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The Heart of Darkness

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The Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad

I) II) III) IV)

XML version 30 November 1997 by David Megginson, dmeggins@microstar.com (still needs to be proofread against the printed edition). TEI markup added April 1995 by David Megginson, dmeggins@aix1.uottawa.ca Corrections to typos made 6/22/94 by PDCChristy@aol.com Original etext came from the Online Book Initiative (OBI) via the Internet Wiretap [obi/Joseph.Conrad/heart.of.darkness.txt]

The Heart of Darkness

I
The Nellie, a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor without a flutter of the sails, and was at rest. The flood had made, the wind was nearly calm, and being bound down the river, the only thing for it was to come to and wait for the turn of the tide. The sea-reach of the Thames stretched before us like the beginning of an interminable waterway. In the offing the sea and the sky were welded together without a joint, and in the luminous space the tanned sails of the barges drifting up with the tide seemed to stand still in red clusters of canvas sharply peaked, with gleams of varnished spirits. A haze rested on the low shores that ran out to sea in vanishing flatness. The air was dark above Gravesend, and farther back still seemed condensed into a mournful gloom, brooding motionless over the biggest, and the greatest, town on earth. The Director of Companies was our captain and our host. We four affectionately watched his back as he stood in the bows looking to seaward. On the whole river there was nothing that looked half so nautical. He resembled a pilot, which to a seaman is trustworthiness personified. It was difficult to realize his work was not out there in the luminous estuary, but behind him, within the brooding gloom. Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. The Lawyer -- the best of old fellows --...

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