Page:Ninety-three.djvu/27

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23
NINETY-THREE.

Saint-Hélier, despatched by the Southampton express to the Count d'Artois, at the Duke of York's headquarters, the following four lines,—

"Monseigneur, she has just sailed. Success certain. In a week the whole coast will be on fire from Granville to Saint-Malo."

Four days before, Prieur, the representative of Marne, on a mission to the army on the coast of Cherbourg, and for the time being residing at Granville, had received a message in the same handwriting as the preceding despatch, reading thus,—

"Citizen representative, June 1st, at flood-tide the sloop of war, "Claymore," with masked battery, will set sail, to carry to the coast of France a man whose description is as follows: tall, old, white hair, peasant's dress, aristocratic hands. I will send you more details to-morrow. He will land on the second, in the morning. Send word to the cruisers, capture the corvette, have the man guillotined."




CHAPTER II.

A NIGHT ON SHIPBOARD, AND CONCERNING THE PASSENGER.

The corvette, instead of going to the south and steering towards Saint-Catherine's, bore to the north, then turned to the west and ran resolutely into the arm of the sea between Sark and Jersey, called the passage de la Déroute. There was at that time no lighthouse on any point along these two coasts.

The sun had set, the night was dark, more so than usual in summer; there was a moon, but heavy clouds more like autumn than summer covered the sky like a ceiling, and to judge from all appearances the moon would not be visible till she touched the horizon just before setting. Clouds hung low over the sea, and covered it with fog.

All this darkness was favorable.

The intention of the pilot, Gacquoil, was to leave Jersey on the left and Guernsey on the right, and by a bold course between the Hanois and the Douvres to make for a bay somewhere on the shore of Saint-Malo, not so short