by Captain W. E. Johns



6.     FRECKS GOES HER WAY  (Pages 77 – 87)


Frecks strode along the beach confidently.  Certainly she did not think herself in any particular peril”.  Suddenly a thin, harsh voice behind her says “Stand still!”  “The speaker was a woman, a tall gaunt white woman, of middle age, with a thin angular face crowned with a pile of red hair”.  The woman is rude and hostile and holds Frecks at gunpoint with a rifle.  Frecks is forced to march to the palace, which stands in an acre of open ground.  “In this open space stood the palace that had been built by the fanatical priest, and Frecks was astonished by the size of it.  Built of blocks of hand-hewn coral, obviously an immense labour, its main architectural features were those of a church rather than a palace”.  Frecks is amazed to see “filing towards the building from all sides, in the manner of prisoners, were girls – or at any rate, females – mostly white, but with a sprinkling of brown and black”.  Inside the palace, Frecks is amazed by the fact that it is decorated with thousands of oyster shells, or mother-of-pearl extracted from them.  She is taken to a raised dais, in the manner of a throne where a woman is seated and told to kneel by the red-headed woman.  “I bend my knee to no human being but my lawful King and his Royal Family,” said Frecks curtly.  The “Queen” asks Frecks if she heard Miss Boran tell her to kneel and when she says she did, she slaps Frecks violently across the face, leaving blood trickling down it where Frecks has been cut by one of the Queen’s rings.  Frecks is taken away and locked up.  “These women were out of their minds.  The crazy priest’s palace, she told herself, was still a mad-house”.