To stretch somewhat, I believe that what is safe is not Mrs Gould per se, but altruism, of which she is the allegory. In my annotations in the novel (see ) I describe the relationship between altruism in the person of Mrs Gould and cynicism in the person of Dr Monygham. Cynicism, which condemns mankind universally, must secretly sympathize with humanity, otherwise there would be no basis for condemnation. At the heart of cynicism, therefore, lies a secret and protected well of altruism. What Conrad is saying here, I believe, is that no matter how cynical the modern world gets (represented by the bitterness of Mrs Gould), the altruistic impulse will always be preserved, safe in the heart of that very cynicism.