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CHAPTER 14. AT PORT STOWE
Ten o'clock the next morning found Mr. Marvel, unshaven, dirty, and travel-stained, sitting with the books beside him and his hands deep in his pockets, looking very weary, nervous, and uncomfortable, and inflating his cheeks at infrequent intervals, on the bench outside a little inn on the outskirts of Port Stowe. Beside him were the books, but now they were tied with string. The bundle had been abandoned in the pine-woods beyond Bramblehurst, in accordance with a charge in the plans of the Invisible Man. Mr. Marvel sat on the bench, and although no one took the slightest notice of him, his agitation remained at fever heat. His hands would go ever and again to his various pockets with a curious nervous fumbling.
When he had been sitting for the best part of an hour, however, an elderly mariner, carrying a newspaper, came out of the inn and sat down beside him. "Pleasant day," said the mariner.
Mr. Marvel glanced about him with something very like terror. "Very," he said.
"Just seasonable weather for the time of year," said the mariner, taking no denial.
"Quite," said Mr. Marvel.
The mariner produced a toothpick, and (saving his regard) was engrossed thereby for some minutes. His eyes meanwhile were at liberty to examine Mr. Marvel's dusty figure, and the books beside him. As he had approached Mr. Marvel he had heard a sound like the dropping of coins into a pocket. He was struck by the contrast of Mr. Marvel's appearance with this suggestion of opulence. Thence his mind wandered back again to a topic that had taken a curiously firm hold of his imagination.
"Books?" he said suddenly, noisily finishing with the toothpick.
Mr. Marvel started and looked at them. "Oh, yes," he said. "Yes, they're books."
"There's some ex-traordinary things in books," said the mariner.
"I believe you," said Mr. Marvel.
"And some extra-ordinary things out of 'em," said the mariner.
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