Twenty minutes wore wearily away. Falling ever more densely, the snow drew an impenetrable wan curtain between Amber and the world of life and light and warmth; while with each discordant blast the strength of the gale seemed to wax, its high hysteric clamour at times drowning even the incessant deep bellow of the ocean surf. Once Amber paused in his patrol, having heard, or fancying he had heard, the staccato plut-plut-plut of a marine motor. On impulse, with a swelling heart, he swung his gun skywards and pulled both triggers. The double report rang in his ears loud as a thunderclap.