فصل 10

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کتاب های ساده

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فصل 10

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Chapter ten

We left on the steamer the next day at noon. A huge crowd of natives came out to watch us go. I swung the steamer into the middle of the river to turn her round. As we steamed past I could see three men covered in red earth. They stamped their feet on the ground, and moved their bodies rhythmically. The three men shouted something, and the crowd behind them made a noise.

‘The woman whom I had seen the day before also appeared now. She looked at the steamer and shouted something. Again the crowd of people echoed her shouts.

‘“Do you understand this?” I asked Kurtz. Of course,” he replied with a smile.

‘I reached for the line to the whistle and pulled it hard. The steamer whistle screeched, and the crowd of natives began to run away in terror. The only person who did not move was that magnificent woman. She stayed motionless, looking at us with her arms held high up in the air. And then the pilgrims on board took out their rifles and began to shoot. I did not see anything else because of the smoke.

‘The river took us away from the heart of darkness. It carried us swiftly towards the sea. Kurtz’s life was moving swiftly towards its end, too. The manager was relaxed now. He could see that his problems would end with the end of Kurtz’s life.

‘Now Kurtz began to talk. How he talked! He hid the darkness in his heart with that voice of his! He talked about “my intended”, “my station”, “my career”, and “my ideas”. There was a struggle going on inside him between his love of what he had discovered and his hatred for what he had discovered. I saw that struggle and it was terrible.

‘The steamer broke down during the journey, and we had to stop for repairs. Kurtz was impatient because of the delay. He gave me his papers to look after, and a photograph of a European girl.

‘“This fool,” he told me, “may want to look at them.” He meant the manager.

‘The repairs took several days, and Kurtz grew weaker every day. I worked to repair the steamer, and I watched Kurtz dying. It was fascinating to see that man die. I saw his pride, his power, and I saw his absolute despair. Did he live through his whole life again in those few days? Did he experience once more the desires and the surrender to them that had destroyed him? Did he see that he was just a hollow man?

‘Once he cried out at some thought or vision he was seeing. His voice was very weak.

‘“The horror! The horror!”

‘I left him alone in his cabin.

‘A few minutes later the manager’s servant came in to tell us that Kurtz was dead.

‘The pilgrims buried him the next day.

‘And then they nearly buried me. But I survived my illness. I survived to be loyal to Kurtz once again. It was my destiny to protect that man’s reputation.

‘I have been close to death, and I know how dull it is to struggle against it. I know that when I was very close to dying, I had nothing to say. That’s why I think Kurtz was a remarkable man, despite everything. He did have something to say, and he said it. He looked out into the abyss that confronts us all in the end, and he gave his opinion: “The horror! The horror!”

‘His cry was a kind of victory. It was a moral victory. He had been defeated by his desires, he had done abominable things, and at the end he had the courage to look at what had happened to himself. That’s why I’ve remained loyal to him.’

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