Darkening images fly past, outside the softly vibrating glass. There’s a draft from the window. Bags stowed everywhere. In the corner a girl, sleeping; Opposite, a woman reading a newspaper. “Ne pas se pencher au-dehors.” A friendly man in brown, the conductor asks for the tickets. “Jeder hat ein Recht auf den Gepäckplatz über sein Sitzplatz!” “Lächerlich.” Through the coming night, all over Europe — hundreds of trains; thousands of people — going somewhere; being taken someplace. The wheels, rolling on endless ribbons of steel, sing out the names of stations the coaches once have passed — Berlin-Zoo Hamburg Hbf Genéve Gare de Austerlitz Enveloping darkness, as the train rolls on, at a hundred kilometers an hour, all through the night and into the day — Copenhagen to Paris in sixteen hours and forty-nine minutes.
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