Heart of Darkness
by Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness The Harlequin Quotes
"The glamour of youth enveloped his [the harlequin’s] parti-coloured rags, his destitution, his loneliness, the essential desolation of his futile wanderings. For months - for years - his life hadn't been worth a day's purchase; and there he was gallantly, thoughtlessly alive, to all appearances indestructible solely by the virtue of his few years and of his unreflecting audacity." (3.1)
The harlequin has survived in the wilderness for years, despite the fact that back in Europe, he is not worth a "day’s purchase" – or a single payday. However, in the interior, time becomes as warped as reality.
[The harlequin]: "'We talked of everything,' he said, quite transported at the recollection. 'I forgot there was such a thing as sleep. The night did not seem to last an hour." (3.2)
The harlequin’s conversations with Kurtz were so engaging that time seemed to fly for them. Words have a way of warping time.
[The harlequin]: "'I have a canoe and three black fellows waiting not very far. I am off. Could you give me a few Martini-Henry cartridges?' I could, and did, with proper secrecy. He helped himself, with a wink at me, to a handful of my tobacco. 'Between sailors - you know - good English tobacco.' At the door of the pilot-house he turned round - 'I say, haven't you a pair of shoes you could spare?' He raised one leg. 'Look.' The soles were tied with knotted strings sandalwise under his bare feet. I rooted out an old pair, at which he looked with admiration before tucking it under his left arm." (3.22)
Marlow shows his last vestiges of goodness by generously giving the harlequin some gun cartridges, tobacco, and spare shoes to escape the manager. Well, if we had to choose we'd probably go with the delusional harlequin rather than the creepy manager, too.