By Joseph Conrad
The memoirs of the well-known Polish-British novelist Joseph Conrad.
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Additional info for A Personal Record
From my early boyhood to this day, if I try to call up his image, a sort of mist rises before my eyes, mist in which I perceive vaguely only a neatly brushed head of white hair (which is exceptional in the case of the B. family, where it is the rule for men to go bald in a becoming manner before thirty) and a thin, curved, dignified nose, a feature in strict accordance with the physical tradition of the B. family. But it is not by these fragmentary remains of perishable mortality that he lives in my memory.
I remembered perfectly the trusty Joseph who used to drive my grandmother. Why! he it was who let me hold the reins for the first time in my life and allowed me to play with the great four-in-hand whip outside the doors of the coach-house. " I asked. " "He served our master," was the reply. "But he died of cholera ten years ago now - that great epidemic that we had. " The MS. of "Almayer's Folly" was reposing in the bag under our feet. I saw again the sun setting on the plains as I saw it in the travels of my childhood.
Remains for me the unfortunate and miserable (but heroic) being who once upon a time had eaten a dog. It is a good forty years since I heard the tale, and the effect has not worn off yet. I believe this is the very first, say, realistic, story I heard in my life; but all the same I don't know why I should have been so frightfully impressed. Of course I know what our village dogs look like - but still. . No! At this very day, recalling the horror and compassion of my childhood, I ask myself whether I am right in disclosing to a cold and fastidious world that awful episode in the family history.