A novel by J. Conrad, published 1904.
In an imaginary South American country, Costaguana, Charles Gould runs a silver mine of national importance in the province of Sulaco. He is married to Emilia, a woman of charm and intelligence, whose arrival has been of great benefit to the local people. In a time of political unrest and revolution, when the silver from the mine is in danger of being seized by the rebel forces, Gould becomes obsessed with the idea of saving it. He enlists the help of Decoud, the cynical, Paris‐influenced journalist and of an older man, Dr Monygham, and together they appeal to Nostromo, an Italian sailor, now Capataz de Cargadores, a hero to all. With great daring Decoud and Nostromo sail off to a nearby island where they bury the treasure. Decoud is left alone to guard the silver on the deserted island; he loses his mind and, after shooting himself, drowns, his body weighted with silver. The common assumption is that the silver was lost at sea and the temptation proves too much for Nostromo, who decides to steal it. His old friend Viola, an ex‐Garibaldino, is appointed lighthouse keeper on the island and, unwittingly, guard for the silver. Nostromo trifles with Viola's two in fatuated daughters, grows rich as he gradually pilfers the silver, and is finally shot when mistaken for an intruder. Mortally wounded, he sends for Emilia, and confesses his crime in the hope of absolution, but dies without revealing the whereabouts of the treasure.
Related content in Oxford Index
Joseph Conrad (1857—1924) master mariner and author