A monologue from the novel by H. G. Wells

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Invisible Man. H.G. Wells. London: C. Arthur Pearson, 1897.
  • GRIFFIN: It's horrible enough, but I shall tell you the whole story. First, though, you must get me some food, and light the fire. I'm tired, I'm hungry, and I'm cold. Yes, yes, I shall tell you the whole story. But you must promise not to tell a soul. You will make a bargain with me, Dr. Kemp. Do not forget for an instant that though you cannot see me, I can see you all the time. One false move--one sign of giving warning to anyone--and you are as good as dead. There, I see by your face you understand. Now: get me some food. I must eat. Then, I shall tell you my story. You shall hear me out. Yes, Dr. Kemp, you shall hear me out to the bitter end. You may remember that at the College I was much interested in the problems of light. As an albino, I suppose, I was naturally attracted to the subject of pigments. I began to do some experiments in changing the color of various substances. Finally, quite by accident, I hit on a method of rendering any inert object--a piece of wood, a bit of meat, even a lump of coal--absolutely as colorless, as transparent as water. Suddenly I had a brilliant idea: if I could transform inert matter, why not a living animal? A human being? In short--why not make myself invisible? I worked at it for years--and at last I succeeded. I will not bore you with the details of my experiments. I am too tired, and besides, they are all written down in my notebooks, and you shall read them. I was forced to leave those precious notebooks behind in Iping, when I made my escape; but with your help, I shall recover them. [Pause.] I have had many adventures as an invisible man ... but it is not going as I had planned. I am invisible only when I am undressed; with clothes on, I can be seen as easily as you. Do you know what it is like to run through the streets and fields on a night like this, without a stitch on one's back? I may die of cold. Ah yes, you nod your head. I had not thought the thing through, I confess. While I was still experimenting, I saw only the advantages of the thing. But there are disadvantages, I can tell you. I cannot rest until I am sure that no one will discover me. I cannot eat unless I am alone, for I would be found out by the spoon floating in mid-air. In short, I am confounded at every turn. Dogs nip at me; they pick up my scent, even if they don't see me. There is no end of trouble. That is why this is such a stroke of luck, my running into you. Just think, man. I need an accomplice. With you in on my secret, I can take refuge in your house. I can sleep in your bed, eat at your table, warm myself by your fire, and none will be the wiser. I made a huge mistake, Kemp, in trying to carry the thing through alone. Alone, there is so little I can do. But with a confederate, a thousand things are possible!