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Chapter III.1
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.
"Withdrawing your people from the harbour?" said the doctor, addressing himself
to the chief engineer of the railway, who had accompanied Charles Gould so far
on his way to the town, walking by the side of the horse, with his hand on the
saddle-bow. They had stopped just outside the open door to let the workmen
cross the road.
"As quick as I can. We are not a political faction," answered the engineer,
meaningly. "And we are not going to give our new rulers a handle against the
railway. You approve me, Gould?"
"Absolutely," said Charles Gould's impassive voice, high up and outside the dim
parallelogram of light falling on the road through the open door.