Just then another man who lives on my floor came in from the street. The general idea hereabouts is that he’s a pimp. But if you ask him what his job is, he says he’s a warehouseman. One thing’s sure: he isn’t popular in our street.
Meursault introduces Raymond Sintès, a neighborhood pimp. Despite Raymond’s lack of popularity, readers learn that he often turns to Meursault for help or advice. Later, Meursault notes that Raymond abuses women, including his mistress who he believes has been unfaithful. Readers learn that Raymond beats her bloody but doesn’t believe he’s punished her enough, and asks for Meursault’s advice.
He wanted to write her a letter, “a real stinker, that’ll get her on the raw,” and at the same time make her repent of what she’d done. Then, when she came back, he’d go to bed with her and, just when she was “properly primed up,” he’d spit in her face and throw her out of the room.
Raymond shares his vicious plan with Meursault to punish his mistress and then asks for his help. He wants Meursault to write the letter for him and Meursault agrees. Meursault’s assistance seals the men’s friendship, at least for the time being.
“That’s enough,” the policeman said, and told the girl to go away. Raymond was to stay in his room till summoned to the police station. “You ought to be ashamed of yourself,” the policeman added, “getting so tight you can’t stand steady. Why, you’re shaking all over!”
After being called to break up a brawl between Raymond and his mistress, a policeman reprimands Raymond who, despite being ordered to remain quiet, threatens the sobbing woman again. Raymond claims that he shakes from his fear of the policeman, not from inebriation, but the reader recognizes this as a lie. Despite Raymond’s brutish, violent, and lying ways, Meursault remains unfazed and their friendship continues.
He said it had all gone quite smoothly at first, as per program; only then she’d slapped his face and he’d seen red, and started thrashing her. As for what happened after that, he needn’t tell me, as I was there.
Meursault recalls Raymond admitting to losing his temper with his mistress when she’d slapped him in self-defense. Raymond then asks Meursault to act as his witness by coming to the police with him and testifying that the woman had been unfaithful, and Meursault agrees. Meursault feels noncommittal and dispassionate about the whole affair, reflecting how he feels about and views everything and everyone in his life.
“It’s like this,” he said. “I’ve been shadowed all the morning by some Arabs. One of them’s the brother of that girl I had the row with. If you see him hanging round the house when you come back, pass me the word.”
Raymond tells Meursault he’s being followed by several Arabs, aware that they want revenge for how he treated his mistress. Meursault, loyal to Raymond despite Raymond’s despicable character, agrees to tell him if he sees anything suspicious. This conversation portends the murder later in the novel.
When we were in the bus, Raymond, who now seemed quite at ease, kept making jokes to amuse Marie. I could see he was attracted by her, but she had hardly a word for him. Now and again she would catch my eye and smile.
Meursault recalls a moment on the bus headed toward the seaside bungalow when he, Raymond, and Marie seem genuinely happy. Meursault doesn’t seem to care at all that Raymond, a violent brute, flirts with Marie, his fiancée. Time and time again, Meursault’s ambivalence predominates, and he does not experience the emotions or concerns common to most typical human experience.
We each gave him an arm and helped him back to the bungalow. Once we were there he told us the wounds weren’t so very deep and he could walk to where the doctor was. Marie had gone quite pale, and Mme Masson was in tears.
Meursault describes the events after the Arabs wound Raymond on the beach. After returning to the bungalow, Raymond reveals he’s been stabbed in the arm and in the mouth. While his physical wounds aren’t serious, his rage demands revenge. Raymond later insists they return to the beach in search of the Arabs. Meursault, lacking any conviction or care, agrees with Raymond’s reckless plan.
I, he said, was this man’s intimate friend and associate; in fact, the whole background of the crime was of the most squalid description. And what made it even more odious was the personality of the prisoner, an inhuman monster wholly without a moral sense.
Meursault recounts the Prosecutor talking to the judge and jury during the trial as he questions Raymond. Raymond begins his testimony by claiming Meursault’s innocence and stating that it was only a coincidence that he wrote the letter and accompanied him on the beach that day. He states that he was the man who had an argument with the victim, not Meursault. As with Marie and Céleste, Raymond only wants to help his friend, but he ends up hurting his case instead.
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