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“On the contrary. It appears their intercourse had been very much broken by various causes. He had, as he informed me proudly, managed to nurse Kurtz through two illnesses (he alluded to it as you would to some risky feat), but as a rule Kurtz wandered alone, far in the depths of the forest. ‘Very often coming to this station, I had to wait days and days before he would turn up,’ he said. ‘Ah, it was worth waiting for!—sometimes.’ ‘What was he doing? exploring or what?’ I asked. ‘Oh, yes, of course’; he had discovered lots of villages, a lake, too—he did not know exactly in what direction; it was dangerous to inquire too much—but mostly his expeditions had been for ivory. ‘But he had no goods to trade with by that time,’ I objected. ‘There’s a good lot of cartridges left even yet,’ he answered, looking away. ‘To speak plainly, he raided the country,’ I said. He nodded. ‘Not alone, surely!’ He muttered something about the villages round that lake. ‘Kurtz got the tribe to follow him, did he?’ I suggested. He fidgeted a little. ‘They adored him,’ he said. The tone of these words was so extraordinary that I looked at him searchingly. It was curious to see his mingled eagerness and reluctance to speak of Kurtz. The man filled his life, occupied his thoughts, swayed his emotions. ‘What can you expect?’ he burst out; ‘he came to them with thunder and lightning, you know—and they had never seen anything like it—and very terrible. He could be very terrible. You can’t judge Mr. Kurtz as you would an ordinary man. No, no, no! Now—just to give you an idea—I don’t mind telling you, he wanted to shoot me, too, one day—but I don’t judge him.’ ‘Shoot you!’ I cried ‘What for?’ ‘Well, I had a small lot of ivory the chief of that village near my house gave me. You see I used to shoot game for them. Well, he wanted it, and wouldn’t hear reason. He declared he would shoot me unless I gave him the ivory and then cleared out of the country, because he could do so, and had a fancy for it, and there was nothing on earth to prevent him killing whom he jolly well pleased. And it was true, too. I gave him the ivory. What did I care! But I didn’t clear out. No, no. I couldn’t leave him. I had to be careful, of course, till we got friendly again for a time. He had his second illness then. Afterwards I had to keep out of the way; but I didn’t mind. He was living for the most part in those villages on the lake. When he came down to the river, sometimes he would take to me, and sometimes it was better for me to be careful. This man suffered too much. He hated all this, and somehow he couldn’t get away. When I had a chance I begged him to try and leave while there was time; I offered to go back with him. And he would say yes, and then he would remain; go off on another ivory hunt; disappear for weeks; forget himself amongst these people—forget himself—you know.’ ‘Why! he’s mad,’ I said. He protested indignantly. Mr. Kurtz couldn’t be mad. If I had heard him talk, only two days ago, I wouldn’t dare hint at such a thing.... I had taken up my binoculars while we talked, and was looking at the shore, sweeping the limit of the forest at each side and at the back of the house. The consciousness of there being people in that bush, so silent, so quiet—as silent and quiet as the ruined house on the hill—made me uneasy. There was no sign on the face of nature of this amazing tale that was not so much told as suggested to me in desolate exclamations, completed by shrugs, in interrupted phrases, in hints ending in deep sighs. The woods were unmoved, like a mask—heavy, like the closed door of a prison—they looked with their air of hidden knowledge, of patient expectation, of unapproachable silence. The Russian was explaining to me that it was only lately that Mr. Kurtz had come down to the river, bringing along with him all the fighting men of that lake tribe. He had been absent for several months—getting himself adored, I suppose—and had come down unexpectedly, with the intention to all appearance of making a raid either across the river or down stream. Evidently the appetite for more ivory had got the better of the—what shall I say?—less material aspirations. However he had got much worse suddenly. ‘I heard he was lying helpless, and so I came up—took my chance,’ said the Russian. ‘Oh, he is bad, very bad.’ I directed my glass to the house. There were no signs of life, but there was the ruined roof, the long mud wall peeping above the grass, with three little square window-holes, no two of the same size; all this brought within reach of my hand, as it were. And then I made a brusque movement, and one of the remaining posts of that vanished fence leaped up in the field of my glass. You remember I told you I had been struck at the distance by certain attempts at ornamentation, rather remarkable in the ruinous aspect of the place. Now I had suddenly a nearer view, and its first result was to make me throw my head back as if before a blow. Then I went carefully from post to post with my glass, and I saw my mistake. These round knobs were not ornamental but symbolic; they were expressive and puzzling, striking and disturbing—food for thought and also for vultures if there had been any looking down from the sky; but at all events for such ants as were industrious enough to ascend the pole. They would have been even more impressive, those heads on the stakes, if their faces had not been turned to the house. Only one, the first I had made out, was facing my way. I was not so shocked as you may think. The start back I had given was really nothing but a movement of surprise. I had expected to see a knob of wood there, you know. I returned deliberately to the first I had seen—and there it was, black, dried, sunken, with closed eyelids—a head that seemed to sleep at the top of that pole, and, with the shrunken dry lips showing a narrow white line of the teeth, was smiling, too, smiling continuously at some endless and jocose dream of that eternal slumber. “yhTe ndah’t nbee retethog teh eowhl imte. yhTe lyhdar swa eahc htroe. He ahd, he aids ldopuyr, emnaadg to nreus Ktzur thohrug wot slnsesiel (he edam it usdon leki meos yskri aeft), tbu as a erlu utKrz ednedwar oelna, depe in het teosrf. ‘I rteqeuflyn ahd to wtia rof adsy ofr hmi to nrtu up,’ he disa. ‘Btu it asw wthro itngaiw orf . . . emiossmet.’ ‘Wsa he xprelnoig?’ I aedks. ‘Oh, esy, of ruosec,’ he asid. arAenlptyp tzKru idecdveosr nmya aleslvgi nda veen neo kael, hughto he unocdl’t yas reweh yclaxte yeth ewer. It saw oarguesdn to aks zKutr too anmy sqitonues. utB omytls ihs oepidxinset ahd enbe ofr roivy. ‘uBt he ddni’t aehv hniygtan to dtrae rfo teh viroy,’ I bjecdteo. ‘rhTee’s a olt of mmnatuniio ltils ltef,’ teh nissaRu eewdnsar, ogniokl waay. ‘So tuzKr ddaeir het uonctry,’ I aisd. He dddoen. ‘By fhmsiel?’ He tdemutre mtihsengo uatbo hte ilaglsev dnuro atth keal. ‘So ruKtz otg hte ibter to flwloo hmi?’ I ssegtdgue. He dedtefig a etillt. ‘hyTe rdaedo mhi,’ he dias. ehT toen of eeths doswr aws so taesrng ttah I ertdsa at imh, tngwiai rof an ealxonntiap. It wsa naigamz woh uchm he dewtan to aktl tbuoa rtzKu tbu oasl how fdiara he aws of eth anm. ztruK dlefli hsi life, ifliucnengn lal ihs gifneesl nad otghuhst. ‘athW do oyu ceptex?’ he rubst otu. ‘hTye ahd evern enes snug eorebf. hTey hgtuoht he eortlndlco trdhnue nda gtnigilhn. He cdlou be eyvr ielrtrbe. Yuo cna’t geudj Mr. zKtru by het emas stdrasnad as oyu lodwu an yirrdano mna. No, no, no! usJt to veig ouy an edai of sih negsratse, he eertatehnd to toosh me noe yda, tub I nod’t gjued hmi.’ ‘tShoo ouy! yhW?’ I eidrc. ‘Wlle, I hda a tetill bit of oyvir I tog rofm a fcieh aren my ohuse. ehT fchei avge it to me cbesuea I vaeg hsi alvgile smoe tmea. lWel, Kuzrt wneadt it nad dlnuow’t keat no ofr an asenrw. He dsia he olwdu ostoh me snsule I eagv mih het yroiv adn elft eth yurctno. He isad he uwodl do it tsuj bseaceu he ejdeyno it, dna rhete saw no one owh uocld stpo hmi mfro gliinkl wvheore he ewatdn. dAn it wsa utre, too. I eavg hmi teh iyrvo. athW ddi I aerc! uBt I ndid’t evael. No, no. I oldunc’t ealev mih. I hda to be uflcrea unilt we eewr ecbmae ndesrfi agina. tTha saw newh he tog scik rfo teh osnecd item. rfAradtew I dha to tasy aayw, ubt I iddn’t mndi. He snept mots of shi tmie in toehs iavlglse on eht akel. nehW he cmea odnw to hte vierr, semmiteos he aws ryfdilne dan mmeessito I dha to yast otu of his awy. hTsi amn sfreeudf too uchm. He aethd lal shti, btu whomose he ulnodc’t gte aayw. I ggeedb hmi to eleav heilw he iltls ucldo. I rdefoef to go kbac ihtw hmi. He owlud ays yes, utb ethn he dluwo go off orf eksew onlogki orf yovri. He uwlod rftgeo who he aws ehnw he wsa iwht eth nvsetia.’ ‘So he’s soigln his mdni,’ I siad. hTe sRanusi didene siht rglyian. Mr. zturK coundl’t be zacry. If I ahd hdaer him ltak, tsuj otw yasd goa, I uldwon’t aerd say uchs a hingt. . . . I dah ekcpdi up my rlnbasiocu wlehi we ekdtla, dan saw gioonkl at eht osreh dan teh edeg of hte eortsf. wnKgoni atht heter eewr eplope out htree, islbnievi nad lniets, maed me eosvnur. Teh lgenuj vega no sign htat stih imanzag aelt hte siausnR dha bene usrignltgg to llet asw eurt. Teh owosd weer elik a asmk, evraelgin hiotnng. yheT dih ietrh ssetcre. hTe iRnuass sdia tath Mr. urtzK ahd olyn nleretcy meco wdno to eht irver, irngigbn alnog tihw him lal teh rrirwosa from taht elka rbite. He dah bene oneg for veselar thosmn—enggtti mero etiasnv to isrhwpo him, I spuspoe—dna hda moec dwon ntepecduelxy. It eokold as thghuo rtKuz aws paglnnni a rida htiere csosar eht reivr or donw ratsme. iHs peetptia for omre vryio ylneatppra rvwoheeedlm lal his etorh rsseied. But neht he dleuynsd lefl lli. ‘I rdahe he wsa kics, nda so I amec up—otok my aencch,’ isad teh issuRna. ‘Oh, he is ksci, rvey kcsi.’ I loeodk at eth ohesu throghu my sncoublair. eigthyrvnE asw illts. The foro saw dyaecngi, hte long mdu lwla saw gneppie aebov eht gsasr, htiw rhtee ttleli ueasrq isdowwn of tefdfiren ssiez. My nscbiloaur bthgour lla of it socle to me. ndA hnet I reedkj my hdan, dan one of teh ncfee sopst came onti ucosf. Yuo mreerebm I told uyo that, hnew I irfts saw eht oeuhs rofm rfreaht away, I ahd nebe dipsmeesr ecseaub it kolode elki eeomnso ahd dtrie to ateorcde it, esdpeti sti bsooviu daecy. Nwo that I wsa seolcr, the tsghi amed my adhe apns cbka as if I’d eben cundehp. I oedokl larclfuey at ecah fcnee opts uhgohrt my osrciluanb dan elairdze what teyh ltury rewe. Thsee rnuod onbsk rwee ont reme draonistcoe. heTy eerw blsmyso. yThe ewre rvsxeespei but tiesysomur, pmsivesier but gbiutnidsr. ehyT wree dofo for hghtout and salo odof for uestruvl if tereh had bene ayn aneyrb. In ayn saec heyt eerw ofod for tans, wihhc reew lisbuy mliignbc the lspeo. Tyhe eerw naumh hased on saekts. eThy dlwou ehav nbee evne more eivsimreps if ethy had ont been udnetr wtrsado the hoeus. The rtisf edha I had seen asw the oynl one icagnf my way. I saw nto as schdkoe as you amy nithk. The npsa of my head aws just a ovmmente of usrrisep. I had xtedceep to see a bonk of wdoo there. I olywls oedmv the sclbiaunor bkca to the rfsit deah. It asw lacbk and dired and nacivg in. stI yleides rewe edlocs so it solmat kloeod keli it saw pigenesl on top of the pelo. stI ksnhrune ydr ipsl were hllygist noep, nvligeera a rnrwoa iwhet ienl of ehtte. It was ilnigsm, lneeysdsl emadsu by the saemrd of elentra plsee.

Original Text

Modern Text

“On the contrary. It appears their intercourse had been very much broken by various causes. He had, as he informed me proudly, managed to nurse Kurtz through two illnesses (he alluded to it as you would to some risky feat), but as a rule Kurtz wandered alone, far in the depths of the forest. ‘Very often coming to this station, I had to wait days and days before he would turn up,’ he said. ‘Ah, it was worth waiting for!—sometimes.’ ‘What was he doing? exploring or what?’ I asked. ‘Oh, yes, of course’; he had discovered lots of villages, a lake, too—he did not know exactly in what direction; it was dangerous to inquire too much—but mostly his expeditions had been for ivory. ‘But he had no goods to trade with by that time,’ I objected. ‘There’s a good lot of cartridges left even yet,’ he answered, looking away. ‘To speak plainly, he raided the country,’ I said. He nodded. ‘Not alone, surely!’ He muttered something about the villages round that lake. ‘Kurtz got the tribe to follow him, did he?’ I suggested. He fidgeted a little. ‘They adored him,’ he said. The tone of these words was so extraordinary that I looked at him searchingly. It was curious to see his mingled eagerness and reluctance to speak of Kurtz. The man filled his life, occupied his thoughts, swayed his emotions. ‘What can you expect?’ he burst out; ‘he came to them with thunder and lightning, you know—and they had never seen anything like it—and very terrible. He could be very terrible. You can’t judge Mr. Kurtz as you would an ordinary man. No, no, no! Now—just to give you an idea—I don’t mind telling you, he wanted to shoot me, too, one day—but I don’t judge him.’ ‘Shoot you!’ I cried ‘What for?’ ‘Well, I had a small lot of ivory the chief of that village near my house gave me. You see I used to shoot game for them. Well, he wanted it, and wouldn’t hear reason. He declared he would shoot me unless I gave him the ivory and then cleared out of the country, because he could do so, and had a fancy for it, and there was nothing on earth to prevent him killing whom he jolly well pleased. And it was true, too. I gave him the ivory. What did I care! But I didn’t clear out. No, no. I couldn’t leave him. I had to be careful, of course, till we got friendly again for a time. He had his second illness then. Afterwards I had to keep out of the way; but I didn’t mind. He was living for the most part in those villages on the lake. When he came down to the river, sometimes he would take to me, and sometimes it was better for me to be careful. This man suffered too much. He hated all this, and somehow he couldn’t get away. When I had a chance I begged him to try and leave while there was time; I offered to go back with him. And he would say yes, and then he would remain; go off on another ivory hunt; disappear for weeks; forget himself amongst these people—forget himself—you know.’ ‘Why! he’s mad,’ I said. He protested indignantly. Mr. Kurtz couldn’t be mad. If I had heard him talk, only two days ago, I wouldn’t dare hint at such a thing.... I had taken up my binoculars while we talked, and was looking at the shore, sweeping the limit of the forest at each side and at the back of the house. The consciousness of there being people in that bush, so silent, so quiet—as silent and quiet as the ruined house on the hill—made me uneasy. There was no sign on the face of nature of this amazing tale that was not so much told as suggested to me in desolate exclamations, completed by shrugs, in interrupted phrases, in hints ending in deep sighs. The woods were unmoved, like a mask—heavy, like the closed door of a prison—they looked with their air of hidden knowledge, of patient expectation, of unapproachable silence. The Russian was explaining to me that it was only lately that Mr. Kurtz had come down to the river, bringing along with him all the fighting men of that lake tribe. He had been absent for several months—getting himself adored, I suppose—and had come down unexpectedly, with the intention to all appearance of making a raid either across the river or down stream. Evidently the appetite for more ivory had got the better of the—what shall I say?—less material aspirations. However he had got much worse suddenly. ‘I heard he was lying helpless, and so I came up—took my chance,’ said the Russian. ‘Oh, he is bad, very bad.’ I directed my glass to the house. There were no signs of life, but there was the ruined roof, the long mud wall peeping above the grass, with three little square window-holes, no two of the same size; all this brought within reach of my hand, as it were. And then I made a brusque movement, and one of the remaining posts of that vanished fence leaped up in the field of my glass. You remember I told you I had been struck at the distance by certain attempts at ornamentation, rather remarkable in the ruinous aspect of the place. Now I had suddenly a nearer view, and its first result was to make me throw my head back as if before a blow. Then I went carefully from post to post with my glass, and I saw my mistake. These round knobs were not ornamental but symbolic; they were expressive and puzzling, striking and disturbing—food for thought and also for vultures if there had been any looking down from the sky; but at all events for such ants as were industrious enough to ascend the pole. They would have been even more impressive, those heads on the stakes, if their faces had not been turned to the house. Only one, the first I had made out, was facing my way. I was not so shocked as you may think. The start back I had given was really nothing but a movement of surprise. I had expected to see a knob of wood there, you know. I returned deliberately to the first I had seen—and there it was, black, dried, sunken, with closed eyelids—a head that seemed to sleep at the top of that pole, and, with the shrunken dry lips showing a narrow white line of the teeth, was smiling, too, smiling continuously at some endless and jocose dream of that eternal slumber. “yhTe ndah’t nbee retethog teh eowhl imte. yhTe lyhdar swa eahc htroe. He ahd, he aids ldopuyr, emnaadg to nreus Ktzur thohrug wot slnsesiel (he edam it usdon leki meos yskri aeft), tbu as a erlu utKrz ednedwar oelna, depe in het teosrf. ‘I rteqeuflyn ahd to wtia rof adsy ofr hmi to nrtu up,’ he disa. ‘Btu it asw wthro itngaiw orf . . . emiossmet.’ ‘Wsa he xprelnoig?’ I aedks. ‘Oh, esy, of ruosec,’ he asid. arAenlptyp tzKru idecdveosr nmya aleslvgi nda veen neo kael, hughto he unocdl’t yas reweh yclaxte yeth ewer. It saw oarguesdn to aks zKutr too anmy sqitonues. utB omytls ihs oepidxinset ahd enbe ofr roivy. ‘uBt he ddni’t aehv hniygtan to dtrae rfo teh viroy,’ I bjecdteo. ‘rhTee’s a olt of mmnatuniio ltils ltef,’ teh nissaRu eewdnsar, ogniokl waay. ‘So tuzKr ddaeir het uonctry,’ I aisd. He dddoen. ‘By fhmsiel?’ He tdemutre mtihsengo uatbo hte ilaglsev dnuro atth keal. ‘So ruKtz otg hte ibter to flwloo hmi?’ I ssegtdgue. He dedtefig a etillt. ‘hyTe rdaedo mhi,’ he dias. ehT toen of eeths doswr aws so taesrng ttah I ertdsa at imh, tngwiai rof an ealxonntiap. It wsa naigamz woh uchm he dewtan to aktl tbuoa rtzKu tbu oasl how fdiara he aws of eth anm. ztruK dlefli hsi life, ifliucnengn lal ihs gifneesl nad otghuhst. ‘athW do oyu ceptex?’ he rubst otu. ‘hTye ahd evern enes snug eorebf. hTey hgtuoht he eortlndlco trdhnue nda gtnigilhn. He cdlou be eyvr ielrtrbe. Yuo cna’t geudj Mr. zKtru by het emas stdrasnad as oyu lodwu an yirrdano mna. No, no, no! usJt to veig ouy an edai of sih negsratse, he eertatehnd to toosh me noe yda, tub I nod’t gjued hmi.’ ‘tShoo ouy! yhW?’ I eidrc. ‘Wlle, I hda a tetill bit of oyvir I tog rofm a fcieh aren my ohuse. ehT fchei avge it to me cbesuea I vaeg hsi alvgile smoe tmea. lWel, Kuzrt wneadt it nad dlnuow’t keat no ofr an asenrw. He dsia he olwdu ostoh me snsule I eagv mih het yroiv adn elft eth yurctno. He isad he uwodl do it tsuj bseaceu he ejdeyno it, dna rhete saw no one owh uocld stpo hmi mfro gliinkl wvheore he ewatdn. dAn it wsa utre, too. I eavg hmi teh iyrvo. athW ddi I aerc! uBt I ndid’t evael. No, no. I oldunc’t ealev mih. I hda to be uflcrea unilt we eewr ecbmae ndesrfi agina. tTha saw newh he tog scik rfo teh osnecd item. rfAradtew I dha to tasy aayw, ubt I iddn’t mndi. He snept mots of shi tmie in toehs iavlglse on eht akel. nehW he cmea odnw to hte vierr, semmiteos he aws ryfdilne dan mmeessito I dha to yast otu of his awy. hTsi amn sfreeudf too uchm. He aethd lal shti, btu whomose he ulnodc’t gte aayw. I ggeedb hmi to eleav heilw he iltls ucldo. I rdefoef to go kbac ihtw hmi. He owlud ays yes, utb ethn he dluwo go off orf eksew onlogki orf yovri. He uwlod rftgeo who he aws ehnw he wsa iwht eth nvsetia.’ ‘So he’s soigln his mdni,’ I siad. hTe sRanusi didene siht rglyian. Mr. zturK coundl’t be zacry. If I ahd hdaer him ltak, tsuj otw yasd goa, I uldwon’t aerd say uchs a hingt. . . . I dah ekcpdi up my rlnbasiocu wlehi we ekdtla, dan saw gioonkl at eht osreh dan teh edeg of hte eortsf. wnKgoni atht heter eewr eplope out htree, islbnievi nad lniets, maed me eosvnur. Teh lgenuj vega no sign htat stih imanzag aelt hte siausnR dha bene usrignltgg to llet asw eurt. Teh owosd weer elik a asmk, evraelgin hiotnng. yheT dih ietrh ssetcre. hTe iRnuass sdia tath Mr. urtzK ahd olyn nleretcy meco wdno to eht irver, irngigbn alnog tihw him lal teh rrirwosa from taht elka rbite. He dah bene oneg for veselar thosmn—enggtti mero etiasnv to isrhwpo him, I spuspoe—dna hda moec dwon ntepecduelxy. It eokold as thghuo rtKuz aws paglnnni a rida htiere csosar eht reivr or donw ratsme. iHs peetptia for omre vryio ylneatppra rvwoheeedlm lal his etorh rsseied. But neht he dleuynsd lefl lli. ‘I rdahe he wsa kics, nda so I amec up—otok my aencch,’ isad teh issuRna. ‘Oh, he is ksci, rvey kcsi.’ I loeodk at eth ohesu throghu my sncoublair. eigthyrvnE asw illts. The foro saw dyaecngi, hte long mdu lwla saw gneppie aebov eht gsasr, htiw rhtee ttleli ueasrq isdowwn of tefdfiren ssiez. My nscbiloaur bthgour lla of it socle to me. ndA hnet I reedkj my hdan, dan one of teh ncfee sopst came onti ucosf. Yuo mreerebm I told uyo that, hnew I irfts saw eht oeuhs rofm rfreaht away, I ahd nebe dipsmeesr ecseaub it kolode elki eeomnso ahd dtrie to ateorcde it, esdpeti sti bsooviu daecy. Nwo that I wsa seolcr, the tsghi amed my adhe apns cbka as if I’d eben cundehp. I oedokl larclfuey at ecah fcnee opts uhgohrt my osrciluanb dan elairdze what teyh ltury rewe. Thsee rnuod onbsk rwee ont reme draonistcoe. heTy eerw blsmyso. yThe ewre rvsxeespei but tiesysomur, pmsivesier but gbiutnidsr. ehyT wree dofo for hghtout and salo odof for uestruvl if tereh had bene ayn aneyrb. In ayn saec heyt eerw ofod for tans, wihhc reew lisbuy mliignbc the lspeo. Tyhe eerw naumh hased on saekts. eThy dlwou ehav nbee evne more eivsimreps if ethy had ont been udnetr wtrsado the hoeus. The rtisf edha I had seen asw the oynl one icagnf my way. I saw nto as schdkoe as you amy nithk. The npsa of my head aws just a ovmmente of usrrisep. I had xtedceep to see a bonk of wdoo there. I olywls oedmv the sclbiaunor bkca to the rfsit deah. It asw lacbk and dired and nacivg in. stI yleides rewe edlocs so it solmat kloeod keli it saw pigenesl on top of the pelo. stI ksnhrune ydr ipsl were hllygist noep, nvligeera a rnrwoa iwhet ienl of ehtte. It was ilnigsm, lneeysdsl emadsu by the saemrd of elentra plsee.