Summary (Masterplots: Revised Category Edition, British Fiction Series)
Wiltshire welcomed his transfer to the trading station at Falesa after spending four years on a Pacific island where he had no white neighbors. Case and old Captain Randall lived in Falesa. Even though they operated a competing store, Wiltshire was grateful for their presence. At first, he was not disturbed by the fates of his two predecessors. One of them, John Adams, had become ill and died after a period of insanity. The other, Vigours, had left suddenly because of his intense fear of Case and Black Jack.
When Wiltshire first met Case and his black colleague, Black Jack, he was pleased with the clean appearance of both and with the educated speech of the white man. Case was very obliging. He had suggested that Wiltshire get a native wife and had pointed out Uma, a shy, slender girl whom Wiltshire agreed to take. Because Wiltshire did not know the native tongue, Case made all the arrangements with the girl and her mother.
The wedding took place in the store operated by Randall, Case, and Black Jack. This store, a small and filthy place with few supplies other than firearms and liquor, was nominally owned by Randall, a sottish old derelict; but Case was obviously in charge. The marriage service was conducted by Black Jack, who pretended to read the service from a novel and said a few obscene words in English, which Uma could not understand. Case prepared a document, which stated that they were illegally married. At first sight, Wiltshire had...
(The entire section is 1344 words.)
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