Summary and Analysis Part 1: Chapter 5



Davidson returns to Sourabaya two days late and goes to Schomberg's hotel to find Heyst. Schomberg tells him in sulky tones that Heyst is not there. Davidson, puzzled by Schomberg's manner, decides to wait around for a while. He falls into conversation with Mrs. Schomberg, a lifeless, wooden woman with a "blue" tooth. They talk about Zangiacomo's Ladies' Orchestra, which has just closed a series of concerts at the hotel, and Mrs. Zangiacomo tells Davidson that one of the girl musicians has run away with his friend, Heyst.

Davidson is shocked. He knows that Heyst is a gentleman. He also knows that Heyst has never shown any interest in women. He cannot figure out why Heyst would do such a thing.

Mrs. Schomberg confides that she herself assisted the girl to escape and wrapped the girl's belongings in her own shawl and threw the bundle out the window for her to pick up. A bystander puts in his word and tells of the terrible fight Schomberg had with Zangiacomo and how the two joined in search of the harbor. They seemed ready, the man says, to fall on Heyst and murder him on the wharf, but they found no trace of the runaways.

Meanwhile, Heyst and the girl were miles away on one of the Tesman steamers which had left Sourabaya in the night. The Javanese boatman who rowed the couple out to the steamer adds this bit of news.

After hearing this astonishing report, Davidson concludes that this escapade, in its essence, must be the rescue of a human being in distress. Yet he thinks that Heyst will regret what he has done, and "Heyst being a gentleman only makes it worse."


In this chapter, Conrad develops the growing fury Schomberg directs toward Heyst. What had been a mischievous dislike and senseless hatred now has a definite object to feed upon. Heyst has stolen the girl.

Zangiacomo is revealed as a German, too. He has changed his name for business purposes. Both these scoundrels are German, and Conrad makes much of their nationality.

Davidson's mental picture of Heyst's home on Samburan gives a daylight version of the moonlighted scene in Chapter 1. By sunlight, the desolation is even more appalling.