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Josephine Bell

The House Above the River

Hodder and Stoughton 1959
Jacket design by Joan Kiddell-Monroe

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Josephine Bell

THE FOG ROLLED in from the sea behind them, blotting out the leading marks and blurring the rocks close at hand. The wind, that had lessened for the last three hours, died as the mist came, leaving the yacht's sails limp, drooping in a clammy silence. Giles Armitage swore, Tony Marshall went below to start up the auxiliary engine. Phillipa, Tony's wife, exclaimed in exasperation, "It would catch us up just here, of all places." Giles only said, "What do we have next? You take over the book of words, Pip." The Stuart Turner engine broke the silence with a satisfactorily steady mutter, and Tony clambered back into the cockpit. "Go up for'ard and look out for snags," Giles told him. "We have to turn off almost at right angles about here. Tell him the marks, Pip." Busily reading from Hasler's invaluable guide to the Brittany coast, Phillipa gave the names and positions of the various buoys and beacons that marked the complicated entrance through the rocks to the Treguier river. Giles, who knew his compass course from the chart, tried desperately to remember how far the set of the tide would carry him off it, now that the sea fog had hidden the distant transit. Without visible leading marks it would be a tricky business groping their way round La Corne lighthouse to the line of buoys that marked the entrance of the river itself. If only the wind had held an hour longer, or had died a couple of hours before they made the rocks and lighthouse of Les Heaux.

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