Between the silver ribbon of morning and the green glittering ribbon of sea, the boat touched Harwich and let loose a swarm of folk like flies, among whom the man we must follow was by no means conspicuous—nor wished to be.
There was nothing notable about him, except a slight contrast between the holiday gaiety of his clothes and the official gravity of his face.
Lastly, he was known to be a startling acrobat; despite his huge figure, he could leap like a grasshopper and melt into the tree-tops like a monkey.
Hence the great Valentin, when he set out to find Flambeau, was perfectly aware that his adventures would not end when he had found him. On this the great Valentin's ideas were still in process of settlement.
There was a short railway official travelling up to the terminus, three fairly short market gardeners picked up two stations afterwards, one very short widow lady going up from a small Essex town, and a very short Roman Catholic priest going up from a small Essex village.
But he could have pity for them, and this one might have provoked pity in anybody.It is due to him to say that his fantastic physical strength was generally employed in such bloodless though undignified scenes; his real crimes were chiefly those of ingenious and wholesale robbery.But each of his thefts was almost a new sin, and would make a story by itself.When he did the last, Valentin even had the good nature to warn him not to take care of the silver by telling everybody about it.But to whomever he talked, Valentin kept his eye open for someone else; he looked out steadily for anyone, rich or poor, male or female, who was well up to six feet; for Flambeau was four inches above it.