Twelve Weeks in the Congo, One Man's Findings Regarding the Origins of Mankind As a Species
Memory is the living constitution of the past spread out behind us, across the buckram of our minds, so as to bring into focus the present sum total of all we’ve been, of all that we are. It is as if the present, whatever that mercurial subject might portend, is as nothing to the mighty unbroken tether it represents with yesterday. For what man is not who he was, for good or for ill?
Balk you at my presumptuousness in saying “man”? Have I crossed the proverbial line in including you, dear and honest reader, as a fellow traveler in this plight I am about to describe? Well then, I invite you to stand in your blind for as long as needs be. I have faith that, in the end, you will become skeptical of such insinuations. Plainly put, I expect you will begin to see a bit of me in you.
But then, who exactly am I? On this particular point, it seems unnecessary to quibble as they do in that Teutonic babble that has become all the rage in this era of unifications and Hegel; pish and posh to my way of thinking. My name is Thadeus Montgomery Finch. I am a bachelor, a scholar, and, I am told, a soldier. While my story does not begin, as so many others do, in the custom of triangulating birth places (Shopshire on the Moors, if you must know), the recording of my adventures in the public school from which I matriculated, or lengthy descriptions of the Sassy Pies my mother was fond of baking, and that, I am told, I would eat by the score. No.
For I do not remember any of these things except as distant dreams, suggestions of a life that I am told I have lived. I am sure that the doctors in the new sciences of somnambulism, mesmerism, and the physique of Odic forces would gladly embrace the chance to look at my case, but as it turns out, I fell into the hands of a rather pedestrian, if not famous, chirurgeon and doctor, the honorable Dr. Ambrose Billington. His was the first face, I truly remember. I saw it first when I woke from my coma at the Bollingsbrook Hospital in Battersee.
But I must admit, this is not a story of Bollingsbrook, or Battersee for that matter, for these were just the stalwart beginnings of my true memory. They would soon be replaced by the dark continent, and its bountiful cradle which has, since, fallen under the influence of Leopold in Belgium. I speak, of course, of Sub-equatorial Africa!