This strong passion is one of the many forms of escape interrogated in the novel, which is all about how, where and with whom we seek sanctuary. As the action moves between Bath and Borneo, it gestures also towards the idea of empire as a form of refuge. Most of the Englishmen in this novel seek sanctuary in ways that involve them violating the spaces of others, as exemplified in the menacing desperation of Ross’s addresses to Jane. Even though he deplores “the white man’s desire to discover ‘lost tribes’ in parts of the world nobody had yet mapped, being inclined to think that these people might be happy in their ‘lostness’ and living lives of quiet content”, he fails to recognise how this is mirrored by his own rapacious desire, and her recoiling ambivalence. Another male character, Sir Ralph Savage, is an example of exactly the sort of white man Ross denigrates, having left his homeland in search of a place where he can convince himself of his own exceptionalism. Savage acts as a local “rajah” in Borneo, a self-described “lover of young men who believes that he alone is the guarantor of his subjects’ happiness yet has achieved nothing toward that end other than overseeing construction of a road that goes no further than his own property”.