The Riddle of the Sands: A Record of Secret Service

By Erskine Childers; David Trotter | Go to book overview

absurdity now. I did not even refer to them as we pulled back to the Dulcibella, after swearing eternal friendship with the good pilot and his family.

Davies and I turned in good friends that night--or rather I should say that I turned in, for I left him sucking an empty pipe and aimlessly fingering a volume of Mahan; and once when I woke in the night I felt somehow that his bunk was empty and that he was there in the dark cabin, dreaming.


CHAPTER VII
The Missing Page

I woke (on October 1st) with that dispiriting sensation that a hitch has occurred in a settled plan. It was explained when I went on deck, and I found the Dulcibella wrapped in a fog, silent, clammy, nothing visible from her decks but the ghostly hull of a galliot at anchor near us. She must have brought up there in the night, for there had been nothing so close the evening before; and I remembered that my sleep had been broken once by sounds of rumbling chain and gruff voices.

'This looks pretty hopeless for today,' I said, with a shiver, to Davies, who was laying the breakfast.

'Well, we can't do anything till this fog lifts,' he answered, with a good deal of resignation. Breakfast was a cheerless meal. The damp penetrated to the very cabin, whose roof and walls wept a fine dew. I had dreaded a bathe, and yet missed it, and the ghastly light made the tablecloth look dirtier than it naturally was, and all the accessories more sordid. Something had gone wrong with the bacon, and the lack of egg-cups was not in the least humorous.

Davies was just beginning, in his summary way, to tumble the things together for washing up, when there was a sound of a step on deck, two sea-boots appeared on the ladder, and, before we could wonder who the visitor was, a little man in oilskins and a sou'-wester

-56-

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