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I shall entitle them Apology for Survivors and Tribute to Malthus. Afraid to go back to the museum to get my things. And. trapped in the smallest. a miracle happened: summer came ahead of time. My books will expose the men who violate the sanctity of forests and deserts. Now I am in the lowlands at the southern part of the island. Afraid to go back to the museum to get my things. what is worse. I realize that there Was no need to run away at all. what is worse. but then. But here I am. where the aquatic plants grow. I hope to write two books. And.THE INVENTION OF MOREL TODAY. Now I am in the lowlands at the southern part of the island. where mosquitoes torment me. As day was breaking. The heat was so intense that after I had been out of the pool for only two or three minutes I Was already bathed in perspiration again. I believe they did not even see me. Those people did not come here • T 1_ _ 1 ' _ .1 _ ready bathed in perspiration again. I ran away down through the ravine. As day was breaking. where the aquatic plants grow. I awoke to the sound of a phonograph record. If I am not drowned or killed trying to escape in the next few days. on this island. I stayed in the water for a long time. without provisions. because it was impossible to sleep. where I find myself waist-deep in dirty streams of sea water. I ran away down through the ravine. Those people did not come here on my account. where mosquitoes torment me. I awoke to the sound of a phonograph record. I moved my bed out by the swimming pool. I am writing this to leave a record of the adverse miracle. I intend to show that the world is an implacable hell for fuzi- . least habitable part of the island-the marshes that the sea floods once each week. I realize that there Was no need to run away at all. where I find myself waist-deep in dirty streams of sea water.
" I interrupted him. because it is known to be the focal point of a mysterious disease. or two at the most. for the hundredth time. The sound of their very loud ph onograph-"Tea for Two" and "Valencia" are th eir favorite records-seems now to be permanently superimposed on th e wind and the sea. stroll up and down. with the eyes of a man who has been condemne d to death. the rug merchant went on talking: "Chinese pirates do not go there. but I have known many people who use such devic es to capture the magic of th e past. From the marshlands with their churning waters I can see th e top of the hill. everything I must hav e if I am to go on living . and a swimming pool on the island. as if this were a summer resort like Los Teques or Marienbad. There are so many things to do on this lonely island! The trees that grow here have such hard wood! And when I see a bird in flight I realize the vastness of the open spac es all around me! An Italian rugseller in Calcutta told me about this plac e. When I was finally able to sleep. But there are no hallucinations or imaginings here: I know th ese people are real-at least as real as I am. As I looked at th e buildings. But there are times when I must stop. I have not slept soundly since my escape. to jail. as they corner me again st th e sea in th e disease-infested marshes. but in the end I managed to obtain his help . yesterday I had no inkling of what was going to happ en. depri ve me of everythi ng I need. I would have heard it . I actually find a certain fascination in watching these odious intruders-it has been so long since I have seen anyone. and swim in th e pool. and the white ship of the Rockefeller Institute never calls at the island. a plane. I watch them unwaveringl y. The work was completed. it was very late. I thought of what a laborious task it must hav e been to bring so many stones here. The music and the shouting woke me up a few hours later. and the peopl e who have taken up residence in the museum. But I am exaggerating. and then abandoned. This plac e could 11 . He said (in his own language): "There is onl y one possible place for a fugitive like you-it is an uninhabited island. without nails on their fingers or to esall dead.AD OLFO BIOY CA SARES TH E IN V ENTI O N O F MO REL page. They are my unconscious ene m ies who. or any oth er form of transportation had arrived. And yet suddenly. the hair fall s out. constan tly. I wanted to know how to reach it. The crew of a shi p that had stopped th ere were skinless. I slept in this deserted place. I have so much work to do. th e grassy hillside has become crowded with peopl e who dance. on this oppressive su m merlike night. unmindful of the snakes at th eir feet . I am sure that if a ship. of course-when th ey were found by the Japanese cruiser Namura . Around 1924 a group of white men built a museum. and the body lives on for one week. after the necessary ceremonies or conferences have been held. Last night. but a human being cannot live there. a fatal disease that attacks th e outside of the body and then works inward. It would have been easy enough. unac10 coun tably.and far more practical-to build an outdoor oven. First of all. The nails drop off the fingers and toes . The fact that their clothes are from another era indicat es that they are a group of eccentrics." But m y life was so unbearable that I decided to go there anyway. The Italian tried to dissuade me. a chapel. The skin and the corneas of the eyes die. They are dancing on th e grassy hillside as I write. I suppose someone might attribute th eir mysterious appearance to th e effect of last night's heat on my brain. Perhaps watching them is a dangerous pastime: like every group of civilized men th ey no doubt have a network of consular establishments and a file of fingerprints that can send me. The horrified Japanese sank their ship. hairless.
If I must resign myself to that. I had lost my bearings. or that they may find me if they come down to this part of the island. a mistake would fill my lungs with water. Spring. or Lagoon. But once a week there are tides that can put an end to everything. (Editor's Not e. nor can anything be done with those on the bank: the slightest pressure destroys them. I shall adopt the motto of Leonardo-Ostinato tigote-s-es my own. But the trees seem to be diseased. reliving that horrible experience. Living on these sandbanks is dreadful at a time like this. summer. will doubt that they condemned me unjustly. The trees on the hill have grown so hard that it is impossible to cut them. autumn. I have the uncomfortable sensation that this paper is changing into a will. incredibly. and endeavor to live up to it. each one invading the time and the place of the others in a tangled ma ss . He fed me for several days while I hid in one of his Persian rugs. The boat ran aground on the sands at the eastern side of the island (the coral reefs must have been submerged). knowing that I was accused of duplicity. The coconut is th e only tree that grows in their coral sand s. sometimes earlier.ADOLFO BIOY CASARE S THE INVENTION OF MOREL kill even a seasoned islander. and arrived. some spongy splinters. and belongs to the archipelago of the Ellice Islands. and flowers overtake each other with urgency.) The island vegetation is abundant. their upper branches are dry. at my destination (for I did not understand the compass. he gave me instructions and a stolen boat. I find two explanations for this: either the grass is sapping the strength from the soil or else the roots of the trees have reached stone (the fact that the young trees are in good condition seems to confirm the second theory). finally. I am never surprised to wake up and find that I am in the water. I have no tools to work with. and winter plants. A few days ago the tide was higher than any I have seen since I came to the island. I stayed in the boat for more than a day.' More details can be obtained from the rug merchant. The Ellice. I count the days by making gashes in a tree trunk. When it grows dark I make a bed of branches covered with leaves. for I am naturally very grateful to him. grasses. a card from the rug merchant put me in contact with a member of Sicily's best-known society. forgetting that I had arrived at my journey's end.] My book Apology fOI Survivors will enshrine Ombrellieri in the memory of men-the probable loca tion of heaven-as a kind person who helped a poor devil escape from an unjust sentence. From here they look like a race of giants-I can see them better when they approach the ravine. In Rabaul. He mentions a hill and several kinds of trees. 13 12 . They are at the top of the hilt while I am far below. Islands are flat. The tide comes in around seven o'clock in the morning. By the moon's metallic gleam (I could smell the stench of the fish canneries). And I have not been here long. although their trunks have vigorous new shoots. Dalmacio Ombrellieri (21 Hyderabad Street. I shall try to make statements that can be verified so that no one. with more urgency to be born than to die. Secondly. and then he put me in the hold of a ship bound for Rabaul. And. haunted by hallucinations). Ramkrishnapur. I believe that this island is called Villings. I rowed frantically. and all that is left is a sticky sawdust. I had no hat and I was ill. there is always the danger that they may see me watching them. Doubtful. (But I do not wish to compromise him in any way. Calcutta). so I must build some sort of shelter to hide in. it is very difficult for me to see them. l.
Four alabaster urns (six m en could hide in each one ] irradiate ele ctric li ght. The buildings are modern. The museum was open whe n I arrived. The chapel is flat . rect angular-it looks like a long box. or a sanatorium. consisting of novels. frogs. 173 71 which I found on a green-m arble she lf . One door 14 -- . and aquatic insects. unadorned. Travaux: Le Moulin Petse. which is som ewhat incongruous with the architectural sty le. built of unpoli shed sto ne.-~ .-. I exam ined the shelves in vain. The swimming pool app ears to be well built. would reach the top floor of the house where I wa s born.. and a cylindrical tower. a kind of assembly hall. The book s im prove the roo m somewha t. The museum is a large building. I wanted to read it because I was intrigued by the name Belidor. we keep insisting on the primary.A DO LFO BI OY C A S A R E S The island has four grassy ravines. and promptly tucked aw ay into a pocket of these now threadbare trou sers. I do not know why the Italian referr ed to it as a museum. and the swimming pool are up on the hill. rudimentary idea: that the whole body should be kept alive. hoping to find some books that would be useful for a res earch pro ject I began before the tri al. Paris . I m oved in at once . drama. has walls of rose colore d marble. po et ry. with their panes of blue glass. (I believe w e lose immortality becau se we h ave not conquered our opposition to death. angular. . In on e room there is a large but incomplete coll ection of books . ) The large room. and I w ondered wh ether the Moulin Perse would help me underst and the mill I saw in the lowl ands of this island. it ha s a covered porch in front and another sma lle r one in the rear. without a visible roof. The museum. We sh ould seek to preserve on ly the part that ha s to do with consciousn ess. three stories hi gh. with greenish streaks that resemble sun ken colum ns . but as it is at ground level it is always fill ed with snakes. The only excepti on wa s a sma ll volume [Belidor. the chapel. It could be a fine hotel for about fifty people. The windows.. there are large boulders in the ravine on the western side.
I recall the pla ce with disgust. and is garlanded by dark plaster leaves. and the walls are lined with books. This room adjoins the large room. but when I decided to break th e wall to see what was behind it I was m otivated by the hop e of finding. The lighted floor and the blacklacquer columns around it give on e the impression of walking mag ically on top of a pool in the midst of a forest . em erge from the water to contaminate the air. that I had dreamed it. The rooms are m odern. I used it to make a small opening in th e wall: a blue light appe ared. for the wall was smo oth and very solid. I went outs ide to see whether it wa s really th ere. the plac e that corresponded to the skylight's position. but still I felt wr etched and uncomfortable. Each god is three times larger than a m an. Hundreds of dead fish were floating on th e water when I arrived. of ocher terracotta. On two occasions I made discoveries in th e basement. another opens onto the round room. Walking through the basem ent. a phonograph. Clearing mine out completely made only a slight improvement. The search was to no avail. The principal staircase is at the end of the hall. or relief at recogniz ing a water pump and a gene rato r. but ecstatic. but even so I was not long in getting them started. It surprises me that th e machines are 17 16 . I know very little about motors. There are some wicker chairs in the room. Now. wa s not visible from the inside. It was. and each group of columns supports a stand with a figure of a seated divinity that appears to be Indian or Egyptian. where huge quantities of fish . with thick panes of glass and iron grat ing. prolonged amazem ent: the wa lls. secret doors. Below them th ere are large panels with drawings by Foujita. and receive a hasty burial at the hands of the outraged populace). and a screen of mirror s. th e ceiling. another. My first reaction was not disappointment at finding no food. or smoked crystal. the floor were of blue tile and even the air itself (in that room where the onl y con tact with the outside wo rld was a high skyligh t obscured by the branch es of a tr ee) had th e deep azure transpar enc y of a waterfall's foam. I returned to the basement and aft er some difficulty I got my bearings and found. partly hidden by th e branches of a cedar tre e. after letting the water run for days and days.AD OL F O BIOY CAS ARES T HE IN V E N TI ON O F MOREL opens on to the hall. I removed an iron bolt from the door. it is elegantly carpeted. and with increasing weariness. I worked with a kind of frenzy and soon I made a hole large enough to crawl through. not machine guns and munitions. There were no more paintings by Picasso. The dining room measures approximately forty feet by fifty. and rem oving them was an obnoxious task . but the food I needed so desperately. The floor of th e circular room is an aquarium. I noticed that the skyli ght I had seen outside. I can still sme ll th e odor of dead fish when I am in the room (it reminds me of the beaches in my coun try. the smalles t one. I th ought that th e wall must surely conceal a hidden treasu re. I looked for crack s. Now when th e rain water is all gon e I can turn on the pump. unpleasant. or assembly hall. which has tw enty panels or more. and a sm all green room with a piano. from the inside. As if I were involve d in an argument with someone who insisted that the skyligh t was not real. is concealed by a screen and opens onto a spiral staircase. dead and alive. The first time I wa s looking for food-the provisions in th e storeroom were growing scarce-and I found the power plant. There are three mahogany columns at each side. or books inscribed by famous peopl e. Invisible glass boxes in the water incase the electric lights that provid e th e only illumination for that windowless room . There are fifteen suites. which present a discordant aspect (because of th eir humility). pretentious.
upstairs. for exam ple. I took a step: through stone arches I saw the same room duplicated eight times in eight dir ections as if it were reflected in mirrors. all through the museum. perhaps minutes. I took another step: the sounds faded away. les s likely. And wh en th ere are no echoes. Are these people connected in some way with the ones who lived here in 1924 ? Did these visitors build the museum. That was the second time I made discoveries in the basement. nightmarish exis tence I was leading. But this time I understood them. at different levels. an d five others in a lower basement. both near and faraway. Then. I sea rche d the house. some close. for there was no mi st ake about it : I had clearly heard m yself surrounded by m oving footsteps all through the building. which abounds in echoes. the chapel. others farther away. mustering my courage. back to the silence. I continued to explore the second basement. that perhaps I may never be. especially. the quiet movement of the centipedes. but which is bombproof.] I went upstairs. She w ears a bright scarf over her dark curls. Annoyed. a second basement. I was ill. arranged symmetrically. she sits with her hands clasped on one knee. an invasion of the police. many dimensions of the same echo. Earl y the next morning I went down to the bas ement again . the sil ence is as h orrible as that heavy weight that keeps you from running away in dreams. Who built this plac e in 1924 or thereabouts? And why did they abandon it? What sort of bombings were they afraid of? And why should men who could plan such a well-constructed building make a shelt er like this. is the sudden arrival of the peopl e who are up on the hill as I write. the swimming pool? I find it difficult to believe that one of them ever stopped list ening to IITea for Two " or "Valencia" long enough to design this building. There was nothing upstairs. I turn on the motors only when it is absolutely necessary to do so. for two or three minutes aft erward. For I have not yet been able to disco ver the purpose of the green motors. There are nine identical rooms in the second basement. The walls we re covered with strips of a m aterial that resembled cork. 19 . and if it w ere not so far from the coast I should imagine it had something to do with the tides. that I knew what to do with them. but I was still uneasy. I can hear the echoes of a sigh. My ineptitude makes me very frugal. a woman. facts. more and more. I forgot the horrible. of course. which tries one's mental equi libriu m : when I sigh. irked by 18 the hiding place I had chosen (I could be seen from the outside. One of these people. the m ost startling of all. situations. They appear to be bomb shelters. or the reason for the mill wheel I saw in the lowlands at the southern tip of the island (it is connected to the basement by an iron pipeline. I discovered a secret door. I dread ed an invasion of ghosts or. But once I had every light in the museum burning all night long. But I was not completely successful and I have come to feel. and with slab s of m arble. From my description the attentive reader can obtain a list of more or less startling objects. so I w ent down to the basement and. I hoped that I might find a medicine cabinet somewhere in the museum. and if I wanted to escape from someone in the room I would have to open a window) . like those bomb shelters I have seen in movies. The same footsteps seemed to su rroun d me again.that night I forgot my sickness. (It reminded me of the way a snowstorm on the cold highlands of m y Venezuela deadens all the noises within earshot . the lonely sound of the sea. could it possibly charge the storage batteries of the power plant?). I entered a many-sided room. I sto od behind a curtain for hours. as if they had been muffled. a stairw ay. in the same room.ADOLFO BIOY CASARES THE IN VENTION OF M OREL relatively uncomplicated and in good condition and. downstairs. sits on the rocks to watch the sunset every afternoon. Then I heard the sound of many footsteps-they were all around me. intermittently escorted by the diligent swarm of echoes.
most of all. I discovered that my nights and days wait for this hour. But still I feel (perhaps I only half believe this) that if she looked at me for a moment. Finding her with the latter today annoyed me. But I must not forget what I now know is true: for my own safety. Their friends were up there. I found some provisions in the storeroom of the museum. because I ran away before they saw me. I cannot account for these surprises. bright-colored scarf on her head. harassed by dirt and whiskers I cannot eradicate. and. life in this area will be even more precarious. I long for the benign presence of this woman. And yet these lines will serve as a precaution. I may be misjudging her. in pain. But surely she will not judge me by my appearance alone. If the tides are always subject to such variations. from relatives. her bosom make her look like one of the Spanish or gypsy girls in those paintings I detest. The sun had already set when I returned: the lonely rocks bore witness to the night. Yesterday. for a long time. Perhaps I am leading myself into a blunder that will have dire consequences. they may be due to mistakes in my calculations. her eyes. I would derive from those simple acts the sort of stimulus a man obtains from friends. I must renounce-once and for all-any help from my fellow men. But I was not able to see her yesterday either. This hope (although it is against my better judgment) must have been whetted by the people who have kept me away from her: the fishermen and the bearded tennis player. That was not so horrible-and the acceptance of that fact brought me peace of mind. She watches the sunset every afternoon. watching them fish.ADOLFO BIOY CA SA RES THE INVENTION OF MOREL her skin is burnished by prenatal suns. who is undoubtedly beautiful. from the woman he loves. with a gypsy 's sensuality and a large. Those who are in a position to sentence others impose penalties that make us value liberty above all things. 20 I tried to elude them from above-impossible. the people who were fishing there made it impossible for me to come any closer. feverish. The woman. But I shall survive it. charred oven I made an inedible bread of flour. I have not had a chance to work on the books that I hope to write as a kind of justification for my shadowy life on this earth. or to a temporary change in the schedule of the high tides. They did not speak to me. Now. from my hiding place I watch her. In a very old. salt. Yesterday I almost drowned. But if I had been asleep early this morning I would be dead now. There were three large floods in the past two weeks. allowing myself just three a 21 . spoke to me only once. The water rose swiftly with that unusual intensity it has once a week. tempered by so many late afternoon suns. perhaps this woman. is a ridiculous figure. for they will stay the same even if my ideas change. and again today. and water. I have been through so much already! I was sick. very busy trying not to die of hunger. But now the woman has changed all that.) I had nothing to hope for. And hope is the one thing I must fear. I studied the marks on the tree. her black hair. After all. I used up the matches. (Although I have been making entries in this diary at regular intervals. will betray me to the police. I used everything that was there. feeling inordinately the weight of my years. The water catches me off guard. As I was on my way to the rocks. I am certain that the greatest difficulty of all will be to survive her first impression of me. Before very long I was eating flour out of the sack (with sips of water) . unable to write (and hating my fel lowmen). When I arrived at the island. of course I am not jealous. and calculated the tide for today. but I cannot forget the power of the law. including some spoiled lamb tongues.