Edward Prendick / The Narrator Quotes in The Island of Dr. Moreau
I would not draw lots, however, and in the night the sailor whispered to Helmar again and again, and I sat in the bows with my clasp-knife in my hand—though I doubt I had the stuff in me to fight. And in the morning I agreed to Helmar’s proposal, and we handed halfpence to find to the odd man.
But certainly when I told the captain to shut up I had forgotten I was merely a bit of human flotsam, cut off from my resources, and with my fare unpaid, a mere casual dependent on the bounty—or speculative enterprise—of the ship. He reminded me of it with considerable vigor. But at any rate I prevented a fight.
It was not the first time that conscience has turned against the methods of research. The doctor was simply howled out of the country…He might have purchased his social peace by abandoning his investigations, but he apparently preferred the latter, as most men would who have once fallen under the over-mastering spell of research.
A horrible fancy came into my head that Moreau, after animalizing these men, had infected their dwarfed brains with a kind of deification of himself.
“For every one the want that is bad,” said the grey Sayer of the Law. “What you will want, we do not know. We shall know. Some want to follow things that move, to watch and slink and wait and spring, to kill and bite, deep and rich, sucking the blood…It is bad. ‘Not to chase other Men; that is the Law. Are we not Men?’”
But as I say, I was too full of excitement, and—a true saying, though those who have never known danger may doubt it—too desperate to die.
“You forget all that a skilled vivisector can do with living things,” said Moreau. “For my own part I’m puzzled why the things I have done here have not been done before.”
“So long as visible or audible pain turns you sick, so long as your own pain drives you, so long as pain underlies your propositions about sin, so long, I tell you, you are an animal, thinking a little less obscurely than an animal feels.”
“It looked quite human to me when I had finished it, but when I went to it I was discontented with it; it remembered me, and was terrified beyond imagination, and it had no more than the wits of a sheep. The more I looked the clumsier it seemed, until at last I put the monster out of its misery.”
“[The Beast Folk] build themselves dens, gather fruit and pull herbs—marry even. But I can see through it all, see into their very souls, and see there nothing but the souls of beasts, beasts that perish—anger, and the lusts to live and gratify themselves…Yet they’re odd. Complex, like everything else alive. There is a kind of upward striving in them, part vanity, part waste sexual emotion, part waste curiosity.”
I say I became habituated to the Beast People, that a thousand things that had seemed unnatural and repulsive speedily became natural and ordinary to me. I suppose everything in existence takes its color from the average hue of our surroundings: Montgomery and Moreau were too peculiar to keep my general impression of humanity well defined.
“Hail,” said they, “to the Other with the whip!”
“There’s a third with a whip now,” said Montgomery, so you’d better mind!”
“Was he not made?” said the Ape Man. “He said—he said he was made.”
“Who breaks the Law—” said Moreau, taking his eyes off his victim and turning towards us. It seemed to me there was a touch of exultation in his voice.
“—goes back to the House of Pain,” they all clamored; “goes back to the House of Pain, O Master!”
A strange persuasion came upon me that, save for the grossness of the line, the grotesqueness of the forms, I had here before me the whole balance of human life in miniature, the whole interplay of instinct, reason, and fate, in its simplest form.
[Montgomery] cracked his whip in some trepidation, and forthwith [the Beast Folk] rushed at him. Never before had a Beast Man dared to do that.
“Children of the Law,” I said, “He is not dead…he has changed his shape—he has changed his body,” I went on. “For a time you will not see him. He is…there”—I pointed upward— “where he can watch you. You cannot see him. But he can see you. Fear the Law.”
We locked ourselves in, and then took Moreau’s mangled body into the yard, and laid it upon a pile of brushwood.
Then we went into the laboratory and put an end to all we found living there.
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 was perhaps a dozen seconds collecting myself. Then I cried, “Salute! Bow down!”
[The Hyena-Swine’s] teeth flashed upon me in a snarl. “Who are you, that I should…”
Perhaps a little too spasmodically, I drew my revolver, aimed, and quickly fired…[and] knew I had missed.
“’We have no Master, no Whips, no House of Pain any more. There is an end. We love the Law, and will keep it; but there is no pain, no Master, no Whips forever again.’ So they say.”
There is, though I do not know how there is or why there is, a sense of infinite peace and protection in the glittering hosts of heaven. There it must be, in the vast and eternal laws of matter, and not in the daily care and sins and troubles of men, that whatever is more than animal within us must find its solace and its hope.