"Heart of Darkness"
by Joseph Conrad

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     He rose, unsteady, long, pale, indistinct, like a vapour exhaled by the earth, and swayed slightly, misty and silent before me; while at my back the fires loomed between the trees, and the murmur of many voices issued from the forest.

     I had cut him off cleverly; but when actually confronting him I seemed to come to my senses, I saw the danger in its right proportion. It was by no means over yet. Suppose he began to shout? Though he could hardly stand, there was still plenty of vigour in his voice.

     "Go away -- hide yourself," he said, in that profound tone.


     It was very awful. I glanced back. We were within thirty yards from the nearest fire. A black figure stood up, strode on long black legs, waving long black arms, across the glow. It had horns -- antelope horns, I think -- on its head. Some sorcerer, some witch-man, no doubt: it looked fiendlike enough.

     "Do you know what you are doing?" I whispered.

     "Perfectly," he answered, raising his voice for that single word: it sounded to me far off and yet loud, like a hail through a speaking-trumpet. "If he makes a row we are lost," I thought to myself. This clearly was not a case for fisticuffs, even apart from the very natural aversion I had to beat that Shadow -- this wandering and tormented thing.

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