by W. E. Johns



3.         NOISES IN THE NIGHT  (Pages 37 – 48)


The girls have a meal and Worrals does some thinking.  She wonders if Aunt Mary “let the cat out of the bag, perhaps by a chance remark” down in Adelaide when she had an opal valued.  Worrals says she will fly down the next day and make enquiries.  Worrals thinks that it is highly unlikely that Aunt Mary sent Janet the only piece of opal she found.  Chances are she found more and it is hidden somewhere.  But, says Worrals, “If she sold the opal, what happened to the money?”  Worrals suspects that the men were here when Janet arrived the first time and it was they who scared her off.  Worrals finds out more about the lawyer Janet saw.  His name was Mr. Harding.  Worrals thinks it is odd that he just took Janet’s word for it that Aunt Mary was dead.  Janet says things are different in this part of the world, where people wander about thousands of miles of uninhabited territory.  “This isn’t England, where everything can be checked and cross-checked”.  The conversation is interrupted by “a long-drawn wail that rose and fell like a cry of agony, until it ended in a choking sob”.  Janet says that is the noise she heard before.  Worrals gets the rifle and ammunition and goes out and heads towards the source of the noise.  She fires four shots into a bush and sees an indistinct figure speed away on a swerving course.  “No white man could run like that; nor could a white man make such an appalling din unless he were raving mad.  I fancy it was the blackfellow companion of our two white visitors.  No doubt they put him up to it”.  Worrals says she will go alone to Adelaide the following morning.  She tells Frecks and Janet that if the men return, they are to tell them that she has gone to fetch the police.  “That should make them think twice before starting any rough stuff”.  Worrals locks the door and says “Let’s hit the blankets”.