The Man Whom the Rocks Hated
“.....Then a ghastly thing hap-
pened — the sea ran suddenly in among (he rocks in a long, bubbling slide of water, and all the seaweed on them lifted and floated around them......they seemed to be coming alive.”
IT WAS the first year since he was a boy that Paul Cockett had not spent his summer holiday at Brighton. He had gone regularly to Brighton ever since '94 when Gell had taken him there—old Gell who talked of "London by the sea.” Now Gell had died in the spring of 1919—the last wave of the ebbing influenza epidemic had caught him—and Cockett said that “he couldn’t fancy Brighton alone.” He anxiously questioned the other men at the office—what did they recommend? Their inspirations ranged from Eastbourne to Hastings— they were old fellow’s. Then young Somervell had burst in—the man who had come back last year so brown—and suggested the Channel Islands.
“I was over there last summer— first Guernsey and then Jersey and then Sark. Sark’s the finest, but I expect you’d enjoy Guernsey better,” and he looked at Cockett’s widening girth.
The Channel Islands did not appeal to Cockett. They lay outside the radius of his experience, almost of his imagination, but he was dimly aw’are that they involved a long sea journey’, and he hated the sea except as a convenient and picturesque boundary to a well laid-out parade. However, young Somervell persisted with his recommendations, and Cockett was flattered. He liked to group himself with the young men, now, w’hen all of him wras on the increase except his teeth and his hair—he would rather be hailed as one of them in Guernsey than exchange dignified salutes with the seniors on the front at Hastings. He felt vaguely that if he followed Somervell’s advice he would be linking himself with the younger men at Duff’s, whereas if he refused it he was irrevocably grouped with the old stagers.
So an early morning in August saw him land in Guernsey, feeling sick but very thankful, and after breakfast he had revived enough to devote himself to the sacred rite of planning his fourteen days.
His zeal as a camp-follower of youth had led him into rashness. He had actually committed himself to a week in Sark. Somervell had gone there direct, with two men who had been with him in the Northamptonshire regiment. He spoke to them of Cockett as “an old sport,” but was careful to take a room for him at the Dixcart Hotel, while he himself stopped at the Bel-Air.
“We don’t want too much of him,” hesaid, "but it’ll be fun to have him.”
COMERVELL belonged to that not inconsiderable ^ number of people who are place mad. He would enthusiastically have shown his worst bore round any place that had touched his maniacal spot, so it was not such a rousing compliment as Cockett took it to be when he found him awaiting the Guernsey boat at the Creux harbour.
“I thought if I came down we’d have time to go somewhere before lunch,” said Somervell cheerfully; “you can have your things sent straight to the hotel, and we’ve just time to go to Derrible and back. You ought to see the Creux Derrible. Or we might go to Les Laches.”
Cockett was ready for either. He had enjoyed his passage in the little tourist crowded steamer, which reminded him pleasantly of Brighton. So his luggage was handed over to the Dixcart porter, and he set off beside Somervell’s swinging tread.
“Whew, I didn’t like that,” he remarked, as they came GUI, of the tunnel that connects the Creux harbour with
I he ( ,rn)x road.
“Like what?” asked Somervell.
“I dunno that place; like a vault—like caves. . . .it’s
the rocks, I think. I’ve never become used to rocks.”
Somervell laughed, and then realized the other was mopping his forehead.
“Good heavens, man!—if you’re going to feel like that about the tunnel. . . .wait till you’ve seen the Creux Derrible, that’s all.”
With which threat he swung the pace up the road and across by La Forge to the high downs.
The blue sky bore the white streaks of a racing wind, and the same white streaks flashed and broke in the still deeper blue of the sea, against which the rocks showed pink and almost lucent with sun. Cockett wondered how they were to get down, but he followed obediently.
TUST at the bottom there was a wilderness of piled ^ rocks grown over with seaweed. These not only betrayed the feet, but seemed to Cockett peculiarly horrible by reason of their shape. Their tops were mostly round, and seaweed grew from the centre and fell down the sides like hair they were round and brown and slimy and with the hairy seaweed made Cockett think of the heads of drowned people. . the fear that he experienced as he climbed over them was not only the fear of missing his foothold on their slipperiness—it seemed to be in some way a fear of themselves.
W hew!” He gave his usual exclamation of relief when he found himself on the sand. The tide was coming in, and Somervell said they must hurry if they wanted to see the Creux Derrible. Cockett did not particularly want to see it, but he hurried nevertheless and was properly amazed at its height and its solemn gape to the sky. Though so much more obviously terrific, it did not give him the same
uncomfortable feeling as the rocks.
“I think we’ll just have time to look at the other caves,” said Somervell, with a glance at the sea, “The tide comes up jolly quickly here— that’s what makes it so exciting— but I don’t suppose you’d mind getting your feet wet, would you?”
They accordingly went into the cave next to the Creux, a curious Y-shaped cavern, consisting of two passages, one with a double-entrance. The walls were slippery and black like an Ethiopian’s skin, and underfoot shallow, purplish pools.
“T HEAR they’ve got some fine caves at Hastings,” 1 panted Cockett as he slithered along against the wall, for in spite of Somervell’s happy surmise he had a real objection to wetting his feet.
His companion’s snort of contempt found so many echoes that it seemed much more than Somervell who expressed an entirely low opinion of the Hastings caves.
“Used by smugglers and early Christians and so on,” said Cockett. “Now, you couldn’t do much with smugglers and early Christians here. I guess the tide comes right in, judging by the wet.”
“Guess it does— right up to the roof—and we’ll be having it on us in a minute if you’re not spry. Egad! I’d no idea it was so close, but it’s always like that here.”
They had come to the double entrance of the further passage, and outside it was a wave, which suddenly dashed itself in two against the dividing rock, and plunged into the cavern in two separate, then mingling, streams of heavy green water that seemed to fill the whole cave with a cold, choking spindrift.
Cockett emitted a feeble squawk. He was carried right up against the wall, and then, as the wave ebbed, staggered forward into a snare of rocks and hissing, flowing channels.
“Hi! hurry out!” was Somervell’s unnecessary advice.
Cockett hurried desperately, but his feet were not accustomed to such casual going; he did nothing but flounder, and before he could get out another wave caught him. From a ledge outside the door Somervell saw it go in and swirl round him—then it drew out, and in the wake of it came Cockett, staggering and stumbling over the round, drowned heads of the rocks.
Somervell laughed heartily till he caught sight of the elder man’s face, with its purple cheeks and bulging blue eyes.
“I say, I’m awfully sorry. I’m afraid you’ve got wet.”
“Take me out of this—take me out of this, I say.”
“All right—we shan’t get another ducking. I hope that’s an old suit.”
ROCKETT could not speak as he sprinted across the A-' small strip of sand remaining, and with Somervell’s help scaled the rocks and the cliff and was up at last on the Derrible down among the blue scabious and the heather.
Then his face looked a degree less drawn, and he waved an arm tragically towards the bay where the waves were tumbling.
“Whew!” he said.
Somervell thought him rather ridiculous.
“I’ve had closer shaves than that. Even ten minutes later we could have got out...”
“It was the feeling,” said Cockett, “the feeling—the feeling that it was wanting to drown you.”
“What was wanting to drown you?”
“I dunno—but I’d a sort of feeling as that place I wás in was wanting to get me . .it was trying for me. . . .1 can’t bear those rocks.”
“That’s your first whiff of the Sark atmosphere. It’s horribly sinister,” said Somervell proudly and cheerfully. “It’s what you call malign—“-just that part of the island between tides, the forty feet or so where the seaweed;is.” “Yes, it’s where the seaweed is.”
“Oh, other people have noticed it besides you. I feel it myself—appallingly. But I’m used to it now. Come along to the hotel—you’ll be wanting to change your things.”
COCKETT not only wanted to change them but to pack them up and go home again. However, he was ashamed of his desires and said nothing about them. That evening he watched regretfully the steamer start back for Guernsey.
He tried to whip up his enthusiasm for the island by studying the guide book. Usually guide-books inspired and excited him—on holiday they were his staple literature. But this guide to Sark only stirred up his fears more darkly. He disliked the place-names, they were foreign and unfriendly—Pegane Bay, les Autelets, Moie Fano. But most unfriendly, almost terrible, he found the names of the rocks: “Demies, or rocks that uncover at half-tide.” “Baveuse, or slobberer—a rock on which the sea is constantly breaking,” “Dents, or teeth; dangerous reefs,” “Moie, a steep rocky promontory, or detached islet,” “Saignie, blood-red,” “Gruñe, a name frequently given to rocks that are rather flat on the top.” The word Gruñe filled him, for some reason, with especial horror. AÍ night long the names of these rocks as the pirates of long ago had named them, jostled in his dreams with the experiences of the day—the horrible masses of seaweed that the rocks wore in Derrible Bay, the cave of the double entrance where the waves had drenched him, and the rocks had laid snares for his feet.
TTOWEVER, the next morning the sunlight came spilling into his room with all the reckless glory of Channel Island fine weather. His breakfast was good and substantial —the butter was yellow as gorse and fresh as falling rain. When Somervell’s voice called to him outside the window he responded almost joyfully, and as they walked in the green sunfreckled shadows of the Dixcart valley, the terror seemed far away.
“By George!” said Cockett, “what flowers!”
Somervell assented cheerfully, and held forth at great length on the seasons as Sark celebrated them with primroses and gorse and blue-bells and thrift and marguerites and heather in succession. But he had not taken Cockett out to pick flowers.
He bore him off to the Orgeries, so that he could see what the waves could do in Sark. Cockett watched them respectfully from the top of the cliff, as they raged and roared and tore at the rocks below, and slobbered and lathered over the great Baveuse out beyond the Petites Cotes. He felt rather as a man feels looking down into a den of bears, which cannot reach him, but would very much like to....
“We’ll go to the Goulliot caves this evening,” said Somervell, “the tide’ll be right then, though you’ll have to do a bit of wading.”
It was extraordinary, he afterwards remarked to his two friends, Smith and Mackintosh, what bad luck the old merchant seemed to have. The very first day he arrived he had got a nasty wetting and scare in Derrible, and then on the next day he had nearly skidded off the top of that rock at the Goulliot passage.
“If you chaps hadn’t been with me, he’d have been gone.”
“He said his feet suddenly went from under him.”
“So they well might—there was a lot of seaweed about;
but he had rope-soled shoes--1 told him to get ’em.”
“He said he stubbed his toe against something, and began to slide.”
“He said some mighty queer things altogether—he said he felt as if the rock was wanting to push him off.”
Smith and Mackintosh laughed immoderately, but Somervell launched out on the subject of the Spirit of Sark, using the words “malign” and “sinister” a great many times.
As for poor Cockett, he felt a broken man. He lay awake that night repeating and enlarging on his desire to take the Guernsey boat next day, till finally it became a resolution and was communicated to Somervell the next morning.
“Don’t be an ass,” said the younger man. “Excuse me, Cockett, but really you’d be a fool if you left Sark before your week is up. Even a week isn’t nearly time enough to see the island properly. It would be a shame to go back to a stuffy, sandy hole like Guernsey just because you’ve had a couple of small adventures—I tell you that sort of thing’s always happening here, bound to, considering the nature of the place, and nobody minds.”
“It isn’t the things happening that I mind so much,”
said Cockett, “it’s the way they keep on happening.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I’ve a feeling—I know it sounds silly, but I can’t help it—I’ve a feeling as if the rocks 'ated me.”
/^OCKETT had not dropped an aitch for twenty-five ^ years.
“We all feel that,” said Somervell, “it’s the spirit of the place—sort of malign, you know—it was inhabited by pirates once, and you bet they did some horrid things.”
“It isn’t pirates I’m feeling—it’s rocks.”
“It’s all the same thing. My ghost! You should go to some of the places here—I’d like to take you into Three Brothers Bay, or the Caverne des Lamentes. . . and the tide would be right for the Pot this afternoon, if you went down ¿Aere... ”
But Cockett was so frantic in his protestations that Somervell saw that any insistence would mean his decamping. So for a day he gave in to the old fellow, and took him for a walk on the cliffs.
Cockett liked the Greve de la Ville; its gentle slopes appealed to him, with the soft lap of dark green waters. The next morning, when, to his relief, Somervell went out
fishing in a boat mercifully too small to hold any addition to his party, the older man took a magazine and sat in one of the soft green elbows of the path that led down to the bay in comfortable curves. Cockett had brought his lunch, and he ate it in the simmering quiet and heat, and afterwards he had a bit of a doze—such as he used to have after dinner every day at Brighton.
He awoke feeling refreshed and at peace with the world, though he was vaguely conscious of the memories of bad dreams, such as nearly always troubled his sleep in Sark. He stretched himself luxuriantly in the warmth—what about a bit of exercise? He felt he needed it after sitting still for so long. He might toddle down and have a look at the bay.
THE gentle slope of the green path invited him—this was not as other bays in Sark, of fierce and precipitous descent. Below in the curve of the shore he saw a haze of white shingle in the sun. Little puffs and bolsters of fog were now afloat between sky and sea, and their downy softness pleased him as he watched it against the fierce blues and pinks and greens of sea and rocks and sky. The last few yards of the track, when it became rubbed out in a desert of slabbing rock, brought back a little of his old alarm. But it vanished when he found himself on the shingle, looking towards a high, arched rock at the southern end of the bay.
That must be the Gull’s Chapel. He had read about it in the guide-book—the name attracted him, and he felt he would like to have a look. It would be easy enough to reach—though he knew nothing about tides, and was indeed ignorant to the point of not knowing whether this one was coming in or going out. He set off round the bay and then stopped, for in front of him was a mass of those head-like rocks, drowned heads with their draggled hair close-packed together, and bringing him that indefinite yet violent sense of fear and evil.... He drew bark, then suddenly felt ashamed of himself. He was a fool to be upset like this by a set of rocks; there were rocks at Brighton
. . . He wanted to see the Gull’s Chapel, and he would never see anything in Sark if he was afraid of rocks. So he went forward, climbing slowly and carefully over the drowned heads. But he was not wearing his rope-soled shoes, and his feet slipped dangerously on the sea-weed; also he soon realized that the tide was right up between him and the Gulls’ Chapel—he could never get there. After all, he had better go back. He turned about, and then saw to his horror, that one of those floating bolsters of fog had crept up behind him and had completely shrouded his retreat to the path and safety. Meanwhile he felt the horror grow, at once vague and fierce, spiritual yet vilely animal, something altogether strange and terrible to his experience. Then a ghastly thing happened—• the sea ran suddenly in among the rocks in a long, bubbling slide of water, and all the seaweed on them lifted and floated round them. . . .they seemed to be coming
TT/ITH a loud yell of undisguised animal fear, Cockett * » turned and ran to his only visible safety. The shingle and the path were cut off by fog, and it never occurred to him to try to pierce that barrier, he knew instinctively that if he did so the rocks would get him. So he made straight for the cliff, where some winter water course had ploughed a funnelshaped descent. He went sprawling and staggering over the rocks, till at last he had laid hold of the mixed earth and granite of the cliff, and was pulling himself up by toe-holds and finger-holds to the first tuft of green.
No one who knew anything of Sark would have attempted such an ascent. But Cockett was ignorant, and mortal fear was in him.
He reached the top of the cliff breathless, his clothes torn, his face purple, his eyes starting out of his head. But all physical pain and discomfort was swallowed up in one thought—he must leave Sark at once, this very day. If he stopped a day longer the rocks would get him— they had nearly got him then, and next time he would be unable to cheat them. Even the serene and comfortable Greve de la Ville had
turned traitor.....He could not bear
any more of it—he must go.
He told as much, incoherently to Somervell, Smith and Mackintosh at the Bel-Air. He went straight to the hotel, without changing or brushing his clothes, and tumbled out his story. They heard it with a mixture of impatience and delight and incredulity.
“The Greve de la Ville!” said Smith, “why, it’s as safe as Margate sands.”
“But I tell you it ’ates me—the rocks ’ate me—nothing’s safe for me here.”
“I’m going home-I’m going back to Guernsey, anyhow—to-night.”
“You can’t do that—the steamer left an hour ago.”
“But I can hire a boat—you said there was a motorboat I could hire.”
“Not to-night—no one will take you over to-night. There’s a fog coming up, for one thing.”
“To-morrow morning, then. I’ll go the first thing tomorrow.”
“Don’t be an ass,” said Somervell; “you’ll regret it all your life if you don’t stay a week. To-morrow I’m going to take you to Rouge Terrier and the tide will be right, in the afternoon, for the Gorey Souffleur.”
Cockett saw that he would get no help from them, and driven by despair into cunning, he feinted. His defence collapsed, and the expedition to Rouge Terrier and the Gorey Souffleur was settled as to time and meeting-place. Then he set out dejectedly for his hotel. He knew that only his own exertions would save him from the murderous hatred of the rocks.
AT THE Dixcart Hotel he made inquiries. They were afraid that Henry’s motor-boat was booked next day —indeed they knew it. But he might try Hamon.
So that evening Cockett walked up to La Collinett and then to La Ville, to interview prospective boatmen. It was August and fine weather, and booking was brisk. He could not find anyone to take him over. His anxiety was pathetic, as having been sent from Hamon to Carre, from Carre to Vibart, and from Vibart to de Carteret he still encountered failure. It almost seemed as if he would have to stop in that damned island till the Guernsey boat left in the evening—and that would give the rocks time; de Carteret wondered whether the poor gentleman had urgent business or a dying relative, that was what made Continued on page 51
The Man Whom the Rocks Hated
Continued from page 23
him suggest Couteur—otherwise he would not have recommended Couteur, who had only just come out of one of his bad times, and had not yet taken up fishing again. However, he could now be guaranteed sober for a fortnight, and de Carteret had no real qualms in pointing out his corrugated iron roof to the frenzied Cockett.
As Couteur was usually drunk for half the month, his bookings were scanty for the other half. He readily promised his boat for the next morning. They had better start at eight—that would be right for the tide. So Cockett went home happy.
At a quarter to eight he was down at the harbour. The sea was a queer slate colour, with blue gaps to match the blue gaRs in the sky. Long puffs and rolls of mist obscured the dim violet line of France, and trailed up towards the sun, streaking sky and sea impartially together.
“Eet is going to be very thick outside, saar,” said Couteur, “we will not cross just yet?”
“I must cross,” said Cockett. “I can’t wait. And”—bluffing in his desperation •—“it’s a beautiful morning. Only a little heat-mist about.”
“Eet will not do, saar,” continued Couteur; “that fog—that come along when we get outside.”
“Never mind”—Cockett was not afraid of fog or of sea.
“It cannot be done, saar.”
Cockett turned furiously on him.
“I will pay you extra,” he said. “I will pay you double—if you’re afraid.”
The last word was a bad word to use to Couteur. His face darkened.
“Very well, saar, if you go we go.”
Some conversation took place in incomprehensible French between him and the other men. Then he beckoned to Cockett, who took up his portmanteau. One of the fishermen spoke to him just as he was going to embark.
“You had better not go, saar,” he said, but Cockett pretended not to hear.
It was only when he saw the toothed
ridge of the Grande Moie disappearing into a fleece that he realized the possibilities of the weather. Couteur swore as he navigated between the Moie and the coast, but the mist did not come any nearer. The Petite Moie was clear of it, but it was floating in wisps and strands outside the Greve de la Ville, veiling the tops of Noire Pierre and Dodon. Suddenly Cockett became frightened. He saw a fresh chance for the enemy.
“Are there any rocks about here?” he asked, “that we might run into?”
“Oh, my Gar! plenty of rocks,” said Couteur spitefully, “but we are not going to hit any.”
Cockett gripped the handle of his portmanteau, and stared straight ahead. A little rag of mist fell over them, then fluttered away. Then suddenly a great curtain seemed to close, shutting out ccast and sea and moies in one palpable and brineseented whiteness. Couteur swore again, as Guille, the boy, shut off the engine. .. the little boat drifted— there was a great lap-lapping of water round them—Cockett’s heart felt as cold and clammy as the fog. Then shapes began to loom out of the whiteness—they glided under the lea of the Noire Pierre, and at last the white darkness lifted, or rather passed over in a flutter of rags, and Cockett could see all the rocky tail of the Eperquerie hanging out behind the monster which was the Sark.
Guille had restarted the engine, and the Allouette rushed gaily forward. The sun was shining on the sea, stroking with gold the tops of the little waves in the race. Cockett would have liked to ask his boatman if they were out of danger now, but he knew that they were not on speaking terms. He had both injured and insulted Couteur, and he could never explain his urgency.
Damn! There was that mist again. It was coming in a wall from the end of the Eperquerie.
They were in it—Guille ought to stop the engine—no, let them get through quickly. . . .Crash!—and a feeling as of vast treachery as the solid things of the world disappeared .... green .... how strong to attack, how weak to support.... air—just one breath which was half lost in spluttering. . . .oh! how high they were flinging him, and drowning him as they flung. . . but here was something solid, here was the world once more. . . .
It was a very little world, just three feet by two and a half, but it seemed enormous to Cockett as he clung to it. He drew himself up on to it, so that even his feet were out of the water. It was just a cushion of seaweed on the top of a small rock submerged at all but very low tide. But for just that moment Cockett loved it more than Columbus had loved the whole continent of America.
He crouched there looking round him. The fog was everywhere—he could see nothing of Couteur or the boat. They had vanished. Had both the men been drowned? He had heard no cries. Now all was silence except for the soft lap-lapping of the water against the rock. He clung to his rock as to a beloved thing, his fingers knotted into its oozy hair. To it he owed his life.... if it had not been there....
A sudden great heave of green water over his feet. . . There was no foam, no breaking of the wave, just a huge green swell.... Was the tide rising? He knew nothing about such things, but as the top of the rock was very wet and thickly grown with seaweed he gathered that it must he submerged for the greater part of each tide. In that case he was lost—he could not swim, and the thickness of the mist both veiled and muffled him. The rocks had not turned friendly after all, they were merely giving him a slow death instead of a quick one. His teeth began to chatter. There was another great swell of water - it lifted itself against the rock and with it lifted the seaweed, standing up straight beneath it like a forest under the sea, no longer the draggled weed of its waterless stranding, bul a thing alive, triumphant, mocking the thing which was to die.
Another heave, and this time the wave broke. The rock must be a Baveuse, or slohherer, patching the sea with a circle of white scum. Soon it, would have slobbered him off into those thick green waves, smooth as oil under the lee of the Bec du Nez. The tide was certainly rising, and the rock, which had been as a dead, exhausted thing, began to revive and come
to life. The seaweed stood up and waved —he could see ranks and ranks of it on the ledges under water; here and there a lump of dull-coloured jelly became a glowing flower, little growths like toadstools made country dells of the hollows, and then the rock seemed to find a voice, it no longer just softly lapped with the sea; “glug-glug,” sang the waters in its crannies, “glug-glug.” The song became louder, it roared. “I’ve got you, Paul Cockett —I’ve got you. You thought you could run away from me, and all you’ve done is to run into me.”
His hands were awash now, as he clung to its waving and heaving mane. He had stopped his useless cries for help, and was praying—praying with ail his might—to the god of the Brighton Pier. Then suddenly, an idea came to him.
“I must let go,” he said to himself, “there’s no good hanging on—it wants to drown me. I’d better trust to the sea; it’s safer than this blasted rock, for it doesn’t mean any ’arm.”
He had heard that by holding oneself rigid one could float for a few minutes, indeed he had tried it in the safe shelter of a Brighton breakwater. He might be carried ashore (his ignorance was bliss) anyhow he wouldn’t have to die on that rock, watching it come alive. . . .
With a fresh mutter of prayer he let go. He felt the seaweed clinging to his ankles as if it would hold him back, but the next minute he was floating off on a huge green swell, floating rigid on his back as he had intended. Spray and fog caked his lips. . . and then suddenly the sun was in his eyes, burning down out of a fiery blue sky. He twisted, struggled, and was under, swallowing water....
There were boards under his head, wet wooden boards. . . .He must be on the Brighton Pier. . . .in Heaven. No, it could not be Heaven, for the angels wore yachting caps, nor yet the Brighton Pier, for there sat Couteur and the boy, drenched and chattering. He sighed deeply and someone gave him a drink of brandy. He saw the words “Ste. Anne” painted in big black letters .... then he realized that he was on a motor boat, but not the Allouette. She was a big boat with a twin screw, and there must be about twelve people on board.
After he had answered various inquiries as to how he felt, he had some confused impression of explanations given. The Ste. Anne was a motor-boat from Jersey, which had strayed from her course to Guernsey in the fog. She had picked up Couteur and Guille clinging to a spar of the smashed Allouette, and they had cruised round looking for the passenger. They had almost given up the search when he floated out of the dense pillow of fog which smothered the Moie Rouget. The weather seemed clearer now to the northwest, and they ought to reach Guernsey in less than an hour, but they would first put him and his boatmen ashore at the Eperquerie landing.
The last remark alone stood clearly out of the hum in Cockett’s head. He became frantic and begged the skipper to take him on to Guernsey.
“If I stop—they’ll get me—they’ll get me for certain,” he roared.
The master of the Sie. Anne wondered what the Englishman had done to have the Sark connétables after him, but as he was not more inclined than most men to take the side of the law in its conflict with the individual, and as Cockett was now on his knees offering him all his worldly possessions, Mr. St. Helier of Azette readily agreed to take him over to St. Peter Port, after depositing a gibbering an frenzied Couteur among sympathetic souls at the Eperquerie.
At St. Peter Port, Cockett, without luggage and with his wet clothes dried on him, took the Southampton boat. He spent the last of his holiday in his own house at Lewisham, and when he went back to the office there was a coolness between him and Somervell. Indeed, Somervell made matters quite unpleasant by telling people that Cockett had run away from Sark in the early morning without paying his hotel bill. It was a great relief when, the following June, Somervell left Duff’s for a better berth at Easterby Mortlock’s. Cockett now definitely belongs to the “old fellows,” but he does not go with them to Eastbourne or Hastings. He always spends his summer holiday inland; he says that he finds sea air a little too bracing.