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I do not propose to add anything to what has already been written concerning 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 after by H. M. gunboat Myrtle.
The Island of Doctor Moreau PDF Book by H. G. Wells
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And the story of their terrible privations has 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 hitherto been 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 men in the dingey,—the number was three. Constans, who was “seen by the captain to jump into the gig,” luckily for us and unluckily for himself did not reach us.
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He came down out of the tangle of ropes under the stays of the smashed bowsprit, some small rope caught 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.
The cabin in which I found myself was small and rather untidy. A youngish man with flaxen hair, a bristly strawcoloured moustache, and a dropping nether lip, was sitting and holding my wrist. For a minute we stared at each other without speaking. He had watery grey eyes, oddly void of expression.
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Then just overhead came a sound like an iron bedstead being knocked about, and the low angry growling of some large animal. At the same time the man spoke. He repeated his question,—“How do you feel now?” I think I said I felt all right. I could not recollect how I had got there.
He must have seen the question in my face, for my voice was inaccessible to me. “You were picked up in a boat, starving. The name on the boat was the Lady Vain, and there were spots of blood on the gunwale.” At the same time my eye caught my hand, so thin that it looked like a dirty skin-purse full of loose bones.
And all the business of the boat came back to me. “Have some of this,” said he, and gave me a dose of some scarlet stuff, iced. It tasted like blood, and made me feel stronger. “You were in luck,” said he, “to get picked up by a ship with a medical man aboard.” The Island of Doctor Moreau PDF Book
He spoke with a slobbering articulation, with the ghost of a lisp. “What ship is this?” I said slowly, hoarse from my long silence. “It’s a little trader from Arica and Callao. I never asked where she came from in the beginning,—out of the land of born fools, I guess. I’m a passenger myself, from Arica.
The silly ass who owns her,—he’s captain too, named Davies,— he’s lost his certificate, or something. You know the kind of man,—calls the thing the Ipecacuanha, of all silly, infernal names; though when there’s much of a sea without any wind, she certainly acts according.”
Then the noise overhead began again, a snarling growl and the voice of a human being together. Then another voice, telling some “Heaven-forsaken idiot” to desist.) “You were nearly dead,” said my interlocutor. “It was a very near thing, indeed. But I’ve put some stuff into you now. The Island of Doctor Moreau PDF Book
Notice your arm’s sore? Injections. You’ve been insensible for nearly thirty hours.” I thought slowly. (I was distracted now by the yelping of a number of dogs.) “Am I eligible for solid food?” I asked. “Thanks to me,” he said. “Even now the mutton is boiling.”
“Yes,” I said with assurance; “I could eat some mutton.” “But,” said he with a momentary hesitation, “you know I’m dying to hear of how you came to be alone in that boat. Damn that howling!” I thought I detected a certain suspicion in his eyes. Suddenly we heard a yelp and a volley of furious blasphemy from the companion hatchway.
And the deformed man with the black face came up hurriedly. He was immediately followed by a heavy red-haired man in a white cap. At the sight of the former the staghounds, who had all tired of barking at me by this time, became furiously excited, howling and leaping against their chains. The Island of Doctor Moreau PDF Book
The black hesitated before them, and this gave the red-haired man time to come up with him and deliver a tremendous blow between the shoulder-blades. The poor devil went down like a felled ox, and rolled in the dirt among the furiously excited dogs. It was lucky for him that they were muzzled.
The red-haired man gave a yawp of exultation and stood staggering, and as it seemed to me in serious danger of either going backwards down the companion hatchway or forwards upon his victim. So soon as the second man had appeared, Montgomery had started forward.
“Steady on there!” he cried, in a tone of remonstrance. A couple of sailors appeared on the forecastle. The black-faced man, howling in a singular voice rolled about under the feet of the dogs. No one attempted to help him. The brutes did their best to worry him, butting their muzzles at him. The Island of Doctor Moreau PDF Book
There was a quick dance of their lithe grey-figured bodies over the clumsy, prostrate figure. The sailors forward shouted, as though it was admirable sport. Montgomery gave an angry exclamation, and went striding down the deck, and I followed him.
The black-faced man scrambled up and staggered forward, going and leaning over the bulwark by the main shrouds, where he remained, panting and glaring over his shoulder at the dogs. The red-haired man laughed a satisfied laugh. “Look here, Captain,” said Montgomery, with his lisp a little accentuated, gripping the elbows of the red-haired man.
“This won’t do!” I stood behind Montgomery. The captain came half round, and regarded him with the dull and solemn eyes of a drunken man. “Wha’ won’t do?” he said, and added, after looking sleepily into Montgomery’s face for a minute, “Blasted Sawbones!” The Island of Doctor Moreau PDF Book
The reader will perhaps understand that at first everything was so strange about me, and my position was the outcome of such unexpected adventures, that I had no discernment of the relative strangeness of this or that thing. I followed the llama up the beach, and was overtaken by Montgomery, who asked me not to enter the stone enclosure.
I noticed then that the puma in its cage and the pile of packages had been placed outside the entrance to this quadrangle. I turned and saw that the launch had now been unloaded, run out again, and was being beached, and the white-haired man was walking towards us.
He addressed Montgomery. “And now comes the problem of this uninvited guest. What are we to do with him?” “He knows something of science,” said Montgomery. “I’m itching to get to work again—with this new stuff,” said the white-haired man, nodding towards the enclosure. His eyes grew brighter. The Island of Doctor Moreau PDF Book Download
“I daresay you are,” said Montgomery, in anything but a cordial tone. “We can’t send him over there, and we can’t spare the time to build him a new shanty; and we certainly can’t take him into our confidence just yet.” “I’m in your hands,” said I. I had no idea of what he meant by “over there.”
“I’ve been thinking of the same things,” Montgomery answered. “There’s my room with the outer door—” “That’s it,” said the elder man, promptly, looking at Montgomery; and all three of us went towards the enclosure. “I’m sorry to make a mystery, Mr. Prendick; but you’ll remember you’re uninvited.
Our little establishment here contains a secret or so, is a kind of Blue-Beard’s chamber, in fact. Nothing very dreadful, really, to a sane man; but just now, as we don’t know you—” “Decidedly,” said I, “I should be a fool to take offence at any want of confidence.” The Island of Doctor Moreau PDF Book Download
He twisted his heavy mouth into a faint smile—he was one of those saturnine people who smile with the corners of the mouth down,—and bowed his acknowledgment of my complaisance. The main entrance to the enclosure was passed; it was a heavy wooden gate, framed in iron and locked, with the cargo of the launch piled outside it.
And at the corner we came to a small doorway I had not previously observed. The white-haired man produced a bundle of keys from the pocket of his greasy blue jacket, opened this door, and entered. His keys, and the elaborate locking-up of the place even while it was still under his eye, struck me as peculiar.
I followed him, and found myself in a small apartment, plainly but not uncomfortably furnished and with its inner door, which was slightly ajar, opening into a paved courtyard. This inner door Montgomery at once closed. A hammock was slung across the darker corner of the room. The Island of Doctor Moreau PDF Book Download
And a small unglazed window defended by an iron bar looked out towards the sea. This the white-haired man told me was to be my apartment; and the inner door, which “for fear of accidents,” he said, he would lock on the other side, was my limit inward.
He called my attention to a convenient deck-chair before the window, and to an array of old books, chiefly, I found, surgical works and editions of the Latin and Greek classics (languages I cannot read with any comfort), on a shelf near the hammock. He left the room by the outer door, as if to avoid opening the inner one again.
As I drew near the house I saw that the light shone from the open door of my room; and then I heard coming from out of the darkness at the side of that orange oblong of light, the voice of Montgomery shouting, “Prendick!” I continued running. Presently I heard him again. The Island of Doctor Moreau PDF Book Download
I replied by a feeble “Hullo!” and in another moment had staggered up to him. “Where have you been?” said he, holding me at arm’s length, so that the light from the door fell on my face. “We have both been so busy that we forgot you until about half an hour ago.”
He led me into the room and sat me down in the deck chair. For awhile I was blinded by the light. “We did not think you would start to explore this island of ours without telling us,” he said; and then, “I was afraid—But—what— Hullo!” My last remaining strength slipped from me, and my head fell forward on my chest.
I think he found a certain satisfaction in giving me brandy. “For God’s sake,” said I, “fasten that door.” “You’ve been meeting some of our curiosities, eh?” said he. He locked the door and turned to me again. He asked me no questions, but gave me some more brandy and water and pressed me to eat. The Island of Doctor Moreau PDF Book Download
I was in a state of collapse. He said something vague about his forgetting to warn me, and asked me briefly when I left the house and what I had seen. I answered him as briefly, in fragmentary sentences. “Tell me what it all means,” said I, in a state bordering on hysterics.
“It’s nothing so very dreadful,” said he. “But I think you have had about enough for one day.” The puma suddenly gave a sharp yell of pain. At that he swore under his breath. “I’m damned,” said he, “if this place is not as bad as Gower Street, with its cats.”
“All in good time,” said he, waving his hand at me; “I am only beginning. Those are trivial cases of alteration. Surgery can do better things than that. There is building up as well as breaking down and changing. You have heard, perhaps, of a common surgical operation resorted to in cases where the nose has been destroyed. The Island of Doctor Moreau PDF Book Free
A flap of skin is cut from the forehead, turned down on the nose, and heals in the new position. This is a kind of grafting in a new position of part of an animal upon itself. Grafting of freshly obtained material from another animal is also possible,—the case of teeth, for example.
The grafting of skin and bone is done to facilitate healing: the surgeon places in the middle of the wound pieces of skin snipped from another animal, or fragments of bone from a victim freshly killed. Hunter’s cock-spur—possibly you have heard of that—flourished on the bull’s neck.
And the rhinoceros rats of the Algerian zouaves are also to be thought of,—monsters manufactured by transferring a slip from the tail of an ordinary rat to its snout, and allowing it to heal in that position.” “Monsters manufactured!” said I. “Then you mean to tell me—” “Yes. The Island of Doctor Moreau PDF Book Free
These creatures you have seen are animals carven and wrought into new shapes. To that, to the study of the plasticity of living forms, my life has been devoted. I have studied for years, gaining in knowledge as I go. I see you look horrified, and yet I am telling you nothing new.
It all lay in the surface of practical anatomy years ago, but no one had the temerity to touch it. It is not simply the outward form of an animal which I can change. The physiology, the chemical rhythm of the creature, may also be made to undergo an enduring modification.
Of which vaccination and other methods of inoculation with living or dead matter are examples that will, no doubt, be familiar to you. A similar operation is the transfusion of blood,—with which subject, indeed, I began. These are all familiar cases. Less so. The Island of Doctor Moreau PDF Book Free
And probably far more extensive, were the operations of those mediaeval practitioners who made dwarfs and beggar-cripples, show-monsters,—some vestiges of whose art still remain in the preliminary manipulation of the young mountebank or contortionist.
Victor Hugo gives an account of them in ‘L’Homme qui Rit.’—But perhaps my meaning grows plain now. You begin to see that it is a possible thing to transplant tissue from one part of an animal to another, or from one animal to another; to alter its chemical reactions and methods of growth; to modify the articulations of its limbs; And, indeed, to change it in its most intimate structure.