The Riddle of the Sands: A Record of Secret Service

By Erskine Childers; David Trotter | Go to book overview

EPILOGUE1
By the Editor

An interesting document, somewhat damaged by fire, lies on my study table.

It is a copy (in cipher) of a confidential memorandum to the German Government embodying a scheme for the invasion of England by Germany. It is unsigned, but internal evidence, and the fact that it was taken by Mr ' Carruthers' from the stove of the villa at Norderney, leave no doubt as to its authorship. For many reasons it is out of the question to print the textual translation of it, as deciphered; but I propose to give an outline of its contents.

Even this must strain discretion to its uttermost limits, and had I only to consider the instructed few who follow the trend of professional opinion on such subjects, I should leave the foregoing narrative to speak for itself. But, as was stated in the preface, our primary purpose is to reach everyone; and there may be many who, in spite of able and authoritative warnings frequently uttered since these events occurred, are still prone to treat the German danger as an idle 'bogey', and may be disposed, in this case, to imagine that a baseless romance has been foisted on them.

A few persons (English as well as German) hold that Germany is strong enough now to meet us single-handed, and throw an army on our shores. The memorandum rejects this view, deferring isolated action for at least a decade; and supposing, for present purposes, a coalition of three Powers against Great Britain. And subsequent researches through the usual channels place it beyond dispute that this condition was relied on by the German Government in adopting the scheme. They realized that even if, owing to our widely scattered forces, they gained that temporary command of the North Sea which would be essential for a successful landing, they would inevitably lose it when our standing fleets were concentrated and our reserve ships mobilized. With its sea-communications cut, the prospects of the invading army would be too dubious. I state it in that mild way, for it

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1
For this chapter see Map A.

-260-

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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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