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Marlow reflects on Jim's many plans for Patusan, including the building of a coffee plantation. He is totally amazed at Jim's enthusiasm, level of energy, and optimism. It is almost hard to believe that Jim fits in so well on this mysterious island and leads a blissful existence. He has truly proven that "he is one of us." Marlow himself feels almost lost and never comfortable during his Patusan visit.
Marlow's reverie is interrupted by Cornelius, who approaches "vermin-like" and wants to talk. Marlow remembers that Jim considered Cornelius a coward, but on this night the despicable character talks courageously. He wants Marlow to convince Jim to give him some money in exchange for Jewel. He had raised her, although she was not really his. He feels he should be monetarily rewarded by Jim before he departs Patusan. Marlow explains to the old man that Jim has no intention of leaving the island. Cornelius tells him that Jim is a fool to stay in Patusan and urges Marlow to compel Jim to leave. He even promises to take care of Jewel when Jim departs. Marlow again insists that Jim will never leave Patusan. Cornelius bemoans his fate, stating that he is being trampled by Jim. As Cornelius swears and threatens, Marlow takes his leave.
In this chapter the gloominess deepens and the darkness begins to close in. Conrad continues to build an atmosphere of suspense and impending tragedy. Marlow reveals that Jim told Jewel about the Patna, but she did not believe him; she thinks he is the bravest and wisest man she has ever known. Marlow also feels somewhat smug over Jim's accomplishments; he is glad to know that his earlier trust in Jim and his basic goodness was merited. He is now able to leave Jim to his own destiny; but there is a hint that the end will not be good.
Cornelius is reintroduced to the book, for he seeks out Marlow for a conversation. It is obvious that he is still a rogue and a villain. He wants Jim to pay him some money for Jewel. He also tells Marlow that Jim is childish and foolish and begs Marlow to take Jim away. When Marlow tells him that Jim will never leave Patusan, the jealous Cornelius swears loudly and threatens violence. Marlow leaves the man, incorrectly judging him as "too insignificant to be dangerous." In the end, Cornelius will greatly contribute to Jim's undoing.