Joseph Conrad: Nostromo

4. CHAPTER FOUR (continued)

With their handsome, bronzed, lean faces, shiny black ringlets,
glistening eyes, broad-chested, bearded, sometimes a tiny gold
ring in the lobe of the ear, the aristocracy of the railway works
listened to him, turning away from their cards or dominoes. Here
and there a fair-haired Basque studied his hand meantime, waiting
without protest. No native of Costaguana intruded there. This was
the Italian stronghold. Even the Sulaco policemen on a night
patrol let their horses pace softly by, bending low in the saddle
to glance through the window at the heads in a fog of smoke; and
the drone of old Giorgio's declamatory narrative seemed to sink
behind them into the plain. Only now and then the assistant of
the chief of police, some broad-faced, brown little gentleman,
with a great deal of Indian in him, would put in an appearance.
Leaving his man outside with the horses he advanced with a
confident, sly smile, and without a word up to the long trestle
table. He pointed to one of the bottles on the shelf; Giorgio,
thrusting his pipe into his mouth abruptly, served him in person.
Nothing would be heard but the slight jingle of the spurs. His
glass emptied, he would take a leisurely, scrutinizing look all
round the room, go out, and ride away slowly, circling towards
the town.

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