BIGGLES HUNTS BIG GAME

 

by Captain W. E. Johns

 

 

V. HUNTERS' TOUR (Pages 58 - 71)

 

Within 24 hours, Ginger and Bertie are in Cairo and book on for the Hunter's Tour. Tickets are 500 each. (The average wage in 1948 when the book was published was 455 per year). There is a plane leaving in one hour and the plane is the one from the photo. Ginger recognises the registeration letters. Four other passengers are on board and one of them is Robinson. Another passenger appears to have ink stained on his fingers. The final destination appears to be the crater of an extinct volcano, around 12 miles across with a heavy belt of timber terminating in a bamboo swamp of some size. In the centre is a sinister black lake. The lodge itself is not a single building but a number of buildings surrounded by a boundary fence. Outside the boundary stand two buildings, one, the quarters of the natives employed as hunters, porters and gun bearers and the other inside the bamboo swamp close to the lake. One of the passengers, a Colonel Dupray, queries the reason for the fence and is told it is to keep leopards and snakes out. "What do they think we are - schoolgirls?" says the Colonel. Ginger and Bertie meet the manager, Mr. Kreeze. Ginger takes an instant dislike to him "he was a dark, rather pompous little man ......... what his nationality was Ginger did not attempt to guess". "Welcome to Kudinga, gentlemen," he greeted, smoothly, in perfect English, but with a queer foreign accent. They are told the rules, they must not go out without a professional hunter and the power-plant in the bamboo swamp was out of bounds as the swamp was infested with snakes. When Ginger checks his case for the radio transmitter, it has disappeared. They know they have to complain otherwise it will look suspicious. When asked why they had a radio, Ginger says that new army regulations require officers on leave outside of India and the UK to alway be in touch with headquarters. Mr. Kreeze says they have a radio operator there.