en-es  The Island of Doctor Moreau/Ch20/Average.
La isla del doctor Moreau de H. G. Wells
Nivel medio de dificultad.
Capítulo 20

SOLO CON LA GENTE BESTIA



Enfrenté a estas personas, enfrentando mi destino en ellas, sin ayuda ahora... literalmente con una sola mano, porque tenía un brazo roto. En mi bolsillo había un revólver con dos recámaras vacías. Entre los restos esparcidos por la playa yacían las dos hachas que se habían utilizado para cortar los botes. La marea se deslizaba detrás de mí. No había nada más que coraje. Miré de frente a los monstruos que avanzaban. Evitaron mis ojos, y sus fosas nasales temblorosas investigaron los cuerpos que yacían más allá de mí en la playa. Di media docena de pasos, recogí el látigo manchado de sangre que estaba bajo del cuerpo del hombre lobo y lo chasqueé.. Se detuvieron y me miraron.

"¡Saluden!", dije yo. “¡Inclínense!”. Ellos dudaron. Uno dobló las rodillas. Repetí mi orden, con el corazón en la boca, y avancé hacia ellos. Uno se arrodilló, luego los otros dos.

Me volví y caminé hacia los cadáveres, manteniendo mi cara hacia los tres hombres bestia arrodillados, así como un actor que pasa por el escenario se enfrenta a la audiencia.

"Quebrantaron la ley", dije, poniendo mi pie sobre el pregonero de la ley. “Han sido asesinados... incluso el pregonero de la ley; hasta el otro con el látigo. ¡Grande es la ley! Vengan y miren". "Ninguno escapa", dijo uno de ellos, avanzando y mirando.

"Ninguno escapa", dije yo. "Por lo tanto, escuchen y hagan lo que yo ordene". Se pusieron de pie, mirándose mutuamente en forma inquisitiva.

"Quédense ahí", dije. Tomé las hachas y las colgué del cabestrillo de mi brazo; di vuelta a Montgomery; recogí su revólver todavía cargado en las dos recámaras y agachándome para rebuscar, encontré media docena de cartuchos en su bolsillo.

"Llévenlo", les dije, levantándome de nuevo y señalando con el látigo; “llévenlo y arrójenlo al mar”. Se adelantaron, evidentemente todavía temerosos de Montgomery, pero aún más temerosos del chasquear del látigo rojo; y después de un poco de torpeza y vacilación, algunos chasquidos del látigo y gritos, lo levantaron con cautela, lo llevaron a la playa y fueron a chapotear en la deslumbrante vorágine marina.

"¡En marcha!", dije yo, "¡adelante! "Llévenlo lejos”. Ingresaron hasta sus axilas y se detuvieron mirándome.

"Déjenlo ir", dije; y el cuerpo de Montgomery desapareció con un chapoteo. Algo pareció oprimir mi pecho.

"¡Bien!", dije yo, con voz quebrada; y volvieron, con prisa y temerosos, a la orilla del agua, dejando grandes estelas negras en la plata. Al borde del agua se detuvieron, volviéndose y mirando hacia el mar como si ahora esperaran que Montgomery emergiera de allí y exigiera venganza.

"Ahora estos", dije yo, señalando a los otros cuerpos.

Tuvieron cuidado de no acercarse al lugar donde habían tirado al agua a Montgomery, sino que llevaron a las cuatro gente bestia muertas a lo largo de la playa, unas cien yardas tal vez, antes de salir y arrojarlas.

Mientras los observaba deshacerse de los restos destrozados de M’ling, escuché una ligera pisada detrás de mí, y volviéndome rápidamente vi al gran hiena porcina, quizás a una docena de yardas de distancia. Su cabeza estaba inclinada hacia abajo, sus ojos brillantes fijos en mí, apretadas sus manos rechonchas y mantenidas cerca de su costado. Se detuvo en esta actitud encogida cuando me volví, sus ojos un poco desviados.

Por un momento estuvimos frente a frente. Dejé caer el látigo y agarré la pistola en mi bolsillo, porque tenía la intención de matar a este bruto, el más formidable de todos los que quedaban en la isla, a la primera excusa. Puede parecer traicionero, pero así estaba resuelto. Le tenía mucho más miedo que a un par cualquiera de la gente bestia. Sabía que la continuación de su vida era una amenaza contra la mía.

Tardé quizás una docena de segundos en reponerme. Luego grité, "¡Salude! Ïnclínese!". Me mostró los dientes en un gruñido. "Quién es usted que debo..." Quizás con demasiada torpeza saqué el revólver, apunté rapidamente, y disparé. Lo oí gritar, lo vi correr a un lado y girar, supe que había fallado, y amartillé la pistola con el pulgar para el próximo disparo. Pero ya estaba corriendo apresuradamente, saltando de un lado al otro, y no pude arriesgar otro fallo. De vez en cuando, me miraba por encima del hombro. Iba por la playa en una diagonal, y desapareció bajo las nubes de humo denso que aún salía a raudales del recinto en llamas. Durante un rato me quedé mirando tras él. Me volví a mis tres obediantes hombres bestia y les señalé que soltaran al cuerpo que todavía llevaban. Luego regresé al lugar al lado del fuego donde habían caido los cuerpos, y pateé la arena hasta que todas las manchas de sangre estuvieron absorbidas y ocultas.

Despedí a mis tres siervos con un ademán de la mano, y fui por la playa al matorral. Llevaba la pistola en la mano, el látigo metido con las hachas en el cabestrillo del brazo. Estaba ansioso de estar solo, de reflexionar sobre la situación en la que estaba ahora. Una cosa espantosa que apenas empezaba a comprender fue el hecho de que en toda esta isla ya no había ningún lugar seguro donde pudiera estar solo para descansar o dormir. Había recobrado las fuerzas asombrosamente después de mi llegada, pero todavía estaba propenso a estar nervioso y a colapsar bajo cualquier gran estrés. Sentí que debía cruzar la isla y establecerme con la gente bestia y asegurarme de su confianza. Pero el corazón me falló. Regresé a la playa y, girando hacia el este, pasando por el recinto en llamas, me dirigí a un punto en el que un bajío de arena de corales atravesaba hacia el arrecife. Aquí podía sentarme y pensar, de espaldas al mar y de frente ante cualquier sorpresa. Y allí me senté, con la barbilla sobre las rodillas, el sol golpeándome la cabeza y un temor indecible en la mente, planeando cómo podría vivir hasta la hora de mi rescate (si alguna vez llegaba el rescate). Traté de analizar toda la situación lo más serenamente que pude, pero fue difícil calmar la emoción.

Comencé a dar vueltas en la mente la razón de la desesperación de Montgomery. "Cambiarán", dijo; "seguro de que cambiarán". Y Moreau, ¿qué fue lo que dijo Moreau? "La obstinada carne de bestia vuelve a crecer día tras día". Entonces la hiena porcina me vino a la mente. Estaba seguro de que si no mataba a ese bruto, él me mataría. El pregonero de la ley estaba muerto: peor suerte. Ahora sabían que nosotros los de los Látigos podriamos ser asesinados como ellos mismos fueron asesinados. ¿Ya me estaban mirando desde las masas verdes de helechos y palmeras por allá, mirando hasta que llegara a su alcance?. ¿Estaban conspirando contra mí?. ¿Qué les estaba diciendo el hiena-porcina? Mi imaginación estaba llevándome a un pantano de miedos irreales.

Mis pensamientos fueron interrumpidos por los gritos de aves marinas acercándose rápidamente hacia algún objeto negro que había encallado por las olas en la playa cerca del recinto. Sabía lo que era el objeto, pero no tenía valor para regresar a ahuyentarlas. Comencé a caminar por la playa en la dirección opuesta, teniendo la intención de pasar por el extremo este de la isla, y así acercarme al arroyo de las chozas sin atravesar las posibles emboscadas de los matorrales.

Después de recorrer quizás media milla por la playa, me di cuenta de uno de mis tres gente bestia acercándose desde la maleza frente al mar. Para entonces estaba tan nervioso por mis propias fantasías que saqué mi revólver de inmediato. Incluso los gestos apaciguadores de la criatura no me desarmaron. Dudaba mientras se acercaba.

"¡Aléjese!", grité.

Había algo sugerente de un perro en el actitud servil de la criatura. Se retiró una corta distancia, muy parecido a un perro al ser mandado a casa, y se detuvo, mirándome implorante con pardos ojos caninos.

"Váyase", dije. "No se me acerque". "¿No puedo acercarme?", dijo.

"No; váyase", insistí, y chasqueé el látigo. Luego, poniéndome el látigo entre los dientes, me agaché para buscar una piedra y con esa amenaza ahuyenté a la criatura.

Así, en soledad, pasé por el barranco de la gente bestia, y escondiéndome entre la maleza y los juncos que separaban esta grieta del mar, observé a los que aparecieron, tratando de juzgar por sus gestos y apariencia cómo los había afectado las muertes de Moreau y Montgomery y la destrucción de la casa del dolor. Ahora sé la locura de mi cobardía. Si hubiera mantenido mi valor hasta el alba, si no hubiera permitido que se desvaneciera en pensamiento solitario, podría haber agarrado el cetro vacío de Moreau y gobernado a la gente bestia. Así fue como perdí la oportunidad y caí a la altura de un mero líder entre mis compañeros.

Hacia el mediodía, llegaron algunos de ellos y se sentaron para disfrutar de la arena caliente. Las voces imperiosas del hambre y la sed prevalecieron sobre mi temor. Salí de los arbustos, y, revólver en la mano, caminé hacia estas figuras sentadas. Una, una mujer lobo, volvió la cabeza y me miró, y luego los demás. Ninguno intentó levantarse o saludarme. Me sentí demasiado débil y cansado para insistir, y dejé pasar el momento.

"Quiero comida", dije yo, casi disculpándome, y acercándome.

"Hay comida en las chozas", dijo somnoliento un hombre buey-jabalí, apartando la vista de mí.

Los pasé y bajé a la sombra y los olores del barranco casi desierto. En una choza vacía me di un festín con algunas frutas moteadas y medio podridas; luego, después de haber apoyado algunas ramas y palos alrededor de la abertura, y colocarme frente a ella y la mano sobre el revólver, el agotamiento de las últimas treinta horas reclamó lo suyo y ​​caí en un sueño ligero, esperando que la endeble barricada que había erigido causara suficiente ruido en su remoción para salvarme de sorpresas.
unit 1
The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells.
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Average difficulty level.
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Chapter 20.
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LONE WITH THE BEAST Folk.
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In my pocket was a revolver with two empty chambers.
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The tide was creeping in behind me.
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There was nothing for it but courage.
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I looked squarely into the faces of the advancing monsters.
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They stopped and stared at me.
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“Salute!” said I.
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“Bow down!” They hesitated.
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One bent his knees.
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I repeated my command, with my heart in my mouth, and advanced upon them.
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One knelt, then the other two.
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“They broke the Law,” said I, putting my foot on the Sayer of the Law.
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“They have been slain,—even the Sayer of the Law; even the Other with the Whip.
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Great is the Law!
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Come and see.” “None escape,” said one of them, advancing and peering.
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“None escape,” said I.
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“Therefore hear and do as I command.” They stood up, looking questioningly at one another.
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“On!” said I, “on!
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Carry him far.” They went in up to their armpits and stood regarding me.
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“Let go,” said I; and the body of Montgomery vanished with a splash.
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Something seemed to tighten across my chest.
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“Now these,” said I, pointing to the other bodies.
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He stopped in this crouching attitude when I turned, his eyes a little averted.
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For a moment we stood eye to eye.
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It may seem treacherous, but so I was resolved.
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I was far more afraid of him than of any other two of the Beast Folk.
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His continued life was I knew a threat against mine.
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I was perhaps a dozen seconds collecting myself.
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Then cried I, “Salute!
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Bow down!” His teeth flashed upon me in a snarl.
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Every now and then he looked back at me over his shoulder.
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For some time I stood staring after him.
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I was anxious to be alone, to think out the position in which I was now placed.
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But my heart failed me.
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I began turning over in my mind the reason of Montgomery‘s despair.
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I felt sure that if I did not kill that brute, he would kill me.
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The Sayer of the Law was dead: worse luck.
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They knew now that we of the Whips could be killed even as they themselves were killed.
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Were they plotting against me?
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What was the Hyena-swine telling them?
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My imagination was running away with me into a morass of unsubstantial fears.
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I knew what that object was, but I had not the heart to go back and drive them off.
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I was now so nervous with my own imaginings that I immediately drew my revolver.
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Even the propitiatory gestures of the creature failed to disarm me.
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He hesitated as he approached.
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“Go away!” cried I.
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There was something very suggestive of a dog in the cringing attitude of the creature.
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“Go away,” said I.
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“Do not come near me.” “May I not come near you?” it said.
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“No; go away,” I insisted, and snapped my whip.
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I know now the folly of my cowardice.
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As it was I lost the opportunity, and sank to the position of a mere leader among my fellows.
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Towards noon certain of them came and squatted basking in the hot sand.
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The imperious voices of hunger and thirst prevailed over my dread.
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I came out of the bushes, and, revolver in hand, walked down towards these seated figures.
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One, a Wolf-woman, turned her head and stared at me, and then the others.
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None attempted to rise or salute me.
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I felt too faint and weary to insist, and I let the moment pass.
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“I want food,” said I, almost apologetically, and drawing near.
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“There is food in the huts,” said an Ox-boar-man, drowsily, and looking away from me.
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I passed them, and went down into the shadow and odours of the almost deserted ravine.
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The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells.
Average difficulty level.
Chapter 20.

LONE WITH THE BEAST Folk.

I FACED these people, facing my fate in them, single-handed now,—literally single-handed, for I had a broken arm. In my pocket was a revolver with two empty chambers. Among the chips scattered about the beach lay the two axes that had been used to chop up the boats. The tide was creeping in behind me. There was nothing for it but courage. I looked squarely into the faces of the advancing monsters. They avoided my eyes, and their quivering nostrils investigated the bodies that lay beyond me on the beach. I took half-a-dozen steps, picked up the blood-stained whip that lay beneath the body of the Wolf-man, and cracked it. They stopped and stared at me.

“Salute!” said I. “Bow down!”

They hesitated. One bent his knees. I repeated my command, with my heart in my mouth, and advanced upon them. One knelt, then the other two.

I turned and walked towards the dead bodies, keeping my face towards the three kneeling Beast Men, very much as an actor passing up the stage faces the audience.

“They broke the Law,” said I, putting my foot on the Sayer of the Law. “They have been slain,—even the Sayer of the Law; even the Other with the Whip. Great is the Law! Come and see.”

“None escape,” said one of them, advancing and peering.

“None escape,” said I. “Therefore hear and do as I command.” They stood up, looking questioningly at one another.

“Stand there,” said I.

I picked up the hatchets and swung them by their heads from the sling of my arm; turned Montgomery over; picked up his revolver still loaded in two chambers, and bending down to rummage, found half-a-dozen cartridges in his pocket.

“Take him,” said I, standing up again and pointing with the whip; “take him, and carry him out and cast him into the sea.”

They came forward, evidently still afraid of Montgomery, but still more afraid of my cracking red whip-lash; and after some fumbling and hesitation, some whip-cracking and shouting, they lifted him gingerly, carried him down to the beach, and went splashing into the dazzling welter of the sea.

“On!” said I, “on! Carry him far.”

They went in up to their armpits and stood regarding me.

“Let go,” said I; and the body of Montgomery vanished with a splash. Something seemed to tighten across my chest.

“Good!” said I, with a break in my voice; and they came back, hurrying and fearful, to the margin of the water, leaving long wakes of black in the silver. At the water’s edge they stopped, turning and glaring into the sea as though they presently expected Montgomery to arise therefrom and exact vengeance.

“Now these,” said I, pointing to the other bodies.

They took care not to approach the place where they had thrown Montgomery into the water, but instead, carried the four dead Beast People slantingly along the beach for perhaps a hundred yards before they waded out and cast them away.

As I watched them disposing of the mangled remains of M’ling, I heard a light footfall behind me, and turning quickly saw the big Hyena-swine perhaps a dozen yards away. His head was bent down, his bright eyes were fixed upon me, his stumpy hands clenched and held close by his side. He stopped in this crouching attitude when I turned, his eyes a little averted.

For a moment we stood eye to eye. I dropped the whip and snatched at the pistol in my pocket; for I meant to kill this brute, the most formidable of any left now upon the island, at the first excuse. It may seem treacherous, but so I was resolved. I was far more afraid of him than of any other two of the Beast Folk. His continued life was I knew a threat against mine.

I was perhaps a dozen seconds collecting myself. Then cried I, “Salute! Bow down!”

His teeth flashed upon me in a snarl. “Who are you that I should—”

Perhaps a little too spasmodically I drew my revolver, aimed quickly and fired. I heard him yelp, saw him run sideways and turn, knew I had missed, and clicked back the cock with my thumb for the next shot. But he was already running headlong, jumping from side to side, and I dared not risk another miss. Every now and then he looked back at me over his shoulder. He went slanting along the beach, and vanished beneath the driving masses of dense smoke that were still pouring out from the burning enclosure. For some time I stood staring after him. I turned to my three obedient Beast Folk again and signalled them to drop the body they still carried. Then I went back to the place by the fire where the bodies had fallen, and kicked the sand until all the brown bloodstains were absorbed and hidden.

I dismissed my three serfs with a wave of the hand, and went up the beach into the thickets. I carried my pistol in my hand, my whip thrust with the hatchets in the sling of my arm. I was anxious to be alone, to think out the position in which I was now placed. A dreadful thing that I was only beginning to realise was, that over all this island there was now no safe place where I could be alone and secure to rest or sleep. I had recovered strength amazingly since my landing, but I was still inclined to be nervous and to break down under any great stress. I felt that I ought to cross the island and establish myself with the Beast People, and make myself secure in their confidence. But my heart failed me. I went back to the beach, and turning eastward past the burning enclosure, made for a point where a shallow spit of coral sand ran out towards the reef. Here I could sit down and think, my back to the sea and my face against any surprise. And there I sat, chin on knees, the sun beating down upon my head and unspeakable dread in my mind, plotting how I could live on against the hour of my rescue (if ever rescue came). I tried to review the whole situation as calmly as I could, but it was difficult to clear the thing of emotion.

I began turning over in my mind the reason of Montgomery‘s despair. “They will change,” he said; “they are sure to change.” And Moreau, what was it that Moreau had said? “The stubborn beast-flesh grows day by day back again.” Then I came round to the Hyena-swine. I felt sure that if I did not kill that brute, he would kill me. The Sayer of the Law was dead: worse luck. They knew now that we of the Whips could be killed even as they themselves were killed. Were they peering at me already out of the green masses of ferns and palms over yonder, watching until I came within their spring? Were they plotting against me? What was the Hyena-swine telling them? My imagination was running away with me into a morass of unsubstantial fears.

My thoughts were disturbed by a crying of sea-birds hurrying towards some black object that had been stranded by the waves on the beach near the enclosure. I knew what that object was, but I had not the heart to go back and drive them off. I began walking along the beach in the opposite direction, designing to come round the eastward corner of the island and so approach the ravine of the huts, without traversing the possible ambuscades of the thickets.

Perhaps half a mile along the beach I became aware of one of my three Beast Folk advancing out of the landward bushes towards me. I was now so nervous with my own imaginings that I immediately drew my revolver. Even the propitiatory gestures of the creature failed to disarm me. He hesitated as he approached.

“Go away!” cried I.

There was something very suggestive of a dog in the cringing attitude of the creature. It retreated a little way, very like a dog being sent home, and stopped, looking at me imploringly with canine brown eyes.

“Go away,” said I. “Do not come near me.”

“May I not come near you?” it said.

“No; go away,” I insisted, and snapped my whip. Then putting my whip in my teeth, I stooped for a stone, and with that threat drove the creature away.

So in solitude I came round by the ravine of the Beast People, and hiding among the weeds and reeds that separated this crevice from the sea I watched such of them as appeared, trying to judge from their gestures and appearance how the death of Moreau and Montgomery and the destruction of the House of Pain had affected them. I know now the folly of my cowardice. Had I kept my courage up to the level of the dawn, had I not allowed it to ebb away in solitary thought, I might have grasped the vacant sceptre of Moreau and ruled over the Beast People. As it was I lost the opportunity, and sank to the position of a mere leader among my fellows.

Towards noon certain of them came and squatted basking in the hot sand. The imperious voices of hunger and thirst prevailed over my dread. I came out of the bushes, and, revolver in hand, walked down towards these seated figures. One, a Wolf-woman, turned her head and stared at me, and then the others. None attempted to rise or salute me. I felt too faint and weary to insist, and I let the moment pass.

“I want food,” said I, almost apologetically, and drawing near.

“There is food in the huts,” said an Ox-boar-man, drowsily, and looking away from me.

I passed them, and went down into the shadow and odours of the almost deserted ravine. In an empty hut I feasted on some specked and half-decayed fruit; and then after I had propped some branches and sticks about the opening, and placed myself with my face towards it and my hand upon my revolver, the exhaustion of the last thirty hours claimed its own, and I fell into a light slumber, hoping that the flimsy barricade I had erected would cause sufficient noise in its removal to save me from surprise.