by W. E. Johns



VIII. HARD LABOUR  (Pages 137 - 154)

(On original publication this instalment was called "Worrals Finds a Way Out")


Both girls are soon asleep and when they wake they have no idea what the time is.  One of Corton's men comes to fetch them, dressed as a chauffeur.  He takes them to Corton, who is now dressed as a clergyman.  With him "were two other assistants, both dressed as members of a normal household, one a butler, and the other a gardener."  Also with them are two officers of the German air force, both in uniform.  "One had a black eye and a cut lip; the other held a bloodstained handkerchief to his cheek.  Without being told Worrals knew they were the victims of a crash".  Worrals is asked if she telephoned the Air Force last night.  "Why?" inquired Worrals evenly.  "Did your friends with the swastika decorations encounter unexpected opposition over Churley?".  They had met a squadron of spitfires.  "Corton looked at Worrals from under knitted brows.  "I will see to it," he said slowly and distinctly, "that you get an equally warm reception when you get to the place where I am going to send you.  You'll give no further trouble after that".  Carl returns and says that Joe has been arrested at the stables.  He has called there and nearly been caught himself.  When asked if he got the map "Carl threw the girls an evil look.  "Get them out of the way and I'll tell you about it," he growled.  From outside comes the sound of an aircraft, flying low, and everyone looks out of the window.  This gives Worrals a moment to snatch something off the desk.  Corton says "If this machine hangs about we'd better get out.  Some of you go down to the links and pick up the electrical equipment; then, if the police come here they'll find nothing.  Gustav should be here to-morrow with the big machine.  All right, get the girls out of the way.  We'll take them with us when we go."  Back in the cellar, Worrals reveals that she has taken matches from the desk and a nail file.  Worrals thinks that when she dropped the phone at the farmhouse, Bill must have had the call traced.  That is how they managed to raid the place.  She suspects that was Bill in a Spitfire just now having a look round following what she told him briefly on the telephone.  They set to work cutting through the lock.  "After this they relieved each other at intervals that became shorter as their fingers showed signs of blistering".  It takes in the region of three hours to cut through the lock of the door.  They find their cell is one of two or three similar compartments.  The stairs leading up to the house have another locked door.  The two girls return to see if they can find a basement window but instead find that an old wine rack conceals a secret door.  This is turn leads to a narrow subterranean tunnel.  Worrals says to Frecks, "Bring your nerve with you - you may need it."