There on top of the mole, exposed to the keen blast of the wind, a large limousine was standing. A chauffeur, who looked blue with cold, got down from his seat as Desmond emerged from the stairs and touched his cap.
"That's my name!" said Desmond.
"If you'll get in, sir, we'll start at once!" the man replied.
Befogged and bewildered, Desmond entered the car, which cautiously proceeded along the breakwater, with glimpses of black water and an occasional dim light on either hand. They bumped over the railway-lines and rough cobblestones of a dockyard, glided through a slumbering town, and so gradually drew out into the open country where the car gathered speed and fairly raced along the white, winding road. Desmond had not the faintest idea of their whereabouts or ultimate destination. He was fairly embarked on the great adventure now, and he was philosophically content to let Fate have its way with him. He found himself wondering rather indolently what the future had in store.
The car slowed down and the chauffeur switched the headlights on. Their blinding glare revealed some white gate-posts at the entrance of a quiet country station. Desmond looked at his watch. It was half-past one. The car stopped at the entrance to the booking-office where a man in an overcoat and bowler was waiting.
"This way, Major, please," said the man in the bowler, and led the way into the dark and silent station. At the platform a short train consisting of an engine, a Pullman car and a brakesman's van stood, the engine under steam. By the glare from the furnace Desmond recognized his companion. It was Matthews, the Chief's confidential clerk.
Matthews held open the door of the Pullman for Desmond and followed him into the carriage. A gruff voice in the night shouted:
"All right, Charley!" a light was waved to and fro, and the special pulled out of the echoing station into the darkness beyond.