by Captain W. E. Johns



XVI.                THE ROUND-UP  (Pages 236 – 254)


“Twenty minutes later the column was on the march, the four white men walking in front and the askaris in file behind”.  They had found the path to Karuli and marched for two hours.  Moving silently as they closed in on their destination, Biggles asks Collison to use his men to surround the place while Biggles, Algy and Ginger go ahead to reconnoitre.  “Come on, chaps.  This should be the last act” says Biggles.  As Biggles passes some crops by the side of the path, he notices that it is tobacco.  Biggles pushes his way into the middle and says there is something else growing, which he thinks is hemp.  The tobacco round the edges of the field is merely camouflage.  Biggles finds an aerodrome and see the Dragon in a hangar.  In the plane he finds various neat packages, each marked with a number.  (We are not told explicitly at this stage what has been found, but we are later told that it is hashish).  There is a bungalow and further on, what appears to be a native compound.  Biggles approaches the bungalow and is almost mauled by a leopard which is chained up outside.  It sounds like an argument is going on inside the bungalow.  Biggles takes a peek through the window and sees Harry Marton with his hands tied together and fastened to a hook in the wall.  Present also is the native who had spoken to them while they had been repairing the Puss Moth and two white men.  The native is holding a jambok (a heavy type of South African whip) and one of the white men, Leroux is saying to Harry “We (should this be we’ll?) give you something to remember, go ahead Chola”.  Biggles goes into the room with his automatic and says “Move! Move, one of you!  Why don’t you move and give me an excuse to blow you in halves, you dirty, crooked rats in white skins.  I’ve had to kill better men than you, and my finger’s twitching to fill you full of holes for the pleasure of doing it”. (“Move!” he snarled.  “Move, one of you!” - is the illustration on page 249).   Biggles tells Algy to “cut down that boy” and “shoot that black devil if he so much as winks an eyelid”.  Ginger is sent to get Captain Collison.  Biggles then addresses Leroux and Stampoulos and says “you don’t know how lucky you are that Collison is here or anything I have to say to you, which isn’t much, would be said with this”.  He flicked the muzzle of the automatic.  (At no stage are we told if Biggles recognises Stampoulos as being the Greek from the story ‘The Sheikh and the Greek’ in Biggles Flies Again – or vice versa - does this mean that he doesn’t and he is a different person?).  Collison arrives and Biggles tells him, “Here are your men, Collison”.  There are acres of hemp growing outside and an aeroplane loaded with hashish in the hangar.  Our hour later, the prisoners are handcuffed and the natives rounded up.  Harry tells his story.  He got to Malakal and met Leroux, who asked Harry to go to Insula to get his companion who was dying of fever.  At Insula was a crashed plane and Sarda bought them drinks and Harry then woke up at Karuli.  “And here I have been a prisoner ever since, compelled to keep my machine in order for their use”.  Leroux’s mechanic named Barrail was down with fever at the time and subsequently died.  On occasion Harry was made to do housework and when the telephone rang he answered it before Stampoulos knocked him down.  Biggles agrees to fly Collison and his two white prisoners back with Harry, Ginger, Algy and himself to Malakal, where, after making out a report they can push on home to England.