Lord Jim

Conrad, Josef, 1857-1924

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About th electronic version
Lord Jim
Conrad, Josef, 1857-1924

Creation of machine-readbl version: Downloaded from internet-accesbl archive at quartz.rutgers.edu

Conversion to TEI.2-conformant markup: University of Virjinia Libry Electronic Text Centr.


This version availbl from th University of Virjinia Libry.
Charlottesville, Va.

http://etext.lib.virjinia.edu/modeng/modengc.browse.html

   A version of this text is also availbl from th Oxfrd Text Archive, Oxfrd University Computing Services, 13 Banbury Road, Oxfrd OX2 6NN; archive@ox.ac.uk (ota n="1824")


1992


About th print version
Lord Jim
Josef Conrad
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

   Prepared for th University of Virjinia Libry Electronic Text Centr.

   Spel-chek and verification made against printd text using Wordperfect spel checker.


Publishd: 1899-1900


English
French


Revisions to th electronic version
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


etext@virjinia.edu. Comercial use prohibitd; al usaj govrnd by our Conditions of Use: http://etext.lib.virjinia.edu/conditions.html
Final chekng: David


Seman


It is certn my conviction gains infnitly,
th moment anothr sol wil beleve in it.
Novalis.


   To Mr. and Mrs. G. F. W. Hope with grateful afection aftr many years of

frendship



Paje 1

Author's

Note

   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


Paje 2

didnt forse that it wud spred itself over thirteen numbrs of 'maga'.

   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




Paje 3

Chaptr 1

   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


Paje 4

employrs th reasns he gave wer obviusly inadequat. They said 'confounded fool!' as soon as his bak was turnd. This was ther criticism on his exquisit sensbility.

   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


Paje 5

exlnt fysiqe, he was very smart aloft. His station was in th for-top, and ofn from ther he lookd down, with th contemt of a man destnd to shine in th midst of danjers, at th peceful multitude of roofs cut in two by th brown tide of th stream, wile scatrd on th outskirts of th suroundng plan th factry chimnis rose perpndiculr against a grimy sky, each slendr like a pencil, and belchng out smoke like a volcano. He cud se th big ships departng, th brod-beamd ferris constntly on th move, th litl boats floatng far belo his feet, with th hazy splendr of th se in th distnce, and th hope of a stirng life in th world of adventur.

   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


Paje 6

jently hed to wind, and with her scanty rigng humng in a deep bass th brethless song of her yuth at se. 'lower away!' He saw th boat, mand, drop swiftly belo th rail, and rushd aftr her. He herd a splash. 'let go; clear th fals!' He leand over. Th rivr alongside sethed in frothy streaks. Th cutr cud be seen in th falng darkns undr th spel of tide and wind, that for a moment held her bound, and tosng abrest of th ship. A yelng voice in her reachd him faintly: 'keep stroke, u yung whelps, if u want to save anybody! Keep stroke!' And sudnly she liftd hy her bo, and, leapng with rased ors over a wave, broke th spel cast upon her by th wind and tide.

   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


Paje 7

loer achevemnt had servd th turn. He had enlarjd his nolej mor than those ho had don th work. Wen al men flinchd, then -- he felt sure -- he alone wud no how to deal with th spurius menace of wind and ses. He new wat to think of it. Seen dispassionatly, it seemd contemtbl. He cud detect no trace of emotion in himself, and th final efect of a stagrng event was that, unoticed and apart from th noisy crowd of boys, he exultd with fresh certitude in his avidity for adventur, and in a sense of many-sided curaj.

Chaptr 2

   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


Paje 8

on his bak, dazed, batrd, hopeless, and tormentd as if at th botm of an abyss of unrest. He did not care wat th end wud be, and in his lucid moments overvalued his indifrnce. Th danjer, wen not seen, has th imperfect vageness of human thot. Th fear gros shadowy; and Imajnation, th enmy of men, th fathr of al terrs, unstimulated, sinks to rest in th dulness of exaustd emotion. Jim saw nothing but th disordr of his tosd cabn. He lay ther battened down in th midst of a smal devastation, and felt secretly glad he had not to go on dek. But now and again an uncontrolbl rush of anguish wud grip him bodily, make him gasp and rithe undr th blankets, and then th unintelijnt brutality of an existnce liabl to th agny of such sensations fild him with a despairng desire to escape at any cost. Then fine wethr returnd, and he thot no mor about It.

   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,


Paje 9

ahed of civlization, in th dark places of th se; and ther deth was th only event of ther fantastic existnce that seemd to hav a reasnbl certitude of achevemnt. Th majority wer men ho, like himself, thrown ther by som accidnt, had remaind as oficers of cuntry ships. They had now a horr of th home service, with its harder conditions, severer vew of duty, and th hazrd of stormy ocens. They wer atuned to th eternl pece of Eastrn sky and se. They lovd short passajs, good dek-chairs, larj nativ crews, and th distinction of being wite. They shudrd at th thot of hard work, and led precariusly esy lives, always on th verj of dismisl, always on th verj of engajemnt, servng Chinamen, Arabs, half-casts -- wud hav servd th devl himself had he made it esy enuf. They talkd everlastingly of turns of luk: how So-and-so got charj of a boat on th coast of China -- a soft thing; how this one had an esy bilet in Japan somwher, and that one was doing wel in th Siamese navy; and in al they said -- in ther actions, in ther looks, in ther persns -- cud be detectd th soft spot, th place of decay, th determnation to lounj safely thru existnce.

   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


Paje 10

a look bak; and wen clear of confining rails spred on al sides over th dek, floed forwrd and aft, overfloed down th yawnng hatchways, fild th inr recesses of th ship -- like watr filng a cistrn, like watr floing into crevices and crannis, like watr rising silently even with th rim. Eit hundred men and women with faith and hopes, with afections and memris, they had colectd ther, comng from north and south and from th outskirts of th East, aftr tredng th jungl paths, desendng th rivrs, coastng in praus along th shalos, crosng in smal canoes from iland to iland, pasng thru sufrng, meetng stranje syts, beset by stranje fears, upheld by one desire. They came from solitry huts in th wildrness, from populus campongs, from vilajs by th se. At th cal of an idea they had left ther forests, ther clearngs, th protection of ther rulers, ther prosperity, ther povrty, th suroundngs of ther yuth and th graves of ther fathrs. They came covrd with dust, with swet, with grime, with rags -- th strong men at th hed of famly partis, th lean old men presng forwrd without hope of return; yung boys with fearless ys glancing curiusly, shy litl girls with tumbld long hair; th timid women mufld up and claspng to ther brests, rapd in loose ends of soild hed-cloths, ther sleepng babis, th unconcius pilgrms of an exactng belief.

   '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


Paje 11

th hart, withrd al impulses of strength and enrjy. And undr th sinistr splendr of that sky th se, blu and profound, remaind stil, without a stir, without a ripl, without a rinkl -- viscus, stagnnt, ded. Th Patna, with a slyt hiss, pasd over that plan, luminus and smooth, unrold a blak ribn of smoke across th sky, left behind her on th watr a wite ribn of foam that vanishd at once, like th fantm of a trak drawn upon a lifeless se by th fantm of a steamr.

   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.

Chaptr 3

   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


Paje 12

natur like th certitude of fostrng lov upon th placid tendrness of a mother's face. Belo th roof of awnngs, surendrd to th wisdm of wite men and to ther curaj, trustng th powr of ther unbelief and th iron shel of ther fire-ship, th pilgrms of an exactng faith slept on mats, on blankets, on bare planks, on evry dek, in al th dark cornrs, rapd in dyd cloths, mufld in soild rags, with ther heds restng on smal bundls, with ther faces presd to bent forarms: th men, th women, th children; th old with th yung, th decrepit with th lusty -- al equal befor sleep, death's brothr.

   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


Paje 13

about th line of th horizon, seemd to gaze hungrily into th unatainbl, and did not se th shado of th comng event. Th only shado on th se was th shado of th blak smoke porng hevily from th funl its imense streamr, hos end was constntly disolvng in th air. Two Malays, silent and almost motionless, steerd, one on each side of th weel, hos brass rim shon fragmentarily in th oval of lyt thrown out by th binnacle. Now and then a hand, with blak fingrs alternatly letng go and cachng hold of revolvng spokes, apeard in th ilumind part; th links of weel-chains ground hevily in th groovs of th barel. Jim wud glance at th compas, wud glance around th unatainbl horizon, wud strech himself til his joints crakd, with a lesurly twist of th body, in th very exess of wel-being; and, as if made audacius by th invincibl aspect of th pece, he felt he cared for nothing that cud hapn to him to th end of his days. From time to time he glanced idly at a chart pegd out with four drawng-pins on a lo thre-leged table abaft th steerng-gear case. Th sheet of paper portrayng th depths of th se presentd a shiny surface undr th lyt of a bull's-y lamp lashd to a stanchion, a surface as levl and smooth as th glimrng surface of th watrs. Paralel rulers with a pair of dividers reposed on it; th ship's position at last noon was markd with a smal blak cross, and th strait pencil-line drawn firmly as far as Perim figrd th corse of th ship -- th path of sols towards th holy place, th promis of salvation, th reward of eternl life -- wile th pencil with its sharp end tuchng th Somali coast lay round and stil like a naked ship's spar floatng in th pool of a sheltrd dok. 'how stedy she gos,' thot Jim with wondr, with somthing like gratitude for this hy pece of se and sky. At such times his thots wud be ful of valorous deeds: he lovd these dreams and th success of his imajnry achevemnts. They wer th best parts of life, its secret truth, its hidn reality. They had a gorjus virility, th charm of vageness, they pasd befor him with an heroic tred; they carrid his sol away with them and made it drunk with th divine philtre of an unboundd confidnce in itself. Ther was nothing he cud not face. He was so plesed with th idea that he smiled, keepng perfunctrily his ys ahed; and wen he hapnd to glance bak he saw th wite streak of th wake drawn as strait by th ship's keel upon th se as th blak line drawn by th pencil upon th chart.

   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


Paje 14

runng thru evry lim as tho al th blod in his body had turnd to warm milk. His skipr had com up noislesly, in pajamas and with his sleepng-jaket flung wide open. Red of face, only half awake, th left y partly closed, th ryt staring stupid and glassy, he hung his big hed over th chart and scrachd his ribs sleepily. Ther was somthing obsene in th syt of his naked flesh. His bared brest glisnd soft and gresy as tho he had swetd out his fat in his sleep. He pronounced a professionl remark in a voice harsh and ded, resemblng th raspng sound of a wood-file on th ej of a plank; th fold of his dubl chin hung like a bag triced up close undr th hinj of his jaw. Jim startd, and his ansr was ful of defrnce; but th odius and fleshy figr, as tho seen for th first time in a revealng moment, fixd itself in his memry for evr as th incarnation of everything vile and base that lurks in th world we lov: in our own harts we trust for our salvation, in th men that suround us, in th syts that fil our ys, in th sounds that fil our ears, and in th air that fils our lungs.

   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


Paje 15

being made jolly wel def by th blastd raket belo. Th durned, compound, surface-condensng, rotn scrap-heap ratld and bangd down ther like an old dek-winch, only mor so; and wat made him risk his life evry nyt and day that God made amongst th refuse of a brekng-up yard flyng round at fifty-sevn revlutions, was mor than he cud tel. He must hav been born rekless, b'gosh. He . . . 'where did u get drink?' inquired th Jermn, very savaj; but motionless in th lyt of th binnacle, like a clumsy efijy of a man cut out of a blok of fat. Jim went on smiling at th retreatng horizon; his hart was ful of jenrus impulses, and his thot was contmplating his own superiority. 'drink!' repeatd th enjneer with amiabl scorn: he was hangng on with both hands to th rail, a shadowy figr with flexbl legs. 'not from u, captn. U'r far too mean, b'gosh. U wud let a good man die soonr than giv him a drop of shnaps. That's wat u Jermns cal econmy. Penny wise, pound foolish.' He became sentmentl. Th chief had givn him a four-fingr nip about ten oclok -- 'only one, s'elp me!' -- good old chief; but as to getng th old fraud out of his bunk -- a five-ton crane cudnt do it. Not it. Not to-nyt anyhow. He was sleepng sweetly like a litl child, with a botl of prime brandy undr his pilo. From th thik throat of th comandr of th Patna came a lo rumbl, on wich th sound of th word Schwein flutrd hy and lo like a capricius fethr in a faint stir of air. He and th chief enjneer had been cronis for a good few years -- servng th same jovial, crafty, old Chinaman, with horn-rimd gogls and strings of red silk platd into th venrbl gray hairs of his pigtail. Th qy-side opinion in th Patna's home-port was that these two in th way of brazen peculation 'had don togethr pretty wel everything u can think of.' Outwrdly they wer badly machd: one dul-yd, malevlnt, and of soft fleshy curvs; th othr lean, al holos, with a hed long and bony like th hed of an old horse, with sunkn cheeks, with sunkn templs, with an indifrnt glazed glance of sunkn ys. He had been strandd out East somwher -- in Canton, in Shanghai, or perhaps in Yokohama; he probbly did not care to remembr himself th exact locality, nor yet th cause of his shiprek. He had been, in mercy to his yuth, kikd quietly out of his ship twenty years ago or mor, and it myt hav been so much worse for him that th memry of th episode had in it hardly a trace of misfortune. Then, steam navigation expandng in these ses and men of his craft being scarce at first, he had 'got on' aftr a sort. He was eagr to let stranjers no in a disml mumbl that he was 'an old stager out here.' Wen he moved, a skeletn seemd to sway loose in his clothes; his walk was mere wandrng, and he was givn to wandr thus around th enjn-room skylyt, smoking, without relish, doctrd tobaco in a brass bol


Paje 16

at th end of a cherrywood stem four feet long, with th imbecile gravity of a thinkr evolvng a systm of filosofy from th hazy glimps of a truth. He was usuly anything but fre with his privat stor of liqr; but on that nyt he had departd from his principls, so that his secnd, a weak-hedd child of Wapng, wat with th unexpectedness of th treat and th strength of th stuf, had becom very happy, cheeky, and talkativ. Th fury of th New South Wales Jermn was extreme; he pufd like an exaust-pipe, and Jim, faintly amused by th sene, was impatient for th time wen he cud get belo: th last ten minuts of th wach wer iritating like a gun that hangs fire; those men did not belong to th world of heroic adventur; they wernt bad chaps tho. Even th skipr himself . . . His gorj rose at th mass of pantng flesh from wich isud gurglng mutrs, a cloudy trikl of filthy expressions; but he was too plesurably languid to dislike activly this or any othr thing. Th quality of these men did not matr; he rubd sholdrs with them, but they cud not tuch him; he shared th air they brethed, but he was difrnt.... Wud th skipr go for th enjneer? ... Th life was esy and he was too sure of himself -- too sure of himself to . . . Th line dividing his meditation from a sureptitius doze on his feet was thinr than a thred in a spider's web.

   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


Paje 17

-- respectfuly, mind -- ho wudnt chuk a dratted job like this? 'tain't safe, s'elp me, it aint! Only I am one of them fearless felos . . .'

   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.

Chaptr 4

   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


Paje 18

startlng in his own ears, it was th only sound audbl in th world, for th teribly distinct questions that extortd his ansrs seemd to shape themselvs in anguish and pain within his brest, -- came to him poignnt and silent like th teribl questionng of one's concience. Outside th cort th sun blazed -- within was th wind of gret punkahs that made u shivr, th shame that made u burn, th atentiv ys hos glance stabd. Th face of th presiding majistrate, clean shaved and impassible, lookd at him dedly pale between th red faces of th two nauticl asesrs. Th lyt of a brod windo undr th celing fel from abov on th heds and sholdrs of th thre men, and they wer fiercely distinct in th half-lyt of th big cort-room wher th audience seemd composed of staring shados. They wantd facts. Facts! They demandd facts from him, as if facts cud explain anything!

   '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


Paje 19

th foot of th brij-ladr: he seemd dazed, and told me he thot his left arm was broken; he had slipd on th top step wen getng down wile I was forwrd. He exclaimd, "My God! That rotn bulkhead'll giv way in a minut, and th damd thing wil go down undr us like a lump of led." He pushd me away with his ryt arm and ran befor me up th ladr, shoutng as he climbd. His left arm hung by his side. I folod up in time to se th captn rush at him and nok him down flat on his bak. He did not strike him again: he stood bendng over him and speakng angrily but quite lo. I fancy he was askng him wy th devl he didnt go and stop th enjns, insted of making a ro about it on dek. I herd him say, "Get up! Run! fly!" He swor also. Th enjneer slid down th starbrd ladr and boltd round th sky- lyt to th enjn-room companion wich was on th port side. He moand as he ran....'

   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


Paje 20

soundd like "confoundd steam!" and "infernl steam!" -- somthing about steam. I thot . . .'

   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


Paje 21

truthful statemnts confirmd his delibrat opinion that speech was of no use to him any longr. That man ther seemd to be aware of his hopeless dificlty. Jim lookd at him, then turnd away reslutely, as aftr a final partng.

   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.

Chaptr 5

   '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


Paje 22

make time pass away aftr dinr. Charly, my dear chap, yr dinr was extremely good, and in consequence these men here look upon a quiet rubr as a tumultuus ocupation. They walo in yr good chairs and think to themselvs, "Hang exertion. Let that Marlow talk."

   '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,


Paje 23

"Here they ar!"

   '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


Paje 24

at his bak, and turnng his hed he saw, in his own words, somthing round and enormus, resemblng a sixteen-hundred-weit sugr-hogshead rapd in striped flannelette, up-endd in th midl of th larj flor space in th ofice. He declares he was so taken abak that for quite an apreciabl time he did not realize th thing was alive, and sat stil wondrng for wat purpos and by wat means that object had been transportd in front of his desk. Th archway from th ante-room was crowdd with punkah-pullers, sweeprs, police peons, th coxn and crew of th harbr steam-launch, al craning ther neks and almost climbng on each other's baks. Quite a riot. By that time th felo had manajd to tug and jerk his hat clear of his hed, and advanced with slyt bos at Ruthvel, ho told me th syt was so discomposing that for som time he lisnd, quite unable to make out wat that aprition wantd. It spoke in a voice harsh and lugubrius but intrepid, and litl by litl it dawnd upon Archi that this was a developmnt of th Patna case. He says that as soon as he undrstood ho it was befor him he felt quite unwel -- Archi is so sympathetic and esily upset -- but puld himself togethr and shoutd "Stop! I cant lisn to u. U must go to th Mastr Atendnt. I cant posbly lisn to u. Captn Elliot is th man u want to se. This way, this way." He jumpd up, ran round that long countr, puld, shovd: th othr let him, surprised but obedient at first, and only at th dor of th privat ofice som sort of anml instinct made him hang bak and snort like a frytnd bulok. "Look here! wat's up? Let go! Look here!" Archi flung open th dor without nokng. "Th mastr of th Patna, sir," he shouts. "Go in, captn." He saw th old man lift his hed from som riting so sharp that his nose-nippers fel off, bangd th dor to, and fled to his desk, wher he had som papers waitng for his signatur: but he says th ro that burst out in ther was so awful that he cudnt colect his senses suficiently to remembr th spelng of his own name. Archie's th most sensitiv shipng-mastr in th two hemisferes. He declares he felt as tho he had thrown a man to a hungry lion. No dout th noise was gret. I herd it down belo, and I hav evry reasn to beleve it was herd clear across th Esplnade as far as th band-stand. Old fathr Elliot had a gret stok of words and cud shout -- and didnt mind ho he shoutd at eithr. He wud hav shoutd at th Viceroy himself. As he used to tel me: "I am as hy as I can get; my pension is safe. I'v a few pounds laid by, and if they dont like my notions of duty I wud just as soon go home as not. I am an old man, and I hav always spoken my mind. Al I care for now is to se my girls marrid befor I die." He was a litl crazy on that point. His thre dautrs wer awfuly nice, tho they resembld him amazingly, and on


Paje 25

th mornngs he woke up with a gloomy vew of ther matrimonial prospects th ofice wud red it in his y and trembl, because, they said, he was sure to hav sombody for brekfast. Howevr, that mornng he did not eat th renegade, but, if I may be alowd to carry on th metafr, chewd him up very smal, so to speak, and -- ah! ejectd him again.

   '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


Paje 26

and lookng at me with sulen and passionat impudnce -- "Ba! th Pacific is big, my friendt. U damd Englishmen can do yr worst; I no wher ther's plenty room for a man like me: I am wel aguaindt in Apia, in Honolulu, in . . ." He pausd reflectivly, wile without efrt I cud depict to myself th sort of peple he was "aguaindt" with in those places. I wont make a secret of it that I had been "aguaindt" with not a few of that sort myself. Ther ar times wen a man must act as tho life wer equaly sweet in any compny. I'v nown such a time, and, wat's mor, I shant now pretend to pul a long face over my necessity, because a good many of that bad compny from want of moral -- moral -- wat shal I say? -- postur, or from som othr equaly profound cause, wer twice as instructiv and twenty times mor amusing than th usul respectbl thief of comerce u felos ask to sit at yr table without any real necessity -- from habit, from cowrdice, from good-natur, from a hundred sneakng and inadequat reasns.

   '"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


Paje 27

suspectd, as in som parts of th world u suspect a dedly snake in evry bush -- from weakness that may lie hidn, wachd or unwatched, prayd against or manfuly scornd, represd or maybe ignord mor than half a lifetime, not one of us is safe. We ar snared into doing things for wich we get cald names, and things for wich we get hangd, and yet th spirit may wel survive -- survive th condmnation, survive th haltr, by Jove! And ther ar things -- they look smal enuf somtimes too -- by wich som of us ar totaly and completely undon. I wachd th yungstr ther. I liked his apearnce; I new his apearnce; he came from th ryt place; he was one of us. He stood ther for al th parentaj of his kind, for men and women by no means clevr or amusing, but hos very existnce is based upon onest faith, and upon th instinct of curaj. I dont mean militry curaj, or civl curaj, or any special kind of curaj. I mean just that inborn ability to look temtations strait in th face -- a rediness unintellectual enuf, goodness nos, but without pose -- a powr of resistnce, dont u se, ungracius if u like, but priceless -- an unthinkng and blesd stifness befor th outwrd and inwrd terrs, befor th myt of natur and th seductiv coruption of men -- bakd by a faith invulnrbl to th strength of facts, to th contajon of exampl, to th solicitation of ideas. Hang ideas! They ar tramps, vagabonds, nokng at th bak-dor of yr mind, each taking a litl of yr substnce, each carrying away som crum of that belief in a few simpl notions u must cling to if u want to liv decently and wud like to die esy!

   '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


Paje 28

me, sir? Wy! litl So-and-so. Such and such a ship. It was my first voyaj." And I wud remembr a bewildrd litl shaver, no hyr than th bak of this chair, with a mothr and perhaps a big sistr on th qy, very quiet but too upset to wave ther hankrchiefs at th ship that glides out jently between th pier-heds; or perhaps som decent midl-ajed fathr ho had com erly with his boy to se him off, and stays al th mornng, because he is intrestd in th windlass aparently, and stays too long, and has got to scrambl ashor at last with no time at al to say good-by. Th mud pilot on th poop sings out to me in a drawl, "Hold her with th chek line for a moment, Mistr Mate. Ther's a jentlman wants to get ashor.... Up with u, sir. Nearly got carrid off to Talcahuano, didnt u? Now's yr time; esy dos it.... Al ryt. Slak away again forwrd ther." Th tugs, smoking like th pit of perdition, get hold and churn th old rivr into fury; th jentlman ashor is dustng his nes -- th benevlnt stewrd has shyd his umbrela aftr him. Al very propr. He has ofrd his bit of sacrifice to th se, and now he may go home pretendng he thinks nothing of it; and th litl wilng victm shal be very se-sik befor next mornng. By-and-by, wen he has lernd al th litl mystris and th one gret secret of th craft, he shal be fit to liv or die as th se may decree; and th man ho had taken a hand in this fool game, in wich th se wins evry toss, wil be plesed to hav his bak slapd by a hevy yung hand, and to hear a cheery se-puppy voice: "Do u remembr me, sir? Th litl So-and-so."

   '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


Paje 29

had not been visbl to th naked y. They grinnd at each othr -- myt hav been exchanjing jokes, for al I no. I saw that with one of them it was a case of a broken arm; and as to th long individul with gray mustachs he was th chief enjneer, and in varius ways a pretty notorius persnality. They wer nobodis. They aproachd. Th skipr gazed in an inanmat way between his feet: he seemd to be swolen to an unatrl size by som awful disese, by th mysterius action of an unown poisn. He liftd his hed, saw th two befor him waitng, opend his mouth with an extrordnry, sneerng contortion of his pufd face -- to speak to them, I supose -- and then a thot seemd to strike him. His thik, purplish lips came togethr without a sound, he went off in a reslute waddle to th gharry and began to jerk at th dor-handl with such a blind brutality of impatience that I expectd to se th hole concern overturnd on its side, pony and al. Th driver, shaken out of his meditation over th sole of his foot, displayd at once al th syns of intense terr, and held with both hands, lookng round from his box at this vast carcas forcing its way into his conveynce. Th litl machine shook and rokd tumultuously, and th crimsn nape of that loerd nek, th size of those strainng thys, th imense heving of that dinjy, striped green-and-oranj bak, th hole buroing efrt of that gaudy and sordid mass, trubld one's sense of probbility with a drol and fearsm efect, like one of those grotesq and distinct visions that scare and fasnate one in a fever. He disapeard. I half expectd th roof to split in two, th litl box on weels to burst open in th manr of a ripe cotn-pod -- but it only sank with a clik of flatnd springs, and sudnly one venetian blind ratld down. His sholdrs reapeard, jamd in th smal openng; his hed hung out, distendd and tosng like a captiv baloon, perspiring, furius, splutrng. He reachd for th gharry-wala with vicius flurishs of a fist as dumpy and red as a lump of raw meat. He rord at him to be off, to go on. Wher? Into th Pacific, perhaps. Th driver lashd; th pony snortd, reard once, and dartd off at a galop. Wher? To Apia? To Honolulu? He had 6000 miles of tropicl belt to disport himself in, and I did not hear th precise adress. A snortng pony snachd him into "Ewigkeit" in th twinklng of an y, and I nevr saw him again; and, wat's mor, I dont no of anybody that evr had a glimps of him aftr he departd from my nolej sitng inside a ramshakl litl gharry that fled round th cornr in a wite smothr of dust. He departd, disapeard, vanishd, absconded; and absurdly enuf it lookd as tho he had taken that gharry with him, for nevr again did I com


Paje 30

across a sorel pony with a slit ear and a lackadaisical Taml driver aflictd by a sor foot. Th Pacific is indeed big; but wethr he found a place for a display of his talents in it or not, th fact remains he had flown into space like a wich on a broom-stik. Th litl chap with his arm in a sling startd to run aftr th carrij, bleatng, "Captn! I say, Captn! I sa-a-y!" -- but aftr a few steps stopd short, hung his hed, and walkd bak sloly. At th sharp ratl of th weels th yung felo spun round wher he stood. He made no othr movemnt, no jestur, no syn, and remaind facing in th new direction aftr th gharry had swung out of syt.

   '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


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shut him up with a suply of botls in an upstairs room of his infmus hovl. It apears he was undr som hazy aprehension as to his persnl safety, and wishd to be conceald. Howevr, Mariani told me a long time aftr (wen he came on bord one day to dun my stewrd for th price of som cigars) that he wud hav don mor for him without askng any questions, from gratitude for som unholy favor receved very many years ago -- as far as I cud make out. He thumpd twice his brawny chest, rold enormus blak-and-wite ys glisnng with tears: "Antonio nevr forget -- Antonio nevr forget!" Wat was th precise natur of th imoral obligation I nevr lernd, but be it wat it may, he had evry facility givn him to remain undr lok and ke, with a chair, a table, a matress in a cornr, and a litr of falen plastr on th flor, in an irationl state of funk, and keepng up his pecker with such tonics as Mariani dispensd. This lastd til th evenng of th third day, wen, aftr letng out a few horibl screams, he found himself compeld to seek safety in flyt from a lejon of centipedes. He burst th dor open, made one leap for dear life down th crazy litl stairway, landd bodily on Mariani's stomac, pikd himself up, and boltd like a rabit into th streets. Th police plukd him off a garbaj-heap in th erly mornng. At first he had a notion they wer carrying him off to be hangd, and fot for librty like a hero, but wen I sat down by his bed he had been very quiet for two days. His lean bronzd hed, with wite mustachs, lookd fine and calm on th pilo, like th hed of a war-worn soldir with a child-like sol, had it not been for a hint of spectrl alarm that lurkd in th blank glitr of his glance, resemblng a nondescript form of a terr crouchng silently behind a pane of glass. He was so extremely calm, that I began to indulj in th eccentric hope of hearng somthing explanatry of th famus afair from his point of vew. Wy I longd to go grubng into th deplorabl details of an ocurence wich, aftr al, concernd me no mor than as a membr of an obscure body of men held togethr by a comunity of inglorius toil and by fidelity to a certn standrd of conduct, I cant explain. U may cal it an unhelthy curiosity if u like; but I hav a distinct notion I wishd to find somthing. Perhaps, unconciusly, I hoped I wud find that somthing, som profound and redeemng cause, som merciful explnation, som convincing shado of an excuse. I se wel enuf now that I hoped for th imposbl -- for th layng of wat is th most obstnat gost of man's creation, of th unesy dout uprising like a mist, secret and nawng like a worm, and mor chilng than th certitude of deth -- th dout of th sovren powr enthroned in a fixd standrd of conduct. It is


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th hardst thing to stumbl against; it is th thing that breeds yelng panics and good litl quiet villainies; it's th tru shado of calamity. Did I beleve in a miracl? and wy did I desire it so ardntly? Was it for my own sake that I wishd to find som shado of an excuse for that yung felo hom I had nevr seen befor, but hos apearnce alone add a tuch of persnl concern to th thots sujestd by th nolej of his weakness -- made it a thing of mystry and terr -- like a hint of a destructiv fate redy for us al hos yuth -- in its day -- had resembld his yuth? I fear that such was th secret motiv of my pryng. I was, and no mistake, lookng for a miracl. Th only thing that at this distnce of time strikes me as miraculus is th extent of my imbecility. I positivly hoped to obtain from that batrd and shady invlid som exorcism against th gost of dout. I must hav been pretty desprat too, for, without loss of time, aftr a few indifrnt and frendly sentnces wich he ansrd with languid rediness, just as any decent sik man wud do, I produced th word Patna rapd up in a delicat question as in a wisp of floss silk. I was delicat selfishly; I did not want to startl him; I had no solicitude for him; I was not furius with him and sorry for him: his experience was of no importnce, his redemtion wud hav had no point for me. He had grown old in minor iniquitis, and cud no longr inspire aversion or pity. He repeatd Patna? interrogatively, seemd to make a short efrt of memry, and said: "Quite ryt. I am an old stager out here. I saw her go down." I made redy to vent my indignation at such a stupid lie, wen he add smoothly, "She was ful of reptls."

   '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


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Gulf. Look undr th bed."

   '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


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me! Wait! O, wait! I'l smash them in heaps like flys. Wait for me! Help! H-e-elp!" An intermnbl and sustaind howl completed my discomfitur. I saw in th distnce th accidnt case rase deplorably both his hands to his bandajd hed; a dresr, aproned to th chin showd himself in th vista of th ward, as if seen in th smal end of a telescope. I confesd myself fairly routd, and without mor ado, stepng out thru one of th long windos, escaped into th outside galry. Th howl pursud me like a venjnce. I turnd into a desertd landng, and sudnly al became very stil and quiet around me, and I desendd th bare and shiny staircase in a silence that enabled me to compose my distractd thots. Down belo I met one of th residnt surjns ho was crosng th cortyard and stopd me. "Been to se yr man, Captn? I think we may let him go to-moro. These fools hav no notion of taking care of themselvs, tho. I say, we'v got th chief enjneer of that pilgrm ship here. A curius case. D.T.'s of th worst kind. He has been drinkng hard in that Greek's or Italian's grog-shop for thre days. Wat can u expect? Four botls of that kind of brandy a day, I am told. Wondrful, if tru. Sheetd with boilr-iron inside I shud think. Th hed, ah! th hed, of corse, gon, but th curius part is ther's som sort of method in his raving. I am tryng to find out. Most unusul -- that thred of lojic in such a delirium. Traditionly he ot to se snakes, but he dosnt. Good old tradition's at a discount nowadays. Eh! His -- er -- visions ar batrachian. Ha! ha! No, seriusly, I nevr remembr being so intrestd in a case of jim-jams befor. He ot to be ded, dont u no, aftr such a festiv experimnt. O! he is a tuf object. Four-and-twenty years of th tropics too. U ot realy to take a peep at him. Noble-lookng old boozer. Most extrordnry man I evr met -- medicly, of corse. Wont u?"

   '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.'

Chaptr 6

   '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


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dout. Ther was no incertitude as to facts -- as to th one material fact, I mean. How th Patna came by her hurt it was imposbl to find out; th cort did not expect to find out; and in th hole audience ther was not a man ho cared. Yet, as I'v told u, al th sailrs in th port atendd, and th watrside busness was fuly representd. Wethr they new it or not, th intrest that drew them ther was purely syclojicl -- th expectation of som esential disclosur as to th strength, th powr, th horr, of human emotions. Natrly nothing of th kind cud be disclosed. Th examnation of th only man able and wilng to face it was beatng futilely round th wel-nown fact, and th play of questions upon it was as instructiv as th tapng with a hamr on an iron box, wer th object to find out wat's inside. Howevr, an oficial inquiry cud not be any othr thing. Its object was not th fundmentl wy, but th superficial how, of this afair.

   '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


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of these services. He was acutely aware of his merits and of his rewards. I liked him wel enuf, tho som I no -- meek, frendly men at that -- cudnt stand him at any price. I havnt th slytst dout he considrd himself vastly my superir -- indeed, had u been Emprr of East and West, u cud not hav ignord yr inferiority in his presnce -- but I cudnt get up any real sentmnt of ofense. He did not despise me for anything I cud help, for anything I was -- dont u no? I was a neglijbl quantity simply because I was not th fortunat man of th erth, not Montague Brierly in comand of th Ossa, not th ownr of an inscribed gold chronometer and of silvr-mountd binoculrs testifyng to th exlnce of my seamanship and to my indomitbl pluk; not posesd of an acute sense of my merits and of my rewards, besides th lov and worship of a blak retriever, th most wondrful of its kind -- for nevr was such a man lovd thus by such a dog. No dout, to hav al this forced upon u was exasprating enuf; but wen I reflectd that I was asociated in these fatal disadvantajs with twelv hundred milions of othr mor or less human beings, I found I cud ber my share of his good-naturd and contemtuus pity for th sake of somthing indefnit and atractiv in th man. I hav nevr defined to myself this atraction, but ther wer moments wen I envid him. Th sting of life cud do no mor to his complacent sol than th scrach of a pin to th smooth face of a rok. This was enviabl. As I lookd at him, flankng on one side th unasuming pale-faced majistrate ho presided at th inquiry, his self-satisfaction presentd to me and to th world a surface as hard as granit. He comitd suicide very soon aftr.

   '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


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with his comandr th surliest chief oficer I'v evr seen, wud tel th story with tears in his ys. It apears that wen he came on dek in th mornng Brierly had been riting in th chart-room. "It was ten minuts to four," he said, "and th midl wach was not releved yet of corse. He herd my voice on th brij speakng to th secnd mate, and cald me in. I was loth to go, and that's th truth, Captn Marlow -- I cudnt stand poor Captn Brierly, I tel u with shame; we nevr no wat a man is made of. He had been promoted over too many heds, not countng my own, and he had a damnbl trik of making u feel smal, nothing but by th way he said 'good mornng.' I nevr adresd him, sir, but on matrs of duty, and then it was as much as I cud do to keep a civl tong in my hed." (He flatrd himself ther. I ofn wondrd how Brierly cud put up with his manrs for mor than half a voyaj.) "I'v a wife and children," he went on, "and I had been ten years in th Compny, always expectng th next comand -- mor fool I. Says he, just like this: 'come in here, Mr. Jones,' in that swagr voice of his -- 'come in here, Mr. Jones.' In I went. 'we'll lay down her position,' says he, stoopng over th chart, a pair of dividers in hand. By th standng ordrs, th oficer going off duty wud hav don that at th end of his wach. Howevr, I said nothing, and lookd on wile he markd off th ship's position with a tiny cross and rote th date and th time. I can se him this moment riting his neat figrs: sevnteen, eit, four A. M. Th year wud be ritn in red ink at th top of th chart. He nevr used his charts mor than a year, Captn Brierly didnt. I'v th chart now. Wen he had don he stands lookng down at th mark he had made and smiling to himself, then looks up at me. 'thirty-two miles mor as she gos,' says he, 'and then we shal be clear, and u may altr th corse twenty degrees to th southwrd.'

   '"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


Paje 38

strech, and to no purpos as it seemd to me. I said nothing. He went down th ladr, and th dog, that was always at his heels wenevr he moved, nyt or day, folod, sliding nose first, aftr him. I herd his boot-heels tap, tap on th aftr-dek, then he stopd and spoke to th dog -- 'go bak, Rover. On th brij, boy! Go on -- get.' Then he cals out to me from th dark, 'shut that dog up in th chart-room, Mr. Jones -- wil u?'

   ' "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


Paje 39

wud giv weit to my faithful service and to his warm recmndation, wen about to fil th vacancy made by his deth. And much mor like this, sir. I cudnt beleve my ys. It made me feel queer al over," went on th old chap, in gret pertrbation, and squashng somthing in th cornr of his y with th end of a thum as brod as a spatula. "U wud think, sir, he had jumpd overbord only to giv an unlucky man a last sho to get on. Wat with th shok of him going in this awful rash way, and thinkng myself a made man by that chance, I was nearly off my chump for a week. But no fear. Th captn of th Pelion was shiftd into th Ossa -- came abord in Shanghai -- a litl popinjay, sir, in a gray chek suit, with his hair partd in th midl. 'aw -- I am -- aw -- yr new captn, Mistr -- Mistr -- aw -- Jones.' He was drownd in sent -- fairly stunk with it, Captn Marlow. I dare say it was th look I gave him that made him stamr. He mumbld somthing about my natrl disapointmnt -- I had betr no at once that his chief oficer got th promotion to th Pelion -- he had nothing to do with it, of corse -- suposed th ofice new best -- sorry.... Says I, 'don't u mind old Jones, sir; dam' his sol, he's used to it.' I cud se directly I had shokd his delicat ear, and wile we sat at our first tiffin togethr he began to find falt in a nasty manr with this and that in th ship. I nevr herd such a voice out of a Punch and Judy sho. I set my teeth hard, and glued my ys to my plate, and held my pece as long as I cud; but at last I had to say somthing. Up he jumps tiptoeing, ruflng al his pretty plumes, like a litl fytng-cok. 'you'll find u hav a difrnt persn to deal with than th late Captn Brierly.' 'i've found it,' says I, very glum, but pretendng to be myty busy with my stek. 'you ar an old ruffian, Mistr -- aw -- Jones; and wat's mor, u ar nown for an old ruffian in th employ,' he squeaks at me. Th damd botl-washrs stood about lisnng with ther mouths strechd from ear to ear. 'I may be a hard case,' ansrs I, 'but I aint so far gon as to put up with th syt of u sitng in Captn Brierly's chair. ' With that I lay down my nife and fork. 'you wud like to sit in it yrself -- that's wher th shoe pinches,' he sneers. I left th saloon, got my rags togethr, and was on th qy with al my dunnage about my feet befor th stevedores had turnd to again. Yes. Adrift -- on shor -- aftr ten years' service -- and with a poor womn and four children six thousnd miles off dependng on my half-pay for evry mouthful they ate. Yes, sir! I chukd it rathr than hear Captn Brierly abused. He left me his nyt-glasses -- here they ar; and he wishd me to take care of th dog -- here he is. Helo, Rover, poor boy. Wher's th captn, Rover?" Th dog lookd up at us with mornful yelo ys, gave


Paje 40

one desolate bark, and crept undr th table.

   '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."


Paje 41

I herd him out in silence; in my then opinion it was a way as good as anothr of putng on side. "Wat's th use of it? It is th stupidst set-out u can imajn," he pursud hotly. I remarkd that ther was no option. He intruptd me with a sort of pent-up violence. "I feel like a fool al th time." I lookd up at him. This was going very far -- for Brierly -- wen talkng of Brierly. He stopd short, and sezing th lapel of my coat, gave it a slyt tug. "Wy ar we tormentng that yung chap?" he askd. This question chimed in so wel to th tolng of a certn thot of mine that, with th imaj of th absconding renegade in my y, I ansrd at once, "Hangd if I no, unless it be that he lets u." I was astonishd to se him fal into line, so to speak, with that utrnce, wich ot to hav been tolrbly cryptic. He said angrily, "Wy, yes. Cant he se that reched skipr of his has cleard out? Wat dos he expect to hapn? Nothing can save him. He's don for." We walkd on in silence a few steps. "Wy eat al that dirt?" he exclaimd, with an orientl enrjy of expression -- about th only sort of enrjy u can find a trace of east of th fiftieth meridian. I wondrd gretly at th direction of his thots, but now I strongly suspect it was strictly in caractr: at botm poor Brierly must hav been thinkng of himself. I pointd out to him that th skipr of th Patna was nown to hav fethrd his nest pretty wel, and cud procure almost anywher th means of getng away. With Jim it was othrwise: th Govrnmnt was keepng him in th Sailors' Home for th time being, and probbly he hadnt a penny in his poket to bless himself with. It costs som mony to run away. "Dos it? Not always," he said, with a bitr laf, and to som furthr remark of mine -- "Wel, then, let him creep twenty feet undrground and stay ther! By hevns! I wud." I dont no wy his tone provoked me, and I said, "Ther is a kind of curaj in facing it out as he dos, noing very wel that if he went away nobody wud trubl to run aftr hmm." "Curaj be hangd!" growld Brierly. "That sort of curaj is of no use to keep a man strait, and I dont care a snap for such curaj. If u wer to say it was a kind of cowrdice now -- of softness. I tel u wat, I wil put up two hundred rupees if u put up anothr hundred and undrtake to make th begr clear out erly to-moro mornng. Th fellow's a jentlman if he aint fit to be tuchd -- he wil undrstand. He must! This infernl publicity is too shokng: ther he sits wile al these confoundd nativs, serangs, lascars, quartermasters, ar givng evidnce that's enuf to burn a man to ashs with shame. This is abomnbl. Wy, Marlow, dont u think, dont u feel, that this is abomnbl; dont u now -- com -- as a seman? If he went away al this wud stop at once."


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Brierly said these words with a most unusul anmation, and made as if to reach aftr his poket-book. I restraind him, and declared coldly that th cowrdice of these four men did not seem to me a matr of such gret importnce. "And u cal yrself a seman, I supose," he pronounced angrily. I said that's wat I cald myself, and I hoped I was too. He herd me out, and made a jestur with his big arm that seemd to deprive me of my individuality, to push me away into th crowd. "Th worst of it," he said, "is that al u felos hav no sense of dignity; u dont think enuf of wat u ar suposed to be."

   '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


Paje 43

cud not forget th convrsation I had with Brierly, and now I had them both undr my ys. Th demeanr of one sujestd gloomy impudnce and of th othr a contemtuus bordm; yet one atitude myt not hav been truer than th othr, and I was aware that one was not tru. Brierly was not bord -- he was exasprated; and if so, then Jim myt not hav been impudent. Acordng to my theory he was not. I imajnd he was hopeless. Then it was that our glances met. They met, and th look he gave me was discurajng of any intention I myt hav had to speak to him. Upon eithr hypothesis -- inslnce or despair -- I felt I cud be of no use to him. This was th secnd day of th proceedngs. Very soon aftr that exchanje of glances th inquiry was ajurnd again to th next day. Th wite men began to troop out at once. Jim had been told to stand down som time befor, and was able to leve amongst th first. I saw his brod sholdrs and his hed outlined in th lyt of th dor, and wile I made my way sloly out talkng with som one -- som stranjer ho had adresd me casuly -- I cud se him from within th cort-room restng both elbos on th balustrade of th veranda and turnng his bak on th smal stream of peple triklng down th few steps. Ther was a murmr of voices and a shufl of boots.

   '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


Paje 44

to wine abjectly. Th dog, in th very act of tryng to sneak in at th dor, sat down hurridly to hunt for fles.

   ' "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


Paje 45

sudnly to make al posbl alownces for him. I cesed to be anoyd at my unexpectd predicmnt. It was som mistake on his part; he was blundrng, and I had an intuition that th blundr was of an odius, of an unfortunat natur. I was anxius to end this sene on grounds of decency, just as one is anxius to cut short som unprovoked and abomnbl confidnce. Th funniest part was, that in th midst of al these considrations of th hyr ordr I was concius of a certn trepidation as to th posbility -- nay, likelihood -- of this encountr endng in som disreputbl brawl wich cud not posbly be explaind, and wud make me ridiculus. I did not hankr aftr a thre days' celebrity as th man ho got a blak y or somthing of th sort from th mate of th Patna. He, in al probbility, did not care wat he did, or at any rate wud be fuly justifyd in his own ys. It took no majician to se he was amazingly angry about somthing, for al his quiet and even torpid demeanr. I dont deny I was extremely desirus to pacify him at al costs, had I only nown wat to do. But I didnt no, as u may wel imajn. It was a blakness without a singl gleam. We confrontd each othr in silence. He hung fire for about fifteen secnds, then made a step nearr, and I made redy to ward off a blo, tho I dont think I moved a musl. "If u wer as big as two men and as strong as six," he said very softly, "I wud tel u wat I think of u. U . . ." "Stop!" I exclaimd. This chekd him for a secnd. "Befor u tel me wat u think of me," I went on quikly, "wil u kindly tel me wat it is I'v said or don?" During th pause that ensud he surveyd me with indignation, wile I made supernatrl efrts of memry, in wich I was hindrd by th orientl voice within th cort-room expostulating with impassiond volubility against a charj of falshood. Then we spoke almost togethr. "I wil soon sho u I am not," he said, in a tone sujestiv of a crisis. "I declare I dont no," I protestd ernestly at th same time. He tryd to crush me by th scorn of his glance. "Now that u se I am not afraid u try to crawl out of it," he said. "Ho's a cur now -- hey?" Then, at last, I undrstood.

   '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


Paje 46

and sombr perseverance.

   '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,


Paje 47

anxius not to lose him, I said hurridly that I cudnt think of leving him undr a false impression of my -- of my -- I stamrd. Th stupidity of th frase apald me wile I was tryng to finish it, but th powr of sentnces has nothing to do with ther sense or th lojic of ther construction. My idiotic mumbl seemd to plese him. He cut it short by sayng, with curteus placidity that argud an imense powr of self-control or else a wondrful elasticity of spirits -- "Altogethr my mistake." I marvld gretly at this expression: he myt hav been aluding to som trifling ocurence. Hadnt he undrstood its deplorabl meanng? "U may wel forgiv me," he continud, and went on a litl moodily, "Al these staring peple in cort seemd such fools that -- that it myt hav been as I suposed."

   '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.'

Chaptr 7

   '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


Paje 48

and emty as her mind, or, in a sudn hush of crokry, a few words in an afectd drawl from som wit embroidrng for th benefit of a grinng tableful th last funny story of shipbord scandl. Two nomadic old maids, dresd up to kil, workd acrimoniously thru th bil of fare, wisprng to each othr with faded lips, woodn-faced and bizar, like two sumtuus scarecrows. A litl wine opend Jim's hart and loosnd his tong. His apetite was good, too, I noticed. He seemd to hav burid somwher th openng episode of our aquaintnce. It was like a thing of wich ther wud be no mor question in this world. And al th time I had befor me these blu, boyish ys lookng strait into mine, this yung face, these capabl sholdrs, th open bronzd forhed with a wite line undr th roots of clustrng fair hair, this apearnce apealng at syt to al my sympathis: this frank aspect, th artless smile, th yuthful seriusness. He was of th ryt sort; he was one of us. He talkd soberly, with a sort of composed unreserve, and with a quiet berng that myt hav been th outcom of manly self-control, of impudnce, of calusness, of a colosl unconciusness, of a jigantic deception. Ho can tel! From our tone we myt hav been discusng a third persn, a footbal mach, last year's wethr. My mind floatd in a se of conjecturs til th turn of th convrsation enabled me, without being ofensiv, to remark that, upon th hole, this inquiry must hav been pretty tryng to him. He dartd his arm across th tablecloth, and cluchng my hand by th side of my plate, glared fixedly. I was startld. "It must be awfuly hard," I stamrd, confused by this display of speechless feelng. "It is -- hel," he burst out in a mufld voice.

   '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,


Paje 49

as if som conviction of inate blamelessness had chekd th truth rithing within him at evry turn. He began by sayng, in th tone in wich a man wud admit his inability to jump a twenty-foot wal, that he cud nevr go home now; and this declration recald to my mind wat Brierly had said, "that th old parsn in Essex seemd to fancy his sailr son not a litl."

   '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


Paje 50

at him wen -- here he began to mumbl -- "that mistake, u no -- made a confoundd ass of myself." I broke in by sayng rathr warmly that for me such a mistake was not a matr to laf at. He sat down and drank delibratly som cofee, emtying th smal cup to th last drop. "That dos not mean I admit for a moment th cap fitd," he declared distinctly. "No?" I said. "No," he afirmd with quiet decision. "Do u no wat u wud hav don? Do u? And u dont think yrself" . . . he gulpd somthing . . . "u dont think yrself a -- a -- cur?"

   '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


Paje 51

nothing of them, and it is dificlt to imajn.

   '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,


Paje 52

with a bewildrd, startld, sufrng face, as tho he had tumbld down from a star. Neithr u nor I wil evr look like this on any man. He shudrd profoundly, as if a cold fingr-tip had tuchd his hart. Last of al he syd.

   '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.


Paje 53

   '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


Paje 54

hichd himself upryt and crosd his arms; his chin fel on his brest.

   '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.'

Chaptr 8

   '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


Paje 55

very long -- two minuts perhaps. A cupl of men he cud not make out began to converse drowsily, and also, he cud not tel wher, he detectd a curius noise of shuflng feet. Abov these faint sounds ther was that awful stilness preceding a catastrofe, that tryng silence of th moment befor th crash; then it came into his hed that perhaps he wud hav time to rush along and cut al th lanyards of th gripes, so that th boats wud float off as th ship went down.

   '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,


Paje 56

grabd my watr-botl, and thrust it into his hands. He vanishd. I didnt find out til then how much I was in want of a drink myself." He leand on one elbo with a hand over his ys.

   '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?


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Wher was I going to get men that wud go down belo? And th timbr -- th timbr! Wud u hav had th curaj to swing th maul for th first blo if u had seen that bulkhed? Dont say u wud: u had not seen it; nobody wud. Hang it -- to do a thing like that u must beleve ther is a chance, one in a thousnd, at least, som gost of a chance; and u wud not hav beleved. Nobody wud hav beleved. U think me a cur for standng ther, but wat wud u hav don? Wat! U cant tel -- nobody can tel. One must hav time to turn round. Wat wud u hav me do? Wher was th kindness in making crazy with fryt al those peple I cud not save singl-handd -- that nothing cud save? Look here! As tru as I sit on this chair befor u . . ." "

   '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.


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   '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


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him; nothing less than th unconceivable itself cud get over his perfect state of prepration. He had been taken unawares -- and he wisprd to himself a malediction upon th watrs and th firmmnt, upon th ship, upon th men. Everything had betrayd him! He had been trikd into that sort of hy-mindd resignation wich preventd him liftng as much as his litl fingr, wile these othrs ho had a very clear perception of th actul necessity wer tumblng against each othr and swetng despratly over that boat busness. Somthing had gon rong ther at th last moment. It apears that in ther flurry they had contrived in som mysterius way to get th sliding bolt of th formost boat-chock jamd tyt, and forthwith had gon out of th remnnts of ther minds over th dedly natur of that accidnt. It must hav been a pretty syt, th fierce industry of these begrs toilng on a motionless ship that floatd quietly in th silence of a world asleep, fytng against time for th freing of that boat, grovlng on al-fours, standng up in despair, tugng, pushng, snarlng at each othr venmusly, redy to kil, redy to weep, and only kept from flyng at each other's throats by th fear of deth that stood silent behind them like an inflexbl and cold-yd taskmaster. O yes! It must hav been a pretty syt. He saw it al, he cud talk about it with scorn and bitrness; he had a minut nolej of it by means of som sixth sense, I conclude, because he swor to me he had remaind apart without a glance at them and at th boat -- without one singl glance. And I beleve him. I shud think he was too busy wachng th thretnng slant of th ship, th suspendd menace discovrd in th midst of th most perfect security -- fasnated by th sord hangng by a hair over his imajnativ hed.

   '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


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of no good to him. This was one of those cases wich no solem deception can palliate, wher no man can help; wher his very Maker seems to abandn a sinr to his own devices.

   '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


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that th wite men wer about to leve th ship thru fear of deth. He did not beleve it now. Ther myt hav been secret reasns. He wagd his old chin noingly. Aha! secret reasns. He was a man of gret experience, and he wantd that wite Tuan to no -- he turnd towards Brierly, ho didnt rase his hed -- that he had aquired a nolej of many things by servng wite men on th se for a gret numbr of years -- and, sudnly, with shaky exitemnt he pord upon our spelbound atention a lot of queer-soundng names, names of ded-and-gon skippers, names of forgotn cuntry ships, names of familir and distortd sound, as if th hand of dum time had been at work on them for ajes. They stopd him at last. A silence fel upon th cort, -- a silence that remaind unbroken for at least a minut, and pasd jently into a deep murmr. This episode was th sensation of th secnd day's proceedngs -- afectng al th audience, afectng evrybody exept Jim, ho was sitng moodily at th end of th first bench, and nevr lookd up at this extrordnry and damng witness that seemd posesd of som mysterius theory of defense.

   '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


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voices dropd, th pale blochs of faces turnd our way with one acord, and th silence became so profound that th clear tinkl of a te-spoon falng on th tesselated flor of th veranda rang out like a tiny and silvry scream.

   ' "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.'

Chaptr 9

   ' "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


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cloud had com up wile they wernt lookng. They had just noticed it, and wer perfectly justifyd in surmising that if in abslute stilness ther was som chance for th ship to keep afloat a few minuts longr, th least disturbnce of th se wud make an end of her instntly. Her first nod to th swel that precedes th burst of such a squal wud be also her last, wud becom a plunj, wud, so to speak, be prolongd into a long dive, down, down to th botm. Hence these new capers of ther fryt, these new antics in wich they displayd ther extreme aversion to die.

   ' "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;


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that ther was nothing in comn between him and these men -- ho had th hamr. Nothing watevr. It is mor than probbl he thot himself cut off from them by a space that cud not be traversd, by an obstacl that cud not be overcom, by a casm without botm. He was as far as he cud get from them -- th hole bredth of th ship.

   '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


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of time I cudnt recal his very words: I only remembr that he manajd wondrfuly to convey th broodng rancr of his mind into th bare recital of events. Twice, he told me, he shut his ys in th certitude that th end was upon him alredy, and twice he had to open them again. Each time he noted th darknng of th gret stilness. Th shado of th silent cloud had falen upon th ship from th zenith, and seemd to hav extinguishd evry sound of her teemng life. He cud no longr hear th voices undr th awnngs. He told me that each time he closed his ys a flash of thot showd him that crowd of bodis, laid out for deth, as plan as daylyt. Wen he opend them, it was to se th dim strugl of four men fytng like mad with a stubrn boat. "They wud fal bak befor it time aftr time, stand swerng at each othr, and sudnly make anothr rush in a bunch.... Enuf to make u die lafng," he comentd with downcast ys; then rasing them for a moment to my face with a disml smile, "I ot to hav a merry life of it, by God! for I shal se that funny syt a good many times yet befor I die." His ys fel again. "Se and hear.... Se and hear," he repeatd twice, at long intrvls, fild by vacant staring.

   '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


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veranda. He exajrated. I wud hav landd short by sevrl feet -- and that's th only thing of wich I am fairly certn.

   '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


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squal being very near now, anothr and a hevir swel liftd th passiv hul in a thretnng heve that chekd his breth, wile his brain and his hart togethr wer pierced as with dagrs by panic-strikn screams. "Let go! For God's sake, let go! Let go! She's going." Foloing upon that th boat-fals ripd thru th bloks, and a lot of men began to talk in startld tones undr th awnngs. "Wen these begrs did brek out, ther yelps wer enuf to wake th ded," he said. Next, aftr th splashng shok of th boat litrly dropd in th watr, came th holo noises of stampng and tumblng in her, mingld with confused shouts: "Unhook! Unhook! Shov! Unhook! Shov for yr life! Here's th squal down on us.... " He herd, hy abov his hed, th faint mutrng of th wind; he herd belo his feet a cry of pain. A lost voice alongside startd cursng a swivl hook. Th ship began to buz for and aft like a disturbd hive, and, as quietly as he was telng me of al this -- because just then he was very quiet in atitude, in face, in voice -- he went on to say without th slytst warnng as it wer, "I stumbld over his legs."

   '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


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peple in that ship," he said, impaling me to th bak of my seat with an awful blank stare. "Eit hundred livng peple, and they wer yelng aftr th one ded man to com down and be saved. 'jump, Jorj! Jump! O, jump!' I stood by with my hand on th davit. I was very quiet. It had com over pich dark. U cud se neithr sky nor se. I herd th boat alongside go bump, bump, and not anothr sound down ther for a wile, but th ship undr me was ful of talkng noises. Sudnly th skipr howld 'mein Gott! Th squal! Th squal! Shov off!' With th first hiss of rain, and th first gust of wind, they screamd, 'jump, Jorj! We'l cach u! Jump!' Th ship began a slo plunj; th rain swept over her like a broken se; my cap flew off my hed; my breth was drivn bak into my throat. I herd as if I had been on th top of a towr anothr wild screech, 'geo-o-o-orge! O, jump!' She was going down, down, hed first undr me.... "

   '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.... " '

Chaptr 10

   '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


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again. By that time th boat had gon driving forwrd past th bos. It was too dark just then for them to se each othr, and, morover, they wer blindd and half drownd with rain. He told me it was like being swept by a flod thru a cavrn. They turnd ther baks to th squal; th skipr, it seems, got an or over th stern to keep th boat befor it, and for two or thre minuts th end of th world had com thru a deluje in a pitchy blakness. Th se hisd "like twenty thousnd ketls." That's his simle, not mine. I fancy ther was not much wind aftr th first gust; and he himself had admitd at th inquiry that th se nevr got up that nyt to any extent. He crouchd down in th bos and stole a furtiv glance bak. He saw just one yelo gleam of th mast-hed lyt hy up and blurd like a last star redy to disolv. "It terifyd me to se it stil ther," he said. That's wat he said. Wat terifyd him was th thot that th drownng was not over yet. No dout he wantd to be don with that abomnation as quikly as posbl. Nobody in th boat made a sound. In th dark she seemd to fly, but of corse she cud not hav had much way. Then th showr swept ahed, and th gret, distractng, hisng noise folod th rain into distnce and died out. Ther was nothing to be herd then but th slyt wash about th boat's sides. Somebody's teeth wer chatrng violently. A hand tuchd his bak. A faint voice said, "U ther?" Anothr cryd out shakily, "She's gon!" and they al stood up togethr to look astern. They saw no lyts. Al was blak. A thin cold drizl was driving into ther faces. Th boat lurchd slytly. Th teeth chatrd fastr, stopd, and began again twice befor th man cud mastr his shivr suficiently to say, "Ju-ju-st in ti-ti-me.... Brrrr." He recognized th voice of th chief enjneer sayng surlily, "I saw her go down. I hapnd to turn my hed." Th wind had dropd almost completely.

   '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 --


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mor -- any distnce -- to th very spot . . . "? Wy this impulse? Do u se th significnce? Wy bak to th very spot? Wy not drown alongside -- if he ment drownng? Wy bak to th very spot, to se -- as if his imajnation had to be soothed by th asurance that al was over befor deth cud bring relief? I defy any one of u to ofr anothr explnation. It was one of those bizar and exiting glimpses thru th fog. It was an extrordnry disclosur. He let it out as th most natrl thing one cud say. He fot down that impulse and then he became concius of th silence. He mentiond this to me. A silence of th se, of th sky, merjd into one indefnit imensity stil as deth around these saved, palpitating lives. "U myt hav herd a pin drop in th boat," he said with a queer contraction of his lips, like a man tryng to mastr his sensbilitis wile relating som extremely moving fact. A silence! God alone, ho had willd him as he was, nos wat he made of it in his hart. "I didnt think any spot on erth cud be so stil," he said. "U cudnt distinguish th se from th sky; ther was nothing to se and nothing to hear. Not a glimr, not a shape, not a sound. U cud hav beleved that evry bit of dry land had gon to th botm; that evry man on erth but I and these begrs in th boat had got drownd." He leand over th table with his nukls propd amongst cofee-cups, liqer-glasses, cigar-ends. "I seemd to beleve it. Everything was gon and -- al was over . . . " he fechd a deep sy . . . "with me." '

   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


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but an emty ship. They concluded she wud not hav been long wen she once startd. It seemd to cause them som sort of satisfaction. They asured each othr that she cudnt hav been long about it -- "Just shot down like a flat-iron." Th chief enjneer declared that th mast-hed lyt at th moment of sinkng seemd to drop "like a lytd mach u thro down." At this th secnd lafd hystericly. "I am g-g-glad, I am gla-a-a-d." His teeth went on "like an electric ratl," said Jim, "and al at once he began to cry. He wept and blubbered like a child, cachng his breth and sobng 'oh dear! o dear! o dear!' He wud be quiet for a wile and start sudnly, 'oh, my poor arm! o, my poor a-a-a-arm!' I felt I cud nok him down. Som of them sat in th stern-sheets. I cud just make out ther shapes. Voices came to me, mumbl, mumbl, grunt, grunt. Al this seemd very hard to ber. I was cold too. And I cud do nothing. I thot that if I moved I wud hav to go over th side and . . . "

   '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


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stedily, "and wat cud I hav to say to them?" He faltrd for a moment, and made an efrt to go on. "They cald me horibl names." His voice, sinkng to a wispr, now and then wud leap up sudnly, hardnd by th passion of scorn, as tho he had been talkng of secret abominations. "Nevr mind wat they cald me," he said grimly. "I cud hear hate in ther voices. A good thing too. They cud not forgiv me for being in that boat. They hated it. It made them mad.... " He lafd short.... "But it kept me from -- Look! I was sitng with my arms crosd, on th gunl! . . . " He perchd himself smartly on th ej of th table and crosd his arms.... "Like this -- se? One litl tilt bakwrds and I wud hav been gon -- aftr th othrs. One litl tilt -- th least bit -- th least bit." He frownd, and tapng his forhed with th tip of his midl fingr, "It was ther al th time," he said impressivly. "Al th time -- that notion. And th rain -- cold, thik, cold as meltd sno -- coldr -- on my thin cotn clothes -- I'l nevr be so cold again in my life, I no. And th sky was blak too -- al blak. Not a star, not a lyt anywher. Nothing outside that confoundd boat and those two yapng befor me like a cupl of mean mongrls at a tree'd thief. Yap! yap! 'what u doing here? U'r a fine sort! Too much of a bloomin' jentlman to put yr hand to it. Com out of yr trance, did u? To sneak in? Did u?' Yap! yap! 'you aint fit to liv!' Yap! yap! Two of them togethr tryng to out-bark each othr. Th othr wud bay from th stern thru th rain -- cudnt se him -- cudnt make it out -- som of his filthy jargn. Yap! yap! Bo-ow-ow-ow-ow! Yap! yap! It was sweet to hear them; it kept me alive, I tel u. It saved my life. At it they went, as if tryng to drive me overbord with th noise! . . . 'I wondr u had pluk enuf to jump. U aint wantd here. If I had nown ho it was, I wud hav tipd u over -- u skunk! Wat hav u don with th othr? Wher did u get th pluk to jump -- u cowrd? Wat's to prevent us thre from firing u overbord?' . . . They wer out of breth; th showr pasd away upon th se. Then nothing. Ther was nothing round th boat, not even a sound. Wantd to se me overbord, did they? Upon my sol! I think they wud hav had ther wish if they had only kept quiet. Fire me overbord! Wud they? 'try,' I said. 'I wud for twopnce.' 'too good for u,' they screechd togethr. It was so dark that it was only wen one or th othr of them moved that I was quite sure of seing him. By hevns! I only wish they had tryd."

   '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


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som reasn or othr. Wy shud I? And how th devl was I to no? Didnt I get somhow into that boat? into that boat -- I . . . " Th musls round his lips contractd into an unconcius grimace that tor thru th mask of his usul expression -- somthing violent, short-livd and iluminating like a twist of lytnng that admits th y for an instnt into th secret convlutions of a cloud. "I did. I was plainly ther with them -- wasnt I? Isnt it awful a man shud be drivn to do a thing like that -- and be responsbl? Wat did I no about ther Jorj they wer howlng aftr? I remembrd I had seen him curld up on th dek. 'murdering cowrd!' th chief kept on calng me. He didnt seem able to remembr any othr two words. I didnt care, only his noise began to worry me. 'shut up,' I said. At that he colectd himself for a confoundd screech. 'you kild him! U kild him!' 'no,' I shoutd, 'but I wil kil u directly.' I jumpd up, and he fel bakwrds over a thwart with an awful loud thump. I dont no wy. Too dark. Tryd to step bak I supose. I stood stil facing aft, and th reched litl secnd began to wine, 'you aint going to hit a chap with a broken arm -- and u cal yrself a jentlman, too.' I herd a hevy tramp -- one -- two -- and wheezy gruntng. Th othr beast was comng at me, clatrng his or over th stern. I saw him moving, big, big -- as u se a man in a mist, in a dream. 'come on,' I cryd. I wud hav tumbld him over like a bale of shakings. He stopd, mutrd to himself, and went bak. Perhaps he had herd th wind. I didnt. It was th last hevy gust we had. He went bak to his or. I was sorry. I wud hav tryd to -- to . . . "

   '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.


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   ' "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


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th rudr overbord wile atemtng to ship it, and I supose th tilr got kikd forwrd somhow wile they wer rushng up and down that boat tryng to do al sorts of things at once so as to get clear of th side. It was a long hevy pece of hard wood, and aparently he had been cluchng it for six ours or so. If u dont cal that being redy! Can u imajn him, silent and on his feet half th nyt, his face to th gusts of rain, staring at sombr forms wachful of vage movemnts, strainng his ears to cach rare lo murmrs in th stern-sheets! Firmness of curaj or efrt of fear? Wat do u think? And th endurance is undenyabl too. Six ours mor or less on th defensiv; six ours of alert imobility wile th boat drove sloly or floatd arestd, acordng to th caprice of th wind; wile th se, calmd, slept at last; wile th clouds pasd abov his hed; wile th sky from an imensity lustrless and blak, diminishd to a sombr and lustrus valt, scintillated with a gretr briliance, faded to th east, paled at th zenith; wile th dark shapes blotng th lo stars astern got outlines, relief became sholdrs, heds, faces, featurs, -- confrontd him with dreary stares, had dishevld hair, torn clothes, blinkd red ylids at th wite dawn. "They lookd as tho they had been nokng about drunk in gutrs for a week," he described graficly; and then he mutrd somthing about th sunrise being of a kind that foretells a calm day. U no that sailr habit of referng to th wethr in evry conection. And on my side his few mumbld words wer enuf to make me se th loer lim of th sun clearng th line of th horizon, th trembl of a vast ripl runng over al th visbl expanse of th se, as if th watrs had shudrd, givng birth to th globe of lyt, wile th last puf of th breze wud stir th air in a sy of relief.

   ' "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


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harm!"

   '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


Paje 77

on. Sudnly I felt my legs giv way undr me. I was sik, tired -- tired to deth. I let fal th tilr, turnd my bak on them, and sat down on th formost thwart. I had enuf. They cald to me to no if I undrstood -- wasnt it tru, evry word of it? It was tru, by God! aftr ther fashn. I did not turn my hed. I herd them palavering togethr. 'the silly ass wont say anything.' 'oh, he undrstands wel enuf.' 'let him be; he wil be al ryt.' 'what can he do?' Wat cud I do? Wernt we al in th same boat? I tryd to be def. Th smoke had disapeard to th northwrd. It was a ded calm. They had a drink from th watr-breaker, and I drank too. Aftrwrds they made a gret busness of spredng th boat-sail over th gunwales. Wud I keep a look-out? They crept undr, out of my syt, thank God! I felt weary, weary, don up, as if I hadnt had one hour's sleep since th day I was born. I cudnt se th watr for th glitr of th sunshine. From time to time one of them wud creep out, stand up to take a look al round, and get undr again. I cud hear spels of snorng belo th sail. Som of them cud sleep. One of them at least. I cudnt! Al was lyt, lyt, and th boat seemd to be falng thru it. Now and then I wud feel quite surprised to find myself sitng on a thwart.... "

   '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."


Paje 78

   '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.'

Chaptr 11

   '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


Paje 79

get -- wel, we wont talk of that; but can one of us restrain a smile? In no othr kind of life is th ilusion mor wide of reality -- in no othr is th beginng al ilusion -- th disnchantmnt mor swift -- th subjugation mor complete. Hadnt we al comenced with th same desire, endd with th same nolej, carrid th memry of th same cherishd glamr thru th sordid days of imprecation? Wat wondr that wen som hevy prod gets home th bond is found to be close; that besides th feloship of th craft ther is felt th strength of a wider feelng -- th feelng that binds a man to a child. He was ther befor me, beleving that aje and wisdm can find a remedy against th pain of truth, givng me a glimps of himself as a yung felo in a scrape that is th very devl of a scrape, th sort of scrape greybeards wag at solemly wile they hide a smile. And he had been delibrating upon deth -- confound him! He had found that to meditate about because he thot he had saved his life, wile al its glamr had gon with th ship in th nyt. Wat mor natrl! It was trajic enuf and funny enuf in al concience to cal aloud for compassion, and in wat was I betr than th rest of us to refuse him my pity? And even as I lookd at him th mists rold into th rent, and his voice spoke --

   ' "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.


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   ' "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


Paje 81

-- alone, with myself. I wasnt going to giv in to such a beastly unfair thing. Wat did it prove aftr al? I was confoundedly cut up. Sik of life -- to tel u th truth; but wat wud hav been th good to shirk it -- in -- in -- that way? That was not th way. I beleve -- I beleve it wud hav -- it wud hav endd -- nothing."

   '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 . . ." '

Chaptr 12

   '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.


Paje 82

   '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


Paje 83

oficers of th Avondale. Of corse peple shook ther heds and smiled. One old skipr ho sat near me in cort tikld my ear with his wite beard to murmr, "Of corse they wud lie." As a matr of fact nobody lied; not even th chief enjneer with his story of th mast-hed lyt dropng like a mach u thro down. Not conciusly, at least. A man with his livr in such a state myt very wel hav seen a floatng spark in th cornr of his y wen stealng a hurrid glance over his sholdr. They had seen no lyt of any sort tho they wer wel within ranje, and they cud only explain this in one way: th ship had gon down. It was obvius and comfrtng. Th forseen fact comng so swiftly had justifyd ther haste. No wondr they did not cast about for any othr explnation. Yet th tru one was very simpl, and as soon as Brierly sujestd it th cort cesed to bothr about th question. If u remembr, th ship had been stopd, and was lyng with her hed on th corse steerd thru th nyt, with her stern canted hy and her bos brot lo down in th watr thru th filng of th for-compartmnt. Being thus out of trim, wen th squal struk her a litl on th quartr, she swung hed to wind as sharply as tho she had been at ancr. By this chanje in her position al her lyts wer in a very few moments shut off from th boat to lewrd. It may very wel be that, had they been seen, they wud hav had th efect of a mute apeal -- that ther glimr lost in th darkns of th cloud wud hav had th mysterius powr of th human glance that can awaken th feelngs of remorse and pity. It wud hav said, "I am here -- stil here" . . . and wat mor can th y of th most forsaken of human beings say? But she turnd her bak on them as if in disdain of ther fate: she had swung round, burdnd, to glare stubrnly at th new danjer of th open se wich she so stranjely survived to end her days in a brekng-up yard, as if it had been her recordd fate to die obscurely undr th blos of many hamrs. Wat wer th varius ends ther destny provided for th pilgrms I am unable to say; but th imediat futur brot, at about nine oclok next mornng, a French gun-boat homewrd bound from Reunion. Th report of her comandr was public proprty. He had swept a litl out of his corse to acertain wat was th matr with that steamr floatng danjerusly by th hed upon a stil and hazy se. Ther was an ensyn, union down, flyng at her main gaf (th serang had th sense to make a signl of distress at daylyt); but th cooks wer preparing th food in th cookng-boxs forwrd as usul. Th deks wer pakd as close as a sheep-pen: ther wer peple perchd al along th rails, jamd on th brij in a solid mass; hundreds of ys stared, and not a sound was herd wen th gunboat ranjed abrest, as if al that multitude of lips had been seald by a spel.


Paje 84

   '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


Paje 85

was a good deal of noise, too, round th two oficers. "They crowdd upon us. Ther was a circl round that ded man (autour de ce mort)," he described. "One had to atend to th most presng. These peple wer beginng to ajitate themselvs -- Parbleu! A mob like that -- dont u se?" he intrjectd with filosofic induljnce. As to th bulkhed, he had advised his comandr that th safest thing was to leve it alone, it was so vilanus to look at. They got two hawsers on bord promtly (en toute hâte) and took th Patna in tow -- stern formost at that -- wich, undr th circmstnces, was not so foolish, since th rudr was too much out of th watr to be of any gret use for steerng, and this maneuvr esed th strain on th bulkhed, hos state, he expoundd with stolid glibness, demandd th gretst care (éxigeait les plus grands ménagements). I cud not help thinkng that my new aquaintnce must hav had a voice in most of these aranjemnts: he lookd a relyabl oficer, no longr very activ, and he was seamanlike too, in a way, tho as he sat ther, with his thik fingrs claspd lytly on his stomac, he remindd u of one of those snuffy, quiet vilaj priests, into hos ears ar pord th sins, th sufrngs, th remorse of pesnt jenrations, on hos faces th placid and simpl expression is like a veil thrown over th mystry of pain and distress. He ot to hav had a thredbare blak soutane butnd smoothly up to his ampl chin, insted of a frok-coat with sholdr-straps and brass butns. His brod bosm heved regulrly wile he went on telng me that it had been th very devl of a job, as doutless (sans doute) I cud figr to myself in my quality of a seman (en votre qualité de marin). At th end of th period he inclined his body slytly towards me, and, pursng his shaved lips, alowd th air to escape with a jentl hiss. "Luckily," he continud, "th se was levl like this table, and ther was no mor wind than ther is here." . . . Th place struk me as indeed intolrbly stuffy, and very hot; my face burnd as tho I had been yung enuf to be embarasd and blushng. They had directd ther corse, he pursud, to th nearst English port "naturellement," wher ther responsbility cesed, "Dieu merci." ... He blew out his flat cheeks a litl.... "Because, mind u (notez bien), al th time of towng we had two quartermasters stationd with axs by th hawsers, to cut us clear of our tow in case she . . ." He flutrd downwrds his hevy ylids, making his meanng as plan as posbl.... "Wat wud u! One dos wat one can (on fait ce qu'on peut)," and for a moment he manajd to invest his pondrus imobility with an air of resignation. "Two quartermasters --


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thirty ours -- always ther. Two!" he repeatd, liftng up his ryt hand a litl, and exibitng two fingrs. This was abslutely th first jestur I saw him make. It gave me th oprtunity to "note" a stard scar on th bak of his hand -- efect of a gunshot clearly; and, as if my syt had been made mor acute by this discovry, I perceved also th seam of an old wound, beginng a litl belo th templ and going out of syt undr th short gray hair at th side of his hed -- th graze of a spear or th cut of a saber. He claspd his hands on his stomac again. "I remaind on bord that -- that -- my memry is going (s'en va). Ah! Patt-nà. C'est bien ça. Patt-nà. Merci. It is drol how one forgets. I stayd on that ship thirty ours...."

   ' "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


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from his stomac, and made it infnitly mor efectiv than if he had thrown up his arms to hevn in amazemnt.... "Al that lot (tout ce mond) on shor -- with ther litl afairs -- nobody left but a gard of semen (marins de l'etat) and that intrestng corps (cet intéressant cadavre). Twenty-five minuts." . . . With downcast ys and his hed tiltd slytly on one side he seemd to rol noingly on his tong th savor of a smart bit of work. He persuaded one without any furthr demnstration that his aproval was emnntly worth havng, and resuming his hardly intruptd imobility he went on to inform me that, being undr ordrs to make th best of ther way to Toulon, they left in two hours' time, "so that (de sorte que) ther ar many things in this incidnt of my life (dans cet épisode de ma vie) wich hav remaind obscure." '

Chaptr 13

   '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


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table, and told him I comandd a merchnt vesl at presnt ancrd in Rushcutters' Bay. He had "remarkd" her, -- a pretty litl craft. He was very civl about it in his impassiv way. I even fancy he went th length of tiltng his hed in complmnt as he repeatd, brething visbly th wile, "Ah, yes. A litl craft paintd blak -- very pretty -- very pretty (très coquet)." Aftr a time he twistd his body sloly to face th glass dor on our ryt. "A dul town (triste ville)," he observd, staring into th street. It was a briliant day; a suthrly bustr was rajing, and we cud se th pasrs-by, men and women, bufetd by th wind on th sidewalks, th sunlit fronts of th houses across th road blurd by th tal wirls of dust. "I desendd on shor," he said, "to strech my legs a litl, but . . ." He didnt finish, and sank into th depths of his repose. "Pray -- tel me," he began, comng up pondrusly, "wat was ther at th botm of this afair -- precisely (au juste)? It is curius. That ded man, for instnce -- and so on."

   ' "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


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this simpl statemnt of th matr soundd funny in French.... "S'est enfui avec les autres," had said th leutennt. And sudnly I began to admire th discrimnation of th man. He had made out th point at once: he did get hold of th only thing I cared about. I felt as tho I wer taking professionl opinion on th case. His imperturbbl and mature calmness was that of an expert in posession of th facts, and to hom one's perplexities ar mere child's-play. "Ah! Th yung, th yung," he said induljntly. "And aftr al, one dos not die of it." "Die of wat?" I askd swiftly. "Of being afraid." He elucidated his meanng and sipd his drink.

   '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


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dos not die of it," he pronounced finaly, and wen I found he did not mean to proceed with th persnl anecdote, I was extremely disapointd; th mor so as it was not th sort of story, u no, one cud very wel press him for. I sat silent, and he too, as if nothing cud plese him betr. Even his thums wer stil now. Sudnly his lips began to move. "That is so," he resumed placidly. "Man is born a cowrd (L'homme est né poltron). It is a dificlty -- parbleu! It wud be too esy othr vise. But habit -- habit -- necessity -- do u se? -- th y of othrs -- voilà. One puts up with it. And then th exampl of othrs ho ar no betr than yrself, and yet make good countnnce...."

   '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


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he spoke he had chanjed his mind. "This, mosier, is too fine for me -- much abov me -- I dont think about it." He bowd hevily over his cap, wich he held befor him by th peak, between th thum and th forfingr of his woundd hand. I bowd too. We bowd togethr: we scraped our feet at each othr with much ceremny, wile a dirty specimn of a waitr lookd on criticly, as tho he had paid for th performnce. "Serviteur," said th Frenchman. Anothr scrape. "Mosier" . . . "Mosier." . . . Th glass dor swung behind his burly bak. I saw th suthrly bustr get hold of him and drive him down wind with his hand to his hed, his sholdrs braced, and th tails of his coat blown hard against his legs.

   '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


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by-and-by and giv him a sho to save her. We darent com alongside for our life; and aftr a bit th old ship went down al on a sudn with a lurch to starbrd -- plop. Th suk in was somthing awful. We nevr saw anything alive or ded com up." Poor Bob's spel of shor-life had been one of th complications of a lov afair, I beleve. He fondly hoped he had don with th se for evr, and made sure he had got hold of al th bliss on erth, but it came to canvasng in th end. Som cusn of his in Livrpool put up to it. He used to tel us his experiences in that line. He made us laf til we cryd, and, not altogethr displesed at th efect, undrsized and beardd to th waist like a nome, he wud tiptoe amongst us and say, "It's al very wel for u begrs to laf, but my imortl sol was shrivld down to th size of a parchd pe aftr a week of that work." I dont no how Jim's sol acomodated itself to th new conditions of his life -- I was kept too busy in getng him somthing to do that wud keep body and sol togethr -- but I am pretty certn his adventurus fancy was sufrng al th pangs of starvation. It had certnly nothing to feed upon in this new calng. It was distresng to se him at it, tho he takld it with a stubrn serenity for wich I must giv him ful credit. I kept my y on his shabby plodng with a sort of notion that it was a punishmnt for th heroics of his fancy -- an expiation for his craving aftr mor glamr than he cud carry . He had lovd too wel to imajn himself a glorius racehorse, and now he was condemd to toil without onr like a costermonger's donky. He did it very wel. He shut himself in, put his hed down, said nevr a word. Very wel; very wel indeed -- exept for certn fantastic and violent outbreks, on th deplorabl ocasions wen th irepresbl Patna case cropd up. Unfortunatly that scandl of th Eastrn ses wud not die out. And this is th reasn wy I cud nevr feel I had don with Jim for good.

   '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,


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gilty and don for; nevrthless, I wishd to spare him th mere detail of a forml execution. I dont pretend to explain th reasns of my desire -- I dont think I cud; but if u havnt got a sort of notion by this time, then I must hav been very obscure in my narativ, or u too sleepy to seze upon th sense of my words. I dont defend my morality. Ther was no morality in th impulse wich induced me to lay befor him Brierly's plan of evasion -- I may cal it -- in al its primitiv simplicity. Ther wer th rupees -- abslutely redy in my poket and very much at his service. O! a loan; a loan of corse -- and if an introduction to a man (in Rangoon) ho cud put som work in his way . . . Wy! with th gretst plesur. I had pen, ink, and paper in my room on th first flor And even wile I was speakng I was impatient to begin th letr -- day, month, year, 2.30 A.M.... for th sake of our old frendship I ask u to put som work in th way of Mr. James So-and-so, in hom, &c., &c.... I was even redy to rite in that strain about him. If he had not enlistd my sympathis he had don betr for himself -- he had gon to th very fount and orijn of that sentmnt he had reachd th secret sensbility of my egoism. I am concealng nothing from u, because wer I to do so my action wud apear mor unintelijbl than any man's action has th ryt to be, and -- in th secnd place -- to-moro u wil forget my sincerity along with th othr lesns of th past. In this transaction, to speak grosly and precisely, I was th ireproachbl man; but th sutl intentions of my imorality wer defeatd by th moral simplicity of th crimnl. No dout he was selfish too, but his selfishness had a hyr orijn, a mor lofty aim. I discovrd that, say wat I wud, he was eagr to go thru th ceremny of execution, and I didnt say much, for I felt that in argumnt his yuth wud tel against me hevily: he beleved wher I had alredy cesed to dout. Ther was somthing fine in th wildness of his unexpresd, hardly formulated hope. "Clear out! Cudnt think of it," he said, with a shake of th hed. "I make u an ofr for wich I neithr demand nor expect any sort of gratitude," I said; "u shal repay th mony wen convenient, and . . ." "Awfuly good of u," he mutrd without lookng up. I wachd him naroly: th futur must hav apeard horibly uncertn to him; but he did not faltr, as tho indeed ther had been nothing rong with his hart. I felt angry -- not for th first time that nyt. "Th hole reched busness," I said, "is bitr enuf, I shud think, for a man of yr kind . . ." "It is, it is," he wisprd twice, with his ys fixd on th flor. It was heartrending. He towrd abov th lyt, and I cud se th down on his cheek, th color mantling warm undr th smooth skin of his face. Beleve me or not, I say it was outrajusly hart-rendng. It


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provoked me to brutality. "Yes," I said; "and alow me to confess that I am totaly unable to imajn wat advantaj u can expect from this likng of th dregs." "Advantaj!" he murmrd out of his stilness. "I am dashd if I do," I said, enrajed. "I'v been tryng to tel u al ther is in it," he went on sloly, as if meditating somthing unansrbl. "But aftr al, it is my trubl." I opend my mouth to retort, and discovrd sudnly that I'd lost al confidnce in myself; and it was as if he too had givn me up, for he mumbld like a man thinkng half aloud. "Went away ... went into hospitls.... Not one of them wud face it.... They! ..." He moved his hand slytly to imply disdain. "But I'v got to get over this thing, and I musnt shirk any of it or . . . I wont shirk any of it." He was silent. He gazed as tho he had been hauntd. His unconcius face reflectd th pasng expressions of scorn, of despair, of reslution -- reflectd them in turn, as a majic mirr wud reflect th gliding passaj of unerthly shapes. He livd suroundd by deceitful gosts, by austere shades. "O! nonsnse, my dear felo," I began. He had a movemnt of impatience. "U dont seem to undrstand," he said incisively; then lookng at me without a wink, "I may hav jumpd, but I dont run away." "I ment no ofense," I said; and add stupidly, "Betr men than u hav found it expedient to run, at times." He colord al over, wile in my confusion I half-choked myself with my own tong. "Perhaps so," he said at last, "I am not good enuf; I cant aford it. I am bound to fyt this thing down -- I am fytng it now." I got out of my chair and felt stif al over. Th silence was embarasng, and to put an end to it I imajnd nothing betr but to remark, "I had no idea it was so late," in an airy tone.... "I dare say u hav had enuf of this," he said brusqely: "and to tel u th truth" -- he began to look round for his hat -- "so hav I."

   '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.


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It was too awful for words. I beleve I shoutd sudnly at him as u wud bello to a man u saw about to walk over a clif; I remembr our voices being rased, th apearnce of a misrbl grin on his face, a crushng cluch on my hand, a nervus laf. Th candl splutrd out, and th thing was over at last, with a groan that floatd up to me in th dark. He got himself away somhow. Th nyt swalod his form. He was a horibl bungler. Horibl. I herd th quik crunch-crunch of th gravl undr his boots. He was runng. Abslutely runng, with nowher to go to. And he was not yet four-and-twenty.'

Chaptr 14

   '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


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was no hy scafldng, no scarlet cloth (did they hav scarlet cloth on Towr Hil? They shud hav had), no aw-strikn multitude to be horifyd at his gilt and be moved to tears at his fate -- no air of sombr retribution. Ther was, as I walkd along, th clear sunshine, a briliance too passionat to be consoling, th streets ful of jumbld bits of color like a damajd kalidoscope: yelo, green, blu, dazlng wite, th brown nudity of an undraped sholdr, a bulok-cart with a red canopy, a compny of nativ infntry in a drab body with dark heds marchng in dusty laced boots, a nativ policeman in a sombr uniform of scanty cut and beltd in patnt lethr, ho lookd up at me with orientally pitiful ys as tho his migrating spirit wer sufrng exeedngly from that unforseen -- wat d'ye cal 'em? -- avatar -- incarnation. Undr th shade of a lonely tre in th cortyard, th vilajrs conectd with th asalt case sat in a picturesq group, lookng like a chromo-lithograph of a camp in a book of Eastrn travl. One misd th obligatry thred of smoke in th forground and th pak-anmls grazing. A blank yelo wal rose behind overtopping th tre, reflectng th glare. Th cort-room was sombr, seemd mor vast. Hy up in th dim space th punkahs wer swayng short to and fro, to and fro. Here and ther a draped figr, dwarfd by th bare walls, remaind without stirng amongst th ros of emty benchs, as if absorbd in pius meditation. Th plaintif, ho had been beatn, -- an obese choclat-colord man with shaved hed, one fat brest bare and a bryt yelo cast-mark abov th brij of his nose, -- sat in pompus imobility: only his ys glitrd, rolng in th gloom, and th nostrils dilated and colapsd violently as he brethed. Brierly dropd into his seat lookng don up, as tho he had spent th nyt in sprintng on a cindr-trak. Th pius sailng-ship skipr apeard exited and made unesy movemnts, as if restrainng with dificlty an impulse to stand up and exhort us ernestly to prayr and repentnce. Th hed of th majistrate, delicatly pale undr th neatly aranjed hair, resembld th hed of a hopeless invlid aftr he had been washd and brushd and propd up in bed. He moved aside th vase of flowrs -- a bunch of purpl with a few pink blosms on long stalks -- and sezing in both hands a long sheet of bluish paper, ran his y over it, propd his forarms on th ej of th desk, and began to red aloud in an even, distinct, and careless voice.

   '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


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al th cold vengefulness of a deth-sentnce, and th cruelty of a sentnce of exile. This is how I lookd at it that mornng -- and even now I seem to se an undenyabl vestij of truth in that exajrated vew of a comn ocurence. U may imajn how strongly I felt this at th time. Perhaps it is for that reasn that I cud not bring myself to admit th finality. Th thing was always with me, I was always eagr to take opinion on it, as tho it had not been practicly setld: individul opinion -- intrnationl opinion -- by Jove! That Frenchman's, for instnce. His own country's pronouncemnt was utrd in th passionless and defnit fraseolojy a machine wud use, if machines cud speak. Th hed of th majistrate was half hidn by th paper, his brow was like alabastr.

   '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


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upon th words of th man behind th desk. These came out into th stilness waftd on th wind made by th punkahs, and I, wachng for ther efect upon him, caut only th fragmnts of oficial languaj.... "Th Cort... Gustav So-and-so . . . mastr . . . nativ of Jermny . . . James So-and-so. . . mate . . . certificats canceld." A silence fel. Th majistrate had dropd th paper, and, leanng sideways on th arm of his chair, began to talk with Brierly esily. Peple startd to move out; othrs wer pushng in, and I also made for th dor. Outside I stood stil, and wen Jim pasd me on his way to th gate, I caut at his arm and detaind him. Th look he gave discomposed me, as tho I had been responsbl for his state he lookd at me as if I had been th embodid evil of life. "It's al over," I stamrd. "Yes," he said thikly. "And now let no man . . ." He jerkd his arm out of my grasp. I wachd his bak as he went away. It was a long street, and he remaind in syt for som time. He walkd rathr slo, and stradlng his legs a litl, as if he had found it dificlt to keep a strait line. Just befor I lost him I fancid he stagrd a bit.

   ' "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


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Jim. "Takes it to hart?" he askd scornfuly. "Very much," I said. "Then he's no good," he opined. "Wat's al th to-do about? A bit of ass's skin. That nevr yet made a man. U must se things exactly as they ar -- if u dont, u may just as wel giv in at once. U wil nevr do anything in this world. Look at me. I made it a practis nevr to take anything to hart." "Yes," I said, "u se things as they ar." "I wish I cud se my partnr comng along, that's wat I wish to se," he said. "No my partnr? Old Robinson. Yes; th Robinson. Dont u no? Th notorius Robinson. Th man ho smugld mor opium and bagd mor seals in his time than any loose Jonny now alive. They say he used to bord th sealng-schooners up Alaska way wen th fog was so thik that th Lord God, He alone, cud tel one man from anothr. Holy-Terr Robinson. That's th man. He is with me in that guano thing. Th best chance he evr came across in his life." He put his lips to my ear. "Canibl? -- wel, they used to giv him th name years and years ago. U remembr th story? A shiprek on th west side of Stewart Iland; that's ryt; sevn of them got ashor, and it seems they did not get on very wel togethr. Som men ar too cantankrus for anything -- dont no how to make th best of a bad job -- dont se things as they ar -- as they ar, my boy! And then wat's th consequence? Obvius! Trubl, trubl; as likely as not a nok on th hed; and serv 'em ryt too. That sort is th most useful wen it's ded. Th story gos that a boat of Her Majesty's ship Wolverine found him neelng on th kelp, naked as th day he was born, and chantng som salm-tune or othr; lyt sno was falng at th time. He waitd til th boat was an oar's length from th shor, and then up and away. They chased him for an our up and down th boldrs, til a marine flung a stone that took him behind th ear providentialy and nokd him sensless. Alone? Of corse. But that's like that tale of sealng-schooners; th Lord God nos th ryt and th rong of that story. Th cutr did not investigate much. They rapd him in a boat-cloak and took him off as quik as they cud, with a dark nyt comng on, th wethr thretnng, and th ship firing recal guns evry five minuts. Thre weeks aftr-wards he was as wel as evr. He didnt alow any fuss that was made on shor to upset him; he just shut his lips tyt, and let peple screech. It was bad enuf to hav lost his ship, and al he was worth besides, without payng atention to th hard names they cald him. That's th man for me." He liftd his arm for a signl to som one down th street. "He's got a litl mony, so I had to let him into my thing. Had to! It wud hav been sinful to thro away such a find, and I was cleand out myself. It cut me to th quik, but I cud se th matr just as it was, and if I must share -- thinks I -- with


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any man, then giv me Robinson. I left him at brekfast in th hotel to com to cort, because I'v an idea.... Ah! Good mornng, Captn Robinson.... Frend of mine, Captn Robinson."

   '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


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y for things. He saw it al in a jiffy. It was a real plesur to talk with him. One evenng aftr a devl of a day amongst shipowners I felt so bad that, says I, 'I must get drunk. Com along; I must get drunk, or I'l go mad. ' 'I am yr man,' he says; 'go ahed.' I dont no wat I wud hav don without him. Hey! Captn Robinson."

   '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


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ho . . . Anyhow, he cant be much good; but then u se I am on th look-out for sombody, and I'v just got a thing that wil suit him. I'l giv him a job on my iland." He nodd synificntly. "I'm going to dump forty coolis ther -- if I'v to steal 'em. Sombody must work th stuf. O! I mean to act square: woodn shed, corugated-iron roof -- I no a man in Hobart ho wil take my bil at six months for th materials. I do. Onr bryt. Then ther's th watr-suply. I'l hav to fly round and get sombody to trust me for half-a-dozn secnd-hand iron tanks. Cach rain-watr, hey? Let him take charj. Make him supreme boss over th coolis. Good idea, isnt it? Wat do u say?" "Ther ar hole years wen not a drop of rain fals on Walpole," I said, too amazed to laf. He bit his lip and seemd bothrd. "O, wel, I wil fix up somthing for them -- or land a suply. Hang it al! That's not th question."

   '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


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waitng for us to clinch th bargn." He took his partnr undr th arm with a firm grip, swung him round, and, unexpectdly, leerd at me over his sholdr. "I was tryng to do him a kindness," he asertd, with an air and tone that made my blod boil. "Thank u for nothing -- in his name," I rejoind. "O! u ar devlish smart," he sneerd; "but u ar like th rest of them. Too much in th clouds. Se wat u wil do with him." "I dont no that I want to do anything with him." "Dont u?" he splutrd; his gray mustach brisld with angr, and by his side th notorius Robinson, propd on th umbrela, stood with his bak to me, as patient and stil as a worn-out cab-horse. "I havnt found a guano iland," I said. "It's my belief u wudnt no one if u wer led ryt up to it by th hand," he riposted quikly; "and in this world u'v got to se a thing first, befor u can make use of it. Got to se it thru and thru at that, neithr mor nor less." "And get othrs to se it too," I insinuated, with a glance at th bowd bak by his side. Chestr snortd at me. "His ys ar ryt enuf -- dont u worry. He aint a puppy." "O dear, no!" I said. "Com along, Captn Robinson," he shoutd, with a sort of bullying defrnce undr th rim of th old man's hat; th Holy Terr gave a submissiv litl jump. Th gost of a steamr was waitng for them, Fortune on that fair ile! They made a curius pair of Argonauts. Chestr strode on lesurly, wel set up, portly, and of conqrng mien; th othr, long, wasted, droopng, and hookd to his arm, shufld his withrd shanks with desprat haste.'

Chaptr 15

   '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


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I had shaken him off, I made strait for th watr-side. I caut syt of Jim leanng over th parapet of th qy. Thre nativ boatmen quarelng over five annas wer making an awful ro at his elbo. He didnt hear me com up, but spun round as if th slyt contact of my fingr had relesed a cach. "I was lookng," he stamrd. I dont remembr wat I said, not much anyhow, but he made no dificlty in foloing me to th hotel.

   '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


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for it at once -- unerringly, as it wer. It was enuf to make one suspect that, maybe, he realy cud se th tru aspect of things that apeard mysterius or utrly hopeless to less imajnativ persns. I rote and rote; I liquidated al th arears of my corespondnce, and then went on riting to peple ho had no reasn watevr to expect from me a gosipy letr about nothing at al. At times I stole a sidelong glance. He was rootd to th spot, but convulsiv shudrs ran down his bak; his sholdrs wud heve sudnly. He was fytng, he was fytng -- mostly for his breth, as it seemd. Th massiv shados, cast al one way from th strait flame of th candl, seemd posesd of gloomy conciusness; th imobility of th furnitur had to my furtiv y an air of atention. I was becomng fanciful in th midst of my industrius scriblng; and tho, wen th scrachng of my pen stopd for a moment, ther was complete silence and stilness in th room, I sufrd from that profound disturbnce and confusion of thot wich is causd by a violent and menacing upror -- of a hevy gale at se, for instnce. Som of u may no wat I mean: that mingld anxiety, distress, and iritation with a sort of craven feelng creepng in -- not plesnt to aknolej, but wich givs a quite special merit to one's endurance. I dont claim any merit for standng th stress of Jim's emotions; I cud take refuje in th letrs; I cud hav ritn to stranjers if necesry. Sudnly, as I was taking up a fresh sheet of notepaper, I herd a lo sound, th first sound that, since we had been shut up togethr, had com to my ears in th dim stilness of th room. I remaind with my hed down, with my hand arestd. Those ho hav kept vijl by a sik-bed hav herd such faint sounds in th stilness of th nyt wachs, sounds rung from a rakd body, from a weary sol. He pushd th glass dor with such force that al th panes rang: he stepd out, and I held my breth, strainng my ears without noing wat else I expectd to hear. He was realy taking too much to hart an emty formality wich to Chester's rigrus criticism seemd unworthy th notice of a man ho cud se things as they wer. An emty formality; a pece of parchmnt. Wel, wel. As to an inaccesbl guano deposit, that was anothr story altogethr. One cud intelligibly brek one's hart over that. A feebl burst of many voices mingld with th tinkl of silvr and glass floatd up from th dining-room belo; thru th open dor th outr ej of th lyt from my candl fel on his bak faintly; beyond al was blak; he stood on th brink of a vast obscurity, like a lonely figr by th shor of a sombr and hopeless ocen. Ther was th Walpole Reef in it -- to be sure -- a spek in th dark void, a straw for th drownng man. My compassion for him took th shape of th thot that I wudnt hav liked his peple to se him at that


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moment. I found it tryng myself. His bak was no longr shaken by his gasps; he stood strait as an aro, faintly visbl and stil; and th meanng of this stilness sank to th botm of my sol like led into th watr, and made it so hevy that for a secnd I wishd hartily that th only corse left open for me was to pay for his funeral. Even th law had don with him. To bury him wud hav been such an esy kindness! It wud hav been so much in acordnce with th wisdm of life, wich consists in putng out of syt al th remindrs of our folly, of our weakness, of our mortality; al that makes against our eficiency -- th memry of our failurs, th hints of our undyng fears, th bodis of our ded frends. Perhaps he did take it too much to hart. And if so then -- Chester's ofr.... At this point I took up a fresh sheet and began to rite reslutely. Ther was nothing but myself between him and th dark ocen. I had a sense of responsbility. If I spoke, wud that motionless and sufrng yuth leap into th obscurity -- cluch at th straw? I found out how dificlt it may be somtimes to make a sound. Ther is a weird powr in a spoken word. And wy th devl not? I was askng myself persistntly wile I drove on with my riting. Al at once, on th blank paje, undr th very point of th pen, th two figrs of Chestr and his antiqe partnr, very distinct and complete, wud doj into vew with stride and jesturs, as if reproduced in th field of som opticl toy. I wud wach them for a wile. No! They wer too phantasmal and extravagnt to entr into any one's fate. And a word carris far -- very far -- deals destruction thru time as th bulets go flyng thru space. I said nothing; and he, out ther with his bak to th lyt, as if bound and gagd by al th invisbl fos of man, made no stir and made no sound.'

Chaptr 16

   '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,


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as u may gess from wat went befor. I found him, if not exactly intoxicated, then at least flushd with th elixr at his lips. He had not obtaind it at once. Ther had been, as u no, a period of probation amongst infernl ship-chandlers, during wich he had sufrd and I had worrid about -- about -- my trust -- u may cal it. I dont no that I am completely reasured now, aftr beholding him in al his briliance. That was my last vew of him -- in a strong lyt, domnating, and yet in complete acord with his suroundngs -- with th life of th forests and with th life of men. I own that I was impresd, but I must admit to myself that aftr al this is not th lastng impression. He was protectd by his isolation, alone of his own superir kind, in close tuch with Natur, that keeps faith on such esy terms with her lovrs. But I canot fix befor my y th imaj of his safety. I shal always remembr him as seen thru th open dor of my room, taking, perhaps, too much to hart th mere consequences of his failur. I am plesed, of corse, that som good -- and even som splendr -- came out of my endevrs; but at times it seems to me it wud hav been betr for my pece of mind if I had not stood between him and Chester's confoundedly jenrus ofr. I wondr wat his exuberant imajnation wud hav made of Walpole ilet -- that most hopelesly forsaken crum of dry land on th face of th watrs. It is not likely I wud evr hav herd, for I must tel u that Chestr, aftr calng at som Australian port to pach up his brig-rigd se-anacronism, steamd out into th Pacific with a crew of twenty-two hands al told, and th only news havng a posbl berng upon th mystry of his fate was th news of a huricn wich is suposed to hav swept in its corse over th Walpole shoals, a month or so aftrwrds. Not a vestij of th Argonauts evr turnd up; not a sound came out of th waste. Finis! Th Pacific is th most discreet of liv, hot-temprd ocens: th chilly Antarctic can keep a secret too, but mor in th manr of a grave.

   '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


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fine longngs -- a sort of sublimated, idealized selfishness. He was -- if u alow me to say so -- very fine; very fine -- and very unfortunat. A litl corsr natur wud not hav born th strain; it wud hav had to com to terms with itself -- with a sy, with a grunt, or even with a gufaw; a stil corsr one wud hav remaind invulnerably ignrnt and completely unintrestng.

   '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


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gardn; a watr-pipe (it must hav had a hole in it) performd just outside th windo a parody of blubrng wo with funny sobs and gurglng lamntations, intruptd by jerky spasms of silence.... "A bit of sheltr," he mumbld and cesed.

   '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.


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   ' "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.'

Chaptr 17

   '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


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evry time I lookd up at that absorbd smooth face, so grave and yuthful, I had a disturbng sense of being no help but rathr an obstacl to som mysterius, inexplicbl, impalpable striving of his woundd spirit.

   ' "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


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sprang into jerky ajitation, like one of those flat woodn figrs that ar workd by a string. His arms went up, then came down with a slap. He became anothr man altogethr. "And I had nevr seen," he shoutd; then sudnly bit his lip and frownd. "Wat a bally ass I'v been," he said very slo in an awd tone.... "U ar a brik! " he cryd next in a mufld voice. He snachd my hand as tho he had just then seen it for th first time, and dropd it at once. "Wy! this is wat I -- u -- I . . ." he stamrd, and then with a return of his old stolid, I may say mulish, manr he began hevily, "I wud be a brute now if I . . ." and then his voice seemd to brek. "That's al ryt," I said. I was almost alarmd by this display of feelng, thru wich pierced a stranje elation. I had puld th string accidently, as it wer; I did not fuly undr-stand th workng of th toy. "I must go now," he said. "Jove! U hav helpd me. Cant sit stil. Th very thing . . ." He lookd at me with puzld admration. "Th very thing . . ."

   '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


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begin with a clean slate . . . And now u . . . in a mesur . . . yes . . . clean slate." I waved my hand, and he marchd out without lookng bak; th sound of his footfals died out graduly behind th closed dor -- th unhesitating tred of a man walkng in brod daylyt.

   '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.'

Chaptr 18

   '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 --


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wich u no al about -- but if I am sure that it is teribly heinus, I fancy one cud manaj to forgiv it. For my part, I declare I am unable to imajn him gilty of anything much worse than robng an orchrd. Is it much worse? Perhaps u ot to hav told me; but it is such a long time since we both turnd saints that u may hav forgotn we too had sind in our time? It may be that som day I shal hav to ask u, and then I shal expect to be told. I dont care to question him myself til I hav som idea wat it is. Morover, it's too soon as yet. Let him open th dor a-few times mor for me...." Thus my frend. I was trebly plesed -- at Jim's shaping so wel, at th tone of th letr, at my own clevrness. Evidntly I had nown wat I was doing. I had red caractrs aryt, and so on. And wat if somthing unexpectd and wondrful wer to com of it? That evenng, reposing in a dek-chair undr th shade of my own poop awnng (it was in Hong-Kong harbr), I laid on Jim's behalf th first stone of a casl in Spain.

   '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


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me that way, and I had an oprtunity of seing him.

   '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


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be perhaps to mutr "Nusance," or to get up sudnly and shut th dor of th "parlr." Egström himself, a raw-boned, hevy Scandnavian, with a busy manr and imense blond wiskrs, went on directng his peple, chekng parcels, making out bils or riting letrs at a stand-up desk in th shop, and comported him-self in that clatr exactly as tho he had been stone-def. Now and again he wud emit a bothrd perfunctry "Sssh," wich neithr produced nor was expectd to produce th slytst efect. "They ar very decent to me here," said Jim. "Blake's a litl cad, but Egström's al ryt." He stood up quikly, and walkng with mesurd steps to a tripod telescope standng in th windo and pointd at th roadstead, he aplyd his y to it. "Ther's that ship wich has been becalmd outside al th mornng has got a breze now and is comng in," he remarkd patiently; "I must go and bord." We shook hands in silence, and he turnd to go. "Jim!" I cryd. He lookd round with his hand on th lok. "U -- u hav thrown away somthing like a fortune." He came bak to me al th way from th dor. "Such a splendid old chap," he said. "How cud I? How cud I?" His lips twichd. "Here it dos not matr." "O! u -- u -- " I began, and had to cast about for a suitbl word, but befor I became aware that ther was no name that wud just do, he was gon. I herd outside Egström's deep jentl voice sayng cheerily, "That's th Sara W. Granjer, Jimmy. U must manaj to be first abord"; and directly Blake struk in, screamng aftr th manr of an outrajed cockatoo, "Tel th captn we'v got som of his mail here. That'l fech him. D'ye hear, Mistr Wat's-yr-name?" And ther was Jim ansrng Egström with somthing boyish in his tone. "Al ryt. I'l make a race of it." He seemd to take refuje in th boat-sailng part of that sorry busness.

   '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


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serj waistcoat. "A man like that dont go anywher in particulr." I was too concernd at th news to ask for th explnation of that pronouncemnt, and he went on. "He left -- let's se -- th very day a steamr with returng pilgrms from th Red Se put in here with two blades of her propelr gon. Thre weeks ago now." "Wasnt ther somthing said about th Patna case?" I askd, fearng th worst. He gave a start, and lookd at me as if I had been a sorcerr. "Wy, yes! How do u no? Som of them wer talkng about it here. Ther was a captn or two, th manajr of Vanlo's enjneerng shop at th harbr, two or thre othrs, and myself. Jim was in here too, havng a sanwich and a glass of beer; wen we ar busy -- u se, captn -- ther's no time for a propr tiffin. He was standng by this table eatng sanwichs, and th rest of us wer round th telescope wachng that steamr com in; and by-and-by Vanlo's manajr began to talk about th chief of th Patna; he had don som repairs for him once, and from that he went on to tel us wat an old ruin she was, and th mony that had been made out of her. He came to mention her last voyaj, and then we al struk in. Som said one thing and som anothr -- not much -- wat u or any othr man myt say; and ther was som lafng. Captn O'brien of th Sara W. Granjer, a larj, noisy old man with a stik -- he was sitng lisnng to us in this arm-chair here -- he let drive sudnly with his stik at th flor, and rors out, 'skunks!' . . . Made us al jump. Vanlo's manajr winks at us and asks, 'what's th matr, Captn O'brien?' 'matter! matr!' th old man began to shout; 'what ar u Injuns lafng at? It's no lafng matr. It's a disgrace to human natur' -- that's wat it is. I wud despise being seen in th same room with one of those men. Yes, sir!' He seemd to cach my y like, and I had to speak out of civility. 'skunks!' says I, 'of corse, Captn O'brien, and I wudnt care to hav them here myself, so u'r quite safe in this room, Captn O'brien. Hav a litl somthing cool to drink.' 'dam' yr drink, Egström,' says he, with a twinkl in his y; 'when I want a drink I wil shout for it. I am going to quit. It stinks here now.' At this al th othrs burst out lafng, and out they go aftr th old man. And then, sir, that blastd Jim he puts down th sanwich he had in his hand and walks round th table to me; ther was his glass of beer pord out quite ful. 'I am off,' he says-just like this. 'it isnt half-past one yet,' says I; 'you myt snach a smoke first.' I thot he ment it was time for him to go down to his work. Wen I undrstood wat he was up to, my arms fel -- so! Cant get a man like that evry day, u no, sir; a regulr devl for sailng a boat; redy to go out miles to se to meet ships in any sort of wethr. Mor than once a captn wud com in here ful of it, and th first thing he wud say wud


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be, 'that's a rekless sort of a lunatic u'v got for watr-clerk, Egström. I was feelng my way in at daylyt undr short canvas wen ther coms flyng out of th mist ryt undr my forfoot a boat half undr watr, sprays going over th mast-hed, two frytnd nigrs on th botm bords, a yelng fiend at th tilr. Hey! hey! Ship ahoy! ahoy! Captn! Hey! hey! Egström & Blake's man first to speak to u! Hey! hey! Egström & Blake! Helo! hey! woop! Kik th nigrs -- out reefs -- a squal on at th time -- shoots ahed hoopng and yelng to me to make sail and he wud giv me a lead in -- mor like a demon than a man. Nevr saw a boat handld like that in al my life. Cudnt hav been drunk -- was he? Such a quiet, soft-spoken chap too -- blush like a girl wen he came on bord.... ' I tel u, Captn Marlow, nobody had a chance against us with a stranje ship wen Jim was out. Th othr ship-chandlers just kept ther old custmrs, and . . ."

   '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


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notty fingrs. "Havnt been able to get a man that was any good since. It's nothing but worry, worry, worry in busness. And wher myt u hav com across him, captn, if it's fair to ask?"

   ' "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." '

Chaptr 19

   '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,


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wich was nown to th very up-cuntry logs on th rivr. Schomberg, th keepr of th hotel wher he bordd, a hirsute Alsatian of manly berng and an irepresbl retailr of al th scandlus gosip of th place, wud, with both elbos on th table, impart an adornd version of th story to any gest ho cared to imbibe nolej along with th mor costly liqrs. "And, mind u, th nicest felo u cud meet," wud be his jenrus conclusion; "quite superir." It says a lot for th casul crowd that frequentd Schomberg's establishmnt that Jim manajd to hang out in Bankok for a hole six months. I remarkd that peple, perfect stranjers, took to him as one takes to a nice child. His manr was reservd, but it was as tho his persnl apearnce, his hair, his ys, his smile, made frends for him wherevr he went. And, of corse, he was no fool. I herd Siegmund Yucker (nativ of Switzrland), a jentl creatur ravajd by a cruel dyspepsia, and so frytfuly lame that his hed swung thru a quartr of a circl at evry step he took, declare apreciativly that for one so yung he was "of gret gabasidy," as tho it had been a mere question of cubic contents. "Wy not send him up cuntry?" I sujestd anxiusly. (Yucker Brothrs had concessions and teak forests in th interir.) "If he has capacity, as u say, he wil soon get hold of th work. And fysicly he is very fit. His helth is always exlnt." "Ach! It's a gret ting in dis goundry to be vree vrom tispep-shia," syd poor Yucker enviusly, castng a stelthy glance at th pit of his ruind stomac. I left him drumng pensivly on his desk and mutrng, "Es ist ein' Idee. Es ist ein' Idee." Unfortunatly, that very evenng an unplesnt afair took place in th hotel.

   '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


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Jim turnd up at about midnyt on bord my ship without a hat. "Evrybody in th room seemd to no," he said, gaspng yet from th contest, as it wer. He was rathr sorry, on jenrl principls, for wat had hapnd, tho in this case ther had been, he said, "no option." But wat dismayd him was to find th natur of his burdn as wel nown to evrybody as tho he had gon about al that time carrying it on his sholdrs. Natrly aftr this he cudnt remain in th place. He was universly condemd for th brutal violence, so unbecomng a man in his delicat position; som maintaind he had been disgracefuly drunk at th time; othrs criticized his want of tact. Even Schomberg was very much anoyd. "He is a very nice yung man," he said argumentatively to me, "but th leutennt is a first-rate felo too. He dines evry nyt at my table d'hôte, u no. And ther's a bilird-cu broken. I cant alow that. First thing this mornng I went over with my apolojis to th leutennt, and I think I'v made it al ryt for myself; but only think, captn, if evrybody startd such games! Wy, th man myt hav been drownd! And here I cant run out into th next street and by a new cu. I'v got to rite to Europ for them. No, no! A tempr like that wont do!" . . . He was extremely sor on th subject.

   '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


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him on dek or in th cabn, we didnt no wat to do with our ys.

   '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


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life -- wich was indeed very far from being th case. His hair was thin, and brushd bak from a massiv and lofty forhed. One fancid that at twenty he must hav lookd very much like wat he was now at threescore. It was a student's face; only th ybrows nearly al wite, thik and bushy, togethr with th reslute serchng glance that came from undr them, wer not in acord with his, I may say, lernd apearnce. He was tal and loose-jointd; his slyt stoop, togethr with an inocent smile, made him apear benevlntly redy to lend u his ear; his long arms with pale big hands had rare delibrat jesturs of a pointng out, demnstrating kind. I speak of him at length, because undr this exterir, and in conjunction with an upryt and induljnt natur, this man posesd an intrepidity of spirit and a fysicl curaj that cud hav been cald rekless had it not been like a natrl function of th body -- say good dijestion, for instnce -- completely unconcius of itself. It is somtimes said of a man that he carris his life in his hand. Such a sayng wud hav been inadequat if aplyd to him; during th erly part of his existnce in th East he had been playng bal with it. Al this was in th past, but I new th story of his life and th orijn of his fortune. He was also a natrlist of som distinction, or perhaps I shud say a lernd colectr. Entmolojy was his special study. His colection of Buprestidæ and Longicorns -- beetls al -- horibl minitur monstrs, lookng malevlnt in deth and imobility, and his cabnet of butrflys, butiful and hovrng undr th glass of cases on lifeless wings, had spred his fame far over th erth. Th name of this merchnt, adventurr, somtime adviser of a Malay sultn (to hom he nevr aluded othrwise than as "my poor Mohamed Bonso"), had, on acount of a few bushls of ded insects, becom nown to lernd persns in Europ, ho cud hav had no conception, and certnly wud not hav cared to no anything, of his life or caractr. I, ho new, considrd him an emnntly suitbl persn to receve my confidnces about Jim's dificltis as wel as my own.'

Chaptr 20

   '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


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embodid for that particulr service. Stein turnd round with th chair, and in th same movemnt his spectacls seemd to get pushd up on his forhed. He welcmd me in his quiet and humorus voice. Only one cornr of th vast room, th cornr in wich stood his riting-desk, was strongly lytd by a shaded readng-lamp, and th rest of th spacius apartmnt meltd into shapeless gloom like a cavrn. Naro shelvs fild with dark boxs of uniform shape and color ran round th walls, not from flor to celing, but in a sombr belt about four feet brod -- catacombs of beetls. Woodn tablets wer hung abov at iregulr intrvls. Th lyt reachd one of them, and th word Coleoptera ritn in gold letrs glitrd mysteriusly upon a vast dimness. Th glass cases containng th colection of butrflys wer ranjed in thre long ros upon slendr-leged litl tables. One of these cases had been removed from its place and stood on th desk, wich was bestrewn with oblong slips of paper blaknd with minut handriting.

   ' "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


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of Celebes -- if Celebes may be said to hav an interir. This old Scotsman, th only wite man alowd to reside in th cuntry at th time, was a privlejd frend of th chief ruler of Wajo States, ho was a womn. I ofn herd Stein relate how that chap, ho was slytly paralyzd on one side, had introduced him to th nativ cort a short time befor anothr stroke carrid him off. He was a hevy man with a patriarcl wite beard, and of imposing statur. He came into th council-hal wher al th rajahs, pangerans, and hedmen wer asembld, with th queen, a fat rinkld womn (very fre in her speech, Stein said), reclining on a hy couch undr a canopy. He dragd his leg, thumpng with his stik, and graspd Stein's arm, leadng him ryt up to th couch. "Look, queen, and u rajahs, this is my son," he pro-claimd in a stentorian voice. "I hav traded with yr fathrs, and wen I die he shal trade with u and yr sons."

   '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


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town, with an extensiv gardn, and suroundd by stables, ofices, and bamboo cotajs for his servnts and dependnts, of hom he had many. He drove in his buggy evry mornng to town, wher he had an ofice with wite and Chinese clerks. He ownd a smal fleet of schooners and nativ craft, and delt in iland produce on a larj scale. For th rest he livd solitry, but not misanthropic, with his books and his colection, classing and aranjing specimns, corespondng with entomologists in Europ, riting up a descriptiv catlog of his tresurs. Such was th histry of th man hom I had com to consult upon Jim's case without any defnit hope. Simply to hear wat he wud hav to say wud hav been a relief. I was very anxius, but I respectd th intense, almost passionat, absorption with wich he lookd at a butrfly, as tho on th bronz sheen of these frail wings, in th wite tracings, in th gorjus markngs, he cud se othr things, an imaj of somthing as perishbl and defyng destruction as these delicat and lifeless tissus displayng a splendr unmarred by deth.

   ' "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


Paje 127

litl Ema, and leving th "princess," his wife, in comand. He described how she came with him as far as th gate, walkng with one hand on th nek of his horse; she had on a wite jaket, gold pins in her hair, and a brown lethr belt over her left sholdr with a revolvr in it. "She talkd as women wil talk," he said, "telng me to be careful, and to try to get bak befor dark, and wat a gret wikedness it was for me to go alone. We wer at war, and th cuntry was not safe; my men wer putng up bulet-proof shutrs to th house and loadng ther rifles, and she begd me to hav no fear for her. She cud defend th house against anybody til I returnd. And I lafd with plesur a litl. I liked to se her so brave and yung and strong. I too was yung then. At th gate she caut hold of my hand and gave it one squeze and fel bak. I made my horse stand stil outside til I herd th bars of th gate put up behind me. Ther was a gret enmy of mine, a gret noble -- and a gret rascl too -- roamng with a band in th neibrhood. I cantrd for four or five miles; ther had been rain in th nyt, but th mists had gon up, up -- and th face of th erth was clean; it lay smiling to me, so fresh and inocent -- like a litl child. Sudnly sombody fires a volly -- twenty shots at least it seemd to me. I hear bulets sing in my ear, and my hat jumps to th bak of my hed. It was a litl intrige, u undrstand. They got my poor Mohamed to send for me and then laid that ambush. I se it al in a minut, and I think -- This wants a litl manajmnt. My pony snort, jump, and stand, and I fal sloly forwrd with my hed on his mane. He begins to walk, and with one y I cud se over his nek a faint cloud of smoke hangng in front of a clump of bamboos to my left. I think -- Aha! my frends, wy u not wait long enuf befor u shoot? This is not yet gelungen. O no! I get hold of my revolvr with my ryt hand -- quiet -- quiet. Aftr al, ther wer only sevn of these rascls. They get up from th grass and start runng with ther sarongs tukd up, waving spears abov ther heds, and yelng to each othr to look out and cach th horse, because I was ded. I let them com as close as th dor here, and then bang, bang, bang -- take aim each time too. One mor shot I fire at a man's bak, but I miss. Too far alredy. And then I sit alone on my horse with th clean erth smiling at me, and ther ar th bodis of thre men lyng on th ground. One was curld up like a dog, anothr on his bak had an arm over his ys as if to keep off th sun, and th third man he draws up his leg very sloly and makes it with one kik strait again. I wach him very carefuly from my horse, but ther is no mor -- bleibt ganz ruhig -- keep stil, so.


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And as I lookd at his face for som syn of life I observd somthing like a faint shado pass over his forhed. It was th shado of this butrfly. Look at th form of th wing. This species fly hy with a strong flyt. I rased my ys and I saw him flutrng away. I think -- Can it be posbl? And then I lost him. I dismountd and went on very slo, leadng my horse and holdng my revolvr with one hand and my ys dartng up and down and ryt and left, evrywher! At last I saw him sitng on a smal heap of dirt ten feet away. At once my hart began to beat quik. I let go my horse, keep my revolvr in one hand, and with th othr snach my soft felt hat off my hed. One step. Stedy. Anothr step. Flop! I got him! Wen I got up I shook like a leaf with exitemnt, and wen I opend these butiful wings and made sure wat a rare and so extrordnry perfect specimn I had, my hed went round and my legs became so weak with emotion that I had to sit on th ground. I had gretly desired to posess myself of a specimn of that species wen colectng for th profesr. I took long jurnis and undrwent gret privations; I had dreamd of him in my sleep, and here sudnly I had him in my fingrs -- for myself! In th words of th poet" (he pronounced it "boet") --



"'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,


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and in his usul jentl and cheery tone, "is making gret progress. I hav been this rare specimn describing.... Na! And wat is yr good news?"

   ' "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


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hand up, then down.... "He wants to be a saint, and he wants to be a devl -- and evry time he shuts his ys he ses himself as a very fine felo -- so fine as he can nevr be.... In a dream...."

   '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


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he forgot -- he forgot. Th lyt had destroyd th asurance wich had inspired him in th distnt shados. He sat down and, with both elbos on th desk, rubd his forhed. "And yet it is tru -- it is tru. In th destructiv elemnt imerse." . . . He spoke in a subdud tone, without lookng at me, one hand on each side of his face. "That was th way. To folo th dream, and again to folo th dream -- and so -- ewig -- usque ad finem...." Th wispr of his conviction seemd to open befor me a vast and uncertn expanse, as of a crepuscular horizon on a plan at dawn -- or was it, perchance, at th comng of th nyt? One had not th curaj to decide; but it was a charmng and deceptiv lyt, throing th impalpable poesy of its dimness over pitfals -- over graves. His life had begun in sacrifice, in enthusiasm for jenrus ideas; he had travld very far, on varius ways, on stranje paths, and watevr he folod it had been without faltrng, and ther-for without shame and without regret. In so far he was ryt. That was th way, no dout. Yet for al that, th gret plan on wich men wandr amongst graves and pitfals remaind very desolate undr th impalpable poesy of its crepuscular lyt, overshadod in th centr, circld with a bryt ej as if suroundd by an abyss ful of flames. Wen at last I broke th silence it was to express th opinion that no one cud be mor romantic than himself.

   '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


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mirrs, wile th forms of two men and th flikr of two flames cud be seen for a moment stealng silently across th depths of a crystline void. He walkd sloly a pace in advance with stoopng curtesy; ther was a profound, as it wer a lisnng, quietude on his face; th long flaxen loks mixd with wite threds wer scatrd thinly upon his slytly bowd nek.

   ' "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


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said, "he nos of one wich he certnly did not cach." "Evrybody nos of one or two like that," said Stein; "and that is th trubl -- th gret trubl...."

   '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.'

Chaptr 21

   '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


Paje 134

with a pinch of romance th fatnng dishs of his comercial kichn. Ther wer very few places in th Archipelago he had not seen in th orijnl dusk of ther being, befor lyt (and even electric lyt) had been carrid into them for th sake of betr morality and -- and -- wel -- th gretr profit too. It was at brekfast of th mornng foloing our talk about Jim that he mentiond th place, aftr I had quoted poor Brierly's remark: "Let him creep twenty feet undrground and stay ther." He lookd up at me with intrestd atention, as tho I had been a rare insect. "This cud be don too," he remarkd, sipng his cofee. "Bury him in som sort," I explaind. "One dosnt like to do it of corse, but it wud be th best thing, seing wat he is." "Yes; he is yung," Stein mused. "Th yungst human being now in existnce," I afirmd. "Schon. Ther's Patusan," he went on in th same tone.... "And th womn is ded now," he add incomprehensbly.

   '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


Paje 135

vew, ther can be seen rising abov th levl of th forests th sumits of two steep hils very close togethr, and seprated by wat looks like a deep fissur, th clevaj of som myty stroke. As a matr of fact, th vally between is nothing but a naro ravine; th apearnce from th setlmnt is of one iregulrly conicl hil split in two, and with th two halvs leanng slytly apart. On th third day aftr th ful, th moon, as seen from th open space in front of Jim's house (he had a very fine house in th nativ styl wen I visitd him), rose exactly behind these hils, its difused lyt at first throing th two masses into intensly blak relief, and then th nearly perfect disk, gloing ruddily, apeard, gliding upwrds between th sides of th casm, til it floatd away abov th sumits, as if escaping from a yawnng grave in jentl triumf. "Wondrful efect," said Jim by my side. "Worth seing. Is it not?"

   '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


Paje 136

for hom home holds no dear face, no familir voice, -- even they hav to meet th spirit that dwels within th land, undr its sky, in its air, in its vallis, and on its rises, in its fields, in its watrs and its tres -- a mute frend, juj, and inspirer. Say wat u like, to get its joy, to brethe its pece, to face its truth, one must return with a clear concience. Al this may seem to u sheer sentimentalism; and indeed very few of us hav th wil or th capacity to look conciusly undr th surface of familir emotions. Ther ar th girls we lov, th men we look up to, th tendrness, th frendships, th oprtunitis, th plesurs! But th fact remains that u must tuch yr reward with clean hands, lest it turn to ded leavs, to thorns, in yr grasp. I think it is th lonely, without a fireside or an afection they may cal ther own, those ho return not to a dwelng but to th land itself, to meet its dismbodid, eternl, and unchangeable spirit -- it is those ho undrstand best its severity, its saving powr, th grace of its seculr ryt to our fidelity, to our obedience. Yes! few of us undrstand, but we al feel it tho, and I say al without exeption, because those ho do not feel do not count. Each blade of grass has its spot on erth wence it draws its life, its strength; and so is man rootd to th land from wich he draws his faith togethr with his life. I dont no how much Jim undrstood; but I no he felt, he felt confusedly but powrfuly, th demand of som such truth or som such ilusion -- I dont care how u cal it, ther is so litl difrnce, and th difrnce means so litl. Th thing is that in virtu of his feelng he matrd. He wud nevr go home now. Not he. Nevr. Had he been capabl of picturesq manifestations he wud hav shudrd at th thot and made u shudr too. But he was not of that sort, tho he was expressiv enuf in his way. Befor th idea of going home he wud gro despratly stif and imovebl, with loerd chin and poutd lips, and with those candid blu ys of his glowrng darkly undr a frown, as if befor somthing unberbl, as if befor somthing revoltng. Ther was imajnation in that hard skul of his, over wich th thik clustrng hair fitd like a cap. As to me, I hav no imajnation (I wud be mor certn about him today, if I had), and I do not mean to imply that I figrd to myself th spirit of th land uprising abov th wite clifs of Dover, to ask me wat I -- returng with no bones broken, so to speak -- had don with my very yung brothr. I cud not make such a mistake. I new very wel he was of those about hom ther is no inquiry; I had seen betr men go out, disapear, vanish utrly, without provoking a sound of curiosity or soro. Th spirit of th land, as becoms th ruler of gret entrprises, is careless of inumerabl lives. Wo to th straglrs! We exist only in so far as we hang togethr. He had stragld


Paje 137

in a way; he had not hung on; but he was aware of it with an intensity that made him tuchng, just as a man's mor intense life makes his deth mor tuchng than th deth of a tre. I hapnd to be handy, and I hapnd to be tuchd. That's al ther is to it. I was concernd as to th way he wud go out. It wud hav hurt me if, for instnce, he had taken to drink. Th erth is so smal that I was afraid of, som day, being waylaid by a blear-yd, swolen-faced, besmirched loafer, with no soles to his canvas shoes, and with a flutr of rags about th elbos, ho, on th strength of old aquaintnce, wud ask for a loan of five dolrs. U no th awful jaunty berng of these scarecrows comng to u from a decent past, th raspng careless voice, th half-avertd impudent glances -- those meetngs mor tryng to a man ho beleves in th solidarity of our lives than th syt of an impenitent deth-bed to a priest. That, to tel u th truth, was th only danjer I cud se for him and for me; but I also mistrustd my want of imajnation. It myt even com to somthing worse, in som way it was beyond my powrs of fancy to forse. He wudnt let me forget how imajnativ he was, and yr imajnativ peple swing farthr in any direction, as if givn a longr scope of cable in th unesy ancraj of life. They do. They take to drink too. It may be I was belitlng him by such a fear. How cud I tel? Even Stein cud say no mor than that he was romantic. I only new he was one of us. And wat busness had he to be romantic? I am telng u so much about my own instinctiv feelngs and bemused reflections because ther remains so litl to be told of him. He existd for me, and aftr al it is only thru me that he exists for u. I'v led him out by th hand; I hav paraded him befor u. Wer my comnplace fears unjust? I wont say -- not even now. U may be able to tel betr, since th provrb has it that th onlookrs se most of th game. At any rate, they wer superfluus. He did not go out, not at al; on th contry, he came on wondr- fuly, came on strait as a die and in exlnt form, wich showd that he cud stay as wel as spurt. I ot to be delytd, for it is a victry in wich I had taken my part; but I am not so plesed as I wud hav expectd to be. I ask myself wethr his rush had realy carrid him out of that mist in wich he loomd intrestng if not very big, with floatng outlines -- a straggler yernng inconsolably for his humbl place in th ranks. And besides, th last word is not said -- probbly shal nevr be said. Ar not our lives too short for that ful utrnce wich thru al our stammerings is of corse our only and abiding intention? I hav givn up expectng those last words, hos ring, if they cud only be pronounced, wud shake both hevn and erth. Ther is nevr time to say our last


Paje 138

word -- th last word of our lov, of our desire, faith, remorse, submission, revolt. Th hevn and th erth must not be shaken, I supose -- at least, not by us ho no so many truths about eithr. My last words about Jim shal be few. I afirm he had acheved gretness; but th thing wud be dwarfd in th telng, or rathr in th hearng. Frankly, it is not my words that I mistrust, but yr minds. I cud be eloquent wer I not afraid u felos had starvd yr imajnations to feed yr bodis. I do not mean to be ofensiv; it is respectbl to hav no ilusions -- and safe -- and profitbl -- and dul. Yet u too in yr time must hav nown th intensity of life, that lyt of glamr created in th shok of trifles, as amazing as th glo of sparks struk from a cold stone -- and as short-livd, alas!'

Chaptr 22

   '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,


Paje 139

not as ajents of trade but as instrumnts of a recordd destny, pushng out into th unown in obedience to an inwrd voice, to an impulse beatng in th blod, to a dream of th futur. They wer wondrful; and it must be ownd they wer redy for th wondrful. They recordd it complacently in ther sufrngs, in th aspect of th ses, in th custms of stranje nations, in th glory of splendid rulers.

   '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


Paje 140

(wich is circmscribed by lofty impasbl mountns) has been givn into th hand of th hy-born, and this Raja they new: he was of ther own royl house. I had th plesur of meetng th jentlman later on. He was a dirty, litl, used-up old man with evil ys and a weak mouth, ho swalod an opium pil evry two ours, and in defiance of comn decency wor his hair uncovrd and falng in wild stringy loks about his wiznd grimy face. Wen givng audience he wud clambr upon a sort of naro staje erectd in a hal like a ruinus barn with a rotn bamboo flor, thru th craks of wich u cud se, twelv or fifteen feet belo, th heaps of refuse and garbaj of al kinds lyng undr th house. That is wher and how he receved us wen, acompnid by Jim, I paid him a visit of ceremny. Ther wer about forty peple in th room, and perhaps thre times as many in th gret cortyard belo. Ther was constnt movemnt, comng and going, pushng and murmrng, at our baks. A few yuths in gay silks glared from th distnce; th majority, slaves and humbl dependnts, wer half naked, in raged sarongs, dirty with ashs and mud-stains. I had nevr seen Jim look so grave, so self-posesd, in an impenetrbl, impressiv way. In th midst of these dark-faced men, his stalwrt figr in wite aparel, th gleamng clustrs of his fair hair, seemd to cach al th sunshine that trikld thru th craks in th closed shutrs of that dim hal, with its walls of mats and a roof of thach. He apeard like a creatur not only of anothr kind but of anothr esnce. Had they not seen him com up in a canoe they myt hav thot he had desendd upon them from th clouds. He did, howevr, com in a crazy dug-out, sitng (very stil and with his nes togethr, for fear of overturnng th thing) -- sitng on a tin box -- wich I had lent him -- nursng on his lap a revolvr of th Navy patrn -- presentd by me on partng -- wich, thru an interposition of Providnce, or thru som rong-hedd notion, that was just like him, or else from sheer instinctiv sagacity, he had decided to carry unloadd. That's how he asendd th Patusan rivr. Nothing cud hav been mor prosaic and mor unsafe, mor extravagntly casul, mor lonely. Stranje, this fatality that wud cast th complexion of a flyt upon al his acts, of impulsiv unreflecting desertion of a jump into th unown.

   '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


Paje 141

his life especialy frendly to anybody from th British Iles. His late benefactr, it is tru, was a Scot -- even to th length of being cald Alexandr Mcneil -- and Jim came from a long way south of th Tweed; but at th distnce of six or sevn thousnd miles Gret Britn, tho nevr diminishd, looks forshortnd enuf even to its own children to rob such details of ther importnce. Stein was excusebl, and his hintd intentions wer so jenrus that I begd him most ernestly to keep them secret for a time. I felt that no considration of persnl advantaj shud be alowd to influence Jim; that not even th risk of such influence shud be run. We had to deal with anothr sort of reality. He wantd a refuje, and a refuje at th cost of danjer shud be ofrd him -- nothing mor.

   '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


Paje 142

no one else. "Wy? Wy," he stamrd, "this is th very thing that I . . ." I begd him not to be dense, and he lookd mor puzld than evr. He was in a fair way to make life intolrbl to himself . . . "Do u think so?" he askd, disturbd; but in a moment add confidntly, "I was going on tho. Was I not?" It was imposbl to be angry with him: I cud not help a smile, and told him that in th old days peple ho went on like this wer on th way of becomng hermits in a wildrness. "Hermits be hangd!" he comentd with engajing impulsivness. Of corse he didnt mind a wildrness.... "I was glad of it," I said. That was wher he wud be going to. He wud find it lively enuf, I venturd to promis. "Yes, yes," he said keenly. He had shown a desire, I continud inflexibly, to go out and shut th dor aftr him.... "Did I?" he intruptd in a stranje access of gloom that seemd to envelop him from hed to foot like th shado of a pasng cloud. He was wondrfuly expressiv aftr al. Wondr-fuly! "Did I?" he repeatd bitrly. "U cant say I made much noise about it. And I can keep it up too -- only, confound it! u sho me a dor." . . . "Very wel. Pass on," I struk in. I cud make him a solem promis that it wud be shut behind him with a venjnce. His fate, watevr it was, wud be ignord, because th cuntry, for al its rotn state, was not jujd ripe for intrference. Once he got in, it wud be for th outside world as tho he had nevr existd. He wud hav nothing but th soles of his two feet to stand upon, and he wud hav first to find his ground at that. "Nevr existd -- that's it, by lov," he murmrd to him-self. His ys, fasnd upon my lips, sparkld. If he had thoroly undrstood th conditions, I concluded, he had betr jump into th first gharry he cud se and drive on to Stein's house for his final instructions. He flung out of th room befor I had fairly finishd speakng.'

Chaptr 23

   '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


Paje 143

had lernd it in Celebes -- of al places! That was awfuly funny. Was it not? He did speak with an accent -- a twang -- did I notice? That chap Doramin had givn him th ring. They had exchanjed presents wen they partd for th last time. Sort of promisng eternl frendship. He cald it fine -- did I not? They had to make a dash for dear life out of th cuntry wen that Mohamed -- Mohamed -- Wat's-his-name had been kild. I new th story, of corse. Seemd a beastly shame, didnt it? . . .

   '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


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cloth . . . "Slam th dor -- that was jolly wel put," he cryd, and jumpng up, began to pace th room, remindng me by th set of th sholdrs, th turn of his hed, th hedlong and uneven stride, of that nyt wen he had paced thus, confesng, explainng -- wat u wil -- but, in th last instnce, livng -- livng befor me, undr his own litl cloud, with al his un-concius sutlty wich cud draw conslation from th very sorce of soro. It was th same mood, th same and difrnt, like a fikl companion that to-day giding u on th tru path, with th same ys, th same step, th same impulse, to-moro wil lead u hopelesly astray. His tred was asured, his strayng, darknd ys seemd to serch th room for somthing. One of his footfals somhow soundd loudr than th othr -- th falt of his boots probbly -- and gave a curius impression of an invisbl halt in his gait. One of his hands was ramd deep into his trousers' poket, th othr waved sudnly abov his hed. "Slam th dor!" he shoutd. "I'v been waitng for that. I'l sho yet . . . I'l . . . I'm redy for any confoundd thing . . . I'v been dreamng of it . . . Jove! Get out of this. Jove! This is luk at last . . . U wait. I'l . . . "

   '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


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add.

   ' "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


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wer th two boxs of cartrijs on th cuddy-table. He had forgotn to take them.

   '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


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ancr, came to an end, and he loerd his voice. "Plenty too much enuf of Patusan," he concluded, with enrjy.

   '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


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best thing for him was to go.

   '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!'

Chaptr 24

   '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


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only yuths without experience, ho did not notice th speed of th canoe til he pointd out to them th amazing fact.

   '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


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longd for sunset; and meantime his thre paddlers wer preparing to put into execution ther plan of delivrng him up to th Raja.

   ' "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


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alone. And th shados wer very real around us, but Jim by my side lookd very stalwrt, as tho nothing -- not even th ocult powr of moonlyt -- cud rob him of his reality in my ys. Perhaps, indeed, nothing cud tuch him since he had survived th asalt of th dark powrs. Al was silent, al was stil; even on th rivr th moonbeams slept as on a pool. It was th moment of hy watr, a moment of imobility that accentuated th utr isolation of this lost cornr of th erth. Th houses crowdng along th wide shining sweep without ripl or glitr, stepng into th watr in a line of joslng, vage, gray, silvry forms mingld with blak masses of shado, wer like a spectrl herd of shapeless creaturs presng forwrd to drink in a spectrl and lifeless stream. Here and ther a red gleam twinkld within th bamboo walls, warm, like a livng spark, synificnt of human afections, of sheltr, of repose.

   '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


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conquests, th trust, th fame, th frendships, th lov -- al these things that made him mastr had made him a captiv too. He lookd with an owner's y at th pece of th evenng, at th rivr, at th houses, at th evrlastng life of th forests, at th life of th old mankind, at th secrets of th land, at th pride of his own hart; but it was they that posesd him and made him ther own to th inrmost thot, to th slytst stir of blod, to his last breth.

   '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.'

Chaptr 25

   ' "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


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prisnr. Note! Even wher he wud be most hated he was stil trustd. Jim -- as far as I cud folo th convrsation -- was improving th ocasion by th delivry of a lectur. Som poor vilajrs had been waylaid and robd wile on ther way to Doramin's house with a few peces of gum or beswax wich they wishd to exchanje for rice. "It was Doramin ho was a thief," burst out th Raja. A shaking fury seemd to entr that old frail body. He rithed weirdly on his mat, jesticulating with his hands and feet, tosng th tangld strings of his mop -- an impotnt incarnation of raje. Ther wer staring ys and dropng jaws al around us. Jim began to speak. Reslutely, cooly, and for som time he enlarjd upon th text that no man shud be preventd from getng his food and his children's food onestly. Th othr sat like a tailr at his bord, one palm on each ne, his hed lo, and fixng Jim thru th gray hair that fel over his very ys. Wen Jim had don ther was a gret stilness. Nobody seemd to brethe even; no one made a sound til th old Raja syd faintly, and lookng up, with a toss of his hed, said quikly, "U hear, my peple! No mor of these litl games." This decree was receved in profound silence. A rathr hevy man, evidntly in a position of confidnce, with intelijnt ys, a bony, brod, very dark face, and a cheerily of oficius manr (I lernd later on he was th executionr), presentd to us two cups of cofee on a brass tray, wich he took from th hands of an inferir atendnt. "U neednt drink," mutrd Jim very rapidly. I didnt perceve th meanng at first, and only lookd at him. He took a good sip and sat composedly, holdng th saucer in his left hand. In a moment I felt exessivly anoyd. "Wy th devl," I wisprd, smiling at him amiably, "do u expose me to such a stupid risk?" I drank, of corse, ther was nothing for it, wile he gave no syn, and almost imediatly aftrwrds we took our leve. Wile we wer going down th cortyard to our boat, escortd by th intelijnt and cheery executionr, Jim said he was very sorry. It was th barest chance, of corse. Persnly he thot nothing of poisn. Th remotest chance. He was -- he asured me -- considrd to be infnitly mor useful than danjerus, and so . . . "But th Raja is afraid of u abomnbly. Anybody can se that," I argud with, I own, a certn peevishness, and al th time wachng anxiusly for th first twist of som sort of gastly colic. I was awfuly disgustd. "If I am to do any good here and preserv my position," he said, taking his seat by my side in th boat, "I must stand th risk: I take it once evry month, at least. Many peple trust me to do that -- for them. Afraid of me! That's just it. Most likely he is afraid of me because I am not afraid of his cofee." Then shoing me a place on th north front of th stokade wher th pointd tops of sevrl stakes


Paje 154

wer broken, "This is wher I leapd over on my third day in Patusan. They havnt put new stakes ther yet. Good leap, eh?" A moment later we pasd th mouth of a muddy creek. "This is my secnd leap. I had a bit of a run and took this one flyng, but fel short. Thot I wud leve my skin ther. Lost my shoes struglng. And al th time I was thinkng to myself how beastly it wud be to get a jab with a bally long spear wile stikng in th mud like this. I remembr how sik I felt riglng in that slime. I mean realy sik -- as if I had bitn som-thing rotn."

   '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


Paje 155

potato," and walkd out hastily, without th slytst idea of wat he wud, or indeed cud, do. He only new that th position was intolrbl. He strold aimlesly beyond a sort of ramshakl litl granry on posts, and his ys fel on th broken stakes of th palisade; and then -- he says -- at once, without any mentl process as it wer, without any stir of emotion, he set about his escape as if executing a plan matured for a month. He walkd off carelesly to giv himself a good run, and wen he faced about ther was som dignitry, with two spearmen in atendnce, close at his elbo redy with a question. He startd off "from undr his very nose," went over "like a bird," and landd on th othr side with a fal that jard al his bones and seemd to split his hed. He pikd himself up instntly. He nevr thot of anything at th time; al he cud remembr -- he said -- was a gret yel; th first houses of Patusan wer befor him four hundred yards away; he saw th creek, and as it wer mecanicly put on mor pace. Th erth seemd fairly to fly bakwrds undr his feet. He took off from th last dry spot, felt himself flyng thru th air, felt himself, without any shok, plantd upryt in an extremely soft and sticky mudbank. It was only wen he tryd to move his legs and found he cudnt that, in his own words, "he came to himself." He began to think of th "bally long spears." As a matr of fact, considrng that th peple inside th stokade had to run to th gate, then get down to th landng-place, get into boats, and pul round a point of land, he had mor advance than he imajnd. Besides, it being lo watr, th creek was without watr -- u cudnt cal it dry -- and practicly he was safe for a time from everything but a very long shot perhaps. Th hyr firm ground was about six feet in front of him. "I thot I wud hav to die ther al th same," he said. He reachd and grabd despratly with his hands, and only succeedd in gathrng a horibl cold shiny heap of slime against his brest -- up to his very chin. It seemd to him he was burying himself alive, and then he struk out madly, scatrng th mud with his fists. It fel on his hed, on his face, over his ys, into his mouth. He told me that he remembrd sudnly th cortyard, as u remembr a place wher u had been very happy years ago. He longd -- so he said -- to be bak ther again, mendng th clok. Mendng th clok -- that was th idea. He made efrts, tremendus sobng, gaspng efrts, efrts that seemd to burst his ybals in ther sokets and make him blind, and culmnating into one myty supreme efrt in th darkns to crak th erth asundr, to thro it off his lims -- and he felt himself creepng feebly up th bank. He lay ful length on th firm ground and saw th lyt, th sky. Then as a sort of happy thot th notion came to him that he wud go


Paje 156

to sleep. He wil hav it that he did actuly go to sleep; that he slept -- perhaps for a minut, perhaps for twenty secnds, or only for one secnd, but he recollects distinctly th violent convulsiv start of awakenng. He remaind lyng stil for a wile, and then he arose muddy from hed to foot and stood ther, thinkng he was alone of his kind for hundreds of miles, alone, with no help, no sympathy, no pity to expect from any one, like a huntd anml. Th first houses wer not mor than twenty yards from him; and it was th desprat screamng of a frytnd womn tryng to carry off a child that startd him again. He peltd strait on in his soks, beplastered with filth out of al semblnce to a human being. He traversd mor than half th length of th setlmnt. Th nimbler women fled ryt and left, th sloer men just dropd watevr they had in ther hands, and remaind petrifyd with dropng jaws. He was a flyng terr. He says he noticed th litl children tryng to run for life, falng on ther litl stomacs and kikng. He swervd between two houses up a slope, clambrd in despration over a baricade of feld tres (ther wasnt a week without som fyt in Patusan at that time), burst thru a fence into a maiz-pach, wher a scared boy flung a stik at him, blundrd upon a path, and ran al at once into th arms of sevrl startld men. He just had breth enuf to gasp out, "Doramin! Doramin!" He remembrs being half-carrid, half-rushd to th top of th slope, and in a vast enclosur with palms and fruit tres being run up to a larj man sitng massivly in a chair in th midst of th gretst posbl comotion and exitemnt. He fumbld in mud and clothes to produce th ring, and, findng himself sudnly on his bak, wondrd ho had nokd him down. They had simply let him go -- dont u no? -- but he cudnt stand. At th foot of th slope randm shots wer fired, and abov th roofs of th setlmnt ther rose a dul ror of amazemnt. But he was safe. Doramin's peple wer barricading th gate and porng watr down his throat; Doramin's old wife, ful of busness and comisration, was isuing shril ordrs to her girls. "Th old womn," he said softly, "made a to-do over me as if I had been her own son. They put me into an imense bed -- her state bed -- and she ran in and out wiping her ys to giv me pats on th bak. I must hav been a pitiful object. I just lay ther like a log for I dont no how long."

   '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


Paje 157

faces and big grave ys, her dautrs, her servnts, her slave-girls. U no how it is in these housholds: it's jenrly imposbl to tel th difrnce. She was very spare, and even her ampl outr garmnt, fasnd in front with jewld clasps, had somhow a skimpy efect. Her dark bare feet wer thrust into yelo straw sliprs of Chinese make. I hav seen her myself flitng about with her extremely thik, long, gray hair falng about her sholdrs. She utrd homely shrewd sayngs, was of noble birth, and was eccentric and arbitry. In th aftrnoon she wud sit in a very roomy arm-chair, oposit her husbnd, gazing stedily thru a wide openng in th wal wich gave an extensiv vew of th setlmnt and th rivr.

   '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


Paje 158

a poltry-yard, but he devastated th open cuntry. Hole vilajs, desertd, rotd on ther blaknd posts over th banks of clear streams, dropng pecemeal into th watr th grass of ther walls, th leavs of ther roofs, with a curius efect of natrl decay as if they had been a form of vejetation strikn by a blyt at its very root. Th two partis in Patusan wer not sure wich one this partisn most desired to plundr. Th Raja intriged with him feebly. Som of th Bugis setlrs, weary with endless insecurity, wer half inclined to cal him in. Th yungr spirits amongst them, chaffing, advised to "get Sherif Ali with his wild men and drive th Raja Allang out of th cuntry." Doramin restraind them with dificlty. He was groing old, and, tho his influence had not diminishd, th situation was getng beyond him. This was th state of afairs wen Jim, boltng from th Rajah's stokade, apeard befor th chief of th Bugis, produced th ring, and was receved, in a manr of speakng, into th hart of th comunity.'

Chaptr 26

   '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


Paje 159

cuntry, a dark sleepng se of sombr green undulating as far as th violet and purpl ranje of mountns; th shining sinuosity of th rivr like an imense letr S of beatn silvr; th brown ribn of houses foloing th sweep of both banks, overtopped by th twin hils uprising abov th nearr tre-tops. They wer wondrfuly contrastd: she, lyt, delicat, spare, quik, a litl wich-like, with a tuch of mothrly fussiness in her repose; he, facing her, imense and hevy, like a figr of a man rufly fashnd of stone, with somthing magnanmus and ruth-less in his imobility. Th son of these old peple was a most distinguishd yuth.

   '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


Paje 160

in at last. And that was nothing. He had to devise th means. He devised them -- an audacius plan; and his task was only half don. He had to inspire with his own confidnce a lot of peple ho had hidn and absurd reasns to hang bak; he had to conciliate imbecile jelusis, and argu away al sorts of sensless mistrusts. Without th weit of Doramin's authority, and his son's firy enthusiasm, he wud hav faild. Dain Waris, th distinguishd yuth, was th first to beleve in him; thers was one of those stranje, profound, rare frendships between brown and wite, in wich th very difrnce of race seems to draw two human beings closer by som mystic elemnt of sympathy. Of Dain Waris, his own peple said with pride that he new how to fyt like a wite man. This was tru; he had that sort of curaj -- th curaj in th open, I may say -- but he had also a European mind. U meet them somtimes like that, and ar surprised to discovr unexpectdly a familir turn of thot, an unobscured vision, a tenacity of purpos, a tuch of altruism. Of smal statur, but admrbly wel proportiond, Dain Waris had a proud carrij, a polishd, esy berng, a temprmnt like a clear flame. His dusky face, with big blak ys, was in action expressiv, and in repose thotful. He was of a silent disposition; a firm glance, an ironic smile, a curteus delibration of manr seemd to hint at gret reservs of intelijnce and powr. Such beings open to th Westrn y, so ofn concernd with mere surfaces, th hidn posbilitis of races and lands over wich hangs th mystry of unrecordd ajes. He not only trustd Jim, he undrstood him, I firmly beleve. I speak of him because he had captivated me. His -- if I may say so -- his caustic placidity, and, at th same time, his intelijnt sympathy with Jim's asprations, apeald to me. I seemd to behold th very orijn of frendship. If Jim took th lead, th othr had captivated his leadr. In fact, Jim th leadr was a captiv in evry sense. Th land, th peple, th frendship, th lov, wer like th jelus gardians of his body. Evry day add a link to th fetrs of that stranje fredm. I felt convinced of it, as from day to day I lernd mor of th story.

   '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


Paje 161

up; ther wer traces of an earthwork undr a mass of thorny twigs. "It al startd from here," he said, aftr a long and meditativ silence. On th othr hil, two hundred yards across a sombr precipice, I saw a line of hy blaknd stakes, shoing here and ther ruinously -- th remnnts of Sherif Ali's impregnbl camp.

   '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,


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with glints of windng rivrs, th gray spots of vilajs, and here and ther a clearng, like an ilet of lyt amongst th dark waves of continuus tre-tops. A broodng gloom lay over this vast and monotnus landscape; th lyt fel on it as if into an abyss. Th land devourd th sunshine; only far off, along th coast, th emty ocen, smooth and polishd within th faint haze, seemd to rise up to th sky in a wal of steel.

   '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.'

Chaptr 27

   '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


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at me quite startld. "Wel, no! I supose not," he said, and burst into a Homeric peal of laftr. "Wel, anyhow th guns wer ther, and went off al togethr at sunrise. Jove! U shud hav seen th splintrs fly," he cryd. By his side Dain Waris, lisnng with a quiet smile, dropd his ylids and shufld his feet a litl. It apears that th success in mountng th guns had givn Jim's peple such a feelng of confidnce that he venturd to leve th batry undr charj of two eldrly Bugis ho had seen som fytng in ther day, and went to join Dain Waris and th stormng party ho wer conceald in th ravine. In th smal ours they began creepng up, and wen two-thirds of th way up, lay in th wet grass waitng for th apearnce of th sun, wich was th agreed signl. He told me with wat impatient anguishing emotion he wachd th swift comng of th dawn; how, heatd with th work and th climbng, he felt th cold dew chilng his very bones; how afraid he was he wud begin to shivr and shake like a leaf befor th time came for th advance. "It was th sloest half-our in my life," he declared. Graduly th silent stokade came out on th sky abov him. Men scatrd al down th slope wer crouchng amongst th dark stones and dripng bushs. Dain Waris was lyng flatnd by his side. "We lookd at each othr," Jim said, restng a jentl hand on his friend's sholdr. "He smiled ar me as cheery as u plese, and I dared not stir my lips for fear I wud brek out into a shivrng fit. 'pon my word, it's tru! I had been streamng with perspration wen we took covr -- so u may imajn . . ." He declared, and I beleve him, that he had no fears as to th result. He was only anxius as to his ability to repress these shivrs. He didnt bothr about th result. He was bound to get to th top of that hil and stay ther, watevr myt hapn. Ther cud be no going bak for him. Those peple had trustd him implicitly. Him alone! His bare word....

   '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


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togethr for fifteen years -- twenty years -- cud not tel. A long, long time. Good wife. Beat her a litl -- not much -- just a litl, wen she was yung. Had to -- for th sake of his onr. Sudnly in her old aje she gos and lends thre brass pots to her sister's son's wife, and begins to abuse him evry day in a loud voice. His enmis jeerd at him; his face was utrly blaknd. Pots totaly lost. Awfuly cut up about it. Imposbl to fathm a story like that; told him to go home, and promisd to com along myself and setl it al. It's al very wel to grin, but it was th dashedest nusance! A day's jurny thru th forest, anothr day lost in coaxng a lot of silly vilajrs to get at th ryts of th afair. Ther was th making of a sanguinary shindy in th thing. Evry bally idiot took sides with one famly or th othr, and one half of th vilaj was redy to go for th othr half with anything that came handy . Onr bryt! No joke! . . . Insted of atendng to ther bally crops. Got him th infernl pots bak of corse -- and pacifyd al hands. No trubl to setl it. Of corse not. Cud setl th dedliest quarel in th cuntry by crooking his litl fingr. Th trubl was to get at th truth of anything. Was not sure to this day wethr he had been fair to al partis. It worrid him. And th talk! Jove! Ther didnt seem to be any hed or tail to it. Rathr storm a twenty-foot-hy old stokade any day. Much! Child's play to that othr job. Wudnt take so long eithr. Wel, yes; a funny set out, upon th hole -- th fool lookd old enuf to be his granfathr. But from anothr point of vew it was no joke. His word decided everything -- evr since th smashng of Sherif Ali. An awful responsbility," he repeatd. "No, realy -- joking apart, had it been thre lives insted of thre rotn brass pots it wud hav been th same...."

   '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


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afair (Sherif Ali trustd mainly to th inaccesbl position); and, anyway, th thing had been alredy nokd to peces and only hung togethr by a miracl. He put his sholdr to it like a litl fool and went in hed over heels. Jove! If it hadnt been for Dain Waris, a pock-markd tatood vagabond wud hav pind him with his spear to a balk of timbr like one of Stein's beetls. Th third man in, it seems, had been Tamb' Itam, Jim's own servnt. This was a Malay from th north, a stranjer ho had wandrd into Patusan, and had been forcibly detaind by Raja Allang as paddler of one of th state boats. He had made a bolt of it at th first oprtunity, and findng a precarius refuje (but very litl to eat) amongst th Bugis setlrs, had atachd himself to Jim's persn. His complexion was very dark, his face flat, his ys promnnt and injectd with bile. Ther was somthing exessiv, almost fanaticl, in his devotion to his "wite lord." He was inseprbl from Jim like a morose shado. On state ocasions he wud tred on his master's heels, one hand on th haft of his kriss, keepng th comn peple at a distnce by his truculent broodng glances. Jim had made him th hedman of his establishmnt, and al Patusan respectd and cortd him as a persn of much influence. At th taking of th stokade he had distinguishd himself gretly by th methodicl ferocity of his fytng. Th stormng party had com on so quik -- Jim said -- that notwithstandng th panic of th garisn, ther was a "hot five minuts hand-to-hand inside that stokade, til som bally ass set fire to th sheltrs of bous and dry grass, and we al had to clear out for dear life."

   '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


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his arms open. Th sudn movemnt startld me as tho I had seen him bare th secrets of his brest to th sunshine, to th broodng forests, to th steely se. Belo us th town reposed in esy curvs upon th banks of a stream hos curent seemd to sleep. "Imense!" he repeatd for a third time, speakng in a wispr, for himself alone.

   '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.'

Chaptr 28

   '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


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th first comr to kil. Aftr Sherif Ali his turn wud com, and ho cud resist an atak led by such a devl? And indeed he oed his life and such authority as he stil posesd at th time of my visit to Jim's idea of wat was fair alone. Th Bugis had been extremely anxius to pay off old scors, and th impassiv old Doramin cherishd th hope of yet seing his son ruler of Patusan. During one of our intrvews he delibratly alowd me to get a glimps of this secret ambition. Nothing cud be finer in its way than th dignifyd wariness of his aproachs. He himself -- he began by declaring -- had used his strength in his yung days, but now he had grown old and tired.... With his imposing bulk and hauty litl ys dartng sagacious, inquisitiv glances, he remindd one iresistbly of a cunng old elefnt; th slo rise and fal of his vast brest went on powrful and regulr, like th heve of a calm se. He too, as he protestd, had an unboundd confidnce in Tuan Jim's wisdm. If he cud only obtain a promis! One word wud be enuf! . . . His brething silences, th lo rumblngs of his voice, recald th last efrts of a spent thundrstorm.

   '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


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face? . . .

   '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


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ar not dul enuf to nurse a success, and hos careers so ofn end undr a cloud. I supose she too must hav lakd th saving dulness -- and her career endd in Patusan. Our comn fate . . . for wher is th man -- I mean a real sentient man -- ho dos not remembr vagely havng been desertd in th fulness of posession by som one or somthing mor precius than life? . . . our comn fate fasns upon th women with a peculir cruelty. It dos not punish like a mastr, but inflicts lingrng tormnt, as if to gratify a secret, unappeasable spite. One wud think that, apointd to rule on erth, it seeks to revenj itself upon th beings that com nearst to rising abov th trammels of erthly caution; for it is only women ho manaj to put at times into ther lov an elemnt just palpbl enuf to giv one a fryt -- an extra-terestrial tuch. I ask myself with wondr -- how th world can look to them -- wethr it has th shape and substnce we no, th air we brethe! Somtimes I fancy it must be a rejon of unreasnbl sublimities sething with th exitemnt of ther adventurus sols, lytd by th glory of al posbl risks and renunciations. Howevr, I suspect ther ar very few women in th world, tho of corse I am aware of th multitudes of mankind and of th equality of sexs -- in point of numbrs, that is. But I am sure that th mothr was as much of a womn as th dautr seemd to be. I canot help picturng to myself these two, at first th yung womn and th child, then th old womn and th yung girl, th awful sameness and th swift passaj of time, th barir of forest, th solitude and th turmoil round these two lonely lives, and evry word spoken between them penetrated with sad meanng. Ther must hav been confidnces, not so much of fact, I supose, as of inrmost feelngs -- regrets -- fears -- warnngs, no dout: warnngs that th yungr did not fuly undrstand til th eldr was ded -- and Jim came along. Then I am sure she undrstood much -- not everything -- th fear mostly, it seems. Jim cald her by a word that means precius, in th sense of a precius jem -- jewl. Pretty, isnt it? But he was capabl of anything. He was equal to his fortune, as he -- aftr al -- must hav been equal to his misfortune. Jewl he cald her; and he wud say this as he myt hav said "Jane," dont u no -- with a maritl, homelike, peceful efect. I herd th name for th first time ten minuts aftr I had landd in his cortyard, wen, aftr nearly shaking my arm off, he dartd up th steps and began to make a joyus, boyish disturbnce at th dor undr th hevy eves. "Jewl! O Jewl! Quik! Here's a frend com," . . . and sudnly peerng at me in th dim veranda, he mumbld ernestly, "U no -- this -- no confoundd nonsnse about it -- cant tel u how much I o to her -- and so -- u undrstand -- I -- exactly as if . . "


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His hurrid, anxius wisprs wer cut short by th flitng of a wite form within th house, a faint exclmation, and a child-like but enrjetic litl face with delicat featurs and a profound, atentiv glance peepd out of th inr gloom, like a bird out of th recess of a nest. I was struk by th name, of corse; but it was not til later on that I conectd it with an astonishng rumor that had met me on my jurny, at a litl place on th coast about 230 miles south of Patusan Rivr. Stein's schooner, in wich I had my passaj, put in ther, to colect som produce, and, going ashor, I found to my gret surprise that th reched locality cud boast of a third-class deputy-asistnt residnt, a big, fat, gresy, blinkng felo of mixd desent, with turnd-out, shiny lips. I found him lyng extendd on his bak in a cane chair, odiously unbutnd, with a larj green leaf of som sort on th top of his steamng hed, and anothr in his hand wich he used lazily as a fan . . . Going to Patusan? O yes. Stein's Trading Compny. He new. Had a permission? No busness of his. It was not so bad ther now, he remarkd neglijntly, and, he went on drawlng, "Ther's som sort of wite vagabond has got in ther, I hear.... Eh? Wat u say? Frend of yrs? So! . . . Then it was tru ther was one of these verdammte -- Wat was he up to? Found his way in, th rascl. Eh? I had not been sure. Patusan -- they cut throats ther -- no busness of ours." He intruptd himself to groan. "Phoo! Almyty! Th heat! Th heat! Wel, then, ther myt be somthing in th story too, aftr al, and . . ." He shut one of his beastly glassy ys (th ylid went on quivrng) wile he leerd at me atrociusly with th othr. "Look here," says he mysteriusly, "if -- do u undrstand? -- if he has realy got hold of somthing fairly good -- non of yr bits of green glass -- undrstand? -- I am a Govrnmnt oficial -- u tel th rascl . . . Eh? Wat? Frend of yrs?" . . . He continud waloing calmly in th chair . . . "U said so; that's just it; and I am plesed to giv u th hint. I supose u too wud like to get somthing out of it? Dont intrupt. U just tel him I'v herd th tale, but to my Govrnmnt I hav made no report. Not yet. Se? Wy make a report? Eh? Tel him to com to me if they let him get alive out of th cuntry. He had betr look out for himself. Eh? I promis to ask no questions. On th quiet -- u undrstand? U too -- u shal get somthing from me. Smal comission for th trubl. Dont intrupt. I am a Govrnmnt oficial, and make no report. That's busness. Undrstand? I no som good peple that wil by anything worth havng, and can giv him mor mony than th scoundrl evr saw in his life. I no his sort." He fixd me stedfastly with both his ys open, wile I stood over him utrly amazed, and askng myself wethr he was mad or


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drunk. He perspired, pufd, moanng feebly, and scrachng himself with such horibl composur that I cud not ber th syt long enuf to find out. Next day, talkng casuly with th peple of th litl nativ cort of th place, I discovrd that a story was travlng sloly down th coast about a mysterius wite man in Patusan ho had got hold of an extrordnry jem -- namely, an emrld of an enormus size, and altogethr priceless. Th emrld seems to apeal mor to th Eastrn imajnation than any othr precius stone. Th wite man had obtaind it, I was told, partly by th exrcise of his wondrful strength and partly by cunng, from th ruler of a distnt cuntry, wence he had fled instntly, ariving in Patusan in utmost distress, but frytnng th peple by his extreme ferocity, wich nothing seemd able to subdu. Most of my informnts wer of th opinion that th stone was probbly unlucky, -- like th famus stone of th Sultn of Succadana, wich in th old times had brot wars and untold calamitis upon that cuntry. Perhaps it was th same stone -- one cudnt say. Indeed th story of a fabulusly larj emrld is as old as th arival of th first wite men in th Archipelago; and th belief in it is so persistnt that less than forty years ago ther had been an oficial Duch inquiry into th truth of it. Such a jewl -- it was explaind to me by th old felo from hom I herd most of this amazing Jim-myth -- a sort of scribe to th reched litl Raja of th place; -- such a jewl, he said, cokng his poor purblind ys up at me (he was sitng on th cabn flor out of respect), is best preservd by being conceald about th persn of a womn. Yet it is not evry womn that wud do. She must be yung -- he syd deeply -- and insensbl to th seductions of lov. He shook his hed skepticly. But such a womn seemd to be actuly in existnce. He had been told of a tal girl, hom th wite man treatd with gret respect and care, and ho nevr went forth from th house unatendd. Peple said th wite man cud be seen with her almost any day; they walkd side by side, openly, he holdng her arm undr his -- presd to his side -- thus -- in a most extrordnry way. This myt be a lie, he conceded, for it was indeed a stranje thing for any one to do: on th othr hand, ther cud be no dout she wor th wite man's jewl conceald upon her bosm.'

Chaptr 29

   '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


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mouth as if he wer perpetuly on th point of nashng his teeth. But do u notice how, thre hundred miles beyond th end of telegraf cables and mail-boat lines, th hagrd utilitarian lies of our civlization withr and die, to be replaced by pure exrcises of imajnation, that hav th futility, ofn th charm, and somtimes th deep hidn truthfulness, of works of art? Romance had singld Jim for its own -- and that was th tru part of th story, wich othrwise was al rong. He did not hide his jewl. In fact, he was extremely proud of it.

   '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.


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Th very Tamb' Itam, marchng on our jurnis upon th heels of his wite lord, with his hed thrown bak, truculent and be-weaponed like a janissary, with kriss, chopr, and lance (besides carrying Jim's gun); even Tamb' Itam alowd himself to put on th airs of uncomprmising gardianship, like a surly devoted jailr redy to lay down his life for his captiv. On th evenngs wen we sat up late, his silent, indistinct form wud pass and repass undr th veranda, with noisless footsteps, or liftng my hed I wud unexpectdly make him out standng rijidly erect in th shado. As a jenrl rule he wud vanish aftr a time, without a sound; but wen we rose he wud spring up close to us as if from th ground, redy for any ordrs Jim myt wish to giv. Th girl too, I beleve, nevr went to sleep til we had seprated for th nyt. Mor than once I saw her and Jim thru th windo of my room com out togethr quietly and lean on th ruf balustrade -- two wite forms very close, his arm about her waist, her hed on his sholdr. Ther soft murmrs reachd me, penetrating, tendr, with a calm sad note in th stilness of th nyt, like a self-comunion of one being carrid on in two tones. Later on, tosng on my bed undr th mosqito-net, I was sure to hear slyt creakings, faint brething, a throat cleard cautiusly -- and I wud no that Tamb' Itam was stil on th prowl. Tho he had (by th favor of th wite lord) a house in th compound, had "taken wife," and had lately been blesd with a child, I beleve that, during my stay at al events, he slept on th veranda evry nyt. It was very dificlt to make this faithful and grim retainr talk. Even Jim himself was ansrd in jerky short sentnces, undr protest as it wer. Talkng, he seemd to imply, was no busness of his. Th longst speech I herd him volunteer was one mornng wen, sudnly extendng his hand towards th cortyard, he pointd at Cornelius and said, "Here coms th Nazarene." I dont think he was adresng me, tho I stood at his side; his object seemd rathr to awaken th indignnt atention of th universe. Som mutrd alusions, wich folod, to dogs and th smel of roast-meat, struk me as singulrly felicitous. Th cortyard, a larj square space, was one torid blaze of sunshine, and, bathd in intense lyt, Cornelius was creepng across in ful vew with an inexpresbl efect of stealthiness, of dark and secret slinkng. He remindd one of everything that is unsavory. His slo laborius walk resembld th creepng of a repulsiv beetl, th legs alone moving with horid industry wile th body glided evenly. I supose he made strait enuf for th place wher he wantd to get to, but his progress with one sholdr carrid forwrd seemd obliqe. He was ofn seen circlng sloly amongst th sheds, as if foloing a sent; pasng befor th veranda


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with upwrd stelthy glances; disapearng without haste round th cornr of som hut. That he seemd fre of th place demnstrated Jim's absurd carelesness or else his infnit disdain, for Cornelius had playd a very dubius part (to say th least of it) in a certn episode wich myt hav endd fataly for Jim. As a matr of fact, it had redounded to his glory. But everything redounded to his glory; and it was th irony of his good fortune that he, ho had been too careful of it once, seemd to ber a charmd life.

   '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


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my pardn twenty times a day, so that I had at last to entreat him not to worry. It made me sik. Half th roof of his house had falen in, and th hole place had a manjy look, with wisps of dry grass stikng out and th cornrs of broken mats flapng on evry wal. He did his best to make out that Mr. Stein oed him mony on th last thre years' trading, but his books wer al torn, and som wer misng. He tryd to hint it was his late wife's falt. Disgustng scoundrl! At last I had to forbid him to mention his late wife at al. It made Jewl cry. I cudnt discovr wat became of al th trade-goods; ther was nothing in th stor but rats, havng a hy old time amongst a litr of brown paper and old sakng. I was asured on evry hand that he had a lot of mony burid somwher, but of corse cud get nothing out of him. It was th most misrbl existnce I led ther in that reched house. I tryd to do my duty by Stein, but I had also othr matrs to think of. Wen I escaped to Doramin old Tunku Allang got frytnd and returnd al my things. It was don in a roundabout way, and with no end of mystry, thru a Chinaman ho keeps a smal shop here; but as soon as I left th Bugis quartr and went to liv with Cornelius it began to be said openly that th Raja had made up his mind to hav me kild befor long. Plesnt, wasnt it? And I cudnt se wat ther was to prevent him if he realy had made up his mind. Th worst of it was, I cudnt help feelng I wasnt doing any good eithr for Stein or for myself. O! it was beastly -- th hole six weeks of it." '

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   '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


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outburst, pik up a bit of dry erth or a handful of mud (ther was plenty of mud around th house), and fling it into her hair. Somtimes, tho, she wud hold out ful of scorn, confrontng him in silence, her face sombr and contractd, and only now and then utrng a word or two that wud make th othr jump and rithe with th sting. Jim told me these senes wer teribl. It was indeed a stranje thing to com upon in a wildrness. Th endlessness of such a sutly cruel situation was apalng -- if u think of it. Th respectbl Cornelius (Inchi 'nelyus th Malays cald him, with a grimace that ment many things) was a much-disapointd man. I dont no wat he had expectd wud be don for him in considration of his marrij; but evidntly th librty to steal, and embezzle, and apropriate to himself for many years and in any way that suitd him best, th goods of Stein's Trading Compny (Stein kept th suply up unfalteringly as long as he cud get his skippers to take it ther) did not seem to him a fair equivlnt for th sacrifice of his onrbl name. Jim wud hav enjoyd exeedngly thrashng Cornelius within an inch of his life; on th othr hand, th senes wer of so painful a caractr, so abomnbl, that his impulse wud be to get out of earshot, in ordr to spare th girl's feelngs. They left her ajitated, speechless, cluchng her bosm now and then with a stony, desprat face, and then Jim wud lounj up and say unhappily, "Now -- com -- realy -- wat's th use -- u must try to eat a bit," or giv som such mark of sympathy. Cornelius wud keep on slinkng thru th dorways, across th veranda and bak again, as mute as a fish, and with malevlnt, mistrustful, undrhand glances. "I can stop his game," Jim said to her once. "Just say th word." And do u no wat she ansrd? She said -- Jim told me impressivly -- that if she had not been sure he was intensly reched himself, she wud hav found th curaj to kil him with her own hands. "Just fancy that! Th poor devl of a girl, almost a child, being drivn to talk like that," he exclaimd in horr. It seemd imposbl to save her not only from that mean rascl but even from herself! It wasnt that he pitid her so much, he afirmd; it was mor than pity; it was as if he had somthing on his concience, wile that life went on. To leve th house wud hav apeard a base desertion. He had undrstood at last that ther was nothing to expect from a longr stay, neithr acounts nor mony, nor truth of any sort, but he stayd on, exasprating Cornelius to th verj, I wont say of insanity, but almost of curaj. Meantime he felt al sorts of danjers gathrng obscurely about him. Doramin had sent over twice a trusty servnt to tel him seriusly that he cud do nothing for his safety unless he wud recross th rivr again and liv amongst th Bugis as at first. Peple of evry condition used to cal, ofn in th


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ded of nyt, in ordr to disclose to him plots for his asasnation. He was to be poisnd. He was to be stabd in th bath-house. Aranjemnts wer being made to hav him shot from a boat on th rivr. Each of these informnts profesd himself to be his very good frend. It was enuf -- he told me -- to spoil a fellow's rest for evr. Somthing of th kind was extremely posbl -- nay, probbl -- but th lyng warnngs gave him only th sense as dedly sceming going on al around him, on al sides, in th dark. Nothing mor calculated to shake th best of nerv. Finaly, one nyt, Cornelius himself, with a gret apratus of alarm and secrecy, unfoldd in solem weedlng tones a litl plan wherin for one hundred dolrs -- or even for eity; let's say eity -- he, Cornelius, wud procure a trustworthy man to smugl Jim out of th rivr, al safe. Ther was nothing else for it now -- if Jim cared a pin for his life. Wat's eity dolrs? A trifle. An insignificnt sum. Wile he, Cornelius, ho had to remain behind, was abslutely cortng deth by this proof of devotion to Mr. Stein's yung frend. Th syt of his abject grimacing was -- Jim told me -- very hard to ber: he cluchd at his hair, beat his brest, rokd himself to and fro with his hands presd to his stomac, and actuly pretendd to shed tears. "Yr blod be on yr own hed," he squeakd at last, and rushd out. It is a curius question how far Cornelius was sincere in that performnce. Jim confesd to me that he did not sleep a wink aftr th felo had gon. He lay on his bak on a thin mat spred over th bamboo florng, tryng idly to make out th bare raftrs, and lisnng to th rustlings in th torn thach. A star sudnly twinkld thru a hole in th roof. His brain was in a wirl; but, nevrthless, it was on that very nyt that he matured his plan for overcomng Sherif Ali. It had been th thot of al th moments he cud spare from th hopeless investigation into Stein's afairs, but th notion -- he says -- came to him then al at once. He cud se, as it wer, th guns mountd on th top of th hil. He got very hot and exited lyng ther; sleep was out of th question mor than evr. He jumpd up, and went out barefootd on th veranda. Walkng silently, he came upon th girl, motionless against th wal, as if on th wach. In his then state of mind it did not surprise him to se her up, nor yet to hear her ask in an anxius wispr wher Cornelius cud be. He simply said he did not no. She moand a litl, and peerd into th campong. Everything was very quiet. He was posesd by his new idea, and so ful of it that he cud not help telng th girl al about it at once. She lisnd, clapd her hands lytly, wisprd softly her admration, but was evidntly on th alert al th time. It seems he had been used to make a confidant of her al along -- and that she on her part cud and did giv him a lot of useful hints as to Patusan


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afairs ther is no dout. He asured me mor than once that he had nevr found himself th worse for her advice. At any rate, he was proceedng to explain his plan fuly to her ther and then, wen she presd his arm once, and vanishd from his side. Then Cornelius apeard from somwher, and, perceving Jim, dukd sideways, as tho he had been shot at, and aftrwrds stood very stil in th dusk. At last he came forwrd prudently, like a suspicius cat. "Ther wer som fishrmen ther -- with fish," he said in a shaky voice. "To sel fish -- u undrstand." . . . It must hav been then two oclok in th mornng -- a likely time for anybody to hawk fish about!

   '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


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so on, in a menacing, boastng strain. Perfectly bombastic and ridiculus, he said. His ears burnd at th bare reclection. Must hav been off his chump in som way.... Th girl, ho was sitng with us, nodd her litl hed at me quikly, frownd faintly, and said, "I herd him," with child-like solemnity. He lafd and blushd. Wat stopd him at last, he said, was th silence, th complete deathlike silence, of th indistinct figr far over ther, that seemd to hang colapsd, dubld over th rail in a weird imobility. He came to his senses, and cesing sudnly, wondrd gretly at himself. He wachd for a wile. Not a stir, not a sound. "Exactly as if th chap had died wile I had been making al that noise," he said. He was so ashamed of himself that he went indors in a hurry without anothr word, and flung himself down again. Th ro seemd to hav don him good tho, because he went to sleep for th rest of th nyt like a baby. Hadnt slept like that for weeks. "But I didnt sleep," struk in th girl, one elbo on th table and nursng her cheek. "I wachd." Her big ys flashd, rolng a litl, and then she fixd them on my face intently.'

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   '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


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terr amongst th comn peple was intense. Jim, imensly plesed with his day's work, crosd th rivr again befor sunset.

   '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,


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swayd lytly to th tuch of Jim's elbo. It was emty.

   '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


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been posesd -- as Jim remarkd -- of a pennyworth of spunk, this was th time to make a rush. His hart was thumpng -- not with fear -- but he seemd to hear th grass rusl, and he stepd smartly out of th lyt. Somthing dark, imperfectly seen, flitd rapidly out of syt. He cald out in a strong voice, "Cornelius! O Cornelius!" A profound silence succeedd: his voice did not seem to hav carrid twenty feet. Again th girl was by his side. "Fly!" she said. Th old womn was comng up; her broken figr hovrd in cripld litl jumps on th ej of th lyt; they herd her mumblng, and a lyt, moanng sy. "Fly!" repeatd th girl exitedly. "They ar frytnd now -- this lyt -- th voices. They no u ar awake now -- they no u ar big, strong, fearless . . ." "If I am al that," he began; but she intruptd him: "Yes -- to-nyt! But wat of to-moro nyt? Of th next nyt? Of th nyt aftr -- of al th many, many nyts? Can I be always wachng?" A sobng cach of her breth afectd him beyond th powr of words.

   '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


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som reality, of somthing tanjbl that he cud meet. "It wud hav cleard th air for a cupl of ours at least, if u no wat I mean," he said to me. "Jove! I had been livng for days with a stone on my chest. " Now at last he had thot he wud get hold of somthing, and -- nothing! Not a trace, not a syn of anybody. He had rased his wepn as th dor flew open, but now his arm fel. "Fire! Defend yrself," th girl outside cryd in an agnizing voice. She, being in th dark and with her arm thrust in to th sholdr thru th smal hole, cudnt se wat was going on, and she dared not withdraw th torch now to run round. "Ther's nobody here!" yeld Jim contemtuusly, but his impulse to burst into a resentful exasprated laf died without a sound: he had perceved in th very act of turnng away that he was exchanjing glances with a pair of ys in th heap of mats. He saw a shiftng gleam of wites. "Com out!" he cryd in a fury, a litl doutful, and a dark-faced hed, a hed without a body, shaped itself in th rubish, a stranjely detachd hed, that lookd at him with a stedy scowl. Next moment th hole mound stird, and with a lo grunt a man emerjd swiftly, and boundd towards Jim. Behind him th mats as it wer jumpd and flew, his ryt arm was rased with a crooked elbo, and th dul blade of a kriss protruded from his fist held off, a litl abov his hed. A cloth wound tyt round his loins seemd dazlngly wite on his bronz skin; his naked body glisnd as if wet.

   '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


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naked figr outlined vagely at th othr end. As he was about to pul th trigr, th man threw away with force a short hevy spear, and squatd submissively on his hams, his bak to th wal and his claspd hands between his legs. "U want yr life?" Jim said. Th othr made no sound. "How many mor of u?" askd Jim again. "Two mor, Tuan," said th man very softly, lookng with big fasnated ys into th muzl of th revolvr. Acordngly, two mor crawld from undr th mats, holdng out ostntatiusly ther emty hands.'

Chaptr 32

   '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


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speechs. As to th girl, he told me, "She broke down a bit. Exitemnt -- dont u no. Reaction. Deucedly tired she must hav been -- and al that kind of thing. And -- and -- hang it al -- she was fond of me, dont u se.... I too... didnt no, of corse . . . nevr entrd my hed . . ."

   '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


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upon a world without shados and without briliance th ilusion of a calm and pensiv gretness. I dont no wy, lisnng to him, I shud hav noted so distinctly th gradul darknng of th rivr, of th air; th iresistbl slo work of th nyt setlng silently on al th visbl forms, effacing th outlines, burying th shapes deepr and deepr, like a stedy fal of impalpable blak dust.

   ' "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


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cud se wer th floing lines of her gown, th pale smal oval of her face, with th wite flash of her teeth, and, turnd towards me, th big sombr orbits of her ys, wher ther seemd to be a faint stir, such as u may fancy u can detect wen u plunj yr gaze to th botm of an imensly deep wel. Wat is it that moves ther? u ask yrself. Is it a blind monstr or only a lost gleam from th universe? It ocurd to me -- dont laf -- that al things being disimlr, she was mor inscrutabl in her childish ignrnce than th Sfinx propounding childish ridls to wayfarers. She had been carrid off to Patusan befor her ys wer open. She had grown up ther; she had seen nothing, she had nown nothing, she had no conception of anything. I ask myself wethr she wer sure that anything else existd. Wat notions she may hav formd of th outside world is to me inconcevebl: al that she new of its inhabitnts wer a betrayd womn and a sinistr pantaloon. Her lovr also came to her from ther, giftd with iresistbl seductions; but wat wud becom of her if he shud return to these inconcevebl rejons that seemd always to claim bak ther own? Her mothr had warnd her of this with tears, befor she died . . .

   '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


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sleves uprose in th dark like unfoldng wings, and she stood silent, holdng her hed in her hands.'

Chaptr 33

   '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


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was inclined to undrestmate his chances. Strictly speakng he didnt seem to hav any. I no this was Cornelius's vew. He confesd that much to me in extenuation of th shady part he had playd in Sherif Ali's plot to do away with th infidl. Even Sherif Ali himself, as it seems certn now, had nothing but contemt for th wite man. Jim was to be murdrd mainly on relijus grounds, I beleve. A simpl act of piety (and so far infnitly meritorius), but othrwise without much importnce. In th last part of this opinion Cornelius concurd. "Onrbl sir," he argud abjectly on th only ocasion he manajd to hav me to himself -- "onrbl sir, how was I to no? Ho was he? Wat cud he do to make peple beleve him? Wat did Mr. Stein mean sendng a boy like that to talk big to an old servnt? I was redy to save him for eity dolrs. Only eity dolrs. Wy didnt th fool go? Was I to get stabd myself for th sake of a stranjer?" He grovelled in spirit befor me, with his body dubld up insinuatingly and his hands hovrng about my nes, as tho he wer redy to embrace my legs. "Wat's eity dolrs? An insignificnt sum to giv to a defensless old man ruind for life by a decesed she-devl." Here he wept. But I anticipate. I didnt that nyt chance upon Cornelius til I had had it out with th girl.

   '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


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shados into shapes, and sho th othr shor of a stream. I did look upon th stream that nyt and from th very place; it rold silent and as blak as Styx: th next day I went away, but I am not likely to forget wat it was she wantd to be saved from wen she entreated him to leve her wile ther was time. She told me wat it was, calmd -- she was now too passionatly intrestd for mere exitemnt -- in a voice as quiet in th obscurity as her wite half-lost figr. She told me, "I didnt want to die weepng." I thot I had not herd aryt.

   ' "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


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wisprd softly, "He swor he wud nevr leve me, wen we stood ther alone! He swor to me!"... "And it is posbl that u -- u! do not beleve him?" I askd, sincerely reproachful, jenuinly shokd. Wy cudnt she beleve? Wherfor this craving for incertitude, this clingng to fear, as if incertitude and fear had been th safegards of her lov. It was monstrus. She shud hav made for herself a sheltr of inexpugnable pece out of that onest afection. She had not th nolej -- not th skil perhaps. Th nyt had com on apace; it had grown pich-dark wher we wer, so that without stirng she had faded like th intanjbl form of a wistful and perverse spirit. And sudnly I herd her quiet wispr again, "Othr men had sworn th same thing." It was like a meditativ coment on som thots ful of sadness, of aw. And she add, stil loer if posbl, "My fathr did." She pausd th time to draw an inaudbl breth. "Her fathr too." . . . These wer th things she new! At once I said, "Ah! but he is not like that." This, it seemd, she did not intend to dispute; but aftr a time th stranje stil wispr wandrng dreamily in th air stole into my ears. "Wy is he difrnt? Is he betr? Is he . . ." "Upon my word of onr," I broke in, "I beleve he is." We subdud our tones to a mysterius pich. Amongst th huts of Jim's workmen (they wer mostly librated slaves from th Sherif's stokade) sombody startd a shril, drawlng song. Across th rivr a big fire (at Doramin's, I think) made a gloing bal, completely isolated in th nyt. "Is he mor tru?" she murmrd. "Yes," I said. "Mor tru than any othr man," she repeatd in lingrng accents. "Nobody here," I said, "wud dream of doutng his word -- nobody wud dare -- exept u."

   '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


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he hear it? In his sleep perhaps wen he canot se me -- and then arise and go. Ah! I shal nevr forgiv him. My mothr had forgivn -- but I, nevr! Wil it be a syn -- a cal?"

   '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


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distinct murmr -- ther cud be nothing, in that unown world she fancid so eagr to rob her of her happiness, ther was nothing, neithr livng nor ded, ther was no face, no voice, no powr, that cud ter Jim from her side. I drew breth and she wisprd softly, "He told me so." "He told u th truth," I said. "Nothing," she syd out, and abruptly turnd upon me with a barely audbl intensity of tone: "Wy did u com to us from out ther? He speaks of u too ofn. U make me afraid. Do u -- do u want him?" A sort of stelthy fierceness had crept into our hurrid mutrs. "I shal nevr com again," I said bitrly. "And I dont want him. No one wants him." "No one," she repeatd in a tone of dout. "No one," I afirmd, feelng myself swayd by som stranje exitemnt. "U think him strong, wise, curajus, gret -- wy not beleve him to be tru too? I shal go to-moro -- and that is th end. U shal nevr be trubld by a voice from ther again. This world u dont no is too big to miss him. U undrstand? Too big. U'v got his hart in yr hand. U must feel that. U must no that." "Yes, I no that," she brethed out, hard and stil, as a statu myt wispr.

   '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


Paje 194

in th midl of th rivr seemd to make it infnit. "Wy?" she murmrd. I felt that sort of raje one feels during a hard tusl. Th spectr vas tryng to slip out of my grasp. "Wy?" she repeatd loudr; "tel me!" And as I remaind confoundd, she stampd with her foot like a spoilt child. "Wy? Speak." "U want to no?" I askd in a fury. "Yes!" she cryd. "Because he is not good enuf," I said brutaly. During th moment's pause I noticed th fire on th othr shor blaze up, dilating th circl of its glo like an amazed stare, and contract sudnly to a red pin-point. I only new how close to me she had been wen I felt th cluch of her fingrs on my forarm. Without rasing her voice, she threw into it an infinity of scathing contemt, bitrness, and despair.

   ' "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....'

Chaptr 34

   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? . . .'


Paje 195

   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


Paje 196

lesurly rebound; it disngajed itself from th tangl of twigs; th bare contortd lim of som tre, groing on th slope, made a blak crak ryt across its face. It threw its levl rays afar as if from a cavrn, and in this mornful eclips-like lyt th stumps of feld tres uprose very dark, th hevy shados fel at my feet on al sides, my own moving shado, and across my path th shado of th solitry grave perpetuly garlndd with flowrs. In th darknd moonlyt th intrlaced blosms took on shapes foren to one's memry and colors indefinebl to th y, as tho they had been special flowrs gathrd by no man, grown not in this world, and destnd for th use of th ded alone. Ther powrful sent hung in th warm air, making it thik and hevy like th fumes of incense. Th lumps of wite coral shon round th dark mound like a chaplet of bleachd skuls, and everything around was so quiet that wen I stood stil al sound and al movemnt in th world seemd to com to an end.

   '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


Paje 197

tal stove-pipe hat. His dryd-up litl carcas was swalod up, totaly lost, in a suit of blak broadcloth. That was his costume for holidays and ceremnis, and it remindd me that this was th fourth Sunday I had spent in Patusan. Al th time of my stay I had been vagely aware of his desire to confide in me, if he only cud get me al to himself. He hung about with an eagr craving look on his sour yelo litl face; but his timidity had kept him bak as much as my natrl reluctnce to hav anything to do with such an unsavory creatur. He wud hav succeedd, nevrthless, had he not been so redy to slink off as soon as u lookd at him. He wud slink off befor Jim's severe gaze, befor my own, wich I tryd to make indifrnt, even befor Tamb' Itam's surly, superir glance. He was perpetuly slinkng away; wenevr seen he was seen moving off deviously, his face over his sholdr, with eithr a mistrustful snarl or a wo-begone, piteus, mute aspect; but no asumed expression cud conceal this inate iremediabl abjectness of his natur, any mor than an aranjemnt of clothing can conceal som monstrus deformity of th body.

   '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


Paje 198

Marlow," he said, "I feel that if I go strait nothing can tuch me. Indeed I do. Now u hav been long enuf here to hav a good look round -- and, frankly, dont u think I am pretty safe? It al depends upon me, and, by Jove! I hav lots of confidnce in myself. Th worst thing he cud do wud be to kil me, I supose. I dont think for a moment he wud. He cudnt, u no -- not if I wer myself to hand him a loadd rifle for th purpos, and then turn my bak on him. That's th sort of thing he is. And supose he wud -- supose he cud? Wel -- wat of that? I didnt com here flyng for my life -- did I? I came here to set my bak against th wal, and I am going to stay here . . ."

   ' "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


Paje 199

ys, onrbl sir; but he cant thro dust into my ys. He is a big fool, onrbl sir." I lafd contemtuusly, and, turnng on my heel, began to walk on again. He ran up to my elbo and wisprd forcibly, "He's no mor than a litl child here -- like a litl child -- a litl child." Of corse I didnt take th slytst notice, and seing th time presd, because we wer aproachng th bamboo fence that glitrd over th blaknd ground of th clearng, he came to th point. He comenced by being abjectly lachrymose. His gret misfortunes had afectd his hed. He hoped I wud kindly forget wat nothing but his trubls made him say. He didnt mean anything by it; only th onrbl sir did not no wat it was to be ruind, broken down, trampld upon. Aftr this introduction he aproachd th matr near his hart, but in such a ramblng, ejaculatory, craven fashn, that for a long time I cudnt make out wat he was driving at. He wantd me to intrcede with Jim in his favor. It seemd, too, to be som sort of mony afair. I herd time and again th words, "Modrat provision -- suitbl presnt." He seemd to be claimng valu for somthing, and he even went th length of sayng with som warmth that life was not worth havng if a man wer to be robd of everything. I did not brethe a word, of corse, but neithr did I stop my ears. Th jist of th afair, wich became clear to me graduly, was in this, that he regardd himself as entitled to som mony in exchanje for th girl. He had brot her up. Sombody else's child. Gret trubl and pains -- old man now -- suitbl presnt. If th onrbl sir wud say a word.... I stood stil to look at him with curiosity, and fearful lest I shud think him extortionat, I supose, he hastily brot himself to make a concession. In considration of a "suitbl presnt" givn at once, he wud, he declared, be wilng to undrtake th charj of th girl, "without any othr provision -- wen th time came for th jentlman to go home." His litl yelo face, al crumpld as tho it had been squezed togethr, expresd th most anxius, eagr avrice. His voice wined coaxingly, "No mor trubl -- natrl gardian -- a sum of mony . . . "

   '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


Paje 200

go home." "O! this is too much," he shoutd. He wud not adress me as "onrd sir" any mor. He was very stil for a time, and then without a trace of humility began very lo: "Nevr go -- ah! He -- he -- he coms here devl nos from wher -- coms here -- devl nos wy -- to trampl on me til I die -- ah -- trampl" (he stampd softly with both feet), "trampl like this -- nobody nos wy -- til I die.. .. " His voice became quite extinct; he was bothrd by a litl cof; he came up close to th fence and told me, dropng into a confidential and piteus tone, that he wud not be trampld upon. "Patience -- patience," he mutrd, striking his brest. I had don lafng at him, but unexpectdly he treatd me to a wild crakd burst of it. "Ha! ha! ha! We shal se! We shal se! Wat! Steal from me! Steal from me everything! Everything! Everything! " His hed droopd on one sholdr, his hands wer hangng befor him lytly claspd. One wud hav thot he had cherishd th girl with surpasng lov, that his spirit had been crushd and his hart broken by th most cruel of spoliations. Sudnly he liftd his hed and shot out an infmus word. "Like her mothr -- she is like her deceitful mothr. Exactly. In her face too. In her face. Th devl! " He leand his forhed against th fence, and in that position utrd threts and horibl blasfmis in Portugese in very weak ejaculations, mingld with misrbl plaints and groans, comng out with a heve of th sholdrs as tho he had been overtaken by a dedly fit of sikness. It was an inexpressibly grotesq and vile performnce, and I hasend away. He tryd to shout somthing aftr me. Som disparajmnt of Jim, I beleve -- not too loud tho, we wer too near th house . Al I herd distinctly was, "No mor than a litl child -- a litl child." '

Chaptr 35

   '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


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Doramin and his litl mothrly wich of a wife, gazing togethr upon th land and nursng secretly ther dreams of parentl ambition; Tunku Allang, wiznd and gretly perplexd; Dain Waris, intelijnt and brave, with his faith in Jim, with his firm glance and his ironic frendliness; th girl, absorbd in her frytnd, suspicius adration; Tamb' Itam, surly and faithful; Cornelius, leanng his forhed against th fence undr th moonlyt -- I am certn of them. They exist as if undr un enchanter's wand. But th figr round wich al these ar groupd -- that one lives, and I am not certn of him. No magician's wand can immobilise him undr my ys. He is one of us.

   '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


Paje 202

se, of a serene and intense blu, strechd with a slyt upwrd tilt to th thred-like horizon drawn at th hyt of our ys. Gret waves of glitr blew lytly along th pitd dark surface, as swift as fethrs chased by th breze . A chain of ilands sat broken and massiv facing th wide estury, displayd in a sheet of pale glassy watr reflectng faithfuly th contur of th shor. Hy in th colorless sunshine a solitry bird, al blak, hovrd, dropng and sorng abov th same spot with a slyt rokng motion of th wings. A raged, sooty bunch of flimsy mat hovls was perchd over its own invertd imaj upon a crooked multitude of hy piles th color of ebny. A tiny blak canoe put off from amongst them with two tiny men, al blak, ho toild exeedngly, striking down at th pale watr: and th canoe seemd to slide painfuly on a mirr. This bunch of misrbl hovls was th fishng vilaj that boastd of th wite lord's especial protection, and th two men crosng over wer th old hedman and his son-in-law. They landd and walkd up to us on th wite sand, lean, dark-brown as if dryd in smoke, with ashy pachs on th skin of ther naked sholdrs and brests . Ther heds wer bound in dirty but carefuly foldd headkerchiefs, and th old man began at once to state a complaint, volubl, strechng a lank arm, screwng up at Jim his old bleared ys confidntly . Th Rajah's peple wud not leve them alone; ther had been som trubl about a lot of turtles' egs his peple had colectd on th islets ther -- and leanng at arm's-length upon his padl, he pointd with a brown skinny hand over th se. Jim lisnd for a time without lookng up, and at last told him jently to wait. He wud hear him by-and-by. They withdrew obediently to som litl distnce, and sat on ther heels, with ther padls lyng befor them on th sand; th silvry gleams in ther ys folod our movemnts patiently; and th imensity of th outspred se, th stilness of th coast, pasng north and south beyond th limits of my vision, made up one colosl Presnce wachng us four dwarfs isolated on a strip of glisnng sand.

   ' "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


Paje 203

less wil do."

   '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."


Paje 204

   '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. . ..

Chaptr 36

   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


Paje 205

story, its incompleteness itself, and th very tone of th speakr, had made discussion vain and coment imposbl. Each of them seemd to carry away his own impression, to carry it away with him like a secret; but ther was only one man of al these lisnrs ho was evr to hear th last word of th story. It came to him at home, mor than two years later, and it came containd in a thik paket adresd in Marlow's upryt and angulr handriting.

   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


Paje 206

and of disgust with aquired onr, with th self-apointd task, with th lov sprung from pity and yuth. U had said u new so wel "that kind of thing," its ilusory satisfaction, its unavoidbl deception. U said also -- I cal to mind -- that "givng yr life up to them" (them meanng al of mankind with skins brown, yelo, or blak in color) "was like selng yr sol to a brute." U contendd that "that kind of thing" was only endurebl and enduring wen based on a firm conviction in th truth of ideas racialy our own, in hos name ar establishd th ordr, th morality of an ethicl progress. "We want its strength at our baks," u had said. "We want a belief in its necessity and its justice, to make a worthy and concius sacrifice of our lives. Without it th sacrifice is only forgetfulness, th way of ofrng is no betr than th way to perdition." In othr words, u maintaind that we must fyt in th ranks or our lives dont count. Posbly! U ot to no -- be it said without malice -- u ho hav rushd into one or two places singl-handd and came out clevrly, without singeing yr wings. Th point, howevr, is that of al mankind Jim had no dealngs but with himself, and th question is wethr at th last he had not confesd to a faith mytir than th laws of ordr and progress.

   '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


Paje 207

dich, an erth wal topd by a palisade, and at th angls guns mountd on platforms to sweep each side of th square. Doramin had agreed to furnish him th guns; and so each man of his party wud no ther was a place of safety, upon wich evry faithful partisn cud rally in case of som sudn danjer. Al this showd his judicius forsyt, his faith in th futur. Wat he cald "my own peple" -- th librated captivs of th Sherif -- wer to make a distinct quartr of Patusan, with ther huts and litl plots of ground undr th walls of th stronghold. Within he wud be an invincibl host in himself "Th Fort, Patusan." No date, as u observ. Wat is a numbr and a name to a day of days? It is also imposbl to say hom he had in his mind wen he sezed th pen: Stein -- myself -- th world at larj -- or was this only th aimless startld cry of a solitry man confrontd by his fate? "An awful thing has hapnd," he rote befor he flung th pen down for th first time; look at th ink blot resemblng th hed of an aro undr these words. Aftr a wile he had tryd again, scrawling hevily, as if with a hand of led, anothr line. "I must now at once . . ." Th pen had splutrd, and that time he gave it up. Ther's nothing mor; he had seen a brod gulf that neithr y nor voice cud span. I can undrstand this. He was overwelmd by th inexplicbl; he was overwelmd by his own persnality -- th gift of that destny wich he had don his best to mastr.

   '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


Paje 208

forget that "ho once givs way to temtation, in th very instnt hazrds his total depravity and evrlastng ruin. Therfor resolv fixedly nevr, thru any posbl motivs, to do anything wich u beleve to be rong." Ther is also som news of a favorit dog; and a pony, "wich al u boys used to ride," had gon blind from old aje and had to be shot. Th old chap invokes Heaven's blesng; th mothr and al th girls then at home send ther lov.... No, ther is nothing much in that yelo frayd letr flutrng out of his cherishng grasp aftr so many years. It was nevr ansrd, but ho can say wat converse he may hav held with al these placid, colorless forms of men and women peopling that quiet cornr of th world as fre of danjer or strife as a tomb, and brething equably th air of undisturbd rectitude. It seems amazing that he shud belong to it, he to hom so many things "had com." Nothing evr came to them; they wud nevr be taken unawares, and nevr be cald upon to grapl with fate. Here they al ar, evoked by th mild gosip of th fathr, al these brothrs and sistrs, bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, gazing with clear unconcius ys, wile I seem to se him, returnd at last, no longr a mere wite spek at th hart of an imense mystry, but of ful statur, standng disregardd amongst ther untrubld shapes, with a stern and romantic aspect, but always mute, dark -- undr a cloud.

   '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


Paje 209

givng one of these glimpses of his very own self that wer nevr any good for purposes of orientation. It's dificlt to beleve he wil nevr com. I shal nevr hear his voice again, nor shal I se his smooth tan-and-pink face with a wite line on th forhed, and th yuthful ys darknd by exitemnt to a profound, unfathmbl blu.'

Chaptr 37

   '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


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th nativs with a Siamese womn -- had considrd it a gret privlej to giv a sheltr to th last days of th famus Jentlman Brown. Wile he was talkng to me in th reched hovl, and, as it wer, fytng for evry minut of his life, th Siamese womn, with big bare legs and a stupid corse face, sat in a dark cornr chewng betel stolidly. Now and then she wud get up for th purpos of shooing a chikn away from th dor. Th hole hut shook wen she walkd. An ugly yelo child, naked and pot-bellied like a litl heathn god, stood at th foot of th couch, fingr in mouth, lost in a profound and calm contmplation of th dyng man.

   '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


Paje 211

matr now?" I askd nervusly. "Ther's Tamb' Itam ther...." "Com and se th girl. Com and se th girl. She is here," he said, with a half-hartd sho of activity. I tryd to detain him, but with jentl obstnacy he wud take no notice of my eagr questions. "She is here, she is here," he repeatd, in gret pertrbation. "They came here two days ago. An old man like me, a stranjer -- sehen Sie -- canot do much.... Com this way.... Yung harts ar unforgivng...." I cud se he was in utmost distress.... "Th strength of life in them, th cruel strength of life...." He mumbld, leadng me round th house; I folod him, lost in disml and angry conjecturs. At th dor of th drawng-room he bard my way. "He lovd her very much," he said interrogatively, and I only nodd, feelng so bitrly disapointd that I wud not trust myself to speak . "Very frytful," he murmrd. "She can' t undrstand me. I am only a stranje old man. Perhaps u . . . she nos u. Talk to her. We cant leve it like this. Tel her to forgiv him. It was very frytful." "No dout," I said, exasprated at being in th dark; "but hav u forgivn him?" He lookd at me queerly. "U shal hear," he said, and openng th dor, abslutely pushd me in.

   '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


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he lookd al th time! Ah! u ar hard, trechrus, without truth, without compassion. Wat makes u so wiked? Or is it that u ar al mad?"

   '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


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al?

   '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


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in th bewildrmnt, fear, and gloom of th disastr. Th shok of it seemd to hav chanjed ther naturs. It had turnd her passion into stone, and it made th surly tacitrn Tamb' Itam almost loquacius. His surliness, too, was subdud into puzld humility, as tho he had seen th failur of a potent charm in a supreme moment. Th Bugis trader, a shy hesitating man, was very clear in th litl he had to say. Both wer evidntly overawd by a sense of deep inexpresbl wondr, by th tuch of an inscrutabl mystry.'

   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.

Chaptr 38

   '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


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his poor opinion of th creatur, and he wud bring to th shootng or maimng of som quiet, unoffending stranjer a savaj and venjful ernestness fit to terify th most rekless of desprados. In th days of his gretst glory he ownd an armd barque, mand by a mixd crew of Kanakas and runaway whalers, and boastd, I dont no with wat truth, of being financed on th quiet by a most respectbl firm of copra merchnts. Later on he ran off -- it was reportd -- with th wife of a missionry, a very yung girl from Clapm way, ho had marrid th mild, flat-footd felo in a moment of enthusiasm, and, sudnly transplantd to Melanesia, lost her berngs somhow. It was a dark story. She was il at th time he carrid her off, and died on bord his ship. It is said -- as th most wondrful put of th tale -- that over her body he gave way to an outburst of sombr and violent grief. His luk left him, too, very soon aftr. He lost his ship on som roks off Malaita, and disapeard for a time as tho he had gon down with her. He is herd of next at Nuka-Hiva, wher he bot an old French schooner out of Govrnmnt service. Wat creditbl entrprise he myt hav had in vew wen he made that purchas I cant say, but it is evidnt that wat with Hy Comissionrs, consls, men-of-war, and intrnationl control, th South Ses wer getng too hot to hold jentlmen of his kidny. Clearly he must hav shiftd th sene of his oprations farthr west, because a year later he plays an incredbly audacius, but not a very profitbl part, in a serio-comic busness in Manila Bay, in wich a peculating govrnr and an absconding tresurr ar th principl figrs; theraftr he seems to hav hung around th Filipines in his rotn schooner batlng with un advrse fortune, til at last, runng his apointd corse, he sails into Jim's histry, a blind acomplice of th Dark Powrs.

   '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


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yieldd him nothing in th way of material advantaj exept a smal bag of silvr dolrs, wich was conceald in his cabn so that "th devl himself cudnt smel it out." And that was al -- abslutely al. He was tired of his life, and not afraid of deth. But this man, ho wud stake his existnce on a wim with a bitr and jeerng reklesness, stood in mortl fear of imprisnmnt. He had an unreasnng cold-swet, nerv-shaking, blod-to-watr-turnng sort of horr at th bare posbility of being lokd up -- th sort of terr a superstitius man wud feel at th thot of being embraced by a spectr. Therfor th civl oficial ho came on bord to make a prelimnry investigation into th captur, investigated arduously al day long, and only went ashor aftr dark, mufld up in a cloak, and taking gret care not to let Brown's litl al clink in its bag. Aftrwrds, being a man of his word, he contrived (th very next evenng, I beleve) to send off th Govrnmnt cutr on som urjnt bit of special service. As her comandr cud not spare a prize crew, he contentd himself by taking away befor he left al th sails of Brown's schooner to th very last rag, and took good care to tow his two boats on to th beach a cupl of miles off.

   '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


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Scandnavians, a mulato of sorts, one bland Chinaman ho cookd -- and th rest of th nondescript spawn of th South Ses. Non of them cared; Brown bent them to his wil, and Brown, indifrnt to galos, was runng away from th spectr of a Spanish prisn. He didnt giv them th time to trans-ship enuf provisions; th wethr was calm, th air was charjd with dew, and wen they cast off th ropes and set sail to a faint off-shor draft ther was no flutr in th damp canvas; ther old schooner seemd to detach itself jently from th stolen craft and slip away silently, togethr with th blak mass of th coast, into th nyt.

   '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


Paje 218

cud be extortd -- and, ho nos? -- som real ringng coind mony! Som of these chiefs and vilaj hedmen can be made to part frely. He told me he wud hav roastd ther toes rathr than be balkd. I beleve him. His men beleved him too. They didnt cheer aloud, being a dum pak, but made redy wolfishly.

   '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,


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yels of raje, crashs of volly-firing, made an awful din, in wich Brown sat confoundd but stedy at th tilr, workng himself into a fury of hate and raje against those peple ho dared to defend themselvs. Two of his men had been woundd, and he saw his retreat cut off belo th town by som boats that had put off from Tunku Allang's stokade. Ther wer six of them, ful of men. Wile he was thus beset he perceved th entrnce of th naro creek (th same wich Jim had jumpd at lo watr). It was then brim ful. Steerng th long-boat in, they landd, and, to make a long story short, they establishd themselvs on a litl nol about 900 yards from th stokade, wich, in fact, they comandd from that position. Th slopes of th nol wer bare, but ther wer a few tres on th sumit. They went to work cutng these down for a breastwork, and wer fairly entrenchd befor dark; meantime th Rajah's boats remaind in th rivr with curius neutrality. Wen th sun set th glu of many brushwood blazes lytd on th rivr-front, and between th dubl line of houses on th land side threw into blak relief th roofs, th groups of slendr palms, th hevy clumps of fruit tres. Brown ordrd th grass round his position to be fired; a lo ring of thin flames undr th slo asendng smoke rigld rapidly down th slopes of th nol; here and ther a dry bush caut with a tal, vicius ror. Th conflagration made a clear zone of fire for th rifles of th smal party, and expired smoldrng on th ej of th forests and along th muddy bank of th creek. A strip of jungl luxuriating in a damp holo between th nol and th Rajah's stokade stopd it on that side with a gret craklng and detonations of burstng bamboo stems. Th sky was sombr, velvety, and swarmng with stars. Th blaknd ground smoked quietly with lo creepng wisps, til a litl breze came on and blew everything away. Brown expectd an atak to be delivrd as soon as th tide had floed enuf again to enable th war-boats wich had cut off his retreat to entr th creek. At any rate he was sure ther wud be an atemt to carry off his long-boat, wich lay belo th hil, a dark hy lump on th feebl sheen of a wet mudflat. But no move of any sort was made by th boats in th rivr. Over th stokade and th Rajah's bildngs Brown saw ther lyts on th watr. They seemd to be ancrd across th stream. Othr lyts afloat wer moving in th reach, crosng and recrossing from side to side. Ther wer also lyts twinklng motionless upon th long walls of houses up th reach, as far as th bend, and mor stil beyond, othrs isolated inland. Th loom of th big fires disclosed bildngs, roofs, blak piles as far as he cud se. It was an imense place. Th forteen desprat invaders lyng flat behind th feld tres rased ther chins to look over at th stir of that town that seemd to extend


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up-rivr for miles and swarm with thousnds of angry men. They did not speak to each othr. Now and then they wud hear a loud yel, or a singl shot rang out, fired very far somwher. But round ther position everything was stil, dark, silent. They seemd to be forgotn, as if th exitemnt keepng awake al th population had nothing to do with them, as if they had been ded alredy.'

Chaptr 39

   '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


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speech, wich for th moment extortd murmrs of aprobation from th asembld hedmen. Old Doramin, ho had not showd himself outside his own gate for mor than a year, had been brot across with gret dificlty. He was, of corse, th chief man ther. Th tempr of th council was very unforgivng, and th old man's word wud hav been decisiv; but it is my opinion that, wel aware of his son's firy curaj, he dared not pronounce th word. Mor dilatory counsls prevaild. A certn Haji Saman pointd out at gret length that "these tyranicl and ferocius men had delivrd themselvs to a certn deth in any case. They wud stand fast on ther hil and starv, or they wud try to regain ther boat and be shot from ambushs across th creek, or they wud brek and fly into th forest and perish singly ther." He argud that by th use of propr stratajms these evil-mindd stranjers cud be destroyd without th risk of a batl, and his words had a gret weit, especialy with th Patusan men propr. Wat unsetld th minds of th townfolk was th failur of th Rajah's boats to act at th decisiv moment. It was th diplmatic Kassim ho representd th Raja at th council. He spoke very litl, lisnd smilingly, very frendly and impenetrbl. During th sitng mesnjrs kept ariving evry few minuts almost, with reports of th invaders' proceedngs. Wild and exajrated rumors wer flyng: ther was a larj ship at th mouth of th rivr with big guns and many mor men -- som wite, othrs with blak skins and of blodthirsty apearnce. They wer comng with many mor boats to extermnate evry livng thing. A sense of near, incomprehensbl danjer afectd th comn peple. At one moment ther was a panic in th cortyard amongst th women; shriekng; a rush; children cryng -- Haji Saman went out to quiet them. Then a fort sentry fired at somthing moving on th rivr, and nearly kild a vilajr bringng in his women-folk in a canoe togethr with th best of his domestic utensls and a dozn fowls. This causd mor confusion. Meantime th palavr inside Jim's house went on in th presnce of th girl. Doramin sat fierce-faced, hevy, lookng at th speakrs in turn, and brething slo like a bul. He didnt speak til th last, aftr Kassim had declared that th Rajah's boats wud be cald in because th men wer required to defend his master's stokade. Dain Waris in his father's presnce wud ofr no opinion, tho th girl entreated him in Jim's name to speak out. She ofrd him Jim's own men in her anxiety to hav these intruders drivn out at once. He only shook his hed, aftr a glance or two at Doramin. Finaly, wen th council broke up it had been decided that th houses nearst th creek shud be strongly ocupyd to obtain th comand of th enemy's boat. Th boat itself was not to be intrfered with openly, so that th robrs on th hil shud be


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temtd to embark, wen a wel-directd fire wud kil most of them, no dout. To cut off th escape of those ho myt survive, and to prevent mor of them comng up, Dain Waris was ordrd by Doramin to take an armd party of Bugis down th rivr to a certn spot ten miles belo Patusan, and ther form a camp on th shor and blokade th stream with th canoes. I dont beleve for a moment that Doramin feard th arival of fresh forces. My opinion is that his conduct was gided solely by his wish to keep his son out of harm's way. To prevent a rush being made into th town th construction of a stokade was to be comenced at daylyt at th end of th street on th left bank. Th old nakhoda declared his intention to comand ther himself. A distribution of powdr, bulets, and percussion-caps was made imediatly undr th girl's supervision. Sevrl mesnjrs wer to be dispachd in difrnt directions aftr Jim, hos exact wherabouts wer unown. These men startd at dawn, but befor that time Kassim had manajd to open comunications with th besejed Brown.

   '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


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of beardd, anxius, sleepless desprados.

   '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


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th Raja and came up busily with his long stride. Brown, wile bargnng, had a sort of grim enjoymnt in thinkng of his reched schooner, with nothing but a heap of dirt in her hold, that stood for an armd ship, and a Chinaman and a lame ex-beachcomber of Levuka on bord, ho representd al his many men. In th aftrnoon he obtaind furthr doles of food, a promis of som mony, and a suply of mats for his men to make sheltrs for themselvs. They lay down and snord, protectd from th burnng sunshine; but Brown, sitng fuly exposed on one of th feld tres, feastd his ys upon th vew of th town and th rivr. Ther was much loot ther. Cornelius, ho had made himself at home in th camp, talkd at his elbo, pointng out th localitis, impartng advice, givng his own version of Jim's caractr, and comentng in his own fashn upon th events of th last thre years. Brown, ho, aparently indifrnt and gazing away, lisnd with atention to evry word, cud not make out clearly wat sort of man this Jim cud be. "Wat's his name? Jim! Jim! That's not enuf for a man's name." "They cal him," said Cornelius scornfuly, "Tuan Jim here. As u may say Lord Jim." "Wat is he? Wher dos he com from?" inquired Brown. "Wat sort of man is he? Is he an Englishman?" "Yes, yes, he's an Englishman. I am an Englishman too. From Malacca. He is a fool. Al u hav to do is to kil him and then u ar king here. Everything belongs to him," explaind Cornelius. "It strikes me he may be made to share with sombody befor very long," comentd Brown half aloud. "No, no. Th propr way is to kil him th first chance u get, and then u can do wat u like," Cornelius wud insist ernestly. "I hav livd for many years here, and I am givng u a friend's advice."

   '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


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th ex-beachcomber and th Chinaman, ho ther-upon hasend to put on th hachs. Wat became of him aftr-wards Brown did not say.'

Chaptr 40

   '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


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with that jungl town wich had defyd him, to se it strewn over with corpses and envelopd in flames. Lisnng to his pitiless, pantng voice, I cud imajn how he must hav lookd at it from th hilok, peopling it with imajs of murdr and rapine. Th part nearst to th creek wor an abandnd aspect, tho as a matr of fact evry house conceald a few armd men on th alert. Sudnly beyond th strech of waste ground, intrspersd with smal pachs of lo dense bush, excavations, heaps of rubish, with trodn paths between, a man, solitry and lookng very smal, strold out into th desertd openng of th street between th shut-up, dark, lifeless bildngs at th end. Perhaps one of th inhabitnts, ho had fled to th othr bank of th rivr, comng bak for som object of domestic use. Evidntly he suposed himself quite safe at that distnce from th hil on th othr side of th creek. A lyt stokade, set up hastily, was just round th turn of th street, ful of his frends. He moved lesurly. Brown saw him, and instntly cald to his side th Yankee desertr, ho actd as a sort of secnd in comand. This lanky, loose-jointd felo came forwrd, woodn-faced, trailng his rifle lazily. Wen he undrstood wat was wantd from him a homicidal and conceitd smile uncovrd his teeth, making two deep folds down his salo, lethry cheeks. He prided himself on being a ded shot. He dropd on one ne, and taking aim from a stedy rest thru th unlopped branchs of a feld tre, fired, and at once stood up to look. Th man, far away, turnd his hed to th report, made anothr step forwrd, seemd to hesitate, and abruptly got down on his hands and nes. In th silence that fel upon th sharp crak of th rifle, th ded shot, keepng his ys fixd upon th quarry, gesd that "this ther coon's helth wud nevr be a sorce of anxiety to his frends any mor." Th man's lims wer seen to move rapidly undr his body in an endevr to run on al-fours. In that emty space arose a multitudinus shout of dismay and surprise. Th man sank flat, face down, and moved no mor. "That showd them wat we cud do," said Brown to me. "Struk th fear of sudn deth into them. That was wat we wantd. They wer two hundred to one, and this gave them somthing to think over for th nyt. Not one of them had an idea of such a long shot befor. That begr belongng to th Raja scootd down-hil with his ys hangng out of his hed."

   '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


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fit. Ther ar syts one nevr forgets.

   '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


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and al this line of dwelngs, reveald in pachs by th swayng flames, seemd to flikr tortuously away up-rivr into th gloom at th hart of th land. A gret silence, in wich th looms of successiv fires playd without noise, extendd into th darkns at th foot of th hil; but th othr bank of th rivr, al dark save for a solitry bonfire at th rivr-front befor th fort, sent out into th air an incresing tremr that myt hav been th stampng of a multitude of feet, th hum of many voices, or th fal of an imensly distnt watrfal. It was then, Brown confesd to me, wile, turnng his bak on his men, he sat lookng at it al, that notwithstandng his disdain, his ruthless faith in himself, a feelng came over him that at last he had run his hed against a stone wal. Had his boat been afloat at th time, he beleved he wud hav tryd to steal away, taking his chances of a long chase down th rivr and of starvation at se. It is very doutful wethr he wud hav succeedd in getng away. Howevr, he didnt try this. For anothr moment he had a pasng thot of tryng to rush th town, but he perceved very wel that in th end he wud find himself in th lytd street, wher they wud be shot down like dogs from th houses. They wer two hundred to one -- he thot, wile his men, hudlng round two heaps of smoldrng embrs, munchd th last of th bananas and roastd th few yams they oed to Kassim's diplomacy. Cornelius sat amongst them dozing sulkily.

   '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


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wite men on th hil and those with them, ther wud be no faith, no compassion, no speech, no pece. A bush rusld; a haphazrd volly rang out. "Dam' foolishness," mutrd th Yankee, vexedly groundng th but. Cornelius translated. Th woundd man belo th hil, aftr cryng out twice, "Take me up! take me up!" went on complainng in moans. Wile he had kept on th blaknd erth of th slope, and aftrwrds crouchng in th boat, he had been safe enuf. It seems that in his joy at findng th tobaco he forgot himself and jumpd out on her off-side, as it wer. Th wite boat, lyng hy and dry, showd him up; th creek was no mor than sevn yards wide in that place, and ther hapnd to be a man crouchng in th bush on th othr bank.

   '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,


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capn." "Watr!" cryd th woundd man in an extrordnrily clear vigrus voice, and then went off moanng feebly. "Y, watr. Watr wil do it," mutrd th othr to himself, resynedly. "Plenty by-and-by. Th tide is floing."

   '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.'

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   '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.


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"That's him; look! look!" Cornelius said exitedly. Al Brown's men had sprung up and crowdd at his bak with lustrless ys. Th group of vivid colors and dark faces with th wite figr in ther midst wer observng th nol. Brown cud se naked arms being rased to shade th ys and othr brown arms pointng. Wat shud he do? He lookd around, and th forests that faced him on al sides wald th cok-pit of an unequal contest. He lookd once mor at his men. A contemt, a weariness, th desire of life, th wish to try for one mor chance -- for som othr grave -- strugld in his brest. From th outline th figr presentd it seemd to him that th wite man ther, bakd up by al th powr of th land, was examnng his position thru binoculrs. Brown jumpd up on th log, throing his arms up, th palms outwrds. Th colord group closed round th wite man, and fel bak twice befor he got clear of them, walkng sloly alone. Brown remaind standng on th log til Jim, apearng and disapearng between th pachs of thorny scrub, had nearly reachd th creek; then Brown jumpd off and went down to meet him on his side.

   '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?"


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   ' "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

perhaps

    -- 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! . . . '


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'you dont deserv a betr fate,' he said. 'and wat do u deserv,' I shoutd at him, 'you that I find skulkng here with yr mouth ful of yr responsbility, of inocent lives, of yr infernl duty? Wat do u no mor of me than I no of u? I came here for food. D'ye hear? -- food to fil our bellis. And wat did u com for? Wat did u ask for wen u came here? We dont ask u for anything but to giv us a fyt or a clear road to go bak wence we came....' 'I wud fyt with u now,' says he, pulng at his litl mustach. 'and I wud let u shoot me, and welcm,' I said. 'this is as good a jumpng-off place for me as anothr. I am sik of my infernl luk. But it wud be too esy. Ther ar my men in th same boat -- and, by God, I am not th sort to jump out of trubl and leve them in a d -- d lurch,' I said. He stood thinkng for a wile and then wantd to no wat I had don ('out there' he says, tosng his hed down-stream) to be hazed about so. 'have we met to tel each othr th story of our lives?' I askd him. 'suppose u begin. No? Wel, I am sure I dont want to hear. Keep it to yrself. I no it is no betr than mine. I'v livd -- and so did u, tho u talk as if u wer one of those peple that shud hav wings so as to go about without tuchng th dirty erth. Wel -- it is dirty. I havnt got any wings. I am here because I was afraid once in my life. Want to no wat of? Of a prisn. That scares me, and u may no it -- if it's any good to u. I wont ask u wat scared u into this infernl hole, wher u seem to hav found pretty pikngs. That's yr luk and this is mine -- th privlej to beg for th favor of being shot quikly, or else kikd out to go fre and starv in my own way.' . . ."

   '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


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time of his gretst splendr wen, during a year or mor, Jentlman Brown's ship was to be seen, for many days on end, hovrng off an ilet befringed with green upon azur, with th dark dot of th mission-house on a wite beach; wile Jentlman Brown, ashor, was castng his spels over a romantic girl for hom Melanesia had been too much, and givng hopes of a remarkbl conversion to her husbnd. Th poor man, som time or othr, had been herd to express th intention of winng "Captn Brown to a betr way of life." . . . "Bag Jentlman Brown for Glory"-as a leery-yd loafer expresd it once -- "just to let them se up abov wat a Westrn Pacific trading skipr looks like." And this was th man, too, ho had run off with a dyng womn, and had shed tears over her body. "Carrid on like a big baby," his then mate was nevr tired of telng, "and wher th fun came in may I be kikd to deth by disesed Kanakas if I no. Wy, jents! she was too far gon wen he brot her abord to no him; she just lay ther on her bak in his bunk staring at th beam with awful shining ys -- and then she died. Dam' bad sort of fever, I gess...." I remembrd al these storis wile, wiping his matd lump of a beard with a livid hand, he was telng me from his noism couch how he got round, got in, got home, on that confoundd, imaculat, dont-u-tuch-me sort of felo. He admitd that he cudnt be scared, but ther was a way, "as brod as a turnpike, to get in and shake his twopny sol around and inside out and upside down -- by God!" '

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   '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


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ther tools th exact quality of strength that matrs for ther work; and Brown, as tho he had been realy gret, had a satanic gift of findng out th best and th weakst spot in his victms. He admitd to me that Jim wasnt of th sort that can be got over by truckling, and acordngly he took care to sho himself as a man confrontng without dismay il-luk, censur, and disastr. Th smuglng of a few guns was no gret crime, he pointd out. As to comng to Patusan, ho had th ryt to say he hadnt com to beg? Th infernl peple here let loose at him from both banks without stayng to ask questions. He made th point brazenly, for, in truth, Dain Waris's enrjetic action had preventd th gretst calamitis; because Brown told me distinctly that, perceving th size of th place, he had resolvd instntly in his mind that as soon as he had gaind a footng he wud set fire ryt and left, and begin by shootng down everything livng in syt, in ordr to cow and terify th population. Th disproportion of forces was so gret that this was th only way givng him th slytst chance of atainng his ends -- he argud in a fit of cofng. But he didnt tel Jim this. As to th hardships and starvation they had gon thru, these had been very real; it was enuf to look at his band. He made, at th sound of a shril wisl, al his men apear standng in a ro on th logs in ful vew, so that Jim cud se them. For th kilng of th man, it had been don -- wel, it had -- but was not this war, blody war -- in a cornr? and th felo had been kild cleanly, shot thru th chest, not like that poor devl of his lyng now in th creek. They had to lisn to him dyng for six ours, with his entrails torn with slugs. At any rate this was a life for a life.... And al this was said with th weariness, with th reklesness of a man spurd on and on by il-luk til he cares not wher he runs. Wen he askd Jim, with a sort of brusqe despairng frankness, wethr he himself -- strait now -- didnt undrstand that wen "it came to saving one's life in th dark, one didnt care ho else went -- thre, thirty, thre hundred peple" -- it was as if a demon had been wisprng advice in his ear. "I made him wince," boastd Brown to me. "He very soon left off comng th ryteus over me. He just stood ther with nothing to say, and lookng as blak as thundr -- not at me -- on th ground." He askd Jim wethr he had nothing fishy in his life to remembr that he was so damnedly hard upon a man tryng to get out of a dedly hole by th first means that came to hand -- and so on, and so on. And ther ran thru th ruf talk a vein of sutl refrnce to ther comn blod, an asumtion of comn experience; a siknng sujestion of comn gilt, of secret nolej that was like a bond of ther minds and of ther harts.

   'at last Brown threw himself down ful length and wachd Jim


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out of th cornrs of his ys. Jim on his side of th creek stood thinkng and swichng his leg. Th houses in vew wer silent, as if a pestlnce had swept them clean of evry breth of life; but many invisbl ys wer turnd, from within, upon th two men with th creek between them, a strandd wite boat, and th body of th third man half sunk in th mud. On th rivr canoes wer moving again, for Patusan was recovrng its belief in th stability of erthly institutions since th return of th wite lord. Th ryt bank, th platforms of th houses, th rafts moord along th shors, even th roofs of bathing-huts, wer covrd with peple that, far away out of earshot and almost out of syt, wer strainng ther ys towards th nol beyond th Rajah's stokade. Within th wide iregulr ring of forests, broken in two places by th sheen of th rivr, ther was a silence. "Wil u promis to leve th coast?" Jim askd. Brown liftd and let fal his hand, givng everything up as it wer -- acceptng th inevitbl. "And surendr yr arms?" Jim went on. Brown sat up and glared across. "Surendr our arms! Not til u com to take them out of our stif hands. U think I am gon crazy with funk? O no! That and th rags I stand in is al I hav got in th world, besides a few mor breechloaders on bord; and I expect to sel th lot in Madagascr, if I evr get so far -- begng my way from ship to ship."

   '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


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sulky obstnacy wich seemd to draw mor togethr his litl yelo old face; and as he went down he glanced askant here and ther, nevr givng up his fixd idea.

   '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.


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Th jenrl anxiety was to se th matr setld quikly. Food, thru Jewel's care, had been servd out to th refujees. Nobody new wat ther wite man wud do. Som remarkd that it was worse than in Sherif Ali's war. Then many peple did not care; now evrybody had somthing to lose. Th movemnts of canoes pasng to and fro between th two parts of th town wer wachd with intrest. A cupl of Bugis war-boats lay ancrd in th midl of th stream to protect th rivr, and a thred of smoke stood at th bo of each; th men in them wer cookng ther miday rice wen Jim, aftr his intrvews with Brown and Doramin, crosd th rivr and entrd by th watr-gate of his fort. Th peple inside crowdd round him, so that he cud hardly make his way to th house. They had not seen him befor, because on his arival during th nyt he had only exchanjed a few words with th girl, ho had com down to th landng-staje for th purpos, and had then gon on at once to join th chiefs and th fytng men on th othr bank. Peple shoutd greetngs aftr him. One old womn rased a laf by pushng her way to th front madly and enjoining him in a scoldng voice to se to it that her two sons, ho wer with Doramin, did not com to harm at th hands of th robrs. Sevrl of th bystandrs tryd to pul her away, but she strugld and cryd, "Let me go. Wat is this, O Muslms? This laftr is unseemly. Ar they not cruel, blodthirsty robrs bent on kilng?" "Let her be," said Jim, and as a silence fel sudnly, he said sloly, "Evrybody shal be safe." He entrd th house befor th gret sy, and th loud murmrs of satisfaction, had died out.

   '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


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deceved them. For many years they had dwelt togethr. He lovd th land and th peple livng in it with a very gret lov. He was redy to ansr with his life for any harm that shud com to them if th wite men with beards wer alowd to retire. They wer evil-doers, but ther destny had been evil too. Had he evr advised them il? Had his words evr brot sufrng to th peple? he askd. He beleved that it wud be best to let these wites and ther foloers go with ther lives. It wud be a smal gift. "I hom u hav tryd and found always tru ask u to let them go." He turnd to Doramin. Th old nakhoda made no movemnt. "Then," said Jim, "cal in Dain Waris, yr son, my frend, for in this busness I shal not lead." '

Chaptr 43

   '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


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foild in his wil, mad with th indignnt and revengeful raje of a thwartd autocrat. But if Jim did not mistrust Brown, he was evidntly anxius that som misundrstandng shud not ocur, endng perhaps in colision and blodshed. It was for this reasn that directly th Malay chiefs had gon he askd Jewl to get him somthing to eat, as he was going out of th fort to take comand in th town. On her remonstrating against this on th scor of his fatige, he said that somthing myt hapn for wich he wud nevr forgiv himself. "I am responsbl for evry life in th land," he said. He was moody at first; she servd him with her own hands, taking th plates and dishs (of th dinr-service presentd him by Stein) from Tamb' Itam. He brytnd up aftr a wile; told her she wud be again in comand of th fort for anothr nyt. "Ther's no sleep for us, old girl," he said, "wile our peple ar in danjer." Later on he said jokingly that she was th best man of them al. "If u and Dain Waris had don wat u wantd, not one of these poor devls wud be alive to-day." "Ar they very bad?" she askd, leanng over his chair. "Men act badly somtimes without being much worse than othrs," he said aftr som hesitation.

   '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.


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   '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


Paje 242

th Raja, besides th loot of al th Bugis houses, and now u get nothing." "U had betr clear out from here," growld Brown, without even lookng at him. But Cornelius let himself drop by his side and began to wispr very fast, tuchng his elbo from time to time. Wat he had to say made Brown sit up at first, with a curse. He had simply informd him of Dain Waris's armd party down th rivr. At first Brown saw himself completely sold and betrayd, but a moment's reflection convinced him that ther cud be no trechry intendd. He said nothing, and aftr a wile Cornelius remarkd, in a tone of complete indifrnce, that ther was anothr way out of th rivr wich he new very wel. "A good thing to no, too," said Brown, prikng up his ears; and Cornelius began to talk of wat went on in town and repeatd al that had been said in council, gosipng in an even undrtone at Brown's ear as u talk amongst sleepng men u do not wish to wake. "He thinks he has made me harmless, dos he?" mumbld Brown very lo.... "Yes. He is a fool. A litl child. He came here and robd me," droned on Cornelius, "and he made al th peple beleve him. But if somthing hapnd that they did not beleve him any mor, wher wud he be? And th Bugis Dain ho is waitng for u down th rivr ther, captn, is th very man ho chased u up here wen u first came." Brown observd nonchlntly that it wud be just as wel to avoid him, and with th same detachd, musing air Cornelius declared himself aquaintd with a bakwatr brod enuf to take Brown's boat past Waris's camp. "U wil hav to be quiet," he said as an aftrthot, "for in one place we pass close behind his camp. Very close. They ar campd ashor with ther boats hauld up." "O, we no how to be as quiet as mice; nevr fear," said Brown. Cornelius stipulated that in case he wer to pilot Brown out, his canoe shud be towd. "I'l hav to get bak quik," he explaind.

   '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.


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   '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.'


Paje 244

Chaptr 44

   '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


Paje 245

for th truth of th messenger's words. Dain Waris, reclining on his elbo, bad him speak and tel al th news. Beginng with th consecrated formula, "Th news is good," Tamb' Itam delivrd Jim's own words. Th wite men, deputing with th consent of al th chiefs, wer to be alowd to pass down th rivr. In ansr to a question or two Tamb' Itam then reportd th proceedngs of th last council. Dain Waris lisnd atentivly to th end, toyng with th ring wich ultmatly he slipd on th forfingr of his ryt hand. Aftr hearng al he had to say he dismisd Tamb' Itam to hav food and rest. Ordrs for th return in th aftrnoon wer givn imediatly. Aftrwrds Dain Waris lay down again, open-yd, wile his persnl atendnts wer preparing his food at th fire, by wich Tamb' Itam also sat talkng to th men ho lounjd up to hear th latest intelijnce from th town. Th sun was eatng up th mist. A good wach was kept upon th reach of th main stream wher th boat of th wites was expectd to apear evry moment.

   '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


Paje 246

into th ruk, Brown, th only one in vew, cursng and yelng, "Aim lo! aim lo!"

   '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."


Paje 247

   '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.'

Chaptr 45

   '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


Paje 248

out at once. "This, Tuan, is a day of evil, an acursed day." His mastr rased himself on his elbo to lisn -- just as Dain Waris had don. And then Tamb' Itam began his tale, tryng to relate th story in ordr, calng Dain Waris Panglima, and sayng: "Th Panglima then cald out to th chief of his own boatmen, 'give Tamb' Itam somthing to eat' " -- wen his mastr put his feet to th ground and lookd at him with such a discomposed face that th words remaind in his throat.

   ' "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


Paje 249

a sound. Later, towards th evenng, he came to th dor and cald for Tamb' Itam. "Wel?" he askd. "Ther is much weepng. Much angr too," said Tamb' Itam. Jim lookd up at him. "U no," he murmrd. "Yes, Tuan," said Tamb' Itam. "Thy servnt dos no, and th gates ar closed. We shal hav to fyt." "Fyt! Wat for?" he askd. "For our lives." "I hav no life," he said. Tamb' Itam herd a cry from th girl at th dor. "Ho nos?" said Tamb' Itam. "By audacity and cunng we may even escape. Ther is much fear in men's harts too." He went out, thinkng vagely of boats and of open se, leving Jim and th girl togethr.

   '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.


Paje 250

Th wisprs of many men mingld with th slyt ruslng of th leavs.

   '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?"


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she said sloly. He bent his hed. "Ah!" she exclaimd, peerng at him as it wer, "u ar mad or false. Do u remembr th nyt I prayd u to leve me, and u said that u cud not? That it was imposbl! Imposbl! Do u remembr u said u wud nevr leve me? Wy? I askd u for no promis. U promisd unaskd -- remembr." "Enuf, poor girl," he said. "I shud not be worth havng."

   '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


Paje 252

reachd th othr shor his mastr forbad him to com any farthr; but Tamb' Itam did folo him at a distnce, walkng up th slope to Doramin's campong.

   '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


Paje 253

stronghold of th nyt. Doramin, struglng to keep his feet, made with his two suportrs a swayng, totrng group; his litl ys stared with an expression of mad pain, of raje, with a ferocius glitr, wich th bystandrs noticed; and then, wile Jim stood stifnd and with bared hed in th lyt of torchs, lookng him strait in th face, he clung hevily with his left arm round th nek of a bowd yuth, and liftng delibratly his ryt, shot his son's frend thru th chest.

   '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.