Lord Jim eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 490 pages of information about Lord Jim.

’In such converse and in gloating over the view of Patusan, which he had determined in his mind should become his prey, Brown whiled away most of the afternoon, his men, meantime, resting.  On that day Dain Waris’s fleet of canoes stole one by one under the shore farthest from the creek, and went down to close the river against his retreat.  Of this Brown was not aware, and Kassim, who came up the knoll an hour before sunset, took good care not to enlighten him.  He wanted the white man’s ship to come up the river, and this news, he feared, would be discouraging.  He was very pressing with Brown to send the “order,” offering at the same time a trusty messenger, who for greater secrecy (as he explained) would make his way by land to the mouth of the river and deliver the “order” on board.  After some reflection Brown judged it expedient to tear a page out of his pocket-book, on which he simply wrote, “We are getting on.  Big job.  Detain the man.”  The stolid youth selected by Kassim for that service performed it faithfully, and was rewarded by being suddenly tipped, head first, into the schooner’s empty hold by the ex-beachcomber and the Chinaman, who thereupon hastened to put on the hatches.  What became of him afterwards Brown did not say.’

CHAPTER 40

’Brown’s object was to gain time by fooling with Kassim’s diplomacy.  For doing a real stroke of business he could not help thinking the white man was the person to work with.  He could not imagine such a chap (who must be confoundedly clever after all to get hold of the natives like that) refusing a help that would do away with the necessity for slow, cautious, risky cheating, that imposed itself as the only possible line of conduct for a single-handed man.  He, Brown, would offer him the power.  No man could hesitate.  Everything was in coming to a clear understanding.  Of course they would share.  The idea of there being a fort—­all ready to his hand—­a real fort, with artillery (he knew this from Cornelius), excited him.  Let him only once get in and . . .  He would impose modest conditions.  Not too low, though.  The man was no fool, it seemed.  They would work like brothers till . . . till the time came for a quarrel and a shot that would settle all accounts.  With grim impatience of plunder he wished himself to be talking with the man now.  The land already seemed to be his to tear to pieces, squeeze, and throw away.  Meantime Kassim had to be fooled for the sake of food first—­and for a second string.  But the principal thing was to get something to eat from day to day.  Besides, he was not averse to begin fighting on that Rajah’s account, and teach a lesson to those people who had received him with shots.  The lust of battle was upon him.

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Lord Jim from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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