by Captain W. E. Johns



IX.                   BIGGLES TAKES A CHANCE  (Pages 105 – 115)


Biggles takes a taxi to “a certain street” in the British Zone in Berlin.  He goes to see a Major Boyd and asks for his help in trying to get Ross out or at least making contact with him in the Soviet Zone.  Biggles is provided with a German guide.  Biggles follows the guide on foot through the streets of Berlin and eventually enters a private house.  They walk through two long halls and come out a front door in the Russian Zone.  Biggles is then taken to the Hotel Prinz Karl and his guide says he will wait at a nearby bierhaus.  Biggles says if he is not back in an hour, the guide should go.  Biggles enters the hotel and sits on a settee where he can observe the stairs, the lift, the lounge and the dining-room.  He pays no attention to the man behind the newspaper next to him.  The man lowers his paper and speaks to him.  It is Erich von Stalhein!  “Good evening, Bigglesworth.  I was hoping you’d look in”.  Von Stalhein tells Biggles he won’t find Ross there.  “He left here about an hour ago.  By now he should be many miles from Berlin”.  They speak for a few minutes and Biggles thinks von Stalhein is waiting for someone.  When a Russian patrol walk in, Biggles throws the newspaper into von Stalhein’s face.  (“I shall have to be going.  Here’s your paper” – is the first illustration between pages 128 and 129).  Biggles vaults over the settee and runs to the lift, slamming the gate shut, beating von Stalhein by a fraction of a second.  Reaching the third floor, Biggles sees a man going to a bathroom and enters his room to steal a Russian officer’s cap and greatcoat.  Leaving via a fire exit to go downstairs and then via a staff entrance to get out, Biggles gets away, being saluted by Russian soldiers as he goes.  Going to the beirhaus, Biggles collects his guide and they return to the house in the Russian Zone.  Emerging in the British Zone, Biggles disposes of his cap and greatcoat over a bridge into a river.  “They should start a pretty little mystery when they’re found”.  The guide returns to Major Boyd but Biggles does not go in to see him.  Instead, he gets a taxi to the Airport Hotel where his comrades are staying.  Biggles explains what has happened and says they should leave immediately as they need to fly across the Russian Zone to go home and von Stalhein may lay on some Russian Yaks to find their Proctor aircraft.  In due course they will have to go East to find Ross.