The Invisible Man HTML version

9. 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; his short limbs accentuated this
inclination. He wore a furry silk hat, and the frequent substitution of twine and shoe-laces
for buttons, apparent at critical points of his costume, marked a man essentially bachelor.
Mr. Thomas Marvel was sitting with his feet in a ditch by the roadside over the down
towards Adderdean, about a mile and a half out of Iping. His feet, save for socks of
irregular open-work, were bare, his big toes were broad, and pricked like the ears of a
watchful dog. In a leisurely manner -- he did everything in a leisurely manner -- he was
contemplating trying on a pair of boots. They were the soundest boots he had come
across for a long time, but too large for him; whereas the ones he had were, in dry
weather, a very comfortable fit, but too thin-soled for damp. Mr. Thomas Marvel hated
roomy shoes, but then he hated damp. He had never properly thought out which he hated
most, and it was a pleasant day, and there was nothing better to do. So he put the four
shoes in a graceful group on the turf and looked at them. And seeing them there among
the grass and springing agrimony, it suddenly occurred to him that both pairs were
exceedingly ugly to see. He was not at all startled by a voice behind him.
"They're boots, anyhow," said the voice.
"They are -- charity boots," said Mr. Thomas Marvel, with his head on one side
regarding them distastefully; "and which is the ugliest pair in the whole blessed universe,
I'm darned if I know!"
"H'm," said the voice.
"I've worn worse, -- in fact, I've worn none. But none so owdacious ugly, -- if you'll
allow the expression. I've been cadging boots -- in particular -- for days. Because I was
sick of them. They're sound enough, of course. But a gentleman on tramp sees such a
thundering lot of his boots. And if you'll believe me, I've raised nothing in the whole
blessed county, try as I would, but THEM. Look at 'em! And a good county for boots,
too, in a general way. But it's just my promiscuous luck. I've got my boots in this county
ten years or more. And then they treat you like this."
"It's a beast of a county," said the voice. "And pigs for people."
"Ain't it?" said Mr. Thomas Marvel. "Lord! But them boots! It beats it."
He turned his head over his shoulder to the right, to look at the boots of his
interlocutor with a view to comparisons, and lo! where the boots of his interlocutor
should have been were neither legs nor boots. He was irradiated by the dawn of a great