“Water?” asked Carette.
“Plenty of water, both salt and fresh,” said Uncle George.
“All the same, a can of milk won’t hurt,” said Aunt Jeanne. “Carette, ma fille, fill the biggest you can find.”
“And Mistress Falla will give us two sacks of hay to soften the rocks,” said Uncle George, “and a lantern and some candles, lest they get frightened of one another in the dark,”—which I knew could never happen. All the same, Carette asked, “Is it dark there all the time?”
“Not quite dark all the time, but a light is cheerful.”
“Lend me a pipe, Uncle George,” I said, and the good fellow emptied his pockets for me.
HOW WE WENT TO EARTH
So presently we set out, all laden to the extent of our powers, and went first to Belfontaine, since our way lay past it. And there my mother fell gratefully on Carette and me, as though she had feared she might never see either of us again, and I was well pleased to see the tender feeling that lay between these two who were dearest to me in all the world.
“Wherever George Hamon puts you you will be safe,” said my mother, at which Uncle George’s face shone happily, “and I hope it will not be for long.”
“Not for long,” nodded my grandfather, with assurance. “We must give Monsieur Torode business of his own to attend to nearer home. Once Peter Port knows all we know, his fat will be in the fire.”
“And the sooner the better,” said Carette.
“And Krok?” I asked, tardily enough, though not through lack of thought of him.
“Your grandfather thinks he must have broken a blood-vessel yesterday. He is in there.”
And I went in, and found him sitting up in great excitement at all the talking. I shook him very heartily by the hand and clapped him on the back and told him how much we were indebted to him, and how it was his prompt warning that enabled me to get across to Herm before they set their patrol boats—and very briefly of what had passed and was toward, and so left him, content and cheerful.
My mother would have added to our supplies, but we had as much as we could carry, and enough, we thought, for the term of our probable imprisonment. So we bade her farewell, and went on across the fields, past La Moinerie towards the Eperquerie.
“We are going to the Boutiques,” I said.
“My Boutiques,” said Uncle George, with a laugh. And, instead of going on to that dark chasm whose steep black walls and upstanding boulders lead one precariously into the caves with which we were familiar, he turned aside to another narrower gash in the tumbled rocks, and we stood on the brink wondering where he would take us. For, well as we knew the nooks and crannies thereabouts, we had never found entrance here.
We stood looking down into the narrow chasm. The tide was still churning among its slabs and boulders, and the inner end showed no opening into the cliff, nothing but piles of rounded pebbles and stranded tangles of vraic. We thought he had made a mistake.