A stroke or two with the oars and they were plunging back through the hissing white caps, but not, as he had expected, to Havre Gosselin.
“Where to?” he shouted to the blue-guernseyed stalwart nearest him.
“Grande Greve. We couldn’ beach in Havre Gosselin, and mebbe the leddies wouldn’ like to climb the ladders,” with a grin at the leddies.
“Not much!” said Miss Penny. “Margaret, my dear, prepare yourself! I’m going to be sick if this goes on much longer.”
But before she had time to be sick they had rounded the shoulder of Port-es-Saies, and their boat’s nose ran up the soft sand of a low tide in Grande Greve, and the green waves came curling exultantly in over the stern. The men leaped out and hauled bravely, and in a moment the girls were ashore.
“Couldn’ get back nohow last night, sir. ’Twould a bin as much as our lives were worth. Hope ye didn’ starve,” said the spokesman with another genial grin.
“No, we didn’t expect you. We dug potatoes and cooked them. Here you are, and thanks for coming as soon as you could,” and, from their smiling faces, their reward without doubt covered not only that which they had actually done but that also which they had unwittingly helped to do.
The boat shoved off and made for its own anchorage, and Graeme led the girls up the toilsome path to the Coupee.
It was after nine when they reached the cottage, and the first thing they saw was Johnnie Vautrin sitting in the hedge opposite, with Marielihou licking her lips alongside.
“I just seen seven crows,” cried Johnnie gleefully.
“Little rascal! You dream crows,” said Graeme, whose desires at the moment ran to something more palatable and satisfying.
“And what do seven crows mean, Johnnie?” asked Margaret.
“Seven crows means everything’s oll right!”
“Clever boy! You see just what you want to see,” said Graeme, and then Mrs. Carre appeared at the door of the cottage.
“Ah then, here you are!” she said, with a large welcoming smile. “And the dinner I haf been keeping for you for an hour an’ more.”
“You’re a good angel, Mrs. Carre,” said Graeme gratefully. “We are a bit late, aren’t we? I hope you’ve put yesterday’s dinner and to-day’s together. We’ve had nothing to eat to speak of for a month. What did you think when we never turned up last night?”
“Oh, but I knew you would be all right. There iss a house on Brecqhou, and there iss watter, and you had things to eat, and it was better on Brecqhou last night than on the watter.”
“It was,” said Graeme heartily, and sped off up the garden for a much-needed wash and brush-up.
“Now what would I like myself if I was in their place?” asked Miss Penny of herself, while she rectified the omissions of the last two days in the matter of Nature’s cravings for a more varied diet than Brecqhou afforded.