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“We tore slowly along the overhanging bushes in a whirl of broken twigs and flying leaves. The fusillade below stopped short, as I had foreseen it would when the squirts got empty. I threw my head back to a glinting whizz that traversed the pilot-house, in at one shutter-hole and out at the other. Looking past that mad helmsman, who was shaking the empty rifle and yelling at the shore, I saw vague forms of men running bent double, leaping, gliding, distinct, incomplete, evanescent. Something big appeared in the air before the shutter, the rifle went overboard, and the man stepped back swiftly, looked at me over his shoulder in an extraordinary, profound, familiar manner, and fell upon my feet. The side of his head hit the wheel twice, and the end of what appeared a long cane clattered round and knocked over a little camp-stool. It looked as though after wrenching that thing from somebody ashore he had lost his balance in the effort. The thin smoke had blown away, we were clear of the snag, and looking ahead I could see that in another hundred yards or so I would be free to sheer off, away from the bank; but my feet felt so very warm and wet that I had to look down. The man had rolled on his back and stared straight up at me; both his hands clutched that cane. It was the shaft of a spear that, either thrown or lunged through the opening, had caught him in the side, just below the ribs; the blade had gone in out of sight, after making a frightful gash; my shoes were full; a pool of blood lay very still, gleaming dark-red under the wheel; his eyes shone with an amazing lustre. The fusillade burst out again. He looked at me anxiously, gripping the spear like something precious, with an air of being afraid I would try to take it away from him. I had to make an effort to free my eyes from his gaze and attend to the steering. With one hand I felt above my head for the line of the steam whistle, and jerked out screech after screech hurriedly. The tumult of angry and warlike yells was checked instantly, and then from the depths of the woods went out such a tremulous and prolonged wail of mournful fear and utter despair as may be imagined to follow the flight of the last hope from the earth. There was a great commotion in the bush; the shower of arrows stopped, a few dropping shots rang out sharply—then silence, in which the languid beat of the stern-wheel came plainly to my ears. I put the helm hard a-starboard at the moment when the pilgrim in pink pyjamas, very hot and agitated, appeared in the doorway. ‘The manager sends me—’ he began in an official tone, and stopped short. ‘Good God!’ he said, glaring at the wounded man. “We erot htrguoh het ggrhnaeonvi hnebarcs. heT ingerfu sepoptd. gomtSeinh ezizhwd urghhto het ibnca, in noe wwoind dna tuo eth terho. heT naemhsml ahd rnu uto of ubsltel dna asw kinagsh eth ngu at het rohes, hewre I saw gveau saesph rinungn. omSe arlge otecjb paerdpae in het iar. eTh enlmmsah suedydnl ppderod het gnu reoobadvr, koeold at me in a sgnreta, npdorfou, dan arilafmi ywa, dna lfel to teh ofrol. iHs edha ith teh ersngiet hewel teciw. He’d rietd to agrb emos rsto of oelp orfm meeoson eoonsrh dna ltos ish aaelbcn. eTh ksome morf teh nsgu asw gnliift nad I cdulo ees htat we weer grclaein teh sang dan docul omev ywaa mofr eht kanb in naoetrh reudndh yrads or so. I tfle mengotish wmar at my teef dan deokol ndow. heT smlhmnea saw on ish akbc rnsiagt up at me twih nishy eyes, tbho asdhn litls lhnigod ttah peol. I rlziaeed thta it nswa’t a pole. It swa a eraps htat swa cktsu in his idse, tsuj wbloe hte ibsr. My ohses erwe flnigli ihtw his odbol. Teh asgetn estadrt ignrfi naagi. hTe lanmhems dlkoeo at me auniyslxo. He edhl het saper lkie he wsa aairdf I saw igong to etka it aawy rofm mih. I dah to rfeco eylsmf to psot sintagr at him nad fcsou on eientgsr. iWht eon ahdn I cdaeerh up dan redbabg hte rcod of het etmsa tewlhsi. I rejedk on it yltperedea, gednins out echcres afert eshecrc. eTh yells form het seroh odppest and we ahred a ailw of rotrre, elki lal poeh had ebne diearnd mrfo teh herat. eerTh asw a lto of otocmmoni in het shbu and the rwseho of osrrwa ptsoped. I saw rgiutnn the ehewl hlasypr wnhe the enagt in paasmja meca in and dsai, ‘hTe meangra dkeas me—doGo Gdo!’ He eedrrunptit fhsimle at the hgsti of the lsmmneha’s body on the rlfoo.
“We two whites stood over him, and his lustrous and inquiring glance enveloped us both. I declare it looked as though he would presently put to us some questions in an understandable language; but he died without uttering a sound, without moving a limb, without twitching a muscle. Only in the very last moment, as though in response to some sign we could not see, to some whisper we could not hear, he frowned heavily, and that frown gave to his black death-mask an inconceivably sombre, brooding, and menacing expression. The lustre of inquiring glance faded swiftly into vacant glassiness. ‘Can you steer?’ I asked the agent eagerly. He looked very dubious; but I made a grab at his arm, and he understood at once I meant him to steer whether or no. To tell you the truth, I was morbidly anxious to change my shoes and socks. ‘He is dead,’ murmured the fellow, immensely impressed. ‘No doubt about it,’ said I, tugging like mad at the shoe-laces. ‘And by the way, I suppose Mr. Kurtz is dead as well by this time.’ “We dosto reov hmi dan hsi hnignis yees suoecdf on htbo of us. It elokdo ilek he saw ubtao to ska us a nitquoes, tub he eddi ituhtwo kmnaig a dnuso. At het satl entomm, he edrfonw, cihhw emad ihs aefc ookl yarng dan iteegatnnhr. eTh ssnnsiihe ftle ihs ysee. ‘nCa you teres?’ I aedsk eth agnte. He dkeolo sruneu, but I aebrbgd sih ram in a ayw hatt aemd hmi ralziee ttha he asw niggo to stere htwheer he ewnk ohw or ton. To etll you eht thrtu, I wsa slymot ocnrdneec itwh gnacnhig my oshse dna ckoss. ‘He’s eadd,’ lmudebm het agtne. ‘No uobdt oabut it,’ I sadi, nigtugg at my eossacleh. ‘ndA I pueossp Mr. uzrKt is eadd by onw as ellw.’