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A Personal Record by Joseph Conrad

By Joseph Conrad

The memoirs of the recognized Polish-British novelist Joseph Conrad.

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There were no signs of invalidism about her - but I think that already they had pronounced her doom unless perhaps the change to a southern climate could re-establish her declining strength. For me it seems the very happiest period of my existence. There was my cousin, a delightful, quick-tempered little girl, some months younger than myself, whose life, lovingly watched over as if she were a royal princess, came to an end with her fifteenth year. There were other children, too, many of whom are dead now, and not a few whose very names I have forgotten.

As far as I can remember the weapon used was a cavalry sabre, and the issue of the sporting episode was rather more of a matter of life and death than if it had been an encounter with a tiger. 46 A picket of Cossacks was sleeping in that village lost in the depths of the great Lithuanian forest. The three sportsmen had observed them from a hiding-place making themselves very much at home among the huts just before the early winter darkness set in at four o'clock. They had observed them with disgust and, perhaps, with despair.

My unpacking had been watched over by the servant who had come to help me, and, for the most part, had been standing attentive but unnecessary at the door of the room. I did not want him in the least, but I did not like to tell him to go away. He was a young fellow, certainly more than ten years younger than myself; I had not been - I won't say in that place, but 40 within sixty miles of it, ever since the year '67; yet his guileless physiognomy of the open peasant type seemed strangely familiar.

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