en-fr  The Island of Doctor Moreau. Chapter X
L'île du docteur Moreau d'H. G. Wells.

Chapitre X.

LES CRIS DE L'HOMME.


Comme j'approchai de la maison, je vis que la lumière émanait de la porte ouverte de ma chambre ; puis j'entendis sortant des ténèbres à côté de cette lumière oblongue orange, la voix de Montgomery qui criait : « Prendick ! » Je continuai à courir. Peu de temps après je l'entendis encore. Je répondis par un faible « Bonsoir ! » Et l'instant d'après, je chancelai jusqu'à lui.

— Où étiez-vous ? dit-il, me tenant à bout de bras, si bien que la lumière de la porte éclairait mon visage. Nous avons été tellement occupés tous les deux que nous vous avons oublié, jusqu'à il y a environ une demi-heure. Il me conduisit dans la pièce et m'installa sur la chaise longue. Durant un certain temps, je fus aveuglé par la lumière. — Nous ne pensions pas que vous commenceriez à explorer notre île sans nous en informer, dit-il ; et puis, j'ai eu peur... Mais ... Que... Ohé ! Mes dernières forces me quittèrent et ma tête tomba en avant sur ma poitrine. Je pense qu'il éprouva une certaine satisfaction à me donner du brandy.

– Pour l'amour de Dieu, dis-je, attachez cette porte. – Vous avez rencontré certaines de nos curiosités, hein ? répondit-il.

Il ferma la porte à clef et se retourna vers moi. Il ne me posa aucune question, mais me resservit du cognac coupé d'eau et m'incita à manger. J'étais sur le point de défaillir. Il prononça de vagues paroles d'excuse pour ne pas avoir pensé à me prévenir et rapidement me demanda quand j'avais quitté la maison et ce que j'avais vu.

Je lui répondis tout aussi brièvement par des phrases entrecoupées. — Dites-moi ce que tout cela signifie, dis-je, au bord de l'hystérie.

— Rien de bien terrible, répondit-il. Mais je pense que vous en avez assez eu pour aujourd'hui. Soudain, le puma poussa un hurlement de douleur. Entendant cela, il jura tout bas. — Que je sois damné, dit-il, si cet endroit n'est pas aussi terrible que Gower Street, avec ses chats. — Montgomery, dis-je, qu'était cette créature qui m'a pourchassé ? Était-ce une bête ou était-ce un homme ? — Si vous ne dormez pas ce soir, répondit-il, vous serez à la ramasse, demain. Je me redressai et lui fis face. — Quelle est cette chose qui m'a pourchassé ? demandai-je.

Il me regarda droit dans les yeux et un rictus lui tordit les lèvres. Son regard qui était intense l'instant d'avant devint terne. — D'après votre récit, je pense que c'était un spectre, dit-il. Je sentis une bouffée d'intense irritation m’envahir qui passa aussi vite qu’elle était venue. Je me jetai à nouveau sur la chaise et appuyai les mains sur mon front. Le puma recommenca une fois de plus.

Montgomery vint derrière moi et mit sa main sur mon épaule. — Écoutez, Prendick, dit-il, je n'aurais pas dû vous laisser dériver sur cette stupide ile. Mais ce n'est pas aussi affreux que vous l'imaginez, mon vieux. Vous avez les nerfs en pelote. Laissez-moi vous donner quelque chose qui vous fera dormir. Ça... ça va continuer encore des heures. Il faut simplement que vous dormiez, ou je ne réponds de rien. Je n'ai pas répondu. Je me penchai en avant et couvris mon visage de mes mains. Aussitôt, il revint avec un petit verre contenant un liquide sombre. Il me l'administra. Je me laissai faire, et il m'aida à grimper dans le hamac.

Quand je me réveillai, il faisait grand jour. Je restai allongé pendant un moment, contemplant le toit au-dessus de moi. J'observai que les chevrons, étaient faits à partir de la charpente d'un navire. Puis je tournai la tête et je vis un repas préparé pour moi sur la table. Je m'aperçus que j'avais faim et m'apprêtai à sortir du hamac, qui, anticipant fort aimablement ment mon intention, se retourna et me déposa sur le sol à quatre pattes.

Je me levai et je m'assis devant la nourriture. J'avais la tête lourde, et seulement les souvenirs les plus vague des événements de la nuit passée. La brise du matin soufflait très agréablement à travers la fenêtre sans vitre, et avec la nourriture, elle contribua au sentiment de confort animal que j'éprouvai. À ce moment-là, la porte derrière moi — la porte tournée vers la cour de l'enceinte — s'ouvrit. Je me retournai et je vis le visage de Montgomery.

— Tout va bien, dit-il. Je suis affreusement occupé. Et il ferma la porte.

Je découvris après qu'il avait oublié de la verrouiller. Puis je me rappelai l'expression de son visage de la nuit précédente, et avec cela le souvenir de tout ce que j'avais éprouvé se reconstitua devant moi. Alors que cette peur me revenait, un cri retentit depuis l'intérieur ; mais cette fois ce n'était pas le cri d'un puma. Je reposai la bouchée que j'étais sur le point de porter à mes lèvres et j'écoutai. Le silence, à part le murmure de la brise matinale. Je commençai à penser que mes oreilles m'avaient trompé.

Après une longue interruption, je repris mon repas, mais avec les oreilles toujours à l'affût. Bientôt, j'entendis autre chose, de très faible et de grave. Je m'assis comme figé dans mon attitude. Bien qu'il fût faible et bas, il me toucha plus profondément que tout ce que j'avais entendu jusque-là des abominations derrière le mur. Il n'y avait pas d'erreur cette fois sur la nature des sons faibles et interrompus ; aucun doute quant à leur provenance. Car c'était un gémissement, entrecoupé de sanglots et d'halètements d'angoisse. Ce n'était pas une bête cette fois-ci ; c'était un être humain en proie aux tourments !

En me rendant compte de cela, je me levai et, en trois pas, je traversai la pièce, saisis la poignée de la porte qui menait dans la cour et l'ouvris en grand devant moi.

— Prendrick, mon vieux ! Arrêtez ! s'écria Montgomery en intervenant.

Un lévrier écossais effrayé aboya et montra les crocs. Je vis qu'il y avait du sang dans le lavabo, — brun et un peu écarlate, — et je sentis l'odeur particulière de l'acide phénique. À ce moment-là, au-delà d'une porte grande ouverte, dans l'ombre faiblement éclairée, je vis une chose horriblement ficelée sur un assemblage, sanguinolente, couverte de plaies et de bandages, et puis, se substituant à l'apparition, le visage livide et effrayant du vieux Moreau. L'instant d'après, il m'avait agrippé par l'épaule d'une main qui était tachée de rouge, m'avait fait faire demi-tour et me jetait tête la première dans ma propre chambre. Il m'avait soulevé comme si je n'étais qu'un petit enfant. Je tombai de tout mon long sur le sol, la porte claqua et dissimula l'intensité enflammée de son visage. Puis j'entendis la clef tourner dans la serrure et la voix de Montgomery qui contestait.

— Ruiner le travail de toute une vie, entendis-je Moreau dire.

— Il ne comprend pas, répliqua Montgomery, et d'autres paroles qui étaient inaudibles.

— Je n'ai pas le temps, déclara Moreau.

Je n'entendis pas le reste. Je me relevai et restai tremblant, mon esprit en proie au chaos des appréhensions les plus horribles. Était-il possible, pensais-je, qu'une pratique telle que la vivisection humaine se déroulât ici ? La question tourna dans ma tête comme l'éclair à travers un ciel tumultueux ; et soudain l'horreur du brouillard de mon esprit se condensa en une prise de conscience vive de mon propre danger.
unit 1
The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells.
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Chapter X.
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THE CRYING OF THE MAN.
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Presently I heard him again.
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I replied by a feeble “Hullo!” and in another moment had staggered up to him.
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For awhile I was blinded by the light.
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I think he found a certain satisfaction in giving me brandy.
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He locked the door and turned to me again.
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He asked me no questions, but gave me some more brandy and water and pressed me to eat.
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I was in a state of collapse.
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I answered him as briefly, in fragmentary sentences.
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“Tell me what it all means,” said I, in a state bordering on hysterics.
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“It’s nothing so very dreadful,” said he.
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At that he swore under his breath.
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“What was that thing that came after me?” I asked.
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He looked me squarely in the eyes, and twisted his mouth askew.
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His eyes, which had seemed animated a minute before, went dull.
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I flung myself into the chair again, and pressed my hands on my forehead.
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The puma began once more.
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Montgomery came round behind me and put his hand on my shoulder.
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But it’s not so bad as you feel, man.
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Your nerves are worked to rags.
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Let me give you something that will make you sleep.
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That—will keep on for hours yet.
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You must simply get to sleep, or I won’t answer for it.” I did not reply.
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I bowed forward, and covered my face with my hands.
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Presently he returned with a small measure containing a dark liquid.
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This he gave me.
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I took it unresistingly, and he helped me into the hammock.
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When I awoke, it was broad day.
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For a little while I lay flat, staring at the roof above me.
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The rafters, I observed, were made out of the timbers of a ship.
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Then I turned my head, and saw a meal prepared for me on the table.
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I got up and sat down before the food.
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Presently the door behind me—the door inward towards the yard of the enclosure—opened.
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I turned and saw Montgomery’s face.
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“All right,” said he.
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“I’m frightfully busy.” And he shut the door.
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Afterwards I discovered that he forgot to re-lock it.
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I put down the mouthful that hesitated upon my lips, and listened.
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Silence, save for the whisper of the morning breeze.
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I began to think my ears had deceived me.
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After a long pause I resumed my meal, but with my ears still vigilant.
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Presently I heard something else, very faint and low.
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I sat as if frozen in my attitude.
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For it was groaning, broken by sobs and gasps of anguish.
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It was no brute this time; it was a human being in torment!
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“Prendick, man!
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Stop!” cried Montgomery, intervening.
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A startled deerhound yelped and snarled.
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He lifted me as though I was a little child.
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Then I heard the key turn in the lock, and Montgomery’s voice in expostulation.
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“Ruin the work of a lifetime,” I heard Moreau say.
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“He does not understand,” said Montgomery, and other things that were inaudible.
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“I can’t spare the time yet,” said Moreau.
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The rest I did not hear.
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I picked myself up and stood trembling, my mind a chaos of the most horrible misgivings.
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Could it be possible, I thought, that such a thing as the vivisection of men was carried on here?
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Gabrielle • 13930  commented on  unit 18  3 months, 2 weeks ago

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

Chapter X.

THE CRYING OF THE MAN.

AS I drew near the house I saw that the light shone from the open door of my room; and then I heard coming from out of the darkness at the side of that orange oblong of light, the voice of Montgomery shouting, “Prendick!” I continued running. Presently I heard him again. I replied by a feeble “Hullo!” and in another moment had staggered up to him.

“Where have you been?” said he, holding me at arm’s length, so that the light from the door fell on my face. “We have both been so busy that we forgot you until about half an hour ago.” He led me into the room and set me down in the deck chair. For awhile I was blinded by the light. “We did not think you would start to explore this island of ours without telling us,” he said; and then, “I was afraid— But—what— Hullo!”

My last remaining strength slipped from me, and my head fell forward on my chest. I think he found a certain satisfaction in giving me brandy.

“For God’s sake,” said I, “fasten that door.”

“You’ve been meeting some of our curiosities, eh?” said he.

He locked the door and turned to me again. He asked me no questions, but gave me some more brandy and water and pressed me to eat. I was in a state of collapse. He said something vague about his forgetting to warn me, and asked me briefly when I left the house and what I had seen.

I answered him as briefly, in fragmentary sentences. “Tell me what it all means,” said I, in a state bordering on hysterics.

“It’s nothing so very dreadful,” said he. “But I think you have had about enough for one day.” The puma suddenly gave a sharp yell of pain. At that he swore under his breath. “I’m damned,” said he, “if this place is not as bad as Gower Street, with its cats.”

“Montgomery,” said I, “what was that thing that came after me? Was it a beast or was it a man?”

“If you don’t sleep to-night,” he said, “you’ll be off your head to-morrow.”

I stood up in front of him. “What was that thing that came after me?” I asked.

He looked me squarely in the eyes, and twisted his mouth askew. His eyes, which had seemed animated a minute before, went dull. “From your account,” said he, “I’m thinking it was a bogle.”

I felt a gust of intense irritation, which passed as quickly as it came. I flung myself into the chair again, and pressed my hands on my forehead. The puma began once more.

Montgomery came round behind me and put his hand on my shoulder. “Look here, Prendick,” he said, “I had no business to let you drift out into this silly island of ours. But it’s not so bad as you feel, man. Your nerves are worked to rags. Let me give you something that will make you sleep. That—will keep on for hours yet. You must simply get to sleep, or I won’t answer for it.”

I did not reply. I bowed forward, and covered my face with my hands. Presently he returned with a small measure containing a dark liquid. This he gave me. I took it unresistingly, and he helped me into the hammock.

When I awoke, it was broad day. For a little while I lay flat, staring at the roof above me. The rafters, I observed, were made out of the timbers of a ship. Then I turned my head, and saw a meal prepared for me on the table. I perceived that I was hungry, and prepared to clamber out of the hammock, which, very politely anticipating my intention, twisted round and deposited me upon all-fours on the floor.

I got up and sat down before the food. I had a heavy feeling in my head, and only the vaguest memory at first of the things that had happened over night. The morning breeze blew very pleasantly through the unglazed window, and that and the food contributed to the sense of animal comfort which I experienced. Presently the door behind me—the door inward towards the yard of the enclosure—opened. I turned and saw Montgomery’s face.

“All right,” said he. “I’m frightfully busy.” And he shut the door.

Afterwards I discovered that he forgot to re-lock it. Then I recalled the expression of his face the previous night, and with that the memory of all I had experienced reconstructed itself before me. Even as that fear came back to me came a cry from within; but this time it was not the cry of a puma. I put down the mouthful that hesitated upon my lips, and listened. Silence, save for the whisper of the morning breeze. I began to think my ears had deceived me.

After a long pause I resumed my meal, but with my ears still vigilant. Presently I heard something else, very faint and low. I sat as if frozen in my attitude. Though it was faint and low, it moved me more profoundly than all that I had hitherto heard of the abominations behind the wall. There was no mistake this time in the quality of the dim, broken sounds; no doubt at all of their source. For it was groaning, broken by sobs and gasps of anguish. It was no brute this time; it was a human being in torment!

As I realised this I rose, and in three steps had crossed the room, seized the handle of the door into the yard, and flung it open before me.

“Prendick, man! Stop!” cried Montgomery, intervening.

A startled deerhound yelped and snarled. There was blood, I saw, in the sink,—brown, and some scarlet,—and I smelt the peculiar smell of carbolic acid. Then through an open doorway beyond, in the dim light of the shadow, I saw something bound painfully upon a framework, scarred, red, and bandaged; and then blotting this out appeared the face of old Moreau, white and terrible. In a moment he had gripped me by the shoulder with a hand that was smeared red, had twisted me off my feet, and flung me headlong back into my own room. He lifted me as though I was a little child. I fell at full length upon the floor, and the door slammed and shut out the passionate intensity of his face. Then I heard the key turn in the lock, and Montgomery’s voice in expostulation.

“Ruin the work of a lifetime,” I heard Moreau say.

“He does not understand,” said Montgomery, and other things that were inaudible.

“I can’t spare the time yet,” said Moreau.

The rest I did not hear. I picked myself up and stood trembling, my mind a chaos of the most horrible misgivings. Could it be possible, I thought, that such a thing as the vivisection of men was carried on here? The question shot like lightning across a tumultuous sky; and suddenly the clouded horror of my mind condensed into a vivid realisation of my own danger.