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MonkeyNotes-Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
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Chapter 18

Summary

Six months later Marlow receives a letter from his friend, Mr. Denver, who has hired Jim to work at his rice mill. He praises Jim for his good temper, his good manners, his generosity, his wit, and his cleverness. Marlow is very happy to hear that Jim is doing well, for he has known all along that the young man is "one of us." Before long, Marlow goes on a trip; when he returns, another letter is waiting for him from Mr. Denver. The letter states that Jim wrote a letter of apology, left it behind on the breakfast table, and disappeared; Denver is furious about the loss.

Marlow continues through his mail and soon comes to a letter from Jim. The letter explains that the second engineer from the Patna was hired for a temporary job at the mill and made insinuations and threats to Jim. As a result, he felt he had to leave the mill. He has taken a temporary job as a water-clerk with Egstrom & Blake and needs a reference from Marlow. Although unhappy about Jim's new position, which Marlow thinks is beneath him, he sends the letter of reference.

Marlow soon has the chance of seeing Jim at Egstrom & Blake. He seems happy and popular, and Marlow feels encouraged about the young man's future. Marlow asks him bluntly what the second engineer had said, whether he had told everyone about the Patna. Jim denies his having done anything like that; however, the man behaved very mysteriously whenever they met and tried to become close to Jim. One day when they were alone, the man threatened Jim about revealing the Patna affair. Jim decided to quit. He did not want to be reminded of his past.

Jim's work at the shop of Egstrom & Blake is tolerable, even though the two owners do not work well together. Every day, from the time the shop opens until it closes, Blake, a little man with sleek, jetty hair and small, unhappy eyes, loudly scolds Egstrom, a heavy man who is always busy directing people and checking parcels. Jim thinks Egstrom is a good man.


Six months later, Marlow goes back to Egstrom & Blake on his next trip to the south. As he approaches the store, he hears Blake's voice. Egstrom sees Marlow, greets him, and says that Jim left without an explanation about three weeks earlier; Egstrom is disappointed over the loss for Jim had been an excellent worker, his best water clerk. Jim disappeared on the same day that a steamer filled with pilgrims returned from the Red Sea. Marlow cautiously asks whether anything was said at that time about the Patna. Egstrom is surprised by Marlow's question, but he remembers that some people were talking about the Patna while Jim was having a sandwich and a glass of beer. Captain O' Brien remarked that he would hate being in the same room with the men who deserted the Patna. Jim immediately put down his sandwich and walked out.

Egstrom asks what Jim is running away from? Marlow tells him that Jim was a mate of the Patna. Egstrom does not seem to be bothered by the information and says, "who the devil cares." Obviously, the sensitive Jim is much harder on himself than others are hard on him. Egstrom does, however, say that Jim will never be able to run away from his past.

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MonkeyNotes-Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
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