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Joseph Conrad

Summary and Analysis Part 2: Chapter 6


Gambling is now a nightly feature at Schomberg's hotel. The wretched man pretends ignorance of what goes on behind the darkened windows of his concert hall. Yet he spies on the desperadoes and shudders when he remembers the weapons in their luggage. He drags out a miserable existence compounded of fear, apprehension, and submission. Each morning, he wakens to the horrors of another poisoned day.

One afternoon, he comes upon Ricardo alone in the billiard room practicing card tricks. The "secretary" is almost amiable, which surprises Schomberg "as if an enormous savage of a cat had begun to wind itself about his legs in inexplicable friendliness."

Ricardo tells Schomberg how he came to partner with Mr. Jones (whose name is not Jones at all). He relates their adventures onboard a treasure-hunting schooner and explains his attraction to Jones and their escape from the ship with the captain's cash box.

Through all his talk runs a thread of murderous ferocity. Schomberg tries to cover his abject fear by assuming his Lieutenant-of-the-Reserve manner and speaking in a severe voice.