No one had passed in or out, since the daughter thought she heard the father calling. No one could pass in or out without being seen.
'But it will be light at five,' said Mr Inspector, 'and then WE shall be seen.'
'Look here,' said Riderhood, 'what do you say to this? He may have been lurking in and out, and just holding his own betwixt two or three bridges, for hours back.'
'What do you make of that?' said Mr Inspector. Stoical, but contradictory.
'He may be doing so at this present time.'
'What do you make of that?' said Mr Inspector.
'My boat's among them boats here at the cause'ay.'
'And what do you make of your boat?' said Mr Inspector.
'What if I put off in her and take a look round? I know his ways, and the likely nooks he favours. I know where he'd be at such a time of the tide, and where he'd be at such another time. Ain't I been his pardner? None of you need show. None of you need stir. I can shove her off without help; and as to me being seen, I'm about at all times.'
'You might have given a worse opinion,' said Mr Inspector, after brief consideration. 'Try it.'
'Stop a bit. Let's work it out. If I want you, I'll drop round under the Fellowships and tip you a whistle.'
'If I might so far presume as to offer a suggestion to my honourable and gallant friend, whose knowledge of naval matters far be it from me to impeach,' Eugene struck in with great deliberation, 'it would be, that to tip a whistle is to advertise mystery and invite speculation. My honourable and gallant friend will, I trust, excuse me, as an independent member, for throwing out a remark which I feel to be due to this house and the country.'
'Was that the T'other Governor, or Lawyer Lightwood?' asked Riderhood. For, they spoke as they crouched or lay, without seeing one another's faces.
'In reply to the question put by my honourable and gallant friend,' said Eugene, who was lying on his back with his hat on his face, as an attitude highly expressive of watchfulness, 'I can have no hesitation in replying (it not being inconsistent with the public service) that those accents were the accents of the T'other Governor.'
'You've tolerable good eyes, ain't you, Governor? You've all tolerable good eyes, ain't you?' demanded the informer.
'Then if I row up under the Fellowship and lay there, no need to whistle. You'll make out that there's a speck of something or another there, and you'll know it's me, and you'll come down that cause'ay to me. Understood all?'
'Off she goes then!'
In a moment, with the wind cutting keenly at him sideways, he was staggering down to his boat; in a few moments he was clear, and creeping up the river under their own shore.
Eugene had raised himself on his elbow to look into the darkness after him. 'I wish the boat of my honourable and gallant friend,' he murmured, lying down again and speaking into his hat, 'may be endowed with philanthropy enough to turn bottom-upward and extinguish him!--Mortimer.'
'My honourable friend.'
'Three burglaries, two forgeries, and a midnight assassination.' Yet in spite of having those weights on his conscience, Eugene was somewhat enlivened by the late slight change in the circumstances of affairs. So were his two companions. Its being a change was everything. The suspense seemed to have taken a new lease, and to have begun afresh from a recent date. There was something additional to look for. They were all three more sharply on the alert, and less deadened by the miserable influences of the place and time.
More than an hour had passed, and they were even dozing, when one of the three--each said it was he, and he had NOT dozed-- made out Riderhood in his boat at the spot agreed on. They sprang up, came out from their shelter, and went down to him. When he saw them coming, he dropped alongside the causeway; so that they, standing on the causeway, could speak with him in whispers, under the shadowy mass of the Six Jolly Fellowship Porters fast asleep.