Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category

Dirty weather

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

‘Observing the steady fall of the barometer, Captain MacWhirr thought, “There’s some dirty weather knocking about.” This is precisely what he thought. He had had an experience of moderately dirty weather — the term dirty as applied to the weather implying only moderate discomfort to the seaman. Had he been informed by an indisputable authority that the end of the world was to be finally accomplished by a catastrophic disturbance of the atmosphere, he would have assimilated the information under the simple idea of dirty weather, and no other, because he had no experience of cataclysms, and belief does not necessarily imply comprehension.’

— Joseph Cornad, Typhoon

Mr. Kurtz’s final words

Friday, April 17th, 2009

‘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!”

“I blew the candle out and left the cabin. The pilgrims were dining in the mess–room, and I took my place opposite the manager, who lifted his eyes to give me a questioning glance, which I successfully ignored. He leaned back, serene, with that peculiar smile of his sealing the unexpressed depths of his meanness. A continuous shower of small flies streamed upon the lamp, upon the cloth, upon our hands and faces. Suddenly the manager’s boy put his insolent black head in the doorway, and said in a tone of scathing contempt:

‘ “Mistah Kurtz — he dead.”

— Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness