He plunged on through the masses of dripping ragwort towards the eastern cliff, and stood absorbed by the grim fury of the Gouliot Race. The driven waves split on the western point of Brecqhou and came rocketing along the ragged black rocks on either side in wild bursts of foam. The Gouliot Passage was roaring with the noise of many waters, and boiling and seething like a gigantic pot. The sea was white with beaten spume for half a mile each way, and up through the tumbling marbled surface great black coils of water came writhing and bubbling from their tribulation on the hidden rocks below. The black fangs of the Gouliots were grimmer than ever. The long line of scoured granite cliffs on either side looked like great bald-headed eagles peering out hungrily for their prey.
There were no boats at the anchorage in Havre Gosselin. He learned afterwards that they had all run to the shelter of Creux Harbour on the other side of the island. He breasted the gale and headed for the house.
“I’m very much afraid we’re stuck for the night,” he said, as they looked up enquiringly on his entrance. “There’s not a sign of a boat, and I’m quite sure no boat could face that sea. Sark looks like an outcast island—the very end of the world.”
“Then we’ll make ourselves comfortable here,” said Miss Penny. “We began to fear you’d been blown over the cliffs. Is there plenty of wood in the house?”
“I’ll go and get some more,” and he came back with a great armful of broken driftwood, and went again for as much gorse as he could carry in a rude wooden fork he found near the stack.
“You must be soaked through and through,” said Margaret.
“Bit damp, but your cloak was a great help,” and he piled gorse and chunks of wood on the fire till its roaring almost drowned the noise of the storm outside.
“Well, I call this absolutely ripping,” said Miss Penny exuberantly, as they sat by the fire of many-coloured flames, after a slender cup of tea and as hearty a meal as Graeme would allow them in view of possible contingencies. “Do please smoke, Mr. Graeme. It just needs a whiff of tobacco to complete our enjoyment.”
“Sark,” she added, leaning back with her hands clasped behind her head, “when no one knows you’re there, is just heavenly. No letters, no telegrams, no intrusion of the commonplace outside world! Those are distinctly heavenly attributes, you know—”
It was truly extraordinary how, with nothing more than a very general intention thereto, she played into his hands at times. Here now was a very simple question he had been wanting to put to Miss Brandt for days past. For the answer to it might shed light in several directions. But he had been loth to force matters, and had quietly waited such opportunity as might arise in a natural way without undue obtrusion of the doubt that was in his mind.