by Captain W. E. Johns



XII.                 A DESPERATE EXPEDIENT  (Pages 140 – 150)


“Ginger felt Goudini stiffen”.  Ginger makes him get in the car and tells him at the first sign of trouble he will shoot him.  Ginger says that Goudini means nothing to him, neither does their war “but I hope the side wins that represents the majority of true Spaniards”.  Ginger tells him that to obtain his friends release he would shoot him “and a hundred men like you” and he takes Goudini’s revolver.  Ginger drives Goudini away in his own car “and he drove fast, perceiving that in such circumstances Goudini would not be able to make active protest without risk of upsetting the car”.  Driving out of the city to a dilapidated stone hut, Ginger parks up and questions Goudini.  Goudini has a portfolio with him which Ginger takes.  It contains a sheaf of documents in Spanish.  Ginger forces Goudini, at gun point, to write out an order in Spanish that will allow Ginger to interrogate the two prisoners - Biggles and Algy.  Ginger says he intends to leave Goudini tied up in the abandoned stone hut.  If he is successful in freeing Biggles and Algy he will return to release Goudini.  If he is unsuccessful – because of what Goudini writes, Goudini “will probably die a miserable death from hunger and thirst”.  As Ginger gets out of the car, his gun moves away from pointing at Goudini and Goudini leaps at him with a knife.  Ginger falls back but the knife strikes his forearm.  Ginger’s gun goes off and Goudini is shot.  Goudini lies on the road moaning feebly and the moans die away to silence.  Ginger feels his heart, it is still beating.  Ginger thinks to himself “Poor devil, I ought to do something for him.  I can’t leave him here to die”. Ginger has a knife wound in his arm, not very long, but deep and bleeding copiously and he uses Goudini’s handkerchief as a bandage.  Ginger is disturbed by a line of mules with men walking besides them coming over the brow of a hill and he decides he will have to leave them to look after Goudini.  Ginger gets in the car and tears off back towards Barcelona.