Into a quiet little English village, one winter night, comes a stranger, wrapped up from head to foot. He carries a portmanteau, and staggers into the Inn, crying for a fire and a room, throwing down gold sovereigns to show that he can pay well for service. Guests at the Inn are curious, since he is a stranger, but a man who has walked from the railroad station in this weather can be expected to wrap up as securely as possible. The again, he could be a criminal, or a spy, who dares not let his face be seen. They notice that he keeps to himself, and seems to be performing some sort of experiments; he is heard pacing up and down, as if in despair, and muttering things which they cannot make out. A masterpiece of suspense-story writing.