Lord Jim eBook

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

’"What’s the good?” Brown had said unmoved once, seeing the Yankee, who had been swearing under his breath, prepare to go down.  “That’s so,” assented the deserter, reluctantly desisting.  “There’s no encouragement for wounded men here.  Only his noise is calculated to make all the others think too much of the hereafter, cap’n.”  “Water!” cried the wounded man in an extraordinarily clear vigorous voice, and then went off moaning feebly.  “Ay, water.  Water will do it,” muttered the other to himself, resignedly.  “Plenty by-and-by.  The tide is flowing.”

’At last the tide flowed, silencing the plaint and the cries of pain, and the dawn was near when Brown, sitting with his chin in the palm of his hand before Patusan, as one might stare at the unscalable side of a mountain, heard the brief ringing bark of a brass 6-pounder far away in town somewhere.  “What’s this?” he asked of Cornelius, who hung about him.  Cornelius listened.  A muffled roaring shout rolled down-river over the town; a big drum began to throb, and others responded, pulsating and droning.  Tiny scattered lights began to twinkle in the dark half of the town, while the part lighted by the loom of fires hummed with a deep and prolonged murmur.  “He has come,” said Cornelius.  “What?  Already?  Are you sure?” Brown asked.  “Yes! yes!  Sure.  Listen to the noise.”  “What are they making that row about?” pursued Brown.  “For joy,” snorted Cornelius; “he is a very great man, but all the same, he knows no more than a child, and so they make a great noise to please him, because they know no better.”  “Look here,” said Brown, “how is one to get at him?” “He shall come to talk to you,” Cornelius declared.  “What do you mean?  Come down here strolling as it were?” Cornelius nodded vigorously in the dark.  “Yes.  He will come straight here and talk to you.  He is just like a fool.  You shall see what a fool he is.”  Brown was incredulous.  “You shall see; you shall see,” repeated Cornelius.  “He is not afraid—­not afraid of anything.  He will come and order you to leave his people alone.  Everybody must leave his people alone.  He is like a little child.  He will come to you straight.”  Alas! he knew Jim well—­that “mean little skunk,” as Brown called him to me.  “Yes, certainly,” he pursued with ardour, “and then, captain, you tell that tall man with a gun to shoot him.  Just you kill him, and you will frighten everybody so much that you can do anything you like with them afterwards—­get what you like—­go away when you like.  Ha! ha! ha!  Fine . . .”  He almost danced with impatience and eagerness; and Brown, looking over his shoulder at him, could see, shown up by the pitiless dawn, his men drenched with dew, sitting amongst the cold ashes and the litter of the camp, haggard, cowed, and in rags.’

CHAPTER 41

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Lord Jim from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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