Joseph Conrad: Nostromo


DIRECTLY the cargo boat had slipped away from the wharf and got
lost in the darkness of the harbour the Europeans of Sulaco
separated, to prepare for the coming of the Monterist regime,
which was approaching Sulaco from the mountains, as well as from
the sea.

This bit of manual work in loading the silver was their last
concerted action. It ended the three days of danger, during
which, according to the newspaper press of Europe, their energy
had preserved the town from the calamities of popular disorder.
At the shore end of the jetty, Captain Mitchell said good-night
and turned back. His intention was to walk the planks of the
wharf till the steamer from Esmeralda turned up. The engineers of
the railway staff, collecting their Basque and Italian workmen,
marched them away to the railway yards, leaving the Custom House,
so well defended on the first day of the riot, standing open to
the four winds of heaven. Their men had conducted themselves
bravely and faithfully during the famous "three days" of Sulaco.
In a great part this faithfulness and that courage had been
exercised in self-defence rather than in the cause of those
material interests to which Charles Gould had pinned his faith.
Amongst the cries of the mob not the least loud had been the cry
of death to foreigners. It was, indeed, a lucky circumstance for
Sulaco that the relations of those imported workmen with the
people of the country had been uniformly bad from the first.

Doctor Monygham, going to the door of Viola's kitchen, observed
this retreat marking the end of the foreign interference, this
withdrawal of the army of material progress from the field of
Costaguana revolutions.

Algarrobe torches carried on the outskirts of the moving body
sent their penetrating aroma into his nostrils. Their light,
sweeping along the front of the house, made the letters of the
inscription, "Albergo d'ltalia Una," leap out black from end to
end of the long wall. His eyes blinked in the clear blaze.
Several young men, mostly fair and tall, shepherding this mob of
dark bronzed heads, surmounted by the glint of slanting rifle
barrels, nodded to him familiarly as they went by. The doctor was
a well-known character. Some of them wondered what he was doing
there. Then, on the flank of their workmen they tramped on,
following the line of rails.

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