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Free download. Book file PDF easily for everyone and every device. You can download and read online The Riddle of the Sands [with Biographical Introduction] file PDF Book only if you are registered here. And also you can download or read online all Book PDF file that related with The Riddle of the Sands [with Biographical Introduction] book. Happy reading The Riddle of the Sands [with Biographical Introduction] Bookeveryone. Download file Free Book PDF The Riddle of the Sands [with Biographical Introduction] at Complete PDF Library. This Book have some digital formats such us :paperbook, ebook, kindle, epub, fb2 and another formats. Here is The CompletePDF Book Library. It's free to register here to get Book file PDF The Riddle of the Sands [with Biographical Introduction] Pocket Guide.

Would you like to tell us about a lower price? Learn more about Amazon Prime. In the event of war it seems to me that every inch of it would be important, sand and all. In spite of good prospects in the Foreign Office, the sardonic civil servant Carruthers is finding it hard to endure the emptiness and boredom of his life in London. He reluctantly accepts an invitation from a college friend, Davies, the shyly intrepid yachtsman, and joins him on a sailing holiday in the Baltic. Like much contemporary British spy fiction, The Riddle of the Sands reflects the long suspicious years leading up to the First World War and the intricacy of its conception and its lucid detail make it a classic of its genre.

This edition is complemented by a fine introduction which examines the novel in its political and historical context. For over years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

Read more Read less. Audible book Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible book with Whispersync for Voice. Kindle Cloud Reader Read instantly in your browser. Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. The Riddle of the Sands [with Biographical Introduction]. Sponsored products related to this item What's this? When the Man Comes Around: Ten years later he's free and "they" are desperately scrambling to bury their little secret before he can bury them.

Back to War Corps Justice Book 1. Part Rapp and part Reacher, Cal Stokes doesn't play by the rules. Check out the first book of the series that has politicians squirming A fast-paced, intelligent thriller with a gusty female CIA agent in a daring cat-and-mouse game. For fans of Baldacci, Silva or Child. At the end of his narrative—which, from its bearing on studies and speculations of my own, as well as from its intrinsic interest and racy delivery, made a very deep impression on me—he added that the important facts discovered in the course of the cruise had, without a moment's delay, been communicated to the proper authorities, who, after some dignified incredulity, due in part, perhaps, to the pitiful inadequacy of their own secret service, had, he believed, made use of them, to avert a great national danger.

The "yachting cruise with a certain Mr Davies" is not at all what Carruthers was expecting. It begins in Flensburg on the Baltic and moves through the Frisian Islands as two holidaying yachtsmen stumble on the audacious plans for a sudden devastating attack that will change the course of history.

We now have two years' worth of my audio adaptations of classic fiction starting with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's cracking tale of an early conflict between jihadists and westerners in The Tragedy of the Korosko. To access them all, please see our brand new easy-to-navigate Netflix-style Tales for Our Time home page. We've introduced a similar tile format for my Sunday Poems. We launched The Mark Steyn Club just over two years ago, and I'm overwhelmed by all those members across the globe who signed up to be a part of it and then enthusiastically re-subscribed last May, and re-re-subscribed last month - from Fargo to Fiji, Vancouver to Vanuatu, Cook County to the Cook Islands, West Virginia to the West Midlands.

As I said at the time, membership isn't for everyone, but it is a way of ensuring that all our content remains available for everyone. You can find them all here. We're very pleased by the response to our Tales - and we even do them live on our annual Mark Steyn Club Cruise with special guests. If you haven't yet signed up for our September Alaska cruise, well, you've left it a bit late because we've sold out. I'm truly thrilled that one of the most popular of our Steyn Club extras these last two years has been our nightly radio serials.

If you've enjoyed them and you're looking for a present for a fellow fan of classic fiction, I hope you'll consider our special Club Gift Membership. As soon as you join, you'll get access not only to The Riddle of the Sands but to all the other yarns at our new Tales for Our Time home page. One other benefit to membership is our Comment Club privileges.

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Inside the Mind of Jeffrey Dahmer: Serial Killer’s Chilling Jailhouse Interview

The wind and sea foam almost jumped off my iPad with the latest escapade. Was that you that came in last night? The little man was dragged in and seated on the opposite sofa to me. It is my last voyage of the year. You are no longer alone, captain, I see. Carruthers, this is my friend, Schiffer Bartels, of the galliot Johannes. Was I never to be at an end of the puzzles which Davies presented to me? All the impulsive heartiness died out of his voice and manner as he uttered the last few words, and there he was, nervously glancing from the visitor to me, like one who, against his will or from tactlessness, has introduced two persons who he knows will disagree.

There was a pause while he fumbled with the cups, poured some cold coffee out and pondered over it as though it were a chemical experiment. Then he muttered something about boiling some more water, and took refuge in the forecastle.

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I was ill at ease at this period with seafaring men, but this mild little person was easy ground for a beginner. Besides, when he took off his oilskin coat he reminded me less of a sailor than of a homely draper of some country town, with his clean turned-down collar and neatly fitting frieze jacket. We exchanged some polite platitudes about the fog and his voyage last night from Kappeln, which appeared to be a town some fifteen miles up the fiord. Davies joined in from the forecastle with an excess of warmth which almost took the words out of my mouth. He is a fine young man — Heaven, what a fine young man!

I love him as my son — but he is too brave, too reckless. It is good for him to have a friend. He is brave as a lion and quick as a cat. So I have told you many times. How did you like Flensburg? A fine town, is it not? Did you find Herr Krank, the carpenter? I see you have placed a little mizzen-mast. The rudder was nothing much, but it was well that it held to the Eider. But she is strong and good, your little ship, and — Heaven! This is all the conversation that I need record. For my part I merely waited for its end, determined on my course, which was to know the truth once and for all, and make an end of these distracting mystifications.

Davies plied his friend with coffee, and kept up the talk gallantly; but affectionate as he was, his manner plainly showed that he wanted to be alone with me. That he himself was going by the Kiel Canal to Hamburg to spend a cosy winter as a decent citizen at his warm fireside, and that we should follow his example. He ended with an invitation to us to visit him on the Johannes, and with suave farewells disappeared into the fog.

Davies saw him into his boat, returned without wasting a moment, and sat down on the sofa opposite me. Last night I had made up my mind to say nothing, but when Bartels turned up I knew it must all come out. A thing happened there which I never told you, when you were asking about my cruise. Well, I found this yacht one evening, knowing it must be her from the description I had. You sometimes see the same sort of yacht in English waters, only there they copy the Thames barges. She looked a clipper of her sort, and very smart; varnished all over and shining like gold. I came on her about sunset, after a long day of exploring round the Ems estuary.

Davies found it and spread it on the table between us, first pushing back the cloth and the breakfast things to one end, where they lay in a slovenly litter. This was one of the only two occasions on which I ever saw him postpone the rite of washing up, and it spoke volumes for the urgency of the matter in hand. Well, the Medusa, that was her name, was lying in the Riff Gat roadstead, flying the German ensign, and I anchored for the night pretty near her.

However, I thought I might as well; so, after dinner, when it was dark, I sculled over in the dinghy, hailed a sailor on deck, said who I was, and asked if I could see the owner. The sailor was a surly sort of chap, and there was a good long delay while I waited on deck, feeling more and more uncomfortable. Presently a steward came up and showed me down the companion and into the saloon, which, after this , looked — well, horribly gorgeous — you know what I mean, plush lounges, silk cushions, and that sort of thing.

Dinner seemed to be just over, and wine and fruit were on the table. Herr Dollmann was there at his coffee. Still, I had an object in coming, and as I was there I thought I might as well gain it. I began as soon as I could about the ducks, but he shut me up at once, said I could do nothing hereabouts. But I saw I had come to the wrong shop, and was just going to back out and end this unpleasant interview, when he thawed a bit, offered me some wine, and began talking in quite a friendly way, taking a great interest in my cruise and my plans for the future.

In the end we sat up quite late, though I never felt really at my ease. He seemed to be taking stock of me all the time, as though I were some new animal. Stopping three days anywhere was an unusual event for him, as I knew from his log. I must tell you how it came about, just in a few words for the present.

I had no very fixed plans of my own, though I had meant to go on exploring eastwards between the islands and the coast, and so reach the Elbe in a much slower way. He dissuaded me from this, sticking to it that I should have no chance of ducks, and urging other reasons. Anyway, we settled to sail in company direct to Cuxhaven, in the Elbe.

That very day it had been blowing pretty hard from the west, and the glass was falling still. You can guess how it was. It was a dirty-looking day, wind W. I took two reefs in, and we sailed out into the open and steered E. Here it all is, you see. I kept up with her easily at first.

My hands were pretty full, for there was a hard wind on my quarter and a troublesome sea; but as long as nothing worse came I knew I should be all right, though I also knew that I was a fool to have come. Not that that mattered in the least. I knew my course, had read up my tides, and, thick as the weather was, I had no doubt of being able to pick up the lightship. No change of plan was possible now. The Weser estuary was on my starboard hand, but the whole place was a lee-shore and a mass of unknown banks — just look at them.

I ran on, the Dulcibella doing her level best, but we had some narrow shaves of being pooped. I was about here , say six miles south-west of the lightship, [ See Chart A ] when I suddenly saw that the Medusa had hove to right ahead, as though waiting till I came up. She wore round again on the course as I drew level, and we were alongside for a bit. A great jagged chunk of it runs out from Cuxhaven in a north-westerly direction for fifteen miles or so, ending in a pointed spit, called the Scharhorn. To reach the Elbe from the west you nave to go right outside this, round the lightship, which is off the Scharhorn, and double back.

But, as you see, these sands are intersected here and there by channels, very shallow and winding, exactly like those behind the Frisian Islands. Now look at this one, which cuts right through the big chunk of sand and comes out near Cuxhaven. Alone, in thick weather and a heavy sea, it would have been folly to attempt it, except as a desperate resource. But, as I said I knew at once that Dollmann was proposing to run for it and guide me in. Yet the short cut did save several miles and a devil of a tumble off the Scharhorn, where two tides meet.

I had complete faith in Dollmann, and I suppose I decided that I should be a fool not to take a good chance. I hesitated. I know; but in the end I nodded, and held up my arm as she forged ahead again. Soon after, she shifted her course and I followed. You asked me once if I ever took a pilot That was the only time.

Erskine Childers (author)

He spoke with bitter gravity, flung himself back, and felt his dramatic pause, but it certainly was one. I had just a glimpse of still another Davies — a Davies five years older throbbing with deep emotions, scorn, passion, and stubborn purpose; a being above my plane, of sterner stuff, wider scope. Intense as my interest had become, I waited almost timidly while he mechanically rammed tobacco into his pipe and struck ineffectual matches. I felt that whatever the riddle to be solved, it was no mean one. He repressed himself with an effort, half rose, and made his circular glance at the clock, barometer, and skylight, and then resumed.

All round you could hear the breakers on the sands, though it was too thick to see them yet. As the water shoaled, the sea, of course, got shorter and steeper. There was more wind — a whole gale I should say. Of course I had taken for granted, when he said he would lead me in, that he would slow down and keep close to me. He could easily have done so by getting his men up to check his sheets or drop his peak. Instead of that he was busting on for all he was worth.

Once, in a rain-squall, I lost sight of him altogether; got him faintly again, but had enough to do with my own tiller not to want to be peering through the scud after a runaway pilot. I knew perfectly well that what I should soon see would be a wall of surf stretching right across and on both sides.

You must know your way, or else have a pilot. I had one, but he was playing his own game. As it was, I knew I ought to be facing the music in the offing, and cursed myself for having broken my rule and gone blundering into this confounded short cut.

I was deep in the bottle-neck bight of the sands, jammed on a lee shore, and a strong flood tide sweeping me on. That tide, by the way, gave just the ghost of a chance. I had the hours in my head, and knew it was about two-thirds flood, with two hours more of rising water. That meant the banks would be all covering when I reached them, and harder than ever to locate; but it also meant that I might float right over the worst of them if I hit off a lucky place.

It makes me sick to think of having to trust to an accident like that, like a lubberly cockney out for a boozy Bank Holiday sail. Well, just as I foresaw, the wall of surf appeared clean across the horizon, and curling back to shut me in, booming like thunder. When I last saw the Medusa she seemed to be charging it like a horse at a fence, and I took a rough bearing of her position by a hurried glance at the compass. At that very moment I thought she seemed to luff and show some of her broadside; but a squall blotted her out and gave me hell with the tiller.

After that she was lost in the white mist that hung over the line of breakers. I kept on my bearing as well as I could, but I was already out of the channel. I knew that by the look of the water, and as we neared the bank I saw it was all awash and without the vestige of an opening. Before you could say knife she was driving across it, bumped heavily, bucked forward again, bumped again, and — ripped on in deeper water!

I was in some sort of channel, but a very narrow one, and the sea broke everywhere. I was like a drunken man running for his life down a dark alley, barking himself at every corner. So ended that little trip under a pilot. Since then I had struggled through a mile of sands, all of which lay behind me like a breakwater against the gale. They were covered, of course, and seething like soapsuds; but the force of the sea was deadened. The Dulce was bumping, but not too heavily. It was nearing high tide, and at half ebb she would be high and dry. The trouble was now that my hand was hurt and my dinghy stove in, not to mention the rudder business.

It was the first bump on the outer edge that did the damage. I stuck out one hand to ward it off and got it nipped on the gunwale. There was the rudder, too, to be mended; and we were several miles from the nearest land. Of course, if the wind fell, it was all easy enough; but if it held or increased it was a poor look-out. His galliot was at anchor a mile away, up a branch of the channel. In a clear between squalls he saw us, and, like a brick, rowed his boat out — he and his boy, and a devil of a pull they must have had.

In half an hour he had stowed the sails, unshackled the big anchor, run out fifty fathoms of warp, and hauled her off there and then into deep water. Then they towed her up the channel — it was dead to leeward and an easy job — and berthed her near their own vessel. It was dark by that time, so I gave them a drink, and said good-night. It blew a howling gale that night, but the place was safe enough, with good ground-tackle. I did the same, and felt the same relief. It was all so sudden.

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The only thing I could have sworn to from the first was that he had purposely left me in the lurch that day. Bartels came aboard next morning, and though it was blowing hard still we managed to shift the Dulcibella to a place where she dried safely at the mid-day low water, and we could get at her rudder. The lower screw-plate on the stern post had wrenched out, and we botched it up roughly as a make-shift.

There were other little breakages, but nothing to matter, and the loss of the jib was nothing, as I had two spare ones. The dinghy was past repair just then, and I lashed it on deck. To-day he was bound for the Eider River, whence, as I told you, you can get through by river and canal into the Baltic.

Both routes touch the Baltic at Kiel. It was just a week after I ran ashore that I wired to you. You see, I had come to the conclusion that that chap was a spy. In the end it came out quite quietly and suddenly, and left me in profound amazement. For a second I was back in the dreary splendour of the London club-room, spelling out that crabbed scrawl from Davies, and fastidiously criticizing its proposal in the light of a holiday. What was to be its issue? Chilling and opaque as the fog that filtered through the skylight there flooded my imagination a mist of doubt and fear.

Why did you wire to me? A spy of what — of whom? I know he could have kept close to me if he had chosen, and I saw the whole place at low water when we left those sands on the second day. Look at the chart again. You see the Telte channel dividing into two branches and curving round it. Both branches are broad and deep, as channels go in those waters. Now, in sailing in I was nowhere near either of them. When I last saw Dollmann he must have been steering straight for the bank itself, at a point somewhere here , quite a mile from the northern arm of the channel, and two from the southern.

I followed by compass, as you know, and found nothing but breakers ahead. How did I get through? I spoke of only two channels, that is, round the bank — one to the north, the other to the south. It was more than I deserved. I can see now that it was a hundred to one in favour of my striking on a bad place outside, where I should have gone to pieces in three minutes. Do you remember my saying that when I last saw him I thought he had luffed and showed his broadside? I had another bit of luck in that.

He was luffing towards the north — so it struck me through the blur — and when I in my turn came up to the bank, and had to turn one way or the other to avoid it, I think I should naturally have turned north too, as he had done. In that case I should have been done for, for I should have had a mile of the bank to skirt before reaching the north channel, and should have driven ashore long before I got there.

But as a matter of fact I turned south. It was blowing like fits; if anything had carried away I should have been on shore in a jiffy. I scarcely thought about it at all, but put the helm down and turned her south. Though I knew nothing about it, that little central channel was now on my port hand, distant about two cables. The whole thing was luck from beginning to end. I suggested this on the spur of the moment, but Davies was impatient. I told you that on that first evening he began by being as rude as a bear and as cold as stone, and then became suddenly friendly.

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I can see now that in the talk that followed he was pumping me hard. I talked about my difficulties, too; the changes in the buoys, the prehistoric rottenness of the English charts. He drew me out as much as he could, and in the light of what followed I can see the point of scores of his questions. And then there were my plans for the future. My idea was, as I told you, to go on exploring the German coast just as I had the Dutch. His idea — Heavens, how plainly I see it now!

That was why he said there were no ducks. That was why he cracked up the Baltic as a cruising-ground and shooting-ground. And that was why he broached and stuck to that plan of sailing in company direct to the Elbe. It was to see me clear. But, granted that he wanted to get rid of me altogether, he got a magnificent chance on that trip to the Elbe.

I expect it struck him suddenly, and he acted on the impulse. Left to myself I was all right; but the short cut was a grand idea of his. Everything was in its favour — wind, sea, sand, tide. When he first hove to, waiting for me, of course they were on deck two of them, I think hauling at sheets. But by the time I had drawn tip level the Medusa had worn round again on her course, and no one was on deck but Dollmann at the wheel. No one overheard what he said. The incongruity of the whole business was striking me.

Why should anyone want to kill Davies, and why should Davies, the soul of modesty and simplicity, imagine that anyone wanted to kill him? He must have cogent reasons, for he was the last man to give way to a morbid fancy. What was his motive? A German finds an Englishman exploring a bit of German coast, determines to stop him, and even to get rid of him.

It looks so far as if you were thought to be the spy. I go more by a — what do you call it? It was something in his looks and manner; you know how different we are from foreigners. He pretended to think me a bit crazy for coming so far in a small boat, but I could swear he knew as much about the game as I did; for lots of little questions he asked had the right ring in them. Mind you, all this is an afterthought. I understood what he meant, but, as I told you, I hesitated before consenting.

Of course I thought nothing of it at the time. I was quite aware that he knew a few English words, though he had always mis-pronounced them; an easy trick when your hearer suspects nothing. Was there anything else? By the way, how did the daughter strike you? Did she look English too? Two men cannot discuss a woman freely without a deep foundation of intimacy, and, until this day, the subject had never arisen between us in any form. It was the last that was likely to, for I could have divined that Davies would have met it with an armour of reserve.

He was busy putting on this armour now; yet I could not help feeling a little brutal as I saw how badly he jointed his clumsy suit of mail. I pondered and wondered, shrinking from further inquisition, easy as it would have been with so truthful a victim, and banishing all thought of ill-timed chaff. There was a cross-current in this strange affair, whose depth and strength I was beginning to gauge with increasing seriousness.

I did not know my man yet, and I did not know myself. A conviction that events in the near future would force us into complete mutual confidence withheld me from pressing him too far. I returned to the main question; who was Dollmann, and what was his motive? Davies struggled out of his armour. One of his friends I happened to meet; what do you think he was?

The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers – FictionFan's Book Reviews

A naval officer. He pointed towards Norderney, and I saw her — a low, grey rat of a vessel — anchored in the Roads about two miles away. It turned out that she was doing the work of fishery guardship on that part of the coast. He looked a real good sort, and a splendid officer, too — just the sort of chap I should have liked to be. Scenting a faint clue, I felt the need of feminine weapons for my sensitive antagonist.

But the opportunity passed. Davies sat up to the table, unrolled the chart with a vigorous sweep of his two hands, and took up his parable with new zest. No, better still, look first at this map of Germany. He seemed to know every ship by heart. I had to recall him to the point. It was to evade that block that William built the ship canal from Kiel to the Elbe, but that could be easily smashed in war-time.

Far the most important bit of coast-line is that which lies west of Denmark and looks on the North Sea. From Borkum to the Elbe, as the crow flies, is only seventy miles. Add to that the west coast of Schleswig, say miles. Total, say, two hundred. Compare that with the seaboard of France and England. Now what sort of coast is it? Even on this small map you can see at once, by all those wavy lines, shoals and sand everywhere, blocking nine-tenths of the land altogether, and doing their best to block the other tenth where the great rivers run in.

You see it divides itself into three. Beginning from the west the first piece is from Borkum to Wangeroog — fifty odd miles.


A string of sandy islands backed by sand; the Ems river at the western end, on the Dutch border, leading to Emden — not much of a place. Otherwise, no coast towns at all. Second piece: a deep sort of bay consisting of the three great estuaries — the Jade, the Weser, and the Elbe — leading to Wilhelmshaven their North Sea naval base , Bremen, and Hamburg. Total breadth of bay twenty odd miles only; sandbanks littered about all through it. Third piece: the Schleswig coast, hopelessly fenced in behind a six to eight mile fringe of sand. No big towns; one moderate river, the Eider. I made an obvious conjecture.

Perhaps he thought you would see too much. By the way, he saw your naval books, of course? To begin with, there are no forts and can be none in that first division, where the islands are. There are probably hosts of forts and mines round Wilhelmshaven and Bremerhaven, and at Cuxhaven just at the mouth of the Elbe. Not that I should ever dream of bothering about them; every steamer that goes in would see as much as me. And, good Heavens! I figured to myself one of those romantic gentlemen that one reads of in sixpenny magazines, with a Kodak in his tie-pin, a sketch-book in the lining of his coat, and a selection of disguises in his hand luggage.

Little disposed for merriment as I was, I could not help smiling, too. Take the big estuaries first, which, of course, might be attacked or blockaded by an enemy.

The Riddle of the Sands

At first sight you would say that their main channels were the only things that mattered. But now look at the sands they run through, intersected, as I showed you, by threads of channels, tidal for the most part, and probably only known to smacks and shallow coasters, like that galliot of Bartels. Now, say we were at war with Germany — both sides could use them as lines between the three estuaries; and to take our own case, a small torpedo-boat not a destroyer, mind you could on a dark night cut clean through from the Jade to the Elbe and play the deuce with the shipping there.

I was rather stumped there at first, I grant, because, though there are lashings of sand behind them, and the same sort of intersecting channels, yet there seems nothing important to guard or attack. Still Dollmann had his headquarters there, and I was sure that had some meaning. Then it struck me that the same point held good, for that strip of Frisian coast adjoins the estuaries, and would also form a splendid base for raiding midgets, which could travel unseen right through from the Ems to the Jade, and so to the Elbe, as by a covered way between a line of forts.

Plenty of local galliots travel it, but strangers never, I should say. Perhaps at he 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.

And he tried to drown me. Now what do you think? 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. So, when I stated my difficulties, I knew very well that we should go. You say he wanted to drown you — a big charge, requiring a big motive to support it. He jumped up, and did a thing I never saw him do before or since — bumped his head against the cabin roof. Yes, I want to go back and clear up the whole thing. I know now that I want to; telling it all to you has been such an immense relief. I say, how can I apologize?

It was good enough of you to come out at all, without bothering you with hare-brained schemes. All that about the ducks on the Frisian coast was humbug; part of a stupid idea of decoying you there and gaining time. However, you quite naturally objected, and last night I meant to chuck the whole thing up and give you the best time here I could. Long before he had finished I had grasped the whole meaning of the last few days, and had read their meaning into scores of little incidents which had puzzled me.

I look at it like this. But it makes me wild to think of that fellow masquerading as a German, and up to who knows what mischief — mischief enough to make him want to get rid of any one. How the time has gone! And, by Jove! I returned, with a shock, to the present, to the weeping walls, the discoloured deal table, the ghastly breakfast litter — all the visible symbols of the life I had pledged myself to.

Disillusionment was making rapid headway when Davies returned, and said, with energy:. The glass is falling, and we ought to take this chance. To argue about winds with Davies was hopeless, and the upshot was that we started lunchless. A pale sun was flickering out of masses of racing vapour, and through delicate vistas between them the fair land of Schleswig now revealed and now withdrew her pretty face, as though smiling adieux to her faithless courtiers.

That was a curious evening. In a sense I think I went through the same sort of mental crisis as when I sat upon my portmanteau at Flensburg. The main issue was not seriously in question, for I had signed on in the Dulcibella for good or ill; but in doing so I had outrun myself, and still wanted an outlook, a mood suited to the enterprise, proof against petty discouragements. Not for the first time a sense of the ludicrous came to my assistance, as I saw myself fretting in London under my burden of self-imposed woes, nicely weighing that insidious invitation, and stepping finally into the snare with the dignity due to my importance; kidnapped as neatly as ever a peaceful clerk was kidnapped by a lawless press-gang, and, in the end, finding as the arch-conspirator a guileless and warm-hearted friend, who called me clever, lodged me in a cell, and blandly invited me to talk German to the purpose, as he was aiming at a little secret service on the high seas.

Close in the train of Humour came Romance, veiling her face, but I knew it was the rustle of her robes that I heard in the foam beneath me; I knew that it was she who handed me the cup of sparkling wine and bade me drink and be merry. Strange to me though it was, I knew the taste when it touched my lips. It was not that bastard concoction I had tasted in the pseudo-Bohemias of Soho; it was not the showy but insipid beverage I should have drunk my fill of at Morven Lodge; it was the purest of her pure vintages, instilling the ancient inspiration which, under many guises, quickens thousands of better brains than mine, but whose essence is always the same; the gay pursuit of a perilous quest.

Then and there I tried to clinch the matter and keep that mood.

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