Mr. Heelas, Mr. Kemp's nearest neighbour among the villa holders, was aslee_n his summer house when the siege of Kemp's house began. Mr. Heelas was on_f the sturdy minority who refused to believe "in all this nonsense" about a_nvisible Man. His wife, however, as he was subsequently to be reminded, did.
He insisted upon walking about his garden just as if nothing was the matter,
and he went to sleep in the afternoon in accordance with the custom of years.
He slept through the smashing of the windows, and then woke up suddenly with _urious persuasion of something wrong. He looked across at Kemp's house,
rubbed his eyes and looked again. Then he put his feet to the ground, and sa_istening. He said he was damned, but still the strange thing was visible. Th_ouse looked as though it had been deserted for weeks—after a violent riot.
Every window was broken, and every window, save those of the belvedere study,
was blinded by the internal shutters.
"I could have sworn it was all right"—he looked at his watch—"twenty minute_go."
He became aware of a measured concussion and the clash of glass, far away i_he distance. And then, as he sat open-mouthed, came a still more wonderfu_hing. The shutters of the drawing-room window were flung open violently, an_he housemaid in her outdoor hat and garments, appeared struggling in _rantic manner to throw up the sash. Suddenly a man appeared beside her,
helping her—Dr. Kemp! In another moment the window was open, and the housemai_as struggling out; she pitched forward and vanished among the shrubs. Mr.
Heelas stood up, exclaiming vaguely and vehemently at all these wonderfu_hings. He saw Kemp stand on the sill, spring from the window, and reappea_lmost instantaneously running along a path in the shrubbery and stooping a_e ran, like a man who evades observation. He vanished behind a laburnum, an_ppeared again clambering over a fence that abutted on the open down. In _econd he had tumbled over and was running at a tremendous pace down the slop_owards Mr. Heelas.
"Lord!" cried Mr. Heelas, struck with an idea; "it's that Invisible Man brute!
It's right, after all!"
With Mr. Heelas to think things like that was to act, and his cook watchin_im from the top window was amazed to see him come pelting towards the hous_t a good nine miles an hour. There was a slamming of doors, a ringing o_ells, and the voice of Mr. Heelas bellowing like a bull. "Shut the doors,
shut the windows, shut everything!—the Invisible Man is coming!" Instantly th_ouse was full of screams and directions, and scurrying feet. He ran himsel_o shut the French windows that opened on the veranda; as he did so Kemp'_ead and shoulders and knee appeared over the edge of the garden fence. I_nother moment Kemp had ploughed through the asparagus, and was running acros_he tennis lawn to the house.
"You can't come in," said Mr. Heelas, shutting the bolts. "I'm very sorry i_e's after you, but you can't come in!"
Kemp appeared with a face of terror close to the glass, rapping and the_haking frantically at the French window. Then, seeing his efforts wer_seless, he ran along the veranda, vaulted the end, and went to hammer at th_ide door. Then he ran round by the side gate to the front of the house, an_o into the hill-road. And Mr. Heelas staring from his window—a face o_orror—had scarcely witnessed Kemp vanish, ere the asparagus was bein_rampled this way and that by feet unseen. At that Mr. Heelas fle_recipitately upstairs, and the rest of the chase is beyond his purview. Bu_s he passed the staircase window, he heard the side gate slam.
Emerging into the hill-road, Kemp naturally took the downward direction, an_o it was he came to run in his own person the very race he had watched wit_uch a critical eye from the belvedere study only four days ago. He ran i_ell, for a man out of training, and though his face was white and wet, hi_its were cool to the last. He ran with wide strides, and wherever a patch o_ough ground intervened, wherever there came a patch of raw flints, or a bi_f broken glass shone dazzling, he crossed it and left the bare invisible fee_hat followed to take what line they would.
For the first time in his life Kemp discovered that the hill-road wa_ndescribably vast and desolate, and that the beginnings of the town far belo_t the hill foot were strangely remote. Never had there been a slower or mor_ainful method of progression than running. All the gaunt villas, sleeping i_he afternoon sun, looked locked and barred; no doubt they were locked an_arred—by his own orders. But at any rate they might have kept a lookout fo_n eventuality like this! The town was rising up now, the sea had dropped ou_f sight behind it, and people down below were stirring. A tram was jus_rriving at the hill foot. Beyond that was the police station. Was tha_ootsteps he heard behind him? Spurt.
The people below were staring at him, one or two were running, and his breat_as beginning to saw in his throat. The tram was quite near now, and the
"Jolly Cricketers" was noisily barring its doors. Beyond the tram were post_nd heaps of gravel—the drainage works. He had a transitory idea of jumpin_nto the tram and slamming the doors, and then he resolved to go for th_olice station. In another moment he had passed the door of the "Joll_ricketers," and was in the blistering fag end of the street, with huma_eings about him. The tram driver and his helper—arrested by the sight of hi_urious haste—stood staring with the tram horses unhitched. Further on th_stonished features of navvies appeared above the mounds of gravel.
His pace broke a little, and then he heard the swift pad of his pursuer, an_eapt forward again. "The Invisible Man!" he cried to the navvies, with _ague indicative gesture, and by an inspiration leapt the excavation an_laced a burly group between him and the chase. Then abandoning the idea o_he police station he turned into a little side street, rushed by _reengrocer's cart, hesitated for the tenth of a second at the door of _weetstuff shop, and then made for the mouth of an alley that ran back int_he main Hill Street again. Two or three little children were playing here,
and shrieked and scattered at his apparition, and forthwith doors and window_pened and excited mothers revealed their hearts. Out he shot into Hill Stree_gain, three hundred yards from the tram-line end, and immediately he becam_ware of a tumultuous vociferation and running people.
He glanced up the street towards the hill. Hardly a dozen yards off ran a hug_avvy, cursing in fragments and slashing viciously with a spade, and har_ehind him came the tram conductor with his fists clenched. Up the stree_thers followed these two, striking and shouting. Down towards the town, me_nd women were running, and he noticed clearly one man coming out of a shop-
door with a stick in his hand. "Spread out! Spread out!" cried some one. Kem_uddenly grasped the altered condition of the chase. He stopped, and looke_ound, panting. "He's close here!" he cried. "Form a line across—"
He was hit hard under the ear, and went reeling, trying to face round toward_is unseen antagonist. He just managed to keep his feet, and he struck a vai_ounter in the air. Then he was hit again under the jaw, and sprawled headlon_n the ground. In another moment a knee compressed his diaphragm, and a coupl_f eager hands gripped his throat, but the grip of one was weaker than th_ther; he grasped the wrists, heard a cry of pain from his assailant, and the_he spade of the navvy came whirling through the air above him, and struc_omething with a dull thud. He felt a drop of moisture on his face. The gri_t his throat suddenly relaxed, and with a convulsive effort, Kemp loose_imself, grasped a limp shoulder, and rolled uppermost. He gripped the unsee_lbows near the ground. "I've got him!" screamed Kemp. "Help! Help—hold! He'_own! Hold his feet!"
In another second there was a simultaneous rush upon the struggle, and _tranger coming into the road suddenly might have thought an exceptionall_avage game of Rugby football was in progress. And there was no shouting afte_emp's cry—only a sound of blows and feet and heavy breathing.
Then came a mighty effort, and the Invisible Man threw off a couple of hi_ntagonists and rose to his knees. Kemp clung to him in front like a hound t_ stag, and a dozen hands gripped, clutched, and tore at the Unseen. The tra_onductor suddenly got the neck and shoulders and lugged him back.
Down went the heap of struggling men again and rolled over. There was, I a_fraid, some savage kicking. Then suddenly a wild scream of "Mercy! Mercy!"
that died down swiftly to a sound like choking.
"Get back, you fools!" cried the muffled voice of Kemp, and there was _igorous shoving back of stalwart forms. "He's hurt, I tell you. Stand back!"
There was a brief struggle to clear a space, and then the circle of eage_aces saw the doctor kneeling, as it seemed, fifteen inches in the air, an_olding invisible arms to the ground. Behind him a constable gripped invisibl_nkles.
"Don't you leave go of en," cried the big navvy, holding a blood-staine_pade; "he's shamming."
"He's not shamming," said the doctor, cautiously raising his knee; "and I'l_old him." His face was bruised and already going red; he spoke thickl_ecause of a bleeding lip. He released one hand and seemed to be feeling a_he face. "The mouth's all wet," he said. And then, "Good God!"
He stood up abruptly and then knelt down on the ground by the side of th_hing unseen. There was a pushing and shuffling, a sound of heavy feet a_resh people turned up to increase the pressure of the crowd. People now wer_oming out of the houses. The doors of the "Jolly Cricketers" stood suddenl_ide open. Very little was said.
Kemp felt about, his hand seeming to pass through empty air. "He's no_reathing," he said, and then, "I can't feel his heart. His side—ugh!"
Suddenly an old woman, peering under the arm of the big navvy, screame_harply. "Looky there!" she said, and thrust out a wrinkled finger.
And looking where she pointed, everyone saw, faint and transparent as thoug_t was made of glass, so that veins and arteries and bones and nerves could b_istinguished, the outline of a hand, a hand limp and prone. It grew cloude_nd opaque even as they stared.
"Hullo!" cried the constable. "Here's his feet a-showing!"
And so, slowly, beginning at his hands and feet and creeping along his limb_o the vital centres of his body, that strange change continued. It was lik_he slow spreading of a poison. First came the little white nerves, a haz_rey sketch of a limb, then the glassy bones and intricate arteries, then th_lesh and skin, first a faint fogginess, and then growing rapidly dense an_paque. Presently they could see his crushed chest and his shoulders, and th_im outline of his drawn and battered features.
When at last the crowd made way for Kemp to stand erect, there lay, naked an_itiful on the ground, the bruised and broken body of a young man abou_hirty. His hair and brow were white—not grey with age, but white with th_hiteness of albinism—and his eyes were like garnets. His hands were clenched,
his eyes wide open, and his expression was one of anger and dismay.
"Cover his face!" said a man. "For Gawd's sake, cover that face!" and thre_ittle children, pushing forward through the crowd, were suddenly twiste_ound and sent packing off again.
Someone brought a sheet from the "Jolly Cricketers," and having covered him,
they carried him into that house. And there it was, on a shabby bed in _awdry, ill-lighted bedroom, surrounded by a crowd of ignorant and excite_eople, broken and wounded, betrayed and unpitied, that Griffin, the first o_ll men to make himself invisible, Griffin, the most gifted physicist th_orld has ever seen, ended in infinite disaster his strange and terribl_areer.