by Captain W. E. Johns



XVII.               A DREADFUL SENTENCE  (Pages 216 – 228)


“Ginger never knew a more hopeless moment than when Biggles was led out of the room, for he never expected to see him again.  The absence of his dominating personality and cheerful optimism made their own position seem so much worse”.  Algy naturally feels the same.  Kadar says “It is the will of God; it will be as He decides”.  Algy and Ginger don’t agree “for their experience indicated that it was unreasonable to expect God to help any one who made no attempt to help himself”.  Looking out of the window, they see Biggles taken to the crocodile pool.  Then then hear Biggles singing ‘Rule Britannia’.  In due course they hear the single pistol shot and the entire oasis in the region of the pool seems to burst into flame.  “It’s the petrol!” yells Algy “He’s blown the whole perishing party up”.  “Attaboy!  Attaboy! Set ‘em alight!” screamed Kadar, lapsing suddenly and unexpectedly into American, which he must have picked up at some time or other from a western visitor”.  Later they see the lighted petrol thrown down the hill-side and realise that Biggles has escaped.  “Oh, lovely! Lovely! Frizzle, you blighters, frizzle!” says Algy.  Our heroes wonder what is going to happen to them.  “None of them slept, for in their extreme peril repose was out of the question”.  Dawn arrives and the door to their cell is thrown open.  Several bearded warriors with scowling faces and burns look at them.  Algy, Ginger and Kadar are firmly bound and taken to the open space between the palms and the foot of the necropolis hill.  Here they see the other Tuareg prisoners and one of them speaks to Kadar.  “They are taking us to the tombs of the dead to be buried alive” he says.  Kadar passes on the information to the others.  Ginger looks up at the blue sky and the Tourer flies over.  “It’s Biggles!” yelled Algy.