And so no single soul knew where he had gone, and he said to himself, somewhat bitterly, and quite untruthfully, that no single soul cared.
He had paced the deck all night. The swift smooth motion of the boat, with a slight slow roll in it, was very soothing; and the first tremulous hints of the dawn, and the wonder of its slow unfolding, and the coming of the sun were things to be remembered.
The cold gaunt aloofness, and weltering loneliness of the Casquets appealed to him strongly. Just the kind of place, he said to himself, for a heart-sick traveller to crawl into and grizzle until he found himself again.
As they turned and swung in straight between the little lighthouse on White Rock and Castle Cornet, the bright early sunshine was bathing all the rising terraces of St. Peter Port in a golden haze. Such a quaint medley of gray weathered walls and mellowed red roofs, from which the thin blue smoke of early fires crept lazily up to mingle with the haze above! Such restful banks of greenery! Such a startling blaze of windows flashing back unconscious greetings to the sun! This too was a sight worth remembering. For a wounded soul he was somewhat surprised at the enjoyment these things afforded him.
A further surprise was the pleasure he found in the reduction of a hearty appetite at an hotel on the front. Come! He was not as hard hit as he had thought! There was life in the young dog yet.
But these encouraging symptoms were doubtless due to the temporary exhilaration of the journey. The workaday bustle of the quays renewed his desire for the solitary places, and he set out to find means of transport to the little whalebacked island out there in the golden shimmer of the sun.
There was no steamer till the following day, he learned, and delay was not to his mind. So presently he came to an arrangement with an elderly party in blue, with a red-weathered face and grizzled hair, to put him and his two portmanteaux across to Sark for the sum of five shillings English.
“To Havver Gosslin,” said the aged mariner, with much emphasis, and a canny look which conveyed to Graeme nothing more than a simple and praiseworthy desire on his part to avoid any possibility of mistake.
“To Sark,” said Graeme, with equal emphasis.
“Ay, ay!” said the other; and so it came that the new-comer’s initial experience of the little island went far towards the confirmation of the vague ideas of his childhood as to its inaccessibility.
The ancient called to a younger man, and they strolled away along the harbour wall to get the baggage.
“Ee see,” said the old gentleman, as soon as they had pulled out past Castle Cornet, and had hoisted the masts and two rather dirty sprit sails, and had run out the bowsprit and a new clean jib with a view to putting the best possible face on matters, and were beginning to catch occasional puffs of a soft westerly breeze and to wallow slowly along,—“Ee see, time’s o’ consekens to me and my son. We got to arn our livin’. An’ Havver Gosslin’s this side the island an’ th’ Creux’s t’other side, an’ th’ currents round them points is the very divvle.”