Whatever limitations we may be able to expose in the French Lieutenant – inflexibility, lack of imagination, lack of charity – ‘the blight of futility’ falls on his dialogue with Marlow not only because of the dismaying abruptness with which Marlow discovers that he and the Frenchmen are in irreconcilable disagreement over the case of Jim, but also because what the Lieutenant has said about ‘honour’ itself is unanswerable; the part of Marlow that deals in moral discriminations rather than in intuitions and emotions is bound to agree with it. The Frenchman says that life is worthless when honour is lost. 1 Marlow’s reply is very lame (and his ‘disconcerted’ smile shows that he knows this): ‘“Very well,” I said, with a disconcerted smile, “but couldn’t it reduce itself to not being found out?”’ Marlow is countering morality with expediency and the Frenchman treats this with (well-merited) contempt by refusing to condescend to answer it: “This, monsieur, is too fine for me – much above me – I don’t think about it” (Chapter 13, pp. 148–9). Playing advocate for Jim has betrayed Marlow into using a despicable argument against a man who is bound to command his professional respect.