The Riddle of the Sands: A Record of Secret Service

By Erskine Childers; David Trotter | Go to book overview
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channel being too narrow to tack in. For my part I find it a huge relief to be in any sort of harbour after a fortnight in the open. There are no tides or anchors to think about, and no bumping or rolling. Fresh milk tomorrow!'


CHAPTER XVI
Commander von Brüning

To resume my story in narrative form.

I was awakened at ten o'clock on the 19th, after a long and delicious sleep, by Davies's voice outside, talking his unmistakable German. Looking out, in my pyjamas, I saw him on the quay above in conversation with a man in a long mackintosh coat and a gold-laced navy cap. He had a close-trimmed auburn beard, a keen, handsome face, and an animated manner. It was raining in a raw air.

They saw me, and Davies said: 'Hullo, Carruthers! Here's Commander von Brüning from the Blitz--that's "meiner Freund" Carruthers.' (Davies was deplorably weak in terminations.)

'The commander smiled broadly at me, and I inclined an uncombed head, while, for a moment, the quest was a dream, and I myself felt unutterably squalid and foolish. I ducked down, heard them parting, and Davies came aboard.

'We're to meet him at the inn for a talk at twelve,' he said.

His news was that the Blitz's steam-cutter had come in on the morning tide, and he had met von Brüning when marketing at the inn. Secondly, the Kormoran had also come in, and was moored close by. It was as clear as possible, therefore, that the latter had watched us, and was in touch with the Blitz, and that both had seized the opportunity of our being cooped up in Bensersiel to take further stock of us. What had passed hitherto? Nothing much. Von Brüning had greeted Davies with cordial surprise, and said he had wondered yesterday if it was the Dulcibella that he had seen anchored behind Langeoog.

-126-

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