Mr. Thomas Marvel has a large face, enormous nose, expressive mouth, and wild-looking beard. He is short and wears a furry silk hat; his clothes are held together with string and shoelaces where buttons should be. He tries on a pair of boots he’s found in a “leisurely manner,” which is how he does everything. They are too big for him, but will protect him from the rain. He discusses the boots with an unknown voice (belonging to Griffin). When Marvel describes his struggles, the voice replies: “It’s a beast of a county… and pigs for people.” Marvel agrees.
Thomas Marvel is initially presented as a comic figure, somewhat akin to a Shakespearean fool. He is odd-looking and behaves in a silly manner, particularly in his reaction to Griffin, which is a distinct contrast from that of the other characters thus far. Whereas most of the people in Iping reacted to Griffin with skepticism and confusion, Marvel appears to accept his disembodied voice with ease.
Suddenly, Marvel is confused. He asks: “Where are yer?” and wonders aloud if he is drunk or hallucinating. Griffin assures him not to be frightened and that he’s not hearing things because he is drunk. Yet Marvel grows increasingly alarmed, declaring that he must be insane. The voice says he will throw stones at Marvel to prove he’s not imaginary. He does so, and asks if Marvel still believes he’s hallucinating. Marvel is baffled, muttering to himself: “Stones flinging themselves. Stones talking… I’m done.”
This scene continues in a comic manner, but the joke is cruelly at Marvel’s expense. Griffin’s decision to throw stones at Marvel to prove that he is real is an early indication that he does not respect Marvel. He is happy to treat him cruelly and even violently for no real reason at all.
Griffin explains that he is “an invisible man.” At first Marvel doesn’t believe him, but Griffin continues to explain that he is a normal man who needs food, drink, and shelter—yet he is invisible. Marvel asks to shake Griffin’s hand, and is frightened when he feels Griffin’s grip on him. Marvel, stunned, stares at the space where he believes Griffin to be, and asks if Griffin has been eating bread and cheese. Griffin explains that he has and that it hasn’t fully been digested yet, which is why Marvel can see it now.
This is one of the first instances in which the restrictions inherent within Griffin’s invisibility are revealed. Before, his invisibility was presented as something that gave him a sort of limitless power. However, it is now becomes apparent that not everything about invisibility is as advantageous as it first appears.
Marvel finds Griffin’s presence entrancing, but Griffin explains that invisibility “isn’t half so wonderful as you think.” Marvel asks how Griffin has made himself invisible, but Griffin says it’s too long to explain. He tells Marvel that he needs help, and that he has turned to him because he is “an outcast like myself.” Griffin explains that he wants Marvel to help him get clothes and shelter. He emphasizes that he has chosen Marvel specially, and that he is one of the only people who knows about Griffin and his invisibility. He begins to warn Marvel about what will happen if he betrays him, but Marvel cuts him off, saying he will never do that.
It is clear from this passage that Griffin is emotionally manipulating Marvel. Griffin pretends that he and Marvel are kindred spirits because they are both “outcasts,” and flatters Marvel by making it seem like he has specifically chosen him for an important job. In reality, his choice was likely based on the fact that Marvel is isolated and vulnerable, and thus has very little power compared to Griffin.