A Maid of the Silver Sea eBook

John Oxenham
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 308 pages of information about A Maid of the Silver Sea.

“I’ll come,” said Philip Guille, and presently they stood watching the boats pulling lustily homewards, and devoutly wishing they were in them.

Every foot of the rock, as they knew it, had already been carefully raked over.  The possible hiding-places were few.  But no one knows better than a Sark man what rocks can do in the way of slits and tunnels and caves, and it was just this possibility that had set John Drillot to his unwonted, and none too welcome, task.  The murderer—­as he deemed Gard—­might have found some place unknown to any of them, and might be lying quietly waiting for them to go.  If that was so, he must come out sooner or later, and the chances were that he would steal out in the night.

So the two watchers prowled desultorily about the rock, poking again into every place that suggested possible concealment for anything larger than a puffin.  There might be openings in the rifted basement rocks which only the full ebb would discover, and these might lead up into chambers where a man could lie high and dry till the tide allowed him out again.  And so they hung precariously over the waves and poked and peered, and found nothing.

They had clambered over the great wall more than once before Vaudin said:  “G’zamin, John, I wonder if there’s any holes here big enough to take a man?”

“He’d have to be a little one, and this Gard’s not that,” and they stood looking at the wall. “’Sides, them rocks lie on the rock itself, and there’s no depth to them.”

But Vaudin was not sure that there might not be room for a man to lie flat under some of the big slabs, and began to poke about among them.

“Some one’s been up here,” he said, pointing to one of Gard’s own scorings.

“Bin up there four times myself,” said Drillot, “an’ so have all the rest.  There’s no room to hide a man there, Peter.  If he’s hid anywhere, he’ll come out in the night.  Maybe Philip Guille’s right, and he’s safe in Guernsey by this.  Come along to that shelter and let’s have a drink.”

They had their bottle out of the boat, and they had also come upon Gard’s bottle of cognac, of which quite half remained.  It was a finer cordial than their own, so they sat drinking them turn about, and watching the sun set, and chatting spasmodically, till it grew too dark to do more than sit still with safety.

They were by no means drunk, but the spirits had made them heavy, and when John Drillot solemnly suggested that they should keep watch about, Peter Vaudin as solemnly agreed, and offered to take first duty.

So John curled his length inside the bee-hive, and made himself comfortable with Gard’s cloak and blanket, and was presently snoring like a whole pig-sty.  And that had a soporific effect on Peter.  He had only stopped behind to oblige John, and personally had little expectation of anything coming of it.  Moreover, the night air was chilly.  If he could get that cloak from John now!  He crawled in to try, but big John was rolled up like a caterpillar.  It was warmer inside there than out, anyway.  And he could keep watch there just as well as outside; so he propped himself up alongside John, and braced his mind to sentry duty.

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A Maid of the Silver Sea from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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