an extract from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness

"'He was a remarkable man,' I said, unsteadily. Then before the appealing fixity of her gaze, that seemed to watch for more words on my lips, I went on, 'It was impossible not to--'

"'Love him,' she finished eagerly, silencing me into an appalled dumbness. 'How true! how true! But when you think that no one knew him so well as I! I had all his noble confidence. I knew him best.'

"'You knew him best,' I repeated. And perhaps she did. But with every word spoken the room was growing darker, and only her forehead, smooth and white, remained illumined by the unextinguishable light of belief and love.

"'You were his friend,' she went on. 'His friend,' she repeated, a little louder. 'You must have been, if he had given you this, and sent you to me. I feel I can speak to you -- and oh! I must speak. I want you -- you who have heard his last words -- to know I have been worthy of him. . . . It is not pride. . . . Yes! I am proud to know I understood him better than any one on earth -- he told me so himself. And since his mother died I have had no one -- no one -- to -- to--'

"I listened. The darkness deepened. . . .

 

This text is linked to:
Lecture Notes no. 1