We capered on the iron deck. A frightful clatter came out of that hulk, and the virgin forest on the other bank of the creek sent it back in a thundering roll upon the sleeping station. It must have made some of the pilgrims sit up in their hovels. A dark figure obscured the lighted doorway of the manager's hut, vanished, then, a second or so after, the doorway itself vanished, too. We stopped, and the silence driven away by the stamping of our feet flowed back again from the recesses of the land. The great wall of vegetation, an exuberant and entangled mass of trunks, branches, leaves, boughs, festoons, motionless in the moonlight, was like a rioting invasion of soundless life, a rolling wave of plants, piled up, crested, ready to topple over the creek, to sweep every little man of us out of his little existence.. And it moved not. A deadened burst of mighty splashes and snorts reached us from afar, as though an ichthyosaurus had been taking a bath of glitter in the great river.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, from Tales of Land and Sea, Hanover House, Garden City, N.Y., 1953, p. 59.
PLACE: a French colony in Africa
TIME: 18th or 19th century
CIRCUMSTANCE: a crazy, enthusiastic dance on the deck of an old ship, two friends celebrating a joyful prospect. Then the silence of the jungle and the sounds of animals in the river.