en-es  The Island of Doctor Moreau/Ch 19
La isla del doctor Moreau de H. G. Wells
Capítulo 19



LA FESTIVIDAD DE MONTGOMERY - CUANDO logramos esto y nos habíamos lavado y comido, Montgomery y yo fuimos a mi pequeña habitación y discutimos seriamente nuestra situación por primera vez. Entonces era cerca de la medianoche. Él estaba casi sobrio, pero su mente muy trastornada. Había estado extrañamente bajo la influencia de la personalidad de Moreau: no creo que se le haya ocurrido nunca que Moreau pudiera morir. Este desastre era el colapso repentino de los hábitos que se habían convertido en parte de su naturaleza en los diez o más años monótonos que había pasado en la isla. Hablaba vagamente, respondía a mis preguntas de manera engañosa, se distrajo en asuntos generales.

"Esta locura de un mundo", dijo; "¡Qué lío!". No he tenido una vida. Me pregunto cuándo va a comenzar. Dieciséis años siendo acosado ​​por enfermeras y maestros de escuela a su dulce voluntad; cinco años muy agobiantes en Londres por la medicina, la mala comida, los alojamientos destartalados, la ropa gastada, el vicio lamentable, un error garrafal, no conocía nada mejor... y me vine a esta isla bestial. ¡Diez años aquí! ¿Para qué es todo, Prendick? ¿Somos burbujas explotadas por un bebé?”. Era difícil lidiar con semejantes desvaríos. "En lo que tenemos que pensar ahora", dije, "es cómo alejarse de esta isla". "¿De qué sirve escapar? Soy un marginado. ¿Dónde me van a recibir? Todo está muy bien para usted, Prendick. ¡Pobre viejo Moreau! No podemos dejarlo aquí para que coman sus huesos. Como está...y además, ¿qué sucederá con la parte aceptable de la gente bestia?" "Pues", dije, "eso lo veremos mañana. He estado pensando que podríamos hacer una pira funeraria de esa pila de leña e incinerar su cuerpo... y las otras cosas. "¿Y qué pasará con la gente bestia?". "No sé. Supongo que, tarde o temprano, las bestias hechas de depredadores van a correr fuera de control. No podemos masacrar a todos...¿verdad? ¿Supongo que eso es lo que su humanidad sugeriría? Pero van a cambiar. Seguro que van a cambiar". Así divagaba hasta que empecé a perder los estribos.

"¡Maldición!", exclamó ante cierto mal humor de mi parte; "¿no se da cuenta de que mi situación es peor que la suya?". Y se puso de pie y fue por el brandy. "¡Beba!", dijo mientras regresaba, "¡listo en lógica, ateo de cara paliducha disfrazado de santurrón, beba!". "No yo", dije y me quedé sentado mirándole el rostro bajo la lámpara amarilla de parafina, mientras se ahogaba en una tristeza charlatana.

Tengo un recuerdo de aburrimiento infinito. Se distrajo ingresando defensa sensiblera de la gente bestia y de M’ling. M'ling, dijo, era el único que realmente se había preocupado por él. Y de repente se le ocurrió una idea.

"¡Eureka!", dijo, tambaleándose y aferrando la botella de brandy.

Por alguna intuición repentina supe lo que pretendía. "¡No le dé de beber a esa bestia!", dije, levantándome y encarándolo.

"¡Bestia!", dijo. "Usted es la bestia. Él toma su licor como un cristiano. ¡Fuera del camino, Prendick!". " Por el amor de Dios", dije.

"¡Salga del camino!", rugió y de repente sacó el revólver.

"Muy bien", dije, y abrí paso, medio dispuesto a atacarlo el momento que pusiera la mano en el cerrojo, pero me detuvo la consideración de mi brazo inútil. "Se ha vuelto una bestia... váyase con las bestias". Abrió la puerta de par en par, y se paró medio frente a mí entre la luz amarilla de la lámpara y el brillo pálido de la luna; las cuencas de los ojos eran manchas negras bajo las cejas tupidas.

"¡Eres un mojigato solemne, Prendick, un ridículo! Siempre está con temores y preocupaciones. Estamos al borde del precipicio. Probablemente voy a cortarme la garganta mañana. Voy a agarrarme una buena borrachera esta noche". Se dió la vuelta y salió a la luz de la luna. "¡M'ling!", gritó; "¡M'ling, mi viejo amigo!". Tres figuras oscuras vinieron en la luz plateada por el borde de la playa pálida... una envuelta en blanco, las otras dos detrás, apenas manchas de negrura. Se detuvieron, mirando. Luego vi los hombros encogidos de M'ling mientras doblaba la esquina de la casa.

"¡Beban!", gritó Montgomery, "¡beban, brutos!". ¡Beban y sean hombres! Bárbaro, soy el más listo. Esto olvidó Moreau; este es el toque final. Beban, les mando!". Y agitando la botella en la mano, salíó trotando rápidamente al oeste, seguido por M'ling y las tres figuras oscuras atrás.

Fui a la entrada. Estaban ya borrosos en la tenue luz de la luna cuando Montgomery se detuvo. Le vi administrar una dosis de brandy puro a M'ling, y vi cómo las cinco figuras se disolvieron en una sola mancha confusa.

"¡Canten!", oí gritar Montgomery... "canten todos juntos, '¡Maldito sea el viejo Prendick!'. Eso es; y otra vez, '¡Maldito sea el viejo Prendick!'. El grupo negro se desintegró en cinco figuras separadas, y lentamente se alejó de mí por la franja de playa brillante. Cada uno iba aullando a su gusto, gritándome insultos o desahogándose de cualquier modo que exigiera el brandy. Luego escuché la voz de Montgomery gritando, "¡Doblen a la derecha!", y pasaron con sus gritos y aullidos a la negrura de los árboles tierra adentro. Despacio, muy despacio, desaparecieron en silencio.

La magnífica tranquilidad de la noche sanó de nuevo. La luna ya había pasado el meridiano y viajaba por el oeste. Estaba en su plenitud y muy brillante yendo a través del vacío cielo azul. La sombra de la pared, de un metro de ancho y color negro oscuro, yacía a mis pies. Hacia el este, el mar era de un gris uniforme, oscuro y misterioso; y entre el mar y la sombra las arenas grises (de vidrio volcánico y cristales) destellaban como una playa de diamantes. Detrás de mí, la lámpara de parafina resplandecía caliente y rojiza.

Luego cerré la puerta con llave y entré en el recinto donde Moreau yacía al lado de sus últimas víctimas... los perros de caza y la llama y algunos otros brutos miserables... con su enorme rostro en calma, incluso después de su terrible muerte y con los duros ojos abiertos, mirando arriba, a la blanca luna muerta. Me senté en el borde del fregadero, y con mis ojos sobre esa pila espantosa de luz plateada y sombras siniestras, comencé a hacer mis planes. Por la mañana reuniría algunas provisiones en el bote y después de prender fuego a la pira ante mí, saldría una vez más a la desolación de alta mar. Sentí que para Montgomery no había ayuda; que él era, en verdad, algo semejante a esta gente bestia, no apto para la sociedad humana.

No sé cuánto tiempo estuve sentado allí maquinando. Debe haber sido una hora más o menos. Luego mi planeamiento fue interrumpido por el regreso de Montgomery a mi entorno. Escuché el griterío de muchas gargantas, un tumulto de gritos triunfantes que se dirigían hacia la playa, vivando y aullando, y gritos excitados que parecían detenerse cerca de la orilla del agua El alboroto aumentó y disminuyó; escuché fuertes golpes y el estruendo de madera astillada, pero no me preocupó entonces. Comenzó un canto discordante.

Mis pensamientos volvieron a mis medios de escape. Me levanté, traje la lámpara y me metí en un cobertizo para examinar algunos barriles que había visto allí. Luego me interesé en el contenido de algunas latas de galletas y abrí una. Vi algo de reojo... una figura roja... y me volví bruscamente. Detrás de mí se encontraba el patio, vívidamente en blanco y negro a la luz de la luna y la pila de leña y los haces de madera sobre los que Moreau y sus víctimas mutiladas yacían uno encima del otro. Parecían estar sujetándose mutuamente en un último ataque vengativo. Sus heridas estaban abiertas, negras como la noche, y la sangre que había goteado yacía en negras manchas en la arena. Luego vi, sin comprender la causa del espectro... un brillo rojizo que vino y bailó en la pared de enfrente y desapareció. Malinterpreté esto, pensando que era un reflejo de mi lámpara titilante, y volví otra vez a las cosas almacenadas en el cobertizo. Seguía hurgando entre ellas, tan bien como podía un hombre con solo un brazo, encontrando unas cosas útiles y guardándolas para la salida de mañana. Mis movimientos eran lentos y el tiempo pasaba rápido. Sin darme cuenta, estaba amaneciendo.

El grito disminuía, y lo reemplazó un clamor; luego empezó de nuevo, y de repente estalló un tumulto. Oí gritos de: "¡Más!". "¡más!", un sonido como de disputa, y repentinamente un chillido salvaje. Tanto cambió la naturaleza de los sonidos que me llamó la atención. Salí al patio y escuché. Luego, como un cuchillo partiendo la confusión, llegó el disparo de un revólver.

Atravesé mi cuarto de inmediato a la pequeña entrada. Mientras lo hacía, oí algunos de los cajones para embalaje detrás de mí caer y chocarse con un estrépito de vidrio en el piso del cobertizo. Pero no les hice caso. Abrí la puerta de par en par y miré afuera.

En la playa, junto al cobertizo para botes, ardía una hoguera que lanzaba chispas en la semioscuridad del amanecer. A su alrededor luchaba una masa de figuras negras. Oí a Montgomery decir mi nombre Comencé a correr de inmediato hacia este fuego, revólver en mano. Vi la lengua rosada despedida una vez por la pistola de Montgomery, cerca del suelo. Estaba caído. Grité con todas mis fuerzas y disparé al aire. Oí a alguien gritar: “¡El Maestro!”. La enredada lucha oscura se dividió en unidades dispersas, el fuego saltó y se desplomó. Ante mí, la multitud de gente bestia huyó por la playa en un pánico repentino. En mi emoción disparé a sus espaldas en retirada mientras desaparecían entre los arbustos. Luego me dirigí a los bultos negros sobre el suelo.

Montgomery estaba tendido de espaldas, con el hombre bestia de pelo gris tumbado sobre su cuerpo. El bruto estaba muerto, pero todavía agarrado a la garganta de Montgomery con las garras curvas. M'ling yacía cerca, boca abajo y muy quieto, el cuello abierto por una mordida y la parte superior de la botella rota de brandy en la mano. Otras dos figuras yacían cerca del fuego...la una quieta, la otra gimiendo a ratos, levantando de vez en cuando la cabeza lentamente, y luego dejándola caer otra vez.

Agarré al hombre gris y lo retiré del cuerpo de Montgomery; sus garras oponían resistencia al pasar por la chaqueta desgarrada mientras lo arrastraba lejos. Mongomery tenía la cara oscura y apenas estaba respirando Le salpiqué agua de mar en la cara y apoyé su cabeza en mi abrigo enrollado. M’ling estaba muerto. La criatura herida junto al fuego, que era una bestia lobo con cara gris barbuda, yacía, descubrí, con la parte delantera de su cuerpo sobre la madera aún brillante. La infeliz resultó tan terriblemente herida que por piedad le volé los sesos de inmediato. El otro bruto era uno de los hombres-toro envueltos en blanco. Él también estaba muerto. El resto de la gente bestia había desaparecido de la playa.

Volví a Montgomery y me arrodillé a su lado, maldiciendo mi ignorancia en medicina. A mi lado, el fuego se había apagado y solo quedaban vigas de madera carbonizadas que brillaban en los extremos centrales y se mezclaban con el resto de una ceniza gris de matorral. Me pregunté con ligereza de dónde había sacado Montgomery su madera. Entonces vi que había amanecido. El cielo se había vuelto más brillante, y la luna se ponía, volvéndose pálida y opaca en el azul luminoso del día. El cielo al este estaba bordeado de rojo.

De repente oí un golpe seco y un siseo detrás de mí, y, mirando atrás, me levanté de un salto con un grito de horror. Contra el cielo tibio del amanecer, grandes nubes tumultuosas de humo negro estaban subiendo del recinto, y a través de su oscuridad tempestuosa saltaban hilos de llamas titilantes de color sangre. Luego el techo de paja se encendió. Vi el rápido avance de las llamas por el inclinado techo de paja. Una lengua de fuego salió de la ventana de mi habitación.

Supe de inmediato lo que había pasado. Recordé el estrépito que había oído. Cuando había corrido al auxilio de Montgomery, había volcado la lámpara.

La desesperanza de salvar una parte del contenido del recinto estaba frente a mí. Mi mente volvió a mi plan de escape, y volviéndome velozmente, miré a ver dónde estaban los dos botes en la playa. ¡No estaban! Dos hachas estaban a mi lado en la arena; había fragmentos y astillas esparcidas, y las cenizas de la hoguera se ennegrecían y echaban humo en el amanecer. ¡Montgomery había quemado los botes para vengarse de mí e impedir nuestro regreso a la humanidad!

Me estremeció una repentina convulsión de rabia. Casi estuve dispuesto a golpear su maldita cabeza mientras yacía indefenso a mis pies. De pronto se movió su mano, tan débilmente, tan patéticamente, que mi enojo desapareció. Gimió y abrió los ojos por un minuto. Me arrodillé junto a él y le levanté la cabeza. Sus ojos se abrieron de nuevo, mirando en silencio el amanecer y luego se encontraron con los míos. Sus párpados cayeron.

"Lo siento", dijo ahora, con un esfuerzo. Pareció tratar de pensar. "Lo último", murmuró,"lo último de este universo absurdo. Qué desastre ...", escuché. Su cabeza cayó sin control hacia un lado. Pensé que alguna bebida podría revivirlo; pero no había bebida ni vasija para traer la bebida disponible. De repente pareció más pesado. Se me congeló el corazón. Me incliné hasta su cara, y metí la mano por la abertura en su camisa. Estaba muerto; y en el momento de su muerte una linea blanca de calor, el borde del sol, subió al este más allá del promontorio de la bahía, extendiendo su resplandor por todo el cielo y convirtiendo el mar oscuro en un tumulto de luz deslumbrante. Le cayó como una alabanza en la cara marchita por la muerte.

Dejé que su cabeza cayera ligeramente en la almohada áspera que le había preparado y me levanté. El mar desolado y destellante estaba ante mí, la horrible soledad de la cual ya había sufrido tanto; la isla estaba detrás, tranquila en el amanecer, su gente bestia silenciosa e invisible. El recinto, con todos sus abastecimientos y municiones, se estaba quemando ruidosamente, con rafagas repentinas de fuego, crujidos irregulares, y, de vez en cuando, un estrépito. El humo pesado avanzó por la playa, lejos de mí, rodando sobre las distantes copas de los árboles hacia las chozas en el arroyo. A mi lado estaban los vestigios carbonizados de los botes y estos cuatro cuerpos muertos.

Luego tres hombres bestia salieron de los arbustos, con hombros encogidos, cabezas protuberantes, manos torpes y deformadas, y ojos fríos y curiosos, avanzando hacia mí con gestos dudosos.
unit 1
The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells.
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Chapter 19.
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It was then near midnight.
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He was almost sober, but greatly disturbed in his mind.
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He talked vaguely, answered my questions crookedly, wandered into general questions.
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“This silly ass of a world,” he said; “what a muddle it all is!
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I haven’t had any life.
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I wonder when it’s going to begin.
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Ten years here!
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What’s it all for, Prendick?
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Are we bubbles blown by a baby?” It was hard to deal with such ravings.
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I’m an outcast.
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Where am I to join on?
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It’s all very well for you, Prendick.
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Poor old Moreau!
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We can‘t leave him here to have his bones picked.
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Then what will happen with the Beast Folk?” “I don‘t know.
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We can’t massacre the lot—can we?
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I suppose that’s what your humanity would suggest?
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But they’ll change.
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I have a memory of infinite tedium.
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He wandered into a maudlin defence of the Beast People and of M’ling.
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M’ling, he said, was the only thing that had ever really cared for him.
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And suddenly an idea came to him.
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“I’m damned!” said he, staggering to his feet and clutching the brandy bottle.
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By some flash of intuition I knew what it was he intended.
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“You don’t give drink to that beast!” I said, rising and facing him.
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“Beast!” said he.
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“You’re the beast.
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He takes his liquor like a Christian.
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Come out of the way, Prendick!” “For God’s sake,” said I.
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“Get—out of the way!” he roared, and suddenly whipped out his revolver.
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“You’re a solemn prig, Prendick, a silly ass!
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You‘re always fearing and fancying.
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We’re on the edge of things.
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I’m bound to cut my throat to-morrow.
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They halted, staring.
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Then I saw M’ling’s hunched shoulders as he came round the corner of the house.
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“Drink!” cried Montgomery, “drink, you brutes!
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Drink and be men!
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Damme, I’m the cleverest.
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Moreau forgot this; this is the last touch.
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I went to the doorway.
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They were already indistinct in the mist of the moonlight before Montgomery halted.
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Slowly, very slowly, they receded into silence.
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The peaceful splendour of the night healed again.
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The moon was now past the meridian and travelling down the west.
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It was at its full, and very bright riding through the empty blue sky.
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The shadow of the wall lay, a yard wide and of inky blackness, at my feet.
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Behind me the paraffine lamp flared hot and ruddy.
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I do not know how long I sat there scheming.
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It must have been an hour or so.
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Then my planning was interrupted by the return of Montgomery to my neighbourhood.
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A discordant chanting began.
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My thoughts went back to my means of escape.
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Then I became interested in the contents of some biscuit-tins, and opened one.
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I saw something out of the tail of my eye,—a red figure,—and turned sharply.
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They seemed to be gripping one another in one last revengeful grapple.
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My movements were slow, and the time passed quickly.
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Insensibly the daylight crept upon me.
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I heard cries of, “More!
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more!” a sound like quarrelling, and a sudden wild shriek.
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The quality of the sounds changed so greatly that it arrested my attention.
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I went out into the yard and listened.
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Then cutting like a knife across the confusion came the crack of a revolver.
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I rushed at once through my room to the little doorway.
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But I did not heed these.
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I flung the door open and looked out.
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Around this struggled a mass of black figures.
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I heard Montgomery call my name.
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I began to run at once towards this fire, revolver in hand.
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I saw the pink tongue of Montgomery’s pistol lick out once, close to the ground.
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He was down.
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I shouted with all my strength and fired into the air.
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The crowd of Beast People fled in sudden panic before me, up the beach.
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In my excitement I fired at their retreating backs as they disappeared among the bushes.
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Then I turned to the black heaps upon the ground.
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Montgomery lay on his back, with the hairy-grey Beast-man sprawling across his body.
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The brute was dead, but still gripping Montgomery’s throat with its curving claws.
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Montgomery was dark in the face and scarcely breathing.
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I splashed sea-water on his face and pillowed his head on my rolled-up coat.
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M’ling was dead.
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The other brute was one of the Bull-men swathed in white.
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He too was dead.
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The rest of the Beast People had vanished from the beach.
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I went to Montgomery again and knelt beside him, cursing my ignorance of medicine.
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I wondered casually where Montgomery had got his wood.
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Then I saw that the dawn was upon us.
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The sky to the eastward was rimmed with red.
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unit 136
Then the thatched roof caught.
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unit 137
I saw the curving charge of the flames across the sloping straw.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 weeks, 6 days ago
unit 138
A spurt of fire jetted from the window of my room.
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unit 139
I knew at once what had happened.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 weeks, 6 days ago
unit 140
I remembered the crash I had heard.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 weeks, 6 days ago
unit 141
When I had rushed out to Montgomery’s assistance, I had overturned the lamp.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 weeks, 6 days ago
unit 142
The hopelessness of saving any of the contents of the enclosure stared me in the face.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 weeks, 6 days ago
unit 144
They were gone!
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unit 146
Montgomery had burnt the boats to revenge himself upon me and prevent our return to mankind!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 weeks, 6 days ago
unit 147
A sudden convulsion of rage shook me.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 weeks, 6 days ago
unit 148
I was almost moved to batter his foolish head in, as he lay there helpless at my feet.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 weeks, 6 days ago
unit 149
Then suddenly his hand moved, so feebly, so pitifully, that my wrath vanished.
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unit 150
He groaned, and opened his eyes for a minute.
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unit 151
I knelt down beside him and raised his head.
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unit 152
He opened his eyes again, staring silently at the dawn, and then they met mine.
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unit 153
The lids fell.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 weeks, 6 days ago
unit 154
“Sorry,” he said presently, with an effort.
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unit 155
He seemed trying to think.
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unit 156
“The last,” he murmured, “the last of this silly universe.
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unit 157
What a mess—” I listened.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 weeks, 6 days ago
unit 158
His head fell helplessly to one side.
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unit 160
He seemed suddenly heavier.
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unit 161
My heart went cold.
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unit 162
I bent down to his face, put my hand through the rent in his blouse.
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unit 164
It fell like a glory upon his death-shrunken face.
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unit 165
I let his head fall gently upon the rough pillow I had made for him, and stood up.
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unit 169
Beside me were the charred vestiges of the boats and these four dead bodies.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 weeks, 5 days ago

The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells.
Chapter 19.

MONTGOMERY’S “BANK HOLIDAY.”

WHEN this was accomplished, and we had washed and eaten, Montgomery and I went into my little room and seriously discussed our position for the first time. It was then near midnight. He was almost sober, but greatly disturbed in his mind. He had been strangely under the influence of Moreau’s personality: I do not think it had ever occurred to him that Moreau could die. This disaster was the sudden collapse of the habits that had become part of his nature in the ten or more monotonous years he had spent on the island. He talked vaguely, answered my questions crookedly, wandered into general questions.

“This silly ass of a world,” he said; “what a muddle it all is! I haven’t had any life. I wonder when it’s going to begin. Sixteen years being bullied by nurses and schoolmasters at their own sweet will; five in London grinding hard at medicine, bad food, shabby lodgings, shabby clothes, shabby vice, a blunder,—I didn‘t know any better,—and hustled off to this beastly island. Ten years here! What’s it all for, Prendick? Are we bubbles blown by a baby?”

It was hard to deal with such ravings. “The thing we have to think of now,” said I, “is how to get away from this island.”

“What’s the good of getting away? I’m an outcast. Where am I to join on? It’s all very well for you, Prendick. Poor old Moreau! We can‘t leave him here to have his bones picked. As it is— And besides, what will become of the decent part of the Beast Folk?”

“Well,” said I, “that will do to-morrow. I’ve been thinking we might make that brushwood into a pyre and burn his body—and those other things. Then what will happen with the Beast Folk?”

“I don‘t know. I suppose those that were made of beasts of prey will make silly asses of themselves sooner or later. We can’t massacre the lot—can we? I suppose that’s what your humanity would suggest? But they’ll change. They are sure to change.”

He talked thus inconclusively until at last I felt my temper going.

“Damnation!” he exclaimed at some petulance of mine; “can’t you see I’m in a worse hole than you are?” And he got up, and went for the brandy. “Drink!” he said returning, “you logic-chopping, chalky-faced saint of an atheist, drink!”

“Not I,” said I, and sat grimly watching his face under the yellow paraffine flare, as he drank himself into a garrulous misery.

I have a memory of infinite tedium. He wandered into a maudlin defence of the Beast People and of M’ling. M’ling, he said, was the only thing that had ever really cared for him. And suddenly an idea came to him.

“I’m damned!” said he, staggering to his feet and clutching the brandy bottle.

By some flash of intuition I knew what it was he intended. “You don’t give drink to that beast!” I said, rising and facing him.

“Beast!” said he. “You’re the beast. He takes his liquor like a Christian. Come out of the way, Prendick!”

“For God’s sake,” said I.

“Get—out of the way!” he roared, and suddenly whipped out his revolver.

“Very well,” said I, and stood aside, half-minded to fall upon him as he put his hand upon the latch, but deterred by the thought of my useless arm. “You’ve made a beast of yourself,—to the beasts you may go.”

He flung the doorway open, and stood half facing me between the yellow lamp-light and the pallid glare of the moon; his eye-sockets were blotches of black under his stubbly eye-brows.

“You’re a solemn prig, Prendick, a silly ass! You‘re always fearing and fancying. We’re on the edge of things. I’m bound to cut my throat to-morrow. I’m going to have a damned Bank Holiday to-night.” He turned and went out into the moonlight. “M’ling!” he cried; “M’ling, old friend!”

Three dim creatures in the silvery light came along the edge of the wan beach,—one a white-wrapped creature, the other two blotches of blackness following it. They halted, staring. Then I saw M’ling’s hunched shoulders as he came round the corner of the house.

“Drink!” cried Montgomery, “drink, you brutes! Drink and be men! Damme, I’m the cleverest. Moreau forgot this; this is the last touch. Drink, I tell you!” And waving the bottle in his hand he started off at a kind of quick trot to the westward, M’ling ranging himself between him and the three dim creatures who followed.

I went to the doorway. They were already indistinct in the mist of the moonlight before Montgomery halted. I saw him administer a dose of the raw brandy to M’ling, and saw the five figures melt into one vague patch.

“Sing!” I heard Montgomery shout,—“sing all together, ‘Confound old Prendick!’ That‘s right; now again, ‘Confound old Prendick!’”

The black group broke up into five separate figures, and wound slowly away from me along the band of shining beach. Each went howling at his own sweet will, yelping insults at me, or giving whatever other vent this new inspiration of brandy demanded. Presently I heard Montgomery‘s voice shouting, “Right turn!” and they passed with their shouts and howls into the blackness of the landward trees. Slowly, very slowly, they receded into silence.

The peaceful splendour of the night healed again. The moon was now past the meridian and travelling down the west. It was at its full, and very bright riding through the empty blue sky. The shadow of the wall lay, a yard wide and of inky blackness, at my feet. The eastward sea was a featureless grey, dark and mysterious; and between the sea and the shadow the grey sands (of volcanic glass and crystals) flashed and shone like a beach of diamonds. Behind me the paraffine lamp flared hot and ruddy.

Then I shut the door, locked it, and went into the enclosure where Moreau lay beside his latest victims,—the staghounds and the llama and some other wretched brutes,—with his massive face calm even after his terrible death, and with the hard eyes open, staring at the dead white moon above. I sat down upon the edge of the sink, and with my eyes upon that ghastly pile of silvery light and ominous shadows began to turn over my plans. In the morning I would gather some provisions in the dingey, and after setting fire to the pyre before me, push out into the desolation of the high sea once more. I felt that for Montgomery there was no help; that he was, in truth, half akin to these Beast Folk, unfitted for human kindred.

I do not know how long I sat there scheming. It must have been an hour or so. Then my planning was interrupted by the return of Montgomery to my neighbourhood. I heard a yelling from many throats, a tumult of exultant cries passing down towards the beach, whooping and howling, and excited shrieks that seemed to come to a stop near the water‘s edge. The riot rose and fell; I heard heavy blows and the splintering smash of wood, but it did not trouble me then. A discordant chanting began.

My thoughts went back to my means of escape. I got up, brought the lamp, and went into a shed to look at some kegs I had seen there. Then I became interested in the contents of some biscuit-tins, and opened one. I saw something out of the tail of my eye,—a red figure,—and turned sharply. Behind me lay the yard, vividly black-and-white in the moonlight, and the pile of wood and faggots on which Moreau and his mutilated victims lay, one over another. They seemed to be gripping one another in one last revengeful grapple. His wounds gaped, black as night, and the blood that had dripped lay in black patches upon the sand. Then I saw, without understanding, the cause of my phantom,—a ruddy glow that came and danced and went upon the wall opposite. I misinterpreted this, fancied it was a reflection of my flickering lamp, and turned again to the stores in the shed. I went on rummaging among them, as well as a one-armed man could, finding this convenient thing and that, and putting them aside for to-morrow‘s launch. My movements were slow, and the time passed quickly. Insensibly the daylight crept upon me.

The chanting died down, giving place to a clamour; then it began again, and suddenly broke into a tumult. I heard cries of, “More! more!” a sound like quarrelling, and a sudden wild shriek. The quality of the sounds changed so greatly that it arrested my attention. I went out into the yard and listened. Then cutting like a knife across the confusion came the crack of a revolver.

I rushed at once through my room to the little doorway. As I did so I heard some of the packing-cases behind me go sliding down and smash together with a clatter of glass on the floor of the shed. But I did not heed these. I flung the door open and looked out.

Up the beach by the boathouse a bonfire was burning, raining up sparks into the indistinctness of the dawn. Around this struggled a mass of black figures. I heard Montgomery call my name. I began to run at once towards this fire, revolver in hand. I saw the pink tongue of Montgomery’s pistol lick out once, close to the ground. He was down. I shouted with all my strength and fired into the air. I heard some one cry, “The Master!” The knotted black struggle broke into scattering units, the fire leapt and sank down. The crowd of Beast People fled in sudden panic before me, up the beach. In my excitement I fired at their retreating backs as they disappeared among the bushes. Then I turned to the black heaps upon the ground.

Montgomery lay on his back, with the hairy-grey Beast-man sprawling across his body. The brute was dead, but still gripping Montgomery’s throat with its curving claws. Near by lay M’ling on his face and quite still, his neck bitten open and the upper part of the smashed brandy-bottle in his hand. Two other figures lay near the fire,—the one motionless, the other groaning fitfully, every now and then raising its head slowly, then dropping it again.

I caught hold of the grey man and pulled him off Montgomery’s body; his claws drew down the torn coat reluctantly as I dragged him away. Montgomery was dark in the face and scarcely breathing. I splashed sea-water on his face and pillowed his head on my rolled-up coat. M’ling was dead. The wounded creature by the fire—it was a Wolf-brute with a bearded grey face—lay, I found, with the fore part of its body upon the still glowing timber. The wretched thing was injured so dreadfully that in mercy I blew its brains out at once. The other brute was one of the Bull-men swathed in white. He too was dead. The rest of the Beast People had vanished from the beach.

I went to Montgomery again and knelt beside him, cursing my ignorance of medicine. The fire beside me had sunk down, and only charred beams of timber glowing at the central ends and mixed with a grey ash of brushwood remained. I wondered casually where Montgomery had got his wood. Then I saw that the dawn was upon us. The sky had grown brighter, the setting moon was becoming pale and opaque in the luminous blue of the day. The sky to the eastward was rimmed with red.

Suddenly I heard a thud and a hissing behind me, and, looking round, sprang to my feet with a cry of horror. Against the warm dawn great tumultuous masses of black smoke were boiling up out of the enclosure, and through their stormy darkness shot flickering threads of blood-red flame. Then the thatched roof caught. I saw the curving charge of the flames across the sloping straw. A spurt of fire jetted from the window of my room.

I knew at once what had happened. I remembered the crash I had heard. When I had rushed out to Montgomery’s assistance, I had overturned the lamp.

The hopelessness of saving any of the contents of the enclosure stared me in the face. My mind came back to my plan of flight, and turning swiftly I looked to see where the two boats lay upon the beach. They were gone! Two axes lay upon the sands beside me; chips and splinters were scattered broadcast, and the ashes of the bonfire were blackening and smoking under the dawn. Montgomery had burnt the boats to revenge himself upon me and prevent our return to mankind!

A sudden convulsion of rage shook me. I was almost moved to batter his foolish head in, as he lay there helpless at my feet. Then suddenly his hand moved, so feebly, so pitifully, that my wrath vanished. He groaned, and opened his eyes for a minute. I knelt down beside him and raised his head. He opened his eyes again, staring silently at the dawn, and then they met mine. The lids fell.

“Sorry,” he said presently, with an effort. He seemed trying to think. “The last,” he murmured, “the last of this silly universe. What a mess—”

I listened. His head fell helplessly to one side. I thought some drink might revive him; but there was neither drink nor vessel in which to bring drink at hand. He seemed suddenly heavier. My heart went cold. I bent down to his face, put my hand through the rent in his blouse. He was dead; and even as he died a line of white heat, the limb of the sun, rose eastward beyond the projection of the bay, splashing its radiance across the sky and turning the dark sea into a weltering tumult of dazzling light. It fell like a glory upon his death-shrunken face.

I let his head fall gently upon the rough pillow I had made for him, and stood up. Before me was the glittering desolation of the sea, the awful solitude upon which I had already suffered so much; behind me the island, hushed under the dawn, its Beast People silent and unseen. The enclosure, with all its provisions and ammunition, burnt noisily, with sudden gusts of flame, a fitful crackling, and now and then a crash. The heavy smoke drove up the beach away from me, rolling low over the distant tree-tops towards the huts in the ravine. Beside me were the charred vestiges of the boats and these four dead bodies.

Then out of the bushes came three Beast People, with hunched shoulders, protruding heads, misshapen hands awkwardly held, and inquisitive, unfriendly eyes, and advanced towards me with hesitating gestures.