en-es  The Island of Doctor Moreau/Ch 16
La isla del Dr. Moreau de H. G. Wells / Cap. 16.


CÓMO LA GENTE BESTIA SABOREA LA SANGRE


MI inexperiencia como escritor me traiciona, y me alejo del hilo de mi historia.

Después de tomar el desayuno con Montgomery, me llevó al otro lado de la isla para ver la fumarola y la fuente del manantial termal en cuyas aguas había caído el día anterior. Ambos llevamos látigos y revólveres cargados. Mientras atravesábamos una frondosa jungla en nuestro camino hacia allá, escuchamos chillar a un conejo. Nos detuvimos y escuchamos, pero no oímos nada más; y en este momento continuamos nuestro camino, y el incidente se nos fue de la mente. Montgomery llamó mi atención hacia ciertos animalitos rosados ​​con largas patas traseras, que saltaban entre la maleza. Me dijo que eran criaturas hechas de las crías de la gente bestia, que Moreau había inventado. Había imaginado que podrían servir como carne, pero su hábito de conejo de devorar a sus crías había frustrado esta intención. Yo ya había encontrado algunas de estas criaturas, una vez durante mi huida nocturna del hombre leopardo y una vez cuando Moreau me perseguía el día anterior. Por casualidad, pudimos atrapar una en el hueco dejado por un árbol arrancado por el viento donde había caido mientras brincaba para eludirnos. Escupió como un gato, rasgó y pateó vigorosamente con las patas traseras, trató de morder, pero tenía los dientes muy débiles para infligir más que un pellizco sin dolor. Me pareció un animalito más bien hermoso; y como dijo Montgomery que nunca destruía el cesped haciendo madrigueras y tenía habitos muy limpios, me imagino que bien podría reemplazar al conejo común en los parques de nobles.

Tambien vimos por el camino el tronco de un árbol descortezado en largas franjas y profundamente astillado. Montgomery me llamó la atención acerca de esto. "No raspar la corteza de los árboles, esa es la ley", dijo. "¡Tanto les gusta a algunos!". Fue después de esto, creo, que nos encontramos con el sátiro y el hombre mono. El sátiro era un indicio de la memoria clásica por parte de Moreau, su cara de expresión ovina, como el tipo hebreo más grosero; su voz era un balido áspero y sus extremidades inferiores, satánicas. Estaba mordisqueando la cáscara de una fruta en forma de vaina cuando nos pasó. Ambos saludaron a Montgomery.

"¡Saludos", dijeron, "al otro con el látigo!". "Ahora hay un tercero con un látigo", dijo Montgomery. "¡Así que será mejor que se comporte bien!". "¿No fue hecho?" , dijo el hombre mono. "Él dijo... dijo que estaba hecho". El hombre sátiro me miró con curiosidad. "El tercero con el látigo, el que camina llorando en el mar, tiene una cara blanca y delgada". "Tiene un látigo delgado y largo", dijo Montgomery.

"Ayer él sangró y lloró", dijo el sátiro. "Usted nunca sangra ni llora. El Maestro no sangra o llora". "¡Mendigo ollendorfiano!", dijo Montgomery, "sangrarás y llorarás si no te cuidas!". "Él tiene cinco dedos, es un hombre de cinco como yo", dijo. el hombre mono.

"Vamos, Prendick", dijo Montgomery, tomándome del brazo; y seguí con él.

El sátiro y el hombre mono se quedaron mirándonos y haciéndose otras observaciones.

"No dice nada", dijo el sátiro. "Los hombres tienen voces". "Ayer me preguntó sobre cosas para comer", dijo el hombre mono. "Él no sabía". Luego hablaron cosas inaudibles, y escuché reír al sátiro.

Fue en nuestro camino de regreso que encontramos muerto al conejo. El cuerpo rojo de la pequeña bestia desdichada fue hecho pedazos, muchas de las costillas sin carne, y la columna vertebral indiscutiblemente roída

Montgomery se detuvo en el acto. "¡Diós mío!" dijo, agachándose y tomando algunas vértebras para examinarlas de más cerca. "¡Dios mío!" repitió, "¿Qué puede significar esto?". "Algún carnívoro suyo ha recordado sus hábitos antiguos", dije después de una pausa. "Esta columna dorsal ha sido mordida". Se quedó mirando fijamente, con el rostro blanco y el labio torcido. "No me gusta esto", dijo lentamente.

"Vi algo del mismo tipo", dije, "el primer día que vine aquí". "¡Increíble! ¿Qué era?". "Un conejo con la cabeza retorcida". " ¿El día que vino aquí?". "El día que vine aquí. En el matorral en la parte posterior del recinto, cuando salí por la tarde. La cabeza estaba completamente retorcida. Lanzó un largo y bajo silbido.

"Y lo que es más, tengo una idea de cuál de sus brutos lo hizo. Es solo una sospecha, sabe. Antes de que me tropezara con el conejo, vi a uno de sus monstruos bebiendo en el arroyo". "¿Chupando su bebida?". "Sí". " 'No chupar tu bebida; esa es la Ley'. Cuán poco se preocupan los brutos por la Ley, ¿eh? ¡cuando Moreau no está por ahí!". " Fue el bruto que me persiguió". "Por supuesto", dijo Montgomery; "Es precisamente el comportamiento de los carnívoros". Después de cobrar una pieza, beben. Es el sabor de la sangre, ya sabe. ¿Cómo era esa bestia?", continuó. "¿La reconocería otra vez?". Miró alrededor de nosotros, parado a horcajadas sobre el desastre del conejo muerto, sus ojos vagando entre las sombras y cortinas de vegetación, los escondites y emboscadas del bosque que nos encerraba. "El sabor de la sangre", repitió.

Sacó su revólver, examinó los cartuchos dentro de él, y lo volvió a guardar. Luego empezó a tirar de su labio colgante.

"Creo que reconocería al bruto otra vez", le dije. "Lo aturdí. Debería tener un hermoso moretón en la frente". " Pero luego tenemos que demostrar que él mató al conejo ", dijo Montgomery. Desearía no haber traído nunca las cosas aquí". Yo debería haber seguido, pero se quedó allí pensando en el conejo mutilado como un rompecabezas. Así como estábamos, fui tan lejos que los restos del conejo quedaron ocultos.

"¡Vamos!", dije.

Inmediatamente se levantó y se acercó a mí. "Usted sabe", dijo, casi en un susurro, "se supone que todos tienen una idea fija de no comer nada que corra en la tierra. Si algún bruto por algún accidente ha probado la sangre...". Continuó parte del camino en silencio. "Me pregunto qué puede haber pasado", dijo para sí. Luego, después de otra pausa: "El otro día hice una tontería. Ese sirviente mío... le enseñé cómo pelar y cocinar un conejo. Es extraño... lo vi lamerse las manos... nunca se me ocurrió". Luego: "Debemos poner fin a esto. Debo decírselo a Moreau". No pudo pensar en nada más en nuestro viaje de regreso a casa.

Moreau tomó el asunto aún más en serio que Montgomery, y ni qué decir que me afectó su evidente consternación.

"Tenemos que dar un ejemplo", dijo Moreau. Yo creo, sin duda, que el hombre leopardo fue el pecador. ¿Pero cómo podemos demostrarlo? Espero, Montgomery, que haya controlado su gusto por la carne, y continuado sin estas novedades emocionantes. Puede que nos encontremos en apuros ya, por eso". "Fui un tonto", dijo Montgomery. Pero la cosa ya está hecha; y me dijo que podría comerlos, sabe". "Es preciso que arreglemos la situación ahora mismo", dijo Moreau. "Supongo que si pasa algo, M'ling puede cuidarse a si mismo". "No estoy tan seguro de M'ling", dijo Montgomery. "Creo que debía conocerlo". En la tarde, Moreau, Montgomery, yo y M'ling fuimos al otro lado de la isla hasta las chozas en el barranco. Los tres portamos armas; M'ling llevó la pequeña hacha que usaba para cortar leña y unos rollos de alambre. Moreau tenía una trompa enorme de vaquero colgada del hombro.

"Verá una reunión de la gente bestia", dijo Montgomery. "¡Es una hermosa vista!". Moreau no dijo nada en el camino, pero la expresión de su cara pesada y rodeada de blanco era dura y lúgubre.

Cruzamos el arroyo por el cual corría el río de agua caliente, y seguimos el sendero sinuoso por los cañaverales hasta que llegamos a una amplia área cubierta con una sustancia amarillenta en polvo que creo que era azufre. Mäs allá de una ladera cubierta de matorrales destellaba el mar. Llegamos a una especie de anfiteatro natural poco profundo, y ahí nos detuvimos los cuatro. Entonces Moreau hizo sonar la trompa y rompió la dormida quietud de la tarde tropical. Debe haber tenido pulmones fuertes. La nota sibilante se elevó y elevó en medio de sus ecos, terminando en una intensidad penetrante.

"¡Ah!", dijo Moreau, dejando que el instrumento curvado cayera de nuevo a su lado.

Inmediatamente se produjo un estrépito a través de los tallos amarillos y un sonido de voces desde la densa jungla verde que demarcaba el pantano por el que había corrido el día anterior. Entonces, en tres o cuatro puntos sobre el borde del área sulfurosa aparecieron las formas grotescas de la gente bestia que corría hacia nosotros. No pude evitar un horror creciente, cuando percibí al primero y luego a otro que salía trotando de los árboles o juncos y avanzaba tambaleante sobre el polvo caliente. Pero Moreau y Montgomery estaban bastante calmados; y, forzosamente, me quedé junto a ellos.

El primero en llegar fue el sátiro, extrañamente irreal a pesar de proyectar una sombra y arrojar el polvo con sus cascos. Después de él, de los matorrales vino un patán monstruoso, una cosa de caballo y rinoceronte, masticando una paja cuando llegó; luego aparecieron la mujer porcina y dos mujeres lobo; luego la bruja zorro-oso, con los ojos rojos en su cara roja y otros más, apresurándose todos ansiosamente. Mientras se acercaban, empezaron a arrastrarse hacia Moreau y corear, sin tener en cuenta a los otros, fragmentos de la segunda mitad de la letanía de la ley,--"Suya es la mano que hiere; Suya es la mano que cura", y así por el estilo. Tan pronto como se habían acercado dentro de una distancia de quizás treinta yardas, se detuvieron, y poniéndose sobre sus rodillas y codos, empezaron a arrojarse el polvo blanco sobre la cabeza.

¡Imagínese la escena si puede! Nosotros tres vestidos de azul, con nuestro deforme asistente de rostro negro, estábamos en una amplia extensión de polvo amarillo iluminada por el sol bajo el cielo azul resplandeciente y rodeados por este círculo de monstruosidades agazapadas y gesticulantes... algunas casi humanas, excepto en las expresiones y gestos sutiles; algunos como lisiados; otros tan extrañamente distorsionados como para no parecerse en nada sino a los habitantes de nuestros sueños más salvajes; y, más allá, las líneas de un cañaveral en una dirección, una densa maraña de palmeras en la otra, que nos separaba del barranco con las chozas y al norte el horizonte nebuloso del Océano Pacífico.

"Sesenta y dos, sesenta y tres", contó Moreau. "Hay cuatro más". "No veo al hombre leopardo", dije yo.

En ese momento, Moreau volvió a hacer sonar la gran trompa y al oírla toda la gente bestia se retorció y postró en el polvo. Luego, deslizándose fuera del cañaveral, inclinándose cerca del suelo e intentando unirse al círculo que arrojaba polvo detrás de Moreau, llegó el hombre leopardo. El último en llegar de la gente bestia fue el pequeño hombre mono. Los animales que estaban primero, acalorados y cansados ​​por sus arrebatos, le lanzaron miradas agresivas.

"¡Terminen!" , dijo Moreau, con su voz firme y fuerte, y la gente bestia se sentó sobre sus nalgas y descansó de su adoración.

"¿Dónde está el pregonero de la ley?", dijo Moreau, y el monstruo de pelo gris se inclinó en el polvo.

“¡Di las palabras!”,dijo Moreau.

Inmediatamente todos en la asamblea, en cuclillas, oscilando de un lado al otro y levantando el azufre con las manos,--primero la mano derecha y una nube de polvo, y luego la izquierda... empezaron una vez más a corear su extraña letanía. Cuando llegaron a "No comer carne ni ave, esa es la ley", Moreau alzó su delgada mano blanca.

"¡Terminen!", gritó, y un silencio total cayó sobre todos.

Creo que todos sabían y temían lo que venía. Miré sus rostros extraños de alrededor. Cuando vi sus actitudes estremecedoras y el temor furtivo en sus ojos brillantes, me pregunté cómo era posible que alguna vez creyera que eran hombres.

"¡Esa ley ha sido violada!", dijo Moreau.

"Ninguno escapa", de la criatura sin rostro con el cabello plateado. "Ninguno escapa", repitió el círculo de la gente bestia arrodillada.

"¿Quién es él?", gritó Moreau, y miró alrededor a sus caras, restallando su látigo. Imaginé que el hiena porcina parecía abatido, y también el hombre leopardo. Moreau se detuvo frente a esta criatura, que se arrastró hacia él con el recuerdo y el temor al tormento infinito.

"¿Quién es él?", repitió Moreau, con voz de trueno.

"Es malo quien viola la ley", cantó el pregonero de la ley.

Moreau miró a los ojos del hombre leopardo, y pareció que arrastraba la propia alma de la criatura.

"Quien viola la ley..." dijo Moreau, quitando la mirada de su víctima y volviéndose hacia nosotros (me pareció que hubo un toque de satisfacción en su voz).

"Regresa a la casa de dolor", gritaron todos..."regresa a la casa de dolor, ¡Oh señor!", "regresa a la casa de dolor...regresa a la casa de dolor..." parloteó el hombre mono, como si la idea le pareciera dulce.

"¿Oyes?", dijo Moreau, volviéndose hacia el criminal, "mi amigo...¡maldita sea!". Pues el hombre leopardo, una vez libre de la mirada de Moreau, se había incorporado y ahora, con los ojos ardientes y sus enormes colmillos felinos destellantes debajo de los labios abiertos, se lanzó hacia su atormentador. Estoy convencido de que solo la locura de miedo insoportable podría haber provocado este ataque. El circulo entero de sesenta monstruos pareció levantarse alrededor de nosotros. Saqué mi revólver. Las dos figuras se chocaron. Vi a Moreau tambalearse para atrás por el golpe del hombre leopardo. Hubo una gritería furiosa y aullidos por todas partes. Todos estaban moviéndose rápidamente. Durante un momento pensé que era una revuelta general. La cara furiosa del hombre leopardo pasó la mía como una flecha, con M'ling pisándole los talones. Vi los ojos amarillentos del hombre hiena-porcina ardientes de emoción; su actitud como si estuviera medio resuelto a atacarme. El sátiro, también, me miró con furia por encima de los hombros encogidos del hiena-porcina. Oí el estampido de la pistola de Moreau, y vi el destello rosado salir como una flecha por encima del tumulto. La masa entera pareció volverse hacia el destello de fuego, y a mí también, me hizo girar el magnetismo del momento. Un segundo después yo estaba corriendo y gritando con el tumulto en busca del hombre leopardo que se escapaba.

Eso es todo que recuerdo con claridad. Vi al hombre leopardo golpear a Moreau, y luego todo giró alrededor de mí hasta que estuve corriendo precipitadamente. M'ling estaba adelante, persiguiendo de cerca al fugitivo. Detrás, sus lenguas ya fuera de la boca, corrían las mujeres lobo haciendo grandes zancadas. La gente porcina seguía, chillando con entusiasmo, y los dos hombres toro envueltos en blanco. Luego vino Moreau en un grupo de la gente bestia, su sombrero de paja de ala ancha arrancado, el revólver en la mano y saliéndosele el cabello lacio y blanco. La hiena porcina corrió a mi lado, siguiéndome el paso y mirándome furtivamente a través de sus ojos felinos, y los demás nos siguieron gritando.

El hombre leopardo iba abriéndose paso por las largas cañas, que rebotaban mientras pasaba y golpeaban la cara de M'ling. Nosotros, en la retaguardia, encontramos una senda pisoteada cuando llegamos al cañaveral. La búsqueda pasó por el cañaveral por quizás un cuarto de milla, y luego se metió en un tupido matorral, que mucho nos retrasó el movimiento, aunque lo atravesamos juntos en masa...helechos pegándonos en la cara, enredaderas como sogas agarrándonos debajo de la barbilla o sujetándonos por los tobillos, plantas espinosas arrancando carne y tela juntas.

"Pasó por acá a cuatro patas", jadeó Moreau, ahora justo enfrente de mí.

"Nadie escapa", dijo el lobo-oso, riéndose en mi cara con el júbilo de la caza.

Otra vez salimos de golpe, entre rocas, y vimos a la presa adelante, corriendo sin dificultad a cuatro patas mientras nos gruñía por encima del hombro. Como respuesta, la gente lobo aulló con deleite. La cosa aún llevaba ropa, y en la distancia su cara todavía parecía humana, pero la posición de sus cuatro miembros era felina, y el encorvamiento furtivo del hombro era inequívocamente el de un animal cazado. Saltó sobre unos arbustos espinosos con flores amarillas, y desapareció. M'ling había atravesado la mitad del espacio.

La mayoría de nosotros ahora había perdido la velocidad inicial de la persecución y caído en un paso más largo y constante. Veía mientras atravesábamos el claro que la persecución ahora se convertía en una linea de una columna. El hiena-porcina aún corría cerca de mí, mirándome mientras corría, a cada rato frunciendo el hocico con una risa y un gruñido. En el borde de las rocas el hombre leopardo, dándose cuenta de que se dirigía al cabo saliente donde me había acechado la noche de mi llegada, dobló en la maleza, pero Montgomery había visto la maniobra, y le hizo replegarse. Así, resollando, tambaleándome contra rocas, desgarrado por plantas espinosas, retrasado por helechos y cañas, apoyaba la persecución del hombre leopardo, que violó la ley, y el hiena-porcina, riéndose violentamente, corría a mi lado. Seguía tambaleándome, la cabeza dando vueltas y el corazón latiendo contra las costillas, cansado casi hasta la muerte, pero sin atreverme a perder de vista la caza, por si acaso me quedara a solas con este compañero horrible. Avanzaba dando traspiés a pesar de la fatiga infinita y el calor bochornoso de la tarde tropical.

Por fin disminuyó la furia de la caza. Habíamos atrapado al desdichado bruto en un rincón de la isla. Moreau, látigo en la mano, nos alineó en una linea irregular, y ahora avanzamos despacio, gritandonos mutuamente mientras avanzábamos y apretando el cordón alrededor de nuestra víctima. Él acechó sin sonido e invisible en los arbustos por los cuales yo había huído de él durante esa persecución de media noche.

"¡Firme!", gritó Moreau, "¡firme!", mientras los extremos de la linea se deslizaban alrededor de la maleza y encerraron al bruto.

"¡Cuidado con un ataque!", vino la voz de Montgomery desde el otro lado de la maleza.

Estuve en la pendiente sobre los arbustos; Montgomery y Moreau pasaron por la playa debajo. Gradualmente nos metimos en la red de ramas y hojas. La presa estaba silenciosa.

"¡Regresa a la casa de dolor, la casa de dolor, la casa de dolor!", gritó la voz del hombre mono, a unas veinte yardas a la derecha.

Cuando oí eso, le perdoné al pobre desdichado todo el miedo que había provocado en mí. Oí partir las ramitas y el frufrú de las ramas ante el paso pesado del caballo-rinocerante a mi derecha. Luego, de repente, por un polígono de verde, en la media oscuridad bajo la vegetación exuberante, vi a la criatura que cazábamos. Me detuve. Él estaba agachado y encogido en un espacio pequeñísimo, sus verdes ojos luminosos mirándome por encima de su hombro.

Puede parecer una extraña contradicción en mí -no puedo explicar el hecho-, pero ahora, al ver a la criatura allí en una actitud perfectamente animal, con la luz brillando en los ojos y la cara imperfectamente humana distorsionada por el terror, me di cuenta nuevamente de la realidad de su humanidad. En otro momento, otro de sus perseguidores lo vería y sería dominado y capturado, para experimentar una vez más las horribles torturas del recinto. De repente, saqué mi revólver, apunté entre sus ojos aterrorizados y disparé. Mientras lo hacía, la hiena porcina vio a la cosa, y se lanzó sobre ella con un grito ansioso, hincándole los dientes sedientos en el cuello. A mi alrededor, las masas verdes de la espesura se balancearon y crujieron cuando la gente bestia se acercó corriendo. Apareció una cara y luego otra.

"¡No lo mate, Prendick!",gritó Moreau. "¡No lo mate!", y lo vi inclinarse cuando empujaba las hojas de los grandes helechos.

En otro instante, había golpeado a la hiena porcina con el mango de su látigo, y él y Montgomery mantenían alejados a los excitados y carnívoros hombres bestia, y especialmente a M’ling, del cuerpo todavía tembloroso. La cosa gris peluda vino a olfatear el cadáver bajo mi brazo. Los otros animales, en su ardor animal, me empujaron para ver de más cerca.

“¡Maldito sea, Prendick!”, dijo Moreau. "Lo necesitaba". "Lo siento", dije, aunque no lo sentía. "Fue el impulso del momento". Me sentí enfermo por el esfuerzo y la emoción. Volviéndome, me abrí paso a empujones por la masa de gente bestia y seguí solo cuesta arriba hacia la parte más alta del promontorio. Según las instrucciones dichas a gritos por Moreau, oí a los tres hombres toro, envueltos en blanco, empezar a arrastrar la víctima hacia el agua.

En ese momento me fue fácil estar solo. La gente bestia mostró una curiosidad muy humana sobre el cadáver, y lo siguió en un grupo apretado, olfateándolo y gruñendo mientras los hombres toro lo arrastraban por la playa. Fui al cabo y miraba a los hombres toro, negros contra el cielo del atardecer, mientras se llevaban mar adentro al cadáver con lastre; y me vino a la mente, como una ola, la comprensión de la horrible falta de sentido de las cosas en esta isla. En la playa y entre las rocas debajo de mí estaban los hombres mono, el hiena porcina, y varios otros de la gente bestia, de pie alrededor de Montgomery y Moreau. Todos estaban todavía intensamente emocionados, y todos rebosantes de expresiones ruidosas de su fidelidad a la ley; pero yo estaba absolutamente convencido de que el hiena porcina estaba involucrado en las muertes de los conejos. Una extraña convicción me vino a la mente, que, salvo por la crudeza de la linea, lo monstruoso de las formas, aquí tuve ante mí el equilíbrio total de la vida humana en miniatura, la interacción completa de instinto, razón y destino en su forma más sencilla. Sucedió que el hombre leopardo se vino abajo: no había otra diferencia. ¡Pobre bruto!

¡Pobres brutos! Empecé a entender el aspecto más infame de la crueldad de Moreau, no había pensado antes en el dolor y problemas que sufrían estas pobres víctimas después de pasar por las manos de Moreau. Solo me dieron escalofríos en los días de tormento real en el recinto. Pero ahora eso me parecía la parte menor. Antes, eran bestias, sus instintos se adaptaban adecuadamente a su entorno y eran tan felices como pueden serlo los seres vivos. Ahora tropezaban con las cadenas de la humanidad, vivían con un miedo que nunca desaparecía, preocupados por una ley que no podían entender; su remedo de existencia humana, iniciada en una agonía, era una larga lucha interna, un prolongado temor a Moreau, ¿y para qué? Fue la perversidad de eso lo que me conmovió.

Si Moreau hubiera tenido algún objetivo comprensible, podría haber simpatizado al menos un poco con él. No soy tan delicado respecto del dolor como eso. Podría haberlo perdonado un poco, si su motivo hubiera sido solo odio. ¡Pero era tan irresponsable, tan absolutamente despreocupado! Su curiosidad, sus investigaciones enloquecidas y sin rumbo lo impulsaban; y las cosas fueron arrojadas a vivir alrededor de un año, a luchar, equivocarse, sufrir y por fin a morir dolorosamente. Eran desgraciados en sí mismos; el viejo odio animal los llevó a tener conflictos unos con otros; la Ley los refrenó de una breve lucha y un final decisivo de sus animosidades naturales.

En aquellos días, mi miedo a la gente bestia desapareció, como mi miedo personal por Moreau. Caí de veras en un estado mórbido, profundo y durable, y ajeno al miedo, lo que me ha dejado cicatrices permanentes en la mente. Debo confesar que perdí mi fe en la cordura del mundo cuando lo vi sufriendo el penoso desorden de esta isla. Un destino ciego, un enorme mecanismo despiadado, parecía cortar y moldear la fábrica de existencia; y yo, Moreau (por su pasión por las investigaciones), Montgomery (por su pasión por beber), la gente bestia con sus instintos y restricciones mentales, estábamos desgarrados y aplastados, implacable e inevitablemente, en medio de la infinita complejidad de sus ruedas incesantes. Pero esta condición no me llegó de golpe; de hecho, pienso que anticipo un poco al hablar de ella ahora.
unit 1
The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells/Ch 16.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 2
HOW THE BEAST FOLK TASTE BLOOD.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 3
MY inexperience as a writer betrays me, and I wander from the thread of my story.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 5
Both of us carried whips and loaded revolvers.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 6
While going through a leafy jungle on our road thither, we heard a rabbit squealing.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 9
He told me they were creatures made of the offspring of the Beast People, that Moreau had invented.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 15
We also saw on our way the trunk of a tree barked in long strips and splintered deeply.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 16
Montgomery called my attention to this.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 17
“Not to claw bark of trees, that is the Law,” he said.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 18
unit 20
He was gnawing the husk of a pod-like fruit as he passed us.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 21
Both of them saluted Montgomery.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 23
“So you’d better mind!” “Was he not made?” said the Ape-man.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 24
“He said—he said he was made.” The Satyr-man looked curiously at me.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 26
“Yesterday he bled and wept,” said the Satyr.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 27
“You never bleed nor weep.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 29
“Come along, Prendick,” said Montgomery, taking my arm; and I went on with him.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 30
The Satyr and the Ape-man stood watching us and making other remarks to each other.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 31
“He says nothing,” said the Satyr.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 32
“Men have voices.” “Yesterday he asked me of things to eat,” said the Ape-man.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 33
“He did not know.” Then they spoke inaudible things, and I heard the Satyr laughing.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 34
It was on our way back that we came upon the dead rabbit.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 36
At that Montgomery stopped.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 40
“I don’t like this,” he said slowly.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 41
unit 43
In the undergrowth at the back of the enclosure, when I went out in the evening.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 44
The head was completely wrung off.” He gave a long, low whistle.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 45
“And what is more, I have an idea which of your brutes did the thing.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 46
It’s only a suspicion, you know.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 49
After a kill, they drink.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 50
It’s the taste of blood, you know.—What was the brute like?” he continued.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 52
“The taste of blood,” he said again.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 53
He took out his revolver, examined the cartridges in it and replaced it.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 54
Then he began to pull at his dropping lip.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 55
“I think I should know the brute again,” I said.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 56
“I stunned him.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 59
As it was, I went to such a distance that the rabbit‘s remains were hidden.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 60
“Come on!” I said.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 61
Presently he woke up and came towards me.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 63
If some brute has by any accident tasted blood—” He went on some way in silence.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 64
“I wonder what can have happened,” he said to himself.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 65
Then, after a pause again: “I did a foolish thing the other day.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 66
That servant of mine—I showed him how to skin and cook a rabbit.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 68
I must tell Moreau.” He could think of nothing else on our homeward journey.
2 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 70
“We must make an example,” said Moreau.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 71
“I’ve no doubt in my own mind that the Leopard-man was the sinner.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 72
But how can we prove it?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 74
We may find ourselves in a mess yet, through it.” “I was a silly ass,” said Montgomery.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 79
Moreau had a huge cowherd‘s horn slung over his shoulder.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 80
“You will see a gathering of the Beast People,” said Montgomery.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 3 weeks ago
unit 83
Above the shoulder of a weedy bank the sea glittered.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 84
We came to a kind of shallow natural amphitheatre, and here the four of us halted.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 85
Then Moreau sounded the horn, and broke the sleeping stillness of the tropical afternoon.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 86
He must have had strong lungs.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 87
The hooting note rose and rose amidst its echoes, to at last an ear-penetrating intensity.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 88
“Ah!” said Moreau, letting the curved instrument fall to his side again.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 92
But Moreau and Montgomery stood calmly enough; and, perforce, I stuck beside them.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 97
Imagine the scene if you can!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 99
“Sixty-two, sixty-three,” counted Moreau.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 100
“There are four more.” “I do not see the Leopard-man,” said I.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 103
The last of the Beast People to arrive was the little Ape-man.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 104
The earlier animals, hot and weary with their grovelling, shot vicious glances at him.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 106
unit 107
“Say the words!” said Moreau.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 109
unit 110
“Stop!” he cried, and there fell absolute silence upon them all.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 111
I think they all knew and dreaded what was coming.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 112
I looked round at their strange faces.
2 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 114
“That Law has been broken!” said Moreau.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 115
“None escape,” from the faceless creature with the silvery hair.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 116
“None escape,” repeated the kneeling circle of Beast People.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 117
“Who is he?” cried Moreau, and looked round at their faces, cracking his whip.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 118
I fancied the Hyena-swine looked dejected, so too did the Leopard-man.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 120
“Who is he?” repeated Moreau, in a voice of thunder.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 121
“Evil is he who breaks the Law,” chanted the Sayer of the Law.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 126
I am convinced that only the madness of unendurable fear could have prompted this attack.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 127
The whole circle of threescore monsters seemed to rise about us.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 128
I drew my revolver.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 129
The two figures collided.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 130
I saw Moreau reeling back from the Leopard-man’s blow.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 131
There was a furious yelling and howling all about us.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 132
Every one was moving rapidly.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 133
For a moment I thought it was a general revolt.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 134
The furious face of the Leopard-man flashed by mine, with M’ling close in pursuit.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 136
The Satyr, too, glared at me over the Hyena-swine’s hunched shoulders.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 137
I heard the crack of Moreau’s pistol, and saw the pink flash dart across the tumult.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 140
That is all I can tell definitely.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 141
unit 142
M’ling was ahead, close in pursuit of the fugitive.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 143
Behind, their tongues already lolling out, ran the Wolf-women in great leaping strides.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 144
unit 148
We others in the rear found a trampled path for us when we reached the brake.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 150
“He has gone on all-fours through this,” panted Moreau, now just ahead of me.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 151
“None escape,” said the Wolf-bear, laughing into my face with the exultation of hunting.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 153
At that the Wolf Folk howled with delight.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 155
It leapt over some thorny yellow-flowering bushes, and was hidden.
3 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 156
M’ling was halfway across the space.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 157
unit 158
I saw as we traversed the open that the pursuit was now spreading from a column into a line.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 163
I staggered on in spite of infinite fatigue and the dense heat of the tropical afternoon.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 164
At last the fury of the hunt slackened.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 165
We had pinned the wretched brute into a corner of the island.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 169
“Ware a rush!” came the voice of Montgomery from beyond the thicket.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 170
I was on the slope above the bushes; Montgomery and Moreau beat along the beach beneath.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 171
Slowly we pushed in among the fretted network of branches and leaves.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 172
The quarry was silent.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 174
When I heard that, I forgave the poor wretch all the fear he had inspired in me.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 177
I halted.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 181
Abruptly I slipped out my revolver, aimed between its terror-struck eyes, and fired.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 184
One face and then another appeared.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 185
“Don’t kill it, Prendick!” cried Moreau.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 186
unit 188
The hairy-grey Thing came sniffing at the corpse under my arm.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 189
The other animals, in their animal ardour, jostled me to get a nearer view.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 190
“Confound you, Prendick!” said Moreau.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 191
“I wanted him.” “ I’m sorry,” said I, though I was not.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 192
“It was the impulse of the moment.” I felt sick with exertion and excitement.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 194
It was easy now for me to be alone.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 200
The Leopard-man had happened to go under: that was all the difference.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 201
Poor brute!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 202
Poor brutes!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 204
I had shivered only at the days of actual torment in the enclosure.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 205
But now that seemed to me the lesser part.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 208
It was the wantonness of it that stirred me.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 209
Had Moreau had any intelligible object, I could have sympathised at least a little with him.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 210
I am not so squeamish about pain as that.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 211
I could have forgiven him a little even, had his motive been only hate.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 212
But he was so irresponsible, so utterly careless!
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 215
In those days my fear of the Beast People went the way of my personal fear for Moreau.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
soybeba • 2080  commented on  unit 84  1 month, 3 weeks ago
soybeba • 2080  commented on  unit 17  1 month, 3 weeks ago

The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells/Ch 16.

HOW THE BEAST FOLK TASTE BLOOD.

MY inexperience as a writer betrays me, and I wander from the thread of my story.

After I had breakfasted with Montgomery, he took me across the island to see the fumarole and the source of the hot spring into whose scalding waters I had blundered on the previous day. Both of us carried whips and loaded revolvers. While going through a leafy jungle on our road thither, we heard a rabbit squealing. We stopped and listened, but we heard no more; and presently we went on our way, and the incident dropped out of our minds. Montgomery called my attention to certain little pink animals with long hind-legs, that went leaping through the undergrowth. He told me they were creatures made of the offspring of the Beast People, that Moreau had invented. He had fancied they might serve for meat, but a rabbit-like habit of devouring their young had defeated this intention. I had already encountered some of these creatures,—once during my moonlight flight from the Leopard-man, and once during my pursuit by Moreau on the previous day. By chance, one hopping to avoid us leapt into the hole caused by the uprooting of a wind-blown tree; before it could extricate itself we managed to catch it. It spat like a cat, scratched and kicked vigorously with its hind-legs, and made an attempt to bite; but its teeth were too feeble to inflict more than a painless pinch. It seemed to me rather a pretty little creature; and as Montgomery stated that it never destroyed the turf by burrowing, and was very cleanly in its habits, I should imagine it might prove a convenient substitute for the common rabbit in gentlemen‘s parks.

We also saw on our way the trunk of a tree barked in long strips and splintered deeply. Montgomery called my attention to this. “Not to claw bark of trees, that is the Law,” he said. “Much some of them care for it!” It was after this, I think, that we met the Satyr and the Ape-man. The Satyr was a gleam of classical memory on the part of Moreau,—his face ovine in expression, like the coarser Hebrew type; his voice a harsh bleat, his nether extremities Satanic. He was gnawing the husk of a pod-like fruit as he passed us. Both of them saluted Montgomery.

“Hail,” said they, “to the Other with the Whip!”

“There’s a Third with a Whip now,” said Montgomery. “So you’d better mind!”

“Was he not made?” said the Ape-man. “He said—he said he was made.”

The Satyr-man looked curiously at me. “The Third with the Whip, he that walks weeping into the sea, has a thin white face.”

“He has a thin long whip,” said Montgomery.

“Yesterday he bled and wept,” said the Satyr. “You never bleed nor weep. The Master does not bleed or weep.”

“Ollendorffian beggar!” said Montgomery, “you’ll bleed and weep if you don’t look out!”

“He has five fingers, he is a five-man like me,” said the Ape-man.

“Come along, Prendick,” said Montgomery, taking my arm; and I went on with him.

The Satyr and the Ape-man stood watching us and making other remarks to each other.

“He says nothing,” said the Satyr. “Men have voices.”

“Yesterday he asked me of things to eat,” said the Ape-man. “He did not know.”

Then they spoke inaudible things, and I heard the Satyr laughing.

It was on our way back that we came upon the dead rabbit. The red body of the wretched little beast was rent to pieces, many of the ribs stripped white, and the backbone indisputably gnawed.

At that Montgomery stopped. “Good God!” said he, stooping down, and picking up some of the crushed vertebræ to examine them more closely. “Good God!” he repeated, “what can this mean?”

“Some carnivore of yours has remembered its old habits,” I said after a pause. “This backbone has been bitten through.”

He stood staring, with his face white and his lip pulled askew. “I don’t like this,” he said slowly.

“I saw something of the same kind,” said I, “the first day I came here.”

“The devil you did! What was it?”

“A rabbit with its head twisted off.”

“The day you came here?”

“The day I came here. In the undergrowth at the back of the enclosure, when I went out in the evening. The head was completely wrung off.”

He gave a long, low whistle.

“And what is more, I have an idea which of your brutes did the thing. It’s only a suspicion, you know. Before I came on the rabbit I saw one of your monsters drinking in the stream.”

“Sucking his drink?”

“Yes.”

“‘Not to suck your drink; that is the Law.’ Much the brutes care for the Law, eh? when Moreau’s not about!”

“It was the brute who chased me.”

“Of course,” said Montgomery; “it’s just the way with carnivores. After a kill, they drink. It’s the taste of blood, you know.—What was the brute like?” he continued. “Would you know him again?” He glanced about us, standing astride over the mess of dead rabbit, his eyes roving among the shadows and screens of greenery, the lurking-places and ambuscades of the forest that bounded us in. “The taste of blood,” he said again.

He took out his revolver, examined the cartridges in it and replaced it. Then he began to pull at his dropping lip.

“I think I should know the brute again,” I said. “I stunned him. He ought to have a handsome bruise on the forehead of him.”

“But then we have to prove that he killed the rabbit,” said Montgomery. “I wish I’d never brought the things here.”

I should have gone on, but he stayed there thinking over the mangled rabbit in a puzzle-headed way. As it was, I went to such a distance that the rabbit‘s remains were hidden.

“Come on!” I said.

Presently he woke up and came towards me. “You see,” he said, almost in a whisper, “they are all supposed to have a fixed idea against eating anything that runs on land. If some brute has by any accident tasted blood—” He went on some way in silence. “I wonder what can have happened,” he said to himself. Then, after a pause again: “I did a foolish thing the other day. That servant of mine—I showed him how to skin and cook a rabbit. It’s odd—I saw him licking his hands—It never occurred to me.” Then: “We must put a stop to this. I must tell Moreau.”

He could think of nothing else on our homeward journey.

Moreau took the matter even more seriously than Montgomery, and I need scarcely say that I was affected by their evident consternation.

“We must make an example,” said Moreau. “I’ve no doubt in my own mind that the Leopard-man was the sinner. But how can we prove it? I wish, Montgomery, you had kept your taste for meat in hand, and gone without these exciting novelties. We may find ourselves in a mess yet, through it.”

“I was a silly ass,” said Montgomery. “But the thing’s done now; and you said I might have them, you know.”

“We must see to the thing at once,” said Moreau. “I suppose if anything should turn up, M’ling can take care of himself?”

“I’m not so sure of M’ling,” said Montgomery. “I think I ought to know him.”

In the afternoon, Moreau, Montgomery, myself, and M’ling went across the island to the huts in the ravine. We three were armed; M’ling carried the little hatchet he used in chopping firewood, and some coils of wire. Moreau had a huge cowherd‘s horn slung over his shoulder.

“You will see a gathering of the Beast People,” said Montgomery. “It is a pretty sight!”

Moreau said not a word on the way, but the expression of his heavy, white-fringed face was grimly set.

We crossed the ravine down which smoked the stream of hot water, and followed the winding pathway through the canebrakes until we reached a wide area covered over with a thick, powdery yellow substance which I believe was sulphur. Above the shoulder of a weedy bank the sea glittered. We came to a kind of shallow natural amphitheatre, and here the four of us halted. Then Moreau sounded the horn, and broke the sleeping stillness of the tropical afternoon. He must have had strong lungs. The hooting note rose and rose amidst its echoes, to at last an ear-penetrating intensity.

“Ah!” said Moreau, letting the curved instrument fall to his side again.

Immediately there was a crashing through the yellow canes, and a sound of voices from the dense green jungle that marked the morass through which I had run on the previous day. Then at three or four points on the edge of the sulphurous area appeared the grotesque forms of the Beast People hurrying towards us. I could not help a creeping horror, as I perceived first one and then another trot out from the trees or reeds and come shambling along over the hot dust. But Moreau and Montgomery stood calmly enough; and, perforce, I stuck beside them.

First to arrive was the Satyr, strangely unreal for all that he cast a shadow and tossed the dust with his hoofs. After him from the brake came a monstrous lout, a thing of horse and rhinoceros, chewing a straw as it came; then appeared the Swine-woman and two Wolf-women; then the Fox-bear witch, with her red eyes in her peaked red face, and then others,—all hurrying eagerly. As they came forward they began to cringe towards Moreau and chant, quite regardless of one another, fragments of the latter half of the litany of the Law,—“His is the Hand that wounds; His is the Hand that heals,” and so forth. As soon as they had approached within a distance of perhaps thirty yards they halted, and bowing on knees and elbows began flinging the white dust upon their heads.

Imagine the scene if you can! We three blue-clad men, with our misshapen black-faced attendant, standing in a wide expanse of sunlit yellow dust under the blazing blue sky, and surrounded by this circle of crouching and gesticulating monstrosities,—some almost human save in their subtle expression and gestures, some like cripples, some so strangely distorted as to resemble nothing but the denizens of our wildest dreams; and, beyond, the reedy lines of a canebrake in one direction, a dense tangle of palm-trees on the other, separating us from the ravine with the huts, and to the north the hazy horizon of the Pacific Ocean.

“Sixty-two, sixty-three,” counted Moreau. “There are four more.”

“I do not see the Leopard-man,” said I.

Presently Moreau sounded the great horn again, and at the sound of it all the Beast People writhed and grovelled in the dust. Then, slinking out of the canebrake, stooping near the ground and trying to join the dust-throwing circle behind Moreau’s back, came the Leopard-man. The last of the Beast People to arrive was the little Ape-man. The earlier animals, hot and weary with their grovelling, shot vicious glances at him.

“Cease!” said Moreau, in his firm, loud voice; and the Beast People sat back upon their hams and rested from their worshipping.

“Where is the Sayer of the Law?” said Moreau, and the hairy-grey monster bowed his face in the dust.

“Say the words!” said Moreau.

Forthwith all in the kneeling assembly, swaying from side to side and dashing up the sulphur with their hands,—first the right hand and a puff of dust, and then the left,—began once more to chant their strange litany. When they reached, “Not to eat Flesh or Fowl, that is the Law,” Moreau held up his lank white hand.

“Stop!” he cried, and there fell absolute silence upon them all.

I think they all knew and dreaded what was coming. I looked round at their strange faces. When I saw their wincing attitudes and the furtive dread in their bright eyes, I wondered that I had ever believed them to be men.

“That Law has been broken!” said Moreau.

“None escape,” from the faceless creature with the silvery hair. “None escape,” repeated the kneeling circle of Beast People.

“Who is he?” cried Moreau, and looked round at their faces, cracking his whip. I fancied the Hyena-swine looked dejected, so too did the Leopard-man. Moreau stopped, facing this creature, who cringed towards him with the memory and dread of infinite torment.

“Who is he?” repeated Moreau, in a voice of thunder.

“Evil is he who breaks the Law,” chanted the Sayer of the Law.

Moreau looked into the eyes of the Leopard-man, and seemed to be dragging the very soul out of the creature.

“Who breaks the Law—” said Moreau, taking his eyes off his victim, and turning towards us (it seemed to me there was a touch of exultation in his voice).

“Goes back to the House of Pain,” they all clamoured,—“goes back to the House of Pain, O Master!”

“Back to the House of Pain,—back to the House of Pain,” gabbled the Ape-man, as though the idea was sweet to him.

“Do you hear?” said Moreau, turning back to the criminal, “my friend— Hullo!”

For the Leopard-man, released from Moreau’s eye, had risen straight from his knees, and now, with eyes aflame and his huge feline tusks flashing out from under his curling lips, leapt towards his tormentor. I am convinced that only the madness of unendurable fear could have prompted this attack. The whole circle of threescore monsters seemed to rise about us. I drew my revolver. The two figures collided. I saw Moreau reeling back from the Leopard-man’s blow. There was a furious yelling and howling all about us. Every one was moving rapidly. For a moment I thought it was a general revolt. The furious face of the Leopard-man flashed by mine, with M’ling close in pursuit. I saw the yellow eyes of the Hyena-swine blazing with excitement, his attitude as if he were half resolved to attack me. The Satyr, too, glared at me over the Hyena-swine’s hunched shoulders. I heard the crack of Moreau’s pistol, and saw the pink flash dart across the tumult. The whole crowd seemed to swing round in the direction of the glint of fire, and I too was swung round by the magnetism of the movement. In another second I was running, one of a tumultuous shouting crowd, in pursuit of the escaping Leopard-man.

That is all I can tell definitely. I saw the Leopard-man strike Moreau, and then everything spun about me until I was running headlong. M’ling was ahead, close in pursuit of the fugitive. Behind, their tongues already lolling out, ran the Wolf-women in great leaping strides. The Swine folk followed, squealing with excitement, and the two Bull-men in their swathings of white. Then came Moreau in a cluster of the Beast People, his wide-brimmed straw hat blown off, his revolver in hand, and his lank white hair streaming out. The Hyena-swine ran beside me, keeping pace with me and glancing furtively at me out of his feline eyes, and the others came pattering and shouting behind us.

The Leopard-man went bursting his way through the long canes, which sprang back as he passed, and rattled in M’ling’s face. We others in the rear found a trampled path for us when we reached the brake. The chase lay through the brake for perhaps a quarter of a mile, and then plunged into a dense thicket, which retarded our movements exceedingly, though we went through it in a crowd together,—fronds flicking into our faces, ropy creepers catching us under the chin or gripping our ankles, thorny plants hooking into and tearing cloth and flesh together.

“He has gone on all-fours through this,” panted Moreau, now just ahead of me.

“None escape,” said the Wolf-bear, laughing into my face with the exultation of hunting.

We burst out again among rocks, and saw the quarry ahead running lightly on all-fours and snarling at us over his shoulder. At that the Wolf Folk howled with delight. The Thing was still clothed, and at a distance its face still seemed human; but the carriage of its four limbs was feline, and the furtive droop of its shoulder was distinctly that of a hunted animal. It leapt over some thorny yellow-flowering bushes, and was hidden. M’ling was halfway across the space.

Most of us now had lost the first speed of the chase, and had fallen into a longer and steadier stride. I saw as we traversed the open that the pursuit was now spreading from a column into a line. The Hyena-swine still ran close to me, watching me as it ran, every now and then puckering its muzzle with a snarling laugh. At the edge of the rocks the Leopard-man, realising that he was making for the projecting cape upon which he had stalked me on the night of my arrival, had doubled in the undergrowth; but Montgomery had seen the manœuvre, and turned him again. So, panting, tumbling against rocks, torn by brambles, impeded by ferns and reeds, I helped to pursue the Leopard-man who had broken the Law, and the Hyena-swine ran, laughing savagely, by my side. I staggered on, my head reeling and my heart beating against my ribs, tired almost to death, and yet not daring to lose sight of the chase lest I should be left alone with this horrible companion. I staggered on in spite of infinite fatigue and the dense heat of the tropical afternoon.

At last the fury of the hunt slackened. We had pinned the wretched brute into a corner of the island. Moreau, whip in hand, marshalled us all into an irregular line, and we advanced now slowly, shouting to one another as we advanced and tightening the cordon about our victim. He lurked noiseless and invisible in the bushes through which I had run from him during that midnight pursuit.

“Steady!” cried Moreau, “steady!” as the ends of the line crept round the tangle of undergrowth and hemmed the brute in.

“Ware a rush!” came the voice of Montgomery from beyond the thicket.

I was on the slope above the bushes; Montgomery and Moreau beat along the beach beneath. Slowly we pushed in among the fretted network of branches and leaves. The quarry was silent.

“Back to the House of Pain, the House of Pain, the House of Pain!” yelped the voice of the Ape-man, some twenty yards to the right.

When I heard that, I forgave the poor wretch all the fear he had inspired in me. I heard the twigs snap and the boughs swish aside before the heavy tread of the Horse-rhinoceros upon my right. Then suddenly through a polygon of green, in the half darkness under the luxuriant growth, I saw the creature we were hunting. I halted. He was crouched together into the smallest possible compass, his luminous green eyes turned over his shoulder regarding me.

It may seem a strange contradiction in me,—I cannot explain the fact,—but now, seeing the creature there in a perfectly animal attitude, with the light gleaming in its eyes and its imperfectly human face distorted with terror, I realised again the fact of its humanity. In another moment other of its pursuers would see it, and it would be overpowered and captured, to experience once more the horrible tortures of the enclosure. Abruptly I slipped out my revolver, aimed between its terror-struck eyes, and fired. As I did so, the Hyena-swine saw the Thing, and flung itself upon it with an eager cry, thrusting thirsty teeth into its neck. All about me the green masses of the thicket were swaying and cracking as the Beast People came rushing together. One face and then another appeared.

“Don’t kill it, Prendick!” cried Moreau. “Don’t kill it!” and I saw him stooping as he pushed through under the fronds of the big ferns.

In another moment he had beaten off the Hyena-swine with the handle of his whip, and he and Montgomery were keeping away the excited carnivorous Beast People, and particularly M’ling, from the still quivering body. The hairy-grey Thing came sniffing at the corpse under my arm. The other animals, in their animal ardour, jostled me to get a nearer view.

“Confound you, Prendick!” said Moreau. “I wanted him.” “ I’m sorry,” said I, though I was not. “It was the impulse of the moment.” I felt sick with exertion and excitement. Turning, I pushed my way out of the crowding Beast People and went on alone up the slope towards the higher part of the headland.Under the shouted directions of Moreau I heard the three white-swathed Bull-men begin dragging the victim down towards the water.

It was easy now for me to be alone. The Beast People manifested a quite human curiosity about the dead body, and followed it in a thick knot, sniffing and growling at it as the Bull-men dragged it down the beach. I went to the headland and watched the Bull-men, black against the evening sky, as they carried the weighted dead body out to sea; and like a wave across my mind came the realisation of the unspeakable aimlessness of things upon the island. Upon the beach among the rocks beneath me were the Ape-man, the Hyena-swine, and several other of the Beast People, standing about Montgomery and Moreau. They were all still intensely excited, and all overflowing with noisy expressions of their loyalty to the Law; yet I felt an absolute assurance in my own mind that the Hyena-swine was implicated in the rabbit-killing. A strange persuasion came upon me, that, save for the grossness of the line, the grotesqueness of the forms, I had here before me the whole balance of human life in miniature, the whole interplay of instinct, reason, and fate in its simplest form. The Leopard-man had happened to go under: that was all the difference. Poor brute!

Poor brutes! I began to see the viler aspect of Moreau’s cruelty, I had not thought before of the pain and trouble that came to these poor victims after they had passed from Moreau’s hands. I had shivered only at the days of actual torment in the enclosure. But now that seemed to me the lesser part. Before, they had been beasts, their instincts fitly adapted to their surroundings, and happy as living things may be. Now they stumbled in the shackles of humanity, lived in a fear that never died, fretted by a law they could not understand; their mock-human existence, begun in an agony, was one long internal struggle, one long dread of Moreau—and for what? It was the wantonness of it that stirred me.

Had Moreau had any intelligible object, I could have sympathised at least a little with him. I am not so squeamish about pain as that. I could have forgiven him a little even, had his motive been only hate. But he was so irresponsible, so utterly careless! His curiosity, his mad, aimless investigations, drove him on; and the Things were thrown out to live a year or so, to struggle and blunder and suffer, and at last to die painfully. They were wretched in themselves; the old animal hate moved them to trouble one another; the Law held them back from a brief hot struggle and a decisive end to their natural animosities.

In those days my fear of the Beast People went the way of my personal fear for Moreau. I fell indeed into a morbid state, deep and enduring, and alien to fear, which has left permanent scars upon my mind. I must confess that I lost faith in the sanity of the world when I saw it suffering the painful disorder of this island. A blind Fate, a vast pitiless Mechanism, seemed to cut and shape the fabric of existence; and I, Moreau (by his passion for research), Montgomery (by his passion for drink), the Beast People with their instincts and mental restrictions, were torn and crushed, ruthlessly, inevitably, amid the infinite complexity of its incessant wheels. But this condition did not come all at once: I think indeed that I anticipate a little in speaking of it now.