The Strange Man's Arrival
- The book starts with a stranger arriving in a snowstorm at the Coach and Horses, an inn/bar in Iping. (If you've read War of the Worlds, you know that Wells often likes to set his stories in real, or real-ish, places, so it's no surprise that Iping is a real town in England.)
- The stranger is totally covered, with only his shiny nose showing. He's also wearing spectacles with sidelights, which basically look like goggles. At least one person says he looks like he's wearing a diving helmet (the old-fashioned kind, of course.)
- The stranger looks, well, strange, but he's got money, so Mrs. Hall, the innkeeper, gives him a room.
- Still, Mrs. Hall is surprised by his appearance when she sees him in his room without his hat:
[A]ll his forehead above his blue glasses was covered by a white bandage, and […] another covered his ears, leaving not a scrap of his face exposed excepting only his pink, peaked nose. […] The thick black hair, escaping as it could below and between the cross bandages, projected in curious tails and horns, giving him the strangest appearance conceivable. (1.16)
- Luckily, he's covered the lower part of his face with a serviette (a napkin), so she doesn't have to deal with what's there.
- Mrs. Hall assumes that this guy was in an accident. She tries to get him to talk about what happened (nosy much?), but he doesn't want to talk about his "accident" with a gossipy innkeeper.
- Instead, he asks her about getting his luggage from the railroad station. Not quite as good for gossip. Sorry, Mrs. Hall.