Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
By marrying Lingard’s adopted Malay daughter, Almayer inherits that prosperous merchant’s business and his plans for amassing a huge fortune in gold from rich mines up the Pantai River. Almayer and his wife have one daughter, Nina, a beautiful girl, who was sent to Singapore and for ten years was educated as a European. She returns home to Sambir unexpectedly at the end of that time, for she cannot bear to be treated as a half-caste in a white community. Unsuccessful in business, Almayer nurses dim hopes that he can find a gold mine and, his fortune made, take Nina to Amsterdam to spend his last days in prosperous retirement.
News that the English are to seize control of the Pantai River causes Almayer to begin building a new house in his compound, not far removed from the one in which he is living. He wants a house fine enough to receive the British. When the project is abandoned and the Dutch are left in nominal power, Almayer stops work on his new house. A company of Dutch seamen christens the structure “Almayer’s Folly.”
Lakamba, the native rajah, has a compound across the river from Almayer’s home. There he lives with his women, his slaves, and his principal aide, Babalatchi. Lakamba keeps close watch on Almayer as he leaves for several days at a time with a few of his men. After a time, Almayer gives up his trips and settles down to empty daydreams on his rotten wharf. His native wife despises him.
(The entire section is 1143 words.)
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