en-fr  The Island of Doctor Moreau/ Ch 17
L'île du docteur Moreau d'H. G. Wells / Chapitre 17.



UNE CATASTROPHE.


Six semaines à peine s'écoulèrent, je n'éprouvais plus rien d'autre, envers l'infâme expérimentation de Moreau, qu'aversion et dégoût. Ma seule idée était de m’éloigner de ces horribles caricatures à l’image de celles du Créateur, pour revenir aux douces et salutaires relations entre les humains. Mes semblables, dont je me trouvais ainsi séparé, commencèrent à revêtir des vertus et une beauté idéalisées dans ma mémoire. Mon amitié première avec Montgomery n'évolua guère. Sa longue séparation de l'humanité, son vice secret de la boisson, sa sympathie évidente avec les Hommes-Bêtes, me le rendaient suspect. Plusieurs fois, je le laissai aller seul parmi eux. J'évitais d'interagir avec eux de toutes les manières possibles. Je passais une part croissante de mon temps sur la plage, à la recherche de quelque voile libératrice qui n'est jamais apparue, jusqu'à ce qu'un jour s'abattit sur nous un désastre épouvantable, qui conféra une apparence tout à fait différente à mon étrange environnement.

C'était sept ou huit semaines environ après mon arrivée - plutôt plus, je pense, bien que je ne me sois pas donné la peine de tenir le compte du temps passé - que cette catastrophe se produisit. Elle se produisit au petit matin, autour de six heures il me semble. Je m'étais levé et avais déjeuné tôt, ayant été réveillé par le vacarme de trois Hommes-bêtes transportant du bois dans l'enclos.

Après avoir déjeuné je me rendis à la barrière ouverte de l'enclos et me tins là, fumant une cigarette et profitant de la fraîcheur des premières heures du jour. Bientôt, Moreau passa le long de la clôture et me salua. Il passa à côté de moi et je l'entendis derrière moi ouvrir et entrer dans son laboratoire. J'étais alors tellement endurci par les abominations qui m'entouraient, que j'entendis sans la moindre once d'émotion, la victime puma débuter un nouveau jour de torture. Elle retrouva son persécuteur avec un hurlement strident, presque identique à celui d'une mégère furieuse.

Puis soudain, quelque chose se produisit, je ne sais pas, à ce jour, ce que c'était. J'entendis un bref cri aigu derrière moi, une chute et, me retournant, je vis un visage affreux se précipiter sur moi - pas humain, pas animal, mais infernal, sombre, marqué d'un réseau de cicatrices d'où perlaient des gouttes rouges et dont les yeux dépourvus de paupières flamboyaient. Je levai le bras pour parer le coup qui m’envoya au sol tête la première avec un avant-bras cassé ; et le grand monstre, enveloppé de lin et de bandages tachés de sang flottant autour de lui, bondit par-dessus moi et s’enfuit. Roulant plusieurs fois sur moi-même, je dégringolai au bas de la grève, essayai de me relever et m’affaissai sur mon bras blessé. Alors Moreau parut, sa figure blême et massive d’apparence plus terrible encore avec le sang qui ruisselait de son front. Il tenait un revolver dans une main. Il me jeta à peine un coup d'œil, mais s’élança immédiatement à la poursuite du puma.

J'essayai l'autre bras et je m'assis. La silhouette emmaillotée courait à longues foulées le long du rivage et Moreau la suivait. Elle tourna la tête et l’aperçut, alors, d'un brusque détour, elle s’avança vers le taillis. Elle augmentait son avance à chaque enjambée. Je la vis plonger dans le taillis, Moreau, courant en diagonale pour l'intercepter, fit feu et la manqua alors qu'elle disparaissait. Puis, lui aussi disparut dans l’amas confus de verdure.

Je les observai puis, la douleur s'intensifia dans mon bras et, avec un grognement, je me remis sur mes pieds en chancelant. Montgomery apparut sur le seuil, vêtu et son revolver à la main.

– Grands Dieux, Prendick ! s'exclama-t-il, sans s'apercevoir que j'étais blessé, cette bête est déchaînée ! Elle a arraché la chaîne qui était scellée dans le mur ! Les avez-vous vus ? Puis, remarquant brusquement que j'agrippais mon bras : Quel est le problème ? – Je me tenais sur le seuil, dis-je.

Il avança et prit mon bras. – Du sang sur la manche, dit-il et il remonta la flanelle. Il empocha son arme, tâta mon bras fort endolori et me conduisit à l'intérieur. – Votre bras est cassé, annonça-t-il, puis il ajouta : Dites-moi exactement comment c'est arrivé - que s'est-il passé ? Je lui racontai ce que j'avais vu ; m'exprimant en phrases entrecoupées par des spasmes de douleur, tandis que, très adroitement et rapidement, il me bandait le bras. Il le mit en écharpe, se recula et me regarda.

— Ça va aller, dit-il. Et maintenant ? Il réfléchit. Puis il sortit et ferma les portes de l'enclos. Il fut quelque temps absent.

J'étais surtout préoccupé par mon bras. L'incident semblait n'être qu'un des nombreux horribles évènements. Je m'installai dans la chaise longue et, je dois l'avouer, me mis à maudire cette île de bon cœur. La première sensation sourde de blessure dans mon bras avait désormais cédé la place à une douleur cuisante lorsque Montgomery réapparut. Son visage était très pâle et sa gencive inférieure était plus visible que jamais.

— Aucune trace de lui, déclara-t-il Je me suis dit qu'il pourrait avoir besoin de mon aide. Il me fixa de ses yeux inexpressifs. C'était un colosse puissant, ajouta-t-il. Elle a tout simplement arraché ses chaînes du mur. Il alla à la fenêtre puis vers la porte et se tourna vers moi. Je vais aller à sa poursuite, dit-il. Il y a un autre revolver que je peux vous laisser. À vrai dire, je me sens quelque peu angoissé. Il alla chercher l'arme et la posa sur la table à portée de main ; puis il sortit, laissant planer une nervosité contagieuse dans l'air. Je ne restai pas longtemps assis après son départ, mais je pris le revolver et me dirigeai vers la porte.

La matinée était aussi calme que la mort. Pas un souffle de vent n'agitait l'air ; la mer évoquait le verre poli, le ciel était vide, la plage déserte. Dans mon état à la fois excité et fébrile, ce calme des éléments me pesait. J'essayai de siffler, mais la mélodie mourut sur mes lèvres. Je jurai à nouveau — pour la deuxième fois ce matin-là. Puis je me rendis dans le coin de l'enclos et regardai vers les terres le buisson vert qui avait englouti Moreau et Montgomery. Quand reviendraient-ils et comment ? Puis, au loin sur la plage, un petit Homme-Bête gris apparut, couru jusqu’au bord de l’eau et commença à batifoler. Je retournai lentement vers l'entrée, puis vers le coin de nouveau, et me mis à faire les cent pas comme une sentinelle en service. Je fus interrompu par la voix lointaine de Montgomery qui hurlait — Ohé Moreau ! Mon bras devint moins douloureux, mais il était très chaud. J'avais de la fièvre et j'avais soif. Mon ombre se fit plus courte. J'observai la silhouette lointaine jusqu'à ce qu'elle reparte. Moreau et Montgomery reviendraient-ils un jour ? Trois oiseaux marins commencèrent à se battre pour quelque trésor échoué.

Puis de loin derrière l'enclos, j'entendis un coup de pistolet. Un long silence, puis un autre résonna. Ensuite un hurlement se rapprocha, et une autre plage de silence lugubre. Ma malheureuse imagination se mit au travail pour me tourmenter. Puis tout à coup un coup de feu très proche. J'allai vers le coin, sursautai et vis Montgomery, le visage écarlate, les cheveux en désordre et son pantalon déchiré au genou. Son visage exprimait une profonde consternation. Derrière lui, voûté, se tenait l'homme-Bête M'ling, autour de sa mâchoire on distinguait d'étranges taches sombres.

– Est-il ici ? s'enquit Montgomery.

– Moreau ? demandai-je. – Non. – Mon Dieu ! L'homme haletait, sanglotait presque. – Rentrons, dit-il en m'attrapant le bras. — Ils sont fous. Ils courent partout affolés. Ce qui a bien pu se passer ? Je ne sais pas. Je vous le dirai quand j'aurai retrouvé mon souffle. Où est le brandy ? Montgomery boita vers la pièce devant moi et s’assit dans la chaise longue. M’ling se jeta à terre juste devant la porte et commenca à haleter comme un chien. J'allai chercher à Montgomery du brandy et de l'eau. Il était assis regardait devant lui dans le vide, et récupérait son souffle. Après quelques minutes, il commença à me raconter ce qui s'était passé.

Il les avait pistés sur plusieurs chemins. C’était assez simple au début en raison des arbustes écrasés et cassés, des bouts de chiffons blancs qui s'étaient arrachés des bandages du puma et des traces de sang éparses sur les feuilles des arbustes et des broussailles. Il avait perdu sa trace sur le sol caillouteux au-delà du ruisseau où j’avais vu l'Homme-Bête boire et s'était mis à errer vers l’ouest en criant le nom de Moreau. Puis M’ling l'avait rejoint avec une petite hache. M’ling n’avait rien vu de l'affaire du puma ; il coupait du bois et l’avait entendu appeler. Ils avaient continué à crier ensemble. Deux Hommes-Bêtes vinrent s'accroupir et les scrutant à travers les,broussailles avec des gestes et une posture furtives qui alarmèrent Montgomery par leur étrangeté. Il les héla et ils s'enfuirent d'un air coupable. Il cessa de crier après cela et, après avoir erré quelque temps d'une manière hésitante, il décida de se rendre aux huttes.

Il trouva le ravin désert.

De plus en plus inquiet chaque minute, il commença à revenir sur ses pas. C'est alors qu'il rencontra les deux Hommes-Porcs que j'avais vus danser le soir de mon arrivée ; ils étaient tachés de sang autour de la bouche et extrêmement agités. Ils arrivaient en brisant les fougères et se figèrent avec des visages féroces quand ils l'aperçurent. Il fit claquer son fouet, et aussitôt ils se précipitèrent sur lui. Jamais auparavant un Homme-Bête n'avait osé faire cela. Il tira dans la tête de l'un ; M’ling se jeta sur l’autre, et les deux roulèrent en luttant. M’ling maîtrisa sa brute puis lui plongea les dents dans la gorge, et Montgomery tira dessus aussi alors qu’il luttait sous la main de M’ling. Il eut du mal à convaincre M’ling de revenir avec lui. De là, ils s'étaient hâtés de revenir vers moi. Sur le chemin, M’ling s'était soudainement précipité dans un fourré et en avait chassé un Homme-Ocelot de petite taille, aussi maculé de sang, et boitillant en raison d'une blessure au pied. Cette brute avait couru sur quelques mètres, puis avait tourné brutalement et Montgomery — avec une certaine vanité, pensais-je — l'avait abattu.

— Qu'est-ce que tout cela signifie ? demandai-je.

Il secoua la tête et se tourna une fois de plus vers le brandy.
unit 1
The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells/Chapter 17.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 2
A CATASTROPHE.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 6
My first friendship with Montgomery did not increase.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 8
Several times I let him go alone among them.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 9
I avoided intercourse with them in every possible way.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 12
It happened in the early morning—I should think about six.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 15
Moreau presently came round the corner of the enclosure and greeted me.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 16
He passed by me, and I heard him behind me unlock and enter his laboratory.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 18
It met its persecutor with a shriek, almost exactly like that of an angry virago.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 19
Then suddenly something happened,—I do not know what, to this day.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 22
I rolled over and over down the beach, tried to sit up, and collapsed upon my broken arm.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 24
He carried a revolver in one hand.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 25
He scarcely glanced at me, but rushed off at once in pursuit of the puma.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 26
I tried the other arm and sat up.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 27
The muffled figure in front ran in great striding leaps along the beach, and Moreau followed her.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 28
She turned her head and saw him, then doubling abruptly made for the bushes.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 29
She gained upon him at every stride.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 31
Then he too vanished in the green confusion.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 32
unit 33
Montgomery appeared in the doorway, dressed, and with his revolver in his hand.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 34
“Great God, Prendick!” he said, not noticing that I was hurt, “that brute’s loose!
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 35
Tore the fetter out of the wall!
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 37
He came forward and took my arm.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 38
“Blood on the sleeve,” said he, and rolled back the flannel.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 39
He pocketed his weapon, felt my arm about painfully, and led me inside.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 41
He slung it from my shoulder, stood back and looked at me.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 42
“You’ll do,” he said.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 43
“And now?” He thought.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 44
Then he went out and locked the gates of the enclosure.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 2 weeks ago
unit 45
He was absent some time.
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 46
I was chiefly concerned about my arm.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 47
The incident seemed merely one more of many horrible things.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 48
I sat down in the deck chair, and I must admit swore heartily at the island.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 50
His face was rather pale, and he showed more of his lower gums than ever.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 51
“I can neither see nor hear anything of him,” he said.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 52
“I’ve been thinking he may want my help.” He stared at me with his expressionless eyes.
3 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 53
“That was a strong brute,” he said.
3 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 55
“I shall go after him,” he said.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 56
“There‘s another revolver I can leave with you.
3 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 58
I did not sit long after he left, but took the revolver in hand and went to the doorway.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 59
The morning was as still as death.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 61
In my half-excited, half-feverish state, this stillness of things oppressed me.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 62
I tried to whistle, and the tune died away.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 63
I swore again,—the second time that morning.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 65
When would they return, and how?
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 69
I got feverish and thirsty.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 70
My shadow grew shorter.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 71
I watched the distant figure until it went away again.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 72
Would Moreau and Montgomery never return?
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 73
Three sea-birds began fighting for some stranded treasure.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 74
Then from far away behind the enclosure I heard a pistol-shot.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 75
A long silence, and then came another.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 76
Then a yelling cry nearer, and another dismal gap of silence.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 77
My unfortunate imagination set to work to torment me.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 78
Then suddenly a shot close by.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 80
His face expressed profound consternation.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 81
unit 82
“Has he come?” said Montgomery.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 83
“Moreau?” said I.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 84
“No.” “My God!” The man was panting, almost sobbing.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 85
“Go back in,” he said, taking my arm.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 86
“They’re mad.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 87
They’re all rushing about mad.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 88
What can have happened?
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 89
I don’t know.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 90
I’ll tell you, when my breath comes.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 91
unit 92
M’ling flung himself down just outside the doorway and began panting like a dog.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 93
I got Montgomery some brandy-and-water.
3 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 94
He sat staring in front of him at nothing, recovering his breath.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 95
After some minutes he began to tell me what had happened.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 96
He had followed their track for some way.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 99
Then M’ling had come to him carrying a light hatchet.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 100
M’ling had seen nothing of the puma affair; had been felling wood, and heard him calling.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 101
They went on shouting together.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 103
He hailed them, and they fled guiltily.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 105
He found the ravine deserted.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 106
Growing more alarmed every minute, he began to retrace his steps.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 108
They came crashing through the ferns, and stopped with fierce faces when they saw him.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 109
He cracked his whip in some trepidation, and forthwith they rushed at him.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 110
Never before had a Beast Man dared to do that.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 111
unit 113
He had some difficulty in inducing M’ling to come on with him.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 114
Thence they had hurried back to me.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 117
“What does it all mean?” said I.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
unit 118
He shook his head, and turned once more to the brandy.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 month, 1 week ago
Gabrielle • 13930  commented on  unit 55  1 month, 1 week ago

The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells/Chapter 17.

A CATASTROPHE.

SCARCELY six weeks passed before I had lost every feeling but dislike and abhorrence for this infamous experiment of Moreau’s. My one idea was to get away from these horrible caricatures of my Maker’s image, back to the sweet and wholesome intercourse of men. My fellow-creatures, from whom I was thus separated, began to assume idyllic virtue and beauty in my memory. My first friendship with Montgomery did not increase. His long separation from humanity, his secret vice of drunkenness, his evident sympathy with the Beast People, tainted him to me. Several times I let him go alone among them. I avoided intercourse with them in every possible way. I spent an increasing proportion of my time upon the beach, looking for some liberating sail that never appeared,—until one day there fell upon us an appalling disaster, which put an altogether different aspect upon my strange surroundings.

It was about seven or eight weeks after my landing,—rather more, I think, though I had not troubled to keep account of the time,—when this catastrophe occurred. It happened in the early morning—I should think about six. I had risen and breakfasted early, having been aroused by the noise of three Beast Men carrying wood into the enclosure.

After breakfast I went to the open gateway of the enclosure, and stood there smoking a cigarette and enjoying the freshness of the early morning. Moreau presently came round the corner of the enclosure and greeted me. He passed by me, and I heard him behind me unlock and enter his laboratory. So indurated was I at that time to the abomination of the place, that I heard without a touch of emotion the puma victim begin another day of torture. It met its persecutor with a shriek, almost exactly like that of an angry virago.

Then suddenly something happened,—I do not know what, to this day. I heard a short, sharp cry behind me, a fall, and turning saw an awful face rushing upon me,—not human, not animal, but hellish, brown, seamed with red branching scars, red drops starting out upon it, and the lidless eyes ablaze. I threw up my arm to defend myself from the blow that flung me headlong with a broken forearm; and the great monster, swathed in lint and with red-stained bandages fluttering about it, leapt over me and passed. I rolled over and over down the beach, tried to sit up, and collapsed upon my broken arm. Then Moreau appeared, his massive white face all the more terrible for the blood that trickled from his forehead. He carried a revolver in one hand. He scarcely glanced at me, but rushed off at once in pursuit of the puma.

I tried the other arm and sat up. The muffled figure in front ran in great striding leaps along the beach, and Moreau followed her. She turned her head and saw him, then doubling abruptly made for the bushes. She gained upon him at every stride. I saw her plunge into them, and Moreau, running slantingly to intercept her, fired and missed as she disappeared. Then he too vanished in the green confusion.

I stared after them, and then the pain in my arm flamed up, and with a groan I staggered to my feet. Montgomery appeared in the doorway, dressed, and with his revolver in his hand.

“Great God, Prendick!” he said, not noticing that I was hurt, “that brute’s loose! Tore the fetter out of the wall! Have you seen them?” Then sharply, seeing I gripped my arm, “What’s the matter?”

“I was standing in the doorway,” said I.

He came forward and took my arm. “Blood on the sleeve,” said he, and rolled back the flannel. He pocketed his weapon, felt my arm about painfully, and led me inside. “Your arm is broken,” he said, and then, “Tell me exactly how it happened—what happened?”

I told him what I had seen; told him in broken sentences, with gasps of pain between them, and very dexterously and swiftly he bound my arm meanwhile. He slung it from my shoulder, stood back and looked at me.

“You’ll do,” he said. “And now?”

He thought. Then he went out and locked the gates of the enclosure. He was absent some time.

I was chiefly concerned about my arm. The incident seemed merely one more of many horrible things. I sat down in the deck chair, and I must admit swore heartily at the island. The first dull feeling of injury in my arm had already given way to a burning pain when Montgomery reappeared. His face was rather pale, and he showed more of his lower gums than ever.

“I can neither see nor hear anything of him,” he said. “I’ve been thinking he may want my help.” He stared at me with his expressionless eyes. “That was a strong brute,” he said. “It simply wrenched its fetter out of the wall.” He went to the window, then to the door, and there turned to me. “I shall go after him,” he said. “There‘s another revolver I can leave with you. To tell you the truth, I feel anxious somehow.”

He obtained the weapon, and put it ready to my hand on the table; then went out, leaving a restless contagion in the air. I did not sit long after he left, but took the revolver in hand and went to the doorway.

The morning was as still as death. Not a whisper of wind was stirring; the sea was like polished glass, the sky empty, the beach desolate. In my half-excited, half-feverish state, this stillness of things oppressed me. I tried to whistle, and the tune died away. I swore again,—the second time that morning. Then I went to the corner of the enclosure and stared inland at the green bush that had swallowed up Moreau and Montgomery. When would they return, and how? Then far away up the beach a little grey Beast Man appeared, ran down to the water’s edge and began splashing about. I strolled back to the doorway, then to the corner again, and so began pacing to and fro like a sentinel upon duty. Once I was arrested by the distant voice of Montgomery bawling, “Coo-ee— Mor-eau!” My arm became less painful, but very hot. I got feverish and thirsty. My shadow grew shorter. I watched the distant figure until it went away again. Would Moreau and Montgomery never return? Three sea-birds began fighting for some stranded treasure.

Then from far away behind the enclosure I heard a pistol-shot. A long silence, and then came another. Then a yelling cry nearer, and another dismal gap of silence. My unfortunate imagination set to work to torment me. Then suddenly a shot close by. I went to the corner, startled, and saw Montgomery,—his face scarlet, his hair disordered, and the knee of his trousers torn. His face expressed profound consternation. Behind him slouched the Beast Man, M’ling, and round M’ling’s jaws were some queer dark stains.

“Has he come?” said Montgomery.

“Moreau?” said I. “No.”

“My God!” The man was panting, almost sobbing. “Go back in,” he said, taking my arm. “They’re mad. They’re all rushing about mad. What can have happened? I don’t know. I’ll tell you, when my breath comes. Where’s some brandy?”

Montgomery limped before me into the room and sat down in the deck chair. M’ling flung himself down just outside the doorway and began panting like a dog. I got Montgomery some brandy-and-water. He sat staring in front of him at nothing, recovering his breath. After some minutes he began to tell me what had happened.

He had followed their track for some way. It was plain enough at first on account of the crushed and broken bushes, white rags torn from the puma’s bandages, and occasional smears of blood on the leaves of the shrubs and undergrowth. He lost the track, however, on the stony ground beyond the stream where I had seen the Beast Man drinking, and went wandering aimlessly westward shouting Moreau’s name. Then M’ling had come to him carrying a light hatchet. M’ling had seen nothing of the puma affair; had been felling wood, and heard him calling. They went on shouting together. Two Beast Men came crouching and peering at them through the undergrowth, with gestures and a furtive carriage that alarmed Montgomery by their strangeness. He hailed them, and they fled guiltily. He stopped shouting after that, and after wandering some time farther in an undecided way, determined to visit the huts.

He found the ravine deserted.

Growing more alarmed every minute, he began to retrace his steps. Then it was he encountered the two Swine-men I had seen dancing on the night of my arrival; blood-stained they were about the mouth, and intensely excited. They came crashing through the ferns, and stopped with fierce faces when they saw him. He cracked his whip in some trepidation, and forthwith they rushed at him. Never before had a Beast Man dared to do that. One he shot through the head; M’ling flung himself upon the other, and the two rolled grappling. M’ling got his brute under and with his teeth in its throat, and Montgomery shot that too as it struggled in M’ling’s grip. He had some difficulty in inducing M’ling to come on with him. Thence they had hurried back to me. On the way, M’ling had suddenly rushed into a thicket and driven out an undersized Ocelot-man, also blood-stained, and lame through a wound in the foot. This brute had run a little way and then turned savagely at bay, and Montgomery—with a certain wantonness, I thought—had shot him.

“What does it all mean?” said I.

He shook his head, and turned once more to the brandy.