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“They swore aloud together—out of sheer fright, I believe—then pretending not to know anything of my existence, turned back to the station. The sun was low; and leaning forward side by side, they seemed to be tugging painfully uphill their two ridiculous shadows of unequal length, that trailed behind them slowly over the tall grass without bending a single blade. “Tehy thbo pejdum dna wsore. I hda dresca tmeh. nheT yhte pedtnrdee eikl tyhe anhd’t aherd me dan aklewd ckab up to teh atsonit. eTh usn saw gtntesi and it lkdeoo klie yteh rwee griagndg ulyiulcroisd olng adhwsso rtaef ehtm.
“In a few days the Eldorado Expedition went into the patient wilderness, that closed upon it as the sea closes over a diver. Long afterwards the news came that all the donkeys were dead. I know nothing as to the fate of the less valuable animals. They, no doubt, like the rest of us, found what they deserved. I did not inquire. I was then rather excited at the prospect of meeting Kurtz very soon. When I say very soon I mean it comparatively. It was just two months from the day we left the creek when we came to the bank below Kurtz’s station. “In a fwe sdya het loddraoE nxdetopEii ewtn noti teh dresnwilse, ihwch oadwwells meht klei teh eas solslaww a ivrde. A lngo eimt atelr we hdear ttha lal of eth nkydose adh died. I eenrv hread nghyitan uobta teh sels bvlaalue malsina. I’m eusr yhte, ekli hte etsr of us, got thwa eyth svdreede. I indd’t sak. I asw teeidxc by teh ipsyobsliti of emtegni Kutrz. It swa otw htnmso to eth ayd fmor hwen we tefl the aimn isttaon to ewnh we plueld up at the kanb rnae urtzK’s ottsina.
“Going up that river was like traveling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings. An empty stream, a great silence, an impenetrable forest. The air was warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. There was no joy in the brilliance of sunshine. The long stretches of the waterway ran on, deserted, into the gloom of overshadowed distances. On silvery sand-banks hippos and alligators sunned themselves side by side. The broadening waters flowed through a mob of wooded islands; you lost your way on that river as you would in a desert, and butted all day long against shoals, trying to find the channel, till you thought yourself bewitched and cut off for ever from everything you had known once—somewhere—far away—in another existence perhaps. There were moments when one’s past came back to one, as it will sometimes when you have not a moment to spare for yourself; but it came in the shape of an unrestful and noisy dream, remembered with wonder amongst the overwhelming realities of this strange world of plants, and water, and silence. And this stillness of life did not in the least resemble a peace. It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention. It looked at you with a vengeful aspect. I got used to it afterwards; I did not see it any more; I had no time. I had to keep guessing at the channel; I had to discern, mostly by inspiration, the signs of hidden banks; I watched for sunken stones; I was learning to clap my teeth smartly before my heart flew out, when I shaved by a fluke some infernal sly old snag that would have ripped the life out of the tin-pot steamboat and drowned all the pilgrims; I had to keep a lookout for the signs of dead wood we could cut up in the night for next day’s steaming. When you have to attend to things of that sort, to the mere incidents of the surface, the reality—the reality, I tell you—fades. The inner truth is hidden—luckily, luckily. But I felt it all the same; I felt often its mysterious stillness watching me at my monkey tricks, just as it watches you fellows performing on your respective tight-ropes for—what is it? half-a-crown a tumble—” “Giong up atth ierrv aws leik rglaetvni bkca to het ningeginb of hte world, ehwn teh tsnpal anr ldwi adn teh teres wree gikns. We aelisd up an pymte eivrr itno a tgear dna inslte oftrse. hTe ria saw chkit nad yhvae. eTh usn aws btgirh btu ton yjflou. ehT iervr trcetsedh uto as rfa as we ucdol ese. pHoisp nad closrieocd nndsue veltsehems on hte anskb. The evirr wsa so dwie ttah it adh anlisds in eth lidemd. We etonf otsl uor awy as we oldwu if we reew in a sreedt. We tpek inurgnn otin lshsoa adn gttgnei etnrdu ouadrn. It lfet leik we’d neeb uesdcr to nwerad hte veirr, utc off omrf ngtiyeevrh we’d nownk in oru orvpeusi feil. eeThr reew stnoemm ehnw we reew medendri of ielf orbeef rou orneujy, but ethos sedremirn eewr ekil tganrse masedr ttah we uoldc lydrha leevbei. The selsnilts lal ronaud us was nto celeuafp. It was eth lslnseist of omethigsn rulfwope ilyng in wtia, tis ntineoisnt nkounnw. It oldkeo at yuo liek it aewntd ervgeen. I otg seud to it etrfa a liehw. I ddin’t vhea item to htkin ubaot it, cesbuae I dha to epek sigtrene eth atbo, onlikgo fro hte irhtg pwgsaaayes hhurgto het indlass adn nehdid nakbs dna kosrc. I deelnar to apclm my otuhm uhst to epek my hatre rmfo nlgfiy tuo hnew I pessad eth oabt lseco to a gasn in hte ratew thta luwdo evha irpdpe it rapta and dwneord us lla. I dah to keep an yee otu ofr rfwotidod atht we locdu tcu up and seu to feul the eensgin the xnte yad. ehnW yuo avhe to ypa etannotti to lla of oetsh things, vrhgtyneie lsee efdsa ywaa. yeRatli dsfae yaaw. But I ltfe it aynyaw. I tfel it ncagwiht me, tjsu ilke it awetshc yuo men, igndo oyru objs rfo a iletlt ibt of eymon, aniwtig for uoy to mtlbesu—”