An athletic black belonging to some coast tribe and educated by my poor predecessor, was the helmsman. I did not know of any reason why we shouldn't. Seventeen pages of close writing he had found time for! You looked on amazed, and began to suspect yourself of being deaf-- then the night came suddenly, and struck you blind as well. Perhaps because he was never ill. It had got filled since my boyhood with rivers and lakes and names. That, and the repairs when I brought the pieces to the station, took some months.
There was no room to turn even if I had wanted to, the snag was somewhere very near ahead in that confounded smoke, there was no time to lose, so I just crowded her into the bank—right into the bank, where I knew the water was deep. I don't know how it struck the others: to me it seemed as though the mist itself had screamed, so suddenly, and apparently from all sides at once, did this tumultuous and mournful uproar arise. They were not enemies, they were not criminals, they were nothing earthly now-- nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation, lying confusedly in the greenish gloom. Madness has two primary functions. The twigs overhung the current thickly, and from distance to distance a large limb of some tree projected rigidly over the stream. They--the women, I mean-- are out of it--should be out of it.
I wanted to push on; but the manager looked grave, and told me the navigation up there was so dangerous that it would be advisable, the sun being very low already, to wait where we were till next morning. 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. Could we handle that dumb thing, or would it handle us? But there was the fact facing me—the fact dazzling, to be seen, like the foam on the depths of the sea, like a ripple on an unfathomable enigma, a mystery greater—when I thought of it—than the curious, inexplicable note of desperate grief in this savage clamor that had swept by us on the river-bank, behind the blind whiteness of the fog. The Director of Companies was our captain and our host. Heart of Darkness is a fictionalized chronicle of what the protagonist and author recognized as a horrific time in human history and is a vivid critique of it. Or you may be such a thunderingly exalted creature as to be altogether deaf and blind to anything but heavenly sights and sounds. Light came out of this river since--you say Knights? Among other things, this means that no one owns a United States copyright on or for this work, so the Project and you! They, no doubt, like the rest of us, found what they deserved.
He made a point of that. It's really easier to face bereavement, dishonour, and the perdition of one's soul--than this kind of prolonged hunger. Eight miles meant nearly three hours' steaming for us, and I could also see suspicious ripples at the upper end of the reach. The traffic of the great city went on in the deepening night upon the sleepless river. I stood in the doorway, peering, and the arrows came in swarms. It was something natural, that had its reason, that had a meaning. The story centres on Charles Marlow, who narrates most of the book.
The best way I can explain it to you is by saying that, for a second or two, I felt as though, instead of going to the centre of a continent, I were about to set off for the centre of the earth. The absurd involves both insignificant silliness and life-or-death issues, often simultaneously. It appears the Company had received news that one of their captains had been killed in a scuffle with the natives. It was an extravagant mystery. But my work would not begin till some two hundred miles farther on. Rivets had rolled into the grove of death.
Africa is responsible for mental disintegration as well as physical illness. He lifted a warning forefinger. It was only months and months afterwards, when I made the attempt to recover what was left of the body, that I heard the original quarrel arose from a misunderstanding about some hens. The old mud shanty was bursting with it. It must have made some of the pilgrims sit up in their hovels. The supernatural being had not been touched after he fell. Not of course that I did not connect him with some sort of action.
This is my share in the advantages my country shall reap from the possession of such a magnificent dependency. We wouldn't be able to tell where we were going to--whether up or down stream, or across--till we fetched against one bank or the other--and then we wouldn't know at first which it was. All books are in clear copy here, and all files are secure so don't worry about it. Like a charm—like a charm. They, above--the Council in Europe, you know--mean him to be. 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. I was not used to get things that way, you know.
The essentials of this affair lay deep under the surface, beyond my reach, and beyond my power of meddling. I take it, no fool ever made a bargain for his soul with the devil; the fool is too much of a fool, or the devil too much of a devil--I don't know which. They had not the fierce character boding of immediate hostile intention. They walked erect and slow, balancing small baskets full of earth on their heads, and the clink kept time with their footsteps. They passed me within six inches, without a glance, with that complete, deathlike indifference of unhappy savages. We are too late; he has vanished—the gift has vanished, by means of some spear, arrow, or club.