says, aware of his misfortune, until in an Alteration4 in the inn, it says, his bandages on his head was torn off. It was then observed 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.

Dont it? Extraordinary, I call it. Never heard tell of Invisible Men before, I havent, but nowadays one hears such a lot of extraordinary thingsthat

That all he did? asked Marvel, trying to seem at his ease.

Its enough, aint it? said the mariner.

Didnt go Back by any chance? asked Marvel. Just escaped, and thats all, eh?

All! said the mariner. Why!aint it enough?

Quite enough, said Marvel.

I should think it was enough, said the mariner. I should think it was enough.

He didnt have any palsit dont say he had any pals, does it? asked Mr. Marvel, anxious.

Aint one of a sort enough for you? asked the mariner. No, thank heaven, as one might say, he didnt.

He nodded his head slowly. It makes me regular uncomfortable, the bare thought of that chap running about the country! He is at present at Large, and from certain evidence, it is supposed that he hastakentook, I suppose they meanthe road to Port Stowe. You see were right in it! None of your American wonders this time. And just think of the things he might do! Whered you be if he took a drop over and above,5 and had a fancy to go for6 you? Suppose he wants to robwho can prevent him? He can trespass, he can burgle, he can walk through a cordon of policemen as easy as me or you could give the slip to a blind man! Easier! For these here blind chaps hear uncommon sharp, Im told. And wherever there was liquor he fancied

Hes got a tremenjous7 advantage, certainly, said Mr. Marvel. Andwell

Youre 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 againlistenedbent towards the mariner, and lowered his voice.

The fact of it is, I happento know just a thing or two about this Invisible Man. From private sources.

Oh! said the mariner. You?

Yes, said Mr. Marvelme.

Indeed! said the mariner. And may I ask?

Youll be astonished, said Mr. Marvel, behind his hand. Its 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.

Whats 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 agoing to tell me about this here Invisible Man, protested the mariner.

Mr. Marvel seemed to consult with himself.

Hoax,8 said a Voice.

Its a hoax, said Mr. Marvel.

But its in the paper, said the mariner.

Hoax all the same, said Marvel. I know the chap that started the lie. There aint no Invisible Man whatsoever Blimey.

But how bout this paper? Dyou mean to say?

Not a word of it, said Mr. Marvel stoutly.

The mariner stared, paper in hand. Mr. Marvel jerkily faced about. Wait a bit, said the mariner, rising and speaking slowly. Dyou 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 dyer 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 potbellied, leatheryfaced son of an old boot,9 couldnt have the elementary manners

Dont you come bandying words with me, said Mr. Marvel.

Bandying words! Ive 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. Youd better move on, said the mariner. Whos 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, arms akimbo, watching the receding figure. Ill show you, you silly fool, hoaxing me! Its here in 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 butchers cart dislodged him. Then he turned himself towards Port Stowe. Full of extraordinary fools, he said softly to himself. Just to take me down a bitthat was his silly game Its in 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. Michaels Lane. A brother mariner had seen this wonderful sight that very morning. He had snatched the money forthwith, and had been knocked headlong, and when he had got to his feet the butterfly money10 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 County Banking Company, from the tills of shops and innsdoors 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 afterand indeed only when the Burdock story was already oldthat the mariner collated these facts and began to understand how near he had been to the wonderful Invisible Man.

CHAPTER XV

THE MAN WHO WAS RUNNING

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 windowsnorth, west, and southand bookshelves crowded with books and scientifiic publications, and a broad writingtable, and, under the north window, a microscope, glass slips, minute instruments, some cultures, and scattered bottles of reagents. Dr. Kemps 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,1 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 fellow, and he wore a high hat, and he was running so fast that his legs verily twinkled.

Another of those asses, said Dr. Kemp. Like that ass who ran into me this morning round a corner, with his Visible Man acoming, sir! I cant imagine what possesses people.2 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 doesnt seem to be getting on. If his pockets were full of lead, he couldnt run heavier.

Spurted,3 sir! said Dr. Kemp.

In another moment the higher of the villas that had clambered up the hill from Burdock had occulted4 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 writingtable.

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 doctors contempt. By the man pounded,5 and as he ran he chinked like a wellfilled purse that is tossed to and fro. He looked neither to the right nor left, but his dilated eyes stared straight down hill to where the lamps were being lit and the people were crowded in the street. And his illshaped mouth fell apart, and a glairy foam6 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, somethinga winda 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!

CHAPTER XVI

IN THE "JOLLY CRICKETERS"

The Jolly Cricketers is just at the bottom of the hill, where the tramlines begin. The barman leant his fat red arms on the counter and talked of horses with an anaemic cabman, while a blackbearded man in gray snapped up biscuit and cheese, drank Burton,1 and conversed in American2 with a policeman off duty.

Whats 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. Hes coming. The Nvisible Man! After me. For Gawds sake. Elp! Elp! Elp!

Shut the doors, said the policeman. Whos coming? Whats 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 insomewhere. I tell you hes after me. I give him the slip. He said hed kill me, and he will.

Youre safe, said the man with the black beard. The doors shut. Whats 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, whos there?

Mr. Marvel began to make frantic dives at panels that looked like doors. Hell kill mehes got a knife or something. For Gawds 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. Dont open the door, he screamed. Please dont 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 its 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. Its that, he said. The barman stood in front of the barparlour 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. Theres no stopping him.

Dont you be in too much hurry3 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 wont do, said the policeman, thats murder.

I know what country Im in, said the man with the beard. Im going to let off at his legs. Draw the bolts.

Not with that 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 barparlour and supplied information.

Are all the doors of the house shut? asked Marvel. Hes going roundprowling round. Hes as artful as the devil.

Good Lord! said the burly barman. Theres the back! Just watch them doors! I say! He looked about him helplessly. The barparlour door slammed and they heard the key turn. Theres 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.

Hes not in the kitchen, said the barman. Theres two women there, and Ive stabbed every inch of it with this little beef slicer. And they dont think hes come in. They have noticed

Have you fastened it? asked the first cabman.

Im out o frocks,4 said the barman.

The man with the beard replaced his revolver. 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 barparlour door burst open. They heard Marvel squeal like a caught leveret, and forthwith they were clambering over the bar to his rescue. The bearded mans revolver cracked, and the lookingglass at the back of the parlour starred5 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 lugged 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.

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 clutched something. I got him, said the cabman. The barmans 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 doors into the barparlour from the kitchen slammed and covered Mr. Marvels retreat. The men in the kitchen found themselves clutching at and struggling with empty air.

Wheres he gone? cried the man with the beard. Out?

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 table.

Ill show him, shouted the man with the black beard, and suddenly a steel barrel shone over the policemans 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. Thats best of all. Four aces and the joker.6 Get a lantern, some one, and come and feel about for his body.

CHAPTER XVII

DR. KEMPS VISITOR

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. Whos letting off revolvers in Burdock? What are the asses at now?[1]

He went to the south window, threw it up,[2] and leaning out stared down on the network of windows, beaded gaslamps and shops with 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 watching. Thence his eyes wandered over the town to far away where the ships lights shone and the pier gloweda little illuminated, faceted pavilion like a gem of yellow light. 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 writingdesk.

It must have been about an hour after this that the front doorbell 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,[3] sir, she answered.

Im restless tonight, 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 oclock before Dr. Kemp had finished his work for the night. He rose, yawned, and went upstairs 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 diningroom in search of a siphon and whisky.

Dr. Kemps scientific pursuits had 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 work. At any rate, he turned with his burden, went back to the hall, put down the siphon and whisky, 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 doorhandle of his room was bloodstained.

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 own room, his face quite calmperhaps 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 when he had entered the room before, because then he had walked straight to the dressingtable. On the farther side the bedclothes were depressed as if some one had recently been 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 bloodstained bed. Then he distinctly heard a movement across the room, near the washhandstand. 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 dressingtable, and put down his burden. Suddenly, with a start, he perceived a coiled and bloodstained bandage of linen rag hanging in midair, between him and the washhandstand.

He stared at this in amazement, It was an empty bandagea 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. Im 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 Voice.

The story he had been active to ridicule[4] only that morning rushed through Kemps brain. 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. Its some trick. He stepped forward suddenly and his hand, extended towards the bandage, met invisible fingers.

He recoiled at the touch, and his colour changed.

Keep steady, Kemp, for Gods 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 teeth. 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, youll madden me in a minute!

Lie still, you fool! bawled the Invisible Man in Kemps ear.

Kemp struggled for another moment, and then lay still.

If you shout, Ill smash your face, said the Invisible Man, relieving his mouth. Im an Invisible Man. It is no foolishness and no magic. I am really an Invisible Man. And I want your help. I dont want to hurt you, but if you behave like a frantic rustic I must. Dont you remember me, Kemp? Griffin, of University College.[5]

Let me get up, said Kemp. Ill 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 mana man you have knownmade invisible.

Griffin? said Kemp.

Griffin, answered the Voice. A younger student than you were, almost an albino,[7] six feet high, and broadwith a pink and white face and red eyes, who won the medal for chemistry.

Im confused, said Kemp. My brain is rioting. What has this to do with Griffin?

I am Griffin.

Kemp thought. Its horrible, he said. But what devilry must happen to make a man invisible?

Its no devilry. Its a process, sane and intelligible enough

Its horrible! said Kemp. How on earth?

Its horrible enough. But Im 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 along the floor and come to rest near the bed. It creaked, and the seat was depressed a quarter of an inch or so. He rubbed his eyes and felt his neck again. This beats ghosts, he said, and laughed stupidly.

Thats better. Thank heaven, youre getting sensible!

Or silly, said Kemp, and knuckled his eyes.

Give me some whisky. Im near dead.

I didnt feel so. Where are you? If I get up shall I run into you? There! All right. Whisky Here. Where shall I give it you?

The chair creaked, and Kemp felt the glass drawn away from him. He let it go by an effort; his instinct was all against it. It came to rest poised twenty inches above the front edge of the chair. He stared at it in infinite perplexity.

This isthis must behypnotism. You must have suggested you are invisible.

Nonsense! said the Voice.

Its frantic!

Listen to me.

I demonstrated conclusively this morning, began Kemp, that invisibility

Never mind what youve demonstrated! Im starving, said the Voice, and the night is chilly to a man without clothes.

Food? said Kemp.

The tumbler of whisky tilted itself. Yes, said the Invisible Man, rapping it down. Have you got a dressinggown?

Kemp made some exclamation in an undertone. He walked to a wardrobe, and produced a robe of dingy scarlet. This do?[7] he asked. It was taken from him. It hung limp for a moment in midair, 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 was ever in, in my life!

He turned out his drawers for the articles, and then went downstairs to ransack his larder. 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 midair with a sound of gnawing.

I always like to get something about me[8] 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

Exactly. But its odd I should blunder into your house to get my bandaging. My first stroke of luck! Anyhow, I meant to sleep in this house tonight. You must stand that! Its a filthy nuisance, my blood showing, isnt it? Quite a clot over there. Gets visible as it coagulates, I see. Its only the living tissue Ive changed, and only for as long as Im alive Ive been in the house three hours.

But hows it done ? began Kemp, in a tone of exasperation. Confound it! The whole businessits unreasonable from beginning to end.

Quite reasonable, said the Invisible Man; "perfectly reasonable.

He reached over and secured the whisky bottle. Kemp stared at the devouring dressinggown. A ray of candlelight 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 fool of a mana sort of confederate of mine, curse him!who tried to steal my money. Has done so.

Is he invisible, too?

No.

Well?

Cant I have some more to eat before I tell all that? Im hungryin pain. And you want me to tell stories!

Kemp got up. You didnt do any shooting? he asked.

Not me, said his visitor. Some fool Id never seen fired at random. A lot of them got scared. They all got scared at me. Curse them! I sayI want more to eat than this, Kemp.

Ill see what there is more to eat downstairs, said Kemp. Not much, Im afraid.

After he had done eatingand he made a heavy meal the Invisible Man demanded a cigar. 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,[9] became visible as a sort of whirling smoke cast.

This blessed gift of smoking, he said, and puffed vigorously. Im lucky to have fallen upon you, Kemp. You must help me. Fancy tumbling on you just now! Im in a devilish scrape[10] Ive been mad, I think. The things I have been through![11] But we will do things yet, let me tell you.

He helped himself to more whisky and soda. Kemp got up, looked about him, and fetched himself a glass from his spare room.

Its wildbut I suppose I may drink.

You havent changed much, Kemp, these dozen years. You fair men dont. Cool and methodical I must tell you. We will work together!

But how was it all done? said Kemp, and how did you get like this?

For Gods 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 Mans 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 inn. He began his story and fell away from it. He spoke in fragments of Marvel, he smoked faster, his voice grew angry. Kemp tried to gather what he could.

He was afraid of meI could see he was afraid of me, said the Invisible Man many times over. He meant to give me the sliphe was always casting about![12] What a fool I was!

The cur!

I was furious. I should have killed him

Where did you get the money? asked Kemp abruptly.

The Invisible Man was silent for a space. I cant tell you tonight.

He groaned suddenly and leaned forward, supporting his invisible head on invisible hands.

Kemp, he said, Ive had no sleep for near three days, except a couple of dozes of an hour or so. I must sleep soon.

"Well, have my roomhave this room."

But how can I sleep? If I sleephe will get away. Ugh! What does it matter?

Whats the shot wound? asked Kemp.

Nothingscratch and blood. Oh, God! How I want sleep!

Why not?

The Invisible Man appeared to be regarding Kemp. Because Ive a particular objection to being caught by my fellowmen, he said slowly.

Kemp started.

Fool that I am! said the Invisible Man, striking the table smartly. Ive put the idea into your head.

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CHAPTER XVIII

THE INVISIBLE MAN SLEEPS

Exhausted and wounded as the Invisible Man was, he refused to accept Kemps word that his freedom should be respected. He examined the two windows of the bedroom, drew up the blinds and opened the sashes to confirm Kemps statement that a retreat by them would be possible. Outside the night was very quiet and still, and the new moon was setting over the down. Then he examined the keys of the bedroom and the two dressingroom doors, to satisfy himself that these also could be made an assurance of freedom. Finally he expressed himself satisfied. He stood on the hearthrug and Kemp heard the sound of a yawn.

Im sorry, said the Invisible Man, if I cannot tell you all that I have done tonight. But I am worn out. Its grotesque, no doubt. Its horrible! But, believe me, Kemp, in spite of your arguments of this morning, it is quite a possible thing. I have made a discovery. I meant to keep it to myself. I cant. I must have a partner. And you We can do such things But tomorrow. Now, Kemp, I feel as though I must sleep or perish.

Kemp stood in the middle of the room staring at the headless garment. I suppose I must leave you, he said. Itsincredible. Three things happening like this, overturning all my preconceptionswould make me insane. But its real! Is there anything more that I can get you?

Only bid me goodnight, said Griffin.

Goodnight, said Kemp, and shook an invisible hand. He walked sideways to the door.

Suddenly the dressinggown walked quickly towards him. Understand me! said the dressinggown. No attemps to hamper me or capture me! Or

Kemps face changed a little. I thought I gave you my word, he said.

Kemp closed the door softly behind him, and the key was turned upon him forthwith. Then as he stood with an expression of passive amazement on his face, the rapid feet came to the door of the dressingroom, and that too was locked. Kemp slapped his brow with his hand. Am I dreaming? Has the world gone mad, or have I?

He laughed, and put his hand to the locked door. Barred out of my own bedroom by a flagrant absurdity! he said.

He walked to the head of the staircase, turned, and stared at the locked doors. Its fact, he said. He put his fingers to his slightly bruised neck. Undeniable fact!

But

He shook his head hopelessly, turned, and went downstairs.

He lit the diningroom lamp, got out a cigar, and began pacing the room, ejaculating. Now and then he would largue with himself.

Invisible! he said.

Is there such a thing as an invisible animal? In the seayes. Thousandsmillions. All the larv?, all the little nauplii and tornarias,[1] all the microscopic thingsthe jellyfish! In the sea there are more things invisible than visible! I never thought of that before And in the ponds too! All those little pondlife thingsspecks of colourless, translucent jelly! But in air! No!

It cant be.

But after allwhy not?

If a man were made of glass he would still be visible.

His meditation became profound. The bulk of three cigars had diffused as a white ash over the carpet before he spoke again. Then it was merely an exclamation. He turned aside, walked out of the room, went into his little consultingroom and lit the gas there. It was a little room, because Dr. Kemp did not live by practice, and in it were the days newspapers. The mornings paper lay carelessly opened and thrown aside. He caught it up, turned it over, and read the account of a Strange Story from Iping that the mariner at Port Stowe had spelt over so painfully to Marvel. Kemp read it swiftly.

Wrapped up! said Kemp. Disguised! Hiding it! No one seems to have been aware of his misfortune. What the devil is his game?

He dropped the paper and his eye went seeking. Ah! he said, and caught up the St. Jamess Gazette, lying folded up as it arrived. Now we shall get at the truth, said Dr. Kemp. He rent the paper open. A couple of columns confronted him. An Entire Village in Sussex Goes Mad, was the heading.

Good heavens! said Kemp, reading eagerly an incredulous account of the events in Iping of the previous afternoon, that have already been described. Over the leaf the report in the morning paper had been reprinted.

He reread it. Ran through the streets striking right and left. Jaffers insensible. Mr. Huxter in great pain still unable to describe what he saw. Painful humiliationvicar. Woman ill with terror. Windows smashed. This extraordinary story probably a fabrication. Too good not to printcum grano.[2]

He dropped the paper and stared blankly in front of him. Probably a fabrication!

He caught up the paper again, and reread the whole business.

But when does the Tramp come in?[3] Why the deuce was he chasing a tramp?

He sat down abruptly on the surgical couch.

Hes not only invisible, he said, but hes mad! Homicidal!

When dawn came to mingle its pallor with the lamplight and cigarsmoke of the diningroom, Kemp was still pacing up and down, trying to grasp the incredible.

He was altogether too excited to sleep. His servants, descending sleepily, discovered him, and were inclined to think that overstudy had worked this ill on him. He gave them extraordinary but quite explicit instructions to lay breakfast for two in the belvedere study, and then to confine themselves to the basement and ground floor. Then he continued to pace the diningroom until the mornings paper came. That had much to say and little to tell, beyond the confirmation of the evening before, and a very badly written account of another remarkable tale from Port Burdock. This gave Kemp the essence of the happenings at the Jolly Cricketers, and the name of Marvel. He has made me keep with him twentyfour hours, Marvel testified. Certain minor facts were added to the Iping story, notably the cutting of the village telegraph wire. But there was nothing to throw light on the connection between the Invisible Man and the trampfor Mr. Marvel had supplied no information about the three books or the money with which he was lined. The incredulous tone had vanished, and a shoal of reporters and inquirers were already at work elaborating the matter.

Kemp read every scrap of the report, and sent his housemaid out to get every one of the morning papers she could. These also he devoured.

He is invisible! he said. And it reads like rage growing to mania![4] The things he may do! The things he may do! And hes upstairs free as the air. What on earth ought I to do?

For instance, would it be a breach of faith ifNo.

He went to a little untidy desk in the corner, and began a note. He tore this up half written, and wrote another. He read it over and considered it. Then he took an envelope and addressed it to Colonel Adye, Port Burdock.

The Invisible Man awoke even as[5] Kemp was doing this. He awoke in an evil temper, and Kemp, alert for every sound, heard his pattering feet rush suddenly across the bedroom overhead. Then a chair was flung over and the washhandstand tumbler smashed. Kemp hurried upstairs and rapped eagerly.

CHAPTER XIX

CERTAIN FIRST PRINCIPLES

Whats the matter? asked Kemp, when the Invisible Man admitted him.

Nothing, was the answer.

But, confound it! The smash?

Fit of temper, said the Invisible Man. Forgot this arm; and its sore.

Youre rather liable to[1] that sort of thing.

I am.

Kemp walked across the room and picked up the fragments of broken glass. All the facts are out about you, said Kemp, standing up with the glass in his hand. All that happened in Iping and down the hill. The world has become aware of its invisible citizen. But no one knows you are here.

The Invisible Man swore.

The secrets out. I gather it was a secret. II dont know what your plans are, but, of course, Im anxious to help you.

The Invisible Man sat down on the bed.

Theres breakfast upstairs, said Kemp, speaking as easily as possible, and he was delighted to find his strange guest rose willingly. Kemp led the way up the narrow staircase to the belvedere.

Before we can do anything else, said Kemp, I must understand a little more about this invisibility of yours. He had sat down, after one nervous glance out of the window, with the air of a man who has talking to do. His doubts of the sanity of the entire business flashed and vanished again as he looked across to where Griffin sat at the breakfasttable, a headless, handless dressinggown, wiping unseen lips on a miraculously held serviette.

Its simple enoughand credible enough, said Griffin, putting the serviette aside.

No doubt to you, but Kemp laughed.

Well, yes, to me it seemed wonderful at first, no doubt. But now, Great God! But we will do great things yet! I came on the stuff[2] first at Chesilstowe.

Chesilstowe?

I went there after I left London. You know I dropped medicine and took up physics? No; well, I did. Light fascinated me.

Ah!

Optical density! The whole subject is a network of riddlesa network with solutions glimmering elusively through. And being but twoandtwenty and full of enthusiasm, I said: I will devote my life to this. This is worth while. You know what fools we are at twoandtwenty?

Fools then or fools now, said Kemp.

As though knowing could be any satisfaction to a man!

But I went to worklike a nigger. And I had hardly worked and thought about the matter six months before light came through one of the meshes suddenlyblindingly! I found a general principle of pigments and refractiona formula, a geometrical expression involving four dimensions. Fools, common meneven common mathematicians, do not know anything of what some general expression may mean to the student of molecular physics. In the booksthe books that tramp has hiddenthere are marvels, miracles! But this was not a method, it was an idea that might lead to a method by which it would be possible without changing any other property of matterexcept in some instances coloursto lower the refractive index of a substance,[3] solid or liquid, to that of air, so far as all practical purposes are concerned."

Phew! said Kemp. Thats odd! But still I dont see quite I can understand that thereby you could spoil a valuable stone, but personal invisibility is a far cry.

Precisely, said Griffin. But consider, visibility depends on the action of the visible bodies on light. Let me put the elementary facts to you as if you did not know. It will make my meaning clearer. You know quite well that either a body absorbs light or it reflects or refracts it or does all these things. If it neither reflects or refracts nor absorbs light, it cannot of itself be visible. You see an opaque red box, for instance, because the colour absorbs some of the light and reflects the rest, all the red part of the light to you. If it did not absorb any particular part of the light, but reflected it all, then it would be a shining white box. Silver! A diamond box would neither absorb much of the light nor reflect much from the general surface, but just here and there where the surfaces are favourable the light would be reflected and refracted, so that you would get a brilliant appearance of flashing reflections and translucencies. A sort of skeleton of light. A glass box would not be so brilliant, not so clearly visible as a diamond box, because there would be less refraction and reflection. See that? From certain points of view you would see quite clearly through it. Some kinds of glass would be more visible than othersa box of flint glass would be brighter than a box of ordinary window glass. A box of very thin, common glass would be hard to see in a bad light, because it would absorb hardly any light and refract and reflect very little. And if you put a sheet of common white glass in water, still more if you put it in some denser liquid than water, it would vanish almost altogether, because light passing from water to glass is only slightly refracted or reflected, or, indeed, affected in any way. It is almost as invisible as a jet of coal gas or hydrogen is in air. And for precisely the same reason!

Yes, said Kemp, that is plain sailing. Any schoolboy nowadays knows all that.

And here is another fact any schoolboy will know. If a sheet of glass is smashed, Kemp, and beaten into a powder, it becomes much more visible while it is in the air; it becomes at last an opaque, white powder. This is because the powdering multiplies the surfaces of the glass at which refraction and reflection occur. In the sheet of glass there are only two surfaces, in the powder the light is reflected or refracted by each grain it passes through, and very little gets right through the powder. But if the white, powdered glass is put into water it forthwith vanishes. The powdered glass and water have much the same refractive index, that is, the light undergoes very little refraction or reflection in passing from one to the other.

You make the glass invisible by putting it into a liquid of nearly the same refractive index, a transparent thing becomes invisible if it is put in any medium of almost the same refractive index. And if you will consider only a second, you will see also that the powder of glass might be made to vanish in air, if its refractive index could be made the same as that of air. For then there would be no refraction or reflection as the light passed from glass to air.

Yes, yes, said Kemp. But a mans not powdered glass!

No, said Griffin. Hes more transparent!

Nonsense!

Thats from a doctor! How one forgets! Have you already forgotten your physics in ten years? Just think of all the things that are transparent and seem not to be so! Paper, for instance, is made up of transparent fibres, and it is white and opaque only for the same reason that a powder of glass is white and opaque. Oil white paper, fill up the interstices between the particles with oil, so that there is no longer refraction or reflection except at the surfaces, and it becomes as transparent as glass. And not only paper, but cotton fibre, linen fibre, wool fibre, woody fibre, and bone, Kemp, flesh, Kemp, hair, Kemp, nails and nerves, Kemp; in fact, the whole fabric of a man, except the red of his blood and the dark pigment of hair, are all made up of transparent, colourless tissueso little suffices to make us visible one to the other. For the most part, the fibres of a living creature are no more opaque than water.

Of course, of course! cried Kemp. I was thinking only last night of the sea larv? and jellyfish!

Now you have me![4] And all that I knew and had in mind a year after I left Londonsix years ago. But I kept it to myself. I had to do my work under frightful disadvantages. Hobbema, my professor, was a scientific bounder, a thief of ideashe was always prying! And you know the knavish system of the scientific world. I simply would[5] not publish and let him share my credit. I went on working; I got nearer and nearer making my formula into an experimenta reality. I told no living soul, because I meant to flash my work upon the world with crushing effect and become famous at a blow. I took up the question of pigments to fill up certain gaps, and suddenlynot by design, but by accidentI made a discovery in physiology.

Yes?

You know the red colouring matter of bloodit can be made whitecolourlessand remain with all the functions it has now!

Kemp gave a cry of incredulous amazement.

The Invisible Man rose and began pacing the little study. You may well exclaim.[6] I remember that night. It was late at nightin the daytime one was bothered with the gaping, silly studentsand I worked there sometimes till dawn. It came suddenly, splendid and complete, into my mind. I was alone, the laboratory was still, with the tall lights burning brightly and silently One could make an animala tissuetransparent! One could make it invisible! All except the pigments. I could be Invisible, I said, suddenly realising what it meant to be an albino with such knowledge. It was overwhelming. I left the filtering I was doing, and went and stared out of the great window at the stars. I could be Invisible, I repeated.

To do such a thing would be to transcend magic. And I beheld, unclouded by doubt, a magnificent vision of all that Invisibility might mean to a man. The mystery, the power, the freedom. Drawbacks I saw none. You have only to think! And I, a shabby, povertystruck, hemmedin[7] demonstrator, teaching fools in a provincial college, might suddenly becomethis, I ask you, Kemp, if you Any one, I tell you, would have flung himself upon that research. And I worked three years, and every mountain of difficulty I toiled over showed another from its summit. The infinite details! And the exasperation! A professor, a provincial professor, always prying. When are you going to publish this work of yours? was his everlasting question. And the students, the cramped means! Three years I had of it

And after three years of secrecy and trouble, I found that to complete it was impossibleimpossible.

How? asked Kemp.

Money, said the Invisible Man, and went again to stare out of the window.

He turned round abruptly. I robbed the old man robbed my father.

The money was not his, and he shot himself.

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CHAPTER XX

AT THE HOUSE IN GREAT PORTLAND STREET

For a moment Kemp sat in silence, staring at the back of the headless figure at the window. Then he started, struck by a thought, rose, took the Invisible Mans arm, and turned him away from the outlook.

You are tired, he said, and while I sit you walk about. Have my chair.

He placed himself between Griffin and the nearest window.

For a space Griffin sat silent, and then he resumed abruptly:

I had left the Chesilstowe College already, he said, when that happened. It was last December. I had taken a room in London, a large unfurnished room in a big, illmanaged lodginghouse in a slum near Great Portland Street. The room was soon full of the appliances I had bought with his money, and the work was going on steadily, successfully, drawing near an end. I was like a man emerging from a thicket, and suddenly coming on some unmeaning tragedy. I went to bury my father. My mind was still on this research, and I did not lift a finger to save his character. I remember the funeral, the cheap hearse, the scant ceremony, the windy, frostbitten hillside, and the old college friend of his who read the service over hima shabby, black, bent old man with a snivelling cold.

I remember walking back to the empty home through the place that had once been a village and was now patched and tinkered by the jerry builders into the ugly likeness of a town. Every way the roads ran out at last into the desecrated fields and ended in rubble heaps and rank, wet weeds. I remember myself as a gaunt, black figure, going along the slippery, shiny sidewalk, and the strange sense of detachment I felt from the squalid respectability, the sordid commercialism of the place

I did not feel a bit sorry for my father. He seemed to me to be the victim of his own foolish sentimentality. The current cant[1] required my attendance at his funeral, but it was really not my affair.

But going along the High Street my old life came back to me for a space, I met the girl I had known ten years since. Our eyes met

Something moved me to turn back and talk to her. She was a very ordinary person.

It was all like a dream, that visit to the old place. I did not feel then that I was lonely, that I had come out from the world into a desolation. I appreciated my loss of sympathy, but I put it down to the general inanity of life.[2] Reentering my room seemed like the recovery of reality. There were the things I knew and loved. There stood the apparatus, the experiments arranged and waiting. And now there was scarcely a difficulty left, beyond the planning of details.

I will tell you, Kemp, sooner or later, all the complicated processes. We need not go into that now. For the most part, saving certain gaps I chose to remember, they are written in cipher in those books that tramp has hidden. We must hunt him down. We must get those books again. But the essential phase was to place the transparent object whose refractive index was to be lowered, between two radiating centres of a sort of ethereal vibration, of which I will tell you more fully later. Nonot these Rontgen vibrations; I dont know that these others of mine have been described, yet they are obvious enough. I needed two little dynamosprincipally, and these I worked with a cheap gasengine My first experiment was with a bit of white wool fabric. It was the strangest thing in the world to see it soft and white in the flicker of the flashes, and then to watch it fade like a wreath of smoke and vanish.

I could scarcely believe I had done it. I put my hand into the emptiness and there was the thing as solid as ever. I felt it awkwardly, and threw it on the floor. I had a little trouble finding it again.

And then came a curious experience, I heard a miaow behind me, and, turning, saw a lean white cat, very dirty, on the cistern cover outside the window. A thought came into my head. Everything ready for you, I said, and went to the window, opened it, and called softly. She came in, purringthe poor beast was starving and I gave her some milk. All my food was in a cupboard in the corner of the room. After that she went smelling round, the room, evidently with the idea of making herself at home. The invisible rag upset her a bit; you should have seen her spit at it! But I made her comfortable on the pillow of my trucklebed, and I gave her butter to get her to wash.

And you processed her?

I processed her. But giving drugs to a cat is no joke, Kemp! And the process failed.

Failed?

In two particulars. These were the claws and the pigment stuffwhat is it? At the back of the eye in a cat. You know?

Tapetum.

Yes, the tapetum. It didnt go. After Id given the stuff to bleach the blood and done certain other things to her, I gave the beast opium, and put her and the pillow she was sleeping on, on the apparatus. And after all the rest had faded and vanished, there remained the two little ghosts of her eyes.

Odd.

I cant explain it. She was bandaged and clamped of courseso I had her safe but she awoke while she was still misty, and miaowed dismally, and some one came knocking. It was an old woman from downstairs, who suspected me of vivisectinga drinksodden old creature, with only a cat to care for in all the world. I whipped out some chloroform, applied it, and answered the door. Did I hear a cat? she asked. My cat? Not here, said I, very politely. She was a little doubtful, and tried to peer past me into the roomstrange enough to her, no doubt, bare walls, uncurtained windows, trucklebed, with the gasengine vibrating, and the seethe of the radiant points,[3] and that faint stinging of chloroform in the air. She had to be satisfied at last, and went away again.

How long did it take? asked Kemp.

Three or four hoursthe cat. The bones and sinews and the fat were the last to go, and the tips of the coloured hairs. And, as I say, the back of the eye, tough, iridiscent stuff it is, wouldnt go at all.

It was night outside long before the business was over, and nothing was to be seen but the dim eyes and the claws. I stopped the gasengine, felt for and stroked the beast, which was still insensible, released its fastenings, and then, being tire, left it sleeping on the invisible pillow and went to bed. I found it hard to sleep. I lay awake thinking weak, aimless stuff, going over the experiment again and again, or dreaming feverishly of things growing misty and vanishing about me until everything, the ground I stood on, vanished, and so I came to that sickly, falling nightmare one gets. About two the cat began miaowing about the room. I tried to hush it by talking to it, and then I decided to turn it out. I remember the shock I had striking the lightthere were just the round eyes shining greenand nothing round them. I would have given it milk, but I hadnt any. It wouldnt be quiet, it just sat down and miaowed at the door. I tried to catch it, with an idea of putting it out of the window, but it wouldnt be caught, it vanished. It kept on miaowing in different parts of the room. At last I opened the window and made a bustle. I suppose it went out at last. I never saw nor heard any more of it.

ThenHeaven knows whyI fell thinking of my fathers funeral again, and the dismal, windy hillside, until the day had come. I found sleep was hopeless, and, locking my door after me, wandered out into the morning streets.

You dont mean to say theres an Invisible Cat at large in the world? said Kemp.

If it hasnt been killed, said the Invisible Man. Why not?

Why not? said Kemp. I didnt mean to interrupt.

Its very probably been killed, said the Invisible Man. It was alive four days after, I know, and down a grating in Great Tichfield Street, because I saw a crowd round the place trying to see whence the miaowing came.

He was silent for the best part of a minute. Then he resumed abruptly: I remember that morning before the change very vividly.

I must have gone up Great Portland Streetfor I remember the barracks in Albany Street and the horse soldiers coming out, and at last I found myself sitting in the sunshine and feeling very ill and strange on the summit of Primrose Hill. It was a sunny day in Januaryone of those sunny, frosty days that came before the snow this year. My weary brain tried to formulate the position, to plot out a plan of action.

I was surprised to find, now that my prize was within my grasp how inconclusive its attainment seemed. As a matter of fact I was worked out, the intense stress of nearly four years continuous work left me incapable of any strenght or feeling. I was apathetic, and I tried in vain to recover the enthusiasm of my first inquiries, the passion of discovery that had enabled me to compass even the downfall of my fathers gray hairs.[4] Nothing seemed to matter. I saw pretty clearly this was a transient mood, due to overwork and want of sleep, and that either by drugs or rest it would be possible to recover my energies.

All I could think clearly was that the thing had to be carried through; the fixed idea still ruled me. And soon, for the money I had was almost exhausted, I looked about me at the hillside with children playing and girls watching them, and tried to think of all the fantastic advantages an invisible man would have in the world. After a time I crawled home, took some food and a strong dose of strychnine, and went to sleep in my clothes on my unmade bed Strychnine is a grand tonic, Kemp, to take the rlabbiness out of a man.

Its the devil, said Kemp. Its the pal?olithic in a bottle.

I awoke vastly invigorated and rather irritable. You know?

I know the stuff.

And there was some one rapping at the door. It was my landlord with threats and inquiries, an old Polish Jew in a long gray coat and greasy slippers. I had been tormenting a cat in the night, he was surethe old womans tongue had been busy. He insisted on knowing all about it. The laws of this country against vivisection were very severehe might be liable.[5] I denied the cat. Then the vibration of the little gasengine could be felt all over the house, he said. That was true, certainly. He edged round me into the room, peering about over his German silver spectacles, and a sudden dread came into my mind that he might carry away something of my secret. I tried to keep between him and the concentrating apparatus I had arranged, and that only made him more curious. What was I doing? Why was I always alone and secretive? Was it legal? Was it dangerous? I paid nothing but the usual rent. His had always been a most respectable housein a disreputable neighbourhood. Suddenly my temper gave way. I told him to get out. He began to protest, to jabber of his right of entry. In a moment I had him by the collarsomething rippedand he went spinning out into his own passage. I slammed and locked the door and sat down quivering.

He made a fuss outside, which I disregarded, and after a time he went away.

But this brought matters to a crisis. I did not know what he would do, nor even what he had the power to do. To move to fresh apartments would have meant delay altogether I had barely twenty pounds left in the world, for the most part in a bankand I could not afford that. Vanish! It was irresistible. Then there would be an inquiry, the sacking of my room.

At the thought of the possibility of my work being exposed or interrupted at its very climax, I became angry and active. I hurried out with my three books of notes, my cheque bookthe tramp has them nowand directed them from the nearest Post Office to a house of call for letters and parcels[6] in Great Portland Street. I tried to go out noiselessly. Coming in, I found my landlord going quietly upstairshe had heard the door close, I suppose. You would have laughed to see him jump aside on the landing as I came tearing after him. He glared at me as I went by him, and I made the house quiver with the slamming of my door, I heard him come shuffling up to my door, hesitate, and go down. I set to work upon my preparations forthwith.

It was all done that evening and night. While I was still sitting under the sickly, drowsy influence of the drugs that decolourise blood, there came a repeated knocking at the door. It ceased, footsteps went away and returned, and the knocking was resumed. There was an attempt to push something under the doora blue paper. Then in a fit of irritation I rose, and went and flung the door wide open. Now then? said I.

It was the landlord, with a notice of ejectment or something. He held it out to me, saw something odd about my hands, I expect, and lifted his eyes to my face.

For a moment he gaped. Then he gave a sort of inarticulate cry, dropped candle and writ together, and went blundering down the dark passage to the stairs.

I shut the door, locked it, and went to the lookingglass. Then I understood his terror My face was whitelike white stone.

But it was all horrible. I had not expected the suffering. A night of racking anguish, sickness, and fainting. I set my teeth, though my skin was presently afire, all my body afire, but I lay there like grim death.[7] I understood now how it was the cat had howled until I chloroformed it. Lucky it was I lived alone and untended in my room. There were times when I sobbed, and groaned, and talked. But I stuck to it I became insensible, and woke languid in the darkness.

The pain had passed. I thought I was killing myself, and I did not care. I shall never forget that dawn, and the strange horror of seeing that my hands had become as clouded glass, and watching them grow clearer and thinner as the day went by, until at last I could see the sickly disorder of my room through them, though I closed my transparent eyelids. My limbs became glassy, the bones and arteries faded, vanished, and the little white nerves went last. I gritted my teeth and stayed there to the end At last only the dead tips of the fingernails remained, pallid and white, and the brown stain of some acid upon my fingers.

I struggled up. At first I was as incapable as a swathed infantstepping with limbs I could not see. I was weak and very hungry. I went and stared at nothing in my shaving glassat nothing, save where an attenuated pigment still remained behind the retina of my eyes, fainter than mist. I had to hang on to the table and press my forehead to the glass.

It was only by a frantic effort of will that I dragged myself back to the apparatus, and completed the process.

I slept during the forenoon, pulling a sheet over my eyes to shut out the light, and about midday I was awakened again by a knocking. My strength had returned. I sat up and listened and heard a whispering. I sprang to my feet, and as noiselessly as possible began to detach the connections of my apparatus, and to distribute it about the room so as to destroy the suggestions of its arrangement. Presently the knocking was renewed and voices called, first my landlords and then two others. To gain time I answered them. The invisible rag and pillow came to hand, and I opened the window and pitched them out on to the cistern cover. As the window opened a heavy crash came at the door. Some one had charged it with the idea of smashing the lock. But the stout bolts I had screwed up some days before stopped him. That startled memade me angry. I began to tremble and do things hurriedly.

I tossed together some loose paper, straw, packingpaper, and so forth, in the middle of the room, and turned on the gas. Heavy blows began to rain upon the door. I could not find the matches. I beat my hands on the wall with rage. I turned down the gas again, stepped out of the window on the cistern cover, very softly lowered the sash, and sat down, secure and invisible, but quivering with anger, to watch events. They split a panel, I saw, and in another moment they had broken away the staples of the bolts and stood in the open doorway. It was the landlord and his two stepsonssturdy young men of three or fourandtwenty. Behind them fluttered the old hag of a woman from downstairs.

You may imagine their astonishment at finding the room empty. One of the younger men rushed to the window at once, flung it open and stared out. His staring eyes, and thicklipped, bearded face came a foot from my face. I was halfminded[8] to hit his silly countenance, but I arrested my doubled fist.

He stared right through me. So did the others as they joined him. The old man went and peered under the bed, and then they all made a rush for the cupboard. They had to argue about it at length in Yiddish and Cockney English. They concluded I had not answered them, that their imagination had deceived them. A feeling of extraordinary elation took the place of my anger as I sat outside the window and watched these four peoplefor the old lady came in, glancing suspiciously about her like a cattrying to understand the riddle of my existence.

The old man, so far as I could understand his polyglot,[9] agreed with the old lady that I was a vivisectionist. The sons protested in garbled English that I was an electrician, and appealed to[10] the dynamos and radiators. They were all nervous against my arrival,[11] although I found subsequently that they had bolted the front door. The old lady peered into the cupboard and under the bed. One of my fellowlodgers, a costermonger, who shared the opposite room with a butcher, appeared on the landing, and he was called in, and told incoherent things.

It occurred to me that the peculiar radiators I had, if they fell into the hands of some acute, welleducated person, would give me away too much, and, watching my opportunity, il descended from the windowsill into the room and dodging the old woman tilted one of the little dynamos off its fellow on which it was standing, and smashed both apparatus. How scared they were! Then, while they were trying to explain the smash, I slipped out of the room and went softly downstairs.

I went into one of the sittingrooms and waited until they came down, still speculative and argumentative, all a little disappointed at finding no horrors and all a little puzzled how they stood legally towards me. As soon as they had gone on down to the basement, I slipped up again with a box of matches, fired my heap of paper and rubbish, put fhe chairs and bedding thereby, led the gas to the affair by means of an indiarubber tube

You fired the house? exclaimed Kemp.

Fired the house! It was the only way to cover my trail, and no doubt it was insured I slipped the bolts of the front door quietly and went out into the street. I was invisible, and I was only just beginning to realise the extraordinary advantage my invisibility gave me. My head was already teeming with plans of all the wild and wonderful things I had now impunity to do.

CHAPTER XXI

IN OXFORD STREET

In going downstairs the first time I found an unexpected difficulty because I could not see my feet; indeed, I stumbled twice, and there was an unaccustomed clumsiness in gripping the bolt. By not looking down, however, I managed to walk on the level passably well.

My mood, I say, was one of exultation. I felt as a seeing man might do, with padded feet and noiseless clothes, in a city of the blind. I experienced a wild impulse to jest, to startle people, to clap them on the back, fling peoples hats astray, and generally revel in my extraordinary advantage.

But hardly had I emerged upon Great Portland Street, however (my lodging was close to the big drapers shop there), when I heard a clashing concussion, and was hit violently behind, and turning, saw a man carrying a basket of sodawater siphons, and looking in amazement at his burden. Although the blow had really hurt me, I found something so irresistible in his astonishment that I laughed aloud. The devils in the basket, I said, and suddenly twisted it out of his hand. He let go incontinently, and I swung the whole weight up into the air.

But a fool of a cabman, standing outside a publichouse, made a sudden rush for this, and his extended fingers took me with excruciating violence under the ear. I let the whole down with a smash on the cabman, and then, with shouts and the clatter of feet about me, people coming out of shops, vehicles pulling up, I realised what I had done for myself,[1] and cursing my folly, backed against a shop window and prepared to dodge out of the confusion. In a moment I should be wedged into a crowd and inevitably discovered. I pushed by a butcher boy, who luckily did not turn to see the nothingness that shoved him aside, and dodged behind the cabmans fourwheeler. I do not know how they settled the business. I hurried straight across the road, which was happily clear, and hardly heeding which way I went in the fright of detection the incident had given me, plunged into the afternoon throng of Oxford Street.

I tried to get into the stream of people, but they were too thick for me, and in a moment my heels were being trodden upon. I took the gutter, the roughness of which I found painful to my feet, and forthwith the shaft of a crawling hansom dug me forcibly under the shoulder blade, reminding me that I was already bruised severely. I staggered out of the way of the cab, avoided a perambulator by a convulsive movement, and found myself behind the hansom. A happy thought saved me, and as this drove slowly along I followed in its immediate wake, trembling and astonished at the turn of my adventure, and not only trembling but shivering. It was a bright day in January, and I was stark naked, and the thin slime of mud that covered the road was near freezing. Foolish as it seems to me now, I had not reckoned that, transparent or not, I was still amenable to the weather and all its consequences.

Then suddenly a bright idea came into my head. I ran round and got into the cab. And so, shivering, scared, and sniffing with the first intimations of a cold, and with the bruises in the small of my back growing upon my attention,[2] I drove slowly along Oxford Street and past Tottenham Court Road. My mood was as different from that in which I had sallied forth ten minutes since as it is possible to imagine. This invisibility, indeed! The one thought that possessed me now was how to get out of the scrape I was in.

We crawled past Mudies,[3] and there a tall woman, with five or six yellowlabelled books, hailed my cab, and I sprang out just in time to escape her, shaving a railway van narrowly[4] in my flight. I made off up the roadway to Bloomsbury Square, intending to strike north beyond the Museum,[5] and so get into the quiet district, I was now cruelly chilled, and the strangeness of my situation so unnerved me that I whimpered as I ran. At the westward corner of the square a little white dog ran out of the Pharmaceutical Societys offices, and incontinently made for me, nose down.

I had never realised it before, but the nose is to the mind of a dog what the eye is to the mind of a seeing man. Dogs perceive the scent of a man moving as men perceive his visible appearance. This brute began barking and leaping, showing, as it seemed to me only too plainly, that he was aware of me. I crossed Great Russell Street, glancing over my shoulder as I did so, and went some way along Montague Street before I realised what I was running towards.

Then I became aware of a blare of music, and looking along the street saw a number of people advancing out of Russell Square, red jerseys and the banner of the Salvation Army[6] to the fore. Such a crowd, chanting in the roadway and scoffing on the pavement, I could not hope to penetrate, and dreading to go back and farther from home again, and, deciding on the spur of the moment, I ran up the white steps of a house facing the Museum railings, and stood there until the crowd should have passed. Happily the dog stopped at the noise of the band, hesitated, and turned tail, running back to Bloomsbury Square again.

On came the band, bawling with unconscious irony some hymn about When shall we see His face? and it seemed an interminable time to me before the tide of the crowd washed along the pavement by me. Thud, thud, thud, came the drum with a vibrating resonance, and for the moment I did not notice two urchins stopping at the railings by me. See em, said one. See what? said the other. Whythem footmarksbare. Like what you makes in mud.

I looked down and saw the youngsters had stopped and were gaping at the muddy footmarks I had left behind me, up the newly whitened steps. The passing people elbowed and jostled them, but their confounded intelligence was arrested. Thud, thud, thud, when, thud, shall we see, thud, His face, thud, thud. Theres a barefoot man gone up them steps, or I dont know nothing, said one. And he aint never come down again. And his foot was ableeding.

"The thick of the crowd had already passed. Looky there, Ted, quoth the younger of the detectives with the sharpness of surprise in his voice, and pointed straight at my feet. I looked down and saw at once the dim suggestion of their outline sketched in splashes of mud. For a moment I was paralysed.

Why, thats rum! said the elder. Dashed rum! Its just like the ghost of a foot, aint it? He hesitated and advanced with outstretched hand. A man pulled up short to see what he was catching, and then a girl. In another moment he would have touched me. Then I saw what to do. I made a step, the boy started back with an exclamation, and with a rapid movement I swung myself over into the portico of the next house. But the smaller boy was sharp enough to follow the movement, and before I was well down the steps and upon the pavement he had recovered from his momentary astonishment, and was shouting out that the feet had gone over the wall.

They rushed round and saw my new footmarks flash into being[7] on the lower step and upon the pavement.

Whats up? asked some one.

Feet! Look! Feet running!

Everybody in the road, except my three pursuers, was pouring along after the Salvation Army, and this flow not only impeded me but them. There was an eddy of surprise and interrogation. At the cost of bowling over one young fellow I got through, and in another moment I was running headlong round the circuit of Russell Square, with six or seven astonished people following my footmarks. There was no time for explanation, or else the whole host would have been after me.

Twice I doubled round corners, thrice I crossed the road and came back on my tracks, and then as my feet grew hot and dry the damp impressions began to fade. At last I had a breathingspace, and rubbed my feet clean with my hands, and so got away altogether. The last I saw of the chase was a little group of a dozen people, perhaps, studying with infinite perplexity a slowly drying footprint that had resulted from a puddle in Tavistock Square, a footprint as isolated and incomprehensible to them as Crusoes solitary discovery.[8]

This running warmed me to a certain extent, and I went on with a better courage through the maze of less frequented roads that runs thereabout. My back had now become very stiff and sore, my tonsils were painful from the cabmans fingers, and the skin of my neck had been scratched by his nails; my feet hurt exceedingly, and I was lame from a little cut on one foot. I saw in time a blind man approaching me, and fled limping, for I feared his subtle intuitions. Once or twice accidental collisions occurred, and I left people amazed with unaccountable curses ringing in their ears. Then came something silent and quiet upon my face, and across the square fell a thin veil of slowly falling flakes of snow. I had caught a cold, and do as I would I could not avoid an occasional sneeze. And every dog that came in sight, with its pointing nose and curious sniffing, was a terror to me.

Then came men and boys running, first one then others, and shouting as they ran. It was a fire. They ran in the direction of my lodging, and looking back down a street I saw a mass of black smoke streaming up above the roofs and telephone wires. It was, I felt assured, my lodging that was burning; my clothes, apparatus, all my resources, indeed, except my chequebook and the three volumes of memoranda that awaited me in Great Portland Street, were there. Burning! I had burnt my boatsif ever a man did! The place was blazing.

The Invisible Man paused and thought. Kemp glanced nervously out of the window. Yes! he said, go on.

0

320

Herbert George Wells

THE INVISIBLE MAN

CHAPTER XXII

IN THE EMPORIUM

So last January, with the beginning of a snowstorm in the air about meand if it settled on me it would betray me!weary, cold, painful, inexpressibly wretched, and still but half convinced of my invisible quality, I began this new life to which I am committed.[1] I had no refuge, no appliances, no human being in the whole world in whom I could confide. To have told my secret would have given me awaymade a mere show and rarity of me. Nevertheless I was halfminded to accost some passerby and throw myself upon his mercy.[2] But I knew too clearly the terror and brutal cruelty my advances would evoke. I made no plans in the street. My sole object was to get shelter from the snow, to get myself covered and warm, then I might hope to plan. But even to me, an Invisible Man, the rows of London houses stood latched, barred, and bolted impregnably.

Only one thing could I see clearly before methe cold, exposure and misery of the snowstorm and night.

And then I had a brilliant idea. I turned down one of the roads leading from Gower Street to Tottenham Court Road, and found myself outside Omniums,[3] the big establishment where everything is to be boughtyou know the place: meat, grocery, linen, furniture, clothing, oil paintings evena huge, meandering collection of shops rather than a shop. I had thought I should find the doors open, but they were closed, and as I stood in the wide entrance a carriage stopped outside, and a man in uniformyou know the kind of personage with Omnium on his capflung open the door. I contrived to enter, and walking down the shopit was a department where they were selling ribbons and gloves and stockings and that sort of thingcame to a more spacious region, devoted to picnic baskets and wicker furniture.

I did not feel safe there, however, people were going to and fro, and I prowled restlessly about until I came upon a huge section in an upper floor containing multitudes of bedsteads, and over these I clambered, and found a restingplace at last among a huge pile of folded flock mattresses. The place was already lit up and agreeably warm, and I decided to remain in hiding where I was, keeping a cautious eye on the two or three sets of shopmen and customers who were meandering through the place, until closing time came. Then I should be able, I thought, to rob the place for food and clothing and disguise, prowl through it, and examine its resources, perhaps sleep on some of the bedding. That seemed an acceptable plan. My idea was to procure clothing to make myself a muffled but acceptable figure, to get money, and then to recover my books and parcels, where they awaited me, take a lodging somewhere, and elaborate plans for the complete realisation of the advantages my invisibility gave me (as I still imagined) over my fellowmen.

Closing time arrived quickly enough. It could not have been more than an hour after I took up my position on the mattresses before I noticed the blinds of the windows being drawn, and customers being marched doorward. And then a number of brisk young men began with remarkable alacrity to tidy up the goods that remained disturbed. I left my lair as the crowds diminished and prowled cautiously out into the less desolate parts of the shop. I was really surprised to observe how rapidly the young men and women whipped away the goods displayed for sale during the day. All the boxes of goods, the hanging fabrics, the festoons of lace, the boxes of sweets in the grocery section, the displays of this and that, were being taken down, folded up, slapped into tidy receptacles, and everything that could not be taken down and put away had sheets of some coarse stuff like sacking flung over it. Finally all the chairs were turned up on the counters, leaving the floors clear. Directly each of these young people had done, he or she made promptly for the door with such an expression of animation as I have rarely observed in a shopassistant before. Then came a lot of youngsters, scattering sawdust and carrying pails and brooms. I had to dodge to get out of the way, and as it was my ankle got stung with the sawdust. For some time, wandering through the swathed and darkened departments, I could hear the brooms at work. And at last, a good hour or more after the shop had been closed, came a noise of locking doors. Silence came upon the place, and I found myself wandering through the vast and intricate shops, galleries, and showrooms of the place alone. It was very stillin one place I remember passing near one of the Tottenham Court Road entrances and listening to the tapping bootheels of the passersby.

My first visit was to the place where I had seen stockings and gloves for sale. It was dark, and I had the devil of a hunt after matches, which I found at last in a drawer of the little cash desk. Then I had to get a candle. I had to tear down wrappers and ransack a number of boxes and drawers, but at last I managed to turn out what I sought: the box label called them lambswool pants and lambswool vests. Then socks, a thick comforter, and then I went to the clothing place and got trousers, a lounge jacket, an overcoat, and a slouch hata clerical sort of hat with the brim turned down. I began to feel a human being again, and my next thought was food.

"Upstairs was a refreshment department, and there I got cold meat. There was coffee still in the urn, and I lit the gas and warmed it up again, and altogether I did not do badly.[4] Afterwards, prowling through the place in search of blanketsI had to put up at last with a heap of down quiltsI came upon a grocery section with a lot of chocolate and crystallised fruits, more than was good for me, indeed, and some white burgundy. And near that was a toy department, and I had a brilliant idea. I found some artificial nosesdummy noses, you know, and I thought of dark spectacles. But Omniums had no optical department. My nose had been a difficulty indeed. I had thought of paint. But the discovery set my mind running on wigs and masks, and the like. Finally I went to sleep in a heap of down quilts, very warm and comfortable.

My last thoughts before sleeping were the most agreeable I had had since the change. I was in a state of physical serenity, and that was reflected in my mind. I thought that I should be able to slip out unobserved in the morning with my clothes upon me, muffling my face with a white wrapper I had taken, purchase spectacles with the money I had stolen, and so complete my disguise. I lapsed into disorderly dreams of all the fantastic things that had happened during the last few days. I saw the ugly little Jew of a landlord[5] vociferating in his rooms, I saw his two sons marvelling, and the wrinkled old womans gnarled face as she asked for her cat. I experienced again the strange sensation of seeing the cloth disappear, and so I came round to the windy hillside and the sniffing old clergyman mumbling. Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust,[6] at my fathers open grave.

You also, said a voice, and suddenly I was being forced towards the grave. I struggled, shouted, appealed to the mourners, but they continued stonily following the service; the old clergyman, too, never faltered, droning and sniffing through the ritual. I realised I was invisible and inaudible, that overwhelming forces had their grip on me. I struggled in vain, I was forced over the brink, the coffin rang hollow as I fell upon it, and the gravel came flying after me, spadefuls. Nobody heeded me, nobody was aware of me. I made convulsive struggles and awoke.

The pale London dawn had come, the place was full of a chilly gray light that filtered round the edges of the windowblinds. I sat up, and for a time I could not think where this ample apartment, with its counters, its piles of rolled stuff, its heap of quilts, and cushions, its iron pillars, might be. Then, as recollection came back to me, I heard voices in conversation.

Then far down the place, in the brighter light of some department which had already raised its blinds, I saw two men approaching. I scrambled to my feet, looking about me for some way of escape, and even as I did so the sound of my movement made them aware of me. I suppose they saw merely a figure moving quietly and quickly away. Whos that? cried one, and Stop there! shouted the other. I dashed round a corner and came full tilta faceless figure, mind you!on a lanky lad of fifteen. He yelled and I bowled him over, rushed past him, turned another corner, and by a happy inspiration threw myself flat behind a counter. In another moment feet went running past and I heard voices shouting, All hands[7] to the doors! asking what was up, and giving one another advice how to catch me.

Lying on the ground, I felt scared out of my wits.[8] But, odd as it may seem, it did not occur to me at the moment to take off my clothes, as I should have done, I had made up my mind, I suppose, to get away in them, and that ruled me. And then down the vista of the counters came a bawling of, Here he is!

I sprang to my feet, whipped a chair off the counter, and sent it whirling at the fool who had shouted, turned, came into another round a corner, sent him spinning, and rushed up the stairs. He kept his footing, gave a view hallo, and came up the staircase hot after me. Up the staircase were piled a multitude of those brightcoloured pot thingswhat are they?

Art pots,[9] suggested Kemp.

Thats it! Art pots. Well, I turned at the top step and swung round, plucked one out of a pile, and smashed it on his silly head as he came at me. The whole pile of pots went headlong, and I heard shouting and footsteps running from all parts. I made a mad rush for the refreshment place, and there was a man in white like a man cook, who took up the chase. I made one last desperate turn and found myself among lamps and ironmongery. I went behind the counter of this and waited for my cook, and as he bolted in at the head of the chase, I doubled him up with a lamp. Down he went, and I, crouching behind the counter, began whipping off my clothes as fast as I could. Coat, jacket, trousers, shoes, were all right, but a lambswool vest fits a man like a skin. I heard more men coming, my cook was lying quiet on the other side of the counter, stunned or scared speechless, and I had to make another dash for it, like a rabbit hunted out of a wood pile.

This way, Policeman, I heard some one shouting. I found myself in my bedstead storeroom again, and at the end a wilderness of wardrobes. I rushed among them, went flat, got rid of my vest after infinite wriggling, and stood a free man again, panting and scared, as the policeman and three of the shopmen came round the corner. They made a rush for the vest and pants and collared the trousers. Hes dropping his plunder, said one of the young men. He must be somewhere here.

But they did not find me all the same.

I stood watching them hunt for me for a time, and cursing my illluck in losing the clothes. Then I went into the refreshment room, drank a little milk I found there, and sat down by the fire to consider my position.

In a little while two assistants came in and began to talk over the business very excitedly, and like the fools they were. I heard a magnified account of my depredations, and other speculations as to my whereabouts. Then I fell to scheming[10] again. The insurmountable difficulty of the place, especially now it was alarmed, was to get any plunder out of it. I went down into the warehouse to see if there was any chance of packing and addressing a parcel, but I could not understand the system of checking. About eleven oclock, the snow having thawed as it fell, and the day being finer and a little warmer than the previous one, I decided that the Emporium was hopeless, and went out again exasperated at my want of success, and with only the vaguest plans of action in my mind.

CHAPTER XXIII

IN DRURY LANE

But you begin to realise now, said the Invisible Man, the full disadvantage of my condition. I had no shelterno coveringto get clothing was to forgo all my advantage, to make of myself a strange and terrible thing. I was fasting; for to eat, to fill myself with unassimilated matter, would be to become grotesquely visible again.

I never thought of that, said Kemp.

Nor had I. And the snow had warned me of other dangers. I could not go abroad in snow it would settle on me and expose me. Rain, too, would make me a watery outline, a glistening surface of a mana bubble. And fogI should be like a fainter bubble in a fog, a surface, a greasy glimmer of humanity. Moreover, as I went abroadin the London airI gathered dirt about my ankles, floating smuts and dust upon my skin. I did not know, how long it would be before I should become visible from that cause also. But I saw clearly it could not be very long.

Not in London at any rate.

I went into the slums towards Great Portland Street and found myself at the end of the street in which I had lodged. I did not go that way because of the crowd halfway down it opposite to the still smoking ruins of the house I had fired. My most immediate problem was to get clothing. Then I saw in one of those little miscellaneous shopsnews, sweets, toys, stationery, belated Christmas tomfoolery, and so forthan array of masks and noses, and recalled the idea Omniums toys had suggested. I turned about, no longer aimless, and went circuitously, in order to avoid the busy ways, towards the back streets north of the Strand; for I remembered, though not very distinctly where, that some theatrical costumiers had shops in that district.

The day was cold, with a nipping wind down the northward running streets. I walked fast to avoid being overtaken. Every crossing was a danger, every passenger a thing to watch alertly. One man, as I was about to pass him at the top of Bedford Street, turned upon me abruptly and came into me, sending me into the road, and almost under the wheel of a passing hansom. The verdict of the cabrank[1] was that he had had some sort of stroke. I was so unnerved by this encounter that I went into Covent Garden Market[2] and sat down for some time in a quiet corner by a stall of violets, panting and trembling. I found I had caught a fresh cold, and had to turn out after a time lest my sneezes should attract attention.

At last I reached the object of my quest, a dirty, flyblown little shop in a byway near Drury Lane, with a window full of tinsel robes, sham jewels, wigs, slippers, dominoes, and theatrical photographs. The shop was oldfashioned and low and dark, and the house rose above it for four storeys, dark and dismal. I peered through the window, and, seeing no one within, entered. The opening of the door set a clanking bell ringing. I left it open, and walked round a bare costume stand, into a corner behind a chevalglass. For a minute or so no one came. Then I heard heavy feet striding across a room, and a man appeared down the shop.

My plans were now perfectly definite. I proposed to make my way into the house, secrete myself upstairs, watch my opportunity, and, when everything was quiet, rummage out a wig, mask, spectacles, and costume, and go into the world, perhaps a grotesque but still a creditable figure. And, incidentally, of course, I could rob the house of any available money.

The man who had entered the shop was a short, slightly hunched, beetlebrowed man with long arms and very short bandy legs. Apparently I had interrupted a meal. He stared about the shop with an expression of expectation. This gave way to surprise, and then anger, as he saw the shop empty. Damn the boys! he said. He went to stare up and down the street. He came in again in a minute, kicked the door to[3] with his foot spitefully, and went muttering back to the house door.[4]

I came forward to follow him, and at the noise of my movement he stopped dead. I did so too, startled by his quickness of ear. He slammed the house door in my face.

I stood hesitating. Suddenly I heard his quick footsteps returning, and the door reopened. He stood looking about the shop like one who was still not satisfied. Then, murmuring to himself, he examined the back of the counter and peered behind some fixtures. Then he stood doubtful. He had left the house door open, and I slipped into the inner room.

It was a queer little room, poorly furnished, and with a number of big masks in the corner. On the table was his belated breakfast, and it was a confoundedly exasperating thing for me, Kemp, to have to sniff his coffee and stand watching while he came in and resumed his meal. And his table manners were irritating. Three doors opened into the little room, one going upstairs and one down, but they were all shut. I could not get out of the room while he was there; I could scarcely move because of his alertness, and there was a draught down my back. Twice I strangled a sneeze just in time.

The spectacular quality of my sensations was curious and novel, but for all that I was heartily tired and angry long before he had done his eating. But at last he made an end, and putting his beggarly crockery on the black tin tray upon which he had had his teapot, and gathering all the crumbs up on the mustardstained cloth, he took the whole lot of things after him. His burden prevented his shutting the door behind himas he would have done. I never saw such a man for shutting doors[5] and I followed him into a very dirty underground kitchen and scullery. I had the pleasure of seeing him begin to wash up, and then, finding no good in keeping down there, and the brick floor being cold to my feet, I returned upstairs and sat in his chair by the fire. It was burning low, and scarcely thinking, I put on a little coal. The noise of this brought him up at once, and he stood aglare. He peered about the room and was within an ace of touching me. Even after that examination he scarcely seemed satisfied. He stopped in the doorway and took a final inspection before he went down.

I waited in the little parlour for an age, and at last he came up and opened the upstairs door. I crept close after him.

On the staircase he stopped suddenly, so that I very nearly blundered into him. He stood looking back right into my face, and listening. I could have sworn, he said. His long, hairy hand pulled at his lower lip; his eye went up and down the staircase. Then he grunted, and went on up again.

His hand was on the handle of a door, and there he stopped again, with the same puzzled anger on his face. He was becoming aware of the faint sound of my movements about him. The man must have had diabolically acute hearing. He suddenly flashed into rage: If theres any one in this house he cried, with an oath, and left the threat unfinished. He put his hand in his pocket, failed to find what he wanted, and, rushing past me, went blundering noisily and pugnaciously downstairs. But I did not follow him; I sat on the head of the staircase until his return.

Presently he came up again, still muttering. He opened the door of the room, and, before I could enter, slammed it in my face.

I resolved to explore the house, and spent some time in doing so as noiselessly as possible. The house was very old and tumbledown, damp, so that the paper in the attics was peeling from the walls, and ratinfested. Most of the door handles were stiff, and I was afraid to turn them. Several rooms I did inspect were unfurnished, and others were littered with theatrical lumber, bought secondhand, I judged from its appearance. In one room next to his I found a lot of old clothes. I began routing among these, and in my eagerness forgot again the evident sharpness of his ears. I heard a stealthy footstep, and, looking up just in time, saw him peeping in at the tumbled heap and holding an oldfashioned revolver in his hand. I stood perfectly still while he stared about openmouthed and suspicious. It must have been her, he said slowly. Damn her!

He shut the door quietly, and immediately I heard the key turn in the lock. Then his footsteps retreated. I realised abruptly that I was locked in. For a minute I did not know what to do. I walked from door to window and back, and stood perplexed. A gust of anger came upon me. But I decided to inspect the clothes before I did anything further, and my first attempt brought down a pile from an upper shelf. This brought him back, more sinister than ever. This time he actually touched me, jumped back with amazement, and stood astonished in the middle of the room.

Presently he calmed a little. Rats, he said in an undertone, fingers on lip. He was evidently a little scared. I edged quietly out of the room, but a plank creaked. Then the infernal little brute started going all over the house, revolver in hand, and locking door after door and pocketing the keys. When I realised what he was up to I had a fit of rageI could hardly control myself sufficiently to watch my opportunity. By this time I knew he was alone in the house, and so I made no more ado,[6] but knocked him on the head.

Knocked him on the head? exclaimed Kemp.

Yesstunned himas he was going downstairs. Hit him from behind with a stool that stood on the landing. He went downstairs like a bag of old boots.

ButI say! The common conventions of humanity

Are all very well for common people. But the point was, Kemp, that I had to get out of that house in a disguise, without his seeing me. I couldnt think of any other way of doing it. And then I gagged him with a Louis Quatorze vest,[7] and tied him up in a sheet!

Tied him up in a sheet!

Made a sort of bag of it. It was rather a good idea to keep the idiot scared and quiet, and a devilish hard thing to get out ofhead away from the string. My dear Kemp, its no good your sitting and glaring as though I had done a murder. He had his revolver. If once he had seen me he would have been able to describe me

But still, said Kemp, in Englandtoday! And the man was in his own house, and you werewell, robbing.

Robbing! Confound it! Youll call me a thief next. Surely, Kemp, youre not fool enough to dance on the old strings.[8] Cant you see my position?

And his too! said Kemp.

The Invisible Man stood up sharply. What do you mean to say?

Kemps face grew a trifle hard. He was about to speak, and checked himself. I suppose, after all, he said, with a sudden change of manner, the thing had to be done. You were in a fix. But still

Of course I was in a fixan infernal fix! And he made me wild toohunting me about the house, fooling about with his revolver, locking and unlocking doors. He was simply exasperating. You dont blame me, do you? You dont blame me?

I never blame any one, said Kemp. Its quite out of fashion. What did you do next?

I was hungry. Downstairs I found a loaf and some rank cheesemore than sufficient to satisfy my hunger. I took some brandy and water, and then went up past my impromptu baghe was lying quite stillto the room containing the old clothes. This looked out upon the street, two lace curtains, brown with dirt, guarding the window. I went and peered out through their interstices. Outside the day was brightby contrast with the brown shadows of the dismal house in which I found myself, dazzlingly bright. A brisk traffic was going byfruit carts, a hansom, a fourwheeler with a pile of boxes, a fishmongers cart. I turned with spots of colour swimming before my eyes to the shadowy fixtures behind me. My excitement was giving place to a clear apprehension of my position again. The room was full of a faint scent of benzoline, used, I suppose, in cleaning the garments.

I began a systematic search of the place. I should judge the hunchback had been alone in the house for some time. He was a curious person Everything that could possibly be of service to me I collected in the clothes storeroom, and then I made a deliberate selection. I found a handbag I thought a suitable possession, and some powder, rouge, and stickingplaster.

I had thought of painting and powdering my face and all that there was to show of me, in order to render myself visible, but the disadvantage of this lay in the fact that I should require turpentine and other appliances and a considerable amount of time before I could vanish again. Finally I chose a nose of the better type, slightly grotesque, but not more so than that of many human beings, dark glasses, grayish whiskers, and a wig. I could find no underclothing, but that I could buy subsequently, and for the time I swathed myself in calico dominoes and some white cashmere scarves. I could find no socks, but the hunchbacks boots were rather a loose fit,[9] and sufficed. In a desk in the shop were three sovereigns and about thirty shillingsworth of silver, and in a locked cupboard I burst in the inner room were eight pounds in gold, I could go forth into the world again, equipped.

Then came a curious hesitation. Was my appearance really creditable? I tried myself with a little bedroom lookingglass, inspecting myself from every point of view to discover any forgotten chink, but it all seemed sound. I was grotesque to the theatrical pitcha stage miserbut I was certainly not a physical impossibility. Gathering confidence, I took my lookingglass down into the shop, pulled down the shop blinds, and surveyed myself from every point of view with the help of the chevalglass in the corner.

I spent some minutes screwing up my courage, and then unlocked the shop door, and marched out into the street, leaving the little man to get out of his sheet again when he liked. In five minutes a dozen turnings intervened between me and the costumiers shop. No one appeared to notice me very pointedly. My last difficulty seemed overcome.

He stopped again.

And you troubled no more about the hunchback? said Kemp.

No, said the Invisible Man. Nor have I heard what became of him. I suppose he untied himself or kicked himself out. The knots were pretty tight.

He became silent, and went to the window and stared out.

What happened when you went out into the Strand?

Oh! Disillusionment again. I thought my troubles were over. Practically, I thought I had impunity to do whatever I chose, everythingsave to give away my secret. So I thought. Whatever I did, whatever the consequences might be, was nothing to me. I had merely to fling aside my garments and vanish. No person could hold me. I could take my money where I found it. i decided to treat myself to a sumptuous feast, and then put up at a good hotel, and accumulate a new outfit of property. I felt amazingly confident; its not particularly pleasant to recall that I was an ass. I went into a place and was already ordering a lunch, when it occurred to me that I could not eat unless I exposed my invisible face. I finished ordering the lunch, told the man I should be back in ten minutes, and went out exasperated. I dont know if you have ever been disappointed in your appetite.

Not quite so badly, said Kemp, but I can imagine it.

I could have smashed the silly devils. At last, faint with the desire for tasteful food, I went into another place and demanded a private room. I am disfigured, I said, badly. They looked at me curiously, but of course it was not their affairand so at last I got my lunch. It was not particularly well served, but it sufficed, and when I had had it, I sat over a cigar, trying to plan my line of action. And outside a snowstorm was beginning.

The more I thought it over, Kemp, the more I realised what a helpless absurdity an Invisible Man wasin a cold and dirty climate and a crowded, civilised city. Before I made this mad experiment I had dreamt of a thousand advantages. That afternoon it seemed all disappointment. I went over the heads of the things a man reckons desirable.[10] No doubt invisibility made it possible to get them, but it made it impossible to enjoy them when they are got. Ambitionwhat is the good of pride of place[11] when you cannot appear there? What is the good of the love of woman when her name must needs be Delilah?[12] I have no taste for politics, for the blackguardisms of fame, for philanthropy, for sport. What was I to do? And for this I had become a wrappedup mystery, a swathed and bandaged caricature of a man."

He paused, and his attitude suggested a roving glance at the window.

But how did you get to Iping? said Kemp, anxious to keep his guest busy talking.

I went there to work. I had one hope, It was a half idea! I have it still. It is a fullblown idea now. A way of getting back! Of restoring what I have done. When I choose. When I have done all I mean to do invisibly. And that is what I chiefly want to talk to you about now

You went straight to Iping?

Yes, I had simply to get my three volumes of memoranda and my chequebook, my luggage and underclothing, order a quantity of chemicals to work out this idea of mineI will show you the calculations as soon as I get my booksand then I started. Jove! I remember the snowstorm now, and the accursed bother it was to keep the snow from damping my pasteboard nose

At the end, said Kemp, the day before yesterday, when they found you out, you ratherto judge by the papers

I did. Rather. Did I kill that fool of a constable?

No, said Kemp. Hes expected to recover.

Thats his luck, then. I clean lost my temper, the fools! Why couldnt they leave me alone? And that grocer lout?

Theres no death expected, said Kemp.

I dont know about that tramp of mine, said the Invisible Man, with an unpleasant laugh.

By heaven, Kemp, men of your stamp dont know what rage is! To have worked for years, to have planned and plotted, and then to get some fumbling, purblind idiot messing across your course! Every conceivable sort of silly creature that has ever been created has been sent to cross me If I have much more of it, I shall go wildI shall start mowing em.

As it is, theyve made things a thousand times more difficult.

CHAPTER XXIV

THE PLAN THAT FAILED

But now, said Kemp, with a sideglance out of the window, what are we to do?

He moved nearer his guest to prevent the possibility of a sudden glimpse of the three men who were advancing up the hill roadwith an intolerable slowness, as it seemed to Kemp.

What were you planning to do, when you were heading for Port Burdock? Had you any plan?

I was going to clear out of the country. But I have altered that plan rather since seeing you. I thought it would be wise, now the weather is hot and invisibility possible, to make for the south. Especially as my secret was known, and every one would be on the lookout for a masked and muffled man. You have a line of steamers from here to France. My idea was to get aboard one and run the risks of the passage. Thence I could go by train into Spain, or else to Algiers. It would not be difficult. There a man might be invisible always, and yet live. And do things. I was using that tramp as a moneybox and luggage carrier, until I decided how to get my books and things sent over to meet me.

Thats clear.

And then the filthy brute must needs try to rob me! He has hidden my books, Kemp. Hidden my books!

If I can lay my hands on him!

Best plan to get the books out of him first.

But where is he? Do you know?

Hes in the town police station, locked up, by his own request, in the strongest cell in the place.

Cur! said the Invisible Man.

But that hangs up[1] your plans a little.

We must get those books; those books are vital.

Certainly, said Kemp, a little nervously, wondering if he heard footsteps outside. Certainly we must get those books. But that wont be difficult, if he doesnt know theyre for you.

No, said the Invisible Man, and thought.
* * *

Kemp tried to think of something to keep the talk going, but the Invisible Man resumed of his own accord.

Blundering into your house, Kemp, he said, changes all my plans. For you are a man that can understand. In spite of all that has happened, in spite of this publicity, of the loss of my books, of what I have suffered, there still remain great possibilities, huge possibilities

You have told no one I am here? he asked abruptly.

Kemp hesitated. That was implied, he said.

No one? insisted Griffin.

Not a soul.

Ah! Now The Invisible Man stood up, and sticking his arms akimbo, began to pace the study.

I made a mistake, Kemp, a huge mistake, in carrying this thing through alone. I have wasted strength, time, opportunities. Alone; it is wonderful how little a man can do alone! To rob a little, to hurt a little, and there is the end.

What I want, Kemp, is a goalkeeper, a helper, and a hidingplace; an arrangement whereby I can sleep and eat and rest in peace and unsuspected. I must have a confederate. With a confederate, with food and rest, a thousand things are possible.

Hitherto I have gone on vague lines.[2] We have to consider all that invisibility means; all that it does not mean. It means little advantage for eavesdropping and so forthone makes sounds. Its of little helpa little help, perhapsin housebreaking and so forth. Once youve caught me you could easily imprison me. But on the other hand I am hard to catch. This invisibility, in fact, is only good in two cases. Its useful in getting away; its useful in approaching. Its particularly useful, therefore, in killing. I can walk round a man, whatever weapon he has, choose my point, strike as I like, dodge as I like, escape as I like.

Kemps hand went to his moustache. Was that a movement downstairs?

And it is killing we must do, Kemp.

It is killing we must do, repeated Kemp. Im listening to your plan, Griffin; but Im not agreeing, mind. Why killing?

Not wanton killing, but a judicious slaying. The point is: They know there is an Invisible Manas well as we know there is an Invisible Manand that Invisible Man, Kemp, must now establish a Reign of Terror. Yes; no doubt its startling, but I mean it. A Reign of Terror. He must take some town, like your Burdock, and terrify and dominate it. He must issue his orders. He can do that in a thousand waysscraps of paper thrust under doors would suffice. And all who disobey his orders he must kill, and kill all who would defend them.

Humph! said Kemp, no longer listening to Griffin, but to the sound of his front door opening and closing.

It seems to me, Griffin, he said, to cover his wandering attention, that your confederate would be in a difficult position?

"No one would know he was a confederate. said the Invisible Man eagerly. And then suddenly, Hush! Whats that downstairs?

Nothing, said Kemp, and suddenly began to speak loud and fast. I dont agree to this, Griffin, he said. Understand me, I dont agree to this. Why dream of playing a game against the race?[3] How can you hope to gain happiness? Dont be a lone wolf. Publish your resultstake the worldtake the nation at least into your confidence. Think what you might do with a million helpers

The Invisible Man interruptedarm extended. There are footsteps coming upstairs, he said.

Nonsense, said Kemp.

Let me see, said the Invisible Man, and advanced, arm extended, to the door.

And then things happened very swiftly. Kemp hesitated for a second, and moved to intercept him. The Invisible Man started and stood still. Traitor! cried the Voice, and suddenly the dressinggown opened, and, sitting down, the unseen began to disrobe. Kemp made three swift steps to the door, and forthwith the Invisible Manhis legs had vanishedsprang to his feet with a shout. Kemp flung the door open.

As it opened, there came a sound of hurrying feet downstairs and voices.

With a quick movement Kemp thrust the Invisible Man back, sprang aside, and slammed the door. The key was outside and ready. In another moment Griffin would have been alone in the belvedere study a prisonersave for one little thing. The key had been slipped in hastily that morning. As Kemp slammed the door it fell noisily upon the carpet.

Kemps face became white. He tried to grip the doorhandle with both hands. For a moment he stood lugging. Then the door gave six inches. But he got it closed again. The second time it was jerked a foot wide, and the dressinggown came wedging itself into the opening. His throat was gripped by invisible fingers, and he left his hold on the handle to defend himself. He was forced back, tripped, and pitched heavily into the corner of the landing. The empty dressinggown was flung on the top of him.

Halfway up the staircase was Colonel Adye the recipient of Kemps letter, the chief of the Burdock police. He was staring aghast at the sudden appearance of Kemp, followed by the extraordinary sight of clothing tossing empty in the air. He saw Kemp drop and struggle to his feet. He saw Kemp reel, rush forward, and go down again, felled like an ox.

Then suddenly he was struck violently. By nothing! A vast weight, it seemed, leapt upon him, and he was hurled headlong down the staircase, with a grip on his throat and a knee in his groin. An invisible foot trod on his back, a ghostly patter passed downstairs, he heard the two police officers in the hall shout and run, and the front door of the house slammed violently.

He rolled over and sat up staring. He saw, staggering down the staircase, Kemp, dusty and dishevelled, one side of his face white from a blow, his lip bleeding, and a pink dressinggown and some other clothing held in his arms.

My God! cried Kemp, the games up![4] Hes gone!

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