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The Kingdom of the Blind

Chapter 32
Granet emerged from the Tregarten Hotel at St. Mary's on the following morning, about
half-past eight, and strolled down the narrow strip of lawn which bordered the village
street. A couple of boatmen advanced at once to meet him. Granet greeted them cheerily.
"Yes, I want a boat," he admitted. "I'd like to do a bit of sailing. A friend of mine was
here and had a chap named Rowsell--Job Rowsell. Either of you answer to that name, by
chance?"
The elder of the two shook his head.
"My name's Matthew Nichols," he announced, "and this is my brother-in-law, Joe
Lethbridge. We've both of us got stout sailing craft and all the recommendations a man
need have. As for Job Rowsell, well, he ain't here--not just at this moment, so to speak."
Granet considered the matter briefly.
"Well," he decided, "it seems to me I must talk to this chap Rowsell before I do anything.
I'm under a sort of promise."
The two boatmen looked at one another. The one who had addressed him first turned a
little away.
"Just as you like, sir," he announced. "No doubt Rowsell will be up this way towards
afternoon."
"Afternoon? But I want to go out at once," Granet protested.
Matthew Nichols removed his pipe from his mouth and spat upon the ground
thoughtfully.
"I doubt whether you'll get Job Rowsell to shift before mid-day. I'm none so sure he'll go
out at all with this nor-wester blowing."
"What's the matter with him?" Granet asked. "Is he lazy?"
The man who as yet had scarcely spoken, swung round on his heel.
"He's no lazy, sir," he said. "That's not the right word. But he's come into money some
way or other, Job Rowsell has. There's none of us knows how, and it ain't our business,
but he spends most of his time in the public-house and he seems to have taken a fancy for
night sailing alone, which to my mind, and there are others of us as say the same, ain't
none too healthy an occupation. And that's all there is to be said of Job Rowsell, as I
knows of."
 
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