Lethbridge muttered something and turned away. Nichols, too, declined.
“I am not sure, Job Rowsell,” the latter declared, “that I like your money nor the way you earn it.”
Job Rowsell stopped for a minute. There was an ugly look in his sullen face.
“If you weren’t my own bother-in-law, Matthew Nichols,” he said, “I’d shove those words down your throat.”
“And if you weren’t my sister’s husband,” Nichols retorted, turning away, “I’d take a little trip over to Penzance and say a few words at the Police Station there.”
Granet laughed good-humouredly.
“You fellows don’t need to get bad-tempered with one another,” he observed. “Look here, I shall have three days here. I’ll take one of you each day—make a fair thing of it, eh? You to-morrow, Nichols, and you the next day Lethbridge. I’m not particular about the weather, as Job Rowsell can tell you, and I’ve sailed a boat since I was a boy. I’m no land-lubber, am I, Rowsell?”
“No, you can sail the boat all right,” Rowsell admitted, looking back over his shoulder. “You’d sail it into Hell itself, if one’d let you. Come on, you boys, if there’s any one of you as fancies to drink. I’m wet to the skin.”
Nichols’ boat was duly prepared at nine o’clock on the following morning. Lethbridge shouted to him from the rails.
“Gentleman’s changed his mind, I reckon. He went off on the eight o’clock boat for Penzance.”
Nichols commenced stolidly to furl his sails again.
“It’s my thinking Lethbridge,” he said, as he clambered into the dinghy, “that there’s things going on in this island which you and me don’t understand. I’m for a few plain words with Job Rowsell, though he’s my own sister’s husband.”
“Plain words is more than you’ll get from Job,” Lethbridge replied gloomily. “He slept last night on the floor at the ‘Blue Crown,’ and he’s there this morning, clamouring for brandy and pawing the air. He’s got the blue devils, that’s what he’s got.”
“There’s money,” Nichols declared solemnly, “some money, that is, that does no one any good.”
There was a shrill whistle from the captain’s bridge, and the steamer, which had scarcely yet gathered way, swung slowly around. Rushing up towards it through the mists came a little naval launch, in the stern of which a single man was seated. In an incredibly short space of time it was alongside, the passenger had climbed up the rope ladder, the pinnace had sheered off and the steamer was once more heading towards the Channel.
The newly-arrived passenger was making his way towards the saloon when a voice which seemed to come from behind a pile of rugs heaped around a steamer-chair, arrested his progress.
“Hugh! Major Thomson!”
He stopped short. Geraldine shook herself free from her rugs and sat up. They looked at one another in astonishment.