BIGGLES FLIES WEST
By Captain W. E. Johns
XIII. REVELATIONS (Pages 188 - 200)
“Biggles and his companions had not fallen into the galleon in the same place as Dick’s father, who had crashed through into the salon, which, in accordance with the usual practice of the period in which the ship was built, was situated in the poop”. Around them lies odd articles of clothing, mouldering blanket and the unwholesome stench of decay. Anything of value has been taken when the crew abandoned ship. Our heroes explore the ship and pass “long-silent cannon, their muzzles half buried in the silt of ages, cannon-ball, powder barrels – some still full ……….. ropes, blocks, and tackle, all of which they can see in the eerie light that crept through the cracks in the warping timbers”. Biggles says the ship should be in a museum and he doubts if there is another in the same state of preservation in the world. Passing a bottle of BEST OLD JAMAICA, Biggles sings “Yo ho ho, and a bottle of rum”, a song from Treasure Island. Algy says “It certainly looks as if ‘Drink and the devil have done for the rest’” finishing the quote. Heading up to the captain’s saloon, they see light from the hole where Dick’s father fell in and the find the body of the dead pirate. (A Grim Memorial of the Past - is the illustration on page 191). Biggles examines the skeleton and when he moves it, the bullet that killed the man falls out. Finding the ship’s log, Biggles is able to confirm this is the body of “the self-appointed head of the Brethren of the Coast; cut-throat and murderer - Louis Dakeyne, Louis le Grande, The Exterminator – himself exterminated”. The log refers to “Bawn’s cursed doubloon” and Biggles realises that this is what Dick’s father found and sent to Dick. Biggles finds a flag, a field of black with a white device, the device being a skeleton, holding, upraised, in its right hand, a dart; in the other, an hour-glass. Each foot rested on an initial letter. They read L.D. He gives it to Dick. In a drawer Biggles finds a magnificent ruby ring which “Biggles slipped into his pocket with the casual observation that it seemed a pity to leave it lying about”. In another drawer are about a hundred silver coins; ‘Pieces of eight’. Biggles tells Ginger to find something to carry them in. They had better take them in case Deutch finds the ship. Finding the hole that Dick’s father made in order to get out, they return to their base at the pirate fort. Biggles decides they need to lay in supplies to withstand a siege and also to mount a guard with each of them doing two hour shifts. Biggles examines the map made by Louis Dakeyne (which had been enclosed in Dick’s letter) but can't made anything out on it. The two skeletons in their base are heaved overboard and sent to Davy Jones locker. Dick is given the first two hour shift as that is the easiest.