by W. E. Johns



VII.  THE VICARAGE AGAIN  (Pages 119 - 136)

(On original publication this instalment was called "Recaptured")


Worrals drops the telephone and snatches up the automatic.  "I'll shoot the first man who moves an inch" went on Worrals icily - and her voice sounded as though she meant it.  With the men held at bay, Worrals sends Frecks out the window to go and start the car.  Worrals then climbs out the window carefully, still holding the gun on the men and runs to the car and they drive away at speed.  Lights behind them soon indicate they are being chased by another vehicle.  Coming to a village, they stop briefly to allow Worrals to post the map to Bill Ashton at the post-office.  This is done without a stamp, Bill can pay the surcharge.  Driving off, the pursuing vehicle has now closed the gap due to this short delay.  Our two heroines then arrive at a Home Guard check point manned by two men and have to stop.  They don't have their identity cards but they explain that they are being chased by armed spies and ask for help.  The chasing vehicle, a horse-box, arrives and pulls up.  Two men get out of the horse-box laughing.  "You've got them all right, I see, so there's no need to ask if you got the telephone message," says one of them.  The two 'Home Guards' then turn their guns on Worrals and Frecks.  Worrals has left her gun in the car.  The two girls are put in the back of the car and driven, at gun point, back to the farmhouse from which they have just escaped.  Corton is waiting with an evil expression on his face.  "Where is the map?" he asks.  Worrals says she hasn't got it.  Corton calls "an elderly, hard-faced, lantern jawed woman with a colourless complexion" and she takes the two girls away to a private room to be thoroughly searched.  (A bit of 1940's decency, that Johns should introduce this woman character purely for this search!).  Taken back to Corton he asks Worrals where the map is and when she says "Where you will never find it" he slaps her face.  "Worrals, taken by surprise, staggered.  "How you're going to pay for that one day," she forced out through her teeth."  Corton checks with his men that nothing will be found at the farmhouse if the police should call and then our two heroines are taken back to the Rectory where Corton lives.  The man who had driven the horse-box is waiting.  His name is Carl.  On discovering that the map has not been found, he says the car stopped in Rimpton village, just outside the post-office.  Corton realises they must have posted it and he sends Carl to go and get it back.  Worrals and Frecks are locked in a cellar.  Worrals says she is going to sleep.  "I couldn't keep my eyes open another minute".