by Captain W. E. Johns



X.            ALGY’S ANTELOPE HUNT  (Pages 148 – 155)


Algy attempts to get close to the grazing antelope but can only get within eight hundred yards of them.  In the African heat haze, he can’t get a clear shot.  He therefore crawls down a shallow gully, a dried-up watercourse to try to get within two hundred yards.  Rising slightly, the antelope have gone and Algy can see why.  “Coming up the gully was a line of armed savages, the same, judging by their attire, as they had seen that morning when they had been at work on the Puss Moth.  But now, at their head, in an open shirt, shorts, with a solar topee (a pith helmet) on his head and a rifle crooked in his left arm, marched a white man”.  A leopard comes out the gully down which Algy has just crawled, and snarls at the advancing party.  The white man fires at the leopard which, wounded, bounds into the reeds where Algy is hidden.  “The leopard landed almost on top of him.  It saw him at once and turned like lightning, teeth flashing and claws bared, a picture that was to remain clear in his mind for a long time to come”.  Algy puts his rifle into the beast’s mouth and pulls the trigger.  Algy then gets up and runs for bungalow, weaving and swerving as he is fired upon.  Biggles and Ginger run out and look and then dash towards the hangar where the Puss Moth is housed.  Algy is chased by the “savages” and the nearest one to him raises his spear.  Algy turns and drops to his knee.  “His war-training came to his aid, and his manner changed.  Coolly and deliberately he drew a bead on the shining black chest of his would-be slayer, and squeezed the trigger”.  The native sprawls headlong.  “The Puss, with the cabin door flapping open, was taxi-ing tail-up towards him” and Algy needs no other invitation.  “He fired two quick shots at the savages, causing one to fall and the others to stop, and then raced to meet the machine”.  Algy jumps in, under fire, and asks where they are making for.  “Goodness knows – I don’t,” replied Ginger frankly.  “Then I hope it’s to England,” declared Algy.  “These wide open spaces may be he-man’s country, but they’re not mine – not by a long shot”.