#FirstLineFriday Submissions Are Now Closed! Here’s the Answer to Our Quiz

Submissions for #FirstLineFriday are officially closed now. My thanks to all who emailed me with their guesses. I knew this one would be difficult, but I had hoped one or two of you would get it. Alas, no one did this week, so without further ado, here’s the answer to today’s quiz:

“The stranger came early in February, one wintry day, through a biting wind and a driving snow, the last snowfall of the year, over the down, walking as it seemed from Bramblehurst railway station, and carrying a little black portmanteau in his thickly gloved hand” is the opening line from The Invisible Man, a science fiction novel written by H. G. Wells in 1897.

Originally serialized in Pearson’s Weekly in 1897, it was published as a novel the same year. The Invisible Man the title refers to is Griffin, a scientist who has devoted himself to research into optics and invents a way to change a body’s refractive index to that of air so that it neither absorbs nor reflects light and thus becomes invisible. He successfully carries out this procedure on himself, but fails in his attempt to reverse it. An enthusiast of random and irresponsible violence, Griffin has become an iconic character in horror fiction.

While its predecessors, The Time Machine and The Island of Doctor Moreau, were written using first-person narrators, Wells adopts a third-person objective point of view in The Invisible Man. The novel is considered very influential, and helped establish Wells as “the father of science fiction.”

 Wells said that his inspiration for the novella was “The Perils of Invisibility,” one of the Bab Ballads by W. S. Gilbert, which includes the couplet “Old Peter vanished like a shot/but then – his suit of clothes did not.”

The Invisible Man has a wealth of progeny. The novel was adapted into comic book form by Classics Illustrated in the 1950s, and by Marvel Comics in 1976. Many writers and filmmakers also created sequels to the story, something the novel’s ambiguous ending encourages. Over a dozen movies and television series are based on the novel, including a 1933 James Whale film and a 1984 series by the BBC. The novel has been adapted for radio numerous times, including a 2017 audio version starring John Hurt as the invisible man. The cultural pervasiveness of the invisible man has led to everything from his cameo in an episode of Tom and Jerry to the Queen song “The Invisible Man.”

The Invisible Man is a 1933 American pre-Code science fiction horror film directed by James Whale. Based on H. G. Wells’ 1897 science fiction novel The Invisible Man and produced by Universal Pictures, the film stars Claude Rains, in his first American screen appearance, and Gloria Stuart. The film was written by R.C. Sherriff, along with Philip Wylie and Preston Sturges, though the latter duo’s work was considered unsatisfactory and they were taken off the project.

As an adaptation of a book, the film has been described as a “nearly perfect translation of the spirit of the tale” upon which it is based. The first film in Universal’s Invisible Man film series, it spawned a number of sequels and spin-offs which used ideas of an “invisible man” that were largely unrelated to Wells’ original story.

Rains portrayed the Invisible Man (Dr. Jack Griffin) mostly only as a disembodied voice. Rains is only shown clearly for a brief time at the end of the film, spending most of his on-screen time covered by bandages. In 2008, The Invisible Man was selected for the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

PERSONAL NOTE: The image of the man covered by bandages (so you could see him) is why the phrase “thickly gloved hand” made me think of this movie as soon as I read the opening line. While I haven’t read the book, I’ve seen the early version of the movie (not when it was released in 1933, though. Even I’M not that old! 😀 ) and several adaptations over time.


Buy The Invisible Man HERE

And that takes care of our #FirstLineFriday for this week. This was a tough one, and I’m not surprised that we didn’t have a winner. However, I hope you enjoyed taking a look at that extraordinarily long and comma-filled opening line, and contrasting it with what most of us would do today.

Thanks so much for taking part, and I’ll be back with another #FirstLineFriday quiz in a week or two. (Still catching up, here.) See you then!

32 thoughts on “#FirstLineFriday Submissions Are Now Closed! Here’s the Answer to Our Quiz

    • The big clue was in the thickly gloved hand. I hadn’t read the book, but I immediately thought of The Invisible Man when I read that part. It would have been a guess on my part, but I think that’s what I would have gone with. Sorry it didn’t come to you, though! NEXT time for sure! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry it didn’t come to you Priscilla. The main clue was in the thickly gloved hand, I think. But it was definitely a hard one. Thanks for dropping by today, though. NEXT time might be easier. 🙂


    • I’d like to think most of us have heard of Wells’ work, being the “father of science fiction” and all, but I know lots of you young whippersnappers haven’t read these older works. However, since it was made into more than a dozen movies and lots of other things, I was hoping some of you might “twig” to it. 😀 Sorry it didn’t ring a bell. Maybe next time! Thanks for stopping by, though. 🙂


  1. For some reason I was thinking Agatha Christie or PG Wodehouse, completely off track. A good few years ago we saw a play of HG Wells’ original invisible Man in the West End produce by a professional magician. It was brilliant. This is the second time I have not Guessed HG!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry it didn’t come to you, especially after seeing the play, but it WAS a hard one. It was the thickly gloved hand part that gave me a hint, by reminding me of his heavy bandages in the movie. I’ll try to find something less difficult next time, but this sentence just jumped out at me. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen an opening line with more clauses and commas in it. 😀 Thanks for joining us, though, Janet. 🙂


    • I had hopes you’d get it, too, Trish, with it being across the pond and all. I thought the railway station might have helped, or the thickly gloved hand, which is what reminded me of the bandages from the movie(s). Sorry it didn’t ring a bell this time. I promise to look for something easier next time. Probably. 😀 ❤


        • I don’t think of it as “dumbing down,” so much as offering great first lines, regardless of how easily recognizable they are. And it always hinges on what you folks have read in recent years, too, or can dredge up from years gone by. Either way, challenging or easy to figure out, I think the excercise in studying memorable first lines is so much fun! I never dreamed it would be as popular as it has been, and I’m sorry I can’t do it every Friday right now. But it WILL return to a weekly thing before much longer, I’m sure. And I love that you enjoy it, even when the lines aren’t familiar, or you just can’t quite put a title to them. Always great to see you stop by, Trish! 🙂 ❤

          Liked by 1 person

    • But isn’t it fun to look at them and study the things that made them so memorable that they show up on list after list? That’s the main reason to share them, I think. That opening line is always such an important part of every book, and it can’t hurt to look at ones considered to be the best of the best, even if styles and trends have changed. This was one of the longer ones listed, and all those clauses and commas aren’t something you’d likely see today, I don’t imagine.

      Thanks for stopping by and taking a moment to comment.

      Liked by 1 person

        • 🙂 And that’s why my print books are arrayed on my shelves in pristine condition, and the dupes on my Kindle are all highlighted. 😀 I can’t stand to break a spine, dog-ear a corner, or make a mark on my printed treasures. 😯 Yep. A tad OCD I know, but they’re works of art to me that I can’t bear to damage. I do like patting them on the covers when I walk by, though. 😀 😀 😀

          Hooray for Kindle! For the first time in my life, I can carry hundreds of books with me everywhere I go, and reference everything and anything I want without sticking scraps of paper and other oddments in them. (If ONLY I were that worried about keeping my HOUSE in pristine order!) 😀

          Liked by 1 person

            • A shrine sounds good! I totally LOVE that idea. And most of my books these days are hardbound, so they are totally shrine-worthy. When I dig back through my ancient paperbacks, I will admit, some of them are pretty battered. (But do NOT tell a single soul. That’s just between the two of us! 😉 ) I have my favorite books with the most gorgeous covers scattered here and there on easels. It makes me happy to see them every time I walk through pretty much every room in the house. We have at least one floor to ceiling bookshelf in each room, and my library/office/writing area (once a screened porch, converted long ago by the previous owners) has them on every wall. One can NEVER have too many bookshelves, after all. 😀

              Liked by 1 person

                • Me, too, and we NEVER had anything similar, even though we’ve lived in larger houses than this one. But when we moved in, and they showed us this room as the “rec” room, I knew at once it was NOT that at all, but was a sunny, Florida style library! Mark built me floor to ceiling bookshelves for every wall that included a desk on one wall, et voila! LIBRARY! 😀 😀 😀 After 16 years, I still feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven. It’s a 35-year old, very modest ranch house with no architectural aspirations at all. BUT! It has a LIBRARY! *Happy sigh!*

                  Liked by 1 person

  2. So sorry I missed this. I’m still trying to get back into my regular routine, and making strides. Somehow Friday escaped me. I wouldn’t have known this opening line. You chose a good one and a tough one!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You were missed, Mae, but I knew how busy you were, and that you’d get back to checking in on Fridays when you were able. I’m still not doing this every Friday, yet, but will fit it in here and there, until I’m back on my own normal schedule, too. We do what we can, especially during times when what we really need are much longer days! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ARGH! I missed this week. I would have gotten that one, too. I’ve never read it but was just telling someone last week I felt like the Invisible Man with my mask and sunglasses on. It led me to look it up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! I might have guessed you’d figure it out one way or another, Sarah! I’m sorry you missed it. I knew it would be a hard one, but thought one or two would figure it out. What a line, though, eh? I can’t imagine cramming all that into one opening sentence. Still, the image of the “thickly gloved hand” clued me in when I first read it, but only because I immediately pictured the bandaged man from the movie.

      I’m not sure when I’ll run the next one, with my schedule interruptions right now, but it won’t be too long. Maybe Friday after this one. Hope you’ll join us! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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