The Riddle of the Sands: A Record of Secret Service

By Erskine Childers; David Trotter | Go to book overview

'Now here again it's an unknown land to us. Plenty of local galliots travel it, but strangers never, I should say. Perhaps at the most an occasional foreign yacht gropes in at one of the gaps between the islands for shelter from bad weather, and is precious lucky to get in safe. Once again, it was my fad to like such places, and Dollmann cleared me out. He's not a German, but he's in with Germans, and naval Germans too. He's established on that coast, and knows it by heart. And he tried to drown me. Now what do you think?' He gazed at me long and anxiously.


CHAPTER IX
I Sign Articles

It was not an easy question to answer, for the affair was utterly outside all my experience; its background the sea, and its actual scene a region of the sea of which I was blankly ignorant. There were other difficulties that I could see perhaps better than Davies, an enthusiast with hobbies, who had been brooding in solitude over his dangerous adventure. Yet both narrative and theory (which have lost, I fear, in interpretation to the reader) had strongly affected me; his forcible roughnesses, tricks of manner, sudden bursts of ardour, sudden retreats into shyness, making up a charm I cannot render. I found myself continually trying to see the man through the boy, to distinguish sober judgement from the hot-headed vagaries of youth. Not that I dreamed for a moment of dismissing the story of his wreck as an hallucination. His clear blue eyes and sane simplicity threw ridicule on such treatment.

Evidently, too, he wanted my help, a matter that might well have influenced my opinion on the facts, had he been other than he was. But it would have taken a 'finished and finite clod' to resist the attraction of the man and the enterprise; and I take no credit whatever for deciding to follow him, right or wrong. So, when I stated my difficulties, I knew very well that we should go.

-77-

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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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