Introduction to the lesson


Footprints without Feet

Introduction to the lesson

Griffin, the protagonist of the storey, is a scientist. He discovers rare chemicals that can render a man invisible while also allowing him to be physically touched and felt. Let us read on to find out how he uses or abuses his powers for his own benefit.

Footprints without Feet Summary

Griffin, the protagonist of the storey, is a scientist. He had been researching ways to make a man invisible and had eventually swallowed certain rare drugs that rendered him invisible. He was first noticed by two boys on a house's staircase, where they could only see his footsteps and began following them. They follow it until the footsteps become too faint to be seen. First, he goes into a mall for warmth because he is cold. He decides to put on some warm clothes and eat something after the stores close.

He first takes a few clothes out of the box and puts them on. Then he eats cold meat and coffee from a restaurant's kitchen. Later, he visits a grocery store, where he eats sweets and drinks wine. He then falls asleep on a quilt pile. He then wakes up in the morning after some of the store employees notice him and begin chasing him. He quickly threw away all of his clothes and became invisible once more. Then he began wandering around London without any clothes again during the cold winters.

He then decides to steal clothes from a theatre company because he knows he'll get something to cover his face there as well. He then steals bandages for his face, dark glasses, a fake nose, and a hat to keep himself covered.

Then he assaults the shopkeeper and steals all of his money. Soon after, he realises that London is too crowded for him to live in this manner and decides to relocate to a remote village. He reserves two rooms at an inn in the village of Iping.

He arrives, and the people of Iping find it strange that a stranger with such an odd appearance has come to stay at an inn during the winter season. When his money runs out, he steals from others and assaults the landlord and his wife when they come to check on his room while he is away. The village constable is then summoned, but not before Mrs. Hall, the landlord's wife, questions him about who he is and what he did to her furniture.

This enrages him, and he decides to show her who he truly is. The people then notice a headless man, and Mr. Jaffers, the constable, discovers that he must arrest a man who lacks a head. They are unable to apprehend Griffin because he takes off all of his clothes and becomes invisible. He even knocks out Jaffers while attempting to catch him.

Footprints without Feet Lesson and explanation

The two boys started in surprise at the fresh muddy imprints of a pair of bare feet. What was a barefooted man doing on the steps of a house, in the middle of London? And where was the man? As they gazed, a remarkable sight met their eyes. A fresh footmark appeared from nowhere! Further footprints followed one after another, descending the steps and progressing down the street. The boys followed, fascinated, until the muddy impressions became fainter and fainter, and at last disappeared altogether.

The explanation of the mystery was really simple enough. The bewildered boys had been following a scientist who had just discovered how to make the human body transparent. Griffin, the scientist, had carried out an experiment after experiment to prove that the human body could become invisible.

 Finally, he swallowed certain rare drugs and his body became as transparent as a sheet of glass — through it also remained as solid as glass. Brilliant scientist though he was, Griffin was rather a lawless person. His landlord disliked him and tried to eject him. In revenge, Griffin set fire to the house. To get away without being seen he had to remove his clothes. Thus it was that he became a homeless wanderer, without clothes, without money, and quite invisible — until he happened to step in some mud, and left footprints as he walked!

  • Muddy– covered in or full of mud.
  • Imprints– impress or stamp (a mark or outline) on a surface.
  • Bare– not clothed or covered.
  • Gazed– looked at steadily and intently, especially in admiration, surprise, or thought.
  • Remarkable–  worthy of attention; striking.
  • Sight– the faculty or power of seeing
  • Progressing– move forward or onward in space or time.
  • Fascinated– strongly attracted and interested.
  • Fainter–  barely perceptible.
  • Bewildered– perplexed and confused; very puzzled.
  • Eject–   compel (someone) to leave a place.

Two boys became aware of a few muddy imprints of bare feet. They began to wonder what a barefoot man was doing on the steps of a house in the heart of London. They also began to wonder where the man was because he was nowhere to be found. They were startled to notice another footmark. The man was still nowhere to be found. They began to follow the footprints. They followed them until the footprints vanished. They were following a scientist who had discovered a way to make the human body transparent or invisible.

Griffin was the scientist who had spent a long time trying to figure out how to make the human body invisible. One day, he took certain drugs that rendered his body invisible, though it could be felt. Griffin was a lawless individual who had once burned down the house of his landlord who was attempting to kick him out, and then, in order to be invisible, he had to remove his clothes and then roam around without clothes or money. After stepping in some mud, his presence was felt, and his footprints could be seen as he walked.

He escaped easily enough from the boys who followed his footprints in London. But his adventures were by no means over. He had chosen a bad time of the year to wander about London without clothes. It was mid-winter. The air was bitterly cold and he could not do without clothes.

Instead of walking about the streets he decided to slip into a big London store for warmth. Closing time arrived, and as soon as the doors were shut Griffin was able to give himself the pleasure of clothing and feeding himself without regard to expense. He broke open boxes and wrappers and fitted himself out with warm clothes. Soon, with shoes, an overcoat and a wide-brimmed hat, he became a fully dressed and visible person. In the kitchen of the restaurant he found cold meat and coffee, and he followed up the meal with sweets and wine taken from the grocery store. Finally, he settled down to sleep on a pile of quilts. If only Griffin had managed to wake up in good time all might have been well. As it was, he did not wake up until the assistants were already arriving next morning. When he saw a couple of them approaching, he panicked and began to run.

They naturally gave chase. In the end he was able to escape only by quickly taking off his newly found clothes. So once more he found himself invisible but naked in the chill January air.

  • Wander– walk or move in a leisurely or aimless way.
  • Bitterly– in an angry, hurt, or resentful way.
  • Expense– the cost incurred in or required for something.
  • Panicked– feel or cause to feel panic.

He easily eluded the boys who had pursued him, but he had many more adventures ahead of him. He'd chosen a bad time to wander around London because it was winter and the air was bitterly cold. For warmth, he decided to stay inside a store. When he went inside the store and closing time arrived, the doors were shut and no one was inside. He ate food and wore new clothes without paying for them. He became visible again because he was wearing shoes, an overcoat, and a hat. He then ate cold meat and coffee he found in the kitchen. He then had sweets and wine from the grocery store. Then he fell asleep on a pile of quilts kept nearby and didn't wake up on time.

When the assistants approached him the next morning, he became nervous and began running away. The assistants then began pursuing him as well. He only escaped because he quickly changed out of his new clothes. In the cold air of January, he was once again invisible and naked, with no money.

This time he decided to try the stock of a theatrical company in the hope of finding not only clothes but also something that would hide the empty space above his shoulders. Shivering with cold he hurried to Drury Lane, the center of the theatre world. He soon found a suitable shop. He made his way, invisible, upstairs and came out a little later wearing bandages around his forehead, dark glasses, false nose, big bushy side-whiskers, and a large hat.

To escape without being seen, he callously attacked the shopkeeper from behind, after which he robbed him of all the money he could find. Eager to get away from crowded London he took a train to the village of Iping, where he booked two rooms at the local inn. The arrival of a stranger at an inn in winter was in any case an unusual event. A stranger of such uncommon appearance set all tongues wagging.

Mrs. Hall, the landlord’s wife, made every effort to be friendly. But Griffin had no desire to talk, and told her, “My reason for coming to Iping is a desire for solitude. I do not wish to be disturbed in my work. Besides, an accident has affected my face.” Satisfied that her guest was an eccentric scientist, and in view of the fact that he had paid her in advance, Mrs. Hall was prepared to excuse his strange habits and irritable temper. But the stolen money did not last long, and presently Griffin had to admit that he had no more ready cash. He pretended, however, that he was expecting a cheque to arrive at any moment.

Shortly afterward a curious episode occurred. Very early in the morning a clergyman and his wife were awakened by noises in the study. Creeping downstairs, they heard the chink of money being taken from the clergyman’s desk. Without making any noise and with a poker grasped firmly in his hand, the clergyman flung open the door. “Surrender!”

  • Theatrical– relating to acting, actors, or the theatre.
  • Shivering– shaking slightly and uncontrollably as a result of being cold, frightened, or excited.
  • Whiskers– a long projecting hair or bristle growing from the face or snout of many mammals.
  • Callously– in a way that shows an insensitive and cruel disregard for others.
  • Inn–  a pub, typically one in the country, in some cases providing accommodation.
  • Wagging–  move or cause to move rapidly to and fro.
  • Solitude– the state or situation of being alone.
  • Eccentric–  unconventional and slightly strange.
  • Curious– strange; unusual.
  • Clergyman– a male priest, minister, or religious leader, especially a Christian one.
  • Poker– a metal rod with a handle, used for prodding and stirring an open fire.
  • Grasped– seize and hold firmly.

He decided to try on the clothing of the theatrical world this time because he knew he'd find something to cover his face with. As he shivered with cold, he dashed to Drury Lane, the heart of the theatrical world. He entered a shop that met his requirements. He appeared with bandages around his brow, a false nose, side whiskers, and a hat.

He then attacked a shopkeeper and robbed him of all his money because he didn't have any. Then he decided that London was too crowded and went to Iping, a small village nearby. He took the train and reserved two rooms at the nearby Inn. The arrival of a stranger and his stay at the inn on a winter night was unusual in Iping, and everyone began talking about it because Griffin appeared unusual.

Mrs. Hall, the proprietor of the inn where Griffin stayed, made numerous attempts to befriend Griffin, but he refused to speak. He made it clear to her that he had come to Iping for peace and quiet, and that he did not want to be disturbed while working. He also told her that an accident had hurt his face and that he had to cover it.

Mrs. Hall, the landlord's wife, accepted that her new guest was a strange scientist and was willing to overlook his temper and habits because he had paid her in advance. Then came the day when his money was depleted and he had no ready cash for further payment at the Inn. He had to act as if he was waiting for a cheque that could arrive at any time. Then something strange occurred.

Some noises in their study room woke up the clergyman and his wife.

They could hear money being taken from the clergyman's desk as they made their way downstairs. The clergyman held a metal rod in his hand and flung the door open, saying "surrender" as soon as he thought he had caught the thief.

Then to his amazement, he realized that the room appeared to be empty. He and his wife looked under the desk, and behind the curtains, and even up the chimney. There wasn’t a sign of anybody. Yet the desk had been opened and the housekeeping money was missing. “Extraordinary affair!” the clergyman kept saying for the rest of the day. But it was not as extraordinary as the behavior of Mrs Hall’s furniture a little later that morning.

The landlord and his wife were up very early, and were surprised to see the scientist’s door wide open. Usually it was shut and locked, and he was furious if anyone entered his room. The opportunity seemed too good to be missed. They peeped round the door, saw nobody, and decided to investigate. The bedclothes were cold, showing that the scientist must have been up for some time; and stranger still, the clothes and bandages that he always wore were lying about the room. All of a sudden Mrs Hall heard a sniff close to her ear. A moment later the hat on the bedpost leapt up and dashed itself into her face.

Then the bedroom chair became alive. Springing into the air it charged straight at her, legs foremost. As she and her husband turned away in terror, the extraordinary chair pushed them both out of the room and then appeared to slam and lock the door after them. Mrs. Hall almost fell down the stairs in hysterics. She was convinced that the room was haunted by spirits and that the stranger had somehow caused these to enter into her furniture. “My poor mother used to sit in that chair,” she moaned.“To think it should rise up against me now!” The feeling among the neighbors was that the trouble was caused by witchcraft.

But witchcraft or not, when news of the burglary at the clergyman’s home became known, the strange scientist was strongly suspected of having had a hand in it. Suspicion grew even stronger when he suddenly produced some ready cash, though he had admitted not long before that he had no money. The village constable was secretly sent for.

Instead of waiting for the constable, Mrs. Hall went to the scientist, who had somehow mysteriously appeared from his empty bedroom. “I want to know what you have been doing to my chair upstairs,” she demanded. “And I want to know how it is you came out of an empty room and how you entered a locked room.”

  • Affair– an event or sequence of events of a specified kind or that has previously been referred to.
  • Furious– extremely angry.
  • Peeped-look quickly and furtively at something, especially through a narrow opening.
  • Sniff– draw up air audibly through the nose to detect a smell, to stop it running, or to express contempt.
  • Leapt- jump or spring a long way, to a great height, or with great force.
  • Terror– extreme fear.
  • Slam– shut (a door, window, or lid) forcefully and loudly.
  • Hysterics– a wildly emotional and exaggerated reaction
  • Moaned– make a long, low sound expressing physical or mental suffering
  • Witchcraft– the practice of magic, especially black magic; the use of spells.

They were surprised not to see anyone. They looked under the desk, behind the curtains, and up the chimney, but no one was there. Nonetheless, the desk had been opened, and the housekeeping funds had vanished. Because he was taken aback by the incident, the clergyman kept repeating the phrase "extraordinary affair" throughout the day. But what happened to Mrs. Hall's furniture was far more intriguing. Mrs. Hall and her husband awoke very early to find the door to the guest room open.

His room's door was usually closed and locked. If anyone tried to enter his room, he would become enraged. Mrs. Hall did not want to pass up the opportunity. When they noticed that no one was in the room, they decided to investigate. His bedsheets were cold, indicating that he had been awake for some time, and all of the bandages that he used to tie around his face were scattered around the room. Mrs. Hall suddenly heard a sniff close to her ear, and Griffin's hat, which was lying on the bedpost, flung towards her and hit her in the face.

The chair in the room then slammed into Mrs. Hall in the legs. Mrs. Hall and her husband were about to leave the room because they were scared when the chair closed the door and a slamming and locking sound was heard. Mrs. Hall was terrified, and she was on the verge of falling down the stairs. She was convinced that there were spirits in her inn's room and that the stranger had caused this to occur. She grumbled that her mother used to sit in the chair that hit her legs and wondered how it could rise up against her. Mrs. Hall's neighbours believed that witchcraft was to blame for what had occurred.

When word of the burglary at the clergyman's house spread throughout the town, everyone began to suspect the strange scientist. Suspicion grew when he produced ready cash for his payment at the inn despite having previously stated that he did not have money and was waiting for a cheque to arrive. Mrs. Hall did not want to wait for the village constable, who had been summoned. She went straight to Griffin, who had emerged from the inn's empty bedroom. She inquired as to what he had been doing to her chairs and furniture upstairs. She also inquired as to how he got out of the empty bedroom or into the locked bedroom.

The scientist was always quick-tempered; now he became furious. “You don’t understand who or what I am!” he shouted. “Very well — I’ll show you.” Suddenly he threw off bandages, whiskers, spectacles, and even nose. It took him only a minute to do this. The horrified people in the bar found themselves staring at a headless man! Mr Jaffers, the constable, now arrived, and was quite surprised to find that he had to arrest a man without a head.

But Jaffers was not easily prevented from doing his duty. If a magistrate’s warrant ordered a person’s arrest, then that person had to be arrested, with or without his head. There followed a remarkable scene as the policeman tried to get hold of a man who was becoming more and more invisible as he threw off one garment after another. Finally a shirt flew into the air, and the constable found himself struggling with someone he could not see at all. Some people tried to help him, but found themselves hit by blows that seemed to come from nowhere.

In the end Jaffers was knocked unconscious as he made a last attempt to hold on to the unseen scientist. There were nervous, excited cries of “Hold him!” But this was easier said than done. Griffin had shaken himself free, and no one knew where to lay hands on him.

  • Horrified– filled with terror; extremely shocked.
  • Prevented– keep (something) from happening.
  • Magistrate– a civil officer who administers the law, especially one who conducts a court that deals with minor offences and holds preliminary hearings for more serious ones.
  • Knocked– collide with (someone or something), giving them a hard blow.

The scientist became enraged and began yelling that they didn't understand who or what he was, so he decided to show them the truth. He took off his bandages, whiskers, spectacles, and nose. All of this took him less than a minute, and the people in the bar were shocked as they stared at the headless man. Mr. Jaffers, the village constable, was taken aback when he realised he had to arrest a man without a head.

But Jaffers still wanted to do his job because he knew the magistrate wanted him to arrest the person regardless of whether he had a head or not. As he threw away more and more of his clothes, he became increasingly invisible, until, after Griffin removed his shirt, he was nowhere to be found and Jaffers was struggling to apprehend a man who had become completely invisible.

People who tried to help Jaffers were also struggling as they were hit with blows out of nowhere. The invisible man knocked Jaffers unconscious as he made his final attempt to grab the invisible man. Everyone was yelling "hold him" over and over, but Griffin had gotten away from them and no one knew how to catch him.

About the Author

Herbert George Wells (September 21, 1866 – August 13, 1946) was an English author. He wrote dozens of novels, short stories, works of social commentary, satire, biography, and autobiography, as well as two books on recreational war games. Along with Jules Verne and Hugo Gernsback, he is now best known for his science fiction novels and is often referred to as the "Father of Science Fiction."