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CHAPTER 23. IN DRURY LANE
"But you begin now to realise," said the Invisible Man, "the full disadvantage of my condition. I had no shelter--no covering--to get clothing was to forego all my advantage, to make myself a strange and terrible thing. I was fasting; for to eat, to fill myself with unassimilated matter, would be to become grotesquely visible again."
"I never thought of that," said Kemp.
"Nor had I. And the snow had warned me of other dangers. I could not go abroad in snow--it would settle on me and expose me. Rain, too, would make me a watery outline, a glistening surface of a man--a bubble. And fog--I should be like a fainter bubble in a fog, a surface, a greasy glimmer of humanity. Moreover, as I went abroad--in the London air--I gathered dirt about my ankles, floating smuts and dust upon my skin. I did not know how long it would be before I should become visible from that cause also. But I saw clearly it could not be for long.
"Not in London at any rate.
"I went into the slums towards Great Portland Street, and found myself at the end of the street in which I had lodged. I did not go that way, because of the crowd halfway down it opposite to the still smoking ruins of the house I had fired. My most immediate problem was to get clothing. What to do with my face puzzled me. Then I saw in one of those little miscellaneous shops--news, sweets, toys, stationery, belated Christmas tomfoolery, and so forth--an array of masks and noses. I realised that problem was solved. In a flash I saw my course. I turned about, no longer aimless, and went--circuitously in order to avoid the busy ways, towards the back streets north of the Strand; for I remembered, though not very distinctly where, that some theatrical costumiers had shops in that district.
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