by Captain W. E. Johns



III.           ZARWAN CALLS  (Pages 50 – 56)


Algy queries Biggles about going to Capetown.  Biggles replies “To tell you the honest truth, I was very much taken with that lad’s story.  I liked his straightforward manner, too.  This delving into the dark page of history is extremely fascinating, and it would be rather gratifying to contribute something to archaeological research – quite apart from which there would be some satisfaction in doing the thieves who stole the lad’s plans out of what they hope to gain”.  Algy queries the expense but Biggles says the boy’s father will pay expenses, although Biggles hasn’t decided to go yet.  Biggles sees a man standing near them on the terrace.  He has arrived so quietly that he hadn’t been noticed. The man is “a middle-aged man of undoubted eastern extraction notwithstanding the fact that he was dressed in expensive European clothes.  He was short and inclined to corpulency”.  He was “of a type common in the Middle East, where east and west are all too often blended with unfortunate results”.  The man asks if he has the honour of addressing the celebrated Major Bigglesworth and introduces himself as Fuad Zarwan.  He apologies for the inconvenience that they have suffered tonight.  “I have suffered no inconvenience, and, if I had, I cannot see that you need lose any sleep on that account,” said Biggles in a manner that would have settled an argument with an Englishman there and then”.  Zarwan says that the unfortunate young man who visited Biggles is insane and suffers from strange delusions.  As the conversation develops, Zarwan makes veiled threats towards Biggles and his companions.  “Visitors in Egypt are well advised not to become inquisitive in matters that do not concern them” says the man, adding “It would be imprudent of you to take part in an expedition that might interfere with my own”.  Biggles merely replies “I’ll bear it in mind”.  The man leaves and Algy queries why he didn’t “kick the oily-faced hog into the road”?  Biggles says they would have spent the rest of their stay in Egypt preventing people from sticking knives into them.  The incident has helped Biggles make up his mind, if it’s all the same to the others; They will go with Kadar on his expedition.