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The Island of Dr. Moreau

The Island of Dr. Moreau

H. G. Wells

Update: 2020-04-22

Introduction

  • ON February the First 1887, the Lady Vain was lost by collision with a
  • derelict when about the latitude 1 degree S. and longitude 107 degrees W.
  • On January the Fifth, 1888—that is eleven months and four days after—my uncle,
  • Edward Prendick, a private gentleman, who certainly went aboard the Lady Vain
  • at Callao, and who had been considered drowned, was picked up in latitude 5
  • degrees 3' S. and longitude 101 degrees W. in a small open boat of which the
  • name was illegible, but which is supposed to have belonged to the missing
  • schooner Ipecacuanha. He gave such a strange account of himself that he was
  • supposed demented. Subsequently he alleged that his mind was a blank from the
  • moment of his escape from the Lady Vain. His case was discussed among
  • psychologists at the time as a curious instance of the lapse of memory
  • consequent upon physical and mental stress. The following narrative was found
  • among his papers by the undersigned, his nephew and heir, but unaccompanied by
  • any definite request for publication.
  • The only island known to exist in the region in which my uncle was picked up
  • is Noble's Isle, a small volcanic islet and uninhabited. It was visited in
  • 1891 by H. M. S. Scorpion. A party of sailors then landed, but found nothing
  • living thereon except certain curious white moths, some hogs and rabbits, and
  • some rather peculiar rats. So that this narrative is without confirmation in
  • its most essential particular. With that understood, there seems no harm in
  • putting this strange story before the public in accordance, as I believe, with
  • my uncle's intentions. There is at least this much in its behalf: my uncle
  • passed out of human knowledge about latitude 5 degrees S. and longitude 105
  • degrees E., and reappeared in the same part of the ocean after a space of
  • eleven months. In some way he must have lived during the interval. And it
  • seems that a schooner called the Ipecacuanha with a drunken captain, John
  • Davies, did start from Africa with a puma and certain other animals aboard in
  • January, 1887, that the vessel was well known at several ports in the South
  • Pacific, and that it finally disappeared from those seas (with a considerable
  • amount of copra aboard), sailing to its unknown fate from Bayna in December,
  • 1887, a date that tallies entirely with my uncle's story.
  • CHARLES EDWARD PRENDICK.
  • (The Story written by Edward Prendick.)