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The Invisible Man

6. The Furniture that Went Mad
Now it happened that in the early hours of Whit-Monday, before Millie was hunted out
for the day, Mr. Hall and Mrs. Hall both rose and went noiselessly down into the cellar.
Their business there was of a private nature, and had something to do with the specific
gravity of their beer. They had hardly entered the cellar when Mrs. Hall found she had
forgotten to bring down a bottle of sarsaparilla from their joint-room. As she was the
expert and principal operator in this affair, Hall very properly went upstairs for it.
On the landing he was surprised to see that the stranger's door was ajar. He went on
into his own room and found the bottle as he had been directed.
But returning with the bottle, he noticed that the bolts of the front door had been shot
back, that the door was in fact simply on the latch. And with a flash of inspiration he
connected this with the stranger's room upstairs and the suggestions of Mr. Teddy
Henfrey. He distinctly remembered holding the candle while Mrs. Hall shot these bolts
overnight. At the sight he stopped, gaping, then with the bottle still in his hand went
upstairs again. He rapped at the stranger's door. There was no answer. He rapped again;
then pushed the door wide open and entered.
It was as he expected. The bed, the room also, was empty. And what was stranger,
even to his heavy intelligence, on the bedroom chair and along the rail of the bed were
scattered the garments, the only garments so far as he knew, and the bandages of their
guest. His big slouch hat even was cocked jauntily over the bed-post.
As Hall stood there he heard his wife's voice coming out of the depth of the cellar,
with that rapid telescoping of the syllables and interrogative cocking up of the final words
to a high note, by which the West Sussex villager is wont to indicate a brisk impatience.
"Gearge! You gart what a wand?"
At that he turned and hurried down to her. "Janny," he said, over the rail of the cellar
steps, "'tas the truth what Henfrey sez. 'E's not in uz room, 'e ent. And the front door's
unbolted."
At first Mrs. Hall did not understand, and as soon as she did she resolved to see the
empty room for herself. Hall, still holding the bottle, went first. "If 'e ent there," he said,
"his close are. And what's 'e doin' without his close, then? 'Tas a most curious basness."
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. Some one 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.
 
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