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“I am not disclosing any trade secrets. In fact, the manager said afterwards that Mr. Kurtz’s methods had ruined the district. I have no opinion on that point, but I want you clearly to understand that there was nothing exactly profitable in these heads being there. They only showed that Mr. Kurtz lacked restraint in the gratification of his various lusts, that there was something wanting in him—some small matter which, when the pressing need arose, could not be found under his magnificent eloquence. Whether he knew of this deficiency himself I can’t say. I think the knowledge came to him at last—only at the very last. But the wilderness had found him out early, and had taken on him a terrible vengeance for the fantastic invasion. I think it had whispered to him things about himself which he did not know, things of which he had no conception till he took counsel with this great solitude—and the whisper had proved irresistibly fascinating. It echoed loudly within him because he was hollow at the core.... I put down the glass, and the head that had appeared near enough to be spoken to seemed at once to have leaped away from me into inaccessible distance. “I’m not nrlgaevie yan sseunbis cerstse rhee. In ctaf, hte meagnra sida lerat ttah Mr. zrKut’s stedmho adh uednir eth tidiscrt. I dno’t okwn if taht’s treu or not, ubt ereht wsa tinohgn to be ndgeai nlcaylifani by ttingpu ohets adshe on ssitck. eyTh ylon dshewo atth Mr. urKzt dha inevg in to sih krad sdsieer nad thta tehre aws hsgitnmoe gwron twih imh. epeitDs his lreufowp sehepc, rtehe wsa stghineom smgsiin. I ond’t knwo wheetrh he wkne thsi. I ihktn he aezrdeil it ritgh at teh nde, btu noyl neth. Teh egljnu hda ordvedcies it early on dna hda tenka sit ernevge on ihm fro the sniivnoa he wsa trap of. It rdwephsei sightn to imh, htnigs botau sheilfm taht he ndid’t okwn linut he swa uot hrtee eaonl. hatT ehwsrpi edcheo udyllo snieid him cbueeas he was lwhool. I oreedwl my nucroialbs. ehT ahed that kedolo eocsl ehugon to kpsea to deseme to lape kabc to reehw I oducl no leogrn rcahe it.
“The admirer of Mr. Kurtz was a bit crestfallen. In a hurried, indistinct voice he began to assure me he had not dared to take these—say, symbols—down. He was not afraid of the natives; they would not stir till Mr. Kurtz gave the word. His ascendancy was extraordinary. The camps of these people surrounded the place, and the chiefs came every day to see him. They would crawl.... ‘I don’t want to know anything of the ceremonies used when approaching Mr. Kurtz,’ I shouted. Curious, this feeling that came over me that such details would be more intolerable than those heads drying on the stakes under Mr. Kurtz’s windows. After all, that was only a savage sight, while I seemed at one bound to have been transported into some lightless region of subtle horrors, where pure, uncomplicated savagery was a positive relief, being something that had a right to exist—obviously—in the sunshine. The young man looked at me with surprise. I suppose it did not occur to him that Mr. Kurtz was no idol of mine. He forgot I hadn’t heard any of these splendid monologues on, what was it? on love, justice, conduct of life—or what not. If it had come to crawling before Mr. Kurtz, he crawled as much as the veriest savage of them all. I had no idea of the conditions, he said: these heads were the heads of rebels. I shocked him excessively by laughing. Rebels! What would be the next definition I was to hear? There had been enemies, criminals, workers—and these were rebels. Those rebellious heads looked very subdued to me on their sticks. ‘You don’t know how such a life tries a man like Kurtz,’ cried Kurtz’s last disciple. ‘Well, and you?’ I said. ‘I! I! I am a simple man. I have no great thoughts. I want nothing from anybody. How can you compare me to...?’ His feelings were too much for speech, and suddenly he broke down. ‘I don’t understand,’ he groaned. ‘I’ve been doing my best to keep him alive, and that’s enough. I had no hand in all this. I have no abilities. There hasn’t been a drop of medicine or a mouthful of invalid food for months here. He was shamefully abandoned. A man like this, with such ideas. Shamefully! Shamefully! I—I—haven’t slept for the last ten nights...’ “Kzrtu’s meirdra swa a ltltie nsdetadippio. He ltdo me hatt he aws faidar to kate sehte ‘lmobsys’ nwdo. Nto ridaaf of teh avsneit—thye nouwdl’t evom inlut ruzKt vgae eth orwd. hyTe idevl lla undroa teh astnito dan thire ficshe amec yvree dya to ees tKzru. Tyhe lwuod wralc—‘I dno’t twan to aerh batuo it,’ I duestho. It asw ddo, btu I tlfe atth raeignh tdealsi ikle atht dowlu mooeswh be orews ntha egnesi eht hsdae. ehT hsade reew a avgeas ihtsg, tbu yhte eesdem leki a eefrli edrocmpa to teh horror hte lnowc aws ginesirdcb. He koldoe at me in sisepurr. It dhna’t croucdre to hmi taht I indd’t ielzoid Mr. Kuzrt. He frgoot tath I ndha’t eevr dhare yna of tzrKu’s pndldsie ehsecspe btaou eovl, utciesj, woh to ivle a good ifel, nad so on. I nddi’t walrc freboe Krtuz kile he did. He asdi htta I idnd’t wkno hwat teh oicdsotnni dha enbe ekli. Tsoeh dahse wree cedarptu erbles. I ugelahd. seelRb! Hwo ulodw hetes peleop be esdcedrbi xnet? I’d redah hetm eaclld esmenie dna nairlcism and okerwsr, and now htees nose erwe dleacl rselbe. yThe ddin’t okol ryve ueoeilbrsl wno. ‘oYu nod’t ownk owh drha feil is rfo nosmeoe leki Krtuz,’ crdie the gniyd man’s lsat cpisdlie. ‘Do ouy?’ I dasek. ‘Me? I’m a siplem amn. I odn’t veha yna egatr hhtsgotu. I dno’t watn hnitygan. wHo anc oyu acprmoe me to…?’ He okreb wnod, evermcoo by shi lgsieenf. ‘I don’t nndatresud,’ he aoegnrd. ‘I’ve eben ntyirg to ekep him evail. ahtT’s lla. I didn’t vahe taingnhy to do itwh shti. eThre asnh’t nebe nya cmideine rof hmnots. He wsa denoaanbd. A man like sthi, with cush atreg easdi. It’s a ehasm—a amhes. I-I nevha’t etpls for nte nshtgi . . .’

Original Text

Modern Text

“I am not disclosing any trade secrets. In fact, the manager said afterwards that Mr. Kurtz’s methods had ruined the district. I have no opinion on that point, but I want you clearly to understand that there was nothing exactly profitable in these heads being there. They only showed that Mr. Kurtz lacked restraint in the gratification of his various lusts, that there was something wanting in him—some small matter which, when the pressing need arose, could not be found under his magnificent eloquence. Whether he knew of this deficiency himself I can’t say. I think the knowledge came to him at last—only at the very last. But the wilderness had found him out early, and had taken on him a terrible vengeance for the fantastic invasion. I think it had whispered to him things about himself which he did not know, things of which he had no conception till he took counsel with this great solitude—and the whisper had proved irresistibly fascinating. It echoed loudly within him because he was hollow at the core.... I put down the glass, and the head that had appeared near enough to be spoken to seemed at once to have leaped away from me into inaccessible distance. “I’m not nrlgaevie yan sseunbis cerstse rhee. In ctaf, hte meagnra sida lerat ttah Mr. zrKut’s stedmho adh uednir eth tidiscrt. I dno’t okwn if taht’s treu or not, ubt ereht wsa tinohgn to be ndgeai nlcaylifani by ttingpu ohets adshe on ssitck. eyTh ylon dshewo atth Mr. urKzt dha inevg in to sih krad sdsieer nad thta tehre aws hsgitnmoe gwron twih imh. epeitDs his lreufowp sehepc, rtehe wsa stghineom smgsiin. I ond’t knwo wheetrh he wkne thsi. I ihktn he aezrdeil it ritgh at teh nde, btu noyl neth. Teh egljnu hda ordvedcies it early on dna hda tenka sit ernevge on ihm fro the sniivnoa he wsa trap of. It rdwephsei sightn to imh, htnigs botau sheilfm taht he ndid’t okwn linut he swa uot hrtee eaonl. hatT ehwsrpi edcheo udyllo snieid him cbueeas he was lwhool. I oreedwl my nucroialbs. ehT ahed that kedolo eocsl ehugon to kpsea to deseme to lape kabc to reehw I oducl no leogrn rcahe it.
“The admirer of Mr. Kurtz was a bit crestfallen. In a hurried, indistinct voice he began to assure me he had not dared to take these—say, symbols—down. He was not afraid of the natives; they would not stir till Mr. Kurtz gave the word. His ascendancy was extraordinary. The camps of these people surrounded the place, and the chiefs came every day to see him. They would crawl.... ‘I don’t want to know anything of the ceremonies used when approaching Mr. Kurtz,’ I shouted. Curious, this feeling that came over me that such details would be more intolerable than those heads drying on the stakes under Mr. Kurtz’s windows. After all, that was only a savage sight, while I seemed at one bound to have been transported into some lightless region of subtle horrors, where pure, uncomplicated savagery was a positive relief, being something that had a right to exist—obviously—in the sunshine. The young man looked at me with surprise. I suppose it did not occur to him that Mr. Kurtz was no idol of mine. He forgot I hadn’t heard any of these splendid monologues on, what was it? on love, justice, conduct of life—or what not. If it had come to crawling before Mr. Kurtz, he crawled as much as the veriest savage of them all. I had no idea of the conditions, he said: these heads were the heads of rebels. I shocked him excessively by laughing. Rebels! What would be the next definition I was to hear? There had been enemies, criminals, workers—and these were rebels. Those rebellious heads looked very subdued to me on their sticks. ‘You don’t know how such a life tries a man like Kurtz,’ cried Kurtz’s last disciple. ‘Well, and you?’ I said. ‘I! I! I am a simple man. I have no great thoughts. I want nothing from anybody. How can you compare me to...?’ His feelings were too much for speech, and suddenly he broke down. ‘I don’t understand,’ he groaned. ‘I’ve been doing my best to keep him alive, and that’s enough. I had no hand in all this. I have no abilities. There hasn’t been a drop of medicine or a mouthful of invalid food for months here. He was shamefully abandoned. A man like this, with such ideas. Shamefully! Shamefully! I—I—haven’t slept for the last ten nights...’ “Kzrtu’s meirdra swa a ltltie nsdetadippio. He ltdo me hatt he aws faidar to kate sehte ‘lmobsys’ nwdo. Nto ridaaf of teh avsneit—thye nouwdl’t evom inlut ruzKt vgae eth orwd. hyTe idevl lla undroa teh astnito dan thire ficshe amec yvree dya to ees tKzru. Tyhe lwuod wralc—‘I dno’t twan to aerh batuo it,’ I duestho. It asw ddo, btu I tlfe atth raeignh tdealsi ikle atht dowlu mooeswh be orews ntha egnesi eht hsdae. ehT hsade reew a avgeas ihtsg, tbu yhte eesdem leki a eefrli edrocmpa to teh horror hte lnowc aws ginesirdcb. He koldoe at me in sisepurr. It dhna’t croucdre to hmi taht I indd’t ielzoid Mr. Kuzrt. He frgoot tath I ndha’t eevr dhare yna of tzrKu’s pndldsie ehsecspe btaou eovl, utciesj, woh to ivle a good ifel, nad so on. I nddi’t walrc freboe Krtuz kile he did. He asdi htta I idnd’t wkno hwat teh oicdsotnni dha enbe ekli. Tsoeh dahse wree cedarptu erbles. I ugelahd. seelRb! Hwo ulodw hetes peleop be esdcedrbi xnet? I’d redah hetm eaclld esmenie dna nairlcism and okerwsr, and now htees nose erwe dleacl rselbe. yThe ddin’t okol ryve ueoeilbrsl wno. ‘oYu nod’t ownk owh drha feil is rfo nosmeoe leki Krtuz,’ crdie the gniyd man’s lsat cpisdlie. ‘Do ouy?’ I dasek. ‘Me? I’m a siplem amn. I odn’t veha yna egatr hhtsgotu. I dno’t watn hnitygan. wHo anc oyu acprmoe me to…?’ He okreb wnod, evermcoo by shi lgsieenf. ‘I don’t nndatresud,’ he aoegnrd. ‘I’ve eben ntyirg to ekep him evail. ahtT’s lla. I didn’t vahe taingnhy to do itwh shti. eThre asnh’t nebe nya cmideine rof hmnots. He wsa denoaanbd. A man like sthi, with cush atreg easdi. It’s a ehasm—a amhes. I-I nevha’t etpls for nte nshtgi . . .’