Joseph Conrad: Nostromo


SULACO outstripped Nostromo's prudence, growing rich swiftly on
the hidden treasures of the earth, hovered over by the anxious
spirits of good and evil, torn out by the labouring hands of the
people. It was like a second youth, like a new life, full of
promise, of unrest, of toil, scattering lavishly its wealth to
the four corners of an excited world. Material changes swept
along in the train of material interests. And other changes more
subtle, outwardly unmarked, affected the minds and hearts of the
workers. Captain Mitchell had gone home to live on his savings
invested in the San Tome mine; and Dr. Monygham had grown older,
with his head steel-grey and the unchanged expression of his
face, living on the inexhaustible treasure of his devotion drawn
upon in the secret of his heart like a store of unlawful wealth.

The Inspector-General of State Hospitals (whose maintenance is a
charge upon the Gould Concession), Official Adviser on Sanitation
to the Municipality, Chief Medical Officer of the San Tome
Consolidated Mines (whose territory, containing gold, silver,
copper, lead, cobalt, extends for miles along the foot-hills of
the Cordillera), had felt poverty-stricken, miserable, and
starved during the prolonged, second visit the Goulds paid to
Europe and the United States of America. Intimate of the casa,
proved friend, a bachelor without ties and without establishment
(except of the professional sort), he had been asked to take up
his quarters in the Gould house. In the eleven months of
their absence the familiar rooms, recalling at every glance the
woman to whom he had given all his loyalty, had grown
intolerable. As the day approached for the arrival of the mail
boat Hermes (the latest addition to the O. S. N. Co.'s splendid
fleet), the doctor hobbled about more vivaciously, snapped more
sardonically at simple and gentle out of sheer nervousness.

He packed up his modest trunk with speed, with fury, with
enthusiasm, and saw it carried out past the old porter at the
gate of the Casa Gould with delight, with intoxication; then, as
the hour approached, sitting alone in the great landau behind the
white mules, a little sideways, his drawn-in face positively
venomous with the effort of self-control, and holding a pair of
new gloves in his left hand, he drove to the harbour.

This is page 397 of 449. [Mark this Page]
Mark any page to add this title to Your Bookshelf. (0 / 10 books on shelf)
Customize text appearance:
Color: A A A A A   Font: Aa Aa   Size: 1 2 3 4 5   Defaults
(c) 2003-2012 and Michael Moncur. All rights reserved.
For information about public domain texts appearing here, read the copyright information and disclaimer.