The Riddle of the Sands: A Record of Secret Service

By Erskine Childers; David Trotter | Go to book overview

ies, sights fair enough to be balm to the angriest spirit. A red-roofed hamlet was on our left, on the right an ivied ruin, close to the water, where some contemplative cattle stood knee-deep. The view ahead was a white strand which fringed both shores, and to it fell wooded slopes, interrupted here and there by low sandstone cliffs of warm red colouring, and now and again by a dingle with cracks of greensward.

I forgot petty squalors and enjoyed things--the coy tremble of the tiller and the backwash of air from the dingy mainsail, and, with a somewhat chastened rapture, the lunch which Davies brought up to me and solicitously watched me eat.

Later, as the wind sank to lazy airs, he became busy with a larger topsail and jib; but I was content to doze away the afternoon, drenching brain and body in the sweet and novel foreign atmosphere, and dreamily watching the fringe of glen cliff and cool white sand as they passed ever more slowly by.


CHAPTER IV
Retrospect

'Wake up!' I rubbed my eyes and wondered where I was; stretched myself painfully, too, for even the cushions had not given me a true bed of roses. It was dusk, and the yacht was stationary in glassy water, coloured by the last after-glow. A roofing of thin upper-cloud had spread over most of the sky, and a subtle smell of rain was in the air. We seemed to be in the middle of the fiord, whose shores looked distant and steep in the gathering darkness. Close ahead they faded away suddenly, and the sight lost itself in a grey void. The stillness was absolute.

'We can't get to Sonderburg tonight,' said Davies.

'What's to be done then?' I asked, collecting my senses.

'Oh! we'll anchor anywhere here, we're just at the mouth of the fiord; I'll tow her inshore if you'll steer in that direction.' He pointed vaguely at a blur of trees and cliff. Then he jumped into the dinghy,

-36-

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The Riddle of the Sands: A Record of Secret Service
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Oxford World''s Classics ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Note on the Text xix
  • Select Bibliography xx
  • A Chronology of Robert Erskine Childers xxi
  • Preface to the Present Edition 2
  • Preface to the Original Edition 3
  • Note 5
  • Chapter I- The Letter 11
  • Chapter II- The Dulcibella 17
  • Chapter III- Davies 28
  • Chapter IV- Retrospect 36
  • Chapter IV- Retrospect 43
  • Chapter IV- Retrospect 50
  • Chapter IV- Retrospect 56
  • Chapter VIII- The Theory 67
  • Chapter IX- I Sign Articles 77
  • Chapter X- His Chance 85
  • Chapter XI- The Pathfinders 92
  • Chapter XII- My Initiation 99
  • Chapter XII- My Initiation 108
  • Chapter XIV- The First Night in the Islands 113
  • Chapter XV- Bensersiel 120
  • Chapter XVI- Commander Von Brüning 126
  • Chapter XVI- Commander Von Brüning 138
  • Chapter XVIII- Imperial Escort 148
  • Chapter XIX- The Rubicon 153
  • Chapter XX- The Little Drab Book 164
  • Chapter XX- The Little Drab Book 173
  • Chapter XXII- The Quartette 186
  • Chapter XXIII- A Change of Tactics 196
  • Chapter XXIII- A Change of Tactics 207
  • Chapter XXIII- A Change of Tactics 220
  • Chapter XVII- The Seven Siels 230
  • Chapter XXVII- The Luck of the Stowaway 240
  • Chapter XXVII- The Luck of the Stowaway 252
  • Epilogue- By the Editor 260
  • Explanatory Notes 269
  • Nautical Glossary 275
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