Nostromo HTML version

Chapter I.4
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 her.
Linda raised her eyes to her face for a moment, but old Giorgio shouted
"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, "Avanti!"
"He has not stopped very long with us. There is no praise from strangers to be
got here," Signora Teresa said tragically. "Avanti! Yes! That is all he cares for. To
be first somewhere--somehow--to be first with these English. They will be
showing him to everybody. 'This is our Nostromo!'" She laughed ominously.
"What a name! What is that? Nostromo? He would take a name that is properly
no word from them."
Meantime Giorgio, with tranquil movements, had been unfastening the door; the
flood of light fell on Signora Teresa, with her two girls gathered to her side, a
picturesque woman in a pose of maternal exaltation. Behind her the wall was
dazzlingly white, and the crude colours of the Garibaldi lithograph paled in the
Old Viola, at the door, moved his arm upwards as if referring all his quick, fleeting
thoughts to the picture of his old chief on the wall. Even when he was cooking for
the "Signori Inglesi"--the engineers (he was a famous cook, though the kitchen