فصل 11

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فصل 11

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Chapter eleven

No, they did not bury me, but I lived through a strange period when there seemed no hope and no desire in the world. I returned to the city and was disgusted by the people there. They took money from each other, they ate and drank, and they had silly dreams.

‘One day a man from the company came to see me. He wanted me to give him Kurtz’s documents and papers. I refused to give them to him. He told me the company had the right to all the information that Kurtz had gathered while he worked for it. I told him Kurtz’s papers had no commercial value. I let him see Kurtz’s paper for the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs. I tore off the postscript with those terrible words: “Kill all the brutes!” The man read it eagerly and then threw it down with contempt.

“‘This is not the kind of thing we expected,” he told me angrily. “Not what we expected, at all.”

‘A few days later another man came to see me. He said he was Kurtz’s cousin. He told me that Kurtz had been, essentially, a great musician.

‘Then a journalist called who wanted to talk about the death of his “dear colleague”.

‘“He should have been a politician,” the journalist told me. “He wasn’t a particularly good journalist - but that man could talk!”

‘I could not decide what Kurtz’s real talents were. He could paint, he could write, he could play music, and he could talk like no one else. He was a sort of universal genius.

‘Kurtz’s mother had recently died, and I heard that his “intended” had looked after her. I thought she should have his papers, and the picture of her that was with them.

‘It was evening when I went to her house. She came forward to greet me, dressed in black. He had died more than a year ago, but she was still wearing black for him. I put the packet of papers and the picture on the table. She covered it with her hand.

‘“You knew him well?” she asked me.

‘“I knew him very well,” I replied.

‘“You admired him, of course,” she told me. “It was impossible to know him and not to admire him.”

‘“He was a remarkable man,” I said. “It was impossible not to -“

“‘Love him,’ she said eagerly. “How true! But I knew him best. He told me everything.”

‘And so the girl talked to me about her love for Kurtz. She was proud of him, and she spoke very highly of his many talents.

‘“His death was a terrible loss to me - to us - to the whole world. And now there is nothing of his greatness left. There is only the memory of it. You and I - “ ‘“We will always remember him,” I told her.

‘“We’ll remember his goodness,” she said. “We’ll remember the example -“

‘“The example he set. Yes. I had forgotten that,” I replied.

‘“Were you with him when he died?” she asked me.

‘“To the very end. I heard his last words.”

‘“What were they?” she wanted to know. “Tell me what he said!”

‘It was dark in the house now. I could almost hear that voice saying, “The horror! The horror!”

‘“What did he say?” she asked me again. “Tell me. It will give me something to live for. I loved him - I loved him!”

‘I made a great effort,’ Marlow said. ‘I looked at her and spoke slowly:

‘“The last word he said was your name.”’

Marlow looked at us as we lay on the deck of the Nellie listening to his story.

‘I couldn’t tell her the truth. It would have been too dark - much too dark.’

Marlow stopped talking now, and there was silence on the boat. Nobody moved. I looked up. There were clouds over the river. The quiet river seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness.

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