In thinking over things while I lay waiting, I took blame to myself, and felt very great regret, that I had not taken the time to see my grandfather and tell him about Torode. For if the night saw the end of me, as it very well might, no other was cognisant of the matter, and Torode would go unpunished. But go he would I felt sure, for he would never believe that it was all still locked up in me. Of course Helier Le Marchant might have told Jeanne Falla. But even then Jeanne Falla would only have on hearsay from Helier what he had heard from me, whereas I was an eye-witness, and could swear to the facts. And yet I could not but feel that if I had not got across to Herm when I did, I should not have got across at all, and Carette’s welfare was more to me than the punishment of Torode.
That day seemed as if it never would end. Sercq and Brecqhou lay basking in the sun, as though no tragedies lurked behind their rounded bastions. The sun seemed fixed in the sky. The shadows wheeled so slowly that only by noting them against the seams in the rocks could I be sure that they moved at all. Then even that was denied me, as the headland, in a cleft of whose feet I lay, cut off the light, and flung its shadow out over the sea.
But—“pas de rue sans but.” At last the red beams struck level across the water, and all the heads of Sercq and the black rocks of Brecqhou were touched with golden fire. I could see the Autelets flaming under the red Saignie cliffs; and the green bastion of Tintageu; and the belt of gleaming sand in Grande Greve; and the razor back of the Coupee; and the green heights above Les Fontaines; and all the sentinel rocks round Little Sercq.
And then the colours faded and died, and Brecqhou became a part of Sercq once more, and both were folded softly in a purple haze, and soon they were shadows, and then they were gone. And I could not but think that I might never see them again; and if I did not, that was just how I would have wished to see them for the last time.
HOW I FOUND MY LOVE IN THE CLEFT
Waited till the night seemed growing old to me, for the waiting in that dark cleft was weary work, with the water, which I could no longer see, swelling and sinking beneath me, carrying me up and up and up, pumping and grinding against the unseen rocks, then down and down and down into the depths, wet and wallowing, and fearful every moment of a wound beyond repair to my frail craft.
But at last I could wait no longer. With my hands in the rough wet walls I hauled out of the cleft and started on my search for Carette.
The shore thereabouts was a honeycomb of sharp-toothed rocks. I took an oar over the stern and sculled slowly and silently out from the land. I turned to the north and felt my way among the rocks, grazing here, bumping there, but moving so gently that no great harm was done.