Roubaud, on entering the room, placed the loaf, the pâté, and the bottle of white wine on the table. But Mother Victoire, before going down to her post in the morning, had crammed the stove with such a quantity of cinders that the heat was stifling, and the assistant station-master, having opened a window, leant out on the rail in front of it. This occurred in the Impasse d'Amsterdam, in the last house on the right, a lofty dwelling, where the Western Railway Company lodged some of their staff. The window on the fifth floor, at the angle of the mansarded roof, looked on to the station, that broad trench cutting into the Quartier de l'Europe, to abruptly open up the view, and which the grey mid-February sky, of a grey that was damp and warm, penetrated by the sun, seemed to make still wider on that particular afternoon. Opposite, in the sunny haze, the houses in the Rue de Rome became confused, fading lightly into distance. On the left gaped the gigantic porches of the iron marquees, with their smoky glass. That of the main lines on which the eye looked down, appeared immense. It was separated from those of Argenteuil, Versailles, and the Ceinture railway, which were smaller, by the buildings set apart for the post-office, and for heating water to fill the foot-warmers. To the right the trench was severed by the diamond pattern ironwork of the Pont de l'Europe, but it came into sight again, and could be followed as far as the Batignolles tunnel. And below the window itself, occupying all the vast space, the three double lines that issued from the bridge deviated, spreading out like a fan, whose innumerable metal branches ran on to disappear beneath the span roofs of the marquees. In front of the arches stood the three boxes of the pointsmen, with their small, bare gardens. Amidst the confused background of carriages and engines encumbering the rails, a great red signal formed a spot in the pale daylight. Roubaud was interested for a few minutes, comparing what he saw with his own station at Havre. Each time he came like this, to pass a day at Paris, and found accommodation in the room of Mother Victoire, love of his trade got the better of him. The arrival of the train from Mantes had animated the platforms under the marquee of the main lines; and his eyes followed the shunting engine, a small tender-engine with three low wheels coupled together, which began briskly bustling to and fro, branching off the train, dragging away the carriages to drive them on to the shunting lines. Another engine, a powerful one this, an express engine, with two great devouring wheels, stood still alone, sending from its chimney a quantity of black smoke, which ascended straight, and very slowly, through the calm air. But all the attention of Roubaud was centred on the 3.25 train for Caen, already full of passengers and awaiting its locomotive, which he could not see, for it had stopped on the other side of the Pont de l'Europe. He could only hear it asking for permission to advance, with slight, hurried whistles, like a person becoming impatient. An order resounded. The locomotive responded by one short whistle to indicate that it had understood. Then, before moving, came a brief silence. The exhaust pipes were opened, and the steam went hissing on a level with the ground in a deafening jet.
Editore Library Of Alexandria
Formato Ebook con Adobe DRM
EAN-13 9781465620071 9781465620071