Study Guide

Nostromo Part 2, Chapter 7

By Joseph Conrad

Part 2, Chapter 7

  • The chapter opens with Martin holed up in the Violas' hotel writing to his sister. It is nighttime, and apparently it has been quite an eventful day.
  • In the letter, he describes Ribiera's escape and the looting/rioting that occurred that same day (which we had already heard about from the omniscient narrator earlier in the novel) and his involvement in the day's events.
  • He announces that the political tides have turned in the Provincial Assembly.
  • Taking a break from writing, he then talks to Viola's two daughters, who are also in the room cowering in the corner. They talked a lot about Nostromo.
  • When Martin returns to writing, he notes that Barrios's troops had reached Cayta and sent word that 'The greatest enthusiasm prevails' there (II.7.35). Finally, some good news.
  • He also describes helping out with the wounded when he visited the Goulds' house (they were being treated there).
  • When he went upstairs at Casa Gould, he found what was left of the Provincial Assembly getting ready to surrender. He railed against them for considering playing ball with Montero, but they weren't impressed—except, perhaps, for Don José, who seemed to offer his blessing to Martin's plans to resist Montero's governance.
  • At this point in the letter, he tells his sister that Don José was apparently close to death the last time Martin saw him (after the run in at Casa Gould). That was also the last time he saw Antonia.
  • In other news, Father Corbelán had fled from Sulaco the previous evening.
  • Martin then went back to the meeting at Casa Gould and described the plans he had been making with Don Carlos, Antonia, and Mrs. Gould to resist the Monterist takeover. They had discussed getting financial support for their scheme from Holroyd. Later in the meeting, the engineer-in-chief of the railway had joined them.
  • Unfortunately, the engineer wasn't coming without news: He said that the telegraph operator at the foot of the mountains had gotten in touch saying that Ribiera, contrary to what he believed, had been followed over the mountains—by Pedro Montero, the general's brother, who was planning to seize Sulaco. He and his men had found Bonifacio lying on the road and killed him.
  • With that detail, Martin essentially brings his sister up to date. He is expecting Pedro Montero in Sulaco in less than thirty hours.
  • To make matters worse, they are also expecting another set of Monterist forces to arrive by sea from the fallen garrison of Esmeralda—and those folks are expected before daybreak. Knowing that Montero was likely to kill him for his anti-Monterist news reporting, Martin plans to get out of dodge ASAP. He and the silver shipment that just came down to Sulaco from the mine would be fleeing together with some help from Nostromo.
  • Nostromo then returns to the hotel from fetching the doctor for Teresa Viola, who is dying. Before being allowed to leave for their mission to get the Gould silver (and Martin) out of Sulaco by boat, Nostromo has to go visit with Teresa. Martin goes ahead to the boat with the Goulds, leaving Nostromo behind to complete that last task.
  • During their visit, Teresa seems dissatisfied with Nostromo's level of devotion to her and her family and his choices overall. Also, she tries to get him to go fetch a priest for her, but he refuses because he needs to hit the road with the silver.
  • Nostromo then goes to the lighter, and he and Martin set off with the silver alone… or at least thinking they are alone.
  • As they float along, Nostromo and Martin discuss the Goulds' motivations and wisdom in having Nostromo risk his neck to save the silver like this. Nostromo laments the way he left Teresa.
  • Then, hearing some weird noises coming from elsewhere on the boat, Nostromo comes to realize they weren't alone, and they discover Hirsch hiding under the half-deck.