"Heart of Darkness"
by Joseph Conrad

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     "It is very serious," said the manager's voice behind me; "I would be desolated if anything should happen to Mr. Kurtz before we came up."

     I looked at him, and had not the slightest doubt he was sincere. He was just the kind of man who would wish to preserve appearances. That was his restraint.


     But when he muttered something about going on at once, I did not even take the trouble to answer him. I knew, and he knew, that it was impossible. Were we to let go our hold of the bottom, we would be absolutely in the air -- in space. 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.

     Of course I made no move. I had no mind for a smash-up. You couldn't imagine a more deadly place for a shipwreck. Whether we drowned at once or not, we were sure to perish speedily in one way or another.

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