by Captain W. E. Johns



X.                    THE RIVER OF DOUBT  (Pages 107 - 118)


Ginger and Angus set off into Doctor Liebgarten's garden in the moonlight.  There is no one around but they can hear Elizabeth the panther growling.  Ginger could shoot the panther but fearing that he may only wound it and make things worse, they instead decide to go out the back way, through the broken cacti, where Ginger forced his way into the garden previously.  Wading through the river, they see the launch is moored at the landing-stage.  Behind the launch is being towed a dinghy so Ginger and Angus take that.  Angus asks how Ginger knew he was there and Ginger explains about Linton and how he died in the London Hospital for Tropical Diseases.  Ginger suggests that rather than go down the river to the meeting point and then wait for Algy, they may as well wait just a short distance down and then they can pick up Biggles when he comes down.  Angus says they could try to “slip past the w*gs without being seen” (see red comments below).  When Ginger hears noises in the forest, Angus says it is Indians talking.  Angus says "These forest Indians are dirty undersized little beasts, stark naked, bald as coots with enormous mouths and pot bellies.  When I say animals I mean animals, and not much of an animal at that.  A decent dog could teach them a lot.  They'll eat any carrion thrown up by the river - dead snakes, crocodiles - anything.  They'd eat you if they got the chance.  Between times they make shift on ants, bugs, beetles, centipedes or what have you.  There is reason to suppose they also eat each other".  Time passes.  Ginger decides to wait until 4.00 am for Biggles.  At quarter to four Ginger decides he isn't coming.  "What worries me as much as anything is, if he should come just after we've gone he'll bump straight into that bunch of w*gs".  (The word “w*g” appears twice in this book, with both occurrences being in this chapter.  The use of the word “golliw*gs” also appears three times in this book, with all occurrences being in Chapter 3 “Paradise Valley”.  These words are obviously highly offensive, but they were not considered to be when the book was originally published for children in 1949.  Surprisingly, these words remained in all editions of the book up to and including the “House of Stratus” paperback published in 2001).  Ginger rows them down to the rendezvous point with Algy.  At dawn they hear the sounds of an engine, the Doctor's launch, no doubt looking for them or Biggles.  Then they hear the Indians coming back.  Angus says "I'm afraid we're between the de'il and yon dirty brown sea".