"Heart of Darkness"
by Joseph Conrad

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     "Your success in Europe is assured in any case," I affirmed steadily. I did not want to have the throttling of him, you understand -- and indeed it would have been very little use for any practical purpose. I tried to break the spell -- the heavy, mute spell of the wilderness -- that seemed to draw him to its pitiless breast by the awakening of forgotten and brutal instincts, by the memory of gratified and monstrous passions. This alone, I was convinced, had driven him out to the edge of the forest, to the bush, towards the gleam of fires, the throb of drums, the drone of weird incantations; this alone had beguiled his unlawful soul beyond the bounds of permitted aspirations.


     And, don't you see, the terror of the position was not in being knocked on the head -- though I had a very lively sense of that danger, too -- but in this, that I had to deal with a being to whom I could not appeal in the name of anything high or low. I had, even like the niggers, to invoke him -- himself -- his own exalted and incredible degradation. There was nothing either above or below him, and I knew it. He had kicked himself loose of the earth. Confound the man! he had kicked the very earth to pieces. He was alone, and I before him did not know whether I stood on the ground or floated in the air. I've been telling you what we said -- repeating the phrases we pronounced -- but what's the good? They were common everyday words -- the familiar, vague sounds exchanged on every waking day of life. But what of that? They had behind them, to my mind, the terrific suggestiveness of words heard in dreams, of phrases spoken in nightmares.

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