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the vicarage and ordered the how it came to be so, and it vicar to illuminate, and to give was supposed to have been prethem the keys of the church in pared for some journey which order that they might ring the had to be suddenly abandoned, bells. The poor vicar was so and that it had been totally frightened that he ran up to his forgotten. Some robbers broke bedroom, whence he threw the into Northumberland House inkeys out of the window, and tending to carry off the plate. soon we heard a merry peal of They had penetrated into the bells.
plate-room, and were about to
depart with their booty, when Speaking of family anec- one of them happened to touch dotes, my father told me that an old silver doll which had a in his grandfather's time a clock-work mechanism inside it,
trunk, evidently made to fit and it began to walk. The into a carriage, was found in a thieves were
so terrified that lumber-room at Alnwick Castle. they fled, leaving everything On being opened, it was dis- behind them. The doll is at covered to be filled with gold Alnwick, and still, I believe, pieces. Nobody alive knew walks.
THE HEART OF DARKNESS.1
BY JOSEPH CONRAD.
“ONE evening as I was lying away with this difficulty for flat on the deck of my steam- you.
Is he alone there?' boat, I heard voices approach- 'Yes,' answered the manager; ing—and there was the nephew 'he sent his assistant down and the uncle strolling along the the river with a note to me bank. I laid my head on my in these terms : 6 Clear this arm again, and had nearly lost poor devil out of the country, myself in a doze, when somebody and don't bother sending more said in my ear, as it were : 'I of that sort. I had rather be am as harmless as a little child, alone than have the kind of but I don't like to be dictated
men you can dispose of with to. Am I the manager-or am
It was more than a year I not? I was ordered to send ago. Can you imagine such him there. It's incredible.' ... impudence ! "Anything since I became aware that the two then ?' asked the other, hoarsewere standing on the shore ly. “Ivory,' jerked the nephew; alongside the forepart of the lots of it-prime sort-lotssteamboat, just below my head. most annoying, from him.' 'And I did not move; it did not oc- with that? questioned the cur to me to move. I was heavy rumble.
· Invoice,' was sleepy. 'It is unpleasant,' the reply fired out, so to speak, grunted the uncle. He has Then silence. They had been asked the Administration to be talking about Kurtz. sent there,' said the other, 'with “I was broad awake by this the idea of showing what he time, but, lying perfectly at ease, could do; and I was instructed remained still, having no inaccordingly. Look at the in- ducement to change my posifluence that man must have. tion. “How did that ivory Is it not frightful ?' They both come all this way?' growled agreed it was frightful, then the elder man, who seemed made several bizarre remarks: very vexed. The other • Make rain and fine weather plained that it had come with
-the Council — by a fleet of canoes in charge of an the nose '-bits of absurd sen- English half-caste clerk Kurtz tences that got the better of had with him ; that Kurtz had my drowsiness, so that I had apparently intended to return pretty near the whole of my himself, the station being by wits about me when the uncle that time bare of goods and said, "The climate may do stores, but after coming three
Copyright, 1899, by S. S. M'Clure Co., in the United States of America.
I did my pos
hundred miles, had suddenly de- talking about now? I gathered cided to go back, which he in snatches that this was some started to do alone in a small man supposed to be in Kurtz's dug - out with four paddlers, district, and of whom the manaleaving the half-caste to con- ger did not approve.
"We will tinue down the river with the not be free from unfair compeivory. The two fellows there tition till one of these fellows seemed astounded at anybody is hanged for an example, he attempting such a thing. They said. "Certainly,' grunted the were at a loss for an adequate other; 'get him hanged! Why motive. As to me, I seemed to not? Anything—anything can see Kurtz for the first time. It be done in this country. That's was a distinct glimpse. The what I say; nobody here, you dug-out, four paddling savages, understand, here, can endanger and the lone white man turning your position. And why? You his back suddenly on the head- stand the climate—you outlast quarters, on relief, on thoughts them all. The danger is in of home-perhaps; setting his Europe ; but there before I left face towards the depths of the I took
They wilderness, towards his empty moved off and whispered, then and desolate station. I did not their voices rose again. know the motive. Perhaps he extraordinary series of delays is was just simply a fine fellow not my fault. who stuck to his work for sible.' The fat man sighed, its own sake. His name, you ‘Very sad.'
· And the pesunderstand, had not been pro- tiferous absurdity of his talk,' nounced once. He was that continued the
'he man.' The half-caste, who, as bothered me enough when he far as I could see,
“Each station should ducted a difficult trip with be like a beacon on the road great prudence and pluck, was towards better things, a centre invariably alluded to as “that for trade of course, but also scoundrel.' The "scoundrel' for humanising, improving, inhad said the 'man' had been structing.” Conceive you—that ill — had recovered. ... The ass ! And he wants to be two below me moved away manager! No, it's—-' Here then a few paces, and strolled he got choked by excessive back and forth at some little indignation, and I lifted my distance. I heard: Military head the least bit. I was surpost doctor two hundred prised to see how near they miles — quite alone now un- were-right under me. I could avoidable delays—nine months have spat upon their hats.
-no news—strange rumours.' They were looking on the They approached again, just as ground, absorbed in thought. the manager was saying, 'No- The manager was switching body unless a species of wander- his leg with a slender twig: ing trader - a pestilential fel- his sagacious relative lifted low, snapping ivory from the his head.
have been natives.' Who was it they were well since you came out this
time?' he asked. The other patient wilderness, that closed
them as the sea closes Oh! Like a charm
over a diver. Long afterwards charm. But the rest—oh, my the news came that all the goodness! All sick. They die donkeys were dead. I know so quick, too, that I haven't nothing as to the fate of the the time to send them out of less valuable animals.
They, the country - it's incredible !'
no doubt, like the rest of us, • H'm. Just so,' grunted the found what they deserved. I uncle. “Ah ! my boy, trust to did not inquire. I was then this—I say, trust to this. I rather excited at the prospect saw him extend his short flip- of meeting Kurtz very soon. per of an arm for a semicircular When I say very soon I mean gesture that took in the forest, comparatively. It was just two the creek, the mud, the river, months from the day we left -seemed to beckon with a dis- the creek when we came to the honouring flourish before the bank below Kurtz's station. sunlit face of the land a treach- ‘Going up that river was erous appeal to the lurking like travelling back to the death, to the hidden evil, to earliest beginnings of the the profound darkness of its world, when vegetation rioted heart. It was so startling that on the earth and the big trees I leaped to my feet and looked were kings. An empty stream, back at the edge of the forest, a great silence, an impenetrable as though I had expected an forest. The air was warm, answer of some sort to that thick, heavy, sluggish. There black display of confidence. was no joy in the brilliance of You know the foolish notions sunshine. The long stretches of that. come to one sometimes. the waterway ran on, deserted, The high stillness confronted into the gloom of overshadowed these two figures with its omin- distances. On silvery sandous patience, waiting for the banks hippos and alligators passing away of a fantastic sunned themselves side by side. invasion.
The broadening waters flowed “They swore aloud together through mob of wooded -out of sheer fright, I believe islands; you lost your way —then pretending not to know on that river as you would in anything of my existence, turned a desert, and butted all day back to the station. The sun long against shoals, trying to was low; and leaning forward find the channel, till you thought side by side, they seemed to be yourself bewitched and cut off tugging painfully uphill their for ever from everything you two ridiculous shadows of un- had known once—somewhereequal length, that trailed be- far away — in another existhind them slowly over the tall perhaps.
There grass without bending a single moments when one's past came blade.
back to one, as it will some“In a few days the Eldorado times when you have not a moExpedition went into the ment to spare to yourself; but
it came in the shape of an un- up the rest of the price. And restful and noisy dream, remem- indeed what does the price matbered with wonder amongst the ter, if the trick be well done? overwhelming realities of this You do your tricks very well. strange world of plants, and And I didn't do badly either, water, and silence. And this since I managed not to sink stillness of life did not in the that steamboat on my
first trip. least resemble a peace.
It's a wonder to me yet.
Imthe stillness of an implacable agine a blindfolded man set to force brooding over an inscrut- drive a van over a bad road. able intention. It looked at I sweated and shivered over you with a vengeful aspect. I that business considerably, I got used to it afterwards; I can tell you. After all, for a did not see it any more; I had seaman, to scrape the bottom no time. I had to keep guess- of the thing that's supposed to ing at the channel ; I had to float all the time under his care discern, mostly by inspiration, is the unpardonable sin. No the signs of hidden banks; I one may know of it, but you watched for sunken stones; I never forget the thump -- eh? was learning to clap my teeth A blow on the very heart. You smartly before my heart flew remember it, you dream of it, out, when I shaved by a fluke you wake up at night and think some infernal sly old snag that of it-years after—and go hot would have ripped the life out and cold all over. of the tin - pot steamboat and tend to say that steamboat drowned all the pilgrims; I had floated all the time. More than to keep a look-out for the signs once she had to wade for a bit, of dead wood we could cut up with twenty cannibals splashing in the night for next day's around and pushing. We had steaming. When you have to enlisted some of these chaps on attend to things of that sort, the way for a crew. Fine felto the mere incidents of the lows-cannibals—in their place. surface, the reality-the reality, They were men one could work I tell you-fades. The inner with, and I am grateful to them. truth is hidden-luckily, luckily. And, after all, they did not But I felt it all the same; I felt eat each other before my face : often its mysterious stillness they had brought along a prowatching me at my monkey vision of hippo-meat which went tricks, just as it watches you rotten, and made the mystery fellows performing on your of the wilderness stink in my respective tight - ropes for- nostrils. Phoo! I can sniff what is it? half - a - crown
I had the manager on tumble
board and three or four pilgrims “ Try to be civil, Marlow," with their staves—all complete. growled a voice, and I knew Sometimes we came upon there was at least one listener station close by the bank, clingawake besides myself.
ing to the skirts of the unknown, “I beg your pardon. I for- and the white men rushing out got the heartache which makes of a tumble-down hovel, with
I don't pre