Summary and Analysis Part 1: Chapter 7



Captain Davidson relates his experience in returning the shawl to Mrs. Schomberg. He finds it almost impossible to believe that this inane and apparently senseless woman is in reality a "miracle of dissimulation." His insight into her true character almost frightens him.

Balked in his efforts to understand Mrs. Schomberg, Davidson turns to contemplation of Heyst's astounding abduction of the girl from the orchestra. He is curious to learn more about the girl and hangs around the hotel for a whole afternoon. He does find out that the hubbub is subsiding and only Schomberg's vicious gossip keeps the matter alive. Schomberg speaks in Davidson's presence, calling Heyst a public danger, a spy, and a murderer. He says that he has lined his pockets with other men's money, and now he has kidnapped the girl and taken her off to live in luxury on his island.

Now Davidson gives out a piece of unrelated information. He suspects, he says, that there is gambling going on around Schomberg's hotel. He thinks they must be using the building where the orchestra used to play, although the windows are so well shuttered that not one glimmer of light shows.

The narrator of the story says it seems impossible that Schomberg would risk illegal gambling on his premises.


In the first paragraph of this chapter, the impression is given that Schomberg's hotel is located in Samarang. This reference must be a mistake since the Schomberg establishment is firmly placed in Sourabaya in all preceding chapters as well as the following ones.

Note how Schomberg now pictures Heyst and Lena as living in luxury on the fruits of Heyst's robberies, while in Chapter 3 he gloats over the idea that about all Heyst can find to eat on Samburan will be a piece of dried fish now and then.

Throughout the first seven chapters of this novel, the viewpoint is kept out of Heyst's mind. The reader sees him through the eyes of a narrator who may be Conrad himself, and also through the eyes of Morrison and Davidson, objectively. By these objective views of the hero, the author shows Heyst's character, his courtesy, his compassion, his bleak philosophy of life, and his pattern of behavior — how he may be expected to react under given circumstances.

Conrad, master craftsman that he is, uses this objective viewpoint with artistic purpose. The effect is to make Heyst a larger-than-life figure of loneliness withdrawn from ordinary people, separated by his habit of solitude and detachment, yet somehow noble and admirable.