The island of doctor mor.., p.1
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       The Island of Doctor Moreau, p.1

          
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The Island of Doctor Moreau


  This etext was created by Judith Boss, of Omaha, Nebraska, from theGarden City Publishing Company, 1896 edition, and first posted inAugust, 1994. Minor corrections made by Andrew Sly in October, 2004.

  THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU

  byH. G. Wells

  Contents

  INTRODUCTION I. IN THE DINGEY OF THE "LADY VAIN" II. THE MAN WHO WAS GOING NOWHERE III. THE STRANGE FACE IV. AT THE SCHOONER'S RAIL V. THE MAN WHO HAD NOWHERE TO GO VI. THE EVIL-LOOKING BOATMEN VII. THE LOCKED DOOR VIII. THE CRYING OF THE PUMA IX. THE THING IN THE FOREST X. THE CRYING OF THE MAN XI. THE HUNTING OF THE MAN XII. THE SAYERS OF THE LAW XIII. THE PARLEY XIV. DOCTOR MOREAU EXPLAINS XV. CONCERNING THE BEAST FOLK XVI. HOW THE BEAST FOLK TASTE BLOOD XVII. A CATASTROPHEXVIII. THE FINDING OF MOREAU XIX. MONTGOMERY'S BANK HOLIDAY XX. ALONE WITH THE BEAST FOLK XXI. THE REVERSION OF THE BEAST FOLK XXII. THE MAN ALONE

  INTRODUCTION.

  ON February the First 1887, the Lady Vain was lost by collisionwith a derelict when about the latitude 1 degree S. and longitude107 degrees W.

  On January the Fifth, 1888--that is eleven months and four days after--myuncle, Edward Prendick, a private gentleman, who certainly wentaboard the Lady Vain at Callao, and who had been considered drowned,was picked up in latitude 5 degrees 3' S. and longitude 101 degrees W.in a small open boat of which the name was illegible, but which issupposed to have belonged to the missing schooner Ipecacuanha.He gave such a strange account of himself that he was supposed demented.Subsequently he alleged that his mind was a blank from the momentof his escape from the Lady Vain. His case was discussed amongpsychologists at the time as a curious instance of the lapseof memory consequent upon physical and mental stress.The following narrative was found among his papers by the undersigned,his nephew and heir, but unaccompanied by any definite requestfor publication.

  The only island known to exist in the region in which my uncle waspicked up is Noble's Isle, a small volcanic islet and uninhabited.It was visited in 1891 by H. M. S. Scorpion. A party of sailorsthen landed, but found nothing living thereon except certain curiouswhite moths, some hogs and rabbits, and some rather peculiar rats.So that this narrative is without confirmation in its mostessential particular. With that understood, there seems no harmin putting this strange story before the public in accordance,as I believe, with my uncle's intentions. There is at least thismuch in its behalf: my uncle passed out of human knowledge aboutlatitude 5 degrees S. and longitude 105 degrees E., and reappearedin the same part of the ocean after a space of eleven months.In some way he must have lived during the interval. And it seems thata schooner called the Ipecacuanha with a drunken captain, John Davies,did start from Africa with a puma and certain other animals aboardin January, 1887, that the vessel was well known at several portsin the South Pacific, and that it finally disappeared from those seas(with a considerable amount of copra aboard), sailing to its unknownfate from Bayna in December, 1887, a date that tallies entirely with myuncle's story.

  CHARLES EDWARD PRENDICK.

  (The Story written by Edward Prendick.)

  I. IN THE DINGEY OF THE "LADY VAIN."

  I DO not propose to add anything to what has already been writtenconcerning the loss of the "Lady Vain." As everyone knows,she collided with a derelict when ten days out from Callao.The longboat, with seven of the crew, was picked up eighteen days afterby H. M. gunboat "Myrtle," and the story of their terrible privationshas become quite as well known as the far more horrible "Medusa" case.But I have to add to the published story of the "Lady Vain"another, possibly as horrible and far stranger. It has hithertobeen supposed that the four men who were in the dingey perished,but this is incorrect. I have the best of evidence for this assertion:I was one of the four men.

  But in the first place I must state that there never were four menin the dingey,--the number was three. Constans, who was "seenby the captain to jump into the gig,"{1} luckily for us and unluckilyfor himself did not reach us. He came down out of the tangleof ropes under the stays of the smashed bowsprit, some small ropecaught his heel as he let go, and he hung for a moment head downward,and then fell and struck a block or spar floating in the water.We pulled towards him, but he never came up.

  {1} Daily News, March 17, 1887.

  I say luckily for us he did not reach us, and I might almostsay luckily for himself; for we had only a small beakerof water and some soddened ship's biscuits with us, so suddenhad been the alarm, so unprepared the ship for any disaster.We thought the people on the launch would be better provisioned(though it seems they were not), and we tried to hail them. They couldnot have heard us, and the next morning when the drizzle cleared,--whichwas not until past midday,--we could see nothing of them. We couldnot stand up to look about us, because of the pitching of the boat.The two other men who had escaped so far with me were a man named Helmar,a passenger like myself, and a seaman whose name I don't know,--a shortsturdy man, with a stammer.

  We drifted famishing, and, after our water had come to an end,tormented by an intolerable thirst, for eight days altogether.After the second day the sea subsided slowly to a glassy calm. It isquite impossible for the ordinary reader to imagine those eight days.He has not, luckily for himself, anything in his memory to imagine with.After the first day we said little to one another, and layin our places in the boat and stared at the horizon, or watched,with eyes that grew larger and more haggard every day, the miseryand weakness gaining upon our companions. The sun became pitiless.The water ended on the fourth day, and we were already thinkingstrange things and saying them with our eyes; but it was, I think,the sixth before Helmar gave voice to the thing we had all been thinking.I remember our voices were dry and thin, so that we bent towardsone another and spared our words. I stood out against it with allmy might, was rather for scuttling the boat and perishing togetheramong the sharks that followed us; but when Helmar said that if hisproposal was accepted we should have drink, the sailor came roundto him.

  I would not draw lots however, and in the night the sailor whisperedto Helmar again and again, and I sat in the bows with my clasp-knifein my hand, though I doubt if I had the stuff in me to fight;and in the morning I agreed to Helmar's proposal, and we handedhalfpence to find the odd man. The lot fell upon the sailor;but he was the strongest of us and would not abide by it, and attackedHelmar with his hands. They grappled together and almost stood up.I crawled along the boat to them, intending to help Helmar by graspingthe sailor's leg; but the sailor stumbled with the swaying of the boat,and the two fell upon the gunwale and rolled overboard together.They sank like stones. I remember laughing at that, and wonderingwhy I laughed. The laugh caught me suddenly like a thingfrom without.

  I lay across one of the thwarts for I know not how long,thinking that if I had the strength I would drink sea-waterand madden myself to die quickly. And even as I lay there I saw,with no more interest than if it had been a picture, a sail comeup towards me over the sky-line. My mind must have been wandering,and yet I remember all that happened, quite distinctly.I remember how my head swayed with the seas, and the horizonwith the sail above it danced up and down; but I also rememberas distinctly that I had a persuasion that I was dead, and that Ithought what a jest it was that they should come too late by sucha little to catch me in my body.

  For an endless period, as it seemed to me, I lay with my headon the thwart watching the schooner (she was a little ship,schooner-rigged fore and aft) come up out of the sea.She kept tacking to and fro in a widening compass, for she wassailing dead into the wind. It never entered my head to attemptto attract attention, and I do not remember anything distinctly afterthe sight of her side until I found myself in a little cabin aft.There's a dim half-memory of being lifte
d up to the gangway, and ofa big round countenance covered with freckles and surrounded with redhair staring at me over the bulwarks. I also had a disconnectedimpression of a dark face, with extraordinary eyes, close to mine;but that I thought was a nightmare, until I met it again.I fancy I recollect some stuff being poured in between my teeth;and that is all.

 
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