(CHAPTER 4: Summary Cuss Interviews the Stranger)
The stranger kept having small issues with Mrs Hall over trivial matters, but he always asked her to put it in the bill. The stranger did not go to the church. However, there were days when he would work for long hours. His behaviour was unpredictable. He had no communication with the outside world and rarely went out in broad daylight. The stranger soon became the talk of the town. The opinion about him was greatly divided. Mrs Hall kept defending her guest by saying he was an ‘experimental investigator’ and he had an accident which had left him discoloured. Some thought that he was a criminal and thus, remained in hiding. Then, there were talks of him being a piebald. But all of Iping disliked him. In the middle of all this speculation, Mr Cuss, the general practitioner, got interested in the stranger. He wanted to know why the man possessed a thousand and one bottles. He used the excuse of collecting donation for a nurse’s fund and visited the stranger. While the two men were talking, Mrs Hall stood outside and tried to hear what was happening inside the room.
She heard a cry of surprise, then a curious laughter and then Cuss appeared with a confused expression on his face and ran across the hall and right down the road. He went straight to Mr Bunting, the Vicar. He told Mr Bunting that the stranger had thrown something in the fire when he had seen an empty sleeve with no hand and then he had felt an invisible hand twitch his nose. Mr Bunting did not believe Mr Cuss who was left all confused and bewildered about his meeting with the Invisible Man.
Q1. Why were the people of Iping so disturbed with the presence of the stranger in the village?
Ans. Griffin’s behaviour was very unusual. He did not go to church. Some days he would be continuously busy in his work and on others, he would just pace up and down in his room. His temper was very unpredictable. Moreover, he rarely went abroad by daylight and had no communication with the outside world. He always kept himself covered. The stranger would walk on the loneliest paths and among the shades of the trees. People often got scared when they met him walking down the street. Moreover, his appearance made him the talk of the town.
Q2. Discuss the attitude of the villagers of Iping towards the stranger. What were the rumours floating around Iping about the stranger?
Ans. The villagers were very disturbed at the strange behaviour of the Invisible Man who did not interact with anyone and avoided people in general. Whoever had interacted with him were struck by his rudeness and curt behaviour. Therefore he became a topic of conversation in the village and a number of rumours could be heard floating about him. Some of the villagers like Teddy Henfrey believed that he was a criminal trying to hide in bandages. Some thought that he was an anarchist. Then there were people like Fearenside who believed that he was a piebald. Children believed that he was a bogeyman and would sing the song about a boogie-man and tease him. While others believed that he was irreligious because he did not go to Church on Sundays. Only Mrs Hall continued to stick to her original belief that he was an experimental investigator.
Q3. What was the episode that Cuss narrated to Bunting? How did the vicar respond to Cuss’s story?
Ans. Cuss, the general practitioner at Iping, was ‘devoured by curiosity’ aroused by the report of the numerous bottles of chemicals with the stranger. He made the excuse of collecting donation for a subscription for the Nurse’s Fund and was able to arrange a meeting with him. Unfortunately, the interview ended abruptly and he ran straight to the vicar, Mr Bunting’s house to discuss the strange encounter he had had with the stranger. He told Mr Bunting that the stranger had got irritated with his intrusion into his privacy and what happened next made him shiver and run out thinking that he had gone insane. The stranger had scared him when he had taken his hand out of the pocket because the sleeve was empty. Before he could recover from this shock the stranger proceeded to twitch his nose. Mr Bunting looked suspiciously at Mr Cuss and said that it was a most remarkable story. It was evident that he did not believe Cuss’s story.