By Captain W. E. Johns



XV.      THE ATTACK (Pages 215 - 231)


Going ashore, Biggles asks Dick and Ginger to wait whilst he and Algy dump ‘Frisco’s body in the sea.  Dick then leads them to the hole where he found the coins.  Biggles lays out his plan.  Ginger is told to collect nuts as provisions for the fort and take them across.  Algy is told to go to the galleon to get gunpowder and Dick goes with him to get an old water-bucket to transport the doubloons.  In the meantime, Biggles starts getting the coins out of the hole.  “What about Deutch?” asked Ginger.  “I think he will have more sense than to take on the four of us,” returned Biggles casually.  “But if he comes along looking for trouble he can have it.  With that doubloon in his pocket he’s as good as dead already”.  It takes some time to transfer between forty and fifty thousand doubloons, moidores and ducats, with a sprinkling of oriental pieces to the fort.  Dick is sent up from the hole to the ridge to see if he can see anything of Deutch and he is shocked to see soldiers from Marabina, dozens of them, advancing towards him.  Dicks runs to warn the others so they can all flee to the fort.  As they make their escape, Algy trips over the bucket containing the last of the remaining doubloons, causing them to scatter. With no time to pick them up, they flee for their lives.  “To the boat they dashed, pell-mell, infected by the panic in Dick’s manner”.  The pursuing soldiers, seeing the spilt coins, engage in a mad scramble to pick up coins, allowing time for our heroes to get the canoe three quarters of the way to the islet.  Deutch blazes away at them with ‘Frisco Jack’s automatic and some soldier’s fire at them, but no bullets find their mark.  They are able to safely get into the fort.  Looking from the fort towards the lagoon, they see a costal craft about the size of a trawler.  They realise that Harvey must have flown to Marabina and the corrupt officials are now in on the deal trying to get the doubloons.  Deutch comes to the nearest point of rock with a dirty white flag of truce and offers them passage back to Marabina in exchange for “the dough”.  Biggles declines the offer.  “All right, my cock.  You won’t chirp so loud by the time I’m through with you; maybe I can find a way of making you talk”.  “Not forgetting that you’ve got to catch me first” returns Biggles.  Deutch cursed vindictively.  “I’ll skin you alive when I lay hands on you”, shaking his clenched first.  Our heroes load the cannons and swivel-gun.  Biggles decides to fly Louis Dakeyne's flag.  "It's many a day since the Jolly Roger flapped over the Main, and if it never flaps again we'll be the last to fly it".   Our heroes then start to sing “Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest, yo ho ho, and a bottle of rum.  Drink and the devil had done for the rest, yo ho ho and a bottle of rum”, much to the astonishment of the soldiers peering out of the jungle.  Deutch approaches the islet with a dozen men in a rowing boat but blast with grape shot soon reduces their numbers.  Under fire, the boat is overturned and a few survivors run for cover, Deutch amongst them.  Biggles tells his comrades “Deutch is desperate for the doubloons, and he’ll try everything before he gives up.”  The occasional shot is fired at them and Biggles keeps watch whiles the others eat, before grabbing a hasty meal himself.  Twilight deepens and night falls.