Lord Jim eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 490 pages of information about Lord Jim.
to retire.  They were evil-doers, but their destiny had been evil, too.  Had he ever advised them ill?  Had his words ever brought suffering to the people? he asked.  He believed that it would be best to let these whites and their followers go with their lives.  It would be a small gift.  “I whom you have tried and found always true ask you to let them go.”  He turned to Doramin.  The old nakhoda made no movement.  “Then,” said Jim, “call in Dain Waris, your son, my friend, for in this business I shall not lead."’

CHAPTER 43

‘Tamb’ Itam behind his chair was thunderstruck.  The declaration produced an immense sensation.  “Let them go because this is best in my knowledge which has never deceived you,” Jim insisted.  There was a silence.  In the darkness of the courtyard could be heard the subdued whispering, shuffling noise of many people.  Doramin raised his heavy head and said that there was no more reading of hearts than touching the sky with the hand, but—­he consented.  The others gave their opinion in turn.  “It is best,” “Let them go,” and so on.  But most of them simply said that they “believed Tuan Jim.”

’In this simple form of assent to his will lies the whole gist of the situation; their creed, his truth; and the testimony to that faithfulness which made him in his own eyes the equal of the impeccable men who never fall out of the ranks.  Stein’s words, “Romantic!—­Romantic!” seem to ring over those distances that will never give him up now to a world indifferent to his failings and his virtues, and to that ardent and clinging affection that refuses him the dole of tears in the bewilderment of a great grief and of eternal separation.  From the moment the sheer truthfulness of his last three years of life carries the day against the ignorance, the fear, and the anger of men, he appears no longer to me as I saw him last—­a white speck catching all the dim light left upon a sombre coast and the darkened sea—­but greater and more pitiful in the loneliness of his soul, that remains even for her who loved him best a cruel and insoluble mystery.

’It is evident that he did not mistrust Brown; there was no reason to doubt the story, whose truth seemed warranted by the rough frankness, by a sort of virile sincerity in accepting the morality and the consequences of his acts.  But Jim did not know the almost inconceivable egotism of the man which made him, when resisted and foiled in his will, mad with the indignant and revengeful rage of a thwarted autocrat.  But if Jim did not mistrust Brown, he was evidently anxious that some misunderstanding should not occur, ending perhaps in collision and bloodshed.  It was for this reason that directly the Malay chiefs had gone he asked Jewel to get him something to eat, as he was going out of the fort to take command in the town.  On her remonstrating against this on the score of his fatigue, he said that something might happen for which he would never

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Lord Jim from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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