The Island of Doctor Moreau
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
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.)