by Captain W. E. Johns



X.                    A SHOCK FOR BIGGLES  (Pages 122 - 135)


Biggles sees a small piece of ice break off from the main ice-field and realises what has happened to Ginger.  "Like all problems, when the answer became available it seemed so simple".  He wants to get in the aircraft and search for Ginger but Skipper counsels prudence with visibility so bad and big bergs about.  Low flying would be suicidal.  Biggles then tries to think how he will get Ginger back even if he does find him.  Biggles also has Algy and Bertie to worry about as they are on their way.  Biggles notices the ice drift is a bit north of east.  After a while the sky begins to clear and Biggles intends to take off when he sees a ship in the distance.  The Skipper recognises it as the 'Svelt', Lavinsky's ship.  Biggles wonders if he could get Lavinsky to use his ship to look for Ginger.  The Skipper thinks tha Lavinsky is mad coming in this close through the pack ice.  The ship could easily get trapped.  Biggles raises a hand in greeting and then is astonished to see Ginger on board.  Biggles realises that they haven't got the gold because there would have been no need for them to come in otherwise.  Lavinsky and his ship's owners, Shim and Sham come onto the ice and speak with Biggles.  Lavinsky recognises the Skipper and says "So you're here".  Lavinsky asks if the gold is in the wreck of the "Starry Crown" and he is told it is not.  Biggles says they don't have it and he invites Lavinsky to inspect the hulk and his machine.  "You won't find any gold in either.  You have my permission to look".  Lavinsky says he doesn't need permission.  Biggles says he does.  The British Government have the salvage rights and Biggles is the head of the salvage operation.  Biggles says Lavinsky might as well go before his ship gets trapped in the ice but Lavinsky is having none of it.  Lavinsky says Larsen, the madman in the hulk, must have hidden the gold.  Lavinsky and his two companions go and search the hulk whilst Ginger updates Biggles on his story.  The gold is still on the ice flow.  Ginger thinks it is about three acres in size and pear shaped.  Lavinsky returns and then checks the plane.  Satisfied the gold isn't there he and his companions return to their ship to discuss the situation.  Biggles says to his friends "We'd better talk things over too".