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While this was going on, although we did not know it, Lemois was half-way down the slope watching the encroaching sea; calculating the number of minutes which the villa had to live; watching, too, the slow crumbling of the cliff. He knew something of these earth slides—or thought he did—and, catching sight of our rescue party, struggled up to warn us.

But Herbert had not furled a mainsail off Cape Horn for nothing. He also knew the sea and what its savage force could do. He, too, had swept his eyes over the crumbling slopes, noted the wind, looked at his watch, and, bounding back, had given orders to go ahead. There was possibly an hour—certainly thirty minutes—before the house, caught by the tide at high water, would sag, tilt, and pitch headlong, like a bird-cage dropped from a window-sill, and no power on earth could save it. Until then the work of rescuing madame’s belongings must go on.

Louis’ enormous strength now came into play: first it was an inlaid cabinet, mounted in bronze, with heavy glass doors. This, stripped of its curios, which he crammed into his pockets, was picked up bodily and carried without a break to the garage, a hundred yards