The Shadow-Line - Joseph Conrad - Страница 1 из 143


THE SHADOW-LINE
A CONFESSION
By Joseph Conrad
"Worthy of my undying regard"
To Borys And All Others Who,
Like Himself, Have Crossed In Early Youth
The Shadow-Line Of Their Generation With Love
PART ONE
--_D'autre fois, calme plat, grand miroir De mon desespoir_.
--BAUDELAIRE
I
Only the young have such moments. I don't mean the very young. No. The
very young have, properly speaking, no moments. It is the privilege
of early youth to live in advance of its days in all the beautiful
continuity of hope which knows no pauses and no introspection.
One closes behind one the little gate of mere boyishness--and enters an
enchanted garden. Its very shades glow with promise. Every turn of
the path has its seduction. And it isn't because it is an undiscovered
country. One knows well enough that all mankind had streamed that
way. It is the charm of universal experience from which one expects an
uncommon or personal sensation--a bit of one's own.
One goes on recognizing the landmarks of the predecessors, excited,
amused, taking the hard luck and the good luck together--the kicks and
the half-pence, as the saying is--the picturesque common lot that holds
so many possibilities for the deserving or perhaps for the lucky. Yes.
One goes on. And the time, too, goes on--till one perceives ahead a
shadow-line warning one that the region of early youth, too, must be
left behind.
This is the period of life in which such moments of which I have spoken
are likely to come. What moments? Why, the moments of boredom, of


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