by Captain W. E. Johns



IX.                   BIGGLES TURNS THE TIDE  (Pages 96 - 106)


Biggles carefully chooses where to place his chair and sit as all four men sit down facing each other.  Both Liebgarten and von Stalhein have a hand in their side pocket, no doubt to draw a gun when the occasion arises.  Liebgarten says to Biggles "i think you have been guilty of the gravest discourtesy".  "You misrepresented yourself to me from the beginning".  Biggles says "I think, if you will cast your mind back, that we haven't represented ourselves as anything".  Von Stalhein asks how they knew Mackail were there.  Biggles tells them that Linton told him.  When asked what he is going to do, Biggles gives it to them straight.  "I'm going to do what I came to do".  "I'm going to find Mackail and take him home.  I am also going to take home any other British subject who are tired of playing slave to a plausable chiseller".  "Anything else?" sneered Liebgarten.  "Yes," answered Biggles evenly.  "When they go they'll take with them the money they put into this bare-faced swindle".  The conversation descends into argument.  Biggles asks for a drink and on picking up a decanter of sherry he throws it hard into the face of Liebgarten and using his foot around the wire, he pulls out the plug to the lamp lighting the room.  In the darkness and confusion he gets Liebgarten's gun off him and then Biggles plugs the lamp back in, by which time he has now got von Stalhein covered with the gun.  Ginger gets von Stalhein's gun and they all sit down again, with the guns concealed and the position reversed.  Biggles calls the steward and asks him to get Pedro.  When Pedro comes into the room, Biggles asks him in front of everyone what is in the grave he dug this evening.  Biggles says the Doctor wants to know.  Pedro says there is nothing in the grave.  Biggles asks where is Mr. Mackail and he is told that he is where the Doctor told him to put him.  Biggles asks Pedro to wait outside.  Biggles holds a lighter to a curtain and says if Angus isn't bought to him in five minutes he will burn the whole house down.  He then calls Pedro back in and says the Doctor would like him to fetch Mr. Mackail.  Liebgarten confirms the order.  Von Stalhein calmly tells Biggles that he can't hope to get away with this.  The odds against him are too heavy.  Pedro returns with a thin, ill, scarecrow of a man, at last (page 105) they have found Angus.  Pedro leaves and Biggles tells Liebgarten what he thinks of him.  "You rat," he grated.  "You vile Nazi thug".  Biggles tells Ginger to take Angus to meet Algy.  Biggles will remain where he is and join them later.  Biggles invites Liebgarten and von Stalhein to be seated.  "We shall be here for some time.  As the Doctor remarked earlier in the evening, we've lots to talk about".