ONCE Lord Jim was out of the way, the Conrad family went off to Bruges, towards the end of July, 'to join the disconsolate and much enduring Hueffer'1 with the idea of combining a holiday with some collaboration on Seraphina. From Bruges the whole party moved to Knocke, on the coast near Ostend. Here Borys got dysentery and nearly died:
The whole hotel was in a commotion: Dutch, Belgians and French prowled about the corridor on the look-out for news. Women with babies of their own offered to sit up, and a painter of religious subjects, Paulus by name, rose up and declared himself ready to do likewise. Elsie Hueffer helped a bit, but poor H. did not get much collaboration out of me this time.2
It is not surprising that Jessie described the holiday as a 'night- marish time'.3 The episode gave rise to almost the only good words that Jessie had to say for Hueffer: 'At this crisis I have nothing but praise for F. M. H. He earned my gratitude and appreciation by the manner he showed his practical sympathy. He was always at hand to shift my small invalid, fetch the doctor or help with the nursing.'4
After this disastrous month abroad the Conrads returned to the Pent, and during the rest of the year Conrad worked at his collaboration on Seraphina. He also, probably in September,5 started another story of his own, Typhoon, which he finished in January of the new year, 1901.6
In the Author's Note Conrad says that he had heard the incident on which Typhoon is based--the taking of a ship with a large number of coolies on board through the centre of a typhoon--'being talked about in the East'. He adds that 'I never met anybody personally concerned in this affair'. The hero, Captain MacWhirr, 'is not an acquaintance of a few hours, or a few weeks, or a few months. He is
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Publication information: Book title: Joseph Conrad:A Critical Biography. Contributors: Jocelyn Baines - Author. Publisher: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1960. Page number: 256.
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