With an instinct for safer quarters, Miss Penny had started off towards the path which led precariously across the narrow neck to the mainland. The neck itself, with white clouds of mist billowing on either side, and streaming raggedly across the path, looked fearsome enough. She gave a startled cry and stood still.
“Stay here!” said Graeme to Margaret. “Don’t move an inch!” and he felt his way, foot by foot, towards the causeway.
And Margaret, who had been regarding it all simply as a curious experience, felt suddenly very lonely and not very safe.
She heard him speak to Miss Penny, but she could not see two feet in front of her.
Then, after what seemed a long time, she heard above her—
“Miss Brandt? Margaret? Oh, good God!”—and there was in his voice a note that was new to her. Sharp and strident with keenest anxiety, it set a sudden fire in her heart, for it was for her.
“I am here, Mr. Graeme,” she cried, and he came plunging down to her through the dripping gorse and bracken.
“Thank God!” he said fervently. “Why ever did you move?”
“I have not stirred.”
“I must have got wrong. It is blinding. It will be safest to wait here, I think. Will you hold on to my arm?”
And as she slipped her hand through it she felt it trembling—the arm that had always been so strong and steadfast in her service—and she knew that this too was for her.
“Where is Hennie?” she asked.
“She’s all right. I made her sit down among the bushes and told her she’d surely get smashed if she moved.”
It was a good half-hour before the cloud drew off and they saw Guernsey, Herm, and Jethou sparkling in the sun once more.
Then they crossed the narrow path over the neck, and Margaret was glad they had not attempted it in the fog.
They picked up Miss Penny, damp but cheerful, and went home. For everything was dripping, and the pleasures of camping out were over for that day, but there were fires about that all the fogs that ever had been could not begin to extinguish.
As the girls sat basking in the window-seat for a few minutes after breakfast one morning, they surprised a private conversation between their cavalier and Master Johnnie Vautrin. Graeme, with his back to them, sat smoking on the low stone wall. Johnnie was, as usual, bunched up in the hedge opposite.
“Well, Johnnie?” they heard. “Seen any crows this morning?”
“How many then, you wretched little croaker?”
“J’anneveu deu et j’anneveu troy.”
“Ah now, it’s not polite—as I’ve told you before—to talk to an uneducated foreigner, in a language he does not understand. How many, in such English as you have attained to, and what did they mean according to your wizardry?”
“Pergui, you, too, are not polite! Your words are like this”—measuring off an expanding half yard in the air,—“they are all wind.”