Summary – Chapters Forty-One, Forty-Two and Forty-Three
In Chapter Forty-One, Brown spots a man dressed all in white and Cornelius tells him excitedly that this is Jim. Jim and Brown meet, as Cornelius predicted, and Brown hates him at first sight as he is more youthful and assured than he expected him to be. Jim asks him what made him come to this place and Brown replies, ‘hunger’. Jim ‘started’ when Brown asks him the same question and also flushes with embarrassment. Brown then tells him they are both equal before death, as guns are trained on both of them. He says that they require food and a clear way back to their ship; he does not want his men to die one by one from starvation. He claims he also asked Jim about his past and Marlow interjects to remind the readers that it is impossible to know how much Brown has lied to Jim or Marlow. The chapter ends with Marlow saying how much Brown told him about getting ‘round’ Jim.
Marlow continues with his interjection in Chapter Forty-Two and compares the discussion between Brown and Jim to a duel. He says Brown had ‘a satanic gift of finding out the best and weakest spot in his victims’. When talking to Jim, he put himself across as frank (rather than murderous).
Jim has been self-righteous whilst talking to Brown, until Brown says, ‘[when] it came to saving one’s life in the dark, one didn’t care who else went – three, thirty, three hundred people’. Brown presses his point (but does not know the facts of Jim’s past) and makes subtle references to their common blood. Jim agrees finally that Brown and his men may have a clear road out, or else they will have ‘a clear fight’. Jim leaves and they never see each other again. Cornelius stops Brown and questions him about not killing Jim.
For the rest of this account, Marlow draws upon information given by Tamb’ Itam and Jewel. Everybody is pleased to see Jim on his return and he then visits Doramin. The people are anxious and nobody knows what the white man will do (and it is not specified if this means Jim or Brown) and everybody has something to lose. Jim tells Doramin and the other chiefs that it is best to let the white men go, but Doramin makes no movement at this suggestion.
In Chapter Forty-Three, Jim persuades most of them to let Brown and his men go and they prefer to believe in ‘Tuan Jim’ than not. Jim’s romantic belief in faith is outlined as the readers are told that he trusts Brown’s rough frankness. He is also keen to be on the defensive, though, and takes ten men to the mouth of the creek. Tamb’ Itam is told by Jim to precede Brown’s boat down the river (by an hour) to inform Dain Waris that the whites are to be allowed to pass. Jim gives Tamb’ Itam his silver ring (to give to Dain Waris) as a token of the importance of this message. Cornelius has also been sent with a message to remind Brown he has been given a safe passage out. Cornelius informs Brown of the Dain Waris encampment and tells him he knows of another way down the river. He adds that if something happened where the people no longer believed in Jim, ‘where would he be?’ Brown’s party travel down the river through the thick mist and encounter Jim. They pass by peacefully.
Analysis – Chapters Forty-One, Forty-Two and Forty-Three
Jim’s desire to believe in Brown is based not only on his faith in his ‘rough frankness’, but also on his own guilt for leaving the Patna. Brown inadvertently strikes a chord with Jim when he points out his view of the necessity of survival (that one looks after oneself first).
Jim’s faith in Brown’s promise to leave peacefully has been colored by his own subjective preference for the truth. This idealistic view of humanity, which is still apparently affected by Jim’s romanticism, is enforced on Dain Waris. This is because Tamb’ Itam is sent to inform him that Brown and his men are to be allowed to leave peacefully (and, therefore, to be trusted) and the silver ring is used as the means to show the import of this message.