The Invisible Man HTML version

3. The Thousand and One Bottles
So it was that on the twenty-ninth day of February, at the beginning of the thaw, this
singular person fell out of infinity into Iping Village. Next day his luggage arrived
through the slush. And very remarkable luggage it was. There were a couple of trunks
indeed, such as a rational man might need, but in addition there were a box of books, --
big, fat books, of which some were just in an incomprehensible handwriting, -- and a
dozen or more crates, boxes, and cases, containing objects packed in straw, as it seemed
to Hall, tugging with a casual curiosity at the straw -- glass bottles. The stranger, muffled
in hat, coat, gloves, and wrapper, came out impatiently to meet Fearenside's cart, while
Hall was having a word or so of gossip preparatory to helping bring them in. Out he
came, not noticing Fearenside's dog, who was sniffing in a dilettante spirit at Hall's legs.
"Come along with those boxes," he said. "I've been waiting long enough."
And he came down the steps towards the tail of the cart as if to lay hands on the
smaller crate.
No sooner had Fearenside's dog caught sight of him, however, then it began to bristle
and growl savagely, and when he rushed down the steps it gave an undecided hop, and
then sprang straight at his hand. "Whup!" cried Hall, jumping back, for he was no hero
with dogs, and Fearenside howled, "Lie down!" and snatched his whip.
They saw the dog's teeth had slipped the hand, heard a kick, saw the dog execute a
flanking jump and get home on the stranger's leg, and heard the rip of his trousering.
Then the finer end of Fearenside's whip reached his property, and the dog, yelping with
dismay, retreated under the wheels of the waggon. It was all the business of a swift half-
minute. No one spoke, every one shouted. The stranger glanced swiftly at his torn glove
and at his leg, made as if he would stoop to the latter, then turned and rushed swiftly up
the steps into the inn. They heard him go headlong across the passage and up the
uncarpeted stairs to his bedroom.
"You brute, you!" said Fearenside, climbing off the waggon with his whip in his hand,
while the dog watched him through the wheel. "Come here," said Fearenside -- "You'd
Hall had stood gaping. "He wuz bit," said Hall. "I'd better go and see to en," and he
trotted after the stranger. He met Mrs. Hall in the passage. "Carrier's darg," he said, "bit
He went straight upstairs, and the stranger's door being ajar, he pushed it open and
was entering without any ceremony, being of a naturally sympathetic turn of 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