Joseph Conrad: Nostromo


ALL the morning Nostromo had kept his eye from afar on the Casa
Viola, even in the thick of the hottest scrimmage near the Custom
House. "If I see smoke rising over there," he thought to himself,
"they are lost." Directly the mob had broken he pressed with a
small band of Italian workmen in that direction, which, indeed,
was the shortest line towards the town. That part of the rabble
he was pursuing seemed to think of making a stand under the
house; a volley fired by his followers from behind an aloe hedge
made the rascals fly. In a gap chopped out for the rails of the
harbour branch line Nostromo appeared, mounted on his silver-grey
mare. He shouted, sent after them one shot from his revolver, and
galloped up to the cafe window. He had an idea that old Giorgio
would choose that part of the house for a refuge.

His voice had penetrated to them, sounding breathlessly hurried:
"Hola! Vecchio! O, Vecchio! Is it all well with you in there?"

"You see--" murmured old Viola to his wife. Signora Teresa was
silent now. Outside Nostromo laughed.

"I can hear the padrona is not dead."

"You have done your best to kill me with fear," cried Signora
Teresa. She wanted to say something more, but her voice failed

Linda raised her eyes to her face for a moment, but old Giorgio
shouted apologetically--

"She is a little upset."

Outside Nostromo shouted back with another laugh--

"She cannot upset me."

Signora Teresa found her voice.

"It is what I say. You have no heart--and you have no conscience,
Gian' Battista--"

They heard him wheel his horse away from the shutters. The party
he led were babbling excitedly in Italian and Spanish, inciting
each other to the pursuit. He put himself at their head, crying,

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