By Captain W. E. Johns



XIV.     DICK GOES ASHORE  (Pages 201 - 214)


Dick carries out his sentry duty and thinks about pirates.  His thoughts drift to Louis Dakeyne’s map.  “Suppose the lines on the slip of paper were just meaningless marks made by a dying man?”  “What else was on the desk?”  “The doubloon!  Louis might have scratched a message on the coin.  They had not examined it very closely.  That was the sort of thing a pirate might do, he reflected.  What a pity Biggles had kicked it into the hole”.  Deciding it was foolish to throw the coin away as Biggles had done, he determines to go ashore and get it back.  He leaves his post and paddles the canoe to the shore and ties the boat to a convenient crag.  Returning to the hole he had hidden in; Dick quickly finds the gold doubloon.  He puts it outside the hole and starts to climb out but drops his pistol in the hole.  On reaching down for it, Dick discovers another doubloon.  Then he finds dozens.  Then even more.  The treasure!  He has found it!  Suddenly he hears voices, Deutch and 'Frisco Jack are approaching.  Deutch spots the gold doubloon that Dick has put outside the hole.  ‘Frisco picks it up and they discuss how it got there, remembering that it is the one Pedro had, as he was shot here.  "Well, he's gone where doubloons won't be no use to 'im, so I might as well have it" says 'Frisco Jack.  Deutch tells him to keep his hands off it and they fight.  Deutch stabs and kills ‘Frisco while Dicks listens.  “In a nightmare of horror he heard Deutch muttering, between deeply drawn breaths, “I’ll teach you, you - ” each sentence concluding with an oath worse than the last”.  Deutch leaves and Dicks doesn’t stop to pick up any doubloons or his pistol.  Dick races back to the pirate fort only to face the wrath of Biggles for leaving his post.  He explains that 'Frisco Jack is dead and he has found the doubloons.  Biggles asks Dick if he has brought that accursed coin back with him and Dick explains that Deutch has gone off with the doubloon.  Biggles says “Deutch is welcome to it; he’s sealed his own fate or I’ve missed my mark”.  Dick tell Biggles about the hundreds, maybe thousands of doubloons he has found in the hole.  Biggles realises that “those two parallel lines on Louis’s map were the boundaries of the inlet, with the holes in the rocks marked beside it.  The one in which he put the gold was filled in solid”.  Biggles says “We were four against two; now we are four against once, assuming that the negro is out of action”.  “He’d dead,” put in Dick quickly.  “At least, I heard ‘Frisco say that he had gone where doubloons wouldn’t be much good to him”.  Biggles determines to move both ‘Frisco’s body in the morning “in case Deutch comes prowling about and finds the treasure”.  Leaving Ginger on guard they try to get some sleep.