The Riddle of the Sands: A Record of Secret Service

By Erskine Childers; David Trotter | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
His Chance

'I say, Davies,' I said, 'how long do you think this trip will last? I've only got a month's leave.'

We were standing at slanting desks in the Kiel post office, Davies scratching diligently at his letter-card, and I staring feebly at mine.

'By Jove!' said Davies, with a start of dismay; 'that's only three weeks more; I never thought of that. You couldn't manage to get an extension, could you?'

'I can write to the chief,' I admitted; 'but where's the answer to come to? We're better without an address, I suppose.'

'There's Cuxhaven,' reflected Davies; 'but that's too near, and there's--but we don't want to be tied down to landing anywhere. I tell you what, say "Post Office, Norderney," just your name, not the yacht's. We may get there and be able to call for letters.' The casual character of our adventure never struck me more strongly than then.

'Is that what you're doing?' I asked.

'Oh, I shan't be having important letters like you.'

'But what are you saying?'

'Oh, just that we're having a splendid cruise, and are on our way home.'

The notion tickled me, and I said the same in my home letter, adding that we were looking for a friend of Davies's who would be able to show us some sport. I wrote a line, too, to my chief (unaware of the gravity of the step I was taking) saying it was possible that I might have to apply for longer leave, as I had important business to transact in Germany, and asking him kindly to write to the same address. Then we shouldered our parcels and resumed our business.

Two full dinghy-loads of stores we ferried to the Dulcibella, chief among which were two immense cans of petroleum, constituting our reserves of heat and light, and a sack of flour. There were spare ropes and blocks, too; German charts of excellent quality; cigars, and many weird brands of sausage and tinned meats, besides a miscellany of oddments, some of which only served in the end to slake my companion's craving for jettison. Clothes were my own chief care, for,

-85-

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