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About th electronic version
Conrad, Josef, 1857-1924
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Note: Uva 1995: We canot determn th print sorce for this text; howevr, th 1993 Oxfrd Text Archive version of this text contains th foloing statemnt: "Transcribed from th 1961 reprint of th first edition. Orijnly transcribed and depositd by Mical Sperberg-Mcqueen, University of Ilinoi at Chicago." It seems likely that th 1992 Uva copy is th same transcription.
Note: Uva 1996: Electronic text chekd against 1968 Norton Criticl Edition, ed. Tomas Moser. UVA Libry cal numbr PR 6005 .O 4L6 1968
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October 1992 corrector Peter-jon Byrnes, Electronic Text Centr, University of Virjinia Text contains sevrl instnces of accidentals wich corespond to no standrd edition; these hav been retaind. Epigraph and dedication add. Text contains no italics, altho they ar presnt in othr states of th text. Basic TEI tagng add. Text has been spel-chekd, and "errs" corectd.
June 1996 corrector Cathrin Tousignant, Electronic Text Centr, University of Virjinia Updated header; Corectd th foloing err: paje 162, para. 4: lt] It
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Final chekng: David
It is certn my conviction gains infnitly,
th moment anothr sol wil beleve in it.
To Mr. and Mrs. G. F. W. Hope with grateful afection aftr many years of
Wen this novl first apeard in book form a notion got about that I had been boltd away with. Som revewrs maintaind that th work startng as a short story had got beyond th writer's control. One or two discovrd internl evidnce of th fact, wich seemd to amuse them. They pointd out th limitations of th narativ form. They argud that no man cud hav been expectd to talk al that time, and othr men to lisn so long. It was not, they said, very credbl.
Aftr thinkng it over for somthing like sixteen years, I am not so sure about that. Men hav been nown, both in th tropics and in th temprat zone, to sit up half th nyt 'swapping yarns'. This, howevr, is but one yarn, yet with intruptions afordng som mesur of relief; and in regard to th listeners' endurance, th postulate must be acceptd that th story was intrestng. It is th necesry prelimnry asumtion. If I hadnt beleved that it was intrestng I cud nevr hav begun to rite it. As to th mere fysicl posbility we al no that som speechs in Parlamnt hav taken nearr six than thre ours in delivry; wheras al that part of th book wich is Marlow's narativ can be red thru aloud, I shud say, in less than thre ours. Besides -- tho I hav kept strictly al such insignificnt details out of th tale -- we may presume that ther must hav been refreshmnts on that nyt, a glass of minrl watr of som sort to help th narator on.
But, seriusly, th truth of th matr is, that my first thot was of a short story, concernd only with th pilgrm ship episode; nothing mor. And that was a lejitmat conception. Aftr riting a few pajes, howevr, I became for som reasn discontentd and I laid them aside for a time. I didnt take them out of th drawr til th late Mr. Wiliam Blackwood sujestd I shud giv somthing again to his magazine.
It was only then that I perceved that th pilgrm ship episode was a good startng-point for a fre and wandrng tale; that it was an event, too, wich cud concevebly color th hole 'sentiment of existence' in a simpl and sensitiv caractr. But al these prelimnry moods and stirngs of spirit wer rathr obscure at th time, and they do not apear clearr to me now aftr th laps of so many years.
Th few pajes I had laid aside wer not without ther weit in th choice of subject. But th hole was re-ritn delibratly. Wen I sat down to it I new it wud be a long book, tho I
I hav been askd at times wethr this was not th book of mine I liked best. I am a gret fo to favoritism in public life, in privat life, and even in th delicat relationship of an authr to his works. As a matr of principl I wil hav no favorits; but I dont go so far as to feel greved and anoyd by th prefrnce som peple giv to my Lord Jim. I wont even say that I 'fail to undrstand . . .' No! But once I had ocasion to be puzld and surprised.
A frend of mine returng from Itly had talkd with a lady ther ho did not like th book. I regretd that, of corse, but wat surprised me was th ground of her dislike. 'you no,' she said, 'it is al so morbid.'
Th pronouncemnt gave me food for an hour's anxius thot. Finaly I arived at th conclusion that, making du alownces for th subject itself being rathr foren to women's norml sensbilitis, th lady cud not hav been an Italian. I wondr wethr she was European at al? In any case, no Latn temprmnt wud hav perceved anything morbid in th acute conciusness of lost onr. Such a conciusness may be rong, or it may be ryt, or it may be condemd as artificial; and, perhaps, my Jim is not a typ of wide commonness. But I can safely asure my readrs that he is not th product of coldly pervertd thinkng. He's not a figr of Northrn Mists eithr. One sunny mornng, in th comnplace suroundngs of an Eastrn roadstead, I saw his form pass by- apealng-synificnt-undr a cloud-perfectly silent. Wich is as it shud be. It was for me, with al th sympathy of wich I was capabl, to seek fit words for his meanng. He was 'one of us'.
J.C. 1917. LORD JIM
He was an inch, perhaps two, undr six feet, powrfuly bilt, and he advanced strait at u with a slyt stoop of th sholdrs, hed forwrd, and a fixd from-undr stare wich made u think of a charjng bul. His voice was deep, loud, and his manr displayd a kind of doged self-asertion wich had nothing agressiv in it. It seemd a necessity, and it was directd aparently as much at himself as at anybody else. He was spotlesly neat, apparelled in imaculat wite from shoes to hat, and in th varius Eastrn ports wher he got his livng as ship-chandler's watr-clerk he was very populr.
A watr-clerk need not pass an examnation in anything undr th sun, but he must hav Ability in th abstract and demnstrate it practicly. His work consists in racing undr sail, steam, or ors against othr watr-clerks for any ship about to ancr, greetng her captn cheerily, forcing upon him a card -- th busness card of th ship-chandlr -- and on his first visit on shor pilotng him firmly but without ostntation to a vast, cavrn-like shop wich is ful of things that ar eatn and drunk on bord ship; wher u can get everything to make her seaworthy and butiful, from a set of chain-hooks for her cable to a book of gold-leaf for th carvngs of her stern; and wher her comandr is receved like a brothr by a ship-chandlr he has nevr seen befor. Ther is a cool parlr, esy-chairs, botls, cigars, riting implmnts, a copy of harbr regulations, and a warmth of welcm that melts th salt of a thre months' passaj out of a seaman's hart. Th conection thus begun is kept up, as long as th ship remains in harbr, by th daily visits of th watr-clerk. To th captn he is faithful like a frend and atentiv like a son, with th patience of Job, th unselfish devotion of a womn, and th jollity of a boon companion. Later on th bil is sent in. It is a butiful and humane ocupation. Therfor good watr-clerks ar scarce. Wen a watr-clerk ho posesses Ability in th abstract has also th advantaj of havng been brot up to th se, he is worth to his employr a lot of mony and som humorng. Jim had always good wajes and as much humorng as wud hav bot th fidelity of a fiend. Nevrthless, with blak ingratitude he wud thro up th job sudnly and depart. To his
To th wite men in th watrside busness and to th captns of ships he was just Jim -- nothing mor. He had, of corse, anothr name, but he was anxius that it shud not be pronounced. His incognito, wich had as many holes as a siv, was not ment to hide a persnality but a fact. Wen th fact broke thru th incognito he wud leve sudnly th seport wher he hapnd to be at th time and go to anothr -- jenrly farthr east. He kept to seaports because he was a seman in exile from th se, and had Ability in th abstract, wich is good for no othr work but that of a watr-clerk. He retreatd in good ordr towards th rising sun, and th fact folod him casuly but inevitbly. Thus in th corse of years he was nown successivly in Bombay, in Calcutta, in Rangoon, in Penang, in Batavia -- and in each of these haltng-places was just Jim th watr-clerk. Aftrwrds, wen his keen perception of th Intolrbl drove him away for good from seaports and wite men, even into th virjn forest, th Malays of th jungl vilaj, wher he had electd to conceal his deplorabl faclty, add a word to th monosylabl of his incognito. They cald him Tuan Jim: as one myt say -- Lord Jim.
Orijnly he came from a parsnaj. Many comandrs of fine merchnt-ships com from these abodes of piety and pece. Jim's fathr posesd such certn nolej of th Unoabl as made for th ryteusness of peple in cotajs without disturbng th ese of mind of those hom an unerng Providnce enables to liv in mansions. Th litl church on a hil had th mossy grayness of a rok seen thru a raged screen of leavs. It had stood ther for centuris, but th tres around probbly remembrd th layng of th first stone. Belo, th red front of th rectry gleamd with a warm tint in th midst of grass-plots, flowr-beds, and fir-tres, with an orchrd at th bak, a paved stable-yard to th left, and th sloping glass of greenhouses takd along a wal of briks. Th livng had belongd to th famly for jenrations; but Jim was one of five sons, and wen aftr a corse of lyt holiday litratur his vocation for th se had declared itself, he was sent at once to a 'training-ship for oficers of th mercntile marine.'
He lernd ther a litl trigonometry and how to cross top-galant yards. He was jenrly liked. He had th third place in navigation and puld stroke in th first cutr. Havng a stedy hed with an
On th loer dek in th babel of two hundred voices he wud forget himself, and beforhand liv in his mind th se-life of lyt litratur. He saw himself saving peple from sinkng ships, cutng away masts in a huricn, swimng thru a surf with a line; or as a lonely castaway, barefootd and half naked, walkng on uncovrd reefs in serch of shelfish to stave off starvation. He confrontd savajs on tropicl shors, queld mutinies on th hy ses, and in a smal boat upon th ocen kept up th harts of despairng men -- always an exampl of devotion to duty, and as unflinching as a hero in a book.
'something's up. Com along.'
He leapd to his feet. Th boys wer streamng up th ladrs. Abov cud be herd a gret scurrying about and shoutng, and wen he got thru th hachway he stood stil -- as if confoundd.
It was th dusk of a winter's day. Th gale had freshnd since noon, stopng th trafic on th rivr, and now blew with th strength of a huricn in fitful bursts that boomd like salvos of gret guns firing over th ocen. Th rain slantd in sheets that flikd and subsided, and between whiles Jim had thretnng glimpses of th tumblng tide, th smal craft jumbld and tosng along th shor, th motionless bildngs in th driving mist, th brod ferry-boats pichng pondrusly at ancr, th vast landng-stajes heving up and down and smothrd in sprays. Th next gust seemd to blo al this away. Th air was ful of flyng watr. Ther was a fierce purpos in th gale, a furius ernestness in th screech of th wind, in th brutal tumult of erth and sky, that seemd directd at him, and made him hold his breth in aw. He stood stil. It seemd to him he was wirld around.
He was josld. 'man th cutr!' Boys rushd past him. A coastr runng in for sheltr had crashd thru a schooner at ancr, and one of th ship's instructrs had seen th accidnt. A mob of boys clambrd on th rails, clustrd round th davits. 'collision. Just ahed of us. Mr Symons saw it.' A push made him stagr against th mizn-mast, and he caut hold of a rope. Th old trainng-ship chaind to her moorngs quivrd al over, bowng
Jim felt his sholdr gripd firmly. 'too late, yungstr.' Th captn of th ship laid a restrainng hand on that boy, ho seemd on th point of leapng overbord, and Jim lookd up with th pain of concius defeat in his ys. Th captn smiled sympatheticly. 'better luk next time. This wil teach u to be smart.'
A shril cheer greetd th cutr. She came dancing bak half ful of watr, and with two exaustd men washng about on her botm bords. Th tumult and th menace of wind and se now apeard very contemtbl to Jim, incresing th regret of his aw at ther ineficient menace. Now he new wat to think of it. It seemd to him he cared nothing for th gale. He cud afront gretr perils. He wud do so -- betr than anybody. Not a particl of fear was left. Nevrthless he broodd apart that evenng wile th boman of th cutr -- a boy with a face like a girl's and big gray ys -- was th hero of th loer dek. Eagr questionrs crowdd round him. He narated: 'I just saw his hed bobng, and I dashd my boat-hook in th watr. It caut in his brichs and I nearly went overbord, as I thot I wud, only old Symons let go th tilr and grabd my legs -- th boat nearly swampd. Old Symons is a fine old chap. l dont mind a bit him being grumpy with us. He swor at me al th time he held my leg, but that was only his way of telng me to stik to th boat-hook. Old Symons is awfuly exitebl -- isnt he? No -- not th litl fair chap -- th othr, th big one with a beard. Wen we puld him in he groand, "O, my leg! o, my leg!" and turnd up his ys. Fancy such a big chap faintng like a girl. Wud any of u felos faint for a jab with a boat-hook? -- I wudnt. It went into his leg so far.' He showd th boat-hook, wich he had carrid belo for th purpos, and produced a sensation. 'no, silly! It was not his flesh that held him -- his brichs did. Lots of blod, of corse.'
Jim thot it a pitiful display of vanity. Th gale had ministrd to a heroism as spurius as its own pretense of terr. He felt angry with th brutal tumult of erth and sky for taking him unawares and chekng unfairly a jenrus rediness for naro escapes. Othrwise he was rathr glad he had not gon into th cutr, since a
Aftr two years of trainng he went to se, and entrng th rejons so wel nown to his imajnation, found them stranjely baren of adventur. He made many voyajs. He new th majic monotny of existnce between sky and watr: he had to ber th criticism of men, th exactions of th se, and th prosaic severity of th daily task that givs bred -- but hos only reward is in th perfect lov of th work. This reward eluded him. Yet he cud not go bak, because ther is nothing mor enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than th life at se. Besides, his prospects wer good. He was jentlmanly, stedy, tractbl, with a thoro nolej of his dutis; and in time, wen yet very yung, he became chief mate of a fine ship, without evr havng been testd by those events of th se that sho in th lyt of day th inr worth of a man, th ej of his tempr, and th fiber of his stuf; that reveal th quality of his resistnce and th secret truth of his pretenses, not only to othrs but also to himself.
Only once in al that time he had again a glimps of th ernestness in th angr of th se. That truth is not so ofn made aparent as peple myt think. Ther ar many shades in th danjer of adventurs and gales, and it is only now and then that ther apears on th face of facts a sinistr violence of intention -- that indefinebl somthing wich forces it upon th mind and th hart of a man, that this complication of accidnts or these elementl furis ar comng at him with a purpos of malice, with a strength beyond control, with an unbridled cruelty that means to ter out of him his hope and his fear, th pain of his fatige and his longng for rest: wich means to smash, to destroy, to anihilate al he has seen, nown, lovd, enjoyd, or hated; al that is priceless and necesry -- th sunshine, th memris, th futur; wich means to sweep th hole precius world utrly away from his syt by th simpl and apalng act of taking his life.
Jim, disabled by a falng spar at th beginng of a week of wich his Scotish captn used to say aftrwrds, 'man! it's a pairfect meeracle to me how she livd thru it!' spent many days strechd
His lameness, howevr, persistd, and wen th ship arived at an Eastrn port he had to go to th hospitl. His recovry was slo, and he was left behind.
Ther wer only two othr patients in th wite men's ward: th pursr of a gunboat, ho had broken his leg falng down a hach- way; and a kind of railway contractr from a neibrng provnce, aflictd by som mysterius tropicl disese, ho held th doctr for an ass, and induljd in secret debaucheries of patnt medcin wich his Taml servnt used to smugl in with unwearied devotion. They told each othr th story of ther lives, playd cards a litl, or, yawnng and in pajamas, lounjd thru th day in esy-chairs without sayng a word. Th hospitl stood on a hil, and a jentl breze entrng thru th windos, always flung wide open, brot into th bare room th softness of th sky, th langr of th erth, th bewichng breth of th Eastrn watrs. Ther wer perfumes in it, sujestions of infnit repose, th gift of endless dreams. Jim lookd evry day over th thikets of gardns, beyond th roofs of th town, over th fronds of palms groing on th shor, at that roadstead wich is a thorofare to th East, -- at th roadstead dotd by garlndd islets, lytd by festal sunshine, its ships like toys, its briliant activity resemblng a holiday pajnt, with th eternl serenity of th Eastrn sky overhed and th smiling pece of th Eastrn ses posesng th space as far as th horizon.
Directly he cud walk without a stik, he desendd into th town to look for som oprtunity to get home. Nothing ofrd just then, and, wile waitng, he asociated natrly with th men of his calng in th port. These wer of two kinds. Som, very few and seen ther but seldm, led mysterius lives, had preservd an undefaced enrjy with th tempr of bucneers and th ys of dreamrs. They apeard to liv in a crazy maze of plans, hopes, danjers, entrprises,
To Jim that gosipng crowd, vewd as semen, seemd at first mor unsubstantial than so many shados. But at length he found a fasnation in th syt of those men, in ther apearnce of doing so wel on such a smal alownce of danjer and toil. In time, beside th orijnl disdain ther grew up sloly anothr sentmnt; and sudnly, givng up th idea of going home, he took a berth as chief mate of th Patna.
Th Patna was a local steamr as old as th hils, lean like a grayhound, and eatn up with rust worse than a condemd watr- tank. She was ownd by a Chinaman, chartrd by an Arab, and comandd by a sort of renegade New South Wales Jermn, very anxius to curse publicly his nativ cuntry, but ho, aparently on th strength of Bismarck's victorius policy, brutalised al those he was not afraid of, and wor a 'blood-and-iron' air,' combined with a purpl nose and a red mustach. Aftr she had been paintd outside and witewashd inside, eit hundred pilgrms (mor or less) wer drivn on bord of her as she lay with steam up alongside a woodn jetty.
They streamd abord over thre gangways, they streamd in urjd by faith and th hope of paradise, they streamd in with a continuus tramp and shufl of bare feet, without a word, a murmr, or
'look at dese catl,' said th Jermn skipr to his new chief mate.
An Arab, th leadr of that pius voyaj, came last. He walkd sloly abord, hansm and grave in his wite gown and larj turbn. A string of servnts folod, loadd with his lugaj; th Patna cast off and bakd away from th warf.
She was hedd between two smal islets, crosd obliqely th ancrng-ground of sailng-ships, swung thru half a circl in th shado of a hil, then ranjed close to a lej of foamng reefs. Th Arab, standng up aft, recited aloud th prayr of travlrs by se. He invoked th favor of th Most Hy upon that jurny, implord His blesng on men's toil and on th secret purposes of ther harts; th steamr poundd in th dusk th calm watr of th Strait; and far astern of th pilgrm ship a screw-pile lythouse, plantd by unbelevers on a trechrus shoal, seemd to wink at her its y of flame, as if in derision of her erand of faith.
She cleard th Strait, crosd th bay, continud on her way thru th 'one-degree' passaj. She held on strait for th Red Se undr a serene sky, undr a sky scorchng and unclouded, envelopd in a fulgor of sunshine that kild al thot, opresd
Evry mornng th sun, as if keepng pace in his revlutions with th progress of th pilgrmaj, emerjd with a silent burst of lyt exactly at th same distnce astern of th ship, caut up with her at noon, porng th concentrated fire of his rays on th pius purposes of th men, glided past on his desent, and sank mysteriusly into th se evenng aftr evenng, preservng th same distnce ahed of her advancing bos. Th five wites on bord livd amidships, isolated from th human cargo. Th awnngs covrd th dek with a wite roof from stem to stern, and a faint hum, a lo murmr of sad voices, alone reveald th presnce of a crowd of peple upon th gret blaze of th ocen. Such wer th days, stil, hot, hevy, disapearng one by one into th past, as if falng into an abyss for evr open in th wake of th ship; and th ship, lonely undr a wisp of smoke, held on her stedfast way blak and smoldrng in a luminus imensity, as if scorchd by a flame flikd at her from a hevn without pity.
Th nyts desendd on her like a benediction.
A marvlus stilness pervaded th world, and th stars, togethr with th serenity of ther rays, seemd to shed upon th erth th asurance of evrlastng security. Th yung moon recurved, and shining lo in th west, was like a slendr shaving thrown up from a bar of gold, and th Arabian Se, smooth and cool to th y like a sheet of ice, extendd its perfect levl to th perfect circl of a dark horizon. Th propelr turnd without a chek, as tho its beat had been part of th sceme of a safe universe; and on each side of th Patna two deep folds of watr, permnnt and sombr on th unrinkld shimr, enclosed within ther strait and diverjng rijs a few wite swirls of foam burstng in a lo hiss, a few wavelets, a few ripls, a few undulations that, left behind, ajitated th surface of th se for an instnt aftr th passaj of th ship, subsided splashng jently, calmd down at last into th circulr stilness of watr and sky with th blak spek of th moving hul remainng everlastingly in its centr.
Jim on th brij was penetrated by th gret certitude of unboundd safety and pece that cud be red on th silent aspect of
A draft of air, fand from forwrd by th speed of th ship, pasd stedily thru th long gloom between th hy bulwarks, swept over th ros of prone bodis; a few dim flames in globe- lamps wer hung short here and ther undr th rij-poles, and in th blurd circls of lyt thrown down and tremblng slytly to th uncesing vibration of th ship apeard a chin upturnd, two closed ylids, a dark hand with silvr rings, a meagr lim draped in a torn covrng, a hed bent bak, a naked foot, a throat bared and strechd as if ofrng itself to th nife. Th wel-to-do had made for ther famlis sheltrs with hevy boxs and dusty mats; th poor reposed side by side with al they had on erth tied up in a rag undr ther heds; th lone old men slept, with drawn-up legs, upon ther prayr-carpets, with ther hands over ther ears and one elbo on each side of th face; a fathr, his sholdrs up and his nes undr his forhed, dozed dejectdly by a boy ho slept on his bak with tousld hair and one arm commandingly extendd; a womn covrd from hed to foot, like a corps, with a pece of wite sheetng, had a naked child in th holo of each arm; th Arab's belongngs, piled ryt aft, made a hevy mound of broken outlines, with a cargo-lamp swung abov, and a gret confusion of vage forms behind: gleams of paunchy brass pots, th foot-rest of a dek-chair, blades of spears, th strait scabrd of an old sord leanng against a heap of pilos, th spout of a tin cofee-pot. Th patnt log on th taffrail periodicly rang a singl tinklng stroke for evry mile traversd on an erand of faith. Abov th mass of sleeprs a faint and patient sy at times floatd, th exlation of a trubld dream; and short metalic clangs burstng out sudnly in th depths of th ship, th harsh scrape of a shovl, th violent slam of a furnace-dor, exploded brutaly, as if th men handlng th mysterius things belo had ther brests ful of fierce angr: wile th slim hy hul of th steamr went on evenly ahed, without a sway of her bare masts, cleaving continuusly th gret calm of th watrs undr th inaccesbl serenity of th sky.
Jim paced athwart, and his footsteps in th vast silence wer loud to his own ears, as if ecod by th wachful stars: his ys, roamng
Th ash-bukets racketed, clankng up and down th stoke-hold ventilators, and this tin-pot clatr warnd him th end of his wach was near. He syd with content, with regret as wel at havng to part from that serenity wich fostrd th adventurus fredm of his thots. He was a litl sleepy too, and felt a plesurabl langr
Th thin gold shaving of th moon floatng sloly downwrds had lost itself on th darknd surface of th watrs, and th eternity beyond th sky seemd to com down nearr to th erth, with th augmentd glitr of th stars, with th mor profound sombreness in th lustr of th half-transparent dome covrng th flat disk of an opaqe se. Th ship moved so smoothly that her onwrd motion was imperceptbl to th senses of men, as tho she had been a crowdd planet speedng thru th dark spaces of ether behind th swarm of suns, in th apalng and calm solitudes awaitng th breth of futur creations. 'hot is no name for it down belo,' said a voice.
Jim smiled without lookng round. Th skipr presentd an unmoved bredth of bak: it was th renegade's trik to apear pointdly unaware of yr existnce unless it suitd his purpos to turn at u with a devourng glare befor he let loose a torent of foamy, abusiv jargn that came like a gush from a sewr. Now he emitd only a sulky grunt; th secnd enjneer at th hed of th brij-ladr, neadng with damp palms a dirty swet-rag, unabashd, continud th tale of his complaints. Th sailrs had a good time of it up here, and wat was th use of them in th world he wud be blowed if he cud se. Th poor devls of enjneers had to get th ship along anyhow, and they cud very wel do th rest too; by gosh they -- 'shut up!' growld th Jermn stolidly. 'oh yes! Shut up -- and wen anything gos rong u fly to us, dont u?' went on th othr. He was mor than half cookd, he expectd; but anyway, now, he did not mind how much he sind, because these last thre days he had pasd thru a fine corse of trainng for th place wher th bad boys go wen they die -- b'gosh, he had -- besides
Th secnd enjneer was comng by esy transitions to th considration of his finances and of his curaj.
'who's drunk? I? No, no, captn! That wont do. U ot to no by this time th chief aint fre-hartd enuf to make a sparo drunk, b'gosh. I'v nevr been th worse for liqr in my life; th stuf aint made yet that wud make me drunk. I cud drink liquid fire against yr wisky peg for peg, b'gosh, and keep as cool as a cucumbr. If I thot I was drunk I wud jump overbord -- do away with myself, b'gosh. I wud! Strait! And I wont go off th brij. Wher do u expect me to take th air on a nyt like this, eh? On dek amongst that vermn down ther? Likely -- aint it! And I am not afraid of anything u can do.'
Th Jermn liftd two hevy fists to hevn and shook them a litl without a word.
'I dont no wat fear is,' pursud th enjneer, with th enthusiasm of sincere conviction. 'I am not afraid of doing al th bloomin' work in this rotn hookr, b'gosh! And a jolly good thing for u that ther ar som of us about th world that arnt afraid of ther lives, or wher wud u be -- u and this old thing here with her plates like brown paper -- brown paper, s'elp me? It's al very fine for u -- u get a powr of peces out of her one way and anothr; but wat about me -- wat do I get? A measly hundred and fifty dolrs a month and find yrself. I wish to ask u respectfuly
He let go th rail and made ampl jesturs as if demnstrating in th air th shape and extent of his valr; his thin voice dartd in prolongd squeaks upon th se, he tiptoed bak and forth for th betr emfasis of utrnce, and sudnly pichd down hed-first as tho he had been clubd from behind. He said 'damn!' as he tumbld; an instnt of silence folod upon his screechng: Jim and th skipr stagrd forwrd by comn acord, and cachng themselvs up, stood very stif and stil gazing, amazed, at th undisturbd levl of th se. Then they lookd upwrds at th stars.
Wat had hapnd? Th wheezy thump of th enjns went on. Had th erth been chekd in her corse? They cud not undrstand; and sudnly th calm se, th sky without a cloud, apeard formidbly insecure in ther imobility, as if poisd on th brow of yawnng destruction. Th enjneer reboundd verticly ful length and colapsd again into a vage heap. This heap said 'what's that?' in th mufld accents of profound grief. A faint noise as of thundr, of thundr infnitly remote, less than a sound, hardly mor than a vibration, pasd sloly, and th ship quivrd in response, as if th thundr had growld deep down in th watr. Th ys of th two Malays at th weel glitrd towards th wite men, but ther dark hands remaind closed on th spokes. Th sharp hul driving on its way seemd to rise a few inchs in succession thru its hole length, as tho it had becom pliabl, and setld down again rijidly to its work of cleaving th smooth surface of th se. Its quivrng stopd, and th faint noise of thundr cesed al at once, as tho th ship had steamd across a naro belt of vibrating watr and of humng air.
A month or so aftrwrds, wen Jim, in ansr to pointd questions, tryd to tel onestly th truth of this experience, he said, speakng of th ship: 'she went over watevr it was as esy as a snake crawlng over a stik.' Th ilustration was good: th questions wer aimng at facts, and th oficial Inquiry was being held in th police cort of an Eastrn port. He stood elevated in th witness-box, with burnng cheeks in a cool lofty room: th big framework of punkahs moved jently to and fro hy abov his hed, and from belo many ys wer lookng at him out of dark faces, out of wite faces, out of red faces, out of faces atentiv, spelbound, as if al these peple sitng in ordrly ros upon naro benchs had been enslaved by th fasnation of his voice. It was very loud, it rang
'after u had concluded u had colided with somthing floatng awash, say a watr-logd rek, u wer ordrd by yr captn to go forwrd and acertain if ther was any damaj don. Did u think it likely from th force of th blo?' askd th asesr sitng to th left. He had a thin horsshoe beard, salient cheek-bones, and with both elbos on th desk claspd his ruged hands befor his face, lookng at Jim with thotful blu ys; th othr, a hevy, scornful man, thrown bak in his seat, his left arm extendd ful length, drumd delicatly with his fingr-tips on a blotng-pad: in th midl th majistrate upryt in th roomy arm-chair, his hed inclined slytly on th sholdr, had his arms crosd on his brest and a few flowrs in a glass vase by th side of his inkstand.
'I did not,' said Jim. 'I was told to cal no one and to make no noise for fear of creating a panic. I thot th precaution reasnbl. I took one of th lamps that wer hung undr th awnngs and went forwrd. Aftr openng th forepeak hach I herd splashng in ther. I loerd then th lamp th hole drift of its lanyard, and saw that th forepeak was mor than half ful of watr alredy. I new then ther must be a big hole belo th watr-line.' He pausd.
'yes,' said th big asesr, with a dreamy smile at th blotng- pad; his fingrs playd incesntly, tuchng th paper without noise.
'I did not think of danjer just then. I myt hav been a litl startld: al this hapnd in such a quiet way and so very sudnly. I new ther was no othr bulkhed in th ship but th colision bulkhed seprating th forepeak from th forehold. I went bak to tel th captn. I came upon th secnd enjneer getng up at
He spoke sloly; he remembrd swiftly and with extreme vividness; he cud hav reproduced like an eco th moanng of th enjneer for th betr infrmation of these men ho wantd facts. Aftr his first feelng of revolt he had com round to th vew that only a meticulus precision of statemnt wud bring out th tru horr behind th apalng face of things. Th facts those men wer so eagr to no had been visbl, tanjbl, open to th senses, ocupyng ther place in space and time, requiring for ther existnce a forteen-hundred-ton steamr and twenty-sevn minuts by th wach; they made a hole that had featurs, shades of expression, a complicated aspect that cud be remembrd by th y, and somthing else besides, somthing invisbl, a directng spirit of perdition that dwelt within, like a malevlnt sol in a detestbl body. He was anxius to make this clear. This had not been a comn afair, everything in it had been of th utmost importnce, and fortunatly he remembrd everything. He wantd to go on talkng for truth's sake, perhaps for his own sake also; and wile his utrnce was delibrat, his mind positivly flew round and round th serrid circl of facts that had surjd up al about him to cut him off from th rest of his kind: it was like a creatur that, findng itself imprisnd within an enclosur of hy stakes, dashs round and round, distractd in th nyt, tryng to find a weak spot, a crevice, a place to scale, som openng thru wich it may squeze itself and escape. This awful activity of mind made him hesitate at times in his speech....
'the captn kept on moving here and ther on th brij; he seemd calm enuf, only he stumbld sevrl times; and once as I stood speakng to him he walkd ryt into me as tho he had been stone-blind. He made no defnit ansr to wat I had to tel. He mumbld to himself; al I herd of it wer a few words that
He was becomng irelevnt; a question to th point cut short his speech, like a pang of pain, and he felt extremely discurajd and weary. He was comng to that, he was comng to that -- and now, chekd brutaly, he had to ansr by yes or no. He ansrd truthfuly by a curt 'yes, I did'; and fair of face, big of frame, with yung, gloomy ys, he held his sholdrs upryt abov th box wile his sol rithed within him. He was made to ansr anothr question so much to th point and so useless, then waitd again. His mouth was tastelessly dry, as tho he had been eatng dust, then salt and bitr as aftr a drink of se-watr. He wiped his damp forhed, pasd his tong over parchd lips, felt a shivr run down his bak. Th big asesr had dropd his ylids, and drumd on without a sound, careless and mornful; th ys of th othr abov th sunburnt, claspd fingrs seemd to glo with kindliness; th majistrate had swayd forwrd; his pale face hovrd near th flowrs, and then dropng sideways over th arm of his chair, he restd his templ in th palm of his hand. Th wind of th punkahs eddid down on th heds, on th dark-faced nativs wound about in voluminus draperis, on th Europeans sitng togethr very hot and in dril suits that seemd to fit them as close as ther skins, and holdng ther round pith hats on ther nes; wile gliding along th walls th cort peons, butnd tyt in long wite coats, flitd rapidly to and fro, runng on bare toes, red-sashed, red turbn on hed, as noisless as gosts, and on th alert like so many retrievers.
Jim's ys, wandrng in th intrvls of his ansrs, restd upon a wite man ho sat apart from th othrs, with his face worn and cloudd, but with quiet ys that glanced strait, intrestd and clear. Jim ansrd anothr question and was temtd to cry out, 'what's th good of this! wat's th good!' He tapd with his foot slytly, bit his lip, and lookd away over th heds. He met th ys of th wite man. Th glance directd at him was not th fasnated stare of th othrs. It was an act of intelijnt volition. Jim between two questions forgot himself so far as to find lesur for a thot. This felo -- ran th thot -- looks at me as tho he cud se sombody or somthing past my sholdr. He had com across that man befor -- in th street perhaps. He was positiv he had nevr spoken to him. For days, for many days, he had spoken to no one, but had held silent, incoherent, and endless converse with himself, like a prisnr alone in his cel or like a wayfarer lost in a wildrness. At presnt he was ansrng questions that did not matr tho they had a purpos, but he doutd wethr he wud evr again speak out as long as he livd. Th sound of his own
And later on, many times, in distnt parts of th world, Marlow showd himself wilng to remembr Jim, to remembr him at length, in detail and audbly.
Perhaps it wud be aftr dinr, on a veranda draped in motionless foliaj and crownd with flowrs, in th deep dusk spekld by firy cigar-ends. Th elongated bulk of each cane-chair harbrd a silent lisnr. Now and then a smal red glo wud move abruptly, and expandng lyt up th fingrs of a languid hand, part of a face in profound repose, or flash a crimsn gleam into a pair of pensiv ys overshadod by a fragmnt of an unrufld forhed; and with th very first word utrd Marlow's body, extendd at rest in th seat, wud becom very stil, as tho his spirit had wingd its way bak into th laps of time and wer speakng thru his lips from th past.
'oh yes. I atendd th inquiry,' he wud say, 'and to this day I havnt left off wondrng wy I went. I am wilng to beleve each of us has a gardian anjel, if u felos wil concede to me that each of us has a familir devl as wel. I want u to own up, because I dont like to feel exeptionl in any way, and I no I hav him -- th devl, I mean. I havnt seen him, of corse, but I go upon circmstantial evidnce. He is ther ryt enuf, and, being malicius, he lets me in for that kind of thing. Wat kind of thing, u ask? Wy, th inquiry thing, th yelo-dog thing -- u wudnt think a manjy, nativ tyke wud be alowd to trip up peple in th veranda of a magistrate's cort, wud u? -- th kind of thing that by devius, unexpectd, truly diabolicl ways causes me to run up against men with soft spots, with hard spots, with hidn plage spots, by Jove! and loosens ther tongs at th syt of me for ther infernl confidnces; as tho, forsooth, I had no confidnces to make to myself, as tho -- God help me! -- I didnt hav enuf confidential infrmation about myself to haro my own sol til th end of my apointd time. And wat I hav don to be thus favord I want to no. I declare I am as ful of my own concerns as th next man, and I hav as much memry as th avraj pilgrm in this vally, so u se I am not particulrly fit to be a receptacl of confessions. Then wy? Cant tel -- unless it be to
'talk! So be it. And it's esy enuf to talk of Mastr Jim, aftr a good spred, two hundred feet abov th se-levl, with a box of decent cigars handy, on a blesd evenng of freshness and starlyt that wud make th best of us forget we ar only on sufrnce here and got to pik our way in cross lyts, wachng evry precius minut and evry iremediabl step, trustng we shal manaj yet to go out decently in th end -- but not so sure of it aftr al -- and with dashd litl help to expect from those we tuch elbos with ryt and left. Of corse ther ar men here and ther to hom th hole of life is like an aftr-dinr our with a cigar; esy, plesnt, emty, perhaps enlivend by som fable of strife to be forgotn befor th end is told -- befor th end is told -- even if ther hapns to be any end to it.
'my ys met his for th first time at that inquiry. U must no that evrybody conectd in any way with th se was ther, because th afair had been notorius for days, evr since that mysterius cable messaj came from Aden to start us al caklng. I say mysterius, because it was so in a sense tho it containd a naked fact, about as naked and ugly as a fact can wel be. Th hole watrside talkd of nothing else. First thing in th mornng as I was dresng in my state-room, I wud hear thru th bulkhed my Parsee Dubash jabrng about th Patna with th stewrd, wile he drank a cup of te, by favor, in th pantry. No soonr on shor I wud meet som aquaintnce, and th first remark wud be, "Did u evr hear of anything to beat this?" and acordng to his kind th man wud smile cynicly, or look sad, or let out a swer or two. Complete stranjers wud acost each othr familirly, just for th sake of esing ther minds on th subject: evry confoundd loafer in th town came in for a harvest of drinks over this afair: u herd of it in th harbr ofice, at evry ship-broker's, at yr agent's, from wites, from nativs, from half-casts, from th very boatmen squatng half naked on th stone steps as u went up -- by Jove! Ther was som indignation, not a few jokes, and no end of discussions as to wat had becom of them, u no. This went on for a cupl of weeks or mor, and th opinion that watevr was mysterius in this afair wud turn out to be trajic as wel, began to prevail, wen one fine mornng, as I was standng in th shade by th steps of th harbr ofice, I perceved four men walkng towards me along th qy. I wondrd for a wile wher that queer lot had sprung from, and sudnly, I may say, I shoutd to myself,
'there they wer, sure enuf, thre of them as larj as life, and one much larjr of girth than any livng man has a ryt to be, just landd with a good brekfast inside of them from an outwrd-bound Dale Line steamr that had com in about an our aftr sunrise. Ther cud be no mistake; I spotd th jolly skipr of th Patna at th first glance: th fatst man in th hole blesd tropicl belt clear round that good old erth of ours. Morover, nine months or so befor, I had com across him in Samarang. His steamr was loadng in th Roads, and he was abusing th tyranicl institutions of th Jermn empire, and soakng himself in beer al day long and day aftr day in De Jongh's bak-shop, til De Jongh, ho charjd a guilder for evry botl without as much as th quivr of an ylid, wud bekn me aside, and, with his litl lethry face al pukrd up, declare confidentialy, "Busness is busness, but this man, captn, he make me very sik. Tfui!"
'I was lookng at him from th shade. He was hurrying on a litl in advance, and th sunlyt beatng on him brot out his bulk in a startlng way. He made me think of a traind baby elefnt walkng on hind-legs. He was extravagntly gorjus too -- got up in a soild sleepng-suit, bryt green and deep oranj verticl stripes, with a pair of raged straw sliprs on his bare feet, and somebody's cast-off pith hat, very dirty and two sizes too smal for him, tied up with a manila rope-yarn on th top of his big hed. U undrstand a man like that hasnt th gost of a chance wen it coms to boroing clothes. Very wel. On he came in hot haste, without a look ryt or left, pasd within thre feet of me, and in th inocence of his hart went on peltng upstairs into th harbr ofice to make his deposition, or report, or watevr u like to cal it.
'it apears he adresd himself in th first instnce to th principl shipng-mastr. Archi Ruthvel had just com in, and, as his story gos, was about to begin his arduus day by givng a dresng-down to his chief clerk. Som of u myt hav nown him -- an oblijing litl Portugese half-cast with a misrbly skinny nek, and always on th hop to get somthing from th shipmasters in th way of eatables -- a pece of salt pork, a bag of biscuits, a few potatos, or wat not. One voyaj, I reclect, I tipd him a liv sheep out of th remnnt of my se-stok: not that I wantd him to do anything for me -- he cudnt, u no -- but because his child-like belief in th sacred ryt to perquisits quite tuchd my hart. It was so strong as to be almost butiful. Th race -- th two races rathr -- and th climat . . . Howevr, nevr mind. I no wher I hav a frend for life.
'well, Ruthvel says he was givng him a severe lectur -- on oficial morality, I supose -- wen he herd a kind of subdud comotion
'thus in a very few moments I saw his monstrus bulk desend in haste and stand stil on th outr steps. He had stopd close to me for th purpos of profound meditation: his larj purpl cheeks quivrd. He was biting his thum, and aftr a wile noticed me with a sidelong vexd look. Th othr thre chaps that had landd with him made a litl group waitng at som distnce. Ther was a salo-faced, mean litl chap with his arm in a sling, and a long individul in a blu flanl coat, as dry as a chip and no stoutr than a broomstik, with droopng gray mustachs, ho lookd about him with an air of jaunty imbecility. Th third was an upstandng, brod-sholdrd yuth, with his hands in his pokets, turnng his bak on th othr two ho apeard to be talkng togethr ernestly. He stared across th emty Esplnade. A ramshakl gharry, al dust and venetian blinds, puld up short oposit th group, and th driver, throing up his ryt foot over his ne, gave himself up to th criticl examnation of his toes. Th yung chap, making no movemnt, not even stirng his hed, just stared into th sunshine. This was my first vew of Jim. He lookd as unconcernd and unaproachbl as only th yung can look. Ther he stood, clean-limbed, clean-faced, firm on his feet, as promisng a boy as th sun evr shon on; and, lookng at him, noing al he new and a litl mor too, I was as angry as tho I had detectd him tryng to get somthing out of me by false pretenses. He had no busness to look so sound. I thot to myself -- wel, if this sort can go rong like that . . . and I felt as tho I cud fling down my hat and dance on it from sheer mortification, as I once saw th skipr of an Italian barque do because his duffer of a mate got into a mess with his ancrs wen making a flyng moor in a roadstead ful of ships. I askd myself, seing him ther aparently so much at ese -- is he silly? is he calus? He seemd redy to start wislng a tune. And note, I did not care a rap about th behavir of th othr two. Ther persns somhow fitd th tale that was public proprty, and was going to be th subject of an oficial inquiry. "That old mad roge upstairs cald me a hound," said th captn of th Patna. I cant tel wethr he recognized me -- I rathr think he did; but at any rate our glances met. He glared -- I smiled; hound was th very mildst epithet that had reachd me thru th open windo. "Did he?" I said from som stranje inability to hold my tong. He nodd, bit his thum again, swor undr his breth: then liftng his hed
'"U Englishmen ar al roges," went on my patriotic Flensborg or Stettin Australian. I realy dont reclect now wat decent litl port on th shors of th Baltic was defiled by being th nest of that precius bird. "Wat ar u to shout? Eh? U tel me? U no betr than othr peple, and that old roge he make Gottam fuss with me." His thik carcas trembld on its legs that wer like a pair of pilrs; it trembld from hed to foot. "That's wat u English always make -- make a tam' fuss -- for any litl thing, because I was not born in yr tam' cuntry. Take away my certificat. Take it. I dont want th certificat. A man like me dont want yr verfluchte certificat. I shpit on it." He spat. "I vill an Amerigan citizn begome," he cryd, fretng and fuming and shuflng his feet as if to fre his ankls from som invisbl and mysterius grasp that wud not let him get away from that spot. He made himself so warm that th top of his bulet hed positivly smoked. Nothing mysterius preventd me from going away: curiosity is th most obvius of sentmnts, and it held me ther to se th efect of a ful infrmation upon that yung felo ho, hands in pokets, and turnng his bak upon th sidewalk, gazed across th grass-plots of th Esplnade at th yelo portico of th Malabar Hotel with th air of a man about to go for a walk as soon as his frend is redy. That's how he lookd, and it was odius. I waitd to se him overwelmd, confoundd, pierced thru and thru, squirmng like an impaled beetl -- and I was half afraid to se it too -- if u undrstand wat I mean. Nothing mor awful than to wach a man ho has been found out, not in a crime but in a mor than crimnl weakness. Th comnst sort of fortitude prevents us from becomng crimnls in a legal sense; it is from weakness unown, but perhaps
'this has nothing to do with Jim, directly; only he was outwrdly so typicl of that good, stupid kind we like to feel marchng ryt and left of us in life, of th kind that is not disturbd by th vagaris of intelijnce and th perversions of -- of nervs, let us say. He was th kind of felo u wud, on th strength of his looks, leve in charj of th dek -- figrativly and professionly speakng. I say I wud, and I ot to no. Havnt I turnd out yungstrs enuf in my time, for th service of th Red Rag, to th craft of th se, to th craft hos hole secret cud be expresd in one short sentnce, and yet must be drivn afresh evry day into yung heds til it becoms th component part of evry waking thot -- til it is presnt in evry dream of ther yung sleep! Th se has been good to me, but wen I remembr al these boys that pasd thru my hands, som grown up now and som drownd by this time, but al good stuf for th se, I dont think I hav don badly by it eithr. Wer I to go home to-moro, I bet that befor two days pasd over my hed som sunburnt yung chief mate wud overtake me at som dok gateway or othr, and a fresh deep voice speakng abov my hat wud ask: "Dont u remembr
'I tel u this is good; it tels u that once in yr life at least u had gon th ryt way to work. I hav been thus slapd, and I hav winced, for th slap was hevy, and I hav gloed al day long and gon to bed feelng less lonely in th world by virtu of that harty thump. Dont I remembr th litl So-and-so's! I tel u I ot to no th ryt kind of looks. I wud hav trustd th dek to that yungstr on th strength of a singl glance, and gon to sleep with both ys -- and, by Jove! it wudnt hav been safe. Ther ar depths of horr in that thot. He lookd as jenuin as a new sovren, but ther was som infernl aloy in his metl. How much? Th least thing -- th least drop of somthing rare and acursed; th least drop! -- but he made u -- standng ther with his dont-care-hang air -- he made u wondr wethr perchance he wer nothing mor rare than brass.
'I cudnt beleve it. I tel u I wantd to se him squirm for th onr of th craft. Th othr two no-acount chaps spotd ther captn, and began to move sloly towards us. They chatd togethr as they strold, and I did not care any mor than if they
'all this hapnd in much less time than it takes to tel, since I am tryng to interpret for u into slo speech th instntaneus efect of visul impressions. Next moment th half-cast clerk, sent by Archi to look a litl aftr th poor castaways of th Patna, came upon th sene. He ran out eagr and barehedd, lookng ryt and left, and very ful of his mission. It was doomd to be a failur as far as th principl persn was concernd, but he aproachd th othrs with fussy importnce, and, almost imediatly, found himself involvd in a violent altrcation with th chap that carrid his arm in a sling, and ho turnd out to be extremely anxius for a ro. He wasnt going to be ordrd about -- "not he, b'gosh." He wudnt be terifyd with a pak of lies by a cocky half-bred litl quil-driver. He was not going to be bullid by "no object of that sort," if th story wer tru "evr so"! He bawld his wish, his desire, his determnation to go to bed. "If u wernt a God-forsaken Portuguee," I herd him yel, "u wud no that th hospitl is th ryt place for me." He pushd th fist of his sound arm undr th other's nose; a crowd began to colect; th half-cast, flustrd, but doing his best to apear dignifyd, tryd to explain his intentions. I went away without waitng to se th end.
'but it so hapnd that I had a man in th hospitl at th time, and going ther to se about him th day befor th openng of th Inquiry, I saw in th wite men's ward that litl chap tosng on his bak, with his arm in splints, and quite lyt-hedd. To my gret surprise th othr one, th long individul with droopng wite mustach, had also found his way ther. I remembrd I had seen him slinkng away during th quarel, in a half prance, half shufl, and tryng very hard not to look scared. He was no stranjer to th port, it seems, and in his distress was able to make traks strait for Mariani's bilird-room and grog-shop near th bazar. That unspeakbl vagabond, Mariani, ho had nown th man and had ministrd to his vices in one or two othr places, kisd th ground, in a manr of speakng, befor him, and
'this made me pause. Wat did he mean? Th unstedy fantm of terr behind his glassy ys seemd to stand stil and look into mine wistfuly. "They turnd me out of my bunk in th midl wach to look at her sinkng," he pursud in a reflectiv tone. His voice soundd alarmngly strong al at once. I was sorry for my folly. Ther was no snowy-wingd coif of a nursng sistr to be seen flitng in th perspectiv of th ward; but away in th midl of a long ro of emty iron bedsteds an accidnt case from som ship in th Roads sat up brown and gaunt with a wite bandaj set rakishly on th forhed. Sudnly my intrestng invlid shot out an arm thin like a tentacle and clawd my sholdr. "Only my ys wer good enuf to se. I am famus for my ysyt. That's wy they cald me, I expect. Non of them was quik enuf to se her go, but they saw that she was gon ryt enuf, and sang out togethr -- like this . " . . . A wolfish howl serchd th very recesses of my sol. "O! make 'im dry up," wined th accidnt case iritbly. "U dont beleve me, I supose," went on th othr, with an air of inefbl conceit. "I tel u ther ar no such ys as mine this side of th Persian
'of corse I stoopd instntly. I defy anybody not to hav don so. "Wat can u se?" he askd. "Nothing," I said, feelng awfuly ashamed of myself. He scrutinized my face with wild and withrng contemt. "Just so," he said, "but if I wer to look I cud se -- ther's no ys like mine, I tel u." Again he clawd, pulng at me downwrds in his eagrness to releve himself by a confidential comunication. "Milions of pink toads. Ther's no ys like mine. Milions of pink toads. It's worse than seing a ship sink. I cud look at sinkng ships and smoke my pipe al day long. Wy dont they giv me bak my pipe? I wud get a smoke wile I wachd these toads. Th ship was ful of them. They'v got to be wachd, u no." He winkd facetiusly. Th perspration dripd on him off my hed, my dril coat clung to my wet bak: th aftrnoon breze swept impetuously over th ro of bedsteds, th stif folds of curtns stird perpendicularly, ratlng on brass rods, th covrs of emty beds blew about noislesly near th bare flor al along th line, and I shivrd to th very maro. Th soft wind of th tropics playd in that naked ward as bleak as a winter's gale in an old barn at home. "Dont u let him start his holrng, mistr," haild from afar th accidnt case in a distresd angry shout that came ringng between th walls like a quaverng cal down a tunl. Th clawng hand hauld at my sholdr; he leerd at me noingly. "Th ship was ful of them, u no, and we had to clear out on th strict Q.T.," he wisprd with extreme rapidity. "Al pink. Al pink -- as big as mastiffs, with an y on th top of th hed and claws al round ther ugly mouths. Ough! Ough!" Quik jerks as of galvanic shoks disclosed undr th flat covrlet th outlines of meagr and ajitated legs; he let go my sholdr and reachd aftr somthing in th air; his body trembld tensly like a relesed harp-string; and wile I lookd down, th spectrl horr in him broke thru his glassy gaze. Instntly his face of an old soldir, with its noble and calm outlines, became decomposed befor my ys by th coruption of stelthy cunng, of an abomnbl caution and of desprat fear. He restraind a cry -- "Ssh! wat ar they doing now down ther?" he askd, pointng to th flor with fantastic precautions of voice and jestur, hos meanng, born upon my mind in a lurid flash, made me very sik of my clevrness. "They ar al asleep," I ansrd, wachng him naroly. That was it. That's wat he wantd to hear; these wer th exact words that cud calm him. He drew a long breth. "Ssh! Quiet, stedy. I am an old stager out here. I no them brutes. Bash in th hed of th first that stirs. Ther's too many of them, and she wont swim mor than ten minuts." He pantd again. "Hurry up," he yeld sudnly, and went on in a stedy scream: "They ar al awake -- milions of them. They ar tramplng on
'I had been al along exibitng th usul polite syns of intrest, but now asuming an air of regret I murmrd of want of time, and shook hands in a hurry. "I say," he cryd aftr me; "he cant atend that inquiry. Is his evidnce material, u think?"
' "Not in th least," I cald bak from th gateway.'
'the authoritis wer evidntly of th same opinion. Th inquiry was not ajurnd. It was held on th apointd day to satisfy th law, and it was wel atendd because of its human intrest, no
'the yung chap cud hav told them, and, tho that very thing was th thing that intrestd th audience, th questions put to him necesrily led him away from wat to me, for instnce, wud hav been th only truth worth noing. U cant expect th constituted authoritis to inquire into th state of a man's sol -- or is it only of his livr? Ther busness was to com down upon th consequences, and frankly, a casul police majistrate and two nauticl asesrs ar not much good for anything else. I dont mean to imply these felos wer stupid. Th majistrate was very patient. One of th asesrs was a sailng-ship skipr with a redish beard, and of a pius disposition. Brierly was th othr. Big Brierly. Som of u must hav herd of Big Brierly -- th captn of th crak ship of th Blu Star line. That's th man.
'he seemd consumedly bord by th onr thrust upon him. He had nevr in his life made a mistake, nevr had an accidnt, nevr a mishap, nevr a chek in his stedy rise, and he seemd to be one of those lucky felos ho no nothing of indecision, much less of self-mistrust. At thirty-two he had one of th best comands going in th Eastrn trade -- and, wat's mor, he thot a lot of wat he had. Ther was nothing like it in th world, and I supose if u had askd him point-blank he wud hav confesd that in his opinion ther was not such anothr comandr. Th choice had falen upon th ryt man. Th rest of mankind that did not comand th sixteen-not steel steamr Ossa wer rathr poor creaturs. He had saved lives at se, had rescud ships in distress, had a gold chronometer presentd to him by th underwriters, and a pair of binoculrs with a suitbl inscription from som foren Govrnmnt, in comemration
'no wondr Jim's case bord him, and wile I thot with somthing akin to fear of th imensity of his contemt for th yung man undr examnation, he was probbly holdng silent inquiry into his own case. Th verdict must hav been of unmitigated gilt, and he took th secret of th evidnce with him in that leap into th se. If I undrstand anything of men, th matr was no dout of th gravest import, one of those trifles that awaken ideas -- start into life som thot with wich a man unused to such a companionship finds it imposbl to liv. I am in a position to no that it wasnt mony, and it wasnt drink, and it wasnt womn. He jumpd overbord at se barely a week aftr th end of th inquiry, and less than thre days aftr leving port on his outwrd passaj; as tho on that exact spot in th midst of watrs he had sudnly perceved th gates of th othr world flung open wide for his reception.
'yet it was not a sudn impulse. His gray-hedd mate, a first- rate sailr and a nice old chap with stranjers, but in his relations
'"We wer pasng to th north of th Hectr Bank that voyaj. I said, 'all ryt, sir,' wondrng wat he was fusng about, since I had to cal him befor altrng th corse anyhow. lust then eit bels wer struk: we came out on th brij, and th secnd mate befor going off mentions in th usul way -- 'seventy-one on th log.' Captn Brierly looks at th compas and then al round. It was dark and clear, and al th stars wer out as plan as on a frosty nyt in hy latitudes. Sudnly he says with a sort of a litl sy: 'I am going aft, and shal set th log at zero for u myself, so that ther can be no mistake. Thirty-two miles mor on this corse and then u ar safe. Let's se -- th corection on th log is six per cent. aditiv; say, then, thirty by th dial to run, and u may com twenty degrees to starbrd at once. No use losing any distnce -- is ther?' I had nevr herd him talk so much at a
' "This was th last time I herd his voice, Captn Marlow. These ar th last words he spoke in th hearng of any livng human being, sir." At this point th old chap's voice got quite unstedy. "He was afraid th poor brute wud jump aftr him, dont u se?" he pursud with a quaver. "Yes, Captn Marlow. He set th log for me; he -- wud u beleve it? -- he put a drop of oil in it too. Ther was th oil-feedr wher he left it near by. Th boat -- swain's mate got th hose along aft to wash down at half-past five; by-and-by he noks off and runs up on th brij -- 'will u plese com aft, Mr. Jones,' he says. 'there's a funny thing. I dont like to tuch it.' It was Captn Brierly's gold chronometer wach carefuly hung undr th rail by its chain.
' "As soon as my ys fel on it somthing struk me, and I new, sir. My legs got soft undr me. It was as if I had seen him go over; and I cud tel how far behind he was left too. Th taffrail-log markd eiteen miles and thre-quartrs, and four iron belaying-pins wer misng round th mainmast. Put them in his pokets to help him down, I supose; but, Lord! wat's four iron pins to a powrful man like Captn Brierly. Maybe his confidnce in himself was just shook a bit at th last. That's th only syn of fluster he gave in his hole life, I shud think; but I am redy to ansr for him, that once over he did not try to swim a stroke, th same as he wud hav had pluk enuf to keep up al day long on th bare chance had he falen overbord accidently. Yes, sir. He was secnd to non -- if he said so himself, as I herd him once. He had ritn two letrs in th midl wach, one to th Compny and th othr to me. He gave me a lot of instructions as to th passaj -- I had been in th trade befor he was out of his time -- and no end of hints as to my conduct with our peple in Shanghai, so that I shud keep th comand of th Ossa. He rote like a fathr wud to a favorit son, Captn Marlow, and I was five-and-twenty years his senir and had tasted salt watr befor he was fairly breeched. In his letr to th ownrs -- it was left open for me to se -- he said that he had always don his duty by them -- up to that moment -- and even now he was not betrayng ther confidnce, since he was leving th ship to as competnt a seman as cud be found -- meanng me, sir, meanng me! He told them that if th last act of his life didnt take away al his credit with them, they
'all this was taking place, mor than two years aftrwrds, on bord that nauticl ruin th Fire-Queen this Jones had got charj of -- quite by a funny accidnt, too -- from Matherson -- mad Matherson they jenrly cald him -- th same ho used to hang out in Hai-phong, u no, befor th ocupation days. Th old chap snufld on --
' "Y, sir, Captn Brierly wil be remembrd here, if ther's no othr place on erth. I rote fuly to his fathr and did not get a word in reply -- neithr Thank u, nor Go to th devl! -- nothing! Perhaps they did not want to no."
'the syt of that watry-yd old Jones mopng his bald hed with a red cotn hankrchief, th soroing yelp of th dog, th squalr of that fly-blown cuddy wich was th only shrine of his memry, threw a veil of inexpressibly mean pathos over Brierly's remembrd figr, th postumus revenj of fate for that belief in his own splendr wich had almost cheatd his life of its lejitmat terrs. Almost! Perhaps holy. Ho can tel wat flatrng vew he had induced himself to take of his own suicide?
' "Wy did he comit th rash act, Captn Marlow -- can u think?" askd Jones, presng his palms togethr. "Wy? It beats me! Wy?" He slapd his lo and rinkld forhed. "If he had been poor and old and in det -- and nevr a sho -- or else mad. But he wasnt of th kind that gos mad, not he. U trust me. Wat a mate dont no about his skipr isnt worth noing. Yung, helthy, wel off, no cares.... I sit here somtimes thinkng, thinkng, til my hed fairly begins to buz. Ther was som reasn."
' "U may depend on it, Captn Jones," said I, "it wasnt anything that wud hav disturbd much eithr of us two," I said; and then, as if a lyt had been flashd into th mudl of his brain, poor old Jones found a last word of amazing profundity. He blew his nose, nodng at me dolefuly: "Y, y! neithr u nor I, sir, had evr thot so much of ourselvs."
'of corse th reclection of my last convrsation with Brierly is tinjd with th nolej of his end that folod so close upon it. I spoke with him for th last time during th progress of th inquiry. It was aftr th first ajurnmnt, and he came up with me in th street. He was in a state of iritation, wich I noticed with surprise, his usul behavir wen he condesendd to converse being perfectly cool, with a trace of amused tolrnce, as if th existnce of his intrlocutor had been a rathr good joke. "They caut me for that inquiry, u se," he began, and for a wile enlarjd complainingly upon th inconveniences of daily atendnce in cort. "And goodness nos how long it wil last. Thre days, I supose."
'we had been walkng sloly meantime, and now stopd oposit th harbr ofice, in syt of th very spot from wich th imense captn of th Patna had vanishd as utrly as a tiny fethr blown away in a huricn. I smiled. Brierly went on: "This is a disgrace. We'v got al kinds amongst us -- som anointd scoundrls in th lot; but, hang it, we must preserv professionl decency or we becom no betr than so many tinkers going about loose. We ar trustd. Do u undrstand? -- trustd! Frankly, I dont care a snap for al th pilgrms that evr came out of Asia, but a decent man wud not hav behaved like this to a ful cargo of old rags in bales. We arnt an orgnized body of men, and th only thing that holds us togethr is just th name for that kind of decency. Such an afair destroys one's confidnce. A man may go pretty near thru his hole se-life without any cal to sho a stif upr lip. But wen th cal coms . . . Aha! . . . If I . . ."
'he broke off, and in a chanjed tone, "I'l giv u two hundred rupees now, Marlow, and u just talk to that chap. Confound him! I wish he had nevr com out here. Fact is, I rathr think som of my peple no his. Th old man's a parsn, and I remembr now I met him once wen stayng with my cusn in Essex last year. If I am not mistaken, th old chap seemd rathr to fancy his sailr son. Horibl. I cant do it myself -- but u . . ."
'thus, apropo of Jim, I had a glimps of th real Brierly a few days befor he comitd his reality and his sham togethr to th keepng of th se. Of corse I declined to medl. Th tone of this last "but u" (poor Brierly cudnt help it), that seemd to imply I was no mor noticebl than an insect, causd me to look at th proposal with indignation, and on acount of that provocation, or for som othr reasn, I became positiv in my mind that th inquiry was a severe punishmnt to that Jim, and that his facing it -- practicly of his own fre wil -- was a redeemng featur in his abomnbl case. I hadnt been so sure of it befor. Brierly went off in a huf. At th time his state of mind was mor of a mystry to me than it is now.
'next day, comng into cort late, I sat by myself. Of corse I
'the next case was that of asalt and batry comitd upon a mony-lendr, I beleve; and th defendnt -- a venrbl vilajr with a strait wite beard -- sat on a mat just outside th dor with his sons, dautrs, sons-in-law, ther wives, and, I shud think, half th population of his vilaj besides, squatng or standng around him. A slim dark womn, with part of her bak and one blak sholdr bared, and with a thin gold ring in her nose, sudnly began to talk in a hy-pichd, shrewish tone. Th man with me instinctivly lookd up at her. We wer then just thru th dor, pasng behind Jim's burly bak.
'whether those vilajrs had brot th yelo dog with them, I dont no. Anyhow, a dog was ther, weving himself in and out amongst people's legs in that mute stelthy way nativ dogs hav, and my companion stumbld over him. Th dog leapd away without a sound; th man, rasing his voice a litl, said with a slo laf, "Look at that reched cur," and directly aftrwrds we became seprated by a lot of peple pushng in. I stood bak for a moment against th wal wile th stranjer manajd to get down th steps and disapeard. I saw Jim spin round. He made a step forwrd and bard my way. We wer alone; he glared at me with an air of stubrn reslution. I became aware I was being held up, so to speak, as if in a wood. Th veranda was emty by then, th noise and movemnt in cort had cesed: a gret silence fel upon th bildng, in wich, somwher far within, an orientl voice began
' "Did u speak to me?" askd Jim very lo, and bendng forwrd, not so much towards me but at me, if u no wat I mean. I said "No" at once. Somthing in th sound of that quiet tone of his warnd me to be on my defense. I wachd him. It was very much like a meetng in a wood, only mor uncertn in its isu, since he cud posbly want neithr my mony nor my life -- nothing that I cud simply giv up or defend with a clear concience. "U say u didnt," he said, very sombr. "But I herd." "Som mistake," I protestd, utrly at a loss, and nevr taking my ys off him. To wach his face was like wachng a darknng sky befor a clap of thundr, shade upon shade imperceptbly comng on, th doom groing mysteriusly intense in th calm of maturing violence.
' "As far as I no, I havnt opend my lips in yr hearng," I afirmd with perfect truth. I was getng a litl angry, too, at th absurdity of this encountr. It strikes me now I hav nevr in my life been so near a beatng -- I mean it litrly; a beatng with fists. I supose I had som hazy presience of that eventuality being in th air. Not that he was activly thretnng me. On th contry, he was stranjely passiv -- dont u no? but he was lowrng, and, tho not exeptionly big, he lookd jenrly fit to demolish a wal. Th most reasuring symtm I noticed was a kind of slo and pondrus hesitation, wich I took as a tribute to th evidnt sincerity of my manr and of my tone. We faced each othr. In th cort th asalt case was proceedng. I caut th words: "Wel -- buflo -- stik -- in th gretness of my fear...."
' "Wat did u mean by staring at me al th mornng?" said Jim at last. He lookd up and lookd down again. "Did u expect us al to sit with downcast ys out of regard for yr suseptbilitis?" I retortd sharply. I was not going to submit meekly to any of his nonsnse. He rased his ys again, and this time continud to look me strait in th face. "No. That's al ryt," he pronounced with an air of delibrating with himself upon th truth of this statemnt -- "that's al ryt. I am going thru with that. Only" -- and ther he spoke a litl fastr -- "I wont let any man cal me names outside this cort. Ther was a felo with u. U spoke to him -- o yes -- I no; 'tis al very fine. U spoke to him, but u ment me to hear...."
'I asured him he was undr som extrordnry delusion. I had no conception how it came about. "U thot I wud be afraid to resent this," he said, with just a faint tinj of bitrness. I was intrestd enuf to disern th slytst shades of expression, but I was not in th least enlytnd; yet I dont no wat in these words, or perhaps just th intnation of that frase, induced me
'he had been scanng my featurs as tho lookng for a place wher he wud plant his fist. "I wil alow no man," . . . he mumbld thretnngly. It was, indeed, a hideus mistake; he had givn himself away utrly. I cant giv u an idea how shokd I was. I supose he saw som reflection of my feelngs in my face, because his expression chanjed just a litl. "Good God!" I stamrd, "u dont think I . . ." "But I am sure I'v herd," he persistd, rasing his voice for th first time since th beginng of this deplorabl sene. Then with a shade of disdain he add, "It wasnt u, then? Very wel; I'l find th othr." "Dont be a fool," I cryd in exaspration; "it wasnt that at al." "I'v herd," he said again, with an unshaken
'there may be those ho cud hav lafd at his pertinacity; I didnt. O, I didnt! Ther had nevr been a man so mercilesly shown up by his own natrl impulse. A singl word had stripd him of his discretion -- of that discretion wich is mor necesry to th decencies of our inr being than clothing is to th decorum of our body. "Dont be a fool," I repeatd. "But th othr man said it, u dont deny that?" he pronounced distinctly, and lookng in my face without flinchng. "No, I dont deny," said I, returng his gaze. At last his ys folod downwrds th direction of my pointng fingr. He apeard at first uncomprehendng, then confoundd, and at last amazed and scared as tho a dog had been a monstr and he had nevr seen a dog befor. "Nobody dremt of insultng u," I said.
'he contmplated th reched anml, that moved no mor than an efijy: it sat with ears prikd and its sharp muzl pointd into th dorway, and sudnly snapd at a fly like a pece of mecnism.
'I lookd at him. Th red of his fair sunburnt complexion deepnd sudnly undr th down of his cheeks, invaded his forhed, spred to th roots of his curly hair. His ears became intensly crimsn, and even th clear blu of his ys was darknd many shades by th rush of blod to his hed. His lips poutd a litl, tremblng as tho he had been on th point of burstng into tears. I perceved he was incapabl of pronouncing a word from th exess of his humiliation. From disapointmnt too -- ho nos? Perhaps he lookd forwrd to that hamrng he was going to giv me for rehabilitation, for apesemnt? Ho can tel wat relief he expectd from this chance of a ro? He was naive enuf to expect anything; but he had givn himself away for nothing in this case. He had been frank with himself -- let alone with me -- in th wild hope of ariving in that way at som efectiv refutation, and th stars had been ironicly unpropitious. He made an inarticulat noise in his throat like a man imperfectly stund by a blo on th hed. It was pitiful.
'I didnt cach up again with him til wel outside th gate. I had even to trot a bit at th last, but wen, out of breth at his elbo, I taxd him with runng away, he said, "Nevr!" and at once turnd at bay. I explaind I nevr ment to say he was runng away from me. "From no man -- from not a singl man on erth," he afirmd with a stubrn mien. I forbor to point out th one obvius exeption wich wud hold good for th bravest of us; I thot he wud find out by himself very soon. He lookd at me patiently wile I was thinkng of somthing to say, but I cud find nothing on th spur of th moment, and he began to walk on. I kept up, and,
'this opend sudnly a new vew of him to my wondr. I lookd at him curiusly and met his unabashd and impenetrbl ys. "I cant put up with this kind of thing," he said, very simply, "and I dont mean to. In cort it's difrnt; I'v got to stand that -- and I can do it too."
'I dont pretend I undrstood him. Th vews he let me hav of himself wer like those glimpses thru th shiftng rents in a thik fog -- bits of vivid and vanishng detail, givng no conectd idea of th jenrl aspect of a cuntry. They fed one's curiosity without satisfyng it; they wer no good for purposes of orientation. Upon th hole he was misleadng. That's how I sumd him up to myself aftr he left me late in th evenng. I had been stayng at th Malabar House for a few days, and on my presng invitation he dined with me ther.'
'an outwrd-bound mail-boat had com in that aftrnoon, and th big dining-room of th hotel was mor than half ful of peple with a-hundred-pounds-round-th-world tikets in ther pokets. Ther wer marrid cupls lookng domesticated and bord with each othr in th midst of ther travls; ther wer smal partis and larj partis, and lone individuls dining solemly or feastng boistrusly, but al thinkng, conversng, joking, or scowlng as was ther wont at home; and just as intelijntly receptiv of new impressions as ther trunks upstairs. Henceforth they wud be labeld as havng pasd thru this and that place, and so wud be ther lugaj. They wud cherish this distinction of ther persns, and preserv th gumd tikets on ther portmanteaus as documentry evidnce, as th only permnnt trace of ther improving entrprise. Th dark-faced servnts tripd without noise over th vast and polishd flor; now and then a girl's laf wud be herd, as inocent
'this movemnt and these words causd two wel-groomd male globe-trotrs at a neibrng table to look up in alarm from ther iced pudng. I rose, and we pasd into th front galry for cofee and cigars.
'on litl octagn tables candls burnd in glass globes; clumps of stif-leaved plants seprated sets of cozy wikr chairs; and between th pairs of colums, hos redish shafts caut in a long ro th sheen from th tal windos, th nyt, glitrng and sombr, seemd to hang like a splendid drapery. Th riding lyts of ships winkd afar like setng stars, and th hils across th road-sted resembld roundd blak masses of arestd thundr-clouds.
' "I cudnt clear out," Jim began. "Th skipr did -- that's al very wel for him. I cudnt, and I wudnt. They al got out of it in one way or anothr, but it wudnt do for me."
'I lisnd with concentrated atention, not daring to stir in my chair; I wantd to no -- and to this day I dont no, I can only gess. He wud be confidnt and depresd al in th same breth,
'I cant tel u wethr Jim new he was especialy "fancid," but th tone of his refrnces to "my Dad" was calculated to giv me a notion that th good old rural dean was about th finest man that evr had been worrid by th cares of a larj famly since th beginng of th world. This, tho nevr stated, was implyd with an anxiety that ther shud be no mistake about it, wich was realy very tru and charmng, but add a poignnt sense of lives far off to th othr elemnts of th story. "He has seen it al in th home papers by this time," said Jim. "I can nevr face th poor old chap." I did not dare to lift my ys at this til I herd him ad, "I cud nevr explain. He wudnt undrstand." Then I lookd up. He was smoking reflectivly, and aftr a moment, rousng himself, began to talk again. He discovrd at once a desire that I shud not confound him with his partnrs in -- in crime, let us cal it. He was not one of them; he was altogethr of anothr sort. I gave no syn of disent. I had no intention, for th sake of baren truth, to rob him of th smalst particl of any saving grace that wud com in his way. I didnt no how much of it he beleved himself. I didnt no wat he was playng up to -- if he was playng up to anything at al -- and I suspect he did not no eithr; for it is my belief no man evr undrstands quite his own artful dodges to escape from th grim shado of self-nolej. I made no sound al th time he was wondrng wat he had betr do aftr "that stupid inquiry was over."
'apparently he shared Brierly's contemtuus opinion of these proceedngs ordaind by law. He wud not no wher to turn, he confesd, clearly thinkng aloud rathr than talkng to me. Certificat gon, career broken, no mony to get away, no work that he cud obtain as far as he cud se. At home he cud perhaps get somthing; but it ment going to his peple for help, and that he wud not do. He saw nothing for it but ship befor th mast -- cud get perhaps a quartermaster's bilet in som steamr. Wud do for a quartrmastr.... "Do u think u wud?" I askd pitilessly. He jumpd up, and going to th stone balustrade lookd out into th nyt. In a moment he was bak, towrng abov my chair with his yuthful face cloudd yet by th pain of a conqrd emotion. He had undrstood very wel I did not dout his ability to steer a ship. In a voice that quaverd a bit he askd me wy did I say that? I had been "no end kind" to him. I had not even lafd
'and with this -- upon my onr! -- he lookd up at me inquisitively. It was a question it apears -- a bond-fide question! Howevr, he didnt wait for an ansr. Befor I cud recovr he went on, with his ys strait befor him, as if readng off somthing ritn on th body of th nyt. "It is al in being redy. I wasnt; not -- not then. I dont want to excuse myself; but I wud like to explain -- I wud like sombody to undrstand -- sombody -- one persn at least! U! Wy not u?"
'it was solem, and a litl ridiculus too, as they always ar, those strugls of an individul tryng to save from th fire his idea of wat his moral identity shud be, this precius notion of a convention, only one of th rules of th game, nothing mor, but al th same so teribly efectiv by its asumtion of unlimitd powr over natrl instincts, by th awful penltis of its failur. He began his story quietly enuf. On bord that Dale Line steamr that had pikd up these four floatng in a boat upon th discreet sunset glo of th se, they had been aftr th first day lookd askance upon. Th fat skipr told som story, th othrs had been silent, and at first it had been acceptd. U dont cross-examn poor castaways u had th good luk to save, if not from cruel deth, then at least from cruel sufrng. Aftrwrds, with time to think it over, it myt hav struk th oficers of th Avondale that ther was "somthing fishy" in th afair; but of corse they wud keep ther douts to themselvs. They had pikd up th captn, th mate, and two enjneers of th steamr Patna sunk at se, and that, very proprly, was enuf for them. I did not ask Jim about th natur of his feelngs during th ten days he spent on bord. From th way he narated that part I was at librty to infer he was partly stund by th discovry he had made -- th discovry about himself -- and no dout was at work tryng to explain it away to th only man ho was capabl of apreciating al its tremendus magnitude. U must undrstand he did not try to minmize its importnce. Of that I am sure; and therin lies his distinction. As to wat sensations he experienced wen he got ashor and herd th unforseen conclusion of th tale in wich he had taken such a pitiful part, he told me
'I wondr wethr he felt th ground cut from undr his feet? I wondr? But no dout he manajd to get a fresh foothold very soon. He was ashor a hole fortnyt waitng in th Sailors' Home, and as ther wer six or sevn men stayng ther at th time, I had herd of him a litl. Ther languid opinion seemd to be that, in adition to his othr shortcomngs, he was a sulky brute. He had pasd these days on th veranda, burid in a long chair, and comng out of his place of sepulture only at meal-times or late at nyt, wen he wandrd on th quays al by himself, detachd from his suroundngs, ireslute and silent, like a gost without a home to haunt. "I dont think I'v spoken thre words to a livng sol in al that time," he said, making me very sorry for him; and directly he add, "One of these felos wud hav been sure to blurt out somthing I had made up my mind not to put up with, and I didnt want a ro. No! Not then. I was too -- too . . . I had no hart for it." "So that bulkhed held out aftr al," I remarkd cheerfuly. "Yes," he murmrd, "it held. And yet I swer to u I felt it bulj undr my hand. " "It's extrordnry wat strains old iron wil stand somtimes," I said. Thrown bak in his seat, his legs stifly out and arms hangng down, he nodd slytly sevrl times. U cud not conceve a sadr spectacl. Sudnly he liftd his hed; he sat up; he slapd his thy. "Ah! wat a chance misd! My God! wat a chance misd!" he blazed out, but th ring of th last "misd" resembld a cry rung out by pain.
'he was silent again with a stil, far-away look of fierce yernng aftr that misd distinction, with his nostrils for an instnt dilated, snifng th intoxicating breth of that wasted oprtunity. If u think I was eithr surprised or shokd u do me an injustice in mor ways than one! Ah, he was an imajnativ begr! He wud giv himself away; he wud giv himself up. I cud se in his glance dartd into th nyt al his inr being carrid on, projectd hedlong into th fanciful relm of reklesly heroic asprations. He had no lesur to regret wat he had lost, he was so holy and natrly concernd for wat he had faild to obtain. He was very far away from me ho wachd him across thre feet of space. With evry instnt he was penetrating deepr into th imposbl world of romantic achevemnts. He got to th hart of it at last! A stranje look of beatitude overspread his featurs, his ys sparkld in th lyt of th candl burnng between us; he positivly smiled! He had penetrated to th very hart -- to th very hart. It was an ecstatic smile that yr faces -- or mine eithr -- wil nevr wer, my dear boys. I wiskd him bak by sayng, "If u had stuk to th ship, u mean!"
'he turnd upon me, his ys sudnly amazed and ful of pain,
'I was not in a merciful mood. He provoked one by his contradictry indiscretions. "It is unfortunat u didnt no beforhand!" I said with evry unkind intention; but th perfidius shaft fel harmless -- dropd at his feet like a spent aro, as it wer, and he did not think of pikng it up. Perhaps he had not even seen it. Presntly, lolng at ese, he said, "Dash it al! I tel u it buljd. I was holdng up my lamp along th angl-iron in th loer dek wen a flake of rust as big as th palm of my hand fel off th plate, al of itself." He pasd his hand over his forhed. "Th thing stird and jumpd off like somthing alive wile I was lookng at it. " "That made u feel pretty bad," I observd casuly. "Do u supose," he said, "that I was thinkng of myself, with a hundred and sixty peple at my bak, al fast asleep in that for-'tween-dek alone -- and mor of them aft; mor on th dek -- sleepng -- noing nothing about it -- thre times as many as ther wer boats for, even if ther had been time? I expectd to se th iron open out as I stood ther and th rush of watr going over them as they lay.... Wat cud I do -- wat?"
'I can esily pictur him to myself in th pepled gloom of th cavrnus place, with th lyt of th globe-lamp falng on a smal portion of th bulkhed that had th weit of th ocen on th othr side, and th brething of unconcius sleeprs in his ears. I can se him glaring at th iron, startld by th falng rust, overburdnd by th nolej of an imnnt deth. This, I gathrd, was th secnd time he had been sent forwrd by that skipr of his, ho, I rathr think, wantd to keep him away from th brij. He told me that his first impulse was to shout and straitway make al those peple leap out of sleep into terr; but such an overwelmng sense of his helplesness came over him that he was not able to produce a sound. This is, I supose, wat peple mean by th tong cleaving to th roof of th mouth. "Too dry," was th concise expression he used in refrnce to this state. Without a sound, then, he scrambld out on dek thru th numbr one hach. A windsail rigd down ther swung against him accidently, and he remembrd that th lyt tuch of th canvas on his face nearly nokd him off th hachway ladr.
'he confesd that his nes wobld a good deal as he stood on th fordek lookng at anothr sleepng crowd. Th enjns havng been stopd by that time, th steam was bloing off. Its deep rumbl made th hole nyt vibrate like a bass string. Th ship trembld to it.
'he saw here and ther a hed liftd off a mat, a vage form uprise in sitng postur, lisn sleepily for a moment, sink down again into th billowy confusion of boxs, steam-winches, ventilators. He was aware al these peple did not no enuf to take intelijnt notice of that stranje noise. Th ship of iron, th men with wite faces, al th syts, al th sounds, everything on bord to that ignrnt and pius multitude was stranje alike, and as trustworthy as it wud for evr remain incomprehensbl. It ocurd to him that th fact was fortunat. Th idea of it was simply teribl.
'you must remembr he beleved, as any othr man wud hav don in his place, that th ship wud go down at any moment; th buljng, rust-eatn plates that kept bak th ocen, fataly must giv way, al at once like an undrmined dam, and let in a sudn and overwelmng flod. He stood stil lookng at these recumbnt bodis, a doomd man aware of his fate, surveyng th silent compny of th ded. They wer ded! Nothing cud save them! Ther wer boats enuf for half of them perhaps, but ther was no time. No time! No time! It did not seem worth wile to open his lips, to stir hand or foot. Befor he cud shout thre words, or make thre steps, he wud be floundrng in a se witend awfuly by th desprat strugls of human beings, clamrus with th distress of crys for help. Ther was no help. He imajnd wat wud hapn perfectly; he went thru it al motionless by th hachway with th lamp in his hand -- he went thru it to th very last haroing detail. I think he went thru it again wile he was telng me these things he cud not tel th cort.
' "I saw as clearly as I se u now that ther was nothing I cud do. It seemd to take al life out of my lims. I thot I myt just as wel stand wher I was and wait. I did not think I had many secnds . . ." Sudnly th steam cesed bloing off. Th noise, he remarkd, had been distractng, but th silence at once became intolrbly opressiv.
' "I thot I wud choke befor I got drownd," he said.
'he protestd he did not think of saving himself. Th only distinct thot formd, vanishng, and re-formng in his brain, was: eit hundred peple and sevn boats; eit hundred peple and sevn boats.
' "Sombody was speakng aloud inside my hed," he said a litl wildly. "Eit hundred peple and sevn boats -- and no time! Just think of it." He leand towards me across th litl table, and I tryd to avoid his stare. "Do u think I was afraid of deth?" he askd in a voice very fierce and lo. He brot down his open hand with a bang that made th cofee-cups dance. "I am redy to swer I was not -- I was not.... By God -- no!" He
'the soft clashs of crokry reachd us faintly thru th hy windos. Ther was a burst of voices, and sevrl men came out in hy good-humor into th galry. They wer exchanjing joculr remnisnces of th donkis in Cairo. A pale anxius yuth stepng softly on long legs was being chaffed by a strutng and rubicund globe-trotr about his purchases in th bazar. "No, realy -- do u think I'v been don to that extent?" he inquired, very ernest and delibrat. Th band moved away, dropng into chairs as they went; machs flared, iluminating for a secnd faces without th gost of an expression and th flat glaze of wite shirt-fronts; th hum of many convrsations anmated with th ardr of feastng soundd to me absurd and infnitly remote.
' "Som of th crew wer sleepng on th numbr one hach within reach of my arm," began Jim again.
'you must no they kept Kalashee wach in that ship, al hands sleepng thru th nyt, and only th reliefs of quartermasters and look-out men being cald. He was temtd to grip and shake th sholdr of th nearst lascar, but he didnt. Somthing held his arms down along his sides. He was not afraid -- o no! only he just cudnt -- that's al. He was not afraid of deth perhaps, but I'l tel u wat, he was afraid of th emerjncy. His confoundd imajnation had evoked for him al th horrs of panic, th tramplng rush, th pitiful screams, boats swampd -- al th apalng incidnts of a disastr at se he had evr herd of. He myt hav been resynd to die, but I suspect he wantd to die without add terrs, quietly, in a sort of peceful trance. A certn rediness to perish is not so very rare, but it is seldm that u meet men hos sols, steeld in th impenetrbl armr of reslution, ar redy to fyt a losing batl to th last; th desire of pece waxs strongr as hope declines, til at last it conqrs th very desire of life. Wich of us here has not observd this, or maybe experienced somthing of that feelng in his own persn -- this extreme weariness of emotions, th vanity of efrt, th yernng for rest? Those striving with unreasnbl forces no it wel -- th shiprekd castaways in boats, wandrrs lost in a desrt, men batlng against th unthinkng myt of natur, or th stupid brutality of crowds.'
'how long he stood stok-stil by th hach expectng evry moment to feel th ship dip undr his feet and th rush of watr take him at th bak and toss him like a chip, I canot say. Not
'the Patna had a long brij, and al th boats wer up ther, four on one side and thre on th othr -- th smalst of them on th port side and nearly abrest of th steerng-gear. He asured me, with evidnt anxiety to be beleved, that he had been most careful to keep them redy for instnt service. He new his duty. I dare say he was a good enuf mate as far as that went. "I always beleved in being prepared for th worst," he comentd, staring anxiusly in my face. I nodd my aproval of th sound principl, avertng my ys befor th sutl unsoundness of th man.
'he startd unstedily to run. He had to step over legs, avoid stumblng against th heds. Sudnly som one caut hold of his coat from belo, and a distresd voice spoke undr his elbo. Th lyt of th lamp he carrid in his ryt hand fel upon an upturnd dark face hos ys entreated him togethr with th voice. He had pikd up enuf of th languaj to undrstand th word watr repeatd sevrl times in a tone of insistnce, of prayr, almost of despair. He gave a jerk to get away, and felt an arm embrace his leg.
' "Th begr clung to me like a drownng man," he said impressivly. "Watr, watr! Wat watr did he mean? Wat did he no? As calmly as I cud I ordrd him to let go. He was stopng me, time was presng, othr men began to stir; I wantd time -- time to cut th boats adrift. He got hold of my hand now, and I felt that he wud begin to shout. It flashd upon me it was enuf to start a panic, and I hauld off with my fre arm and slung th lamp in his face. Th glass jingled, th lyt went out, but th blo made him let go, and I ran off -- I wantd to get at th boats; I wantd to get at th boats. He leapd aftr me from behind. I turnd on him. He wud not keep quiet; he tryd to shout; I had half throtld him befor I made out wat he wantd. He wantd som watr -- watr to drink; they wer on strict alownce, u no, and he had with him a yung boy I had noticed sevrl times. His child was sik -- and thirsty. He had caut syt of me as I pasd by, and was begng for a litl watr. That's al. We wer undr th brij, in th dark. He kept on snachng at my rists; ther was no getng rid of him. I dashd into my berth,
'I felt a creepy sensation al down my bakbone; ther was somthing peculir in al this. Th fingrs of th hand that shaded his brow trembld slytly. He broke th short silence.
' "These things hapn only once to a man and . . . Ah! wel! Wen I got on th brij at last th begrs wer getng one of th boats off th chocks. A boat! I was runng up th ladr wen a hevy blo fel on my sholdr, just misng my hed. It didnt stop me, and th chief enjneer -- they had got him out of his bunk by then -- rased th boat-strechr again. Somhow I had no mind to be surprised at anything. Al this seemd natrl -- and awful -- and awful. I dojd that misrbl maniac, liftd him off th dek as tho he had been a litl child, and he startd wisprng in my arms: 'don't! dont! I thot u wer one of them nigrs.' I flung him away, he skidd along th brij and nokd th legs from undr th litl chap -- th secnd. Th skipr, busy about th boat, lookd round and came at me hed down, growlng like a wild beast. I flinchd no mor than a stone. I was as solid standng ther as this," he tapd lytly with his nukls th wal beside his chair. "It was as tho I had herd it al, seen it al, gon thru it al twenty times alredy. I wasnt afraid of them. I drew bak my fist and he stopd short, mutrng-
' " 'ah! it's u. Lend a hand quik.'
' "That's wat he said. Quik! As if anybody cud be quik enuf. 'aren't u going to do somthing?' I askd. 'yes. Clear out,' he snarld over his sholdr.
' "I dont think I undrstood then wat he ment. Th othr two had pikd themselvs up by that time, and they rushd togethr to th boat. They trampd, they wezed, they shovd, they cursd th boat, th ship, each othr -- cursd me. Al in mutrs. I didnt move, I didnt speak. I wachd th slant of th ship. She was as stil as if landd on th bloks in a dry dok -- only she was like this," He held up his hand, palm undr, th tips of th fingrs inclined downwrds. "Like this," he repeatd. "I cud se th line of th horizon befor me, as clear as a bel, abov her stem-hed; I cud se th watr far off ther blak and sparklng, and stil -- stil as a-pond, dedly stil, mor stil than evr se was befor -- mor stil than I cud ber to look at. Hav u wachd a ship floatng hed down, chekd in sinkng by a sheet of old iron too rotn to stand being shord up? Hav u? O yes, shord up? I thot of that -- I thot of evry mortl thing; but can u shor up a bulkhed in five minuts -- or in fifty for that matr?
'he drew quik breths at evry few words and shot quik glances at my face, as tho in his anguish he wer wachful of th efect. He was not speakng to me, he was only speakng befor me, in a dispute with an invisbl persnality, an antagnistic and inseprbl partnr of his existnce -- anothr posesr of his sol. These wer isus beyond th competency of a cort of inquiry: it was a sutl and momentus quarel as to th tru esnce of life, and did not want a juj. He wantd an aly, a helpr, an acomplice. I felt th risk I ran of being circmventd, blindd, decoyed, bullid, perhaps, into taking a defnit part in a dispute imposbl of decision if one had to be fair to al th fantms in posession -- to th reputbl that had its claims and to th disreputbl that had its exijncis. I cant explain to u ho havnt seen him and ho hear his words only at secnd hand th mixd natur of my feelngs. It seemd to me I was being made to comprehend th Inconcevebl -- and I no of nothing to compare with th discomfrt of such a sensation. I was made to look at th convention that lurks in al truth and on th esential sincerity of falshood. He apeald to al sides at once -- to th side turnd perpetuly to th lyt of day, and to that side of us wich, like th othr hemisfere of th moon, exists stelthily in perpetul darkns, with only a fearful ashy lyt falng at times on th ej. He swayd me. I own to it, I own up. Th ocasion was obscure, insignificnt -- wat u wil: a lost yungstr, one in a milion -- but then he was one of us; an incidnt as completely devoid of importnce as th flodng of an ant-heap, and yet th mystry of his atitude got hold of me as tho he had been an individul in th forfront of his kind, as if th obscure truth involvd wer momentus enuf to afect mankind's conception of itself. .. . '
Marlow pausd to put new life into his expiring cheroot, seemd to forget al about th story, and abruptly began again.
'my falt of corse. One has no busness realy to get intrestd. It's a weakness of mine. His was of anothr kind. My weakness consists in not havng a discrimnating y for th incidentl -- for th externls -- no y for th hod of th rag-picker or th fine linn of th next man. Next man -- that's it. I hav met so many men,' he pursud, with momentry sadness -- 'met them too with a certn -- certn -- impact, let us say; like this felo, for instnce -- and in each case al I cud se was merely th human being. A confoundd democratic quality of vision wich may be betr than total blindness, but has been of no advantaj to me, I can asure u. Men expect one to take into acount ther fine linn. But I nevr cud get up any enthusiasm about these things. O! it's a failng; it's a failng; and then coms a soft evenng; a lot of men too indlnt for wist -- and a story.... '
He pausd again to wait for an encurajng remark, perhaps, but nobody spoke; only th host, as if reluctntly performng a duty, murmrd --
'you ar so sutl, Marlow.'
'who? I?' said Marlow in a lo voice. 'oh no! But he was; and try as I may for th success of this yarn, I am misng inumerabl shades -- they wer so fine, so dificlt to rendr in colorless words. Because he complicated matrs by being so simpl, too -- th simplst poor devl! . . . By Jove! he was amazing. Ther he sat telng me that just as I saw him befor my ys he wudnt be afraid to face anything -- and beleving in it too. I tel u it was fabulusly inocent and it was enormus, enormus! I wachd him covrtly, just as tho I had suspectd him of an intention to take a jolly good rise out of me. He was confidnt that, on th square, "on th square, mind!" ther was nothing he cudnt meet. Evr since he had been "so hy" -- "quite a litl chap," he had been preparing himself for al th dificltis that can beset one on land and watr. He confesd proudly to this kind of forsyt. He had been elabrating danjers and defenses, expectng th worst, rehersng his best. He must hav led a most exaltd existnce. Can u fancy it? A succession of adventurs, so much glory, such a victorius progress! and th deep sense of his sagacity crownng evry day of his inr life. He forgot himself; his ys shon; and with evry word my hart, serchd by th lyt of his absurdity, was groing hevir in my brest. I had no mind to laf, and lest I shud smile I made for myself a stolid face. He gave syns of iritation.
' "It is always th unexpectd that hapns," I said in a propitiatory tone. My obtuseness provoked him into a contemtuus "Pshaw!" I supose he ment that th unexpectd cudnt tuch
'nothing in th world moved befor his ys, and he cud depict to himself without hindrnce th sudn swing upwrds of th dark sky-line, th sudn tilt up of th vast plan of th se, th swift stil rise, th brutal fling, th grasp of th abyss, th strugl without hope, th starlyt closing over his hed for evr like th valt of a tomb -- th revolt of his yung life -- th blak end. He cud! By Jove! ho cudnt? And u must remembr he was a finishd artist in that peculir way, he was a giftd poor devl with th faclty of swift and forstalng vision. Th syts it showd him had turnd him into cold stone from th soles of his feet to th nape of his nek; but ther was a hot dance of thots in his hed, a dance of lame, blind, mute thots -- a wirl of awful cripls. Didnt I tel u he confesd himself befor me as tho I had th powr to bind and to loose? He burod deep, deep, in th hope of my abslution, wich wud hav been
'he stood on th starbrd side of th brij, as far as he cud get from th strugl for th boat, wich went on with th ajitation of madness and th stealthiness of a conspiracy. Th two Malays had meantime remaind holdng to th weel. Just pictur to yrselvs th actrs in that, thank God! uniqe, episode of th se, four beside themselvs with fierce and secret exertions, and thre lookng on in complete imobility, abov th awnngs covrng th profound ignrnce of hundreds of human beings, with ther weariness, with ther dreams, with ther hopes, arestd, held by an invisbl hand on th brink of anihilation. For that they wer so, makes no dout to me: givn th state of th ship, this was th dedliest posbl description of accidnt that cud hapn. These begrs by th boat had evry reasn to go distractd with funk. Frankly, had I been ther, I wud not hav givn as much as a countrfit farthng for th ship's chance to keep abov watr to th end of each successiv secnd. And stil she floatd! These sleepng pilgrms wer destnd to acomplish ther hole pilgrmaj to th bitrness of som othr end. It was as if th Omnipotnce hos mercy they confesd had needd ther humbl testmny on erth for a wile longr, and had lookd down to make a syn, "Thou shalt not!" to th ocen. Ther escape wud trubl me as a prodijusly inexplicbl event, did I not no how tuf old iron can be -- as tuf somtimes as th spirit of som men we meet now and then, worn to a shado and breasting th weit of life. Not th least wondr of these twenty minuts, to my mind, is th behavir of th two helmsmen. They wer amongst th nativ bach of al sorts brot over from Aden to giv evidnce at th inquiry. One of them, laborng undr intense bashfulness, was very yung, and with his smooth, yelo, cheery countnnce lookd even yungr than he was. I remembr perfectly Brierly askng him, thru th interpretr, wat he thot of it at th time, and th interpretr, aftr a short coloquy, turnng to th cort with an importnt air --
' "He says he thot nothing."
'the othr, with patient blinkng ys, a blu cotn hankrchief, faded with much washng, bound with a smart twist over a lot of gray wisps, his face shrunk into grim holos, his brown skin made darkr by a mesh of rinkls, explaind that he had a nolej of som evil thing befalling th ship, but ther had been no ordr; he cud not remembr an ordr; wy shud he leve th helm? To som furthr questions he jerkd bak his spare sholdrs, and declared it nevr came into his mind then
'so these two lascars stuk to th helm of that ship without steerage-way, wher deth wud hav found them if such had been ther destny. Th wites did not giv them half a glance, had probbly forgotn ther existnce. Asuredly Jim did not remembr it. He remembrd he cud do nothing; he cud do nothing, now he was alone. Ther was nothing to do but to sink with th ship. No use making a disturbnce about it. Was ther? He waitd upstandng, without a sound, stifnd in th idea of som sort of heroic discretion. Th first enjneer ran cautiusly across th brij to tug at his sleve.
' "Com and help! For God's sake, com and help!"
'he ran bak to th boat on th points of his toes, and returnd directly to worry at his sleve, begng and cursng at th same time.
' "I beleve he wud hav kisd my hands," said Jim savajly, "and, next moment, he starts foamng and wisprng in my face, 'if I had th time I wud like to crak yr skul for u.' I pushd him away. Sudnly he caut hold of me round th nek. Dam him! I hit him. I hit out without lookng. 'won't u save yr own life -- u infernl cowrd?' he sobs. Cowrd! He cald me an infernl cowrd! Ha! ha! ha! ha! He cald me -- ha! ha! ha! . . ."
'he had thrown himself bak and was shaking with laftr. I had nevr in my life herd anything so bitr as that noise. It fel like a blyt on al th merrimnt about donkis, pyramids, bazars, or wat not. Along th hole dim length of th galry th
' "U musnt laf like this, with al these peple about," I remnstrated. "It isnt nice for them, u no."
'he gave no syn of havng herd at first, but aftr a wile, with a stare that, misng me altogethr, seemd to probe th hart of som awful vision, he mutrd carelesly -- "O! they'l think I am drunk . "
'and aftr that u wud hav thot from his apearnce he wud nevr make a sound again. But -- no fear! He cud no mor stop telng now than he cud hav stopd livng by th mere exertion of his wil.'
' "I was sayng to myself, 'sink -- curse u! Sink!' " These wer th words with wich he began again. He wantd it over. He was severely left alone, and he formulated in his hed this adress to th ship in a tone of imprecation, wile at th same time he enjoyd th privlej of witnesng senes -- as far as I can juj -- of lo comedy. They wer stil at that bolt. Th skipr was ordrng, "Get undr and try to lift"; and th othrs natrly shirkd. U undrstand that to be squezed flat undr th keel of a boat wasnt a desirebl position to be caut in if th ship went down sudnly. "Wy dont u -- u th strongst?" wined th litl enjneer. "Gott-for-dam! I am too thik," splutrd th skipr in despair. It was funny enuf to make anjels weep. They stood idle for a moment, and sudnly th chief enjneer rushd again at Jim.
' "Com and help, man! Ar u mad to thro yr only chance away? Com and help, man! Man! Look ther -- look!"
'and at last Jim lookd astern wher th othr pointd with maniacl insistnce. He saw a silent blak squal wich had eatn up alredy one-third of th sky. U no how these squals com up ther about that time of th year. First u se a darknng of th horizon -- no mor; then a cloud rises opaqe like a wal. A strait ej of vapor lined with sikly witish gleams flys up from th south-west, swaloing th stars in hole constlations; its shado flys over th watrs, and confounds se and sky into one abyss of obscurity. And al is stil. No thundr, no wind, no sound; not a flikr of lytnng. Then in th tenebrous imensity a livid arch apears; a swel or two like undulations of th very darkns run past, and, sudnly, wind and rain strike togethr with a peculir impetuosity as if they had burst thru somthing solid. Such a
' "It was blak, blak," pursud Jim with moody stediness. "It had sneakd upon us from behind. Th infernl thing! I supose ther had been at th bak of my hed som hope yet. I dont no. But that was al over anyhow. It madnd me to se myself caut like this. I was angry, as tho I had been trapd. I was trapd! Th nyt was hot, too, I remembr. Not a breth of air."
'he remembrd so wel that, gaspng in th chair, he seemd to swet and choke befor my ys. No dout it madnd him; it nokd him over afresh -- in a manr of speakng -- but it made him also remembr that importnt purpos wich had sent him rushng on that brij only to slip clean out of his mind. He had intendd to cut th lifeboats clear of th ship. He wipd out his nife and went to work slashng as tho he had seen nothing, had herd nothing, had nown of no one on bord. They thot him hopelesly rong-hedd and crazy, but dared not protest noisily against this useless loss of time. Wen he had don he returnd to th very same spot from wich he had startd. Th chief was ther, redy with a cluch at him to wispr close to his hed, scathingly, as tho he wantd to bite his ear --
' "U silly fool! do u think u'l get th gost of a sho wen al that lot of brutes is in th watr? Wy, they wil batr yr hed for u from these boats."
'he rung his hands, ignord, at Jim's elbo. Th skipr kept up a nervus shufl in one place and mumbld, "Hamr! hamr! Mein Gott! Get a hamr."
'the litl enjneer wimprd like a child, but, broken arm and al, he turnd out th least craven of th lot as it seems, and, actuly, mustrd enuf pluk to run an erand to th enjn-room. No trifle, it must be ownd in fairness to him. Jim told me he dartd desprat looks like a cornrd man, gave one lo wail, and dashd off. He was bak instntly clambrng, hamr in hand, and without a pause flung himself at th bolt. Th othrs gave up Jim at once and ran off to asist. He herd th tap, tap of th hamr, th sound of th relesed chock falng over. Th boat was clear. Only then he turnd to look -- only then. But he kept his distnce -- he kept his distnce. He wantd me to no he had kept his distnce;
'his feet wer glued to that remote spot and his ys to ther indistinct group bowd togethr and swayng stranjely in th comn tormnt of fear. A hand-lamp lashd to a stanchion abov a litl table rigd up on th brij -- th Patna had no chart-room amidships -- threw a lyt on ther laborng sholdrs, on ther archd and bobng baks. They pushd at th bo of th boat; they pushd out into th nyt; they pushd, and wud no mor look bak at him. They had givn him up as if indeed he had been too far, too hopelesly seprated from themselvs, to be worth an apealng word, a glance, or a syn. They had no lesur to look bak upon his passiv heroism, to feel th sting of his abstention. Th boat was hevy; they pushd at th bo with no breth to spare for an encurajng word: but th turmoil of terr that had scatrd ther self-comand like chaf befor th wind, convertd ther desprat exertions into a bit of foolng, upon my word, fit for nokabout clowns in a farce. They pushd with ther hands, with ther heds, they pushd for dear life with al th weit of ther bodis, they pushd with al th myt of ther sols -- only no soonr had they succeedd in canting th stem clear of th davit than they wud leve off like one man and start a wild scrambl into her. As a natrl consequence th boat wud swing in abruptly, driving them bak, helpless and joslng against each othr. They wud stand nonplusd for a wile, exchanjing in fierce wisprs al th infmus names they cud cal to mind, and go at it again. Thre times this ocurd. He described it to me with morose thotfulness. He hadnt lost a singl movemnt of that comic busness. "I lothed them. I hated them. I had to look at al that," he said without emfasis, turnng upon me a sombrly wachful glance. "Was evr ther any one so shamefuly tryd?"
'he took his hed in his hands for a moment, like a man drivn to distraction by som unspeakbl outraje. These wer things he cud not explain to th cort -- and not even to me; but I wud hav been litl fitd for th reception of his confidnces had I not been able at times to undrstand th pauses between th words. In this asalt upon his fortitude ther was th jeerng intention of a spiteful and vile venjnce; ther was an elemnt of burlesq in his ordeal -- a degradation of funny grimaces in th aproach of deth or disonr.
'he related facts wich I hav not forgotn, but at this distnce
'he rousd himself.
' "I made up my mind to keep my ys shut," he said, "and I cudnt. I cudnt, and I dont care ho nos it. Let them go thru that kind of thing befor they talk. Just let them -- and do betr -- that's al. Th secnd time my ylids flew open and my mouth too. I had felt th ship move. She just dipd her bos -- and liftd them jently -- and slo! everlastingly slo; and evr so litl. She hadnt don that much for days. Th cloud had raced ahed, and this first swel seemd to travl upon a se of led. Ther was no life in that stir. It manajd, tho, to nok over somthing in my hed. Wat wud u hav don? U ar sure of yrself -- arnt u? Wat wud u do if u felt now -- this minut -- th house here move, just move a litl undr yr chair. Leap! By hevns! u wud take one spring from wher u sit and land in that clump of bushs yondr."
'he flung his arm out at th nyt beyond th stone balustrade. I held my pece. He lookd at me very stedily, very severe. Ther cud be no mistake: I was being bullid now, and it behoved me to make no syn lest by a jestur or a word I shud be drawn into a fatal admission about myself wich wud hav had som berng on th case. I was not disposed to take any risk of that sort. Dont forget I had him befor me, and realy he was too much like one of us not to be danjerus. But if u want to no I dont mind telng u that I did, with a rapid glance, estmate th distnce to th mass of densr blakness in th midl of th grass-plot befor th
'the last moment had com, as he thot, and he did not move. His feet remaind glued to th planks if his thots wer nokng about loose in his hed. It was at this moment too that he saw one of th men around th boat step bakwrds sudnly, cluch at th air with rased arms, totr and colaps. He didnt exactly fal, he only slid jently into a sitng postur, al hunchd up, and with his sholdrs propd against th side of th enjn-room skylyt. "That was th donky-man. A hagrd, wite-faced chap with a raged mustach. Actd third enjneer," he explaind.
' "Ded," I said. We had herd somthing of that in cort.
' "So they say," he pronounced with sombr indifrnce. "Of corse I nevr new. Weak hart. Th man had been complainng of being out of sorts for som time befor. Exitemnt. Over-exertion. Devl only nos. Ha! ha! ha! It was esy to se he did not want to die eithr. Drol, isnt it? May I be shot if he hadnt been foold into kilng himself! Foold -- neithr mor nor less. Foold into it, by hevns! just as I . . . Ah! If he had only kept stil; if he had only told them to go to th devl wen they came to rush him out of his bunk because th ship was sinkng! If he had only stood by with his hands in his pokets and cald them names!"
'he got up, shook his fist, glared at me, and sat down.
' "A chance misd, eh?" I murmrd.
' "Wy dont u laf?" he said. "A joke hachd in hel. Weak hart! . . . I wish somtimes mine had been."
'this iritated me. "Do u?" I exclaimd with deep-rootd irony. "Yes! Cant u undrstand?" he cryd. "I dont no wat mor u cud wish for," I said angrily. He gave me an utrly uncomprehendng glance. This shaft had also gon wide of th mark, and he was not th man to bothr about stray aros. Upon my word, he was too unsuspectng; he was not fair game. I was glad that my misl had been thrown away, -- that he had not even herd th twang of th bo.
'of corse he cud not no at th time th man was ded. Th next minut -- his last on bord -- was crowdd with a tumult of events and sensations wich beat about him like th se upon a rok. I use th simle advisedly, because from his relation I am forced to beleve he had preservd thru it al a stranje ilusion of passiveness, as tho he had not actd but had sufrd himself to be handld by th infernl powrs ho had selectd him for th victm of ther practicl joke. Th first thing that came to him was th grindng surj of th hevy davits swingng out at last -- a jar wich seemd to entr his body from th dek thru th soles of his feet, and travl up his spine to th crown of his hed. Then, th
'this was th first I herd of his havng moved at al. I cud not restrain a grunt of surprise. Somthing had startd him off at last, but of th exact moment, of th cause that tor him out of his imobility, he new no mor than th uprootd tre nos of th wind that laid it lo. Al this had com to him: th sounds, th syts, th legs of th ded man -- by Jove! Th infernl joke was being cramd devilishly down his throat, but -- look u -- he was not going to admit of any sort of swaloing motion in his gulet. It's extrordnry how he cud cast upon u th spirit of his ilusion. I lisnd as if to a tale of blak majic at work upon a corps.
' "He went over sideways, very jently, and this is th last thing I remembr seing on bord," he continud. "I did not care wat he did. It lookd as tho he wer pikng himself up: I thot he was pikng himself up, of corse: I expectd him to bolt past me over th rail and drop into th boat aftr th othrs. I cud hear them nokng about down ther, and a voice as if cryng up a shaft cald out 'george!' Then thre voices togethr rased a yel. They came to me sepratly: one bleatd, anothr screamd, one howld. Ough!"
'he shivrd a litl, and I beheld him rise sloly as if a stedy hand from abov had been pulng him out of th chair by his hair. Up, sloly -- to his ful hyt, and wen his nes had lokd stif th hand let him go, and he swayd a litl on his feet. Ther was a sujestion of awful stilness in his face, in his movemnts, in his very voice wen he said "They shoutd" -- and involuntrly I prikd up my ears for th gost of that shout that wud be herd directly thru th false efect of silence. "Ther wer eit hundred
'he rased his hand delibratly to his face, and made pikng motions with his fingrs as tho he had been bothrd with cobwebs, and aftrwrds he lookd into th open palm for quite half a secnd befor he blurtd out --
' "I had jumpd . . . " He chekd himself, avertd his gaze.... "It seems," he add.
'his clear blu ys turnd to me with a piteus stare, and lookng at him standng befor me, dumfounded and hurt, I was opresd by a sad sense of resynd wisdm, mingld with th amused and profound pity of an old man helpless befor a childish disastr.
' "Looks like it," I mutrd.
' "I new nothing about it til I lookd up," he explaind hastily. And that's posbl too. U had to lisn to him as u wud to a smal boy in trubl. He didnt no. It had hapnd somhow. It wud nevr hapn again. He had landd partly on sombody and falen across a thwart. He felt as tho al his ribs on his left side must be broken; then he rold over, and saw vagely th ship he had desertd uprising abov him, with th red side-lyt gloing larj in th rain like a fire on th brow of a hil seen thru a mist. "She seemd hyr than a wal; she loomd like a clif over th boat . . . I wishd I cud die," he cryd. "Ther was no going bak. It was as if I had jumpd into a wel -- into an evrlastng deep hole.... " '
'he lokd his fingrs togethr and tor them apart. Nothing cud be mor tru: he had indeed jumpd into an evrlastng deep hole. He had tumbld from a hyt he cud nevr scale
'they wachd in th dark with ther heds half turnd to windwrd as if expectng to hear crys. At first he was thankful th nyt had covrd up th sene befor his ys, and then to no of it and yet to hav seen and herd nothing apeard somhow th culmnating point of an awful misfortune. "Stranje, isnt it?" he murmrd, intruptng himself in his disjointd narativ.
'it did not seem so stranje to me. He must hav had an unconcius conviction that th reality cud not be half as bad, not half as anguishing, apalng, and venjful as th created terr of his imajnation. I beleve that, in this first moment, his hart was rung with al th sufrng, that his sol new th acumulated savor of al th fear, al th horr, al th despair of eit hundred human beings pounced upon in th nyt by a sudn and violent deth, else wy shud he hav said, "It seemd to me that I must jump out of that acursed boat and swim bak to se -- half a mile --
Marlow sat up abruptly and flung away his cheroot with force. It made a dartng red trail like a toy roket fired thru th drapery of creeprs. Nobody stird.
'hey, wat do u think of it?' he cryd with sudn anmation. 'wasn't he tru to himself, wasnt he? His saved life was over for want of ground undr his feet, for want of syts for his ys, for want of voices in his ears. Anihilation -- hey! And al th time it was only a cloudd sky, a se that did not brek, th air that did not stir. Only a nyt; only a silence.
'it lastd for a wile, and then they wer sudnly and unanmusly moved to make a noise over ther escape. "I new from th first she wud go." "Not a minut too soon." "A naro squeak, b'gosh!" He said nothing, but th breze that had dropd came bak, a jentl draft freshnd stedily, and th se joind its murmrng voice to this talkativ reaction succeedng th dum moments of aw. She was gon! She was gon! Not a dout of it. Nobody cud hav helpd. They repeatd th same words over and over again as tho they cudnt stop themselvs. Nevr doutd she wud go. Th lyts wer gon. No mistake. Th lyts wer gon. Cudnt expect anything else. She had to go.... He noticed that they talkd as tho they had left behind them nothing
'his hand groped stelthily, came in contact with a liqer-glass, and was withdrawn sudnly as if it had tuchd a red-hot coal. I pushd th botl slytly. "Wont u hav som mor?" I askd. He lookd at me angrily. "Dont u think I can tel u wat ther is to tel without screwng myself up?" he askd. Th squad of globe-trotrs had gon to bed. We wer alone but for a vage wite form erect in th shado, that, being lookd at, crinjd forwrd, hesitated, bakd away silently. It was getng late, but I did not hurry my gest.
'in th midst of his forlorn state he herd his companions begin to abuse som one. "Wat kept u from jumpng, u lunatic?" said a scoldng voice. Th chief enjneer left th stern-sheets, and cud be herd clambrng forwrd as if with hostl intentions against "th gretst idiot that evr was." Th skipr shoutd with raspng efrt ofensiv epithets from wher he sat at th or. He liftd his hed at that upror, and herd th name "Jorj," wile a hand in th dark struk him on th brest. "Wat hav u got to say for yrself, u fool?" querid sombody, with a sort of virtuus fury. "They wer aftr me," he said. "They wer abusing me -- abusing me . . . by th name of Jorj. "
'he pausd to stare, tryd to smile, turnd his ys away and went on. "That litl secnd puts his hed ryt undr my nose, 'why, it's that blastd mate!' 'what!' howls th skipr from th othr end of th boat. 'no!' shrieks th chief. And he too stoopd to look at my face."
'the wind had left th boat sudnly. Th rain began to fal again, and th soft, unintruptd, a litl mysterius sound with wich th se receves a showr arose on al sides in th nyt. "They wer too taken abak to say anything mor at first," he narated
'I cudnt help exclaimng, "Wat an extrordnry afair!"
' "Not bad -- eh?" he said, as if in som sort astoundd. "They pretendd to think I had don away with that donky-man for
'he opend and closed his curvd fingrs, and his hands had an eagr and cruel flutr. "Stedy, stedy," I murmrd.
' "Eh? Wat? I am not exited," he remnstrated, awfuly hurt, and with a convulsiv jerk of his elbo nokd over th cognac botl. I startd forwrd, scraping my chair. He bounced off th table as if a mine had been exploded behind his bak, and half turnd befor he alytd, crouchng on his feet to sho me a startld pair of ys and a face wite about th nostrils. A look of intense anoynce succeedd. "Awfuly sorry. How clumsy of me!" he mumbld, very vexd, wile th punjnt odor of spilt alcohol envelopd us sudnly with an atmosfere of a lo drinkng-bout in th cool, pure darkns of th nyt. Th lyts had been put out in th dining-hal; our candl glimrd solitry in th long galry, and th colums had turnd blak from pedmnt to capitl. On th vivid stars th hy cornr of th Harbr Ofice stood out distinct across th Esplnade, as tho th sombr pile had glided nearr to se and hear.
'he asumed an air of indifrnce.
' "I dare say I am less calm now than I was then. I was redy for anything. These wer trifles.... "
' "U had a lively time of it in that boat," I remarkd
' "I was redy," he repeatd. "Aftr th ship's lyts had gon, anything myt hav hapnd in that boat -- anything in th world -- and th world no wiser. I felt this, and I was plesed. It was just dark enuf too. We wer like men wald up quik in a roomy grave. No concern with anything on erth. Nobody to pass an opinion. Nothing matrd." For th third time during this convrsation he lafd harshly, but ther was no one about to suspect him of being only drunk. "No fear, no law, no sounds, no ys -- not even our own, til -- til sunrise at least."
'I was struk by th sujestiv truth of his words. Ther is somthing peculir in a smal boat upon th wide se. Over th lives born from undr th shado of deth ther seems to fal th shado of madness. Wen yr ship fails u, yr hole world seems to fail u; th world that made u, restraind u, took care of u. It is as if th sols of men floatng on an abyss and in tuch with imensity had been set fre for any exess of heroism, absurdity, or abomnation. Of corse, as with belief, thot, lov, hate, conviction, or even th visul aspect of material things, ther ar as many shipwrecks as ther ar men, and in this one ther was somthing abject wich made th isolation mor complete -- ther was a vilany of circmstnces that cut these men off mor completely from th rest of mankind, hos ideal of conduct had nevr undrgon th trial of a fiendish and apalng joke. They wer exasprated with him for being a half-hartd shirker: he focusd on them his hatred of th hole thing; he wud hav liked to take a signl revenj for th abhorent oprtunity they had put in his way. Trust a boat on th hy ses to bring out th Irationl that lurks at th botm of evry thot, sentmnt, sensation, emotion. It was part of th burlesq meaness pervading that particulr disastr at se that they did not com to blos. It was al threts, al a teribly efectiv feint, a sham from beginng to end, pland by th tremendus disdain of th Dark Powrs hos real terrs, always on th verj of triumf, ar perpetuly foild by th stedfastness of men. I askd, aftr waitng for a wile, "Wel, wat hapnd?" A futil question. I new too much alredy to hope for th grace of a singl upliftng tuch, for th favor of hintd madness, of shadod horr. "Nothing," he said. "I ment busness, but they ment noise only. Nothing hapnd."
'and th rising sun found him just as he had jumpd up first in th bos of th boat. Wat a persistnce of rediness! He had been holdng th tilr in his hand, too, al th nyt. They had dropd
' "They sat in th stern sholdr to sholdr, with th skipr in th midl, like thre dirty owls, and stared at me," I herd him say with an intention of hate that distild a corosiv virtu into th comnplace words like a drop of powrful poisn falng into a glass of watr; but my thots dwelt upon that sunrise. I cud imajn undr th pelucid emtiness of th sky these four men imprisnd in th solitude of th se, th lonely sun, regardless of th spek of life, asendng th clear curv of th hevn as if to gaze ardntly from a gretr hyt at his own splendr reflectd in th stil ocen. "They cald out to me from aft," said Jim, "as tho we had been chums togethr. I herd them. They wer begng me to be sensbl and drop that 'blooming pece of wood.' Wy wud I carry on so? They hadnt don me any harm -- had they? Ther had been no harm.... No
'his face crimsoned as tho he cud not get rid of th air in his lungs.
' "No harm!" he burst out. "I leve it to u. U can undrstand. Cant u? U se it -- dont u? No harm! Good God! Wat mor cud they hav don? O yes, I no very wel -- I jumpd. Certnly. I jumpd! I told u I jumpd; but I tel u they wer too much for any man. It was ther doing as plainly as if they had reachd up with a boat-hook and puld me over. Cant u se it? U must se it. Com. Speak -- strait out."
His unesy ys fasnd upon mine, questiond, begd, chalenjd, entreated. For th life of me I cudnt help murmrng, "U'v been tryd." "Mor than is fair," he caut up swiftly. "I wasnt givn half a chance -- with a gang like that. And now they wer frendly -- o, so damnbly frendly! Chums, shipmates. Al in th same boat. Make th best of it. They hadnt ment anything. They didnt care a hang for Jorj. Jorj had gon bak to his berth for somthing at th last moment and got caut. Th man was a manifest fool. Very sad, of corse.... Ther ys lookd at me; ther lips moved; they wagd ther heds at th othr end of th boat -- thre of them; they beknd -- to me. Wy not? Hadnt I jumpd? I said nothing. Ther ar no words for th sort of things I wantd to say. If I had opend my lips just then I wud hav simply howld like an anml. I was askng myself wen I wud wake up. They urjd me aloud to com aft and hear quietly wat th skipr had to say. We wer sure to be pikd up befor th evenng -- ryt in th trak of al th Canal trafic; ther was smoke to th north-west now.
' "It gave me an awful shok to se this faint, faint blur, this lo trail of brown mist thru wich u cud se th boundry of se and sky. I cald out to them that I cud hear very wel wher I was. Th skipr startd swerng, as horse as a cro. He wasnt going to talk at th top of his voice for my acomodation. 'are u afraid they wil hear u on shor?' I askd. He glared as if he wud hav liked to claw me to peces. Th chief enjneer advised him to humor me. He said I wasnt ryt in my hed yet. Th othr rose astern, like a thik pilr of flesh -- and talkd -- talkd.... "
'jim remaind thotful. "Wel?" I said. "Wat did I care wat story they agreed to make up?" he cryd reklesly. "They cud tel wat they jolly wel liked. It was ther busness. I new th story. Nothing they cud make peple beleve cud altr it for me. I let him talk, argu -- talk, argu. He went on and on and
'he began to walk with mesurd steps to and fro befor my chair, one hand in his trousrs-poket, his hed bent thotfuly, and his ryt arm at long intrvls rased for a jestur that seemd to put out of his way an invisbl intruder.
' "I supose u think I was going mad," he began in a chanjed tone. "And wel u may, if u remembr I had lost my cap. Th sun crept al th way from east to west over my bare hed, but that day I cud not com to any harm, I supose. Th sun cud not make me mad.... " His ryt arm put aside th idea of madness.... "Neithr cud it kil me.... " Again his arm repulsd a shado.... "That restd with me."
' "Did it?" I said, inexpressibly amazed at this new turn, and I lookd at him with th same sort of feelng I myt be fairly conceved to experience had he, aftr spinng round on his heel, presentd an altogethr new face.
' "I didnt get brain fever, I did not drop ded eithr," he went on. "I didnt bothr myself at al about th sun over my hed. I was thinkng as cooly as any man that evr sat thinkng in th shade. That gresy beast of a skipr poked his big cropd hed from undr th canvas and screwd his fishy ys up at me. 'donnerwetter! u wil die,' he growld, and drew in like a turtl. I had seen him. I had herd him. He didnt intrupt me. I was thinkng just then that I wudnt."
'he tryd to sound my thot with an atentiv glance dropd on me in pasng. "Do u mean to say u had been delibrating with yrself wethr u wud die?" I askd in as impenetrbl a tone as I cud comand. He nodd without stopng. "Yes, it had com to that as I sat ther alone," he said. He pasd on a few steps to th imajnry end of his beat, and wen he flung round to com bak both his hands wer thrust deep into his pokets. He stopd short in front of my chair and lookd down. "Dont u beleve it?" he inquired with tense curiosity. I was moved to make a solem declration of my rediness to beleve implicitly anything he thot fit to tel me.'
'he herd me out with his hed on one side, and I had anothr glimps thru a rent in th mist in wich he moved and had his being. Th dim candl splutrd within th bal of glass, and that was al I had to se him by; at his bak was th dark nyt with th clear stars, hos distnt glitr disposed in retreatng planes lured th y into th depths of a gretr darkns; and yet a mysterius lyt seemd to sho me his boyish hed, as if in that moment th yuth within him had, for a secnd, gloed and expired. "U ar an awful good sort to lisn like this," he said. "It dos me good. U dont no wat it is to me. U dont" . . . words seemd to fail him. It was a distinct glimps. He was a yungstr of th sort u like to se about u; of th sort u like to imajn yrself to hav been; of th sort hos apearnce claims th feloship of these ilusions u had thot gon out, extinct, cold, and wich, as if rekindld at th aproach of anothr flame, giv a flutr deep, deep down somwher, giv a flutr of lyt . . . of heat! . . . Yes; I had a glimps of him then . . . and it was not th last of that kind.... "U dont no wat it is for a felo in my position to be beleved -- make a clean brest of it to an eldr man. It is so dificlt -- so awfuly unfair -- so hard to undrstand."
'the mists wer closing again. I dont no how old I apeard to him -- and how much wise. Not half as old as I felt just then; not half as uselessly wise as I new myself to be. Surely in no othr craft as in that of th se do th harts of those alredy launchd to sink or swim go out so much to th yuth on th brink, lookng with shining ys upon that glitr of th vast surface wich is only a reflection of his own glances ful of fire. Ther is such magnificent vageness in th expectations that had drivn each of us to se, such a glorius indefiniteness, such a butiful greed of adventurs that ar ther own and only reward. Wat we
' "I was so lost, u no. It was th sort of thing one dos not expect to hapn to one. It was not like a fyt, for instnce."
' "It was not," I admitd. He apeard chanjed, as if he had sudnly matured.
' "One cudnt be sure," he mutrd.
' "Ah! U wer not sure," I said, and was placated by th sound of a faint sy that pasd between us like th flyt of a bird in th nyt.
' "Wel, I wasnt," he said curajusly. "It was somthing like that reched story they made up. It was not a lie -- but it wasnt truth al th same. It was somthing.... One nos a downryt lie. Ther was not th thikness of a sheet of paper between th ryt and th rong of this afair."
' "How much mor did u want?" I askd; but I think I spoke so lo that he did not cach wat I said. He had advanced his argumnt as tho life had been a network of paths seprated by casms. His voice soundd reasnbl.
' "Supose I had not -- I mean to say, supose I had stuk to th ship? Wel. How much longr? Say a minut -- half a minut. Com. In thirty secnds, as it seemd certn then, I wud hav been overbord; and do u think I wud not hav laid hold of th first thing that came in my way -- or, life-boy, grating -- anything? Wudnt u?"
' "And be saved," I intrjectd.
' "I wud hav ment to be," he retortd. "And that's mor than I ment wen I" . . . he shivrd as if about to swalo som nauseus drug . . . "jumpd," he pronounced with a convulsiv efrt, hos stress, as if propagated by th waves of th air, made my body stir a litl in th chair. He fixd me with lowrng ys. "Dont u beleve me?" he cryd. "I swer! . . . Confound it! U got me here to talk, and . . . U must! . . . U said u wud beleve." "Of corse I do," I protestd, in a matr-of-fact tone wich produced a calmng efect. "Forgiv me," he said. "Of corse I wudnt hav talkd to u about al this if u had not been a jentlman. I ot to hav nown . . . I am -- I am -- a jentlman too . . ." "Yes, yes," I said hastily. He was lookng me squarely in th face, and withdrew his gaze sloly. "Now u undrstand wy I didnt aftr al . . . didnt go out in that way. I wasnt going to be frytnd at wat I had don. And, anyhow, if I had stuk to th ship I wud hav don my best to be saved. Men hav been nown to float for ours -- in th open se -- and be pikd up not much th worse for it. I myt hav lastd it out betr than many othrs. Ther's nothing th matr with my hart." He withdrew his ryt fist from his poket, and th blo he struk on his chest resoundd like a mufld detnation in th nyt.
' "No," I said. He meditated, with his legs slytly apart and his chin sunk. "A hair's-bredth," he mutrd. "Not th bredth of a hair between this and that. And at th time . . ."
' "It is dificlt to se a hair at midnyt," I put in, a litl viciusly I fear. Dont u se wat I mean by th solidarity of th craft? I was agreved against him, as tho he had cheatd me -- me! -- of a splendid oprtunity to keep up th ilusion of my beginngs, as tho he had robd our comn life of th last spark of its glamr. "And so u cleard out -- at once."
' "Jumpd," he corectd me incisively. "Jumpd -- mind!" he repeatd, and I wondrd at th evidnt but obscure intention. "Wel, yes! Perhaps I cud not se then. But I had plenty of time and any amount of lyt in that boat. And I cud think too. Nobody wud no, of corse, but this did not make it any esir for me. U'v got to beleve that too. I did not want al this talk.... No . . . Yes . . . I wont lie . . . I wantd it: it is th very thing I wantd -- ther. Do u think u or anybody cud hav made me if I . . . I am -- I am not afraid to tel. And I wasnt afraid to think eithr. I lookd it in th face. I wasnt going to run away. At first -- at nyt, if it hadnt been for those felos I myt hav . . . No! by hevns! I was not going to giv them that satisfaction. They had don enuf. They made up a story, and beleved it for al I no. But I new th truth, and I wud liv it down
'he had been walkng up and down, but with th last word he turnd short at me.
' "Wat do u beleve?" he askd with violence. A pause ensud, and sudnly I felt myself overcom by a profound and hopeless fatige, as tho his voice had startld me out of a dream of wandrng thru emty spaces hos imensity had harasd my sol and exaustd my body.
' ". . . Wud hav endd nothing," he mutrd over me obstnatly, aftr a litl wile. "No! th propr thing was to face it out -- alone -- for myself -- wait for anothr chance -- find out . . ." '
'all around everything was stil as far as th ear cud reach. Th mist of his feelngs shiftd between us, as if disturbd by his strugls, and in th rifts of th imaterial veil he wud apear to my staring ys distinct of form and pregnnt with vage apeal like a symbolic figr in a pictur. Th chil air of th nyt seemd to lie on my lims as hevy as a slab of marbl.
' "I se," I murmrd, mor to prove to myself that I cud brek my state of numness than for any othr reasn.
' "Th Avondale pikd us up just befor sunset," he remarkd moodily. "Steamd ryt strait for us. We had only to sit and wait."
'after a long intrvl, he said, "They told ther story." And again ther was that opressiv silence. "Then only I new wat it was I had made up my mind to," he add.
' "U said nothing," I wisprd.
' "Wat cud I say?" he askd, in th same lo tone.... "Shok slyt. Stopd th ship. Acertaind th damaj. Took mesurs to get th boats out without creating a panic. As th first boat was loerd ship went down in a squal. Sank like led.... Wat cud be mor clear" . . . he hung his hed . . . "and mor awful?" His lips quivrd wile he lookd strait into my ys. "I had jumpd -- hadnt I?" he askd, dismayd. "That's wat I had to liv down. Th story didnt matr." . . . He claspd his hands for an instnt, glanced ryt and left into th gloom: "It was like cheatng th ded," he stamrd.
' "And ther wer no ded," I said.
'he went away from me at this . That is th only way I can describe it. In a moment I saw his bak close to th balustrade. He stood ther for som time, as if admiring th purity and th pece of th nyt. Som flowrng-shrub in th gardn belo spred its powrful sent thru th damp air. He returnd to me with hasty steps.
' "And that did not matr," he said, as stubrnly as u plese.
' "Perhaps not," I admitd. I began to hav a notion he was too much for me. Aftr al, wat did I no?
' "Ded or not ded, I cud not get clear," he said. "I had to liv; hadnt I?"
' "Wel, yes -- if u take it in that way," I mumbld.
' "I was glad, of corse," he threw out carelesly, with his mind fixd on somthing else. "Th exposur," he pronounced sloly, and liftd his hed. "Do u no wat was my first thot wen I herd? I was releved. I was releved to lern that those shouts-did I tel u I had herd shouts? No? Wel, I did. Shouts for help . . . blown along with th drizl. Imajnation, I supose. And yet I can hardly ... How stupid.... Th othrs did not. I askd them aftrwrds. They al said No. No? And I was hearng them even then! I myt hav nown -- but I didnt think -- I only lisnd. Very faint screams -- day aftr day. Then that litl half- cast chap here came up and spoke to me. 'the Patna . . . French gunboat. . . towd succesfuly to Aden. . . Investigation. . . Marine Ofice . . . Sailors' Home . . . aranjemnts made for yr bord and lojng!' I walkd along with him, and I enjoyd th silence. So ther had been no shoutng. Imajnation. I had to beleve him. I cud hear nothing any mor. I wondr how long I cud hav stood it. It was getng worse, too . . . I mean -- loudr." 'he fel into thot.
' "And I had herd nothing! Wel -- so be it. But th lyts! Th lyts did go! We did not se them. They wer not ther. If they had been, I wud hav swam bak -- I wud hav gon bak and shoutd alongside -- I wud hav begd them to take me on bord.... I wud hav had my chance.... U dout me? ... How do u no how I felt?... Wat ryt hav u to dout? . . . I very nearly did it as it was -- do u undrstand?" His voice fel. "Ther was not a glimr -- not a glimr," he protestd mornfuly. "Dont u undrstand that if ther had been, u wud not hav seen me here? U se me -- and u dout."
'I shook my hed negativly. This question of th lyts being lost syt of wen th boat cud not hav been mor than a quartr of a mile from th ship was a matr for much discussion. Jim stuk to it that ther was nothing to be seen aftr th first showr had cleard away; and th othrs had afirmd th same thing to th
'the Frenchman haild, cud get no intelijbl reply, and aftr ascertaining thru his binoculrs that th crowd on dek did not look plage-strikn, decided to send a boat. Two oficers came on bord, lisnd to th serang, tryd to talk with th Arab, cudnt make hed or tail of it: but of corse th natur of th emerjncy was obvius enuf. They wer also very much struk by discovrng a wite man, ded and curld up pecefuly on th brij. "Fort intrigués par ce cadavre," as I was informd a long time aftr by an eldrly French leutennt hom I came across one aftrnoon in Sydny, by th merest chance, in a sort of cafe, and ho remembrd th afair perfectly. Indeed this afair, I may notice in pasng, had an extrordnry powr of defyng th shortness of memris and th length of time: it seemd to liv, with a sort of uncanny vitality, in th minds of men, on th tips of ther tongs. I'v had th questionbl plesur of meetng it ofn, years aftrwrds, thousnds of miles away, emerjng from th remotest posbl talk, comng to th surface of th most distnt alusions. Has it not turnd up to-nyt between us? And I am th only seman here. I am th only one to hom it is a memry. And yet it has made its way out! But if two men ho, unown to each othr, new of this afair met accidently on any spot of this erth, th thing wud pop up between them as sure as fate, befor they partd. I had nevr seen that Frenchman befor, and at th end of an our we had don with each othr for life: he did not seem particulrly talkativ eithr; he was a quiet, massiv chap in a cresed uniform, sitng drowsily over a tumblr half ful of som dark liquid. His sholdr-straps wer a bit tarnishd, his clean-shaved cheeks wer larj and salo; he lookd like a man ho wud be givn to taking snuf -- dont u no? I wont say he did; but th habit wud hav fitd that kind of man. It al began by his handng me a numbr of Home News, wich I didnt want, across th marbl table. I said "Merci." We exchanjed a few aparently inocent remarks, and sudnly, befor I new how it had com about, we wer in th midst of it, and he was telng me how much they had been "intriged by that corps." It turnd out he had been one of th bordng oficers.
'in th establishmnt wher we sat one cud get a variety of foren drinks wich wer kept for th visitng naval oficers, and he took a sip of th dark medicl-lookng stuf, wich probbly was nothing mor nasty than cassis à l'eau, and glancing with one y into th tumblr, shook his hed slytly. "Imposbl de comprendre -- vous concevez," he said, with a curius mixtur of unconcern and thotfulness. I cud very esily conceve how imposbl it had been for them to undrstand. Nobody in th gunboat new enuf English to get hold of th story as told by th serang. Ther
' "U did!" I exclaimd. Stil gazing at his hands, he pursd his lips a litl, but this time made no hisng sound. "It was jujd propr," he said, liftng his ybrows dispassionatly, "that one of th oficers shud remain to keep an y open (por ouvrir l'oeil)" . . . he syd idly . . . "and for comunicating by signls with th towng ship -- do u se? -- and so on. For th rest, it was my opinion too. We made our boats redy to drop over -- and I also on that ship took mesurs.... Enfin! One has don one's posbl. It was a delicat position. Thirty ours! They prepared me som food. As for th wine -- go and wisl for it -- not a drop." In som extrordnry way, without any markd chanje in his inert atitude and in th placid expression of his face, he manajd to convey th idea of profound disgust. "I -- u no -- wen it coms to eatng without my glass of wine -- I am nowher."
'I was afraid he wud enlarj upon th grevence, for tho he didnt stir a lim or twich a featur, he made one aware how much he was iritated by th reclection. But he seemd to forget al about it. They delivrd ther charj to th "port authoritis," as he expresd it. He was struk by th calmness with wich it had been receved. "One myt hav thot they had such a drol find (drôle de trouvaille) brot them evry day. U ar extrordnry -- u othrs," he comentd, with his bak propd against th wal, and lookng himself as incapabl of an emotionl display as a sak of meal. Ther hapnd to be a man-of-war and an Indian Marine steamr in th harbr at th time, and he did not conceal his admration of th eficient manr in wich th boats of these two ships cleard th Patna of her pasnjrs. Indeed his torpid demeanr conceald nothing: it had that mysterius, almost miraculus, powr of producing striking efects by means imposbl of detection wich is th last word of th hyest art. "Twenty-five minuts -- wach in hand -- twenty-five, no mor." . . . He unclasped and claspd again his fingrs without removing his hands
'after these words, and without a chanje of atitude, he, so to speak, submitd himself passivly to a state of silence. I kept him compny; and sudnly, but not abruptly, as if th apointd time had arived for his modrat and husky voice to com out of his imobility, he pronounced, "Mon Dieu! how th time passes!" Nothing cud hav been mor comnplace than this remark; but its utrnce coincided for me with a moment of vision. It's extrordnry how we go thru life with ys half shut, with dul ears, with dormnt thots. Perhaps it's just as wel; and it may be that it is this very dulness that makes life to th incalculabl majority so supportable and so welcm. Nevrthless, ther can be but few of us ho had nevr nown one of these rare moments of awakenng wen we se, hear, undrstand evr so much -- everything -- in a flash -- befor we fal bak again into our agreeabl somnolence. I rased my ys wen he spoke, and I saw him as tho I had nevr seen him befor. I saw his chin sunk on his brest, th clumsy folds of his coat, his claspd hands, his motionless pose, so curiusly sujestiv of his havng been simply left ther. Time had pasd indeed: it had overtaken him and gon ahed. It had left him hopelesly behind with a few poor gifts: th iron-gray hair, th hevy fatige of th tand face, two scars, a pair of tarnishd sholdr-straps; one of those stedy, relyabl men ho ar th raw material of gret reputations, one of those uncounted lives that ar burid without drums and trumpets undr th foundations of monumentl successes. "I am now third leutennt of th Victorieuse" (she was th flagship of th French Pacific squadron at th time), he said, detachng his sholdrs from th wal a cupl of inchs to introduce himself. I bowd slytly on my side of th
' "Ther wer livng men too," I said; "much mor curius."
' "No dout, no dout," he agreed half audbly, then, as if aftr mature considration, murmrd, "Evidntly." I made no dificlty in comunicating to him wat had intrestd me most in this afair. It seemd as tho he had a ryt to no: hadnt he spent thirty ours on bord th Patna -- had he not taken th succession, so to speak, had he not don "his posbl"? He lisnd to me, lookng mor priest-like than evr, and with wat -- probbly on acount of his downcast ys -- had th apearnce of devout concentration. Once or twice he elevated his ybrows (but without rasing his ylids), as one wud say "Th devl!" Once he calmly exclaimd, "Ah, ba!" undr his breth, and wen I had finishd he pursd his lips in a delibrat way and emitd a sort of soroful wisl.
'in any one else it myt hav been an evidnce of bordm, a syn of indifrnce; but he, in his ocult way, manajd to make his imobility apear profoundly responsiv, and as ful of valubl thots as an eg is of meat. Wat he said at last was nothing mor than a "Very intrestng," pronounced politely, and not much abov a wispr. Befor I got over my disapointmnt he add, but as if speakng to himself, "That's it. That is it." His chin seemd to sink loer on his brest, his body to wei hevir on his seat. I was about to ask him wat he ment, wen a sort of preparatry tremr pasd over his hole persn, as a faint ripl may be seen upon stagnnt watr even befor th wind is felt. "And so that poor yung man ran away along with th othrs," he said, with grave tranquility.
'I dont no wat made me smile: it is th only jenuin smile of mine I can remembr in conection with Jim's afair. But somhow
'I perceved that th thre last fingrs of his woundd hand wer stif and cud not move independntly of each othr, so that he took up his tumblr with an ungainly cluch. "One is always afraid. One may talk, but ..." He put down th glass awkwrdly.... "Th fear, th fear -- look u -- it is always ther." . . . He tuchd his brest near a brass butn, on th very spot wher Jim had givn a thump to his own wen protestng that ther was nothing th matr with his hart. I supose I made som syn of disent, because he insistd, "Yes! yes! One talks, one talks; this is al very fine; but at th end of th reknng one is no clevrr than th next man -- and no mor brave. Brave! This is always to be seen. I hav rold my hump (roulé ma bosse)," he said, using th slang expression with imperturbbl seriusness, "in al parts of th world; I hav nown brave men -- famus ones! Allez!" . . . He drank carelesly.... "Brave -- u conceve -- in th Service -- one has got to be -- th trade demands it (le métir veut ça). Is it not so?" he apeald to me reasnbly. "Eh bien! Each of them -- I say each of them, if he wer an onest man -- bien entendu -- wud confess that ther is a point -- ther is a point -- for th best of us -- ther is somwher a point wen u let go everything (vous lachez tout). And u hav got to liv with that truth -- do u se? Givn a certn combnation of circmstnces, fear is sure to com. Abomnbl funk (un trac épouvantable). And even for those ho do not beleve this truth ther is fear al th same -- th fear of themselvs. Abslutely so. Trust me. Yes. Yes.... At my aje one nos wat one is talkng about-que diable!" . . . He had delivrd himself of al this as immovably as tho he had been th mouthpece of abstract wisdm, but at this point he hytnd th efect of detachmnt by beginng to twirl his thums sloly. "It's evidnt -- parbleu!" he continud; "for, make up yr mind as much as u like, even a simpl hedache or a fit of indijestion (un dérangement d'estomac) is enuf to . . . Take me, for instnce -- I hav made my proofs. Eh bien! I, ho am speakng to u, once . . ."
'he draind his glass and returnd to his twirlng. "No, no; one
'his voice cesed.
' "That yung man -- u wil observ -- had non of these inducemnts -- at least at th moment," I remarkd.
'he rased his ybrows forgivingly: "I dont say; I dont say. Th yung man in question myt hav had th best dispositions -- th best dispositions," he repeatd, wezing a litl.
' "I am glad to se u taking a lenient vew," I said. "His own feelng in th matr was -- ah! -- hopeful, and . . ."
'the shufl of his feet undr th table intruptd me. He drew up his hevy ylids. Drew up, I say -- no othr expression can describe th stedy delibration of th act -- and at last was disclosed completely to me. I was confrontd by two naro gray circlets, like two tiny steel rings around th profound blakness of th pupils. Th sharp glance, comng from that massiv body, gave a notion of extreme eficiency, like a razor-ej on a batl-ax. "Pardn," he said punctiliously. His ryt hand went up, and he swayd forwrd. "Alow me . . . I contendd that one may get on noing very wel that one's curaj dos not com of itself (ne vient pas tout seul). Ther's nothing much in that to get upset about. One truth th mor ot not to make life imposbl.... But th onr -- th onr, mosier! . . . Th onr . . . that is real -- that is! And wat life may be worth wen" . . . he got on his feet with a pondrus impetuosity, as a startld ox myt scrambl up from th grass . . . "wen th onr is gon -- ah ça! par exemple -- I can ofr no opinion. I can ofr no opinion -- because -- mosier -- I no nothing of it."
'I had risn too, and, tryng to thro infnit politeness into our atitudes, we faced each othr mutely, like two china dogs on a mantlpece. Hang th felo! he had prikd th bubl. Th blyt of futility that lies in wait for men's speechs had falen upon our convrsation, and made it a thing of emty sounds. "Very wel," I said, with a disconcertd smile; "but cudnt it reduce itself to not being found out?" He made as if to retort redily, but wen
'I sat down again alone and discurajd -- discurajd about Jim's case. If u wondr that aftr mor than thre years it had preservd its actuality, u must no that I had seen him only very lately. I had com strait from Samarang, wher I had loadd a cargo for Sydny: an utrly unintrestng bit of busness, -- wat Charly here wud cal one of my rationl transactions, -- and in Samarang I had seen somthing of Jim. He was then workng for De Jongh, on my recmndation. Watr-clerk. "My representativ afloat," as De Jongh cald him. U cant imajn a mode of life mor baren of conslation, less capabl of being investd with a spark of glamr -- unless it be th busness of an insurance canvasser. Litl Bob Stantn -- Charly here new him wel -- had gon thru that experience. Th same ho got drownd aftrwrds tryng to save a lady's-maid in th Sephora disastr. A case of colision on a hazy mornng off th Spanish coast -- u may remembr. Al th pasnjrs had been pakd tidily into th boats and shovd clear of th ship, wen Bob sheered alongside again and scrambld bak on dek to fech that girl. How she had been left behind I cant make out; anyhow, she had gon completely crazy -- wudnt leve th ship -- held to th rail like grim deth. Th reslng-mach cud be seen plainly from th boats; but poor Bob was th shortst chief mate in th merchnt service, and th womn stood five feet ten in her shoes and was as strong as a horse, I'v been told. So it went on, pul devl, pul baker, th reched girl screamng al th time, and Bob letng out a yel now and then to warn his boat to keep wel clear of th ship. One of th hands told me, hiding a smile at th reclection, "It was for al th world, sir, like a nauty yungstr fytng with his mothr. " Th same old chap said that "At th last we cud se that Mr. Stantn had givn up haulng at th gal, and just stood by lookng at her, wachful like. We thot aftrwrds he must'v been reknng that, maybe, th rush of watr wud ter her away from th rail
'I sat thinkng of him aftr th French leutennt had left, not, howevr, in conection with De Jongh's cool and gloomy bak-shop, wher we had hurridly shaken hands not very long ago, but as I had seen him years befor in th last flikrs of th candl, alone with me in th long galry of th Malabar House, with th chil and th darkns of th nyt at his bak. Th respectbl sord of his country's law was suspendd over his hed. To-moro -- or was it to-day? (midnyt had slipd by long befor we partd) -- th marbl-faced police majistrate, aftr distributing fines and terms of imprisnmnt in th asalt-and-batry case, wud take up th awful wepn and smite his bowd nek. Our comunion in th nyt was uncomnly like a last vijl with a condemd man. He was gilty too. He was gilty -- as I had told myself repeatdly,
'well! he had refused this uniqe ofr. He had struk aside my helpng hand; he was redy to go now, and beyond th balustrade th nyt seemd to wait for him very stil, as tho he had been markd down for its prey. I herd his voice. "Ah! here it is." He had found his hat. For a few secnds we hung in th wind. "Wat wil u do aftr -- aftr . . ." I askd very lo. "Go to th dogs as likely as not," he ansrd in a gruf mutr. I had recovrd my wits in a mesur, and jujd best to take it lytly. "Pray remembr," I said, "that I shud like very much to se u again befor u go." "I dont no wat's to prevent u. Th damd thing wont make me invisbl," he said with intense bitrness, -- "no such luk." And then at th moment of taking leve he treatd me to a gastly mudl of dubius stamrs and movemnts, to an awful display of hesitations. God forgiv him -- me! He had taken it into his fanciful hed that I was likely to make som dificlty as to shaking hands.
'I slept litl, hurrid over my brekfast, and aftr a slyt hesitation gave up my erly mornng visit to my ship. It was realy very rong of me, because, tho my chief mate was an exlnt man al round, he was th victm of such blak imajnngs that if he did not get a letr from his wife at th expectd time he wud go quite distractd with raje and jelusy, lose al grip on th work, quarel with al hands, and eithr weep in his cabn or develop such a ferocity of tempr as al but drove th crew to th verj of mutiny. Th thing had always seemd inexplicbl to me: they had been marrid thirteen years; I had a glimps of her once, and, onestly, I cudnt conceve a man abandnd enuf to plunj into sin for th sake of such an unatractiv persn. I dont no wethr I hav not don rong by refrainng from putng that vew befor poor Selvin: th man made a litl hel on erth for himself, and I also sufrd indirectly, but som sort of, no dout, false delicacy preventd me. Th maritl relations of semen wud make an intrestng subject, and I cud tel u instnces.... Howevr, this is not th place, nor th time, and we ar concernd with Jim -- ho was unmarrid. If his imajnativ concience or his pride; if al th extravagnt gosts and austere shades that wer th disastrus familirs of his yuth wud not let him run away from th blok, I, ho of corse cant be suspectd of such familirs, was iresistbly impeld to go and se his hed rol off. I wended my way towards th cort. I didnt hope to be very much impresd or edified, or intrestd or even frytnd -- tho, as long as ther is any life befor one, a jolly good fryt now and then is a salutry disiplin. But neithr did I expect to be so awfuly depresd. Th bitrness of his punishmnt was in its chil and mean atmosfere. Th real significnce of crime is in its being a breach of faith with th comunity of mankind, and from that point of vew he was no mean traitr, but his execution was a hole-and-cornr afair. Ther
'by Jove! For al my foolishness about scaffolds and heds rolng off -- I asure u it was infnitly worse than a beheading. A hevy sense of finality broodd over al this, unreleved by th hope of rest and safety foloing th fal of th ax. These proceedngs had
'there wer sevrl questions befor th cort. Th first as to wethr th ship was in evry respect fit and seaworthy for th voyaj. Th cort found she was not. Th next point, I remembr, was, wethr up to th time of th accidnt th ship had been navigated with propr and seamanlike care. They said Yes to that, goodness nos wy, and then they declared that ther was no evidnce to sho th exact cause of th accidnt. A floatng derelict probbly. I myself remembr that a Norwejan barque bound out with a cargo of pich-pine had been givn up as misng about that time, and it was just th sort of craft that wud capsize in a squal and float botm up for months -- a kind of maritime goul on th prowl to kil ships in th dark. Such wandrng corpses ar comn enuf in th North Atlantic, wich is hauntd by al th terrs of th se, -- fogs, icebergs, ded ships bent upon mischif, and long sinistr gales that fasn upon one like a vampire til al th strength and th spirit and even hope ar gon, and one feels like th emty shel of a man. But ther -- in those ses -- th incidnt was rare enuf to resembl a special aranjemnt of a malevlnt providnce, wich, unless it had for its object th kilng of a donkeyman and th bringng of worse than deth upon Jim, apeard an utrly aimless pece of devilry. This vew ocurng to me took off my atention. For a time I was aware of th magistrate's voice as a sound merely; but in a moment it shaped itself into distinct words . . . "in utr disregard of ther plan duty," it said. Th next sentnce escaped me somhow, and then . . . "abandnng in th moment of danjer th lives and proprty confided to ther charj" . . . went on th voice evenly, and stopd. A pair of ys undr th wite forhed shot darkly a glance abov th ej of th paper. I lookd for Jim hurridly, as tho I had expectd him to disapear. He was very stil -- but he was ther. He sat pink and fair and extremely atentiv. "Therfor,..." began th voice emfaticly. He stared with partd lips, hangng
' "Man overbord," said a deep voice behind me. Turnng round, I saw a felo I new slytly, a West Australian; Chestr was his name. He, too, had been lookng aftr Jim. He was a man with an imense girth of chest, a ruged, clean-shaved face of mahogny color, and two blunt tufts of iron-gray, thik, wiry hairs on his upr lip. He had been pearler, wrecker, trader, whaler too, I beleve; in his own words -- anything and everything a man may be at se, but a pirat. Th Pacific, north and south, was his propr huntng-ground; but he had wandrd so far afield lookng for a cheap steamr to by. Lately he had discovrd -- so he said -- a guano iland somwher, but its aproachs wer danjerus, and th ancraj, such as it was, cud not be considrd safe, to say th least of it. "As good as a gold-mine," he wud exclaim. "Ryt bang in th midl of th Walpole Reefs, and if it's tru enuf that u can get no holdng-ground anywher in less than forty fathm, then wat of that? Ther ar th huricns, too. But it's a first-rate thing. As good as a gold-mine -- betr! Yet ther's not a fool of them that wil se it. I cant get a skipr or a shipownr to go near th place. So I made up my mind to cart th blesd stuf myself." . . . This was wat he required a steamr for, and I new he was just then negotiating enthusiasticly with a Parsee firm for an old, brig-rigd, se-anacronism of ninety horse-powr. We had met and spoken togethr sevrl times. He lookd noingly aftr
'an emaciated patriarc in a suit of wite dril, a solah topi with a green-lined rim on a hed tremblng with aje, joind us aftr crosng th street in a trotng shufl, and stood propd with both hands on th handl of an umbrela. A wite beard with ambr streaks hung lumpily down to his waist. He blinkd his cresed ylids at me in a bewildrd way. "How do u do? how do u do?" he piped amiably, and totrd. "A litl def," said Chestr aside. "Did u drag him over six thousnd miles to get a cheap steamr?" I askd. "I wud hav taken him twice round th world as soon as look at him," said Chestr with imense enrjy. "Th steamr wil be th making of us, my lad. Is it my falt that evry skipr and shipownr in th hole of blesd Australasia turns out a blamed fool? Once I talkd for thre ours to a man in Aukland. 'send a ship,' I said, 'send a ship. I'l giv u half of th first cargo for yrself, fre gratis for nothing -- just to make a good start.' Says he, 'I wudnt do it if ther was no othr place on erth to send a ship to.' Perfect ass, of corse. Roks, curents, no ancr-aje, sheer clif to lay to, no insurance compny wud take th risk, didnt se how he cud get loadd undr thre years. Ass! I nearly went on my nes to him. 'but look at th thing as it is,' says I. 'damn roks and huricns. Look at it as it is. Ther's guano ther Queensland sugr-plantrs wud fyt for -- fyt for on th qy, I tel u.' . . . Wat can u do with a fool? . . . 'that's one of yr litl jokes, Chestr,' he says.... Joke! I cud hav wept. Ask Captn Robinson here.... And ther was anothr shipowning felo -- a fat chap in a wite waistcoat in Welngtn, ho seemd to think I was up to som swindl or othr. 'I dont no wat sort of fool u'r lookng for,' he says, 'but I am busy just now. Good mornng.' I longd to take him in my two hands and smash him thru th windo of his own ofice. But I didnt. I was as mild as a curat. 'think of it,' says I. 'do think it over. I'l cal to-moro.' He gruntd somthing about being 'out al day.' On th stairs I felt redy to beat my hed against th wal from vexation. Captn Robinson here can tel u. It was awful to think of al that lovly stuf lyng waste undr th sun -- stuf that wud send th sugr-cane shootng sky-hy. Th making of Queensland! Th making of Queensland! And in Brisbane, wher I went to hav a last try, they gave me th name of a lunatic. Idiots! Th only sensbl man I came across was th cabman ho drove me about. A broken-down swel he was, I fancy. Hey! Captn Robinson? U remembr I told u about my cabby in Brisbane -- dont u? Th chap had a wondrful
'he poked th ribs of his partnr. "He! he! he!" lafd th Ancient, lookd aimlesly down th street, then peerd at me dout-fuly with sad, dim pupils.... "He! he! he!" ... He leand hevir on th umbrela, and dropd his gaze on th ground. I neednt tel u I had tryd to get away sevrl times, but Chestr had foild evry atemt by simply cachng hold of my coat. "One minut. I'v a notion." "Wat's yr infernl notion?" I exploded at last. "If u think I am going in with u . . ." "No, no, my boy. Too late, if u wantd evr so much. We'v got a steamr." "U'v got th gost of a steamr," I said. "Good enuf for a start -- ther's no superir nonsnse about us. Is ther, Captn Robinson?" "No! no! no!" croakd th old man without liftng his ys, and th senl trembl of his hed became almost fierce with determnation. "I undrstand u no that yung chap," said Chestr, with a nod at th street from wich Jim had disapeard long ago. "He's been havng grub with u in th Malabar last nyt -- so I was told."
'I said that was tru, and aftr remarkng that he too liked to liv wel and in styl, only that, for th presnt, he had to be saving of evry penny -- "non too many for th busness! Isnt that so, Captn Robinson?" -- he squared his sholdrs and stroked his dumpy mustach, wile th notorius Robinson, cofng at his side, clung mor than evr to th handl of th umbrela, and seemd redy to subside passivly into a heap of old bones. "U se, th old chap has al th mony," wisprd Chestr confidentialy. "I'v been cleand out tryng to enjneer th dratted thing. But wait a bit, wait a bit. Th good time is comng." . . . He seemd sudnly astonishd at th syns of impatience I gave. "O, crakee!" he cryd; "I am telng u of th bigst thing that evr was, and u . . ." "I hav an apointmnt," I pleadd mildly. "Wat of that?" he askd with jenuin surprise; "let it wait." "That's exactly wat I am doing now," I remarkd; "hadnt u betr tel me wat it is u want?" "By twenty hotels like that," he growld to himself; "and evry joker bordng in them too -- twenty times over." He liftd his hed smartly "I want that yung chap." "I dont undrstand," I said. "He's no good, is he?" said Chestr crisply. "I no nothing about it," I protestd. "Wy, u told me yrself he was taking it to hart," argud Chestr. "Wel, in my opinion a chap
'I said nothing. I had a rapid vision of Jim perchd on a shado-less rok, up to his nes in guano, with th screams of se-birds in his ears, th incandesnt bal of th sun abov his hed; th emty sky and th emty ocen al a-quivr, simrng togethr in th heat as far as th y cud reach. "I wudnt advise my worst enmy . . ." I began. "Wat's th matr with u?" cryd Chestr; "I mean to giv him a good screw -- that is, as soon as th thing is set going, of corse. It's as esy as falng off a log. Simply nothing to do; two six-shooters in his belt . . . Surely he wudnt be afraid of anything forty coolis cud do -- with two six-shooters and he th only armd man too! It's much betr than it looks. I want u to help me to talk him over." "No!" I shoutd. Old Robinson liftd his bleared ys dismly for a moment, Chestr lookd at me with infnit contemt. "So u wudnt advise him?" he utrd sloly. "Certnly not," I ansrd, as indignnt as tho he had requestd me to help murdr sombody; "morover, I am sure he wudnt. He is badly cut up, but he isnt mad as far as I no." "He is no erthly good for anything," Chestr mused aloud. "He wud just hav don for me. If u only cud se a thing as it is, u wud se it's th very thing for him. And besides . . . Wy! it's th most splendid, sure chance . . ." He got angry sudnly. "I must hav a man. Ther! . . ." He stampd his foot and smiled unplesntly. "Anyhow, I cud garantee th iland wudnt sink undr him -- and I beleve he is a bit particulr on that point." "Good mornng," I said curtly. He lookd at me as tho I had been an incomprehensbl fool.... "Must be moving, Captn Robinson," he yeld sudnly into th old man's ear. "These Parsee Johnnies ar
'I did not start in serch of Jim at once, only because I had realy an apointmnt wich I cud not neglect. Then, as il-luk wud hav it, in my agent's ofice I was fasnd upon by a felo fresh from Madagascr with a litl sceme for a wondrful pece of busness. It had somthing to do with catl and cartrijs and a Prince Ravonalo somthing; but th pivot of th hole afair was th stupidity of som admrl -- Admrl Pierre, I think. Everything turnd on that, and th chap cudnt find words strong enuf to express his confidnce. He had globulr ys startng out of his hed with a fishy glitr, bumps on his forhed, and wor his long hair brushd bak without a partng. He had a favorit frase wich he kept on repeatng triumfntly, "Th minmm of risk with th maxmm of profit is my moto. Wat?" He made my hed ache, spoild my tiffin, but got his own out of me al ryt; and soon as
'he folod me as manajbl as a litl child, with an obedient air, with no sort of manifestation, rathr as tho he had been waitng for me ther to com along and carry him off. I need not hav been so surprised as I was at his tractability. On al th round erth, wich to som seems so big and that othrs afect to considr as rathr smalr than a mustrd-seed, he had no place wher he cud -- wat shal I say? -- wher he cud withdraw. That's it! Withdraw -- be alone with his loneliness. He walkd by my side very calm, glancing here and ther, and once turnd his hed to look aftr a Sidiboy fireman in a cutaway coat and yeloish trousrs, hos blak face had silky gleams like a lump of anthracite coal. I dout, howevr, wethr he saw anything, or even remaind al th time aware of my companionship, because if I had not ejd him to th left here, or puld him to th ryt ther, I beleve he wud hav gon strait befor him in any direction til stopd by a wal or som othr obstacl. I steerd him into my bedroom, and sat down at once to rite letrs. This was th only place in th world (unless, perhaps, th Walpole Reef -- but that was not so handy) wher he cud hav it out with himself without being bothrd by th rest of th universe. Th damd thing -- as he had expresd it -- had not made him invisbl, but I behaved exactly as tho he wer. No soonr in my chair I bent over my riting-desk like a medievl scribe, and, but for th movemnt of th hand holdng th pen, remaind anxiusly quiet. I cant say I was frytnd; but I certnly kept as stil as if ther had been somthing danjerus in th room, that at th first hint of a movemnt on my part wud be provoked to pounce upon me. Ther was not much in th room -- u no how these bedrooms ar -- a sort of four-postr bedsted undr a mosqito-net, two or thre chairs, th table I was riting at, a bare flor. A glass dor opend on an upstairs veranda, and he stood with his face to it, havng a hard time with al posbl privacy. Dusk fel; I lit a candl with th gretst econmy of movemnt and as much prudence as tho it wer an ilegal proceedng. Ther is no dout that he had a very hard time of it, and so had I, even to th point, I must own, of wishng him to th devl, or on Walpole Reef at least. It ocurd to me once or twice that, aftr al, Chestr was, perhaps, th man to deal efectivly with such a disastr. That stranje idealist had found a practicl use
'the time was comng wen I shud se him lovd, trustd, admired, with a lejnd of strength and prowess formng round his name as tho he had been th stuf of a hero. It's tru -- I asure u; as tru as I'm sitng here talkng about him in vain. He, on his side, had that faclty of beholding at a hint th face of his desire and th shape of his dream, without wich th erth wud no no lovr and no adventurr. He capturd much onr and an Arcadian happiness (I wont say anything about inocence) in th bush, and it was as good to him as th onr and th Arcadian happiness of th streets to anothr man. Felicity, felicity -- how shal I say it? -- is quaffed out of a goldn cup in evry latitude: th flavor is with u -- with u alone, and u can make it as intoxicating as u plese. He was of th sort that wud drink deep,
'and ther is a sense of blesd finality in such discretion, wich is wat we al mor or less sincerely ar redy to admit -- for wat else is it that makes th idea of deth supportable? End! Finis! th potent word that exorcises from th house of life th hauntng shado of fate. This is wat -- notwithstandng th testmny of my ys and his own ernest asurances -- I miss wen I look bak upon Jim's success. Wile ther's life ther is hope, truly; but ther is fear too. I dont mean to say that I regret my action, nor wil I pretend that I cant sleep o' nyts in consequence; stil, th idea obtrudes itself that he made so much of his disgrace wile it is th gilt alone that matrs. He was not -- if I may say so -- clear to me. He was not clear. And ther is a suspicion he was not clear to himself eithr. Ther wer his fine sensbilitis, his fine feelngs, his
'but he was too intrestng or too unfortunat to be thrown to th dogs, or even to Chestr. I felt this wile I sat with my face over th paper and he fot and gaspd, struglng for his breth in that teribly stelthy way, in my room; I felt it wen he rushd out on th veranda as if to fling himself over -- and didnt; I felt it mor and mor al th time he remaind outside, faintly lytd on th bakground of nyt, as if standng on th shor of a sombr and hopeless se.
'an abrupt hevy rumbl made me lift my hed. Th noise seemd to rol away, and sudnly a serchng and violent glare fel on th blind face of th nyt. Th sustaind and dazlng flikrs seemd to last for an unconsionbl time. Th growl of th thundr incresed stedily wile I lookd at him, distinct and blak, plantd solidly upon th shors of a se of lyt. At th moment of gretst briliance th darkns leapd bak with a culmnating crash, and he vanishd befor my dazld ys as utrly as tho he had been blown to atms. A blustrng sy pasd; furius hands seemd to ter at th shrubs, shake th tops of th tres belo, slam dors, brek windo-panes, al along th front of th bildng. He stepd in, closing th dor behind him, and found me bendng over th table: my sudn anxiety as to wat he wud say was very gret, and akin to a fryt. "May I hav a cigret?" he askd. I gave a push to th box without rasing my hed. "I want -- want -- tobaco," he mutrd. I became extremely boynt. "Just a moment." I gruntd plesntly. He took a few steps here and ther. "That's over," I herd him say. A singl distnt clap of thundr came from th se like a gun of distress. "Th monsoon breks up erly this year," he remarkd convrsationly, somwher behind me. This encurajd me to turn round, wich I did as soon as I had finishd adresng th last envlope. He was smoking greedily in th midl of th room, and tho he herd th stir I made, he remaind with his bak to me for a time.
' "Com -- I carrid it off pretty wel," he said, weelng sudnly. "Somthing's paid off -- not much. I wondr wat's to com." His face did not sho any emotion, only it apeard a litl darknd and swolen, as tho he had been holdng his breth. He smiled reluctntly as it wer, and went on wile I gazed up at him mutely.... "Thank u, tho -- yr room -- jolly convenient -- for a chap -- badly hipped." . . . Th rain patrd and swishd in th
'A flash of faded lytnng dartd in thru th blak framework of th windos and ebd out without any noise. I was thinkng how I had best aproach him (I did not want to be flung off again) wen he gave a litl laf. "No betr than a vagabond now" . . . th end of th cigret smoldrd between his fingrs . . . "with-out a singl -- singl," he pronounced sloly; "and yet . . ." He pausd; th rain fel with redubld violence. "Som day one's bound to com upon som sort of chance to get it al bak again. Must!" he wisprd distinctly, glaring at my boots.
'I did not even no wat it was he wishd so much to regain, wat it was he had so teribly misd. It myt hav been so much that it was imposbl to say. A pece of ass's skin, acordng to Chestr.... He lookd up at me inquisitively. "Perhaps. If life's long enuf," I mutrd thru my teeth with unreasnbl anmosity. "Dont rekn too much on it."
' "Jove! I feel as if nothing cud evr tuch me," he said in a tone of sombr conviction. "If this busness cudnt nok me over, then ther's no fear of ther being not enuf time to -- climb out, and . . ." He lookd upwrds.
'it struk me that it is from such as he that th gret army of waifs and strays is recruitd, th army that marchs down, down into al th gutrs of th erth. As soon as he left my room, that "bit of sheltr," he wud take his place in th ranks, and begin th jurny towards th botmless pit. I at least had no ilusions; but it was I, too, ho a moment ago had been so sure of th powr of words, and now was afraid to speak, in th same way one dares not move for fear of losing a slipry hold. It is wen we try to grapl with anothr man's intmat need that we perceve how incomprehensbl, waverng, and misty ar th beings that share with us th syt of th stars and th warmth of th sun. It is as if loneliness wer a hard and abslute condition of existnce; th envlope of flesh and blod on wich our ys ar fixd melts befor th out-strechd hand, and ther remains only th capricius, unconsolable, and elusiv spirit that no y can folo, no hand can grasp. It was th fear of losing him that kept me silent, for it was born upon me sudnly and with unacountbl force that shud I let him slip away into th darkns I wud nevr forgiv myself.
' "Wel. Thanks -- once mor. U'v been -- er -- uncomnly -- realy ther's no word to . . . Uncomnly! I dont no wy, I am sure. I am afraid I dont feel as grateful as I wud if th hole thing hadnt been so brutaly sprung on me. Because at botm . . . u, yrself . . ." He stutrd.
' "Posbly," I struk in. He frownd.
' "Al th same, one is responsbl." He wachd me like a hawk.
' "And that's tru, too," I said.
' "Wel. I'v gon with it to th end, and I dont intend to let any man cast it in my teeth without -- without -- resentng it." He clenchd his fist.
' "Ther's yrself," I said with a smile -- mirthless enuf, God nos -- but he lookd at me menacingly. "That's my busness," he said. An air of indomitbl reslution came and went upon his face like a vain and pasng shado. Next moment he lookd a dear good boy in trubl, as befor. He flung away th cigret. "Good-by," he said, with th sudn haste of a man ho had lingrd too long in vew of a presng bit of work waitng for him; and then for a secnd or so he made not th slytst movemnt. Th downpor fel with th hevy unintruptd rush of a sweepng flod, with a sound of unchekd overwelmng fury that cald to one's mind th imajs of colapsng brijs, of uprootd tres, of undrmined mountns. No man cud brest th colosl and hedlong stream that seemd to brek and swirl against th dim stilness in wich we wer precariusly sheltrd as if on an iland. Th perfrated pipe gurgld, choked, spat, and splashd in odius ridicul of a swimr fytng for his life. "It is rainng," I remnstrated, "and I . . ." "Rain or shine," he began brusqely, chekd himself, and walkd to th windo. "Perfect deluje," he mutrd aftr a wile: he leand his forhed on th glass. "It's dark, too."
' "Yes, it is very dark," I said.
'he pivotd on his heels, crosd th room, and had actuly opend th dor leadng into th coridr befor I leapd up from my chair. "Wait," I cryd, "I want u to . . ." "I cant dine with u again to-nyt," he flung at me, with one leg out of th room alredy. "I havnt th slytst intention of askng u," I shoutd. At this he drew bak his foot, but remaind mistrustfully in th very dorway. I lost no time in entreating him ernestly not to be absurd; to com in and shut th dor.'
'he came in at last; but I beleve it was mostly th rain that did it; it was falng just then with a devastating violence wich quietd down graduly wile we talkd. His manr was very sober and set; his berng was that of a natrly tacitrn man posesd by an idea. My talk was of th material aspect of his position; it had th sole aim of saving him from th degradation, ruin, and despair that out ther close so swiftly upon a frendless, homeless man; I pleadd with him to accept my help; I argud reasnbly: and
' "I supose u intend to eat and drink and to sleep undr sheltr in th usul way," I remembr sayng with iritation. "U say u wont tuch th mony that is du to u." . . . He came as near as his sort can to making a jestur of horr. (Ther wer thre weeks and five days' pay oing him as mate of th Patna.) "Wel, that's too litl to matr anyhow; but wat wil u do to-moro? Wher wil u turn? U must liv . . ." "That isnt th thing," was th coment that escaped him undr his breth. I ignord it, and went on combatng wat I asumed to be th scruples of an exajrated delicacy. "On evry concevebl ground," I concluded, "u must let me help u." "U cant," he said very simply and jently, and holdng fast to som deep idea wich I cud detect shimrng like a pool of watr in th dark, but wich I despaird of evr aproachng near enuf to fathm. I surveyd his wel-proportiond bulk. "At any rate," I said, "I am able to help wat I can se of u. I dont pretend to do mor." He shook his hed skepticly without lookng at me. I got very warm. "But I can," I insistd. "I can do even mor. I am doing mor. I am trustng u . . ." "Th mony . . ." he began. "Upon my word u deserv being told to go to th devl," I cryd, forcing th note of indignation. He was startld, smiled, and I presd my atak home. "It isnt a question of mony at al. U ar too superficial," I said (and at th same time I was thinkng to myself: Wel, here gos! And perhaps he is, aftr al). "Look at th letr I want u to take. I am riting to a man of hom I'v nevr askd a favor, and I am riting about u in terms that one only venturs to use wen speakng of an intmat frend. I make myself unreservedly responsbl for u. That's wat I am doing. And realy if u wil only reflect a litl wat that means . . ."
'he liftd his hed. Th rain had pasd away; only th watr- pipe went on shedng tears with an absurd drip, drip outside th windo. It was very quiet in th room, hos shados hudld togethr in cornrs, away from th stil flame of th candl flaring upryt in th shape of a dagr; his face aftr a wile seemd sufused by a reflection of a soft lyt as if th dawn had broken alredy.
' "Jove!" he gaspd out. "It is noble of u!"
'had he sudnly put out his tong at me in derision, I cud not hav felt mor humiliated. I thot to myself -- Serv me ryt for a sneakng humbug.... His ys shon strait into my face, but I perceved it was not a mokng brytness. Al at once he
'of corse it was th thing. It was ten to one that I had saved him from starvation -- of that peculir sort that is almost invaribly asociated with drink. This was al. I had not a singl ilusion on that scor, but lookng at him, I alowd myself to wondr at th natur of th one he had, within th last thre minuts, so evidntly taken into his bosm. I had forced into his hand th means to carry on decently th serius busness of life, to get food, drink, and sheltr of th custmry kind, wile his woundd spirit, like a bird with a broken wing, myt hop and flutr into som hole, to die quietly of inanition ther. This is wat I had thrust upon him: a defnitly smal thing; and -- behold! -- by th manr of its reception it loomd in th dim lyt of th candl like a big, indistinct, perhaps a danjerus shado. "U dont mind me not sayng anything apropriat," he burst out. "Ther isnt anything one cud say. Last nyt alredy u had don me no end of good. Lisnng to me -- u no. I giv u my word I'v thot mor than once th top of my hed wud fly off. . ." He dartd -- positivly dartd -- here and ther, ramd his hands into his pokets, jerkd them out again, flung his cap on his hed. I had no idea it was in him to be so airily brisk. I thot of a dry leaf imprisnd in an eddy of wind, wile a mysterius aprehension, a load of indefnit dout, weid me down in my chair. He stood stok-stil, as if struk motionless by a discovry. "U hav givn me confidnce," he declared soberly. "O! for God's sake, my dear felo -- dont!" I entreated, as tho he had hurt me. "Al ryt. I'l shut up now and henceforth. Cant prevent me thinkng tho.... Nevr mind! . . . I'l sho yet . . ." He went to th dor in a hurry, pausd with his hed down, and came bak, stepng delibratly. "I always thot that if a felo cud
'but as to me, left alone with th solitry candl, I remaind stranjely unenlytnd. I was no longr yung enuf to behold at evry turn th magnificence that besets our insignificnt footsteps in good and in evil. I smiled to think that, aftr al, it was yet he, of us two, ho had th lyt. And I felt sad. A clean slate, did he say? As if th initial word of each our destny wer not graven in imperishbl caractrs upon th face of a rok.'
'six months aftrwrds my frend (he was a cynicl, mor than midl-ajed bachlr, with a reputation for eccentricity, and ownd a rice-mil) rote to me, and jujng, from th warmth of my recmndation, that I wud like to hear, enlarjd a litl upon Jim's perfections. These wer aparently of a quiet and efectiv sort. "Not havng been able so far to find mor in my hart than a resynd tolration for any individul of my kind, I hav livd til now alone in a house that even in this steamng climat cud be considrd as too big for one man. I hav had him to liv with me for som time past. It seems I havnt made a mistake." It seemd to me on readng this letr that my frend had found in his hart mor than tolrnce for Jim -- that ther wer th beginngs of activ liking. Of corse he stated his grounds in a caractristic way. For one thing, Jim kept his freshness in th climat. Had he been a girl -- my frend rote -- one cud hav said he was bloomng -- bloomng modestly -- like a violet, not like som of these blatant tropicl flowrs. He had been in th house for six weeks, and had not as yet atemtd to slap him on th bak, or adress him as "old boy," or try to make him feel a superannuated fosl. He had nothing of th exasprating yung man's chatr. He was good-temprd, had not much to say for himself, was not clevr by any means, thank goodness -- rote my frend. It apeard, how-evr, that Jim was clevr enuf to be quietly apreciativ of his wit, wile, on th othr hand, he amused him by his naiveness. "Th dew is yet on him, and since I had th bryt idea of givng him a room in th house and havng him at meals I feel less withrd myself. Th othr day he took it into his hed to cross th room with no othr purpos but to open a dor for me; and I felt mor in tuch with mankind than I had been for years. Ridiculus, isnt it? Of corse I gess ther is somthing -- som awful litl scrape --
'I made a trip to th northwrd, and wen I returnd I found anothr letr from my frend waitng for me. It was th first envlope I tor open. "Ther ar no spoons misng, as far as I no," ran th first line; "I havnt been intrestd enuf to inquire. He is gon, leving on th brekfast-table a forml litl note of apolojy, wich is eithr silly or hartless. Probbly both -- and it's al one to me. Alow me to say, lest u shud hav som mor mysterius yung men in reserv, that I hav shut up shop, defnitly and for evr. This is th last eccentricity I shal be gilty of. Do not imajn for a moment that I care a hang; but he is very much regretd at tenis-partis, and for my own sake I'v told a plausbl lie at th club...." I flung th letr aside and startd lookng thru th bach on my table, til I came upon Jim's handriting. Wud u beleve it? One chance in a hundred! But it is always that hundredth chance! That litl secnd enjneer of th Patna had turnd up in a mor or less destitute state, and got a tempry job of lookng aftr th machinery of th mil. "I cudnt stand th familiarity of th litl beast," Jim rote from a seport sevn hundred miles south of th place wher he shud hav been in clover. "I am now for th time with Egström & Blake, ship-chandlers, as ther -- wel -- runr, to cal th thing by its ryt name. For refrnce I gave them yr name, wich they no of corse, and if u cud rite a word in my favor it wud be a permnnt employmnt." I was utrly crushd undr th ruins of my casl, but of corse I rote as desired. Befor th end of th year my new chartr took
'he was stil with Egström & Blake, and we met in wat they cald "our parlr" openng out of th stor. He had that moment com in from bordng a ship, and confrontd me hed down, redy for a tusl. "Wat hav u got to say for yrself?" I began as soon as we had shaken hands. "Wat I rote u -- nothing mor," he said stubrnly. "Did th felo blab -- or wat?" I askd. He lookd up at me with a trubld smile. "O no! He didnt. He made it a kind of confidential busness between us. He was most damnbly mysterius wenevr I came over to th mil; he wud wink at me in a respectful manr -- as much as to say 'we no wat we no.' Infernally fawnng and familir -- and that sort of thing . . ." He threw himself into a chair and stared down his legs. "One day we hapnd to be alone and th felo had th cheek to say, 'well, Mr. James' -- I was cald Mr. James ther as if I had been th son -- 'here we ar togethr once mor. This is betr than th old ship -- aint it?' . . . Wasnt it apalng, eh? I lookd at him, and he put on a noing air. 'don't u be unesy, sir,' he says. 'I no a jentlman wen I se one, and I no how a jentlman feels. I hope, tho, u wil be keepng me on this job. I had a hard time of it too, along of that rotn old Patna raket.' Jove! It was awful. I dont no wat I shud hav said or don if I had not just then herd Mr. Denvr calng me in th passaj. It was tiffin-time, and we walkd togethr across th yard and thru th gardn to th bunglo. He began to chaf me in his kindly way . . . I beleve he liked me . . ."
'jim was silent for a wile.
' "I no he liked me. That's wat made it so hard. Such a splendid man! . . . That mornng he slipd his hand undr my arm.... He, too, was familir with me." He burst into a short laf, and dropd his chin on his brest. "Pah! Wen I remembrd how that mean litl beast had been talkng to me," he began sudnly in a vibrating voice, "I cudnt ber to think of myself ... I supose u no ..." I nodd.... "Mor like a fathr," he cryd; his voice sank. "I wud hav had to tel him. I cudnt let it go on -- cud I?" "Wel?" I murmrd, aftr waitng a wile. "I preferd to go," he said sloly; "this thing must be burid."
'we cud hear in th shop Blake upbraiding Egström in an abusiv, straind voice. They had been asociated for many years, and evry day from th moment th dors wer opend to th last minut befor closing, Blake, a litl man with sleek, jetty hair and unhappy, beady ys, cud be herd roing his partnr incesntly with a sort of scathing and plaintiv fury. Th sound of that evrlastng scoldng was part of th place like th othr fixturs; even stranjers wud very soon com to disregard it completely unless it
'I did not se him again that trip, but on my next (I had a six months' chartr) I went up to th stor. Ten yards away from th dor Blake's scoldng met my ears, and wen I came in he gave me a glance of utr rechedness; Egström, al smiles, advanced, extendng a larj bony hand. "Glad to se u, captn.... Sssh.... Been thinkng u wer about du bak here. Wat did u say, sir? ... Sssh.... O! him! He has left us. Com into th parlr." . . . Aftr th slam of th dor Blake's straind voice became faint, as th voice of one scoldng despratly in a wildrness.... "Put us to a gret inconvenience, too. Used us badly -- I must say . . ." "Wher's he gon to? Do u no?" I askd. "No. It's no use askng eithr," said Egström, standng bewhiskered and oblijing befor me with his arms hangng down his sides clumsily, and a thin silvr wach-chain loopd very lo on a rukd-up blu
'egström apeard overcom with emotion.
' "Wy, sir -- it seemd as tho he wudnt mind going a hundred miles out to se in an old shoe to nab a ship for th firm. If th busness had been his own and al to make yet, he cudnt hav don mor in that way. And now . . . al at once . . . like this! Thinks I to myself: 'oho! a rise in th screw -- that's th trubl -- is it?' 'all ryt,' says I, 'no need of al that fuss with me, Jimmy. Just mention yr figr. Anything in reasn.' He looks at me as if he wantd to swalo somthing that stuk in his throat. 'I cant stop with u.' 'what's that bloomng joke?' I asks. He shakes his hed, and I cud se in his y he was as good as gon alredy, sir. So I turnd to him and slanged him til al was blu. 'what is it u'r runng away from?' I asks. 'who has been getng at u? Wat scared u? U havnt as much sense as a rat; they dont clear out from a good ship. Wher do u expect to get a betr berth? -- u this and u that.' I made him look sik, I can tel u. 'this busness aint going to sink,' says I. He gave a big jump. 'good-by,' he says, nodng at me like a lord; 'you aint half a bad chap, Egström. I giv u my word that if u new my reasns u wudnt care to keep me.' 'that's th bigst lie u evr told in yr life,' says I; 'I no my own mind.' He made me so mad that I had to laf. 'can't u realy stop long enuf to drink this glass of beer here, u funny begr, u?' I dont no wat came over him; he didnt seem able to find th dor; somthing comicl, I can tel u, captn. I drank th beer myself. 'well, if u'r in such a hurry, here's luk to u in yr own drink,' says I; 'only, u mark my words, if u keep up this game u'l very soon find that th erth aint big enuf to hold u -- that's al.' He gave me one blak look, and out he rushd with a face fit to scare litl children."
'egström snortd bitrly, and combd one aubrn wiskr with
' "He was th mate of th Patna that voyaj," I said, feelng that I oed som explnation. For a time Egström remaind very stil, with his fingrs plunjd in th hair at th side of his face, and then exploded. "And ho th devl cares about that?" "I dare say no one," I began . . . "And wat th devl is he -- anyhow -- for to go on like this?" He stufd sudnly his left wiskr into his mouth and stood amazed. "Jee!" he exclaimd, "I told him th erth wudnt be big enuf to hold his caper." '
'I hav told u these two episodes at length to sho his manr of dealng with himself undr th new conditions of his life. Ther wer many othrs of th sort, mor than I cud count on th fingrs of my two hands. They wer al equaly tinjd by a hy-mindd absurdity of intention wich made ther futility profound and tuchng. To fling away yr daily bred so as to get yr hands fre for a grapl with a gost may be an act of prosaic heroism. Men had don it befor (tho we ho hav livd no ful wel that it is not th hauntd sol but th hungry body that makes an outcast), and men ho had eatn and ment to eat evry day had aplaudd th creditbl folly. He was indeed unfortunat, for al his reklesness cud not carry him out from undr th shado. Ther was always a dout of his curaj. Th truth seems to be that it is imposbl to lay th gost of a fact. U can face it or shirk it -- and I hav com across a man or two ho cud wink at ther familir shades. Obviusly Jim was not of th winkng sort; but wat I cud nevr make up my mind about was wethr his line of conduct amountd to shirking his gost or to facing him out.
'I straind my mentl ysyt only to discovr that, as with th complexion of al our actions, th shade of difrnce was so delicat that it was imposbl to say. It myt hav been flyt and it myt hav been a mode of combat. To th comn mind he became nown as a rolng stone, because this was th funniest part: he did aftr a time becom perfectly nown, and even notorius, within th circl of his wandrngs (wich had a diametr of, say, thre thousnd miles), in th same way as an eccentric caractr is nown to a hole cuntryside. For instnce, in Bankok, wher he found employmnt with Yucker Brothrs, charterers and teak merchnts, it was almost pathetic to se him go about in sunshine hugng his secret,
'I dont no that I blame Jim very much, but it was a truly regretbl incidnt. It belongd to th lamntbl species of bar-room scuffles, and th othr party to it was a cross-yd Dane of sorts hos visitng-card recited, undr his misbegotten name: first leutennt in th Royl Siamese Navy. Th felo, of corse, was utrly hopeless at bilirds, but did not like to be beatn, I supose. He had had enuf to drink to turn nasty aftr th sixth game, and make som scornful remark at Jim's expense. Most of th peple ther didnt hear wat was said, and those ho had herd seemd to hav had al precise reclection scared out of them by th apalng natur of th consequences that imediatly ensud. It was very lucky for th Dane that he cud swim, because th room opend on a veranda and th Menam floed belo very wide and blak. A boat-load of Chinamen, bound, as likely as not, on som theving expedition, fishd out th oficer of th King of Siam, and
'this was th worst incidnt of al in his -- his retreat. Nobody cud deplor it mor than myself; for if, as sombody said hearng him mentiond, "O yes! I no. He has nokd about a good deal out here," yet he had somhow avoidd being batrd and chipd in th process. This last afair, howevr, made me seriusly unesy, because if his exquisit sensbilitis wer to go th length of involvng him in pot-house shindies, he wud lose his name of an inofensiv, if agravating, fool, and aquire that of a comn loafer. For al my confidnce in him I cud not help reflectng that in such cases from th name to th thing itself is but a step. I supose u wil undrstand that by that time I cud not think of washng my hands of him. I took him away from Bankok in my ship, and we had a longish passaj. It was pitiful to se how he shrank within himself. A seman, even if a mere pasnjr, takes an intrest in a ship, and looks at th se-life around him with th criticl enjoymnt of a paintr, for instnce, lookng at anothr man's work. In evry sense of th expression he is "on dek"; but my Jim, for th most part, skulkd down belo as tho he had been a stoaway. He infectd me so that I avoidd speakng on professionl matrs, such as wud sujest themselvs natrly to two sailrs during a passaj. For hole days we did not exchanje a word; I felt extremely unwilng to giv ordrs to my oficers in his presnce. Ofn, wen alone with
'I placed him with De Jongh, as u no, glad enuf to dispose of him in any way, yet persuaded that his position was now groing intolrbl. He had lost som of that elasticity wich had enabled him to rebound bak into his uncomprmising position aftr evry overthro. One day, comng ashor, I saw him standng on th qy; th watr of th roadstead and th se in th ofng made one smooth asendng plane, and th outrmost ships at ancr seemd to ride motionless in th sky. He was waitng for his boat, wich was being loadd at our feet with pakajs of smal stors for som vesl redy to leve. Aftr exchanjing greetngs, we remaind silent -- side by side. "Jove!" he said sudnly, "this is kilng work."
'he smiled at me; I must say he jenrly cud manaj a smile. I made no reply. I new very wel he was not aluding to his dutis; he had an esy time of it with De Jongh. Nevrthless, as soon as he had spoken I became completely convinced that th work was kilng. I did not even look at him. "Wud u like," said I, "to leve this part of th world altogethr; try California or th West Coast? I'l se wat I can do . . ." He intruptd me a litl scorn-fuly. "Wat difrnce wud it make?" . . . I felt at once convinced that he was ryt. It wud make no difrnce; it was not relief he wantd; I seemd to perceve dimly that wat he wantd, wat he was, as it wer, waitng for, was somthing not esy to define -- somthing in th natur of an oprtunity. I had givn him many oprtunitis, but they had been merely oprtunitis to ern his bred. Yet wat mor cud any man do? Th position struk me as hopeless, and poor Brierly's sayng recurd to me, "Let him creep twenty feet undrground and stay ther." Betr that, I thot, than this waitng abov ground for th imposbl. Yet one cud not be sure even of that. Ther and then, befor his boat was thre oars' lengths away from th qy, I had made up my mind to go and consult Stein in th evenng.
'this Stein was a welthy and respectd merchnt. His "house" (because it was a house, Stein & Co., and ther was som sort of partnr ho, as Stein said, "lookd aftr th Moluccas") had a larj intr-iland busness, with a lot of trading posts establishd in th most out-of-th-way places for colectng th produce. His welth and his respectbility wer not exactly th reasns wy I was anxius to seek his advice. I desired to confide my dificlty to him because he was one of th most trustworthy men I had evr nown. Th jentl lyt of a simpl, unwearied, as it wer, and intelijnt good-natur ilumind his long hairless face. It had deep downwrd folds, and was pale as of a man ho had always led a sedntry
'late in th evenng I entrd his study, aftr traversng an imposing but emty dining-room very dimly lit. Th house was silent. I was preceded by an eldrly grim Javnese servnt in a sort of livry of wite jaket and yelo sarong, ho, aftr throing th dor open, exclaimd lo, "O mastr!" and stepng aside, vanishd in a mysterius way as tho he had been a gost only momentrily
' "So u se me -- so," he said. His hand hovrd over th case wher a butrfly in solitry grandur spred out dark bronz wings, sevn inchs or mor across, with exquisit wite veinings and a gorjus bordr of yelo spots. "Only one specimn like this they hav in yr Londn, and then -- no mor. To my smal nativ town this my colection I shal bequeath. Somthing of me. Th best."
'he bent forwrd in th chair and gazed intently, his chin over th front of th case. I stood at his bak. "Marvlus," he wisprd, and seemd to forget my presnce. His histry was curius. He had been born in Bavaria, and wen a yuth of twenty-two had taken an activ part in th revlutionry movemnt of 1848. Hevily comprmised, he manajd to make his escape, and at first found a refuje with a poor republicn watchmaker in Trieste. From ther he made his way to Tripli with a stok of cheap wachs to hawk about, -- not a very gret openng truly, but it turnd out lucky enuf, because it was ther he came upon a Duch travlr -- a rathr famus man, I beleve, but I dont remembr his name. It was that natrlist ho, engajing him as a sort of asistnt, took him to th East. They travld in th Archipelago togethr and sepratly, colectng insects and birds, for four years or mor. Then th natrlist went home, and Stein, havng no home to go to, remaind with an old trader he had com across in his jurnis in th interir
'by means of this simpl formality Stein inheritd th Scotsman's privlejd position and al his stok-in-trade, togethr with a fortifyd house on th banks of th only navigable rivr in th cuntry. Shortly aftrwrds th old queen, ho was so fre in her speech, died, and th cuntry became disturbd by varius pretenders to th throne. Stein joind th party of a yungr son, th one of hom thirty years later he nevr spoke othrwise but as "my poor Mohamed Bonso." They both became th heros of inumerabl exploits; they had wondrful adventurs, and once stood a seje in th Scotsman's house for a month, with only a scor of foloers against a hole army. I beleve th nativs talk of that war to this day. Meantime, it seems, Stein nevr faild to annex on his own acount evry butrfly or beetl he cud lay hands on. Aftr som eit years of war, negotiations, false truces, sudn outbreks, recnciliation, trechry, and so on, and just as pece seemd at last permnntly establishd, his "poor Mohamed Bonso" was asasnated at th gate of his own royl residnce wile dismountng in th hyest spirits on his return from a succesful deer-hunt. This event rendrd Stein's position extremely insecure, but he wud hav stayd perhaps had it not been that a short time aftr-wards he lost Mohammed's sistr ("my dear wife th princess," he used to say solemly), by hom he had had a dautr -- mothr and child both dyng within thre days of each othr from som infectius fever. He left th cuntry, wich this cruel loss had made unberbl to him. Thus endd th first and adventurus part of his existnce. Wat folod was so difrnt that, but for th reality of soro wich remaind with him, this stranje past must hav resembld a dream. He had a litl mony; he startd life afresh, and in th corse of years aquired a considrbl fortune. At first he had travld a good deal amongst th ilands, but aje had stolen upon him, and of late he seldm left his spacius house thre miles out of
' "Marvlus!" he repeatd, lookng up at me. "Look! Th buty -- but that is nothing -- look at th acuracy, th harmny. And so frajl! And so strong! And so exact! This is Natur -- th balance of colosl forces. Evry star is so -- and evry blade of grass stands so -- and th myty Kosmos in perfect equilibrium produces -- this. This wondr; this mastrpece of Natur -- th gret artist."
' "Nevr herd an entomologist go on like this," I observd cheerfuly. "Mastrpece! And wat of man?"
' "Man is amazing, but he is not a mastrpece," he said, keepng his ys fixd on th glass case. "Perhaps th artist was a litl mad. Eh? Wat do u think? Somtimes it seems to me that man is com wher he is not wantd, wher ther is no place for him; for if not, wy shud he want al th place? Wy shud he run about here and ther making a gret noise about himself, talkng about th stars, disturbng th blades of grass? . . ."
' "Cachng butrflys," I chimed in.
'he smiled, threw himself bak in his chair, and strechd his legs. "Sit down," he said. "I capturd this rare specimn myself one very fine mornng. And I had a very big emotion. U dont no wat it is for a colectr to captur such a rare specimn. U cant no."
'I smiled at my ese in a rokng-chair. His ys seemd to look far beyond th wal at wich they stared; and he narated how, one nyt, a mesnjr arived from his "poor Mohamed," requiring his presnce at th "residenz" -- as he cald it -- wich was distnt som nine or ten miles by a bridle-path over a cultivated plan, with pachs of forest here and ther. Erly in th mornng he startd from his fortifyd house, aftr embracing his
"'so halt' ich's endlich denn in meinen Händen,
Und nenn' es in gewissem Sinne mein.' "
He gave to th last word th emfasis of a sudnly loerd voice, and withdrew his ys sloly from my face. He began to charj a long-stemd pipe busily and in silence, then, pausng with his thum on th orifice of th bol, lookd again at me synificntly.
' "Yes, my good frend. On that day I had nothing to desire; I had gretly anoyd my principl enmy; I was yung, strong; I had frendship; I had th lov" (he said "lof") "of womn, a child I had, to make my hart very ful -- and even wat I had once dreamd in my sleep had com into my hand too!"
'he struk a mach, wich flared violently. His thotful placid face twichd once.
' "Frend, wife, child," he said sloly, gazing at th smal flame -- "phoo!" Th mach was blown out. He syd and turnd again to th glass case. Th frail and butiful wings quivrd faintly, as if his breth had for an instnt cald bak to life that gorjus object of his dreams.
' "Th work," he began sudnly, pointng to th scatrd slips,
' "To tel u th truth, Stein," I said with an efrt that surprised me, "I came here to describe a specimn...."
' "Butrfly?" he askd, with an unbeleving and humorus eagrness.
' "Nothing so perfect," I ansrd, feelng sudnly dispiritd with al sorts of douts. "A man!"
' "Ach so!" he murmrd, and his smiling countnnce, turnd to me, became grave. Then aftr lookng at me for a wile he said sloly, "Wel -- I am a man too."
'here u hav him as he was; he new how to be so jenrusly encurajng as to make a scrupulus man hesitate on th brink of confidnce; but if I did hesitate it was not for long.
'he herd me out, sitng with crosd legs. Somtimes his hed wud disapear completely in a gret eruption of smoke, and a sympathetic growl wud com out from th cloud. Wen I finishd he uncrosd his legs, laid down his pipe, leand forwrd towards me ernestly with his elbos on th arms of his chair, th tips of his fingrs togethr.
' "I undrstand very wel. He is romantic."
'he had diagnosed th case for me, and at first I was quite startld to find how simpl it was; and indeed our confrnce resembld so much a medicl consltation -- Stein, of lernd aspect, sitng in an arm-chair befor his desk; I, anxius, in anothr, facing him, but a litl to one side -- that it seemd natrl to ask --
' "Wat's good for it?"
'he liftd up a long forfingr.
' "Ther is only one remedy! One thing alone can us from being ourselvs cure!" Th fingr came down on th desk with a smart rap. Th case wich he had made to look so simpl befor became if posbl stil simplr -- and altogethr hopeless. Ther was a pause. "Yes," said I, "strictly speakng, th question is not how to get cured, but how to liv."
'he aproved with his hed, a litl sadly as it seemd. "Ja! ja! In jenrl, adaptng th words of yr gret poet: That is th question...." He went on nodng sympatheticly.... "How to be! Ach! How to be."
'he stood up with th tips of his fingrs restng on th desk.
' "We want in so many difrnt ways to be," he began again. "This magnificent butrfly finds a litl heap of dirt and sits stil on it; but man he wil nevr on his heap of mud keep stil. He want to be so, and again he want to be so...." He moved his
'he loerd th glass lid, th autmatic lok clikd sharply, and taking up th case in both hands he bor it relijusly away to its place, pasng out of th bryt circl of th lamp into th ring of faintr lyt -- into shapeless dusk at last. It had an od efect -- as if these few steps had carrid him out of this concrete and perplexd world. His tal form, as tho robd of its substnce, hovrd noislesly over invisbl things with stoopng and indefnit movemnts; his voice, herd in that remoteness wher he cud be glimpsd mysteriusly busy with imaterial cares, was no longr incisiv, seemd to rol voluminus and grave -- melod by distnce.
' "And because u not always can keep yr ys shut ther coms th real trubl -- th hart pain -- th world pain. I tel u, my frend, it is not good for u to find u canot make yr dream com tru, for th reasn that u not strong enuf ar, or not clevr enuf. .Ja! . . . And al th time u ar such a fine felo too! Wie? Was? Gott im Himmel! How can that be? Ha! ha! ha!"
'the shado prowlng amongst th graves of butrflys lafd boistrusly.
' "Yes! Very funny this teribl thing is. A man that is born fals into a dream like a man ho fals into th se. If he trys to climb out into th air as inexperienced peple endevr to do, he drowns -- nicht wahr? . . . No! I tel u! Th way is to th destructiv elemnt submit yrself, and with th exertions of yr hands and feet in th watr make th deep, deep se keep u up. So if u ask me -- how to be?"
'his voice leapd up extrordnrily strong, as tho away ther in th dusk he had been inspired by som wispr of nolej. "I wil tel u! For that too ther is only one way."
'with a hasty swish-swish of his sliprs he loomd up in th ring of faint lyt, and sudnly apeard in th bryt circl of th lamp. His extendd hand aimd at my brest like a pistl; his deep- set ys seemd to pierce thru me, but his twichng lips utrd no word, and th austere exltation of a certitude seen in th dusk vanishd from his face. Th hand that had been pointng at my brest fel, and by-and-by, comng a step nearr, he laid it jently on my sholdr. Ther wer things, he said mornfuly, that perhaps cud nevr be told, only he had livd so much alone that somtimes
'he shook his hed sloly, and aftrwrds lookd at me with a patient and inquiring glance. It was a shame, he said. Ther we wer sitng and talkng like two boys, insted of putng our heds togethr to find somthing practicl -- a practicl remedy -- for th evil -- for th gret evil -- he repeatd, with a humorus and induljnt smile. For al that, our talk did not gro mor practicl. We avoidd pronouncing Jim's name as tho we had tryd to keep flesh and blod out of our discussion, or he wer nothing but an erng spirit, a sufrng and nameless shade. "Na!" said Stein, rising. "To-nyt u sleep here, and in th mornng we shal do somthing practicl -- practicl...." He lit a two-branchd candlstik and led th way. We pasd thru emty dark rooms, escortd by gleams from th lyts Stein carrid. They glided along th waxd flors, sweepng here and ther over th polishd surface of a table, leapd upon a fragmntry curv of a pece of furnitur, or flashd perpendicularly in and out of distnt
' "He is romantic -- romantic," he repeatd. "And that is very bad -- very bad.... Very good, too," he add. "But is he?" I querid.
' "Gewiss," he said, and stood stil holdng up th candelabrum, but without lookng at me. "Evidnt! Wat is it that by inwrd pain makes him no himself? Wat is it that for u and me makes him -- exist?"
'at that moment it was dificlt to beleve in Jim's existnce -- startng from a cuntry parsnaj, blurd by crowds of men as by clouds of dust, silenced by th clashng claims of life and deth in a material world -- but his imperishbl reality came to me with a convincing, with an iresistbl force! I saw it vividly, as tho in our progress thru th lofty silent rooms amongst fleetng gleams of lyt and th sudn revlations of human figrs stealng with flikrng flames within unfathmbl and pelucid depths, we had aproachd nearr to abslute Truth, wich, like Buty itself, floats elusiv, obscure, half submerjd, in th silent stil watrs of mystry. "Perhaps he is," I admitd with a slyt laf, hos unexpectdly loud reverbration made me loer my voice directly; "but I am sure u ar." With his hed dropng on his brest and th lyt held hy he began to walk again. "Wel -- I exist too," he said.
'he preceded me. My ys folod his movemnts, but wat I did se was not th hed of th firm, th welcm gest at aftrnoon receptions, th corespondnt of lernd societis, th entrtainr of stray natrlists; I saw only th reality of his destny, wich he had nown how to folo with unfaltering footsteps, that life begun in humbl suroundngs, rich in jenrus enthusiasms, in frendship, lov, war -- in al th exaltd elemnts of romance. At th dor of my room he faced me. "Yes," I said, as tho carrying on a discussion, "and amongst othr things u dreamd foolishly of a certn butrfly; but wen one fine mornng yr dream came in yr way u did not let th splendid oprtunity escape. Did u? Wheras he . . ." Stein liftd his hand. "And do u no how many oprtunitis I let escape; how many dreams I had lost that had com in my way?" He shook his hed regretfuly. "It seems to me that som wud hav been very fine -- if I had made them com tru. Do u no how many? Perhaps I myself dont no. " "Wethr his wer fine or not," I
'he shook hands on th threshold, peerd into my room undr his rased arm. "Sleep wel. And to-moro we must do somthing practicl -- practicl...."
'though his own room was beyond mine I saw him return th way he came. He was going bak to his butrflys.'
'I dont supose any of u hav evr herd of Patusan?' Marlow resumed, aftr a silence ocupyd in th careful lytng of a cigar. 'it dos not matr; ther's many a hevnly body in th lot crowdng upon us of a nyt that mankind had nevr herd of, it being outside th sfere of its activitis and of no erthly importnce to anybody but to th astronmrs ho ar paid to talk learnedly about its composition, weit, path -- th iregularitis of its conduct, th abrations of its lyt -- a sort of sientific scandl-mongering. Thus with Patusan. It was referd to noingly in th inr govrnmnt circls in Batavia, especialy as to its iregularitis and abrations, and it was nown by name to som few, very few, in th mercntile world. Nobody, howevr, had been ther, and I suspect no one desired to go ther in persn -- just as an astronmr, I shud fancy, wud strongly object to being transportd into a distnt hevnly body, wher, partd from his erthly emolumnts, he wud be bewildrd by th vew of an unfamilir hevn. Howevr, neithr hevnly bodis nor astronmrs hav anything to do with Patusan. It was Jim ho went ther. I only ment u to undrstand that had Stein aranjed to send him into a star of th fifth magnitude th chanje cud not hav been gretr. He left his erthly failngs behind him and wat sort of reputation he had, and ther was a totaly new set of conditions for his imajnativ faclty to work upon. Entirely new, entirely remarkbl. And he got hold of them in a remarkbl way.
'stein was th man ho new mor about Patusan than anybody else. Mor than was nown in th govrnmnt circls I suspect. I hav no dout he had been ther, eithr in his butrfly-huntng days or later on, wen he tryd in his incorijbl way to seasn
'of corse I dont no that story; I can only gess that once befor Patusan had been used as a grave for som sin, transgression, or misfortune. It is imposbl to suspect Stein. Th only womn that had evr existd for him was th Malay girl he cald "My wife th princess," or, mor rarely, in moments of expansion, "th mothr of my Ema." Ho was th womn he had mentiond in conection with Patusan I cant say; but from his alusions I undrstand she had been an educated and very good-lookng Duch-Malay girl, with a trajic or perhaps only a pitiful histry, hos most painful part no dout was her marrij with a Malacca Portugese ho had been clerk in som comercial house in th Duch colonis. I gathrd from Stein that this man was an unsatisfactry persn in mor ways than one, al being mor or less indefnit and ofensiv. It was solely for his wife's sake that Stein had apointd him manajr of Stein & Co.'s trading post in Patusan; but comercialy th aranjemnt was not a success, at any rate for th firm, and now th womn had died, Stein was disposed to try anothr ajent ther. Th Portugese, hos name was Cornelius, considrd himself a very deservng but il-used persn, entitled by his abilitis to a betr position. This man Jim wud hav to releve. "But I dont think he wil go away from th place," remarkd Stein. "That has nothing to do with me. It was only for th sake of th womn that I . . . But as I think ther is a dautr left, I shal let him, if he likes to stay, keep th old house."
'patusan is a remote district of a nativ-ruled state, and th chief setlmnt bers th same name. At a point on th rivr about forty miles from th se, wher th first houses com into
'and this question was put with a note of persnl pride that made me smile, as tho he had had a hand in regulating that uniqe spectacl. He had regulated so many things in Patusan -- things that wud hav apeard as much beyond his control as th motions of th moon and th stars.
'it was inconcevebl. That was th distinctiv quality of th part into wich Stein and I had tumbld him unwitngly, with no othr notion than to get him out of th way; out of his own way, be it undrstood. That was our main purpos, tho, I own, I myt hav had anothr motiv wich had influenced me a litl. I was about to go home for a time; and it may be I desired, mor than I was aware of myself, to dispose of him -- to dispose of him, u undrstand -- befor I left. I was going home, and he had com to me from ther, with his misrbl trubl and his shadowy claim, like a man pantng undr a burdn in a mist. I canot say I had evr seen him distinctly -- not even to this day, aftr I had my last vew of him; but it seemd to me that th less I undrstood th mor I was bound to him in th name of that dout wich is th inseprbl part of our nolej. I did not no so much mor about myself. And then, I repeat, I was going home -- to that home distnt enuf for al its hearthstones to be like one hearthstone, by wich th humblst of us has th ryt to sit. We wandr in our thousnds over th face of th erth, th ilustrius and th obscure, ernng beyond th ses our fame, our mony, or only a crust of bred; but it seems to me that for each of us going home must be like going to rendr an acount. We return to face our superirs, our kindred, our frends -- those hom we obey, and those hom we lov; but even they ho hav neithr, th most fre, lonely, iresponsbl and bereft of ties, -- even those
'the conquest of lov, onr, men's confidnce -- th pride of it, th powr of it, ar fit materials for a heroic tale; only our minds ar struk by th externls of such a success, and to Jim's successes ther wer no externls. Thirty miles of forest shut it off from th syt of an indifrnt world, and th noise of th wite surf along th coast overpowrd th voice of fame. Th stream of civlization, as if divided on a hedland a hundred miles north of Patusan, branchs east and south-east, leving its plains and vallis, its old tres and its old mankind, neglectd and isolated, such as an insignificnt and crumblng ilet between th two branchs of a myty, devourng stream. U find th name of th cuntry pretty ofn in colections of old voyajs. Th sevnteenth-century traders went ther for pepr, because th passion for pepr seemd to burn like a flame of lov in th brest of Duch and English adventurrs about th time of James th First. Wher wudnt they go for pepr! For a bag of pepr they wud cut each other's throats without hesitation, and wud forswear ther sols, of wich they wer so careful othrwise: th bizar obstnacy of that desire made them defy deth in a thousnd shapes -- th unown ses, th lothsm and stranje diseses; wounds, captivity, hungr, pestlnce, and despair. It made them gret! By hevns! it made them heroic; and it made them pathetic too in ther craving for trade with th inflexbl deth levying its tol on yung and old. It seems imposbl to beleve that mere greed cud hold men to such a stedfastness of purpos, to such a blind persistnce in endevr and sacrifice. And indeed those ho adventured ther persns and lives riskd al they had for a slendr reward. They left ther bones to lie bleachng on distnt shors, so that welth myt flo to th livng at home. To us, ther less tryd succesrs, they apear magnifyd,
'in Patusan they had found lots of pepr, and had been impresd by th magnificence and th wisdm of th Sultn; but somhow, aftr a century of chekrd intrcorse, th cuntry seems to drop graduly out of th trade. Perhaps th pepr had givn out. Be it as it may, nobody cares for it now; th glory has departd, th Sultn is an imbecile yuth with two thums on his left hand and an uncertn and beggarly revnu extortd from a misrbl population and stolen from him by his many uncls.
'this of corse I hav from Stein. He gave me ther names and a short skech of th life and caractr of each. He was as ful of infrmation about nativ states as an oficial report, but infnitly mor amusing. He had to no. He traded in so many, and in som districts -- as in Patusan, for instnce -- his firm was th only one to hav an ajency by special permit from th Duch authoritis. Th Govrnmnt trustd his discretion, and it was undrstood that he took al th risks. Th men he employd undrstood that too, but he made it worth ther wile aparently. He was perfectly frank with me over th brekfast-table in th mornng. As far as he was aware (th last news was thirteen months old, he stated precisely), utr insecurity for life and proprty was th norml condition. Ther wer in Patusan antagnistic forces, and one of them was Raja Allang, th worst of th Sultan's uncls, th govrnr of th rivr, ho did th extorting and th stealng, and ground down to th point of extinction th cuntry-born Malays, ho, utrly defensless, had not even th resorce of emigrating -- "For indeed," as Stein remarkd, "wher cud they go, and how cud they get away?" No dout they did not even desire to get away. Th world
'it is precisely th casulness of it that strikes me most. Neithr Stein nor I had a clear conception of wat myt be on th othr side wen we, metaforicly speakng, took him up and hove him over th wal with scant ceremny. At th moment I merely wishd to acheve his disapearnce; Stein characteristically enuf had a sentmentl motiv. He had a notion of payng off (in kind, I sup- pose) th old det he had nevr forgotn. Indeed he had been al
'upon evry othr point I was perfectly frank with him, and I even (as I beleved at th time) exajrated th danjer of th undrtaking. As a matr of fact I did not do it justice; his first day in Patusan was nearly his last -- wud hav been his last if he had not been so rekless or so hard on himself and had condesendd to load that revolvr. I remembr, as I unfoldd our precius sceme for his retreat, how his stubrn but weary resignation was graduly replaced by surprise, intrest, wondr, and by boyish eagrness. This was a chance he had been dreamng of. He cudnt think how he meritd that I . . . He wud be shot if he cud se to wat he oed . . .And it was Stein, Stein th merchnt, ho . . .but of corse it was me he had to . . . I cut him short. He was not articulat, and his gratitude causd me inexplicbl pain. I told him that if he oed this chance to any one especialy, it was to an old Scot of hom he had nevr herd, ho had died many years ago, of hom litl was remembrd besides a rorng voice and a ruf sort of onesty. Ther was realy no one to receve his thanks. Stein was pasng on to a yung man th help he had receved in his own yung days, and I had don no mor than to mention his name. Upon this he colord, and, twistng a bit of paper in his fingrs, he remarkd bashfully that I had always trustd him.
'I admitd that such was th case, and add aftr a pause that I wishd he had been able to folo my exampl. "U think I dont?" he askd unesily, and remarkd in a mutr that one had to get som sort of sho first; then brytnng up, and in a loud voice he protestd he wud giv me no ocasion to regret my confidnce, wich -- wich . . .
' "Do not misapprehend," I intruptd. "It is not in yr powr to make me regret anything." Ther wud be no regrets; but if ther wer, it wud be altogethr my own afair: an th othr hand, I wishd him to undrstand clearly that this aranjemnt, this -- this -- experimnt, was his own doing; he was responsbl for it and
'he did not return til next mornng. He had been kept to dinr and for th nyt. Ther nevr had been such a wondrful man as Mr. Stein. He had in his poket a letr for Cornelius ("th Jonni ho's going to get th sak," he explaind, with a momentry drop in his elation), and he exibitd with gle a silvr ring, such as nativs use, worn down very thin and shoing faint traces of chasing.
'this was his introduction to an old chap cald Doramin -- one of th principl men out ther -- a big pot -- ho had been Mr. Stein's frend in that cuntry wher he had al these adventurs. Mr. Stein cald him "war-comrad." War-comrad was good. Wasnt it? And didnt Mr. Stein speak English wondrfuly wel? Said he
'he ran on like this, forgetng his plate, with a nife and fork in hand (he had found me at tiffin), slytly flushd, and with his ys darknd many shades, wich was with him a syn of exitemnt. Th ring was a sort of credential -- ("It's like somthing u red of in books," he threw in apreciativly) -- and Doramin wud do his best for him. Mr. Stein had been th means of saving that chap's life on som ocasion; purely by accidnt, Mr. Stein had said, but he -- Jim -- had his own opinion about that. Mr. Stein was just th man to look out for such accidnts. No matr. Accidnt or purpos, this wud serv his turn imensly. Hoped to goodness th jolly old begr had not gon off th hooks meantime. Mr. Stein cud not tel. Ther had been no news for mor than a year; they wer kikng up no end of an al-fired ro amongst themselvs, and th rivr was closed. Jolly awkwrd, this; but, no fear; he wud manaj to find a crak to get in.
'he impresd, almost frytnd me with his elated ratl. He was volubl like a yungstr on th eve of a long holiday with a prospect of delytful scrapes, and such an atitude of mind in a grown man and in this conection had in it somthing fenomnl, a litl mad, danjerus, unsafe. I was on th point of entreating him to take things seriusly wen he dropd his nife and fork (he had begun eatng, or rathr swaloing food, as it wer, unconciusly), and began a serch al round his plate. Th ring! Th ring! Wher th devl . . . Ah! Here it was . . . He closed his big hand on it, and tryd al his pokets one aftr anothr. Jove! wudnt do to lose th thing. He meditated gravely over his fist. Had it? Wud hang th bally afair round his nek! And he proceedd to do this imediatly, producing a string (wich lookd like a bit of a cotn shoe-lace) for th purpos. Ther! That wud do th trik! It wud be th duce if . . . He seemd to cach syt of my face for th first time, and it stedid him a litl. I probbly didnt realize, he said with a naive gravity, how much importnce he atachd to that token. It ment a frend; and it is a good thing to hav a frend. He new somthing about that. He nodd at me expressivly, but befor my disclaiming jestur he leand his hed on his hand and for a wile sat silent, playng thotfuly with th bred-crums on th
'he tosd his hed fearlesly, and I confess that for th first and last time in our aquaintnce I perceved myself unexpectdly to be thoroly sik of him. Wy these vapourings? He was stumpng about th room flurishng his arm absurdly, and now and then feelng on his brest for th ring undr his clothes. Wher was th sense of such exltation in a man apointd to be a trading-clerk, and in a place wher ther was no trade -- at that? Wy hurl defiance at th universe? This was not a propr frame of mind to aproach any undrtaking; an impropr frame of mind not only for him, I said, but for any man. He stood stil over me. Did I think so? he askd, by no means subdud, and with a smile in wich I seemd to detect sudnly somthing inslnt. But then I am twenty years his senir. Yuth is inslnt; it is its ryt -- its necessity; it has got to asert itself, and al asertion in this world of douts is a defiance, is an inslnce. He went off into a far cornr, and comng bak, he, figrativly speakng, turnd to rend me. I spoke like that because I -- even I, ho had been no end kind to him -- even I remembrd -- remembrd -- against him -- wat -- wat had hapnd. And wat about othrs -- th -- th -- world? Wher's th wondr he wantd to get out, ment to get out, ment to stay out -- by hevns! And I talkd about propr frames of mind!
' "It is not I or th world ho remembr," I shoutd. "It is u -- u, ho remembr."
'he did not flinch, and went on with heat, "Forget everything, evrybody, evrybody." . . . His voice fel. . . "But u," he
' "Yes -- me too -- if it wud help," I said, also in a lo tone. Aftr this we remaind silent and languid for a time as if exaustd. Then he began again, composedly, and told me that Mr. Stein had instructd him to wait for a month or so, to se wethr it was posbl for him to remain, befor he began bildng a new house for himself, so as to avoid "vain expense." He did make use of funny expressions -- Stein did. "Vain expense" was good. . . . Remain? Wy! of corse. He wud hang on. Let him only get in-that's al; he wud ansr for it he wud remain. Nevr get out. It was esy enuf to remain.
' "Dont be foolhardy," I said, rendrd unesy by his thretnng tone. "If u only liv long enuf u wil want to com bak."
' "Com bak to wat?" he askd absntly, with his ys fixd upon th face of a clok on th wal.
'I was silent for a wile. "Is it to be nevr, then?" I said. "Nevr," he repeatd dreamily without lookng at me, and then flew into sudn activity. "Jove! Two oclok, and I sail at four!"
'it was tru. A brigantine of Stein's was leving for th westwrd that aftrnoon, and he had been instructd to take his passaj in her, only no ordrs to delay th sailng had been givn. I supose Stein forgot. He made a rush to get his things wile I went abord my ship, wher he promisd to cal on his way to th outr road-sted. He turnd up acordngly in a gret hurry and with a smal lethr valise in his hand. This wudnt do, and I ofrd him an old tin trunk of mine suposed to be watr-tyt, or at least damp- tyt. He efectd th transfer by th simpl process of shootng out th contents of his valise as u wud emty a sak of weat. I saw thre books in th tumbl; two smal, in dark covrs, and a thik green-and-gold volume -- a half-crown complete Shakespear. "U red this?" I askd. "Yes. Best thing to cheer up a felo," he said hastily. I was struk by this apreciation, but ther was no time for Shakespearean talk. A hevy revolvr and two smal boxs of cartrijs wer lyng on th cuddy-table. "Pray take this," I said. "It may help u to remain." No soonr wer these words out of my mouth than I perceved wat grim meanng they cud ber. "May help u to get in," I corectd myself remorsefully. He howevr was not trubld by obscure meanngs; he thankd me efusivly and boltd out, calng Good-by over his sholdr. I herd his voice thru th ship's side urjng his boatmen to giv way, and lookng out of th stern-port I saw th boat roundng undr th countr. He sat in her leanng forwrd, exiting his men with voice and jesturs; and as he had kept th revolvr in his hand and seemd to be presentng it at ther heds, I shal nevr forget th scared faces of th four Javnese, and th frantic swing of ther stroke wich snachd that vision from undr my ys. Then turnng away, th first thing I saw
'I ordrd my gig mand at once; but Jim's rowers, undr th impression that ther lives hung on a thred wile they had that madman in th boat, made such exlnt time that befor I had traversd half th distnce between th two vesls I caut syt of him clambrng over th rail, and of his box being pasd up. Al th brigantine's canvas was loose, her mainsail was set, and th windlass was just beginng to clink as I stepd upon her dek: her mastr, a dapr litl half-cast of forty or so, in a blu flanl suit, with lively ys, his round face th color of lemn-peel, and with a thin litl blak mustach droopng on each side of his thik, dark lips, came forwrd smirkng. He turnd out, notwithstandng his self-satisfyd and cheery exterir, to be of a careworn temprmnt. In ansr to a remark of mine (wile Jim had gon belo for a moment) he said, "O yes. Patusan." He was going to carry th jentlman to th mouth of th rivr, but wud "nevr asend. " His floing English seemd to be derived from a dictionry compiled by a lunatic. Had Mr. Stein desired him to "asend," he wud hav "reverentially" -- (I think he wantd to say respectfuly -- but devl only nos) -- "reverentially made objects for th safety of propr-ties." If disregardd, he wud hav presentd "resignation to quit." Twelv months ago he had made his last voyaj ther, and tho Mr. Cornelius "propitiated many offertories" to Mr. Raja Allang and th "principl populations," on conditions wich made th trade "a snare and ashs in th mouth," yet his ship had been fired upon from th woods by "irresponsive partis" al th way down th rivr; wich causng his crew "from exposur to lim to remain silent in hidings," th brigantine was nearly strandd on a sandbank at th bar, wher she "wud hav been perishbl beyond th act of man." Th angry disgust at th reclection, th pride of his fluency, to wich he turnd an atentiv ear, strugld for th posession of his brod simpl face. He scowld and beamd at me, and wachd with satisfaction th undenyabl efect of his fraseolojy. Dark frowns ran swiftly over th placid se, and th brigantine, with her for-topsail to th mast and her main-boom amidships, seemd bewildrd amongst th cat's-paws. He told me furthr, nashng his teeth, that th Raja was a "lafbl hyæna" (cant imajn how he got hold of hyænas); wile sombody else was many times falser than th "wepns of a crocodile." Keepng one y on th movemnts of his crew forwrd, he let loose his volubility -- comparing th place to a "caje of beasts made ravnus by long impenitence." I fancy he ment impunity. He had no intention, he cryd, to "exibit himself to be made atachd purposfuly to robry." Th long-drawn wails, givng th time for th pul of th men catting th
'I herd aftrwrds he had been so indiscreet as to get himself tied up by th nek with a rattan haltr to a post plantd in th midl of a mud-hole befor th Rajah's house. He spent th best part of a day and a hole nyt in that unholesm situation, but ther is evry reasn to beleve th thing had been ment as a sort of joke. He broodd for a wile over that horid memry, I supose, and then adresd in a quarelsm tone th man comng aft to th helm. Wen he turnd to me again it was to speak judicially, without passion. He wud take th jentlman to th mouth of th rivr at Batu Kring (Patusan town "being situated internly," he remarkd, "thirty miles"). But in his ys, he continud -- a tone of bord, weary conviction replacing his previus volubl delivry -- th jentlman was alredy "in th similitude of a corps." "Wat? Wat do u say?" I askd. He asumed a startlngly ferocius demeanr, and imitated to perfection th act of stabng from behind. "Alredy like th body of one deportd," he explaind, with th insufrbly conceitd air of his kind aftr wat they imajn a display of clevrness. Behind him I perceved Jim smiling silently at me, and with a rased hand chekng th exclmation on my lips.
'then, wile th half-cast, burstng with importnce, shoutd his ordrs, wile th yards swung creakng and th hevy boom came surjng over, Jim and I, alone as it wer, to lewrd of th mainsail, claspd each other's hands and exchanjed th last hurrid words. My hart was freed from that dul resentmnt wich had existd side by side with intrest in his fate. Th absurd chatr of th half-cast had givn mor reality to th misrbl danjers of his path than Stein's careful statemnts. On that ocasion th sort of formality that had been always presnt in our intrcorse vanishd from our speech; I beleve I cald him "dear boy," and he takd on th words "old man" to som half-utrd expression of gratitude, as tho his risk set off against my years had made us mor equal in aje and in feelng. Ther was a moment of real and pro-found intmacy, unexpectd and short-livd like a glimps of som evrlastng, of som saving truth. He exertd himself to soothe me as tho he had been th mor mature of th two. "Al ryt, al ryt," he said rapidly and with feelng. "I promis to take care of myself. Yes; I wont take any risks. Not a singl blesd risk. Of corse not. I mean to hang out. Dont u worry. Jove! I feel as if nothing cud tuch me. Wy! this is luk from th word Go. I wudnt spoil such a magnificent chance!" . . . A magnificent chance! Wel, it was magnificent, but chances ar wat men make them, and how was I to no? As he had said, even I -- even I remembrd -- his -- his misfortune against him. It was tru. And th
'my gig had dropd in th wake of th brigantine, and I saw him aft detachd upon th lyt of th westering sun, rasing his cap hy abov his hed. I herd an indistinct shout, "U -- shal -- hear -- of -- me." Of me, or from me, I dont no wich. I think it must hav been of me. My ys wer too dazld by th glitr of th se belo his feet to se him clearly; I am fated nevr to se him clearly; but I can asure u no man cud hav apeard less "in th similitude of a corps," as that half-cast croaker had put it. I cud se th litl wretch's face, th shape and color of a ripe pumpkn, poked out somwher undr Jim's elbo. He too rased his arm as if for a downwrd thrust. Absit omen!'
'the coast of Patusan (I saw it nearly two years aftrwrds) is strait and sombr, and faces a misty ocen. Red trails ar seen like catracts of rust streamng undr th dark-green foliaj of bushs and creeprs clothing th lo clifs. Swampy plains open out at th mouth of rivrs, with a vew of jaged blu peaks beyond th vast forests. In th ofng a chain of ilands, dark, crumblng shapes, stand out in th evrlastng sunlit haze like th remnnts of a wal breachd by th se.
'there is a vilaj of fishr-folk at th mouth of th Batu Kring branch of th estury. Th rivr, wich had been closed so long, was open then, and Stein's litl schooner, in wich I had my passaj, workd her way up in thre tides without being exposed to a fusillade from "irresponsive partis." Such a state of afairs belongd alredy to ancient histry, if I cud beleve th eldrly hedman of th fishng vilaj, ho came on bord to act as a sort of pilot. He talkd to me (th secnd wite man he had evr seen) with confidnce, and most of his talk was about th first wite man he had evr seen. He cald him Tuan Jim and th tone of his refrnces was made remarkbl by a stranje mixtur of familiarity and aw. They, in th vilaj, wer undr that lord's special protection, wich showd that Jim bor no gruj. If he had warnd me that I wud hear of him it was perfectly tru. I was hearng of him. Ther was alredy a story that th tide had turnd two ours befor its time to help him on his jurny up th rivr. Th talkativ old man himself had steerd th canoe and had marvld at th fenomnn. Morover, al th glory was in his famly. His son and his son-in-law had padld; but they wer
'jim's comng to that fishng vilaj was a blesng; but to them, as to many of us, th blesng came heraldd by terrs. So many jenrations had been relesed since th last wite man had visitd th rivr that th very tradition had been lost. Th apearnce of th being that desendd upon them and demandd inflexibly to be taken up to Patusan was discomposing; his insistnce was alarmng; his jenrosity mor than suspicius. It was an unherd-of request. Ther was no precednt. Wat wud th Raja say to this? Wat wud he do to them? Th best part of th nyt was spent in consltation; but th imediat risk from th angr of that stranje man seemd so gret that at last a cranky dug-out was got redy. Th women shriekd with grief as it put off. A fearless old hag cursd th stranjer.
'he sat in it, as I'v told u, on his tin box, nursng th unloadd revolvr on his lap. He sat with precaution -- than wich ther is nothing mor fatiguing -- and thus entrd th land he was destnd to fil with th fame of his virtus, from th blu peaks inland to th wite ribn of surf on th coast. At th first bend he lost syt of th se with its laborng waves for evr rising, sinkng, and vanishng to rise again -- th very imaj of struglng mankind -- and faced th imovebl forests rootd deep in th soil, sorng towards th sunshine, evrlastng in th shadowy myt of ther tradition, like life itself. And his oprtunity sat veild by his side like an Eastrn bride waitng to be uncovrd by th hand of th mastr. He too was th er of a shadowy and myty tradition! He told me, howevr, that he had nevr in his life felt so depresd and tired as in that canoe. Al th movemnt he dared to alow himself was to reach, as it wer by stelth, aftr th shel of half a coco-nut floatng between his shoes, and bale som of th watr out with a carefuly restraind action. He discovrd how hard th lid of a blok-tin case was to sit upon. He had heroic helth; but sevrl times during that jurny he experienced fits of giddiness, and between whiles he speculated hazily as to th size of th blistr th sun was rasing on his bak. For amusemnt he tryd by lookng ahed to decide wethr th muddy object he saw lyng on th water's ej was a log of wood or an aligator. Only very soon he had to giv that up. No fun in it. Always aligator. One of them flopd into th rivr and al but capsized th canoe. But this exitemnt was over directly. Then in a long emty reach he was very grateful to a troop of monkis ho came ryt down on th bank and made an insultng hulabloo on his passaj. Such was th way in wich he was aproachng gretness as jenuin as any man evr acheved. Principly, he
' "I supose I must hav been stupid with fatige, or perhaps I did doze off for a time," he said. Th first thing he new was his canoe comng to th bank. He became instntaneusly aware of th forest havng been left behind, of th first houses being visbl hyr up, of a stokade on his left, and of his boatmen leapng out togethr upon a lo point of land and taking to ther heels. Instinctivly he leapd out aftr them. At first he thot himself desertd for som inconcevebl reasn, but he herd exited shouts, a gate swung open, and a lot of peple pord out, making towards him. At th same time a boat ful of armd men apeard on th rivr and came alongside his emty canoe, thus shutng off his retreat.
' "I was too startld to be quite cool -- dont u no? and if that revolvr had been loadd I wud hav shot sombody -- perhaps two, thre bodis, and that wud hav been th end of me. But it wasnt...." "Wy not?" I askd. "Wel, I cudnt fyt th hole population, and I wasnt comng to them as if I wer afraid of my life," he said, with just a faint hint of his stubrn sulkiness in th glance he gave me. I refraind from pointng out to him that they cud not hav nown th chambers wer actuly emty. He had to satisfy himself in his own way.... "Anyhow it wasnt," he repeatd good-humouredly, "and so I just stood stil and askd them wat was th matr. That seemd to strike them dum. I saw som of these theves going off with my box. That long-leged old scoundrl Kassim (I'l sho him to u to-moro) ran out fusng to me about th Raja wantng to se me. I said, 'all ryt.' I too wantd to se th Raja, and I simply walkd in thru th gate and -- and -- here I am." He lafd, and then with unexpectd emfasis, "And do u no wat's th best in it?" he askd. "I'l tel u. It's th nolej that had I been wiped out it is this place that wud hav been th loser."
'he spoke thus to me befor his house on that evenng I'v mentiond -- aftr we had wachd th moon float away abov th casm between th hils like an asendng spirit out of a grave; its sheen desendd, cold and pale, like th gost of ded sunlyt. Ther is somthing hauntng in th lyt of th moon; it has al th dispassionateness of a dismbodid sol, and somthing of its inconcevebl mystry. It is to our sunshine, wich -- say wat u like -- is al we hav to liv by, wat th eco is to th sound: misleadng and confusing wethr th note be mokng or sad. It robs al forms of matr -- wich, aftr al, is our domain -- of ther substnce, and givs a sinistr reality to shados
'he confesd to me that he ofn wachd these tiny warm gleams go out one by one, that he lovd to se peple go to sleep undr his ys, confidnt in th security of to-moro. "Peceful here, eh?" he askd. He was not eloquent, but ther was a deep meanng in th words that folod. "Look at these houses; ther's not one wher I am not trustd. Jove! I told u I wud hang on. Ask any man, womn, or child . . ." He pausd. "Wel, I am al ryt anyhow."
'I observd quikly that he had found that out in th end. I had been sure of it, I add. He shook his hed. "Wer u?" He presd my arm lytly abov th elbo. "Wel, then -- u wer ryt."
'there was elation and pride, ther was aw almost, in that lo exclmation. "Jove!" he cryd, "only think wat it is to me." Again he presd my arm. "And u askd me wethr I thot of leving. Good God! I! want to leve! Especialy now aftr wat u told me of Mr. Stein's . . . Leve! Wy! That's wat I was afraid of. It wud hav been -- it wud hav been harder than dyng. No -- on my word. Dont laf. I must feel -- evry day, evry time I open my ys -- that I am trustd -- that nobody has a ryt -- dont u no? Leve! For wher? Wat for? To get wat?"
'I had told him (indeed it was th main object of my visit) that it was Stein's intention to presnt him at once with th house and th stok of trading goods, on certn esy conditions wich wud make th transaction perfectly regulr and valid. He began to snort and plunj at first. "Confound yr delicacy!" I shoutd. "It isnt Stein at al. It's givng u wat u had made for yrself. And in any case keep yr remarks for Mcneil -- wen u meet him in th othr world. I hope it wont hapn soon...." He had to giv in to my argumnts, because al his
'it was somthing to be proud of. I too was proud -- for him, if not so certn of th fabulus valu of th bargn. It was wondrful. It was not so much of his fearlessness that I thot. It is stranje how litl acount I took of it: as if it had been somthing too conventionl to be at th root of th matr. No. I was mor struk by th othr gifts he had displayd. He had proved his grasp of th unfamilir situation, his intlectul alertness in that field of thot. Ther was his rediness too! Amazing. And al this had com to him in a manr like keen sent to a wel-bred hound. He was not eloquent, but ther was a dignity in this constitutionl reticence, ther was a hy seriusness in his stammerings. He had stil his old trik of stubrn blushng. Now and then, tho, a word, a sentnce, wud escape him that showd how deeply, how solemly, he felt about that work wich had givn him th certitude of rehabilitation. That is wy he seemd to lov th land and th peple with a sort of fierce egoism, with a contemtuus tendrness.'
' "This is wher I was prisnr for thre days," he murmrd to me (it was on th ocasion of our visit to th Raja), wile we wer making our way sloly thru a kind of awestruck riot of dependnts across Tunku Allang's cortyard. "Filthy place, isnt it? And I cudnt get anything to eat eithr, unless I made a ro about it, and then it was only a smal plate of rice and a fryd fish not much bigr than a stickleback -- confound them! Jove! I'v been hungry prowlng inside this stinkng enclosur with som of these vagabonds shovng ther mugs ryt undr my nose. I had givn up that famus revolvr of yrs at th first demand. Glad to get rid of th bally thing. Lookd like a fool walkng about with an emty shootng-iron in my hand." At that moment we came into th presnce, and he became unflinchingly grave and complmentry with his late captr. O! magnificent! I want to laf wen I think of it. But I was impresd too. Th old disreputbl Tank Allang cud not help shoing his fear (he was no hero, for al th tales of his hot yuth he was fond of telng); and at th same time ther was a wistful confidnce in his manr towards his late
'that's how it was -- and th oprtunity ran by his side, leapd over th gap, floundrd in th mud . . . stil veild. Th unexpectedness of his comng was th only thing, u undrstand, that saved him from being at once dispachd with krisses and flung into th rivr. They had him, but it was like getng hold of an aprition, a raith, a portent. Wat did it mean? Wat to do with it? Was it too late to conciliate him? Hadnt he betr be kild without mor delay? But wat wud hapn then? Reched old Allang went nearly mad with aprehension and thru th dificlty of making up his mind. Sevrl times th council was broken up, and th advisers made a brek helter-skeltr for th dor and out on to th veranda. One -- it is said -- even jumpd down to th ground -- fifteen feet, I shud juj -- and broke his leg. Th royl govrnr of Patusan had bizar manrisms, and one of them was to intro-duce boastful rhapsodies into evry arduus discussion, wen, getng graduly exited, he wud end by flyng off his perch with a kriss in his hand. But, barng such intruptions, th delibrations upon Jim's fate went on nyt and day.
'meanwhile he wandrd about th cortyard, shund by som, glared at by othrs, but wachd by al, and practicly at th mercy of th first casul ragamuffin with a chopr, in ther. He took posession of a smal tumbl-down shed to sleep in; th effluvia of filth and rotn matr incommoded him gretly: it seems he had not lost his apetite tho, because -- he told me -- he had been hungry al th blesd time. Now and again "som fussy ass" deputed from th council-room wud com out runng to him, and in honid tones wud administr amazing interrogatories: "Wer th Duch comng to take th cuntry? Wud th wite man like to go bak down th rivr? Wat was th object of comng to such a misrbl cuntry? Th Raja wantd to no wethr th wite man cud repair a wach?" They did actuly bring out to him a nikl clok of New England make, and out of sheer unberbl bordm he busid himself in tryng to get th alarum to work. It was aparently wen thus ocupyd in his shed that th tru perception of his extreme peril dawnd upon him. He dropd th thing -- he says -- "like a hot
'he seemd to hav a gret liking for Doramin's old wife. She on her side had taken a mothrly fancy to him. She had a round, nut- brown, soft face, al fine rinkls, larj, bryt red lips (she chewd betel asiduusly), and screwd up, winkng, benevlnt ys. She was constntly in movemnt, scoldng busily and ordrng unceasingly a troop of yung women with clear brown
'she invaribly tukd up her feet undr her, but old Doramin sat squarely, sat imposingly as a mountn sits on a plan. He was only of th nakhoda or merchnt class, but th respect shown to him and th dignity of his berng wer very striking. He was th chief of th secnd powr in Patusan. Th imigrnts from Celebes (about sixty famlis that, with dependnts and so on, cud mustr som two hundred men "werng th kriss") had electd him years ago for ther hed. Th men of that race ar intelijnt, entrprising, revengeful, but with a mor frank curaj than th othr Malays, and restless undr opression. They formd th party oposed to th Raja. Of corse th quarels wer for trade. This was th primary cause of faction fyts, of th sudn outbreks that wud fil this or that part of th setlmnt with smoke, flame, th noise of shots and shrieks. Vilajs wer burnt, men wer dragd into th Rajah's stokade to be kild or torturd for th crime of trading with anybody else but himself. Only a day or two befor Jim's arival sevrl heds of housholds in th very fishng vilaj that was aftrwrds taken undr his especial protection had been drivn over th clifs by a party of th Rajah's spearmen, on suspicion of havng been colectng edbl birds' nests for a Celebes trader. Raja Allang pretendd to be th only trader in his cuntry, and th penlty for th breach of th monoply was deth; but his idea of trading was indistinguishable from th comnst forms of robry. His cruelty and rapacity had no othr bounds than his cowrd-ice, and he was afraid of th orgnized powr of th Celebes men, only -- til Jim came -- he was not afraid enuf to keep quiet. He struk at them thru his subjects, and thot himself patheticly in th ryt. Th situation was complicated by a wandrng stranjer, an Arab half-breed, ho, I beleve, on purely relijus grounds, had incited th tribes in th interir (th bush-folk, as Jim himself cald them) to rise, and had establishd himself in a fortifyd camp on th sumit of one of th twin hils. He hung over th town of Patusan like a hawk over
'doramin was one of th most remarkbl men of his race I had evr seen. His bulk for a Malay was imense, but he did not look merely fat; he lookd imposing, monumentl. This motionless body, clad in rich stufs, colord silks, gold embroideries; this huje hed, enfoldd in a red-and-gold headkerchief; th flat, big, round face, rinkld, furod, with two semicirculr hevy folds startng on each side of wide, fierce nostrils, and enclosing a thik-lipped mouth; th throat like a bul; th vast corugated brow over-hangng th staring proud ys -- made a hole that, once seen, can nevr be forgotn. His impassiv repose (he seldm stird a lim wen once he sat down) was like a display of dignity. He was nevr nown to rase his voice. It was a horse and powrful murmr, slytly veild as if herd from a distnce. Wen he walkd, two short, sturdy yung felos, naked to th waist, in wite sarongs and with blak skul-caps on th baks of ther heds, sustaind his elbos; they wud ese him down and stand behind his chair til he wantd to rise, wen he wud turn his hed sloly, as if with dificlty, to th ryt and to th left, and then they wud cach him undr his armpits and help him up. For al that, ther was nothing of a cripl about him: on th contry, al his pondrus movemnts wer like manifestations of a myty delibrat force. It was jenrly beleved he consultd his wife as to public afairs; but nobody, as far as I no, had evr herd them exchanje a singl word. Wen they sat in state by th wide openng it was in silence. They cud se belo them in th declining lyt th vast expanse of th forest
'they had him late in life. Perhaps he was not realy so yung as he lookd. Four-or five-and-twenty is not so yung wen a man is alredy fathr of a famly at eiteen. Wen he entrd th larj room, lined and carpetd with fine mats, and with a hy celing of wite sheetng, wher th cupl sat in state suroundd by a most defrential retnu, he wud make his way strait to Doramin, to kiss his hand -- wich th othr abandnd to him, majesticly -- and then wud step across to stand by his mother's chair. I supose I may say they idolised him, but I nevr caut them givng him an overt glance. Those, it is tru, wer public functions. Th room was jenrly throngd. Th solem formality of greetngs and leve- takings, th profound respect expresd in jesturs, on th faces, in th lo wisprs, is simply indescribebl. "It's wel worth seing," Jim had asured me wile we wer crosng th rivr, on our way bak. "They ar like peple in a book, arnt they?" he said triumfntly. "And Dain Waris -- ther son -- is th best frend (barng u) I evr had. Wat Mr. Stein wud cal a good 'war-comrad.' I was in luk. Jove! I was in luk wen I tumbld amongst them at my last gasp." He meditated with bowd hed, then rousng himself he add --
' "Of corse I didnt go to sleep over it, but . . ." He pausd again. "It seemd to com to me," he murmrd. "Al at once I saw wat I had to do . . ."
'there was no dout that it had com to him; and it had com thru war, too, as is natrl, since this powr that came to him was th powr to make pece. It is in this sense alone that myt so ofn is ryt. U must not think he had seen his way at once. Wen he arived th Bugis comunity was in a most criticl position. "They wer al afraid," he said to me -- "each man afraid for himself; wile I cud se as plan as posbl that they must do somthing at once, if they did not want to go undr one aftr anothr, wat between th Raja and that vagabond Sherif." But to se that was nothing. Wen he got his idea he had to drive it into reluctnt minds, thru th bulwarks of fear, of selfishness. He drove it
'the story! Havnt I herd th story? I'v herd it on th march, in camp (he made me scour th cuntry aftr invisbl game); I'v lisnd to a good part of it on one of th twin sumits, aftr climbng th last hundred feet or so on my hands and nes. Our escort (we had volunteer foloers from vilaj to vilaj) had campd meantime on a bit of levl ground half-way up th slope, and in th stil brethless evenng th smel of wood-smoke reachd our nostrils from belo with th penetrating delicacy of som choice sent. Voices also asendd, wondrful in ther distinct and imaterial clearness. Jim sat on th trunk of a feld tre, and pulng out his pipe began to smoke. A new groth of grass and bushs was springng
'but it had been taken, tho. That had been his idea. He had mountd Doramin's old ordnnce on th top of that hil; two rusty iron 7-pounders, a lot of smal brass cann -- curency cann. But if th brass guns represent welth, they can also, wen cramd reklesly to th muzl, send a solid shot to som litl distnce. Th thing was to get them up ther. He showd me wher he had fasnd th cables, explaind how he had improvised a rude capstan out of a holod log turnng upon a pointd stake, indicated with th bol of his pipe th outline of th earthwork. Th last hundred feet of th asent had been th most dificlt. He had made himself responsbl for success on his own hed. He had induced th war party to work hard al nyt. Big fires lytd at intrvls blazed al down th slope, "but up here," he explaind, "th hoistng gang had to fly around in th dark. " From th top he saw men moving on th hilside like ants at work. He himself on that nyt had kept on rushng down and climbng up like a squirel, directng, encurajng, wachng al along th line. Old Doramin had himself carrid up th hil in his arm-chair. They put him down on th levl place upon th slope, and he sat ther in th lyt of one of th big fires -- "amazing old chap -- real old chieftn," said Jim, "with his litl fierce ys -- a pair of imense flintlock pistls on his nes. Magnificent things, ebny, silvr-mountd, with butiful loks and a calibr like an old blunderbuss. A presnt from Stein, it seems -- in exchanje for that ring, u no. Used to belong to good old Mcneil. God only nos how he came by them. Ther he sat, moving neithr hand nor foot, a flame of dry brushwood behind him, and lots of peple rushng about, shoutng and pulng round him -- th most solem, imposing old chap u can imajn. He wudnt hav had much chance if Sherif Ali had let his infernl crew loose at us and stampeded my lot. Eh? Anyhow, he had com up ther to die if anything went rong. No mistake! Jove! It thrild me to se him ther -- like a rok. But th Sherif must hav thot us mad, and nevr trubld to com and se how we got on. Nobody beleved it cud be don. Wy! I think th very chaps ho puld and shovd and swetd over it did not beleve it cud be don! Upon my word I dont think they did...."
'he stood erect, th smoldrng brier-wood in his cluch, with a smile on his lips and a sparkl in his boyish ys. I sat on th stump of a tre at his feet, and belo us strechd th land, th gret expanse of th forests, sombr undr th sunshine, rolng like a se,
'and ther I was with him, hy in th sunshine on th top of that historic hil of his. He domnated th forest, th seculr doom, th old mankind. He was like a figr set up on a pedestl, to represent in his persistnt yuth th powr, and perhaps th virtus, of races that nevr gro old, that hav emerjd from th gloom. I dont no wy he shud always hav apeard to me symbolic. Perhaps this is th real cause of my intrest in his fate. I dont no wethr it was exactly fair to him to remembr th incidnt wich had givn a new direction to his life, but at that very moment I remembrd very distinctly. It was like a shado in th lyt.'
'already th lejnd had giftd him with supernatrl powrs. Yes, it was said, ther had been many ropes cunngly disposed, and a stranje contrivance that turnd by th efrts of many men, and each gun went up terng sloly thru th bushs, like a wild pig rootng its way in th undrgroth, but . . . and th wisest shook ther heds. Ther was somthing ocult in al this, no dout; for wat is th strength of ropes and of men's arms? Ther is a rebelius sol in things wich must be overcom by powrful charms and incantations. Thus old Sura -- a very respectbl housholdr of Patusan -- with hom I had a quiet chat one evenng. Howevr, Sura was a professionl sorcerr also, ho atendd al th rice sowings and reapings for miles around for th purpos of subduing th stubrn sols of things. This ocupation he seemd to think a most arduus one, and perhaps th sols of things ar mor stubrn than th sols of men. As to th simpl folk of outlyng vilajs, they beleved and said (as th most natrl thing in th world) that Jim had carrid th guns up th hil on his bak -- two at a time.
'this wud make Jim stamp his foot in vexation and exclaim with an exasprated litl laf, "Wat can u do with such silly begrs? They wil sit up half th nyt talkng bally rot, and th gretr th lie th mor they seem to like it." U cud trace th sutl influence of his suroundngs in this iritation. It was part of his captivity. Th ernestness of his denials was amusing, and at last I said, "My dear felo, u dont supose I beleve this." He lookd
'I remembr how, at this point, he pausd with his ys fixd upon me. "As far as he new, they nevr had an ocasion to regret it yet," he said. "Nevr. He hoped to God they nevr wud. Meantime -- worse luk! -- they had got into th habit of taking his word for anything and everything. I cud hav no idea! Wy, only th othr day an old fool he had nevr seen in his life came from som vilaj miles away to find out if he shud divorce his wife. Fact. Solem word. That's th sort of thing. . . He wudnt hav beleved it. Wud I? Squatd on th veranda chewng betel-nut, syng and spitng al over th place for mor than an our, and as glum as an undrtaker befor he came out with that dashd conundrum. That's th kind of thing that isnt so funny as it looks. Wat was a felo to say? -- Good wife? -- Yes. Good wife -- old tho. Startd a confoundd long story about som brass pots. Been livng
'thus he ilustrated th moral efect of his victry in war. It was in truth imense. It had led him from strife to pece, and thru deth into th inrmost life of th peple; but th gloom of th land spred out undr th sunshine preservd its apearnce of inscrutabl, of seculr repose. Th sound of his fresh yung voice -- it's extrordnry how very few syns of wer he showd -- floatd lytly, and pasd away over th unchanjed face of th forests like th sound of th big guns on that cold dewy mornng wen he had no othr concern on erth but th propr control of th chils in his body. With th first slant of sun-rays along these imovebl tre-tops th sumit of one hil rethed itself, with hevy reports, in wite clouds of smoke, and th othr burst into an amazing noise of yels, war-crys, shouts of angr, of surprise, of dismay. Jim and Dain Waris wer th first to lay ther hands on th stakes. Th populr story has it that Jim with a tuch of one fingr had thrown down th gate. He was, of corse, anxius to disclaim this achevemnt. Th hole stokade -- he wud insist on explainng to u -- was a poor
'the rout, it seems, had been complete. Doramin, waitng immovably in his chair on th hilside, with th smoke of th guns spredng sloly abov his big hed, receved th news with a deep grunt. Wen informd that his son was safe and leadng th pursuit, he, without anothr sound, made a myty efrt to rise; his atendnts hurrid to his help, and, held up revrntly, he shufld with gret dignity into a bit of shade, wher he laid himself down to sleep, covrd entirely with a pece of wite sheetng. In Patusan th exitemnt was intense. Jim told me that from th hil, turnng his bak on th stokade with its embrs, blak ashs, and half-consumed corpses, he cud se time aftr time th open spaces between th houses on both sides of th stream fil sudnly with a sething rush of peple and get emty in a moment. His ears caut feebly from belo th tremendus din of gongs and drums; th wild shouts of th crowd reachd him in bursts of faint rorng. A lot of streamrs made a flutr as of litl wite, red, yelo birds amongst th brown rijs of roofs. "U must hav enjoyd it," I murmrd, feelng th stir of sympathetic emotion.
' "It was . . . it was imense! Imense!" he cryd aloud, flingng
'immense! No dout it was imense; th seal of success upon his words, th conqrd ground for th soles of his feet, th blind trust of men, th belief in himself snachd from th fire, th solitude of his achevemnt. Al this, as I'v warnd u, gets dwarfd in th telng. I cant with mere words convey to u th impression of his total and utr isolation. I no, of corse, he was in evry sense alone of his kind ther, but th unsuspectd qualitis of his natur had brot him in such close tuch with his suroundngs that this isolation seemd only th efect of his powr. His loneliness add to his statur. Ther was nothing within syt to compare him with, as tho he had been one of those exeptionl men ho can be only mesurd by th gretness of ther fame; and his fame, remembr, was th gretst thing around for many a day's jurny. U wud hav to padl, pole, or trak a long weary way thru th jungl befor u pasd beyond th reach of its voice. Its voice was not th trumpetng of th disreputbl godess we al no -- not blatant -- not brazen. It took its tone from th stilness and gloom of th land without a past, wher his word was th one truth of evry pasng day. It shared somthing of th natur of that silence thru wich it acompnid u into unexplord depths, herd continuusly by yr side, penetrating, far-reachng -- tinjd with wondr and mystry on th lips of wisprng men.'
'the defeatd Sherif Ali fled th cuntry without making anothr stand, and wen th misrbl huntd vilajrs began to crawl out of th jungl bak to ther rotng houses, it was Jim ho, in consltation with Dain Waris, apointd th hedmen. Thus he became th virtul ruler of th land. As to old Tunku Allang, his fears at first had nown no bounds. It is said that at th intelijnce of th succesful stormng of th hil he flung himself, face down, on th bamboo flor of his audience-hal, and lay motionless for a hole nyt and a hole day, utrng stifled sounds of such an apalng natur that no man dared aproach his prostrate form nearr than a spear's length. Alredy he cud se himself drivn ignminiusly out of Patusan, wandrng, abandnd, stripd, without opium, without his women, without foloers, a fair game for
'I tryd to put th subject aside. It was dificlt, for ther cud be no question that Jim had th powr; in his new sfere ther did not seem to be anything that was not his to hold or to giv. But that, I repeat, was nothing in comparisn with th notion, wich ocurd to me, wile I lisnd with a sho of atention, that he seemd to hav com very near at last to mastrng his fate. Doramin was anxius about th futur of th cuntry, and I was struk by th turn he gave to th argumnt. Th land remains wher God had put it; but wite men -- he said -- they com to us and in a litl wile they go. They go away. Those they leve behind do not no wen to look for ther return. They go to ther own land, to ther peple, and so this wite man too wud.... I dont no wat induced me to comit myself at this point by a vigrus "No, no." Th hole extent of this indiscretion became aparent wen Doramin, turnng ful upon me his face, hos expression, fixd in ruged deep folds, remaind unaltrbl, like a huje brown mask, said that this was good news indeed, reflectivly; and then wantd to no wy.
'his litl, mothrly wich of a wife sat on my othr hand, with her hed covrd and her feet tukd up, gazing thru th gret shutr-hole. I cud only se a strayng lok of gray hair, a hy cheek-bone, th slyt masticating motion of th sharp chin. Without removing her ys from th vast prospect of forests strechng as far as th hils, she askd me in a pitying voice wy was it that he so yung had wandrd from his home, comng so far, thru so many danjers? Had he no houshold ther, no kinsmen in his own cuntry? Had he no old mothr, ho wud always remembr his
'I was completely unprepared for this. I cud only mutr and shake my hed vagely. Aftrwrds I am perfectly aware I cut a very poor figr tryng to extricate myself out of this dificlty. From that moment, howevr, th old nakhoda became tacitrn. He was not very plesed, I fear, and evidntly I had givn him food for thot. Stranjely enuf, on th evenng of that very day (wich was my last in Patusan) I was once mor confrontd with th same question, with th unansrbl wy of Jim's fate. And this brings me to th story of his lov.
'I supose u think it is a story that u can imajn for yrselvs. We hav herd so many such storis, and th majority of us dont beleve them to be storis of lov at al. For th most part we look upon them as storis of oprtunitis: episodes of passion at best, or perhaps only of yuth and temtation, doomd to forgetfulness in th end, even if they pass thru th reality of tendrness and regret. This vew mostly is ryt, and perhaps in this case too.... Yet I dont no. To tel this story is by no means so esy as it shud be -- wer th ordnry standpoint adequat. Aparently it is a story very much like th othrs: for me, howevr, ther is visbl in its bakground th melancly figr of a womn, th shado of a cruel wisdm burid in a lonely grave, lookng on wistfuly, helplesly, with seald lips. Th grave itself, as I came upon it during an erly mornng strol, was a rathr shapeless brown mound, with an inlaid neat bordr of wite lumps of coral at th base, and enclosed within a circulr fence made of split saplngs, with th bark left on. A garlnd of leavs and flowrs was woven about th heds of th slendr posts -- and th flowrs wer fresh.
'thus, wethr th shado is of my imajnation or not, I can at al events point out th synificnt fact of an unforgotten grave. Wen I tel u besides that Jim with his own hands had workd at th rustic fence, u wil perceve directly th difrnce, th individul side of th story. Ther is in his espousl of memry and afection belongng to anothr human being somthing caractristic of his seriusness. He had a concience, and it was a romantic concience. Thru her hole life th wife of th unspeakbl Cornelius had no othr companion, confidant, and frend but her dautr. How th poor womn had com to marry th awful litl Malacca Portugese -- aftr th sepration from th fathr of her girl -- and how that sepration had been brot about, wethr by deth, wich can be somtimes merciful, or by th merciless pressur of conventions, is a mystry to me. From th litl wich Stein (ho new so many storis) had let drop in my hearng, I am convinced that she was no ordnry womn. Her own fathr had been a wite; a hy oficial; one of th briliantly endowd men ho
'this was th theory of Jim's maritl evenng walks. I made a third on mor than one ocasion, unplesntly aware evry time of Cornelius, ho nursd th agreved sense of his legal paternity, slinkng in th neibrhood with that peculir twist of his
'it coms to me now that I had, on th hole, seen very litl of her. Wat I remembr best is th even, oliv palr of her complexion, and th intense blu-blak gleams of her hair, floing abundntly from undr a smal crimsn cap she wor far bak on her shapely hed. Her movemnts wer fre, asured, and she blushd a dusky red. Wile Jim and I wer talkng, she wud com and go with rapid glances at us, leving on her passaj an impression of grace and charm and a distinct sujestion of wachfulness. Her manr presentd a curius combnation of shyness and audacity. Evry pretty smile was succeedd swiftly by a look of silent, represd anxiety, as if put to flyt by th reclection of som abiding danjer. At times she wud sit down with us and, with her soft cheek dimpld by th nukls of her litl hand, she wud lisn to our talk; her big clear ys wud remain fasnd on our lips, as tho each pronounced word had a visbl shape. Her mothr had taut her to red and rite; she had lernd a good bit of English from Jim, and she spoke it most amusingly, with his own clipng, boyish intnation. Her tendrness hovrd over him like a flutr of wings. She livd so completely in his contmplation that she had aquired somthing of his outwrd aspect, somthing that recald him in her movemnts, in th way she strechd her arm, turnd her hed, directd her glances. Her vijlnt afection had an intensity that made it almost perceptbl to th senses; it seemd actuly to exist in th ambient matr of space, to envelop him like a peculir fragrance, to dwel in th sunshine like a tremulus, subdud, and impassiond note. I supose u think that I too am romantic, but it is a mistake. I am relating to u th sober impressions of a bit of yuth, of a stranje unesy romance that had com in my way. I observd with intrest th work of his -- wel -- good fortune. He was jelusly lovd, but wy she shud be jelus, and of wat, I cud not tel. Th land, th peple, th forests wer her acomplices, gardng him with vijlnt acord, with an air of seclusion, of mystry, of invincibl posession. Ther was no apeal, as it wer; he was imprisnd within th very fredm of his powr, and she, tho redy to make a footstool of her hed for his feet, gardd her conquest inflexibly -- as tho he wer hard to keep.
'you must no he had left Doramin's place very soon aftr his arival -- much too soon, in fact, for his safety, and of corse a long time befor th war. In this he was actuated by a sense of duty; he had to look aftr Stein's busness, he said. Hadnt he? To that end, with an utr disregard of his persnl safety, he crosd th rivr and took up his quartrs with Cornelius. How th latr had manajd to exist thru th trubld times I cant say. As Stein's ajent, aftr al, he must hav had Doramin's protection in a mesur; and in one way or anothr he had manajd to rigl thru al th dedly complications, wile I hav no dout that his conduct, watevr line he was forced to take, was markd by that abjectness wich was like th stamp of th man. That was his caractristic; he was fundmently and outwrdly abject, as othr men ar markedly of a jenrus, distinguishd, or venrbl apearnce. It was th elemnt of his natur wich permeated al his acts and passions and emotions; he rajed abjectly, smiled abjectly, was abjectly sad; his civilities and his indignations wer alike abject. I am sure his lov wud hav been th most abject of sentmnts -- but can one imajn a lothsm insect in lov? And his loathsomeness, too, was abject, so that a simply disgustng persn wud hav apeard noble by his side. He has his place neithr in th bakground nor in th forground of th story; he is simply seen skulkng on its outskirts, enigmatical and unclean, tainting th fragrance of its yuth and of its naiveness.
'his position in any case cud not hav been othr than extremely misrbl, yet it may very wel be that he found som advantajs in it. Jim told me he had been receved at first with an abject display of th most amicbl sentmnts. "Th felo aparently cudnt contain himself for joy," said Jim with disgust. "He flew at me evry mornng to shake both my hands -- confound him! -- but I cud nevr tel wethr ther wud be any brekfast. If I got thre meals in two days I considrd myself jolly lucky, and he made me syn a chit for ten dolrs evry week. Said he was sure Mr. Stein did not mean him to keep me for nothing. Wel -- he kept me on nothing as near as posbl. Put it down to th unsetld state of th cuntry, and made as if to ter his hair out, begng
'he told me furthr that he didnt no wat made him hang on -- but of corse we may gess. He sympathized deeply with th defensless girl, at th mercy of that "mean, cowrdly scoundrl." It apears Cornelius led her an awful life, stopng only short of actul il-usaj, for wich he had not th pluk, I supose. He insistd upon her calng him fathr -- "and with respect too -- with respect," he wud scream, shaking a litl yelo fist in her face. "I am a respectbl man, and wat ar u? Tel me -- wat ar u? U think I am going to bring up sombody else's child and not be treatd with respect? U ot to be glad I let u. Com -- say Yes, fathr.... No? ... U wait a bit." Therupon he wud begin to abuse th ded womn, til th girl wud run off with her hands to her hed. He pursud her, dashng in and out and round th house and amongst th sheds, wud drive her into som cornr, wher she wud fal on her nes stopng her ears, and then he wud stand at a distnce and declaim filthy denunciations at her bak for half an our at a strech. "Yr mothr was a devl, a deceitful devl -- and u too ar a devl," he wud shriek in a final
'jim, howevr, let th statemnt pass, and did not giv it a singl thot. Othr matrs ocupyd his mind, and besides he had neithr seen nor herd anything. He contentd himself by sayng, "O!" absntly, got a drink of watr out of a pichr standng ther, and leving Cornelius a prey to som inexplicbl emotion -- that made him embrace with both arms th worm-eatn rail of th veranda as if his legs had faild -- went in again and lay down on his mat to think. By-and-by he herd stelthy footsteps. They stopd. A voice wisprd tremulusly thru th wal, "Ar u asleep?" "No! Wat is it?" he ansrd briskly, and ther was an abrupt movemnt outside, and then al was stil, as if th whisperer had been startld. Extremely anoyd at this, Jim came out impetuously, and Cornelius with a faint shriek fled along th veranda as far as th steps, wher he hung on to th broken banistr. Very puzld, Jim cald out to him from th distnce to no wat th devl he ment. "Hav u givn yr considration to wat I spoke to u about?" askd Cornelius, pronouncing th words with dificlty, like a man in th cold fit of a fever. "No!" shoutd Jim in a passion. "I hav not, and I dont intend to. I am going to liv here, in Patusan." "U shal d-d-die h-h-here," ansrd Cornelius, stil shaking violently, and in a sort of expiring voice. Th hole performnce was so absurd and provoking that Jim didnt no wethr he ot to be amused or angry. "Not til I hav seen u tukd away, u bet," he cald out, exasprated yet redy to laf. Half seriusly (being exited with his own thots, u no) he went on shoutng, "Nothing can tuch me! U can do yr damdst." Somhow th shadowy Cornelius far off ther seemd to be th hateful embodimnt of al th annoyances and dificltis he had found in his path. He let himself go -- his nervs had been over-rot for days -- and cald him many pretty names, -- swindlr, liar, sorry rascl: in fact, carrid on in an extrordnry way. He admits he pasd al bounds, that he was quite beside himself -- defyd al Patusan to scare him away -- declared he wud make them al dance to his own tune yet, and
'you may imajn with wat intrest I lisnd. Al these details wer perceved to hav som significnce twenty-four ours later. In th mornng Cornelius made no alusion to th events of th nyt. "I supose u wil com bak to my poor house," he mutrd surlily, slinkng up just as Jim was entrng th canoe to go over to Doramin's campong. Jim only nodd, without lookng at him. "U find it good fun, no dout," mutrd th othr in a sour tone. Jim spent th day with th old nakhoda, preachng th necessity of vigrus action to th principl men of th Bugis comunity, ho had been sumnd for a big talk. He remembrd with plesur how very eloquent and persuasiv he had been. "I manajd to put som bakbone into them that time, and no mistake," he said. Sherif Ali's last raid had swept th outskirts of th setlmnt, and som women belongng to th town had been carrid off to th stokade. Sherif Ali's emisris had been seen in th market-place th day befor, strutng about hautily in wite cloaks, and boastng of th Rajah's frendship for ther mastr. One of them stood forwrd in th shade of a tre, and, leanng on th long barel of a rifle, exortd th peple to prayr and repentnce, advising them to kil al th stranjers in ther midst, som of hom, he said, wer infidls and othrs even worse -- children of Satan in th gise of Moslms. It was reportd that sevrl of th Rajah's peple amongst th lisnrs had loudly expresd ther aprobation. Th
'as he had got th Bugis iretrevebly comitd to action, and had made himself responsbl for success on his own hed, he was so elated that in th lytness of his hart he abslutely tryd to be civl with Cornelius. But Cornelius became wildly jovial in response, and it was almost mor than he cud stand, he says, to hear his litl squeaks of false laftr, to se him rigl and blink, and sudnly cach hold of his chin and crouch lo over th table with a distractd stare. Th girl did not sho herself, and Jim retired erly. Wen he rose to say good-nyt, Cornelius jumpd up, nokng his chair over, and dukd out of syt as if to pik up somthing he had dropd. His good-nyt came huskily from undr th table. Jim was amazed to se him emerj with a dropng jaw, and staring, stupidly frytnd ys. He cluchd th ej of th table. "Wat's th matr? Ar u unwel?" askd Jim. "Yes, yes, yes. A gret colic in my stomac," says th othr; and it is Jim's opinion that it was perfectly tru. If so, it was, in vew of his contmplated action, an abject syn of a stil imperfect calusness for wich he must be givn al du credit.
'be it as it may, Jim's slumbrs wer disturbd by a dream of hevns like brass resoundng with a gret voice, wich cald upon him to Awake! Awake! so loud that, notwithstandng his desprat determnation to sleep on, he did wake up in reality. Th glare of a red splutrng conflagration going on in mid-air fel on his ys. Coils of blak thik smoke curvd round th hed of som aprition, som unerthly being, al in wite, with a severe, drawn, anxius face. Aftr a secnd or so he recognized th girl. She was holdng a dammar torch at arm's-length aloft, and in a persistnt, urjnt monotone she was repeatng, "Get up! Get up! Get up!"
'suddenly he leapd to his feet; at once she put into his hand a revolvr, his own revolvr, wich had been hangng on a nail, but loadd this time. He gripd it in silence, bewildrd, blinkng in th lyt. He wondrd wat he cud do for her.
'she askd rapidly and very lo, "Can u face four men with this?" He lafd wile narrating this part at th reclection of his polite alacrity. It seems he made a gret display of it. "Certnly -- of corse -- certnly -- comand me." He was not proprly awake, and had a notion of being very civl in these extrordnry circmstnces, of shoing his unquestionng, devoted rediness. She left th room, and he folod her; in th passaj they disturbd an old hag ho did th casul cookng of th houshold, tho she was so decrepit as to be hardly able to undrstand human speech. She got up and hobld behind them, mumblng toothlessly. On th veranda a hamok of sail-cloth, belongng to Cornelius,
'the Patusan establishmnt, like al th posts of Stein's Trading Compny, had orijnly consistd of four bildngs. Two of them wer representd by two heaps of stiks, broken bamboos, rotn thach, over wich th four cornr-posts of hardwood leand sadly at difrnt angls: th principl storoom, howevr, stood yet, facing th agent's house. It was an oblong hut, bilt of mud and clay; it had at one end a wide dor of stout plankng, wich so far had not com off th hinjs, and in one of th side walls ther was a square aprtur, a sort of windo, with thre woodn bars. Befor desendng th few steps th girl turnd her face over her sholdr and said quikly, "U wer to be set upon wile u slept." Jim tels me he experienced a sense of deception. It was th old story. He was weary of these atemts upon his life. He had had his fil of these alarms. He was sik of them. He asured me he was angry with th girl for deceving him. He had folod her undr th impression that it was she ho wantd his help, and now he had half a mind to turn on his heel and go bak in disgust. "Do u no," he comentd profoundly, "I rathr think I was not quite myself for hole weeks on end about that time." "O yes. U wer tho," I cudnt help contradictng.
'but she moved on swiftly, and he folod her into th cortyard. Al its fences had falen in a long time ago; th neighbours' buffaloes wud pace in th mornng across th open space, snortng profoundly, without haste; th very jungl was invading it alredy. Jim and th girl stopd in th rank grass. Th lyt in wich they stood made a dense blakness al round, and only abov ther heds ther was an opulent glitr of stars. He told me it was a butiful nyt -- quite cool, with a litl stir of breze from th rivr. It seems he noticed its frendly buty. Remembr this is a lov story I am telng u now. A lovly nyt seemd to brethe on them a soft caress. Th flame of th torch streamd now and then with a flutrng noise like a flag, and for a time this was th only sound. "They ar in th storoom waitng," wisprd th girl; "they ar waitng for th signl." "Ho's to giv it?" he askd. She shook th torch, wich blazed up aftr a showr of sparks. "Only u hav been sleepng so restlesly," she continud in a murmr; "I wachd yr sleep, too." "U!" he exclaimd, craning his nek to look about him. "U think I wachd on this nyt only!" she said, with a sort of despairng indignation..
'he says it was as if he had receved a blo on th chest. He gaspd. He thot he had been an awful brute somhow, and he felt remorsful, tuchd, happy, elated. This, let me remind u again, is a lov story; u can se it by th imbecility, not a repulsiv imbecility, th exaltd imbecility of these proceedngs, this station in torchlyt, as if they had com ther on purpos to hav it out for th edification of conceald murdrrs. If Sherif Ali's emisris had
'he told me that he had nevr felt so smal, so powrless -- and as to curaj, wat was th good of it? he thot. He was so helpless that even flyt seemd of no use; and tho she kept on wisprng, "Go to Doramin, go to Doramin," with feverish insistnce, he realized that for him ther was no refuje from that loneliness wich centupled al his danjers exept -- in her. "I thot," he said to me, "that if I went away from her it wud be th end of everything somhow." Only as they cudnt stop ther for evr in th midl of that cortyard, he made up his mind to go and look into th storhouse. He let her folo him without thinkng of any protest, as if they had been indisolubly united. "I am fearless -- am I?" he mutrd thru his teeth. She restraind his arm. "Wait til u hear my voice," she said, and, torch in hand, ran lytly round th cornr. He remaind alone in th darkns, his face to th dor: not a sound, not a breth came from th othr side. Th old hag let out a dreary groan somwher behind his bak. He herd a hy-pichd almost screamng cal from th girl. "Now! Push!" He pushd violently; th dor swung with a creak and a clatr, disclosing to his intense astonishmnt th lo dunjn-like interir iluminated by a lurid, waverng glare. A turmoil of smoke eddid down upon an emty woodn crate in th midl of th flor, a litr of rags and straw tryd to sor, but only stird feebly in th draft. She had thrust th lyt thru th bars of th windo. He saw her bare round arm extendd and rijid, holdng up th torch with th stediness of an iron braket. A conicl raged heap of old mats cumbered a distnt cornr almost to th celing, and that was al.
'he explaind to me that he was bitrly disapointd at this. His fortitude had been tryd by so many warnngs, he had been for weeks suroundd by so many hints of danjer, that he wantd th relief of
'jim noted al this. He told me he was experiencing a feelng of unutrbl relief, of venjful elation. He held his shot, he says, delibratly. He held it for th tenth part of a secnd, for thre strides of th man -- an unconsionbl time. He held it for th plesur of sayng to himself, That's a ded man! He was abslutely positiv and certn. He let him com on because it did not matr. A ded man, anyhow. He noticed th dilated nostrils, th wide ys, th intent, eagr stilness of th face, and then he fired.
'the explosion in that confined space was stunng. He stepd bak a pace. He saw th man jerk his hed up, fling his arms forwrd, and drop th kriss. He acertaind aftrwrds that he had shot him thru th mouth, a litl upwrds, th bulet comng out hy at th bak of th skul. With th impetus of his rush th man drove strait on, his face sudnly gaping disfigrd, with his hands open befor him gropingly, as tho blindd, and landd with terific violence on his forhed, just short of Jim's bare toes. Jim says he didnt lose th smalst detail of al this. He found himself calm, apesed, without rancr, without unesiness, as if th deth of that man had atoned for everything. Th place was getng very ful of sooty smoke from th torch, in wich th unswaying flame burnd blod-red without a flikr. He walkd in reslutely, striding over th ded body, and covrd with his revolvr anothr
'jim took up an advntajus position and sheprdd them out in a bunch thru th dorway: al that time th torch had remaind verticl in th grip of a litl hand, without so much as a trembl. Th thre men obeyd him, perfectly mute, moving autmaticly. He ranjed them in a ro. "Link arms!" he ordrd. They did so. "Th first ho withdraws his arm or turns his hed is a ded man," he said. "March!" They stepd out togethr, rijidly; he folod, and at th side th girl, in a trailng wite gown, her blak hair falng as lo as her waist, bor th lyt. Erect and swayng, she seemd to glide without tuchng th erth; th only sound was th silky swish and rusl of th long grass. "Stop!" cryd Jim.
'the rivr-bank was steep; a gret freshness asendd, th lyt fel on th ej of smooth dark watr frothng without a ripl; ryt and left th shapes of th houses ran togethr belo th sharp outlines of th roofs. "Take my greetngs to Sherif Ali -- til I com myself," said Jim. Not one hed of th thre bujd. "Jump!" he thundrd. Th thre splashs made one splash, a showr flew up, blak heds bobd convulsivly, and disapeard; but a gret bloing and splutrng went on, groing faint, for they wer diving industriusly, in gret fear of a partng shot. Jim turnd to th girl, ho had been a silent and atentiv observr. His hart seemd sudnly to gro too big for his brest and choke him in th holo of his throat. This probbly made him speechless for so long, and aftr returng his gaze she flung th burnng torch with a wide sweep of th arm into th rivr. Th ruddy firy glare, taking a long flyt thru th nyt, sank with a vicius hiss, and th calm soft starlyt desendd upon them, unchekd.
'he did not tel me wat it was he said wen at last he recovrd his voice. I dont supose he cud be very eloquent. Th world was stil, th nyt brethed on them, one of those nyts that seem created for th sheltrng of tendrness, and ther ar moments wen our sols, as if freed from ther dark envlope, glo with an exquisit sensbility that makes certn silences mor lucid than
'then he got up and began to walk about in som ajitation. "I -- I lov her dearly. Mor than I can tel. Of corse one canot tel. U take a difrnt vew of yr actions wen u com to undrstand, wen u ar made to undrstand evry day that yr existnce is necesry -- u se, abslutely necesry -- to anothr persn. I am made to feel that. Wondrful! But only try to think wat her life has been. It is too extravagntly awful! Isnt it? And me findng her here like this -- as u may go out for a strol and com sudnly upon sombody drownng in a lonely dark place. Jove! No time to lose. Wel, it is a trust too . . . I beleve I am equal to it . . ."
'I must tel u th girl had left us to ourselvs som time befor. He slapd his chest. "Yes! I feel that, but I beleve I am equal to al my luk!" He had th gift of findng a special meanng in everything that hapnd to him. This was th vew he took of his lov afair; it was idylic, a litl solem, and also tru, since his belief had al th unshakebl seriusness of yuth. Som time aftr, on anothr ocasion, he said to me, "I'v been only two years here, and now, upon my word, I cant conceve being able to liv anywher else. Th very thot of th world outside is enuf to giv me a fryt; because, dont u se," he continud, with downcast ys wachng th action of his boot busid in squashng thoroly a tiny bit of dryd mud (we wer strolng on th rivr-bank) -- "because I hav not forgotn wy I came here. Not yet!"
'I refraind from lookng at him, but I think I herd a short sy; we took a turn or two in silence. "Upon my sol and concience," he began again, "if such a thing can be forgotn, then I think I hav a ryt to dismiss it from my mind. Ask any man here" . . . his voice chanjed. "Is it not stranje," he went on in a jentl, almost yernng tone, "that al these peple, al these peple ho wud do anything for me, can nevr be made to undrstand? Nevr! If u disbeleved me I cud not cal them up. It seems hard, somhow. I am stupid, am I not? Wat mor can I want? If u ask them ho is brave -- ho is tru -- ho is just -- ho is it they wud trust with ther lives? -- they wud say, Tuan Jim. And yet they can nevr no th real, real truth . . ."
'that's wat he said to me on my last day with him. I did not let a murmr escape me: I felt he was going to say mor, and com no nearr to th root of th matr. Th sun, hos concentrated glare dwarfs th erth into a restless mote of dust, had sunk behind th forest, and th difused lyt from an opal sky seemd to cast
' "Jove!" he began abruptly, "ther ar days wen a felo is too absurd for anything; only I no I can tel u wat I like. I talk about being don with it -- with th bally thing at th bak of my hed . . . Forgetng . . . Hang me if I no! I can think of it quietly. Aftr al, wat has it proved? Nothing. I supose u dont think so . . ."
'I made a protestng murmr.
' "No matr," he said. "I am satisfyd . . . nearly. I'v got to look only at th face of th first man that coms along, to regain my confidnce. They cant be made to undrstand wat is going on in me. Wat of that? Com! I havnt don so badly."
' "Not so badly," I said.
' "But al th same, u wudnt like to hav me abord yr own ship hey?"
' "Confound u!" I cryd. "Stop this."
' "Aha! U se," he said, croing, as it wer, over me placidly. "Only," he went on, "u just try to tel this to any of them here. They wud think u a fool, a liar, or worse. And so I can stand it. I'v don a thing or two for them, but this is wat they hav don for me."
' "My dear chap," I cryd, "u shal always remain for them an insolubl mystry." Therupon we wer silent.
' "Mystry," he repeatd, befor lookng up. "Wel, then let me always remain here."
'after th sun had set, th darkns seemd to drive upon us, born in evry faint puf of th breze. In th midl of a hejd path I saw th arestd, gaunt, wachful, and aparently one-leged siluet of Tamb' Itam; and across th dusky space my y detectd somthing wite moving to and fro behind th suports of th roof. As soon as Jim, with Tamb' Itam at his heels, had startd upon his evenng rounds, I went up to th house alone, and, unexpectdly, found myself waylaid by th girl, ho had been clearly waitng for this oprtunity.
'it is hard to tel u wat it was precisely she wantd to rest from me. Obviusly it wud be somthing very simpl -- th simplst imposbility in th world; as, for instnce, th exact description of th form of a cloud. She wantd an asurance, a statemnt, a promis, an explnation -- I dont no how to cal it: th thing has no name. It was dark undr th projectng roof, and al I
'she had caut hold of my arm firmly, and as soon as I had stopd she had withdrawn her hand in haste. She was audacius and shrinkng. She feard nothing, but she was chekd by th profound incertitude and th extreme stranjeness -- a brave persn groping in th dark. I belongd to this Unown that myt claim Jim for its own at any moment. I was, as it wer, in th secret of its natur and of its intentions -- th confidant of a thretnng mystry -- armd with its powr, perhaps! I beleve she suposed I cud with a word wisk Jim away out of her very arms; it is my sober conviction she went thru agnis of aprehension during my long talks with Jim; thru a real and intolrbl anguish that myt hav concevebly drivn her into plotng my murdr, had th fierceness of her sol been equal to th tremendus situation it had created. This is my impression, and it is al I can giv u: th hole thing dawnd graduly upon me, and as it got clearr and clearr I was overwelmd by a slo incredulus amazemnt. She made me beleve her, but ther is no word that on my lips cud rendr th efect of th hedlong and vehemnt wispr, of th soft, passionat tones, of th sudn brethless pause and th apealng movemnt of th wite arms extendd swiftly. They fel; th gostly figr swayd like a slendr tre in th wind, th pale oval of th face droopd; it was imposbl to distinguish her featurs, th darkns of th ys was unfathmbl; two wide
'I was imensly tuchd: her yuth, her ignrnce, her pretty buty, wich had th simpl charm and th delicat vigr of a wild flowr, her pathetic pleadng, her helplesness, apeald to me with almost th strength of her own unreasnbl and natrl fear. She feard th unown as we al do, and her ignrnce made th unown infnitly vast. I stood for it, for myself, for u felos, for al th world that neithr cared for Jim nor needd him in th least. I wud hav been redy enuf to ansr for th indifrnce of th teemng erth but for th reflection that he too belongd to this mysterius unown of her fears, and that, howevr much I stood for, I did not stand for him. This made me hesitate. A murmr of hopeless pain unsealed my lips. I began by protestng that I at least had com with no intention to take Jim away.
'why did I com, then? Aftr a slyt movemnt she was as stil as a marbl statu in th nyt. I tryd to explain briefly: frendship, busness; if I had any wish in th matr it was rathr to se him stay.... "They always leve us," she murmrd. Th breth of sad wisdm from th grave wich her piety rethed with flowrs seemd to pass in a faint sy.... Nothing, I said, cud seprate Jim from her.
'it is my firm conviction now; it was my conviction at th time; it was th only posbl conclusion from th facts of th case. It was not made mor certn by her wisprng in a tone in wich one speaks to oneself, "He swor this to me." "Did u ask him?" I said.
'she made a step nearr. "No. Nevr!" She had askd him only to go away. It was that nyt on th rivr-bank, aftr he had kild th man -- aftr she had flung th torch in th watr because he was lookng at her so. Ther was too much lyt, and th danjer was over then -- for a litl time -- for a litl time. He said then he wud not abandn her to Cornelius. She had insistd. She wantd him to leve her. He said that he cud not -- that it was imposbl. He trembld wile he said this. She had felt him trembl.... One dos not require much imajnation to se th sene, almost to hear ther wisprs. She was afraid for him too. I beleve that then she saw in him only a predestnd victm of danjers wich she undrstood betr than himself. Tho by nothing but his mere presnce he had mastrd her hart, had fild al her thots, and had posesd himself of al her afections, she underestmated his chances of success. It is obvius that at about that time evrybody
'she was unselfish wen she urjd Jim to leve her, and even to leve th cuntry. It was his danjer that was formost in her thots -- even if she wantd to save herself too -- perhaps unconciusly: but then look at th warnng she had, look at th lesn that cud be drawn from evry moment of th recently endd life in wich al her memris wer centrd. She fel at his feet -- she told me so -- ther by th rivr, in th discreet lyt of stars wich showd nothing exept gret masses of silent shados, indefnit open spaces, and tremblng faintly upon th brod stream made it apear as wide as th se. He had liftd her up. He liftd her up, and then she wud strugl no mor. Of corse not. Strong arms, a tendr voice, a stalwrt sholdr to rest her poor lonely litl hed upon. Th need -- th infnit need -- of al this for th aching hart, for th bewildrd mind; -- th promtngs of yuth -- th necessity of th moment. Wat wud u hav? One undrstands -- unless one is incapabl of undrstandng anything undr th sun. And so she was content to be liftd up -- and held. "U no -- Jove! this is serius -- no nonsnse in it!" as Jim had wisprd hurridly with a trubld concernd face on th threshold of his house. I dont no so much about nonsnse, but ther was nothing lyt-hartd in ther romance: they came togethr undr th shado of a life's disastr, like nyt and maidn meetng to exchanje vows amongst hauntd ruins. Th starlyt was good enuf for that story, a lyt so faint and remote that it canot resolv
' "U did not want to die weepng?" I repeatd aftr her. "Like my mothr," she add redily. Th outlines of her wite shape did not stir in th least. "My mothr had wept bitrly befor she died," she explaind. An inconcevebl calmness seemd to hav risn from th ground around us, imperceptbly, like th stil rise of a flod in th nyt, oblitrating th familir landmarks of emotions. Ther came upon me, as tho I had felt myself losing my footng in th midst of watrs, a sudn dred, th dred of th unown depths. She went on explainng that, during th last moments, being alone with her mothr, she had to leve th side of th couch to go and set her bak against th dor, in ordr to keep Cornelius out. He desired to get in, and kept on drumng with both fists, only desisting now and again to shout huskily, "Let me in! Let me in! Let me in!" In a far cornr upon a few mats th moribnd womn, alredy speechless and unable to lift her arm, rold her hed over, and with a feebl movemnt of her hand seemd to comand-"No! No!" and th obedient dautr, setng her sholdrs with al her strength against th dor, was lookng on. "Th tears fel from her ys -- and then she died," concluded th girl in an imperturbbl monotone, wich mor than anything else, mor than th wite statuesq imobility of her persn, mor than mere words cud do, trubld my mind profoundly with th passiv, iremediabl horr of th sene. It had th powr to drive me out of my conception of existnce, out of that sheltr each of us makes for himself to creep undr in moments of danjer, as a tortos withdraws within its shel. For a moment I had a vew of a world that seemd to wer a vast and disml aspect of disordr, wile, in truth, thanks to our unwearied efrts, it is as sunny as aranjemnt of smal conveniences as th mind of man can conceve. But stil -- it was only a moment: I went bak into my shel directly. One must -- dont u no? -- tho I seemd to hav lost al my words in th caos of dark thots I had contmplated for a secnd or two beyond th pale. These came bak, too, very soon, for words also belong to th sheltrng conception of lyt and ordr wich is our refuje. I had them redy at my disposal befor she
'I think she made a movemnt at this. "Mor brave," she went on in a chanjed tone. "Fear wil nevr drive him away from u," I said a litl nervusly. Th song stopd short on a shril note, and was succeedd by sevrl voices talkng in th distnce. Jim's voice too. I was struk by her silence. "Wat has he been telng u? He has been telng u somthing?" I askd. Ther was no ansr. "Wat is it he told u?" I insistd.
' "Do u think I can tel u? How am I to no? How am I to undrstand?" she cryd at last. Ther was a stir. I beleve she was ringng her hands. "Ther is somthing he can nevr forget."
' "So much th betr for u," I said gloomily.
' "Wat is it? Wat is it?" She put an extrordnry force of apeal into her supplicating tone. "He says he had been afraid. How can I beleve this? Am I a mad womn to beleve this? U al remembr somthing! U al go bak to it. Wat is it? U tel me! Wat is this thing? Is it alive? -- is it ded? I hate it. It is cruel. Has it got a face and a voice -- this calamity? Wil he se it -- wil
'it was a wondrful experience. She mistrustd his very slumbrs -- and she seemd to think I cud tel her wy! Thus a poor mortl seduced by th charm of an aprition myt hav tryd to ring from anothr gost th tremendus secret of th claim th othr world holds over a dismbodid sol astray amongst th passions of this erth. Th very ground on wich I stood seemd to melt undr my feet. And it was so simpl too; but if th spirits evoked by our fears and our unrest hav evr to vouch for each other's constncy befor th forlorn majicians that we ar, then I -- I alone of us dwelrs in th flesh -- hav shudrd in th hopeless chil of such a task. A syn, a cal! How telng in its expression was her ignrnce. A few words! How she came to no them, how she came to pronounce them, I cant imajn. Women find ther inspration in th stress of moments that for us ar merely awful, absurd, or futil. To discovr that she had a voice at al was enuf to strike aw into th hart. Had a spurnd stone cryd out in pain it cud not hav apeard a gretr and mor pitiful miracl. These few sounds wandrng in th dark had made ther two benytd lives trajic to my mind. It was imposbl to make her undrstand. I chafed silently at my impotnce. And Jim, too -- poor devl! Ho wud need him? Ho wud remembr him? He had wat he wantd. His very existnce probbly had been forgotn by this time. They had mastrd ther fates. They wer trajic.
'her imobility befor me was clearly expectnt, and my part was to speak for my brothr from th relm of forgetful shade. I was deeply moved at my responsbility and at her distress. I wud hav givn anything for th powr to soothe her frail sol, tormentng itself in its invincibl ignrnce like a smal bird beatng about th cruel wires of a caje. Nothing esir than to say, Hav no fear! Nothing mor dificlt. How dos one kil fear, I wondr? How do u shoot a spectr thru th hart, slash off its spectrl hed, take it by its spectrl throat? It is an entrprise u rush into wile u dream, and ar glad to make yr escape with wet hair and evry lim shaking. Th bulet is not run, th blade not forjd, th man not born; even th wingd words of truth drop at yr feet like lumps of led. U require for such a desprat encountr an enchantd and poisnd shaft dipd in a lie too sutl to be found on erth. An entrprise for a dream, my mastrs!
'I began my exorcism with a hevy hart, with a sort of sulen angr in it too. Jim's voice, sudnly rased with a stern intnation, carrid across th cortyard, reproving th carelesness of som dum sinr by th rivr-side. Nothing -- I said, speakng in a
'I felt I had don nothing. And wat is it that I had wishd to do? I am not sure now. At th time I was anmated by an inexplicbl ardr, as if befor som gret and necesry task -- th influence of th moment upon my mentl and emotionl state. Ther ar in al our lives such moments, such influences, comng from th outside, as it wer, iresistbl, incomprehensbl -- as if brot about by th mysterius conjunctions of th planets. She ownd, as I had put it to her, his hart. She had that and everything else -- if she cud only beleve it. Wat I had to tel her was that in th hole world ther was no one ho evr wud need his hart, his mind, his hand. It was a comn fate, and yet it seemd an awful thing to say of any man. She lisnd without a word, and her stilness now was like th protest of an invincibl unbelief. Wat need she care for th world beyond th forests? I askd. From al th multitudes that pepled th vastness of that unown ther wud com, I asured her, as long as he livd, neithr a cal nor a syn for him. Nevr. I was carrid away. Nevr! Nevr! I remembr with wondr th sort of doged fierceness I displayd. I had th ilusion of havng got th spectr by th throat at last. Indeed th hole real thing has left behind th detaild and amazing impression of a dream. Wy shud she fear? She new him to be strong, tru, wise, brave. He was al that. Certnly. He was mor. He was gret -- invincibl -- and th world did not want him, it had forgotn him, it wud not even no him.
'I stopd; th silence over Patusan was profound, and th feebl dry sound of a padl striking th side of a canoe somwher
' "This is th very thing he said.... U lie!"
'the last two words she cryd at me in th nativ dialect. "Hear me out!" I entreated. She caut her breth tremulusly, flung my arm away. "Nobody, nobody is good enuf," I began with th gretst ernestness. I cud hear th sobng labor of her breth frytfuly quiknd. I hung my hed. Wat was th use? Footsteps wer aproachng; I slipd away without anothr word....'
Marlow swung his legs out, got up quikly, and stagrd a litl, as tho he had been set down aftr a rush thru space. He leand his bak against th balustrade and faced a disordrd aray of long cane chairs. Th bodis prone in them seemd startld out of ther torpr by his movemnt. One or two sat up as if alarmd; here and ther a cigar gloed yet; Marlow lookd at them al with th ys of a man returng from th exessiv remoteness of a dream. A throat was cleard; a calm voice encurajd neglijntly, "'well.'"
'nothing,' said Marlow with a slyt start. 'he had told her -- that's al. She did not beleve him -- nothing mor. As to myself, I do not no wethr it be just, propr, decent for me to rejoice or to be sorry. For my part, I canot say wat I beleved -- indeed I dont no to this day, and nevr shal probbly. But wat did th poor devl beleve himself? Truth shal prevail -- dont u no. Magna est veritas et . . . Yes, wen it gets a chance. Ther is a law, no dout -- and likewise a law regulates yr luk in th throing of dice. It is not Justice th servnt of men, but accidnt, hazrd, Fortune -- th aly of patient Time -- that holds an even and scrupulus balance. Both of us had said th very same thing. Did we both speak th truth -- or one of us did -- or neithr? . . .'
Marlow pausd, crosd his arms on his brest, and in a chanjed tone --
'she said we lied. Poor sol! Wel -- let's leve it to Chance, hos aly is Time, that canot be hurrid, and hos enmy is Deth, that wil not wait. I had retreatd -- a litl cowd, I must own. I had tryd a fal with fear itself and got thrown -- of corse. I had only succeedd in adng to her anguish th hint of som mysterius colusion, of an inexplicbl and incomprehensbl conspiracy to keep her for evr in th dark. And it had com esily, natrly, unavoidbly, by his act, by her own act! It was as tho I had been shown th workng of th implacbl destny of wich we ar th victms -- and th tools. It was apalng to think of th girl hom I had left standng ther motionless; Jim's footsteps had a fateful sound as he trampd by, without seing me, in his hevy laced boots. "Wat? No lyts!" he said in a loud, surprised voice. "Wat ar u doing in th dark -- u two?" Next moment he caut syt of her, I supose. "Helo, girl!" he cryd cheerily. "Helo, boy!" she ansrd at once, with amazing pluk.
'this was ther usul greetng to each othr, and th bit of swagr she wud put into her rathr hy but sweet voice was very drol, pretty, and childlike. It delytd Jim gretly. This was th last ocasion on wich I herd them exchanje this familir hail, and it struk a chil into my hart. Ther was th hy sweet voice, th pretty efrt, th swagr; but it al seemd to die out prematurely, and th playful cal soundd like a moan. It was too confoundedly awful. "Wat hav u don with Marlow?" Jim was askng; and then, "Gon down -- has he? Funny I didnt meet him.... U ther, Marlow?"
'I didnt ansr. I wasnt going in -- not yet at any rate. I realy cudnt. Wile he was calng me I was engajed in making my escape thru a litl gate leadng out upon a strech of newly cleard ground. No; I cudnt face them yet. I walkd hastily with loerd hed along a trodn path. Th ground rose jently, th few big tres had been feld, th undrgroth had been cut down and th grass fired. He had a mind to try a cofee-plantation ther. Th big hil, rearng its dubl sumit coal-blak in th clear yelo glo of th rising moon, seemd to cast its shado upon th ground prepared for that experimnt. He was going to try evr so many experimnts; I had admired his enrjy, his entrprise, and his shrewdness. Nothing on erth seemd less real now than his plans, his enrjy, and his enthusiasm; and rasing my ys, I saw part of th moon glitrng thru th bushs at th botm of th casm. For a moment it lookd as tho th smooth disk, falng from its place in th sky upon th erth, had rold to th botm of that precipice: its asendng movemnt was like a
'it was a gret pece, as if th erth had been one grave, and for a time I stood ther thinkng mostly of th livng ho, burid in remote places out of th nolej of mankind, stil ar fated to share in its trajic or grotesq misris. In its noble strugls too -- ho nos? Th human hart is vast enuf to contain al th world. It is valiant enuf to ber th burdn, but wher is th curaj that wud cast it off?
'I supose I must hav falen into a sentmentl mood; I only no that I stood ther long enuf for th sense of utr solitude to get hold of me so completely that al I had lately seen, al I had herd, and th very human speech itself, seemd to hav pasd away out of existnce, livng only for a wile longr in my memry, as tho I had been th last of mankind. It was a stranje and melancly ilusion, evolvd half-conciusly like al our ilusions, wich I suspect only to be visions of remote unatainbl truth, seen dimly. This was, indeed, one of th lost, forgotn, unown places of th erth; I had lookd undr its obscure surface; and I felt that wen to-moro I had left it for evr, it wud slip out of existnce, to liv only in my memry til I myself pasd into oblivion. I hav that feelng about me now; perhaps it is that feelng wich has incited me to tel u th story, to try to hand over to u, as it wer, its very existnce, its reality -- th truth disclosed in a moment of ilusion.
'cornelius broke upon it. He boltd out, vermn-like, from th long grass groing in a depression of th ground. I beleve his house was rotng somwher near by, tho I'v nevr seen it, not havng been far enuf in that direction. He ran towards me upon th path; his feet, shod in dirty wite shoes, twinkld on th dark erth; he puld himself up, and began to wine and crinj undr a
'I dont no wethr it was th demoralization of my utr defeat in my encountr with a spectr of fear less than an our ago, but I let him captur me without even a sho of resistnce. I was doomd to be th recipient of confidnces, and to be confrontd with unansrbl questions. It was tryng; but th contemt, th unreasoned contemt, th man's apearnce provoked, made it esir to ber. He cudnt posbly matr. Nothing matrd, since I had made up my mind that Jim, for hom alone I cared, had at last mastrd his fate. He had told me he was satisfyd . . . nearly. This is going furthr than most of us dare. I -- ho hav th ryt to think myself good enuf -- dare not. Neithr dos any of u here, I supose? . . .'
Marlow pausd, as if expectng an ansr. Nobody spoke.
'quite ryt,' he began again. 'let no sol no, since th truth can be rung out of us only by som cruel, litl, awful catastrofe. But he is one of us, and he cud say he was satisfyd . . . nearly. Just fancy this! Nearly satisfyd. One cud almost envy him his catastrofe. Nearly satisfyd. Aftr this nothing cud matr. It did not matr ho suspectd him, ho trustd him, ho lovd him, ho hated him -- especialy as it was Cornelius ho hated him.
'yet aftr al this was a kind of recognition. U shal juj of a man by his fos as wel as by his frends, and this enmy of Jim was such as no decent man wud be ashamed to own, without, howevr, making too much of him. This was th vew Jim took, and in wich I shared; but Jim disregardd him on jenrl grounds. "My dear
' "Til u ar quite satisfyd," I struk in.
'we wer sitng at th time undr th roof in th stern of his boat; twenty padls flashd like one, ten on a side, striking th watr with a singl splash, wile behind our baks Tamb' Itam dipd silently ryt and left, and stared ryt down th rivr, atentiv to keep th long canoe in th gretst strength of th curent. Jim bowd his hed, and our last talk seemd to flikr out for good. He was seing me off as far as th mouth of th rivr. Th schooner had left th day befor, workng down and driftng on th eb, wile I had prolongd my stay overnyt. And now he was seing me off.
'jim had been a litl angry with me for mentionng Cornelius at al. I had not, in truth, said much. Th man was too insignificnt to be danjerus, tho he was as ful of hate as he cud hold. He had cald me "onrbl sir" at evry secnd sentnce, and had wined at my elbo as he folod me from th grave of his "late wife" to th gate of Jim's compound. He declared himself th most unhappy of men, a victm, crushd like a worm; he entreated me to look at him. I wudnt turn my hed to do so; but I cud se out of th cornr of my y his obsequius shado gliding aftr mine, wile th moon, suspendd on our ryt hand, seemd to gloat serenely upon th spectacl. He tryd to explain -- as I'v told u -- his share in th events of th memrbl nyt. It was a matr of expediency. How cud he no ho was going to get th upr hand? "I wud hav saved him, onrbl sir! I wud hav saved him for eity dolrs," he protestd in dulcet tones, keepng a pace behind me. "He has saved himself," I said, "and he has forgivn u." I herd a sort of titrng, and turnd upon him; at once he apeard redy to take to his heels. "Wat ar u lafng at?" I askd, standng stil. "Dont be deceved, onrbl sir!" he shriekd, seemngly losing al control over his feelngs. "He save himself! He nos nothing, onrbl sir -- nothing watevr. Ho is he? Wat dos he want here -- th big thief? Wat dos he want here? He thros dust into everybody's ys; he thros dust into yr
'I stood ther and marvld. That kind of thing, with him, was evidntly a vocation. I discovrd sudnly in his crinjng atitude a sort of asurance, as tho he had been al his life dealng in certitudes. He must hav thot I was dispassionatly considrng his proposal, because he became as sweet as hony. "Evry jentlman made a provision wen th time came to go home," he began insinuatingly. I slamd th litl gate. "In this case, Mr. Cornelius," I said, "th time wil nevr com." He took a few secnds to gathr this in. "Wat!" he fairly squeald. "Wy," I continud from my side of th gate,"havnt u herd him say so himself? He wil nevr
'but next mornng, at th first bend of th rivr shutng off th houses of Patusan, al this dropd out of my syt bodily, with its color, its desyn, and its meanng, like a pictur created by fancy on a canvas, upon wich, aftr long contmplation, u turn yr bak for th last time. It remains in th memry motionless, unfaded, with its life arestd, in an unchanjing lyt. Ther ar th ambitions, th fears, th hate, th hopes, and they remain in my mind just as I had seen them -- intense and as if for evr suspendd in ther expression. I had turnd away from th pictur and was going bak to th world wher events move, men chanje, lyt flikrs, life flos in a clear stream, no matr wethr over mud or over stones . I wasnt going to dive into it; I wud hav enuf to do to keep my hed abov th surface. But as to wat I was leving behind, I canot imajn any altration. Th imense and magnanmus
'jim, as I'v told u, acompnid me on th first staje of my jurny bak to th world he had renounced, and th way at times seemd to lead thru th very hart of untuchd wildrness. Th emty reachs sparkld undr th hy sun; between th hy walls of vejetation th heat drowsd upon th watr, and th boat, impeld vigrusly, cut her way thru th air that seemd to hav setld dense and warm undr th sheltr of lofty tres.
'the shado of th impendng sepration had alredy put an imense space between us, and wen we spoke it was with an efrt, as if to force our lo voices across a vast and incresing distnce. Th boat fairly flew; we sweltered side by side in th stagnnt superheated air; th smel of mud, of mush, th primeval smel of fecund erth, seemd to sting our faces; til sudnly at a bend it was as if a gret hand far away had liftd a hevy curtn, had flung open un imense portl. Th lyt itself seemd to stir, th sky abov our heds widend, a far-off murmr reachd our ears, a freshness envelopd us, fild our lungs, quiknd our thots, our blod, our regrets -- and, strait ahed, th forests sank down against th dark-blu rij of th se.
'I brethed deeply, I revld in th vastness of th opend horizon, in th difrnt atmosfere that seemd to vibrate with th toil of life, with th enrjy of an impecbl world. This sky and this se wer open to me. Th girl was ryt -- ther was a syn, a cal in them -- somthing to wich I respondd with evry fiber of my being. I let my ys roam thru space, like a man relesed from bonds ho strechs his crampd lims, runs, leaps, responds to th inspiring elation of fredm. "This is glorius!" I cryd, and then I lookd at th sinr by my side . He sat with his hed sunk on his brest and said "Yes," without rasing his ys, as if afraid to se rit larj on th clear sky of th ofng th reproach of his romantic concience.
'I remembr th smalst details of that aftrnoon. We landd on a bit of wite beach. It was bakd by a lo clif woodd on th brow, draped in creeprs to th very foot. Belo us th plan of th
' "Th trubl is," remarkd Jim moodily, "that for jenrations these begrs of fishrmen in that vilaj ther had been considrd as th Rajah's persnl slaves -- and th old rip cant get it into his hed that . . ."
'he pausd. "That u hav chanjed al that," I said.
' "Yes I'v chanjed al that," he mutrd in a gloomy voice.
' "U hav had yr oprtunity," I pursud.
' "Hav I?" he said. "Wel, yes. I supose so. Yes. I hav got bak my confidnce in myself -- a good name -- yet somtimes I wish . . . No! I shal hold wat I'v got. Cant expect anything mor." He flung his arm out towards th se. "Not out ther anyhow." He stampd his foot upon th sand. "This is my limit, because nothing
'we continud pacing th beach. "Yes, I'v chanjed al that," he went on, with a sidelong glance at th two patient squatng fishrmen; "but only try to think wat it wud be if I went away. Jove! cant u se it? Hel loose. No! To-moro I shal go and take my chance of drinkng that silly old Tunku Allang's cofee, and I shal make no end of fuss over these rotn turtles' egs. No. I cant say -- enuf. Nevr. I must go on, go on for evr holdng up my end, to feel sure that nothing can tuch me. I must stik to ther belief in me to feel safe and to -- to" . . . He cast about for a word, seemd to look for it on th se . . . "to keep in tuch with" . . . His voice sank sudnly to a murmr . . . "with those hom, perhaps, I shal nevr se any mor. With -- with -- u, for instnce."
'I was profoundly humbld by his words. "For God's sake," I said, "dont set me up, my dear felo; just look to yrself." I felt a gratitude, an afection, for that straggler hos ys had singld me out, keepng my place in th ranks of an insignificnt multitude. How litl that was to boast of, aftr al! I turnd my burnng face away; undr th lo sun, gloing, darknd and crimsn, like un embr snachd from th fire, th se lay outspred, ofrng al its imense stilness to th aproach of th firy orb. Twice he was going to speak, but chekd himself; at last, as if he had found a formula --
' "I shal be faithful," he said quietly. "I shal be faithful," he repeatd, without lookng at me, but for th first time letng his ys wandr upon th watrs, hos bluness had chanjed to a gloomy purpl undr th fires of sunset. Ah! he was romantic, romantic. I recald som words of Stein's.... "In th destructiv elemnt imerse! . . . To folo th dream, and again to folo th dream -- and so -- always -- usque ad finem . . ." He was romantic, but non th less tru. Ho cud tel wat forms, wat visions, wat faces, wat forgivness he cud se in th glo of th west! . . . A smal boat, leving th schooner, moved sloly, with a regulr beat of two ors, towards th sandbank to take me off. "And then ther's Jewl," he said, out of th gret silence of erth, sky, and se, wich had mastrd my very thots so that his voice made me start. "Ther's Jewl. " "Yes," I murmrd. "I need not tel u wat she is to me," he pursud. "U'v seen. In time she wil com to undrstand . . . " "I hope so," I intruptd. "She trusts me, too," he mused, and then chanjed his tone. "Wen shal we meet next, I wondr?" he said.
' "Nevr -- unless u com out," I ansrd, avoidng his glance. He didnt seem to be surprised; he kept very quiet for a wile.
' "Good-by, then," he said, aftr a pause. "Perhaps it's just as wel."
'we shook hands, and I walkd to th boat, wich waitd with her nose on th beach. Th schooner, her mainsail set and jib-sheet to windwrd, curveted on th purpl se; ther was a rosy tinj on her sails. "Wil u be going home again soon?" askd Jim, just as I swung my leg over th gunl. "In a year or so if I liv," I said. Th forfoot grated on th sand, th boat floatd, th wet ors flashd and dipd once, twice. Jim, at th water's ej, rased his voice. "Tel them . . . " he began. I synd to th men to cese roing, and waitd in wondr. Tel ho? Th half-submerjd sun faced him; I cud se its red gleam in his ys that lookd dumly at me.... "No -- nothing," he said, and with a slyt wave of his hand motiond th boat away. I did not look again at th shor til I had clambrd on bord th schooner.
'by that time th sun had set. Th twilyt lay over th east, and th coast, turnd blak, extendd infnitly its sombr wal that seemd th very stronghold of th nyt; th westrn horizon was one gret blaze of gold and crimsn in wich a big detachd cloud floatd dark and stil, castng a slaty shado on th watr beneath, and I saw Jim on th beach wachng th schooner fal off and gathr hedway.
'the two half-naked fishrmen had arisn as soon as I had gon; they wer no dout porng th plaint of ther trifling, misrbl, opresd lives into th ears of th wite lord, a no dout he was lisnng to it, making it his own, for was it not a part of his luk -- th luk "from th word Go" -- th luk to wich he had asured me he was so completely equal? They too, I shud think, wer in luk, and I was sure ther pertinacity wud be equal to it. Ther dark-skind bodis vanishd on th dark bakground long befor I had lost syt of ther protectr. He was wite from hed to foot, and remaind persistntly visbl with th stronghold of th nyt at his bak, th se at his feet, th oprtunity by his side -- stil veild. Wat do u say? Was it stil veild? I dont no. For me that wite figr in th stilness of coast and se seemd to stand at th hart of a vast enigma. Th twilyt was ebng fast from th sky abov his hed, th strip of sand had sunk alredy undr his feet, he himself apeard no bigr than a child -- then only a spek, a tiny wite spek, that seemd to cach al th lyt left in a darknd world .. .. And, sudnly, I lost him. . ..
With these words Marlow had endd his narativ, and his audience had broken up forthwith, undr his abstract, pensiv gaze. Men driftd off th veranda in pairs or alone without loss of time, without ofrng a remark, as if th last imaj of that incomplete
Th privlejd man opend th paket, lookd in, then, layng it down, went to th windo. His rooms wer in th hyest flat of a lofty bildng, and his glance cud travl afar beyond th clear panes of glass, as tho he wer lookng out of th lantrn of a lythouse. Th slopes of th roofs glisnd, th dark broken rijs succeedd each othr without end like sombr, uncrested waves, and from th depths of th town undr his feet asendd a confused and uncesing mutr. Th spires of churchs, numerus, scatrd haphazrd, uprose like beacons on a maze of shoals without a chanl; th driving rain mingld with th falng dusk of a winter's evenng; and th boomng of a big clok on a towr, striking th our, rold past in voluminus, austere bursts of sound, with a shril vibrating cry at th cor. He drew th hevy curtns.
Th lyt of his shaded readng-lamp slept like a sheltrd pool, his footfals made no sound on th carpet, his wandrng days wer over. No mor horizons as boundless as hope, no mor twilights within th forests as solem as templs, in th hot quest for th Evr-undiscovrd Cuntry over th hil, across th stream, beyond th wave. Th our was striking! No mor! No mor! -- but th opend paket undr th lamp brot bak th sounds, th visions, th very savor of th past -- a multitude of fading faces, a tumult of lo voices, dyng away upon th shors of distnt ses undr a passionat and unconsoling sunshine. He syd and sat down to red.
At first he saw thre distinct enclosurs. A good many pajes closely blaknd and pind togethr; a loose square sheet of grayish paper with a few words traced in a handriting he had nevr seen befor, and an explanatry letr from Marlow. From this last fel anothr letr, yelod by time and frayd on th folds. He pikd it up and, layng it aside, turnd to Marlow's messaj, ran swiftly over th openng lines, and, chekng himself, theraftr red on delibratly, like one aproachng with slo feet and alert ys th glimps of an undiscovrd cuntry.
'. . . I dont supose u'v forgotn,' went on th letr. 'you alone hav showd an intrest in him that survived th telng of his story, tho I remembr wel u wud not admit he had mastrd his fate. U profesyd for him th disastr of weariness
'I afirm nothing. Perhaps u may pronounce -- aftr u'v red. Ther is much truth -- aftr al -- in th comn expression "undr a cloud." It is imposbl to se him clearly -- especialy as it is thru th ys of othrs that we take our last look at him. I hav no hesitation in impartng to u al I no of th last episode that, as he used to say, had "com to him." One wondrs wethr this was perhaps that supreme oprtunity, that last and satisfyng test for wich I had always suspectd him to be waitng, befor he cud frame a messaj to th impecbl world. U remembr that wen I was leving him for th last time he had askd wethr I wud be going home soon, and sudnly cryd aftr me, "Tel them . . ." I had waitd -- curius I'l own, and hopeful too -- only to hear him shout, "No -- nothing." That was al then -- and ther wil be nothing mor; ther wil be no messaj, unless such as each of us can interpret for himself from th languaj of facts, that ar so ofn mor enigmatic than th craftiest aranjemnt of words. He made, it is tru, one mor atemt to delivr himself; but that too faild, as u may perceve if u look at th sheet of grayish foolscap enclosed here. He had tryd to rite; do u notice th comnplace hand? It is hedd "Th Fort, Patusun." I supose he had carrid out his intention of making out of his house a place of defense. It was an exlnt plan: a deep
'I send u also an old letr -- a very old letr. It was found carefuly preservd in his riting-case. It is from his fathr, and by th date u can se he must hav receved it a few days befor he joind th Patna. Thus it must be th last letr he evr had from home. He had tresurd it al these years. Th good old parsn fancid his sailr son. I'v lookd in at a sentnce here and ther. Ther is nothing in it exept just afection. He tels his "dear James" that th last long letr from him was very "onest and entrtainng." He wud not hav him "juj men harshly or hastily. " Ther ar four pajes of it, esy morality and famly news. Tom had "taken ordrs." Carrie's husbnd had "mony losses." Th old chap gos on equably trustng Providnce and th establishd ordr of th universe, but alive to its smal danjers and its smal mercis. One can almost se him, gray-haird and serene in th inviolbl sheltr of his book-lined, faded, and comfrtbl study, wher for forty years he had concientiusly gon over and over again th round of his litl thots about faith and virtu, about th conduct of life and th only propr manr of dyng; wher he had ritn so many sermns, wher he sits talkng to his boy, over ther, on th othr side of th erth. But wat of th distnce? Virtu is one al over th world, and ther is only one faith, one concevebl conduct of life, one manr of dyng. He hopes his "dear James" wil nevr
'the story of th last events u wil find in th few pajes enclosed here. U must admit that it is romantic beyond th wildst dreams of his boyhood, and yet ther is to my mind a sort of profound and terifyng lojic in it, as if it wer our imajnation alone that cud set loose upon us th myt of an overwelmng destny. Th imprudence of our thots recoils upon our heds; ho toys with th sord shal perish by th sord. This astoundng adventur, of wich th most astoundng part is that it is tru, coms on as an unavoidbl consequence. Somthing of th sort had to hapn. U repeat this to yrself wile u marvl that such a thing cud hapn in th year of grace befor last. But it has hapnd -- and ther is no disputing its lojic.
'I put it down here for u as tho I had been an ywitness. My infrmation was fragmntry, but I'v fitd th peces togethr, and ther is enuf of them to make an intelijbl pictur. I wondr how he wud hav related it himself. He has confided so much in me that at times it seems as tho he must com in presntly and tel th story in his own words, in his careless yet feelng voice, with his offhand manr, a litl puzld, a litl bothrd, a litl hurt, but now and then by a word or a frase
'it al begins with a remarkbl exploit of a man cald Brown, ho stole with complete success a Spanish schooner out of a smal bay near Zamboanga. Til I discovrd th felo my infrmation was incomplete, but most unexpectdly I did com upon him a few ours befor he gave up his arognt gost. Fortunatly he was wilng and able to talk between th choking fits of asma, and his rakd body rithed with malicius exltation at th bare thot of Jim. He exultd thus at th idea that he had "paid out th stuckup begr aftr al." He gloatd over his action. I had to ber th sunkn glare of his fierce cro-footd ys if I wantd to no; and so I bor it, reflectng how much certn forms of evil ar akin to madness, derived from intense egoism, inflamed by resistnce, terng th sol to peces, and givng factitious vigr to th body. Th story also reveals unsuspectd depths of cunng in th reched Cornelius, hos abject and intense hate acts like a sutl inspration, pointng out an unerng way towards revenj.
' "I cud se directly I set my ys on him wat sort of a fool he was," gaspd th dyng Brown. "He a man! Hel! He was a holo sham. As if he cudnt hav said strait out, 'hands off my plundr!' blast him! That wud hav been like a man! Rot his superir sol! He had me ther -- but he hadnt devl enuf in him to make an end of me. Not he! A thing like that letng me off as if I wasnt worth a kik! ..." Brown strugld despratly for breth.... "Fraud.... Letng me off.... And so I did make an end of him aftr al...." He choked again.... "I expect this thing'll kil me, but I shal die esy now. U . . . u here . . . I dont no yr name -- I wud giv u a five-pound note if -- if I had it -- for th news -- or my name's not Brown...." He grinnd horibly.... "Jentlman Brown."
'he said al these things in profound gasps, staring at me with his yelo ys out of a long, ravajd, brown face; he jerkd his left arm; a pepr-and-salt matd beard hung almost into his lap; a dirty raged blanket covrd his legs. I had found him out in Bankok thru that busybody Schomberg, th hotel-keepr, ho had, confidentialy, directd me wher to look. It apears that a sort of loafing, fudld vagabond -- a wite man livng amongst
'he talkd feverishly; but in th midl of a word, perhaps, an invisbl hand wud take him by th throat, and he wud look at me dumly with an expression of dout and anguish. He seemd to fear that I wud get tired of waitng and go away, leving him with his tale untold, with his exltation unexpresd. He died during th nyt, I beleve, but by that time I had nothing mor to lern.
'so much as to Brown, for th presnt.
'eight months befor this, comng into Samarang, I went as usul to se Stein. On th gardn side of th house a Malay on th veranda greetd me shyly, and I remembrd that I had seen him in Patusan, in Jim's house, amongst othr Bugis men ho used to com in th evenng to talk intermnbly over ther war remnisnces and to discuss State afairs. Jim had pointd him out to me once as a respectbl petty trader ownng a smal seagoing nativ craft, ho had showd himself "one of th best at th taking of th stokade. " I was not very surprised to se him, since any Patusan trader venturng as far as Samarang wud natrly find his way to Stein's house. I returnd his greetng and pasd on. At th dor of Stein's room I came upon anothr Malay in hom I recognized Tamb' Itam.
'I askd him at once wat he was doing ther; it ocurd to me that Jim myt hav com on a visit. I own I was plesed and exited at th thot. Tamb' Itam lookd as if he did not no wat to say. "Is Tuan Jim inside?" I askd impatiently. "No," he mumbld, hangng his hed for a moment, and then with sudn ernestness, "He wud not fyt. He wud not fyt," he repeatd twice. As he seemd unable to say anything else, I pushd him aside and went in,
'stein, tal and stoopng, stood alone in th midl of th room between th ros of butrfly cases. "Ach! is it u, my frend?" he said sadly, peerng thru his glasses. A drab sak-coat of alpaca hung, unbutnd, down to his nes. He had a Panma hat on his hed, and ther wer deep furos on his pale cheeks. "Wat's th
'you no Stein's big house and th two imense reception- rooms, uninhabitd and uninhabitbl, clean, ful of solitude and of shining things that look as if nevr beheld by th y of man? They ar cool on th hotst days, and u entr them as u wud a scrubd cave undrground. I pasd thru one, and in th othr I saw th girl sitng at th end of a big mahogny table, on wich she restd her hed, th face hidn in her arms. Th waxd flor reflectd her dimly as tho it had been a sheet of frozen watr. Th rattan screens wer down, and thru th stranje greenish gloom made by th foliaj of th tres outside a strong wind blew in gusts, swayng th long draperis of windos and dorways. Her wite figr seemd shaped in sno; th pendnt crystls of a gret chandlir clikd abov her hed like glitrng icicls. She lookd up and wachd my aproach. I was chilld as if these vast apartmnts had been th cold abode of despair.
'she recognized me at once, and as soon as I had stopd, lookng down at her: "He has left me," she said quietly; "u always leve us -- for yr own ends." Her face was set. Al th heat of life seemd withdrawn within som inaccesbl spot in her brest. "It wud hav been esy to die with him," she went on, and made a slyt weary jestur as if givng up th incomprehensbl. "He wud not! It was like a blindness -- and yet it was I ho was speakng to him; it was I ho stood befor his ys; it was at me that
'I took her hand; it did not respond, and wen I dropd it, it hung down to th flor. That indifrnce, mor awful than tears, crys, and reproachs, seemd to defy time and conslation. U felt that nothing u cud say wud reach th seat of th stil and benumbing pain.
'stein had said, "U shal hear." I did hear. I herd it al, lisnng with amazemnt, with aw, to th tones of her inflexbl weariness. She cud not grasp th real sense of wat she was telng me, and her resentmnt fild me with pity for her -- for him too. I stood rootd to th spot aftr she had finishd. Leanng on her arm, she stared with hard ys, and th wind pasd in gusts, th crystls kept on clikng in th greenish gloom. She went on wisprng to herself: "And yet he was lookng at me! He cud se my face, hear my voice, hear my grief! Wen I used to sit at his feet, with my cheek against his ne and his hand on my hed, th curse of cruelty and madness was alredy within him, waitng for th day. Th day came! . . . and befor th sun had set he cud not se me any mor -- he was made blind and def and without pity, as u al ar. He shal hav no tears from me. Nevr, nevr. Not one tear. I wil not! He went away from me as if I had been worse than deth. He fled as if drivn by som acursed thing he had herd or seen in his sleep...."
'her stedy ys seemd to strain aftr th shape of a man torn out of her arms by th strength of a dream. She made no syn to my silent bo. I was glad to escape.
'I saw her once again, th same aftrnoon. On leving her I had gon in serch of Stein, hom I cud not find indors; and I wandrd out, pursud by distressful thots, into th gardns, those famus gardns of Stein, in wich u can find evry plant and tre of tropicl lolands. I folod th corse of th canalised stream, and sat for a long time on a shaded bench near th ornmentl pond, wher som waterfowl with clipd wings wer diving and splashng noisily. Th branchs of casuarina tres behind me swayd lytly, incesntly, remindng me of th souing of fir tres at home.
'this mornful and restless sound was a fit acompnmnt to my meditations. She had said he had been drivn away from her by a dream, -- and ther was no ansr one cud make her -- ther seemd to be no forgivness for such a transgression. And yet is not mankind itself, pushng on its blind way, drivn by a dream of its gretness and its powr upon th dark paths of exessiv cruelty and of exessiv devotion? And wat is th pursuit of truth, aftr
'when I rose to get bak to th house I caut syt of Stein's drab coat thru a gap in th foliaj, and very soon at a turn of th path I came upon him walkng with th girl. Her litl hand restd on his forarm, and undr th brod, flat rim of his Panma hat he bent over her, gray-haird, paternl, with compassionat and chivlrus defrnce. I stood aside, but they stopd, facing me. His gaze was bent on th ground at his feet; th girl, erect and slyt on his arm, stared somberly beyond my sholdr with blak, clear, motionless ys. "Schrecklich," he murmrd. "Teribl! Teribl! Wat can one do?" He seemd to be apealng to me, but her yuth, th length of th days suspendd over her hed, apeald to me mor; and sudnly, even as I realized that nothing cud be said, I found myself pleadng his cause for her sake. "U must forgiv him," I concluded, and my own voice seemd to me mufld, lost in un irresponsive def imensity. "We al want to be forgivn," I add aftr a wile.
' "Wat hav I don?" she askd with her lips only.
' "U always mistrustd him," I said.
' "He was like th othrs," she pronounced sloly.
' "Not like th othrs," I protestd, but she continud evenly, without any feelng --
' "He was false." And sudnly Stein broke in. "No! no! no! My poor child! . . ." He patd her hand lyng passivly on his sleve. "No! no! Not false! Tru! Tru! Tru!" He tryd to look into her stony face. "U dont undrstand. Ach! Wy u do not undrstand? . . . Teribl," he said to me. "Som day she shal undrstand."
' "Wil u explain?" I askd, lookng hard at him. They moved on.
'I wachd them. Her gown traild on th path, her blak hair fel loose. She walkd upryt and lyt by th side of th tal man, hos long shapeless coat hung in perpndiculr folds from th stoopng sholdrs, hos feet moved sloly. They disapeard beyond that spinny (u may remembr) wher sixteen difrnt kinds of bamboo gro togethr, al distinguishbl to th lernd y. For my part, I was fasnated by th exquisit grace and buty of that fluted grove, crownd with pointd leavs and fethry heds, th lytness, th vigr, th charm as distinct as a voice of that unperplexed luxuriating life. I remembr stayng to look at it for a long time, as one wud lingr within reach of a consoling wispr. Th sky was perly gray. It was one of those overcast days so rare in th tropics, in wich memris crowd upon one -- memris of othr shors, of othr faces.
'I drove bak to town th same aftrnoon, taking with me Tamb' Itam and th othr Malay, in hos seagoing craft they had escaped
Ther with Marlow's signatur th letr propr endd. Th privlejd readr screwd up his lump, and solitry abov th billowy roofs of th town, like a lythouse-keepr abov th se, he turnd to th pajes of th story.
'it al begins, as I'v told u, with th man cald Brown,' ran th openng sentnce of Marlow's narativ. 'you ho hav nokd about th Westrn Pacific must hav herd of him. He was th sho ruffian on th Australian coast -- not that he was ofn to be seen ther, but because he was always trotd out in th stones of lawless life a visitr from home is treatd to; and th mildst of these storis wich wer told about him from Cape York to Eden Bay was mor than enuf to hang a man if told in th ryt place. They nevr faild to let u no, too, that he was suposed to be th son of a baronet. Be it as it may, it is certn he had desertd from a home ship in th erly gold-digng days, and in a few years became talkd about as th terr of this or that group of ilands in Polynesia. He wud kidnap nativs, he wud strip som lonely wite trader to th very pajamas he stood in, and aftr he had robd th poor devl, he wud as likely as not invite him to fyt a duel with shot-guns on th beach -- wich wud hav been fair enuf as these things go, if th othr man hadnt been by that time alredy half-ded with fryt. Brown was a latr-day buccaneer, sorry enuf, like his mor celebrated prototyps; but wat distinguishd him from his contempry brothr rufians, like Bully Hayes or th melifluus Pese, or that perfumed, Dundreary-wiskrd, dandified scoundrl nown as Dirty Dik, was th arognt tempr of his misdeeds and a vehemnt scorn for mankind at larj and for his victms in particulr. Th othrs wer merely vulgr and greedy brutes, but he seemd moved by som complex intention. He wud rob a man as if only to demnstrate
'his tale gos that wen a Spanish patrol cutr capturd him he was simply tryng to run a few guns for th insurjnts. If so, then I cant undrstand wat he was doing off th south coast of Mindanao. My belief, howevr, is that he was blakmailng th nativ vilajs along th coast. Th principl thing is that th cutr, throing a gard on bord, made him sail in compny towards Zamboanga. On th way, for som reasn or othr, both vesls had to cal at one of these new Spanish setlmnts -- wich nevr came to anything in th end -- wher ther was not only a civl oficial in charj on shor, but a good stout coastng schooner lyng at ancr in th litl bay; and this craft, in evry way much betr than his own, Brown made up his mind to steal.
'he was down on his luk -- as he told me himself. Th world he had bullid for twenty years with fierce, agressiv disdain, had
'but in Brown's crew ther was a Solomn Islander, kidnapd in his yuth and devoted to Brown, ho was th best man of th hole gang. That felo swam off to th coastr -- five hundred yards or so -- with th end of a warp made up of al th runng gear unrove for th purpos. Th watr was smooth, and th bay dark, "like th inside of a cow," as Brown described it. Th Solomn Islander clambrd over th bulwarks with th end of th rope in his teeth. Th crew of th coastr -- al Tagals -- wer ashor havng a jollification in th nativ vilaj. Th two shipkeepers left on bord woke up sudnly and saw th devl. It had glitrng ys and leapd quik as lytnng about th dek. They fel on ther nes, paralyzd with fear, crosng themselvs and mumblng prayrs. With a long nife he found in th caboose th Solomn Islander, without intruptng ther orisons, stabd first one, then th othr; with th same nife he st to sawng patiently at th shipkeepers table til sudnly it partd undr th blade with a splash. Then in th silence of th bay he let out a cautius shout, and Brown's gang, ho meantime had been peerng and strainng ther hopeful ears in th darkns, began to pul jently at ther end of th warp. In less than five minuts th two schooners came togethr with a slyt shok and a creak of spars.
'brown's crowd transferd themselvs without losing an instnt, taking with them ther firearms and a larj suply of amunition. They wer sixteen in al: two runaway blu-jakets, a lanky desertr from a Yankee man-of-war, a cupl of simpl, blond
'they got clear away. Brown related to me in detail ther passaj down th Straits of Macassar. It is a haroing and desprat story. They wer short of food and watr; they bordd sevrl nativ craft and got a litl from each. With a stolen ship Brown did not dare to put into any port, of corse. He had no mony to by anything, no papers to sho, and no lie plausbl enuf to get him out again. An Arab barque, undr th Duch flag, surprised one nyt at ancr off Poulo Laut, yieldd a litl dirty rice, a bunch of bananas, and a cask of watr; thre days of squally, misty wethr from th north-east shot th schooner across th Java Se. Th yelo muddy waves drenchd that colection of hungry rufians. They sytd mail-boats moving on ther apointd rutes; pasd wel-found home ships with rusty iron sides ancrd in th shalo se waitng for a chanje of wethr or th turn of th tide; an English gunboat, wite and trim, with two slim masts, crosd ther bos one day in th distnce; and on anothr ocasion a Duch corvette, blak and hevily sparred, loomd up on ther quartr, steamng ded slo in th mist. They slipd thru unseen or disregardd, a wan, salo-faced band of utr outcasts, enrajed with hungr and huntd by fear. Brown's idea was to make for Madagascr, wher he expectd, on grounds not altogethr ilusory, to sel th schooner in Tamatave, and no questions askd, or perhaps obtain som mor or less forjd papers for her. Yet befor he cud face th long passaj across th Indian Ocen food was wantd -- watr too.
'perhaps he had herd of Patusan -- or perhaps he just only hapnd to se th name ritn in smal letrs on th chart -- probbly that of a larjish vilaj up a rivr in a nativ state, perfectly defensless, far from th beatn traks of th se and from th ends of submrine cables. He had don that kind of thing befor -- in th way of busness; and this now was an abslute necessity, a question of life and deth -- or rathr of librty. Of librty! He was sure to get provisions -- buloks -- rice -- sweet-potatos. Th sorry gang likd ther chops. A cargo of produce for th schooner perhaps
'luck servd him as to wethr. A few days of calm wud hav brot unmentionbl horrs on bord that schooner, but with th help of land and se brezes, in less than a week aftr clearng th Sunda Straits, he ancrd off th Batu Kring mouth within a pistl-shot of th fishng vilaj.
'fourteen of them pakd into th schooner's long-boat (wich was big, havng been used for cargo-work) and startd up th rivr, wile two remaind in charj of th schooner with food enuf to keep starvation off for ten days. Th tide and wind helpd, and erly one aftrnoon th big wite boat undr a raged sail sholdrd its way befor th se breze into Patusan Reach, mand by forteen asortd scarecrows glaring hungrily ahed, and fingrng th breech-bloks of cheap rifles. Brown calculated upon th terifyng surprise of his apearnce. They saild in with th last of th flod; th Rajah's stokade gave no syn; th first houses on both sides of th stream seemd desertd. A few canoes wer seen up th reach in ful flyt. Brown was astonishd at th size of th place. A profound silence reind. Th wind dropd between th houses; two ors wer got out and th boat held on up-stream, th idea being to efect a lodgment in th centr of th town befor th inhabitnts cud think of resistnce.
'it seems, howevr, that th hedman of th fishng vilaj at Batu Kring had manajd to send off a timely warnng. Wen th long-boat came abrest of th mosq (wich Doramin had bilt: a structur with gables and roof finials of carvd coral) th open space befor it was ful of peple. A shout went up, and was folod by a clash of gongs al up th rivr. From a point abov two litl brass 6-pounders wer discharjd, and th round-shot came skipng down th emty reach, spirting glitrng jets of watr in th sunshine. In front of th mosq a shoutng lot of men began firing in volleys that wipd athwart th curent of th rivr; an iregulr, rolng fusillade was opend on th boat from both banks, and Brown's men replyd with a wild, rapid fire. Th ors had been got in.
'the turn of th tide at hy watr coms on very quikly in that rivr, and th boat in mid-stream, nearly hidn in smoke, began to drift bak stern formost. Along both shors th smoke thiknd also, lyng belo th roofs in a levl streak as u may se a long cloud cutng th slope of a mountn. A tumult of war-crys, th vibrating clang of gongs, th deep snorng of drums,
'all th events of that nyt hav a gret importnce, since they brot about a situation wich remaind unchanjed til Jim's return. Jim had been away in th interir for mor than a week, and it was Dain Waris ho had directd th first repulse. That brave and intelijnt yuth ("ho new how to fyt aftr th manr of wite men") wishd to setl th busness off-hand, but his peple wer too much for him. He had not Jim's racial prestije and th reputation of invincibl, supernatrl powr. He was not th visbl, tanjbl incarnation of unfailng truth and of unfailng victry. Belovd, trustd, and admired as he was, he was stil one of them, wile Jim was one of us. Morover, th wite man, a towr of strength in himself, was invulnrbl, wile Dain Waris cud be kild. Those unexpresd thots gided th opinions of th chief men of th town, ho electd to asembl in Jim's fort for delibration upon th emerjncy, as if expectng to find wisdm and curaj in th dwelng of th absnt wite man. Th shootng of Brown's rufians was so far good, or lucky, that ther had been half- a-dozn casultis amongst th defendrs. Th woundd wer lyng on th veranda tendd by ther women-folk. Th women and children from th loer part of th town had been sent into th fort at th first alarm. Ther Jewl was in comand, very eficient and hy-spiritd, obeyd by Jim's "own peple," ho, quitng in a body ther litl setlmnt undr th stokade, had gon in to form th garisn. Th refujees crowdd round her; and thru th hole afair, to th very disastrus last, she showd an extrordnry martial ardr. It was to her that Dain Waris had gon at once at th first intelijnce of danjer, for u must no that Jim was th only one in Patusan ho posesd a stor of gunpowdr. Stein, with hom he had kept up intmat relations by letrs, had obtaind from th Duch Govrnmnt a special authrization to export five hundred kegs of it to Patusan. Th powdr-magazine was a smal hut of ruf logs covrd entirely with erth, and in Jim's absnce th girl had th ke. In th council, held at elevn oclok in th evenng in Jim's dining-room, she bakd up Waris's advice for imediat and vigrus action. I am told that she stood up by th side of Jim's emty chair at th hed of th long table and made a warlike impassiond
'that acomplishd diplomatist and confidant of th Raja, on leving th fort to go bak to his mastr, took into his boat Cornelius, hom he found slinkng mutely amongst th peple in th cortyard. Kassim had a litl plan of his own and wantd him for an interpretr. Thus it came about that towards mornng Brown, reflectng upon th desprat natur of his position, herd from th marshy overgrown holo an amicbl, quaverng, straind voice cryng -- in English -- for permission to com up, undr a promis of persnl safety and on a very importnt erand. He was overjoyd. If he was spoken to he was no longr a huntd wild beast. These frendly sounds took off at once th awful stress of vijlnt wachfulness as of so many blind men not noing wence th deathblow myt com. He pretendd a gret reluctnce. Th voice declared itself "a wite man -- a poor, ruind, old man ho had been livng here for years." A mist, wet and chilly, lay on th slopes of th hil, and aftr som mor shoutng from one to th othr, Brown cald out, "Com on, then, but alone, mind!" As a matr of fact -- he told me, rithing with raje at th reclection of his helplesness -- it made no difrnce. They cudnt se mor than a few yards befor them, and no trechry cud make ther position worse. By-and-by Cornelius, in his week-day atire of a raged dirty shirt and pants, barefootd, with a broken-rimd pith hat on his hed, was made out vagely, sidling up to th defenses, hesitating, stopng to lisn in a peerng postur. "Com along! U ar safe," yeld Brown, wile his men stared. Al ther hopes of life became sudnly centrd in that dilapidated, mean newcomr, ho in profound silence clambrd clumsily over a feld tre-trunk, and shivrng, with his sour, mistrustful face, lookd about at th not
'half an hour's confidential talk with Cornelius opend Brown's ys as to th home afairs of Patusan. He was on th alert at once. Ther wer posbilitis, imense posbilitis; but befor he wud talk over Cornelius's proposals he demandd that som food shud be sent up as a garantee of good faith. Cornelius went off, creepng slugishly down th hil on th side of th Rajah's palace, and aftr som delay a few of Tunku Allang's men came up, bringng a scanty suply of rice, chillies, and dryd fish. This was imesurably betr than nothing. Later on Cornelius returnd acompnying Kassim, ho stepd out with an air of perfect good-humord trustfulness, in sandls, and mufld up from nek to ankls in dark-blu sheetng. He shook hands with Brown discreetly, and th thre drew aside for a confrnce. Brown's men, recovrng ther confidnce, wer slapng each othr on th bak, and cast noing glances at ther captn wile they busid themselvs with preprations for cookng.
'kassim disliked Doramin and his Bugis very much, but he hated th new ordr of things stil mor. It had ocurd to him that these wites, togethr with th Rajah's foloers, cud atak and defeat th Bugis befor Jim's return. Then, he reasnd, jenrl defection of th townfolk was sure to folo, and th rein of th wite man ho protectd poor peple wud be over. Aftrwrds th new alys cud be delt with. They wud hav no frends. Th felo was perfectly able to perceve th difrnce of caractr, and had seen enuf of wite men to no that these newcomrs wer outcasts, men without cuntry. Brown preservd a stern and inscrutabl demeanr. Wen he first herd Cornelius's voice demandng admitnce, it brot merely th hope of a loophole for escape. In less than an our othr thots wer sething in his hed. Urjd by an extreme necessity, he had com ther to steal food, a few tons of rubr or gum may be, perhaps a handful of dolrs, and had found himself enmeshd by dedly danjers. Now in consequence of these overturs from Kassim he began to think of stealng th hole cuntry. Som confoundd felo had aparently acomplishd somthing of th kind -- singl-handd at that. Cudnt hav don it very wel tho. Perhaps they cud work togethr -- squeze everything dry and then go out quietly. In th corse of his negotiations with Kassim he became aware that he was suposed to hav a big ship with plenty of men outside. Kassim begd him ernestly to hav this big ship with his many guns and men brot up th rivr without delay for th Rajah's service. Brown profesd himself wilng, and on this basis th negotiation was carrid on with mutul distrust. Thre times in th corse of th mornng th curteus and activ Kassim went down to consult
'in such converse and in gloatng over th vew of Patusan, wich he had determnd in his mind shud becom his prey, Brown whiled away most of th aftrnoon, his men, meantime, restng. On that day Dain Waris's fleet of canoes stole one by one undr th shor farthst from th creek, and went down to close th rivr against his retreat. Of this Brown was not aware, and Kassim, ho came up th nol an our befor sunset, took good care not to enlytn him. He wantd th wite man's ship to com up th rivr, and this news, he feard, wud be discurajng. He was very presng with Brown to send th "ordr," ofrng at th same time a trusty mesnjr, ho for gretr secrecy (as he explaind) wud make his way by land to th mouth of th rivr and delivr th "ordr" on bord. Aftr som reflection Brown jujd it expedient to ter a paje out of his poket-book, on wich he simply rote, "We ar getng on. Big job. Detain th man." Th stolid yuth selectd by Kassim for that service performd it faithfuly, and was rewardd by being sudnly tipd, hed first, into th schooner's emty hold by
'brown's object was to gain time by foolng with Kassim's diplomacy. For doing a real stroke of busness he cud not help thinkng th wite man was th persn to work with. He cud not imajn such a chap (ho must be confoundedly clevr aftr al to get hold of th nativs like that) refusing a help that wud do away with th necessity for slo, cautius, risky cheatng, that imposed itself as th only posbl line of conduct for a singl-handd man. He, Brown, wud ofr him th powr. No man cud hesitate. Everything was in comng to a clear undrstandng. Of corse they wud share. Th idea of ther being a fort -- al redy to his hand -- a real fort, with artilry (he new this from Cornelius), exited him. Let him only once get in and . . . He wud impose modest conditions. Not too lo, tho. Th man was no fool, it seemd. They wud work like brothrs til . . . til th time came for a quarel and a shot that wud setl al acounts. With grim impatience of plundr he wishd himself to be talkng with th man now. Th land alredy seemd to be his to ter to peces, squeze, and thro away. Meantime Kassim had to be foold for th sake of food first -- and for a secnd string. But th principl thing was to get somthing to eat from day to day. Besides, he was not averse to begin fytng on that Rajah's acount, and teach a lesn to those peple ho had receved him with shots. Th lust of batl was upon him.
'I am sorry that I cant giv u this part of th story, wich of corse I hav mainly from Brown, in Brown's own words. Ther was in th broken, violent speech of that man, unveilng befor me his thots with th very hand of Deth upon his throat, an undisgised ruthlesness of purpos, a stranje venjful atitude towards his own past, and a blind belief in th ryteusness of his wil against al mankind, somthing of that feelng wich cud induce th leadr of a hord of wandrng cut-throats to cal himself proudly th Scurj of God. No dout th natrl sensless ferocity wich is th basis of such a caractr was exasprated by failur il-luk, and th recent privations, as wel as by th desprat position in wich he found himself; but wat was most remarkbl of al was this, that wile he pland trechrus alyances, had alredy setld in his own mind th fate of th wite man, and intriged in an overberng, offhand manr with Kassim, one cud perceve that wat he had realy desired, almost in spite of himself, was to play havoc
'as he was telng me this he tryd with a shaking hand to wipe th thin foam on his blu lips. "Two hundred to one. Two hundred to one ..strike terr ..terr, terr, I tel u..." His own ys wer startng out of ther sokets. He fel bak, clawng th air with skinny fingrs, sat up again, bowd and hairy, glared at me sideways like som man-beast of folk-lor, with open mouth in his misrbl and awful agny befor he got his speech bak aftr that
'furthermore, to draw th enemy's fire and locate such partis as myt hav been hiding in th bushs along th creek, Brown ordrd th Solomn Islander to go down to th boat and bring an or, as u send a spaniel aftr a stik into th watr. This faild, and th felo came bak without a singl shot havng been fired at him from anywher. "Ther's nobody," opined som of th men. It is "onnatural," remarkd th Yankee. Kassim had gon, by that time, very much impresd, plesed too, and also unesy. Pursuing his tortuus policy, he had dispachd a messaj to Dain Waris warnng him to look out for th wite men's ship, wich, he had had infrmation, was about to com up th rivr. He minmized its strength and exortd him to opose its passaj. This dubl-dealng ansrd his purpos, wich was to keep th Bugis forces divided and to weakn them by fytng. On th othr hand, he had in th corse of that day sent word to th asembld Bugis chiefs in town, asuring them that he was tryng to induce th invaders to retire; his messajs to th fort askd ernestly for powdr for th Rajah's men. It was a long time since Tunku Allang had had amunition for th scor or so of old muskets rustng in ther arm-raks in th audience-hal. Th open intrcorse between th hil and th palace unsetld al th minds. It was alredy time for men to take sides, it began to be said. Ther wud soon be much blodshed, and theraftr gret trubl for many peple. Th social fabric of ordrly, peceful life, wen evry man was sure of to-moro, th edifice rased by Jim's hands, seemd on that evenng redy to colaps into a ruin reekng with blod. Th poorr folk wer alredy taking to th bush or flyng up th rivr. A good many of th upr class jujd it necesry to go and pay ther cort to th Raja. Th Rajah's yuths josld them rudely. Old Tunku Allang, almost out of his mind with fear and indecision, eithr kept a sulen silence or abused them violently for daring to com with emty hands: they departd very much frytnd; only old Doramin kept his cuntrymen togethr and pursud his tactics inflexibly. Enthroned in a big chair behind th improvised stokade, he isud his ordrs in a deep veild rumbl, unmoved, like a def man, in th flyng rumors.
'dusk fel, hiding first th body of th ded man, wich had been left lyng with arms outstrechd as if naild to th ground, and then th revolvng sfere of th nyt rold smoothly over Patusan and came to a rest, showrng th glitr of countless worlds upon th erth. Again, in th exposed part of th town big fires blazed along th only street, revealng from distnce to distnce upon ther glares th falng strait lines of roofs, th fragmnts of wattled walls jumbld in confusion, here and ther a hole hut elevated in th glo upon th verticl blak stripes of a group of hy piles
'then one of th wites remembrd that som tobaco had been left in th boat, and, encurajd by th impunity of th Solomn Islander, said he wud go to fech it. At this al th othrs shook off ther despondncy. Brown aplyd to, said, "Go, and be d -- d to u," scornfuly. He didnt think ther was any danjer in going to th creek in th dark. Th man threw a leg over th tre-trunk and disapeard. A moment later he was herd clambrng into th boat and then clambrng out. "I'v got it," he cryd. A flash and a report at th very foot of th hil folod. "I am hit," yeld th man. "Look out, look out -- I am hit," and instntly al th rifles went off. Th hil squirtd fire and noise into th nyt like a litl volcano, and wen Brown and th Yankee with curses and cufs stopd th panic-strikn firing, a profound, weary groan floatd up from th creek, succeedd by a plaint hos heartrending sadness was like som poisn turnng th blod cold in th veins. Then a strong voice pronounced sevrl distinct incomprehensbl words somwher beyond th creek. "Let no one fire," shoutd Brown. "Wat dos it mean?" . . . "Do u hear on th hil? Do u hear? Do u hear?" repeatd th voice thre times. Cornelius translated, and then promtd th ansr. "Speak," cryd Brown, "we hear." Then th voice, declaimng in th sonrus inflated tone of a herald, and shiftng continuly on th ej of th vage waste-land, proclaimd that between th men of th Bugis nation livng in Patusan and th
'he was a Bugis of Tondano only lately com to Patusan, and a relation of th man shot in th aftrnoon. That famus long shot had indeed apald th beholders. Th man in utr security had been struk down, in ful vew of his frends, dropng with a joke on his lips, and they seemd to se in th act an atrocity wich had stird a bitr raje. That relation of his, Si-Lapa by name, was then with Doramin in th stokade only a few feet away. U ho no these chaps must admit that th felo showd an unusul pluk by volunteerng to carry th messaj, alone, in th dark. Creepng across th open ground, he had deviated to th left and found himself oposit th boat. He was startld wen Brown's man shoutd. He came to a sitng position with his gun to his sholdr, and wen th othr jumpd out, exposing himself, he puld th trigr and lojd thre jaged slugs point-blank into th poor wretch's stomac. Then, lyng flat on his face, he gave himself up for ded, wile a thin hail of led chopd and swishd th bushs close on his ryt hand; aftrwrds he delivrd his speech shoutng, bent dubl, dojng al th time in covr. With th last word he leapd sideways, lay close for a wile, and aftrwrds got bak to th houses unharmd, havng acheved on that nyt such a renown as his children wil not wilngly alow to die.
'and on th hil th forlorn band let th two litl heaps of embrs go out undr ther bowd heds. They sat dejectd on th ground with compresd lips and downcast ys, lisnng to ther comrad belo. He was a strong man and died hard, with moans now loud, now sinkng to a stranje confidential note of pain. Somtimes he shriekd, and again, aftr a period of silence, he cud be herd mutrng deliriously a long and unintelijbl complaint. Nevr for a moment did he cese.
' "Wat's th good?" Brown had said unmoved once, seing th Yankee, ho had been swerng undr his breth, prepare to go down. "That's so," asentd th desertr, reluctntly desisting. "Ther's no encurajmnt for woundd men here. Only his noise is calculated to make al th othrs think too much of th hereaftr,
'at last th tide floed, silencing th plaint and th crys of pain, and th dawn was near wen Brown, sitng with his chin in th palm of his hand befor Patusan, as one myt stare at th unscalable side of a mountn, herd th brief ringng bark of a brass 6-pounder far away in town somwher. "Wat's this?" he askd of Cornelius, ho hung about him. Cornelius lisnd. A mufld rorng shout rold down-rivr over th town; a big drum began to throb, and othrs respondd, pulsating and droning. Tiny scatrd lyts began to twinkl in th dark half of th town, wile th part lytd by th loom of fires humd with a deep and prolongd murmr. "He has com," said Cornelius. "Wat? Alredy? Ar u sure?" Brown askd. "Yes! yes! Sure. Lisn to th noise." "Wat ar they making that ro about?" pursud Brown. "For joy," snortd Cornelius; "he is a very gret man, but al th same, he nos no mor than a child, and so they make a gret noise to plese him, because they no no betr." "Look here," said Brown, "how is one to get at him?" "He shal com to talk to u," Cornelius declared. "Wat do u mean? Com down here strolng as it wer?" Cornelius nodd vigrusly in th dark. "Yes. He wil com strait here and talk to u. He is just like a fool. U shal se wat a fool he is." Brown was incredulus. "U shal se; u shal se," repeatd Cornelius. "He is not afraid -- not afraid of anything. He wil com and ordr u to leve his peple alone. Evrybody must leve his peple alone. He is like a litl child. He wil com to u strait." Alas! he new Jim wel -- that "mean litl skunk," as Brown cald him to me. "Yes, certnly," he pursud with ardr, "and then, captn, u tel that tal man with a gun to shoot him. Just u kil him, and u wil frytn evrybody so much that u can do anything u like with them aftrwrds -- get wat u like -- go away wen u like. Ha! ha! ha! Fine . . ." He almost danced with impatience and eagrness; and Brown, lookng over his sholdr at him, cud se, shown up by th pitiless dawn, his men drenchd with dew, sitng amongst th cold ashs and th litr of th camp, hagrd, cowd, and in rags.'
'to th very last moment, til th ful day came upon them with a spring, th fires on th west bank blazed bryt and clear; and then Brown saw in a not of colord figrs motionless between th advanced houses a man in European clothes, in a helmet, al wite.
'they met, I shud think, not very far from th place, perhaps on th very spot, wher Jim took th secnd desprat leap of his life -- th leap that landd him into th life of Patusan, into th trust, th lov, th confidnce of th peple. They faced each othr across th creek, and with stedy ys tryd to undrstand each othr befor they opend ther lips. Ther antagnism must hav been expresd in ther glances; I no that Brown hated Jim at first syt. Watevr hopes he myt hav had vanishd at once. This was not th man he had expectd to se. He hated him for this -- and in a chekd flanl shirt with sleves cut off at th elbos, gray beardd, with a sunkn, sun-blaknd face -- he cursd in his hart th other's yuth and asurance, his clear ys and his untrubld berng. That felo had got in a long way befor him! He did not look like a man ho wud be wilng to giv anything for asistnce. He had al th advantajs on his side -- posession, security, powr; he was on th side of an overwelmng force! He was not hungry and desprat, and he did not seem in th least afraid. And ther was somthing in th very neatness of Jim's clothes, from th wite helmet to th canvas legngs and th pipe-clayed shoes, wich in Brown's sombr iritated ys seemd to belong to things he had in th very shaping of his life contemned and floutd.
' "Ho ar u?" askd Jim at last, speakng in his usul voice. "My name's Brown," ansrd th othr loudly; "Captn Brown. Wat's yrs?" and Jim aftr a litl pause went on quietly, as If he had not herd: "Wat made u com here?" "U want to no," said Brown bitrly. "It's esy to tel. Hungr. And wat made u?"
' "Th felo startd at this," said Brown, relating to me th openng of this stranje convrsation between those two men, seprated only by th muddy bed of a creek, but standng on th oposit poles of that conception of life wich includes al mankind -- "Th felo startd at this and got very red in th face. Too big to be questiond, I supose. I told him that if he lookd upon me as a ded man with hom u may take librtis, he himself was not a wit betr off realy. I had a felo up ther ho had a bead drawn on him al th time, and only waitd for a syn from me. Ther was nothing to be shokd at in this. He had com down of his own fre wil. 'let us agree,' said I, 'that we ar both ded men, and let us talk on that basis, as equals. We ar al equal befor deth,' I said. I admitd I was ther like a rat in a trap, but we had been drivn to it, and even a trapd rat can giv a bite. He caut me up in a moment. 'not if u dont go near th trap til th rat is ded.' I told him that sort of game was good enuf for these nativ frends of his, but I wud hav thot him too wite to serv even a rat so. Yes, I had wantd to talk with him. Not to beg for my life, tho. My felos wer -- wel -- wat they wer -- men like himself, anyhow. Al we wantd from him was to com on in th devil's name and hav it out. 'god d -- n it,' said I, wile he stood ther as stil as a woodn post, 'you dont want to com out here evry day with yr glasses to count how many of us ar left on our feet. Com. Eithr bring yr infernl crowd along or let us go out and starv in th open se, by God! U hav been wite once, for al yr tal talk of this being yr own peple and u being one with them. Ar u? And wat th devl do u get for it; wat is it u'v found here that is so d -- d precius? Hey? U dont want us to com down here
-- do u? U ar two hundred to one. U dont want us to com down into th open. Ah! I promis u we shal giv u som sport befor u'v don. U talk about me making a cowrdly set upon unoffending peple. Wat's that to me that they ar unoffending, wen I am starvng for next to no ofense? But I am not a cowrd. Dont u be one. Bring them along or, by al th fiends, we shal yet manaj to send half yr unoffending town to hevn with us in smoke!' "
'he was teribl -- relating this to me -- this torturd skeletn of a man drawn up togethr with his face over his nes, upon a misrbl bed in that reched hovl, and liftng his hed to look at me with malignnt triumf.
' "That's wat I told him -- I new wat to say," he began again, feebly at first, but workng himself up with incredbl speed into a firy utrnce of his scorn. " 'we arnt going into th forest to wandr like a string of livng skeletns dropng one aftr anothr for ants to go to work upon us befor we ar fairly ded . O no! . . . '
'his debilitated body shook with an exltation so vehemnt, so asured, and so malicius that it seemd to hav drivn off th deth waitng for him in that hut. Th corps of his mad self-lov uprose from rags and destitution as from th dark horrs of a tomb. It is imposbl to say how much he lied to Jim then, how much he lied to me now -- and to himself always. Vanity plays lurid triks with our memry, and th truth of evry passion wants som pretense to make it liv. Standng at th gate of th othr world in th gise of a begr, he had slapd this world's face, he had spat on it, he had thrown upon it an imensity of scorn and revolt at th botm of his misdeeds. He had overcom them al -- men, women, savajs, traders, rufians, missionris -- and Jim -- "that beefy-faced begr." I did not begruj him this triumf in articulo mortis, this almost postumus ilusion of havng trampld al th erth undr his feet. Wile he was boastng to me, in his sordid and repulsiv agny, I cudnt help thinkng of th chuklng talk relating to th
'I dont think he cud do mor than perhaps look upon that strait path. He seemd to hav been puzld by wat he saw, for he intruptd himself in his narativ mor than once to exclaim, "He nearly slipd from me ther. I cud not make him out. Ho was he?" And aftr glaring at me wildly he wud go on, jubilating and sneerng. To me th convrsation of these two across th creek apears now as th dedliest kind of duel on wich Fate lookd on with her cold-yd nolej of th end. No, he didnt turn Jim's sol inside out, but I am much mistaken if th spirit so utrly out of his reach had not been made to taste to th ful th bitrness of that contest. These wer th emisris with hom th world he had renounced was pursuing him in his retreat -- wite men from "out ther" wher he did not think himself good enuf to liv. This was al that came to him -- a menace, a shok, a danjer to his work. I supose it is this sad, half-resentful, half-resynd feelng, piercing thru th few words Jim said now and then, that puzld Brown so much in th readng of his caractr. Som gret men o most of ther gretness to th ability of detectng in those they destine for
'at last Brown threw himself down ful length and wachd Jim
'jim said nothing to this. At last, throing away th swich he held in his hand, he said, as if speakng to himself, "I dont no wethr I hav th powr." . . . "U dont no! And u wantd me just now to giv up my arms! That's good, too," cryd Brown; "Supose they say one thing to u, and do th othr thing to me." He calmd down markedly. "I dare say u hav th powr, or wat's th meanng of al this talk?" he continud. "Wat did u com down here for? To pass th time of day?"
' "Very wel," said Jim, liftng his hed sudnly aftr a long silence. "U shal hav a clear road or else a clear fyt." He turnd on his heel and walkd away.
'brown got up at once, but he did not go up th hil til he had seen Jim disapear between th first houses. He nevr set his ys on him again. On his way bak he met Cornelius slouchng down with his hed between his sholdrs. He stopd befor Brown. "Wy didnt u kil him?" he demandd in a sour, discontentd voice. "Because I cud do betr than that," Brown said with an amused smile. "Nevr! nevr!" protestd Cornelius with enrjy. "Cudnt. I hav livd here for many years." Brown lookd up at him curiusly. Ther wer many sides to th life of that place in arms against him; things he wud nevr find out. Cornelius slunk past dejectdly in th direction of th rivr. He was now leving his new frends; he acceptd th disapointng corse of events with a
'henceforth events move fast without a chek, floing from th very harts of men like a stream from a dark sorce, and we se Jim amongst them, mostly thru Tamb' Itam's ys. Th girl's ys had wachd him too, but her life is too much entwined with his: ther is her passion, her wondr, her angr, and, abov al, her fear and her unforgivng lov. Of th faithful servnt, uncomprehendng as th rest of them, it is th fidelity alone that coms into play; a fidelity and a belief in his lord so strong that even amazemnt is subdud to a sort of sadnd acceptnce of a mysterius failur. He has ys only for one figr, and thru al th mazes of bewildrmnt he preservs his air of gardianship, of obedience, of care.
'his mastr came bak from his talk with th wite men, walkng sloly towards th stokade in th street. Evrybody was rejoiced to se him return, for wile he was away evry man had been afraid not only of him being kild, but also of wat wud com aftr. Jim went into one of th houses, wher old Doramin had retired, and remaind alone for a long time with th hed of th Bugis setlrs. No dout he discusd th corse to folo with him then, but no man was presnt at th convrsation. Only Tamb' Itam, keepng as close to th dor as he cud, herd his mastr say, "Yes. I shal let al th peple no that such is my wish; but I spoke to u, O Doramin, befor al th othrs, and alone; for u no my hart as wel as I no yrs and its gretst desire. And u no wel also that I hav no thot but for th people's good." Then his mastr, liftng th sheetng in th dorway, went out, and he, Tamb' Itam, had a glimps of old Doramin within, sitng in th chair with his hands on his nes, and lookng between his feet. Aftrwrds he folod his mastr to th fort, wher al th principl Bugis and Patusan inhabitnts had been sumnd for a talk. Tamb' Itam himself hoped ther wud be som fytng. "Wat was it but th taking of anothr hil?" he exclaimd regretfuly. Howevr, in th town many hoped that th rapacius stranjers wud be induced, by th syt of so many brave men making redy to fyt, to go away. It wud be a good thing if they went away. Since Jim's arival had been made nown befor daylyt by th gun fired from th fort and th beatng of th big drum ther, th fear that had hung over Patusan had broken and subsided like a wave on a rok, leving th sething foam of exitemnt, curiosity, and endless speculation. Half of th population had been ousted out of ther homes for purposes of defense, and wer livng in th street on th left side of th rivr, crowdng round th fort, and in momentry expectation of seing ther abandnd dwelngs on th thretnd bank burst into flames.
'there's no dout his mind was made up that Brown shud hav his way clear bak to th se. His fate, revoltd, was forcing his hand. He had for th first time to afirm his wil in th face of outspoken oposition. "Ther was much talk, and at first my mastr was silent," Tamb' Itam said. "Darkns came, and then I lit th candls on th long table. Th chiefs sat on each side, and th lady remaind by my master's ryt hand."
'when he began to speak, th unacustmd dificlty seemd only to fix his resolv mor immovably. Th wite men wer now waitng for his ansr on th hil. Ther chief had spoken to him in th languaj of his own peple, making clear many things dificlt to explain in any othr speech. They wer erng men hom sufrng had made blind to ryt and rong. It is tru that lives had been lost alredy, but wy lose mor? He declared to his hearrs, th asembld heds of th peple, that ther welfare was his welfare, ther losses his losses, ther mornng his mornng. He lookd round at th grave lisnng faces and told them to remembr that they had fot and workd side by side. They new his curaj . . . Here a murmr intruptd him . . . And that he had nevr
'tamb' Itam behind his chair was thunderstruck. Th declration produced an imense sensation. "Let them go because this is best in my nolej, wich has nevr deceved u," Jim insistd. Ther was a silence. In th darkns of th cortyard cud be herd th subdud wisprng, shuflng noise of many peple. Doramin rased his hevy hed and said that ther was no mor readng of harts than tuchng th sky with th hand, but -- he consentd. Th othrs gave ther opinion in turn. "It is best," "Let them go," and so on. But most of them simply said that they "beleved Tuan Jim."
'in this simpl form of asent to his wil lies th hole jist of th situation; ther creed, his truth; and th testmny to that faithfulness wich made him in his own ys th equal of th impecbl men ho nevr fal out of th ranks. Stein's words, "Romantic! -- Romantic!" seem to ring over those distnces that wil nevr giv him up now to a world indifrnt to his failngs and his virtus, and to that ardnt and clingng afection that refuses him th dole of tears in th bewildrmnt of a gret grief and of eternl sepration. From th moment th sheer truthfulness of his last thre years of life carris th day against th ignrnce, th fear, and th angr of men, he apears no longr to me as I saw him last -- a wite spek cachng al th dim lyt left upon a sombr coast and th darknd se -- but gretr and mor pitiful in th loneliness of his sol, that remains even for her ho lovd him best a cruel and insolubl mystry.
'it is evidnt that he did not mistrust Brown; ther was no reasn to dout th story, hos truth seemd warantd by th ruf frankness, by a sort of viril sincerity in acceptng th morality and th consequences of his acts. But Jim did not no th almost inconcevebl egotism of th man wich made him, wen resistd and
'tamb' Itam folod his mastr to th landng-staje outside th fort. Th nyt was clear but without a moon, and th midl of th rivr was dark, wile th watr undr each bank reflectd th lyt of many fires "as on a nyt of Ramadan," Tamb' Itam said. War-boats driftd silently in th dark lane or, ancrd, floatd motionless with a loud ripl. That nyt ther was much padlng in a canoe and walkng at his master's heels for Tamb' Itam: up and down th street they trampd, wher th fires wer burnng, inland on th outskirts of th town wher smal partis of men kept gard in th fields. Tuan Jim gave his ordrs and was obeyd. Last of al they went to th Rajah's stokade, wich a detachmnt of Jim's peple mand on that nyt. Th old Raja had fled erly in th mornng with most of his women to a smal house he had near a jungl vilaj on a tributry stream. Kassim, left behind, had atendd th council with his air of dilijnt activity to explain away th diplomacy of th day befor. He was considrbly cold-sholdrd, but manajd to preserv his smiling, quiet alertness, and profesd himself hyly delytd wen Jim told him sternly that he proposed to ocupy th stokade on that nyt with his own men. Aftr th council broke up he was herd outside accosting this and that deputing chief, and speakng in a loud, gratifyd tone of th Rajah's proprty being protectd in th Rajah's absnce.
'about ten or so Jim's men marchd in. Th stokade comandd th mouth of th creek, and Jim ment to remain ther til Brown had pasd belo. A smal fire was lit on th flat, grassy point outside th wal of stakes, and Tamb' Itam placed a litl foldng-stool for his mastr. Jim told him to try and sleep. Tamb' Itam got a mat and lay down a litl way off; but he cud not sleep, tho he new he had to go on an importnt jurny befor th nyt was out. His mastr walkd to and fro befor th fire with bowd hed and with his hands behind his bak. His face was sad. Wenevr his mastr aproachd him Tamb' Itam pretendd to sleep, not wishng his mastr to no he had been wachd. At last his mastr stood stil, lookng down on him as he lay, and said softly, "It is time."
'tamb' Itam arose directly and made his preprations. His mission was to go down th rivr, preceding Brown's boat by an our or mor, to tel Dain Waris finaly and formly that th wites wer to be alowd to pass out unmolestd. Jim wud not trust anybody else with that service. Befor startng, Tamb' Itam, mor as a matr of form (since his position about Jim made him perfectly nown), askd for a token. "Because, Tuan," he said, "th messaj is importnt, and these ar thy very words I carry." His mastr first put his hand into one poket, then into anothr, and finaly took off his forfingr Stein's silvr ring, wich he habituly wor, and gave it to Tamb' Itam. Wen Tamb' Itam left on his mission, Brown's camp on th nol was dark but for a singl smal glo shining thru th branchs of one of th tres th wite men had cut down.
'early in th evenng Brown had receved from Jim a foldd pece of paper on wich was ritn, "U get th clear road. Start as soon as yr boat floats on th mornng tide. Let yr men be careful. Th bushs on both sides of th creek and th stokade at th mouth ar ful of wel-armd men. U wud hav no chance, but I dont beleve u want blodshed." Brown red it, tor th paper into smal peces, and, turnng to Cornelius, ho had brot it, said jeeringly, "Good-by, my exlnt frend." Cornelius had been in th fort, and had been sneakng around Jim's house during th aftrnoon. Jim chose him to carry th note because he cud speak English, was nown to Brown, and was not likely to be shot by som nervus mistake of one of th men as a Malay, aproachng in th dusk, perhaps myt hav been.
'cornelius didnt go away aftr delivrng th paper. Brown was sitng up over a tiny fire; al th othrs wer lyng down. "I cud tel u somthing u wud like to no," Cornelius mumbld crosly. Brown paid no atention. "U did not kil him," went on th othr, "and wat do u get for it? U myt hav had mony from
'it was two ours befor th dawn wen word was pasd to th stokade from outlyng wachrs that th wite robrs wer comng down to ther boat. In a very short time evry armd man from one end of Patusan to th othr was on th alert, yet th banks of th rivr remaind so silent that but for th fires burnng with sudn blurd flares th town myt hav been asleep as if in pecetime. A hevy mist lay very lo on th watr, making a sort of illusive gray lyt that showd nothing. Wen Brown's long-boat glided out of th creek into th rivr, Jim was standng on th lo point of land befor th Rajah's stokade -- on th very spot wher for th first time he put his foot on Patusan shor. A shado loomd up, moving in th grayness, solitry, very bulky, and yet constntly eluding th y. A murmr of lo talkng came out of it. Brown at th tilr herd Jim speak calmly: "A clear road. U had betr trust to th curent wile th fog lasts; but this wil lift presntly." "Yes, presntly we shal se clear," replyd Brown.
'the thirty or forty men standng with muskets at redy outside th stokade held ther breth. Th Bugis ownr of th prau, hom I saw on Stein's veranda, and ho was amongst them, told me that th boat, shaving th lo point close, seemd for a moment to gro big and hang over it like a mountn. "If u think it worth yr wile to wait a day outside," cald out Jim, "I'l try to send u down somthing -- a bulok, som yams -- wat I can." Th shado went on moving. "Yes. Do," said a voice, blank and mufld out of th fog. Not one of th many atentiv lisnrs undrstood wat th words ment; and then Brown and his men in ther boat floatd away, fading spectrally without th slytst sound.
'thus Brown, invisbl in th mist, gos out of Patusan elbo to elbo with Cornelius in th stern-sheets of th long-boat. "Perhaps u shal get a smal bulok," said Cornelius. "O yes. Bulok. Yam. U'l get it if he said so. He always speaks th truth. He stole everything I had. I supose u like a smal bulok betr than th loot of many houses." "I wud advise u to hold yr tong, or sombody here may fling u overbord into this damd fog," said Brown. Th boat seemd to be standng stil; nothing cud be seen, not even th rivr alongside, only th watr-dust flew and trikld, condensd, down ther beards and faces. It was weird, Brown told me. Evry individul man of them felt as tho he wer adrift alone in a boat, hauntd by an almost imperceptbl suspicion of syng, mutrng gosts. "Thro me out, wud u? But I wud no wher I was," mumbld Cornelius surlily. "I'v livd many years here." "Not long enuf to se thru a fog like this," Brown said, lolng bak with his arm swingng to and fro on th useless tilr. "Yes. Long enuf for that," snarld Cornelius. "That's very useful," comentd Brown. "Am I to beleve u cud find that backway u spoke of blindfold, like this?" Cornelius gruntd. "Ar u too tired to ro?" he askd aftr a silence. "No, by God!" shoutd Brown sudnly. "Out with yr ors ther." Ther was a gret nokng in th fog, wich aftr a wile setld into a regulr grind of invisbl sweeps against invisbl thole-pins. Othrwise nothing was chanjed, and but for th slyt splash of a dipd blade it was like roing a baloon car in a cloud, said Brown. Theraftr Cornelius did not open his lips exept to ask querulusly for sombody to bale out his canoe, wich was towng behind th long-boat. Graduly th fog witend and became luminus ahed. To th left Brown saw a darkns as tho he had been lookng at th bak of th deputing nyt. Al at once a big bou covrd with leavs apeard abov his hed, and ends of twigs, dripng and stil, curvd slenderly close alongside. Cornelius, without a word, took th tilr from his hand.'
'I dont think they spoke togethr again. Th boat entrd a naro by-chanl, wher it was pushd by th or-blades set into crumblng banks, and ther was a gloom as if enormus blak wings had been outspred abov th mist that fild its depth to th sumits of th tres. Th branchs overhed showrd big drops thru th gloomy fog. At a mutr from Cornelius, Brown ordrd his men to load. "I'l giv u a chance to get even with them befor we'r don, u disml cripls, u," he said to his gang. "Mind u dont thro it away -- u hounds." Lo growls ansrd that speech. Cornelius showd much fussy concern for th safety of his canoe.
'meantime Tamb' Itam had reachd th end of his jurny. Th fog had delayd him a litl, but he had padld stedily, keepng in tuch with th south bank. By-and-by daylyt came like a glo in a ground glass globe. Th shors made on each side of th rivr a dark smuj, in wich one cud detect hints of columnr forms and shados of twistd branchs hy up. Th mist was stil thik on th watr, but a good wach was being kept, for as Iamb' Itam aproachd th camp th figrs of two men emerjd out of th wite vapor, and voices spoke to him boistrusly. He ansrd, and presntly a canoe lay alongside, and he exchanjed news with th paddlers. Al was wel. Th trubl was over. Then th men in th canoe let go ther grip on th side of his dug-out and incontinently fel out of syt. He pursud his way til he herd voices comng to him quietly over th watr, and saw, undr th now liftng, swirlng mist, th glo of many litl fires burnng on a sandy strech, bakd by lofty thin timbr and bushs. Ther again a look-out was kept, for he was chalenjd. He shoutd his name as th two last sweeps of his padl ran his canoe up on th strand. It was a big camp. Men crouchd in many litl nots undr a subdud murmr of erly mornng talk. Many thin threds of smoke curld sloly on th wite mist. Litl sheltrs, elevated abov th ground, had been bilt for th chiefs. Muskets wer stakd in smal pyramids, and long spears wer stuk singly into th sand near th fires.
'tamb' Itam, asuming an air of importnce, demandd to be led to Dain Waris. He found th frend of his wite lord lyng on a rased couch made of bamboo, and sheltrd by a sort of shed of stiks covrd with mats. Dain Waris was awake, and a bryt fire was burnng befor his sleepng-place, wich resembld a rude shrine. Th only son of nakhoda Doramin ansrd his greetng kindly. Tamb' Itam began by handng him th ring wich vouched
'it was then that Brown took his revenj upon th world wich, aftr twenty years of contemtuus and rekless bullying, refused him th tribute of a comn robber's success. It was an act of cold-blodd ferocity, and it consoled him on his dethbed like a memry of an indomitbl defiance. Stelthily he landd his men on th othr side of th iland oposit to th Bugis camp, and led them across. Aftr a short but quite silent scufl, Cornelius, ho had tryd to slink away at th moment of landng, resynd himself to sho th way wher th undrgroth was most sparse. Brown held both his skinny hands togethr behind his bak in th grip of one vast fist, and now and then impeld him forwrd with a fierce push. Cornelius remaind as mute as a fish, abject but faithful to his purpos, hos acomplishmnt loomd befor him dimly. At th ej of th pach of forest Brown's men spred themselvs out in covr and waitd. Th camp was plan from end to end befor ther ys, and no one lookd ther way. Nobody even dreamd that th wite men cud hav any nolej of th naro chanl at th bak of th iland. Wen he jujd th moment com, Brown yeld, "Let them hav it," and forteen shots rang out like one.
'tamb' Itam told me th surprise was so gret that, exept for those ho fel ded or woundd, not a sol of them moved for quite an apreciabl time aftr th first discharj. Then a man screamd, and aftr that scream a gret yel of amazemnt and fear went up from al th throats. A blind panic drove these men in a surjng swayng mob to and fro along th shor like a herd of catl afraid of th watr. Som few jumpd into th rivr then, but most of them did so only aftr th last discharj. Thre times Brown's men fired
'tamb' Itam says that, as for him, he undrstood at th first volly wat had hapnd. Tho untuchd he fel down and lay as if ded, but with his ys open. At th sound of th first shots Dain Waris, reclining on th couch, jumpd up and ran out upon th open shor, just in time to receve a bulet in his forhed at th secnd discharj. Tamb' Itam saw him fling his arms wide open befor he fel. Then, he says, a gret fear came upon him -- not befor. Th wite men retired as they had com -- unseen.
'thus Brown balanced his acount with th evil fortune. Notice that even in this awful outbrek ther is a superiority as of a man ho carris ryt -- th abstract thing -- within th envlope of his comn desires. It was not a vulgr and trechrus massacr; it was a lesn, a retribution -- a demnstration of som obscure and awful attribute of our natur wich, I am afraid, is not so very far undr th surface as we like to think.
'afterwards th wites depart unseen by Tamb' Itam, and seem to vanish from befor men's ys altogethr; and th schooner, too, vanishs aftr th manr of stolen goods. But a story is told of a wite long-boat pikd up a month later in th Indian Ocen by a cargo steamr. Two parchd, yelo, glassy-yd, wisprng skeletns in her recognized th authority of a third, ho declared that his name was Brown. His schooner, he reportd, bound south with a cargo of Java sugr, had sprung a bad leak and sank undr his feet. He and his companions wer th survivors of a crew of six. Th two died on bord th steamr wich rescud them. Brown livd to be seen by me, and I can testify that he had playd his part to th last.
'it seems, howevr, that in going away they had neglectd to cast off Cornelius's canoe. Cornelius himself Brown had let go at th beginng of th shootng, with a kik for a partng benediction. Tamb' Itam, aftr arising from amongst th ded, saw th Nazarene runng up and down th shor amongst th corpses and th expiring fires. He utrd litl crys. Sudnly he rushd to th watr, and made frantic efrts to get one of th Bugis boats into th watr. "Aftrwrds, til he had seen me," related Tamb' Itam, "he stood lookng at th hevy canoe and scrachng his hed." "Wat became of him?" I askd. Tamb' Itam, staring hard at me, made an expressiv jestur with his ryt arm. "Twice I struk, Tuan," he said. "Wen he beheld me aproachng he cast himself violently on th ground and made a gret outcry, kikng. He screechd like a frytnd hen til he felt th point; then he was stil, and lay staring at me wile his life went out of his ys."
'this don, Tamb' Itam did not tary. He undrstood th importnce of being th first with th awful news at th fort. Ther wer, of corse, many survivors of Dain Waris's party; but in th extremity of panic som had swum across th rivr, othrs had boltd into th bush. Th fact is that they did not no realy ho struk that blo -- wethr mor wite robrs wer not comng, wethr they had not alredy got hold of th hole land. They imajnd themselvs to be th victms of a vast trechry, and utrly doomd to destruction. It is said that som smal partis did not com in til thre days aftrwrds. Howevr, a few tryd to make ther way bak to Patusan at once, and one of th canoes that wer patrolng th rivr that mornng was in syt of th camp at th very moment of th atak. It is tru that at first th men in her leapd overbord and swam to th oposit bank, but aftrwrds they returnd to ther boat and startd fearfuly up-stream. Of these Tamb' Itam had an hour's advance.'
'when Tamb' Itam, padlng madly, came into th town-reach, th women, throngng th platforms befor th houses, wer lookng out for th return of Dain Waris's litl fleet of boats. Th town had a festiv air; here and ther men, stil with spears or guns in ther hands, cud be seen moving or standng on th shor in groups. Chinamen's shops had been opend erly; but th marketplace was emty, and a sentry, stil postd at th cornr of th fort, made out Tamb' Itam, and shoutd to those within. Th gate was wide open. Tamb' Itam jumpd ashor and ran in hedlong. Th first persn he met was th girl comng down from th house.
'tamb' Itam, disordrd, pantng, with tremblng lips and wild ys, stood for a time befor her as if a sudn spel had been laid on him. Then he broke out very quikly: "They hav kild Dain Waris and many mor." She clapd her hands, and her first words wer, "Shut th gates." Most of th fortmen had gon bak to ther houses, but Tamb' Itam hurrid on th few ho remaind for ther turn of duty within. Th girl stood in th midl of th cortyard wile th othrs ran about. "Doramin," she cryd despairngly as Tamb' Itam pasd her. Next time he went by he ansrd her thot rapidly, "Yes. But we hav al th powdr in Patusan." She caut him by th arm, and, pointng at th house, "Cal him out," she wisprd, tremblng.
'tamb' Itam ran up th steps. His mastr was sleepng. "It is I, Tamb' Itam," he cryd at th dor, "with tidings that canot wait." He saw Jim turn over on th pilo and open his ys, and he burst
' "Speak out," said Jim. "Is he ded?" "May u liv long," cryd Tamb' Itam. "It was a most cruel trechry. He ran out at th first shots and fel." . . . His mastr walkd to th windo and with his fist struk at th shutr. Th room was made lyt; and then in a stedy voice, but speakng fast, he began to giv him ordrs to asembl a fleet of boats for imediat pursuit, go to this man, to th othr -- send mesnjrs; and as he talkd he sat down on th bed, stoopng to lace his boots hurridly, and sudnly lookd up. "Wy do u stand here?" he askd very red-faced. "Waste no time." Tamb' Itam did not move. "Forgiv me, Tuan, but . . . but," he began to stamr. "Wat?" cryd his mastr aloud, lookng teribl, leanng forwrd with his hands gripng th ej of th bed. "It is not safe for thy servnt to go out amongst th peple," said Tamb' Itam, aftr hesitating a moment.
'then Jim undrstood. He had retreatd from one world, for a smal matr of an impulsiv jump, and now th othr, th work of his own hands, had falen in ruins upon his hed. It was not safe for his servnt to go out amongst his own peple! I beleve that in that very moment he had decided to defy th disastr in th only way it ocurd to him such a disastr cud be defyd; but al I no is that, without a word, he came out of his room and sat befor th long table, at th hed of wich he was acustmd to regulate th afairs of his world, proclaimng daily th truth that surely livd in his hart. Th dark powrs shud not rob him twice of his pece. He sat like a stone figr. Tamb' Itam, defrential, hintd at preprations for defense. Th girl he lovd came in and spoke to him, but he made a syn with his hand, and she was awd by th dum apeal for silence in it. She went out on th veranda and sat on th threshold, as if to gard him with her body from danjers outside.
'what thots pasd thru his hed -- wat memris? Ho can tel? Everything was gon, and he ho had been once unfaithful to his trust had lost again al men's confidnce. It was then, I beleve, he tryd to rite -- to sombody -- and gave it up. Loneliness was closing on him. Peple had trustd him with ther lives -- only for that; and yet they cud nevr, as he had said, nevr be made to undrstand him. Those without did not hear him make
'I havnt th hart to set down here such glimpses as she had givn me of th our or mor she pasd in ther reslng with him for th posession of her happiness. Wethr he had any hope-wat he expectd, wat he imajnd -- it is imposbl to say. He was inflexbl, and with th groing loneliness of his obstnacy his spirit seemd to rise abov th ruins of his existnce. She cryd "Fyt!" into his ear. She cud not undrstand. Ther was nothing to fyt for. He was going to prove his powr in anothr way and conqr th fatal destny itself. He came out into th cortyard, and behind him, with streamng hair, wild of face, brethless, she stagrd out and leand on th side of th dorway. "Open th gates," he ordrd. Aftrwrds, turnng to those of his men ho wer inside, he gave them leve to depart to ther homes. "For how long, Tuan?" askd one of them timidly. "For al life," he said, in a sombr tone.
'A hush had falen upon th town aftr th outburst of wailng and lamntation that had swept over th rivr, like a gust of wind from th opend abode of soro. But rumors flew in wisprs, filng th harts with constrnation and horibl douts. Th robrs wer comng bak, bringng many othrs with them, in a gret ship, and ther wud be no refuje in th land for any one. A sense of utr insecurity as during an erthquake pervaded th minds of men, ho wisprd ther suspicions, lookng at each othr as if in th presnce of som awful portent.
'the sun was sinkng towards th forests wen Dain Waris's body was brot into Doramin's campong. Four men carrid it in, covrd decently with a wite sheet wich th old mothr had sent out down to th gate to meet her son on his return. They laid him at Doramin's feet, and th old man sat stil for a long time, one hand on each ne, lookng down. Th fronds of palms swayd jently, and th foliaj of fruit tres stird abov his hed. Evry singl man of his peple was ther, fuly armd, wen th old nakhoda at last rased his ys. He moved them sloly over th crowd, as if seekng for a misng face. Again his chin sank on his brest.
'the Malay ho had brot Tamb' Itam and th girl to Samarang was ther too. "Not so angry as many," he said to me, but struk with a gret aw and wondr at th "sudness of men's fate, wich hangs over ther heds like a cloud charjd with thundr." He told me that wen Dain Waris's body was uncovrd at a syn of Doramin's, he hom they ofn cald th wite lord's frend was disclosed lyng unchanjed with his ylids a litl open as if about to wake. Doramin leand forwrd a litl mor, like one lookng for somthing falen on th ground. His ys serchd th body from its feet to its hed, for th wound maybe. It was in th forhed and smal; and ther was no word spoken wile one of th by-standers, stoopng, took off th silvr ring from th cold stif hand. In silence he held it up befor Doramin. A murmr of dismay and horr ran thru th crowd at th syt of that familir token. Th old nakhoda stared at it, and sudnly let out one gret fierce cry, deep from th chest, a ror of pain and fury, as myty as th bello of a woundd bul, bringng gret fear into men's harts, by th magnitude of his angr and his soro that cud be plainly disernd without words. Ther was a gret stilness aftrwrds for a space, wile th body was being born aside by four men. They laid it down undr a tre, and on th instnt, with one long shriek, al th women of th houshold began to wail togethr; they mornd with shril crys; th sun was setng, and in th intrvls of screamd lamntations th hy sing-song voices of two old men intoning th Koran chantd alone.
'about this time Jim, leanng on a gun-carrij, lookd at th rivr, and turnd his bak on th house; and th girl, in th dorway, pantng as if she had run herself to a standstil, was lookng at him across th yard. Tamb' Itam stood not far from his mastr, waitng patiently for wat myt hapn. Al at once Jim, ho seemd to be lost in quiet thot, turnd to him and said, "Time to finish this."
' "Tuan?" said Tamb' Itam, advancing with alacrity. He did not no wat his mastr ment, but as soon as Jim made a movemnt th girl startd too and walkd down into th open space. It seems that no one else of th peple of th house was in syt. She totrd slytly, and about half-way down cald out to Jim, ho had aparently resumed his peceful contmplation of th rivr. He turnd round, setng his bak against th gun. "Wil u fyt?" she cryd. "Ther is nothing to fyt for," he said; "nothing is lost." Sayng this he made a step towards her. "Wil u fly?" she cryd again. "Ther is no escape," he said, stopng short, and she stood stil also, silent, devourng him with her ys. "And u shal go?"
'tamb' Itam said that wile they wer talkng she wud laf loud and senselessly like one undr th visitation of God. His mastr put his hands to his hed. He was fuly dresd as for evry day, but without a hat. She stopd lafng sudnly. "For th last time," she cryd menacingly, "wil u defend yrself?" "Nothing can tuch me," he said in a last flikr of superb egoism. Tamb' Itam saw her lean forwrd wher she stood, open her arms, and run at him swiftly. She flung herself upon his brest and claspd him round th nek.
' "Ah! but I shal hold thee thus," she cryd.... "Thou art mine!"
'she sobd on his sholdr. Th sky over Patusan was blod- red, imense, streamng like an open vein. An enormus sun nesld crimsn amongst th tre-tops, and th forest belo had a blak and forbidng face.
'tamb' Itam tels me that on that evenng th aspect of th hevns was angry and frytful. I may wel beleve it, for I no that on that very day a cyclone pasd within sixty miles of th coast, tho ther was hardly mor than a languid stir of air in th place.
'suddenly Tamb' Itam saw Jim cach her arms, tryng to unclasp her hands. She hung on them with her hed falen bak; her hair tuchd th ground. "Com here!" his mastr cald, and Tamb' Itam helpd to ese her down. It was dificlt to seprate her fingrs. Jim, bendng over her, lookd ernestly upon her face, and al at once ran to th landng-staje. Tamb' Itam folod him, but turnng his hed, he saw that she had strugld up to her feet. She ran aftr them a few steps, then fel down hevily on her nes. "Tuan! Tuan!" cald Tamb' Itam, "look bak;" but Jim was alredy in a canoe, standng up padl in hand. He did not look bak. Tamb' Itam had just time to scrambl in aftr him wen th canoe floatd clear. Th girl was then on her nes, with claspd hands, at th watr-gate. She remaind thus for a time in a supplicating atitude befor she sprang up. "U ar false!" she screamd out aftr Jim. "Forgiv me," he cryd. "Nevr! Nevr!" she cald bak.
'tamb' Itam took th padl from Jim's hands, it being unseemly that he shud sit wile his lord padld. Wen they
'it was beginng to gro dark. Torchs twinkld here and ther. Those they met seemd awestruck, and stood aside hastily to let Jim pass. Th wailng of women came from abov. Th cortyard was ful of armd Bugis with ther foloers, and of Patusan peple.
'I do not no wat this gathrng realy ment. Wer these preprations for war, or for venjnce, or to repulse a thretnd invasion? Many days elapsd befor th peple had cesed to look out, quaking, for th return of th wite men with long beards and in rags, hos exact relation to ther own wite man they cud nevr undrstand. Even for those simpl minds poor Jim remains undr a cloud.
'doramin, alone! imense and desolate, sat in his arm-chair with th pair of flintlock pistls on his nes, faced by a armd throng. Wen Jim apeard, at somebody's exclmation, al th heds turnd round togethr, and then th mass opend ryt and left, and he walkd up a lane of avertd glances. Wisprs folod him; murmrs: "He has workd al th evil." "He hath a charm." . . . He herd them -- perhaps!
'when he came up into th lyt of torchs th wailng of th women cesed sudnly. Doramin did not lift his hed, and Jim stood silent befor him for a time. Then he lookd to th left, and moved in that direction with mesurd steps. Dain Waris's mothr crouchd at th hed of th body, and th gray dishevld hair conceald her face. Jim came up sloly, lookd at his ded frend, liftng th sheet, than dropd it without a word. Sloly he walkd bak.
' "He came! He came!" was runng from lip to lip, making a murmr to wich he moved. "He hath taken it upon his own hed," a voice said aloud. He herd this and turnd to th crowd. "Yes. Upon my hed." A few peple recoild. Jim waitd awile befor Doramin, and then said jently, "I am com in soro." He waitd again. "I am com redy and unarmd," he repeatd.
'the unwieldy old man, lowrng his big forhed like an ox undr a yoke, made an efrt to rise, cluchng at th flintlock pistls on his nes. From his throat came gurglng, choking, inhuman sounds, and his two atendnts helpd him from behind. Peple remarkd that th ring wich he had dropd on his lap fel and rold against th foot of th wite man, and that poor Jim glanced down at th talismn that had opend for him th dor of fame, lov, and success within th wal of forests frinjd with wite foam, within th coast that undr th westrn sun looks like th very
'the crowd, wich had falen apart behind Jim as soon as Doramin had rased his hand, rushd tumultuously forwrd aftr th shot. They say that th wite man sent ryt and left at al those faces a proud and unflinching glance. Then with his hand over his lips he fel forwrd, ded.
'and that's th end. He passes away undr a cloud, inscrutabl at hart, forgotn, unforgiven, and exessivly romantic. Not in th wildst days of his boyish visions cud he hav seen th aluring shape of such an extrordnry success! For it may very wel be that in th short moment of his last proud and unflinching glance, he had beheld th face of that oprtunity wich, like an Eastrn bride, had com veild to his side.
'but we can se him, an obscure conqr of fame, terng himself out of th arms of a jelus lov at th syn, at th cal of his exaltd egoism. He gos away from a livng womn to celebrate his pitiless wedng with a shadowy ideal of conduct. Is he satisfyd -- quite, now, I wondr? We ot to no. He is one of us -- and hav I not stood up once, like an evoked gost, to ansr for his eternl constncy? Was I so very rong aftr al? Now he is no mor, ther ar days wen th reality of his existnce coms to me with an imense, with an overwelmng force; and yet upon my onr ther ar moments too wen he passes from my ys like a dismbodid spirit astray amongst th passions of this erth, redy to surendr himself faithfuly to th claim of his own world of shades.
'who nos? He is gon, inscrutabl at hart, and th poor girl is leadng a sort of soundless, inert life in Stein's house. Stein has ajed gretly of late. He feels it himself, and says ofn that he is "preparing to leve al this; preparing to leve . . ." wile he waves his hand sadly at his butrflys.
Septembr 1899 -- July 1900.