Monday, December 7, 2015

Moreau XIX: Montgomery's Bank Holiday

Chapter XIX: "Montgomery's Bank Holiday"

Once they've finished piling the corpses of Moreau's victims atop Moreau himself, Prendick and Montgomery sit down together to plan out their future. Prendick wants them to leave the island, but Montgomery insists that's out of the question. Whatever it was that Montgomery did to get himself exiled from England, he's convinced that there's no going back for him.

Montgomery starts drinking again, and while he's sozzled, he decides to share his brandy with the uplifted animals. When Prendick tries to stop him, Montgomery pulls a pistol on him, and Prendick relents. After Montgomery leaves, Prendick starts making plans to leave the island himself. Under the light of a full moon he goes into the supply shed and starts gathering food and other supplies for the journey.

Prendick's preparations are interrupted when he hears a shot fired outside the compound. In the dawn's early light he finds a crowd of uplifted animals gathered around a bonfire. He fires his pistol and most of them scatter. All that remain are Montgomery and four of the uplifts, all lying on the ground. All but one of the uplifts, including the Speaker of the Law and M'ling, are dead. The only survivors are Montgomery himself and an uplifted wolf who has been so badly burned that Prendick shoots him. Montgomery has been throttled by the Speaker of the Law, and is dying.

While he stares at the scene in front of him, Prendick hears a thud and hiss behind him. He sees that the compound is on fire, and realizes that he must have upset his oil lamp when he ran outside. Then he looks back and realizes that Montgomery built the bonfire by chopping up the boats. Montgomery dies as the sun rises, and Prendick sees three uplifted animals emerge from the brush. Prendick is the last human on the island.

The casual detail of the full moon allows us to assign a date to Montgomery's Bank Holiday.The Lady Vain went down on February 1, 1887. Prendick drifted in the Lady Vain's boat for eight days, and was rescued on February 9. Two days later, Prendick revives, and shares his story with Montgomery. The next day, February 12, Prendick is stranded on the island of Dr. Moreau. Seven or eight weeks later, or possibly more, the puma escapes and Moreau is killed. Seven weeks would bring us to April 2, and eight weeks to April 9. The full moon falls on April 8, so Moreau's death would mostly likely have taken place on Thursday, April 7, and chapter XIX ends with the sun rising on the morning of Friday, April 8, 1887.

1 comment:

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