Summary and Analysis
Part 4: Chapter 3
Ricardo is charmed by the girl. She is not at all what he expected. She is a "blooming miracle." He asks if her gentleman is a good shot and she admits that he is. Ricardo says that Mr. Jones is "better than good." He urges Lena to join them and get her share of the plunder. She appears to agree. Ricardo instructs her to find out at once where Heyst keeps his "loot."
Then they both hear Heyst's voice outside, talking to Wang: "It was for her like a flash of lightning framed in darkness which had beset her on all sides, showing a deadly precipice right under her feet."
Ricardo springs to his feet like a cat. They both know that Wang is behind the house and Heyst in front. There seems no way of escape and Ricardo sees an end to his business. He is on the point of rushing out to attack Heyst when Lena shows him a high window through which he can escape into the side yard, unseen. She helps him by holding a chair. Ricardo leaps through the small window just as Heyst calls to the girl. She puts him off with a promise to be out in a minute. Glancing about, she sees that Ricardo has left one of his straw slippers. She plants her own foot on it an instant before Heyst swings back the curtain and looks at her. He remarks that she hasn't done her hair yet. She says she will come to breakfast as she is and he leaves. She hunts for some place to hide the vile slipper and finally tosses it through the window from which Ricardo has just escaped. She hears a low whistle. Ricardo must have waited outside. Lena is overcome with dizzy weakness and hangs for a long time to the bedpost in order to recover her strength.
In this chapter and the previous one, Lena's change of character is shown. From a weak and helpless girl, she has changed into a fiercely protective woman. It is love for Heyst that brings this change about. Something stirs within her, "something profound," like the beginning of a new sort of life.
From this moment, the ascendancy in the Heyst-Lena partnership passes to Lena. Lena has met the enemy and worsted him in physical combat. She knows at last the strength of her own spirit. She will protect Heyst at any cost.