The Betrothed CHAPTER 20

The castle of the Unnamed towered above a narrow, dismal valley. It was situated on top of a peak, which stood a short distance away from a rough mountain ridge, but was joined to it – or perhaps we should say separated from it – by a wilderness of great rocks and precipices, a maze of chasms and cliffs, which spread out on both flanks of the castle as well. Access was only possible from the side towards the valley, where the slope, though steep, was uniform and continuous. There was pasture towards the top, and fields with cottages scattered here and there lower down. At the bottom of the valley lay a watercourse, strewn with large pebbles, through which ran the stream – an ugly torrent in winter, a rivulet in summer – that then marked the boundary between the two states. The ridge on the far side, which formed the other wall of the valley, also had a little cultivation on its lower slopes; but the rest of it consisted of boulders and splintered stone, and steep declivities without either roads or vegetation, except for an occasional bush growing in the clefts and along the upper contours of the ridge.

From his lofty castle the ferocious noble, like an eagle looking out from its blood-sodden eyrie, dominated the whole area round him, wherever the foot of man could rest. He could see no one higher than himself, in any sense. When he looked around, the whole enclave was laid out before him – the slopes, the valley bottom, the roads that had been driven through the wilderness. The road that climbed the slope up to his terrible lair, with many zigzags and hairpin bends, was displayed like a winding ribbon before the eyes of anyone looking down from the castle. The Unnamed could sit at his ease, looking down from window or loophole, and count every step taken by a visitor toiling up that hillside, and could take any one of a hundred chances of putting a bullet through him. Even if he had been attacked by a large force, he and the garrison of bravoes he kept with him could have stretched a good few of them lifeless on the road, or sent them rolling down to the bottom of the slope, before any of their number reached the summit. But in any case, far from daring to climb that hillside, no one ever ventured to set foot in the valley, even to pass straight through it, unless he was on good terms with the lord of the castle. If a policeman showed his face there, he would have been treated like a spy caught in the camp of his enemies. Stories were still told about the tragic ends which had overtaken the last policemen who had made the attempt; but they were already ancient history, and none of the younger men who lived in the valley could remember ever having seen anyone of that sort there, alive or dead.

Such is our anonymous author’s description of the place. He still mentions no name; in fact he is so careful not to give us a hint that might help us to discover it, that he says nothing about the details of Don Rodrigo’s journey, but takes him straight into the middle of the valley, to the foot of the peak, at the beginning of that tortuous upward path. At that point there was a tavern – a tavern which might almost as well have been called a guard-house. Over the door hung an old sign, which was painted on both sides with the picture of a brightly shining sun. But common parlance, which sometimes accepts names as it hears them and sometimes remakes them to suit itself, never called it by any other name than ‘The Ill-Starred Night’. At the sound of approaching horses’ hoofs, an ugly, loutish boy, armed to the teeth, appeared on the threshold. He glanced at the newcomers, and went in to report to three ruffians who were gambling with a pack of very dirty, bent old playing-cards. The one who seemed to be their leader got up and went to the door. Recognizing one of the master’s friends, he greeted him with great respect. Don Rodrigo returned his salute with much grace, and asked if his master was at home. The villainous corporal of the guard replied that he thought so, and Don Rodrigo dismounted, tossing his bridle to Tiradritto, one of his train of bravoes. Then he unslung his musket, and handed it to Montanarolo, with an air of ridding himself of an unnecessary burden before tackling the steep climb; but the real reason was that he knew very well that no one was allowed to travel that road with a firearm. Then he took a few berlinghe out of his pocket, and gave them to Tanabuso, saying, ‘You men stay here and wait for me; you can have a drink with these good fellows while I am away.’ Finally he pulled out a few gold scudi and gave them to the corporal, half for himself and half for his men.

Then he began to walk up the path, accompanied by Griso, who had also left his musket behind. Meanwhile the other three bravoes who have already been mentioned, together with Squinternotto who was the fourth (what beautiful names they had, for our author to record them for us with such care!)1 stayed behind with the three men of the guard and that boy with the mark of the gallows on him, to gamble, drink, and boast to each other about their past exploits.

Another of the Unnamed’s bravoes, who was going up to the castle, caught up with Don Rodrigo a little later. He looked at the visitor carefully, recognized him, and accompanied him for the rest of the way, thus sparing him the trouble of stating his name and business to the other men he might meet, who would probably not know him. Don Rodrigo reached the castle and was let in – though Griso had to wait at the door – and then conducted through a labyrinth of dark corridors, through various great rooms, where the walls were covered with muskets, sabres and halberds, and there were always a couple of bravoes on guard. Finally, after a short wait, he was admitted into the master’s room.

The Unnamed came forward to welcome him, and returned his salute, watching Don Rodrigo’s face and also keeping an eye on his hands. This was an old habit of his, almost an involuntary reaction, whenever anyone came to see him, even one of his oldest and best-tried friends. He was a tall, dark-skinned man, bald except for a fringe of white hair. His face was deeply furrowed, and at a first glance you might have credited him with more than his sixty years; but his manner, his movements, the harsh strength of his features and the sinister but intense light that shone in his eyes all indicated physical and mental powers that would have been remarkable in a young man.

Don Rodrigo explained that he had come for advice and help; having become involved in a difficult enterprise, from which his honour would not allow him to withdraw, he had remembered that he had previously received certain undertakings from a man whose promises never went beyond his powers, and were always redeemed. He went on to tell the tale of his villainy, and the tangle into which it had led him. The Unnamed had in fact heard part of the story already, though only in a confused version. He listened to Don Rodrigo intently, because he had a general interest in these matters, and also because this one involved a name that he knew well and hated bitterly – the name of Father Cristoforo, that declared enemy of all tyrants, who opposed them both with words and (where possible) with deeds.

Don Rodrigo knew his man well enough to dwell on the difficulties of the enterprise. Monza was so far away, the convent walls so high, the Signora’s protection so powerful. The Unnamed abruptly intervened, as if some devil in his heart had given him an order, to say that he had decided to undertake the task. He made a note of poor Lucia’s name, and dismissed Don Rodrigo, saying: ‘It will not be long before you hear from me what you are to do.’

If our readers still remember that wretched fellow Egidio, who lived next door to the convent where poor Lucia had taken refuge, they must now be told that he was one of the closest and most intimate partners in crime that the Unnamed possessed. That, in fact, was why the old man had taken up the challenge in so prompt and resolute a fashion. But as soon as he was left alone, he began to feel … not exactly repentant, but angry with himself for accepting it. For some time now he had been feeling not remorse but a sort of disquiet at the thought of his own past crimes. The numerous offences which had piled up in his memory, if not on his conscience, seemed to come to life again whenever he committed a new one. They came before his mind’s eye in too large and too ugly a throng; it was like a steady increase in the weight of an already uncomfortable burden. At the time of his first crimes he had felt a certain repugnance, which he had later overcome and almost completely banished from his mind, but now the feeling was beginning to come back. In those early days the thought of a long future, a future of indefinite length, and the consciousness of great vigour and vitality, had filled his heart with happy confidence; but now thoughts of the future were the very thing that poisoned his memories of the past.

‘Old age! Death! And what then?’ Strange to say, although in times of immediate danger, in face of an enemy, the image of death always breathed new spirit into him and filled him with angry courage, the same image appearing to him in the silence of the night, in the safety of his own castle, afflicted him with sudden dismay. For this time it was not death at the hands of a mortal like himself that threatened him; not a death that could be driven off by better weapons or a quicker hand. It was a death that came all alone, from within; it might still be far away, but every moment brought it a stride nearer. Even as the mind painfully thrust the thought of it away, the reality came closer. In earlier times the constant examples, the non-stop spectacle of violence, revenge and murder had filled him with a ferocious competitive spirit, and had also served as a sort of counterweight to conscience. But now a confused yet terrifying idea revisited his mind every so often – the idea that the individual is responsible for his own judgement, and that rightness cannot be established by examples. The fact that he had outdistanced the ordinary crowd of evil-doers and left them far behind sometimes gave him a horrifying feeling of loneliness.

That God of whom he had often heard – he had never troubled for many years either to acknowledge or to deny him, having been concerned only to live as if he did not exist; and yet now he had moments of inexplicable depression, of causeless terror, during which he seemed to hear a Voice within his own heart crying: ‘AND YET I AM!’ In those early, hot-blooded days he had seen nothing but an object of hatred in the law he heard proclaimed in God’s name (for he had at least heard it). But now, when the memory of that law suddenly came back to him, he found himself thinking of it, much against his will, as something destined to be fulfilled.

Far from confiding in anyone about this new source of disquiet, he covered it up as thoroughly as possible, masking it with an outward show of even more outrageous ferocity than before. He also sought to conceal it from himself, to suppress it altogether, by the same method. Since he could not forget or cancel those early days, when he had often committed the most atrocious crimes without any remorse, without any thought save that of success, he began to look back at them with envy, and did everything he could to make them return, to retain or recover his old proud, ready, implacable will, and convince himself that he was still the man he had been.

In the present instance he had given his promise to Don Rodrigo without a moment’s delay, in order to leave himself no room for hesitation. But as soon as Don Rodrigo had left, the Unnamed felt the resolution he had summoned up to make that promise ebbing away, to be gradually replaced by other thoughts, which tempted him to break his word, and might have led him to lose face before a friend, an accomplice of secondary rank. To cut short this painful internal conflict, he sent for Nibbio,2 who was one of the most skilful and daring of his assistants in crime, and also the one whom he normally used as a messenger in his dealings with Egidio. With a determined air the Unnamed ordered him to take horse at once, ride straight to Monza, tell Egidio about the task he had undertaken and ask for his help in carrying it out.

The villainous envoy returned sooner than his master expected, with Egidio’s reply. The job, he said, presented no great difficulty or danger; if the Unnamed would send him a carriage with two or three bravoes, all well disguised, he would take responsibility for everything else, and would direct the operation himself. As soon as he received this message, the Unnamed, whatever his inner feelings might be, issued his instructions at once. Nibbio himself was to make all the arrangements requested by Egidio, to take two other bravoes (whom his master named) and set off on this expedition immediately.

If Egidio had been compelled to rely on his ordinary resources to perform this repulsive service, he certainly could not have given so definite a promise at such short notice. But right within the walls of the place of refuge where everything seemed an obstacle, the young reprobate had resources known to him alone. The very thing which would have been the principal difficulty to another man became a ready instrument in his hands. We have already mentioned how on one occasion the unhappy Signora gave ear to his words; and the reader may have gathered that that occasion was not the only one – was in fact only the first step along a path of iniquity and bloodshed. The same voice to which she had listened those first few times had acquired fresh power over her – one might almost say fresh authority – as a result of the crime that had been committed; and now it demanded the sacrifice of the innocent girl who had been entrusted to her care.

The proposal made Gertrude’s blood run cold. If she had lost Lucia through no fault of her own, through some unforeseen accident, she would have felt it as a grave misfortune, a bitter stroke of Providence. But now she was ordered to deprive herself of Lucia’s company by a deed of atrocious treachery, to convert what had been an act of expiation into a new subject of remorse. The poor wretch tried every possible method of getting out of the abominable task – every method, that is to say, but the only certain one, which was open before her to take at any time. Crime is a rigid, unbending master, against whom no one can be strong except by total rebellion. Gertrude would not make up her mind to this – and so she did what she was told.

Soon the appointed day had arrived, and the appointed hour was approaching. Gertrude called Lucia into her private parlour, and treated her with even more outward kindness than usual, to which Lucia responded with happy acceptance and growing affection – like a lamb that feels no fear as the shepherd strokes her quivering body and urges her gently forward; she turns her head and licks his hand, not realizing that outside the stall stands the butcher to whom the shepherd has just sold her.

‘I need someone to do something very important for me,’ said Gertrude, ‘and you’re the only one who can do it. I’ve got plenty of people under my orders here, but no one I can really trust. There’s a very urgent matter – I’ll tell you all about it later on – which I must discuss with the Father Superior of the Capuchin monastery – the father who brought you to me in the first place, my poor Lucia. But it’s most important that nobody knows that the message comes from me. You’re the only person who can do this for me secretly.’

Lucia was terrified by this request. In her usual submissive manner, but without concealing her surprise, she at once tried to get out of it by mentioning various points which the Signora must surely understand, must surely have thought of for herself. Could she really go out like that without her mother, without any escort at all, in fact, along a lonely road, in a district which she did not know? But Gertrude had learned the devil’s lessons in his own school. She showed the utmost surprise, and displeasure too, at finding this resistance to her wishes in the very person on whom she had been chiefly relying: and she poured such scorn on Lucia’s excuses! A few hundred yards, in daylight, along a road which Lucia had travelled a few days before! Such a simple journey that Lucia couldn’t misunderstand her directions, even if she hadn’t been there before! It was not long before Lucia yielded to the reproaches of the Signora and those of her own heart, and breathed the words; ‘Very well, then; what do you want me to do?’

‘Go to the Capuchin monastery …’ and here she described the route again. ‘Then ask for the Father Superior, and tell him, privately, that I’d like him to come and see me at once, but that I don’t want him to tell anyone that I sent for him.’

‘But what am I to say to the portress? She’s never seen me go out before, and she’s sure to ask me where I’m going.’

‘Try to slip out without her seeing you; and if she does, tell her you’re going to a particular church, where you’ve promised to say a prayer.’

The idea of telling a lie presented the poor girl with a new difficulty. But the Signora seemed so distressed by her objections, and made it seem so unkind to place considerations of scruple above considerations of gratitude, that Lucia, dazed rather than convinced, and more upset than ever, gave in in the end and said, ‘Very well, then – I’ll go! God have mercy on me!’ And she set out.

Standing behind the grating, Gertrude watched with fixed and glassy eyes until the girl reached the doorway. Then she called out: ‘Listen, Lucia!’ as if carried away by an irresistible impulse.

Lucia turned, and came back towards the grating. But another thought – the one which normally predominated in Gertrude’s heart – had already re-established its hold over the unhappy woman. So she pretended to think that the directions already given to Lucia were not sufficient, and explained the way that she had to go all over again. Finally she allowed her to depart, saying, ‘Do everything just as I’ve told you, and come straight back!’ Lucia set out.

She got out of the door without being noticed, and walked down the street, close to the wall, with downcast eyes. With the aid of the Signora’s directions and her own memory, she found her way to the city gate and went out through it. With arms close to her sides, and trembling a little, she made her way along the main road until she reached the turning that led to the monastery, which she recognized at once. The side road was (and still is) a sunken track, like a river bed, between two high banks crowned with bushes, which almost make a tunnel of it. When Lucia turned down this road, and saw how deserted it was, she felt more frightened than ever, and quickened her pace. A moment later she was heartened by the sight of a travelling coach standing in the road, next to which stood two passengers looking this way and that as if uncertain of their route. As she walked on, she heard one of them say, ‘There’s a nice girl who’ll tell us the way’; and as she came abreast of the carriage the same man turned and spoke to her pleasantly enough, though he did not look a very pleasant man, saying: ‘Excuse me – could you tell us the way to Monza?’

‘Why,’ said Lucia, ‘you’re going away from it. This is the way to Monza, over there’ – and she turned, to point out the correct route with her finger. Then the other traveller (this was Nibbio) grabbed her round the waist and lifted her off the ground. Lucia twisted her head round in terror, and screamed, but the bravo hoisted her bodily into the coach. A man who was sitting on the backward-facing seat grabbed her and shoved her, struggling and screaming, on to the seat opposite. Another man put a cloth over her mouth and stifled her cries. Meanwhile Nibbio jumped quickly into the carriage, the door shut behind him, and they drove off at full speed. The other bravo, who had asked her that treacherous question, was left in the road. He looked round to see if anyone had heard Lucia’s cries. No one was in sight; so he jumped for the top of the bank, grabbed one of the bushes that grew there, and vanished into the scrub. He was one of Egidio’s hirelings, and had been waiting unobtrusively at his master’s door to see when Lucia left the convent. He had taken a good look at her, so as to know her again, and had hurried off by a short cut to wait for her with the others.

Who could ever describe Lucia’s anguish and panic, or express what passed through her mind? She opened her terrified eyes wider, in her anxiety to know more about the appalling situation into which she had fallen; but she shut them again at once in fear and disgust at the ugly faces around her. She twisted and turned but she was held tightly on all sides; she gathered all her strength and tugged away towards the door, but two muscular arms held her penned in the centre of the carriage, and four more great ugly hands held her down. Every time she opened her mouth to scream, the gag threatened to choke her. Meanwhile three devilish mouths kept repeating the same thing, putting as much humanity into their utterance as they could: ‘Quiet, now; don’t be frightened; we aren’t going to hurt you.’ After a few minutes of that anguished struggle, she did seem to grow quieter. Her arms relaxed, her head fell back; her eyes ceased to move, with the lids barely parted. The repulsive faces that surrounded her seemed to sway and run together in a monstrous confusion. The colour drained out of her cheeks and a cold sweat covered her limbs. She gave up the fight, and fainted.

‘Come on, now; cheer up!’ said Nibbio, and the other two thugs echoed his words; but Lucia, being completely unconscious, was spared the comfort of those horrible voices.

‘To hell with it! She looks dead!’ said one of them. ‘And if she is …’

‘Dead, indeed!’ said the other. ‘It’s just one of those fainting fits that women have. I know very well that when I’ve had occasion to send anyone into the other world, whether it was a man or a woman, it needed a good deal more than this to do the trick.’

‘Now then!’ said Nibbio. ‘You two just stick to the job in hand, and don’t bother about anything else. Get the blunderbusses out of the locker, and keep them ready; there are always cut-throats lurking in this wood we’re just coming to. But don’t wave them about like that; lay them down behind you, out of sight. Can’t you see that we’ve got a real ninny here, who’ll faint for nothing at all? If she sees firearms, she might really die. When she comes to, take care not to frighten her again. Don’t touch her unless I give you a sign; I can hold her by myself. And above all, keep your mouths shut; leave the talking to me.’

Meanwhile the carriage, still at the gallop, had travelled well into the wood.

Some time later poor Lucia began to wake up, as if from a deep and troubled sleep, and she opened her eyes. At first she had some difficulty in gathering her thoughts together and making out her horrifying surroundings. But finally she regained full awareness of her terrible situation. The first use she made of the little strength that had returned to her, was to struggle towards the door again, hoping to throw herself out. But she was pulled back, and had only a moment’s glimpse of the wild and lonely country through which they were passing. She screamed again, but Nibbio held up the cloth in his great hand.

‘Listen,’ he said as gently as he could, ‘it’ll be better for you if you keep quiet. We don’t want to hurt you, but if you try to make a noise, we’ve got to stop you.’

‘Let me go! Who are you? Where are you taking me? Why have you kidnapped me? Let me go! Let me go!’

‘I’ve told you not to be frightened. You’re not a baby, and you must see that we don’t want to hurt you. Couldn’t we have killed you a dozen times over by now, if we’d meant any harm?’

‘No! no! Let me go! I don’t know who you are.’

‘We know you, though.’

‘Holy Mother of God! How do you know me? Let me go, for pity’s sake. Who are you? Why have you kidnapped me?’

‘Because we were ordered to.’

‘Who could have given you an order like that? Who? Who?’

‘Hush, now!’ said Nibbio, with a stern look on his ugly face. ‘We don’t answer questions like that.’

Lucia tried once more to make a sudden dash for the door; but seeing that this was hopeless, she began to plead with them again. With head held low, tears streaming down her cheeks, and hands clasped together before her lips, ‘Oh, for the love of God!’ she cried, in a voice broken by sobs, ‘for the love of the Blessed Virgin, let me go! What harm have I ever done you? I’m just a poor girl who hasn’t done anything wrong at all! I forgive you for what you’ve done to me with all my heart; I’ll pray for you. If you have a daughter, or a wife, or a mother, think what they would suffer if they were in the same state as I am. Remember that we must all die some time, and that one day you’ll be hoping for God to show mercy to you. Let me go, put me down here. The Lord will help me to find my way.’

‘We can’t do that.’

‘You can’t? Dear heavens, why not? Where are you taking me? Why …?’

‘We can’t do it; it’s no good … Don’t be frightened; we won’t hurt you. Just be quiet, and no one will touch you at all.’

Anguished, agonized and terrified more than ever as she saw her words were having no effect, Lucia turned her thoughts to the Power that holds the hearts of men in its hand, and can soften even the hardest of them when it will. She huddled herself in the smallest possible space, in an angle of the carriage, crossed her arms over her breast, and prayed silently for a while. Then she got out her rosary, and began to tell her beads, with more fervour and passion than ever before in her life. From time to time the hope came to her that the mercy she sought might have been granted, and she addressed new appeals to the men, but always without result. Then she fainted again, and again recovered consciousness, to suffer fresh anguish. But we cannot find the heart to describe her sufferings at any greater length. A painful sense of compassion bids us draw a veil over the rest of that journey, which lasted more than four hours, and after which there are yet more hours of misery to follow. Let us pass on to the castle where the poor girl was awaited.

She was awaited by the Unnamed with a disquiet and uncertainty which were most unusual for him. That man had brought many lives to an end in cold blood, and had never paid any attention to the sufferings all his exploits had caused, unless it were to savour in them the savage joys of revenge. Yet now, strange to say, the thought of laying hands on this unknown woman, this peasant girl, filled him with revulsion and something like terror. From a high window of his castle he had been looking out for some time towards a point far down the valley, when suddenly the carriage came into sight, and began to come closer – very slowly, because the first gallop had tired and dispirited the horses. Though at that distance it looked no bigger than one of the toy coaches that children play with, he recognized it at once, and felt his heart beat faster.

‘Is she inside it?’ he suddenly wondered; and then he thought: ‘This girl’s going to be a nuisance; I must be rid of her.’

He was just going to call one of his underlings, and send him down to meet the carriage and tell Nibbio he must turn back and take the girl straight to Don Rodrigo’s palace. But another voice within him replied to this with a resounding ‘No!’ and that idea faded from his mind. But he was tormented by the need to issue orders of some kind, for it seemed intolerable to wait there and do nothing while that carriage crept closer step by step, like an act of treachery, like a … a punishment. So he sent for a certain trusted old serving-woman.

This woman’s father had been one of the castle guards; she had been born within its walls, and had spent her whole life there. Everything she had seen and heard, from the cradle on, had impressed her mind with grandiose and terrifying ideas of the power of her masters; and the main lesson she had learnt, both by precept and example, was that they must be obeyed in everything, because they could do you much good and also much harm.

The idea of duty is present like a seed in the hearts of all men; in hers it grew up together with feelings of deference, terror and servile greed, taking on their form and colour. When the Unnamed became the head of the family, and began to make such horrifying use of his power, she did at first experience a certain revulsion, though it was accompanied by a feeling of submission even deeper than before. As time went by she became accustomed to the things she saw and heard every day. The powerful and unbridled will of so great a lord as her master was in her eyes a sort of inexorable justice.

When she grew up, she married one of the family retainers. Soon afterwards he went out on a dangerous expedition and lost his life, leaving her a young widow in the castle. The speedy vengeance which her master took for his death gave her a fierce joy, and increased the pride she felt in living under such effective protection. From then on she hardly ever set foot outside the castle. All idea of other forms of human existence than the one around her gradually faded from her mind. She had no definite duties; but living in the midst of that host of cut-throats, she got odd jobs to do for one or other of them from time to time, much to her disgust. There might be ragged garments to darn, meals to prepare at short notice for men returning from an expedition, wounded men to nurse. The bravoes’ orders, reproaches or thanks were seasoned with mockery and obscenities. They normally addressed her as ‘old woman’; the epithets that some of them always added varied with the circumstances and disposition of the man concerned. Laziness and bad temper were two of her most marked characteristics, and when she was upset in either of them she would reply to the compliments of the bravoes with terms in which the devil would have recognized more of his own spirit than in the men’s original words.

‘Do you see that carriage down there?’ said the Unnamed.

‘Yes, I see it,’ said the old woman, sticking out her pointed chin and staring with her sunken eyes until you might have thought she was trying to make them stand out of their sockets.

‘Have a litter got ready at once, get into it, and get them to carry you down to the inn. And hurry up – you’ve got to get there before the carriage. God knows it’s coming up slowly enough. Inside the carriage there’ll be … there should be a girl. If she’s there, tell Nibbio my orders are that he’s to put her in the litter, and he’s to come straight up and report to me. You stay in the litter, with the … the girl, and when you get back to the castle take her to your own room. If she asks you where you’re taking her, or whose castle this is, mind you don’t tell her …’

‘I should think not!’ said the old woman.

‘But mind you cheer her up,’ said the Unnamed.

‘Why, what am I to say to her?’

‘What are you to say to her? Cheer her up, I said! You can’t have reached the age you have without knowing how to cheer a girl up, when she needs it! Haven’t you ever been in distress? Haven’t you ever been afraid? Can’t you remember the sort of thing that cheered you up at those times? Say the same sort of thing to her; or make something up, dammit! Be off with you!’

When she had gone, he stood at the window again for a while, staring at the carriage, which already looked much bigger than before. Then he gazed up at the sun, which at that moment was just vanishing behind the mountain; and then at the clouds just above it. Black a moment before, they had suddenly turned to flame. He withdrew from the window, closed it, and began to walk up and down, with the gait of a traveller in a hurry.