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"I had put on a dry pair of slippers, I dragged him out, after first jerking the spear out of his side, which operation I confess I performed with my eyes shut tight." (2.30)
Marlow has an irrational fear of touching the dead helmsman.
[The manager’s uncle]: "Ah! my boy, trust to this – I say, trust to this." I saw him extend his short flipper of an arm for a gesture that took in the forest, the creek the mud, the river – seemed to beckon with a dishonouring flourish before the sunlit face of the land a treacherous appeal to the lurking death, to the hidden evil, to the profound darkness of its heart. It was so startling that I leaped to my feet and looked back at the edge of the forest, as though I had expected an answer of some sort to that black display of confidence […] (2.2)
The jungle is so ominous that Marlow expects whatever dark force resides there to emerge from the darkness and strike down the manager’s uncle for daring to believe it would ever bow to his will. His journey to the interior now seems more ill-starred than ever.
"And I didn't do badly either, since I managed not to sink that steamboat on my first trip. It's a wonder to me yet. Imagine a blindfolded man set to drive a van over a bad road. I sweated and shivered over that business considerably, I can tell you […] I don't pretend to say that steamboat floated all the time. More than once she had to wade for a bit, with twenty cannibals splashing around and pushing." (2.7)
Marlow manages to get the steamboat whole and unscathed up the Congo and to the Inner Station. He endures a great deal of difficulty keeping it afloat and one wonders whether or not he was meant to get there alive. Marlow himself admits that he scraped the bottom more than once with the steamboat. But Fate seems to be on Marlow’s side.