Study Guide

Nostromo Part 2, Chapter 5

By Joseph Conrad

Part 2, Chapter 5

  • Picking up where the last chapter left off, Mrs. Gould, Antonia, Don José, and Martin are still discussing Costaguana politics when they arrive back at the Gould residence. Martin makes some comments that Mrs. Gould takes as a slam against her husband, as does Antonia. Martin denies that he means to neg Mr. Gould, though.
  • Martin and Antonia then move off from the group a bit, onto the balcony outside the main salon where everyone has been having tea, and he tries to get her to understand his political views better. He also suggests that they leave Sulaco together. During their conversation, he lets drop that he has managed to make friends with Nostromo.
  • Meanwhile, other friends of the Goulds come around to talk politics and war.
  • After a little while, Antonia goes back into the house and leaves with Mrs. Gould and the chief engineer.
  • Martin also comes in from the balcony and engages in banter/discussion with Father Corbelán, who (we then learn) the chief magistrate had wanted to deport for riling up the populace in the wrong ways and being in touch with the robber Hernández. Tsk tsk, Father.
  • Then, Father Corbelán gets on Martin's case for being a heathen, and Martin kind of half-heartedly defends himself.
  • Slowly, the visitors trickle out (including Martin) until only a hide-merchant named Hirsch from Esmeralda is left. Hirsch is feeling pretty tweaky about his future trade prospects in the country and is trying to get Gould's reassurance. Also, he keeps harping on his disconcerting first meeting with Nostromo on the road to Sulaco. Apparently, Hirsch initially took Nostromo for a bandit. When Gould reassures him Nostromo is good people, Hirsch doesn't seem to believe it, emphasizing that Nostromo had been talking to bandits.
  • Hirsch then tries again to get Gould to talk business prospects, offering to put him in touch with a German dynamite dealer. At this point, Gould finally loses his patience with the dude and explains that he already has plenty of dynamite. Wait, what? What does he need dynamite for?
  • After Mr. Hirsch leaves the chief engineer, also on his way out, casually mentions that now he knows where to go for extra dynamite, should he need it. Gould insists that he will not be letting any of it go, as he is keeping it ready to blow up the mine (!), if that should become necessary.
  • Oh right, they're at war. Apparently, he really doesn't want the mine getting into the wrong hands.