Victory By Joseph Conrad Summary and Analysis Part 2: Chapter 8

Summary

The suggested horror in Ricardo's affable talk collapses Schomberg "as if his moral neck had been broken." He says he never thought of sending for the police, but he can't figure why Jones and Ricardo want to stay on here in Sourabaya when they are accustomed to larger operation. He suggests other fields for their consideration, even offers an "inducement."

Ricardo says that he won't be able to get Jones away unless he has something to "lever him out with." He says the east coast "can't run away and no one is likely to run off with it."

The words "run off" strike a spark in Schomberg's brain. He thinks of Heyst. An idea enters his mind. He conceives a plan for ridding himself of his two unwelcome guests and at the same time paying off Heyst.

With eloquence and ease, he pictures Heyst "fattened by years of private and public rapine," a murderer and a swindler. For the first time in weeks, Schomberg smiles. He sees that he has impressed the "secretary." He assures Ricardo that Heyst has tremendous plunder concealed on Samburan, and since Heyst is not a fighting man, it will be easy to take it away from him. Now Schomberg admits that Heyst stole the girl from the orchestra and carried her off.

Ricardo is distressed at this news. Jones can't stand women at all. He abhors them. For a moment, Schomberg is distressed. It looks as though the girl is going to spoil everything. He cries out, "It would have been like going to pick up a nugget of a thousand pounds, or two or three times that much."

Ricardo is intrigued and decides that he can keep the girl a secret. Schomberg offers his own boat and suggests a plan whereby the three voyagers can get away without exciting suspicion. It will take only three days to run over to Samburan. Schomberg gives complete directions and offers to provision the boat. Finally he gives Ricardo a sea-mark to steer by — a live volcano, "a pillar of smoke by day and a loom of fire by night."

He roars out these last words exultingly just as Mrs. Schomberg glides into the room. She sits down and stares straight ahead.

Analysis

The character of Schomberg is now fully developed. He does not appear in the story again except by reference. Yet it is his action here which sets in motion the final events. He knows the villainous character of the men he is sending to Samburan. He feels guilty about it as revealed by one of Conrad's subtle devices where he plays on the word "hung." Schomberg says, "he hung about. That's it. Hung — ." Then Schomberg's voice dies out. The reader knows that Schomberg feels guilty enough for hanging. Yet his hatred drives him on to complete the arrangements.

Reference to the "pillar of cloud by day and the loom of fire by night" is a direct reference to the Scriptures. It is difficult to see why Conrad used it here. Perhaps he meant to suggest the truth that a single path may serve for both the hunter and the hunted.

Mrs. Schomberg's entrance at the end of this scene is significant. She has overheard Schomberg's directions.

The narrator appears a few times in the first chapter of this section and noticeably in the narration of Chapter 3. Much of Part 2 is in Schomberg's subjective viewpoint. One of the major functions of Part 2 is to develop Schomberg's character as well as the three villains who are now leaving for Samburan.

The final drama is about to open. The reader, who understands that hellish forces are about to be set loose against them, already knows enough about Heyst and Lena to wish them well.

By such enticements as these, Conrad allures his readers into the final scenes of his story.

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