Conrad First The Joseph Conrad Periodical Archive
Extract (Heart of Darkness)

The Centre of Commerce

in The Evening Post (Wellington, New Zealand) (Jul 25, 1908): (Page imagery not yet available)

View in Internet Archive BookReader (experimental).
The following amended extract of Heart of Darkness appeared as part of the Evening Post's serialization of Louis Melville's The Romance of the World's Great Rivers:


Yet scenic beauties and historic remains are as nothing, for the glory of the Thames is to be found not in its scenery nor in these historic places, but, strangely enough, in its hideousness; in the depressing, ugly, sordid reaches that stretch from Blackfriars to the sea; those few miles that govern commerce, and thereby rule the world, the very heart of the universe. There are the harbours of Naples, of Sydney, of Rio de Janeiro, and of Auckland, great in extent, magnificent in view; there is the harbour of Hobart of equal but softer beauty than any of the rest; yet far more wonderful is the narrow stream which forms the subject of this paper, wonderful by reason of its unceasing industry, its splendidly equipped docks, its forest of masts, its army of funnels, its innumerable great liners, cargo-boats, and other craft of every known variety that ply upon its waters, and fetch and carry from every part of the world.

This part of the Thames has a true beauty of its own, unique, unparalleled. It looms amazing to the eye when the sun plays upon it; it is possessed, perhaps, of still greater though more sombre charm on a dull day, when all is drab, and only a gaudily painted tunnel breaks the monotony of the harmony in greys; but it is to be seen at its best on a fine evening at sunset.

At last, in its curved and imperceptible fall, the sun sank low, and from glowing white changed to a dull red without rays, and without heat, as if about to go out suddenly, stricken to death by the touch of that gloom brooding over a crowd of men, that great master of word-painting, Joseph Conrad, has written.

Forthwith a change came over the waters, and the serenity became less brilliant, but more profound. The old river in its broad reach rested unruffled at the decline of day, after ages of good service done to the race that peopled its banks, spread out in the tranquil dignity of a waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth. We looked at the venerable stream, not in the vivid flush of a short day that comes and departs for ever in the august light of abiding memories. . . . What greatness has not floated on the ebb of that river into the mystery of an unknown earth! The dreams of men, the seers of commonwealth, the germs of Empire."

In the version first serialized in Blackwood's Magazine, the last line of Conrad's text in fact reads: "The dreams of men, the seed of commonwealths, the germs of empires". The Evening Post . Papers Past: The Digital Newspaper Archive of the National Library of New Zealand.

To view the full page image at the national newspaper archive of New Zealand, click here.