Joseph Conrad: Nostromo


A PROFOUND stillness reigned in the Casa Gould. The master of
the house, walking along the corredor, opened the door of his
room, and saw his wife sitting in a big armchair--his own smoking
armchair--thoughtful, contemplating her little shoes. And she did
not raise her eyes when he walked in.

"Tired?" asked Charles Gould.

"A little," said Mrs. Gould. Still without looking up, she added
with feeling, "There is an awful sense of unreality about all

Charles Gould, before the long table strewn with papers, on which
lay a hunting crop and a pair of spurs, stood looking at his
wife: "The heat and dust must have been awful this afternoon by
the waterside," he murmured, sympathetically. "The glare on the
water must have been simply terrible."

"One could close one's eyes to the glare," said Mrs. Gould.
"But, my dear Charley, it is impossible for me to close my eyes
to our position; to this awful . . ."

She raised her eyes and looked at her husband's face, from which
all sign of sympathy or any other feeling had disappeared. "Why
don't you tell me something?" she almost wailed.

"I thought you had understood me perfectly from the first,"
Charles Gould said, slowly. "I thought we had said all there was
to say a long time ago. There is nothing to say now. There were
things to be done. We have done them; we have gone on doing
them. There is no going back now. I don't suppose that, even
from the first, there was really any possible way back. And,
what's more, we can't even afford to stand still."

"Ah, if one only knew how far you mean to go," said his wife.
inwardly trembling, but in an almost playful tone.

"Any distance, any length, of course," was the answer, in a
matter-of-fact tone, which caused Mrs. Gould to make another
effort to repress a shudder.

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