by Captain W. E. Johns



X.            GINGER’S NIGHT OUT  (Pages 201 – 213)


“It was perhaps a good thing that Biggles did not know what had become of Ginger, or he would have been a good deal more worried about him than he was.  He would not have been content to rest on the roof, that is certain”.  Ginger was initially lying in the shrubbery with the ladder.  As the guard passes by, Ginger can hear the soft pat-pat-pat, accompanied by a sniffing sound that could only have been made by a dog.  The dog smells Ginger but he jumps up and throws a handful of loose earth at the dog and then Ginger goes up the nearest tree like a cat.  Seeing that an arm of the tree goes over the stables, Ginger goes that way when he hears Biggles whistle.  The branch snaps and Ginger falls onto the stable roof and clutches at the guttering which is “as brittle as pie-crust”.  It breaks and Ginger falls to the ground.  He gets up and races for the power-house.  Here, he finds a man, some kind of caretaker, but that doesn’t stop Ginger from shutting off the power.  The hound is baying and Ginger shuts and bolts the door to stop the dog from getting it.  Ginger then grapples with the man, knocking his candle down and so plunging the room into darkness.  Ginger then climbs out of the window to escape.  The hound is on the opposite side of the building with the guard, who is now trying to force open the door.  Ginger goes and puts the ladder back up at the window where Biggles went in, in case Biggles needs to get out.  The hound then comes for Ginger and Ginger “went up the ladder like a lamplighter” (In the nineteenth century, when streets were lit by oil lamps, lamplighters had to get the lamps lit quickly and this meant going up and down ladders fast and going between lamps fast – as in the phrase “run like a lamplighter”) .  Two men arrive at the foot of Ginger’s ladder so Ginger, seeing that the room is empty, goes inside the castle.  Ginger is chased by the guards searching for Biggles and Algy and Ginger is captured when he runs into a room full of green (uniformed) guards.  “Near the fireplace stood a slim man with cold, blue eyes and a close-cropped head; he seemed to be in a towering rage.  “Welcome” he says in a tone of biting sarcasm.