The Invisible Man HTML version

The Man Who Was Running
In the early evening time Doctor Kemp was sitting in his study in the belvedere on the
hill overlooking Burdock. It was a pleasant little room, with three windows, north, west,
and south, and bookshelves covered with books and scientific publications, and a broad
writing-table, and, under the north window, a microscope, glass slips, minute
instruments, some cultures, and scattered bottles of reagents. Doctor Kemp's solar lamp
was lit, albeit the sky was still bright with the sunset light, and his blinds were up because
there was no offence of peering outsiders to require them pulled down. Doctor Kemp was
a tall and slender young man, with flaxen hair and a moustache almost white, and the
work he was upon would earn him, he hoped, the fellowship of the Royal Society, so
highly did he think of it.
And his eye presently wandering from his work caught the sunset blazing at the back
of the hill that is over against his own. For a minute perhaps he sat, pen in mouth,
admiring the rich golden colour above the crest, and then his attention was attracted by
the little figure of a man, inky black, running over the hill-brow towards him. He was a
shortish little man, and he wore a high hat, and he was running so fast that his legs verily
"Another of those fools," said Doctor Kemp. "Like that ass who ran into me this
morning round a corner, with his "Visible Man a-coming, sir!' I can't imagine what
possesses people. One might think we were in the thirteenth century."
He got up, went to the window, and stared at the dusky hillside, and the dark little
figure tearing down it. "He seems in a confounded hurry," said Doctor Kemp, "but he
doesn't seem to be getting on. If his pockets were full of lead, he couldn't run heavier.
"Spurted, sir," said Doctor Kemp.
In another moment the higher of the villas that had clambered up the hill from
Burdock had occulted the running figure. He was visible again for a moment, and again,
and then again, three times between the three detached houses that came next, and the
terrace hid him.
"Asses!" said Doctor Kemp, swinging round on his heel and walking back to his
But those who saw the fugitive nearer, and perceived the abject terror on his
perspiring face, being themselves in the open roadway, did not share in the doctor's
contempt. By the man pounded, and as he ran he chinked like a well-filled purse that is
tossed to and fro. He looked neither to the right nor the left, but his dilated eyes stared
straight downhill to where the lamps were being lit, and the people were crowded in the
street. And his ill-shaped mouth fell apart, and a glairy foam lay on his lips, and his
breath came hoarse and noisy. All he passed stopped and began staring up the road and