“What’s your game?” he demanded hoarsely. “There’s some of them on the island’d have me by the throat if they only knew the things I could tell ’em. What’s your game here, eh? Are you on the cross?”
“I am not,” Granet replied, “or I shouldn’t have needed to bring you to sea. I know all about you, Job Rowsell. You’re doing very well and you may do a bit better by and by. Now sit tight and keep a still tongue in your head.”
They were in a queer part of the broken, rocky island group. There was a great indenture in the rocks up which the sea came hissing; to the left, round the corner, the lighthouse. Granet drew what looked to be a large pocket-handkerchief from the inner pocket of his coat, pulled down their pennant with nimble fingers, tied on another and hauled it up. Job Rowsell stared at him.
“It’s the German flag, you fool,” Granet answered.
“I’ll have none of that on my boat,” the man declared surlily. “An odd fiver for a kindness—”
“Shut up!” Granet snapped, drawing his revolver from his pocket. “You run the boat and mind your own business, Rowsell. I’m not out here to be fooled with. . . . My God!”
Almost at their side the periscope of a submarine had suddenly appeared. Slowly it rose to the surface. An officer in German naval uniform struggled up and called out. Granet spoke to him rapidly in German. Job Rowsell started at them both, then he drew a flask from his pocket and took a long pull. The submarine grew nearer and Granet tossed a small roll of paper across the chasm of waters. All that passed between the two men was to Job Rowsell unintelligible. The last few words, however, the German repeated in English.
“The Princess Hilda from Southampton, tomorrow at midnight,” he repeated thoughtfully. “Well, it’s a big business.”
“It’s worth it,” Granet assured him. “They may call it a hospital ship but it isn’t. I am convinced that the one man who is more dangerous to us than any other Englishman, will be on board.”
“It shall then be done,” the other promised. “So!”
He looked upward to the flag and saluted Granet. A great sea bore them a little apart. Granet pulled down the German flag, tied up a stone inside it and threw it into the next wave.
“You can take me back now,” he told the boatman.
They were four hours making the harbour. Three times they failed to get round the last point, met at each time by clouds of hissing spray. When at last they sailed in, there was a little crowd to watch them. Nichols and Lethbridge stood on one side with gloomy faces.
“It’s a queer day for pleasure sailing,” Nicholas remarked to Job Rowsell, as he came up the wet steps of the pier.
“It’s all I want of it for a bit, any way,” Rowsell muttered, pushing his way along the quay. “If there’s any of you for a drink, I’m your man. What-ho, Nichols?—Lethbridge?”