The Riddle of the Sands: A Record of Secret Service

By Erskine Childers; David Trotter | Go to book overview
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tions as to our mode of operation. The foreign power to him was Dollmann, a traitor. There was his final justification, fearlessly adopted and held to the last. It was rather that, knowing his own limitations, his whole nature shrank from the sort of action entailed by the Memmert theory. And there was strong common sense in his antipathy.

So much for independent research.

On the other hand the road was now clear for the other method. Davies no longer feared to face the imbroglio* at Norderney; and that day fortune had given us a new and potent weapon against Dollmann; precisely how potent we could not tell, for we had only a glimpse of his past, and his exact relations with the Government were unknown to us. But we knew who he was. Using this knowledge with address, could we not wring the rest from him? Feel our way, of course, be guided by his own conduct, but in the end strike hard and stake everything on the stroke? Such at any rate was our scheme tonight. Later, tossing in my bunk, I bethought me of the little drab book, lit a candle, and fetched it. A preface explained that it had been written during a spell of two months' leave from naval duty, and expressed a hope that it might be of service to Corinthian sailors. The style was unadorned, but scholarly and pithy. There was no trace of the writer's individuality, save a certain subdued relish in describing banks and shoals, which reminded me of Davies himself. For the rest, I found the book dull, and, in fact, it sent me to sleep.

Blindfold to Memmert

'Here she comes,' said Davies. It was nine o'clock on the next day, October 22nd, and we were on deck waiting for the arrival of the steamer from Norddeich. There was no change in the weather--still the same stringent cold, with a high barometer, and only fickle flaws of air; but the morning was gloriously clear, except for a wreath or two


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