What attitude did the manager and pilgrims display towards Marlow?
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"He was neither civil nor uncivil. He was quiet. He allowed his 'boy'--an overfed young negro from the coast--to treat the white men, under his very eyes, with provoking insolence."
Marlow's first meeting with the manager. The manager's attitude toward Marlow seems to be one of indifference. He talks about Kurtz's value, but then does nothing to hurry the attempts to find him.
"Next thing he wanted to know 'how long it would take to' . . . I interrupted him again. Being hungry, you know, and kept on my feet too. I was getting savage. 'How can I tell?' I said. 'I haven't even seen the wreck yet--some months, no doubt.' All this talk seemed to me so futile. 'Some months,' he said. 'Well, let us say three months before we can make a start. Yes. That ought to do the affair.' I flung out of his hut (he lived all alone in a clay hut with a sort of verandah) muttering to myself my opinion of him. He was a chattering idiot. Afterwards I took it back when it was borne in upon me startlingly with what extreme nicety he had estimated the time requisite for the 'affair.'
Again, the manager seems to be more concerned with his own affairs. Marlow is simply a presence in the room. The manager question him as to "how long," but then seems to have his own time frame decided anyway.
"I had no idea why he wanted to be sociable, but as we chatted in there it suddenly occurred to me the fellow was trying to get at something--in fact, pumping me. He alluded constantly to Europe, to the people I was supposed to know there--putting leading questions as to my acquaintances in the sepulchral city, and so on. His little eyes glittered like mica discs--with curiosity--though he tried to keep up a bit of superciliousness. At first I was astonished, but very soon I became awfully curious to see what he would find out from me. I couldn't possibly imagine what I had in me to make it worth his while. It was very pretty to see how he baffled himself, for in truth my body was full only of chills, and my head had nothing in it but that wretched steamboat business. It was evident he took me for a perfectly shameless prevaricator. At last he got angry, and, to conceal a movement of furious annoyance, he yawned."
The pilgrims want something from Marlow; this conversation shows that they believe he knows something they have need of. The Pilgrims are actually Central Station agents; Marlow named them Pilgrims because of their attire and staves.
Heart of Darkness