The Emigrants

The Emigrants

The Emigrants

The Emigrants

Excerpt

The pier ended abruptly on all sides forming within the buildings that limited it an area free for the first traffic between land and sea. The surface was tight and even with a loose play of gravel which the wind barely shuffled. The ship had dropped anchor right alongside, making another partition to the enclosure. It heaved its smoke in a thick curve that cracked and crawled into the greyness of the evening. A small building broke the neck of the pier where it made its sudden descent to the sea. It was short and narrow like a watchman's kennel lodged without props against the earth as though the sea had pushed it up overnight in a wooden nakedness. Beyond the warehouse the land made a brief ridge and then levelled into a wide open space that made way for the encroach of the city. Immediately outside the pier the land was flat, parcelled out, it would seem, for public entertainment: a small green square with children's swings and the other apparatus of outdoor sports. Looking onto it from further within the city was a large square building with white colonnades, and doors wide open on all sides. Then the city appeared, sudden and tumultuous: a post office and a bank surrounded by shops that seemed to offer nothing but liquor. The tables were all set with small glasses and in the centre a large-bowelled bottle that gradually slimmed up- . . .

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