By Captain W. E. Johns



XII.                 BERTIE PICKS A LEMON  (Pages 136 - 147)


Bertie is trying to get to Castillon but he area is full of troops.  Francois tells him that "During the night the British and Americans landed in Morocco and Algeria.  Now Hitler and Mussolini occupy between them all France".  Francois knows a market trader who can take Bertie to St. Agnes and from there he can follow the old mule trails to Castillon.  Bertwee spends hours making the journey and as he approaches Castillon he sees a girl in a blue shawl.  He also sees Algy.  As Bertie approaches he picks a lemon to eat and has it in his hand when he is confronted by Mario.  "By Jove!" he said, "you're the blighter who dotted me on the skull last night!"  Mario pulls out his slim-bladed stiletto but Bertie throws his lemon at him and hits him in the eye.  They fight and Bertie gets in a hook to the jaw that floors Mario.  When Mario comes round Bertie questions him.  "Why have you come here?" asks Mario.  "If I told you, my dusky soup-ladler, you would not believe me." says Bertie.  Bertie goes on to say that he has come to find a Princess.  "Look behind you" says Mario and the girl in the blue shawl is covering him with an automatic.  She is the Principessa Marietta Loretto de Palma and Mario is her faithful servant.  The Princess doesn't know that Mario has killed Zebani.  Bertie says he is English and the person who arrived earlier, Algy, is his friend.  Bertie says he wants to see the Princess's kitchen.  He believes it's a bon cuisine and he draws a triangle in the dust with his foot.