en-es  The Island of Doctor Moreau/Chapter 18
La isla del doctor Moreau de H. G. Wells

Capítulo 18


El descubrimiento de Moreau


Cuando vi a Montgomery tragar una tercera dosis de brandy, me atreví a meterme. Ya estaba más de medio borracho. Le di que debe haberle pasado algo serio a Moreau a esta altura, o ya habría vuelto, y nos tocó averiguar lo que fue la catástrofe. Montgomery expresó unas objeciones poco convincentes, y al fin accedió. Comimos un poco, y luego los tres nos pusimos en marcha.

Es posiblemente debido a la tensión de mi mente en ese momento, pero incluso ahora esa salida en la calma bochornosa de la tarde tropical es una impresión singularmente vívida. M'ling iba delante, su hombro encogido, moviendo bruscamente su extraña cabeza negra mientras miraba de un lado al otro. No llevaba arma; había dejado caer su hacha cuando encontró al hombre porcino. En caso de una pelea, sus armas eran los dientes. Montgomery seguía tambaleándose, las manos en los bosillos, cabizbajo; estaba en un estado de enojo confuso conmigo debido al brandy. Mi brazo izquierdo estaba en un cabestrillo (menos mal que era el izquierdo) y llevaba mi revólver en la mano derecha. Pronto pasamos por una estrecha senda en la exuberancia salvaje de la isla, rumbo al noroeste; y de repente M'ling se detuvo y se puso rígido con atención. Montgomery casi lo chocó tambaleándose, y se detuvo también. Luego, escuchando atentamente, oímos el sonido de voces y pisadas acercándose a través de los árboles.

"Está muerto", dijo una voz profunda que temblaba.

"No está muerto; no está muerto", parloteó otro.

"Hemos visto, hemos visto", dijeron varias voces.

"¡Atención!", gritó Montgomery repentinamente. "¡Atención por ahí!". "¡Maldita sea!", dije yo, y apreté mi pistola.

Hubo un silencio, luego un estrépito entre la maraña de vegetación, acá y allá, y luego media docena de caras aparecieron... caras raras, iluminadas por una luz extraña. M'ling hizo un gruñido en la garganta. Reconocí al hombre mono; de hecho ya lo había identificado por su voz, y dos de las criaturas envueltas en blanco, con rostros pardos, que había visto en la lancha de Montgomery. Con estos estaban los dos brutos veteados y esa criatura gris horriblemente torcida que pregonaba la Ley, con pelo gris que le corría por las mejillas, cejas tupidas de color gris, y cabellos grises que caían del medio de su frente inclinada... una cosa pesada sin cara, con extraños ojos rojos, mirándonos curiosamente desde la jungla verde.

Por unos momentos no habló nadie. Luego Montgomery dijo hipando, "¿Quién... dijo que estaba muerto?". El hombre mono miró culpablemente a la cosa peluda y gris. "Él está muerto", dijo este monstruo. "Ellos vieron". Por lo menos, este grupo no tenía nada amenazante. Parecían anonadados y perplejos..

"¿Dónde está?", dijo Montgomery.

"Más allá", y la criatura gris señaló.

"¿Existe una Ley ahora?", preguntó el hombre mono. "¿Es todavía ser esto y eso?" ¿Está muerto de hecho?". "¿Existe una Ley?", repitió el hombre de blanco. “¿Hay una Ley, tú Otro con el látigo?”. “Está muerto”, dijo la cosa de pelo gris.

Y todos se quedaron mirándonos.

"Prendick", dijo Montgomery, volviendo sus ojos apagados hacia mí. "Está muerto, evidentemente". Yo había estado de pie detrás de él durante esta conversación. Comencé a ver cómo las cosas estaban con ellos. De repente, me puse delante de Montgomery y levanté la voz: "Hijos de la ley", dije," ¡él no está muerto!". M’ling volvió su mirada aguda hacia mí. “Él ha cambiado su forma; él ha cambiado su cuerpo", continué. "Por un tiempo no lo verán. Él está... allí", señalé hacia arriba, "donde puede vigilarlos. No pueden verlo, pero él puede verlos. ¡Teman a la ley!". Los miré fijamente. Se estremecieron.

"Él es grande, él es bueno", dijo el hombre mono, mirando con temor hacia arriba entre los árboles tupidos.

"¿Y la otra cosa?", exigí

La cosa que sangraba, y corría chillando y sollozando... esa también está muerta", dijo la cosa gris, todavía mirándome.

"Está bien", gruñó Montgomery.

"El otro con el látigo..." empezó la cosa gris.

'"¿Y bien?", dije.

"Dijo que estaba muerto". Pero Montgomery aún estaba tan sobrio como para entender mi motivo para negar la muerte de Moreau. "No está muerto", dijo despacio, "en absoluto". "No más que yo". "Algunos", dije, "han violado la Ley; van a morir. Algunos han muerto. Ahora enséñanos dónde está su cuerpo viejo... el cuerpo que tiró porque ya no le servía de nada". "Está por este lado, hombre que caminó en el mar", dijo la cosa gris.

Y con estas seis criaturas como guias, atravesamos el caos de helechos y enredederas y tallos de árboles rumbo al noroeste. Luego llegaron unos gritos, un estrépito entre las ramas, y un pequeño humanoide rojizo nos pasó corriendo y chillando. Inmediatamente después, apareció un monstruo salvaje persiguiéndolo a todo correr, salpicado de sangre, que estuvo entre nosotros casi antes de que pudiera detenerse. La cosa gris saltó a un lado. M'ling, con un gruñido, se abalanzó sobre él, y fue estrellado contra un costado. Montgomery disparó y falló, agachó la cabeza, alzó el brazo, y se dio la vuelta para correr. Yo disparé, y la cosa aún seguía corriendo; disparé otra vez, a quemarropa, penetrando su cara fea. Vi cómo se desvanecían sus rasgos en un instante, la cara aplastada. Aun así me pasó, agarró a Montgomery, y sin soltarlo, cayó de cabeza a su lado, jalándolo tumbado sobre si mismo en su agonía.

Me encontré solo con M'ling, el bruto muerto y el hombre postrado. Montgomery se incorporó lentamente y miró de manera confusa al destrozado hombre bestia a su lado. En gran medida eso lo despejó. Se puso de pie con dificultad. Luego vi a la cosa gris regresando con cautela a través de los árboles.

"Ves", dije, señalando al bruto muerto, "¿no está viva la ley?" Sucedió esto por violar la ley". Escudriñó el cuerpo. "Él envía el fuego que mata", dijo, en su voz profunda, repitiendo una parte del ritual. Los otros se acercaron y miraron por un rato.

Por fin nos acercamos al extremo oeste de la isla. Nos topamos con el cuerpo roído y mutilado del puma, el hueso del hombro hecho pedazos por una bala, y a unas veinte yardas más encontramos al fin lo que buscábamos. Moreau estaba postrado en un espacio pisoteado de un cañaveral. Una mano estaba casi cercenada a la muñeca, y su cabello plateado estaba salpicado de sangre. La cabeza había sido golpeada por las cadenas del puma. Las cañas rotas debajo de él estaban manchadas de sangre. No pudimos encontrar su revólver. Montgomery le dio la vuelta.

Descansando a intervalos, y con la ayuda de siete de los hombres bestia (porque era un hombre pesado), llevamos a Moreau de vuelta al recinto. Empezó a anochecer. Dos veces oímos criaturas invisibles aullando y chillando más allá de nuestro pequeño rebaño; la pequeña criatura perezosa rosa apareció una vez, nos miró y desapareció de nuevo. Pero no fuimos atacados de nuevo. Nuestra compañía de gente bestia, M’ling y el resto, nos dejó en las puertas del recinto. Nos encerramos dentro, y luego llevamos el cuerpo mutilado de Moreau al patio y lo depositamos sobre una pila de matorrales. Luego fuimos al laboratorio y pusimos fin a todo lo que encontramos vivo allí.
unit 1
The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells.
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Chapter 18.
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THE FINDING OF MOREAU.
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He was already more than half fuddled.
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Montgomery raised some feeble objections, and at last agreed.
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We had some food, and then all three of us started.
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He was unarmed; his axe he had dropped when he encountered the Swine-man.
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Teeth were his weapons, when it came to fighting.
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Montgomery almost staggered into him, and then stopped too.
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“He is dead,” said a deep, vibrating voice.
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“He is not dead; he is not dead,” jabbered another.
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“We saw, we saw,” said several voices.
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“Hul-lo!” suddenly shouted Montgomery.
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“Hul-lo, there!” “Confound you!” said I, and gripped my pistol.
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M’ling made a growling noise in his throat.
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For a space no one spoke.
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“He is dead,” said this monster.
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“They saw.” There was nothing threatening about this detachment, at any rate.
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They seemed awe-stricken and puzzled.
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“Where is he?” said Montgomery.
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“Beyond,” and the grey creature pointed.
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“Is there a Law now?” asked the Monkey-man.
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“Is it still to be this and that?
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Is he dead indeed?” “Is there a Law?” repeated the man in white.
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And they all stood watching us.
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“Prendick,” said Montgomery, turning his dull eyes to me.
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“He’s dead, evidently.” I had been standing behind him during this colloquy.
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I began to see how things lay with them.
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“He has changed his shape; he has changed his body,” I went on.
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“For a time you will not see him.
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He is—there,” I pointed upward, “where he can watch you.
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You cannot see him, but he can see you.
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Fear the Law!” I looked at them squarely.
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They flinched.
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“And the other Thing?” I demanded.
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“That‘s well,” grunted Montgomery.
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“The Other with the Whip—” began the grey Thing.
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“Well?” said I.
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“He is not dead,” he said slowly, “not dead at all.
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Some have died.
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The grey Thing leapt aside.
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M’ling, with a snarl, flew at it, and was struck aside.
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Montgomery fired and missed, bowed his head, threw up his arm, and turned to run.
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I fired, and the Thing still came on; fired again, point-blank, into its ugly face.
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I saw its features vanish in a flash: its face was driven in.
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I found myself alone with M’ling, the dead brute, and the prostrate man.
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It more than half sobered him.
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He scrambled to his feet.
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Then I saw the grey Thing returning cautiously through the trees.
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“See,” said I, pointing to the dead brute, “is the Law not alive?
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This came of breaking the Law.” He peered at the body.
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The others gathered round and stared for a space.
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At last we drew near the westward extremity of the island.
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Moreau lay face downward in a trampled space in a canebrake.
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One hand was almost severed at the wrist, and his silvery hair was dabbled in blood.
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His head had been battered in by the fetters of the puma.
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The broken canes beneath him were smeared with blood.
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His revolver we could not find.
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Montgomery turned him over.
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The night was darkling.
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But we were not attacked again.
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Then we went into the laboratory and put an end to all we found living there.
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The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells.

Chapter 18.

THE FINDING OF MOREAU.

WHEN I saw Montgomery swallow a third dose of brandy, I took it upon myself to interfere. He was already more than half fuddled. I told him that some serious thing must have happened to Moreau by this time, or he would have returned before this, and that it behoved us to ascertain what that catastrophe was. Montgomery raised some feeble objections, and at last agreed. We had some food, and then all three of us started.

It is possibly due to the tension of my mind at the time, but even now that start into the hot stillness of the tropical afternoon is a singularly vivid impression. M’ling went first, his shoulder hunched, his strange black head moving with quick starts as he peered first on this side of the way and then on that. He was unarmed; his axe he had dropped when he encountered the Swine-man. Teeth were his weapons, when it came to fighting. Montgomery followed with stumbling footsteps, his hands in his pockets, his face downcast; he was in a state of muddled sullenness with me on account of the brandy. My left arm was in a sling (it was lucky it was my left), and I carried my revolver in my right. Soon we traced a narrow path through the wild luxuriance of the island, going northwestward; and presently M‘’ing stopped, and became rigid with watchfulness. Montgomery almost staggered into him, and then stopped too. Then, listening intently, we heard coming through the trees the sound of voices and footsteps approaching us.

“He is dead,” said a deep, vibrating voice.

“He is not dead; he is not dead,” jabbered another.

“We saw, we saw,” said several voices.

“Hul-lo!” suddenly shouted Montgomery. “Hul-lo, there!”

“Confound you!” said I, and gripped my pistol.

There was a silence, then a crashing among the interlacing vegetation, first here, then there, and then half-a-dozen faces appeared,—strange faces, lit by a strange light. M’ling made a growling noise in his throat. I recognised the Ape-man: I had indeed already identified his voice, and two of the white-swathed brown-featured creatures I had seen in Montgomery’s boat. With these were the two dappled brutes and that grey, horribly crooked creature who said the Law, with grey hair streaming down its cheeks, heavy grey eyebrows, and grey locks pouring off from a central parting upon its sloping forehead,—a heavy, faceless thing, with strange red eyes, looking at us curiously from amidst the green.

For a space no one spoke. Then Montgomery hiccoughed, “Who—said he was dead?”

The Monkey-man looked guiltily at the hairy-grey Thing. “He is dead,” said this monster. “They saw.”

There was nothing threatening about this detachment, at any rate. They seemed awe-stricken and puzzled.

“Where is he?” said Montgomery.

“Beyond,” and the grey creature pointed.

“Is there a Law now?” asked the Monkey-man. “Is it still to be this and that? Is he dead indeed?”

“Is there a Law?” repeated the man in white. “Is there a Law, thou Other with the Whip?”

“He is dead,” said the hairy-grey Thing.

And they all stood watching us.

“Prendick,” said Montgomery, turning his dull eyes to me. “He’s dead, evidently.”

I had been standing behind him during this colloquy. I began to see how things lay with them. I suddenly stepped in front of Montgomery and lifted up my voice:—

“Children of the Law,” I said, “he is not dead!” M’ling turned his sharp eyes on me. “He has changed his shape; he has changed his body,” I went on. “For a time you will not see him. He is—there,” I pointed upward, “where he can watch you. You cannot see him, but he can see you. Fear the Law!”

I looked at them squarely. They flinched.

“He is great, he is good,” said the Ape-man, peering fearfully upward among the dense trees.

“And the other Thing?” I demanded.

“The Thing that bled, and ran screaming and sobbing,—that is dead too,” said the grey Thing, still regarding me.

“That‘s well,” grunted Montgomery.

“The Other with the Whip—” began the grey Thing.

“Well?” said I.

“Said he was dead.”

But Montgomery was still sober enough to understand my motive in denying Moreau‘s death. “He is not dead,” he said slowly, “not dead at all. No more dead than I am.”

“Some,” said I, “have broken the Law: they will die. Some have died. Show us now where his old body lies,—the body he cast away because he had no more need of it.”

“It is this way, Man who walked in the Sea,” said the grey Thing.

And with these six creatures guiding us, we went through the tumult of ferns and creepers and tree-stems towards the northwest. Then came a yelling, a crashing among the branches, and a little pink homunculus rushed by us shrieking. Immediately after appeared a feral monster in headlong pursuit, blood-bedabbled, who was amongst us almost before he could stop his career. The grey Thing leapt aside. M’ling, with a snarl, flew at it, and was struck aside. Montgomery fired and missed, bowed his head, threw up his arm, and turned to run. I fired, and the Thing still came on; fired again, point-blank, into its ugly face. I saw its features vanish in a flash: its face was driven in. Yet it passed me, gripped Montgomery, and holding him, fell headlong beside him and pulled him sprawling upon itself in its death-agony.

I found myself alone with M’ling, the dead brute, and the prostrate man. Montgomery raised himself slowly and stared in a muddled way at the shattered Beast Man beside him. It more than half sobered him. He scrambled to his feet. Then I saw the grey Thing returning cautiously through the trees.

“See,” said I, pointing to the dead brute, “is the Law not alive? This came of breaking the Law.”

He peered at the body. “He sends the Fire that kills,” said he, in his deep voice, repeating part of the Ritual. The others gathered round and stared for a space.

At last we drew near the westward extremity of the island. We came upon the gnawed and mutilated body of the puma, its shoulder-bone smashed by a bullet, and perhaps twenty yards farther found at last what we sought. Moreau lay face downward in a trampled space in a canebrake. One hand was almost severed at the wrist, and his silvery hair was dabbled in blood. His head had been battered in by the fetters of the puma. The broken canes beneath him were smeared with blood. His revolver we could not find. Montgomery turned him over.

Resting at intervals, and with the help of the seven Beast People (for he was a heavy man), we carried Moreau back to the enclosure. The night was darkling. Twice we heard unseen creatures howling and shrieking past our little band, and once the little pink sloth-creature appeared and stared at us, and vanished again. But we were not attacked again. At the gates of the enclosure our company of Beast People left us, M’ling going with the rest. We locked ourselves in, and then took Moreau’mangled body into the yard and laid it upon a pile of brushwood. Then we went into the laboratory and put an end to all we found living there.