by Captain W. E. Johns


11.   CHAPTER 11 – (UNTITLED)  (Pages 131 – 141)  (98 – 105)



“It was with some misgivings that Ginger approached the fringe of the spinney”.  Ginger meets the smaller of the two men he saw yesterday, who is searching for Varley and they have a brief conversation.  Ginger is recognised from the day before and he says he is there to meet his friend.  The man advises Ginger to clear out and then leaves to continue his search for Varley.  Ginger advances cautiously on the spinney and sees Bertie talking with two men.  The big man – Corsini (This is the first time the name Corsini has been given to the big man) and “a tubby little man with a sallow complexion” who Ginger suspects to be Zolton.  Ginger can hear the conversation.  Bertie is saying his friend found the kit bag and it was empty.  Zolton says he owns the property where they are and he could sue Bertie for trespass.  The big man is just threatening to “take that silly grin off” Bertie’s face when the smaller man returns.  He says he didn’t find the man he was looking for, but he did come across “one of his pals here” indicating Bertie.  Corsini is going to beat Bertie up and puts on a knuckle duster.  Ginger steps out saying to Bertie “So here you are.  What’s going on here?  Is there some sort of trouble?”  Berties says “These unpleasant fellows want me to tell them what was in that kitbag we found – or something of that sort”.  “Then why don’t you tell ‘em?” returned Ginger casually.  Ginger says he will tell them, there’s no secret about it and he goes on to explain the bag was found, handed to the police and the mail delivered.  “Bertie’s expression at hearing this recital of the facts from Ginger can be imagined”.  Zolton asks Ginger how he knows about it and he says through the local police, there had been an officer there yesterday.  Zolton says to his men to go.  “Garsen did not move” (Garsen must be the name of the little man, but earlier Varley had said that Joe Chandler was the name of the person who shot him).  “I’ve got a feeling they could be coppers”.  Zolton says that if they were anything to do with the police they wouldn’t have said as much as they have”.  The three villains leave.  Bertie says “Brother, was I glad to see you. Things were beginning to look awkward – if you see what I mean”.  Then he added “What was the idea of telling those scallywags as much as you did.  Have you gone round the bend?  Biggles’ll have you shot when he hears about it”.  Ginger explains it was his orders.  “Two gangs of drug racketeers are at war with each other.  There isn’t time to tell you all about it now.  I’ll give you the gist of it as we go along”.  Ginger says they have to go to Lotton Hall to find Minnie.