by Captain W. E. Johns



XVII.      A ROUTE  FORMIDABLE  (Pages 169 – 179)


Worrals tells Louis they have to get off the causse and out of the district.  “Von Brandisch is going to finish the job while he’s at it,” she remarked grimly.  Louis says there is a way to get out but “it is a route most perilous”.  Suddenly Frecks hears Lucien calling from the cave entrance below them.  Both Lucien and Raoul are safe.  Worrals explains that they are leaving; do they want to go or stay?  They elect to stay in France.  Worrals says they will go to the Camargue and from there to Spain.  She thanks her two gallant comrades and then Worrals and Frecks follow Louis towards the edge of the gorge.  He says “At first the path is bad.  Do not move unless you are sure of your foothold, and at the same time have a good grip with your hands”.  They begin the nightmare descent.  After an hour the worst is over and they slowly make their way down to the river.  Stopping at a stone built cottage, Louis is able to borrow a boat from a friend of his called Jules.  Jules also supplies them with tea.  Worrals and Frecks are both able to sleep in the boat.  “Although neither of them had mentioned it they were both on the verge of collapse from exhaustion for there is a limit to how much strain the human body will endure without sleep”.  When they are 10 kilometres from Millau, they go to hide in an ancient stone dwelling, said to be the chapel of the hermit, St. Antoine.  Worrals says she wants to go to the Carmargue, as she mentioned to Bill Ashton.  It was a place one could be picked up by an aircraft.  It is 100 kilometres away - about 60 miles.  Louis says they could go with the locals who take the sheep from the Cevennes to the Carmargue.  They have only just started and they could easily catch them up.  The sheep route will take a week, depending on the weather, but will keep them away from the roads which are bound to be patrolled.  Louis makes a bed of thyme for the girls in the ancient chapel and then goes out to find food, clothes and news of the sheep.