فصل 08

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کتاب های ساده

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فصل 08

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Chapter eight

‘I looked at the man in astonishment. He seemed such an impossible sort of man, in his coloured clothes, and with his enthusiasm for Kurtz. ‘“Take Kurtz away quick,” he advised me.

‘It was clear to me that he wanted nothing for himself. He wanted to remain where he was, and to continue alone in the jungle pursuing his own purposes. I admired his youth and his courage. But I did not admire his devotion to Kurtz.

‘They had met in the jungle, and Kurtz had talked to him one night.

‘“We talked about everything,” he told me. “We talked all night. He made me see things - things.”

‘He told me that Kurtz did not often talk to him. He was busy”. He disappeared into the jungle by himself.

‘“How did he manage to trade?” I asked. “He had nothing to trade with,” I pointed out.

‘“He had his guns,” the man told me.

‘“You mean he was a raider?” I asked. “But not alone, surely? Who went with him?”

‘“The tribe loved him,” the man explained. “What can you expect? He came here with thunder and lightning. They’d never seen anything like it before.”

‘He hesitated.

‘“And then Kurtz can be terrible,” he added. “You can’t judge him like an ordinary man. He even wanted to shoot me once. But I don’t judge him for that.”

‘“Shoot you! What for?”

‘“I had some ivory, you see,” the man said. “Kurtz wanted it. He said he would shoot me if I didn’t give it to him, and that I had to leave the country. He said he had the power to make me go, and he would use it. I gave him the ivory, of course - I didn’t care about that. But I wouldn’t leave him. He needed me. He’d already been ill once, and then he was ill again. He hated the place, and I begged him to leave. He always said he would leave, but he never did. He would disappear for weeks into the jungle.”

‘“He’s mad,” I commented.

‘The man disagreed strongly. Kurtz could not be mad, he argued. He talked so well; he was so brilliant. He said that Kurtz had got worse recently.

‘“I heard that he was very ill, so I came here to look after him,” he said.

‘I studied the station house through my binoculars while the man was talking. I could seethe half-ruined house and the wooden posts. Suddenly I found myself looking at one of the balls on top of the posts. They were not ornaments - they were human skulls! The faces of the skulls were turned towards the house.

‘Those heads told me something about Kurtz. He was a man who had begun to satisfy his real desires. They showed what kind of man he really was, under all that fine talk of his about morality and vision. The wilderness had discovered the secret about him. It whispered horrible things to him, and he was alone. He looked at his own desires, and then he satisfied them. Take away all the eloquence and the talents, and Kurtz was a hollow man.

‘The man was embarrassed that I had seen those heads. He told me he had not had the courage to take them down. He said he was not afraid of the natives. The chiefs came every day to see Mr Kurtz. They would crawl…

‘“I don’t want to hear about his horrible ceremonies!” I shouted.

‘The young man seemed surprised by my attitude towards Kurtz.

‘“But they were rebels,” he told me about the heads on the posts.

‘I looked at him in astonishment.

“‘You don’t understand how tired he is!” the man said.

“‘What about you?’

“‘Me! I’m just a simple man. I don’t have any great thoughts. How can you compare me to…?”

‘He was silent for a minute.

‘“I’ve tried to keep him alive. I don’t know anything about all this. Kurtz was abandoned here without medicine and without proper food. He’s a wonderful man with great ideas.”’

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