Chapter One (go to the original)

“There is no carriage here. The Herr is not expected after all. He will now come on to Bukovina, and return tomorrow or the next day, better the next day.” Whilst he was speaking the horses began to neigh and snort and plunge wildly, so that the driver had to hold them up. Then, amongst a chorus of screams from the peasants and a universal crossing of themselves, a gargantuan shape rose in the distance. It grew nearer accompanied by the sounds of creaking metal, hissing steam, and rhythmic thumping footsteps. The monstrous thing overtook us, and drew up beside the coach. I could see from the flash of our lamps as the rays fell on them, that this was no living creature, but mechanical contrivance constructed in the form of a massive spider. It bent its eight iron legs and revealed the driver, a tall man, with a long brown beard and a great black hat, which seemed to hide his face from us. I could only see the gleam of a pair of very bright eyes, which seemed red in the lamplight, as he turned to us.