The Invisible Man HTML version

2. Mr. Teddy Henfrey's First Impressions
At four o'clock, 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 clock-jobber, came
into the bar. "My sakes! Mrs. Hall," said he, "but this is terrible weather for thin boots!"
The snow outside was falling faster.
Mrs. Hall agreed with him, and then noticed he had his bag, and hit upon a brilliant
idea. "Now you're here, Mr. Teddy," said she, "I'd be glad if you'd give th' old clock in
the parlour a bit of a look. 'Tis going, and it strikes well and hearty; but the hour-hand
won't do nuthin' 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 -- which lit his eyes like adverse railway signals, but
left his downcast face in darkness -- and the scanty vestiges of the day that came in
through the open door. 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 white-bound 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 up 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 a-coming to look at the clock, sir?" she said,
recovering from her momentary shock.
"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 him, as Mr. Henfrey says, with a vivid
sense of the dark spectacles, "like a lobster."
"I hope," said Mr. Henfrey, "that it's 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."