Summary and Analysis Part 3: Chapter 7



Ricardo, trying to mask his nervousness, rattles on about their terrible ordeal in the open boat. All the while, he studies Heyst. This man is no drunkard; he shows neither weakness nor alarm. Ricardo already credits Heyst with extraordinary powers of penetration. The water revives Ricardo, and Jones speaks up excusing Ricardo's bad manners. Jones' voice is that of an educated man, but strangely lifeless.

The intruders have no ready story for Heyst. Their miseries have prevented such preparation. Yet Ricardo makes up his mind that Heyst, regardless of his capabilities, is going to pay for all they have suffered.

Heyst helps his guests to land. As Ricardo scrambles onto the wharf, he remembers the knife strapped to his leg and thinks how easy it would be to rip Heyst up and tumble him into the sea. But he reflects that they don't yet know where the treasure is hidden. He restrains himself.

Heyst has Wang bring a trolley for the strangers' baggage and leads them to the old company counting house explaining that he is sorry not to be able to offer them the hospitality of his own bungalow. Some camp cots and other furniture have been left in the abandoned building. Now he orders Wang to bring candles, blankets, food, coffee, sugar. Wang even fills a kettle with water and hands it to Pedro "impassively, at arm's length as if across a chasm."

Heyst withdraws.


Twice in this chapter Conrad shows that the sea appears more solid than the substance of the island. This comparison is symbolic. Death is now more real than life.