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Quote #10

"The real trouble with Winterbottom," said Wright after deep thought, "is that he is too serious to sleep with native women." Clarke was startled out of his own thoughts, and for a brief moment he completely forgot about Winterbottom. On more than one occasion during his present tour he had come up in his mind against the question: How widespread was the practice of white men sleeping with native women?

"He doesn't seem to realize that even Governors have been known to keep dusky mistresses." He licked his lips.

"I don't think it's a question of knowing or not knowing," said Clarke. "He is a man of very high principles, something of a missionary…."

[…]

"I think you are right about the missionary business. He should have come out with the C.M.S. or some such people. By the way, he has been going around lately with the woman missionary doctor at Nkisa. Of course we all have our different tastes, but I would not have thought a woman missionary doctor could provide much fun for a man in this God-forsaken place." (10.26-29).

We've already heard about Winterbottom's disgust for Wright, who puts the British project of "civilizing" the world at stake due to his low standards of behavior. In this short passage, the question of respect and reputation is turned on its head. Rather than applying the usual standards, we hear Wright's take on the subject. Though at first he believes that Winterbottom's puritan ethics are due to his ignorance, Clarke convinces him to accept instead the theory that Winterbottom is like a missionary. Though he keeps standards high, he misses out on all the fun.

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