Victory By Joseph Conrad Summary and Analysis Part 4: Chapter 2

Summary

Not five seconds after Ricardo's savage leap through Lena's bedroom curtain, Wang materializes within the living room. He is concerned about the late breakfast, but now he hears strange, deadened, scuffling sounds behind the curtain. Watchful, yet tense and frightened, he stands almost within arm's reach of the curtain. He hears a chair fall over. Something twangs the tin bathtub. Then the noises end with the "heavy, dull thump of a soft body flung against the inner partition of planks."

Wang makes up his mind at this moment to cut all connection with his master, Heyst. The white man is disarmed — a doomed man. It is unlucky to help him. Wang doesn't know what the white woman is scuffling with, but he knows that he has discovered an evil and dangerous situation. He watches the back of the house, but nothing comes out.

Meanwhile, behind the curtain, Ricardo is examining his throat and marveling at the strength of the woman before him. He sits on a cedar wood chest and Lena sits on the edge of the bed. Their heads are not a foot apart. Ricardo cannot understand how she can possibly have the strength to strangle him and fling him aside as she has done. He is filled with admiration.

Lena is no longer the weak, cowering thing she was before Schomberg in Sourabaya. She is changed into a fierce, protective woman with something to cherish, something to fight for.

Now Ricardo shows her his concealed knife, explains that he is not going to hurt her, and asks if she intends to make a fuss about his attack. She suddenly realizes the importance of what Heyst has told her this morning. His revolver is missing. She makes a slight negative motion with her head. Ricardo takes this gesture as proof that the girl half likes him and can be won to his side. He knows that she is not a "tame one" and confesses that he and Jones are after the "swag" and that the "fat tame slug of a ginslinger, Schomberg," has put them up to it in order to pay Heyst back.

Now Lena begins to understand the whole diabolical plot. Heyst is at the mercy of these desperadoes. She has brought it all upon him. Duplicity, refuge of the weak, is all that stands between her enchanted dream and cruel catastrophe. She leads Ricardo to believe that she does know something about Heyst's concealed "treasure."

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