The Riddle of the Sands: A Record of Secret Service

By Erskine Childers; David Trotter | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVIII
Imperial Escort

Memmert gripped me, then, to the exclusion of a rival notion which had given me no little perplexity during the conversation with von Brüning. His reiterated advice that we should lose no time in picking up our anchor and chain had ended by giving me the idea that he was anxious to get us away from Bensersiel and the mainland. At first I had taken the advice partly as a test of our veracity (as I gave the reader to understand), and partly as an indirect method of lulling any suspicions which Grimm's midnight visit may have caused. Then it struck me that this might be over-subtlety on my part, and the idea recurred when the question of our future plans cropped up, and hampered me in deciding on a course. It returned again when von Brüning offered to tow us out in the evening. It was in my mind when I questioned him as to his business ashore, for it occurred to me that perhaps his landing here was not solely due to a wish to inspect the crew of the Dulcibella. Then came his perfectly frank explanation (with its sinister double entente for us), coupled with an invitation to me to accompany him to Esens. But, on the principle of 'timeo Danaos',* etc., I instantly smelt a ruse, not that I dreamt that I was to be decoyed into captivity; but if there was anything here which we two might discover in the few hours left to us, it was an ingenious plan to remove the most observant of the two till the hour of departure.

Davies scorned them, and I had felt only a faint curiosity in these insignificant hamlets, influenced, I am afraid, chiefly by a hankering after terra firma which the pitiless rigour of his training had been unable to cure.

But it was imprudent to neglect the slightest chance. It was three o'clock, and I think both our brains were beginning to be addled with thinking in close confinement. I suggested that we should finish our council of war in the open, and we both donned oilskins and turned out. The sky had hardened and banked into an even canopy of lead, and the wind drove before it a fine cold rain. You could hear the murmur of the rising flood on the sands outside, but the harbour was

-148-

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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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