All of a sudden Mrs Hall heard a sniff close to her ear. A moment later the hat on the bedpost leapt up and dashed itself into her face. Then the bedroom chair became alive. Springing into the air it charged straight at her, legs foremost. As she and her husband turned away in terror, the extraordinary chair pushed them both out of the room and then appeared to slam and lock the door after them.

     Mrs Hall almost fell down the stairs in hysterics. She was convinced that the room was haunted by spirits, and that the stranger had somehow caused these to enter into her furniture.

     “My poor mother used to sit in that chair,” she moaned. “To think it should rise up against me now!”

     The feeling among the neighbours was that the trouble was caused by witchcraft. But witchcraft or not, when news of the burglary at the clergyman’s home became known, the strange scientist was strongly suspected of having had a hand in it. Suspicion grew even stronger when he suddenly produced some ready cash, though he had admitted not long before that he had no money.
Explanation:
  
Mrs Hall was suddenly startled to hear a sniff near to her ear. Griffin's hat, which was lying on the bedpost, swung towards Mrs Hall and smacked her in the face. The chair in the room then dashed itself, striking Mrs Hall. When Mrs Hall and her husband were about to leave the room, they were thrown out by an incredible chair. After that, the chair closed the door, and a slamming and locking sound was heard.

Mrs Hall was terrified by the occurrence and was about to fall down the steps. She was convinced that there were spirits in her inn's room and that the stranger had caused this to occur.

Mrs Halls lamented how her mother used to sit in the chair and wonder how it could rise against her. The neighbours of Mrs Hall then thought it was witchcraft that caused such a thing to happen.

When the news of the burglary at the clergyman's house spread around the community, everyone began to suspect the strange scientist. Suspicion intensified when he provided ready cash for his payment at the inn despite stating that he did not have money and was waiting for a cheque to come.

 

Meanings of the difficult words:

 

S.No
Words
Meanings
1
SuspectTo think that someone has committed a crime or done something wrong
2
Bedpost One of the four corner poles that support a bed
3
DashTo go somewhere quickly
4
HystericsUncontrolled behaviour or crying, usually caused by extreme fear or sadness
5
HauntOf a ghost manifest itself at a place regularly
6
Burglary Illegal entry of a building with the intent to commit a crime, especially theft
7
NeighbourA person living next door to or very near to the speaker or person referred to
8
WitchcraftThe practice of magic, especially black magic; the use of spells
Reference:
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2007). Footprints without Feet - H.G. Wells(pp. 26-31). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.