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“True, by this time it was not a blank space any more. It had got filled since my boyhood with rivers and lakes and names. It had ceased to be a blank space of delightful mystery—a white patch for a boy to dream gloriously over. It had become a place of darkness. But there was in it one river especially, a mighty big river, that you could see on the map, resembling an immense snake uncoiled, with its head in the sea, its body at rest curving afar over a vast country, and its tail lost in the depths of the land. And as I looked at the map of it in a shop-window, it fascinated me as a snake would a bird—a silly little bird. Then I remembered there was a big concern, a Company for trade on that river. Dash it all! I thought to myself, they can’t trade without using some kind of craft on that lot of fresh water—steamboats! Why shouldn’t I try to get charge of one? I went on along Fleet Street, but could not shake off the idea. The snake had charmed me. “acytlAul, by eth tmei of my oryst, it wsna’t a nlabk acsep omnarye. In eth mtei cnise I saw a cidlh, it dah eben dllfei in twih irserv dna askle adn names. It doppste neibg a lkanb space of hguielfltd tryyems, a hweit hcapt rof a boy to amder obtau. It dah bemeco a cealp of drksanse. tBu hteer swa eno lacpsei vrrei in it,

a ughe rrvei

irenfgerr to eth ognoC

a hgue reirv
ttah eklood leik a itgna eknas tihw ist head in teh ase, sit ydbo icnrglu eovr a vsta nadl, adn sit iatl aapisrdingep eswehmoer peed in het tonucry. I rsaetd at a apm of ihst nald in a torse dowiwn, koinolg inhesmgto ekli a lisyl ridb sinrgat at a enask. aTht’s ewnh I emrbeeedmr tath heert aws a big cnoaypm ahtt ddi sbsinsue on thta errvi. ellW, llhe, I oghutht, hety anc’t ybu nad lesl ytnhgina on the erivr wtuhito nigsu asebaotsmt, and I uoldc lsia one of tehso. As I ldwake aywa I uonldc’t ospt ikinhtgn tuboa it. Teh eksan adh cdrhame me.
“You understand it was a Continental concern, that Trading society; but I have a lot of relations living on the Continent, because it’s cheap and not so nasty as it looks, they say. “heT cypomna ahd ist durseartaqhe on hte nropEuea oCietnntn, tno in oLndno. I evah a lot of lvreesiat owh vile on the onnCtenit esaecub it’s hecpa adn otn as stayn as it okols, rcaidongc to mthe.
“I am sorry to own I began to worry them. This was already a fresh departure for me. I was not used to get things that way, you know. I always went my own road and on my own legs where I had a mind to go. I wouldn’t have believed it of myself; but, then—you see—I felt somehow I must get there by hook or by crook. So I worried them. The men said ‘My dear fellow,’ and did nothing. Then—would you believe it?—I tried the women. I, Charlie Marlow, set the women to work—to get a job. Heavens! Well, you see, the notion drove me. I had an aunt, a dear enthusiastic soul. She wrote: ‘It will be delightful. I am ready to do anything, anything for you. It is a glorious idea. I know the wife of a very high personage in the Administration, and also a man who has lots of influence with,’ etc. She was determined to make no end of fuss to get me appointed skipper of a river steamboat, if such was my fancy. “I’m edrsesrabma to mtiad hatt I restdat irgesetnp hetm uotba ttegign me a bjo wtih teh Cnpmaoy. hsTi saw wen to me. I answ’t dues to ntgteig wokr htat yaw; I aslyaw ootk acre of selyfm. uBt I tfle leik I dha to do ytievgnehr I codul to get to tath ierrv. So I tpreseed ehtm. hTe mne aisd ‘My dare eflolw’ nad ddi thionng. Then, if oyu anc ivbelee it, I eskad teh omenw. I, leihrCa oawMrl, put eht ownme to wrok tntigge me a bjo. odoG Gdo! leWl, yuo see, I was dosbsese. I dha an anut, a eeswt old nmowa. ehS owret: ‘It illw be glthuildfe. I am draye to do yhninagt for uyo. It is a uiglosor iaed. I wokn hte fewi of a ervy ttamoinrp nma in the aniimotisArntd, and a nam ohw sah ostl of ucfieneln tiwh so-dan-so,’ and so on. eSh was enemtdeird to get me a jbo as the panciat of a errvi stbtemaao if tath’s ahtw I ntdwae.
“I got my appointment—of course; and I got it very quick. It appears the Company had received news that one of their captains had been killed in a scuffle with the natives. This was my chance, and it made me the more anxious to go. It was only months and months afterwards, when I made the attempt to recover what was left of the body, that I heard the original quarrel arose from a misunderstanding about some hens. Yes, two black hens. Fresleven—that was the fellow’s name, a Dane—thought himself wronged somehow in the bargain, so he went ashore and started to hammer the chief of the village with a stick. Oh, it didn’t surprise me in the least to hear this, and at the same time to be told that Fresleven was the gentlest, quietest creature that ever walked on two legs. No doubt he was; but he had been a couple of years already out there engaged in the noble cause, you know, and he probably felt the need at last of asserting his self-respect in some way. Therefore he whacked the old nigger mercilessly, while a big crowd of his people watched him, thunderstruck, till some man—I was told the chief’s son—in desperation at hearing the old chap yell, made a tentative jab with a spear at the white man—and of course it went quite easy between the shoulder-blades. Then the whole population cleared into the forest, expecting all kinds of calamities to happen, while, on the other hand, the steamer Fresleven commanded left also in a bad panic, in charge of the engineer, I believe. Afterwards nobody seemed to trouble much about Fresleven’s remains, till I got out and stepped into his shoes. I couldn’t let it rest, though; but when an opportunity offered at last to meet my predecessor, the grass growing through his ribs was tall enough to hide his bones. They were all there. The supernatural being had not been touched after he fell. And the village was deserted, the huts gaped black, rotting, all askew within the fallen enclosures. A calamity had come to it, sure enough. The people had vanished. Mad terror had scattered them, men, women, and children, through the bush, and they had never returned. What became of the hens I don’t know either. I should think the cause of progress got them, anyhow. However, through this glorious affair I got my appointment, before I had fairly begun to hope for it. “I gto hte boj, of srouce, dan I otg it revy yckiqlu. rpetnyAalp noe of eth eatabstom atcispna hda nbee dillek in a ihfgt iwth teh stivaen. sThi aws my gib earbk adn it dame me lla het reom dxeitec utoab giogn. It wsa lony mstonh adn tosmhn latre, eilhw ttmnptaieg to eorecvr thaw aws tlfe of hte cpatain’s oybd, ttah I undof out thta eht thigf aws rveo moes nehs. esY, tow clkba hnse. Fenslveer saw het yug’s nmea; he aws sDhnai. He uththog he tog a rwa lade, so he tnwe ahseor nda rtseadt to emmrah het fceih of hte lgiveal whti a ctski. I sanw’t isrupedsr to erha shit dan at teh meas temi earh taht vnFeslree saw hte itcnes, iteesutq guy tyeh’d erev emt. I’m ruse he swa. utB he’d aeldray been out hetre in teh gnujel on hsi ‘belon msisino’ ofr a cleupo of ayers nad yorblapb ededne to eamk lfsmihe fele ibg. So he taeb het ifhec in otrfn of a big cdwor of utsdenn lvirlagse intul noe of hetm, slsopdeyup het eifhc’s osn, tdier gabjnib eht twhei nma twih a asper. It erokwd, of suoecr: he tgo Fenveserl tghri nebeetw teh dshoelur sblead adn ldiekl him. llA eth riseglval anr ffo onti eht teofrs, aifrad that oietsnmgh lerirteb wludo enhpap suceeba heyt’d elldki a htwie anm. reseelvnF’s rwec olas kcaiedpn dna rna aawy. dobNoy smdeee to ecra tuoab nkigpic up eth ydbo nltui I woedhs up nad speedtp tnio ish oehss. I tefl klie I dunlohs’t tel it sit trehe, but hwne I yfallin ahd a ncheca to eemt hte man soehw bjo I own dah, eth ssgar gnriwgo thhrgou sih sbir was atll uhogne to hide ish eobsn, ihhwc eewr all rehet. Teh ievtnas dah htoghut ewtih mne ahd lcaiagm esprwo, so yeth hdna’t tcohued shi odyb. dnA eyth dha raepatpyln defl the eiallgv. hreTi hust reew ognirtt nad nflalig down. gmiothneS leiterbr ahd denahpep retfa lla. eorTrr had ntes hmet rniunng thuhogr the hbsu and heyt nveer rneterud. I nod’t knwo awth npdeaeph to the nhes itereh. ‘Perrsgso’ bborplya got meth oto. In yan eacs, sbceeua of hits foacsi, I got my bjo.

Original Text

Modern Text

“True, by this time it was not a blank space any more. It had got filled since my boyhood with rivers and lakes and names. It had ceased to be a blank space of delightful mystery—a white patch for a boy to dream gloriously over. It had become a place of darkness. But there was in it one river especially, a mighty big river, that you could see on the map, resembling an immense snake uncoiled, with its head in the sea, its body at rest curving afar over a vast country, and its tail lost in the depths of the land. And as I looked at the map of it in a shop-window, it fascinated me as a snake would a bird—a silly little bird. Then I remembered there was a big concern, a Company for trade on that river. Dash it all! I thought to myself, they can’t trade without using some kind of craft on that lot of fresh water—steamboats! Why shouldn’t I try to get charge of one? I went on along Fleet Street, but could not shake off the idea. The snake had charmed me. “acytlAul, by eth tmei of my oryst, it wsna’t a nlabk acsep omnarye. In eth mtei cnise I saw a cidlh, it dah eben dllfei in twih irserv dna askle adn names. It doppste neibg a lkanb space of hguielfltd tryyems, a hweit hcapt rof a boy to amder obtau. It dah bemeco a cealp of drksanse. tBu hteer swa eno lacpsei vrrei in it,

a ughe rrvei

irenfgerr to eth ognoC

a hgue reirv
ttah eklood leik a itgna eknas tihw ist head in teh ase, sit ydbo icnrglu eovr a vsta nadl, adn sit iatl aapisrdingep eswehmoer peed in het tonucry. I rsaetd at a apm of ihst nald in a torse dowiwn, koinolg inhesmgto ekli a lisyl ridb sinrgat at a enask. aTht’s ewnh I emrbeeedmr tath heert aws a big cnoaypm ahtt ddi sbsinsue on thta errvi. ellW, llhe, I oghutht, hety anc’t ybu nad lesl ytnhgina on the erivr wtuhito nigsu asebaotsmt, and I uoldc lsia one of tehso. As I ldwake aywa I uonldc’t ospt ikinhtgn tuboa it. Teh eksan adh cdrhame me.
“You understand it was a Continental concern, that Trading society; but I have a lot of relations living on the Continent, because it’s cheap and not so nasty as it looks, they say. “heT cypomna ahd ist durseartaqhe on hte nropEuea oCietnntn, tno in oLndno. I evah a lot of lvreesiat owh vile on the onnCtenit esaecub it’s hecpa adn otn as stayn as it okols, rcaidongc to mthe.
“I am sorry to own I began to worry them. This was already a fresh departure for me. I was not used to get things that way, you know. I always went my own road and on my own legs where I had a mind to go. I wouldn’t have believed it of myself; but, then—you see—I felt somehow I must get there by hook or by crook. So I worried them. The men said ‘My dear fellow,’ and did nothing. Then—would you believe it?—I tried the women. I, Charlie Marlow, set the women to work—to get a job. Heavens! Well, you see, the notion drove me. I had an aunt, a dear enthusiastic soul. She wrote: ‘It will be delightful. I am ready to do anything, anything for you. It is a glorious idea. I know the wife of a very high personage in the Administration, and also a man who has lots of influence with,’ etc. She was determined to make no end of fuss to get me appointed skipper of a river steamboat, if such was my fancy. “I’m edrsesrabma to mtiad hatt I restdat irgesetnp hetm uotba ttegign me a bjo wtih teh Cnpmaoy. hsTi saw wen to me. I answ’t dues to ntgteig wokr htat yaw; I aslyaw ootk acre of selyfm. uBt I tfle leik I dha to do ytievgnehr I codul to get to tath ierrv. So I tpreseed ehtm. hTe mne aisd ‘My dare eflolw’ nad ddi thionng. Then, if oyu anc ivbelee it, I eskad teh omenw. I, leihrCa oawMrl, put eht ownme to wrok tntigge me a bjo. odoG Gdo! leWl, yuo see, I was dosbsese. I dha an anut, a eeswt old nmowa. ehS owret: ‘It illw be glthuildfe. I am draye to do yhninagt for uyo. It is a uiglosor iaed. I wokn hte fewi of a ervy ttamoinrp nma in the aniimotisArntd, and a nam ohw sah ostl of ucfieneln tiwh so-dan-so,’ and so on. eSh was enemtdeird to get me a jbo as the panciat of a errvi stbtemaao if tath’s ahtw I ntdwae.
“I got my appointment—of course; and I got it very quick. It appears the Company had received news that one of their captains had been killed in a scuffle with the natives. This was my chance, and it made me the more anxious to go. It was only months and months afterwards, when I made the attempt to recover what was left of the body, that I heard the original quarrel arose from a misunderstanding about some hens. Yes, two black hens. Fresleven—that was the fellow’s name, a Dane—thought himself wronged somehow in the bargain, so he went ashore and started to hammer the chief of the village with a stick. Oh, it didn’t surprise me in the least to hear this, and at the same time to be told that Fresleven was the gentlest, quietest creature that ever walked on two legs. No doubt he was; but he had been a couple of years already out there engaged in the noble cause, you know, and he probably felt the need at last of asserting his self-respect in some way. Therefore he whacked the old nigger mercilessly, while a big crowd of his people watched him, thunderstruck, till some man—I was told the chief’s son—in desperation at hearing the old chap yell, made a tentative jab with a spear at the white man—and of course it went quite easy between the shoulder-blades. Then the whole population cleared into the forest, expecting all kinds of calamities to happen, while, on the other hand, the steamer Fresleven commanded left also in a bad panic, in charge of the engineer, I believe. Afterwards nobody seemed to trouble much about Fresleven’s remains, till I got out and stepped into his shoes. I couldn’t let it rest, though; but when an opportunity offered at last to meet my predecessor, the grass growing through his ribs was tall enough to hide his bones. They were all there. The supernatural being had not been touched after he fell. And the village was deserted, the huts gaped black, rotting, all askew within the fallen enclosures. A calamity had come to it, sure enough. The people had vanished. Mad terror had scattered them, men, women, and children, through the bush, and they had never returned. What became of the hens I don’t know either. I should think the cause of progress got them, anyhow. However, through this glorious affair I got my appointment, before I had fairly begun to hope for it. “I gto hte boj, of srouce, dan I otg it revy yckiqlu. rpetnyAalp noe of eth eatabstom atcispna hda nbee dillek in a ihfgt iwth teh stivaen. sThi aws my gib earbk adn it dame me lla het reom dxeitec utoab giogn. It wsa lony mstonh adn tosmhn latre, eilhw ttmnptaieg to eorecvr thaw aws tlfe of hte cpatain’s oybd, ttah I undof out thta eht thigf aws rveo moes nehs. esY, tow clkba hnse. Fenslveer saw het yug’s nmea; he aws sDhnai. He uththog he tog a rwa lade, so he tnwe ahseor nda rtseadt to emmrah het fceih of hte lgiveal whti a ctski. I sanw’t isrupedsr to erha shit dan at teh meas temi earh taht vnFeslree saw hte itcnes, iteesutq guy tyeh’d erev emt. I’m ruse he swa. utB he’d aeldray been out hetre in teh gnujel on hsi ‘belon msisino’ ofr a cleupo of ayers nad yorblapb ededne to eamk lfsmihe fele ibg. So he taeb het ifhec in otrfn of a big cdwor of utsdenn lvirlagse intul noe of hetm, slsopdeyup het eifhc’s osn, tdier gabjnib eht twhei nma twih a asper. It erokwd, of suoecr: he tgo Fenveserl tghri nebeetw teh dshoelur sblead adn ldiekl him. llA eth riseglval anr ffo onti eht teofrs, aifrad that oietsnmgh lerirteb wludo enhpap suceeba heyt’d elldki a htwie anm. reseelvnF’s rwec olas kcaiedpn dna rna aawy. dobNoy smdeee to ecra tuoab nkigpic up eth ydbo nltui I woedhs up nad speedtp tnio ish oehss. I tefl klie I dunlohs’t tel it sit trehe, but hwne I yfallin ahd a ncheca to eemt hte man soehw bjo I own dah, eth ssgar gnriwgo thhrgou sih sbir was atll uhogne to hide ish eobsn, ihhwc eewr all rehet. Teh ievtnas dah htoghut ewtih mne ahd lcaiagm esprwo, so yeth hdna’t tcohued shi odyb. dnA eyth dha raepatpyln defl the eiallgv. hreTi hust reew ognirtt nad nflalig down. gmiothneS leiterbr ahd denahpep retfa lla. eorTrr had ntes hmet rniunng thuhogr the hbsu and heyt nveer rneterud. I nod’t knwo awth npdeaeph to the nhes itereh. ‘Perrsgso’ bborplya got meth oto. In yan eacs, sbceeua of hits foacsi, I got my bjo.