BIGGLES FLIES WEST
By Captain W. E. Johns
VIII. WRECKED (Pages 125 - 137)
Biggles sees Dick go overboard and disappear under the foam, but he can do nothing to help him. Biggles tells Algy to “Jump when she hits!” and dives the aircraft deliberately at the rocks but the machine strikes the sea a few yards short. The wings tear off at the roots and the bows crumple like a crushed eggshell. Ginger and Algy jump for it and managed to reach the rocks. In seconds, the shattered aircraft is blown a good twenty yards from land, where it rolls in a boiling maelstrom. Biggles sees that to jump now would be suicidal. Biggles gets on top of the plane but the aircraft is blown further out to sea and the big seas begin to batter the flying-boat to pieces. Biggles and the drifting remains of the aircraft are taken out of sight behind the rocks. Algy, who has an injured ankle, and Ginger run as best as they can to try and keep Biggles in sight but the next sighting they have of the plane is when it is nearly a mile away and wallowing in waves and Biggles has gone. Algy and Ginger are convinced he is lost. With nothing else to do, they go looking for Dick but only find his jacket on the beach. The cursed doubloon falls at their feet. Ginger goes to throw it into the sea to dispose of it forever, but pauses when he hears a gun shot. Algy stops Ginger throwing the gold coin as they may need it to barter for food or clothes from whoever is on the island. Algy uses a piece of driftwood as a walking stick and they set off down the beach for a good two miles before they come to a mass of boulders, evidently an old landslide from the hills that towered up in the centre of the island. At the top of these boulders is a small group of coconut palms. Climbing up to the palms, they see their stolen aircraft in a small lagoon, which makes a natural harbour. “Deutch and his crowd must be here” says Ginger. Ginger realises this must be the island; The one they are looking for. However, they bump into 'Frisco Jack, who instantly covers them with a rifle. Captured, they are taken to Deutch. (In the Enemy’s Camp - is the illustration on page 135). With Deutch is a tall man with a slight cast in his deep-set eyes and another man “an enormous negro (this word is changed to “black man” in the Red Fox reprinted paperback published in 1996) wearing a uniform so elaborate that in different circumstances he might have cut a comical figure”. Deutch asks Algy “where’s your smart partner – the tall feller”. Algy tells him truthfully what has happened and as far as he knows they are the only survivors. Deutch asks “What shall we do with ‘em boys?” “The negro grinned broadly. In an instant he had whipped out a razor which he began to whet in a horrible manner on the palm of his hand”. “Put that thing away,” growled the cross-eyed man. “If there’s any bumpin’ off to be done, let’s have it clean. Why not turn ‘em loose? They can do now harm”. Deutch thinks they might know something about what they are looking for and tells Pedro to get a bit of rope. “The negro found a piece of cord amongst the pile of stores” (this becomes “Pedro found a piece of cord…..” in the Red Fox reprinted paperback published in 1996 and future references to “negro” in this chapter are change to “Pedro”). As Pedro goes to tie up Ginger, Ginger accidently drops the gold doubloon on the sand. “With a whoop of joy the negro snatch it up”). Ginger is questioned about the coin. He says it’s the one they had in London, but he is not believed as the villains know that Mallichore had that one. Ginger says “We got it form Mallichore with the rest of our things. Do we look as if we’ve been treasure hunting?” he concluded sarcastically. Deutch allows Pedro to keep the gold doubloon as “there’ll will be plenty more of ‘em presently”. Algy and Ginger are left tied up and Deutch tells them "We'll attend to you in the morning".