Blackwood's Magazine, Youth, A Narrative; and Two Other Stories, Palestine
a story by Joseph Conrad, first published in Blackwood's Magazine (1898), and collected in Youth, A Narrative; and Two Other Stories (1902). The story was based on Conrad's 1881–2 voyage as second mate on the Palestine, and it introduced Marlow as story-teller. To the same audience as in Heart of Darkness (which Conrad began writing in December 1898), Marlow tells of his first voyage to the East as a 20-year-old second mate on board an old and rusty barque, the Judea, bound for Bangkok. The voyage is dogged by delays and difficulties: shifting ballast in a gale between London and Newcastle; a collision with a steamship in Newcastle harbour; further damage from gales in the Atlantic, which obliges the Judea to put back to Falmouth for repairs. When the Judea finally reaches the Indian Ocean, the cargo of coal catches fire and the crew are forced to abandon ship and take to the boats. Throughout, the older Marlow looks back at the enthusiasm and thoughtless optimism of the younger Marlow. The story presents a middle-aged recollection of youthful adventure, its reflections on the romantic illusions and enthusiasms of youth tempered by a sense of sadness and loss.