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ceremonies used when approach- derstand, he groaned.

I've ing Mr Kurtz,' I shouted. been doing my best to keep him Curious, this feeling that came alive, and that's enough. I had that those details no hand in all this.

I have no would be more intolerable to abilities. There hasn't been a hear than those heads drying drop of medicine or a mouthful on stakes under Mr Kurtz's of invalid food for months here. windows were to see. After He was shamefully abandoned. all, that was only a savage A man like this, with such sight, while I seemed at one ideas. Shamefully! Shamefulbound to have been transported ly! I–I—haven't slept for the into some lightless region of last ten nights. subtle horrors, where pure, un

“ His voice lost itself in the complicated savagery was a calm of the evening. The long positive relief, being something shadows of the forest had that had a right to exist, ob- slipped down hill while we viously in the sunshine. The talked, had gone far beyond young man looked at me with the ruined hovel, beyond the surprise. I suppose it did not symbolic row of stakes. All occur to him Mr Kurtz was this was in the gloom, while we no idol of mine. He forgot down there were yet in the I hadn't heard any of these sunshine, and the stretch of the splendid monologues on, what river abreast of the clearing was it? on love, justice, con- glittered in a still and dazzling duct of life—or what not. If splendour, with a murky and it had come to crawling before overshadowed band above and Mr Kurtz, he crawled as much below. Not a living soul was as the veriest savage of them seen on the shore. The bushes all. I had no idea of the con- did not rustle. ditions, he said : these heads Suddenly round the corner were the

heads of rebels. I of the house a group of men shocked him excessively by appeared. It was as though laughing. Rebels! What would they had come up from the be the next definition I was to ground. They waded waisthear? There had been enemies, deep in the grass, in a compact criminals, workers-and these body, bearing an improvised were rebels. Those rebellious stretcher in their midst. Inheads looked very pacific to me stantly, in the emptiness of the

their sticks. You don't landscape, a cry arose whose know how such a life tries a shrillness pierced the still air man like Kurtz,' cried Kurtz's like a sharp arrow flying last disciple. Well, and you?' straight to the very heart of I said. "I! I! I am a simple the land; and, as if by en

I have no great thoughts. chantment, streams of human I want nothing from anybody. beings—of naked human beings How can you compare me to -with spears in their hands,

.?' His feelings were too with bows, with shields, with much for speech, and suddenly wild glances and savage movehe broke down, 'I don't un- ments, were poured into the

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clearing by the dark-faced and glittering bronze. I saw him pensive forest. The bushes open his mouth wide—it gave shook, the grass swayed for a him a weirdly voracious aspect, time, and then everything stood as though he had wanted to still in attentive immobility. swallow all the air, all the “Now, if he does not speak earth, all the

before to them we are all done for,' him. A deep sound reached said the Russian at my elbow. me faintly. He must have The knot of men with the been shouting. He fell back stretcher had stopped too, half- suddenly. The stretcher shook

the steamer, if as the bearers staggered forpetrified.

I saw the man on ward again, and almost at the the stretcher sit up, lank and same time I noticed that the with an uplifted arm, above the crowd of savages had already shoulders of the bearers. 'Let diminished, was vanishing withus hope that the man who can out any perceptible movement talk so well of love in general of retreat, as if the forest that will find some particular reason had ejected these beings so to spare us this time,'I said. I suddenly had drawn them in resented bitterly the absurd again as the breath is drawn in danger of our situation, as if a long aspiration. to be at the mercy of the “Some of the pilgrims behind atrocious phantom who ruled the stretcher carried his arms-this land had been a dishonour- two shot-guns, a heavy rifle, ing necessity. I could not hear and a light revolver-carbineanything, but through my the thunderbolts of that pitiful glasses I saw the thin arm Jupiter. The manager bent extended commandingly, the over him murmuring as he lower jaw moving, the eyes of walked beside his head. They that apparition shining darkly laid him down in one of the far in his bony head that little cabins, just a room for nodded with grotesque jerks. a bed-place and a camp-stool Kurtz - Kurtz that

or two, you know. We had short in German - don't it? brought his belated corresponWell, the name was as true dence, and a lot of torn envelas everything else in his life-opes and open letters littered and death. He looked at least his bed. His hand roamed seven feet long. His covering feebly amongst these papers. I had fallen off, and his i body was struck by the fire of his emerged from it pitiful and eyes and the composed languor appalling as from a winding- of his expression. It was not sheet. I could see the cage of much the exhaustion of his ribs all astir, the bones of disease. He did not seem in his arm waving.

It was

as pain. This shadow looked though an animated image of satiated and calm, as though death carved out of old ivory for the moment it had had its had been shaking its hand with fill of all the emotions. menaces at a motionless crowd

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said, 'I am glad.' Somebody bizarre things, charms, gifts of had been writing to him about witch - men, that hung about

These special recommen- her, glittered and trembled at dations again. The volume of every step. She must have had tone he emitted without effort, the value of several elephant almost without the trouble of tusks

tusks upon her. She moving his lips, amazed me. A savage and superb, wild-eyed voice ! a voice! It was grave, and magnificent; there profound, vibrating, while the something ominous and stately man did not seem capable of in

her
deliberate

progress. a whisper. However, he had And in the hush that had enough strength in him – fallen suddenly upon the whole factitious no doubt. - to very sorrowful land, the immense nearly make an end of us, as wilderness, the colossal body you shall hear directly.

of the fecund and mysterious The manager appeared in life seemed to look at her as the doorway, so I stepped out though it had been looking at at once and he drew the curtain the image of its own tenebrous after me. The Russian, eyed and passionate soul. curiously by the pilgrims, was “And we men also looked at staring at the shore. I fol- her—at any rate I looked at lowed the direction of his her. She came abreast of the glance.

steamer, stood still, and faced “ Several bronze figures could Her long shadow fell to be made out in the distance, the water's edge. Her face moving indistinctly against the had a tragic and fierce aspect gloomy border of the forest, of wild sorrow and of dumb and near the river two were fear mingled with the pain standing leaning on spears in of a struggling, half - shaped the sunlight, under fantastic emotion. She stood looking head-dresses of spotted skins, at us without stir, and warlike, and still in statuesque like the wilderness itself with repose. And from right to left an air of brooding over along the lighted shore moved inscrutable purpose. A whole a wild and gorgeous apparition minute passed, and then she of a woman.

made a step forward. There " She walked with measured was a low jingle, a glint of steps, draped in striped and yellow metal, a sway of fringed fringed cloths, treading the draperies, and she stopped. earth proudly, with a slight Had her heart failed her, or jingle and flash of barbarous had her eyes, veiled with that ornaments. She carried her mournfulness that lies over all head high ; her hair was done the wild things of the earth, in the shape of a helmet; she seen the hopelessness of longing had brass leggings to the knee, that will find out sometimes brass wire gauntlets to the even a savage soul in the lonely elbow, a crimson spot on her darkness of its being ? Who tawny cheek, innumerable neck- can tell. Perhaps she did not laces of glass beads on her neck; know herself. The young fel

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low by my side growled. The “At this moment I heard pilgrims murmured at my back. Kurtz's deep voice behind the She looked at us all as if her curtain, 'Save me!

save the life depended upon the un- ivory, you mean. Don't tell me. gwerving steadiness her Save me! Why, I've had to glance. Suddenly she opened save you. You are interrupting her bared arms and

threw my plans now. Sick! Sick! them up rigid above her head, Not so sick as you would like as though in an uncontrollable to believe. Never mind. I'll desire to touch the sky, and at carry my ideas out yet—I will the same time the shadows of return. I'll show you what her arms darted out on the be done. You with your little earth, swept around on the peddling notions—you are in

— river, gathering the steamer terfering with me.

I will reinto a shadowy embrace. Her turn. I ...' sudden gesture seemed to de- “The manager came out. He mand a cry, but the unbroken did me the honour to take me silence that hung the under the arm and lead me scene was more formidable than aside. • He is very low, very any sound could be.

low,' he said. He considered “She turned, walked on, fol- it necessary to sigh, but forgot lowing the bank, and passed to be consistently sorrowful. into the bushes to the left. · We have done all we could Once only her eyes gleamed for him — haven't we? But back at us in the dusk of the there is no disguising the fact, thickets and she disappeared. Mr Kurtz has done more harm

“If she had offered to come than good to the Company. He aboard I think I would have did not see the time was not tried to shoot her,' said the man ripe for vigorous action. Cauof patches, nervously. “I had tiously, cautiously, that's my been risking my life every day principle

. We must be cautious for the last fortnight to keep yet. The district is closed to her out of the house. She got us for a time.

Deplorable! in once and kicked up a row Upon the whole, the trade about those miserable rags I will suffer. I don't deny there picked up in the storeroom to is a remarkable quantity of mend my clothes with. I was ivory—mostly fossil. We must not decent. At least it must save it, at all events—but look have been that, for she talked how precarious the position to Kurtz for an hour, point- is — and why? Because the ing at me now and then. I method is unsound.' 'Do you,' don't understand the dialect said I, looking at the shore, of this tribe. Luckily for me, "call it “unsound method " ?'

'

” Kurtz felt too ill that day. Without doubt,' he exclaimed, to care, or there would have hotly. · Don't

you

?' 'No been mischief. I don't under method at all,' I murmured. stand. . . No—it's too much 'Exactly,' he exulted. "I an

Ah, well, it's all over ticipated this. A complete now.'

want of judgment.

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It is my

on me.

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duty to point it out in the it happens, I am Mr Kurtz's proper quarter.' 'Oh,' said I, friend—in a way.' that fellow-what's his name? “He stated with a good deal —the brickmaker, will make a of formality that had we not readable report for you. He been of the same profession,' appeared confounded for a mo- he would have kept the matter ment. It seemed to me I had 'to himself without regard to never breathed an atmosphere consequences. He suspected so vile, and I turned mentally there was an active ill-will toto Kurtz for relief—positively wards him on the part of these for relief. Nevertheless I think white men that

"You are Mr Kurtz is a remarkable man,' right,' I said, remembering a I said with emphasis. He certain conversation I had overstarted, dropped on me a cold heard. * The manager thinks heavy glance, said very quietly, you ought to be hanged. He *He was,' and turned his back showed a concern at this in

My hour of favour was telligence which astonished me

I found myself lumped at first. 'I had better get out along with Kurtz as a partisan of the way quietly,' he said, of methods for which the time earnestly. “I can do no more was not ripe. I was unsound. for Kurtz now, and they would Ah! but it was something to soon find a pretext.

What's have at least a choice of night to stop them? There's a mili

tary post three hundred miles I had turned to the wilder- from here. Well, upon my ness really, not to Mr Kurtz, word,' said I, perhaps you who, I was ready to admit, was had better go if you have any as good as buried.

And for a friends amongst the savages moment it seemed to me as if I near by.' * Plenty,' he said. also were buried in a vast grave “They are simple people—and full of unspeakable secrets. I I want nothing, you know.' felt an intolerable weight op- He stood biting his lip, then: pressing my breast, the smell of 'I don't want any harm to the damp earth, the unseen happen to these whites here, presence of victorious corrup- but of course I was thinking tion, the darkness of an im- of Mr Kurtz's reputation—but penetrable night. The Russian you are a brother seaman and tapped me on the shoulder.

All right,' said I, after I heard him mumbling and

a time.

Mr Kurtz's reputastammering something about tion is safe with me. I did not brother seaman—couldn't con- know how truly I spoke. ceal — knowledge of matters “He informed me, lowering that would affect Mr Kurtz's his voice, that it was Kurtz reputation.' I waited. For who had ordered the attack to him evidently Mr Kurtz was be made on the steamer. He not in his grave. I suspect hated sometimes the idea of that for him Mr Kurtz was being taken away and then one of the immortals.

· Well!' again.

But I don't undersaid I at last, 'speak out. As stand these matters. I am a

mares.

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