BIGGLES FLIES WEST
By Captain W. E. Johns
XI. THE RESCUE (Pages 161 - 172)
Biggles stooped, caught Dick by the arm and helped him to his feet. “You’re all right now, laddie” he said kindly. Dick starts to collapse. “Here! Hold up!” cried Biggles sharply. “We don’t allow fainting”. Looking at Pedro's body, a few inches from his hand is the cursed gold doubloon. “As I have remarked before, that coin doesn’t seem to bring its owner much luck, does it?” remarked Biggles suspiciously. Biggles tells Dick not to touch it, saying “I’ve seen enough of the confounded thing, anyway”. Biggles kicks it into the hole that Dick had hidden in. Dick tells Biggles that Algy and Ginger are prisoners. Biggles stared "Prisoners!" he ejaculated. Biggles and Dick go to rescue Algy and Ginger and they hear someone coming so they hide in the bushes. "’Frisco Jack, I suspect, and he’s coming this way. He's probably looking for the n****r" (This is the sixth Biggles book to feature the use of the very offensive “N” word by W. E. Johns. The word appears three times in this book, once in Chapter VI and once in this Chapter, “The Rescue” and once in Chapter XII, “A Lucky Fall”. Of course, in its day, the word was in regular use and not considered offensive at all, otherwise it would not have appeared in a children’s book, where even mild expletives are watered down. The word remained in all Oxford editions of this book and also in the 1974 Knight paperback version. In the 1996 Red Fox edition, this is changed to “his friend”). 'Frisco Jack sees Pedro and runs to him, giving Biggles and Dick a chance to pass him on the far side of the rocks and run to Deutch's camp. Biggles tells Dick “It’s not time for half-measures. We shall have to go the whole hog. I don’t go about the world shooting at people for the sake of stirring up strife, but, by thunder, when other people start the row I do my best to make things hot for them”. Only Deutch is at the camp and Biggles holds him at gunpoint. “Hands up, Mr. Deutch – and keep them up,” he ordered harshly. “Any argument from you and I’ll blow you in halves. And if you have any doubt about that, just try it,” he added vindictively. Biggles clapped the muzzle of the pistol to Deutch’s head. Dick uses the razor taken from Pedro to free Algy and Ginger. Biggles searches Deutch’s pocket and takes a revolver from him and the maps that had been taken from them at Marabina. The plan is to take the canoe and go out to their aircraft and take it back, now the storm has passed. But it is too late, the amphibian starts up and takes off. Harvey is already in it. Dick is sent to see if ‘Frisco is returning and he reports that that he is “but he’s coming very slowly because he’s helping Pedro along”. Biggles doesn’t want to take any unnecessary risks because ‘Frisco Jack is a sharp-shooter and some one will get in the way of a bullet and it is more likely to be them than him. A change of plan is called for, so the canoe is loaded up with supplies. Deutch shouts threats and calls for ‘Frisco Jack, who then opens fires on Biggles’ party as they escape in the canoe. “I don’t think he’ll hit us at this distance” said Biggles calmly. “Outside a hundred yards revolver shooting becomes pure chance”. 'Frisco Jack continues to fire at them, but the range gets longer by the second and they make for the islet where Biggles found the old pirate fort. Leaving the others at the fort, Biggles crosses to the island to get some coconuts to complete their supplies.