"Heart of Darkness"
by Joseph Conrad

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     As soon as I got on the bank I saw a trail -- a broad trail through the grass. I remember the exultation with which I said to myself, "He can't walk -- he is crawling on all-fours -- I've got him." The grass was wet with dew. I strode rapidly with clenched fists. I fancy I had some vague notion of falling upon him and giving him a drubbing. I don't know. I had some imbecile thoughts. The knitting old woman with the cat obtruded herself upon my memory as a most improper person to be sitting at the other end of such an affair. I saw a row of pilgrims squirting lead in the air out of Winchesters held to the hip. I thought I would never get back to the steamer, and imagined myself living alone and unarmed in the woods to an advanced age. Such silly things -- you know. And I remember I confounded the beat of the drum with the beating of my heart, and was pleased at its calm regularity.


     I kept to the track though -- then stopped to listen. The night was very clear; a dark blue space, sparkling with dew and starlight, in which black things stood very still. I thought I could see a kind of motion ahead of me. I was strangely cocksure of everything that night. I actually left the track and ran in a wide semicircle (I verily believe chuckling to myself) so as to get in front of that stir, of that motion I had seen -- if indeed I had seen anything. I was circumventing Kurtz as though it had been a boyish game.

     I came upon him, and, if he had not heard me coming, I would have fallen over him, too, but he got up in time.

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