By Captain W. E. Johns



X.                    SHATTERING NEWS  (Pages 110 - 124)


Bertie and Ginger are at Madame Ducoste and Jeanette's flat.  The police leave without any search.  They had come to inform Madame Ducoste that her son Henri has been captured.  His engine failed when flying home from dropping off Algy, Bertie and Ginger and he has been injured and is a sanitorium in Peille.  He will then be tried as a traitor and no doubt shot.  There is an interesting continuity error on Page 111 where Ginger is referred to as Algy (Algy is not in this chapter at all.  The error is corrected by the time the book is reprinted in "The First Biggles Omnibus").  The woman leave whilst Bertie and Ginger discuss there plans.  Ginger says about Jeanette, "Now that's my idea of a girl, I'm absolutely crazy about her. She's the most marvellous thing".  "Here, I say, just a minute, old boy," reproved Bertie.  "Keep your hand on the jolly old throttle or you'll be out of control before you know where you are."  Bertie and Ginger discuss things and Jeanette returns with food and overhears them talking about the blue writing on the wall.  She says she has seen it.  It doesn't say "CHEZ ROSSI.  PERNOD." it says "CASTILLON.  AU BON CUISINE.  MAYDAY".  She says she saw a girl in a blue shawl right it and she was followed by a man.  When Jeanette describes the man, Ginger recognises Algy's description.  Jeanette knows this man, Algy, has gone to Castillon as she spoke to Francois Budette.  Jeanette tells what she knows about Castillon.  "No one is there, except cats, and, it is said, the ghosts."  Bertie and Ginger decide on a course of action.  Bertie will go to Castillon to find Algy and Ginger will go to Peille to try and rescue Henri.  As Ginger is still weak from his wound he will travel by donkey.  Jeanette's Aunt has a donkey called "Lucille".  Jeanette gives Ginger some of Henri's clothes and dyes his red hair black with mascara.  They also give him a cover story.  He is fetching olive oil or wine from Monsieur Bonafacio in Peille.  Ginger sets off.