The Russian, also known as the harlequin because of his clothing, makes these remarks in a conversation with Marlow when Marlow is asking about the heads on stakes at Kurtz's compound. The Russian, whom Conrad describes as "Kurtz's last disciple," declares that those heads belonged to "rebels"; Marlow is nevertheless appalled at the savagery and makes it clear he does not idolize Kurtz as the Russian does. The harlequin tries to rationalize Kurtz's behavior, noting the extreme conditions under which he's lived, and Marlow then asks him, "And what about you?" In response, the Russian humbly makes these comments. He cannot imagine comparing himself to Kurtz, the man who has "enlarged" his mind.