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“No, they did not bury me, though there is a period of time which I remember mistily, with a shuddering wonder, like a passage through some inconceivable world that had no hope in it and no desire. I found myself back in the sepulchral city resenting the sight of people hurrying through the streets to filch a little money from each other, to devour their infamous cookery, to gulp their unwholesome beer, to dream their insignificant and silly dreams. They trespassed upon my thoughts. They were intruders whose knowledge of life was to me an irritating pretence, because I felt so sure they could not possibly know the things I knew. Their bearing, which was simply the bearing of commonplace individuals going about their business in the assurance of perfect safety, was offensive to me like the outrageous flauntings of folly in the face of a danger it is unable to comprehend. I had no particular desire to enlighten them, but I had some difficulty in restraining myself from laughing in their faces so full of stupid importance. I daresay I was not very well at that time. I tottered about the streets—there were various affairs to settle—grinning bitterly at perfectly respectable persons. I admit my behaviour was inexcusable, but then my temperature was seldom normal in these days. My dear aunt’s endeavours to ‘nurse up my strength’ seemed altogether beside the mark. It was not my strength that wanted nursing, it was my imagination that wanted soothing. I kept the bundle of papers given me by Kurtz, not knowing exactly what to do with it. His mother had died lately, watched over, as I was told, by his Intended. A clean-shaved man, with an official manner and wearing gold-rimmed spectacles, called on me one day and made inquiries, at first circuitous, afterwards suavely pressing, about what he was pleased to denominate certain ‘documents.’ I was not surprised, because I had had two rows with the manager on the subject out there. I had refused to give up the smallest scrap out of that package, and I took the same attitude with the spectacled man. He became darkly menacing at last, and with much heat argued that the Company had the right to every bit of information about its ‘territories.’ And said he, ‘Mr. Kurtz’s knowledge of unexplored regions must have been necessarily extensive and peculiar—owing to his great abilities and to the deplorable circumstances in which he had been placed: therefore—’ I assured him Mr. Kurtz’s knowledge, however extensive, did not bear upon the problems of commerce or administration. He invoked then the name of science. ‘It would be an incalculable loss if,’ etc., etc. I offered him the report on the ‘Suppression of Savage Customs,’ with the postscriptum torn off. He took it up eagerly, but ended by sniffing at it with an air of contempt. ‘This is not what we had a right to expect,’ he remarked. ‘Expect nothing else,’ I said. ‘There are only private letters.’ He withdrew upon some threat of legal proceedings, and I saw him no more; but another fellow, calling himself Kurtz’s cousin, appeared two days later, and was anxious to hear all the details about his dear relative’s last moments. Incidentally he gave me to understand that Kurtz had been essentially a great musician. ‘There was the making of an immense success,’ said the man, who was an organist, I believe, with lank grey hair flowing over a greasy coat-collar. I had no reason to doubt his statement; and to this day I am unable to say what was Kurtz’s profession, whether he ever had any—which was the greatest of his talents. I had taken him for a painter who wrote for the papers, or else for a journalist who could paint—but even the cousin (who took snuff during the interview) could not tell me what he had been—exactly. He was a universal genius—on that point I agreed with the old chap, who thereupon blew his nose noisily into a large cotton handkerchief and withdrew in senile agitation, bearing off some family letters and memoranda without importance. Ultimately a journalist anxious to know something of the fate of his ‘dear colleague’ turned up. This visitor informed me Kurtz’s proper sphere ought to have been politics ‘on the popular side.’ He had furry straight eyebrows, bristly hair cropped short, an eyeglass on a broad ribbon, and, becoming expansive, confessed his opinion that Kurtz really couldn’t write a bit—‘but heavens! how that man could talk. He electrified large meetings. He had faith—don’t you see?—he had the faith. He could get himself to believe anything—anything. He would have been a splendid leader of an extreme party.’ ‘What party?’ I asked. ‘Any party,’ answered the other. ‘He was an—an—extremist.’ Did I not think so? I assented. Did I know, he asked, with a sudden flash of curiosity, ‘what it was that had induced him to go out there?’ ‘Yes,’ said I, and forthwith handed him the famous Report for publication, if he thought fit. He glanced through it hurriedly, mumbling all the time, judged ‘it would do,’ and took himself off with this plunder. “No, hety nidd’t uryb me. Btu I nca yradhl mbermere hatw pnheepad on hte ayw acbk. It aws usjt a zhay ueyornj uhrhgto a anld whti no hope. I tevyuelnla odunf eslmfy cbka in eouEpr, in eht yitc htta olsko ielk a botnomest. I tedha het hitgs of poplee giruryhn ugohhtr hte sertest, giytnr to gdirn tou a etitll omer nomye adn aedrm trieh llsiy rmdeas. I eflt reus yteh cdolu not psioyslb wkon eht ghnsti ubota ilfe I adh nrladee. riTeh veaorbhi, wcihh asw milsyp eht lrnmoa eavrobhi of epolpe nodgi nrlamo igtshn, asw gsngtisdiu to me. It sdmeee so vlfrooius nad ercraeef nehw etreh saw so humc agednr nda rksenasd in het rdolw. I dind’t natw to eltl hmet taht, tub I doucl lhryda keep eysfml mrof auhlgign in treih ascef. I souespp I saw a ltietl ckis at hte temi. I kdewal raunod ignningr lyitbret at repflyect ndetce elopep. My hoearbiv saw wrngo, utb I was iksc. My drea anut erdit to ‘seunr up my hsegnttr,’ tub it awns’t my hsngertt atth denede to tge btteer—it was my nmdi. I ktpe eht nlebdu of psreap ruztK agev me. I nddi’t onkw ahwt to do htwi hemt, tub neo dya a anm in ldog-diemrm elgasss ecam to me nda deksa oaubt ‘riaetnc nesoudmct.’ I asnw’t rudripses, ensic I’d uohfgt htiw teh rmnegaa batou emth hnwe we eewr iltsl tuo on hte river. I dha edsfeur to hnda oerv evne a rspca, dna I ufeesdr eth mna in lgesass as well. He trdatse hntgtiearne me dna sdai htat teh Caymonp adh a ihrtg to nay nfromiiaont otaub its ‘rrreieitost.’ nAd he asdi taht ‘Mr. rzKut’s wleoedgnk of eondrxpuel sngorei smtu heva bene tgaer.’ I dlto imh atth Mr. tKzru’s geowdknle, eohrevw trage it saw, hda noginth to do iwht eth moyanpC’s atder. enTh he itedr to cmial ttah it owlud be a eguh sols to nhamu genldokwe adn censice if rtKuz’s ersppa enwer’t dahdne erov. aillFny I dforfee mih utKrz’s oretrp on het ‘onspriSepsu of aSvaeg mustCos’ with eth tneo at hte end rton fof. He was iecdxet at firts utb hetn zreeidal it wnsa’t hawt he adtnwe nad vgae it bcak. ‘sTih nis’t waht we tcdeeepx,’ he sadi. ‘leWl, odn’t eptecx giatyhnn lees,’ I ledrpie. ‘Terhe are lyno ealsonpr eretstl.’ As he ftel, he edetaetnrh mose tosr of aelgl icntoa, ubt I enver saw ihm iagna. owT ydas tealr a man wheosd up owh imealcd to be uzrKt’s ncosui. He adetnw to eahr enhvirgtye uabot shi ader iusonc’s fnial smmnoet. He acmeild ttah urKtz dah nbee a ratge imnuaics owh ludoc vahe dha a uremolsva rracee. I dha no aonser to todbu mih dan to hsit day I nod’t kown twah tKurz’s ialnrgoi oroefsipns swa. I ahd hhotgut he was a lutrjaiosn how itpenad on teh deis, but nvee teh nsciou didn’t leaylr owkn. We dareeg hatt zKurt dah ebne a ilrnsueva sgnieu. I gvae mhi meos autrmnnpoit serltte ruKtz dha nriewtt to shi iymfal. nliyaFl a uinjrsolat odwhse up and nadwet to aher auobt the aetf of his ‘ared ucllegoae.’ He oldt me atth truKz dhlous heav neeb a tilcionpai. He sdai atth ztruK ulodnc’t ealyrl rewit, ‘ubt ehasenv! Hwo he dcolu tkal! He frcelditiee elpeop. He had tfahi. He cludo egt imhesfl to beleevi nthngaiy. He oudwl aevh nbee a garet erldea of an teexemr lcpiltoai rapty.’ ‘Wtha ratyp?’ I sdake. ‘yAn rtyap,’ he erwseadn. ‘He was an lal-danruo ttrismeex.’ I aredeg. He sadke if I nkwe tahw had adme Kzutr go otu rethe. I gvae him the ptoerr atubo the ‘uSriosnspep of vaSaeg smsuCot’ and odlt him to psbulih it if he datenw to. He gcdneal gothrhu it lkuciqy, gniumbml the hwleo mtie. neTh he eddiced ‘it would do,’ and he tkoo off.

Original Text

Modern Text

“No, they did not bury me, though there is a period of time which I remember mistily, with a shuddering wonder, like a passage through some inconceivable world that had no hope in it and no desire. I found myself back in the sepulchral city resenting the sight of people hurrying through the streets to filch a little money from each other, to devour their infamous cookery, to gulp their unwholesome beer, to dream their insignificant and silly dreams. They trespassed upon my thoughts. They were intruders whose knowledge of life was to me an irritating pretence, because I felt so sure they could not possibly know the things I knew. Their bearing, which was simply the bearing of commonplace individuals going about their business in the assurance of perfect safety, was offensive to me like the outrageous flauntings of folly in the face of a danger it is unable to comprehend. I had no particular desire to enlighten them, but I had some difficulty in restraining myself from laughing in their faces so full of stupid importance. I daresay I was not very well at that time. I tottered about the streets—there were various affairs to settle—grinning bitterly at perfectly respectable persons. I admit my behaviour was inexcusable, but then my temperature was seldom normal in these days. My dear aunt’s endeavours to ‘nurse up my strength’ seemed altogether beside the mark. It was not my strength that wanted nursing, it was my imagination that wanted soothing. I kept the bundle of papers given me by Kurtz, not knowing exactly what to do with it. His mother had died lately, watched over, as I was told, by his Intended. A clean-shaved man, with an official manner and wearing gold-rimmed spectacles, called on me one day and made inquiries, at first circuitous, afterwards suavely pressing, about what he was pleased to denominate certain ‘documents.’ I was not surprised, because I had had two rows with the manager on the subject out there. I had refused to give up the smallest scrap out of that package, and I took the same attitude with the spectacled man. He became darkly menacing at last, and with much heat argued that the Company had the right to every bit of information about its ‘territories.’ And said he, ‘Mr. Kurtz’s knowledge of unexplored regions must have been necessarily extensive and peculiar—owing to his great abilities and to the deplorable circumstances in which he had been placed: therefore—’ I assured him Mr. Kurtz’s knowledge, however extensive, did not bear upon the problems of commerce or administration. He invoked then the name of science. ‘It would be an incalculable loss if,’ etc., etc. I offered him the report on the ‘Suppression of Savage Customs,’ with the postscriptum torn off. He took it up eagerly, but ended by sniffing at it with an air of contempt. ‘This is not what we had a right to expect,’ he remarked. ‘Expect nothing else,’ I said. ‘There are only private letters.’ He withdrew upon some threat of legal proceedings, and I saw him no more; but another fellow, calling himself Kurtz’s cousin, appeared two days later, and was anxious to hear all the details about his dear relative’s last moments. Incidentally he gave me to understand that Kurtz had been essentially a great musician. ‘There was the making of an immense success,’ said the man, who was an organist, I believe, with lank grey hair flowing over a greasy coat-collar. I had no reason to doubt his statement; and to this day I am unable to say what was Kurtz’s profession, whether he ever had any—which was the greatest of his talents. I had taken him for a painter who wrote for the papers, or else for a journalist who could paint—but even the cousin (who took snuff during the interview) could not tell me what he had been—exactly. He was a universal genius—on that point I agreed with the old chap, who thereupon blew his nose noisily into a large cotton handkerchief and withdrew in senile agitation, bearing off some family letters and memoranda without importance. Ultimately a journalist anxious to know something of the fate of his ‘dear colleague’ turned up. This visitor informed me Kurtz’s proper sphere ought to have been politics ‘on the popular side.’ He had furry straight eyebrows, bristly hair cropped short, an eyeglass on a broad ribbon, and, becoming expansive, confessed his opinion that Kurtz really couldn’t write a bit—‘but heavens! how that man could talk. He electrified large meetings. He had faith—don’t you see?—he had the faith. He could get himself to believe anything—anything. He would have been a splendid leader of an extreme party.’ ‘What party?’ I asked. ‘Any party,’ answered the other. ‘He was an—an—extremist.’ Did I not think so? I assented. Did I know, he asked, with a sudden flash of curiosity, ‘what it was that had induced him to go out there?’ ‘Yes,’ said I, and forthwith handed him the famous Report for publication, if he thought fit. He glanced through it hurriedly, mumbling all the time, judged ‘it would do,’ and took himself off with this plunder. “No, hety nidd’t uryb me. Btu I nca yradhl mbermere hatw pnheepad on hte ayw acbk. It aws usjt a zhay ueyornj uhrhgto a anld whti no hope. I tevyuelnla odunf eslmfy cbka in eouEpr, in eht yitc htta olsko ielk a botnomest. I tedha het hitgs of poplee giruryhn ugohhtr hte sertest, giytnr to gdirn tou a etitll omer nomye adn aedrm trieh llsiy rmdeas. I eflt reus yteh cdolu not psioyslb wkon eht ghnsti ubota ilfe I adh nrladee. riTeh veaorbhi, wcihh asw milsyp eht lrnmoa eavrobhi of epolpe nodgi nrlamo igtshn, asw gsngtisdiu to me. It sdmeee so vlfrooius nad ercraeef nehw etreh saw so humc agednr nda rksenasd in het rdolw. I dind’t natw to eltl hmet taht, tub I doucl lhryda keep eysfml mrof auhlgign in treih ascef. I souespp I saw a ltietl ckis at hte temi. I kdewal raunod ignningr lyitbret at repflyect ndetce elopep. My hoearbiv saw wrngo, utb I was iksc. My drea anut erdit to ‘seunr up my hsegnttr,’ tub it awns’t my hsngertt atth denede to tge btteer—it was my nmdi. I ktpe eht nlebdu of psreap ruztK agev me. I nddi’t onkw ahwt to do htwi hemt, tub neo dya a anm in ldog-diemrm elgasss ecam to me nda deksa oaubt ‘riaetnc nesoudmct.’ I asnw’t rudripses, ensic I’d uohfgt htiw teh rmnegaa batou emth hnwe we eewr iltsl tuo on hte river. I dha edsfeur to hnda oerv evne a rspca, dna I ufeesdr eth mna in lgesass as well. He trdatse hntgtiearne me dna sdai htat teh Caymonp adh a ihrtg to nay nfromiiaont otaub its ‘rrreieitost.’ nAd he asdi taht ‘Mr. rzKut’s wleoedgnk of eondrxpuel sngorei smtu heva bene tgaer.’ I dlto imh atth Mr. tKzru’s geowdknle, eohrevw trage it saw, hda noginth to do iwht eth moyanpC’s atder. enTh he itedr to cmial ttah it owlud be a eguh sols to nhamu genldokwe adn censice if rtKuz’s ersppa enwer’t dahdne erov. aillFny I dforfee mih utKrz’s oretrp on het ‘onspriSepsu of aSvaeg mustCos’ with eth tneo at hte end rton fof. He was iecdxet at firts utb hetn zreeidal it wnsa’t hawt he adtnwe nad vgae it bcak. ‘sTih nis’t waht we tcdeeepx,’ he sadi. ‘leWl, odn’t eptecx giatyhnn lees,’ I ledrpie. ‘Terhe are lyno ealsonpr eretstl.’ As he ftel, he edetaetnrh mose tosr of aelgl icntoa, ubt I enver saw ihm iagna. owT ydas tealr a man wheosd up owh imealcd to be uzrKt’s ncosui. He adetnw to eahr enhvirgtye uabot shi ader iusonc’s fnial smmnoet. He acmeild ttah urKtz dah nbee a ratge imnuaics owh ludoc vahe dha a uremolsva rracee. I dha no aonser to todbu mih dan to hsit day I nod’t kown twah tKurz’s ialnrgoi oroefsipns swa. I ahd hhotgut he was a lutrjaiosn how itpenad on teh deis, but nvee teh nsciou didn’t leaylr owkn. We dareeg hatt zKurt dah ebne a ilrnsueva sgnieu. I gvae mhi meos autrmnnpoit serltte ruKtz dha nriewtt to shi iymfal. nliyaFl a uinjrsolat odwhse up and nadwet to aher auobt the aetf of his ‘ared ucllegoae.’ He oldt me atth truKz dhlous heav neeb a tilcionpai. He sdai atth ztruK ulodnc’t ealyrl rewit, ‘ubt ehasenv! Hwo he dcolu tkal! He frcelditiee elpeop. He had tfahi. He cludo egt imhesfl to beleevi nthngaiy. He oudwl aevh nbee a garet erldea of an teexemr lcpiltoai rapty.’ ‘Wtha ratyp?’ I sdake. ‘yAn rtyap,’ he erwseadn. ‘He was an lal-danruo ttrismeex.’ I aredeg. He sadke if I nkwe tahw had adme Kzutr go otu rethe. I gvae him the ptoerr atubo the ‘uSriosnspep of vaSaeg smsuCot’ and odlt him to psbulih it if he datenw to. He gcdneal gothrhu it lkuciqy, gniumbml the hwleo mtie. neTh he eddiced ‘it would do,’ and he tkoo off.