by Captain W. E. Johns



XVI.        THE LAST ROUND  (Pages 173 - 189)


At 7.00 pm that evening, Worrals serves Bill his evening meal.  “The dish contained thirty feet of thin but strong cotton cord, and a file, both supplied by von Brandisch”.   "The simplicity of everything made her suspicious.  Did von Brandisch really trust her?  She could not believe that he did".  This time an Unteroffizier takes her up to Bill's room but he does not come in.  He is happy to stroll up and down smoking a cigarette, giving Worrals a chance to talk more freely with Bill.  She tells Bill the escape is genuine but that he will be followed so they can learn his destination.  She tells him to try and dodge those following him and then make for the chateau.  Bill says he was sent by Squadron-Leader Yorke and that von Brandisch knows who the Mundiers really are.  Worrals is interrupted by the Unteroffizier who questions why she is taking so long and she has to leave with him.  Returning to von Brandisch at Gestapo Headquarters, Worrals asks if she is to meet Bill when he gets out and she is told no.  Bill will be followed by others with cars and motor cycles equipped with radio and they can remain there and listen.  Von Brandisch does not know that Worrals can speak German fluently so when he listens to the radio she knows what is going on.  Bill heads straight up the road towards the chateau then, to Worrals concern, he is lost.  One of the motor cyclists goes forward without orders and Worrals realises that Bill has seized the bike.  Von Brandisch sends an order to Oberleutnant Schaffer to throw a tight cordon around the Chateau Delarose and arrest anyone who tries to leave.  Von Brandisch then leaves and takes Worrals with him.  They go to the chateau and von Brandisch is told that Bill has gone inside.  He orders Schaffer to go and search the chateau and arrest everyone.  Von Brandisch and his driver take Worrals into the kitchen of the chateau where they wait.  Schaffer reports that they can't find anyone, much to the fury of von Brandisch.  The Germans find the empty pigeon basket, with feathers in the bottom.  "This will be enough to hang the lot of them" says von Brandisch, viciously.  The two W.A.A.F uniforms are also found.  Von Brandisch holds up one that is Worrals size and says "I should think it would fit you exactly".  Worrals can see the fireplace opening up behind von Brandisch and Bill beckons Worrals.  She swings the garment round and sweeps the lamp from the table and the room is plunged into darkness.  A gun is fired but Worrals is already away and the fireplace closes behind her.  Waiting for Worrals is Bill and Lucien.  The passage is a tunnel which leads down to an artificial pool.  There, a dilapidated punt awaits, with the Count and Countess de la Rose, and on a tiny quay are Frecks and Raoul.  The flooded tunnel, referred to as the drain, leads to the old mill on the river and Raoul leaves them there as he intends to remain in France.  Bill takes everyone else to a crossroads not far away where they are met by a German military lorry manned by an English man, called Joe who is posing as a German. Joe then drives them to a rendezvous with Squadron-Leader Yorke and a big aircraft in a field.  Worrals doesn't recognise the type.  "Special job for this class of work" Bill tells her that it has a pressure cabin with oxygen laid on so they can go much higher that the flak and the Messerschmitts.  They all fly home safely.  Frecks has the last word.  “Adventure, like chocolate, is best taken in small quantities, otherwise it is liable to lose its flavour”.