“Ralph believes that they have got something,” Olive declared eagerly. “He is simply aching to get to work.”
“Sailors are all so jolly sanguine,” Granet reminded her. “They are doing something pretty useful with nets, of course, in the way your brother was beginning to explain to me when Major Thomson chipped in, but they could only keep a fixed channel clear in that way. What they really need is some way of tackling them when they are under water. Here we are at last. I hope you girls are as hungry as I am.”
They lunched in leisurely fashion, Olive in particular glancing often towards the door, and afterwards they sat about in the lounge, drinking their coffee. Granet had seemed to be in high spirits throughout the meal, and told the girls many little anecdotes of his adventures at the Front. Afterwards, however, he became silent, and finally, with a word of excuse, strolled off alone. Olive looked once more at the clock.
“Ralph doesn’t seem to be coming back, does he?” she sighed. “Let’s walk a little way down to the landing-stage.”
The two girls strolled out and made their way towards the harbour. They could see the Scorpion but there was no sign of any pinnace leaving her. Reluctantly they turned back towards the hotel.
“I wonder what has become of Captain Granet?” Olive asked.
Geraldine stopped short. There was a little frown gathering upon her forehead. She pointed up to the roof of the hotel, where a man was crouching with a telescope glued to his eyes. He lowered it almost as they paused, and waved his hand to them.
“Can’t see any sign of Conyers,” he shouted. “I’m waiting for the pinnace. Come up here. There’s such a ripping view.”
They entered the hotel in silence.
“I don’t believe,” Geraldine remarked uneasily, “that Ralph would like that.”
They made their way to the top of the house and were escorted by a buxom chambermaid to what was practically a step-ladder opening out on to a skylight. From here they crawled on to the roof, where they found Granet comfortably ensconced with his back to a chimney, smoking a cigarette.
“This is rather one on your brother,” he chuckled.
“Where did you find the telescope?” Geraldine asked.
“I borrowed it from downstairs,” he answered. “Do come and have a look. You can see the Scorpion quite distinctly. All the officers seem to be gathered around that mysterious structure on the upper deck. I thought at first it was a stand for a gun but it isn’t.”
Olive held out her hand for the telescope but Geraldine shook her head. There was a troubled expression in her eyes.
“I suppose it’s awfully silly, Captain Granet,” she said, “but honestly, I don’t think Ralph would take it as a joke at all if he knew that we were up here, trying to find out what was going on.”
Olive set down the telescope promptly.