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INTRODUCTION


ON February the First 1887, the Lady Vain was lost by collision
with a derelict when about the latitude 1' S. and longitude 107'
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' 3" S. and longitude 101' 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' S. and longitude 105' 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.)






The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells
Category:
Science Fiction

English
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