Summary and Analysis Part 4: Chapter 9



At the bungalow Lena falls into the nearest chair. Heyst examines everything from the interior of the house to the wall of forest out in front, where he imagines he sees a figure moving. Perhaps Ricardo followed them up the hill. Pedro has laid the table. Now Heyst lights all the candles in two silver candelabra to let the villains know they are back.

Heyst tells Lena the "jaguar" is to be their dinner guest. Numbness strikes Lena, but she discovers that the numbness is in her head and not in her body. For this, she thanks God mentally.

Again Heyst considers what sort of weapon he might use to defend them — perhaps a carver, or a crowbar; but the girl keeps reminding him that it is a knife he needs.

Ricardo enters and Heyst introduces him to Lena. Ricardo presents a perfect picture of innocence. The conversation is strained. Ricardo says Jones is anxious to see Heyst tonight because they must think of getting away from Samburan.

Heyst looks at Lena and sees her make a slight affirmative gesture. He decides to go. It can't be a trap. No point in trapping a captured animal. Ricardo can't wait until Heyst is out of the door before he reaches for Lena under the table and hisses, "See! he's no good. He's not the man for you!"

Heyst steps back into the room; but Lena, who has puzzled so long over the bitter riddle of her existence, has found the answer in a "blinding glow of passionate purpose."


Conrad suggests, in the last sentence of this chapter, that Lena is determined to lay down her life for Heyst if necessary. The girl's two names are mentioned here in a symbolic way: Alma, which means nourishing, cherishing, bountiful, and Magdalen, which means "a repentant harlot.'' It appears that the girl was all that the two names signify. Of the two names, Heyst chose the latter as his basis for calling her Lena; but as the story unfolds, the characteristics of Alma predominate.

At last Lena's instinct tells her that this affair with Ricardo will end in death.