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"I asked myself what I was to do there, now my boat was lost. As a matter of fact, I had plenty to do in fishing my command out of the river. I had to set about it the very next day. That, and the repairs when I brought the pieces to the station, took some months." (1.51)
Marlow is so intent on making his journey that he loses no time in beginning repairs on the steamboat. However, the damage is done and he must delay his trip yet again.
"Oh, these months!" (1.55)
Conrad uses these delays to increase the sense of suspense and give Marlow (and the readers) more time to grow curious about Kurtz.
"However, they were all waiting – all the sixteen or twenty pilgrims of them – for something; and upon my word it did not seem an uncongenial occupation, from the way they took it, though the only thing that ever came to them was disease – as far as I could see. They beguiled the time by back-biting and intriguing against each other in a foolish kind of way. There was an air of plotting about that station, but nothing came of it, of course." (1.56)
Conrad plays with time to give the situation a feeling of futility and ineptitude. Everyone experiences a sense of delay and, particularly in Marlow’s case, a sense of endless ennui in the constant waiting.