en-es  The Island of Doctor Moreau/Chapter 13
UNA DISCUSIÓN


Me volví y bajé hacia el mar. Descubrí que la corriente cálida se ensanchaba en una arena poco profunda y llena de malezas, en la que una gran cantidad de cangrejos y criaturas de cuerpos largos y de muchas patas se iban ante mis pisadas. Caminé hasta el borde del agua salada, y luego sentí que estaba a salvo. Me volví y miré, con los brazos en jarras, el verde espeso detrás de mí, al que el barranco lleno de vapor cortaba como un tajo humeante. Pero, como digo, estaba demasiado emocionado y (a decir verdad, aunque aquellos que nunca han conocido el peligro puedan ponerlo en duda) demasiado desesperado para morir.

Entonces se me vino a la cabeza que todavía había una oportunidad ante mí. Mientras Moreau, Montgomery y su bestial turba me perseguían por la isla, ¿no podría dar la vuelta a la playa hasta llegar a su recinto? De hecho, marchar sobre su flanco y luego sacar una piedra floja de su pared, quizás romper la cerradura de la puerta más pequeña y ver lo que podría encontrar (cuchillo, pistola o lo que fuera) para luchar contra ellos cuando regresaran? En todo caso, era algo para probar.

Así que me volví hacia el oeste y caminé junto a la orilla del agua. El sol poniente destellaba su calor cegándome los ojos. La ligera marea del Pacífico corría con suaves olas pequeñas. Pronto la orilla giró al sur, y el sol se volvió a mi derecha. Entonces de repente, delante y lejos de mí, vi primero una y luego varias figuras saliendo de los arbustos... Moreau, con su sabueso gris, y después Montgomery y dos más. En ese momento me detuve.

Me vieron y comenzaron a gesticular y avanzar. Me quedé mirándolos acercarse. Los dos hombres bestia vinieron corriendo tierra adentro para cortarme el paso por la maleza. Montgomery vino corriendo también, pero derecho hacia mí. Moreau siguió más lentamente con el perro.

Al fin me desperté de mi flojera, y volviéndome hacia el mar, caminé directamente al agua. En un principio el agua era de muy poca profundidad. Estuve a treinta yardas de la orilla antes de que las olas me alcanzaran la cintura. Vagamente podía ver las criaturas de la marea huyendo de mis pies.

"¿Qué te pasa, hombre?", gritó Montgomery.

Me volví, permaneciendo con el agua hasta la cintura, y los miré. Montgomery estaba jadeando al borde del agua. Su rostro estaba rojo brillante por el esfuerzo, su largo pelo rubio y lustroso revuelto alrededor de la cabeza y el labio inferior caído mostraba sus dientes irregulares. Moreau acababa de acercarse, el rostro pálido y firme y el perro que llevaba me ladró. Ambos hombres tenían látigos fuertes. Más arriba, en la playa, miraban los hombres bestia.

"¿Qué estoy haciendo? Voy a ahogarme", dije. Montgomery y Moreau se miraron el uno al otro. "¿Por qué?", preguntó Moreau.

"Porque eso es mejor que ser torturado por usted". "Te lo dije", dijo Montgomery, y Moreau dijo algo en voz baja.

"¿Qué le hace pensar que lo torturaré?", preguntó Moreau.

"Lo que vi", dije. "Y esos... allá". "¡Silencio!", dijo Moreau, y levantó la mano.

"No lo haré", dije. "Eran hombres: ¿qué son ahora? Al menos no seré como ellos". Miré más allá de mis interlocutores En la playa estaban M'ling, el asistente de Montgomery y uno de los brutos envueltos en blanco del bote. Más arriba, a la sombra de los árboles, vi a mi pequeño hombre mono, y detrás de él algunas otras figuras oscuras.

"¿Quienes son estas criaturas?" dije, señalándolos y levantando la voz más y más para que les alcanzara. "Eran hombres, hombres como ustedes, que ustedes han contaminado con alguna impureza bestial... hombres que ustedes han esclavizado y a los que aún tienen miedo. Ustedes que escuhan", grité, ahora señalando a Moreau y gritando a los hombres bestia más allá... "Ustedes que escuchan!" ¿No ven que estos hombres aún les tienen miedo, que andan atemorizados por ustedes? ¿Por qué, entonces, tienen miedo de ellos? Ustedes son muchos..." "¡Por el amor de Dios", gritó Montgomery, "deja, Prendick!". "Prendick!", gritó Moreau.

Los dos gritaron juntos, como si quisieran ahogar mi voz; y detrás de ellos estaban los hombres bestia con caras intimidantes, preguntándose, las manos deformadas colgando y los hombros encogidos. Parecían, como pensé, estar tratando de comprenderme, de recordar algo de su pasado humano.

Seguí gritando, apenas recuerdo qué... que podían matarlos a Moreau y Mongomery, que no debían tenerles miedo: eso era la esencia de lo que metí en las cabezas de la gente bestia. Vi al hombre de ojos verdes y harapos oscuros, que me había encontrado la tarde de mi llegada, salir desde entre los árboles, y otros lo siguieron, para escucharme mejor. Por fin, por falta de aire, me detuve.

"Escuche por un momento", dijo la voz firme de Moreau; "y luego diga lo que quiera". "¿Y bien?", dije.

Tosió, pensó, y luego gritó: "¡Latín, Prendick! mal latín, latín colegial; pero trate de entender. Hi, non sunt homines; sunt animalia qui nos habemus... vivisected. Un proceso de humanización. Lo explicaré. Venga a tierra". Me reí. "Una bonita historia", dije. "Hablan, construyen casas. Eran hombres. Es probable que vaya a tierra". " El agua apenas más allá de donde está parado es profunda y está llena de tiburones. "" Ese es mi camino", dije. "Corto y agudo. Ahora". "Espere un momento". Sacó algo de su bolsillo que reflejaba el sol, y dejó caer el objeto a sus pies. "Eso es un revólver cargado", dijo él. "Montgomery hará lo mismo. Ahora sigamos más allá por la playa hasta que esté satisfecho de que la distancia es segura. Luego venga y tome los revólveres". "¡No yo! Tienen un tercero entre ustedes". " Quiero que piense bien, Prendick. En primer lugar, nunca le pedí que viniera a esta isla. Si hiciéramos vivisección a hombres, deberíamos importar hombres, no bestias. Asimismo, lo habíamos drogado anoche pero no le hicimos ninguna jugarreta; y además, ahora que su primer pánico pasó y puede pensar un poco, ¿Montgomery está a la altura del personaje que le atribuyó? Lo hemos perseguido por su bien. Porque esta isla está llena de fenómenos perjudiciales. Además, ¿por qué querríamos dispararle cuando acaba de ofrecerse para ahogarse?". "¿Por qué puso a su gente sobre mí cuando estaba en la cabaña?". "Estábamos seguros de alcanzarlo y sacarlo del peligro. Después, nos alejamos del rastro, por su bien". Reflexioné. Parecía realmente posible. Entonces recordé otra vez algo. "Pero yo vi," dije, "en el recinto...". "Eso era el puma". "Mire, Prendick," dijo Montgomery, "¡usted es un tonto ridículo! Salga del agua, agarre estos revólveres y hablemos. No podemos hacer nada más de lo que podríamos hacer ahora". Confesaré que entonces, y de hecho siempre, desconfié y temí a Moreau; pero Montgomery era un hombre al que creí entender.

"Vaya por la playa", dije, después de pensar, y agregué, "levantando las manos". "No puedo hacer eso", dijo Montgomery, con un cabeceo explicativo hacia detrás de él. "Poco digno". "Vaya hacia los árboles, entonces", dije, "como guste". "Es una maldita ceremonia tonta", dijo Montgomery.

Ambos se volvieron y se enfrentaron a las seis o siete criaturas grotescas, que permanecían allí a la luz del sol, sólidas, proyectando sombras, moviéndose y, sin embargo, increíblemente irreales. Montgomery chasqueó el látigo, y al instante todos se volvieron y huyeron desordenados hacia los árboles; y cuando Montgomery y Moreau estuvieron a una distancia que consideré suficiente, anduve por la orilla, levanté y examiné los revólveres. Para satisfacerme contra el engaño más sutil, descargué uno en una mole redonda de lava, y tuve la satisfacción de ver que la piedra se pulverizaba y salpicaba la playa de plomo. Todavía dudé por un momento.

"Me arriesgaré", dije, al fin; y con un revólver en cada mano caminé hacia ellos por la playa.

"Eso es mejor", dijo Moreau, sin disimulos. "Tal como están las cosas, me ha hecho perder la mayor parte de mi día con su condenada imaginación". Y con un toque de desprecio que me humilló, él y Montgomery se volvieron y continuaron en silencio delante de mí.

El grupo de hombres bestia, aún preguntándose, se quedaron al fondo en medio de los árboles. Los pasé lo más serenamente posible. Uno comenzó a seguirme, pero se retiró de nuevo cuando Montgomery chasqueó el látigo. El resto permaneció en silencio... mirando. Puede que alguna vez hubieran sido animales; pero yo nunca había visto antes a un animal tratando de pensar.
unit 1
A PARLEY.
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I TURNED again and went on down towards the sea.
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I walked to the very edge of the salt water, and then I felt I was safe.
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Then it came into my head that there was one chance before me yet.
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It was at any rate something to try.
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So I turned to the westward and walked along by the water‘s edge.
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The setting sun flashed his blinding heat into my eyes.
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The slight Pacific tide was running in with a gentle ripple.
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Presently the shore fell away southward, and the sun came round upon my right hand.
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At that I stopped.
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They saw me, and began gesticulating and advancing.
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I stood watching them approach.
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The two Beast Men came running forward to cut me off from the undergrowth, inland.
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Montgomery came, running also, but straight towards me.
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Moreau followed slower with the dog.
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At last I roused myself from my inaction, and turning seaward walked straight into the water.
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The water was very shallow at first.
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I was thirty yards out before the waves reached to my waist.
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Dimly I could see the intertidal creatures darting away from my feet.
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“What are you doing, man?” cried Montgomery.
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I turned, standing waist deep, and stared at them.
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Montgomery stood panting at the margin of the water.
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Moreau was just coming up, his face pale and firm, and the dog at his hand barked at me.
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Both men had heavy whips.
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Farther up the beach stared the Beast Men.
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“What am I doing?
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I am going to drown myself,” said I. Montgomery and Moreau looked at each other.
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“Why?” asked Moreau.
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“What makes you think I shall torture you?” asked Moreau.
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“What I saw,” I said.
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“And those—yonder.” “Hush!” said Moreau, and held up his hand.
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“I will not,” said I.
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“They were men: what are they now?
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I at least will not be like them.” I looked past my interlocutors.
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Do you not see these men still fear you, go in dread of you?
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Why, then, do you fear them?
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At last for want of breath I paused.
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He coughed, thought, then shouted: “Latin, Prendick!
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bad Latin, schoolboy Latin; but try and understand.
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Hi non sunt homines; sunt animalia qui nos habemus—vivisected.
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A humanising process.
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I will explain.
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Come ashore.” I laughed.
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“A pretty story,” said I.
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“They talk, build houses.
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They were men.
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“Short and sharp.
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“That’s a loaded revolver,” said he.
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“Montgomery here will do the same.
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Now we are going up the beach until you are satisfied the distance is safe.
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Then come and take the revolvers.” “Not I!
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You have a third between you.” “I want you to think over things, Prendick.
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In the first place, I never asked you to come upon this island.
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If we vivisected men, we should import men, not beasts.
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We have chased you for your good.
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Because this island is full of—inimical phenomena.
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Afterwards we drew away from the scent, for your good.” I mused.
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It seemed just possible.
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Then I remembered something again.
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Come out of the water and take these revolvers, and talk.
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Still I hesitated for a moment.
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“That’s better,” said Moreau, without affectation.
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The knot of Beast Men, still wondering, stood back among the trees.
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I passed them as serenely as possible.
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One started to follow me, but retreated again when Montgomery cracked his whip.
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The rest stood silent—watching.
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They may once have been animals; but I never before saw an animal trying to think.
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soybeba • 2080  commented on  unit 50  2 months, 3 weeks ago
contratiempo • 1073  commented on  unit 45  2 months, 3 weeks ago

A PARLEY.

I TURNED again and went on down towards the sea. I found the hot stream broadened out to a shallow, weedy sand, in which an abundance of crabs and long-bodied, many-legged creatures started from my footfall. I walked to the very edge of the salt water, and then I felt I was safe. I turned and stared, arms akimbo, at the thick green behind me, into which the steamy ravine cut like a smoking gash. But, as I say, I was too full of excitement and (a true saying, though those who have never known danger may doubt it) too desperate to die.

Then it came into my head that there was one chance before me yet. While Moreau and Montgomery and their bestial rabble chased me through the island, might I not go round the beach until I came to their enclosure,—make a flank march upon them, in fact, and then with a rock lugged out of their loosely-built wall, perhaps, smash in the lock of the smaller door and see what I could find (knife, pistol, or what not) to fight them with when they returned? It was at any rate something to try.

So I turned to the westward and walked along by the water‘s edge. The setting sun flashed his blinding heat into my eyes. The slight Pacific tide was running in with a gentle ripple. Presently the shore fell away southward, and the sun came round upon my right hand. Then suddenly, far in front of me, I saw first one and then several figures emerging from the bushes,—Moreau, with his grey staghound, then Montgomery, and two others. At that I stopped.

They saw me, and began gesticulating and advancing. I stood watching them approach. The two Beast Men came running forward to cut me off from the undergrowth, inland. Montgomery came, running also, but straight towards me. Moreau followed slower with the dog.

At last I roused myself from my inaction, and turning seaward walked straight into the water. The water was very shallow at first. I was thirty yards out before the waves reached to my waist. Dimly I could see the intertidal creatures darting away from my feet.

“What are you doing, man?” cried Montgomery.

I turned, standing waist deep, and stared at them. Montgomery stood panting at the margin of the water. His face was bright-red with exertion, his long flaxen hair blown about his head, and his dropping nether lip showed his irregular teeth. Moreau was just coming up, his face pale and firm, and the dog at his hand barked at me. Both men had heavy whips. Farther up the beach stared the Beast Men.

“What am I doing? I am going to drown myself,” said I.

Montgomery and Moreau looked at each other. “Why?” asked Moreau.

“Because that is better than being tortured by you.”

“I told you so,” said Montgomery, and Moreau said something in a low tone.

“What makes you think I shall torture you?” asked Moreau.

“What I saw,” I said. “And those—yonder.”

“Hush!” said Moreau, and held up his hand.

“I will not,” said I. “They were men: what are they now? I at least will not be like them.”

I looked past my interlocutors. Up the beach were M’ling, Montgomery’s attendant, and one of the white-swathed brutes from the boat. Farther up, in the shadow of the trees, I saw my little Ape-man, and behind him some other dim figures.

“Who are these creatures?” said I, pointing to them and raising my voice more and more that it might reach them. “They were men, men like yourselves, whom you have infected with some bestial taint,—men whom you have enslaved, and whom you still fear. You who listen,” I cried, pointing now to Moreau and shouting past him to the Beast Men,—“You who listen! Do you not see these men still fear you, go in dread of you? Why, then, do you fear them? You are many—”

“For God’s sake,” cried Montgomery, “stop that, Prendick!”

“Prendick!” cried Moreau.

They both shouted together, as if to drown my voice; and behind them lowered the staring faces of the Beast Men, wondering, their deformed hands hanging down, their shoulders hunched up. They seemed, as I fancied, to be trying to understand me, to remember, I thought, something of their human past.

I went on shouting, I scarcely remember what,—that Moreau and Montgomery could be killed, that they were not to be feared: that was the burden of what I put into the heads of the Beast People. I saw the green-eyed man in the dark rags, who had met me on the evening of my arrival, come out from among the trees, and others followed him, to hear me better. At last for want of breath I paused.

“Listen to me for a moment,” said the steady voice of Moreau; “and then say what you will.”

“Well?” said I.

He coughed, thought, then shouted: “Latin, Prendick! bad Latin, schoolboy Latin; but try and understand. Hi non sunt homines; sunt animalia qui nos habemus—vivisected. A humanising process. I will explain. Come ashore.”

I laughed. “A pretty story,” said I. “They talk, build houses. They were men. It’s likely I’ll come ashore.”

“The water just beyond where you stand is deep—and full of sharks.”

“That’s my way,” said I. “Short and sharp. Presently.”

“Wait a minute.” He took something out of his pocket that flashed back the sun, and dropped the object at his feet. “That’s a loaded revolver,” said he. “Montgomery here will do the same. Now we are going up the beach until you are satisfied the distance is safe. Then come and take the revolvers.”

“Not I! You have a third between you.”

“I want you to think over things, Prendick. In the first place, I never asked you to come upon this island. If we vivisected men, we should import men, not beasts. In the next, we had you drugged last night, had we wanted to work you any mischief; and in the next, now your first panic is over and you can think a little, is Montgomery here quite up to the character you give him? We have chased you for your good. Because this island is full of—inimical phenomena. Besides, why should we want to shoot you when you have just offered to drown yourself?”

“Why did you set—your people onto me when I was in the hut?”

“We felt sure of catching you, and bringing you out of danger. Afterwards we drew away from the scent, for your good.”

I mused. It seemed just possible. Then I remembered something again. “But I saw,” said I, “in the enclosure—”

“That was the puma.”

“Look here, Prendick,” said Montgomery, “you’re a silly ass! Come out of the water and take these revolvers, and talk. We can’t do anything more than we could do now.”

I will confess that then, and indeed always, I distrusted and dreaded Moreau; but Montgomery was a man I felt I understood.

“Go up the beach,” said I, after thinking, and added, “holding your hands up.”

“Can’t do that,” said Montgomery, with an explanatory nod over his shoulder. “Undignified.”

“Go up to the trees, then,” said I, “as you please.”

“It’a damned silly ceremony,” said Montgomery.

Both turned and faced the six or seven grotesque creatures, who stood there in the sunlight, solid, casting shadows, moving, and yet so incredibly unreal. Montgomery cracked his whip at them, and forthwith they all turned and fled helter-skelter into the trees; and when Montgomery and Moreau were at a distance I judged sufficient, I waded ashore, and picked up and examined the revolvers. To satisfy myself against the subtlest trickery, I discharged one at a round lump of lava, and had the satisfaction of seeing the stone pulverised and the beach splashed with lead. Still I hesitated for a moment.

“I’ll take the risk,” said I, at last; and with a revolver in each hand I walked up the beach towards them.

“That’s better,” said Moreau, without affectation. “As it is, you have wasted the best part of my day with your confounded imagination.” And with a touch of contempt which humiliated me, he and Montgomery turned and went on in silence before me.

The knot of Beast Men, still wondering, stood back among the trees. I passed them as serenely as possible. One started to follow me, but retreated again when Montgomery cracked his whip. The rest stood silent—watching. They may once have been animals; but I never before saw an animal trying to think.