Thursday, 6 December 2007

The Horror

In the offing the sea and the sky were welded together without a joint, and in the luminous space the tanned sails of the barges drifting up with the tide seemed to stand still in red clusters of canvas sharply peaked, with gleams of varnished sprits.

Not vanished spirits, varnished sprits. Joke.

"One evening coming in with a candle I was startled to hear him say a little tremulously, 'I am lying here in the dark waiting for death.' The light was within a foot of his eyes. I forced myself to murmur, 'Oh, nonsense!' and stood over him as if transfixed.

"Anything approaching the change that came over his features I have never seen before, and hope never to see again. Oh, I wasn't touched. I was fascinated. It was as though a veil had been rent. I saw on that ivory face the expression of sombre pride, of ruthless power, of craven terror -- of an intense and hopeless despair. Did he live his life again in every detail of desire, temptation, and surrender during that supreme moment of complete knowledge? He cried in a whisper at some image, at some vision -- he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath:

"'The horror! The horror!'"

Marlowe is, at one remove, the Narrator. He is, as he always is in this story, wrong.

Joseph Conrad, "Heart of Darkness", 1902


Mad Dog said...

I hope you're not sitting in your room in Croydon eating these things and being a sad bastard. The horror indeed..!

Chertiozhnik said...


I even bought a packet of sugar to go with it.

O Lordy.