"Heart of Darkness"
by Joseph Conrad

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     I think I would have raised an outcry if I had believed my eyes. But I didn't believe them at first -- the thing seemed so impossible. The fact is I was completely unnerved by a sheer blank fright, pure abstract terror, unconnected with any distinct shape of physical danger. What made this emotion so overpowering was -- how shall I define it? -- the moral shock I received, as if something altogether monstrous, intolerable to thought and odious to the soul, had been thrust upon me unexpectedly. This lasted of course the merest fraction of a second, and then the usual sense of commonplace, deadly danger, the possibility of a sudden onslaught and massacre, or something of the kind, which I saw impending, was positively welcome and composing. It pacified me, in fact, so much that I did not raise an alarm.


     There was an agent buttoned up inside an ulster and sleeping on a chair on deck within three feet of me. The yells had not awakened him; he snored very slightly; I left him to his slumbers and leaped ashore. I did not betray Mr. Kurtz -- it was ordered I should never betray him -- it was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice. I was anxious to deal with this shadow by myself alone -- and to this day I don't know why I was so jealous of sharing with any one the peculiar blackness of that experience.

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