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farm, I remained as solitary as society, when I suddenly realwhon I started.
ised that I had a spectator I turned baok, and slowly of my prowess. He was retraced my steps for a mile standing on the turf above or so, my hopes fading and me, a little indistinot owing my perplexity inoreasing. to the wall at his back, and
" What ought I to have for an instant my heart leapt, done that I haven't done?” and I thought I had met the I asked myself. “And what friend I was seeking at last. have I done that I oughtn't And then I saw that it was to ?”
only poor Jook. I paused and sat down on I waved to him, and he the crisp 808 turf with a camo sorambling down to the rough stone wall to land beach, his mouth wide open ward, and below me the as usual and wreathed in shelving rooks and the glassy smiles. As he approached, & ocean; and it was then the wild thought struok mo. Ho idea struck me that I might was bearded, thick-set, and of do something to attract at- medium height. Wrap him in tention to my presence. A an oilskin, and there you were ! thoughtful aunt had presented I mention all my inspirations me with a revolver when I got to show that I really did cover my oommission, and as any- the ground pretty thoroughly thing to do with hitting in that island. It is true that things, from orioket-balls to the conduot of my oilskinned pheasants, has always amused eoquaintance was scarcely that me, I used to carry it in my of a congenital idiot; still, I hip-pooket regardless of chaff was resolved to leave no stone (one happily inspired wag anturned. dubbed me “ Jolly Roger'). “Shoots, shoots !” he babI took it out now, descended bled in his curious thiok voice. to the beach, set up a stone “Jook heard shoots !" 28 & mark, and proceeded to I looked at him fixedly, and combine business with pleasure in a serious voice and a Gerby doing a little fanoy shoot- man accent you could have out ing. The thing made just with a knife repliedenough noise to attract any. “I vant to know zomezing body fairly near at band about sheeps, Herr Jook, not without soandalising the in- about shoots. How many babitants, and as I chanoed sheeps are zere in zis island, to be in good form, I quite eb?” enjoyed myself. .
Did I see & gleam of intelI had just brought off & ligence for an instant in Jook's pretty sequence of snapshots, eye? I cannot honestly say. and was thinking regretfully I only know that he looked that in one of the happy not unnaturally surprised, and lands whiob still encouraged then thiokly answered what the duel I should be a much sounded liko “A hundred and more resposted member of six." Anyhow, it was nothing that seemed to illuminate the him and resumed my walk subjeot.
back to the Rendalls' house, “And how many wax my spirits wero not very high. matohes ?” I inquired.
As an ally Jook did not imJook hooted with laughter. press me with a feeling of He sounded so cheerful that great confidence, while his I perforce laughed too, and failure te recognise my dethen I gazed at him sombrely. soription of the oilskinned
"Jook," I said, “you are a man depressed mo uproasonfrand and a disappointment.” ably. I told myself that the
He laughed again, and then opinion of the parish idiot on all at once a much more sen- the subject of strangers was of sible idea struok me. He was small value. Besides, quite not a very promising ally, but likely the oilskinned man he might prove better than would not be a stranger to none at all.
the people in the neighbour"Jook,” said I, “I am a 'hood. They might know him stranger.”
familiarly as a prosperous He nodded, and seemed to farmer, or a hardy fisherman understand.
-or as their own dootor, or “Have you seen any other their dootor's guest, or-no, bo strangers in this island of could not be their laird, for yours?” I asked.
Mr Rendall was too tall. In He seemed a little confused. short, my talk with Jook had
“No, no,” he began, and proved nothing one way or the then altered it into “ Yes, yes." other.
Which did he mean, or did And yet my whole failure to he mean anything at all? come upon any trace of the
“A man in an oilskin coat, gang, in spite of all my in. with a moustache on his lip- genuity, did set me thinking. here," I went on, touching my Could it possibly be that my own lip, “who goes out at entire adventure had been a night and walks along the hallucination! I confessed shore; have you soon any frankly to myself that I have one like that?
& pretty lively imagination, Again he seemed to look and I recalled vividly how I intelligent, but he only shook had almost collapsed on my his head vaguely.
way to the Soollays under the “Well," I said, “if you do strain of an intense reaction, see any one like that let me how my brain had whirled, know, and you will see some and how I peopled the farm more shoots. Also, I shall kitchen with full thrice the give you this.”
number of persons aotually I held up a new half-crown, assembled. I had been conand he laughed 80 joyfully scious of all that; but supposthat I began to have a faint ing my brain had actually hope he might prove of some begun to whirl half an hour use after all.
Booner, before I had become And yet when I had left conscious of it? Might I not bave imagined my whole mys- quested to pronounce his verterious adventure ?
diot on them. What would be It was a nasty thought, for my own verdiot if I were told in that case what a superfluous such a yarn? Would I swallow fool I had made of myself it without demur? sinoe! But I faced it man. “Be hanged if I would !” fally, and sternly asked myself I said oandidly. what the opinion of the aver. By the time I got back to age hard-headed, soberly-rea- the big house, I had very soning man would be if he nearly ceased to believe in the were given the facts, and re- tale myself.
X. THE COAST PATROL.
That evening we were all and was gone. With a little three sitting in the library sigh she sat down again and (the same old-world room into plunged into her book, but my which I had first been shown), curiosity had been roused, and when a servant entered and in a moment I inquirodgave a message to Mr Rendall. “Is your father going out He rose and went out, leaving for long?” his daughter and myself each Her concern seemed to havo apparently immersed in a book. broken down her retioenoe. She may genuinely have been, “All night,” she said. “I but I was making the covers wish he wouldn't!”. of mine a soreen for inward “What's the matter ?” I debate. Had I made a mere asked. fool of myself, and should I “The coast patrol,” said she. make a clean breast of every “The coast patroll" I exthing to my hosts? Or should claimed. “What's that?” I wait a little longer before she seemed to loek at me deciding? I went on thinking for an instant a little doubtafter the laird had loft the fully before she answered. room, and Miss Jean still kept "The Admiralty have asked her eyes immovably on her all the Justices of Peace to page. I frankly confess I have have the coast patrolled.” never out loss ice with any “By whom?” woman — especially one who “Anybody they can get. decidedly attracted mo. We have the whole island
In a few minutes her father mapped out into beats, and returned, and said to her the different farmers take it
" John Howieson has oried night about.” off to - night. I must go my. For the moment I only half self.”
believed her. Such an amateur She started up with a word way of keeping wateh and of expostulation, but he merely ward in such a vital aroa smiled in his grim way, nodded soomed hardly credible, but I at her (not at me, I noticed), learned afterwards that in
wooped out fart
those early days of the war utes,” she said as she left the that was one of the things room. which aotually happened. An. “Now, what the devil does other fact also made me doubt this mean?” I said to myself. ful. On the night I landed I Five minutes of course meant had mot no watohers.
quarter of an hour, and then “Who watohes the shore up we sallied forth into the night, at the north end-near the she in a long tweed coat and I Soollays' farm ?" I asked. in my inevitable oilskin.
“Oh, Dr Rendall and Mr “Whioh way do you want to O'Brien look after that beat," go?" she asked. said she.
“Suppose we work our way In a flash my belief in my towards the north end," I own adventure had begun to suggested. return. Either that couple She said nothing more, and negleoted their duty-or I had we made our way by a track met one of the watohers ! to the shore, and then turned
“Do the dootor and Mr towards the left. I had been O'Brien ever go out themselves filling my pipe, and when we - like your father to-night?” got to the last stone wall I I asked.
stopped, bent under its shelter, “Mr O'Brien goes out pretty and struok a match. My face often, I believe."
was towards her, and in the I thought for a moment fraction of a second before the longer, and then I jumped first match blew out I caught up.
the glimpse of something just “This seems the very job for visible in the mouth of one an able-bodied young man," of the big pockets of her tweed I said with a laugh. “I'm coat. It was the batt-end of going out to join the a pistol. watchers !”
I struok three more matohes “You !” sheexolaimed, before I got my pipe alight, springing up too.
and I contrived to face her I looked her straight in the each time, but she had turned eye.
and kept her other side to“Why not me?" I inquired. wards me. When we resamed
She said nothing for an in our walk I notioed that she stant, and then she remarked consistently kept two or three in quite a matter - of - fact yards away from me. voice
“Just shooting distance !” I “Very well; if you are said to myself. going, I'll come with you." "By the way, what are we
I could not resist parodying supposed to be looking for?” I her.
inquired presently. “You!" I exclaimed.
“Chiefly periscopes, I think,” But I got no smile in said she. response.
I stopped short and gazed “I'll be ready in five min- over the inky sea.
“Do they light them up for not having come upon one of us ?” I asked.
these coast patrols two nights She laughed despite herself. ago. Still, it was only a pos
“That is what I've been sible reason; the other alterwondering myself,” said she native remained.
This was her only sympa. And then, I know not how thetio relapse, and, to tell the it was, but I began gradually truth, I made no further re- to get & oarious impression mark worthy of being smiled that something was in the at. That pistol kept me think- air, something was going to ing. That she had come out happen. It is easy to say I to watoh me, and if necessary only imagine now in the reshoot me, seemed a pretty ob- trospeot that I had this foelvious deduotion, and, much as ing. But I noted the songaI admired her nerve, it made tion clearly and positively at humorous conversation & trifle the time. I strained my eyes, diffioult.
I looked this way and that, On we walked-on and on 80 strong did the feeling befor what seemed an intermin- oome. Once I thought for a able distance. It was quite moment I heard soft footsteps moonless, and only a fow somewhere on the inland side, stars twinklod here and there and I stopped short then and through a veil of light olouds listened; but when I stopped that had drifted up with the I board nothing. sunset. The grass underfoot It can only have been a was blaok, the sea was nearly few minutes after this that as dark, and the inland the figure at my side (whioh country invisible. Once I re- had been 80 silent that I marked
had almost forgotten it was “It's a curious thing that a girl, and a pretty girl too) we haven't met any of our stopped suddenly, and I stood fellow-watohers."
still beside her. "The boats are very long," “Do you hear anything?" she said, “and I'm afraid all she asked, and there seemed the watchers don't keep at to be a little batoh in her their posts all the time.” breath.
“What! they take a nap I listened, and shook my now and then ?”
head. I could see that she She seemed as though she was gazing intently down at were going to agree, and then the beach. to change her mind.
“Do you see anything?” I "Oh, we shall meet some asked in a voice instinotively one very soon. I think father husbed. is taking this beat.”
"No," she answered in the But we met no one, and as same low tone, “but I thought wo pursued our lonely way I I heard something." began to think that here was Again I strained my ears, quite a possible reason for my and this time I distinotly did