Joseph Conrad: Nostromo

4. CHAPTER FOUR (continued)

"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 was a dark
place)--he was, as it were, under the eye of the great man who
had led him in a glorious struggle where, under the walls of
Gaeta, tyranny would have expired for ever had it not been for
that accursed Piedmontese race of kings and ministers. When
sometimes a frying-pan caught fire during a delicate operation
with some shredded onions, and the old man was seen backing out
of the doorway, swearing and coughing violently in an acrid cloud
of smoke, the name of Cavour--the arch intriguer sold to kings
and tyrants--could be heard involved in imprecations against the
China girls, cooking in general, and the brute of a country where
he was reduced to live for the love of liberty that traitor had

Then Signora Teresa, all in black, issuing from another door,
advanced, portly and anxious, inclining her fine, black-browed
head, opening her arms, and crying in a profound tone--

"Giorgio! thou passionate man! Misericordia Divina! In the sun
like this! He will make himself ill."

This is page 24 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.