Friday, 26 August 2011

Barry Lyndon Plot Summary, Chapters 7, 8 and 9

Chapter 7
  • Barry enters the service of Captain de Potsdorff, nephew and heir to the minister of police, as an ordinance. He brags about his former merits to the Captain and then tells of his slyness in his service.
  • He writes a letter to his mother. The answer makes him homesick.
  • He overhears the police minister advising the Captain to withhold any promotion of him, and when he is sent to spy in the Chevalier de Balibary, who turns out to be his Roman Catholic uncle (Balibary being a latinisation of Ballybarry), he gives himself away on purpose.
Chapter 8
  • Barry joins forces with his uncle and together they spend the days gambling. They work out small reports for the Captain.
  • The Uncle is on a spying mission for the Austrians.
  • They develop a gambling language and play several important personages.
  • Barry reports back a pre-planned story to the Captain. When he reports that Prussian officers had been gambling with his uncle, the captain plans to have him arrested and sent out of the country. Since any promotion is denied him from the Captain's hand, Barry resolves to swap places with his uncle, bringing two pistols.
Chapter 9
  • The scheme works and the Uncle soon joins Barry in Dresden, having caught the Captain trying to burglarise his red box of intelligence and had him sent off to Spandau prison.
  • Barry decides to abandon military life and take up a full time gambling career with his uncle.
  • He discusses whether gambling is disreputable and claims it is no more so than other professions.
  • He tells many stories of success and failure, about the nobility they played and claims that women likes "to play [...] but not to pay" (OUP 2008, 130-131)
  • An associate of theirs, the impostor Count Alessandro Pippi, drugs them and makes off with their funds. They pawn their clothes and jewellery and continue gambling.

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