On a wintry day in February a stranger arrives at the Coach-and-Horses Inn at Iping village and takes a room. When Mrs. Hall, the Innkeeper s wife, goes in to serve lunch he is still wearing his hat and coat. He is also wearing blue spectacles and a big beard. When he takes lunch he removes his hat and Mrs. Hall sees that his head is covered with a white bandage, leaving nothing exposed but his pink pointed nose. Mrs. Hall thinks that the man might have had an accident and tries to involve him into a conversation but he cuts her short. Later, when she comes in again to ask if the clock mender can wind the clock, he tells her that he does not want to be disturbed and that he wants his luggage to be brought from the station as soon as possible.
The next day his luggage arrives. The stranger is bit by the carrier s dog and runs up into his room, followed by Mr. Hall who, trying to push in, is thrown out of the room. He cannot understand it. After the stranger has changed his clothes he appears again and unpacks his boxes which are full of glass bottles of all shapes and sizes. In the bar to the Inn the carrier tells the others that when his dog bit the stranger he could only see blackness in the holes of the trouthers. They think that he is a black and white man.
The stranger goes for lonely walks in the evening, always completely wrapped up. As he is always angry and unfriendly nobody likes him. People have different theories about the stranger. Some think that he has had an accident, some think that he is a criminal hiding from the police by wrapping up himself and others think that he is part white and part black. After three month Dr. Cuss beeing very curious knocks on the stranger s door to talk to him. After ten minutes Cuss dashes out of the stranger s room with a white face and runs away.
He goes to Bunting, the vicar, and tells him that he has been touched by the stranger s fingers, which were invisible.
On Whit Monday Mrs. Buntig hears a noise and wakes her husband who arms himself with a poker and goes to the room where the sounds came from. Through the half-open door he sees a burning candle, but no thief. Mr. Bunting rushes into the room but he can see nobody. They can hear sneezing and the kitchen door shut and then they realize that their household money has been stolen. When Hall comes downstairs early in the morning he finds the stranger s door open and the front door unbolted. He calls his wife and in the stranger s room they find his clothes and his bandages lying around. Suddenly the bedclothes begin to move and a chair comes at the Halls and pushes them out of the room. Later, the stranger suddenly appears in front of his room and walks down into the parlour and locks himself up. When Mr. Hall knocks on the door and demands an explanation he is sent away.
At midday he rings his bell several times to get food but as Mrs. Hall doesn t react he has to leave the parlour. Mrs. Hall wants him to pay his bill and when he pays ...
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