by Captain W. E. Johns



IX.           STRICTLY FEMININE  (Pages 101 – 115)


The next morning Worrals intends to fly to Baghdad and whilst passing over Wadi Omar, she intends to take photographs.  Firstly, they see Major Kenton and they tell him of last night’s events and show him the leaflet they found.  Major Kenton is most concerned that the leaflets should not be delivered, but he dare not touch the Arab women for fear of the consequences.  “Within an hour every broadcasting station in Germany and Italy would be shrieking that the farengis – that’s what the natives call us – had shamed Arab women by causing them to be molested by men.  That would be enough to send every Moslem in the Middle East reaching for his gun”.  Worrals asks what would happen if the women were stopped and searched by women.  “Oh, that wouldn’t matter.  The decent Arabs would probably treat the matter as a joke”, says Kenton.  Worrals decides to fly ahead of the camels on the roads to Latakia and Hama and take the leaflets off the women.  This they do, landing the Heron aircraft ahead of the two camels bound for Latakia.  Leaving Nimrud hidden in the plane, the girls confront the Zogorites.  “Their skins were much darker than those of true Arabs, who are sometimes little darker than Europeans.  Had these men not worn the usual night-shirt-like Arab gumbez, they might have been wild African negroes.  High cheek bones, and low flat foreheads, suggested Mongol descent”.  Confronting them and speaking in French, Worrals is forced to pull her automatic when one Arab reaches for his dagger.  They search the Arab women and retrieve the leaflets and then fly down the Hama trail and overtake the three camels there.  The procedure is repeated, but this time Worrals has to shoot one of the Arabs in the shoulder.  A car pulls up driven by an Arab, who introduces himself as Azza bin Shibla, Sheikh of the Meni Sakhr and “a friend of the British”.  He offers help to Worrals and Frecks.  Worrals declines as “it is a matter strictly between women”.  The leaflets are recovered from the three Arab women on the camels.  Back in the aircraft, Nimrud is impressed that the girls met the Sheikh.  “Sheikh Azza is the richest man between Ankara and Cairo.  He will give thee ten thousand camels”.  “And what”, inquired Worrals, “would I do with ten thousand camels?”  “You could give them to me,” suggested Nimrud hopefully.  They fly back to their aerodrome and inform Major Kenton by phone that the leaflets have been recovered.  Worrals is then anxious to be off to have a “dekko” at Wadi Omar.