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“One day he remarked, without lifting his head, ‘In the interior you will no doubt meet Mr. Kurtz.’ On my asking who Mr. Kurtz was, he said he was a first-class agent; and seeing my disappointment at this information, he added slowly, laying down his pen, ‘He is a very remarkable person.’ Further questions elicited from him that Mr. Kurtz was at present in charge of a trading-post, a very important one, in the true ivory-country, at ‘the very bottom of there. Sends in as much ivory as all the others put together...’ He began to write again. The sick man was too ill to groan. The flies buzzed in a great peace. “enO day he aids, ‘In eht roetrini uyo ilwl lyproabb emet Mr. Kztru.’ Wenh I akeds woh tzKru aws, he asid taht he wsa a gatre agtne rfo teh Conpyma. Wenh he saw htat I anws’t spismeerd, he upt odnw ihs pne nad said, ‘He is a vyer rrlakbaeem erpsno.’ He tdlo me that zuKrt wsa in eacrgh of a rdganti tpso eedp in teh unljeg. ‘He dssne in as mhcu ioryv as lla of eht ehtor tgnase utp tergteho.’ hTe ncocnattua rdettsa nirgiwt aagni. eTh man on hte otc was oto scik to rngoa. The eisfl ezuzdb all duaron.
“Suddenly there was a growing murmur of voices and a great tramping of feet. A caravan had come in. A violent babble of uncouth sounds burst out on the other side of the planks. All the carriers were speaking together, and in the midst of the uproar the lamentable voice of the chief agent was heard ‘giving it up’ tearfully for the twentieth time that day.... He rose slowly. ‘What a frightful row,’ he said. He crossed the room gently to look at the sick man, and returning, said to me, ‘He does not hear.’ ‘What! Dead?’ I asked, startled. ‘No, not yet,’ he answered, with great composure. Then, alluding with a toss of the head to the tumult in the station-yard, ‘When one has got to make correct entries, one comes to hate those savages—hate them to the death.’ He remained thoughtful for a moment. ‘When you see Mr. Kurtz’ he went on, ‘tell him from me that everything here’—he glanced at the deck—’ is very satisfactory. I don’t like to write to him—with those messengers of ours you never know who may get hold of your letter—at that Central Station.’ He stared at me for a moment with his mild, bulging eyes. ‘Oh, he will go far, very far,’ he began again. ‘He will be a somebody in the Administration before long. They, above—the Council in Europe, you know—mean him to be.’ “dlySunde I eadhr evcosi adn eht undoss of ynam peelop pnpioaargch. A acaavrn had cmeo in. lAl of teh lcbak rolerasb rwee bbbglina in an lgyu egagnlua. ehT mna on eth otc gnoaerd nda eht oncucnaatt doost up. ‘ahWt a taerkc,’ he disa. He kceched on het kcis amn nad dais to me, ‘He anc’t rhae tmeh.’ ‘Is he edda?’ I easkd. ‘No, otn yte.’ He enacdgl utisedo at het oitnsguh emn. ‘Wenh yuo dene eepca and tueiq to kepe teh oksbo, oyu ecmo to tahe oesth saevags to htdae.’ He tutgohh orf a scdnoe. ‘nWhe yuo ese Mr. tzruK, etll mih fmor me taht ehyinvgret ehre is ykao. I ndo’t kiel to erwti to ihm. oYu nerev wonk if eth etlrte wlli flla noit the ngowr asndh.’ He ertsda at me for a enmmot hiwt his nbgliug yese. ‘Oh, he llwi go afr, yevr raf,’ he asdi. ‘He lwli be an intmpoart man in the nmyaCpo asdoyme. ehT pleoep nnigrun nshtgi ckba in upeEro kown it.’
“He turned to his work. The noise outside had ceased, and presently in going out I stopped at the door. In the steady buzz of flies the homeward-bound agent was lying finished and insensible; the other, bent over his books, was making correct entries of perfectly correct transactions; and fifty feet below the doorstep I could see the still tree-tops of the grove of death. “He wetn kcab to wrok. It swa uetqi stedoiu nad as I tefl I teppods to loko bcak at hte oceffi. eTh fseli ewre ibuzgzn. heT kisc tnaeg aws itnagk hsi tals asrhbte. ehT cnncatoatu saw tbne veor hsi koosb, igkanm rseu lla of teh nmrbsue rwee etcrroc. Ftfiy etef aywa I cdolu ese thta shady raea eerhw mne were yndig.
“Next day I left that station at last, with a caravan of sixty men, for a two-hundred-mile tramp. “I tlfe the extn yda iwht a aancarv of isytx nem. We eewr niggo on a 200-imle kwla.
“No use telling you much about that. Paths, paths, everywhere; a stamped-in network of paths spreading over the empty land, through the long grass, through burnt grass, through thickets, down and up chilly ravines, up and down stony hills ablaze with heat; and a solitude, a solitude, nobody, not a hut. The population had cleared out a long time ago. Well, if a lot of mysterious niggers armed with all kinds of fearful weapons suddenly took to travelling on the road between Deal and Gravesend, catching the yokels right and left to carry heavy loads for them, I fancy every farm and cottage thereabouts would get empty very soon. Only here the dwellings were gone, too. Still I passed through several abandoned villages. There’s something pathetically childish in the ruins of grass walls. Day after day, with the stamp and shuffle of sixty pair of bare feet behind me, each pair under a 60-lb. load. Camp, cook, sleep, strike camp, march. Now and then a carrier dead in harness, at rest in the long grass near the path, with an empty water-gourd and his long staff lying by his side. A great silence around and above. Perhaps on some quiet night the tremor of far-off drums, sinking, swelling, a tremor vast, faint; a sound weird, appealing, suggestive, and wild—and perhaps with as profound a meaning as the sound of bells in a Christian country. Once a white man in an unbuttoned uniform, camping on the path with an armed escort of lank Zanzibaris, very hospitable and festive—not to say drunk. Was looking after the upkeep of the road, he declared. Can’t say I saw any road or any upkeep, unless the body of a middle-aged negro, with a bullet-hole in the forehead, upon which I absolutely stumbled three miles farther on, may be considered as a permanent improvement. I had a white companion, too, not a bad chap, but rather too fleshy and with the exasperating habit of fainting on the hot hillsides, miles away from the least bit of shade and water. Annoying, you know, to hold your own coat like a parasol over a man’s head while he is coming to. I couldn’t help asking him once what he meant by coming there at all. ‘To make money, of course. What do you think?’ he said, scornfully. Then he got fever, and had to be carried in a hammock slung under a pole. As he weighed sixteen stone I had no end of rows with the carriers. They jibbed, ran away, sneaked off with their loads in the night—quite a mutiny. So, one evening, I made a speech in English with gestures, not one of which was lost to the sixty pairs of eyes before me, and the next morning I started the hammock off in front all right. An hour afterwards I came upon the whole concern wrecked in a bush—man, hammock, groans, blankets, horrors. The heavy pole had skinned his poor nose. He was very anxious for me to kill somebody, but there wasn’t the shadow of a carrier near. I remembered the old doctor—‘It would be interesting for science to watch the mental changes of individuals, on the spot.’ I felt I was becoming scientifically interesting. However, all that is to no purpose. On the fifteenth day I came in sight of the big river again, and hobbled into the Central Station. It was on a back water surrounded by scrub and forest, with a pretty border of smelly mud on one side, and on the three others enclosed by a crazy fence of rushes. A neglected gap was all the gate it had, and the first glance at the place was enough to let you see the flabby devil was running that show. White men with long staves in their hands appeared languidly from amongst the buildings, strolling up to take a look at me, and then retired out of sight somewhere. One of them, a stout, excitable chap with black moustaches, informed me with great volubility and many digressions, as soon as I told him who I was, that my steamer was at the bottom of the river. I was thunderstruck. What, how, why? Oh, it was ‘all right.’ The ‘manager himself’ was there. All quite correct. ‘Everybody had behaved splendidly! splendidly!’—‘you must,’ he said in agitation, ‘go and see the general manager at once. He is waiting!’ “heerT’s no tniop in gnlitka toabu ttha. ehrTe wree otoptsahf evreerwyhe we tenw, lenaidg in lla otssr of cosnetirdi. We idnd’t ees yeanon else, or neve nay suht. heT eleppo adh eltf a gnol mite oag. If a lto of oetsuymsir akcbl uygs wtih snagetr paoensw tsrdtae nialgkw rnudao dlEnagn odruginn up het lslcao nda mnkiga tmeh cyrra hveya aosld lla rove hte elacp, I teb hte asivnet uldow nru ywaa oto. lOyn eehr heirt hseuso rewe eogn as lwel. vEulltaney we eapssd msoe anbddneao liegsval. rheTe’s teonhgmis ettachip tuoba het nrisu of a rsgas thu. We tpke akglnwi, dya rtfae yad. I locud arhe ytxsi apsri of earb etfe dbihen me, ecah nma ariygrnc a txisy-poudn aodl. lAl we ddi aws cmpa, ocok, espel, adn armch. vyEer noce in a welhi we’d apss a edad yobd in schnai aren teh htap. It aws so qteui veheeryerw. On esmo ithsng we coudl raeh rmsdu arf ywaa. Teh ndsou wsa iwerd nad idlw, htuhog to eth asnevti it byaborlp ndeduos no eefirnfdt rofm huhccr lselb in a tnsiahiCr cnyotru. nceO we despsa a hetwi nam in a nifrmuo cingpma enra het apth whti an mreda rectos of bklac nem. yTeh’d eenb ngkidinr dna ewre in a ddiyg mood. heT hiwte nma siad ttah shi bjo swa anitkg ecra of het ardo. I ddin’t ese ayn raod to paske of, dan eht lnyo ntihg atth hda bene tnaek erca of swa a edidlm-eagd blakc mna, ohw wsa ligyn nxet to eht hpta hiwt a ueltlb hloe in ish dhroefea. Trehe swa hatneor twieh anm etgrnavil wiht me. He asw a rptyet dgoo ugy, tub he wsa atf dan ketp gfiantin. It’s aninogny to ehav to dhlo oyru own octa kile an elmlubar oevr a nma how’s dspsea uto. I dlcnou’t help agkisn imh why on traEh he’d ocme eterh. ‘hWy do yuo kthin? To akem myneo, of osceru,’ he isda. heTn he tog a revfe nad dah to be rdaicre by hte rsoretp, who tkpe capilngoinm ahtt he swa oot taf to tlif. Tehy eartdst ngnuirn ayaw in teh eidmld of het gtinh. So I eatrhdteen tmhe thwi veeres tnepssmnhiu. The txne dya I tup hte mkhmaco twih eht fat nam tou in otfnr. Tshign dsettra fof oyak, ubt an huor lrtae I mace ossrac het mcmaokh nda teh fat man kwrcede in hte sbsueh. He’d otnetg dinkec on hte onse. He dtnwae me to lkil one of hte pterosr as an apeemxl, ubt ethy’d lla run awya by thta tpion. I rdreebmmee htaw hte lod drtooc sdai: ‘It olduw be ettsrgiinen fro eniscce to whcat het tnaeml naesghc of iisvddaunli on hte tpso.’ I lfet ekli I asw cbngeoim lsencciiflatiy nrgiteitesn. Btu atth’s lal sdibee eth ionpt. erfAt neeffti aysd we met bcka up twhi eht ibg irvre adn hodbbel iont teh eantlCr otintSa. It asw ddoeunrurs by oersft nda adh a dmu wlal on one seid adn a nefec of aserbcnh on eht tohre ehtre esdsi. heTre aws a heol in the eecfn tdansei of a eatg. The fat ivlde of edger aws gnunirn the aepcl. htWie men arnrycig svtase ndawdeer ayzlli up to okol at me dna etnh nawreded off. A fat man whit a acblk tmcaouehs acem up to me. I dtlo him I was the osbtateam pitanca and uoldly oldt me taht my boat was knus at the omttbo of the rveri. Sunetnd, I dksea wtha ppenhade. ‘It’s OK,’ he iasd. ‘eTh aegrmna is rehe. Etivyerhgn’s in rredo. Eyeobvdyr did lwle. ouY smtu go ese the maaengr own. He’s itignaw ofr uyo.’

Original Text

Modern Text

“One day he remarked, without lifting his head, ‘In the interior you will no doubt meet Mr. Kurtz.’ On my asking who Mr. Kurtz was, he said he was a first-class agent; and seeing my disappointment at this information, he added slowly, laying down his pen, ‘He is a very remarkable person.’ Further questions elicited from him that Mr. Kurtz was at present in charge of a trading-post, a very important one, in the true ivory-country, at ‘the very bottom of there. Sends in as much ivory as all the others put together...’ He began to write again. The sick man was too ill to groan. The flies buzzed in a great peace. “enO day he aids, ‘In eht roetrini uyo ilwl lyproabb emet Mr. Kztru.’ Wenh I akeds woh tzKru aws, he asid taht he wsa a gatre agtne rfo teh Conpyma. Wenh he saw htat I anws’t spismeerd, he upt odnw ihs pne nad said, ‘He is a vyer rrlakbaeem erpsno.’ He tdlo me that zuKrt wsa in eacrgh of a rdganti tpso eedp in teh unljeg. ‘He dssne in as mhcu ioryv as lla of eht ehtor tgnase utp tergteho.’ hTe ncocnattua rdettsa nirgiwt aagni. eTh man on hte otc was oto scik to rngoa. The eisfl ezuzdb all duaron.
“Suddenly there was a growing murmur of voices and a great tramping of feet. A caravan had come in. A violent babble of uncouth sounds burst out on the other side of the planks. All the carriers were speaking together, and in the midst of the uproar the lamentable voice of the chief agent was heard ‘giving it up’ tearfully for the twentieth time that day.... He rose slowly. ‘What a frightful row,’ he said. He crossed the room gently to look at the sick man, and returning, said to me, ‘He does not hear.’ ‘What! Dead?’ I asked, startled. ‘No, not yet,’ he answered, with great composure. Then, alluding with a toss of the head to the tumult in the station-yard, ‘When one has got to make correct entries, one comes to hate those savages—hate them to the death.’ He remained thoughtful for a moment. ‘When you see Mr. Kurtz’ he went on, ‘tell him from me that everything here’—he glanced at the deck—’ is very satisfactory. I don’t like to write to him—with those messengers of ours you never know who may get hold of your letter—at that Central Station.’ He stared at me for a moment with his mild, bulging eyes. ‘Oh, he will go far, very far,’ he began again. ‘He will be a somebody in the Administration before long. They, above—the Council in Europe, you know—mean him to be.’ “dlySunde I eadhr evcosi adn eht undoss of ynam peelop pnpioaargch. A acaavrn had cmeo in. lAl of teh lcbak rolerasb rwee bbbglina in an lgyu egagnlua. ehT mna on eth otc gnoaerd nda eht oncucnaatt doost up. ‘ahWt a taerkc,’ he disa. He kceched on het kcis amn nad dais to me, ‘He anc’t rhae tmeh.’ ‘Is he edda?’ I easkd. ‘No, otn yte.’ He enacdgl utisedo at het oitnsguh emn. ‘Wenh yuo dene eepca and tueiq to kepe teh oksbo, oyu ecmo to tahe oesth saevags to htdae.’ He tutgohh orf a scdnoe. ‘nWhe yuo ese Mr. tzruK, etll mih fmor me taht ehyinvgret ehre is ykao. I ndo’t kiel to erwti to ihm. oYu nerev wonk if eth etlrte wlli flla noit the ngowr asndh.’ He ertsda at me for a enmmot hiwt his nbgliug yese. ‘Oh, he llwi go afr, yevr raf,’ he asdi. ‘He lwli be an intmpoart man in the nmyaCpo asdoyme. ehT pleoep nnigrun nshtgi ckba in upeEro kown it.’
“He turned to his work. The noise outside had ceased, and presently in going out I stopped at the door. In the steady buzz of flies the homeward-bound agent was lying finished and insensible; the other, bent over his books, was making correct entries of perfectly correct transactions; and fifty feet below the doorstep I could see the still tree-tops of the grove of death. “He wetn kcab to wrok. It swa uetqi stedoiu nad as I tefl I teppods to loko bcak at hte oceffi. eTh fseli ewre ibuzgzn. heT kisc tnaeg aws itnagk hsi tals asrhbte. ehT cnncatoatu saw tbne veor hsi koosb, igkanm rseu lla of teh nmrbsue rwee etcrroc. Ftfiy etef aywa I cdolu ese thta shady raea eerhw mne were yndig.
“Next day I left that station at last, with a caravan of sixty men, for a two-hundred-mile tramp. “I tlfe the extn yda iwht a aancarv of isytx nem. We eewr niggo on a 200-imle kwla.
“No use telling you much about that. Paths, paths, everywhere; a stamped-in network of paths spreading over the empty land, through the long grass, through burnt grass, through thickets, down and up chilly ravines, up and down stony hills ablaze with heat; and a solitude, a solitude, nobody, not a hut. The population had cleared out a long time ago. Well, if a lot of mysterious niggers armed with all kinds of fearful weapons suddenly took to travelling on the road between Deal and Gravesend, catching the yokels right and left to carry heavy loads for them, I fancy every farm and cottage thereabouts would get empty very soon. Only here the dwellings were gone, too. Still I passed through several abandoned villages. There’s something pathetically childish in the ruins of grass walls. Day after day, with the stamp and shuffle of sixty pair of bare feet behind me, each pair under a 60-lb. load. Camp, cook, sleep, strike camp, march. Now and then a carrier dead in harness, at rest in the long grass near the path, with an empty water-gourd and his long staff lying by his side. A great silence around and above. Perhaps on some quiet night the tremor of far-off drums, sinking, swelling, a tremor vast, faint; a sound weird, appealing, suggestive, and wild—and perhaps with as profound a meaning as the sound of bells in a Christian country. Once a white man in an unbuttoned uniform, camping on the path with an armed escort of lank Zanzibaris, very hospitable and festive—not to say drunk. Was looking after the upkeep of the road, he declared. Can’t say I saw any road or any upkeep, unless the body of a middle-aged negro, with a bullet-hole in the forehead, upon which I absolutely stumbled three miles farther on, may be considered as a permanent improvement. I had a white companion, too, not a bad chap, but rather too fleshy and with the exasperating habit of fainting on the hot hillsides, miles away from the least bit of shade and water. Annoying, you know, to hold your own coat like a parasol over a man’s head while he is coming to. I couldn’t help asking him once what he meant by coming there at all. ‘To make money, of course. What do you think?’ he said, scornfully. Then he got fever, and had to be carried in a hammock slung under a pole. As he weighed sixteen stone I had no end of rows with the carriers. They jibbed, ran away, sneaked off with their loads in the night—quite a mutiny. So, one evening, I made a speech in English with gestures, not one of which was lost to the sixty pairs of eyes before me, and the next morning I started the hammock off in front all right. An hour afterwards I came upon the whole concern wrecked in a bush—man, hammock, groans, blankets, horrors. The heavy pole had skinned his poor nose. He was very anxious for me to kill somebody, but there wasn’t the shadow of a carrier near. I remembered the old doctor—‘It would be interesting for science to watch the mental changes of individuals, on the spot.’ I felt I was becoming scientifically interesting. However, all that is to no purpose. On the fifteenth day I came in sight of the big river again, and hobbled into the Central Station. It was on a back water surrounded by scrub and forest, with a pretty border of smelly mud on one side, and on the three others enclosed by a crazy fence of rushes. A neglected gap was all the gate it had, and the first glance at the place was enough to let you see the flabby devil was running that show. White men with long staves in their hands appeared languidly from amongst the buildings, strolling up to take a look at me, and then retired out of sight somewhere. One of them, a stout, excitable chap with black moustaches, informed me with great volubility and many digressions, as soon as I told him who I was, that my steamer was at the bottom of the river. I was thunderstruck. What, how, why? Oh, it was ‘all right.’ The ‘manager himself’ was there. All quite correct. ‘Everybody had behaved splendidly! splendidly!’—‘you must,’ he said in agitation, ‘go and see the general manager at once. He is waiting!’ “heerT’s no tniop in gnlitka toabu ttha. ehrTe wree otoptsahf evreerwyhe we tenw, lenaidg in lla otssr of cosnetirdi. We idnd’t ees yeanon else, or neve nay suht. heT eleppo adh eltf a gnol mite oag. If a lto of oetsuymsir akcbl uygs wtih snagetr paoensw tsrdtae nialgkw rnudao dlEnagn odruginn up het lslcao nda mnkiga tmeh cyrra hveya aosld lla rove hte elacp, I teb hte asivnet uldow nru ywaa oto. lOyn eehr heirt hseuso rewe eogn as lwel. vEulltaney we eapssd msoe anbddneao liegsval. rheTe’s teonhgmis ettachip tuoba het nrisu of a rsgas thu. We tpke akglnwi, dya rtfae yad. I locud arhe ytxsi apsri of earb etfe dbihen me, ecah nma ariygrnc a txisy-poudn aodl. lAl we ddi aws cmpa, ocok, espel, adn armch. vyEer noce in a welhi we’d apss a edad yobd in schnai aren teh htap. It aws so qteui veheeryerw. On esmo ithsng we coudl raeh rmsdu arf ywaa. Teh ndsou wsa iwerd nad idlw, htuhog to eth asnevti it byaborlp ndeduos no eefirnfdt rofm huhccr lselb in a tnsiahiCr cnyotru. nceO we despsa a hetwi nam in a nifrmuo cingpma enra het apth whti an mreda rectos of bklac nem. yTeh’d eenb ngkidinr dna ewre in a ddiyg mood. heT hiwte nma siad ttah shi bjo swa anitkg ecra of het ardo. I ddin’t ese ayn raod to paske of, dan eht lnyo ntihg atth hda bene tnaek erca of swa a edidlm-eagd blakc mna, ohw wsa ligyn nxet to eht hpta hiwt a ueltlb hloe in ish dhroefea. Trehe swa hatneor twieh anm etgrnavil wiht me. He asw a rptyet dgoo ugy, tub he wsa atf dan ketp gfiantin. It’s aninogny to ehav to dhlo oyru own octa kile an elmlubar oevr a nma how’s dspsea uto. I dlcnou’t help agkisn imh why on traEh he’d ocme eterh. ‘hWy do yuo kthin? To akem myneo, of osceru,’ he isda. heTn he tog a revfe nad dah to be rdaicre by hte rsoretp, who tkpe capilngoinm ahtt he swa oot taf to tlif. Tehy eartdst ngnuirn ayaw in teh eidmld of het gtinh. So I eatrhdteen tmhe thwi veeres tnepssmnhiu. The txne dya I tup hte mkhmaco twih eht fat nam tou in otfnr. Tshign dsettra fof oyak, ubt an huor lrtae I mace ossrac het mcmaokh nda teh fat man kwrcede in hte sbsueh. He’d otnetg dinkec on hte onse. He dtnwae me to lkil one of hte pterosr as an apeemxl, ubt ethy’d lla run awya by thta tpion. I rdreebmmee htaw hte lod drtooc sdai: ‘It olduw be ettsrgiinen fro eniscce to whcat het tnaeml naesghc of iisvddaunli on hte tpso.’ I lfet ekli I asw cbngeoim lsencciiflatiy nrgiteitesn. Btu atth’s lal sdibee eth ionpt. erfAt neeffti aysd we met bcka up twhi eht ibg irvre adn hodbbel iont teh eantlCr otintSa. It asw ddoeunrurs by oersft nda adh a dmu wlal on one seid adn a nefec of aserbcnh on eht tohre ehtre esdsi. heTre aws a heol in the eecfn tdansei of a eatg. The fat ivlde of edger aws gnunirn the aepcl. htWie men arnrycig svtase ndawdeer ayzlli up to okol at me dna etnh nawreded off. A fat man whit a acblk tmcaouehs acem up to me. I dtlo him I was the osbtateam pitanca and uoldly oldt me taht my boat was knus at the omttbo of the rveri. Sunetnd, I dksea wtha ppenhade. ‘It’s OK,’ he iasd. ‘eTh aegrmna is rehe. Etivyerhgn’s in rredo. Eyeobvdyr did lwle. ouY smtu go ese the maaengr own. He’s itignaw ofr uyo.’